30122020-TT-01.qxd 12/29/2020 10:47 PM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.140 no.361 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2018-2020 established in 1881 himachal pradesh EMERGENCY VACCINATION BEGINS IN WUHAN WORLD /thetribunechd TATA SONS TO ACQUIRE 32.67% ADDL STAKE IN AIRASIA INDIA BUSINESS FM HOLDS PRE-BUDGET MEET WITH BJP LEADERS BACK PAGE /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com wednesday, december 30,2020 New strain reaches India, 6 UK returnees +ve Samples of Dec 9-22 flyers to be genome sequenced | Centre tells states to consider night curfew Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service NewDelhi, December 29 India today became the 14th country to confirm the presence of a new and more infectious strain of the Covid-19 virus with six persons who returned from the UK between December 21 and 23 testing positive. The samples of all international passengers who arrived between December 9 and 22 and tested positive will be subjected to genome sequencing to detect the mutant strain. Govt: Vaccines effective against mutated strain The Union Health Ministry said the six persons were in isolation, their contacts had been quarantined and contact-tracing was in progress. In all, 33,000 passengers from the UK disembarked across Indian airports between November 25 and December 23. Of them, 114 have been found positive and their samples had been sent for genome sequencing, said officials. “This is an ongoing process,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said today as India stepped up surveillance for virus mutations. The 5 per cent random samples from Covid-positive people per state (new cases IN BRIEF Karnataka Council Dy Chairman kills self BENGALURU: Karnataka Legislative Council Deputy Chairman SL Dharme Gowda, who was seen being manhandled by Opposition in the House, was on Tuesday found dead on a railway track near his hometown. He was 64. BACK PAGE After UP, MP issues conversion ordinance BHOPAL: The MP Government on Tuesday gave its nod to an ordinance on the Bill against religious conversion through fraudulent means that stipulates a jail term of up to 10 years for violators. The UP Government also took the ordinance route to notify a similar law. PTI At 0°C, Hisar turns colder than Shimla HISAR: With the mercury dipping to zero degrees Celsius on Tuesday, Hisar was colder than Shimla where the lowest temperature was recorded at 1.6°C. The Indian Meteorological Department said Hisar’s lowest temperature was seven degrees below normal. TNS detected since November 25) which the government will test for mutations will include international arrivals other than the UK as the mutation is now widespread. In good news, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister K Vijay Raghavan said the current vaccines would work against the variant and there was no evidence to the contrary. “The changes in the virus variants are not sufficient to make the vaccines ineffective,” said Raghavan, advising “extraordinary caution as the mutant was 70 per cent more infectious”. Most of the tracked 30,000 UK returnees came between December 21 midnight and December 23 and others arrived 28 days prior starting November 25. The 28-day period was taken to be on the safe side as the virus incubation time is 14 days, the Health Secretary explained. The government asked people to maintain extreme caution through winters and New Year festivities with NITI Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul saying the Centre had advised the states to consider night curfews to prevent overcrowding. “The parties must be avoided as these can turn into super-spreading events,” Paul said as India’s daily cases dropped to 16,432 — below 17,000 after 187 days. 33,000 UK FLIGHTS LIKELY TO REMAIN SUSPENDED UK FLYERS ARRIVED BETWEEN NOV 25 AND DEC 23 New Delhi: In view of the new Covid-19 strain being detected, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said there could be slight extension of temporary suspension of passenger flights between India and the UK. TNS 114 FOUND +VE, SAMPLES SENT FOR GENOME SEQUENCING VACCINE DRY RUN SUCCESSFUL: CENTRE The Health Ministry on Tuesday said the two-day dry run for Covid-19 vaccination in Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat was successful. The objective of dry run was to undertake and confirm field implementation of CoWIN and test vaccine delivery arrangements. New Delhi: The government has asked the central armed police forces to prepare for extending a helping hand in waste disposal management during Covid-19 vaccination programme to be launched soon. TNS The new strain has cast a cloud over international flights. FILE Ex-CM Shanta’s wife dies of Covid Highly infectious, not more lethal Dharamsala, December 29 Former Himachal CM and BJP veteran Shanta Kumar’s wife Santosh Shailja (83) died after suffering a heart attack at Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Tanda, this morning. After testing Covid positive, the couple was admitted to the medical institution on December 27. Her body was cremated in Palampur following Covid protocols. Shanta Kumar and his close family members and a few BJP leaders were present. — TNS New Delhi, December 29 The six UK returnees, who tested positive for the mutated virus, are largely asymptomatic and not too sick as the strain is not known to cause severe disease. Rakesh Mishra, Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, one