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 Found in: Botswana and Hong Kong (in travellers from South Africa) Risk factor: Under assessment WHO meeting: Friday’s emergency discussions focus on variant’s possible effects and giving it a Greek alphabet denomination HYDERABAD SATURDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION Why’s Europe worried? 1 Cases have leapfrogged 11% over the past week 2 WHO’s grim prediction that the winter toll may cross 7,00,000 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 ARSHAD KHAN & RAKESH 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 well, as Brent Crude shed over 10% to trade around $73.34 a barrel on Friday. India’s equity market 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 or 2.91% to 17,027. Friday’s bloodbath was caused by discovery of a new mutation of coronavirus in Africa (B.1.1.529), which poses another set of challenges to global economic recovery . Amit Gupta, fund manager, portfolio management services at ICICI Securities said, “Nervousness on the new variant and expectations of US increasing the pace of tapering have led to recent m a rke t we a k n e s s. This trend may take some time to recover as the WHO meeting on the new mutant variant impact and hospitalisation rates in US and Europe will be watched by the market very closely .” Other than the discovery of the new Covid variant, the release of crude oil reserves by the US and other countries leading to an increase in global supply also caused the 10% drop in oil prices. Recently the US had made a , request 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 further in the coming months. OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, are set to meet on December 2 to weigh their 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 MARKETS `4.5 lakh cr 3.3% Investors’ wealth eroded 1,688 3% Fall in BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty Points shed by Sensex 510 9,119 10,549 10,264 9,868 396 488 TELANGANA NOV 25 NOV 26 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 147 148 1 10% Drop in Brent Crude to trade around $73.34 Shed by Nifty NATIONWIDE NOV 25 NOV 26 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Fall in London’s benchmark 171 167 1 a barrel JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT November 25 74,59,819 doses November 26 65,23,396 doses TOTAL DOSES 120,96,90,961 Dynastic politics biggest threat to democracy: Modi E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ 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 Constitu- tion, 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 to- wards 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. Speaking on the occasion, the President Ram Nath Kovind said, “All Members of Parliament are defenders of the dignity of Parliament, whether they represent the ruling party P7 or the Opposition.” 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. TALKS FAIL: CENTRE MUM ON PROCURING MORE TS RICE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE talks between the Telangana government and the Centre on procurement of rice failed on Friday as Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal gave no concrete assurance on procuring more than 40 lakh tonnes of Kharif rice from the State. The government of Telangana was expecting a positive response from the Centre during the latest meeting, which saw State Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy Panchayat Raj Min, ister E Dayakar Rao and Labour Minister Ch Malla Reddy holding talks with Piyush Goyal in New Delhi. CONTINUED ON P2 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 Many TRS, Cong men want to join BJP: Chugh Hyderabad: Stating that the TRS won’t be able to find even 60 candidates if the Assembly polls are held now, BJP’s State in-charge Tarun Chugh on Friday claimed that two dozen candidates from TRS and Congress were in touch with him, expressing their desire to join the saffron party. He also said that his party would win 80 seats whenever elections are held | P4
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