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Irom Sharmila ends 16-year-old fast. Manipur's Iron Lady wants to be CM

Human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who has been on a hunger strike for the last 16 years against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), has ended her fast on 9 August.

Sharmila has expressed her desire to join politics and contest the elections as an independent candidate. "I want to become the Chief Minister of Manipur and remove the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act," she said.

According to media reports, Sharmila was released from judicial custody after she announced her decision to break her fast. The court is expected to order her release from hospital soon.

Political parties open doors for Manipur's iron-lady Irom Sharmila

Human rights activist Irom Sharmila on 9 August will end her 16-year-old fast. She had been on hunger strike against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

"I will break my fast as the government has failed to give any positive response. I will fight elections to resolve the issues," she told ANI earlier outside the Imphal court. Sharmila, who is popularly known as Iron-lady of Manipur, is being welcomed by two major national political parties, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress, after announcing that she will fight elections.

BJP on Tuesday said that it will welcome activist Irom Sharmila if she wants to join the saffron party. BJP leader, K.H Joykishan told ANI that Sharmila contesting elections from a BJP ticket is a decision which is to be considered by the central leadership of the party.

Praising Irom Sharmila for her determination, the Congress on Tuesday hinted that the grand old party will welcome the iron lady of Manipur in their party, if she wishes to join the political outfit. Manipur Congress president T.N. Haokip hailed Sharmila's decision to contest elections and said that the latter is a determined person who stands by her commitments.

Former Arunachal Pradesh CM Kalikho Pul found dead

The former chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Kalikho Pul, was found dead on the morning of 9 August. He was 47. According to media reports, Pul was found hanging at his Itanagar residence. Initial reports suggest that the former CM committed suicide as he was suffering from depression.

Pul became the acting chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh on 19 February 2016. He held the post till July, when the Supreme Court restored former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki's Congress government in the state.

Election Commission proposes extension of pre-poll advertisement ban to print media

On 9 August, the Election Commission (EC) put in a request before the government to amend certain provisions of the requested the Representation of the People's Act, to extend the existing ban on political advertisements 48 hours prior to polling, to print media as well.

Chief Election Commissioner S Nasim Zaidi, accompanied by commissioners A K Jyoti and O P Rawat engaged in discussions with senior officials of the legislative department, pointing out that full-page advertisements appear in newspapers right up till the polling day, while similar ad campaigns are barred on TV, radio and social media.

The EC has suggested that print media should also be covered under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, so that political advertisements are barred from appearing in newspapers 48 hours ahead of polling day.

Giant planet that orbits two suns found

Scientists have reportedly discovered the existence of a planet as big as Jupiter that orbits a pair of binary stars.

The giant gas planet, which has been named Kepler-1647 b, has been spotted 3,700 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation.

The planet, which is estimated to be 4.4 billion years old, has the largest orbit of any circumbinary planet ever discovered. It takes 1,107 days for Kepler-1647b - which is identical to Jupiter in terms of mass and diameter - to complete an orbit.

Sunflowers have an internal clock just like you

Sunflowers have a circadian rhythm just like animals, a new study has found.

The system sends messages to the cells in the stem, instructing it to grow longer and make the plant tilt westward during the day. During the night, the message reverses and the stem tilts back to the east.

"It's the first example of a plant's clock modulating growth in a natural environment, and having real repercussions for the plant," Stacey Harmer, professor of plant biology at University of California-Davis and senior author on the paper, said in a statement.

The study has been published in the journal Science.