BHUBANESWAR z WEDNESDAY z SEPTEMBER 09, 2020 z `7.00 z PAGES 12 z LATE CITY EDITION CENTRE CONFIRMS PHASE-3 TRIAL OF SPUTNIK V IN INDIA Govt is planning to hold the phase-3 trial as well as large-scale manufacturing of Russia’s Covid vaccine, a top official said ‘RUSSIAN PARTNERSHIP VERY IMPORTANT’ 3 FIRMS KEEN ON MASS PRODUCTION “Government attaches great importance to this offer of partnership from a very special friend,” said Dr V K Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog and head of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19. Last month, Russia had registered its first vaccine candidate, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, after completing early-stage human trials | P7 ■ ■ The results of phase 1 and 2 trials published in The Lancet last week said the vaccine was well tolerated by all volunteers it was tested on and also triggered good antibody response Paul said three Indian firms have so far shown interest in mass production of the vaccine and talks are on with others US VACCINE WILL BE READY BY OCTOBER, U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAID LAC FIRING 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 China violates another red line of not using firearms along LAC; India repulses PLA’s attempt to grab strategic heights in Chushul region M AYA N K S I N G H A N D P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi IN a major threshold shift along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China fired bullets during its movement in the Chushul area in eastern Ladakh on Monday evening. This was the first time in 45 years that bullets were fired along the LAC. While China sought to turn the narrative into an act of aggression and crossing of the LAC by the Indian Army, the defence ministry here rebutted it, saying it was the PLA that had tried to aggressively close in to an Indian position on Monday evening. When India tried to dissuade them, the PLA fired a few rounds in the air to provoke and intimidate the soldiers, the ministry asserted. India and China have loads of confidence building measures and agreements, which bar both sides from the use of firearms within 2 km radius of the LAC. Before Monday’s flareup, the last recorded incident of firing was in 1975, again by the PLA, which had crossed the LAC in Tulung La in Arunachal Pradesh and ambushed a patrol of Assam Rifles jawans, killing four of them. Setting the record straight, Indian Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said it was the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, though engagements at the military diplomat, ic and political levels are in progress. At no stage has Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing, he emphasised. “In the instant case on 7 September 2020, it was the PLA troops who were attempting to close in on one of our forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by own troops, PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to in- Rhea Chakraborty taken for medical test after her arrest in Mumbai | PTI NOW, RHEA ARRESTED IN DRUGS CASE E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Mumbai China’s soldiers approaching the Indian post near Mukhpari peak on Monday 1 2 Around 50 Chinese PLA soldiers approached aggressively towards Indian post near Mukhpari peak about 6 pm on Monday 3 The intention of the PLA men was to dislodge Indian troops from strategic heights in Mukhpari peak and Rezang La areas in east Ladakh timidate own troops,” the ministry stated. “Despite the grave provocation, (our) own troops exercised great restraint and beh ave d i n a m a t u r e a n d responsible manner,” it added. China, however, stuck to its script of blaming India for Monday’s flare-up, saying it was the Indian side that resorted to firing first. “It was the Indian side that fired first in the Monday incident in which Indian troops again illegally crossed the LAC and outrageously fired warning shots at Chinese border defence patrol personnel who were attempting Carrying rods, spears, sharp weapons and rifles, the PLA men approached the Indian post. The Indian side caught it on camera 4 When the Indian Army dissuaded the PLA, they fired 10-15 rounds in the air to intimidate our troops. The aggression was repulsed to negotiate,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian alleged. Zhao said China has made re presentations to India through military and diplomatic channels. “Differences should be resolved through peaceful talks. Confrontation benefits neither side,” he added. Monday’s incident comes days ahead of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s interaction with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting. Just a few days ago, Defence Minister ARMED TO THE TEETH The rods with machetes fixed to them on one end carried by all the Chinese soldiers (above); and the guns (top) they carryied as well Rajnath Singh had met his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, where he categorically stated India’s