Terrorists hit Peshawar university named after 'Frontier Gandhi', kill 21
A faction of the Pakistani Taliban led by Taliban faction led by Umar Mansoor said that it was responsible for the terror attack on Bacha Khan University, Peshawar, on Wednesday, that killed 21 people, reports the Hindustan Times. This is the same group that in 2014, had attacked an army-run school in Peshawar and killed nearly 150 people. Wednesday's attack on Bacha Khan University took place on the death anniversary of Pashtun leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Bacha Khan. Ghaffar Khan had been known as the 'Frontier Gandhi' due to his emphasis during the Independence movement on the principle of non-violence.
TRAI fires fresh salvo on Facebook Free Basics issue
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has written to Ankhi Das, director of public policy, India, South and Central Asia, Facebook India, on the net neutrality issue, accusing it of trying to influence the country's policy-making process through a "crudely majoritarian and orchestrated opinion poll", reports the Hindustan Times. TRAI also denied Facebook's accusation that it is unsubscribing emails from people who support Facebook's Free Basics programme. Free Basics involves providing access to certain websites via Facebook, free of data charges. Critics say this violates the principles of net neutrality. TRAI had called for responses from the public on this issue.
Pathankot attack part of our regular activity: Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief
The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen on Wednesday told a Pakistan-based news portal that it was responsible for the 2 January terror attack at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, reports The Indian Express. Syed Salahuddin, chief of the outfit, is also the head of the United Jihad Council, a conglomeration of militant groups operating in Kashmir, which had claimed responsibility for the Pathankot attack. "Armed Mujahideen are engaged with the eight lakh Indian forces for the last 26 years and each day, Mujahideen are targeting Indian military installations. Pathankot is a continuation of that activity. It has nothing to do with the dialogue process," Salahuddin said.
Modi owes nation an explanation, says Kejriwal after special court directs CBI to return CMO documents
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday that the Prime Minister's Office owed the nation an explanation for the CBI raid on Kejriwal's principal secretary in December, 2015, reports The Indian Express. The Delhi government had then said that the raid was actually on the Chief Minister's Office (CMO). Kejriwal was referring to the directive of a special court that had ordered the CBI to return some documents it had seized during the raid to the CMO. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the "politically motivated raid".
Ardh Kumbh was on IS target list, say police
Four men suspected of links with Islamic State had planned 10 bomb blasts at the Ardh Kumbh in Haridwar, reports the Hindustan Times. The men were arrested near Haridwar by the Delhi police and Uttarakhand police. The police said they were aiming for the Har ki Pauri ghat on Friday, to be followed by blasts on trains and buses to create more panic among fleeing crowds. The four were all students from Manglaur near Roorkee in Uttarakhand, and had already been marked by intelligence agencies because of their suspicious online activity.
'Talking about Ambedkar and his views, cannot be anti-national,' says Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday slammed the Centre over Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani's clarification over the death of a Dalit scholar and said the issue is not about Dalits but 'injustice'.
"We strongly condemn the caste angle given to Rohith Vemula's death by Smriti Irani. Yesterday, Irani's statements were shameful, she was lying," Kejriwal said.
He further slammed Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatrey for his letter to the HRD Ministry, saying it is shameful that a responsible minister without inquiring into the facts has concluded that the Ambedkar Students Association is casteist.
"It is shameful that a Union Minister used words like 'extremist, casteist and anti-national' in his letter," he said. "Talking about Ambedkar and his views, cannot be anti-national," he added.
Kerala Hummer case: Beedi baron gets life imprisonment
A Thrissur Court on Thursday awarded life sentence to beedi tycoon Mohammed Nisham in connection with the murder of security guard Chandrabose in 2015. The court, which had convicted Nisham in this case yesterday, has also imposed a fine of Rs 71 lakh. Thrissur District Additional Sessions Court Judge K P Sudheer found Nisham guilty of mowing down the guard of his apartments with his Hummer jeep on January 29 last year.
Nisham ran his jeep over the Sobha City security guard after he lost his cool with his delay in opening the gates. He was reportedly in an inebriated state. According to reports, the Kerala Police had invoked provisions of Kerala Anti-social Activities (Prevention) Act (KAAPA) against Nisham, who is a serial offender and has 16 criminal cases against him.
Hyderabad University revokes suspension of 4 Dalit scholars
The Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad University has announced the revoking of the suspension of the four Dalit students, who had been expelled along with Rohith Vemula. He also appealed to the students to end the agitation that had been sparked by the Dalit scholar's suicide on 17 January - a month after his suspension.
Meanwhile, Congress has demanded the resignation of HRD minister Smriti Irani and Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
Aim, shoot. Photographs kill two more in India
A young man died in Dehradun when he fell into a canal while posing for a selfie, and a vacationer in Jodhpur fell off the ramparts of the Mehrangarh Fort while posing for a photo, reports the Hindustan Times. India accounted for half the world's fatalities while taking selfies in 2015. The Dehradun youth was apparently drunk when he attempted his selfie, and the young man in Jodhpur was to be married in 10 days' time.
Solar system may get a ninth planet in the next 5 years
The science world is abuzz with news of a potential addition to our solar system.
Michael Brown, the astronomer responsible for demoting Pluto to a dwarf planet, released a paper earlier this week suggesting the discovery of a new planet - touted to be ten times as large as Earth.
While the new gas giant, nicknamed Planet 9, is yet to be spotted, scientists anticipate that it will be discovered within the next five years.
New bird species discovered
A new species of the Himalayan Thrush has been found - the first to be discovered in India in the last decade.
The birds were mistakenly thought to be the Plain-backed thrush, before scientists paid attention to the difference in bird song, plumage and habitats of the birds. The species, named Zoothera salimalii after the late ornithologist Dr Salim Ali, reportedly has a harsh and "unmusical" sound.
The species is touted to be only the fourth bird species to be discovered since 1947.
Want to get married? Get tested for HIV first!
The Chndeni village in Bhivani, Haryana, has announced that couples who wish to wed must first undergo an HIV diagnosis test before they tie the knot.
PTI quoted the village head, Mamata Sangwan, as saying that the move was an attempt at increasing awareness about the ailment and curbing the spread of the virus. While the test is not compulsory, it is strongly encouraged. The sarpanch has also appealed that neighbouring villages adopt the policy.
50 per cent of the population of the Central African Republic faces starvation: UN
The United Nations World Food Programme has reported that half the population of the Central African Republic (CAR) - nearly 2.5 million people - faces hunger.
According to the report, one in every six persons in CAR is battling severe or extreme food insecurity. The UNWFP also reports that one in three is moderately food insecure. The UNWFP also reports that the shortage has been caused by a poor harvest and subsequent hike in food prices in 2015.