21 March 2016 National Happenings

Seven Days

The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
Seven Days
Uttar Pradesh
Smriti “C” Irani?

Controversy could well be her second name. Barely had the JNU crisis died down that HRD minister Smriti Irani’s car  got involved in a ‘pile-up’ on the Yamuna Expressway, in which a doctor got killed. The dead man’s daughter insisted that while Irani did get down, she was busy tweeting and did not heed her request for help. Even as this story played out, reports emerged of how she had dealt with the V-C of Aligarh Muslim University.

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Still Vulnerable

Amidst reports that Christian Aid India was advised to change its registration to just ‘CA India’, the attack on a year-old church in Raipur has caused consternation. Thankfully, unlike similar attacks in the past, the police and the government acted more decisively against the culprits and promptly arrested nine of the accused.

The Tough Nut

Is all well between the ministries of finance and defence? Former army chiefs were dismayed that the budget made no mention of defence and Arun Jaitley’s speech ignored the allocation of Rs 3.4 lakh crore. The dismay gave way to anger with reports that the defence ministry returned Rs 18,000 crore of unspent money from last year. Manohar Parikkar, though, retorted that he is a tough negotiator and was actually saving money.

Dame, Set, Match

Maria Sharapova’s reputation as a star whose tennis looked as pleasing as the person behind the racquet lies in tatters after she admitted to testing positive for a banned drug during the Australian Open. Meldonium was not on the banned list for the 10 years she had been taking it for health reasons. The rules changed on January 1, but she forgot to “click” to see if her medicine was on it. With suspension in the offing, sponsors Nike, Tag Heueur and Porsche quickly distanced themselves from her. But Sharapova’s sense of humour did not desert her: “I know many of you thought that I would be retiring today, but if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.”

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How Secular Is ‘Secular’?

Attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi argued in the Supreme Court that a secular state could not set up a minority institution like the Aligarh Muslim Univ­ersity. But in poll-bound Assam, he is expected to defend the Centre’s decision to allow only Hin­dus among the post-1971 migr­ants to become citizens. While the AGP petition challenging its constitutionality is before the SC, it has not stopped the regional party and the BJP from forging an alliance for next month’s assembly polls.

Allow Four Husbands

Why can’t Muslim women have four husbands, asked high court judge B. Kamal Pasha while acknowledging that the Muslim personal law was heavily loaded against women. While Islamic nations have banned poly­gamy, he pointed out, in India the practice was still allowed. More and more sane voices like the judge’s are pitching in for a common code that would restore the dignity of Muslim women.

Tamil Nadu
Caught On Tape

A politician fat-shaming schoolgirls and telling them they must win medals bec­ause taxpayers’ money is being spent on them isn’t a pleasant sight. But sports minister D. Sund­araraj’s midnight inspection, caught on video, doesn’t stop just there. He asks a girl if her mother knew she was gaining weight. When the girl mumbles that her father did, the minister asks whether the parents lived together. Yuck!


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7 Stories We Are Not Covering This Week
  • Lucknow
    A giant 14-metre replica of yesteryear Bollywood star Sadhana’s jhumka (danglers) coming up in Bareilly
  • New Delhi
    A study showing that Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been more productive in  NDA-II with fewer disruptions by the opposition than was the case during UPA-II
  • Salem
    D. Selvam, a lower court judge in Sathyamangalam, serving an office memo to his Dalit assistant, 47, for refusing to wash his underwear
  • Cambridge
    The death of Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of the @ symbol in email, being overshadowed by rival claims of Indian techie Dr Shiva Ayyadurai
  • Bangalore
    Thousands of dead fish washing up on the banks of Ulsoor Lake after untreated sewage poured into it, sucking the oxygen out
  • Mumbai
    Harsha Chawla, Mumbai’s first test-tube baby, becoming a mother. (More than 15,000 test-tube babies have been born since Harsha)
  • San Francisco
    Air India operating the “world’s longest” all-women-operated and supported non-stop flight from Delhi to mark Women’s Day
VII Things We Learnt Last Week
  • Shahrukh Khan got a taste of his first lobster thermidor from the Mala­yalam actor Mohanlal
  • 2000 Goans gave up their Indian citizenship and obtained Portuguese passports last year
  • West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee chants Sanskrit shlokas when she work­s out on the tread­mill every day
  • Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living also owns a TV channel called ‘Anandam TV’
  • Swedish giant Ericsson has been manufacturing in India since 1903, and 33 per cent of it all is in and around Pune
  • A human body can be cremated in two hours using dried cow dung cakes instead of 200 kg of wood over 12 hours
  • There were 4,40,000 tweets a minute when Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar for best actor

Compiled by Uttam Sengupta and Alka Gupta



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