position. Zhao’s comments came after the Western Theatre Command spokesperson Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili late on Monday claimed that Indian troops had crossed the LAC into the Shenpao region on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso. Meanwhile, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat held a meeting in South Block with the Defence Secretary and the three services chiefs to analyse the current situation in Eastern Ladakh. P7 EXPRESS READ Covid recoveries cross 1 lakh mark in Odisha Bhubaneswar: AMID the surge in Covid-19 cases, the recoveries have crossed one lakh mark in Odisha. The recovery rate is improving significantly with more and more people recuperating every day. As many as 2787 patients undergoing treatment at Covid hospitals, care centres and home isolation recovered on Tuesday taking the total recoveries to 1,02,185.After the new recoveries, the rate of recovery rose to 77.8 per cent (pc), slightly above the national average of 77.5 pc | P2 Eye on by-polls, leaders flock to flood-hit areas Jagatsinghpur: In a bid to woo voters ahead of Tirtol by-election, leaders of political parties are making a beeline for the flood-hit areas of the Assembly constituency and distributing relief materials to the affected population. On Tuesday, senior Congress and BJD leaders visited several flood-affected areas of Tirtol and interacted with villagers. Senior Congress leader and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray accompanied by former legislator Lalatendtu Mohapatra visited several flood-hit panchayats and distributed relief materials to villagers | P4 Rapid antigen test takes 72 hours in Cuttack! Cuttack: Believe it or not. A rapid antigen test result, which is available within an hour, is taking up to 72 hours in Cuttack. The inordinate delay has come to fore at Athagarh block. On Friday, a Covid testing camp was conducted at Bentapada where in 122 swab samples were collected for rapid antigen test along with 50 for RT-PCR test. However, the reports arrived on Monday evening and 32 positive cases were detected | P2 COVID DISAPPOINTMENT Plasma therapy doesn’t help patients: ICMR study S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi IN what may dash the hopes of policymakers, doctors as well as patients and their families, the world’s largest randomised control trial to assess plasma therapy for Covid-19 has shown that it does not benefit either in reducing mortality or arresting progression of the disease. The trial, called PLACID, was carried out under the aegis of Indian Council of Medical Research in 39 hospitals across 14 states and Union Territories. The study involved 464 moderately ill patients with breathing difficulties and oxygen sat- uration level below 93%. Of them, 235 were given convalescent plasma (CP) with antibodies against the disease, collected from those who recovered. The remaining 229 received only standard care. Those in the intervention group were transfused with two doses of 200 ml plasma 24 hours apart. Both the intervention and control groups were compared after 28 days. The findings, released on a preprint server, have shown that 34 patients or 13.6% who received plasma therapy died while 31 patients or 14.6% who did not receive it, succumbed to the infection. Also, 17 patients in each group progressed to have severe disease. “Although the use of CP (convalescent plasma) seemed to improve resolution of shortness of breath and fatigue, this did not translate into reduction in 28-day mortality or progression to severe disease in moderate Covid19 patients,” noted the study led by ICMR scientist Dr , Aparna Mukherjee. The findings assume significance in the ongoing pandemic as several state governments are actively promoting plasma therapy Some have even set up . plasma banks after the national Covid19 clinical management protocol allowed it as an investigational therapy . ACTOR Rhea Chakraborty, girlfriend of deceased actor Sushant Singh Rajput, was on Tuesday arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in a drugs case. A local court later remamded her in NCB custody for 14 days. She is expected to file an appeal in the sessions court soon. It was after three days of questioning that the NCB sought her custody Her brother Showik is al. ready under arrest. The NCB claimed it has a piece of evidence against Rhea, which it wants to probe further. NCB sources said Rhea admitted she used to organise drugs for Sushant. If the charges against her are proved, she could face up to 10 years in jail. Her lawyer Satish Maneshinde called it a travesty of justice. Meanwhile, under fire actor Kangana Ranaut landed in further trouble, as Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh said the police will probe allegations that she did drugs. Also, the Mumbai civic body stepped up the heat by opening a probe into the alterations made at her bungalow. JAISHANKAR MAY MEET CHINESE FOREIGN MIN IN MOSCOW External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday