log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday MONDAY JUNE 14, 2021 GOA No PWD estimates yet for repair of Margao Comunidade building IN SHORT >> Five-day PC for child abductor PANAJI: Panaji JMFC has remanded Valpoi woman Vishranti Gawas, accused of kidnapping an infant from the GMC premises, to five days of police custody. While the month-old infant has been reunited with his biological mother, Gawas languishes in the Agassaim lock-up. Meanwhile, the police are planning to conduct the necessary DNA test to confirm the identity of the child’s biological mother. Clarity sought on vax procurement NEW DELHI: Several private hospitals across the country said they have no clarity on procuring Covid-19 vaccines under the new policy announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that it has led to the vaccination being put on hold at their centres. >> See pg 6 India is natural ally of G7: Modi NEW DELHI: PMi Narendra Modi on Sunday said India is a natural ally for the G7 countries in defending the shared values from a host of threats stemming from authoritarianism, terrorism and violent extremism, disinformation and economic coercion. >> See pg 6 Cong needs reforms to come back: Sibal NEW DELHI: Congress veteran Kapil Sibal said on Sunday said the party must bring widespread reforms across all levels of the organisation to show it is no longer in a state of inertia and to present itself as a viable political alternative to the BJP. >> See pg 6 ` 99 crore for 4 defence sector NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved budgetary support of nearly Rs 499 crore for research and innovation in the defence sector for the next five years. >> See pg 6 Cong asked to come clear on Art 370 NEW DELHI: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday asked Congress to make its stand clear on the purported remarks of Digvijay Singh that his party will have a “relook” at Article 370 revocation if it returns to power. >> See pg 6 WEATHER >> Max: 28.5 C Min: 25.1 C Humidity: 92 % TIDES Low: High: 6:39 0:07 19:38 14:00 Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday 8 pages PRICE ` 6 2 The Goan (Playstore) PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VI, NO. 355 GOA Farmers in Sattari start spraying fungicide to save betel nut trees 3 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 ABROAD Israel set to swear in new govt, end Netanyahu era 7 Hopes brighten for Indians headed to US for studies ■ VISA INTERVIEW SLOTS FOR JULY, AUG FROM TODAY ■ NO VAX PROOF REQUIRED, BUT NEGATIVE REPORT TAKEN 72 HRS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE PTI NEW DELHI The US mission in India is “actively working” to accommodate as many student visa applicants as possible in July and August, and facilitating their legitimate travel remained a top priority for it, a senior American diplomat said on Sunday. Don Heflin, the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US embassy, also said that the US-bound students will not require any proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter the country. They will need a negative report of their Covid-19 test taken 72 hours prior to their departure. There has been growing anxiety among a sizeable MAJOR RELIEF FOR STUDENTS US had imposed fresh travel restrictions in May Now. students returning to academic programmes that resume on or after August 1 may travel to the United States up to 30 days before the programme resumes F and M-visa holders travelling from India will be able to enter the US within 30 days of a new programme start date or programme resumption date that is on or after August 1 number of Indian students aspiring to fly to the US for higher studies in view of certain restrictions in getting visa appointments due to the coronavirus pandemic. The embassy will start giving visa interview slots for Indian students from Monday. “We recognise the stress and anxiety this has caused to students and their families, and we are actively working to accommodate as many student visa applicants as possible in July and August. Facilitating legitimate student travel to the United States remains a top priority for the US Mi The official was asked about the rising uncertainty among the Indian students wanting to travel to the US, which had imposed fresh travel restrictions in May. Armed men attack Verla businessman 14 more lives lost to Covid, toll @2,928 THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Covid claimed 14 more lives in Goa taking the State’s pandemic toll up to 2,928. Twelve of the 14 deaths were reported at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC&H) and one was reported at the private Galaxy hospital in Mapusa. Another Covid-19 patient was reported “brought dead” at the Hospicio Hospital in Margao. Two 40-year-olds -- a man from Mapusa and a woman from Karnataka -- were among these 14 who died on Saturday-Sunday and three others were in their fifties. Two were octogenarians and the others in their 60s and 70s. Meanwhile, 420 more contracted the dreaded virus between Saturday and Sunday. There were 581 recoveries bringing the count of active cases in Goa below the 5000mark for the first time since April 14. Meanwhile, the government on Sunday issued the curfew extension order under Section 144 of CrPC. The curfew will be on till June 21 with few more relaxations. As per the new order, municipal and panchayat markets will remain open. Also, marriage functions with 50 people will be permitted with the approval of the DM or SDM. open as many appointments as we can safely accommodate, based on local pandemic conditions across India,” Heflin told PTI in an interview. “Student visa applicants do not need an expedited appointment to schedule