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Google unblocks rehab centre ads after year-long ban

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San Francisco, Aug 4 : Google has allowed advertisements with addiction-related keywords and phrases to run on its platform after nearly a year-long ban.

The ban was put in place to crack down on shady providers cashing in on vulnerable patients.

“A small group of providers vetted by a third party have been approved by the company to appear in results for searches like ‘help quitting pills’ or ‘meth addiction’,” TechCrunch reported late on Friday.

The ban on these advertisement was rolled out in phases in September 2017 and gradually went global in January this year.

The search engine giant had pledged to keep the ban in place until it could find a way to reintroduce the ads safely and ethically.

“It was provoked by a series of reports showing that people looking for help were being essentially traded like commodities and sent to incredibly expensive ‘addiction centres’ that often provided little recovery help at all,” the report added.

The tech giant partnered with a Portland-based company named LegitScript that specialises in verifying medicine-related businesses online.

It also decided to run rehab centre ads that were verified by LegitScript against addiction-related queries.

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Business

Airtel narrowing gap with Jio on 4G in India: Report

While Jio won in 48 cities outright it drew for the first place with Airtel in Coimbatore.

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New Delhi: Airtel has come closer to challenging Reliance Jio which continues to reign supreme on 4G availability and 4G coverage experience in India, says a new report by mobile analytics company Opensignal.

While the average proportion of time that Jio users spent connected to 4G has increased by 0.5 of a percentage point since the last report to reach an impressive 98.7 per cent, Airtel saw its score increase by 1.1 percentage points.

“As a consequence, Jio’s lead has dropped from 3.7 percentage points to 3.1,” said the report.

In regional analysis of 49 cities, Airtel came close to challenging Jio’s dominance on 4G availability in a majority of the cities although Jio continued to win almost all awards, said the report.

While Jio won in 48 cities outright it drew for the first place with Airtel in Coimbatore.

However, for the second report in a row, Airtel has won four of the awards outright — video experience, games experience, voice app experience and download Speed experience, while ownership of the upload speed experience award smoothly passed from Vodafone to Vi.

This is the first report in which Opensignal treated Vodafone and Idea as a single operator — Vi — in line with the combined operator’s new branding that was announced on September 7.

For the report, Opensignal examined the mobile network experience of the four main mobile network operators in India: Airtel, BSNL, Jio and Vi, over a period of 90 days beginning May 1 to see how they fared, and further delved deeper into 49 of India’s largest cities, comparing the experience users received on these four operators.

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Business

Paytm Dares Google, Brings Back Cricket League With UPI Cashback

Paytm said that the cashback was being given following all rules and regulations set by the government.

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New Delhi: Home-grown financial services platform Paytm, which was briefly removed from Google Play Store for alleged policy violations earlier this month, said on Monday that it has brought back the Paytm Cricket League with UPI cashback and scratch cards.

Now, users can collect stickers of their favourite cricket stars as they pay digitally for their mobile bills, recharges, buying groceries or money transfers, Paytm said.

Once they complete a set, they can redeem it for cashback up to Rs 1,000, it added.

Every sticker collected by the user is automatically added to the cricket album. There are three different milestones to be achieved for getting cashback — 11 unique cricket players, 11 unique bowlers or 11 unique batsmen.

Whenever a milestone is achieved, the users get a scratch card with an assured cashback.

“We are excited to bring Paytm Cricket League back on our app to reward users with UPI cashback on reaching various milestones, accomplished by collecting player stickers,” a Paytm spokesperson said in a statement.

Earlier, Paytm in a blog post stated that Google mandated it to remove the UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign to get re-listed on the Android Play Store even though offering both is legal in India.

Paytm said that the cashback was being given following all rules and regulations set by the government.

The company alleged that it was “arm-twisted” by the search engine major to comply with what it called “biased Play Store policies that are meant to artificially create Google’s market dominance.”

Later, the Paytm app was restored on the Play Store after a gap of a few hours.

“We maintain that our promotional campaign was within guidelines and there was no violation. We believe that such arbitrary actions and accusatory labelling go against the laws of our country and acceptable norms of fair competition by arbitrarily depriving our users of innovative services,” the Paytm spokesperson said.

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Vodafone Wins Arbitration Against India In Rs 20K Cr Retrospective Tax Dispute Case

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New Delhi: Vodafone has won the case against India over a retrospective tax demand of more than Rs 20,000 crore.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague has ruled that the conduct of India’s tax department is in breach of “fair and equitable” treatment.

Voafone had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2016 due to a lack of consensus between the parties’ arbitrators in finalising a judge for the tax dispute.

Following this, a tribunal was constituted in June 2016 after Vodafone challenged India’s use of a 2012 legislation that gave it powers to retrospectively tax deals like Vodafone’s $11 billion acquisition of a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Whampoa in 2007. The retrospective tax law had been enacted after the Supreme Court judgement went in Vodafone’s favour.

Vodafone had challenged the tax department’s demand of Rs 7,990 crore as capital gains taxes (Rs 22,100 crore after including interest and penalty) under the Netherlands-India Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

Buoyed by the arbitration award, Vodafone Idea stock closed 12 per cent higher at Rs 10.20.

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