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Delhi’s iconic Khan Market loses sheen as major stores close amid lockdown

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Khan Market Delhi

New Delhi, June 8 : Soon after the Delhi government allowed the reopening of various public spaces including malls and markets, one of the capitals most expensive markets – Khan Market regained its crowd and customers.

But, unfortunately, its pride – iconic stores like Full Circle and Turtle Cafe, Sidewok and Smokeys Delhi, disappeared in the aftermath of the lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The major reason for this is the “failed negotiation” over the rent contract between the owners of these historical stores and their landlords.

Khan Market is amongst the most expensive markets not only in the national capital but also in the county. According to a survey conducted by global property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, Khan Market is the 20th most expensive market in the world.

Speaking to IANS over the phone, Priyanka Malhotra, the owner of Full Circle and Turtle Cafe narrated her emotional connect and her 20 years of relationship with this bookstore-cum-Cafe.

“This café-cum-bookstore was started back in 1998. We moved to Khan Market in 2000. This is a family business was started by my mother we were continously involved in its daily operations and is very close to our heart as it grew organically over the years.”

“The kind of response – the calls and messages we received since last evening after the news about its closure broke was overwhelming. We never knew that we have such a place in people”s hearts. It is sad for us as a family and also for our staff as it was kind of a second home to us. We have had an amazing time here including events like book launches, reading sessions and children”s workshops, it was a very vibrant cultural space,” she said.

When asked about the reasons of the exit, Malhotra said, “Well, you know in these pandemic times, everyone is struggling and trying to stay afloat, businesses are down for most of us. The thing is Khan Market is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world and being a bookstore it”s a big trouble. Hence, we could not afford the rent. We were hoping that some kind of waiver or some reduction in rent, which many landlords had given to their tenants but the same didn”t happen in our case.”

“We didn”t want to leave and we were hoping not to leave, but, surviving became difficult,” she concluded.

Café Turtle isn”t the only one who faced the issue, as future of many other stores in the market is also under a cloud. Smokehouse Deli, a renowned food chain is also under the process of negotiations. Speaking to IANS, Satyajit from Smokehouse said, “I would not be commenting on the issue as we are still under the talks and negotiations stage and this is not the appropriate time to say anything.”

When IANS visited the iconic market in Central Delhi, people have now started coming back and are shopping with their masks on, ticking the social distancing norms on their checklist at the top.

Anshu Tandon, President, Market Association Khan Market said, “It”s unfortunate that most iconic brands like Café Turtle, Sidewok and may be a couple more had to leave. The negotiations have failed to work out. If we have to sustain in such times cooperation between the people is most important. Wherever there is mutual consent, we are negotiating but otherwise it is very difficult.”

“We are following all the government guidelines and safety norms in order to balance the shopping and safety. We are training the staff, we are taking all the precautions like Big Chill store in our market has a ”hands free sanitiser dispenser” and there are many other examples,” he said.

Tandon added that many of the shops in this market have hired marshals in order to maintain social distancing in and around it.

–IANS

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TikTok lawsuit against Trump ban could come as early as Tuesday

The lawsuit will also reportedly argue that the allegation that TikTok is a threat to US’ national security is baseless.

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Tik Tok

San Francisco, Aug 9 : TikTok could file a lawsuit against the Donald Trump administration in the US as early as Tuesday over an executive order prohibiting transactions with the short video sharing platform’s Chinese owner within 45 days, NPR reported.

The lawsuit will argue that Trump’s sweeping ban on the application is unconstitutional because it did not give the company a chance to respond, said the source-based report on Saturday.

The lawsuit will also reportedly argue that the allegation that TikTok is a threat to US’ national security is baseless.

The executive order issued by Trump on August 6 night said that data collected by TikTok threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party to access personal and proprietary information of US citizens.

The order said the spread of mobile applications developed and owned by Chinese companies “continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

“We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request,” TikTok said in a blog post after the executive order.

“In fact, we make our moderation guidelines and algorithm source code available in our Transparency Center, which is a level of accountability no peer company has committed to,” it added.

TikTok alleged that the executive order was issued “without any due process.”

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Microsoft’s TikTok deal a ‘poisoned chalice’: Bill Gates

Trump earlier set a deadline around September 15 for Microsoft to close the deal with TikTok that it was pursuing.

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BILL Gates

San Francisco, Aug 9 : As Microsoft pursues talks to purchase the US business of TikTok, Bill Gates has termed the potential deal between the two companies a poisoned chalice.

In an interview with the Wired, published on Saturday, the Microsoft co-founder said that being a top player in the social media business is not a simple job.

“Who knows what’s going to happen with that deal. But yes, it’s a poison chalice,” the billionaire philanthropist was quoted as saying in the interview.

When asked if he is wary of Microsoft getting into the social media game, Gates suggested that the software giant’s entry will give Facebook more competition which is “probably a good thing.”

