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Electronic music is very revolting: Muzaffar Ali


Electronic music is very revolting: Muzaffar Ali

By Natalia Ningthoujam


Filmmaker-fashion designer Muzaffar Ali believes he has a “global outlook to music”, but the director of the classic Bollywood movie “Umrao Jaan” finds electronic music “really disturbing and revolting” and something that has changed India’s “soundscape”.

“Electronic music is very revolting in sound unless you use it very judiciously. In India, what happens is … particularly because of Bollywood influence, they just work on pumping up the beats. They make it too insensitive,” Muzaffar Ali, who recently wrapped up the fourth edition of the Wajid Ali Shah Festival, told IANS at his House of Kotwara residence here.

And that’s why, he thinks, there are “more misses than hits”.

“One thing is ready to give way to the next thing because they don’t have the holding power. Only things that are not electronically charged will have a long shelf life,” he said.

The one-day Wajid Ali Shah Festival, which celebrated the magic of the artistic brilliance of the last nawab of Awadh, took place earlier this month. It presented a dance ballet, “Rang” — under Muzaffar Ali’s direction — that offered a tribute to the classical dance form Kathak and to the light classical musical form Thumri.

Comparing it with “electronically-charged music”, the filmmaker, amidst a distracting car honking sound, said: “Electronically-charged music has too many similarities with any other electronically-charged music. But this kind of organic music has a lot of personality. The audience somewhere deep down is very sensitive.”

As much as he is passionate about music, the 72-year-old also makes it a point to show the beauty of his home city through his movies or his and wife Meera’s international couture brand, Kotwara.

Should the city of “nawabs and kebabs” have an ambassador?

“I don’t think Lucknow needs that kind of an introduction. It needs to be felt emotionally, artistically, intellectually and philosophically to become a part of your experience. Any particular face will have strong limitations,” the Padma Shri awardee said about taking inspiration from the city.

“So you just need… Maybe things like a festival, ‘Umrao Jaan’ (that starred veteran actress Rekha as a courtesan)… They give nice insights into Lucknow and then it’s your own discovery. But unfortunately, what happens is when people see ‘Umrao Jaan’ and then they come and see Lucknow, they get shocked,” he said.

Why shocked?

“Of course, it is below their expectations. First of all, the traffic is bizarre. I sit here in Qaiserbagh which was a creation of Wajid Ali Shah and I hear non-stop honking. There is a beautiful library in front of me. I don’t know how can people sit there and study,” said the artiste, whose house is located near Amir-ud-daula Public Library — a heritage library that houses rare manuscripts and more.

“Qaiserbagh was a paradise and to find hell in paradise, we need to do something… whichever government it is,” added the multi-faceted artiste, with his hands placed on a long dining table with cutlery and clear glass candle holders, at his residence.

Lucknow boasts of great architectural structures like Bara Imambara, Baradari and Dilkusha Palace. He says those buildings also need sensitivity.

“You can’t have garbage around a building. The concept of ‘bagh’ in Lucknow is very poor and we need to celebrate the ‘bagh’. It was a garden city. Garden is the biggest symbol of poetry,” said Muzaffar Ali.

While his work reflects his love for the city, his son Shaad Ali’s movies like “OK Jaanu” and “Saathiya” generally have Mumbai as a backdrop.

“I was born here and have been living here for long. He (Shaad) has not. His mother (Subhasini) is from Kanpur; so he has more connect with Kanpur. He knows a little bit about Lucknow because he has to,” said Muzaffar Ali.

When can the audience see the grandeur of Lucknow once again in his films?

“Film is a big dream and there is a big bad world around and there are sharks. There is also another sublime space which you can always work with… which is more intimate and spiritual. But the film, without a doubt, is a sacred medium. It has a lot of sanctity and we need to keep it like that,” concluded the filmmaker, whose last directorial, “Jaanisaar”, released in 2015.

