MediaEye RSS Feedhttps://www.mediaeyenews.comMediaEye news RSS Feeden-usCopyright (C) 2016 mediaeyenews.comThe brave Veerangana who shot her husband to save Netaji

Anupama Nair

In the last part, I spoke about the brave woman, who killed her husband to save Netaji, who was one of the people who fought for the Independence of India. Now read what happened to her after that….

When the British Government came to know about the incident, Neera Arya was sentenced to the ill-famed ‘kala pani’ for the murder of a British officer. She was imprisoned in the Calcutta jail, initially. During her time in jail, she was subjected to severe torture and was also told that if she gave information about Netaji, she would be released. It is said, fed up with the torture, she once spit on the prison guard. However, even after she was tortured every day she refused to give any information about Netaji.

Neera had shared details of some of her life story with an Urdu writer Farhan Taj and he wrote about her life in his novel. She had told him “after the trial, I was sent to Andaman for life-time imprisonment (Kala Pani),where all prisoners were stuffed into tiny cells. There were other women like me, who were serving their punishment. These women were also political prisoners. I was worried always, how I would participate in the Freedom Movement while I am living on an unknown island in the middle of the sea?” Even when she was imprisoned her thoughts were for her motherland.

She said “I never asked for a blanket and kept sleeping on the ground despite the bitter cold for months. One day, it was midnight and two guards came to my cell and they had thrown two blankets on me. I felt bad about it. There was however, some satisfaction of getting blankets in the cold. I was still worried that I was tied with a hard iron chain around my neck, hand, and legs. The next day, God listened to my prayers, and a blacksmith came in. He started cutting off the chains of my hand. He had cut some flesh off my hand. I ignored that pain, but when he started cutting off the shackles from my legs, he had hit my bones many times with a heavy hammer. It was so painful, I sighed, but, did not cry. I asked him ‘are you blind that you had hit my legs many times’? It is giving me a lot of pain. He arrogantly replied that ‘I can even hit on your heart as well and you cannot do anything about this”.

She continued her story, “I knew that I was a prisoner there. They can behave in any way they liked. Still, I was angry and I spat on him and said to him ‘learn to respect women’. The jailer who was watching all of this incident came close to me and told me if you tell us where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is, we will let you go. Innocently, I replied, he died in a plane crash and everybody knows this. The jailer replied, you are lying because he is still alive. Then jailer again asked me this is the last time I am asking you, where is he? I angrily replied he is in my heart, in my mind. Jailer furiously said if Netaji is in her heart, then remove him from there’’.

The story of horror did not end there and “the jailer touched me inappropriately and tore my clothes off and indicated to the blacksmith about my removing my breasts”. They did that too to punish her for her love for Netaji and her country.

She wrote in one of his autobiography about an incident when she was in INA, “I had a girl Saraswati Rajamani with me. She was younger than me and was from Burma. She and I were given the responsibility of spying on the British officers. We adopted boys' costumes. We spied on the homes of British officers and military camps. We used to share the information we got from here with Netaji”.

“One day one of our companions, Durga was missing and was unfortunately captured by the British. After this, Saraswati and me were in disguise to rescue her. Where Durga was taken prisoner, the officers drugged her by deceit. We somehow managed to escape with Durga. Then a British soldier opened fire, due to which Rajamani was shot in the leg. We managed to climb a tree with limping Saraswati. The British soldiers launched an operation to capture us. We stayed on the tree for three days, and later we returned to the base of the Azad Hind Fauj”.

“Pleased by our bravery Netaji gave Rajamani the rank of Lieutenant in Rani Jhansi Brigade and I was made a Captain”.

She was freed after Independence. Neera Arya made a living by selling flowers. She spent the last days of her life in a hut in the Falaknuma area of ​​Hyderabad. She died on 26 July 1998 at Osmania Hospital near Charminar. It is said that a local journalist along with his colleagues performed the last rites of Neera Arya.

Tejpal Singh Dhama, a famous writer from Khekra who was also the recipient of the Manishi Award, said “even today, Neera Arya is immortal in the history books”. He expressed his intention to make a film on the life struggle of Neera Arya. Dhama reported that Zhang Huihuang Gracie from China would make a film based on the script he wrote. The story of Veerangana Neera Arya will be revealed to the world through the film.

She was truly a ‘Veerangana’ who sacrificed everything for us, but did we treat her fairly? Please leave your valuable comments on the way how we treat her braves. Vandemataram.

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 14:50:24 +0530
Aryan Khan arrest brings Bollywood drug nexus to fore front

Anupama Nair

The relationship between Bollywood and the drug Mafia has been there for quite some time. Aryan Khan is the latest to get exposed in the drug nexus. Superstar Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan was arrested on October 3 in connection with the Mumbai cruise drugs case. He was arrested along with seven others following a raid at a party on a cruise ship, Cordelia off the coast of Mumbai by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). As per sources from NCB, the raids revealed a huge quantity of banned drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.

The charges brought against Aryan Khan include purchase, possession and use of banned substances, it added. He was produced in court where the agency was granted custody of those arrested. Aryan Khan's lawyer Satish Maneshinde demanded bail, for his client, saying that his client had been arrested only on the basis of chat messages. “Aryan had no ticket, no cabin or seat onboard the cruise. He was there because he had been invited. He didn't even have a boarding pass. Nothing has been found on him. He was arrested on the basis of the chat only”, said the lawyer.

Besides Aryan Khan, the NCB had earlier released the names of the seven people who had been detained for questioning from the ship: Munmun Dhamecha, Nupur Sarika, Ismeet Singh, Mohak Jaswal, Vikrant Chhoker, Gomit Chopra, and Arbaaz Merchant. The NCB team had received information about drugs on the ship, boarded the Goa-bound ship disguised as passengers, reported sources close to NCB. “The party began after the ship left Mumbai and was at sea. The raids began at 10 a.m. and went on till 2 p.m.”.

During the operation, the suspects were searched and different drugs were recovered from them, which they had hidden in their clothes, undergarments and purses, an NCB official confirmed. The cruise company, however in a statement said it had nothing to do with the incident. “Cordelia Cruises is in no way, directly or indirectly, connected to this incident. Cordelia Cruises had chartered its ship for a private event to a Delhi-based event management company”, stated Jurgen Bailom, the Chief Executive Officer and President, Waterways Leisure Tourism Pvt Ltd. “We, at Cordelia Cruises, condemn all acts such as these and will strictly refrain from letting our ship out for similar events in the future. Nonetheless, Cordelia Cruises is extending our full support and cooperating with the authorities”, he further said.

Shahrukh tried his best to get bail for his son but he was unsuccessful. I hope, true justice is served in this case irrespective of the superstar status of the accused.

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 14:32:12 +0530
India jabs 1 billion citizens A giant leap for mankind

Anupama Nair

I was very excited when I heard the news 1 billion Indians has at least got one dosage. All this was possible because of our great Prime Minister and his able leadership, our doctors and front-line workers, and last but not least our research labs like Serum Institute that launched Covishield and Covaxin. Now nearly 75% of our population had at least 1 dose of the vaccine.

I feel vindicated when I was dancing with joy when Modi became the Prime Minister for the first time on May 26, 2014 and again in 2019. After Atal Behari Vajpayee he was the most charismatic Prime Minister after Independence. Hearing his speeches, I remembered the great orators like Netaji, Bhagat Singh and Veer Savarkar and I was inspired by them. Soon, the whole world was spell bound at Modi’s qualities, and what is surprising is he mostly spoke in Hindi everywhere in the world. Recently, he won the survey as the most popular leader in the world.

India achieved the historic milestone of completing 1 billion (100 crore) doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, nine months after it launched ‘the world’s biggest vaccination drive’. Hailing the feat, Modi, said that the country had ‘scripted history’. “We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians. Congratulations to India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat,” he tweeted. The Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya requested all those who are eligible to get vaccinated without any delay and contribute to the ‘historic journey’. A song by singer Kailash Kher and an audio-visual film will be launched at the Red Fort for the occasion. The largest national flag, weighing around 1,400 kg, will be unfurled at the Red Fort.

In recent months, life in our country has swung back to normal. Our markets are buzzing with activity, tourists are allowed to enter the country after a 19-month gap, and we are gearing up to celebrate Diwali. However, the doctors caution this could be just the lull before the storm. Even though India may have borne the brunt of the Delta variant already, things could escalate quickly if a new variant emerges, either from within the country or outside.

“If the virus becomes different or mutates, it changes the dynamics, and this could change everything,” said an expert. So, the message is we need to be careful. Wear a mask, sanitize your hands and still maintain social distancing.

However, the main concern is the disparity between the partially and fully vaccinated citizens, especially when India had already reported over 4,50,000 deaths, till now. The government is very much aware of this problem “and has called on states and union territories to focus on administering the second doses, and advised them to share strategies to close the gap”.

Many world leaders congratulated India on reaching this great milestone.

 “I applaud India’s successes in fighting Covid-19 at home and for its efforts to help end the pandemic in the Indo-Pacific region and well beyond,” said Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the President of Maldives expressed thanks to India for supporting the Maldives in its fight against Covid-19 and vaccination efforts.

“Congratulations to @narendramodi on leading India's successful Covid-19 vaccination campaign that has now administered more than 1 billion vaccines to the Indian people”, said Naftali Bennett the Prime Minister of Israel. He said “these life-saving vaccines were helping all defeat the global pandemic”.

Under ‘Vaccine Maitri’ India has so far delivered around 66.3 million doses of vaccines to 95 countries, including Canada, Britain, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Nepal, South Africa, Ukraine and Bahrain.

Wavel Ramkalawan the president of Seychelles and Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera also congratulated India on its achievement of administering 1 billion vaccination doses.

“Congratulations, India, on this historic milestone! This impressive achievement brings the world closer to overcoming the pandemic. I salute the efforts of doctors, nurses and all frontline workers,” said Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India.

The Government of India plans to vaccinate all adults by the year-end. As they say “we have miles to go before we sleep….”

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 14:07:38 +0530
Amateur Avani wins second title of Hero WPGT season

Panchkula, Oct 22

Amateur Avani Prashanth won her second title of the season as she held off the seasoned Amandeep Drall by a shot to win the 11th leg of the Hero Women's Pro Golf Tour at the Panchkula Golf Club, here on Friday.

Avani and Amandeep played even-par rounds, which helped the former stay ahead to emerge victoriously. Avani totaled 2-under 214, while Amandeep aggregated 1-under 215.

Three players, Pranavi Urs (76), Jahanvi Bakshi (73), and Vani Kapoor (73) were tied for third place at 4-over 219. Seher Atwal (75) was sixth at 221 and Rhea Jha (73) was seventh.

Saaniya Sharma, amateur Kriti Chowhan, and Hitaashee Bakshi occupied the eighth to 10th places.

Avani, who is playing both the WPGT circuit and the amateur Tour, won the third leg in Mumbai and was also runner-up at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram in the eighth leg and was again second in the 10th leg last week in Chandigarh.

Avani's 66 in the second round, as also that of Saaniya Sharma, were confirmed as the Ladies scoring record at the Panchkula Golf Club.

Starting the final day one shot behind Avani, the experienced Amandeep bridged that narrow gap with a birdie on the second hole. However, a dropped shot on par-5 fifth gave the lead back to Avani, who parred the first six holes.

Avani landed her first birdie on the seventh but gave away that gain on the next hole. So, when the players reached the turn, Avani was still one ahead. The others were way behind, and the contest was now between Avani and Amandeep.

On the back nine, while Avani birdied 11th and 12th, Amandeep birdied 11th and bogeyed 12th. That meant Avani was now three shots clear. There was another twist as Avani dropped shots on Par-3 13th and Par-4 15th, while Amandeep birdied 15th to pull level with the young amateur.

With two holes left, it was now about holding nerves. Amandeep bogeyed the 17th, while Avani parred the 17th and 18th and won the title.

Pranavi had a disappointing final day as she bogeyed first and then double-bogeyed Par-5 seventh. On the back nine, she had three bogeys in a row on 15th, 16th, and 17th. Her two birdies of the day were on fifth and sixth as she carded 76 and fell into a tie for third with Vani Kapoor and Jahanvi.

Saaniya Sharma, who opened with 79 and then had a superb 66 in the second round to set a ladies course record jointly with amateur Avani, who also shot 66 in the second round, once again went to 78 in the final round to fall to eighth.

Amandeep Drall continues to lead the Hero Order of Merit, while Vani Kapoor remains second. Amandeep has now won Rs.15,01,900, while Vani has amassed Rs.13,00,500 and Jahanvi became the third player to cross the Rs.10 lakh mark as she has earned Rs.10,67,733. Hitaashee, Seher, and Saaniya are fourth, fifth, and sixth.


Sat, 23 Oct 2021 09:27:59 +0530
Infuse funds for capacity creation in health sector


New Delhi, Oct 23

While we have to infuse lots of funds into infrastructure, we also have to infuse more efforts and activities for capacity creation - both from the public as well as the private sector, said Dr K Madan Gopal, Senior Consultant, NITI Aayog, on Friday here. Talking about capacity building, he expressed concern about the present health infrastructure in the country.

Dr Gopal was speaking on the third conclusive day at the 15th edition of Annual Healthcare Phygital & Virtual Conference - FICCI HEAL 2021: 'Transforming Healthcare beyond COVID', held from October 20 to 22. The healthcare conference was held on how to bring healthcare to everybody's doorstep and the future of the med-tech industry in India.

While talking about the changing landscapes of Diagnostics, Dr Om Manchanda, MD, Dr Lal PathLabs shared that the Indian market is larger as compared to many other countries and there is a huge potential for organized players and a shift from unorganized to organized is required. There are many enablers for this shift- initially, it was quality but today service is playing a big role too".

Speaking on the event, Dr Shravan Subramanyam, FICCI Medical Devices Committee and President & CEO, GE Healthcare South Asia said, "The med-tech industry today could not be in a better place to address the needs of the market, patients and communities. The mandate from our government to be self-reliant is very critical, and med-tech sector which faced many challenges during the pandemic has benefited quite a lot through production linked incentives and various other schemes".

Madan Krishnan, Vice President and Managing Director, India Medtronic shared his view on infrastructure, "Today we need a single-window clearance system so that there is an ease of expansion of health infrastructure".

Dr Alok Roy, Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee, closed the conference saying that the three-day conference was organized with a view to converge all healthcare stakeholders and provide a forum for sharing of learnings and experiences as well as deliberate on the opportunities for transforming Indian healthcare system beyond COVID.

FICCI-KPMG Knowledge Paper on a COVID Induced Healthcare Transformation', was released during the inaugural session of the conference. The conference was supported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and NITI Aayog.


Sat, 23 Oct 2021 09:20:08 +0530
Google Meet hosts can keep participants microphones cameras off

San Francisco, Oct 23

Google Meet is rolling out a new feature that would let the meeting host turn off participants' microphones or cameras.

The feature has been rolled for Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals and Education Plus domains. It will launch additional Google Workspace editions in the coming months.

"The meeting host is the only user in a meeting who can use the 'mute all' feature. Once all participants are muted, the meeting host cannot unmute them. However, users will be able to unmute themselves as needed. The mute all feature will only be available for hosts who are joining from a desktop browser, but will be launching on other platforms in the coming months," Google said in a blog post.


The microphone and camera lock feature will be off by default; hosts will have to turn it on during meetings if they want to use it.

Recently, Google Meet started rolling out live speech into translated captions. The live caption feature comes in handy especially for users with disabilities and also for those who want to keep track of what is being said in a virtual meeting word by word.

The feature will be useful in all-hands meetings and training programs with globally distributed teams, as well as educators communicating with students.

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 09:10:21 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 242 9 mn

Washington, Oct 23

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 242.9 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.93 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.76 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Saturday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 242,918,979, 4,936,844 and 6,763,349,919, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 45,380,032 and 735,169, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in the second place with 34,143,236 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,711,843), the UK (8,730,715), Russia (8,041,581), Turkey (7,800,766), France (7,215,584), Iran (5,844,589), Argentina (5,278,910), Spain (4,997,732), Colombia (4,988,021), Italy (4,733,557), Indonesia (4,238,594), Germany (4,452,547) and Mexico (3,777,209), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (605,139), India (453,042), Mexico (285,953), Russia (224,369), Peru (200,003), Indonesia (143,153), the UK (139,742), Italy (131,763), Colombia (126,994), Iran (124,928), France (118,373) and Argentina (115,819).




Sat, 23 Oct 2021 09:04:24 +0530
University of Hyderabad uses computer tools to teach Sanskrit

Hyderabad, Oct 23

The University of Hyderabad (UoH) has launched an innovative, online interdisciplinary programme that aims to teach Sanskrit with the help of computer tools.

The goal of the OE102: Samsaadhanii Praveshika course is to develop confidence in the minds of the student that with the help of these computational tools they can understand any Sanskrit text with some effort.

The Department of Sanskrit Studies, since its inception in 2006, is engaged in the study of Indian Grammatical Theories with a computational perspective.

The research undertaken by the students during the last 15 years has resulted in a computational platform that hosts several computational tools for accessing and understanding Sanskrit texts.

Prof. Amba Kulkarni, the coordinator of the course, said: "On the one hand we are looking at how to leverage computer technology to overcome the language barrier, how to reduce the time to learn a new language, and on the other hand we are also exploring the IGT for building these computational tools."

The department collaborated with a computer scientist turned computational linguist, Prof. Gerard Huet from a prestigious research institute Inria, in France.

The collaboration between these two groups has resulted in a joint system that can analyze any Sanskrit text. This led to the development of this innovative course, where the traditional methods of teaching are combined with modern technology without compromising the 'understanding' of Sanskrit texts.

A four-member team comprising Dr. Arjuna of Manipal University, Dr. Pavankumar Satuluri of Chinmaya Vishwasvidyalaya, Kochi, Prof. Huet and Prof. Amba Kulkarni from the University of Hyderabad, will be handling the course.

The course has reviewed good response, with 250 people registering from abroad, India and the students from University of Hyderabad. The students have varied backgrounds from Arts and Humanities to Engineering and Medicine; they range from 20 to 80 years of age, geographically from Fiji to California covering the whole world.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. B.J. Rao considered the launch of this course as the celebration where Panini is being rediscovered through modern computational tools. According to him this course would be a trendsetter to understand how language analysis, rigour of computation and scientific methods can be utilized for understanding thoughts as well as also understanding the construction of ideas through languages.

Prof. Varakhedi, the Vice-Chancellor of Kavi Kulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Ramtek, pointed out that the computational platform is based on the Indian theories of analysis, generation and cognition of Sanskrit sentences that were discussed in Vyakaranam (Grammar), Nyaya (Logic) and Mimansa from about the last three millennia and acts as a testing bed to test their practicality.




Sat, 23 Oct 2021 08:58:17 +0530
China warns US to be cautious on Taiwan after Biden s comments

New Delhi, Oct 22

China's Foreign Ministry on Friday warned the US that China has no room for compromise when it comes to safeguarding sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, Global Times reported.

"No one should underestimate the strong resolve, determination and capability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, urging the US to not "stand against the 1.4 billion Chinese people".

"We urge the US side to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communique, be cautious in words and deeds on the Taiwan question, and refrain from sending any wrong signals to secessionists, so as not to seriously damage China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits," Wang said.

The US would come to Taiwan's defence if the island faces a Chinese mainland "incursion," US President Joe Biden confirmed on Thursday. The strongest comments from the 78-year-old leader were believed as challenging Chinese mainland's redline and also deviating from Washington's "strategic ambiguity" on the Taiwan question.

The White House attempted to clarify Biden's comments to calm the situation, saying the President was "not announcing any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy.

Asked in a CNN town hall meeting on Thursday night about whether the US would protect Taiwan if China attacked, Biden said: "Yes," and the US has "a commitment to do that," US media reported.

Biden's comments came amid rising tension in the Taiwan Straits, with EU Parliament lawmakers pushing forward a resolution to deepen so-called political and economic ties with the island of Taiwan and the Biden administration's pick for ambassador to China vowing to make the island "a tough nut to crack", Global Times reported.

Observers said the overall US policy toward the Taiwan question is becoming clearer, and that China should not interpret some of the US moves seeking cooperation with China as signs of softening, the report added.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 23:12:57 +0530
Chakrapani s security will be reviewed regularly Delhi HC told

New Delhi, Oct 22

The Delhi Police on Friday apprised the Delhi High Court that the security of the AIl India Hindu Mahasabha chief Swami Chakrapani will be assessed regularly, following his complaint about a "threat" to his life from underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

While disposing of the plea filed by Chakrapani for restoration of his 'Z category' security on police's assurance, a single judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli also remarked that one Indian Prime Minister was killed with security too.

Police told the court that it will assess the security threats to Chakrapani afresh on or before November 5.

If the security is not upgraded by then, it will carry out another assessment within six weeks from the date of the previous assessment, the police added.

In his petition, Chakrapani stated that the withdrawal of his security was "politically motivated" due to some political vendetta as he has been vocal over various issues being faced by the society at large and Hindu religion specifically.

The plea contended that he is vulnerable to the attacks by "associates of Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel, and other antisocial and anti-national elements".

Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, known for his controversial statements. had recently stated that cow urine and cow dung can be used for treating novel coronavirus disease. He also said that a special yagna will be performed to "kill the novel coronavirus and end its effects on the world".


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 23:08:31 +0530
After IPL success VPS Healthcare to manage bio bubbles for T20 WC


Dubai, Oct 22

After a successful outing at IPL 2021, BCCI and Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) have appointed UAE-based VPS Healthcare to continue providing medical services for the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

This is the third time VPS Healthcare has been entrusted with the responsibility of handling the medical side of a large-scale cricket tournament.

With over 2,200 people including 16 teams within the bio-secure environment this time, it is the biggest bio-bubble ever managed during any international cricket tournament held in the last two years. It constitutes players, supporting staff and their families, broadcast crew, BCCI and ICC officials, staff at the hotel and stadium, and selected medical personnel.

To avoid any breach of the bio-secure environment, the healthcare group has implemented stringent protocols. This time, the medical group has set up twelve bio-bubbles in nine hotels -- seven in Dubai and five in Abu Dhabi. Distinct from the previous times, VPS will also use Rapid RT-PCR tests in case of emergencies, which will give the test results in 20-30 minutes.

"In contrast to the earlier times, all members within the bio-bubble are vaccinated. Despite that, all will undergo regular RT-PCR tests to uphold the safety measures. The testing protocol for the members in the bio-bubble has been set by the ICC," said a release.

Throughout the tournament, VPS Healthcare anticipates conducting over 20,000 PCR tests. It can conduct 2,000 PCR tests each day, with a turnaround time of 6 hours for the results.

Apart from securing the bio-bubble, the company will provide holistic medical support for the T20 World Cup.

Experienced in offering 360-degree healthcare services for sporting events, it will provide a broad range of services, including emergency medical services, sports medicine support, musculoskeletal imaging, specialist teleconsultation, doctor-on-call, and ambulance/air ambulance support. This time, the group has also deployed doctors at hotels to cater to emergencies.

VPS Healthcare will also be managing the medical services at the stadiums and during practice sessions. With spectators allowed at the venue, the group has set up spectator clinics in the stadiums to cater to emergency cases.

Special arrangements have be'n made across VPS' Burjeel hospitals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah to secure treatment for players or other stakeholders. Anybody requiring the air ambulance facility will be taken to Burjeel'Medical City, VPS' quaternary care facility at Mohammed Bin Zayed City in Abu Dhabi, the release added.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 22:38:01 +0530
Maharashtra reopens its theatres to receive pre Covid footfalls

Mumbai, Oct 22

Bollywood breathed a sigh of relief on Friday when cinema theatres across Maharashtra, the source of 50 per cent of the Hindi film industry's earnings, opened after a Covid-imposed shutdown that stretched across a year and six months.

Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas, expressed the industry-wide sentiment when he said: "It is heart-warming to reopen our cinemas once again in Maharashtra as it holds the key to the revival of the multiplex industry. The opening of Maharashtra is significant especially for us as our screen presence in the state is the highest in our circuit."

Talking about the first-day response across theatres in Maharashtra, Rajeev Patni, CEO, INOX Leisure, said: "We are delighted to share that we were almost sold out for these shows across all our multiplexes in Maharashtra. The overall turnout during the day so far has been reminiscent to the pre-COVID days and we are certain that the sentiment would remain like this."

A similar sentiment was echoed by Devang Sampat, CEO, Cinepolis India. He said: "The audiences are coming back with great enthusiasm. We are seeing excellent footfalls in all our cinemas in Mumbai and in the rest of Maharashtra. This excitement will only build further as we move into the festive week of Diwali."

Of course, all eyes are on the big Diwali release, the action drama "Sooryavanshi", starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, with Jackie Shroff and Gulshan Grover in supporting roles, and cameos by Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh. Will it be the blockbuster that will herald the return of the cinema exhibition business to its glory days?

OTT platforms, which expanded their numbers and footprints at a time when the pandemic raged and the cinemas were shut, however, may not be affected by the return of the movie theatre experience. Trade analysts believe that both view channels shall co-exist.

According to Komal Nahata, a respected voice in the fraternity, it will be a win-win situation for all, where all three platforms -- the big screen, television and OTT -- will co-exist happily together.

In the short run, however, "films are going to have a very good run at the box-office because people are tired of watching them on the small screen," Nahata said and added: "They want to come out and watch films on the big screen. We just have to wait and watch, the collections are going to be unprecedented!"

But OTT platforms are here to stay -- and grow. "I don't think the re-opening of cinema theatres in Maharashtra will impact the OTT platforms because a lot of films have already been premiered on them and now producers have also realised they can make OTT-specific content. Films will now be premiered in cinemas and then released digitally, but there will be films and programming developed especially for the OTT audience," Nahata pointed out.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 22:28:16 +0530
FSSAI should notify Front of Pack Labelling regulations Experts


Chennai, Oct 22

Intake of sugar and salt went down in some foreign countries after the introduction of Front of Pack Labelling (FoPL) on food products and India must also follow the same, said experts in health and consumer welfare.

At a webinar organized by Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group in association with Women's Christian College, Chennai, and later to the media, experts said that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) must notify the FoPL regulations at the earliest as the issue is of extremely serious nature.

"In countries like Canada, Chile, Israel, Uruguay, FoPL on food products have proved to be successful in reducing intake of sodium and sugar. Therefore, it is important for India to come out with the FoPL regulations soon. Clear warnings about the presence of high salt, sugar or fat in packed food would help consumers make informed choices," said Pradeep Agarwal, Associate Professor, AIIMS Rishikesh.

He said one major reason for the non-communicable diseases pandemic is the change in the dietary habits with processed foods that are high on salt, sugar or fat being consumed in sizeable quantities.

According to Saroja, Executive Director, CAG, unmonitored salt, sugar and fat intake poses a significant threat to health of millions of Indians.

"To warn consumers about the nutrients of concern, we are calling for FoPL like warning labels. These are messages that need to be conspicuously placed in packaged foods that will immediately warn consumers about the health risks of what they are about to consume," she said.

A.J. Hemamalini, Professor and Head, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, said, "Nutrient profiling is a scientific method of categorizing foods according to their nutritional composition and is developed with the main objective of reducing consumption of salt, fat and sugar."

The nutrition profile models (NPM) translate this into specific food and beverage targets and help us to identify foods that are high in salt, sugar, or fats, she added.

"Based on the "limits" established by the NPM, the front-of-pack label informs consumers in a clear manner whether a product contains excessive sugar, salt or fat, thus helping them make healthier choices," Hemamalini said.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 22:18:42 +0530
NASA prepares asteroid defence mission for November launch

Washington, Oct 22

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, intended to deliberately crash into an asteroid, is preparing to launch next month -- world's first mission to test planetary defense techniques, demonstrating one mitigation method of asteroid deflection, called kinetic impact.

The spacecraft will go through a series of final tests and checks, as well as fueling, in the next few weeks as the team prepares for DART's scheduled launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on November 24, NASA said in a statement on Thursday.

The spacecraft will impact the small asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, which orbits a larger companion, Didymos, in a binary asteroid system to change its orbital period.

Although neither asteroid poses a threat to Earth, the collision with Dimorphos enables researchers to demonstrate the deflection technique along with several new technologies, and collect important data to enhance our modeling and predictive capabilities for asteroid deflection. Those enhancements will help us better prepare should an asteroid ever be discovered as a threat to Earth, NASA said.

The binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos is the target for the DART demonstration. While the Didymos primary body is approximately 780 meters across, its secondary body (or "moonlet") is about 160-meters in size, which is more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose the most likely significant threat to Earth.

The US space agency is intensely observing 'Didymos' binary using telescopes on Earth to precisely measure its properties before DART arrives.

Once launched, DART will deploy Roll Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) to provide the solar power needed for DART's electric propulsion system. The DART spacecraft will demonstrate the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster -- Commercial (NEXT-C)solar electric propulsion system as part of its in-space propulsion.

In mid-September, the DART team also successfully went through a flight operational readiness review to assess its readiness to start spacecraft operations once DART enters space.

"We spent the last one and a half years testing DART on the ground, practicing for what's the most highly anticipated part yet: its flight to Dimorphos," said Elena Adams, DART mission systems engineer from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland.

"We have a few more mission rehearsals to do, with the team practicing spacecraft launch operations from Vandenberg in California and the APL Mission Operations Center in Maryland. Once completed, we will be ready for launch and operations," Adams added.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 20:28:15 +0530
Can Tesla survive without sleep deprived Elon Musk

San Francisco, Oct 22

Elon Musk has talked about stepping down from Tesla for a couple of years and his absence from the regularly scheduled conference call to discuss quarterly financial results this week has sparked fresh rumors about a ‘sleep-deprived billionaire CEO taking a much-needed break.

During the earnings call with analysts late on Wednesday, Tesla's chief financial officer Zachary Kirkhorn took Musk's place, along with vice presidents Lars Moravy and Drew Baglino.

"His (Musk) absence took what's normally a venue for his rants and ramblings, dismissals of Wall Street, and attacks on the press and turned it into a coherent (if scripted) presentation of the company's recent progress," reports The Verge.

"There were fewer sideshows and a more measured tone, though the executives who spoke in Musk's place still made some contradictions," the report said on Thursday.

Musk has talked about stepping down from Tesla in the past, especially after the Model 3 and Model Y helped the electric-car maker find financial stability.

In July, Musk testified in court that he had "tried hard not to be the CEO at Tesla, but I had to or it would die."

In late 2017, Musk yelled "shame" at journalists and their editors for writing about the company's layoffs during the conference call.

"In early 2018, he cut off Wall Street analysts for asking ‘boring, bonehead' questions and started the practice of fielding inquiries from retail shareholders," the report noted.

Despite the ongoing chip shortage, electric vehicle company Tesla reported a net income of $1.62 billion in the third quarter of 2021, which is five times more than it did this time last year.

The company's operating income grew some 54 per cent over the past quarter to $2 billion.

In the third quarter, the company said it produced approximately 238,000 vehicles and delivered over 240,000 vehicles.



Fri, 22 Oct 2021 20:22:41 +0530
We didn t really take it seriously enough Warne on Australia s issues with T20Is

Sydney, Oct 22

Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has pinpointed that lack of seriousness early on has caused issues for Australia in T20Is. He added that as a result, the team is now having selection issues in the game's shortest format. Australia is yet to win the ICC men's T20 World Cup with the best performance coming in 2010 as runners-up.

"I think when it first started, we didn't really take it seriously enough and as it has gone on we've just tried to understand how it works and we haven't quite got it right. I don't think we've really picked the right side, we've sort of picked players that have played in Test matches and one-day games … there are really specific roles (in T20)," Warne told SEN Breakfast on Friday.

"Like in any sport, if you want to win, you need to know your role, it's not about being man-of-the-match every time. Someone getting 15 runs off four balls at the end of the innings to give you an above par score is really important, someone that might not take a wicket but bowls a really good over at a crucial time. It's about knowing your role … where you work together as a team," added Warne, who captained Rajasthan Royals to victory in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008.

Warne believes that the Aaron Finch-led side hasn't got it right with batting in terms of tactics and strategy. "The other thing is, in T20, it's not about fours and sixes. As much as we all like to see that, if you get your mind ticking over and you get singles and you're pushing for twos …- it's a real skill to get a two. I think tactically and strategically we haven't quite got it right; we've just gone out and tried to hit fours and sixes all the time."

Australia will open their campaign in the men's T20 World Cup is a Group 1 match of Super 12 against South Africa in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 20:05:54 +0530
Tinder rolls out new series The Swipe Ride with Sara Ali Khan

Mumbai, Oct 22

Connection and communication are the two things that define human existence. Being social animals, humans strive to forge friendships and relationships with each other to make their lives easier and fruitful. The popular dating app Tinder is known for sparking connections with new people.

And now, the social app is all set to crank the dating scene in India up a notch with its new offering 'The Swipe Ride' series which will bring the uninhibited and meaningful conversations about what women really expect in terms of their dating lives in a society like India.

The series will be headlined by social media content creator Kusha Kapila who will steer the drive as well as the conversation as she picks up a Tinder member to meet her date. The two would talk about an array of things which include dating, intimacy and how coming together of the age-old traditions and modern beliefs in our world have given rise to the dilemmas that continue to cloud dating lives.

Bollywood actress Sara Ali Khan will be joining the conversation with two ladies this week. The three will be digging into the Tinder app to read some fun bios and will discuss things like first date jitters, the rules of dating and the importance of being honest and authentic. The first episode of the Swipe Ride series premieres Friday on Tinder's YouTube channel.

Talking about the show, Kusha Kapila told IANS, "Indian society has often defined how a woman must conduct herself in all aspects. With the 'Swipe Ride' series, to see Tinder female members redefine such age-old societal ideas and rewrite their narratives was almost like talking to my younger self, different but yet so similar. Being in the driver's seat, literally and metaphorically, is what women need today and I am really proud to have a role to play in facilitating these meaningful discussions."

The show is particularly special as it puts together a team of talented artists from all across the sphere. Debbie Rao who's known for the web series 'Better Life Foundation' conceptualized the show along with popular ace comics and writers Shreeja Chaturvedi and Supriya Joshi.

The 'Swipe Ride' series documents the coming together of these independent women who like to live life on their own terms with regards to their careers and dating lives.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 19:59:28 +0530
Covid sees significant resurgence in Europe Asia

New Delhi, Oct 22

After a brief lull as the world sees economic recovery from the pandemic, the deadly Covid virus appears to be on the prowl again in several countries.

Since the beginning of this week, many countries including Russia, the UK, China and some in Eastern Europe have witnessed a significant rise.

According to the latest update by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the highest numbers of new cases were reported from the UK (283,756 new cases; a 14 per cent increase) and Russia (217,322 new cases; a 15 per cent increase)

The European Region showed a 7 per cent increase of new weekly cases as well highest weekly incidence in deaths (1.9 per 100 000 population).

The UK has recorded more than 50,000 Covid cases for the first time since July 17.

While Delta has been the dominant variant in the country, AY.4.2 delta sub-lineage (also being called Delta plus) is currently increasing in frequency, according to the latest report from the UK Health Security Agency.

Delta plus "sub-lineage accounted for approximately 6 per cent of all sequences generated, on an increasing trajectory", the report said.

The number of Covid-19 fatalities in Russia over the past 24 hours increased by 1,064 -- a new record high since the beginning of the pandemic, Tass news agency said on Friday.

"By the end of this week and the beginning of the next one we will reach the peak number of cases [in Moscow] for the entire history of the [coronavirus] pandemic," Mayor Sergey Sobyanin was quoted as saying in an interview with Russian TV channel Rossia-1.

As a result, Russian President Vladimir Putin has also announced a week-long nationwide paid holiday from October 30 to November 7 in Moscow.

Ukraine also saw record-high Covid-19 infections and deaths in the past 24 hours, the latest data from the country's health ministry showed.

A statement released on the ministry's website showed some 22,415 people have tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, marking the highest daily tally of newly confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic last year, reports Xinhua.

Besides, 546 Ukrainians have also died of Covid-19 complications in the past 24 hours, exceeding the previous record of 538 fatalities reported on October 19.

Georgia's National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) reported 4,411 new Covid-19 cases, taking its total to 680,182 and 29 deaths , raising the death toll to 9,617, Xinhua reported.

In Asia, Singapore has seen a significant rise. It reported 3,439 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, bringing the total tally in the country to 162,026.

A total of 1,613 Covid-19 cases are currently warded in hospitals, with 346 cases of serious illness requiring oxygen supplementation, and 61 in critical condition in the intensive care units.

Meanwhile, China has started shutting down schools, canceling hundreds of flights and ramping up mass testings following a new outbreak of Covid.

While the number of cases was largely low (43 on October 21) but as the country reported a spike in new cases for the fifth consecutive day, authorities beefed up Covid protocols.

The WHO has blamed the rise on the easing of Covid restrictions, particularly across Europe and also cautioned about the rise in Covid cases during the impending winter.

"The Northern Hemisphere is heading into another winter, and just need to be a little concerned about that uptick across Europe as we enter the late, late, deep autumn," said Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO's emergencies programme.

"As societies are opening up, we're seeing those numbers rise, and in a number of countries, we're already seeing the health system begin to come under pressure, we're seeing the number of available ICU beds decreasing," he said.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 19:49:56 +0530
Japanese skywatchers spot Jupiter hit by another space rock


Tokyo, Oct 22

Skywatchers in Japan have observed a flash in the atmosphere of the planet's northern hemisphere likely caused by an asteroid slamming into Jupiter, the media reported.

Last month a skywatcher in Brazil had made a similar observation.

"The flash felt like it was shining for a very long time to me," Twitter user @yotsuyubi21, who photographed the flash with a Celestron C6 telescope, was quoted as saying to

The skywatchers confirmed the observation with a team led by Ko Arimatsu, an astronomer at Japan's Kyoto University who takes part in the Organised Autotelescopes for Serendipitous Event Survey (OASES) project.

According to a tweet posted by the project, the October 15 observation included two different types of light, visible and infrared, giving Jupiter an eerie pink glow, the report said.

"Jupiter regularly experiences such impacts because of the powerful gravitational tug associated with its mass: Smaller objects, like the asteroids that litter the solar system, can easily end up pulled into the planet's thick, turbulent atmosphere," the report said.

Objects at least 45 metres across hit Jupiter every few months on average, although observational constraints mean that even the most thorough monitoring programme might be able to catch just one impact or so per year, as per some researchers.

According to Sky & Telescope, the October 15 flash hit the planet's North Tropical Zone, near the southern edge of the North Temperate Belt. The observers aren't yet sure whether the impact left a debris field that scientists can monitor, which depends on several factors including the object's size and the impact's location factor into observability.

The September flash, however, did not leave any debris, the report said.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 18:27:50 +0530
Samantha could simply seek apology rather than filing defamation cases

Hyderabad, Oct 22

South India's most happening actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu, who recently filed defamation cases against a couple of YouTube channels and an individual for streaming malignant content about her, has apparently received a legal blow.

Samantha had filed legal cases, which come under Kukatpally court in Hyderabad. After listening to her side of the case, the court apparently ordered that the actress could simply seek an apology from her opponents, rather than filing defamation cases.

"The actress can seek a word of apology from the content owners of the concerned YouTube channels, individuals and media outlets, rather than filing defamation cases on them," the court suggested, as per reports.

The court went on to school the actress and apparently indicated that celebrities share personal details in the public domain and then file defamation suits.

"In court, everyone is equal before the law. There is no sense of some being high and others being low. We will hear Samantha's case as per the procedure," the court concluded.

Samantha's announcement about her divorce from Naga Chaitanya had invited unwanted comments and speculation about their relationship, and some channels went forward and linked her up with random colleagues.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 18:23:07 +0530
Amid pandemic renewable jobs globally reached 12 mn IRENA

New Delhi, Oct 22

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, renewable energy employment worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.5 million in 2019, according to the eighth edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021.

The report was released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) at a high-level opening of IRENA's collaborative framework on Just and Inclusive Transitions, co-facilitated by the US and South Africa.

The report confirms that the pandemic caused delays and supply chain disruptions with impacts on jobs varying by country and end-use, and among segments of the value chain.

While solar and wind jobs continued leading global employment growth in the renewable energy sector, accounting for a total of 4 million and 1.25 million jobs respectively, liquid biofuels employment decreased as demand for transport fuels fell.

Off-grid solar lighting sales suffered, but companies were able to limit job losses.

China commanded a 39 per cent share of renewable energy jobs worldwide in 2020, followed by Brazil, India, the US, and members of the European Union. Many other countries are also creating jobs in renewables.

Among them are Vietnam and Malaysia, key solar PV exporters; Indonesia and Colombia, with large agricultural supply chains for biofuels; and Mexico and the Russian Federation, where wind power is growing.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, solar jobs are expanding in diverse countries like Nigeria, Togo, and South Africa.

"Renewable energy's ability to create jobs and meet climate goals is beyond doubt. With COP26 in front of us, governments must raise their ambition to reach net zero," says Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General.

"The only path forward is to increase investments in a just and inclusive transition, reaping the full socioeconomic benefits along the way."

"The potential for renewable energy to generate decent work is a clear indication that we do not have to choose between environmental sustainability on the one hand and employment creation on the other. The two can go hand-in-hand," said ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder.

Recognizing that women suffered more from the pandemic because they tend to work in sectors more vulnerable to economic shocks, the report highlights the importance of a just transition and decent jobs for all, ensuring that jobs pay a living wage, workplaces are safe, and rights at work are respected.

A just transition requires a workforce that is diverse -- with equal chances for women and men, and with career paths open to youth, minorities, and marginalized groups.

International labour standards and collective bargaining arrangements are crucial in this context.

Fulfilling the renewable energy jobs potential will depend on ambitious policies to drive the energy transition in the coming decades. In addition to deployment, enabling, and integrating policies for the sector itself, there is a need to overcome structural barriers in the wider economy and minimise potential misalignments between job losses and gains during the transition.

Indeed, IRENA and ILO's work finds that more jobs will be gained by the energy transition than lost. An ILO global sustainability scenario to 2030 estimates that the 24-25 million new jobs will far surpass losses of between six and seven million jobs.

Some five million of the workers who lose their jobs will be able to find new jobs in the same occupation in another industry.

IRENA's World Energy Transitions Outlook forecasts that the renewable energy sector could employ 43 million by 2050.

The disruption to cross-border supplies caused by Covid-19 restrictions has highlighted the important role of domestic value chains.

Strengthening them will facilitate local job creation and income generation, by leveraging existing and new economic activities.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 18:18:32 +0530
Qantas to launch new Sydney Delhi route in Dec


Canberra, Oct 22

Australia's flag carrier Qantas on Friday announced its plans to launch a new route from Sydney to Delhi in December with three return flights per week, building to daily flights by end of the year.

The plan is subject to discussions with the Indian authorities to finalize necessary approvals, according to the company's announcement on Friday.

If approved, it would be the first commercial flight for Qantas between Australia and India in almost a decade, reports xinhua news agency.

The flights would initially operate until at least late March 2022, with a view to continuing if there is sufficient demand.

Flights from Sydney to Delhi would operate via Darwin, while flights from Delhi to Sydney would operate non-stop.

The new route is among an array of movements as Qantas and Jetstar gear up for accelerated border opening.

Qantas flights between Sydney to Singapore will resume on November 23 this year, four weeks earlier than scheduled, operating three days per week.

Jetstar will fly from Melbourne and Darwin to Singapore from December 16 this year.

Qantas flights between Sydney to Fiji will be brought forward to December 7 with four return flights a week. Jetstar flights to Fiji will resume on December 17.

Flights from Sydney to Johannesburg will resume on January 5, 2022, three months earlier than scheduled with three return flights a week.

Flights from Sydney to Bangkok will resume on January 14, 2022, more than two months earlier than scheduled with five return flights a week.

Jetstar will also resume flights from Sydney to Phuket on January 12, 2022, more than two months earlier than scheduled with three return flights a week.

Flights to Honolulu, Vancouver, Tokyo and New Zealand are still scheduled to commence from mid-December this year, with other destinations to restart in the new year.

Due to the current border policy, all these flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents, but Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he expects tourists from Singapore, South Africa and India to take advantage of these flights once borders reopen to international visitors.

He also hailed the scraping of hotel quarantine for arrived international travellers by the state of New South Wales (NSW).

"The decision by the NSW government to join many cities from around the world by removing quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers means we're able to add these flights from Sydney much earlier than we would have otherwise," said Joyce.

For domestic routes, Qantas and Jetstar are also preparing to ramp up capacity between Melbourne and Sydney as quarantine-free travel is set to resume between Australia's two largest cities.

With all these decisions, the group's 22,000 employees, who were stood down in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, will be able to return to work in December.

"This is the best news we've had in almost two years and it will make a massive difference to thousands of our people who finally get to fly again," Joyce said.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 18:13:16 +0530
Delhi court junks bail plea of activist Sharjeel Imam

New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) A court here on Friday refused to entertain the bail plea of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and activist Sharjeel Imam in a 2019 case related to alleged inflammatory speeches against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

While dismissing the plea, Saket Court Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Aggarwal stated that the tone and tenor of incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquility, peace, and harmony.

Citing a quote by Swami Vivekananda, Judge Aggarwal said: "We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think; Words are secondary; Thoughts live; they travel far."

Earlier, his counsel Tanveer Ahmed Mir had argued that being critical of the government cannot be the cause of sedition.

However, the Judge refused to comment if the speech falls under the ambit of section 124A (sedition), stating that the same requires "deeper analysis".

As per the case, Sharjeel made the alleged inflammatory speeches at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019.

He has been in judicial custody since January 2020.

The case relates to FIR 242 registered at PS Crime Branch, New Friends Colony.

As per the prosecution, "On December 15, 2019, at about 11.15 a.m., information regarding a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) by the students and residents of Jamia Nagar was received at the concerned police station. It was reported that the students would march towards Parliament.

"At around 2.20 p.m., a large gathering of about 2,500 people armed with lathis assembled near Escort Hospital, Sarai Julena Chowk. At about 3.22 p.m., despite the warning, the mob consisting of around 3,000 to 3,500 people started advancing towards Sarai Julena Village and Sujan Mahindra Road. When the mob tried to cross the barricades placed by the police at Surya Hotel for marching towards Parliament, they were stopped from marching ahead," the FIR read.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 18:05:41 +0530
Jamaat leader pleads guilty to communal attack in B desh

Dhaka, Oct 22

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Kamaluddin Abbasi has pleaded guilty to his involvement in an attack on a Durga puja mandap in Bangladesh's Hajiganj earlier this month.

He made the confession on Thursday evening in the court of Chandpur Senior Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Kamaluddin.

In his statement, he also revealed the names of the other persons involved in the incident, said Milan Mahmud, superintendent of Chandpur Police.

A group of militants attacked the Hajiganj Bazar temple after 8 p.m. on October 13. When the police tried to control the situation, there was a clash with the attackers.

A total of five people were killed in the ensuing violence.

CCTV footage of the attack showed Abbasi leading the violence.

About 5,000 unidentified persons have been accused in 10 cases of nationwide violence, and the police have arrested 29 people so far.

According to Mahmud, an operation is underway to nab the other perpetrators.



Fri, 22 Oct 2021 10:42:53 +0530
CLOSE IN India can t afford to get complacent in T20 World Cup

The Indian cricket team's campaign in the journey to win the T20 World Cup starts with an encounter with their chief rival, Pakistan. October 24, 2021 will be the day in Dubai when the battle between the two giants of Asian cricket will clash head-on. This match for both the sides will be very crucial, as the loser will then need to beat the consistent New Zealand side to qualify for the knock-out stage.

The Indian side, in their warm-up matches against both England and Australia, looked devastating. The stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) seems to have tuned their players to perfection. One is only worried that the premium show that they showcased should not make them complacent and too confident.

Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul looked in fine form along with Ishan Kishan in the match against England. The way they were all dispatching the bowlers was a pleasant sight for the Indian camp. Virat Kohli is always a class act and the innovative and acrobatic shot-making of Suryakumar Yadav comes forth as a quartet of an ideal combination that sides would aspire to have.

The issue of concern is what if any of these top four are not there to accompany the next lot of batters in Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja. The trio of Pant, Pandya and Jadeja can be lethal because of their ability to hit the ball into the stand with ease but in a world-class arena, one needs to be clever in ones stroke-play as well. They may not have the maturity and thoughtfulness required to take them sensibly to a respectable total, either batting first or when chasing a target under pressure. Therefore, India needs to ensure that their top-four batters bat at least for 12 overs before enlisting the help of the three big bashers.

The Indian side is also blessed with the best bowling combination. They have pace, swing, finger spinners and leg-spinners in their fold. The problem they face is in selecting the right combination. The three pacers -- Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd Shami and Jasprit Bumrah -- are most likely to be the first choice. One feels that the conditions in the UAE are not the best for the swing bowling of Bhuvneshwar. He may be replaced by the golden-arm bowler, Shardul Thakur, who can be a useful lower-order batter as well.

One feels that Hardik Pandya will finally bowl and is being deliberately kept away from doing so in the IPL and the warm-up matches. Virat Kohli bowling his seamers as a sixth bowling option is interesting, that is if Hardik is definitely injured. It takes one back to the 1979 World Cup, when Geoffrey Boycott bowled his inswing deliveries for England and proved to be quite successful.

The Indian team has a dilemma in the selection of a second spinner. Ravichandran Ashwin would be the first choice. However, India have the option of their second leg-spinners in Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar. The wrist spinners seem to be more successful in the slow-paced UAE wickets. Whether Team India will opt for one of them to be included rather than Ashwin would be an interesting call, especially against Pakistan.

The hot weather and the slow-paced wickets are turning to be an important factor for all teams. The pace bowlers are not extracting any movement in the air or off the wicket and so are relying solely in varying their length and speed. Therefore, both swing and speed have become irrelevant. The spinners are becoming more effective with the new ball as they are getting a better nip off the wicket because of the shine.

The wickets have not shown any appreciable turn and once the white ball gets soft, the spinners are depending on the batter to play a false shot, especially, as the slowness of the wicket requires one to put more effort into ones shots.

The inclusion of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a mentor is another area of concern. While watching the warm-up games and the media reports and photographs, one gets the feeling that Dhoni has taken charge of the Indian side. Ravi Shastri and his bowling and fielding coaches seem to be in the outer periphery of the happenings on the field. Virat Kohli looks as if the burden of captaincy has shifted from his shoulders.

Rohit Sharma is already being seen as the next in line. The announcement of Rahul Dravid as a possible replacement for Shastri, one felt, was timed badly. One hopes that all this does not bring in uncertainty amongst the players as to who is the person they need to listen to and follow during the World Cup.

The famous saying of "too many cooks", one hopes, does not spoil the broth, as India looks all set in their quest to win the Cup which they had won 14 years ago.

The T20 format brings in much more uncertainty than the traditional or 50-overs game. The shorter format narrows the differences between the sides and so just one good batting or bowling performance can change the game drastically. The field and bowling restrictions make it harder for any side to get a complete advantage, and so predicting a winner is very difficult.

India has a great opportunity to win the T20 World Cup. The side is well acclimatized, familiar with the wickets, grounds and outfields in the UAE. The IPL has given the T20 momentum in the way they mentally and physically approach the game and their individual skills.

An Indian win would be a fulfilling finale and a wonderful present both for Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri. A big trophy after seven years would be just what the millions of Indian cricket fans are thirsty for.

All the best India!


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 10:35:21 +0530
Beyonce teases new song in King Richard trailer

Los Angeles, Oct 22

Popstar Beyonce has shared a glimpse of her new song titled 'Be Alive' featured in the new trailer for 'King Richard', starring Will Smith.

The biopic is based on the rise of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams from the perspective of their father, Richard (played by Smith).

The song, which plays throughout the second half of the trailer, is an orchestra-laden anthem, with a powerful vocal by Beyonce.

Beyonce's projects have been relatively few and far between since the release of her blockbuster 2016 album 'Lemonade'.

Even though she's released three albums, none have been full Beyonce solo albums: the 2018 tag-team album with Jay-Z, 'Everything Is Love', as well as two albums related to 'The Lion King' reboot in which she voiced the character Nala and curated the albums, which featured her own songs as well as appearances from Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino and rising African pop singers like Burna Boy and Mr. Eazi.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 10:22:45 +0530
TN govt declines AIADMK plea to maintain Jayalalithaa statue


Chennai, Oct 22

The Tamil Nadu government has declined a plea by the opposition AIADMK seeking permission to undertake the maintenance of the statue of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. The government contended that handing over the maintenance of statues to private individuals or organizations was not in practice.

AIADMK coordinator and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam had petitioned the Tamil Nadu higher education department to allow the party to maintain the statue of Jayalalithaa at the Tamil Nadu State Council of Higher Education campus.

However, the state Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudi in a statement on Thursday said the statute would be maintained by the government of Tamil Nadu.

The state Public works department (PWD) that is maintaining the statue said that handing over the maintenance of statues to private individuals and organisations was not in practice in Tamil Nadu.

The state higher education minister in the statement said that it has been the usual practice in the state of Tamil Nadu to maintain the statute by the Public Works Department. He also said that floral tributes would be paid to the statues of state and national leaders and freedom fighters on their birthdays and death anniversary and added that it would continue in the case of former Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa also.

After the DMK government assumed office, there has been a situation wherein it included AIADMK leader and former health minister C. Vijayabaskar in the committee constituted by the Chief Minister to manage Covid-19. This was widely reported by the media on the growing politics of consensus between the two Dravidian parties as in the past such a culture was not prevalent in Tamil Nadu.

However, of late politics of confrontation between the two has commenced with the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-corruption bureau conducting back to back raids on the premises of former ministers of the AIADMK M.R .Vijayabhaskar, C. Vijayabaskar, S.P. Velumani and K.C. Veeramani.

The denial of maintenance of the statue of Jayalalithaa to AIADMK will now be made out as another act of political vendetta by the DMK government. Social observers and political analysts said that this has been the practice in Tamil Nadu regarding the maintenance of statues of public leaders at government premises.

Dr. Uma Maheswari, professor of political science at a private college in Chennai and a social observer while speaking to IANS said, "Politics of hate and vindictiveness has been the forte of Dravidian politics in this part of the world. However, maintaining statues of public personalities at government premises is the duty of the state government and the DMK government had just continued the practice. This was an unnecessary appeal by the AIADMK leadership knowing fully well that the government PWD department was maintaining statues of public personalities at government properties."


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 10:02:26 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 242 4 mn

Washington, Oct 22

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 241.9 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.92 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.73 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Friday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 242,449,033, 4,928,934 and 6,733,417,557, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 45,294,293 and 733,064, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in second place with 34,127,450 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,697,341), the UK (8,681,759), Russia (8,005,376), Turkey (7,772,574), France (7,209,126), Iran (5,833,525), Argentina (5,277,525), Spain (4,995,176), Colombia (4,986,249), Italy (4,729,678), Indonesia (4,237,834), Germany (4,435,487) and Mexico (3,767,758), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (604,679), India (452,811), Mexico (285,347), Russia (223,331), Peru (199,945), Indonesia (143,120), the UK (139,562), Italy (131,724), Colombia (126,959), Iran (124,763), France (118,339) and Argentina (115,796).


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 09:37:32 +0530
UN India lauds 100 crore vax feat

New Delhi, Oct 21

The United Nations (UN) in India has congratulated the country on achieving the "remarkable milestone" of 100 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines on Thursday and expressed gratitude to the nation's 'Corona Warriors'.

"This vaccination landmark reflects India's commitment to 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas'," UN India said in a statement here.

"I commend India on this momentous success. The United Nations in India is a proud partner of the Government of India in its fight against Covid-19, steadfast in our commitment to the largest vaccine drive in the world. I would also like to express my gratitude to India's Corona Warriors who have made this milestone a possibility. Healthcare workers, sanitation staff, paramedical, auxiliary workers, police personnel and many more have worked tirelessly to keep Indians safe during the pandemic," said United Nations Resident Coordinator in India, Deirdre Boyd.

UN agencies have supported India in its difficult yet resilient fight against the pandemic.

"Collectively, we delivered over 10,000 oxygen generators, over 70 oxygen plants, over 10 million pieces of PPE kits, 170 metric tonnes of medical resources and supported the preparation for the mass scale rollout of Covid vaccines using innovative digital platforms," a statement said.

"The United Nations in India commends the Government of India in its leveraging of digital technology to reach this mark and continues to extend our support in ensuring that vaccines reach everyone, everywhere. We stand resolutely with India and its people in their endeavor to combat the impact of the pandemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, making sure that no one is left behind," it added.


Fri, 22 Oct 2021 00:08:19 +0530
IED attack kills security personnel in Pakistan


Islamabad, Oct 21

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) continues to carry out deadly attacks targeting security personnel and claim lives in what is being seen as a serious and concerning surge of assault, posing a major challenge to Pakistan's security forces.

In a recent bomb explosion, at least six security personnel were killed in northwestern Pakistan along the Pak-Afghan border. As per details, the explosion occurred when at least three paramilitary soldiers and at least two police officers were conducting a cordon and search operation in Bajaur district. It was reported that an improvised explosive device (IED) hit the vehicle and exploded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. But the finger of suspicion is being pointed at the TTP, which has claimed the recent attacks after launching an offensive against the Pakistani security forces in 2021, especially since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in mid-August.

The year 2021 has seen re-emergence of the TTP, which has been carrying out targeted attacks, especially in and around the Bajaur district, a sensitive area where Pakistan Army has been fighting and dismantling TTP cells and its affiliated groups since 2007.

In 2021, the area has seen a major surge in attacks against security forces as well as civilians through IED, targeted attacks and raids by the perpetrators.

Parallel to the Bajaur district incident, a 26-year-old soldier was killed in a targeted attack on a security check-post in the Thal area in Hangu district, another troubled area located south of Bajaur district.

Separately, in Kech district of Balochistan, a soldier lost his life when unknown attackers carried out a fire raid on a security check-post.

The TTP has used Bajaur, Hangu, Balochistan and other bordering areas with Afghanistan as its strongholds and used them as free access in and out of Afghanistan.

TTP is a globally designated terrorist organisation, which has claimed to have killed thousands of Pakistanis since 2007.

Even though Pakistan claims that its all-out military offensive against the TTP and its affiliate groups operating inside Pakistan has not only dismantled them but also cleansed their footprints in the country, the ongoing resurgence of attacks claimed by the TTP has certainly rang alarm bells.

Experts say that the real concern is the timing of the TTP re-emergence, as terror attacks against Pakistani security forces have intensified since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August this year.

Pakistani security forces claim that many such terror attacks have been foiled, while intelligence-based operations are being carried out to ensure the group is rooted out completely.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 23:57:44 +0530
24th National Racing Championship to kick start this weekend in Coimbatore

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) As the country is regaining its feet from the second wave of Coronavirus pandemic and sporting events resuming across the country, the 24th JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championship 2021 is all set to kick start at the Kari Motor Speedway, Coimbatore on October 23.

The weekend will also mark the debut of the first-ever Royal Enfield Continental GT Cup. The first-ever season of the Royal Enfield GT Cup has seen an overwhelming response from racing enthusiasts in the country. From an application list of more than 300 aspirants, 100 racers were shortlisted and invited to Coimbatore for the selection on October 18.

A final grid of 18 riders who qualified for the races on Saturday and Sunday were identified along with two Media Wild cards. The qualifying rounds indicated a close competition between the shortlisted racers, and promised some nail-biting racing action this weekend.

Topping the time charts in the category was Anfal Akdhar from Thirssur. With a timing of 1:23.126, he has shown that he is capable of providing some knee-scraping action, along with other well-known riders like Anish Damodara Shetty. However, it was Lani Zena Fernandez, a young lady from Puducherry, who took the track by storm. She brimmed with confidence and enthusiasm as she competed with the boys while going through the grueling sessions to be identified as one among the best.

Raivat Dhar, a young moto racer from Jammu who has made it to the final grid, showed he was not going to be left behind on the track and is eager to put on a great show for the final races on Sunday. With the majority of the racers being from Southern India, Raivat is a proud representative from the Northernmost state of the country.

The qualifying selection round was conducted under professional guidance and safety controls. The entire grid was within 2.75 seconds of each other on the timing sheet, which shows the level of competence, skill and quality of talent that has made the grid.

The rider representation is truly a national one with riders from all corners of India battling it out over the weekend.

In the four-wheeler category, which has been the staple diet for racing fans in India who are well versed with JKNRC, the LGB Formula 4 category evokes the same passion and interest. These Formula cars designed at home have withstood the test of time and given drivers ample chance to showcase their skills. Names like Vishnu Prasad and Ashwin Datta are well known to fans.
There is also a strong presence of a woman drivers, led by Mira Erda. But one young man who took the season by storm last year, Amir Sayed will perhaps be watched with the greatest interest in the new season. It's a full grid this time, with 26 cars in the fray.

The LGB Novice Cup provides the necessary platform for young and new drivers to showcase their talent. The difference between the LGB Formula 4 and novice category is mainly one of the seasoned drivers being there in the first category.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 23:41:16 +0530
Arthritis could be more common in girls than in boys Experts

New Delhi, Oct 21  

While arthritis is not uncommon in children as everyone thinks, it affects girls more than boys, health experts said on Thursday.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that the disease is caused when the body's immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. It mainly affects multiple joints at once, causing painful swelling (inflammation) in the affected parts of the body.

When this condition affects children, it is known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It is an umbrella term for inflammatory arthritis that affects children under the age of 16.

Children suffer from joint pain, swelling, limited joint movement, and early morning stiffness lasting more than 15 minutes. Few kids with arthritis can also have red eyes, pain, redness, and blurring of vision.

"It is the most common pediatric rheumatological disorder and affects about an estimated 350,000 to 1.3 million children in India," Dr Sanjeev Kapoor, Senior Consultant Rheumatology, at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, told IANS.

"Arthritis is not uncommon in children as everyone thinks and has an incidence of 0.04 to 4 per 1000 children worldwide," added Dr Sunitha Kayidhi, Consultant Rheumatologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad.

There are different types of juvenile arthritis: while oligoarticular arthritis (less than 4 joints involved ) and polyarticular arthritis (more than 5 joints involved) are common in girls, enthesitis-related arthritis is seen in young boys (below 6 years) where they have heel pain, back pain, and stiffness in the early mornings. On the other hand, systemic arthritis and psoriatic arthritis affects boys and girls equally, the doctors said.

The gender difference to the disease lies in "the female immune system, which is stronger and more reactive; and it also appears that hormones affect rheumatoid arthritis risk and flares", said Dr Shreedhar Archik, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement, Global Hospitals, Mumbai.

In addition, it can also be caused by "genetic propensity that causes the tendency to develop the disease, and an infection, caused by, say a virus, that may cause the immune system to go awry", Kapoor said.

The treatment focuses on controlling pain and inflammation, improving function, and preventing damage. It includes NSAIDs for pain relief depending on the type and severity of arthritis.

However, the disease "cannot be prevented, but if detected early the progression of joint damage can be halted and more than half of the children will be disease-free and live a normal life," Kayidhi said.

Better lifestyle and daily home remedies can help children learn self-care techniques that help limit the effects of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, the experts said. A healthy diet, regular exercise, including swimming can also help promote both muscle strength and joint flexibility.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 23:34:06 +0530
2021 10 21 Heightened activities by Pakistani security agencies

New Delhi, Oct 21

Pakistan has enhanced its activities in different locations through its proxies and contacts with the aim of targeting Indian interests. This is a typical syndrome which the country faces when it is in dire straits.

Today, the state of affairs in Pakistan is indeed worrisome with internal differences between the Army and the Prime Minister dominating the narrative while Pakistan strives hard to get a firm foothold in Afghanistan.

With groups like the TTP not being on the same page as the Taliban and aggressively pursuing their destructive agenda and with differences continuing to prevail among the Taliban leadership, the future does not appear as bright and promising for Pakistan.

In such a scenario there is bound to be increasing efforts by the ISI to pursue its traditional anti India activities with the aim of creating instability in India and also to divert attention and keep India tied down.

One has thus witnessed hectic activities by the ISI teams located in different countries, especially in the neighbourhood who have been mischievously indulging in planning and implementing projects against Indian interests.

The ISI has built contacts among long-term local residents of Pakistani origin in different countries who have been extensively used to identify influential local contacts and create an effective network of prominent individuals who could push the Pakistani agenda on various topics while taking up issues critical of India.

In this connection, at the behest of the Pakistani establishment, a group of Sri Lankan nationals, led by Mohamed Shiraz, Mohamed Yunus, held a webinar on "Indian Expansionist Designs -- A challenge for the regional countries in general and Sri Lanka in particular" on September 15 in Geneva.

The anti-India protest was held in the vicinity of UNHCR under the theme "Indian attitude terrifying to South Asia" and "India's bond toxic to Sri Lanka".

Mohamed Yunus is the national coordinator -- Muslim Affairs, to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and is known to have close links with the ISI.

He interacts quite regularly with Pakistan High Commission in Colombo and is known to coordinate his activities in sync with the Pakistani Mission in Colombo.

A number of other Sri Lankan nationals associated with the aforesaid anti-India webinar include Abdul Latif Farooq, a veteran Muslim author and journalist and Yousuf Marikkar, former guest lecturer at the University of Colombo.

Mohamed Yunus is also known to be in touch with the Chinese Embassy in Colombo on a regular basis.

The coordination and association between Pakistani and Chinese security officials posted at their missions abroad has also been an interesting feature worth noting. There are increasing signs of close cooperation between the ISI and their Chinese counterparts at various locations to push through the common agenda of targeting India.

This is a phenomena which has been noticed in locations in most South Asian countries as well as in India.

Such sharing of information and close coordination between intelligence operatives and those representing the security establishment of both countries is of significance, especially from the Indian point of view. Security experts claim that Indian security establishments need to keep a strict and more closer check on such activities and thwart any coordinated action by representatives of various agencies operating in India and other locations with the objective of targeting Indian interests.




Thu, 21 Oct 2021 23:23:34 +0530
K taka BJP MP objects to Aamir Khan ad against bursting crackers


Bengaluru, Oct 21

Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Karnataka, Anantkumar Hegde has shot off a letter to tyre major Ceat objecting to its recent advertisement on bursting crackers. He hoped that in the future Ceat will respect the feelings of Hindus and will not hurt them as such advertisements are creating unrest among Hindus.

In a letter written to the Managing Director and CEO of the company Anant Vardhan Goenka on October 14, Anantkumar objected to the advertisement where Bollywood star Aamir Khan advises people not to burst crackers on the streets. "The company should also address the problem of blocking roads in the name of Namaz and sound pollution caused from mosques during Azaan," he said.

Hegde said, "As you are keen and sensitive towards problems faced by the general public and you also belong to Hindu Community, I am sure you can feel discrimination done to Hindus for centuries. A group of anti-Hindu actors always hurt the Hindu sentiments whereas, they never try to expose the wrongdoings of their community."

He requested the management to take note of the recent advertisement by the company creating unrest among Hindus. "Your company's recent advertisement in which Aamir Khan advises people not to burst firecrackers on the streets is giving a good massage. Your concern for public issues needs applause. In this regard, I request you to address one more problem faced by people on roads i.e. blocking roads in the name of Namaz on Fridays and other important festive days by Muslims," Hegde said.

"It is a very common scene in many Indian cities where Muslims block busy roads and perform Namaz, and at that time, vehicles, ambulances and firefighters are stuck in traffic causing grave losses. Every day, loud noise is emitted from mikes arranged on top of mosques in our country while giving Azaan. That sound is beyond permissible levels. On Fridays, the prayers in mosques are prolonged. It is a great inconvenience to people who have health issues, who are resting and teaching," he explained.

"I kindly request you to take cognizance of this particular incident where your company's advertisement has created unrest among the Hindus," he maintained.

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 22:48:32 +0530
Asian cues mixed results subdue equity market metal stocks fall

Mumbai, Oct 21

A sell-off in the Asian markets, along with mixed early corporate results, subdued India's key equity indices on Thursday.

Besides, inflationary concerns due to high transportation fuel prices dented sentiments.

The two key indices -- S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 -- had a gap-up opening. However, soon afterward, both ceded much of their gains and traded flat.

Volumes on the NSE were the lowest in the past four days, and banks were the main gainers among sectors whereas metals, telecom, IT and realty were the main losers.

On the global front, Asian markets, tumbled into the red after shares in China's Evergrande tanked as they resumed trading after a 17 day suspension period.

Furthermore, European stocks trended lower. Investors were concerned about inflation and China's economic slowdown.

The 30-scrip Sensex closed at 60,923.50 points, down 336.46 points, or 0.55 per cent.

The barometer index opened at 61,557.94 points from its previous close of 61,259.96 points.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty50 ended the day's trade lower, falling to 18,178.10, down 88.50 points or 0.48 per cent.

It opened at 18,382.70 points from its previous close of 18,266.60 points.

"Nifty has fallen for the third day; however the volumes are falling and advance decline ratio is improving, though below 1:1," HDFC Securities' Head of Retail research, Deepak Jasani, said.

"This could mean that the recent selloff or weakness is nearing the end. 18,266-18,350 could be the next resistance for the Nifty while 18,030 could be a support in the near term."

Motilal Oswal Financial Services' Head, Retail Research, Siddhartha Khemka, said: "Equity markets opened positive but immediately succumbed to profit-booking and fell sharply for the third consecutive session though it did recover somewhat towards the fag end to close with minor loss."

"The markets are likely to further consolidate given weak global cues, ongoing earnings season and elevated valuations. The earnings declared so far has been mixed with cost inflationary pressure being clearly visible on margins."

Geojit Financial Services' Head of Research Vinod Nair said: "Sell-off continued due to weak Q2 results, bearish global market and profit booking in IT, metal and realty stocks."

"However, the banking index, especially PSBs, moved with confidence on the expectation of good quarterly earnings. High volatility forced foreign and domestic institutional investors to remain net sellers."


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 22:38:21 +0530
Amid IS attacks on Shia mosques Tehran to host meet on Afghanistan

Islamabad, Oct 21

Since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, Islamic State (IS) has been carrying out targeted attacks in different parts of the country against the Shia Muslims, with suicide bombs aimed at Shia mosques.

In the midst of serious life and security threats to the Shia Muslims of Afghanistan, Iran will be hosting a meeting on Afghanistan, inviting regional neighbours to discuss the ongoing security, economic, and humanitarian situation in the country.

As per details, the meeting will be held on October 27 in Tehran, where at least six Foreign Ministers - from China, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan will be attending.

"The meeting will continue discussions that the countries had during a virtual meeting in September," said Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh.

"The six countries will be focused on how they can help form an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the presence of all ethnic groups, and how they can help shape a future of peace and security in Afghanistan," he added.

Iran has taken a strong position against the Taliban on their armed assault against resistance fighters in Panjshir Valley, along with targeted attacks by Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP), which have claimed the lives of many and have rocked Shia mosques in the recent weeks.

"What is clear is that Taliban had a direct responsibility in maintaining peace and stability, and to preserve the health of all Afghan groups including the Hazaras and Shias," Khatibzadeh said.

While Tehran is part of regional meetings, discussions and conferences on Afghanistan, it has clearly refused to be part of any talks, hosted or participated by the US, as it maintains that the US is the prime culprit behind the instability, insecurity, and violence in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's situation since August, when the Taliban took over and regained power, has been reeling with worsening humanitarian and economic crises. Foreign aid, projects and reserves, which catered to at least 80 per cent of the country's economy, have been blocked.

Taliban has been calling on the global powers to come and help Afghanistan out of the current crisis and work towards a better, stable and peaceful future of the country, a hope that has been far-fetched for decades.




Thu, 21 Oct 2021 22:28:27 +0530
Bathu ki Ladi a mysterious temple of Incredible India

Anupama Nair

Popular for its beautiful vegetation and snow-clad mountains Dev Bhoomi, India is also home to mysterious and unique places that are deep-rooted in history and culture. Bathu ki Ladi temple in the state of Himachal Pradesh is one such place. What makes this temple a place worth visiting is the fact that this temple remains submerged in water for eight months of the year. It is mainly a cluster of six different temples and even has a connection to the Mahabharata. Most of you must not be even aware of the existence of this hidden temple. So, I thought of writing about this hidden beauty in Himachal.

Many secrets and mysteries are connected to this temple. This temple has been constructed in such a way that after twilight, the dying rays of the sun seem to touch the holy feet of the Lord Mahadev. Even after being submerged in water for such a long period, you won’t notice any major damage to the structure of the temple. It is because the temple is made up of a powerful stone called ‘bathu’. “It’s an enticing sight, looking at the temple which is mostly covered in water and only a few towering pillars can be seen trying to reach out”.

According to the local legends, it was built by a local king who ruled the region around 800 AD. Many stories about the origin of the temples are well known among the folklore. Some sources say that temple was built by Pandavas when they attempted to build a staircase to ascend to Heaven at monolithic Masrur Rock Temples located at the opposite side of the lake but the King of Gods, Indira intervened. However, the Pandavas successfully built the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ at Bathu ki Ladi temples where that staircase still exists and you can climb to the top most part to have a feel of the place. The central temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The best time to visit the submerged Bathu ki Ladi temples is in winters when the water recedes.

It is situated close to Pong Dam, around three kilometers from Dhameta, which is a small town in the district of Kangra. The temple remains under water from July to February, and can only be witnessed and visited between the months of March and June. As the water level of Pong Dam Lake rises, the temple becomes a part of the underwater world.

You can see figures of Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha carved on the stones, while inside the temple you’ll notice Lord Vishnu’s statue resting on his Shesh Naag.

If you are someone who loves nature and wishes to spend some time away far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife, then you’ll definitely love the location of Battu temples. This place is also a paradise for birdwatchers as Pong Dam wetland is renowned for being home to a wide range of migratory birds, with more than 200 bird species seeking refuge.

So, pack your bags and travel to this submerged paradise in Incredible India.

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 21:21:14 +0530
Venice a tourist s paradise

Anupama Nair

Italy is a tourist paradise if you like history, art, literature, etc. So, for me, it is a place worth spending precious Euros. Venice or Venezia is an art lover’s paradise. Let me take you on a trip to this dream city.

Venice is a city in north-eastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. The city got its name from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region around the 10th century BC. The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice for more than a millennium, i.e., from 697 AD to 1797 AD. It was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and renaissance as well as an important center of commerce and arts from the 13th century to the end of the 17th century. The city-state of Venice is believed to have been the first international financial center, from the 9th century and reached its zenith in the 14th century AD, which made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. After the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, the Republic was annexed by the Austrian Empire, until it became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, following a referendum held as a result of the Third Italian War of Independence.

Venice had many nicknames like ‘La Dominante’, ‘La Serenissima’ , ‘Queen of the Adriatic’, ‘City of Water, ‘City of Masks’, ‘City of Bridges’, ‘The Floating City’, and ‘City of Canals’. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. Venice is known for several important artistic movements, especially during the Renaissance period and has played an important role in the history of instrumental and operatic music. Venice has been considered as ‘one of Europe's most romantic cities and The New York Times hailed it “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”.

“In a city as filled with tourist attractions as Venice, it's hard to know where to begin. Perhaps the best way is to simply get lost for a few hours wandering through its enchanting little streets and passageways, strolling beside its canals, and finding its secret corners. At every turn, you'll see something worth remembering with a photo. No matter where this exploration takes you, it's easy to find your way back to Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal. Most of the best sights you'll want to visit lie around these two landmarks”.

Some of the places to see in Venice are:

  • St Mark’s Basilica
  • Piazza San Marco
  • Palazzo Ducale and Bridge of Sighs
  • Canale Grande
  • Ponte di Rialto and San Polo
  • Siulo Grande di San Rocco
  • Ca’d’Oro
  • Murano and Burano
  • Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari
  • Fine Art Museum.

Venice is a place worth spending your money, for it will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.




Thu, 21 Oct 2021 21:15:06 +0530
Twitter launches live scorecard testing Community for Indian cricket fans


New Delhi, Oct 21

With the aim to enhance cricket fans' immersive experience, micro-blogging site Twitter on Thursday launched a live scorecard and is also testing the country's very first Twitter Community -- Cricket Twitter - India.

During a match, the scorecard will appear on the Explore tab and live Events Page. Fans will be able to follow the scores from the match in real-time while scrolling through Tweets.

"This means that when fans on Twitter are engaging in real-time match conversation, they won't have to go anywhere else to keep up with the score," the company said in a statement.

"The scorecard will be available to everyone in India on iOS as well as the Web and will roll out to most people on Android. In the coming weeks we will find more ways to make it easier for users to find relevant match content and join conversations with likeminded people," it added.

The company is also testing its first Community outside of the US dedicated to Indian cricket fans called Cricket Twitter - India to talk about all things cricket in multiple Indian languages.

Communities started testing in the US in September of this year as a way for people to find and connect with others who want to talk about the same things as them. They are currently only accessible through invite.

The company said that communities are started and managed by people on Twitter -- moderators who enforce Community rules and keep conversations informative, relevant and fun.

People who accept invites to join a community become members and will be able to invite others in turn. When you join a Community, you can Tweet directly to that audience instead of to all your followers.

While Community Tweets are publicly available, only members in the same Community are able to reply and join the conversation so it stays intimate and relevant.

Like with public Tweets, anyone can read, Quote Tweet and report Community Tweets. Currently, Communities are accessible through invite-only on iOS, Web and Android mobile browsers, with access on Android app and more functionalities coming soon. Anyone globally can be invited to join a Community via Direct Messages.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 20:27:35 +0530
Pawan Kalyan to restart shooting for epic drama Hari Hara Veera Mallu

Hyderabad, Oct 21

Actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan, who recently made a re-entry into the movies after a long gap, had given a hit with 'Vakeel Saab'. With a couple of upcoming movie ventures in the pipeline, he has an interesting slate lined up.

Pawan Kalyan's upcoming epic drama under Krish's direction is titled 'Hari Hara Veera Mallu'. Niddhi Aggarwal is his female lead, and Pawan plays a warrior in this most-awaited upcoming movie. The last schedule of 'Hari Hara Veera Mallu' was halted up abruptly, as the 'Vakeel Saab' actor had tested positive for Covid-19.

Later, the actor had to arrange shooting for another movie 'Bheemla Nayak', which is slated for release in the coming months. Pawan Kalyan is to now restart shooting for 'Hari Hara Veera Mallu' soon. With only half of the talkie part completed, the makers have arranged for a fresh schedule.

Pawan Kalyan is to join the sets of 'Hari Hara Veera Mallu' from October 25. It is reported that Pawan will be seen in a high-octane fight sequence, which is touted to be one of the most important sequences for the movie. Another important update is that Bollywood stars Arjun Rampal and Jacqueline Fernandez are to appear in important roles in the movie as well.

Noted producer A.M. Rathnam, who bankrolled Pawan's 'Khushi' in the past, is presenting the movie, under A. Dayakara Rao's production.

The epic drama is slated for release on April 29, 2022, as of now. It is reported that the makers are eyeing to wrap up the shoot as soon as possible, so as to release it on the announced date.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 20:20:12 +0530
Telangana AI Mission launches Investor Connect for startups

Hyderabad, Oct 21

The Telangana AI Mission (T-AIM) on Thursday launched an Investor Connect program that will provide startups with the opportunity to access growth capital.

To be executed in partnership with NASSCOM 10,000 Startups, the program will be conducted through four different sessions starting this month until December.

The program will feature Revv Up startups in education, agriculture, retail, sports, finance and healthcare among others. The investor community will largely comprise venture capital firms and prominent angel networks.

Officials said more than 30 startups enrolled in the Revv Up accelerator program of T-AIM will discuss their fundraising requirements with up to 30 institutional investors.

In August 2021, 42 startups from across the country were selected for the Revv Up acceleration program. The program offers a variety of opportunities for startups that aspire to build scalable businesses using artificial intelligence.

Speaking on the occasion, Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Government of Telangana noted the innovator and tech ecosystem in Hyderabad is steadily creating a strong value proposition for investors. "While we remain committed to nurturing the innovation ecosystem in the state, I'm hopeful that the investor community will continue to empower startups to create sustainable, large-scale impact," he said.

Sandro Stephen, Vice President-Sourcing & Investor Relations, Indian Angel Network (IAN), pointed out that IAN has been continuously engaging with the startup community. "We're glad to partner with this initiative by T-AIM, which aims to create a massive impact by connecting early-stage startups to relevant stakeholders in the ecosystem," he said.

The T-AIM is a specialized initiative setup under the auspices of the Emerging Technologies Wing of the Government of Telangana's IT department, which is assigned with a mandate to make Telangana and Hyderabad the global AI hub in the coming years.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 20:10:10 +0530
250 IS terrorists arrested in Afghanistan in a month Taliban

Kabul, Oct 21

The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan has claimed that 250 Islamic State (IS) terrorists were arrested in the country in the past one month, the media reported.

"(At least) 250 individuals affiliated with IS have been arrested. They were those who fled from the prisons," TOLO News reported on Wednesday evening citing one of the Taliban officials as saying.

"Some of their plans were to carry out blasts but the plans failed, their attacks were thwarted," the official added.

The development comes after the terror group's Khorasan branch (IS-K) claimed responsibility for bombings at two Shia mosques in Kunduz and Kandahar province.

The attack in the Kandahar city mosque on October 15 killed 63 people, while the bombings in the Kunduz claimed the lives of at least 50 people.

The two attacks also left several hundred injured.

On October 16, the IS announced that they will attack Shia Muslims everywhere, in their homes and center.

The IS-K is emerging to be the biggest threat of the Taliban government after they took over Afghanistan.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned of IS fighters entering Afghanistan from Iraq and Syria and added that there were presently up to 2,000 affiliates in the north of the war-torn nation.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 19:54:38 +0530
India s 100 cr Covid vax is historic proud moment Shah

New Delhi, Oct 21

Union Home Minister Amit Shah Thursday congratulated the nation for achieving the milestone of vaccinating over 100 crore people with the Covid-19 vaccine under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Describing it as a historic and proud moment, he said in a series of tweets, "Historic and proud moment! Today, India through the visionary leadership and constant encouragement of Shri Narendra Modi has set a record by achieving the target of more than 100 crore Covid-19 vaccinations, which has re-acquainted the whole world with the immense capabilities of New India."

He also expressed his gratitude to all scientists, researchers and health workers of the country for their contribution in achieving this milestone. "I congratulate the country on this historic achievement and thank all scientists, researchers and health workers who have contributed to this great task by overcoming many challenges and congratulate Shri Narendra Modi for commitment towards the safety and health of every person," he added.

India on Thursday achieved the major milestone of 100 crore vaccination target against Covid-19. In a tweet, PM Modi congratulated the countrymen and expressed gratitude to the country's scientific community and health professionals for working towards achieving this stupendous feat while the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also congratulated the country on achieving this landmark.

India on Thursday reported 18,454 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours while the 'active caseload' remains below the 2 lakh mark and is presently at 1,78,831.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 19:38:36 +0530
S Korea prepares to launch 1st homegrown space launch vehicle

Seoul, Oct 21

South Korea was on Thursday preparing to launch its first homegrown space launch vehicle in the latest attempt to foster its space program and join the elite global space club.

The KSLV-II, also known as Nuri, is set to blast off from the Naro Space Center in the country's southern coastal village of Goheung at around 4 p.m., Yonhap News Agency quoted the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) as saying.

The 200-tonne Nuri is intended to put a 1.5-tonne dummy satellite into orbit, a space launch vehicle technology that South Korea has been seeking to acquire for more than a decade for its space program.

If successful, the Nuri rocket will be South Korea's first space vehicle wholly designed and built in the country.

The planned launch comes amid tensions over North Korea's test-firing of a new submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Tuesday, the latest in a series of missile launches by the North.

On Thursday, North Korea's Foreign Ministry expressed concerns over "nonsensical" reaction from the US and the UN Security Council over Pyongyang's "rightful exercise of right to defense".

Nuri's success or failure can be determined in around 30 minutes after lift-off, officials at KARI said.

The success rate for newly developed rockets at first attempt is 30 per cent to date, they added.

South Korea's rocket launches ended in failures in 2009 and 2010.

In 2013, South Korea successfully launched its first-ever Naro space rocket, though its first stage was built in Russia.

South Korea has invested nearly 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in building the three-stage Nuri since 2010.

The three-stage Nuri rocket uses a clustering of four 75-ton liquid engines in its first stage, a 75-tonne liquid engine in the second stage and a 7-ton liquid engine in the third stage.

A successful launch would make South Korea the seventh country in the world to have developed a space launch vehicle that can carry a more than 1-tonne satellite, after Russia, the US, France, China, Japan and India.

South Korea, a relative latecomer to the global space development race, has recently ramped up efforts in its space program, with plans to launch its first lunar orbiter next year.

The development of homegrown space rocket is crucial as the transfer of missile technology among countries is strictly controlled under international guidelines such as the Missile Technology Control Regime, which South Korea joined in 2001.

South Korea's rocket development program had previously been limited by bilateral missile guidelines from the US, originally put in place in 1979.

The two allies, however, agreed to scrap the restrictions during a summit in May, ensuring full autonomy in South Korea's efforts to develop space launch vehicles.

South Korea plans to conduct four more launches of the Nuri until 2027 to increase reliability, KARI said.



Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:13:44 +0530
IIT Guwahati to start course to produce data scientists

Guwahati, Oct 21

The IIT Guwahati would launch a Bachelor's course in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence to open up several career options like data engineering, data analytics, data architecture, among others, officials said on Wednesday.

According to the IIT Guwahati, the first batch of 20 students would be admitted in the institution through the JEE Advanced-2021 counselling process and the institute looks forward to welcoming them along with all new batch of students to other undergraduate branches of the institute.

This new programme is designed to be holistic in nature and would train students in topics related to Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI), with emphasis on relevant courses from other disciplines of science and engineering such as Computer Science, Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, an official statement said.

This programme would be offered by the newly-established Mehta Family School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, set up with generous support from the Mehta Family Foundation, Houston, Texas, US, with a track record of having supported several institutes in the fields of education and healthcare.

IIT Guwahati Director, Prof T.G. Sitharam said that this new B. Tech. programme on DSAI being offered by the institution would be very attractive to train next generation data scientists and technologists for future predictions in multiple domains of business, technology implementation, healthcare sector, disaster management, policy formulation and managing large data sets, irrespective of the field they work in their careers.

He said that the vast opportunities that this field offers would fulfil the demands of having sufficiently qualified graduates to serve the nation in the future in areas requiring expertise in AI and data analytics.

There is a growing demand for highly trained professionals in the fields of DSAI, Sitharam said, adding that this newly introduced B. Tech programme would emphasise on extending training in both theoretical as well as practical perspectives.

The programme is expected to prepare the students to involve in major challenges emerging as a result of the business and innovation moving towards a more data-driven setup, contributing towards the growth of a new innovation-oriented India, he added.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:04:06 +0530
My Summer In Seoul K Pop set novel to get TV adaptation

Seoul, Oct 21

Author Rachel Van Dyken's forthcoming romance novel set in the competitive world of K-Pop 'My Summer in Seoul' will be adapted as a television series.

Will Yun Lee and Mark and Christine Holder's Seoul Street and 04 Entertainment have preemptively taken the rights to 'My Summer in Seoul'. A search is out for a female Asian American writer to pen the adaptation, reports

The project comes amid a recent rise in the popularity of Korean dramas worldwide that culminated in the success of 'Squid Game' on Netflix, which has become a global phenomenon.

'My Summer in Seoul', set to be released later this fall, follows Korean-American Grace Lee as she embarks on a life-changing trip to Seoul working for her uncle's record label.

