BHUBANESWAR l Saturday l October 31, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE EDITION EC axes kamal nath from list of star campaigners The poll body said on Friday it acted in view of the Congress leader’s “repeated violation” of the model code of conduct Action over ‘Item’, ‘mafia’ comments now, show similar resolve in bihar The EC order referred to Kamal Nath’s recent misogynistic remarks against Scindia loyalist and BJP candidate Imarti Devi, calling her an “item”. It also mentioned his use of adjectives like “mafia” and “milawat khor” (adulterator) against Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan as a violation of the model code. The EC found Nath’s explanation unsatisfactory ■ ■ Elsewhere, there is complete mockery of the model code as Covid protocols like masks and personal distancing are being frowned upon in huge Bihar poll rallies despite EC whip Will the poll body show equal resolve as in the Nath case by taking impartial action against all violators? The nation is watching Nov 3 date for by-polls to 28 madhya pradesh assembly seats 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 In Phase-I serosurvey conducted in July, only 1.42 pc of city’s population was found to be exposed to Covid-19, which went up to 5.1 pc during Phase-II in August. It has shot up to 50 pc in Phase-III survey carried out in the middle of this month 1 in 2 persons in State Capital Has antibodies E xpress N ews S ervice @ Bhubaneswar Seven months after the first Covid-19 case of Odisha was detected in Bhubaneswar, around half of the population of the Capital city is estimated to have developed antibodies following exposure to the novel coronavirus. The results of the third phase serosurvey carried out in the city by Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) in collaboration with the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and Health department this month has shown a quantum jump in antibody prevalence in general population from just around five per cent (pc) in August to 50 pc two months thereafter. The survey was conducted between October 16 and 18. A total 1,403 samples were randomly collected from 25 wards and one in two persons was found to have been exposed to the infection. “The latest study shows a huge jump in sero positivity among Bhubaneswar population as compared to the previous ones carried out in July and August,” said RMRC director Sanghamitra Pati. In the first phase survey carried out in July, only 1.42 pc of city’s population was found to be exposed to novel coronavirus which had gone up to 5.1 pc in the second phase conducted on August 28. Pati said the sero-prevalence varied from ward to ward. It was only 28 pc in ward no 55 against 63 pc in ward no 16. Prevalence of antibodies among people was more than 60 pc in five wards and 50 pc in another five wards. The study, however, found no major difference in sero positivity among any gender or age group indicating that all have been uniformly exposed to the virus. As high as 90 pc of the people who had developed antibodies were asymptomatic. Besides, 30 pc of the people had already been tested through rapid antigen or RT-PCR, Health officials said with 50 pc people still not exposed to the virus, all safety guidelines need to be followed religiously . The RMRC has carried out nine rounds of serosurvey at different places in the State between July and October. The next round will be conducted in Cuttack on November 2, sources said. SeroSurvey Sample drawn for survey in third phase 1,403 Wards with more than 60 pc sero prevalence 16, 21, 39, 41, 52 Total number of wards covered 25 63 pc in ward no 16 Number of wards having more than 50 per cent sero prevalence 10 28 per cent in ward no 55 90 per cent people having antibodies were asymptomatic Sero-prevalence level earlier 1.42 per cent in first phase (July) 5.1 per cent in second phase (August) $1.2 billion blow to Antrix in nixed Devas deal E xpress N ews S ervice @ Bengaluru Embattled city-based startup Devas Multimedia got a billion dollar lifeline as a US court ordered Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) commercial arm Antrix Corporation to shell out $1.2 billion (`8,952 crore) as compensation for the messy scrapping a satellite deal six years after it was struck in 2005. However, the order may not enforceable as Antrix does not have any assets in the US, a senior official informed on condition of anonymity. “There is nothing which the (US) court can attach. However, any decision in India’s Supreme Court will be binding,” the official said. The Devas-Antrix case is still in the Supreme Court, which had earlier directed a tribunal to hear it. The 2005 deal pertained to Antrix launching and operating two satellites and making 70 MHz of S-band spectrum available to Devas to enable it to provide communication services across India. However, in 2011, Antrix issued a termination notice to Devas, invoking force majeure (unforeseeable circumstances Matter of jurisdiction Two years ago, Antrix sought the dismissal of the suit citing jurisdiction as the agreement and its termination occurred in India. But Devas said the US court had jurisdiction as Antrix conducted business across the US that prevent fulfilling a contract) and justifying it saying that it was a policy decision of the Union government in its sovereign capacity . The order of the US district judge, Wester n District of Washington, Seattle, which came on October 27, directed Antrix to pay $562.5 million (`4,196 crore) plus interest to Devas, totaling $1.2 billion. When contacted, Antrix Chairman and Managing Director Rakesh Sashibhushan refused to offer any comment. 