(The writer’s trip to Lucknow was sponsored by the organisers of the Wajid Ali Shah Festival. Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at


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Our lives are shaped by errors, some camel-sized (The Funny Side)


Our lives are shaped by errors, some camel-sized (The Funny Side)

By Nury Vittachi

About two years ago, I tried to remove a bubble from my smartphone protective screen and accidentally bought a camel. Luckily, I managed to back out from the purchase by switching the phone off and turning around three times for luck, a useful trick I learned from my children.

For research reasons I had called up a screen which revealed that a 500-kilo live single-hump camel cost $1,540, which I considered intriguingly affordable. It was imagining my wife’s reaction, which put me off. She: “You said you wouldn’t buy any more ridiculous junk.” Me (covering the camel’s ears): “Dromo can hear you.”

So I was sympathetic when reader Alice May Lo told me about a UK man who accidentally bought a bus. Dave Little, 27, woke up after partying in Ibiza, Spain, to see on his smartphone that he had the previous night purchased a full-sized tourist coach on ebay for $36,000, media reports said. “That beats the silliest thing I ever accidentally bought, which was a banana-only lunchbox that my daughter slipped into my shopping basket,” Alice said.

It doesn’t beat my record. In the 1990s, I accidentally bid at a Hong Kong land auction. For a tense half-minute I was a major property tycoon in the Trump bracket. Luckily, a passing billionaire outbid me, or I would have had something even harder to explain to my wife that evening. She: “How was your day, darling?” Me: “Nothing special, except that I bought Kowloon.”

It’s curious how our lives are shaped by accidents. This columnist has written about cases in the Philippines, the US and Vietnam where people dialed wrong numbers which escalated into arguments resolved with guns. People literally die of dialing wrong numbers.

To avoid this, respond to accidental calls good-naturedly. Reader Angela Sias told me she sang the whole of “Happy Birthday” to a stranger on the phone. After the listener pointed out her error, she said: “Oops, sorry.” He continued: “No problem. You need all the practice you can get.”

A techie colleague says that you no longer need complain about annoying accidental calls. You just record them and wreak revenge. Adobe Systems, maker of Photoshop, has a new programme which encodes voices from small samples. You can then type whatever words you like and hear them spoken in that voice. If like me you have a wonderfully creative (“desperately evil”) streak, you can use the sound of a person’s voice for literally thousands of illegal and immoral purposes, I mean harmless and amusing pranks.

But returning to accidental on-line purchases, a survey of friends and colleagues showed that they had bought items ranging from a sheep skull to pop star memorabilia. One person had bought huge amounts of spin-off merchandise (including “onesy” outfits) of licensed characters from children’s television shows. “And I don’t have children,” she said. To get her money’s worth, she dresses as Pikachu for her wine and chick-flick evenings.

That was when I started regretting my failure to complete my camel purchase. I saw myself swinging open the door to my spare room. “You think that’s a story? Meet Dromo.”

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via his Facebook page)


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Women warriors, young men and Chanakya (IANS Books This Weekend)


Women warriors, young men and Chanakya (IANS Books This Weekend)

New Delhi:

Get to know extraordinary women and their highs and lows, flick through the story of four men who grope for answers in accordance with their unique disposition and circumstances, and also gain Chanakya’s age-old wisdom.
The IANS bookshelf has very interesting reads to offer this weekend.

1. Book: Women Warriors In Indian History; Author: Yugal Joshi; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 177; Price: Rs 195
“Women Warriors in Indian History” explores the life of 10 Indian women warriors as narrated by other historical characters. While Italian traveller Marco Polo recounts the story of his contemporary Queen Rudramba, Emperor Jahangir narrates the tale of Durgavati to his future consort.

Legendary Tatya Tope unfolds Avantibai’s heroics to Lakshmi Bai and the eunuch General Malik Kafur regales a young sultan with Raziya Sultana’s exploits. Put together chronologically, from the slave dynasty to the first war of Indian independence, these stories showcase the changing canvas of Indian history. More importantly, the narratives bring forward the exceptional qualities of these women warriors, while fighting against gender, social, religious and political odds and opposition. They prove that women are unequivocally strong leaders who have waged and won many battles with courage and conviction down the ages.

