KOLLAM l tuesday l January 19, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Chinese economy grows 2.3% in 2020, bucks global trend China, the 1st to be hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the earliest to recover too, registered 6.5% growth in the 4th quarter of 2020 Size of GDP swells to $15.42 trillion Only major economy to grow last year GDP of the world’s second-largest economy grew to $15.42 trillion in 2020, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The growth, though the lowest in 45 years, is a remarkable achievement considering the country’s economy had suffered a 6.8% slump in the first quarter in 2020 after it went into lockdown following the Wuhan virus outbreak ■ ■ ■ Chinese economy staged a steady recovery on the back of radical virus containment measures and emergency relief for businesses China is the only major global economy to have grown last year China’s job market also grew at 5.6%, creating 11.86 million new urban jobs in 2020, completing 131.8% of the whole-year target 8.2% Projected growth of China’s economy in 2021 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 CAG says KIIFB borrowings are state’s liability Cong falls back on Chandy to lead assembly charge E x p re s s N e w s Ser v ice @T’Puram Sonia Gandhi names 10-member committee to devise strategy and oversee preparations, insists on the former CM’s presence at helm C Y N T H I A C H A N D R A N @T’Puram Oommen Chandy Ramesh Chennithala KNOW THE TEN Oommen Chandy (chairman) Ramesh Chennithala Mullappally Ramachandran V M Sudheeran K Muraleedharan K Sudhakaran Kodikunnil Suresh K C Venugopal Tariq Anwar Shashi Tharoor (yet to be named officially) Antony: Decision on CM candidate after poll CWC member A K Antony said that the party will decide on the CM candidate only after the assembly polls. Our aim is to ensure that the Congress-led UDF comes back to power in Kerala. The high command’s sole agenda is to bring the UDF back to power through our three-pronged stand. We have decided to bring in a new style of functioning K C Venugopal, AICC gen secy Attempting to send across a message of unity and intent in its efforts to recover lost ground ahead of the assembly elections, the Congress has named senior leader Oommen Chandy the chairman of the 10-member committee tasked with the responsibility of devising strategy and overseeing preparations. The AICC leadership felt that the 77-year-old former chief minister remaining inactive had adversely affected the party in the local body elections, the drubbing in which led to an outcry by the UDF allies and the NSS leadership. The other members are Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran, former KPCC presidents V M Sudheeran and K Muraleedharan, MP, KPCC working presidents K Sudhakaran, MP, and Kodikunnil Suresh, MP, AICC organising general secretary K C Venugopal and general secretary in-charge of Kerala, Tariq Anwar. Shashi Tharoor, MP, is set to come in as the 10th member. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have apprised the top three state leaders of the AICC delegation’s report on reasons for the debacle. A leader with Chandy’s political acumen should be used, she said in the meeting presided over by Venugopal, in the presence of CWC leader A K Antony and Anwar. TNIE has that only the DCC presidents in Ernakulam, Palakkad and Wayanad will be changed, with the incumbents holding dual roles. Chennithala’s stand that DCC presidents in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kasaragod need not be changed when the assembly elections are just round the corner rescued the party presidents there. While Sonia stressed the state leadership’s priority should be to bring the Congress-led UDF back to power, Antony said newcomers should be given adequate representation alongside youth and women. The message was clear when Venugopal addressed reporters outside Sonia Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi. “The Congress high command’s sole agenda is to bring the UDF back to power through our three-pronged stand -- candidate selection, campaigning and electioneering. We have decided to bring in a new style of functioning. The LDF government’s arrogance after the civic body elections is going to be short-lived,” he said. The AICC leadership feels that by bringing Chandy back to mainstream politics, the traditional Christian votes lost in the recent civic body elections can be regained. With the priority being to win the assembly elections, there has been no talk of the CM candidate. EXPRESS READ Kongad MLA dies of post-Covid ailments Fr Kottoor moves HC against spl court order Covid caseload crosses 8.5-lakh mark in state Palakkad: Kongad MLA K V Vijayadas, 61, died at Thrissur MCH on Monday. He was admitted to the ICU after he suffered brain haemorrhage. Vijayadas, who recovered from Covid-19, had developed other ailments which affected his heart and lungs. Kochi: Fr Thomas Kottoor, a convict in the Sister Abhaya murder case, approached the Kerala High Court on Monday seeking to set aside the order of the CBI Special Court, Thiruvananthapuram, which sentenced him to life imprisonment. Kottoor said the order issued against him were improper. T’Puram: The state reported 3,346 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday taking the total tally to 8,51,194. The test positivity rate stood at 10.11 per cent. The state has 68,399 active cases. The death toll climbed to 3,480 with 17 more deaths. With 3,921 getting cured, the number of recoveries crossed 7.79 lakh. FIR filed Tandav cast, crew forced to issue apology Setting a new precedent in the assembly the Comptroller , and Auditor General (CAG) report was tabled in the house with a note of strong objection by Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac on Monday. As expected, the CAG report raised serious questions on the transparency of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) borrowings. It said the borrowings of KIIFB including masala bond lack transparency and constitutional validity . The borrowings will become Court finds media trial in Rajput case contemptuous E x p re s s N e w s Ser v ice @ Mumbai The Bombay High Court on Monday held the media trial by Republic TV and Times Now against Mumbai Police in the case pertaining to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput was prima facie contemptuous. “Criticism of city police by TV media was unfair, in view of the material placed on record. The city police was at the very basic stage of probe,” the court said. