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Pak High Commissioner says Indo-Pak peace process suspended; MEA denies claim

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India said on Thursday that the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team’s visit to India to probe the Pathankot terror attack was not on the basis of reciprocity, and that an Indian team from the NIA would not be allowed to visit Pakistan in return. However, India responded by saying that before the JIT came to India, both sides had agreed the visit would be on the basis of reciprocity. Basit also said that the Indo-Pak peace process stands “suspended”, according to The Indian Express.

Drought effect: HC allows IPL Wankhede opener, other Maharashtra matches still in question

The Bombay High Court on 7 April allowed the opening match of the IPL to be played at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, but will decide later whether to allow the 19 other games scheduled for Maharashtra to continue as planned, or rule to have them transferred to other states.  The court was hearing two PILs asking to shift IPL matches out of Maharashtra as the state has declared a drought, while 65 lakh litres of water will be required to prepare the cricket pitches in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, according to The Telegraph. On Friday, the high court bench hearing the PILs told the acting state attorney-general opposing the pleas: "People are more important or your IPL matches? Ideally, you should shift the IPL matches to some other state."

Kejriwal, 5 other AAP leaders get bail in Jaitley defamation case

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and five of his Aam Aadmi Party colleagues were granted bail on Thursday by a Delhi court hearing a defamation case against them filed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.  Kejriwal and his colleagues were each given bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and a like amount in surety after a 15-minute hearing. The AAP leaders had alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket board of which Jaitley was the president till 2013. Jaitley has also demanded Rs 10 crore in damages. The case will be heard on 19 May.

Congress, JD(U) consider Bihar-like alliance for UP polls

The Congress and the JD(U) may form an alliance like the one in Bihar to take on the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Ajit Singh’s RLD has already planned to merge with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). Singh will get a senior position at a national level, while his son, former MP Jayant Chaudhury, may become the president of the UP unit of the merged parties, according to The Economic Times. The Congress may enter this picture, say sources, because of a need to present a united front to parties already entrenched in UP’s political system, such as the SP, the BSP and the BJP. 

IIT fees double, but interest-free student loans readily available

From this academic year, students at the Indian Institutes of Technology will have to pay annual fees of Rs 2 lakh, up from Rs 90,000. The hike in fees was based on a report from a committee of experts as well as recommendations from the standing committee of the IIT Council, as one way for the IITs to reduce their dependence on the government and take charge of their running costs. As of now, the government spends about Rs 6 lakh per student per year. However, the authorities have made it easy for students to receive loans and get scholarships, says The Telegraph.

NIA officer murder: Police identify suspect, theorise property dispute

The Uttar Pradesh police have identified one Muneer, a resident of Bijnor district, as one of the killers of National Investigation Agency officer Mohammed Tanzeel Ahmed. Muneer has a criminal record and is suspected to have murdered Ahmed over a property dispute. “Police teams have been dispatched to various locations to arrest him,” said Omkar Singh, DIG of Moradabad range. However Ahmed’s family said the NIA officer had not been involved in any property dispute, according to the Hindustan Times.

Comets, asteroids made Mars habitable: Study

Turns out, massive bombardment that occurred some four billion years ago by comets and asteroids as large as West Virginia may have made Mars more likely to support life. Researcher Stephen Mojzsis from the University of Colorado Boulder said that if early Mars was as barren and cold as it is today, massive asteroid and comet impacts would have produced enough heat to melt subsurface ice. The impacts would have produced regional hydrothermal systems on Mars similar to those in Yellowstone National Park, which today harbor chemically powered microbes, some of which can survive boiling in hot springs or inhabiting water acidic enough to dissolve nails. The study is published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Drought effect: No surgeries in Latur as docs lack water even to wash their hands

Doctors in drought-stricken Latur, Maharashtra, are putting off surgeries because there is not enough water for them to even wash their hands before an operation. “We have to depend on tanker water. The tankers are finding it hard to supply water because they get water from borewells from far flung areas where the water table is going down,” said Deepak Gugale, president of the Latur Indian Medical Association. As of now, the doctors are treating only emergency cases, but may have to stop even that after 15 days, according to The Economic Times.