Health workers carry out the dry run at Kinder Hospital in Kalamassery on Friday | A Sanesh KOZHIKODE l Saturday l January 09, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION Kerala’s Covid case count breaches 8 lakh-mark The state became the fifth in the country to achieve the dubious record after reporting 5,142 new cases on Friday Central team reviews situation in state A high-level central team has reached Kerala to review the Covid scenario in the state, which has reported more than 35,000 cases over the last seven days. The expert team, led by Dr S K Singh of the National Centre for Disease Control, visited parts of Kottayam on Friday, and is expected to tour Alappuzha district on Saturday. 64,236 Second dry run held across Kerala ■ ■ A second dry run for the Covid vaccine rollout was conducted in 46 centres covering all districts from 9am to 11am on Friday. The first was held in four districts on January 2. A total of 3,54,897 people — including 1,67,751 in govt sector and 1,87,146 in pvt sector — have registered for the vaccines so far. Covid patients are currently undergoing treatment in state 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 Pressure UP to remove Trump from Oval office Express News Service Indian tamasha at capitol Hill About 20-25 people of Indian origin were part of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol building on Thursday But the one who caught the eye was Keralite Vinson Xavier Palathingal, who was seen waving the Tricolour (pic). Netizens flag Kochi native’s Indian flag act during US Capitol siege | P6 twitter Guv’s policy address slams agency probes, farm laws Says national agencies impeding devpt, farm laws encroaching on states’ rights Express News Service @ T’Puram Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan receive Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on his arrival at the assembly to deliver policy address on Friday | Vincent Pulickal WHAT THE GUV ADDRESSED Guv announces LIFE Mission phase 2, distribution of 20k more title deeds Policy address cites the formation of Kerala Bank as a major event in the cooperative sector New scheme to support co-operative collectives of young artists Devaswom Tribunal to restore alienated land of Devaswom Boards and legislation to this effect to be made Opposition UDF boycotts the policy address and demands the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan Speaker’s addl pvt secy questioned Express News Service @Kochi After ignoring two notices from the customs probing the case related to smuggling of US dollars by a former employee of the UAE Consulate, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan’s additional private secretary (APS) K Ayyappan turned up for interrogation on Friday . His interrogation lasted for over nine hours and the customs will summon him again after investigating the revelations in his statement. Ayyappan reached the customs office in Kochi around 9am though he was summoned to appear only at 10am. The interrogation continued till 7.30pm. “He was asked about his association with UAE diplomats, consulate employees, accused persons Swapna Suresh and Sarith P S. We have to carry out more investigation into his suspected involvement in the case. More clarification from him would be sought after investigating his disclosures. He would be called again in later stages,” a customs official ● More on P6 said. GOVERNOR Arif Mohammed Khan’s policy address on the first day of the 22nd session of the 14th Legislative Assembly contained several references criticising the Union government, notable among them being the charge that central agencies were overstepping their constitutional brief and hampering development in the state. “Actions of certain Central gover nment agencies have overstepped the constitutional contours and are impeding the development activities and flagship programmes being undertaken by the state,” Khan said. This was seen as an indirect reference to the probe by the CBI and other central agencies against the state’s ambitious projects such as Life Mission. The governor said actions of the central agencies have had a demoralising effect on honest and hardworking officers. The farm laws enacted recently by Parliament also came in for criticism. Khan said a spate of central laws have been noted for their encroachment on the states’ rights. “The agrarian laws will undermine regulated markets, result in eventual demise of minimum support price and tilt the balance of bargaining power definitively in favour of corporate middlemen,” he said. The references come days after the state legislature passed a unanimous resolution against the farm laws. The Centre’s withdrawal of import duty and regional trade agreements has proved calamitous for the state’s commercial crops, the governor observed. “Kerala has to be unitedly vigilant against any further regional trade agreements that undermine our agriculture and also persuade the Centre to provide at least partial support to our rubber growers,” he said. The governor also said the Union government’s response to the economic collapse due to Covid pandemic was inadequate in terms of its expenditure for relief and healthcare. “The reluctance to pay the GST compensation in full created an avoidable controversy during the crisis,” Khan ● More on P6 said. Babri case: AIMPLB moves HC against acquittal of Advani N A M I TA B A J PAI @ Lucknow Two Ayodhya residents on Friday moved a revision petition in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court challenging the special CBI court’s acquittal of all 32 accused persons, including former deputy prime minister L K Advani, in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The special CBI judge S K Yadav had delivered the order on September 30, 2020 — his last day in office. The plea states the trial court committed an error by not convicting the accused persons despite ample evidence against them. “The judge did not appreciate the evidence of conspiracy in the right perspective,” the petitioners alleged. The petition was filed by Haji Mahboob (74) and Sayyad AYURVEDA RESORTS to reopen following state govt nod Akhlaq Ahmad (81) on behalf of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. The duo was also party to the Ayodhya title suit in the Supreme Court. They urged the high court to summon the records from the trial court, hold all the 32 accused guilty and extend punishment to them by setting aside the CBI cour t order. Other than Advani, the special CBI court had also exonerated Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambhara, and Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Representing the two petitioners, lawyer and convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee Zafaryab Jilani said the revision petition was filed because the CBI did not file any appeal so far to challenge the verdict. Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said in a statement that resorts and spas must function by adhering to Covid protocol. Amid buzz on the bumbling US President Donald Trump weighing options to grant himself an unprecedented pardon, pressure kept building up on his immediate removal from office, a day after the maverick’s supporters staged a failed coup by storming the Capitol Hill after his instigation. It now transpires that Trump later tweeted a video calling for peace and asking the mob to stand down only after White House counsel Pat Cipollone warned he would face criminal charges for inciting riots if he doesn’t do so. The Department of Justice is already preparing to go after the mob and all those who played a role in the riots, including Trump. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saw Trump’s incitement as sedition and demanded his immediate removal from office, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pressed for invoking the 25th Amendment — which allows the Vice President to take over if the President is incapacitated — while also threatening to introduce a second impeachment motion. But Vice-President Mike Pence declined the proposal. Trump has less than two weeks to complete his term as Joe Biden is scheduled to take his oath of office as the next President on January 20. But with Trump’s aides describing him as psychologically fragile, and one Republican likening him to mad King George, there were concerns over letting an unstable person stay at the helm even for a brief period. Be that as it may, Trump will not to be present at Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” he tweeted. While there is no clarity on what he wants to legally firewall himself against, his dodgy income tax statements and Thursday’s incendiary speech to his supporters that led to the riots could qualify for criminal P9 prosecution. Talks with farmers fail again, focus shifts to SC Express News Service @ New Delhi / Chandigarh ‘Govt tries to tire out farmers’ The Cong on Friday alleged the Centre is trying to tire out the farmers and said repealing the farm laws the only solution ‘Solution unlikely in next meet’ Farmers’ union leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said he doesn’t expect any breakthrough in the January 15 meeting. “We told the govt as you are not repealing the laws and not ready to talk, face the agitation,” he said The eighth round of talks between protesting farmers and the Centre on Friday could not end the stalemate as both sides stuck to their stated positions. They agreed to meet on January 15 to continue the talks. According to sources, the Centre made it clear that it will not repeal the laws but is ready to make amendments. The government also claimed many farmer organisations have supported the laws. The agitating farmers were told the Supreme Court will decide how to break the deadlock, sources said. The SC is likely to hear the case relating to the Farmers’ representatives during the eighth round of talks with the government over the new farm laws, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, Friday | PTI farm protest on January 11. The meeting at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi ended in less than two hours. Following Centre’s statement, some farmer leaders lost their cool and told the ministers that they will fight till their demands are met. The union leaders also did not take break for lunch or tea while the ministers took frequent breaks to discuss the situation. Some farmer leaders flashed placards bill wapsi toh ghar wapsi (repeal the laws and we’ll go home) and jitenge ya marenge (we will win or die). While Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar expressed hope that there will be some breakthrough in the next meeting, most union leaders said they have no such hopes. Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab (Rajewal Group) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “We knew there will be no decision in this meeting as the government has been adamant, but still we came for the talks.” The Vyttila flyover wears a colourful look on the eve of its opening on Friday | A Sanesh Kochi flyovers to open today CM Pinarayi Vijayan to open the Vyttila and Kundannoor flyovers on Saturday Opening at 9.30am Vyttila 11am Kundannoor Kochi: The High Court on Friday granted bail to former public works minister V K Ebrahim Kunju, accused in the Palarivattom flyover corruption case, in view of his health condition. The court told him not to leave the district. P7 Murder convict tortured in jail T’Puram/Kochi: One of the convicts in the Kevin murder case was admitted to the Medical College Hospital here on Friday, after he was allegedly tortured by the prison staff in the Poojapura Central Prison. P7 PWD Minister G Sudhakaran has said the partially-rebuilt Palarivattom flyover will be opened in May at receiving end E X P RE S S READ HC grants bail to Ebrahim Kunju The state government spent L86.34 crore and L82.74 crore on the Vyttila and Kundannoor flyovers, respectively Udma MLA threatened to chop off my leg, says presiding officer Sreekumar said CPM leaders and booth agents created a hostile ambience at the Alakkode booth near Bekal on election day G e o r g e P o i k ay i l @Kasaragod A professor of the Kerala Agricultural University has accused Udma MLA K Kunhiraman and CPM workers of threatening him when he tried to stop bogus voting as presiding officer in a booth at Alakkode village near Bekal. According to K M Sreekumar of the College of Agriculture, Padannakkad, he even had to stand up to District Collector D Sajith Babu, who advised him not to verify the voters. The professor gave a detailed account of his experience in a Facebook post. Sreekumar was posted as the presiding officer in a booth at the Government Lower Primary School in Cherkapara. He said his team reached the school on the eve of the election day on December 13. In the evening, a few men came to him and said only CPM polling agents would be present at the booth. “They also told me this booth saw a turnout of 94% in the previous election, and that they expected a high turnout this time as well,” the professor wrote on Facebook. “I smelled danger.” On the election day, the SEC’s videographer turned up at 6am, and the polling began an hour later. “When I started checking the ID cards of voters, CPM’s presidential candidate for Udma block panchayat and DYFI leader K Manikandan came in and asked me to leave the task of verification to the first polling officer. Every time I checked any document, the polling agent created a ruckus. To be honest, I was scared,” Sreekumar said. “Later, the Udma MLA who had come to vote in the next booth approached me and told me not to conduct verification. He told me to just sit in the chair of the presiding officer while the first polling officer examined the record’,” he wrote on ● More on P6 FB.
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