Nature and wildlife photographer and filmmaker Jayaprakash Bojan’s (right)
latest work on wildlife in Singapore includes a shot of the elusive Raffles’
banded langur (above).
REPORT ON PAGE 4
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
DECEMBER 31, 2021
MCI (P) 034/10/2021
IN GOA VILLAGE
Vaccinations expanded, boosters
started to fight Omicron
India has expanded its Covid-19
vaccination drive to include everyone
15 or older and making health workers
and some elderly citizens eligible for
booster shots, as the country grapples
with the prospect of another wave
fuelled by the Omicron variant.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in
an address to the nation on Saturday,
said vaccines would be available to
those 15 to 18 years old as of Jan 3.
He also said booster doses would be
offered as a “precaution” to health
workers and those 60 and older with
comorbidities starting Jan 10.
Merck pill, two more vaccines
approved for emergency use
The government has approved Merck’s
Covid-19 pill and two more vaccines
for emergency use as some states
logged an uptick in Omicron cases.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will be
the only shot available to children
aged 15 to 18 when inoculation begins
for them from Jan 3.
Court urges Modi, election body
to defer state polls
The Allahabad High Court in Uttar
Pradesh has urged the Central election
commission and Prime Minister
Narendra Modi to postpone state polls
due early next year and ban large
political gatherings to avoid a possible
surge of Omicron-fuelled infections.
Traditionally, the judiciary stays
away from directing independent
bodies like the poll panel or the
executive on the timing of elections.
Assembly elections are set to be held
in five states, including Uttar Pradesh,
early next year.
Man with links to Ludhiana
bomber detained in Germany
German authorities have detained a
man allegedly belonging to the Sikhs
For Justice, an organisation suspected
to be behind the recent bomb blast in
Ludhiana, Punjab, based on
intelligence inputs from India.
Jaswinder Singh Multani, against
whom two first information reports
have been registered in Punjab, is
being questioned about his alleged
role in planning terror attacks in India.
Multani’s detention came five days
after a bomb blast occurred at the
Ludhiana court complex on Dec 23
that killed Gagandeep Singh, a
dismissed policeman who allegedly
planted the bomb, and injured two
Central bank: Financial system
well cushioned amid pandemic
Financial institutions in India have
remained resilient amid the pandemic
and stability prevails in the financial
markets, cushioned by policy and
regulatory support, according to a
central bank financial stability report.
“Balance sheets of banks remain
strong and capital and liquidity buffers
are being bolstered to mitigate future
shocks, as reflected in the stress tests
presented in this report,” Reserve
Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta
Das wrote in his foreword.
Bollywood star survives snake bite
Bollywood “bad boy” Salman Khan
starred in his own real-life action
drama when he was bitten by a snake
and spent six hours in hospital.
The serpent bit him twice when he
tried to remove it from his countryside
home near Mumbai ahead of his 56th
birthday on Monday.
The actor was taken to a nearby
hospital where he was administered
antivenom, kept under observation
and then discharged after six hours.
Foreign funding for Mother Teresa
The Central government on Monday
“refused” to renew a permission that
is vital for Mother Teresa’s
Missionaries of Charity (MoC) to be
able to secure foreign funds, cutting off
a key source the charity has depended
on to run its programmes for the
“While considering the MoC’s
renewal application, some adverse
inputs were noticed,” the home
MP school issued show cause
notice for question on actors’ son
A private school in Madhya Pradesh’s
Khandwa district has been issued a
show cause notice for asking the name
of the son of Bollywood actors
Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan
during an examination.
Controversy erupted after the
question figured in the current affairs
section of the General Knowledge part
of Academic Heights Public School’s
class 6 annual exams.
The parents’ association
complained to the district education
department and later the Madhya
Pradesh School Education Department
issued a show cause notice to the
school’s administration asking for an
Chief Justice takes bullock cart
ride during visit to native village
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana
took a bullock cart ride during his
visit to his native village Ponnavaram
in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district
The villagers received him with
garlands and he later offered prayers at
the local temple.
Mumbai mayor gifts ‘sight’ on
Mumbai’s Mayor Kishori Pednekar
celebrated her 60th birthday last
Saturday by donating Rs100,000
($1,813) to the Vision Foundation of
India to perform free eye operations
on 100 less privileged people.
