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Mayawati outwits Modi over Dalit saint's anniversary celebrations

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has countered Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the birth anniversary celebrations of Dalit saint Ravidas in Varanasi today by holding a parallel celebration elsewhere, reports The Telegraph.

Modi had been invited to attend the celebrations at the Ravidas Temple at Seer Goverdhanpur, the birthplace of Ravidas, near Varanasi on 22 February. Given that the BSP is opposing the BJP in next year's Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Mayawati decided to skip the event this year, and instead, hold a parallel celebration at Jiwadhipur village on the opposite bank of the river Ganga.

Mehbooba hints at govt formation with BJP in J&K

Possibly indicating that the PDP would form a government with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir, People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said on Sunday that her late father, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, had "never believed in U-Turn politics" and that she had faith in his decision, reports The Economic Times.

"I have faith in Allah and on the decision of Mufti Sayeed sahib...," Mehbooba said as she addressed about 2,000 party workers at the Srinagar office of the PDP.

"Mufti sahab believed that a leader like Modiji with his huge mandate and courage can take decisions which can bring India and Pakistan close," said Mehbooba.

Umar Khalid's little sister can't go to school

JNU student Umar Khalid's family has been so affected by threats since he organised a pro-Afzal Guru event on the university campus on 9 February where anti-national slogans were allegedly made, that his 12-year-old sister has been unable to attend school, reports The Indian Express.

"She is only 12. She does not fully comprehend what is happening and yet has to face messages of hate and violence," said Umar's older sister. Last week, Umar's father had filed a police complaint about a death threat from gangster Ravi Pujari.

Zee News producer resigns over doctored JNU protests video

A Zee New producer has resigned from the TV news channel because he could not cope with its "biased coverage" of the JNU protests, reports The Indian Express.

The producer, Vishwa Deepak, said that he was part of a team that had put together footage of the 9 February pro-Afzal Guru protests that showed the JNU students chanting 'Pakistan Zindabad' even though there had actually been no such slogans.

This footage was the basis on which JNU Students' Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested and charged with sedition.

2 captains and a lance naik killed in Pampore encounter

Three army commandos and a militant were killed on Sunday in the continuing encounter at the multi-storied Entrepreneurship Development Institute at Pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar, reports The Indian Express. This brings the toll of the engagement to seven so far. The encounter began on Saturday afternoon when a group of three or four terrorists stormed the building, and has so far seen fierce gunfights and fires. More than 100 civilians have been evacuated from the building.

The militants had attacked a CRPF convoy on Saturday evening, killing two jawans and injuring 13. On the run, they entered the EDI complex.

After agitation, OBC status and job reservations for Jats

The government decided on Sunday to grant the agitating Jat community in Haryana OBC status and job reservations, reports The Indian Express. This was announced by Anil Jain, the BJP leader in charge of Haryana affairs, after a meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, the army chief, the police commissioner of Delhi and Jat leaders.

A senior central government minister will also look into the Jats' demands, added Jain.

Umar Khalid and 5 other JNU sedition-accused return to campus

Six JNU students including Umar Khalid who had been involved in the 9 February pro-Afzal Guru event on campus and on the run since then, returned to the university on Sunday night, as the police watched from the outside, reports The Indian Express. The students addressed a small gathering of their peers. Khalid, whom the police had linked to terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed, said: "My name is Umar Khalid and I'm not a terrorist. If Jaish-e-Mohammed gets to know that I was linked to their organisation, they'll start protesting outside the RSS office."

Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt slams 'anti-nationalists' in viral poem

Olympic Games bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt has reacted to the state of affairs in Jawaharlal Nehru University by penning a patriotic poem which he posted on his official Facebook page. The poem has gone viral, being shared over 19,000 times and liked over 81,000 times. Dutt compared the protesters who raised anti-national slogans in JNU to Turkish invader Mahmud Ghazni, and accused the students and their supporters of dishonouring the memory of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, who died in an avalanche in the Siachen glacier earlier this month. Read the full poem here.

Marijuana users five times more likely to become alcoholic

Adults who use marijuana are five times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD) - alcohol abuse or dependence - compared to those who do not use the drug, a new study has found. Adults who already have an alcohol use disorder and use marijuana are more likely to see the problem persist, researchers said.

"Our results suggest that cannabis use appears to be associated with an increased vulnerability to developing an alcohol use disorder, even among those without any history of this," said Renee Goodwin, associate professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

"Marijuana use also appears to increase the likelihood that an existing alcohol use disorder will continue over time," Goodwin said.

A lingerie brand uses real women as models

At a time when even Barbie comes as petite, tall and curvya lingerie making company, Aerie, the intimate-apparel brand owned by American Eagle Outfitters, is featuring women of varying body types in its marketing campaigns to promote a positive body image. To underscore the point, the company will begin a social media campaign this week to support the National Eating Disorders Association.

This is the second year Aerie has devised ads to highlight the association's eating disorders week. The current ads, featuring an average-size model, are aimed at the brand's target customers - women between the ages of 15 and 25 - and are intended to heighten awareness of the perils of bulimia and other eating disorders.

The "Strong, Beautiful, Me" campaign, which appears on Instagram and other social media is trying to promote a positive body image among women.

With weak land laws, Koala numbers down in Australia

Koalas are fast losing ground in Australia. According to the findings of a conservation group in Queensland, more than 40,000 hectares of koala habitat has disappeared in the face of weakened state land-clearing controls.

WWF Australia has warned that the species' numbers will continue its alarming slide until policies are changed. The analysis, done by the conservation group's scientist Dr Martin Taylor has showed that approximately 40,312 hectares of habitat has been lost between 2012 and 2014.

Sexism at office makes women love Hillary Clinton

The poll numbers and primary results so far tell a simple story: Younger Democratic women are mostly for Bernie Sanders; older women lean more toward Hillary Clinton.

But reality may be another kind of simple numbers game: More time in a sexist world, and particularly in the workplace, radicalizes women. The New York times finds that Radicalism isn't expressed only by supporting a socialist; it can also take the shape of women, increasingly disillusioned by a biased culture, throwing their weight behind someone who shares both their political views and their experiences.

While the contours of sexism shift with age, the number of usable hours in each day shrinks. Many more women over 25 are in the work force than those under, and women over 25 also do about twice as much unpaid domestic work as their younger counterparts.

Tamil Areas are pocket of Poverty in Sri Lanka

Regions with the highest rate of poverty in Sri Lanka are areas inhabited by Tamils, according to a study of the World Bank. The regions come under the districts of Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi in the Northern Province; Batticaloa in the East and plantations in Badulla district (Uva Province) and Nuwara Eliya (Central Province). One Sinhala-dominated region the study has identified as having a high rate of poverty is the Monaragala district.

Going by Sri Lanka's national poverty line of about $1.50 per day (Purchasing Power Parity in 2005), the poverty headcount rates of Mullaitivu, Mannar and Kilinochchi are 28.8 per cent, 20.1 per cent and 12.7 per cent respectively.

If one were to apply the international poverty line of $2.5 per day, the figures in these three districts are 74.4 per cent, 60.9 per cent and 57.2 per cent respectively.