FRIDAY VARIANT WITH UNUSUALLY HIGH MUTATION COUNT FOUND 26 B.1.1.529 version of Covid found in South Africa, Botswana & Hong Kong; Centre asks states to test travellers from these places NOVEMBER, 2021 UNFAMILIAR MUTATION CONCERN epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard The new coronavirus variant has at least 32 spike mutations, compared to 16 for Delta. It may not just spread more efficiently, but might be able to get around parts of the immune system, said researcher Richard Lessells. Some of the mutations are also unfamiliar to scientists. So far the variant has been seen spreading especially among young people, reports said twitter.com/TheMornStandard TIMELY RUNS IYER SHINES ON TEST DEBUT Mumbai batsman’s unbeaten 75 steadies Indian ship against NZ on Day 1 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 11 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 ORIGINS IN UNTREATED HIV POSITIVE PATIENT? The variant could have evolved during the chronic infection of a person with compromised immunity, possibly with HIV, which can prolong infection. The variant also found in Botswana and Hong Kong among travellers from South Africa | P12 NEET counselling deferred, `8L EWS cap to be revisited E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it is ready to revisit the `8 lakh annual income criteria for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation category . The government assured the apex court Bench, led by Justice D Y Chandrachud, that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-PG) counselling would be deferred for four weeks till a decision was taken on the EWS quota. The submission came in a case filed by NEET aspirants challenging a July 29 notification announcing 27% quota for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10% reservation for EWS in the All India Quota (AIQ) category . Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar, appearing for the petitioners (students), suggested that the implementation of the EWS could be postponed to next academic year, as the admissions for this year are already delayed. The Bench, which also comprised Justices Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath, asked the Solicitor General if the implementation of the constitutional amendment could be pushed to he next academic year. “What happens is that we are at the end of November. Suppose you complete it by the end of De- cember and then implementation etc and then the terms would begin only sometime in February-March. Two months, the students are losing the time. This is something you may want to consider,” Justice DY Chandrachud questioned Mehta. He replied that it might be a difficult proposition as the Government wants to take steps as per the constitutional amendment providing for NO POTENTIAL DEFERMENT FOR OBC QUOTA While a possible deferment of the EWS quota is being discussed, Advocate Shashank Ratnoo, appearing on behalf of some OBC candidates, requested that the application of reservation to OBC students should not be deferred as the Centre is planning to revisit the EWS criteria. The Bench said that it has not said anything on OBC students and is not disposing of the petition Congress becomes pawn in TMC’s pan-India plans Political observers point out that by upstaging the grand old party in Meghalaya, Mamata and her team are indirectly helping BJP’s cause P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Guwahati WITH 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya joining the Trinamool Congress (TMC) overnight, the grand old party appears to have become the biggest victim of the Mamata Banerjee-led party’s ambition of becoming a pan-India rival to the Bharatiya Janata Party . After its hard-fought victory in West Bengal early this year, the TMC is on an acquisition spree to draw disgruntled leaders from other parties, mostly Congress. By doing so, it is virtually hijacking the political space hitherto occupied by the grand old party . The TMC had already set its sights on BJP-ruled Tripura and Goa to expand its base outside Bengal. Meghalaya is the latest addition to the list. The late-night coup in Shillong relegated the Congress to a smaller party and effectively made the TMC the state’s main opposition party. The development comes 14 months ahead of the JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT Nov 24 79,65,803 doses Nov 25 74,59,819 doses TOTAL: 120,17,25,296 ‘Congress failed as Oppn’ On Thursday, former CM Mukul Sangma justified his decision to switch sides saying the Congress was failing as an opposition party and that TMC could be the panIndia alternative to the BJP. “We looked at available options and reached out to people and friends,” he told reporters Assembly polls in Meghalaya, which is ruled by a coalition of parties headed by the National People’s Party a BJP ally , . Infighting in the Congress, especially after Shillong MP Vincent H Pala took over as the state unit chief two months ago, is said to have triggered the dramatic developments on Wednesday night. Former chief NATIONWIDE NOV 24 NOV 25 DELHI Fresh cases 9,283 9,119 Recoveries 10,949 10,264 Deaths 437 396 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths minister Mukul Sangma was the sole contender for the CM post in case the Congress returns to power in 2023 and he felt threatened by Pala’s appointment a PCC chief. Congress insiders in the state admitted the TMC had dealt a body blow to the party facing a depleting popularity ever since the BJP’s emergence as a powerhouse nationwide in 2014. Political observers, however, pointed out that by targeting the Congress, the TMC is indirectly helping the BJP . As regards Goa, the TMC’s entry would hurt only the Congress as the BJP has its vote bank intact. Similarly the TMC , is trying to make inroads into Tripura at the expense of the Congress and the Left parties. Thursday’s civic election in the state was its launch pad. Mamata’s much-hyped meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and her not calling on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is to be seen in the above context. P7 economic reservation. Justice Kant said, “The EWS quota is a very enabling and progressive kind of reservation and all States should support the Centre in its endeavour”. The Bench said that the only question is that determination of the category should be in a scientific manner and it appreciates that the Centre has taken a decision to revisit the criteria earlier fixed In a previous hearing, the apex court had expressed its annoyance at the government for not filing an affidavit explaining how it reached the `8 lakh figure to identify the EWS category for grant of reservation. 