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Storm after a storm: After Amphan, 'cut money' spectre returns to haunt Mamata and TMC


Kolkata: West Bengal is close to a year away from Assembly elections and the battle lines are already drawn between the BJP and TMC over various issues. One of them is the protest over the past two weeks over relief money reaching families of those affected by Cyclone Amphan, which caused damage in 6 districts on May 20th.

Clashes between people affected by the cyclone and the district and block level administrators have been taking place mainly in South 24 Parganas district which is the worst affected by the cyclone, parts of North 24 Parganas district, Hoogly and East Midnapore district. One such instance is a case in Sandeshkhali in South 24 Parganas district under Nazat Police station where clashes broke out on Friday night and were seen again the following morning.

Clashes broke out with Trinamool Congress(TMC) supporters where women and children were also injured where bamboo sticks and iron rods were used resulting in a total of 12 people being injured. “They beat us up. Children were not spared. We were caught in between clashes of both TMC and BJP. TMC supporters are threatening us. They beat us with rods and bamboo sticks,” said Deepa Chaki, who was injured in the incident.

While the BJP has lashed out at the ruling party, the TMC leadership has suspended it’s panchayat level workers in various districts after reports of such incidents emerged. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said, “We are transparent, we are not hiding anything. We got funds of Rs.1500 crore and we have used it. For Amphan we got Rs.40 crore and we have already spent Rs 6400 crore, some of which we got from people donating funds. Both the funds will continue, these funds are all for the people and will not be used for anything else. It will get audited also, the finance department is taking care of everything.”

The assessment report of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team(IMCT), said damages worth Rs 1,02,442 crore occurred due to Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal, while 28.56 lakh houses were damaged in the state. BJP activists went to the Block Development Office(BDO) along with people affected by the cyclone and staged a protest.

The IMCT had been sent by the Centre to access the extent of damage after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conducted an aerial view of North 24 Parganas district days after the cyclone, after which he announced an initial grant of Rs.1000 crore. PM Modi was accompanied by Mamata and West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. A month after the disaster, Governor Dhankhar tweeted on the issue related to relief money being siphoned off allegedly by the TMC leaders at the Panchayat and block level and brought it to the notice of the TMC administration.

The issue can be seen as yet another flashpoint between the Governor and Mamata who are constantly at loggerheads on various issues. However, TMC has already been slapped with the corruption tag in the past, including the cut money issue and the party is not taking the current issue lightly. Knowing that this will be ammunition for the BJP to make it’s case stronger against the ruling party, the tussle for victory in the 2021 Assembly elections is of prime focus for both the TMC holding onto its bastion and the saffron party inching its way further into the Eastern state.

 
 
 



'Have been invited to meet with Govt stakeholders to respond and submit clarifications': TikTok responds after ban


For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India, the Government on Monday banned 59 Chinese apps, said Law, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

These 59 Chinese apps included the hugely popular TikTok, UC Browser, Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call - Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein.

The IT Ministry in a statement said it had received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India".

"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the statement said.

Meanwhile, TikTok on Tuesday morning released a statement and said that they have been invited to meet with government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications. The head of TikTok India, Nikhil Gandhi said that they continue to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government.

Here is their full statement:

"The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications. TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Further if we are requested to in the future we would not do so. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.

TikTok has democratized the internet by making it available in 14 Indian languages, with hundreds of millions of users, artists, story-tellers, educators and performers depending on it for their livelihood, many of whom are first time internet users."




'Why is Alibaba not on the list?' Congress' Manish Tewari poses questions after India bans 59 Chinese apps


India on Monday banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, UC Browser, Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call - Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein.

The IT Ministry in a statement said it had received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India".

"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Manish Tewari has on Tuesday posed questions regarding the government's move. Taking to Tewari asked why was Alibaba not on the list. "Is it because of the Paytm connection?" he said. He added, "With this ban are you also certifying that other Chinese APP’s are not a security threat?"

The Congress leader tagged the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and wrote, "@rsprasad have you thought Chinese APP ban thru? Two questions: 1) What about those accessing banned APP’s via VPN? 2) What about APP’s that will still lie dormant on millions of Indian phones?Do they not constitute a “live/ sleeper” threat?"

Manish Tewari said that the ban was symbolic than substantive.


Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that government has banned apps for safety, security, defence, sovereignty and integrity of India.

"For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India the Government has banned 59 mobile apps. Jai Hind!," he said in a tweet.

