320c. 280c. Sunrise: 06:05 am Sunset: 07:20 pm EXPORTS UP 47% TO $32 BILLION IN JUNE, IMPORTS GROW 96% Pg 9 BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE IN EDUCATION I AM ANXIOUS ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WILL REACT TO THEFILM: FARHAN AKHTAR Pg 24 If we are not striving to improve and go forward, the current ofthis world will force us to go backward... like swimming upstream in a river. His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj Vol. 65 No.52 | SATURDAY | JULY 3, 2021 | 16 Pages | ` 4 | EDITIONS: MUMBAI*, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, E-Paper BETWEEN THE LINES Central teams in 6 states to fight virus Mysterious noise rattles Bengaluru Bengaluru: A mysterious noise like that of an explosion rattled southern parts of the Bengaluru urban district, parts of Ramanagara district and Hosur in neighbouring Tamil Nadu on Friday sending people into a tizzy. People from Jayanagar, Anekal, Bidadi, Kanakapura, Padmanabhanagar, Kengeri and Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Hosur reported the loud noise at about 12.30 PM. The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre said in a statement that it closely analysed the data from the Seismic Observatory but it did not show any signal of local tremor or earthquake. The Indian Air Force too denied any flying activity. J&J vax shot strong against Delta variant Expectant mothers can also register for vax shot on CoWIN FPJ BUREAU Mumbai / New Delhi Finally there is some good , news! Pregnant women can now register on the CoWIN platform or visit any vaccination centre for the COVID19 shots, the government said on Friday Signalling a major . policy shift, the Union Health Ministry said that it had shared rules and procedures with states to roll out the programme smoothly The move . was made based on the recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. Till today all groups in, cluding lactating women were eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, which has now been expanded to cover pregnant women as well. As per the government, studies have shown that COVID-19 infection during pregnancy may result in rapid deterioration in the health of pregnant women, and place them at an increased risk of severe disease, which might Govt accepts recommendations of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation POLICY CHANGE • So far, all groups including lactating women were eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, now it has been expanded to cover pregnant women as well • Studies have shown that COVID-19 infection during pregnancy may deteriorate the health of the pregnant women and affect the foetus too Maha Govt issues SOPs for simple Bakri Eid celebration SANJAY JOG Mumbai The Maharashtra government on Friday issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the celebration of Bakri Eid, which falls on July 21 this year. The government has urged low-key celebrations in view of the continuing Covid crisis. There is a ban in place on all religious programmes and people should offer ‘namaz’ in their homes and not in mosques. Sacrificial animals should be bought online or over the phone, as markets dealing with them will be closed, while qurbani should preferably be symbolic. The home department said there would be no relaxation in restrictions for Eid, as affect the foetus too. "The Health Ministry has given guidelines that the vaccine can be given to pregnant women. Vaccination is useful for them and should be given," Dr Balram Bhargava, Director-General of the Indian Council for Medical Research, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI last week. The matter was examined based on evidence that the risk of severe illness for pregnant women due to COVID-19 is higher compared with non-pregnant women, it said in the release. Bhargava last week had said that the COVID-19 vaccines were safe and useful for pregnant women, and that they should be inoculated. "Considering the current situation of pandemic, NTAGI-STSC recommends pregnant women should not be excluded from vaccination because exposure probability is very high and therefore the benefit far outweighs the risk," the committee said. AT A GLANCE Ban on all religious programmes Namaz at home, not in mosques No gatherings in public stated in the ‘Break the Chain’ order issued on June 4, imposing strict curbs in the wake of the threat posed by the Delta-plus variant and the rise in Covid cases. The department has asked Muslims not to congregate in public places on the day of the festival. All the guidelines announced by the health department, police and local administration must be followed diligently it said. , CONTD. ON P15 Uttarakhand CM gives resignation letter to Nadda FPJ BUREAU / New Delhi In a late night development, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat handed over his resignation letter to BJP chief JP Nadda on Friday night. The move comes, barely four months after Singh took charge and ahead of the polls next year in the state. As per TV reports, Tirath Rawat, who had been in Delhi for the past three days for meetings with the BJP leadership, was allegedly asked by the ruling party to quit. He had sought an appointment with Governor Baby Rani Maurya, but before meeting the Governor, he handed in his papers to his party chief JP Nadda. FULL REPORT ON P13 Per litre DIESEL ` 96.72 Per litre www.freepressjournal.in twitter.com/fpjindia HSC assessment to be based on marks in Classes 10 & 11; results by July 31 RONALD RODRIGUES Mumbai Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) students in Maharashtra will be assessed on the basis of their marks in Classes 10 and 11, and results will be declared by July 31, Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Friday . The Class 12 HSC board examinations were cancelled due to Covid-19 second wave in Maharashtra. On Friday the state school education , department issued a government resolution (GR) announcing the assessment policy stating, “For the theory portion of Class 12 exams, 40 per cent weightage Reg. No. Mcs/048/2018-20; RNI