Sweden’s PM Magdalena Andersson kollam l tuesday l may 17, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION after finland, now sweden confirms bid to join nato Citing threats from Russia, Sweden said on Monday it will seek to join NATO, reversing two centuries of military non-alignment Best thing for our security: Swedish PM putin warns of consequences Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said NATO membership is “the best thing for Sweden’s security”, a day after neighbouring Finland confirmed its plan to seek a berth in the alliance. The historic shift in Stockholm’s security policy comes amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has led to a rise in public support in Sweden for joining NATO ■ President Vladimir Putin warned that the expansion of NATO military assets to these countries will provoke a Russian response ■ It may take about one year for the alliance’s 30 members to ratify Sweden’s application. NATO has assured Sweden of support in case it faces Russian aggression in the meantime | P9 51% People in Sweden support nato membership, as per a poll CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Stoned on SilverLine, state govt opts for geo-tagging E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram In a major climbdown in the wake of stiff opposition, the state government has abandoned stone laying for the Social Impact Assessment for SilverLine project. The revenue department has directed K-Rail to go for either geo-tagging or marking on permanent structures instead of boundary stones. Opposition UDF hailed the decision as the first victory of the anti-SilverLine protests, while Revenue Minister K Rajan came up with a face saver, saying the decision was taken to speed up SIA. Stone laying has not been completely stopped, he added. The K-Rail Corporation has recently suggested that stone laying can be done in places where land owners give consent. In other locations, alignments can be demarcated by marking on permanent structures. The government has given its nod for the proposal, the minister said. In a letter to the state government on May 5, the K-Rail managing director said that the alignment of SilverLine has been finalised using LIDAR survey The . alignment can be established in the field by GPS coordinates. He requested the government to consider taking up SIA within this framework in view of the project’s priority and stiff resistance from the people. Further to this request, the additional chief secretary (revenue) directed the officials concerned to opt for geotagging using either an app or a software. The government’s decision comes amid protests from different corners a g ainst laying stones. Many experts including former railway officials have pointed out that stone laying was not mandatory for SIA. It was further alleged that land acquisition was the real intention behind stone lay● More on P4 ing. Union min: Decision after realising that project won’t get Central nod E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram THE state government halted the laying of survey stones for the SilverLine semi high-speed rail project after it became clear that it will not get Central approval, Union Minister V Muraleedharan has said. The BJP leader said the Pinarayi Vijayan government had to accept defeat following public protest and termed the freeze on stone laying as a victory for the people of the state. Muraleedharan said the LDF government, which discussed the project with experts, realised the common man’s resentment when the ruling party went to the streets seeking votes for the Thrikkakara bypoll, he said. “Adequate compensation should be given to those who were injured in the attack by the police and CPM-supported anti-social elements. The cases registered against anti-SilverLine protesters should be withdrawn,” he demanded. Shivalinga? Gyanvapi area sealed Apex court to hear plea today challenging a Varanasi court-mandated survey of the mosque Na m i ta Ba j pa i @ Lucknow Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering on the 2566th Buddha Jayanti and Lumbini Day 2022 in Lumbini | pti PM uses buddhism to strengthen nepal ties na’s influence in Nepal. “China uses Buddhism for Connected by the noble political reasons. We are thread of Buddhism, India glad that India and Nepal and Nepal are deepening ties are strengthening again. ties in many spheres, Prime Nepalese leaders need to be Minister Narendra Modi mindful of Chinese political said during a day-long visit manoeuvres,” said Tenzin to Lumbini, the birthplace Lekshay spokesperson for of Lord Buddha on the occa- t h e C e n t r a l T i b e t a n sion of Buddha Administration. Sister Purnima. For long China city pact “Today’s meethas sought to develing with PM @ op Lumbini and reIndia and Nepal SherBDeuba