kozhikode l thursday l june 16, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION U.S. wholesale inflation at near-record 10.8% in may The 0.8% increase in producer prices from April’s figure of 10% comes on the back of a 5% rise in energy prices Fed may go in for biggest rate hike since ’94 The latest inflation data comes as the US Federal Reserve is set to announce a sharp increase in interest rates. Analysts are expecting a hike in the range of 50 to 75 basis points. A 75 bps increase, which some analysts say is likely given the persistent inflationary pressures, would make it the largest rate hike since 1994 and add to dollar’s volatility ■ 8.6% Markets tense ahead of decision ■ After Tuesday’s selloff, US markets opened slightly higher on Wednesday ahead of the Fed’s decision. Benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.4% in early trading In India, Sensex closed 152 points lower on Wednesday in anticipation of a sharp hike in the US interest rates U.S. retail inflation in may, which is a 40-year-high figure 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 CM, family tried for quid pro quo business deal with Sharjah ruler: Swapna’s affidavit P R a m d a s @Kochi West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in conversation with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, as PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and SP’s Akhilesh Yadav look on after a meeting on presidential polls in Delhi | Shekhar Yadav Pawar, Mamata, Kharge to evolve Prez consensus 18 Oppn parties attend meet; Rajnath, Nadda begin consultations Rajesh Kumar Thakur @ New Delhi NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday fobbed off requests from several parties to become the joint Opposition candidate for the forthcoming Presidential polls, at a two-hour meeting called by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee here. Mamata set the ball rolling by proposing his name and getting the concurrence of several others. But Pawar politely declined. The meeting that had representation from 18 Opposition parties urged him to reconsider his decision. But Pawar sought to put a lid on it, taking to his Twitter handle later to say: “I sincerely appreciate the leaders of opposition parties for suggesting my name as a candidate for the election of the President of India, at the meeting. However, I like to state that I have humbly declined the proposal of my candidature.” 5G auctions to begin on July 26 The meeting adopted a unanimous resolution to field a common Opposition candidate in the Presidential elections. It decided to tentatively meet again on June 21, informed CPI MP Binoy Viswam. Mamata, Pawar and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge were authorised to consult other parties to evolve a consensus on the matter. With Pawar shutting the door, sources said Mamata suggested the names of National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and retired diplomat Gopalkrishna Gandhi for con- Too premature to comment: Gandhi “It is too premature to comment,” Gopalkrishna Gandhi, said when asked about his candidature. He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and was the consensus opposition pick for Vice President in 2017 sideration as alternative candidates. The suggestion was met with a stony silence, an opposition MP informed. Kharge said his party has no particular name in mind but will sit with others to play a constructive role to arrive at a consensus if Pawar continues declining the offer. Mamata said she will consult other parties that could not make it to the meeting, like AAP, SAD, AIMIM, TRS and BJD. Parallelly, BJP leader Rajnath Singh called up Opposition leaders like Kharge, Mamata and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to build a national consensus on the Presidential elections. He also spoke to JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar. Sources said Opposition leaders sought to know the NDA nominee for the high post. BJP chief J P Nadda, too worked the phones, to reach out to leaders of parties like the BJD, YSR Cong, JD(U), RJD, TRS, DMK and others with whom he is has good rapport. Police enter Cong HQ, beat up cadre? Cops deny R a k e s h K u m a r @ New Delhi Decks were cleared on Wednesday for 5G spectrum auctions to provide services to the public and enterprises both, with the Cabinet approving a proposal by the Department of Telecommunications for its rollout. A total of 72,097.85 MHz of spectrum with 20-year validity will up for grabs when the auctions begin on July 26. The Cabinet ignored the demand of telecom operators to reduce the base price of spectrum and not allow private enterprises to have their own 5G network. Analysts believe it will enhance the debt of telcos. Telecom operators had asked for a 90% cut in the reserve price and also urged the ministry not to provide direct 5G network to private enterprises as it will impact their business. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had suggested about 39% cut in floor price, which was seen as deeply disappointing by the industry . According to the DoT, the auction will be held for spectrum in various Low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), Mid (3300 MHz) and High (26 GHz) frequency bands. The Cabinet decided to allow setting up of private 5G captive networks as it will spur a new w ave o f i n n ov a t i o n s i n Industry 4.0 applications such as machine to machine communications and Internet of Things. Congress workers protest Enforcement Directorate’s summoning of Rahul Gandhi, outside the party headquarters in Delhi on Wednesday | Shekhar Yadav E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ New Delhi The Congress headquarters here witnessed high drama on Wednesday as the party continued its protest over the questioning of its leader Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case for the third consecutive day . Party leaders alleged that Delhi Police personnel forcibly entered its headquarters at Akbar Road and thrashed them, posting a video of the incident on Twitter to substantiate their claims. However, the police denied their allegations. “In an act of absolute goondaism perpetuated by the Delhi Police at the instance of the Modi government, the police today forcibly entered the national headquarters of the Congress here and beat up party workers and leaders. This is patently criminal trespass,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. Other senior leaders alleged that security personnel mis- behaved with women parliamentarians and treated them like ‘criminals’. Jothimani Sennimalai, Tamil Nadu MP, released a video in which she appealed to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to initiate action against the security personnel who mistreated women MPs. “We were brutally beaten up and assaulted on Tuesday and today as well. Our clothes were torn and shoes were removed. They are taking us to an unknown location. We needed water but the police didn’t allow us to purchase water. The security personnel bundled 7-8 women in the bus and treated them like criminals,” she alleged. The Congress demanded that an FIR for criminal trespass be diled, erring police personnel suspended and disciplinary action initiated against them. However, the police rejected the charges. “The allegations are totally false and we strongly denied them,” a senior police officer said. The affidavit submitted in a court here by gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh contains damning allegations against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family, indicating that his wife Kamala and daughter Veena were involved directly in negotiations with the Sharjah ruler in September 2017. Swapna’s affidavit submitted in the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases and accessed by TNIE, said the CM requested the UAE consul-general to have a one- Has Loka Kerala Sabha done justice to its objectives? S o v i V i d ya d h a r a n @ T’Puram As the third edition of Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS) begins on Thursday the jury is still out on , whether the two earlier editions of the grand biennial convention were able to address burning issues of expatriates or effectively use their expertise for the development of the state. The government has reiterated that the objective of LKS is to provide an “inclusive democratic space” for Keralites worldwide and it is not a business or investors’ meet. Norka officials admit that nearly twoyears of a virtual shutdown owing to the pandemic has affected the implementation of most of the recommendations of the second LKS in 2020. However, some of the proposals mooted in the first edition in 2018 were executed, they claim. “The LKS has indeed helped in ensuring better coordination while utilising the services of expatriates for the state’s welfare. We have seen it during the floods and pandemic,” said Speaker M B Rajesh, who is the chairman of LKS presidium. He said the Sabha will bring out a report card on the achievements of its previous editions. One of the key achievements according to Norka department is the setting up of a company— Overseas Keralites Investment and Holding Ltd — to fund development projects with NRK investment. However, it’s first project to set up wayside ameni● More on P4 ties is yet to start. on-one meeting with the Sharjah ruler during his visit to Kerala. “The CM offered the opportunity to the Ruler (Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi) to make investments in Kerala, and, in turn, Kamala and Veena requested the ruler to make arrangements for Veena to invest and develop the IT hub in Sharjah,” the affidavit said. The entire event played out when the ruler visited Cliff House on September 26, 2017. In the affidavit, Swapna stated, “Prior to the visit, myself and the consul-general were in- vited by (M) Sivasankar to Cliff House so as to discuss the Sharjah ruler’s visit. In that meeting, the CM, Sivasankar, CM’s wife and daughter and Nalini Netto IAS were present. Thereafter, Sivasankar again requested me to meet the CM and his family at Cliff House for another meeting. In that meeting also, the CM, his family and Nalini Netto along with Sivasankar were present. Then, Kamala and Veena requested me to make sure the consul-general’s assistance to get the princess and the Sharjah ruler in their control and (let them) take control of the IT hub in Sharjah. Madam Kamala told me that she was ready to give huge quantities of gold jewellery and diamonds as a reward to His Highness and his wife in return for this help. But I told her that they would not accept such presents because they are the king and queen of Sharjah.” Swapna said she had taken Kamala and Nalini Netto along with her to receive the