New variant and old fears Many European countries have pressed the panic button even as the WHO is yet to make its assessment of the variant with high number of mutations public Variant: B.1.1.529 Why’s Europe worried? Found in: Botswana and Hong Kong 1 Cases have leapfrogged 11% over the past week Risk factor: Under assessment) 2 WHO’s grim prediction that the winter toll may cross 7,00,000 (in travellers from South Africa) WHO meeting: Friday’s emergency discussions focus on variant’s possible effects and giving it a Greek alphabet denomination kottayam l saturday l November 27, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION 3 Belgium has become the first EU country to detect a case 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 ■ ■ Countries South Africa Lesotho Botswana Zimbabwe in focus Mozambique Namibia Eswatini Uncertainty returns as new mutant spreads Equity markets crash, oil prices tumble or 2.91% to 17,027. Friday’s bloodbath was caused by discovery of a new mutation of c o r o n av i r u s i n A f r i c a (B.1.1529), which poses another set of challenges to global economic recovery . Amit Gupta, Fund Manager – PMS, ICICI Securities, said, “Nervousness on the new variant and expectations of US increasing the pace of tapering have led to recent market weakness. This trend may take some time to recover as the WHO meeting on the new mutant variant impact and hospitalization rates in US and Europe will be watched by the market very closely .” Apart from the discovery of the new Covid variant, the over-10% drop in crude prices is also attributed to the release of crude reserves by the Ars h a d K h a n & R a k es h K u m a r @ New Delhi Reports of a heavily mutated Covid-19 variant on Friday sent global and domestic equity markets into a tizzy In. dian equity markets saw `4.5 lakh crore worth of investors’ wealth getting eroded as both the benchmark indices – BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty – fell by around 3%. US stocks opened lower while London’s benchmark fell by 3.3% at the opening. Tokyo, Shanghai, Frankfurt and Hong Kong also fell. The tremors were also felt in the global oil market as Brent Crude shed over 10% to trade around $73.34 a barrel on Friday India’s equity mar. ket saw its biggest single day fall in recent times on Friday . The Sensex shed 1,688 points or 2.87% to close at 57,107, and the Nifty was down 510 points Dynastic politics biggest threat to democracy: Modi PM targets Congress as 14 opposition parties boycott Constitution Day event in Parliament E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi With 14 opposition parties including the Congress, the TMC, the DMK and the Left parties boycotting the Constitution Day event in the Central Hall of Parliament on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into family-run parties calling them a danger to democracy . Noting that dynastic parties are a matter of concern to people committed to the Constitution, Modi said, “More than one person from a family joining the party on the basis of merit does not make the party dynastic. Problems arise when a party is run by the same family, generation after generation.” Targeting the Opposition parties that boycotted the event, Modi said the country will not listen to those who turn their back to an important event to respect the Constitution, which has the name of Babasaheb Ambedkar attached to it. “When a political party loses its own democratic character, how can it protect democracy? Today from Kashmir to Kanya, kumari, look at every corner of India, the country is moving towards a crisis that should worry every individual who respects the Constitution and that comes from dynastic parties. This is against the principles of the Constitution,” the PM said. Elaborating on the spirit behind celebrating the Constitution Day Modi said it was initi, ated in 2015. Modi recalled how faced resistance when the idea to dedicate a day in the name of the Constitution was mooted. ‘Boycott to protest authoritarian govt’ Justifying its decision to boycott the Constitution Day event in Parliament, the Congress said it was to register its protest against the authoritarian functioning of the Narendra Modi-led government “I remember when I was addressing the House in 2015 on B R Ambedkar’s 125th anniversary and making this announcement, even then there was resistance. Why are you doing this? What was the need?” he said. Speaking on the occasion, the President Ramnath Kovind said, “All Members of Parliament are defenders of the dignity of Parliament, whether they represent the ruling party P7 or the Opposition.” United States and other countries leading to increase in global supply surplus. Recently the US made a re, quest to some of the world’s largest oil-consuming nations including China, India and Japan to release oil from their strategic reserves to check the skyrocketing prices. India and the US decided to release 5 million and 50 million barrels of oil, respectively, from their stockpile. According to the findings of a panel of experts that advises ministers of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), such release is likely to perk up supplies in the coming months. Therefore, OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, are set to meet on December 2 to weigh their policy options. FLIGHT PLAN Category Capacity At risk with bubble agreement At risk without bubble agreement 75% of pre-Covid operations 50% bilateral capacity arrangements Full capacity under bilateral agreements Not at risk Bloodbath in market K4.5 lakh cr 1,688 3% Fall in BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 510 9,119 10,549 10,264 9,868 396 488 Drop in Brent Crude to trade around a barrel Jab-o-meter Take your shot November 25 statewide nov 25 nov 26 74,59,819 doses Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 65,23,396 doses 5,987 5,094 56 God, help our state, says High Court on increasing police harassment plaints E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @Kochi In the wake of the death by suicide of a 21-year-old law student because of alleged domestic violence and lackadaisical attitude of a circle inspector over her complaint, the Kerala High Court on Friday observed that if there is prompt action against any erring police officer, the entire force would change its attitude. The court, in an oral observation, also expressed concern over the rising number of complaints regarding police harassment saying, “God, help our state.” Justice Devan Ramachandran orally observed, “If the state takes swift and stringent action against one police officer, just one is enough, the entire police force would change its attitude. Till then, this will continue -- people will be