Well-researched and engagingly narrated, this book familiarises readers with these extraordinary women and their highs and lows — and provides a glimpse into their unique, yet relatively lesser-known lives.

2. Book: The Ordinary, the Enchanted and the Quaintly Happy; Author: Sachin Jha; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 240; Price: Rs 195
Life is full of choices — some easy, some difficult, some impossible. How much can reason and logic assist in making the impossible possible?

“The Ordinary, the Enchanted and the Quaintly Happy”, composed as a string of parables, traces the journey of four young men who have had little clarity about life as children and, to them, adulthood seems no different. It is the story of four friends — Raghu, the ordinary and insecure; Abhay, the talented and successful; Aari, the debonair; and Abeer, the wise and contented.

Each of them gropes for answers in accordance with his unique disposition and circumstances. Then just as they seem to be giving up on life, it emerges that Abeer could have a solution at hand! However, a freaky incident unsettles the equation once again. Can logic and reason bail them out of this crisis?

3. Book: Inside Chanakya’s Mind; Author: Radhakrishnan Pillai; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 212; Price: Rs 350
Chanakya was one of the best strategic thinkers of the world. In the fourth century BC, he wrote the Arthashastra, an unrivalled political treatise that has since been used by leaders across the globe. In Inside Chanakya’s Mind, for the first time, Radhakrishnan Pillai, the bestselling author of Corporate Chanakya, distills Chanakya’s age-old wisdom for the masses.


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India, Politics, UTTAR PRADESH

Modi slams SP, tells people not to vote for ‘conspirators’

Politics/National/India/North India/Uttar Pradesh

Modi slams SP, tells people not to vote for ‘conspirators’

Gonda (Uttar Pradesh):

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday termed last November’s train accident in Kanpur a “conspiracy” and urged people not to vote for those “who help conspirators”.
Speaking at an election rally here, Modi also slammed the Akhilesh Yadav government for “protecting and patronising” the “copying mafia” that harmed the future of the youth.

Modi said: “Gonda shares its border with Nepal… Few days back there was a train accident… Some people were caught and the police found out that it was a conspiracy… the conspirators are on the other side of the border.”

He said people should not vote for anyone who would “help conspirators from across the border”.

“If the enemies want to run their business from the other side of the border, people in Gonda need to be cautious. If such people are elected who help the conspirators, will Gonda be safe? If Gonda is not safe will the nation be safe?” Modi said.

“The people of Gonda are patriots, they should be in power. There should be no mistake in elections, whether it is the SP or the BSP, none of them should win. Vote for BJP and make it victorious.”

In January, the Bihar Police arrested three persons who claimed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was behind the November 2016 train accident in Kanpur that left over 100 dead and many more injured.

There was also another incident of a bomb that failed to explode on a railway track in Ghorasahan in Bihar’s East Champaran.

Modi also accused the Akhilesh Yadav-led-SP government of protecting and patronizing the “copying mafia” in the state which was harming the future of the youth.

The Prime Minister said the mafia was not only out to loot the poor but was also engaged in jeopardising the future of the youth .

Modi said: “When I was thinking about speaking on the issue, I must honestly admit I was slightly scared as this topic heard on television… could give ideas to anti social elements in other parts of the nation to replicate the SP modus operandi.”

Inspired by the public applause, Modi said the “copying mafia” business has to end.

He also slammed the law and order situation in the state. Modi said: “No justice can be expected from the police stations (in Uttar Prades) as they are helpless. They await nod from SP bosses.”

Urging the people to uproot the corrupt government in the state, Modi asked them to “end” the rule of SP and warned them against the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Modi also claimed that the BJP had got huge support from the people in the first four phases of polling and that the writing on the wall was evident from the despondent face of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

“You have given a stable government at the Centre… and now you have to strengthen our hands further…,” he urged.


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CRIME, World

Indian man killed in hate crime in US bar


Indian man killed in hate crime in US bar


An Indian engineer was killed and another injured by an American who mistook them for “Middle Easterners” and yelled “Get out of my country” before shooting them at a bar.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and Alok Madasani was injured when Adam W. Purinton, a white who earlier served in the US Navy, shot them at the Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas state, on Wednesday night.

