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Omar Abdullah says Burhan Wani is an 'icon' for Kashmir's disaffected

On 8 July, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdulalh said that slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani had no links with militancy. A day after Burhan's death, on 9 July, Abdullah added that Wani had become the new 'icon' for the frustrated and disaffected community in the Valley.

Soon after reports of Burhan's death surfaced, Omar Abdullah put out a series of tweets saying he did not recall any militancy incident attributed to him while he was in office.

He also affirmed that Burhan wasn't the first to pick up arms and won't be the last.

Vijay Mallya's 'personal appearance' exemption lifted in FERA case

In a major setback for Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender in a money laundering case, the Patiala House Court today lifted the exemption granted to him from personal appearance in a case of evading summons in a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) issue.

During the hearing, the Enforcement Directorate told the court that Mallya's personal appearance was crucial for the ongoing trial.

The now defunct FERA case was registered by the ED against Mallya, in which the agency had issued summons, directing him to appear in relation to the investigation, where it was alleged that Mallya had violated the FERA regulation in connection to a transaction with Flavio Briatore of Benetton Formula Ltd based in London.

Kerala: Furore over disappearance of 15 youth, families suspect ISIS association

After travelling to the Middle East last month, 15 young men and women from Kerala's Kasaragod and Palakkad districts are reportedly missing. Their families suspect that they may have joined the Islamic State.

State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the police to launch a probe into the matter urgently, Kasaragod MP P Karunakaran said.

The families of the youth, including a couple, have not heard from them since the last one month and fear they have been radicalised after having gone to the Middle East for religious studies.

Kasaragod District Panchayat member VPP Mustafa said that during Eid, the parents of two missing youth received Whatsapp messages saying, "We are not coming back. Here there is Divine Rule. You also should join us."

From curfew in Srinagar to Amarnath Yatra suspension, 5 things happening in the Valley after Burhan Wani's death

Burhan Muzaffar Wani, commander of terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir on 8 July.

It is being termed as a major setback to the militancy in J&K. While paying their tributes to Burhan Muzaffar Wani, All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi have called for a complete state-wide shutdown on Saturday and appealed to people to participate in his funeral prayers in large numbers.

Following the death of the Hizbul Mujahideen Commander, the Amarnath Yatra has been suspended for a day.

Under the prevailing situation, the school board exams scheduled to be held today have been postponed. Curfew has been imposed in Srinagar and several other parts of Kashmir. Government officials have also suspended mobile internet services for a day across the valley.

Four killed after a building collapsed during anti-encroachment drive in Meerut

Four people have reportedly been killed after a building collapsed during an anti-encroachment drive in Meerut Cantonment on 8 July.

According to media reports, the incident took place after the Cantonment board authorities reached the spot and asked people to vacate the shopping complex.

Local media reported that the shopping complex was apparently built illegally and the authorities conducted the demolition drive even before people left the building.

Another report added that the authorities directed the bulldozer towards the building much before people could vacate the complex, leaving several buried under the debris.

Following the chaos, the authorities reportedly fled the scene.

Police authorities were informed and rescue operations are still on.

Sushma Swaraj condoles death of Pakistan philanthropist Edhi

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressed her grief over the death of Pakistani philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi on 9 July.

In a tweet, Swaraj said that Edhi was a noble soul who dedicated his life to the service of mankind.

Edhi passed away in Karachi last night at the age of 92 after a prolonged battle with different ailments.

Edhi, who formed the famous Edhi village 25 years ago which was home to the homeless, destitute, street children, elderly, abandoned babies and addicts, was Chairman of the Edhi foundation which was celebrated for its humanitarian work.

God over sanitation - India's warped spending priorities

A recent report by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) has shown a disturbing trend when it comes to India's spending patterns. In results symptomatic of our misplaced, if well-intentioned priorities, it was found that Indian's, across social groups are willing to spend more on religious ceremony than on sanitation.

The survey, conducted between 2014-2015, found that monthly spending on sanitation and sewage disposal was only 0.22%, while spending on religious services was 9%.

