CHENNAI WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 09, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 18 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’ “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 ■ US 3 FIRMS KEEN ON MASS PRODUCTION ■ LAC FIRING 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 | P9 VACCINE WILL BE READY BY OCTOBER, U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAID 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 Around 50 Chinese PLA soldiers approached aggressively towards Indian post near Mukhpari peak about 6 pm on Monday 2 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 3 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 P9 Eastern Ladakh. A new confusion over arrear examinations SUSHM ITH A RAMAKR ISH NAN & SV KRISHNA CH AITANYA @ Chennai WILL arrear exams be held for engineering students or not? Tuesday’s developments have left students and parents confused. While the State government, in the High Court, defended its decision to cancel the arrear examinations, the head of AICTE has threatened to withdraw the approval of varsities that do not hold the said examinations. In an informal but strongly-worded communication sent to the Anna University on August 30, Anil Sahasr a b u d d h e, c h a i r m a n o f AICTE, had said the council may be “constrained to withdraw approval if exams are not conducted.” In the court, meanwhile, former vice-chan- FRAUD DETECTED IN PM-KISAN SCHEME IN TN Agriculture Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi on Tuesday said, of the `110 crore that went into the accounts of over 5 lakh fake beneficiaries across TN, the govt has so far recovered `32 cr | P3 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Madurai THE Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reiterated that the father-son duo – Jeyaraj and Beniks – who died due to alleged custodial torture at Sathankulam was arrested under false charges. Opposing the bail petition filed by the then Station House Officer (SHO) of Sathankulam police station S Sridhar, the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) appearing on behalf of the CBI told the Madurai Bench of the Madras HC that the accused had registered false complaint against the deceased to take them into custody and that the petitioner cannot claim he had nothing to do with it. Though Sridhar’s counsel claimed that he was on patrol and had no role in the registration of the complaint or the torture, the SPP contended that the deceased were transported to the station in the SHO’s vehicle and that they were tortured in his presence. “So far, 45 witnesses have been examined and the probe is yet to be completed,” he said and prayed the court to dismiss the petition. Justice V Bharathidasan, who heard the submissions, reserved order on the petition and directed the SPP to P5 instruct CBI to produce the case diary on Friday . EXPRESS READ Sevoor Ramachandran tests positive for virus Tiruvannamalai: HR&CE Minister Sevoor S Ramachandran tested positive for Covid on Tuesday. The test was done ahead of CM Edappadi K Palaniswami’s visit to the district on Wednesday. “I have isolated myself at home. Doctors told me just 2-3 days of self isolation is enough,” the minister said. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai The chronology `1,10,00,00,000 ‘Sathankulam victims held under false charge’ 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 EPS writes to Modi, seeks reversal of RBI directive on priority sector lending cellor of Anna University, E Balaguruswamy had filed a , petition challenging the State’s decision to cancel the exam. Earlier, the government announced the cancellation of all semester exams for AprilMay 2020 except for the endsemester students. However, it did not mention the status of arrear examinations in any of its orders. On August 26, Higher Education Minister KP Anbalagan broached the topic. “The government wants to give a chance to all students by declaring all those who have applied to write as passed,” he said. “If they paid fees, it means they were prepared to write it but were stopped by P2 circumstances.” 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. CM MEETS GUV Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday apprised Governor Banwarilal Purohit of the preventive measures taken in the State to contain the Covid spread TAKING strong exception to the RBI’s move to bring Tamil Nadu in the disincentive frame for priority sector lending, as per the directives issued on September 4, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct the central bank to reverse the decision and restore the earlier weightage system for free flow of priority sector credit. “This policy is unfair and regressive, and must be reversed immediately. Hard-working, law-abiding borrowers who serviced their debt on time, deserve to be encouraged by a higher credit flow,” Palaniswami said in his letter to the PM. “The entire country and Tamil , Nadu in particular, has been affected by the pandemic. An uninterrupted flow of credit now is critical for the revival of the economy No such retro. grade action, adversely affecting it, should be taken.” The letter also stated that disincentivising good borrowers, who repay on time, is a short-sighted and counter-productive strategy, for not just the nation’s overall economic well-being, but also for the health of its banking system, which is struggling with rising P5 non-performing assets. WORLD’S LARGEST TRIAL Plasma therapy for Covid care is a dud, finds 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 saturation 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 interven- tion 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 .
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