visakhapatnam l wednesday l february 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l late city 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 Congress got 11 and the BSP 3. In Bhavnagar, Vadodara and A listless Congress found itself Rajkot municipal corporations, whipped by the electorate in the Congress could not even Gujarat, as results of the local reach double figures, winning body polls came in on Tuesday 8, 7 and 4 respectively as against . , While there was no surprise in the BJP’s 44, 69 and 68. the BJP sweeping the The Congress has municipal corporabeen out of power in tion elections, the EC meet today the Gujarat for 25 to decide Congress was forced years. In the 2017 to cede a part of its state polls under Rapoll dates opposition space to hul Gandhi’s leaderNew Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal’s ship, it gave the BJP Aam Aadmi Party Election Commission a scare, scoring 87 as (AAP) and to a lesser will hold a meeting against the BJP’s 96 on Wednesday to extent to Asaduddin in a 182-member AsOwasi’s Majlis-e-Itte- finalise the election sembly. Subsequent schedule for five had-ul-Muslimeen. defections weakened states — Assam, Of the six municithe party and repal corporations that West Bengal, Tamil duced it to 61. Nadu, Puducherry went to polls, the The Gujarat blow Cong ress drew a and Kerala. Sources comes a day after the said polls in West blank in Surat and Congress lost power trailed way behind Bengal will be held in Puducherry. Acin six to eight the BJP in the other cording to an anafive. In contrast, the phases while Assam lyst, consecutive is likely to vote in AAP won 27 seats in Congress losses in all Surat while the BJP two to three phases. major elections has got 93 of the 120 that forced people to look were up for grabs. for an alternative. In the Ahmadabad Munici“In 2017, people of Gujarat pal Corporation, out of 192 wanted to vote out BJP but the , seats, the BJP was way ahead Congress failed to capitalise on of the Congress, while MIM it. Continuingnfighting in opened account with 7 seats. In its Gujarat unit, too, is a factor the Jamnagar Municipal Cor- in the poor performance,” he P9 poration, the BJP won 50 while added. S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i 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,” P9 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, an assistance of `15,000 per year will be extended to women in the age group of 4560 from Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) belonging to upper castes such as Brahmin, Vysya, Velama, Kshatriya, Kamma, Reddy, and Muslims among others on the lines of Kapu Nestham 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 for the next three years, beneficiaries will be provided `15,000 as financial assistance per annum. It will be implemented in November and is expected to benefit 6 lakh women. Other Cabinet decisions A look at two of the important ones Plan to speed up probe into ACB cases The Cabinet resolved to amend the laws to speed up the investigation of 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 inquiry within the deadline 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, Minister for Information and Public Relations Perni Venkata- 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 capital region ramaiah (Nani) said in April, Vasathi Deevena will be implemented, benefiting 15.56 lakh students. Jagananna Vidya Deevena (Total fee reimbursement) for 18.18 lakh student beneficiaries will be implemented in April, July, December and February 2022. In April, interest free loan 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 which 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. P7 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 reportedly unearthing serious financial irregularities in various departments of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam, the Endowments Department on Tuesday 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 detailed investigation into various wings such as darshan ticket counters, saree auction counter and godowns, annadanam stores, prasadam counters, main provision stores, engineering and administration offices. Apart from the financial irregularities, the ACB found that the temple Executive Of- ficer MV Suresh Babu had ‘violated’ instructions of the Endowments Commissioner in awarding tender to a security 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.’ P7 ACB raids The ACB raids were conducted for three days from Feb 18 based on a petition filed by some staff dues (Rabi 2019, Kharif 2020) will be provided to 66.11 lakh beneficiaries. In the same month, interest free loans for 90.37 lakh DWCRA women will also 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 provided to 1.09 lakh fishermen families and diesel subsidy under Matsyakara Bharosa will be extended to 19,746 beneficiaries. In June, under Jag ananna Vidya Kanuka, school kits will be provided to 42.34 lakh beneficiaries and financial assistance will be extended to 24.55 lakh beneficiaries under YSR Cheyutha. In July under YSR Vahana , Mitra, 2.74 lakh beneficiaries will be extended aid and 3.27 lakh beneficiaries will get financial assistance under P4 Kapu Nestham. pandemic Surge in cases not due to new Covid variants 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 MP .
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24-02-2021 of The New Indian Express-Vishakapatnam