KOLLAM l wednesday l july 28, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION mental health issue forces Simone Biles to withdraw The 24-year-old four-time Olympic champion pulls out during the team final to protect the US team and self on Tuesday Simone Biles Wants to focus on wellbeing Undecided for Thursday's event Biles, widely expected to star in the Games, was in tears when she addressed the media after Russian Olympic Committee won the final. "At the end of the day, I have to do what's right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardise my health and my wellbeing," she said. She went backstage with a trainer but came out later to support the team ■ ■ The athlete, who said she was inspired by the likes of Naomi Osaka, is yet to make a decision on taking part in Thursday's allaround individual final Japan Olympics face Noami Osaka crashes out of tennis event; Carissa Moore and Italo Ferreira win gold in debut sport of surfing 1992 First gold won by Russia in this event | P13 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 express read Inter-state tension Assam says commandos will man the Mizo border A day after the bloody clash along the Assam-Mizoram border killed five Assam policemen and one civilian, the Assam government on Tuesday announced its plan to deploy 4,000 commandos to man the sensitive border. “We are raising three commando battalions to protect our land in Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts. They will have a combined strength of 4,000 personnel. We don’t want others to encroach upon our land,” Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists at Silchar in Assam’s Cachar district. The CM added that the state government would move the SC for status quo on the border areas. Meanwhile, the Congress decided to send a fact-finding team to the troubled spot | P10 Not this year BJP goes for legacy, Lingayat, BSY loyalist Basavaraj Bommai will take oath of office and secrecy at 11 am today; his elevation shows Yediyurappa grip on state unit affairs father-son duo in the high office Basavaraj Bommai will be the second father-son duo to occupy the chief minister’s post in Karnataka. His dad S R Bommai was chief minister for eight months during 1988-1989. The other fatherson duo from the state to occupy the chair are H D Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy Anu s h a R a v i @ Bengaluru The tears he shed as he announced his resignation on Monday ensured B S Yediyurappa got his man — Basavaraj Bommai — the top job on Tuesday Bommai, who joined . BJP in 2008, was unanimously elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party . None other than Yediyurappa proposed Bommai’s name, which was backed by Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol. Bommai left behind other contenders like Murugesh Nirani, Arvind Bellad and C T Ravi to grab the top post. Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was sent as an observer to the legislature party meet by the BJP Parliamentary Board, announced Bommai as the next chief minister. “This is a big responsibility . Under the guidance of chief minister (sic) B S Yediyurappa, I will give a pro-people government. I will strive hard for the welfare of farmers, poor, downtrodden, labourers and backward classes. Management of Covid and floods will be my priority I will make an honest ef. fort to implement all the schemes announced in our budget,” said Bommai soon after his election. He along with senior leaders, Framing of contentious CAA rules deferred again The Citizenship Amendment Act won’t be implemented at least till January next year as the Union home ministry has sought yet another extension to frame rules for the law, which was notified on December 12, 2019. Junior home minister Nityanand Rai told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the Centre has sought extension till January 9. He was replying to a question from Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi on whether the government had missed the deadline to frame and notify CAA rules and the steps taken in this context. While Constitutional experts say the rules need to be framed within six months of getting President’s nod, it is for the fifth time that the government has sought extension for the framing of the rules | P10 Virus concern Covid cases rising: 54 dists have TPR above 10% Over the past week, the number of districts with Covid19 test positivity rate (TPR) above 10% has shot up from 46 to 54 while over 20 districts have reported a notable spike in daily cases, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday, terming it “an area of concern” Addressing media persons, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Union health ministry, said seven districts in Kerala, five in Manipur, three in Meghalaya and two in Maharashtra have been showing a rising trend in Covid-19 cases over the past one month. There are 62 districts where over 100 cases are reported every day. ““Overall if we look from a global perspective, the pandemic is far from over. There is a noticeable increase in the number of cases across the world,” said Agarwal | P9 Former CBI special director Rakesh Asthana is new Delhi Police commissioner Former CBI official Rakesh Asthana has been appointed Delhi Police Commissioner. Asthana, who was special director in the CBI in 2017, was removed in 2018 and was made the chief of the Border Security Force. He courted controversy with his public feud with the then CBI chief Alok Verma and was subject to investigation in a bribery case. He got a clean chit in February 2020. The 1984-batch IPS officer from Gujarat cadre was