Her life changes as she begins an internship with one of the biggest K-Pop bands in the world. As she builds friendships with the members, and starts to fall for one guy in particular, she soon realizes that she's living her own K-Drama come to life and while she wants happily ever after, she just might end up with a hard lesson learned.

In the series, described as 'Emily in Paris' meets 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before', Lee follows her dreams all the way to Korea to work as an intern at one of the biggest record labels in the world.

Lee, Mark Holder and Christine Holder produce for Seoul Street, along with Colet Abedi, Jasmine Abedi and Brian Zagorski for 04.

Seoul Street currently has 'Aloha MotherF**ker', a drama series based on Jason Ryan's best-selling novel "Hell-Bent", set at HBO Max.

On the feature side, the company has 'Lions in the Garden' in development with Kevin Hart's HartBeat Productions.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 09:56:40 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 241 9 mn

Washington, Oct 21 (IANS) The global coronavirus caseload has topped 241.9 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.92 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.69 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Thursday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 241,982,823, 4,921,316 and 6,695,082,674, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 45,218,829 and 731,263, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in the second place with 34,108,996 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,680,488), the UK (8,630,071), Russia (7,969,960), Turkey (7,744,109), France (7,202,840), Iran (5,821,737), Argentina (5,275,984), Spain (4,993,295), Colombia (4,984,751), Italy (4,725,887), Indonesia (4,237,201), Germany (4,417,771) and Mexico (3,762,689), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (604,228), India (452,651), Mexico (284,925), Russia (222,320), Peru (199,928), Indonesia (143,077), the UK (139,444), Italy (131,688), Colombia (126,931), Iran (124,585), France (118,300) and Argentina (115,770).


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 09:50:27 +0530
3 held for raising pro Pakistan slogans during procession in Noida

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) Three persons were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly raising 'pro-Pakistan slogans during a religious procession taken out in Noida.

Arrests were made after a video of the incident went viral on social media and the Noida police in its investigation found the video as authentic.

According to the information, based on the video clipping, three people were identified and arrested by the Noida Police.

The procession was taken out in Sector 20 police station area on Tuesday to mark Eid Milad-un-Nabi.

According to the information, the police were also present on the spot in view of the security at the time when these slogans were raised.

"We have arrested three people in this case as well as got the video investigated, prima facie it appears that someone spoke Pakistan in the middle of the Hindustan Zindabad slogans, due to which the crowd also spoke Zindabad," Noida DCP Rajesh S. told IANS.

Noida Additional DCP Ran Vijay Singh told IANS, "We got the video examined by experts and after investigation, it was found that there was no tampering with the video. We have also registered a case against the accused under relevant.


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 09:40:49 +0530
A Love Story that withstood Untold Horrors

Anupama Nair


“Somehow, we crossed the border and reached a refugee camp in Amritsar. The life in the camp was very difficult. We lost only one member, my brother and the loss still pains me as I recall how he was killed. The only happy event I can recall is our marriage on February 26, 1948 as we had made a promise to marry only after India was independent. We never wanted our children to ask why were still slaves and what was slavery”, recalled Dadi with emotions in her voice.

Slowly by slowly life became normal. Dadu (Raj) started his law practice and Dadi (Veera) became a teacher. My friend’s dad was born in 1950, and they had two more children. They got adjusted to their lives in New Delhi. Soon, they bought a new house and slowly forgot the tragedy of partition. However, love for Lahore, and a desire to see the city again was still in Dadu’s and Dadi’s heart. New Delhi was a city, which had a huge population of people who came from Pakistan. By the 70’s their children had grown up and had good careers and a family life.

My friend’s dad who was working in a bank was transferred to Mumbai, and they became a Mumbaikar at heart. The family has been living here for more than forty years. Dadu and Dadi said “ we recall the horrors of partition when we see movies like Tamas, or Gadar Ek Prem Katha. However, for us it was real life. We thank God for giving us a good life, mainly a loving family and new loving neighbors”. Hearing Dadu, I started thing of Tara Singh and Sakina in the movie and their love story. Dadu had told me once, “putar, though I lived here most of my life, I would like to see Lahore once more and my ashes immersed there”. Unfortunately, his wish could not be fulfilled as he died in April this year, a few days before he hit a century.

Dadu, I know you are blessing me to write more such stories and I will do that. You will always remain a source of inspiration to me.

(This article is dedicated to my great country – undivided India, the many millions who lost their lives in the horrors of Partition, my source of inspiration, my Dadu and Dadi and their beloved Lahore).

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 23:16:38 +0530
A Love Story that withstood untold horrors

Anupama Nair

Raj and Veera soon heard the news that broke their heart. They were asked to leave their beloved Lahore. They decided to leave for Amritsar with their family. Now a tale of horror unfolded. They began their journey with a heavy heart. “We lost ancestral lands, roots and possessions that mattered most”. Partition caused one of the great ‘convulsions of history’ said Dadu and Dadi as they recalled the events as if it happened yesterday and not 74 years ago. “Moreover, the violence, destruction and human rights abuses that occurred on a vast scale destroyed from the outset the relationship between the two neighboring countries”, people who migrated felt. 

Dadu said, “the events occurring in the period of the partition in 1947 are now 74 years old. Most of the adults who lived through this are no longer alive and only few remain today”. He said the younger generation will never understand, even his own children who were born after 1950. “We had experienced a number of traumatic events, ranging from witnessing killings, betrayal by next door neighbors, fleeing their homes under threat of murder, starvation and destitution. Humanity stooped so low that neighbors turned against each other. They were the same who attended wedding ceremonies, funerals and religious festivities in each other’s families, but now didn't hesitate to set ablaze the same house where they had visited in the past as a family member”.

“Then started a massive exodus from Pakistan. However, the greatest tragedy was the fracas that took place throughout the population exchange. At the stroke of midnight on August 14, 1947 two new nations India and Pakistan were born but the partition came at a heavy cost of raging violence”, stated Dadi with tears in her eyes. She continued, “there was mass migration from Pakistan hit by never-ending bloodshed and heavy destruction of properties around us. We were desperate to cross the border from Lahore before we were killed”. 

“Cities with railway stations like Lahore and Rawalpindi, witnessed distressing scenes with platforms and trains scattered with bodies. People waiting to catch a train to Amritsar or Delhi were killed. We left the station and decided to leave by road. People were running around with whatever they had -- knives, swords, guns, etc. Thousands of people from our village lost their lives and my brother was shot by a crowd, and sadly he died after reaching Amritsar”. Though very young I can still recall the sight of torched houses and blood covered bodies”.

(to be continued….)

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 23:11:25 +0530
A Love Story that withstood untold horrors

Anupama Nair

In the last part, I spoke about Raj. Now read about the love of his love, Veera Wali Sharma.

Near Anarkali Bazar in Lahore, there lived a family who were nationalists unlike Raj’s family. To Ramcharan and Shanti Sharma, a daughter was born in 1925 whom they had named Veera Wali after the goddess Durga. Her grandfather, Gurcharan Sharma was killed in Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919. Her paternal uncle Ram Narayan, was a classmate of Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev in National College and he joined the HRA. He was unfortunately, shot dead by the British Police. Her parents and grandmother Rani told her stories of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Rana Sangha, Rana Pratap, Shivaji Raje, Mangal Pandey and Rani Lakshmi Bai. So, she grew up with love for her motherland and wanted to fight for the Independence of her country.

Their first meeting was like any Bollywood movie “hate at first sight”. She was unimpressed by his English ways and they had many fights about it. She gave him a book about Indian History and reminded him about the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and others before him. Raj realized that British came to India only to loot India and not for our benefit. He now began to feel a great pride in the great culture, civilization and culture of India. Soon love blossomed between Veera and Raj. Their families were first skeptical but eventually gave their blessing for their marriage. They had made a promise only to get married when India was free from British Imperialism.

That was the time of the Second World War, and Raj saw how Indians were unwillingly forced to join the British. Many Indian soldiers were killed in the battles in Europe. There was Emergency like situation in India. Then one day, from thousands of miles apart he heard the voice of a man telling his countrymen –“Give me blood. I will give you Freedom”. The words stirred patriotism in him and he like Veera decided to join the Freedom Movement.

In 1945, the War was over and the wartime emergencies were removed. Life was slowly returning to normal. Raj had completed his Masters and he had earlier wanted to study for Law in England, but his love for Veera made him change his mind. He decided to study in India. Veera was now studying for her Masters in history and she wanted to be a teacher.

Lahore at this time was bursting with political activity during Independence struggle. Raj and Veera joined the movement and they were filled with hope of  ‘dawn of freedom’. The year was 1947. They never realized that it was the last year they would spend in Lahore. They celebrated Basant Panchami, Maha Shivratri, Holi and Janmashtami hardly realizing it would be last time they would be celebrated in their beloved city for the last time.

“Partition – the division of British India into the two separate states of India and Pakistan on August 14--15, 1947, was the ‘last-minute’ mechanism by which the British were able to secure agreement over how Independence would take place”. It was the result of their two hundred years of Divide and Rule policy. Raj and Veera along with other residents of Lahore celebrated Independence Day. People were dancing on the streets on a very rainy day in Lahore. They never realized Lahore was part of Pakistan and soon they would have to leave their beloved city forever.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 23:04:39 +0530
A Love Story that withstood untold horrors

Anupama Nair

Nearly 74 years ago, in 1947 began a tale of blood bath, where nearly a million Sikhs, Hindus, and others lost their lives, when they were forced to leave their homeland and move to India. All this happened due to the over-ambition of three men whom I do not want to name here. I am sure even they would have wept to see the blood bath. Did they do anything to prevent it? No would be the answer. They were only witnesses to the millions being killed around them in the border states of Punjab, Bengal and Sind.

From time immemorial we were one – history, civilization, culture, tradition, lifestyle all one. When I opened the history books in my childhood, this is the story it conveyed. It narrated a tale about  the “Hominid activity being excavated in the Indian subcontinent and that goes back to over 250,000 years, and how proud we are, to know we are “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”. It taught me to be proud of the Indus Valley Civilization – the world’s first urban civilization, then Takshila University where foreigners came to study (nearly 3500 years ago), then about the great king Puroshattam (Porus), and lastly how my country got the name India from the river Sindhu or Indus. My young heart used to swell with pride when I used to imagine these events. Lahore and Karachi were always ours. However, as you wake up after every dream I too woke up when I saw a serial ‘Buniyad’ and then learned the bitter truth that Harrapa, Mohenjadaro, Takshila no longer belonged to India, but another country called Pakistan – born on 14th August 1947.

I saw the horrors of Partition in a movie called Tamas and in the serial Buniyad. The sights I saw pained a young heart. How could my great country be divided in two and the division caused the death of many innocent lives? I still have not got any answer and I know for sure I never will. Is there anyone who can answer the questions?

I was reminded of the horrors of Partition, when our great PM tweeted “ August 14 will be remembered as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day in memory of people’s struggles and sacrifices during that period”. Mr. Modi recollected, “Partition’s pains can never be forgotten. Millions of our sisters and brothers were displaced and many lost their lives due to mindless hate and violence. In memory of the struggles and sacrifices of our people, 14th August will be observed as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”.

He felt that , “May the Partition Horrors Remembrance Day keep reminding us of the need to remove the poison of social divisions, disharmony and further strengthen the spirit of oneness, social harmony and human empowerment.”

However, the question is can those million families who were forced to leave their land, assets, relatives, in Lahore, Karachi, Dhaka and Rawalpindi, and were forced to live in refugee camps in Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay or Calcutta ever forget the horrors of Partition? We need to realize that in our journey to be a superpower we need to move ahead of the Partition horrors.

I am now going to write about the story, Dadu (who left this world a few days before his hundredth birthday) told me. Read on…

The year was 1921 and the place was Lyallpur. A boy was born to Deen Dayal Singh and Meera Bai. They named the boy Raj. Lyallpur became famous within 10 years as ‘Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh’s village’ as he was born there. In 1921, India was still ruled by the British. Raj as a young boy was fond of History and English Literature. He studied in an English boarding school in Shimla. When he completed his matriculation at the age of 17, he returned to Lahore as a proper ‘brown Sahib’. As a young boy he dreamt of studying Law in England, and so he was enrolled for B.A. in History in National College (started by Lala Lajpat Rai). He at the time used to think highly about the British and thought greatly about their rule in India. He was well versed in the history of British India

(to be continued….)

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 22:57:01 +0530
Work begins to restore entrance of Cambodia s iconic Angkor Wat

Authority (ANA) has started the work to restore the eastern entrance of the famed Angkor Wat temple, said an ANA news release on Wednesday.

The entrance was damaged by the impact of aging, weather, and vegetation among others, according to the news release, reported by Xinhua news agency.

"Although the Eastern Entrance of Angkor Wat was slightly damaged in some parts, such as its stairs, roof, and pediment, maintenance work is needed to avoid the serious damage in the future," Phin Vicheasachara, an archaeologist in charge of the restoration work, said.

"Our team needs to study the layout of the entrance and allocate the stones, and then, we're going to clean all the stones and reassemble them in their original places," Vicheasachara added.

The restoration work of the eastern entrance of Angkor Wat began on Monday, Vicheasachara said.

Located in the northwestern Siem Reap province, the 400 sq km Angkor Archeological Park, inscribed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1992, is the kingdom's most popular tourist destination.

Prior to the Covid pandemic, the site received up to 2.2 million international tourists in 2019, earning gross revenue of 99 million US dollars from ticket sales.

The park received only 6,167 foreign visitors in the first nine months of 2021, down 98.4 per cent from a year earlier, the Angkor Enterprise said, adding that it earned 253,809 US dollars in gross revenue from ticket sales during the January-September period this year, down 98.6 per cent year on year.

Cambodia on Monday cut the quarantine period for fully vaccinated inbound travelers from 14 days to three days for foreign investors, technical experts, diplomats, and cooperation project managers and coordinators, and to seven days for general inbound travelers, including foreign tourists.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said that a reduced quarantine period bodes well for the tourism industry hard hit by the pandemic.

"It's a good sign for our tourism because a shorter quarantine period will encourage investors, business people and tourists to come to Cambodia," she told Xinhua news agency.

"With this new quarantine policy, we hope our tourism will start to recover gradually," she added.




Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:52:17 +0530
India look forward to be in top five medal winners in 2022 Int l events IOA

New Delhi, Oct 20

Expecting a great show by national athletes, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary-general Rajeev Mehta on Wednesday said that the country looks forward to be in the top five medal winning nations in the upcoming international events in 2022.

"In the upcoming international events in 2022, India looks forward to emerging as the top five medal holder countries. We aim to double the monetary award given to our winning players by 2024," Mehta said during the function organized by Religare Group to felicitate the Tokyo Paralympics and Olympic medallists here.

If the Tokyo Olympics was a stunning show for Indians courtesy of Neeraj Chopra's golden feet, the Tokyo Paralympics was a full-fledged medal shower. While the tally at the Olympics stood at an all-time high of 7 medals for India, the Paralympics count was a whopping double figure - 19.

Tokyo Paralympic silver medallist Suhas LY, Olympics medallists Ravi Dahiya, Bajrang Punia and 2012 London Olympics bronze winner Yogeshwar Dutt were felicitated by the Religare Group on Wednesday.

"I thank Religare for honoring the Olympics and Paralympic players. Playing in the event was a very tough journey. My family always stood by my side. The death of my father was a moment that shook my life. I worked hard on my passion of playing badminton," said Suhas.

"As a DM I was participating in an event in a district of UP. I later became the first unseeded player to win in the Asian championship. It was tough to balance my work as DM of Noida and playing badminton for my country," he added.

Religare announced that it will sponsor deserving athletes and sporting institutions.

"Not only is sports critical for the development of the youth and society but it is an important tool towards nation-building since it fosters national pride and unity," said Dr. Rashmi Saluja, Executive Chairperson of Religare Group.

"We are proud of our association with these champions including Suhas, Ravi Dahiya, Bajrang Punia and Yogeshwar Dutt. I am confident that the youth of the country will get inspired by these champions and many more names will soon emerge in this arena," Dr. Rashmi added.




Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:45:57 +0530
Sukriti Prakriti Kakkar light up iconic Times Square billboard

New York, Oct 20

Singing sisters Sukriti Kakkar and Prakriti Kakkar have rendered absolute magic to many melodies turning them into dreamy affairs with their ethereal voices. And now, the twins have made it to the famed New York Times Square billboard. The appearance comes as a part of an initiative that supports equity for women in music on the global canvas.

The two took to Instagram to share the news with their fans. They captioned the post, "YA GIRLS MADE IT TO A BILLBOARD IN TimesSquare ???? This day will always be remembered. #SuPraInNY ?? Thank you @spotify and @spotifyindia for making this possible! Big love to our @vyrloriginals fam and @bandbaaja ????"

Sukriti and Prakriti's rendezvous with international acclaim happened earlier this year when the sisters collaborated with global musical sensation Dua Lipa. Their track, the Hindi remix version of 'Levitating' with Dua Lipa turned out to be an absolute blockbuster and topped the charts for several months.

Continuing the streak of international fame, the singing twins featured on the most coveted billboard. They featured alongside names such as Vladivojna La Chia, Maria Jose Llergo making them the only Indians to be a part of this list which comes across as a huge honour not just to both of them but also for the country and the Indian music fraternity.

Talking to IANS, an extremely elated Sukriti said, "There are dreams that one always sets out with, especially at the start of our careers. The Times Square billboard was surely always a part of that dream for us and seeing it come to life, it is a surreal moment for us."

She adds that the fact they got featured on the billboard for an important cause is what makes it all the more special. "Apart from pinching ourselves, and actually seeing the image of us on the billboard, the fact that it is for a cause that is to encourage equity for women in music globally, makes it even more special", she added.

For Prakriti, it's about making a difference through their voice both literally and metaphorically, as she says, "Representation of women in music, locally as well as globally has reached an all new platform of equity. Women deserve to be paid as much as men, given the same treatment as male singers and this association was just to empower that."

"It has made it to the most viewed billboard in the world, Times Square and we are so proud to be a part of this. As Indian artistes, and also as young women, it is important for one to always believe in equity in order to see it becoming our reality", Prakriti concluded.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:39:55 +0530
SpiceJet to commence flight operations to Kushinagar from Nov 26

New Delhi, Oct 20

SpiceJet will commence flight operations to the just-inaugurated Kushinagar airport in Uttar Pradesh from November 26. The airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

SpiceJet will add Kushinagar as its newest destination under the regional connectivity scheme, UDAN.

The airline will connect the destination with New Delhi from November 26. It will also operate flights to Kushinagar from Mumbai and Kolkata starting December 18.

Kushinagar, the city where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana, is a major tourist spot and attracts Buddhist pilgrims from all over India and the world.

"The launch of our new UDAN flights to Kushinagar International Airport will give an impetus to tourism of this holy city where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. We hope to see pilgrims from all over India and the world benefit from our new flights," said Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet.

According to the airline, flights on the Delhi-Kushinagar-Delhi route will operate four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. SpiceJet will deploy Boeing 737 and Q400 aircraft on these routes.

The airline said that the fare on the Delhi-Kushinagar-Delhi route will start at Rs 3,662.

At present, the airline has the largest regional presence in India, operating UDAN flights on multiple routes.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:32:56 +0530
Terrorists involved in killing of migrant labourers gunned down

Srinagar, Oct 20

Two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists involved in the killing of two migrant workers were killed in an encounter between the terrorists and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district on Wednesday, officials said.

"Police and Army neutralized LeT district commander (Gulzar Ahmad Reshi) of Kulgam and one other, who were involved in killings of two poor labourers from Bihar on October 17 at Wanpoh," police tweeted quoting IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar.

Earlier on Wednesday, a terrorist identified as Adil Ahmad Wani involved in the killing of a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh was among the two terrorists eliminated in an encounter between terrorists and security forces at Dragad area in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:21:03 +0530
T20 World Cup India thrash Australia by 9 wickets in warm up game

Dubai, Oct 20

Team India produced a clinical performance with both bat and ball as they thrashed Australia by 9 wickets in their second warm-up game, ahead of the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021, here on Wednesday.

Indian bowlers, especially spinners, picked crucial wickets at regular intervals and restricted Australia to 152/5 in 20 overs.

Chasing 153 for victory, openers gave India a brisk start with KL Rahul once again being the aggressor. Against the spinners, Rahul looked at absolute ease as he smashed Agar and Zampa down the ground for two sixes and a four. Rohit, at the other end, was happy to play second fiddle.

Rahul eventually fell to Ashton Agar, trying to clear the boundary once again only to find David Warner in the deep. By the time Rahul was out, Sharma had got his eye in and took over the mettle of run-scoring. He brought up his half-century with a wonderful cut off Marcus Stoinis.

Suryakumar Yadav, who came to bat at Number 3, too got some valuable runs to boost his confidence ahead of India's Super 12 opener against Pakistan. Both, Rohit and Suryakumar made batting look easy as they hit a flurry of boundaries.

When India needed 26 off 30, Rohit decided to retire himself out to give Hardik Pandya some much-needed game time and it was eventually him who sealed the game with a straight-six, with 13 balls remaining.

Earlier in the day, Australia skipper Aaron Finch chose to bat first against the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team. India chose to start with spin at one end and reaped instant rewards as Ashwin sent David Warner and Mitchell Marsh back to the pavilion off consecutive balls.

Ravindra Jadeja scalped Aaron Finch off his first ball after which Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell have steadied the ship as Australia go into the drinks break at 57/3. Just when it looked like Maxwell was getting in the groove, Rahul Chahar got the better of him with the googly.

Steve Smith soon brought up a well-made half-century after smashing Shardul Thakur for three consecutive fours. Stoinis's unbeaten 25-ball 41 helped Australia post 152/5 at the end of 20.

Brief Scores: Australia 152/5 (Steve Smith 57, Marcus Stoinis 41; Ravichandran Ashwin 2-8) vs India 153/2 (Rohit Sharma 60, KL Rahul 39; Ashton Agar 1-14).


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:41:59 +0530
NASA selects telescope to study Milky Way evolution

Washington, Oct 20

NASA has selected a new space telescope proposal that will study the recent history of star birth, star death, and the formation of chemical elements in the Milky Way.

The gamma-ray telescope, called the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), is expected to launch in 2025 as NASA's latest small astrophysics mission, the US space agency said in a statement.

NASA's Astrophysics Explorers Programme received 18 telescope proposals in 2019 and selected four for mission concept studies. After a detailed review of these studies by a panel of scientists and engineers, NASA selected COSI to continue into development.

"For more than 60 years, NASA has provided opportunities for inventive, smaller-scale missions to fill knowledge gaps where we still seek answers," said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, in the statement.

"COSI will answer questions about the origin of the chemical elements in our own Milky Way galaxy, the very ingredients critical to the formation of Earth itself," he added.

COSI will study gamma rays from radioactive atoms produced when massive stars exploded to map where chemical elements were formed in the Milky Way. The mission will also probe the mysterious origin of our galaxy's positrons, also known as antielectrons -- subatomic particles that have the same mass as an electron but a positive charge.

The mission will cost approximately $145 million, not including launch costs, the agency said adding it will select a launch provider later.

The COSI team spent decades developing their technology through flights on scientific balloons. In 2016, they sent a version of the gamma-ray instrument aboard NASA's super pressure balloon, which is designed for long flights and heavy lifts.

NASA's Explorers Programme is the agency's oldest continuous programme. It provides frequent, low-cost access to space using principal investigator-led space research relevant to the astrophysics and heliophysics programmes.

Since the 1958 launch of Explorer 1, which discovered Earth's radiation belts, the programme has launched more than 90 missions. The Cosmic Background Explorer, another NASA Explorer mission, led to a Nobel Prize in 2006 for its principal investigators, NASA said.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:36:32 +0530
High valuations inflationary concerns subdue market

Mumbai, Oct 20

High valuations coupled with inflationary concerns and mixed global cues pulled India's key equity indices into the red on Wednesday.

Accordingly, premium valuations triggered profit booking. This along with high crude oil prices and mixed Asian markets dented investor sentiments.

The key two indices -- S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 -- had a gap-up opening but fell thereafter. Globally, Asian markets were largely down following inflation worries due to surging energy prices.

Besides, European stocks struggled for direction as a relentless surge in commodity prices fuelled worries about inflation spiralling out of control.

On the domestic front, volumes on the NSE remained high but all sectoral indices except telecom ended in the red.

Consequently, the 30-scrip S&P BSE Sensex traded at 61,259.96 points, down 456.09 points or 0.74 per cent from its previous close. The NSE Nifty50 also closed lower, falling to 18,266.60 points, down by 152.15 points or 0.83 per cent from its previous close.

"Nifty fell for the second day in a row on Wednesday as profit taking across the board led to Indian markets being the worst performer in the Asian region once again," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

"Nifty closed at almost an intra-day low for the second session, while advance decline ratio continued to be sharply negative," he added.

According to Siddhartha Khemka, Head of Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services: "Profit booking was witnessed across the market as the valuations for many stocks touched unrealistic levels. The stocks termed as quality are either overpriced or priced near perfection, thus leaving very little margin for safety.

"Global cues were mixed as the earnings season is gathering momentum, while US Democratic leaders are edging closer to an agreement on ways to trim the stimulus package. On the positive side, oil prices come off the recent highs after a fourth straight weekly rise in US crude inventories."

Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said: "The ongoing market correction is not an overreaction and can sustain in the near-term due to high valuations.

"The long-term economy and market trend is intact due to further re-opening of the economy, low-interest cycle and fiscal and private spending. This correction will give leeway to value-buying, defensives and upcoming stocks and sectors that evolved from this new demand."


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:27:00 +0530
SL delegation of over 100 joins inaugural int l flight to Kushinagar

Colombo, Oct 20

Inaugural flights to historically and religiously important town of Kushinagar in India's Uttar Pradesh state will be landed from Colombo carrying state and a religious delegation from Sri Lanka, the Indian High Commission in Colombo stated.

The delegation from Sri Lanka on the inaugural flight led by Sports Minister and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's son, Namal Rajapaksa includes four State Ministers and nearly 100 senior Buddhist monks, belonging to different sects and prominent temples, spread across Sri Lanka.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the International Airport in Kushinagar on Wednesday on the auspicious Vap Poya Day with the maiden international flight operating from Colombo to Kushinagar.

In August this year, Modi through the High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay, had informed Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa that India would like Sri Lanka to send the first international flight to the newly upgraded Kushinagar airport.

Again in September, Modi during the Virtual Bilateral Summit with Rajapaksa announced that the first international flight to Kushinagar would be for a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims.

Kushinagar in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is significant to Sri Lanka's Buddhist pilgrims since the airport is located near a number of sites sacred to Buddhists.

It has a pre-eminent position given that The Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana.

"Considered to be a focal point of the Buddhist Circuit in India, the new international airport in Kushinagar is likely to strengthen people to people interactions between India and Sri Lanka substantially," the High Commission in Colombo stated.

"The inaugural flight not only underscores the deep people to people linkages but also millennia old civilisational ties between the two neighbouring countries. Buddhism is central to the abiding cultural, spiritual and linguistic bonds in this bilateral relationship."

The Sri Lankan delegation is also to visit Varanasi during their stay in India and special prayers are to be held at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple for the delegation on Wednesday.

Additionally, the sacred Kapilavastu Buddha relics from Sri Lanka will also travel on the inaugural flight and the sacred relics will be ceremonially brought on board the first international flight to Kushinagar by Most Ven. Waskaduwe Mahindawamsa Nayaka Thero, the present custodian of the relics.

"The sacred relics will be received with due reverence at the new international airport in Kushinagar on arrival and will be accorded full State honours by the government of India," the High Commission stated. Exposition of the relics is to be held in several Indian cities including Kushinagar and Sarnath.

The sacred Piprahwa relics which are the only documented authentic relics of The Buddha in Sri Lanka were discovered in the late 19th century in India and form a part of the Kapilavastu relics.

The relics which were brought to Sri Lanka travelled to India in October 2015.

"The venerated Kapilavastu relics in India which have been taken out of India only 6 times in the past, were sent to Sri Lanka in 1978 and in 2012," the High Commission said.

Annually, many Buddhists from Sri Lanka make religious pilgrims to India specially to Buddhists places of worship in Bodhgaya, Varanasi and Sarnath.

However. in March last year, the Sri Lankan government banned all religious pilgrims due to Covid-19 pandemic.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:19:51 +0530
Kerala floods 42 dead six still missing

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 20

The heavy rains which hit Kerala last week and the consequent floods have left 42 people dead and six people are missing, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday.

"The IMD prediction is that starting Wednesday till October 24, heavy rains are expected. Extra caution has to be maintained by all and the authorities are also fully geared to face the situation," he told media persons after a cabinet meeting.

The worst-affected districts on account of the rains and floods are Kottayam, Idukki, and Pathanamthitta.

Vijayan also said that 304 relief camps have been opened in the state where 3,851 families are now staying.

"All the things in the camps will be taken care by the state and utmost caution also have to be ensured as Covid is still around. Hence, all in the camps must wear masks. It would be best that outsiders do not enter the camps," he said.

Vijayan also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called to find out the situation and has pledged all support.

"Dalai Lama also had called to find out and he has promised a sum of Rs 11 lakh. Likewise Karnataka Chief Minister and other people from various walks of life have also called. I also request all the good minds to help and contribute to the suffering on account of the calamity," he said.

Vijayan also said the authorities have been asked to prepare the final list of damages that have been caused in the state on account of the floods and rains, as the state will compensate all those who have suffered a loss appropriately soon.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:12:06 +0530
10th edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival to be held online

Dharamshala, Oct 20

The 10th edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) will go online from November 4 to November 10. Due to the pandemic, the festival will take place virtually.

There will be some critically acclaimed films that will be shown in the fest including 'Feathers' (winner of Grand Prize at the Cannes Critics' Week), 'The Tale of King Crab' (premiered at Cannes Directors' Fortnight).

Documentaries will also be part of this festival like 'Taming the Garden' (premiered at Sundance Film Festival), 'My Favorite War' (winner at Annecy).

The festival seems like entertaining the audience with varied options. Few narrative short films that viewers can enjoy are 'The Miniaturist of Junagadh'(director Kaushal Oza) featuring Naseeruddin Shah and Rasika Dugal, 'Bablu Babylon Se (director Abhijeet Sarthi) featuring Manoj Pahwa and others.

Festival Director Ritu Sarin said: "In this landmark 10th year of DIFF, we are sad that because of the pandemic we will not be able to host a physical festival but we are nonetheless thrilled to reach audiences all over India and beyond with another digital iteration of our beloved festival.

"DIFF's reputation rests in its meticulously considered selection of exciting and unusual documentaries, shorts and feature films from around the world and this year too, we have an exciting line-up in store for our audiences. Additionally, our team is curating a series of special programming events that will interactively engage with filmmakers and film-lovers more than ever before."

The Dharamshala International Film Festival is presented by Dharamshala-based filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam to promote contemporary cinema, art and independent media practices in the Himalayan region in collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and with support from the Goethe Institut.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:26:02 +0530
NASA Boeing Starliner delayed till mid 2022 probe into faulty valves continues

Washington, Oct 20

NASA and Boeing's Starliner cargo spacecraft's orbital flight test has been postponed until the middle of next year as an investigation into its faulty valves continues.

Boeing and NASA had originally aimed to launch Starliner's Orbital Test Flight 2 (OFT-2), a crucial uncrewed trial mission to the International Space Station (ISS), from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on July 30.

But preflight checks revealed 13 stuck valves in Starliner's service module, nixing that liftoff plan.

"We had no indication that there was going to be any problem with these valves," John Vollmer, the manager of Boeing's commercial crew operations, was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

"The valves are part of an ornate network of plumbing in a detachable trunk called the "service module" that houses Starliner's propulsion gear. The components worked during previous tests, including a trial of the spacecraft's emergency abort system in 2019.

"Boeing has yet to determine what caused the valves to become stuck. Engineers were mulling whether to bring in an entirely new service module, but Boeing recently decided to keep the existing one," Vollmer said.

Two valves have been removed from the spacecraft and sent to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, where they will be disassembled and examined for further investigation, Michelle Parker, Boeing's chief engineer of space and launch, said during a media briefing on Tuesday, TechCrunch reported.

It's being speculated that the valve issue came up due to moisture that accumulated near some of the valves' Teflon seal.

Boeing built Starliner under a NASA contract worth $4.5 billion and had signed a contract with NASA's Commercial Crew Programme to fly operational missions to and from the space station with Starliner in 2014. However, a series of setbacks have thus far prevented the Starliner from reaching the ISS.

Its debut uncrewed orbital flight mission in 2019 did not go exactly as planned because of dozens of software glitches, requiring it to make another try before putting astronauts on board for the crewed flight test.

Again its second launch has been held up since late last year due to ongoing software checks. Later the engineers detected the valve issue in its propulsion system, which has not been solved yet.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:17:59 +0530
Inflationary concerns subdue market metal stocks fall

Mumbai, Oct 20

Inflationary concerns, as well as mixed global cues, subdue India's key equity indices during the late-afternoon trade session on Wednesday.

Accordingly, rising crude oil prices along with mixed Asian markets had dented investors' sentiments.

However, the key two indices -- S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 -- had a gap-up opening but fell thereafter.

Globally, Asian markets were largely down following inflation worries due to surging energy prices.

On the domestic front, volumes on the NSE remained high but all sectoral indices except 'Bankex' were in the red.

At 2.35 p.m., the 30-scrip sensitive index traded at 61,171.91 points, down 544.14 points or 0.88 per cent.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty50 traded lower. It fell to 18,224.05 points, down by 194.70 points or 1.06 per cent.

"Indian markets are the worst performers in the Asian region. Volumes on the NSE remain high while advance-decline ratio is deep into the negative," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

"Globally stocks were mixed as participants weighed encouraging corporate results with inflationary pressures. A small recovery may be seen towards the end but Nifty may still end up deep in the negative."

According to Gaurav Garg, Head of Research, CapitalVia Global Research: "Indian equity benchmarks added losses and continued to trade in red in the afternoon session."

"The benchmarks dragged by consumer durable, metal and basic materials stocks. Sentiments of investors are cautious as foreign institutional investors (FIIs) stood as net sellers in the capital markets."


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:11:27 +0530
Afghan economic woes could fuel refugee crisis for neighbours warns IMF


New Delhi, Oct 20

Afghanistan's economic woes could fuel a refugee crisis impacting neighbouring countries, Turkey and Europe, the International Monetary Fund has said, BBC reported.

The economy will contract by up to 30 per cent this year --which could push millions into poverty and cause a humanitarian crisis, the fund warned.

The IMF said Afghanistan's neighbours would be further hit because they rely on its funds for trade, the report said.

Bordering Tajikistan has said it can't afford to take in many more refugees.

With foreign assets frozen and most non-humanitarian aid halted, inflows of cash to Afghanistan have all but dried up.

In its regional economic outlook, the fund said: "A large influx of refugees could put a burden on public resources in refugee-hosting countries, fuel labour market pressures, and lead to social tensions, underscoring the need for assistance from the international community."

While it's unclear how many Afghan refugees there would be, the IMF estimates that if there were to be a million more, hosting them would cost Tajikistan $100m (£72m), Iran $300m and Pakistan $500m, the report said.

Last month Tajikistan said it could not afford to take in large numbers of refugees unless it received international financial assistance while other Central Asian nations have said they have no plans to host refugees.

Nearby countries will also be hurt by the loss of Afghanistan as a major trading partner.

The IMF also warned there are concerns that funds going into the country may be used to finance terrorism and launder money

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:06:01 +0530
Karnataka woman murdered body set on fire husband held


Bengaluru, Oct 20

A Bengaluru man was arrested for allegedly murdering his wife and setting her body on fire on Wednesday, police said.

The deceased woman was identified as Afreen Khan, a resident of Yarabnagar, and her husband was Lalu.

According to police, Afreen was attacked with a knife and scissors and stabbed all over her body. After she succumbed, her body was laid on a bed and set afire.

Noticing the fire in the house, which was locked from outside, neighbors broke in and discovered Afreen's body.

Banashankari police are investigating the case and took the husband into custody on suspicion.

The couple was married eight years ago and had two children. However, they fought often and Afreen had asked her mother to take her home.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:00:02 +0530
T20 World Cup Bangladesh beat Oman by 26 runs

Al Amerat (Oman), Oct 19

Bangladesh produced a clinical all-around performance to beat Oman by 26 runs in the 6th match of ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground, here on Tuesday.

Riding on fighting knocks by Mohammad Naim (64 off 50) and Shakib Al Hasan (42 off 29), Bangladesh posted a total of 153 all out in 20 overs.

For Oman, Fayyaz Butt and Bilal Khan were the most successful of the bowlers with three wickets each while Kaleemullah picked two.

In reply, Oman batters Jatinder Singh and Kashyap Prajapati made full use of the fielding restrictions and kept the scoreboard ticking. They were 70/2 and needed 84 from 10 overs.

However, once Prajapati got out, wickets fell at regular intervals. Once Jatinder lost his wicket, the middle order was exposed and struggled against the Bangladesh bowling attack. In the end, Oman were restricted to 127/9 in 20 overs, losing the match by 26 runs.

With this win, Bangladesh kept its hopes alive for a spot in the Super 12s.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 153-10 in 20 overs (Mohammad Naim 64 off 50, Shakib Al Hasan 42 off 29; Bilal Khan 3/18) beat Oman 127/9 in 20 overs (Jatinder Singh 40 off 33; Mustafizur Rahman 4/36, Shakib Al Hasan 3/28).


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 10:34:33 +0530
Instagram announces new feature to let users co author same posts


San Francisco, Oct 20

Facebook-owned Instagram on Wednesday announced a new 'Collab' feature that will allow users of the social media platform to collaborate with others on Feed Posts and Reels.

The new Collabs feature will allow two accounts to co-author a post or Reel. The post or Reel will appear jointly to each user's followers and will share the same comment thread, as well as view and like counts.

"We are launching Collabs, a new way to co-author Feed posts and Reels. Invite an account to be a collaborator. Both names will appear on header, share to both sets of followers, live on both profile grids, share views, likes and comments," the company said in a tweet.

Instagram said that collaborating is a huge part of how people connect on the social media platform. "With 'Collab', you can invite a collaborator to your Feed Post and Reels and so they can share the content with their followers," the company noted.

Meanwhile, Facebook is testing a feature that would allow users on its platform to cross-post their posts, including photos or videos, over to their Instagram.

The company said the option is currently a global test that's only available to a small group of people who already have their Facebook profiles linked to a personal, creator or business account on Instagram.

Facebook already allows users to cross-post their Instagram Stories and Reels to Facebook.


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 10:28:20 +0530
Megan Fox thinks it s very difficult to be a woman

Los Angeles, Oct 20

Actress Megan Fox says it is hard to be a woman and has encouraged other women to wear whatever makes them "feel good" and not to worry about the opinions of other people.

Fox said: "There are definitely some times where mentally, I'm not in a place where I want to be exposed or interact with the world. I think style is a closer reflection of your mood than some people realise, and because of that, it changes constantly.

"Like I change multiple times a day sometimes, don't you? That's my best advice for anyone: wear what makes you feel good and do not worry about what other people say you look like," reports

The actress acknowledges that it's easier said than done.

She told "Obviously, that's a really tricky thing for me as well, because I have body dysmorphia, so I see myself differently than how other people see me anyway.

"And bottom line is, it's very difficult to be a woman!"

She added: "And I've finally let myself acknowledge that it's hard to be a woman! It's really difficult, right? We are our own worst enemies sometimes, and so my best advice is just to embrace it, and know you have the freedom to express yourself however feels good to you.

"Know that, and then give yourself permission to do so."

On the other hand, Megan explained that her body just isn't suited to wearing certain things.

The 'Transformers' star said: "People do not realize how small I am.

"So I'm either in clothes that are really well-fitted or I just get overwhelmed by fabric, which happens very easily."

"So if I know I'm going to be photographed, I do tend to pick things with a very close fit. I would love to put on a pair of parachute pants, but it just doesn't work on my body! It wasn't exactly a choice to only wear tight clothes or cutouts."


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 10:22:05 +0530
IMF revises down Asia economy growth forecast to 6 5

Washington, Oct 20 (IANS) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised down its 2021 economic growth forecast for Asia to 6.5 per cent, down by 1.1 percentage points from its April projection, according to a newly released regional economic outlook.

"The resurgence of the pandemic, amid initially low vaccination rates, slowed the recovery in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in emerging market and developing economies," Chang Yong Rhee, director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Noting that the Asia-Pacific remains the fastest-growing region in the world, Rhee said as vaccination rates accelerate, the region is expected to grow by 4.9 per cent in 2022, 0.4 percentage points faster than projected in April.

For advanced economies, the latest IMF forecast is broadly unchanged for 2021 with upgrades in South Korea and New Zealand and downgrades in Japan and Australia, according to the report.

Most of the downgrades in the region come from emerging markets and low-income countries, led by India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China is projected to grow by 8.0 per cent in 2021, down by 0.4 percentage point from the April projection, according to the report.

India is projected to grow by 9.5 per cent after a sharp decline in 2020. While the pandemic surge earlier this year had a large adverse impact on growth, the subsequent rebound in activity has gained strength, it said.

The ASEAN-5 countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand), are still facing "severe challenges" from a resurgent virus and weakness in contact-intensive sectors.

"The divergence between Asian advanced economies and developing economies is deepening, with output levels in the emerging market economies and low-income countries expected to remain below pre-pandemic trends in the coming years, reflecting differences in policy support and vaccination rollout," Rhee said.

The IMF official warned that the main downside risk is related to evolving pandemic dynamics, such as the possibility of Covid-19 becoming an endemic, and lower vaccine efficacy against new variants.

Other factors such as persistent global supply disruptions and weakening global value chain participation, elevated financial vulnerabilities in the corporate and real estate sectors in some countries, and potential financial spillovers from US monetary policy tightening also pose important risks for the region, said.

Rhee said following the global financial crisis, Asia relied on large stimulus packages, which continued during Covid-19. Because of limited policy space, Asian countries have increased leverage overall, creating heightened risk for the region, said the IMF official. Should the US hike interest rates, Asia's recovery could be jeopardized if growth fails to pick up.

Rhee said a "higher interest rate in the US can cause a capital outflow from the region, that can cause a depreciation, that can cause a domestic financing market cost increase."


Wed, 20 Oct 2021 09:57:46 +0530
Iran lends help to people affected in Afghan mosque attacks

Kabul, Oct 20

Scores of families affected by the latest terrorist attacks in two Afghan provinces have received humanitarian aid provided by Iran, local officials have confirmed.

At least 93 worshippers were killed and more than 230 people wounded in suicide bomb attacks against two Shiite Muslim mosques during Friday prayers in northern Kunduz and southern Kandahar provinces earlier this month, Xinhua News Agency reported.

In northern Kunduz province, 240 families of victims were provided food and non-food items on Monday morning, Matiullah Rohani, director of provincial information and culture directorate, told Xinhua.

The assistance was dispatched to Kunduz airport a couple of days ago by planes, the official said.

Earlier on Monday, two planes transported 35 tons of relief goods consignment, including 10 tons of medicines, from Iran to Kandahar International Airport, according to Hafiz Abdul Hai, head of provincial health directorate.

A total of 30 patients, who sustained serious wounds, will be shifted to Iran from a regional hospital in Kandahar city, capital of Kandahar, the official noted.

The affiliates of Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the deadly explosions that occurred on October 15 and October 8 in Afghanistan

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 09:19:41 +0530
Security at J K installations tightened following Intel inputs

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) The security arrangements at vital installations in Jammu and Kashmir have been scaled up following inputs from the intelligence agencies that terrorists may hit them, sources in the intelligence grid said.

According to the sources, the security arrangements at railway stations, hydel power plants in Uri, government buildings, newly installed big power sub-stations and dams under construction in the Kashmir region have been scaled up. This was revealed after the intelligence agencies decoded the encrypted chats of the new terror outfits like the United Liberation Front of J&K, The Resistance Front (TRF) which are fronts of terror organizations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, the sources said.

They added that additional battalions of para-military forces may be deployed along with the local police for a tighter security ring around these installations and government buildings.

These inputs have come amid the spate of attacks on non Muslims in the valley in which 11 civilians have been killed this month.

The latest inputs have also warned of attacks on representatives of the Panchayat and Block Development Councils to spread panic among the residents including the Kashmiri Pandits who wanted to return to their properties after government persuasion.

Officials in the J&K administration on condition of anonymity said that the killings of innocent civilians is a major jolt to the government plan to get them settled on their own properties in Kashmir. Now they are going back to Jammu to stay in their camps.

The government sources also said that a specialised team of experienced officers from the IB, R&AW, and NIA who have earlier worked in Kashmir have been roped in to pre-empt and thwart any further terror attempts.

These officials have also been trying to pinpoint the terrorists by scanning the old cases and history of those involved in stone pelting.

While CRPF DG Kuldeep Singh has been reviewing the situation with other security stakeholders, Indian Army Chief General MM Narwane has also gone to Srinagar to review the counter terror operations and other preparations of the army


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:58:32 +0530
India will produce the cheapest hydrogen in the world Gautam Adani

London, Oct 19

Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani said that policies to manage and overcome the climate change crisis must be equitable and pragmatic.

Speaking to business leaders on the sidelines of the UK's Global Investment Summit at the London Science Museum, he noted that green policies and climate action not based on equitable growth will struggle in the long run.

Decision-makers, he said, must consider the voices of the vulnerable when developing climate strategies and mitigation measures. He also suggested that a collaborative approach was needed wherein developed nations, which have emitted more greenhouse gases over time, shoulder greater responsibility and propose policies and targets that fairly address the needs of the developing world.

"While net zero targets are much needed, a company's sustainability initiatives must be aligned with the nation's sustainability goals," said Adani. "One must recognise that India has already demonstrated its commitment through the bold stand taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the 2015 COP-21 summit and India has emerged as one of the most responsible major nations in the world when it comes to addressing climate change. However, at the heart of any nation's sustainability journey lies the principle of equitable growth, and a net zero number unaligned with a nation's development agenda may end up creating greater disequilibrium across the global sustainability initiatives."

"We are putting money where our mouth is," added Adani, "and the portfolio companies of Adani are leading the way with investment plans to honour the nation's commitment".

Adani's logistics utility APSEZ has committed to the 1.5-degree pathway through SBTi (Science Based Targets initiative) as has AGEL, Adani's renewable energy company. Adani Transmission has also made the same commitment and the other portfolio companies are working towards committing to the 1.5-degree pathway. Adani is also incubating the first Indian data center company that will power all its data centers with renewable power by 2030.

Furthermore, AGEL will triple its renewable power generation capacity over the next four years - a scale and speed unmatched by any company in the world. AGEL is also consolidating its position as the world's largest solar power developer, having achieved its initial target of 25GW four years ahead of schedule.

"This transformation has multiple dimensions that will impact not just the world of energy but also the world of chemicals, plastics, mobility, computing, and metals," said Adani.

He said that, over the next decade, the Adani portfolio companies in the energy and utility business will invest over $20 billion in renewable energy generation and the overall organic and inorganic investments across the entire green energy value chain will range between $50 billion and $70 billion. Over 70 per cent of its planned capex until 2030 will be in sustainable technologies. This includes investments with potential partners for electrolyzer manufacturing, backward integrations for component manufacturing to secure the supply chain for the solar and wind generation businesses, and AI-based utility and industrial cloud platforms.

When combined with India's cost and locational advantages, this will enable Adani to produce the world's least expensive green electron and be on track to become the world's largest renewable power portfolio by 2030. This, he said, will lay the foundation for Adani to become one of the largest green hydrogen producers in the world and, in turn, will make India the producer of the world's cheapest hydrogen.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:52:32 +0530
Savin Communication India s first PR Tech company talks about effective tools to level up festive

New Delhi, Oct 19

As the world is witnessing a revolution in the communication industry, several tools and techniques have emerged that assist brands to drive their brand recall among the audience using creative branding methods, communication campaigns and effective PR strategies.

The festive season is the time to prioritise public relations and branding approaches over anything else. The coming months are known to be the cornerstone for brands and business owners for effective market positioning as their respective target audiences utilise this time to scout and connect with new names in the market.

Therefore, it brings the perfect and unique opportunity to boost business' brand awareness.

Catering to this revolution, Savin Communication, India's first PR-Tech company, has shared the most effective PR tools that all brands could deploy this festive season and level up their festive outreach to establish a beneficial foothold in the industry.

* The PR Tree, a PR intelligence platform

Automating the process of public relations, The PR Tree has revolutionised the industry with the concept of self-help PR.

Entrepreneurs, businesses and brands can now log in to, select premium publications and get published within a few clicks.

The platform also offers 24x7 professional guidance and consultation. The team works on the principle to convey experiences that educate, thoughts that move, and the effect that affects!


Built on the ethos of bringing refreshing and measurable advancement in the public relations industry, Savin Communication introduced the concept of SMART PR. It is capable of selecting the right media publications, tracking the right audience and delivering the right message through innovative content.

It enables brands and business owners to undertake such PR activities that are result-oriented and drive the need for guaranteed and measurable outcomes in a quick turnaround time.

* Programmatic PR, A window to the future

Programmatic PR is an advanced version of SMART PR that utilises Artificial Intelligence and clever data algorithms to yield measurable and targeted outcomes. Incorporating Programmatic PR, brands can measure their media outreach through aspects like viewership, social media, association with High Domain Authority Publications, Backlinking. This framework promotes transparency, better ideation, control over the quality, and convenience for both the brands and their audiences.

* Result-oriented investment

In public relations, result-oriented investment is the objective-driven investment that assists the brand in reaping the maximum growth from its efforts. The idea is to execute a targeted approach to attain smart, measurable and sustainable results. Since the industry realised that Digital PR is difficult to measure, Savin Communication brought forth the concept of result-oriented investment that uses measuring tools like HDA, Spam Score, and Backlinking to evaluate the effectiveness of the efforts of your deployed PR methods.

In a nutshell, the time of festivities is one of the best resources that brands can utilise, not just in terms of reaping profits and revenue, but also in promoting a strong and positive brand image.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:34:51 +0530
Afghan currency losing value causing price rise


New Delhi, Oct 19

Kabul residents have complained about the rise in prices of goods as the value of the Afghani has fallen against the dollar in recent days, Tolo News reported.

The dropping in value of Afghanis against the dollar has greatly reduced business in the markets.

According to the money exchangers, recently, the smuggling of dollars has also caused problems in the markets.

Currently, one dollar is exchanged for about 90 Afghanis in the Kabul market.

Kabul residents urged Afghanistan's central bank to take steps to control the currency markets and to pave the way for more robust business.

"It's problematic when the value of the dollar rises in the currency markets, then the price of the goods increases too," said Esmatullah, a resident.

In the meantime, several money exchangers in Kabul believed that lack of cash in banks is the reason that the Afghan currency dropped, the report said.

"In the currency markets, the shortage of dollars is the reason behind Afghanis dropping dramatically," said Mirwais, a money exchanger.

At the same time, Afghanistan annually imports goods that cost $8.5 billion and to buy these goods, they use dollars.

"Afghanistan is one of those countries that rely on other countries' imports and we need dollars to buy goods and that is why the Afghani is losing its value in currency markets," said Haji Zirak Zirak, the spokesperson of the money exchangers union in Kabul.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:22:15 +0530
Amarinder to announce new party soon hints at pact with BJP for Punjab polls

Chandigarh, Oct 19

Formally saying goodbye to the Congress which made him the Chief Minister of Punjab twice and the state party president thrice, an 'upset' Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that he would soon announce the launch of his own political party to serve the interests of the people, including the farmers who've been fighting for their rights for over a year now.

The former Punjab CM also said that he is hopeful of a seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP for next year's Assembly elections in the state if the farmers' issues are resolved in their interest.

In a series of tweets, his media advisor Raveen Thukral quoted Amarinder Singh as saying, "The battle for Punjab's future is on. Will soon announce the launch of my own political party to serve the interests of Punjab and its people, including our farmers who've been fighting for their survival for over a year."

In another tweet, Amarinder Singh, who earlier this month had slammed the Congress over the "preposterous lies being floated by various party leaders in a clear bid to cover up their mishandling of the crisis in Punjab", said, "Hopeful of a seat arrangement with @BJP4India in 2022 Punjab Assembly polls if #FarmersProtest is resolved in farmers' interest.

"Also looking at alliance with like-minded parties such as breakaway Akali groups, particularly Dhindsa and Brahmpura factions."

Without mincing words, Amarinder Singh added that he would not rest until he can secure the future of his people and his state.

"Punjab needs political stability and protection from internal and external threats. I promise my people that I will do what it takes to ensure peace and security, which is today at stake," read a tweet, quoting Amarinder Singh.

Earlier, taking strong exception to AICC Secretary General Harish Rawat's no-holds-barred attack on him, Amarinder Singh had rejected the Congress' Punjab in-charge's claims and allegations, which he said were clearly prompted by the "pathetic situation" the party now found itself in in the state after being on a winning spree for four-and-a-half years.

"Three weeks before stepping down as CM, I had offered my resignation to Sonia Gandhi but she had asked me to continue," Amarinder Singh had said on October 1, adding that the humiliating manner in which he was pushed into resigning just hours before the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting was a matter of public record.

"The world saw the humiliation and insult heaped on me, and yet Rawat is making claims to the contrary," he had remarked.

Ridiculing Rawat's remarks that he seemed to be under pressure, the former CM said the only pressure he had been under for the past few months was that of his own loyalty to the Congress, because of which he continued to tolerate insult after insult.

"If the party did not intend to humiliate me, then why was Navjot Singh Sidhu allowed to openly criticise and attack me on social media and other public platforms for months? Why did the party give the rebels, led by Sidhu, a free hand in undermining my authority? Why was no cognizance taken of the uninterrupted spree of electoral wins I handed over to the party through the four-and-a-half years I was in the saddle," he had asked.

Amarinder Singh also asked why Congress was allowing Sidhu even now to hold the party to ransom and continue to dictate terms.

Since his resignation as the Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh has been targeting Sidhu by publically saying that he would fight his possible elevation to the chief ministership tooth and nail, and is ready to make any sacrifice to save the country from such a 'dangerous man'.

He also claimed that the Gandhi siblings (Priyanka and Rahul) were "quite inexperienced" and "their advisors were clearly misguiding them".


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:14:22 +0530
Space sector will turn into trillion dollar industry role of start ups key

Dubai, Oct 19 (IANS) The space sector will turn into a trillion-dollar industry and start-ups will play a key role, Dr Somanath S, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), ISRO said on Tuesday.

Somanath said this during a panel discussion on ‘Global Opportunities for Start-ups in Space Sector and Trends', at the ongoing India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

"Space sector is on its way to becoming a trillion-dollar industry and the role of start-ups will be crucial in this journey. For start-ups to succeed, they must either reinvent existing technology to cause a disruption in the existing domain, generate new technologies and ideas into the sector, or use innovative ideas to put existing products or projects to new uses," Somanath said.

He also urged established companies and start-ups that have graduated into full-fledged businesses to give back to the sector by mentoring the new generation of start-ups.

India is planning to boost the space sector in the global market. The country has recently revised its existing policies to involve the private sector and is also looking at international cooperation.

With the aim to make the country an economic space hub in the future, it also recently launched a new industry body Indian Space Association (ISpA), that will bridge the gap between government and private players.

The six-month-long Expo 2020 Dubai, which began on October 1, will run till March 31 next year. Among the 192 participating countries, India has the biggest pavilion at the expo. Fifteen states and nine central ministries from India are participating in this expo.

The India Pavilion features an innovative kinetic facade made up of 600 individual colourful blocks. It is developed as a mosaic of rotating panels that will depict different themes as they rotate on their axis. It represents the theme of 'India on the move' and is a unique amalgam of the rich heritage and technological advances of the nation, according to an official statement.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:02:20 +0530
Swimming nationals Sambhavv betters Srihari s record in 200m freestyle

Bengaluru, Oct 19

Sambhavv R of Karnataka bettered Olympian Srihari Nataraj's three-year-old national record in 200m freestyle for group I boys as the 37th Sub Junior and 47th Junior National Aquatic Championships got off to a rollicking start here at the Basavangudi Aquatic Centre, on Tuesday.

Four national records were bettered on the opening day of the event by swimmers from Karnataka with Sambhavv setting the ball rolling.

Trained by coach Jairajan AC from Bangalore Swimming Research Centre (BSRC), Sambhavv touched pads on 1:53.41 seconds, improving on the Srihari's record of 1:53.54 seconds set in 2018.

He maintained a good pace right from the start and was well ahead of Aneesh S Gowda, also from Karnataka who fought hard in the last 50m but was a tad slower in his finish as he touched pads at 1:53.54 seconds. Vedaant Madhavan of Maharashtra took home the bronze with a time of 1:55.93 seconds.

Delighted over setting a national record in 200m freestyle, an elated Sambhavv said, "I am very thrilled to break Srihari's record. It was a good race and Aneesh really pushed me particularly in the last 50m."

Sambhavv will also take part in 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m and 100m butterfly and is surely the one to watch out for.

One of the most exciting races of the day was 200m individual medley for group 1 boys which was closely fought between Swadesh Mondal of Bengal and Shoan Ganguly of Karnataka. While Shoan was well ahead after the first 50 as butterfly is his pet event, Mondal caught up in the backstroke leg and took lead in the third 50m swimming breaststroke.

Although Shoan made a frantic effort in the last 50m swimming the freestyle, Mondal touched first with a time of 2:08.88 and Shoan clocked 2:09.05 to settle for silver. Both the swimmers clocked well within the national record time of 2:10.26 created in 2018 held by Neel Roy of Maharashtra. Kalp S Bohra of Karnataka won the bronze in this event with a time of 2:12.61, the organizers informed in a release on Tuesday.

In the 200m freestyle for group III girls, Dhinidhi Desinghu of Karnataka broke an 11-year-old national record (created in 2010) of 2:17.52 held by Monique Gandhi of Maharashtra. Dhinidhi, who trains at the Dolphin Aquatics under head coach Nihar Ameen, clocked 2:14.94 seconds to win the gold while Aditi Hegde of Maharashtra settled for silver with a time of 2:23.93 and Shakthi Ishwar Prasad of Tamil Nadu Swimming Academy clocked 2:24.77 to take home the bronze medal.

Speaking about her race, Dhinidhi said, "I really wasn't expecting a record. But certainly, feels good to break one that too an 11-year-old record. I am looking forward to my other races and have 400m freestyle tomorrow."


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 22:57:24 +0530
Stand up comedy scarier than falling during a fashion show Sunny Leone

Mumbai, Oct 19

The last thing you'd expect Sunny Leone to do well is tickle your funny bone, but she does it (and how!) on 'One Mic Stand Season 2', whose trailer is out. Leone, in fact, is the star performer in the trailer.

By the looks of it, the second season of the funny show is going to be even bigger, with some of the biggest names across the board trying their hand at stand-up comedy. The show features a slew of well-known comedians who have acted as mentors to talented people from various walks of life. They've honed their skills and punchlines and made sure that the jokes land perfectly.

Sunny Leone is one such prominent name from the show. On the surface, it may seem like all fun and games, but deep down, Sunny was quite nervous, to say the least when it came to delivering impeccable punchlines in front of a live audience.

Talking about her experience, the actress told IANS: "I have loved stand-up comedy and I have watched several shows here and internationally as well. Seeing a comedian perform on stage looks so simple and natural, but the reality of how difficult it is to actually connect with audiences and make them crack up on every joke is something I have learnt very closely now."

She added: "As an artist, I am always looking to try new things and showcase my skills to the audience in more ways than one, so when I got the chance to be on One Mic Stand 2, I grabbed it like a hawk."

The actress shared that she always tries to up the ante by portraying different sides of herself. She said: "I am always trying to showcase different sides of myself to my fans and my audience, which is why I was attracted to this show in the first place. I thoroughly enjoyed the last season of 'One Mic Stand'. I thought it was hilarious, the sets that the celebrity guests produced were excellent, so the pressure was on to match that level of finesse."

Continuing with her serious take on the business of humour, Leone said: "I am used to remembering long dialogues and delivering them, but performing live has its own thrill. Stand-up comedy is scarier than falling on a ramp during a fashion show. Imagine cracking a joke and nobody laughs, that was my biggest fear."

On how it has changed her own view of herself, the actress added: "I've got to say, I learnt to take a joke or two on myself and saw the world around me in a lighter perspective. I'm glad to have collaborated with Neeti [Palta], she has such a fresh take on everything and she is a natural. Working with women is always fun because you understand each other's perspectives and experiences like nobody else and that's what made my set work so well."

'One Mic Stand' is one of Amazon India's flagship shows. It will feature Sunny Leone, along with other towering figures, including Karan Johar, Chetan Bhagat, Raftaar and Faye D'Souza. Mentoring them will be comedians such as Sumukhi Suresh, Samay Raina, Neeti Palta, Atul Khatri and Abish Mathew. Hosted by Sapan Verma of the EIC collective, the show will premiere on October 22.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 22:51:46 +0530
Hypersonic missile test by China spurs call to stop flow of Wall Street capital into Chinese tech


New Delhi, Oct 19

US politicians warned they are on course to lose a 'new Cold War' following reports China secretly flew a nuclear-capable missile around the world, Daily Mail reported.

The Long March hypersonic rocket, which can travel at five times the speed of sound, is said to have touched down 24 miles from its target during a test flight in August. Beijing has played down the row, claiming the launch was just a 'routine test' of a new 'space vehicle'.

Yet US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood on Monday said they were 'very concerned, adding: "We don't know how we can defend against that type of technology", the report said.

Congressman Mike Gallagher blasted the US government for 'complacency', saying: "This test should serve as a call to action. If we stick to our current course... we will lose the new Cold War."

"This test should serve as a call to action. If we stick to our current complacent course -- or place our hopes in bankrupt buzzwords like "integrated deterrence" -- we will lose the New Cold War with Communist China within the decade", he added.

"The People's Liberation Army now has an increasingly credible capability to undermine our missile defenses and threaten the American homeland with both conventional and nuclear strikes. Even more disturbing is the fact that American technology has contributed to the PLA's hypersonic missile program", he said.

Gallagher said the US government has long failed to apply maximum pressure against the Chinese Communist Party's Military-Civil Fusion strategy. With our homeland now exposed, in part, by advanced technology derived from Military-Civil Fusion, we need to aggressively decouple from anything associated with Military-Civil Fusion.

"We must end joint ventures, investments, and research collaborations that involve areas associated with Military-Civil Fusion. We also need to stop the flow of Wall Street capital into Chinese tech.

"American entities have a clear choice: they can side with our country, or they can side with the genocidal communist regime that now threatens our cities. They can't do both. It is time to choose", he added.

Until Monday morning, few people outside of the military, intelligence and security services, and the defence industry had heard of hypersonic missiles or had a clue as to what they were or their significance.

The revelation that China has tested such a missile - and that it was nuclear-capable - has sent shock waves around the world, Daily Mail reported.

"China is not alone but it has shown it is far more advanced than the West suspected. Now Washington and other world capitals are waking up to the implications of Beijing possessing a missile that can circle the globe at five times the speed of sound - and can sneak under the radar of US anti-missile defenses", the report said.

In the space of a week that complacency has been rocked to its core. Even before the news of the Chinese hypersonic test, Nicolas Chaillan, the Pentagon's former chief software officer, warned that Beijing is heading for global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cyber capabilities - and that gap was growing, the report said.

Global Times reported that Chinese experts said that the West is getting nervous as they have underestimated China's space capability for a very long time. So when China shows its advanced space technology - even though it's for peaceful use - some Western media will try to hype the "China threat theory," because they believe that as long as non-Western countries acquire advanced space technology, the US' hegemony in using space for non-peaceful purposes will be threatened.

"If the US launches a space arms race, non-Western powers like China and Russia would be forced to turn their advanced capabilities into military use for strategic deterrence and self-defense, experts said", Global Times reported.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 22:42:22 +0530
Dilip Ghosh slams Mamata for keeping mum on B desh violence

New Delhi, Oct 19

Bharatiya Janata Party national vice president Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday lashed out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for keeping silent on the communal violence in Bangladesh where houses of Hindus were set on fire and temples were vandalized. So far six persons have died in one of the worst communal flare-ups in decades in the country.

Ghosh made this comment while participating in an event organized to protest the violence against Hindus in Bangladesh, at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

"These kinds of incidents have happened earlier also and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken strong steps. The numbers of such incidents have definitely come down but need to be stopped completely," Ghosh said.

Questioning Mamata Banerjee's silence over the Bangladesh violence, Ghosh said, "The so-called 'secular' government of West Bengal, which runs to Tripura and Assam at the spur of the moment when something happens there, is totally silent on the issue of Bangladesh violence. Are there not Hindus in Bangladesh? They are being attacked by fanatics, maths and temples have been vandalized, women are being attacked, but the West Bengal Chief Minister is maintaining silence."

"Why the spokesperson of the party doesn't say anything? Are they worried about their vote bank? They only care about their vote bank, that's why she keeps quiet," he added.

According to Dilip Ghosh, more than 3,600 incidents of attacks on Hindus have taken place in Bangladesh since 2013, in which Hindu women were raped and temples were desecrated. "When the Ram temple movement took place in India, minorities in Bangladesh were attacked, lakhs of Hindus had to flee from their country and to take shelter in India," he said.

He said, "The Bangladesh incident is a well thought out conspiracy against Hindus and is very agonizing."

Appealing to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Dilip Ghosh said, "Hindus are also the citizens of your country, they have chosen you as prime minister and they are contributing to the progress of your country. Ensure security to Hindus so that they can live in peace in that country."

Speaking to IANS, Ghosh said, "Everyone knows that Hindu society is under attack in Bangladesh for a week, during Durga Puja. Durga temples were demolished, seers have been murdered, against which protests are taking place all over the world."

"Lakhs of Hindus have taken to the streets in Bangladesh, this is not the first time this is happening. Our demand is to ensure the safety of Hindus there. The Government should take responsibility for this and should not allow such incidents to happen again," he said.

He added, "The Indian government has issued a statement on the incident and is in constant touch with the Bangladesh government, which is a friendly country, but we want Hindu citizens to be safe there."

On the question, if he is satisfied with the action taken by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ghosh said, "The incidents have not stopped, the violence should stop, then action should be taken."


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 22:35:15 +0530
AIBA to award medals belts to world champions in Belgrade

New Delhi, Oct 19

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) will award the winners of the Men's World Boxing Championships with beautifully designed medals and belts to commemorate their accomplishments.

According to information received here, medals will be made of solid gold and silver respectively.

"We hope to give our athletes more reasons to push themselves and achieve greatness," AIBA president Umar Kremlev said in a statement.

"With this prestigious title, not only will the champions receive medals and belts to keep and wear with pride, but also significant prize money. I am confident that this will motivate the younger generation to go into boxing gyms, train hard and reach new heights."

The official gloves of the championships will change colour -- white with colored AIBA logos will replace red and blue. The difference between corners will remain in the colours of the uniform, however, rules allow participants to display national colours on their kits as well.

"White gloves will symbolise the fresh start, fairness and transparency of our major events. We will do our utmost to ensure a fair chance for everyone," the President added.

At the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Istanbul, the boxers will be awarded equal prize money in each weight category.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:53:55 +0530
India logs 9 growth in job postings in September Report


Bengaluru, Oct 19

As India reopens after a long spell of pandemic and lockdowns, job postings in the country were improved by 9 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in September this year, a report said on Tuesday.

According to, compared to August, the month of September saw a stable monthly growth of 1 per cent in job posting activity this year.

"As we approach the end of the quarter, it is promising to see that we have witnessed 6 per cent growth in hiring activity over the last three months," Sekhar Garisa, CEO -, a Quess company said in a statement.

"With imminent festive sales and significant increase in e-commerce activities, it is notable that job roles for logistics and supply chain are well in demand," Garisa added.

In September 2021, printing/packaging (11 per cent) grew at a considerable pace, while a positive month-over-month (MoM) uptick was also witnessed in industries such as BPO/ITES (5 per cent), import/export (4 per cent), retail (2 per cent) and travel and tourism (2 per cent).

Cities such as Baroda (3 per cent) and Ahmedabad (1 per cent) noted the highest job posting activity in the country in September 2021 as compared to August 2021.

Hiring activity in metropolitan cities such as Bengaluru (38 per cent), Pune (22 per cent), Hyderabad (20 per cent) and Chennai (18 per cent) indicates a strong rise in recruitment activity as compared to the previous year.

Hiring for professionals in software, hardware, telecom (35 per cent), senior management (23 per cent), HR and admin (11 per cent) and finance and accounts (7 per cent) continued to flourish on a year-on-year basis.

Interestingly, HR and admin roles have seen a marked positive incline across all metropolitan cities, while software, hardware, telecom and finance and accounts also witnessed significant growth across almost all cities tracked by the Index.

Industries such as banking/financial services, insurance, retail and travel and tourism also saw positive uptick at 2 per cent each in September 2021 as compared to August 2021.

However, garments/ textiles/leather, gems and jewelry (-17) per cent which saw significant improvement last month due to peak festive hiring witnessed a decline along with Production and manufacturing (-9) per cent, telecom/ISP (-3) per cent and oil/gas/petroleum and power (-3) per cent, which also saw a decline in job postings in September 2021.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:46:40 +0530
Global cues positive macros push equities higher for 8th day in row

Mumbai, Oct 19

 Positive global cues, as well as healthy Q2 results, pushed equities higher on Tuesday, the eight consecutive sessions of rally.

The 30-scrip sensitive index traded at 62,188 points around 12.25 p.m., up 423 points or 0.68 per cent.

Besides, the NSE Nifty50 traded at 18,584 points, up by 107 points or 0.58 per cent.

"The Indian markets extended its winning run on the back of aggressive buying in metal and select IT and financial shares. Today, with a solid start, the markets are likely to continue their bull run, tracking advances in global markets," said Gaurav Garg, Head of Research at CapitalVia Global Research.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:40:23 +0530
N Korea fires ballistic missile toward East Sea


Seoul, Oct 19

North Korea fired a ballistic missile towards the East Sea on Tuesday, the South Korean military said, as Seoul, Washington and Tokyo are cranking up diplomacy to resume dialogue with Pyongyang.

The missile was launched eastward from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo, South Hamgyong province, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It said the launch was detected at 10.17 a.m. but gave no other details, reports Yonhap News Agency.

"The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the US are currently conducting a thorough analysis regarding additional information," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

The launch came as the top nuclear envoys of the South, the US and Japan are in Washington to discuss joint efforts to bring the North back to dialogue through humanitarian aid and other incentives.

The North has been seen pushing for a military build-up as witnessed in a series of recent missile tests, including last month's launches of a new type of long-range cruise missile and a hypersonic missile.

Pyongyang's continued saber-rattling tempered cautious optimism that has emerged since the reactivation of inter-Korean communication channels earlier this month.

In Washington on Tuesday, Seoul's top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, and his US and Japanese counterparts, Sung Kim and Takehiro Funakoshi, plan to meet trilaterally to discuss a joint strategy on the North.

On Monday, Noh and Kim met bilaterally and discussed President Moon Jae-in's recent proposal for the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which Seoul believes is an effective measure to build confidence with Pyongyang.

The US envoy plans to visit Seoul later this week to further discuss diplomacy toward the North.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:35:05 +0530
Prez Kovind PM Modi convey Eid greetings to nation


New Delhi, Oct 19

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday greeted the country on the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad celebrated as Eid-Milad-un-Nabi.

President Kovind said, "Good wishes to all fellow citizens, especially to our Muslim brothers and sisters on Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. Let us take inspiration from Prophet's life and ideas and work for the prosperity of society and promotion of peace and harmony in the country."

Prime Minister Modi, too, greeted the country on Milad-un-Nabi. "Let there be peace and prosperity all around. May the virtues of kindness and brotherhood always prevail. Eid Mubarak!"

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wished the people of the country on the occasion of Eid. "My best wishes on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi. May we be guided by the spirit of compassion, peace and brotherhood."

Muslims across the country celebrate the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad which falls on the 12th day of the Islamic Hijri month of Rabi' al-Awwal.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:25:52 +0530
T20 World Cup warm ups Pakistan Australia and South Africa win

Dubai, Oct 19

A fine half-century by skipper Babar Azam and an unbeaten 46 by Fakhar Zaman helped Pakistan beat defending champions West Indies by 7 wickets with 27 balls to spare in a warm-up match of the T20 World Cup here on Monday.

Pakistan restricted West Indies to 130/7 in their allotted 20 overs with Shaheen Shah Afridi (2/41), Hasan Ali (2/21), and Haris Rauf (2/32) taking two wickets apiece. West Indies lost early wickets and continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as they managed to reach 130/7. No West Indies batsman got past score of30 as the unpredictable West Indies.

In response, Pakistan had a decent start as Mohammed Rizwan (13) and Babar Azam raised 36/1 when Rizwan was bowled by veteran Ravi Rampaul. But Babar Azam continued the vigil, hitting his half-century in the process as Pakistan romped to o victory. Babar Azam face 41 delivers.

In other warm-up matches ahead of the T20 World Cup, Australia beat New Zealand while South Africa beat Afghanistan by 41 runs.

Brief scores:

West Indies 130/7 in 20 overs (Shimron Hetmyer 28; Hasan Ali 2/21, Haris Rauf 2/32) lost to Pakistan 131/3 in 15.3 overs (Babar Azam 50, Fakhar Zaman 46*; Hayden Walsh 2/41).

New Zealand 158/7 in 20 overs (Martin Guptill 30, Kane Williamson 37, Daryl Mitchell 33; Kane Richardson 3/24, Adam Zampa 2/17) lost to Australia 159/7 in 19.5 overs (Steve Smith 35, Marcus Stoinis 28, Mitchell Marsh 24, Aaron Finch 24; Mitchell Santner 3/22, Trent Boult 2/12)

South Africa 145/5 in 20 overs (Aiden Markram 48, Tamba Bavuma 31; Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3/24) beat Afghanistan 104/8 in 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 34 not out, Tabraiz Shamsi 3/18, Lungi Hgidi 2/270.

Tue, 19 Oct 2021 09:16:34 +0530
Apple launches M1 Pro M1 Max chips with improved performance

Cupertino (California), Oct 19

Apple has unveiled its two latest computer-focused ARM-based Systems-On-a-Chip (SOCs), the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

According to the firm, the GPU in M1 Pro is up to 2x faster than M1, while M1 Max is up to an astonishing 4x faster than M1, allowing pro users to fly through the most demanding graphics workflows.

"With massive gains in CPU and GPU performance, up to six times the memory bandwidth, a new media engine with ProRes accelerators, and other advanced technologies, M1 Pro and M1 Max take Apple silicon even further, and are unlike anything else in a pro notebook," Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, said in a statement.

The M1 Pro and M1 Max introduce a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture to pro systems for the first time.

The M1 Pro has an up-to-16-core GPU that is up to 2x faster than M1 and up to 7x faster than the integrated graphics on the latest 8-core PC laptop chip.

It offers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of unified memory.

The M1 Max delivers up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth - 2x that of M1 Pro and nearly 6x that of M1 - and support for up to 64GB of unified memory.

They also feature enhanced media engines with dedicated ProRes accelerators specifically for pro video processing.

The M1 Pro and M1 Max are by far the most powerful chips Apple has ever built.

M1 Pro also includes dedicated acceleration for the ProRes professional video codec, allowing playback of multiple streams of high-quality 4K and 8K ProRes video while using very little power. M1 Max goes even further, delivering up to 2x faster video encoding than M1 Pro, and features two ProRes accelerators.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 09:11:08 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 241 mn

Washington, Oct 19

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 241 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.90 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.61 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Tuesday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 241,098,699, 4,904,877 and 6,617,433,262, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 45,050,219 and 726,196, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in the second place with 34,081,315 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,651,910), the UK (8,537,467), Russia (7,903,963), Turkey (7,683,487), France (7,190,716), Iran (5,796,659), Argentina (5,273,463), Spain (4,988,878), Colombia (4,982,575), Italy (4,719,493), Germany (5,796,659), Indonesia (4,235,384) and Mexico (3,757,056), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (603,465), India (452,290), Mexico (284,381), Russia (220,323), Peru (199,843), Indonesia (142,999), the UK (139,042), Italy (131,585), Colombia (126,886), Iran (124,256), France (118,232) and Argentina (115,704).


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 09:04:17 +0530
Iran s president voices concern over IS militants in Af

Tehran, Oct 19

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has expressed concern about the presence of the Islamic State (IS) militants in Afghanistan, state TV reported.

"The increasing number of terrorist acts, which are conducted in line with Washington's destabilizing strategy in Afghanistan, indicate the expansion of the circle of terrorist measures in this country," Raisi made the remarks in the cabinet meeting on Monday.

He referred to recent terrorist bombings at a mosque in Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar, saying that "such attacks are carried out with the purpose of creating discord, war and religious bloodshed", Xinhua news agency reported.

The rulers of Afghanistan are expected to fulfill their responsibility to ensure the nation's security, Raisi was quoted as saying.

Iran's Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that Tehran will host a ministerial meeting on the situation of Afghanistan in near future.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 08:55:56 +0530
Delhi TN lead India s switch to electric cooking with 17 adoption CEEW

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) States such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Assam, and Kerala have seen a gradual uptick in the adoption of electric cooking (eCooking) devices, according to an independent study released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).

Overall, just five per cent of the total households across the country have shifted to eCooking.

In Delhi and Tamil Nadu, 17 per cent of households have adopted some form of electric cooking, using devided such as induction cooktops, rice cookers, and microwave ovens, while in Telangana, the rate of adoption stood at 15 per cent.

In Kerala and Assam, 12 per cent of households have partially switched to eCooking.

Taking view of the fact that the Centre had in February kicked off the 'Go Electric Campaign' to promote the benefits of electricity-based cooking, the CEEW study further highlighted that penetration of eCooking among urban households stood at 10.3 per cent while the same for rural households stood at just 2.7 per cent.

At the current LPG prices, eCooking will be more cost-effective than LPG for households getting subsidised electricity. "However, high upfront cost and perception barriers have limited the uptake within urban households," the study observed.

The CEEW study also found that 93 per cent of e-Cooking adopters still rely on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as the primary cooking fuel and use eCooking devices as a backup. Electricity-based cooking is mostly prevalent among affluent families in urban areas, especially in states like Delhi and Tamil Nadu, where electricity rates are economical compared to other states like Maharashtra.

The study is based on the India Residential Energy Survey (IRES) 2020, conducted in collaboration with the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP). These findings are based on data collected from nearly 15,000 urban and rural households across 152 districts from the 21 most populous states.

Shalu Agrawal, author and senior programme lead, CEEW, said, "Affordability is the most important factor that drives adoption of any cooking fuel. Hence, affluent urban households in states with relatively higher subsidies are likely to witness faster adoption of eCooking. Policymakers should concentrate on reducing the upfront cost of eCooking devices and ensuring reliable electricity supply at affordable tariffs to drive this transition."

Further, power surplus discoms could collaborate with financial institutions to offer affordable credit options to customers willing to shift to eCooking devices, she said.

CEO, CEEW, Arunabha Ghosh said, "A successful transition to e-cooking in the coming decades would be another example of India's ability to lead the energy transition. India has witnessed steady progress in its efforts to reduce household air pollution, with almost 85 per cent of households now having access to clean cooking in the form of LPG cylinders. As urban households are more likely to embrace electric cooking, supporting this transition would free up resources to meet rising LPG demand in rural areas."

The CEEW study recommended that the availability of energy-efficient and low-cost devices, suitable financing solutions, and reliable electricity services will be crucial to scaling up the adoption of electric cooking.

Also, a nationwide transition to electric cooking would translate into additional electricity demand of 243 terawatt-hours (tWh). Thus, meeting the additional demand through cleaner resources should be a priority.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 08:47:19 +0530
Bigg Boss 15 Is friendship of Jay and Tejasswi on the rocks

Mumbai, Oct 18

The previous episode of 'Bigg Boss 15' already saw rivalries and competition among the contestants becoming more fierce.

As Shamita Shetty's tenure as the house captain comes to an end, the house is looking for a new commander who will lead them. Jay Bhanushali and Tejasswi Prakash have remained great friends since the beginning of this season. However, it appears that the selection process for captaincy has created a massive rift between them.

Tejasswi has become the 'sanchalak' who judges everyone's performance and ultimately decides who lands the captaincy role. Pratik plays a controversial trick in this contest which Tejasswi misses but Jay spots. He wants Tejasswi to act on the foul play, but she maintains her stance of not seeing it happen. This leads to a huge fight between the two, casting doubts on the future of their friendship.

'Bigg Boss 15' airs on Colors.


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 23:09:15 +0530
Flame for Beijing 2022 Winter Games lit in Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia (Greece), Oct 18

The Olympic Flame that will be burning for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games was ignited on Monday at the birthplace of the Games in Ancient Olympia, Greece.

During the traditional ceremony, actress Xanthi Georgiou in the role of an ancient Greek High Priestess used a concave mirror to focus the sun's rays and light a torch before the 2,500-year-old Temple of Hera, a goddess in ancient Greek mythology.

At the end of the ceremony, the High Priestess handed over the flame to the first torchbearer, Greek skier Ioannis Antoniou, inside the stadium which hosted the first Games centuries ago.

A total of three torchbearers will relay the torch in Ancient Olympia. Former Chinese short track speed skating athlete Li Jiajun was the second runner, reports Xinhua.

Following a short symbolic torch relay, the flame will be transferred to Athens to be passed over on Tuesday to the organizers of Beijing 2022.

The XXIV Winter Olympics will take place from February 4 to 20, 2022, followed by the Paralympics Winter Games.


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 23:00:39 +0530
India and China to drive global aviation Satcom market

Chennai, Oct 18

The global aviation satellite communication (Satcom) market is poised for improved flight operations and connectivity as a result of increased investment in in-flight entertainment said Frost & Sullivan in a research report.

This will improve the passenger experience, enhance safety, and increase the efficiency of flight operations.

According to the report, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) will generate the highest revenue for the market over the forecast period primarily driven by China and India, where the demand for domestic travel is high.

With the aviation market's shift toward more connected and smart aircraft, the market, comprising of the cockpit segment, cabin segment, and in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC), is estimated to reach $730.4 million by 2030 from $527.2 million in 2020, at a 3.3 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

However, due to the impact of Covid-19, the industry will likely witness incremental growth till 2023.

Air travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic numbers by 2024, and the demand for aviation Satcom will inflate steadily throughout the forecast period, Frost & Sullivan said.

The report further said, in order to tap the growth prospects, Satcom players should offer hardware solutions suitable for low earth orbit (LEO) capacities, satellite operators must develop smaller and cheaper hardware for the Satcom service portfolio by partnering with multiple hardware developers, and launch new satellites to provide seamless connectivity.

Then, vendors need to determine which satellite mission can be launched from their end to offer seamless global connectivity to airlines, partner with LEO satellite operators to provide low-cost capacity to airlines, and geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) satellite operators should partner with LEO satellite operators to offer cheaper services and enhance existing capabilities.

It also called for enhancing the passenger experience by providing live content, and satellite operators should partner with live TV channel providers to stream their content onboard the aircraft.


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 22:52:12 +0530
Colin Powell who broke US racial barriers in politics military dies at 84

New York, Oct 18

Colin Powell, who blasted through racial barriers to become the US' first African American Secretary of State, National Security Adviser, and the top military officer and was a one-time favourite for President, died at the age of 84 on Monday from COVID-19-related complications despite being vaccinated, according to his family.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, he showcased America's opportunities for immigrant families.

Growing up in the impoverished Harlem section of New York City, he attended a local college where he excelled in the Reserve Officers Training Corps -- the equivalent of the NCC -- leading to a distinguished army career that led him to the military's highest position of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He served two tours of duty as a young military officer in Vietnam winning several military honours.

Powell made several visits to India as the National Security Adviser when he conferred with his then-counterpart Brajesh Mishra, and as Secretary of State when he met then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee many times.

In a trip in 2003 to both India and Pakistan, he sought to keep the situation in the subcontinent spinning out of control after a massive suicide attack in Srinagar by the Islamabad-backed Jaish-e-Mohammad.

George W Bush, who appointed his Secretary of State, said in his tribute: "Many Presidents relied on General Powell's counsel and experience."

The African American leader's career reached its heights during the terms of Presidents belonging to the Republican Party.

He did a stint as a White House Fellow when Richard Nixon was President.

Ronald Reagan appointed him National Security Adviser in 1987 as the Cold War was winding down and had him help negotiate the transition as the Soviet Union disintegrated.

George H.W. Bush appointed him to the top Pentagon position.

As the Joint Chiefs Chairman, he developed what came to be known as the "Powell Doctrine" learning from the US debacle in Vietnam, the makings of which he had witnessed first hand.

Its three elements were that military force should be used only when diplomacy and politics had failed, the force should be the maximum in order to quickly defeat the enemy with minimal US casualties, and the action should have wide public support.

The doctrine was effective as he led the 1989 invasion of Panama to overthrow President Manuel Noriega -- a small operation -- and in repelling the 1990 Kuwait invasion by Iraq under Saddam Hussain with the overwhelming deployment of force against Baghdad's forces.

"First we're going to cut it off. Then we're going to kill it," he said of his strategy against the Iraqi military.

But he also knew the limitations of military power, advising Bush against pushing onward to Baghdad as many had wanted.

That lesson was lost on Bush's son who mired the US in an unwinnable war by invading Iraq in 2003.

He left the military in 1993 amid differences with the administration of Democratic President Bill Clinton, including over the US military role in the Balkans.

As the acknowledged hero of the Kuwait war where he led the US to a swift decisive victory, there was a clamour for him to run for President as the Republican candidate in 1996 against Clinton, but he declined to say that he had no passion for politics and did not hear a "calling" to seek the office.

He spoke at the 2000 Republican National Convention endorsing George W. Bush for President.

After his election, the younger Bush appointed Powell as the Secretary of State.

Although Powell had made his mark leading the US and allies vanquishing Iraq in 1990, that country also marked his lowest point, as he himself has acknowledged.

As Secretary of State, he made a persuasive case at the United Nations in 2003 for invading Iraq based on intelligence that proved to be false and in his autobiography he called that "one of my most momentous failures" and predicted that it "will earn a prominent paragraph in my obituary".

The Iraq invasion under the younger Bush was in fact a negation of the Powell Doctrine and the US paid a colossal price for it.

It cost the US and world a huge human toll that could total in over a hundred thousand people dead in Iraq and from its reverberations in the region and a loss of possibly more than a trillion dollars.

Powell broke with the Republican Party when Donald Trump became its candidate for President in 2016.

He called Trump a "national disgrace" and backed Hillary Clinton.

Powell endorsed President Joe Biden last year saying that he "will be a President we will all be proud to salute".

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first African American to hold the post, called Powell "one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed".


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 21:05:41 +0530
T20 WC Sri Lanka win toss elect to bowl first against Namibia

Abu Dhabi, Oct 18

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka won the toss and elected to bowl first against Namibia in the fourth match of the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Monday.

After winning the toss, Shanaka said dew coming later led him to bowling first. "The team is doing good in the last six months, we got a few good series wins and also won some warm-up matches. It is about handling the situations and our guys have been handling them well in the last few months. I have been playing a long time now and I am happy to captain."

Namibia skipper Gerhard Erasmus said, "I think from the last game we saw the pitch getting slow, so not too worried about that. Hopefully, we can set up a total and put them under pressure. When you have runs on the board, you can put the ball in their half. It is the pinnacle of many players around here and it has been a long time for us on the world stage, this group is very excited to show their worth here and hopefully we can do that in these three games."