chained, killed and even forced to commit suicide.” A police station is a public office, not a “terror field”. Any man, woman or child should feel free and confident to walk into a police station anytime. The court also asked the government that why it always restricts punishment of police officers to disciplinary action. “Why is this hesitation to take action against police officers? Police have to be protectors, not persecutors.” The observation was made when a petition filed by K Rajeev of Thenmala, Kollam, alleging police harassment came up for hearing. HC had earlier found that “at least two police officers had treated the petitioner with unimaginable barbarity — handcuffing him to the handrail of the police station and registering multiple cases against him — all because he dared to ask a receipt for a complaint sent ● More on P4 to Police Complaints Authority . Inspector Sudheer suspended Kochi/T’Puram: Amid pressure from various quarters, the Kerala Police on Friday suspended Aluva Station House Officer C L Sudheer for his alleged lapses while handling the domestic violence complaint of law student Mofiya Parveen, who later ended life blaming her husband, in-laws and the SHO. DGP Anil Kant issued the order hours after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured Mofiya’s father K Dilshad of a proper investigation into the case and action against the inspector of police. Dilshad spoke to the chief minister from the phone of Industries Minister P Rajeeve, who visited the family On Friday. Sathyanarayana conserves 650 rice varieties in 25-cent plot As an 18-year-old boy he fell in love , with the tiny grains of Rajakayame rice. He used to glean the paddy field and the pathway on which reapers carried the harvested paddy bundles. Today, Sathyanarayana Beleri is a one-man paddy bank conserving 650 varieties of traditional rice varieties. He has varieties from Japan and the Philippines to far-flung states of Assam and Manipur and neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil 10% $73.34 Shed by Nifty NATIONWIDE Nov 25 Nov 26 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Fall in London’s benchmark Points shed by Sensex shed One-man gene bank G e o rge P o i k ay i l @ Kasaragod 3.3% Investors’ wealth eroded Nadu; he has paddies that comes from rubber, nutmeg, grow as tall as 13 feet; he has and arecanut --- said he rice varieties which are grows all the 650 varieties of black, purple, white, red, and rice on a 25-cent artificially light green; he has varieties created paddy field because which give good yield in sa- Sathayanarayana his land is not conducive for line soil, and also in the wapaddy cultivation. Beleri ter-scarce field. “Of the 25 cents, I grow On November 11, minister for ag- one variety on 10 cents just for the riculture Narendra Singh Tomar birds and the rats,” says Sathyhonoured him with the ‘Plant Ge- anarayana, a resident of Nettenige nome Saviour Farmer Reward’ in village in Belloor panchayat of Delhi for his efforts in conserving Kasaragod. The rest of the varieties traditional varieties of rice. he breeds in grow-bags and protects ● More on P4 Sathyanarayana --- whose income them with nets. 4,677 6,632 33 November 26 Total doses 120,96,90,961 Regular int’l flights to resume on Dec 15 K u m a r V i k r a m @ New Delhi The Ministry of civil Aviation on Friday announced the resumption of scheduled international flights to and from India from December 15. The ministry, however, said certain restrictions would apply to countries based on their risk assessment and airbubble deals. Countries categorised as at-risk and having air bubble agreement with India would resume 75% of pre-Covid scheduled international flights or a minimum of seven frequencies a week, whichever is higher. Countries under the at-risk category include the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore and Hong Kong. An order issued by the civil aviation ministry said the decision was taken after consultations with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Resumption of international passenger services wo u l d i m p l y r eve r s i o n to bilaterally-agreed capacity and termination of the air bubble arrangements. Countries identified as not ‘at-risk’ by the Health Ministry would get full capacity entitlements according to the bilateral air service agreements. For a country identified as ‘atrisk’ and not having an airbubble agreement, only 50% of bilateral capacity entitlements or 50% of pre-Covid operations, whichever is higher, would be permitted. Bilateral air service agreements are signed between countries to operate scheduled passenger flights. This determines the number of airlines, ports of entries and total flights weekly that can be allowed. Under air bubble agreements, airlines of two countries operate special flights under certain restrictions. “The seats under air bubble arrangement that have already been sold by airlines, which are more than the capacity entitlements under bilateral air service agreements, will be allowed to be operated till December 14, 2021,” the aviation ministry said, adding such airlines would restrict their operations to capacity entitlements enter bilateral air service agreements with effect from December 15. express read Lyricist Bichu Thirumala passes away at 79 Man who ‘chased’ models’ car held ‘KWA must repair roads it dug up’ T’Puram: Bichu Thirumala, one of the prominent lyricists in Malayalam cinema, passed away at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday following cardiac-related ailments. He was 79. He had written around 5,000 songs, including film songs and devotional songs. Apart from penning lyrics and composing music, the multi-faceted Bichu Thirumala had also written the story and dialogues of film ‘Shakthi’ and the script of ‘Ishtapraneswari’. He had also sung a number of songs. P2 Kochi: The district crime branch on Friday arrested Syju Thankachan, a resident of Kakkanad, in connection with the road accident near Vyttila that killed three persons, including two models, on November 1. The probe had revealed that Syju followed the car carrying the deceased — Miss South India Ansi Kabeer, former Miss Kerala runner-up Anjana Shajan and Thrissur native Mohammad Ashiq — after they left the hotel after a party. Malappuram: Public Works Department Minister P A Mohammed Riyas on Friday came out against the Kerala Water Authority for the failure to repair the roads that KWA had dug up to lay pipelines. The minister said KWA has the responsibility to restore the roads to their previous condition. The minister’s reaction comes a day after the Kerala High Court directed the authorities concerned to repair roads properly.
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