“I turn 60 today. Recently, I was
blessed with a grandson. In the spirit
of serving the people as I am graced
with double joy, I have taken this
step to give ‘sight’ to needy persons,”
The trained nurse has been earning
accolades for her work in the city
during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apple puts iPhone plant ‘on
probation’ after food poisoning
Apple said on Wednesday that it has
put the Chennai plant of its main
supplier “on probation” after mass
food poisoning and protests over
workers’ living conditions.
Some 250 women working at
Foxconn’s iPhone factory in the
outskirts of the city were treated for
food poisoning this month, 159 of
whom were hospitalised.
This prompted demonstrations
against living conditions at company
hostels that have kept the factory at
Sriperumbudur closed since Dec 18.
Anti-doping agency lifts India’s
The World Anti-Doping Agency
announced last week that it has
reinstated the accreditation of India’s
national dope-testing laboratory, which
had been suspended since mid-2019.
The New Delhi-based lab can now
resume its anti-doping activities,
including urine and blood tests.
Fresh demands for probe against
The prosecution in the sexual assault
case involving popular Malayalam
actor Dileep has sought further
investigation after fresh revelations
were made by a man who claims to be
Mr Balachandra Kumar, who said
he is discussing a film project with
Dileep, claimed that he had seen
“Pulsar” Sunni, the prime accused in
the case, at Dileep’s house.
He also alleged that Dileep had a
copy of the video of the sexual assault
of the actress and on Nov 15, 2017,
Dileep, his family members and a VIP
watched it at Dileep’s house.
Wheelchair users get to dip in the sea
A physically challenged person is
wheeled into the sea during an
event to mark the International Day
of Persons with Disabilities in
Chennai on Tuesday.
The Greater Chennai Corporation
in association with the Disability
Rights Alliance Tamil Nadu has set
up a temporary disabled-friendly
pathway on a stretch of the Marina
beach (the second longest urban
beach in the world) for a week to
celebrate the occasion.
The International Day of Persons
with Disabilities is held annually on
Dec 3. Due to the ongoing Covid-19
pandemic and heavy rains, the
authorities in Chennai postponed
the event to the last week of
“This is just amazing,” said
Ms Preethu Jayaprakash, a
wheelchair user, who has spinal
muscular atrophy. “We are also
getting a chance to see the sea from
For editiorial matters,
write to us at
Talk to us at
For advertising enquiries,
Advertise with us by calling
For home delivery, call
(Mon to Fri 9am to 6pm)
Catch us online at
An SPH Media Limited publication
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
Channel Excellence Lead
A large brass statue of Cristiano
Ronaldo, which was unveiled on Tues-
day at a park in Goa’s beach village of
Calangute, has created a stir in the
coastal Indian state over the foot-
baller’s Portuguese lineage.
The statue was inaugurated with
the aim of inspiring youngsters to
emulate the maestro.
But it has triggered black-flag
protests at the site, with locals accus-
ing the state authorities of neglecting
local football legends like former India
captain Bruno Coutinho, who hails
Local Bharatiya Janata Party MLA
and Ports Minister Michael Lobo said
the plan to install the 41kg statue,
costing Rs12 lakh ($21,748) and de-
picting Ronaldo in action, has been in
the offing for the past two years.
“This is the first statue of Cristiano
Ronaldo in India,” he said. “This is
nothing but to inspire our youth.
“If you want to take football to
another level (in Goa), this is what will
inspire boys and girls by looking at
him, taking selfies with him.
“We require good infrastructure for
our boys and girls to play. The statue
is only to inspire. We want good
grounds from the government, good
infrastructure and good coaches.”
Mr Lobo added that, despite India’s
vast population, its football team has
often failed to beat even small nations,
and budding players from Goa should
be given proper coaching facilities in
every village in the state.
“People who come to the Cristiano
Ronaldo park will be inspired to
become like him and play for Goa and
India,” the minister said. “We want to
inspire Calangute, Candolim and the
coastal belt villages first, then the rest
Mr Ricardo D’Souza, the owner of
the popular Titos nightclub in
Calangute, said that statues of local
football icons like Coutinho and Samir
Naik should have been installed in-
“Very disappointed to hear of the
statue of Ronaldo being erected.
