Plugged-In: 10 protesters die in police fire, Karnataka gets a new CM, and fuel prices to be cut

Front Page

10 people killed during a protest against a copper smelter unit in Tamil Nadu. Thousands of people turned out in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, as “a massive rally (was) taken out demanding the closure of Sterlite Copper, a Vedanta group copper smelter unit”, The Hindu reports. The agitation turned violent with some protesters allegedly throwing stones at police personnel and setting vehicles on fire.

Protesters gather for the anti-Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi | @Thalaoffical | Twitter

H.D. Kumaraswamy will be sworn in as Karnataka CM today, with senior Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in attendance. Dalit leader and state Congress president G. Parameshwara will be sworn in as deputy CM, The Indian Express reports.

Fuel prices are likely to be slashed by Rs 2-4 in the next few days. BJP president Amit Shah said petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan will meet oil companies Wednesday to come up with a plan to deal with the spiking oil prices, The Times of India reports.

Two more people died of the Nipah virus in Kerala Tuesday, Hindustan Times reports. The total number of deaths from Nipah infection now stands at 14. To understand more about this rare, contagious virus, read this explainer by Himani Chandna, and watch this video:

The Delhi zoo has swept at least 50 animal deaths under the rug to “dress up its report card”, The Indian Express reports. Last month, Sanya Dhingra of ThePrint had also reported on several charges levelled against the zoo administration, including “mysterious deaths, no post-mortems, illegal capturing and housing of animals, manipulation of records and criminal conspiracy”.

From August, you may get a full refund on domestic air tickets cancelled within 24 hours of booking, The Times of India reports. However, this will only be applicable to flights that are at least four days from departure.

During his visit to Sochi, PM Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he “will not walk back” from India’s intention to buy the S-400 air defence systems from Russia, while Putin assured the PM that Moscow’s relationship with Delhi was far, far better than anything with Pakistan could ever be, Jyoti Malhotra reported exclusively for ThePrint.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Vladimir Putin, at Sochi, Russia | PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Russian President Vladimir Putin at Sochi, Russia | PTI

In ThePrint

SAT scores will soon be a valid criterion for admission to Indian private universities. So far, eight private universities have tied up with the College Board, the American organisation that conducts the examination, Kritika Sharma reports.

10,000 litres of molasses spilled into the Beas river from a sugar mill in Gurdaspur district, Wednesday. Chitleen K. Sethi reports that the ecological disaster may have been the result of a Punjab government order aimed at making use of the sugarcane glut.

Dead fish at the site | Punjab Forest Department

News it’s just kinda cool to know

Ever wonder how Michael Jackson was able to do the moon-walk so effortlessly? Well, a team of neurosurgeons at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh have studied just that, and published a research paper on how MJ was able to do that iconic lean in his 1988 music video, ‘Smooth Criminal’.

An Indian-American woman is the brain behind NASA’s experiment to create the coldest spot in the universe, The Times of India reports. Anita Sengupta also played a key role in the successful landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars on 6 August, 2012.

Business Class

Over 2,100 companies have settled bank dues to the tune of Rs 83,000 crore, The Times of India reports. “The fear of losing control over their companies has prompted promoters… to settle their dues of around Rs 83,000 crore before action was initiated under the newly-enacted Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code,” the report adds.

The Air India privatisation saga has taken a new twist. Aviation secretary R.N. Choubey has said the government may not sell the airline if it doesn’t get a good price, reports The Economic Times.

Point of View

The continuous hike in fuel prices is not only hurting domestic consumers but also the economy. The Times Of India, in its editorial, writes, “To prevent these fallouts, the immediate solution is for governments at all levels to lower taxes.”

There is a ‘churn’ in India’s foreign policy. JNU associate professor Happymon Jacob, in his column in The Hindu, writes, “Recent strategic decisions indicate a post-normative turn in India’s foreign policy…Post-normative India is also an aggressive India, and even the hollow invocations to Gandhian non-violence have become less than routine.”

Walmart has taken over Flipkart in a $16 billion deal but the opposition to the American retail giant’s entry into the Indian market continues. Swaminathan Aiyar, in his column in The Economic Times, counters this opposition, writing, “Fear of China and job losses have fuelled protectionism in the US, and (in lesser degree) in India too. The US has the muscle to force China to buy more. India does not. But it could use Walmart’s muscle.”

The BJP failed in its bid to form the government in Karnataka. Sagarika Ghose, in her column in The Times of India, writes, “Attempting to extract a majority by foul means if need be, was hailed as ‘Chanakya niti’ or realpolitik. But prescriptions from over 2,000 years ago, from the 4th century BC, simply do not fit in the 21st century.”

Vajubhai Vala
Outgoing Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa submits his resignation to governor Vajubhai Vala | PTI

The BJP’s ally in Assam, Asom Gana Parishad, has threatened to pull out of the coalition if the party goes ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Ashoka University Vice-Chancellor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, in his column in The Indian Express, writes, “The controversy in Assam over amendments to the Citizenship Bill 2016 may not make national headlines. But it has the potential of becoming a perfect storm in the near future.”