Playing XIs:

Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera (wicketkeeper), Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (captain), Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana and Lahiru Kumara

Namibia: Stephan Baard, Zane Green (wicketkeeper), Craig Williams, Gerhard Erasmus (captain), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Pikky Ya France, Jan Frylinck, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann and Bernard Scholtz


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 20:53:49 +0530
GIS based Geospatial Energy Map of India launched

New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) A comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS)-based Geospatial Energy Map of India, launched on Monday, will identify and locate all primary and secondary sources of energy and their transportation/transmission networks to provide a comprehensive view of energy production and distribution in the country.

Developed by the NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the support of energy ministries, the map provides a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country, which enables visualization of energy installations such as conventional power plants, oil and gas wells, petroleum refineries, coal fields and coal blocks, district-wise data on renewable energy power plants and renewable energy resource potential, etc through 27 thematic layers.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and ISRO Chairman Dr K. Sivan were present at the launch event.

A Niti Aayog release said that the map "is a unique effort aimed at integrating energy data scattered across multiple organizations and to present it in a consolidated, visually appealing graphical manner.

"It leverages latest advancements in web-GIS technology and open-source software to make it interactive and user friendly. The Geospatial Energy Map of India will be useful in planning and making investment decisions. It will also aid in disaster management using available energy assets."

Stating that the GIS mapping of energy assets will be useful for ensuring real-time and integrated planning of the energy sector of India, given its large geographical distribution and interdependence, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said: "Energy markets have immense potential to bring in efficiency gains. Going forward, GIS-based mapping of energy assets will be advantageous to all concerned stakeholders and will help in accelerating the policy-making process."


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 20:45:44 +0530
K taka signs MoU with Gulf Islamic Investment Group in DubaiMon, 18 Oct 2021 20:36:22 +0530Bhupesh Baghel emerges on top in race for best Chief Minister

New Delhi, Oct 18

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is the best performing Chief Minister in the country, facing the least anger of the electorate, as per the IANS-CVoter Governance Index.

Only 6 per cent of the respondents are angry with Baghel and want a change. Conversely, Baghel enjoys the highest popularity ratings among all Chief Ministers, as per the tracker.

In case of Chhattisgarh, anger is directed against the Central government and even state MLAs, but there is hardly any anger towards Baghel.

As many as 44.7 per cent of respondents in Chhattisgarh are angry with the Central government, while 36.6 per cent are angry with the state government.

Baghel has introduced a slew of welfare schemes in Chhattisgarh, including providing free education to children studying in private schools, who have lost parents/guardians to Covid-19. Under the Mahtari Dular Yojana, the Chhattisgarh government would bear the expenses of education of such children.

Chhattisgarh was the top-performing state in India on the gender equality parameter of the Sustainable Development Goals, according to the NITI Aayog's SDG India Index report 2020-21.

The index tracks the progress of all states and Union Territories on 115 indicators.

Last year, Chhattisgarh scored 43 points on the gender quality parameter and was ranked seventh in India. This year, it scored 61 and topped the chart.

Yashwant Deshmukh, Founder, CVoter, said, "The CEO working style of CMs is popular. People are liking CMs with centralized decision making."

"These are leaders who are not afraid of taking the blame. It is risky when things go wrong as in the case of former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. But there is a better rating for the CEO style. We are living in a Parliamentary democracy, but a Presidential system is becoming popular with the public," Deshmukh said.

The CVoter Tracker is India's only daily opinion tracking exercise mapping more than a hundred thousand randomly selected respondents in a calendar year. The tracker run in 11 Indian languages has interviewed more than a million respondents in person and CATI over the last 10 years.

The quarterly report cards on CMs cover more than 30,000 across all the 543 Lok Sabha seats and have a margin of error of +/-3 per cent at the national level and +/-5 per cent at the state level.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami ranks second in minimum anger of the electorate with 10.1 per cent, but since he is a new CM, he is getting the benefit of the doubt even as a massive 61 per cent are angry with the state government. The earlier Chief Minister was drawing negative ratings, but now that has diffused through the anger against the state government remains high.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik ranks third with 10.4 per cent anger against him, and 37.6 per cent against the state government.

Also, the changing of CMs in some states has worked. With Punjab and Karnataka getting new CMs, the states have moved to respectable positions as they were languishing near the bottom earlier.

The maximum anger has been garnered by Telangana CM Chandrashekar Rao or KCR. As many as 30.3 per cent respondents are angry with him and want a change. With a high degree of anger against the incumbent and the Central government having good ratings in the state, the BJP is set to make inroads there, said Deshmukh.

He added that it is high time KCR's son, K.T. Rama Rao, replaces him or else things could go out of hand.

Also in the bottom are the northeastern states collectively with an anger quotent of 29.2 per cent.

There is 28.1 per cent anger against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but that is accounted for by the fact that Uttar Pradesh is a polarised state.

"Yogi being a polarizing figure, the number is not surprising," said Deshmukh.

He added that the arithmetic of a 40 per cent support base ensures that BJP is in a strong position in Uttar Pradesh.



Mon, 18 Oct 2021 20:26:54 +0530
Tennis ace Naomi Osaka shares stunning pictures of Greek vacation

Athens, Oct 18

Japanese tennis ace and four-time major winner, Naomi Osaka, has shared stunning pictures of her vacationing in Mykonos in Greece, as she celebrates her 24th birthday with her family and friends in the island paradise.

Osaka, who turned 24 on October 16, posted several pictures of her on social media and tweeted, "24, Kobe year. Thank you for all the birthday wishes. When I was younger it was just my sister and parents who wished me a happy birthday, now a few years later to have people all over the world doing the same…It feels surreal. I'm so extremely thankful, honored and blessed."

The American former world No.1, who has taken an indefinite break from the game due to mental health issues, recently dropped out of the top-10 for the first time since winning the 2018 US Open title.

The Japanese player, earlier this year, had pulled out of the French Open and Wimbledon citing mental health concerns.

Osaka posted pictures on Instagram, where she is seen posing in front of the Temple of Isis on the Greek island of Delos, located just off Mykonos. In another picture, she is seen enjoying her vacation in Mykonos, while in an eye-catching picture, she is seen sitting on a luxury yacht.

According to, "Mykonos remains a hub of global luxury tourism, where international travelers can experience a slice of Grecian paradise. Mykonos is a popular destination for celebrities due to its unrivaled cosmopolitan atmosphere, fine dining and luxury accommodations, and famous nightlife."


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 18:26:09 +0530
Taking flu shot may cut heart disease risk Study

New York, Oct 18

Did you know that coming down with the flu can substantially increase the risk of a serious or even fatal cardiac event? US researchers suggest that taking annual flu vaccinations may cut heart disease risk.

It's well-known that the flu can lead to significant respiratory symptoms such as pneumonia, bronchitis and bacterial infection of the lungs. But the virus' effects on the heart have historically been harder to parse out.

Studies have shown that patients are six times more likely to experience a heart attack the week after influenza infection than they are at any point during the year prior or the year after the flu infection.

But a new review of studies published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that not only is the vaccine effective at protecting the general population and the most vulnerable age groups (over 65 and under 2) from severe cases of the flu, but it's also protective against cardiovascular mortality as well, especially among the high-risk population.

Researchers from Houston Methodist, writing in the review, noted that adults who received the vaccine were 37 per cent less likely to be hospitalised for the flu and 82 per cent less likely to be admitted to the ICU because of it.

Vaccination was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events (2.9 per cent vs 4.7 per cent) if the patient got the flu. Among the highest-risk patients with more active coronary disease, vaccination was associated with considerably better outcomes.

The reason influenza stresses the heart and vascular system so much has to do with the body's inflammatory response to the infection, explained said lead author Dr Priyanka Bhugra, internal medicine specialist at Houston Methodist.

As a result of the demonstrated benefits conferred by influenza vaccination and the risks posed by flu infection among those with cardiovascular disease, the CDC and numerous other international societies strongly recommend annual influenza vaccination in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Clinicians should ensure high rates of influenza vaccination, especially in those with underlying chronic conditions, to protect against acute cardiovascular events associated with influenza, Bhugra said.



Mon, 18 Oct 2021 18:20:23 +0530
Meera Deosthale I don t like comparing myself to anyone

Mumbai, Oct 18

An actor's life might look all glitz and glamour, but the reality is quite different. Much like any other profession, they also need to hustle. While there are opportunities, so is the competition. Meera Deosthale has her own way to deal with all the good and bad that is a part and parcel of this profession.

"I only compete with myself. I don't like comparing myself to anyone. Those who have been doing well, have done some amazing work in their careers inspire and motivate me. Having said that, what I can do, many can't. And what they can do probably I can't. We just have to keep growing," says the actor, who appeared in shows such as 'Dilli Wali Thakur Gurls', 'Udaan' and 'Vidya'.

It's is often said that actors are never satisfied and are always hungry for meaty roles. And, Meera feels this genuine hunger gets them going.

"With time, the platforms to showcase our talents are also growing. With the digital growth today, the discrimination between television actors and film actors has been reduced and how. The scope to do meaty roles has increased so much. And people who really want to be good actors do evolve as they are always looking for more and better opportunities," she adds.

There is no one particular person that Meera looks up to in her profession. "I learn something from everyone. One woman, who is a wonderful actor, and is absolutely stunning at everything she does, is Meryl Streep. Whenever I see a film of hers, I feel elated and I want to be as gracious and easy as her in terms of acting and looks," she shares.

Highlighting the pros and cons of her profession, the actor adds: "I was just telling a friend recently that the best part of being an actor is we get to experience every emotion at depth and in grandiose, and then we get to come back to our normal self once the director says cut."

"Probably my boyfriend would never go on one knee and propose as we do in serials or movies or I may never wear a chiffon saree and dance in the snow or I can't be a doctor, pilot, dancer all in one in real life, but I get to live all of it on screen as an actor. I love what I do and don't think there are cons as such. It just doesn't feel right that when you get famous, your personal life becomes everybody's business," she concludes.



Mon, 18 Oct 2021 18:15:31 +0530
Rains festive season high fuel prices send veggie prices soaring

New Delhi, Oct 18

The delayed withdrawal of monsoon, coupled with the flood situation in various parts of the country, soaring fuel prices and the festive season demand have all set the prices of vegetables, especially essentials such as onion and tomato, to shoot up within a week or so.

The Centre has claimed it is keeping a tab on the prices and even announced that it has maintained a buffer stock to moderate prices and ensuring minimal storage loss.

The prices were relatively stable till about last month and the rates were comparable to that of the same time last year. However, floods in several parts of south India in September and early October led to supply shortages.

For instance, according to state wise 'Wholesale Prices Monthly Analysis for Onion' for the month of October 2021 shows that in Delhi, the rate of onions in this month is Rs 2,970.62 per quintal, compared to Rs 1,711.18 per quintal in September 2021, which is a whopping 73.6 per cent increase. However, the rate in October 2020 was Rs 3,161.94 per quintal, which is minus 6.05 per cent compared to current month price.

Similarly, for Maharashtra, the rate is Rs 2,760.69 per quintal in October 2021 compared to Rs 1,521.68 per quintal in September 2021, which is an 81.42 per cent increase. However, the rate in October 2020 was Rs 3,374.71, which is minus 18.19 per cent.

Almost similar prices played out in Madhya Pradesh where the rate for October 2021 is Rs 2,523.79 compared to Rs 1,391.11 in September 2021, which is again, 81.42 per cent rise. And very similar to Maharashtra, the price in October 2020 was Rs 3,181.28, which is minus 20.67 compared to the current monthly savings.

"The onion and tomato prices have shot up because there have been continuous rains in Maharashtra from where Delhi gets its onions. Tomatoes come from Maharashtra and Karnataka, which too has witnessed rains and flood fury in recent weeks," said former president of Federation of Fruit and Vegetables Trade Associations of Delhi, Rajendra Sharma.

This has had a cascading effect on retail rates in Delhi. Around navaratri time, the rates were stable, tomatoes cost Rs 50 per kg but days after Dussehra, on Monday, the rates had soared to Rs 80 per kg. Onions are currently being sold at Rs 60 per kg in most areas, with rates in south Delhi tad higher.

Vegetable rates rarely soar in just one area or one metro. The price rise is almost all the time pan-India, especially for the metro cities.

An onion grower and trader from Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Sanjay Holkar, said, the diesel prices have hit the roof and that is the reason why the cost at the consumer end has escalated. "I send in 30-40 truckloads of onions to north every week. The prices won't come down till the time the diesel prices are lowered," Holkar told IANS on phone.

The Centre's Department of Consumer Affairs has said, it has taken up a "calibrated and targeted release of onions" from its buffer stock guided by the twin objectives of moderating prices and ensuring minimal storage loss. Onion buffer has been maintained by the Department of Consumer Affairs under the Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) with the objective of effective market intervention to moderate prices. In 2021-22, against the target of building 2 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) onion buffer a total of 2.08 LMT was procured from Rabi-2021 crop during April to July, 2021, the Centre had said on Sunday.

Sharma criticized that the buffer stock maintained by the Centre is just too little.

The government also claimed that till October 12, a total of 67,357 MT has been released in major markets such as Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kochi and Raipur.

However, not all are convinced that the soaring prices have got anything to do with either rains or rising fuel costs. "It is sheer mismanagement on the part of the government and officials, who are hand in glove. The corruption has led to this artificial price rise," said Bhanwar Singh Shekhawat of Devi Ahilya Sahakari Vipanan and Prakriya Sanstha Ltd, Indore.


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 18:03:35 +0530
UP on alert for farmers rail roko protest

Lucknow, Oct 18

Uttar Pradesh has been put on high alert following Sanyukta Kisan Morcha's 'rail roko' call on Monday.

The farmers are demanding the dismissal and arrest of Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni for his alleged involvement in the October 3 incident in which four farmers were mowed down by an SUV that belonged to the minister.

According to the home department officials, 44 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and four companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed at major railway stations.

Senior police officials will be supervising arrangements in 14 sensitive districts.

Additional forces have been deployed in Lakhimpur Kheri and along the Lucknow Delhi route.

All districts in western UP will have an additional officer at the senior level to monitor the law-and-order situation.

Vigil is being maintained on the residences and movement of senior farmer leaders.

Prohibitory orders are already in place in the state capital.


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 17:51:56 +0530
Governor releases maiden issue of Vigyan Vishwa

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari launched the inaugural issue of Marathi monthly ‘Vigyan Vishwa’ at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai on Sunday (17th Oct). The publication has been brought out with the objective of popularizing science among children and youth.

Jayant Sahasrabudhdhe, National Organizing Secretary, Vigyan Bharati, Dr Jayant Joshi, Dr Shrinivas Samant, President, Konkan Vibhag, Dr Nakul Parashar, Director Vigyan Prasar, Dr Arvind Ranade, Abhijit Mulye, Dr Prabhakar Ingle, Dr Mansi Malgaonkar, Dr. Madhav Rajwade, and others were present.

Mon, 18 Oct 2021 17:39:50 +0530
Governor inaugurates Seminar on Mental Health Problems A Growing Concern

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari presided over a Seminar on ‘Mental Health Problems – A Growing Concern’ at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai on Sunday (17 Oct). The Seminar aimed at creating awareness about mental health and problems was organised by the Bombay Psychiatric Society.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor Koshyari stressed the need for adopting a holistic approach to addressing the problems of mental health. Stating that the Bhagwad Gita begins with the chapter on Arjuna’s depression and ends with the way to salvation, he urged mental health professionals to study ancient scriptures, literature and philosophy that may hold new perspectives for them.

Consulting psychiatrist Dr Kersi Chavda said mental health problems are growing among children. He said 10 per cent of the children in the age group of 5 -16 were found to have diagnosable mental problems; however almost 70 per cent of these did not have any medical intervention. He said the COVID 19 pandemic had increased the rate of mental health disorder. He said WHO had predicted that by 2021, twenty per cent of India will suffer from mental illness.

Dr Avinash Desouza, President of Bombay Psychiatric Society recommended every school having a psychologist. He felt that the subject of mental health should be taught to students in schools.

Consul General of Singapore in Mumbai Ming Foong, Consul General of Israel in Mumbai Kobbi Shoshani, Executive Vice President of Hinduja Group Col P.C. Sood, Consulting Psychiatrist Dr Kersi Chavda, President, Bombay Psychiatric Society Dr Avinash Desouza, Dr Avinash Supe, Dr Sanjay Kumawat and Dr Anita Sukhwani were present on the occasion.

Mon, 18 Oct 2021 12:58:03 +0530
T20 World Cup We have lot of belief in our batting depth says Scotland s Coetzer

Al Amerat, Oct 18

Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer said that team had belief in its batting depth and has batters who could hit the ball a long way. He added that Scotland's rear-guard act with the bat will build the confidence of the team. Scotland pulled off a six-run upset win over Bangladesh on the opening day of the men's T20 World Cup on Sunday.

"Credit to the Bangladesh bowlers, they showed high-class skills. They did blow us away a bit. But you can't count any team out in T20s. We had a lot of belief in our batting depth, we do feel we can all hit the ball a long way. Greaves and Watt showed it," said Coetzer in the post-match presentation ceremony.

Talking about the fightback with the bat, led by 45 off 28 balls from Chris Greaves, Coetzer said, "It just shows that we can win a game from any position. We fought back with some great knocks and this is a great confidence builder."

"We understand that we have to play extremely well to beat sides. We certainly didn't play to our full potential tonight against a good Bangladesh side. We'll do what we do after winning games, and maybe de-brief at some point tomorrow."

He was in praise of his bowling attack in restricting Bangladesh to 134/7 in reply to Scotland's 140/9. "It was tricky, there was plenty of dew. I felt our fielders tackled it well apart from myself, all credit to them."

Asked about team bonding in tournaments like this, Coetzer remarked, "Huge togetherness amongst our crowd. That's one of the most important things that we need when we want to get across the line under pressure. Everyone backs each other. Really proud of the guys. We continually keep proving to ourselves that we're capable."


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 09:20:56 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 240 6 mn


Washington, Oct 18

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 240.6 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.89 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.61 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Monday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 240,658,812, 4,898,374 and 6,617,433,262, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 44,933,336 and 724,317, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in second place with 34,067,719 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,644,464), the UK (8,488,665), Russia (7,870,529), Turkey (7,630,133), France (7,189,566), Iran (5,784,815), Argentina (5,272,551), Spain (4,984,386), Colombia (4,981,532), Italy (4,717,899), Germany (4,382,019), Indonesia (4,234,758) and Mexico (3,755,063), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (603,282), India (452,124), Mexico (284,321), Russia (219,342), Peru (199,816), Indonesia (142,952), the UK (138,997), Italy (131,541), Colombia (126,865), Iran (124,075), France (118,183) and Argentina (115,666).


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 09:13:10 +0530
2021 MacBook Pro models may feature notched display

San Francisco, Oct 18

Apple is planning to release a redesigned MacBook Pro line, consisting of a new 14-inch as well as a new 16-inch model powered by the Apple Silicon M1X on Monday and now a new report has claimed that the MacBook Pro models will come with a notched display.

The new MacBook Pro will feature a standard-sized notch. Instead of containing a Face ID TrueDepth camera like on the iPhone, the MacBook Pro's notch apparently houses a 1080p webcam, a True Tone sensor, and a microphone, reports MacRumors.

The 2021 Apple MacBook Pro models will be powered by an M1X processor, likely paired with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage for the base variant.

As per the report, the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros will feature resolutions of 3024 by 1964 and 3456 by 2234.

According to industry sources, the shipments for LEDs and associated components to Apple assembly partners relating to the MacBook Pro models are on schedule as expected.

Apple's use of mini-LED panels in its forthcoming MacBook lineups will catalyze supplier investment and push the entire industry toward the adoption of display technology.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple is already "actively looking for second suppliers of key Mini LED components", and if its mini-LED notebooks receive positive feedback, other notebook makers and their suppliers will inevitably be pushed towards adoption of the technology.


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 08:58:20 +0530
Israeli PM urges to combat violent crimes in Arab towns

Jerusalem, Oct 18 (IANS)

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Sunday that violent crimes in the country's Arab society are spiraling and must be curbed.

Bennett made the remarks at a ministerial meeting, during which the ministers approved a new measure, which expands the police authority to conduct searches even without a search warrant when there is "a reasonable suspicion" for a serious crime, Xinhua news agency reported.

In early October, the government decided that the army and Shin Bet internal security agency will take part in its efforts to combat the soaring wave of violent crimes in the country's Arab society.

The Arab communities in Israel have been affected by spiraling violent crimes over the past years.

Arab leaders in the country have called for years the government to step up its effort against the crimes.

Israeli Arabs are the descendants of Palestinians who stayed on their lands during the 1948 war, known by Jews as the Israeli Independence War and the Palestinians as "the Nakba," or the catastrophe.

They suffer widespread discrimination in many fields including education, health, and infrastructures.


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 08:51:27 +0530
India s pluralistic culture has power to unite people Naidu

Hyderabad, Oct 18

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the country's pluralistic culture has the power to unite people, going beyond various social divisions.

In his address at the cultural event 'Alai Balai', organized as part of Dussehra festivities by Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya, he called for encouraging youth to be aware of India's ancient tradition and culture and uphold the national value of "unity in diversity".

The event witnessed leaders and dignitaries from various fields and political parties exchange greetings and pleasantries. The Vice President complimented Dattatreya for taking initiative in organizing 'Alai Balai' over the years to promote camaraderie and brotherhood among people.

On the occasion, he recalled the legacy of great freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak who similarly initiated the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations to unite the people during the Swaraj movement. He called for honoring the legacy of great leaders and to take inspiration from their lives to protect the pluralistic culture of India.


Mon, 18 Oct 2021 08:45:30 +0530
Newcastle v Spurs match stopped for 40 minutes for medical emergency

Newcastle, Oct 17

The English Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur was on Sunday suspended for 40 minutes after a medical emergency involving a fan in the stands.

A fan had collapsed in the East Stand with a suspected heart attack and the officials decided to stop the match till the person was given emergency treatment in the stands and then moved to the hospital.

"An emergency in the East Stand", an announcement was made on the PA system and a couple of Spurs players immediately called for the medics, the stretcher etc to be taken to the East stand.

The Newcastle fan was stabilized and taken to hospital.

"The supporter who was in need of urgent medical assistance has been stabilised and is on their way (sic) to hospital. Our thoughts are with them," Newcastle United FC informed via a tweet.

Newcastle, whose management has been recently taken over by a Sauri-led consortium, have made a poor start in the league and face a lot of hard work if they have to avoid relegation. Newcastle had made it to the Premier League after winning the Championship title in 2017. They have remained in top-flight since but are facing their toughest fight this


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 23:55:20 +0530
As Noeasy joins K pop pantheon industry records all time high sales

Seoul, Oct 17

The Korean pop culture market has suffered a heavy blow from the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, but the K-pop industry remains less affected thanks to the strongest sales of physical albums in a decade.

'Noeasy', the second full-length album by boy band Stray Kids, recently became the first-ever million-seller from JYP Entertainment, one of the four major K-pop agencies. The album sold more than 1.22 million copies as of the end of last month, according to data from the local market tracker Gaon Chart.

Three other agencies -- Hybe, SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment -- have achieved the milestone with albums by BTS and Seventeen, both Hybe artists; EXO, Baekhyun, NCT Dream and NCT 127, all with SM; and BLACKPINK with YG, reports Yonhap news agency.

Sales of physical albums have soared conspicuously in recent years. After dropping to the lowest point at 7.38 million copies in 2014, sales of the nation's top 400 albums have risen to 8.38 million in 2015, 10.8 million in 2016, 16.93 million in 2017, 22.82 million in 2018, 24.59 million in 2019 and to more than 42 million in 2020, according to Kim Jin-woo, Gaon Chart's head researcher.

This year, about 43 million copies were sold in the first nine months, surpassing last year's total. Industry insiders attribute the robust album sales to limitations from the pandemic, in addition to the global popularity of K-pop supergroup BTS.

"Fans appear to be seeking to assuage the disappointment of not being able to attend concerts because of COVID-19 with album purchases," Kim said. "The pie of the market became bigger with the growth of the overseas fandom of K-pop music."


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 23:48:10 +0530
Rajendra wins feature event in Rally de Hampi

Hosapete (Karnataka), Oct 17  

Rajendra RE of Team TVS Racing, the 2019 National champion, won the feature event and the overall honours and 2019 World Cup Baja winner Aishwarya Pissay won in Ladies Class as they led a sweep by Team TVS Racing the Rally de Hampi, the first round of the National Rally Championship for bikes 2021 here on Sunday
Defending champion in the top Pro-Expert class Nataraj of TVS Racing suffered a DNF (did not finish). Pune mariner Ashish Raorane, could only come fourth in the Expert class, but his very presence here gave a chance to the fans to watch a Dakar hero and his super machine.

Sarath Mohan, a privateer from Mallapuram, won the Expert class while another Kerala rider Ajin Abraham clinched the gold in the SuperSport 130cc Group B class. Coimbatore riders Sasikumar (165cc), and veteran biker and Ri'ers' representative Venu Ramesh Kumar (400cc), also took the top spot on the podium in their respective classes.

The Bike Rally Nationals are scheduled to run five more rounds for the 2021 championship.

Provisional results:
Overall: 1. Rajendra RE (TVS Racing) (01:01:39.474); 2. Samuel Jacob (TVS) (01:02:12.993); 3. Abdul Waheed Tanvir (TVS) (01:02:25.753)

Class 1: Super Bike-Pro Expert Group A: 1. Rajendra RE (TVS Racing) (01:01:39.474); 2. Abdul Waheed Tanvir (TVS) (01:02:25.753); 3. Goutham Rao R (Pvt.) (01:11:52.935). All 3 Bengaluru.

Class 1A: Super Bike (Expert) Group A: 1. Sarath Mohan (Privateer - Mallapuram) (01:03:22.563); 2. Asad Khan (Chikmagalur - Pvt.) (01:05:26.509); 3. Badal Subhash Doshi (Vashi - Pvt.) (01:06:35.506).

Class 2: SuperSport 130 Group B: 1. Ajin Abraham (Kerala) (01:10:45.998); 2. Nithesh G Poojari (Mangaluru)(01:13:27.186); 3. Deepak Naidu (Bengaluru) (01:14:12.420).

Class 3: Super Sport 165 Group B: 1. Sasikumar K (Coimbatore) (01:07:12.705); 2. Pavan BK (Bengaluru) (01:07:55.068); 3. Stephen Roy (Kushalanagar) (01:10:11.197). (All 3 privateers)

Class 4: SuperSport 260 Group B: 1. Samuel Jacob (Hosur) (01:02:12.993); 2. Imran Pasha J (Mysuru) (01:02:29.794); 3. Sachin D (Hosur) (01:03:54.305). (All three are from TVS Racing)

Class 5: Super Sport 400 Group B: 1.Venu Rameshkumar (Coimbatore) (01:12:15.155); 2. Sajeesh Reghunathan (Bengaluru) (01:12:26.679); 3. Sravan Kumar Kuttoor (Hyderabad) (01:20:46.064).

Class 6: SuperSport 550 Group B: 1. Mohammed Zaheer (01:10:52.393); 2. Sharath Kumar (01:15:20.814); 3. Naresh VS (1:20:12.947); All 3 Bengal"r").

Class 7: Group "B" (S0 to S3 Scooters up to 210CC): 1. Shamim Khan (Hosur) (01:09:31.818); Karthik (01:09:36.111); 3. Syed Asif Ali (Bengaluru) (01:10:18.611). All 3 TVS R"c"ng).

Class 8: Group "B" Ladies Class (Open Indian M/c): 1. Aishwarya Pissay M (Bengaluru - TVS Racing) (01:10:20.050); 2. Tanika Shanbhag (Satara pvt.) (01:13:20.998); 3. Ryhana Bee (Chennai pvt.) (01:13:33.072).


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 23:34:14 +0530
4 arrested in B desh over vandalising Hindu temple

Dhaka, Oct 17

Four people, including an Imam, were arrested in Bangladesh's Kishoreganj district in association with the vandalisation and looting of a Hindu temple.

According to the police, the arrested persons -- Mamunur Rashid, 22, two teenagers aged 15 and 16 and Kafil Uddin, a 50-year-old village doctor -- admitted to their crimes on Saturday.

The violent incident took place on Friday at the Kali Mandir in Kadim Maijhati area.

The miscreants entered the temple, vandalised five idols and fled.

The attack took place just as the worshipers were preparing to immerse the idol.

According to the police, Rashid, who is an Imam, led the attack.

Police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Shamsul Alam Siddiqui told IANS that Birendra Chandra Bormon, the vice president of the temple, lodged a case naming eight persons and some 35 unidentified others on Friday night.

At least four persons have been killed and 70 others injured in the incidents of violence including attacks on Hindu temples across the country in the last three days.

The radical attackers vandalised, torched, and looted more than 70 puja venues, 30 homes, and 50 shops of the minorities, according to Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC).

Around hundreds of people were arrested over the attacks and the spread of communal hatred on social media.

BGB personnel were deployed in 24 districts and security was beefed up at places of worship, police claimed.



Sun, 17 Oct 2021 23:19:41 +0530
J K Police deny issuing any emergency advisory on non locals

Srinagar, Oct 17

Less than an hour after media picked up an emergency advisory on Sunday seeking non-locals be taken to the nearest security forces camps in the Kashmir Valley, in wake of killing of two more labourers from Bihar, authorities said they did not issue any such advisory.

Although there were reports of non-locals being asked to come to the police stations, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said: "No such order has been issued, it is fake."

There have been series of civilian killings, especially of those from outside the state, across the Valley since October 6. So far, nine civilians have been killed during the last 11 days.

There have been series of killings of civilians in Kashmir since October 6.

Terrorists killed reputed pharmacy owner, M.L. Bindroo, a non-local street vendor, and a taxi driver on October 6.

Two days after this, terrorists shot dead school principal, Supinder Kour and teacher, Deepak Sharma in Eidgah area of Srinagar city.

on Saturday, another non-local street vendor was shot dead in Srinagar and a non-local carpenter were killed by the terrorists in Pulwama.

On Sunday, terrorists killed two non-local labourers and critically injured a third in Kulgam district. All three hail from Bihar.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 23:12:05 +0530
Telugu hit Love Story to premiere on AHA OTT soon

Hyderabad, Oct 17

Naga Chaitanya and Sai Pallavi-starrer 'Love Story' became a decent hit at the theaters. After being postponed multiple times, the Sekhar Kammula directorial was screened in theatres on September 24.

'Love Story', however, surprised all by collecting a huge amount at the theatres. Keeping in mind the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on movies and their theatrical screenings, 'Love Story's performance can be deemed satisfactory.

Now the makers of 'Love Story' have zeroed in on 6.00 pm, October 22, for the OTT release of this intense drama. AHA is to stream this movie.

Telugu's only OTT video streaming channel AHA had bought the rights of 'Love Story' earlier, as there was such hype around its release. Now that the movie is to get streamed, it is expected that 'Love Story' would bag ample TRPs for the channel.

'Love Story' was released on more than 1,000 screens worldwide, which is still one of the smallest numbers for a biggie. The movie collected a whopping amount of nearly Rs 7 crore in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on the first day of its release alone.

'Love Story' comes with a social message related to child sex abuse and caste-based society. The film received positive reviews and critical acclaim. Chaitanya and Sai Pallavi, in particular, received much positivity regarding their performances.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 23:00:31 +0530
India will launch industry led policies in space sector ISRO chief

Dubai, Oct 17

India is revising its existing policies and is also in the process of bringing in new ones to increase industry participation in the space sector, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr K. Sivan said on Sunday.

Sivan, who is Secretary of, Department of Space, said this, via a video message during the inaugural session on 'Future of Space-International Participations and Collaborations' at The India Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

He emphasized that the recent reforms in the sector has ensured that the role of the private sector has evolved from being just suppliers to partners in the process. He also highlighted that space is one of the significant areas that India is looking at for international cooperation.

"I hope space cooperation will further strengthen with commercial and technological collaborations," said Sivan, adding that Indian industry has to play a big role in the space sector globally.

India is planning to boost the space sector in the global market. With an aim to make the country an economic space hub in the future, it also recently launched a new industry body, the Indian Space Association (ISpA).

Sivan said that the government is open to inviting private players in the space sector and ISRO is tying up with start-ups and industries.

"India is focussing on international collaborations, including bilateral and multilateral partnerships," he said.

In the recent past, the ISRO has also joined hands with Niti Aayog, and Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to encourage space start-ups in the country.

However, Sivan emphasized the need to make outer space safe and that it is a collective responsibility of the government and non-government agencies to ensure that.

The six-month-long Expo 2020 Dubai, which began early on October 1, will run till March 31, next year. Among the 192 participating countries, India has the biggest pavilion in the expo. Fifteen states and nine central ministries from India are participating in this expo.

The India Pavilion features an innovative kinetic facade made up of 600 individual colorful blocks. It is developed as a mosaic of rotating panels that will depict different themes as they rotate on their axis. It represents the theme of 'India on the move' and is a unique amalgam of the rich heritage and technological advances of the nation, according to an official statement.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 22:55:06 +0530
K taka Minister in UAE makes strong pitch for investment in state


Bengaluru, Oct 17

Seeking to highlight its dominant position in the aerospace and defence sectors, the Karnataka government made a strong pitch for more foreign investments in these sectors at World Dubai Expo 2020.

Delivering a keynote address during the Session on "Opportunities in Aerospace, Defence and Space Sector of Karnataka" at Dubai Expo 2020 on Sunday, the Large and Medium Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani said the state has great potential in these sectors.

"Karnataka, apart from being India's largest Aerospace cluster, is also the 2nd largest producer of Heavy Electrical machinery in India. Bengaluru alone produces around 60 per cent of machine tools in India. Our State is also the 2nd largest chip design hub in the country. We have set up a Center of Excellence in partnership with Dassault Systems to provide industry-ready manpower," Nirani said.

Highlighting the thriving small scale industries many of which are auxiliary to the aerospace and defence sector, minister Nirani said the state is providing a support system to push these sectors. "Karnataka has a strong base of around 2000 SMEs that carry out niche sub-contracting work in the Aerospace & Defence sector. Therefore, the well-developed support system for the sector has further facilitated the expansion of this industry while also attracting the global players to set up their base in our state," Nirani added.

The minister lauded the Dubai Expo 2020 for providing a forum for states, business leaders and other stakeholders to meet, interact and collaborate. "I am confident that the dialogues and exchange of ideas that started on this platform will continue and translate into wonderful results for us to witness. I am positive that the upcoming Indian start-ups will learn from the experiences of the seasoned players and use their journey as the guiding path for their decisions in the future," Nirani said.

Earlier in the day he held a series of Business to Government (B2G) meetings with the business delegations of top companies at Karnataka Pavilion in Dubai Expo 2020 here. The minister, who is keen to make most of the event in his packed schedule, wooed the business leaders to make investments in Karnataka by briefing about the business ecosystem and excellent opportunities in the state.

The minister held a Business to Government (B2G) meeting with United Parcel Service (UPS) company delegation headed by Rachid Fergati, Managing Director, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, Christina Struller, Vice President public policy. UPS is one of the world's largest package delivery companies and a premier provider of global supply chain solutions.

Murugesh Nirani also held talks with Dawood Al Shezawi, President, Annual Investment Meeting (AIM). Walid Farghal, Director General, AIM and others were present. The AIM is an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy designed to provide a framework for global exchange on the key principles underpinning international investment policies, strategies and practices for sustainable development to achieve smart and inclusive global growth.

Sun, 17 Oct 2021 22:49:53 +0530
5 0 magnitude quake hits Severo Kuril sk Russia

Beijing, Oct 17

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted 160 km south of Severo-Kuril'sk, Russia at 12.05 GMT on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 54.2 km, was initially determined to be at 49.2314 degrees north latitude and 155.9782 degrees east longitude, Xinhua news agency reported.

More details about the quake are awaited.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 22:39:57 +0530
International Solar Alliance s fourth Assembly on Oct 20

New Delhi, Oct 17

The fourth session of the ISA Assembly is scheduled to be held on October 20, in virtual mode.

"The 4th Assembly of the ISA will be deliberating upon the Strategic Plan of the ISA for the next five years encompassing a Country Partnership Framework, Strategy for Private Sector Engagement, initiatives such as Blended Finance Risk Mitigation Facility and Viability Gap Financing scheme to facilitate affordable finance for solar energy projects across ISA's membership," a statement from the ISA said.

The Assembly will also feature an update on the ISA's various key initiatives such as the 'One Sun One World One Grid' initiative, the STARC project, the Trillion Dollars Solar Investment Roadmap for 2030, and progress made by the ISA over the past year.

Initiated by India, the ISA is an alliance of 124 countries, most of which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, with the primary objective of working for efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

This was an ambitious initiative proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has its global headquarters in India.

"We are working towards mobilizing USD 1 trillion of investment for a massive deployment of solar energy technologies and for expanding solar markets. This would help achieve three different but interlinked objectives: promoting a clean energy transition; enabling energy access and energy security, and delivering a new economic driver for all countries," ISA Director-General, Dr Ajay Mathur said.

The ISA Secretariat has planned a series of technical sessions on various strategic initiatives of the ISA on October 18 and technical sessions on various emergent issues in the solar and clean energy sector in partnership with partners and other organizations on October 21.

The technical sessions would feature in-depth expert deliberations on various thematic issues to help the ISA Secretariat refine its programmatic focus moving forward, it said.

"The Agenda for the Fourth Assembly represents a holistic vision for the ISA that would enable our members and the Secretariat in the coming years to translate our solar energy ambitions into action," the statement said.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 22:33:28 +0530
2021 T20 WC Oman thrash PNG by 10 wickets

Al Amerat, Oct 17 Oman produced a clinical performance with both bat and ball to thrash Papua New Guinea by 10 wickets in the opening match of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 at Al Amerat Cricket Ground, here on Sunday.

Captain Zeeshan Maqsood's (4/20) sensational bowling performance helped Oman restrict Papua New Guinea to 129-9 in the 20 overs. Assad Vala (56 off 43) and Charles Amini (37 off 26) were the top scorers for PNG.

In reply, Oman overhauled the target in the 14th over of the innings with ten wickets in hand.

Openers Jatinder Singh (73 off 42) and Aqib Ilyas (50 off 43) batted with full freedom and helped Oman chase the target in style.

Oman will now face Bangladesh in their next match on Tuesday.

Brief scores:

Papua New Guinea 129-9 in 20 Overs (Assad Vala 56 off 43, Charles Amini 37 off 26; Zeeshan Maqsood 4/20 lost to Oman 131/0 in 13.4 overs (Jatinder Singh 73 off 42, Aqib Ilyas 50 off 43)

Sun, 17 Oct 2021 22:01:03 +0530
Russian film crew wraps shooting in space returns to Earth

Moscow, Oct 17  A Russian cosmonaut, actress, and film producer who spent nearly a fortnight in space to film segments of a movie, have returned to Earth safely.

According to the Russian space agency, actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko landed with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian federal space corporation Roscosmos on Sunday. The three descended aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft to a touchdown at 12.35 a.m. EDT on the steppes of Kazakhstan, Tass news agency reported.

The first ever-professional film crew to fly into space spent 12 days shooting a movie, aboard the International Space Station, about a woman doctor who travels to the orbital outpost to save a cosmonaut's life.

The film is a joint project of Roscosmos, Russia's Channel One and the Yellow, Black and White studio. Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov also have parts in the movie, the report said. Overall, about 35-40 minutes of the film's screen time were to be filmed in orbit.

Novitskiy, Peresild, and Shipenko began their journey home with the undocking of Soyuz MS-18 from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on Saturday. The spacecraft performed a de-orbit burn and shed its orbital and propulsion modules before re-entering Earth's atmosphere and descending under a parachute for a soft landing, the reported.

Roscosmos first announced the film project in November 2020 and Peresild, 37, was chosen for the role.

Earlier, Soviet-era cosmonauts filmed aboard Soyuz T-9 and inside the Salyut 7 space station for the Russian 1984 narrative film "Return from Orbit." Twenty-four years later, privately-funded astronaut Richard Garriott shot "Apogee of Fear," a short science fiction film set aboard ISS, the report said.

The departure of Soyuz MS-18 marked the end of Expedition 65 and the start of Expedition 66 aboard the space station. The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft traveled a total of 80.9 million miles (130 million km) while completing 3,056 orbits of Earth.




Sun, 17 Oct 2021 21:54:37 +0530
PI Industries refutes Kochi businessman s claim on Rs 1 448 5 Cr shares

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 17

PI Industries Ltd, one of the reputed companies listed in the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and a market leader in their field, has refuted the claims of a Kochi-based businessman Babu Valavi that he was holding shares of the company which monetarily transferred would lead to an amount of Rs 1,448. 5 crore.

The Kochi-based businessman claimed that he and his close family members were holding 3,500 shares of the Udaipur-based Mewar Oils and General Mills, an unlisted company that was making edible oil at that time.

He said that this was in 1978 and over the years the company changed its name to PI Industries and expanded its business to chemicals and pesticides manufacturing and now has a market cap of Rs 50,000.

Babu Valavi had also claimed that when the family had bought the shares, they had a 2.8 per cent stake in the company and now the ownership of the Valavi family translates to 42.28 lakh shares.

However, PI Industries refuted the claims of the Kochi businessman and clarified stating that it was incorporated in 1946 and that it is listed as a Public limited company in both National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange and is one of the highly valued companies and a market leader in their area of activity.

The company also stated that the Valavi family had sold all the shares held by them in 1989 itself and that the said transfer was recorded in the company records as well as in the annual returns of the company for the year 1988-89 and filed with the Registrar of Companies, Jaipur.

PI Industries also said the Valavi family had approached the company only in 2015 about their alleged shareholding and that the company had responded then that all the shares held by the family were sold in 1989 itself.

The company also stated that the Valavi family had after a few more years filed three sets of complaints with SEBI in 2018, 2019 and 2021, on the same issue and said that SEBI closed all the complaints in favour of the company. PI Industries also said that the Valavi family did not even challenge the decision of SEBI.

The company also said the Valavi family has valued their alleged shares at an incredulous Rs 1,448 crore and that no rationale or logic has been provided in this regard. Company secretary of PI Industries in the statement said, "When the Valavi family had purchased our shares in 1978, their holding was 2.8 per cent of the total paid-up capital of Rs 11.90 lakhs. However by 1988-89, around the time of their sale of shares, their holding had come down to 0.88 per cent because the Valavi family had not subscribed to the three rights issues undertaken by the company."

The Company also said, "Even if Valavi company had held on to their shares (which clearly they have not), such shareholding would have been minuscule in the current paid-up capital of Rs 15.17 crore. It is, therefore apparent that the Valavi family has falsely claimed the value of their alleged equity holding to be Rs 1,448 crore, a figure significantly inflated to grab media attention."

PI Industries also said the allegations of the Valavi family that it did not receive information about dividends and the name change of the company are unbelievable and completely false. The company stated that it had circulated its annual reports and declared regular dividends to each and every shareholder at the relevant period of time.

The company also said that when it was listed with the stock exchange in 1983, the names of the members of the Valavi family had even featured in the list of shareholders as at that time Valavi family had not sold off their shares.

PI Industries also refuted the claims of the Valavi family that two senior officials of the company had met them for settlement sometime in the year 2016 and said that it was a total misinterpretation of facts.

The company said that two officials of the company who were on a business trip to Kerala had met Babu Valavi on a courtesy call as requested by the Chairman of PI Industries. The company said that this was a courtesy call to Babu Valavi as an old distributor of the company to convey and explain the factual status as per the records of the company.

The company also said that this courtesy call was misinterpreted by the Valavi family to allege that senior officials had reached out to him for a settlement.

The PI Industries in a statement also said that it had already issued a legal notice against Valavi family on September 20, 2021 for causing to publish inaccurate reports in media and that an FIR has been registered against the Valavi family on their deceitful and ill-motivated actions.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 21:44:16 +0530
IS says it will target Shia Muslims everywhere

New Delhi, Oct 17

The Islamic State (IS) terror group has said that they will attack Shia Muslims everywhere, Khaama Press reported.

The group's Al-Naba weekly has published the warning on Saturday, which adds that Shia Muslims will be targeted in their homes and center.

The warning came a day after the terror group's Khorasan branch (IS-K) carried out the twin bombings inside the Shia mosque in Kandahar, that claimed the lives of 63 people while injuring 83 others.

Friday's attack took place exactly after a week when another Shia mosque in Kunduz city was hit by a suicide bombing which claimed the lives of at least 50 people.

The IS-K had claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the deadliest since the US forces left Afghanistan at the end of August.

Saturday's warning has especially threatened Shia Muslims living in Afghanistan, and the IS added that they cooperate and support Iran and other countries against the IS-K.

The IS-K is now the biggest threat that threatens the Taliban government after they took over Afghanistan.

In the meantime, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has purportedly said that their fighters will be deployed to man the security of mosques, especially of the Shia Muslim ones.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned of IS fighters entering Afghanistan from Iraq and Syria and added that there were presently up to 2,000 affiliates in the north of the war-torn nation.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 21:33:09 +0530
K taka lifts curbs at MM Hills pilgrimage centre

Chamarajanagar Oct 17

After successfully conducting Dasara festivities in Mysuru, the Karnataka government on Sunday lifted the restrictions imposed at Male Mahadeshwaraswamy temple at MM Hills in Chamarajanagar district, one of the major pilgrimage centre in Karnataka.

The restrictions are relaxed on mass feeding, various sevas, pujas including golden chariot procession. The authorities have also allowed mudi seve (tonsoring of heads).

Deputy Commissioner Dr M.R. Ravi has issued the order to lift restrictions from Sunday. In the earlier order, the district administration had given permission only for limited sevas and darshan and to stay overnight at the pilgrim centre.

Distribution of sacred water, prasadam, and mass feeding at Dasoha Bhavan were earlier restricted but now have been lifted.

Devotees visiting the temple have been asked to follow Covid-19 guidelines like wearing masks and social distancing.

All guest houses, cottages and dormitories will be opened for devotees to stay overnight. However, the devotees will not be allowed to stay in front of the temple, near Rangamandira and other places.

However, the restrictions on holding teppotsavam and next jathra celebrations still continued.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 21:22:59 +0530
Superstar Vijay s possible entry into TN politics keenly watched


Chennai, Oct 17

The DMK swept the rural local body polls in nine districts of Tamil Nadu by winning 138 out of the 140 seats in the district panchayat unions, leaving the opposition AIADMK with just two seats.

In the gram panchayat unions too, the DMK stamped its authority by winning more than 1,000 out of the 1,381 seats in the nine districts. The AIADMK won 200 seats in the panchayat union wards.

However, the most-watched result in the rural local body polls was the victory notched by the fans' association of Tamil movie superstar Vijay, who in popularity rating is second only to megastar Rajinikanth.

The Vijay fans' association under the banner of All Indian Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyyakam (AITVMI) contested in 169 panchayat union seats, winning 115 of them.

This was the first time that Vijay allowed his fans to use his photo and the flag of the fans' association to contest the polls. He had earlier filed a case against 11 persons, including his father S. Chandrashekhar and mother Sobha Shekhar, for trying to use his name for contesting elections. But he later allowed his fans' association to contest the polls.

Elections were held for 27,003 posts, including 140 district panchayat union members, 1,381 panchayat union ward members, 2,901 village panchayat presidents, and 22,581 village panchayat ward councilors.

While the DMK and its allies swept the polls, the AIADMK and its allies had to be content with a few seats. In the rural local body polls, the AIADMK ally, PMK, had contested on its own and won only 44-gram panchayat union seats and drew a blank in the district panchayat unions. The BJP got eight seats in panchayat unions, again not getting any seats in the district panchayat unions.

The victory of AITVMI becomes all more interesting as many of the established political parties were relegated by the people of the state in the rural local body polls.

During the run-up to the 2021 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Vijay had said in an open statement, "I inform my fans and the public that there is no relation whatsoever between the political party that my father had started and me, directly or indirectly."

Political observers were of the opinion that Vijay was testing the waters silently. And now in the panchayat union polls, his fans' association contested as Independent candidates and recorded massive wins.

This thumping victory is significant given the fact that the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), the political outfit floated by another superstar, Kamal Haasan, drew a blank in the rural local body polls. The party could not win a single seat even in the panchayat union polls.

The Naam Thamizhar Katchi (NTK) floated by actor-director Seeman also drew a blank in the rural local body polls.

The DMDK of actor-turned-politician Vijaykant also had to lick its wounds, getting only a single seat in the panchayat union polls.

The electoral victory of Vijay fans' association is considered significant as Tamil politics is devoid of stalwarts after the passing away of K. Karunanidhi and J. Jayalalithaa, except for the present Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin.

While O. Panneerselvam (OPS) and E.K. Palaniswami (EPS) are leaders in their own ways, they don't have a pan Tamil Nadu appeal and their strengths are limited to their respective bastions.

OPS is mainly confined to south Tamil Nadu, while EPS has its strength in western Tamil Nadu, Salem district to be precise. The two leaders have their strengths among their respective communities, with OPS a strong Thevar leader while EPS a Goundar leader.

This vacuum will end if Vijay enters the Tamil political arena, as Tamil politics and the tinsel world have always been interlinked, right from the days of C.N. Annadurai, M.G. Ramachandran, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, all top performers in the movie world, either as actors or writers.

With a huge fan following and a boy-next-door image, Vijay is known to have his own opinion on different issues. He will definitely have a major say in Tamil politics in the days to come.

The victory of his fan club members in the panchayat union elections has given a clear message to Vijay that he has a support base that is more than enough for him to plunge into the field of politics.

While Vijay and his close associates like former Congress MLA Anand deny any involvement of the 'Thalapathy' in politics, the victory in the panchayat unions will certainly catapult him to the big political league of Tamil Nadu.

As the DMK is on a roller-coaster ride after its victory in the 2021 Assembly elections and the thumping win in the rural local body polls, the principal opposition AIADMK is groping in the dark, looking rudderless. However, the politics of Tamil Nadu has always seen ups and downs. In this context, a superstar like Vijay entering the political scenario in Tamil Nadu is likely to fetch excellent results.

C. Rajeev, Director, Centre for Policy and Development Studies, a think-tank based out of Chennai, told IANS, "These are early days to predict the course of Tamil politics, but it is certain that Vijay has tested waters and that he will definitely be a force to reckon with. The results of the rural local body polls have indeed given him the much-needed thrust to jump into the major political platform.

"With the vacuum created by the demise of Jayalalithaa still haunting the AIADMK, Rajinikanth shying out, and Kamal Haasan bringing in no difference, Vijay is the person to watch out for. It is to be seen as to how he portrays himself. However, it is almost certain that he will be an indispensable actor in the game of politics."


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:35:30 +0530
Protest announced against attacks on Hindu temples in B desh


Dhaka, Oct 17

The chief of Bangladesh's minority body has called for a day-long demonstration on October 23 to protest the recent incidents of violence including attacks on Hindu temples. At least four persons have been killed and 70 others injured in the attacks in the last three days.

The Hindu leaders who had earlier refused to immerse idols of Goddess Durga to voice their protest against the attacks and vandalism in police presence in Chittagong on a Durga Puja venue, eventually immersed the idols on Saturday.

Advocate Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) attacks by religious fanatics during Durga Puja in 20 districts of Bangladesh have left at least four persons dead and 70 others injured.

The radical attackers vandalised, torched, and looted more than 70 puja venues, 30 homes, and 50 shops of the minorities, the Dasgupta said at a press conference at Chittagong Press Club on Saturday.

Human rights activists Nurjahan Khan, General Secretary of LEERHO, Asok Saha, Professor Jinobodhi Bhante have, meanwhile, vowed their commitment, along with the council leaders to fight for justice against the pre-planned communal attack.

Dasgupta claimed that Saleh Mohammed Tanvir, Commissioner, Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) failed to protect the minority people, and his promise to protect the temples and the minority people of Chittagong.

"When the Commissioner came to me, I said, 'I don't trust you, people... you failed to protect the temples, also your police forces vanished before the attack on JM Sen Hall puja venue'," he said.

On Friday afternoon Hindu Community leaders announced not to immerse the idols of goddess Durga in protest against vandalism of JM Sen Hall's puja venue, and also demanded the removal of Nezam Uddin, the officer in charge (OC) of Kotwali police station.

Seeking anonymity, an official said that the chief secretary of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered to withdraw the concerned police officer, but it has been denied by Tanveer, the commissioner of CMP.

Dasgupta also mentioned that Nezam Uddin is yet to be questioned for his negligence.

He also announced the list of the temples and people that came under attack, detailing some of the incidents.

He said the body of a Hindu devotee, Partha Das, was spotted in the ISKCON temple's pond in Noakhali's Choumohani on Saturday morning. Manik Saha died in an attack on Lakshmi Narayan Jiu Akhra at Hajiganj in Chandpur on Wednesday.

In Noakhali on Friday, the assailants beat to death Jatan Saha, a member of the Bijoy Puja Mandap committee, and Moloy Krishna Das, a member of the ISKCON, at their temple, according to the locals.

However, the police claimed that Saha died of a "heart attack".

"These communal attacks cannot be brushed aside as isolated incidents now. We believe all of these were part of a plan. The main goal is to destroy Bangladesh's image in the international arena," said Dasgupta.

He alleged that people from Joy Bangla Club at the Karnaphuli police station area in Chittagong attacked the Jelepara puja venue on Thursday. Two siblings -- Joynal and Monir, former BNP activists who later joined the Awami League, led the attack.

On Wednesday, Mohammad Saber Ahmed, Mohammad Ridwan, and Mohammad Shamsul Islam of Shekherkhil, Gondaara, and Napora led the attacks on the Hindus of Shekherkhil and Napora of Banshkhali in Chattogram.

Police filed a case naming 83 people over the attempt to attack the puja venue at JM Sen Hall in the port city. Most of them are shopkeepers and residents and Khalifapotti, identified from security camera footage.

Also, similar incidents have taken place in Chandpur, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Bandarban, Moulvibazar, Gazipur, Chapainawabganj and other districts. At least four persons reportedly died in police firing during attacks on puja venues in Chandpur's Hajiganj on Wednesday.

Around hundreds of people were arrested over the attacks and the spread of communal hatred on social media. BGB personnel were deployed in 24 districts and security was beefed up at places of worship, police claimed.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:29:50 +0530
India clinch record eighth SAFF Championship title

Male, Oct 17

Indian football team convincingly defeated Nepal 3-0 in the final to clinch the SAFF Championship trophy for a record eighth time at the National Football Stadium, here on Saturday.

Skipper Sunil Chhetri (48th minute) opened the scoring before youngster Suresh Singh (50th) doubled the lead within a minute to a two-goal lead for the Blue Tigers in the second half. Super-sub Abdul Sahal (90th) whizzed past the Nepalese defense to have nailed the final one in the coffin on the last minute of regulation time.

Incidentally, this was Chhetri's fifth goal in as many outings during this campaign to finish at the top of the scoring chart. This was also Coach Igor Stimac's first trophy with the senior national team after taking over in 2019.

Stimac rang in a couple of changes to the starting line-up as Anirudh Thapa and Chinglensana Singh came in for the suspended Subhasish Bose and the injured Brandon Fernandes.

The first chance for the Blue Tigers came in the fourth minute when Yasir played in a delicious ball from the right for Thapa but Nepalese goalkeeper Kiran Limbu came out of his line to grab the ball. The Indian forward line tried every bit to breach the deadlock but the Nepalese defenders kept them at bay in the opening exchanges.

In the dying embers of the first half, Chhetri came close to scoring his 80th international goal but his volley flew over the crossbar. As the referee brought an end to the first half, both India seemed to have had the upper hand with more chances created, but could not break the deadlock.

Within four minutes after the resumption, Chhetri made amends for the earlier miss as he headed in a through ball from Kotal to open the scorebook. Chhetri produced a textbook header that was powered into the ground before it bounced in over the line.

Within a minute, Suresh Singh, the former FIFA U-17 World Cupper scored his maiden goal for the Blue Tigers, volleying home a cross by Yasir Mohammad from the right flank. Thapa and Kotal then combined scintillatingly to script another goal in the process but the chance was foiled by Kiran Limbu once again.

With ten minutes of regulation time left on the clock, Manvir rolled it to second-half substitute Udanta (who replaced Yasir). The winger dispatched it for Chhetri, but defender Rohit Chand made a spectacular interception to avert the danger.

As the Blue Tigers dugout was waiting for the final whistle, Sahal joined the party, as he produced a mazy run around a flurry of defenders, and placed the ball into the back of the net from inside the six-yard box.

Following their record-time eighth SAFF Championship victory, the Blue Tigers will now gear up for the AFC Asian Cup 2021 qualifying third round, which is scheduled to kick off next year.



Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:22:59 +0530
How Syed Ali Geelani managed grandson s govt job

Srinagar, Oct 17  

The dismissal of late Syed Ali Geelani's grandson, Anees-ul-Islam from government service Saturday has proved that the separatist leader had held an elected government to ransom in Jammu and Kashmir in the past.

Disclosure of facts that led to this highly irregular and unwarranted engagement in government service has also shown that despite being in power with the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government, the BJP had little knowledge about how the affairs of the government were being run.

Rattled by the public unrest of 2016 that followed the killing of militancy's poster boy, Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016, Mehbooba Mufti is believed to have struck a deal with Geelani through his son-in-law, Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Fantosh.

Intelligence reports suggest that Geelani agreed to pause his influence on stone pelters and arsonists to ease pressure on the government by bringing down the level of violence provided the government offered his grandson a suitable place in the government service'.

This led to Geelani's grandson, Anees-ul-Islam getting appointed as the research officer in Sher-e-Kashmir international convention centre (SKICC) without following any procedure and without any urgency to fill that post.

The UT government headed by Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday issued an order dismissing Anees-ul-Islam, son of Altaf Ahmad Shah, from the government service.

Anees-ul-Islam was appointed as a research officer in SKICC under J&K Tourism department in late 2016.

The intelligence dossier prepared on him said just a few months before his appointment Anees had travelled to Pakistan (July 31, 2016 to August 7, 2016 and met Colonel Yasir of ISI at the behest of his maternal grandfather, Geelani, the hardcore secessionist who had fuelled violence after terrorist Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter.

The 2016 agitation that followed Burhan Wani's killing was the brainchild of Jamaat-e-Islami and the All Party Hurriyat Conference headed by Geelani.

Not only Anees, but his entire family has been a staunch supporter of terrorism and separatism.

The intelligence dossier further said, "It is learnt that prior to his appointment in the government service Anees along with a team of his anti-India friends, used to facilitate the flying of drones in and around Srinagar city to shoot law and order incidents and other events and shared the footage with Pak ISI.

"His appointment was found to be highly irregular and under the circumstances that are incriminating for flouting established norms. It is suspected that Anees' appointment straightaway to a gazetted grade equivalent position in the government-funded and controlled SKICC was a deal to bring down violence during Burhan Wani agitation between the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Geelani".


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:09:26 +0530
Exploits of Raj tree man inspiration for preserving nature

Jaipur, Oct 17

In 1975, an 18-year-old youth was advised by his grandmother that there is no better deed than planting saplings and feeding animals and birds.

The suggestion of his grandmother, who helped him plant a peepal tree at that time, seeped deep into the mind of the youth, which eventually changed the course of his life. Now, Himmaram Bhanbhu, is known as the 'tree man' of Rajasthan.

Recipient of Padma Shri in 2020, Bhanbhu has planted over 5.5 lakh saplings, of which 3.5 lakh have grown into big trees, giving oxygen worth Rs 12 billion to the masses.

Bhanbhu is a social worker, nature lover, conservationist and environmentalist from Nagaur district in Rajasthan, who takes pride in his work and urges people to start caring for the environment, else they will face the consequences by the year 2040.

"The rising temperatures across the world due to global warming is a warning sign for all. Every person might have have to carry oxygen 24x7 if the current trend of depletion of greenland continues," he said.

Bhanbhu has converted his six-hectare land into a jungle by planting 11,000 trees. Now there are 300 peacocks and hundreds of deer and other animals on this land.

"Even the peepal tree which my grandmother inspired me to grow has spread wide and large, allowing around 500 people to sit under it. We celebrate its birthday each year by lighting diyas around it," he said.

Bhanbhu is 70 now, but there is no lack energy in him as aims to plant 2 lakh more trees.

"During the Covid-19 pandemic, we faced oxygen crisis which taught all of us a lesson to care for our environment. While a person normally lives till 80, a peepal tree has an age of 700 years while many other trees also live for around hundreds of years. So, we all should try to grow one sapling into a tree," he said, adding, "We have ensured that we plant one tree on the birth of each child in our village and name it after his name so that his name lives for hundreds of years."

Bhanbhu also has issues with bursting crackers during Diwali.

"When we were kids, we used fire crackers in limited numbers. But over the years, factories producing crackers have mushroomed with the sky turning into a smoke chamber during Diwali, posing health hazards to people, especially the children and the elderly. Is this the way to celebrate festivals," he asked.

"I have made 2.5 lakh kids take a pledge to shun crackers during Diwali. Instead, they can light diyas and distribute clothes and sweets to the poor by saving the money they spend on crackers," he added.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:03:31 +0530
Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 to feature wider displays Report

Seoul, Oct 16

Samsung is planning to launch its next premium flagship, Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+, soon. As per a recent report, S22 generation will be a bit wider and less "skinny and tall" than the current S21.

GSMArena reported that according to tipster Ice Universe, the edges of the smartphones would be slightly rounder with minimal bezels.

"This is the first time we have seen the Tempered Glass Screen Protector of Galaxy S22 and S22+. They are more rounded and slightly fatter than S21 series," the tipster noted.

Bezels are minimal all around and appear to be symmetrical on all sides. However, it should be noted that screen protectors can sometimes be a bit deceiving in terms of bezel proportions.

In terms of specifications, the upcoming series may feature a new 10MP telephoto sensor with 3x optical zoom capabilities as opposed to a high-resolution sensor with poor optical zoom.

Samsung is planning to take a different approach on the Galaxy S22/S22+ models that will arrive early next year. The Galaxy S22 series smartphones will have a 10MP telephoto lens that supports 3x optical zoom rather than the hybrid zoom of the Galaxy S20/S21 era.

Previous rumors suggested that the Galaxy S22 Ultra is expected to continue the dual 10-megapixel telephoto camera setup on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. One of the lenses will be a periscope lens that will offer 10x optical zoom.

Galaxy S22+ is expected to be equipped with a 4,500 mAh battery. In terms of software, Galaxy S22 will be pre-installed with OneUI 4.x based on Android 12.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 01:01:55 +0530
SAFF Championship Sports minister congratulates Indian team on title win

New Delhi, Oct 16

Sports minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday congratulated the Indian football team for winning SAFF Championship for the record eighth time.

"INDIA wins its 8th #SAFFChampionships2021 Title @chetrisunil11 scripts history as he equals Lionel Messi's record of making 80 goals in International Men's; Goal scorers: S Chettri, S Singh, S A Samad; Congratulations to the #BlueTigers!" Anurag Thakur wrote on Twitter.

Indian beat Nepal 3-0 in the final in Male on Saturday. Sunil Chhetri (49th minute), Suresh Singh (50th) and Sahal Abdul Samad (90th) were the goal scorers for India in this historic game.

Chhetri's goal in the final game helped him level with Lionel Messi on 80 international goals. Notably, this is the Indian football team's first title victory under head coach Igor Stimac.

India dominated possession in the first-half but they failed to score any goal. However, captain Chhetri put India ahead minutes into the second half and even before Nepal could settle down, Suresh made it 2-0.

Sahal made it 3-0 when he tricked a few defenders after receiving the ball on the left flank at the stroke of the final whistle.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 00:53:01 +0530
I T searches reveal massive import under invoicing

New Delhi, Oct 16

The Centre on Saturday said that the Income Tax Department recently carried out 'search and seizure' operations at various locations around the country to unearth massive under-invoicing of imported products such as laptops, mobile phones and peripheral parts.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the operations were carried out on an importer and trader of laptops, mobile phones and peripheral parts".

Notably, the search operations which commenced on October 10 were spread across the National Capital Region, Haryana and West Bengal.

As per the ministry, during the search operations, several incriminating documents, diaries and digital evidences have been found which reveal that the group is entrenched into large scale under-invoicing and wrongful declaration of goods imported by it.

Besides, a large number of evidence indicating unrecorded transactions, unaccounted investment in properties, bogus loans taken, amongst others have also been gathered.

"The modus operandi involves import of goods in the name of shell entities at under-valued and or wrongful declaration of the description of goods imported, with an intent to evade customs duty. Upon clearance at port(s), such goods have been found to be distributed throughout India by way of out-of-books cash transactions."

"This aspect has been fortified while searching one of the containers at Kolkata Port, where the bill of lading declared the goods as 'HDMI cables' valued at Rs 3.8 lakh. However, on de-sealing and searching the same, it has been revealed that the actual goods imported are high value items like laptops, mobile phones, etc which are valued at Rs 64 crore."

Accordingly, the ministry said that evidence found and seized during the course of the search reveals that the payments for such under-invoiced goods to the foreign consigners have been made through hawala channels.

"Almost the entire business has been found to be run through such modus-operandi.

Though the value of imports declared at the port of entry by the use of such shell entities in the past 3 years is about Rs 20 crore, it is estimated that the actual value during this period could be more than Rs 2,000 crore, given the scale of massive under-valuation detected."

"The wealth, so generated, has been used for acquisition of high value immovable properties; disguising of cash introduced in the form of bogus rental income and bogus unsecured loans; and deposits in foreign bank accounts."

In addition, the ministry said that during the course of the search, unaccounted cash worth Rs 2.75 crore has been seized.

Further investigations are in progress.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 00:43:50 +0530
2 more killed in fresh communal violence in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Oct 16

A three-member probe body has been formed after two more persons were killed in a fresh attack in Bangladesh. The attackers vandalised puja mandaps and carried out attacks on temples in Noakhali's Begumganj Upazila during the celebrations of Durga Puja.

The committee is being headed by Additional District Magistrate Md Tarikul Islam, confirmed Mohammad Khurshed Alam Khan, deputy commissioner of Noakhali district. The committee was asked to submit its report within seven working days, he added.

A dead body of a youth named Pranto Chandra Namodas, 20, was recovered from the pond adjacent to ISKCON temple in Chowmuhani early on Saturday. Earlier, another man was killed and 30 others were injured after locals carried out attacks on several temples in Chowmuhani area of Noakhali.

Meanwhile, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, the home minister claimed everyone involved in the communal attack will be identified and punished under the law. He said the government is firmly determined to ensure that people of all religions can freely perform their religious rituals.

Tazul Islam, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development of Bangladesh, has called opon local public representatives to be alert and stand strong against those who would seek to destroy communal harmony.

"I am making a call to all public representatives at the city corporation, municipality, upazila parishad, district parishad and union parishad level, and all other institutions... Be ready," he said at an event in Dhaka on Saturday.

On the eighth day of Durga Puja, Quran was allegedly disrespected at a temple in Cumilla which led to attacks on Hindu places of worship which triggered clashes.

After that several incidents occurred in Chandpur, Chattogram, Cox's Bazar, Bandarban, Moulvibazar, Gazipur, Chapainawabganj and other districts. The BGB personnel have been deployed in two dozen districts and security was beefed up at puja venues.

Abu Sayeed Al Mahmud Swapan, Whip of the National parliament and organising secretary of the ruling Awami League, after visiting the affected temples on Saturday, said Friday's attacks on several temples at Chowmuhani in Noakhali were pre-planned. He said, "A group of fanatic Bangladeshis planned to destabilise the country by carrying out the attacks on the provocation of the so-called prime minister's spoiled child. It was not an isolated incident."


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 00:27:04 +0530
Punjab Police bust illegal arms supply racket

Chandigarh, Oct 16

Punjab Police on Saturday busted an inter-state illegal arms supply racket in Sangrur district with the arrest of two persons. Two country-made weapons and ammunition were recovered from their possession.

The arrested persons have been identified as Pawan Kumar, a resident of Aligarh district in Uttar Pradesh, and Kulwinder Singh from Muktsar Sahib district in Punjab.

Senior Superintendent of Police Swapan Sharma told the media that following the rise in incidents of illegal weapons supply in Sangrur and its surrounding areas, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by DSP Yogesh Kumar and Inspector Deepinder Singh was formed.

After a month-long investigation, the SIT managed to bust the inter-state racket, he said, adding that this was one of many trips which Kumar made to Punjab, when he was nabbed.

Kumar had supplied several weapons in Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts.

The SSP said that Kumar was working on the behest of Chanchal Kumar, a resident of Aligarh, who is posted at an army formation in Mau.

Apparently, Kumar was in contact with illegal arms manufacturers and he had several conduits making trips to deliver country-made weapons to anti-social elements in the state.

The SIT revealed that Madhya Pradesh has become a hub of illegal arms manufacturing. Investigation in the previous cases also pointed to Madhya Pradesh as the place of origin of country-made weapons.

Sharma said that the recovery of large quantities of arms and ammunition is likely in the coming days.

In the last six months, Sangrur police have registered 17 cases under the Arms Act and recovered 32 country-made weapons.

In another operation launched by Ropar police, an inter-state gang involved in illegal arms business was busted with the arrest of five persons and recovery of five country-made pistols.

SSP Vivek Sheel Soni said that police teams had conducted a raid and nabbed five persons with arms who were engaged in illegal arms smuggling from other states.


Sun, 17 Oct 2021 00:18:27 +0530
SAFF Championship India beat Nepal 3 0 in final lift eighth title

Male, Oct 16

The Indian football team won their eighth SAFF Championship title after beating Nepal 3-0 in the final here on Saturday.

Sunil Chhetri (49th minute), Suresh Singh (50th) and Sahal Abdul Samad (90th) were the goal scorers for India in this historic game.

Chhetri's goal in the final game helped him level with Lionel Messi on 80 international goals. Notably, this is the Indian football team's first title victory under head coach Igor Stimac.

India dominated possession in the first-half but they failed to score any goal. However, captain Chhetri put India ahead minutes into the second half and even before Nepal could settle down, Suresh made it 2-0.

Sahal made it 3-0 when he tricked a few defenders after receiving the ball on the left flank at the stroke of the final whistle.

The final was the 12th for India in 13 editions, which also shows their domination in this regional tournament.



Sun, 17 Oct 2021 00:02:07 +0530
The Rock releases first teaser trailer of DC film Black Adam

Los Angeles, Oct 16

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson treated his fans to the first teaser of 'Black Adam', the anti-hero film from the DC Extended Universe directed by Jaume Collett-Serra and co-written by Sohrab Noshirvani of 'The Mauritanian' fame. Collett-Serra directed Johnson most recently in Disney's hit film, 'Jungle Cruise'.

Describing the character he had first signed up to play in 2014, Johnson tweeted on Saturday: "He is ruthless. He is unstoppable. He is the reason the hierarchy of power in the DC UNIVERSE is about to change."

Johnson's Seven Bucks Productions has co-produced the movie with DC Films, New Line Cinema and FlynnPicture Co, which has made a number of films starring the wrestler-actor, including 'Skyscraper'.

Along with Johnson's character, according to, 'Black Adam' also focuses on the members of the Justice Society: Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, who can fly thanks to his special metal wings; Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, who can control his molecules and thereby change his size, density and strength; Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, who can control the wind; and Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, an archaeologist who becomes a powerful sorcerer while wearing the Helmet of Fate.

The film is slated to be released in the United State on July 29, 2022.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 23:58:30 +0530
HDFC Bank s Q2FY22 YoY net profit up 17 6

Mumbai, Oct 16

Lender HDFC Bank on Saturday reported a year-on-year rise of 17.6 per cent in its net profit for Q2FY22.

The bank's net profit increased to Rs 8,834.3 crore during the period under review over the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

Besides, the bank's net interest income (income earned less interest expended) rose 12.1 per cent from Rs 15,776.4 crore to Rs 17,684.4 crore for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal.

The lender's net revenues (net interest income plus other income) increased by 14.7 per cent, from Rs 21,868.8 crore to Rs 25,085.2 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

"Advances grew at 15.5 per cent reaching new heights driven through relationship management, digital offering and breadth of products. Core net interest margin was at 4.1 per cent. New liability relationships added during the quarter were at an all time high," HDFC Bank said in a statement.

"This continued focus on deposits helped in the maintenance of a healthy liquidity coverage ratio at 123 per cent, well above the regulatory requirement, which positions the bank favourably to capitalise on the opportunities that would arise as the economy gains momentum during the festive months."

In addition, the bank reported Rs 3,924.7 crore worth of provisions and contingencies, during the period under review as against Rs 3,703.5 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

"Total provisions for the current quarter included contingent provisions of approximately Rs 1,200 crore."


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 23:54:29 +0530
2021 10 16 UNSC extends mandate of Haiti s political mission

United Nations, Oct 16

The Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) till July 15, 2022.

Resolution 2600, which won the unanimous support of the 15-member council, requests the UN Secretary-General to conduct an assessment of the BINUH mandate, including whether and how the mandate could be adjusted to address the ongoing challenges faced by Haiti; to increase the effectiveness of the mission and its efforts to support engagement between Haitian national authorities, civil society and other stakeholders; to strengthen the rule of law; and to promote respect for human rights, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

It also requests the secretary-general to convey the findings of this assessment to the Security Council within six months following the adoption of the resolution.

It encourages continued close collaboration and coordination between BINUH, the UN Country Team in Haiti, regional organizations and international financial institutions with a view to helping the Haitian government to take responsibility to realize the long-term stability, sustainable development, and economic self-sufficiency of the country.

It urges all Haitian stakeholders to commit to an inclusive national dialogue to address long-standing drivers of instability by creating a sustainable and commonly accepted framework to permit the organization of inclusive, peaceful, free, fair, and transparent legislative and presidential elections as soon as technically feasible, and with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.

BINUH, a special political mission established by the Security Council in 2019, is tasked to advise the Haitian government in promoting and strengthening political stability and good governance, preserving and advancing a peaceful and stable environment, and protecting and promoting human rights.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 23:49:15 +0530
8 dead 4 missing as heavy rains lash Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 16

At least 8 people are dead and five persons are reported missing after heavy rains lashed Kerala since Friday evening.

A team of Army officials attached to the Pangode Military camp in the state capital have already left to Kottayam district and is expected to arrive shortly where a landslide took place at Kootikal.

Two families comprising 12 people bore the major brunt, of which six people have been declared dead, while four continue to be missing.

A car with two people who were asked not to go forward near Thodupuzha in Idukki district was swept away by the gushing waters and a few hours later the dead bodies were recovered by the locals who swung into action.

Consequent to the rains the authorities have issued a red alert in 6 districts while another 6 districts are on orange alert and two districts are under yellow alert, thereby indicating that all the 14 districts in the state are experiencing heavy rains.

Heavy rains have been lashing the state starting Friday evening leaving roads at several places flooded and normal traffic affected at a number of places.

The Indian Meteorological Department has warned of more rains on Sunday also.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday morning issued an advisory that people have to be extremely cautious and under no circumstances should they ignore the warnings that are given from time to time.

"A 24-hour alert has to be observed and all those living close to water sources have to be very cautious and none should venture in the waters. Travel in the hilly areas or places where rains are occurring should be best avoided and areas prone to landslides have also to be watchful," said Vijayan.

State Ministers have been asked to coordinate with the various teams of the Police, Fire Force and the Disaster Management teams and have started their work.

Later after chairing a meeting of top officials, Vijayan said that all arrangements are in place and none need to be worried as various relief camps have been opened and all facilities will be made available at the camps.

He also emphasized that the people in the camps should be aware that Covid protocols should be followed.

Meanwhile, in areas where there are heavy rains, tourist centers have been asked to close down until further notice, and boating services have also been suspended.

At Pathanamthitta district, a car was swept away by the rushing waters but an alert auto-rickshaw driver, sensing the danger, threw stones at the car which broke the windshield allowing the driver to come out through it who swam to safety.

Meanwhile, the saving grace is that the rains appear to have slowed down and that has come handy for those engaged in rescue and relief operations.

Sat, 16 Oct 2021 23:43:40 +0530
Rana Daggubati s next film will be a supernatural thriller

Hyderabad, Oct 16

Rana Daggubati, who got hyped as a nefarious villain in the famous 'Baahubali' series, is all set to join hands with Milind Rau for his next film.

Rau, who has been in the news with his two Tamil films -- 'Aval' and 'Netrikann' -- is said to have lined up a supernatural thriller for Rana Daggubati. The film will go on the floors in 2022.

To ring in the Dussehra celebrations, the production house, Viswanti Pictures, took to their Twitter handle to make an official statement about the film. It is being touted as a pan-India movie to be released in multiple languages.

The producers tweeted: "Our #Bhallaladeva @RanaDaggubati to star in @milindrau story/direction in new movie by SpiritMedia in collaboration with @VISWASANTIPICTS & @VCWOfficial. Pan-India #Film in #Telugu #Tamil & #Hindi. Produced by @GopinathAchant, CH. Rambabu & @arjundasyan. Stay tuned for more."

Rana, meanwhile, will be seen with Sai Pallavi in 'Virata Parvam', which will be released soon. The film was to hit the screens earlier in April, but the second wave of the pandemic had made it impossible for the producers to release it.

Rana is also all set to lock horns with actor-politician Pawan Kalyan in their upcoming action-drama 'Bheemla Nayak', which is the official remake of a Malayalam super-hit movie 'Ayyappanum Koshiyum'.

And as reported earlier, Rana will soon join his uncle Venkatesh Daggubati for an upcoming Netflix series, 'Rana Naidu', which is the Indian adaptation of the acclaimed American TV series 'Ray Donovan'.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 17:50:42 +0530
NASA flies Lucy mission to explore solar system s fossils

Washington, Oct 16

The Lucy probe -- the first-ever NASA mission to explore distant asteroids and seek out the origin of our solar system -- was successfully lifted off on Saturday from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida in the US.

Launched atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at around 3 p.m. (India time), Lucy will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, making it the first spacecraft to return to the vicinity of Earth from the outer solar system.

During its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, including a flyby of one asteroid in the solar system's main belt and seven Trojan asteroids near Jupiter.

"Like the mission's namesake -- the fossilised human ancestor, 'Lucy' whose skeleton provided unique insight into humanity's evolution -- Lucy will revolutionise our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system," NASA said in a statement.

Lucy will explore the Trojan asteroids with a suite of remote sensing instruments. Additionally, the navigation cameras will be used to determine the shapes of the Trojan asteroids.

Lucy will be the first spacecraft to study Jupiter's Trojan Asteroids.

These small bodies are remnants of our early solar system, now trapped in stable orbits associated with -- but not close to -- the giant planet Jupiter.

The Trojan asteroids are in two "swarms" that lead and follow Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun and are almost as numerous as the objects in the Main Asteroid Belt.

These primitive bodies hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system.

All of the Trojans are thought to be abundant in dark carbon compounds. Below an insulating blanket of dust, they are probably rich in water and other volatile substances.

No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around our sun.

Lucy will show us, for the first time, the diversity of the primordial bodies that built the planets, according to NASA.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 17:40:38 +0530
SCO meet India calls for special working group on start ups

New Delhi, Oct 16

India has proposed the creation of a new Special Working Group on Start-ups and Innovation at the SCO.

The proposal was made by Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel, in her intervention, at the 20th meeting of the SCO Ministers.

Stressing on the need for effective cooperation between the member states for balanced and equitable growth in trade and commerce, Patel proposed the creation of a new Special Working Group on Start-ups and Innovation and for setting up a new Expert Working Group on Cooperation in Traditional Medicine.

"She also stated that cooperation in the field of start-ups and innovation can be a focal point in reviving our economies from the consequences of the pandemic," the Ministry of Commerce & Industry said in a statement.

She highlighted that there is "a significant gap in digital technologies between developed ang developing countries which needs to be narrowed down by building digital capacities".

On the environmental issues, the minister welcomed the need for environmental protection and mitigation of adverse effects of climate change.

She also stressed that the climate agenda should not introduce measures that become unnecessary barriers to trade.

In her concluding remarks, Patel emphasized that SCO members must prepare, act and stand in solidarity with each other and pursue an agenda that is equitable and inclusive and development-oriented.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 17:34:56 +0530
Silence of Sunni clerics on Shia killings in Afghanistan condemned

Lucknow/Mumbai, Oct 16

After two Shia mosques in Afghanistan were bombed in a span of one week killing hundreds of worshippers, Shia Muslim clerics in India have slammed the silence of Sunni clerics on the targeted killings which have increased after the war-torn country was taken over by the Taliban in August.

Speaking to IANS on the phone, top Lucknow-based Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad said: "No Sunni Muslim clerics have come out to condemn the killings. We have supported them when any such incident happens... And this is not happening for the first time but for the last 25 years.

"If the Sunni Ulema from India and Pakistan start condemning the killings, then such incidents will not happen. But their silence is tacit support to the killings."

He also alleged that the killings are result of a conspiracy by the US Israel, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to wipe out the Shias since the past three decades.

The cleric added that the Islamic State (IS), Taliban and other terror organisations have been operating with the support of US Israel and Saudi Arabia

He said the Taliban has deceived the Shias by saying that everything will be normal and then cheated the community by killing them.

Another cleric from Mumbai, Maulana Ashraf Zaidi told IANS over the phone that the incidents were condemnable and requested the Indian government to take the matter to UN.

"I request our government to take the persecutions of Shias in both Pakistan and Afghanistan to UN as a sensitive country we should pay our attention to such incident."

The Islamic State (IS) terror group on Saturday claimed that its Khorasan branch (IS-K) carried out the twin bombings inside the Shia mosque in Kandahar a day ago, which claimed the lives of 63 people while injuring 83 others.

Friday's attack came exactly after a week when another Shia mosque in Kunduz city was hit by a suicide bombing which claimed the lives of at least 50 people.

The IS-K had claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the deadliest since the US forces left Afghanistan at the end of August.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 17:24:33 +0530
4 brothers arrested for NRI businessman s murder in Hyderabad


Hyderabad, Oct 16

Police in Hyderabad have arrested four brothers for killing a Dubai-based Non-Resident Indian (NRI) businessman, it was revealed on Saturday.

The accused have been identified as Raees Jabri, 23, Adil Jabri, 32, Saad Saleh Jabri, 29, and Saeed Saleh Jabri, 34.

They allegedly wanted to take revenge after the victim, Hamed Bin Ali Zubaidi, 45, refused to compensate for losses suffered by one of them following his arrest at Hyderabad Airport while carrying his gold parcel.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Gajarao Bhoopal, Raees was arrested with the gold on his arrival from Dubai, where he was employed.

Zubaidi, a businessman who was known to Raees, had handed him a packet with to deliver it at his house. Raees, reprotedly, unaware of the contents of the packet, was arrested and his passport was seized.

After this, Zubaidi had promised to help Raees and his brothers in the legal case, get him back his seized passport and provide him a job.

However, when he came to Hyderabad in April, he, reportedly, refused to fulfill his promises. Angry over this, the accused attacked him with knives and killed him on October 13.

Zubaidi was killed in Chandrayangutta and the South Zone police have recovered two motorcycles, two knives and four mobile phones from their possession, a police officer said.

The investigations revealed that Zubedi had lodged a complaint at Chandrayangutta police station after the four brothers came to his house and threatened to kill him.

However, the police failed to take any action.

Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar has suspended Sub-Inspector S. Venkatesh for dereliction of duty.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 17:13:48 +0530
After winning IPL title Dhoni praises KKR for their superb comeback

Dubai, Oct 16

Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni praised the Kolkata Knight Riders, the vanquished finalists of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 edition, for their grand comeback in the UAE leg as they reached the summit clash despite a poor first part of the tournament. The former India captain said if any team deserved to win the IPL 2021 title it was Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

Dhoni's CSK defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final on Friday to clinch their fourth title, restricting KKR to 165/9 in 20 overs after putting up a mammoth 192/3 in their allotted 20 overs. Despite KKR making a brilliant start in their chase of the stiff target, Dhoni's men kept their nerves and claimed wickets at regular intervals to win the title.

KKR was languishing at the seventh spot in the table with just two wins in seven matches when IPL 2021 was halted in April due to a Covid-19 outbreak among the players.

So, for them to reach the final was a great achievement and they came in for praise from Dhoni during the presentation ceremony after the match.

"Before I start talking about CSK, need to talk about KKR. Difficult to come back and do what they have, if any team deserved to win the IPL, it's KKR. Huge credit to the coaches, team, and support staff. The break really helped them," Dhoni said on Friday night.

In the UAE leg of IPL 2021, Kolkata won seven of their 10 matches, losing twice to Chennai Super Kings and once to Delhi Capitals, qualifying for the playoffs as the fourth-placed team.

Chasing 193, the way KKR openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer started the chase, it looked like the target would not be that difficult to achieve. But once both of them were out, Kolkata's chase fell through as they lost wickets at regular intervals to end up with 165/9 in their 20 overs.

They were also hampered by the injury to their top middle-order batsman Rahul Tripathi, who was forced to leave the ground midway during the contest.

The incident happened on the first delivery of the seventh over of CSK innings, when Tripathi run in from the deep to prevent openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis from stealing a double. But before he could stop the ball, it hit him on his ankle and he was soon seen hobbling to the boundary line for the physio to attend to him. Tripathi was greatly hampered in his batting and thus could not step into his usual role after the departure of the openers.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 10:51:08 +0530
IMF commends India s swift substantial response to pandemic

United Nations, Oct 16

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has commended Indian authorities' "swift and substantial" response to the Covid-19 pandemic and noted that there is the possibility of "a faster than expected recovery".

"Directors commended the authorities' response to the pandemic which includes scaled-up support to vulnerable groups, monetary policy easing and liquidity provision, accommodative financial sector and regulatory policies, and continued structural reforms," the IMF said on Friday reporting on its executive board's consultations held with India to assess the state of its economy and finances.

"The authorities' economic response, which was swift and substantial, has included fiscal support, including scaled-up support to vulnerable groups, monetary policy easing, liquidity provision, and accommodative financial sector and regulatory policies.

"Despite the pandemic, the authorities have continued to introduce structural reforms, including labour reforms and a privatisation plan," it added.

The report of what is known as "Article IV Consultations" in reference to the article in the IMF agreement requiring the periodic assessment, however, warned of the risks from the Covid-19 pandemic lurking ahead especially due to its deleterious effect on people's development.

"The economic outlook remains clouded due to pandemic-related uncertainties contributing to both downside and upside risks. A persistent negative impact of Covid-19 on investment, human capital, and other growth drivers could prolong the recovery and impact medium-term growth.

"While India benefits from favourable demographics, disruption to access to education and training due to the pandemic could weigh on improvements in human capital," it said.

Along with the caution, the report added a note of optimism: "At the same time, the recovery could also be faster than expected. Faster vaccination and better therapeutics could help contain the spread and limit the impact of the pandemic. In addition, successful implementation of the announced wide-ranging structural reforms could increase India's growth potential."

The report repeatedly emphasised the importance of vaccinations.

"Directors agreed that addressing the health crisis remains a near-term policy priority. In that context, they welcomed the recent increase in vaccinations," it said.

Looking back, the IMF noted "that India was among the fastest-growing economies in the world in the decade before the pandemic, lifting millions out of poverty. While the economy was moderating prior to the Covid-19 shock, the pandemic implied unprecedented challenges".

