chennai l friday l august 27, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 32 l late city EDITION DGCA lifts ban on Boeing 737 Max after two-and-half yrs The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Thursday withdrew the ban on the aircraft’s commercial flight operations in India Changes made to enhance safety aspects SpiceJet the sole carrier with 737 max DGCA grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes in India after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane near Addis Ababa in March 2019, which killed 157 people, including four Indians. The plane’s flight control software had serious flaws, which sent the aircraft into fatal nosedives. Boeing has made several changes to the software and hardware for airworthiness ■ ■ In its order, the DGCA cited the clearance granted to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft by 17 regulators worldwide, including the US. China is the only major country yet to allow the aircraft to fly again In India, only SpiceJet has Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet. The low-cost carrier plans to deploy the plane from next month Mar 13, 2019 When D.G.C.A. ordered grounding of All Boeing 737 Max planes 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 Kabul massacre Two serial blasts rock Afghan capital; 12 US soldiers and children among over 70 killed, 140 hurt; no outfit claims role but ISIS-Khorasan’s hand seen B i n i ta J a i s w a l @ Chennai E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e At least 72 people, including children, were reportedly killed and over 140 injured in two suspected suicide blasts in Kabul on Thursday evening. Twelve US military personnel, too, were among the victims, and 15 were wounded, General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, said at a briefing in Washington. While there was no official confirmation on the number of locals killed in the blasts, media reports quoting Afghan health officials on the ground put the number at 60. The casualties could go up as many are fighting for life. A few Taliban fighters were also injured in the blasts. The first explosion went off in a crowd of people waiting to enter the airport near the Abbey Gate. Reports said shots were fired soon after. Thousands of Afghans had gathered at the gates trying to gain access to the airport, hoping to catch a flight to safety The second blast hap. pened hours later, near the Baron Hotel in the city A few days ago, the US military had lifted . 169 Americans from that hotel using choppers. It is now said to be housing UK’s evacuees. Videos from the scene showed dozens of bodies strewn across a sewage canal and the surrounding banks outside the airport. “We can confirm that a number of US service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby tweeted, adding that “a number of Afghans” were also killed in the attack. While no group claimed responsibility for the attacks, the US and other Western governments believe the blasts were triggered by the Islamic State’s regional affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), which is opposed to the Taliban. The Taliban had shot dead one of the group’s top leaders in Afghanistan, hours after taking over the Kabul prison where he was held. The blasts came a day after US defence officials warned of terror attacks near the airport. On Wednesday the US Embassy in Kabul had , urged people to avoid travelling to the airport unless given specific instructions were given. Meanwhile, US evacuation flights continued to take off from the airport. Some countries including Canada have announced they were halting their airlift evacuations in view of the deteriorating situation. Covid cases climb, 58% of them in Kerala New Delhi: While Covid positive cases in India crept up to 46,164 on Thursday, the highest since early July, 58% of them were from Kerala where the pandemic is showing no sign of abating. The health ministry also warned against people dropping their guard as the festive season approaches. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said except Kerala, the Covid count elsewhere is declining. Kerala reported 31,445 cases and 215 deaths. Its test positivity rate is now over 20%, signalling the explosive rate of disease progression | P7 North Gate Entrance Wounded women arrive at a hospital after suffering injuries in the blast outside the Kabul airport on Thursday | AFP U.S. warning to citizens On Wednesday, US defence officials had warned of attacks on the crowds gathered outside the Kabul airport. The US Embassy in Kabul had specifically asked its citizens to leave Abbey Gate, East Gate, and North Gate of the airport immediately. The UK, too, had issued a similar warning to British nationals in Afghanistan INSIDE ha m id ka rz ai Entrance Afghans cling to evacuation hopes r ai p t or East Gate ) ul Baron ab 2 Hotel (k 1 Abbey Gate Main entrance Suicide bomber blows himself up near the Abbey Gate to the airport, at 5:10 pm local time 2nd blast occurred near Baron Hotel, where foreigners were waiting to be evacuated. Last week, 169 US citizens were airlifted from the hotel to the airport in choppers Imran for positive engagement I P12 Wait-and-watch policy on Taliban Current priorities Evacuation of Indian nationals, safety of our diplomatic personnel Assistance to Afghan nationals in distress Providing leadership Neighbourhood First International coordination and humanitarian