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QWrap: US Suspends Funds to Pak; Deepika Padukone Turns 31

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1. US Suspends Over $1.1 Bn Assistance to Pak Over Terror Groups

Toughening its stance, the United States on Thursday suspended more than $1.15 billion in security assistance to Pakistan for failing to take "decisive actions" against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network operating from its soil.

The suspended amount includes $255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the US Congress. In addition, the Department of Defense has suspended the entire $900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) money to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017 and other unspent money from previous fiscal years.

Department of Defense Spokesperson Lt Col Mike Andrews told PTI that the National Defense Authorisation Act 2017 provides up to $900 million for Pakistan in the CSF.

"At this stage all Fiscal Year 17 CSF have been suspended, so that’s the entire amount of $900 million," Andrews said.

(Read the full story here.)

2. Why is ‘Ambedkarite’ Modi Silent on Violence Against Dalits: Mevani

Prime Minister Narendra Modi must break silence on the Maharashtra government’s failure to curb the violence that broke out over the Bhima Koregaon event, Dalit leader and newly-elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani has said.

“The PM calls himself an Ambedkarite but when Dalits take out a peaceful rally, they get thrashed but PM Modi chooses to stay mum about it,” he told reporters at the Press Club of India in New Delhi on 5 January.

“Are Dalits in the country not allowed to hold a peaceful procession to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle? It is after he came to power that Rohith Vemula died, that the Una incident happened, that the houses of Dalits were burned in Saharanpur...And now, the Bhima Koregaon incident...in all these instances, the PM has not taken any concrete action.

(Read the full story here.)

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3. Winless on 6 Tours of SA, Can Virat’s Team India Create History?

South Africans were isolated from international cricket for 22 years, starting 1970, due to the Apartheid. It was only in 1992 that South Africa finally found their way back into international cricket and it was India who supported the bid, even becoming the first team to tour the country the same year.

Six tours have passed since, but Proteas hasn’t returned the favour yet, as India still remain without a Test series win in South Africa to date. Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team start a fresh campaign on Friday, 5 January, to try and change that skewed head-to-head record.

(Read the full story here.)

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4. On Deepika’s Birthday, Pammi Gives You Six Reasons to Love Her

Pammi Kaur can’t keep calm because it’s Deepika Padukone’s 32nd birthday. The Quint’s RJ Stutee lets her alter ego take over as Pammi Kaur opens up about six things that we all love about our ‘Mastani’.

(Watch the full video here.)

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5. Parliament Winter Session Ends: Triple Talaq Bill Left in Lurch

The Parliament has passed a total of nine bills in the Winter Session – touted to be its shortest till date – with the debate on the Triple Talaq Bill dominating the proceedings.

As Parliament was adjourned on 5 January, the bill that seeks to criminalise instant divorce through three years of imprisonment for Muslim husbands has been deferred further.

(Read the full story here.)

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6. US Whistleblower Edward Snowden Tweets About Aadhaar Breach

Whistleblower Edward Snowden, famous for his NSA document leaks in 2013, has weighed in on the ongoing Aadhaar data breach reports, calling it any government’s “natural tendency.”

Retweeting a post by ZDnet’s Security Editor Zack Whittaker on the Aadhaar breach reports, Snowden said when governments get personal information about citizens’ private lives, “the result is abuse.”

Snowden commented on Whittaker’s tweet that linked to a news report on the Aadhaar data breach.

Snowden has been known for his stand on private security and the extent of the government spying on their people.

(Read the full story here.)

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