CHENNAI l SATURDAY l SEPTEMBER 19, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 20 l LATE CITY EDITION U.S. TO BAN WECHAT, TIKTOK CITING NATIONAL SECURITY The White House will ban the use of WeChat as well as the downloads of popular video-sharing app TikTok on Sunday TIKTOK GETS TIME TILL NOVEMBER 12 From Sunday, both apps will be removed from app stores in the US. While the Tencent-owned WeChat faces an outright ban starting Sunday, TikTok owner ByteDance has been given time till November 12 to strike a deal with a US company. The deal must grant the US firm a full control over the app’s source code to prevent snooping by Chinese govt, the White House insists 19 million BAN COVERS WECHAT PAYMENT SERVICES ■ The order also requires WeChat to end its payment services in the US, likely affecting millions of private users as well as businesses ■ “The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the US national security,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement DAILY ACTIVE USERS FOR WECHAT IN THE UNITED STATES 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 Army indicts its own in Shopian encounter case Finds prima facie proof of exceeding powers under AFSPA in ops that killed three persons F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar RAY OF HOPE At the crack of dawn, fishermen riding a coracle on Kurichi lake in Coimbatore try their luck to net something big | U RAKESH KUMAR Paytm back after Google axes it from Play Store over ‘gambling’ B I S M A H M A L I K @ New Delhi INDIAN digital payments app Paytm, which was removed from Play Store on Friday mor ning over violation of Google’s sports betting policy, was restored hours later, after Paytm removed a ‘cashback’ f e at u re f ro m a re c e n t ly launched game on the app. Pay t m s a i d G o o g l e ap proached it over the cashback feature on the ‘Paytm Cricket League’ game on the app. The game allows users to get player stickers after each transaction, collect them and receive a cashback, which Google found was in violation of its policies on gambling. “While it is clear that all activities on Paytm are complete- ly lawful, we have temporarily removed the cashback component in an effort to meet the Play Store policy requirements,” Paytm wrote in a blog post, published on Friday . Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma lashed out at Google, accusing the tech giant of singling out Paytm for action, when several other apps offer‘Does giving cashback amounts to gambling?’ Paytm’s CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma on Friday thanked users for their support and wondered how cashback amounts to gambling. “You decide if giving cashback is gambling,” he tweeted Positivity rate less than 10%, says Vijayabaskar TN COVID BATTLE While Chennai reported 989 cases on Friday, Chengalpattu reported 265, Kancheepuram 151 and Tiruvallur 258 Coimbatore (543) had the maximum number of cases next to Chennai E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai Salem and Cuddalore reported 288 and 254 cases respectively FRESH CASES DEATHS TOLL TOTAL CASES 5,488 67 8,685 5,30,908 No contempt proceedings against Suriya, says HC E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai THE Madras High Court on Friday declined to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against actor Suriya for his comments on the Supreme Court’s decision to permit NEET during the pandemic. The first bench led by Chief Justice AP Sahi and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy agreed with the opinion of Advocate-General Vijay Narayan, who declined to give consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Suriya. As per the constitutional rules, the consent of the Advocate-General is necessary to initiate contempt proceedings. The court perused the contents of Suriya’s statement mentioned in the letter of Justice SM Subramanian. “A language which might be perfectly proper if uttered in a temperate ing cashback prizes continue to be hosted on Play Store. For its part, Google said it does not allow apps facilitating sports betting and will remove them from its Play Store. “We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. This includes if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes,” Google said in a statement. However, Paytm First Games, its sports fantasy platform, which has more than 80 million active users, remains suspended. It had recently roped in Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador ahead of the IPL. THE Army on Friday admitted there was prima facie evidence of overreach under the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) by its troops in an alleged fake encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district two months ago that left three persons dead. Those involved in the July 18 operations at Amshipora village of Shopian will soon face disciplinary action under the Army Act. While the slain persons were