The First Forum is an initiative which focuses on covering the latest happenings in a brief format. This is in lieu with the importance of knowledge about current happenings in this fast changing world.
In the Tenth Edition of The First Forum we would be covering the following:
1. Politics
2. Society and Culture 


(By Ankita Punjani, Divyansh Gupta, Mehak Gupta)

Elections to 55 Rajya Sabha seats to be held on 26 March
Elections to 55 Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant in April will be held on 26 March, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday. Fifty-one of these 55 seats from 17 states are falling vacant on different dates in April due to retirement of sitting members while the other 4 are due to resignation by the members. Read MoreCounting of votes will begin an hour after the polling ends, the poll panel said. Some prominent among those retiring are Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh, Union minister Ramdas Athawale, former union ministers Vijay Goel (BJP) and Kumari Selja (Cong), and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad resigns
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has resigned in a shock move that could plunge the country into political crises. The king has been asked to stay as Interim PM. Read MoreThe surprise announcement comes amid speculation that 94-year-old Mahathir was attempting to form a new ruling coalition that would exclude his promised successor Anwar Ibrahim. It is not clear who will be the next Prime Minister. No group of parties has sufficient MPs to form a government – so Malaysia’s constitutional monarch will play an important role now, either inviting a political leader to form a new administration, or calling a fresh general election. Mr. Mahathir has also resigned from Bersatu, the political party of which he was chairman.

Naveen Patnaik becomes BJD president for the 8th time
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was elected as the president of the ruling BJD for the eighth consecutive term on Wednesday. The re-election of Patnaik, who was the only leader to have filed nomination papers for the post of BJD president, was announced by returning officer P K Deb. Read MoreThe 73-year-old leader, who steered the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to a landslide victory in the assembly polls held last year to become Chief Minister for the fifth time in a row, has been holding the top post since the regional party was formed on December 26, 1997.

Delhi HC asks SG to advice police on lodging FIR’s against 3 BJP leaders
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to advice the police commissioner on lodging of FIRs relating to alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders. Read MoreA bench of justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh was hearing plea seeking lodging of FIRs and arrests of those involved in the ongoing communal violence in parts of northeast Delhi over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The high court said the situation outside was very unpleasant.

Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak dies at 91
Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president for almost 30 years who stepped down after a popular revolution in 2011, has died. He was 91. Mubarak served as Egypt’s fourth president starting in 1981 until his removal in what became known as the Arab Spring revolution. Read MoreEgypt will bury its former president on Wednesday after a military funeral in the capital Cairo. Egypt’s top military officials are expected to attend the funeral in an eastern suburb of Cairo. Mubarak was jailed for years after the 2001 uprising, but was freed in 2017 after being acquitted of most charges. The acquittal stunned many Egyptians, thousands of whom poured into central Cairo to show their anger against the court. The Arab Spring protests convulsed regimes across the Middle East.

Bihar Assembly adopts resolution to not implement NRC
The Bihar Assembly on Tuesday passed a unanimous resolution to not implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state. The Assembly also passed a resolution to implement the National Population Register (NPR) but in its 2010 form, with an amendment. Read More“The Bihar government has written to the Centre seeking the omission of ‘contentious clauses’ from the NPR forms,” said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the state. Bihar is the first NDA-ruled state to pass a resolution against the NRC and for the 2010 form of NPR, opening a window for the Centre to make a retreat on these issues, if and when needed in future.

Society and Culture

(By Shruti Jha, Nikunj Gulati, Kanika)

Climate activist Greta’s will use award money to create non-profit foundation
Greta Thunberg, 17, who won the Right Livelihood Award in December, will use the 1 million Swedish crown ($100,000) prize to establish the Greta Thunberg Foundation in Sweden. The Swedish teenager said in January that she was establishing a foundation to handle the money she gets from book royalties, donations and prizes. Read MoreThunberg, who was this month again nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two Swedish legislators, is among a growing list of people to dedicate funds to battling the impact of climate change, sparking discussions on the best use of this money. At the same time Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, this week pledged $10 billion to fund scientists, activists, nonprofits and other groups fighting to protect the environment and counter the effects of climate change.

Centre goes through the Andhra’s Disha Bill to ensure conformity with Law
The Centre has begun vetting of the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019, which provides for disposal of cases of atrocities against women within 21 days and death penalty for offences of rape, to examine its conformity with the central laws. The proposed law provides for time-bound completion of investigation in seven days and trial in 14 working days, where there is adequate conclusive evidence, and reducing the total judgment time to 21 days. Read MoreIt prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children and includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC. As per the existing Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2018, the mandated period for completion of trial is four months. It provides for two years’ imprisonment in cases of harassment of women through social or digital media during the first conviction and four years for second and subsequent convictions. At present, the period for disposal of appeal cases related to rape cases against women and children is six months. Under the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019, the period for disposal of appeal cases has been reduced to three months.

The US plans to sign a Peace Deal with the Taliban on February 29
The United States will sign a Peace Agreement with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar on February 29 that begins the drawdown of American troops in exchange for Taliban vows to fight terrorism and stop attacks against the US. Read MoreThis deal would end America’s longest-running war after more than 18 years. But First comes a weekday long test before signing a Peace Accord by the US and the Taliban is a seven-day period of ‘reduced violence’ in which neither side attacks. The period started Friday afternoon and it was a key demand of a President Donald Trump who backed out of a deal with Taliban in September after a US soldier was killed in a suicide bombing.

Mosque, Hospital, Library, Research Center at Ayodhya allocated site
In a historic verdict of Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid dispute, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the construction of a temple. And also ordered an alternative five-acre land for a mosque. Soon after the verdict, the Sunni board decided not to accept a land. Read MoreBut however, now they made clear that rejecting the site was not an option. The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board has said it will build a mosque as well as an Indo Islamic research centre, a hospital and a library on the five-acre plot allotted to it following the SC Ayodhya verdict. Board Chairman Farooqui said, “we will inform the state government about our decision to accept the proposed land. Then we will wait for the state government to transfer the land to the waqf Board”.

Viral video prompts outpouring for bullied Australian Boy
The nine-year-old Australian boy Quaden Bayles after being bullied at school for his dwarfism repeatedly told his mother he wanted to die. The video went viral on social media by his mother Yarraka Bayles posted on Facebook. And she said she was showing to raise awareness of the impact bullying was having on her child. Read MoreHer appeal sparked an outpouring of worldwide support for the bullied boy including the celebrities and athletes. Comedian Brad Willams who has the same dwarfism condition of Achondroplasia started a GoFundMe page for Quaden has raised more than $150,000 in an effort to send him on a trip to Disneyland in California. The Australian Indigenous All-Stars team also invited him to join them in their game against the Maori All-Stars in Queensland.

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