sambalpur l friday l january 21, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION 19-year-old girl flies solo around world in 155 days Bad weather, visa issues vex 90-day target Rutherford will find herself in the Guinness World Records book after setting the mark that had been held by 30-year-old American aviator Shaesta Waiz since 2017. Her global flight in her ultralight Shark plane was supposed to take three months, but relentless bad weather and visa issues kept her grounded sometimes for weeks on end, extending her adventure by 2 months Belgian-British pilot Zara Rutherford has set a world record as the youngest woman to fly solo globally in a small aircraft 52,000 km, 41 countries, 5 continents ■ ■ In her trek of more than 52,000 km (28,000 nautical miles), she stopped over in five continents and visited 41 nations During her flight using visual flight rules (going on sight only), she steered clear of wildfires in California, dealt with biting cold over Russia and narrowly avoided North Korean airspace 18-year-old Travis Ludlow is the youngest to fly solo globally in a single-engine plane CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Can’t box merit in narrow performance definitions: SC on OBC quota A s i s h M e h ta @ Bhubaneswar Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch on Thursday arrested an MBA graduate from Jharsuguda in connection with the sensitive Bulli Bai hate app case. A team conducted raid at 28-year-old Neeraj Singh’s house in Lamtibahal area at about 4 am and picked him up with assistance of Brajrajnagar police. The accused and his younger brother Nikesh Singh were whisked away to Brajrajnagar police station for questioning. The Mumbai Police team also took possession of the duo’s mobile phones but later returned the device of Nikesh. “We are taking Neeraj to Mumbai in connection with our investigation in Bulli Bai app case,” Mumbai Police Cyber Crime DCP Dr Rashmi Karandikar told The New Indian Express over phone. Sources said, Mumbai Police submitted evidence on Neeraj before a Jharsuguda court following which it was allowed to take him on transit remand. He was arrested after his involvement in the case surfaced in course of the probe, they added. Neeraj, an MBA in HR from a private university in Cuttack, was working with a private firm in New Delhi. He had returned from the national capital after outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. His family members claimed he was not part of the Bulli Bai app. “My brother was not involved in developing the app, sharing or uploading pictures. He possibly met few members of the app development team after confronting a controversial tweet against a Hindu deity,” accused’s younger brother Nikesh told the newspaper. He claimed his brother was never part of the Bulli Bai app and instead, member of a Twitter group. CONTINUED ON: P5 28.6 18.4 10.6 7.9 ■ 22 3.6 3.3 1.2 1.2 Africa Asia Dec-28 Dec Europe ■ 29 Dec-4 Dec North America ■5 Oceania Jan-11 Jan ■ 12 South America 1 2 3 Jan-18 Jan 4 5 6 7 2,68,833 16.66% 2,71,202 16.28% 2,58,089 19.65% 2,38,018 14.43% 2,82,970 15.13% 3,17,532 16.41% 2,64,202 High scores in exams are not a proxy for merit. Merit should be socially contextualised and reconceptualised as an instrument that advances social goods like equality that we as a society value. In such a context, reservation is not at odds with merit but furthers its distributive consequences, the bench said India’s daily case load 30.9 4.5 ‘High marks in exams no proxy for merit’ 52.3 37.6 nomically weaker sections. While giving its detailed order on Thursday the bench not, ed that the country is still in the 14.78% Trend of global new cases Mumbai police arrests MBA graduate from Jharsuguda ready upheld the constitutional validity of the OBC reservation while setting `8 lakh annual income limit for the quota for eco- 2,47,417 Bulli Bai APP subsequent training and individual character. Crucially, open competitive examinations do not reflect the social, economic and cultural advantage that accrues to certain classes and contributes to their success in such examinations,” it added. A bench of judges D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna in a brief order on January 7 had al- 13.11% THE Supreme Court on Thursday reiterated the constitutional validity of 27% OBC reservation in all-India quota seats in the NEET for undergraduate, postgraduate and dental courses, noting that merit cannot be reduced to narrow definitions of performance in an open competitive examination. The top court observed that certain classes may perform better in such examinations thanks to their social, economic, and cultural advantage. “Competitive examinations assess basic current competency to allocate educational resources but are not reflective of excellence, capabilities and potential of an individual which are also shaped by lived experiences, 22,775 2.05% 27,553 2.48% 33,750 3.84% 37,379 3.24% 58,097 5.03% 90,928 6.43% 1,17,100 7.74% 1,41,986 9.28% 1,59,632 10.21% 1,79,723 13.29% 1,68,063 10.64% 1,94,720 11.05% E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ New Delhi E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi OVER 3 lakh more Covid-positive case were reported in the country on Thursday morning, but the ratio of deaths and active cases stayed low when compared to the disastrous second wave because of the ongoing vaccination drive. On the flip side, data shows that the virus is now travelling to new territories as there is a progressive increase in districts with more than 5% positivity rate (TPR). Smaller cities and towns have been particularly affected, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said. About 11 states and Union Territories have more than 