Ian Grillot, 24, an American who tried to save the Indians, was also shot at, media reports quoted police as saying. Grillot was recovering in a hospital while Madasani was discharged.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) called it a hate crime.

Police said Purinton, 51, fired multiple rounds and fled the bar. He was arrested on Thursday morning in Clinton city in neighbouring Missouri state when a bartender told police that he had bragged about killing “two Middle Eastern men”, The Kansas City Star reported.

The killer has been charged with first-degree murder.

“It was a tragic and senseless act of violence,” Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke said.

Kuchibhotla hailed from Hyderabad while Madasani is from Warangal town in Telangana. They were aviation programme managers at Garmin, an electronics manufacturer.

Kuchibhotla is survived by his wife, Sunayana, in the US. She also works in Kansas. Madasani’s wife is five months pregnant.

According to his profile on LinkedIn, Kuchibhotla graduated from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad in 2005. Madasani is a graduate of the Vasavi College of Engineering in Hyderabad.

Kuchibhotla’s family in India was in shock and sought help from the state and central governments to bring home his body.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday expressed “heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family” and said she had spoken to the Indian ambassador, Navtej Sarna.

The Minister said Consul R.D. Joshi had rushed from Houston to Kansas and Vice Consul Harpal Singh was also proceeding from Dallas to Kansas.

They would meet the injured Madasani and help in flying back the mortal remains of Kuchibhotla.

According to The Star, federal officials were investigating if the attack was a hate crime.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) said the killing was “the first reported bias-motivated fatality in the US after the bitter Presidential election” that catapulted Donald Trump to office.

“We call upon the US Department of Justice and local law enforcement to investigate this murder as what it is, a hate crime,” said Jay Kansara, the HAF Director of Government Relations.

The killing of the innocent engineer triggered dismay in India.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said he was saddened to learn about the attack.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page created to collect money to help Kuchibhotla’s family crossed its $150,000 goal, raising nearly $250,000 in 11 hours.

More than 6,700 people, including Americans, donated $248,404 on the page created by Kuchibhotla’s friend Kavipriya Muthuramalingam.

Kuchibhotla is the second youth from Telangana to be killed in the US in February.

Software engineer Vamshi Reddy Mamidala was shot dead by an alleged drug addict in Milpitas, California, on February 10, in the garage of his apartment building.


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Education Environment Health S&T, World

New York activists protest killing of bull


New York activists protest killing of bull

New York:

Activists held a protest outside a local slaughterhouse against the killing of a bull that escaped and became an instant TV celebrity as it was pursued by police in a scene like jallikattu.
Police hit the bull with tranquilizer darts which killed it.

Several dozen people — virtually all of them non-Hindus — held a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night to mourn the bull, which they named Courage.

“No one deserves cruelty, abuse, torture or murder,” a protester said in a WABC TV report.

Another said: “We’re here fighting for our brother.”

“Today (Wednesday) we’re paying respects to a life lost, a beautiful life.”

The bull escaped from Aziz Slaughterhouse in a neighbourhood with a lot of immigrants on Tuesday and ran for its life through a residential area.

TV reports showed the bull being chased by police like it was jallikattu, except that some were in vehicles and they fired tranquilizer darts at Courage.

The scene captured the hearts of steely New Yorkers making Courage an instant celebrity.

“They saw him running for life like you would or I would if we were faced with pain or fear or imminent death,” WPIX TV quoted Jill Carnegie, the head of ‘Vegans of New York’, which organised the candlelight vigil, as saying.

Courage kept running with several darts stuck to its body before it collapsed.

The bull was taken in a police van to an animal care facility in Brooklyn where it died.

According to authorities, the bull would be saved from the butcher’s knife and given freedom at an animal sanctuary.

Last year, a bull named Freddie escaped from another slaughterhouse in the city.

But it was safely captured and adopted by comedian Jon Stewart and his wife and taken to their farm.


