bhubaneswar l tuesday l december 01, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late 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 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 ■ 78-yr-old ‘Get well soon’, Trump tweets ■ ■ 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!” 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 NAYAGARH MINOR MURDER NCPCR seeks report, BJP team meets parents E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar 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 Stage set for talks with farmers today Late-night invite sent to unions for dialogue at 3 pm at Vigyan Bhavan; farmers firm on demand to nix 3 new laws E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi/Chandigarh With the farmers’ protest entering its fourth day on Monday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar sent out a late-night invite to the unions to come for talks at 3 pm at Vigyan Bhavan on Tuesday . Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Tomar for the second time in two days to find a way out of the stand-off at Delhi’s borders. Sources said the government was ready for unconditional talks on all matters but was firmly against repealing the three new farm sector reform laws that are at the centre of the agitation. The exploratory exercise to set up a talks table began after Shah reportedly spoke to Buta Singh, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. Singh claimed he received a phone call from Shah to resolve the issue, though 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 Singh said. ,’’ Confirmation of the conversation came from former Punjab minister and senior BJP leader Surjit Kumar Jayani who said he was the conduit. “I made Buta Singh speak to Amit Shah,” 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 ‘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 Moderna shot 100% efficacy in severe cases E x p r e ss N e ws Se 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 came in. Of the 30,000 who participated in its phase 3 study , 196 developed Covid-19. However, 185 of them had received a placebo (dummy drug) while just 11 got the real vaccine. In all, 30 par- Power worry for State as 460MW TTPS faces closure ticipants got severely ill, including one who died. But all 30 got dummy shots, indicating the vaccine was 100% effective against the novel coronavirus. “Just in the trial, have already saved lives. Just imagine the impact when 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. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Talcher Odisha may well be staring at a huge power crisis from the beginning of 2021 as NTPC’s 460 MW Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) faces closure from January 1 for failing to fulfill the environmental conditions laid by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The CPCB had issued an ultimatum to the old power plants 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, GhaziabadHapur 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 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. “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, 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 j pa 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 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.” 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 Kerala bans PwC from IT projects for 2 yrs E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kochi The Kerala government has barred consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) from projects promoted by the Electronics and IT Department for the next two years. The gover nment said it found lapses by the consultancy firm in appointing Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the sensational gold smuggling case, as operations manager in the Space Park project under the Kerala State IT Infrastructure Ltd. “PwC didn’t perform a comto take expedient steps to upgrade and meet the emission norms including solid particulate matter (SPM), sulphur and nitrogen content, otherwise, they would be liable to be closed from December 31 this year. Since the cost of meeting the norms comes to `50 lakh per MW, it would have cost TTPS a whopping `23,000 crore to fix the deficiencies. Hence, it decided to replace its prehensive background check in the case of appointing an individual in the Space Park. This is a serious breach of contractual obligations on the part of PwC,” the order said. The government also decided not to extend the contract with PwC for the Kerala Fibre Optic Network project. The contract had expired on Monday Swapna’s appointment at . the Space Park was allegedly on the recommendation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar, also an accused in the gold smuggling existing plant with two new ones of 660 MW each in 2018. But the state gover nment proved to be a stumbling block. Even as the contract for the `9,000 crore project was awarded the same year, the state g ove r n m e n t d e l aye d t h e project clearance till February this year. It is now too late for TTPS to execute the project and NTPC’s lack of interest in the same has only made mat- case. PwC has a chequered history in India. It was the auditor of the infamous Satyam Computers, which committed one of the largest corproate frauds in Indian history in 2009 by manipulating account books. PwC was accused of colluding with the Satyam management. After a nine-year probe in 2018, Sebi banned PwC from auditing listed companies for two years. Last year, PwC was fined `230 crore by the Enforcement Directorate for violating FEMA. ters worse, sources said. TTPS was built in two phases. In 1968, four units of 60 MW each were commissioned and two more 110 MW units followed in 1982. The plant was initially being managed by erstwhile Orissa State Electricity Board. But owing to losses and less than 15 per cent plant load factor, it was sold to NTPC in 1995, when Biju Patnaik was CONtinued on: P5 the CM. THE National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Monday issued summons to the Odisha Government in connection with the sensational murder of a minor girl in Nayagarh district. Even as a delegation of BJP legislators led by leader of the party in Odisha Assembly Pradipta Naik met parents of the murdered minor girl at their Jadupur house, national spokesperson Sambit Patra submitted a memorandum to Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Priyank Kanoongo in New Delhi seeking justice for the family . The NCPCR chairperson said the panel has also sought a report from the Chief Secretary. In view of the threat to the life of the parents from the perpetrators of the crime, the Commission will send a team to Odisha for investigation soon, he told TNIE. Meanwhile, the BJP team assured parents of the girl that it will continue the fight till justice is delivered, Naik said. Reiterating his demand for a CBI probe into the mysterious murder of the child, he said a fair investigation from special investigation team constituted by the Gov- ernment is not expected as there is every possibility of influencing the investigating officers. “Investigation by a state agency into the case will not be impartial till Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo is in the Council of Ministers of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Sahoo is in a position of authority to exercise his power to manipulate the process of investigation. We will not sit in peace till he has been removed from the ministry,” Naik said. He added that his party will take the case to the Centre if the State Government refused to accept BJP demand for a CBI probe. Earlier, in his memorandum, national BJP spokesperson Patra urged NCPCR for an on-the-spot investigation to ascertain whether the vital organs of the minor girl have been removed and ascertain alleged complicity of minister Sahoo in this incident. He further requested the national panel to summon the Collector and SP of Nayagarh to appear in person and clarify about the inordinate delay in the investigation that led the parents of the victim to attempt suicide in front of the Odisha Assembly . Patra also led a demonstration near the office of the Chief Resident Commissioner, Odisha, demanding justice for the girl. Storm in Congress over ‘managed’ House stance E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar The Congress’ stand on the Nayagarh minor girl murder case in the State Assembly has raised a murmur of dissent within the party with two senior MLAs questioning the decision of Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra not to insist on the resignation of Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo and support the government’s announcement of SIT probe into the incident. Expressing unhappiness over the manner in which the issue was handled by the party in the House, Suresh Kumar Routray said Congress had raised the incident and demanded the resignation of the minister. “But CLP leader Narasingha Mishra asked us to drop the demand and participate in the Assembly proceedings after the government announced a court monitored SIT to probe,” he said. Asked whether the situation was managed by the ruling BJD, the senior Congress leader said, “Yes. What else. If it was not managed, why did we remain silent.” Routray also targeted president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee Niranjan Patnaik over the issue. “The OPCC president had written to all district presidents asking them to launch agitation over the issue. But after the CLP leader asked us to stop raising the issue in the Assembly the , OPCC president also asked us not to go ahead with the agitation,” he said. Supporting Routray senior legislator Santosh Singh Salu, ja said the party MLAs had to remain silent on the instrucCONtinued on: P5 tions of the CLP leader. Cross-border Terror is the biggest challenge “Terrorism is truly the enemy of humanity. It is a scourge we need to collectively combat,” Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said at the virtual SCO meet hosted by India| P7
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