CHENNAI TUESDAY NOVEMBER 03, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 18 LATE CITY EDITION NZ PM INDUCTS FIRST-EVER INDIAN-ORIGIN MINISTER Priyanca Radhakrishnan, who has roots in Ernakulam, bags three key portfolios in PM Jacinda Ardern’s new ministry BORN IN CHENNAI TO MALAYALI PARENTS A FIGHTER FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIMS A second-time MP from the Labour Party, Priyanca is one of the five new faces in PM Adern’s ministry. She’s been given charge of three portfolios—community and voluntary sector; diversity, inclusion and ethnic communities; and youth development. Her parents, originally from Kerala’s Ernakulam district, moved to Chennai where Priyanca was born ■ ■ ■ In August, Priyanca was noticed in Kerala, when she appeared alongside PM Adern in a live video to extend Onam greetings Prior to becoming an MP in 2017, she had been a social worker, who fought to advance the rights of domestic abuse victims Her great-grandfather was associated with Left politics in Kerala 41-yr-old HAS BEEN A MEMEBER OF THE LABOUR PARTY FOR 14 YEARS 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 At least 22 dead in Kabul univ campus massacre EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Afghan security forces prepare to go into Kabul University on Monday | AP RISE IN VIOLENCE AS PEACE PROCESS UNDERWAY Kabul: Monday’s attack on Kabul University comes amid a relentless rise in violence across Afghanistan as the Taliban and the Afghan government are negotiating a peace agreement. Their talks in Qatar have made little progress. President Ashraf Ghani vowed to take revenge. “This attack will not remain without response,” he said TRUMP OR BIDEN? VOTERS TO DECIDE TODAY 239 million People eligible to vote this year 94 million Ballots already cast because of the Covid situation. It’s is about two-thirds of the overall 2016 vote count of 138.8 million 34.6 60.4 mn million Mail-in ballots, of them are could take days or in-person weeks to be counted votes. Both in some states, so the winner might Trump and not be declared Biden have hours after polls already cast close on Tuesday their ballot Trump set to spend election night at White House Twitter to lean on seven outlets to help determine whether a race is officially called - ABC News, AP, CNN, CBS News, Decision Desk HQ, Fox News and NBC News BRACING FOR BIDEN High-net-worth Americans are busy setting up trust funds, giving large gifts to heirs and philanthropies, and even selling family businesses as they brace for the tax hikes a Biden presidency might bring, Axios reports | P11,14 GUNMEN stormed Kabul University in Afghanistan’s capital on Monday, killing at least 22 students, including 10 women, and leaving around 22 others wounded. The attack happened minutes before Iran’s ambassador to the country was to arrive for the opening of a book fair. It all began around 11 am local time when a suicide bomber blew up himself inside the campus. Two gunmen then opened fire indiscriminately and took dozens hostage while hundreds of other students fled with many scaling the campus’ perimeter walls. Images posted on social media showed what appeared to be the bodies of students lying in pools of blood in classrooms. “They opened fire ... all my classmates were lying in blood, either dead or wounded,” a student said. After six hours of fierce fighting, the two assailants were killed by the Afghan security forces with US support. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the massacre. Joining the global outrage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Hamid Karzai Airport AFGHANISTAN University of Afghan Kabul University KABUL said: “I strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack... Our prayers are with the families of the victims and the injured.” Pakistan, too, called it an “act of terrorism”. “I can’t even name a place Elif Perincek, a three-year-old survivor, (left) holding the thumb of a rescue worker as she is carried out of a collapsed building three days after an earthquake in the Aegean port city of Izmir. The rescuer found her lying motionless and asked for a body bag when she suddenly opened her eyes and grabbed his thumb. (Right) The injured but safe Elif in her hospital bed | AP Experts say the numbers need to be read with caution as festive demand may fade EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi SHOCK & AWE Meet the three-year-old Thumbelina of Turkey W HEN firefighter Muammer Celik reached a t h re e - ye a r- o l d g i rl trapped for three days under the rubble of a deadly earthquake in a Turkish coastal city his heart sank. She was , lying motionless, covered in dust, and he asked a colleague for a body bag. But as Celik extended his arm to wipe her face, the child opened her eyes and grabbed hold of his thumb. “That’s where we saw a miracle,” Celik of the Istanbul fire department’s search-and-rescue team told The Associated Press, recounting Monday’s operation 65 hours after the quake hit, killing at least 93 people in Turkey and Greece. It was the second