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Flipkart, Jabong, Snapdeal among 8 e-com sites accused of FEMA violations

E-commerce companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jabong and Junglee.com are among eight online retail companies that are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) by flouting foreign direct investment (FDI) rules, reports the Hindustan Times. In India, FDI is only permitted to e-commerce firms that sell products they manufacture themselves. The eight firms being investigated by the ED sell multiple brands in an online marketplace. The ED is investigating charges that some of these sites have purchased goods from local manufacturers outright and are selling them at deep discounts.

Known Dawood associate to be repatriated to India by Bangladesh

Abdul Rauf, aka Daud Merchant, known to be an associate of gangster Dawood Ibrahim who is wanted in the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts case, will be sent back to India from Bangladesh where he is currently serving a prison sentence for illegal entry, reports the Hindustan Times. Merchant was convicted of the murder of Indian music baron Gulshan Kumar. Bangladesh home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said his government would send back all foreign criminals to their respective countries, Merchant among them. Merchant was convicted by a court in Mumbai in 2002 for the 1997 murder of Gulshan Kumar.

High alert in Mumbai after 6 unidentified paragliders seen near Juhu coastline

Mumbai is on high alert after six men using paragliders 1.5 to 2 nautical miles away from the Juhu coast were spotted by a Pawan Hans helicopter pilot on 13 January, reports the Hindustan Times. In 2010, the Intelligence Bureau had alerted state police agencies across the country after it learned that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) had purchased 50 paragliders from Europe for an aerial attack. The six paragliding men seen by Captain RS Nandal at 9.10 am on 13 January, were flying 1,000 to 1,600 feet above ground level. Police launched a hunt for the men, but came up with nothing.

Muzaffarnagar tense after rape video circulated on social media

Tension rose again in communally-sensitive Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh after a video of an alleged gangrape of a woman in 2013 was circulated on social media, reports The Indian Express. The woman has filed an FIR naming six accused, two of whom were arrested and jailed on Monday. BJP leader Virendra Singh, who had been jailed in 2013 for calling a mahapanchayat before the Muzaffarnagar riots, is threatening another mahapanchayat if the police do not act in this case. The police are investigating the case.

Javadekar clears hydel projects on upper Ganga despite Bharti's objections

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court allowing the construction of hydel projects on the upper Ganga in spite of objections from water resources minister Uma Bharti, reports The Indian Express. Bharti had emailed Javadekar on 5 January, saying that she was "unable to understand how the policy decision of the government as stated in the draft affidavit was arrived (at)" because an inter-ministerial committee, under Secretary, Water Resources, was still to file its report. However, the environment ministry went ahead and filed its affidavit on 7 January, without responding to Bharti's email.

Another Mufti in PDP? Mehbooba introduces cinematographer brother to party's core group

Dynasty politics seemed indicated on Sunday when Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the PDP and daughter of chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed who died recently, introduced her cinematographer brother Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, best known for the film Omkara, to the party's core group, reports The Indian Express. Sources told the newspaper that Mehbooba told the core group that her brother wanted "to do something for Kashmir, especially on environmental issues". The PDP is now wondering if, when Mehbooba, who is currently an MP from Anantnag, vacates her Lok Sabha seat to become J&K's chief minister, Tassaduq will replace her as PDP's candidate for the constituency.

Odd-even will return in May, during school holidays

The Delhi government's odd-even road-rationing scheme which ended its trial period on 15 January will return in May and June during school holidays, reports the Hindustan Times. Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai said the second phase of the odd-even scheme will see the removal of the exemption for women, though two-wheelers will be able to ply freely despite the date till public transport systems are improved. The government, after reviewing the findings of the trial period of the road-rationing scheme, said it had received "positive feedback" from the public.

Union minister charged with abetment of suicide after Dalit scholar's death

Union minister of labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya, University of Hyderabad vice chancellor Appa Rao and two Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leaders, Sushil Kumar and Vishnu were charged by the Hyderabad police on Monday with abetting the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad, reports the Hindustan Times. The complaint was filed by a student. The labour minister was also booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act following allegations that he was behind the suspension of Rohith and four other Dalit students from the university hostel after they protested the hanging of 1993 Bombay bomb blasts case convict Yakub Memon.

