FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 18 MARCH 2022 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR MACRON, BARELY CAMPAIGNING, LEADS PRESIDENTIAL RACE SYSTEMIC DYSFUNCTION PLAGUES NEPAL INDIA HAS TO DEVELOP AT A FAST PACE: PM P4 P7 P10 Ukraine: Rescue bid on after shelter bombed ‘Hundreds’ had been sheltering inside the theatre in besieged Maruipol ASSOCIATED PRESS Russia rejects ICJ ruling to halt Ukraine invasion KYIV, 17 MARCH R WEATHER MAINLY CLEAR SKY. THE MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM TEMPERATURES WOULD BE AROUND 36 AND 21 DEGREES CELSIUS RESPECTIVELY. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 87% escuers searched for survivors Thursday in the ruins of a theatre blown apart by a Russian airstrike in the besieged city of Mariupol, while a ferocious bombardment left dozens dead in a northern city over the past day, authorities said. Hundreds of civilians had been taking shelter in the grand, columned theatre in central Mariupol. The strikes the previous evening had left a large section of the grand, 3three storey theatre building in the centre of Mariupol collapsed in a smoking ruin, according to photos released by the city council. Inside, hundreds of men, women and children ~ up to 1,000 according to some officials ~ had taken shelter in the basement. Rescuers worked to clearing rubble that had blocked the entrance to the basement, despite new strikes reported elsewhere in the city Thursday. Miraculously, the shelter stood firm, officials said. “The Min: 36% TEMPERATURE Max: 36.1°C (+5) SUN RISES 06:26 hrs MOON RISES 18:40 hrs Min: 19.9°C (+3) SUN SETS 18:31 hrs MOON SETS 07:10 hrs THUMBNAILS People gather to play with colours to celebrate the Holi festival, in Mandi on Thursday. ANI MOSCOW, 17 MARCH Photo released by Ukrainian authorities shows the Drama Theatre, damaged after an airstrike in Mariupol; (inset) A AP satellite image of the theatre. building withstood the impact of a high-powered air bomb and protected the lives of people hiding in the bomb shelter,” Ukraine’s ombudswoman Ludmyla Denisova said. She and Ukrainian parliament member Sergiy Taruta said some survivors had emerged. “People are coming out alive,” Taruta wrote on Facebook, though he did not say how many. Another lawmaker, Lesia Vasylenko, who was in London in a delegation visiting Parliament Thursday, said there were reports of injuries but no deaths. At least as recently as Monday, huge white letters on the pavement in front of and behind the theatre Modi to hold summits with Japan, Oz PMs STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 17 MARCH India objects to OIC inviting Hurriyat for Islamabad meet: India today strongly objected to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) inviting the All Party Hurriyat Conference to its foreign ministers' meeting in Islamabad on 2223 March. “The Government of India takes a very serious view of the invitation extended to the Hurriyat. The motive of such actions is to destroy India's unity and sovereignty,'' MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. Mann to launch anti-corruption helpline on martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 17 MARCH In his first decision after taking the charge as Punjab chief minister, Bhagwant Mann on Thursday announced the launch of an anti-corruption helpline which will be launched on martyrdom day of Shaheede-Azam Bhagat Singh. In a video message to the people of the state, Mann said this initiative will enable the people of Punjab to lodge their complaints about corruption onWhatsApp. Through this WhatsApp number, people will be able to upload videos of corrupt officials demanding bribes for their day to day work or indulging in other malpractices so that such erring officials could be given an exemplary punishment, he said. Mann said with this helpline people will be able to make complaints directly to him (CM). 4,30,01,477 30,799 2,539 4,491 5,16,132 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 17 MARCH 2022 spelled out “CHILDREN” in Russian to alert warplanes of those inside, according to images released by the Maxar space technology company. The Russian defense ministry denied bombing the theatre or anywhere else in Mariupol onWednesday. To the north, at least 53 people were brought to morgues over the past 24 hours in the city of Chernihiv, killed amid heavy Russian airtrikes the local governor Viacheslav Chaus said. Ten people were killed while lining up for bread in the city, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office said. Russia has denied involvement. (See pages 9,10) PrimeMinisterNarendraModiwillhold