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Stokes baffled by Ranchi pitch ahead of fourth Test against India

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England all-rounder Ben Stokes expressed his surprise at the condition of the pitch for the fourth Test against India at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi. Stokes, who is leading the team in the absence of injured Joe Root, said he had never seen something like that before and wondered how it would play out in the match.

England trail 1-2 in the series

England are in a must-win situation in the fourth Test, as they trail 1-2 in the five-match series. They lost the first Test in Chennai by 227 runs, bounced back to win the second Test in Ahmedabad by 317 runs, but suffered a humiliating 10-wicket defeat in the third Test in Motera, which lasted only two days. England have faced criticism for their poor batting and selection choices in the series, as they have struggled to cope with the spin-friendly conditions in India.

Stokes inspects the pitch

Stokes, who has been one of the few bright spots for England with both bat and ball, went to check the pitch on the eve of the match and was shocked by what he saw. He posted a picture of the pitch on his Instagram story, with the caption: “I have not seen something like this before”. The picture showed a dry and cracked surface, with patches of grass and loose soil. Stokes also added a confused emoji to express his feelings.

Stokes baffled by Ranchi pitch

How will the pitch behave?

The Ranchi pitch has been a topic of debate and speculation ever since the venue was announced for the fourth Test. The stadium has hosted only one Test match before, in 2017, when India and Australia played out a draw on a slow and low track. The curator, SB Singh, had said that he was preparing a sporting wicket that would offer bounce and carry for the fast bowlers, and turn and bounce for the spinners. However, the recent picture shared by Stokes has raised doubts about the nature and quality of the pitch, and how it will affect the outcome of the match.

What are the teams’ strategies?

Both teams will have to adapt to the pitch and devise their strategies accordingly. India, who have a formidable spin attack led by Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel, will be confident of exploiting the conditions and sealing the series. England, on the other hand, will have to find a way to counter the spin threat and score enough runs to put pressure on the hosts. They might also consider playing an extra spinner, such as Dom Bess or Jack Leach, to bolster their bowling options. The toss will also be crucial, as both teams will prefer to bat first and avoid batting last on a deteriorating pitch.

No criminal charges for Seattle officer who killed Indian student in US

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Seattle police officer Kevin Dave, who ran over and killed Jaahnavi Kandula, an Indian student from Hyderabad, will not face any criminal charges due to a lack of sufficient evidence, authorities said on Wednesday.

Officer was responding to an overdose call

The incident happened on January 23, 2023, when Dave was driving a police SUV with his emergency lights on, at a speed of 74 mph (119 kph) on a street with a 25 mph (40 kph) speed limit. He was responding to a drug overdose call when he hit Kandula, who was crossing the street in a crosswalk. Kandula, 23, was a graduate student at the University of Washington and had moved to Seattle in 2021. She was thrown 100 feet when she was struck by the speeding police vehicle and died at the scene.

Prosecutors lack evidence to prove case beyond reasonable doubt

The King County Prosecutor’s Office decided not to move forward with the case against Dave, saying that there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was consciously disregarding safety. The prosecutor’s office noted that other pedestrians reported hearing his siren, and that Kandula appeared to try to run across the intersection after seeing his vehicle approaching. She might also have been wearing wireless earbuds that could have diminished her hearing, they added.

“It is the responsibility of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to review all available evidence relating to the case involving Seattle Police Officer Kevin Dave and the January 2023 collision death of Jaahnavi Kandula. After staffing this case with senior deputy prosecuting attorneys and office leadership, I have determined that we lack sufficient evidence under Washington State law to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt,” the King County Prosecuting Attorney said in a statement.

Officer’s comments spark outrage and condemnation

Kandula’s death sparked outrage and condemnation, especially after a recording from another officer’s body-worn camera surfaced last September, in which that officer laughs and suggests that Kandula’s life had “limited value” and the city should “just write a check.” The officer, Daniel Auderer, who was not involved in the collision, was also the vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, the union representing the officers.

The city’s civilian watchdog, the Office of Police Accountability, found last month that Auderer’s comments were “derogatory, contemptuous, and inhumane,” and damaged the department’s reputation and undermined public trust on a scale that is difficult to measure. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz is weighing Auderer’s punishment.

Kandula’s family and friends, as well as diplomats from India and local activists, demanded justice and accountability for her death. They held vigils, protests, and petitions, calling for a thorough and transparent investigation. They also highlighted the issue of police brutality and racial discrimination in the US.

