kochi l tuesday l july 20, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION Retail sales dip 50% in June despite unlock measures Retail sales continued to be weak last month after the drastic fall in May, according to the Retailers Association of India (RAI) Sports goods, Jewellery, apparel sales hit In its latest business survey, the RAI said the highest drop was witnessed in the sports goods category at 66%, followed by jewellery (64%) and footwear (61%). Similarly, apparel and clothing sales dipped by 52% in June this year. In May 2021, the segment had reported a negative growth of 77%, according to RAI’s monthly update released on Monday ■ 80% Food, Grocery among least impacted ■ Consumer durables and electronics sales dropped 46% in June as compared to the same month in 2019. This shows a feeble improvement as the segment had posted a dip of 71% in May Foods and grocery had the least impact with a decline of just 7% in June 2021 compared to June 2019 figures | P10 The decline in retail sales in may 2021 amid the second covid wave 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 Ex-EC Ashok Lavasa’s phone, too, a potential target; Oppn to hold strategy session today Rahul, Kishor, 2 ministers part of Pegasus snoop list E xp r ess Ne ws S e r v i ce @ New Delhi Hack not established, says govt “The consortium has accessed a leaked database of 40,000 numbers. The presence of a number does not indicate whether there was an attempted hack, or a successful one,” Vaishnaw said ADR founder on list Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) founder Jagdeep Chhokar, associates of Union minister Smriti Irani and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, and around 11 mobile phones belonging to a Supreme Court officer who levelled sexual harassment allegations against former CJI Ranjan Gogoi were also on the list of potential targets An international collaborative investigation by journalists on Monday continued to reveal more names, including those of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, election strategist Prashant Kishor and two ministers in the Modi gover nment, whose phones were potentially targeted for hacking using Israeli malware Pegasus. The names, which included new IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Minister of State for Food Processing Prahlad Singh Patel, were revealed hours after the former defended the government in Parliament. Making a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw said the report on the government using Pegasus was nothing but an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions. “It is not a coincidence that the reports have been published a day before the monsoon session of Parliament. In the past, similar allegations were made on WhatsApp but there is no factual basis to these and have been categorically denied,” he said. While Union Home Minister NATIONWIDE july 18 july 19 stateWIDE july 18 july 19 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 41,157 42,004 518 38,164 38,660 499 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 13,956 13,613 81 9,931 13,206 58 Med students among 60 infected at Thrissur MCH 11 people had contracted the infection. In addition, some nursDESPITE strict restrictions and ing staff and surgeons had also adherence to Covid protocol, tested positive beginning from over 60 people — including 53 July 6. medical students — tested posiThe coffee house is the only tive for the virus on facility at the MCH Monday at the Thris- Vax pace among that provides food for s u r G o ve r n m e n t migrants very low the inmates. The viMedical College Hos- The stats available ral spread has put the pital where the counhospital authorities with the labour try’s first ever coro- department reveal under pressure to innavirus patient was crease restrictions. that only 14,890 treated. Though the hospital migrant labourers Sources said that 39 were administered acts as the main CovMBBS students and id Care Centre in the the vaccines. P2 14 BDS students, who district, the infection were staying at the men’s hostel, spread has been minimal so far were confirmed with the infec- as not many visitors were altion. Three BDS students of the lowed. Healthcare workers gohostel had tested positive a cou- ing into quarantine on a rotaple of days back, leading to the tional basis also aided in keepfurther spread, it is learnt. ing the Covid spread in check at On Sunday, the manager of the hospital. the Indian Coffee House funcIn the wake of the latest detioning on the medical college velopment, more restrictions campus had died of Covid. A are likely to be imposed on visirandom sample test on the staff tors and non-emergency surger● More on P4 of the coffee house revealed that ies. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @Thrissur 16 pages, including 4 pages of kochi Express Amit Shah called it a ‘report by disrupters for obstructers’, the Congress sought his resignation and a probe into the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. The Opposition will hold a strategy session on Tuesday on how to corner the government in Parliament on Pegasus. West Bengal Chief Minister ‘Report by disrupters’ Union Home Minister Amit Shah called it a ‘report by disrupters for obstructers’ and said they have been amplified by a few whose only aim is to do whatever is possible to humiliate India on world stage | P7 Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, renowned virologist Gagandeep Kang, India head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Hari Menon and former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s names also featured on the potential list of targets. Over 1,000 Indian phone num- bers were on the list of potential targets of which 300 were verified by the collaborative following which technical forensic analysis was performed on 22 smartphones. The portal claimed that traces of the malware were found in Kishor’s smartphone. According to the portal, the list of around 50,000 phone numbers across the world was obtained through leaked data by Amnesty International and Parisbased Forbidden Stories. The use of the malware could be confirmed on the smartphones only after forensic analysis. Some smartphones do not leave its traces and hence the potential hack could not established. Israeli company, the NSO group, which owns Pegasus, claims only ‘vetted governments’ are part of its clientele. Monday’s list came a day after it was revealed that the malware was used to hack into the phones of around 40 journalists and activists critical of the