of the 10 labs in the national genome sequencing consortium tracking Covid positive UK returnees, today said the variant “is not worse than the others and clinically does not Indianeconomyon strong wicket: UN United Nations, December 29 India’s economy could prove to be the “most resilient” in the subregion of South and South-West Asia over the long term, according to a report by the UN. It says the country’s large market will continue to attract investments. The report, ‘Foreign Direct Investment Trends And Outlook In Asia And The Pacific 2020/2021’, compiled by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, said the inward FDI flows to South and South-West Asia slightly decreased by 2 per cent in 2019, from $67 billion in 2018 to $66 billion in 2019. The growth, however, was mainly driven by India, which accounted for 77 per cent of the total inflows to the subregion and received $51 billion in 2019, up 20 per cent from the previous year. The report said the majority of these flows were destined for the information and communications technology (ICT). Regarding the ICT sector, the report said the investment to India had evolved from information technology services for multinational enter- CENTRAL FORCES TO ASSIST IN VAX WASTE DISPOSAL DRIVING FORCE IN S ASIA ■ The growth in South Asia mainly driven by India, says report ■ A majority of the invest- ment inflow destined for the information and communications technology (ICT) sector ■ Fast-growing telecom and digital space to see a faster rebound prises to the thriving local digital ecosystem where many domestic players had attracted international investment. The report added that FDI outflows from South and South-West Asia increased for the fourth consecutive year, modestly growing from $14.8 billion in 2018 to $15.1 billion in 2019. The report noted that in the short term, both inflows and outflows from and to the subregion were expected to decline. “India’s economy could prove the most resilient in the subregion over the long term. FDI inflows have been increasing, albeit lower, growth after the pandemic and India’s large market will continue to attract investment,” it said. — PTI French designer Pierre Cardin dies at 98 COVID-19CASES INDIA COUNT RECOVERED 98,07,569 FRESH FATALITIES 252 TOTAL DEATHS 1,48,153 1,02,24,303 TOTAL RECOVERED DEATHS WORLD 8,18,42,364 5,79,64,233 17,85,000 present different or severe symptoms, but it is much more transmissible”. “Most people with the 112 & 27* mutant strain are asymptomatic as is the case with normal strain where 80 per cent cases are mild,” he said. Of the six passengers with the variant, three were tested at NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two at CCMB, Hyderabad and one at NIV, Pune. Mishra said the variant had a greater capacity to infect people and that was a matter of concern as India witnessed second largest number of cases after the US and variants could emerge from within the country as well. — TNS Talks today, farmers firm on 4 demands Say repeal of laws must for resolution Mukesh Tandon Tribune News Service Sonepat, December 29 The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 protesting farmer unions, on Tuesday stressed it would hold talks with the Centre as per the four-point agenda decided by it. Formally accepting the invitation of the Union Government for the next round of talks, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha in a letter today to Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal said: “The farm unions will hold talks on the four-point agenda sent earlier to the government.” The farm leaders sent the four conditions again to the Centre while emphasising that for a logical solution to all relevant issues, it would be required that “our dialogue runs according to the agenda”. The agenda includes modalities to be adopted for the repeal of the three Central farm laws; mechanisms to be adopted to ensure MSP is a legally guaranteed entitlement; amendments to the Commission for the Air Quality Management ordinance to exclude farmers from the penal provisions; revocation of the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill to protect farmers’ interests. AJINKYA RAHANE Ajinkya Rahane, stand-in captain in the absence of Virat Kohli, led with calmness and batted with determination, scoring 112 and 27 not out, to be named the Man of the Match Debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj were impressive too The win came close on the heels of the debacle in the first Test at Adelaide, where India were bowled out for 36 in their second innings Highest truce violations by Pak this year Indian forward posts, villages targeted repeatedly in breach of 2003 pact NUMBER OF VIOLATIONS 2019 2020 3,289 5,100 CASUALTIES DEAD HURT 36 130 15 THREATEN TRACTOR MARCH ❝ We are going for talks with an open mind, but the Centre’s intention is not clear. We will organise a tractor march on Dec 31 if the government doesn’t accept our demands. Harinder Lakhowal, BKU (LAKHOWAL) GEN SECY 150 VILLAGES RESOLVE TO PROTECT MOBILE TOWERS The unions also clarified that they had earlier sought “necessary changes” in the Electricity Amendment Bill draft but now they wanted it to be revoked. The Centre had yesterday invited 40 farm unions for the next round of talks on December 30 at 2 pm at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. Responding positively, the unions had accepted the invite. continued on page 9 