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 Fourteenth Edition of The First Forum we would be covering the following:
1. Politics
2. Society and Culture 
3. Science and Technology

(By Ankita Punjani, Divyansh Gupta, Mehak Gupta)

Politics

Jyotiraditya Scindia resigns from Congress to join the BJP
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday resigned from the party. The development came after the disgruntled leader and former MP from Guna in Madhya Pradesh met with Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra indicationing that he might join hands with the BJP to topple the Madhya Pradesh government. Read MoreLater, in the coming day he was inducted into the BJP Party. In a surprise move, all 20 Cabinet ministers in the Madhya Pradesh government had tendered their resignations to Chief Minister Kamal Nath at around 11:30 pm on Monday, just four days ahead of deadline to file Rajya Sabha nominations plunging the state’s Congress government into a political uncertainty. The CM accepted their resignations.

Daughter of JD(U) leader launches party ‘Plurals’
Pushpam Priya Choudhary, the daughter of Janata Dal United (JDU) leader Binod Choudhary, on Sunday declared herself as a chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar. Read MoreThe London-based Choudhary announced the formation of a political party ‘Plurals’ through full-page advertisements published in almost all newspapers in the state. The ad described the party where ‘everyone governs’. “Bihar needs pace, Bihar needs wings, Bihar needs change. Because Bihar deserves better and better is possible, “she added. Choudhary appealed to residents of the state to join her in taking power back from the ruling government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

National parties collected Rs 11,234 cr donation from unknown sources
National parties collected Rs 11,234 crore donation from unknown sources from 2004-05 to 2018-19, according to the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a think tank. ADR said it considered the submission made before the Election Commission of India by seven national parties – BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Nationalist Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Communist Party of India (CPI).

Congress team seeks judicial probe into Delhi riots
A Congress fact-finding team that visited the riot-hit areas of Delhi on Monday said the probe by the two special investigation teams (SITs) constituted by the Centre would not be credible. It, instead, sought an “independent judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court”. Read MoreIn its report submitted to party chief Sonia Gandhi, the team members alleged that the riot was also the result of a “conspiracy” by BJP and some right-wing outfits. The Congress team also alleged that both the central and Delhi governments have failed to instill confidence among people. The Congress leaders also wanted to know why no FIRs have been filed against BJP leaders who made inflammatory speeches.

Naga interlocutor begins fresh talks to end stalemate
Naga Accord interlocutor RN Ravi, who is also the Nagaland governor, held a series of meetings with Naga groups in New Delhi to end the stalemate to find a final solution to the Naga problem. The Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), a conglomerate of six political groups from Nagaland, urged Ravi to sign the agreement. Read MoreThe NSCN-IM rebel group had hardened its stand on a pan-Naga identity, a separate flag and a separate constitution after Ravi said that NSCN-IM’s “procrastinating attitude” is delaying the settlement. The group had alleged that the government of India has been using state machinery to arrest and harass their members. After 18 years of ceasefire, NSCN-IM had, in August 2015, signed a framework agreement with the government of India (GoI)

Biden romps in Super Tuesday, Sanders takes California
The Democratic Party held their Democratic Primaries on 3rd March to find their nominee for the President of the United States. Joe Biden, Former Vice President under Barack Obama came out on the top. He won 10 of the 14 states that held their elections. Read MoreHe swept the South with huge wins and even managed to win states like Massachusetts, Maine where he wasn’t considered to be competitor week prior. This came after the two candidates, Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and senator Amy Kloubuchar dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden to consolidate the Moderate votes. But the biggest prize of the night, California with 415 delegates went to democratic socialist and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The Contest was called in favour of Sanders even before the official counting began


Society and Culture

Government to launch mahua-based alcoholic drink at Rs. 700 for a 750ml bottle
The government is set to launch a mahua-based alcoholic beverage in the market for the first time. Named Mahua Nutribeverage, it will be available as early as next month for Rs 700 for a 750 ml bottle, and will come in six fruit-based flavours. The beverage has a high nutritional value and relatively low alcohol content, at 5 per cent. Read MoreIt has been developed by IIT-Delhi after two years of research in collaboration with TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India). TRIFED has signed a memorandum with National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) to undertake the assignment of technology transfer to the suitable entrepreneurs for production and marketing of the beverage. The federation is planning to distribute this technology to parties selected by NRDC to set up such enterprises so that they can own these enterprises to produce the beverage.

Internet laud Modi’s social media initiative on Women’s Day
Several netizens on Sunday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unique social media initiative of handing over his accounts on various platforms to seven women achievers from different fields to share their life journeys on International Women’s Day. Read MoreWith hashtag ‘SheInspiresUs’ trending, many lauded the stories of the women as “inspirational” and thanked the prime minister for introducing the “superwomen” to the people. The women chosen to use Modi’s accounts included Sneha Mohandoss, who works to eradicate hunger, Malvika Iyer, who survived a gruesome bomb blast that blew off her hands and damaged her legs when she was 13 and is now a motivational speaker, disability activist and model, and Arifa Jaan from Kashmir who promotes traditional crafts of Kashmir

Allahabad HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance of UP Police Banners
The Allahabad High Court has taken suo moto cognizance of Uttar Pradesh police putting up banners containing photographs and details of persons accused of violence during anti-CAA protests at Lucknow on December 16. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha will hold a special sitting to hear the matter. Read MoreThe banners containing names, addresses and pictures of the accused persons appeared in several parts of Lucknow on Friday. They have been asked to pay the damages allegedly caused to public properties during the protests.