efforts Evac stats Embassy personnel 175 Other Indian nationals 263 E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Describing the security situation in Afghanistan as critical, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday told an all party meeting of floor leaders in Parliament here that India is adopting a wait-and-watch approach in dealing with the Taliban. The priority now is full evacuation of Indian nationals. The long-term interest is in retaining robust friendship with the Afghans, Jaishankar told the meeting attended by 37 leaders from 31 political parties. The leaders were first briefed by Foreign Secretary Harsh Var- dhan Shringla. Jaishankar then took questions. Responding to one of the 26 questions, Jaishankar admitted that the Doha process for a smooth transfer of power had not fructified. He also said there was no clarity on when US forces would be withdrawn completely from Kabul. Fielding questions on the government’s Taliban policy, he said: “It would be foolhardy to take a policy call on Kabul. India should avoid the path where events force it to take a decision and that too without assimilating the facts.” drone policy liberalised for usage across sectors E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Taking a big leap in promoting drone usage across sectors, the ministry of civil aviation on Thursday liberalised its rules, cutting down the number of forms to be filled and approvals sought. Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the new rules aim to simplify procedures and reducing the compliance burden. The number of forms to be filled to operate them are down have now been brought down from 25 to 6. “We are all set to usher in a new era of drone usage in India.. We’re going to ensure drone application in transpor- tation, logistic, defence, mining, infrastructure sectors and more. It will provide more jobs. Our aim is to make India a global drone hub by 2030,” said the minister. He added that the new rules could make the concept of air taxis a reality in the days ahead. “Air taxis are being researched and invented globally and many startups are coming up. The time is not far when taxis, like the ones of Uber etc that you see on roads, you will see in the air under the drone policy. I believe this is very much possible,” he said. As per the new rules, approvals for the unique author- isation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permits, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorisation, e t c h ave b e e n abolished. Besides, no pilot licence is required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drone and for R&D organisations. Also, there will be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India. He also refuted allegations that India had been isolated on the global stage, saying leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, Saudi Arabian State Foreign Minister Adel Aljubeir have all been in touch with New Delhi. Also, India chaired a special session at the United Nations Security Council on Afghanistan two days after the Taliban seized power. India has so far evacuated 565 people from Afghanistan. R i c h a S h a r m a / Ej a z K a i s e r @ New Delhi/Raipur The ongoing power struggle within the Chhattisgarh Congress took a new turn with the party’s leadership directing Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to respect the agreement of rotational CM he accepted two-anda-half years ago and smoothly transfer power to his cabinet colleague T S Singh Deo. The Baghel camp hasn’t yielded yet, as a large number of MLAs on his side, including a couple of ministers and some senior leaders, flew into Delhi late Thursday evening to parade their support before the party high command. Baghel is scheduled to meet @ Villupuram The recent electrocution of a 13-year-old boy in Villupuram district, while erecting a flag pole, has exposed deeper problems in society. With school moving online and his family struggling amid the pandemic, the boy was forced to work and contribute to the household income. He was not alone in his plight as Express found that the them to stay at home and take up any jobs that came their way , to make their ends meet. With the pandemic running into its second year, social workers said that financial situations in many rural families had worsened. Several parents were forced to send their wards to daily-wage works, including con- express read HC: Bumper to bumper insurance must for all Chennai: The Madras High Court said that it is mandatory for all vehicles in the State to have bumper to bumper insurance from next month. “Whenever a new vehicle is sold after September 1, 2021, it is mandatory to obtain bumper to bumper insurance cover every year... for a period of five years,” said the order | P4 former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday . Rahul had met both Baghel and Deo early this week sort out the mess. “During the meeting, Baghel was told to follow the rotational formula he had agreed to after the Assembly elections in 2018. The party wanted to do this through consensus but now he is getting his camp MLAs to put pressure to stay in power,” said sources, adding the change of guard is unlikely to be easy now. Baghel’s tenure reached its halfway mark on June 17. For his part, Deo claimed there was no such power sharing formula. Both leaders have, however, maintained that they will abide by decision of party high