chennai l friday l january 21, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 30 l late 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 E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ Madurai TAKING note of misuse of social media platforms like YouTube for committing crimes, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Thursday sought a reply from the Tamil Nadu government and the opinion of advocates at large as to whether social media companies can be included as accused or abettor in criminal cases involving social media platforms. Justice B Pugalendhi also asked if the government had any mechanism through which such misuse could be prevented and appointed advocate KK Ramakrishnan as amicus curiae to assist the court on the issue. The judge made the observations while hearing a petition filed by police to cancel bail granted to A Duraimurugan Pandiyan ‘Saattai’, a YouTuber, in a case registered against him for allegedly making dero g atory remarks against Chief Minister MK Stalin last year. Noting that Duraimurugan has been frequently making such remarks in his YouTube channel and other platforms, the judge orally asked Duraimurugan’s counsel whether the YouTuber was making money out of such videos. Duraimurugan had earlier given an undertaking to the court that he would not repeat the offence if granted bail. The judge pointed out that in several other cases, too, accused have confessed that they learnt about making guns, committing robbery and such other offences from YouTube videos, Holding that social media is being misused, the judge sought reply from authorities regarding steps taken to curb such activities. The court adjourned the case by a week. 30.9 CHENNAI’S BEST WEEKEND GUIDE 30 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF INDULGE (TABLOID) 28.6 18.4 10.6 7.9 Africa ■ 22 3.6 3.3 1.2 1.2 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 8 515 districts have test positivity rate of over 5%; toll low compared to second wave due to vax drive; Maharashtra to reopen schools Express News Service @ 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 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 tamil nadu Jan 19 Jan 20 Fresh cases 26,981 28,561 Recoveries 17,456 19,978 Deaths 35 39 The city corporation vaccinated 20,069 people on special booster dose vaccine drive on Thursday. The civic body has set a target of 21,000 doses. Among the 15 city zones, Anna Nagar zone stood first with 2,770 getting the booster shot. Manali and Madhavaram zones came last with only 32% and 26% of targeted individuals getting vaccinated Death more among TN seniors, 48% got both doses As per DPH data, till January 16, 62% elderly had got first dose in TN and 48% got both doses. Overall, 88.62% people got first dose and 64.23% got both doses. Analysis of 191 deaths between January 1 and 15 revealed that 163 out of 191 (85.3%) of deaths was among people who are above 50 years, and 181 (94.7%) with one or more comorbidities 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 DVAC raids 58 places linked to ex-minister 15 16 17 18 19 20 Fatalities rising in TN, 39 in one day E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ Chennai THE death toll is on a steady rise in Tamil Nadu as the pandemic spreads across the State. TN, which recorded single-digit deaths in the first week of January with an active caseload of around 1,000 cases, has been recording deaths in double digits since January 8, when it reported 10 deaths and over 10,000 cases. The State reported 39 deaths on Thursday (January 20). According to a media bulletin issued by the Directorate of Public Health, of the 39 deaths, only one patient had comorbidities. The oldest among the dead was a 100-year-old man from Ranipet, and the youngest, a 43-year-old man from Erode with comorbidities. On Thursday, the State reported 28,561 new Covid-19 cases with test positivity rate (TPR) hovering around 18.4 percent. It had tested 1,54,912 samples. Doctors and health experts have warned that the death toll may rise. Director of Public Health Dr T S Selvavinayagam advised unvaccinated elderly with comorbidities to get vaccinated to protect themselves. Dr K Kolandaswamy, former Director of Public Health, said the Omicron variant might be mild among those who are either vaccinated and already infected with Covid, but it might not be the case with people above 50 having comorbidities, and unvaccinated. For the pandemic to end, the entire population should either get vaccinated or should by naturally infected. “In natural infection, deaths might happen as the unvaccinated and elderly with comorbidities get affected. So, vaccination is the only solution,” he said. Continued on: P2 OFFICIALS of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on Thursday raided 58 places, including one in Telangana, linked to former AIADMK minister KP Anbagalan over charges of amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income during his tenure