their visa interview. On June 14, we will open July and August appointments for students,” he added. Asked about apprehensions relating to vaccination, the official said proof of vaccination is not required to enter the United States. “Please note that proof of a negative Covid-19 test result, taken within 72 hours of your flight’s departure, is required to board a flight and for entry >Continued on P5 French Open: Djokovic defeats Tsitsipas to win 19th Grand Slam 8 State allows 12-hr shifts in factories RELAXATION APPLICABLE TILL SEPT 30 THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI In what comes as a relief to factory owners and boost to production, the Labour Department has relaxed certain provisions of the Factories Act to extend the working hours from 8 to 12, mostly as a solution to the dearth of workers in the time of the pandemic. This relaxation will be applicable till September 30, 2021. Restrictions on the movement of workers in the wake of the pandemic have led to a shortage of workers. This relaxation will enable the factories to deal with this exceptional crisis. This relaxation has been given under the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of Section 65 of the Factories Act. The order published in the official gazette recently states, “Goa hereby exempts all of the adult workers working in all of the factories situated in the State of Goa, who are not holding positions of supervision or management and/or not employed in a confidential position within the meaning of subsection (1) of Section 64 of the said Act, from the provisions of Sections 51, 52, 54 and 56 of the said Act, for a period up to 30th September 2021 with effect from the date of publication of this Order in the Official Gazette.” As per the new order, the total number of hours of work in any day shall not exceed twelve and the total number of hours of work in any week, including overtime, shall not exceed 60. It also states that no worker shall be allowed to work overtime for more than seven days at a stretch and the total number of hours of overtime work in any quarter shall not exceed 75. THE GOAN I NETWORK MAPUSA A gang of five persons brutally assaulted a 53-year-old businessman of Verla and two of his associates in Bardez allegedly for exposing a hill-cutting incident. Anjuna police have lodged an FIR against the main accused Rohan Harmalkar and four others for assault and threatening. The Verla-based businessman Roy Fernandes was hit on his head while his employee Agni Ahmed suffered serious injuries to his nose and one of his eyes. Both are admitted to a private hospital in Mapusa. The third person Emmanuel D’Souza who works as manager with Fernandes suffered injuries on one of his legs and has been admitted to the Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim. The incident took place at around 5 pm on Saturday. According to the complainant Roy Fernandes, the main accused Rohan Harmalkar along with four attacked his employee Agni Ahmed who worked in his property in Anjuna. “I got a call from Ahmed stating that there was a problem in Anjuna and my presence was required there,” he said. The complainant said that “Students returning to academic programmes that resume on or after August 1 may travel to the United States up to 30 days before the programme resumes. There is no National Interest Exception required in this situation,” he said. “We recommend continuing students discuss their specific resumption plans with their respective universities to develop a travel timeline,” Heflin said. The National Interest Exceptions (NIE) allow travel to the US for persons whose entry is considered of national interest. “We intend to start an intensive two months of interviewing student visa applicants on July 1. We will plan to SPORTS The Verla-based businessman Roy Fernandes who suffered head injuries. ATTACK ON YOUTH FROM NAVELIM Can’t drag me on basis of photo: Digambar People know the politicians behind anti-socials: Luizinho Navelkars warn those patronising goondas >> Reports on pg 2 soon after the call he and his manager Emmanuel D’Souza started their car to move towards Anjuna. “As we moved to the main road at Verla-Canca, a car blocked our vehicle. Rohan Harmalkar stepped out of the car and began to question me as to why I was interfering in the hill-cutting matter and also why I was trying to extract information through RTI,” Fernandes said in his complaint. He said on Harmalkar’s in >Continued on P5 TIKA TIME The first day of Tika Utsav 3.0 for the 18-44 age group received an encouraging response in Margao with over 1500 persons turning up at the six centres to take the anti-Covid vaccine dose. ( See report on pg 2) Santosh Mirajkar IIT Goa to monitor State’s air quality THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The Goa State Pollution Control Board in an online board meeting recently accorded in-principle approval to a proposal submitted by IIT Goa for machine learning and sensor-based network for continuous air quality monitoring and prediction. In the board meeting, Goa State Pollution Control Board Member Secretary Dr Shamila Monteiro informed the members that IIT Goa has submitted a proposal to have a collaborative effort with the Pollution Control Board of Goa for comprehensive understating of the air quality data across the State by deploying low-cost sensor network for more efficient data collection and analysis. The Board has accorded in-principle approval for the said proposal, pending submission of detailed presentation by Dr Thaseem Thajudeen, Research Expertise, School of Mechanical Sciences. As per the information provided by the Goa State Pollution Control Boar on its website, the Board has set up 16 ambient air quality