KOZHIKODE l Thursday l January 07, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION Fuel price nears all-time high as oil cos hike rates Petrol price was hiked by 26 paise a litre and diesel by 25 paise, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies Increase in tandem with crude oil prices Impact on India’s Import bill The price change was effected by state-owned fuel retailers after a rise in crude prices. Brent crude rose to $53.94 a barrel on Wednesday on the back of Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut daily production by 1 million barrels. The highest petrol price in India was recorded on October 4, 2018 when one litre cost C91.34 in Mumbai. At that time, Brent was trading at $85.45 ■ ■ ■ A84.35 To cool prices, the government had in 2018 cut excise duty According to reports, every dollar per barrel increase in crude prices will raise India’s oil import bill by C10,700 crore Industry data show that US crude stockpiles fell last week, which further aided the surge in crude prices in the international market The price of one litre of petrol in kozhikode on Wednesday 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 origin tracing WHO rebukes China over blocking virus probe team Express News Service Months after grandstanding at the World Health Organisation, saying it was ready allow an expert team to probe the origins of the deadly coronavirus, China denied them entry drawing a rare re, buke from WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Better known as China’s poodle, Tedros said, “Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China. I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute, but had been in contact with senior Chinese officials.” In what was seen as sharp line, given his pro-China leaning, Tedros said he had ‘made it clear’ that the mission was a priority for the WHO. Tedros had last year failed to take China to task for delayed reporting of the outbreak and kept dragging his feet on declaring it a pandemic, drawing international ridicule. The virus has since infected over 85 million people worldwide and killed close to 2 million. Central team to visit state to assess Covid situation T’Puram: A central team will visit the state on Friday to assess the situation. According to the Union health ministry, the state is “reporting very high daily new Covid cases in the past many days” and the team that will arrive on Friday will review the public health interventions made by the state government for the management of Covid-19 spread. Eye on polls, state gives Sabari rail green light EXPRESS NE W S SERVICE @ T’Puram IN what could be termed as the latest course correction by the Pinarayi Vijayan government, after its stance on women’s entry had antagonised Ayyappa devotees, the Cabinet on Wednesday decided to put the `2,815-crore Sabari rail project back on track. The state will fund half of the project through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The decision to restart the long-pending project aimed at facilitating the Sabarimala pilgrimage also comes with an eye on the upcoming assembly elections, especially with the Central Travancore region having favoured LDF considerably in the recent local body polls. While being a boon for passengers visiting the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple, the rail project will also pave the way for the development of the southeastern part of the state. The proposed 111-kilometre line from Angamaly in Ernakulam district to Erumeli in Kottayam district was announced during the 1997-98 railway budget. It was put in the cold storage after differences surfaced over its cost. In the meantime, the project cost has ballooned from `517 crore to `2,815 crore. Currently, only seven kilometres between Angamaly and Kalady has been completed. The Railways had insisted on the state sharing 50 per cent of the cost. Though the chief minister had requested the prime minister to direct the Railways to bear the entire cost considering the importance of the hill shrine as a national pilgrimage centre, the response wasn’t favourable. ● More on P4 111-km line A2,815 cr runs from Angamaly to Erumeli is the estimated cost of the project 50% of the total project cost will be borne by the state govt through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board Walayar case: High Court quashes 50 49 Democrats set to acquittal of four, orders retrial DEMOCRAT 51 NEEDED FOR CONTROL REPUBLICAN control Senate too Express News service The Democratic Party is on course to taking control of the Senate, which is crucial for United States Presidentelect Joe Biden to push his legislative agenda, with the Georgia elections tipping the b a l a n c e i n t h e p a r t y ’s favour. Major US media outlets have already declared Pastor Raphael Warnock as the winner, while fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff is comfortably