KOCHI l FRIDAY l SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE CITY EDITION RAT -VE IN ALL SYMPTOMATIC CASES NEED RT-PCR TEST: GOVT Covid symptomatic persons must be administered RT-PCR tests if their Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) results are negative WHAT ABOUT ASYMPTOMATIC CASES? MECHANISM TO MONITOR RAT RESULTS Apart from symptomatic persons, those who were asymptomatic at the time of the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), but developed symptoms within the next two to three days, must also be administered the RT-PCR test. In a letter to the states, the Centre said, “this is to ensure that symptomatic negative cases don’t remain untested and don’t spread the disease” ■ ■ The Centre has also urged the states to set up a monitoring mechanism at the district and state levels to analyse RAT results The directive comes amid concerns that the current spike in Covid-19 cases across India could be the result of over-reliance on RATs which misses positive cases about 50% of the time 95,735 FRESH COVID CASES IN INDIA BETWEEN WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY MORNING 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 Abuse certain. Cops sift maze of girl’s versions to nail real perpetrator Jaishankar, Wang discuss LAC flare-up A J AY K A N T H @ Kochi AMID the ongoing face-off between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow and stressed the need for peace and tranquility on the border. The much awaited bilateral talks went on for close to three hours. Sources said both sides put forward their respective stands on the prickly issue, with Jaishankar emphasising that Indian troops had never transgressed the LAC. An official statement on the outcome of the meeting is still awaited. This was their first face-toface meeting after the June 15 violent stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops. The two ministers had a telephonic conversation a day later. SIX months have passed since the sexual abuse of a Class IV student of a Palathayi school in Kannur first came to light, shaking the conscience of Kerala society While the med. ical examination re por t proved the girl was sexually abused, the Crime Branch (CB), which was entrusted with the task of conducting a detailed probe four months ago, continues to struggle in unearthing vital evidence to nail the perpetrator. Though the victim had given detailed statements to the police and counsellors about the alleged culprit, who is a teacher of her school, the investigating officers have not been able to find any corroborating evidence, including digital evidence, to link the accused with the crime. The Crime Branch officers have been criticised, alleging that they purposely omitted the victim’s medical report — the crucial evidence — in the final report submitted before the Thalassery Pocso court to help the accused. The medical report prepared by a senior doctor of the Thalassery General Hospital on March 18, 2020 clearly stated that the victim was sexually assaulted. “The Crime Branch has totally ignored the medical re- CASE TRAIL PALATHAYI WHO MESSED UP? PART-I port proving sexual assault and went ahead with a final report by evoking only Sections 323 and 324 of IPC (voluntarily causing hurt) and Sections 75 (punishment for cruelty to child) and 82 (care and protection of children) of the Juvenile Justice Act. They completely dropped relevant sections of the Pocso Act,” said Mohammed Shah, the victim’s counsel. A senior CB officer monitoring the probe begged to differ. “We haven’t dropped the Pocso charges. We’ve clearly submitted before the court that a detailed probe is on to prove Pocso charges against the accused. We need to find whether any other persons are involved in the crime. As of now, we’ve only filed a report based on the evidence collected so far,” the officer said. The documents analysed by TNIE showed that of the statements of 19 witnesses submitted by the Crime Branch in the final report, 18 — except by the victim — do not relate to Pocso ● More on P5 charges. March 18: Thalassery Gen March 21 & 30: March 15: Case registered at Panur Hosp prepares the victim's Police collect the medical examination report victim’s statement police station April 14: The suspect, a teacher of girl’s school, arrested April 24: Police chief directs CB to take over the probe July 14: CB submits final report before the Pocso Court July 17: Court grants bail to accused India stresses need for peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control with China P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi HOURS after the Supreme Court gave the Centre two more weeks to frame its position on the loan moratorium, the Union finance ministry constituted an expert committee to make an overall assessment on waiver of interest on interest. T he committee will be chaired by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Rajiv Mehrishi and will have Ravindra H Dholakia, former member of the RBI’s Monetary OOMMEN CHANDY Congress leader & former chief minister of Kerala AGGRESSIVE LINE IN CHINESE GOVT MOUTHPIECE “Facts have proven that Indian nationalist forces yield to coercion, but not to persuasion. They very much need another lesson in failure before believing that China’s commitment to long-term border peace is not weakness,” Chinese govt mouthpiece Global Times said in an editorial velopment and cooperation of the three countries is conducive to promoting global growth, peace and stability,” the statement stated. Policy Committee, and B Sriram, former managing director of SBI and IDBI Bank, as members. The panel will submit its report in a week. Earlier, the apex court extended its previous order on loan moratorium, saying accounts that have not been declared non-perfor ming assets (NPAs) as on August 31 cannot be declared as such until further notice. The interim order will continue until the next hearing on September 28. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, while giving time to the Centre, observed that if the Centre is not ready to take any steps on interest on interest, it was keen to do so as the court saw it as a penal interest. During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought time to file a comprehensive affidavit on the decisions taken so far. The bench accepted his plea and asked him to place all decisions taken by the RBI and the banks before it for further consideration. Move to reopen schools draws mixed reactions ‘CONG HIGH COMMAND WILL DECIDE ON NEXT CM’ FULL INTERVIEW: P4 External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (L) and his Russian and Chinese counterparts Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, ahead of the RIC meeting, in Moscow on Wednesday | PTI After SC’s whip, Centre sets up panel to assess waiving interest on interest INTERVIEW Set to break many records by becoming the only Congress leader in the country to represent an assembly segment for 50 years, Oommen Chandy is training his sights on a 12th run from Puthuppally He speaks to Principal . Correspondent Abhilash Chandran about his conviction that the UDF will return to power, though the high command will decide on the next CM. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala too deserves the chair, he says. Tensions escalated further on Monday with both sides accusing each other of opening gunfire on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso. India and China have an agreement in place since 1996, which prohibits the use of firearms within 2 km radius of the LAC. Earlier in the day the foreign , ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) had a luncheon meeting, where, sources said, the LAC situation did not come up for discussion. However, a RIC joint statement said all topical regional and international issues were discussed. “The Ministers exchanged views on further strengthening of Russia-India-China trilateral cooperation as well as topical issues of international and regional importance, in the spirit of mutual understanding, friendship and trust. The Ministers noted that common de- EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE LOVE YOU KRISHNA Aiswarya B Nair and team perform as Lord Krishna and gopikas at the Uriyadi festival, which emulates the mischief of the young deity trying to break open the pots of butter, organised by Guruvayur Nair Samajam in the temple town on Thursday. In view of the Covid-19 protocol, the ritual was performed at 15 selected houses with minimum participation | EXPRESS EXPRESS READ 1.35 tonnes of ganja seized in K’taka Newborn dies as doctor refuses to attend Bengaluru/Kalaburagi: The Seshadripuram police seized 1.35 tonnes of ganja worth I6 crore in Kalaburagi. Of these, about 1.2 tonnes of ganja in 600 bags was found hidden in a sump at a farmhouse in Kuridoddi, Kalaburagi. Kannur: A newborn delivered at home died after a doctor at the Panur CHC refused to attend to the case citing Covid. Following an uproar, the doctor and a staff nurse were transferred. Panur is in Health Minister K K Shailaja’s Kuthuparamba constituency. P5 16 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF KOCHI EXPRESS S EPTEMBER 21. That is from when schools can partially reopen, as per the Unlock 4.0 guidelines issued by the Centre. However, not all states are comfortable with the idea. Parents across the board are wary because 0.2 - 8.8% of the pandemic though OPEN QUESTION some senior students are upbeat. While Delhi PAGE 12 and CongressHuman activity wiped out 2/3rds ruled Punjab wildlife in 50 yrs turned it down, southern states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana appear to be sitting on the fence for now. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, too, are yet to make up their minds. However, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand are gearing up to open schools for students of classes 9-12. As for Kerala, it will take up the matter at a state cabinet meeting on September 16. HOW MUCH KIDS ARE AT RISK 18 FRIDAY VELLORE of child Covid-19 cases in the US, based on data from 44 states gathered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, required hospitalisation, suggesting moderate to severe symptoms Research in the West suggests that children are at relatively low risk of developing severe Covid-19. But the main concern is the kids’ role as vectors. How likely they are to spread the virus is not yet clear newindianexpress com 11 09 2020 l l While parts of India are gearing up to partially open schools from September 21, many other