CHENNAI WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 10, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 22 LATE CITY EDITION W.H.O. PROBE INTO ORIGINS OF CORONAVIRUS A DUD Leak of virus from the Wuhan lab unlikely, claims team, inconclusive on the origin and human transmission; aligns itself with China’s line TRANSMISSION FROM INTERMEDIARY SPECIES STRICT CHINESE MONITORING WHO’s foreign expert Ben Embarek feels human transmission happened through an intermediary species, but identifying the actual host would require a detailed probe. Comprising experts from 10 countries, the mission landed in China on Jan 14 after being earlier stonewalled by Beijing, which had provoked the WHO’s China-friendly chief to issue a rare public rebuke ■ The run-up to the probe was marked by the US and China trading charges. China relented to host the team amid increasing global pressure, but kept the probe’s progress under strict monitoring ■ Incidentally, the Wuhan whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang’s first death anniversary was commemorated earlier this week 2.3 mn DEATHS CAUSED ACROSS THE GLOBE BY THE VIRUS SINCE DECEMBER 2019 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 EPS trains guns on TTV for ‘colluding’ with DMK EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vellore/Ranipet LAUNCHING a spirited attack on TTV Dhinakaran, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday implied that the AMMK leader was colluding with the DMK to defeat the AIADMK. He was addressing a series of rallies in Arakkonam, Sholingur, and Ranipet. “Dhinakaran was not even a primary party member when Amma was alive. Later he forced himself into the party and took away 18 AIADMK MLAs. Anyone else who Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami addressing a gathering in Ranipet on Tuesday Kappan, others chargesheeted for laundering money by ED T O B Y A N T O N Y @ Kochi THE Enforcement Directorate has filed a chargesheet against Campus Front of India (CFI) leader Rauf Sherif, Keralite journalist Sidhique Kappan and three others at a Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Lucknow. In the chargesheet, ED claimed that Rauf and other Popular Front of India (PFI) and CFI members raised funds overseas and allegedly used them for anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots. The chargesheet named Athikur Rahman, Masud Alam and Mohammad Alam, besides Rauf and Kappan. The agency is probing the money laundering aspect in the case registered by the Uttar Pradesh police against Kappan and three others for the alleged attempt to disrupt social and communal harmony after the Hathras gang-rape incident. The ED had arrested Rauf last December from the Thiruvananthapuram airport while Kappan was arrested by the UP police en Sidhique Kappan route to Hathras from Delhi in October. The chargesheet stated that Rauf, a native of Anchal, was involved in criminal conspiracy, along with PFI and CFI members settled overseas, to fraudulently remit funds raised through bogus transactions to acquire the proceeds of crime. The chargesheet also said that Athikur, Masud, Kappan and Alam were travelling to Hathras to utilise the proceeds of crime and that they have committed offences of money laundering. Interestingly the ED finding , is that the `5,000 transferred to the account of Athikur’s account by Ahamed Shibili, an associate of Rauf, is part of the proceeds of crime. “Though Rauf was remanded by the PMLA court in Ernakulam, we decided to file the chargesheet at the Lucknow court as the incident related to the case took place in Uttar Pradesh. It was filed on Saturday an ED official said. ,” EXPRESS READ Trump’s impeachment trial opens in Senate Washington: The process to impeach former president Donald Trump began before the Senate on Tuesday with his lawyers in a 78-page memorandum detailing a range of legal and factual arguments that they intend to make at the trial. Trump has already been impeached in the lower House inciting a mob to riot at the US Capitol | P14 RACE trying to reach 37TIME AGAINST workers Rescuers trapped deep within the tunnel; 32 bodies found so far at various places V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun WITH the toll in the Uttarakhand disaster climbing to 32, rescue workers raced against time on Tuesday to save the 37 workers trapped deep inside the Tapovan tunnel since Sunday's flash floods that choked it with loads of slush. The 37 are part of the 174 others who are still missing. Officials from the Army Medical Corps (AMC) said the trapped workers are not just without food and water, night time temperature within the tunnel could go down to as low as 20C. "They don't have food, water and additional amenities to shield themselves from the cold. Time indeed is running out for them," an AMC official agreed." But officials associated with the project said workers have enough clothing to give them some protection from the freezing temperature. Rakesh Dimri, an official from NTPC said, "The workers have war m clothes, boots, helmet with headlight, a torch, a rope, a knife and other items. I hope they will be rescued." The key to survival is the availabliity of air vents, said medical experts. Dr Vipul Kandwal, a medical practitioner in Dehradun, said, "If they are not drowned, air passage would act as a lifesaver. The problem with sludge is it blocks almost everything, including oxygen." Dr Adarsh Singh concurred. "Time is not on their side, as a human can survive without food or water or both for a week or so under such conditions." However, they do not rule out the possibility of a miracle. "We have witnessed miracles and I am certain that our forces will save all those men. Whole nation's prayers and wishes are with them," said Dr Singh. Meanwhile, officials have deployed heli-bound Laser and Electromagnetic Pulse Imager to look for air pockets in the 1.9 km long tunnel network at the hydropower project site. Manjunath P C, commandant of Indian Reserve Battalion said, "This will act as a multiplier in our efforts to save the trapped workers." Meanwhile, six bodies were found at different locations on Tuesday, including Raini village, Tapovan, Nandprayag, Karnpyarag and Haridwar, taking the total body count to 32. From within the tunnel, nine dismembered body parts were found. Also five vehicles that were swept into the tunnel have been recovered. They include a Scorpio and a JCB. Naval divers have been deployed to search for bodies at various locations, including in the vicinity of the Tapovan project as more than 100 workers were at the site when tragedy struck. Aparna Kumar, deputy-inspector general, ITBP, Dehradun