was agreed in principle cently offered $3 bilexcellent. We dislion to make it a to establish sister city relations cussed the full World Peace City range of relations between Lumbini and through the Asia Pabetween India Kushinagar, that are cific Exchange and among the holiest and Nepal,” Modi Cooperation Founsites of Buddhism, dation. But China’s tweeted. He also laid the founda- a statement by the interest in Nepal tion stone for the Ministry of External through its Belt and Affairs said India InternationRoad Initiative (BRI) al Centre for Budis making people dhist Culture and Heritage wary . besides visiting the famous “I have always told my Mayadevi temple along with friends in Nepal that you are his Nepal counterpart Sher second in line after Tibet to Bahadur Deuba. Both sides be occupied by China. Nepal signed six pacts. seems to have understood Modi’s visit as cheered up China’s objective and has Tibetans, many of whom pushed back in India’s fahope it will help reduce Chi- vour,” Lekshay said. Ye s h i Se l i @ New Delhi basking in ‘silver’ shine From addressing poverty through women power, Kudumbashree, arguably the world’s largest women’s network, goes into uncharted sectors in 25 years The controversial court-mandated videography of the Gyanvapi mosque complex on Monday took a dramatic turn with a Varanasi court ordering the sealing of a pond after claims of having spotted a ‘Shivalinga’ in it, though the other side said it was just a defunct fountain. The pond is used by Muslim devotees for wuzu or purification rituals before offering namaz. The ongoing drama will shift to the Supreme Court on Tuesday where a bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and P S Narasimha will hear a plea filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid that manages the affairs of the Gyanvapi mosque, challenging the court-mandated survey . The Varanasi court’s order came even as the videography was on, as one lawyer Harishankar Jain, representing a plaintiff, left the survey team midway and filed an court application about the ‘Shivalinga’. “As it is a very important piece of evidence, the area should be sealed immediately for its safe- Policemen stand guard during the third and last day of the controversial videographic survey at the Gyanvapi mosque complex, in Varanasi on Monday | PTI Report to be out today Varanasi District Magistrate Kushal Raj Sharma and court-appointed Advocate General Ajay Kumar Mishra neither confirmed nor denied the presence of the Shivalinga, saying it might be someone’s personal claim. Having concluded the three-day survey on Monday, they said the report will be submitted to the court on Tuesday A r s h a d K h a n @ New Delhi Airfares are likely to soar further as the government has hiked jet fuel prices by 5.29%, its 10th hike in the year so far. Fares have already shot up by 25-40% this year. The latest jump would only make flying costlier. Jet fuel rates account for about 40% of an airline’s running cost. Fares in many sectors have nearly doubled in the last two years or so. A quick search on any travel portal shows that a one-way flight in the busy Delhi-Mumbai sector is priced between `6,550-7,850 (May 23, non-stop, economy) while in the DelhiBengaluru sector it is `8,400- 9,850. In the early 2020s, before Covid struck, a one-way DelhiMumbai economy class flight booked a week in advance was priced roughly at `3,500. For the Delhi-Bengaluru sector at that point in time, it was about `5,000. Multiple ticketing agents this newspaper spoke to said airfares in 2022 alone have shot up by up to 40% for tickets booked for flights that would take-off in 15 days, while it went up by up to 25-30% if booked after 15 days. Rajiv Mehra, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators, told this newspaper, “510% hike is absorbable but when the fares go up by 30-40%, it dents the tourism sector. Ignorant of HC acquittal, govt won’t let woman off If anyone still doubts the speed at which papers move in government offices, here’s another classic example. The Kerala government recently dismissed a request to repeal the life imprisonment of a 37-year-old Angamaly native woman convicted in a 2016 case of killing her eight-year-old son. But there’s a twist: A division bench of the Kerala High Court had acquitted Teena Baiju of the charges in February. Simply put, the government is una- ware of this even two months after the court order. It was on February 16 this year that a division bench comprising Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice C Jayachandran acquitted Teena on her appeal petition. On April 29, however, the Kerala Government Order (GO) issued by the home department stated that the request for remission of the sentence as per Section 131 of Ker- EXPRESS READ Indigo ‘mishandled’ passenger: DGCA New Delhi: Indigo staff acted inappropriately in not allowing a specially-abled child from boarding a flight at the Ranchi airport last month, a preliminary probe by the DGCA has found. Spl team starts probe into watcher’s absence Palakkad: The police team formed under the leadership of Agali DySP N Muralidharan on Monday launched the investigation into the disappearance of forest watcher Rajan from Sairindhri in the Silent Valley national forests. Pricey fuel set to make travel by flights costlier TWIST IN TALE T o b y A n t o n y @Kochi ty,” he said in his application. Jain also sought a ban on the entry of Muslims in that area besides allowing not more than 20 people to offer namaz Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar, while directing the district administration to seal the area of the wuzu pond, ordered restricted entry of people into that part of the mosque premises, but did not put a figure to it. The judge, however, made the state chief secretary and director general of police responsible for the supervision of the sealing process and the work done by the district magistrate, commissioner of police and the CRPF for the execution of the order. The Muslim side was shocked that the court ordered the sealing without hearing it. “The other side is misguiding the nation by calling a defunct fountain a Shivalinga,” said Raees Ahmad Ansari, the lawyer of Anjuman Intenzamia Masjid. Abhay Nath Yadav, representing the Muslim side, said everyone should wait for the submission of the survey report and subsequent court verdict without jumping to conclusions. District Magistrate Kushal Raj Sharma said after receiving the order, the wuzu pond area was isolated and sealed, adding alternative arrangements for wuzu were being made to ensure that Muslims did not face any problem in offering namaz. Other lawyers accompanying the court commission during the survey termed it a ‘historic day’ saying the evidence they collected would play a key role in all cases related to Gyanvapi in different courts. ala Criminal Rules of Practice by Teena has been rejected. She was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Ernakulam Additional District and Sessions Court on November 20, 2020, after convicting her of murder and attempt to commit suicide. The incident related to the case happened on April 30, 2016. Following a domestic discord with her husband, Teena administered five sleeping pills to her son. Later, she cut the vein on her right wrist and consumed a pesticide to die by suicide. During trial, the court observed that Teena’s husband used to torture her after consuming alcohol. When Teena filed an appeal against the Additional Sessions Court verdict at the High Court, she also sought a provision for remission of the sentence. Based on it, the government sought reports from the authorities concerned including the district probation officer, Er● More on P4 nakulam. Dark clouds in the skies above the Kozhikode beach on Monday. North Kerala is expected to receive heavy rain on Tuesday | T P Sooraj Fisher dies in capital, more rain likely ahead of monsoon onset E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram THE STATE, which witnessed isolated rain on Monday is ex, pected to receive more showers on Tuesday following the development of a cyclonic circulation in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued orange alert in four districts --Malappuram, Ko zhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod --- indicating isolated heavy to very heavy rain on Tuesday. The northern districts will continue to get downpour on Wednesday as well. Central and northern districts received more rain on Monday, inundating several low-lying areas. Houses were ORANGE ALERT for Tuesday Malappuram Kozhikode Kannur Kasaragod IMD says monsoon now over Andamans, to reach Kerala on May 27 damaged in Thrissur district, where two relief camps were opened. A 54-year-old fisher man drowned in the sea at Anchuthengu in the state capital after the boat he was travelling in, capsized. Babu, a resident of Lakshamveedu colony at Puthanmannu, and two other persons had ventured into the sea in a boat, ignoring the state disaster management authority’s ban on f i s h i n g d u e t o a dv e r s e weather. The boat was 50m away from the shore around 5.45am when it capsized after being battered by strong waves. Local fishermen later brought Babu to the shore and took him to the taluk hospital at Chirayinkeezhu, but he was declared brought dead. Meanwhile, IMD said the Southwest Monsoon made an entry in Andaman Sea in line with its forecast. It usually takes 10 days for the monsoon winds to reach the Kerala coast. IMD had forecast that the onset of monsoon in Kerala would be on May 27.
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