leading in the second seat over Republican Senator David Perdue. Warnock beat Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler to become the first African-American to represent Georgia — a slavery state in the US Civil War — in the US Senate. He is also the first Democrat to win the Senate race from Georgia in over 20 years. Warnock Ossoff The election in Georgia is being rerun thanks to the state’s rule that a candidate must take 50% of the vote to win. In the November 2020 general election, none of the candidates could meet that threshold. As things stand now, Democrats would need to take both the seats in Georgia to gain full control of Congress, while the Republicans need to win just one to retain the Senate. Ossoff has declared victory but no major news outlet has projected him as the winner. Asks them to appear before trial court on Jan 20, slams state police and prosecution E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi THE High Court on Wednesday quashed the Palakkad Special Court’s order acquitting all the four accused in a case in which two minor Dalit girls were found hanging in their makeshift house at Walayar in Palakkad in 2017. The HC ordered a retrial in the case and directed the accused to appear before the trial court on January 20. The court held that the acquittal of the accused persons by the trial court could not be solely due to want of adequate evidence. It was mainly because of the dereliction of duty by the officials in the trial process. Coming down heavily on the Kerala Police for the faulty investigation in the case, the court described the initial part of the investigation as “utterly disgusting”. It observed that despite a reasonably good job done by DySP M J Sojan, who was deputed to investigate the cases almost a week after the younger girl’s death, he could not gather Two girls, aged 13 and nine, were found hanging inside their one-room house 52 days apart — elder girl on January 13, 2017. HC says the acquittal of the accused persons by the trial court was mainly because of the dereliction of duty by the officials @ New Delhi The Supreme Cour t on Wednesday refused to stay new laws introduced in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to punish interfaith marriages based on religious conversion but agreed to examine them. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde issued notices to both state governments on petitions chall e n g i n g t h e l o ve j i h a d ordinance in Uttar Pradesh and the Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 in Uttarakhand. The court also issued notice to the Centre on two petitions filed by advocate Vishal Thakre and Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace. Thakre’s PIL said, “The Ordinance passed by the State of Uttar Pradesh and law passed by Uttarakhand are against the public policy and society at large and violates basic structure of the Constitution.” Senior advocate C U Singh, who appeared for Setalvad’s NGO, sought a stay on the UP ordinance, saying “Rampaging mobs are moving around lifting people from marriage ceremonies. This ordinance requires prior reporting of marriages and the burden of proof is on the individual.” any proper scientific evidence. The court also flayed the trial judge and observed that he failed to perform a proactive role at the time of examining the evidence. Two girls, aged 13 and nine, were found hanging inside their one-room house 52 days apart --- elder girl on January 13, 2017. Post-mortem examinations confirmed that the minors were subjected to sexual assault be- Cong appoints Gehlot as observer for Kerala T’Puram: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has appointed Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, former Goa CM Luizinho Faleiro and former Karnataka deputy CM G Parameswara to oversee the assembly election campaigning in Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Pondicherry, said a communique by AICC organising general secretary K C Venugopal. The move comes close on the heels of the setback the Congress-led UDF suffered in the civic polls. THE Neyyattinkara land dispute saga that ended in the tragic death of Rajan and his wife Ambili a couple weeks ago has taken a fresh turn. A report by the Neyyattinkara tahsildar on Wednesday found out that the disputed four cents of land belongs to neighbour Vasantha and Rajan and his family had “encroached” on it one-and-half years ago. The report ruled out Rajan’s claim that the property was poram- fore their deaths. The accused, Valiya Madhu and Kutti Madhu, are close relatives of the girls’ mother while Shibu is a former co-worker of her parents. Pradeep Kumar, who died by suicide when the case was pending at the High Court, had lived in the area. The court said that despite the major finding in the postmortem examination report of the victim, none of the respon- sible persons paid any attention