Muzaffarnagar tense, police patrol the streets
The police were back on the streets of Muzaffarnagar on Friday, a day after Hindus and Muslims flung stones at each other, leading to the arrest of nine people. The stone-throwing incident was allegedly triggered by the harassment of a Hindu college student by some Muslim men, according to The Indian Express. Muzaffarnagar SSP KB Singh said: "One group claimed there was a scuffle over an incident of balloon-throwing; the other said a woman was harassed. Stones were pelted by both groups for a few minutes. No one was seriously injured. A case of rioting has been registered and nine were arrested."
9 Cong MLAs rebel, stake claim to Uttarakhand govt with BJP
Nine rebel Congress MLAs, along with the Opposition BJP MLAs met Uttarakhand state governor KK Paul on Friday and staked a claim to the government, which is now led by Harish Rawat. This occurred after the Congress MLAs said that they voted against the state budget, which the Speaker had declared as passed by a voice vote. When a budget is not passed, it means there is a constitutional crisis, because the government will not be able to draw on public funds from 1 April, according to The Economic Times.
Big interest rate cuts in small savings schemes
The interest on a wide range of government-run small savings schemes has been cut, the centre announced on Friday.
The interest rate on PPF is down to 8.1 per cent from 8.7 per cent, while deposits in the Kisan Vikas Patra will earn a return of 7.8 per cent, down from 8.7 per cent. Senior citizen savings schemes interest is down to 8.6 per cent from 9.3 per cent, and the Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, the save for the girl child scheme, will give a return of 8.6 per cent, down from 9.2 per cent, according to the Hindustan Times.
Urdu writers must declare their books are not anti-national
Writers in Urdu who are published by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) must sign a form declaring that the content of their book will not be against the government or the country, countersigned by two witnesses. The NCPUL operates under the HRD ministry. The form says: "I ___ son/daughter of ___ confirm that my book/magazine titled ___ which has been approved for bulk purchase by NCPUL's monetary assistance scheme does not contain anything against the policies of the government of India or the interest of the nation..."
RSS and govt are 'anti-Dalit, anti-tribal and anti-humanity': Umar Khalid
Hours after being released on interim bail, JNU student Umar Khalid told his fellow students that he was proud to have been arrested for sedition. "Sedition is the law under which the great freedom fighters of our country were booked. Our names have been clubbed with theirs," he said, according to NDTV.com. He accused the RSS and the government of creating disunity and being "anti-Dalit, anti-tribal and anti-humanity". "I did not consider myself a practicing Muslim but I was projected as an Islamist terrorist," said Khalid. "It seemed as if the entire Muslim community is on trial."
55 dead as Boeing 738 flying from Dubai to Rostov-onDon crashes
All 55 passengers on board a Boeing 738 passenger jet have been reportedly killed as the aircraft crashed while landing at the Rostov-on-Don airport in Russia. According to reports, the aircraft crashed at the city airport missing the runway amid poor visibility. Flydubai Flight 981 had travelled from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don with 55 people aboard, the emergency center said.
SAR Geelani gets bail
A Delhi Court on Saturday granted bail to former Delhi University professor SAR Geelani, who was arrested on charges of sedition. The court had earlier also reserved its order on Geelani. A magisterial court had, on 19 February, dismissed the bail plea of Geelani - who was arrested on 16 February. A case was lodged against Geelani and other unnamed persons in connection to an event held at the Press Club of India on 10 February during which a group had allegedly raised slogans in support of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
India gears up for epic Pakistan clash at Eden Gardens
Jolted by the shock loss to New Zealand in the opening game, India will be fighting a survival battle quite early in the tournament when they take on arch foes Pakistan, in what is being seen as the marquee clash of the ICC World T20 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata today. The hosts, who started clear title-favourites, were in for a blow in the first match itself when New Zealand's spinners bamboozled their famed batting line-up on a turning Nagpur track. On the other hand, heavy rains also lashed Kolkata all morning today causing panic among fans of the much-anticipated T20 clash. However, the clouds cleared a few hours later.
2 Muslim cattle herders beaten up, hanged to death in Jharkhand
Four people were arrested on 19 March in connection to the deaths of two Muslim cattle traders - one of them a minor. The two men, 35-year-old Muhammad Majloom and 15-year-old Azad Khan alias Ibrahim, were found hanging from a tree after allegedly being beaten to death by a group of men. The incident took place when the duo were on their way to a local Friday market in Latehar district, Jharkhand on 18 March. The police indicated that both men were brutally beaten to death before being hanged. Their hands were found tied. According to media reports, the victims were herding oxen when they were attacked and killed.
Scientists may be one step closer to solving Bermuda Triangle mystery
Scientists now believe that they have come a step closer to solving the mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle. This belief has been established with the discovery of a series of underwater craters at the bottom of the Barents Sea, off the coast of Norway. It is hoped that the craters are the key for explaining the bewildering phenomenon. According to a scientist, the crater areas represent one of the largest hot spots for shallow marine methane release in the Arctic, which creates enormous blowouts of gas bubbles, leading to sinking of ships. Details of the discovery will be released at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union next month.
New SARS-like virus found
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have found that the newly identified virus, known as WIV1-CoV, could bind to the same receptors as SARS-CoV that infected thousands in 2002. They also showed that the virus readily and efficiently replicated in cultured human airway tissues, suggesting an ability to jump directly to humans. Researchers have said the capacity of this group of viruses to jump into humans is greater than was initially imagined. If the virus does jump, WIV1-CoV has the potential to seed a new outbreak with significant consequences for both public health and the global economy.