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BJP triumphs in Maharashtra civic polls, close finish in Mumbai


BJP triumphs in Maharashtra civic polls, close finish in Mumbai


The Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena on Thursday finished neck-to-neck and were engaged in a tussle on Thursday to control India’s richest and biggest civic body, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.
While the Shiv Sena emerged on the top with 84 seats, the BJP was a close second at 82, and claiming the support of at least four independents, announced it would stake claim to the key post of Mayor.

Any party or combine requires 114 corporators for a simple majority in the 227-member BMC house.

“The BJP core committee will meet and take a decision. We shall respect the verdict of the people,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Thursday evening. He thanked the electorate, saying they have “reposed complete faith  in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies of development for all”.

While Shiv Sena activists started early celebrations as it appeared set to retain control of the BMC, but by late evening, the BJP surpassed all expectations and became an equal contender for the post of mayor.

BJP Mumbai President Ashish Shelar said the party was in a position to claim the mayor’s post.

But Sena President Uddhav Thackeray did not agree and said that “the Mayor will be from Shiv Sena”, which emerged the single largest party.

Adopting a shrill anti-BJP stance, an aggressive Shiv Sena had snapped ties with the BJP ahead of the municipal elections with Thackeray anticipating at least 100 seats, if not an outright majority.

The BMC, the country’s largest and richest municipal body, had an annual budget of Rs 37,000 crore in 2016-17.

The Congress trailed at a distant third in Mumbai, forcing its city unit chief Sanjay Nirupam to accept moral responsibility. He told IANS that he has submitted his resignation to the party high command this afternoon.

Surprisingly, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray, Uddhav’s estranged cousin, secured seven seats in BMC though he addressed just one rally in Mumbai.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) bagged nine seats, the Hyderabad-based Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen three, and incarcerated mafia don Arun Gawli’s party Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS) bagged one seat, his daughter Geeta Gawli being the sole winner.

Across Maharashtra, however, the Bharatiya Janata Party made major gains by bagging eight of the other nine municipalities.

However, Thane blocked the BJP bulldozer where the Shiv Sena bagged 67 out of 131 seats, followed by NCP with 34, BJP 23 and Congress three.

The BJP raced towards victory in the Pune Municipal Corporation with 77 seats, while the NCP got 44, Shiv Sena 10, Congress 16 and MNS six in the state’s cultural and IT capital.

The contest was close in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation near Pune, but later the BJP zoomed ahead with 78 seats in the 128-member house, humbling the ruling NCP, which only secured 35 seats. The Shiv Sena got nine, the MNS got one and others got the rest.

In Ulhasnagar, the BJP grabbed 32 seats and Shiv Sena 25 of the total 78 seats. The NCP got four, Congress got one and independents and others grabbed 16 seats.

Nagpur went the BJP way with the party bagging 91 of the civic body’s 151 seats. The Congress got 23, and the NCP bagged one seat.

In Nashik, the BJP appeared on way to controlling the civic body, winning 55 seats out of 112 seats. The Shiv Sena got 35 seats, while the ruling Maharashtra Navnirman Sena was relegated to just three. The Congress and NCP fared better than MNS with six and five seats respectively.

The BJP captured Amravati with 45 out of 87 seats, followed by the Congress with 15 seats, AIMIM 10, Shiv Sena seven, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party five, and five going to other parites/independents.

In Solapur Municipal Corporation, a Congress bastion, the BJP captured 49 out of 102 seats, followed by Shiv Sena in 21, the Congress in 14, the AIMIM scoring nine, the NCP and the BSP scoring four each, while the Communist Party of India bagged one seat.

Ditto was the position in Akola where BJP scored 48 out of 80 seats with Congress trailing at 13. The Shiv Sena bagged eight, the NCP got five and others got six seats.

The BJP also scored handsomely in Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena strongholds in other 11 Zilla Parishads and 118 Panchayat Samitis across the state.