City may still face civil lawsuit from Kandula’s family

While the criminal case against Dave is closed, the city of Seattle may still face a civil lawsuit from Kandula’s family, who have hired a lawyer to pursue legal action. The lawyer, Karen Koehler, said that the prosecutor’s decision was disappointing but not surprising, and that the family was prepared to fight for justice in court.

“The prosecutor’s office has a very high standard of proof for criminal cases, and they often decline to prosecute police officers for killing civilians. But we have a lower standard of proof for civil cases, and we have more evidence to show that the officer was negligent and reckless. We will hold him and the city accountable for their actions that took away Jaahnavi’s life,” Koehler said.

Koehler also said that Kandula was a bright and talented young woman who had a promising future ahead of her. She was pursuing a master’s degree in information management and had a passion for data science and social justice. She was also an avid dancer and a loving daughter, sister, and friend.

“Jaahnavi was a precious human being who had so much to offer to the world. She was not a disposable person, as the officer’s comments suggested. She was a valued member of her family, her community, and her country. She deserved to live, and she deserved to be treated with respect and dignity,” Koehler said.

Bridge collapse in China kills two and injures one after container ship collision

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The accident

A section of the Lixinsha Bridge in Guangzhou, China, collapsed on Thursday morning after it was hit by a massive container ship, killing two people and injuring one. The bridge crosses the Hongqili Waterway near the mouth of the Pearl River, a major transportation route for the residents of Sanmin Island and the surrounding areas.

The accident happened around 5 a.m. local time, when an empty container ship crashed into one of the bridge’s piers, causing part of the roadway to come crashing down along with several vehicles. According to the Guangzhou city government’s Nansha district, two of the vehicles fell into the water and three others landed on the ship. The bus driver was the only occupant of the bus that fell off the bridge.

Rescue workers rushed to the scene and retrieved two bodies from the water. One person was rescued from the ship with minor injuries and taken to the hospital. Three people are still missing and the search operation is ongoing. The owner of the container ship has been detained by the authorities and an investigation into the cause of the crash has been launched.

The impact

The bridge collapse has disrupted the traffic and the livelihood of the people living on Sanmin Island, which has a population of about 10,000. The island relies on the bridge for its connection to the mainland and the nearby ports. The Lixinsha Bridge was built in 2008 and was the only bridge linking the island to the rest of the city.

Zhong Weihong, the village party secretary of Minjian village on the island, told reporters that the residents were shocked and saddened by the accident. He said that the bridge was a lifeline for the islanders, who use it for commuting, shopping, and transporting goods. He said that the villagers were worried about how they would cope with the situation and hoped that the bridge would be repaired as soon as possible.

The authorities have arranged a ferry service for the residents to cross the waterway, but the capacity and frequency are limited. Some residents said that they had to wait for hours to get on the ferry and that the tickets were expensive. Others said that they had to cancel their plans or change their routes because of the bridge collapse.

The background

The Lixinsha Bridge is one of the many bridges that span the Pearl River Delta, a densely populated and industrialized region in southern China. The area is home to two of the world’s five busiest ports, according to the World Shipping Council, and handles a large volume of cargo and passenger traffic. The bridge is also close to the Nansha Free Trade Zone, a special economic zone that aims to boost trade and investment in the region.

The bridge collapse has raised questions about the safety and maintenance of the infrastructure in the area, especially in the face of increasing traffic and environmental pressures. There were plans to build collision guards around some of the bridge’s pillars in 2022, according to CCTV, China’s state-run broadcaster, but they have been repeatedly delayed. The bridge was also reportedly not equipped with a warning system or a monitoring device to prevent such accidents.

The accident has also drawn attention to the risks and challenges of the shipping industry, which is vital for the global economy but also prone to accidents and environmental damage. According to the International Maritime Organization, there were 2,734 ship accidents worldwide in 2020, resulting in 166 fatalities and 1,036 injuries. Some of the common causes of ship accidents include human error, mechanical failure, weather conditions, piracy, and collisions.

ED tightens noose on Byju’s founder over FEMA violations

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has intensified its probe against Byju Raveendran, the founder and CEO of Byju’s, the leading ed-tech company in India. The ED has upgraded its Look out Circular (LC) issued against Raveendran in connection with a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case, seeking to stop him from going abroad.

