CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 04 SEPTEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR FIRST PDP MEETING POST-ABROGATION FOILED IN SRINAGAR EARNING A RIGHT P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Thundershower in some areas. Temperature will be in the range of 34-27 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: 14.4 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.97% TEMPERATURE P5 India adds 83.8k new Covid cases in 24 hrs THUMBNAILS Workers clean a metro rake at Rajiv Chowk Metro station as Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, gears up to resume its services from 7 September. In the Capital on Thursday. DEEPAK SC to consider JEE, NEET review plea today: The Supreme Court is scheduled to consider on Friday a plea of ministers of six Oppositionruled states seeking review of its 17 August order allowing holding of NEET and JEE exams physically. The ministers had claimed that the top court order had ignored “teething logistical difficulties” to be faced in conducting the exams during pandemic. The NTA is holding JEE Main exams from 1 to 6 September, while NEET exams will be held on 13 September. India, Russia finalise AK-47 203 rifles deal: 4 India and Russia have finalised a major deal for manufacturing AK-47 203 rifles in India during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's ongoing visit in Moscow. The AK-47 203 is the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle, which will replace the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x45 mm assault rifle. The Indian Army has requirement for around 770,000 AK-47 203 rifles, of which 1,00,000 will be imported and rest will be manufactured in India. LAC standoff: Army chief in Leh to review situation China opposes India’s decision to ban apps NEW DELHI, 3 SEPTEMBER he country added a huge 83,883 Covid-19 cases over the previous 24 hours, far exceeding all previously recorded daily numbers for any country, even as the government defended its decision to open up various economic activities amidst, saying it firmly believes that “while lives are important, livelihoods are equally important”. With a record singleday spike of 83,883 infections, India’s Covid-19 caseload mounted to 38,53,406, while the death toll climbed to 67,376 with 1,043 people succumbing to the disease in a day, according to Union Health Ministry data updated at 8 a.m. Asked why the government is opening up different economic activities when there is a spike in daily positive cases, secretary in the Health Ministry, Rajesh Bhushan, told a press conference: “These numbers have to be seen in the context of the total population of India. We are the second most populous country in the world.” It is not as if suddenly everything has been opened up, he said and underscored that prior to graded opening of economic activities in the country, the government ensured all prerequisites such as adequate testing capacity, clear-cut guidelines of standard clinical treatment protocol, enhanced hospital infrastructure, adequate intensive care unit beds and NEW DELHI, 3 SEPTEMBER T 38,53,406 8,15,538 83,883 68,584 2,984 fresh Covid cases in WB KOLKATA, 3 SEPTEMBER West Bengal recorded 2,984 new Covid cases and 55 deaths in the last 24 hours taking the total case count to 1,71,681 and death toll to 3,394, while the number of active cases has fallen further to 24,039, continuing a trend seen over the past several days. A total of 3,335 patients were discharged from hospitals during the period; as many as 1,44,248 patients have recovered in the state beds with oxygen facility. “At the end of the day, the government firmly believes that while lives are important, livelihoods are equally important,” Bhushan said. According to the Union Health Ministry data, out of total confirmed cases, 8,15,538 are active cases, Give India another chance to appoint lawyer for Jadhav, Pak court tells govt A high court in Pakistan on Thursday directed the federal government to give India another opportunity to appoint a lawyer to represent death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav as it adjourned hearing for a month. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) took up the case of appointment of lawyer for Jadhav to hear the review of the death sentence given to him by a Pakistani military court. Jadhav, the 50-yearold retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017. Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan told the court P12 SNS & AGENCIES Max: 33.9°C (2) Min: 26.1°C (N) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:20 hrs 17:51 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 18:49 hrs 06:02 hrs Moon third quarter on 10 September ISLAMABAD, 3 SEPTEMBER P8 Centre defends opening up of economy amidst surge in infections Min. 60% PRESS TRUST OF INDIA HAMILTON IS ALL SET TO WOW MONZA ROLL OUT LOAN RECAST SCHEME BY 15 SEP: FM TO BANKS The Islamabad High Court (IHC) took up the case of appointment of lawyer for Jadhav to hear the review of the death sentence given to him by a Pak military court that to comply with the orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan granted consular access to India, however, it has not replied to Pakistan’s offer to appoint a lawyer for him. According to the order, Khan told the court that Jadhav was informed about the judgment of the ICJ and his rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as well as IHC orders on the appointment of his defence counsel. The Attorney General told the court that he was informed by the officials of the Pakistan Government that Jadhav has reiterated his earlier stance and has preferred to pursue the remedy of clemency instead of invoking his right under the Ordinance of 2020. Khan told the court that India was duly informed of the proceedings of the court held on 3 August, but its response is awaited. The court raised questions about the efficacy of the case and judgment if India or Jadhav were not ready to avail the opportunity of review. The court observed that in order to remove any further doubt, India should be given another opportunity to appoint a lawyer. till now. The situation in North 24-Parganas continued to remain serious with 731 people being detected positive in a single day and 12 deaths being registered. Kolkata recorded 472 fresh cases and 15 deaths. The containment zones in Kolkata remained restricted to seven for the past one week with a total of 2854 zones being demarcated in the state. The neighbouring districts too witnessed a decrease in the conSNS tainment zones. while a total of 2,970,492 patients have recovered from the virus so far. With 68,584 recoveries in a day, the recovery rate has increased to 77.09 per cent. India has registered more than 60,000 recoveries each day for the seventh day in a row. The Ministry said 67,376 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2020 that 12 states and Union Territories like Andaman and Dui, Delhi, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar, West Bengal, etc., have reported a recovery rate more than the national average. Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 8,08,306 cases and 24,903 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh with 4,45,139 cases and 4,053 deaths. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, and Bihar come next. Bhushan said India has 2,792 cases of Covid-19 per million population which is amongst the lowest in the world. Bushan also added that in India, deaths per million population is 49 which is also amongst the lowest in the world. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 SEPTEMBER Army chief General MM Naravane on Thursday reached Leh as part of a twoday visit to review the operational preparedness of his forces in the Ladakh region where Indian soldiers are locked in a tense standoff with Chinese troops. The government, meanwhile, said that the border tension in Ladakh over the past four months is a “direct result” of Chinese actions aimed at effecting unilateral change in the status quo of the region, and asserted that the only way forward to resolve it was through negotiations. Army sources said Gen Naravane would be briefed by senior field commanders on the ground situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where Indian troops foiled attempts by Chinese forces to alter the status quo at the south bank of Pangong Tso Lake recently and occupied some key heights. He will also get a detailed briefing on the talks held with the Chinese side over the past three days to ease the current situation. The talks have not yielded any result and sources said another round of parleys An upset China today strongly opposed the Indian government’s decision to ban 118 more Chinese apps, including PUBG, accusing New Delhi of violating WTO norms. “We are seriously concerned and firmly oppose the Indian government’s decision to prohibit mobile apps with Chinese background with the excuse of national security. We urge the Indian government to rectify the discriminatory practices violating WTO rules, and provide an open, fair and impartial business environment for all market players from various countries, including China,” Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said. She said the Chinese government has always required Chinese overseas companies to abide was being held today at the brigade commander level in an open area at Chushul. The Army chief’s visit comes after IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria visited front-line air bases in Eastern Air Command this week. India has, meanwhile, rushed additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region anticipating that the current stand-off could go on for months. At an online media brief- Kolkata Metro: No decision yet on crowd control mechanism, resumption date STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 3 SEPTEMBER Even as the city metro authorities are considering plans to resume commercial services from the middle of this month, the state government today requested them to run services on 13 September for candidates appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), 2020. The request was made during a meeting held between officials of the state government and Metro Railway, Kolkata. Metro officials are said to have raised a set of proposals, including limited number of passengers inside rakes, altered hours of service, deployment of additional Railway Protection Force and city police personnel, in today’s meeting. While it has been suggested that the RPF would manage the crowd inside the rakes, personnel from Kolkata Police and Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate could be deployed to manage the commuters at the station gates. The Metro authorities are also said to have proposed to keep only two gates of the station open while shutting the remaining to control the entry and exit of commuters. However, a decision on the mechanism to handle the expected crowds is yet to be taken. “We are discussing the modalities of crowd control with the state government,” informed the gener- al manager of Metro Railway, Kolkata, Manoj Joshi. “In today’s initial meeting, some proposals were discussed. The discussion will be taken further tomorrow. The modalities will be finalised in two to three days and a date of resuming services will be decided upon,” he added. Amidst the pandemic, when social distancing is the top priority, the Metro authorities are considering restricting the number of commuters to 450 in a rake. “In normal course, over six lakh passengers travel in Kolkata Metro daily. Over 2,000 passengers are carried normally in a rake during peak hours. In Covid times, the number would have to be limited to almost one fifth or one sixth of what is usually carried,” said Joshi. “First of all we need to work on the mechanism and then we need to decide how many people will be needed to control the crowd. The state government has also given some suggestions,” he said. While the final date of resumption yet to be decided, the state government is said to have requested the metro officials to run services on 13 September for aspirants of NEET. “We may consider the request but only after taking a decision,” he added. The Metro authorities will meet with state government officials, Kolkata Police and Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate tomorrow at Nabanna at 12 p.m. ‘We are non-partisan’: Facebook responds to Cong’s bias claim PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 3 SEPTEMBER Amidst a raging controversy over Facebook’s alleged political bias