WARANGAL MONDAY DECEMBER 28, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 28 CITY EDITION ANT TOLD TO RETURN TO ITS ROOTS IN PAYMENTS SERVICES People’s Bank of China stops short of asking for a breakup of Jack Ma’s ﬁrm, but stresses necessity of a business overhaul WEIGHING OPTIONS TO PROTECT ECONOMY The central bank told Ant to ‘rectify’ its suite of services, which have expanded from a PayPal-like operation to offer consumer loans, insurance and wealth management. The regulators are weighing the options of carving up Ant’s different lines of operation, or splitting its online and P9 offline services to contain the risks it poses to the Chinese economy ■ $35 bn SLAMMED FOR MONOPOLISTIC TENDENCIES ■ Authorities blasted Ant for sub-par corporate governance, disdain toward regulatory requirements, and engaging in regulatory arbitrage. They castigated Ant for monopolistic tendencies too The empires built by Jack Ma, Tencent Holdings’ chairman Ma Huateng and other tycoons are also under scrutiny IPO LISTING OF ANT BEFORE THE CENTRAL BANK TORPEDOED IT 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 KCR TAKES U-TURN, ALIGNS WITH CENTRE’S FARM LAWS Telangana govt decides to roll back practice of procuring paddy and other crops at the village level, as well as the newly-introduced regulated cropping pattern EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad WEEKS after TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao launched a broadside against the three new farm laws, he appeared to be on the same page as the Centre on Sunday on those contentious legislations. For, the State government decided to stop procurement of paddy and other crops at the village level, as the Centre’s new law permits farmers to sell their produce any-where in the country . The change in line came close on the heels of the Chief Minister’s visit to Delhi on December 13, during which he EXPRESS READ Cops charge army man with fake encounter Srinagar: The J&K police filed a chargesheet, charging an army captain and two locals with a conspiracy to abduct civilians and stage a fake encounter on July 18 last. The army had claimed to have killed three militants in the encounter | P8 Stadia can welcome back spectators Chennai: A circular issued by the Sports Ministry has paved the way for fans to re-enter stadia. The circular, dated December 26, states “... for outdoor events spectators will be allowed upto a maximum of 50% of stadium capacity.” | P11 met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The visit came after the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections, where the BJP did remarkably well. Contrast that with his position in early December, when he extended support to the farmers protesting against the three laws and had asked his party cadre to make the December 8 Bharat Bandh a grand success, and the shift in stand appears stark. Another nugget in Sunday’s basket of decisions was to nix regulated cropping, which till now was one of his major policy initiatives in the farm sector. The State government de- Govt to retain Rythu Bandhu scheme CM K Chandrasekhar Rao meets Ministers, officials at Pragathi Bhavan on Sunday cided to let farmers choose w h a t e ve r t h e y w a n t t o cultivate. The Chief Minister took these decisions during a meeting with various ministers and senior agriculture department officials. In a press statement after the meeting, the state government said: “As the new agriculture laws of the Central government permit farmers to sell their crop anywhere in the country, the State government RCP Singh R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna A day after the opposition predicted copycat defections would rock the JD(U) further, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar resigned as the national president of the party on Sunday and appointed his political confidant and ex-IAS officer Ram Chandra Prasad Singh Singh as the successor for the next three years. Dismissing the opposition claims that Arunachal Pradesh-like defections posed a threat to the party, JD(U) chief general secretary K C Tyagi said that Nitish handed over the reins to RCP Singh to play a bigger role in national politics. While maintaining that the alliance with BJP was under no strain, Tyagi said that Nitish would campaign vigorously in West Bengal, where the party would contest alone. RCP Singh’s — Nitish’s trouble shooter credited with bring S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi LIKE elsewhere, coronavirus is quietly changing in India, making itself resistant to antibodies. As of now, 19 such variants are already present in the country researchers associated with , multiple government institutions have established. Scientists attached with the CSIR - Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi, the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research and Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, analysed over 2,40,000 SARS-COV-2 genome sequences from 133 countries and identified 86 with escape mutants, or variants with genetic changes that JD(U) back in the NDA fold in 2017 — elevation is seen as attempt to nix the chances of further defections as this frees up Nitish to work towards strengthening the party’s presence in other states. Sources said that being considered somewhat soft towards BJP too worked in Singh’s favour. Singh belongs to the same caste and hails from home district as Nitish Kumar (Nalanda). He was the principal secretary to Nitish Kumar before joining politics. Singh has been the vice-president of party and its Rajya Sabha MP , . Meanwhile, a senior member of JD(U) said that the party knew how to respond to political developments. “The JD(U) will not only contest in West Bengal, but also in other states without initiating the first move for a break-up of the alliance. Politics must be replied through politics,” the leader said. RCP Singh said that he would work on the agenda of strengthening the party BJP . spokesperson Nikhil Anand congratulated RCP Singh on his elevation, while RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwary said that Nitish handed over the reins fearing another bout of defections. Anti-alliance spirit, says JD(U) leader The Arunachal Pradesh incident seems to have stressed the relations between the JD(U) and the BJP in Bihar. JD(U)’s chief general secretary KC Tyagi told media, ““The JD(U) is extremely shocked... It is out-and-out an anti-alliance spirit.” WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST need not set up purchasing centres in villages.” One reason for scrapping regulated cropping, which was implemented for two seasons this year, could be the government’s inability to provide bo- Bandi welcomes decision BJP State president Bandi Sanjay welcomed Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to withdraw the regulated cropping system and adhere to the Centre’s Farm Acts. He demanded a public apology from Rao to farmers for bringing in regulated cropping in the first place. In a statement released here on Sunday, Bandi said the CM had changed his opinion on the Farm Acts after opposing them for four months. Stating that the BJP has been opposing the regulated crop- ping policy Bandi said, “Farm, ers must have a free hand to choose what they want to grow. But the dictatorial CM did not pay attention to our requests.” Alleging that funds allocated for soil tests by the Centre were diverted, he said, “ After Narendra Modi came into power, the Centre gave funds to conduct soil tests in each acre to choose suitable crops for the agricultural lands. But the funds were diverted. We demand that the State government conduct soil tests and bring reforms to make agriculture profitable.” The BJP State chief asked the State government to connect market yards with E-NAM system to ensure better prices for CONTINUED ON P4 farmers. India already has 19 variants of coronavirus WAKING UP TO EXPEDITE GENOME SEQUENCING Of the more than 1.01 crore Covid19 positive cases reported in India, only about 6,400 samples have been genome sequenced. In contrast, the UK with 2 million cases has already sequenced 1.57 lakh samples make them resistant to antibodies. Nineteen of these 86 variants were found in the country . An escape mutation is one that allows SARS-COV-2 to evade antibodies specific to the spike protein the virus uses to enter human cells. All vaccines are designed to generate anti- bodies against the spike protein to try to block the virus’ entry into cells. The findings come at a time when the government has decided to accelerate genome sequencing to track changes in the pathogen after a variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the UK had significant structural and behav- Amid Oppn barbs, Nitish makes loyalist Bihar JD(U) head Nitish Kumar The Telangana government will, however, continue to provide financial assistance to farmers under the Rythu Bandhu scheme. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced that the disbursement of financial aid would begin from Monday for this year’s Yasangi season nus to superfine rice cultivators due to Food Corporation of India (FCI) norms. YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) ioural changes, making it 70% more infectious that the original Covid strain. “There is no need to be alarmed but definitely a need to be cautious,” Vinod Scaria, a scientist with CSIR-IGIB and joint first author of the paper told this newspaper. “The variations in the virus does not mean that the vaccine will not work against it but is likely to lower its efficacy,” he said. “During the trials of the vaccine, too, it needs to be analysed whether those who are getting infected are afflicted with the variant virus,” he added. Scaria said cases of Covid-19 re-infection should also be followed up with genome sequencing. MELBOURNE IDENTITY India take lead @ MCG At 63-3, India were in a spot of bother. But in Ajinkya Rahane, India found a saviour. The stand-in captain, coming in at No 4, scored a patient century, his 12th in Tests as India ended Day 2 with a lead of 82 runs with five wickets still remaining. Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja have so far added 104 runs for the sixth wicket which has put Australia on the backfoot at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 104* is Rahane’s second Tests century at the MCG. He had scored 147 in 2015. Only three other Asians — Vinod Mankad, Sadiq Md, Majid Khan have scored two hundreds at this venue. An unbeaten 104 from Ajinkya Rahane (left) helped India take 82-run lead on Day Two of the second Test against Australia at the MCG on Sunday | AP 2nd 1 THIS IS RAHANE’S FIRST TEST CENTURY BATTING AT NO 4. AND ALSO HIS FIRST AS CAPTAIN. Indian captain after Sachin Tendulkar (1999) to score a hundred at Melbourne. Actor Rajinikanth, who was suffering from BP fluctuations, on his way home after being discharged from Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad on Sunday Rajinikanth discharged, advised rest for a week EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad/Chennai CLOUDS of uncertainty loom over the much-awaited political entry by actor Rajinikanth once again as he has been advised a week’s rest and “minimal physical activity” after being discharged from the Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad on Sunday . The actor was admitted to the hospital on December 25 following severe fluctuations in his blood pressure and exhaustion. A press release by the hospital said that his blood pressure had stabilised and that he was feeling better. The actor has been suggested complete bed rest for a week, with regular monitoring of blood pressure levels and minimal physical activity to avoid stress, “in view of his post-transplant status, labile hypertension and age”. Rajinikanth was also counselled by the doctors to avoid any activity that increases his risk of contracting Covid. Back home, however, a section of his fans felt that it would be a major setback for the actor, and affect his reliability if he did not keep his word on the party launch by the end of this year. CONTINUED ON P5 Sweaters out! Temperatures to drop by 3-4oCelsius in TS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad MINIMUM temperatures are expected to drop by 3 to 4 degree Celsius at isolated places across Telangana over the next two days, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast. Further, mist/shallow fog conditions may prevail in many parts of the State in the mornings. While most parts of Telangana have been recording normal or slightly less than normal minimum temperatures over the past few days, the maximum temperatures have been slightly above normal. The lowest temperature recorded on Sunday was 6.8 degree Celsius — at Ginnedari in Kumuram Bheem Asifabad district. Minimum temperatures were recorded between 12-16 degree Celsius in most parts of the State. In Hyderabad, it was 14.5 degree Celsius, just 0.7 degree Celsius below normal. ORGANISED CRIME 3 more, including Chinese woman, held in loan apps fraud EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE Rachakonda police, on Sunday, busted a Pune-based company for running the illegal business of providing unsecured loans to citizens through instant loan-lending mobile apps. Three persons, including a Chinese national, were arrested by the police. The arrested persons have been identified as Parshuram Lahu Takve, 31, his wife Liang TianTian, a 35-year-old Chinese national, and Sk Aaqib, a 20-year-old student. All three of them were residents of Pune. Rachakonda police got hold of the accused persons, while investigating a complaint by an Uppal-resident named Bhumana Prasad. He had taken two small loans via an app called My Bank, both of which he had Liang TianTian Parshuram Lahu Takve paid off in full. Later, when he went through his bank statement, he found that `26,000 was credited to his bank account Sk Aaqib from 14 different mobile loan apps, without him requesting for the loans. He ended up paying `44,000 to the loan apps as repayment of the principal loan and interest. Even after that, he continued to receive loan sums from the said apps though he didn’t ask for any. The app company demanded that he repay the loan with 50 per cent interest. He later began receiving calls from agents working for the company, who harassed him into repaying exorbitant amounts of CONTINUED ON P3 money .
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