ruler. “Immediately on reaching the hotel room, Kamala tried to discuss the business proposal with the ruler’s wife. The latter got ● More on P4 annoyed.” CM directed cops to not stop Youth Cong workers from flying: Kodiyeri E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @T’Puram It was Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who directed the police not to stop the three Youth Congress workers from flying in the same aircraft in which he had boarded from Kannur on Monday . “The CM took a view against stopping the persons who use public transpor t. He was aware of the chances for a protest, but didn’t want to stop them. Had that been the case, there would have been a bigger controversy,” said CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. He was interacting with a team of TNIE journalists as part of ‘Express Dialogues’ series here on Wednesday . The three workers, including the two who later shouted slogans against the CM on board, told the police that they were going to visit a relative who was undergoing treatment at RCC, T h i r u v a n a n thapuram. “The intelligence promptly briefed the police about the trio and their suspected last minute travel. But, the CM directed the police not to stop them,” said Kodiyeri. Responding to a query on the protests by political parties stooping low with cadre targeting leaders and party offices, Kodiyeri said the CPM didn’t approve attacks against party offices and leaders. “Such incidents should not happen. Nobody should attack party offices while undertaking a protest demonstration. We have given a firm directive to all regarding that. It is the LDF government that included party offices also under the purview of The Kerala Prevention of Damage to Private Property and Payment of Compensation Act, 2019,” he said. The interaction between Kodiyeri and TNIE team will be published in the issue dated June 19. 99.26% clear SSLC exams The state recorded a success rate of 99.26% in the Secondary School Leaving Certificate examinations, 2022, the results of which were announced on Wednesday 4,26,469 students appeared for the exams 4,23,303 eligible for higher studies 44,363 students secured A+ in all subjects (1,25,509 in 2021) 99.47% success rate in 2021 98.25% Students of Calicut Girls’ VHSS who secured A+ in all subjects in SSLC examinations share sweets in the school compound on Wednesday | E Gokul | P5 success rate in Gulf sector 89% success rate in Lakshadweep Schools with 100% success rate: 2,134 (2,210 in 2021) Govt: 760 Aided: 942 Unaided: 432 rebranding destination express read Kovalam to woo tourists back with wider choices, new amenities Notice to masjid panels: Mayyil SHO transferred S h a i n u M o h a n @ T’Puram Not long ago, Kovalam and its beaches were a top draw of international and domestic tourists who visited the state. That was till sea erosion ravaged the destination and whatever little amenities there were went into ruins. Now, Kerala Tourism is planning to rebrand the famed destination by scaling up the facilities and offering different experiences to tourists. The department aims to bring in more new features, including adventure sports and responsible tourism elements. Tourism department officials feel Kovalam has reached the stagnation point. The destination has been witnessing a reduced tourist footfall, and the pandemic literally hammered the final nail in the coffin. The spot is now struggling to stay afloat in the global tourism circuit. The department plans to relaunch the destination to lure long-staying visitors to Kerala, improve the local economy and regain Kovalam’s lost sheen. It has roped in Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) for preparing a detailed project report for the spot’s comprehensive rebranding. “We are confident that Kovalam will bounce back strong- ly in the tourism circuit. The exploration period is over for Kovalam and it has hit the stagnation point. We need to re-energise the spot to provide best experiences for tourists,” said a senior official with the tourism department. “We have discussed the plans with other stakeholders, including the city corporation. The idea is to give a heritage touch to the destination by developing town planning models, improve tourist amenities and facilities for adventure water sports,” the official said. Proper pathways, waste management, shifting of cables to underground ducts, setting up changing rooms, introducing hybrid lighting and organising local trades are some of the features planned as part of the ● More on P4 project. Kannur: T V Biju Prakash, SHO of Mayyil station, who had issued precautionary notices to the office-bearers of masjid committees of Mayyil, has been transferred to Thalasserry coastal police station. The SHO had instructed masjid committee office-bearers to exercise restraint during religious speeches after prayers in mosques on Fridays, in the wake of incidents related to the blasphemous remarks on Prophet Muhammad. Degree programme for Agniveers unveiled New Delhi: A day after the Centre unveiled Agnipath scheme, a recruitment plan for armed forces, the Education ministry on Wednesday said it will launch a special three-year skill-based bachelor’s degree programme under the scheme. The aim is to increase career options for Agniv-eers and prepare them for civil jobs post their tenure in armed forces.
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