Sweden’s PM Magdalena Andersson vijayawada l tuesday l may 17, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l late 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 Shivalinga? Gyanvapi area sealed Supreme Court to hear plea today challenging a Varanasi court-mandated survey of the mosque N a m i ta B a j pa i @ Lucknow PM invokes Buddhism to strengthen Nepal ties Y e s h i S e l i @ New Delhi Connected by the noble thread of Buddhism, India and Nepal are deepening ties in many spheres, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during a day-long visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. “Today’s meeting with PM @SherBDeuba was excellent. We discussed the full range of relations between India and Nepal,” Modi tweeted. He also laid the foundation stone for the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage besides visiting the famous Mayadevi temple along with his Nepal counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba. Both sides signed six pacts. Modi’s visit has cheered up Tibetans, many of whom hope it will help reduce China’s influence in Nepal. “China uses Buddhism for political reasons. We are glad that India and Nepal ties are strengthening again. Nepalese leaders need to be mindful of Chinese political manoeuvres,” said Tenzin Lekshay spokesperson for the Central Tibetan Administration. For long China has sought to develop Lumbini and recently offered $3 billion to make it a World Peace City through the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation. But China’s interest in Nepal through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is making people wary . 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 courtmandated 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 a court application about the ‘Shivalinga’. “As it is a very important piece of evidence, the area should be sealed immediately for its safety,” he 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 courtappointed 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 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 at any given time. 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 Over 50L farmers get aid under YSR Rythu Bharosa Express News Service @ Vijayawada THE State government credited a financial assistance of `5,500 each into the farmers’ accounts under the YSR Rythu Bharosa PM Kisan scheme on Monday . Disbursing the amount at a function held at Ganapavaram in Eluru, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy said the remaining central government component of `2,000 would be credited by this month-end. This is the first tranche of the scheme in the fourth year. A total of `3,758 crore would be credited into the accounts of 50.10 lakh farmers as part of the scheme. While crediting the amount, the chief minister castigated the Opposition TDP for ignoring the farmers when it was in power, and indirectly criticised Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan for shedding “crocodile tears” over the farmers’ plight after remaining silent when TDP acted against their interests. Saying that the Almighty had blessed Andhra with abundant rainfall during the past three CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy credited `3,758 crore into the accounts of 50.10 lakh farmers, in Eluru, on Monday | Express years, Jagan said no mandals were declared drought-hit during the period. “The groundwater levels increased and all reservoirs were filled to the brim in these three years,’’ he pointed out. The production of food grains, too, showed a marked increase during the three years, compared to N Chandrababu Naidu’s fiveyear tenure, the chief minister said. While the previous regime had ignored the families of farmers who had committed suicide, the present government has been committed to their welfare. P4 Mega energy project Chief Minister Jagan will lay the stone for the world’s largest 5,230 MW Integrated Renewable Energy Storage Project undertaken by Greenko Group in Kurnool district on Tuesday Corruption rife in MAUD dept: Suresh E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kurnool Athletes, parents cry foul over govt stadium fee hike B an d h a v i A nna m @ Guntur The decision of the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) to hike user fee at government stadiums in the city has not gone well with the parents as well as some sports associations. Recently SAAP had initiated , a scheme, ‘Pay and Play’, under which it increased the annual fee of `150-`200 to `1,500-`3,000 on select sports including badminton, cricket, skating, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and yoga reportedly due to the rise in maintenance cost as well as to provide better facilities to the athletes. The annual fee includes admission and monthly fee. Opposing the scheme, various sports associations, parents, and athletes have been staging protests at BR Stadium (in pic), which comes under the management of SAAP demand, ing the authorities to revoke the new order. As per the revised prices, children below 14 years of age have to pay `1,000 admission fee and `500 monthly fee whereas those above 14 years have to pay `2,000 as admission fee and `1,000 monthly fee. Approximately 1,600 children take coaching for various sports at the BR Stadium. They have to pay a fee to practice the sport of their choice under proper guidance of certified coaches. P4 Admitting that corruption is rampant in the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD) department, minister Audimulapu Suresh urged officials to mend their ways. Suresh, who was the Education Minister in Jagan’s previous cabinet, was recently given the MAUD portfolio. Speaking after laying foundation stones for several development works worth `9.04 crore in Kurnool on Monday, he noted, “Corruption is rampant in the municipal administration department and the 16,000-odd illegal layouts in the State make it more evident.” He pointed out that the files pending with the Vigilance stand testimony to graft. He asked town planning officials to change their attitude to ensure a corruption-free department. Addressing another event, he said “Kurnool, in a way can be considered as judicial capital.’’ , The High Court had ruled out three capitals. “Our government is committed to develop all regions which is possible only with decentralised development. As part of it, Kurnool was proposed as the judicial capital,’’ he asserted. rain wreaks havoc 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. Two people were killed and one went missing in an overflowing stream after heavy rains lashed Rayalaseema on Monday | P3 Increase in airfare likely A r s h a d K h an @ New Delhi Airfares are likely to soar further as the government has hiked jet fuel prices by 5.29 per cent, its 10th hike in the year so far. Fares have already shot up by 25-40 per cent this year. The latest jump would only make flying costlier. Jet fuel rates account for about 40 per cent 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 oneway flight in the busy Delhi-Mumbai sector is priced between `6,550-7,850 (May 23, non-stop, economy) while in the Delhi-Bengaluru sector it is `8,400-9,850. In the early 2020s, before Covid struck, a one-way Delhi-Mumbai economy class flight booked a week in advance was priced roughly at `3,500. For the Delhi-Bengaluru sector at that P8 point in time, it was about `5,000.
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