TUESDAY Retail sales continued to be weak last month after the drastic fall in May, according to the Retailers Association of India (RAI) 20 JULY, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard RETAIL SALES DIP 50% IN JUNE DESPITE UNLOCK MEASURES MAHARASHTRA 80% DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN 22,000 slums housing over 1.50 lakh people are in landslide-prone zones PAGE 8 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS Delay in NEET-MDS counselling callous: SC EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi TERMING the Centre’s approach towards conducting counselling for NEET postgraduate dental surgery courses callous, the Supreme Court on Monday directed it to file an application seeking more time to address the sticking points. Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj sought to shift the blame on another SC bench, saying the government was awaiting clarification on providing OBC quota to seats in the All India Quota (AIQ) pool. A committee was formed on the instructions of the Madras High Court to decide on OBC reservation in AIQ in state-run colleges for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, but it is yet to take the final call. While ordering the setting up of the committee on July 27 last year, the high court had held that there was no constitutional or legal impediment to the extension of reservation for OBCs in the state-surrendered seats. The high court had also directed the panel to decide on the percentage of quota in three months. And, a three-member SC bench had in December upheld the HC order. With the panel through the ASG seeking some more time on Monday, the Supreme Court granted one week to move an application for extension of time. “We will hear the matter after two weeks,” said a bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah. When the bench suggested that the Centre could move an application before the three-judge SC bench on the panel, the ASG said, “We are doing that.” “Doing what? You people only wake up when SC issues notices,” Justice Chandrachud remarked. IMPLEMENTING OBC QUOTA NOT A CHOICE: HC Chennai: The Madras High Court on Monday observed that the Centre’s attempt to not implement the OBC quota in respect of the All India Quota seats for medical admission in TN “appears to be contumacious”. The bench said, “To not implement the quota is not a choice to the Union government.” NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Rahul, Kishor, 2 ministers part of Pegasus snoop list E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Hack not established, says govt “The consortium has accessed a leaked database of 40,000 numbers. The presence of a number does not indicate whether there was an attempted hack, or a successful one,” Vaishnaw said ADR FOUNDER ON LIST Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) founder Jagdeep Chhokar, associates of Union minister Smriti Irani and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, and around 11 mobile phones belonging to a Supreme Court officer who levelled sexual harassment allegations former CJI Ranjan Gogoi were also on the list of potential targets AN international collaborative investigation by journalists on Monday continued to reveal more names, including those of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, election strategist Prashant Kishor and two ministers in the Modi gover nment, whose phones were potentially targeted for hacking using Israeli malware Pegasus. The names, which included new IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Minister of State for Food Processing Prahlad Singh Patel, were revealed hours after the former defended the government in Parliament. Making a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw said the report on the government using Pegasus was nothing but an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions. “It is not a coincidence that the reports have been published a day before the monsoon session of Parliament. In the past, similar allegations were made on WhatsApp but there is no factual basis to these and have been categorically denied,” he said. While Union home minister Amit Shah called it a ‘report by disrupters for obstructers’, the Congress sought his resignation and a probe into the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. The Opposition will hold a strategy session on Tuesday on how to corner the government in Parliament on Pegasus. West Bengal Chief Minister ‘Report by disrupters’ Union home minister Amit Shah called it a ‘report by disrupters for obstructers’ and said they have been amplified by a few whose only aim is to do whatever is possible to humiliate India on world stage | P7 Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, renowned virologist Gagandeep Kang, India head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Hari Menon and former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s names also featured on the potential list of targets. Over 1,000 Indian phone num- INDIA ‘Respect for Stan’ Mumbai: Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra was arrested on