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20150706

Bollywood star Shahid Kapoor is completely involved when it comes to the wedding preparations including the design of the card

Bollywood star Shahid Kapoor may have been keeping mum about his impending marriage to city girl Mira Rajput but he is completely involved when it comes to the wedding preparations including the design of the card.

The Haider star, 34, is set to tie the knot with his 21-year-old fiancee in Gurgaon on July 7, according to his wedding card that surfaced online earlier this week.

Designer Ravish Kapoor, who is behind the turquoise and off-white invite, said the colour combination, detailing and gifts accompanying the wedding card was Shahid's choice.

"The credit for colour combination goes to Shahid as he was very particular about colours. From the peacock logo to the font, everything was chosen by Shahid.

"Initially it was his family, who were involved but when the sample was shown to Shahid, he got involved regarding the changes, the colour combination, what gifts to go with it," Ravish told media .

The card along with the gifts was packed in the form of a tea blend as Shahid's actor father Pankaj Kapur is a tea lover.

"Pankaj sir is a tea connoisseur, so we thought let's make a tea blend for them. It is a special blend. It has tea and honey," said the designer, whose previous clients were Shilpa Shetty and Hrithik Roshan.

The traditional golden colour is missing from the invite and Ravish said it was Shahid's decision to have an understated, no-bling card.

Without divulging much details, the card maker said that around 500 guests have been invited for the wedding as well as the reception.

There will be a separate invitation card for the wedding reception, which is expected to be attended by Bollywood A-listers.

"There is another card for the reception which people will know about shortly. I can't reveal about that right now. The reception will take place a few days after the wedding," he said.

source: agency

The infamous telegram which Hitler's deputy sent to the German dictator, asking him if he could take over the Nazi party in last days of the World War II, is expected to fetch 15,000 pounds at an auction

LONDON: The infamous telegram which Hitler's deputy sent to the German dictator, asking him if he could take over the Nazi party in last days of the World War II, is expected to fetch 15,000 pounds at an auction.

Hermann Goering, founder of Gestapo - the official secret police of Nazi Germany - sent the telegram to Hitler on April 23, 1945, asking for permission to assume leadership of the crumbling Third Reich.

The telegram sent Hitler in a frenzied rage and caused him to strip his hand-picked successor of power and appoint Admiral Karl Doenitz as his successor, Mirror.co.uk reported.

An angry Hitler sent him a return message saying he had committed "high treason."

The telegram will be auctioned in the US tomorrow where it is expected to fetch over 15,000 pounds.

The telegram, received by Hitler's secretary Martin Bormann, was found in the Berlin bunker by an American soldier after the collapse of Nazism on May 8, 1945.

Captain Benjamin Bradin found the telegram along with other papers and brought them back to the US.

The telegram was handed down to Bradin's son and in turn to his son's university professor who is now putting it up for sale at the Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland.

source: agency

One month after the ban of Maggi, instant noodles sales in India have crashed by over 90 per cent

NEW DELHI: One month after the ban of Maggi, instant noodles sales in India have crashed by over 90 per cent to just about Rs 30 crore from Rs 350 crore a month earlier, according to industry estimates.

With the key category facing an uncertain future, food processing industry players are worried that this could have an impact on their overall investment plans, while companies are now facing 'increased harassment from safety inspectors', according to a senior official of industry body Assocham.

"In the last one month the instant noodles category has suffered a massive drop in sales to about Rs 30 crore a month. Before the Maggi ban this category was around Rs 4,200 crore annually, which is about Rs 350 crore per month. There is a fear psychosis among consumers," the official said.

Last month central food safety regulator FSSAI had banned Nestle's Maggi saying it was "unsafe and hazardous" for consumption after finding excessive levels of lead and violation of labelling regulations on taste enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG). Nestle India had recalled Maggi from the markets.

With FSSAI cracking the whip, HUL withdrew its Knorr Chinese noodles and Indo Nissin Top Ramen noodles which were pending for approval with the food safety regulator.

In the aftermath of Maggi controversy, there has been "increased focus" on packaged food companies, the official said, adding "there is a lot of harassment going at lower level. The industry is very scared of being subjected to more harassment".

Seeking government intervention, the Assocham official said: "There is no standard protocol for testing in different states and manufacturers are not given enough time to take remedial measures."

At least on the issue of MSG, the government should clarify that it was misbranding and not a safety issue.

On the impact of the controversy on the food processing industry, the official said: "If there is a feeling that all food companies are rogue and consumers stay away from packaged food, who is going to invest?"

Currently, investments proposed in food-related projects is about Rs 90,000 crore which can have a multiplier effect, the official said, adding even employment could also be affected to an extent if the uncertainty over noodles category remained.

Around 1,500 workers of Nestle India involved in manufacturing of Maggi have been impacted by the stoppage of production.


source: agency

20150705

University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted "heritage" status to 19 institutions across the country

NEW DELHI: With an aim of conserving college campuses which are more than 100 years old, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted "heritage" status to 19 institutions across the country and has approved financial assistance for their improvement and upgradation.

The Commission had invited proposals from colleges for the heritage tag under the Heritage College Scheme and had received 60 proposals, none of them from Delhi.

"Out of the 60 proposals that were received, a Selection Committee approved granting of the status to 19 colleges. Varied financial assistance has been approved to these colleges and they can use the grants for conservation work of the campus and for specialised courses related to heritage," officials in the UGC said.

The colleges which have been granted the status include St.Xavier's College, Mumbai; CMS College Kottayam; St Joseph College, Trichy; Khalsa College, Amritsar; St Bede's College, Shimla, Christ Church College in Kanpur, Old Agra College, Agra; Meerut College, Meerut and Langat Singh College in Bihar's Muzaffarpur.

Others which have figured in the list are Govt.Brennan College, Kerala; University College in Mangalore, Cotton College in Guwahati, Midnapore college in West Bengal, Govt Medical Science in Jabalpur, Deccan Education Society's Fergusson College in Pune, Hislop college in Nagpur, Govt Gandhi Memorial Science College in Jammu, Kanya Mahavidyalya in Jalandhar and St Xavier's College in Kolkata.

Cotton College of Guwahati has received maximum grants of Rs 4.35 crore for conservation of its heritage building.

Langat Singh College where Mahatma Gandhi had stayed during his Champaran Satyagraha and nation's first President Rajendra Prasad was a teacher, has got Rs 15 lakh financial aid from the UGC for developing digital library.

Similarly, Meerut College which was established in the year 1892 has been granted Rs 1.34 crore its revamp.

The fund would be utilised for renovation of Art Gallery, Geological Museum and initiating projects for identification of heritage locations in nearby areas.

Former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh and former HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi are the eminent alumni of this college.

he UGC has approved a grant of Rs 1.53 crore for St Xavier's College in Mumbai to carry out conservation work and run diploma and certificate courses in "Maintaining heritage in India".

Agra College, which was founded by noted scholar Pandit Gangadhar Shastri in 1823, has got a fund of Rs 25 lakh. Moti Lal Nehru and Sir Chhotu Ram are among the noted alumni of the college.

The colleges which failed to get the heritage tag include TNB College, Bhagalpur; St John's College, Bareilly; Shiv Sanatan Dharm Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, Sultanpur (UP); Darwin Christian College, Allahabad; Vasanta College for Women, Varanasi and DAV College, Dehradun, among others.

"UGC will also examine 160 fresh proposals which have been sent by various colleges across the country," officials said.

The idea of granting the heritage tags was mooted by the Centre in 2013 to enable the universities to receive financial grants worth Rs 8-10 crore per annum from the government for the improvement and upgradation of their respective campuses and other academic disciplines.

source: agency

A retired firefighter has won a whopping US $ 5 million in a lottery here in the US

NEW YORK: A retired firefighter, who severely damaged his lungs while responding to the 9/11 terror attack at the World Trade Centre, has won a whopping US $ 5 million in a lottery here in the US.

Carmelo Mercado, 63, rushed to the scene of the September 11, 2001 terror attack soon after the second tower of the World Trade Centre collapsed and spent two days aiding in search efforts at ground zero.

He had to retire three years later after being told by doctors that he had developed a lung ailment from responding to ground zero. He now lives in Orange County, north of New York City.

Mercado, who was presented with a US $ 5 million check at the New York Lottery's offices in lower Manhattan, will take home a US $ 3.3 million lump sum payment after paying taxes, NBC New York reported on Sunday.

He hit the lottery after buying two tickets earlier this year. The first one did not hit. When he saw the first digit of the winning scratcher, he had to do a double-take, he said.

"My mind went blank. I was in shock," he said. Mercado plans to take a cruise and may buy a house in Florida, saying he already has a list of ideas for what to do with the money, including giving his daughter several American Girl dolls.

source: agency

20150704

Don't try to be an Englishman, speak English when there is a need : Rajnath Singh

NOIDA: Don't try to be an Englishman, speak English when there is a need, home minister Rajnath Singh on Saturdday advised students of a private institute here.

Addressing the students, Singh said many people had the misconception that he was against English.

"One should speak English when there is a need. But don't try to be an Englishman. English bolne se gyan nahi hota (One does not acquire knowledge by speaking English only)," the minister said during his more than half-an-hour long speech delivered in Hindi.

He said no one should hate English but every Indian must have a sense of pride towards his or her own language.

"I am not talking about only Hindi but all Indian languages. Khali Angrez nahi bano. Pehle Bharatiya bano. (Don't become just an Englishman. Be an Indian first)," he said.

Singh also expressed dismay over many children of the present generation not wishing their parents "properly" and just communicating with a "hi" or "bye".

"Mata pita key pair choona aur unka ashirwad lena bhi zaroori hota hain. (It is necessary to touch the feet of parents and take their blessings). If a child is blessed by parents, no one can stop him from reaching the greatest heights in life," he said.