to retire as director-general of BSF on July 3. He will now get a one-year tenure as Delhi police chief tions are being worked out. “It will be my priority to implement all schemes announced by our senior-most leader Yediyurappa,” Bommai told reporters outside Raj Bhavan as Yediyurappa put his arm around Bommai’s shoulders. Bommai’s elevation is being seen as Yediyurappa having a concrete say in party affairs. Bommai and Ashoka have been his go-to ministers in the cabinet over the last two years. Yediyurappa’s preference for Bommai has been noticed time and again with the latter’s appointment to important posts. UDF pins govt down with list of 7,316 missing Covid deaths E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram Prime Minister Narendra Modi with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during their meeting in New Delhi | pti Country will lead Oppn, we’ll follow, claims Didi Chai pe Charcha “Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has called me for a chai pe charcha,” Mamata said. Her schedule for Wednesday had a meeting with party MPs followed by high tea with media. The meeting with Sonia is at 4.30 pm after which she will meet Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Advance planning On the need to expedite an Opposition coalition, she said, planning has to be done in advance. “Like there is election in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Tripura. Like how it happened in Tripura with our boys and the issue of Dainik Bhaskar,” she said E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday exuded confidence that a united Opposition will take shape in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. On her first trip to the national capital after winning the West Bengal Assembly elections, so as to catalyse early unity among Opposition parties and project herself as its natural leader, she, however, said: “Opposition unity will take shape on its own.” Fobbing off media’s questions on her leading the Opposition coalition, she said, “The country will lead the Opposition, we are the followers.” Mamata’s first big-ticket meeting on Tuesday was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after which she met a few Congress leaders. She has already lined up meetings with NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar and a ‘chai pe charcha’ with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, apart from meeting her party’s members of Parliament. During the 45-minute meeting with Modi, Mamata claimed she discussed the Covid situation in West Bengal and de- manded more vaccines and medicines for the state. “I had asked for an appointment from the PM... This was a courtesy visit. Post election, following the protocol we have to meet the PM once. But I also spoke about the Covid situation. I asked him to ensure that West Bengal gets enough vaccine doses. I am not against giving vaccines to other states, but considering the population of Bengal, we need more doses,” she later told the media. She also raised the pending issue of change of name of the state, to which the prime minister said ‘he will see’, Mamata later informed. While Mamata parried questions on raising the Pegasus snoopgate with Modi, she demanded that the prime minister convene an all-party meet to discuss the issue, which has paralysed Parliament. She also sought a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the spyware, though a day earlier she set up a probe panel led by retired SC judge Madan Lokur into it. The Congress leader she met were Kamal Nath, Anand Sharma and Abhishek Singhvi. Nath claimed he had called on her to congratulate her for her poll victory . refreshing idea How about an outing for jumbos for a change? S a j i m o n P S @Pathanamthitta Captive elephants, too, need an outing. And that’s what the authorities of the Konni Elephant Camp are planning. They have put forth a proposal to take the jumbos at the camp for occasional trips in the forest area to make them feel refreshed. The Konni Elephant Camp -an eco tourism centre -- was abuzz with visitors until the Covid struck and the restrictions that followed. Now, it has remained shut for months in the wake of the second wave. Outgoing chief minister B S Yediyurappa (R) congratulating successor Basavaraj Bommai in Bengaluru on Tuesday | Vinod Kumar T including Yediyurappa, met Gover nor T haawarchand Gehlot late on Tuesday evening. Bommai will take oath as chief minister at 11 am on Wednesday A complete revamp of . the cabinet is on the cards and Bommai is expected to have a new team of deputy CMs and ministers. Party sources said that R Ashoka, Sriramulu and Govind Karjol could become deputy CMs, while the fate of other two other Deputy CMs Dr CN Ashwath Narayan and Laxman Savadi hangs in balance as new combinations for regional and caste equa- An elephant taking bath in the Konni elephant camp | SHAJI VETTIPURAM According to mahouts and veterinary doctor at the camp, taking the jumbos for outings in forest areas will be good for their physical and mental wellbeing. “All elephants enjoy mud baths. It is good for their health and provides them relief from insect bites. Elephants also like rubbing their body against trees. At the camp, the jumbos stand on the concrete floor of the shelters most of the time. They don’t have facilities for mud baths or other recreational activities. There is not enough facility for even getting proper exercise. So, occasional outings will ensure that the animals are in good health. The trips will also help in reducing the excess fat in their bodies,” said a mahout. Konni Divisional Forest Officer Syam Mohan