Explained: ‘Lateral entry’ into bureaucracy: reason, process, and controversy

Earlier this month, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) issued an advertisement seeking applications “from talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation building” for three posts of Joint Secretary and 27 of Director in central government Departments.

These individuals, who would make a “lateral entry” into the government secretariat, would be contracted for three to five years. These posts were “unreserved”, meaning were no quotas for SCs, STs and OBCs.

What is ‘lateral entry’ into government?

NITI Aayog, in its three-year Action Agenda, and the Sectoral Group of Secretaries (SGoS) on Governance in its report submitted in February 2017, recommended the induction of personnel at middle and senior management levels in the central government. These ‘lateral entrants’ would be part of the central secretariat which in the normal course has only career bureaucrats from the All India Services/ Central Civil Services.

A Joint Secretary, appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), has the third highest rank (after Secretary and Additional Secretary) in a Department, and functions as administrative head of a wing in the Department. Directors are a rank below that of Joint Secretary.

What is the government’s reasoning for lateral entry?

On July 4, 2019, Minister of State for DoPT Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha that “Government has, from time to time, appointed some prominent persons for specific assignments in government, keeping in view their specialised knowledge and expertise in the domain area”.

In a separate response to a similar question in the same House, he said: “Lateral recruitment is aimed at achieving the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augment the availability of manpower.”

Has the government so far made any ‘lateral entry’ appointments?

The new ad is for the second round of such recruitments. Earlier, the government had decided to appoint experts from outside the government to 10 positions of Joint Secretary in different Ministries/Departments and 40 positions at the level of Deputy Secretary/Director.

The ad for the Joint Secretary-level appointments, issued in early 2018, attracted 6,077 applications; after a selection process by the UPSC, nine individuals were recommended for appointment in nine different Ministries/Departments in 2019.

One of these individuals, Kakoli Ghosh, did not join; the rest — Amber Dubey, Rajeev Saksena, Sujit Kumar Bajpayee, Dinesh Dayanand Jagdale, Bhushan Kumar, Arun Goel, Saurabh Mishra and Suman Prasad Singh — were appointed on a three-year contract. Arun Goel resigned in December last year to return to the private sector.

Why is lateral entry sometimes criticised?

Groups representing SCs, STs and OBCs have protested the fact that there is no reservation in these appointments.

After Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted a link to the government’s notification on February 5, saying “Lateral Recruitment for Joint Secretary Level and Director Level Posts on Contract Basis. Interested candidates can apply from the 6th of February 2021 to 22nd March 2021,” Bihar Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav shot back: “You should explain whether UPSC selection procedure is failing to ensure ‘willing, motivated & talented’ candidates for ‘nation building’, or hand-picked ones are more so? Isn’t it another ploy to sideline & reduce reservations for deprived sections?”

Former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, “BJP is opening back doors to bring its own people openly. Who cares about those candidates who are preparing for years?”

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So are these contractual appointments not open for quotas?

In a May 15, 2018 circular, the DoPT noted that “in respect of appointments to Central Government posts and services there shall be reservation for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/Other Backward Class candidates in temporary appointments which are to last for 45 days or more”. This was a reiteration — with OBCs added — of a circular issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs as far back as on September 24, 1968.

However, there is a reason why these posts are claimed to be “unreserved”.

As per the currently applicable “13-point roster”, there is no reservation up to three posts. File notings provided by the DoPT to The Indian Express (reported on June 14, 2019) under the RTI Act state, “In a single post cadre, reservation does not apply. Since each post to be filled under this scheme is a Single Post, reservation is not applicable.”

Each of the nine individuals appointed in 2019 was recruited as a separate appointment — had they been considered as a group of nine, there would have been at least two seats for OBCs and one seat for an SC candidate as per the Centre’s reservation rules.

Likewise in the latest advertisement, if the 27 Directors were considered as a single group, seven posts would have to be reserved for OBCs, four for SCs, one for ST, and two for EWS category, as per the 13 point roster. But as they have been advertised/ considered separately for each Department, all of them have been declared “unreserved”.

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Home and Away: Lewis keeps a close eye on Christian and in a shock no one saw, Jas is the voice of reason

It could be Home and Away infiltrating my brain, but you just can’t trust a new character.

Between Lewis, the new nurse and Jasmine’s former fling, and Susie, the real estate agent enamoured with John, it must be part of a grand scheme.

