Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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WASHIMNGTOMKerala IAS officer under medical observation for 24 hrs

October 17, 2020 12:09 PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar on Saturday underwent an angiography that revealed he had no cardiac issues, but will now be under medical observation for another 24 hours before his likely discharge on Sunday.

The former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was taken to a hospital on Friday night soon after the Customs official visited his residence to take him for questioning in the gold smuggling case.

It was said that had he not been taken to hospital, in all likelihood, he would have been taken to the Customs office here and his arrest recorded before his transfer to the Customs headquarters in Kochi.

The IAS officer has been questioned by the Customs, the National Investigation Agency and the Enforcement Directorate ever since the gold smuggling case surfaced on July 5.

He was asked to present himself before the Customs on Friday, but when he said he was unwell, the Customs officials went to his residence. When they decided to take him for questioning, Sivasankar claimed he was feeling unwell and was taken to the hospital.

The Kerala High Court, acting on an anticipatory bail plea of Sivasankar, had ordered the ED not to arrest him till Friday next, when the court will hear his plea in detail.

Hence, Sunday will be a crucial day for Sivasankar: If he is discharged on Sunday morning, all eyes will be on the Customs as it's only the ED which has been asked not to arrest the officer till October 23.
 US President Donald Trump has approved California's request for a Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the state's emergency response to the massive wildfires, Governor Gavin Newsom said.

"Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response," Xinhua news agency quoted Newsom as saying in a tweet on Friday.

A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration helps people in the impacted counties through eligibility for support including crisis counselling, housing and unemployment assistance and legal services, according to a statement from Newsom's office.

It also provides federal assistance to help state, tribal and local governments fund emergency response, recovery and protective measures.

California officialssaid earlier that the Trump administration had rejected California's application for disaster relief funds, which aimed at bolstering state's emergency response to wildfires across the state and support impacted residents in six counties in the state, including Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, San Bernardino, San Diego and Siskiyou counties.

Newsom had asked for the major disaster declaration on September 28.

There was a clash of views between the Trump administration and California on the state's handling of wildfires.

The administration urged California to improve the management of its forests, while Newsom blamed climate change for wildfires.

In its latest update, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said that as of Friday nearly 9,000 firefighters remained on the frontlines of 21 wildfires across the state, 12 of which remain major incidents.

On Thursday, firefighters responded to 29 new wildfires, and despite Red Flag Warning conditions in many areas, all were quickly contained.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 8,500 wildfires that have burned well over 4.1 million acres in California.

To date, the total number of fatalities statewide is 31 and more than 9,200 structures have been destroyed.

 
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