HUBBALLI TUESDAY JANUARY 05, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 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 Dosing for Oxford vaccine different for tests, rollout WHY REGULATORY NOD TO VACCINES IS UNDER PUBLIC SCRUTINY COVISHIELD Serum Institute of India submitted immunogenicity data of only about 185 people from phase 2 trial Not 28 days, regulator okayed second shot in 4-12 week interval S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi 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 Talks fail again as farmers, Centre harden stance EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ 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. 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 Sources said the talks began with the government categorically stating the laws cannot be repealed but it is open to amendments.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 ministers. “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 farm 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. After the meeting, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, “The fact that the farmers are talking to us shows that they trust the government. We are hopeful all issues would be resolved after the next meeting.” Harinder Singh Lakhowal of BKU Punjab said the only agenda for the January 8 meeting is the repeal of laws. Hannan Mollah of All India Kisan Sabha said, “The agitation will not be withdrawn until laws are repealed.” 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 @ Bengaluru THE Karnataka Government on Monday received `769 crore from the Centre as part of its 10th weekly instalment to meet the GST compensation shortfall. Of the total `6,000 crore released by the Centre, `5,516.60 crore is for 23 states and `483.40 crore for three Union Territories of Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Puducherry . Government sources said the 10th instalment of `769 crore is more or less the same as the earlier instalments, which were in the range of `600 crore to `700 crore. The Centre stated that a special borrowing window was set up in October 2020 to meet the estimated shortfall of `1.10 lakh crore in revenues because of implementation of GST. The Centre is borrowing on behalf of the States and UTs and has completed 10 rounds. The states started receiving the funds from October 23, 2020 onwards. So far, `60,000 crore has been raised by the Centre through the special borrowing window at an average interest rate of 4.6892 per cent. The Centre has also granted permission to the states to borrow an equivalent to 0.50 per cent of the GSDP additionally to help them mobilise further financial resources. Under this, Karnataka is allowed to borrow `9,018 crore. 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 Fierce fightback by Bharat Biotech, says it doesn’t deserve the backlash EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ 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 vaccines including Covaxin, were “safe, just like water”. Addressing a virtual press meet, Ella said his company had carried out “200 per cent honest clinical trials”, had an established track record of producing 16 safe and ef- ficacious vaccines, and 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 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 EXPRESS READ PM wishes DVS a speedy recovery Chhota Rajan gets 2 years’ jail for extortion Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday wished ailing Union minister D V Sadananda Gowda a speedy recovery. “The PM has advised Gowda to take rest,” his confidant said. P4 Mumbai: A CBI court on Monday sentenced gangster Chhota Rajan and three others to two years in jail in an extortion case. They were charged with trying to extort D26 crore from builder Nandu Wajekar. State gets `769 cr as GST compensation shortfall EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE No efficacy data from the vaccine’s phase 3 trial in India 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 P7 available information. PROPERTY TAX ALL SET TO GO UP IN PANCHAYAT LIMITS A S H W I N I M S R I PA D @ Bengaluru THE State Government is all set to increase the property tax within Panchayat limits, and over 91,000 panchayat members, who were elected recently will have the task of passing the reso, lution to increase tax slabs in their Panchayat limits. As per the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, taxes have to be revised once in two years. While some Gram Panchayats have done it, a majority of them have not for the last many years. Rural Development Panchayat Raj (RDPR) officials said that they need Rs 911 crore annually to pay the salaries of all panchayat employees, but the local bodies have not been able to meet the target. This year, Rs 248 crore was collected as against a target Rs 666 crore. This apart, there is also a balance of Rs 1,206 crore from previous years. Every year, though the target is around Rs 600 crore, panchayat collect Rs 400 crore. This year, tax collection is lower because of Covid. P3 quoted him as saying. On Covaxin’s efficacy he 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. WIKILEAKS UK judge blocks extradition of ‘suicidal’ Julian Assange to US EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE 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. Confident BSY makes first move to take along all sections of BJP MLAs EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru A confident and reinvigorated Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, backed by the BJP state executive and core committees that met at Shivamogga till Sunday started meeting party MLAs , on Monday to take into confidence all sections of the party and to hear their grievances. The marathon meetings will continue on Tuesday too. On Monday legislators from Kaly, ana Karnataka, Mumbai-Karnataka, central Karnataka and coastal Karnataka regions dis- cussed with the chief minister various issues related to their constituencies. On Tuesday, Yediyurappa will meet MLAs from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Malnad and other districts. These meetings are being seen as an attempt to pacify the MLAs, some of whom had complained about their constituen- cies not getting enough funds for development works. The CM reportedly explained to them that the state is facing a financial crisis because of Covid and floods, and that is the reason he has not been able to release funds as per allocations made in the last year’s budget. He assured the MLAs that he YATNAL QUESTIONS VIJAYENDRA’S INTERFERENCE Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa advised Vijayapura MLA Basavaraj Patil Yatnal not to make allegations that may embarrass the party and government. During the meeting, Yatnal is said to have accused Yediyurappa’s son Vijayendra of interfering in the government, and added that everything has to go through Vijayendra, sources said | P4 will fulfil their demands in this year’s budget as the state’s finances are already showing signs of recovery The focus of . Budget 2021-22 will be the health sector, he told them. After the meeting, Kalaburagi South MLA Dattatreya Patil Revoor, who is also president of the Kalyana Karnataka Region Development Board (KKRDB), Sedam MLA Rajkumar Patil Telkur and Kalaburagi Rural MLA Basavaraj Mattimudu told TNIE that the government has sanctioned `1,170 crore to KKRDB as against the demand P4 of `1,500 crore. “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. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, and Deputy CMs Govind Karjol and Laxman Savadi at the meeting with BJP MLAs in Bengaluru on Monday | NAGARAJA GADEKAL Children seen wearing reflective jackets to ward off leopards | EXPRESS Leopard attacks? Reflective jacket is the answer to protect children M E E R A B H A R D W A J @ Bengaluru IF children and elderly people walk about in orange-coloured reflective jackets in Tumakuru district, there is a reason. This is the forest officials’ novel scheme to scare away the leopards. Young children have been victims of leopard attacks in towns and villages, frequented by these spotted big cats. In view of this continuing problem, 1,000 reflective jackets are being issued to children and the elderly in five affected taluks of the district. This distribution scheme is being taken up in the taluks of Kunigal, Gubbi, Tiptur, Turvukere and Tumakuru Rural that have been severely affected by the incursion of leopards in human settlements. The leopards here usually inhabit rocky terrains and come out in search of stray dogs in villages. And many a time, children playing in the vicinity have become victims. For the leopards, kids look like small prey. Recently, a few children were attacked and this has spurred the district officials to l a u n c h t h i s i n n o v a t iv e scheme. Speaking to TNIE, Girish, DCF Tumakuru, said, the orange-coloured jackets are made of synthetic material and are P5 reflective.
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