dramatic rescue on Monday after 14-yearold Idil Sirin was also pulled out alive. Onlookers applauded with joy and wept with relief at both scenes in the Turkish city of Izmir, where the vast majority of the deaths and nearly 1,000 injuries have occurred. The US Geological Survey rated the quake 7.0, though other agencies recorded it as less severe. Many buildings were completely reduced to rubble C S H I V A K U M A R @ Chennai or saw several floors pancake in on themselves in Turkey, which has a mix of older buildings and cheap or illegal construction that do not withstand earthquakes well. Celik, whose team was among several who traveled to Izmir, said he found Elif Perincek lying on her back between her bed and a closet in a space that was just big enough for her. “At first I was very upset,” he said. “Then I stretched out my hand to clean her face and she grabbed my thumb. ... I froze because right before that mo- CHOKE ALERT AHEAD OF COVID-YEAR DEEPAVALI S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Chennai WITH coronavirus in the air already disrupting normal life, bursting of crackers for Deepavali will only make matters worse for Chennaiites. The city’s air quality is already on the edge. The air quality in general deteriorates in the winter months of November, December and January during Deepavali and Pongal festivals. The city’s air quality index (AQI) is inching closer to 100, which by itself causes minor breathing discomfort for sensitive people. With Deepavali just two weeks away and active monsoon days ahead, the air pollution is only going to get worse. Director of Public Health vest around `2,800 crore in the State to make EV components and batteries. Ather Energy, leader in the e-scooter market, is also planning to invest in a facility near Chennai. A Government Order issued by Transport Secretary S K Prabhakar stated that in exercise of powers conferred under Section 20 of Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Act, 1974 – and in supersession of Home Department notification of Part II Section 2 of Tamil Nadu Gazette Notification dated October 1, 2008 – the governor exempted the battery-operated vehicles, both transport and non-transport, from payment of Motor Vehicle Tax from November 3, 2020 to December 31, 2022. COVID COUNT FRESH CASES faculties teach. It is not clear how many students were in the university at the time of the attack. By one account, there were at least 800 students in the social studies wing alone. Most students were in their respective classrooms when it began. They were besieged for hours before being rescued. The attack on Afghanistan’s oldest university with nearly 17,000 students comes a week after 24 students were killed in an attack on a school in Kabul, which was also claimed by the IS group. Green shoots? Factory output hits decade high DRAMATIC PIC OF THE THUMB GRAB ment, I had asked my team for a blanket and a body bag.” His voice breaking with emotion, he added: “This is a firefighter’s joy .” The child spent nearly three full days in the wreckage of her apartment and became the 106th person to be pulled alive from the rubble. Her mother and two sisters — 10-year-old twins — were rescued two days earlier. However, her six-yearold brother did not survive. Both Elif and Idil are doing well. The girls who lived have reenergised the rescue teams to look for more survivors. Now, no motor tax for e-vehicles in TN IN a significant move, Tamil Nadu on Monday exempted battery-operated vehicles from payment of Motor Vehicle Tax till the end of 2022. Hyundai vice-president BC Datta reacted saying the 100 per cent tax exemption was in line with an Electric Vehicle Policy the State released last year. “We welcome the initiative. It will help sell more electric vehicles in the State,” Datta said. Hyundai launched India’s first electric SUV Kona, in July , last year at an introductory price of `25.3 lakh. “Ten per cent of the cost is usually charged as motor vehicle tax. But, the State was providing 50 per cent exemption back then. So, the tax, which was around `2.3 lakh was reduced to `1.65 lakh. Now, even that has been dropped. The car will be cheaper by `1.65 lakh,” said Datta. “The new notification will prompt more EV makers and battery makers to set shop in our State,” said Industry Secretary N Muruganandam. “Hyundai has a battery-operated vehicle in the market already. Nissan too is coming up with a new model. The State government is making the environment conducive to pump in more investments in the sector,” he said. That apart, Chinese manufacturer BYD is planning to in- that wasn’t attacked. The new frontline is everywhere. Those killed and wounded wanted to be doctors, engineers for tomorrow’s Afghanistan,” tweeted noted Afghan-based journalist Bilal Sarwary . “We were very scared and we thought it could be the last day of our lives... boys and girls were shouting, praying and crying for help,” Ahmadi Samim, a student said. He reported seeing gunmen, armed with pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles, firing at students