labeled as unidentified militants at that time, their families had challenged the spin, saying they were actually innocent labourers hailing from Rajouri. Defence spokesman in Srinagar Colonel Rajesh Kalia said a high-level Court of Inquiry that probed the incident also found that the troops had violated the guidelines issued by the Army chief and the Supreme Court on handling encounters. On July 18, the Army and the police claimed to have killed three unidentified militants in a joint operation at Amshipora. The police had said the operation was launched on specific intelligence input shared by the Army’s 62 Rashtriya Rifles, adding arms and ammunition and other incriminating materials were recovered from the site of encounter. The bodies were buried at a graveyard in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. However, in first week of August, three families from the border district of Rajouri said their wards — Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar manner, maybe grossly improper if uttered in a different manner. The background in which the actor’s statement has been taken to be a subject matter of undermining the authority of the court and judges and devotion of the judges towards their duty is their mode of functioning through virtual hearing. But, before a mocking comment is made, it should also be weighed as to whether it is fair criticism or not. This too, at the instance of one who is stated to be a philanthropist and a selfrighteous person dedicated to the cause of the public at large,” the judges observed. In a tweet later, Suriya said he was “deeply moved by the institutional magnanimity of the Indian judiciary He said he al.” ways held the judiciary in the highest esteem and is humbled by the fairness and justice demonstrated by the court. P3 HEALTH Minister C Vijayabaskar, speaking to reporters at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Friday said, “Positivity rate in districts across the State is less than 10 per cent. Earlier, Krishnagiri and Cuddalore had more than 10 per cent rate, and now that has been brought below that.” The minister also inaugurated Covid-19 suspected ward at RGGGH, with 120 beds for people who have symptoms of Covid-19, but tested negative in RT-PCR test. “The Covid-suspected wards has been opened at all Government Medical College Hospitals in the State. This is to reduce the n u m b e r o f d e a t h s, ” s a i d Vijayabaskar. He added that the hospitals Ahmed and Mohammad Ibrar — who were working as labourers in Shopian and living in rented accommodation there, had been missing since July 17. They identified the photos of the slain trio on social media as their wards. The families then registered a missing report with the Rajouri police on August 9. Subsequently , a police team took their DNA samples to match them with those of the slain trio. While the DNA report is await- STEERING PANEL FOR AIADMK UNLIKELY FOR NOW T M U R U G A N A N D H A M @ Chennai ‘Disciplinary action must be transparent’ “The families of the three murdered men had continued to proclaim their innocence. Disciplinary action initiated by the army would suggest the army agrees with the families. The process must remain transparent,” NC president Omar Abdullah said ed, evidence collected by the Court of Inquiry prima facie indicated that the slain persons were indeed Imtiyaz Ahmed, Ibrar Ahmed and Mohammad Ibrar, the defence spokesman said. “Their involvement with militancy or related activities is under police investigation,” he added. Sources said a Summary of Evidence will now be initiated against the erring Armymen after which court martial proceedings would start. The Army and the police had launched separate inquiries into the encounter. THE 11-member steering committee to guide the ruling AIADMK, which was proposed to be constituted when the faction led by O Panneerselvam merged with the one led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami three years ago, is unlikely to materialise for some more time. This was evident from the discussions that lasted for one-and-half hours in the presence of Palaniswami and Panneerselvam at the party headquarters here on Friday Besides, both the leaders . have decided to visit the party headquarters twice a week to meet the functionaries and the cadre to interact with them. After the meeting on Friday, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam announced that the AIADMK’s executive committee meeting has been scheduled here for September 28. It will be chaired by the party’s presidium chairman, E Madhusudanan. According to sources, while Panneerselvam, as party coordinator, insisted on the formation of the steering committee, Palaniswami was not in favour of it pointing out that it would only lead to unnecessary difference of opinion ahead of the Assembly elections as there would be many aspirants for member posts. Sources also said that though there were intense discussions on certain issues, both