to find out what could have been the root cause for the elder girl’s suicide. The investigation was in cold storage until the younger girl was found hanging on March 4, 2017. The bench comprising Justice A Hariprasad and Justice M R Anitha held that the prosecution can file an application before the Special Court under Section 173 (8) of CrPC, if required. P4 lung had ruptured as it was apparently hit with a heavy THE badlands of western Ut- object. A rod was inserted into tar Pradesh saw yet another her private parts causing fatal gangrape and murder, this damage to her internal ortime of a 50-year-old angan- gans. The autopsy said the w a d i w o rk e r i n woman died due to Badaun district, with excessive bleeding. horrific brutalities The villagers and perpetrated on her in the victim’s family a reminder of the alleged SHO RavinThe 50-year-old Nirbhaya case. dra Pratap Singh did woman, who had The woman was al- gone to a temple not reach the spot on Sunday, was legedly raped and even after a combrutalised within a found dead under plaint was lodged. mysterious temple premises by Initial investigation circumstances. three men, including revealed the victim’s Family members the priest, and left to body was sent for have accused the die outside her house temple priest and post-mortem on Monon Sunday While the his accomplices of day after noon, 18 . priest, Baba Satyhours after the raping and anarayan Das, is on incident. murdering her the run, the other two UP CM Yogi Adityperpetrators — Ved SSP Sankalp Sharma anath has ordered an Ram and Yashpal — inquiry into the incihave been arrested. The inci- dent by the Special Task Force dent was reported from a vil- of UP Police and directed the lage in the Ughaiti police ADG of Bareilly zone to substation area in Badaun. mit a detailed report. SHO The victim’s post-mortem Singh has been suspended. examination revealed grievFour teams have been ous injuries in her private formed to nab the priest and a parts. Her left ribs and a leg bounty of `50,000 has been anwere also broken while one nounced on his arrest. N a m i ta B a j pa i @ Lucknow GREENER PASTURES Aslam N M, a Gulf returnee, and Ashiq T, a BCom student, plant paddy seedlings in a field at Aavalapandy near Kozhikode on Wednesday. Many youths in the rural areas of the state are taking up farming following the Covid-19 crisis | T P Sooraj Tahsildar says disputed land belongs to Vasantha E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @T’Puram Says none of the officials paid any attention to find out the cause for the elder girl’s suicide Palakkad: Reiterating that she has no faith in the state police, the girls’ mother said the police’s lapses in the investigation had led to the acquittal of all four accused. “We want a court-monitored probe. We’ll meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and demand a CBI probe,” she said. Another u.p. horror as woman raped, killed in temple Neyyattinkara couple suicide E X PRESS READ Flays trial judge and observes he failed to perform a proactive role while examining evidence We are happy that the High Court has quashed the special court’s verdict acquitting the accused. We will also petition the government demanding a CBI probe — C R Neelakantan, patron, Walayar Neethi Samara Samithi No stay on anti-love jihad law, but SC to examine it Express News Service No faith in cops, want CBI probe, says mother #justiceForWalayarSisters boke (excess gover nment) land. The report, submitted to District Collector Navjyot Khosa, said Vasantha had bought the land from one Sugandhi, who had procured it from three original title deed holders. Vasantha had bought the land paying the price in cash. However, the tahsildar has asked the government to verify whether the original title holders had acquired the land illegally . The collector has handed over the report to state government for further action. Revenue officials said Rajan had filed an RTI in the Neyyat- Yet to register case The police are yet to register a case against Vasantha, and ASI Anilkumar, whose attempts to snatch the cigarette lighter from Rajan’s hand allegedly led to the fire that killed couple. tinkara taluk office in September 2020 seeking details of the ownership of the land after Vasantha filed a case in the Neyyattinkara munsiff court seeking his eviction. However, officers reportedly misinformed him that the land belonged to three people, S Sukumaran Nair, K Kamalakshi and K Vimala. Therefore, Rajan had claimed the land as poramboke as he had received legal opinion that the title deed holders had abandoned the said plot. TV ads promoting superstition illegal, says Bombay High Court The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has ruled that television advertisements to promote certain articles claiming they have miraculous or supernatural properties are illegal
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