BHUBANESWAR l thursday l march 04, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l JEYPORE EDITION final step to wtc final Will it be a turner? Who will India bring in? Will hosts make it to the summit clash? Questions aplenty as 4th Test begins | P11 lots at stake Rohit watch pitch talk Even if the last two Tests were poor for most batsmen, Rohit Sharma will beg to disagree. With a 161 and 66 in the last two Tests, the opener has led the way for India in the batting department With the last two Tests favouring spin excessively, there will be a lot of attention on the 22 yards. If initial reports coming out of Ahmedabad is to be believed, it is going to turn again rather early Hosts will be pressed into at least one forced change. And that could be pace bowler Umesh Yadav, who has recovered from his calf injury. But expect them to play three spinners 28 Umesh likely India have proved that the first Test loss was a blip. Having recovered in convincing fashion, now the onus in on finishing the job. If they avoid defeat, they will advance to WTC Final in June Members of the England team inspect the surface | BCCI | P13 The number of wickets spinners of both team took in 3rd test 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 Covaxin anxiety ends with phase 3 efficacy at 81% Phase 3 study enrolled 25,800 participants between 18-98 years of age, including 2,433 over the age of 60 and 4,500 with comorbidities. S u m i S u k a n ya D u tta @ New Delhi India’s first homegrown Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin has been found to be nearly 81% effective in preventing infection, an interim analysis of the data from the vaccine’s phase 3 clinical trial in 25,800 volunteers has shown. The first interim analysis is based on 43 cases of Covid-19, of which 36 were observed in the placebo group and seven in the vaccine group, resulting in a point estimate of vaccine efficacy of 80.6%, said Bharat Game changer for aiadmk: Sasikala calls it quits T M u r u g a n a n d h a m @ Chennai IN a significant development that comes as a boost to the ruling AIADMK ahead of Assembly elections, VK Sasikala, the one-time confidante of former CM J Jayalalithaa, has announced that she is quitting active politics. The dramatic announcement, made late evening on Wednesday, ends speculation as to what role she would have played in the political landscape of Tamil Nadu. In a statement, Sasikala appealed to all loyalists of Amma (former CM J Jayalalithaa) to unite and work together against the “evil force that is DMK.” The letter further said, “I never desired for power or position. I still remain a sister of Amma even after her demise. Now, I will pray to the almighty as well as Amma, whom I deem as god, for the establishment of Amma’s government yet again in the State.” Speaking to the media outside Sasikala’s residence, her nephew, TTV Dhinakaran, said that he tried his best to persuade her to reconsider the decision. “I met her earlier in the day to discuss her stand in the upcoming elections. However, when I reached her home, she told me she was breaking the news about her stepping down on Jaya TV Dhinakaran said. ,” Biotech, the company that developed the vaccine along with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The phase 3 study enrolled 25,800 participants between 1898 years of age, including 2,433 over the age of 60 and 4,500 with comorbidities. This is a significant result considering Covaxin is already being used in the country’s massive Covid-19 vaccination drive, which in addition to healthcare and frontline workers, now also covers senior citizens and people above 45 with serious @ New Delhi If your insurance policy broker’s service is not satisfactory, you can now approach an ombudsman to seek redressal. For, the insurance ombudsman rules have just been throughly amended to bring brokers under its ambit. You can lodge your complaint against your insurance broker online. They can now be penalised for deficiency in service. The amended rules have enlarged the scope of complaints to the ombudsman to include disputes pertaining to deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries. “Insurance brokers have been brought within the ambit of the ombudsman mechanism, by em- Bharat Biotech is planning an additional interim analysis for 87 cases, and the final analysis is planned for 130 cases. All data from the analyses will be shared via pre-publication servers as well as submitted to a peer-reviewed journal The vaccine, in addition to demonstrating high clinical efficacy, has also shown significant immunogenicity against the rapidly emerging variants of Covid-19 Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biotech ailments. According to sources, the data safety monitoring board of the trial unblinded the study only on Wednesday afternoon and details such as how many severe cases of the disease were reported in the two groups are now being analysed. Covaxin had received the restricted use authorisation, along with Serum Institute of India’s Covishield in January after which the first phase of the vaccination was started. The permission granted by the country’s apex drug regulator without efficacy data had triggered