kollam l tuesday l december 01, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Joe Biden breaks his foot while playing with pet dog The US President-elect has hairline fractures in his mid-foot and may need a walking boot for a few weeks, his doctor said Hairline fractures show up in ct scan ‘Get well soon’, Trump tweets The Democratic leader twisted his ankle on Saturday when he slipped while playing with Major, his two-year-old German shepherd. “Initial X-rays did not show any obvious fracture, but CT scan confirmed hairline (small) fractures of President-elect Biden’s lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the midfoot,” Biden’s physician Dr Kevin O’Connor said ■ ■ ■ Biden’s last health record was released by Dr O’Connor in Dec ’19 The physician said Biden is “healthy, vigorous”. Biden does not use tobacco or drink alcohol and exercises five days a week President Donald Trump, a Republican, who has not yet conceded the November 3 presidential election, tweeted, “Get well soon!” 78-yr-old Biden will be the oldest prez in U.S. history when he takes oath on Jan 20 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 NO T T O RENE W DEAL F OR K F ON Kerala bars PwC from IT, electronic projects for 2 yrs contract, the entire responsibility to satisfy the credentials and integrity of the reTHE Kerala government has source persons lies upon barred consultancy firm PwC. However, it’s seen that PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC didn’t perform a com(PwC) Pvt Ltd from joining prehensive backg round any of the state projects un- check including educational der the electronics and infor- qualifications in the case of mation technology depart- appointing an individual in ment for two years. the Space Park’s The government Swapna links PMU. This is a seprove costly rious breach of took the decision after finding serious contractual obliga● A probe found lapses committed tions on the part that it was PwC which cleared the by PwC in appointof PwC,” the order appointment of ing Swapna Suresh said. Swapna Suresh — key accused in The government at Space Park, the smuggling of has also decided based on alleged gold through the not to extend the recommendation diplomatic channel contract with PwC — as Space Park from the CM’s former as the PMU for the principal secretary, Kerala Fibre Optic project’s operations M Sivasankar manager. The order, Network (KFON) issued on Friday, ● Investigation also project. The condescribed the ap- found that Swapna’s tract expired on pointment as a “fail- graduation certificate Monday . was fake ure on the part of The backdoor PwC in ensuring appointment of due diligence in the deploy- Swapna in Space Park came ment of resources”. to light after agencies unThe order said the Kerala earthed her role in the gold State IT Infrastructure Ltd smuggling case. A probe had appointed PwC as the found that it was PwC which project management unit cleared the appointment, (PMU) in the Space Park based on alleged recommenproject and executed an dation from the chief minisagreement with them. ter’s former principal secre“As per the terms of the tary, M Sivasankar. EX P RE S S N EW S S ERVICE @ Kochi Bharatiya Kisan Union members protest after the police imposed Section 144 at the Ghazipur border, during their Delhi Chalo march against the new farm laws, in New Delhi on Monday | PTI Ministers in huddle to set up talks table Home Minister Amit Shah could open dialogue; farmers firm on repeal of three new farm sector laws E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi/Chandigarh Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar for the second time within 24 hours on Monday as the farmers’ protest entered its fourth day showing , no signs of abating. Sources said the government is ready to set up a talks table with the farmers unconditionally but is against repealing the three new farm sector reform laws. They added that Shah may hold talks with the protesting farmers in Delhi on Tuesday or the day after. Buta Singh, president of the B h a r a t i ya K i s a n U n i o n , claimed he received a phone call from Shah to resolve the issue but the minister’s office denied the conversation. “I spoke to Shah and he invited the farmers organisations for talks without pre-conditions. A formal invite is yet to arrive. If we get it, then we will decide accordingly said Buta Singh. ,’’ Also, former Punjab minister and senior BJP leader Sur- Moderna shot 100% efficacy in severe cases raises the bar E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi US-based biotech major Moderna on Monday said its Covid vaccine candidate COVE showed 100% efficacy in severe cases, while it was 94.1% effective overall, as final results of of its phase 3 study in the US came in. Of the 30,000 who participated in its phase 3 study in the US, 196 developed Covid-19. However, 185 of them had received a placebo (dummy drug) while just 11 got the real vaccine. In all, 30 participants got severely ill, including one who died. But all 30 got dummy shots, indicating the va c c ine w as 100% effective against the novel coronavirus. “We have already, just in the trial, have already saved lives. Just imagine the impact then multiplied to the people who can get this vaccine,” said Dr Tal Zaks, the company’s chief medical officer. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency use authorisation for its vaccine. Meanwhile, the cost of the Oxford vaccine in the Indian open market is expected to be $4-6. jit Kumar Jayani said he was the conduit for the call between Shah and Singh. “I made Buta Singh speak to Amit Shah. A formal letter inviting farmers for talks will be issued without any conditions, as we met minister Narendra Singh Tomar,” he said. A host of issues were discussed at the meeting Shah had with Tomar, sources said, including the politicisation of the protests, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised in Varanasi. The sparring match between Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar and his ‘Modi must listen to our Mann ki Baat’ The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella body of 250 farmer unions, criticised the stout defence of the new farm laws, saying it was the turn of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to their Mann Ki Baat Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh over the protests also came up for discussion. The meeting happened at a time when the protesting farmers have threatened to block five entry points — Sonipat, Rohtak, Jaipur, Ghaziabad-Hapur and Mathura — into the Capital. Meanwhile, Sombir Sangwan, an independent MLA from the Dadri segment in Charkhi Dadri, announced support to the agitation. He heads the the Sangwan Khap that has influence in 40 villages in Bhiwani and Dadri districts. For his part, Capt Amarinder Singh asked the Centre to listen to the farmers. “It is the job of the government to listen to its people. If farmers are joining the agitation from so many states, then they must be really upset,” he said. As for the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella body of 250 farmer unions, it said: “Our demand for the withdrawal of the new laws is not negotiable.” PM soft on agitators, harsh on Oppn spreading canards N a m i ta B a jpa i @ Lucknow Amid a battle of perception on the three new farm reform bills, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday tore into the Opposition for allegedly misguiding the farmers by spreading canards in the name of baseless futuristic lurking threats to their interests. The PM, however, reached out to the agitating farmers, saying they cannot be blamed for the protests as they were misled by vested interests. Modi was addressing a gathering in Varanasi during a visit to his Parliamentary constituency to take part in the Dev Today we are now working to relieve the stress on farmers and our intent is as pure as river Ganga and as holy as Kashi - Narendra Modi, Prime Minister THE high expectations of a closure to the three-decadelong uncertainty on film star Rajinikanth’s decision to take the political plunge was put on hold, yet again, as he did not say anything concrete during his meeting with district secretaries of the Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM) on Monday . Addressing reporters at his Poes Garden residence after the meeting, Rajinikanth said, “District secretaries have expressed their opinion and I have shared my views as well. Whatever my decision would be, they have assured me that they will stand by me. I will take a decision as soon as possible.” But a few district secretaries, without mincing words, said that Rajinikanth shouldn’t take longer than this to announce his party A . few even went to the extent of saying they would project the actor as the chief ministerial candidate as only that will help them garner votes now. But the actor merely said that he would take a decision at an appropriate time and urged the functionaries to carry out public services without fail. He also asked them to celebrate his birthday , which falls on December 12, by offering assistance to the needy and not by pasting post, ers and ads. TNIE contacted several RMM functionaries who said that Rajinikanth had expressed his inability to campaign, citing the Covid situation, and that he was reluctant to conduct a digital campaign. Speculation is rife that the actor has indirectly disclosed his decision to put an end to his political entry . “We hope he will make it public within a couple of days, but till he discloses his decision, the uncertainty will continue in the minds of Rajinikanth’s fans,” said a functionary who attended the meeting. express read Cyclonic storm: Red alert sounded in 4 dists T’Puram: The depression formed over the south Bay of Bengal will intensify