Jasmine and Lewis continue their chat about Budget McDreamy’s doctoring skills and it’s pretty clear that Lewis is looking for any kind of proof of malpractice to get back at him for his wife’s death.

Jas tells Lewis he needs to let go or it will “eat away” at him. And she should know, she was mentally deranged for most of last season.

A dead body is wheeled out on a gurney, adding weight to Lewis’ deranged claims that Budget McDreamy is in fact not the best neurosurgeon in the world.

When you remenber you left the washing in the machine.
Camera IconWhen you remenber you left the washing in the machine. Credit: Channel 7/Channel 7

Budget McDreamy is rocked by the news.

“Another post-op death by Dr Green,” Lewis says.

It’s exactly the sort of seed Lewis needs to plant in Jas’s mind, but she doesn’t take to it.

“I think you’re fixating on Dr Green because of Anna,” she says to Lewis.

I’m just so shocked at how reasonable and level-headed Jas is.

Next the saga of Justin and Leah’s lack of marriage continues.

Tori consoles Leah while she contends with what to do with her moronic boyfriend.

“I thought Justin and I were on the same page when it came to marriage and we couldn’t be further apart,” Leah says.

Justin thinks marriage is this high and mighty thing which makes their relationship less than that.

But after a pep talk from his bro Christian, he apologises. But it’s in vain.

“Whatever we have will never be what you truly want,” Leah says to Justin. “I just don’t know how to get past this.”

Gosh, I really hope they do — so they can get married and Justin can quickly die.

Leah pretends to be asleep so she doesn’t have to talk to him, classic move.

But before the episode is through they talk it out again and now Justin changes his tune and says marriage isn’t a deal breaker.

“I want you in my life until the day I die,” he says.

Which is likely to be any day now.

We get a few more details about Susie’s backstory.

Too good to be true.
Camera IconToo good to be true. Credit: Channel 7/Channel 7

She is making the most of life, jumped on a plane from WA and ended up in Summer Bay. But she admits it’s been a bit lonely on her own and meeting people.

It’s just too good to be true. She must be up to something or using John to get at his money.

Or another viable possibility, it’s just bad script writing which accounts for her being too keen and compassionate.

John is still stoked about his date and boasts to Dean not once but twice, but he’s not interested.

“Why are you telling me this?” Dean says. Agreed!

Dean is having “beers with the boys” – that we’ve never seen before – to forget his various woes. Namely his bestie Colby in jail and his girlfriend leaving him.

So much emotion.
Camera IconSo much emotion. Credit: Channel 7/Channel 7

Bella is freaking out about Colby because he’s being released from the infirmity and right into the lion’s den.

Dean still refuses to visit but John takes it upon himself to get involved in other people’s business.

Out of all the people that have given Dean advice, his pondering look indicates that John got though to him.

“Are you really going to let an 18-year-old girl turn up at the prison alone,” John says to Dean.

“Don’t you think Bella’s been let down enough?

“Are you really going to walk away from the one person who needs you the most?”

Next thing, Dean picks Bella up from the bus stop and they set off on their adventure.

Dean comes around.
Camera IconDean comes around. Credit: Channel 7/Channel 7

But it’s not good news at the prison.

There was an “incident” and Colby can’t have visitors because he’s in solitary confinement.

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One reason why we’re so absorbed by what’s happening in Washington DC

The real decadence here is societal. Had recent events in the US — the mob insurrection, the country’s disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — occurred elsewhere, we’d likely be talking about the country as a failed state. What kind of society, what kind of culture, makes it possible for the world’s greatest power to break down like this?

Not for a moment am I saying that Trump can be let off the hook. But it’s all too convenient to explain everything as Trump’s doing. He has been as much a symptom as a cause of American democratic failure. In a democracy, you get the leaders you deserve. Or put another way, in a democracy, governments can resemble the collective soul writ large.

In this case, the Trump administration has embodied a particular American cultural current. Trumpian narcissism, far from merely reflecting the idiosyncrasies of Donald, has projected a certain strand of American culture. Trump’s political personality was cultivated not only through The Apprentice and Twitter, but through the carnivalesque circus of professional wrestling. To his supporters, he represents the pinnacle of their cultural aspirations: a television celebrity, enjoying all the trappings of wealth and unencumbered by decorum.

As a figure, Trump is individualistic self-absorption par excellence. He exemplifies what the historian Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style in American politics”.