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice G S Kulkarni observed that the media ought to avoid discussions and debates relating to criminal investigations and said they should confine themselves to informative reports in such matters in public interest. During the hearing of the matter over last six months, the high court had expressed concerns over media trial. It asked the media not to cross boundaries, and indicated that it will lay down guidelines. The court said trial by media interferes with the criminal investigation. cyclonic circulation Mercury dips in high ranges, Munnar awaits frost fall E x p re s s N e w Ser v ice Sunday night temp at hill stations At least three criminal complaints were filed in various parts of the country against Saif Ali Khan starrer web series Tandav, forcing its cast and crew to issue an apology on Monday evening. While an FIR was filed in Lucknow, two complaints were lodged with the courts in New Delhi and Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of Hindus and promoting discord among communities. The series, released on Jan 15 and aired on Amazon Prime, is said to be a commentary on the prevailing political situation of the country. Other than Khan, the other prominent actors are Dimple Kapadia, Gauhar Khan, Sunil Grover and Zeeshan Ayub. A statement from the cast and crew said Tandav is a work of fiction and they did not have any intention to offend any individual, caste, community or race. Munnar 2°C @ Lucknow/Patna/New Delhi Peermade 10°C Kumili 12°C Kolahalamedu (Wagamon) 8°C Freezing cold weather welcomed tourists at the Munnar hill station on Sunday | Shiyami E x p re s s N e w s Ser v ice @ Kochi UNUSUAL rain during the past two weeks and a cyclonic circulation over southeast Arabian Sea have led to a drop in night temperature in the state’s high ranges. As rain subsided and sky cleared, cold weather set in at Munnar on Sunday. The hill station recorded a night temperature of 2 degrees Celsius on Sunday . The temperature dropped to 2 degrees at Silent Valley and Chundavurrai, 3 degrees at Sevenmallay and Upasi, 4 degrees at Madupatty and 5 degrees at Kanniamallay in Munnar on Sunday night. Kannan Devan Hill Plantation authorities are expecting a frost fall in the next few days as temperature is set to drop below zero degree. “The surface soil moisture is unusually high due to the enhanced rainfall which led to high evapotranspiration. This leads to increased heat loss from the earth surface. The latent heat loss brings night temperature to unusually low levels which we are experiencing at high ranges now,” said IMD former director S Sudevan. The temperature had touched zero degree in Munnar on December 26 before going up to 12 due to cloudy weather. It was hovering around 8 degrees last week. The temperature dropped to 10 degrees at Peermade and 12 degrees at Ku● More on P5 mili. Highlights of CAG report KIIFB borrowed/raised funds to the tune of C3,106.57 cr till 2018-19 including C2,150 cr through masala bonds Off-budget borrowings are not in accordance with Article 293 (1) of the Constitution The state govt has set apart C3,372.85 cr to KIIFB as petroleum cess and share of motor vehicle tax till 2018-19 a liability on the state’s own income in future, the report said. The assembly also witnessed tumultuous scenes when the report was tabled. The speaker gave permission to Isaac to submit his dissent note along with the CAG report which invited sharp criticism from the Opposition benches. V D Satheesan, MLA, said, “If the finance minister is allowed to submit a dissent note while tabling the report, it would set a precedent and the ministers in future will insist on recording their statements each time the CAG report on their department is tabled, so it should be avoided,” he said. However, the speaker gave permission to the minister to record his reservation against the report. While countering the Opposition charges, Isaac said his opposition is not against the merit of the report but the CAG had made grave procedural violations in the manner of preparation and submission of the state’s finance audit report for the year ending March 2019. The final report has appended more pages, which were not part of the draft report, which is against the laid-down rules ● More on P4 of CAG, he said. Mamata sends down Nandigram googly to upset Suvendu’s poll plans E x p re s s N e w s Ser v ice @ Kolkata UPPING her game in the upcoming West Bengal elections, Trinamool Congress supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she would contest from Nandigram against her once trusted lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari, who joined the BJP last month. It was Nandigram, the epicentre of farmers’ movement, that propelled her to power 10 years ago. “It is my lucky place. I will contest from here,” she said while addressing a rally in Nandigram, adding that she would also contest from her own Bhowanipore constituency in south Kolkata. Banerjee’s is a political move to challenge the Adhikari family members, who claim to be the king makers in the district with 16 seats. A TMC leader said Mamata wants to confine Suvendu’s political activities to Nandigram. “The BJP has assigned Suvendu to secure victory in all 35 seats in East Midnapore, West Midnapore and Jhargram districts. The CM’s announcement is a pressure tactic as Suvendu’s political activities will be confined to East Midnapore district,” the TMC leader added. Speechless Siraj rises above tears and jeers SW A R O O P SW A M I N AT H A N @ Chennai 13 wkts No of wickets for Siraj in this series, the highest by an Indian India chase 328 on Day 5 India were set a challenging target to chase on the final day of Brisbane Test. If India manage to draw against hosts, they will retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy | P11 Being in hard quarantine in a foreign land while grieving the loss of a family member can be soul crushing. The easier option is to go back, to comfort as well as be comforted. Being racially abused is dispiriting. It can leave one feeling worthless. Leading the bowling attack in just the third Test can be equally daunting, in a different way. It’s fair to say Mohammed Siraj aced that latest challenge, becoming just the fifth Indian bowler to grab a five-for at The Gabba. Even though India may not chase down 328 (if weather relents) on the final day to win the series, Siraj held his end of the bargain on the fourth day of the final Test against Australia. And how. His latest act in what has been an emotional series left the Hyderabadi speechless. He visibly struggled to hold back the tears while returning with the match ball. The tears, though, also told a wider story of his struggles. His father died days after India landed in Sydney. The son of an autorickshaw driver, the 26-year-old driver hadn’t even bowled with a proper cricket ball till seven-eight years.
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