KOTTAYAM l SATURDAY l JULY 04, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION JEE, NEET EXAMS PUSHED TO SEPTEMBER AMID COVID-19 Friday’s decision by the Centre comes amid growing pressure from students and parents to postpone the exams SEPT 1-6 DATES FOR JEE MAIN, NEET ON 13TH CLASSES NOT LIKELY TO START UNTIL NOV According to the revised schedule, JEE Main exams will be held between September 1 and 6, while JEE Advanced on September 27. September 13 is the new date for NEET, the common medical entrance examination. Normally held in April-May, these exams were first pushed to July, and have been rescheduled again as the Covid-19 situation has not improved ■ ■ The decision was taken after a panel constituted by the HRD ministry recommended that the exams be posponed as many test centres are located inside containment zones As a result, first-year classes for engineering and medical students are not expected to start until November this year 25 lakh STUDENTS HAVE REGISTERED TO APPEAR FOR THESE EXAMS CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI MODI PUTS CHINA ON NOTICE Says the era of expansionism is over and the age of development has begun; praises troops for showing their ‘fire and fury’; foreign secretary briefs five countries on the LAC situation M AYA N K S I N G H & P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledging the greetings of soldiers at a forward location in Ladakh’s Nimu on Friday | PTI Modernisation of armed forces a priority: Modi Japan throws its weight behind India Miffed China says don’t complicate matters Speaking to soldiers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said modernisation of the armed forces is a priority. “India manufactures modern weapons today. We are bringing modern technology from around the world,” he said Japan on Friday extended support to India over its border stand-off with China. “Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo,” said Japanese Ambassador Satoshi Suzuki on Friday Reacting to Modi’s visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said India and China are in touch via military and diplomatic channels and “neither side should make any move that may complicate the border situation” SENDING out a strong signal to China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the days of expansionism were over and that India’s commitment to peace should not be interpreted by any country as a sign of weakness. “The era of expansionism has come to an end. This is the era of development. History has proved that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back,” he said while addressing troops during a surprise visit to Nimu in Ladakh. Paying tribute to the courage and devotion of Indian soldiers, Modi said “the enemies of India have seen the fire and fury of our forces.” The world had taken note of India’s strength and the exemplary bravery of the armed forces, the Prime Minister said. Although he did not mention China even once in his address, it was clear he was referring to India’s northern neighbour. Reacting to Modi’s speech, the Chinese embassy here said it was wrong to view China as expansionist and to fabricate its disputes with its neighbours. “China has demarcated boundary with 12 of its 14 neighbouring countries through peaceful negotiations, turning land borders into bonds of friendly cooperation. It’s groundless to view China as ‘expansionist’, exaggerate and fabricate its disputes with neighbours,” tweeted Ji Rong, the Chinese Embassy spokesperson. ICMR pushes the vaccine envelope, gets singed S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi AIMING to expedite human trials of India’s first Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by Bharat Biotech, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) wrote to 12 hospitals across 10 states selected for the task, but its stern tone and tight timeline led to an uproar. The ICMR sought to set the clock for the launch of the vaccine for public use by August 15, which was surprising since its human trial hasn’t even begun. Jumping the gun by assuming success doesn’t befit a research organisation of such repute, experts opined. The letter written on June 2 by ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava directed enrollment of volunteers for trials in five days flat — by July 7. Also, some of the chosen hospitals (see box) are small set ups with no established track record of major research. “I don’t know how is it possible to launch a vaccine in little over a month which has not even entered Phase 1 and 2 trials,” said Anant Bhan, a specialist in global health and bioethics. “Also, I think that many sites chosen for the project won’t even have ethics committees approved by the drug regulator and have no prior experience of carrying out a clinical trial for vaccines.” For faster trials, nearly 1,300 patients will be enrolled in AIIMS, Delhi alone, sources said, though early human trials are usually done with much smaller numbers. 