The Hindu Important Articles 24 May 2018

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# Police firing claims 10 lives in T.N.
March by anti-Sterlite protesters to the Collectorate turns violent in Thoothukudi; 60 sustain injuries
At least nine persons, including a 17-year-old girl, were killed in police firing at a massive rally taken out demanding the closure of Sterlite Copper, a Vedanta group copper smelter unit, in the port town of Thoothukudi in south Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.

The rally in which thousands of local people participated under the banner of ‘Anti Sterlite Movement’, turned violent in the morning with sections of protesters allegedly setting fire to vehicles, including those belonging to the police.

Around 60 persons, including police personnel, suffered injuries in stone-throwing and were admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital. Thoothukudi GH sources say the condition of two more gunfire victims is critical.

A team of vascular surgeons from Madurai GH are rushing for assistance. Police had on Monday night clamped prohibitory orders in Thoothukudi after the Movement, along with opposition parties and traders’ and fishermen bodies, called for a march to the Collectorate demanding closure of Sterlite Copper.

Tuesday marked the 100th day of the latest round of protests against the company, which has been accused of being responsible for air and water pollution leading to health hazards.

Violence broke out when a large number of protesters, who took out a rally from various places of Thoothukudi, moved up to the four-road intersection close to the traffic signal on Palayamkottai Road. Since prohibitory orders were in force they were denied permission by police personnel to proceed further. Angry protesters started to hurl stones and footwear at policemen, who carried shields with protective outfit. All attempts to stop the protesters failed and they marched ahead after breaking the barricades and toppling a striking force vehicle near the traffic signal. The police made yet another attempt near the Third Mile bridge on the Palayamkottai Road to control the protest. Tear gas was used to quell the rioting mob, which continued to regroup. An explosive substance was thrown at the police.

Meanwhile, a few photo journalists were manhandled by some protesters. The Hindu ’s Rajesh was assaulted and a memory card removed from his camera.

# Nipah toll now 11; 2 persons critical
AIIMS team reaches Kerala
The toll in the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala touched 11 with two more persons succumbing on Tuesday. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the virus in blood and fluid samples taken from all the victims. The samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune and the Manipal Centre for Virus Research.

Eight of the dead are from Kozhikode district, including the first three victims from a single family, and three from Malappuram district. According to the office of the District Medical Officer, Kozhikode, 19 persons are under treatment, two of whom are in a critical condition.

A team from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) arrived on Tuesday to assist the State Health Department. A National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) team has been camping here since Monday.

Centre assures help

Health Minister K.K. Shylaja told the media the State government had been in touch with the Union Health Ministry, which has promised all possible help.

“A team headed by the director of the NCDC reached the spot today [Tuesday] and another …of doctors from AIIMS and RML shall be landing tomorrow. The Government of India is fully committed to extending all support ,” Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said on Twitter.

Ms. Shylaja said that of the 18 samples tested, 12 had returned positive. She, however, said the infection had not yet spread among the community and only those who were in direct contact with the initial victims had contracted it. As the incubation period is between four and 18 days, the Health Department is monitoring all those who had contact with the deceased.

Apart from the three members of a single family who first contracted the disease, the other eight victims all were in contact in some way with the three victims.

# KC(M) to support UDF at Chengannur
Mani says this will have no bearing on the future relationship with UDF
Giving a boost to the United Democratic Front, the Kerala Congress (M) has decided to support the coalition in the byelection at the Chengannur Assembly segment scheduled on May 28.

Briefing media persons after a meeting of the subcommittee appointed by the KC(M) to decide on the stance to be taken at the byelection, party chairman K.M. Mani said the party had taken the decision against the peculiar political situation prevailing in the country.

Karnataka experience

The result of the Assembly elections in Karnataka has shown that only a coalition of secular and regional parties could effectively challenge the threat posed by the rise of communalism.

The KC(M) wants to strengthen this new alliance being formed at the national level by being part of it.

Moreover, the agrarian crisis in the country is getting worse day by day and the Central and the State government had failed to take any effective steps to mitigate the situation. “Even those who have up to one acre land cannot earn an income that will keep them above the BPL level,” he said and added that the party would like to be part of an alliance that would take corrective steps with regard to the present agrarian policy.

The KC(M) has scheduled a public meeting at Chengannur in support of UDF candidate D. Vijayakumar on May 24 evening. The party will explain its position in detail at the meeting, Mr. Mani said.

Reacting to a question, he made it clear that the decision in support of the UDF was with regard to the Chengannur byelection and it will have no bearing on the future relationship with the UDF.

“Entry into the UDF coalition is a policy matter which has to be taken after detailed discussions with the party,” he said and added that it was not on the agenda of the party now.

UDF request

Mr. Mani said the request made by the UDF leadership the other day was also taken into consideration while taking the decision.

Party working chairman P.J. Joseph; deputy chairman C.F. Thomas; vice chairman Jose K. Mani, MP; Joy Abraham, MP; Mons Joseph, Roshy Augstine, and N. Jayaraj (all MLAs); party treasurer Thomas Joseph; and general secretary P.T. Jose were present at the press conference.

The KC(M) which had parted ways with the UDF 22 months ago had lent its support to the Indian Union Muslim League in the Malappuram Parliament byelection and subsequently at the Vengara Assembly election.

# SBI posts a record loss of Rs. 7,718 crore
The State Bank of India is hopeful of a turnaround this year after a jump in provisions for bond losses and bad loans pushed it to its largest-ever quarterly loss in the fourth quarter of 2017-18. Net loss in the three months ended March 31, 2018, was Rs. 7,718 crore. In the preceding quarter, the SBI posted a loss of Rs. 2,416 crore, while in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 it was Rs. 3,442 crore.

# Taj Mansingh hotel auction gets HC nod
Clearing the roads for the auction of Capital’s Taj Mahal Hotel by the New Delhi Municipal Council, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected a plea by Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company Ltd challenging the tender procedure for the proposed auction.

# ‘Air quality causes premature deaths’
Worsening air quality in the last two decades has emerged as one of the major reasons for high numbers of premature deaths, says a new study conducted in 11 north Indian cities. The report found annual mortality linked to air pollution to be in the range of 150-300 persons per 1 lakh population. Kanpur recorded the highest number of premature deaths per year (4,173) due to chronic exposure to air pollution.

Source:- The Hindu

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