as minister of higher education between 2016 and 2021.Unaccounted cash of R2.65 crore, a bank locker key, and a few documents were seized during the raid, sources said. About 6.6 kg of gold jewels and 13.8kg of silver were also recorded. Cases were booked against KP Anbalagan (62) wife A Malliga (55), younger son A Sasi Mohan (29), elder son A Chandra Mohan (32), and Chandra Mohan’s wife S Vaishnavee (32) under sections 12 (punishment for abetment of offenses defined in section 7 or 11), 13(2),13(1)(e),13(1)(b) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 109 (punishment of abetment) of the IPC. Disproportionate assets worth more than Rs 11.35 crore were amassed by him between April 27, 2016 and March 15, 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 Skewed priority BCCI has time for everything but Ranji Trophy v e n k ata k r i s h n a B @ Chennai The Indian cricket board (BCCI) is on verge of cancelling the Ranji Trophy for a second successive domestic season citing a short window available up to the start of IPL in April. It’s bizarre considering the same board managed to host two IPLs overseas successfully two Test series , last year, and part of IPL at home during peak of second wave, and not to mention host of white-ball domestic events. Yet that the BCCI has failed to find a convenient window seems outrageous. The cancellation of the event will be a big bl w for the next o rung of up and coming cricketers. This will also hit hundr ds e of players and match officials financially for the second consecutive year. The BCCI is the only board the world over to not conduct its first-class tournament last season and failure to do so this season too will reflect poorly on the organisational skills of the richest cricket board headed by a former captain. After BCCI was unable to host full-fledged domestic season in 2020/21, it included all the tournaments for the 2021/22 season. However, it did not have a window for the Ranji Trophy and it was to as late as January 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 events for the 2020/21 season in January-February 2021, Old yardstick for selection With India Test team entering a transition phase, sans Ranji Trophy the selectors will have to pick players based on white-ball cricket and red-ball performances from 2019/20 season. the move to host them again within a year’s time raised eyebrows. And that decision is proving to be a big mistake. After Ranji was suspended on January 4, the BCCI was hopeful of starting it at least in February and finish the group stages before the IPL (on April 2) and conduct the knockouts after it. But finding even a 35-day window for the group stages look 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 least be a five-month gap because of the IPL and the monsoon. P11 the 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.” @ Coimbatore/ Dharmapuri 9 10 11 12 13 14 J A N U A R Y ■ Daily cases ■ Daily positivity rate 20,069 get booster shots in Chennai on Thursday 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 the delay in E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e Virus spreading to remote corners Jab-o-meter WI T H T HIS ISSUE India’s daily case load (Numbers in %) 4.5 Wary of interim order on EWS quota While dealing with EWS quota separately, the SC declined to pass an interim order staying the criteria. ”In matters involving challenge to the constitutionality of a legislation or a rule, the Court must be wary to pass an interim order, unless the Court is convinced that the rules are prima facie arbitrary,” it said 52.3 37.6 nomically weaker section. 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 Can social media firms be treated as accused in criminal cases? ready upheld the constitutional validity of the OBC reservation while setting `8 lakh annual income limit for the quota for eco- 2,47,417 HC asks TN, bar 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,” the court 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 S e r v i c e @ New Delhi 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 Cops outside Anbalagan’s property in Nungambakkam | R Satish Babu EPS: Raids to hide K500 cr corruption Ex-CM EPS alleged `500 crore corruption in Pongal gift hampers and said the DMK was conducting raids out of political vendetta and to hide its failures | P4 2021, DVAC sources said. Anbalagan who was elected as MLA from Palacode constituency of Dharmapuri in 2016 served as minister for higher education from May 2016 to May 2021 and minister for agriculture from November 2020 to May 2021. According to DVAC sources, during his tenure as education minister, he is believed to have earned an income of R10.1 crore, but his personal assets and those of his family members exceeded this amount by R11.32 crore. Continued on: P4 Army in touch with PLA to get back teen E x p r e ss N e ws S e 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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