"Two Covid-19 waves caused a health and economic crisis however, the economy is gradually recovering. Following the first wave, the GDP contracted an unprecedented 7.3 per cent in FY (fiscal year) 2020/21. The second wave resulted in another sharp fall in activity, albeit smaller and shorter, and recent high-frequency indicators suggest an ongoing recovery.

"Growth is projected at 9.5 per cent in FY2021/22 and 8.5 per cent in FY2022/23," the IMF said.

While the inflation pressures have been higher, inflation in fact eased to 5.6 per cent in July, "returning to within the RBI's (Reserve Bank of India) inflation target of 4.2 per cent, driven by softer food prices and base effects", it said.

The IMF said that the fiscal deficit has increased to 8.5 per cent for the central government and 12.8 per cent for the state governments because of "the contraction in economic activity, lower revenue, and pandemic-related support measures".

Large corporates have benefited from the "easier conditions in capital markets" even though "despite policy support, bank credit growth has remained subdued".

The foreign exchange reserves have increased because of net inflows and improvement in the current account, it said, but expected a "return to a deficit of about 1 per cent of the GDP in FY2021/22 due to a gradual recovery in domestic demand and higher oil prices".


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 10:41:14 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 240 mn

Washington, Oct 16 (IANS) The global coronavirus caseload has topped 240 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.88 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.58 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Saturday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number number of vaccine doses administered stood at 240,036,345, 4,888,986 and 6,586,517,325, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 44,883,603 and 723,747, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in second place with 34,037,592 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,627,476), the UK (8,400,971), Russia (7,804,750), Turkey (7,601,596), France (7,180,773), Iran (5,765,904), Argentina (5,271,361), Spain (4,984,386), Colombia (4,978,689), Italy (4,712,482), Germany (4,366,833), Indonesia (4,233,014) and Mexico (3,744,574), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (602,669), India (451,814), Mexico (283,574), Russia (217,382), Peru (199,775), Indonesia (142,889), the UK (138,792), Italy (131,503), Colombia (126,796), Iran (123,695), France (118,153) and Argentina (115,660).


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 10:15:39 +0530
Russia invites US for upcoming talks on Afghanistan

Moscow, Oct 16

Russia has invited a US delegation to participate in the talks on Afghanistan slated to take place in Moscow on October 20, a top official said here.

Moscow is also currently considering a proposal by Iran on hosting in Tehran a meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan's neighbors, Xinhua news agency quoted Zamir Kabulov, Russia's Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan, as saying on Friday.

A day earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that post-conflict reconstruction and humanitarian assistance will be high on the agenda of the multilateral talks.

Russia has also invited Taliban representatives to the meeting.

The Moscow-format consultations on Afghanistan were launched in 2017 on the basis of the six-party mechanism for consultations among representatives from Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India.

The first round of consultations took place on April 14, 2017, and was attended by the Deputy Foreign Ministers and representatives of 11 countries, namely Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 10:02:41 +0530
Every inch of Cellular jail testimony of freedom struggle Amit Shah

New Delhi, Oct 16

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in Port Blair on Friday that every inch of the Cellular jail is a testimony of the freedom struggle, which inspires every Indian to serve the nation.

Shah, who is on a three-day tour of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, paid floral tributes to the martyrs of the freedom struggle at the Shaheed Stambh in the Cellular Jail. He said that this was the place where many known or unknown freedom fighters suffered inhuman torture and made supreme sacrifices for India's freedom struggle.

"The Cellular Jail built by the British is the most important place of pilgrimage for the countrymen and that is why Veer Savarkar used to say that this is a great pilgrimage place, where many martyrs sacrificed their lives to ignite the light of freedom," he said.

Referring to the ongoing ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', Shah said that this is a year to dedicate oneself again to the country by taking inspiration from India's freedom struggle, it is a year to resolve how great a country India will be at the time of hundred years of its Independence.

The Home Minister also said that Vijayadashami is celebrated as a symbol of victory of good over evil and the Cellular Jail also symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

Paying rich tributes to Savarkar, Shah said that the title of ‘Veer' was not given by the government to him, but it was given by the crores of people to acknowledge his valour and patriotism.

"Today some people are questioning Savarkar. It hurts when the person who was punished twice in his life is being questioned for his patriotism," Shah said, adding that the people of the country have prefixed the word 'Veer' before Savarkar's name with great respect and reverence, which no one can erase.

Shah said that to resolve the connectivity problem faced by the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the Submarine Optical Fiber Scheme in 2018, which was inaugurated by him in 2020.


Sat, 16 Oct 2021 09:53:50 +0530
IPL 2021 Final Magnificent du Plessis guides Chennai to 192 3

Dubai, Oct 15

Faf du Plessis (86 off 59 balls) played a magnificent knock to guide Chennai Super Kings to 192/3 in 20 overs against Kolkata Knight Riders in the final of IPL 2021 at the Dubai International Stadium here on Friday. It was an incredible batting effort from Chennai with every batter contributing to the score as Kolkata faltered in their pursuit to apply the choke in middle overs.

Inserted into batting first, Chennai had a flying start as 50 runs came for no loss in the power-play. Ruturaj Gaikwad got off the mark by taking three boundaries off Shakib Al Hasan's first two overs. Lockie Ferguson came under the attack as Gaikwad and du Plessis took 12 runs off him. Du Plessis then struck a boundary against Shivam Mavi and Varun Chakravarthy to match with Gaikwad's pace.

Post timeout, the opening stand of 61 runs was broken by Sunil Narine as Gaikwad (32), who also became the Orange cap holder, holed out to long-off. Du Plessis broke the spell of 17 singles by carting Al Hasan over long-off before Robin Uthappa slammed him over deep mid-wicket for the second six of the over.

Du Plessis slammed Ferguson for back-to-back fours before ending the over with a six-over long-off to reach his half-century in 35 balls. Uthappa (31) made full use of a reprieve from Narine to slam Chakravarthy, followed by Narine, for sixes. But Narine had the last laugh as Uthappa's attempt to reverse sweep ended in a plumb lbw decision.

Moeen Ali took Mavi for two sixes over cow corner and down the ground to bring 150 up for Chennai. Ferguson's horror match continued as Ali went inside-out for a four before du Plessis smacked him for a six and four to complete 19 runs off his final over. Ali creamed Chakravarthy for a four and a six. But Shivam Mavi conceded seven in the final over, including du Plessis holing out to long-off on the final ball, to keep Chennai under 200.

Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 192/3 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 86, Moeen Ali 37 not out, Sunil Narine 2/26, Shivam Mavi 1/32) against Kolkata Knight Riders


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 22:29:37 +0530
Apple removes Quran app in China after request from officials

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS)

Apple has taken down one of the world's most popular Quran apps in China after a request from Chinese officials, the BBC reported.

Quran Majeed is available across the world on the App Store and has nearly 150,000 reviews.

However, Apple removed the app at the request of Chinese officials, allegedly for hosting illegal religious texts, the company said.

The Chinese government has not responded to a request for comment.

The deletion of the app was first noticed by Apple Censorship - a website that monitors apps on Apple's App Store globally, the report said.

The Chinese Communist Party officially recognizes Islam as a religion in the country.

However, China has been accused of human rights violations, and even genocide, against the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang.

It is not clear what rules the app has broken in China. Quran Majeed says it is "trusted by over 35 million Muslims globally", the report added.

Last month, both Apple and Google had removed a tactical voting app devised by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Russian authorities had threatened to fine the two companies if they refused to drop the app, which told users who could unseat ruling party candidates.

China is one of Apple's biggest markets, and the company's supply chain is heavily reliant on Chinese manufacturing.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has been accused of hypocrisy by politicians in the US for speaking out about American politics but staying quiet about China.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 22:22:00 +0530
Need to focus on expanding primary vax coverage before boosters WHO s Swaminathan

New Delhi, Oct 15

There is a global need to focus on expanding primary Covid vaccination coverage before booster doses, World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday.

"There is more than enough evidence now to show that the currently used vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness and death due to Covid-19. We need to focus on expanding primary vaccination coverage before boosters, worldwide," she said on social media.

However, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts to the WHO said on Monday that people with weaker immune systems should receive an additional shot of approved Covid-19 vaccines. The recommendation came after a four-day meeting of the SAGE on immunization. The WHO said that the final report on booster dose will be issued in December.

The SAGE said that moderately and severely immunocompromised persons should be offered an additional dose of all WHO-approved vaccines, adding that these individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination, following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe Covid infection.

Meanwhile, the top priority for India is to administer full vaccination of two doses across the nation, say, officials.

Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava, in a recent press conference, said that booster doses is not a "central theme" at the moment.

"The booster dose is not a central theme in scientific discussion and public health discussion at the moment," he said, noting that several agencies have recommended that antibody level should not be measured because one can have the antibody, cellular immunity, antibody immunity and that persists, so the important understanding is that two doses of complete vaccinations are only essential.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 22:12:01 +0530
Why China did not attack Taiwan

New Delhi, Oct 15

For more than seven decades, China and Taiwan have avoided coming to military face-offs.

The two entities have been separated since 1949 following the civil wars in the 1940s. Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state. China, however, views Taiwan as a breakaway province and has always maintained that the island should at some point be reclaimed. It has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve unification.

Tensions with China are at their worst in 40 years, Taiwan's Defence Minister said, warning of the risk of an accidental strike between the two. China scrambled Taiwan's defense zone with a record number of fighter jets for four consecutive days earlier this month, triggering massive jitters of warmongering messaging.

The Taiwanese Defence Minister also warned that China would be capable of mounting a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025 while speaking at the parliamentary committee in Taipei, considering a multi-billion-dollar defence spending bill to build missiles and warships.

Lately, Beijing is becoming increasingly concerned that Taiwan's government is moving the island towards a formal declaration of independence and wants to deter its President Tsai Ing-wen from taking any steps in that direction. However, US President Joe Biden has said that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had agreed to abide by the "Taiwan agreement".

On October 12, the People's Liberation Army Daily published an article titled 'The historical task of the complete reunification of the Motherland must be realized', based on Xi's speech to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911.

The article stated that President Xi's speech revealed the historical trend of the reunification of the motherland and national rejuvenation.

"The historical task of the complete reunification of the Motherland must be realized and will certainly be realized."

It is an inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era and the sacred mission of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The Chinese PLA has the firm will, full confidence, and sufficient ability to thwart all external forces interference and separatist acts of "Taiwan independence", and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the article said.

Recently, the Communist party media released a military drill video revealing preparations towards going into war with Taiwan. Is CCP intensively preparing for the plan to attack Taiwan ahead of the schedule?

Revealing the true intention of the Chinese design, on 12 October, Epoch Times published an exclusive internal document of the Chinese Communist Party, which is closely related to the recent tension on the Taiwan issue.

According to the report, the document was issued by the National Defense Mobilization Committee of Hui'an County, Quanzhou, Fujian Province, on January 2, 2020, informing the party offices and government departments to survey the local national defense mobilization potential. The document shows that the survey statistics are in accordance with the needs of military struggle preparations related to achieve efficient participation in war and support operations. The Committee also requested that statistics "must not be subject to errors and omissions".

Analysts believe that it proves that the authorities are speeding up the pace and bringing China into a state of war to deal with the upcoming war in Taiwan. It also revealed that the CCP originally decided to launch the war in the Taiwan Strait after the 20th National Congress, i.e., from 2023 to 2024, the last leg of Biden's first term.

But the withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan has upset the Chinese military calculations. Xi Jinping's aides believe that the US military is inherently vulnerable, and the Biden administration does not dare to fight the CCP. However, the fast-moving scenario panning out in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China has its bearing on CCP's strategy.

The announcement of the establishment of AUKUS tripartite security agreement between the United States, Great Britain and Australia and the military exercise held by the 'Quartet Security Dialogue (QUAD) countries comprising the US, Japan, India, and Australia in the region symbolizes that the alliance to curb the CCP's aggression is developing steadily.

Therefore, Xi was compelled to pay more attention to the developing situation. In other words, the CCP may have advanced the time of the war in the Taiwan Strait.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 21:49:42 +0530
Terrorist involved in shooting J K cop killed in Srinagar encounter

Srinagar, Oct 15

A terrorist, involved in the murder of a Jammu and Kashmir Police officer in Srinagar, was killed in an encounter between terrorists and security forces at Srinagar district on Friday, officials said.

"Killer of martyr PSI Arshid killed in Bemina encounter," police tweeted quoting IG, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar.

The encounter ensued after a joint team of the police and the army, which cordoned off the area for a search operation on the basis of specific information about the presence of terrorists, came under fire from the hiding terrorists and retaliated.

On September 12, Sub-Inspector Arshid Ahmad was shot dead from a close range in the Khanyar area of Srinagar.

This is the second encounter in Kashmir on Friday. Earlier, one terrorist involved in a recent civilian killing was gunned down in Pulwama district. Identified as Shahid Basir Sheikh from Srinagar, he was said to be involved in the killing of Mohammad Shafi Dar, 45, a resident of SD Colony, Batmalloo near his residence on October 2.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 21:43:21 +0530
MS Dhoni becomes first captain to lead in 300 T20 matches

Dubai, Oct 15

Adding another feather to his cap, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni on Friday became the first captain to lead a side in 300 T20 matches when he made his way for the toss in the high-octane IPL 2021 final against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

Apart from Dhoni, Daren Sammy (208) is the only other player to have captained teams in more than 200 T20s. This is also the ninth IPL final for Dhoni as a CSK leader.

"We started T20 in around 2005-06 and most of the games have been franchise cricket and in the last five years, there have been a lot of T20 games in international cricket as well," said the former India skipper at the toss about his historic feat.

The 40-year-old has led CSK to three IPL titles in 2010, 2011 and 2018.

Dhoni retired from international cricket in 2020 but had stepped down as T20I captain in January 2017. He captained the Indian team in a total of 72 T20Is, winning 41 of these and losing 28.

As the skipper of CSK, Dhoni has led the Yellow Brigade in 213 matches, winning 130 and losing 81. For a brief period of time, he also captained Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) before being replaced by Steve Smith at the helm.

In total, Dhoni had led RPS in 14 matches, winning 5 and losing 9.

If CSK wins tonight against KKR, then they will become the first T20 franchise in the world to win a title in three different decades.

The Dhoni-led team had first won the IPL title in 2010 before winning it twice in the next decade -- 2011 and 2018.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 20:59:42 +0530
Hubble finds persistent water vapour in Jupiter s moon


Washington, Oct 15

The Hubble Space Telescope observations of Jupiter's icy moon Europa have revealed the presence of persistent water vapour, suggesting potential conditions hospitable for life, according to NASA.

Hubble is an international cooperation between the US space agency and the European Space Agency.

Astronomers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Space and Plasma Physics, Sweden found that Europa harbours a vast ocean underneath its icy surface, but, mysteriously, only in one hemisphere.

Previous observations of water vapour on Europa have been associated with plumes erupting through the ice, as photographed by Hubble in 2013. They extend more than 60 miles high and produce transient blobs of water vapour in the moon's atmosphere, which is only one-billionth the surface pressure of Earth's atmosphere, NASA said.

The new results, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, show similar amounts of water vapour spread over a larger area of Europa in Hubble observations spanning from 1999 to 2015.

This suggests a long-term presence of a water vapour atmosphere only in Europa's trailing hemisphere -- that portion of the moon that is always opposite its direction of motion along its orbit. The cause of this asymmetry between the leading and trailing hemispheres is not fully understood.

To make this discovery, KTH's Lorenz Roth delved into archival Hubble datasets, selecting ultraviolet observations of Europa from 1999, 2012, 2014 and 2015 while the moon was at various orbital positions.

The observations were all taken with Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS). The ultraviolet STIS observations allowed Roth to determine the abundance of oxygen -- one of the constituents of water -- in Europa's atmosphere, and by interpreting the strength of emission at different wavelengths he was able to infer the presence of water vapour.

The same technique recently resulted in the discovery of water vapour in the atmosphere of Jupiter's moon Ganymede.

"The observation of water vapour on Ganymede, and on the trailing side of Europa, advances our understanding of the atmospheres of icy moons.

"However, the detection of a stable water abundance on Europa is a bit more surprising than on Ganymede because Europa's surface temperatures are lower than Ganymede's," Roth said.

Europa reflects more sunlight than Ganymede, keeping the surface 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than Ganymede. The daytime high on Europa is a frigid minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yet, even at the lower temperature, the new observations suggest water ice is sublimating - that is, transforming directly from solid to vapour without a liquid phase - off Europa's surface, just like on Ganymede, the team said.

The findings help lay the groundwork for planned science missions to the Jovian system to, in part, explore whether an environment half a billion miles from the Sun could support life.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 20:51:47 +0530
Tatas plan to pilot synergy between airlines post SPA

New Delhi, Oct 15 Conglomerate Tata Group plans to pilot synergy between all its airlines to compete in various market segments.

Post the SPA transaction, Tatas will have two full-service carriers -- Vistara and Air India -- along with two low-cost airlines -- Air India Express and AirAsia India -- and a ground and cargo handling company, AISATS.

Accordingly, plans are afoot to run all these brands as independent entities under one vertical for some time after the SPA.

Nonetheless, the group intends to drive in major synergies between the airlines in terms of fleet management, route deployment, flight timings and airport slot planning.

In terms of USPs, Vistara is expected to retain the premium services tag, while Air India will predominantly focus on key international and metro routes.

The domestic feeder traffic is expected to be driven by AirAsia India which may get few aircraft from Air India's fleet.

Furthermore, mergers will depend on profitability, performance and market situation apart from each airline's unique culture and suitability of brand.

Regarding the plans, a query sent to the Tata Group went unanswered.

The development assumes significance since Tata Sons' subsidiary Talace emerged as the highest bidder for the national carrier under the divestment process.

It quoted an enterprise value of Rs 18,000 crore for the 100 per cent equity shareholding of Centre in Air India along with that of Air India Express and AISATS.

Out of Rs 18,000 crore, Talace will retain Air India's overall debt worth Rs 15,300 crore, while the rest will be paid to the Centre as the cash component.

The Centre had stipulated a reserve price of Rs 12,906 crore.

Based on the bid results, which were announced last Friday, the Centre will enter into a share purchase agreement (SPA) with Talace by December-end.

All in all, Tata Sons' subsidiary Talace will, among other assets such as human resources, get more 140 aircraft as well as 8 logos.

In terms of fleet, Tatas will get Air India's 117 wide-body and narrow-body aircrafts and Air India Express's 24.

A significant number of these aircrafts are owned by Air India.

It will also operate these aircraft on over 4,000 domestic and 1,800 international routes.

Additionally, it will get access to Air India's frequent flyer programme which has more than three million members.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 20:34:13 +0530
Four killed as speeding car rams religious procession in Chhattisgarh


Jashpur (Chhattisgarh), Oct 15

At least four people were killed and over 15 others seriously injured as a speeding car ploughed into people proceeding to immerse a Durga idol in the Pathalgaon area of Chhattisgarh's Jashpur district on Friday, the police said.

"Four people have died and more than 15 are critically injured. Of them, around 8-9 have received serious injuries. The number of fatalities may increase," said a police officer present at the spot.

Witnesses claimed that the driver deliberately targetted the gathering on Raigarh road, and a viral video of the incident makes for disturbing viewing.

The immersion procession had set out from Pathalgaon at around 1.30 p.m. when the maroon-coloured Sumo, being driven at a speed of 100-120 km per hour, crashed into it, throwing people around "like footballs" and crushing others, including a youth who died on the spot.

The deceased was identified as Gaurav Agarwal, 21. Details of the other deceased are not known yet.

Jashpur's Superintendent of Police Vijay Agarwal told the media that the reckless driver was caught by the people and thrashed badly. A huge quantity of ganja was also found in the vehicle, which was set on fire by the enraged people.

However, a police officer said that there were two people in the car - Radheshyam Vishwakarma, 21, and Shishupal Shahu, both from Madhya Pradesh. Both have been arrested.

The incident created anger among the local people, who, along with the body of the killed youth, blocked the Gumla-Katni highway.

A police official said the situation was critical as more and more people from nearby areas gathered there.

"Somehow, we managed to control the situation. But people are still there on the spot. Senior officials have also reached there," he added.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 20:25:32 +0530
More than 30 dead in Kandahar mosque blast

New Delhi, Oct 15

More than 30 people have died while 90 others have been injured after an explosion tore through a Shia mosque during Friday prayers in the Afghan city of Kandahar, the BBC reported.

Pictures from inside the Bibi Fatima mosque showed shattered windows and bodies lying on the ground with some other worshippers trying to help.

The explosion's cause is not yet clear, but it is suspected to be a case of suicide bombing. Witnesses said that there were three blasts in the mosque.

IS-K, a local branch of the Islamic State, is expected to claim responsibility for the attack, the BBC reported.

Kandahar is Afghanistan's second largest city and the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban, so an attack in the city by IS-K, which is extremely hostile towards the Taliban, would be significant.

Last Friday, a suicide attack on another Shia mosque during Friday prayers in the northern city of Kunduz had killed at least 50 people. IS-K had said that it carried out the attack, which was the deadliest since the US forces left Afghanistan at the end of August.

IS-K, a Sunni Muslim group, is the most extreme and violent of all the jihadi militant groups in Afghanistan. Sunni Muslim extremists have targeted Shia Muslims, whom they see as heretics.

IS-K has targeted Afghan security forces, politicians and ministries, the Taliban, religious minorities, including Shia Muslims and Sikhs, US and Nato forces, and international agencies, including aid organizations, the report said.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 20:14:47 +0530
Scientists targeted with abuse death threats during pandemic

London, Oct 15

More than 60 per cent researchers faced negative experiences as a result of their media appearances or their social media comments about Covid-19 pandemic, revealed a survey conducted by science journal Nature.

About 22 per cent received threats of physical or sexual violence, while 15 per cent received death threats.

The findings are based on a self-selecting survey of 321 people working in fields relevant to Covid.

While six scientists said they were physically attacked, some were attacked indirectly -- their employer received complaints about them, or that their home address was revealed online, Nature reported.

Much abuse happens on social media, particularly on Twitter. Among the 63 per cent who used the microblogging site to comment on aspects of Covid, around one-third said they were "always" or "usually" attacked on the platform.

For such individuals, coping strategies include trying to ignore it, filtering and blocking e-mails and social-media trolls, or deleting their accounts.

"It is very harrowing if every day, you open up your e-mails, your Twitter, you get the death threats, you get abuse every single day, undermining your work," Andrew Hill, a pharmacologist at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Translational Medicine. Hill has deleted his Twitter account.

As a result, scientists who reported higher frequencies of trolling or personal attacks were also most likely to say that their experiences had greatly affected their willingness to speak to the media in the future.

"The more prominent you are, the more abuse you're going to get," historian Heidi Tworek at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, was quoted as saying.

But researchers shouldn't try to cope on their own, she added, stating that there is much that institutions can do to assist scientists who are receiving abuse.

In the survey, 44 per cent of scientists who said they'd been trolled or experienced personal attacks said they never told their employer. Of those who did, however, almost 80 per cent found their employer "very" or "somewhat" supportive.

Although such coordinated social-media campaigns and threatening e-mails or phone calls to scientists are not new but tied to the pandemic, the abuse was a new and unwelcome phenomenon.

"I believe national governments, funding agencies and scientific societies have not done enough to publicly defend scientists," one researcher wrote in their survey response.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 17:40:13 +0530
WBBL thrown into turmoil after 3 day flash lockdown imposed in Tasmania

Sydney, Oct 15

The Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) inaugural week is facing uncertainty after Hobart was put under a three-day lockdown on Friday due to surging Covid-19 cases in Tasmania.

"Four WBBL-07 games are scheduled to be played at Blundstone Arena (in Hobart) across Saturday and Sunday, with Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein suggesting crowds will now not be able to attend those matches," a report in said on Friday, adding that Cricket Australia (CA) was in talks with the Tasmanian government after the flash lockdown was imposed.

The report said that CA and the Tasmanian government were working on "a contingency plan", adding that the Australian cricket's governing body had informed the state government authorities that all players and staff members had received COVID-19 vaccinations.

During a press conference on Friday, Gutwein was quoted as saying that, "Bearing in mind there are national and international matters to consider here in terms of the broadcast, if they do go ahead they would go ahead with no crowd and with the players remaining in a bubble."

A total of eight Indian players, including Smriti Mandhana, are playing in the WBBL, and seven of the eight WBBL sides are already in Tasmania. "Perth Scorchers were due to fly in (later) on Friday for their first match against Brisbane Heat on October 17 but confirmed they would remain in Western Australia until more information was available," the report added.

"Also, Hurricanes are scheduled to play the Renegades on Saturday afternoon, before the Strikers meet the Thunder on Saturday night. The Hurricanes then back up against the Sixers on Sunday morning, before the Heat play the Scorchers," the report said.

"The health and safety of our players, staff, match officials and partners, along with that of the wider community, remains our top priority," CA said in a statement, adding, "We are currently working with the Tasmanian Government on options for the upcoming Weber WBBL|07 matches at Blundstone Arena, Hobart this weekend."

"The next matches are not due to be played until October 19, after the scheduled end of the lockdown on Monday evening," the report added.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 17:30:36 +0530
I T searches in Maha reveal unaccounted income of over Rs 184 Cr

New Delhi, Oct 15

The Income Tax Department carried out search and seizure operations on two real estate business groups of Mumbai and certain individuals and entities associated with them.

The search operations commenced on October 7 and have been carried out at about 70 premises spread across Mumbai, Pune, Baramati, Goa and Jaipur, the department said in a statement.

The evidence gathered during the search has revealed several prima-facie unaccounted and benami transactions. Incriminating documents, evidence of unaccounted income of about Rs 184 crore of the two groups have been found.

The search action has led to identification of transactions by these business groups with a web of companies which, prima facie, appear to be suspicious.

A preliminary analysis of the flow of funds indicates that there has been an introduction of unaccounted funds in the group by way of various dubious methods like introduction of bogus share premium, suspicious unsecured loans, receipt of unsubstantiated advance for certain services, collusive arbitration deals out of non-existent disputes, etc.

It has been observed that such suspicious flow of funds has taken place with the involvement of an influential family of Maharashtra, the I-T department said.

The funds so introduced in a dubious manner, have been utilized for the acquisition of various assets such as office building at a prime locality in Mumbai, flat in posh locality in Delhi, resort in Goa, agricultural lands in Maharashtra and investments in sugar mills. The book value of these assets aggregates to about Rs 170 crore.

Unaccounted cash of Rs 2.13 crore and jewelry of Rs 4.32 crore have been seized.

Further investigations are in progress.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 17:17:36 +0530
I T searches in Maha reveal unaccounted income of over Rs 184 Cr

New Delhi, Oct 15

The Income Tax Department carried out search and seizure operations on two real estate business groups of Mumbai and certain individuals and entities associated with them.

The search operations commenced on October 7 and have been carried out at about 70 premises spread across Mumbai, Pune, Baramati, Goa and Jaipur, the department said in a statement.

The evidence gathered during the search has revealed several prima-facie unaccounted and benami transactions. Incriminating documents, evidence of unaccounted income of about Rs 184 crore of the two groups have been found.

The search action has led to identification of transactions by these business groups with a web of companies which, prima facie, appear to be suspicious.

A preliminary analysis of the flow of funds indicates that there has been an introduction of unaccounted funds in the group by way of various dubious methods like introduction of bogus share premium, suspicious unsecured loans, receipt of unsubstantiated advance for certain services, collusive arbitration deals out of non-existent disputes, etc.

It has been observed that such suspicious flow of funds has taken place with the involvement of an influential family of Maharashtra, the I-T department said.

The funds so introduced in a dubious manner, have been utilized for the acquisition of various assets such as office building at a prime locality in Mumbai, flat in posh locality in Delhi, resort in Goa, agricultural lands in Maharashtra and investments in sugar mills. The book value of these assets aggregates to about Rs 170 crore.

Unaccounted cash of Rs 2.13 crore and jewelry of Rs 4.32 crore have been seized.

Further investigations are in progress.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 17:12:29 +0530
Pro govt Yemeni forces kill 40 Houthis in ambush

Sanaa, Oct 15

 Forces loyal to the Yemen government announced the killing of 40 Houthi fighters during an ambush in the country's northeastern oil-rich province of Marib.

"The army units backed by local tribesmen set up a well-planned ambush and targeted the Houthi militia near Jubah district in southern Marib," Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry of Defence as saying.

The ambush killed 40 Houthi rebels and injured several others in the area that was witnessing non-stop armed confrontations between the two warring sides, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Houthis-affiliated Masirah television network reported that the Saudi-led coalition carried out at least 39 airstrikes on areas of Marib during the past hours.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia launched in February a major offensive on Marib in an attempt to seize control of the oil-rich province, the last northern stronghold of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since September 2014 when the Houthi militia forced the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 17:06:53 +0530
Over 41K crack 2021 JEE Advanced exam

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) The results of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced 2021 conducted for seeking admission to various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) across the country were declared on Friday with 41,862 clearing the exam.

Jaipur's Mridul Agarwal created a history of sorts by not only topping but also scoring the highest ever percentage in the exam. He topped the chart by scoring 348 out of 360 marks.

Among the girl students, Kavya Chopra of IIT-Delhi topped the list with 98 common rank list (CRL) . She has secured 286 out of 360 marks.

A total of 1,41,699 candidates appeared in both paper 1 and 2 of the JEE (Advanced) Exam 2021.

As many as 41,862 candidates have qualified the JEE-(Advanced) 2021, of which 6,452 are girls.

JEE Advanced exam was conducted on October 3 for seeking admission to 23 IITs across the country. Following the requisite Covid-19 protocols, the examination was conducted in two shifts. Many students after taking the exam said questions in the maths section in JEE-Advanced were quite tough.

This year the JEE-Mains exam was conducted in four different phases. The National Testing Agency had declared the result of all the four phases of examination and the students who passed these examinations were given an opportunity to appear in the JEE-Advanced exam.

In the fourth phase of the JEE-Main examination, 44 students had secured cent per cent marks. As many as 18 students managed to bag the number one rank in the JEE-Main examination, of which two students were from the Delhi region.

This year the students were free to write in 13 different languages for the JEE. Students aspiring to pursue engineering can appear for the JEE examination in their mother tongue under this facility. On the basis of the results of the JEE-Advanced examination, there will be an admission on more than 40,000 seats of Government Funded Technical Institutes (JFTIs), including 23 IITs, 31 National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and 23 Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) across the country.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 16:57:02 +0530
Former President Abdul Kalam remembered on 90th Birth Anniversary

The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari offered floral tributes to the former President late Dr A P J Abdul Kalam on his 90th birth anniversary at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai on Friday (15th Oct).
Officers and staff of Raj Bhavan also petals to the portrait of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on the occasion.
Principal Secretary to Governor Santosh Kumar, Special Secretary Rakesh Naithani, Deputy Secretary Prachi Jambhekar, Private Secretary Ulhas Munagekar and others were present.

Fri, 15 Oct 2021 12:57:53 +0530
Rashmi Rocket is more than an inspirational film


Film: Rashmi Rocket (Streaming on Zee5). Duration: 135 minutes.

Director: Akarsh Khurana. Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Priyanshu Painyuli, Abhishek Banerjee, Supriya Pathak, Manoj Joshi, Chirag Vora, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Varun Badola, Mantra and Zafar Karachiwala. IANS Rating: ***1/2

Rashmi Rocket is a scathing sports drama. It is not a story of an underdog but that of a gifted athlete who was subjected to the trauma of gender testing, which has often resulted in social stigma and careers being ruined. The film questions traditional ideas about identity, ability and competitive fairness in sports.

Taking the lead from the lives of athletes such as Dutee Chand and Santhi Soundarajan, who were banned from participating in official competitions because they have above-average natural testosterone levels, which is considered by some as a sign of intolerance, prejudice and lack of empathy.

This standard has prematurely ended the career of dozens of athletes and threatens the journey of several world-class runners across the globe. Ironically, male athletes are not limited by their natural testosterone levels to compete.

The film eventually blossoms into something much bigger than just an inspirational film. It works as both a meticulous presentation of the issue and emotional support to the victims of this ancient practice. By its end, its revelations demand nothing short of full-scale dismissal of this antiquated clause in the rulebook.

The screenplay is formulaic. The film begins with Rashmi getting arrested from a women's hostel, accused of being a man. This sets the premise of the narrative. Getting into a flashback, we are shown the free-spirited Rashmi being brought up in rustic Bhuj, Gujarat.

How the earthquake of 2001 altered her life and how over a period of time she took part in athletic events reluctantly, after being coaxed by her mother Bhanuben (Supriya Pathak) and Gagan Thakur (Priyanshu Painyuli), the military officer who loves her, which leads to the controversy that plagues her.

The film's second half focuses on the drama in the court of Judge Savita Deshpande (Supriya Pilgaonkar). The proceedings are manoeuvred by rookie advocate Eeshit Mehta (Abhishek Banerjee) and the veteran prosecutor Mangesh Desai (Zafar Karachiwala). The film ends on a note that makes you want more. It's therefore a bit disappointing.

Tapsee Pannu, who was earlier seen in a sports drama, effortlessly slips into the shoes of the ace sprinter Rashmi, and because of her speed is named 'Rashmi Rocket'. She is a delight to watch, for she brings the right balance of joy, grit and pain on-screen, displaying every raw emotion of strength, humility, tenacity, vulnerability and audacity to hope in the face of the immeasurable psychological trauma.

Gagan Thakur is the type of best support that anyone needs on and off the screen. The subtle character of a considerate and fearless lover, determined in the face of injustice, was brilliantly played by Priyanshu Painyuli.

Supriya Pilgaonkar, Abhishek Banerjee and Zafar Karachiwala are a refreshing change in the courtroom drama. Though minor characters, they were all well-written and well-played. They were able to add some spark in an otherwise mundane court scene. Supriya Pathak and Manoj Joshi, as Rashmi's parents, offer nothing exceptional.

The film is well-shot and boasts of good production values. Music, bursting with the flavours of Bhuj, is used fittingly. The songs 'Ghani Cool Chori', 'Zidd', 'Rann Ma Kutchh' and 'Zindagi Tere Naam', clearly, stand out in the narrative. Overall, 'Rashmi Rocket' is a film worth taking note of.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 09:15:38 +0530
WhatsApp begins rolling out end to end encryption for chat backups

San Francisco, Oct 15

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has finally started rolling out end-to-end encrypted chat backups for iOS and Android users globally.

With the new update, if a user chooses to back up his chat history with end-to-end encryption, it will be accessible only to him, and no one will be able to unlock the backup. Neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider will be able to access their end-to-end encryption backup.

"With end-to-end encrypted backups, no other messaging service at WhatsApp's scale will provide this level of security for people's messages -- from sending and transit, to receiving and storing in the cloud," the company said in a post.

The feature will be rolling out "slowly" for people on the latest version of the app.

Once the feature rolls out, open WhatsApp, go to Settings > Chats > Chat Backups > End-to-End Encrypted Backup, and then follow the prompts.

One can now secure their end-to-end encrypted backup with either a password of their choice or a 64-digit encryption key which means that no one else but only the user will be able to access the backup.

"This feature will provide people with more privacy and security for their digital conversations and that's a responsibility that we don't take lightly. Given this, we are rolling this out slowly to ensure a consistent and reliable user experience for people on iOS and Android around the world," the company added.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 09:09:55 +0530
Japanese investors hold meeting with Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar, Oct 15

An investors' delegation from Japan along with India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday held a meeting with the Odisha government on potential partnerships on steel, chemical and various other industries, an official said.

"Japan has been a treasured partner of India and Odisha. Our state is committed to building an everlasting relationship with Japan, both in industrial and cultural spheres," said Industries Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra.

He also urged the Japanese firms and investors to come to Odisha and see its offerings and promised that the state is ever ready to facilitate and handhold investors for their proposed investments. Mishra thanked Japan for being the country partner in the 2nd edition of 'Make in Odisha'.

Chief Secretary S.C. Mahapatra said, "The officials operating at different levels are part of Odisha's growth story and we would ensure all kinds of proactive support to the Japanese investors, not only from initiation to commissioning of projects, but also for their continued smooth operation."

Principal Secretary in the Industries Department, Hemant Sharma, highlighted the industry-specific infrastructures and opportunities to the Japanese delegates.

"We have a natural advantage in mineral-based industries and we have been able to attract investment to the tune of Rs 4 lakh crore in the last two years. Because of the huge investment in infrastructure, ports, rail, roads, power and skill development, we are a preferred destination for diversified industries," Sharma told the delegation.

Shringla said, "The case for Japanese investment in Odisha is well made. The robust infrastructure, strong political will and enabling bureaucracy coupled with natural resources are great strengths of Odisha."

He added that the government of India would provide all the required support for successful investments in Odisha.

Satoshi Suzuki, a member of the Japanese delegation, appreciated Odisha's efforts in attracting investments from foreign countries, including considerable Japanese companies. The number of Japanese companies in Odisha has increased by 5 times in the last 10 years, he said.

Top Japanese diplomats and many representatives of Japanese companies in India attended the meeting.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 09:05:07 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 239 5 mn

Washington, Oct 15

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 239.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.88 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.57 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Friday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 239,573,207, 4,881,197 and 6,575,970,837, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 44,766,965 and 721,562, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in the second place with 34,020,730 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,612,237), the UK (8,356,596), Russia (7,773,388), Turkey (7,570,902), France (7,174,580), Iran (5,754,047), Argentina (5,270,003), Spain (4,980,206), Colombia (4,977,043), Italy (4,709,753), Germany (4,355,169), Indonesia (4,232,099) and Mexico (3,738,749), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (602,099), India (451,435), Mexico (283,193), Russia (216,403), Peru (199,746), Indonesia (142,848), the UK (138,647), Italy (131,461), Colombia (126,759), Iran (123,498), France (118,111) and Argentina (115,633).


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 08:57:26 +0530
President performs Sindhu Darshan puja near Leh

Leh, Oct 14

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, on Thursday, performed Sindhu Darshan puja on the ghats of the Indus river on the outskirts of Leh.

Accompanied by his daughter Swati, Kovind is visiting Leh for the first time after the formation of the Union Territory of Ladakh.

Amid religious chants and drumbeats, the President, along with the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh, R.K. Mathur, performed the Sindhu Darshan puja at the specially constructed ghat in Shey village, about 12 km from Leh, which is now the designated place for the annual Sindhu Darshan festival.

Member of Parliament Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Indian Army's Northern Command GoC Y.K. Joshi and Fire and Fury Corp GoC Lt Gen P.G.K. Menon was also present on the occasion.

Earlier on Thursday morning, Mathur had welcomed Kovind at the Leh airfield, where he was accorded the ceremonial guard of honour.

The President is on a two-day visit to Ladakh, where he would celebrate Dussehra with the Army jawans in Drass. He will also pay tributes at the Kargil War Memorial there.


Fri, 15 Oct 2021 08:47:39 +0530
Chhetri breaks Pele s record says it is not important there is no comparison

Mumbai, Oct 14

To go past the legendary Pele and be just one adrift of Lionel Mess in the list of top goal scorers in the world is an extraordinary feeling and one could be pardoned for being on cloud nine after achieving such a feat.

India skipper Sunil Chhetri, however, said he would not attach too much importance to overtaking Pele in the list of top scorers and would rather concentrate on coming up with his best performance for which team he was representing -- whether country or his club.

India skipper Chhetri scored a brace -- his 78th and 79th goals in his 124th match in the SAFF Championship in the 3-1 win against hosts Maldives in Male on Wednesday, going past Pele (77) and Hussain Saeed (78 goals) in the process. He is now tied with Godfrey Chitalu of Zambia on 79 goals and is joint sixth on the list. Ahead of him on the list are Messi (80 goals), Ferenc Puskas (HUN, ESP) 84 goals, Mokhtar Dahati (MAS) 89 goals, Ali Daei (IRN) 109 goals, and Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) topping the list with 115 international strikes to his name.

Though he was happy to be in august company, Chhetri said the times Pele or other greats played in were too different to compare each other's achievements.

"Sadly, I didn't have many footages of the great man to watch. But from whatever little I could see, he (Pele) was somebody who was very dynamic, very powerful considering the tackles that were allowed in those times. Football was a little bit more physical and brutal and so in that era to be that physical and to be strong and dynamic and score so many goals was an extraordinary achievement. But sadly, the footages were sadly very short and I couldn't see him much and that's the kind of feedback I have about him," Chhetri said about his recollection of watching footage of Pele's game during a virtual interaction with journalists on Thursday.

About going past the great Brazilian, a living legend of the game considered by many as the greatest player the game has ever seen, Chhetri said he does not feel anything about that achievement.

"His (Pele's) number of goals and stats speak for itself. As far as me going above him, I feel nothing about it. I don't give much attention to it. I am happy scoring goals for my team," Chhetri said.
He had a similar answer to a question that he is third among active players in the goal scorers list behind Ronaldo and Messi.

"There is no comparison between us. If we are all happy that I am able to score for my country that is sufficient. As far as comparison is concerned, there is no comparison. We all are happy that our player scores for the country and has been doing his best. That's all it is about and there is nothing much to it. So, as I have said this before, appreciate them for a few minutes and ignore these numbers," said Chhetri.

The India skipper said the mood in the Indian camp was upbeat following the win against the Maldives in their own backyard in hostile conditions. He admitted that things were not good after the draws against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka that put the team in a must-win situation against both Nepal and Maldives in order to make the final.

He said the senior players kept the youngsters' morale up despite the disappointing performance in the first two matches and said they were happy to have made a comeback.

He said the main reason for the topsy-turvy performance in the first two games was because the players had not played many matches together and therefore could not work out the right combination. He said the Indian team did not have a good start against Bangladesh and though they played a little better against Sri Lank, they missed too many chances. He said they improved their game in the 1-0 win against Nepal and things were far better in the match against the Maldives and that they were slowly finding the right combination.

Asked about the pressure on him to score goals in each and every match, Chhetri said he does not think on those lines and just has a simple philosophy for life -- just to go and do his best in every match as the clock is ticking. He said he does not think of what others are saying about him and his game and just wants to go on doing his best till his last match.

"I try not to think about this surrounding noise, as I think of it, and concentrate on my work. It is not healthy for me to read, see and watch things that are talked about me, so I keep myself away from that. My job is simple, I try and score whichever team I am playing for -- my country or my club. Sometimes I do score, sometimes I miss silly goals that are all part of the game and I try to keep things as simple as that," he added.

About India's upcoming SAFF football final against Nepal on Friday, Chhetri said Nepal is the best team in the tournament even though they don't have any top stars. "They are a very good team and even though they have never won the SAFF title, it will be a tough match and we will have to play good football against them," said the India captain.

India has won the SAFF title seven times and is the favourite to win the title on Friday.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 21:10:30 +0530
T Works successfully tests hybrid UAV which covers 45 km

Hyderabad, Oct 14

The Telangana government's hardware incubator and prototyping lab, T-Works, successfully designed, developed, and tested its indigenous vertical take-off and landing autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which covered 45km in 33 minutes.

This puts T-Works among the few organizations in India at present that can design, fabricate, integrate, and operate long-range vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) hybrid drones.

The airframe and its components were designed and fabricated by T-Works, using software design tools, 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC routing machines currently available at the Phase-0 facility in Begumpet, Hyderabad.

The Airborne Medical Rapid Transport (AMRT25), with a 2.5m wingspan, is a hybrid UAV - launching and landing vertically like a conventional drone and then flying forward like a conventional winged aircraft. The VTOL motors are powered by a 10,000mAh battery and forward flight is powered by a 30cc gasoline engine.

A winged aircraft consumes up to 75 per cent less power than a conventional multi-rotor since the wings help produce the additional buoyant force. Which is why the AMRT design can carry much heavier payloads over much larger distances, said T-Works officials.

According to them, the next version will have a range of 100km with a payload capacity of 3.5kg. Added to this, a 5m x 5m flat clearing is sufficient to safely launch and land the AMRT25. This design uses the advantages of VTOL and fixed wing configurations.

Apart from medical supplies delivery, the AMRT25 UAV can be used for surveying, inspection, defense applications, surveillance, and as a testbed for experimental payloads.

It completed over 30 test flights over the course of a week passing various parameters such as maximum range, endurance, waypoint navigation, and return-to-launch capabilities.

The tools used for designing and constructing the UAV are also now available for the community to use and build UAV airframes or any other prototypes. Users can visit for instant quotations, design support and deliver-to-home options. Over 150 parts have been fabricated and delivered through the platform already.

T-Works CEO Sujai Karampuri said that for short flights and limited range, commonly available drones called multi-rotors are well suited to do jobs such as food delivery, photography, and videography.

"The best battery powered multi-rotors in the world are limited to a 40km range while the most common and affordable ones are limited to around 20-25km after which the battery must be recharged or replaced. For wider applications and to cover longer distances, say over 100km, with speed, we must break this range barrier. Here, fixed-wing VTOL UAVs are an efficient option," he said.

"The first step to creating a culture for hobbyists, makers and innovators is openly sharing knowledge. All the information about how the AMRT was built, the problems we faced, and how we overcame them is already available online on the T-Works website. I am looking forward to seeing these spur enthusiasts start building and flying UAVs. The new DGCA drone regulations have also increased interest in this segment and the need for talent will only grow from here. For the AMRT, this is only the beginning with several more enhancements to come," he added.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 21:03:23 +0530
Mahesh Babu spills beans about his film with Rajamouli

Hyderabad, Oct 14

Southern megastar Mahesh Babu has made an announcement regarding his upcoming movie under SS Rajamouli's direction. In an elaborate email interview with Forbes, Mahesh Babu expressed happiness over the widespread fandom, while he talks about many other things.

The 'Pokiri' hero explains that his fans are his biggest strength, while he thinks being humble allows growth. "If you think you know it all, you stop growing", the Telugu superstar mentioned.

Mahesh Babu explains that he is a South Indian and always loves to work in the South Indian movie industry. "I would change nothing about it", Mahesh Babu affirmed. Also, he explains that movies are made with their own sensibilities and native appeal, which is the most important thing to denote multiple cultures.

On being quizzed about his Bollywood entry, Mahesh spills the beans over his upcoming mammoth project with SS Rajamouli. "I have always wanted to do the right film at the right time if it was a Hindi film. And I think the time is now… my next is with SS Rajamouli sir (director of Baahubali) and that will be in all languages", the superstar announced.

The excited fans are waiting for more details regarding the same to be out. Well, as of now there isn't much information regarding this, but it is believed that Mahesh Babu and Rajamouli would soon make an official announcement.

Mahesh Babu's upcoming movie with Parasuram stars Keerthy Suresh as the female lead. Titled 'Sarkaru Vaari Paata', the movie is touted to be a political drama, which is slated for release during Sankranthi 2022.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:58:35 +0530
Over 2 cr returns filed on glitch ridden e filing portal of I T Dept

New Delhi, Oct 14

The e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department has marked receipt of more than 2 crore Income Tax returns as on 13th October 2021, a government statement released on Thursday said.

The new portal was launched on 7th June 2021 and in the initial period, taxpayers had reported glitches and difficulties in the functioning of the portal. A number of technical issues have since been resolved and the performance of the portal has substantially stabilized, the statement said.

Over 13.44 crore unique taxpayers have logged in till 13th October 2021. Approximately 54.70 lakh taxpayers have availed of the 'forgot password' facility to obtain their passwords.

All Income Tax Returns have been made available for e-filing. More than 2 crore ITRs for AY 2021-22 have been filed on the portal, of which ITRs 1 & 4 constitute 86%.

Also, more than 1.70 crore returns have been e-verified, out of which 1.49 crore are through Aadhaar based OTP. The process of e-verification through Aadhaar OTP and other methods is important for the Department to commence processing of the ITR and to issue refunds if any.

Of the verified ITRs 1 & 4, over 1.06 crore ITRs have been processed and over 36.22 lakh refunds for AY 2021-22 have been issued. Processing of ITRs 2 & 3 will be taken up shortly.

The Digital Signature (DSC) registration of non-residents has been enabled and overall 4.87 lakh DSCs have been registered. In the simplified process of DSC registration, an individual has to register his DSC only once and can use it across any entity where the individual is a partner, director, etc without having to re-register again against each entity or role.

Over 15.72 lakh Statutory Forms have been submitted including 9.08 lakh TDS statements, 1.29 lakh Form 10A for registration of Trusts/institutions, 1.98 lakh Form 10E for arrears of salary, 23,920 Form 35 pertaining to the filing of Appeal and 22,075 DTVSV Form 4 till 13th October 2021.

In response to feedback from taxpayers, the submission process of 15CA and 15CB forms required for foreign remittances has been revamped. Over 1.83 lakh 15CA and 37,870 15CB forms have been filed. More than 21.40 lakh e-PANs have been allotted online free of cost. The Legal Heir functionality has been enabled for registrations and compliance.

Further, e-proceedings and faceless proceedings have been enabled with functionalities including video conferencing for assessment and seeking adjournments or appointment and filings by Authorized Representatives. Taxpayers have been able to view over 12.20 lakh Notices issued by the Department under the Faceless Assessment/Appeal/Penalty proceedings, to which over 6.24 lakh responses have been filed.

The Income Tax Department has urged all taxpayers to view their Form 26AS through the e-filing portal to verify the accuracy of the TDS and Tax Payments and avail of pre-filing of ITRs. It has also asked all taxpayers who are yet to file their Income Tax returns for AY 2021-22, to file their returns at the earliest.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:54:00 +0530
UN summit to advance action on zero emission vehicles

Beijing, Oct 14

The UN Sustainable Transport Conference began in Beijing on Thursday with the government leaders, industry experts and civil society groups charting a sustainable pathway forward.

The conference is being held to ensure the rapid development and deployment of new and innovative transport solutions to meet the climate crisis and spearhead action towards affordable and accessible transport for all.

While science shows that urgent action is needed to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature limit within reach to prevent greater climate impacts, the world is still grappling with Covid-19, which has disrupted global supply chains, reversed years of development progress and has pushed around 120 million people back into poverty.

The UN Sustainable Transport Conference, taking place from October 14 to 16, will seek to provide concrete solutions for how we plan and design transport systems to ensure the pathway to achieving sustainable transport -- transport that is safe, accessible, green and resilient -- is at the scale and speed required.

While there is increasing recognition that sustainable transport can spur economic growth and protect the environment -- global sales of electric vehicles grew from 1.3 million in 2015 to 5.1 million in 2018 -- progress has been slow and unequal.

According to the World Bank, a transition to sustainable mobility could deliver savings of $70 trillion by 2050, when considering full transport costs, including vehicles, fuel, operational expenses, and losses due to congestion.

Better access to roads could help Africa become self-sufficient in food and create a regional food market worth $1 trillion by 2030.

"Efforts to accelerate the sustainable transformation of the transport sector are essential to reduce climate-causing emissions and improve the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere," said Liu Zhenmin, Under Secretary-General of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the conference Secretary-General.

"The Sustainable Transport Conference in Beijing will sharpen our focus on transport, an area where global efforts can make a deep impact across the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development."

While transport is a core driver for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provides communities with an opportunity to access employment, healthcare services and attend schools, current systems of mobility present a number of challenges.

Transport is one of the single largest contributors to air and carbon pollution emissions globally, also accounting for about 64 per cent of total oil consumption and 27 per cent of all energy use.

Over 1 billion people worldwide still lack adequate access to an all-weather road, especially in developing countries, including countries in special situations.

In Africa, 450 million people, more than 70 per cent of the total rural population, remain unconnected to transport infrastructure and systems. Whereas road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 29.

The UN Sustainable Transport Conference comes at a pivotal moment in the lead up to the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

It will provide an opportunity to stress the urgency of overhauling transport systems to respond to the climate crisis as well as the criticality of sustainable transport for spurring economic growth and empowering vulnerable populations through better access to healthcare, education, and jobs.

Governments, businesses, and experts in the transport field will gather at the conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities as well as solutions that exist to supercharge the transition to sustainable transport.

Countries, businesses and communities are using the power of technology and innovation to improve their transport systems and make them more sustainable.

From the volocopter, an all-electric air taxi in Germany, to electrified bus networks in China to the rapid sale growth of electric vehicles in the US, a transport revolution has begun.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also prompted many cities to build more bicycle lanes and G20 countries have committed over $284 billion to the mobility industry.

Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:48:39 +0530
NCPCR notice to Delhi govt for using minors in promotional videos

New Delhi, Oct 14

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Thursday issued a notice to the Delhi government on a complaint about a promotional video that features minor school students.

The apex child rights panel said that the video, in which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal can be seen with large gatherings of school kids without wearing a mask and avoiding social distancing, shows clear violations of Covid protocols and endangers the lives of minor school children.

The Commission said it received the complaint from the national convener of the Odisha-based Kalinga Rights Forum, and the videos violate the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and Covid-19 pandemic protocols.

"Therefore, the Commission has accordingly taken cognizance in this matter under Section l3(1)(i) of CPCR Act, 2005," it said, asking the government to look into the matter for remedial measures and share the Action Taken Report within seven days.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:42:45 +0530
Dravid likely to be interim coach of Team India for home series vs Kiwis Reports

New Delhi, Oct 14

The Indian men's cricket team is likely to have an interim coach for the upcoming home series with New Zealand after the ICC T20 World Cup, and former India captain Rahul Dravid has emerged as the frontrunner to be the stop-gap role.

Ravi Shastri's tenure -- as chief coach of Team India -- will get over after the T20 World Cup and the Indian cricket board has decided to give itself more time in the search for a replacement. According to reports, the BCCI wants to appoint an experience former India player as the chief coach even though many foreigners, including some Australians, have shown interest in taking up the job. It had earlier wanted Anil Kumble, who was forced to quit over differences with skipper Virat Kohli, to take over the role but the legendary cricketer had recused himself. He is currently the head coach of the IPL franchise Punjab Kings.

BCCI, according to sources, wanted Dravid, who is the coach of the Indian junior teams and also heads the National Cricket Academy, to take up the job full time but Dravid has declined as he does not want to travel too much.

Though the board has not officially put out an advertisement for the vacancy, it has approached several people and has realised that its coach selection process will take more time than it had expected, according to a report in The Indian Express.

It is claimed that the BCCI did not want to put out an advertisement to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation when it may get a number of applications but not from someone that it considers suitable. This in simple terms means that it may get applications from some high-profile foreign coaches but not from similarly-rated Indians and thus won't have a proper explanation for choosing a comparatively lightweight Indian coach by ignoring the big-name foreigners.

While it goes about its job of picking the suitable candidate, the BCCI wants Dravid to take up the role of the interim coach for the New Zealand series. Dravid had recently coached a second-string Indian team to a tour of Sri Lanka even as the national senior team was playing concurrently in England.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:25:56 +0530
Bharti backed OneWeb launches 36 internet satellites in orbit

New Delhi, Oct 14

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb backed by India-based Bharti Enterprises has launched 36 satellites, bringing the total in-orbit constellation to 358 satellites, the company said.

The satellites were launched into orbit atop a Russian-built Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in a mission operated by French company Arianespace. The Liftoff occurred at 5.40 a.m. EDT (3.10 p.m. India time).

OneWeb is also one of the founding members of the recently launched Indian Space Association (ISpA). Rahul Vatts, Chief Regulatory Officer Bharti Airtel and Director -- OneWeb India is the Vice Chairman of the ISpA.

The London-based OneWeb is building a constellation of 648 LEO satellites, which will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

The new mission had a total duration of three hours and 51 minutes and included nine separations of four satellites each, which will raise themselves to their operational orbit.

"Once deployed, the OneWeb constellation will enable user terminals that are capable of offering 3G, LTE, 5G and Wi-Fi coverage, providing high-speed access globally - by air, sea and land," Arianespace said in a statement.

OneWeb aims to reach global service by 2022 and is seeing growing demand from telecommunications providers, ISPs, and governments worldwide to offer its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services.

It has raised $2.7 billion since November 2020, with no debt issuance.

OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space, is the constellation's prime contractor.

The satellites were built using its leading-edge satellite manufacturing process that can build up to two satellites a day on a series production line dedicated to the assembly, integration, and testing of the satellites.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:14:58 +0530
India sets the ball rolling for large scale Battery Energy Storage System

New Delhi, Oct 14 The Centre has given a go-ahead to inviting expression of interest for the installation of a 1,000 MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) as a pilot project.

This is a joint effort of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the Ministry of Power, which has been working on this to provide a roadmap for the installation of the energy storage system in the country.

In order to support the ambitious goal of achieving the 450 GW renewable energy target by 2030, it is important that it gets duly supported by the installation of energy storage systems (battery energy storage system, hydro pump storage plants, etc.).

The prohibitive cost of such systems had prevented its large-scale deployment earlier.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a CPSU under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has called for the expression of interest for the procurement of 1,000 MWh BESS. This will be published along with the RFS bid document and the draft comprehensive guideline for the procurement and utilisation of BESS as a part of generation, transmission and distribution assets and with all ancillary services.

This will also be discussed in the pre-bid conference scheduled on October 28. Based on the suggestions and feedback from the various stakeholders, the final RFS document will be floated in the first week of November.

Going forward, India plans to use energy storage systems under the following business cases: Renewable energy along with energy storage system; Energy storage system as grid element to maximise the use of transmission system and strengthen grid stability, and also to save investment in the augmentation of transmission infrastructure; storage as an asset for balancing services and flexible operation.

The system operator, i.e., load dispatchers (RLDCs and SLDCs), may use the storage system for frequency control and balancing services to manage the inherent uncertainty/variations in the load due to non-generation.

Storage for the distribution system may be placed at the load centre to manage its peak load and other obligations.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:03:22 +0530
PIA cites security reasons to suspend Kabul operations

New Delhi, Oct 14

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said on Thursday that it has suspended its operations in Kabul with immediate effect citing "security reasons", the Dawn reported.

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan confirmed the development, saying that Kabul operations of the airline will remain suspended until further notice.

The spokesperson emphasized the fact that PIA had kept flying in and out of Kabul under "difficult circumstances" when others had ceased their operations.

He was referring to the part the PIA played in mass evacuations following the Taliban's swift take over of Kabul in August, which created a rush among those stuck in the Afghan capital to get out amid a dearth of flights.

"The PIA evacuated around 3,000 people after the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan," said the PIA spokesperson, adding that among the people flown out of Kabul were officials of the United Nations, World Bank, the IMF, other global organizations as well as international journalists.

Khan said that the PIA's captains and staff endangered their lives but still kept the evacuation process going.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's civil aviation administration said in a statement that PIA and Afghanistan's Kam Air will be banned from operating flights from Kabul to Islamabad if they do not charge the same price as they did prior to their takeover.

The statement said that the airlines will be fined and punished if they violate the rules, Khaama Press reported.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan warned the airlines after PIA started charging up to $2,500 for each ticket from Kabul to Islamabad.

The statement also asked people to cooperate with the administration in reporting violations of the new rules.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 19:57:13 +0530
PIA cites security reasons to suspend Kabul operations

New Delhi, Oct 14

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said on Thursday that it has suspended its operations in Kabul with immediate effect citing "security reasons", the Dawn reported.

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan confirmed the development, saying that Kabul operations of the airline will remain suspended until further notice.

The spokesperson emphasized the fact that PIA had kept flying in and out of Kabul under "difficult circumstances" when others had ceased their operations.

He was referring to the part the PIA played in mass evacuations following the Taliban's swift take over of Kabul in August, which created a rush among those stuck in the Afghan capital to get out amid a dearth of flights.

"The PIA evacuated around 3,000 people after the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan," said the PIA spokesperson, adding that among the people flown out of Kabul were officials of the United Nations, World Bank, the IMF, other global organizations as well as international journalists.

Khan said that the PIA's captains and staff endangered their lives but still kept the evacuation process going.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's civil aviation administration said in a statement that PIA and Afghanistan's Kam Air will be banned from operating flights from Kabul to Islamabad if they do not charge the same price as they did prior to their takeover.

The statement said that the airlines will be fined and punished if they violate the rules, Khaama Press reported.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan warned the airlines after PIA started charging up to $2,500 for each ticket from Kabul to Islamabad.

The statement also asked people to cooperate with the administration in reporting violations of the new rules.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 19:54:15 +0530
Aryan Khan bail verdict on Oct 20 NCB paints him as a junkie

Mumbai, Oct 14

In a huge setback to Aryan Khan, a Mumbai special NDPS court on Thursday reserved its order on his and other co-accused's bail applications till October 20, even as the NCB virtually labelled him a 'junkie' regularly consuming drugs.

Thus, Aryan Khan - the son of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan - and other co-accused Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha will remain in judicial custody at the Arthur Road Central Jail and the Byculla Women's Jail for the next five days on account of public holidays over the next few days.

After hearing heated arguments by the prosecution for the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the defense lawyers, Special Judge V.V. Patil kept his verdict on the bail pleas of Aryan Khan, Merchant and Dhamecha, who are among 20 nabbed so far in the sensational rave party raid of October 2, in abeyance for the next five days.

A day after alleging that Aryan Khan was prima facie involved in "illicit drug trafficking, procuring and distribution of contraband", and having links with some international persons, the NCB said he was a "regular consumer" of drugs.

It said that though no drugs were recovered from him, Aryan Khan was in "conscious possession" of the contraband as he is linked with Merchant, from whom 6 gms charas was found and Aachit Kumar from whom 2.6 gms ganja was recovered.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the NCB, said that in Aryan Khan's WhatsApp chats, there is a specific reference to the bulk quantity and Aryan Khan is not a first-time consumer, and the evidence on record shows that he is taking drugs since the past few years.

Special Judge Patil also hinted that he would examine the allegedly incriminatory chats.

However, Merchant's lawyer Taraq Sayed argued that the NCB could not check the WhatsApp chats as the mobile phones were not seized under a 'panchnama', which Singh countered saying that there was a voluntary surrender and statement of accused.

Aryan Khan's lawyer, senior advocate Amit Desai rubbished the allegations as baseless and argued that there was no drugs recovery from him, nor did he have cash so he had no plans to purchase drugs, nor was he going to sell or consume them.

Strongly pleading for bail, the lawyers of the trio said they were invitees to the party and denied any involvement in the alleged illicit drug trade claimed by the NCB and also said that the alleged recoveries from Merchant and Dhamecha were a "small quantity" and no commercial quantities.

Desai urged that bail may be granted to Khan as it would not affect the NCB's ongoing investigations, and said the agency was relying on certain alleged chats ("Let's have a blast") without verifying them as there is nothing to suggest they have any connection with the current case.

Strongly opposing the bail pleas, the ASG said that the NCB will investigate how they are all connected to each other and establish a "conspiracy" and bail could be considered at an appropriate stage.

NCB's Special Public Prosecutor Advait Sethna argued that the agency recovered 2.6 gms ganja from Kumar, who was nabbed after Khan's statements, which points to a conspiracy while citing precedents where bail was rejected for an even much smaller quantity of drugs recovered from the accused.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 19:49:01 +0530
Indian team s new jersey gets showcased at Burj Khalifa

Dubai, Oct 14

A couple of hours after its launch, the new jersey of the Indian cricket team was showcased in a scintillating light show on Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, in Dubai. MPL Sports, the official kit sponsor for the Indian cricket team, posted the video of the light show at the Burj Khalifa with the new jersey late on Wednesday night.

"For the first time ever, a Team India Jersey lit up the @BurjKhalifa. The #BillionCheersJersey inspired by the cheers of a billion fans reached new heights, quite literally. Are you ready to #ShowYourGame and back Team India?" tweeted the MPL Sports on Thursday.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also shared the video on its Twitter handle, reading as "The Team India World Cup jersey unveil gets bigger and better with a projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa. Watch the historic moment here!"

The new jersey, unveiled ahead of the men's T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman, features soundwaves designs inspired from the cheers of the fans. During the show, larger-than-life renditions of captain Virat Kohli, vice-captain Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah in the new jersey.

India will kick off their men's T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan in a Group 2 match of Super 12 on October 24 in the Dubai International Stadium.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 18:22:34 +0530
Palo Alto Networks unveils new Cloud location in India

Mumbai, Oct 14

Cyber security company Palo Alto Networks on Thursday said it has unveiled a new multi-Cloud location in India that will serve local and regional customers.

The new Cloud location will enable organisations to benefit from direct, high-performance access to Palo Alto Networks' cloud solutions while allowing storage of their logs within Indian borders, the company said in a statement.

"India was chosen not only because of the country's mature cloud market and reliable infrastructure but also for accelerated digital transformation imposed by the pandemic," said Anil Valluri, regional vice president, India and SAARC at Palo Alto Networks.

"With the government's Digital India initiative, this new cloud location is a step forward towards a safer and secure tomorrow, while also addressing data residency and privacy needs," Valluri added.

The new data location provides a global, cloud-delivered, community-driven approach to aggregated threat analysis while addressing data residency and privacy needs that are important among organisations in India, the company said.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 18:14:13 +0530
Ampere launches new electric 2 wheeler for Rs 68 999


Chennai, Oct 14

Electric vehicle major Ampere Electric expanded its two-wheeler product range launching a new model Magnus EX priced at Rs 68,999 (ex-showroom Pune).

The lithium battery-powered scooter price will further go down when one takes into account the state government incentives for buying an electric vehicle.

The model comes with a detachable lightweight and portable advanced lithium battery for easy charge in any five amp socket at the home, office, coffee shop, or any plug-on-the-wall charge point.

The vehicle comes with a three year warranty covering major aggregates.

"Customers are looking for more affordable ways to travel as petrol prices heavily dent savings of everyday 2W commuters. Magnus EX with its long distance per charge enables users to do multiple trips and complete their work and life goals easily," Roy Kurian, COO, Ampere Electric said.

The 13-year-old Ampere Vehicles -- a subsidiary of listed and diversified engineering company Greaves Cotton Ltd -- is setting up an electric two-wheeler plant in Ranipet in Tamil Nadu.

The new plant is expected to roll out vehicles by the end of this year. Over a period of 10 years, the capacity will go up to one million and the total outlay will be about Rs 700 crore.

"We will be going for platform-based vehicle production which would reduce our costs. Further, the electric two-wheeler production currently done in Coimbatore will be moved to Ranipet," Nagesh A. Basavanalli, Managing Director and Group CEO told IANS.

Simply put, a platform-based approach means having a common frame/chassis on which different capacity motors/batteries can be mounted and sold.

With Ampere Vehicles two-wheeler capacity set to touch about one lakh units by the end of this year from the current 60,000 per year, a platform-based approach would mean having many common components for different models.

Recently Ampere Electric had signed an agreement to buy 26 per cent stake in electric three-wheeler maker MLR Auto Ltd, Hyderabad on or before Nov 12, 2021.

The company has the option to increase its stakes by another 25 per cent (fully diluted basis) within a period of 12 months from the date of closing of the initial acquisition of 26 per cent.

In 2020 Ampere Vehicles bought 74 per cent stake in the Noida-based electric rickshaw maker Bestway Agencies rolling out Ele brand vehicles.

The balance 26 per cent in Bestway will be acquired in 2022.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 18:07:20 +0530
46 killed 79 injured in Taiwan building fire

Beijing, Oct 14 (IANS) At least 46 people were killed and a least 79 injured as a fire

swept through a multi-story residential and commercial building in Taiwan's Kaohsiung city early on Thursday, media reports said.

It took firefighters more than four hours to extinguish the blaze, with their operations impeded by piles of unused items on the building's lower floors, the BBC reported.

It quoted the Fire Department as saying that 79 people had been taken to hospital, including 14 in a serious condition.

The cause of the fire is unclear and being investigated.

Local media quoted people in the area as having heard a loud explosion-like sound before the fire at the building which has restaurants, karaoke bars and a cinema - now all reportedly shut up - on its lower



Thu, 14 Oct 2021 18:02:42 +0530
Actor Vijay s fan club wins over 100 seats in TN rural polls

Chennai, Oct 14

Even as superstar Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam drew a blank in the rural local body polls in Tamil Nadu, the fan club of young superstar, Thalapathy Vijay won more than 100 seats.

Vijay, who had not given permission to float a political outfit and filed a criminal case against 11 persons including his parents, S. Chandrashekhar and Sobha Sekhar, in this connection, had, however, allowed his fans to contest the polls.

This was the first time that Vijay, who, going by popularity ratings is second to Rajinikanth in Tamil cinema, allowed his fan club - All India Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyyakam - to contest from the rural bodies of nine districts which went to polls.

The actor's fan club won 115 of the 169 seats it contested and according to its General Secretary and former Congress Puducherry MLA Bussy Anand, won unopposed in 13 seats.

Anand also told the media that 45 of the 115 winners are women, and other winners include farmers, lab technicians, students, school teachers, and traders.

The All India Thalapathy Makkal Iyyakam has more than 10 lakh registered members and the fans association generally does not have any political affiliations, except in the 2011 elections, when Vijay extended support to the AIADMK and Jayalalithaa.

Several political pundits believe that these results would lead to Vijay scouting for a larger role for himself in the future politics of Tamil Nadu.

"Vijay has done proper research before jumping into the fray and he has allowed his fans to use his name and flag. He knew that he could win a few seats given his popularity in Tamil Nadu. He is likely to take a plunge in the politics of Tamil Nadu as there is a clear vacuum of popular leaders in the state," Madurai-based think tank Socio-Economic Development Foundation's Director R. Padmanabhan told IANS.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 17:53:29 +0530
Dell unveils new telecom software solutions to boost 5G in India

New Delhi, Oct 14

As India takes advanced steps to launch 5G technology soon, Dell Technologies has introduced new telecom software, solutions and services to help communications service providers (CSPs) accelerate their open, cloud-native network deployments and create new revenue opportunities at the edge.

With the launch of 5G in India, consumers are anticipating mobile networks, which will support applications requiring significantly higher bandwidths with much lower latencies.

"Network workloads will become increasingly more demanding and complex, from the core to the edge, across all segments," said Saurabh Tewari, Director and Chief Technology Officer, Dell Technologies India.

The new Dell platforms, solutions and services will additionally create new and previously unrealisable use cases and revenue opportunities at the edge.

"Our Bare Metal Orchestration platforms will provide customers an agile and cost-effective way to deploy and manage open network infrastructure, across diverse and challenging landscapes. These are exciting times, as we take part in the reinvention of the 5G landscape in India, with our customers," Tewari added.

New technologies like Open RAN (ORAN) are giving CSPs a broader set of options for deploying network infrastructure to support future growth.

"As server technology proliferates through increasingly open telecom networks, the industry sees an immediate and growing need for remote lifecycle management of a highly distributed computes fabric," said Dennis Hoffman, senior vice president and general manager, Dell Technologies Telecom Systems Business during the ''Dell Technologies Summit 2021'.

The ‘Bare Metal Orchestrator' telecom software offers the breadth and scale to automate the deployment and management of hundreds of thousands of servers across geographic locations to support ORAN and 5G deployments.

With the new telecom software, CSPs can eliminate days or weeks of configuration and provisioning to bring network hardware into a workload-ready state, said the company.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 11:57:03 +0530
Pioneering Disney animator Ruthie Tompson dies at 111


Los Angeles, Oct 14

Ruthie Tompson, who began her career at the Walt Disney Studios as a painter in the Ink and Paint Department during the first golden age of Disney animation, is no more. She passed away aged 111.

Tompson died peacefully in her sleep at her home at the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills, California, on Sunday, reports

Tompson worked at The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years, retiring in 1975 after completing work on 'The Rescuers' (1977).

Additionally, she was one of the first three women invited to join the International Photographers Union, Local 659 of the IATSE, in 1952. In 2000, as the employee with the longest history with Walt and Roy O. Disney, Tompson was named a Disney Legend, the prestigious honour awarded to individuals in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to The Walt Disney Company.

Born in Portland, Maine, on July 22, 1910, Tompson was raised in Boston, Massachusetts.

Her family moved to California in 1918, arriving first in Oakland on November 11, Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I.

Tompson's association with Disney began before she was a studio employee, having grown up in Hollywood, a short distance away from the Disney Bros. Cartoon Studio.

At age 18, she took a job at Dubrock's Riding Academy in the San Fernando Valley, where Walt and Roy frequently played polo.

Walt offered Tompson a job as a painter in the Ink and Paint Department, where she helped put finishing touches on the studio's first full-length animated feature in 1937 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'.

Tompson was soon promoted to the final checker and scene planning as she was skilled in reviewing animation cels and guiding camera movement and also worked on Disney features 'Pinocchio', 'Fantasia', 'Dumbo', 'Sleeping Beauty, 'Mary Poppins', 'The Aristocats' and 'Robin Hood'.

Tompson last year shared some words with D23 to mark her 110th birthday. "Have fun," she said.

"Try to do as much as you can for yourself. Remember all the good things in life."


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 11:52:13 +0530
Equity market make gains Sensex up over 61K points

Mumbai, Oct 14  

India's key equity indices -- S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 -- made gains during Thursday's morning trade session.

In the process, S&P BSE Sensex made an intraday high of 61,159.48 and Nifty50 touched 18,294.75 points.

At 10.30 a.m., the 30-scrip sensitive index traded at 61,086.23 points, up 349.18 points or 0.57 per cent.

The Sensex opened at 61,088.82 points from its previous close of 60,737.05 points.

Besides, the NSE Nifty50 traded at 18,282.65 points, up by 120.90 points or 0.67 per cent.

It opened at 18,272.85 points from its previous close of 18,161.75 points.


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 11:35:30 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 239 mn

Washington, Oct 14

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 239 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.87 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.53 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Thursday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 239,115,805, 4,873,400 and 6,533,844,047, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 44,681,561 and 719,515, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in second place with 34,001,743 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,597,949), the UK (8,311,654), Russia (7,742,899), Turkey (7,540,193), France (7,164,924), Iran (5,742,083), Argentina (5,268,653), Spain (4,980,206), Colombia (4,975,656), Italy (4,707,087), Germany (4,343,591), Indonesia (4,231,046) and Mexico (3,732,429), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (601,574), India (451,189), Mexico (282,773), Russia (215,438), Peru (199,727), Indonesia (142,811), the UK (138,487), Italy (131,421), Colombia (126,726), Iran (123,275), France (118,080) and Argentina (115,582).


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 11:28:56 +0530
UP court convicts 4 for planning terror attack

Lucknow, Oct 14

A Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Lucknow has sentenced four accused to five years imprisonment after finding them guilty of planning terror activities and instigating youths to take up arms.

A fine of Rs 14,000 on each of the convicts has also been imposed by the court on Wednesday.

All four persons were arrested by the UP ATS from different parts of the country in 2017.

Out of the four convicts, Mohd Faizan and Mohd Nazim are from Bijnor. One of the accused is from West Champaran in Bihar and the other from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

According to a statement released by the UP ATS, "The special judge ADJ (3) found them guilty of harming the internal and external security of the nation by fragmenting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country."

According to Additional DG (law and order) Prashant Kumar, "The arrest was a major breakthrough for security agencies as the four accused were nabbed at a time when they were planning terror attacks by involving and instigating youths. They were also found with explosives and illegal weapons."


Thu, 14 Oct 2021 11:18:39 +0530
Struggle has been consistent for inaugural champs RR

Sharjah, Oct 13

It's the final week of IPL 2021 in the UAE. And a familiar sight of the tournament remains with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) making it to the final yet again, for a record ninth time. The consistency, legacy and supremacy of the team remain extra-large.

Rajasthan Royals have been the league's inaugural champions. To say that was or has been the best memory of the franchise will not be an understatement. It has seen various upheavals and weathered a few storms over the years. But it still does remain a team that throws up talent consistently.

Ravindra Jadeja, Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane, Jaydev Unadkat have all had a very successful tenure with the franchise. The opportunities at a young age were provided just like they are to the new upcoming players now, such as Kartik Tyagi and Chetan Sakariya.

The results, however, have not been there to boast of. Booking a place in the playoffs has not been easy for them. Even with the Indian talent coupled with foreign recruits, the struggle has been consistent. A glaring reason for that from the outside remains the lack of consistency in the playing XI.

Each year, the nucleus changes, the core changes. They let go off their players who they rely and rally around for the season for a different combination.

Yes, understandably, when one thing is not giving you results, you got to try and change it. But so much has this been their practiced system of changing the core that even now it continues to trouble them.

A player wants stability much like the franchise wants results. A player will not always have the best day or season, but the backing from the ones around and the assurance to the performer help the player bounce back quickly.

This season, injuries and non-availability of a few key players like Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes marred their team combination and with Jos Buttler not returning for the UAE leg, RR was dealt a big blow.

The seasoned players did stand up for them, led by captain Sanju Samson. But he fell short of fighting a lone battle at times. All teams had to hit the ground running in the UAE leg with only half the matches to play. A few good innings did come to the fore for the Royals, including a special bowling performance from Kartik Tyagi, who defended 4 runs in the last over against Punjab Kings.

But he missed a few games in the latter half of the tournament. One odd game might be due to a niggle he picked up, but the other games are anyone's guess. The bowlers got rotated very frequently. We saw Akash Singh in one game, but the next game he was replaced. The batters too went in and out trying to find the right playing 11; but to little success. It all still remained on the captain's shoulders.

Finishing the season in the bottom half leaves them with a lot to ponder upon, much like the earlier seasons. A steady core needs to be found for any team. Chennai, Mumbai and now Delhi have all gone the same path. You change, but not overhaul regularly. Sanju Samson hits a long ball from a stable base. Maybe something like that he may like to suggest for the next season.

(The writer is a former captain of Indian women's cricket team. The views expressed are personal)

Wed, 13 Oct 2021 22:07:05 +0530
It was like death World s oldest astronaut Star Trek fame William Shatner

San Francisco, Oct 13

Star Trek fame William Shatner, who, at 90, has become the world's oldest astronaut so far, has landed safely on Earth from space.

Shatner has broken the record of aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who, at 83, became the oldest person to have ever flown to space.

The booster and capsule of the fully automated and reusable New Shepard rocket landed separately, with the capsule landing in the west Texas desert with the help of parachutes within minutes of their launch to space.

"Capsule touchdown! Welcome home to the crew of #NS18!" the company tweeted.

The flight took to space a little after 9 a.m. CDT (7.30 p.m. India time) from Blue Origin's Launch Site One in Texas.

The NS-18 carried four astronauts to space and back: Shatner, along with former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries, co-founder of software company Medidata, and Audrey Powers, Vice President of missions and flight operations.

"Most profound experience of my life. It was surreal. Have no words to describe the feeling," Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the iconic science fiction TV series and films, told Amazon founder and Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos after the flight.

"I wish to never get over it.

"While earth is life, I felt what death would like to be - gone in an instant," said an emotional Shatner.

The mission lasted nearly 10 minutes. The fully automated and reusable New Shepard rocket flew beyond the Karman line, 100 km above the ground and the internationally recognised boundary of space where passengers experienced 3-4 minutes of microgravity.

The five-story tall New Shepard rocket, named after the first American in space Alan Shepard, is designed to launch a crew capsule with seats for six roughly 340,000 feet into the sky toward the edge of space.

The booster is topped by a gumdrop-shaped Crew Capsule with space for six passengers inside and large windows.

After reaching the Karman line, the capsule detached from the booster, allowing that inside to view the curvature of the earth and experience weightlessness.

"Congratulations to the entire Blue Origin team on today's mission and stay tuned for more from Launch Site One! #NS18" the company tweeted.

On July 20, Blue Origin successfully carried its first human flight which included Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and Blue Origin's first customer, Oliver Daemen.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 22:00:27 +0530
Positive macros push equities higher power stocks rise

Mumbai, Oct 13

India's key equity indices -- S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 -- closed in the green on Wednesday.

In the day's trade, both the equity indices had a gap up opening before gradually rising through the session with minimal corrections.

Accordingly, the two indices closed higher for the fifth consecutive session on Wednesday. In the process, the Sensex made a record intra-day high of 60,836.63 points, while Nifty touched 18,197.80 points. In fact, Nifty closed above the 18,000-point mark for the first time ever on Wednesday.

In terms of global markets, Asian stocks were mixed as traders weighed the impact of elevated inflation on the economic recovery and looked ahead to earnings reports.

Similarly, European stocks and US equity futures bounced before inflation data out of the US along with earnings reports that will measure corporate health in an era of rising costs.

On the domestic front, power, metals, consumer durables, capital goods, automobiles and IT were the main gainers, whereas the realty index ended marginally in the red.

The 30-scrip S&P BSE Sensex ended the day's trade at 60,737.05 points, up 452.74 points or 0.75 per cent from its previous close. The NSE Nifty50 closed at 18,161.75 points, up by 169.80 points or 0.94 per cent from its previous close.

"Nifty continues the move up unabatedly, closing above the 18,000-mark. The advance decline ratio ended marginally in the positive," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

"Technical indicators on the daily charts are close to becoming overbought and hence some correction or consolidation in the index may be seen over the next 1 or 2 sessions," he added.

According to Siddhartha Khemka, Head of Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services: "Domestic markets opened gap up and scaled to new highs as India's retail inflation eased again in September, falling to a five-month low of 4.35 per cent, while the IIP data for August rose to 11.9 per cent.

"Further, IMF's GDP forecast, which pegs India's growth at 9.5 per cent in 2021 and at 8.5 per cent in 2022, further supported the market bulls. The benchmark indices closed a per cent higher, thus maintaining the momentum."

Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said: "The mood of the global market is muted by inflation fears and high bond yields ahead of the release of US inflation data. However, the Indian market is robust due to the festival season. The best performers are auto, metal and power sectors in expectation of high demand."


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 21:48:40 +0530
Over 100 nations adopt Kunming Declaration to boost biodiversity

Kunming (China), Oct 13

The High-Level Segment of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP-15) closed on Wednesday with the adoption of the Kunming Declaration in this Chinese city, where over 100 nations committed to develop, adopt and implement an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest.

They also decided towards the full realization of the 2050 vision of "Living in Harmony with Nature."

Critically, the framework would also include provision for the necessary means of implementation, in line with the convention and its two protocols, as well as appropriate mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and review.

The landmark post-2020 global biodiversity framework is due to be adopted at part two of the UN Biodiversity Conference in May 2022, following further formal negotiations in January 2022.

The declaration gives clear political directions for those negotiations.

The declaration addresses the key elements needed for a successful post-2020 framework: The mainstreaming of biodiversity across all decision-making; phasing out and redirection of harmful subsidies; strengthening the rule of law; recognising the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities and ensuring an effective mechanism to monitor and review progress, among others.

The High-Level Segment opened on October 12 with the announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping setting the tone by investing 1.5 billion yuan (about $230 million) to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund to support biodiversity protection in the developing countries.

Xi also invited other countries to contribute. Accordingly, the government of Japan extended its Japan Biodiversity Fund by 1.8 billion yen (about $17 million).

During the meeting, the Global Environment Facility, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), announced its commitment to fast-track immediate financial and technical support to developing country governments to prepare for the rapid implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework once it is formally agreed next year at COP-15.

The commitment from Japan to extend its funding will provide support for national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

The European Union noted the doubling of external funding for biodiversity. French President Emmanuel Macron noted the commitment for 30 per cent of climate funds to be used for biodiversity.

Great Britain and Northern Ireland also announced that a significant part of their increased climate funding will be directed towards biodiversity.

A coalition of financial institutions, with assets worth 12 trillion euros, committed to protect and restore biodiversity through their activities and investments.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said, "The adoption of the Kunming Declaration is a clear indication of the worldwide support for the level of ambition that needs to be reflected in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be finalized next spring in Kunming.

"I also want to congratulate President Xi for the establishment of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund and look forward to more financial and technical commitments in support of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and its implementation."


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 21:42:10 +0530
Topmost local JeM terrorist killed in Kashmir encounter

Srinagar, Oct 13

The topmost local terrorist of proscribed terror outfit JeM was killed in an encounter with security forces at Tral in Jammu and Kashmir's Awantipora district on Wednesday.

Besides providing logistic support to foreign terrorists of JeM, Shamus-ud-Din Sofi alias ShamSofi was involved in civilian killings and new recruitments, officials said.

Police said on a specific input generated by Awantipora police regarding the presence of terrorists in Tilwani Mohalla Waggad area of Tral, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by police, army, and the CRPF in the said area.

"During the search operation, as the presence of terrorists was ascertained, they were given repeated opportunities to surrender; instead they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the ensuing encounter, one terrorist was killed and his body was retrieved from the site of encounter," a police officer said.

The dead terrorist was identified as Sofi.

Police said as per its records the killed terrorist was categorized and active since June 2019, figuring among the list of most wanted terrorists operating in the Kashmir Valley. He was also part of groups involved in several terror crime cases including attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities to which several terror crime cases stands already registered against him.

"Pertinently, the killed terrorist was first arrested in the year 2004 and detained under PSA. He was also involved in providing logistic support, and shelter to the active terrorists operating in the Tral area before joining the terror fold. Moreover, he was also involved in motivating local youth to join the terror fold, reviving the terror folds in the Tral area and conspiring to destabilize the system by means of various terror acts. Besides, he was also involved in threatening the law-abiding citizens and policemen also," police said.

Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were also recovered from the site of the encounter. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation.

Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar has congratulated the joint forces for the big success that led to the elimination of the most wanted terrorists involved in several terror crime cases.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 21:34:54 +0530
Shubho Bijoya Gurmeet Choudhary s wedding fantasy plays out on screen


Mumbai, Oct 13

Actor Gurmeet Choudhary says his forthcoming short film 'Shubho Bijoya' is a dream come true as he always wanted to marry his wife Debina Bonnerjee in a Bengali-style ceremony.

Gurmeet and Debina had worked together in the TV show 'Ramayan' as Ram and Sita. The real-life couple is reuniting for the short film 'Shubho Bijoya'.

Gurmeet talked about the short film being as real and authentic as possible, on a personal and professional level. He said, "As you all know, we didn't get married in a lavish manner, it was a low-key wedding, but I'd always had this dream that I should get married in a Bengali-style ceremony and in this film, we have actually gotten married. Whatever you will see in this short film, it is quite authentic"

He said, "Our director had set up the camera and told us the rituals, and we went about doing our thing, so whatever moments you might see on screen they are quite natural and real. When I was going through the scene, especially when I was putting 'Sindoor' on Debina's forehead, it didn't have any sort of retake feel, it was real. As everyone knows, I am not a Bengali, and to play such a character was an experience in itself."

The romantic short film is helmed by director Ram Kamal Mukherjee. It is a love story that revolves around a fashion photographer and a supermodel. The film is produced by Aritra Das, Gaurav Daga and Sarbani Mukherjee.

Debina also shared that the film is a modern urban story, and high on emotional quotient. She said, "The characters are Bengali, but the film is in Hindi and it is a very urban film. The film is set in Mumbai and it is really urban and its ultra-modern story, it is something we all are; the film is about working out of troubled times and rebuilding our world and try to make the best of it."

"After making the film, I'd watched it like 4-5 times, and I cried every time. I thought Gurmeet will think I am obsessing over it because I was crying watching myself act. See the level of the film is such that one might actually start crying. It is a very simple story, which is very well woven and well told," added Debina.

'Shubho Bijoya' will premiere on the auspicious day of Bijoya Dasami on October 15 on the OTT platform BiiggBang.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 21:24:01 +0530
Blue Origin s space flight with William Shatner lifts off to space

San Francisco, Oct 13

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space venture Blue Origin has blasted off its second human flight to space, with the original Star Trek's Captain James T. Kirk (actor William Shatner) onboard, the company said.

The lift-off took place a little after 9 a.m. CDT (7.30 p.m. India time) from Blue Origin's Launch Site One in Texas.

"Liftoff! #NewShepard has cleared the tower with astronauts on board for the second time. #NS18," the company tweeted.

The launch marks New Shepard's 18th mission and the second crewed flight to space.

