People light candles in memory of the December 16 gang rape victim at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.(HT File)
People light candles in memory of the December 16 gang rape victim at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.(HT File)

Will Dec 16 gang rape convicts hang to Facebook partnering Airtel: Top stories of the day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will target development of rural economy, the Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on appeals by the four convicts of the December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder, and India told the United Nations it’s a secular country with no state religion, here are the top stories of the day.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON MAY 05, 2017 10:56 AM IST

1) To secure 2019 general elections, Modi govt targets development of rural economy

Almost every other month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a review meeting of the rural development ministry to keep the bureaucracy responsible for catering to around 22 crore people on its toes. In one of those meetings, Modi posed a question: “How can we ensure that the money we are spending is going to the right person?” That question sparked off a massive administrative, technological and manual exercise aimed to shake up the system. The process, ironically, coincided with the government’s renewed thrust on rural development, which, the critics say, was missing in Modi’s first year of governance.

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2) Will Dec 16 Delhi gang rape convicts hang? Supreme Court to decide today

The Supreme Court will on Friday pronounce its verdict on appeals by the four convicts of December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder case against the death sentences awarded to them. The court had stayed the execution of the convicts three years ago. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had, in March this year, reserved the verdict after hearing the matter that was spread almost for a year. Accused Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur had moved the top court challenging the High Court’s March 13, 2014 verdict, which upheld their death sentences by a trial court.

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3) Aadhaar being promoted by govt as ‘herbal panacea’ for all ills, SC told

Those opposing linking Aadhaar to Income-tax returns and PAN cards told the Supreme Court that the NDA government was promoting the 12-digit identity number as “herbal panacea” for all ills plaguing India, from “terrorism to black money”. “The government has an agenda to push Aadhaar that has become like one of those herbal remedies, which can cure everything,” senior advocate Arvind Datar told a bench headed by Justice AK Sikri. Datar said the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards and IT returns was “unconstitutional and draconian”.

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4) Doubts dog Punjab government’s claims on drug abuse crackdown

‘Fake’ arrests and seemingly misleading data have put under doubt the new Punjab government’s attempts to tackle drug abuse, one of its most important promises to the state for the elections it won in February. On Monday, chief minister Amarinder Singh said that he had “broken the backbone of the drug syndicate in Punjab”, prompting the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to demand evidence.

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5) 14 dead, 28 injured after truck runs off road and falls into canal in UP’s Etah

Fourteen people were killed and at least 28 injured after a truck drove into a roadside canal early on Friday morning in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district. The accident occurred between 3:30 and 4 am when the truck, carrying a wedding party, was returning from Nagla Lal Singh in the Jalesar area. All passengers were from Nagaria village, Shamshabad, in Agra district. The mishap took place near Sarai Neem in Jalesar area of Etah district.

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6) At United Nations, India says it’s a secular country with no state religion

India on Thursday said it is a secular state with no state religion and safeguarding the rights of minorities forms an essential core of its polity, as it came under criticism from Pakistan over treatment of minorities. Speaking at the 27th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group at the UNHCR in Geneva, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the Indian Constitution enshrines various provisions for the protection of the rights and interest of the minorities.

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7) Watch: Three IPS officers speak against ‘demeaning’ portrayal of women in movies

Three female IPS officers from Tamil Nadu have voiced concern over portrayal of women in a demeaning manner in movies and said this was a major factor in rising crimes against women. The officers - superintendent of police of Coimbatore RV Ramyabharathi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Coimbatore City, S Lakshmi, and DCP, Tiruppur City, Disha Mittal - urged the entertainment sector to “restrain from glorifying demeaning and insulting dialogues and lyrics”.

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8) Facebook brings Express WiFi to India, partners with Airtel for 700 hotspots

Remember the cable guy? Carrying a roll of optical fibre cables that brought satellite TV to your homes? He is coming back but in the form of entrepreneurs who will set up WiFi hotspots courtesy Facebook to provide internet in public places ending India’s poor connectivity problem. Called Express WiFi, the new programme ties up with entrepreneurs to help them set up public WiFi hotspots and helping them provide internet to a lot of citizens in poor or no connectivity areas – the “intent” behind Free Basics platform.

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9) Spending too much time online may lead to ADHD, behaviour problems in teens: Study

New research finds that tapping away on a smartphone or surfing the web is linked to increases in attention, behaviour and self-regulation problems in young people already at risk of mental health problems.

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10) Trump announces first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican

Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed his first foreign trip as president will include stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican. Trump will add the three stops to an already announced visit to NATO and G7 summits in Brussels and Sicily later this month.

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11) Shahid Afridi on ‘dosti’ with Indian cricket team and especially, Gautam Gambhir

India and Pakistan may be arch-rivals on the field, but off it they share a strong bond. This was revealed by former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi in his column for the International Cricket Council. Afridi, however, took a dig at unfriendly Gautam Gambhir. “Contrary to popular belief, India and Pakistan players get along very well. Of course, there are exceptions like Gautam Gambhir, who dare I say isn’t the friendliest,” wrote Afridi.

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