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THE CONTACT WEEKLY NEWSPAPER ISSUE - 706, 14 FEB. - 20 FEB., 2017 PH: (905) 671 - 4761

IB officials disown fake UP, Punjab poll surveys

New Delhi INTELLIGENCE agencies that traditionally gather information on national security and terrorism are confronted with a new problem this poll season— identifying the source of fake IB reports predicting results of the crucial Punjab and Uttar Pradesh elections. What makes things more difficult is that these reports are being circulated extensively on social media. Sources say at least two bogus surveys related to the polls have been mischievously attributed to the Intelligence Bureau. The agency is trying to ascertain the source of these reports. The findings, which are purportedly predicting the performance of various political parties and sent by the IB to the government,

have been examined and described as “not genuine”. While one fake report shows the BJP emerging victorious in UP the other one predicts a Congress win in Punjab. IB officials said the agency doesn’t follow the format that has been used in the two reports. The UP election report is a map, which illustrates a thumping victory for the BJP with 285-plus seats. The SP-Congress alliance has been given 65-plus seats followed by the BSP, which has been shown as getting 40-plus seats. Similarly, the report for the Punjab elections gives 69 seats to the Congress, 31 to AAP and 16 to the SADBJP combine. Intelligence Bureau officials said the fake reports in circulation have Continued on Page 4

Nabha jailbreak mastermind behind bars FOUR gangsters, including the mastermind of last year’s Nabha jailbreak, were on Sunday nabbed from a house in Dhudike village of Moga district in Punjab, police said. “Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, who had escaped from Nabha jail last year, along with three other gangsters have been arrested,” Punjab Police, AIG (Counter Intelligence) Gurmit Singh Chauhan said on Sunday. “The three others who have been arrested are Gurpreet’s cousin Manvir Sekhon, Rajwinder Singh and Kulwinder Singh from the house of an NRI,” the officer added. Chauhan said, acting on a tipoff, 25 policemen, including 10 members of police’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, nabbed the gangsters. “Our operation was so precise that we did not provide

the gangsters time to retaliate or draw their weapons,” he said, adding four weapons and two cars were seized from them. With the nabbing of Gurpreet, so

far three of the six Nabha jail escapees have been apprehended. Earlier, Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo was nabbed

from Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi and Neeta Deol from Indore in Madhya Pradesh. On November 27, Mintoo, another terrorist Kashmir Singh, and gangsters Amandeep Dhothian, Vicky Gounder, Gurpreet Sekhon and Neeta Deol had escaped from Nabha jail. Armed men in police uniform tricked the sentries into opening the gates and bolted out with the inmates firing a hail of bullets. Gurpreet Sekhon was the mastermind of the jailbreak and he was allegedly involved in several cases of murders, kidnapping and extortion. Police had said, Manvir and Rajwinder attacked the jail officials to free the inmates. Kulwinder, a resident of Bathinda, had taken care of the logistics to facilitate the escape of six prisoners, they added.

Issue - 706 (2)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Gurinder Chadha’s new film Viceroy’s House demands new look at Partition

Berlin Gurinder Chadha, the woman behind Bend It Like Beckham, demands British “accountability” for the humanitarian disaster triggered by the Indian subcontinent’s Partition in her new all-star drama screened on Sunday at the Berlin film festival. Viceroy’s House tells the story of Lord Mountbatten (played by Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey) overseeing the 1947 end of three centuries of colonial rule. He and his wife (British-American actress Gillian Anderson) are portrayed as wellmeaning if naive puppets of London at the start of the Cold War, as Mountbatten agrees to the carve up the subcontinent between Hindu-dominant India and Muslim Pakistan. While global politics is being made upstairs, the Indian servants observe the goings-on with mounting horror, just as a love story buds between a Muslim member of staff (Huma Qureshi of Gangs Of Wasseypur) and a Hindu valet (Manish Dayal of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). In the film, the Partition is seen as rushed, chaotic and eventually disastrous, fuelling sectarian violence and a refugee crisis that displaced an estimated 14 million people and left up to a million dead.

Brexit, Trump echoes Viceroy’s House begins with the tagline “History is written by the victors”, often attributed to Winston Churchill. Chadha, who made one of the most successful British movies of all time with 2002’s Bend It Like Beckham, is a Punjabi Briton whose own family was displaced by the Partition. She said she aimed to challenge the received wisdom on it. “There was a far bigger game at play which was the geopolitics of the time, which are not too dissimilar to the geopolitics playing today in that part of the world,” she said.

“The film shows a series of blunders that led to the disaster as well as careful political manoeuvring for bigger interests in the back.” Chadha indicates in the film that the British fomented religious hatred based on a “divide-and-rule” strategy and planned for the Partition, even as World War 2 raged, to squeeze the Soviet Union out of a regional foothold. Although she began working on the project seven years ago, long before Brexit or Donald Trump’s run for US president, she said the film’s themes of poisonous

