CHENNAI THURSDAY AUGUST 06, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 18 LATE CITY EDITION INDIA’S TOTAL COVID CASES INCH CLOSER TO 20 LAKH With 52,509 fresh positive cases in a day, India’s total Covid-19 case count raced past 19 lakh on Wednesday HOWEVER, ONLY 5.86 LAKH ACTIVE CASES While the total confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 19.08 lakh, actives cases were only a fraction of it—5.86 lakh. As many as 51,706 patients recovered from the infection on Wednesday, taking the total number of recoveries to 12.82 lakh or 67.19% of all cases. The day’s record number of recoveries pushed the total active cases down by 54 ■ 1.87 cr SHARP RISE IN TESTS PER MILLION ■ ■ With 857 deaths since Tuesday morning, the total number of deaths reached 39,795. India’s fatality rate stands at 2.09% India’s tests per million have seen a sharp increase to 15,568 With more than 6.19 lakh tests conducted on Tuesday, India’s cumulative testing stood at 2.14 crore as on date TOTAL CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES WORLDWIDE AS ON WEDNESDAY 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 OUR DREAM FULFILLED: BHAGWAT With the construction of this temple, not only is history being made, but it is being repeated. PM Narendra Modi If Congress had a concrete stand on secularism, India would not have come to this state Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs Bhoomi Pujan at Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir, in Ayodhya on Wednesday | PIB Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala CM Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said a struggle of decades has met its moment of glory, referring to the ‘bhoomi pujan’ ceremony. “The then RSS chief Balasaheb Deoras had told us that be prepared for a struggle of 20 to 30 years for realising this dream,” he said | P9 BJP’S UNCHARTED TERRITORY With the BJP fulfilling yet another electoral promise, it democratised the Hindutva legitimacy and made its competitors realise what they lacked, forcing them to chant ‘Jai Siya Ram.’ But, what lies beyond this bravado and what this would mean to furthering democracy’s cause remains unforeseen CONGRESS STANCE UPSETS SOME Muslim leaders in the Congress party seemed to be at unease as the party welcomed the ceremony. They wonder why there has been no mention about the construction of a mosque, and why the Congress has not questioned the Centre over this | P9 Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the first brick for the shrine in Ayodhya; says the modern temple will be a reflection of India’s culture and will inspire future generations; praises kar sevaks but stops short of mentioning Advani, Joshi, Singhal Social harmony at core of Ram’s ethos: PM N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday laid the first brick of the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, ending the centuries-long wait of millions of devotees. Leading the Bhumi Pujan (foundation stone-laying ceremony), Modi extended gratitude to those who struggled to make the temple a reality . Over 175 VVIPs and guests including RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat were witness to the historic moment at the Ram Janmabhoomi Sthal at Ayodhya, while people across the country watched the event on TV . Addressing them, Modi said, “India is creating a golden chapter in Ayodhya and a wait of centuries end today Many are hardly . able to believe they are witnessing this day in their lifetime.” OVER 55 & STILL IN DMK? COME TO BJP, SAYS REBEL MLA Ku Ka Selvam being welcomed at BJP headquarters | P JAWAHAR He said the modern Ram temple will be a reflection of the culture, eternal faith, national spirit and collective will power of Indians and it would inspire the generations to come. Praising the sacrifices of scores of Ram devotees in the course of the temple movement, Modi said, “The movement for Ram temple had dedication, struggle and resolve. I bow to those people whose sacrifice has made this possible. H o w e v e r, t h e P M stopped short of mentioning the names of likes of LK Advani, MM Joshi and Ashok Singhal who had played a pivotal role in the temple movement in the 1990s. Modi talked about how the construction of a modern temple would catapult the town into one of the most happening destina- S K U M A R E S A N @ Chennai SENIORS would get no recognition under Udhayanidhi Stalin, charged rebel DMK MLA Ku Ka Selvam, hours after being suspended for his “anti-party” activities. A day after asserting that he had not joined the BJP, Selvam made an appearance at the Kamalalayam (the BJP S t at e h e a d q u a r t e r s ) o n Wednesday He took part in a . pooja to mark the laying of foundation stone for a Ram tions of religious tourism, adding that social harmony was the core priciple of Lord Ram’s governance. “Lord Ram always stuck to the truth, and established social harmony as the cornerstone of his rule. He loved his subjects equally, but had a special kindness for the poor and the needy There is . no aspect of life where Shree Ram doesn’t serve as an inspiration,” Modi said. Why Modi chanted ‘Siyavar Ram’ instead of