The Home Minister asked the students to always pursue positivity in life as negativity is harmful to the society.

"All terrorists are not illiterate. There are many terrorists who are highly educated. But their knowledge is used for negative thinking and negative works. When knowledge is used for negativity, it is bound to be destructive," he said as he addressed students at Jaypee Institute of Information Technology's convocation.

The home minister asked the students to take pride in India's rich cultural heritage.

"India today is recognised globally for its contribution to Information Technology. Our government is committed to provide digital governance.

"Digital India programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not only attract investments but also give jobs to nearly 18 lakh Indians," he said.

Singh said India's software engineers have made the country proud with their talent and sheer hard work.

"We need to tap India's full potential in IT sector," he said.

source: agency

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan says he was disgusted when people around him clicked selfies as he attended the cremation of his friend

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan says he was disgusted when people around him clicked selfies as he attended the cremation of his friend.

The 72-year-old-actor posted on the social netowrking site Facebook that he was disappointed with the insensitivity of the people, who had no respect for the dead and the living.

"My dear friend passed away suddenly... was chatting and suddenly gone! Fragility of life... Went for the cremation to Delhi... at the cremation, people taking mobile pics and 'selfies'... disgusting!

"They have no respect for the dead and no respect for the living that come to pay their respects for the dead...," the cine icon wrote.

source: agency

It is true that Ram Jethmalani had given a proposal about Dawood's willingness to return : Sharad Pawar

MUMBAI: NCP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday said senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had contacted him over underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's willingness to surrender but conditions put forward for it were not acceptable to the state government.

The offer was made during Pawar's tenure as chief minister in 1990s.

"It is true that Ram Jethmalani had given a proposal about Dawood's willingness to return. But there was a condition that Dawood should not be kept in jail. Rather he be allowed to remain in a house. This was not acceptable. We said he had to face the law," Pawar told reporters here.

The former Union minister was asked about Jethmalani's statement that Dawood, a key accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was willing to surrender to Indian authorities but Pawar, the then chief minister heading a Congress government in the state, had rejected the offer.

source: agency

20150702

Suresh Raina said he is considering legal action against the former IPL Commissioner and insisted that he was never involved in any wrongdoing

NEW DELHI: Rejecting Lalit Modi's allegations that he accepted bribes from a businessman, Indian cricketer Suresh Raina on Thursday said he is considering legal action against the former IPL Commissioner and insisted that he was never involved in any wrongdoing.

"In the wake of recent media reports about me, I would like to make my fans around the world aware and clear the air that I have always played the game in right spirit and with utmost integrity," Raina said in a statement issued by sports management firm Rhiti Sports, with which he is associated.

"I have never been involved in any wrong doing and all allegations against me are false. Playing cricket is my passion for whichever team I have represented. I'm also figuring out my legal rights to take the right steps ahead in this matter."

Modi had alleged that two leading Indian cricketers and a West Indian player had been bribed by an Indian real estate tycoon, who is also a bookmaker.

London-based Modi tweeted a letter he claimed to have written to International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Dave Richardson in June 2013.

Modi then went on to name the three players, who he claimed were in close contact with the real estate tycoon who was also named in the letter.

Modi stated that he had been informed by "reliable sources" that the tycoon had paid in cash and kind to the three players.

The ICC acknowledged receiving the letter from Modi but gave the cricketers a clean chits saying that no evidence was found against them. The BCCI also effectively gave a clean chit to the players.

source: agency

20150701

Saudi Arabia's billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal pledged his entire $32-billion (28.8-billion-euro) fortune to charitable projects over the coming years

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on Wednesday pledged his entire $32-billion (28.8-billion-euro) fortune to charitable projects over the coming years.

The prince said in a statement that the "philanthropic pledge will help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world."

He said the donation "will be allocated according to a well-devised plan throughout the coming years" but stressed there was no time limit on when the donation would be spent.

Alwaleed said he would head a board of trustees tasked with spending the money, adding that his pledge would still be used after his death "for humanitarian projects and initiatives".

The magnate belongs to the Saudi royal family and is a nephew of king Abdullah, who died on January 23.

In the conservative Islamic kingdom, Alwaleed, who holds no government rank, is unusual for his high profile and periodic comments about economic issues.

At a press conference, he said his pledge was modelled on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other philanthropic funds in the United States.

"This is very much separate from my ownership in Kingdom Holding," Alwaleed told reporters on the 66th-floor headquarters of the publicly listed company which he chairs.

As well as media investments, Kingdom Holding has interests ranging from the Euro Disney theme park to Four Seasons hotels and Citigroup.

source: agency

The World Bank said it had cleared a $650 million loan for a huge Indian freight rail corridor that will span 1,840 kms (1,140 miles) across the northern heartland of the country

NEW DELHI: The World Bank said on Wednesday it had cleared a $650 million loan for a huge Indian freight rail corridor that will span 1,840 kms (1,140 miles) across the northern heartland of the country.

Construction of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor will help speed up the carrying of goods between Ludhiana in the west of India and Kolkata in the east, and is part of a series of new freight lines the World Bank says India needs to ease congestion on its network.

"The Indian Railways urgently needs to add freight routes to meet the growing freight traffic in India, which is projected to increase more than 7 percent annually," Ben L. J. Eijbergen, the Task Team Leader for the project, said in a statement.

The loan is the third from the World Bank to help fund the freight corridor. Last year the bank approved a $1.1 billion outlay and in 2011 $975 million.

India's railways, built mostly by the British before independence in 1947, are among the most extensive in the world but have struggled to expand to keep up with demand.

This has hit freight carriers hard as they are forced to carry their goods by road, which is far more inefficient and expensive, to make room for passenger trains on the congested lines. The railway's share of freight has fallen from 90 percent of cargo in 1950 to about one-third today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, banking on big investment in infrastructure to boost the economy, approved a $137 billion investment plan for the railways in February.

Successive governments have struggled to attract the funds necessary to upgrade roads, rail and ports across India, crimping economic growth.

courtesy- reuters

Cairo- At least 60 Egyptian soldiers were killed as heavily-armed ISIS militants launched a wave of simultaneous attacks on army checkpoints

CAIRO: At least 60 Egyptian soldiers were on Wednesday killed as heavily-armed ISIS militants launched a wave of simultaneous attacks on army checkpoints, including three suicide bombings, in one of the biggest assaults in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

"More than 70 terrorist elements waged simultaneous attacks against five security checkpoints in North Sinai," army spokesperson brigadier general Mohamed Samir said in a statement on his Facebook page.

Fighting between the dreaded militants and the soldiers is ongoing, with army and police currently chasing the attackers using ground and air force, security sources said.

The attack, which occurred in Sheikh Zuweid city of North Sinai, included suicide car bombings and heavy weapons that damaged large parts of the checkpoints, the sources said.

There were conflicting reports of casualty figures, with the sources saying at least 60 soldiers were killed while Samir put the number of those killed and injured so far much lower - at 10.

The toll could not be immediately verified in the aftermath of the major attack.

The militants also took soldiers captive and seized weapons and several armoured vehicles, officials said.

The Islamic State's Egypt affiliate, Sinai province, claimed responsibility for the attacks, it said in an online statement.

"In a blessed raid enabled by God, the lions of the caliphate have simultaneously attacked more than 15 checkpoints belonging to the apostate army," the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit el-Maqdes, which changed its name after pledging allegiance to the IS, said.

The group said it attacked over 15 security sites and had carried out three suicide bombings. The outfit has claimed responsibility of many attacks against security forces in north Sinai.

23 militants were killed in the attacks, the military said in a statement.

The attacks come two days after the assassination of the Egypt's general prosecutor Hisham Barakat in a car bomb attack here and a day after President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed to step up a two-year crackdown on militants.

Egypt's North Sinai has witnessed many violent attacks by militants since the January, 2011 revolution that toppled the ex-president Hosni Mubarak.

The attacks targeting police and military increased after the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by military following massive protests against his rule.

Over 600 security personnel have been reported killed since then.

The military has launched security campaigns in the area, arrested suspects and demolished houses that belong to terrorists, including those facilitating tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.

source: agency


20150630

India banned trade with Islamic State-linked entities in oil and other products

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday banned trade with Islamic State-linked entities in oil and other products, complying with a UN resolution to act against militants active in oil-rich countries such as Iraq, Syria and Libya.

"In compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution ..., trade in oil and refined oil products, modular refineries and related materials, besides items of cultural (including antiquities), scientific and religious importance is prohibited," India's commerce ministry said in a notification.

The rapid rise of Islamic State, which first emerged in Syria and Iraq, is worrying Western powers who fear the militant group will forge a base just across the Mediterranean from mainland Europe.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi earlier this month urged the international community to help prevent the group from gleaning profits from oil smuggling.

courtesy - Reuters

Indian team director Ravi Shastri has quashed reports of unrest in the dressing room over captaincy issues

MUMBAI: Indian team director Ravi Shastri has quashed reports of unrest in the dressing room over captaincy issues and said Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have "tremendous" mutual respect between them.

"What people don't realise is that there is tremendous mutual respect there between Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni," Shastri was quoted as saying by bcci.tv on Monday.

"When M.S. was at his prime as India's Test captain, Virat was only a youngster. There were times when Virat's place wasn't certain in the side and MS stuck by him. Such things are not forgotten. I can sense and see that respect without anyone having to tell me."

The reports of conflict within the Indian camp were sparked following the team's first-ever One-Day-International (ODI) series loss to minnows Bangladesh as Test skipper Kohli expressed concern over the team's decision-making.

"Not too happy with the way we have played. We have been sort of doubtful in our decision-making and that shows on the field," Kohli earlier said, fuelling speculations of a rift within the team.

