CMYK Morning India PRASHANT KISHOR’S CONGRESS GAMBIT STILL UNCERTAIN OPINION Rs. 3 PATNA THURSDAY, 28 APRIL, 2022 PG-12, YEAR—8, ISSUE—153 (RNI NO: BIHENG / 2014 / 59124) ‘UNPREDICTABLE NATURE OF THE CHARACTER KEEPS VIEWERS HOOKED’ SCREEN & CINEMA Threat of Covid is not fully gone yet: Modi at CM meet AGENCIES NEW DELHI: Covid vaccination of all eligible children at the earliest is a priority for the government and specialised programmes will need to be conducted for it in schools, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday. Speaking at an interaction with chief ministers on the emerging COVID-19 situation in the country, Modi asserted that it is clear that the threat of coronavirus is not fully gone yet. Citing rise in COVID-19 cases in some states in the last two weeks, he said there was a need to remain alert. "Our scientists and experts are continuously monitoring the national and global situation. We have to work on their suggestions with a pre-emptive, pro-active and collective approach," he said. Stopping the infection at the very beginning has been our priority as well and it should remain the same even today. "We have to implement our strategy of Test, Track and Treat equally effectively. In the current situation of coronavirus, it is necessary that we have 100 per cent RT- Mask mandate in crowded places may return: Maha AGENCIES MUMBAI: Amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, wearing of masks in crowded places could be made mandatory again in Maharashtra, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to hold a meeting with the district collectors in the state to discuss the issue with them, he said. "I feel this decision (about making wearing of masks compulsory in public places) could be taken after the meeting," Tope told reporters. He said Delhi has made masks mandatory and is even imposing a fine of Rs 500. Even masks restrictions are back in district of Uttar Pradesh adjoining Delhi, he said. Maharashtra had done away all the COVID-19 related restrictions on April 2 on the occasion of Gudhi Padwa, the Marathi New Year. However, Tope had then urged people to wear masks voluntarily to prevent the spread of COVID-19. PCR test for patients admitted in hospitals who are serious influenza cases. Asserting that vaccine is the biggest protective shield against the virus, Modi said Covid vaccination of all eligible children at the earliest is a priority for the government and specialised programmes will need to be conducted in schools. He said awareness of parents and children is very important in this regard. His remarks come a day after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said India's drug regulator has granted restricted emergency use authorisation for Biological E's COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax for those aged five to 12 years and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for children in the age group of six to 12 years.nb Modi also called for scaling up infrastructure and manpower at medical colleges and district hospitals Several chief ministers, including West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Chhattisgarh's Bhupesh Baghel, Delhi's Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab's Bhagwant Mann, participated in the interaction. India recorded 2,927 fresh India records 2,927 fresh Covid cases, 32 deaths AGENCIES NEW DELHI: India recorded 2,927 fresh infections in a day which pushed the case tally to 4,30,65,496 while the active caseload increased to 16,279, according to Union health ministry data on Wednesday. The death toll has climbed to 5,23,654 with 32 more fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated. While active cases increased by 643 in a day and comprised 0.04 per cent of the total infections, the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.75 per cent, the ministry said. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.58 per cent and the weekly positivity rate was 0.59 per cent, the government said. While 4,25,25,563 people have recuperated from the disease so far, the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.22 per cent. The country's COVID-19 case tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. infections in a day which pushed the case tally to 4,30,65,496 while the active caseload increased to 16,279, according to Union Health Ministry data on Wednesday. The death toll has climbed to 5,23,654 with 32 more fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated. 11 killed after temple chariot grazes power line in TN AGENCIES CHENNAI: Eight men and 3 teenage boys were killed and 17 others injured on Wednesday near here due to electrocution when a temple chariot came in contact with a high tension electricity line during a procession, police said. President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, Chief Minister M K Stalin expressed shock and grief over the killings. Modi announced Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF (Prime Minister's National Relief Fund) to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives and Rs 50,000 to those injured. Chief Minister Stalin, condoling the deaths, ordered a solatium of Rs 5 lakh each to the 11 bereaved families. The tragic incident occurred on Wednesday when the Appar temple's chariot procession was passing through the Thanjavur- Boodalur Road, local authorities said. The accident happened when the chariot's top portion grazed through the HT transmission line, they said. The temple car, while negotiating a turn faced some obstacle and when devotees tried to turn its direction it came into contact with the overhead line, police and district revenue department authorities said. The people standing on the chariot were thrown away in the impact and the shrine's car was completely gutted. All the 17 injured persons including a woman have been admitted to the Thanjavur Government Medical College Hospital for treatment. In the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Chief Minister M K Stalin expressed shock and grief over the deaths due to electrocution and said he would visit the village in Thanjavur District today and