met his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in Tehran where the two leaders discussed bilateral issues and also reviewed regional developments PAGE 7 Govt plans to explore 16 mineral blocks this year The Directorate of Geology has planned to take up 16 investigations during the ensuing field season to explore the concurrences of minerals comprising iron ore, manganese, chromite, graphite, limestone, coal, dimension and decorative stone. “Special emphasis will be given on exploration in the iron ore and manganese blocks for leasing out through auction,” sources in the directorate said. The State Government has given the task of keeping 40-50 blocks of various minerals ready for auction in the next four years | P3 Resume Shramik Special trains: Dharmendra Pradhan to Goyal Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has requested Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for resumption of Shramik Special train service from Odisha to ferry migrant workers back to their workplace in states like Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Writing to the Railway Minister, Pradhan said he has received a number of requests from migrants from Ganjam district who have requested to restart train services so that they can reach their workplace. “As we resume our path to normalcy with lifting of the nationwide lockdown, there is a need to resume rail services for migrant workers back to their workplace,” Pradhan said | P3 Centre issues guidelines for partial reopening of schools from Sept 21 New Delhi: No sharing of notebooks, pens and water bottles; no assemblies and sports activities; and entry of only asymptomatic persons are among the health ministry’s guidelines for partial reopening of schools from September 21 for Class 9-12 students. The students may, on a voluntary basis, meet their teachers to clear doubts, but they will need written consent from parents to visit schools. GST compensation: Will State reject both options? EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @Bhubaneswar THE 42nd GST Council meeting is a day away Several non-BJP . governments have already rejected both the options offered by the Centre after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman invoked ‘Force Majeure’ even as Karnataka and Bihar are reported to be rooting for option no 1. What will Odisha do? At the 41st GST council meeting on August 27, the Naveen Patnaik Gover nment had strongly pitched for Centre to release the full GST compensation amount due to the State. Will it stick to it? As of now, there is no formal stand taken by the Government. Official sources put the GST compensation at roughly about `4,000 crore by July-end. The Odisha Government’s initial stand was that if the Centre does not have funds, it must borrow and release the funds due to the State. In fact, its fiscal prudence allows Odisha to borrow more and according to the latest data released by Care Ratings, the State Government’s market borrowing has risen by 50 per cent. Compared to `2,000 crore market borrowing during the April 9-September 9 period in 2019, the Government has borrowed `3,000 crore during April 7-September 8 this year. Official sources maintain that Odisha’s revenue collection has dipped by 23 per cent in the first quarter (April-June) of 2020-21 compared to the corresponding period last year. Revenue collection up to June was `8,204 crore as compared to last year’s collection of `10,645 crore during the corresponding period. The decrease in collection is due to 35 per cent drop in State’s own taxes which are excise, VAT, GST, stamp duties and registration because of Covid-19 lockdown. In July, when the State Government announced an austerity plan, it was clear in its position that priorities emerging in State’s Covid fight shall be taken up. There was also a subtle hint that the Government may have to, under the current circumstances, go in for reduced spending on certain schemes or even their deferment. “For a State that operates on welfare model and h7as a large bouquet of schemes, the Government has already planned how to resize such projects but that would be the worst case scenario. It would have a difficult time choosing either of the options because that could derail the Government’s fiscal discipline which has been always up to the mark,” sources said. Though the Odisha Government has strongly been pushing re-opening to revive the revenue generating sectors, it will have to be pragmatic in its approach given the overall economic mood prevailing in the country . First option is to borrow up to `97,000 crore via a special window by RBI. Cost of servicing this debt (interest and amortisation of principal) will be covered with future revenues accruing to the cess fund. Under the second, states together can borrow from the `2.35 lakh crore total expected shortfall in GST revenues. However, they foresake the benefit of interest payment covered from extended compensation fund.
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