into a deep depression in the next 12 hours and then a cyclonic storm by Tuesday night. The Met department has sounded a red alert in, Kollam, Alappuzha Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, warning of extreme heavy rainfall. | P5 State’s Covid count crosses 6 lakh-mark T’Puram: The total cases of Covid-19 reported in the state crossed the six lakh-mark on Monday and stood at 6,02,982. With 3,382 more testing positive and 6,055 recovering from the disease, the active cases fell to 61,894 on the day. The state has decided to stockpile protective gears like PPE kits, N95 masks, surgical gloves and others against Covid-19. P4 ED reaches ULCCS HQ in Vadakara Nod for probe into KSITIL appointments E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kozhikode Rajinikanth’s decision to take the political plunge put on hold again S K U M ARE S A N @ Chennai Deepavali celebrations on 84 ghats of the Ganga illuminated with around 15 lakh earthen lamps. “New laws have been brought to realise the promises we made to the farmers of our country. Policies are being framed not to deceive the farmers but with honesty and transparency Modi said. ,” Criticising the previous governments for allegedly deceiving farmers through subsidies, whose benefits never reached them, the PM said: “I feel the farmers should not be blamed for the agitation. It is natural for them to be suspicious as they have suffered deception for decades in the past.” @ T’Puram OFFICIALS from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) visited the Uralung al Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS) headquarters near Vadakara on Monday and spent two hours inspecting files, part i c u l a rl y i n c o m e t a x statements. The visit is learnt to be in connection with the alleged role of the chief minister’s additional private secretary , C M Raveendran, in awarding project contracts for the ULCCS in the state and outside. Opposition parties have alleged that Raveendran, a native of Orkatteri near Vadakara, is the key person in helping the society land contracts flouting ● More on P5 norms. THE state government has given the vigilance department the nod to probe the alleged irregularities in the appointments made by the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL). Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had lodged a complaint with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seeking an investigation after the appointment of Swapna Suresh at the KSITIL’s Space Park project turned controversial. The vigilance had launched a probe in October against the CM’s former principal secretary and IT secretary, M Sivasankar, over his involvement in KSITIL appointments. ● More on P5 conspiracy angle in KSFE raid a genuine doubt, says chairman “None of the vigilance findings, as reported by the media, were proved true in our audit. Then why did the sleuths convey false information?” asked Peelipose Thomas ‘unholy nexus’ Ideologies take back seat, parties strike deals to bring down frontrunner G e o r g e P o i k ay i l @Kasaragod With just two weeks to go for the local body elections, the BJP in Kasaragod is, it seems, still in fire fighting mode, suspending members and disbanding committees because they are either in cahoots with UDF or LDF. Here, it disbanded its East Eleri panchayat committee for not fielding candidates. However, in Kamballur (ward 14) panchayat, not only has BJP not fielded candidates, but its workers are also openly canvassing for the candidate of Democratic Development Front (DDF) – Congress rebel group. DDF and BJP even organised a joint poll convention in the ward. DDF is contesting the polls in East Eleri in alliance with LDF LSG ELECTIONS 2020 Parties strike deal with one another, allow members to contest as independent candidates to evade charges of ‘unholy nexus’ and the common rival of the three fronts in the panchayat is the Congress. LDF has fielded five candidates in the 16-mem- In Nileshwar municipality, BJP has not fielded candidates in 12 wards, where UDF is the main challenger to LDF ber panchayat, while DDF has fielded 12. From the outside, it may appear DDF has violated the pre- poll pact by fielding a candidate against LDF in Kamballur, currently held by CPM. However, the Congress has alleged that by fielding a candidate, DDF, with BJP’s support, has made the contest a three-cornered fight, eventually helping LDF. “In Kamballur, Congress was in direct contest with LDF. But DDF fielded a candidate to split Congress votes and ensure LDF’s victory,” said Thomas Mathew, the lone Congress member to win in East Eleri in 2015. “BJP is playing second fiddle to help LDF win,” he said. While it faces an allegation of playing along with LDF in East Eleri, in Bedadka – a red bastion – BJP is accused of joining hands with UDF to de● More on P5 feat LDF.
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