SHIVAMOGGA TUESDAY DECEMBER 7, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 14 CITY EDITION WITH SERIES WIN OVER KIWIS, INDIA RECLAIM TOP RANKING Virat Kohli & Co are No 1 ranked Test team after beating world champions New Zealand by 372 runs at Wankhede Stadium DOMINATING SHOW CONTINUES AT HOME ASHWIN CHASES MURALI, KUMBLE RECORD India’s victory margin is their highest in Tests in terms of runs. The win against New Zealand is their 14th straight series win at home, with their last defeat dating back to 2012 against England. Since 2013, India have lost only two Test matches at home. New Zealand, meanwhile, are without a Test win in India since 1988 | P13 ■ ■ Nine Man-of-the-Series awards for R Ashwin in Tests put him on level with South African great Jacques Kallis. Only Muttiah Muralitharan (11 awards) is ahead of Ashwin now Ashwin now has 300 Test wickets at home, the second Indian to achieve the feat. Anil Kumble, with 350 wickets leads the list 14/225 AJAZ PATEL’S MATCH FIGURES ARE THE BEST BY A PLAYER IN A LOSING SIDE 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 Terror, trade dominate summit We perceive India as a great power, a friendly nation and a time-tested friend - Vladimir Putin Detailed discussion on Afghan situation and cross-border terror; enhanced cooperation in military, oil & gas, petrochem and space M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi 900 staffers of Better.com axed on Zoom S A M I K S H A G O E L @ New Delhi CALL it Worse.com if you will. The CEO of US-based fir m Better.com, Vishal Garg, laid off 900 employees during a bizarre Zoom call, shocking the company’s staff ahead of the festive season. The sacked employees comprised about 9% of the digital mortgage lender. Reports said the lay-offs are mainly in India and the US, and that the Zoom call lasted just three minutes. “If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately ,” Garg said in the one-way video call on December 1. An employee filmed the call and leaked it recently on social media. One of the laid-off workers told this newspaper that they felt cheated and devastated, as the call came out of the blue. Garg, an abrasive executive, had once called his employees “a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS” in a staf f email. TechCrunch speculated that the lay-offs may have been a condition for Better. com’s backers — which include SoftBank — greenlighting a sooner-than-expected cash infusion of $750 million. EXPRESS READ Two-year jail sentence for Aung San Suu Kyi Yangon: Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader of Myanmar who was ousted in a coup this year, was convicted on two charges on Monday and handed a fouryear sentence that was quickly cut in half — in proceedings widely criticised as a further effort by military rulers to roll back the democratic gains. P9 Sensex sheds 900 pts over Omicron fears New Delhi: Investors’ wealth tumbled Rs 5,80,016.37 crore in two trading sessions including Monday as stock markets continued to face heavy selloff on concerns over the Omicron variant of Covid. The 30-share BSE Sensex sank by 949.32 points or 1.65 per cent to close at 56,747.14. P12 Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Monday | SHEKHAR YADAV Nine govt-to-govt pacts in basket of 28 Four agreements in defence sector signed In all, 28 agreements signed, including nine government-togovernment pacts. The G2G pacts include developing a roadmap for science, technology and innovation; IPR rights; military-technical ties from 2021 to 2031; earth sciences and geological study of subsoil; amendment to recognise seafarer’s identity documents; cultural exchange; peaceful use of outer space plus building and operating space launch vehicles and setting up ground-based space infrastructure India and Russia concluded four major defence equipment deals, including on procuring 6,01,427 AK-203 assault rifles through Indo-Russia Rifles Prt Ltd. The rifles will be manufactured at a cost of around B5,000 crore. The agreements were signed at the 20th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation. Another pact was on amending the agreement on cooperation in the field of manufacturing of the Kalashnikov series of small arms that was originally sealed in February 2019 CROSS-border terrorism, the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and military cooperation apart from trade figured in the summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir here on Monday . India and Russia inked as many as 28 agreements during Putin’s visit. “President Putin’s visit was short but highly productive and substantive. There were excellent discussions between the two leaders. Twentyeight agreements/MoUs were concluded during this visit. These agreements include those between government-togovernment and business-tobusiness,” said foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. Briefing media after the summit talks, Shringla said bilateral trade and investment figured prominently in the talks. “This year, we’ve noticed an encouraging trend of growth in our trades compared to last year. Both sides are looking forward to continued increase in trade and investment trajectory he added. ,” During the talks, Modi and Putin decided to continue close consultation and coordination on Afghanistan. “Both sides were clear Afghan territory should not be used for shelter- WILL SHUT SCHOOLS IF COVID SCENE WORSENS: MINISTER A S H W I N I M S R I PA D @ Bengaluru AMID increasing Covid clusters in educational institutions in the state, Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh on Monday said that if required, the government will shut schools and colleges and go back to online classes. “We are monitoring the situation on an hourly basis and there is no need to panic. Covid cases are under control now, though a few clusters have been reported in residential schools,” he added. Nagesh said that if the situation remains under control, the department is keen on holding exams for primary and high school students as they have lost the habit of writing exams for the last two years. The government will rethink that decision too, if required, he added. He told The New Indian Express that the government is not compromising on the health of students and said that those who tested positive a few days ago are back in schools and colleges. He maintained that experts are of the opinion that there is no problem in holding regular offline classes. “We are taking all measures and the situation is under control at present,” he said. ing, training or planning any acts of terrorism,” the foreign secretary said. Indo-Russian cooperation in the strategic area of energy was discussed in detail. “We have expressed our interest in further investments in the oil & gas sector, and in petrochemicals,” Shringla said. Putin said Russia’s cooperation with India in the military and technical spheres is unique. “By that I mean we develop technologies together as well as produce in India.” he said. On cross-border terrorism and Afghanistan, Putin said, “We continue to cooperate jointly on global agenda… our positions are similar. Naturally , we are concerned about everything that has got to do with terrorism. I mean fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime etc. We are concerned about the developments and situation in Afghanistan.” Sources said Putin called India a great nation. He also laid stress on boosting economic cooperation while giving his opening remarks during the meeting between the two leaders. Modi-Putin summit talks were held after the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries held their inaugural ‘2+2’ dialogue. This was Putin’s second visit abroad since the lockdown. P9 NATIONWIDE DEC 05 DEC 06 Fresh cases 8,895 8,306 Recoveries 6,918 8,834 Deaths 2,796 211 KARNATAKA DEC 05 DEC 06 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 456 330 6 301 359 7 DOC WITH OMICRON TESTS POSITIVE AGAIN School students wait to board a private van in Bengaluru on Monday. The state government indicated that it would shut schools if Covid cases rise | VINOD KUMAR T He asked people not to panic as it will impact the academic activities of children. The depar tment star ted re gular school after a year of lockdown. “If schools are shut again, it will be difficult to bring children back to classes,” he pointed out. As children have forgotten how to write exams, teachers are finding it difficult to instill discipline in them, make them sit inside classrooms and also make them write. Offline exams are needed as children will face difficulty later in higher classes, he pointed out. P4 Decision on cap at cinemas after talks with experts: CM CM Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said that any decision on imposing a 50 percent cap on gatherings at cinema halls and malls will be taken in consultation with the expert committee. Tracing primary and secondary contacts of those reported positive in Covid Clusters is on and measures have been taken to treat them, he added. On steps taken to contain the spread of Covid, he said the Health and Education departments have been directed to keep a strict vigil on hostels. “Not only Omicron, the Delta variant too exists. The government is keeping an eye on children in hostels, schools and colleges,” he added. The Bengaluru doctor, who tested positive for the Omicron variant of SARS CoV 2, is still testing Covidpositive 15 days later. One of his primary contacts and two secondary contacts have tested negative. The anaesthetist has to continue to stay in isolation. His samples will be sent again for tests after 24 hours. P3 PARENTS, EXPERTS PUSH FOR VAXXING KIDS Karnataka reported 274 Covid cases among children and teenagers in the past 10 days. Parents and experts are stressing on approval for vaccination for the paediatric population. On Saturday, the Indian Medical Association demanded that the government expedite the proposal to vaccinate children in the 12-18 year age group at the earliest. P3 People attend a mass funeral of civilians killed by the Army in a case of mistaken identity, in Mon district of Nagaland on Monday | AFP Army tried to hide bodies: Naga govt P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Guwahati ‘Mistaken identity’ Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday admitted in Parliament that the Nagaland firing was a case of mistaken identity and expressed regret over the civilian killings Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act gives unbridled powers to security forces. They can visit your house, frisk and arrest people without a warrant. While doing this, if they kill someone, there will be no case. This has to go Neiphiu Rio, Nagaland CM SPECIAL forces of the Army not only shot dead civilians in a case of mistaken identity in Nagaland’s Mon on Saturday they also tried to hide the , bodies under tarpaulin, a report by the state’s Director