RAHANE’S MEN ROCK MELBOURNE Will serve people, the second Test I NDIA logged an 8-wicket win over Australia inmatches to play at Melbourne to level the series 1-1, with two but won’t float India easily chased the target of 70 runs after bowling out party, says Rajini Australia for 200 in their second innings Paris, December 29 Pierre Cardin, the French designer whose famous name embossed everything from wristwatches to bed sheets after his iconic space age styles shot him into the fashion stratosphere in the 1960s, has died, the French Academy of Fine Arts said Tuesday. He was 98. Cardin’s name went on thousands of products, while goods bearing his fancy cursive signature were sold at some 1 lakh outlets worldwide. BACK PAGE Jammu, December 29 In 2020, there were 5,100 instances of ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, the highest in nearly 18 years, that claimed 36 lives and left more than 130 persons injured, according to security officials. They said “very heavy” shelling and firing by Pakistani troops virtually made the 2003 India-Pakistan bor- Farmers at Singhu. TRIBUNE PHOTO SOLDIERS DIE ALONG LoC IN JAMMU REGION der truce “redundant”. “Pakistani troops repeatedly targeted forward posts and villages along the LoC and the International Border (IB) to create fear among the people and destabilise peace,” a senior police official said. “They have violated the ceasefire 5,100 times in 2020 with an average of 14 cases daily,” an official source said. In these ceasefire violations, 36 persons, including 24 secu- rity personnel, were killed and 130 injured, as per data. Fifteen of the soldiers died along the LoC in the Jammu region. There were 3,289 ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army along the Indo-Pak border in 2019. Of these, 1,565 violations took place since August 2019 after the Centre abrogated Article 370 that gave special status to J&K and bifurcated the state into UTs. — PTI Chennai, December 29 Making a U-turn, superstar Rajinikanth on Tuesday announced he will not enter politics in view of his frail health, putting an end to his long-nurtured plans and describing his recent hospitalisation as a “God’s warning.” “Only I know the pain behind making this announcement,” the 70 yearold actor said in a statement, two days before he was to spell out the contours of his party based on spiritual politics aimed at bringing a total change in Tamil Nadu in the 2021 Assembly elections. “I inform with great regret I am unable to come to politics by floating a party. Only I know the pain behind making this announcement,” he said. Rajinikanth, however, said he would serve people in whatever way he could without entering electoral politics. His decision drew varied reactions with some saying it would affect the BJP while others expressing disappointment. — PTI Landless octogenarian couple lends might to Tikri stir Pb cops in spot over ‘illegal’ custody Parvesh Sharma Tribune News Service Barnala, December 29 An 81-year-old man and his 80-year-old wife from Kattu village in Barnala have become a source of inspiration for many at Tikri, the epicentre of protests against the central farm laws. Landless and childless, the couple claims the fight is for the betterment of Punjab and to safeguard the interests of the future generations. While Jagir Kaur returned Fighting for Punjab’s future, says Barnala duo Jagir Kaur (80) and Sukhdev Singh (81) want the ‘black’ laws to go. home last week after putting up at the Delhi border for a fortnight, Sukhdev Singh has been mobilising support in the village since Day One. “Ours is a selfless fight. We neither have children nor own any land… but are worried about the future of Punjab. How will farmers survive if corporates snatch away their land? The black laws must go!” says Kaur, anxious about the well-being of those she had to leave behind in extreme cold. Planning to join other protesters at Tikri in a day or two, Kaur says she was forced to return due to poor health. “The biting cold probably took a toll on me. But this time, I am determined to fight till the end,” she says, pointing towards her nephew Babu to show her video from the protest site that went viral on social media. An enraged Sukhdev calls it a struggle to “save the motherland”. Arun Sharma Tribune News Service Ropar, December 29 The functioning of the district police has come under the scanner in an alleged case of illegal detention. A warrant officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, during a raid at the CIA office on December 27, found that Rajbir Singh, husband of Pirthipur village sarpanch Ranjit Kaur, was detained illegally. Recuperating at the Civil Murder suspect alleges third-degree torture HC ISSUES NOTICE ■ A warrant officer, during a raid at CIA office, found that Rajbir Singh was detained illegally ■ The victim claimed he was thrashed by the police and given electric shocks ■ The HC has issued a notice of motion for January 8 to the state and the Ropar SSP Hospital here, the victim alleged that he was detained for two days and subjected to third degree torture by the CIA staff. He alleged that he was thrashed and given electric shocks. Refuting the charge, SSP Akhil Chaudhary said: “Rajbir was called for questioning with regard to the death of his friend Surinder Bhalla whose body was found in Bhakra canal on October 1. Rajbir is our prime suspect.” continued on page 9
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).