chennai l Sunday l may 16, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l vellore EDITION israel’s air strike razes media building in gaza Israeli air strikes pounded the Gaza Strip on Saturday and razed a building housing media outlets like AP, Al Jazeera intel on hamas militants prompted strike The Israelis flattened the 13-floor building after issuing an evacuation warning. Israel claimed Hamas activists were holed up in the building. Israeli air and artillery strikes on Gaza since Monday have killed 139 people and wounded 1,000 more. Palestinian armed groups have fired 2,300 rockets at Israel, killing 10 people. Over 560 Israelis have been wounded | P9 ■ 0ne West bank, syria & Lebanon on the boil ■ ■ Violence raged in West Bank during what Palestinians mark as Nakba, the ‘catastrophe’ of Israel’s creation in 1948, on Saturday In the north, where Israel is at war with Syria and Lebanon, tensions were rising; 3 rockets were launched from Syria on Friday UN Security Council will meet on Sunday to address the violence hizbollah militant killed in bid to infiltrate israel from lebanon 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 Cairn goes after Air India to get $1.72 bn from Centre Tested Covid +ve? Don’t rush to hosps EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE E xp r ess N ews S e r v i ce @ New Delhi The retrospective tax dispute between Cairn Energy Plc and the Indian government has taken a curious turn with the UKbased company filing a law suit in a US district court seeking to make Air India liable for enforcement of the $1.2-billion arbitration award it won in December 2020. An international arbitration court in December last year had ruled against India’s decision to retrospectively tax the capital gains made when Cairn UK Holdings Ltd sold shares in Cairn India Holdings Ltd, a Jersey company, to Cairn India Ltd, an Indian company The ar. bitration court also awarded Cairn $1.2 billion damages plus interest and costs, which come to around $1.72 billion. India has challenged it in an appropriate court in The Hague. Why did Cairn sue Air India? “The nominal distinction between (Govt of) India and Air India is illusory, and serves only to aid India in improperly shielding its assets from creditors,” the lawsuit says. The implication is that it could lead to seizing of Air India’s overseas assets such as airplanes to recover the dues from the Indian government. While many see Cairn’s move as a pressure tactic, the company claims it is to protect shareholders’ interest. Meanwhile, sources said the government has not received any notice on the matter. W ITH THIS ISS U E The Coming Wave ...and how to brace for it PLUS 12 PAGES Health workers checking on Covid-19 patients at the newly-built 500 ICU bed Care Centre in New Delhi on Saturday | PTI Second wave weakening, situation stable: Centre Active infections down for fifth day in a row; national recovery rate improved to 83.88%; Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, UP show drop in cases E xp r ess N ews S e r v i ce @ New Delhi The Centre on Saturday said the second wave of Covid-19 has started weakening with recoveries surpassing the fresh cases and the overall test positivity rate coming down to 19.8% from 21.9 % last week. “Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh have reported a decline in active cases. The cause of concern is Tamil Nadu where a rise in the number of active cases has been reported in the past one week,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary Union , health ministry . Currently 11 states have over , 1 lakh active cases, while 17 have less than 50,000 cases. V K Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog and chairman of the national Covid19 task force, said the overall Covid-19 situa- tion in the country is showing signs of improvement. “It is evident we can see a certain amount of stabilisation of the second wave of the pandemic. Some states have shown a clear pattern, in some states there are concerns and, in some others, there is a trend towards tamil nadu MAY 14 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 31,892 20,037 288 MAY 15 33,658 20,905 303 an increase,” said Paul, adding that it’s a mixed picture. “But overall, the situation is stabilising and we hope and we will work towards ensuring further stabilisation and rapid decline of this pandemic,” he added. The details shared by the government showed that 10 states account for 85% of the total Covid cases in the country and 24 states have a test positivity rate of more than 15%. Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have reported a major drop in case positivity rates. On Saturday India registered , a total of 3,26,098 Covid-19 cases that took the overall tally to 2,43,72,907 but the active Covid cases came down by 31,091 compared to Friday This is the fifth . day in a row that active infections have come down. The active cases now stand at 36,73,802 and comprise 15% of the total infections, while the national recovery rate has improved to 83.83%. On a positive note, the number of districts with over 10% test positivity rate, which stood at 533 a week ago has now come down to 516. To be worried if you have Covid symptoms and have tested positive is entirely understandable. But please do not panic. And, for your own sake, do not self-diagnose and/or self-medicate. Consult your physician on the way forward. If the symptoms are mild, there is no need to rush to hospitals seeking admission and it is pointless worrying about arranging oxygen and drugs like Remdesivir. For, most people infected with novel coronavirus get cured on their own with minimal medical intervention. Only a small percentage of patients need medical oxygen support and round-the-clock attention in a hospital. Ditto with Remdesivir. It’s not for everyone. TNIE spoke to doctors across India and they say they have EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai AS reports of Remdesivir drug and oxygen cylinders being hoarded in many parts of the State keep surfacing on news, Chief Minister MK Stalin, on Saturday directed the police de, par tment to book those who hoard the drug and oxygen cylinders and sell them at exorbitant prices under the Goondas Act. In a statement here, the Chief Minister said the State government has been focussing on protecting the lives of the people from Covid-19 as it has taken it up as its primary responsibility . As such, there is a need to put down the activities of those who act against this objective of the government. Landfall in gujarat, coastal areas at risk The IMD on Saturday said that cyclone Tauktae would touch Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around May 18 with a wind speed ranging up to 175 kmph. It also warned of storm surge of two-three metre above astronomical tide to inundate coastal areas (Left) AN IMD map charting the cyclone’s route in the Arabian Sea; (right) Thiruvananthapuram residents salvaging household articles from what remains of their houses razed by heavy rains | Vincent pulickal | P8 Trains leave Chennai Central snatching away their hopes Outside the edifice of the Chennai Central sits Rajesh, a worker from Bihar. For the past six days, he has been desperately trying to get a ticket to Darbhanga, but in vain. He, however, keeps trying, shelling out his hard-earned money to get some space in a home-bound Stating that Tamil Nadu is no exception to the impact of second wave of the pandemic which has created a crisis across the country, Stalin said even the poor people are extending complete cooperation to the government in enforcing the lockdown. “At the same time, some anti-social elements are hoarding the Remdesivir drug and selling it at exorbitant prices. There are also complaints about oxygen cylinders being sold at much higher prices. These are crimes of serious nature when the State is facing a pandemic,” the Chief Minister said, adding that he has also directed the police department to book those who hoard Remdesivir and oxygen cylinders under the Goondas Act. Residents tell govt to promote push carts S U S HMITHA RAMAKRI S H N A N @ Chennai SHUTTING down pavement fruits and vegetable shops and reducing grocery shopping time to a mere four hours led to crowding at supermarkets in many parts of the city on Saturday The queues were especially . longer in areas that had fewer supermarkets. Residents said that in order to reduce this rush hour shopping, push-carts that sell vegetables on streets should not only be allowed but also actively endorsed by the government. They said it will reduce the crowds at supermarkets. The supermarkets on Montieth Road and Ethiraj Salai in Egmore were crowded as the nearby street market for fruits and vegetables on Marshalls Road was shut on the day . A similar trend was observed in Chromepet too. People started queuing up outside supermarkets at 6 am sharp and rushed into the shops as they opened. P4 tarakhand government for Dehradun-Mussoorie ropeway The Union Cabinet has met at project. The absence of any role least five times since the second of the Cabinet in the health criwave of the pandemic began in sis is in sharp contrast to allate March or early April, but most all critical decisions being not a single decision was relat- driven by the PMO to control ed to the ongoing surge, at least the pandemic. After the PM that is what can be concluded canceled all public rallies for from the information the latter phases of the government has the Bengal elections, Empower made available. he reached out to a ASHA staff All that the Cabinet number of CMs either In yet another has done since April 1 on the phone or virtuPMO-driven is take insignificant ally to take stock of meeting, the PM decisions on metro the pandemic. The PM asked senior projects, memoranalso held a video conofficials to dum of understandference with 10 of empower ASHA ing with other nations them on April 23. and Anganwadi