(With input from Agencies)




'Will Govt cap Indian tech start up’s over-dependence on Chinese funds?' Priyanka Chaturvedi asks after India bans 59 Chinese apps


India on Monday banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, UC Browser, Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call - Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein. Law, Electronics and Information Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that government has banned apps for safety, security, defence, sovereignty and integrity of India.

The IT Ministry in a statement said it had received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India".

"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Shivsena Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi on Monday evening asked whether the Govt will cap Indian tech start up’s over-dependence on Chinese funds. For the uninitiated, China-linked investments in India’s tech start-up sector is estimated to be around $4 billion. The companies which have major Chinese investments include Big Basket, Byju’s, Delhivery, Dream 11, Flipkart, Hike, MakeMyTrip, Ola, Oyo, Paytm, Paytm Mall, PolicyBazzar, Quikr, Rivigo, Snapdeal, Swiggy, Uddan and Zomato.

Taking to Twitter Chaturvedi wrote, "To ban 59 apps is understandable as many were engaged in data collection as reported extensively. Next,

- will the govt cap Indian tech start up’s over dependence on China funds (approx $4bn)?

- will the govt keep China companies away from power, telecom & infra eg 5G rollout?"


(With input from Agencies)




Month after LG Polymer leak, 2 dead, 4 hospitalised after gas leakage at Visakhapatnam pharmaceutical firm


Visakhapatnam: Two workers died and four were hospitalised on Tuesday after a gas leak occurred in a factory here.

The leakage of benzimidazole gas occurred at Sainor Life Sciences Pvt Ltd in Visakhapatnam on Monday night.

Uday Kumar, Inspector, Parwada Police Station said that the situation is under control now.

"Two people dead and four are admitted at hospitals. The situation is under control now. The two persons who died were workers and were present at the leakage site. Gas has not spread anywhere else," said Uday Kumar.

Earlier on May 7, styrene gas, which leaked from the gas plant of LG Polymers in RR Venkatapuram village in Visakhapatnam district, had claimed over 10 lives and had left several people ill.

 
 
 



With nearly 20,000 cases, India's coronavirus tally reaches 5.48 lakh


India recorded close to 20,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day for the second time on Monday, taking the tally to 5,48,318, while the death toll rose to 16,475, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The data updated at 8 am showed 19,459 new cases, while 380 persons succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours.


This is the sixth consecutive day that coronavirus infections have increased by more than 15,000. The number of active cases stands at 2,10,120, while 3,21,723 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, according to the updated data.

With a spike of 5,493 cases, Maharashtra remained the worst hit state in the country. The state has a total of 1,64,626 cases, including 7,429 deaths.

The national capital is the second worst hit state with a total of 83,077 COVID-19 cases, including 2,623 deaths and 52,607 recoveries. Delhi is followed by Tamil Nadu with 82,275 confirmed cases, of which, 1,079 have died, 45,537 have recovered and 35,659 are active cases.

States with more than 10,000 cases include Gujarat with 31,320 cases and 1,808 deaths, Uttar Pradesh (22,147), Rajasthan (17,271), Madhya Pradesh (13,186), West Bengal (17,283), Haryana (13,829), Karnataka, (13,190), Andhra Pradesh (13,241) and Telangana (14,419) cases.

India now has 1,036 diagnostic labs dedicated to COVID-19. This includes 749 in the government sector and 287 private labs. Daily more than 1,50,000 samples are being tested. The samples tested in the last 24 hours have further increased to 1,70,560.

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has increased to over 10.1 million, while the deaths have soared to more than 500,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Monday morning, the total number of cases increased to 10,115,912, while the fatalities stood at to 5,01,233, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.




Three terrorists killed in encounter with security forces in Kashmir's Anantnag


Three terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces at Khulchohar in South Kashmir's Anantnag district Monday morning.

Arms and ammunition including an AK 47 rifle and two pistols were recovered from the slain terrorists.

"Three terrorists eliminated in the ensuing gunfight. One AK 47 rifle and two pistols were recovered. Joint operation is in progress," Army said in a brief statement.

According to details, army and police had launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) on the basis of a specific information about the presence of terrorists. As the cordon was tightened the hiding terrorists fired at the security forces which triggered the encounter.

"Three unidentified terrorists have been killed. We are ascertaining the identities while the search is on. Further details shall follow," police said in a statement.

