villupuram l saturday l june 19, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION big Quarantine headache for india at the Olympics A new Games organisers’ manual says everyone from India, including players, must maintain physical distancing for 3 days Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto (right) and CEO Toshiro Muto attend a press conference on Friday | AFP | P11 daily Covid tests 7 days before departure 11 countries divided into two groups Going by the new rules, athletes from India will be asked to undergo a Covid test for seven consecutive days before leaving for Tokyo. Upon reaching Japan, there is a ban on interacting with athletes from other countries, including training with them. This could scupper both hockey sides’ plans as they have lined up multiple practice matches. ■ ■ ■ Group 1: Afghanistan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; Group 2: Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia, UK and Vietnam Rules are stricter for Group 1 countries. Countries in Group 2 need to test three days before leaving for Tokyo Everyone will have to follow this irrespective of vaccine status July 23 the day Olympics will open. Closing ceremony: August 8 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 Twitter gets an earful, told to respect law of the land Slash oil tax, says worried committee advising PM Representatives shouted at for claiming the social media site follows its own policy, during deposition before a parliamentary committee Ex p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Representatives of microblogging site Twitter on Friday got a mouthful from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology for claiming they function on the basis of their own policy They . were told to abide by the laws of the land instead. Carrying forward the Centre’s ongoing confrontation with Twitter, BJP MPs shouted at its representatives, saying the “rule of land is supreme, not your policy .” Twitter was represented by Shagufta Kamran, public policy manager, and Ayushi Kapoor, legal counsel in its deposition before the panel. They landed in hot water while responding to searching questions on whether Twitter follows the rules of the countries it operates in. BJP members Rajyavardhan Rathore and Nishikant Dubey sought to put the representatives of Twitter on the mat, with sources saying they were extra aggressive in their grilling. “The chairman of the panel, Shashi Tharoor, merely watched as the two BJP MPs shouted at the duo, who mostly maintained silence or replied briefly,” sources said. Opposition MPs, too, questioned the “brazenness of the representatives for saying they have their own policy”, sources said. Responding to questions on its failure to make appointments in line with the Information and Technology Act’s rules, the duo reiterated it Appointment of fact-checkers BJP members sharply questioned Twitter’s representatives on the policy for appointing fact-checkers, alleging they were not politically neutral. Members of the committee later held a meeting with information and technology ministry officials national commodity prices, especially of crude, together with Amid growing disquiet over logistics costs, pose upside risks high fuel prices, the Prime Min- to the inflation outlook. Excise ister’s Economic Advisory Coun- duties, cess and taxes imposed cil (PMEAC) has suggested to the by the Centre and States need to government to take a political be adjusted in a coordinated call on taxing oil, warning it manner to contain input cost could otherwise build inpressures emanating from flationary pressure, and petrol and diesel prices,” its spill-over impact the minutes said. would dampen consum“Timely supply side poler sentiment and dampicy measures with regard en recovery . to petrol and diesel, edible “Petrol and diesel oil and pulses, among othprice cannot be used as ers, would be critical to Further cash cow forever. Some bring about a durable sofjump political intervention tening of price presPetrol and is required as it will fisures,” the RBI added. diesel prices nally dampen the conHigh fuel price and food were on Friday sumer spending and cost pushed up retail inincreased again will delay the recovery . flation, measured by the by 27 paise and A delay in intervention consumer price index 28 paise, will prolong the recov(CPI), to 6.3% in May, raising their ery process. Focus overshooting the RBI cost in Mumbai needs to be to promote highest band of 6%. to `103.08 and growth of industry and Even the wholesale `95.14 per litre jobs,” a senior member price inflation has of the PMEAC told this reached 12.94, highest newspaper. The member added since 2013, pushed mainly by that recovery will be fragmented fuel and power inflation, which if private consumption is not was up by 37.6% in May Experts . stepped up. claim this will make things difSimilar concerns were raised ficult for the RBI. Petrol and dierecently by the Reserve Bank of sel prices are at all-time highs India, as gleaned from the min- though crude oil fell nearly 2% utes of its monetary policy meet. from its highest level this year “The rising trajectory of inter- on June 17 to $72.23. A n u r a d h a S h u k l a @ New Delhi was because of the pandemic’s constrinits. They refrained from committing themselves to any specific timeline to abide by the new IT rules, despite being prodded by the panel to do so, sources said. “India isn’t a banana republic,” retorted an MP, as Twitter’s representatives remained evasive to most queries, sources added. The MPs also sought information about the employment status of the duo. The panel will be calling representatives of other social media platforms later, sources added. Later, Twitter issued a statement saying: “We appreciate the opportunity to share our views... Twitter stands prepared to work with the committee on the important work of safeguarding citizens’ rights online in line with our principles of transparency, freedom of expression, and privacy. We will