VILLUPURAM SUNDAY AUGUST 02, 2020 `8.00 PAGES 24 CITY EDITION TRUMP SET TO BAN TIKTOK’S U.S. OPS OVER SECURITY FEARS OFFICIALS HIGHLIGHT PRIVACY THREAT US President Donald Trump said he’ll sign an executive order banning the app on national security grounds on Saturday ■ 80 mn MICROSOFT KEEN ON TIKTOK: REPORTS “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the US,” Trump said. As the popularity of TikTok—a video-sharing app—surged in the US, concerns over its Chinese ownership mounted. Top US officials say the app could leak users’ data to the Chinese govt. But, critics say opposition to it (like Huawei) has more to do with protectionism and fear of China’s growing edge in tech ■ Trump’s comments came a day after he hinted that he may order TikTok to be divested from its Chinese parent firm ByteDance Meanwhile, there were also reports that US tech giant Microsoft is in talks to acquire the app’s US business. If the deal comes through, TikTok will likely be able to continue its US operations NUMBER OF DAILY ACTIVE TIKTOK USERS IN THE U.S. CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI 1,00,877 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai TN BATTLE FRESH CASES DEATHS 5,879 99 2,51,738 STATEWIDE TALLY Chennai’s caseload has come down by half Fresh cases 1,074 Deaths 27 Toll 2,140 85.5% 75% is Chennai city's recovery rate is the recovery rate of the State THE State recorded a whopping 99 fresh deaths on Saturday, the highest single-day figure yet, taking the toll up to 4,034. Fresh cases, however, seemed to have stabilised well below the 6,000-mark, with 5,879 people testing positive. Maximum number of deaths were reported from Chennai (27), followed by Madurai and Coimbatore (10 each). Chennai crossed yet another grim milestone by recording over 1 lakh total cases, though the curve seems to be flattening. The city recorded only 1,074 fresh cases on Saturday. According to officials, the number of cases reported in the city has significantly come down. Chennai, which saw around 2,400 cases a day in the first week of July, reported less than 50 per cent of it in August. Though Chennai’s caseload contributed only to a RAJASTHAN DRAMA Pilot says still part of Cong, Gehlot shows olive branch RICHA SHARMA AND R A J E S H A S N A N I @ New Delhi/Jaipur IN his first official communication with the party in over a fortnight, rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot has written to Mahesh Joshi, the party chief whip in Rajasthan assembly re, iterating that he continues to be part of the Congress and explaining the reasons for him and 18 other MLAs skipping two legislature party meetings in Jaipur. In tur n, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot softened his stand, saying he was ready to embrace the rebels if they apologise to the Congress high command and it forgives them. “It depends on the party high command. If the party high command forgives, I shall embrace them,” he said. Gehlot instead took aims at the BJP. “We have no personal quarrel with anyone. In a democracy, fights happen over ideology, policies and programmes and not for toppling a government….Modi should get the drama which is going on in Rajasthan ended,” he said in Jaisalmer. According to Congress sources, Pilot sent an e-mail sent to Joshi, “which says he could not attend the meeting of MLAs as he was seeking legal remedy for false accusations against him and his colleagues for toppling the Rajasthan government. Moreover, FIRs have Vaccine scramble looms large with 40 cr Indians in line for the 1st shot CHENNAI AT A NEW PEAK fifth of the day’s tally, the combined contribution of its neighbours went higher than the city’s figure. The districts of Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Vellore, which is close to the city, together contributed 1,184 cases on Saturday. A substantial number of cases was also reported from Theni (327), Tiruvannamalai (242) and Virudhunagar (286). On a positive note, Virudhunagar, which once reported over 400 cases a day, has seen a significant reduction in the number of cases. With 60,580 tests done on Saturday, the total number of people tested across the State touched 26,18,512. This put the State’s positivity rate at 9.6 per cent. Meanwhile, the government temporarily revoked the Covid-19 treatment licence of Bewell private hospital in Kilpauk for charging a patient ` 1 2 . 2 l a k h fo r a 1 9 - d ay treatment. been registered against them and legal notices were served”. The Congress, however, is moving cautiously as it feels Pilot’s move is aimed at strengthening his case legally . “It is a well-prepared legal document to prove that it is a kind of dissent in the party for , he and his colleagues wanted a leadership change and not to be seen as a defection,” said a source. Despite the unease over Pilot’s move, experts feel the sudden change in the tone of Gehlot — who had earlier called his former deputy “traitor” and “nikamma” (useless) — indicates that the number game in the assembly is too tight for the CM’s comfort. As such, he seems eager to win back as many MLAs from the Pilot camp as possible before the assembly session begins on August 14. S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi IF vulnerable