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PATNA: Philip Coote from Griffith, Australia, has scripted history by topping the 6th weekly scoring round of the 8th edition of the annual global contest Indian Crossword League (IXL).

He is the first foreign player in the history of the contest to have grabbed the 1st rank in a weekly round. By doing so, he has also made amends of sorts for his mistake which saw him losing the 1st spot by a whisker in the 3rd scoring round. With this feat, Coote has also reserved a place for himself in the grand finale.

Close on his heels on rank 2 is Akshay Bhandarkar from Dubai followed by Venkatraghavan S from Mumbai on rank 3. This is also one of those rare instances when the top two weekly honour have gone to overseas players.

“The 7th scoring round kicked off at noon (1200 hours India time) on Sunday. There will be two more rounds after this before the top 30 on the cumulative Leaderboard are called for an offline grand finale in Bangalore towards the year-end. The winner will lift the National Crossword Champion trophy. The 1st weekly round was a practice round. A participant who tops one of the scoring rounds qualifies for the grand finale irrespective of the final ranking,” Amitabh Ranjan, chief operating officer (COO) of the Extra-C that organizes the IXL, told TOI.

“At the beginning of the 7th scoring round, Ramki Krishnan from Chennai stands at number 1 in the cumulative ranking. He is followed by Venkatraghavan and Mohsin Ahmed of Bangalore on number 2 and 3, respectively,” Ranjan said.

While Ramki has won the IXL trophy four times since 2013, Venkatraghavan won it once in 2017 and Mohsin in 2019. The winner of the inaugural edition in 2013, Col Deepak Gopinath (retd) from Bangalore, is now the chief arbiter of the contest.

The online weekly rounds are hosted on www.crypticsingh.com, the website of Extra-C.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

PM Narendra Modi to share message with nation on Tuesday evening

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NW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will share a message with the nation at 6 pm on Tuesday.

“Will be sharing a message with my fellow citizens at 6 pm this evening,” he said in a tweet.

आज शाम 6 बजे राष्ट्र के नाम संदेश दूंगा। आप जरूर जुड़ें।Will be sharing a message with my fellow citizens at 6 PM this evening.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1603179161000

Modi has addressed the nation a number of times during the COVID-19 crisis in which he has spoken about various measures, including lockdown, being taken to curb the pandemic and also announced economic and welfare packages.

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INDIA

‘I am not afraid of resigning’: Punjab CM Amarinder slams Centre, moves resolution against farm laws

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CHANDIGARH: CHANDIGARH: Saying that he is not afraid of dismissal of his government, chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday moved three bills in the Punjab assembly to counter the Centre’s farm laws, which have triggered protests by farmers and opposition parties in different parts of the country including Punjab.

“I am not afraid of resigning. I am not afraid if my government is dismissed. But I will not let the farmers suffer or be ruined,” the Punjab CM said while introducing these resolutions.

The resolution also rejected the Centre’s proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020.

Singh appealed to all parties to rise above their political interests to save Punjab.

Cautioning the Centre against allowing the situation to get out of hand, Amarinder Singh said: “If the farm laws are not revoked, angry youths can come out on the streets to join the farmers, leading to chaos. The way things are going on, the situation has the potential to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the state.”

He said that this is what had happened in the 80s and 90s when Sikh militancy had gripped Punjab.

“Both China and Pakistan will collude and try to take advantage of any disruption in the state’s peace, which will pose a serious threat to national security,” he added.

The resolution expressed the state assembly’s “deep regret” over the “callous and inconsiderate attitude of the Government of India in attending to the concerns of the farming community on recent farm legislation enacted by them”.

“The assembly is constrained to unanimously reject the three legislations and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020,” stated the resolution, which was read out by the Speaker.

The three bills introduced by Singh to counter the Centre’s laws are — the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill 2020, the Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020.

The chief minister said these bills would form the basis of the state’s legal battle ahead.

The Centre has been saying that the three farm laws will raise farmers’ income, free them from the clutches of the middleman and usher in new technology in farming.

The opposition and some farmers’ organisations have, however, been agitating against the laws alleging they will destroy the minimum support price mechanism, end Agricultural Produce Market Committees and allow corporates to arm-twist farmers.

(With inputs from agencies)

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INDIA

Elections during Covid: Poll spending limit enhanced by 10%

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NEW DELHI: Poll spending limit for candidates in Bihar assembly poll as well as impending bypolls to one Lok Sabha seat and 59 assembly seats stands enhanced by 10%, with the Central government notifying the higher expenditure ceiling recommended by the Election Commission for all polls to be held during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In line with the EC proposal sent to the law ministry last month, the limit for all states/UTs where the cap for Lok Sabha poll was Rs 70 lakh, has been raised to Rs 77 lakh; and for states/UTs with Rs 54 lakh as existing limit, to Rs 59.4 lakh. For assembly polls, candidates in states/UTs with Rs 28 lakh as the expenditure limit, can now spend up to Rs 30.8 lakh and those with Rs 20 lakh as existing limit, up to Rs 22 lakh.

As per the notification issued by the law ministry on Monday, the enhanced poll expenditure limits will remain in force till such date as may be notified by the Central government.

The raised limits are set to come as a relief for political parties and candidates as they deal with additional expenditure on public rallies and meetings in view of precautions that need to be taken in line with Covid-19 health protocols. This included additional expenditure on sanitisers, masks and regulation of crowds so as to adhere to social distancing norms.

EC had, while seeking a 10% hike in expenditure limit for all polls and bypolls to be held during the Covid-19 pandemic, justified it saying that the precautionary measures to be taken by candidates while interacting with the public would entail a cost additional to normal expenditure incurred during the campaign. Also, a larger number of smaller gatherings may need to be organised with large gatherings not feasible, it had added.

Meanwhile, EC is also contemplating a permanent revision in the ceiling on expenditure by a candidate in Lok Sabha/assembly poll. Sources said the EC will be setting up a committee to revisit the poll spending limit for all future polls in view of the country’s total electorate having grown by 1.1 times from 834 million to 921 million and cost inflation index going up 1.37 times from 220 to 301 between 2014, when the poll spending limit was last raised, and 2020.

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