BHUBANESWAR l wednesday l august 03, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE 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” A US military aircraft with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on board prepares to land at Sungshan Airport in Taipei on Tuesday | AFP 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 | P9 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 ED searches NH office in money laundering case Blast-less missile kills Zawahiri Hellfire R9X missile Ch a n d a n N a n d y @ New Delhi 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 INSIDE 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 His balcony visit proved deadly I P9 No need to fear monkeypox, says Health Minister Express News Service @ New Delhi As India recorded its eighth monkeypox case, Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday allayed concerns in the Parliament, saying that the country was taking a stepby-step approach to tackle the viral disease and there was no need to fear the virus. On Tuesday two monkeypox , cases were reported - one each from Kerala and Delhi - taking the total number of cases to eight in the country . Kerala accounts for five of the total cases, all of whom had a history of travel from UAE, and three from Delhi with no travel history. Delhi’s first case, a 34-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital after he recovered on Tuesday . India on Monday had confirmed its first monkeypox death the first in Asia - of a 22-year-old man who had returned from UAE. Noting that the disease “is not new,” Dr Mandaviya said India is implementing the best learnings from the coronavirus pandemic. “When cases started appearing worldwide, India had already started preparations. Before the first case in Kerala, we had issued guidelines to all the states,” he said. “We have written to the governments at the international level that the screening report of the travellers should also be sent to us,” the Minister said. “There is no need to be scared of monkeypox. With the disease spreading only through close contacts, no specific community is at risk. The government has taken up steps to create awareness about common symptoms, reporting of suspected cases and prevention of spread,” he Continued on P5 said. Safe house owned by Haqqani’s top aide I P9 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 Karachi 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 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. People who skipped booster are most vulnerable to severe Covid Hemant Kumar Rout @ Bhubaneswar LIKE the previous waves senior citizens and people with comorbidities have fallen to Covid-19 in the current phase of the pandemic. But those who have taken the booster dose have survived and fought well with the evolved variants of the SARS-CoV-2. An analysis of recent Covid fatalities in the State revealed that around 80 per cent (pc) of the victims who succumbed to the disease in the last one month had not taken the precaution dose. So far, 16 persons, aged 32 to 85 years, have died of Covid-19. Barring one 75-year-old woman from Jajpur district, all others were suffering from comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, anaemia, chronic liver and kidney diseases. The deceased included seven women. While five were from Bhubaneswar and three from Puri, two were from Bhadrak and one each from Cuttack, Balasore, Angul and Sundargarh. Four people have succumbed to Covid in the last three days and if Health department sources are to be believed the audit is pending for at least 10 more deaths that took place in the last few days. Director of Health Services Dr Bijay Mohapatra said Covid vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalisation and death. “The booster has reduced disease severity even in comorbid senior citizens. Most of the Covid positive people aged above 60 years who died recently had not taken the booster dose. We are analysing the death audit reports to ascertain the breakthrough cases,” he said and appealed to people to take the dose without any further delay. Although, the Centre had first announced free booster dose for healthcare and frontline workers besides senior citizens in January, the coverage has been abysmally low among the senior citizens. According to the vaccination statistics, only 25 pc senior citizens in the State have taken the precaution dose in the last seven months. A whopping 30 pc of healthcare workers are also yet to take it. The booster coverage is only about 8 pc among the 1859 years age group. Meanwhile, the State reported 741 new Covid cases and one death in the last 24 hours. The booster has reduced disease severity even in comorbid senior citizens. Most of the Covid positive people aged above 60 years who died recently had not taken the booster dose Dr Bijay Mohapatra, Director of Health Services express read SC seeks reply on ED dir extension New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from the Centre and the Central Vigilance Commission in 10 days on a batch of petitions challenging the extension given to the Enforcement Directorate director. The amended law allowing such extensions up to five years was also challenged | P7 Hospital fire: Four booked, one arrested Bhopal: All four directors of New Life Multi Specialty Hospital in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder on Tuesday, a day after eight people died in a huge fire at the hospital. The hospital manager, who is also accused in the case has been arrested | P8 detta. “This is absolute rock bottom for Indian politics,” Congress spokesperson SuTHE Enforcement Directo- p r i y a S h r i n a t e t o l d rate on Tuesday carried out reporters. raids at 12 locaThe BJP refuted tions, including the the charges, claimHerald House at ing the law was takBahadurshah Zafar ing its own course. Marg in New Delhi, Sonia and her in connection with son Rahul