tirupati l wednesday l february 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l anantapur EDITION Facebook kisses and makes up with Australian govt The social media giant said talks were held with the Australian government to amend the proposed media bargaining laws Last-minute face-saving compromise New law likely to be passed this week According to reports, the face-saving compromise will see Facebook as well as internet search giant Google plunge tens of millions of dollars into the struggling local news sector. In return, the US digital firms will not be subjected to mandatory payments that could cost them vastly more and create what they see as an alarming global precedent ■ ■ ■ Facebook had blocked news feed in Australia last week following dispute on paying news organisations for sharing content Inadvertently, some government pages and announcements on Covid-19 were blocked too, drawing backlash Australian Parliament is expected to pass the law this week $28 bn Facebook’s revenue in the October-december 2020 quarter CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Proof sketchy, court shows the bail Disha Says people can’t be arrested just because they disagree with govt policies; invoking sedition to massage egos not done K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to 22-year-old climate change activist Disha Ravi, who was arrested in connection with the toolkit case, citing scanty and sketchy investigation. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana said, “Citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic nation. They cannot be put behind bars simply because they choose to disagree with the state policies. The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments.” The 18-page bail order said, “Even our founding fathers accorded due respect to divergence of opinion by recognising the freedom of speech and expression as an inviolable fundamental right.” Shortly after bail was granted, another judge, Pankaj Sharma, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of the Patiala House Court, disposed of a Delhi Police application seeking Disha’s extended Cong swept out by BJP in Guj local body polls S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i A listless Congress found itself whipped by the electorate in Gujarat, as results of the local body polls came in on Tuesday . While there was no surprise in the BJP sweeping the municipal corporation elections, the Congress was forced to cede a part of its opposition space to Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and to a lesser extent to Asaduddin Owasi’s Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen. Of the six municipal corporations that went to polls, the Congress drew a blank in Surat and trailed way behind the BJP in the other five. In contrast, the AAP won 27 seats in Surat while the BJP got 93 of the 120 that were up for grabs. In the Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation, out of 192 seats, the BJP was way ahead of the Congress, while MIM opened account with 7 seats. In the Jamnagar Municipal Corporation, the BJP won 50 while Congress got 11 and the BSP 3. In Bhavnagar, Vadodara and Rajkot municipal corporations, the Congress could not even reach double figures, winning 8, 7 and 4 respectively as against , the BJP’s 44, 69 and 68. The Congress has been out of power in the Gujarat for 25 years. In the 2017 state polls under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, it gave the BJP a scare, scoring 87 as against the BJP’s 96 in a 182-member Assembly. Subsequent defections weakened the party and reduced it to 61. The Gujarat blow comes a day after the Congress lost power in Puducherry According to . BJP workers celebrate after winning civic body elections in Ahmedabad | PTI an analyst, consecutive Congress losses in all major elections has forced people to look for an alternative. “In 2017, people of Gujarat wanted to vote out BJP but the , Congress failed to capitalise on it. Continuingnfighting in its Gujarat unit, too, is a factor in the poor performance,” he P7 added. Disha Ravi (C) arrives at Patiala House Court, in Delhi on Tuesday | Shekhar Yadav custody. The police had sought four more days of custody . While citing a couplet from Rig Veda, which says ‘let noble Celestial ride record, I do not find any palpable reasons to breach the general rule of ‘Bail’ against a 22-yearold young lady, with absolutely blemish-free criminal antecedents and having firm roots in the society and send her to jail.” , He also said the police are in the process of collecting more evidence and so they cannot be allowed to further restrict the liberty of a citizen on the basis of propitious anticipations. “The resistance to bail plea seems to be more ornamental in nature,” P7 said the judge. Govt to provide `15K to upper caste women under EBC Nestham scheme E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada From the financial year 202122, financial assistance of `15,000 per year will be extended to women in the age group of 45-60 from Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) belonging to upper castes such as Brahmin, Vysya, Velama, Kshatriya, Kamma, Reddy, Muslims among others on the lines of Kapu Nestam and YSR Cheyutha. A decision to this effect was taken in the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday . The new scheme -- EBC Nestham -- has been allocated `670 crore and every year for the next three years, the beneficiaries will be provided `15,000 as financial assistance per annum. It will be implemented in November and is Major Cabinet decisions The State government took several policy decisions at the Cabinet meet Plan to speed up probe into ACB cases The Cabinet resolved to amend the laws to speed up the investigation in corruption cases. It has been proposed to reduce the time for probe into ACB cases against employees from two years to 100 days and ACB officials need to face action if they fail to complete the probe within the deadline expected to benefit 6 lakh women. The Cabinet also approved the Welfare Programme Calendar for the financial year 2021-22 in which dates have been fixed for the implementation of 23 different welfare programmes. Briefing