8 UP cops killed in night encounter with criminal gang ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar inspects the scene of Thursday night’s encounter in Kanpur district | PTI N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow EIGHT policemen, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police and three sub-inspectors, were killed in a post-midnight encounter with a criminal gang in Kanpur’s Bikru village. Police had planned an operation to nab a long-time history-sheeter Vikas Dubey who , had about 60 criminal cases lodged against him. Acting on a tip-off from local sources, a team of about 50 police personnel entered the village after Thursday midnight. As they began pressing in, Dubey’s men opened fire at them from rooftops, killing the eight policemen on the spot. The criminals then seized weapons from the dead policemen and fled the scene. Thereafter, more forces reached the spot, and the police launched a combing operation, led by Kanpur Inspector General Mohit Agarwal. This led to a second encounter in which Prem Prakash and Atul—two of Dubey’s closest aides—were killed, inside a forest area near Kashiram Niwada village, about six kilometers from Bikru. Sources said Dubey’s men had set up roadblocks and cut off the power supply to the village. The fiat to testing centres This is one of the top priority projects being monitored at the topmost level of the government, says ICMR It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by AUGUST 15 after completion of all clinical trials However, final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project You are strictly advised to fast track all approvals to initiate clinical trial and ensure that the subject enrollment is initiated no later than July 7. Noncompliance will be viewed very seriously THE CHOSEN 12 l AIIMS, Delhi l AIIMS, Patna l King George Hospital, Vizag l Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad l SRM Medical College and Hospital, Kattankulathur, TN l Jeevan Rekha Hospital, Belagavi l PGIMS, Rohtak l Gillurkar Multispecialty Hospital, Nagpur l Rana Hospital, Gorakhpur l Prakhar Hospital, Kanpur l Institute of Medical Sciences & SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar l Redkar Hospital, Goa Bharat Biotech received permission for Phase 1 and 2 trials in humans after pre-clinical trials on three animals were encouraging, though its results have not been published yet. As for the August 15 target, experts feared it could dent ICMR’s reputation of conducting, promoting and monitoring high quality medical research. “Science is about pursuit of truth and researchers cannot be forced to produce biased evidence in order to please their political masters but that is exactly what this diktat is asking them to do,” said one of the country’s most well known virologists, Dr T Jacob John, who has been associated with Christian Medical College, Vellore for long. It’s CPM versus CPI as Left front ponders Jose entry BILATERAL TALKS The CPM is likely to hold bilateral talks with the CPI regarding the Jose K Mani faction’s entry into the LDF. The front will discuss the issue only after the two parties reach a consensus The CPM feels the Jose fiasco has led to a political crisis in the UDF and the Left front should make use of the same CONTINUED ON: P7 EXPRESS READ Centre moves SC to close marines’ case New Delhi: The Centre has moved the Supreme Court seeking closure of judicial proceedings against the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast. The Centre said it has accepted the international tribunal’s ruling which held India was entitled to get compensation but could not prosecute the marines. P5 lost an election, it cannot be termed as one without a mass A DAY after CPI state secretary base. “CPM also has lost a few Kanam Rajendran expressed elections. Does it mean that we his dissent over a possible lack a mass base?” Kodiyeri move to bring the Jose K asked. “A decision on the Mani faction of Kerala Jose faction’s entry will Congress (M) into the be taken collectively by Left fold, the CPM on the LDF after the faction Friday gave enough inmakes its stance clear.” dication that it is in faThe UDF’s decision to vour of making the most keep the KC(M) faction Kodiyeri of the troubles within Balakrishnan led by Jose, which is enthe opposition UDF. gaged in a tussle with Countering Kanam’s re- the rival P J Joesph faction for marks, CPM state secretary the control of the party out for , Kodiyeri Balakrishnan chose the time being has triggered to remind him that just be- talks of a political realignment ● More on P4 cause a party or faction has in Kerala. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram Kochi airport installs L36-cr lighting system Kochi: The Kochi airport has installed the I36-crore CAT III runway lighting system, which will help smooth landing of aircraft in inclement weather. With this, Kochi airport has become the second in South India after Bengaluru to operate with the most advanced lighting system. A decision on the Jose K Mani faction’s entry will be taken collectively by the Left front after the faction makes its stance clear Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, state secretary, CPM The PM’s visit came on a day when India also reached out diplomatically to the US, Germany, France, Russia and Japan. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla briefed the countries on the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). “Had a good talk with FS Shringla. Appreciated his briefing on the situation along LAC, including GOI’s policy to pursue peaceful resolution. Japan also hopes for peaceful resolution through dialogues. Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo,” Japanese envoy to India Satoshi Suzuki tweeted. During his interaction with the troops, the Prime Minister spoke at length about how the virtues of peace, friendship 16 of family test positive, Kayamkulam seals itself; situation grim, says admn EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Alappuzha PANIC has gripped Kayamkulam after 16 members of a family tested positive for Covid-19 in five days, prompting the authorities to declare the municipality as a hotspot. A 68-year-old vegetable vendor of Kayamkulam market and his daughter, 46, had contracted the virus on June 29 and 30, respectively. In the next three days, 14 of his family members and relatives, including two children aged eight and one-and-a-half, too tested positive. A 52-year-old fish vendor from Kurathikad who used to buy fish from Kayamkulam market also tested positive on June 30. His source of infection is unknown. His wife and son-in-law got infected on Thursday . Municipal chairman N Sivadasan said the situation in Kayamkulam is grim. “The vegetable vendor had come in contact with drivers of many lorries that brought vegetables from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to his shop. Health officials suspect he might have contracted the virus from one of the drivers or cleaners,” Sivadasan said. The entire Kayamkulam municipality and Thekkekara panchayat have been declared containment zones. Healthcare workers are keeping their fingers crossed as they fear the virus may spread within the vendor’s family which is a big one, and , also to other vendors and people who came to purchase goods in the market. The health officials have already MIND MATTERS Let me live as a woman, 17-yr-old boy tells panel V I S H N U P R A S A D K P @ Malappuram The boy quit home as he suffered verbal abuse for his effeminate manner. He doesn’t want to change his preferences P Shajesh Bhasker. chairman, CWC A 17-YEAR-old boy from Karuvarakundu in Malappuram district has approached the ChildWelfare Committee (CWC) to help him live as a woman. The pressure from family members to lead a life against his will forced the boy to leave home and move in with members of the transgender community . After hearing the boy’s plight, the CWC — through an interim order as per Section 52 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 — temporarily rehabilitated the boy at the house of transgender activist Riya Isha last week. The CWC is also looking into the matter to take further action. After the boy started living at Isha’s place, his family sought police help to get him back. But Isha, with the backing of counsellor Mary Neethu, presented him before the CWC. The boy stuck to his stand that he did not want to go back home. “The boy quit home as he suffered verbal abuse for his effeminate manner. He’s adamant that he doesn’t want and courage have been a part of India’s culture. India has always given a befitting reply to anyone who has tried to disturb peace, he noted. “India is stronger today be it , in naval might, air power, space power or the strength of our army Modernisation of weap. ons and upgradation of infrastructure has enhanced our defence capabilities multifold,” Modi said, adding that India’s spending on border infrastructure has been enhanced three times. The Prime Minister also visited the military hospital in Leh and interacted with soldiers who were injured during the border clash with China on June 15. Modi was accompanied by Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief Gen M M Naravane. to change his preferences and talks about his right to lead a life of his choice. He wanted to live with people who can understand his feelings. So, we allowed him to live with Isha who is an activist from the district,” said CWC chairman P Shajesh Bhasker. He said only the boy’s interests will be taken into consideration in the case. ● More on P4 KERALA CASE DIARY 211 cases reported on Friday 2,100 under treatment 2,839 4,964 recovered cases have been confirmed so far 25 DEATHS HARBOUR SHUT Chellanam fishing harbour was closed down after a 64-yearold woman resident tested positive on Friday. Her son and husband, a fisherman, work at the harbour. started taking swab samples from suspected persons. The fish vendor’s contact list is also becoming a cause for concern for the health officials. He had sold fish at Kurathikad in a mini truck and many people bought fish from him. A list of his primary contacts is being prepared. Another positive case with an unknown source of infection was reported from Cherthala taluk. The patient, a pregnant woman from Pallithodu, was undergoing treatment at the taluk hospital. Her husband is a fisherman working at Chellanam harbour, which has been closed. Ten fishermen there and 15 staffers, including three doctors, of Cherthala taluk hospital were isolated. INTERPOL RED NOTICE AGAINST RATIONALIST SANAL EDAMARUK The notice was issued after the CBI sought the help of the global agency to trace the Finland-based 65-yearold, who is accused of swindling D5 lakh from a woman after giving her a phoney promise to provide Finnish visa. P5
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