BHUBANESWAR l friday l july 23, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l JEYPORE EDITION Muted, subdued Tokyo 2020 Games opens today The Opening Ceremony will be held without spectators amid Covid concerns on Friday Only 26 Indians to march More Covid cases & off field drama In what is likely to be a running theme, two more athletes at the Village tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday. Besides, 12 other Games-related personal were found infected. Meanwhile, Opening Ceremony director, Kentaro Kobayashi, was fired after footage emerged of him making Holocaust-related jokes in a 90s TV skit In a departure from the past, there will only be 26 during the march past. This is to avoid exposure to Covid-19. Two flag bearers will be men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh and 2012 Olympic medallist MC Mary Kom the gala today 4.30pm: Opening Ceremony india in Archery 5.30am onwards: Women’s individual ranking round 9.30am: Men’s individual ranking 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 Big drama in RS. Ex-CBI boss spied upon? Numbers of Alok Verma, Asthana on the database; French President Macron weighs options, reworks security protocols E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi The Pegasus snoopgate continued to roil governments globally on Thursday, with French President Emmanuel Macron holding an emergency cybersecurity meeting to weigh action and rework security protocols after it emerged that his phone numbers figured among those that were potentially hacked. In Mexico, reports said previous administrations from 2012 to 2018 had spent about $300 million to purchase the spyware from the NSO Group, an Israeli firm. Back home, attempts by the Modi government to shake off charges of using the spyware became that much more difficult, with revelations that former CBI chief Alok Ver ma’s phone numbers were added to the list the day he was chucked out of the hot seat in 2018. Interestingly mobile num, bers of his adversary Rakesh Asthana were added to the list an hour before Verma’s. Meanwhile, Parliament continued to be in turmoil as both Houses witnessed sloganeering and disruptions. The Rajya Sabha witnessed high drama as Trinamool member Shantanu Sen snatched a copy of a statement on the spyware from Electronics and Information Technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, tore it up and flung it towards the Chair. Other Trinamool members did likewise and the House was adjourned for the day. Shortly thereafter, minister Hardeep Puri and Sen exchanged sharp words, forcing Marshals to intervene. Sen later said Puri verbally abused and was on the verge of assault before he was rescued. The Centre is learnt to be planning a privilege motion against Sen. The Opposition wants a discussion on Pegasus with Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Home minister Amit Shah speaking on the matter. Stand by it, says Amnesty With the BJP trying to demolish the snoopgate list claiming it was fake, Amnesty International defended its findings. “Amnesty categorically stands by the findings of the Pegasus Project, and that the data is irrefutably linked to potential targets of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware,” it said in a statement Bid to distract attention Rumours pushed on social media are intended to distract from the widespread unlawful targeting of journalists, activists and others, it added BSY drops big hint, says will Tax raid on media group draws coercion charges wait for word from top brass EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhopal/Lucknow A s h wini M S ripa d @ Bengaluru Amid heightened speculation over his exit after completing two years in office, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday said that so far, he has not received any message from the party high command and he will continue to work till the last minute. “I will be completing two years in office on July 26. The party high command will send a message this weekend and I will abide by their direction,” he said, breaking his silence on the leadership issue. Hinting at his possible resignation, the CM emphasised that he will follow the instructions of the party top brass. Yediyurappa also said he had decided to resign two months ago itself to make way for others. Just last month, the CM had stated that he will quit the day the high command asks him to do so. After his recent visit to the national capital, political circles have been abuzz with speculation over his imminent exit and the names of many BJP leaders are doing the rounds as his successor. “I will be the CM as long as they tell me to hold this post. Else, I will be seen travelling across the state and working for the party,’’ he said. Whether he is in power or not, he will continue to work for the party and strengthen the BJP in Karnataka, Yediyurappa stressed. He, however, refused to divulge details on his next move. Yediyurappa’s government will complete two years in office on July 26 and a small booklet on the government’s work and achievements in the last two years will be released on that day “I want to tell people what I have . done,’’ the CM said. As several seers from the Lingayat and other communities continue to extend their support to the Lingayat strongman and warn the BJP central leadership against dislodging him, the 78-year-old CM said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda had a ‘special concern’ for him and allowed him to work as CM even after 75 years of age and had also appreciated his work. “Why do you want to rush to any conclusion? Let’s wait for word from the high command,” the CM shot back when questioned if he will choose a Lingayat leader as his reCONTINUED ON: P7 placement. NATIONWIDE july 21 july 22 Fresh cases 42,015 41,383 Recoveries Deaths 36,977 38,652 3,998 507 Jab-o-meter Take your shot July 21 20,83,892 doses July 22 48,86,103 doses Total doses: 42,28,26,035 odisha #Cheer4India Saswatranjan Sahoo from Puri creates an Olympic logo using 930 matchsticks to convey wishes to the Indian athletes | Express july 21 july 22 Fresh cases 1,927 1,948 Recoveries Deaths 1,943 69 2,210 67 Delta behind longer infection, higher hospitalisation Heman t K u mar R o u t @ Bhubaneswar The gradual decline of cases in various parts of the State may have given hope of an ebb in the second wave, but rising rate of hospitalisation and longer duration of recovery of afflicted people have emerged a big concern. Scientists of the city-based Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), where genome sequencing of Covid samples of four states is being conducted, claimed that the Covid infection and viral load in patients are now remaining for a longer period than 14 days as assumed earlier. “Unlike the first wave and initial days of the second wave, the infection and active viral load are detected for more than 20 days and in some cases for a month in patients. The recovery is also taking time, possibly due to the Delta variant that is dominant in Odisha,” ILS Director Dr Ajay Parida said. Although patients were earlier testing positive even after recovery due to presence of dead virus, Dr Parida, head of the panel to study post vaccination infection, said, surprisingly, the viral load remained unchanged for a longer period in patients found positive for Delta variant. “This could be the reason why the infection is still spreading in the community . Active viral load extending beyond 14 days means the patient is capable of transmitting the virus. Patients in home isolation are moving out with a hope that they will not be spreading the disease since they have completed a 14-day quarantine, but actually are transmitting the infection,” he claimed. Seeking community involvement to contain the pandemic, Dr Parida suggested that the patients should remain in home isolation until they are fully recovered and do not show any symptom and properly follow Covid appropriate behaviour. According to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Delta variant was dominant in the State among the samples sequenced last week. Of the 384 samples sequenced, 316 were found with Delta and 10 with Alpha variant. Meanwhile, the State reported 1,948 more new cases and 67 fatalities pushing the State’s coronavirus tally to 9,61,934 and death toll to 5,308. The State conducted the highest 79,372 tests bringing down the test positivity rate to 2.4 per cent. Odisha now has 17,413 active cases after the recovery of 2,210 patients on Thursday . TAX sleuths knocked on the doors of Bhopal-headquar tered Dainik Bhaskar group and Uttar Pradeshbased Bharat Samachar in the wee hours on Thursday, raiding their premises across various states for alleged tax evasion. Multiple teams of the I-T department from Delhi and Mumbai conducted the searches under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act at business premises owned by the two media groups in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and UP following specific inputs , about tax evasion by these firms. ‘Retaliation’ The Bhaskar group claimed the raids were a retaliation to their stories exposing the mishandling of Covid-19 by the Centre and various state governments The Bhaskar group, which runs around 65 daily newspaper editions in Hindi, Marathi and Gujarathi, had run a series of stories on the alleged cover-up of casualties in MP Gujarat , and UP as well as the vaccine wastage in Rajasthan. After the authorities denied reports of mass graves on the banks of Ganga, it sent an army of reporters to document the same. The raids drew sharp criticism from Opposition leaders as both the media groups had done numerous stories and programmes highlighting the failure of authorities in managing the pandemic. “The attack on journalists and media houses is yet another BRUTAL attempt to stifle democracy,” tweeted West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. “Their message is clear that whoever will speak against the BJP government... will not be spared,” said Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal, adding that the searches are an “attempt to scare the media”. However, government sources said the group evaded huge amounts of tax by claiming bogus expenses and purchases using shell entities.
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