are the National Heramong the promotald money-launderers and majority i n g c a s e. T h e shareholders in Cong holds Young Indian with searches come close on the heels protest rally 38% stake each. It of the ED question- against raids i s a l l e g e d t h a t ing Congress chief The Congress on Young Indian paid Sonia Gandhi and only a paltry sum Tuesday held a her Rahul in the of `50 lakh to obprotest march matter. over the ED raids. tain the right to reHerald House is cover `90.25 crore “We strongly the office of Nathat AJL owed to condemn this tional Herald and vendetta politics t h e g r a n d o l d that of its publishparty . against those who speak up er Associate JourT he Cong ress nals Ltd (AJL), against the Modi has maintained which is under Govt,” said party there has been no leader Jairam probe over its acwrongdoing. Since Ramesh quisition by Young Young Indian is a Indian Private Ltd. not-for-profit comThe searches added fresh pany established under Secfuel to ongoing acrimony be- tion 25 of the Companies tween the Congress and the Act, there can be no quesBJP with the former accus- tion of money laundering, it , ing the ruling party of ven- contends. E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Golden moment for the four table tennis Gold for men’s team India men’s team comprising A Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty beat Singapore in the final to win gold lifting Silver for Thakur HeR-story: (From left) India’s Lovely Choubey, Pinki Kaushik Singh, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey created history by winning in the Women’s Fours Lawn Bowls final at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday | ap Indian weightlifters continue to win medals as Harjinder Kaur (71kg) and Vikas Thakur (96kg) clinched a bronze and a silver respectively to add to India’s medal tally Second chance for candidates who missed CUET UG in July E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Candidates who missed the Central University Entrance Test undergraduate (CUET UG) exam in the first phase in July due to last-minute change of centres and cancellations, will get another chance in the second phase beginning August 4, officials said on Tuesday . The National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the entrance examination, on Tuesday released admit cards for students appearing for the examination on August 4, 5 and 6 on Tuesday Ad. mit cards for the examinations to be held after August 6 will be issued later. The testing agency also announced that exams for candidates affected by the flood and having other entrance and competitive examinations during this period had been shifted to August 12, 13 and 14 from August 4, 5 and 6, following various representations Technical problems in the first phase marred the first-ever CUET. Exams were cancelled in two centres, one in West Bengal’s New Jalpaiguri and other Punjab’s Pathankot – owing to technical issues. NTA said 19 students who missed the exams in these two centres can now take them. Registered candidates can download their admit cards from the official website — cuet.samarth.ac.in — by logging in through their registered credentials. 7 SPSEs in red, Gridco has highest negative net worth of `4,135 cr railways B i j o y P r a d h a n @ Bhubaneswar EVEN as the profit earned by 24 State public sector enterprises (SPSEs) has increased to `1,686.08 crore in 2019-20 from `1,174.30 crore by 22 government companies in 2018-19, net worth of seven has been completely eroded. The negative net worth of Grid Corpopration of Odisha Limited (Gridco), the bulk power supplier to the State is the largest. With a negative net worth of `4,134.8 crore, the company incurred a loss of `281 crore in 2019-20. The State government has paid up capital of `576.71 crore to Gridco and the closing balance of guarantee by the end of the 2019-20 was `4,913.5 crore. “Outstanding guarantee commitments of the State government increased by 17.38 per cent from `4,186.00 crore in 2018-19 to `4,913.50 crore in 2019-20 as Gridco sought additional guarantee commitment to avail loans from banks/financial institutions,” said the performance audit report for the year ending March 2020. The report further said that Gridco had not paid guarantee commission of `32.16 crore to the government during 201920. Of the 33 SPSEs under audit, 11 had accumulated losses of `5,778.34 crore. Of the 11 companies, six incurred losses amounting to `296.09 crore in 2019-20. Though, five did not incur loss in the same fiscal, they had accumulated loss of `785.45 crore. “Net worth of seven out of 11 SPSEs had been completely eroded by accumulated loss and their net worth was negative. The negative net worth of t h e s e s e ve n S P S E s w a s `4,301.47 crore against total equity investment of `1,216.11 crore on March 31, 2020,” the audit said. While the seven enterprises reported a total loss of `304.52 crore, loss of `281.05 crore was contributed by Gridco alone. Net worth of Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) and Water Corpora- tion of Odisha Limited was less than half of their paid up capital during the same period indicating their potential financial sickness. In the overall, net worth of all the 33 government companies and corporations under audit was `9,621.32 crore against their total paid up capital of `5,519.79 crore. The long-term loans outstanding of 10 SPSEs was `13,182.57 crore from all sources out of which loan from the State government was ` 1,277.29 crore. among top 3 sectors with delayed projects The Indian Railways has emerged as one of the top three sectors with maximum delayed projects. Over 100 projects taken up for the execution in different parts of the country involving infrastructure are running late. The railways also has the maximum projects among the top 20 programmes with maximum delays in the country | P7
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