KOTTAYAM l WEDNESDAY l AUGUST 19, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION IN TALKS WITH 13 COUNTRIES TO SET UP TRAVEL ZONES: GOVT India is actively seeking to set up travel bubbles with more countries, Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri said on Tuesday AUSTRALIA, JAPAN ON THE LIST DEMAND HIGH FOR FLIGHTS TO INDIA The 13 countries are Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. Apart from these, the Centre is also seeking travel arrangements with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan. “It is always our endeavour to reach out to every stranded citizen,” Puri tweeted ■ ■ India already has travel bubbles with the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, the UAE, Qatar and the Maldives India suspended international flight operations in March due to Covid-19. As many Indians are still stranded abroad, most airlines have reported a continuing demand for flights to India 10.5 lakh INDIANS HAVE BEEN BROUGHT BACK UNDER VANDE BHARAT MISSION SO FAR 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 SC says no need Kerala to reopen domestic tourism sector in Sept to transfer funds 1,758 from PM CARES EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram Rejects plea seeking transfer of money to the NDRF to fight Covid pandemic effectively Fund to have necessary financial resources to meet the emergent situation,” said the bench, THE Supreme Court on Tues- also comprising Justices R S day declined to order transfer Reddy and M R Shah. of funds received by the PM The court said there is also Cares Fund to the National Dis- no statutory prohibition in aster Response Fund to help making any contribution by fight the Covid-19 pandemic, any person or institution in the saying financial planning NDRF as per Section 46(1) is the Centre’s domain. (b) of the Disaster Management Act, Act, 2005. The apex court held It also said the Nathat both are entirely tional Disaster Managedifferent funds with ment Plan prepared by separate objectives and the Centre deals with there is no need to all aspects of the biotransfer funds from Defining one to the other. transparency logical and public health emergencies in The ruling came on While the Cong a s y s t e m at i c a n d a petition filed by the Centre for Public In- termed the verdict p l a n n e d m a n n e r. a “body blow to t e re s t L i t i g at i o n , Therefore, it added, which argued that PM transparency and there is no need for a CARES is not subject accountability” of separate plan to deal the govt, the to an audit by the with the pandemic. BJP claimed Comptroller and AuThe SC said there is “transparency is ditor General . also no statutory prowrit large in the hibition in making A three-judge bench headed by Justice PM CARES Fund” any contribution by anybody in the NDRF Ashok Bhushan held under Section 46(1)(b) that the plan prepared by the government under the of the Disaster Management NDRF was sufficient to tackle Act. It added the Centre’s Nathe ensuing Covid-19 pandemic tional Disaster Management and there was no need for a Plan deals with all aspects of the biological and public health fresh action plan. “At this need of the hour no emergencies in a systematic exception can be taken to the manner. Therefore, there is no constitution of a public chari- need for a separate plan to deal table trust, namely, PM CARES with the pandemic, it noted. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi CM Chouhan wants MP govt jobs for locals EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhopal AHEAD of the crucial bypolls to 27 Assembly seats, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said his government will reserve all state government jobs to the people of the state. “The MP government has made an important decision today All state government . jobs will be given only to the ch i l d re n o f M a d hya Pradesh. Resources of the state are meant for children of the state,” Chouhan announced. The chief minister said the state government is in the process of making necessary legal provisions for the purpose. KERALA has decided to reopen its tourism sector for domestic travellers from September, coinciding with Onam celebrations but adhering to Covid-19 protocol, Tourism Minister Kadamkapally Surendran said on Tuesday. The gover nment also announced a Rs 455-crore loan scheme to support the sector, which has been the most-affected due to the pandemic. “The plan is to reopen the tourism sector as early as possible,” said Kadakampally. “We’ve opened the temples with restrictions. Similarly, tourist centres will also have reasonable restrictions.” Kerala will follow in the footste ps of Goa, Himachal L455-crore loan scheme announced Kerala has announced a D455-crore loan scheme for tourism sector. The existing entrepreneurs can avail upto D25 lakh and small ventures up to D3 lakh. Pradesh and Uttarakhand, which have opened its tourist spots for domestic travellers. In those states, travellers will have to carry a Covid negative EXPRESS READ Jose K Mani faction to abstain from Rajya Sabha voting on August 24 Kottayam: Even as the tussle between P J Joseph and Jose K Mani factions in Kerala Congress (M) is progressing, the Jose faction has decided to abstain from voting to elect the Rajya Sabha member from the state which will be held on August 24. Jose K Mani announced a decision in this regard on Tuesday. P5 Ernakulam district admn takes control of Poothrikka church Kochi: After taking over the Mulanthuruthy and Onakkoor churches, the Ernakulam district administration on Tuesday took possession of the St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Church at Poothrikka near Kolenchery following a High Court directive. P4 Panchayat vice-president suffers burns after husband throws acid Idukki: A woman panchayat vice-president suffered burns after her husband threw acid on her at Murickassery in Idukki on Tuesday. The injured P R Sreeja was attacked with acid by her husband Anil over a family dispute. P5 ED indicates