Jai Shree Ram? Of late, saffron fringe groups have been using ‘Jai Shree Ram’ as a war cry to showcase their emboldened demeanor. The Prime Minister did not want to be seen as promoting it on the auspicious day Temple in Ayodhya. A couple of hours after being suspended, Selvam went to Kamalalayam and was given a rousing reception. Later, addressing reporters while sporting a saffron shawl and flanked by BJP functionaries, Selvam asked all DMK functionaries above the age of 55 to join the BJP. “Many of you could face the same situation that I did,” he said, expressing hope that many from the DMK would switch allegiance to the P5 BJP. Pandemic pulls down services sector activity NEW CAG? stricted, July data highlighted another round of job cuts, while firms’ output expectaDESPITE the relaxation in cor- tions in the year ahead reonavirus-induced restrictions, mained pessimistic. India’s services sector activity “The coronavirus pandemic remained muted for the fifth and subsequent introduction month in a row in July, accord- of lockdown measures contining to a survey . ued to weigh heavily Job cuts Indicating the deep on the Indian service slump in demand, sector in July. BusiWith overall which forced companess activity and new demand nies to cease operaorders dropped again, conditions tions and reduce staff, severely muted, with the rates of deIHS Markit India’s service providers cline remaining rapid services business acoverall,” said Lewis made further tivity index for July job cuts in July. Cooper, Economist at stood at 34.2, a tad The rate of job IHS Markit. above 33.7 in June. According to him, shedding was If the index is above any substantial recovthe fastest on 50, it means an overall record, triggered ery in future will take expansion while that several months, if not by weak below 50 shows years. demand contraction. “ T h e l at e s t I H S The performance of the ser- Markit estimates point to an vices sector is critical to assess annual contraction in GDP of economy as it has a share of over 6% in the year ending nearly 57% in the GDP, which March 2021,” he said. Survey respondents linked is way above the other two key s e c t o r s — i n d u s t r y a n d falls in both activity and order books to the adverse impact agriculture. With demand severely re- stemming from Covid-19. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi J&K Lt Governor Murmu resigns @ New Delhi JAMMU and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu on Wednesday resigned from office, exactly a year after the Centre read down Article 370, the provision that gave autonomy to the erstwhile state, and bifurcated it into two Union Territories Home ministry sources said. Mur mu has sent his resignation to the President.Sources said Murmu may be made the next Comptroller and Auditor General of India, taking over from Rajiv Mehrishi, who will retire this week. Earlier in the day, Army commander of Northern Command had called on Murmu to discuss the security situation in J&K. There were also reports that Mehrishi would become the next L-G of Jammu and Kashmir, though it could not be independently verified. He also lauded the dignity and restraint with which fellow countrymen responded, respecting the feelings of everyone, when the judgement was passed by the Supreme Court last year. “Similar dignity and restraint is visible today also,” said the PM. Modi is also the first PM to offer prayers at the Ram Janmabhoomi. He had earlier visited the temple town with L K Advani in 1991 — a year before the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992. However, since 2014, he has been maintaining a safe distance from Ayodhya and the issue of Ram temple. In his address laced with emotions and sentiments, the PM promised a grand and divine temple saying the victory chant of today was not only echoing in Ayodhya but it could be heard by all Indians and Ram devotees across the globe. For the first time speaking vociferously for the temple in Ayodhya after taking over as PM, Modi quoted a couplet from Ramcharitmanas: “Ram Kaj kinhe binu, mohi kahan vishram (How can I rest without doing the service of Lord Ram),” summing up the mood of his 20-minute speech. The PM also used to the occasion to send out a strong message to hostile forces including China and Pakistan by reciting a couplet from Ramcharitmanas: “Bhaya bin hoye na preet...” (without fear there can’t be love). He claimed the development in Ayodhya would make the country stronger and an emphatic voice which could not be ignored. Referring to the struggle of decades to see the present day, PM Modi said that Ram Lalla (infant Lord Ram) who has been living in tents for years would finally get a temple of his own now. P9 Gold prices touch all-time high of `55K E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi GOLD prices scaled a new high on Wednesday and hit an all-time high of `55,390 per 10 gram as a weak dollar and falling bond yields polished its safe-haven appeal. On the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited, the gold futures hit a record of `55,390 per 10 gram after it rose 1.35%. Silver futures, too, surged 4.3% to `72,850 per kg. In