Stones pelted at ‘Aurat March’ in Pakistan
On Sunday to mark International Women’s Day, Pakistan’s largest such rally took place which was joined by women, men, children and transgender people in large numbers. This year the key demand being economic justice for women. However, conservatives pelted campaigners with stones, shoes and sticks as they marched through Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Read MoreHowever, the situation was soon brought under control by police. Those who took part last year faced intense backlash, especially online. Some said they had received death and rape threats afterward.

Aligarh mosque covered in Tarpaulin for Holi
A mosque, located in a sensitive area in Aligarh, has been covered with a black tarpaulin sheet ahead of the Holi to maintain peace and harmony. The Superintendent of Police (SP) said that it was done after discussions with the local representatives. Read MoreAccording to the police, the mosque is located in the sensitive area and all appropriate measures are being taken to ensure peaceful celebrations. The police also informed that several preventive measures have been taken. Rapid Action force and police will be patrolling the area for safety. Drones are also keeping an eye on the terrace of houses. Adequate forces have been deployed in sensitive areas during Holi celebrations.

Mexican women go on nation-wide strike to protest violence
Hundreds of thousands of women paralyzed Mexico in an unprecedented nationwide strike to protest a rising wave of violence against women, a major victory for their cause in a country known for its machismo. Shops owned or managed by women were closed. schools and universities suspended classes. Thoroughfares in the country’s capital were deserted. Read MoreThe call to strike, spread through social media after the brutal murders last month of a young woman and a little girl, was intended as a wake-up call for authorities who have failed to provide security. The movement also seeks to raise awareness about the importance of women in the country’s daily life

Science and Technology

Indian-origin Scientist Developing Robots with Human-like Ability
Researchers led by an Indian-origin scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are now working on robots that can learn new tasks solely by observing humans. Read MoreThe team has designed a system that lets such types of robots learn complicated tasks that would otherwise hinder them with too many confusing rules. One such task is setting a dinner table under certain conditions. At its core the system gives robots the human-like planning ability to simultaneously weigh many ambiguous — and potentially contradictory — requirements to reach an end goal.

Scientists create bendable concrete that could better withstand earthquakes
Researchers out of the Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia have developed a new type of concrete that is bendable, and doesn’t require cement to make it, thus reducing carbon footprints. Read MoreThe team put a gigantic weight on top two pillars of concrete: the traditional slab of concrete snapped under considerable pressure, but the this one, didn’t. The team used synthetic fibres into their concrete mix, as well as creating a process to manufacture it without needing to heat it up to cure it. It requires 36% less energy to do it their way, versus conventional bendable concrete and emits 76% less carbon dioxide.

Ancient shell shows days were half-hour shorter 70 million years ago
The ancient mollusk, from an extinct and wildly diverse group known as rudist clams, grew fast, laying down daily growth rings. The new study used lasers to sample minute slices of shell and count the growth rings more accurately than human researchers with microscopes. Read MoreEarth turned faster at the end of the time of the dinosaurs than it does today, rotating 372 times a year, compared to the current 365, according to a new study of fossil mollusk shells from the late Cretaceous. The new measurement informs models of how the Moon formed and how close to Earth it has been over the 4.5-billion-year history of the Earth-Moon gravitational dance. The new study also found corroborating evidence that the mollusks harbored photosynthetic symbionts that may have fueled reef-building on the scale of modern-day corals.

The Sun brings out a fresh batch of sunspots
The sunspots identified by researchers from IISER Kolkata herald the start of a new solar cycle. Sun spots are relatively cooler spots on the Sun’s surface. Their number waxes and wanes in cycles that last 11 years approximately. Amidst claims that the Sun would “go silent” and not give out sunspots for an extended period, a group from IISER Kolkata has shown that the next sunspot cycle has begun and the Sun has indeed spoken. Their results were published in Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society.

ISRO’s launch of GISAT-1 postponed due to technical reasons
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that its launch of a new type of earth observation satellite, GISAT-1, has been postponed due to “technical reasons”. GISAT-1 is short for Geo-Imaging Satellite and is the first of two earth imagers planned in a geostationary orbit. Read MoreIt will constantly look over the Indian subcontinent from a perch 36,000 km above, adding a new edge to national security, apart from routine uses of earth imaging. The satellite will be placed in a temporary orbit 170 km x 36,297 km from earth and at an inclination of 19.4°. ISRO stated that the new launch date will be announced later.

Scientists will soon be able to monitor air pollution hourly from space
NASA, South Korea, and the European Space Agency are working together on a “virtual cconstellations” of space-based instruments to document global air quality in unprecedented detail. For the first time, scientists will be able to track pollution from space on an hourly basis. Older space-based instruments have only been able to measure air pollution once a day. Read MoreThe first instrument to launch was South Korea’s Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) on February 18th, which flew into space mounted on a Korean satellite also tasked with ocean surface monitoring. NASA plans to send a nearly identical instrument to space aboard a commercial communications satellite in 2022.

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