KOTTAYAM l SUNDAY l AUGUST 02, 2020 l `8.00 l PAGES 24 l 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 ■ 1 billion 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 PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD USE TIKTOK 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 40 cr Indians in line for 1st shot of vaccine Fears of scramble loom; virologists say Centre lags in devising a comprehensive vaccine distribution plan KERALA CASE DIARY supported in real time with the use of technology A query sent to the depart. IF vulnerable groups in India are to be ment of biotechnology secretary Renu the first beneficiaries of the Covid-19 Swarup and newly-appointed health vaccine, as enunciated by the govern- secretary Rajesh Bhushan on the vacment, a whopping 40 crore people, or cination distribution plan remained 30% of India’s total population, will unanswered but Bhushan, on being need the vaccine, prompting fears of a asked a related question at a press conference a few days back, had said the scramble, at least in the beginning. vaccine distribution policy The sheer scale of the numbers, coupled with the HIGH-RISK GROUP was “under deliberation.” But several government fact that the government scientists told this newspaappears to be slow in putting together a vaccination per that the pace of discussion and planning for vacdistribution plan, is worryHealthcare workers ing experts and planners cine distribution has been alike. On June 30, a state“rather slack” so far. “I ment from the Prime Minwould say that by now we ister’s Office said that PM should have had the bluePeople above 60 yrs print ready for who will get Narendra Modi had outHypertension, lined four guiding princithe vaccination first under diabetes, cancer ples that would form the different scenarios—when patients: 35 crore foundation of the Covid-19 varying amounts of vaccines are available—but vaccination programme. Police, paramilitary that has not happened yet,” These principles includpersonnel: 15 lakh ed identification and priorsaid a senior virologist. itisation of vulnerable Another virologist atgroups such as healthcare workers, tached with the department of biotechnon-medical frontline corona warriors nology said the “vulnerable section of and vulnerable people among the gen- the society” that are expected to get the eral population and availability of vac- medicine first could be nearly 30% of cines without conditions such as India’s total population. domicile. “Most likely we will not have doses It also said the vaccine must be af- available for nearly 40 crore people in fordable and universal, in other words, the beginning. Also, who will be vacno person should be left behind, and cinated first and who will pay for it? I the entire process from production to see these details missing,” he said. CONTINUED ON: P7 vaccination should be monitored and S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi 22 lakh 12 crore 1,129 880 new cases reported on Saturday of the patients infected through local transmission T’Puram accounts for 29.16% of active cases 8I DEATHS Two deaths reported on Saturday — police officer Ajithan and socialist leader Allungal Devasi — were not included in the official toll 752 recovered from the disease 24 health workers test positive DGP Loknath Behera orders not to deploy policemen aged above 50 for Covid19 field duty in the wake of rising cases among police personnel 39 labourers, who were among those brought from other states for construction work at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology in T’Puram, have tested positive EXPRESS READ Emergency credit line extended to professionals New Delhi: The Centre has expanded the ambit of the I3 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,” said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. HIGH GLITTER A saleswoman displays a gold necklace to a customer at a jewellery showroom in T’Puram on Saturday. Despite gold prices touching C40K per sovereign, stores have been witnessing a rush | VINCENT PULICKAL Pilot says still part of Congress, Gehlot shows olive branch RICHA SHARMA AND RAJESH ASNANI @ 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, reiterating 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 turn, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot softened his stand, saying he was AMARSINGAPORE SINGH DIES IN 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. HOSP 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 WITH THIS ISSUE INDIA’S SHADOW WARRIORS PLUS 12 PAGES ESCAPE ROUTE Wary of flood, people stock up on boats V I S H N U P R A S A D K P @Malappuram WITH flooding of low-lying areas becoming more regular in Kerala, the trend of purchasing boats and canoes for individual use is catching on. People in Vazhakkad panchayat — most areas of which are located along the banks of river Chaliyar — in Malappuram district seem to have adopted the precautionary measure rather earnestly According to the lo. cal body members, individuals and organisations in the area have purchased more than 30 boats or canoes in anticipation of floods in August. Abdul Salam with his lifeboat Abdul Salam, a Vazhakkad resident, bought a lifeboat worth R45,000 after having suffered enough during the past two seasons. “The lifeboat I purchased is of a high quality as it was used in a ship. Six people in my family can easily escape from the area if water enters our house,” Salam told TNIE. He has also designed a motor to run the lifeboat using a grass-cutting machine. “I replaced the blade at one end of the machine with a small fan to convert it into a motor. I spent an additional R12,000 to purchase the grasscutting machine,” he said. Salam expects flood this year too as the weather experts have forecast heavy rain from Monday ● More on P4 . TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION Ayodhya gearing up Govt lets hospitals for a grand makeover charge own rates, sparks concerns D I L E E P V K U M A R @ T’Puram WITH the Covid-19 cases increasing manifold, the state government has brought in the private healthcare sector to manage the caseload. However, the government’s stance to allow private hospitals to charge their own rates for Covid treatment has triggered concerns of a possible fleecing of patients. It’s being pointed out that the move will do more harm than good. Amid the concerns, there has been a demand to either set up a monitoring mechanism to keep a tab on treatment expenses at private hospitals or to come out with a prescribed fee structure for treating Covid patients in the private sector. The government, in a public notice, recently stated that “if the non-Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi (KASP) patients desire to go to private hospitals, they may do so by contacting the respective hospitals and bear the expenses as per the rates of the hospitals.” Earlier, the government had announced the rates that could be charged by private hospitals for admitting and treating positive cases. But it has been made applicable only to beneficiaries of KASP and those referred by the government to other private healthcare institu● More on P4 tions. 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. The nearest airport in 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. 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 ONGOING PROJECTS l Bhajan sandhya sthal l Satsang Bhawan l Yatri Bhawan l Ram katha park l Queen memorial park l Ramayan circuit lLakshman Qila ghat renovation l Guptar ghat renovation l Ram ki paudi remodeling l Press Club l International Ram Leela centre l Theme park, auditorium l Ayodhya railway station makeover 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 gover nment created a Guinness world record last year by illuminating town with half a million diyas on the banks of Saryu. Infrastructure projects worth `350 crore are nearing completion by this CONTINUED ON: P8 year-end.
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