meet the kin of the victims. Also, Stalin said he would visit the hospital and meet those being treated. SC to hear pleas against sedition law from May 5 AGENCIES NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to file its response by the end of the week on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of sedition law. A three-judge bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said it would commence the final hearing in the matter on May 5 and would not entertain any request for adjournment. ”We direct the Centre to file reply by end of this week. Reply to the affidavit be filed by Tuesday. List the matter for final disposal without any adjournment on May 5,” the bench said. The top court also noted in its order that senior advocate Kapil Sibal will lead the arguments from the petitioner's side in the matter. During the hearing, senior advocate Sanjay Parikh said the plea filed by PUCL has not been listed. India may cut Covid booster gap to 6 months AGENCIES NEW DELHI: The government is likely to soon reduce the gap between the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine and the precaution dose from the current nine months to six months, official sources said on Wednesday. A recommendation on reducing the gap is expected to be made by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) which is set to hold a meeting on April 29, they told PTI. Studies at ICMR and other international research institutions have suggested that the antibody level wanes after about six months from the primary vaccination with both doses and giving a booster increases the immune response. All those above the age of 18 who have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose are currently eligible for the precaution dose. "Taking into account the scientific evidence and findings of the studies done here and internationally, the gap between the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine and the precaution dose will most likely be reduced from the current nine months to six months soon. A final decision will be taken based on the recommendations by the NTAGI which is set to meet on Friday," a source said.. SRINAGAR: Following the recent detection and killings of two Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bombers, who infiltrated the country from Pakistan, the Border Security Force has launched a massive drive to detect cross-border tunnels along the International Border in the Jammu sector. The BSF said it is alive to the threat posed by the enemy forces and anti-national elements and is maintaining ”robust domination and surveillance” to keep the borders and the people of the country safe. Two heavily-armed JeM terrorists, wearing suicide vests, were eliminated in a fierce gunfight by security forces after they attacked a bus carrying Central Industrial Security Force personnel in the Sunjwan area on the outskirts of Jammu on April 22 and killed an assistant sub-inspector. Nine security personnel, including two policemen, were also injured in the gunfight which ensued amid the heightened security two days ahead of the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The subsequent investigation led to the arrest of three conspirators, including a truck driver and his helper, who had transported the Pashtu-speaking terrorists from the Sapwal border in Samba district to Jammu in the middle of the night a day before the encounter. According to officials, one of the arrested accused had also disclosed that he had ferried a group of four terrorists from the IB to Kashmir earlier this year, sending alarm bells ringing in the security establishment. A senior BSF officer said no breaches in the border fence were noticed during the stepped up operations which also saw the troops looking for underground cross-border tunnels all along the IB over the past five days. The BSF is manning about 192 km of IB and Line of Control alongside the Army and is keeping a tight vigil to scuttle any attempt of infiltration of terrorists, smuggling of weapons and narcotics and drone activity from across the border, he said. AGENCIES NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a three-day visit to Germany, Denmark and France from May 2 to 4 to further expand bilateral ties in diverse areas. It will be his first visit abroad this year, the ministry of external affairs said on Wednesday while announcing the trip. Modi will first travel to Germany and then visit Denmark. On his return journey on May 4, the prime minister will briefly stop over in Paris and meet French President Emmanuel Macron, who was re-elected to the top post on Monday. "In Berlin, the prime minister will hold bilateral talks with Olaf Scholz, federal chancellor of Germany, and the two leaders will co-chair the sixth edition of the IndiaGermany InterGovernmental Consultations (IGC)," the MEA said. The biennial IGC is a unique dialogue format that also sees the participation of several ministers from both sides. It will be Modi's first IGC with Chancellor Scholz. "During his visit, the prime minister and Chancellor Scholz would also jointly address a business event. The prime minister will address and interact with the Indian community in Germany," the MEA said. In 2021, India and Germany commemorated 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the two countries have been strategic partners since 2000. "This visit will be an opportunity to enhance and intensify cooperation in a broad range of areas and for the two governments to exchange views on regional and global matters of mutual interest," the MEA said. From Germany, Modi will travel to Copenhagen at the invitation of the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. He will also participate in the second India-Nordic summit being hosted by Denmark. The MEA said the bilateral component of the visit will include talks with Frederiksen as well as an audience with Queen Margrethe II. "The green strategic partnership was the first of its kind arrangement between India and Denmark. The visit would provide both sides an opportunity to review its progress, as well as examine ways to further expand our multifaceted cooperation," the