kollam l Wednesday l October 21, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION ANTITRUST SUIT AGAINST GOOGLE FOR STIFLING COMPETITION The US Justice Dept filed a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging Google has been abusing its dominance in online search to stifle competition Regulators want to break up tech giants Apple, amazon, fb could be targeted According to reports, US regulators are keen to break up tech giants to end their monopoly. And Google is their first target. The case is expected to be filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. The suit alleges Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisers to pay phone makers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers | P9 Most of Google’s services are offered for free in exchange for personal information that helps it sell its ads ■ Google insists it holds no special power forcing people to use its free services or preventing them from going elsewhere ■ Apple, Amazon and Facebook are also on US regulators’ radar ■ 90% of global web searches is controlled by google 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 Punjab passes own farm bills, rejects Central laws H a rpree t B a j w a @ Chandigarh PUNJAB on Tuesday became the first state in India to formally reject the Centre’s contentious farm laws, with the state Assembly unanimously passing a resolution and three bills against the Central laws. The three bills are: the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill; and the Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill. The first bill says no sale of paddy and wheat in the state will be valid unless it is paid equal to or above the minimum support price (MSP). The proposed law also calls for a three-year jail term and a fine in case anybody compels a farmer to sell his agricultural produce below MSP . Interview ‘In-house probe into Jagan’s charges needed’ Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy’s allegations against Supreme Court judge N V Ramana has shaken the people’s faith in the judiciary. An in-house inquiry must be ordered to look into the charges Justice A P Shah Delhi High Court chief justice (retd) Q&A: p7 express read Sivasankar feigned illness: Customs Kochi: Opposing M Sivasankar’s anticipatory bail plea, Customs on Tuesday told the High Court that the former principal secretary to CM pretended illness and got himself admitted to the hospital where his wife works to avoid interrogation. Keep out officer, create new team: HC on Palathayi probe Palathayi case trial March 15: Case registered March 18: Thalassery Gen Hosp prepares the victim’s medical examination report April 14: The suspect, a teacher of girl’s school, arrested April 24: Police chief directs CB to take over the probe July 14: CB submits final report before the Pocso Court July 17: Suspect granted bail E xpress N ews S ervice @Kochi The Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the state police chief to appoint a new officer, not below the rank of an Inspector General of Police, to monitor further investigation into the Palathayi child abuse case, replacing IG S Sreejith who is currently supervising the case. The court ordered the DGP to reconstitute the special investigation team (SIT) excluding the Senior state prosecutor Suman Chakravarthy submitted before the court that if the mother of the survivor feels that the presence of IG Sreejith is not necessary for the probe, the state has no objection. The state will only protect the interest of the survivor and her family, the prosecutor said. The court recorded the submission. Expressing distrust in the investigation, the mother, in her petition, said that her minor daughter will not get justice from the current investigation team led by IG Sreejith. Though six months have passed since the team launched the probe, there is no headway in the case. The delay in completing the investigation was deliberate and aimed at providing undue advantage to the accused, she said, adding that it goes against the Pocso Act which provides for expeditious investigation ● More on P4 and trial. Urges people not to let their guard down in festive season, says work on developing vaccines is going on at brisk pace EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Plasma therapy to be scrapped Beating retreat For those who were forced to be cooped up in houses during lockdown, the reopening of tourist places came as good news. But many remain confused about the places that allow visitors and those that don’t. A group of tourists return from Janakikkad Eco Tourism Centre at Maruthonkara near Kozhikode on Tuesday after they were refused entry | T P Sooraj Centre, state playing blame game on Covid-19, says Rahul Gandhi E xpress N ews S ervice @Kozhikode Former Congress national president and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi has said both the Central and state governments are playing the blame game on Covid management when the cases are spreading rapidly . Speaking with reporters at Kalpetta in Wayanad on Tuesday, he urged the governments to focus on defeating Covid. After attending a Covid review meeting in the district, he expressed satisfaction over the surveillance measures taken in Wayanad. The Congress leader alleged that probe agencies are being used to score political goals. “The national agencies are for bringing justice to the people but the Centre is using them for political vendetta. I was Kerala Covid case diary 6,591 cases reported on Tuesday Rahul Gandhi, MP, attending the DISHA meeting at the Wayanad collectorate in Kalpetta on Tuesday also a victim of this,” he said. Reacting to the sensational gold smuggling case in Kerala, Gandhi said let the national investigating agencies continue the probe and unearth the truth. Asked about Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan’s criticism that easing of restrictions during Onam celebrations had resulted in the surge in Covid numbers in Ker- 3,53,472 confirmed cases 53,901 samples tested on Tuesday 91,922 active cases 1,206 deaths 2,60,243 recovered so far and the failure to make such arrangements would cause undue hardships to the pilgrims. A Division Bench comprising Justice C T Ravikumar and Justice K Haripal issued the order after