groups in India are to be the first beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine, as enunciated by the government, a whopping 40 crore people, or 30% of India’s total population, will need the vaccine, prompting fears of a scramble, at least in the beginning. The sheer scale of the numbers, coupled with the fact that the government appears to be slow in putting together a vaccination distribution plan, is worrying experts and planners alike. On June 30, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that PM Narendra Modi had outlined four guiding principles that would form the foundation of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. HIGH-RISK GROUP 22 lakh 12 crore Healthcare workers People above 60 years Hypertension, diabetes, cancer patients: 35 crore Police, paramilitary personnel: 15 lakh Prioritisation plan Experts say there should be a prioritisation plan in place with mapping of vulnerable people done at the earliest These principles included identification and prioritisation of vulnerable groups such as healthcare workers, nonmedical frontline corona warriors and vulnerable people among the general population and availability of vaccines without conditions such as domicile. It also said the vaccine must be affordable and universal, in other words, no person should be left behind, and the entire process from production to vaccination should be monitored and supported in real time with the use of technology . A query sent to the department of biotechnology secretary Renu Swarup and newlyappointed health secretary Rajesh Bhushan on the vaccination distribution plan remained unanswered but Bhushan, on being asked a related question at a press conference a few days back, had said the vaccine distribution policy was “under deliberation.” But several government scientists told this newspaper that EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre has expanded the ambit of the `3 lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) to include bigger MSMEs as well as professionals such as doctors and chartered accountants who need loans for business purposes. “After consultations with stakeholders, it has been decided to include individual loans for business purposes within the ambit of ECLGS,” Bhajan sandhya sthal Satsang Bhawan Yatri Bhawan Ram katha park Queen memorial park Ramayan circuit Lakshman Qila ghat renovation Guptar ghat renovation Ram ki paudi remodeling Press Club International Ram Leela centre Theme park, auditorium Ayodhya railway station makeover PROJECTS TO BE INAUGURATED BY PM (Figures in ` crore) 134.67 10.22 Rajarshi Dashrath State Medical College Lakshman Quila Ghat renovation under Ramayan circuit project 7.40 6.87 2.37 New bus station Police barrack Plastic surgery & burn unit at district hospital said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Debashish Panda, Secretary Department of Financial , Services said individuals can avail the scheme if they have already taken loans from banks for business purposes. Also, to allow more firms to benefit from the scheme, the eligibility criteria has been relaxed with the upper ceiling of loans outstanding being doubled from `25 crore to `50 crore. The government also increased the annual turnover ceiling of companies that can avail loans to `250 crore from `100 crore at present. Besides, the maximum amount that can be availed under the s ch e m e h a s b e e n hiked to `10 crore from `5 crore. The relaxation is expected to help more businesses to sail through the financial crisis on account of the pandemic. Under ECLGS, 100% guar- antee coverage will be provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company for additional funding of up to `3 lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency borrowers in the form of a guaranteed emergency credit line facility . ECLGS was announced as a part of the government’s `20 lakh crore Aatmnirbhar Bharat Package to help small businesses tide over the economic crisis trigerred by teh coronavirus pandemic. With temple construction, Ayodhya gearing up for a grand makeover N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow THE construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya is expected to kick off a makeover of the temple town. From an elevated road and a theme park to a Ramayan circuit and a Ram katha park, the town will get an all-new look. Despite the temple movement, Ayodhya has remained backward across economic parameters of development. T h e n e a re s t a i r p o r t i n Faizabad was upgraded only in 2014, it has no big industry and no gainful employment, though the literacy rate at 78.15% is higher than Uttar Pradesh’s average of 67.68%. Ayodhya’s largely agrarian support is slackening as productivity has gone down. The good news is the temple town is set to turn the corner. Preparations for the ground-breaking ceremony for the temple construction in Ayodhya on Saturday | PTI The impending temple construction, to be rolled out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 5, promises to unleash dozens of development schemes for which the blueprint is ready. The foundation for many schemes will be laid the same day In all, the . PM will launch and lay the foundation of development projects worth `487.91 crore in the temple town. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is credited with kicking off much of the work since 2017 when the BJP government took over: Faizabad district was named as Ayodhya and the town was upgraded as a municipal corporation for improving civic standards. The CM has paid at least two dozen visits to Ayodhya since assuming charge. These resulted in Diwali being celebrated on a grand scale as Deepotsav. The government created a Guinness world record last year by illuminating the town with half a million diyas on the banks of Saryu. Besides, infrastructure projects worth `350 crore are nearing completion by this year-end. They were delayed due to the coronavirus panCONTINUED ON: P8 demic. HIT HARD Lockdown takes the fun out of Jallikattu: Prized bulls sold for meat? P T H I R U S E LV A M @ Ariyalur IN 2017, the entire State came forward to keep the traditional sport of Jallikattu alive. It was important to preserve the native and indigenous varieties, argued activists. Three years down the line, hit by the pandemic-induced lockdown, several farmers in the delta districts are selling their prized jallikattu bulls, at times even for meat, as they are unable to maintain these animals. Sources say that in Ariyalur alone, 500 bulls were sold for meat in the last few days. “It costs us `2,000 to `4,000 every month to maintain a bull,” says Murali (name changed), a farmer from Elanthaikudam. “There are additional expenses incurred in the months leading up to the event. Thanks to Covid, it’s unlikely that Jallikattu will be held the pace of discussion and planning for vaccine distribution has been “rather slack” so far. “I would say that by now we should have had the blueprint ready for who will get the vaccination first under different scenarios—when varying amounts of vaccines are available—but that has not happened yet and that’s worrying,” said a senior virologist. Another virologist attached with the department of biotechnology said the “vulnerable section of the society” that are expected to get the medicine first could be nearly 30% of India’s total population. “Most likely we will not have doses available for nearly 40 crore people in the beginning. Also, who will be vaccinated first and who will pay for it? I see these details missing,” he said. CONTINUED ON: P7 Emergency credit line extended to professionals ONGOING PROJECTS Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot addresses media outside Suryagarh Hotel in Jaisalmer on Saturday | PTI Senior virologists say Centre lags in putting together a comprehensive vaccine distribution plan next year. So I sold my two bulls through agents.” Another rearer from Thirumalapadi, says: “After taking care of it for seven years, I sold my bull as I could no longer afford it.” From 60 events to 10 “In Ariyalur, Jallikattu events usually continue well till July ,” says Murali. “It took a big hit this year. We normally have around 60 events in a year, but A bull from Thirumalapadi in Ariyalur district sold for meat | EXPRESS this time a mere 10-15 were held. Without events, our bulls stay idle in the barn.” Those rearing cattle say the decline has been steady since 2017, primarily because of the restrictions imposed by the government while allowing the sport. “The number of events being organised across the districts kept coming down every year. It made no sense to rear bulls, spending so much mon- ey while the number of events , have come down drastically,” adds Murali. “The final death knell came this year in the form of lockdown. Because, not a single event was held since March.” However, Ariyalur Jallikattu Peravai Leader AVM Lourdusamy says, “I have traditionally been rearing bulls and we will not sell our animals under any circumstance or for any reason.” AMARSINGAPORE SINGH DIES IN HOSPITAL AT THE AGE OF 64 The Rajya Sabha MP had gone to a hospital in Singapore in March for surgery in a kidney-related illness. He had undergone a kidney transplant in 2011 | P8 Doctor loses `2.9 crore to ‘mask sellers’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Madurai CONMEN are as virulent as the virus itself during the pandemic — this is a lesson a doctor from Vadipatti learnt after falling prey to frauds not once but twice within a couple of months. Scam operators pretending to be representatives of overseas mask manufacturers, cheated the owner of a private hospital of `2.1 crore over two months starting May The inci. dent came to light the 44-yearold doctor approached the District Crime Branch (DCB) with a complaint, sources said. A Hyderbad-based middleman going by the name, Uday Shankar Parupalli, approached the doctor on May 22 and offered him help to purchase N95 mask in bulk from a Kyrgyzstan-based company at reduced price. Lured by the offer, the doctor placed an order for 2 lakh masks with the company online. Later, a man named Surya Narayanan, who claimed to be the commercial director of the company, contacted the doctor and confirmed the order. As instructed, the doctor paid `90 lakh, a part of the total amount, in several transacP4 tions until July 3. WITH THIS ISSUE INDIA’S SHADOW WARRIORS PLUS 12 PAGES
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