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Can't fight a war on two fronts: IAF vice chief

The Indian Air Force is not capable of fighting a war on two fronts, said Air Marshal BS Dhanoa, vice chief of the service, on Thursday. "Our numbers are not adequate to execute an air campaign in a two-front scenario.... Are the numbers adequate? No," he said.

India's defence services were asked in 2009 by the Manmohan Singh UPA government to be prepared for a war on two fronts simultaneously, presumably Pakistan and China. There has been no change in that policy since the 2014 change of regime, says The Telegraph.

Absconding rape-accused MLA surrenders

Thirty days after he was accused of raping a minor girl, suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Prasad surrendered before a court in Biharsharif, Nalanda, on Thursday and was sent to judicial custody for two weeks.

Prasad, who had been a minister in the Rabri Devi cabinet, had been on the run since he allegedly raped a 15-year-old at his home on 6 February. An FIR was filed on 9 February, after the girl identified him from a photograph, according to The Telegraph.

BJP MLA questions Maha govt on beef ban

The BJP-led Maharashtra government was criticised by one of its own MLAs for its ban on beef at the state legislative assembly on Thursday. "Why should you snatch away the poor's meal?" asked BJP MLA Bhimrao Dhonde, from Ashti in Beed. Beed is one of the worst drought-affected districts of Mahahastra.

The legislature was discussing Maharashtra's agrarian crisis at the time, according to The Indian Express. "In times of drought, feeding productive animals itself is a big challenge for farmers. How can a farmer sustain the additional burden of looking after spent cattle?" Dhonde asked his government.

4 world leaders pull out of Art of Living event

The Presidents of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, and the chief executive officer of Afghanistan have withdrawn from the World Culture Forum organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation, citing protocol concerns after President Pranab Mukherjee cancelled his participation.

The four were the senior-most of the foreign leaders who were to attend the event. This now makes Prime Minister Narendra Modi the only leader of his rank at the festival which begins from 11 February, according to The Telegraph.

Babri demolition hearing: SC judge recuses himself

Supreme Court Justice V Gopala Gowde recused himself from hearing appeals in the Babri Masjid case in Thursday, without giving a reason for doing so. The matter has been referred to Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, who will appoint a fresh bench.

The case was filed by the CBI and an individual, Haji Mahboob Ahmed, against the decision of the Allahabad High Court on 20 May, 2010, that dropped the charge of criminal conspiracy against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti among others in the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December, 1992, according to the Hindustan Times.

Indian embassies around the world promote AOL event

Though the Art of Living Foundation's World Culture Festival is a privately-organised event, a glance at the websites of Indian embassies around the world seems to indicate an interest by the government to promote it.

On 16 February, the Indian embassy in Germany uploaded a poster of the event on its Facebook page. Earlier, on 28 January, the Indian embassy in Serbia had posted a video about the festival on its Facebook page, says The Telegraph. The Indian embassies for Myanmar and for Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica also promote the event on their websites.

Zika virus destroying neurons in child brain

The belief that Zika virus caused birth defects such as microcephaly, a condition in which a baby is born with a small head was strengthened on Friday by two studies published in medical journals. Researchers working with lab-grown human stem cells "suspect they have discovered how the Zika virus probably causes microcephaly in fetuses," reported the journal Cell Stem Cell. Zika virus selectively infects cells in the brain's cortex, or outer layer, making those cells "more likely to die and less likely to divide normally and make new brain cells," according to a press release from the journal.

5,00,000 will die by 2050, as climate change alters diets

Climate change will take 5 lakh lives by 2050, a new study has suggested. These deaths would be caused by the food scarcity, and are additional to deaths caused by other effects of global warming. The study was published in the medical journal The Lancet. Scientists behind the study predicted world temperatures to be two degrees higher than in the 1986-2005 time period. It found that there would be 3.2% lower food availability, and people would be consuming 4% less fruit and vegetables.