External Affairs

Get Wired 6/8: Iran Nuclear Deal, Policy for Domestic Helpers, Truck Bombers, and More

An investigation shows most of the students who were expelled from IIT Roorkee were from reserved categories

An investigation by The Indian Express through interviews with members of the institute — professors, students and administrators at IITs — revealed most of the students who were expelled, were from reserved categories (SC, ST and OBCs). They scored average to high ranks in their respective categories in the 2014 IIT-JEE. Once they began their IIT education, however, many of them were hobbled by a range of factors: a lack of fluency in English, both spoken and written, that eroded confidence and showed up in poor communication skills; and a more general difficulty “adjusting” to the campus ecosystem. Professors said that there is a key lesson here, as IITs rapidly expand to meet the flood of students and struggle to build campuses and attract faculty. A group of students outside the Jawahar Bhavan (a boy’s hostel) at Roorkee campus discuss what they state is systemic unfairness against students from reserved categories. Students from these categories formed 90% of those expelled from the institution in 2014.

Supreme Court instructs Ahmedabad court to complete Gulbarg society trial in three months

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a three-month extension to an Ahmedabad court to complete trial proceedings in the Gulberg Society massacre, one of the nine cases connected to the 2002 post-Godhra riots. The hearing in the case, which dealt with a mob attack at the Gulberg housing society at Chamanpura in Ahmedabad on February 22, 2002, in which 71 persons, including former parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri, were killed, was by a Bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu.

Obama defends Iran Nuclear Deal

US president took on critics of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers in an aggressive speech on Wednesday, stating that they were the same people who played on public fears to push the United States into the Iraq war more than a decade ago.

“Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some sort of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon,” he said in a speech at American University. “How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?”

While Mr. Obama’s comparison to the Iraq war appeared to be an effort to distinguish his own approach from that of President George W. Bush, some critics said his speech employed the same with-me-or-against-me trope associated with Mr. Bush.

Chidambaram’s letters to UK on Lalit Modi to remain secret

The finance ministry refused to provide a copy of the two letters under the Right to Information law and referred the application to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that is exempted from the transparency law. When Hindustan Times filed an RTI request with the department of revenue to seek a copy of the letters, the department’s public information officer promptly transferred the letter “since subject pertains to ED”. Had not transferred the application, the finance ministry would have had to come up with a reason to defend its refusal.

Residences in Delhi Hotels okayed by Urban Development Ministry

In a move that could aid hotel developers in the city, the Delhi Development Authority had made this proposal after detailed deliberations that were followed by inviting suggestions and objections from the industry. The proposal pertains only to hotels that are outside the restricted Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone and fall under the area that comes under the DDA. Residential units, however, can be built only on 20 per cent of this FAR or 8 percent of the total. On a 10,000 sq metre plot, for instance, hotels can now use 4,000 sq metres for commercial and residential purposes, of which 20 per cent or 800 sq metres can be used for residential purpose. Hotels such as Hyatt Regency, The Leela Palace, The Lodhi, Qutab Hotel and The Grand could be among the potential beneficiaries

No infiltration into Valley this year, top Army commander says

“This is the first time no infiltrator managed to sneak into the Valley and this will have a far reaching impact on the militancy of Kashmir,” General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha said in an interview. He added that the Army had foiled all the eight infiltration attempts in the last seven months, while killing 17 militants along the LoC.

Labour ministry bats for a national policy to hire domestic helpers to safeguard their basic rights 

The government is considering a proposal that will make it incumbent on households to hire domestic workers through a placement agency. This is reportedly an effort by the government to account for the basic rights of several workers in the informal sector. Better conditions, paid leave and other benefits are what is currently being aimed at. The ministry of labour plans to soon move a Cabinet note on a national policy for domestic workers, an idea first mooted by the United Progressive Alliance government in 2007.

Taliban truck bomber kills six people in Afghanistan

A Taliban truck bomber has killed at least six people in a province south of Kabul, officials have said, in the first major attack since the group confirmed the death of their leader Mullah Omar. An official from the provincial governor’s office confirmed the death toll, adding that eight people, including a child, were wounded.

A weird 1968 ratings gambit led to Fox News and Jon Stewart

“Contemporary media figures like Stewart and O’Reilly may deliver more or less skilful and effective performances, but they are decadent third-generation imitators, simulating or even spoofing a lost original that was as pure as it was ridiculous,” says Andrew O’Hehir.