His comments followed team-mates Suresh Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin's vocal support for ODI skipper Dhoni, whose personal coach has claimed "groupism" within the team as the reason for India's loss.

Asked about the biggest change Shastri as a director brought into the dressing room, the 53-year-old said: "Honesty and openness. I told the boys, 'Whatever you want to say, say it in the dressing room, not behind anyone's back'."

"A conscious effort was made to bring this honest environment about. I cannot say if I did it or not but I have seen massive improvement. The players have opened up much more from when I joined the team. There is trust there and there are benefits there. I told the guys, 'Whatever is on your mind, rather than keeping it all bottled up, get it out'."

"There is also mutual trust among the group. They want to play for each other and genuinely enjoy each other's success. That is the healthiest quality a team can have."

Shastri's involvement with the team has been lauded by a lot of players and he is said to have brought in a lot of positivity into the outfit.

"It's basically about making them believe in their own abilities and that as a unit they are one of the best in the world. When it's constantly mentioned and when you have results to prove it, it becomes infectious and is transferred from one player to another," said Shastri, who played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs for India, scoring 3,830 and 3,108 runs respectively.

"In the eight months that I have been with the team, we have won about 75 to 80 per cent of the ODIs," Shastri, who has 151 Test and 129 ODI wickets to his credit, added.

The former Mumbai star is confident that the team will bounce back after the 1-2 series loss to neighbours Bangladesh.

"Yes, we had a bad loss against Bangladesh but you learn from that and bounce back. This team has been through some tough terrain, in England and Australia, and they would have learned a hell of a lot from those tours," he said.

source: agency

Yoga classes have been banned in a central Russian city by the authorities to check spread of 'religious occultism'

LONDON: Close on the heels of India leading worldwide International Yoga Day celebrations, Yoga classes have been banned in a central Russian city by the authorities to check spread of 'religious occultism'.

At the centre of the crackdown are two studios holding classes for Hatha Yoga -- a set of asanas or postures involving deep breathing and tough physical exercises, which as per Hindu mythology was first practised by Lord Shiva.

Incidentally, Hatha Yoga is the most popular form of Yoga globally, including in the US, and a Russian Bollywood actress named Indra Devi (born Eugenia Vassilievna) is widely credited to have popularised it in the West more than 100 years ago.

Yoga is known as an ancient Indian spiritual and exercise discipline to balance mind, body and spirit, while millions across the globe joined in spectacular celebrations to mark the first International Yoga Day on June 21.

In India, celebrations were led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose call led to declaration of this Day by the United Nations and who himself performed various asanas and pranayams with a record number of over 35,000 people.

However, Yoga has become highly commoditised globally over the years and various schools and cults have sprung up in different parts of the world in its name.

In the first major crackdown abroad, the authorities in the central Russian city of Nizhnevartovsk have now asked the two Hatha Yoga studies -- Auro and Ingara -- to stop holding yoga classes in the municipal facilities of the city, as per the Russian media reports.

They were reportedly renting out stadiums and public meeting halls for their classes.

Kommersant business daily reported that the Nizhnevartovsk officials have barred use of municipal buildings for yoga classes and have issued orders to the two studios on this.

The Moscow Times reported that the order has been issued "to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements."

The authorities have also issued a letter to the heads of departments for physical culture and education, stating that Hatha yoga was "inextricably linked to religious practices" and has "an occult character," as per the Kommersant report.

Yoga is said to be very popular in Russia.

Russia-born Devi had learnt Hatha Yoga from an Indian Guru and was later described as the "first lady of yoga". She went on to teach the same to many in Europe and the US, before she died in 2002 -- weeks before her 103rd birthday.

source: agency

Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said his country would not make the deadline for a key payment to the International Monetary Fund

ATHENS: Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said his country would not make the deadline on Tuesday for a key payment to the International Monetary Fund.

Asked by journalists outside the ministry whether Greece would make the debt repayment of about 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion), he replied, "No".

From Greferendum to Grexit: a crisis buzzwords glossary

First-time students of the Greek debt crisis might fear they have stumbled on an alien language when they see some of the words European leaders use.

Here is a selection of the key neologisms and stock phrases that have made their way from social media into the "Grexit" vocabulary.

Grexit: The withdrawal of Greece from the euro, the European single currency. A portmanteau word made by combining the words "Greece" and "exit". The term was reputedly first used in a paper by Citigroup economists Willem Buiter and Ebrahim Rahbari in February 2012. The alternative GREXODUS ("Greece" plus "exodus") has been suggested because the latter word is of Greek origin. Later spawned the word Brexit to refer to a potential British exit from the European Union in a referendum planned by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2017.

Grexident (sometimes written Graccident): A chain reaction leading to Greece leaving the euro in a "chaotic, uncontrollable" fashion because of default or a bank run, despite efforts to keep it in. EU President Donald Tusk used the term on June 23 in a press conference, making it official after wide use on social media and in financial commentaries.

Greferendum: A plebiscite called by Greece's leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for Sunday July 5 to decide on bailout reform terms offered by Greece's EU-IMF creditors, made by combining the words "Greece" and "referendum".

Game over: Repeatedly used by Tusk, and also by Austrian Finance Minister Hans Jorg Schelling, to warn Greece and its creditors that time has run out.

The ball is in the Greek court/camp: A mantra for European leaders during the final days of Greece's bailout negotiations, meaning that it was up to Athens to respond to offers of a deal from its creditors. A German foreign ministry spokesman appeared to get the ball rolling on June 13, followed by ECB chief Mario Draghi who said the "ball lies squarely in the camp of the Greek government" and then taken up by many others. Tsipras later returned serve by saying that the ball was in the court of the European institutions.

Whhere there's a will there' a way: Used repeatedly by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to indicate there was hope of a deal but that political will was necessary, the term was then taken up by others including European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici.

Junker football metaphors: European Commission chief is remarkably keen on football metaphors, saying on one occasion that the Greek bailout talks were a "game without extra time" and then on Monday mixing football with philosophy when he said he "would not want to see Plato play in the second division".

courtesy - AFP

20150629

BJP president Amit Shah said Hindu religion has solution for all the problems in the world

AHMEDABAD: BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday said Hindu religion has solution for all the problems in the world.

"Hindu religion has solutions for all the problems of the world... I am not saying this because I am born Hindu," Shah said at Gujarat University convention centre, while unveiling former President A P J Abdul Kalam's book 'Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji'.

"When I faced difficulty for two years, I visited each and every religious centre in India. In that period, I sought blessings from all the 'jyotirlings' and 'shaktipeeths' of India, except Somnath temple (in Gujarat)," Shah said referring to the two years that he was barred from entering Gujarat due to legal proceedings in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

In December last year, Shah was acquitted in the Sohrabuddin encounter case.

"That was the time when I was not able to do my activities... Perhaps God made me seek his blessings in my youth," the BJP chief said.

He added that the religious leader of Swaminarayan sect, Pramukh Swami, has given a new lease of life to Hindu tradition with the powers of saints like Shankaracharya had done with the tradition of 'akhadas'.

Speaking on the event, governor of Karnataka Vajubhai Vala said that religion was more important than the state.

"'Dharma danda' is much more important than 'Raj danda' and it can make people happy," said Vala.

Recounting an incident when he was the Mayor of Rajkot in 1980s, Vala said he chose to felicitate religious leader Pramukh Swami by going against the local administration. "This is in my blood and this is in the 'sanskaras' of RSS that could lead me to even vacate the post of a Mayor," Vala added.

On the book written by Kalam, Vala said he feels that one saint is giving his opinions for the other saint.

Praising Kalam, Gujarat governor O P Kohli said his personality is unique, as the scientist has saintly qualities.

The event was attended by Gujarat ministers Saurabh Patel and Bhupendrasinh Chudasma and other senior BJP leaders.

source: agency

Around 30 per cent of China's Ming-era Great Wall has disappeared over time

BEIJING: Around 30 per cent of China's Ming-era Great Wall has disappeared over time as adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities - including stealing the bricks to build houses - erode the Unesco World Heritage site, state media reported.

The Great Wall is not a single unbroken structure but stretches for thousands of kilometres in sections, from Shanhaiguan on the east coast to Jiayuguan in the windswept sands on the edge of the Gobi desert.

In places it is so dilapidated that estimates of its total length vary from 9,000 to 21,000 kilometres (5,600 to 13,000 miles), depending on whether missing sections are included. Despite its length it is not, as is sometimes claimed, visible from space.

Construction first begun in the third century BC, but nearly 6,300 kilometres were built in the Ming Dynasty of 1368-1644, including the much-visited sectors north of the capital Beijing.

Of that, 1,962 kilometres has melted away over the centuries, the Beijing Times reported.

Some of the construction weathered away, while plants growing in the walls have accelerated the decay, said the report Sunday, citing a survey last year by the Great Wall of China Society.

"Even though some of the walls are built of bricks and stones, they cannot withstand the perennial exposure to wind and rain," the paper quoted Dong Yaohui, a vice president of the society, as saying.

"Many towers are becoming increasingly shaky and may collapse in a single rain storm in summer."

Tourism and local residents' activities are also damaging the longest human construction in the world, the paper added.

Poor villagers in Lulong county in the northern province of Hebei used to knock thick grey bricks from a section of wall in their village to build homes, and slabs engraved with Chinese characters were sold for 30 yuan ($4.80) each by local residents, it said.

Under Chinese regulations people who take bricks from the Great Wall can be fined up to 5,000 yuan, the state-run Global Times said Monday.

"But there is no specific organisation to enforce the rules. Damage could only be reported to higher authorities and it is hard to solve when it happened on the border of two provinces," said Jia Hailin, a cultural relics protection official in Hebei, according to the report.

