tiruchy l saturday l january 16, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION Army chief warns China, Pak not to test forces’ patience In a warning to China, Army Chief Gen M M Naravane said on Friday that no one should make the mistake of testing India’s patience Galwan heroes’ Sacrifice won’t go waste 400 pak terrorists waiting at loc The general said India is committed to resolving the eight-month-long military standoff with China through talks. In his address at the Army Day parade in Delhi, Gen Naravane said the sacrifice of the ‘Galwan heroes’ in eastern Ladakh in June last year will not go waste and that the Indian Army will not allow any harm to the country’s sovereignty and security ■ ■ Gen Naravane said Pakistan continues to shelter terrorists and 300-400 of them are waiting in training camps on the Pakistani side of the LoC to infiltrate into India For the first time, drone operations featured at the Army Day parade held in Delhi Cantonment on Friday | P7 200 Militants killed in counter-terror operations and on LoC last year 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 Pongal ’21: Avaniyapuram Jallikattu kicks off in style express read ‘Capitol rioters were ready to kill’ Washington: US Federal prosecutors on Friday offered the most chilling description yet of Capitol rioters, that their intention was “to capture and assassinate elected officials”. The view was included in a memo seeking to keep Jacob Anthony Chansley, who rallied people inside the Capitol using a bullhorn, in detention | P9 Exports, imports grow in Dec 2020 New Delhi: Exports rose marginally to $27.15 bn in December 2020, while imports surged 7.5% to $42.59 billion. Exports were valued at $27.11 billion in December 2019 while imports totalled $39.59 billion. The trade deficit for December 2020 was estimated at $15.44 billion against $12.49 billion in December 2019 | P10 US blacklists Xiaomi, 8 others The US government has blacklisted Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp and China’s thirdlargest national oil company for alleged military links. The Department of Defense added nine companies to its list of Chinese firms with military links, including Commercial Aircraft Corp of China | P10 EXPRE S S NEW S S ERVICE @ Madurai Participants trying hard to tame a raging bull during the Jallikattu held at Palamedu village in Madurai on Friday | Express THE Pongal season kicked off to a colourful vibe with the Avaniyapuram Jallikattu that was held on Thursday It was 8 in the morning . and the double-barricaded vaadi vaasal threw open to over 500 bulls that raced ahead. A total of 398 tamers participated in the Jallikattu that was conducted in eight rounds. As many as 50 tamers were allowed to play in a round. The event was flagged off by Minister Sellur K Raju. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also flown down from the national capital to watch the event. The celebrations continued on Friday too, with the Palamedu Jal, likattu being flagged off by Minister RB Udhayakumar. A total of 674 bulls and 545 tamers were allowed to participate. The minister later spoke to media persons, and said that the State government was contemplating to give the best bull tamers a priority in government jobs. “The government would soon make an announcement in this regard,” said Udhayakumar. First jab today as mother of all vax drives begins 100 frontline beneficiaries to get inoculated at each of the 3,006 centres across India after Modi launches programme at 10.30 am E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi India will roll out the world’s biggest vaccination programme on Saturday by inoculating over three lakh healthcare workers against Covid-19, which brought the entire country and the world, to a halt for , much of last year. A total of 3,006 vaccination centres across all states and union territories will be virtually connected as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the drive at 10.30 am, with 100 beneficiaries getting the shots at each site on the first day . PM Modi said the country will enter a “decisive phase” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday . Amid concerns over the efficacy of the indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine by Bharat Biotech, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday reiterated that both Covaxin and Covishield, manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute, have “proven safety and immunogenicity records”. These two vaccines will be the “most important tool” to control the pandemic, he added. “Tomorrow is an important day it ... is the last phase of the battle against coronavirus. This is probably the beginning of the end of Covid,” he said. The minister, however, cautioned that even after vaccination, people should not lower their guard and must follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. The immunisation drive will begin with healthcare workers, both in government and private sectors, getting the shots. While reviewing the preparation of the launch, Vardhan suggested that the CoWIN software be pre-populated with non-prioritised beneficiaries by seeding it with electoral database, in addition to other documents for registration. CoWIN, short for Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network, is an online platform meant to facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualised tracking of beneficiaries for Covid-19 vaccine. It will also assist programme managers track beneficiary coverage, beneficiary dropouts, sessions planned versus sessions held and vaccine utilisation. The minister also advised the administrative machinery to go all out to counter the