in the university’s eastern side, where its law and journalism The State tested 70,297 samples and 68,984 people on Monday. Among the deceased three didn’t have comorbid conditions DEATHS ACTIVE CASES 2,481 31 19,504 TS Selvavinayagam unequivocally told Express that all respiratory tract infections, including Covid-19, will increase when there is a bad air quality. “We have to keep the air pollution under control even during the festival days. We are increasing the monitoring for Covid control. District teams have been alerted to prevent overcrowding, ensure wearing of masks etc. The high risk population with underlying conditions like heart diseases should stay indoors when smoke engulfs the air.” Last Deepavali, Velachery recorded a poor AQI of about 250. During peak hours of crackers bursting, it even shot up to 436. In Alandur, it was much worse. The AQI was as high as 500. The same was the case with Manali station. P3 According to the media bulletin issued by the Directorate of Public Health, 3,940 people were discharged after treatment Among western districts Coimbatore, Salem and Tirupur continued to report over 100 cases. It was in double digits in other districts BONUS FOR TAMIL NADU PSU STAFF FOR DEEPAVALI TN govt on Monday announced a Deepavali bonus of `210.48 crore to 2,91,975 employees of State Public Sector Undertakings | P4 A day after the GST collection figures for October showed a robust uptick, rising past the `1 lakh crore mark, results of a monthly survey on factory output on Monday brought more cheer to the economy . As sales continue to surge in the ongoing festive season, India’s manufacturing sector activity improved for the third straight month in October, a monthly survey among purchasing managers of 400 manufacturers said on Monday . The IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 58.9 in October — the highest since mid-2008. In PMI parlance, an index reading above 50 indicates growth. “New orders and output at Indian manufacturers continued to recover from Covid-19induced contractions seen earlier, with PMI results for October highlighting historically sharp monthly rates of expansion,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director, IHS Markit. While the latest PMI data along with the impressive GST numbers released on Sunday may give the impression the economy is recovering, experts advise caution. According to them, festive season can spur economic activities but one needs to watch if the trend continues beyond the festive season. “One needs to be cautious while reading this number. This is festive season and we are coming from a severe lockdown, which needs to be taken into account. One should watch post December trends, after the festive season,” said Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings. Another growing concern was that despite increase in demand, manufacturers recorded a further reduction in employment. Job cuts continue for 7th month in a row The survey said companies cut staff for the seventh month in a row, a streak not witnessed since the survey began in 2005. It, however, did not indicate the quantum of job loss “There was disappointing news on the employment front though, with October seeing another reduction in payroll numbers. Survey participants that noted job shedding mentioned having observed containment measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019,” the survey said. This indicates employers are cautious, despite their optimism that things will improve in the coming months. A-G declines consent for contempt proceedings against Andhra CM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi ATTORNEY General K K Venugopal on Monday refused to grant consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy for casting aspersions on judiciary The A-G, however, termed . the Andhra CM’s letter to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde levelling serious allegations against senior SC judge N V Ramana and releasing the content of the letter to media “prima facie contumacious”. In his letter to the CJI, Jagan had also claimed Justice Ramana was acting on behalf of Andhra Pradesh opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu. Elaborating why he would not initiate contempt of court proceedings, Venugopal said, “Since the letter was addressed directly to the Chief Justice of India, the CJI is seized of the case and it would not be appropriate for me to deal with it.” The AG’s opinion came on a permission plea filed by advocate Ashwini Ku- mar Upadhyay who had sought permission to begin contempt of court proceedings against the Andhra Pradesh CM over his October 6 letter alleging Ramana was influencing the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Upadhyay is one of petitioners whose plea led a bench headed by Justice Ramana to direct high courts to expedite cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs. He had written to the Attorney General pointing out that 31 criminal cases were pending against Jagan.
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