It added that explorations of undeveloped parts of the Great Wall -- an increasingly popular leisure activity in recent years -- had brought those sections more tourists than they could bear, damaging them severely.

courtesy - AFP

British Prime Minister David Cameron has called on the BBC and other media outlets to avoid using the term Islamic State in reference to the terror outfit

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron has called on the BBC and other media outlets to avoid using the term Islamic State in reference to the terror outfit, saying it gives undue credibility to the "poisonous death cult".

"I wish the BBC would stop calling it 'Islamic State' because it is not an Islamic state," he told the?BBC's 'Today'?programme.

Cameron believes it gives undue credibility to the "poisonous death cult" that is "seducing" young Britons to go and fight for the terrorist organisation in Syria and Iraq.

The Prime Minister preferred the use of the term ISIL ?- the abbreviation of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"What it is, is an appalling barbarous regime that is a perversion of the religion of Islam and many Muslims listening to this programme will recoil every time they hear the words.

'So-called' or Isil is better," he said.

Cameron was speaking after it emerged that the number of Britons dead in the attack by an Islamist gunman on a beach resort in Tunisia on Friday could go upto 30.

He warned that the fight against the barbaric terrorist organisation was "the struggle of our generation."

"We have to fight it with everything we can," he asserted.
Cameron also pledged a "full spectrum" response to the attack by Seifeddine Resgui, who was gunned down himself by police after his murderous rampage that left a total of 38 people dead on the Sousse beach resort.

British officials have already confirmed 17 of his victims are British but Cameron said the country should be prepared for the news of more UK casualties as officials continue to identify those killed on the beach.

He announced that UK home secretary Theresa May will travel to the country today for talks on how to address the extremist threat and to pay condolences at the scene of the attack.

An RAF C17 transport plane is also being deployed to help bring stranded tourists home, and potentially repatriate bodies.

source: agency

20150628

An ITI aspirant was in for a shock when he found a photo of a dog on his admit card

MIDNAPORE (WB): An ITI aspirant was in for a shock when he found a photo of a dog on his admit card.

Soumyadip Mahato (18) downloaded the admit card for the ITI entrance exam from the official website to find the dog's photo on it with his address and other details on Saturday.

Mahato, who passed higher secondary examination this year, soon contacted the nodal officer for conducting the examinations in the area and was assured of assistance.

Later in the evening the dog's photo was removed from his admit card.

Mahato could appear for the Common Entrance Test (CET) under West Bengal State Council for Vocational Training with the new admit card on Sunday.

An inquiry has been ordered into the incident, the nodal officer said.

source: agency

Kuwait - Two Indians were among 26 people killed in a ISIS suicide attack at a Shia mosque

KUWAIT CITY: Two Indians were among 26 people killed in a ISIS suicide attack at a Shia mosque, according to Indian Embassy, which asked the Indian nationals to take precautions for their safety and security in Kuwait.

"The Embassy regrets to inform about the death of two Indian nationals in the bomb blast at Imam Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait on June 26," the Indian mission said in a statement.

Both the victims - Rizwan Husain (31) and Ibne Abbas (25)- were taking part in the prayers when they died, it said.

While Husain, a resident of Walipur village in Sultanpur district of UP, was working as a watchman in the Mosque, Abbas from Jalalpur in Ambedkar Nagar of UP was employed as driver.

Their bodies would be buried in Iraq's holy city of Najaf as per their family's wishes, sources said.

Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sunil Jain visited the injured Indians who were admitted at Amiri Hospital.

"The conditions of all the injured Indians are stable and some of the injured have been discharged from hospital after first aid," an embassy official told PTI.

A suicide bomber struck the mosque on Friday during noon prayers, killing 26 people and injuring 227 in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had condemned the "cowardly" attack in Kuwait, saying the progress of humanity lies in peace and brotherhood instead of hatred and mindless violence.

The embassy has advised Indian community in Kuwait to take precautions for their safety and security in the country in the wake of the blast.

Over 8 lakh Indians live in Kuwait, forming the second biggest expatriate community after the Egyptians.

Majority of the Indians are employed in private sectors and are construction workers, technicians, engineers, doctors, chartered accountants and IT experts.

Meanwhile, state-run KUNA news agency today said that police has arrested the driver who transported the suicide bomber to the mosque where he blew himself up.

Authorities have also detained the owner of the house where the bomber was staying, it said, citing a statement from the Interior Ministry.

The arrest came a day after thousands of mourners, including women clad in black dress, attended the funerals of 18 out of 26 victims of the bombing.

The bodies of the remaining victims were flown to Iraq's holy city of Najaf for burial.

source: agency

20150627

Actress Anushka Sharma, who was keeping busy with her hectic schedule, took time off to spend some quality time with her mother

Actress Anushka Sharma, who was keeping busy with her hectic schedule, took time off to spend some quality time with her mother.

The NH10 actress took to photo-sharing website Instagram, where she shared a selfie of herself along with her mother.

On the silver screen, the 27-year-old actress was last seen in Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do.

The film also featured actors Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar and Ranveer Singh.

source: agency

Superstar Hrithik Roshan is happy to cross the 10 million benchmark on micro-blogging site Twitter

Superstar Hrithik Roshan is happy to cross the 10 million benchmark on micro-blogging site Twitter.

The 41-year-old "Bang Bang!" star thanked his fans for being his inspiration, on Twitter.

"I crossed 10 million. Just realised. How wonderful. Thanks guys, you all are my biggest inspiration and my deepest reason to be and serve at my best," he wrote.

The Krrish actor is currently shooting for Ashutosh Gowariker's epic adventure-romance Mohenjo Daro opposite actress Pooja Hegde, who makes her Bollywood debut with the film.

Hrithik is behind megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who has 15.5 million fans, Shah Rukh Khan (13.8 million), Salman Khan (12.6 million)and Aamir Khan, who enjoys 13.3 million followers on the site.

source: agency

Louisiana's Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal wants to get rid of the court

WASHINGTON: Finding himself at odds with the US Supreme Court over its two landmark judgements upholding healthcare law and same-sex marriage, Louisiana's Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal wants to get rid of the court.

"Thursday, the Supreme Court had its say on Obamacare; soon, the American people will have theirs," wrote the newly minted aspirant for Republican nomination for President in an opinion piece in Time magazine.

The Court's decision upholding subsidies for states participating in the federally run insurance exchange, he wrote, "violates the plain text of Obamacare," as President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law Affordable Care Act is nicknamed.

"It's a sad outcome for the rule of law - and the English language," said Jindal who like other Republican governors has refused to set up a marketplace or exchange where people can shop for affordable health insurance.

But an estimated 138,000 residents of Louisiana are getting federal subsidies through the federal exchange that is open to those who don't have access to state exchanges.

"Contrary to this President's self-proclaimed edicts, yesterday's Supreme Court decision is not the end of the debate on Obamacare," said Jindal.

It merely "shifts back to the elected branches of government - the ones that caused our health care mess in the first place," he said. "It is there that conservatives can complete our work to repeal Obamacare."

Jindal's reaction to the apex court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide was even more sharp.

"The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body," he said in a statement from Iowa, which holds the first presidential caucus.

"If we want to save some money, let's just get rid of the court," Jindal added.

Jindal later said that the ruling fundamentally redefined the institution of marriage.

"Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that," he added.

He also argued that protecting same-sex marriage would open the door to discrimination against people of faith who oppose its practice.

Despite the Supreme Court judgment, the Jindal administration has said Louisiana's state government won't recognize gay marriage for now.

But Mike Reed, Jindal's spokesman in the governor's office, acknowledged "Our agencies will have no choice but to comply with the Supreme Court's decision" eventually, he told NOLA.com.

source: agency

The AAP logo's designer who has quit the party has served a legal notice to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for still using the logo

LUCKNOW: The AAP logo's designer who has quit the party has served a legal notice to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for still using the logo for which he holds the copyright.

Sunil Lal told media  that he had served the notice through his lawyer Akhilesh Chandra seeking a response within 15 days for continuing to use the logo. Lal has severed ties with the Aam Aadmi Party.
"I designed the logo, given it to the party but withdrew it after my belief in the party and its ideology was shattered," Lal said, adding he wrote a letter to Kejriwal on April 7 seeking the logo back.

"I had categorically requested the AAP not to use the logo designed by me in posters, banners, flags, websites and other means of publicity. But they continue to use it blatantly," he said.

He said the logo was his intellectual property that was never transferred to the party.

source: agency

Sri Lanka's batting great Kumar Sangakkara ended speculation about his future saying he will retire during the home series against India in August

Sri Lanka's batting great Kumar Sangakkara on Saturday ended speculation about his future saying he will retire during the home series against India in August.

"This is my time to call it a day," Sangakkara, 37, told reporters on the sidelines of the second Test against Pakistan in Colombo.

The left-hander said he will play two of the three Tests against India that are to take place in Sri Lanka in August. The exact dates and venues have not yet been announced.

Sangakkara will also miss the third and final Test of the ongoing series against Pakistan.

courtesy - AFP

Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the government will soon come out with its report on the controversial issue of net neutrality

NEW DELHI: Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the government will soon come out with its report on the controversial issue of net neutrality, and the telecom department is waiting for the report from sectoral regulator ​Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

"Report of net neutrality will be out very soon but we are waiting for Trai report on the issue," telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

The telecom department, which had set up a panel to look into the net neutrality issue, submitted its report to Prasad earlier this month.

Net neutrality implies equal treatment be accorded to all internet traffic and no priority should be given to any person or entity or company based on payment, which is seen as discriminatory.

Apart from the six-member committee appointed in January this year by DoT, Trai had also invited stakeholders comments on issues such as net neutrality and regulation of OTT services like WhatsApp and Skype.

The regulatory received over 10 lakh comments.

