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Parliament Budget session unlikely to be smooth

At a meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Monday, just before Parliament's Budget session begins today, party president Sonia Gandhi said that the ruling BJP government is muzzling freedom of speech and expression in educational institutions, reports The Economic Times. "The ruling establishment seems to have lost all sense of balance and proportion. It appears determined to undermine all democratic norms," said Gandhi.

Pak took Azhar into custody: Sartaj Aziz

In an interview with the India Today news channel, Pakistan's chief of foreign policy Sartaj Aziz said that Masood Azhar, leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, had been taken into protective custody after the Pathankot air base attack, and that one of the mobile phone numbers called by the attackers had been traced to JeM headquarters, reports the Hindustan Times.

Aziz rejected India's accusation that Pakistan had taken no action on the intelligence provided by New Delhi on the JeM's involvement in the 2 January terrorist attack.

Sanjay Dutt completes jail term on 25 Feb

Actor Sanjay Dutt will walk out of Yerwada Central Prison, Pune, one last time the morning of Thursday, 25 February, when his jail term ends, said Additional Director General D K Upadhyay, reports The Indian Express.

Dutt will be received by his wife Manyata and his children.

The actor was jailed in 1996 for the possession of illegal firearms in the 1993 Bombay blasts case. He was released on bail 18 months later, but then sentenced to a five-year jail term by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Hurriyat calls for Kashmir bandh in solidarity with JNU students

The Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a bandh in Kashmir, the Chenab Valley and the Pir Panjal region on 27 February, in solidarity with the students of JNU, reports The Economic Times.

The Hurriyat Conference said that the crackdown on JNU students, the harassment of Kashmiri students and the sedition charges against SAR Geelani was "fascism and the worst kind of state terrorism".

Pampore encounter ends

It took 48 hours, but the army's encounter with three terrorists at Pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar finally ended on Monday afternoon, reports The Indian Express. The three terrorists who had taken refuge in Entrepreneurship Development Institute building were all killed. The encounter began on Saturday evening after the terrorists attacked a CRPF convoy. An army official said the terrorists appeared to be foreigners and a suicide squad prepared for long battles. The EDI building is now being secured and sanitised, said General Officer Commanding, Victor Force, Maj Gen Arvind Dutta. Three army commandos were killed in action.

Audio clip indicates Hooda ex-aide incited violence in Haryana

A 90-second audio clip of a conversation purportedly between a Khap leader and Professor Virender, former political advisor to ex Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, allegedly inciting violence in Haryana's Jat quota stir, has created a furore in political circles, reports The Indian Express.

In the clip, Professor Virender praises Kaptan Mann for the violence in Rohtak and tells him to ask the Indian National Students' Organisation and Indian National Lok Dal incite further violence in Sirsa.

The ruling BJP in Haryana is demanding an investigation. The Jat quota stir has disrupted life in the state for nine days and caused 19 deaths.

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.

Tamil Areas are pockets 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.