The NS-18 is carrying four astronauts to space and back: Shatner, who will be the oldest man ever to travel to space, former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries, co-founder of software company Medidata, and Audrey Powers, Vice President of missions and flight operations.

The mission will last nearly 10 minutes. The fully automated and reusable New Shepard rocket will fly beyond the Karman line, 100 km above the ground and the internationally recognised boundary of space where the passengers can experience 3-4 minutes of microgravity.

The five-story tall New Shepard rocket, named after the first American in space Alan Shepard, is designed to launch a crew capsule with seats for six roughly 340,000 feet into the sky toward the edge of space.

The booster is topped by a gumdrop-shaped Crew Capsule with space for six passengers inside and large windows.

After reaching the Karman line, the capsule will detach from the booster, allowing that inside to view the curvature of the earth and experience weightlessness.

The booster and capsule will then land separately, with the capsule landing in the west Texas desert with the help of parachutes.

The space flight was initially scheduled for launch on Tuesday but got delayed due to unfavorable weather.

"#NewShepard is going for launch! The mission team has completed the Flight Readiness Evaluation prior to #NS18. This is our final meeting with the engineers and Mission Control team to ensure all systems go for launch," the company said on Twitter on Wednesday prior to launch.

"Forecasted winds at launch have subsided and weather currently looks good for Wednesday," it added.

On July 20, Blue Origin successfully carried its first human flight which included Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and Blue Origin's first customer, Oliver Daemen.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 21:13:26 +0530
Wipro s consolidated Q2FY22 YoY net profit up 18 9

Mumbai, Oct 13

IT major Wipro on Wednesday reported 18.86 per cent year-on-year growth in its consolidated net profit for the second quarter of FY22.

The net profit attributable to equity holders of the company rose to Rs 2,930.7 crore during the period under review from Rs 2,465.6 crore during the corresponding period of the last fiscal.

Its revenue increased 30.12 per cent during Q2FY22 to Rs 19,667.4 crore from Rs 15,114.5 crore from the like quarter of FY21.

Managing Director and CEO Thierry Delaporte said: "The Q2 results demonstrate that our business strategy is working well."

"We grew at over 4.5 per cent organic sequential growth for a second quarter in a row, resulting in a 28 per cent YoY growth in the first half of this financial year."

Besides, the company gave a positive outlook for the quarter ending December 31, 2021.

The company expects revenue from IT Services business to be in the range of $2,631 million to $2,683 million, translating into a sequential growth of 2 to 4 per cent.

In addition, the company's earnings per share for the quarter rose to Rs 5.36 ($0.071), an increase of 23.8 per cent YoY.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 21:03:45 +0530
25 bodies recovered from mass graves in Libya

Tripoli, Oct 13

Libyan authorities have recovered 25 unidentified bodies from five newly discovered mass graves in the city of Tarhuna.

Located some 90 km south of the capital Tripoli, Tarhuna was once the eastern-based army's main military operation center during the war against the former UN-backed government in and around Tripoli, Xinhua news agency reported.

One grave contained 10 bodies, the second contained 9, the third contained 4, and each of the remaining two graves contained one body, the General Authority for Research and Identification said, adding that a search is underway for more mass graves in the city.

A week ago, 10 unidentified bodies were recovered from two mass graves in Tarhuna.

Since the beginning of the search in Tarhuna in June 2020, many mass graves containing dozens of unidentified bodies have been discovered in the city.

The former UN-backed government accused the rival eastern-based army of mass killings in Tarhuna.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 20:29:31 +0530
AIMIM activist kin accused of rape Bombay HC seeks police report

Mumbai, Oct 13

The Bombay High Court has directed the Mumbai Police and others to file a reply to a petition accusing an All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) activist and his two sons of rape.

A division bench of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Sarang Kotwal on Tuesday gave the directions in a habeas corpus petition filed by lawyer Naveen Chomal claiming a minor girl hailing from West Bengal had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by the trio.

The matter has now been posted for further hearing on October 21, said Chomal.

In his petition, Chomal said the girl, who hails from West Bengal's Uttar Dinajpur district, has named AIMIM activist Jainuddin Chowdhary besides his sons Ramazan and Shamshullah, for allegedly sexually exploiting her.

Despite repeated attempts by IANS, state AIMIM leaders including MP Syed Imtiaz Jaleel and MLA Waris Pathan, and the accused's lawyer were not available for comments in the matter.

Public Prosecutor Aruna Kamath said that the girl - who was present in the court - was the wife of one of the accused and her statement has been recorded by the Mumbai Police.

According to Chomal's plea, the victim is 17 years old and had come to Mumbai harbouring dreams of becoming a model-actress but was allegedly trapped by the father-sons who abused and exploited her in the name of giving her modelling-film assignments.

The lawyer for the accused, Rizwan Merchant contested the allegations and produced the victim's Aadhaar card to prove she was 19, and said she was married to one of the respondents, besides questioning the locus standi of Chomal to file such a petition as he was in no way connected to the girl.

Seeking a probe by a woman police officer, Chomal said that the victim came in contact with Pooja Singh from New Delhi and reached Mumbai in February 2020, just before the nationwide lockdown was imposed, to pursue a career in the glamour industry.

Pooja Singh arranged a PG accommodation with Chowdhary who boasted of high connections in the entertainment world to help her build a modelling-acting career.

Chomal said that the victim and another girl came to his office on September 18 and narrated the ordeal alleging 20 months of physical tortures, sexual assaults with acts video-taped, creating fraudulent documents of marriage, a forced abortion, and even a triple talaq.

The victim claimed said how the accused took her to different locations and though Shamsullah married her, his family assaulted and labelled her as a prostitute since he was already a much-married man, and later gave her some medicines to abort her 16-week old foetus, the accused trio threatened to kill and dispose off her body, etc.

Chomal said that on several occasions the girl attempted to lodge a complaint with the Sakinaka police but they reportedly took no cognisance.

He added that after meeting him, the girl's whereabouts are not known and said her life may be at risk, seeking urgent police action to trace her.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 20:01:34 +0530
BCCI extends date for buying ITT for new IPL teams


Mumbai, Oct 13

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has further extended the date for purchasing the 'Invitation to Tender' (ITT) document for the two new Indian Premier League (IPL) teams -- which will be added from the 2022 season -- to October 20, 2021.

A BCCI statement said that interested parties can purchase the ITT document on receipt of payment of the "non-refundable tender fee of Rs 10 lakh plus any applicable Goods and Services Tax".

All other terms contained in the Invitation document shall be applicable, said the BCCI.

The IPL Governing Council had on August 31 this year announced the release of tender to "own and operate" two new IPL teams, which will compete in the 2022 edition of the lucrative tournament.

Subsequently, the date was extended to October 10 and now the date has been further extended by 10 days.

"Interested parties are requested to email at to get further details for purchasing the ITT. The email requesting the ITT should have the subject line 'ITT for the Right to Own and Operate One of Two Proposed New IPL Teams'," said a BCCI statement.

"Any interested party wishing to submit a bid is required to purchase the ITT. However, only those satisfying the eligibility criteria set out in the ITT and subject to the other terms and conditions set out therein, shall be eligible to bid. It is clarified that merely purchasing this ITT does not entitle any person to bid," the statement added.

"The BCCI reserves the right to cancel or amend the bidding process at any stage without providing any reason," said the statement.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 19:00:56 +0530
Sholay stuntwoman says she d give her life for Basanti

Mumbai, Oct 13

The first stuntwoman of Bollywood - Reshma Pathan - will be seen on the 'Shaandaar Shukravaar' episode of 'Kaun Banega Crorepati 13'. As Hema Malini celebrates her 73rd birthday on October 16, there will be a surprise for her on the show.

Reshma Pathan, who essayed the role of Hema Malini's body-double for all the stunts in the iconic film 'Sholay', will be there as a surprise. She goes: "Arey O Basanti, Happy Birthday! Pehchana Mujhe?" Reshma was the first stuntwoman in the industry and is popularly known as the 'Sholay Girl'.

Bollywood star Hema Malini and 'Sholay' director Ramesh Sippy come on the hot seat answering questions of host and megastar Amitabh Bachchan. They will be celebrating 46 years of 'Sholay'. During the show, the duo will be sharing interesting stories and behind-the-scenes moments of the film.

Hema Malini said: "You played my body double in 'Sholay' and because of all the difficult and dangerous shots you did, I became famous. I remember all of that. And, I also remember that during the shooting, we used to spend a lot of time chatting together."

Praising Hema Malini, Reshma Pathan says: "You've never thought of me just as your body double. You've always treated me as a heroine (fellow artiste). And for you, even if in a shot I'd had to give my life, I would."

'Kaun Banega Crorepati 13's 'Shaandaar Shukravaar' will air on October 15 on Sony Entertainment Television


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 18:48:08 +0530
Positive macros push equities higher Power stocks rise

Mumbai, Oct 13

India's key equity indices - S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 - made gains during Wednesday's mid-afternoon trade session.

Accordingly, equity indices opened gap up and inched up gradually through the morning session.

Globally, Asian stocks were mixed as traders weighed the impact of elevated inflation on the economic recovery and looked ahead to earnings disclosures.

Among sectors Power, Metals, Consumer Durables, Capital goods, Automobiles and Telecom are the main gainers so far whereas Realty index is marginally in the red.

Consequently, the 30-scrip sensitive index traded at 60,730.73 points around 1.00 p.m., up 446.42 points or 0.74 per cent.

Besides, the NSE Nifty50 traded at 18,155.95 points, up by 164 points or 0.91 per cent.

"Volumes on the NSE are in line and advance decline ratio is in the positive," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

"Nifty could consolidate or correct a bit later in the day but end up in the positive."

According to Gaurav Garg, Head of Research, CapitalVia Global Research: "Domestic sentiments remained positive as Finance minister said India's economic growth is near to its double-digit growth this year."

"Some support came as Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell to a five-month low of 4.35 per cent in September from 5.3 p


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 18:39:54 +0530
Air Canada launches Delhi Montreal non stop flights


Toronto, Oct 13

Air Canada is launching a new thrice weekly, non-stop flight between Delhi and Montreal from October 31.

The airline is also increasing its daily non-stop flights from Toronto to Delhi to 10 per week from October 15.

Announcing this on Wednesday, Air Canada said: "Starting October 31, just in time for Diwali celebrations, Air Canada will offer three flights per week to the growing Indian community in Montreal. Additionally, the airline is increasing frequency to Delhi from Toronto to ten flights per week beginning October 15."

The thrice weekly flight will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, leaving Delhi at 8 p.m. and Montreal 6 a.m. It will be served by a 298-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, offering three cabins of service – Air Canada Signature Class, Premium Economy and Economy class.

Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada, said: "Air Canada is the only carrier offering a direct service to Delhi out of Montreal, allowing for easy connections through our extensive network. We continue to focus on the growing visiting friends and relatives market and this capacity expansion is a response to increasing demand."

He said the Canada-India market is "an important and strategic one for Air Canada".

"These additional flights and new route demonstrate Air Canada's anticipation about the promise and growth of the Indian subcontinent – and we also look forward to further strengthening the cultural and business ties between our two countries," he said.

Air Canada also offers daily flights from Vancouver.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 18:30:58 +0530
Seven foreign nationals deported for residing illegally in India

New Delhi, Oct 13

The Delhi Police has caught seven foreign nationals in the national capital for residing illegally in India, an official said here on Wednesday. All of them have been deported.

According to the official, the seven foreign nationals identified as Paul Chicozie Chima, Francis Ebubechukwu Ifeanyichu, Vision Udomezuo, Daniel Odiwomma Nwabueze, Christian Osazuwa, Mary Amaka Chike and Ebele Nwamalubia - all hailing from Nigeria - were deported in coordination with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office.

Giving details, the police said that the foreigners were seen roaming near Mohan Garden area of the city. A police team, patrolling in the same area, found their behaviour suspicious and asked them for their documents.

However, they failed to show any valid passport or visa for staying in India.

The police then apprehended all the seven Nigerians and handed them over to the concerned authorities for deportation.

The Mohan Garden area has a mixed population of approximately 3.75 lakh people.

"A lot of foreign nationals (mostly from African countries) are residing in the area and some of them are residing with fake visas, expired visas," an official said.

The Delhi Police has been keeping a strict vigil over the illegally residing foreign nationals and has initiated persistent action this month against them.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 18:16:59 +0530
Jabeur Kerber in Indian Wells quarters Leylah Fernandez exits

Indian Wells, Oct 13

Tunisian star Ons Jabeur has boosted her chances of becoming the first Arab woman to qualify for the WTA Finals after making her first BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal here on Wednesday (IST), defeating Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya, 6-2, 6-2 in the fourth round.

No.12 seed Jabeur played a perfect match under the lights against Kalinskaya, hitting 32 winners to just 15 unforced errors, and going unbroken for the match. With her all-court game in full flow, Jabeur flummoxed the Russian, who had scored two big wins over Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain and Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland to make her first WTA 1000 Round of 16.

Leading by a set and a break and serving to consolidate at 6-2, 2-1 in the second set, Jabeur double-faulted at 30-all to give Kalinskaya a chance to get the set back on serve. But following that hiccup Jabeur went on to hold and, after fending off Kalinskaya's surge, the Tunisian secured the win after 1 hour and 18 minutes.

Eyeing a spot in her first WTA 1000 semifinal, Jabeur will face a Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the quarterfinals.

No.18 seed Kontaveit continued her winning form, defeating lucky loser Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-0, 6-2 in 65 minutes to advance to her first Indian Wells quarterfinal. The win extended Kontaveit's winning streak to nine consecutive matches, and the Estonian has not lost a set during that span.

Kontaveit came into the fourth round off a strong performance to oust defending champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada in the third round. Haddad Maia, who found herself in the main draw as a lucky loser, tallied the biggest win of her career in the third round when she defeated top-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

But the No.135 Brazilian had no answers for Kontaveit in their first meeting on the pro tour. Kontaveit lost just eight points on her serve for the match while dominating the points from the baseline to break Haddad Maia five times.

"I'm feeling good," Kontaveit told "I've been playing good tennis. Have a few wins under my belt. I'm feeling really good about it. It's going to be a tough match for sure. Ons has been playing really well. I'm feeling really good about my game so I'm ready for a battle and ready for whatever comes."

No.10 seed Angelique Kerber advanced to her third straight BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal with a 6-4, 6-1 win in the fourth round over Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic. A finalist in 2019, the German will face No.21 seed Paula Badosa of Spain for a spot in the semifinals.

"It was a tough match actually," Kerber said. "I played well in the first set. She came back. It was really a close first set at the end. The second set was as well really tough. I mean, even the score was a little bit not really close, but every single game was a tough battle. I was just trying to be aggressive, take my chances. I'm happy to be through and be in the next round here."

Shelby Rogers of the US triumphed in a final-set tiebreak to defeat US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and reach the quarterfinals, while Badosa claimed her third top-5 victory with an upset of Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.

Rogers won 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), while Badosa blasted past Krejcikova, stunning the No.3 seed 6-1, 7-5, to make the elite eight here.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 12:04:01 +0530
Indian scientists develop models to help improve hip knee implants

New Delhi, Oct 12

Indian scientists have developed analytical models that can predict topography of electrical discharge textured (EDT) surfaces, aiding their customisation for improving hip and knee implants, an official statement said on Tuesday.

EDT surfaces have suitable surface topography and surface chemistry to promote tissue growth and adhesion, and surface topography prediction is important in EDT surfaces as the process generates characteristically random surfaces that are very difficult to predict.

"To optimise the EDT surface topographies for different applications such as orthopaedic implants and rake face of tool inserts, the topography is needed to be known at design stage through suitable methods of topography prediction. To this end, Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Suhas S. Joshi developed analytical and numerical models for prediction of surface topography, which were validated against experimental data," the Science and Technology Ministry statement said.

The work, supported by the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies programme of the Department of Science & Technology, and aligned with the 'Make in India' initiative, has been recently published in journals such as "Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties" and accepted for publication in the "Journal of Materials Processing Technology".

The analytical and numerical simulation of surface topographies generated using EDT, which was in good agreement with experimental data, can be developed into modules that could be used for surface texture prediction at different parameter combinations.

The topography prediction modules could help an efficient and low-cost generation of textured surfaces with higher protein absorptivity as compared to non-textured surfaces, which is favourable for orthopaedic implants like hip and knee implants. The developed technology is in level 6 of the Technology Readiness Level, the release added.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 11:54:38 +0530
RNESL Denmark s Stiesdal sign agreement to collaborate on technology development

Mumbai, Oct 13

Reliance New Energy Solar Limited (RNESL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), and Denmark-based Stiesdal A/S (Stiesdal) signed a cooperation agreement for technology development and manufacturing of Stiesdal's HydroGen Electrolyzers in India.

The agreement was signed during a state visit of Denmark to India and announced in the presence of Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark.

Stiesdal is founded by Henrik Stiesdal, a wind power pioneer and leading thought leader in the global renewable industry. Stiesdal is engaged in developing and commercializing several technologies to counter climate crisis.

The new technology for HydroGen Electrolyzers has the potential to deliver significant cost reduction compared to currently available technologies thereby paving the way for rapid decarbonization and commercialization of affordable Green Hydrogen - a key enabler in achieving India's green energy transition.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, had announced ambitious plans of setting up a giga factory for manufacturing of hydrogen electrolyzers in Jamnagar, Gujarat. Through this agreement, RNESL and Stiesdal will combine their strengths and capabilities and collaborate to further advance the technology development of HydroGen Electrolyzers and scale it up to set up manufacturing facilities.

As part of this agreement, RNESL and Stiesdal have also agreed to extend their collaboration to the development and implementation of other path breaking climate change technologies which include offshore wind energy, next generation fuel cells for conversion of hydrogen to electricity for mobile and static electricity generation, long duration energy storage and production of carbon-negative fuels.

Speaking after signing of the agreement, Mukesh Ambani said, "We at Reliance see this cooperation agreement with Stiesdal as yet another opportunity to implement our philosophy of "Caring for the Planet" and "Caring for the People". It is an important step towards fulfilling our commitment to accelerate India's transition to green energy benefitting from our vast solar energy sources and scaling up innovative and leading technologies to meet this objective. We aim to leverage Stiesdal's impressive portfolio of climate technologies to serve the Indian market and work together to make this portfolio a global pacesetter. In partnership with Stiesdal, we will strive to achieve our stated goal of offering Hydrogen energy under $1 per kg in 1 decade - the 1-1-1 target for Green Hydrogen. Reliance is committed to making the greatest contribution to the National Hydrogen Mission announced by our Hon'ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on Independence Day this year. Our vision is to put India on the global hydrogen map and fulfill the developmental aspirations of 1.35 billion Indians."

Hital Meswani, Executive Director of Reliance Industries, said, "Reliance is committed to realising its stated ambitions in new energy and accelerating the technology development and scale up of world leading technologies. We welcome Stiesdal as our partner and look forward to working together to achieve our goals."

Henrik Stiesdal, CEO of Stiesdal A/S, said, "We are excited to enter into this agreement with Reliance New Energy Solar Limited, the New Energy platform of India's largest industrial company. As a company, we are committed to the fight against climate change, seeking to deliver the largest possible impact in the shortest possible time. For us, there could be no greater impact than seeing our technology scaled up for use in the world's largest democracy. Production of low-cost hydrogen is a vital strategic element of the green transition in India and the world, and Reliance Industries have the reach and capability to ramp up electrolyzer production to the required levels.

"We are very much looking forward to developing and expanding our cooperation with Reliance New Energy Solar Limited, not only within the field of hydrogen production but also within the fields of our other climate technologies."

The HydroGen Electrolyzer technology is developed by Stiesdal PtX Technologies. It is an effective technology for green hydrogen production at a game-changing cost level. The HydroGen Electrolyzer benefits from a combination of innovative solutions and a thoroughly industrialized approach to product design and achieving maximum economies of scale in both the output from the electrolyzer unit as well as mass production of the electrolyzer itself. Combined with Reliance's deep expertise in innovation, project execution and operational excellence and its world-class talent pool, this partnership will bring affordable green hydrogen to millions of Indians.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 11:37:24 +0530
India criticises double standards ignoring anti Hindu anti Buddhist anti Sikh phobias

United Nations, Oct 13

India on Tuesday hit out at double standards in fighting religious phobias that ignores "anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias" and thus encourages those propagating those ideas.

Sounding an alarm on the "newer form of religious phobias", India's Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedheeran told the Security Council: "Our inability to even acknowledge these atrocities and phobias only gives those forces encouragement that phobias against some religions are more acceptable than those against others."

"If we chose to be selective about criticizing such phobias or ignoring them, we do so at our own peril," he said at the high-level debate on "Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Diversity, State Building and the Search for Peace".

Putting a spotlight on the "double standards", Muraleedheeran said, "While we have condemned anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Christianophobia, we fail to recognise that there are more virulent forms of religious phobias emerging and taking roots, including anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias."

"We have seen in our own neighbourhood and elsewhere the destruction of temples, glorification of breaking of idols in temples, violation of gurudwara premises, the massacre of Sikh pilgrims in gurudwaras, destruction of Bamyan Buddhas and other religious iconic sites," he said.

While anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia figure often in speeches by UN officials and many members states, there is a silence on bigotry targeting some other religions.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres said there was a "sharp increase in the number of non-state armed groups" like rebels, insurgents, militias, criminal gangs, and terrorist and extremist groups that "coalesce around joint identities or shared beliefs".

One of the ways of countering these trends, he said would require "implementing policies and laws that protect vulnerable groups - including laws against discrimination based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity".¿

The debate was presided by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council this month.

Muraleedheeran said that India offers a "unique manifestation of unity in diversity, where inspite of the convulsions caused by the partition, we still came together as one to form a democratic, pluralistic and inclusive society with our Constitution as the basic bedrock of our polity".

Invoking the lessons taught by Mahatma Gandhi, he said: "If one were to talk about embracing diversity and inclusion, India has much to offer on how the diversity of identities, whether ethnic, regional, religious, linguistic or others, can come together and live as one nation a" the common thread binding us, being the identity of being an Indian first, and all others later."

"We believe in the ethos of tolerance and understanding, practicing the age-old ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - The Whole World is One Family," he added.

Muraleedheeran praised South Africa, which transitioned successfully from apartheid to free and open society; Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and Burundi, which have been examples of successful transition from conflicts to peace, and South Sudan, where such a transition is in progress.

Fawzia Koofi, who had served as the Deputy Speaker of the Afghanistan Parliament, was invited by Kenya to speak at the debate.

She said: "The future of my country is the latest test for whether we can come together as a global community to uphold the principles of the UN Charter in the face of adversity."

"We have to come together to hold the Taliban accountable for what's happening in my country. There are serious reports that fundamental freedoms are being floated. women and girls are once again regarded as second-class citizens. Literally, they are making us invisible, again," she said.

Referring to Afghanistan, Muraleedheeran said: "The change in authority in Kabul was neither through negotiations nor inclusive. We have consistently called for a broad-based, inclusive process that involves representation of all sections of Afghans."

He said it is important to ensure that commitments on combatting terrorism are respected and adhered to.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 11:22:16 +0530
Delhi to soon get QR based driving licenses RCs

New Delhi, Oct 13

In a step towards digitization of the system, Delhi Transport Department will soon issue QR based Smart cards for driving licenses (DLs) and registration certificates (RCs).

As per a statement, the new driving license will have an advanced microchip with features like Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC). The new RC will have the owner's name printed on the front while the microchip and the QR code would be embedded at the back of the card.

The cards earlier had embedded chips, but chip reader machines were not available in the required quantity with both the Delhi Traffic Police and the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. Moreover, chips were designed and implemented by the states concerned, which resulted in difficulties in reading the chip and retrieving information, especially in the case of defaulters.

"Now with the QR based smart card, this issue is resolved. This will enable unification in linking and validating one's information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licenses and vehicle registrations," the release added.

The QR is also being implemented nationwide, the QR code reader is easily procurable and will do away with the requirement of any manual intervention altogether. The new cards will also allow two specific materials for their card manufacturing -- Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. (Card Size - 85.6mm x 54.02 mm; Thickness minimum 0.7 mm)

An October 2018 notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had made changes to the Driving License and Registration Certificate. The new Smart card-based DL and RC will have a chip-based/ QR code-based recognition system. At the same time, documents such as driving license or registration certificates in electronic formats on DigiLockers and mParivahan were also made valid in place of physical documents and treated at par with original documents.

The QR code also has the added advantage of acting as a safety feature on the smart card. The department will be able to retain records and penalties of the DL holder for up to 10 years on the VAHAN database as soon as a driver/ owner's Smart card is confiscated. The new DLs will also help the government in maintaining records of differently-abled drivers, any modifications made to the vehicles, emission standards and the person's declaration to donate organs.


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 11:10:56 +0530
Balattan leaves behind legions of admirers

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Balattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Balattan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balattan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran Thannikundummal who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Balattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Balattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Satheesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rita, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja, and (Grandchildren) Nithin, Dr.Anand, Gokul, Vishnu.

Sasi Nair.

Tue, 12 Oct 2021 16:05:47 +0530
Balattan leaves behind legions of admirers

K.P.Sasi Nair (

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Balattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Balattan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balattan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran Thannikundummal who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Balattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Balattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Satheesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rita, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja, and (Grandchildren) Nithin, Dr.Anand, Gokul, Vishnu.

Sasi Nair.

Tue, 12 Oct 2021 16:02:16 +0530
China has over 6 mn hectares of bamboo forests

Beijing, Oct 12

China has more than 6.67 million hectares of bamboo forests with an annual output value of nearly 320 billion yuan ($49 billion, Huang Zhengqiu, an official with the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, announced on Tuesday.

China's bamboo forest area, bamboo accumulation, quality of bamboo products, profits and exports are among the top in the world, Huang said at a press conference of the 11th China Bamboo Cultural Festival which will be held from October 19 to 21 in Yibin, Sichuan province.

This year's festival will invite representatives from industry management departments, key bamboo producing areas, scientific research institutions, enterprises, and international professionals to gather together to discuss and make suggestions for the development of the bamboo industry, reports Xinhua news agency.

At the same time, the bamboo cultural festival will also focus on displaying new equipment, cutting-edge processes, and new products of China's bamboo industry.

A total of 128 enterprises from 15 provinces in key bamboo-producing areas in China will participate in online and offline exhibitions.

Twelve events will be held during the festival, including six main activities, such as the opening ceremony and summit forum, and six special activities, such as a bamboo calligraphy exhibition and a bamboo photography exhibition.

The first Bamboo Cultural Festival took place in 1997.

The 11th China Bamboo Cultural Festival was supposed to be held in the first half of 2020 but was postponed to this year due to Covid-19.



Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:47:34 +0530
Ballattan leaves behind legions of admirers

K.P.Sasi Nair (

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Balattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Balattan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balattan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran Thannikundummal who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Ballattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Ballattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Satheesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rita, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja, and (Grandchildren) Nithin, Dr.Anand, Gokul, Vishnu.

Sasi Nair.

Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:44:16 +0530
Octagenarian undergoes successful total knee replacement surgery

New Delhi, Oct 12

 Doctors here performed a total knee replacement (TKR) surgery on a 84-yr-old patient, giving him a new lease of life after being bedridden for over a year.

The case serves as the perfect example of age not being an inhibiting factor to opt for TKR, said doctors at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, on World Arthritis Day, observed every year on October 12.

The now octagenarian patient had refused surgery about nine years ago, citing his advanced age and the fact that he may not live long. But after being bedridden for over a year, he finally opted for the procedure.

A team of doctors diagnosed the patient with advanced osteoarthritis with extreme varus deformity -- a condition in which the bone segment distal to a joint is angled inward, away from the body's midline. After the tests and all medical clearances, the team performed Bilateral Knee Surgery.

"The post-operation period was uneventful and now after almost a month, the patient is walking on his own, without any support and happily following his daily routine," said Dr Palash Gupta, Director & Coordinator, Department of Orthopaedics & Knee Replacement, at Max, in a statement

TKR is mostly recommended for patients suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, gouty arthritis, or those who have pain in the deformed knee.

Causes of osteoarthritis can include old age, obesity, previous traumatic joint injury/overuse of joints, and joint deformity. Symptoms may differ from patient to patient but include pain in and around the joint, stiffness, difficulty in squatting and sitting crossed leg, difficulty in negotiating stairs, deformities of the joint, and inability to walk for long distances, joint swelling as well as decreased movement of the joint.

"One's quality of life shouldn't be compromised based on advanced age and should not be the reason to refuse knee replacement. People are reluctant to go in for a total knee replacement surgery citing their age as a reason. They feel they are either too young or too old for this surgery. This should not be the reason to come to terms with the condition which can gradually become a liability for family and their caregivers," Gupta said.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:43:46 +0530
Taraji P Henson blames childhood trauma for being single

Los Angeles, Oct 12

 Actress Taraji P. Henson has talked about the trauma she faced as a child as her father suffered from bipolar disorder and believes she has struggled to hold down relationships as she needs to act as a "caretaker" for men in her life.

Speaking on the 'WTF with Marc Maron' podcast, Henson said: "At a young age, that's unfair, I don't know but that's in me now. I don't know I just, I ain't married, because I find the men I need to fix. You can't fix anybody."

The 'Proud Mary' star earlier shared that she felt suicidal at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and was embarrassed at her lowest ebb.

She had said: "You feel embarrassed to have those thoughts, and why? Why should you feel embarrassed? That is a real thought that you're having in real time. Don't shun it. It's real. Deal with it."

The actress, who has 27-year-old son Marcell with her late partner William LaMarr Johnson, found that thoughts of ending her life quickly subsided when she discussed her feelings with a friend.

She said: "I felt myself withdrawing. People were calling me, I wasn't responding a Finally, I'm talking to one of my girlfriends and I knew - I was smart enough to say, 'I have to say it'. because a part of me was ashamed. I was like, I don't want them to think I'm crazy.

"So one day I just blurted it out, to my girlfriend. She called me in the morning and I was like, 'You know I thought about killing myself last night'. And, (I said) 'Oh my god, I feel so much better. I'm not gonna do it now'."


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:40:19 +0530
Sachin Tendulkar s daughter Sara gets a like from Kartik Aaryan

Mumbai, Oct 12

 Legendary India batsman Sachin Tendulkar's daughter Sara Tendulkar is getting the spotlight for all the right reasons. Her pictures are taking over the internet like wildfire.

Sara recently shared a glamorous picture on Instagram. In the image, she is seen standing in a balcony and flashing a beautiful smile.

The picture caught the eye of Bollywood's chocolate boy Kartik Aaryan and singer Armaan Malik, who have liked the photograph.

"All smiles in the city," Sara captioned the image, which currently has 348,000 and 1,927 comments on the photo-sharing website.

That's not it.

Sara juggles between Mumbai, where her family stays, and London. She is currently studying medicine in a college in London and completed her schooling from Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Mumbai. She is very active on Instagram and currently enjoys a fan following of 1.4 million.

There have been rumours that Sara is dating cricketer Shubman Gill. However, the two have neither confirmed nor debunked the rumours.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:30:57 +0530
Centre warns states not to sell unallocated power amid energy crisis

New Delhi, Oct 12

 In a veiled threat, the Centre has warned states of snapping their share of unallocated power if the same is not being used to meeting needs of consumers but being sold on power exchanges at higher rates for gains.

The union power ministry directive has come in the wake of several states reporting shortage of power due to a sudden rise in demand but at the same time selling a portion of power available to them at exchanges to maximise gains as prices have shot up to Rs 15 for a unit of electricity.

Several states including Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Assam, Madhya Pradesh are reporting severe stress on their power situation in the wake of fuel shortages at coal based plants while an unprecedented increase in power demand in the post pandemic rapid recovery being seen in the economic activities.

A power ministry statement said that it has been brought to its notice that some States are not supplying power to their consumers and imposing load shedding. At the same time, they are also selling power in the power exchange at high prices. The fresh action on unallocated power is to prevent misuse of this portion of energy.

As per the guidelines for allocation of power, 15 per cent power from the Central Generating Stations (CGS) are kept under "unallocated power" which is allocated by the Central Government to the needy States to meet the requirement.

The responsibility to supply power to the consumers is of the distribution companies and they should first serve their consumers who have the right to receive 24x7 power. Thus, the distribution companies should not sell the power in the power exchange and starve their own consumers, a power ministry statement said.

The states have therefore been requested to use the unallocated power for supplying electricity to the consumers of the State. In case of surplus power, the states have been requested to intimate the Government of India so that this power can be reallocated to other needy state, the statement added.

In case any state is found that they are not serving their consumers and selling power in the power exchanges at higher rate, the unallocated power of such states shall be withdrawn and allocated to other needy states, the statement added.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:27:04 +0530
Global cues oil prices subdue equity indices IT stocks decline Ld

Mumbai, Oct 12

 Weak global cues as well as rising crude oil prices subdued India's key equity indices -- S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 -- during Tuesday's mid-afternoon trade session.

Globally, stock markets weakened following a decline in the US overnight as rising crude oil prices accelerated concerns about prolonged inflation and monetary policy tightening.

Among sectors, consumer durables and realty have gained the most, whereas, IT and Telecom have lost the most.

Consequently, the 30- scrip sensitive index traded at 60,181.97 points, around 2.30 p.m., up 46.19 points or 0.077 per cent from its previous close.

Besides, the NSE Nifty50 ended at 17,966.05 points, up by 20.10 points or 0.11 per cent.

"Nifty opened higher and made an intraday high during the first 10 minutes of the day. It later fell in line with other Asian markets and made low in noon," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

"A gradual recovery followed. Volumes on the NSE are in line with the recent average and the advance decline ratio is even."

According to Gaurav Garg, Head of Research, CapitalVia Global Research:

"Traders were cautious as a private report stated that the Reserve Bank is likely to change the stance of its monetary policy and hike rates from the first quarter of 2022."

"Some concern also came after the World Bank said that the debt burden of the world's low-income countries rose by 12 per cent as countries responded to the Covid-19 crisis with massive fiscal, monetary and financial stimulus packages."


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:24:27 +0530
9 dead 11 missing as tropical storm batters Philippines

Manila, Oct 12

 At least nine people have died and 11 others were reported missing after severe tropical storm Kompasu triggered flash floods and landslides in the Philippines, the government said on Tuesday.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the victims were residents of northern Philippine provinces and Palawan, an island located off Luzon island, reports Xinhua news agency.

Two others were also injured, it added.

The agency said the storm triggered flooding in 15 areas and landslides in four regions, affecting roads and bridges.

The storm also displaced more than 1,600 people in at least three regions on the Luzon island.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that at 10 a.m., the storm was spotted 315 km west of Cagayan province in the northeast of Luzon island.

The bureau said the storm was blowing westward northwestward 20 km per hour, packing 100 km per hour winds and gusts of up to 125 km per hour.

It warned that heavy to intense rains were expected over the northern Philippines, further triggering flash floods and rain-induced landslides.

Typhoons and tropical storms regularly batter the Philippines, claiming hundreds of lives and cause billions of dollars in damages.

Located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries, including active volcanoes, frequent earthquakes, and an average of 20 typhoons a year, causing floods and landslides.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:21:51 +0530
UNGA allows 3 states in serious arrears to vote

United Nations, Oct 12

 The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution to allow three countries, which are at least two years in arrears for membership dues, to vote in the current session.

Article 19 of the UN Charter stipulates that a member state can no longer vote in the General Assembly if it is at least two years in arrears for membership dues unless the assembly is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member, reports Xinhua news agency.

In the resolution, the General Assembly agrees that the failure of the three countries -- the Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia -- to pay the full minimum amount necessary to avoid the application of Article 19 was indeed due to conditions beyond their control.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:19:16 +0530
Ballattan leaves behind legions of admirers

K.P.Sasi Nair (

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Ballattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Ballatan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balletan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran Thannikundummal who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Ballattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Ballattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Satheesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rita, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja, and (Grandchildren) Nithin, Dr.Anand, Gokul, Vishnu.

Sasi Nair.

Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:14:43 +0530
NCB chief not under watch Maha Home Minister Ld

Mumbai, Oct 12

 Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil on Tuesday stated that the Mumbai Police have not kept the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) under surveillance as alleged by the agency's Zonal Director Sandeep Wankhede.

"No such orders have been issued, I don't think any agency is keeping a watch on them," said Walse-Patil.

The home minister's reaction came a day after Wankhede lodged a police complaint alleging that he and his team members were being 'illegally stalked' by some plainclothes policemen.

He further informed the Oshiwara Police and the top police brass that since the past couple of days he and his men are allegedly under unauthorised 'surveillance'.

Wankhede and his team are under the spotlight after busting a rave party aboard a luxury cruise ship on October 2 in which 8 persons were caught and later arrested, including Aryan Khan, the son of megastar Shah Rukh Khan.

The matter sparked off a huge political row with allegations and counter-allegations of the presence of some Bharatiya Janata Party activists during the operation, the raids were allegedly 'fraudulent and orchestrated' to divert attention, etc.

Senior leaders of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi have demanded a police probe against the NCB raids, arrest of Wankhede, scrutiny of his call detail records to unravel the real truth behind the operations.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:13:22 +0530
Flood warning issued in Kerala K taka and TN

New Delhi, Oct 12  

The Central Water Commission (CWC) on Tuesday sounded red alert (extreme flood situation) for a river in Kerala and an orange alert (severe flood situation) for five other rivers in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) recorded, during 24 hours ending at 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday, extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places over Kerala and Mahe (Puducherry) and heavy rainfall at isolated places over Tamil Nadu.

The IMD has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall very likely at isolated places over Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Kerala & Mahe; heavy rainfall at isolated places over Coastal and South Interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry & Karaikal.

Thunderstorm accompanied with lightning & Squall (speed reaching 50-60 kmph) very likely at isolated places over Andaman & Nicobar Islands and with lightning at isolated places over Kerala & Mahe and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry & Karaikal.

This is because of a cyclonic circulation over east-central Arabian Sea. It is very likely to persist during the next 3-4 days, the IMD said in Monday night bulletin.

As per the CWC flood bulletin on Tuesday morning, the red alert has been sounded for River Ithikkara at Arkkannur in Kollam district of Kerala, where the river continued to flow in extreme flood situation. At 6.00 a.m., it was flowing at a level of 87.1 m with a rising trend, which is 0.10 m above its danger level of 87.0 m and 0.73 m above its previous high flood levels (HFL) of 86.37 m reached on August 16, 2018, CWC said.

The orange alert in Karnataka was sounded for River Shimsha at T K Halli in Mandya district. The river continued to flow in severe situation and at 6.00 a.m., it was flowing at a level of 583.49 m with steady trend, which is 0.99 m above its danger level of 582.5 m and 2.46 m below its previous HFL of 585.95 m on October 3, 1984.

In Kerala, River Achankovil at Thumpamon in Pathanamthitta district continued to flow in severe situation. At 6.00 a.m., it was flowing at a level of 10.35 m with rising trend, which is 0.35 m above its danger level of 10.0 m and 3.38 m below its previous HFL of 13.735 m on July 11, 1978.

River Karamana at Vellaikadavu in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district continues to flow in severe situation, which at 6.00 a.m. was flowing at a level of 93.15 m with falling trend, which is 0.15 m above its danger level of 93.0 m and 3.85 m below its previous HFL of 97.0 m.

In Tamil Nadu, River Kodaiyar at Thiruvarambu in Kanyakumari district was flowing in severe situation, and at 6.00 a.m. was flowing at a level of 13.01 m with rising trend, which is 1.01 m above its danger level of 12.0 m and 1.67 m below its previous HFL of 14.68 m May 26, 2021.

River Thambraparni at Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu continues to flow in severe situation, which at 6.00 a.m., was flowing at a level of 3.72 m with rising trend, which is 0.22 m above its danger level of 3.5 m and 5.11 m below its previous HFL of 8.83 m on August 12, 2010.

Meanwhile, as per IMD data, during 24 hours ending at 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday, rainfall recorded was:

Kerala: Karipur - 25 mm; Kozhikode - 22 mm; Cannur - 17 mm; Punalur - 14 mm; Palakkad - 8 mm and Thrissur - 6 mm.

Tamilnadu: Valprai - 10 mm; Nagappattinam - 6 mm and Thanjavur - 5 mm.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:10:14 +0530
Commercial property demand witnesses increase during Navratras festive season

Gurugram, Oct 12

 Real estate giants said the sector is recording a surge in commercial property demand during the Navratras and the festive season.

The time from October to December plays an important role in giving a new direction to the real estate sector.

People are showing enthusiasm to buy property on Dwarka Expressway, Southern Peripheral Road (SPR), Golf Course Road, Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, Manesar, Pataudi, Farrukhnagar road and Sohna areas of Gurugram. Various types of offers and discounts are being given by real estate companies to attract customers.

Property experts say that a new thing is being noticed in this festive season. While the automobile sector used to be the leader of the festival season for the past few years, this time the situation seems to have changed. Due to a shortage of semiconductor chips, vehicles are not being produced as per the demand.

This is also one of the major reasons people are investing in property. Real estate expert Atul Sharma says that the demand for property in Gurugram is increasing rapidly.

Sharma asserted that the demand for commercial and residential properties in New Gurugram is fast emerging. People living in rented houses in the Delhi-NCR region are now taking a step forward with buying homes.

"This festive season, M3M is going to delight the market with the premium residential offering, in line with the current needs of the customers. With people being confined to homes in the new normal for a long period, the demand for homes with ultra-modern amenities will undoubtedly catapult in the festive season. In the offing, we have planned low rise developments (2.5bhk and 3.5bhk) with all the benefits of a condominium which means a low rise format but with all the condo features like security, open landscaped terraces, new-age tech features," said Pankaj Bansal, Director, M3M.

"In the commercial segment, we are providing pre-leased investment opportunities with attractive propositions like 9 years lease, a 3-year lock-in period, in M3M Corner Walk-in SPR that we have just delivered and also signed up more than 200 leading brands," he added.

"Buying a home during the festive season is believed to bring good luck and opulence in life, therefore, people wait for this time of the year. The Navratras and the festive season always sees a marked uptick in enquiries. According to the industry reports, the NCR market is expected to see nearly 16,000 new units in the festive quarter with a growth of more than 50 percent in 2021.

"Additionally, the season will also end market uncertainties brought on by the pandemic. Boost in consumer confidence, vaccination drives, and most importantly the increased attention towards the importance of owning a home will become the key enabler of growth in the residential real estate segment in the next months of this year," Ashish Sarin, CEO, Alpha Corp Development Pvt Ltd said.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:06:47 +0530
Chain snatcher shot dead after he fired at TN police during chase

Chennai, Oct 12

 The Tamil Nadu police are conducting searches at several migrant camps in Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu areas, and in some parts of Chennai after a migrant worker from Jharkhand, who snatched a chain from a woman and fired at the police during a chase, was shot dead.

Murthuzha's accomplice, Naim Akhtar (29) also from Jharkhand, was arrested. Both were working in a factory in Sriperumbudur in the Kancheepuram district for the past one year.

The duo had snatched a gold chain from a woman, Indrani on Sunday and had opened fire at those who chased them. Police located the duo at Padur near Sriperumbudur. During the ensuing chase on Monday, Murtaza attacked the police with a machete in which a head constable was injured.

Inspector of Sriperumbudur station, Krishnakumar opened fired at Murtaza and shot him dead. Naim was caught and remanded in judicial custody.

The duo is suspected to be involved in the murder of a Tasmac liquor shop employee, Thulasidas who was found dead at the shop at Oragundum, Chennai on October 4.

Another employee, Ramu was injured and a bullet was removed from his body.

DIG of Police Sathyapriya told the media that the Inspector did not have any other option but to shoot him. She said that on inspection, the gun in possession of Murtaza was found to be without a license and was made in Jharkhand.

The police intelligence wing is conducting searches at several places in Chennai, Kancheepuram, and Chengalpattu to unearth whether there are more weapons including firearms in the possession of these migrant labourers.

Intelligence sleuths have given inputs about the presence of Bangladesh nationals amongst the migrant labourers in the guise of labourers from West Bengal.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 15:03:01 +0530
Cong delegation to meet Prez on Wednesday to seek removal of MoS Home

New Delhi, Oct 12

 A Congress delegation led by senior leader Rahul Gandhi will be meeting President of India Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday at 11 a.m. to demand the resignation of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni whose son is accused of running over an SUV on farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3.

The Congress had requested the President of India to grant time for the delegation comprising Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra along with senior party leaders A.K. Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury and party general secretary K.C. Venugopal.

"The shocking incident of broad day massacre of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh has shaken the conscience of the entire nation. Even more tragic are the open warnings given by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ajay Mishra Teni and consequent trampling of farmers under a Thar Jeep owned by the Minister and his family", the letter read.

Farmers, who were eye witnesses have openly stated that they were run over by vehicle being driven by the son of the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, the letter alleged.

Ashish Mishra, son of Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra, has been arrested and named in the FIR lodged by the Uttar Pradesh Police in the violence at Tikunia last Sunday (October 3) for allegedly mowing down farmers who were going to protest against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit to the Union Minister's ancestral village for a function.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 14:59:46 +0530
Indrajit Mahanty sworn in as 6th Chief Justice of Tripura HC

Agartala, Oct 12

 Indrajit Mahanty was on Tuesday sworn-in as the sixth Chief Justice of Tripura High Court at a simple ceremony in the Raj Bhavan in Agartala.

Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya administered the oath of office to Justice Mahanty at a function here, maintaining the Covid protocols.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, his council of ministers, leaders of various political parties, judges of the High Court and senior bureaucrats were present on the occasion.

Justice Mahanty was serving in the Rajasthan High Court before being transferred to Tripura High Court as Chief Justice. He succeeded Justice Akil Kureshi, who was transferred to Rajasthan High Court as Chief Justice.

Justice Kureshi, who took oath as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court on November 16, 2019, one of the senior-most high court judges in the country, was originally elevated as an Acting Chief Justice in the Gujarat High Court in November 2018 and has been in news due to his non-elevation as a judge of the Supreme Court.

Tripura High Court was set up in March, 2013 along with the full fledged High Courts in Meghalaya and Manipur.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 14:54:56 +0530
Army pays tributes to soldiers killed in J K gunfight

Jammu, Oct 12

 The Army paid tributes to five soldiers on Tuesday who were killed in a gunfight with the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

The gunfight broke out on Monday in Jammu's Poonch district.

A defence statement said, "In a solemn ceremony held at Rajouri, rich tributes were paid to the fallen soldiers who laid down their lives during conduct of Counter Terrorist operation in general area Thanamandi on 11 October 2021.

"Wreaths were laid by senior Army officers and civil dignitaries.

"The mortal remains of Junior Commissioned Officer and four soldiers belonging to different parts of the country will be moved to their respective hometown.

"Indian Army salute the sacrifices of its soldiers who laid down their lives in the service of the motherland".

During a cordon and search operation in villages in Poonch district, hiding terrorists fired at the troops resulting in critical injuries to five soldiers, including the JCO. All the five later succumbed to the injuries.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 14:50:58 +0530
Youth consumes poison outside UP CM s house

Lucknow, Oct 12

 A youth attempted to commit suicide by consuming poison outside the official residence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The youth, identified as Vimlesh Kumar from Mainpuri district, has been hospitalised and is in critical condition.

As per initial reports, Kumar had come to the Chief Minister's Janata Darbar but was not allowed to enter.

He said his land had been usurped and sold by a Samajwadi Party leader in Mainpuri and even though he complained to the local officials no action was taken.

Earlier, he had made two attempts to meet the Chief Minister and apprise him of his problem but was not allowed to meet him.

"The security men told me to submit the application and go. They said action would be taken but no action was taken," he said.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 14:48:27 +0530
Covaxin gets emergency use approval for kids aged 2 18 years

New Delhi, Oct 12

 The Hyderabad-based pharma major Bharat Biotech's Covaxin has got the emergency use approval for children in the age group of 2 to 18 years from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGA).

The Subject Expert Committee on Covid-19 gave the approval for the emergency use in the children.

The expert panel said in a statement, "After detailed deliberation, the committee recommended for grant of market authorisation of the vaccine for the age group of 2 to 18 years for restricted use in emergency situation."

Bharat Biotech had submitted the trial data of phase 2 and 3 of Covaxin on children in the beginning of this month to the apex body -- DCGI at the start of this month. The vaccine will be administered in two doses with 20 days of interval.

However, Bharat Biotech needs to submit safety data with due analysis every 15 days for the first two months and monthly thereafter.

Remarkably, the global health body World Health Organisation has not granted the emergency use authorisation to Covaxin. The World Health Organisation said last week that it will carry out the risk and benefit assessment next week with experts and take a final decision on the much awaited EUL to Covid vaccine Covaxin.

The WHO said in the last meeting, "WHO & an independent group of experts are scheduled to meet next week to carry out the risk/benefit assessment and come to a final decision whether to grant Emergency Use Listing to Covaxin".

Meanwhile, India continues to show the declining trends in the daily trajectory of Covid caseloads. India on Tuesday reported 14,313 fresh Covid cases in the last 24 hours, lowest recorded cases in the 224 days. Total 181 deaths have also been reported in the same time span, pushing the death toll to 4,50,963, the Union Health Ministry said.

The Active Caseload is presently 2,14,900, which is the lowest in 212 days. The active Covid cases presently constitute 0.63 per cent of the country's total positive cases.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 14:45:57 +0530
Selective view of human rights violation dangerous for democracy warns PM Modi

New Delhi, Oct 12

 Without referring to any incident, Prime Minister Narendra warned that a selective view of human rights violation through a political lens is dangerous for democracy and will affect the country as a few have modified the definition of human rights as per their own convenience.

Prime Minister Modi was addressing the 28th National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) foundation day programme on Tuesday through video conferencing.

He said India always upheld human rights, saying his government has provided new rights to Muslim women who were demanding laws against Triple Talaq and freed them from the compulsion of 'Mahram' and as a chaperone, a male family member accompanying them during haj.

Stressing on empowerment of women, he said India is providing paid maternity leave of 26 weeks to career women, aiming to protect the basic rights of newborn children.

Highlighting the strict law and order, Modi said his government has established 650 fast track courts and introduced death penalty for the heinous offence of rape.

The fare gender can get all in one facility for temporary accommodation, counselling and medical help etc. "By amending the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, our government has paved way for safer and legal abortion option," he added.

Modi said that his government has always thought of the last person in the queue and strived hard to ensure that no one, not even those who are unaware of their basic human rights are left out.

"This is why we came up with schemes like Jan-Dhan Yojna, Ujjwala Yojna and Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. These schemes and campaigns have dignified the lives of those who had never dreamt of having their own bank accounts and owning a debit card or thought of getting a gas cylinder at their doorsteps. Similarly, people are no longer forced to defecate in open and under 'Saubhagya' scheme we have ensured that every household gets electricity," the prime minister said.

Modi also emphasised the steps taken by his government for the upliftment of specially-abled, saying, "Nationwide, thousands of institutes, public spaces, including buses and railways, 700 websites and even currencies have been made differently-abled friendly."

"For the transgender community, Transgender Persons' Protection of Rights Act has been introduced," he pointed out, adding that all these steps will help eradicate injustice from the country.

PM Modi further added that the NDA government has been seriously working towards the development of Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern states as well, reiterating the point that his government is considerate of human rights and is working in the best interest of every section of the Indian society.



Tue, 12 Oct 2021 14:43:05 +0530
Ballattan leaves behind legions of admirers

K.P.Sasi Nair (

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Ballattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Ballatan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balletan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran Thannikundummal who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Ballattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Ballattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Sathesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rina, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja.

Sasi Nair.

Tue, 12 Oct 2021 12:46:54 +0530
Suspected Pak terrorist arrested in Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 12

The Special Cell of Delhi Police has arrested a suspected Pakistani terrorist from the Laxminagar area of the city, an official said here on Tuesday.

According to the official, the suspected Pakistan national, who had obtained fake Indian identity cards through forged documents, has been identified as Mohd. Ashraf alias Ali, a resident of Punjab in Pakistan.

The arrested accused was living as an Indian national by the name of Ali Ahmed Noori, a resident of Shastri Nagar in the national capital.

"At the time of his arrest, the police recovered an AK 47 rifle along with several other arms and ammunition," Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Cell, Pramod Kushwaha said.

Apart from the AK 47 rifle, two magazines with 60 rounds, one hand grenade, and two pistols with 50 rounds of cartridges were also recovered from his possession.

The suspect has been arrested under relevant sections of the UAPA Act, Explosives Act, and Arms Act, the official said.

Pertinently, this major arrest comes nearly a month after the Special Cell, on September 14, busted a Pakistan-based terror module and arrested seven suspected terrorists, including two people who were trained by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The ISI had trained the two terrorists to blow bridges and railway tracks in order to cause mass casualties in India.

The arrested terrorists were planning to carry out terror attacks in the country during this festival season.

All the suspects are currently in police custody.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 11:06:21 +0530
Kerber advances former champion Andreescu bows out at Indian Wells

Indian Wells, Oct 12

Germany's Angelique Kerber, the No.10 seed at the BNP Paribas Open, overcame a strong challenge from 20th seed from Russia Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 1-6, 6-4, to reach the fourth round of the WTA 1000 event here for the sixth time on Tuesday (IST).

Two one-sided sets for each player gave way to a tense decider. The pair traded breaks twice across the first four games, before Kerber -- the three-time major winner -- earned the decisive break at 3-3.

"It's always tough to play against Daria. We've played so many matches in the past... and today was a bit of a rollercoaster match for me. I played very well in the first set and she played well in the second, so I was just trying to stay mentally strong and to play point by point," Kerber said after the match.

"At the end it was just one or two points that decided the match and I'm happy to be through. I'm feeling good... I'm just trying to get through as far as I can, playing good tennis again," the German told

Kerber will next face the winner of the match between No.26 seed Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia and Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia in the fourth round. She's never faced the Slovenian and is 2-0 against the Aussie all-time, but says she'll be focused on what's been the key to her resurgent season so far.

"It doesn't matter against who I'm playing. It's more about how I feel, that I'm ready for every point, that I play my game like in the last few months and few weeks, so this is more my goal."

Canada's Bianca Andreescu's two-year reign as BNP Paribas Open champion came to an end at the hands of Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, 7-6(5), 6-3. For the second time this year, the Estonian got the better of the Canadian in straight sets, having beaten her in the second round in Eastbourne, and extended her head-to-head advantage over Andreescu to 3-0.

"It was extremely close throughout the match and I was just trying to stay tough. I was ready for a tough match," Kontaveit said. "She's such a good player, such a great competitor, so I knew it wasn't going to be over until it was really over."

"I've really been enjoying being out here, really enjoying playing competitive matches and I've been having a lot of fun," Kontaveit said. "I think that's been the key."

Up next, she'll face Brazilian lucky loser Beatriz Haddad Maia, who became the first woman from her country to defeat a player ranked in the WTA top-3 with a straight-sets victory over top seed and World No.3 Karolina Pliskova.





Tue, 12 Oct 2021 10:56:14 +0530
Subramanian Swamy Indian Army Chief to arrive in SL

Colombo, Oct 12

In a display of major diplomatic ties between Sri Lanka and India, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy and Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane will arrive in the island nation on Tuesday.

Swamy, during his two-day visit, will participate in the Navratri festival hosted by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, the latter's official residence in Colombo.

He is also slated to meet Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and will address a forum at the Institute of National Security Studies of the Defence Ministry.

Meanwhile, General Naravane, who will be accompanied by a five-member delegation, is visiting the island nation on an invitation by the Sri Lankan Army Commander, General Shavendra Silva.

During his stay, General Naravane will meet President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay and the heads of the tri-forces among others.

Having served in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1990, the army chief will pay floral tributes at the IPKF War Heroes in Colombo.

General Naravane will witness the final demonstration of the ongoing bilateral Exercise ‘Mitra Shakti' at Maduru Oya Special Forces Training School in Ampara.

Held from October 4 to 15, the 8th Edition of the India-Sri Lanka bilateral joint exercise 'Mitra Shakti' is underway at the Combat Training School, Ampara, in the Eastern province.

An all arms contingent of 120 personnel of the Indian Army is participating in the exercise along with a battalion of the Sri Lankan Army.

The aim of ‘Mitra Shakti' is to promote close relations between armies of two South Asian nations and enhance inter-operability and sharing best practices in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations.

The exercise will involve tactical level operations at sub unit level in an international counter insurgency and counter terrorism environment and is to act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation at grass root level between both Armies.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 10:49:35 +0530
NITI Aayog brings out manual on Sustainable Urban Plastic Waste Management

New Delhi, Oct 12

Bringing together 18 case studies for different issues related to different components of urban waste management from tier I, II and III cities across India, the Niti Aayog has brought out a manual on 'Sustainable Urban Plastic Waste Management' that aims at enabling the capacity building of officials in urban local bodies and other relevant stakeholders at the city level on plastic waste management.

Niti Aayog brought out the manual with the help of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday.

The document observes that local and affordable innovations in this sector are highly valued and goes on to list the best examples.

The city of Indore, which is home to almost 2 million people, generates 900-1,000 metric tonnes of waste every day, 14 per cent of which is plastic, enough to fill five to seven shipping containers.

Indore, the cultural capital of Madhya Pradesh, which has won several awards for sanitation and urban waste management in the last few years, was yet again flagged as the 'model' to be followed by other cities vis-a-vis urban plastic waste management at an event in the national capital by Niti Aayog.

However, Bhopal was the first to adopt the concept of 'circular economy' - an economic system intended to eliminate waste and the ever-increasing use of resources - that offers a pathway to more sustainable resource management. It simply means reduced production, use and disposal of plastics.

This innovative model was later adopted by Indore through which plastic waste is recycled, processed and reused in the construction of roads, thus benefiting over two million people. Waste pickers collect and hand over plastic waste to collection centres run by the Municipal Corporation. The plastic waste is scanned and segregated, and most single-use plastics, which comprise half of all the plastic in this waste stream, are shredded and baled.

The bales are then taken for co-processing at cement kilns or used to build roads. It is a win-win situation: for waste-collectors - one of the more vulnerable communities in Indian society - as it doubles their wages and ensures that something useful is done with the plastic litter, the manual says.

A crucial element of the project's success was the organisation's partnership with the ULBs and local industries. Through the SHGs, the waste collectors - many of whom are socially marginalised and illiterate women - were organised and trained in waste collection and recycling activities.

The success of the Bhopal project led to the establishment of a pilot plastic recovery centre in Indore, and as a result, 3,500 waste pickers were organised into SHGs. In addition, given the occupational hazards involved, the local organisation also conducted regular health camps, and over 850 waste collectors are now enrolled in health insurance schemes, the manual has documented.

Earlier, highlighting the importance of urban waste management, the CEO of Niti Aayog, Amitabh Kant said at least 30 Indians migrate to cities from rural areas each minute and given the condition of sanitation across cities, what is needed is a "massive 'jan andolan' over (the issue of) plastic."

Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, R.P. Gupta informed that nearly 7 per cent of plastic is disintegrated, 12 per cent is incinerated while as high as 79 per cent goes to pollute land, water, sea and soil.

UNDP Resident Representative, Shoko Noda said: "We all have a role to play in tackling the problem of plastic."

The Plastic Waste Management Rules were mandated in India in 2016, amended in 2018 and 2021, to manage waste at the city level.

There are different categories of plastic waste defined by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which should be processed and recycled by recycling units. Single-use and multi-layered plastics are considered the most difficult to process or recycle.


Tue, 12 Oct 2021 10:26:53 +0530
LeT terrorist behind street hawker killing gunned down in Shopian encounter

Srinagar, Oct 12

The terrorist responsible for the killing of a street hawker was among the three LeT terrorists gunned down in South Kashmir's Shopian district, officials said on Tuesday.

"Out of three killed terrorists, one terrorist has been identified as Mukhtar Shah of Ganderbal, who shifted to Shopian after killing one street hawker Virendra Paswan of Bihar," a tweet by Kashmir police quoting IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said.

Three LeT terrorists were killed in an encounter that started between terrorists and security forces at Tulran Imamsahab area in South Kashmir's Shopian district on Monday evening.

The firefight between terrorists and security forces took place after a joint team of the police and the army cordoned off the area and launched a search operation on the basis of specific information about the presence of terrorists.

In the past few days, violence has seen many civilians being targeted. Virinder Paswan, a gol gappa seller from Bihar was killed by terrorists on October 5 besides noted Kashmiri Chemist M.L. Bindroo and Mohamamd Shafi, a civilian from Bandipore.

On October 7, terrorists killed Supinder Kaur, Principal and Deepak Chand, teacher, at a government school in Srinagar.

Tue, 12 Oct 2021 10:01:13 +0530
Big B turns 79 Birthday wishes pour in on Bollywood s Shahenshah

Mumbai, Oct 11

A galaxy of stars from across India, from Mammootty, Prabhas, Ajay Devgn and Chiranjeevi Konidela to Rashmika Mandanna and Rakul Preet Singh, have wished Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who turned 79 on Monday.

To ring in his birthday, Big B shared a picture of himself, but he seemed to have got confused about his age and wrote: "Walking into the 80th."

His daughter Shweta Bachchan Nanda quickly took to the comment section and corrected him. She wrote: "79th (heart emoji)."

Since Monday morning, wishes have been pouring in for Amitabh on social media. Ajay Devgn, who will be seen sharing screen space with Big B in the upcoming film 'Mayday', tweeted: "Sir, looking at you through a different lens taught me what being a true artist is. Happy birthday dear Amitji."

Southern superstar Mammootty simply wrote: "Happy Birthday Amitabh Sir @SrBachchan #AmitabhBachchan."

Prabhas, who will appear with Big B in the upcoming Nag Ashvin film, 'Project K', took to Instagram and greeted the birthday boy. Sharing a photo of him and Big B, Prabhas wrote: "Happy Birthday to the legend of all times @amitabhbachchan Sir!"

'Mega Star' Chiranjeevi, who'd shared the screen with Big B in 'Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy', said: "Wishing My Beloved Big Brother, My Forever Guru, the One and Only Amit Ji @SrBachchan a very Happy Birthday. Many Many Happy Returns!! Health, Happiness and More Power to You Amitji!!"

Actor Suniel Shetty wrote, referencing Big B's famous dialogue from 'Kaalia': "All lines begin where you stand Mr Bachchan & you will always find me in that line. Stay blessed sir. #FanBoyForever #HappyBirthdayAmitabhBachchan. @SrBachchan."

Actress Rakul Preet Singh wished the thespian 'Happy Birthday' and added: "Wishing you abundance of joy, great health and all things beautiful. You are such an inspiration and I'm so grateful to get an opportunity of working with you. Have the most amazing year @SrBachchan."

Big B's 'Chehre' co-star Emraan Hashmi wrote: "HAPPY 79 ?@SrBachchan?!! And still blazing ahead with passion and ferocity. Thank you sir for always inspiring me. Best wishes and have a good one!"

Actress Rashmika Mandanna and Big B will be seen together in 'Goodbye'. She called the cinema icon 'paapaji' and said that he is "truly the awesomest"

"Happy birthday my handsome paapajiiiii @SrBachchan. You are truly the awesomest. We love you! Thank you for being the most amazing human being. We wish you all the love, health and happiness."

Actress Parineeti Chopra, who will be seen sharing screen space with Big B for the first time in the upcoming film 'Uunchai', penned a heart-warming note.

She wrote: "Mr. Bachchan, happy birthday sir! This is a special day, and a special moment. @amitabhbachchan. Especially excited to be working once again with Anupam sir @anupampkher, Boman sir @boman_irani, and Neena mam @neenagupta001. And for the first time with Sarika mam and Danny sir. Let this magical journey begin. #Uunchai."


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:34:35 +0530
The 65th consecutive year of Shri Ram the oldest annual dance drama

New Delhi, Oct 11

Come Sharad Navratri, the heart yearns to play along with joyous tunes of the natural vibrations and fragrance that fill the autumn air and this time around every heart needs some healing too. Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra comprehends the need and presents the 65th chapter of their legendary portrayal of Ramlila -- 'Shri Ram'.

Created by Padamshri Shobha Deepak Singh, 'Shri Ram' is the most celebrated version of Ramlila since 1967, the representation of the epic is unique and fortified.

Carrying on the legacy that her mother spearheaded, Singh endears the dance drama as a heritage that needs to propel and perforate through generations in order to strengthen the very core of the nation and every Indian. From costumes to choreography to the screenplay and the very treatment of the show, a great amount of thought has been put into detailing and making Shri Ram a lifetime experience for the audiences.

On the occasion, a very passionate Shobha Deepak Singh, Director and Vice Chairperson, Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, says, "While the world came to a standstill, we ensured that Shri Ram continues to interact with audiences. Like last year, this time again Shri Ram will be unleashed to harbinger the heartwarming festivities and to give a balmy effect to the tattered soul. While we are geared up to ensure the safety of our audiences with the help of proper sanitization and the mask rules, we are also clear that our artists are not at risk either. The whole team is vaccinated and we intend to perform in the open air to avoid any health hazards. Covid-19 is far from over and there is an ongoing threat of a new variant, all we need is to act wisely and co-exist with the virus observing precautions. But I strongly believe that the show must go on because we can't coop ourselves up forever!"

Singh further added, "This year's presentation will have special background music adopted from the older version of our own Ramlila, which is seamlessly being done by blending the original track with the existing musical score.

It is perhaps the only institution which caters to its own requirements be it costumes, ornaments or jewellery. Both the jewellery, costumes and ornaments are specially designed in-house. For years we have involved our students in the pre-production works of our shows, whom we consider as our best asset. But this year, we have engaged our students by giving them an exposure to actively participate in the show."

Shri Ram is not just an entertaining dance-drama but imbibes an excellent assortment of moral values, teachings, beliefs and emotions put together to bring out a bigger picture pertinent to the modern era. The setting and age from Satyug to Kalyug have changed considerably, but the challenges and struggles still exist; their circumstances however different, their essence and nature are still the same -- disturbing one's soul. Thus, in order to resonate with the minds of one and all, it employs simple dialects, language, and scenarios. Through the caricature of minute nuances of Lord Ram's life, His obedience towards His father, Sita's love in face of adversity and Hanuman's darning efforts in bringing the Sanjeevani Booti, the show emphasizes human values, brotherhood, unconditional love and respect for elders which are evergreen emotions to drop their relevance ever.

The two-hour long production involves dance styles ranging from Bharatanatyam and Kalariyapattu to Mayurbhanj Chau and folk dances of North India, with rhythmic music based on Hindustani classical ragas. The presentation is an exhilarating experience that has only improvised upon itself over the past four generations. Shri Ram has evolved over the past six decades and with every year there is something new to it without changing the very essence and the reverence that the show commands, the latest is the iconic episodes of Bharat Milap and Sita's Agnipariksha which have been beautifully designed to please the senses.

The inaugural ceremony of the show will be held at the Kendra Open Air Lawns, 1 Copernicus Marg, New Delhi on Thursday, October 7, 2021, at 6.30 p.m. and the show will continue until October 20, 2021. The programme will be carried out in the open air strictly in accordance with all norms specified by the Government of India and the Delhi administration abiding by Covid-19 norms and safety rules. Tickets are priced at Rs 3,000, Rs 1,500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 from The Kendra office and


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:28:29 +0530
IPL 2021 Dhoni gifts autographed ball to emotional kid

Dubai, Oct 11

 Mahendra Singh Dhoni played a vintage knock to help Chennai Super Kings beat DC in Qualifier 1 of IPL 2021 here. His match-winning shot moved a young Chennai fan to tears of joy at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. The camera captured the young CSK fan unable to stop her tears watching Dhoni finish off things in style.

After the match, the legendary cricketer signed the match ball and gifted it to make the memorable evening even more special for the teary-eyed CSK fan.

Dhoni played a cameo of 18 not out off 6 balls to see CSK through to their ninth IPL final in a thrilling win. Needing 24 off 11 balls and later 13 off 6, in Qualifier 1 against DC, Dhoni muscled a six off Avesh Khan and hit three fours off Tom Curran in the final over.

The England pacer surprisingly, opted to bowl slower balls to Dhoni, and the veteran batsman, who was not in the best of touches in the tournament, had saved his best for a knock in the all-important tie. CSK has reached the finals.

Royal Challengers Bangalore will clash with former champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL Eliminator on Monday. The winner of this match will take on Delhi Capitals on Wednesday.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:24:06 +0530
AstraZeneca s antibody cocktail can prevent treat Covid 19

London, Oct 11

 AstraZeneca's long-acting antibody combination is both able to prevent and treat Covid-19, according to the phase three results released on Monday.

The drug, AZD7442, is a combination of two antibodies -- tixagevimab (AZD8895) and cilgavimab (AZD1061) -- which is derived from B-cells donated by convalescent patients after being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the company said in a statement.

The phase III trial conducted in 96 sites in Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain, Ukraine, UK and US, included 903 participants who were administered a dose of 600mg of AZD7442 given by intramuscular (IM) injection.

The results showed that the cocktail reduced the risk of developing severe Covid-19 or death (from any cause) by 50 per cent compared to placebo in outpatients who had been symptomatic for seven days or less, the company said.

The drug was well tolerated in the trial.

"With continued cases of serious Covid-19 infections across the globe, there is a significant need for new therapies like AZD7442 that can be used to protect vulnerable populations from getting Covid-19 and can also help prevent progression to severe disease. These positive results show that a convenient intramuscular dose of AZD7442 could play an important role in helping combat this devastating pandemic," said Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at University College London, in the statement.

In the participants who received treatment within five days of symptom onset, AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing severe Covid-19 or death (from any cause) by 67 per cent compared to placebo.

AZD7442 is the first cocktail with Phase III data to demonstrate benefits in both prophylaxis and treatment of Covid-19 and is easily administered by IM injection, the company said.

"An early intervention with our antibody can give a significant reduction in progression to severe disease, with continued protection for more than six months," said Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca will be discussing the data with health authorities. The drug maker has also announced submission to the US Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorisation for AZD7442 for prophylaxis of Covid-19.

The results from the trial will also be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal and presented at a forthcoming medical meeting, the company said.



Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:20:27 +0530
Suriya releases motion poster of Tamil courtroom drama Jai Bhim

Hyderabad, Oct 11

 Multiple award-winning Tamil actor Suriya on Monday shared a captivating motion poster from the courtroom drama "Jai Bhim". The upcoming film will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video, starting from November 2, but the poster has doubled the hype building up around the movie.

The motion poster introduces Suriya in a powerful narrative setting, reminding his fans about the legal personalities who fought for social uplift. The film, which also showcases the talents of Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh, Rajisha Vijayan and Lijo Mol Jose, is also about the struggles of certain sections of people in a divided society.

"Jai Bhim" has been written and directed by T.J. Gnanavel. The music is by Sean Roldan, which is the industry name of Tamil composer Raghavendra Raja Rao. Suriya and his wife and co-star Jyotika have produced the movie under the 2D Entertainment banner.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:17:51 +0530
SWR s air conditioned coaches to transport chocolates noodles

Panaji, Oct 11

 In a unique innovation, bars, slabs of chocolate and a consignment of noodles will substitute passengers in air conditioned compartments of South Western Railway trains, which will be transported to Delhi regularly, an official statement said on Monday.

The innovation by Hubballi division of South Western Railway (SWR) will fetch the division around Rs 12.83 lakh from the transportation of each consignment of 163 tonnes of assorted Nestle chocolates from the Vasco da Gama railway station in Goa to Okhla railway station in the national capital, a statement issued by the SWR said.

"Chocolates and noodles weighing 163 tonnes were loaded in 18 air conditioned coaches - 12 (compartments) of 3-AC type and six of 2-AC type - from Vasco Da Gama in Goa to Okhla in Delhi," the statement said.

The consignment in the 'AC parcel train' was facilitated by AVG logistics and will travel a distance of 2,115 km.

Describing the consignment as a "new stream of traffic" via railways, the statement said, "This has fetched a revenue of Rs 12.83 lakh to the railways."

Chocolate transportation was earlier carried out by air conditioned transport trucks via road.

"Railways are proactively reaching out to customers to utilise rail services which are faster, smoother and cost effective. This approach is being appreciated by industries and merchants, thereby (resulting in) increase in volume," said Arvind Malkhede, Hubballi Divisional Railway Manager.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:15:09 +0530
BLA claims responsibility for bomb attack that killed Pak journalist

New Delhi, Oct 11

 A Pakistan journalist has been killed in a targeted attack in the Balochistan town of Hub, police officials say, with the armed militia Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claiming responsibility for the attack in a statement, Al Jazeera reported.

Shahid Zehri was killed while driving in his vehicle in the town of Hub, about 20 km (12 miles) west of Pakistan's largest city of Karachi, on Sunday evening, police say.

The explosion appeared to have been caused by a magnetic device attached underneath the driving seat in Zehri's vehicle, Younus Raza, a senior police official said.

"The [explosives were] right underneath the [driver's] seat, so when it explodes it obviously goes upwards and destroys the seat as it does so," he said, the report added.

Zehri, who covered Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, was a reporter with local television news channel, Metro 1.

Late on Sunday, the BLA armed group claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing Zehri of working with Pakistan's security forces in a statement emailed to journalists.

Shahid Zehri, 35, who was associated with Metro 1 News, was travelling in a car in Hub when he was attacked reportedly with a homemade grenade, Dawn reported.

Zehri, who suffered critical injuries, and another injured companion were initially taken to Hub Civil Hospital and subsequently brought to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, where Zehri was pronounced dead.

CCTV footage of the incident seen by showed an explosion took place on the roadside near Zehri's moving car as soon as it made a U-turn on a busy road. The nature of the bomb could not be confirmed immediately.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:10:31 +0530
Warning of risks of a new conflict China says India making unreasonable unrealistic demands


New Delhi, Oct 11

 After China and India failed to reach an agreement during the latest round of corps commander-level talks over the western section of the countries' border issues, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theater Command on Monday slammed New Delhi for its "unreasonable and unrealistic demands, with India also sparking new incidents along the eastern section of the border recently", Beijing's mouthpiece Global Times said.

"Chinese experts have warned of the risks of a new conflict, saying that China should not only refuse to give in to India's arrogant demands on the negotiation table, but also be prepared to defend against another Indian military aggression," the newspaper said.

China and India held the 13th round of corps commander-level talks at the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point on Sunday, "during which India insisted on unreasonable and unrealistic demands, adding difficulties to the negotiations", the PLA Western Theater Command said in a statement released on Monday.

Eyeing the overall situation in the China-India relations and the relations between the two countries' militaries, China has made tremendous efforts to ease and cool down the border situation and fully demonstrated its sincerity, Senior Colonel Long Shaohua was quoted as saying in the statement.

"China's determination to safeguard sovereignty is unwavering, and China hopes India will not misjudge the situation, cherish the current, hard-earned situation and take actions with sincerity to safeguard the peace and stability at the border by abiding to the relevant agreements and consensus reached by the two sides," Long said.

During the talks, China and India discussed further troop disengagement in the region, but as the Chinese statement suggests, India attempted to push China to make concessions to only India's favour, which is inappropriate from China's consideration of safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Monday.

"While China focuses on the big picture, wanting both sides to meet each other half way, its patience has run out, and it had to shatter India's arrogant thoughts with the statement," Qian said.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday that India has been conspiring to seize territories along the border, and it likely demanded for Chinese territories or unreasonable troop deployment along the Line of Actual Control.

"It's a very aggressive move and compared with China's attempts to reach mutual accommodation, India is totally against the practical needs of both sides to manage difference," the newspaper said.

"China should continue to negotiate with India to maintain peace and stability, but without yielding an inch of ground, Song said, noting that in the meantime, China also needs to brace for the possibility of another Indian military aggression, as India is risking a new round of conflict."

Qian further said that "if India ignores China's stance displayed in the latest talks, continues or even aggravates its aggressions without changing itself, the possibility of another accident or conflict could arise".


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:07:44 +0530
Ashish Misra sent to three days police remand

Lakhimpur Kheri (UP), Oct 11

 A local court in Lakhimpur Kheri on Monday sent Ashish Misra, son of Union Minister Ajay Misra Teni, to three days police custody in connection with the October 3 violence.

He will, however, have access to his legal team during the period of police remand.

The Special Investigation Team, set up by the Yogi Adityanath government to probe the incident, had sought 14 days police remand of Ashish Misra from the Chief Judicial Magistrate in order to carry out further investigations and recreate the crime scene.

The public prosecutor said the custody can be demanded within 15 days of the arrest. "It was pure non-cooperation. During the 12 hours, he did not reply," the public prosecutor said.

Misra's counsel Avadesh Singh said, "They interrogated him for 12 hours. How much do they need to interrogate? Do they want to apply third degree on the accused? You can't beat him and take his statement... They have not given any reason why they need remand."

The hearing in Ashish Misra's remand case concluded with his lawyer denying all the allegations levelled against his client by the Uttar Pradesh Police.

Some technical issues in video conferencing were reported when the court was to start the hearing in the case. The judge left the court room as there was a delay in connecting the video.

Misra was arrested late on Saturday night and produced the same night before a magistrate who sent him to judicial custody.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:00:35 +0530
Women suffering domestic violence helped by Nirbhaya Squad in Jaipur

Jaipur, Oct 11

 Under the 'Safer City, Safe Street' campaign being run by Jaipur police, many cases of domestic violence are being resolved in a different manner by the Nirbhaya Squad, an all-women police team, which has been counselling couples together and individually if required.

According to Rahul Prakash, Jaipur Additional Commissioner of Police, Traffic, the campaign is being run under State Deputy Commissioner of Police Richa Tomar, who along with Nirbhaya team members has been resolving the problems of women facing domestic violence.

Tomar said, "During patrolling, our team members, including Shashi Bala and Usha, saw a girl with her mother crying on the street. The team stopped them and asked the reason to which the woman said she was beaten by her husband. The police team went to her house and counselled the husband to apologize to his wife."

In another case, the patrolling team of the Nirbhaya Squad was stopped by a woman and her daughter who complained about the husband, alleging that he was a drunkard who has been torturing both of them. The husband was called to the police station and counselled. He promised that he will never again beat his wife and children.

In yet another case, a woman complained that her husband beat her as they have two daughters and no son. The team visited her house and asked the husband to behave nicely with his wife and children. They gave their number to the wife and her children asking them to call any time if they needed to.

Tomar said 45 such cases of domestic violence have been resolved under 'Operation Safer City, Safer Street' which was launched on September 24 this year.

The identity of those women who do not register a complaint against their family or husband is not disclosed. In such cases, police counsel the family members. The contact numbers of the Nirbhaya team are given to such women, Tomar added.

The Nirbhaya Squad is an all-women police team patrolling on motorbikes. Recently, they launched an operation to check eve-teasing where they patrol in plainclothes and teach the miscreants a lesson when caught red-handed.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:56:36 +0530
NGO welcomes Bachchan s decision to drop out of paan masala ad campaign

Panaji, Oct 11

 The National Organisation For Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), an anti-tobacco organisation, has welcomed Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's decision to withdraw from surrogate ads promoting tobacco products on his 79th birthday.

The NGO in September had written to the veteran actor to withdraw from an endorsement campaign promoting a 'paan-masala' brand claiming that his distancing from the campaign would help wean away youngsters from getting hooked to tobacco.

"NOTE welcomes the decision taken by Amitabh Bachchan to withdraw from all surrogate advertisements related to tobacco products with immediate effect and would like to congratulate the superstar for showing solidarity to the efforts made by the government and non-governmental organisations in the fight against tobacco, "said President of the NOTE and Goa-based oncologist, Shekhar Salkar.

Earlier on Monday, Bachchan in an official statement said he had returned the money, which he had received for endorsing the paan-masala ad, adding that he was not aware that the ad campaign fell under the surrogate advertising category.

"The decision taken by Bachchan will have a positive impact on society. It will also serve as a cue to other film personalities engaged in such embellishments of promoting tobacco," Salkar added.

In September this year, the anti-tobacco organisation in a letter to Bachchan had said that since paan-masala had severe ill-effects on people's health, especially youth, Bachchan, who was also a brand ambassador for the Central government's 'Pulse Polio' campaign must drop out of the advertising campaign promoting paan-masala.



Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:54:05 +0530
1 dead 3 injured as speeding car rams several vehicles in Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 11

 A speeding car rammed several vehicles near Akshardham temple in the national capital on Monday morning, killing one person on the spot while three others received injuries.

According to a police official on the spot, the accident happened in the morning at around 10 a.m. when a speeding car bearing registration number UP 16AF1604 hit several vehicles when it was coming down the flyover just next to the Yamuna Bank Depot of Delhi Metro.

"The vehicle (a white Verna) which was coming from the Noida side, first struck a rickshaw, which was being driven by Sanjeev Yadav, a resident of Jhuggi Near Yamuna Bank Depot and dragged it for at least 30-40 meters," the official said.

The Verna car then hit a Tata Ace, which turned turtle by the impact of the accident.

The rickshaw was also carrying a passenger identified as Nawal Kumar Yadav, a resident of Jhuggi Near Yamuna Bank Depot. The said passenger died on the spot while the rickshaw puller is grievously injured.

The driver of the Tata Ace car, identified as Rampreet Das, resident of Rampura, also suffered injuries.

All the three injured including the driver of Verna were immediately taken to the nearby Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital where one of them is currently battling for his life.

The accident caused a heavy traffic jam on the road in the morning as the accident happened at a time when there is already a heavy rush on this road that connects Noida with the national capital.

As the commuters faced hardship for a couple of hours, the police then towed the mangled remains of the car and cleared the road for traffic. A crime team of Delhi Police could also be seen collecting samples from the site of the accident.

Eyewitnesses said that they were shell-shocked by the accident as the Verna car was at a very high speed when it struck several vehicles.

Several people had gathered around the accident spot and were curious to know the fate of the people injured.

The impact of the collision could be easily ascertained after seeing the mangled remains of the Verna car. The car's bonnet which carries the engine, was completely damaged. Several plastic parts of both the cars laid strewn across the road.

The accident was so horrific that the rickshaw was completely damaged in the mishap. "The spot has been inspected and photographed from the Crime Team," an official confirmed.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:51:04 +0530
Kerala court convicts man who killed wife using cobra

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 11

A lower court at Kollam district on Monday held a man guilty of killing his wife by getting her bitten by a cobra.

Kollam additional sessions court judge M. Manoj declared Suraj guilty of the crime and will pronounce the sentence on Wednesday.

Suraj was the husband of 25-year-old Uthara who was bitten by a cobra.

After holding Suraj guilty, when the judge asked him if he had anything to say, he said 'nothing'.

The prosecution counsel expressed the hope that the court will deliver the maximum punishment to the guilty and consider this case as the rarest of the rare case.

Police chief Anil Kant said the case was a very difficult one and full credit has to be given the police probe team which investigated the crime using all scientific and cyber methods of investigation.

Uthara's brother said they are happy with the way things have progressed and now "we are all waiting to hear what will be the quantum of punishment."

The incident took place on May 6, 2020.

On May 7 Uthara's mother discovered her body at their house in Anchal, some 70 kms from here.

The victim's mother said Uthara and Suraj had gone to their room after dinner. On May 7, Suraj, who was a late riser, woke up early and went out. When Uthara didn't wake up, her mother went to her room and found Uthara lying unconscious.

The snake which was still in the room, was killed by Uthara's parents when they returned home from the hospital after their daughter was declared dead.

On May 24, the police arrested Suraj and his associate Suresh, a professional snake catcher for hatching a conspiracy to use a snake to kill her.

After the police began the probe, they exhumed the cobra carcass that was buried in a pit and sent the carcass for forensic examination.

The probe also revealed that Suraj had apparently made several attempts earlier using snakes to kill Uthara.

Her parents said in the first instance of a snake bite on March 2, Uthara was at her husband's home in Adoor. After recovering from the snake bite, she had shifted to her parental home in Anchal.

According to the police, Suresh had given Suraj the snakes. He first provided a poisonous viper for Rs 10,000. After the first attempt failed, Suresh supplied him a cobra for Rs 10,000.

The one-year-old son of the couple has been handed over to the parents of Uthara.



Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:46:02 +0530
Amit Shah meets power and coal ministers reviews situation

New Delhi, Oct 11

 Amid reports of shortage of coal supplies, Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday met Union Power Minister R.K. Singh and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi to review the situation.

In the meeting, senior officials of ministries and NTPC were also present. Sources said that the meeting lasted for an hour and Shah reviewed the situation and asked everyone present in the meeting to ensure adequate supplies of coal to thermal power plants across the country.

The coal ministry reassured that ample coal is available in the country to meet the demand of power plants.

"Any fear of disruption in power supply is entirely misplaced. The coal stock at the power plant end is about 72 lakh tonnes, sufficient for 4 days requirement, and that the Coal India Limited (CIL) end is more than 400 lakh tonnes, which is being supplied to the power plants," in a statement the coal ministry had said Sunday.

on Sunday, union power minister Singh also reviewed the coal stock position in all thermal power plants including those plants which are supplying power to distribution companies of Delhi.

"Yesterday on October 9, the total despatch of coal from all sources (Coal India Limited, Singareni Collieries Company, Captive Coal Mines and imported coal) was 1.92 million tonnes while the total consumption was 1.87 million tonnes. Thus, the coal despatch has exceeded the consumption, thereby indicating a shift to gradual building up of coal stock," the power ministry had said in a statement.

The power ministry had further stated that the coal ministry and Coal India have assured that there is ample coal available in the country to meet the demand of power plants.

"Any fear of disruption in power supply is entirely misplaced. The coal stock at power plant is sufficient for more than 4 days' requirement and as the coal supply is being ramped up by CIL, the coal stock at power plant would gradually improve," the power ministry had added.

Last week, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned about a possible power crisis due to short supplies of coal to plants.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:38:00 +0530
Centre notifies transfer appointment of High Court judges Lead

New Delhi, Oct 11

 The Centre has notified the transfer of seven high court judges and also notified the appointment of five new judges to the Rajasthan High Court, which includes three advocates and two judicial officers.

A statement by Department of Justice said: "In exercise of the power conferred under the Constitution of India, President of India, in consultation with Chief Justice of India, is pleased to transfer the following high court judges: Justice Rajan Gupta has been transferred from Punjab and Haryana High Court to Patna High Court; Justice T.S. Sivagnanam has been transferred from Madras High Court to Calcutta High Court; Justice Sureshwar Thakur has been transferred from Himachal Pradesh High Court to Punjab and Haryana High Court; Justice P.B. Bajanthri from Karnataka High Court to Patna High Court; Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma from Rajasthan High Court to Patna High Court; Justice T. Amarnath Goud from Telangana High Court to Tripura High Court; and Justice Subhash Chand from Allahabad High Court to Jharkhand High court".

In another statement, it said: "In exercise of the power conferred under the Constitution of India, President of India, in consultation with Chief Justice of India, is pleased to appoint the following advocates and judicial officers as judges of Rajasthan High Court: advocate Farjand Ali, advocate Sudesh Bansal, advocate Anoop Kumar Dhand, judicial officer Vinod Kumar Bharwani, and judicial officer Madan Gopal Vyas."

Last week, President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Chief Justices to eight high courts, including Allahabad and Madhya Pradesh, besides approving the transfer of five Chief Justices in other high courts.

On October 2, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said the top court collegium, which is headed by him, is targeting to fill vacancies in various high courts at the earliest, and it does not want to cut down the pace of the process, and rather seeks Centre's support to enable access to justice and to strengthen democracy.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:33:45 +0530
Inter state narco cartel busted in Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 11

 Delhi Police have busted an inter-state narco cartel and arrested two persons with 661 kg of marijuana, an official said here on Monday.