and interference in India’s democratic process, the social media giant has told the Congress that it is non-partisan, denounces hate and bigotry in all forms and strives to ensure that its platforms remain a space where people can express themselves freely. Responding to concerns raised by the Opposition Congress, Facebook’s Public Policy, Trust and Safety Director Neil Potts has said that it has taken the party’s allegation of bias very seriously and will ensure that it remains nonpartisan and is committed to maintaining the highest levels of integrity. The Congress accused Facebook of interfering in India’s democratic process and social harmony and being soft on members of the ruling BJP while applying its hate-speech rules. The Congress had written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after reports by the Wall Street Journal and the Time magazine about the conduct of Facebook and WhatsApp India’s leadership team flagged bias and proximity with the ruling BJP. “We take seriously the concerns and recommendations you raised on behalf of the Indian National Congress... First and foremost, we want to take this opportunity to state that we are non-partisan and strive to ensure that our platforms remain a space where people can express themselves freely. We take allegations of bias seriously and want to make clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in all forms,” Potts said in the letter, dated 1 September. In his letter to AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal, who had written to Zuckerberg twice, Potts said, “On the question of hateful content by public figures, we want to assure you that our Community Standards prohibit attacks against people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, caste, ethnicity, and national origin. In line with hate speech policy, we have removed and will remove hateful content by public figures on our platforms.” Facebook is at the centre of a raging political debate in India with both the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress accusing it of colluding and influencing opinion. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology had also called representatives of Facebook to hear their views “on the subject of safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space”. Facebook’s India head Ajit Mohan appeared before the panel on Wednesday. The Facebook official said as part of its policy development process, it consults a community of external voices, including civil society organisations, academics, and subject experts, besides some internal teams, in the enforcement of our policies on hate speech and harmful organisations,individuals. Earlier, the Congress had demanded a joint parliamentary party (JPC) probe into Facebook India’s role in interfering with the country's democratic process. CMYK FB bans BJP politician Raja Singh NEW DELHI, 3 SEPTEMBER Under pressure for weeks over its handling of hate speech, Facebook on Thursday said it has banned BJP politician T Raja Singh from its platform and Instagram for violating its policy on content promoting violence and hate. “We have banned Raja Singh from Facebook for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to this decision,” a Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement. In the 14 August Wall Street Journal report on Facebook’s content policies favouring certain groups, it was alleged that Facebook had ignored posts containing hate speech by BJP MLA Raja Singh. PTI by international rules and operate in compliance with laws and regulations. The relevant practices by the Indian government not only harmed the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese investors and service providers, but also those of Indian consumers and the investment environment. “Suppression, selfseclusion and restrictions cannot benefit one country’s development. The right way is to integrate into global cooperation by being fair and transparent,” she added. The spokesperson said China and India were the opportunities of development for each other rather than strategic threats. “We hope India will work with China to maintain the hard-won cooperation and return to the right path of win-win coopSNS eration.” ing, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Chinese actions resulted in “violation” of the bilateral deals and protocol which ensured peace and tranquillity in the border areas for close to three decades. He urged the Chinese side to “sincerely” engage with India with the objective of “expeditiously” restoring peace and tranquillity in the border areas through complete disengagement and deescalation. Sushant death probe: Bombay HC asks media to exercise restraint MUMBAI, 3 SEPTEMBER The Bombay High Court on Thursday said it expects media organisations to exercise restraint while publishing or reporting any details about investigation in the case of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. A division bench of Justices A A Sayed and S P Tavade said the media should report in such a manner that it does not hamper the investigation. The court was hearing two petitions which claimed a “media trial” was going on in the case of Rajput’s death and sought for it to be stopped. One of the petitions was filed by eight former IPS officers against the “unfair, malicious and false media campaign” against Mumbai Police. The other petition was filed by filmmaker Nilesh Navlakha and two activists, seeking direction to media organisations not to sensationalise reportage in the case. “We urge and expect the media to exercise restraint before publishing or reporting on details of the investigation, and report in such a manner that it does not hamper the investigation,” the court said. The bench said before hearing the matter further, it would like to first see what the Union government and the CBI, which is probing the case, have to say in response to the pleas. The high court posted the petitions for further hearing on 10 September. The plea filed by the retired IPS officers said a section of TV channels has been trying to influence the investigation being carried out by the CBI, the ED and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and is running a false propaganda against the PTI Mumbai Police.
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