Reacting to a question on US President Donald Trump’s demand that that the country should get a large percentage of the proceeds if part of the short video-sharing platform TikTok’s business is bought by an American firm, Gates said that the way things were proceeding were quite strange and the cut thing is “doubly strange.”

“Anyway, Microsoft will have to deal with all of that,” he was quoted as saying.

Trump earlier set a deadline around September 15 for Microsoft to close the deal with TikTok that it was pursuing.

The US President followed it up with an executive order on August 6, prohibiting US firms from doing transactions with TikTok after September 20.

A “shocked” TikTok on August 7 threatened legal action against the executive order.

“We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly — if not by the Administration, then by the US courts,” TikTok had said in the statement.

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Bitcoin-crazy rich Indians falling prey to fake crypto wallets

Moreover, growing usage of alternative currencies such as Ethereum, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash due to their captivating features and models has been major factors backing the growth in the industry.

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Bitcoin

New Delhi, Aug 9 : With the Supreme Court striking down the curb on cryptocurrency trade in India in March this year, there has been a surge in Indians investing in Bitcoin and with this, cybercriminals have started mobile-based fake Blockchain-based crypto wallets to lure and con the rich and the wealthy in the country.

These Blockchain-based wallets offer handsome discounts, before conning people of their hard-earned Bitcoin/cash and then going incommunicado, according to industry watchers.

“I have seen so many wealthy Indian falling into the trap of such fake cryptocurrency wallets in the recent past. One gentleman just came to me who lost $50,000 (over Rs 37 lakh) while dealing with one such fake platform,” Manan Shah, Founder and CEO, Avalance Global Solutions, told IANS.

One Indian businessman lost a whopping Rs 28 crore in such crypto wallet scam, Shah informed.

A single Bitcoin currently costs $11,000 (over Rs 8 lakh) and Indians are now investing in crores aiming for higher returns.

The modus operandi of such fake wallets is simple. They target people via sending them messages on various social media groups, asking them to sell and buy Bitcoin via their apps.

The scamsters trick them to buy and sell Bitcoin via wallets and offer them trade opportunities with other app users across the world. Once they receive Bitcoin into their systems, they disappear and stop communication altogether.

Most of these transactions are happening via Swift Global Pay (SGP), Insta Global Pay (IGP) and International Global Pay wallets, informed Shah.

Go to the popular question-and-answer website Quora and you will know more about SGP.

“I do not see any genuinity in this wallet. I purchased virtual cards by paying Rs 3.70 kakh on SGP. It was delivered online on 15th July. Till now it is not accepted anywhere online. SGP site chat no response,” posted a user that goes with the name Kumar Chvks, Managing Director with an Indian firm.

“Email no response. So only the figures are shown on Dashboard. I tried to withdraw my money in the BTC PayPal and bank. None came till now. It is a clear cheating. Expected to be a scam of 7000 Cr to my estimation,” he further posted.

According to Sumit Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, CoinDCX which is India’s largest and safest cryptocurrency exchange, as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continue to mature and increase in popularity, they expect more cryptocurrency scam apps to appear and other fraudulent activities emerging.

“Scammers and hackers are getting more sophisticated in their techniques. When installing apps, it is important to stick to some basic security principles, especially when virtual currencies are at stake,a Gupta told IANS.

The global cryptocurrency market was valued at $856.36 billion in 2018 and is projected to display robust growth represented by a CAGR of 11.9 per cent during 2019-2024.

According to Gupta, users should only trust cryptocurrency-related and other finance apps if they are linked from the official website of the service, and never enter sensitive information such as log-in credentials and account details into online forms unless they are fully certain of its security and legitimacy.

“Do your due diligence on the app on the number of downloads, ratings on the App Store, recommendations from legitimate publications, etc. before downloading. In addition, users should keep their devices updated, and use reputable mobile security solutions to identify, block, and remove threats from their devices,” he advised.

If something seems too good to be true, there is a high possibility that it is a scam and users should avoid it unless verified by a trusted party.

Bitcoin currency holds the major share in the market today, owing to the growing awareness among the Indian investors, coupled with availability of larger returns is proliferating the market growth.

Moreover, growing usage of alternative currencies such as Ethereum, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash due to their captivating features and models has been major factors backing the growth in the industry.

CoinDCX has employed the best-in-industry security measures, and has partnered with leading security and compliance providers such as BitGo, providing secure custodianship and multisignature bitcoin wallet service, as well as Onfido, providing fully automated KYC identification that is seamless, protected, and secure.

“CoinDCX’s resilient security protocols including geographically distributed cold wallets, withdrawal confirmations, and 2-Factor Authentication, ensure that users’ funds are fully-protected at all times as well,” Gupta informed.

(Nishant Arora can be reached at [email protected])

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