Lal said though it is not possible to take elephants for an outing frequently, it can be done occasionally. “We are actively considering it,” he said, adding that the proposal will be executed once the government gives approval. There has also been a proposal to shift the camp to location near to forest. ● More on P4 Putting the state government on the back foot, the Opposition UDF on Tuesday released the actual list of Covid deaths compiled by the Information Kerala Mission. As per the list, the state has lost 23,486 people to Covid from January 2020, while the official list released by the chief minister’s office as on Monday maintains that there have only been 16,170 deaths so far. The list provided by the Information Kerala Mission in response to an RTI query has around 7,316 more deaths than the official list. The state has been maintaining that the Covid death certification system is very transparent and it works as per the guidelines of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). Revealing the Covid death TPR-based lockdown restrictions to continue The state has decided to extend lockdown restrictions based on test positivity rate. The decision was taken despite the fact that the Covid situation has only worsened since the curbs came into force in mid-June. Jab-o-meter Take your shot July 26 57,48,692 doses July 27 36,87,239 doses Total: 44,58,39,699 NATIONWIDE july 26 july 27 Fresh cases 39,361 26,689 Recoveries Deaths 35,968 42,363 416 415 Statewide july 26 july 27 Fresh cases 11,586 22,129 Recoveries Deaths 14,912 135 13,415 156 death stats as per the list of Information Kerala Mission Month 2020 Jan 0 Feb 0 March 1 April 0 May 3 June 3 July 30 Aug 105 Sep 271 Oct 683 Nov 630 Dec 620 2021 693 655 404 1,650 11,255 5,870 613 — — — — — The list has vindicated the Opposition stand that government had undercounted Covid deaths V D Satheesan, Oppn leader data till July 23 this year in the assembly during the discussion on the notice for an adjournment motion to discuss the impact of lockdown on livelihood, Opposition leader V D Sathee- shan said, “The list has vindicated the Opposition stand that the government had undercounted Covid deaths right from the beginning.” He also said the death stats are compiled by a state agency and not the Opposition which underlines the gravity of the issue. If the deaths of current week are also accounted for, the actual toll would be higher than the list released today he said. , While introducing the adjournment motion, P K Kunhalikutty of IUML said the state government has failed to handle the economic and livelihood crises emerging from Covid in the state. The state, which was once touted a model in tackling Covid, is the worst-hit state in the country now. “The people of the state are really finding it hard to sustain their lives,” he ● More on P4 said. HC orders cancellation of KTU BTech examinations E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Kochi The Kerala High Court on Tuesday ordered the cancellation of the BTech first and third semester examinations, being conducted in offline mode by the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram, since July 9. The court also restrained the university from conducting the remaining exams scheduled in the coming days. Justice Amit Rawal issued the order on the petition filed by Sagar A R, a fourth semester BTech student and seven others challenging the varsity’s decision to conduct offline e x a m s v i o l a t i n g UG C ’s regulations. The counsel for the university submitted that those students, who are unable to take the offline examinations due to Covid-related issues will be permitted to appear for the next examinations conducted by the university for the same semester. This will be treated as their first chance, the coun● More on P4 sel said. Plus-Two results to be out today The results of HSE and VHSE examinations will be announced on Wednesday. The results will be available from 4 pm on www.results. kite.kerala.gov.in, http://results.kerala.nic.in, www. dhsekerala.gov.in, www.prd.kerala.gov.in and www.kerala.gov.in IMF CUTS INDIA’s GDP GROWTH FORECAST to 9.5% this fiscal A N U RA D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi tHE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut India’s economic growth forecast by three percentage points to 9.5% for the current fiscal from its earlier projection of 12.5%, citing “lack of access to vaccines” and chances of a third Covid wave. “Growth prospects in India have been downgraded following the severe second Covid wave during March–May and expected slow recovery in confidence from that setback,” IMF said in the latest Global growth at 6% IMF’s global growth forecast for 2021 calendar year remained unchanged at 6% as upgrades in developed world were offset by downgrades in countries that experienced renewed Covid waves, notably India edition of its World Economic Outlook report, released on Tuesday. For the next fiscal, however, the IMF has forecast an 8.5% growth for India, 160 basis points higher than its April forecast. The upward revision is mainly due to the low base of the previous year’s growth forecast. “Steady recovery is not assured anywhere so long as segments of the population remain susceptible to the virus and its mutations,” the IMF said. It added “similar dynamics are at work in the ASEAN-5 group, consisting of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, where recent infection waves are causing a drag on activity”. The US is expected to register a 7% growth this year, a sharp reversal from last year’s 3.5% drop.
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