Yet his appeal spreads well beyond the US. Trump is arguably as much a product of the culture of global capitalism as he is of America, though the two are naturally difficult to disentangle. Apart from the obvious sway that the US has on global affairs, this is one reason why we’re so absorbed by what’s happening in Washington DC. It may be American politics, but it feels intimately familiar.

Like it or not, the culture from which Trumpism sprang is also one we share. It’s not just that within our politics and media we have our own figures who ape MAGA, who are intent on spreading hatred and disinformation. It’s that we understand all too well the enabling conditions of Trumpian excess: the celebration of mindless individualism, the indulgence of frivolity and narcissism, the melding of entertainment and politics.

Illustration: Simon Bosch

Illustration: Simon BoschCredit:SMH

If the problem is decadence, it may not be an exclusively American malaise. A moral complacency, a tendency for instant gratification, an inability to achieve systemic progress, a loss of common purpose: these are arguably all present in Australian public life. Granted, there are obvious differences between Australia and the US. Our largely commendable national response to COVID-19 points to some structural resilience. But we, too, show signs of social decay amidst abundance and strength.

We see it in our stalled response to climate change. We see it in the lack of political accountability for lies, misconduct and maladministration. We see it in the constant calls for a return to Hawke-Keating style reforms, a sign of imaginative exhaustion. And we see it in the repetitive rituals of performative outrage that punctuate our culture wars.

Then again, it may just be that the lessons of Trump are more elementary and timeless. Trump’s threat to democracy was forewarned long ago.


In The Republic, Plato cautioned against the inherent weaknesses of democracy. Democracy removed all barriers to equality, but in doing so exposes the polity to the passions of the mob. Democratic regimes are prone to slipping into tyranny, as the people are liable to seduction by demagogues who manipulate their anger: “Too much freedom seems to change into nothing but too much slavery.”

Plato was, of course, no democrat. But his warning — one the American Founding Fathers took seriously when they framed the US Constitution — is still worth heeding. It’s one good reason why democracies are most stable when they are limited. Why representative, liberal democracy is better than unqualified, direct democracy. There is, you might say, a paradox that is critical to the success of modern democracy. While the democratic impulse abolishes all distinctions and inequalities, it still requires the support of elites. Elites matter because democracy needs its guardians, and sometimes the people fail.

Right now, those elites in the US have an opportunity to set things right again. Trump should be impeached or removed from office, and prosecuted for his incitement of insurrection. Just as Trump’s success in the US emboldened aspiring tyrants and fascists elsewhere, his defeat and punishment may just be what democracy around the world needs right now.

Tim Soutphommasane is a political theorist and professor at the University of Sydney.

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There is a Reason Why the SP101 Revolver is So Popular

Here’s What You Need to Remember: The SP101 occupies a curious place in Ruger’s lineup. It is not a service weapon, lacking the beefiness and extra round necessary for law enforcement work, but the service world is now dominated by semi-automatic handguns.

In 1988 Sturm Ruger firearms introduced what would become one of their most popular revolvers of all time: the SP101 compact revolver. The SP101 was a lightweight, small frame revolver that built upon the company’s reputation for robust, reliable firearms. Since its introduction, the SP101 has branched into a wide range of calibers, both rimfire and centerfire, capable a broad spectrum of roles.

The Sturm Ruger Company was founded in 1949 by William Ruger and Alexander McCormick Sturm. The company’s first firearm, the Ruger Standard Pistol, was a .22LR handgun that leaned itself to everything from camping to competition shooting. The Standard Pistol helped cement the company’s reputation as a maker of quality handguns and was followed in the early 1960s by the Ruger Security Six. The Security Six was a stout revolver that was a natural fit for law enforcement and was widely adopted by law enforcement agencies both in the United States and abroad.

By the 1980s the need for a replacement for the Security Six was apparent. The revolver was sold in .38 Smith & Wesson, .357 Magnum, and nine-millimeter calibers. Revolvers chambered in .357 Magnum were wearing out in the hands of owners faster than anticipated—Ruger had believed users would shoot a mix of cheaper, lighter recoil .38 Special ammunition and more expensive, heavier recoil .357 Magnum ammunition. In reality, users shot .357 loads far more than the company had predicted.

