KANNUR l Thursday l march 04, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city 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 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 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 Members of the England team inspect the surface | BCCI | P13 The number of wickets spinners of both teams 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 UDF launches slogan, promises clean, good governance CPM almost finalises party candidates LDF govt harps on Central agencies probes, describes them as move to scuttle state's devpt Orthodox Church bishops hold secret talks with RSS nat'l leader UDF keeps talks mediated by spiritual leader Sri M burning Seat sharing in Left, UDF stumbles on Jose, Joseph A R U N M @ Kochi Jose K Mani P J Joseph WHAT JOSE WANTS Three parties stake claim to the Changanassery seat CPI has expressed its willingness to exchange the Kanjirappally seat with KC(M) Jose K Mani, but wants Changanassery in return The KC(M) is also keen to have its sitting seat Changanassery WHAT JOSEPH WANTS KC(J) reportedly asks Congress to choose between Poonjar and Kanjirapally. But they are firm that they will not part with any of them KCJ is adamant saying it had contested in in six seats in Kottayam 2016 assembly elections. "We cannot agree if we are given only four seats,” said Joy Abraham. Chennithala said deal would be finalised in the next two days SEAT-SHARING talks are getting prolonged in both the UDF and the LDF. The reason: Two Kerala Congress (M) factions. Congress leaders have held talks with the P J Joseph faction which has stuck to the demand of 12 seats for three consecutive days. The discussions that continued late into the night, remained inconclusive even after the Joseph faction leaders expressed their willingness to vacate Poonjar or Changanassery seats. While the Congress move is to allocate eight or nine seats to the faction, the seats in Kottayam district have now become the bone of contention. The Congress wants Changanassery and Ettumanoor, which were contested by an undivided KC (M) in the 2016 assembly polls. The next phase of talks will be held on Friday . "An agreement on seat sharing will be reached in two-three days," said Mons Joseph, MLA, leader of the Joseph faction, after Wednesday's talks. The situation is not too different in the LDF. For the talks stumbled on the Changanassery seat as the CPI and the Covaxin anxiety ends with phase 3 efficacy at 81% Sum i Su k an ya D u t ta @ 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 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 ailments. Sources said the data safety monitoring board of the trial unblinded the study only on Additional analysis 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 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. Democratic Kerala Congress too — besides the KC (M) Jose K Mani faction — staked claims to the seat. The CPI wants Changanassery as they have already handed over Kanjirappally to the KC(M). The Mani faction considers Changanassery its prestigious seat as senior leader C F Thomas represented it for more than 25 years, though he has switched to the Joseph camp. But last time, the Democratic Kerala Congress contested the seat and now they want party leader K C Joseph to be fielded here. The CPM has already informed Jose that they cannot allocate the party's sitting seats of Ranni and Perambra to the KC(M). Tiruvalla, contested earlier by the KC(M), has been allocated to the JD (S) as it is their sitting seat. KC (M) leaders say they cannot hand over seats in their strongholds. "The talks were positive and we hope the party will get the number of seats it deserves. The second phase discussion will be fruitful," said Jose K Mani, the KC(M) chairman. While the KC (M) is demanding 15 seats, the LDF has agreed to allot them 10 seats. 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 copromoters in the now-dissolved Phantom Films in Pune and Mumbai. E x p re s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ T'Puram KPCC president Mullapally Ramachandran, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala and former chief minister Oommen Chandy release the campaign slogan, 'UDF for a better Kerala' in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. Also seen are UDF convener M M Hassan, AICC organising general secretary K C Venugopal and Muslim League national general secretary P K Kunhalikutty | B P Deepu Interview ‘How can they allege I’m a link between CPM and RSS?’ Refuting allegations levelled by the UDF that he served as a middleman for a probable CPM-RSS alliance, spiritual leader Sri M has said that there was no political agenda behind the talks held in 2016 to end political clashes in Kannur. Allegations have also risen that the Cabinet decision to allot four acres in Thiruvananthapuram to the Satsang Foundation under Sri M to set up a Yoga and Research Centre was a token of gratitude. In an interview to TNIE's Chief of Bureau Anil S, he said he would go ahead with the project as abandoning it will give the impression that the allegations are true. "Just because I know Pinarayi, how can they allege that I'm a link between CPM and RSS?" he asked. P4 Sri M, spiritual leader Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has said that his government does not fear the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) probe against the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The ED cannot do anything against the KIIFB, he said. Addressing mediapersons here on Wednesday, the minister said the BJP-led Centre was misusing the ED for political gains. The minister's response was in the wake of its probe into the masala bond issuance by the KIIFB. The agency had summoned the top executives of the KIIFB for interrogation. The minister said the ED was tyring to demoralise the officers of the KIIFB. "The ED wants to elicit certain answers favouring its interests. The state government will not allow the ED to threaten its officers. The state will not step back if the Centre plans a confrontation. The probe is part of the plot to scuttle Kerala's development," the minister said. "The ED can seek information from them. But if they are planning to threaten them, we remind them that Kerala is not ruled by Congress leaders of the north. This government can protect its officers against harassment and threats. Here also we have the police for law and order maintenance. If the Centre is planning for a confrontation with the state, the state will not step back," he said. Isaac refuted the charge the KIIFB was misused for whitening black money "Those . who spread such lies do not have a basic understanding of the fund mobilisation meth● More on P4 od of the KIIFB," he said. Game changer for aiadmk: Sasikala calls it quits T M uru g anand h am @ 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 to gether 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 de- TTV meets press Chennai: Speaking to media persons, TTV Dhinakaran, AMMK leader and her nephew, said that he had tried his best to persuade Sasikala out of her decision to quit active politics. cision. “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. ,” He said that Sasikala believed her stepping down from politics will unite Jayalalithaa’s supporters in the election and prevent the creation of a chasm among the followers. Sasikala’s statement was handed over to journalists who were waiting outside her residence at T Nagar around 9.30 pm. Orthodox bishops call on RSS leader Vaidya E x p re s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ Kochi RSS national joint general secretary Manmohan Vaidya held secret talks with two bishops of the Orthodox faction in Kochi on Wednesday. The meeting assumes significance as it has happened ahead of the assembly polls. Vaidya had arrived in Kochi to participate in a cadre meeting. Geevarghese Mar Yu l i o s a n d Ya ko o b M a r Irenaios, the bishops of Ahmedabad and Kochi, respectively called on Vaidya at Mad, hava Nivas, the RSS office. Both the RSS and Orthodox leadership maintained that there was no political significance in the meeting and that it was part of an ideological interaction. "The Orthodox faction had contacted us for an appointment with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat when he visited Kerala on December 30. Since he had a busy schedule, the meeting did not take place but he had assured to meet the leaders soon. Meanwhile, our joint general secretary came to Kerala and the Orthodox leaders sought an appointment. It was just a courtesy call and was not preplanned," said RSS state general secretary Gopalankutty Master. Water break Sreekutty, the 16-month-old elephant at the elephant rehabilitation centre in Kottur, Thiruvananthapuram, bathes alongside mahout Biju on Wednesday. With mercury level soaring, the 17 elephants at the centre are given enough time to cool themselves off | Vincent Pulickal Here also we have the police for law and order maintenance. If the Centre is planning for a confrontation with the state, the state will not step back Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister L10,000cr as precaution Isaac said the KIIFB has already mobilised C10,000 crore as a precaution. He said he will give a reply with due respect to the former PM Manmohan Singh's comments against KIIFB. Singh may not be aware that the KIIFB is working on an annuity model, he said. sleazegate K’taka minister Jarkiholi puts in his papers B an s y Ka l a p pa @ Bengaluru A day after purported sleaze videos of Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi surfaced, he resigned from 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. new move EXPRESS READ Vocal celebs Anurag and Taapsee face I-T dept heat Kerala not ruled by Cong leaders of north: Isaac Insurance brokers now under ambit of ombudsman E x p re s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ 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 empowering 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. “ number of amendA ments have been made for securing the independence and integrity of the ombudsman selection process,” the finance ministry said in its statement.
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