VILLUPURAM SUNDAY MARCH 14, 2021 `8.00 PAGES 24 CITY EDITION BITCOIN BREAKS RECORDS, PRICE SOARS PAST `43 LAKH The cryptocurrency hit $60,197 (`43,75,675) on Saturday and continues to hover around $60K, according to CoinMarketCap VALUE TREBLES IN THREE MONTHS Bitcoin has been on a meteoric rise since March last year, when it stood at $5,000, spurred by online payments giant PayPal saying it would allow account holders to use cryptocurrency. From $20,000 in December 2020, the digital currency has tripled in value over the past three months on the back of support from corporate heavyweights such as Tesla and Twitter ■ U.S. PROTOCOL BUILT ON BLOCKCHAIN ■ Bitcoins are traded via a decentralised registry system known as a blockchain. The system requires massive computer processing power in order to manage and implement transactions That power is provided by “miners”, who do so in the hope they will receive new bitcoins for validating transaction data STIMULUS PACKAGE TRIGGERED THE LATEST BITCOIN RALLY, SAY EXPERTS 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 No loss due to DMDK leaving AIADMK front: EPS wrong. We shall give seats for a party based on vote bank only,” said Palaniswami. He further added: “Puthiya Tamilagam party is not in our allian c e. T h e y h a d a l re a dy snapped ties with us.” Palaniswami had met with the AIADMK’s Salem urban and rural district office bearers on Saturday morning, in Omalur. He also met the AIADMK and PMK candidates there. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Salem PM Narendra Modi chairs BJP’s Central Election Committee meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda are also seen | PTI BJP weaponises defectors to pull Kerala Christians COMMENTING on the exit of DMDK from the AIADMK alliance, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that there was no loss for the AIADMKled front. “Their politics shows immaturity If an alliance does . not happen between two parties, they normally leave. This is not wrong. But raising allegations against a party is When asked about AIADMK cadre protesting against some of the candidates announced, he said that such issues happen in all parties. “Everyone wants to get seats. We will talk to them and pacify them,” he added. Commenting on the NEET exam, he said that the AIADMK remains firm in its stand TO BE RELEASED TODAY? It is expected that the AIADMK will release its poll manifesto on Sunday, after which CM Palaniswami will travel to Salem to file his nomination from Edappadi on Monday. Earlier on Saturday, he said seat-sharing talks among allies were still on in Puducherry 75% job quota for locals in populist DMK manifesto EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi EXPRESS READ Maha sees 15,602 new Covid-19 cases, 88 deaths Mumbai: Maharashtra on Saturday recorded 15,602 fresh Covid-19 cases and 88 deaths, taking the tally to 22,97,793 and the toll to 52,811, the state Health department said. Of these 88 fatalities, 40 occurred in the last 48 hours and 21 in the last week. Rest 27 deaths had occurred in the period preceding the last week, it said | P7 Myanmar forces kill 7 as crackdown continues Sri Lanka to ban burqa, close 1,000 madrassas Mandalay: Security forces in Myanmar on Saturday again met protests with lethal force, killing at least seven persons by shooting live ammunition at demonstrators. Four deaths were reported in Mandalay, two in Pyay, and one in Twante | P9 Colombo: Sri Lanka on Saturday said it would ban burqas and close over 1,000 madrassas, citing national security. Muslims make up about 9% of the 22 million people in Sri Lanka, where Buddhists account for more than 70% of the population | P9 WITH THIS ISSUE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK PLUS 12 PAGES Protests erupt in Cong camp An under-construction house for protesting farmers adjacent the highway, at Tikri border in New Delhi on Saturday | PTI Protesting farmers booked for building structures at Delhi gates EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chandigarh/New Delhi THE Haryana Police have booked farmers for allegedly constructing concrete structures and sinking a borewell near Singhu towards Kundli on National Highway-44. The Singhu border near Delhi is the venue where hundreds of farmers congregated in protest against the new farm laws for months. Sources said the state police have registered two separate cases under the National Highway Act and various sections of the IPC for building illegal structures on NH-44 in front of Malwa Motors, obstructing the highway, and digging a borewell in a field near KFC Mall that is close to the highway . However, Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of BKU (Lakhowal), said, “We are not constructing any permanent structure, but plan to install solar panels in order to save the farmers from the summer.” Labourers though can be seen constructing structures Solar panels to manage summer “This is just the beginning of summer. The government has not provided any power connection, so we are installing solar panels as as to be able to run small fans,” said a UP farmer MASK UP OR GET DEBOARDED, WARNS AVIATION REGULATOR