1,334 hectares STRATEGIC LOCATION 72 kms 52 kms Planned area for Noida International Airport from Indira Gandhi International Airport `10,050 cr `34,000 crore Total estimated investment PTI 37.5% 37.5% UP government Noida N A M I TA BA J PA I @ Lucknow UTTAR Pradesh is finally getting what it always deserved, courtesy the double engine governments at the state and the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Jewar on Thursday . Laying the foundation of Noida International Airport project at Jewar, Modi said that northern UP which faced , taunts and criticism over issues like scams, poor infrastructure, non-implementation of policies, schemes, crime, and caste-based politics, was now leading the country in infrastructure development and leaving its mark at the international level. “The previous government deprived UP of development. After seven decades of independence, UP is getting what it always deserved. With the efforts of a double-engine government, UP is now turning into the country’s most connected region,” he said. Taking potshots at the previous dispensations, the PM claimed that the groundbreaking ceremony could have taken place immediately after the BJP government took over the reins of power @ Chandigarh THE Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday raided eight places across Punjab in connection with a money laundering case against Surinderpal Singh Pehalwan, former chief engineer of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority . Searches were also conducted at the premises of Gurdeep Jujhar, who owns Fastway ca- DRIVEN BY TECHNOLOGY A Metro train during the inauguration of Driverless Train Operations on the Pink Line of Delhi Metro on Thursday | PTI Jewellery made of coal: Not everything that glitters is gold COAL is not known as a beautiful mineral. But in an innovative step, the black sedimentary rock used as fuel will be presented before the world in a new form. Following an initiative of the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR), Dhanbad, coal is used for making necklaces, earrings and other decorative items. According to scientists, these beauty products made of black carbon are not only useful and YEIDA in 2017 but it did not do so as infrastructure development was a matter of national policy for the BJP government and not politics. “Even publicity after the announcement could have also been taken through the media. ... But for us, infrastructure development is not politics but a matter of national policy .” Modi trained guns at the previous governments saying that the Jewar project was conceptualised by the previous BJP government two decades ago, but it had been in limbo because of the tussle of Central and state govern- S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai MADE IN JHARKHAND M U K E S H R A N J A N @ Ranchi Greater Noida First phase for 12 million passengers per annum to be operational by 29.9.2024 ments. He claimed those parties used to announce projects without estimating expenses, without acquiring land. “Now, Uttar Pradesh has become synonymous with uttam suvida (best f acilities), nirantar nivesh (endless investment),” Modi said, adding that his government’s policy was to make sure the projects did not hit roadblocks midway “If there is a delay there . , is a provision of penalty .” The airport will serve people from Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Agra and make UP the only state in India to have five international airports. P5&8 Maha mulls suspension as Param Bir surfaces, grilled for seven hours 30 32 00 ble and transport business and is close to the Badal family. Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi ‘welcomed’ the ED action on the cable operator. Sources said ED sleuths conducted raids at Ludhiana, Banga, Mohali and Chandigarh. A case was registered against Pehalwan after Punjab vigilance bureau booked him for disproportionate wealth. 12.5% 12.5% TARGET Completion of project in 4 phases DIG AT OPPN AT AIRPORT CEREMONY ED raids Badal family aides, Sidhu & Channi hail action EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE from Agra from Multi-Modal Logistics Hub located at Dadri in UP NOV 24 NOV 25 35 20 00 130 kms 90 kms Cost of development in first phase SHARE HOLDING from Noida light, they are also strong and durable. These products will be made available on CIMFR’s eportal Gramin Market. According to CIMFR director Dr Pradeep Kumar Singh, coal waste is used to make these products with an intention to add value to local resources, which are available in the region in abundance. “Under a project related to social uplift- ment and skill development of women in mining areas funded by CSR-CIMFR, we have developed a technique through which coal waste is processed in such a way that it can be given different shapes and developed into jewellery and decorative items. It is processed in such a way that it does not catch fire or break easily .” The ‘coal crafting’ process in- Coal is full of carbon black and if we enhance its shining capacity & stability, advanced products could be obtained in the form of art. It could also be molded and carved. —Dr Selvi, Principal Scientist, CIMFR volves using pieces of coal, coal dust and a binder to hold it together. Under this initiative, one gram of coal can be sold for `500 after it gets converted into jewellery “It will help economi. cal upliftment of coal mine based women,” said Singh. “I got an idea to use it for art and craft of jewellery as it is done with shells found near seashores,” said Principal Scientist Dr Selvi. After processing coal waste, she developed a form which could be given different shapes. MUMBAI’S former police chief Param Bir Singh, who faces at least five charges of extortion and corruption in Maharashtra and had been missing for months, appeared at the city police’s Crime Branch Unit 11 office on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Maharashtra DGP Sanjay Pandey has moved a report on suspending Singh, who holds the DG, Home Guard post. The report has been submitted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who is said to be , discussing the issue with alliance partner NCP . A highly placed source in the government said, “Singh is in Mumbai therefore things may move fast. The government is discussing if Singh should be arrested first and then suspended, or vice versa.” The source said NCP chief Sharad Pawar is furious over the arrest of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, against whom Singh leveled allegations of corruption. Pawar is determined to teach Singh as well as the Centre a lesson, the source added. “Singh was used to level charges and now he is backtracking, terming the charges hearsay,” the source said, referring to a recent claim by Singh’s lawyer that the former police commissioner’s allegations against Deshmukh were “hearsay” and based on information provided by other officers. At the Crime Branch office on Thursday Singh was grilled , for seven hours and his statement was recorded in an extortion case registered against him at the Goregaon police station in Mumbai. “As per direction by the Supreme court, I will extend all co-operation to the investigation agencies. I have faith in the judiciary,” Singh told reporters after flying in from Chandigarh. On Monday the Supreme , Court had granted S i n g h p ro t e c t i o n from arrest. Singh has not reported to work since May. He had been shunted out after police officer Sachin Waze was arrested in the case of an explosive-laden SUV found near Mukesh Ambani’s house, and the subsequent death of businessman Mansukh Hiran. On November 17, a Mumbai court declared Singh an absconder and told him that if he does not appear before investigative agencies in 30 days, his properties will be attached.
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