General of Police T John Longkumer and Commissioner Rovilatuo Mor revealed. A parallel first information report filed on the incident by the police was equally damning. Claiming that the Army did not inform them of the operation against insurgents, it alleged that “it is obvious that the intention of (the) security forces is to murder and injure civilians.” The report of the DGP and the Commissioner said the unarmed civilians were “ambushed and killed by security forces (reportedly 21 Para based in Assam) at random, apparently without any attempt for identification.” Six civilians were killed on the spot and two critically injured. What followed was a cover up attempt by hiding the bodies and possibly taking them to the Army camp. “On hearing the gunshots, the villagers went to the spot being apprehensive that the individuals did not return home from work… They found the pickup truck and the special forces personnel trying to hide the dead bodies...by wrapping and loading them in another pickup truck, apparently with the intention of taking the dead bodies to their base camp.” Violence broke out when the villagers found the bodies hidden under a tarpaulin sheet, the report said. A mass funeral for the victims was slated for Sunday but put off by a day without any clear announcement, which angered the locals and resulted in an attack on an Assam Rifles camp in Mon. Army men firing blanks further enraged the mob. “After almost an hour into the melee, the second round of continuous firing by the Assam Rifles resulted in the mob running for safety and protection. After the firing ceased, one protestor…was confirmed dead on the spot and six others, including one IR personnel, sustained bullet P9 injuries,” the report added. State govt curtailing our powers: Poll panel toHC EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru THE State Election Commission (SEC) moved the Karnataka High Court against the state government for passing the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Act, 2021, which it claimed withdraws its powers to fix the number of seats, carry out the delimitation exercise, fix reservation of seats and constitute the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Delimitation Commission. Hearing the petition questioning the legality of the amendment, a division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum on Monday issued notices to the Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Affairs and Legislation and Principal Secretary of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department. SEC prayed the court to direct the state government to issue final notifications on delimitation and reser- vation for all territorial constituencies of all taluk and zilla panchayats in the state. It said that the state government, by proposing to wait till the completion of new delimitation and fresh reservation exercise, has created a vacuum in local selfgovernment and governance of panchayats. It appealed to the court to declare the Act published in the gazette on September 18, 2021 as unconstitutional. P7 SMOOTH SAIL Demand high, Karnataka to ramp up production of Mysuru silk sarees EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru TO meet the growing demand for famous Mysuru Silk sarees, the state government is ramping up production by providing 192 additional power looms to the Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation Limited (KSIC). KSIC now produces 70,000 metres of silk sarees every month from its power looms and the additional looms will enable it to increase its monthly production to over one lakh metres. “We have set a higher target and the additional looms are being provided to meet the production needs,” said Sericulture Minister KC Narayan Gowda on Monday . The state government also issued an order to repair unused power looms with Karnataka Silk Development Centres in Hassan, Tumakuru, Ballari, Vijayapura and Belagavi and shift them to KSIC facilities in Mysuru and Channapatna. KSIC is a state government enterprise that has obtained the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Mysore Silk. Gowda said there is a lot of demand for Mysuru silk sarees in India and abroad and the government is taking measures to increase the production of high-quality silk sarees. “The extra power looms will create more demand for cocoons and farmers will get a good price for their produce. Shifting of power looms will strengthen KSIC and also protect farmers’ interests,” he said. At present, KSIC has 159 power looms at Mysuru Old Mill, 60 at Mysuru New Mill and 30 in Channapatna. Once the new looms are set up, the govern- ment is thinking of producing silk sarees in two shifts, said a statement issued by the minister’s office. Farmers in Ramanagara, Tumakuru, Kolar and other districts take up sericulture farming. The price of cocoons has gone up since manufacturers of Banaras silk sarees started sourcing the raw material from Karnataka after a central government ban on China silk. MGP TIE-UP WITH TRINAMOOL CONGRESS’ Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party president Deepak Dhavalikar said the party’s central committee resolved to have an alliance with TMC for the Assembly polls in Goa due early next year. MGP, which had won three seats in the 2017 polls to the 40-member Goa Assembly, is currently left with one MLA after two of its legislators joined the ruling BJP.
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