tirupati l monday l december 28, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l late 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 Slammed for monopolistic tendencies 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 offline services to contain the risks it poses to the Chinese economy P9 ■ ■ 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 $35 bn 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 Vuyyuru civic chief suspended E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada new chariot for lord BC Welfare Minister Ch Venugopala Krishna said the new chariot for Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi has been built much before deadline The new chariot built at a cost of `90 lakh in place of the destroyed one, will be ready for Bhishma Ekadasi and launched on Saptami, he said after inspecting it on Sunday, along with District Collector D Muralidhar Reddy UK returnees’ contacts traced, four test +ve E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e all set for dry run of vaccination in krishna Four contacts of the returnees from the United Kingdom who tested positive for Covid-19, have contracted the virus. However, it is yet to be confirmed if the UK returnees have tested positive for the new strain of virus or not. According to medical and health officials, a total of 3,282 contacts of the UK returnees have been traced in the State. Of the four contacts who tested positive, three are from Guntur and one from Nellore. As on Sunday, 1,216 people have returned from the UK and 1,187 of them have been traced. The remaining 29 UK returnees are yet to be traced. Of the total traced UK returnees, 1,162 have been shifted to quarantine centres. “The six UK returnees who tested posi- Places @ Vijayawada Forecast of energy use made easy Purna Heart Institute (Private Hospital) at Suryaraopeta Arrangements for Covid-19 vaccination dry run being made at Purna Heart Institute in Vijayawada on Sunday | Prasant Madugula The trainers guided us pertaining to what should be done at each and every stage of the Covid vaccination dry run in Krishna dist Penamaluru Primary Health Centre Prakash Nagar Urban PHC K Raja, Medical Officer tive for Covid-19, hail from East Godavari, Krishna, Anantapur, Nellore and Guntur districts. However, the National Institute of Virology and the Centre for Cellular and Molec- Krishnaveni Degree College, Tadigadapa Secretariat-4 ular Biology are yet to confirm if these six persons have tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus or not,” the officials said. Meanwhile, the Krishna dis- farmers protesting against the three laws and had asked his party cadre to make the Weeks after Telangana Rash- December 8 Bharat Bandh a tra Samithi (TRS) president grand success, and the shift in and Telangana Chief Minis- stand appears stark. ter K Chandrashekar Rao Another nugget in Sunday’s launched a broadside basket of decisions was to against the three new nix regulated cropping, far m laws, he apwhich till now was one peared to be on the of hismajor policy inisame page as the Centiatives in the farm tre on Sunday on sector. The state govthose contentious ernment decided to legislations. let farmers choose `7,500 cr For, the state govwhatever they want loss ernment decided to to cultivate. The state stop procurement of The chief minister government paddy and other crops took these decisions at the village level, as incurred losses during a meeting the Centre’s new law totalling `7,500 with various minispermits farmers to crore, as it had ters and senior agripurchased sell their produce anyculture department various crops where in the country . officials. In a press at Minimum The change in line statement after the came close on the Support Price, meeting, the state heels of the chief but was forced government said: “As minister’s visit to Del- to sell at lower the new agriculture prices due to hi on December 13, laws permit farmers low demand during which he met to sell their crop anyPrime Minister where in the country , Narendra Modi and the state government Union Home Minister Amit need not set up purchasing Shah. The visit came after the centres in villages.” Greater Hyderabad MuniciOne reason for scrapping pal Corporation elections, regulated cropping, which where the BJP did remarka- was implemented for two seably well. sons this year, could be the Contrast that with his posi- government’s inability to protion in early December, when vide bonus to superfine rice he extended support to the cultivators due to FCI norms. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Hyderabad Melbourne identity in Singh’s favour. Singh, a bureaucrat-tur ned-politician, 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 (organisation) 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. 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. Rajesh Kumar Thakur @ Patna @ Vijayawada The State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) of the Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Ltd (APTRANSCO) has developed a day-ahead electricity forecasting model using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to meticulously plan power management, which helps minimise power purchase costs. Andhra Pradesh, according to APTRANSCO officials, is the first State in India to have developed ‘the most accurate’ day-ahead forecast model using ML and AL. With the model yielding accurate results in forecasting next day’s electricity consumption, including dayahead electricity demand for every 15 minutes, the officials said forecasting models for wind/solar generation, grid frequency, market price, surplus NTPC/Central Generating Stations power at national level will also be developed. “Google with World Bank’s support has offered to jointly develop the forecasting model with the AP State Load Dispatch Centre and the SLDC has done the entire development in-house. This will be one of the major steps towards reaching the objective of State government to make AP destination of cost-effective power,” the officials said, in a P3 statement on Sunday . WITH THIS ISSUE 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) Kankipadu Zone - Uppuluru Primary Health Centre Telangana CM’s change in line came close on the heels of his visit to Delhi on Dec 13 Amid oppn barbs, nitish makes loyalist bihar JD(U) head E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST Vijayawada Government General Hospital trict administration is all set to conduct the two-day dry run of Covid-19 vaccination on Monday and Tuesday at five places. All the necessary dummy materials have been arranged at the five centres. Speaking on the primary training given to them, Prakash Nagar Urban PHC medical officer K Raja said, “The trainers guided us pertaining to what should be done at each and every stage of the Covid vaccination dry run. They also taught us how to handle a normal and an adverse situation once the vaccine is administered.” Necessary logistical arrangements such as medical equipment, including dummy vaccine carriers, syringes, post-vaccination medication (if required sensing abnormality in the patient), have P3 been made. Vuyyuru Nagar Panchayat Commissioner N Prakash Rao has been suspended for his alleged role in dumping of garbage in front of banks in the town protesting the delay in sanctioning of loans under the Central and State government schemes. Based on the report submitted by the inquiry committee on the incident, Commissioner and Director of Municipal Administration GSRKR Vijay Kumar on Sunday issued an order suspending Vuyyuru Municipal Commissioner N Prakash Rao, who is also the Project Director of Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA). The order stated that Prakash Rao caused ‘much inconvenience to the public’ without following the due procedure and not informing the higher authorities pertaining to dumping of garbage in front of banks. “After careful consideration of the available material and having due regard to the circumstance of the case, it is necessary to place Prakash Rao, Project Director of MEPMA, Krishna district, and Municipal Commissioner (Full Additional Charge) of Vuyyuru Nag ar Panchayat under suspension,” the Commissioner and Director of Municipal P4 Administration said. KCR aligns his policies with new farm laws YOUR LIFE COACH 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 th at Ar un ach al 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 JD(U) back in the NDA Nitish Kumar RCP Singh 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-andout an anti-alliance spirit.” 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 India take lead @ MCG 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. No cause for alarm, but India already has 19 variants of coronavirus 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 make them resistant to antibodies. Nineteen of these 86 variants were found in India. 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 antibodies against the spike protein to try to block the virus’ waking up to expedite Genome sequencing Of the more than 1.01 crore Covid-19 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 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 behavioural 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.
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