No. 1541/1957 M.p.c.s office Mumbai-400001 HOW SCORES WILL BE COMPUTED • For theory portion of Class 12 exams, 40% weightage to marks scored in unit tests/ 1st semester exams/ practice exams for Class 12, 30% weightage to marks scored in Class 11 and 30% to be based on average of best three performances in theory papers of Class 10 • ‘Upgrade’ scheme offers two chances for those wishing to improve their score in adjoining examinations to be conducted by state board when pandemic conditions subside will be based on marks scored in unit tests or first semester exams or practice exams of Class 12, 30 per cent weightage will be given to marks scored in Class 11 and 30 per cent will be based on the average of the best three performing theory papers of Class 10.” This assessment policy has been decided after several rounds of consultations with various stakeholders. Gaikwad said, “Given the pandemic situation, the state board is permitted to pass all students. The policy is based on the evaluation method similar to the one devised by Central education boards to maintain uniformity in Class 12 results.” CONTD. ON P15 Govt ready to tweak farm laws as per Pawar's advice FROM OUR BUREAU / New Delhi Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday jumped at NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s remarks a day earlier, suggesting a tweak of the controversial farm laws enacted last September by removing the controversial portions. He said the Modi government was willing to reconsider the areas that seemed problematic to Pawar and the farmers who have been agitating at Delhi’s borders for over eight months, since last November. Pawar, 80, a former Union Agriculture Minister himself, was quoted by Doordarshan as saying that certain amendments could be made to the three farm laws, instead of rejecting them in their entirety He advocated , The Central government is trying to mislead people over a statement by NCP chief Sharad Pawar on the new farm laws. He hasn't talked about the Centre's (farm) laws. He was talking about Maharashtra farm laws” Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik consideration of the parts of the contentions of the farmers. There is, however, no clarity from Pawar, since his Nationalist Congress Party had gone on record in February demanding repeal of all three farm laws in totality Earlier . in January Pawar had , himself criticised the laws in series of tweets, saying that these would adversely affect the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and weaken the country’s mandi system for the wholesale marketing of foodgrains. Meanwhile, the NCP has clearly denied what was being aired on television channels and on the web and contradicted Tomar. The three disputed laws are: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. “I welcome this statement of the former agriculture minister. I’d like to tell him that the Central government agrees with him. We have discussed this with the farmer unions 11 times,” Tomar was quoted telling ANI news agency on Friday . CONTD. ON P15 Drone spotted over Indian High Comm’n in Islamabad FPJ BUREAU New Delhi A drone was spotted over the Indian High Commission compound in Islamabad last week. India has registered its strong protest with Pakistan over the security breach. It triggered a huge security scare in the mission, people familiar with the development said on Friday The Indian mission has . already taken up the issue strongly with the Pakistani authorities. This sighting at the Indian facility in Islamabad comes amid heightened tensions over a drone attack on an air force base in Jammu and Kashmir last week. Last US, NATO forces leave key Afghanistan base FILE PHOTO AFP New Delhi: Johnson & Johnson said late Thursday that its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine generated strong, persistent activity against the Delta and other highly prevalent variants. Data showed that the durability of the immune response lasted through at least eight months, the US-based healthcare company said, adding that its vaccine was 85% effective and could also help prevent hospitalization and death. “Current data for the eight months studied so far shows that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane; rather, we observe an improvement over time,” J&J said in a statement. PREGNANT WOMEN CAN WALK-IN FOR A JAB NOW Pg 17 PHOTO USED FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSE ONLY New Delhi: In its fight against the Covid pandemic, the Central government has rushed multi-disciplinary teams to six states for Covid19 control and containment measures in view of the increased number of cases being reported by them. In a statement, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said, "The Centre has today deputed multi-disciplinary teams to Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Manipur in view of the increased number of COVID-19 cases being reported by these states." EDIT PETROL ` 105.24 IANS / Kabul After nearly 20 years, the US military has left the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and has handed it over to Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, sources confirmed on Friday At its peak, . the airfield, the largest in Afghanistan and located 69 km north of Kabul in the central province of Parwan, witnessed the deployment of more than 100,000 US troops, TOLO News. MEN AT WORK • After 20 years, US military leaves Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan • The pull-out signals that the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is imminent The handover of the airfield to Afghan forces shows that last of the roughly 2,500 to 3,500 US troops have left Afghanistan, according to the Defence Ministry sources. The pull-out could signal that the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is imminent. Ahead of leaving the base, dozens of trailer trucks loaded with scrap from destroyed vehicles and equipment that belonged to American troops left the airfield on a daily basis. Those who purchase the material say that so far, the scrap has been worth millions