Ruger responded by building a pair of firearms stronger than ever before, to withstand the rigors of prolonged .357 shooting. The Ruger GP100 was a six-shot, medium framed revolver. The Ruger SP101, on the other hand, was a smaller, five shot small framed revolver with a short barrel. Early versions shipped with a 2.25-inch barrel and were rubber grips.

The SP101 was designed with concealed carry in mind. A double action handgun, the SP101 shipped with or without a hammer—the latter option being easier to draw from behind clothing without catching on something. Like all revolvers, it was naturally slim—with the exception of its cylinder, and a five round cylinder had a smaller diameter than a six-round diameter. The Ruger LCR, introduced in the 2000s as a dedicated, purpose-built concealed carry revolver largely took over the concealed carry role from the SP101, although a hammerless .357 Magnum version with a 2.25-inch barrel and low profile fixed sights is still available.

Over the years the SP101 has flourished into supporting a half dozen calibers. Unique to the SP101 it can handle a wide variety of handgun calibers, including rimfire and magnum rounds. In addition to the original .38 Special/.357 Magnum model the SP101 is also available in .22LR, .38 Special +P, .327 Federal Magnum, and 9 Millimeter Parabellum. A gun user could train on the .22LR version and then transition to the .357 Magnum version once the fundamentals are mastered. Barrel lengths include 2.25 inches, 3 inches and 4.2 inches.

The most typical SP101, model number 5719, is a .357 Magnum revolver with a five round cylinder. It ships with a three-inch barrel, a compromise between a standard 4-inch barrel and a compact carry 2-inch barrel, fixed sights, and rubber grips. With the exception of the grips, it is entirely made of stainless steel with a satin exterior finish. It has an overall length of eight inches and has an empty weight of twenty-seven ounces.

The SP101 occupies a curious place in Ruger’s lineup. It is not a service weapon, lacking the beefiness and extra round necessary for law enforcement work, but the service world is now dominated by semi-automatic handguns. Nor is it a concealed carry gun, particularly with the introduction of the Ruger’s LCR. Still, there are plenty of situations that could call for a compact revolver, not too big and not too small, with plenty of power. The SP101’s feature set makes it a good home defense handgun, camping gun, or backup hunting gun. After thirty years the SP101 has an established niche in the gun world. It won’t be bettered any time soon.

Kyle Mizokami is a writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. This article first appeared last year.

Image: Creative Commons.

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NRL news 2020, Steve Matai, Manly Sea Eagles, disappearance, reason, contract

Steve Matai put out a statement last week in response to reports of former Manly players and officials being concerned over his well-being after he went ‘off the grid’.

The former premiership-winning centre moved with his family up the NSW north coast and was reportedly declining to return messages.

His statement in response was that he was healthy and happy and just getting on with his new life surrounded by his family and was just enjoying not being in the limelight anymore.

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REPORTS: Crichton’s 2021 over


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This is the real reason why Tesla will not be established in Mexico

In May of this year it was announced that the automotive company, Tesla, ruled out Mexico as a location for the construction of its next assembly plant.

3 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

After the Secretary of Economic Development of Jalisco, Ernesto Sánchez announced to Reforma that T esla had decided not to build a plant in that state due to the energy political controversy in Mexico, a source familiar with the matter contacted the media. Xataca México in order to deny this position.

According to a source familiar with said media, “Tesla’s decision to select Austin, TX as the location for its next factory, was not related at all to any policy or situation in Mexico.”

There is still a possibility that the electric vehicle company at some point has had a dialogue with Jalisco about the construction of the plant, obviously there is a relationship between the company and the state since car chargers were recently established in the location, however following the mentioned from the source ´if there was a conversation there was never a deep approach because there was no talk with the federal government´.

Enrique Alfaro, governor of Jalisco , announced on his Twitter account that “although Tesla had the intention of installing an entire plant in Jalisco, which would generate thousands of jobs, federal clean energy policies made it unfeasible, but its eyes are still on our state and yesterday they inaugurated the first fast charging station in Tepatitlán ”.

Image: @EnriqueAlfaroR

Tesla already has charging stations in the AMG , but it can charge its electric cars in 20 or 40 minutes and its location in Tepa allows connecting a road trip to Guanajuato and Aguascalientes , as it is already possible to do from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta. CDMX ”, he added in his publication.

Image: @EnriqueAlfaroR

Image: @EnriqueAlfaroR

At least officially, there is still no in-depth knowledge on this matter, but it is possible that the electric vehicle company and Jalisco are holding conversations on the subject.