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Haryana, India, North India

INLD leaders, others held over SYL protest at Punjab border

Ambala: Indian National Lok Dal workers march towards Punjab to start digging of the controversial Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal to get water for Haryana in Ambala on Feb 23, 2017. Thousands of people faced inconvenience after security forces sealed a busy portion of a national highway on the Haryana-Punjab border that links Delhi with Amritsar. (Photo: IANS)

Law/Rights/Politics/National/India/North India/Haryana

INLD leaders, others held over SYL protest at Punjab border


Top INLD leaders were among scores of persons arrested on Thursday on the Haryana-Punjab border at Shambhu, 10 km from Ambala in Haryana, as they drove to the spot as part of their declared plan to dig the SYL canal.
Among those held by the Punjab Police for violating orders prohibiting gathering of five or more persons on Thursday evening were Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Secretary General Abhay Chautala, state INLD President Ashok Arora, two MPs, 15 legislators and many other leaders.

Those arrested were later taken to Patiala jail, 60 km from here.

Some protesters, carrying hand-held agricultural implements, carried out symbolic digging at the Shambhu barrier itself as a face-saver for the opposition party in Haryana.

The INLD activists originally had planned to visit Kapoori village in Patiala district, 18 km from Shambhu, to dig at an SYL canal site.

The INLD activists were not allowed to move through the Punjab Police’s barriers. A large number of security forces were deployed at Shambhu, the gateway to the state from Haryana in the area.

“We had warned the protesters that if they violate law, they would be detained,” Patiala Range Deputy Inspector General of Police Ashish Chaudhary said.

The administration had imposed Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code and banned any assembly of five or more persons in the border belt of Patiala district.

Heavy security was put in place by authorities in Ambala district of Haryana and Patiala district of Punjab. The inter-state border in both districts was sealed by security forces.

“We wanted to hold our protest peacefully. Since the the Bharatiya Janata Party governments at the Centre and Haryana are not doing anything to bring river water through the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, we had to stand up for the rights of Haryana’s people and launch this fight,” Chautala said as he was detained.

Chautala said his party will not allow any Punjab leader opposed to SYL canal construction to move through Haryana.

Hundreds of INLD activists earlier managed to go right up to the Shambhu barrier after breaking the barricades set up by the Haryana Police between Ambala city and the Punjab border.

Riding tractor-trolleys, minitrucks and other vehicles, the INLD supporters headed towards the Shambhu border.

INLD’s Haryana unit President Ashok Arora drove one of the tractor-trolleys carrying Abhay Chautala, who gave the call for digging the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, a vital source of water for farmland in Haryana.

The entire stretch of National Highway-1 between Ambala in Haryana and Rajpura in Punjab was sealed by security forces in both the states since morning.

At the barrier, police personnel of both Punjab and Haryana and paramilitary forces remained on high alert to stop the INLD supporters from moving into Punjab.

Security forces donned anti-riot gear and were equipped with riot-control vehicles and other equipment.

Thousands of people, especially motorists, moving between the two states faced inconvenience on Thursday since the busy highway that links Delhi with Amritsar was sealed. Traffic was diverted via other routes, a Punjab Police officer said.

The NH-1 is taken daily by thousands of motorists to commute between Punjab and Delhi through Haryana and vice versa.

“I have already walked for three km to proceed to Ambala. I don’t know if we will get any transport ahead,” said Surjit Kaur, who works in Ambala and travels from her village near Rajpura town in Punjab.

“We had to travel from Karnal to Patiala for some important work. The 2-hour journey took us nearly five hours due to diversions on the NH-1. We had to go via Chandigarh and other places. Why should common people suffer over the politics of certain political parties?” a visibly angry businessman Nakul Sharma said.

The situation along the border was also monitored from the air by a Punjab government helicopter and several drones.

The INLD activists and leaders earlier gathered at the Subzi Mandi Ground in Ambala before moving towards Punjab.

Following a Presidential Reference, the Supreme Court on November 10, 2016, held as “unconstitutional” the passage of the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Bill, 2004, by the Punjab assembly.

The legislation terminated all water-sharing agreements between Punjab and its neighbouring states, thereby jeopardising the construction of the SYL canal.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked both states to maintain law and order due to INLD march to “dig” the canal. The apex court also asked Punjab to honour its earlier orders on the construction of the river water channel.


