TIME TIRUCHY FRIDAY DECEMBER 04, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION 15-YEAR-OLD INDIAN AMERICAN NAMED TIME’S ‘KID OF THE YEAR’ Gitanjali Rao is an inventor, author, and a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) promoter USING TECH TO TACKLE EVERYDAY PROBLEMS BAROMETER FOR RISING YOUNG LEADERS The latest issue of Time Magazine features Gitanjali’s interview by actor Angelina Jolie, in which she talks about how she uses technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying. In 2017, Gitanjali, then just 12, had won the top prize in the Young Scientist Challenge for her device that finds lead in drinking water ■ ■ ■ For the past 92 years, TIME has named a Person of the Year In 2019, climate activist Greta Thunberg, then 16 years old, became the first individual under age 25 to receive the title This year, TIME decided to recognise its first ever Kid of the Year, a barometer for the rising leaders of America’s youngest generation 5,000 NOMINEES WERE IN THE RACE FOR TIME MAGAZINE’S ‘KID OF THE YEAR’ TITLE 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 Chennai Cyclone Burevi Ramanathapuram With Burevi miles away, State declares holiday in 6 southern districts In the last 24 hours, ending 8.30 am on Thursday, Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam received 20 cm rainfall, the highest in the State, followed by 16 cm in Karaikal and 15 cm in Thalaignayer in Nagapattinam. Chennai received a total of 17.5 mm rainfall on the day Kanniyakumari SRI LANKA EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai/South Tamil Nadu/T’puram THE granite grey sky spelled ominous portents as the wind preceding cyclone Burevi cut through the coastal resistance, making even towering trees sway to its tunes. The cyclone moved westwards at 9 kmph speed and has weakened into a deep depression. It lay centred close to Ra- manathapuram coast, about 20 km southwest of Pamban and 210 km east-northeast of Kanniyakumari. Meanwhile, the government has declared a public holiday in Kanniyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, and Thoothukudi districts. Flight services have also been suspended till Friday afternoon from Madurai airport ahead of Burevi’s landfall. Now or never, says Rajini; prepares to launch party in Jan T MURUGANANDHAM, S K U M A R E S A N @ Chennai “IF not now, then never.” The tweet sent out at 12.16 pm on Thursday set the social media and political circles in Tamil Nadu on fire. It had come from the official handle of actor Rajinikanth, who had been waiting for the “right time” for over three years now, ever since he announced his decision to enter electoral politics. A for mal announcement would be made on December 31, and the party would be launched in January the actor , said. Soon after the tweets were sent out, Rajinikanth has appointed the former president of BJP State unit’s intellectual wing, Ra Arjunamurthy as the , chief coordinator of his party . Thamizharuvi Manian of Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam, he said, would supervise the works for launching the party . The sudden announcement has surprised several members of the Rajini Makkal Mandram. Even during the November 29 meeting with senior office-bearers of the Mandram, the actor gave no indication about launching the party, a few members who attended the meeting confirmed to Express. In fact, a few office-bearers had even threatened to commit suicide if Rajinikanth fails to launch the party . “Mathuvom — ellaththaiyum maathuvom — ippo illenna eppavumae illai,” he tweeted on Thursday which loosely trans, lates to, “It’s time for change. If not now, then never will it happen.” He also said: “If I succeed (in my political venture) it would be the success of the people, and if I fail, it would be the defeat of the people... With the massive support of people, Tamil Nadu will witness the emergence of spiritual politics, characterised by virtues such as honesty transparency incor, , ruptibility. Politics that is bereft of caste and communal leanings.” Within an hour of sending out the tweets, the actor met the media at his Poes Garden residence. He clarified that he had taken some time to launch the party due to the prevailing Covid situation, and that he would not go back on the promise that he had made to the people of Tamil Nadu — to bring CONTINUED ON: P4 change. EXPRESS READ ED conducts countrywide raids against PFI New Delhi: The ED on Thursday raided 26 locations in nine states linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) including those of its chairman O M Abdul Salam and Kerala state chief Nasarudheen Elamarom Govt raises domestic flights’ cap to 80% New Delhi: The cap on the number of domestic flights Indian airlines can operate has been increased from 70% to 80% of their pre-Covid levels, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday AMONG THE BEST Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday awarding trophy to