bhubaneswar l friday l november 26, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION Virus variant with unusually high mutation count found B.1.1.529 has been found in South Africa, Botswana & Hong Kong; the Centre has asked states to test travellers from these places Unfamiliar mutations spark concern origins in untreated HIV patient? The new coronavirus variant has at least 32 spike mutations, compared to 16 for Delta. It may not just spread more efficiently, but might be able to get around parts of the immune system, said researcher Richard Lessells. Some of the mutations are also unfamiliar to scientists. So far the variant has been seen spreading especially among young people, reports said ■ ■ The variant could have evolved during the chronic infection of a person with compromised immunity, which can prolong infection The variant is of serious concern and behind an exponential rise in cases, said South Africa’s health minister Joe Phaahla. WHO officials have met to discuss B.1.1.529 100 Cases linked to the variant detected in South Africa 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 becomes pawn in TMC’s pan-India plans Political observers point out that by upstaging the grand old party in Meghalaya, the Trinamool Cong is indirectly helping the BJP P r a s a n ta M a z u m d a r @ Guwahati With 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya joining the Trinamool Congress (TMC) overnight, the grand old party appears to have become the biggest victim of the Mamata Banerjee-led party’s ambition of becoming a pan-India rival to the Bharatiya Janata Party . After its hard-fought victory in West Bengal early this year, the TMC is on an acquisition spree to draw disgruntled leaders from other parties, mostly Congress. By doing so, it is virtually hijacking the political space hitherto occupied by the grand old party . The TMC had already set its sights on BJP-ruled Tripura and Goa to expand its base outside Bengal. Meghalaya is the latest addition to the list. The late-night coup in Shillong relegated the Congress to a smaller party and effectively made the TMC the state’s main opposition party. The development comes 14 months ahead of the Assembly polls in Meghalaya, which is ruled by a coalition of parties headed by the National People’s Party a BJP ally , . Infighting in the Congress, especially after Shillong MP Vincent H ‘Congress failed as Oppn’ On Thursday, former CM Mukul Sangma justified his decision to switch sides saying the Congress was failing as an opposition party and that TMC could be the pan-India alternative to the BJP. “We looked at available options and reached out to people and friends,” he told reporters Pala took over as the state unit chief two months ago, is said to have triggered the dramatic developments on Wednesday night. Former chief minister Mukul Sangma was the sole contender for the CM post in case the Congress returns to power in 2023 and he felt threatened by Pala’s appointment as PCC chief. Congress insiders in the state admitted the TMC had dealt a body blow to the party facing a depleting popularity ever since the BJP’s emergence as a powerhouse nationwide in 2014. Political observers, however, pointed out that by targeting the Congress, the TMC is indirectly helping the BJP . As regards Goa, the TMC’s entry would hurt only the Congress as the BJP has its vote bank intact. Similarly the TMC is trying , to make inroads into Tripura at the expense of the Congress and the Left parties. Thursday’s civic election in the state was its launch pad. MP Aparajita Sarangi faces protests, After absconding, Mumbai’s ex-top cop surfaces remains confined in house for hours S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Bhubaneswar MP and BJP national spokesperson Aparajit Sarangi was forced to remain confined in a house at Acharya Vihar for over three hours as youth activists allegedly belonging to the ruling BJD laid seige to the place on Thursday evening. She had gone there to attend a function of senior citizens as a part of the Jana Sampark Yatra of the party A . slogan shouting crowd gheraoed the house, while stones and eggs were also allegedly pelted when the function was going on. The people had reportedly gathered to protest against rise in the price of LPG and essential commodities. People had started congregating in front of the ward office at Acharya Vihar where the function originally was to be held. However, as the crowd increased, sensing trouble the organisers shifted the function to the house of a senior citizen in the area. Aparajita Sarangi being rescued from the house in Acharya Vihar I Express The mob also shifted to the new location and created ruckus outside the house. The BJP MP had to remain inside for three hours from around 8 pm to 11 pm. Some BJP workers tried to oppose, but their numbers could not match that of the opposite party . She was rescued by Bhubaneswar DCP Uma Shankar Das who rushed to the spot and dispersed the crowd. Strongly condemning the incident, Aparajita demanded action against those responsible within the next 24 hours. “People’s representatives should be provided protection and security by the government. Odisha’s image should not be sullied outside the State by these incidents. Such type of hooliganism (goonda gardi) should stop,” she stated. The BJP filed an FIR at the Saheed Nagar police station over the incident. Earlier on the day eggs were hurled , on the car of the MP at the Balipatna square by Students’ Congress activists who were protesting against hike in the price of LPG and essential commodities and rising unemployment under the BJP rule at the Centre. A complaint has been filed at Balipatna police station by personal secretary of the MP, Dhaneswar Barik. Police said they are investigating the matter and have questioned some suspects. However, no arrests were made till the report was filed. ITC begins clinical trial for coronavirus nasal spray ITC has confirmed it is developing a nasal spray for preventing Covid-19 and said it has initiated clinical trials for the product. The spray is meant to halt the virus at the entry point of the nasal cavity NATIONWIDE nov 24 nov 25 Fresh cases 9,283 9,119 Recoveries 10,949 10,264 Deaths 437 396 all set to take off Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits an exhibition on Noida International Airport, for which he laid the foundation stone on Thursday in Jewar. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is standing on his left | PTI | P8 odisha nov 24 nov 25 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 288 151 03 335 235 02 Jab-o-meter Take your shot November 24 79,65,803 doses November 25 74,59,819 doses Total: 120,17,25,296 health Survey Be aware! Hypertension, diabetes have hit the epidemic button in Odisha H e m a n t K u m a r R o u t @ Bhubaneswar Keep aside Covid for a moment, hypertension and diabetes have assumed epidemic proportions in Odisha with long-term impact on health and well-being of the population. The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has revealed alarming statistics on hypertension and diabetes prevalence in the State as one in every four men and one in every five women in Odisha have elevated blood pressure and taking medicine to control it, while almost 17 per cent (pc) men and 14 pc women of 15 years and above have high blood sugar and on medication. The survey found 25.6 pc men and 22.4 pc women aged above 15 years have high BP It is more prevalent in . urban areas with 29.3 pc men and 24.5 women suffering from the disease as compared to 24.9 pc and 21.9 pc respectively in rural pockets. Around 6.1 pc men and 5.6 pc women have severely elevated BP and another 16.8 pc men and 12.9 pc women have mildly elevated blood pressure which may subsequently add to the population h av i n g hy p e r t e n s i o n i f n o t controlled. Similar to hypertension, men have a higher risk of incidence of diabetes when compared with women. While 8.7 pc men and 6.6 pc women have very high blood sugar levels despite being treated, another 7.3 pc men and 6.5 pc women have high sugar level but not taking medicine. Of the 131 key indicators surveyed in the State, hypertension and blood sugar level were included for the first time. The share of population affected with the diseases in Odisha is above the national average as 24 pc men and 21.3 pc women have high BP and 15.6 pc men and 13.5 pc women are highly diabetic in the country . Health experts said non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hyperten- sion and diabetes are lifelong illnesses that adversely affect the quality of life. As the State is still unable to control child malnutrition and anaemia, the rise of NCDs will further add to the economic burden. Dr Manas Pradhan, assistant professor of Mumbai-based International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) that conducted the survey said compared to the women population, a higher proportion of men have both high and very high blood sugar levels and blood pressure and the trend is consistent across the districts. “Early identification, treatment and management as well as healthy behaviour including diet and physical activity can only reduce the burden of these diseases. As the lifestyle ailments like diabetes and hypertension act as comorbidities for Covid-19, those may compound the health issues further in case third wave hits,” he warned. Mumbai’s former police chief Param Bir Singh, who faces at least five charges of extortion and corruption in Maharashtra and had been missing for months, appeared at the city police’s Crime Branch Unit 11 office on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Maharashtra DGP Sanjay Pandey has moved a report on suspending Singh, who holds the DG, Home Guard post. The report has been submitted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is said to be discussing the issue with alliance partner NCP. A highly placed source in the government said, “Singh is in Mumbai therefore things may move fast. The government is discussing if Singh should be arrested first and then suspended, or vice versa.” The source said NCP chief Sharad Pawar is furious over the arrest of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, against whom Singh leveled allegations of cor- ruption. Pawar is determined to teach Singh as well as the Centre a lesson, the source added. “Singh was used to level charges and now he is backtracking, terming the charges hearsay the ,” source said, referring to a recent claim by Singh’s lawyer that the former police commissioner’s allegations against Deshmukh were “hearsay” and based on information provided by CONTINUED ON: P5 other officers. ‘Param bir destroyed Kasab’s phone’ Retired Assistant Police Commissioner Samsher Khan Pathan claimed in a complaint that Param Bir Singh “destroyed” a mobile phone seized from the 26/11 terror attack convict Mohammed Ajmal Kasab
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