50,000 active Covid cases, while 515 districts reported a weekly case positivity rate of over 5%. The national TPR stood at 16.41% on Thursday . The Centre has retained Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka Maharashtra and Delhi on its list of “states of concern”. On April 30, 2021, there were 3,86,452 new cases, 3,059 deaths, 31,70,228 active cases and 2% of the eligible population fully vaccinated. As against that, 3,17,532 new cases were logged Jab-o-meter on January 20, 2022, 380 deaths, 19,24,051 active cases, and 72% people fully vaccinated, indicating how jabs are life savers. “In this third surge of Covid, we are currently not witnessing severe illness and deaths due to high vaccination uptake. This shows that vaccines save,” Indian Council of Medical Research head Dr Balram Bhargava said. With Kerala reporting 46,387 new cases (TPR 40.22%), the state gover nment imposed fresh restrictions, including allowing only essential services to operate on the next two Sundays — January 23 and 30. In neighbouring Karnataka, the fresh case count was close to 48,000, of which 30,540 were in Bengaluru alone. However, there was positive news from Maharashtra, as it decided to open schools for offline teaching in classes 1 to 9 from Monday because of the declining viral load. In Telangana, the state government decided to do a doorto-door fever survey from Friday. A home isolation kit comprising medicines and other materials, would be provided to those who have Covid symptoms, state health minister T Harish Rao said. NATIONWIDE Jan 19 Jan 20 Take your shot Fresh cases 2,82,970 3,17,532 Jan 19 62,39,005 doses Jan 20 60,79,373 doses Total: 1,60,32,25,244 Recoveries 1,88,157 2,23,990 Deaths 441 491 odisha Jan 19 Jan 20 Fresh cases 11,607 10,368 Recoveries 6,785 8,471 Deaths 06 07 Parties join forces for Kotia, decide to put up consensus candidates @ Koraput 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 J A N U A R Y ■ Daily cases ■ Daily positivity rate 15 16 17 18 19 20 Odisha 8th high Covid burden state in country E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Even as the new Covid-19 cases dropped from 11,607 to 10,368 and the test positivity rate (TPR) from 16.7 per cent (pc) to 13.9 pc in last 24 hours, Odisha has been placed at eighth position among the states and UTs in terms of high active cases. With 79,875 active cases, Odisha is among the top-10 states which are having the maximum number of patients under treatment. The other states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that although six are ‘states of concern’, the Centre is continuously monitoring the situation in states having more than 50,000 active cases. The drop in cases and TPR notwithstanding, faNumber of infections has talities rose as seven patients succumbed to the discome down ease, the highest in a day in the third wave so far. despite more Among the deceased, aged 19 to 96 years, five intests. Districts cluding one woman, were from Khurda district have been (four from Bhubaneswar) and one each from Ganalerted to ramp up testing as per jam and Sambalpur. All barring an 84-year-old man the Centre’s from the city were suffering from other comorbid fresh directive. conditions. The State has recorded 1,22,330 cases and 39 Hopefully, the situation will deaths in the first 20 days of the month. Nine disimprove soon tricts accounted for 67 pc of the caseload. Khurda Dr Bijay Mohapatra, topped the list with 3,036 cases, followed by SundaDirector Health rgarh (1,505), Cuttack (940), Balasore (303), Jajpur Services (290), Balangir (253) and Sambalpur (247). As per the Ministry of Health statistics, 13 districts from Odisha are among 371 districts of the country with a weekly TPR of over 10 pc during the January 13-19 period. The TPR was highest 33.77 pc in Khurda, 29.37 pc in Balasore, 27.35 pc in Sundargarh, 18.1 pc in Mayurbhanj, 17 pc in Kalahandi, 16.82 pc in Cuttack and 15 pc in Rayagada. The State health authorities, however, claimed the decline in new cases as a positive sign, but cautioned that there should not be any laxity in terms of Covid appropriate behaviour. Director of Health Services Dr Bijay Mohapatra said the number of infections has come down despite around 5,000 more tests as compared to the previous day. Districts have been alerted to ramp up testing as per the Centre’s fresh directive. Hopefully, the situation will improve soon, he added. IN a show of unanimity politi, cal parties of Odisha have decided to select consensus candidates for the posts of zilla parishad, sarpanch, samiti and ward members instead of going to the polls in the disputed Kotia panchayat amid infringement attempts of Andhra Pradesh. The decision was taken at the all-party committee meeting at Koraput on Thursday. Leaders of all the three major parties, BJD, BJP and Congress decided to unanimously select candidates for the posts ahead of the upcoming panchayat elections. The meeting also decided that all candidates for the posts will be selected from Kotia panchayat. The selection will be done by January 25. The candidates will be selected unopposed and uncontested. Moreover, the selected candidates will have no political affiliation. The selected ZP member will look after the political and administrative activities in Kotia. Convenor of the meeting and district BJD president express read Six AI flights to the US restored after 5G scare New Delhi: Air India on Thursday resumed six out of the eight Boeing 777 flights to the US, which were suspended over fears of the 5G rollout in the US would interfere with the aircraft’s radio altimeter. The remaining two services will resume on Friday, it said. The decision comes after US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration issued