kochi l thursday l june 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION powerful blast outside Hafiz Saeed’s house kills 3 Attackers got too close to his house The car bomb blast at a checkpoint near the Mumbai attack mastermind’s Lahore residence on Wednesday also injured 20 Six others critical, toll may go up There is no clarity yet on whether Saeed was at his residence at the time of the blast. But heavy security presence in the area led to conjecture of his possible presence. It was unclear whether the car, packed with explosives, was remotely detonated or if a suicide bomber was behind the blast. A preliminary probe found that over 30 kg of explosives were used ■ The impact of the blast shattered the windows of several nearby ■ ■ houses. At least six of the injured are in critical condition Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Inam Ghani claimed that hostile intelligence agencies could be behind the blast Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department will take over the probe 17 of the 20 injured have been hopsitalised 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 Cong chief proposal: Smaller committees, semi-cadre setup Forty Delta Plus cases in 5 states; don’t panic: Govt E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram Genome sequencing shows first occurrence in a sample taken in Maharashtra on April 5 S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi A day after the Centre issued an alert after detection of a Delta Plus variant of Covid in three states, scientists associated with the government’s genomic surveillance project said it is a matter of concern but there is no reason to panic yet. The Union health ministry while issuing a statement on INSACOG’s report on the Delta variant with K417N mutation — also called B.1.617.2.1 or AY.1 or Delta Plus — said this was first detected in India in a sample collected on April 5 in Maharashtra. AY.1 has been found in two more states, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, apart from Maharashtra, MP and Kerala. About 40 such cases have been detected so far. INSACOG is a consortium of labs for genomic and epidemiological surveillance of Covid-19. It has so far carried out whole genome sequencing in about 45,000 virus samples collected from across India. The government as well as scientists associated with the project said there is no evidence yet to suggest this variant is more transmissible or increases disease severity But . the K417N mutation, which was previously seen in the South NATIONWIDE june 22 june 23 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 50,784 68,529 1,359 54,147 68,854 1,321 African and Brazilian variants, has been known to evade immune response, raising worries against possible reduced effectiveness of existing vaccines. “The government has done a good thing by issuing an advisory,” said a scientist with CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. “But we are yet to understand whether the effects of mutations are neutral, additive, or even bigger than the sum of individuals mutations because of small number of cases,” he added. An independent virologist said the government should also reveal its future strategy. “In my view, a test like the one developed in the UK which is faster and cheaper than whole genome sequencing in detecting the mutation should be urgently considered and deployed here in order to understand the characteristics and progression P7 of this variant,” he said. statewide june 22 june 23 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 12,617 11,730 141 12,787 13,683 150 HC stays order allowing pvt hosps to decide room rates E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Kochi Coming down heavily on the state government, a division bench of the High Court on Wednesday suspended the implementation of a new government order that allowed private hospitals to decide the rate of other categories of beds, like private rooms and suites, for Covid patients. The court passed the order on a petition filed by Kerala Private Hospitals Association (KPHA) seeking to review an earlier High Court directive to the state government to fix Covid treatment charges in private hospitals. At the hearing, the government pleader submitted that a new order had been issued allowing private hospitals to fix their own room rents for Covid patients. H o w e v e r, t h e bench comprising Justice Devan Ramachandran and Justice Kauser Edappagath observed what the government had now done was to allow private hospitals to fix any rate for the rooms and suites, doing away with the laudatory objectives of its first order issued on May 10. ● More on P2 New Zealand captain Kane Williamson with the winners’ mace after beating India in the WTC final on Wednesday | AP | P11 Black Caps champs in whites E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e NEW ZEALAND has a population of roughly three million. The player pool they have at their disposal is less than a 100. The revenue New Zealand Cricket earns from the game is miniscule, nothing compared to the Indian cricket board. Yet, these disparities didn’t count for much as the Black Caps engineered a sensational eight-wicket win to claim the inaugural World Test Championship. After a few days of a dank and gloomy start to the final, the last day proved to be a beehive of action. Under good batting conditions, India cracked under pressure. The fabled New Zealand attack made hay when the sun shone, literally on the final day . A collapse was the last thing Virat Kohli & his team needed. But when the skipper walked back for not much on morning, it was always on the cards. After bowling the Indians out for 170 (138run lead), Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor steadied the