 
 
 



CJI Sharad Bobde poses on Harley Davidson in Nagpur; Twitter wonders where's the mask and helmet


Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Bobde surprised netizens after a recent picture of him riding the Harley Davidson Limited edition CVO 2020 went viral on social media. Reportedly, the picture was taken in Nagpur and the high-end bike belongs to the son of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sonba Musale from the Orange city.


Meanwhile, after the picture went viral, Twitterati wondered where was CJI Bobde's mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the helmet. "Without helmet and riding a bike belonging to BJP leader's son, does not suite the Chief Justice of India," a Twitter user said. "Hello @DGPMaharashtra and @trafficngp CJI Bobde not wearing helmet while driving bike and also not wearing mask. Will any action would be taken according to IPC 188? Or laws are meant for only poors?" wrote another Twitter user.

Here are some of the Twitter reactions:

 

CJI Bobde had earlier expressed his fondness for motorcycles. He had said that he used to ride a Bullet manufactured by Indian company Royal Enfield. Speaking to IANS, Justice Bobde talked about his love for bikes. "I like to ride bikes. I used to have a Bullet," Mr Bobde said when asked about his special interest and preferred motorcycle brand.

In 2019, he had met with an accident while test-riding a motorcycle. He had reportedly fractured his ankle. The accident had kept him away from his court duties as well as the Supreme Court Collegium meetings.




Latest coronavirus update: Here's why Indian users can't use the tracing tech developed by Google and Apple


Last week, Apple and Google phone received support for exposure notifications meant to trace COVID-19 infections. These notifications are sent by compatible apps developed by local governments.

While India, too, received messages from Android and Apple about the notification app, but the Aarogya Setu app that has been developed by the Central government, is not compatible with the Google-Apple Application Programming Interface (API), and therefore you cannot use the feature on your smartphone yet. However, there isn't an official word from the Centre as yet on future plans to make it compatible.

There are two fundamental differences between Aarogya Setu app and the app that is based on the Google and Apple API are as follows:

- The Google-Apple API allows contact-tracing apps to use features such as Bluetooth technology

- Secondly, user privacy is a key factor. While Aarogya Setu requires your location, the exposure notifications is strictly against collecting GPS info.

Notably, the Google-Apple API is not an app, but rather a framework within the operating system that will allow a government-built app to function if you decide to install it.

It follows this statement from Google and Apple from May 2020.

One of the most effective techniques that public health officials have used during outbreaks is called contact tracing. Through this approach, public health officials contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been exposed to an affected person. One new element of contact tracing is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically.

To help, Apple and Google cooperated to build Exposure Notifications technology that will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately, reliably and effectively across both Android phones and iPhones. Over the last several weeks, our two companies have worked together, reaching out to public health officials, scientists, privacy groups and government leaders all over the world to get their input and guidance.

Starting today, our Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android. What we’ve built is not an app—rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps.

Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts.

 
 
 



Coronavirus in Delhi: Containment zones rise from 261 to 417; COVID-19 cases cross 83,000-mark


The COVID-19 containment zones in the national capital have increased by 156 within a span of a week. On June 21, there were 261 containment zones in Delhi, now there are 417 containment zones, reported The Indian Express.

The increase was because of breaking up of 13 large containment zones across West, Southeast, Shahdara, North and Central districts, the report added. “Several new areas will also be sealed over the next few days, pushing up the number further,” a senior district official said. The authorities are reportedly attempting to contain large scale outbreaks of the COVID-19 infection in densely populated residential colonies.

Meanwhile, Delhi recorded 2,889 fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the tally in the city over the 83,000-mark, while the death toll from the disease mounted to 2,623, authorities said. Delhi had recently eclipsed Mumbai as the worst-hit city by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The death toll due in Delhi has risen to 2,623 and the total number of cases mounted to 83,077.

According to the bulletin, 52,607 patients have recovered, been discharged or migrated so far. The number of active cases in the national capital stood at 27,847. It said 4,98,416 tests have been conducted so far.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Raghav Chadha on Sunday said the COVID-19 situation has come under control in Delhi. "For the people of Delhi, the Chief Minister asked for help because he understands that this virus cannot be fought singlehandedly and it is a collective effort. Upon his request, people came together and the situation in Delhi is coming under control," Chadha told ANI.

"The Centre has also contributed to this as well by helping us to deploy the ITBP upon our request. They have fulfilled many of our demands and all are fighting against the pandemic collectively," he said.

(With input from Agencies)

 
 
 




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