In the meantime tenure of the then Trai chairman Rahul Khullar ended and the new head is yet to be appointed.

"Announcement (of new Trai chairman) will be made very soon," Prasad said.

Net neutrality, a widely debated issue globally, has in the past few months caught India's attention with politicians, corporate leaders and film stars taking to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to debate on the issue.

The issue gained national attention after internet activists and experts flagged telecom giant Bharti Airtel's 'Airtel Zero' platform to be in violation of the principle.

Airtel Zero is an open marketing platform that allows customers to access a variety of mobile applications for free, with the data charges being paid by startups and large firms.

Also over the last few months, operators like Reliance Communications and Uninor have tied up with players like Facebook, WhatsApp and Wikipedia to offer free usage to consumers.

source: agency

20150626

Passengers will now get text messages on their mobile phones if their scheduled trains get cancelled

NEW DELHI: Passengers will now get text messages on their mobile phones if their scheduled trains get cancelled.

Railways has introduced a pilot project to help passengers from any inconvenience, however, the service in beginning is only available to passengers boarding trains at originating stations.

We have started a passenger-friendly service under which SMS messages would be sent to passengers informing about train cancellation in case the train in which they have booked their tickets for is cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances, a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Currently, the SMS messages are being sent to those passengers who are boarding at originating station. The service will be extended to cover en route station also at a later stage.

According to the service, the SMS will be sent to passengers' mobile numbers entered by them in reservation slips while buying tickets from PRS counters or while purchasing online e-tickets.

The cancellation information would be sent in advance to the passengers for their convenience so that it may help them plan alternative arrangement in time.

To avail this facility, passengers are advised to invariably mention their mobile numbers on the reservation slips.

The software for this service has been developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the information technological wing of the railways.

source: agency

RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has asked central banks from across the world to define "new rules of the game"

LONDON: RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has asked central banks from across the world to define "new rules of the game" as he warned that the global economy may be slipping into problems similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Rajan, who has been warning against competitive monetary policy easing by central banks, however, said the situation is different in India where RBI still needs to bring down lending rates to spur investments.

He expressed concern that the world may be slipping into the kind of problems of the depression of the 1930s and an international consensus was needed to be built over time.

"We need rules of the game in order to effect a better solution. I think it is time to start debating what should the global rules of the game be on what is allowed in terms of central bank action," he said at a London Business School (LBS) conference here on Thursday evening.

"I am not going to venture a guess as to how we establish new rules of the game. It has to be international discussion, international consensus built over time after much research and action," Rajan said.

"But I do worry that we are slowly slipping into the kind of problems that we had in the thirties in attempts to activate growth. And, I think it's a problem for the world. It's not just a problem for the industrial countries or emerging markets, now it's a broader game," he noted.

source: agency

Mars mission spacecraft that is in a rendezvous with the red planet for an extended period has enough fuel for it to last "many years" : ISRO

BENGALURU: The country's low-cost Mars mission spacecraft that is in a rendezvous with the red planet for an extended period has enough fuel for it to last "many years", Indian Space Research Organisation chairman Kiran Kumar said on Friday.

"....now it will be surviving for many years," Kumar told reporters here on the sidelines of Indian Institute of Science Alumni Global Conference 2015 'Science for Society' here.

He said, "still about 45 kg of fuel is left; ...we are hardly using the fuel, fuel requirement is very small."

"Originally with the kind of fuel we had carried, we were not expecting that we will be able to complete the mission for more than six months," he said.

Elaborating, he said right from launch till the spacecraft was inserted into the desired orbit, many difficulties could have been encountered "in which case we would have spent more fuel....but it didn't happen right from the beginning through the whole process."

The spacecraft's life was extended for another six months in March due to surplus fuel.

Scripting space history, India on September 24 2014 successfully placed the low-cost Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft in orbit around the Mars in its very first attempt, breaking into an elite club.

Isro had launched the spacecraft on its nine-month-long odyssey on a homegrown PSLV rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 5, 2013 and it had escaped the earth's gravitational field on December 1, 2013.

Kumar said "there was no untoward incidents, no failures; ....even when you launch you have to give some margin for launch error that also was not there. So we were able to save fuel right from beginning till insertion."

"Now we have saved, almost 45 kg is there. It will last for many years," he added. He however did not exactly specify how long the spacecraft's life can be further extended.

Asked to specify the time frame, he said "we will go one step at a time. We had told the longest duration of gap of communication was this one (June 8-22). Now this we have survived. Next similar event will be two-and-half years later."

Questioned whether it can last two-and-half years, he said "...it should."

From June 8 to 22, the MOM was in "blackout" phase snapping communication with the satellite, as the sun had blocked Mars from the Earth. MOM during this period went into an "autonomous mode".

source: agency

I really felt bad in the way Dhoni has been treated after Bangladesh series defeat : Shahid Afridi

KOLKATA: Mahendra Singh Dhoni may have faced lot of flak for his team's embarrassing ODI series defeat against Bangladesh but Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi is "not happy" in the manner the Indian ODI skipper was being targeted.

Afridi termed this as "sub-continental trend" where the cricketing heroes are pilloried after one odd series defeat.

"I really felt bad in the way MS (Dhoni) has been treated after Bangladesh series defeat. I completely think it's a sub-continental trend where our heroes are not spared after one bad defeat. The media is also responsible for not painting the true picture at times," Afridi said during an interaction.

Afridi could empathizes more with Dhoni as he has also faced criticism over the years in his own country.

"I am not saying that one should not analyse the present performance of a leader or a player. Criticise him but when you do that please don't forget to also inform the world about the past. When you look at Dhoni, just look at his record before jumping to any conclusions. He has been such a tremendous player for India. His record speaks for itself," said Afridi.

The swashbuckling batsman also credited Dhoni for building a good Indian team for future.

"Dhoni has built such a good team for the future. There is so much quality and talent in that batting line-up," he said.

Afridi, who now only plays T20 format for Pakistan, also sounded positive about Pakistan's bench strength.

"Pakistan cricket's domestic structure has improved a lot in recent years. That is why we are now having a good supply line of youngsters in the national team. This team will only grow from strength to strength in coming days," observed the 35-year-old.

Afridi quit playing ODIs after World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with a record 398 ODIs. Asked if he regrets not reaching the coveted 400 ODIs milestone, he replied: "Not at all. In fact I am grateful to Almighty Allah (God) that I have got the opportunity to play for Pakistan for such a long time.

"I am very happy to play T20 for Pakistan and would like to play the World T20 in India, next year," Afridi said.

The hard-hitting batsman also said that plying his trade in T20 leagues across the world is his way of staying fit for competitions.

"I have played in Big Bash in Australia and now I will be playing for St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). In all these tournaments, you play with some of the top international cricketers in the world and you know you will have to be at your best to compete with them," said Afridi.

While signing off, Afridi said that "India's co-operation will be needed" to resume full-time cricket in Pakistan.

source: agency

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing that ripped through a Shia mosque in Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY: The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing that ripped through a Shia mosque in Kuwait on Friday that medics say killed at least 13 people.

The IS-affiliated group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, said militant Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid carried out the attack on the mosque, which it claimed was spreading Shia teachings among Sunni Muslims.

IS, a radical Sunni Muslim group, considers Shias to be heretics.

Medics said the suicide bombing killed "at least 13 people, while 25 others were hospitalized."

Najd Province claimed similar bombings against Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks.

courtesy - AFP

At least 19 people have been killed after at least one gunman attacked a Tunisian tourist hotel in the popular resort of Sousse

TUNIS: At least 19 people have been killed after at least one gunman attacked a Tunisian tourist hotel in the popular resort of Sousse, an interior ministry official said on Friday.

Details of the attack, which a local security source at the scene and radio reported was on the Imperial Marhaba hotel, were still emerging.

The body of one gunman lay at the scene with a Kalashnikov assault rifle after he was shot in an exchange of gunfire with police, the source said.

Sousse is one of Tunisia's most popular beach resorts, drawing visitors from Europe and neighbouring North African countries.

Tunisia has been on high alert since March when Islamist militant gunmen attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis, killing a group of foreign tourists in one of the worst attacks in a decade in the North African country.

courtesy - Reuters

Terrorist attack in France

AINT-QUENTIN FALLAVIER, FRANCE: A severed head covered in Arabic writing was found at a US gas company in southeast France on Friday, police sources and French media said, after two assailants rammed a car into the premises, exploding gas containers.

Speaking from a European Union summit in Brussels, French President Francois Hollande described it at a terrorist attack and said all measures would be taken to stop any future attacks on a country still reeling from Islamist assaults in January.

One suspect had been arrested and was already known to French intelligence sources, Hollande said.

"Two individuals deliberately rammed a car into the gas containers to trigger an explosion," a police source said.

It was not known whether the victim, so far the only known fatality in the incident that also injured two people, was decapitated before or after the car smashed into the building, or whether the victim had been on site at the time of the attack, or killed elsewhere.

"The attack was of a terrorist nature since a body was discovered, decapitated and with inscriptions," Hollande told the news conference.

Police sources earlier said the decapitated body was found at the site, along with a flag bearing Islamist inscriptions.

Local newspaper Le Dauphine said the head covered in Arabic writing was found on a fence.

The French public prosecutor said its anti-terrorist section had been deployed to investigate.

France, which has deployed aircraft to the international coalition fighting Islamic State insurgents in Iraq, has long been named on Islamist sites as a primary target for attacks.

In April, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said no fewer than five attacks had been thwarted in the country since the Charlie Hebdo killings in January.

Then, Islamist gunmen killed 17 people in the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly and a Jewish food store.

Noting that hundreds of French nationals are in Syria where they risked being radicalised by Islamist fighters, Valls said "never has the threat been so high".