Monday in a case related to pornographic films. Kundra, arrested by the crime branch, appears to be the key conspirator of the case, he said. “There was a case registered with the Crime Branch Mumbai in Feburaray 2021 about creation of pornographic films and publishing them through some apps. We’ve arrested Mr Kundra in this case. We have sufficient evidence regarding this,” the Mumbai Police said in a statement. INTERNATIONAL Boost to US media Washington: Reversing years of policy, US Attorney General Merrick Garland formally prohibited federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, with limited exceptions. The new policy largely codifies the commitment Garland made in June, when he said the Justice Department would abandon the practice of seizing reporters’ records in leak investigations. It comes following revelations that Trump secretly obtained phone records of journalists probing his administration. bers were on the list of potential targets of which 300 were verified by the collaborative following which technical forensic analysis was performed on 22 smartphones. The portal claimed that traces of the malware were found in Kishor’s smartphone. According to the portal, the list of around 50,000 phone numbers across the world was obtained through leaked data by Amnesty International and Parisbased Forbidden Stories. The use of the malware could be confirmed on the smartphones only after forensic analysis. Some smartphones do not leave its traces and hence the potential hack could not established. Israeli company, the NSO group, which owns Pegasus, claims only ‘vetted governments’ are part of its clientele. Monday’s list came a day after it was revealed that the malware was used to hack into the phones of around 40 journalists and activists critical of the government. While Lavasa’s phone was added to the list after he faulted Prime Minister Modi for poll code violations, Kang’s was added in 2018 and Menon’s around 2019. P7 Phone-tapping wrong, misuse of tech: Nitish E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Patna WHILE the Centre has come under fire from the opposition over the Pegasus issue, ally Nitish Kumar also called phonetapping unfair and wrong. At the sidelines of his weekly Janata Ka Darbar on Monday, Nitish, upon being asked about the controversy, said, “All this is happening due to new technology and its misuse. This is wrong and I have always maint a i n e d t h at there are advantages and disadvantages of the new technology .” The Bihar CM, whose party Janata Dal-United is in power in alliance with the BJP, said action should be taken against those indulging in wrongdoing. When asked about the continuation of farmers’ agitation on Delhi borders, Nitish stressed on resuming talks with them. However, he added that the agitation was not good at a time when Covid-19 pandemic continues to thrive across the country . Assam detention centres for ‘foreigners’ have 22 children, says Himanta T O D AY Raj Kundra arrested In its latest business survey, the RAI said the highest drop was witnessed in the sports goods category at 66%, followed by jewellery (64%) and footwear (61%). Similarly, apparel and clothing sales dipped by 52% in June this year. In May 2021, the segment had reported a negative growth of 77%, according to RAI’s monthly update released on Monday | P10 Former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s phone, too, a potential target; Oppn to hold strategy session today IN THE NEWS Mumbai: The Bombay High Court conceded that the death of Stan Swamy came as a shock and added that it was not anticipated. Hearing posthumously the appeals filed by the late Jesuit priest in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, the HC said Stan was a wonderful person and the court had “great respect” for his work. “We don’t have time normally, but I saw the funeral service. It was very gracious,” Justice SS Shinde said. “The kind of service he rendered to society. We have great respect for his work. Legally, whatever is against him is a different matter.” P8 The decline in retail sales in may 2021 amid the second covid wave SPORTS GOODS, JEWELLERY, APPAREL SALES HIT sued by the Supreme Court on May 10, 2019, altogether 273 deTWENTY-TWO children, in- tainees, who had spent more cluding 20 below the age of 14 than three years in detention, years, are lodged at three “de- were released on bail. Subsetention centres” in Assam. quently, another 481 were re“Nine convicted women for- leased based on separate oreigners along with 22 children ders issued by the SC and the are presently lodged in three Gauhati High Court in April detention centres — 2020. Kokrajhar, Silchar Replying to anothand Tezpur. Of the 22 er query Sarma said , children, two are from December 23, above 14 years and 20 The first inmate was 2009 to June 30, 2,551 below 14 years,” Krishna Biswas who people, declared forwas kept at the Chief Minister eigners by ForeignHimanta Biswa Sar- Goalpara detention ers’ Tribunals (FTs), ma, who also the centre on December were kept at the cen23, 2009. Since Home Minister, told tres. He said 29 peothen, 2,551 the Assembly