misinformation campaign being spread by vested interests, said a statement by the ministry . TN docs to insist on CoVishield S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi While the Centre has given two Covid-19 vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, accelerated approvals and a level playing field though the latter is yet to prove its efficacy , sections of doctors are wary , as they are first in line to get the jab along with other healthcare workers. In fact, the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association (TNGDA), a group of 20,000 healthcare professionals, has circulated an internal advisory asking its members to “insist on Covishield” when they are called for immunisation. The circular advises that while all practising doctors should go for vaccination, they should “insist on Covishield till the Covaxin phase Battle royale: Rajini fans in high demand this political season S K u m a r e s a n @ Chennai harvesting hope Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami celebrated Pongal with residents of Arunthathiyar Colony in Sappanipatti village in Salem on Thursday. He is scheduled to watch Alanganallur Jallikattu in Madurai on Saturday | Express | p4 Centre-farmer talks fail again, next meet on Tuesday to end deadlock E x p r e ss n e w s s e r v i c e @ New Delhi / Chandigarh The ninth round of talks between farmers’ unions and the Centre on Friday remained inconclusive but both sides agreed to meet again next Tuesday in a bid to break the deadlock over three contentious farm laws. “The gover nment urged farmers to form an informal group among themselves to prepare concrete proposals to be discussed in the next meeting,” Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said. However, the unions rejected the suggestion. Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab (Lakhowal group) said the Centre asked the union leaders to discuss their problems with the farm laws clause-wise. The farmers said no. They also turned down the government’s request to Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar talking to reporters after the 9th round of talks with farmers | pti meet the panel formed by the Supreme Court. The apex court had on January 12 stayed implementation of the laws and set up a panel to talk to both the striking farmers and the government. The farm unions have welcomed the stay but refused to meet the panel saying it’s progovernment. The farmers have reiterated they won’t end their protest until the three laws are withdrawn fully . The next round of talks would be significant as the SCappointed committee will be present in the meeting. One of the panel members, Bhupinder Singh Mann, had on Thursday recused himself from the committee. P7 Rajinikanth may have turned his back on electoral politics, but for his crestfallen fans and supporters, a political career could still be on the cards. Over the past week, many long-time fans of the actor have received offers from almost every other party in the State, the DMK being the notable exception. Rajini, who had built up anticipation about his political interest for nearly 30 years, announced that the prevailing pandemic and his health had forced him to back out even before launching his party . Just days after the announcement, nearly 100 members of the Rajini Makkal Mandram joined AIADMK in the presence of for mer minister Madhavaram Moorthi at Sengundram in Tiruvallur. Other parties, with the BJP in the lead, have posted open invitations to Rajini fans to join their outfits. In Madurai, Congress’ social media wing State general secretary A Paul Joseph put up posters across the district inviting the fans to join the party “I had the posters pasted . across the district. Soon, I received over a 100 calls from various RMM cadre who were happy that I made the invitation in a decent way unlike others who criticised , them for their leader’s U-turn.” Some cadre posted memes on Twitter poking fun at how various parties are trying to pull the fans towards them. While fans at a recent Chennai agitation, a last-ditch effort to convince Rajini to reconsider decision, may have said they were not interested in any other party for those seeking , opportunities there are options aplenty . 3 results are out”. In Tamil Nadu, both vaccines have been stocked, but the Centre has disallowed beneficiaries from picking and choosing their jab. “While our circular is advisory in nature, we do feel that it is much better to go for a vaccine whose efficacy is well-proven through a largescale clinical trial,” N Ravishankar, secretary of the TNGDA told this newspaper. The Drug Controller General of India has permitted restricted emergency use to Covishield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech. But While our circular is advisory in nature, we do feel that it is much better to go for a vaccine whose efficacy is well-proven N Ravishankar, TNGDA the approval to Covaxin invited massive criticism as its phase 3 trial is yet to be over. The Centre, however, has procured 1.1 crore doses of Covishield and 55 lakh doses of Covaxin for the first phase of vaccination. While most states received only Covishield, 11 — Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, UP and TN — have been sent both. In many places, like in Delhi, Covaxin can be administered only in centrally-run institutions, a fact that is being resented by government doctors. Doctors at Delhi’s AIIMS and Safdarjung hospitals have also expressed unhappiness over the fact that they have received only Covaxin and that they may be forced to take the jabs in order to establish public trust.
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