kannur l Thursday l October 08, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION chemistry Nobel prize goes to two womAn scientists Jennifer Doudna Emmanuelle Charpentier Tool to change DNA with high precision Working on opposite sides of the Atlantic, the two developed a method known as CRISPR/Cas9 that can be used to change the DNA of animals, plants and micro organisms with extremely high precision. The US-French duo’s technology has been transformative for basic science research and it could also be used to treat, or even cure, inherited illnesses | P12 Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna of the US jointly won the prize for their work on gene editing Potential to cure genetic disorders ■ ■ ■ The genome editing tool has contributed to many discoveries; in medicine, clinical trials of new cancer therapies are underway It is also being tested for its potential to treat sickle cell anaemia However, critics say that without regulation, Crispr could be used to create “designer babies”, opening up an ethical minefield FIRST This is the 1st Time chemistry nobel has gone to a women-only team 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 Andhra govt firm on Amaravati land scam probe, appeal finally listed in SC E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi the Andhra Pradesh government is unlikely to budge an inch from its decision to probe alleged irregularities committed by the Chandrababu Naidu regime in the execution of the Amaravati greenfield capital city project despite legal hurdles in the high court, delays in the Supreme Court and stiff opposition from the TDP. It is learnt the government’s standing counsel in New Delhi has written to the SecretaryGeneral of the Supreme Court, drawing his attention to the delay in listing the special leave petition filed on September 22 against the high court stay on Government Orders pertaining to the constitution of a Cabinet Sub-Committee and a special investigation team to review decisions taken by the previous TDP regime and probe the alleged Amaravati land scam, respectively . In the missive, he explained all defects in the plea had been rectified but it was yet to be numbered despite repeated follow up. “The matter is of significant importance to the State as it relates to investigation into the conduct of highranking officials,” he said, requesting the Secretary General’s intervention. The SLP in question was filed consequent to the high court’s stay order issued on September 16 on a writ petition filed by TDP leader Varla Ramaiah. The high court order had dismayed the government for it had ruled that “If previous government’s decisions were to be reviewed, the present dispensation ought to have legislative approval. A government on its own cannot do so and no law has conferred such powers on the State government.” The state government filed another SLP in the apex court on September 21 against another high court order that gagged the media from reporting on an FIR filed by the AntiCorruption Bureau against Dammalapati Srinivas, former Advocate General, and 12 others including the family members of a Supreme Court judge, in the Amaravati land scam. The high court had also stayed further probe in the matter. Daily count 10k+, total cases 2.53L. TPR, doubling time concern state Occupying public ways for protest illegal, rules SC on Shaheen Bagh Active caseload breaches 90k-mark; govt fails to enforce sec 144; experts say state witnessing serious stage of community spread, call for timely medical care to critically ill @ New Delhi Only 20 people to be allowed inside places of worship E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram 6,161 recover 22 deaths take the total official toll to 906 D IL E E P V K UMAR @T’Puram The accelerating spread of Covid-19 set off alarm bells louder in the state on Wednesday with the number of fresh cases crossing the 10,000-mark for the first time. While 10,606 new cases took the state’s active caseload past the 90,000-mark and the total tally beyond 2.50 lakh, the government indicated it is going ahead with the opening up of various sectors in tune with t h e C e n t r e ’s U n l o c k 5 guidelines. Nor have the prohibitory orders announced under section 144, preventing more than five persons from coming together at public spaces, been enforced strictly . With no let up in the spiralling of cases, 11 districts were found to have a Test Positivity Rate (TPR) above 10. Number of days 13.85% is state’s test positivity rate on Oct 7 Kerala 7,214 National 5,069 23 13 1 Jan 30 Cases per million population 1,54,456 5 districts report 1,000plus cases 203 2,04,241 Cases currently under treatment fresh cases were reported in Kerala on Wednesday 73,816 samples were tested how did the number go up? 1,02,254 10,606 92,161 50,231 cases keep spiking in state 2,53,405 Covid-19 cases are rising and over 70 areas are designated as containment zones in Thiruvananthapuram. The district administration has imposed Section 144 to reduce crowding, but the restrictions seem to have no effect on people who throng the Chalai market on Wednesday | B P Deepu Aug 19 Sept 11 The state’s TPR, which had gone up to 14.65, now stands at 13.85. The case doubling time in all districts, except Thiruvananthapuram, too has quickened alarmingly. The health department directed the districts to initiate measures to keep the TPR below 10 even as two more ministers — Power Minister M M Mani and Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel — contracted the virus on the day . Despite the worrying scenario, plans are afoot to reopen different sectors, like tourism centres. While the government fixed the number of devotees allowed at places of worship at 20, up to 40 people will be allowed during special poojas at temples, Sunday mass at churches and Friday prayers at mosques. Though Chief Sept 24 7 6 Oct 1 Oct 7 Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stressed Covid control measures will be made more stringent, he indicated the state will not enforce a complete lockdown now. The state reported its highest daily case count on a day it tested 73,816 samples, the highest ever. The recoveries too touched a new high, at 6,161. “The caseload is spiralling up at a rapid pace. It is now evident that whenever the testing rate increases, a new record is registered. It shows the state won’t take long to register a case count of 15,000 to 20,000 a day if testing rates , are increased,” said a health department officer. Dr A S Anoop Kumar, critical care medicine expert with the Baby Memorial Hospital in Kozhikode, said the state is witnessing a serious stage of community spread. ● More on P2 WITH Covid cases rising unabated, the state government has decided to allow only 20 people at a time inside the places of worship. However, during special poojas at temples, F riday prayers at mosques and Sunday mass at churches, up