the media, Minis- Govt’s nod to raise `3,000 cr by AMRDA The Cabinet approved the proposal of extending government guarantee to raise H3,000 crore from banks by the AMRDA for the development of trunk (roads and allied) infrastructure and Land Pooling Scheme (LPS) layouts for farmers in Amaravati region ter for I&PR Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) said in April, Vasati Deevena will be implemented, benefiting 15.56 lakh students. Jagananna Vidya Deevena (Total Fee Reimbursement) for 18.18 lakh beneficiaries will be implemented in April, July, December and February 2022. In April, Ryots to get back 2K acres notified for Kakinada SEZ E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The deities of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi being taken out on the newly built chariot as part of annual Rathotsavam on Tuesday I Express thoughts come to me from all directions,’ the judge said, “Difference of opinion, disagreement, divergence, dissent, or for that matter even disapprobation, are recognised legitimate tools to infuse objectivity in state policies. An aware and assertive citizenry , in contradistinction with an indifferent or docile citizenry, is indisputably a sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy .” Expressing concern over the sketchy probe, th court said, “Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence available on The State Cabinet met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday resolved to , return the 2,180 acres of land notified for acquisition for the Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ), to farmers. It is probably the second such instance in the country, after Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal, where the lands notified for the Special Economic Zones were returned to the farmers following their opposition to the projects. “People of six villages -- Sriramp u ram, Ban d ip e t a, Mummidivaripodu, Pativaripalem, Ravivaripodu and Ramaraghavapuram -- need not be vacated as proposed by the previous governments. Further, all the burial grounds taken away from these villages will be returned. Moreover, the restrictions imposed on land transactions in these villages under 22A of the Registration Act will be lifted,” Minister for Information and Public Relations Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) told mediapersons, while briefing the Cabinet decisions. The decision was taken based on the recommendations of the committee set up by the government with Agriculture Minister K Kannababu as its chairman in January. The committee submitted its report to the Chief Minister on Tuesday . The Cabinet also decided to provide `5 lakh more per acre to 657 acres of land notified for the SEZ in addition to the already announced compensation by the government and GMR company, so that the farmers will not be hit. P5 Big relief People of 6 villages need not move from their places as they were exempted from the purview of Kakinada SEZ More aid A sum of `5 lakh more will be paid to farmers for 656 acres of notified land for Special Economic Zone cracking the whip 15 Durga temple employees suspended for anomalies E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada With the ACB officials reportedly unearthing serious financial irregularities in various departments of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam, the Endowments D e p a r t m e n t o n T u e s d ay cracked the whip by suspending 15 employees, including five superintendent rank officials, holding them responsible for the anomalies. The suspension came following the ACB raids on the offices of Durga temple for three consecutive days from February 18. The raids were conducted based on a petition filed by some temple staff. The ACB conducted de- tailed investigation into different wings such as darshan ticket counters, saree auction counter and godowns, annadanam stores, prasadam counters, main provision stores, engineering department and administration wing. Apart from the financial irregularities, the ACB found that the temple Ex- ecutive Officer MV Suresh Babu had ‘violated’ instructions of the Endowments Commissioner in awarding tender to an agency to guard the temple premises, sources said. Endowments Special Commissioner P Arjuna Rao issued an order on Tuesday suspending 15 temple staff for ‘committing anomalies and causing loss to temple exchequer.’ P5 ACB raids The ACB raids were conducted for three days from Feb 18 based on a petition filed by some staff interest free loan dues (Rabi 2019, Kharfi 2020) will be provided to 66.11 lakh beneficiaries. In the same month, interest free loans for 90.37 lakh DWCRA women will be provided. In May crop insurance pre, mium for Kharif 2020 will be paid to 9.48 lakh farmers, financial assistance under Matsyakara Bharosa will be paid to 1.09 lakh fishermen families and diesel subsidy under Matsyakara Bharosa will be paid to 19,746 beneficiaries. In June, under Jagananna Vidya Kanuka scheme, school kits will be provided to 42.34 lakh beneficiaries, financial assistance will be provided to 24.55 lakh beneficiaries under YSR Cheyutha. In July under YSR , Vahana Mitra, 2.74 lakh will be extended financial aid and 3.27 lakh beneficiaries will be provided financial assistance P4 under Kapu Nestham. pandemic Surge in cases not due to new Covid variants S u m i S u k a n ya D u tta @ New Delhi The Centre on Tuesday clarified that the recent spurt in Covid-19 cases in some states is not due to the mutated versions of the coronavirus. “Based on information available to us, yes these variants are there but there’s no reason to believe that these are responsible for the upsurge of the outbreak in some districts of Maharashtra and Kerala,” said V K Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog. Paul, who also heads the national Covid-19 task force, added two variants of SARS CoV 2 — N440K and E484K — have been detected in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana. Kerala has 38% of the total active cases of the country while Maharashtra has 37%. The other states showing an upward trend in daily Covid-19 cases are Punjab, Chhattisgarh and MP .
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