Learn to take pride in our own icons
like Samir Naik and Bruno Coutinho,”
Mr D’Souza said.
At the unveiling ceremony, some
right-wing demonstrators also claimed
that erecting a statue of Ronaldo, a
Portuguese national, was an insult to
Goa, especially when the state is
celebrating its 60th anniversary of
liberation from Portuguese rule which
spanned 451 years.
“To erect a statue of a Portuguese
footballer this year is sacrilegious,”
said right-wing activist Guru Shirod-
kar. “We condemn this.
“There are many freedom fighters
in Goa who have been insulted. If
Lobo wanted to erect footballers’ stat-
ues, he should have erected Bruno
Reacting to the protests, Mr Lobo
said: “There are a few people who are
opposing this. Looks like they hate
football. Football belongs to everyone.
It is not divided by religion or caste
but still they are opposing with black
flags. Their minds are black. One
cannot argue with people who have
Indo-Asian News Service
Cristiano Ronaldo’s statue in Calangute.
The raid on Uttar Pradesh businessman Piyush Jain
is not a case of mistaken identity, sources at the
Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI)
said after the unearthing of heaps of unaccounted
cash from his premises made national headlines.
Sources in the probe agency said the raid was a
result of a focused investigation based on specific
This comes amid speculation surrounding the
huge haul – reportedly India’s biggest – at the
Kanpur and Kannauj premises of Jain which netted
Rs196 crore ($35.5 million) in cash, 23kg gold and
sandalwood oil worth Rs6 crore.
Coming in the middle of a high-pitch election
campaign in Uttar Pradesh, the raids have entered
political speeches, with the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
and Akhilesh Yadav’s Sama-
jwadi Party accusing each
other of backing the jailed
The BJP has alleged that it
was Jain who recently
launched the “Samajwadi
perfume”, while Prime Minis-
ter Narendra Modi, who
leads the BJP at the centre,
said in Kanpur on Tuesday:
“Boxes filled with notes have
come out. The people of Kanpur understand busi-
ness and trade well. Before 2017, the perfume of
corruption that they had sprinkled all over Uttar
Pradesh is there for everyone to see.”
Mr Yadav later said the BJP had mixed up
businessman Jain with the Samajwadi Party’s Push-
praj Jain, who launched the perfume that is named
after the party.
Denying any link with Jain, he said the BJP got
“its own businessman raided by mistake”.
Mr Pushpraj told NDTV that he has no links with
Jain and that he was “saddened by the low level of
“It is below the belt to use my name in relation
to the raids,” he said.
DGGI sources told NDTV that the agency had
received specific inputs regarding alleged tax eva-
sion by the Shikhar Pan Masala group.
A probe led it to transport company Ganapati
Road Carriers and Jain’s Odochem Industries.
Jain supplied perfumery compounds to the
Shikhar group and caught the agency’s attention for
taking payments only in cash, the sources said.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is now looking
into the case.
India Today quoted Jain’s arrest memo: “Piyush
Kumar Jain was evasive in his submission. This fact
can be verified from the statement tendered by him.
Despite having effected clandestine supply of more
than 177.75 crores to various buyers for a period of
just three to four years, he feigned ignorance
regarding the identity of the buyers of such goods
supplied clandestinely by him.
“He also claimed that he could not remember the
name of suppliers of raw material from which his
firms manufactured perfumery compounds supplied
“It is pertinent to note that total transaction of
his three firms taken on books of account for the
year 2021 is only about Rs21 crore.”
The ED suspects that Jain was also involved in
money laundering through his firm.
Noted filmmaker Kumar Mangat Pathak an-
nounced in Varanasi on Tuesday that he will make a
film, titled Raid 2, on the raids at Jain’s premises.
Pathak, who had earlier produced the Ajay
Devgn starrer Raid, said that the film showed that
money can come out of walls.
“During the recent raids in Kanpur and Kannauj,
money actually started coming out of the walls,” he
said. “I will show this in Raid 2.”
Indo-Asian News Service
Ronaldo statue divides opinion in Goa
Piyush Jain (left) and the cash found at his house.
Businessman caught with $35.5m at home
December 31, 2021
|Singapore Press Holdings|
|Copyright © 2022 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co|