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10 portions of fruits, veggies daily may cut premature deaths


10 portions of fruits, veggies daily may cut premature deaths


Intake of 10 portions or 800 grammes of fruit and vegetables a day may potentially prevent approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year, say researchers.
The results, published in the journal International Journal of Epidemiology, revealed that eating up to 800g fruit and vegetables a day – or 10 portions – was associated with a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 per cent reduced risk of stroke, a 28 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13 per cent reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31 per cent reduction in dying prematurely.

“We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death. Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, ten a day is even better,” said lead author Dagfinn Aune from Imperial College, London.

The researchers found that apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, may reduce the risk of specific diseases.

“Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system. This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage and lead to a reduction in cancer risk,” Aune added.

For the study, the team conducted a meta-analysis of all available research in populations worldwide, included up to 2 million people, and assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases and 94,000 deaths.


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Turkish army lifts ban on female officers wearing veil

Turkish army lifts ban on female officers wearing veil


Turkey’s Defence Ministry lifted the ban on female officers wearing the veil, local media reported.
The Ministry on Wednesday issued a decree to the commanders of land, air and naval forces noting that female military personnel are allowed to wear headscarves if they wish, Efe news reported.

The decree is considered a significant change for the Turkish military, as the veil has always been considered a political symbol of Islam in Turkey.

Since the republic was declared in Turkey in 1923, women covering their heads in public has been a matter of social debate.

However, since the Justice and Development Party rose to power in 2002, restrictions on wearing the veil have been alleviated.

In August 2016, the Turkish interior issued a decision allowing female members of the gendarmerie and coast guard forces to cover their heads.


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CRIME, World

London appoints first woman Scotland Yard chief in 187 years

London appoints first woman Scotland Yard chief in 187 years


Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that a female police officer would be the next Commissioner of the Scotland Yard, media reports said.
Cressida Dick’s appointment to the top job at Scotland Yard means that for the first time in its history, Britain’s biggest police force will be run by a woman, Xinhua news agency reported.

So important is the role of ‘Britain’s top cop’ that Dick was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II following a recommendation from the Home Secretary.

The Metropolitan Police or Met, as it is commonly known, is the largest police force in Britain, with more than 43,000 employees and an annual budget of over 3 billion pounds ($3.74 billion).

Rudd said: “Cressida Dick is an exceptional leader, and has a clear vision for the future of the Metropolitan Police and an understanding of the diverse range of communities it serves.”

Rudd said the new police chief was taking on one of the most demanding, high-profile and important jobs in British policing, against the backdrop of a heightened terror alert and evolving threats from fraud and cyber crime.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said, “Cressida Dick will be the first female commissioner of the Met in its 187-year history, and the most powerful police officer in the land. She has already had a long and distinguished career, and her experience and ability has shone throughout this process.”



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14,000 evacuated in California city due to flooding

14,000 evacuated in California city due to flooding

Los Angeles:

Flooding in the California city of San Jose forced authorities to order the evacuation of 14,000 people due to the rising waters of Coyote Creek, media reports said.
According to information provided on the San Jose City Hall Web site, the evacuation was ordered late Tuesday evening and is still in effect on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The National Weather Service said on Wednesday that the water level in Coyote Creek will continue to rise on Wednesday morning, but it is expected to begin subsiding in the afternoon.

In remarks to the daily Los Angeles Times, NWS meteorologist Roger Gass emphasized the magnitude of the flooding by saying that estimates are that such an event occurs only once every century.

Local media showed images of emergency services personnel using boats to rescue local residents endangered by flooding along streets in the area.

After years of serious drought, California is experiencing a very wet winter with exceptionally heavy and continuous rainfall all over the state.

Last Friday, a powerful storm lashed the state causing at least five deaths, authorities said.

In addition, the historic rains caused damage to spillways at the Oroville Dam, located some 250 kmnortheast of San Francisco, leading authorities on February 12 to order the evacuation of some 200,000 people from the zone below the dam given the risk that it might overflow.



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Jammu-Srinagar highway opens

Jammu-Srinagar highway opens


The strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway was on Wednesday reopened for one-way traffic after two days.
According to a traffic department official, vehicles will be allowed to move from here to Srinagar.