7K tonnes In a major breakthrough, Berhampur police on Friday busted an Indian Premier League (IPL) betting racket having links with Dubai as well as major cities in the country and arrested two persons. The arrested perwsons are R Lalie Achary (50) of Gosaninuagaon and K Prasant Kumar Subudhi (43) of Gandhinagar in the city A whopping `33.61 lakh cash, four cell . phones and three ATM cards were seized from the duo. DIG (Southern Range) Satyabrata Bhoi said last week, Aska police had arrested three agents involved in placing bets on ongoing IPL matches in UAE. During interrogation, police came to know that a racket was active throughout the State including Berhampur and Bhubaneswar. In the course of investigation, it was found that Lalie was the kingpin of the racket. He was involved in betting for the last five to seven years. The accused have links with bookies of Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Dubai, the DIG said. The IPL betting syndicate operating out of Berhampur had a punter base spread across several cities in the country and even @ Bhubaneswar Amid growing concerns over Covid-19 reinfection, three persons from different districts of the State have been found to be infected for the second time within a period of two to four months of recovery . The three, all men, aged 49, 52 and 62 are now under treatment and observation. The manifestation of the disease has been found to be more severe among the patients this time. The 62-year-old has been put on ventilator support. Official sources said all three persons were asymptomatic when they tested positive for the first time. The elderly man, who express read No Baliyatra in Cuttack this year The historic Baliyatra will not be organised this year in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation. Cuttack Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani said as the Covid-19 safety guidelines mandate no public congregation beyond seven persons, Baliyatra cannot be organised as the seven-day long festival attracts lakhs of people every year | P2 Anti-ship missile destroys target in Navy drill Pradhan calls on voters to defeat an ‘insensitive’ BJD Invoking the Goddess Priests performing Laxmi puja rituals at Bapuji Nagar in Bhubaneswar on Friday | irfana IPL betting racket busted, two held with `33.6 lakh cash E xpress N ews S ervice @ Berhampur E xpress N ews S ervice Ahead of the crucial Malabar Naval Exercise that is set to take place next week, the Indian Navy on Friday successfully test fired an AntiShip Missile (AShM) from its missile corvette INS Kora off the eastern coast | P3 tonnes onion already imported; prices falling: Goya Amid the rising prices of onion and potato, the government has started import of the kitchen commodities. While 7,000 tonnes of onion have already been imported, 25,000 tonnes more is expected to arrive before Diwali | P7 3 reinfection cases come to fore in State outside. The betting takes place over teams and important matches of the IPL. “The bookies were earlier dependent on physical transactions through their respective agents. But now, the entire operation is being carried out online over mobile phones. As multiple layers (chain of people, bookies and customers) are involved, it usually gets difficult for enforcement agencies to track down such syndicates,” Bhoi said. Berhampur SP Pinak Mishra said as the apps and websites used to carry out betting were registered outside the country including Dubai, it is suspected that the roots of the illegal trade has spread to various other countries too. “This particular syndicate had set up its own network and the conduits used to collect money through their agents. The entire operation was controlled by the prime accused Lalie,” he said. It is believed that the total volume of business may go up to `5 to `10 lakh per day . Mishra said police are facing difficulties in collecting credible evidence as the entire operation was conducted online and there is no physical trail. “We suspect involvement of many more individuals in the syndicate who would be nabbed soon.” Even as the ruling BJD and Congress have intensified campaign for the November 3 bypoll to Tirtol Assembly constituency, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday addressed six rallies seeking support for BJP candidate Raj Kishore Behera | P4 We have collected samples of the three persons. After genome analysis, it can be ascertained whether they have been infected by the same clade or a different clade is responsible Dr Ajay Parida, Director, ILS is critical, tested positive again after two and a half months of the first infection. The two others have developed mild symptoms. Confirming the cases of reinfection, Director of Institute of Life Sciences Dr Ajay Parida said their samples have been collected for genome sequencing and fur- ther studies to ascertain what led to the relapse. “We have samples of the three when they had first tested positive and collected new samples again. After genome analysis, it can be ascertained whether they have been infected by the same clade or a different clade is responsible,” Dr Parida said. The ILS is conducting genome sequencing of more than 200 samples collected from different parts of the State. The results are expected in next two weeks. State Health department authorities, however, refused to comment. “We are yet to receive any report from the laboratory . We can comment only after a detailed study is done,” said a senior official. Process begins for Rahul comeback in Congress EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi With chorus growing for former Congress president Rahul Gandhi to come back, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) will soon call a session to elect a new chief. All state units have been asked to send details of members who are eligible to vote. “This is to inform you that AICC intends to convene its meeting as soon as possible, and you will be intimated as soon as dates and venue are finalised,” said a note sent to state units by Congress’ Central Election Authority headed by Madhusudan Mistry . According to party sources, the session will be held by the end of the year or early next year. It would be a day-long affair, they added. “Rahul is most likely to take over the reins of the party and his coming back has been planned ahead of the Assembly election in five states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, next year. He is already part of all key decisions made by the party and it will Party revamp There is, however, no clarity on when elections to the Congress Working Committee, the party’s powerful decision-making body, would be held be just an official comeback for him,” said a leader. In August, Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi had said a new president would be elected by February 2021. The move came after 23 senior party veterans including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor wrote to her seeking organisational elections and a new leader. While the letter questioned Rahul Gandhi’s style of functioning, other leaders such as Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel, several state Congress chiefs and all Lok Sabha MPs beloning to the party had beseeched Rahul to take over the reins if Sonia wants to step down.
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