KANNUR z WEDNESDAY z FEBRUARY 24, 2021 z `7.00 z PAGES 14 z 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 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 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 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 RaGa launches UDF’s poll campaign in state capital Wayanad MP alleges BJP, LDF engaging in match-fixing in gold smuggling case ‘IF CPM, YOU CAN SMUGGLE GOLD BY SITTING IN CMO’ E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram CONGRESS leader Rahul Gandhi launched If you hold the CPM flag, you can Thank you @RahulGandhi for being the UDF’s election campaign in the state smuggle gold by sitting in the CMO. the voice of UDF. Gratitude for capital on Tuesday by coming down heavIf with the LDF, you are guaranteed lending voice for the youth, ily on the LDF government over the recent to get all the jobs. Or else, you will fishermen and all Keralites who are allegations and issues and, noticeably, by have to go on a hunger strike. But suffering due to the misrule of CPM. singling out the chief minister’s office. the CM will not budge to hold talks Your voice shall echo at every corner with the protestors even if they die of Kerala Rahul mentioned “nepotism” while highlighting the raging protest by the job aspirRahul Gandhi Ramesh Chennithala ants figuring in the PSC rank list and said they are being overlooked for recruiting CPM loyalists through the back door. Kerala boasts the most number of qualified youths and it needs to be asked why they are not getting jobs, he said. “If you hold the CPM flag, you can do gold smuggling by sitting even in the CMO. If you are with the LDF, you are guaranteed to get all the jobs. Or else, you will have to go on a hunger strike. But the chief minister will not budge to hold talks with the protestors even if they die,” Rahul told a sea of supporters gathered at the Shanghumugham beach for the culmination event of the Aishwarya Kerala Yatra led by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala. Rahul did not fail to bring in the deep- Rahul Gandhi, MP, greets Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala at the valedictory function of Congress’ Aishwarya Kerala Yatra in T’Puram on Tuesday. Former CM sea fishing deal controversy and said the fishermen’s livelihood is going to be Oommen Chandy, MPs Rajmohan Unnithan and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, and KPCC chief Mullappally Ramachandran are also seen | B P DEEPU affected. Rahul, who criticised the LDF government’s manifesto saying that nothing has gone right for the people but only for the Effort to end Latin church ‘BJP’s tactics Left organisations, said the UDF’s maniPSC stalemate critical of govt won’t succeed’ festo will be “a guarantee”. The government is Despite the state The BJP need not “We are asking thousands and thoumaking efforts to cancelling a deepnurse the ambition sands of people what they want. You are end the stalemate sea fishing deal, the of weaning away telling us what we should do. You will see over the PSC job Latin Catholic LDF MLAs in Kerala the best manifesto which would make you aspirants’ fast. Church has come out like it was doing with proud. There will be no line that will say Various department with sharp criticism Congress MLAs in that it will destroy the lives of the fisherheads submitted the of the deal as it other parts of the men, farmers or the organisation. It is golists of existing could affect the country, said CPM ing to be the commitment towards the peovacancies to the livelihood of the acting secretary ple of Kerala. It won’t be a hollow word, chief secretary. state’s fishermen. A Vijayaraghavan. but a guarantee”, added Rahul. 1 Grand and grandeur The gigantic Motera stadium is all set to host its first international match after renovation when India face England in 3rd Test from Wednesday No floodlights but LED lights fitted on the roof will illuminate the stadium 63 acres The total area in which the Sardar Patel Stadium has been built 1,10,000 capacity makes it the largest cricket stadium in the world SIX FOUR NUMBER OF INDOOR PRACTICE PITCHES Dressing rooms with modern facilities 3 OUTDOOR PRACTICE FIELDS Third Test live on Hotstar/Star Sports: 2.30pm | P11 EXPRESS READ Fishing deal: Centre warned state, says minister T’Puram: Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Tuesday said the state government inked the MoU with EMCC for a D2,950-crore project for deep-sea fishing even after the Centre conveyed to the state that the US company was not trustworthy. The information was passed on to the state government in reply to a letter of the Fisheries Department Secretary K R Jyothilal, he said. P4 2 3 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. Sabarimala and anti-conversion laws likely in BJP manifesto Blow to PM Oli as Nepal apex court revives House A N I L S @T’Puram EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE CLOSE on the heels of the UDF promising to bring in a legislation to protect the customs of the Sabarimala hill shrine if voted to power, the BJP is planning to propose a law regarding the administration of the state’s temples -including Sabarimala -- in its election manifesto. Besides the promise of freeing the administration of Sabarimala from political interference, the saffron party is likely to include a slew of other legislations such as prevention of religious conversion through marriage, appointments of last grade servants and reclamation of temple assets. “The party has already indicated it would introduce an Uttar Pradeshmodel law to prevent conversion under the guise of marriage,” sources said, adding the party might hold discussions with Church leaders in this regard. “There are plans to bring in an ordinance mandating that all last grade appointments to government, quasi-government bodies, public sector units and universities under the PSC should be made from the existing rank list. As the last grade comprises unskilled workers, appointments can be made from this list,” said K S Radhakrishnan, convener of the manifesto committee. Another legislation on reclaiming the movable and immovable properties of the state’s temples is also on the ● More on P4 cards. 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. In a landmark ruling on Tuesday, a fivemember Constitutional bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher annulled the Oli government’s ‘unconstitutional’ decision to dissolve the 275-member lower house of Parliament. The court also ordered the government to summon the House session within the next 13 days. Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 after President Bidya Dev Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of PM Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party In his letter, Oli said he controlled 64% . majority in the House and the country needed a fresh mandate of the people to ensure stability . Oli’s move to dissolve the House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by his rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, also a co-chair of the ruling party As many as 13 writ petitions including . the one by the ruling party’s Chief Whip Dev Prasad Gurung were filed in the apex court seeking the restoration of the lower house parliament. ‘Surge in cases not due CM writes to to new Covid variants’ PM on K’taka border curbs S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ 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 Madhya 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. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram CHIEF Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his urgent intervention to address the hardships faced by people after Karnataka imposed restrictions on entry of people from Kerala. The curbs were put in place in the wake of a spike in Covid cases in the state. Pinarayi said the restrictions were against the Union government’s instructions barring anyone state from preventing interstate travel. The CM said several people including students, patients going for medical treatment and trucks carrying essential commodities were put through undue hardships at the state borders. Cong swept out by BJP in Guj civic 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 polls, the Congress was forced to cede a part of its opposition space to AAP and to a lesser extent to Asaduddin Owasi’s MIM. 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. 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.
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