The site belonged to Air Products, a US industrial gases and chemicals company, according to a spokeswoman for Air Liquide, a French company in the same sector. It was immediately ringfenced by police and emergency services.

The chairman and CEO of Air Products is Seifi Ghasemi, who in 2011 testimony to a US Senate committee described himself as Iranian-born. Mainly Shia Iran is a sworn enemy of Sunni-dominated Islamic State.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack and the motive was unknown.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve was at the site in the town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, around 30 km (20 miles) southeast of the city of Lyon.

French media said the government had ordered security to be stepped up around sensitive sites in the surrounding Rhone-Alpes region.

courtesy - Reuters

20150625

Actor Varun Dhawan and actress Kriti Sanon have left for Bulgaria to join Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol for the shooting of Dilwale

Actor Varun Dhawan and actress Kriti Sanon have left for Bulgaria to join Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol for the shooting of Dilwale.

The ABCD 2 star took to Twitter to share that he is off to Bulgaria with choreographer-director Remo D'Souza.

"Off to Bulgaria for #Dilwale18Dec with the man @remodsouza," Varun tweeted.

Remo will be choreographing a song in the Rohit Shetty-directed action comedy.

Earlier, Shah Rukh welcomed Vinod Khanna to the sets of the movie by tweeting a picture of the veteran actor, Shetty and him.

Dilwale marks the reunion of Shah Rukh and Kajol, who were last seen together in Karan Johar's 2010 drama My Name is Khan.

Produced by Red Chillis Entertainment, the movie is scheduled to release on December 18.

source: agency

Over 500 AAP workers staged a protest outside human resource development minister Smriti Irani's residence

NEW DELHI: Over 500 AAP workers staged a protest outside human resource development minister Smriti Irani's residence on Thursday, demanding her resignation for allegedly misleading poll authorities about her educational qualifications, police said.

The workers gathered outside Irani's residence around 11am and while staging a demonstration also demanded her immediate arrest.

After a Delhi Court on Wednesday admitted a petition challenging the academic qualifications of Irani, the Aam Aadmi Party demanded that the action meted out against former Delhi law minister Jitendra Singh Tomar should be applicable to her as well.

"She (Irani) should be arrested without any delay and she must also resign as a minister," one of the workers said.

"There was no delay in the arrest of Tomar, why is there a delay in her case?" he asked.

Following the heavy protests, security forces were deployed and barricades mounted outside the minister's residence.

"We have deputed police personnel and barricades have been mounted to maintain law and order," Deputy commissioner of police Vijay Singh told media .

"We have also stationed water cannons outside the minister's house as a precautionary measures."

source: agency

A mother and her infant son who disappeared in a plane crash in the dense jungles of northwestern Colombia several days ago were found alive

BOGOTA: A mother and her infant son who disappeared in a plane crash in the dense jungles of northwestern Colombia several days ago were found alive and well Wednesday in what authorities called a "miracle".
Nelly Murillo, 18, and her son Yudier Moreno, not yet one year old, were discovered near the site where the Cessna 303 crashed on Saturday in thick brush.

"It's a miracle. It is a very wild area and it was a catastrophic accident," Colonel Hector Carrascal, commander of the Colombian Air Force in Antioquia department, told AFP.

"His mother's spirit must have given him strength to survive," he said of the baby.

Murillo and her son were taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital with minor injuries, said Carrascal, adding that he was stunned they were alive.

"The lady has wounds and minor burns and apparently the child is unharmed," the Colombian Air Force said in a statement.

The plane's pilot, Captain Carlos Mario Ceballos, died in the crash and rescuers found his body in the aircraft.

They discovered the doors of the plane ajar and suspected that survivors may have climbed out.

A 14-person search-and-rescue team scoured the dense forest for several days before finding the mother and child.

The rescue team was on the last day of its work when the mother and child appeared near the site of the crash, Carrascal said.

The plane offered air taxi services between remote areas in northwest Colombia. It was traveling between Nuqui and Quibdo when it was declared missing, authorities said.

Investigators are trying to find the cause of the crash.

courtesy - AFP

Sachin Tendulkar has been voted the 'Best Test player' of the 21st century in an online poll conducted by Cricket Australia's website

MELBOURNE: India's legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar has been voted the 'Best Test player' of the 21st century in an online poll conducted by Cricket Australia's website.

The former India skipper got the highest number of votes to emerge on top of the list of the 100 best Test players since 2000, in a poll conducted by cricket.com.au.

Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara received the second highest votes, followed by Adam Gilchrist of Australia in the third position.

Currently the 'Icon' of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians, Tendulkar earned 23 per cent of votes, with more than 16,000 fans participating in the survey. Sangakkara got 14 per cent votes after CA released the top-100 Test players' list since 2000 on its website.

Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket in 2013 after playing his 200th Test, is the lone Indian player to be figuring in the top-10 list, while there are four Australian, three South African and two Sri Lankan cricketers.

"After 10 days of counting down and no end of deliberations, cricket.com.au released its final countdown of the 100 best Test players since 2000 a couple of days ago. Readers debated the top 10, just as you did players 11 through 100, but we also provided an opportunity for you to decide your No.1 Test player of the century," CA's website stated.

"Tendulkar, the little master who remains an iconic figure in the sport, was a runaway winner, jumping four places from where cricket.com.au had him placed, while batting giants Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis were separated on countback, with the Australian just edging out his Proteas counterpart," it further said.

The 42-year-old Tendulkar, who is the only batsman to have hit 100 international centuries, holds the record for highest run scorer in both Tests and One-Day Internationals.

The Poll result: 1. Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) 23%, 2. Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 14%, 3. Adam Gilchrist (Aus) 13%, 4. Ricky Ponting (Aus) 11%, 5. Jacques Kallis (SA) 11%, 6. AB de Villiers (SA) 10%, 7. Shane Warne (Aus) 9%, 8. Glenn McGrath (Aus) 5%, 9. Muttiah Muralitharan (SL) 3%, 10. Dale Steyn (SA) 1%.

source:agency

A top executive of Greenpeace India has resigned following an internal review by the NGO of its handling of two prior sexual harassment cases

NEW DELHI: A top executive of Greenpeace India has resigned following an internal review by the NGO of its handling of two prior sexual harassment cases.

Executive director of Greenpeace India, Samit Aich, offered his resignation to the Greenpeace India Board, which accepted it yesterday, the NGO said, adding that a programme director, Divya Raghunandan, too, has quit.

"The executive director of Greenpeace India, Samit Aich, resigned following an internal review of the organisation's handling of two sexual harassment cases.

"...Separately, programme director Divya Raghunandan has resigned from the organisation," said a statement on the NGO's website.

The NGO had earlier "ended" the employment of two of its employees — one allegedly involved in cases of rape of a woman employee of the organisation and the other accused of several cases of sexual harassment.

It had also tendered an unconditional apology for the way it handled the alleged sexual harassment case.

The move had come after one of its ex-employees wrote an article on a web forum last week alleging rape and sexual harassment by colleagues at Greenpeace India.

The statement on the website further said that its Board has now appointed two interim co-executive directors — Vinuta Gopal and Sanjiv Gopal.

"Their appointments are with full mandate and support while the Board starts the process of recruiting a new Executive Director," it said.

The board also decided to commission a full, independent audit of how Greenpeace India dealt with the sexual harassment cases so that it may strengthen its internal processes to ensure a safe working environment for women, it said.

The board, meanwhile, made clear their appreciation for Aich for 11 years of dedicated service to Greenpeace India.

"In his time with Greenpeace India, Samit has overseen some of the organisation's biggest campaign successes and has also been at the helm during some of its most difficult times," the statement said.

The government had earlier barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds by suspending its licence for six months and freezing all its accounts after alleging that it has "prejudicially" affected the country's interests.

source: agency

20150624

Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra has amassed five million fans on social networking site Facebook

Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra has amassed five million fans on social networking site Facebook.

The 26-year-old actress, who made her Bollywood debut with Maneesh Sharma's Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, tweeted: "5million fans on facebook!!!! And soon on twitter too!! Yayy yayyy thank you soo much guys I love you".

Parineeti keeps her fans entertained by frequently sharing news on social media about her professional and personal lives.

The Ishaqzaade star was last seen in the 2014 film Kill Dil. Directed by Shaad Ali, the film also features Ranveer Singh, Govinda and Ali Zafar.

source: agency

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is planning to go cycling in the east European country

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is currently busy shooting for Rohit Shetty's Dilwale in Bulgaria, is planning to go cycling in the east European country.

The 49-year-old took to micro-blogging website Twitter to share a photograph of the picturesque Bulgaria. He also mentioned about his plan to go cycling.

"What a beautiful Bulgarian evening...I think I should go for a cycle ride," he tweeted.

Earlier this month Shetty had gifted the Baazigar actor a new bicycle to get his knee in shape.

Dilwale also features Kajol, who would be seen after a long hiatus, Varun Dhawan and one-film-old actress Kriti Sanon.

The film is set to release on December 18.

source: agency

France summoned the UN ambassador to explain allegations of what French President Francois Hollande branded "unacceptable" spying by the United States on French officials

PARIS: France on Wednesday summoned the UN ambassador to explain allegations of what French President Francois Hollande branded "unacceptable" spying by the United States on French officials.

Hollande held an emergency meeting of ministers and army commanders after WikiLeaks revelations that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on the last three French presidents.

"France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests," a statement from the president's office said, adding it was not the first time that allegations of UN spying on French interests had surfaced.

"Commitments were made by the UN authorities. They need to be recalled and strictly respected."

The French foreign ministry summoned the UN ambassador to discuss the matter, a French diplomatic source said.

The UN embassy declined to comment. A statement from the UN national security council said it was not targeting and will not target Hollande's communications. The statement did not say whether spying had taken place in the past.