Pokemon Go player finds dead body

With the release of Pokemon Go, users, young and old, have hit the streets in their quest to catch 'em all. However, one gamer in Wyoming, USA, got more than she bargained for when she found - not a wild MewTwo - but an actual dead body.

Shayla Wiggins found the body by the riverside when trying to find a Pokemon from a natural water resource. Wyoming police say that the cause of death appears to be accidental.

18 die in mother of all traffic jams

If you thought Indian traffic jams were bad, Indonesia beats us by a mile. Well, by many, many miles. In a shocking example of just how bad the traffic congestion is in Indonesia, 18 people were killed during a day-long horror jam.

Medical authorities indicated that 12 people had died from fatigue during the jam that some said went on for over 35 hours. However, 5 death were due to accidents at a crossing and the cause of the remaining death was unknown.

Treating alcoholism with booze

Fight fire with fire is an often used phrase, but you'd imagine the last way to treat alcoholism is with more alcohol. The Managed Alcohol Program however, begs to differ.

The program, being run in Ottawa, Canada, aims to stabilise the lives of the city's alcoholic population by providing them small, controlled doses of clean alcohol - namely, wine. The program, which was started in 2001 is run by two NGOs - the Shepherds of Good Hope, and Ottawa Inner City Health.

Daily app downloads in India rose by 16% in first half of 2016: Reports

Daily app downloads in India increased by 16% in the first-half of 2016 (January-June), according to latest data released by 9Apps. Popular third-party app store and part of Alibaba Mobile Business Group reports that 9Apps has reached over 250 million monthly active users around the world.

"According to our statistics, tool, social, media and entertainment, apart from gaming, remain the most popular categories for app downloads. Tools make up about 23 percent of all app downloads; Social about nine percent; Entertainment at seven percent and music is over four percent of all non-gaming app downloads," said Country Manager 9Apps, Ebrahim Popat.

Consumption of gaming apps has increased more than that of non-gaming app. The proportion of games in total app downloads has increased to nearly 20% this year versus 17% in 2015.

China now has world's largest radio telescope

China has declared that it now has the world's largest spherical radio telescope at 500 meters.

According to Xinhua news, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) has been completed at a cost of approximately 180 million dollars and took about five years to complete. The radio telescope, which is expected to become operational in September this year, has a massive reflector comprising of 4,450 panels, which experts say is equivalent in size to 30 football fields.

The radio telescope is expected to be used to search for extraterrestrial life and upgrades and adjustments will be made to it over the next three years.

The 300 meter wide Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico was previously the world's largest in terms of diameter.

Cannabis 'ATMs'? Believe it!

Jamaica plans to open cannabis 'ATMs' in its airports in a bid to cash in on the drug after it was decriminalised in February 2015.

It is currently legal to carry up to two ounces of weed in Jamaica, but police can issue anyone in possession with a ticket and a 500 JMD fine.

The kiosks are expected to be manned by persons with medical training. They will grant the permit to tourists who will want to use or carry up to two ounces of ganja while in Jamaica.

Whale and winghead sharks going extinct

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the organisation responsible for assessing the risk levels faced by animal species, has more bad news. This time, it's for whale sharks and winghead sharks.

Both species of shark have been put on the 'red list' which means they are officially endangered. The cause? Humans of course. The fishing industry bears most of the blame with the whale shark population halving over the past 75 years.

UN's World Food Programme needs $610 million for southern Africa drought relief

The United Nations' food agency has said that it needs $730 million to counter the drought crisis in seven southern African nations over the next 12 months.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that it is facing a $610 million shortfall in relief for Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Madagascar, Swaziland and Zambia.

The El Nino pattern has triggered severe drought across the region.

Two killed in landslides as Assam reels under floods, heavy rain

At least two people were killed in landslides in Assam on 7 July, as the flood situation in the state worsened.

Two people were killed in Johrat area, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said.

ASDMA said more than 1.5 lakh people were reeling under floods in 294 villages across Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Nagaon, Jorhat, Golaghat, Morigaon, Biswanath and Barpeta districts.

Currently the Brahmaputra was flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Nematighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur districts and Dhubri town and Dhansiri at Golaghat town and Numaligarh in Golaghat, it added.