As the counting of votes takes place on 23 May, the country has been gripped with election fever. But here are six developments you might have missed while it was going on:
1. Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile
Pakistan successfully test-fired a surface-to-surface ballistic missile which is capable of of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons at a range of up to 1,500 miles, reported Reuters. This brings major Indian cities under its range.
"Shaheen-II Missile is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads upto a range of 1,500 kilometres. Shaheen-II is a highly capable missile which fully meets Pakistan's strategic needs towards maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region," the Pakistan’s military said in a statement.
Pakistan’s test-fire comes less than a week after India also test-launched a long-range missile.
“We never speak bitterly, we want to live like good neighbours and settle our outstanding issues through talks,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmud Qureshi stated on Wednesday, after he spoke briefly with his Indian counterpart at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
2. Father-Son Duo Beaten By BSF For Carrying Beef in WB
Mohammad Giyasuddin (65) and his son Anwarul Haque (30) were allegedly beaten by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel for carrying beef in Islampur town of West Bengal’s North Dinajpur district.
The incident occurred on 5 May 2019, when the father-son duo was returning from a weekly market where they had bought the beef for a family gathering.
“They have settled the matter on mutual understanding,” Md Anjar Alam Rahi, a government contractor who was present at the BDO’s office, told a local daily. “They agreed on Rs 5,000-Rs 15,000 from the BSF and Rs 10,000 from the BDO office [as compensation].”
According to the FactChecker.in database, this is the fifth incident of cow-related violence recorded in 2019, and the 128th since 2010. Of these, 98% occurred after May 2014 when the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power.
3. 200-Person Summit Traffic Jam on Mt Everest, 2 Dead
Two deaths were reported on Mount Everest, reported AFP, due to a huge queue of climbers near the summit.
More than 200 climbers taking advantage of clear weather on Wednesday, 22 May, attempted to reach the summit from both Nepal and China. Risking frostbite and altitude sickness, the teams were lined up for hours.
An American and an Indian climber lost their lives. Donald Lynn Cash, 55, collapsed at the summit while Anjali Kulkarni, also 55, died while descending after she had reached to the top.
"She had to wait for a long time to reach the summit and descend," said Thupden Sherpa told AFP. "She couldn't move down on her own and died as Sherpa guides brought her down."
This season, Everest has witnessed four deaths, including these.
4. UK’s PM May Likely to Announce She'll Quit
Reuters reported that PM May will announce her resignation on Friday, 24 May.
This comes as the internal revolt against May from her Parliament comes to a head, with Conservative lawmakers demanding her resignation. According to an AP report, May’s fate looked sealed after the resignation of Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom, who quit saying she could not support the EU withdrawal bill that May plans to introduce to Parliament.
However, if she decides to quit as party leader, she will likely remain as the caretaker prime minister till Conservative lawmakers and members vote to elect a successor.
5. Massive Water Reservoir Discovered on Mars
Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arizona have discovered a massive water reservoir on Mars. The reservoir is in the form of layers of ice buried a mile beneath Mars' north pole.
The Science Daily reports that these layers of ice are the remnants of ancient polar ice sheets and could be one of the largest water reservoirs on the planet.
The findings were published on 22 May in the journal Geophysical Research Letters,. The layers of ice, much like tree rings on Earth, could provide a record of past climate on Mars.
6. China Seeks Asian Neighbors' Support in Trade Fight With US
China is seeking support from Russia and from its Central Asian neighbours in its escalating tariff fight with the US.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an eight-member security group which comprises of India, Pakistan Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and China, met in Kyrgyzstan on 22 May, Wednesday.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said representatives of the eight-nation grouping had expressed "broad support" for China's position, reported PTI.
On Thursday, Wang reiterated China's stance that it would never accept unequal trading arrangements. Beijing will match "extreme pressure" from the US with its own measures, he said in remarks posted on the ministry's website.
"I stress to everyone that China's actions are not just about preserving our own legitimate rights and interests but also to maintain the norms of international relations and safeguard the international free trading system," Wang said.
7. Four New SC Judges to Take Oath on 24 May
The Supreme Court issued a circular on 23 May that Justices BR Gavai, Surya Kant, Aniruddha Bose and AS Bopanna will take the oath of office on Friday, reported PTI.
The addition raises the number of SC judges to 31, the full sanctioned strength. This is the first time the apex court will have its full strength of judges since 2008 when the Parliament had increased the number of judges from 26 to 31.
This comes after a five-member collegium, headed by the CJI, made recommendations of the four judges to be elevated on 8 May.
8. Kashmir’s Al Qaeda Chief Zakir Musa Killed in Encounter
Top militant commander of Al Qaeda's Kashmir cell, Zakir Musa, was reportedly killed after being trapped during a cordon and search operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tral area on Thursday.
A gunfight reportedly broke out between the militants and security forces in Tral village.
A joint team of the Army’s 42 RR, SOG and CRPF cordoned off Dadsara village and tried to persuade Musa to surrender, Greater Kashmir reported. However, he reportedly lobbed some grenades, which triggered an encounter.
He was named the head of the organisation in July 2017. He was a close aide of slain militant commander Burhan Wani.
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