Furnishing the details, Deputy Commissioner Urvija Goel said that the police had received information that two persons would come in a truck from the Delhi Cantt side and cross the Naraina area via Ring Road for supplying drugs.

Based on this information, a police team was constituted that laid a trap under the Naraina flyover. After some time, a truck was seen coming from the Delhi Cantt side. The police team stopped the truck near the DDA land and overpowered its two occupants.

During checking, it was found that the truck was laden with wooden logs and beneath the wooden logs, a secret chamber was installed from where 661 kg of marijuana was recovered. The estimated value of the recovered drugs is said to be around Rs 1 crore in the international market.

The accused were identified as Rafique Khan, a resident of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, and Raj Kishore, a resident of Samaypur-Badli, Delhi.

On interrogation, the accused persons disclosed that the nexus had reached Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan.

The recovered consignment was ordered by a person named Shera and his partner Bahadur Singh alias Fauji.

On further interrogation, it was revealed that Shera had purchased the contraband from Chetan, who's based in Odisha's Koraput district.

The police have conducted raids at various places in Koraput and have arrested Chetan. He revealed that he had arranged the recovered contraband for Shera from the tribal areas of Andhra-Odisha border.

The police have registered a case under sections 20, 25, and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act at the Naraina police station. "Further probe is still on," the senior official added.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:31:19 +0530
NEP to create entrepreneurship culture says K taka minister

Bengaluru, Oct 11

 The National Education Policy (NEP-2020) aspires to create an entrepreneurship culture in the country by enabling students to get project-based learning, experiential learning, service-learning, and vocational training, C.N. Ashwath Narayan, the Minister for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood, said here on Monday.

Addressing two days program 'Become an entrepreneur, Provide employment (Udyamiyagu, Udyoga Needu), organized by the Department of Industries, he said, "we should develop the mindset of celebrating entrepreneurship".

He said, the policy will facilitate exposure of students to various professions at the primary level itself and added that the policy which aspires to provide solutions to the problems of society is a big reform and will make students industry-ready by the time they complete their courses.

"The department of skill development has implemented 14 different programs to train the youths in skills. In addition to this, it is assisting thorough MoUs. It is providing necessary skill training and certification through RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), focusing on training students in future skills such as DOT, Cyber Security, Data Entry, etc and providing mentorship for 200 promising entrepreneurs and is integrating employment seekers and employers through Skill Connect," Minister Narayan stated.

He further said, self-employment activities are being promoted through livelihood supporting programs, and Skill Hub will be set in Ramanagara to make youths aware of the employment opportunities and to facilitate skill training.

The Minister also mentioned that land acquisition rules were simplified during the tenure of B.S. Yediyurappa as Chief Minister, to facilitate the establishment of industries.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:27:14 +0530
Tej Pratap s newly floated student outfit marches on JP s anniversary

Patna, Oct 11

 After getting sidelined in Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad's eldest son Tej Pratap Yadav on Monday took out a march in Patna on the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan.

Settting a new path for himself to keep his relevance in Bihar politics, Tej Pratap Yadav, along with his suppporters, walked barefoot to the statue of Jayaprakash Narayan in Gandhi Maidan and paid tributes to him.

The march was organized by his newly-formed Chhatra Janshakti Parishad (CJP) to celebrate the birth anniversary of one of the country's greatest socialist leader.

The event started from his official residence located on Stand Road near Circular Road. Earlier there was speculation that he may go to meet his mother Rabri Devi at her residence at 10 Circular Road but he did not stop there. His convoy headed straight towards Gandhi Maidan along with over 200 supporters of the CJP.

After paying tribute to Jayaprakash Narayan, he walked towards the residence of the socialist leader.

Interacting with large number of media persons present there, Tej Pratap said: "I had invited my younger brother Tejashwi Yadav to join the march under the umbrella of CJP but he did not come. The idea was to give voice to our students and common people through this march."

Meanwhile, Janata Dal-United leaders also celebrated the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan in the party head office in Patna.

State president Umesh Kushwaha paid tribute to the photograph of Jayaprakash Narayan.

On Tej Pratap Yadav's 'march, Kushwaha said: "Lalu Prasad's family is completely destroyed in Bihar. There is no relevance of his family members in the politics of Bihar. The act of Tej Pratap Yadav is nothing but an eyewash."


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 18:24:33 +0530
Ballattan leaves behind legions of admirers

K.P.Sasi Nair (

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Ballattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Ballatan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balletan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran Thannikundummal who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Ballattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Ballattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Sathesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rina, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja.

Sasi Nair.

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 17:10:48 +0530
Ballattan leaves behind legions of admirers

K.P.Sasi Nair (

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the octogenarian/nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Ballattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Ballatan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balletan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran Thannikundummal who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Ballattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Ballattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Sathesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rina, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja.

Sasi Nair.

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 16:45:35 +0530
Ballattan leaves behind legions of admirers

K.P.Sasi Nair (

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the octogenarian/nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Ballattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Ballatan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balletan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran ThanniKundummul who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Ballattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Ballattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Sathesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rina, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja.

Sasi Nair.

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 16:16:36 +0530
Ballattan leaves behind legions of admirers

An accomplished leader with a humane face, Balakrishnan Nair Parambathu played a pivotal role in moulding and mentoring many successful careers in Calicut for more than half a century. His passing at age 93, on the 12th of September 2021, leaves a void that is very difficult to fill.

Scion of the famed Valiyaveetil Tharavadu, the octogenarian/nonagenarian was a highly respected figure whose knowledge, insight and helping nature benefited people from all levels of society. Fondly called “Ballattan” he was the legendary elder brother to scores of townspeople, always willing to lend a patient ear and proffer solutions to vexed problems.

Ballatan was a teacher par excellence who towered over the educational and social scene for decades. His uncanny ability to feel the pulse of students, their parents and fellow tutors were unmatched. After retiring as the Headmaster of Punnassery AUP School on the outskirts of Calicut, the indefatigable Balletan was one of the Trustees of Higher Secondary School Punnassery Kuttumboor.

“We will miss your wise counsel,” wailed Shri. Rajendran ThanniKundummul who is chairman of Nanminda Rural Bank and District General Secretary of congress party, Kozhikode, “You will always remain in our heart.”

Owner of a multi-faceted personality, what made Ballattan so special was his selfless service and inborn talents of leadership and pragmatism. He delegated authority to ensure speedy and effective decision-making. His affable character endeared him to anyone who met him. There was never any malice in his demeanour.

As Director of Nanminda Rural Co-op Bank, he was instrumental in uplifting poverty by helping marginal farmers and artisans. His laudable motto was: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Doubtlessly, his demise has orphaned legions of admirers.

Ballattan is survived by his wife Vasumathi Amma, three sons, Venu, Sathesh and Vinod, and daughter-in-law Rina, Bindu Krishna and Sheeja.

Sasi Nair.

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 15:19:32 +0530
Instagram to roll out new tools to safeguard teenagers

San Francisco, Oct 11

Facebook-owned Instagram would soon roll out new tools to safeguard teenagers from harmful content after whistleblower Frances Haugen testified last week before the US Congress that Instagram can have a negative effect on the mental health of teenagers.

Facebook's Vice President of global affairs Nick Clegg, appearing on CNN's State of the Union show on Sunday, said that the photo-sharing platform will introduce a "take a break" feature and also "nudge" teenagers away from bad content.

"We're going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that a teenager is looking at the same content over and over again, and it's content which may not be conducive to their well-being, we will nudge them to look at other content," Clegg said.

The platform also plans to introduce a feature "called 'take a break', "where we will be prompting teens to just simply take a break from using Instagram", he added.

Clegg, however, didn't provide a timeline for the tools.

In three hours of congressional testimony, Haugen accused Facebook of intentionally refusing to make changes to its algorithms because it put "profits" before people.

"The kids who are bullied on Instagram, the bullying follows them home. It follows them into their bedrooms. The last thing they see before they go to bed at night is someone being cruel to them," Haugen said.

She has laid out an inside-out view on the simple "frictions" that would cool off Facebook's "toxic" and "divisive" algorithms that are driving teens and vulnerable populations off the cliff on the world's largest social networking platform.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg later posted a staunch defense of his company in a note to Facebook staffers, saying that claims by Haugen about the social network's negative effects on society "don't make any sense".


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 09:56:17 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 237 8 mn

Washington, Oct 11

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 237.8 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.85 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.45 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Monday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number number of vaccine doses administered stood at 237,851,281, 4,851,509 and 6,459,979,918, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 44,339,486 and 713,228, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in second place with 33,953,475 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,575,820), the UK (8,192,541), Russia (7,658,923), Turkey (7,444,542), France (7,156,066), Iran (5,702,890), Argentina (5,265,859), Spain (4,973,619), Colombia (4,972,236), Italy (4,700,316), Germany (4,318,437), Indonesia (4,227,932) and Mexico (3,720,545), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (601,011), India (450,589), Mexico (281,958), Russia (212,576), Peru (199,641), Indonesia (142,651), the UK (138,139), Italy (131,301), Colombia (126,623), Iran (122,592), France (117,927) and Argentina (115,473).


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 09:42:44 +0530
There was nothing much in the mind Dhoni on his match winning cameo

Dubai, Oct 11

Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said that he had "nothing much in the mind" when he walked in to bat with 24 runs still required off 11 deliveries in the playoffs match against the Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals.

While the task was enormous, the skipper added that the only thing relevant at that stage was to "just watch the ball and hit the ball".

Dhoni led three-time champions CSK to their ninth IPL final, smashing an unbeaten 18 off six deliveries in a chase of 173 in the Qualifier 1 in Dubai. The charismatic wicketkeeper-batter hit Tom Curran for three consecutive boundaries in the final over to take CSK over the line. It was the seventh occasion Dhoni scored 10 or more runs in the 20th over of successful run chases in the IPL, the most by any batsman.

"It (last over) was a crucial one. Delhi have a very good attack, and they were exploiting the conditions well. They were using the bigger boundaries. So I felt it would be tough. That's why we wanted set batters to continue till the end," said Dhoni in the post-match press conference last on Sunday.

On what was going through his mind when he came at the crucial stage, the captain said, "Nothing, just watch the ball and hit the ball. I haven't done a lot in the tournament, so you want to get that part out of the system. If you are batting well in the nets, just look for the ball, what are the variations, where the bowler could bowl. Other than that there was nothing much in the mind. If there are too many things floating around, it becomes difficult to watch the ball," he said.

On the reason for sending Shardul Thakur at No. 4, Dhoni explained, "We are one side that hasn't done that a lot (batting order changes). Even with Deepak (Chahar) we bat till 9. With the way Shardul has been batting recently or even Deepak, both can contribute. When a batsman goes in, he will think twice before hitting the first ball, but if a Shardul or a Deepak goes in, they can look to hit the first ball. And even if they get one or two boundaries, it could be a big impact because the run difference is only 15-20 runs."


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 09:38:01 +0530
64 poisoned by surrogate alcohol in Russia 32 dead

Moscow, Oct 11

A total of 64 people were poisoned by surrogate alcohol in Russia's Orenburg region, of which 32 have died, local media reported.

According to the TASS News Agency report on Sunday, 25 people are currently hospitalized and seven others are receiving outpatient treatment.

Methanol was found in the blood of the poisoned persons and in some cases, its concentration was three to five times higher than the lethal dose, Xinhua news agency quoted the TASS report as saying.

So far 10 suspects have been detained for selling fake alcoholic beverages.

Local police found a warehouse and a production facility in Orenburg's Orsk city, where 1,279 bottles of surrogate alcohol were seized.

About 800 bottles of illegal alcohol were seized in 11 districts of the Orenburg region during two days of mass checks.

The problem of counterfeit alcohol poisoning has long plagued the country, despite the Kremlin's campaign against surrogate alcohol.

In December 2016, over 70 people were killed in Russia's Irkutsk after drinking fake alcoholic beverages.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 09:24:53 +0530
Special UP Assembly session on Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav

Lucknow, Oct 11

The Uttar Pradesh government will convene a special one-day session of the Legislative Assembly on October 18.

The joint session of the members of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council is a part of "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav" celebrations. The special session will run for only one day.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had passed a resolution in the cabinet. Following this, Governor Anandiben Patel gave her consent.

A notification will soon be issued to convene the session.

According to sources, President Ram Nath Kovind will address the special session virtually.


Mon, 11 Oct 2021 09:17:13 +0530
When crowds used to tease Pant with Mahi Mahi chants Chahal recalls Rishabh s initial struggle

New Delhi, Oct 10

 Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has heaped praise on Rishabh Pant, saying the young wicketkeeper-batter looks a very mature cricketer now from the time he came into the side. He added that when Pant was picked as the first-choice wicketkeeper after MS Dhoni, people had doubted his ability and questioned whether he would be able to fill the legend's big shoes, which put pressure on the then 20-year-old boy.

"Actually, everyone wanted him (Pant) to be like Mahi bhai. The way MSD was behind the stumps. I remember if Pant would ever drop any catch or the DRS went wrong, then the whole ground would start shouting 'Mahi Mahi'.

"So, there was a lot of pressure on that child (Pant)… because he was only around 19 or 20 years old at that time. We would tell him to ignore all these things and focus on your game. He was under tremendous pressure...then he was also out of the team for a while," Chahal told SGTV.

Pant has, however, now become India's first-choice gloveman across all formats. After going through a tough time, he made a staggering comeback when he lit up the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia series.

His brilliant innings of 97 and 89 not out in the Gabba Test helped India win. Then he returned to India's white-ball sides -- in ODIs and T20Is against England in March -- and performed really well.

Pant also played all four Test matches against England recently and has become one of India's biggest match-winners, especially in Test matches.

"He made a superb comeback. He has improved a lot; he has shown a lot of maturity. His performance has been really good and I guess people should understand that when a sportsperson is on the ground, he tries his best, and nobody wants to perform badly. People should give a little respect to the player," Chahal said.

"Bowlers are now getting good help from Pant being behind the stumps. See, there is no replacement for any player. There can be no replacement for Mahi bhai. Pant is trying his best to do better and better. No need to do comparisons," he added.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:41:25 +0530
Anti nausea drug may help some cancer patients survive longer

New York, Oct 10

 Patients with breast, pancreatic and certain other types of cancer may survive longer if given an anti-nausea drug during surgery, finds a new study.

The study, presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021 annual meeting, indicated that three months after cancer surgery, more than three times as many patients who did not receive dexamethasone died, compared to those who received the drug.

"Dexamethasone has positive and negative effects -- it inhibits cancer growth, but also suppresses the immune system," said researcher Maximilian Schaefer from the Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Dexamethasone is given to patients to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery and during chemotherapy.

The research team found dexamethasone can improve mid-to-long-term outcomes in patients with non-immunogenic cancers (those that don't provoke a strong immune response) such as sarcoma and cancers of the breast, uterus, ovary, esophagus, pancreas, thyroid, bones and joints.

For the study, the team analysed the records of 74,058 patients who had surgeries to remove non-immunogenic cancerous tumors between 2005 and 2020 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and between 2007 and 2015 at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Overall, 25,178 (34 per cent) patients received dexamethasone during surgery. After 90 days, 209 (0.83 per cent) of the patients who had received dexamethasone died vs. 1,543 (3.2 per cent) of patients who did not receive the drug.

After taking into account various factors, including that dexamethasone is often administered to younger patients, those who received the drug still had a 21 per cent reduced risk of dying within one year after surgery.

A second analysis determined dexamethasone was particularly beneficial for patients with cancers of the ovary, uterus or cervix.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:36:40 +0530
Kim jokes she divorced Kanye because of his personality

Los Angeles, Oct 10

 Reality TV star Kim Kardashian joked about her divorce from rapper Kanye West and her family's failed political ambitions during her opening monologue on 'Saturday Night Live'.

The 40-year-old star filed for divorce from the rapper in February and quipped during her opening monologue while hosting 'Saturday Night Live' that she had separated from him because he wasn't charismatic enough.

Kim shares children North, Saint, Chicago and Psalm with Kanye.

"I mean, I married the best rapper of all time. Not only that, he's the richest black man in America, a talented, legit genius, who gave me four incredible kids. So when I divorced him, you have to know it came down to just one thing: his personality," she said.

Kim added: "I know it sounds mean, but people keep telling me that comedy. And if there's one thing I strive to be, it's genuine."

She also poked fun at the political aspirations of both Kanye and her stepfather Caitlyn Jenner, reports

Kim said: "Now I know we're divided as a country, but I'd love America to come together, which is why I'm here to announce that I'm running for...I'm just kidding, guys! I'm not running for president. We can't have three failed politicians in one family."

The star also joked about her famous curves during the opening to the show.

She said: "I'm excited to be here tonight to show you guys that I'm so much more than just a pretty face and good hair and great makeup and amazing boobs and a perfect butt. Basically, I'm just so much more than that reference photo my sisters showed their plastic surgeons."


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:33:28 +0530
Luxury hotels resorts lead industry s faster than expected recovery post Covid 2 0

Mumbai, Oct 10

The hotel industry demand has recovered at a sharper pace post Covid 2.0 than it did after last year's lockdown. Occupancies and average room rates (ARRs) have seen a substantial jump, especially in luxury hotels and resort destinations, where they have breached pre-Covid levels.

An ICRA report has pointed out that the recovery was hastened by the easing of restrictions in Q2 FY2022. The ratings agency, though, did not change its negative outlook on the industry because it remains to be seen if the demand pickup can be sustained. A potential third wave and its impact on travel and hotel occupancies cannot be ruled out, according to the report.

The partial lockdown as well as travel restrictions in a number of states in April-May 2021 post the onset of Covid 2.0 resulted in the ICRA sample of companies reporting a 56 per cent decline in revenues on a QoQ basis, in line with the ratings agency's estimates. The revenues of these companies, though, are likely to improve by 85-90 per cent sequentially in Q2 FY2022, the ICRA report said.

Occupancy in premium hotels across India picked up in August 2021, rising to 44-46 per cent, compared with 32-34 per cent in the first five months of FY2022 (5M FY2022) and 13-15 per cent in 5M FY2021). In comparison, the occupancy level was 46-48 per cent in Q4 FY2021.

Rising occupancies are still to impact the average room rates (ARRs), according to the ICRA report. Pan-India, the ARRs were in the Rs 3,850-3,950 range for 5M FY2022, which were 25-30 per cent lower than their pre-Covid levels. The Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) figures also are still significantly lower than pre-Covid levels.

Some high-end hotels and leisure destinations bucked the trend, however, seeing their ARRs return to pre-Covid levels in Aug-September 2021. The ICRA report expressed the hope that festive season travel would act as a key demand booster for the industry in Q3 FY2022.

Sharing more insights, Vinutaa S, Assistant Vice President and Sector Head, ICRA Limited, said: "The first few months were impacted, but the industry witnessed a faster-than-expected ramp-up in Q2 FY2021 because of the easing of restrictions, the higher rate of vaccination and pent-up demand, which resulted in revenge travel. Demand in the last few months has come from staycations, weddings and travel to driveable leisure destinations, and from special purpose groups. There is also the new trend of 'biscations' (working from a resort) that is picking up."

Continuing with her analysis, Vinutaa said: "Business travel pickup from specific sectors has been mainly to manufacturing locations and project sites." In conclusion, she said, "We are seeing real demand pickup."

She was quick, though, to add the caveat that "the situation is evolving and sustenance of demand will depend on the efficacy of the vaccines and a potential third Covid wave." She concluded by adding: "The industry at present is cautiously optimistic."

Most markets, notably Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Goa, reported over 50 per cent occupancy in July-August 2021, but Bangalore and Pune lagged behind. The ARRs in leisure destinations were above pre-Covid levels in July-August 21. Going forward, ARRs will be a function of how much of this rising demand can be sustained.

The demand recovery pattern is different than in the case of previous crises, with properties affiliated with strong brands and in the luxury segment standing to benefit, as trust and safety are paramount to guests. Drive-to leisure, staycations, weddings and special purpose groups are expected to drive revenues for the next one year at least.

International traffic arrivals will take time to pick up. In the intervening period, demand will be supported by domestic travel. Hotels and cities dependent on business travel and foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) will take considerable time to recover.

In terms of supply, in the immediate term, temporary shutdowns are possible in affected regions, if there is a third wave. Acquisitions and industry consolidation are the way forward, and rebranding in the mid-scale and upscale segments will add to the share of organised supply. Over the medium term, a part of pre-Covid supply may be permanently shelved, while there could be new properties coming up in leisure destinations.

"The hotel industry is expected to clock at least 45-50 per cent of pre-Covid revenues in FY2022," Vinutaa of ICRA said. "Further operating profits in the current fiscal will be aided by improved operating leverage and sustenance of some of the cost-optimisation measures undertaken in the last fiscal."

She added that the industry is likely to be able to reach pre-Covid revenue and profit levels only by FY2024. As a result of cost-saving measures, moreover, the breakeven time is likely to come down and hotels may see a return to the pre-Covid margins of 85-90 per cent of revenues going forward. "Nevertheless, the situation is still evolving and the estimates are contingent on timelines tied to the pandemic," she said.

Debt moratorium and the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) provided the financial support that the industry needed during the pandemic.

About 70 per cent of the entities in ICRA's hospitality portfolio availed of the moratorium during the first wave, though it was only 39 per cent of rated debt. Some companies raised funding through equity and debt tie-ups before the ECLGS announcement. The industry has raised about Rs 660 crore of equity in FY2021 and has announced equity/fund raising plans worth Rs 3,300 crore in FY2022.

ICRA expects further equity fund raising and asset monetisation to support capital structure improvement going forward. Debt metrics, however, are expected to return to pre-Covid levels only over the medium term, while RoCE is like to remain sub cost-of capital at least for the next few years.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:30:04 +0530
Floods force 120 000 people to evacuate in China s Shanxi

Beijing, Oct 10

 More than 120,000 people have been temporarily evacuated after continuous rainfall triggered floods in north China's Shanxi province, authorities said on Sunday.

The floods have disrupted the lives of 1.76 million residents from 76 counties, cities and districts, according to the provincial department of emergency management.

Some 190,000 hectares of crops were damaged and more than 17,000 houses collapsed, Xinhua news agency quoted the department as saying.

Emergency management departments of various levels have allocated 4,000 tents, 3,200 folding beds as well as cotton clothes and quilts for disaster relief.



Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:26:20 +0530
50 fall ill after eating stale food at UP village fair

Unnao (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 10

 About 50 people allegedly fell sick after eating stale 'chat' at a local fair in the Raghunathpur village in Purva block of Unnao district.

The chief medical officer (CMO), along with a team of doctors rushed to the village on Saturday and started treatment of 32 patients who were serious and administered them necessary medicines.

Chaos prevailed in the village in the late hours of Friday night when a majority of villagers complained of stomach ache, followed by vomiting.

A number of patients approached private doctors in the vicinity and 19 of them had to be admitted to the community health centre in Purwa.

Sources said that villagers with their families had consumed 'chat' at the two stalls put up at a local fair organised near the Kali temple in Raghunathpur village on Friday.

After returning to their homes late on Friday night, several people complained of stomach ache and started vomiting.

When their condition worsened, they were admitted to a private hospital and an alert was sounded.

"During preliminary findings it came to fore that the villagers had consumed stale 'chat' at the fair owing to which they suffered food poisoning," said the CMO, adding that the condition now of almost all the patients is stable.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:21:05 +0530
India records 18 166 new Covid cases 214 deaths

New Delhi, Oct 10

 India registered 18,166 new Covid-19 cases during the past 24 hours pushing the country's infection caseload to 3,39,53,475, while the death toll reached 4,50,589 with 214 more fatalities, the Union Health Ministry said in an update on Sunday.

The active cases declined by 5,672 to stand at 2,30,971, the lowest in 208 days, which is now 0.68 per cent of the total caseload.

In the span of the past 24 hours, 23,624 people recovered from the highly contagious virus, taking the total recovery count to 3,32,71,915, accounting for 97.99 per cent of the case tally. The death rate stood at 1.33 per cent.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 1.42 per cent, which has been below three per cent for the last 41 days. The weekly positivity rate, too, at 1.57 per cent was less than 3 per cent for the last 107 days.

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that till now 58.25 crore (58,25,95,693) samples have been tested for the coronavirus. Of this, 12,83,212 were tested on Saturday.

The country has so far vaccinated 94,70,10,175 people with 66,85,415 being given a jab in the past day. This has been achieved through 92,12,314 sessions.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:16:56 +0530
Cops demand bribe from rape accused cop caught red handed by CBI

New Delhi, Oct 10

 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested two policemen for allegedly taking bribe from another cop, who is accused of raping a woman constable, a Delhi Police official said here on Sunday.

According to the official, the CBI conducted a raid on late Saturday at Malviya Nagar police station and arrested the first accused Assistant Sub Inspector Lekhram with a cash of Rs 50,000.

Furnishing details about the case, the official informed that a woman constable posted in South Dist had lodged a rape complaint against Sub Inspector Manoj on August 3.

Accordingly, on receipt of the complaint, the police registered a case under sections 376 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code and the probe was handed over to woman Sub Inspector Romi Memroth.

Both SI Romi who was the Investigating Officer of the case and ASI Lekhram demanded money from the rape accused SI Manoj to settle down the case.

The rape accused SI Manoj then informed the central probe agency, which laid a trap to nab the culprits.

On Saturday, Manoj came to police station Malviya Nagar at around 8.00 p.m. and called SI Romi. Manoj told her that he has brought all the documents but as SI Romi was not present there, she asked ASI Lekhram to collect it. "Lekhram was then caught red-handed by the CBI team while collecting Rs 50,000," the official said adding that both the accused are now currently in CBI's custody.

Rape accused SI Manoj's case is still sub-judice at a Delhi court and the next date of hearing is on October 11.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:14:01 +0530
Kerala mulls powercut after reduced supply from central pool

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 10

 Kerala Power Minister, K. Krishnankutty said that the state electricity board is contemplating the possibilities of a power cut if the coal shortage situation in north India continues.

The Minister said that the board is waiting and watching the developments and added that there was a shortage in supply from the central pool following the shortage of coal. With reports that the situation of coal shortage in north India is likely to continue for a few more months, the state would have to study how long the powercuts would be continued.

While speaking to media persons at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State Electricity Board Chairman, B. Ashok said, "We are watching the day-to-day developments and if people reduce their consumption during the peak hours from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., then we could overcome the crisis. Presently three thermal plants that Kerala depends on are having shortage of power production and if it develops into other power producers, we will definitely have to go for a powercut."

He said that 2200 MW was the daily allocation to the state from the Central pool but for the past few days it has reduced considerably, thus leading the board to take some strong decisions.

Kerala, however, is relying more on hydroelectric power and with the state having a good monsoon, there would not be a major powercut but with central pool allocation for the state getting reduced, the government and the electricity board may go for the powercut.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:11:20 +0530
Why Covid vaccines did not win science Nobel this year

New York, Oct 10

 Despite high hopes that one of the Nobel committees would recognise vaccination research that has saved countless lives by being delivered to billions of people, this year's science Nobels instead went to fundamental advances that had been tipped to win for years.

The timing didn't work in favour of a Covid-19 Nobel this year. Nominations for this year's prize had to be submitted by February 1.

This was more than two months after the first mRNA vaccines, and some others, proved their mettle in clinical trials, but before their impact on the pandemic was fully clear, said Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, which selects the prize winners.

"Follow-up is really still happening now," Hansson added.

According to, some scientists expressed surprise and disappointment at the omission of Covid-19 vaccines, particularly those developed using messenger RNA technology, which has launched a new class of vaccines.

But Nobel prize insiders and watchers say that timing, technical details and politics meant that a nod this year was a long shot.

However, the impact of Covid-19 vaccines -- and the underlying advances -- indicate that it shouldn't be long before researchers behind the work get a call from Stockholm.

"The development of mRNA vaccines is a wonderful success story that has had enormous positive consequences for humankind. And we are all very grateful to the scientists," Hansson said.

"This is a kind of discovery that will receive nominations. But we need to take time," Hansson added.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:07:43 +0530
World Mental Health Day The importance of holistic fitness


New Delhi, Oct 10

 Furthering Reebok's philosophy of adapting holistic fitness as a way of life, the brand's Mind Coach Vrinda Mehta shares how mental health can be kept in check through positive life habits this World Mental Health Day.

Mental health is a prevailing and largely unaddressed issue in current times. Additionally, the social stigma associated with mental health issues only makes the problem worse. While conversations are increasing around the subject, there is still a lack of awareness and sensitivity around the issue, and speaking about mental health is considered taboo. As a result of this, many people suffering from mental health issues refuse to seek help from professionals, let alone talk about it.

Mehta believes that our body and mind are not separate entities, they are intertwined and directly impact each other. Whatever affects our body affects the mind and vice-versa. It is evident therefore that the focus on mental health has to increase and learning how to keep mentally fit has to become a part of our daily routine.

"Our every thought and emotion is affecting the biochemistry of each cell in our body. Modern medicine has proven that most lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes, obesity are somewhere connected with excessive stress and anxiety. Excessive stress and anxiety simply mean that our thoughts and emotions are not in our control. Something that happened days ago can still bother us or something that has not even happened yet can stress us out. Hence, it is vital to do regular practices like breathwork, meditations, visualization, for our mental well-being (just like we do for physical fitness), and gradually take charge of our own minds and learn how to self-regulate our own emotions for the well-being of our mind and through the mind, our body as well," adds Mehta.

Here are a few simple tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine for your mental well-being:

* Opt for daily breathing exercises as they help you relax your body and mind. Start your day with five basic Pranayamas: Bhastrika, Kapalbhati, Anulomvilom, Bhramri and Udgeeth to have a peaceful day, and when you are stressed, take slow, deep breaths.

* Meditate for at least 20 minutes daily. It will assist you in concentrating and removing the chaotic thoughts that may be causing stress.

* Maintain a regular sleeping schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Irregular sleep patterns can have a long-term impact on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to deal with stress.

* Include more positive words when you are conversing with others. Replace the negative words like "I can't and I won't" with "I can and I will".

* Get outside at least once a day and spend some time in the sun for your physical and mental health. The time spent in nature not only elevates your mood but helps in lowering your blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and overall physical well-being.

* Surround yourself with positive thoughts and discover aspects of yourself, other people, and your life that you enjoy, and write them in a gratitude journal.

* Acknowledge your feelings, and talk about them to your trusted friend, family, or colleague, whenever you are comfortable. Talking can help us put things into perspective and feel less alone.

Follow these tips and tricks to achieve a healthy state of mind and keep your mental health positive.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 14:02:25 +0530
Railways launch 2 long haul freight trains Trishul Garuda

New Delhi, Oct 10

 The Indian Railways has launched two long haul freight trains "Trishul" and "Garuda" -- which are twice or multiple times longer than the normal composition of freight trains.

These long haul trains provide a very effective solution to the problem of capacity constraints in critical sections.

Trishul is South Central Railway (SCR)'s first long haul train comprising three freight trains, i.e. 177 wagons.

This train was launched on Thursday from Kondapalli station of Vijayawada division to Khurda division of East Coast Railway.

SCR followed it up with running of yet another similar train 'Garuda' on Friday from Raichur of Guntakal division to Manuguru of Secunderabad division.

Both the long haul trains comprised of empty open wagons for loading of coal meant for predominantly thermal power stations.

SCR is one of the five major freight loading railways in Indian Railways. Bulk of SCR's freight traffic moves in certain arterial routes such as Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada-Gudur-Renigunta, Ballarshah-Kazipet-Vijayawada, Kazipet-Secunderabad-Wadi, Vijayawada-Guntur-Guntakal sections.

Saving of path across congested routes, quicker transit time, maximizing throughput of critical sections, saving in crews are the major operational benefits of running long haul trains, which help the Indian Railways to serve its freight customers better.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 13:59:20 +0530
Durga Puja in Kolkata takes centre stage of political debate

Kolkata, Oct 10

 Durga Puja in Kolkata has taken the centre stage of political debate after the party in opposition, BJP, threatened to call for a social boycott alleging that the goddess has been disrespected by the organiser of this puja.

The controversy erupted after the organisers of Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra decided to express the theme of the 'Farmers' movement' this year. As a part of the theme, hundreds of sandals were shown lying on the ground of the pandal, symbolising the scenes from protest in which they face police action.

"From the days of Tebhaga movement to recent ones, the pandal showcases several farmers' protests. Shoes in the pandal symbolise people who've been struggling in these movements for ages," one of the organisers said. The showcasing of shoes inside the pandal premises has raked the controversy.

On Saturday, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari threatened to call for a social boycott of the puja if the shoes are not removed before the Bodhon (Awakening) of the goddess on Sashti -- that is Monday.

Speaking to the media Adhikari said, "I have heard that the work of removing shoes has started. But I have not seen it with my own eyes. Mother is awakened in Sasthi. If shoes are not removed before Sasthi, people will boycott this puja. Those who are real Hindus will boycott. Those who believe in traditional religion will boycott that puja, unless the shoes are removed. Hindus are not so weak".

However, the organisers have refused to budge. "We did not implement this puja idea to please Shuvendu Adhikari. The choice of the visitors is up to them. We are not thinking of changing their industrial thinking or moving away from the position," one of the organisers said.

Hinting at chief minister's painting of the eyes (Chokhkhudan') of Goddess Durga and inaugurating pujas before the Mahalaya, Adhikari went on to say, "In 'Pitripokho' there should be no inauguration of painting of eyes (Chokhudan). I can only say that good sense prevails to those who are breaking the tradition. I pray to God to forgive them".

The Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra Puja Committee has portrayed the violence in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri during a farmers' protest highlighting farm law agitation as well as Sunday's Lakhimpur Kheri massacre.

A giant replica of a tractor being used by farmers to till land is placed at the entrance of the Dumdum Park Bharat Chakra pandal, depicting their struggle. The tractor has two wings attached symbolising freedom from bondage labour. The names of farmers who died in the course of the agitation have been written in chits of paper on the giant tractor.

As you walk in, the sidewalks are adorned by the sketch of a car and a farmer lying on its path, accompanied by a line in Bengali -- "motorgari uray dhulo niche pore chashigulo", which translates to 'the car leaves behind a swirl of dust while farmers fall under its wheels'.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 13:55:11 +0530
TN Police recover woman s decomposed body after daughters wait for resurrection

Chennai, Oct 10

 Trichy police recovered the decomposed body of an old woman from a house in Tamil Nadu's Sokkampatti village after her unmarried daughters sat with the body for five days 'praying' for their 78-year-old mother to 'resurrect'.

According to police, the incident occurred late in the evening on Friday near Manapparai.

The police said they received an anonymous note about a foul smell emanating from the residence of a deceased retired female teacher, B. Mary. The police reached the incident site, but Mary's daughters -- 43-year-old B. Jayanthi and 40-year-old B. Jacintha, both unmarried, did not allow the police to enter their house.

The police said they informed the local village officer who arrived at the incident site and told the women's daughters that they would break open the door if they refused to open it.

According to a senior police official, the woman's daughters told the police that they would not allow them to enter their home as their mother's body was there and she would be hurt if they broke open and entered their house.

However, after some persuasion, the women allowed the police to enter the house and found that the body was nearly five days old and in a decomposed state. The police rushed the body to the Manapparai hospital where the post-mortem was conducted on Saturday.

Manapparai Police Inspector, Karunakaran while speaking to media said, "The daughters of the deceased woman argued with the police that their mother was alive even after conducting the post-mortem. The woman's body was later buried and her daughters would be given counselling."


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 13:51:19 +0530
Modi to visit UP twice this month

Lucknow, Oct 10

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Uttar Pradesh twice this month.

The Prime Minister, according to official sources, will visit Kushinagar on October 20 to inaugurate an international airport and he is likely to visit his parliamentary constituency, Varanasi on October 25.

Sources said the Prime Minister's programme was being chalked out and the schedule for the first visit was almost final.

According to officials, the Prime Minister will inaugurate the Kushinagar international airport which will give a boost to tourism, especially in the Buddhist circuit, as Kushinagar is the place where Lord Buddha breathed his last.

The first flight to the international airport is likely to arrive from Sri Lanka, which has a huge population of Buddhists. The flight is likely to carry the President of Sri Lanka, other delegates and Buddhist pilgrims, a senior government official said.

Several Buddhist temples and guest houses have been built around the main temple, also known as Mahaparinirvaan Sthal.

PM Modi will also lay the foundation of a medical college in Kushinagar.

On October 25, the Prime Minister is expected to launch an all-India scheme related to health infrastructure from Varanasi.

Sources said the Prime Minister's focus on the state would continue even after October as several projects would be ready for inauguration or foundation laying. Some of these projects include Purvanchal Expressway, Bundelkhand Expressway and several medical colleges.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 13:46:49 +0530
Governor applauds Hindi Sangeet Ramayana

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has applauded the Hindi Sangeet Ramayana presented at Raj Bhavan Mumbai by various artists under the guidance of well-known vocalist Vidushi Asha Khadilkar.

Stating that Lord Rama is eternal, the Governor said the boundless glory of Lord Rama reaches the masses through music. He praised the entire team of Hindi Sangeet Ramayana and announced a prize of Rs.1 lakh to the team. Vedashree Oak and Ninad Ajgaokar rendered the compositions of Ramayana on the occasion.

The programme Hindi Sangeet Ramayana was presented by a Leadership Training Expert and motivational speaker Priya Sawant. The lyrics of Hindi Sangeet Ramayana have been written by Sunil Deshpande. The Governor released the book of poetry ‘Kavyanjali’ by Priya Sawant on the occasion.  

Sun, 10 Oct 2021 12:04:52 +0530
Paris A trip to the City of Love

Anupama Nair

Paris is a city I would love to visit and is on my bucket list. In fact,  I would say it is one of the best places to see. Do you know Paris has a nickname? Yes. It is called “City of Love”. How did the city get this name? It is called the “City of Love”, because of the romantic atmosphere and exuberance it shows to the world.  I would say “the City of Love isn't just a random nickname given to Paris; it's the perfect description anyone who visited the French capital would give to the city for all the romantic vibes they find there”. Did you know the City of Paris is more than 2000 years old?

How did the city get its name Paris? The history of Paris goes back to a Gallic tribe called the Parisii, who around 250 BC settled an island now known as Ile de la Cite in the Seine River, which runs through present-day Paris. In 52 BC the great Roman Emperor Julius Caesar and the Romans captured the area, which eventually became Christianized and was known as Lutetia, which is Latin for ‘midwater dwelling’. The settlement later spread to both the left and right banks of the River Seine and the name Lutetia became Paris. Later, Paris became the capital of France. As the city grew, the Left Bank earned a reputation as the intellectual district while the Right Bank became known for business.

Today, Paris is home to more than 2 million people, with an additional 10 million people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. The city still manages to retain its reputation as a center for food, fashion, commerce and culture. Paris also continues to be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

Here are the tourist attractions in Paris:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Musee du Louvre
  • Cathedrale Notre-Dame De Paris
  • Avenue des Champs-Elysees
  • Musee de’ Orsay
  • Palais Garnier
  • Place de la Concorde.

I sure would love to see these places on my trip to Paris. Do you?

Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:15:59 +0530
Pattaya an oceanic paradise

Anupama Nair

Thailand is a country that is on every traveler’s wish list. Thailand or Siam is located in the center of mainland Southeast Asia. It is located wholly within the tropics. Thailand includes varied ecosystems, including the hilly forested areas of the northern frontier, the fertile rice fields of the central plains, the broad plateau of the northeast, and the rugged coasts along the narrow southern peninsula.

Thailand has Myanmar and Laos to the north as a border, the east by Laos and Cambodia, the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and west by the Indian Ocean and Myanmar. It also shares maritime borders with Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India through the Indian Ocean in the southwest. The capital city of Thailand is Bangkok and is the largest city. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and also a parliamentary democracy, however, in recent history its government has experienced multiple coups and periods of military dictatorships.

In this article I am going to write about the famous city in Thailand called Pattaya. It is a famous beach resort town and had developed a colorful reputation over the years. It is located less than 200 kilometers from Bangkok. For beach lovers, it's a convenient place to enjoy the sun, sand, and the sea.

Over the years, Pattaya has drawn tourists and ex-pats from all over the world ever since the American soldiers during the Vietnam War “discovered the once-sleepy getaway destination”. Since then, the popularity of Pattaya has steadily increased and is now one of the most popular beach destinations in Southeast Asia. Pattaya has a tropical wet and dry climate, which is divided into the following seasons -- hot and dry (December to February), hot and humid (March and April), and hot and rainy (May to November). In other words, it is always hot.

The places to visit in Pattaya are:

  • For lovers of greenery, Nong Nooch Botanical Garden is the best.
  • Jonten Beach for sunbathing and working on your tan
  • Discover the “Sanctuary of Truth”.
  • Wat Yansangwararam
  • For the spiritually inclined people Big Buddha Statue is a place to visit.
  • Go for a day trip to Koh Lorn or Coral Island.
  • “Art on Paradise” art museum.
  • Ramayana Water Park to beat the sweltering heat.
  • Four Regions Floating Market.
  • Naklua Fish Market for fish lovers.
  • Mini Siam
  • Enjoy “Underwater World Pattaya”.
  • Theppvasit Night Market for lovers of retail therapy.

So Pattaya is an ideal option for your next visit.

Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:12:32 +0530
Jaipur a trip to the Pink City

Anupama Nair

Jaipur or the Pink City is the capital city of Rajasthan in ‘Incredible India’. It is said “no trip to India is complete without spending time in Jaipur. Jaipur is a princely wonderland of culture and heritage, brimming with architectural gems. It's also a pre-eminent stop in India's famous ‘golden triangle’ which is a popular tourist circuit”. What is the golden triangle? The most traveled tourist circuit in India is known as the ‘Golden Triangle Tour’. It comprises of three cities: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

As my Rajput friend said before my trip to Jaipur “prepare to be captivated by the grandeur of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. City Palace gives you a taste of the lavish lifestyle of the royal family of Jaipur. Just next door, the astronomical instruments at the Jantar Mantar observatory bring the mysteries of space to the Earth”, and I experienced all that and more on my trip to this paradise.

Jaipur is the capital and the largest city of Rajasthan. The city has a population of 3.1 million, and is the tenth most populated city of India. Jaipur is also known as the Pink City, because of the dominant color scheme of the buildings around the city. On 6 July 2019, UNESCO World Heritage Committee officially called Jaipur the ‘Pink City of India’ among its World Heritage Sites. It also serves as a gateway to other tourist locations in the state -- Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Kota and Mount Abu. The city is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites -- Amer Fort and Jantar Mantar.

The next any tourist would ask is who founded the city? The city of Jaipur was created by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II on 18 November 1727. He had planned to shift his capital from Amer, to Jaipur to house the growing population and increasing scarcity of water. Jai Singh read several books on architecture and consulted many architects before planning the layout of Jaipur. Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, planned the city of Jaipur based on the principles of Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastra. The construction of the city commenced in 1726 and took four years to complete. The city was divided into nine blocks, two of which contained the state buildings and palaces, while the remaining seven were allotted to the public.

During the rule of Sawai Ram Singh I, the city was painted pink to welcome His Royal Highness Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales in 1876. “The buildings still remain pink, giving Jaipur a distinctive appearance and the epithet Pink city”.

The major attractions of the city are:

  • City Palace
  • Jantar Mantar
  • Hawa Mahal
  • Amber Fort
  • Albert Hall Museum
  • Birla Mandir
  • Nahargarh Fort or Tiger Fort
  • Galta Ji
  • Amrapali Museum
  • Museum of Legacies
  • Jal Mahal
  • Jaigarh Fort
  • Gaitore or Memorials of Kings

So, pack your bags and get ready for the trip of your lifetime.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:08:35 +0530
Governor felicitates Corona Warriors from Navi Mumbai and Thane

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari felicitated 30 Corona Warriors from Navi Mumbai and Thane at Raj Bhavan Mumbai on Saturday (9th Oct).

The felicitation was organized by Jay Foundation and Rudra Foundation.

Former Minister and MLA Ganesh Naik, former MP Sanjeev Naik, President of Jay Foundation Dhananjay Singh Sisodiya and President of Maharana Pratap Rajput Mahasangh Amar Singh Thakur were present.

The Governor felicitated Sudhakar S. Sonawane, Ex. Mayor Navi Mumbai, Sachin S. Gavade, SPI Traffic, Wagle Estate,  Ganpat D. Pingale, SPI Kongaon Police Stn, Bhiwandi Thane,  Sanjay N. Dhumal  SPI, Naupada   Thane, Dr James Thomas D.Y. Patil Hospital, Nerul, Dr Gautami S. Sonawane, Dr Pradeep R. Tripathi, Titan & Vedant Hospital Surgeon, Dr. Arun Yadav,  Sujit M. Jadhav, Apollo Hospital,  Adv. Swapnil D. Jathar, C.K. Birla Group, Ajay Sahebrao Chavan, Anilkumar Shukla, Navbharat Times,  Surprakash Mishra, Navbharat, Tarun Mitra, Virendra Kumar R. Mishra, Navbharat,   Udaibhan S. Pandey,  Hindi Samana, Sachin Deshmane, Photographer -Punyanagari / Loksatta,  Ganesh M. Jadhav,  Photographer-Maharashtra times, Omprakash Singh,  Punit Rajput, Dineshkumar H Mehta, Ramesh Saraogi,  Sanjay T Singh, Rahulsingh S. Chavan, Nitin R. Patil on the occasion.

Sun, 10 Oct 2021 10:07:11 +0530
Great opportunity for Dhoni to set things right this IPL season

Dubai, Oct 10

Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had said after the team sealed a qualification berth in the IPL 2021 playoffs with a win over Sunrisers Hyderabad that "it means a lot", following the debacle last season where the three-time champions finished seventh.

The Super Kings went on to finish second on the points table in the UAE this season and will take on Delhi Capitals in the Qualifier 1 in Dubai later on Sunday. The team won five matches in the India leg of the tournament and followed it up by winning four in the UAE leg.

For CSK, South African mainstay Faf du Plessis has emerged as the highest run-scorer this year with 546 runs from 14 games, while Shardul Thakur is their highest wicket-taker with 18 wickets.

"It means a lot, because the last time (IPL 2020) in the post-match presentation, I had said we wanted to come back strong and we are known for that. There was a lot at stake, emotions more than anything else," Dhoni said.

In fact, Dhoni had lauded the team for "keeping the momentum going" following the tournament's shift to UAE.

"We played the first half earlier, and the boys did well to keep the momentum going. They've taken responsibilities to keep all departments of the game in balance so the players and the support staff get the credit," he said.

Following their last league game against Punjab Kings, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming had said things change "very quickly" in the tournament. For the team, which looked down and out after last season, where they only won six games out of 14, it has been a massive turnaround.

They can now hope to clinch a fourth IPL title and close the gap with Mumbai Indians, who have won five titles.

"I am not overly worried going forward because it can change very quickly. You always get a couple on the way. In my experience, it has always been the case. We have a little bit of leeway. The confidence and the method that we use, we have to tune that up in the next couple of days," said Fleming.

The winner of Qualifier 1 will play the final, while the losing side will play Qualifier 2.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 09:40:48 +0530
NIA summons 40 teachers in Kashmir target killings probe

Srinagar, Oct 10

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has summoned 40 teachers on Sunday in connection with civilian target killings here, the investigation of which the agency has formally taken over from the local police.

Top officials of the IB, including Tapan Deka, the head of counter terrorism wing in the agency are camping in Srinagar under the direction of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who has taken serious note of the civilian killings by the terrorists.

"The home minister has made it clear to the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha that unless the terrorists involved in these killings are quickly brought to justice, many heads will roll in the UT", top sources told IANS.

The J&K Police have already detained over 400 people in connection with the FIRs lodged in different police stations pertaining to the civilian killings in the Valley.

Top sources said the detained people have known links with the proscribed Jamaat-e-Islami, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and others with known terror links in the past.

The NIA has taken over the investigation into the murders of principal Supinder Kour and teacher Deepak Chand, who were killed by terrorists inside the school premises in the Eidgah area of Srinagar city.

The 40 teachers summoned by the NIA at 4 p.m. on Sunday at its Church Lane office in Srinagar belong to various schools in Srinagar city.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 09:33:57 +0530
Boeing Starliner test flight delayed until 2022

Washington, Oct 10

NASA has officially postponed the launch of its Orbital Flight-Test 2 until next year due to an unresolved valve issue.

NASA said that the team behind OFT-2 "is working toward launch opportunities in the first half of 2022."

"Safety of the Starliner spacecraft, our employees, and our crew members is this team's number one priority," said John Vollmer, vice president and program manager, Boeing's Starliner program.

"We are taking the appropriate amount of time to work through the process now to set this system up for success on OFT-2 and all future Starliner missions."

Boeing and NASA had originally aimed to launch Starliner's Orbital Test Flight 2 (OFT-2), a crucial uncrewed trial mission to the International Space Station (ISS), from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on July 30. But preflight checks revealed 13 stuck valves in Starliner's service module, nixing that liftoff plan.

Boeing had signed a contract with NASA's Commercial Crew Programme to fly operational missions to and from the space station with Starliner in 2014. However, a series of setbacks have thus far prevented the Starliner from reaching the ISS.

Its debut uncrewed orbital flight mission in 2019 did not go exactly as planned, requiring it to make another try before putting astronauts on board for the crewed flight test.

The second launch has been held up since late last year due to ongoing software checks.

First scheduled for launch early in August, it was postponed after the thrusters on the ISS' new Russian module Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module unexpectedly fired hours after docking, causing the station to move out of orientation. The space station was shoved 45 degrees off track. However, it was repositioned back to normal.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 09:26:29 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 237 5 mn

Washington, Oct 10

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 237.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.84 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.44 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Sunday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 237,544,761, 4,846,917 and 6,443,863,184, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 44,317,553 and 712,972, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in second place with 33,935,309 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,567,181), the UK (8,158,935), Russia (7,631,034), Turkey (7,416,152), France (7,152,009), Iran (5,691,634), Argentina (5,265,528), Spain (4,973,619), Colombia (4,970,718), Italy (4,698,038), Germany (4,312,528), Indonesia (4,227,038) and Mexico (3,714,392), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (600,830), India (450,375), Mexico (281,610), Russia (211,627), Peru (199,641), Indonesia (142,612), the UK (138,101), Italy (131,274), Colombia (126,585), Iran (122,370), France (117,915) and Argentina (115,458).


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 09:18:30 +0530
Bengal sounds terror alert during Durga Puja


Kolkata, Oct 10

The state government has sounded a terror alert in the state during the 'pujas' -- an indication that West Bengal is the new terror target.

Though senior police officers are yet to jump to any conclusion, arrests made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Kolkata Special Task Force (STF) in the last few months show the movement of terror modules in the state.

According to the NIA, these terror operatives use the porous Bangladesh border to enter the country.

The alert issued by the state home department asked Durga puja organizers to set up systems to monitor crowd movement. They have been asked to install CCTV cameras and watch towers in the vicinity of puja pandals and work in close coordination with the local police station.

The notice also mentioned that immersion of all idols has to be completed between October 15 (Dashami) and October 18 in consultation with local police stations. "In the context of the prevailing threats from divisive and terrorist groups to destabilize the country and to create law-and-order problems, you are advised to exercise utmost vigilance during the celebration of the festivals," the statement read.

It further suggested, "The community puja organizers should be asked to engage adequate numbers of volunteers in Puja pandals to keep a vigil on the movement of suspicious persons and all the volunteers should be directed to keep in touch with local police constantly."

"The state government's effort to involve the puja committees in the security mechanism is a significant development. It shows that the state home department is planning for a wider safety and security chain which in itself is conclusive enough to understand the importance and the possibility of an attack," a senior official of the state home department said.

The NIA arrested Aal Halif alias Abu Ibrahim -- one of the most dreaded IS handlers in this subcontinent from Bengaluru in 2020. This IS handler was a meritorious student of economics before his entry into the terror world. Halif disguised as Sujit Chandra Debnath was working as an assistant of a mason in Bengaluru.

Similarly, Kolkata STF -- the elite Kolkata Police force arrested three JMB handlers -- Naziur Rahman Pavel, Mikail Khan and Rabiul Islam -- who sneaked into India and were residing in the posh residential area of the city.

To avoid detection, Pavel used the Hindu name Jayram Bepari. He and Mekail Khan alias Sheikh Sabbir befriended two Hindu women in the Haridevpur area and had planned to get married. This would have helped them recruit more people without arousing suspicion.

These are not isolated examples but there are several other instances when the terror handlers have been using religion as a tool to fox the investigators. "Religion is no more a taboo for the terror groups rather they are using it as a tool to hide their identity. Changing religion is no more an important thing for these handlers rather they are using it effectively to dodge surveillance," a senior Kolkata Special Task Force Officer (STF) said.

Another factor that is keeping the police and the investigation agencies on the tenterhooks is the lockdown and the subsequent unemployment which is making the work of these terror groups easier. Taking advantage of the porous border with Bangladesh and unemployment, international terror groups like JMB, Ansarullah Faction and even Islamic State are trying to spread their network in the state. The aim is to make West Bengal, the headquarters of the terror activities in entire eastern India.

Sometimes through direct interaction and at times through online, they are targeting brainy but unemployed young boys and girls in the state. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Special Task Force (STF) of the Kolkata Police have secured this information from the three JMB terrorists who were arrested by the STF sleuths recently from a colony in the southern outskirts of Kolkata. The investigation officials are worried that because of systematic brainwashing by these terror groups many meritorious but unemployed youths are getting lost from mainstream society.


Sun, 10 Oct 2021 09:00:14 +0530
Governor presents Rajeev Saraswat Sanman to Vishwas Patil

The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari today presented the ‘Rajeev Saraswat Samman’ to well known writer and retired civil servant Vishwas Patil at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai on Saturday (9th Oct).

The award presented to renowned literary personalities for their outstanding contribution to literature has been instituted by the Shruti Samvad Sahitya Kala Academy in memory of well-known writer, poet and General Manager of Hindustan Petroleum Rajiv Saraswat who lost his life in the 26 /11 terrorist attack on Mumbai.

Writer and Poet Hastimal Hasti, Dr Vageesh Sarswat and Sanjeev Nigam were also honoured at the hands of the Governor.

President of the Shruti Samvad Sahitya Kala Academy Arvind Rahi, Honorary Secretary Dr. Anant Shrimali and General Manager of Hindustan Petroleum Pushp Joshi were present on this occasion.

Sat, 09 Oct 2021 18:39:16 +0530
Maharashtra Governor releases Marathi translation of Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujib s Memoirs in Mumbai

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari released the Marathi translation of Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Memoirs 'Unfinished Memoirs' in Mumbai on Saturday (9th Oct).

The Marathi translation 'Apurna Atmakatha' rendered by writer and editor Aparna Velankar was released at a function held at Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh. 

The Marathi translation project was undertaken at the instance of the Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh in Mumbai on the occasion of the Birth Centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the liberation of Bangladesh.

The Governor felicitated the army veterans of the Bangladesh Liberation War from India on the occasion. Admiral (retd) Vishnu Bhagwat, Lt Gen Kuldip Singh Brar, Commander Ashok Batra were among those felicitated on the occasion.

Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Mumbai Md. Lutfor Rahman, Deputy High Commissioner from New Delhi Nurul Islam, President of All India Association of Industries Vijay Kalantri and President of Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh Narendra Wable were present. The Governor felicitated translator Aparna Velankar and Publisher Anand Limaye on the occasion.  

Sat, 09 Oct 2021 18:36:25 +0530
Importance of Life Insurance in our lives

Anupama Nair

What the pandemic of 2020 has taught me is that “Uncertainty is a part of our lives” and you need to think of Life Insurance as a way to lead our lives from darkness to light. As it is said

“Asathoma Sath Gamaya

Tamosama Jyothir Gamaya

Mrityoma Amritham Gamaya

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti hi”.

This saying is true when the world is held hostage by a ‘mere virus’ and never in my lifetime have I seen human beings so helpless, not knowing what to do. In such a time life insurance is a boon, a life saver. What is life insurance? Life insurance is mere “a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurance company, where the insurer promises to pay a sum of money in exchange for a premium or payment, upon the death of an insured person or after a set period of time”. Why do you need life insurance? I would say you need life insurance to ensure that your immediate family has some financial support in the event of your death, to finance your children’s education and other needs, to have a savings plan for the future so that you have a constant source of income after retirement, to ensure that you have extra income when your earnings are reduced due to serious illness or accident and lastly to provide for other financial contingencies and lifestyle requirements.

Life insurance in other words is a financial cover for any contingency linked with human life -- death, disability, accident, retirement, etc. A human’s life is subject to risks of death and disability due to natural and accidental causes. When human life is lost or a person is disabled permanently or temporarily, there is a loss of income to the family. Though we cannot value human life, a monetary sum could be determined based on the loss of income in future years. Hence, in life insurance, the sum assured is really a ‘benefit’.  Life insurance products provide a definite amount of money in case the life insured dies during the term of the policy or becomes disabled on account of an accident.

I am going to write about some common terms in life insurance vocabulary. They are:

  • Life Assured is the person who is covered under the insurance policy.
  • A proposer is a person who pays the premiums of the policy. “If you have bought the policy for yourself, then you are both the life assured as well as the proposer but if you purchase a policy for a family member then you are the proposer and the family member is the Life Assured”.
  • The nominee or Beneficiary is the person you appoint at the time of buying the policy to receive the benefits of your insurance policy, in your absence.
  • The insurer is the insurance company that sells the policy.
  • Life Cover is the amount that the Insurer will pay to your Nominee in case of an unfortunate event like the death of the Life Assured.
  • Maturity Benefit is the lump sum the Life Assured gets on completion of the policy term. This amount is known as the Maturity Amount.
  • Premium is the amount you pay to the insurer for receiving the benefits of the insurance policy. These payments can be made on a regular basis throughout the policy duration, for a limited number of years, or just once, as per the options available under the policy you choose.
  • Premium Payment Term is the number of years for which you pay the premiums.
  • Policy Term is the number of years for which the Life Cover continues.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 17:31:03 +0530
Garden in a concrete jungle

Anupama Nair

From time immemorial, forests with lush green trees have always fascinated us. World over children grew up hearing tales of animals and men living near the forests. Unfortunately, with the passing of time and the increase of technology man began to cut trees and lush green woods began to be a rarity. The result is for everyone to see. Deforestation is a silent killer. It is depleting our fresh oxygen and helps in increasing pollution.

Since we are living in a city and in a concrete jungle and if you love the greenery, this article will help you as I am going to write about tips to grow your own green space in your apartment. Do you have limited space; you should not worry as I believe space should not reduce the pleasure of gardening which is a stress buster these days.

I am now going to write about the benefits of gardening.

  • Outdoor gardening helps in boosting your immunity.
  • It increases your Vitamin D Level.
  • Gardening prevents insomnia
  • Gardening helps you fight pollution as you breathe clean air.
  • Gardening is a ‘mood-booster’.
  • ‘Horticulture therapy’ helps you fight addictions.
  • Gardening encourages you to go outdoors, interact with people, take care of your exercise and help in creating a greener environment.

Here are some tips for you to build a garden on the terrace or balcony of your apartment:

  • Choose the best spot.
  • Choose a spot near a source of water and where you get enough sunlight – not too much or nothing at all.
  • Use nutrient-rich and well-drained soil.
  • Choose plants according to your weather zone.
  • Always opt for mixed species of plants.
  • Use manure regularly for healthy plants.
  • Choose the pots wisely.
  • Automatic watering space is the best.
  • Add mulch (layer of material applied to the surface of the soil).
  • Feed plants regularly.
  • Always remember amazing soil + top-notch plant food = super garden.

So, since winter is starting it is the best time to start your garden.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 17:20:26 +0530
Dog Dementia A sad story

Anupama Nair

Dogs are considered as “man’s best friend” and I definitely agree, for I cannot imagine a life without my furry friend Rocky. He is the best stress-buster in the world. A wet nose and a wagging tail are a bundle of joy and comfort. I always felt how some people cannot like dogs. I have always loved dogs and they are a pleasure to be with. The most saddening fact is our furry babies have short lives may be up to 20 years and it never is enough for us.

It is sad but dogs suffer from serious conditions of dementia. What is dog dementia? How does it affect our furry friends? And what can we do to prevent, treat, and care for dogs with dementia? Dog dementia, also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), is a “cognitive disorder in dogs associated with effects similar to Alzheimer’s in humans”. It’s a condition related to the ageing of a dog’s brain, which leads to changes in behavior and primarily affects memory, learning, and comprehension.

The symptoms of dog dementia are extensive, ranging from mild to severe as the disease progresses. 

Some common symptoms of dog dementia are:

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Failing to remember routines and previously learned training or house rules
  • No longer responding to their name or familiar commands
  • Extreme irritability
  • Decreased desire to play
  • Aimless wandering
  • Staring blankly at walls or at nothing
  • Slow to learn new tasks
  • Lack of self-grooming
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in sleep cycle like night waking or sleeping during the day

What you need to realize is these symptoms might not necessarily mean, your dog is suffering from dog dementia, but could indicate other illnesses too, or maybe normal old age symptoms. The exact cause of dementia in dogs is unknown. Research suggests it could be due to brain function being affected by the physical and chemical changes that occur due to the aging process in dogs. The sad part is there is no cure for dog dementia.

Hope no dog ever goes through this condition.

Sat, 09 Oct 2021 17:15:52 +0530
This pioneering skincare brand has a new vision

New Delhi, Oct 9

 One of India's leading skincare and largest dermatologist network-enabled brands has unveiled a new identity, symbolic of a strategic realignment with its ever-growing young consumer base. Kaya's new brand narrative is inspired by its young customers -- Gen Zs and Millennials. The new vision seamlessly integrates an omnichannel experience successfully straddling the in-clinic and digital space by building experiences of the future via artificial Intelligence enabled websites.

Kaya advances its commitment towards ever-evolving and enabling everyone to find their own beauty. Punctuated by the its new mantra, "Beautiful is You", the brand will continue to bring alleviated personalization to help consumers discover products and services that are right for their unique selves. Beautiful is you is a choice to help you define and achieve your own best beautiful.

Speaking on the new approach, Rajiv Nair, Group CEO, said, "Kaya has always been ahead of its time and for almost two decades has been a standard-bearer for beauty and healthy skin in India. Constantly improving upon and redefining our services with our consumers are integral to the brand's ethos. Kaya's community is only growing, and our goal is to meet their standards of taste, quality, and inclusivity. With Beautiful is You, we are recrafting the brand identity, which not only upholds our legacy but also re-establishes our expert position in Indian skin culture?"

Samyukta Ganesh Iyer, VP and Head of Marketing, said, "Being future relevant for our younger audience is about empowering them with the freedom of "choice" to find "their own best beautiful". The new purpose-driven, Gen Z focussed, digital-first brand identity reaffirms our authority in the industry, and represents a shift that will boost Kaya to reach yet another pinnacle for building a holistic skin and haircare destination of the future."

The elevated digital experience is also established across marketplaces -- Amazon, Nykaa, collaborations -- Cult Fit, Cred and across India. The digitization mirrors offline customization via an all-new AI assessment tool on the website. The website reflects the changing expectations and aspirations of the new consumer, customized to individual needs.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:40:20 +0530
Aryan drug case Byju s temporarily halts ads featuring SRK

New Delhi, Oct 9

 IPO-bound edtech major Byju's has temporarily halted advertisements featuring its brand ambassador and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, as his son Aryan Khan undergoes a drug bust probe by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

Reliable Sources said on Saturday that Byju's has stopped all ads featuring Shah Rukh Khan, apparently after social media users criticised the edtech company for endorsing ads featuring the actor, who has been the Byju's brand ambassador since 2017.

When reached, a spokesperson for Byju's declined to comment on the matter.

Byju's is on an acquisition spree this year. Overall, it has acquired nine businesses this year. The edtech giant is also exploring an initial public offering (IPO) which could value the company at around $40 billion-$45 billion.

Shah Rukh Khan has over 42 million followers on Twitter and 26.5 million followers on Facebook-owned Instagram.

The criticism came in the wake of arrests after a high-drama rave party raid on Cordelia Cruise ship during the Mumbai-Goa voyage by the NCB on October 2.

In a major setback for Shah Rukh's son Aryan, a Mumbai court on Friday rejected his bail plea, and of two others who were among the 8 arrested.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R.M. Nerlikar rejected the bail applications of Aryan, Arbaaz Merchant, and Munmun Dhamecha, on grounds of "maintainability", upholding the contentions of the legal team of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

The developments came a day after all the eight accused were sent to judicial custody, and they shifted to the regular prisons from the NCB lockup.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:35:53 +0530
Pushpa has helped me explore another side of me Rashmika

Mumbai, Oct 9

 Actress Rashmika Mandanna, who is receiving a positive response for the first look of her upcoming first multilingual pan-India film 'Pushpa', says she has got a chance to explore a different side of her as a performer.

The first look of the poster features a never-seen-before raw and rustic avatar of Rashmika wearing a yellow saree and holding a bunch of flowers.

Expressing her gratitude for the love she has got from her fans and audiences, Rashmika said, "It is so gratifying to receive such heart-warming compliments for my first look of 'Pushpa'. I was at first nervous and excited, but I'm really glad and thankful for all the love the audiences have showered on 'Pushpa'."

She added: "It is my first multi-lingual pan-India movie and I believe that it has given me an opportunity to explore a different side of me as an actress. It's going to help me establish yet another milestone and I can't wait for my fans and audiences to see me bring alive the character of Srivalli, who is the soul of the film."

Apart from 'Pushpa', Rashmika also has two Bollywood films lined up. These are 'Mission Majnu' with Sidharth Malhotra and 'Good Bye', which is in the pipeline, and features Amitabh Bachchan.

'Pushpa' is directed by Telugu director Sukumar and also features two multi-award-winning actors Allu Arjun and Fahadh Faasil. It is slated to release on December 21, 2021.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:31:01 +0530
Maha CM inaugurates Chipi Airport catapults Konkan on air map

Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), Oct 9

 Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the new greenfield Chipi Airport, putting the pristine coastal Konkan region on the national air-map, here on Saturday.

Present on the occasion were Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in New Delhi, MSME Minister Narayan Rane, Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other dignitaries.

The inauguration was preceded by the maiden Mumbai-Chipi Alliance Air commercial flight making a smooth landing amid loud cheers and music, bringing a host of VVIPs for the event.

More than two years ago, then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and former Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu had inaugurated the new terminal building and other facilities at the Greenfield Airport as flights under the UDAN scheme were expected to be launched from there.

After overcoming a series of delays the Chipi Airport - first in the Konkan - was finally ready at a cost of around Rs 520 crore under DBFOT and launched operations from Saturday.

Aviation circles said that most seats are booked till Diwali on various flights connecting Sindhudurg with Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik, Nagpur and gradually other cities.

With a runway length-breadth of 2,500 metres X 45 metres, which can be extended by another 1,000 metres, the airport can manage up to 400 passengers or two flights per hour with an estimated annual capacity over a million passengers.

The airport can handle aircraft like A-320 and B-737 and give a huge fillip to tourism in Konkan, renowned for its magnificent coastline, dazzling beaches, big and small rivers, creeks, abundant greenery and natural beauty, ancient temples, sea and land forts, a rich cultural heritage, unique lifestyle and major historical landmarks.

Built by the IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt Ltd, a SPV, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation was the nodal agency to facilitate and supervise the entire project.

The Chipi Airport will also create more opportunities for the regional economy as the state government has announced plans to develop the coastal region as a major tourist and business-cum-leisure travel hub, hoping to convert 'Konkan to California'.

Initially scheduled to operate intra-state flights, later the Chipi Airport would offer inter-state connectivity to Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, etc, with a target for over two-dozen daily services in five years, according to Scindia.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:27:03 +0530
Cruise ships to return to San Francisco

San Francisco, Oct 9

 San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the Port of San Francisco have announced the return of cruise ships to and from the US city.

The first vessel to call on the Port of San Francisco will be Majestic Princess on October 11, Xinhua news agency reported.

The port is expecting 21 cruise calls through the remainder of 2021 and a record 127 calls in 2022, according to the announcement.

"I am so excited to welcome cruises back to our Port, and visitors back to our city," said Breed.

"Tourism is a critical part of our city's economy, helping to pay for important services that allow us to take care of our most vulnerable residents."

In 2019, San Francisco welcomed 280,000 cruise visitors, contributing $27 million to the city's economy, the announcement said.

"The port supported our small and family-owned businesses during the pandemic, and will continue to do so with the safe return of cruise, expected to bring thousands of people to our waterfront," said Elaine Forbes, executive director of the Port of San Francisco.

The port's Cruise Terminals at Pier 27 and Pier 35 are rolling out new Covid-19 informed protocols to ensure the safety of staff, passengers, and the public.

Passengers embarking and disembarking will be staggered to minimize passenger congregation.

Masks will be required indoors throughout the terminal, which will now be a touchless environment.

San Francisco is home to the only passenger cruise terminals in the Bay Area.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:23:48 +0530
Odisha Police seized 10 kg of brown sugar this year

Bhubaneswar, Oct 9

 The Commissionerate of Police in Odisha has seized about 10 kg of brown sugar during the first 10 month (till Saturday) of the current year, 2021, said a police officer on Saturday.

"We have seized more than 10 kg of brown sugar till today in 2021. In Bhubaneswar urban district 5.66 kg of brown sugar was seized while 4.646 gm of the contraband was seized in Cuttack," said Police Commissioner Saumendra Priyadarshi.

At least 33 cases related to the crime have been registered and 67 persons were arrested in Bhubaneswar. In Cuttack, 11 cases have been registered and 30 persons were arrested so far, he said.

The seizure of the contraband made by the Commissionerate of Police is the highest in any police district of Odisha in one year. Last year 34 kg of brown sugar was seized in the entire State, he said.

In Bhubaneswar, under Operation White Spider which was launched on August 15, 2021, total 37 drug peddlers have been arrested and 1.75 kg of brown sugar seized, the Police Commissioner said.

Speaking about Saturday's seizure, Priyadarshi said the police had carried out a raid on the outskirts of the city this morning and seized 260 gm of brown sugar. Accused Murnal Samal has been arrested, he informed.

"Apart from taking strong action against such illegal drugs trade, we are also aiming at rehabilitating the people arrested in such cases with an objective of bringing an end to the vicious cycle of drug peddling in the twin city," he added.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:18:37 +0530
IFS officers work tirelessly to advance our national interests Jaishankar

New Delhi, Oct 9

 In his message to mark the Indian Foreign Service Day, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Saturday said that IFS officers work tirelessly to advance our national interests and security.

Taking to Twitter, the Minister wrote: "Greetings to the Indian Foreign Service on their founding anniversary. They work tirelessly to advance our national interests and security. Stepped up, in particular, to the challenges of the Covid period.

"Confident they will keep our flag flying high across the world."

Expressing his gratitude to the IFS, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri, also a former civil servant, said in a tweet: "From the day when UPSC results were pasted on the walls of Dholpur House in 1974 with my name in the list began a journey of responsibility and pride which gave me the opportunity to represent India at various international fora around the world."

The IFS is a central civil service which marks India's presence abroad and is entrusted to conduct diplomacy and manage foreign relations of India.

It is the body of career diplomats, serving in more than 162 Indian Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations around the world. In addition, they serve at the headquarters of the Ministry of External affairs in Delhi and the Prime Minister's Office too.

As a career diplomat, an IFS officer is required to project India's interests, both at home and abroad on a wide variety of issues. These include bilateral political and economic cooperation, trade and investment promotion, cultural interaction, press and media liaison as well as a whole host of multilateral issues.

They also head the Regional Passport Offices throughout the country and hold positions in the President's Secretariat and several ministries on deputation.

In 1948, the first group of IFS officers recruited under the combined Civil Services Examination administered by the Union Public Service Commission joined the service.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:16:06 +0530
Sasikala case K taka HC gives 2 weeks time to file report

Bengaluru, Oct 9

 The Karnataka High Court has given two weeks' time to submit the investigation report in connection with the case of giving preferential treatment to V.K. Sasikala, a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late Jayalalithaa in violation of prison rules when she was undergoing sentence in the corruption case.

K.S. Geetha, a social activist and an education expert had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the court alleging that the investigation into the case is being delayed deliberately.

The divisional bench headed by acting Chief Justice S.C. Sharma on Friday asked government Counsel V. Srinidhi to submit the report in two weeks.

The petitioner has alleged that the investigations into the case revealed that preferential treatment was accorded to Sasikala and her sister-in-law, Ilavarasi, who was also serving the sentence in the prison in connection with the same case.

The petitioner contended that a criminal case in connection with alleged corruption in Bengaluru Parappana Agrahara Central Prison for providing luxurious facilities inside prison has been registered and the final report is not being submitted yet.

Senior IPS officer D. Roopa had exposed the alleged special privileges provided to Sasikala at the prison. The independent inquiry committee confirmed her charges. Roopa's exposures made national news and the Karnataka government had transferred her from the prison department.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:13:38 +0530
Indian Coast Guard now one of world s prime maritime forces Rajnath

New Delhi, Oct 9

 Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the Indian Coast Guard had initially started with less than than six boats and today it has more than 150 ships, and 66 aircraft, becoming one of the prime maritime forces in the world.

While speaking at the Investiture Ceremony at the National Stadium Complex here, he said the growth of the maritime force was possible because of the morale, enthusiasm and energy shown by the Indian Coast Guard.

Appreciating the professionalism of the force, he said its growth and confidence helped people in many crisis situations.

Stressing the importance of sea security, the Defence Minister said "we are enriched and connected to the world because of our seas and its routes".

It's influence is clearly visible in our festivals, culture, religions and lifestyle, he added.

Rajnath Singh also emphasised the importance of security for coastal states and the comprehensive internal and external security framework.

Regarding the force's pollution response to douse the major fire on container carrier MV X-Press Pearl near Sri Lanka's Colombo Port, he hailed the coast guard.

He said such services helped to avoid environmental hazards boosting the image of the country in international level.

On the occasion, the Defence Minister presented gallantry, meritorious service medals to Coast Guard personnel.

The Indian Coast Guard was formally established on February 1, 1977 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978. It operates under the Ministry of Defence.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:10:28 +0530
Guj Police searching for parents who abandoned 9 month old child

Gandhinagar, Oct 9

 Gujarat Minister of State for home, Harsh Sanghavi on Saturday said that the Police has sent requests to other states regarding the whereabouts of a 8-9 month-old-child who was abandoned on Friday evening in Gandhinagar.

Since Friday night all the attempts to locate the parents of this child through the social media have not yielded any results so far.

"Today I visited the Gandhinagar Civil Hospital to have a look at the 8-9 months old baby, who has been named as 'Smit' by the police. The baby is healthy and is being taken care of by Municipal corporator Diptiben Patel as well as the hospital staff and the police. We have set up a number of teams to search the person who abandoned the child at the gates of Swaminarayan cattlepond in Gandhinagar on Friday at around 9 o'clock. I am personally monitoring the situation. We also request the public to share information if they have and utilise the social media platform to find the parents of the abandoned child," said Harsh Sanghavi at Gandhinagar Civil hospital.

"The Gandhinagar police has formed 7 teams to locate the whereabouts of this person and the parents of this child and now has also roped in the Ahmedabad Crime Branch to widen the search. Gujarat Police have also sent emails to other states for information on the parents. Now we are contacting the other state police on one-on-one basis, as we believe that the abandoned child might belong to other state," said an official of Gandhinagar Police.

The police is investigating the CCTV footage of the nearby areas and shops to locate this person who abandoned the child at the gate of Swaminarayan cattlepond on Friday night.

The Gandhinagar civil hospital has collected the DNA samples of the child and is into the process of sending them to other states. According to sources, it is learnt that the child will be shifted to the Child Protection Home in Odhav in Ahmedabad.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:07:18 +0530
Mumbai and its culture

Anupama Nair

At the time of the Partition of India on 15 August 1947, around 100,000 Sindhi refugees from Pakistan were relocated to the military camps near Kalyan. It was converted into a township in 1949 and named Ulhasnagar by the then Governor-General of India, C. Rajagopalachari. The Greater Bombay District came into existence in 1950, with the merger of Bombay Suburbs and Bombay City. The limits of the Municipal Corporation were extended up to Jogeshwari along the Western Railway and Bhandup along the Central Railway. The limit was further extended in 1957 up to Dahisar along the Western Railway and Mulund on the Central Railway. In 1955 the Bombay State was being re-organized along linguistic lines into the two states of Maharashtra and Gujarat

In 1960, Bombay became the new capital of Maharashtra. “Sky-scrapers, towering architecture, the Bombay Stock Exchange, tarred roads and a boom in the secondary and tertiary sector changed the city's status and brought it up to one of the top four cities in the country”. Today, Mumbai is the fourth most populous city in the world after Tokyo, Delhi, and Sao Paulo.

Mumbai is now the business capital of India and is also one of the largest cities in the country. The present population of Mumbai is estimated to be in millions and is still growing each day. Not much is known, how the population grew or how the city got its status as the commercial capital of India. The insight into the history of this glorious city is the answer to its inspiriting beginnings and eminence around the world.

It has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires among all cities in India. Mumbai is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and the city’s distinctive ensemble of Victorian Art Deco buildings, and many more.

Mumbai is famous for its Gateway of India, which is an arch-monument built in the early 20th Century. It was erected to commemorate the landing of Emperor George V and Empress Mary, who were the first British monarch to visit India. At the time of the royal visit, the gateway was not yet built, and a cardboard structure greeted the monarch. The foundation stone was laid in March 1913 for a monument built in the Indo-Saracenic style, incorporating elements of 16th-century Gujarati architecture. The final design of the monument was built by architect George Wittet sanctioned in 1914 and was finally completed in 1924.

What a proud history, my city has and now I have become a proud Mumbaikar. I love you Mumbai!


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 12:17:03 +0530
Mumbai and its culture

Anupama Nair

There was then a twist in the story. In 1580, Spain conquered Portugal and it opened the doors of India to other European powers like the Dutch and the British. The Dutch arrived first, and later the British. The merchants of the East India Company arrived in Bombay in November 1583 and toured through Bassein, Thane, and Chaul. Then the Portuguese King John IV gave Bombay as a dowry for the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Portugal on 8 May 1661. The British Crown sold Bombay to the East India Company in 1668 for a mere sum of ten pounds or Rs. 1,48,000 today.

In the beginning, the British had less interest in Bombay compared to Calcutta or Madras as it was not a great asset to the company but only helped it to keep a foothold on the west coast. At the time the Mughals and Marathas under Chhatrapati Shivaji were more powerful. Even the famed British naval power was no match for the Mughals, Marathas, Portuguese, and Dutch, all of whom had interests in the region. The British later established their stronghold and fortified the city naming it  Fort St. George in 1769.

After the Revolt of 1857, like the rest of the country Bombay also came under the rule of the British Crown. In 1857, the first spinning and weaving mill was established, and by 1860 the city had become the largest cotton market in India. The American Civil War (1861–65) which resulted in the cutoff of cotton supplies to Britain caused a trade boom in Bombay. However, with the end of the Civil War, cotton prices crashed and the bubble burst. However, by that time, the hinterland was opened, and Bombay become a strong center of import trade. The opening of the Suez Canal, greatly facilitated trade with Britain and continental Europe which also contributed to Bombay’s prosperity.

As the population increased, unkempt, overcrowded, and unsanitary conditions became more widespread. There was a Plague Pandemic in 1896. The City Improvement Trust was established to open new localities for settlement and Back Bay to reclaim an area of 1,300 acres was proposed in 1918, but could not be finished till the completion of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road from Nariman Point to Malabar Point, which was the first two-way highway of its kind in India. It was built after World War II. In the post War years, the development of residential quarters in suburban areas begun, and the administration of Bombay city came under the Municipal Corporation and was extended to the suburbs of Greater Bombay.

Under the British, the city had served as the capital of the Bombay Presidency and during the late 19th  and early 20th  Centuries, it was a center of the Indian Nationalist movement. The first session of the Indian National Congress was held in the city in 1885. In the 1942 Session of the Congress, the Party passed the “Quit India” resolution, which demanded complete independence for India. Finally, after 190 years, we did see the ‘dawn of freedom’.

(to be continued….)

Sat, 09 Oct 2021 12:07:39 +0530
Mumbai and its culture

Anupama Nair

Bombay was a ‘dream city in my childhood. I had seen Bombay, its city life and the local trains in Bollywood movies. I only had the chance to come to Bombay after nearly two decades. To me who came from Delhi, it was a different culture altogether. I got the shock of my life when I saw a station through the windows of Rajdhani Express and my husband said “welcome to Bombay”, the station was so crowded and even the local trains standing there were over-crowded. The station was Virar. I never imagined the city I had always dreamt of, would be overcrowded to such an extent that an Enochlophobiac (crowd-phobic) person like me would be scared. It took nearly two years to muster the courage to get on a local train i.e., non-office hour. Even today the local train scares me and I prefer traveling by road. However, I have become a true Mumbaikar though I’ve not forgotten Delhi and its culture. Here I am throwing more light on Bombay or Mumbai.

I, like most people, thought Mumbai’s history was only as old as the arrival of the Portuguese and the British in India. The famous Maratha empire flourished in Pune and elsewhere and Mumbai had only colonial history, so I thought. However, a glimpse of the History of Mumbai changed my perspective and I discovered Mumbai has a history as old as the rest of the country.

The human habitation of Mumbai existed since the Stone Age. The Kolis and Aagri (a Marathi fishing community) were the earliest known settlers of the islands. The islands (Colaba, Mazagaon, Mahim, Parel, Bombay Island, Worli and Old Woman's Island), were absorbed into the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd Century BC. Mauryan Emperor Ashoka’s support made the islands a center of Buddhist religion and culture. The Buddhist monks, scholars, and artists shaped the artwork, inscriptions, and sculptures of the Kanheri Caves and Mahakali Caves in the mid-3rd Century BC . After the decline of the Maurya Empire in 185 BC, these islands fell into the hands of Satavahanas. The port of Sopara (Nala Sopara now) was an important trading center during the 1st Century BC, with even trade contacts with Roman Empire.

The islands were even known to the famous Greek geographer Ptolemy in 150 AD. He called it Heptanesia (a cluster of seven Islands). After the end of the Satavahana rule in 250 AD, the Abhiras of Western Maharashtra and Vakatakas of Vidarbha ruled over the islands. The Abhiras ruled for 167 years, till around 417 AD and the Kalachuris of Central India ruled the islands during the 5th Century, which were then acquired by the Konkan Mauryas in the 6th and early part of the 7th Century. The Konkan Mauryas were feudatories of Kalachuris, and the historical Jogeshwari Caves were constructed during their regime between 520 and 525 AD.

The Greek merchant Cosmas Indicopleustes is said to have visited Kalyan during 530–550 AD. The Elephanta Caves, which is a major tourist location was constructed in the 6th Century AD. 

The year 1498 AD was the most epoch-making year in the history of Bombay and of India, as for the first time, an invader entered India through the Indian Ocean instead of the usual Himalayan Passes. The Portuguese were the first of the Europeans who discovered the sea route to India. Vasco da Gama reached Calicut in 1498. He was received kindly by the local ruler Zamorin who gave him permission to establish direct trade links with Portugal. He is reported to have stayed in India for three months and he later returned with a vessel loaded with a large number of precious goods which was sold in the European market at 60 times the total cost of his trip. In 1505, Francisco de Almeida was appointed as the Viceroy of India, on the condition that he would set up four forts on the south-western coast at Anjediva Island, Cannanore, Cochin and Quilon.

Francisco de Almeida became the first Portuguese to reach Bombay and called Bombay as  ‘Bombia’ which meant good bay. However, the Portuguese paid their first visit to the islands on 21 January 1509, when they landed at Mahim after capturing a Gujarati barge in the Mahim creek. 

I will write about more interesting things in the next part.

(to be continued….)

Sat, 09 Oct 2021 12:00:12 +0530
Agri exports up from Jammu Kashmir Ladakh APEDA

New Delhi, Oct 9

 With the mandate of promoting agri-export from Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has scripted "new success stories" as the export of agricultural products of the regions has picked up.

Under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) for exports, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir exported Geographical Indications (GI) certified product 'Kashmir Saffron' from Srinagar to Dubai and other West Asian markets during March-April.

A few months after the offices of APEDA, a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, got functional in Jammu and Srinagar in February, a shipment of Mishri variety Kashmir Valley Cherries was carried out from Srinagar to Dubai for the first time followed by commercial shipments creating international market for Indian Cherries during the month of June-July, followed by repeat orders for Indian Cherries, a release from the Ministry said on Friday.

In another major boost to export activities in the Valley, shipments of Kashmir Valley fragrance rice Mushkbudji and Acacia honey have been planned and samples have already been sent during August by the Kashmir Valley Start Ups/new entrepreneurs to Lulu Group FMCG Dubai, Oman and other West Asian markets.

Meanwhile, samples of Kashmir Valley apples have also been planned during September to Oman, Qatar, Dubai and other West Asian markets for the shipment.

With the help of APEDA, shipment of Ladakh Apricots was carried out from Leh to Dubai for the first time followed by commercial shipments of Ladakh Halman Apricot during the month of August-September.

The shipment was handled by local entrepreneurs from Kargil with the established exporter from Mumbai to their counterpart in Dubai.

Product samples of Sea Buckthorn such as juice, pulp, concentrate, oil, and herbal fusion tea have been obtained and provided during September to Indian corporate food producers for development of products for domestic as well as overseas markets.

APEDA has carried out sensitisation of officials of Seed Certification, Directorate of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) of Srinagar and Jammu Regions for their convergence into Organic Certification Agency under NPOP during July.

"APEDA also signed MoUs with Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and Jammu & Kashmir Trade Promotion Organisation (JKTPO) for technical support and promotional activities for enhancing productivity and promotion of potential products from the region."

The APEDA has took up the issue of a comprehensive export logistics requirements for UT of Jammu and Kashmir with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Central Warehousing Corporation, and other departments during July for creation of Customs Clearance Facility, smooth X-ray and handling for perishable commodities and issuance of Phytosanitary Certificate facility at Jammu, Srinagar and Leh airports.

Under the APEDA's Agri Export Plan for UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Apple, Cherry, Walnut, Honey, Saffron, Rice, Gucchi have been identified as potential products for exports.

Similarly for the UT of Ladakh, Sea Buckthorn, Apricots and certified organic products have been identified as potential products for exports.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 09:18:15 +0530
Windows 11 bugs slow down AMD processors

San Francisco, Oct 9

 Chipmaker AMD has published information about a pair of bugs that can reduce performance for Ryzen processors running Windows 11 by as much as 15 per cent.

Bug can increase L3 cache latency by three times, which in turn can affect apps that need quick access to memory, reports Engadget.

The second bug is related to the "preferred core" feature that allows a system to use the fastest individual CPU cores in a processor.

As per the report, AMD is working with Microsoft to resolve both issues and the fix is expected to arrive by the end of the month.

Windows 11 is now available through a free upgrade on eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs pre-installed with Windows 11 worldwide.

New pre-installed Windows 11 devices have begun rolling out from partners including ASUS, HP, and Lenovo with more coming soon from partners like Acer and Dell.

According to the company, Windows 11 features powerful new experiences whether users are working on a school project, collaborating on a presentation for work, building a new app or creating your next big idea.

Windows 11 comes with redesigns the Taskbar icons and Start menu. It also adds rounded corners for all program windows and built-in Teams chat.

