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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's grasp of Indian history seems to be getting him into trouble regularly. On Monday, at a ceremony in Washington DC to mark the repatriation of ancient Indian cultural artefacts, Modi took the opportunity to expound on India's heritage by saying that the Sun Temple in Konark is over 2,000 years old. But actually, the Sun Temple in Odisha, according to the Archaeological Survey of India, was built in the 13th-century CE and is 700 years old. PM Modi has made several gaffes in the past regarding history, for which he has suffered a backlash from the opposition as well as the social media.
A petition to the White House in order to get justice for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims has garnered over 58,000 signatures, with backing from Hollywood star Martin Sheen and Indian raptivist Sofia Ashraf. The 'We The People' petition accuses American officials of obstructing the course of criminal justice in the 1984 tragedy, which is considered the world’s worst industrial disaster. According to the petitioners, the Bhopal court requires Dow to 'show cause' as to why it should not produce UCC, which is its wholly–owned subsidiary, to face manslaughter charges for its role in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
The makers of the upcoming drama Udta Punjab, which is in the centre of a swirling controversy with the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) over its depiction of the drug problem in the state, have moved Bombay High Court. The upcoming film's release date of June 17 seems to be in jeopardy owing to the fact that they don't have a censor certificate yet. According to reports, the Board's Revising Committee has asked for a staggering 89 cuts in the film, and asked to drop references to 'Punjab'.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech at the US Congress on Wednesday that (if not openly) discussed the aid the deeper US-Indian security cooperation should isolate for anyone who harbours, supports or sponsors terrorists, and separate religion from terrorism. Now, PM Modi has arrived at Mexico City on the final leg of his five-nation tour.
Burhan Wani, the notorious Hizbul Mujahideen commander, released a video recently in which he justified attacks on the police and warned the media against calling militants 'terrorists'. In the six-minute video, Wani asked the youth to join 'militancy' and help set up an Islamic rule. He also warned police against trying to stop them by putting barricades and warned them to 'stay inside their police stations'.
The International Tennis Federation announced its decision to ban five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova from competition for two years as a result of her violating anti-doping rules. An independent tribunal, consisting of three individuals appointed by the ITF, levied a two-year ban because Sharapova, a first-time offender, was the first to admit her failed Australian Open drug test in March and was found to have taken the banned drug without intentionally knowing it was not permissible.
Off The Front Page
Swaminarayan idol at the Swaminarayan Mission School in in Laskana village of Surat district kicked up a row recently, when it was dressed up in the RSS outfit — white shirt, baggy khaki shorts and black shoes — after the summer vacations. The temple priest, who dressed the idol in the RSS uniform, complete with a Tricolour in hand, said that it was their common practice of presenting the idol in various outfits. He also added that the RSS uniform was given to them by a devotee.
Three women — Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi — are set to become the first batch of women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force, and will be inducted in the Indian Air Force on 18 June. After the commissioning into the fighter stream, they will undergo advanced training for one year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017.
The Ministry of Ayush has made elaborate plans for the upcoming International Yoga Day, to be held on 21 June. Ayush minister Shripad Yesso Naik also launched a Yoga app on Wednesday to teach people a yoga regime of 45 minutes, which will be followed by over 10,000 people in Delhi on the day.
Well before Muhammad Ali passed away, the bulk of his legacy had already been buried. That he is being so generously eulogised after his death, even by Islamophobes and war mongers, is a good indication that the best part about Ali is no longer relevant, writes Dipankar Gupta in Hindustan Times. "Sure, till the last Ali was a proud Black American. This passion, however, is not remarkable; many others have lived and died by this sentiment. But Ali was different. What set him apart was that he celebrated his colour alongside promoting peace and Islam; for him they were all the same," he writes.
Euthanasia has always been fraught with moral, social, and religious tensions across jurisdictions, write Alok Prasanna Kumar and Dhvani Mehta in The Hindu. "But the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s draft Medical Treatment of Terminally-Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill, 2016, has created a flimsy framework. The Bill, which has been put up for public comments, has attracted a range of views so far. In particular, its refusal to give legal effect to advance medical directives (‘living wills’) is an abdication of legislative responsibility and a violation of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty)," they write.
Words like 'fake', 'spin' and 'jumla' have been used to describe the latest GDP figures, but commentators appear to be relying — sometimes wilfully — on the wrong parameters, writes Bibek Debroy in The Indian Express. "Once we have a full year’s data, we shouldn’t bother about quarterly GDP numbers any longer; they are not robust. In current (and constant) prices, we also have 2015-16 GDP data for the full year, not just quarters; this is the one that showed 7.6 per cent real GDP growth for the entire year. This is also the one which shows discrepancies of ₹9,135 crore for the full year (0.1 per cent of GDP). If a full year is superior to quarterly data, why didn’t commentators pick 2015-16, instead of just the fourth quarter? Clearly because that headline wouldn’t have grabbed eyeballs," he writes.