CHENNAI THURSDAY JANUARY 07, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 20 LATE 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 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 `91.34 in Mumbai. At that time, Brent was trading at $85.45 IMPACT ON INDIA’S IMPORT BILL ■ ■ ■ 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 `10,700 crore Industry data show that US crude stockpiles fell last week, which further aided the surge in crude prices in the international market `86.75 THE PRICE OF ONE LITRE OF PETROL IN CHENNAI 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 Organization, 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. A 10-member team of experts from Japan, Qatar, Germany, Vietnam, Russia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, the UK and the US was to travel to Wuhan, the epicentre of Covid-19. Since origin-tracing is complicated business, a crack team was put together for the task. Later in the day, an apparently embarrassed China acknowledged that there could be some misunderstanding over granting timely permission to WHO’s experts, but gave no indication about when it will allow them in. TN told to go back on ‘full seating’ orders EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi/Chennai DAYS after the State government increased the seating capacity in theatres from 50 to 100 per cent, the Union Government on Wednesday directed Tamil Nadu to “immediately” revoke the order and issue fresh orders complying with the Centre’s guidelines. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, in a communication addressed to State Chief Secretary K Shanmugam, said , that the GO issued by the latter was in dilution to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court 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 challenging the love jihad 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 with later reports suggesting that actor Vijay had met with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, in this regard. Vijaystarrer, Master, along with Silambarasan’s Eeswaran, is slated for release on January 13, ahead of Pongal. Many netizens on Twitter had questioned Vijay, asking if he would catch the first show, in a house-full theatre. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Theatres and Multiplexes Owners’ Association president Tirupur Subramaniam said that he was disappointed with the CenCONTINUED ON: P2 tre’s move. ANOTHER U.P. HORROR AS WOMAN RAPED, KILLED IN TEMPLE lung had ruptured as it was apparently hit with a heavy THE badlands of western object. A rod was inserted Uttar Pradesh saw yet an- into her private parts causother gangrape and murder, ing fatal damage to her inthis time of a 50-year-old an- ternal organs. The autopsy ganwadi worker in Badaun said the woman died due to district, with horexcessive bleeding. rific brutalities perThe villagers and petrated on her in a the victim’s family reminder of the alleged SHO RavinThe 50-year-old Nirbhaya case. dra Pratap Singh The woman was woman, who had did not reach the gone to a temple allegedly raped and spot even after a on Sunday, was brutalised within a found dead under c o m p l a i n t w a s temple premises by lodged. Initial inmysterious three men, includvestigation revealed circumstances. ing the priest, and Family members the victim’s body left to die outside have accused the was sent for posther house on Sun- temple priest and mortem on Monday d ay. W h i l e t h e his accomplices of afternoon, 18 hours raping and priest, Baba Satyafter the incident. murdering her anarayan Das, is on UP Chief Ministhe run, the other SSP Sankalp Sharma ter Yogi Adityanath two perpetrators — has ordered an inVed Ram and Yashpal — quiry into the incident by have been arrested. The in- the Special Task Force of UP cident was reported from a Police and directed the ADG village in the Ughaiti police of Bareilly zone to submit a station area in Badaun. detailed report. SHO Singh The victim’s post-mortem has been suspended. examination revealed grievFour teams have been ous injuries in her private formed to nab the priest and parts. Her left ribs and a leg a bounty of `50,000 has been were also broken while one announced on his arrest. N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow No stay on anti-love jihad law, but SC to examine it EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Home Affairs (MHA), dated December 28. As per the MHA guidelines, only 50 per cent attendance is allowed in theatres. “States and UTs shall not dilute the guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act in any manner,” the MHA said. The move comes in the wake of wide-spread criticism against TN’s decision of extending the seating capacity. The relaxations, announced on Monday, came after requests were made by the TN Theatre Owners’ Association to the government, 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.” SECOND DRY RUN OF VACCINE TO BE HELD TOMORROW Chennai: Tamil Nadu will conduct the second dry run of Covid-19 vaccine in all the districts of the State on January 8. The State had conducted the first rehearsal at 17 sites in five districts on Saturday and submitted its reported to the Centre | P2 KERALA BIRD FLU SCARE: CHENNAI PUT ON HIGH ALERT Chennai: In the wake of Kerala declaring bird flu (H5N8 virus strain) as a State disaster, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) officials have been told to stay on alert and check for any abnormalities in birds such as geese and broiler | P2 49 DEMOCRAT Warnock Ossoff Dems set to control Senate too EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE The Democratic Party is on course to taking control of the Senate, which is crucial for United States President-elect Joe Biden to push his legislative agenda, with the Georgia elections tipping the balance in the party’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. The election in Georgia is being rerun thanks to the state’s rule that a candidate must take KEY QUESTIONS Why the runoff? Georgia rules mandate that the winning candidate gets at least 50% of the votes polled, which did not happen in the November polls What is the situation now? Democrats are coursing towards creating a 50-50 tie with Republicans in the Senate, picking up one