examining the the reports of Sabarimala Special Commissioner and the government regarding the arrangements being made for the coming pilgrimage season. The Bench observed that Travancore Devaswom Board should realise that it is the only body which can weigh the pain and passion of the devotees for the purpose of bringing all relevant aspects before the gov- ala, Rahul said the minister’s comment was unfortunate. He came down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of make the agrarian culture in the country collapse for helping a few of his billionaire corporate friends. “The tragedy is that the anti-farmer laws have been enacted when the country is fighting Covid. A national-level initiative should be launched to save the farmers. Our 12,000 square kilometre of land has been encroached by China but the PM does not admit it,” he said. Gandhi also disapproved Congress leader Kamal Nath’s reported sexist remarks against a minister in Madhya Pradesh. On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi also participated in the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee meeting. Actor Prithiviraj Sukumaran on Tuesday tested positive for Covid-19. The actor was shooting for Queen director Dijo Jose Antony’s new movie Jana Gana Mana in Kochi. Covid patient’s death HC: Covid protocol ‘yes’, but don’t hamper Sabarimala pilgrimage The Kerala High Court on Tuesday observed that the Covid-19 safety protocol should not hamper a smooth Sabarimala pilgrimage. The endeavour should be to avert inconveniences and difficulties and not for creating them, it said. If the facilities presently available at Nilakkal, which is the base camp, are not sufficient to accommodate the devotees who want to stay back for some hours before proceeding to Sabarimala or on their way back home after darshan, such facilities should be provided, proper investigation. The case pertains to the sexual abuse of a Class IV student at Palathayi in Kannur district. A male teacher of her school was arrested in the case. In a three-part series from September 11-13, TNIE had exposed the lapses in the investigation, including the attempts to sideline the medical examination report, which clearly indicated sexual abuse. Don’t be lax as virus is still on the prowl: PM Court directives E xpress N ews S ervice @Kochi present members within two weeks. The team led by Sreejith had come in for severe criticism for the manner of investigation, especially after the accused was released on bail by the court. Justice P V Kunhikrishnan issued the order while disposing of a petition filed by the mother of the survivor, seeking to reconstitute the SIT by appointing a new officer to conduct a ernment. In matters not connected with Covid-19 protocol and security, the board should have its own decisions. The court directed the TDB to take appropriate steps to ensure supply of Annadanam to the pilgrims. The court also ordered the government to take a relook at its decision to give Annadanam “in a limited quantity”. It said that pilgrims from far-away places who reach Sabarimala, should be given food to satisfy their appetite. The concept of giving Annadanam “in a limited quantity” is alien to the concept itself, especially in Sabarimala. ● More on P5 Ventilator tubes not connected properly, says MCH doctor E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @Kochi A day after a nursing officer with the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) in Ernakulam was suspended for having posted a voice clip alleging negligence by the hospital authorities in the death of Covid-19 patient C K Harris, an MCH doctor has come out with a startling revelation. Implying that the suspended nursing officer, Jalaja Devi, was telling the truth, Dr Najma Salim said the ventilator tubes were not connected properly to the patient. “Though the patient had a facemask on, the ventilator was not connected properly While the duty doctor informed . seniors, they asked the doctor not to make an issue of it. I too have faced simi● More on P4 lar instances,” she alleged. Plasma therapy, may soon be discontinued as a treatment for Covid-19, the Centre said on Tuesday. The decision was taken after finding the therapy doesn’t help patients | P7 Work on developing vaccines is going on at a brisk pace and preparations are being made to make them available to all soon Narendra Modi, PM Taking a grim view of widespread flouting of Covid-19 protocols such as wearing masks and following social distancing norms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday cautioned people not to lower their guard against the virus till vaccines are available in the country . “Work on developing vaccines is going on at a brisk pace and all preparations are being made to make them available to everybody in the country in shortest possible time,” he said. Modi said he has come across videos and photographs showing people flouting Covid-19 protocols. He called for responsible behavrour, saying the lockdown has been lifted but the virus is still in the air. Citing the examples of European countries and the US, the PM highlighted how coronavirus cases have gone up there after a phase of recovery, as a direct fallout of lifting restrictions and resumption of economic activities. The second wave of Covid-19 has forced some European countries to re-impose restrictions. France, for instance, has imposed night curfew in nine cities while limiting gathering to a maximum of 10 persons at a time. Spain has clamped a state of emergency for 15 days in Madrid. Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Italy have all taken restrictive measures to combat the surge in cases. Modi’s address has come at a time when a large part of the country is celebrating festivals while Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are in poll mode. Last week, an experts panel had predicted, using a mathematical model, that India is past its peak in Covid-19 cases. Quoting statistics, the PM also said that India has done well in combating the pandemic as the country reported only 5,500 cases per million in contrast to over 25,000 per million in the US, Brazil and other countries. Besides, India reported only 83 per million fatalities.
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