the leaders insisted on one point — the functionaries and cadre should stand united in preventing the DMK from coming to power. P4 Time for Whistle Podu The beautiful greens of Abu Dhabi cricket stadium is ready to welcome their favourite stars, so are the millions back home. The most watched sporting spectacle of India will begin with CSK taking on Mumbai Indians today had patients coming with breathing difficulty but they tested neg, ative in RT-PCR tests. “These wards will admit such patients and start treatment. Even patients whose test results are awaited, can get treated here,” he said. On availability of beds at government hospitals in case of a surge, the minister said, there were about 1.42 lakh beds available across the State currently, with 40,000 being oxygenated beds. “The government’s aim is to keep 50 per cent oxygenated beds in all hospitals. We also have to wait for one more week to see the trend of cases in the wake of relaxations. People should be careful now, and wear masks when stepping out. Without public cooperation, cases cannot be controlled,” he said. P5 THE NEW NORMAL Players and support staff may sit in the stands to maintain distancing Electronic team sheets instead of physical ones. No handshakes during toss After-match formalities will be without touch to maintain distance Don’t be surprised if you see players fetch balls hit for a six. Recovered ball will be sanitised Saliva can’t be used to shine the ball; players will have own water bottles Umpires won’t collect players’ caps, towels and goggles THE RIVALRY The two of the most successful franchises in the IPL history — Mumbai have won the title four times and Chennai thrice — have fought close encounters numerous times in the past 12 editions. Both the teams boast of star-studded line-ups and start as favourites this edition as well | P15 Fan walls across venues Fans can virtually be present in the stadium as the BCCI has set up four fan walls. Ninety-six fans will get to watch it virtually with their volumes turned down. Virtual tickets are available on bookmyshow.com L I V E O N S TA R S P O R T S 1 / H O T S TA R 7. 3 0 P M Plan to let pvt hosps offer standalone PG courses S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi IN what could open the door to a major shift in the way specialist doctors are trained in India, the country’s top medical education regulator is considering allowing private hospitals to offer standalone postgraduate degrees without having the prerequisite of an MBBS programme. At present, only medical colleges that have been offering the MBBS programme for at least three years are allowed to offer PG (MD and MS) courses, once they fulfill the specified criteria. The Medical Council of India’s (MCI) Board of Governors has recently constituted a fivemember committee, under AIIMS, Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria to examine the proposal and finalise its modalities. “The move is aimed at fulfilling the wide gap between demand and supply of specialist doctors within a few years,” said a senior member of the MCI Board of Governors. Certain private hospitals are allowed to offer twoyear DNB degrees under the National Board of Examination, now considered equivalent to PG, but the training offered through the programme is often viewed as inferior when compared to PG degrees, said sources in MCI. Officials in the medical education regulator said the pro- posal was being taken forward to ensure the issue of shortage of specialists in even states with limited numbers of medical colleges is addressed. “Medical colleges in the country are concentrated largely in southern states and Maharashtra. States with the highest population have the worst doctor-population ratios,” said an MCI official. “This issue won’t be resolved unless we come up with major reforms, like the proposed one,” the official added. P10 PM-CARES Ruckus over Nehru-Gandhi family quip EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi FOR the first time since the unusual Parliament session began, the Lok Sabha witnessed uproarious scenes and was adjourned multiple times on Friday as Congress, Trinamool Congress and BJP members sparred over Union mini s t e r A n u r a g T h a k u r ’s comments on the Nehru-Gandhi family and the state of affairs in West Bengal. Thakur made the remark while defending the PMCARES fund, which the Opposition said lacks transparency . The impasse ended after Thakur expressed anguish over his remarks. The drama began after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020. It replaces an ordinance, extends the deadline for paying taxes and duties in view of the pandemic. It also seeks to provide the same tax treatment to the PMCARES Fund as available to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. The Opposition questioned the need for PMCARES fund, asking why it was not being audited by CAG. CONTINUED ON: P10
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