thrissur 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 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ 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 xpress N ews S ervice @ 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 for- Moderna shot: 100% efficacy in severe cases E xpress N ews S ervice @ 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 vaccine was 100% effective against the novel coronavirus. mal 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 Surjit 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 ‘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 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 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. Uncertainty looms over Rajini's political entry S K U MA R E S A N @ Chennai 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 gar ner 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 posters and ads. 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, PM 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. Modi, 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 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.” express read Cyclonic storm: Red alert in four districts in Kerala T’Puram: The depression formed over the south Bay of Bengal will intensify into a cyclonic storm by Tuesday night. The IMD has sounded a red alert in Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. P5 State’s Covid count breaches 6 lakh-mark; 3,382 test +ve T’Puram: The total cases of Covid-19 reported in the state crossed the six lakhmark 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. P4 Indian economy to contract 9% this year, says S&P New Delhi: S&P Global Ratings retained its forecast of 9% contraction in the Indian economy for the fiscal, saying though there are now upside risks to growth but it will wait for more signs that Covid cases have stabilised or fallen. ‘unholy nexus’ Ideologies take back seat, only win matters in Ksgd G e o rge 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 Democrat- LSG ELECTIONS 2020 Parties strike deal with one another, allow members to contest as independent candidates to evade charges of ‘unholy nexus’ ic 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 and the common rival of the three fronts in the panchayat is the Congress. LDF has fielded five candi- In Nileshwar municipality, BJP has not fielded candidates in 12 wards, where UDF is the main challenger to LDF dates in the 16-member 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 defeat LDF. ● More on P5 ED at ULCCS headquarters THE Kerala government has barred consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Pvt Ltd from joining any of the state projects under the electronics and information technology department for two years. The government took the decision after finding serious lapses committed by PwC in appointing Swapna Suresh — key accused in the smuggling of gold through the diplomatic channel — as Space Park project’s operations manager. The order, issued on Friday, described the appointment as a “failure on the part of PwC in ensuring due diligence in the deployment of resources”. The order said the Kerala State IT Infrastructure Ltd had appointed PwC as the project management unit (PMU) in the Space Park project and executed an agreement with them. “As per the terms of the contract, the entire responsibility to satisfy the credentials and integrity of the resource persons lies upon PwC. However, it’s seen that PwC didn’t perform a comprehensive background check including educational qualifications in the case of appointing an individual in the Space Park’s PMU. This is a serious breach of contractual obligations on the part of PwC,” the order said. The government has also decided not to extend the contract with PwC as the PMU for the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) project. The contract expired on Monday . The backdoor appointment of Swapna in Space Park came to light after agencies unearthed her role in the gold smuggling case. A probe found that it was PwC which cleared the appointment, based on alleged recommendation from the chief minister’s former principal secretary, M Sivasankar. The ED officials inspected the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society headquarters on Monday. The move is in connection with the alleged role of C M Raveendran in awarding contracts for ULCCS. P5 Probe on KSITIL appoinments The 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. P5 ‘A genuine doubt’ KSFE chairman Peelipose Thomas said on Monday that the alleged conspiracy angle behind the vigilance raid on KSFE was not a wild argument but a genuine doubt considering the growth in its business.
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