a fresh directive on Thursday saying the 5G rollout in the US would not affect the radio altimeters in certain types of aircraft, including B777. Subsequently, Boeing informed the same to Air India. Radio altimeters are used by aircraft to take off and land. first-class mess Ranji hits dead end again, hundreds to suffer v en k ata k r i s h na B @ Chennai the cricket board is close to cancelling the Ranji Trophy for the second successive domestic season citing a short window fr m now to the start of o IPL in April. It will be a big bl w o for the next rung of up and coming cricketers. This will also hit hundr eds of players and match officials financially for the second consecutive year. After being unable to host the full domestic season in 2020/21, the BCCI included all the tournaments for the 2021/22 season. However, it pushed the Ranji Trophy to January the latest it , was scheduled to start in the last decade, to accommodate the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy with an eye on the IPL player auctions. While a third wave was not predicted at that stage, having held these whiteball tournaments for the 2020/21 season only in January-February 2021, the move to host them again within a year raised eyebrows. But the BCCI still went ahead with it. And that decision is proving to be a big mistake. After the Ranji Trophy was suspended on January 4, the BCCI was hopeful of starting it at least in February and finish the group stages before the IPL begins on April 2 and conduct the knockouts after the IPL. But even a 35-day window for the group stages looks improbable now as players have to enter bio-bubble for IPL by March 20. Also, there are no takers for splitting the event into two as there would at Old yardstick for selection With India Test team entering a transition phase, without Ranji Trophy the selectors will have to pick players based on white-ball cricket and red-ball performances from 2019/20 season least be a five-month gap because of the IPL and the monsoon. The BCCI is the only board the world over not to conduct its first-class tournament last season. Failure to do so this season again will reflect poorly on the organisational skills of the richest cricket board headed by a former captain. It’s bizarre considering the same board managed to host two IPLs overseas successfully and looks set to take it to South Africa or Sri Lanka if the Covid situation doesn’t improve this year. A decision on this will be taken before the IPL auctions in February . counselling process due to the pendency of this petition, the bench said: “The petitioners challenged the very criteria for the determination of the EWS, which would not only require us to hear the matter at length but would also entail us to hear all interested parties. We deem it necessary to allow the counselling session to begin with the existing criteria.” E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Virus spreading to remote corners 515 districts have test positivity rate of over 5%; toll low compared to second wave due to vax drive; Maharashtra to reopen schools midst of a pandemic and any delay in the recruitment of doctors would impact the ability to manage the pandemic. “Due to this, we hold that the reservation for OBC candidates in the All India Quota seats for UG and PG medical and dental courses is constitutionally valid,” the bench said. Citing delay in the Statue of Equality Artisans give final touches to 11th-century Vaishnavaite saint Bhagavad Ramanuja’s statue in Hyderabad, to be inaugurated by the PM next month | S Senbagapandiyan All-party meeting underway at Koraput on Thursday | Express Iswhar Chandra Panigrahi said all political parties have joined forces to prevent Andhra Pradesh government from creating disturbances in Kotia. “Let AP know the unity of the parties in State irrespective of political affiliations,” he said. District Congress committee president Minakhi Bahinipati said all parties have been fighting for the cause of Kotia irrespective of their ideologies. “Our main aim is to protect Kotia from AP’s incursion and development of the panchayat by selecting candidates in a united manner,” she added. Welcoming the decision, former MP and senior BJP leader Jayram Pangi said the decision of political parties to select consensus candidates in Kotia will give a strong message to the AP governCONTINUED ON: P5 ment. Army in touch with PLA to get back teen E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ Guwahati THE Indian Army on Thursday contacted the People’s Liberation Ar my (PLA) through hotline, a day after BJP leader and Arunachal Pradesh MP Tapir Gao said a 17-year-old Indian boy was abducted by Chinese soldiers. A defence spokesman tweeted: “Indian Army immediately contacted PLA through hotline. Assistance from PLA has been sought to locate and return him as per protocol.” The statement also comes in the wake of the Congress targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Dear PM, how dare Chinese Army transgress into our territory again? Why is Govt not listening to the earnest appeal of its own MP?” said Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala. Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry on Thursday denied such an incident happened. “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army controls borders in accordance with the law and cracks down on illegal entry and exit activities,” a Chinese spokesperson said. Upper Siang Superintendent of Police Jummar Basar said the police were trying to ascertain the facts. “Tribals will never cross the border. But, we can’t stop them from going into forests. They rely on the forests for their daily needs,” the SP said.
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