continue working alongside the government as part of our shared commitment to serve and protect the public conversation.” Students should prepare for NEET this year: Minister E X PRE S S NEW S S ER V ICE @ Chennai Days after the State government constituted an expert committee, headed by retired judge AK Rajan, to study the impact of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) among students from the economically weaker sections, Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Friday said students should prepare for the exam this year. According to the present norms, the minister said, admissions to medical colleges are conducted based on NEET marks, and so students should not have any confusion over it. Subramanian was responding to AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam’s statement that State’s NEET coaching classes created confusion among students. Recalling the genesis of NEET, the minister said that the examination was implemented when the AIADMK was in power, and it was former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi who opposed it and filed a case in the High Court, praying to cancel the exam. “Though the AIADMK couldn’t get the President’s approval for two anti-NEET bills it passed in 2017, it is the DMK government that has constituted a committee and is expediting matters against NEET,” said Subramanian. Speaking on Covid deaths in TN, he said that the government is not hiding any data. “The deaths are certified as per ICMR guidelines. Health officials were told to discuss with the Centre about the same, and if the ICMR makes changes in its guidelines, we will follow it,” he said. Subramanian further said once the cases come down to zero, district-wise details of deaths and statement of deaths auditing committee will be shared. “Since there is a prediction that children would be affected more in a possible third wave, instructions have been passed to get 50 to 100 beds ready in all government hospitals. Also, 250 beds will be given at Government Institute of Child Health, Egmore soon,” the minister said. Doctors protest against violence on medical professionals at Stanley GH in Chennai on Friday | ashwin prasath Need law to protect us from attacks: Medicos E X PRE S S NEW S S ER V ICE @ Chennai/ Coimbatore/ Salem/ Tiruchy/ Virudhunagar Calling for a Central law to deal with violence against doctors, nurses, paramedics, and hospitals, members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) conducted a demonstration across the State, in line with the national strike, on Friday All of them had worn black badges. . Speaking to Express, Dr T Ramakrishnan, State president of the IMA, said that many States don’t have a violence-against-doctors law. Incidences of patients attacking doctors, and other hospital staff are less in States where the law is implemented but more in others, he said. “So, the IMA demands the Centre to bring a law to protect us from such attacks. We are also sending mass petitions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding it,” he said. V Rajesh Babu, IMA president, Coimbatore Branch, said, “Healthcare workers, professionals and frontline workers, working in both government and private hospitals toil day and night to fight against Covid. Despite their sacrifices, they are being assaulted across the country .” continued on: p4 Bail order stays, but can’t be precedent: SC K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Friday observed that the Delhi High Court’s order granting bail to three activists, arrested in connection with last year’s riots in the national capital, was based on a watered-down reading of the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and said it will not set a precedent. The top court agreed to examine the HC’s order saying the issue of reading down of UAPA is important and can have “pan-India ramifications”. The court, however, did not stay the bail order. A bench headed by Justice Hemant Gupta issued notices to three activists—Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha—on an appeal filed by the Delhi Police against the high court’s bail order. Appearing for the Delhi Police, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the high court’s order should not be used as a basis by other co-accused in the case to seek bail. He said the HC had turned the UAPA on its head. “It virtually pronounced the acquittal of the accused in a bail order, and the observations regard- ing the application of UAPA have a far-reaching effect on other cases,” he said. He submitted that going by the HC’s interpretation of the UAPA, a terrorist accused of murder cannot be tried under the Act. “The court has said that since the riots eventually were c o n t r o l l e d , UA PA should not have been invoked. This means if a probe agency diffuses a bomb planted somewhere, then as per this judgment, anti-terror law shall not apply,” Mehta contended. He further said, “The right to protest did not include the right to kill”. ‘Judgment surprising’ The Supreme Court expressed surprise that the high court came up with a 100page judgment touching on the constitutionality of the UAPA. “It was a bail order and for the High Court to write 100 pages on it and to discuss the laws is surprising,” the apex court said express read NATIONWIDE june 17 june 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Jab-o-meter 67,208 1,03,570 2,330 Take your shot 62,480 88,977 1,587 June 17 29,64,596 doses June 18 29,84,172 doses Total doses: 27,20,72,645 tamil nadu Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 17 june 18 9,118 22,720 210 8,633 19,860 287 TN to keep tab on infection in wild animals Chennai: In the aftermath of the Covid outbreak in Vandalur Zoo that claimed lives of two lions, the State government has constituted a task force to provide support and guidance to field officers with regard to prevention and mitigation of infectious disease in wild and captive animals | P4
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