Windows 11 also includes support for DirectStorage, a feature first introduced on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 09:13:40 +0530
India US defence officials discuss increasing cooperation with partners in Indo Pacific


New York, Oct 9

 The main India-US strategic defence coordination panel has discussed increasing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region with "like-minded partners" as security ties between the two countries expand, according to US Defence Department spokesperson Lt Col Anton Semelroth.

Thursday's meeting of the US-India Defence Policy Group (DPG) co-chaired by India's Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Colin Kahl, the US Under Secretary for Defence Policy, "discussed opportunities for enhanced cooperation with like-minded partners to sustain a free and open Indo-Pacific", Semelroth said.

Although the leaders of the Quad -- the group of India, the US, Japan and Australia -- have so far ruled out a defence pact component to their cooperation mainly because of New Delhi's wariness, Indian and US leaders have spoken of expanding security cooperation in the region.

The only joint action of the Quad members has been the annual Malabar naval exercises, which reincluded Australia last year.

The latest exercise took place in August.

"The (DPG) Dialogue advanced an ambitious set of bilateral priorities, including information-sharing, high-end maritime cooperation, logistics, and defence trade, reflective of the flourishing defence ties between the US and India," Semelroth said in a readout issued in Washington of the 16th meeting of the group.

"The leaders reinforced their commitment to deepening joint cooperation and interoperability between the US and Indian militaries to work more seamlessly together, including strengthening cooperation in new defence domains, such as space and cyber," he added.

The meeting of the defence officials was the latest in a series of high-level meetings between the two countries as they draw closer in the face of an aggressive posture by China in the region.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla in New Delhi on Wednesday for discussions that included growing security relations.

Last month in Washington, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Joe Biden, who "reaffirmed the strength of the defense relationship between the US and India and the unwavering commitment to India as a Major Defense Partner", according to the White House.

Two areas that figured in the DPG meeting -- expanding defence cooperation with regional partners and information sharing -- were emphasised by Biden during the meeting with Modi.

That was followed by a summit of the Quad which Modi and Biden held with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga, who was at the time Japan's Prime Minister.

Before that in September, India's Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat met with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and discussed expanding multilateral cooperation with regional partners and enabling the militaries of the two countries to work together in operations.

Austin was the first cabinet-level official to visit India when he met with Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The DPG meeting also "laid the groundwork" for the 2+2 dialogue of Jaishankar and Singh with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Austin to be held later this year, Semelroth said.

Looking to strengthen defence against China's aggressive actions in the Indo-Pacific, the US and Australia set up a security pact with the UK called 'AUKUS' last month.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 09:11:09 +0530
NMCG signs MoU for faecal sludge management in Ganga basin

New Delhi, Oct 9

 The National Mission of Clean Ganga (NMCG) has signed an MoU with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Institute (WASH Institute) to efficiently address Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) issues in towns and cities of the Ganga basin.

The project that will ensure a series of trainings to enhance the quality of service of officials in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) will be funded by the US AID and supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

It aims to improve preparedness towards FSSM and wastewater management in towns and cities, a release from the Jal Shakti Ministry said on Friday.

In India, untreated faecal sludge and urban sewage are the primary source of water pollution, particularly in the cities around Ganges. Under Prime Minister's Swachh Bharat Mission, more than 62 lakh toilets were built but half of these toilets rely on on-site sanitation system (OSS). "Managing the waste collected from these toilets is the next big challenge for India," the release said.

Considering these challenges, systematic capacity building initiatives needed to be undertaken to build the skill and knowledge of the government, Urban Local Body (ULB) officials, STP/FSTP Operators, sanitary workers, entrepreneurs, NGO professionals and other stakeholders involved in the FSSM sector across India, the release said.

As a first step in this collaboration, a webinar followed by two batches of detailed online trainings have already been conducted starting off with the state of Uttar Pradesh covering 20 ULBs.

Many more such trainings are planned to cover the Ganga basin states - West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Some trainings are also planned in Vijayawada, Bhubaneshwar, Udaipur, Pune, Aurangabad, Chennai, and Hyderabad.

Director General, NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, said, "There is a huge demand of skilled workforce in FSSM. These tie-up with WASH Institute will help building skilled work force in the area of water and sanitation management."

The MoU was signed between Director Coordination, NMCG, Binod Kumar, and Sr. Technical Advisor, WASH Institute, Rajesh Pai.



Sat, 09 Oct 2021 09:06:40 +0530
Rs 6 300 crore for Hyderabad Airport expansion

Hyderabad, Oct 9

 GMR Hyderabad International Airport will be investing Rs 6,300 crore to increase the airport's capacity to 34 million passengers per annum.

This will make Hyderabad Airport larger than Orly Airport Paris, said Antoine Crombez, Deputy CEO, GMR Airports Ltd while addressing Indo-French Investment Conclave 2021 here on Friday.

Last year, GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL) had announced a strategic partnership with Groupe ADP for its airports business. Groupe ADP's acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in GMR Airports set a robust industrial partnership.

Meanwhile, French fruit beverages manufacturing company Georges Monin has doubled investment in its upcoming manufacturing plant in Telangana to Rs 200 crore.

The conclave organised by the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IFCCI) to strengthen French investment opportunities in Telangana, saw participation by over 100 CEOs, CXOs and diplomats of France.

The event showcased and promoted existing French investments in the state within its large network and position Telangana as one of the most sought-after investment destinations due to its strategic location, conducive business environment, state-of-the-art infrastructure, proactive governance, and favourable ecosystem.

The delegation also visited French companies that are successfully operating in the state such as Safran Aircraft Engines, Mane India and Sanofi Shantha Biotech.

The conclave included several panel discussions focusing on key industries and the official session was attended by Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, KT Rama Rao, minister for information technology, Telangana, Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, IT department, Telangana, and Sumeet Anand, IFCCI President.

"France and French companies are fully committed to increasing their presence in Telangana and seizing the many opportunities of this thriving, innovation-oriented state. Many French groups have already invested in Telangana, particularly in biotech, IT and aeronautics. These Indo-French business endeavours in key sectors in Telangana also help to strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries," said the French ambassador.

He said he was proud that that French companies demonstrated exceptional solidarity with Telangana during the second wave of Covid-19 by contributing to a French-made world-class oxygen generator plant to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences.

"Telangana is one of the fastest-growing states in the country. Since the formation of the state, the Telangana government has been introducing innovative policies to attract global firms and investments," said K.T. Rama Rao.

Highlighting the TSiPASS policy, he stated that the Telangana government has been giving approvals for various investment proposals within 15 days. He added that through this policy, the Telangana government has attracted crores of investment to the state and has created lakhs of employment opportunities in the region.

Rama Rao also mentioned that Telangana has been the favorite destination for IT, Aerospace, Life Sciences, and Pharma companies. He noted that Telangana is home to many French companies.

He claimed that many more companies from France are showing interest in investing in Telangana.

"If any company wants to invest in India and can mention what other states are offering, We will meet their offer or beat their offer," he said.

Sumeet Anand, President, IFCCI told the conclave that Telangana has a very healthy investment climate with strong leadership, investor friendly reforms, strong cluster competency in key sectors, innovation and digital acceleration along with increased urbanisation and consumption levels.

Payal S. Kanwar, Director General, IFCCI said that Telangana is a key state for French investment in India and can already see the strong and successful establishment of companies like Safran, Sanofi, Mane, Monin, Capgemini, among many others.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 09:04:06 +0530
Domestic oil prices on decline mustard oil outlier

New Delhi, Oct 9

Even when the international prices of edible oils have gone up in the range of 1.95 per cent to 7.17 per cent after the import duty reduction, the decreasing trend in domestic prices and net effect (ranges for 3.26 per cent to 8.58 per cent declined) after duty reduction is quite substantial, the government said on Friday.

"Necessary policy intervention by Central government with reference to duty reduction is proving to be beneficial for the general consumers," the government said in a release.

"International prices of Soyabean oil, Sunflower oil, Crude Palm oil and RBD Palmolein increased by 1.85 per cent, 3.15 per cent, 8.44 per cent and 10.92 per cent respectively over the month.

After the import duty reduction (effective from September 11) on imported edible oils, domestic retail and wholesale prices reduced in the range of 0.22 per cent to 1.93 per cent. However, Mustard oil is purely domestic oil, and its prices are expected to soften with number of other measures the government is contemplating," the release from Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) said.

Similarly, the wholesale and retail price of wheat decreased by 5.39 per cent and 3.56 per cent respectively over the year. Wholesale price of rice decreased by 0.07 per cent while retail price of rice increased by 1.26 per cent over the month.

The wholesale and retail prices of wheat decreased by 7.12 per cent and 4.37 per cent respectively over the year. Despite the fact that MSP for rice & wheat has gone up (from Rs 1,868 / quintal to Rs 1,940 / quintal for rice and from Rs 1,925 / quintal to Rs 1,975 / quintal for wheat, the price of rice and wheat has decreased in the market, which is a comforting factor for consumers, the government said.

Also, as on October 6, taking the reference as on May 17, the retail prices of gram, tur, urad and moong decreased by 1.08 per cent, 2.65 per cent, 2.83 per cent and 4.99 per cent, respectively.

Regarding the prices of onion, potato and tomato, the all-India average retail prices of potato decreased by 44.77 per cent over the year, the all-India average retail prices of onion decreased by 17.09 per cent over the year, the all-India average retail prices of tomato decreased by 22.83 per cent over the year, the release said.


Sat, 09 Oct 2021 09:01:46 +0530
World failed to achieve 2020 mental health target WHO

New Delhi, Oct 8

The world missed most of the 2020 mental health targets, and has failed to provide people with the mental health services they need, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is highlighting a growing need for mental health support, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report released on Friday.

The Mental Health Atlas report, released ahead of the World Mental Health Day on October 10, includes data from 171 countries. It showed that despite increase in attention given to mental health in recent years, it is yet to result in a scale-up of quality mental services that is aligned with needs.

In 2020, just 51 per cent of WHO's 194 member states reported that their mental health policy or plan was in line with international and regional human rights instruments -- way short of the 80 per cent target.

Only 52 per cent of countries met the target relating to mental health promotion and prevention programmes, yet well below the 80 per cent target.

Reduction in the rate of suicide by 10 per cent, was the only target met, but even then, only 35 countries had a stand-alone prevention strategy, policy or plan, said the report released every three years.

"It is extremely concerning that, despite the evident and increasing need for mental health services, which has become even more acute during the Covid-19 pandemic, good intentions are not being met with investment," WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.

"We must heed and act on this wake-up call and dramatically accelerate the scale-up of investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health," he added.

On the other hand, adoption of mental health policies, plans and laws saw a steady progress.

However, the percentage of government health budgets spent on mental health was still around 2 per cent. And only 25 per cent of countries met all the criteria for integration of mental health into primary care.

But, about 80 per cent countries in 2020 included several mental health conditions in national health insurance or reimbursement schemes -- up from 73 per cent in 2017.

Further, the global median number of mental health workers per 100,000 population increased slightly -- from nine workers in 2014 to 13 workers per 100,000 population in 2020. The number was more than 40 times higher in high-income countries than in low-income countries.

In 2013, WHO endorsed a comprehensive mental health action plan and targets for 2020, which has now been extended to 2030, the report said.

It includes new targets for the inclusion of mental health and psychosocial support in emergency preparedness plans, the integration of mental health into primary health care, and research on mental health, the report said.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:46:15 +0530
SC Collegium approves fresh names as judges for 6 High Courts

New Delhi, Oct 8

 The Supreme Court Collegium, which is headed by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, has approved the proposal for the appointment 10 additional judges as permanent judges in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A statement uploaded on top court's website said: "The Supreme Court Collegium has approved the proposal for appointment of the following Additional Judges as Permanent Judges in the Punjab & Haryana High Court: Justice Suvir Sehgal, Justice Alka Sarin, Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri, Justice Ashok Kumar Verma, Justice Sant Parkash, Justice Meenakshi I. Mehta, Justice Karamjit Singh, Justice Vivek Puri, Justice Archana Puri, and Justice Rajesh Bhardwaj."

In another statement, the top court said the collegium in its meeting held on 8 October, has approved the proposal for elevation of Shubha Mehta, judicial officer, as judge in the Rajasthan High Court, and elevation of Soubhik Mitter, advocate, as judge in the Calcutta High Court.

In its meeting held on October 6, the collegium recommended for elevation advocates -- Anant Ramanath Hegde, Cheppudira Monnappa Poonacha, Siddaiah Rachaiah, and Smt Kannankuzhyil Sreedharan Hemalekha -- for appointment as judges in the Karnataka High Court.

The collegium also recommended for appointment of advocate Manu Khare, as judge in the Allahabad High Court, and advocate J Sathya Narayana Prasad, as judge in the Madras High Court.

In a statement, the top court said: "The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 6 October, 2021 has approved the proposal for elevation of the following advocates as Judges in the Rajasthan High Court: Kuldeep Mathur, Maneesh Sharma, Rekha Borana, and Sameer Jain."

In another statement, the top court said: "The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 8 October, 2021 has, on reconsideration, resolved to reiterate its earlier recommendations for elevation of Sakya Sen, advocate as Judge in the Calcutta High Court."


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:43:02 +0530
Craving a burger Bite into a plant based meat patty


New Delhi, Oct 8

 Burgrill India, becomes the first homegrown QSR Chain to introduce plant-based meat burgers for their patrons in India. The offering is set to revolutionize the consumption pattern of the non-veg fast-food industry overall.

The Green Meat Pounder co-created by Burgrill India and Greenest Foods will be at par with animal-based meat on the nutritional level and holistically even better for our environment. The plant-based patty ingredients consist of isolated soy protein, chickpea protein and a blend of plant-based fibres, and much more to replicate its aroma and taste of chicken.

Shreh Madan, Co-Founder and Head of Marketing, Burgrill India, says, "We are thrilled to finally introduce the Green Meat Pounder for our patrons. We are extremely confident about our latest offering; we have been dedicatedly working on this launch for over a year now. From finding the right ingredients to the perfect tenderness and juiciness to our patty that can be grilled to perfection for our audiences. We have tried various versions of the plant-based meat patty before we finalized this one specially curated according to our needs and demands by Greenest Foods. Since our inception, we have been working towards introducing a signature pounder for our vegetarian consumers, and today I feel immensely proud to announce the launch of The Green Meat Pounder. Healthy, scrumptious, and at par with any non-veg burgers in terms of taste and flavours i.e. in sync with our signature dishes. In keeping with our core philosophy of serving fresh, wholesome, and most importantly healthy options the green meat patty will be grilled to perfection for each order. With the launch of The Green Meat Pounder, we wanted to cater to an audience i.e. fast-growing and eco-conscious. We are taking the dine-in and delivery experience of enjoying gourmet like healthy burgers a notch higher. Needless to say, the price points will be economical and the taste will be at par with other signature pounders on the menu."

Gaurav Sharma, CEO, Greenest Foods, expresses his views, "We are excited to bring the plant-based meat experience to patrons of Burgrill. The Green Meat Pounder is India's first plant-based chicken burger which vegetarians and non-vegetarians can enjoy alike. Not only does it perfectly replicate the taste, juiciness, and texture of a chicken burger but is also significantly healthier for our planet and its people in comparison to conventional meat burgers. Besides, The Green Meat Pounder is priced on par with its chicken counterpart so as to help people make the switch from a meat-heavy to a plant-based diet easier."

Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, Good Food Institute India, says, "Plant-based meats are at the forefront of a smart protein transformation globally, and this launch by Burgrill and GREENEST is an exciting indication of the category's potential in India. Providing delicious, innovative options for meat-craving consumers will usher in a new era of 'eating for the planet' by making a simple switch -- an urgent imperative as we race to push back on climate change and public health crises. That influential food brands like Burgrill are leading the charge in bringing plant-based meats to Indian consumers is a further sign of confidence in the sector, and that's a major win for people and planet."


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:37:40 +0530
Newborn taken away from TN hospital police hunt for accused

Chennai, Oct 8

 A woman allegedly made away with a newborn baby from a government hospital in Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur on Friday, and a search is on for her, police said.

The baby girl was born on Monday at the Government Raja Mirasudar Hospital, Thanjavur. Her mother, Rajalakshmi, told police that a woman had approached her a couple of days before, stating that she was an attendant of a a patient and would help her if she required anything.

On Friday, Rajalakshmi went out of the ward for a short time and when she came back, the child was missing and a search for her throughout the hospital was in vain.

Rajalakshmi then informed her husband Gunasekharan and they lodged a complaint with the Thanjavur West police. When the police went through the CCTV visuals of the hospital they found that the woman who had approached Rajalakshmi offering help was seen moving out of the hospital with two bags, and suspecting that the baby was smuggled out in one of the bags.

A massive hunt has been launched for the woman and the police is circulating a sketch of the accused woman at all bus terminals and railway stations to get the child back and to arrest the culprit.

A couple of months ago, the staff and director of the reputed Madurai-based 'Idayam Trust' were charged and arrested for stealing two children, a baby boy and a girl, of the inmates and selling them at a huge price to childless couples. Director, Sivakumar, and his aide Madarsha have been sent to jail.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:34:02 +0530
Tesla Cyberquad will be the safest all terrain vehicle Musk

San Francisco, Oct 8

 Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the company's Cyberquad will be the safest all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in the world.

Musk commented on the Tesla Cyberquad for the first time at Tesla's shareholder's meeting since he unveiled the electric ATV with the Cybertruck in 2019, reports Electrek.

"We are definitely making Cybertruck here and so probably the ATV too. The ATV is an interesting design challenge because ATVs are pretty dangerous and we want to make an ATV that is the least dangerous ATV," Musk said.

Musk added some details about how Tesla plans to make that happen.

"It will have a very low centre of gravity because the battery pack is going to be down low," the CEO said.

"I think we can do some things with the suspension to make it really hard to roll this thing. When an ATV is rolling is when bad things happen. It's going to be the ATV that won't roll," he added.

According to the report, it doesn't sound like Tesla is at an advanced stage of design for the Cyberquad.

As the auto-tech website previously reported, the original prototype unveiled at the Cybertruck event was a Yamaha Raptor ATV converted to electric with a Zero Motorcycle powertrain.

Tesla certainly has some time to make it happen. At the event, Musk again linked the Cyberquad to the Cybertruck, which is itself delayed to late 2022.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:30:44 +0530
Farah pens b day note to Gauri daughter Suhana also wishes her

Mumbai, Oct 8

 Filmmaker-choreographer Farah Khan Kunder has penned an emotional note for Shah Rukh Khan's wife Gauri Khan where she said that the strength of a mother is second to none.

Gauri Khan turned 51 on Thursday and the Bollywood's power couple is facing a tough time after their son Aryan Khan was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in a drugs related case.

Farah took to her Instagram and penned a heart-warming wish with a throwback picture featuring Shah Rukh and Gauri, whom she called "the strongest mother".

Farah wrote: "The strength of a mother is second to none! The prayers of a parent can move mountains & part seas.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the strongest mother and woman iv personally witnessed this past week.. @gaurikhan here s wishing you the best birthday present today ??????. #throwbacklastmonth pic credit: @farahkhankunder."

Gauri's daughter Suhana Khan has also wished her mother with a black and white throwback picture of her parents.

In the image, Gauri and Shah Rukh are seen lovingly holding each other as they pose for the lens.

Suhana captioned the picture: "Happy Birthday Ma", followed by a heart emoticon.

Aryan, 23, was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) along with seven others on charges of consumption, sale, and purchase of narcotic drugs, after a rave party was busted aboard a luxury cruise liner.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:28:17 +0530
Air India back with the Tatas after seven decades

New Delhi, Oct 8

 Life has come a full circle for the Tatas with the government declaring the corporate conglomerate the winning bidder to take over national carrier Air India.

The airline the group once started and nurtured into becoming the face of India globally has come back to its original owners now after 68 years.

The seeds for Air India were sown way back in 1932 when J.R.D. Tata flew a small aircraft between Karachi and Mumbai with mail. Impressed by the success of the flight, a former Royal Air Force officer offered to help him start a commercial airline service.

This became the country's first India's air service called the Tata Airlines. The airline had a very humble beginning as the company was set up with an initial capital of just Rs 2 lakh.

But ever since on its maiden flight between Mumbai and Delhi in 1937, the airline has never looked back and expanded and grown operations.

Tata Airline turned into Air India in 1946 the same year it went public and became a joint stock company. Soon afterwards, the Tatas initiated the country's first experiment with public-private-partnership model offering the government to subscribe to 49 per cent of the airline's capital, while the group retaining 25 per cent stake, and rest of shares being given to the public.

Tatas then wanted to transfer the management right to the government and therefore kept two per cent of its shareholding to be offered to the Centre to provide it full control of the airline. After taking control, the government in 1953 nationalised the airline with 100 per cent control with the state.

Before its nationalisation, Air India International was born too, which took the carrier abroad with first flight between Mumbai and London in 1948. Soon, this operation was expanded to few other cities as well.

The nationalisation of the carrier meant that Air India and Air India International were merged into a single state enterprise. But even under state control, J.R.D. Tata continued as its Chairman, a post he held till 1977. In fact, he remained on Air India board till 1986 when Ratan Tata took over to run the airline as its new head.

Under the government, Air India and domestic airline Indian Airline functioned till 2007 when a decision was taken to merge the airline into one entity. Soon after this merger, the airline stated showing signs of stress with losses mounting each passing year.

In June 2017, the government finally approved privatisation of the airline with decision to divest its entire 100 per cent equity.

The total debt of the airline, as of August 31, stands at Rs 61,562 crore while a Tatas subsidiary quoted Rs 18,000 crore enterprise value for it.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:24:06 +0530
Remains of 2 Korean War victims identified

Seoul, Oct 8

The remains of two police officers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War have been identified through DNA analysis after they were recovered from a former battle site more than a decade ago, the Defence Ministry in Seoul said on Friday.

The remains were found to have been from Lee Nam-eui and Choi Young-geun, who were killed in a battle against invading North Korean troops that took place in the southwestern county of Yeonggwang in July 1950, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Their remains were retrieved in the region in 2007, along with 36 other sets of remains, through the joint excavation work by the ministry and police.

Some 250 police officers participated in the fierce battle, and all of them were killed in action, according to the Ministry.

The identification was possible as their families registered their DNA samples with the government, the Ministry said, adding that it will hold a ceremony to mark their return and lay their remains at a national cemetery.

Around 140,000 South Korean troops were killed in action and some 450,000 others were injured during the three-year war.

The number of fallen South Korean troops whose remains are yet to be recovered stands at around 123,000.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:20:35 +0530
Two addicts try to uproot ATM arrested

New Delhi, Oct 8

 Two men who tried to uproot a private bank ATM in a bid to get funds for their addictions, been arrested, Delhi Police said on Friday.

According to the police, the Manager of the Axis Bank Lajpat Nagar branch had filed a complaint that on the intervening night of October 5-6, two persons had tried to break the ATM.

Police set up a team, which "immediately swung into action and analyzed the CCTV footage. Through CCTV footage, the team found itself able to recognise both the offenders," Deputy Commissioner of Police, Southeast, Esha Pandey said.

Acting on a tip-off about the presence of the accused persons near the Ring Road, the team carried out a raid and apprehended both the accused with the help of their photographs obtained from the CCTV footage.

The two were identified as Rohit Chauhan, of UP's Kasganj, and Pawan Kumar, of Ghaziabad.

On sustained interrogation, both the accused persons disclosed they were addicted to alcohol and drugs and used to work in a private company on a temporary basis but could not earn enough to meet their requirements.

The police have seized an iron rod and a screwdriver and registered a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:15:02 +0530
Haryana CM retracts statement on farmers

Chandigarh, Oct 8 (IANS) Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday retracted his 'controversial' statement to pick up sticks and fight "furious farmers", saying his government aimed to maintain law and order.

During his visit to Mata Mansa Devi Shaktipeeth here, the Chief Minister told the media that he had a self-realisation that Goddess would protect "us all, that is why he withdrew his statement in which he appealed for self-defence when needed".

Khattar said the main objective of the government is to maintain law and order. He said he has prayed to Mata Mansa Devi for the happiness and prosperity of all citizens of the country and the state.

Earlier, addressing the state unit of BJP's Kisan Morcha, Khattar had said that 1,000 people with sticks should form volunteer groups at different places of the state and "treat" farmers who have been holding protests against the three farm laws passed by the Central government.

"Pickup sticks and answer those furious farmers. We will see everything," he had said.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:12:22 +0530
Delhi Police intensifies patrolling ahead of festive season

New Delhi, Oct 8

 In a bid to counter any untoward incident during the upcoming festive season, the Delhi Police have intensified patrolling in several areas of the national capital, an official said here on Friday.

Navratri, which marks the beginning of the festive season, began on Thursday with people, though less in numbers this time, began thronging the local markets and temples.

They have made strict security arrangements keeping in view the ongoing countrywide celebrations, the police official added.

"The safety of the people is our topmost priority. The police personnel have been deployed on roads and streets to intensify patrolling and checking at pickets for area dominance," the official said.

The police could be seen throughout the night patrolling in different areas of the city.

"Due to the huge rush of people, there is always a possibility of some untoward incident. We feel safe and secure when we see 'men in uniform' patrolling in our area," said a local shopkeeper in north-west Delhi.

The senior police officials also urged citizens to be their "Eyes and Ears" and inform them about any anti-social element in the area.

The Delhi Police Special Cell had on September 14 busted a Pakistan-based terror module and arrested seven suspected terrorists who were planning to carry out terror attacks in the country during this festival season.

The suspects are now in police custody.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:09:19 +0530
IB counter terror chief in Srinagar to supervise Ops against terrorists

New Delhi, Oct 8

 Following the targeted killings of individuals including Hindus and Sikhs in the Kashmir valley in the last six days, the head of the Intelligence Bureau's Counter Terror (CT) operations on Friday arrived in Srinagar to supervise the operations carried out by the security forces against the Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.

The counter-terrorism teams of other national security agencies had arrived in the valley yesterday to assist the Jammu & Kashmir police as a force multiplier, sources in the security establishment said.

Seven Hindus and Sikhs have been killed in individual attacks in the valley including pharmacist Makhan Lal Bindroo who refused to leave Srinagar when most of the Hindus and Kashmiri Pandits were forced to migrate in the 1990s by the terrorists.

While the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir was reviewed on Thursday by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, it was decided to deploy the specialised counter terrorism teams of the security agencies while sleuths of the intelligence agencies including IB and R&AW would monitor the situation. The meeting was attended by NSA Ajit Doval, IB chief Arvind Kumar and R&AW Secretary Samant Goel.

The Home Minister also held separate discussions with the NSA and R&AW chief on the J&K situation to handle the 'lone wolf' attacks in the valley.

Killing a civilian after ascertaining the identity of the victim in broad daylight poses a new challenge for the security forces in the valley and these killings have been carried out by youths who have not even joined any terrorist cadre yet. In most of the incidents, small weapons like pistols were used for these killings, sources added.

Since January this year, a total of 28 people have been killed by the terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir. Except seven, all were Muslims.

As per the report about Thursday's killing of two teachers, Supinder Kaur and Deepak Chand were the only non-Muslims in the school who were separated from the other teachers and were shot dead from close range.

Talking to journalists on Thursday, CRPF DG Kuldeep Singh said that the force has reviewed the situation with other stakeholders in J&K and has taken preventive measures to contain the terror activities.

Stating that three 'lone wolf' attacks have taken place, he said the "situation in J&K has not deteriorated."


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:05:51 +0530
Gurugram residents perform aarti during namaz amid police deployment

Gurugram, Oct 8

 A fresh controversy has erupted over offering of 'namaz' on public space after members of Hindu organisations and residents of Gurugram Sector-47, including women, reached a community namaz site (open ground) and raised slogans as well as performed 'aarti' during Friday prayers.

However, prayers were offered at the site in Sector-47 amid heavy police deployment.

Though the situation remained peaceful, a group of 50-70 residents from nearby sectors and members of a Hindu group arrived at the time of namaz to voice their opposition to prayers being offered in an open space, citing "security" and traffic concerns.

At 12.30 p.m. the members of a Hindu organisation and sector-47 residents reached the community namaz site here.

Mohammad Tahir, who works at a carpenter's shop, said he had been coming to the site for more than two years but had witnessed objections only during the last two-three weeks.

"Only for the past two-three weeks, some people come here and disrupt prayers and asked us to vacate the area. We are all wearing masks, following Covid-19 norms and praying in peace," Tahir added.

"This land comes under the control of state government. As the residents here we object to anyone practising their faith on the roads and disrupt traffic movement. There is a security threat for all residents," said a sector-47 resident.

The residents said those who had gathered to oppose namaz claimed that the sites designated in May 2018 by the district administration were for only a specific period.

"Some residents arrived at the site for disruption of prayers. They said they don't want the prayers to be continued in the open here. We informed them that this site is among the list of designated sites, "said a senior police officer, adding that at the site where prayers were offered in the open, the situation remained peaceful.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:02:55 +0530
Aryan others accused sent to Arthur Road Byculla jails

Mumbai, Oct 8

 A day after they were sent to judicial custody, Aryan Khan, son of megastar Shah Rukh Khan, and seven co-accused in the rave party raids, were sent to the Arthur Road Central Jail, here on Friday afternoon.

The two women accused - Munmun Dhamecha and Nupur Sarika - were sent to the Byculla Women's Jail, and the others - Arbaaz Merchant, Vikrant Chhoker, Ismeet Singh, Mohak Jaswal, and Gomit Chopra were sent to the ARCJ, along with Aryan Khan.

Since their arrest on October 3 - a day after their detention following the rave party raid aboard the Cordelia Cruise ship - they were kept for six nights in the NCB lockup in the central agency's custody, in south Mumbai till they were sent to judicial custody on Thursday by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R. M. Nerlikar.

They will remain in the respective jails till they are granted bail, even as their lawyers and the Narcotics Control Bureau advocates were engaged in a fierce legal battle over this.

This morning, all the eight accused youngsters underwent a medical test at the Sir J.J. Hospital, before they were taken to the jails by the NCB under tight security.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 16:59:47 +0530
US ramps up efforts against Covid ahead of winter

Washington, Oct 8

 Staggering into the 19th month of its fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the US is ramping up efforts on triple fronts -- vaccination, mandate and test -- expecting to further contain the spread of the virus ahead of the upcoming winter season.

On Thursday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed in its latest update that 216,012,495 people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, making up 65.1 per cent of the entire US population, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the update, fully vaccinated people stood at 186,385,751, accounting for 56.1 per cent of the total, while a total of 6,372,007, or 3.4 percent of the fully vaccinated group, have received booster shots.

Pfizer and BioNTech said on Thursday that they were seeking the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) emergency use authorization (EUA) for their Covid-19 vaccine for children aged between five to 11.

If authorised, this would be the first vaccine for children in this age group.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved for people age 16 and older and has an EUA for people ages 12 to 15.

On Wednesday, the White House announced that it will buy $1 billion worth of rapid, at-home coronavirus tests to address ongoing shortages, "a plan hailed by public health experts who called the move long overdue", reported The Washington Post.

The actions will quadruple the number of tests available to Americans by December, according to Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden travelled to Chicago to talk about vaccine mandates.

Chicago was picked in part because it is the home of United Airlines, one of the first major carriers to require shots for its 67,000 employees.

Biden said last month that he would use his presidential powers to require two-thirds of American workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus, which included a private sector to mandate that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing.

He also moved to mandate shots for healthcare workers, federal contractors and most federal workers, who could face disciplinary measures if they decline to be inoculated.



Fri, 08 Oct 2021 09:03:21 +0530
India s economy to grow by 8 3 making it 2nd fastest growing major economy


United Nations, Oct 8

 India's economy is expected to grow by 8.3 per cent this fiscal year, according to the World Bank, making it the second-fastest-growing major economy.

The Bank's Regional Economic Update released on Thursday said that after the "deadly second wave" of Covid-19 in India "the pace of vaccination, which is increasing, will determine economic prospects this year and beyond".

"The trajectory of the pandemic will cloud the outlook in the near-term until herd immunity is achieved," it cautioned.

According to the Update issued ahead of the Bank's annual meeting next week, India' gross domestic product (GDP) -- which shrank by 7.3 per cent (that is, a minus 7.3 per cent) under the onslaught of the pandemic last fiscal year -- is expected to record the 8.3 per cent growth this fiscal year, which will moderate to 7.5 per cent next year and 6.5 per cent in 2023-24.

Of the major economies, China is ahead with its economy expected to grow by 8.5 per cent during the current calendar year after the Bank revised it upwards from the 8.1 per cent projection in April.

China's growth rate is projected to come down to 5.4 per cent next year and 5.3 per cent in 2023. Last year, it grew by 2.3 per cent.

For the entire South Asia region, the Bank's Update estimates the GDP growth to be 7.1 per cent this year and the next.

Maldives' tiny economy of $3.8 billion, which had the steepest fall of 33.6 per cent last calendar year is expected to recover and record a growth of 22.3 per cent this year. Next year it is expected come down to 11 per cent and 12 per cent in 2023.

Bangladesh, which recorded a growth of 5 per cent last fiscal year, is expected to grow by 6.4 per cent this year and 6.9 per cent the next.

Pakistan's economy that grew by 3.5 last fiscal year, is expected to grow by 3.4 per cent this year and 4 per cent next year.

For Sri Lanka, the Bank expects a growth of 3.3 per cent this calendar year compared to a shrinkage of 3.6 per cent last year and to grow by 2.1per cent next year and 2.2 per cent the following year.

Bhutan, which had a negative growth of 1.2 per cent the last fiscal year, is expected to reach 3.6 per cent this fiscal year and 4.3 per cent the next.

Nepal's growth is expected to rebound from last fiscal year's 1.8 per cent to 3.9 per cent this fiscal year and 4.7 per cent the next.

The Bank said, "The Covid-19 pandemic led India's economy into a deep contraction in FY21(fiscal year 2020-21) despite well-crafted fiscal and monetary policy support."

It said that growth recovered in the second half of the last fiscal year "driven primarily by investment and supported by aunlocking' of the economy and targeted fiscal, monetary and regulatory measures. Manufacturing and construction growth recovered steadily."

Although significantly more lives were lost during the second wave of the epidemic this year in India, compared to the first wave in 2020, "economic disruption was limited since restrictions were localised," with the GDP growing by 20.1 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year compared to the first quarter of 2020-21, the Update said.

It attributed the spurt to "a significant base effect" (that is, coming off a very big fall in the compared quarter), "strong export growth and limited damage to domestic demand."

Looking ahead, the Bank's Update said that "successful implementation of agriculture and labour reforms would boost medium-term growth" while cautioning that "weakened household and firm balance sheets may constrain it."

"The Production-Linked Incentives scheme to boost manufacturing, and a planned increase in public investment, should support domestic demand," it said.

The extent of recovery during the current fiscal year "will depend on how quickly household incomes recover and activity in the informal sector and smaller firms normalises."

Among the risks, it listed "worsening of financial sector stress, higher-than-expected inflation constraining monetary-policy support, and a slowdown in vaccination."

Taking stock of the pandemic's effects, the Bank said, "The toll of the crisis has not been equal, and the recovery so far is uneven,leaving behind the most vulnerable sections of the society - low-skilled, women, self-employed and small firms."

But it said that the Indian government has taken steps to strengthen social safety nets and ease structural supply constraints through agricultural and labour reforms deal with the inequality.

It said that the government continued investing in health programs "have started to address the weaknesses in health infrastructure and social safety nets (especially in the urban areas and the informal sector) exposed by the pandemic."


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 09:00:09 +0530
Pakistan s Kashmir agenda faces oppn at the int l level

New Delhi, Oct 8

 Pakistan's consistent efforts to portray the apparent distraught human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir referring to vague and unrealistic figures of troop presence and the nature of violence that apparently occurs on a daily basis has not only led to a creation of bland and superfluous narrative over the years but has been irritating those being approached by the Pakistani government on the Kashmir issue.

In the European Union (EU) circles, the Pakistani narrative is referred to as the "'K'acophony". Usage of this jargon has become common among EU members who tend to ignore the push made by Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Western countries are increasingly beginning to believe that there is no role for them to play in the Kashmir issue and that the matter has to be settled through dialogue between the two countries.

The pressure being built by the Pakistani government is thus having a reversal effect. The traditional practice of sending out letters at the highest levels by the Pakistani government on a regular basis to their counterparts in different countries on alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir has only made the issue appear redundant and insipid.

Moreover, such efforts have led to the realisation that this is part of diversionary tactics by Pakistan to take away global attention from the internal problems it faces. A careful analysis of the trend indicates that over a period of time, the Kashmir issue has lost traction with the international community/institutions.

In some cases while the Pakistani side has raised the Kashmir issue, the concerned foreign agency in turn has asked the Pakistani side to first clean their own house on the human rights front. The UNHRC, at its leadership level, appears to be seriously concerned about human rights violation in Pakistan including the ongoing harassment of ordinary people in the form of continued detention, denial of rights to freedom of expression, restrictions on public assembly, pressure faced by journalists and alleged use of unlawful means of dealing with general crime. The UNHRC has also been concerned about the situation in Pakistan occupied Kashmir which remains pathetic as far as human rights condition and freedom of expression is concerned.

In the last two months, with glaring human rights violation surfacing in Pakistan, the UNHRC feels that there is need for introspection by the Pakistani government on gross human rights violations on various fronts including efforts to suppress the voice of the minorities. The UNHRC also feels there is need for teams from the UNHRC Working Groups, dealing with "enforced and involuntary disappearances" as well as "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", to visit Pakistan to assist the government in formalising legislations on "enforced disappearances" and "torture". This would have to be preceded by a thorough assessment of the ground situation that prevails in Pakistan.

The UNHRC also feels that Pakistan should bear responsibility for assisting Afghanistan in sustaining the spirit of human rights, especially in the case of women and girls. The UNHRC feels that functional requirements of the UNHRC in Afghanistan should also be assisted and facilitated by Pakistan to the extent possible considering the latter has a significant hold over the government in Afghanistan.

There is a realization among European nations and also among international organisations working in Pakistan to exert pressure on Pakistan to first clear its own mess and also help Afghanistan build a transparent and homogeneous society free of any human rights violation before any recognition is accredited to the help and assistance sought by Pakistan from the international community. Much though Pakistan might try to draw the attention of the world to the Kashmir issue, the fact remains that the world's focus now is on Afghanistan, and Pakistan's credibility would depend on how it delivers on this front, while clearing up its own mess.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 08:57:27 +0530
Ireland decides to join OECD int l tax agreement

Dublin, Oct 8

 The Irish government has agreed to join an international agreement to reform the global tax rules to address the challenges arising from the digitalisation of the global economy, according to a statement released by the Irish Department of Finance.

"The Government has given approval today for Ireland to sign up to the political agreement at the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Inclusive Framework on a new tax framework to address the tax challenges of digitalization," said Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe in the statement on Thursday.

According to the statement, there are two pillars to the OECD agreement.

Pillar One will see a reallocation of a proportion of profits to the jurisdiction of the consumer, and Pillar Two will see the adoption of a new global minimum effective tax rate applying to multinationals with global revenues in excess of 750 million euros (about $866 million), Xinhua news agency reported.

"The agreement to be discussed at the OECD's Inclusive Framework tomorrow has been updated to provide additional clarity, which prevented Ireland joining the consensus in July," said the statement, adding that the proposed minimum effective tax rate of "at least 15 per cent" in the previous version of the agreement has been set to a precise rate of 15 per cent.

In the previous negotiations, Ireland refused to sign up to the agreement due to concerns that the wording of at least 15 per cent could mean a further rise in tax rate in the future, according to local media reports.

"We have secured the removal of 'at least' in the text. This will provide the critical certainty for Government and industry and will provide the long-term stability and certainty to business in the context of investment decisions," said Donohoe.

According to the statement, the 15 per cent corporation tax rate will apply to 56 Irish multinationals employing nearly 100,000 people and 1,500 foreign-owned multinational enterprises based in Ireland employing around 400,000 people, while the corporation tax rate will remain unchanged at 12.5 per cent for the vast majority of businesses in Ireland.

There are over 160,000 businesses in Ireland with a turnover less than 750 million euros per annum, which employ approximately 1.8 million people, said the statement.

"The recognition of the important role that research and development plays in the modern global economy and society is another key aspect of the agreement," said the statement.

According to local media reports, Ireland had held intensive discussions with the parties concerned before agreeing to enter the agreement. These include discussions about the nature of possible exemptions or flexibility for certain areas like research spending, said the Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE.

The 140 member jurisdictions of the OECD's Inclusive Framework will meet on Friday to reach an agreement, said the statement, adding that: "There is much technical work to do in the months and years ahead before the new rules come into play which is expected to be as early as 2023."

Ireland's agreement to increase the tax rate from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent for foreign-owned multinational enterprises on its soil will have a limited impact on its foreign direct investment as the 15 per cent tax rate is still appealing compared with higher tax rates in many other EU member states, said local industry watchers.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 08:53:22 +0530
31 172 CBSE 2 365 Kerala Board students secure admission in DU

New Delhi, Oct 8

 As many as 60,904 candidates have applied for admission to various colleges after Delhi University's (DU) first cut-off list. Of these, 46,054 are from CBSE Board and rest students are from other education boards across the country.

According to Delhi University Registrar, Vikas Gupta, by the end of October 7, as many as 31,172 CBSE Board candidates, 2,365 Kerala Board students, 1,540 Haryana Board, 1,429 Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) Board students and 1,301 students from Rajasthan Board have successfully secured admission in Delhi University.

More than 6,000 students have secured 100 per cent marks from the Kerala Board, out of which a large number of students from Kerala have applied for admission in Delhi University. Some student organisations and teachers of Delhi University say that the Kerala State Education Board has been very lax providing marks in 12th board exams. Due to which thousands of students have secured 100 per cent marks there.

Student organisations and teachers are opposing the admissions being given to the students of Kerala.

In this regard, students of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad have also staged a sit-in demonstration in Delhi University.

However, the Delhi University Registrar has said that being a central university, Delhi University gives "equal importance to the academic credentials of all candidates. The university gives equal importance to the students irrespective of the states and school boards. This year too, equal opportunity was given to all by accepting applications only on merit basis".

"The university strongly denies and condemns the news being circulated regarding the bias," Vikas Gupta asserted.

"It is our responsibility to ensure that the Delhi University does justice to the meritorious students coming from not only India but also from abroad," he said.

The first cut off list for undergraduate courses in Delhi University was released on October 1. On the basis of the list, admissions were started in various colleges of the university from 4th October.

The university will now release the second cut-off list on October 9.


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 08:50:29 +0530
The curious case of NCB cruise bust

New Delhi, Oct 8

 The high-profile Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) bust in the financial capital of the country has left a series of difficult conundrums for the public to understand, further deepening the mystery.

The NCB has so far arrested around 18 people in the drugs case, including, Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan's son -- Aryan Khan who has been sent to 14 days of judicial custody.

But even as the case is progressing further, there are some layers, when unearthed, raise eyebrows. The first thing which comes into our mind is how was the contraband taken to the luxury ship?

The NCB had said that during the raid, it recovered various popular party drugs like cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy, mephedrone and charas. Of all the contraband, the cocaine was 13 grams, charas 21 grams, 22 pills of MDMA and five grams MD. It is yet 'unanswered' as to how the starkids were able to procure these drugs.

The NCB's swoop, which shook the Bollywood's core as the future potential superstar-kid of the one of the reigning actors was involved, almost sounded unbelievable till a picture of a dazed Aryan sitting on a bench inside the agency's office in south Mumbai emerged from nowhere.

A bald man, who was later identified as an alleged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kiran Gosavi, clicked a picture with the starkid on the ship deck triggering a row that BJP activists were involved in the October 2 raid conducted by the NCB on the luxury ship Cordelia Cruise.

Another BJP leader Manish Bhanushali was seen hauling out some of the accused, including Aryan and Arbaaz Merchant. How did a private person who is a BJP activist hand over the accused? -- another unanswered question.

Of the eight people that were the first detained by the NCB, three -- Mohak Jaswal, Nupur Sarika and Gomit Chopra are from Delhi. Mohak and Nupur are both fashion designers, while Gomit is a hair stylist. Sources earlier confirmed to IANS that both Mohak and Nupur had come to Delhi with Gomit but still there is no further details about them. Did they go to Mumbai to attend the party or were they already residing there? It is yet to be answered.

It is being said that the luxury ship, the Cordelia Cruises, which was raided by the sleuths of NCB when it was preparing to lift anchor for a fun-filled two-night gala voyage to Goa, had around 1,300 affluent passengers on board. Were only eight of these 1,300 people, consuming or carrying drugs with them? Is NCB going to question the remaining voyagers....?

Coming back to the centre of attraction of this drug-bust, Aryan Khan, due to which this case became a high-profile case. The NCB had clearly stated that drugs was not recovered from the possession of the megastar's lad, while only six grams of charas was found in the possession of Arbaaz Merchant.

If the quantity was so low, why was the NCB wdemanding another four days of his custody?

Aryan's lawyer Satish Maneshinde, too, fired several questions at the drug probe agency, as the NCB said it needed custody extension so they could confront him with other accused.

On Wednesday, the NCB arrested Achit Kumar whose name popped up from WhatsApp chats.

"Why did the NCB not confront Aryan and Arbaaz with Achit yesterday only? NCB is well equipped, they have more than 100 officers," the lawyer asked posing another question that was not answered.

"Confrontation cannot be grounds for custody," he quipped.

Last but not the least, two days ago, the NCB made four more arrests in connection with the case.

All the four arrested were employees of Namas'cray, a Delhi-based event management company that organised the 'rave party' onboard Cordelia Cruises' Empress ship.

But wait, why are we forgetting that the Covid-19 pandemic is still ravaging the country. The country is still witnessing nearly 300 fatalities every day. Then how come under pandemic-induced restrictions, such a party was allowed. Another unanswered question!


Fri, 08 Oct 2021 08:47:44 +0530
New Zealand rescheduling Pakistan tour says PCB chief Ramiz Raja


Lahore, Oct 7

 Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja has said that the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) was "now rescheduling the tour" to Pakistan.

The New Zealand cricket team arrived here on September 11 to play three ODIs and five Twenty20 Internationals. The Black Caps, however, opted out of their tour minutes before the first ODI was to be played on September 17 citing security threats.

As per a Dawn report, Raja said -- while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination on Thursday -- that the NZC was rescheduling the tour after being pressured by Pakistan.
But the committee chairman, Raza Rabbani said that the PCB chief should turn down New Zealand's tour of Pakistan. "What if we do not allow the New Zealand tour?" Rabbani was quoted as saying.

To this, Raja replied, "We have to live with them. But we can tell them that Pakistan can find a time window for the tour at some point in 2022. And if New Zealand were ready to play according to our conditions, then we should have no problem."


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 20:04:47 +0530
Bitcoin reclaims 1 trillion cap Indian crypto players cheer

New Delhi, Oct 7

 As Bitcoin once again reclaimed the $1 trillion market cap, crossing $54,000 per digital coin, Indian crypto leaders on Thursday expressed hope that India and its neighbouring countries will continue their dominance because of the large number of active crypto investors in the region.

The Indian cryptocurrency market is expected to reach up to $241 million by 2030 in India and $2.3 billion by 2026 worldwide.

According to a report by IT industry's apex body Nasscom, there are 15 million retail investors in India investing in the cryptotech space.

"The recent jump in Bitcoin price has a larger message for the world. In the post-pandemic world, Bitcoin has emerged as the best performing asset class of 2021, as a result of which institutional and retail investors are moving from slow/traditional assets to high growth/technology-led assets," said Shivam Thakral, CEO, BuyUcoin.

There has been a paradigm shift in the investment patterns across the globe which is underlined by the data shared by crypto exchanges from time to time.

"India is home to around 1.5 crore active crypto investors, which amounts to $40 billion in investment in crypto, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. India's middle-class population is willing to explore digital assets for creating long-term wealth to fulfil their goals, which may not be possible through any other asset class," Thakral added.

Crypto asset exchange ZebPay has also launched India's first global Electronic Over-The-Counter (OTC) Desk for large volume traders and institutional investors globally.

Avinash Shekhar, Co-CEO, ZebPay, said that the company aims to create a robust crypto ecosystem and a multi-faceted business where the needs of both the retail and institutional investors are met seamlessly.

"With the ZebPay OTC Desk, we are addressing the growing institutional interest in crypto globally and in India. This will further encourage adoption of crypto in the country and help create a mark for India as a major player in this emerging space," he added.

Jay Hao, CEO,, said that during the slight dip last month, crypto-related investments witnessed record inflows owing to the growing global acceptance of crypto assets.

"The same momentum is boosting the prices of other popular crypto assets like Ethereum, Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, among others. India and its neighbouring countries are the main growth drivers of the crypto economy in South East Asia and they will continue their dominance because of the large number of active crypto investors in the region," Hao noted.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 20:01:10 +0530
Aryan Khan 7 others sent to 14 days judicial custody

Mumbai, Oct 7

 A Mumbai magistrate's court on Thursday sent Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, besides 7 others accused in the rave party raids aboard a ship, carried out by the Narcotics Control Bureau, to 14 days judicial custody.

Declining the NCB's plea for another four days custody till October 11 for the 8 main accused, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R.M. Nerlikar sent them to 14 days judicial custody and also transferred the case for further hearing to the Special NDPS Court.

Aryan Khan's lawyer Satish Maneshinde and advocate Taraq K. Sayed, representing another accused Arbaaz Merchant, said that now they plan to move the appropriate court for regular bail on Friday.

Creating a huge sensation, the NCB sleuths had raided a rave party on the luxury ship Cordelia Cruise on October 2 and detained Aryan and 7 others.

Later, the following day, they were formally arrested and produced before ACMM Nerlikar on Sunday who sent them to a day's custody, which was extended till October 7.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 19:57:39 +0530
Ola launches new vehicle commerce platform

Bengaluru, Oct 7

 Cab-hailing platform Ola on Thursday announced a new vehicle commerce platform -- Ola Cars -- that will provide a better vehicle purchase and ownership experience to consumers.

Ola Cars will enable consumers to purchase both new and pre-owned vehicles through the Ola App.

"Customers are looking for a new way to buy, service and sell their vehicles. They are no longer satisfied with the archaic retail store mode," said Bhavish Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Ola.

"They want more transparency and a digital experience. With Ola Cars, we are bringing a completely new experience for buying, selling and overall ownership for both new and owned vehicles," Aggarwal added.

The company said it will offer a bouquet of services to customers, beginning with purchase, vehicle finance and insurance, registration, maintenance including vehicle health diagnostics and service, accessories and finally resale of the vehicle back to Ola Cars.

Ola Cars will begin with pre-owned and, over time, Ola will open it up for new vehicles from Ola Electric and other automotive brands as well, providing them a seamless, trusted platform with unprecedented reach and understanding of consumers and their mobility needs.

Starting with 30 cities, Ola Cars will soon scale up to over 100 cities by next year.

The company also announced the appointment of Arun Sirdeshmukh as Chief Executive Officer of Ola Cars.

Sirdeshmukh brings more than 30 years experience in consumer internet, FMCG, retail and fashion industries, including with Amazon India, Reliance Trends and IBM Global Services. He will oversee the entire sales and distribution, service, marketing, customer support, and go-to-market strategy for the business.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 19:48:02 +0530
International community should not be in hurry to recognize Taliban Qatar

New Delhi, Oct 7

 Qatar Deputy Foreign Minister Lolwah Rashid al-Khater said that they have asked the international community not to hurry in recognizing the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Al-Khater in her interview with Foreign Policy asked their international partners not to hurry in recognizing the Taliban though, she asked the world to continue engaging with them, Khaama Press reported.

She said that engagement with the Taliban does not mean approval of their government but the world can achieve big goals by engaging with the Taliban.

It has been over 50 days that the Taliban took control over Afghanistan but has not been recognized by any country yet as the world has its conditions which have not been implemented in Afghanistan.

The deputy foreign minister has confirmed conflicts among the Taliban and has added that there is a difference between the behavior of the elderly Taliban members and younger ones.

"The Taliban can learn from Qatar, Malaysia, and Indonesia that have Islamic law and women are working in their governments and seek education." said Al-Khater.

She expressed concern over the caretaker government of the Taliban that is not inclusive and added that this announcement did not meet the expectation of Qatar.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 19:44:48 +0530
Today India stands as confident self reliant under Modi Nadda

New Delhi, Oct 7

 Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for completing 20 years as head of public office, BJP chief J.P. Nadda on Thursday said that today India stands as a confident and self-reliant nation under him.

Nadda said, "Today India stands as a confident and self-reliant nation under Prime Minister Modi. We are excelling on social and economic fronts, thanks to the effective policies and programmes of the Modi government which include Jan Dhan Yojna, Jan Suraksha Yojna, Mudra Yojna, Digital India, Ujjalwala Yojna, Ujala Yojna, Ayushman Bharat Yojna, Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna, Awas Yojna, Soubhagya Yojna, Atmanirbhar Bharat, Vocal for Local, Make in India among others."

On October 7, 2001, Modi was first sworn in as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. "From being the four-term Chief Minister of Gujarat to heading the world's largest democracy as its 'Pradhan Sewak', the 20-year-long journey of public service of Modi has been devoted towards making India a prosperous and strong nation - a Vishwaguru. A 'karmyogi' par excellence, Modi has given our nation the confidence of fulfilling our dream of a 'New India'," Nadda said.

"Prime Minister has always treaded the path of commitment, devotion, dedication and selfless service. The Pradhan Sewak's 'mantra' for governance has been the upliftment of poor and backward classes and progress and prosperity of our nation. Today India stands amongst the leading powers in the world, while the BJP has been recognized globally for fulfilling its pledge of 'Sewa hi Sangathan'."

Nadda mentioned that PM Modi has created an eco-system of solving the problems and addressing the issues of our country. "Prime Minister has exceptional qualities of taking quick and firm decisions, and with his patience and foresightedness he has been able to tackle some of the old issues plaguing our country," the BJP chief said.

Nadda pointed out that successful resolution to some old disputes and problems like scrapping of Article 370, bringing to an end the regressive triple 'talaq', starting construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, giving constitutional status to the OBC Commission, Citizenship Amendment Act, 10 per cent reservation to poor belonging to the general category, GST. "All these decisions are the important milestones crossed by the Modi government which are going to lay strong foundations of our Nation. It will help us in making our country stronger and more prosperous," he said.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 19:36:35 +0530
Kerala HC says militant trade unionism still exists in state

Kochi, Oct 7

 The Kerala High Court on Thursday while hearing a petition filed by a hotel owner in Kollam seeking police protection to unload materials using his own workers, blamed the state's failure to wipe out the practice of gawking charges, often referred to in local parlance as 'nokukooli' and emphasised that militant trade unionism continues to exist in the state.

Justice Devan Ramachandran went hammer and tongs and said, "I don't want to hear the word 'nokukooli' in the state again. It has to be abolished. There are still militant trade unions in the state. Strict action has to be taken against those who continue the practice, regardless of what party or union they belong to," said an angry Ramachandran.

Even though there exists clear laws for loading and unloading of materials at work sites, factories and even where construction of residential units takes place, at several places, the local trade unions continue to extort money, even if they have not done the loading or unloading work and in recent times, quite a number of times people have approached the court seeking police protection and on Thursday it was the turn of a hotel worker to approach the court and Judge Ramachandran spoke very tough.

"If the employer denies employment, the freight forwarder must approach the Board. The remedy for denial of employment is not violence," added the judge who further pointed out that the primary reason for fewer employment opportunities in the state was the inhibition among people to invest in Kerala.

The Court had earlier asked why the ban was not being implemented effectively despite the ban. The bench then asked the state police chief to inform the steps taken in this regard.

Incidentally time and again this issue has surfaced and each time the government especially state Industries Minister P. Rajeev and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan say that strict action will be taken against those who demand gawking charges, these words don't seem to have any effect, as the victims have to run to the court to get police protection for going forward with their work.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 19:32:41 +0530
30 kg explosives seized from Maoist infested Jamui in Bihar

Patna, Oct 7

 A day before voting in the Panchayat elections, security agencies seized 30 kg explosives from the Maoist hit Jamui district of Bihar on Thursday.

The seizure was made in a joint operation by Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) and Jamui Police from the forest area under Sikandra police station.

Pramod Kumar Mandal, the SP of Jamui district, confirmed the news.

The joint operation was carried out in a bid to minimize the Maoist threat and conduct peaceful Panchayat elections. The voting in Sikandra and Gidhaur blocks is scheduled to be held on Friday.

"During the search operation, the security forces have seized two plastic jars containing 30 kg explosives kept in deep forest. The explosives could be used to make improvised explosive devices to disturb Panchayat elections in the district," Mandal said.

Jamui district is considered a hotbed of the Maoist movement in Bihar. Maoists have already announced a boycott of the Panchayat elections in Bihar.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 19:27:40 +0530
Scientists urged to focus on farmers issues due to global warming

New Delhi, Oct 7

 Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday called upon the scientists to come out with innovative research to protect and conserve the rich bio-resources and livestock of India's northeastern region.

Noting that the Northeast is an important biodiversity hotspot, Naidu said: "Our scientific institutions should work for development of location specific technologies which are sustainable, climate resilient and culturally in sync with the tribal cultures of the region."

Referring to the climate change, he said, there was a danger of the beautiful but ecologically fragile northeastern region getting impacted by the rise in global temperatures.

"Therefore, I urge our scientists and researchers to focus their attention on the likely problems farmers might face due to global warming and find suitable solutions", he added.

He was speaking during an interaction with scientists and researchers at the ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun in Dimapur, Nagaland, the Vice President's Secretariat said in a statement here.

Mithun (bros frontilas) is a common yet important livestock found in all the northeastern hill states.

He urged the scientists to work towards modernising agriculture with the adoption of latest technologies for the progress and prosperity of the northeastern states.

The Vice President was shown a promotional video for Mithun farmers on semi-intensive Mithun farming. He lauded the National Research Centre for Mithun for coming out with this alternative system of rearing of Mithun.

Pointing out that more than 70 per cent of the people are directly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood support in the northeastern region, he urged the scientific institutions to work for development of location specific technologies which are sustainable, climate-resilient and culturally in sync with the tribal cultures of the region.

Governor of Nagaland and Assam, Professor Jagdish Mukhi; Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland, Y Patton; Agriculture Minister of Nagaland, G Kaito Aye; Director, ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun, Meraj Haider Khan; Joint Director, ICAR- Research Complex for NEH Region, DJ Rajkhowa and scientists among others were also present on the occasion.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 19:24:15 +0530
India to grant tourist visa to foreigners coming by chartered flights from Oct 15


New Delhi, Oct 7

 The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will grant fresh tourist visas to foreigners coming to India by chartered flights from October 15.

The ministry also said that foreigners travelling to India by flights other than chartered aircraft will get the facility with effect from November 15.

The ministry said that all due protocols and norms relating to Covid-19, as notified by the Union Health Ministry from time to time, shall be adhered to by the foreign tourists, the carriers bringing them to India and all other stakeholders at the landing stations.

With this, the restrictions placed on visa and international travel stand further eased given the present overall Covid situation.

A Home Ministry official said that the government had been receiving representations from several state governments as well as various stakeholders in the tourism sector to start issuing tourist visas in order to allow foreign tourists to come to India.

"The Home Ministry took the decision after consulting all the major stakeholders, including the Ministries of Health, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Tourism and various state governments where foreign tourists are expected to arrive," an official said.

As of now, India has air bubble arrangements with other countries, but the scheduled international flights are still suspended.

Due to the pandemic, all visas granted to foreigners were suspended last year. Various other restrictions were also imposed on international travel by the Central government to arrest the spread of the pandemic.

After considering the evolving Covid situation, foreigners were later allowed to avail any kind of Indian visa other than tourist visa for entry and stay in the country.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 19:20:11 +0530
F1 medical car crew tests Covid positive ahead of Turkish GP


Istanbul, Oct 7

The Formula 1 circuit was hit by the Coronavirus virus as its medical car crew tested positive Covid-19 ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix.

The FIA and Formula One's medical car crew will now be replaced as medical car driver Alan van Merwe and medical delegate Ian Roberts, who are on hand at every race and among the first on the scene in case of an accident on the track, both returned positive results in pre-event tests.

The duo is in self-isolation and did not travel to Istanbul.

The FIA says they will be replaced by For'ula E's Safety Car driver Bruno Correia and Medical Delegate Dr. Bruno Franceschini.

The duo, who played a key role in helping Romain Grosjean escape from his stricken Haas car after it burst into flames in Bahrain late last year, will need two negative tests to return for the United States Grand Prix which follows later this month.

Formula one is going through with a 22-race calendar for 2021, including the rescheduled Turkey, Mexico, and Brazil rounds, and the inaugural Saudi Arabian GP. The Turkish GP is the 16th race of the series which will end on December 12 in Abu Dhabi.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 17:29:59 +0530
Apple Diwali offers live on India Store Online get AirPods free with iPhone 12

New Delhi, Oct 7

Apple on Thursday announced that its Diwali offer is live on Apple's official India website and the company is offering first-gen AirPods for free with iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini.

Apple has published details of the festive offer on its India store page.

The Cupertino-based tech giant has slashed the prices of the iPhone 12 series after the launch of iPhone 13 series. The iPhone 12 mini 64GB model is available at Rs 59,900, and the 128GB option costs Rs 64,900. The 256GB model is selling at Rs 74,900.

On the other hand, the regular iPhone 12 (64GB) is priced at Rs 65,900, and the 128GB option is available at Rs 70,900. The 256GB storage variant is retailing at Rs 80,900.

Both models feature an advanced dual-camera system that delivers powerful computational photography features and the highest-quality video in a smartphone, with expansive edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays with OLED for a brighter, more immersive viewing experience.

The A14 Bionic -- the fastest chip in a smartphone -- powers every experience on iPhone 12 while efficiently managing battery life.

iPhone 12 features the first camera to shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision and is the first and only device in the world to enable an end-to-end Dolby Vision experience.

Recently, the company has unveiled the iPhone 13 series, featuring a smaller notch, repositioned rear cameras and improved performance.

iPhone 13 has been launched in three variants, starting from a 128GB variant. It is also available in 256GB and 512GB storage variants and comes in pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and (PRODUCT) RED.

Meanwhile, Apple is organizing free virtual sessions on its India Store Online, as part of its 'Today at Apple' free educational sessions, to learn the basics of using your iPhone. Together with live with Apple creatives, the users will explore hardware, settings and ways to stay productive.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 17:26:06 +0530
Mukesh Ambani with a net worth of 92 7 billion tops 2021 Forbes list of India s richest

New Delhi, Oct 7

A soaring stock market propelled the combined wealth of members of the 2021 Forbes list of India's 100 Richest to a record US$775 billion, after adding $257 billion -- a 50 per cent rise -- in the past 12 months.

In this bumper year, more than 80 per cent of the listees saw their fortunes increase, with 61 adding $1 billion or more.

At the top of the list is Mukesh Ambani, India's richest person since 2008, with a net worth of $92.7 billion.

Ambani recently outlined plans to pivot into renewable energy with a $10 billion investment by his Reliance Industries.

Close to a fifth of the increase in the collective wealth of India's 100 richest came from infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani, who ranks No. 2 for the third year in a row. Adani, who is the biggest gainer in both percentage and dollar terms, nearly tripled his fortune to $74.8 billion from $25.2 billion previously, as shares of all his listed companies soared.

At No. 3 with $31 billion is Shiv Nadar, founder of software giant HCL Technologies, who saw a $10.6 billion boost in his net worth from the country's buoyant tech sector.

Retailing magnate Radhakishan Damani retained the fourth spot with his net worth nearly doubling to $29.4 billion from $15.4 billion, as his supermarket chain Avenue Supermarts opened 22 new stores in the fiscal year ending March.

India has administered over 870 million Covid-19 vaccine shots to date, thanks partly to Serum Institute of India, founded by vaccine billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, who moves into the top five with a net worth of $19 billion. His privately held company makes Covishield under license from AstraZeneca and has other Covid-19 vaccines under development.

India's recovery from a deadly second wave of Covid-19, which broke out earlier this year, restored investor confidence in the world's sixth-largest economy.

There are six newcomers on this year's list, with half of them from the booming chemicals sector. They include Ashok Boob (No. 93, $2.3 billion) whose Clean Science and Technology listed in July; Deepak Mehta (No. 97, $2.05 billion) of Deepak Nitrite and Yogesh Kothari (No. 100, $1.94 billion) of Alkyl Amines Chemicals. Arvind Lal (No. 87, $2.55 billion), the executive chairman of diagnostics chain Dr Lal PathLabs, also debuted on the list after a pandemic-induced surge in testing caused shares of his company to double in the past year.

The country's IPO rush returned property magnate and politician Mangal Prabhat Lodha (No. 42, $4.5 billion) to the ranks, following the April listing of his Macrotech Developers. Among the four other returnees is Prathap Reddy (No. 88, $2.53 billion), whose listed hospital chain Apollo Hospitals Enterprise has been testing and treating Covid-19 patients.

Eleven listees from last year dropped off, given the increased cut-off for gaining entry to this year's list. The minimum amount required to make this year's list was $1.94 billion, up from $1.33 billion last year.

Naazneen Karmali, Asia Wealth Editor and India Editor of Forbes Asia, said: "This year's list reflects India's resilience and can-do spirit even as Covid-19 extracted a heavy toll on both lives and livelihoods. Hopes of a V-shaped recovery fueled a stock market rally that propelled the fortunes of India's wealthiest to new heights. With the minimum net worth to make the ranks approaching $2 billion, the top 100 club is getting more exclusive."


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 17:17:57 +0530
India to showcase arts culture at Expo 2020 Dubai


Dubai, Oct 7

From the biggest pavilion of the 192 participating countries in the Expo 2020 Dubai, India is out to showcase what is has to offer to the world -- from arts and culture, rich history and tradition, to opportunities that exist for individuals and corporates.

The six-month-long Expo kicked off on October 1 with Dubai expecting a large number of visitors despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. With the number of daily infections now well below 200 for the past week, the city has opened itself to the world.

Most visitors are allowed to travel with a valid negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours. However, India is still in the category that requires a valid negative PCR test certificate (with a QR code) for a test conducted within 48 hours, and a rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure.

The pavilion features a kinetic facade of 600 individual colourful blocks. The panels rotate and the facade presents a different look with each rotation, a unique representation of the country's theme at the Expo, 'India on the Move'.

The Indian pavilion was officially inaugurated by Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles.

Goyal said the Pavilion "shows an India on the move, it describes a new India rejuvenated, reinvented and revitalized, which can convert any adversity into an opportunity".

As the country comes out a deadly second wave of the pandemic, India is eager to make an impression on the world and the Expo is a great platform.

Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai, said: "India at Expo 2020 Dubai will present a new and dynamic India with its never-ending opportunities.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given us a clarion call for action to all stakeholders to give a renewed push to boosting exports and Expo 2020 will provide an important platform in driving forward this national agenda."

While art and culture have always been a staple of India's exhibitions in foreign countries, there is a big push for innovation and industries in Dubai.

The India Innovation Hub, a specially designed mobile platform, was recently launched. It showcases innovations by Indian startups and corporates across various cutting edge fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobility, robotics and space.

As many as 15 states and eight Union Territories are taking part in the Expo, most of them displaying food, art & culture and business opportunities.

Also present and various ministries, like textile, space and energy, as well as some of the leading business houses like Tata, Reliance, L&T and Adani.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 17:10:40 +0530
UP ATS arrests one more in religious conversion case

Lucknow, Oct 7

The UP Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday arrested another accused in connection with illegal religious conversions.

The accused, Sarfaraz Ali Zafri, was arrested from the Amroha district.

According to the ATS release, Zafri was working with cleric Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui and was involved in illegal religious conversions since 2016.

IG, ATS, G.K. Goswamy said that they got to know about him during the questioning of Maulana Kaleem.

"Zafri used to work at Global Peace centre of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, who was arrested earlier. He was also member of Revert, Rehab, and Dawa WhatsApp Group through which his gang members spread religious hatred, induced people to adopt Islam by giving various kinds of inducements," he said.

Zafri will be taken on remand and a sustained interrogation will be done.

Earlier in June, the ATS had busted the illegal conversion racket with the arrest of Umar Gautam and his accomplice Mufti Kazi Jahangir Qasmi.

Later, its Nagpur syndicate was unearthed with the arrest of Rameshwar Kawre a.k.a Adam, Quasar Alam, and Bhuriya Bando a.k.a Arslan Mustafa.

Gujarat businessman Salahuddin Jainuddin and Maharashtra-based doctor, Firoz Shah, were also arrested.

The ATS arrested Siddiqui on September 22 and his three associates Idris Qureshi, Saleem and Kunal Ashok on September 26. Dheeraj Jagtap a.k.a Dheeraj Deshmukh was also arrested from Kanpur on October 1.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 17:02:19 +0530
Video shows minister s vehicle mowing down farmers

Lucknow, Oct 7

 Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni's claim that his vehicle was attacked by miscreants before the driver lost control and mowed down farmers, stands "exposed" after a cleaner, longer clip of the viral video from Lakhimpur Kheri reveals what happened on Sunday before the violent clashes.

The viral video clip shows a black SUV - which belongs to the union minister according to his own admission - ploughing into an unarmed group of protesters at great speed.

There are no signs of any attack on the Mahindra Thar vehicle. It shows no stones or sticks being thrown at the car or that the driver lost control resulting in the death of at least four farmers and injuries to many more.

In this video, the driver seems to holding on to the steering wheel firmly and driving at great speed into a group of farmers marching in front of the SUV, with their backs to it.

According to witnesses, it was after this incident, that an enraged mob attacked the cars, set them on fire and four people in the convoy were beaten to death.

A lower resolution, slowed-down version of the same video was earlier shared by a series of opposition leaders as proof that the blame for the Sunday's clashes lay on the convoy of minister's aides and BJP workers.

It may be recalled that farmers had gathered to protest against the visit of union home affairs minister Ajay Mishra and the state's deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya at a wrestling match.

Farmer groups have been claiming that Mishra's son had been in a car when the vehicle ran over four protesters, killing them. He has denied this charge.

The new video emerged on a day when the Supreme Court announced it was taking up the case as media reports and a letter from two lawyers to Chief Justice N.V. Ramana cast doubts on the Uttar Pradesh police investigation into the incident.

Four days after a murder case was filed against him, the minister's son Ashish Mishra is yet to be arrested and government sources have ruled out the minister Ajay Mishra's resignation, following a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 08:41:56 +0530
Frictions Facebook whistleblower prescribes antidote to algorithmic manipulation

New York, Oct 7

 After throwing the kitchen sink at her former employer, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen laid out an inside-out view on the simple "frictions" that would cool off Facebook's "toxic" and "divisive" algorithms that are driving teens and vulnerable populations off the cliff on the world's largest social networking platform.

Starting mid-September, leaked internal Facebook studies of the harms of Instagram for teenagers - including triggering eating disorders and suicidal thoughts - have set off alarm bells across the country.

In three hours of Congress testimony Tuesday, Haugen accused Facebook of intentionally refusing to make changes to its algorithms because it put "profits" before people. She is urging US lawmakers to act swiftly. "I came forward at great personal risk because I believe we still have time to act. But we must act now. I'm asking you, our elected representatives, to act,a Haugen said.

"The kids who are bullied on Instagram, the bullying follows them home. It follows them into their bedrooms. The last thing they see before they go to bed at night is someone being cruel to them," Haugen said.

"Kids are learning that their own friends, people who they care about, are cruel to them."

Haugen listed a series of small tweaks as a starting point. "A lot of the changes that I'm talking about are not going to make Facebook an unprofitable company, it just won't be a ludicrously profitable company like it is today," she said.

Haugen said her knowledge of "problematic use" suggests that there should be an age limit of 16-18 years old for children to use social media.

"I strongly encourage raising age limits to 16 or 18 years old based on looking at the data around problematic use or addition on the platform and children's self regulation issues," Haugen told lawmakers.

Haugen said one of the simplest changes could be to reset the default mode to chronological ordering of posts rather than bombarding the audience with hyper-targeted posts based on their inferred identity. The way it's coded now, Facebook - and other social media platforms - let their algorithms predict what people want to see based on their engagement history over time.

Haugen pointed to Twitter as an example to explain the upside of inserting frictions. Twitter now routinely asks users if they want to read an article first before retweeting it. While not a hard intervention like deplatforming, Haugen said Facebook knows that such features can dramatically reduce misinformation and hate speech and refuses to act.

Haugen made the case that these frictions will actually work better for the company in the longer term. According to Haugen, the company's own research shows that people tend to avoid the platform as the volume of exposure to toxic content increases.

"One could reason a kinder, friendlier, more collaborative Facebook might actually have more users five years from now, so it's in everyone's interest," she said.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 08:39:06 +0530
WHO recommends broad use of world s 1st malaria vaccine

Geneva, Oct 7

 The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it has recommended widespread use of the world's first malaria vaccine called RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) for children in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the WHO, the vaccine is the result of 30 years of research and development by British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the international non-profit organization Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and with a network of research centers in Africa.

The WHO said on Wednesday its recommendation is based on results from more than 2.3 million doses of the vaccine that have been administered to more than 800,000 children in pilot countries Ghana, Kenya and Malawi since 2019, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the WHO, more than two-thirds of children in the three countries who were not sleeping under a bednet were benefiting from the vaccine, bringing about a 30 percent drop in severe malaria, even when introduced in areas where insecticide-treated nets were widely used and there was good access to diagnosis and treatment.

The vaccine has a favorable safety profile, the WHO said, with no negative impact on the uptake of bednets, other childhood vaccinations, or health seeking behavior for febrile illness.

"It's safe, it significantly reduces life-threatening severe malaria, and we estimate it to be highly cost-effective," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing.

According to the WHO, "the vaccine should be provided in a schedule of four doses in children from five months of age for the reduction of malaria disease and burden."

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.

The WHO's records show that malaria remains a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 260,000 African children under the age of five die from the disease annually.

"This long-awaited malaria vaccine is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control," said Tedros. "This vaccine is a gift to the world, but its value will be felt most in Africa, because that's where the burden of malaria is greatest."


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 08:32:47 +0530
Mother daughter killed in B luru 4 teams formed to nab killers

Bengaluru, Oct 7

 In a horrific incident, miscreants killed a woman and her 3-year-old daughter by slitting their throats in an apartment in Chowdeshwarinagar under the Begur police station limits in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

The deceased have been identified as Yamuna aka Chandrakala (35) and her daughter Ratanya (4). The incident came to light when Chandrakala's sister visited the place.

The police have found the bodies in the house lying in the pool of blood. The mother's dead body was found in the hall whereas the body of the toddler was found in a room.

Police informed that the family of Chandrakala has shifted to Bengaluru four years ago. Her husband Channaveeraswamy worked in a garment factory. They hailed from Chitradurga district.

Chandrakala used to stay at home with her daughter and she was into online marketing of Ayurvedic products.

As per the initial investigation, police have found that a stranger entered to the house in the morning after Chandrakala's husband Channaveeraswamy went to for work.

Sources say that the stranger had left the house in the noon. The police are suspecting his role in the killing of mother and daughter.

However, the police are probing from multiple angles.

The cops are getting CCTV footage from the surrounding areas to get clues about miscreants who have entered the house of victims.

Chandrakala couple has two children and one of them has been sent to a hostel.

The miscreants have stabbed Chandrakala and her daughter more than 20 times and have also slit their throats. The miscreants have robbed away gold jewels from the house, police said.

Additional Commissioner S. Murugan stated that, based on the available clues at the spot, jurisdictional DCP has formed four teams to probe the double murder.

The teams have already started their work and striving to solve the case at the earliest. The police are investigating the case.


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 08:30:02 +0530
BJP MP Tejasvi Surya calls Durga Puja restrictions discriminatory illogical

Bengaluru, Oct 7

 BJP MP Tejasvi Surya on Wednesday dubbed the restrictions imposed by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) on Durga Puja in the wake of Covid-19 as "discriminatory, arbitrary and illogical".

"It is highly regrettable that the administration imposes such harsh, arbitrary rules only during celebrations of Hindu community and turns a blind eye towards celebrations of other faiths. This discriminatory imposition of restrictions is condemnable and patently unconstitutional," he asserted.

Surya has stated that he has spoken to BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta and asked him to revisit Durga Puja rules.

"He (BBMP Commissioner) assured me that these rules will be reviewed forthwith and sentiments of devotees will be given utmost importance," he said.

The BJP MP has said that the restrictions imposed through the order regarding the size of the idol appears to be taken without any logical relevance.

"It is beyond the understanding of any reasonable person as to how the size of the idol is related to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. There is no basis for this decision of allowing idols that are only 4 feet or below. This is prima facie arbitrary and devoid of any merit," he added.

"The restriction on dhol, drums takes away the very fervour of joy and celebration. None of these rules has an established connection with the spread of the virus," Surya alleged.

The BJP demanded the commissioner to prepare a "more inclusive, and logical set of rules" that are necessary for pandemic management only and "not regulate ways and means of celebration, which is best decided by the devotees".


Thu, 07 Oct 2021 08:25:47 +0530
Know your immune response post vaccination

Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to fight a disease. On exposure to a foreign body like bacteria or a virus, the body develops what is called the IgM antibodies. These are the first antibodies the body makes when it fights a new infection, are short term and may not be detectable after a few weeks of an infection. It is then followed by IgG antibodies, which provide a longer lasting immune protection. IgA also plays a crucial role in the immune defence of mucosal surfaces such as nasophryanx, lower respiratory tracts, etc., the first point of entry of SARS-CoV-2.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), over 232 million Covid-19 cases have been reported, out of which India has officially reported 33 million cases (1). If we aim to bring the pandemic under control, we need to employ measures that go beyond social distancing and wearing a mask. These measures need to be supplemented by a strong vaccination program.

The Covid-19 vaccines help us develop immunity against the virus and its variants. They stimulate the immune system to create antibodies that fight the virus, thus preventing serious illness and death. According to WHO, the Covid-19 vaccine protects us from serious illness and death, but this protection from infection and transmission is not definite (2). How long the Covid-19 antibodies last after infection/ vaccination is yet to be determined.

One way to be sure of our immune response and to determine if one has developed antibodies, is through a reliable IgG quantitative antibody test. This test measures the level of IgG antibodies developed by the individual. As IgG antibodies last longer in the body, they are detectable for a longer duration of time and are more accurate.

IgG antibodies and what they say about immunity

A positive IgG antibody test would mean that the person was either previously infected by or was vaccinated for Covid-19 (3). A higher number of antibodies indicate a greater number of neutralizing antibodies. Neutralizing Antibodies are a different class of antibodies that prevent the interaction of virus and the host, thereby preventing the infection. Excellent correlation has been seen with IgG and neutralizing antibodies. Although developing antibodies does not guarantee we will not contract Covid-19, it does help us understand our individual vulnerabilities and subsequently helps us to be better prepared.

Choosing the right test is essential as some antibody tests will only detect antibodies from infection, not from Covid-19 vaccination. Consult your doctor to choose the right test. These tests could thus play a critical role in managing the pandemic by informing scientists and health authorities if sufficient individuals have developed a robust immune response against Covid-19.

Timing of the Test

Antibody tests should generally not be used to diagnose a current infection of Covid-19. An antibody test may not show if you have a current infection as it can take days to weeks after the infection for your body to make antibodies. For an accurate result post vaccination, the test should be performed at least 14 days after the second dose of vaccine. These tests are simple to take, they can be done through blood sample collection by an authorised pathology lab from the convenience of one's home. This makes testing for antibodies a safe way to determine if we have built up sufficient immune response against potentially serious or fatal Covid-19 infection (4).


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:54:14 +0530
Deepika Padukone talks all things denim

New Delhi, Oct 6

 Nothing like statuesque Deepika Padukone in a pair of jeans right? Well she gets our vote, as well as iconic denim brand Levi's who recently announced the launch of its collaboration Levi's x Deepika Padukone. Rooted in the brand's authentic style and updated with Padukone's signature style, this inaugural collaboration exudes freshness and confidence.

It re-imagines Levi's classics through its range of jeans and denims while introducing Padukone's signature favourites like athleisure pieces, edgy faux leather pants and oversized shirts. "The endeavour with my first ever collaboration with Levi's was for it to be an authentic representation of my personal style. And I believe we've been able to stay true to that vision," said Padukone.

The collaboration brings Padukone's ultra-casual style to life through long varsity jackets, co-ord sweatsuits, crop-tops and bralettes. It also features modern and updated interpretations of Levi's denims, with new on-trend 70s-inspired high waist jeans and cut and sew wide leg silhouettes to be paired with extra-long or cropped trucker jackets, a range of oversized shirts, soft romantic tops with organza sleeves, easy graphic t-shirts and elevated sweatshirts. Overall, the collection features quintessential pieces that will stand out in any wardrobe.

The collaboration is responsibly made, in line with the brand's commitment to sustainability. Sixty per cent of the collaboration line is sustainably sourced with 100 per cent of the line ethically produced. Featuring organic cotton, super-soft Tencel made from wood pulp, cottonized hemp and denim produced with the brand's Waterless technology, the line allows consumers to make a statement, with sustainability at the forefront.

The actress to get her take on the collection and her personal favourites:

Q: Nothing beats a pair of denims, you can dress them up or down depending on your mood. Do you agree?

A: Absolutely! I think a good pair of denims are an absolute must in anyone's wardrobe. And the best part is that you can either dress it up or dress it down. That's what makes it extremely versatile apart from it also being extremely comfortable.

Q: Although you're known to constantly experiment with your style, what we see now is a much more relaxed, athleisure vibe to your outfit choices. How come?

A: Absolutely! While I love experimenting with fashion and my personal style, I have also always prioritised comfort; and with athleisure wear I am able to achieve both.

Q: Share a few details about your new collaboration with Levis?

A: The endeavour with my first ever collaboration with Levi's was for it to be an authentic representation of my personal style. And I believe we have been able to stay true to that vision.

Q: A fashion icon from the yesteryear's who's style you admire and why?

A: Over the years, my personal style has been influenced by several people. But if I really had to choose one icon whose style I admire, it would have to be Rekha ji and her most exquisite sarees. I absolutely love sarees and could wear them almost everyday!

Q: Millennials and Gen Z focus on utility, minimalism and the use they get out of a garment as much as the style. Do you agree?

A: Absolutely! I think today, especially post the pandemic, sustainability and utility really are the two main areas of focus. I believe the world was headed in that direction anyway and the pandemic has only accelerated that process.

Q: Which style of denims are your favourite and why?

A: Honestly, it depends on my mood and the occasion. If it is for the day, I prefer denims that are lose and slouchy. Having said that, that would also be my style for an evening out. All I would do is pair them with different shoes. In the day, I would pair them with flip-flops or sneakers. For the evening, I would probably wear the same look with a pair of heels. That's what makes a pair of jeans so versatile!

"We are absolutely thrilled that Deepika Padukone's first collaboration as brand ambassador for Levi's is so iconic yet personal. We have always believed in 'authentic self-expression' and the collaboration is just that. We wanted to work with Deepika because of her iconic sense of style and its influence on consumers. Her understanding of colours, fabrics and silhouettes is unique and extremely individual. With this collaboration we see the inclusion of newer fabrics, finishes and fits. The introduction of athleisure pieces, faux leather pants, long varsity jackets and even the oversized shirts are a way for us to explore unknown textile territories and also relate to a newer fashion consumer," said Sanjeev Mohanty, SVP and MD -- South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Levi's

The collaboration will be available at Levi's retail outlets, and select partner e-commerce platforms on October 8, 2021.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:50:29 +0530
Model Rajkanya Baruah re arrested in road accident case

Guwahati, Oct 6

 Model and 2016 Miss India finalist, Rajkanya Baruah, who injured eight roadside workers last week in Guwahati while driving her car allegedly at high speed and in an inebriated condition, was rearrested on Wednesday, police said.

The police said the 29-year-old model was arrested again from a hospital after the six-member board of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) led by Purujit Choudhury submitted a report to the police that she has no health complications and is completely fine.

"She (Baruah) is fit to appear before the Investigating Officer... does not require any hospitalisation. In case of any medical emergency, she may visit GMCH Emergency Department or OPD," the report said.

GMCH Superintendent Abhijit Sharma told the media that the medical board team has also had an extensive discussion with Baruah as well as the other doctors.

The model, who was granted bail in less than 12 hours after the accident on Friday night, did not appear before the Investigating Officer on Tuesday, despite being summoned, citing health complications.

Police had said that her family members had sought two weeks time for her to appear as she is undergoing treatment at a hospital.

Police have then sought a medical board report on Baruah and it was submitted on Wednesday.

A police official said that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the Home Department, intervened in the matter to reinvestigate the accident case after the police drew criticism for registering a weak case against Baruah under bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Senior police officials are also probing the role of the policemen who earlier dealt with the case.

On Saturday night, eight PWD workers were injured, one of them seriously when Baruah's speeding Chevrolet rammed into a van at the Rukmini Nagar area. The Dispur police seized the car and Baruah was picked up by police for further investigation but she was released on bail subsequently.

The model, who was allegedly drunk, reportedly drove her Chevrolet car at high speed while returning home after attending a party in a hotel in the Khanapara area.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:45:30 +0530
Decrease in prices of perishables may moderate Sep inflation to 4 62 Barclays

New Delhi,  Oct 6

 Correction to prices of perishables in the food basket may result in moderation of CPI inflation to 4.62 per cent year-on-year, Barclays said on Wednesday.

In a research report focused on India, the investment banker said that decline in prices of perishable foods should ease inflation further in September, but a diverse set of temporary shocks should push up core inflation.
The elevated global commodity prices continue to exert upward pressure on India's import basket. Overall, we continue to forecast that CPI inflation will average 5.4 per cent in FY2021-22, with risks balanced, Barclays said in its report.

The inflation projection of 4.62 per cent for September should be comforting to the government as several factors have emerged to push up the pressure in the economy. The September numbers never will further take inflation to RBI's comfort zone of closer to 4 per cent rate. 

CPI inflation has maintained a southward movement for the past couple of months. It stood at 5.3 per cent in August and 5.59 per cent in July. Analysts feel that high base effect is also responsible for inflation numbers showing a downward trajectory. This should correct post November when the high base effect advantage of last year should vanish. Thereafter the projection is that inflation may again rise in the fourth quarter period of FY22.

"Overall, at 1.7 per cent y/y in September, food inflation would be at its lowest in 29 months. If the benign food price trend continues in October, food inflation could move lower again and push the headline inflation below 4 per cent y/y in October, owing in part to a high base," Barclays said. 

But the core inflation in the month may remain at elevated levels and further rise in September due to pressure on energy prices particularly fuel prices that has seen rise to multi year high levels now. 

Moreover, with India's second Covid wave largely under control, many state governments have allowed schools to reopen, which could result in a rise in tuition fees. In addition, temporary price increases could also be seen in motor vehicles (due to regulatory changes) and telecom services (due to ongoing price revisions). 

"We also expect the increase in healthcare costs to remain sizeable. Overall, we expect core CPI inflation to rise to 6.4 per cent y/y in September," the banker said in its report.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:38:55 +0530
Visa launches India s 1st card token service for online platforms

New Delhi, Oct 6

 Digital payments firm Visa on Wednesday launched Card-on-File (CoF) tokenization services in India in line with the recently issued guidelines by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to secure customers' financial data.

Visa's card tokenisation service is currently available with ecommerce platforms such as Grofers, Bigbasket and MakeMyTrip.

"Having launched CoF tokenization services in over 130 countries globally, we are confident of the technology's ability to build a safe, secure and seamless environment for digital payments," TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa, said in a statement.

