Visitors talk on an intercom at the entrance the Chinese Consulate General in Houston on Wednesday, which has been asked to shut | AP CHENNAI THURSDAY JULY 23, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 VELLORE EDITION CHINA RED-FACED AS U.S. ASKS IT TO CLOSE HOUSTON CONSULATE The US government on Wednesday ordered China to “cease all operations and events” at its consulate in Houston, Texas STATE DEPT HINTS AT CYBER ESPIONAGE The US decision follows the Justice Dept’s claim that Chinese government backed hackers targeted firms developing Covid-19 vaccines. The US State Dept said the move is aimed at protecting American intellectual property and private information. After the US announcement, Chinese officials were seen burning bundles of documents inside the consulate compound ■ 5 BEIJING THREATENS TO RETALIATE ■ Reacting strongly to the US move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin termed it as an “unprecedented escalation” and warned retaliatory measures Wang also claimed the Chinese embassy and consulates in the US had received both explosives and death threats recently | P9 NO. OF CONSULATES-GENERAL CHINA HAS IN THE U.S., BESIDES ITS EMBASSY 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 Invest, says PM. Let’s go beyond trade: EAM to US Important to cultivate strong bilateral ties amid threats from China, agrees Pompeo P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi POLITICAL DECORUM Newly elected Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia (L), who joined the BJP in March, greets his ex-Congress colleauges Ghulam Nabi Azad and Digvijaya Singh before taking oath at Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday | PTI At 5,849, big jump in TN Covid cases; plasma bank set up at GH S I N D U J A J A N E & N I R U PA M A V I S W A N AT H A N @ Chennai THE State reported a whopping 5,849 fresh Covid cases on Wednesday the highest single, day spike till date. The Health Department added 444 deaths to Chennai’s toll based on a reconciliation committee’s report. That, along with the 74 deaths recorded on Wednesday took the State toll to 3,144. , Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that death records from 102 government hospitals and some burial grounds in Chennai were studied as per ICMR guidelines and accounted for in the State’s official death toll. “Two suicides and several deaths that occurred before Covid tests could be conducted have also been categorised as Covid deaths,” he said. As per ICMR guidelines, all deaths of Covid positive persons are declared as Covid deaths irrespective of underlying or antecedent causes. “It is not just Tamil Nadu that has seen such a problem; mismatch in death records have also been reported in Maharastra and Delhi,” he pointed out. Meanwhile, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar inaugurated a plasma bank set up at a cost of `2.34 crore at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Wednesday Later . speaking to reporters, the minister said that plasma therapy was successful in Tamil Nadu. “Recovered patients, who do not have any co-morbid conditions, must wait for 14 days and then donate plasma,” the minister added. 20 lakh people tested The single-day case figures crossed the 5,000 mark on the day the State tested a whopping 58,475 people. As many as 20,15,147 people have now been tested in Tamil Nadu for the P4 infection so far. Just one swab taken, testing norms violated in Madurai? L A L I T H A R A N J A N I @ Madurai TESTING 10% OF CITY Within the next 15 days, 10 per cent of Chennai city’s population would have been tested, city corporation commissioner G Prakash told reporters on Wednesday STATE TOLL TODAY 3,144 74 IN violation of the Covid-19 protocol set by ICMR, only throat swabs are being collected, in many instances, in the rural parts of the district, at check-posts and airport, sources said. Confirming the claims, an official attached to the health department said that two kinds of swab sticks - one for nasal and other for throat (dacron or polyester flocked swab) - are used to collect swabs. “When only one kind is supplied, the ideal and the most effective method would be to draw the nasopharyngeal swab. However, in rural parts of the district, at check posts and at airports only throat swabs are being collected mostly he said. ,” A 27-year-old woman who flew to Madurai in July first week said that only her throat swab was taken at the airport. “There was no uniformity. While throat swabs were taken from some passengers, nose swabs were taken from P4 the others,” she said. THERE has never been a better time to invest in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday inviting foreign , investments and adding the Indo-US partnership should help the world bounce back f r o m t h e c o r o n av i r u s pandemic. Delivering the keynote address at the US India Business Council-hosted India Ideas Summit virtually, Modi said, “India is contributing towards a prosperous and resilient world through the clarion call of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. There is a global optimism towards India as it offers a perfect combination of openness, opportunities and options.” The prime minister said that global economic resilience can be achieved by stronger economic capacities. Earlier in the day, speaking at the summit, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar pitched for India-US relations to go beyond