Right from the dawn, the valley bound passengers began reaching the tourist reception centre taxi stand as well as other bus and taxi stands here.

Scores of vehicles had remained stranded during the last two days as the highway was closed due to landslides in Ramban district.



Environment/National/North India/Jammu and Kashmir

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Entertainment Films Shopping

Nicole Kidman rejects work for family

Nicole Kidman rejects work for family

Los Angeles:

Actress Nicole Kidman says she turns down work that doesn’t fit in around her children’s school year.
“My time is precious, I think once you reach a certain age, the time becomes incredibly important – you’re like. I’m raising a six and an eight year old who are in school so there’s only a certain amount of time I can work because of their school year,” Kidman told Australia’s Studio 10.

She added: “That means I pass on things a lot … because ultimately – and this is just me – my family life is the most important thing to me so I’m not going to jeopardise that in any way shape or form.”

The “Big Little Lies” actress who has daughters Sunday, eight, and Faith, six, with husband Keith Urban and; has Isabella, 24, and Connor, 22, with former-husband and actor Tom Cruise, said that she feels “so lucky” to be married to Urban.

“Keith and I always say that we are just so lucky to have each other. In this world, to be able to come back to that love and that strength is so nourishing and powerful. And I am coming up an 11-year wedding anniversary, 12 years together, and that’s a big thing. And that is through absolute commitment and kindness, the desire to protect and help each other, what our relationship is,” she said.



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Entertainment Films Shopping

Lindsay Lohan found ‘solace’ at 30

Lindsay Lohan found ‘solace’ at 30


Actress Lindsay Lohan says she “found solace” when she turned 30 in July last year, and was able to “take control” of her life.
“When I turned 30 I always aspired for this, I always said when I turn 30 that will be the defining moment of what I want to do,” Lohan said on “Good Morning Britain”, reports

“I found a lot of solace I reached inside and what my intentions were in the world. Taking control of my life,” she added.

Lohan, who began her acting career at the age of 10 when she appeared on soap opera “Another World”, says she believes living in Los Angeles as a teenager contributed to her troubled past as she “surrounded” herself with “the wrong people”.

When asked if she thinks Los Angeles was the problem, she said: “I think so. It moves so fast there, it’s easier to surround yourself with any person than it is to be alone.

“I don’t think it was ever turning to anything, it (drink) was very accessible when I was 16, 17, 18, 19. I had been working so much and surrounded myself with the wrong people going out drinking was the wrong thing to do. I didn’t listen to anyone.”



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Haryana, India

Talks with Jats stalled as Haryana ‘can’t take back CBI cases’

Talks with Jats stalled as Haryana ‘can’t take back CBI cases’


Talks between the state government and Jat leaders hit a roadblock on Tuesday as the Haryana government made it clear that it has no jurisdiction to withdraw cases being investigated by the CBI against Jat leaders over violence during the agitation last year.
Withdrawal of cases, including those on sedition charges, against Jat leaders is one of the eight demands of the Jat community, which has been agitating in Haryana since January 29.

The Jat leadership had held its second round of talks with a high-level panel of officers, led by Haryana Chief Secretary D.S. Dhesi, in Panipat on Monday.

The talks had remained inconclusive even though the Haryana government led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had agreed to accept some of their demands regarding enhancement of compensation for those injured in the Jat agitation violence last year.

Representatives of the Jats met the law officers of Haryana’s Advocate General office here on Tuesday.

However, they were told that the cases being investigated by the CBI could not be withdrawn by the Haryana government.

The Jat community members have been holding protests across Haryana in support of their demands.

Their demands include reservation for Jats, jobs to the next of kin of those killed in violence in the Jat agitation last year, compensation to those injured, withdrawal of cases against them and action against officers who ordered action against the Jats, among others.

Violence during the agitation last year left 30 people dead and over 200 injured. Government and private property worth hundreds of crores was damaged during the violence in February 2016.


Law/Rights/Politics/National/India/North India/Haryana

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