countries have already done so and have had mixed results. Here are the takeaways from the reopening experiments done by various countries and the lessons they offer to our policymakers TO REOPEN FOR CLASSES 9-12 TO STAY SHUT NOT YET DECIDED 4 Tamil Nadu The state’s school education minister KA Sengottaiyan has said that any decision on reopening of schools shall be taken only after there is some relief from the pandemic 18 Delhi 19 Haryana 1 1 Nations that have reopened safely Some Scandinavian countries reopened with strict rules, and have had no outbreaks tied to schools THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE This map shows the status of school systems around the world based on UNESCO data. Postreopening experiences of selected countries are explained below Israel Israel managed to control its Covid-19 outbreak early, in May, and pushed ahead with school reopenings. But the government was forced to shut many schools a few weeks later when cases increased rapidly among students and teachers. Later, older people got infected too FULLY OPEN | PARTIALLY OPEN | CLOSED | ACADEMIC BREAK 3500 OPENED TOO SOON? Kenya Mexico 3000 New daily Covid-19 infections in Israel, 7-day rolling average The country took the extreme step of cancelling the academic year and telling students they have to repeat it — the only nation to do so. Kenya said this was to give a level playing field for those cannot access remote learning The federal government signed a $20 million deal with TV networks to broadcast study programmes, as 94% of families in the country of 126 million have TVs 2500 2000 1500 Lockdown begins Schools reopen 1000 500 United Kingdom Since classes resumed in Aug and Sep, 62 schools in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England have reported coronavirus cases, with many institutions now closed again 0 Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Punjab Schools won’t be reopened now as cases are still increasing, said School Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla 5 19 17 2 10 6 16 Anupam, a Class XII teacher 14 2 1 Rajasthan The state government has refrained from giving any official response to the SOPs from the central government C K Punnose, a senior teacher 13 11 As every class has over 80 kids, downsizing classes will force the teacher to repeat a lecture several times It is too early to call students to school. We have to wait till the Covid-19 curve flattens When they resume, classes should be in batches of 10-12 students The map shows how states are responding to the Central government’s new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) 7 15 9 4 8 12 PK Ilamaran, president of the Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association 10. Jharkhand 11. Bihar 12. West Bengal 13. Assam 3 3 5 Odisha School and Mass Education Minister Sameer Ranjan Dash said they will be shut till Oct 25 Uttarakhand Uttarakhand is following the SOPs of the central government We are not in favour of reopening of schools when Covid-19 spread is at its peak The situation is more risky than ever. I would prefer my child to take online classes than going to school Anurodh Jain, head of a parents’ association in the state Vinay Sheel Sharma, father of a Class 11 student 6 7 8 9 Madhya Pradesh The state government is yet to take a call on allowing limited reopening under the SOPs Telangana R Rohini, District Education Officer of Hyderabad, said no decision has been taken yet Kerala The state’s Director of General Education is preparing a roadmap on reopening schools Parents don’t want kids to go to school. We know what happened with US schools Online mode cannot replace traditional teaching. The return to normal should be in a careful, phased manner Karnakata The state will issue its own SOPs in a few days. It has told all schools to complete admission by Sep 30. Minister of primary and secondary education S Suresh Kumar said the state is already arranging regular student-teacher interaction for all classes The SOPs are shocking at a time when the Covid-19 curve is actually peaking Anurodh Jain, head of Parents Association in Indore MA Hussain Sohail, head of a parents’ association in the state RVG Menon, noted educationist 14 United States France Schools have reopened without taking adequate precautions, especially in states such as Florida, where infections rates are too high. In one summer camp in the Georgia in June, half of the 364 children attending tested positive. Photographs of maskless school students in hallways have been shared widely on social media. Students and staff have tested positive in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee, forcing such states to close schools that had reopened France has closed 22 of its 62,000 schools since in-person classes resumed last week. Overall, schools have reported 250 suspected cases per day since Sep 1, when they reopened for the first time 15 16 17 Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said they there were no clear guidelines for reopening the schools physically after studying the central government’s SOPs. She said the state government is being cautious as the pandemic is not yet over Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary (Education) B Rajasekhar said reopening plans