a n d p r o d u c t iv i t y Besides, the PM has workers, besides linked schemes. been holding scores calling for For instance on of virtual meetings April 20, when the sec- distribution plan with stakeholders to on oxygen | P7 ond wave was about to deal with specific ispeak and patients sues concerning oxywere scurrying for non-existent gen, medicines, vaccines, hospihospital beds and oxygen, all tals, which are attended by the that the Cabinet cleared was the officials and experts. The nonsecond phase of Bengaluru’s involvement of the Cabinet in metro project and MoUs with the Centre’s response has raised New Zealand, Australia, Bang- eyebrows and suggestions that ladesh and Brazil. In the last the Cabinet system of governmeeting on May 12, the Cabinet ance is being weakened. transfered ITBP land to the UtContinued on: P7 MA N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi return of migrants’ ordeal train. Rajesh, however, is not alone in this ordeal. Hundreds of migrant labourers are crowding the Chennai Central as they wait for tickets in the two trains leaving Chennai — Covid-19 special train departing at 3.40 pm and Dhanbad Express departing at 11.05 pm. Most often, however, their tickets do not get N Dwarakanath, superintendent, GITAM Covid hospital, Vizag for hospital beds as soon as they test positive. Doctors in Karnataka say there have been instances of families of Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms pulling strings to get ICU beds. What they actually end up doing is to block admission of serious patients who really need critical care to survive. “It should be the doctor, and not the patient, who decides which bed he has to be allotted based on his condition,” said Dr K Vijay Kumar, MD, SAI Super Speciality Hospitals, Rajamahendravaram, Andhra. “It has become another job for the already overburdened doctors to educate attendants about the patient’s condition,” said Dr C Arunkumar, medical superintendent, KIMS hospital, Hubballi, Karnataka. Continued on: P5 Cabinet pushing papers in the shadow of PMO E xp r ess N ews S e r v i ce @ Kochi S h i b a P r a s a d S a h u @ Chennai Moderate cases require clinical monitoring and only severe disease needs constant monitoring in Intensive Care Units in hospitals Book hoarders of O2 cylinders, Remdesivir under Goondas Act: CM Rain batters Kerala, 8 fishers go missing RAIN and strong winds triggered by Cyclone Tauktae continued to batter Kerala for the third straight day uprooting trees, , blocking traffic, snapping power lines, destroying houses and inundating low-lying areas across the state on Saturday . According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the rain will subside on Sunday but sea will continue to be rough for a couple of days. The cyclone has intensified and moved to Karnataka coast by Saturday evening. However, high tidal waves continued to pound Kerala’s coastal areas, damaging houses and inundating fishermen hamlets.Eight fishermen, who had ventured into the sea from Kochi on May 1 for deep-sea fishing, went missing as their longliner boat capsized mid-sea, off Lakshadweep coast, on Saturday . The flood gates of Malankara, Lower Periyar, Kallarkutty, Bhoothathan Kettu and Aruvikkara dams were opened following steep rise in inflow. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state has opened 71 relief camps where 2,094 people from 543 families are sheltered. He urged people not to hesitate to move to relief camps as steps have been taken to curb the spread of there. P5, 8 come across panicky patients and their attendants insisting on ICU or oxygen beds, irrespective of the condition of the patient. Their angst may have been triggered by scary reports of deaths due to oxygen shortage and scarcity of certain lifesaving drugs. But this further burdens the country’s already creaky health infrastructure. Let’s bear in mind that 85% of Covid patients do not require hospitalisation. However, the scare around the ongoing second wave of the disease is such that many people start scouting confirmed. “I did not get my ticket for the Howrah-bound train confirmed on Saturday as well. I am planning to book another ticket by paying `1,000,” said Rajesh, who came to Chennai four months ago. Rajesh and other labourers from Bihar staying outside the railway station are often chased away by railway police personnel, who, on their part, have to enforce protocols. Most of these labourers take the help of agents to book tickets as they do not know how to do it themselves, and agents do collect a fee. So, when a ticket does not get confirmed and the labourers are forced to cancel it, they lose a considerable sum of money . photo feature on: P2 NATIONWIDE MAY 14 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 15 3,43,144 3,26,098 3,44,776 3,53,299 4,000 3,890 May 14 10,79,759 doses May 15 17,14,247 doses Total doses: 18,21,99,668 Jab-o-meter Take your shot
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