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5-min read

News18.com Daybreak | Avani Chaturvedi's Wings, Kamal Haasan's Flag and Other Stories You May Have Missed

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Adrija Bose | News18.com

Updated:February 23, 2018, 8:04 AM IST
News18.com Daybreak | Avani Chaturvedi's Wings, Kamal Haasan's Flag  and Other Stories You May Have Missed
File photo of Avani Chaturvedi.

Watching the planes fly over her head, little Avani Chaturvedi never thought that her fascination for aircraft would help her break records fifteen years later. All she knew was that she had to make everyone proud like Kalpana Chawla. “Unlike other girls, Avani used to love playing with chopper and plane models. When astronaut Kalpana Chawla died, our 11-year-old daughter told us that one day she would make everyone proud just like the Indian-American,” said an elated Savita Chaturvedi, mother of Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi. True to her words, the Madhya Pradesh girl became the first Indian woman to fly a fighter jet.

In a major breakthrough, the CBI busted a child pornography racket that was being run via a WhatsApp group with members drawn from various countries. The pornographic content was being uploaded to the group named ‘KidsXXX’. This 199-member WhatsApp group was used to upload and download child pornography across the globe.

Late night arrests of farmer leaders across several states have prevented the big 23 February 'Parliament gherao' rally in the capital. Lakhs of farmers from several states, including Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, were expected to gather in the capital to highlight their distress. The big farmer rally in Delhi organised by Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, an umbrella body of 62 farmer unions across the country, was scheduled to hit the capital on Friday. Farmer bodies had planned to halt traffic at all entry/exit points to the capital and had planned to lay a siege to the Parliament.

In signs of fresh trouble in the Supreme Court, different benches in the top court have been at odds with each other as issues of judicial discipline and propriety take the centre-stage. Amid questions being raised over the orders passed by the other bench, the judges have made their discontent apparent, indicating there is yet another trouble in paradise after the unprecedented press conference by four most senior judges last month.

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the setting up of a defence industrial corridor in Bundelkhand region, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that a Defence Investors’ Cell will be made under her guidance to ensure speedy development of the corridor.

Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi made it clear that he can't appear and depose before the Enforcement Directorate in the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National Bank scam. In an emailed reply to the ED’s investigating officer, he cited the temporary suspension of his passport and pending business issues as reasons for his non-appearance before the probe agency. Exactly the same reason Vijay Mallya had given. 

Apart from financial fraud worth Rs 11,000 crore, diamond merchant Nirav Modi may also be guilty of illegally acquiring the citizenship of a foreign country even while possessing an Indian passport. According to reports, Nirav, like his brother Nishal, are long-term residents of Antwerp, Belgium.

With elections scheduled to take place this year in Madhya Pradesh, a resurgent Congress is going all-out to unseat the Bharatiya Janata Party which has been in power for the last 15 years in the state. However, sources say the Congress is struggling to put its own house in order as the party is top heavy with many heavyweight leaders vying to lead it in the elections.

Veteran actor Kamal Haasan made every effort to remain ideologically neutral at the launch of his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam, and it was perhaps this attempt that made him take the names of Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu, Pinarayi Vijayan and Barack Obama when asked about the leaders that have been his inspiration. By labelling this unlikely combination of contemporary leaders, who have made a mark for completely disparate ideologies, as his heroes, Haasan took everyone present at the party launch by surprise as people are so used to politicians invoking the names of a Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar or Periyar.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his ongoing visit to India has already yielded investments worth over one billion dollar that will generate 6,000 'high quality' jobs. 

Inequality in India is on the rise for the last three decades, so much so that the total wealth of Indian billionaires is 15 per cent of the GDP, thanks to the "lopsided" policies of successive governments, Oxfam India said in a report.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that after the Nirav Modi episode people have become suspicious of banks. Uddhav said that government should take responsibility for people's savings if a bank goes bust. "There is an environment of distrust towards banks these days. People save their hard earned money in banks. We are going to tell government now, that if a bank goes bust, Central and State governments will have to take responsibility of it," he said at a book launch function here.

Agree or disagree?

Even by 21st Century Tamil Nadu’s ‘rationalist’ Dravidian standards, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan did the unthinkable at the launch of his new political outfit, ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ (MNM), which translates to ‘People’s Justice Centre’.  In a state where annual temple festivals commence with a formal flag-hoisting at an auspicious hour, always around the crack of dawn, Kamal hoisted the three-colour MNM flag after sunset. Going beyond another ‘political superstition’, yet conforming to demands to pull crowds possibly, Kamal chose the southern temple-city of Madurai for the launch. What, however, stands out more than the ‘white’ in Kamal’s flag — obviously denoting purity in public life than anything else — is the image and imagery of six linked hands, a reflection of Leftist political practice of cooperation and coordination, especially of the labour and farming classes in the country. 

If India does not respect its living, it cares even less for its dead. We saw this through a news report the other day, when the body of an aged Selvaraj was transported along with vegetables in a van from the St Joseph Hospices, near Chennai. This seemed like the very last nail in India's conscience -- gone completely astray. In a nation which never fails to talk about its Gandhi, its Buddha and its Mahavir and yet is callous enough to let its rich and reckless get away with murder on the road – where inebriated drivers run their vehicles over sleeping men and where two-wheelers race at scary speeds unmindful of the pedestrians they knock down – it now appears that such inhumanity swallows the dead as well.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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