www.freepressjournal.in | twitter.com/fpjindia Reg. No. Mcs/048/2018-20; RNI No. 1541/1957 I M.p.c.s office Mumbai-400001 BITCOIN CROSSES $40,000 MARK, DOUBLING IN LESS THAN A MONTH Pg 11 MISPLACED OPTIMISM ON THE GROWTH FRONT? HAPPILY DIVORCED! BOLLYWOOD COUPLES WHO ARE ‘FRIENDS WITH EXES’ Pg 23 290c. 230c. Sunrise: 07:14 am Sunset: 06:17 pm Vol. 64 No. 216 | SATURDAY | JANUARY 9, 2021 | 15 Pages | EDITIONS: Mumbai*, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, E-Paper BETWEEN THE LINES STATE DOCTORS WARN OF STRIKE Medical officers, including doctors in 18 State-run hospitals in Maharashtra, said on Friday that they would go on a one-day token strike on January 11 if they did not get salary hike under the 7th pay commission. The government had assured that the 7th pay commission's recommendations would be implemented but did not keep its commitment, a doctor from a State-run hospital here said. Dr Ranjeet Mankeshwar, the Dean of J J Hospital, however, has warned in a letter that doctors would face action under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, if they took part in the protest. NIRAV MODI WILL KNOW FATE FEB 25 February 25 will be the judgment day for Indian fugitive Nirav Modi. The Westminster Magistrates' Court in London will be giving its verdict on whether diamond merchant the should be sent to India to face the law in the Rs 13,000 crore-bank fraud case. On January 8, the UK court completed the hearing on the extradition proceedings. Modi’s counsel, in her final arguments, said that if he goes to India, the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai has no arrangements to deal with his mental condition and there will be a risk of him committing suicide. COVID-19 CLOUD OVER OLYMPICS A senior member of the International Olympic Committee has said he "can't be certain" the postponed Tokyo Olympics will open in just over six months because of the surging pandemic in Japan and elsewhere. The comments by Canadian IOC member Richard Pound to British broadcaster the BBC came as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency on Thursday for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures. "I can't be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus," Pound said speaking about the future of the Tokyo Games. Japan's emergency order, which is largely voluntary, will be in force until the first week of February. EDIT BEDLAM AS QUARANTINE MOVE TO OUST GREETS UK RETURNEES AN 'UNHINGED' UK PRESIDENT Pg 10 FPJ NEWS SERVICE New Delhi It was sheer bedlam at the Delhi airport on Friday as 250 passengers arrived from the UK, only to be told that they will have to go into seven-day institutional quarantine irrespective of their COVID19 test results. Stranded passengers in the UK are arriving in droves after flights to India resumed from Friday; these services were suspended for more than a fortnight due to the alarm over the new coronavirus variant in that country . The passengers were infuriated for a good reason: It was a belated decision of the Delhi authorities that travellers coming from the UK to the national capital will have to undergo a seven-day institutional quarantine and a ‘1 out of 30 Londoners has Covid’ L AFP / London ondon mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday declared a major incident, even as he said the spread of coronavirus was now 'out of control' in the capital. He indicated that an estimated one in 30 Londoners now have the virus. Result: The number of patients in the capital's hospitals has grown by 27 percent over the last week and the number on ventilators has increased by 42 percent. Sadiq warned that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed after the surge 4 wards have zero containment zones SWAPNIL MISHRA Mumbai For the first time in months, multiple wards of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have witnessed zero containment zones (CZs) since the pandemic outbreak. According to the dashboard, four BMC wards - H/W (Bandra West), G/S (Elphinstone and Prabhadevi) and B (Dongri) and R/C (Borivli), which had recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases, have been declared free of containment zones. Civic officials have attrib- uted this to the aggressive Covid19 strategy in these areas, including mass isolation in slums, sealing of buildings in non-slum areas and managing containment zones (CZs). This was key to the successful management of relaxation in unlock plans announced by the state government from June onwards, officials said. According to the BMC dashboard, until January 7, there were only 211 CZs in the city as compared to 2,600 in the early months of the pandemic. Moreover, the number of daily Covid cases too dropped below 1,000 in the last three months, leading to a reduction in CZs. Of the four wards, R/C and G/S wards have a greater number of slumdwellers and the number of corona cases in these wards were high. However, R/C ward topped the charts, reporting 21,379 cases until January 6, with a recovery rate of 94.48 per cent while it was 96 per cent in G/S ward. Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said that Worli Koliwada stayed marked as a CZ from the last week of March to mid-November. CoNtd. oN P9 Tempo carrying wedding party falls into valley STAFF REPORTER Mumbai Sri Ma has recorded most Covid deaths in a day since the epidemic started: The fatality count has doubled in a week to 1,325 with 68,000 new cases. Up to 150,000 people are catching the virus each day. in coronavirus infections linked to a new strain. "The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically Khan said ," in a statement, urging greater support from the central UK government. "We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS (National Health Service) could be overwhelmed and more people will die." CoNtd. oN P9 For the first time in months … ROHIT AND GILL BREAK THE JINX seven-day home quarantine, even if they test negative for COVID-19 on arrival. More, so since they had no prior notice. "This is ridiculous. You cannot tell people the rules have changed after they land. Some notice must be given! It was chaos at Delhi Airport, there were families with small children, pregnant woman…" Vistara's former Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer Sanjiv Kapoor said on Twitter. CoNtd. oN P9 US rollout of vaccine hit AP / New York: The desperately awaited vaccination drive against the coronavirus in the US is running into resistance from an unlikely quarter: A surprising numbers of health care workers, who have seen first-hand the death and misery inflicted by COVID19, are refusing shots. It is happening in nursing homes and, to a lesser degree, in hospitals, with employees expressing what experts say are unfounded fears of side effects from vaccines that were developed at record speed. More than three weeks into the campaign, some places are seeing as much as 80% of the staff holding back. CoNtd. oN P9 ONLINE COMPILATION New York President Donald Trump's troubles have just begun. The House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that they would move to impeach the former over his role in inciting a violent mob attack on the Capitol Hill if he did not put in his papers “immediately She has fur.” ther asked Republicans to join the push to evict him from office, reports the New York Times. In a letter to members of the House, the speaker invoked the resignation of Richard M. Nixon amid the Watergate scandal, when Republicans prevailed upon the president to resign and avoid the shame of an impeachment, calling Trump’s actions a “horrific assault on our democracy .” “Today, following the president’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart — immediately,” she wrote. If the president does not do so imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with its action. CoNtd. oN P9 Trump to skip Biden opener President Donald Trump said Friday he won't attend Presidentelect Joe Biden's Inauguration on January 20. He will be the first incumbent president since Andrew Johnson to skip his successor's inauguration. "To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," Trump tweeted. Trump offered no clues to how he would spend his final hours in office. Biden will become president at noon on January 20 regardless of Trump's plans. CoNtd. oN P9 We must prevent an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes —Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Joint Chiefs of Staff Back us on quota:MVA Centre to Apex Court hearing on January 25 SANJAY JOG Mumbai At least three people died and 34 others were injured when a tempo carrying a marriage party fell into a 150-200ft deep valley in Raigad district on Friday evening. Four among the injured are reportedly critical, said police. "There were 67 occupants in the vehicle. Three died while the rest have been rescued. As per information, 34 are injured, four of whom are serious but their condition is stable," said Raigad Superintendent of Police (SP) Ashok Dudhe. According to police, the marriage party had come to Kudpan CoNtd. oN P9 Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill on Thursday became India's first opening pair in 11 years to bat out 20 overs outside Asia. Gill and Rohit added 70 runs in 27 overs on Friday, with the latter getting dismissed on the last ball of the 27th over for a 77ball 26. Gill went on to score 50 off 101 balls. Incidentally, India, bothered by the failure of one opener or the other, have used six different pairs to open in the last six Tests against Australia. UNTIMELY RAIN BAD FOR CROP The department of relief and rehabilitation has swung into action to assess the damage caused to mangoes, grapes, onions and other crops in various parts of Maharashtra due to untimely rains. The department has asked district collectors to undertake field visits and also issue advisories to farmers. The weather bureau has already predicted more rains for the next two to three days. The department officer told The Free Press Journal, “It is difficult to give you the damage in terms of value or with regard to land acreage, as of now. It will be known only after this phase is over.’’ Some farmers from Nashik, a leading grower of grapes, feared they would incur huge losses, while farmers from Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg have said the rains will severely damage mango production this year. The flowering cycle has been badly hit by the untimely rains. Cotton growers are worried that the rains may damage the produce stored for sale. — SANJAY JOG / Mumbai Worship the forces of Nature, because, these are the ones that we are closely associated with, and interact with. NATION WANTS TO KNOW: Actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister were questioned for two hours on Friday at the Bandra police station in a sedition case that has been filed against them. The Bombay High Court, which has granted them interim protection from arrest, had asked Ranaut and her sister to appear before the Mumbai Police today. Earlier in the day, Kangana had posted a video on Twitter saying she is being unfairly targeted for daring to speak her mind. "Why am I being mentally, emotionally and now physically tortured? I need answers from this nation... I stood for you it's time you stand for me... Jai Hind," she tweeted. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, on Friday made a fresh ap, peal to the Centre to support its stand on the restoration of 12 per cent quota in education and 13 per cent in government jobs for the Maratha community during the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for January 25. The state government’s request comes in the backdrop of the widening rift between the Centre and itself on delays in the clearance of GST dues, lack of timely assistance for natural calamities and the ownership claim on Kanjurmarg land that had been proposed for the Metro 3 carshed. The state government has sought the Centre’s pro-active role during arguments when there is growing disenchantment among pro-Maratha organisations against the MVA government. It has also urged the BJP , which frequently issues deadlines for the MVA government fall, to use its influence to ensure that appropriate steps are taken by the Centre to maintain the SEBC reservation. Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan, head of the cabinet sub-committee on Maratha reservation, has appealed to the Centre to take a positive stand in the Supreme Court on constitutional and judicial issues relating to the 50 per cent reservation limit envisaged in the Indra Sahni case and the effect of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment on the rights of state governments. Chavan has thereby reminded that the apex court had given interim stay in September 2020 on reservation provided to the Maratha community CoNtd. oN P9 SANJAY JOG Mumbai from neighbouring Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Kedar made it clear that the move was a precautionary measure, to avoid bird flu infection in Maharashtra. Kedar said that no bird flu deaths had been reported in the state,so far. He further noted that the government had not curbed the sale of hens and eggs in the state. He has appealed to citizens not to panic and avoid spreading rumours and misinformation. The Department of Animal Husbandry said in a release that three crows in Mumbai, 15 egrets and 2 parrots in Thane, 800 hens at a poultry farm in Parbhani, 6 crows at Dapoli and 11 crows in Beed had been found dead. Samples have been sent for tests and the reports are expected in the next 48 to 72 hours. The Union government has asked the states and Union Territories to strengthen the biosecurity of poultry farms, disinfect the affected areas, properly dispose the dead birds and submit samples for further surveillance. States have been requested to be prepared for any eventuality of CoNtd. oN P9 Bird flu: Maha bans import of MP, Guj hens Hours after the Centre confirmed the outbreak of bird flu in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Development Minister Sunil Kedar has banned the transportation and sale of hens Aurangzeb not secular, so he is not part of CMP: Uddhav LAST WORD C SANJAY JOG / Mumbai hief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday clarified that Shiv Sena has not abandoned Hindutva while agreeing to inclusion of the 'secular' credo in the Common Minimum Programme, in deference to the wishes of its ruling allies -- the NCP and the Congress. In a strong signal to the Congress party , which is opposing the renaming of Au- rangabad as Sambhaji Nagar, Thackeray said, ‘ urangzeb was not secular. Our A agenda contains the word ‘’secular’’ but Aurangzeb does not fit in it. The mention of the name Sambhaji Nagar is not new.’’ It is apparent from Thackeray's statement that for him the issue is foreclosed and he was not keen to enter into any further verbal duel with the Congress party . He has also hinted that the Congress is free to chart its own path. Uddhav also has thereby signalled that the Shiv Sena will not displease its constituency by yielding before the Congress, merely to stay in power. Thackeray’s statement comes days after state Congress party Balasaheb Thorat and a couple of other leaders reiterated the party’s opposition to renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar, reasoning that the renaming of cities was not part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s com- mon minimum programme. ‘’We have been mentioning Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. Even party supremo Balasaheb Thackeray used to do so. There is nothing new. We will continue to mention Sambhaji Nagar,’’ said Thackeray He has now put the ball in . the Congress party’s court. Thackeray has also snubbed the BJP for cornering him and MVA on renaming of Aurangabad.