command. Jab-o-meter Learning lessons, not from textbook, but the hard-knock life district has seen a spike in the number of children engaged in child labour since the Covidlockdowns began last year. This could be attributed to a loss of livelihood and the halt of inperson schooling. Local activi s t s c o n c u r re d w i t h t h e findings. About 30 per cent of the district’s rural population had been employed in other districts until the pandemic struck. The lockdown forced Weeks after the Tamil Nadu government announced that it would introduce a 7.5 per cent horizontal reservation for government school students in admissions to professional courses, the State Assembly on Thursday enacted a law providing the quota. Higher Education Department officials said the reservation will be implemented in this year’s admissions. The streams covered are engineering, agriculture, veterinary law, and other , professional courses offered in government, aided, and private colleges in the State. “Government students competing with those from private schools are struggling to access higher education of their choice,” said Chief Minister MK Stalin, introducing the Bill in the Assembly . He attributed this to socio-economic disparity as mostly it is students from disadvantaged backgrounds that study in government schools. Stalin said that a mere 0.83 per cent of the students admitted to Anna University last year were from government schools. The figure is just 0.44 per cent in aided engineering colleges and 6.31 per cent when all government high- Curtains for Baghel? Last ditch bid to stay as CM child labour K r i t h i ka S r i n i vasa n This year on, 7.5% quota for govt school students in professional courses struction, event decorations, street vending, and the likes. For instance, 16year-old Prakash ( n a m e ch a n g e d ) runs a tiny grocery shop on the Villupuram-Mambalpattu road. His mother, K Karpagam, had been employed in Chennai until she lost her job due to the pandemic. In order to help his striving mother, that is when Prakash decided to set up the shop. “I take care of the shop until noon. and sometimes, also listen to the online classes on the phone. We took a loan for `10,000 from a local moneylender to set up this shop. I earn around `300 a day, in addition to my mother’s daily income of `200,” said Prakash. continued on: P3 Take your shot August 25 66,22,337 doses August 26 67,87,305 doses Total doses: 61,10,43,573 NATIONWIDE Aug 25 Aug 26 Fresh cases 37,593 46,164 Recoveries Deaths 34,169 34,159 648 607 tamil nadu Aug 25 Aug 26 Fresh cases 1,573 1,559 Recoveries Deaths 1,797 27 1,816 26 er educational institutions are considered. Speaking to Express, D Karthikeyan, Higher Education Secretary said, “ the Bill was , As unanimously passed in the Assembly, there is absolutely no hurdle in implementing it from this academic year.” According to Higher Education officials, the quota will benefit over 30,000 government school students. Only those who had studied from class 6 to 12 in government schools in the State can avail this benefit. Last year, the AIADMK regime had introduced a similar 7.5 per cent reservation for government school students for admissions to undergraduate medical courses on the ground that the NEET made it harder for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue medical education. M Sashidharan, a retired government college principal, said, “Due to the quota, over 400 students from government schools were able to get admissions last year. The exclusive reservation for these students will boost demand for government schools. And to cater to the rising demand, we need to upgrade the infrastructure in government schools on a priority basis.” P5 112 docs skip govt service, may be fined `50 lakh each S i n d u j a J a n e @ Chennai The Directorate of Medical Education (DME) has written to the deans of a few medical colleges asking them to collect bond amount of `50 lakh from 112 non-service doctors for failing to take up posts in government hospitals. The doctors had completed higher speciality courses in 2020 and 2021 but had chosen not to take up government service during the recently concluded online transfer counselling. As per norms, non-service doctors are required to work in government hospitals for two years, failing which, they have to pay a bond amount agreed upon during their admission to courses. “They have failed to take up their postings available in their speciality department in government medical colleges,” said the letter. It added that doctors were reluctant and unwilling to work in the TN Medical Services. The DME has directed the respective deans to issue a show cause notice first. “Initiate action against the non-service post graduates, higher speciality for , violating bond condition and recover the bond amount under the Revenue Recovery Act without fail,” the letter said. The DME also directed the deans to send an action-taken report in this regard to its office on or before August 31. The State had been conducting counselling to fill super speciality seats until 2017, before NEET was introduced. Soon, the State quota was cancelled and all super speciality seats are now filled by the Centre’s Directorate General of Health Service under the All India Quota. P2 WITH THI S I S S UE CHENNAI’S BEST WEEKEND GUIDE 32 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF INDULGE (TABLOID)
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