International relations: Behind a growing social fissure(The Hindu) In Sri Lanka, the relationship between the Sinhala Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority has steadily deteriorated since the end of the civil war. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power, much damage was caused when violence was unleashed on Muslims by Buddhist mobs, in Aluthgama in 2014. Gayoom charged with terrorism(The Hindu) Maldivian authorities have charged former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and several senior judges with “terrorism” for attempting to topple President Abdulla Yameen, the government said on Wednesday. Mr. Gayoom and ten others — including the sacked Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed — were charged under state of emergency laws imposed last month. Indian Constitution and Polity: BJP, Cong. trade charges over use of data analytics firm(The Hindu) Days after data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica (CA), a subsidiary of the U.K.-based SCL Group, was suspended by social media company Facebook for not deleting user data obtained from an app developer for the platform, the controversy reached Indian shores with both the BJP and the Congress trading charges of the other having used the firm’s services. Aadhaar data safe, govt. asserts in SC(The Hindu) The government has assured the Supreme Court that Aadhaar is not a “fly-by-night effort to score some brownie points” and personal data collected from millions of people is safe from breach in storage facilities barricaded behind five-feet thick walls. Southern pride(The Hindu Opinion) At a press conference last week, when Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president M.K. Stalin was asked what he thought of the southern States combining to form “Dravida Nadu,” he replied, “If this happens, it is welcome and it will happen I believe.” Given the brouhaha around his remark, it deserves to be properly contextualised historically and in the backdrop of Tamil politics of recent years.
Economy: Read the distress signals(The Hindu Opinion) The week-long farmers’ march which reached Mumbai earlier this month, on the anniversary of Gandhi’s Dandi March of 1930, was unprecedented in many ways. It was mostly silent and disciplined, mostly leaderless, non-disruptive and non-violent, and well organised. It received the sympathy of middle class city dwellers, food and water from bystanders, free medical services from volunteer doctors, and also bandwagon support of all political parties from the left to the right. Union Cabinet approves Ayushman Bharat health scheme(The Hindu ) The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the launch of the Ayushman Bharat — National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM), which was announced in the Budget. ‘Tremendous’ response to OALP: DGH(The Hindu) Interest in the Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) and Discovered Small Fields (DSF), two key components of the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy, has been considerable as India works to reduce oil imports by at least 10%, by 2022, according to a senior government official. ‘Securing lithium reserves need of the hour’(The Hindu) The Indian government’s relatively slow progress in securing lithium reserves could be a big problem for the energy storage industry in the country, according to a senior official at Panasonic India, who said that this would mean the country would have to rely on imports from China. US Fed hikes key interest rate; says economic outlook stronger(The Hindu) The Federal Reserve on Thursday increased the benchmark interest rate a quarter point to a target range of 1.5 % to 1.75 %, citing a stronger US economic outlook in recent months. Internal security: Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO after Facebook row(The Hindu) Cambridge Analytica, the British firm at the centre of a major data scandal rocking Facebook, has suspended its chief executive as lawmakers demanded answers from the social media giant over the breach. Environment: Conserve every drop(The Hindu Opinion) The grave water situation in Cape Town in South Africa is a wake-up call to everybody across the globe — from policymakers to the common man — that it cannot be business as usual when it comes to water usage. A similar crisis is looming large in other cities in the world as people continue to be reckless in their use of water. ‘Assam rhinoceros data may have been doctored for funds’(The Hindu) An organisation of whistleblowers in Assam armed with an RTI reply from the authorities of a national park, has said that rhinoceros census data may be getting doctored for ensuring the flow of foreign funds.