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After his unceremonious sacking this week, Cyrus Mistry, former Chairman of Tata Sons, has lashed back at those who questioned his record. Defending his stint, he wrote a strongly-worded letter to the board of the company, saying he had inherited five unprofitable businesses. Mistry added that Tata could lose $18 billion in write-downs, a claim Sebi is investigating. Among the dwindling businesses, he included Tata Motors' Nano small-car project, which, he alleged, requires shutting down. Mistry's removal, which was necessitated due to his perceived break with the "philosophy and ethos" of the Tatas, has wiped out Rs 21,000 crores in losses from the Tata stocks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, upset over India's dismal performance in the 'Ease of Doing Business' global ranking, has asked officials to analyse the causes behind it. Despite the government's efforts at improving India's standing, it has moved one notch up from its last year's position. India occupied the 130th position in the 2017 list, which is topped by New Zealand, followed by Singapore. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the initiatives and reforms undertaken by the government have not been adequately captured in the report published by the World Bank.
The World Health Organisation will classify you as "disabled" if you fail to find "a suitable sexual partner", according to reports. Before you decide to feel enraged, read the full story and see for yourself if it is all for a good cause.
India has sent as many as six note verbales to Pakistan seeking access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested from Balochistan on suspicion of being a spy. India claims Jadhav had retired from the navy in 2002 and has nothing to do with terrorism, as Pakistan suggests, though Jadhav's Indian passport bears the name "Hussein Mubarak Patel". Pakistan has used Jadhav's example in several international forums to insist that India's intelligence wing R&AW has been fomenting terrorism in Balochistan.
The Living Planet 2016 report, published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), has shockingly claimed that around half of India's wildlife faces the danger of being wiped out. The biennial survey, which tracks 14,000 vertebrate populations of over 3,700 species, paints a dire picture of India's natural resources. As it estimates, 70% of the surface water is polluted, 60% of ground water will hit critical levels and cannot be replenished and a quarter of India's land is facing desertification.
Allahabad High Court ruled that the user-fee collected from commuters driving through the DND Flyway connecting Delhi and Noida was illegal and asked it to be discontinued. The order came in response to a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations in 2012, to stop the extraction of toll tax. It remains to be seen if this move will ease traffic congestion in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Off The Front Page
A "summary and update" issued by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) carefully left out the fact that Najeeb Ahmed, the student who was charged with slapping a supporter of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), has been missing since the night he was allegedly assaulted. For well over a week, Ahmed has not been traced, leading to protests against the administration by students and counter-accusations from the Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar that he, and other members of the staff, have been "wrongfully confined" for hours.
In spite of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav hugging his feuding uncle Shivpal Yadav, on the insistence of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, the storm in the political establishment of Uttar Pradesh is likely to be far from over. With Shivpal dropping strong hints of a pre-poll alliance with "all followers of Ram Manohar Lohia, Chaudhary Charan Singh and M.K. Gandhi" to fight communal forces in the state, the fate of the Samajwadi Party may be taking a new turn soon.
An international team of genetic researchers visited Kodinhi, a village in the Mallapuram district of Kerala, to investigate the causes behind its high concentration of twin births. Scientists from India, Germany and the UK collected DNA samples from families to find out the reasons that explain the presence of over 500 twin siblings of different ages in the village.
In The Hindu, legal expert Suhrith Parthasarathy argues that by refusing to revisit Justice J.S. Verma's judgements in the "Hindutva cases", the Supreme Court "is missing an opportunity to strengthen integrity in India's political process". A seven-member bench of the apex court said on Tuesday it would not re-examine its 1995 verdict on the cases, while hearing a matter related to electoral malpractices arising out of them.
In Mint, Shuchi Bansal notes the "quiet revolution" happening in India's digital news market, with a number of news outlets putting their content behind paywall or encouraging readers to opt for the subscription model. While the thought certainly counts for something, media platforms will have to figure out how many people are really willing to pay for content and how much.
Retired police officer Julio Ribeiro calls out Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in The Indian Expressfor trying to "broker a face-saver" for Maharashtra Navrinman Sena (MNS). By behaving this way, Ribeiro writes, Fadnavis has exposed himself as a politician who is afraid of bullies. "Unless the BJP in Maharashtra has decided to boost the dwindling clout of the MNS to counterbalance the threats doled out at regular intervals by its alliance partner, the Shiv Sena," Ribeiro adds, "I see no justification for letting Raj Thackeray off the hook.
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