to a detainees have been ple died till date durquery from Congress ing detention due to lodged in six MLA Sherman Ali facilities till June 30 various diseases. Ahmed on Monday . The cases of susHimanta Sarma, The six detention pected foreigners are Assam Chief Minister centres in Assam dealt with by the FTs. currently have 181 inAs on April 30, these mates, he said. tribunals have disposed of Of them, 61 were declared 2,98,471 cases. Of them, 1,39,900 foreign nationals while the re- were declared as foreigners maining 120 others, who were and 321 repatriated. convicted by the court and From 1997-98 to April 30, whose period of sentence was 2021, altogether 1,36,386 cases o v e r, w e r e a w a i t i n g of doubtful voters have been deportation. disposed of. Another 90,810 casIn deference to an order is- es are pending, Sarma said. EXPRESS NEWS SERVI CE @ Guwahati A road at Dwarka sector 18 caved due to heavy rain in New Delhi; a DTC bus stuck at waterlogged Pul Prahlad Pur underpass on Monday | PARVEEN NEGI RAIN BRINGS TRAFFIC MAYHEM IN CAPITAL, TWO DROWN G AYAT H R I M A N I @ New Delhi A heavy downpour on Monday brought a respite from humidity, but it was a nightmare for commuters in many parts of the city as they encountered knee-deep waters and massive traffic snarls. Two persons died due to drowning. A 27-year-old youth died due to drowning in the waterlogged Pul Prahlad Pur underpass as he went deep in the water trying to take a selfie or make a video, said police. He was identified as Ravi Chautala, a resident of southeast Delhi’s Jaitpur area. DCP R P Meena said fire brigade and divers were called to rescue the youth but they fetch his body from the water. Another person died due to drowning at a vacant DDA land in Narela. In another incident, a major portion of a road at Dwarka Sector 18 caved in and a car fell into the pit. It belonged to a traffic constable, whose son was driving the car. He was rescued with the help of a hydro crane. Massive traffic jams and breakdown of buses were reported from many areas. The Delhi Traffic Police received complaints of waterlogging at 51 major points. Some busy arterial chowk where waterlogging and traffic jams were reported included ITO, Narela Lampur under- pass, Ring Road, MB Road, Pul Prahaladpur, Zakhira underpass, areas around Pragati Maidan, Dhaula Kuan, Azadpur underpass, Vikas Marg, Geeta Colony, Vasant Kunj underpass, Munirka. The MCDs received 46 complaints regarding waterlogging, of which maximum 37 were in South MCD areas. At several places, wall collapse and uprooting of trees were also reported. In low-lying areas, people’s houses were flooded. P5 RELIEF LOWEST COVID COUNT OF YEAR IN DELHI Prior to this, the lowest Covid count was 17 on April 15. Positivity rate now stands at 0.06 per cent, said officials | P4 JAB-O-METER SPIN-OFF EFFECT TAKE YOUR SHOT Jadhav’s village will win if archers hit bullseye S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai WHEN Pravin Jadhav, a member of the Indian men’s archery team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, used to join his parents as a farm labourer during his boyhood, he was not doing anything very unusual. Hundreds of other children in Sarde, a hamlet of around 1,100 in the drought-prone Satara district of Maharashtra, did the same. Acute poverty forces boys/girls of Jadhav’s village to join their parents as daily wage earners to supplement their family income. Vikas Bhujbal, a school teacher who taught the archer, said while the elders are paid `300 a day to work in the bajra and jowar farms, the children who join their parents get half the sum. Bhujbal said Jad- hav’s parents come from a less than humble background with no house or land of their own. “They work in the farms of others as daily wage workers. There are days they do not get work and struggle to meet daily expenses. But poverty did not stop Pravin from chasing his dream,” P A R he said. Jadhav’s village lacks basic facilities. It depends on wells and bore wells for water, the potholed roads have puddles of water in the monsoon, there is no primary health centre and the single local school is up to Class VII only. Beyond this, the children of Sarde have to walk a fair distance to attend school. But the years of neT - 2 glect appears to be slowly changing. The village has seen a steady flow of visitors, including the local MLA and MP to meet the rising star. , They presented flower bouquets to his parents and Bhujbal noticed that some of these visitors have shared those photographs on social media. Like other fellow villagers, Bhujbal thinks if Jadhav does well at the Olympics, the village will draw attention and things will take a turn for the better. “Mere wishes are not enough to change the lives of people in our village,” the school teacher said. CONTINUED ON P7 July 18 51,01,567 doses July 19 47,77,697 doses TOTAL DOSES: 41,13,55,665 NATIONWIDE JULY 18 JULY 19 Fresh cases 41,157 38,164 Recoveries 42,004 38,660 Deaths 518 499 DELHI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JULY 18 51 80 00 JULY 19 36 58 03
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