BCCI refuses to stop IPL despite covid wreaks havoc across India

News Network
April 26, 2021

April 26: Anxiety pierced through IPL's bio-secure bubble on Monday with leading Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and some Australian players withdrawing from the league amid the escalating Covid-19 crisis in India even as the BCCI insisted that the glitzy league will go on.

The 34-year-old Ashwin, competing for Delhi Capitals, decided to take a break saying that his family is currently "putting up a fight against Covid-19" and he wants to support them. He hopes to return to the side "if things go in the right direction".

However, Andrew Tye (Rajastan Royals) and the duo of Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa (both Royal Challengers Bangalore) withdrew as apprehension set in after a couple of weeks went by smoothly for the league being held in front of empty stands across nine venues.

While Zampa and Richardson have not yet spoken about their "personal reasons" for leaving, Tye said he feared getting locked out of his own country owing to mounting quarantine cases from India in his hometown Perth.

"I just thought to try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country...think I've had 11 days at home out of the bubble since August, so for me I just wanted to get home," Tye told 'SEN Radio' from Doha, the transit point before his flight to Perth.

The BCCI, on its part, insisted that the event will continue and it wouldn't come in the way of those wanting to leave.

"As of now, IPL is going ahead. Obviously, if anyone wants to leave, that's perfectly fine," a senior Board official said on conditions of anonymity.

While leg-spinner Zampa was bought for Rs 1.5 crore, RCB spent Rs 4 crore to buy pacer Richardson at the players' auction.

Richardson featured in one match for RCB, returning figures of 1 for 29 in three overs against Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai, but Zampa couldn't make it to the playing XI this season.
The 34-year-old Tye had also not got a game with the Royals so far and his contract with the franchise was worth Rs one crore.

India is recording over 3 lakh daily cases for the past few days and the health infrastructure is struggling to handle the rise with shortage of oxygen and some crucial medicines adding to the crisis.

Kolkata Knight Riders mentor David Hussey acknowledged that Australians in the IPL are a "bit nervous" about getting back home in the wake of the situation here.

"Everyone is sort of a bit nervous about whether they can get back into Australia. I dare say there will be a few other Australians a bit nervous about getting back into Australia," Hussey, a former Australia international, told the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association also issued a joint statement on Monday, saying that they are monitoring the situation.

"Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association remain in regular contact with Australian players, coaches and commentators taking part in the Indian Premier League, which is being conducted under strict bio-security protocols," the two bodies said.

"We will continue to listen to feedback from those on the ground in India and the advice of the Australian Government. Our thoughts are with the people of India at this difficult time."

Several England and New Zealand players are also competing in the event but haven't yet spoken about their concerns.

"We continue to monitor and work with the players on an individual basis. Our thoughts are with the people of India during these difficult times," a spokesperson of the England and Wales Cricket Board told PTI.

The players from New Zealand, including stars such Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, are expected to leave early in any case as they have a Test series against England starting June 2. They will have to head back in last week of May to be available for it because of quarantine rules.

The IPL final is scheduled to be held on May 30 in Ahmedabad.

Australia, it is learnt, might arrange a chartered flight for its IPL cricketers once their engagement is over.

As many as 14 Australian players now remain in the event, including stars such as Steve Smith (DC), David Warner (SunRisers Hyderabad) and Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders), as well as coaches Ricky Ponting (DC) and Simon Katich (RCB).

Commentators Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Michael Slater and Lisa Sthalekar are also among the Australians involved with the league right now. 

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News Network
April 28,2021

Geneva, Apr 28: The World Health Organization said Tuesday that a variant of Covid-19 feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in over a dozen countries.

The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 first found in India had as of Tuesday been detected in over 1,200 sequences uploaded to the GISAID open-access database "from at least 17 countries".

"Most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore," the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

The WHO recently listed B.1.617 -- which counts several sub-lineages with slightly different mutations and characteristics -- as a "variant of interest".

But so far it has stopped short of declaring it a "variant of concern".

That label would indicate that it is more dangerous than the original version of the virus by for instance being more transmissible, deadly or able to dodge vaccine protections.

