Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Man visits Bihar from Saudi Arabia to cast his vote

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Patna: The Bihar elections have drawn thousands of migrants to visit the state from far and wide to exercise their franchise this time, a trend perhaps not been visible with such an enthusiasm earlier.

Mohammed Atiqur Rahman from Saudi Arabia is one of them.

Rahman said he visited his native village from Saudi Arabia to cast his vote in the first of the five-phased assembly polls on Monday.

A resident of Samastipur district, Rahman said he spent Rs 2 lakh to visit home to vote. He finally voted at polling booth number 154 in Samastipur.

Rahman, who has been working in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh for last 15 years as a salesman in a furniture company, said: “I felt it as my duty as well as right to cast my vote after I heard about Bihar polls.”

Around 57 percent of 13.5 million electorate voted in 49 of the 243 constituencies in the first round of battle for political power in Bihar that passed off peacefully on Monday.

It marked the start of an intense five-phase contest that will conclude on November 5 for which counting will take place on November 8.

(IANS)

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Tech Giant Google Refuses to Remove Controversial Saudi App

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have also criticised Google and Apple for allowing the app on their platforms

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google has refused to pull out a controversial government app from Saudi Arabia which lets men track and control women who travel, saying it does not violate its Play Store policies.

According to a report in the Business Insider on Sunday, the tech giant told the office of California Democrat Representative Jackie Speier, who had called for the removal of the app called “Absher”, that the app does not violate its terms of service.

The US Representatives Speier, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and 11 others have demanded that Apple and Google must both remove the app.

Speier called Google’s response “deeply unsatisfactory”.

“The responses received so far from Apple and Google are deeply unsatisfactory. As of today, the Absher app remains available in both the Apple App store and the Google Play Store even though they can easily remove it,” Speier was quoted as saying.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California.

Apple was yet to announce its decision.

Absher allows Saudi users to access government services and also offers features which allow “Saudi men to grant and rescind travel permission for women and to set up SMS alerts for when women use their passports”.

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An earlier report suggested Saudi men could use the app to control female dependents.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have also criticised Google and Apple for allowing the app on their platforms. (IANS)