sector said, "No stone has been left unturned to save those men. We have reached beyond 100 metres into the 180metre stretch of the tunnel where the men are trapped." Many feel at this pace the operation to reach them could take three-four more days. P11 joins him will have to face the same fate as that of the 18 MLAs. MGR and Jayalalithaa fought against DMK till their last days. But some people are colluding with the DMK. We will destroy all their conspiracies,” he said. Later, hitting out at DMK president MK Stalin for his remarks on the State government’s performance, Palaniswami said that the Opposition leader will never be able to open his box of petitions that he is now collecting from public, since he could never become the chief minP4 ister. Proud to be Hindustani Muslim, says Azad after PM’s teary farewell speech EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi AN emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi bade a tearful farewell to Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose current tenure ends on February 15. Azad signed off with a poignant speech that drew a parallel between the lives of Muslims in India and Pakistan, and said he prided himself in being a Hindustani Musalman. Asserting that India was untainted by the evil practices prevalent in countries like Pakistan, Azad said, “If any Mus- lim in the world should be proud, it should be the Hindustani Muslims. I am among those who have never been to Pakistan, but when I read about the evils that exist in Pakistani society I think Hindus, tani Muslims should be proud.” Modi’s speech was interspersed with many long pauses as he broke down while recalling his long association with Azad Describing him as his true friend. Modi said: “his work will inspire generations of MPs to come. Posts come, high offices come, power comes, but one must learn from Ghulam Nabi Azadji how to handle them.” Recalling the 2007 terror attack in Kashmir, where a grenade was lobbed at a bus carrying Gujarat pilgrims, Modi said, “Nabiji was as concerned as he would have been if his family members were victims. He was the first person to call me. During that call, he continuously wept,” Modi said, adding that he would always expect Azad to share his inputs with him. ‘Main instigator’ of Red Fort BACK HOME Sasikala pays riots Deep Sidhu arrested EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi SMALL-time actor Deep Sidhu, who was on the run after allegedly instigating a mob to desecrate the Tricolour at the Red Fort on Republic Day was , arrested from his hideout in Haryana’s Karnal on Monday night. Sidhu carried a reward of `1 lakh. A team of Southwestern Range of Special Cell led by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Sanjeev Yadav made the arrest around 10.30 pm at Karnal, where he had been hiding for the past 15 days. However, he kept releasing provocative videos to instigate Punjab and Haryana youth, police said. Sidhu was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Prigya Gupta at the Tis Hazari Court on Tuesday afternoon and was remanded in sevenday police custody. Crime branch officials claimed that the actor had instigated the mob to break the barricades with tractors and deviate from the police-approved route. DCP Special Cell Yadav said Sidhu had been changing his location to evade arrest. Sources claimed Sidhu’s friends had refused him accommodation and help. Sidhu was in touch with a California-based woman, who helped him upload the provocative videos through Facebook when he was in hiding. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court stayed the arrest of Congress l aw m a ke r S h a s h i Tharoor and six senior journalists, including Rajdeep Sardesai, who were booked for wrongly tweeting/retweeting that a youth driving a tractor was felled by police bullets during the January 26 tractor rally in Delhi. A three-judge bench said the stay on the arrest will continue till the next hearing after two weeks. floral tributes to MGR EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai AFTER a 23-hour-long journey from Bengaluru, VK Sasikala reached Chennai on Tuesday morning, after having met and interacted with scores of her loyalists en route. Before heading to her T Nagar residence, the one-time confidante of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa stopped at Ramavaram Gardens to pay floral tributes to former CM and AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran. Later in the day , the Madras High Court served notice to an AMMK functionary based on a peti, tion moved by MGR’s foster children alleging that he had installed structures at Ramavaram Gardens without their consent, and had threatened them not to reP4 move the structures. GAME NOT OVER (Clockwise from left) An aerial view of the Tapovan barrage two days after the flash floods; rescuers try to reach the tunnel from another end; and a recovered body | SHEKHAR YADAV RESCUE EFFORT Over 100 personnel from ITBP, SDRF and NDRF part of the rescue team. In all, over 800 personnel are on the site. 700 personnel are on standby Two excavator/JCB machines have excavated over 6,700 tonnes of slush from the tunnel. They have reached 130 m into the 30 ft high, 25 ft wide tunnel. But muck removal is taking time, reducing the cleared part to 90 m A drone is being used to look inside the tunnel to find possible entry points through the slush/muck Class 10 boy runs away from home after threats over online game A R A V I N D R A J @ Karur WITH each passing day, more crimes having links with online games are coming to light. In the latest incident, a 15-year-old boy ran away from home after he was threatened for money by some class-9 boys for losing points from the group’s joint account in ‘Free Fire’, an online game. The boy had recorded a video in his phone asking his parents not to search for him and ran away on Saturday. Police traced him to Tiruchy on Monday and brought him back home. With classes going online last year, parents had to provide their wards with smartphones, and with lockdown in effect, a lot these kids got addicted to the screens, say ex- perts. The State Assembly recently passed an Ordinance to effectively check online gambling, but even games that do not involve betting seem to have ruinous effect on the minds of children. Fifteen-year-old Krishnan* of Thanthonimalai in Karur was given a smart phone only last year by his parents, for attending online classes. The class-10 boy spent hours together on the gadget, and his parents believed that he was studying for exams. Before long, Krishnan got addicted to P3 Free Fire.
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.