Tokenisation is the process of replacing credit or debit card details with a unique set of characters or a 'token' that enables payments to be processed without exposing any sensitive account details that could potentially breach security and privacy of the consumers.

The tokenisation system generates 16 random characters, called as 'token', to replace the original credit card number while online shopping.

The tokenisation system returns the 16-digit random characters to the e-commerce site to replace the customer's credit card number in the system.

Card-on-File (CoF) tokenisation provides two key benefits -- consumer and ecosystem security and an enhanced checkout experience.

The RBI's recent card tokenisation guidelines mandate replacing the actual card data with encrypted digital tokens, which are then used to facilitate and authenticate transactions.

This devaluation of sensitive card details alleviates risk and reduces vulnerability of sensitive data, as only tokens are present in transit, across the 'in-rest' and 'in-use' phases.

These new guidelines are expected to enhance consumer trust in ecommerce payments, ensure seamless transaction experience as well allow card issuers the comfort of authorizing a higher number of transactions.

The RBI's consent for card-on-file tokenisation by card networks for transactions on mobile phones, tablets, laptops/desktops, wearables, IoT devices etc. is aimed at making card-based digital payments more secure and frictionless.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:35:28 +0530
German police conduct major raid against organised crime

Berlin, Oct 6

 In a major raid against organised crime, German police forces searched homes and offices and made ten arrest warrants in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bremen on Wednesday.

The operation was directed against "members of an internationally operating money laundering and hawala network," Duesseldorf police said in a statement.

More than 1,000 forces, including special units, have searched over 80 properties, Xinhua news agency reported.

Investigations already started in May 2020 after a gym bag with 300,000 euros (around $346,000) in cash was found in a crashed car by a customs patrol, public broadcaster WDR reported.

One of the two car occupants is said to have supported IS fighters in the Syrian province of Idlib.

According to the police, both men are believed to be part of a larger group that collects money from refugees in Germany, among others, to channel it to Turkey or Syria.

Police assume that at least 100 million euros have been laundered. (1 euro = $1.16)


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:32:43 +0530
Members of European Parliament question EU US relationship

Brussels, Oct 6

 The relations between the European Union (EU) and the US have come under fire as some members of the European Parliament (MEPs) urged the union to reposition itself with increased autonomy.

Frustrated by Washington's recent unilateral moves, especially the signing of the trilateral Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) security partnership and its push for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the MEPs on Tuesday started their first October plenary by spending two and a half hours debating the transatlantic partnership, Xinhua news agency reported.

"I'm disappointed by President (Joe) Biden," said Belgian MEP Hilde Vautmans.

"He claims America's back. Fair enough. But does that mean that in his perception, in his mind, and in his strategic approach, that also Europe is back? No."

She recalled that the Biden administration did not consult its European partners when announcing its withdrawal from Afghanistan and "completely sidelined" the Europeans in the AUKUS deal. Moreover, he did not even take the step to abolish American tariffs on European steel, added Vautmans.

German MEP Bernd Lange highlighted the trade disputes between the EU and the US. "The honeymoon is over," he said.

Concerning the steel tariff row, Lange noted that the EU will double its counter measures if a solution is not found by the end of November. Meanwhile, the US submarine deal with Australia "is certainly not something which has helped to make our relationship more stable," he said.

Maximilian Krah from the Identity and Democracy Group in the European Parliament called for a partnership with the US based on real interests instead of pure ideologies.

Krah said he believes that there are different traditions in the multi-polar world and Westerners need to learn from and listen to other views.

"The best way forward on this Earth is to try to negotiate and not imagine that we are the only people who know the real truth," he said.

Clare Daly from the Left Group in the European Parliament reminded that the US States is a country which "is ruthlessly pursuing an espionage case against Julian Assange for publishing information about US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq" and "plots regime change and imposes illegal sanctions that kill in every corner of the globe".

"American and European supremacy is over. We live in a different, multipolar world that's more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. The main challenge is climate change. Getting through it will require cooperation, not competition," she said.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:30:22 +0530
Researchers trace reason behind sudden increase in flux of blazar

New Delhi, Oct 6

 Scientists tracking a blazar 3.5 billion light years from Earth that stands out with its quasi-periodic optical outbursts over trillion times the Sun's luminosity, going back nearly 120 years, have traced the reason behind the sudden increase in its flux states.

Blazars are one of the brightest sources in the universe. With the source of its optical flare, which was earlier understood to be a binary super massive black hole, a new study has found the source to be more complex and provides a better understanding of blazars and the physics powering the source of their optical flare, said a release from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

A special class of blazar is called 'BL Lacs', which shows rapid and large variability in emission. A blazar called 'OJ 287', whose central super massive black hole is among the largest known, belongs to this class. However, the origin of its optical flare is unique and different from other BL Lacs.

It had been proposed as a binary black hole system where one super massive black hole has been orbiting around the central black hole with an orbital period of nearly 12 years (result from century-long optical monitoring). The underlying physical mechanism of optical flaring has remained a puzzle for a long time, mainly because of its unpredictability and huge luminosity.

"Studies done in the past on OJ 287 preferred the binary black hole model for this source. But a flare was observed in April-May 2020, which was not predicted under the binary black hole scenario suggesting that there are other physical phenomena involved in this source that are causing the bright X-ray and optical flares which needed to be explored," the study said.

A group of scientists from Raman Research Institute, an autonomous institute of the Science and Technology department along with Rukayia Khatoon from Tezpur university, Bozena Czerny from Center for Theoretical Physics, Poland, and Pratik Majumdar from Saha Institute of Nuclear Institute studying the blazar OJ 287 -- who studied the second brightest flare observed in X-ray in April-May 2020 -- observed very interesting behaviour of the X-ray spectrum during its flaring and non-flaring states.

The team consisting of Raj Prince, Gayathri Raman, and Varun, past Ph.D students of Raman Research Institute, Aditi Agarwal, current post-doctoral fellow at Raman Research Institute, and Nayantara Gupta, a faculty member at Raman Research Institute, also detected a significant spectral change in X-ray and optical-UV suggesting the complex nature of the source of blazar OJ 287.

They included the observational data recorded by Astrosat, the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical, and UV spectral bands simultaneously, along with publicly available data from other detectors from all over the world like the Swift-XRT/UVOT, NuSTAR to explore the temporal as well as spectral behaviour of this source.

They found a significant change in the optical-UV and X-ray spectrum, which leads to a shift in location of the peak of radiation from highly energetic electrons in the magnetic field or the peak of synchrotron emission towards higher energy. As a result, the blazar OJ 287, which is known to be a BL Lac type object with peak energy flux at low energy, showed a peak at higher energy, it said.

The temporal and the spectral properties of blazar OJ 287 study published in "Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society" (MNRAS) suggested a significant change in the spectral property as the source travels from a low-flux to high-flux state. The modelling of the observational data suggests an increase in the jet magnetic field (magnetic field in the jet-like emission region) during the flaring state.

Binary black hole systems in blazars are very rare and their study can establish the theory of galaxy mergers in the early universe, which eventually results in a binary black hole system. Thus, this study partially supported by the Polish Funding Agency, National Science Centre, can provide a better understanding of blazar OJ 287, the release added.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:25:59 +0530
BJP planning hard in Puducherry to win maximum seats in civic polls

Puducherry, Oct 6

 The BJP in Puducherry which has not won a single seat in the municipal council elections when it was last held in 2006, is planning meticulously for a good show this time.

The Puducherry Election commission is to issue a new notification for the municipal elections after its plea to withdraw the already issued notification was allowed by the Madras High Court on Tuesday. The BJP which had a weak organisational structure earlier, now has developed a base after the 2021 assembly polls in which the party won six seats.

The party has also nominated three leaders as legislators and has a Rajya Sabha MP in party leader Selvaganabathy.

Party state president Swaminathan, national secretary in charge of the Union Territory, Nirmal Kumar Surana, and state Home Minister and party leader, A. Namasivayam are now working on the strategy for a good show in the municipal elections.

While BJP is trying hard to get a footprint in the municipal elections which would give it much-needed leverage at the grassroots level, the lack of known public faces is a major concern for the party in the union territory.

There is no leader who has a mass appeal and no credible face who can swing the votes.

A senior BJP leader said, "The party will have to project some good leaders to support us and for this, either we may have to increase the efficiency level of our existing leaders or have to rope in established leaders of other parties. Trying leaders from our ally parties is also an option."

While BJP may not have a public figure or a known face to pull an election victory, it is chalking out an efficient election strategy with full-timers being deputed across the union territory to win the municipal elections. The idea of the BJP is to stamp its popularity among the masses and thereby be in power in the UT independently.

The BJP currently is in alliance with All India NR Congress to share power in Puducherry with AINRC leader, N. Rangasamy leading the coalition government as Chief Minister.

Mohammed Riyas of Mahe Institute of Development Studies, a think tank in Puducherry, said, "The attitude of the people towards the BJP has changed for the better. However, it cannot rest on its laurels and have to work hard among the people to pull off some exciting victories in the municipal elections."


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:19:53 +0530
UP businessman ends life after spat wife also attempts suicide

Meerut (UP), Oct 6

 A Meerut-based businessman allegedly ended his life by hanging after an "altercation with his wife", police said on Wednesday.

The family members found Amit Bansal, 31, hanging from a ceiling fan at his residence in Shastri Nagar locality under the Nauchandi police station here on Tuesday and informed the police.

However, seeing her husband hanging, the 29-year-old wife Pinky allegedly attempted to slash her neck and wrist.

Police said that they were trying to find out the exact reason that drove the victim and his wife to take the extreme step. The couple is well-known in social circles and have bureaucratic connections too.

An engineer-turned businessman, Bansal had a flourishing business. In 2016, he married Pinky, a fashion designer, and the couple have a daughter who is seven months old.

The police said that the couple was apparently happily married and would share their vacation photographs on the social media.

Pinky, meanwhile, has been admitted to a hospital in a critical condition.

Superintendent of Police, City, Vineet Bhatnagar said: "According to the family, Amit was happily married. Besides, he also was not under any apparent financial distress. We are trying to find out what exactly led to this. Things will be clear once Pinky can speak."

He added that from the CCTV footage, "it is evident that Amit went to the room and made a rope by cutting cloth and hanged himself. We are trying to get hold of their phones and other evidence to get a clear picture behind the incident".


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:16:05 +0530
Maintain precautions as Covid not over yet warns AIIMS chief

New Delhi, Oct 6

 The Covid pandemic is not over yet and hence, people should not lower their guard, AIIMS Director, Dr Randeep Guleria, said on Wednesday.

Appearing in an information video series by the Health Ministry titled 'Covid Gurukool', he said that the second Covid surge still continues, with the country reporting many thousands of cases per day.

"If we look at global scenario, increasing cases are being reported in many parts of the world," he said, noting that the pandemic will eventually turn endemic in due course of time, like many previous pandemics have.

"The Covid pandemic will turn into mere illness and will become part of our day to day life. Majority of people with immunity will have normal symptoms like cold, cough, fever, and flu-like symptoms. But elderly people with low immunity may get severe illness in the form of pneumonia requiring hospital admission," he said.

However, Dr Guleria warned that, at the current time, it is premature to say the pandemic has become endemic and we still need to be extremely cautious as we don't know how will the virus behave in coming times.

"The virus may mutate and become more infectious, so we need to be very much cautious," he said.

Meanwhile, India on Wednesday reported 18,333 fresh Covid cases and 278 deaths.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:11:44 +0530
Father opens fire on workers bullet pierces son s head

Dakshina Kannada (Karnataka), Oct 6

 In a tragic incident, a 16-year-old boy in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district, is in a critical state after being hit by a bullet fired by his father allegedly at two workers demanding their dues, police said.

Manguluru Police Commissioner N. Shashikumar said that the incident took place on Tuesday near Vaishnavi Express Cargo Private Ltd and one of the bullets pierced the left eye of Sudheendra, a Class 10 student, and penetrated 7 to 8 inches into the head. The boy is in the ICU.

"Rajesh Prabhu, the father, has a licensed gun. The police have recovered two empty bullet cases from the spot. However, it is not yet clear how exactly this incident took place. There are rumours that the incident has taken place against the backdrop of pending dues to workers. The whole sequence is unclear. We will question the father and workers who were present at that time," he said.

"The police have obtained CCTV footage and there are witnesses to the incident as the bullet has been fired in full public view," Shashikumar added.

Police sources say that the man, who runs a transport company, was enraged as the workers demanded their dues and opened fire on them.

They say the problem started when workers Chandra and Ashraf demanded their dues, and Prabu allegedly lost his cool when an argument broke out and slapped one of the workers. Later, in the melee, he opened fire on them, but hit his son accidentally.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:08:31 +0530
UP hospital sealed for treating patients on pavement outside

Firozabad (UP), Oct 6

 A private hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Firozabad has been sealed after visuals of over 30 fever patients, lying on pavement with intravenous drip bottles tacked to the sidewall of a flyover of a busy national highway, went viral on social media.

The hospital was sealed on Tuesday after health officials faced the ire of families of patients being treated in the open.

Later, the patients were taken to government health centres.

According to sources, when the rooms of the private hospital were fully occupied, arrangements were made for treatment at the footpath on service lane of National Highway-2, which passes in front of the nursing home.

Contacted for comment, Chief Medical Officer of Firozabad district, Dr Dinesh Kumar Premi, said: "The nursing home has been sealed and a committee headed by an Additional Chief Medical Officer is investigating the entire matter. All the patients have been transferred to government centres. On the basis of the probe report, suitable action will be taken against the concerned doctors."

He further said, "There are 64 active camps in the district and 5,000 people, including those who have fever, are undergoing treatment there."

With the number of dengue patients crossing the 4,800 mark since August, all government hospitals have run out of beds.

With four more deaths in the past 24 hours, the toll in Firozabad district -- which has become the hub of dengue outbreak, touched 265 on Tuesday. Of these, 228 were children.

However, the Chief Medical Officer claimed that there were only 63 deaths due to dengue-like symptoms.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:03:40 +0530
Woman held for suicide attempt in front of actor Ajith s residence

Chennai, Oct 6

 A woman tried to immolate herself in front of the residence of Tamil superstar Ajith, alleging that she lost her job as a nurse in a private hospital after she took a video of him and his actor wife Shalini during their visit there.

The incident occurred on Monday evening.

Farzana, who was employed as a staff nurse in the private hospital, was dismissed by the hospital management after finding that she had uploaded the video, which had gone viral, for violating employment rules.

The woman told police that she approached Shalini to help her get the job back but reportedly did not get support from her.

Farzana reached the actor's residence on Monday evening with another woman to protest and the police personnel posted there tried to pacify her. But, police said that she suddenly screamed that it was due to Ajith that she had lost her job and poured kerosene over her head in a bid to immolate herself.

Police and passers-by restrained her and poured water over her. She was arrested and taken to the police station and given counselling. However, police sources said that no case was registered against her.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:58:19 +0530
Rave party NCP claims non NCB personnel involved in ship raid

Mumbai, Oct 6

 In a stunning claim, a senior Nationalist Congress Party leader on Wednesday alleged that two private persons including a Bharatiya Janata Party 'Vice President' were involved in the Narcotics Control Bureau raid on a luxury ship Cordelia Cruise on October 2.

NCP national spokesperson and Maharashtra Minorities Affairs Minister Nawab Malik slammed the "fraud" NCB operations,in which BJP leader Manish Bhanushali and "private detective" Kiran P. Gosavi were seen dragging out the accused. including superstar Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan and Arbaaz Merchant.

While a bearded and bespectacled Bhanushali, sporting a maroon shirt, was seen dragging out Merchant, the bald Gosavi was shown pulling Aryan Khan out of the International Cruise Terminal late on Saturday, shocking the country and rattling the entertainment industry.

Malik said that Bhanushali had posted photos with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President J.P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Leader of Opposition in Maha Assembly Devendra Fadnavis, plus current and former central and state ministers, and other senior BJP leaders.

"The BJP and the NCB must come clear who are these two persons and why were they seen in the so-called ship raid. Both these persons are fakes and the NCB raid was a fraud intended only for grabbing publicity. What is the BJP's connections with both of them," he demanded.

Malik reiterated that since the past one year after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, the NCB is only targeting high-profile film personalities, raids are carried out with an eye on hogging publicity, defaming the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and instilling fear in the minds of Bollywood people.

In response, BJP's Leader of Opposition in the Council Pravin Darekar promptly denied Malik's contentions and said that he was making the allegations out of frustration as his son-in-law Sameer Khan was nabbed by the NCB in January. 2021.



Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:54:40 +0530
Modi to dedicate 35 PSA oxygen plants across 35 states UTs on Thursday

New Delhi, Oct 6

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation 35 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Oxygen Plants established under PM CARES, across 35 states and union territories on Thursday.

Modi will dedicate these oxygen PSA plants in an event at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.

He will also address the gathering on the occasion. On the same day, he will complete 20 years of his service in public office since he took oath as Gujarat chief minister in 2001.

All districts across the country will have now commissioned PSA Oxygen Plants with induction of these 35 PSA oxygen plants. A total of 1,224 PSA Oxygen Plants have been funded under the PM CARES across the country since the advent of Covid-19 pandemic. Out of that more than 1,100 plants have been commissioned, providing an output of over 1,750 MT oxygen per day.

The project to commission a PSA oxygen plant in each district of the country was executed while dealing with complex challenges of hilly areas, islands and territories with difficult terrain. Around 7,000 personnel have been trained to monitor the operation and maintenance of these plants. These plants will be monitored with an embedded Internet of Things (IoT) device to check real time functioning and performance through a consolidated web portal.

The Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya along with the Governor and Chief Minister of Uttarakhand will also be present on the occasion.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:50:39 +0530
Cabinet okays bonus equivalent to 78 days wages to non gazetted railway staff

New Delhi, Oct 6

 The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days' wages for the financial year 2020-21 for all eligible non-gazetted railway employees, excluding the Railway Protection Force and the Railway Protection Special Force personnel.

Briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said that the financial implication of payment of 78 days' PLB to railway employees has been estimated to be Rs.1984.73 crore. And 11.56 lakh non- gazetted employees will be benefited with this decision and are expected to be motivated for working towards improving the performance of the Railways.

The maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs 17,951 for 78 days.

The payment of the PLB to eligible railway employees is made each year before the Dussehra holidays. It will be implemented before the holidays this year as well.

Railways was the first ministry of the central government where the concept of PLB was introduced in 1979-80 which was evolved in consultation with the two recognized federations namely, All India Railwaymen's Federation and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen and with the approval of the Cabinet. The scheme envisages a review every three years.

The main consideration at that time was the important role of the Railways as an infrastructural support in the performance of the economy.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:48:05 +0530
Congress to contest upcoming bypolls in Bengal

New Delhi, Oct 6

 After giving walkover to the Trinamool Congress in recent by-elections in West Bengal, the Congress party has decided to contest the next bypolls in the state to be held on October 30.

The four seats going for bypolls in West Bengal are Dinhata (Cooch Behar), Santipur (Nadia), Khardaha (North 24 Parganas) and Gosaba (South 24 Parganas).

The Congress, miffed after poaching of its leaders by the TMC in the state and outside of it, met here on Wednesday and decided to contest the upcoming by-elections. The meeting was attended by West Bengal leaders and AICC office bearers, and it's likely that candidates will be announced ahead of the last day of nomination, which is on October 8.

The Congress is annoyed with the TMC's strategy to induce defection in the party. Two senior leaders -- former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Falerio and Sushmita Dev have already joined the TMC.

Bypolls to Dinhata and Santipur constituencies are necessitated as two sitting BJP MPs — Nisith Pramanik and Jagannath Sarkar — resigned from the respective seats after winning them in the Assembly polls earlier this year. Bypolls to Khardaha and Gosaba are being held following the death of TMC MLAs.

In the recent bypolls in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress won all the three seats. The Congress did not field candidates and gave walkover to Mamata Banerjee and her party.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee secured 84,709 votes, decisively defeating BJP's Priyanka Tibrewal who secured 26,350 votes in the make or break Bhabanipur bypoll, while CPI-M's Shreejib Biwas managed to get only 4,201 votes. In Jangipur and Samserganj too, the Trinamool won with comfortable margin.

The Congress, which did not contest Bhabanipur, was the second largest party with 44 MLAs in the assembly after the 2016 polls but now has none and just one Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha MP from the state.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:45:30 +0530
Twitchy toxic divisive Facebook s Instagram problem implodes


New York, Oct 6

"Twitchy", "toxic", "divisive". Facebook's Instagram problem is imploding. Facebook bought out the photo sharing app for $1 billion in 2012 and on Tuesday, a whistleblower blew the covers off how Facebook engineers the toxic connections driving teens on Instagram to the brink.

The damning revelations came via more than 200 minutes of live testimony in US Congress Tuesday.

Recently leaked internal Facebook documents show that 13 per cent of British users and 6 per cent of American users trace their desire to kill themselves to Instagram.

After first confronting Facebook's head of global safety, US lawmakers turned to whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former employee at the social networking giant.

Facebook, according to Haugen, is laser focused on getting younger users hooked on Instagram early on so they don't end up going to TikTok or Snapchat.

"They understand the value of younger users for the long term success of Facebook," she said Tuesday.

Haugen, testifying to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, laid out the broad brushstrokes of new regulations needed to rein in Facebook and other platforms that feed off customer data to fire their growth engines.

The most charged moments came when Haugen spoke about the harm to teens, mostly girls, on Instagram.

Haugen said Facebook knows that kids in their most vulnerable moments are harmed by its systems. She said Facebook has figured out that around the age of 14, right before high school, is when kids are most likely to get sucked into Instagram's emotional roller coaster.

Here are some key excerpts from Haugen's testimony Tuesday, especially as it relates to young people on the platform:

Problematic use: "I think any research regarding what Facebook does on problematic use, the addictiveness of the product - is of vital importance, and anything around what Facebook knows about parents' lack of knowledge about the platform. Facebook articulates the idea that parents today are not aware of dangers via Instagram. Because they themselves do not live through these experiences, they can't coach their kids on basic safety."

Instagram is about bodies: "Facebook's own research says Instagram is actually distinctly worse than say TikTok or Snapchat or Reddit. TikTok is about doing fun things with your friends. Snapchat is about facing and augmented reality. Reddit is vaguely about ideas, but Instagram is about bodies, and about comparing lifestyles. And so I think there are real questions where Instagram would have to come in and think hard about their product, or what is their product about."

Anorexia content: Facebook knows that their engagement based ranking, the way they pick the content in Instagram for young users - for all users - amplifies preferences, and they have done something called a proactive approach. Active, incident response where they take things that they've heard for example like can you be led by the algorithms to anorexia content, and they have literally recreated that experiment themselves and confirmed. Yes, this, this happens to people. So Facebook knows they are leading young users to anorexia content."

Profits before people: "I believe Facebook's products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy. The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed."

Misleading, divisive, extreme: "The company intentionally hides vital information from the public from the US government and from governments around the world. The documents I have provided to Congress prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public about its own research, the safety of children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence systems and role in spreading divisive and extreme messages."


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 08:49:54 +0530
Trolled for swimsuit pix actress Vidyulekha Raman slams 1920 aunts and uncles


Chennai, Oct 6

South Indian actress Vidyulekha Raman was trolled for posting pictures on Instagram that showed her wearing a bikini during her honeymoon trip to the Maldives. The trolls kept asking the actress when she would get a divorce.

The actor married her fiancée, Sanjay, a fitness expert, on September 9 and they had been to the Maldives for their honeymoon. In the caption to her post, in which she's seen wearing a yellow floral swimsuit, Raman said, "I need six months off twice a year."

Later, she shared she had been receiving messages and comments asking her: "When is your divorce?" She said she had answered the trolls by saying: "Live and let live."

In a strong response, the actress said: "Hi Guys, When is my divorce? ... Just because I am wearing a swimsuit? Whoa. Get out, 1920 aunts and uncles. Come in 2021! The problem is not the negative comments. But the way we think as a society. If a woman's clothes are the reason for her divorce, shouldn't everyone be in a "dressed properly" happy marriage? He (her husband) told me to ignore it and not address it. But I can't just brush it off."

She continued: "I can't change your toxic, narrow-minded, or extremely regressive outlook on life. I hope the women in your life stand up to the sexist, oppressive and downright degrading ways in which you view a woman and her personality. Live and Let Live."

Social activist and Madurai-based Political Science Professor, Dr Uma Maheswari, speaking to IANS, said, "This mindset has to change and a person has the right to wear and post in her Instagram account. Why are people so much worried about what a woman wears and posts. It's her personal liberty. Much awareness is required in our society to ensure people have a free and open mind."


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 08:44:25 +0530
Dhoni hints at playing IPL 2022 hopes to play his farewell game in Chennai

New Delhi, Oct 6

MS Dhoni, the captain of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Tuesday hinted that he will continue playing for the franchise for at least one more IPL season by saying that his fans can see him play a 'farewell game' in Chennai next year.

Chennai Super Kings are likely to go through a big transition phase post mega auction in 2022 and there is speculation whether MS Dhoni will be seen in yellow jersey or not.

However, the 40-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, in an event celebrating 75 years of India Cements, said that he hopes to play his last match in Chennai.

"When it comes to farewell, you can still come and see me play for CSK and that can be my farewell game. So, you will still get that opportunity to bid me farewell. Hopefully, we will come to Chennai and play my last game over there and we can meet the fans there," Dhoni said while interacting with fans during the virtual event.

The former India captain, who hung up his boots from international cricket last year, has not played in Chennai since 2019 as the 2020 edition of the cash-rich league was held in the UAE and CSK played matches in the first phase of IPL 2021 in Mumbai before it was suspended due to Covid-19.

Answering a fan's question on his decision to retire from international cricket on August 15 last year, Dhoni said "It can't be a better day than that, 15th of August."

Talking about CSK's ability to remain composed in crunch situations in big matches, Dhoni said, "We try to keep it as normal as possible. We try to prepare well by having enough sleep and prepare for the opposition we are playing against."

"We are a process-driven team and we know that if we follow the process if we execute the plans well if we do the small things right, we will get the desired result, we know the result is a byproduct and that also keeps us calm.

"We live in the moment and enjoy each other's company. We know that if we play to our potential, we can beat the opposition. If the opposition has to beat us, they have to play better cricket," he concluded.

Three-time champions Chennai Super Kings are currently sitting on the second spot with 18 points in IPL 2021.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 08:36:24 +0530
Won t allow Sri Lanka to be used to inflict threat on India s security SL President

Colombo, Oct 6

The President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, assured India on Tuesday that he will not allow Sri Lanka to be used to inflict any threat on India's security.

Issuing a statement following the meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the President's media unit said that Rajapaksa made the assurance on India's security describing the importance of the geographical positioning of India and Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa also explained his country's relationship with China and assured that India should not have any doubt about it.

During the meeting, the discussion was also held on enhancing the opportunities for the Sri Lankan military to train in India.

The Sri Lankan President also reiterated the need to reintroduce former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike's 1971 proposal to declare the Indian Ocean as a Peace Zone and urged India's support for this endeavor.

The President stressed the need to reintroduce the strong ties between the two countries, similar to what it was during the 1960s and 70s.

Rajapaksa also told the Indian Foreign Secretary that his government is taking measures to create an environment for all the Tamil people who left the country to return to the island nation and said that at the recently-concluded United Nations summit, he extended an open invitation to the Tamil diaspora and all Tamil people living around the world.

Rajapaksa has also stated that 90 per cent of the lands in the North and East acquired for security reasons during the war has been returned and compensation has been paid to the families of the disappeared.

While inviting Indian investors to Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa said that the subject minister has been vested with the responsibility to resolve the issue relating to the Trincomalee Oil Tanks in the East in a way that would benefit both countries.

Rajapaksa assured that the long-dragging issue relating to fishermen in the two countries could be resolved, providing benefits to the fishing communities in both parties.

Rajapaksa also extended an invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Sri Lanka.

During the meeting with the President, the Indian Foreign Secretary underscored the importance India attaches to expeditiously taking forward mutually beneficial projects, including proposals to enhance air and sea connectivity between India and Sri Lanka.

He reiterated India's position on the complete implementation of the provisions under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, including devolution of power and the holding of provincial council elections at the earliest.

Shringla later left Sri Lanka after completing his three-day visit. During his first-ever visit, the Foreign Secretary met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, Lankan Foreign Secretary Admiral (Retd) Jayanath Colombage and some Tamil political leaders.

He also visited the historical Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, the India-run oil tanks in Trincomalee and the former war-torn Northern city of Jaffna.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday, Shringla stated that India-Sri Lanka relations are underpinned by vibrant people-to-people ties which would be further strengthened with the signing of the inter-governmental MoU for the $15 million Buddhism grant.

As a mark of goodwill and to bolster cultural links between the two countries, he said India will welcome the inaugural flight from Sri Lanka to Kushinagar, a religiously important place for Buddhists.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 08:27:46 +0530
Oil palm promotion to turn NE states into oil palm hubs of India Agri Minister

New Delhi, Oct 6

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday asserted that the government's decision to make major interventions in the northeastern states for oil palm promotion will turn them into oil palm hubs of the country.

Emphasizing an equal role for the development of the crop (oil palm) and making major investments for seed nursery, drip irrigation, technical back-up, setting up of mills, purchase centres and training of farmers, Tomar said, "The special package and assistance for NE states will change the socio-economic status of the farmers and open employment opportunities in the established oil palm mills along with infrastructure development."

Tomar was speaking at the 'National Mission on Edible Oil - Oil Palm Business Summit for North-Eastern States' in Guwahati.

The Union minister also informed that the business summit has been aimed at exploring the target of area expansion, seedling requirement fixed for different states through processors, details of viability gap payment, interventions, and assistance under the mission, a release from the ministry said.

The mission with a total outlay of Rs 11,040 crore will bring an additional area of 6.5 lakh hectares under oil palm plantation with 3.28 lakh hectares in northeastern states and 3.22 hectares in the rest of India in the next five years, Tomar said.

The Agriculture Minister stated that the government is committed to protecting the oil palm farmers through price assurance, adding that under the mission, oil palm farmers will be provided all the assistance needed.

Union Minister for Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER), G. Kishan Reddy, appreciated the vision of the government of India for coming up with "a very well-planned edible palm oil scheme, which is a win-win for the farmers as well as for the development of the region".

The DoNER Minister appealed to the investors and industrialists to invest in the northeastern region, which has immense potential for agricultural sector, especially palm oil.

The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, said that it is time for the investors to come and invest in the northeast in a big way to develop the agriculture sector and take advantage of the fertile lands and climate.

"Palm oil holds special significance as its cultivation can open up untapped avenues of earning for the farmers in the northeast," he said.

Assam's Agriculture Minister Atul Bora informed that presently, farmers in two districts of Assam - Goalpara and Kamrup - are engaged in oil palm cultivation while there is a plan of bringing 1,500 hectares of land in 17 other districts under palm oil cultivation.

An MoU was signed on the occasion between the Assam Bio-Refinery Private Limited (ABRPL) and the Numaligarh Refinery to establish a first-of-its-kind biorefinery in India to produce renewable green fuel bioethanol.


Wed, 06 Oct 2021 08:18:12 +0530
Skin minimalism is here to stay

New Delhi, Oct 5

 We all want flawless, glass skin that looks dewy and fresh throughout the day. We do so much, use so many products just for that one desired look which is a trait in the Asian community. We even follow a 10-step skincare routine that involves double cleansing, exfoliation, masks, five different steps for hydration etc. But is it really worth it? Is it suitable and necessary for our skin? Well, the thing is, such a skincare routine might sound fascinating, but it is neither a sustainable choice nor healthy for our skin as we know excess of everything can be harmful. Due to these standards of beauty, we start questioning the appearance of our skin which has pores which is absolutely normal to have.

So, what can we do? The answer is Skin minimalism. This trend is here to stay for the long run. It involves basic steps of skincare, is economical, sustainable and healthy for your skin. For us, this is the way to go ahead in our skincare journey. So, what all steps does it include? Let's have a look and get the answer to many such questions and mysteries revolving around our skin shared by Rajat Mathur, Education Manager, Kiehl's India. Ready? It involves only 4 steps:

* A Gentle Cleanser: In a skincare routine, the first and foremost step is always cleansing. Cleansing helps your skin to get rid of dirt, impurities and excess oil which may read to breakouts and of course, none of us wants that. Sleeping with make-up on can also be a cause of breakouts so it's better to cleanse your face twice a day during the morning and at night. Doing this alone can make a big difference as this step ensures better penetration of all the other skincare products that you use after cleansing. Do not use a cleanser that is too harsh and gives your skin a squeaky feeling as it means that it has removed all the natural oil of your skin along with the impurities. That's why it is suggested that you should use a gentle and hydrating cleanser and cleanse the skin for 45-60 seconds before pat drying it.

* Exfoliation, Treatments and Serums: Did you know that our skin is clever enough to get rid off of the dead skin cells on its own? Well, it is true. Our skin is smart enough to do that. Exfoliation comes next after cleansing as it removes the dead skin cells making them smooth and healthy. You can choose to go with either physical or chemical exfoliation. Physical exfoliation involves the use of scrubs which can sometimes be harsh to the skin whereas chemical exfoliation is basically using acids to exfoliate the skin. Chemicals and acids sound scary but it's not as scary as you think. It can be much gentler and more effective as compared to physical exfoliation. It is advised to use exfoliators only once or twice a week as excessive exfoliation may lead to irritated and inflamed skin and cause further damage to it. Serums are a formulation that includes ingredients catering to a specific concern like skin brightening, reducing fine lines, reducing pigmentation, acne etc. You can include it in your skincare routine but it's not that essential.

* Moisturizer a Must: We all love and desire that healthy dewy look. Don't we? The key to achieving it is hydration and only hydration. Hydration is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine and so is skin minimalism. Even if your skin is oily and looks like it doesn't need a moisturizer, you still can't skip this step. It is a myth that people with oily skin can skip moisturizers. Yes, you can choose a different formula in moisturizers suitable for your skin type, but you still have to use it otherwise your skin will be forced to produce oil and it'll just look oilier than ever. Talking about formula, for dry skin, one should use cream-based formula whereas as for oily or combination skin, one should use lightweight, gel-based moisturizers.

* Sun Protection: Nothing is more important than sunscreen in the skincare routine. All the products will go in vain if you miss out on this step as no matter how many products you apply, they can't protect you from sun damage. UV rays of the sun are enough for increasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, etc. It is advised to use sunscreen with an SPF of more than 30. Also, you must reapply the sunscreen after every 2-3 hours even after leaving the house.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 17:20:42 +0530
Don t tamper with the side you ve selected for T20 World Cup Agarkar

Mumbai, Oct 5

 Former India pace bowler Ajit Agarkar feels that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should not make any changes to the side they have selected for the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman, scheduled to commence later this month.

"In my opinion, once you have picked the squad for World Cup -- barring injury -- I don't think you should make any changes. Yes, there are guys at the moment who are not in their great form, but it only takes one innings -- whether it's bowling or batting -- to change that form around, and that could still happen before the end of the IPL," said Agarkar on Star Sports.

Both Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav are in the T20 World Cup squad and doubts are being raised about their form following a string of poor scores in the Indian Premier League this season for Mumbai Indians.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya too has played only a couple of games in the UAE, and that too as a batsman, raising doubts whether he is 100 per cent fit to play in the T20 World Cup.

But Agarkar said, "So, if you think that's the best 15 you've picked going to the World Cup, my personal opinion, I would stick with it, because you gotta show faith in people even when things are not looking so good, because things can turn around very quickly."


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 17:17:00 +0530
Sanya Malhotra starrer Meenakshi Sundareshwar releases on Nov 5

Mumbai, Oct 5

 The much-awaited 'Meenakshi Sundareshwar', a film around a North-South marriage starring Sanya Malhotra and Abhimanyu Dassani, is all set to release on November 5 on Netflix.

Directed by Vivek Soni and produced by Dharmatic Entertainment, 'Meenakshi Sundareshwar' encapsulates the many interlinked aspects of relationships, joint families, the awkwardness in a new marriage and everything in between. When the challenge of a long-distance relationship confronts this young couple, the question that arises is: Does distance really brings hearts closer?

Sanya, who debuted in 'Dangal', has previously been seen in 'Shakuntala Devi', 'Ludo' and 'Pagglait'. Abhimanyu, who's actress Bhagyashree's son, made his mark with his debut film 'Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota'.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 17:13:00 +0530
Airtel conducts India s first rural 5G trial

New Delhi, Oct 5

Telecom major Bharti Airtel, along with Ericsson, has conducted India's first 5G network demonstration in a rural geography.

The demonstration took place in Bhaipur Bramanan village on the outskirts of Delhi-NCR using 5G trial spectrum allocated to Airtel by the Department of Telecom.

The telecom major said that trial showcased the massive potential offered by 5G towards bridging the digital divide by enabling access to high speed broadband through solutions such as 'enhanced mobile broadband' (eMBB) and 'Fixed Wireless Access' (FWA) services.

"The highlight of the trial was the demonstration of over 200 Mbps throughput on 3GPP-compliant 5G FWA device at distance of over 10 km from the site. This translated into an inter-site (between two 5G sites) coverage of approximately 20 km, thus offering the ability to provide high-speed broadband coverage even in the remotest of geographies," the telecom major said in a statement.

"As part of the trial, even a commercially available 3GPP-based 5G smartphone was able to connect to the 5G test network and record 100+ Mbps speeds at a distance of over 10 km from the site."

As per the statement, 5G site infrastructure was powered by Ericsson's 3GPP-compliant 5G radio.

"The trial was carried out by utilising the allocated mid-band trial spectrum in 3500MHz band and existing FDD spectrum band."

"The results of trial demonstrate Airtel's capability to enable 5G for both capacity and coverage over its existing nationwide 4G infrastructure."

Over the past few months, Bharti Airtel and Ericsson have partnered to demonstrate enhanced speeds of more than 1Gbps on a live 5G network set up at Cyber Hub in Gurugram using Bharti's 3500 MHz trial spectrum.

In January this year, the two companies also showcased Ericsson Spectrum Sharing capabilities on a commercially deployed installed base of 1800 MHz liberalised frequencies in Hyderabad to give consumers their first experience of 5G from a live commercial network.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 17:06:10 +0530
IRDAI Banks Board Bureau in the dock on promotions in insurance sector

Chennai, Oct 5

 All is not well in the government insurance sector with regard to elevation of officials, it seems.

Recently, orders by two different High Courts, in a matter of two months, relating to non-promotion of insurance industry experts, has shocked the sector.

In both cases, the court decisions were in favour of the petitioners.

In one case, the aggrieved party is Ravi, General Manager, National Insurance Company Ltd.

And in the other, it was S.N. Jayasimhan, Joint Director now known as General Manager, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).

In Jayasimhan's case, the Telangana High Court held that the IRDAI's then Chairman did not have the authority to relax the qualifications for selecting a person to the post of Chief General Manager.

As per the IRDAI norms, only a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) can be considered for the post of Chief General Manager while the action of the Chairman in relaxing FCA to CFA/ICWAI (Chartered Financial Analyst/Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India) and providing appointment to another is without jurisdiction and arbitrary.

The high court ordered that Jayasimhan, FCA, is the only person qualified and the IRDAI shall consider his case for the post of Chief General Manager forthwith with all consequential benefits.

It also set aside the promotion orders of Mamata Suri, Executive Director, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, on deputation from the IRDAI, holding that Suri does not possess the FCA qualification and her promotion is illegal.

The court also held that the power of relaxing the qualification is not vested with the Chairman since no resolution to that effect has been passed.

Hence the action of the Chairman in relaxing FCA to CFA/ICWAI and promoting Suri is contrary to law, arbitrary, and without jurisdiction.

On her part, Suri preferred an appeal against the Single Judge's order. The Bench ordered an interim suspension of the Single Judge order, but added its order does not come in the way of the IRDAI promoting Jayasimhan in the existing vacancies.

The Delhi High Court on Monday held that the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) cannot select the General Manager and Directors of public sector general insurers as it is not a competent body.

It also ordered setting aside of appointments made pursuant to the selections of General Manager and Directors of public sector general insurers are liable to be set aside.

In his case, Ravi had complained people junior to him were selected by the BBB for the position of Director in public sector general insurers twice - in August 2020 and May 2021.

The court held that the circulars enabling the BBB to select the General Manager and Directors of government owned general insurers are not legally valid and are set aside.

"Consequently, the impugned selections could not have been undertaken by the BBB. The appointments made pursuant to the impugned selections of General Manager and Directors of PSICs (public sector insurance companies) are liable to be set aside. It is ordered accordingly," it declared.

Interestingly, the other question that would arise is that when the BBB is not competent to select Directors, then how competent is it to select the Chairman and Managing Directors of the public sector general insurers.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 17:03:19 +0530
US warning China over Taiwan provocations

New Delhi, Oct 5

 US President Joe Biden's administration is warning China over its increasing provocations against Taiwan, a critical flashpoint amid the ongoing poor relations between Washington and Beijing, The Hill reported.

Taiwan raised the alarm after Chinese warplanes violated its airspace nearly 150 times over the course of about four days, leaving top Taiwanese, and some American, officials worried about a military confrontation.

"We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan, and we have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. That's why we will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

The US has a unique relationship with the island, providing military and other types of support since China's Nationalist government fled there in 1949 following the Chinese Civil War.

But the US has held back from creating official ties with the Taipei as part of agreements with Beijing, The Hill news report said.

Taiwan considers itself the legitimate government of the Chinese people, while Beijing criticizes it as a rogue territory.

Taipei and Beijing have gone through periods of rapprochement, but the Chinese Communist Party has increasingly threatened reunification through military intervention, the report added.

Beijing also takes exception with Washington's support of Taipei, accusing the US of meddling in internal Chinese affairs.

"Taiwan belongs to China and the US is in no position to make irresponsible remarks," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday, reacting to warnings issued by the Biden administration.

Psaki described the US' commitment to Taiwan as "rock solid" on Monday and said American officials have been clear "privately and publicly" about the administration's concerns related to China's behaviour toward Taiwan.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:59:57 +0530
Nobel Prize in Physics awarded for discoveries in climate complex physical systems

Stockholm, Oct 5

 Three scientists from US, Germany, and Italy were on Tuesday awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 for their contributions in discovering climate and complex physical systems.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Physics Nobel to Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, and Giorgio Parisi "for groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems", said a statement.

Manabe from Princeton University, US and Hasselmann from Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany were jointly awarded "for the physical modelling of Earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming".

Parisi from Sapienza University of Rome, was awarded the other half "for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales".

Manabe and Hasselmann laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth's climate and how humanity influences it, while Parisi got rewarded for his revolutionary contributions to the theory of disordered materials and random processes.

"Three Laureates share this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies of chaotic and apparently random phenomena. Complex systems are characterised by randomness and disorder and are difficult to understand. This year's Prize recognises new methods for describing them and predicting their long-term behaviour," said the statement from the Academy.

Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to increased temperatures at the surface of the Earth. In the 1960s, he led the development of physical models of the Earth's climate and was the first person to explore the interaction between radiation balance and the vertical transport of air masses. His work laid the foundation for the development of current climate models.

About ten years later, Hasselmann created a model that links together weather and climate, thus answering the question of why climate models can be reliable despite weather being changeable and chaotic. He also developed methods for identifying specific signals, or 'fingerprints', that both natural phenomena and human activities imprint in the climate. His methods have been used to prove that the increased temperature in the atmosphere is due to human emissions of carbon dioxide.

Around 1980, Parisi discovered hidden patterns in disordered complex materials. His discoveries are among the most important contributions to the theory of complex systems. They make it possible to understand and describe many different and apparently entirely random materials and phenomena, not only in physics but also in other, very different areas, such as mathematics, biology, neuroscience and machine learning.

"The discoveries being recognised this year demonstrate that our knowledge about the climate rests on a solid scientific foundation, based on a rigorous analysis of observations. This year's Laureates have all contributed to us gaining deeper insight into the properties and evolution of complex physical systems," said Thors Hans Hansson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics, in the statement.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:56:57 +0530
Aryan needs appointment to meet Pa at home SRK takes permission of NCB to meet son in lockup

Mumbai, Oct 5

 In a plot straight out of the all-time favourite American comic book "Richie Rich", the poor rich Aryan Khan has reportedly told the Narcotics Control Bureau sleuths that his father and mega-star Shah Rukh Khan remains so busy that occasionally, he needs an appointment just to meet him.

Ironically, life became a full circle when a couple of days ago, SRK had to take the NCB's permission for a brief meet with his son in the agency lock-up, when the 24-year-old cried before his celeb dad, though eventually it has surfaced that no drugs were recovered from him.

Aryan, along with at least 10 others, was rounded up and arrested at various times on Sunday-Monday in the NCB's first-ever raid on a luxury ship, the Cordelia Cruises, as it was preparing to lift anchor for a fun-filled two-night gala voyage to Goa with around 1,300 affluent passengers on board.

The other youngsters in the NCB net are: Munmum Dhamecha, Arbaaz Merchant, Vikrant Chhoker, Nupur Sarika, Ismeet Singh, Mohak Jaiswal and Gomit Chopra, and the rest nabbed in the second NCB operation aboard the cruiser on Monday.

The NCB's swoop - which shook the Bollywood core as the future potential superstar-kid of the one of the reigning actors was involved - almost sounded unbelievable till a video clip of a dazed Aryan sitting on a bench inside the agency office in south Mumbai emerged on Sunday evening.

At Monday's court hearing, during one heated moment in the arguments, Aryan's lawyer Satish Maneshinde even said that it was not as if "Khan (Aryan) was selling drugs in the ship, if he wants, he can buy the ship".

During their detention for several hours, their subsequent arrest and now in NCB custody till October 7, there has been support bordering on concern from Bollywood circles on Aryan's well-being inside the dank and inhospitable agency lockup.

Worried about her son's dietary health, an anxious Gauri Khan this morning rushed to the NCB office armed with a few packets of McDonalds burgers in her car, fondly hoping that Aryan would relish them.

Expectedly, the NCB sleuths sternly but politely disallowed her pleas and punctured the venture on "security grounds", just as they have refused to permit the other accused the luxury of home-cooked food in the lockup after they were picked up and brought down-to-earth from the luxury ship.

Nevertheless, the rave-party accused youth are not exactly starving and in the past couple of days, they have been treated to street fare like "puri-bhaji, dal-chawal, sabzi-parathas" from roadside stalls, plus plates of biryani or pulao from a nearby restaurant, which is reputedly a hot favourite with even the NCB sleuths.

The usual band-box style of aura and glam appearance of Aryan and the other boys-girls was starkly missing, and most did not seem to have changed their attire for nearly 3 days - a far cry from their routine of wearing and discarding designer outfits at the drop of a hat!

In the past three decades, the only other two notables who spent time behind bars were Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan - and both had sparked off a similar media frenzy with oodles of love doodling in from their fan-brigades.

While Dutt completed his full sentence in the Yerawada Central Jail, Pune, as a full-fledged convict, Salman spent a total of around 3 weeks in Rajasthan jail as an undertrial.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:53:56 +0530
Andhra govt to provide free sanitary napkins to girl students

Amaravati, Oct 5

 In a bid to ensure access to menstrual hygiene for adolescent girls and young women, the Andhra Pradesh government has launched a program under which branded sanitary napkins will be provided free of cost to girl students of government educational institutions.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday launched 'Swechha' program to tackle the stigma attached to menstruation, prioritize female personal hygiene, and encourage a healthy dialogue of information.

"One should not shy away from talking about menstruation. We need to create more awareness among female students and educate them on safe practices," the Chief Minister observed on the occasion.

Under the initiative, the state government will provide quality branded sanitary napkins to female students at government educational institutions, free of cost. Ten sanitary napkins will be given every month to about 10 lakh adolescent girls studying from 7-12 grades in all government schools and intermediate colleges across the state at a financial outlay of Rs 32 crore. A total of 120 napkins per year is allotted to every female student. Even during summer vacations, the students will be supplied with their quota before they leave school.

"We are a government that strongly believes that the power to change history lies with the women in our state, let us help them move forward," the Chief Minister said.

The branded free sanitary products being supplied are a result of the state government entering MOUs with corporate conglomerates like P&G and Niine Pvt Ltd.

Additionally through the MOUs signed, sanitary napkins will be sold at YSR Cheyutha retail stores at lowered prices to around 1 crore women residing in both rural and urban areas.

Each school will have a female educator appointed as a nodal officer to help female students with sanitary napkins supply, safe methods of disposal, and any assistance the students may require.

Further for a safer and environment-friendly way of disposal, the state government has set up 6,417 incinerators across the state through the Clean Andhra Pradesh (CLAP) initiative.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:46:30 +0530
Three UP scientists found faking RT PCR reports

Jalaun (UP), Oct 5

 Three molecular biologists-cum-junior scientists in a UP medical college have landed in trouble for faking a number of RT-PCR test results by deliberately showing them positive when they were negative. So far, 15 such reports have been found.

The junior scientists include two women working on ad-hoc basis in the microbiology lab in Government Medical College in Orai in Jalaun.

Medical College Principal, Dr D. Nath said it was found during routine observation that while cases in the rest of the places were declining, they were on the rise in Jalaun.

When the matter was discussed with District Magistrate Jalaun, Priyanka Niranjan, it was decided that the reports should be cross-checked.

All the samples were then simultaneously and sent to the Jhansi Medical College, the King George's Medical University, and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lucknow, where the samples turned out to be negative.

The administration has recommended appropriate departmental action. The report also alleges that the trio, in order to cover up the matter, went to local media with false claims in an attempt to mislead everyone.

"On the basis of recommendations given by head, Microbiology Lab, Dr Gopal, and after consultation with the District Magistrate Jalaun and Chief Medical Officer (CMO), I have sent details to my seniors recommending stern action. Meanwhile, we are initiating departmental action here at the college level," said Dr Nath.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:42:49 +0530
Labourer falls to death from under construction building in Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 5

 A 19-year-old labourer died after falling from an under-construction building in Maidan Garhi area of the national capital, an official said here on Tuesday.

According to the police, information was received from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) about an injured labourer identified as Ashrul Haqe, a resident of Rajpur Khurd, Maidan Garhi, who had fallen from the 8th floor of an under-construction building and was rushed to the hospital by his friend.

Ashrul was declared brought dead by doctors and the body was shifted to the AIIMS mortuary for post mortem proceedings.

The police said it was reported that the injured person was working as a labourer at the monkey crane at an under-construction building and had fallen while he was working on the crane.

The police investigated the accident site and other factors are being verified. The police have registered a case under sections 288 and 304 of the Indian Penal Code at the Maidan Garhi police station.

"An investigation has been initiated into the case and further probe is on," the official added.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:38:45 +0530
Relief for telcos as DoT willing to review appeal in one time spectrum charge case

New Delhi, Oct 5

 In a major relief for embattled telcos, the Centre has informed the Supreme Court that it is reviewing and reconsidering its decision on one-time spectrum charge (OTSC), which could impose financial liability to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore approximately on telecom companies, and it may not press for its appeal pending in court, while seeking three weeks' time to take a final decision.

In a short affidavit, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) under the Ministry of Communication, said the amount involved, which is the subject matter of adjudication, would be imposition of financial liability on various telecom service providers (TSPs)to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore approximately.

The DoT asked the top court for three weeks' time to review its decision to penalise telcos - Airtel and Vodafone Idea - for a delay in paying one-time spectrum charges.

The Centre said the telecom sector is passing through a financial stress since sometime due to various circumstances and despite certain measures taken by the government in public interest, most TSPs providing mobile phones and broadband services have been making losses.

"The Indian Bank Association has also conveyed to the Central government in writing those adverse developments in telecommunication sector may lead to failures, vanishing competition, duopoly, unsustainable operations, and severe loss for the banking system which has a huge exposure to this sector," it said in the affidavit.

Noting that the Centre is desirous of reviewing or reconsidering its decision to proceed with the present proceedings of appeal, the affidavit said: "The appellant prays for three weeks' time so as to enable the Central government to take an informed decision whether to proceed with present appeal or not. The central government prays for adjourning the above referred group of appeals for the period of four weeks".

The affidavit also cited decision taken by the Union Cabinet to encouraging competition amongst TSPs by preventing a situation where viability of some of the TSPs become unsustainable, resulting in a monopolistic situation and other adverse impact on the economy.

On Tuesday, the top court has agreed to grant DoT time to reconsider levy of Rs 40,000 crore one-time spectrum charge. A bench headed by Justice M R Shah noted that as a court concerned with larger public interest, it can't allow waivers and posted the matter for further hearing on November 17.

The OTSC dues are based on DoT rules that require a telco holding spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz/circle between July 2008 and December 31, 2012, to pay a one-time market linked price for the excess spectrum held.

Similarly, telcos are required to pay the market price for airwave holdings beyond 4.4 MHz/circle between January 2013 till the expiry of their respective licences.

In July 2019, the Telecom Disputes Appellant Tribunal (TDSAT) ruled that the one-time spectrum charge could be levied prospectively, not retrospectively. The DoT then moved the top court, which refused to stay the TDSAT order.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:35:23 +0530
Increased Chinese air force presence at LAC not of much concern IAF chief

New Delhi, Oct 5

 There is increased Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force presence across eastern Ladakh but "it is not going to make much difference" to the Indian Air Force, IAF chief V.R. Chaudhari said on Tuesday.

Addressing the annual press conference ahead of Air Force Day (October 8), Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said that Chinese PLAAF has increased presence at three airfields across the Line of Actual Control.

"China is developing airfields with multiple aircraft but flying from high altitude is a weak area," he said.

Replying to a query over punitive action against China, the IAF chief said that it is a national policy and India is capable of dealing with any scenario.

About induction of S-400, he should it should be inducted within this year. India is procuring S-400 missiles from Russia for long range ie 400 km, and it was expected to be received by the Air Force by this year end.

"S-400 delivery is on track. The first regiment should be inducted within this year," Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said.

He also said that IAF is capable of dealing with a two-front war with China and Pakistan, but "the matter of concern is dissemination of western tactics and weapons from Pakistan to China".

On China breaching Taiwan airspace, he stated it is matter between the two and he would refrain from making any comments.

On theaterisation and integration, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said: "Air force is fully committed towards integration and joitness to cater to future warfare. Strength and doctrines of each service needs to be taken into account."


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:31:50 +0530
Priyanka Gandhi arrested kept in PAC guesthouse


Sitapur (UP), Oct 5  

 Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been arrested after a case was registered against her at the Hargaon police station in Sitapur under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including disobeying prohibitory orders and abetment.

The PAC guest house where she has been under detention since Monday, has been notified as a temporary jail.

The case, according to official sources, has been filed under Sections 151, 107 and 116, on a report given by the station house officer of Hargaon to the magistrate.

Earlier this morning, Priyanka tweeted a viral video of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and asked why has the person behind the killing of four farmers have not been arrested while she has been under detention for 28 hours without an FIR.

Her party alleged that drones were being used to monitor the movement of Priyanka at PAC guest house.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel tweeted a video of drones monitoring. "Who will take responsibility, whose drone is this and why," he tweeted. Baghel, who arrived in Lucknow on Tuesday afternoon, was not allowed to move out of the airport.

The Congress is alleging that she has been kept in illegal custody for 30 hours as she was taken in custody early on Monday morning in the Hargaon area in Sitapur.

Hundreds of Congress workers have been sitting outside the PAC guest house in Sitapur, waiting for their leader's release.

Priyanka Gandhi has said that as soon as she is released, she will proceed to Lakhimpur Kheri to meet the bereaved families.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:26:54 +0530
TN SEC police gear up for first phase of rural local body polls

Chennai, Oct 5

 Tamil Nadu State Election Commissioner V. Palanikumar is conducting virtual meeting of officials of all the nine districts where the first phase of rural local body polls will be held on Wednesday.

The second phase will be held on October 9.

The AIADMK had filed a petition in the Madras High Court, alleging that the ruling DMK and its allies was indulging in activities like spending money, distributing liquor, and other freebies for the voters and the court ordered the State Election Commission to conduct strict monitoring to prevent any unhealthy and corrupt practices.

Heavy police deployment has been made in all the nine districts - Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Ranipet, Vellore, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Tiruppatur, Tirunelveli, and Tenkasi - and the police have rounded up history-sheeters and anti-social elements who were earlier charge sheeted and now out on bail.

The recent killings and beheadings at Tirunelveli have led to DGP C. Sylendra Babu holding high-level meetings at Madurai and Dindigul and directing checks on sale of knives, machetes, and other such deadly metallic objects for purposes other than domestic and agricultural uses.

State police have also been directed to strictly monitor the circulation of liquor and money among the voters.

There are reports that in districts like Kallakurichi and Tenkasi a panchayat president candidate is spending more than Rs 1 crore. The money is spent for liquor, food, and gifts, and cash was also distributed.

Some people allege that money is being freely circulated and some families have even received money to the tune of Rs 10,000 per family.

Subramanian S., a farmer in Tenkasi said, " Money is being circulated... I am an AIADMK worker and we have already pointed out to the district and block level officers on money spent by the candidates including on cash gifts and liquor for the voters."

However, police officers said that the money circulation is curtailed.

"Money was spent in large amounts during all the elections in this part of the world but this time, there has been strict monitoring by the police and the State Election Commission and we have cut the supply to a large extent... there could be cases wherein it has happened but by and large, money circulation is reduced," a senior police officer told IANS.



Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:23:09 +0530
Light two diyas on Diwali Modi to PM Awas Yojana beneficiaries

Lucknow, Oct 5

 Addressing a three-day urban conclave in Uttar Pradesh's state capital Lucknow on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to light two 'diyas' in their houses on Diwali this year.

"I have learnt that 7.5 lakh diyas will be lit in Ayodhya during 'Deepotsav' and if all those people who have benefitted from the PM Awas Yojana light two diyas each outside their houses, we will have 18 lakh diyas because nine lakh people have got their houses under this scheme. Let us compete with the power of light," Modi said.

"Even Lord Ram will be happy if you do this," he added.

Speaking at the 'New Urban India Conclave', the Prime Minister said his government had not only increased the size of houses under the scheme but also ensured facilities like water and power.

"A house becomes a home when one has basic amenities. The previous state government did not give houses to the poor even though the Central government was providing all the money. After Yogi Adityanath became Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, he has already given nine lakh houses," Modi added.

He said, "The opposition always wants to know what Modi has done. Today I am telling them that I have made three crore poor people into 'lakhpatis' (rich) through just the PM Awas Yojana."

The Prime Minister stressed that the use of technology cannot only ensure development but also ensure a better and healthier life for the people.

"Lucknow is known for 'pehle aap, pehle aap' but this is the time to say 'pehle aap' to technology. Whether it is waste management, sewage treatment plants, electric buses or pre-fabricated houses -- all this is possible only through technology," he said.

By introducing LED lights on streets, an amount of Rs one lakh crore had been saved which is now being used in other welfare schemes, Modi added.

The Prime Minister spoke virtually with three women who had been given houses under the PM Awas Yojana and gave the keys of the houses to 75,000 beneficiaries.

He laid the foundation of 75 development schemes worth Rs 4,737 crore to mark 75 years of India's Independence and dedicated them to the people. Modi also flagged-off 75 electric buses.

Earlier, the Prime Minister saw an exhibition put up for the urban conclave, highlighting the new development schemes.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:19:45 +0530
Setting the record straight on Veer Savarkar Book Preview

New Delhi, Oct 5

 Veer Savarkar: The man who could have prevented Partition by Uday Mahurkar and Chirayu Pandit is a candid, self-professed effort to set the record straight on the rightwing icon. Such an attempt would need to pitch Savarkar against the leading lights of the time, and it does so.

The book, expected out later this month, suggests a retelling of history and makes two essential points - the missed opportunities during the national movement that Savarkar views might have helped avoid, and the times that he seemed prescient in identifying key problems, primarily on national security.

The preface by Mahurkar says: The epilogue in this book deals with how the absence of Savarkarian vision has affected our national psyche and prevents us from realizing our true potential. It illustrates with examples how the lack of Savarkarian vision has led to distortions in history which, in turn, have affected our national vision and left our mind fractured in many other areas. It further analyses what today's India would have been like had Savarkarian vision been implemented soon after Independence.

A reading of the preface suggests a link between nationalism and militarization. At this point, Savarkar is positioned against Gandhi, Congress and non-violence. Mahurkar describes how he tries to analyse Savarkar's belief vis-a-vis the Congress that complete non-violence against an 'unprincipled enemy' is a perversion of virtue. It goes on to suggest that the Balakot strike was based on this belief. Mahurkar, in fact, draws a causal link between the basis of Pakistan and the 'Muslim-appeasement policy of the Congress'.

It is natural, therefore, that such a line of thinking should lead to the diminution of Gandhi - even Sardar Patel does not appear as the great unifier as he was a signatory to the resolution to give provinces the right to self-determination. The book recalls a story, now increasingly in the public domain, of the meeting between Britain's post-War prime minister Clement Attlee and West Bengal's then acting governor P.B. Chakraborty where the former noted that Gandhi's influence on Britain's decision to grant independence to India was 'minimal'. It refers instead to the role of the Azad Hind Fauj and the threat of Indian soldiers returning from Europe at the end of WWII as more notable reasons.

This fits in neatly with the Savarkarian postulate. Any interpretation of history, especially, one that carries a political message, would be selective in approach. The role of the Azad Hind Fauj, the naval uprising and the threat of returning Indian soldiers notwithstanding, there were other factors that were just about as important - like Britain's own diminished position in the post-War global power equations, America's role in leaning on Britain on the issue of India's independence. And of course, Gandhi's unquestioned role since he came on the scene to organise the Indian masses, his great skills as a communicator that facilitated this, and giving them a moral compass to be guided by.

The tepid presentation of Gandhi is perhaps natural for a book on Savarkar, who had been a critic of the Mahatma. Mahurkar and Pandit capture the essence of Savarkar's Hindutva when they cite his call to Hindus to join the British Indian forces in 1939. They say that two years ago, in 1937, he had suspected that separatist Muslims would demand India's partition. His call to Hindus was aimed at making sure they got arms training in view of the "future threat to the unity and integrity of India".

Mahurkar notes Savarkar had marked that Hindus were fewer in number in the army on the basis of population-ratio. And that had he not given the call for militarization of Hindus, Pakistan would have "tried to swallow more areas of partitioned India apart from Kashmir".

There is a view that Savarkar has been under represented in the national movement, that he is an unsung hero of Indian history, and that his Hindutva -- for which he has been reviled by ideological opponents -- was both pragmatic and modernist. This book could provide the space and the argument to fill that gap.

One of the attractions of the book is a foreword by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat who says, "Savarkar did not get his due even in free India". He also says how the Hindutva icon could rightly anticipate the future, especially on issues of national security.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:15:30 +0530
Minor shake up in Kerala BJP Surendran remains party chief

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 5

 In a minor shake-up in the Kerala unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), five district chiefs have been moved out while K. Surendran continued to hold the post of party president despite speculations that he might be removed and replaced by actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi.

Three new vice presidents were brought in while five new secretaries were also appointed.

Popular TV actor and a candidate in the April 6 assembly polls, G. Krishnakumar along with former Congress leader G. Raman Nair and two others have been nominated to the national council.

Ever since the BJP lost its only seat in the Kerala Assembly polls and also saw a decline in its vote share, the party's national leadership has been cut up with the state's current leadership held by Surendran.

Moreover, Surendran is presently entangled in a few cases which includes an election case in which he has already been questioned and a fresh notice has been sent to him asking him to appear again.

In another case which involves money transactions during the recent April 6 assembly elections, an audio clip surfaced where a voice similar to his could be heard talking to another party leader about money.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:12:28 +0530
Digital UN ecosystem for sustainable world in new way

New Delhi, Oct 5

The UN Biodiversity Lab 2.0 was launched on day one of the Nature for Life Hub that is a free, open-source platform that enables governments and others to access state-of-the-art maps and data on nature, climate change, and human development in new ways to generate insight for nature and sustainable development.

Developed jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the Secretariat of the UN Biodiversity Convention, the launch on Monday highlighted strong partnerships.

It included an announcement from Microsoft of its commitment to support the digital ecosystem of the lab with their Planetary Computer and custom analytics as digital public goods.

"The UN Biodiversity Lab will enable anyone to access state-of-the-art spatial data and dynamic indicators that will generate brand-new insights into conservation and sustainable development," says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner.

"And crucially, the lab will provide decision-makers with access to over 400 spatial data layers across biodiversity, climate change, and development -- helping them to identify new opportunities to act in the best interest of both people and planet."

The UN Biodiversity Lab 2.0 release responds to a known global gap in the types of spatial data and tools, providing an invaluable resource to nations around the world to take transformative action.

Users can now access over 400 of the world's best available global spatial data layers; create secure workspaces to incorporate national data alongside global data; use curated data collections to generate insight for action; and more.

Without specialised tools or training, decision-makers can leverage the power of spatial data to support priority-setting and the implementation of nature-based solutions. Dynamic metrics and indicators on the state of the planet are also available.

"The UN Biodiversity Lab brings together a strong coalition of partners, data providers, and technological innovators to support the creation of a digital ecosystem for the planet. As an advocate for the environment, UNEP has a key role to play in providing information on the state of nature and to deepen the science-policy linkages," said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

"We are firmly committed to this partnership so that policymakers can effectively use open data in spatial planning to deliver on the Paris Agreement and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework."

"The UN Biodiversity Lab has the potential to provide critical resources to support parties in national reporting of biodiversity indicators under the emerging post-2020 global biodiversity framework and also for the revision, implementation and monitoring of national biodiversity plans," stated Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Biodiversity Convention.

The lab was first launched in 2018 to support governments in their commitments to the UN Biodiversity Convention, leading to a two-fold increase in the number of maps used in countries' national reports on the state of biodiversity.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 09:10:18 +0530
JNCASR scientists win Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

New Delhi, Oct 5

Kanishka Biswas, an associate professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), has received the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Chemical Science for his discoveries in the field of solid-state inorganic chemistry and thermoelectric energy conversion.

JNCASR is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology under the government of India.

"Biswas' research involves a fundamental understanding of the relationship between structure and property of inorganic solids to develop lead (Pb)-free high-performance thermoelectric materials, which can efficiently convert waste heat to energy and are being translated into cost-effective technologies," a release from the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Monday.

Using fundamental and insightful chemical principles, Biswas has achieved thermoelectric performance through control of atomic ordering and consequent electronic state delocalisation in a crystalline inorganic solid, simultaneously enhancing its electronic transport and reducing the thermal conductivity, which was published in the 'Science' journal this year.

His innovative strategies to tune the thermoelectric properties with chemical bonding hierarchy, ferroelectric instability, and rattling atoms in a class of chemical compounds called metal chalcogenides have advanced the frontiers of inorganic solid-state chemistry introducing new paradigms.

Biswas, who hails from Habra near Kolkata, studied chemistry at the Jadavpur University before doing his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, Jeemon Panniyammakal, currently positioned as an assistant professor at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Trivandrum, is one of the 11 recipients of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology for his exemplary research work and leadership in the field of chronic disease epidemiology, complex public health interventions and quality improvement initiatives.

SCTIMST an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology.

Jeemon's contributions to the task-sharing model for management of hypertension and diabetes in community settings have been widely appreciated in the academic community and policymakers in the low and middle-income countries.

Two important research papers based on this work have been published recently in the Lancet Global Health journal.

Jeemon, who hails from Nilambur, Kerala, refined his research skills while working with eminent cardiologists like K. Srinath Reddy and D. Prabhakaran, formerly associated with the department of cardiology, AIIMS New Delhi.

Similarly, T Govindaraju from JNCASR has received the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology.

He received the prize for his ground-breaking concepts and discoveries, which have significant potential for diagnosis and treatment for Alzheimer's, lung cancer among other health problems. His innovative work on small molecules, peptides, and natural products offers both diagnostics as well as therapeutics, leading to personalised medicine, a release from the Ministry of S&T said.

After completing PhD from CSIR-NCL and post-doctoral fellowship in leading research institutes in USA and Germany, Professor Govindaraju's research focussed on bioorganic and chemical biology is addressing unresolved problems related to human health - neuro-degenerative diseases as well as cancer.

His persistent research efforts over the last 10 years paid off earlier this year. He has discovered a novel drug candidate molecule (TGR63), which effectively reduces the burden of toxic protein aggregation species called amyloid in the brain affected by Alzheimer's disease and reverses cognitive decline in animal models. A pharmaceutical company has picked this molecule for clinical trials, which shows excellent promise to treat Alzheimer's disease in humans.

His interest in understanding the relationship between Alzheimer's disease and cancer resulted in the discovery of the first small molecule-based drug candidate (TGP18) for lung cancer, one of the difficult types for early detection and treatment. Fascinatingly, this molecule can also function as a diagnostic tool and is one of the few molecules globally to be classified as a "theragnostic" (diagnostic therapy) candidate.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 09:03:13 +0530
Global airlines net losses expected at 11 6 bn in 2022 IATA

New Delhi, Oct 5

Air carriers' association IATA said on Monday that the global net aviation industry losses are expected to come in at $11.6 billion in 2022, down from $51.8 billion on a year-on-year basis.

"The magnitude of the Covid-19 crisis for airlines is enormous. Over the 2020-2022 period, total losses could top $200 billion. To survive, the airlines have dramatically cut costs and adapted their business to whatever opportunities were available," said IATA's Director-General, Willie Walsh.

"That will see the $137.7 billion loss of 2020 reduce to $52 billion this year. And that will further reduce to $12 billion in 2022. We are well past the deepest point of the crisis. While serious issues remain, the path to recovery is coming into view. Aviation is demonstrating its resilience yet again," Walsh added.

According to IATA, domestic travel demand will be near pre-crisis levels in 2022.

However, the association pointed out that challenge remains in international markets, which are still severely depressed as government-imposed restrictions continue.

"People have not lost their desire to travel as we see in solid domestic market resilience. But they are being held back from international travel by restrictions, uncertainty and complexity. More governments are seeing vaccinations as a way out of this crisis.

"We fully agree that vaccinated people should not have their freedom of movement limited in any way. In fact, the freedom to travel is a good incentive for more people to be vaccinated. Governments must work together and do everything in their power to ensure that vaccines are available to anybody who wants them," Walsh added.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 08:55:14 +0530
Opposition targets Imran after 700 Pakistanis named in Pandora Papers

Islamabad/New Delhi, Oct 5

The Opposition leaders in Pakistan have slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan and demanded his resignation following the revelations made in the Pandora Papers, Geo TV reported.

A huge tranche of leaked data on offshore companies that is larger in size and scope than the Panama Papers hit the global headlines on Sunday night, laying bare the financial secrets of the global rich and powerful, including Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's cabinet members, financiers, retired generals, media owners and businessmen.

The names of more than 700 Pakistanis were discovered in the data and the majority of them are tax residents in this country.

The Pandora leaks have "opened a new Pandora's Box" against Imran Khan, said PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal.

"The leader who used to present himself as 'sadiq' (honest) and 'ameen' (trustworthy) has two more offshore companies," PML-N's secretary-general Iqbal was quoted as saying by The News.

The PML-N stalwart said that even before the Pandora Papers were released, government spokespersons had started defending PM Imran Khan, the report said.

Imran Khan wore a "cloak of honesty" and "fooled" the people, Iqbal said, adding that the premier eroded Pakistan's respect and pride.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman isn't surprised that the premier's close aides were named in the Pandora Papers, the report added.

In a post on Twitter, the PPP leader said that "we all know that slogans of 'corruption, free Pakistan and accountability' are all hollow and a way to target the opposition".

"Will the Prime Minister go to the Supreme Court against his people? Or will a report be called for like in other scandals," Rehman asked.

Imran Khan must ensure investigation of the ministers and other people around him mentioned in the Pandora Papers in the same way he did in the case of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz's spokesman Muhammad Zubair said on a Geo News programme.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, meanwhile, demanded the immediate resignation of government ministers and advisers named in the Pandora Papers.

The names of 700 Pakistanis, including government ministers and advisers, have appeared in the Pandora Papers.

In his statement, the JI chief said that ministers and advisers should resign if their names are mentioned in the Pandora Papers, otherwise they should be sacked.

He said that for transparency in the investigation and to avoid government influence, it is necessary to remove the government employees named in the Pandora Papers.



Tue, 05 Oct 2021 08:36:25 +0530
Kamal Nath again brokering peace between G 23 Gandhis

New Delhi, Oct 5

Almost a year after Kamal Nath had set up a meeting between the Gandhis and the G-23 group, he has been roped again for the same purpose, according to sources.

The sources said that Kamal Nath has met senior Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Bhupinder Singh Hooda and discussed the intra-party issues and also noted the concerns raised by the group.

They also confirmed that the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister was first to reach Sibal's residence after the Congress workers protested and raised slogans.

The G-23 wants through consultation on key issues and prior discussions on the appointment on key posts apart from elections in the organization, while the trigger this time is again the nominations in the Upper House as it was expected that Congress will demand a seat from the DMK and Azad will be sent to Rajya Sabha.

The G-23 is upset with the type of action and alleged that supporters of two Delhi leaders who are former MPs created a ruckus at Sibal's residence while demanding that action should be taken against them to move forward.

According to the sources, Kamal Nath also met party interim president Sonia Gandhi to brief her about the talks though it was maintained that the meeting was state-centric.

Although both the camps are tight-lipped about the meeting, sources have said that some forward movement has taken place in the right direction. However, a leader said that "this time we don't want hollow talks but concrete actions".

Kamal Nath also hinted that he has to do some other work in the party while replying to an allegation leveled by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

On the detention of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress Deputy Leader in the Upper House Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal said they "strongly condemned the repressive manhandling and detention" of the Congress general secretary and Deepender Hooda by the Uttar Pradesh police.

"Such repressive actions cannot suppress the voice of farmers and call for justice... Justice must prevail."

The forward movement is likely to take place as the party decides to call a CWC meet and discuss all the issues.

The G-23 leaders said that they don't have any grudge against the Gandhis, but the coterie including the personal staff of Rahul Gandhi and few other leaders close to him who are calling the shots without any responsibility and losing polls after polls.


Tue, 05 Oct 2021 08:23:53 +0530
Health tip Replace plastic dishes and utensils with steel glass or copper

New Delhi, Oct 4

 Covid-19 has altered the way we view health and wellness. Today, focusing on the right food, nutrition and boosting immunity no longer remains an afterthought. The pandemic has forced us to pause, rethink and have a holistic approach when it comes to our overall well-being.

While we pay attention to our health by eating healthy, it's also important to be mindful of what we eat from and ensure our cooking, consumption and storage utensils are safe, sustainable and eco-friendly.

While consumer behaviour is changing to support sustainable brands and eco-friendly practices, plastic still finds dominance in most homes. In fact, our kitchens are replete with plastic jars, containers, utensils, garbage bags etc. and their usage is increasing at an alarming rate. A recent survey states that India generates 6,000 tonnes of plastic every day, nearly 10,000 tonnes of which goes uncollected. Adding to environmental pollution, plastic also has a detrimental effect on our health.

Priyanka Kheruka, Brand Head, Borosil Ltd, said, "When food is heated in plastic, it releases phthalates from the plasticisers and as much as 95 per cent of the chemicals are migrated into our food. Fatty foods like meats and cheese are more prone to leaching and when these are microwaved in a plastic container, the phthalates released can directly affect the lungs, kidneys and liver. BPA on the other hand is linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes."

"Unlike plastic, glass is free of toxic chemicals and also retains the natural flavour on heating. It's also environmentally friendly and can be easily decomposed without emitting toxic chemicals. Using airtight glass containers for storage cuts down on the usage of cling wrap to ensure cut fruits and vegetables and leftover food does not rot or absorb the chemicals from harmful materials used for wrapping. Having steel utensils to cook food can also have a positive impact on health. Steel does not erode or leach harmful chemicals during cooking. It's durable, sustainable, helps in retaining the original flavour and is easy to clean, like glass. Replace plastic bottles with stainless steel ones. There are myriad styles and options available in the market today which come in beautiful designs. There are many brands that offer bottles that are 100 per cent food grade and rust-proof and which help in maintaining the temperature of your drink," she added. "Copper utensils are ideal conductors of heat and are hygienic and corrosion-resistant. The advantages of storing water in copper vessels and bottles are many, having a direct impact on the skin while also having a therapeutic effect. There are plenty of materials and metals to choose from when it comes to incorporating healthy cooking habits."

Being mindful and conscientious of how we utilize our daily utensils in the kitchen can go a long way in boosting good health for the family, community and society at large while also leaving a positive footprint on the environment.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:52:24 +0530
I know my best in Test cricket is yet to come Rohit Sharma

Abu Dhabi, Oct 4

 Indian opener Rohit Sharma felt that his best in Test cricket is yet to come after having a stunning tour of England, which he described as 'good' for himself. Sharma was the highest run-scorer for India in the Tests against England with 368 runs in eight innings at an average of 52.57, including a hundred and two half-centuries. Sharma's 127 in the second innings of the fourth Test at the Oval was his first Test hundred in overseas conditions.

"England tour was a good one for me, based on where I was standing in Test cricket before that. But I wouldn't say this was my best. I know my best in Test cricket is yet to come. I utilised the time, 15-20 days after the World Test Championship final in Southampton. I understood those small little adjustments and technique required when playing in England. I am really happy with how I batted on that tour. I will now look to take that confidence forward and build on that success in Test cricket," Sharma said during a virtual press conference organised by Adidas on Monday for the launch of its campaign.

The 34-year-old believes that the series is over for him and admitted there is no clarity on the fifth Test in Manchester, which was cancelled due to concerns of COVID-19 outbreak in the Indian camp.

"It was a great tour, personally for me and for the team. I don't know what has happened with the last Test match, whether we will play it as a one-off Test or the series will be decided as it is. We don't have any clarity on that yet. But in my eyes, we have won the series 2-1. That's how I would like to look at it."

Sharma is currently leading Mumbai Indians in the second leg of IPL 2021 in the UAE, where they are placed at seventh place in the points table. After the completion of the tournament, Sharma will be back to international duties with the men's T20 World Cup with India opening their Super 12 campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:49:06 +0530
2021 Nobel for Medicine awarded for discovery of temperature touch receptors

Stockholm, Oct 4

 The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2021 has been jointly awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.

The Nobel laureates' discoveries have unlocked one of the secrets of nature by explaining the molecular basis for sensing heat, cold and mechanical force, which is fundamental for our ability to feel, interpret and interact with our internal and external environment.

Julius utilised capsaicin -- a pungent compound from chili peppers that induces a burning sensation, to identify a sensor in the nerve endings of the skin that responds to heat, while Patapoutian used pressure-sensitive cells to discover a novel class of sensors that respond to mechanical stimuli in the skin and internal organs, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet said in a statement.

"These breakthrough discoveries launched intense research activities leading to a rapid increase in our understanding of how our nervous system senses heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli. The laureates identified critical missing links in our understanding of the complex interplay between our senses and the environment," the statement added.

Julius is from University of California, San Francisco and Patapoutian from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Scripps Research in US.

Due to the uncertainty of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this year's Nobel Prize laureates will receive their awards in their home countries for the second year running, the Nobel Foundation had announced.

The traditional banquet will be cancelled, but the award ceremony will be held at Stockholm's City Hall on December 10 in the presence of a local audience, Xinhua news agency quoted the Foundation as saying in a statement recently.

"I think everybody would like the Covid-19 pandemic to be over, but we are not there yet," Vidar Helgesen, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Last year's banquet was also cancelled.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:45:08 +0530
A R Rahman Docu feature was unexplored territory for me until now

Mumbai, Oct 4

 Oscar-winning music director A.R. Rahman says creating music for a docu-feature was an 'unexplored' space for him until now, as he has composed the music for Netflix's upcoming 'House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths'.

The docu-feature traces the mystery behind Delhi's infamous Burari deaths, where 11 members across three generations of a family were found dead under strange circumstances in their house in Delhi.

Directed by Leena Yadav and Anubhav Chopra, the original score of the docu-series is composed and produced by Rahman.

Rahman said, "Collaborating with Leena Yadav ji on House Of Secrets was a unique experience for me. Since the docu-series concerns a sensitive, complex issue, it required a distinct, nuanced musical approach -- enigmatic yet gripping. I am glad to have worked on such a project, which so far has been unexplored territory for me."

Leena, earlier known for making films like 'Shabd', 'Parched', 'Rajma Chawal' - shares her experience of working with the iconic music director.

She said, "A.R. Rahman coming on board to design the score of the series was like an endorsement to the relevance and urgency of exploring this case. Working with Rahman Sir on 'House of secrets' has been an extremely enriching experience for me as a filmmaker. It's such a joy when you find a collaboration that not only elevates the storytelling but also teaches you many lessons along the way."

"I think the music that Rahman Sir scored has given the series not just a mood, but also an enormous emotional depth. I find it very difficult to be articulate about music - it's emotional, a feeling. And yet he would understand and translate it into stirring soundscapes. Having a great artiste like him leave his footprints on our telling of this complex case has been an honour," Leena further added.

Releasing on October 8, 'House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths' shows different stages of the investigation, bringing forth striking and unexpected revelations.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:38:35 +0530
RBI supersedes Srei Infra SEFL s board after payment defaults


Mumbai, Oct 4

 The Reserve Bank on Monday superseded the board of Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd (SIFL) and Srei Equipment Finance Ltd (SEFL).

The two boards were superseded owing to governance concerns and defaults by these companies in meeting their various payment obligations.

The RBI appointed Bank of Baroda's former Chief General Manager Rajneesh Sharma as the administrator of these companies.

"The Reserve Bank also intends to shortly initiate the process of resolution of the above two NBFCs under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019....

"... and would also apply to the NCLT for appointing the Administrator as the Insolvency Resolution Professional," the central bank said in a statement.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:35:33 +0530
Mumbai Airport Terminal 1 to reopen from Oct 20


Mumbai, Oct 4

 After almost 18 months closure during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport's Terminal 1 will resume for domestic operations from October 20, an official said on Monday.

Initially, it will cater to around domestic 156 flights daily, while 396 domestic and international services shall be handled by Terminal 2.

After a brief resumption in March this year, the operations on T1 were suspended and all operations continued from T2 in the wake of the second wave.

The CSMIA said that the move follows the nationwide vaccination drive and the increased passenger confidence in air travel and all Covid-19 protocols shall be strictly adhered to for peoples' safety.

From October 20, Star Air, AirAsia, TruJet, GoFirst will resume services from T1, while a few flights of IndiGo will restart operations from October 31.

The CSMIA has made arrangements for 12 registration desks and 12 testing booths for the incoming-outgoing passengers at T1 to enable them to undergo RT-PCR tests at the airport.

The T1 will also implement physical distancing through measures such as the re-arrangement of seating, and installation of plexi-glass to minimise face-to-face interactions amongst others at the terminal.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:32:39 +0530
New Japanese PM seeks to tackle Covid while reviving economy

Tokyo, Oct 4

Fumio Kishida, the leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) who was elected on Monday as the country's new Prime Minister to succeed Yoshihide Suga, is seeking to tackle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic while also reviving the economy with a package worth "tens of trillions of yen" to help people and businesses suffering from the health crisis.

Earlier in the day, the Diet or Parliament convened an extraordinary session to choose the new Prime Minister, reports Xinhua news agency.

As the ruling coalition led by the LDP controls both chambers, the 64-year-old former Foreign Minister received 311 of 458 votes in the House of Representatives and 141 of 241 votes in the House of Councillors.

After naming his new Cabinet, Kishida will be formally inaugurated in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace and hold a press conference in the evening.

Kishida's first major test as Prime Minister will be the general election. He is planning to hold the election on October 31, while campaigning for members of the House of Representatives is set to begin on October 19.

He has promised to increase middle-class incomes and reduce wealth disparity under his "new form of capitalism," which is viewed as a break from the "neoliberal policies" that the Japanese government has pursued over the past two decades.

On Monday morning, Suga's Cabinet resigned en masse on Monday morning, little more than a year after its formation, amid criticism over its lack of ability to curb Covid-19.

As Japan's Covid-19 infections have declined recently, and nearly 60 per cent of the country's population have been fully vaccinated, the new Prime Minister will need to first handle the tasks of gradually lifting the restrictions on social and business activities and opening the border to foreign travellers.

In his prospective Cabinet, Kishida will add a new ministerial post for economic security with a responsibility to craft a national strategy designed to end the drain of intellectual property from Japan.

Takayuki Kobayashi, one of 13 ministerial first-timers, is set to be appointed to take the new post.

Three women will likely be appointed in the new Cabinet, including vaccination minister Noriko Horiuchi, administrative reform minister Karen Makishima, and Seiko Noda, the minister in charge of establishing a new agency for children's policy.

In addition, former education minister Hirokazu Matsuno is set to become chief Cabinet secretary, and former environment minister Shunichi Suzuki is likely to replace his brother-in-law Taro Aso as finance minister of the country.

Kishida was elected in 1993 to the lower house from a constituency in Hiroshima prefecture and is a ninth-term member of the House of Representatives.

Under former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he served as Foreign Minister for four years and eight months before he was installed as chairman of the LDP's Policy Research Council for three years.

The third-generation politician was considered as a potential successor to Abe but lost to Suga in the LDP presidential race in 2020.

Kishida won the presidential election of the ruling LDP over his contender vaccination minister Taro Kono on September 29, securing 257 votes over the latter's 170 votes in a runoff.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:30:25 +0530
Heavy rain affects over 16 000 in China


Beijing, Oct 4

 Over 16,000 residents in northeast China's Liaoning province have been affected by extensive heavy rainfall that began two days ago, the local flood control and drought relief headquarters said on Monday.

From 8 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday, most areas of Liaoning were battered by moderate to heavy downpours, with some areas hit by extreme rainstorms and hail, reports Xinhua news agency.

A total of 16,583 people have been affected so far.

The province has relocated 4,513 people to safety.

The affected area of crops has totaled 2,533.13 hectares, of which 27.33 hectares were destroyed, leading to a direct economic loss of 168 million yuan.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:25:57 +0530
UP girl killed by brothers for marrying outside caste

Meerut (UP), Oct 4

 In a case of an "honour killing", four men in UP's Meerut city allegedly killed their sister for marrying a man from a different caste.

The incident took place on Saturday when three brothers and cousins allegedly killed their 18-year-old sister for "maligning" the family name.

The accused took help of their friends and the police have booked ten persons for murder.

According to the police, the woman belonged to a different caste and her family was against the marriage.

She had recently informed her family about her relationship which enraged her brothers. The family put pressure on her to marry someone else of their choice.

A complaint was filed by the woman's 'husband' following which an FIR was registered against the accused.

The complainant claimed that the girl, 18, succumbed to her injuries after being badly beaten. She was hurriedly cremated by her family.

Station house officer of Bhawanpur said that 10 people have been booked under IPC sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), and 147 (for rioting).

"We had started questioning members of the family and became suspicious as they were trying to hide something. Police teams are now trying to nab the suspects," the SHO added.

In the FIR, the complainant claimed that he had married the woman at a temple in July. He alleged that his 'wife' was receiving life threats from her brothers.

"We got married after she turned 18 in July. They came to know about it. Her family cremated her before I could call the cops," the man said.


Mon, 04 Oct 2021 17:20:37 +0530
TN CM launches face recognition software to aid police probe

Chennai, Oct 4

 Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Monday launched face recognition software to aid the state police in its investigations. The software would help compare the photos of suspects with a data resource of over 5.30 lakh photos updated in the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS).

An official statement from the state police said that the software would help track down accused persons, suspected persons, and missing persons. It would also help in identifying corpses by comparing with the data available with the