To know more: This would be the reason why Tesla did not settle in Mexico

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Tragic reason Tara Schultz was groomed by paedophile Peter Coomer

There is a great mental health divide in this country: between those who can afford to access quality care, and those will find themselves bounced around a system of red tape for months.

The government recently announced it is urging people to ‘prioritise mental health’, promising more funding and services. But nothing in their package even remotely addresses the vast divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ when it comes to mental health support.

My story is an example of how being a ‘have not’ can destroy your life.

My family grew up on the outskirts of society. I was vulnerable and as a child from a poor family it was not uncommon for men to prey on me. They knew I didn’t have much power and having parents who suffered from mental illness, I was an easy target.

RELATED: Schoolgirl’s camping rape horror

Peter Coomer, a friend of my father, started grooming me at 12. He convinced me that his abuse was love and that he was the only one who cared about me.

That was reinforced when Dad left when I was 14. Without any support for his own mental health, the family broke down.

RELATED: ‘Outrageous’ demand of rape victim

Peter, having identified me as a vulnerable target at 12, knew I was easy prey and by 14 I was alone with him. Dad left me in his care not knowing about the abuse.

Peter fed me a steady supply of cannabis and methamphetamines. I would detox with youth services but he would feed me another drug. The physical violence and psychological attacks combined with the sexual assaults meant I just wanted to escape, but being a child I couldn’t. So I took his drugs as a mechanism to escape and he fed me them, knowing they would keep me dependent.

RELATED: Daughter finally unmasks paedophile Dad

I thought that if I could go to detox to get off these drugs I could escape him. But no matter how sober I got, the trauma and inability to survive in the world alone always kept me going back to taking drugs and to him.

I lived with just him from 14 to 20 when I finally escaped.

But the damage he’d done meant it was hard for me to regulate my emotions. So I tried to self-medicate with cannabis, alcohol or sedatives. Anything to numb the pain. My mental health continued to circle the drain.

Youth services played a massive role in helping me on my feet. After I escaped, I was intermittently homeless and they helped find supported accommodation.

I had a brilliant youth worker, Warren, who gave me a sense that I wasn’t alone, and told me that I was capable of more.

At 24 I went to university and got a rental of my own. Though I was still battling PTSD, trauma, chronic pain and intermittent substance dependence, I was getting good grades. I had hope, so my ambition was able to flourish.

Through studying an arts degree, with the hope of getting into social work, I realised my childhood wasn’t uncommon. So I decided to tell my story and went to the police.

Peter was arrested and his court case began in my final year of university. In October 2018, Peter Coomer, 42, pleaded guilty to multiple charges of sexually penetrating a child under 16, indecent acts with a child, giving a drug of dependence to a child and assaults. He was later sentenced to nine years and 11 months in prison.

I’d had to face him in court and relive the trauma of my youth. I began having flashbacks, nightmares and persistent unrelenting anxiety and depression.

By now I was 27 and the support I had found in the youth sector was no longer available to me.

I knew I needed help. However, accessing public services can take months.

I’d only been taking painkillers intermittently, but by the time I could finally access these services, my use had started to get out of control.

I spent four years on and off months-long waiting lists for twelve day stays in detoxes focused mostly on relapse prevention, with very little trauma management or therapy groups.

In one place, I was stripsearched on entry. Our phones and electronics were confiscated. We weren’t allowed to access the supermarket in case we stole something. We were made to feel like naughty children and told that we should “be grateful to have more privileges than those in prison”.

It felt as though I didn’t belong with the rest of ‘proper’ society. I was deviant. It compounded my shame and my trauma festered away inside me, unaddressed.

Then COVID-19 hit and the government raised Jobseeker. All of a sudden I could afford private health insurance.

The difference was like night and day.

I was almost immediately placed in a program to help me manage emotional distress and cope with crisis. It was a four-week intensive inpatient stay, in which I saw a psychiatrist daily, a psychologist once or twice a week, and five days a week group therapy.

I wasn’t treated like a naughty child, or a criminal. I wasn’t assumed to be inherently immoral and incapable. All the nurses knew my name straight away and would often check in on me. One nurse spent a great deal of time with me while I cried, offering guidance and support – a far cry from the nurses locked behind their assault-proof doors in the public clinics.

I finally have hope, finally feel I have a safety net – a real safety net. I feel supported enough to feel confident going back to university and work.