Rohith Vemula secretly cremated, Ashok Vajpeyi returns D.Lit to University of Hyderabad

Rohith Vemula, the Dalit student from Hyderabad Central University who committed suicide on 17 January, has reportedly been secretly cremated by the police.

The police has earlier informed the student community that Vemula's body would be laid to rest at a certain crematorium but had later taken the body to another crematorium at Amberpet without prior notice.

The suicide has sparked a massive student protest. Poet Ashok Vajpeyi has reportedly returned the D.Lit given to him by Hyderabad University in protest of the suicide.

F1 car makes ski slopes more cool

It may be one of the coolest experiences ever for a Formula One driver. Max Verstappen's car was airlifted by helicopter to the top of a mountain before the 18-year-old drove it down the slopes, Sky News reported.

The vehicle was specially adapted for the course, with chains on the tyres in order to get grip. Around 3,500 spectators watched the F1 Rookie of the Year's icy antics at the famous Kitzbuhel resort in Austria.

"It was very cool to do, it was a different road for me," said Verstappen, who drives for Red Bull feeder team Toro Rosso.

RIP Friends Reunited

After several efforts to revitalise it failed, social network site Friends Reunited is set to close. After launching the site in 1999, Steve Pankhurst and business partner Jason Porter sold the site to ITV Plc for roughly 170 million pounds in 2005.

But the service struggled to compete with other emerging social networks such as Facebook and ITV disposed of the site for 25 million pounds in 2009 to online genealogy group Brightsolid. Two years later it was declared Friends Reunited was worth around 5.2 million pounds and the site was given back to Mr Pankhurst and Mr Porter to see if they could revitalise it.

But despite a re-launch in 2012 it became clear to the entrepreneurs that the site would never be able to regain its former glory.

Google removes video game on Peshawar school attack

A video game based on a school massacre in Pakistan has been removed from Google Play after triggering an uproar on social media. The attack, in December 2014, saw 148 killed, mostly children, when nine Taliban gunmen stormed a school in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan.

Insurgents occupied the school for several hours until they were killed by the army. The game, called Pakistan Army Retribution, allowed gamers to play as a soldier shooting militants during the attack.

But the game was blasted on social media, with some calling it "bizarre" and "distasteful", media reports said.

Dal or poison? 3 varieties of 'formerly' toxic khesari dal cleared as edible by ICMR

Given the shortage of dal, India's staple source of protein, the government may bring back three varieties of a poisonous family of legumes that had been banned in 1961, reports the Hindustan Times. Khesari dal was banned from cultivation in India because it was linked to neurological disorders. It may return now due to its resilience in the face of floods and droughts, and its cheapness. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has cleared three new varieties of this dal in which toxins have been cut, making it safe to eat. The Food Standards and Safety Authority of India will now test the dals.

Brazil downplays threat from zika virus

Fears are rising over the spread of the mosquito-borne zika virus, which has been linked to rare and serious birth defects. The fears have been articulated barely 200 days before Rio de Janeiro hosts the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics, the first ever to be held in South America.

Olympic and tourism officials in Brazil have downplayed risks for foreign visitors from the mosquito-borne zika virus, even as the health ministry warned pregnant women to consult doctors before visiting the country, media reports said.

Kids mining cobalt for smartphones

Children as young as seven are working in perilous conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to mine cobalt that ends up in smartphones, cars and computers.

According to Amnesty International, cobalt is sold to millions across the world by mega brands such as Apple, Microsoft and Vodafone.

The human rights group claims to have traced cobalt used in lithium batteries sold to 16 multinational brands to mines where young children and adults are being paid a dollar a day, working in life-threatening conditions and subjected to violence, extortion and intimidation.

IS holding 3,500 women, children as 'slaves'

Islamic State is holding an estimated 3,500 women and children as slaves in Iraq, the United Nations says. hose being held are primarily women and children from the Yazidi community, according to a report issued in Geneva.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN's human rights office have documented widespread abuses that "in some instances amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide".