The New Indian Express Wishes its readers a CHENNAI l SATURDAY l AUGUST 15, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 18 l LATE CITY EDITION U.S. TO RESUME STUDENT VISA PROCESSING IN FIVE METROS US Consulates in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad will start processing visa requests from Monday PRIORITY ON CLEARING BACKLOG PROCESSING COULD BE DELAYED The processing will be on a limited basis. A statement by the US Embassy in New Delhi said, priority will be given to emergency student and exchange visitor appointments received before August 12. Public appointments will be offered thereafter. “Prospective students should seek an appointment no more than three weeks before their classes start,” it said ■ ■ ■ “We will try to handle requests based on when we receive them and when classes will start,” the statement said However, due to limited appointment availability, all requests may not be processed in time for the start of the fall semester Processing of others visas remain suspended due to Covid-19 25% DROP EXPECTED IN FOREIGN STUDENT ENROLLMENT AT U.S. UNIVS THIS YEAR 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 Bhushan guilty of contempt: SC Activist-lawyer faces up to six months in jail; quantum of sentence on August 20 K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Friday held activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for tweeting against the judiciary The . quantum of sentence will be decided on August 20. Bhushan faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail with fine. “The attack on the Supreme Court does not only have the effect of tending an ordinary litigant of losing the confidence in the SC but also may tend to lose the confidence in the mind of other judges in the country in its highest court,” a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said. The court discharged Twitter from contempt for publishing Bhushan’s tweets, saying it accepts the microblogging website’s explanation that it is only an intermediary . Bhushan had posted two tweets, which the court found contemptuous. The first one, posted on June 27, criticised the functioning of the Supreme Court while the second tweet posted two days later portrayed CJI S A Bobde in poor light. Both tweets were taken down by Twitter after the SC issued contempt notice. “Bhushan’s tweets are based on the distorted facts, amount to committing of criminal contempt. T he tweets are not fair criticism of functioning of judiciary made in public interest. The scurrilous allegations, which are malicious in nature and have the tendency to scandalise the court, are not expected from a person, who is a lawyer of 30 years standing,” said the bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari. In his defence, Bhushan argued he was only exercising his freedom of speech and that giving his opinion about the functioning of the apex court does not amount to conP8, 9 tempt of court. Gehlot govt wins vote of confidence R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur WITH the return of 19 dissident MLAs led by Sachin Pilot to the Congress party’s fold, the Ashok Gehlot government sailed through a vote of confidence in Rajasthan Assembly on Friday The trust motion was decided through a voice vote where the Congress sailed through comfortably. The Assembly was then adjourned till August 21. For Gehlot, proving his majority was critical as it would ensure the stability of his government for at least the next six months. Gehlot was unusually aggressive during the debate, attacking not only the Centre but also the Rajasthan governor. Curiously Pilot was relegated to , one of the back rows, near to the Opposition benches. Earlier, as deputy CM, he was seated next to Chief Minister Gehlot. RBI TO PAY `57,128 CR DIVIDEND TO CENTRE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Reserve Bank of India on Friday approved a dividend payout of `57,128 crore to the government for 2019-20. Last year, RBI had made a record payment of `1.76 lakh crore. While the latest payment is in line with Budget estimates, it may not be of great help as the gover nment’s fiscal deficit (difference between income and expenses) widened to `6.6 lakh crore by the June quarter. With the economy reeling under the impact of coronavirus pandemic and tax collections falling way short of target, the government’s finances are in shambles, sources said. “Along with the economy, tax revenues too have shrunk. While income from GST halved in the April-June quarter compared to the same period last year, income tax collections fell by 36% and taxes on corporates came in 23% short,” said an official. The decision to transfer money to the government was taken at RBI’s board meeting on Friday held through , video-conferencing. The board also decided to maintain the central bank’s contingency risk buffer (risk provisioning) at 5.5%. Sources said aggressive plans to sell stake in government-run companies and financial institutions as well as larger borrowing were on the cards to bridge the deficit. EXPRESS READ Pinarayi, seven Kerala ministers in quarantine After a week, Chennai reports over 1,000 cases SPB critical; moved to ICU, put on life support Tiruvananthapuram: Kerala chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seven ministers and the DGP went into quarantine on Friday. They had visited the aircrash site at Karipur last week, where they came in contact with two officials who tested positive for Covid-19 | P7 Chennai: Tamil Nadu recorded 5,890 fresh cases and 117 deaths on Friday, taking the tally to 3,26,245 and toll to 5,514. After recording less than 1,000 cases for a week, Chennai reported 1,187 cases, Chengalpattu recorded 437, Kancheepuram 315 and Tiruvallur 495. Meanwhile, Governor Banwarilal Purohit recovered from Covid-19 and tested negative | P3 Chennai: Singer SP Balasubrahmanyam’s condition turned critical on Friday. A health bulletin from MGM Healthcare said that late on Thursday, his condition deteriorated. He has been moved to ICU, put on life support and is being closely monitored | P3 Instant e-pass for all in TN from August 17 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai AMID demands from the Opposition parties to do away with the e-pass system, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday announced that e-passes will be issued instantly to all those who apply for it for inter-district travel from August 17. People have to apply with details of either Aadhaar card or ration card. The government has also clarified that the e-pass system will continue for those who arrive from foreign countries or from other States. “This decision has been taken in the interest of the public. People are being advised to apply for e-pass only for inevitable work and are being told to avoid unnecessary P3 travel,” Palaniswami said in a statement.
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