trade. “The US really needs to learn to work in a multi-polar world. It needs to go beyond alliances that it has grown up with in the last two decades. We need to find more common ground. For Indo-US relations we need to think beyond trade,” he said. The minister’s state- Erode: Class X board exam results will be declared in the first or second week of August, School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan said. The minister was in Gobichettipalayam on Wednesday to lay foundation for development projects | P2 First-of-its-kind suit on climate change in Oz Sydney: In what may be a first-of-its-kind action, an Australian student has sued the government for failing to disclose climate change risks to investors in sovereign bonds. Kathleen O’Donnell, a 23-year-old student who owns Australian government bonds, is the lead claimant in the class action filed in the Federal Court. The lawsuit alleges Australia’s economy and reputation will be significantly impacted by the government’s response to climate change and that investors should be made aware of those risks | P12 R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur EVEN as the political crisis in Rajasthan continues unabated, the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday raided the premises of CM Ashok Gehlot’s brother Agrasen in Jodhpur. This is the fifth major action by central agencies against people linked to the Chief Minister. Wednesday’s raids were in connection with a money-laundering case linked to an alleged fertiliser scam. Agrasen is accused of exporting subsidised Marxist literary critic Kovai Gnani no more Coimbatore: Tamil writer and Marxist literary critic K Pazhaniswami passed away due to age-related illness here on Wednesday. Popularly known as Kovai Gnani, Pazhaniswami (85) worked as editor of Tamil magazines for three decades. A STORY OF THREE SISTERS ‘The lack of a paper sent us from school to kitchen’ K R I T H I KA S R I N I VASA N @ Villupuram M BABY aspired to graduate and become a teacher. Now, she’s 24 years old, and her dreams have been dead for long. Soon after she completed schooling in 2013, she was married off. “It was my dream to impart knowledge to little children. But, I never got admission in any college. Now, I have two kids of my own. I have buried my dreams.” Baby belongs to the Irula community. Her parents did not know how to secure a community certificate, and Baby believes that was the only hindrance to her dream. Today , Baby’s sister M Dhanalakshmi is fighting the battle that the sister could not -- to secure a community certificate for college education. Baby’s husband is a mason, and the couple lives in Surapattu village near Marakkanam. “I still aspire to study . If my sister’s battle for a community certificate is successful, I would like to pick up from where I left,” says Baby “Even . if not a teacher, I’d at least like The Irulas’ unending search for certificate Baby belongs to the Irula community. Her parents did not know how to secure a community certificate, and Baby believes that was the only hindrance to her dream. STATES WITH HIGHEST CASELOADS States like TN that are short of capacity may identify standby facilities such as common hazardous waste incinerators and industrial captive incinerators, the report suggests 195 Covid-19 Adequacy BMW* of existing (Metric treatment Tons Per facility Day) Maharashtra 17.494 Adequate Tamil Nadu 10.41 91% utilised Delhi 11.114 70% utilised Karnataka 2.8 Adequate Andhra Pradesh 5.516 Adequate STATE *BMW: Biomedical waste TN, Delhi staring at big Covid waste disposal problem R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi common biomedical waste treatment facilities are providing services of collection, transportation and disposal of Covid-19 waste from hospitals, isolation wards Segregation to enhance capacity Go for deep burial pits as the last option. Proper segregation of waste will also increase the disposal capacity of incinerators, the report suggested, saying it is not happening as of now In what is expected to become a humongous challenge, certain states with heavy coronavirus load could soon run out of capacity to treat Covid-19 biomedical waste. Any sudden spike in Covid waste generation in those states could make matters critical for their disposal, according to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The report on generation of Covid-19 biomedical waste (BMW) and disposal submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) says about 101 metric ton per day of Covid-19 related biomedical waste is generated in the country. This is in addition to the normal biomedical waste generation of about 609 MT per day . “Available capacity for incineration of Covid-19 biomedical waste in the country is about 840 metric tons against the total generation of about 710 MT per day (101 + 609). It is estimated that 55 per cent of cumulative incinerator capacity in the country is being utilised,” it said. However, Bihar, Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttarakhand have utilised over 70 per cent of incinerator capacity and have been asked to look for alternative incinerators and disposal options. Tripura, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep, J&K, Himachal, Goa, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have gone for deep burial pits for waste disposal. Maharashtra, which has the highest Covid-19 load, generates the highest (17.494 MT) biomedical