to 40 people will be permitted. A h i g h - l eve l m e e t i n g chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday took decisions in this regard. During the monthly poojas at Sabarimala for the Malayalam month of Thulam, up to 250 pilgrims will be permitted for darshan. The latest decision comes after the Centres allowed states to open religious places, outside the containment zones with a ceiling of 100 persons, as per the Unlock 5 guidelines. The state’s earlier attempt to open various religious places in June was aborted within days after cases went up. Ministers Mani, Jaleel contract the virus T’Puram: Electricity Minister M M Mani and Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel tested positive on Wednesday. Mani is under observation at the MCH here, while Jaleel is under home care in the capital. P2 HC directs Cusat to conduct exams online Kochi: The Kerala High Court has directed Cusat to ensure that the even semester supplementary examinations of LLB five-year course are completed before November 30, through online mode. P2 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that public places cannot be occupied indefinitely for protests, which must be carried out in designated areas alone. A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said, “Democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but then the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone. The present case was not even one of protests taking place in an undesignated area, but was a blockage of a public way which caused grave inconvenience to commuters.” The order was passed on batch of petitions against the express read Swapna appointed with Pinarayi’s knowledge: ED Kochi: ED, which is probing the money trail in the gold smuggling, has said key accused Swapna Suresh told the agency that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan knew about her appointment in Space Park. Swapna also said she met the CM in the presence of then pricipal secretary M Sivasankar. P4 Former CBI director dies by suicide Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail to actor Rhea Chakraborty in a drugs case related to the death of her partner Sushant Singh Rajput, 28 days after she was in jail. The court, however, rejected the bail plea of her brother Showik | P8 I-League Qualifier, starting in Kolkata on Thursday, is the first nationallevel event to be held after lockdown. Ten teams will take part in bio-secure environs | P11 Tongue lashing State officials, not Centre blocking projects: Min M a n o j V i s w a n at h a n @Kochi Coming down heavily on the Forest department, Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran on Tuesday alleged that a section of forest officers were blocking development projects in the state. “When I met the Ministry of Environment and Forest secretary in Delhi in 2017, the official told me that the Forest department here was referring to the Centre even those files on which it can itself take a decision. It is not the Centre but a section of officers in Kerala who are blocking development projects. This amounts to dereliction of duty,” Sudhakaran told TNIE. He was responding to a query on the likely hurdles in obtaining environmental clearance for the Anakkampoyil-Meppadi tunnel road project which was launched by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday . “The Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd is preparing the detailed project report (DPR) for the tunnel project and will conduct the environmental impact study. Once the DPR is ready, we will approach the Centre for environmental clearance. The road is not passing through deep forest areas and there is no need to worry about obtaining clearance at this stage,” he said. Sudhakaran said the Forest department had not given clearance for 12 reaches of the Hill Highway project even after four years, which has hampered the work. The Anakkampoyil-Meppadi tunnel road will not meet the same fate as the Kuthiran tunnel. We will ensure it is completed on time — G Sudhakaran, PWD minister “The state cabinet had approved the project and work is progressing in 21 of the 40 reaches. The government is unable to launch the work in 12 reaches though the highway does not pass through deep forest areas. We are ready to meet the compensatory afforestation requirements,” he said. Expressing helplessness in completing the Kuthiran tunnel road project and Kozhikode bypass, Sudhakaran said he has written to the Centre recommending the cancellation of the contracts. “The contractor is delaying the project. The Centre is not ready to take action against contractor,” he said. anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. “While appreciating the existence of the right to peaceful protest against a legislation (keeping in mind the words of Pulitzer Prize winner, Walter Lippmann, who said “In a democracy, the opposition is not only tolerated as constitutional, but must be maintained because it is indispensable”), we have to make it unequivocally Administration ticked off “In what manner the administration should act is their responsibility and they should not hide behind the court orders or seek support therefrom for carrying out their administrative functions,” the bench said clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied in such a manner and that too indefinitely,” the bench ruled. “Administration ought to take action to keep the area clear of encroachments and obstructions,” the bench said, while calling their inability to resolve the protest as unfortunate. It noted the court was forced to intervene because there was no action by the administration. The bench also highlighted how social media can lead to a highly polarising environment, as in Shaheen Bagh. “We live in an age of technology and development and social media often sees parallel conversations with no constructive outcome,” it said. Call to ban or police fest sale by e-tailers E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Deep discounting by ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart during ‘festival sales’ is “utter violation of India’s FDI policy”, the Confederation of All India Traders alleged in a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. In its letter dated October 7, CAIT, which represents seven crore traders across the country, has sought a ban on the seasonal sales saying such predatory pric- ing also causes huge loss of GST revenue to the government. The letter, signed by CAIT national general secretary Praveen Khandelwal, said these companies are authorised to do only Business to Business (B2B) activities but they are conducting Business to Consumers (B2C) sales, which is a clear violation of the FDI policy . The CAIT letter noted that it is an open secret that deep discounting is funded by investors of these companies.
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