the link between Sivasankar and UAE diplomat E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi INDICATING a direct link between former principal secretary M Sivasankar and the then UAE consul-general, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the money trail in the smuggling of gold via the diplomatic channel told a court here on Tuesday that the diplomat directed representatives of the company which undertook the construction of the apartment complex under the state government’s Life Mission project to meet the IAS officer. The ED made the submission when the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) considered the bail plea of prime accused Swapna Suresh. ED Special Prosecutor T A Unnikrishnan told before the court that Swapna alone received 6% commission from Kochi-based Unitac Builders for getting it the Life Mission project in Thrissur. Charity organisation Red Crescent has sponsored the project through the UAE Consulate. When Unitac representatives met the then UAE consul-general, he directed them to meet Sivasankar. Till now, Swapna was considered the sole link between the UAE consulgeneral and state government. But through this statement, the ED has exposed the link between the UAE consul-general and the suspended senior bureaucrat. ED submitted that the investigation into this aspect was ● More on P4 still on. Different persons sent bags Kochi: ED found that bags were sent from different addresses including those of UAE nationals Behanan seeks CBI probe Thrissur: UDF convenor Benny Behanan has sought CBI investigation into the Life Mission project. IT’S PAYBACK TIME NOW Youth gets `50L in 12 hrs to treat cancer E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi Nandu Mahadeva, centre, with his friends “ENOUGH, enough. I’m overwhelmed by the love and affection you have showered on me. `50 lakh in 12 hours! I requested your help as all our resources had dried up. I assure you to help people in need with the balance amount after completing my treatment. Kerala was not just helping me. You have grown as a motherly figure to me,” Nandu Mahadeva, an amputee and a cancer patient wrote in an emotional Facebook post on Tuesday . Nandu is not just another cancer patient seeking help for treatment. He has lived through the agonies of a critically-ill and lit a candle of hope for hundreds who share the plight. He has formed a Facebook collective of seriously ill patients and charity workers certificate, pre-booking of accommodation (at least five d ay s p r i o r b o o k i n g i n Himachal Pradesh) and should stay for a minimum of 3-5 days. to extend emotional and financial help to such people. Nandu, 26, had completed his degree course and was running a catering unit at Kazhakkoottam in Thiruvananthapuram when he was diagnosed with bone cancer four years ago. Though his leg was amputated during treatment at RCC in 2018, the infection spread to his lungs complicating his health. “When I realised that I’m fighting a deadly disease, I thought about other critically ill patients who fight the disease without knowing about the disease. When I got in touch with them, I understood their financial woes. That’s when I decided to form Athijeevanam, a collective for such patients. We arranged help for many people and now myself have received showers of love,” ● More on P5 Nandu told TNIE. Kerala had opened the tourist destinations for a brief period immediately after the general lockdown. However, a lack of patronage along with the rise in Covid cases resulted in the closure of the sector, which is a major revenue earner for the government. IMA-Cochin president Dr Rajeev Jayadevan said the tourism sector can be opened but under strict protocol to ensure that there is no crowding or mass gathering. “So, we can allow individuals, couples and families but there can be no conventions or a campfire,” he said. “On the one hand you have health and on the other sustenance. In this case, we need to ensure that both go together without affecting the other.” ● More on P5 Cases in state closer to 50K-mark 1,365 recover 6 more die taking test positive 47,898 official tally on Tuesday confirmed to 175 cases Booze parties turn ugly Booze parties organised by a few residents violating quarantine lead to 49 new Covid cases within two days at Chorode in Vadakara. P2 After Poojapura jail, 27 persons at the District Jail Trivandrum tested positive, taking the number of infected inmates to 36 URGENT NEED TO CHANGE CRIMINAL LAW TO REGULATE HATE-SPEECH: PANEL S A N A S H A K I L @ New Delhi Need a full revamp Only a comprehensive revamping of the criminal justice system can provide measures to check hate speech, Dr S Sivakumar said THREE years after an expert committee suggested changes to the IPC, CrPc, Information Technology Act and a broader definition of what constitutes hate speech, the suggestions are still a work in progress with one of the members calling for an urgent amendment to criminal laws. “There is urgency to change criminal law in many respects...but that will take time. And because regulating hate speech is the need of the hour, the suggestions that we gave should be put up for wider consultation. We are not owners of wisdom but the suggestions that we gave should be looked at,” said Navneet Wasan, a retired IPS officer and member of the T K Viswanathan committee. In August last year, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had called for a revamp of the criminal justice system and sought views of the states on changes that may be required in four key criminal justice laws—the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Arms Act and the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS). That process is underway . The New Indian Express reached out to members of an expert committee which had prepared a detailed report in 2017, a day after Facebook, whom the Congress has alleged of manipulating its content at the behest of BJP, reacted to the allegations.
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