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- A seven-judge Bench, comprising the seniormost judges of the Supreme Court, issued a bailable warrant against sitting Calcutta HC judge C.S. Karnan to secure his presence in the Supreme Court on March 31 in a suo motu contempt case against him for denigrating the judicial institution. Justice Karnan in turn alleged that he was being targeted by the Supreme Court because he belongs to a Scheduled Caste community. Justice Karnan also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to initiate a probe against the seven Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Khehar.
- The intricate task of relocation of the 18th Century Tipu Sultan’s armoury at Srirangapatna was completed this week, making it the first such exercise in the history of Indian Railways that entailed moving a monument in one piece to a new site. The location approved by the ASI for the final shifting of the monument is at a distance of 100 meters from the original site.
- In what will probably be the first such attempt, the States of Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have decided to conduct a synchronised elephant census between May 9 and 12. The four States together have the maximum number of human-elephant conflict-prone regions in India.
- India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, which was considered lost, is still orbiting the moon, NASA scientists have found by using a new ground-based radar. The ISRO lost communication with Chandrayaan-1 on August 29, 2009, almost a year after it was launched. Now, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California have located the spacecraft still circling some 200 km above the lunar surface.
- The Election Commission, for the first time, will provide public access to analytics through interactive dashboards comprising comparative data on Assembly elections held in the five States where polls are currently being carried out.
- The Rajya Sabha passed the The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, in the sixth attempt after ordinances were passed to keep the Bill alive, following fierce objections by the Opposition parties. The 49-year-old law was amended to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China. The new Bill ensures that the law of succession does not apply to enemy property; that there cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the Act. The amendments are aimed at plugging the loopholes in the Act to ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian remain so and do not revert to the enemy subject or firm. The Bill also prohibits civil courts and other authorities from entertaining disputes related to enemy property.
- Hungary scrambled fighter jets to apprehend and escort an Air India aircraft that had lost contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) and entered its airspace. The London-bound AI-171, a Boeing 787 en route to Newark was flying from Ahmedabad when Hungarian ATC alerted the defence about the presence of the ‘unknown’ aircraft in the airspace. However, after establishing contact and identification, the aircraft was allowed to proceed and it landed safely.
- Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is experiencing an unprecedented second straight year of mass coral bleaching. The 2,300-km reef suffered its most severe bleaching on record last year due to warming sea temperatures during March and April. Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour. Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them.
- George A. Olah, whose work won a Nobel Prize in chemistry and paved the way for more effective oil refining and ways of producing less polluting forms of gasoline, has died at the age of 89. Olah’s research brought him the 1994 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his groundbreaking study of the unstable carbon molecules known as carbocations.
- After a meticulous restoration that took more than a year, a Stradivarius violin that was stolen from violinist Roman Totenberg and was missing for decades is about to return to the stage. The violin known as the Ames Stradivarius is one of roughly 550 surviving instruments made by Antonio Stradivari, history’s most renowned violin maker. Built in 1734, it’s likely worth millions of dollars, although it hasn’t been appraised since it was recovered.
- NASA’s ‘Europa Clipper’ set to launch in the 2020s will probe the habitability of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. The mission plan includes 40 to 45 flybys, during which the spacecraft would image the moon’s icy surface at high resolution and investigate its composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell. Europa has long been a high priority for exploration because it holds a salty liquid water ocean beneath its icy crust.
- The Japanese and U.S. navies are conducting joint exercises in the East China Sea as tension intensifies in the region following North Korea’s missile tests.
- Pakistan’s Parliament has finally passed the much-awaited Hindu Marriage Bill. The National Assembly passed the bill in September last year but had to pass it again as its version of the bill was changed by the Senate, when it adopted the law in February.