MEA said. "During the visit, Prime Minister will attend an IndiaDenmark Business Forum and also address members of the Indian diaspora," it said. At the India-Nordic summit, Modi will also interact with other Nordic leaders including Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store of Norway, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland. The MEA said the summit will focus on subjects like post-pandemic economic recovery, climate change, innovation and technology, renewable energy, the evolving global security scenario and India-Nordic cooperation in the Arctic region. Singapore executes mentally disabled Indian-origin drug trafficker AGENCIES SINGAPORE: Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a mentally challenged Indian-origin Malaysian man found guilty of drug trafficking, was executed in Singapore on Wednesday, his family said, after a top court dismissed a last-ditch legal challenge from his mother in a controversial case that caught global attention and attracted calls for clemency. Dharmalingam, 34, was arrested in 2009 for trafficking 42.72 grams of heroin into Singapore, which has some of the world's toughest drugs laws, and was handed a death sentence the following year. He was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint (a causeway link with Peninsular Malaysia) while entering Singapore, with the bundle of drugs strapped to his thigh. His brother Navin Kumar told Malaysia's national news agency Bernama the execution was carried out on Wednesday morning and the funeral would be held in the BSF goes on overdrive to detect cross-border tunnels from Pak AGENCIES Modi to hold summits in Germany, Denmark, France from May 2-4 ”Anti-tunnel drives along the IB are a regular feature to frustrate the nefarious designs of the enemy nation. The drive is presently underway within 400 metres of the border fence all along the IB in Jammu sector,” the officer said, requesting anonymity. Last year, the force detected two tunnels across the international border in Kathua district, taking the total number of such structures unearthed by the force in the past decade in Jammu sector to 10. ”The BSF is keeping a tight vigil on the border in view of the continuous attempts by enemy forces and anti-national elements to push terrorists and smuggle weapons and narcotics. The threat posed by the use of drones by Pakistan is also being taken care of,” the officer said. town of Ipoh in Malaysia. Dharmalingam was on death row for more than a decade and exhausted all legal recourse. He was first scheduled to be hanged on November 10 last year but filed a lastminute challenge. His case was highly controversial as he was assessed by a medical expert to have an IQ of 69, a level that indicates an intellectual disability. He spent more than a decade mounting legal challenges but they were dismissed by Singapore's courts. A push for presidential clemency was also rejected last year. "The Court of Appeal found that this was the working of a criminal mind, weighing the risks and countervailing benefits associated with the criminal conduct in question," said Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs in an earlier statement. His mother, who came to the Singapore court from northern Malaysia, failed in her last-minute appeal to save her son on Tuesday. Her last-minute application was dismissed by a three-judge Court of Appeal, comprising Justices Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash and Belinda Ang. Justice Phang said the application was patently devoid of factual and legal merit, and was a clear continuation of tactics to “dripfeed” applications to prevent the sentence from being carried out, Singapore's The Straits Times newspaper reported. The court said Dharmalingam has been given "due process in accordance with the law", prompting his relatives to break down in tears in court. At the end of Tuesday's hearing, Dharmalingam and his family reached through a gap in a glass screen to grasp each others' hands tightly as they wept. His cries of "ma" could be heard around the courtroom, a media report said. The attempt came nearly a month after a five-judge Court of Appeal, led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, on March 29 rejected Dharmalingam's last-ditch bid to challenge his death sentence, calling it a blatant and egregious abuse of the court's processes. Control over Delhi a necessity: Centre tells SC AGENCIES NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that transfers and postings in Delhi should stay under its control, contending that the entire world views India through Delhi and the city also houses high officials from all countries, therefore, it needs special powers over the administration. The Centre also moved an application seeking to refer the matter to a constitution bench for a holistic interpretation of Article 239AA of the Constitution. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that the entire world looks at Delhi and also high officials of all countries are in the national capital. He emphasised since Delhi is the national capital, it is necessary that the Centre has powers over appointments and transfers of public servants. He contended before the bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, that "Delhi is the face of the nation. The world views India through Delhi." The Centre has argued that the question is not about any political party governing the capital, rather Delhi's laws were guided by how the capital would be administered. Citing Balakrishnan Committee report, which had concluded that it will be in the national interest for Delhi to be under control of the Centre, to defend the Centre's stand, he emphasised there is a difference between administering Puducherry and Delhi, and pointed out that controlling administration in Delhi also allows the Centre to discharge its national and international duties. Ge submitted that being the capital of the country, it is essential that Centre has control over important issues. In 2018, a constitution bench had ruled that police, land and public order are the domain of the Centre, and the rest is under the Delhi government.