are being chalked out Chhattisgarh A government statement said the SOPs are being considered Uttar Pradesh The state is following the SOPs from the Union government All students of class 9 to 12 should not be allowed to attend classes in one go The schools are seeking an affidavit from parents, that means they will not take responsibility Prof Narava Prakasa Rao, state convener of Right To Education Jawahar Surisetti, a noted academician Given the rising cases, we can’t even think of sending our wards to schools. My son has to take 12th board exams but I would not send him Geetika Dixit, a parent Mask shortages still a problem, say US medicos ANIMAL POPULATIONS don, is the 13th edition of the biennial publication trackPARIS: Global animal, bird ing wildlife populations and fish populations have around the world. plummeted more than twoWWF International directhirds in less than 50 years tor general Marco Lamberdue to rampant over-con- tini told AFP of the staggersumption, exper ts said i n g l o s s o f E a r t h ’ s Thursday in a stark warning biodiversity since 1970. to save nature in order to “It’s an accelerating desave ourselves. crease that we’ve been moniHuman activity has se- toring for 30 years and it converely degraded three quar- tinues to go in the wrong ters of all land and direction,” he said. 4 0 % o f E a r t h ’s “In 2016 we docuoceans, and our mented a 60% dequickening destruccline, now we have a tion of nature is 70% decline,” LamAll this is in a likely to have untold blink of an eye bertini added. compared to the The last half-decconsequences on millions of years ade has seen unprecour health and that many edented economic livelihoods. The Living Planet species have been g r o w t h u n d e r living on the pinned by an exploIndex, which tracks planet sion in global conmore than 4,000 speMarco Lambertini, sumption of natural cies of vertebrates, WWF International resources. war ned that indirector general Whereas until creasing deforesta1970, humanity’s tion and agricultural expansion were the key ecological footprint was drivers behind a 68 percent smaller than the Earth’s caaverage decline in popula- pacity to regenerate resourctions between 1970 and 2016. es, the WWF now calculates It warned that continued we are over using the planet’s natural habitat loss in- capacity by more than half. While aided by factors such creased the risk of future pandemics as humans ex- as invasive species and pollupand their presence into ever tion, the biggest single driver closer contact with wild of species lost is land-use changes: normally, industry animals. 2020’s Living Planet Re- converting forests or grassport, a collaboration between lands into farms. This takes an immense toll WWF International and the Zoological Society of Lon- on wild species. A lion looks towards the Nairobi skyline | AFP S’pore noise tech drowns out urban din N95 ACOUSTIC SHIELD FRESNO: White House officials say US hospitals have all the medical supplies needed to battle the deadly virus, but frontline health care workers, hospital officials and even the Food and Drug Administration say shortages persist. Critical shortfalls of medical N95 respirators — commonly referred to as N95 masks — and other protective gear started in March, when the pandemic hit New York. Pressure on the medical supply chain continues today and , in “many ways things have only gotten worse,” the American Medical Association’s president, Dr. Susan Bailey, said in a recent statement. “N95s are still in a shortage,” said Mike Schiller, the American Hospital Association’s senior director for supply chains. “It’s certainly not anywhere near pre-COVID levels.” Early in the pandemic the White House failed to heed stark warnings — specifically about N95s — from high-level administration officials. SINGAPORE: Sick of noise from construction work, speeding trains and car alarms flooding in through the open window of your tiny apartment in a crowded metropolis? Scientists believe they have found a way for city dwellers to let in fresh air while reducing the urban cacophony -- and it is a bit like popping massive, noisecancelling headphones onto your flat. Under the system devised in Singapore, 24 small speakers are placed on the metal grille of an open window to create what researchers ter med an “acoustic shield”. When noise such as traffic or a subway train is detected, the speakers generate sound waves that cancel out some of the din -- much in the same way some high tech headphones work. It is like “using noise to fight noise,” said Gan WoonSeng, from Nanyang Technological University . BANANA BRUNCH A mahout feeds elephants at Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park in Ranchi district, Jharkhand, on Thursday | PTI ASTRONAUT’S LEGACY American spacecraft named after Kalpana Chawla SPACEFLIGHT WASHINGTON: American commercial cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station has been named after fallen NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla, the first India-born woman to enter space, for her key contributions to human spaceflight. Northrop Grumman, an American global aerospace and defence technology company, announced that its next Cygnus capsule will be named the “S.S. Kalpana Chawla”, in memory of the mission specialist who