thrissur l tuesday l January 05, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l 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 Avian flu: 46k birds set to be culled in state Kerala reports 6 cases of UK strain 2-yr-old girl among infected; treatable but need to be careful, says Health Min Shailaja E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Alappuzha/T’Puram AFTER avian flu virus was found in the ducks that died in large numbers last week, the Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) decided to begin mass culling of birds in the Kuttanad region on Tuesday. The National Institute of HighSecurity Animal Diseases in Bhopal identified the presence of H5N8 strain of the virus in the samples sent from the state. Minister for Forests, Animal Husbandry Dairy Development , and Zoos, K Raju, said the situation is under control and there is no need to panic. “The loss incurred by the poultry farmers due to the mass culling will be compensated by the state government,” he added. More than 25,000 ducks died due to the disease at Nedumudi, Pallippad, Thakazhi and Karuvatta in Alappuzha and Neendoor in Kottayam. The AHD has opened control rooms in the district veterinary offices. Chief veterinary officers will oversee the culling of ● More on P4 birds. THE state health department came under added pressure on Monday after six UK returnees tested positive for the new variant of Covid-19 virus, considered to be more contagious. T wo p e o p l e e a c h f r o m Kozhikode — including a twoyear-old girl — and Alappuzha, and one each from Kottayam and Kannur are infected. Health Minister K K Shailaja said all infected people have been isolated in hospitals while their contacts are under surveillance. “The new virus strain is highly contagious. It is treat- able but we need to be careful,” said Shailaja, who urged the recent returnees from the UK to come forward and inform the health department. As of Monday Kerala has , 63,135 Covid-19 patients, with the test positivity rate still hovering above the 9% mark. Following a national alert on December 23, Kerala has been monitoring the passengers reaching from European countries and found 39 infected, but not with the new variant. Their samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology Pune, for genome , sequencing to find out wheth- er they are infected with the new variant. The first 12 samples had turned negative for the UK strain. As many as 38 people have been found infected nationally with the new strain in the tests conducted at the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) of labs as of Monday . The Civil Aviation ministry has extended its temporary ban on flight operations between India and the UK to January 7. The ban was introduced on December 23. As many as 1,900 people landed in the state from Europe between P2 December 9 and 23. Doesn’t deserve backlash: Bharat Biotech E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi 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 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 Pfiz- er, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca had proven efficacy, while all other vaccines 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 re c o rd o f p ro d u c i n g 1 6 safe and efficacious vaccines, and was transparent with all data. 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 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 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. HC cancels Thwaha’s bail, directs him to surrender E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Kochi Setting aside NIA Special Court’s order granting bail to Thwaha Fasal, the second accused in the Pantheerankavu Maoist case, the High Court on Monday directed him to surrender before the Ernakulam Special Judge. If Thwaha fails to surrender, the special court should take steps to secure him in custody, HC said. But the court allowed first accused Alan Shuhaib, a law student and only 19 at the time of FIR registration, to contin- ue on bail as “there are numerous mitigating circumstances in his favour”. A division bench comprising Justice A Hariprasad and Justice K Haripal issued the order on an appeal filed by NIA. “Materials placed before the court, seized from him (Shuhaib), are less serious, compared to the materials seized from the second accused,” the court said. The Bench also directed the special court to complete the trial in the case within one P4 year. EXPRESS READ Farmers, govt harden stance, talks fail again British court blocks Assange extradition New Delhi/Chandigarh: 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. 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. Kothamangalam church case: Govt files appeal Kochi: The state government on Monday approached the High Court challenging a single judge’s order directing the DIG of Police, CRPF, Thiruvananthapuram, to take over the Kothamangalam Marthoma church and its movables if the court’s order was not complied with by the Ernakulam district collector by January 8. P4
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