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First convictions in coal blocks allocation scam

A special court on Monday held two directors of Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd guilty of cheating the government in the coal blocks allocation scam. The scam had caused a scandal that rocked the 2009 Manmohan Singh-led UPA 2 government.

Special judge Bharat Parashar said: "the intention to defraud on the part of accused persons is writ large on the face of record", while convicting the company and its directors RS Rungta and RC Rungta of conspiracy and cheating. The Rungtas were ordered to be taken into custody on the spot, according to the Hindustan Times.

SC seeks 2015 report that recommends ban on triple talaaq

A Supreme Court bench hearing a plea to ban the Muslim Personal Law practice of divorce by triple talaaq on Monday asked the Centre to place before it a 2015 government committee report that is believed to have recommended a ban on triple talaaq and polygamy.

The bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice UU Lalit also sought the Centre's response to the petitioner's request to ban triple talaaq and polygamy as "unconstitutional".

The petition was filed by Shayara Bano, a Muslim woman from Uttarakhand, who had been divorced by triple talaaq in October 2015, according to The Telegraph.

Catholics ask MEA to look into rumours that IS crucified Indian priest

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has asked the Ministry of External Affairs to investigate rumours that an Indian priest was crucified by the Islamic State in Yemen on Good Friday.

On Monday, the internet floated several unconfirmed reports that Reverend Thomas Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest who had been abducted from an old age home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Yemen after an attack on 4 March by the Islamic State, had been crucified by the terrorists, according to The Indian Express.

UAE: Massive fire at residential towers in Ajman

A huge fire engulfed at least two residential buildings in the northern UAE emirate of Ajman on 28 March, local media reported. All the residents were evacuated. No casualties have been reported. The fire erupted yesterday at a building in the Ajman One residential cluster of 12 towers and spread to at least another tower, Gulf News reported. According to a witness, strong winds near the coastline fanned the blaze, reports AFP.

Brussels attack: Missing Infosys engineer declared dead

Raghavendran Ganesan, the Infosys engineer who went missing after the terror attack in Brussels last Tuesday, was declared dead by the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday.

Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the ministry, said: "Belgium authorities have identified Raghavendran Ganeshan as one of the victims of the barbaric attack in Brussels on 22 March."

Ganesan was on his way to work by metro when the explosions hit Brussels, says the Hindustan Times. He had spoken to his Mumbai-based mother minutes before the bombs went off.

Centre to release second batch of 50 files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose today

The Centre will release the second batch of the 50 declassified files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in New Delhi on 29 March. The documents consist of ten files each from the Prime Minister's Office and the Home Ministry and 30 files from the Ministry of External Affairs pertaining to the period 1956 to 2009. Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (independent charge) and Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma, will release these files online on www.netajipapers.gov.in. In January this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had released the first lot of 100 files - on the occasion of the 119th birth anniversary of Netaji.

Congress, AAP workers protest as Pakistan JIT kicks off Pathankot visit

A five-member Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) arrived in Pathankot on 29 March to carry out the investigation into the 2 January terror attack on the Indian Air Force Base. A group of protesters from Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party waved banners and shouted slogans to protest the visit outside the airbase. During an interaction with reporters on 28 March, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he had denied permission to the foreign investigative team to go anywhere near the airbase. He said the Pathankot terror attack was being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and thus, it was within the purview of the NIA to give permission to the Pakistan JIT to probe the crime scene

PM Modi leaves for Belgium-US-Saudi Arabia tour today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to leave for a three-nation tour to Belgium, United States and Saudi Arabia on 29 March. In Brussels PM Modi will take part in a series of activities and address the Indian diaspora. The Prime Minister will also take part in India-EU summit where he will take forward the ongoing consultations with the European Union on the finalisation of Broad based Trade and Investment Agreement, BTIA. During the second leg of the tour, the Prime Minister will attend the fourth Nuclear Security Summit at Washington DC on Thursday and Friday. He will also Saudi Arabia - where several agreements are expected to be signed in Brussels.

Spooked in Arunachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand, Congress accedes to rebels in Manipur

Apparently alarmed after back to back threats to its governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Congress party today decided to put its house in order in Manipur. Party president Sonia Gandhi removed Gaikhangam as chief of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) and appointed T N Haokip in his place.

Former Assembly Speaker Haokip was leading the group of 25 dissident Congress MLAs who had recently met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. In the meeting, they had reportedly demanded reshuffling ministries, strict imposition of the 'one-man-one-post' principle and decentralisation in governance. Gaikhangam is also the home minister and deputy chief minister in Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh's cabinet.

Yoga based cure for cancer on its way

According to Ayush Minister Shripad Naik a yoga-based cure for diseases such as diabetes and cancer is on its way.

Mr Naik said a technique for such cure developed by Bengaluru-based Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA) is just about a year away from endorsement from his ministry.

The documentation of the technique for prevention and cure of diseases such as diabetes and cancer developed by the deemed university headed by HR Nagendra is being vetted by the AYUSH Ministry.

Mr Naik said that he was satisfied with the documentation of the processes and techniques used and the history of cure at the university.

Sun's superflares can destroy the earth

The Sun is capable of producing monstrous eruptions or 'superflares' that can not only break down radio communication and power supplies, but also affect Earth's ability to support life, scientists say.

Evidence from geological archives has shown that the Sun might have produced a small superflare in 775 AD.

"The magnetic fields on the surface of stars with superflares are generally stronger than the magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun," said Christoffer Karoff, from Aarhus University. However, of all the stars with superflares that researchers analysed, about 10 per cent had a magnetic field with a strength similar to or weaker than that of the Sun's.

If an eruption of this size was to strike Earth today, it would have devastating consequences. Not just for all electronic equipment on Earth, but also for our atmosphere and thus our planet's ability to support life.