ship, bided their time and took the Kiwis home for only their second ICC title ( first in 2000). For a side that had to wait 26 years for a Test match win — the longest in history — the WTC title has been made possible by an ecelctic bunch of cricketers that is considered as their best team. Not even their team of the 1980s comprising Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe has been this competitive and invincible at home. Banks get back 40% dues from 3 fugitives E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi After facing a lot of flak over fugitive businessmen Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, the Centre on Tuesday managed to score a big political point by announcing that `9,042 crore worth of attached assets of the trio have been transferred to the PSU banks defrauded by them. According to an Enforcement Directorate statement, Mallya, Modi and Choksi defrauded PSU banks causing a total loss of `22,586 crore to the banks. So, `9,042 crore works out around 40% of the total loss suffered by the banks. So far, the ED has attached assets worth `18,170 crore of the three absconders. These include assets worth `969 crore located in foreign countries. Of the `9,042 crore, `5824 crore has been recovered by sale of shares of United Breweries to Heineken NV . e x press read Isro: Ex-intelligence officer arraigned Kochi: The CBI probing the conspiracy involved in framing former Isro scientist Nambi Narayanan in the espionage case has arraigned retired deputy central intelligence officer P S Jayaprakash. P4 Dweep told to serve non-veg in schools Kochi: The Kerala High Court has held that food, including meat, fish, egg and other items, served to schoolchildren of Lakshadweep, should be continued as done in the past until further orders. P5 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express PENDING CASES a WORRY Young wives look to women’s panel for support but its condition equally fragile Vismaya’s husband will get severe punishment, says IG The police will ensure that S Kirankumar, the accused in the case related to wife Vismaya V Nair’s death, gets severe punishment, said South Zone IG Harshita Athalluri who is overseeing the investigation. It is not important whether it is a case of murder or not, she said. P4 one month after woman’s death, Husband arrested Nearly a month after a 21-year-old woman died by suicide at Mattukkatta near Kattappana in Idukki, the Peermade police on Wednesday arrested her husband for alleged domestic violence. Amal Babu, 27, and Dhanya Jayaprakash, 21, got married nearly a year ago. P4 s h a n A s @ T’Puram THE dowry-related deaths have brought to the fore not just the plight of women in the state but also the sorry state of affairs of the Kerala Women’s Commission (KWC). In the last four years, more than 22,000 cases of various nature were registered with the commission but only 46% of them reached a logical end. As many as 169 of them were dowry-related cases, but half of them are pending. The quasi-judicial body was formed in 1996 with the sole objective of addressing the issues faced by women in society. However, the recent deaths of young housewives following domestic violence, patriarchy and dowry torture, have raised question marks about the panel’s functioning and efficiency . KWC’s former chairperson K C Rosakutty said the commission should increase its outreach by collaborating with various government and non-governmental agencies to empower women, especially the divorced and single mothers. “In some cases, it’s better for women to call off their marriage because continuing with the partner means continuing to suffer. Fear of losing social acceptance stops many women from taking such a step,” said Rosakutty ● More on P4 . TUESDAY’S RESULTS Croatia bt Scotland 3-1 Czech Rep lost to England 0-1 WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS Sweden bt Poland 3-2 Slovakia lost to Spain 0-5 FRIDAY’S MATCHES Bolivia vs Uruguay 2.30am Chile vs Paraguay 5.30am OTHER KEY PLANS The Kerala Pradesh Congress DETERMINED to become disCommittee and district ciplined and organised, the committees to be reconstituted Congress party, at its political in three months affairs committee (PAC) meeting on Wednesday, approved Committee members will be new president K Sudhakaran’s full-timers, performance review proposal to replace the jumbo after 3-6 months committees at the state and district levels with smaller but ef- Ayalkoottam micro-level committees to come up ficient panels. The Kerala Pradesh Con- Leadership to act tough on gress Committee and district those violating party discipline committees will be reconstituted in three months. The KPCC will have 51 members in- sation was inevitable to make cluding the president, three the party stronger,” Sudhakaworking presidents, vice-presi- ran told mediapersons. dents, 15 general secretaries “Candidates will be selected and a treasurer. The secretar- purely on merit. They would be ies will not be members full-timers and hence of the KPCC executive those with other rebut would be invitees to sponsibilities cannot be its meetings. Ten per included. There won’t cent reservation will be be an age limit for the given to women and SCcommittee members,” ST workers each. he said. “There will be a The district commit- K Sudhakaran performance review aftees will be reconstituted ter 3-6 months and those in the pattern of KPCC, except who do not rise to the expectafor the less-populated districts tions will be replaced,” he said. of Kasaragod, Wayanad, Iduk- The committees at the block, ki and Pathanamthitta. assembly constituency, ward “All the decisions were unan- and booth levels will be recon● More on P5 imous. The PAC felt a reorgani- stituted.
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