The Daily Brief – 21st February, 2017

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  • The Supreme Court may refer the Sabarimala temple entry restriction on women of a certain age to a Constitution Bench. The Bench noted that the main issue to be decided was whether the multitude of worshippers of Lord Ayyappa visiting the shrine form a separate religious “denomination”, and if so, should their privilege to manage their religious affairs yield to the fundamental right of women to practice religion freely. The three-judge Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, R. Banumathi, and Ashok Bhushan reserved its judgment on the question of referring a batch of petitions challenging the temple’s restriction to a Constitution Bench of five judges of the Supreme Court.
  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said that the Centre has sanctioned a special package for strengthening security in three eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh to tackle the insurgency problem there. The special package for Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts will also include creation of new posts, purchase of vehicles and equipment for police.
  • Warning that the impasse in the India-European Union free trade negotiations could also hurt investment into India, the Members of the European Parliament “Delegation for Relations with India” urged the government to consider a six-month extension of bilateral investment treaties until the FTA or the comprehensive BTIA (Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement) negotiations are restarted. The delegation, one of three with senior officials from the EU and European Parliament visiting India this week, met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss their concerns.
  • Indian agencies on Monday sought help in securing the custody of businessman Vijay Mallya, at a meeting with their British counterparts, under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) for his prosecution in a money laundering case against him.
On the leftmost, Nathuram Godse
  • The Central Information Commission has directed the National Archives of India to place the index of records available to them on the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on their official website along with the procedure to gain access to these. The order comes after an appellant approached the Commission claiming he could not get two documents — final charge sheet issued by the Delhi Police and order of execution of Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse — despite inspecting the records and getting certified copies of many documents from the NAI.
  • The government filed a status report in the Supreme Court on the investigation conducted by a special investigation team (SIT) into 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases. The report was filed on the basis of a January 16 direction from the Supreme Court to the Centre to file a “comprehensive report” on the status of the probe conducted by the SIT on a plea seeking a court-monitored investigation.
  • The GST Council has approved a law to compensate states for any loss of revenue from the implementation of the new nationwide indirect taxation regime.
  • The Union Sports Minister, Vijay Goel, felicitated the Indian team that won the Blind T20 World Cup at Bengaluru recently, with a cash purse of Rs. 10 lakh.
  • Adolf Hitler’s personal telephone, which the Fuehrer used to dictate many of his deadly World War II commands, sold at auction on Sunday for $243,000. Originally a black Bakelite phone, later painted crimson and engraved with Hitler’s name, the relic was found in the Nazi leader’s Berlin bunker in 1945 following the regime’s defeat. More than 70 years old, the Siemens rotary telephone is embossed with a swastika and the eagle symbolic of the Third Reich.
  • Kaci Kullmann Five, the chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which selects the Peace Prize laureates, has died aged 65 after a long illness.
  • Geologists have claimed discovery of new geological continent named Zealandia submerged beneath the south-west Pacific Ocean. Zealandia is around 4.5-million square km land mass and is 94% under water. Only its highest points — New Zealand and New Caledonia are visible.
  • Researchers from US based Michigan State University have developed the first stretchable integrated circuit (IC) made entirely using an inkjet printer.
  • The World Day of Social Justice is observed every year on February 20 to recognize the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment.

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