While Paris and Washington have good ties in general, UN security council veto-holder France fiercely maintains its independence on foreign policy and over the last two years there have been moments of friction and irritation on both sides.

Hollande was disappointed by President Barack Obama's last-minute decision not to strike Syrian government positions in 2013. UN officials have frequently, in private, lambasted France's tough stance in talks over Iran's nuclear programme.

The revelations were first reported in French daily Liberation and on news website Mediapart, which said the NSA spied on presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande during the period of at least 2006 until May 2012.

According to the documents, Sarkozy considered restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without UN involvement and Hollande feared a Greek euro zone exit back in 2012.

The latest revelations of spying among Western allies come after it emerged that the NSA had spied on Germany and Germany's own BND intelligence agency had cooperated with the NSA to spy on officials and companies elsewhere in Europe.

WikiLeaks said on Twitter it would release more documents giving "further evidence as to UN' true goals in its mass espionage of France."

"We find it hard to understand or imagine what motivates an ally to spy on allies who are often on the same strategic positions in world affairs," French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told i>TELE television.

Claude Gueant, Sarkozy's former chief of staff and one of the reported targets of the NSA, told RTL radio: "Considering the very close relationship we have with the United States, considering the fact we are extremely loyal allies, I feel like trust has been broken."

The documents included summaries of conversations between French government officials on the global financial crisis, the future of the European Union, the relationship between Hollande's administration and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, and a dispute between the French and UN governments over UN spying on France.

The documents also contained the cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysee presidential palace, including the direct cell phone of the president, WikiLeaks said.

source: agency

Royal officials say Queen Elizabeth II may have to move out of Buckingham Palace during much-needed renovations to the residence

LONDON: Royal officials say Queen Elizabeth II may have to move out of Buckingham Palace during much-needed renovations to the residence, which has not been redecorated since she took the throne in 1952.

Officials say the palace needs an estimated 150 million pounds ($237 million) of upgrades, including replacing old plumbing and wiring and removing asbestos.

The queen spends about a third of her time in the London palace, first used by her ancestor Queen Victoria.

Keeper of the Privy Purse Alan Reid said maintenance on aging royal buildings, "and in particular Buckingham Palace, will present a significant financial challenge" in the next few years.

Annual accounts published Wednesday showed that the monarchy cost taxpayers 35.7 million pounds in the year to March 31, the equivalent of 56 pence per person.

courtesy - AP

BJP has opened a "Lalit Kala Academy" to defend the "black deeds" of the controversial former IPL boss : Congress

NEW DELHI: Taking a potshot at BJP over 'Lalitgate', Congress on Wednesday said that the ruling party has opened a "Lalit Kala Academy" to defend the "black deeds" of the controversial former IPL boss.

"It seems BJP has opened a Lalit Kala Academy to train its spokespersons in how to defend Lalit Modi," party spokesman Tom Vadakkan told reporters here.

Noting that BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao had dubbed Lalit Modi as a "victim", Vadakkan said if the argument was taken to its logical conclusion, then it meant that Modi needed protection.

However, he added that another BJP leader, member of Parliament RK Singh, has described Modi as a "fugitive".

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has given a "clean chit" to Dushyant Singh, son of Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, but had toned down his remarks after a public outcry, Vadakkan further stated.

Saying that Union minister Nitin Gadkari has given a clean chit to Raje, the Congress spokesman claimed all this has exposed the utter confusion within BJP on the Lalitgate issue. Which is the reason why it has opened the "Lalit Kala Academy", he said.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Raje have been facing flak for "helping" Modi procure travel documents in the UK, a country which he has made his home to avoid legal processes in India.

Lalit Modi, 49, travelled to London in 2010 after the Indian Premier League became embroiled in allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting.

source: agency

Hillary Clinton is the firm favourite to be chosen as the Democratic Party nominee for 2016 US presidential polls


WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton is the firm favourite to be chosen as the Democratic Party nominee for 2016 US presidential polls and go on to be elected as the first woman president of America, according to a new poll.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll taken in the days after Clinton held her first public rally earlier this month, showed the former secretary of state garnering broad support for being chosen the Democratic presidential nominee.

Three-quarters of Democratic primary voters said Clinton was their top pick to be the nominee, compared with the 15 per cent who selected Bernie Sanders.

Clinton, 67, enters the 2016 contest with unusually broad support from fellow Democrats with some 92 per cent of Democratic primary voters saying they could see themselves supporting her and just 8 per cent saying they could not, according to the poll.

But it is not that Clinton just emerges as the strongest contender in the primary vote but the poll shows that she is looking set for a successful November 2016 election bid to become the first woman president of America.

The poll asked 1,000 likely voters about their opinions on potential presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat.

It showed Clinton polling at 48 per cent to 40 per cent against her closest Republican contender, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the brother of former president George W Bush and son of former president George HW Bush.

Against the Florida senator Marco Rubio, Clinton polled 50 per cent against 40 per cent. And against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker she polled 51 per cent to 37 per cent.

The survey found that Americans are divided on whether they want the next president to be a Republican or a Democrat. But among many key demographic groups, Clinton outpaces the support for her party.

"The poll underscores Clinton's strength as a candidate, both among Democrats and key constituencies that could tip the balance in a general election. But the results also show a clear desire among Democratic voters for a rival to emerge and hint at potential cracks in her support," the Wall Street Journal said.

Among Republican primary voters, the poll showed Bush ahead with 22 per cent of the vote. Walker was next with 17 per cent and Rubio third with 14 per cent. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson had 11 per cent, while former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee 9 per cent, libertarian senator Rand Paul 7 per cent, former Texas governor Rick Perry 5 per cent, New Jersey governor Chris Christie 4 per cent and Texas senator Ted Cruz 4 per cent were all in single figures.

source: agency

20150623

Superstars Salman and Shah Rukh Khan are all set to fight it out at the box-office with their respective films Sultan and Raees slated to hit the screens on Eid next year

Superstars Salman and Shah Rukh Khan are all set to fight it out at the box-office with their respective films Sultan and Raees slated to hit the screens on Eid next year.

Produced by Aditya Chopra and written-directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, Sultan will commence shooting in November and will release on Eid 2016.

"So Here is finally @BeingSalmanKhan in as "SULTAN" EID 2016," Abbas Zafar posted on Twitter.

In Sultan, Salman is reportedly playing a wrestler. The leading lady of Sultan is still a secret.

Shah Rukh-starrer Raees, which will see him romancing Pakistani beauty Mahira Khan, is an action-thriller, directed by Rahul Dholakia and produced by Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani and Gauri Khan under the banners of Excel Entertainment and Red Chillies Entertainment.

Salman and Shah Rukh are back to being friends after their infamous fight in 2008. SRK indicated the thaw in their relationship by launching the first Look of Salman's this years's Eid release Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Aamir Khan.

It is not the first time that the Karan Arjun stars are clashing at the box office. Don and Jaaneman had released on the Diwali of 2006.

Generally, the Khans, whose films are big ticket events, avoid releasing their films on the same date with Salman preferring Eid, Shah Rukh Diwali and Aamir for Christmas.

source: agency

Those who are opposed to yoga should go to Pakistan : Sadhvi Prachi

NEW DELHI: VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi on Tuesday kicked up another controversy with her remarks that those who are opposed to yoga should go to Pakistan and that they have "no right" to stay in the country.

The comments came by way of Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) response to All India Muslim Personal Law Board's (AIMPLB) opposition to yoga.

The Sadhvi also did not spare Vice-President Hamid Ansari, saying the main celebrations in Rajpath here on the occasion of the world's first International Day of Yoga on Sunday was not the wedding of a politician's daughter that he needed an "invitation".

"They should connect themselves with the traditions of India, culture of India ... there is no need for any objection. If they are objecting then they should go to Pakistan. People who are objecting to it have no right to reside in India," the fiery VHP leader said when asked about AIMPLB's opposition to Yoga.

The remarks came days after firebrand BJP MP Yogi Adityanath said that those who are opposed to "surya namaskar" should "drown in the sea" amid protests by Muslim groups over the drill during the Yoga Day celebrations on June 21.

"They have India's food and sing songs of Pakistan ... Yoga works like a binding factor. It is not related to a single religious belief ... democracy does not tell you to object India's traditions and cultures," Sadhvi Prachi said.

The Sadhvi was slammed by the Congress.

"In a democracy, people have the full right to practice yoga or not," Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said, as he accused the BJP of forcefully imposing yoga on people.

The BJP distanced itself from Sadhvi's comments and said yoga has nothing to do with religion.

"You can't call VHP a political party ... VHP has its own agenda at social level," BJP spokesman Nalin Kohli said.
AIMPLB has reportedly targeted the NDA government for propagating yoga, surya namaskar and vande matram, saying they are part of "Brahmin Dharma" and "are against the ideology of Muslims".

It is reported to have come out openly against what it calls is the rising influence of "Brahmin Dharma and Vedic culture (that) are out to harm Islamic beliefs by all means".

The board, which positions itself as a voice of Muslim opinion in India and the chief custodian of Muslim personal law and the shariat, has, for the first time, reached out directly to Muslim organizations, institutions and the imams of mosques in an appeal to close ranks against the forces of Hindutva.

A letter to these bodies and individuals was sent by Maulana Wali Rehmani, working general secretary of the AIMPLB.

Amid the controversy generated by BJP leader Ram Madhav's tweets questioning the absence of Ansari at the Rajpath event, Union minister Shripad Naik on Monday cited protocol to say that the Vice-President can't be invited to an event where the Prime Minister is chief guest.

"It was not the marriage of some leader's daughter that invitation card would be sent to him. The whole country was not given invitation card ...," Sadhvi Prachi said.