I never knew such a place existed, that treatment like this was available.

Why is our mental health system so lacking when it comes to income? How is it that in Australia the outcomes for victims of violent crime are determined by how much money they make?

We cannot claim everyone has the same chances in our society. Those who are in the upper classes get a leg-up should they fall, the rest of us languish and are mocked as bludgers or miscreants – the undeserving poor.

I have been labelled an addict and a bludger, as though my issues are a result of deviancy and not a lifetime of abuse. Not the fault of the perpetrator but my shame to bear. Poverty has compounded my health issues, and I am made to feel as though I bought it on myself.

Being able to finally afford private health with a boosted Jobseeker payment has given me hope that I can manage my trauma.

Now they wish to pull those on welfare back below the poverty line. That small window I got to get ahead is now being steadily stripped from me, compounded by the lack of funding into the public health sector. It’s a double edged sword. Pull funding from public health and then cut welfare so low you can’t afford the healthcare you need to get ahead.

It’s almost like they don’t want us to be able to get ahead. Inequality grows in this Lucky Country.

All I ever wanted was a normal life, to be able to participate in the world, to work in policy, to work in advocacy, to be able to achieve my greatness. I would like, as the government is suggesting, to prioritise my mental health – but I wonder when the government will wake up to the fact that equality in healthcare should be its priority.

Tara Schultz received a court order to share her story via the #LetUsSpeak campaign, created by Nina Funnell in partnership with news.com.au, Marque Lawyers, End Rape On Campus Australia and Rape & Sexual Assault Research & Advocacy.

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Problems downloading Google apps on your Huawei smartphone? This is the reason

The conflict between the Chinese technology company and the US government could prevent you from using your favorite applications.

2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

If you recently released a Huawei brand smartphone , you may have a problem installing Google applications. The reason behind the new “failure” would be the fight that the United States government maintains against the Chinese multinational.

Last September, Huawei announced that its devices would no longer have Google services by default. Despite the decision, there were ways to download the tech giant’s apps, but now they are failing. In addition, it is possible that smartphones that already had Google installed also begin to present difficulties.

A Reddit user reported problems downloading the company’s apps on a Huawei device. The person had Google services on his computer, thanks to the methods that have emerged in recent months. Even so, in one of the latest updates to Google applications, it has been impossible to install the APKs manually.

The error that pops up is that the application is not compatible with the device’s CPU, something that had not been seen before on Huawei mobiles with Google services.

According to the media specialized in technology Gizchina, due to pressure from the US government, Google has blocked the possibility of installing its applications on Huawei mobiles. The measure would also apply to teams that have Google services thanks to the “trick”.

This is very bad news for users, as they could be without access to these applications. It only remains to wait for the conflict to be resolved after the results of the United States elections. Or, find a way to “circumvent” the system to install our favorite Google apps on any Huawei smartphone.

See also: Huawei presents its high-end Mate 40 devices

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COVID-19: ‘Every reason’ to believe some areas in England could have restrictions eased before Christmas | Politics News

Some parts of England could have their coronavirus restrictions eased before Christmas, a cabinet minister has told Sky News.

Speaking to Kay Burley, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said there was “every reason” to believe some areas could be moved down the COVID-19 tier system when there is a review in the middle of December.

Search your area on this map to find out which tier it has been placed in

“It is possible,” he said.

“There will be a review point in 14 days’ time, around December 16.

“At that point we – advised by the experts – will look at each local authority area and see whether there is potential to move down the tiers.

“There were a number of places which were quite finely balanced judgments where they were on the cusp of different tiers. Those are the places that are more likely to be in that position.”

Mr Jenrick said a relaxation of restrictions over Christmas – which will see three households allowed to mix over five days – will likely “drive some higher rate of infection”.

“Our overall approach is trying to ensure the tiers hold the line and that places are in a process of de-escalation,” he continued.

“What we don’t want to do is ease up too quickly and then find that in January we are having to put tiers back in place again.

“But there is every reason to believe that places could see a change at December 16-17 time.”

Ahead of the end of the second national lockdown on 2 December, the allocation of the tiers was revealed on Thursday.

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Labour not yet backing new tiers

It was revealed that 99% of England’s population will fall under the two toughest tiers.

About 32 million people – covering 57.3% of England – will fall into Tier 2.

But 23.3 million people – 41.5% of the population – are going to be placed in Tier 3.