ED seeks to restrict Raveendran’s foreign travel

According to official sources, the ED has asked the Bureau of Immigration to upgrade the LC against Raveendran so that he is not allowed to go abroad from any Indian land, air or sea port before the investigating officer (IO) of the case is informed. Under the new LC, it will be the decision of the IO to either totally stop his foreign travel or allow him to do so after asking some questions and getting assurances, the sources said.

The LC in operation till now against Raveendran only stipulated the immigration authorities to inform the ED about his entry and exit from the country. The earlier alert meant that immigration authorities had to just intimate the agency about his movements through various ports.

The sources said that the over a year old LC was revised sometime back in light of investors’ concerns and ongoing adjudication of a FEMA contravention case against Raveendran and some others. BYJU’s did not comment on the development. Raveendran is currently stated to be in Dubai.

ED slaps show cause notice of over Rs 9,300 crore

The ED, in November last year, had slapped a foreign exchange violation show cause notice of more than Rs 9,300 crore against BYJU’s and Raveendran. The federal probe agency spelled out multiple grounds for charging the ed-tech company and its chief promoter that included charges of “failing” to submit documents of imports against advance remittances made outside India; failing to realise proceeds of exports made outside India by delayed filing of documents against the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received into the company, among others.

The ED had also alleged that BYJU’s had violated the provisions of the FEMA by receiving FDI from Mauritius-based entities without obtaining prior approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The agency had also accused Raveendran of transferring funds from his personal bank account to BYJU’s account without proper documentation and disclosure.

BYJU’s faces leadership crisis amid investor revolt

The ED’s action comes at a time when BYJU’s is facing a leadership crisis amid a revolt by some of its investors. The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday had refused to stay an emergency shareholder meeting called by select investors of Think and Learn Pvt Ltd – the owner of BYJU’S – to oust Raveendran and his family from the leadership in the edtech firm. The court gave an interim relief that any resolution passed at the EGM scheduled on Friday cannot be implemented before the next court hearing.

Select shareholders of BYJU’S have issued an EGM notice to be held on February 23, demanding a change in leadership of the edtech firm while alleging several anomalies in their functioning. They have also sought the appointment of an independent auditor to look into the financial affairs of the company.

Meanwhile, Raveendran issued a letter to shareholders on Wednesday appealing all investors to participate in the USD 200 million rights issue floated by the company. He later shared that the rights issue has been fully subscribed.

CBI Raids Ex-J&K Governor’s House Over Kiru Hydropower Scam

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Write an introduction paragraph that gives some background information about the topic, the context, and the main issue. You can also include a hook or a question to capture the reader’s attention. For example, you could write something like:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted searches at the residence of former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik and 29 other locations across the country in connection with a corruption case involving the Kiru Hydropower project. The project, worth Rs 2,200 crore, was allegedly awarded to a private company in 2019 through malpractices and bribery. How did this scam come to light and what are the implications for the former governor and the power sector?

  • Write at least three to five subheadings in H2 that divide your article into different sections. Each subheading should reflect the main point or aspect of that section. For example, you could write something like:

The Kiru Hydropower Project: A Brief Overview

The Allegations of Corruption and Bribery

The Role of Satya Pal Malik and His Reaction

The CBI’s Investigation and Action

The Impact of the Scam on the Power Sector and the Public

  • Write two to five paragraphs under each subheading that elaborate on the main point or aspect of that section. Use facts, quotes, and examples from your notes and the sources to support your arguments. Use bullet points, lists, tables, charts, or subtopics in H3 to organize your information and make it easier to read. For example, you could write something like:

The Kiru Hydropower Project: A Brief Overview

  • The Kiru Hydropower project is a 624 MW run-of-the-river project on the Chenab river in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The project is being developed by Chenab Valley Power Projects (P) Ltd (CVPPPL), a joint venture of NHPC, JKSPDC, and PTC India.
  • The project aims to generate 2272.02 million units of electricity annually and provide employment opportunities to the local population.
  • The project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in 2018 and was expected to be completed by 2023.