back-to-backsummitswithJapanesePrime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the next five days to discuss a range of global developments, including the RussiaUkraine conflict, as well as bilateral issues. “TheIndia-JapanSummitwillbe heldon19March.AttheinvitationofModi, PM of Japan Fumio Kishida will be undertakinganofficialvisittoNewDelhi on19-20Marchforthe14thIndia-Japan AnnualSummit.Thiswillbethefirstmeeting between these two leaders,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said . “The summit will provide an opportunity for both sides to review and strengthen the bilateral cooperation in diverse areas as well as share views on regionalandglobalissuesofmutualinterest,soastoadvancethepartnersh-ipfor peace stability and prosperity in the Indo pacific and beyond,” Bagchi said. SAINA, SINDHU ADVANCE The Kremlin has rejected an order by the United Nations' highest court to cease its attack on Ukraine, saying both sides had to agree to end the hostilities for the ruling to be implemented. Speaking to reporters a day after International Court of Justice announced the decision, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia "cannot take this decision into account." ICJ justices voted 132 in favour of the order, which stems from a case filed by Kyiv over Russian allegations of genocide by Ukraine, which Moscow used as one of its pretenses to launch the invasion on February 24. But Peskov said that "no consent (from both sides) can be obtained in this case," thus the ruling was not AGENCIES valid. P12 G-23 members meet again as Gandhis reach out to dissenters SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 17 MARCH A day after members of the dissident ‘G-23’ group in the Congress party met and issued a statement calling for the party organisation to be revamped and accountability for the party’s rout in the recent Assembly elections, the Gandhis reached out to the dissenters, with party chief Sonia Gandhi understood to have spoken to Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday, and Rahul Gandhi meeting former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Party sources have said that a meeting between Sonia Gandhi and some of the leaders is also on the cards. The Gandhi family is also said to be reaching out to individual members of the ‘G-23’, who have been calling for a drastic overhaul of the party’s functioning, either personally or through emissaries. During their 40minute-long meeting, Rahul Gandhi and Hooda are believed to have discussed both the group’s and Hooda’s individual grievances. Sources said Hooda, one of the key members of the G-23, could be made party chief for Haryana, and given a free hand in the Some of the dissenters have stated that they are not averse to Sonia Gandhi's leadership of the party but removal of those responsible for the Congress rout in the recent elections held in five states is a must. state. Members of the G23 met again on Thursday evening at Azad’s residence in what is understood to be a feedback session after Hooda’s meeting with Gandhi. Leaders of the group are also expected to meet regularly to keep up the pressure on the Congress leadership. Following their meeting onWednesday at Azad’s residence, the dissenters issued a statement, signed by 18 of them, asking for a revamp of the Congress organisation and calling for accountability of the people involved in the election process.It said: “We believe that the only way forward for the Congress is to adopt the model of collective and inclusive leadership and decision making at all levels... in order to oppose the BJP, it is necessary to strengthen the Congress party. We demand that the Congress party initiate a dialogue with likeminded forces to create a platform to pave way for a credible alternative in 2024.” The Congress president on Tuesday removed state chiefs of five states, after which loyalists started targeting the dissenters. And on Wednesday, the Congress announced that Sonia had deputed five leaders ~ Rajya Sabha MP Rajani Patil, Jairam Ramesh, Ajay Maken, Jitendra Singh and Avinash Pande ~ to assess the postpoll situation and suggest organisational changes. A G-23 leader said the “meeting has unanimously deplored that those people who were responsible for scripting the defeat have been appointed to assess the post-poll situation. This clearly shows that the leadership is not serious about actually reforming anything at all.” Other dissenters in the group have stated that they are not averse to Sonia Gandhi's leadership but removal of those responsible for the party's loss is a must.
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