the previous session, gold futures on MCX rallied about `900 or 1.7%, hitting `54,612 at intraday high, while silver surged `4,200 or 6.4%. “Investors continue to remain buyers in safe-haven gold as they expect the metal will hold its value better than other assets as fallout from Covid-19 cripples the global economy,” said Sriram Iyer, Senior Research Analyst at Reliance Securities. Expectations of more stimulus also boosted the safe-haven demand of non-yielding gold. Many experts think gold will rally further towards `65,000 level over the next 12-15 months. “An aggressive stance of central banks to push unprecedented amounts of liquidity and keeping interest rates lower provide a convincing fundamental backdrop for continuation up-trend in both precious metals,” said Kishore Narne, Head - Commodity & Currency Motilal , Oswal Financial Services. Dignified burial denied to nurse who spent her life serving the poor R S I V A K U M A R @ Ranipet SHE had the opportunity to become a dentist, a teacher. But, she chose to become a nurse. When the pandemic struck, she continued to work despite having asthma — a serious co-morbid condition. She was working on contract with a government hospital in Arcot, but was not paid for the last five months. Even that did not stop her from reporting to work. Finally, when she tested positive for Covid, her family struggled for money for her treatment. And, after all this, when she succumbed to the infection, a few members of the public even denied her a dignified send-off. This is the story of 36-yearold Archana, a frontline worker who died last Sunday. She was admitted to a private hos- pital in Vellore after testing positive for the virus. “I still keep seeing her face everywhere around me, hearing her voice. I cannot believe she’s gone,” says her husband Rooban, who is yet to come to terms with her demise. Archana was shifted by the obstetrics & gynaecology unit to the outpatient department when Covid struck, and continued working there till she contracted the infection. “She scored well in Class-12, and qualified for admission to dental courses, but she wanted to become a nurse,” says Archana’s brother Arun Kumar. “When she fell sick we had FRESH CASES DEATHS no money for treatment. She was not paid for the last five months. So, we mortgaged her gold to pay her medical bills,” says Arun. “But, what hurt us the most was the way people gathered to disrupt her final rites,” says Arun. When Archana’s body was taken to the Navalpur cemetery, a group of over 10 people protested saying they did not want a Covid casualty buried there. After an hour-long negotiation, the officials convinced the protestors. Choking back his tears, Rooban says: “She wanted our 8-year-old son to become a cardiac surgeon and serve the poor. That was her wish.” P4 TOTAL CASES 5,175 112 2,73,460 TIMELY GESTURE Actor helps TN students fly home EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai Help came from Sonu Sood after the students sent him an email | EXPRESS CANCELLATION of flights owing to the lockdown left around 200 students from Tamil Nadu pursuing medicine stuck in Moscow. Staying connected through WhatsApp, they tried to book chartered flights through private operators to get back to Chennai. However, when the operators had no direct flights to the city, about 90 students took flights bound for other States in India, leaving others behind. With their visa nearing expiry and funds dry- ing up fast, the students were in a quandary over how to get back home. That was when help came from actor Sonu Sood, thanks to an email sent by the students. Sharing their experience with Express, the students who reached Chennai on Wednesday and were quarantined at a hotel, said they paid `33,000 for the chartered flight arranged by the actor. “The flight had a seating capacity for 200 passengers. We were not sure if the private airlines would operate chartered flights for just 101 P4 people,” a student said. Sushant Singh Rajput Centre orders CBI to probe actor’s death EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre on Wednesday issued a notification directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take over the probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The decision comes a day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded such a probe. “A notification has been issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) paving way for the CBI probe in Rajput’s death case,” a senior official said. A CBI spokesperson said, “We have received the notification and will soon take up the investigation into the case.” Sources said, the agency is likely to register an FIR by Thursday morning. While hearing a case in connection with the actor’s death, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said the truth behind the death of the “gifted and talented artist” should come out. The decision to hand over the case to the CBI would be a setback for the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government, which has maintained that Mumbai police is competent to handle the investigaP10 tion.
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