of dollars, TOLO News reported citing the sources. Dear Guv, truncated monsoon WB Guv cuts short speech ED attaches more assets worth session due to pandemic: CM amidst BJP noise in House `8.79 crore in Sandesara case SANJAY JOG Mumbai Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reply, ing to a letter by Governor BS Koshyari, justified holding only a two-day monsoon session of the legislature saying that its duration could not be extended due to the present coronavirus pandemic. He was also non-committal on holding an election to the Speaker’s post during the two-day session, saying there was no timeframe for it. Further, Thackeray urged Koshyari to pursue with the Centre the state government’s demand to share empirical data on the Other Backward Classes (OBC), to take steps for restoring political reservation for the community in local civic bodies. Koshyari, in his letter, had flagged issues raised by the Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis to extend the monsoon session duration, fill the Speaker’s post and postpone the local body elections pending OBC quota issue. Thackeray’s letter said, “Medical experts have predicted a severe third wave," and it was the responsibility of his government to take care of the health of the people and the elected representatives in the state. The decision to hold a truncated monsoon session was taken in view of the continuing Covid pandemic, with cases of the new Delta-plus variant of the virus being reported in several districts of the state, the CM’s letter said. CONTD. ON P15 UAE bans citizens from travelling to India, 13 other countries FPJ BUREAU & PTI Mumbai The UAE government on Friday prohibited its nationals from traveling to 14 countries, including India and Pakistan, in a major step to arrest the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Internation- al Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) on Friday announced that its citizens are prohibited from travelling to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Namibia, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Africa, and Nigeria. ARITRA SINGHA Kolkata West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had to stop his speech within three minutes on the first day of the Budget Session in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly as BJP MLAs stepped down into the well of the House to protest the post-poll violence and fake jab scam in the state. Dhankhar entered the hall of the House flanked by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Speaker Biman Bandhopadhyay When . he started his speech, he was interrupted by the BJP MLAs. He eventually had to stop his speech within three minutes as the issue of postpoll violence was not men- PHOTO ANI Urges Koshyari to pursue with Centre the state government’s demand on sharing empirical data on OBCs, to restore quota in local bodies tioned in his speech, which was sent by the Trinamool Congress run West Bengal Government. Notably after reading the , draft of the speech, Governor Dhankhar had written a letter to Mamata Banerjee to cite certain discrepancies in the letter. Though Mamata had given a phone call to Dhankhar but the solution wasn’t reached. On Friday , the BJP slammed the TMC on social media. CONTD. ON P15 FULL REPORT ON P13 FPJ BUREAU New Delhi / Ahmedabad The Enforcement Directorate tweeted on Friday that it had provisionally attached movable and immovable properties worth Rs 8.79 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case of the fraud with banks by the Sandesara Group. With this, the total attachments have reached Rs 14,521.80 crore. The attachments include eight immovable properties, three vehicles and several bank accounts as also shared and mutual funds, it said. The attached assets belong to Bollywood actor and director Sanjay Khan (Rs 3 crore), Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui (Rs 2.41 THE ATTACHED assets belong to Bollywood actor and director Sanjay Khan (Rs 3 crore), Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui (Rs 2.41 crore), popular disc jockey DJ Aqeel Abdulkhalil Bachooali (Rs 1.98 crore) and Bollywood actor Dino Morea (Rs 1.40 crore) crore), popular disc jockey DJ Aqeel Abdulkhalil Bachooali (Rs 1.98 crore) and Bollywood actor Dino Morea (Rs 1.40 crore). The Sandesara Brothers had allegedly transferred the assets to these four to cover up their bank fraud. The Sandesara brothers – Nitin and Chetan – along with the latter’s wife Dipti, were declared fugitives last year under Section 4 of the Fugitive Economic Off-enders Act, as they have allegedly fled from India. Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel, the brother-in-law of the Sandesaras is also among the accused. CONTD. ON P15 Indian teenagers skip breakfast 10 days in a month FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Survey was conducted on 1531 adolescents in 1402 families FROM OUR BUREAU New Delhi They say breakfast like a king as the breakfast meal is a must for good health, but a study shows the Indian adolescents are missing it much too often compromising their health, says a comprehensive survey on the dietary habits of those between 15 and 17 years of age. The study was conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in collaboration with the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR). In the study covered in the past 30 days, the researchers say 48.3% adolescents skipped breakfast on at least one day while 4% on , all 30 days. "Breakfast was skipped on an average of 10 days by all adolescents surveyed and this trend was similar across all strata, a little higher for rural India." The survey results have been published in the BMJ Open, a globally read open-access journal. It also revealed that one in every 10 adolescents in India had experience with smoke or smokeless forms of tobacco, one-fourth were not sufficiently physically active, while 6.2% were overweight and half of them consumed salted and fried savouries at least once a week. The adolescents have a high level of risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCD).