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'Allow minorities to live in peace': Bureaucrat

Ajoy Kumar, additional secretary of the National Commission of Minorities, appealed to the government on Wednesday to restore confidence among the minorities of India regarding their security, reports The Indian Express. Kumar made this appeal while delivering the vote of thanks at the National Conference of the State Commission of Minorities where Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was present. He reportedly said that the situation in the country regarding minorities is not allowing him to sleep peacefully and urged the government to "allow us to live in peace".

Communal violence up by 17% since 2014: report

Incidents of communal violence in 2015 went up by 17 per cent from 2014, reports The Economic Times. The highest number of incidents came from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, according to statistics shared in Parliament on Wednesday.

While there were 644 incidents of communal violence in 2014, 751 such incidents were reported last year. Casualty statistics rose from 95 to 97, while injuries rose from 1,921 to 2,264.

Dadri lynching case transferred to fast track court

The district court at Bisada, Uttar Pradesh, has transferred the sensitive Dadri lynching case to a fast track court, reports the Hindustan Times.

The case involves the killing of 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq after he and his son Danish were attacked at their home on 28 September last year, over rumours that they had slaughtered cattle and consumed beef.

"Taking into account the sensitivity of the incident, the district court transferred the case to a fast-track court for quick disposal," said Yusuf Saifi, the Ikhlaq family lawyer.

Nineteen people have been accused, of whom 18 have been arrested on charges of murder.

BJP MP warns Aligarh Muslim University against holding anti-BJP events

BJP Member of Parliament for Aligarh Satish Gautam has written to the vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), telling him not to allow AMU students to hold "anti-BJP" or "anti-national" functions on campus, reports The Indian Express.

Gautam's letter to AMU vice chancellor Lt Gen (Retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, said: "Recently, the university has been inviting only those personalities for conferences and seminars who are known for their anti-BJP views."

Such guests have a "divisive mindset", continued the letter, and their discussions get diverted from the "original subject and turn into a stage for opposing the Centre, Sangh and BJP".

Case against Kanhaiya 'laughable': Former SC judge

Justice Faizanuddin, the former Supreme Court judge who had in 1995 along with Justice AS Anand delivered the landmark ruling in what constitutes sedition, believes that the case against Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU Students' Union president who has been charged with sedition, is "laughable", reports The Indian Express.

"The case against Kanhaiya Kumar does not amount to sedition," said Justice Faizanuddin. "India is the largest democracy in the world. Something or the other is said every day in some corner of the vast country. What is going to happen to us by mere raising of slogans? I find it laughable."

Now: An army tank on campus to make JNU more patriotic

Placing an army tank on campus is one route that the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is considering to instill nationalism among its students, reports The Indian Express.

"We will be looking at various ways to do this," said JNU registrar Bupinder Zutshi after a meeting between JNU vice chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and several ex-servicemen on Tuesday. "Having a wall of fame with soldiers' names and photographs, showcasing a military tank or artillery. there are different things we will look at. We are also planning regular interactions between students and defence personnel."

Sanjay Dutt a free man

Actor Sanjay Dutt walked out of the Yerawada Central Jail in Pune this morning, a free man. He turned around for one last time to salute the constables at the gate. Dutt was serving a five-year jail term for possession of illegal arms in the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts case. He was released 103 days before the official end of his jail term for good conduct.

Dutt's plans for the day include flying back to Mumbai by a chartered flight, and then go directly to Siddhivinayak Mandir for blessings, reports NDTV. Then he will go to the grave of his mother, Nargis Dutt, and finally return home for a puja in front of a photograph of his father.

Rail Budget 2016: All eyes on Suresh Prabhu

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is presenting the Rail Budget for 2016-17. Catch live updates here.

Railway finances have come under tremendous strain as passenger fares was not hiked. Talking to reporters after giving finishing touches to the budget on Wednesday, Prabhu said the Rail Budget will cater to the needs of all 'satisfactorily' as a lot of effort has gone into its preparation.

A JNU remix that no one was waiting for

A bassist from Delhi has done what no one was really looking forward to - a remix of Umar Khalid's speech in JNU.

The speech in question: Umar talking about the worth of his "Ladai" - who the ladai is for and why it's an important one. Indeed the 'Ladai' (agitation) of students and protestors across universities could be a worthwhile. But this remix is not. The track is imaginatively named Yeh Ladai.

Akshay Johar, who goes by the name of Mojo Jojo, has composed it. You can check it out, while we try to figure if this remix is satire or isn't.

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.

It's true. Hitler did, in fact, have a small penis

Not only that: it was also a bit deformed.In 1923, when Adolf Hitler was arrested, he was medically examined. And those unearthed medical records yield the fact that he has an undescended testicle - a condition known as "right-side cryptorchidism".Additionally, he had a rarer genital gentical condition called penile hypospadius in which the urethra opens on the under side of the penis. That means that Hitler probably had to urinate from an opening at the base of his member, as opposed to the top of it. Which would be tragic and sad and probably demanding of intensive therapy - but this is Hitler we're talking about. Which means we get to giggle as much as we'd like.

NY mayor wants addicts to shoot heroin under supervision

A New York mayor has proposed the first ever supervised injection facility for heroin addicts in the US. The facilities proposed are modelled after sites in Canada and Europe where addicts can shoot heroin under clinical supervision. Of course also while getting health care and counseling for their condition. The mayor also released a report which said that such centres have been effective in the past and have reduced overdose deaths and improperly discarded syringes.

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.

Nagaland CM called to court for faking his degree

Chief Minister of Nagaland TR Zeliang was called into court in Kohima on charges of misrepresenting his college qualifications in electoral affidavits and other official records.

According to North East Today, not only did he falsify official records and election preipherals as a degree, but he failed in all his board subject for his Bachelors in 1979. And failed "miserably".

The complaint was filed by a citizen, one Maziezokho Nisa. And on January 7th of this year, a court in Kohima had summoned Zeliang to appear in person for hearing "on his educational qualification issue".

Fiji struggles to cope with Cyclone Winston

Cyclone Winston which hit Fiji, the South Pacific country over the weekend has left a devastating trail in its wake. Tens of thousands of Fijians have been rendered homeless and are languishing in evacuation shelters, and aid has only just begun reaching the nation. Death toll is at 42 but that's most certain to rise in the coming days. Fiji's National Disaster Management Office has estimated that about 35,000 people are sheltering in evacuation centers. But some of the shelters too are running short of food and supplies. The damage to infrastructure has made rescue operations in the region difficult, say international aid agencies.

Finally a study on kids with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

For the first time a comprehesnsive research has been published that describes behaviour in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The study, which has been published in the journal Pediatrics, was done in collaboration with parents and teachers using an empirically based assessment system. It looks at traits such as anxiety, depression, aggression, delinquency and diminished learning capacity in children who've been affected by excess alcohol consumption during the mother's pregnancy. The research has pin pointed three main behavioral problems in such children: "Internalizing" behaviours such as, anxiety, withdrawal or depression; "Externalizing" behaviour, such as aggression, delinquency; and, other problems, such as problems with social skills, thought processing and attention.