Daily briefing: App ban blocks China access to growing youth market; Govt to deploy choppers to check locusts

From blocking China's access to growing youth market by banning several Chinese apps to Centre's easing of restrictions for Unlock 2.0, read the top stories from our print edition today.

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Big Story

Virtual strike: This is how we are describing the Centre’s ban on 59 apps of Chinese origin. It’s common knowledge that this decision is part of a series of retaliatory steps against China in the middle of a tense border standoff at Ladakh, but the government said the apps were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data” to servers outside India. The most popular among the banned apps is TikTok, which has eight offices in India and 1,000 employees. 

Bonus reading: What will be the impact of the ban? Will the ban be permanent. This Explained piece answers all your questions 

From Front Page

While the standoff with China continues at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), there is heightened activity at the other active border as well, the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. There have been 382 ceasefire violations (CFVs) recorded on the LoC in May and 302 in June so far, rising sharply from 221 and 181 CFVs recorded during these months last year. Meanwhile, security forces have been equally committed in fighting militancy — 41 militants killed in the month of June itself.

Corps Commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies will be meeting today for the third time as part of efforts to de-escalate the situation on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. Though both sides mutually agreed to disengage the last time they met, Army sources point to a “trust deficit” as Chinese troops have continued to build infrastructure near Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley, and have also made incursions in the Depsang Plains.

As the country moves into the second phase of the Unlock, and the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh continues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 4 pm on Tuesday. His address will come two days after his monthly Mann ki Baat radio programme, during which he had reiterated the country’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and had asked citizens to not be negligent as the economy reopened.

The Pandemic 

Starting tomorrow, the Centre has decided to allow more activities outside coronavirus containment zones such as relaxations in night curfew, provision for more domestic flights and trains, and clearance for more than five people in a shop. The Unlock Phase II, however, will not include resumption of schools and colleges till July 31. Metro rail, multiplexes, gyms, swimming pools, bars and auditoriums will stay shut until further orders.

After urging caution against the spike in Covid cases, the Maharashtra government has decided to limit shopping, outdoor exercise and movement for all other non-essential activities to neighbourhood areas. The administration on Monday deferred further reopening of the state economy while extending the lockdown in the state till July 31.

Beyond Covid 

Four militants, believed to be from the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), made a brazen attempt to take over the Pakistan Stock Exchange building in Karachi, killing four security guards and a police officer before being shot dead by security forces. If indeed this is an attack by the BLA, this is their second time in Karachi. And there’s a Chinese angle to the attack too.

After using drones for locust control, the government will deploy helicopters for aerial spraying of pesticides to stop the spread of the swarms. According to sources, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will flag off a helicopter with spray equipment from a helipad facility at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday. 

In Brief 

  • West Bengal will form a ‘Covid Warrior Club’, comprising people who have recovered from the coronavirus, to perform voluntary service at hospitals and help contain the pandemic.
  • Karnataka is developing an app that helps patients find a hospital bed as easily as they book a cab.
  • The Monsoon Session of Parliament may take a while to begin, but functions of Parliament started returning to normalcy on Monday with a committee holding a physical meeting.
  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre to clarify whether visas of hundreds of foreign nationals associated with the Tablighi Jamat had been cancelled, and if so whether orders were issued in each case.
  • With data collection facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation is developing an online survey solution for capturing data.

And Finally…

For nearly three months, Kadakam, a nondescript village in Kerala’s Kasaragod district, took care of a 32-year-old Rwandan as he got stuck there during the nationwide lockdown. On July 2, as Ukizemwabo Bevanue flies out — thanks again to local residents who collected money for his ticket — they plan to hand him some more money. To get over the isolation period upon landing back home.

🎧 In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we talk about the problems of match-fixing in Tennis and the Indian man who has been identified by the Australian police as the alleged ‘kingpin’ of a major international tennis match-fixing syndicate.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen

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