E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AIR passengers who refuse to wear face masks properly or follow social distancing rules during a flight despite being warned repeatedly could be put on the no-fly list for a period ranging from three months to two years. These are part of the new guidelines issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation amid a rise in the number of cases across the country Airlines . have been instructed to deboard passengers who refuse to comply with Covid-19 rules before a flight takes off. India’s civil aviation rules for unruly passengers allow airlines to put people on a no-fly list for varying durations — three months for verbal abuse, six months for assault, and two years or more for life-threatening behaviour. A Delhi High Court judge had recently drawn up similar guidelines for callous fliers. ‘Why choose criminals when you have righteous people?’ T M U R U G A N A N D H A M @ Chennai “WHY should people vote for criminals when they can choose professionals who have proven themselves in their respective fields?” In an exclusive interaction with Express, actor-turnedpolitician Kamal Haasan says that honest and righteous politics is his poll plank. “I am using the word criminals... People may say it’s a personal attack, but it’s not. It’s a legal statement as 33 per cent of sitting MLAs have pending criminal cases against them,” he says. “That is the reason why they should choose us, honest, earnest and righteous Indians... We are keen to do something for the people. Those with me, and I myself, are not in politics for the money. Politics is not our profession. Our candidates are successful in life and earning well-enough. They are not criminals and that’s why you should choose them,” he says, problems faced by farmers.” On opinion polls, he said: “We have also proven the opinion polls false during by-elections to Vikravandi and Nanguneri constituencies. The AIADMK will win most of the seats this time too. Are they astrologers to say that the DMK will win 200? People are the best judges and they should decide. We believe they will give us a good judgement.” AIADMK MANIFESTO Final meeting of CEC clears lists for all the states, popular faces likely to get TN seats Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh and other members. WITH the full-fledged election The BJP chief held a long campaign set to take off from meeting with Kerala leaders till Sunday, the BJP Central Elec- late on Friday evening. The tion Committee (CEC) on Sat- party plans to go aggressive in urday met to finalise names of the state with professionals and the remaining candidates in Christian leaders imported the poll-bound states. The CEC from the ranks of the Congress. meeting was preceded The meeting was atby two days of maratended by Shah, organthon meetings at the isational secretary B L residence of the party Santosh and other senBJP is keen to chief J P Nadda for ior functionaries. make base among each poll bound state. “All important leadChristians in The meeting contin- Kerala; party will ers, including a few Raued till late Saturday jya Sabha MPs, besides welcome key evening, with the par- leaders from the known faces in the ty leaning on turncoats community from state will contest the the ranks of the and known state faces Assembly elections,” Congress, with to contest elections, said a senior BJP whom informal While details of the functionary . communication meeting were not imIn Tamil Nadu, the has been going on mediately available, it BJP CEC is learnt to for a while is learnt the CEC aphave discussed the Senior BJP leader proved the lists of cannames of candidates didates for all pollfor 17 seats, with the bound states. The party is popular party faces likely to expected to release them in a contest. staggered manner in the comThe party will field a large ing days, leaving scope for a few number of turncoats from the last-minute changes to accom- ruling Trinamool Congress and modate important Opposition the Left in West Bengal, with leaders. party leaders arguing gaining The CEC meeting was chaired cadre strength with such imby Nadda and attended by ported leaders would be key in Prime Minister Narendra the polls. t h at i t s h o u l d b e scrapped in TN. About DMK’s poll manifesto, he said, “I did not read it fully After reading, I . will comment about it. We have announced our poll promises well before the DMK released their manifesto. We did what the people were thinking. We waived crop loans not for elections, but considering the PHOTO: R SATISH BABU while dismissing analysts’ predictions that his party’s fortunes could be akin to that of the People’s Welfare Front of 2016. “Analysts always hark back to history, probably because they cannot guess what might happen in future,” he says responding to those comments. “All analysts can hope for, is that they are right in their predictions. But, that is just a hope. We have bigger hopes for people of Tamil Nadu. We will make it happen. History need not repeat itself if people are careful not to let it happen,” says Kamal. FULL INTERVIEW ON: P2 on the roadside at various places along the Singhu border. There are four doublestorey houses that are