officers from Suramangalam All Women Police Station, which was ranked second among the top 10 police stations across the country, by Union Home Ministry | P4 If I succeed (in my political venture) it would be the success of the people, and if I fail, it would be the defeat of the people... - Rajinikanth Party’s office bearers are... Former president of BJP State unit’s intellectual wing, Ra Arjunamurthy, appointed as the chief coordinator of Rajini’s party. Thamizharuvi Manian of Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam would supervise the launching works 7-hour marathon talks fail to cut ice with farmers Next meet tomorrow; govt reiterates MSP line; make it legally binding, say agitators EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE TECTONIC SHIFT IN TAMIL NADU POLITICS R AJINIKANTH’S announcement to enter the fray in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections is an event that has the potential to transform Tamil Nadu’s political landscape. He could not have timed the entry better. Different factors make his entry an extraordinary development that can unsettle all parties and their calculations. The absence of towering leaders Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, who dominated Tamil Nadu politics till a few years ago, marked a quality shift of elections from personality clashes into inter-party battles. Rajini’s advent reverses this trend as his personality towers over all others, thus re-introducing the personality factor in politics, with no one matching his stature to counter him. S GURUMURTHY Rajini is not just a mega star. He is seen as a genuine The author is a and clean person who wants to do good to the people of commentator on political and economic affairs Tamil Nadu. Also, he is not interested in power, which is unusual in politics today His exposition on spiritual . politics fits him perfectly to oppose the anti-God and anti-Hindu DMK, of which he is likely to emerge as the principal challenger. The stunning reception that Rajini’s announcement got is a manifestation of the longing of the people of Tamil Nadu for an alternative to both CONTINUED ON: P4 the DMK and the AIADMK. RBI bars HDFC Bank from issuing new credit cards for frequent outages S E S A S E N @ New Delhi TAKING a grim view of frequent outages reported in HDFC Bank’s online services, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed the private lender to stop issuing new credit cards and put all its planned digital launches on hold till further orders. The Mumbai-headquartered bank, India’s largest privatesector lender with a market cap of `8 lakh crore, has also been asked to examine such lapses at the board level and strengthen its IT infrastructure to restore customer faith in digital banking channels. Disclosing the RBI order, dated December 2, to exchanges on Thursday, HDFC Bank clarified that the restrictions are limited to new digital launches and that there won’t be any impact on existing operations, including credit cards and digital banking. “We assure our customers there is no reason to worry. You can continue to transact with the bank without any concer n,” Sashidhar Jagdishan, the newlyappointed MD and CEO of HDFC Bank, said in a letter to customers. ` 1.5 crore credit cards RBI’s move will hurt HDFC Bank as it is the highest issuer of credit cards in India with 1.5 crore cards in force as of September. Digital operations are critical to the bank as 90% of the transactions come from digital channels The trigger for the RBI action was the major disruption on November 21 due to power failure in the primary data centre, the third such instance in the past two years. The bank had faced a similar outage on its mobile app in 2018 and again in December 2019 owing to “increasing payday transactional activities”. An RBI team examined the case and asked the bank to bolster its IT infrastructure to keep pace with the explosive growth in digital banking. Technical glitches aren’t limited to HDFC Bank. Hours after RBI cracked the whip on the Mumbai-headquartered bank, State Bank of India’s YONO app, too, faced a system outage, forcing SBI to issue an advisory to customers to use internet banking instead. P10 Bagless days coming for school students across the country @ New Delhi WHEN children retur n to school after the pandemic-induced long break, they will not only carry a lighter bag but also go without it for one-third of the academic year. For, the Centre recently instructed states to provide for at least 10 “bagless” days for chil- dren in classes 1-12 each month and introduce vocational training for students in classes 6-12, in line with the provisions of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Vocational training could include engagement with local professionals and artisans, such as agriculturists, horticulturists, carpenters and potters. The Union education minis- central and southern districts. Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted: The Centre is committed to extending all possible support to help people of TN, Kerala. Several NDRF teams are already deployed. The tweet followed a telephonic conversation between him and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on measures in place to mitigate it. CRISIS SIMMERS NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE The hammering waves shook the foundation of a police outpost in the abandoned town of Dhanushkodi, bringing back memories of the deadly 1964 cyclone. Disaster response personnel went into an overdrive, whisking away hundreds from the low-lying and coastal areas to safety. Stray incidents of houses caving in, electric poles getting uprooted, and inundation were reported from both TAPAS RANJAN try asked the states to follow the instructions in their letter and spirit. The letter sent to school education secretaries in all the states also said that from first to tenth grade, the weight of the school bag should not exceed 10% of the student’s weight and students in pre-primary classes should not be made to carry bags to schools. It also specified that first and second grade students will have to keep the same notebook for classroom tasks while two notebooks have been fixed for third to fifth grade students. It will be mandatory for every school to install a digital machine to check the weight of the bag, the letter said, adding that school bags should be lightweight and hanging on both shoulders. @ New Delhi / Chandigarh THE fourth round of talks between agitating farmers and the Centre that stretched for about seven hours on Thursday remained inconclusive, but the government expressed willingness to address some of the concerns raised by farmer unions. The next round of talks will be held on Saturday . Both sides agreed that little progress has been made in the talks. Sources said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured the farmers on the minimum support price (MSP), saying it will not be touched. “No changes will be made to it,” sources quoted the minister as saying. “Initially, we felt the deadlock will persist but slowly due to pressure from our side, the government started listening to us and then the talks went on in a conducive atmosphere. In the next meeting, we will put pressure on the government and ask them to take back the laws. It will be finalised in the Saturday’s meeting,” Harjinder Singh Tanda of Azaad Kisan Sangharsh Committee said. However, the farm leaders were firm on their demand that the three new farm laws be repealed. During the meeting, the farmers gave a presentation about their concerns following which deliberations were held on each point. “The government is considering giving written assurance on the MSP ,” the sources said. “In the meeting we put forward 35 objections before the government and urged the government to make a law that guarantees MSP. The government indicated some amendments could be made but we were firm nothing less than the withdrawal of the three laws is acceptable,” said Bhartiya Kisan Union’s Punjab (Rajewal Group) president Balbir Singh Rajewal and Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union president Gurnam Singh Chaduni. Discussions revolved around some key points in the three new farm laws. They include grievance redressal mechanism, putting an end to the Agricultural Produce Market Committee and trade mechanism outside the mandis. “Discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere. The government has no ego. Farmers are concerned that the new laws will end APMCs and trade outside the mandis,” Tomar said after the meeting. Meanwhile, former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and former Union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa returned their Padma awards in protest against the farm laws. CONTINUED ON: P7 Farmers delegation coming out after a meeting with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday | SHEKHAR YADAV CONSENSUAL INTERFAITH MARRIAGE STOPPED IN U.P. N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow A sticking problem in the new law in Uttar Pradesh on interfaith marriages came to the fore on Wednesday as one such ceremony in the outskirts of Lucknow was stopped by the police though the wedding was consensual — not just of the couple but their families too. Raina Gupta, 22, was to wed Mohammad Asif, 24. While Raina is a Chemistry postgraduate, Asif is a diploma holder in pharmacy. The wedding was being solemnised with the consent of both the families, additional deputy commissioner of police, South Zone, Suresh Chandra Rawat, agreed. While the new law mandates applying for per mission a month in advance, the couple didn’t. The local Hindu Mahasabha unit raked up the issue, but the police decided against booking them as the couple agreed to comply with the law, Rawat said. It is a case of following the law in letter but not in its spirit.
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