tirupati l tuesday l december 22, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l anantapur EDITION $ U.S. lawmakers reach deal on $900bn stimulus package Top Capitol Hill negotiators have sealed a $900-billion Covid-19 economic relief package for businesses as well as individuals Direct Benefits transfer to americans More stimulus measures on the cards The agreement, announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday, would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction ■ ■ ■ The agreement came after months of battling and posturing Delays in finalising the pact prompted the House to pass a oneday stopgap spending bill to prevent a govt shutdown on Sunday “In 31 days, when Joe Biden enters the White House, more help will be on the way,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi | P9 2nd largest Stimulus package after the $2.3-tn pact announced in March 2020 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 India imposes U.K. flight ban ‘Bhoomi Hakku - Bhoomi Rakshana’ a mega project The YSR Jagananna Saswatha Bhoomi Hakku - Bhoomi Rakshana programme taken up with the help of Survey of India, will resurvey a total of 1.26 lakh square kilometers of area, covering 47,861 village habitations, 119 urban local bodies and 2.26 crore acres of agriculture land in 17,000 villages. It will be completed by 2023 in three phases at an estimated cost of `1,000 crore by deploying 4,500 survey teams. The entire cost of the survey will be borne by the State government. Curbs from Tuesday midnight till December 31 as new Covid strain found 70% more transmissible E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi India on Monday joined a slew of nations that temporarily barred flights from the UK to firewall themselves from a highly infectious strain of Covid-19 that was recently detected in Britain. The variant, called N501Y, is 70% more transmissible than the original Covid strain, and has already been found elsewhere, including Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia. The suspension of flights comes into effect from Tuesday midnight and will continue till December 31. The decision was taken following recommendations by the Covid-19 joint monitoring group and the Covid-19 national task force whose emergency meetings were held on Monday . As a measure of abundant caution, passengers arriving from the UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or those that will reach before the ban comes into effect) will be mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests on arrival to detect Covid-19 cases. Those testing positive will be under mandatory institutional quarantine. States have been advised to also monitor those who test negative; they need to remain in isolation for at least seven days at home. Sources in the health ministry said scientists and the ICMR have sounded out to keep a watch for any new strain of Covid in any part of the country even though the pandemic seem to have stabilised in most parts of India over the last several weeks. For his part, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said there is no need to panic yet. After Britain admitted the new strain was “out of control” and Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a stay-athome lockdown, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Turkey Israel and Bul, garia announced flight restrictions to the UK. Johnson is scheduled to travel to India for the annual Republic Day parade on January 26. Aviation regulator DGCA directed all airlines to ensure that passengers travelling from the UK do not board flights from anywhere outside the UK to come to India during the suspension period. Mutated virus footprint Virgin has four weekly flights each from Delhi and Mumbai, to London 60+ l 9 cases in Denmark l in the Netherlands 1 each and Italy l 4 in Belgium l 2 in Australia First found in Kent in the UK on Sept 20, later in Whales and London. Also in Scotland in Greater Glasgow Air bubble Arrangement exists between the 2 countries Flight stats British Airways has six Delhi-London and five Mumbai-London flights each week Vistara has one daily London flight from Delhi Air India has 23 flights to the UK per week. Also started the DelhiAmritsar-Birmingham sector on December 11 Weekly flights operated by Air India and others, including Vistara, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic between India and the UK drop weeks, shedding MAR K ETS The S&P 500 Index headed to its worst 1.5%. in almost eight witnessed bloodbath while fell Indian bourses SPOO K ED 1.5%,Sensex the Nasdaq Compositeand Nifty going below 13,350 pts with plunging 1,406 points Discoms to pay for poor service E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Electricity consumers in India now have the right to uninterrupted quality power supply with the Centre , on Monday notifying the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules. The new guidelines also mandate distribution companies (discoms) to provide new connections within seven days in metro cities, 15 days in small towns, and 30 days in rural areas. Discoms that don’t meet these standards will have to pay consumers. Union minister for Power R K Singh said consumers’ rights had to be laid down in Rules since discoms were acting as monopolies and users had no alternatives. The rules stipulate that discoms must supply power on request from the occupier of any premises, and that minimum standards of service is consumers’ right. Also, discoms have to supply power 24x7, except for areas such as agriculture where continuous power is not required. Discoms are also required to put in place systems — preferably automated — for monitoring and restoring outages. Experts say new strain cannot dodge vaccines healthcare,” he added. Dr Gaurav Shar ma, a @ New Delhi / Bengaluru DST-INSPIRE Faculty Scientist at IBAB, Bengaluru, Just as we thought the end pointed out that most mutaof pandemic was in sight, a tions don’t change the virus new mutation of SARS CoV biology, whereas some can 2 — detected in the UK — modify the proteins and has brought fresh concerns. therefore their biological The discovery has also put a function, compared to the question mark over the Cov- earlier mutation. id vaccines in the works. “Coronavirus, like the flu Will the vaccines be effec- and measles viruses, is an tive against the Ribonucleic acid new strain? (RNA) virus that Mutated 17 However, exis prone to mutimes perts say the vactate much faster. cines will be ef- Researchers in Britain Researchers say fective against have found that this this variant has the new strain as particular strain have high transmissiwell. bility, 70% more mutated 17 times, Vi r o l o g i s t s than other which is more than point out that viknown strains. the number of ruses mutate all I n t h i s c a s e, mutations in SARSthe time; while eight mutations CoV-2 that they there is no need are in the spike know of for panic, there (S) protein of is no room for the virus, and complacency either. two are worrisome as they “Though the mutation is can putatively alter the said to have caused havoc in SARS-CoV-2 biology and its the United Kingdom, we infection patter ns,” he don’t have to panic,” said Dr said. T Jacob John, virologist and Dr K Srinath Reddy a sen, former professor at Chris- ior member of India’s Nat i a n M e d i c a l C o l l e g e, tional Task Force on CovVellore. id-19, said the vaccines are “However, we may have to tested for efficacy on a wide buy a couple of weeks to not range of existing variants let the virus enter and but “we have to be cautious spread fast and burden our and vigilant”. S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta & C h e ta n a B e l a g e r e App-based lending firms’ ‘excesses’ go on unabated E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada As many as 20 people have lodged complaints against the mobile app-based private lending agencies in various police stations and the cyber crime branch of Vijayawada in the past four months alleging harassment to repay the loans. The harassment of the lending agencies came to the fore as two youths died by suicide in Telangana recently . Cyber Crime Police Station Circle Inspector K Srinivasa Rao told TNIE that most of the complainants are students and private employees and they filed complaints in Penamaluru, Patamata, Krishna Lanka, SatyanarayanaP5 puram and Bhavanipuram police stations. be inspired Srikakulam cop wins accolades from Vizag DIG cate of appreciation to Krishna Murthy for his social service activities. The cop selects not less than 30 poor people every month to provide them essential commodities. He has been supporting the poor and needy people with his earnings since 2017. Speaking to TNIE, Krishna E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vizianagaram Reacting to an article with the headline ‘Srikakulam constable spends `10K every month from his salary on poor’ published in Be Inspired column of TNIE on Sunday , Visakhapatnam Range DIG LKV Ranga Rao invited K Krishna Murthy a head constable attached , to Parvatipuram town police station, to his office and felicitated him on Monday . The DIG also presented a certifi- Murthy a native of Kottugumma, da village in Veeraghattam mandal of Srikakulam district, vowed to continue his social service activities even after his retirement. “The DIG’s appreciation motivated me a lot. Henceforth, I will continue my social service activities with more vigour,” he said. Focus on keeping poor warm in winter Visakhapatnam Range DIG LKV Ranga Rao felicitates Krishna Murthy, a head constable of Parvatipuram, on Monday | Express At present, head constable Krishna Murthy lays emphasis on supplying warm clothes and blankets to the poor and other homeless people as the mercury level is dropping rapidly in North Coastal Andhra districts Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launches the YSR Bhoomi Rakshana programme at Takkellapadu village on Monday | Express A panacea for all land issues: CM E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched the YSR Jagananna Saswatha Bhoomi Hakku - Bhoomi Rakshana programme at Takkellapadu village in Jaggaiahpet mandal of Krishna district on Monday to resurvey the land for giving permanent title deeds for dispute-free land holdings. Addressing a public meeting at SGS College grounds in Jaggaiahpet, the Chief Minister described the resurvey a , first in the country and being held after 100 years, as an important step to provide a permanent solution to the land disputes spanning generations and create a tamper-proof system for maintenance of land records. The survey with millimetre precision, will use the latest technologies to make tamper-proof land records for generations. “I am immensely proud to launch yet another great initiative amidst your love and affection. No other State has dared to take up such a mammoth project. We felt it has to be implemented for the good of people,” Jagan said. P4
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