being built at the border. The masons have come from Punjab. At present, the numerical strength of farmers at the protest sites in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur is thin as many have returned to their villages for harvesting. “A few days after Holi the crowd will swell at the protest sites,” said a BKU member. Small wood pyres for Holika dahan have been set up to celebrate Holi. Elections in West Bengal have become the talking point amongst the groups, with farmer leader Rakesh Tikait touring the state asking people to vote against the BJP . Congress party headquarters Sathyamoorthi Bhavan saw an array of protests over candidate selection as a group demanded that tickets be given only to loyal cadre | P4 CPM releases candidate list The CPM on Saturday released its list of six candidates contesting the Assembly elections. Who made the cut? Who are their opponents fielded from other parties? READ ON: P4 DMDK-AMMK deal sealed? DMDK has finalised its poll pact with AMMK, reliable sources in DMDK told Express. The party has been allocated 41 seats, and an official announcement is expected on Sunday S K U M A R E S A N @ Chennai IN the pitched battle between populism and pragmatism, the former emerged victorious in the DMK manifesto released on Saturday In a significant move, the party has . promised to reserve 75 per cent jobs for natives of the State. It has also promised to extend caste-based reservation to the private sector. Reservation for women in government sector would be increased from 30 to 40 per cent, it said. The announcements come on the back of the 10 per cent temporary internal reservation announced by the AIADMK government for the Vanniyar community . The Dravidian party has also assured to prove `25,000 assistance to 1 lakh persons going on pilDAYS grimage to major Hindu temples. It has decided to TO GO allot `1,000 crore for renovation of Hindu temples and `200 crore for churches and mosques. On the anti-corruption front, the party has promised to give life to a strong LokAyukta with transparent functioning. The manifesto, presented by DMK chief MK Stalin, has also promised tablets with free data packages for government school and college students. This announcement has been made considering the difficulties faced by the poor in accessing virtual classrooms. With respect to dole, DMK has promised `4,000 for each ration card holder as Covid relief, `100 subsidy on every LPG cylinder, `5 discount per litre of petrol and `4 off per litre of diesel. It has also assured to reduce CONTINUED ON P4 milk prices by `3. 23 Heat on Amazon, Flipkart as draft policy targets deep discounting EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE WHAT’S IN THE DRAFT @ New Delhi IN a bid to check the alleged unfair business practices by large e-commerce players such as Amazon, Flipkart and eBay, the Centre on Saturday proposed that they desist from deploying algorithms to promote a select few sellers or offering deep discounts only to a small group of vendors. According to the draft e-commerce policy all vendors regis, tered on their platforms must be treated equally . While the draft policy seeks to tighten the noose around large e-commerce players, it also offers several measures to safeguard consumer interest, counter misleading sales and regulate data usage. “Consumers have a right to be made aware of all relevant details about the goods and services offered for sale including country of origin, value addition in India, and any other such information which may be necessary for making E-commerce players to make their discount policies transparent by explaining the basis of discount rates for different products and suppliers Govt to ensure availability of more service providers and stop digital monopolies misusing their dominant market position Companies to ensure products offered are genuine; liability for counterfeit products will be on the online firm and the seller To ensure that e-commerce is not used to defraud customers, registration with an authority identified by the government would be made mandatory Consumers have the right to know all relevant details about the goods and services offered for sale including country of origin, value addition in India, and any other such info which may be necessary for making an informed purchase decision an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage,” it said. According to a commerce ministry official, the policy will prevent monopoly by large e commerce companies like Amazon. “There have been many reports and complaints of these firms excluding sellers by denying them equal platform, refusing to provide transparency in data sharing and evading some of the foreign investment rules,” said an official. The official, who did not want to be named, added the proposed policy will be discussed with market players before rolling it out. The commerce ministry is likely to hold discussions on the rules next week, he added. The proposals are likely to ruffle foreign e-commerce majors’ feathers as they were already upset about the demand to pay additional 2% for revenue generated from Indian customers.
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