"I am seeing this for several days that he (Ansari) is not taking any step towards the betterment of this country," she said.

source: agency

The personal coaches of India's limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Test captain Virat Kohli have spoken to TV channels

DHAKA: The personal coaches of India's limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Test captain Virat Kohli have spoken to TV channels, giving indications that all is not well in the dressing room.

Some Indian channels are putting up screaming headlines like 'Knives out after humiliating defeat in Bangladesh', reports bdnews24.com.

Dhoni's coach Chanchal Bhattacharjee told a TV channel that the Indian skipper was "tense". "The dressing room atmosphere is worrying him, he is not able to concentrate on the game."

Within hours of Bhattacharjee's comments, Kohli's coach Raj Kumar Sharma was seen on another channel describing the One-Day International (ODI) series loss to Bangladesh as "the most humiliating thing for Indian cricket".

"I have no hesitation it was the Black Sunday of Indian cricket," Sharma said.

Sharma did not blame Dhoni's captaincy for the defeat as some cricket writers in India have suggested - his choice of players and his on-field decisions. But some cricket analysts in India see in the 'war of coaches' a bigger problem - that Dhoni and Kohli are not pulling on well.

Many players have also asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to cancel the impending tour of Zimbabwe on grounds that they were very tired.

TV channels running the story had not identified the players or the reaction of the BCCI so far but former captain Krishnamachari Srikanth said the team had been playing continuously since October last year.

But some channels raised the question: Don't they feel tired when they play the IPL?

The ODI loss to Bangladesh has opened the proverbial can of worms in Indian cricket.

In the post-match conference on Sunday, Dhoni himself hinted at all not being well.

"If it is felt that I am the problem and team will do well if I am removed as captain, I am willing to step down," said Dhoni.

He promised to come out all guns blazing in the third ODI on Wednesday because "we have nothing to lose".

It is unlikely the Indian captain or the team can put behind uncomfortable questions haunting them when they take on an upbeat Bangladesh in the final ODI in Mirpur on Wednesday.

source: agency

20150622

ICICI Bank said it has partnered with Alibaba.com

NEW DELHI: ICICI Bank on Monday said it has partnered with Alibaba.com, the leading platform for global wholesale trade, to launch a trade facilitation centre, a single window facility to provide easier trade finance to the small and medium enterprises in India.

The collaboration for the centre will enable the Indian entrepreneurs who are members of Alibaba.com to get quick access to an array of integrated business services from ICICI Bank including business loans, cash management solutions, foreign exchange transactions, bank guarantees and cross-border remittances, in addition to privileges and discounts, the private bank said in a statement.

"With this, we will offer to the members of Alibaba.com special propositions across our entire spectrum of business services ranging from accounts, letter of credit, bank guarantees, remittances, forex, loans and cash management solutions," said its executive director Rajiv Sabharwal.

Alibaba.com's channels director, india, Bhushan Patil said that with the centre, "Alibaba.com expects to offer access to various financing, credit and logistics services provided by ICICI Bank for our Indian customers".

"We have also worked to sweeten this proposition by enabling Alibaba.com's members in India to enjoy better rates and discounts on ICICI Bank's products and services," he said.

Serving millions of buyers and suppliers around the world, Alibaba.com aids small businesses to sell their products to companies in other countries. Sellers on Alibaba.com are typically manufacturers and distributors based in China and other manufacturing countries such as India, Pakistan, the US and Thailand.

source: agency

Around 2,000 doctors at 20 hospitals in the national capital launched an indefinite strike

NEW DELHI: Around 2,000 doctors at 20 hospitals in the national capital on Monday launched an indefinite strike, demanding adequate life saving drugs, security at workplace and timely payment of their salaries.

The strike by resident doctors at 20 hospitals run by the central and Delhi governments and civic corporations including Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Maulana Azad Medical College affected services at the facilities.

Most demands of striking docs genuine. I hv directed health dept to implement them. Health dept shud hv resolved it earlier 1/2

— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 22, 2015
This govt is committed to providing best health facilities to masses. It cannot be done without cooperation of docs 2/2

— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 22, 2015
The doctors have been demanding adequate generic and life saving drugs, security at workplace, fixed duty hours and timely payment of their salaries.

"The strike will affect OPD and private ward services but emergency services will not be interrupted," said a senior resident doctor at Lady Hardinge Medical College.

According to the doctors, the government has failed to fulfil their demands regarding which they earlier had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union health minister.

"As there has been no response from their side, we have been forced to go on strike," said a doctor from Maulana Azad Medical College.

On February 27, resident doctors had gone on a day-long strike over similar issues but it was called off after both the Centre and the state government held a meeting and discussed their issues.

source: agency

Taliban militants launched an assault on the Afghan parliament

KABUL: Taliban militants launched an assault on the Afghan parliament on Monday, triggering gunfire and explosions and sending lawmakers scurrying for cover in chaotic scenes relayed live on television.

The attack came as the Afghan president's nominee for the crucial post of defence minister was to be introduced in parliament and ended two hours later when all seven attackers, including a suicide car bomber, were dead.

The assault on such a high-profile target in downtown Kabul raises fresh questions about security as Afghan forces battle a resurgent Taliban for the first time without the aid of Nato forces, who ended their combat mission in December.

"First a car bomb detonated on the main road near the parliament building, then a group of attackers entered a building in front of parliament," Kabul police spokesman Ebadullah Karimi said.

Deputy interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said there were seven attackers. Around 15 civilians were wounded in the initial explosion, he said.

The attackers also fired rocket-propelled grenades at the parliament, causing minor damage, he said.

MP Mohammad Reza Khoshak, who was in the chamber at the time, described the moment the first blast struck.

"The session was on and we were waiting for the defence minister nominee... Suddenly we heard a loud explosion, followed by several other smaller explosions," he said.

"In a few seconds the hall was filled with smoke and MPs began fleeing the building."

The Taliban launched a countrywide offensive in late April, stepping up attacks on government and foreign targets in what is expected to be the bloodiest fighting season in a decade.

The militants recently rebuffed requests from senior Afghan clerics to halt attacks during the fasting month of Ramadan even as a surge in violence has sent civilian casualties soaring.

A group of suicide attackers last tried to storm parliament in 2012 as they launched coordinated attacks in several parts of the capital, including several diplomatic enclaves.

The Taliban, toppled from power in the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, swiftly claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

"Several mujahideen have entered the parliament building," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid posted on Twitter.

"The attack happened at a time when the defence minister was being introduced."

Police denied that Taliban fighters had breached the high-security complex.

The surge in insurgent attacks has taken a heavy toll on ordinary Afghans, according to the UN mission in Afghanistan.

Almost 1,000 civilians were killed during the first four months of this year, a sharp jump from the same period last year, it said.

Afghan authorities have repeatedly tried to jumpstart talks with the Taliban in the hope of ending the 13-year conflict, but the militants have set tough conditions, including the withdrawal of all foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Nato's combat mission formally ended in December but a small follow-up foreign force of about 12,500 mainly US troops has stayed on to train and support local security personnel.

President Ashraf Ghani's government has drawn criticism for failing to end growing insurgent attacks, which critics partly blame on political infighting and a lengthy delay in appointing a defence minister.

Ghani last month nominated Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, a top official in the government body overseeing the country's peace process, for the job.

The post had been left vacant for months due to disagreements between Ghani and his chief executive and former presidential election rival, Abdullah Abdullah, but Stanekzai is expected to be confirmed by Afghanistan's parliament soon.

courtesy - AFP

SIT has conducted polygraph test on six persons in connection with the death case of Sunanda Pushkar

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi on Monday said that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has conducted polygraph test on six persons in connection with the death case of Sunanda Pushkar.

"Our investigation is continuing. During investigation, whatever requires to be done will be done. And so far, we have already carried out polygraph test on six persons. If there is any requirement, we will conduct further tests," Bassi told the media here.

"Till the time we conclude our investigation, whatever is required will be done. The reports of the tests have not come yet," he added.

Sunanda, who married Congress leader Shashi Tharoor in 2010, had checked into The Leela Hotel in Chanakyapuri a day before her death on January 17, 2014.

Prior to her death, Sunanda was embroiled in a spat with Pakistani journalist Meher Tarar, whom she accused of stalking her husband.

source: agency

20150621

Actress Shilpa Shetty feels there is certain apathy towards yoga in India and it's time people started practising it for overall well-being

Actress Shilpa Shetty feels there is certain apathy towards yoga in India and it's time people started practising it for overall well-being.

"People abroad have yoga studios and practice it religiously but in India there is a certain apathy towards yoga. It's high time that yoga was given importance. International Yoga Day is a great opportunity for people to start doing yoga and bring some discipline in their lives," Shilpa said in an interview here.

PM Narendra Modi had reportedly invited Shilpa to perform yoga on World Yoga Day tomorrow but the actress won't be able to make it to Delhi.

"I had already committed to be a part of a public yoga marathon in Bangalore where I would be doing a 30 minute yoga session in front of 25,000 people. I was in London and I just returned this week so it was too late to make any amendments. I won't be able to go to Delhi," Shilpa said.

The actress, who has been a yoga follower for almost 14 years, says the practice brings discipline and happiness in life.

"If you really want to lead a happy and healthy life then it's time to practise yoga. It targets the mind, body and soul. It is a scientific way to staying fit.

"A few years ago, I had cervical spondylitis, that is when I seriously started practicing it as it helps in healing. Cervical spondylitis is not curable but with yoga it has definitely helped me preventing it to occur again," she said.

Shilpa revealed that she did not take up yoga to look good. "I have never given a good figure too much importance. Fitness was my target and one of things that has helped me achieve it is yoga."

In her family, Shilpa's son Viaan likes yoga while her husband Raj Kundra is into weight training.

source: agency