The Allegations of Corruption and Bribery

  • The CBI registered a case against former chairman of CVPPPL, Navin Kumar Chaudhary, and other former officials M S Babu, M K Mittal, and Arun Kumar Mishra, as well as Patel Engineering Ltd, the private company that won the contract for the civil works of the project.
  • The case was based on allegations of malpractices in awarding the contract worth Rs 2,200 crore to Patel Engineering Ltd in 2019, without following the proper procedure of e-tendering and reverse auction.
  • The CBI alleged that the decision to re-tender the project through e-tendering and reverse auction, which was taken in the 47th board meeting of CVPPPL, was not implemented as per the decision taken in the 48th board meeting, and the contract was finally awarded to Patel Engineering Ltd.
  • The CBI also alleged that the former officials of CVPPPL and Patel Engineering Ltd had entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the government and cause undue loss to the public exchequer.
  • Write a conclusion paragraph that summarizes the main points of your article, the current status of the issue, and the possible future outcomes or implications. For example, you could write something like:

The CBI’s raids on the premises of former J&K governor Satya Pal Malik and 29 other locations have exposed the alleged corruption and bribery in the Kiru Hydropower project. The project, which was supposed to provide clean energy and economic benefits to the region, has now become a source of controversy and scandal. The former governor, who had claimed that he was offered a Rs 300-crore bribe to clear two files, including the one related to the project, has accused the government of targeting him for his support to the farmers’ protest. The CBI’s investigation and action are likely to have a significant impact on the power sector and the public interest in the state and the country.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha to discuss farmers’ agitation and future plans

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Subheading and Content: A good subheading should summarize the main idea of the paragraph or section. It should also be informative and engaging. For example, some possible subheadings for your article could be:

Farmers’ agitation enters second year

In this section, you could provide some background information on the farmers’ agitation, such as the reasons, demands, and achievements of the protesters. You could also mention the recent repeal of the three farm laws by the government and the farmers’ reaction to it.

SKM to hold meeting in Chandigarh

In this section, you could describe the purpose and agenda of the meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is the umbrella body of the farmers’ unions. You could also mention the names and roles of some of the prominent leaders of the SKM, such as Rakesh Tikait, Balbir Singh Rajewal, and Darshan Pal.

Clashes at border points leave one dead, several injured

In this section, you could report the incidents of violence and confrontation that took place at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points between Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday. You could also mention the details of the deceased farmer and the injured police personnel, as well as the statements of the authorities and the farmer leaders.

Thousands of farmers camp at border points, await next course of action

In this section, you could describe the situation and mood of the thousands of farmers who are camping at the border points with their tractor-trolleys and trucks. You could also mention the challenges and difficulties they are facing, such as the weather, the sanitation, and the security.

SKM to decide on future plans on Friday evening

In this section, you could mention the possible outcomes and scenarios of the meeting of the SKM on Thursday. You could also mention the other demands and issues that the farmers want to raise, such as the MSP, the loan waiver, the Lakhimpur Kheri case, and the Land Acquisition Act.

  • Listicles, Bullet points, Table, Chart, subtopics in H3: These are some of the ways to make your article more visually appealing and easy to read. You could use them to present data, facts, statistics, or opinions in a structured and concise way. For example, you could use a listicle to highlight the main demands of the farmers, such as:

What do the farmers want?

  • A legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops
  • A complete waiver of farm loans
  • A compensation of Rs 1 crore and a government job for each of the families of the farmers who died during the agitation
  • A withdrawal of all the police cases against the protesters
  • A justice for the victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence
  • A reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013
  • Bolding important sentences and words in the news: This is a way to emphasize the key points and messages of your article. You could use bolding to highlight the names, dates, numbers, quotes, or opinions that you want to draw the attention of the readers. For example, you could use bolding to emphasize the following sentence:

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which spearheaded an agitation in 2020-21 against three farm laws that have since been repealed, will hold a meeting here on Thursday to discuss the situation at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points between Punjab and Haryana where thousands of farmers are camping as part of the ‘Dilli Chalo’ call given by their organisations.

IPL 2024 set to kick off on March 22 amid election challenges

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The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season is likely to begin on March 22, according to the league chairman Arun Dhumal. The tournament will be held entirely in India despite the general elections clashing with the IPL window.

IPL 2024 schedule to be announced in two phases

Dhumal confirmed that the IPL 2024 schedule could be announced in two phases, depending on the availability of venues and security arrangements. The first phase will cover the matches until April 15, while the second phase will cover the rest of the tournament.

The IPL 2024 will feature 10 teams, with two new franchises joining the existing eight. The new teams are Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans, who won the bidding rights for INR 7,090 crore and INR 5,625 crore respectively.

