A US military aircraft with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on board prepares to land at Sungshan Airport in Taipei on Tuesday | AFP MADURAI l wednesday l august 3, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 14 l LATE CITY EDITION China fumes as Pelosi lands in Taipei US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday visited Taiwan, the highest elected US official to travel to the island nation, which China claims as its own territory, in more than 25 years. Pelosi ignored China’s repeated warnings, including a veiled threat of military action, against her trip. She was on a tour of Asia that included visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Her stop in Taiwan was not announced but was widely anticipated Itinerary Don’t play with fire, Beijing warns Pelosi is scheduled to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, according to reports. She may also meet a group of activists campaigning against China’s human rights record China claims Washington had assured Beijing that it would not dramatically change its policy towards Taiwan but that promise is now broken. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the US’ betrayal is bankrupting its national credibility. Wang Yi said US politicians who play with fire on the Taiwan issue will “come to no good end” Shortly before Pelosi’s landing, Chinese media reported air and ground movement of troops in Taiwan Straits — the waters that separate China and Taiwan. “If the US insists on following the wrong course of action, then it should be responsible for any serious consequence arising thereof,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said The US also deployed four of its warships, including aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, in waters east of Taiwan in what the US Navy dubbed “routine deployments” Our delegation’s visit to Taiwan honours America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy — Nancy Pelosi Visit entirely her decision: Blinken The White House said the US has no interest in deepening tensions with China and that it won’t engage in saber rattling. “Congress is an independent, coequal branch of government. The decision is entirely the speaker’s,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken | P11 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 qaeda boss killed in U.S. drone strike in af; speculation on Pak role; AQIS expected to weaken Blast-less missile kills Zawahiri C h a n d a n N a n d y @ New Delhi Hellfire R9X missile Has no warhead to minimise casuality Seeker with lasers Ayman al-Zawahiri Six deadly blades. They open just before the missile homes in on the target Tracked for months before taking him out Remotely controlled drone fires the Hellfire missile Early this year, US officials identified Zawahiri’s wife, daughter and her children had relocated to a safe house in Kabul Kinetic energy from the speeding multi-bladed weapon makes it slice through whatever it hits, minimises collateral damage Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more... No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the US will find you and take you out Joe Biden, US President Zawahiri subsequently relocated to the same house. He never left the house. In early April, Joe Biden got his first briefing Zawahiri was definitively identified while he was on the balcony of the house on multiple occasions On July 25, Biden met key Cabinet members to evaluate the fallout. He then authorised “a precise tailored air strike” to minimise civilian casualties The strike was finally carried out at 7.18 am IST on July 30 by a drone firing a couple of Hellfire missiles INSIDE His balcony visit proved fatal I P11 Safe house owned by Haqqani’s top aide I P11 Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the key conspirators in the 9/11 attacks, was killed in a CIA drone strike on the balcony of his Kabul safe house, US President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday It is be. ing seen as the biggest blow to the global terror network ever since Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in 2011. Zawahiri elimination will considerably weaken the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), which operates on a “low scale” in India with presence also in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, security officials said. It also triggered speculation on whether the Pakistani regime sold him out to the US for crucial IMF aid — and to get off the gray list of terror financing — to save its crumbling economy, or was it the Taliban that gave the tip-off. AQIS, whose influence is not as strong as Al Qaeda, is led by Asim Umar, an Indian who has been at its helm since September 2014 when it was reportedly founded be Zawahiri. Umar, who underwent training in radical Islamist theology in Kara- chi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, hails from Sambhal in UP . While Indian intelligence — and whatever little presence it has in Afghanistan — had no clue of the July 31 drone strike on Zawahiri, a quick, preliminary assessment by senior officials led them to conclude that “sufficient care needs to be taken within India so that hotheads here do not take to any form of violent means” anywhere in India. This, sources said, would mean wider and deeper surveillance of not only fundamentalist elements across India in general but also those still active in Kashmir. Sources said that their concern stems from Zawahiri’s April 2022 video message that praised a Karnataka girl for braving social outrage to don a hijab to college, especially when the student’s father is a local Popular Front of India (PFI) leader. The PFI has been under the scanner of Indian security agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau. The mechanics of the drone operation in Kabul suggests it was the result of an understanding between the Pakistani security establishment and the ED search held at National Herald office E x p r e ss Ne ws Se r v i ce @ New Delhi THE Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday carried out raids at 12 locations, including the Herald House at Bahadurshah Zafar Marg in New Delhi, in connection with the National Top TN film producers, distributors under I-T lens E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVI C E @ Chennai Top film producers, financiers and distributors from Tamil Nadu, including Anbu Chezhiyan, Kalaipuli Thanu, SR Prabhu, and Gnanavel Raja, are under the Income Tax department’s scanner as more than 40 premises owned by them were searched on Tuesday . This is the first such largescale search undertaken by the department on film personalities in recent days, said Kothanda Ramaiah (also known as KR and Keyaar), a Tamil film director, producer, distributor, and exhibitor. While initially it was believed , around 10 film financiers, producers, and distributors were under the scanner, sources in the industry said the number could be higher. As the day progressed, premises of several film distributors and producers were searched. While TNIE’s bid to contact Income Tax officials proved futile, it was learnt that this is not the first time Anbu Chezian’s premises were raided. In February 2020, Income Tax officials raided his premises following the release of his film Bigil, which starred actor Vijay . Chezhiyan, Thanu at receiving end I-T department searched over 40 premises of Anbu Chezhiyan, Kalaipuli Thanu, SR Prabhu, Gnanavel Raja, and others from the film industry Herald money-laundering case. The searches come close on the heels of the ED questioning Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her Rahul in the matter. The searches added fresh fuel to ongoing acrimony between the Congress and the BJP, with the former accusing the ruling party of vendetta. “This is absolute rock bottom for Indian politics,” Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate told reporters. The BJP refuted the charges, claiming the law was taking its own course. American intelligence organisation, security officials here claimed. The Indian intelligence feels that the top echelon of the Pakistani ISI, with a nod from the political establishment, may have “created the conditions” or “devised an operation to identify” the house in the Sherpur area of Kabul where Zawahiri was hiding, before the CIA drone zeroed in on the target. The ISI’s most clandestine unit, the Directorate S, is the “most likely” centre from where intelligence may have been shared with the CIA. To this extent, they saw similarities in the “sudden but operationally sound” helicopter gunship raid on the Abbottabad hideout of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, which, sources said, could not have been accomplished without the tacit support of the Pakistan army . At that time, the Americans had troops on the ground. However, the August 2021 withdrawal of almost all US troops from Afghan soil has led Indian security officials to “assess and analyse” that Pakistan may have “provided intelligence (on the Sherpur house)” to their CIA friends as quid pro quo. 8 Monkeypox Cases in india — 5 in kerala, 3 in Delhi A national task force has been set up to monitor the development of vaccines, Health Minister Mansukh Madaviya said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, adding that there is no need to be scared of the disease | P5 Chennai’s 2nd airport to cost `20,000 crore: CM C S h i va k u m a r @ Chennai Chennai’s second airport, which would be set up in Parandur at an estimated cost of `20,000 crore, is likely to handle 10 crore passengers per year, according to a statement issued by Chief Minister MK Stalin. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the airport, which will have two runways, terminal buildings, taxiways, an apron, cargo terminus and other infrastructure, is likely to be prepared once the site clearance is given by the Ministry of Civil Aviation as per the Guidelines for Greenfield Airport-2008, said the chief minister. Stating that the new airport would be a stepping stone for the State’s development and another milestone in the journey towards making TN a $1 trillion economy, Stalin said the number of visitors to the State, including investors and t o u r i s t s, h a s i n c re a s e d continuously . The cost of building the airport is about half of what the Union government estimated (`40,000 crore). Official sources told TNIE the State government will float a tender to prepare the DPR for the airport. Land acquisition for the project is yet to begin. Meanwhile, official sources said it would take almost 10 years to build the new airport as various clearances are needed. They added that the Chennai Airport’s new terminal and expansion plan would ensure it can handle traffic for the next eight to 10 years. “It would be able to handle 35 million passengers,” said Chennai Airport director Dr Sharad Kumar. The State is planning to operate both Chennai Airport in Meenambakkam, and the upcoming one at Parandur. Chennai Airport will be expanded on the other side of Adyar River to meet the demand of 50-60 million passengers per annum, for which a masterplan for 50 years is being prepared, said Dr Kumar. The airport will be expanded, and the new one will be set up simultaneously he added. P2 , express read Heavy rainfall in several districts of TN till Friday Chennai: The regional meteorological centre has forecast heavy rainfall in several districts of TN till August 5. On Wednesday, extremely heavy rain is predicted in isolated places over Theni, Dindigul, Tiruppur and Coimbatore. While a ‘heavy to very heavy rain’ warning was issued to Nilgiris, Erode, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli, Kanniyakumari, Madurai and Virudhunagar, rain is also likely in Tiruchy, Karur, Namakkal, Salem, Tirupattur, Vellore and Ranipet districts | P5
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