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Tougher tiers could continue into 2021

Large parts of the Midlands, the North East and the North West will be subject to the severest measures.

Hospitality venues will be closed in the run-up to Christmas unless they can provide takeaway or delivery services, and households are forbidden from mixing indoors.

But figures suggest that, of the 119 areas that will be in Tier 3 from next week, only eight have reported a rise in coronavirus cases.

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Boris Johnson is facing the prospect of a revolt among Conservative MPs when the measures are put to a vote in the Commons next week.

According to a tally by Sky News, at least 48 Tory MPs have gone public with their concerns over tiering or have said they are unlikely to support the measures when it comes to a vote.

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Argentina’s win over All Blacks hints at real reason South Africa skipped The Rugby Championship

In fact, Matera and Kremer have been playing in the same back row at Stade Francais. No wonder they looked in sync as they constantly drove into All Blacks ball carriers for 80 minutes.

And when Stade started their Top 14 campaign with a victory away to Castres on September 13, Sanchez was pulling the strings from No.10 with countryman Benjamin Urdapilletta (who didn’t make the Tri Nations squad) standing opposite him in the home side’s playmaking role.

Videos of the Argentina side training in hotel rooms don’t tell the full story.Credit:Stuart Walmsley/Rugby AU Media

It could be a glimpse into a better future for Pumas rugby, and a reminder that the Jaguares’ forced exclusion from Super Rugby may actually help the Test team.

For all the excitement that greeted the Jaguares’ entrance into Super Rugby, it has not aided the Pumas and Ledesma hinted at why that has been the case after the win against the All Blacks.

Ledesma said the Pumas had stopped trying to be something they weren’t. Perhaps Super Rugby had conned them into trying to play like New Zealanders, when really they play more like the French.

So, guess where last week’s tighthead Francisco Gomez Kodela has been playing in recent months? In France, alongside Izack Rodda and Colby Fainga’a at Lyon.

Juan Imhoff played a Champions Cup final with Racing 92 just last month alongside Kurtley Beale.

Juan Imhoff played a Champions Cup final with Racing 92 just last month alongside Kurtley Beale.Credit:Getty

Pumas No.11 Juan Imhoff has also been in action in France (alongside Kurtley Beale at Racing), as have impact players Facundo Isa (Toulon) and Santiaga Cordero (Bordeaux).

Argentina have made enormous sacrifices to get to Australia, but don’t be fooled by social media videos into thinking they have been training in apartments, garages and hotel conference rooms for the past eight months.

Their success in beating the All Blacks also brings into question the Springboks’ non-participation.
You don’t need to read between the lines too much to know that Rugby Australia’s top brass were miffed at South Africa’s late withdrawal. Comments by Rob Clarke and Hamish McLennan suggested the Boks kept shifting the goalposts and were looking for a way out.

Player welfare and the complexities of putting together their squad from different parts of the world were offered as excuses, but such considerations didn’t seem to affect the Pumas.

‘The Rugby Championship/Tri Nations has turned out to be pleasantly entertaining and unpredictable.’

In fact, with so many South Africans playing in Europe you could argue that the Springboks would have been at least as well prepared as the Argentines.

So, we are entitled to take a slightly more cynical view and suggest the Springboks might have been engaging in a bit of reputation management. Why? If you look at what has happened to their top-line players in Europe in recent months, it is a tale of COVID-19, injuries and woe.

Just this week, Springboks halfback Faf de Klerk revealed that he suffered from a serious case of coronavirus as the disease swept through his Sale squad in the UK.

Prior to that, Springboks No.10 Handre Pollard (Montpellier) did his ACL, while Rugby World Cup ‘Bomb Squad’ behemoths Lood de Jager (Sale) and RG Snyman (Munster) are also busted, with de Jager suffering another shoulder injury while Snyman did his ACL on debut for the Irish province in August.


Could it be that South Africa, who are still basking in the glory of their Rugby World Cup win and reliving it through the Chasing the Sun documentary, took a look at these unexpected omissions and decided The Rugby Championship was looking less and less appealing by the minute?

The decision has cost the SANZAAR partners millions but is also South Africa’s loss. While the Autumn Nations tournament up north started in functional fashion last weekend and appears to include at least three ordinary sides (Wales, Scotland and Italy), the Rugby Championship/Tri Nations has turned out to be pleasantly entertaining and unpredictable.

Put that down to the Pumas – but just don’t call them underdone.

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