The IPL 2024 player auction was held on December 19, 2023, in Dubai, where 333 players went under the hammer. The most expensive player in the history of the IPL auctions was Australian pacer Mitchell Starc, who was bought by Rajasthan Royals for INR 16.25 crore.

IPL 2024 to witness several changes in captaincy and coaching

The IPL 2024 season will also witness several changes in the captaincy and coaching roles of the teams. Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, have appointed Hardik Pandya as their new skipper, replacing Rohit Sharma, who will lead the Indian team at the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Sunrisers Hyderabad have also parted ways with their long-time captain David Warner, and have handed over the reins to South African batsman Aiden Markram. Markram recently led SRH’s sister franchise SunRisers Eastern Cape to back-to-back SA20 league titles.

Delhi Capitals, who finished as the runners-up in the last season, have retained Rishabh Pant as their captain, despite his absence from the game for more than a year due to a horrific car crash. Pant is expected to make his comeback in the IPL 2024, after undergoing rigorous rehabilitation and training.

Royal Challengers Bangalore have also stuck with their captain Virat Kohli, who announced his retirement from international cricket after the 2023 T20 World Cup. Kohli will be aiming to win his maiden IPL title with RCB, who have bolstered their squad with the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Rashid Khan, and Mohammed Shami.

IPL 2024 to face logistical and security challenges due to elections

The IPL 2024 season will face several logistical and security challenges due to the general elections, which are scheduled to take place in eight phases from March 27 to May 29. The BCCI and the IPL governing council have been in constant touch with the central and state governments, as well as the security agencies, to ensure the smooth conduct of the tournament.

Dhumal said that the IPL 2024 will be held in six venues, namely Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad. The Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, which has a capacity of 1.1 lakh, will host the final and the playoffs. The other venues will host the league matches on a rotational basis.

Dhumal also said that the IPL 2024 will follow the bio-bubble protocols and the standard operating procedures that were implemented in the previous seasons, to ensure the safety and well-being of the players, staff, and officials. He added that the IPL 2024 will also have a contingency plan in place, in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Dhumal expressed his confidence that the IPL 2024 will be a grand success, and will provide a lot of entertainment and excitement to the fans and the stakeholders. He also thanked the sponsors, broadcasters, and media partners for their continued support and cooperation.

ISRO’s cryogenic engine for Gaganyaan passes long-duration test

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully completed the qualification test of its cryogenic engine for the Gaganyaan programme, the country’s ambitious human spaceflight mission. The test was conducted for a duration of 720 seconds at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu, on January 12, 2024.

A major milestone for the Gaganyaan programme

The cryogenic engine, named CE20, is a crucial component of the cryogenic stage (C25) of the GSLV Mk III launch vehicle, which will be used to launch the Gaganyaan spacecraft into orbit. The engine uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as propellants and can generate a thrust of 200 kN. The engine has been designed and developed indigenously by ISRO, with the aim of enhancing the payload capability of the launch vehicle.

The qualification test of the cryogenic engine is a major milestone for the Gaganyaan programme, as it ensures the reliability and robustness of the engine for induction into the human-rated launch vehicle. The test also validates the engine’s performance parameters, such as thrust, specific impulse, mixture ratio, and chamber pressure.

According to ISRO, the engine met the test objectives and the engine parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test. The test was witnessed by ISRO Chairman Dr. K. Sivan, Director of IPRC Dr. S. Somanath, and other senior officials.

Four more tests to follow

The successful long-duration test of the cryogenic engine is not the end of the qualification process, however. ISRO has planned to conduct four more tests of the same engine for a cumulative duration of 1810 seconds, to simulate various flight conditions and scenarios. Subsequently, one more engine will undergo two short-duration tests and one long-duration test to complete the cryogenic engine qualification for the Gaganyaan programme.

ISRO has also completed the flight acceptance hot test of another CE20 engine for the first unmanned mission of Gaganyaan, which is scheduled to take place before August 15, 2024, as part of the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. The second unmanned mission is planned for 2025, followed by the first manned mission in 2026.

Gaganyaan: India’s dream of sending humans to space

The Gaganyaan programme is India’s flagship human spaceflight project, which aims to send three Indian astronauts to low Earth orbit for a duration of five to seven days. The programme was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2018, and has been allocated a budget of Rs. 10,000 crore by the government.

