HYDERABAD WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 24, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION FACEBOOK KISSES AND MAKES UP WITH AUSTRALIAN GOVT LAST-MINUTE FACE-SAVING COMPROMISE The social media giant said talks were held with the Australian government to amend the proposed media bargaining laws 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 ■ $28 bn NEW LAW LIKELY TO BE PASSED THIS WEEK ■ ■ 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 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 der 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 . an analyst, consecutive Congress losses in all major elections has forced people to look for an alternative. “In 2017, peo- 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 un- ple 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 added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the verdict. “Thank you Gujarat! Results... clearly show the unwavering faith people have towards politics of development and good governance,” he tweeted. | P7 The gigantic Motera stadium is all set to host its first international match after renovation when India face England in 3rd Test from Wednesday 63 acres The total area in which the Sardar Patel Stadium has been built custody. The police had sought four more days of custody . While citing a couplet from Rig Veda, which says ‘let noble Too much Opposition, literally! A record number of 78 candidates are in the fray for WarangalKhammam-Nalgonda Graduates’ Constituency Legislative Council seat, elections for which are due on March 14. This includes candidates from the TRS, BJP and Congress as well as Kodandaram of the TJS and a greenhorn like Teenmaar Mallanna. Political pundits say that the main political parties apart, the rest ought to have arrived at a consensus to back one candidate. The large number of Independents in the fray would throw up a multi-cornered contest making it difficult to predict as to who will benefit 1,10,000 capacity makes it the largest cricket stadium in the world SIX FOUR NUMBER OF INDOOR PRACTICE PITCHES OLI SUFFERS A BLOW AS NEPAL SC REVIVES HOUSE In a major setback for Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, the country’s Supreme Court has reinstated Parliament, which was dissolved in December last year | P9 Dressing rooms with modern facilities 3 OUTDOOR PRACTICE FIELDS Third Test live on Hotstar/Star Sports: 2.30pm | P11 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,” said the judge. CONTINUED ON P7 ONE SEAT, MANY ASPIRANTS TRS BJP CONG TJS P Rajeshwar Reddy G Premender Reddy N Ramulu Naik Prof M Kodandaram B Jaya Saradhi Reddy CPI M Mallikarjuna Rao TDP N Thirumala Rao AAP Cheruku Sudhakar Inti Party K Prakash Rao Yuva Taram Party Teenmaar Mallanna (C Naveen Kumar) Independent During the discussion, attended by IT & Industries Minister KT NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Rama Rao and Biocon Executive Tuesday urged the industry stake- Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar holders to identify four or five Shaw, Kant was told that the indus‘moonshots’ while assuring that try was facing problems in terms the government will go ‘all out’ to of regulatory practices and lack of create the right ecosystem for these incentivisation. Rama Rao said sectors in terms of incentivising that India does not have enough inand providing quality infrastruc- tellectual property rights. “We do ture so that it takes the not have a great deal of country to the next level. success in discovering our In technology terms, own molecules. Policies ‘moonshot’ is an ambiencouraging entrepretious, groundbreaking We cannot afford neurs in this area needs to to say ‘we will project undertaken withbe in place,” he said. out expectation of near- build it, see what He also told Kant that breaks, and fix it’. term profitability . the policy of tax reducThat attitude While taking part in the tion for R&D development quite frankly is “CEO Conclave: Pursuit has been reduced from 200 not tolerated in of Innovation — From to 100 per cent and that any industry and Pharmacy of the World to worked counterproducit should not be Global Life Sciences Innoin the tech tive to the idea of Atindustry either vation Hub” panel at Biomanirbhar Bharat. Asia 2021, Kant said: Microsoft CEO Satya Satya Nadella, “Rather than spreading Nadella hoped that in the Microsoft CEO our resources too thin, let coming days there will be us identify four or five a set of global rules for moonshots which the country is data safety and privacy that will ambitious about and aim for it. In bind various bodies to comply and those five moonshots whatever it help in introducing safe innovatakes for India, on behalf of the tions. Speaking to KT Rama Rao in government, (we will do whatever) a fireside chat on the topic ‘Healthto create the right ecosystem — in care to Hit Refresh’, he said: “As terms of incentivising pharma or technology becomes pervasive in med tech companies, in terms of our lives and our economy we need , ensuring that there is government to take responsibility and ensure support of funds and quality and that we build for privacy security AI , , infrastructure.” ethics and internet safety .” Spurt not due to new virus variants: Govt 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 Mahara s h t r a , Ke r a l a a n d 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 Mad- candidates filed their nominations till Monday G Rani Rudrama Reddy Yuva Telangana Party E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi 48 PROMINENT CANDIDATES IDENTIFY 5 ‘MOONSHOTS’, GOVT WILL TAKE COUNTRY TO NEXT LEVEL, SAYS KANT BJP workers celebrate after winning civic body elections in Ahmedabad | PTI Grand and grandeur No floodlights but LED lights fitted on the roof will illuminate the stadium Disha Ravi (C) arrives at Patiala House Court, in Delhi on Tuesday | SHEKHAR YADAV 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 hya Pradesh. So far, 200 cases of the UK variant, six cases of the South African variant and one case of Brazilian variant of SARS CoV 2 have been found out of the 3,500-genome sequencing carried out in India since December. At least five states in India have reported a gradual rise in active Covid cases over the past several days. The active coronavirus cases in the country have crawled up to over 1.5 lakh after touching a low of 1.3 lakh cases earlier this month. 30 contestants submitted their papers on Tuesday alone BACK TO SCHOOL FOR CLASSES 6 TO 8 IN TS FROM TODAY | P3 Manthani advocates seek CBI probe, fast-track court E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Peddapalli THE Manthani Bar Association on Tuesday wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India as well as Telangana High Court Chief Justice, seeking a probe by CBI or an independent agency into the murder of lawyer couple Gattu Vaman Rao and Nagamani, implying that they had no faith in the investigation by the State police. The association also wanted a fast-track court to be set up to dispose of the case at the earliest, to ensure justice for the kin of the slain advocates. The association, which wrote to the chief justices after it adopted a resolution to this effect on Monday, also decided to help the kin of the victims to the extent possible and resolved not to argue in court on behalf of the accused. It also decided to request bar associations in other towns to honour its decision. The Bar Association dropped its proposal to initiate legal proceedings against Ramagundam Police Commissioner V Satyanarayana for his comments that there existed a “legal factionism” in Manthani, after he expressed his regret. 3 more detained On Tuesday, police detained three more persons — Babu, Raghu and Srinu in connection with the murders. They are accused of making knives and axes, and selling them to Bittu Seenu and Kunta Srinivas. The police produced Bittu Seenu in Manthani court while the hearing on custody petition by the police for the other three accused in the case — Kunta Srinivas, Sivanandula Chiranjeevi and Akkapaka Kumar — was adjourned to Wednesday
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