seat and leading in another Which party stands to gain? Democrats of course, since Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would hold the tie-breaking vote in the Senate 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 Protests after bid to seal TNTJ office SOAKED TO THE BONE Chennai received the highest single-day rainfall (123 mm) in January, in over a century on Tuesday. A shot from the Central railway station | DEBADATTA MALLICK one to retain the Senate. Ossoff has declared victory but no major news outlet has projected him as the winner. With the result of the Perdue versus Ossoff is yet to be called in, the 100-member Senate now has 50 seats for the Republican Party and 49 to the Democrats. ness in receiving the cash was short-lived. Just as they stepped out of the shop, they were confronted by officials who took away `1,000 from those who allegedly were fake beneficiaries of the PM-Kisan Scheme. The PM-Kisan scheme scam was detected earlier last year in the State, where ineligible villagers got money meant for farmers after giving a share to internet centre operators and officials. Officials had been cracking AIADMK expels worker held in Pollachi rape case EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Coimbatore/Chennai Officials on a scam-chase make a U-turn after locals protest Villagers arguing with the agriculture department officials at Kollur village near Mugaiyur in Villupuram | EXPRESS What does it mean for Trump? He is already being blamed by Republicans for mess up, as he kept peddling baseless claims that Georgia’s electoral systems were rigged, turning off the voters IT may not yet be known how many seats the DMK will contest in the 2021 polls, let alone whom it will field. However, there is one thing the cadre are sure of — party chief MK Stalin’s son, Udhayanidhi, will contest from the Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni seat. His grandfather and the late DMK patriarch, M Karunanidhi, had won from there in 1996, 2001 and 2006. The decision became clear on Tuesday evening, when Udhayanidhi addressed a booth agents’ meeting there. A functionary who attended the meet, ing, said, although there was no open statement, the oblique P4 references by most speakers made matters clear. RATION SHOP OR TOLL PLAZA? NOT all scams are alike. Officials may struggle to retrieve money swindled by booze tycoons and diamond merchants, but they sure know how to tackle the common man, when he becomes the beneficiary of a large scam. Kollur villagers who came to collect their Pongal dole of `2,500 and goody bag from the ration shop were in for a shock. For most of them, the happi- What does it mean for Presidentelect Joe Biden? The Senate win will help him carry out his early legislative agenda since the House of Representatives is already in Democrats’ pocket At the time of going to press, Ossoff had secured 22,13,099 votes, over 17,500 more than Perdue. If elected, 33-year-old Ossoff will be the youngest member in the US Senate. If both Republicans and the Democrats end up having 50 seats each in the Senate, then Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in her capacity as the Vice Chairman who presides over the Senate meetings can cast the crucial vote in favour of the Democrats. Gaining control of the Senate will help Biden in what he intends to do as President with his party being in a comfortable position to set the legislative agenda. They will be able to have their say in Senate committees, call hearings, and decide which items get top priority . It will also help them push through the ambitious proposals addressing climate change and health care. S K U M A R E S A N @ Chennai Chennai: Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was scheduled to visit the city on Pongal day (January 14) to take part in Thuglak anniversary function, has cancelled the visit. Instead, BJP chief JP Nadda will take part, said sources | P4 @ Villupuram Since when will the Senate be in Democrats’ control? The Senate will be in Democrats’ control for the first time since 2014 UDHAYA TO CONTEST FROM KALAIGNAR’S OLD BASTION? Amit Shah cancels Chennai visit EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE 50 REPUBLICAN Warnock wins, Ossoff leads in runoff race; with House of Representatives already in his grip, Biden can push challenging legislative agenda easily EXPRESS READ Chennai: Several members of the TN Thowheed Jamaath protested in front of their State headquarters in Mannady after officials came to seal the building for violating the Enemy Property Act | P4 51 NEEDED FOR CONTROL down on illegal beneficiaries in the Kollur village since Monday. On Wednesday, however, the issue got out of hand after the villagers protested for forcing them to give `1,000. Facing stiff opposition, the officials left the venue and stopped the collection of money . Interestingly when contacted , by Express, officials said they had given no such orders to any of the employees. “We have already assigned staff to collect cash by visiting the homes of fake beneficiaries.” THE Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday arrested three persons, including an AIADMK functionary, in connection with the Pollachi sexual assault case. The arrested were identified as K Arulanantham (34) and P Babu (27) from Vadugapalayam, and T Haron Paul (29) from Achipatti. This is in addition to the five arrests made earlier, in the case. Following the development, the AIADMK top brass, Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, expelled Arulanantham, who was the Pollachi Town students’ wing sec- retary, from the party and directed the cadre not to have any truck with him. “Arulanantham has been removed from all party responsibilities, including the primary membership, as he has acted against the ideals of the AIADMK, and in a way which would bring disrepute to the party,” Palaniswami and Panneerselvam said in a joint statement here. The CBI detained the three on Tuesday evening for an inquiry After the inter. rogation, the trio was taken to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital for a medical exam, and later produced before the Mahila Court, which remanded them to judicial P4 custody till January 20.
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