Google and Apple Inc. complied with an Indian court order to block downloads of the popular app TikTok over government concerns with illicit content, according to people familiar with the decision. The move could affect the app's owner, which is the world's most highly valued startup. China's Bytedance Ltd in one of its most promising markets.
A court had earlier asked the federal government to ban TikTok, citing concerns the video-sharing mobile app exposed children to troubling content, including pornography. Bytedance fought the proposal but was overruled by the Supreme court. Regulators then asked Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Apple Inc. to remove TikTok from their app stores.
Representatives for Google and Apple declined to comment. The court ruling restricts future downloads of the app in India, not existing users, said one of the people familiar with the decision, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.
A Bytedance spokeswoman provided a statement saying, "The case is still ongoing to date," the company said. "We have faith in the Indian judicial system and we are optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by over 120 million monthly active users in India."
But TikTok has exploded in popularity elsewhere, giving Bytedance more global reach than any other Chinese tech company. Investors have valued the closely held company at $75 billion. The startup has made a considerable push in India, where a vast majority of consumers use phones running Google's Android software. In India, more than 20 million users were actively involved in a short span of time.
Ninety-seven constituencies, spread over 12 States and one Union Territory, will go to polls in this phase.
Twelve states and one union Territory comprising of the ninety-seven constituency will go through the second phase of Lok Sabha election on April 18.
These include- all 14 constituency in Karnataka; 39 constituencies of Tamil Nadu, 10 in Maharashtra; eight in Uttar Pradesh; five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha; 3 each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal; two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Manipur, Tripura and Puducherry. Political parties will resort to door to door campaign Wednesday. Campaigning for this phase ended yesterday.
In Odisha, near about 80 lakh will determine the fortune of 279 candidates -35 in Lok Sabha seats and 244 in 35 assembly constituency. As some areas under Kandhamal, Bargarh and Bolangir Lok Sabha constituencies are Maoist affected, tight security arrangements have been made there to ensure a free, fair and peaceful poll.
In Karnataka, over two crores 67 lakh voters will decide the fate of 241 candidates in this phase. The Director-General and Inspector General of Police, Neelamani N Raju has informed that Hassan, Mandya, Tumkur and Bengaluru Rural are vulnerable constituencies where the additional police force is deployed.
In Maharashtra, a total of 179 candidates are in the fray for the ten seats. Preparations are on in full swing with both men and machinery expected to reach their respective booths by evening.
Some key personalities whose fate will be decided in this phase include BJP’s sitting MP Pritam Munde from Beed, state Congress president Ashok Chavan from Nanded, former Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde from Solapur and Mahagathbandan candidate Navneet Rana from Amravati.
In Uttar Pradesh, polling will take place for, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Amroha, Nagina, Bulandshaher Hathras, Aligarh and Mathura Lok Sabha constituencies.
In Assam, Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Sahu has said that polling parties at some remote areas have already left for the polling stations. The CEO said adequate security measures are being taken to ensure peaceful polling. The special arrangement will be made for senior citizens and PwD voters.
In Puducherry, 18 candidates are in the fray for the lone Lok Sabha seat. Election Commission has made elaborate security arrangements. 1,850 police personnel and 10 companies of central forces have been deployed.
222 polling booths have been identified as vulnerable and 25 as critical stations. Around 4,400 polling personnel in all the 970 polling booths have been deployed.
Meanwhile, electioneering has gained momentum for the third phase of polling slated to be held for 115 constituencies spread across 12 states and 2 Union Territories on 23 April
Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Samajwadi Party, CPI and CPI(M), jointly addressed a press conference to highlight the issue of transparency in the election process and protection of voter rights with a call to save democracy.
Opposition parties and Congress, have been Demand to verified with at least 50 per cent voter-verifiable paper audit trail.
Earlier, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister meets Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to raise the issue of EVM malfunctioning. The Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per assembly segment, from one at present, in the Lok Sabha polls, saying it will provide greater satisfaction not just to political parties but the entire electorate.
BJP national spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said that the so-called opposition is already trying to find excuses for impending massive defeat. They have failed to mount a challenge to BJP and not only that they have also failed to work as opposition in the last five years, he added.
The minister slammed them for being unable to speak on the issues concerning the country and that is why people are delivering a massive blow to the negative opposition. He said that their coming together is a confession of sorts of their impending defeat.
An order was pronounced by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna
The order was passed on a plea of an NGO which challenged the validity of the scheme and sought that either the issuance of electoral bonds stay or names of donors be made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.
In an interim order, the apex court also directed all political parties to provide details of the amount and bank account of donors by May 30 to the poll panel.
.The government had notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 on January 2, 2018. As per provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than one per cent of votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
Electoral bonds shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with an authorized bank.
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