The programme involves the development of various elements, such as the launch vehicle, the orbital module, the crew module, the environmental control and life support system, the crew escape system, the mission control centre, and the astronaut training facility. ISRO has also collaborated with various national and international agencies, such as the Indian Air Force, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, the French space agency CNES, and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, for the successful implementation of the programme.

The Gaganyaan programme is expected to boost India’s scientific and technological capabilities, as well as inspire the young generation to pursue careers in science and engineering. It will also enhance India’s prestige and position in the global space arena, as it will become the fourth country in the world, after Russia, the US, and China, to achieve the feat of sending humans to space.

Prasad poisoning incident leaves 200 people sick in Maharashtra

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What happened?

On Tuesday night, around 200 people fell ill after consuming prasad, a food offering at Hindu ceremonies, during a religious event in Lonar, a town in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district. The event was called Harinam Saptah, a week-long celebration of chanting the name of Lord Hari. The prasad was distributed among the devotees after the evening prayer.

How did the authorities respond?

The villagers who consumed the prasad started complaining of nausea and vomiting soon after. They were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment. According to Buldhana district collector Kiran Patil, 142 of them were admitted to the rural hospital at Bibi, 20 others in Lonar, and 35 patients to a facility in Mehkar. He said that the condition of all the patients was stable and most of them were discharged on Wednesday. He also said that a team of doctors has been deployed in the village with an ambulance and other necessary equipment in case of any medical emergency.

What was the cause of the poisoning?

The exact cause of the poisoning is not yet known. Patil said that samples of the prasad have been sent to a laboratory for analysis and an inquiry will be initiated. He said that the prasad was prepared by a local caterer who was hired by the organizers of the event. He said that the caterer has been questioned and his kitchen has been inspected. He said that the possibility of contamination or adulteration of the ingredients used in the prasad cannot be ruled out.

What are the implications of the incident?

The incident has raised concerns over the quality and hygiene of the food served at religious events in rural areas. It has also highlighted the need for proper regulation and monitoring of the food vendors and caterers who provide such services. It has also exposed the lack of awareness and precaution among the villagers who consume such food without checking its source or freshness.

The incident has also sparked outrage among the devotees who participated in the event. They have demanded strict action against the culprits who are responsible for the poisoning. They have also expressed their disappointment and anger over the disruption of their religious programme. They have said that they will continue their prayers and chants despite the setback.

Kamal Haasan denies joining INDIA bloc, says MNM will support selfless leaders

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Actor-politician Kamal Haasan has clarified his party’s stance on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the possibility of joining the opposition INDIA bloc. He said that his party, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), has not joined any alliance yet and will support anyone who has a selfless thought for the nation.

MNM celebrates 7th anniversary

Kamal Haasan addressed the media in Chennai on Wednesday after leading the 7th anniversary celebrations of his party. He said that MNM was founded with the vision of providing an alternative to the dominant Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu and to focus on the welfare of the common people. He said that his party has been working on various issues such as social justice, economic development, and environmental sustainability.

He also welcomed the recent political entry of top Tamil actor Vijay, who launched his party, Makkal Iyakkam, last week. He said that he was happy to see more people joining politics and that he hoped that they would work for the betterment of the society.

MNM’s alliance strategy

Kamal Haasan said that his party was in talks with various parties and groups for a possible alliance in the Lok Sabha elections. He said that he would announce any good news in this regard soon. He said that his party was open to supporting any bloc that would think selflessly about the nation and transcend partisan politics.

However, he also made it clear that his party would not be part of any feudal politics or local power struggles. He said that his party would not compromise on its principles and values for the sake of electoral gains. He said that his party would stand by the people and their aspirations.

MNM’s stance on INDIA bloc

When asked about the possibility of joining the INDIA bloc, a multi-party opposition coalition led by the Congress and the DMK, Kamal Haasan said that he had not joined it yet. He said that he had already stated that this was the time to blur party politics and think about the nation. He said that his party would be part of any bloc that would think selflessly about the nation.

He also said that he had not met any leaders of the INDIA bloc recently and that he had no plans to do so in the near future. He said that his party was independent and autonomous and that it would decide its own course of action.

The INDIA bloc, which stands for Indian National Democratic Alliance, was formed in 2022 as a platform to challenge the ruling BJP-led NDA in the Lok Sabha elections. The bloc comprises of several regional and national parties, such as the Congress, the DMK, the NCP, the RJD, the SP, the BSP, the TMC, the AAP, the JMM, the CPI, the CPI(M), and others.