government. While Lavasa’s phone was added to the list after he faulted Modi for poll code violations, Kang’s was added in 2018 and Menon’s around 2019. Lockdown can’t be extended forever: Kerala in apex court E xp r ess Ne w s S e r v i ce @ T’Puram LOCKDOWN restrictions and economic slowdown have badly affected the lives of the people of Kerala, said Chief Secretary V P Joy in an affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court on Monday Arguing that lockdown cannot be . continued forever, Joy said there was growing unrest among the public over the restrictions, which have been in place for over two months. The state filed the affidavit as directed by the Supreme Court, which is considering a petition challenging the relaxations announced by the government for three days of Bakrid festival. The division bench comprising Justice R F Nariman and B R Gavai will hear the petition filed on Monday by Delhi resident P K D Nambiar as the first item on Tuesday . In the affidavit, Joy said the opposition parties in Kerala also demanded relaxations and the government took the decision after listening to expert advice. He also quoted the statement issued by the Kerala unit of Indian Medical Association last week, which said Covid infection couldn’t be controlled through tough regulations. Explaining the TPR-based classification of local bodies, the affidavit said there was no relaxation in areas where the TPR is still high and the announced relaxations were for local bodies having lower TPR. The state also promised to implement a comprehensive plan to bring down TPR in areas where in● More on P2 fection rate remained high. spin-off effect Jadhav’s village will win if archers hit bullseye S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai When Pravin Jadhav, a member of the Indian men’s archery team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, used to join his parents as a farm labourer during his boyhood, he was not doing anything very unusual. Hundreds of other children in Sarde, a hamlet of around 1,100 in the drought-prone Satara district of Maharashtra, did the same. Acute poverty forces boys/ girls of Jadhav’s village to join their parents as daily wage earners to supplement their family income. Vikas Bhujbal, a school teacher who taught the archer, said while the elders are paid `300 a day to work in the bajra and jowar farms, the children who join their parents get half the sum. Bhujbal said Jadhav’s parents come from a less than humble background with no house or land of their own. “They work in the farms of others as daily wage workers. There are days they do not get work and struggle to meet daily expenses. But poverty did not stop Pravin from chasing his dream,” he said. Jadhav’s village lacks basic facilities. It depends on wells and bore wells for water, P a r the potholed roads have puddles of water in the monsoon, there is no primary health centre and the single local school is up to Class VII only Beyond this, the children of . Sarde have to walk a fair distance to attend school. But the years of neglect appears to be slowly changing. The village has seen a steady flow of visitors, including the local MLA and MP to , meet the rising star. They presented flower bouquets to his parents and Bhujbal noticed that some of these visitors have shared those photographs on social media. Like other fellow villagers, Bhujbal thinks if Jadhav does t - 2 well at the Olympics, the village will draw attention and things will take a turn for the better. “Mere wishes are not enough to change the lives of people in our vilContinued on: P7 lage,” he said. Delay in NEET-MDS counselling callous: SC E xp r ess Ne w s S e r v i ce @ New Delhi TERMING the Centre’s approach towards conducting counselling for NEET postgraduate dental surgery courses callous, the Supreme Court on Monday directed it to file an application seeking more time to address the sticking points. Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj sought to shift the blame on another SC bench, saying the government was awaiting clarification on providing OBC quota to seats in the All India Quota (AIQ) pool. A committee was formed on the instructions of the Madras HC to decide on OBC reservation in AIQ in state-run colleges for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, but it is yet to take the final call. While ordering the setting up of the committee on July 27 last year, the high court had held that there was no constitutional or legal impediment to the extension of reservation for OBCs in the state-surrendered seats. The high court had also directed the panel to decide on the percentage of quota in three months. `100-cr fraud at co-op bank ruled by CPM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Thrissur AN alleged `100-crore fraud has been reported at the Karuvannur Co-operative Society Bank in Irinjalakuda here. The police registered a case against six bank officials including secretary and have launched a probe. The joint registrar of the cooperative department has sought an explanation from the administrative committee of the bank, ruled by the CPM. The fraud came to light after the bank sanctioned `94 as loans recently It was found . that of that sum, `21 crore was given to one person, named Kiran, but through 46 different accounts. It is alleged Kiran had pocketed the rest of the amount as well. After several people raised doubts about the bank’s functioning, an audit was conducted at the bank and the charges were found to be true. It was also found that the loans were sanctioned on the property pledged by local customers without their knowledge and the loan amount was credited multiple times to the selected accounts. Bank secretary T R Sunilkumar is a local leader of the CPM while the committee has other members owing allegiance to the party . Congress and BJP have sought an investigation into the issue. BJP district president K K Aneeshkumar alleged `300 crore was disbursed as loans through various accounts. express read Roadside bomb kills 25 in Baghdad market Baghdad: A roadside bomb attack targeted a Baghdad suburb Monday, killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens of others at a crowded market. The attack took place in the Wahailat market in Sadr City, Iraq’s military said. SC orders release of Manipur activist New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the release of Manipur-based political activist Leichombam Erendro, booked under the stringent National Security Act for his criticism of BJP leaders.
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