died with her six crewmates aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 2003. “Today we honour Kalpana Chawla, who made history at @ NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Her contributions to human spaceflight have had a lasting impact,” the company tweeted on Wednesday . “Northrop Grumman is proud to name the NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Kalpana Chawla. It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight,” the company said on its website. “Chawla was selected in honour of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space,” it said. “While Chawla made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the space programme, her legacy lives on through her fellow astronauts and those she has inspired to follow in her footsteps.” “Her final research conducted onboard Columbia helped us understand astronaut health and safety during spaceflight. Northrop Grumman is proud to celebrate the life of Kalpana Chawla and her dream of flying through the air and in space,” it said. The S S Kalpana Chawla capsule is scheduled to launch on the NG-14 mission atop a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Vir- ginia on September 29. The spacecraft will arrive at and be attached to the space station two days later. For the NG-14 mission, the Cygnus spacecraft will deliver approximately 3,629 kg of cargo to the space station. Chawla was born in Karnal, Haryana on March 17, 1962. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College in India in 1982. Chawla then moved to the US to pursue her graduate education; in 1984 she received a Master’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas. 4 COMPANIES RAISED L140 CR Fashion Gold biz had all traits of ponzi scheme G E O R G E P O I K AY I L @ Kasaragod IN AUGUST 2007, Chitra Bhaskar (named changed) invested `1.80 lakh in IUML leader M C Kamaruddin’s gold business. The receipt, signed by Kamaruddin and two other directors, was in the name of Fashion Gold Mahal Pvt Ltd. The receipt acknowledges that she is a shareholder. Thirteen years later, Chitra found that Fashion Gold Mahal Pvt Ltd does not exist and she is knocking on the doors of lawyers to help her legally . Kamaruddin, MLA, started four companies between 2006 and 2012 to sell gold j ewe l l e r y a n d r a i s e d around `140 crore from 749 common investors. All of them are in trouble as the business has gone kaput. At least 31 persons — most of them women — have pressed charges of cheat- ing against Kamaruddin and his business partner T K Pookoya Thangal, a member of Muslim League. Chitra was baffled when she realised that she was issued a share certificate in the name of a non-existing company by Kamaruddin. In 2017 — 10 years after Chitra was deceived --- Naseema of Padna invested `8 lakh in cash and gold jewellery in the gold business of Kamaruddin and Thangal. She said that was the alimony she got when her husband divorced her. Naseema used to collect `8,000 on the second of every month from Kamaruddin’s jewellery store. The agreement between them was the company would pay `8,000 every month and return her investment on a three months’ notice. “I’m dependent on the money to raise my two daughters,” she said. ● More on P4 The Jaishankar-Wang meet comes close on the heels of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh meeting his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe on the side- lines of the SCO defence ministers’ meeting. Both sides have kept both military and diplomatic communications open. While there have been five corps commander-level talks and another one likely in the near future, the special representatives of the two countries and foreign ministers have held telephonic conversations after June 15. Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh, in an apparent barb at China, said the formal induction of Rafale jets by India is a stern message to the entire world, especially those eyeing India’s sovereignty . Earlier in the day Jaishankar , had bilateral talks with the foreign ministers of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before participating in the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting. Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the meeting reviewed preparations for the upcoming SCO summit and also discussed various regional and global issues. State may see rise in Covid fatalities, warns Shailaja E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @Kochi HINTING at a looming crisis, Health Minister K K Shailaja has warned that further relaxation to lockdown curbs may result in more Covid-19 fatalities in the state, with the hospitals even running short of ventilators. Factors including a large elderly population, high population density and the prevalence of comorbidities among the people indicate a likely increase in deaths, she said. Highlighting the challenges faced by the health department due to the unbridled spread of Covid-19, Shailaja said 90 per cent of people who died due to the virus were ● More on P2 those above the age of 60. Cases inch towards one lakh-mark Kerala’s Covid-19 infection tally touched 99,266 on Thursday 3,349 fresh cases reported 26,229 active cases 1,657 more recover
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