India is facing surging new cases and deaths in the pandemic, and fears are rising that the variant could be contributing to the unfolding catastrophe.

The explosion in infections in India -- 350,000 new cases were recorded there on Tuesday alone -- has driven a surge in global cases to 147.7 million.

The virus has now killed more than 3.1 million people worldwide.

The WHO acknowledged that its preliminary modelling based on sequences submitted to GISAID indicates "that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India, suggesting potential increased transmissibility".

It stressed that other variants circulating at the same time were also showing increased transmissibility, and that the combination "may be playing a role in the current resurgence in this country."

"Indeed, studies have highlighted that the spread of the second wave has been much faster than the first," the WHO said.

It highlighted though that "other drivers" could be contributing to the surge, including lax adherence to public health measures as well as mass gatherings.

"Further investigation is needed to understand the relative contribution of these factors," it said.

The UN agency also stressed that "further robust studies" into the characteristics of B.1.617 and other variants, including impacts on transmissibility, severity and the risk of reinfection, were "urgently needed".

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coastaldigest.com news network
April 30,2021

Mangaluru, Apr 30: The Adani Group’s move to exorbitantly hike the parking fee at Mangauru International Airport from May 1 has triggered criticism by passengers and vehicle drivers. 

Mangalureans took to social media to express their rage against the Adani group’s avarice amidst pandemic. The group had taken over the operations and management of the Airport in July 2019 for next 50 years from the Central government. 

As per new parking tariff, coach buses and trucks will be charged Rs 300 for half an hour and Rs 500 for two hours. So far the parking fee was Rs 70 for 30 minutes.

Mini buses and tempos are now supposed to pay Rs Rs 200 and Rs 350 for half an hour and two hours parking respectively. So far  the parking fee for half an hour was Rs 60.

Hired taxis will have to pay Rs 60 instead of the earlier Rs 55 for parking while commercial cars have to pay Rs 90. Two wheeler parking price has been increased from Rs 15 to Rs 20. 

Here are new parking fees: 

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News Network
May 2,2021

Chennai, May 2: The verdict is out, well almost, in Tamil Nadu with leads showing a clear majority for the DMK alliance led by MK Stalin. DMK workers in Chennai celebrated at the party head quarters flouting Covid norms. 

The opposition DMK-Congress alliance is retaining its lead in the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly though its gap with the AIADMK is shrinking. The DMK and its allies are leading in 144 seats. The ruling AIDMK and allies are now leading on 89 seats.  

The majority mark stands at 118.  The DMK has not been in power in the state for a decade, and this time the party and the AIADMK are contesting without their towering leaders, J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi whose deaths have brought a huge change in the political landscape.

Tamil Nadu's most iconic leaders J Jayalalithaa died in 2016, and M Karunanidhi in 2018. Their absence has left a huge political vacuum that many have raced to fill.

Actor Kamal Haasan and his Makkal Needhi Maiam or MNM, made a rather drab electoral debut in the 2019 general election, failing to win a single seat. This time they are leading in one seat.

"This has been an unprecedented election because of the pandemic. We are watching closely and frankly expected to perform better than what we are seeing so far," DMK's Manu Sundaram said. "The people saw this election as a choice between the BJP and BJP-controlled alliances and that of the DMK, which stands to oppose the BJP and its ideology," he added.  

The senior leader also said they expect the numbers to rise further as the counting of votes continues. "Though we have the overall lead at the moment, we were hoping to do much better," he said.

Tamil Nadu was known for alternating between the two blocks every five years, but Jayalalithaa broke the mold in 2016, winning a second term in the state.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami is leading in his home segment of Edappadi in Salem district and leader of opposition and DMK president MK Stalin is ahead in the Kolathur constituency according to early trends.

The DMK is also ahead in constituencies including Kurinjipadi, Neyveli, Virudhachalam. The BJP's state unit chief L Murugan is ahead in Dharapuram and AIADMK leaders and state ministers KC Veeramani and Benjamin were ahead in Jolarpet and Maduravoyal.

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