tirupati l tuesday l january 05, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Missing For two Months The billionaire has been under the Chinese government’s scrutiny since the suspension of his Ant Group’s $37-bn IPO Skipped final episode of his own show Chinese authorities after Ma’s empire Curiously, the abrupt suspension of the IPO came a month after Jack Ma publicly criticised Chinese regulators for “lagging the times”. While Ma has not been seen in public for the past two months, reports say he did not even show up for the final episode of his own talent show, Africa’s Business Heroes, and an Alibaba executive had taken his place ■ ■ Ant Group IPO, which was to be simultaneously listed on Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses on November 5, 2020 and was touted as the world’s biggest — was halted 48 hours before going public China’s regulatory authorities are probing Alibaba, which has been asked to rejig its lending and other consumer finance operations $11 bn Loss suffered by Ma in past three months, according to Bloomberg 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 Different Oxford jab dosing for tests and actual rollout in India S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi DGP Gautam Sawang examines an advanced weapon at a firearms exhibition at the first AP Police Duty Meet in Tirupati on Monday | Madhav K Govt orders CID probe into idol vandalisation CM sees Oppn conspiracy behind attacks on temples to divert public attention E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ Vijayawada The State government on Monday ordered a CID probe into vandalisation of Rama idol in the ancient Ramatheertham temple and Subrahmanyeswara idol in Vinayaka temple in Rajamahendravaram. “Taking a serious view of the attacks on temples in the State, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered the CID probe into vandalisation of idols. With respect to attack on Ramatheertham temple, the police have intensified investigation and the culprits may be nabbed in a day or two,” said Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivasa Rao after holding a review meeting on the safety of temples with officials. The announcement came after the Chief Minister called on Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan and reportedly informed him about the recent developments in the State with particular reference to the attacks on temples. Earlier in the day Jagan al, leged that the Opposition was conspiring to divert public attention from a plethora of welfare initiatives of the State government and not even hesi- tating to create communal disharmony and disturbance with attacks on temples, while inaugurating the first AP Police Duty Meet and IGNITE symposium in Tirupati through a video conference. “This is a political guerrilla warfare by the opposition and we need to tackle the situation,” he said, advising police higher officials to focus on these issues during IGNITE. Meanwhile, the TDP Politburo expressed serious concern over the ‘unchecked and uncivilised’ attacks on temples in the State and appealed to the Centre to intervene in the matter and restore the trust of Hindus in secularism. Condemning the attacks on temples, TDP chief and Opposition Leader N Chandrababu Naidu said no one was arrested even after 127 attacks that took place on temples in AP in the past 19 months. “A CBI inquiry should be conducted into all the temple attacks,’’ he said. To buttress his claim that the Opposition was trying to divert public attention from schemes, the Chief Minister cited nine incidents where the launch of a scheme was preceded or followed by attacks on temples and false propaP5 ganda on social media. Temple security 57,584 11,577 88 No. of temples mapped No. of temples with surveillance 39,076 No. of CCTV cameras installed 159 No. of arrested Cases registered for attacks on temples Temple attacks are preceded or followed by launch of welfare schemes in the State. It is a political guerrilla warfare by the opposition and we need to tackle the situation YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chief Minister A day after the drug regulator greenlighted Covishield, a vaccine against Covid-19 produced by Serum Institute of India that could be the mainstay of the country’s immunisation drive at least initially, it emerged that the approval was for a dosing regimen that has not tested in India so far. In the phase 2 and 3 trial design of the vaccine, originally developed by AstraZeneca-Oxford University two doses were , given 28 days or four weeks apart in India. But the regulator accorded permission for the second dose to be administered 4-12 weeks apart in its letter to the company . Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin were granted restricted emergency use (REU) authorisation in India on Sunday. “The second dose should be administered between 4 to 6 weeks after the first dose,” the Drug Controller General of India’s letter said. “However there is data available for administration of the second dose up to 12 weeks after the first dose from the overseas studies,” the letter added. Experts pointed out that by allowing duration flexibility of up to 12 weeks, the regulator just followed the UK permission model to AstraZeneca’s vaccine. “Clearly, a lot of rules have been relaxed in granting the REU to the vaccine and this may also be one of them,” said an ICMR scientist who did not E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Bharat Biotech’s head Krishna Ella, whose Covaxin has been approved for restricted use as a Covid-19 jab, hit out at critics on Monday, including competitor Serum Institute of India’s (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla, saying his firm did not deserve the backlash. Poonawalla on Sunday had said that vaccines by only Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca had proven efficacy while all other vac, cines including Covaxin, were “safe, just like water”. Addressing a virtual press conference, Ella said his company had carried out “200 per cent honest clinical trials”, had an established track record of producing 16 safe and efficacious vaccines, and Covid-19 scare is unlikely to have any adverse impact on conduct of cockfights during Sankranti festivities in East and West Godavari. Cockfight organisers have already started their ground work for the final three days -- Bhogi, Sankranti and Kanuma -- when the blood sport reaches its peak. Police have already issued a stern warning that no cockfights will be allowed this Sankranti in view of Covid-19. Generally the venues of cock, fights attract punters in large numbers. Crores of rupees change hands as large scale b e t t i n g i s i nvo l v e d i n cockfights. As usual cockfights began in the twin Godavari districts with Sankranti nearing despite police raids on organisers. Notwithstanding the claim of some that they are organising cockfights during Sankranti to uphold the tradition, seizure of knives in police raids on wish to be named. “Normally, vaccines or drugs are approved under the same dosing schedule under which they have been tested in the country .” In the UK, the regulators decided to give the Oxford vaccine to people as one shot, followed by another up to 12 weeks later to extend protection to as many people as possible. But experts questioned the decision since there isn’t sufficient evidence to extend the time between injections to 12 weeks. In India, SII presented to the regulator only the immunogenicity data from 185 of the proposed 400 volunteers as part of its phase 2 trial and no efficacy data from phase 3 trial, as per publicly available information. was transparent with all data. As for Poonawalla’s barb, he said, “Covaxin has shown less than 10% adverse reactions, while others have 60-70% adverse reactions. AstraZeneca was giving 4g paracetamol to volunteers to suppress such reactions. We haven’t given paracetamol to any volunteer,” ANI quoted him as saying. I don’t know what is back up, there is no back up. People should be responsible in giving statements like these — Krishna Ella critiquing AIIMS, Delhi boss Randeep Guleria’s remark No efficacy data from the vaccine’s phase 3 trial in India Dosing schedule with 4-12 week gap have been permitted but the vaccine has been tested at a gap of only 4 weeks in India so far Covaxin Current enrolment for phase 3 trial is around 22,000 but no phase 3 efficacy data available or submitted The regulator said that the rollout of the vaccine will be in ‘clinical trial mode’ but there is no explanation yet on what it means A claim is being propagated the Whole-Virion inactivated vaccine will be effective against mutations of the virus but this is not being supported by any evidence Amid concerns regarding Covaxin’s efficacy, Ella said it is safe and the company is conducting trials in more than 12 countries apart from India. Taking a nationalistic pitch, he said, “I don’t know why Indian companies are targeted by everyone in the world.” Tearing apart Poonawalla’s claim that his risk in stockpiling 500 million doses of Covishield had paid off, Ella said it was his company that had actually taken the biggest risk. Arjitha Sevas may resume after winter Talks on agriculture reforms fail again as farmers, govt harden stance E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi/Chandigarh @Tirumala Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Executive Officer KS Jawahar Reddy has said they will take a decision on resuming Arjitha Sevas at Sri Venkateswara temple after the winter season. The TTD successfully organised Uttara Dwara Darshan for 10 days for the first time in the known history of the temple, providing hassle-free darshan to about five lakh devotees, strictly adhering to Covid-19 protocol. Briefing the media here on Monday the EO, along with Ad, ditional EO AV Dharma Reddy said after assessing the situation post winter, they will resume Arjitha Sevas. The Covid-19 vaccination is likely to be conducted in the next two months. With majority of people getting vaccinated during the drive, we can take a decision on resuming Arjitha P5 Sevas, the TTD EO said. EXPRE S S NEW S S ER V ICE The seventh round of talks between the Centre and farmers on Monday ended in a stalemate as both sides stuck to their positions on the issue of repeal of the three contentious farm laws. While the two sides agreed to meet again on Friday, the farmers said they would hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss ways to intensify their protest. Sources said the talks began with the government categorically stating the laws cannot be repealed but it is open to amendments. The farm unions rejected this saying their demand of repeal of the farm laws is non-negotiable. The government, then, attempted to hold discussions on the MSP but the protesters , would have none of it as they insisted the government must first address their demand to repeal the objectionable laws. The bitterness continued during the lunch that followed, with the farmers refusing to break bread with the minis- fighting arenas is quite common. To evade police raids, some organisers have shifted their cockfight arenas to remote hamlets. Some organisers are said to have got the clandestine support of public representatives to hold cockfights without any hurdles. Explaining their preparations for cockfights, Bangaru Raju, a trainer, said, “Training of roosters start three months before Sankranti. All steps are taken to ensure that the roostP5 ers are fighting fit. “We were not paid any money either by the Gates Foundation or the government but we still thought it was our moral responsibility to work on a Covid-19 vaccine and produced 20 million doses under risk manufacturing,” he said. SII has entered into a partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to deliver up to 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for India and other low- and middle-income countries. Wikileaks UK judge blocks extradition of ‘suicidal’ Julian Assange to US E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e Ministers and farmer union leaders pay tribute to farmers who died during the protests, at the beginning of their 7th round of talks in New Delhi on Monday | PTI ters. “You eat your food, we will eat ours,” sources quoted the union leaders as saying. This is in a sharp contrast to the camaraderie displayed on December 30, when agriculture minister Narendra Tomar and commerce minister Piyush Goyal shared the food brought by the farmers. “The government repeated everything and asked us for a point-wise discussion. Our demand is that there can no negotiations on repealing the new laws,” f ar m leader Harmeet Kadiyan said. “The government claimed many far m organizations were supporting the laws while we mentioned that an RTI has revealed the laws were passed without discussion with any farmer organization. We will go ahead with our programmes scheduled between January 6 and 20,” he added. Sources said it was Minister of State for Industries Som Prakash who convinced the farm union leaders to agree to meet again on January 8. EXPRESS READ Covid no dampener to cockfights in EG, WG @ Rajamahendravaram Covishield Serum Institute of India submitted immunogenicity data of only about 185 people from phase 2 trial Fierce fightback by Bharat Biotech, says it doesn’t deserve the backlash betting KV Sailendra Why regulatory nod to vaccines is under public scrutiny BTech Ravi sent to 14-day judicial remand H5N1 in 4 states, Kerala to cull 40,000 birds Kadapa: TDP MLC M Ravindranath Reddy alias BTech Ravi, who was arrested at Chennai airport on Sunday, was produced in Pulivendula Court on Monday. The court sent him to 14-day remand. The police shifted him to Kadapa Jail. P2 Kochi: The Kerala government said it will cull 40,000 domestic birds after an outbreak of bird flu was reported from Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have also reported cases of bird flu I-T dept conducts searches at Zee Group offices Mumbai: Income tax officials on Monday conducted a search and survey at the offices of media firm Zee Group for alleged tax evasion. Confirming the development, a company spokesperson stated, “Officials from the tax department have visited our offices, with certain queries. Our officials are providing all the required information”. A British court on Monday junked the US’ plea to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing the risk of suicide if the 49-year-old Australian is sent to US custody where he could face up to , 175 years in jail for publishing classified military information and diplomatic cables. “I have decided that extradition would be oppressive and I order his discharge,” District Judge Vanessa Baraitser at the Old Bailey court in London said in her ruling. Assange was diagnosed in December 2019 with recurrent depressive disorder, which was sometimes accompanied by hallucinations and thoughts of suicide, the judge said. Since he was arrested at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in April 2019, Assange has been held in London’s HMP Belmarsh prison. He was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail back in 2012. Although he served the whole sentence, he was not released as the extradition case was going on. The US has said it would appeal judge Baraitser’s ruling. This means Assange won’t is not likely to be freed from prison right away . Assange’s lawyers argued he was acting as a journalist. The US claims Assange conspired with an army analyst to access a classified military computer. Assange has denied this charge and claimed there is no evidence to show anyone’s safety was put at risk.
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