monitor- ing stations to track air pollutants. Of the 16 air stations, 13 are outsourced to Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) approved laboratories and 3 are operated by the GSPCB. Ambient air quality monitoring helps in determining the existing quality of air, evaluating the effectiveness for control and develop new methods. Covid variants can evade antibodies: Research Poultry suppliers to Goa rue AGENCIES BIRMINGHAM (UK) he antibodies we create after we’re infected with a virus or vaccinated against it can be very powerful. A virus typically spreads within our bodies by entering a cell and using it as a factory to create copies of itself, which then burst out and find new cells to infect. Our antibodies work by binding to the virus and this can block it from attaching to and entering our cells in the first place. But what happens if a virus does not need to exit the cell in order to spread to neighbouring cells? Can our antibodies be effective against it? Scientists recently asked this question for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. This highly infectious coronavi- T rus can change human cells, making them fuse with two or more nearby cells. These super-cells, with large merged cell bodies, are excellent viral factories. The super-cells, known as syncytia, share multiple nuclei (the part of the cell that contains the genetic material) and abundant cytoplasm (the jelly-like substance that surrounds the nucleus). Having more of these components in one giant cell helps the virus replicate more efficiently. And by fusing cells, SARS-CoV-2 increases its resources without being exposed to the neutralising antibodies that slosh around outside our cells. The study by Alex Sigal and colleagues tested two coronavirus variants (alpha and beta) for their ability to transmit from cell to cell and investi- REVELATION The Sigal study, which is yet to be published in a scientific journal, revealed that cell-to-cell transmission with both variants successfully evaded antibody neutralisation This shows that when the virus takes hold, it will be more difficult to eliminate in cells that can fuse with each other gated whether this mode of transmission was sensitive to antibody neutralisation. The alpha variant (first identified in the UK) is sensitive to antibodies, and the beta variant (first identified in South Africa) is less sensitive to these antibodies. The Sigal study, which is yet to be published in a scientific journal, revealed that cell-tocell transmission with both variants successfully evaded antibody neutralisation. This shows that when the virus takes hold, it will be more difficult to eliminate in cells that can fuse with each other. Viruses have coexisted with humans and animals for millennia, so they have evolved tricks to avoid being recognised by our immune system. Such an immune evasion strategy is the direct transmission from cell to cell, which doesn’t always require cell fusion. It is also possible for viruses to travel to their next host cells by exploiting tight associations between neighbouring cells that shield them from antibodies. It is reasonable to assume that antibodies are most effective at preventing entry into the host cell and less effective in parts of the body where the infection is already established. Does this mean that our vaccines will be ineffective against viruses that move directly from cell to cell? Luckily, our immune system has also evolved alongside viruses, and we have learned to build defences that work in many ways. Not the only line of defence. T cells are white blood cells that, following vaccination or infection, are trained to >Continued on P5 low sales and heavy losses THE GOAN I NETWORK BELAGAVI While the consumption of eggs in Goa, Karnataka and areas across the Border States has increased, the lockdown has affected the broiler chicken sales as the consumption of these in Belagavi and Goa region has dipped causing huge loss to the poultry industry. Belagavi region supplies about 15,000 birds to Goa daily. The supply of eggs comes from the layer farms in Dharwad, Ballari, Gadag, Hubbali, Kolhapur and Sindhudurg. While the layer farmers have benefitted due to the rise in consumption of eggs, the poultry farmers from Belagavi In normal times we send about 7000 birds to Goa daily, but the demand has come down to just 2500 birds due to which we are incurring huge losses,” —Sanjeev Deshpande, Kwality Feeds & Belchick brand, Belagavi region are suffering huge losses as the rates of chicken have also dipped. The owners of broiler farms across the region have been demanding relaxation in timing for chicken shops and restaurants due to the helplessness to recover huge losses incurred. Speaking to The Goan, leading poultry industrialist and director of Kwality Feeds & Belchick brand, Belagavi, a major supplier to Goa, Sanjeev Deshpande, said that the sale of eggs has increased by about 20 per cent across Karnataka and Goa, but at the same time sale of broiler chicken has dipped sharply ever since the lockdown was announced by both the states. “Chicken is normally sold in hotels and restaurants that have been closed. Takeaways are just 15 to 20 per cent of the normal sales. Moreover, the limited time given for chicken shops to operate during the >Continued on P5
The new Goa, with a broader profile of people from different parts of India and the world, needs not just a strong local paper but a complete paper. The Goan on Saturday will connect to and be a viable and comprehensive read for locals, other Indians in Goa, NRI and foreigners. It will also be a bridge for Goans in other parts of India all over the world to their home land. The Goan is published by Goa's most reputed industrial houses.