massive criticism and resulted in slow acceptance of the vaccine in many states. Krishna Ella, CMD of Bharat Biotech said the vaccine, in addition to demonstrating high clinical efficacy has also shown , significant immunogenicity against the rapidly emerging variants of Covid-19. Analysis from the ICMR’s National Institute of Virology has indicated that vaccine-induced antibodies can neutralise the UK variant strains and other heterologous strains. Covishield works faster on infected The first-ever data on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccine Covishield in India has shown that it not only works faster in people already infected but is also highly effective in those without antibodies against the virus after the 28 days of the first dose. As part of the study, researchers measured antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 directed against the spike protein in a group of 135 vaccinated healthcare workers | P9 Stung by sleazegate, Karnataka minister Ramesh Jarkiholi resigns B a n s y K a l a p pa @ Bengaluru A day after purported sleaze videos of Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi surf a c e d , h e re s i g n e d f ro m the council of ministers on Wednesday, owning moral responsibility . In a four-line resignation letter, addressed to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, Jarkiholi said: “The allegations against me are far from the truth. It has to be investigated at the earliest. Though I’m confident about my innocence, taking moral responsibility I’m resigning from , my position as cabinet Minister. I request you to accept it.” He also sought an immediate inquiry into the episode. The chief minister forwarded the resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala who “accepted the recommendation under Section 164 (1) of the Constitution’’. Soon after the scandal broke out, BJP national general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Arun Singh, is said to have communicated the party’s decision to the state leadership, keeping in mind the upcoming Assembly polls in five states, and also the Assembly and Lok Sabha bypolls and panchayat elections in the state. The allegation, just ahead of the Budget session of the state legislature session starting Thursday, had come as a huge embarrassment for the BJP government. Opposition leader Siddaramaiah said, “An FIR should be registered and the matter investigated.” Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was one of the main architects in propping up the BJP government by resigning from the Congress along with 17 other MLAs, had on Tuesday maintained that he was innocent and would not resign. He was accused of sexually exploiting a woman, who had approached him seeking a job, multiple times. An RTI activist, Dinesh Kallahalli, had even complained to Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant that her life was in danger. It is believed that the woman had met Jarkiholi seeking permission to fly drones over reservoirs in Karnataka for a documentary on the achievements of the department and the minister. Later on, he had reportedly promised her a job in Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. `100 crore defamation suit threat Ramesh’s brother and BJP MLA Balachandra threatened to file `100 crore defamation case against those who released the ‘fake CD’ Insurance brokers now under ambit of ombudsman E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Additional analysis powering the ombudsman to pass awards against insurance brokers,” the Union finance ministry said in its statement on Wednesday . A complaints management system will be created to enable policyholders track the status of their complaints online. The ombudsman can use video conferencing for hearings. The government notified the amendments to the Insurance ombudsman Rules, 2017 on March 2. “A number of amendments have been made for securing the independence and integrity of the ombudsman selection process, while also building in safeguards to secure the independence and impartiality of the appointed persons while serving as ombudsmen,” the finance ministry said in its statement. 33 dead Worst-ever crackdown by junta At least 33 protesters were killed by Myanmar security forces on Wednesday, the highest number since a February 1 military coup | P11 A forest staff uses an air blower to prevent spread of the fire in Similipal Tiger Reserve on Saturday | Express Hot February triggers a wildfire with Similipal in the eye E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Bhubaneswar A prolonged dry spell coupled with an ominous rise in February temperature has triggered unprecedented forest fires in central and eastern Indian states, including Odisha. Similipal Tiger Reserve, one of the first tiger habitats to come up in India, has been caught in the inferno. Even as a tweet from Akshita Bhanj Deo, scion of the Mayurbhanj royal family acted as an SOS drawing attention of three Union Ministers, the problem appears to be manifold. Absence of post-monsoon rains last year led to a drier winter cut short by a rise in temperature across the State in February which acted as a perfect platform for the wildfire. According