waste per day followed by Guja, rat (11.693 MT) and Delhi (11.114 MT). Amid political crisis, ED now raids Gehlot’s brother EXPRESS READ ‘Class X board results by August second week’ ment comes in the backdrop of China warning India against siding with the US, saying that it was wishful thinking by New Delhi if it hoped that Washington will stand by it. Jaishankar’s views were echoed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who also virtually participated in the summit. “We believe this is a new age of relationship between US and India. It is important for the two countries to cultivate strong ties amid threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” he said , adding India was a key player in an open and free Indo-Pacific. Modi said the poor and vulnerable must be at the core of the growth agenda. “Ease of living is as important as ease of business. The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of resilience of the global economy against external shocks, which can be achieved by stronger domestic economic capacities,” he said. Spelling out the sectors that can attract investment, the PM said: “The healthcare sector in India is growing faster than 22% every year and the progress of Indian companies in production of medical-technology telemedicine and diagnos, tics has been immense.” Look for standby facilities to be an anganwadi worker.” Baby says her husband Suresh falls ill often, and he’s unable to work on those days. “It will be helpful if I get a job and can support him.” But more than that, Baby is concerned about her little sister’s future. “We want her to go to college. We don’t want her to end up getting married just because she lacks a certificate to continue her studies.” Baby and Dhanalakshmi have another sister -- Meena, who had aspired to become a nurse... P2 fertilisers meant for farmers during 2007-2009, when the UPA was in power at the Centre. Officials said Agrasen is facing a `7 crore penalty from the Customs department in the alleged scam. Agrasen owns a Jodhpurbased company named Anupam Krishi and the raids on his premises were conducted as part of a nationwide search. On Wednesday, the ED also interrogated Ra- tankant Sharma, the owner of Hotel Fairmont where MLAs supporting CM Ashok Gehlot are staying. According to sources, he has business links with the CM’s son Vaibhav. Shar ma was raided and questioned last week, too, in connection with a case of money laundering from Mauritius. Meanwhile, the legal battle between Sachin Pilot and Gehlot shifted to the Supreme Court with R a j a s t h a n S p e a ke r moving the SC against the HC order asking him to defer disqualification proceedings against Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs. Soon after the raid on CM’s brother, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BJP has created a ‘raid raj’ and is misusing central agencies to topple the Gehlot government. Meanwhile, Gehlot shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging some BJP leaders were trying to topple P7 his government. RETURNING TO EARLIER JOBS, BUT IT’S A TRICKLE BOSKY KHANA, BIJAY CHAKI, RAJESH ABRAHAM, DHINESH KALLUNGAL, RITIKA ARUN VAISHALI & AIHIK SUR @ Bengaluru/ Bhubaneswar/ Kochi/ Vijayawada/ Hyderabad “WE are worried about money at the moment, not our health. The poor have no health to worry about,” Ravi Chourasiya, 30, a contract carpenter in Bengaluru’s Cox Town, says stoically “Back home in Bihar, I have to feed my . aged parents, two sisters, wife, two children and a younger brother. There was no source of income, so I had to come back to Bengaluru, even in this dangerous time,” he says. Chourasiya’s story is interchangeable with the majority of lakhs of Indian migrant workers, who without warning found themselves jobless at the end of March and stranded far from their homes. During the lockdown, Chourasiya went to his home state, but the familiar dearth of suitable jobs there has now forced him to return to Bengaluru. Across the South, migrant workers have begun trickling in back to the jobs they held before the Covid-19 lockdown. The workers say they have no choice but to return as government subsidies at their home states are not enough to sustain them any longer. “I earned just `828 from the MGNREGA work I did for a week and received `2,000 as government incentive after two months. How can my family live on such a meagre sum,” asks Narendra, a migrant from Cuttack district in Odisha. There are few jobs to be had in migrants’ native villages. Birendra Das from West Bengal says, “At my village, shops and restaurants restarted in June first week, but I could not find any job, not even as a cleaner. I tried for nearly a month, but in Vijayawada my boss was ready to hire me back. So though I wasn’t willing to, I returned on June 27,” says Das. But travelling back to states where they had worked is not easy . Employers in Kerala say thousands in West Bengal, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are unable to return either due to a lack of trains or stringent travel restrictions in their home states. “We are ready to meet the initial quarantine and food expenses of the returning workers. But, we are told their home states, especially West Bengal and Assam, are not ready to provide the sanction for travel,” says Shibin Jose, director, KLR Facility Management, a Kochibased manpower supplier. CONTINUED ON: P5
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