Forest Survey of India reports, in the 13 years between 2004-05 and 2017, the State had reported 26,719 fire points. Consider this. Between January 1 and March 3, 2021, Odisha has reported a whopping 10,270 forest fire points. Against just 463 fire points in the February 1-March 3 window in 2020, the State has recorded 7,071 incidents this year. The total area affected by fire this season stands at 4,750 hectare. In Similipal, the north and south parts of the TR have People set forest on fire advertently or inadvertently and dealing with such manmade crisis has always been a challenge Sandeep Tripathy, ex-PCCF reported close to 220 fire points. Though forest fire is a regular affair at the key tiger reserve which is a biodiversity hotspot, this time the problems are more towards the fringe areas. PCCF (wildlife) Shashi Paul is already camping at Similipal for ground monitoring. The hot climate between February and June continues to remain one of the major factors of forest fires but practice of controlled fire for mahua and kendu leaves collection, timber collection and cultivation are other reasons in the State. “People set forest on fire advertently or inadvertently and dealing with such man-made crisis has always been a challenge,” said former PCCF and HoFF Sandeep Tripathy. Interestingly though, the unprecedented rise in incidence of fire is not limited to Odisha alone. FSI data shows that central and southern Indian states have reported an equally menacing rise in fire points this February. If Jharkhand had reported just 116 forest fires in the February 1-March 3 period last year, this year, the number has jumped to 2,217. Andhra Pradesh had recorded 632 cases last year and this time, it has over 5,677 fire points. Similar is the pattern with Madhya Pradesh where 4,921 fire points have been reported against 249 last year. Much of it is attributed to the climate change. But closer home, there are issues of stubble burning as well as lighting invasive weeds in farmlands closer to Similipal. Sources say increasing mechanised harvesting is a reason farmers are now resorting to stubble burning which has contributed to the rise in forest fires. To prevent growth of weeds near habitations, villagers are setting them on fire to protect crops. “The changing agriculture and livelihood practices in villages closer to Similipal are reasons no one is looking at,” said an officer. Meanwhile, to check the fire, Forest Department has intensified operations. In Rairangpur wildlife division, DFO Arun Kumar Mishra infor med, 85 squads ar med with 62 air-blower machines are manning the 308 km fire lines. In Baripada division, Divisional Forest Officer Santosh Joshi said, seven squads comprising 120 forest personnel, protection assistance and 37 air-blower machines are engaged to extinguish the fire. Forest fire under control, CM told E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday directed authorities of departments concer ned to take all preventive measures to control wildfire at Similipal reserve forest. Reviewing the situation, the Chief Minister said, Similipal is an invaluable nature treasure not only for Odisha and India, but for entire the world. “All precautionary steps should be taken to protect the forest,” he directed. Additional Chief Secretary Forests and Environment Mona Sharma reported to him that the fire is under control and no casualties have been reported. PCCF Wildlife is monitoring the situation on the spot. She further informed the Chief Minister that a standard operation procedure has been issued for controlling the fire and no major trees have been damaged. The DFO has been asked to submit a report to the State government and Mayurbhanj district collector on the fire situation every evening. Vocal celebrities Anurag and Taapsee face I-T dept heat E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai/New Delhi In what was seen as a vindictive action against vocal celebs criticising the government, the Income Tax department on Wednesday raided 30 properties linked to actor Taapsee Pannu, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and his co-promoters in the now-dissolved Phantom Films in Pune and Mumbai. Both were questioned in Pune over alleged tax evasion, IT officials said. Searches were conducted on the premises linked to the Phantom Films, a production house co-promoted by Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena. Exceed Entertainment, a talent house that manages actor Saif Ali Khan was also raided. Also, some executives of Kwan Talent Management, which handles actor Deepika Padukone’s account, were questioned. “The search will continue for the next couple of days to check the veracity of the submitted documents and actual income. Interlinked transactions are also being probed,” IT department sources said. The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi slammed the raids, saying the Centre was suppressing dissenting voices. Anurag and Taapsee are known critics of the BJP-led Centre. Taapsee had recently lashed out at a section of celebrities supporting the government after a Twitter post by pop singer Rihanna on the far mers’ agitation.
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