Ex-Gurkha bids to reclaim ‘oldest on Everest’ title

KATHMANDU An 85-year-old former Gurkha is making a bid to reclaim his title as the world’s oldest person to summit Mount Everest. A Guinness World Record certificate hangs proudly in Min Bahadur Sherchan’s Kathmandu home and by the end of this year’s spring climbing season he hopes to have a second one hanging next to it. Sherchan made his historic climb in 2008 when he was 76, but he lost the record five years later when Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura summited the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak at the age of 80. Sherchan has since been on a quest to take back the title though he says it is only to prove to himself that he can. “My aim is not to break anybody’s record, this is not a personal

competition between individuals. I wish to break my own record,” Sherchan told AFP in the Nepali capital. Nevertheless, the octogenarians have been in a tug of war for the honour of being Everest’s oldest summiteer. Both Sherchan and Miura summited in 2008, but the former soldier in the British Gurkha army secured the record by virtue of being a year older. When Miura snatched the title in 2013 Sherchan was also preparing to tackle the peak in a bid to retain his title. But delayed paperwork meant he missed the narrow window of good weather in May when most people attempt to summit. In 2015, Sherchan was on his way to Everest when a devastating quake hit Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people including 18 in an

avalanche that hit the mountain’s base camp, and he was forced to turn back. “These hurdles haven’t discouraged me, I am determined to go,” he said. Ang Tsering Sherpa, the head of Nepal’s mountaineering association, has little doubt that Sherchan’s determination will carry him at least part of the way up Everest. “He is very determined and has strong willpower,” said Sherpa who worked with Sherchan during his previous record attempts. More than 450 people summited Everest last year, many using mountaineering permits that were extended by the government following the cancellation of the 2015 spring climbing season due to the earthquake. This year is expected to be particularly crowded as it is the last chance for climbers who were forced off the mountain by the quake to use their extended permits. Sherchan, who joined the British Gurkhas when he was a teenager and served for five years, said he always had a penchant for adventure. “My personal motto is that I wish to do something that no one else has done before.” With his bid to summit Everest this year, the slightly hard of hearing grandfather hopes to prove that age is no barrier to adventure.

divisions and the destructive power of walls resonated more strongly now. “Here we are releasing the film when the politics of hate and division are so prevalent and are defining not just America at the moment but...(also) Europe,” she said. “I feel this film is a timely reminder of what happens when you promote hate and division and start to criminalise a group of people. The end result is violence and death and history tells us that.” Quereshi acknowledged that “the scars are still very deep” on the subcontinent, “so much so that even now, no policy, no decision can be made without a reference to the Partition”. Bonneville, best known as the Earl of Grantham from Downton Abbey, joked that it took his “extraordinary range” as an actor for him to play in another lush period piece with a familiar upstairs-downstairs dynamic. He said the upbeat ending of the film, which features a reunion in a refugee camp based on a true story, appealed to him. “Despite this backdrop of seismic shifts, there are seeds of hope...even in these ghastly times that we’re living in,” he said. Viceroy’s House is screening out of competition at the Berlin film festival, which runs until February 19.

Brexit blamed for major drop in cosmetic surgeries

London Brexit – the acronym for Britain leaving the European Union – is being blamed for economic and other problems, but plastic surgeons on Monday attributed a major drop in people going under the knife for aesthetic reasons to last year’s referendum vote. From breast augmentation to liposuction to face and neck lifts to rhinoplasty – all cosmetic surgeries showed a drop during 2016, attributed to what the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAPS) described as “a climate of global unrest” and “bad news overload”. The association cited recent research to explain that the Brexit vote had led people to engage less in activities that require trust or certainty, affecting life changes, housing decisions, investment and consumption. Consultant plastic surgeon and former BAAPS president Rajiv Grover, who compiles the audit on an annual basis, said: “In a climate of global fragility, the

public are less likely to spend on significant alterations and become more fiscally conservative, by and large opting for less costly non-surgical procedures such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion, rather than committing to more permanent changes. “The background of negative news and economic uncertainty seems to have re-invigorated the famous British ‘stiff upper lip’ – achieved, however, through dermal fillers and wrinkle-relaxing injections, rather than surgery.” BAPS said the number of cosmetic operations last year dropped 40% after reaching record-breaking heights in 2015. For the first time in almost a decade of relatively consistent growth, cosmetic surgical procedure totals for women and men combined dipped below 31,000. Nearly 50% fewer men underwent surgery in 2016 compared to 2015, while women’s cosmetic surgery dropped 39%.

Issue - 706 (3)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Pakistan Army chief asks officers to read book on success of Indian democracy

New Delhi Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had some unusual advice when top officers gathered for his first speech last year – read an American academic’s book on how India has succeeded in keeping the military out of politics. The army has no business trying to run the government, Bajwa told the gathering of army officers of Rawalpindi Garrison at the General Headquarters auditorium in the last week of December, according to The Nation newspaper. Bajwa’s first speech as army chief, described by the daily as “an articulation of his vision”, was delivered “in a poised manner” and his views were communicated “to his officers in unequivocal terms”. The general urged the officers to read Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy since Independence, written by Steven I Wilkinson, the Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies at Yale University. The 2015 book, which was well reviewed in India and the

West, draws on comprehensive data to explore how and why India has succeeded in keeping its military out of politics when other countries have failed. It looks at political and foreign policies and strategic decisions that have made the “army safe for Indian democracy”. The book also details why India’s democratic process has been a success. It has been widely reported that Bajwa reads a lot about India, including reports in the media and books about the country. His colleagues have said his interest in India dates back to his days as a young major serving on the Line of Control in 1992. Brig (retired) Feroz Hassan Khan, who was Bajwa’s commanding officer on the LoC, told the Hindustan Times that the man in what is usually seen as the most powerful position in Pakistan also does not have a “visceral hatred” of India. Some have credited Bajwa for a reduction in tensions along the LoC and international border in Jammu and Kashmir though attacks by Pakistan-based terror

ZUNYI In powder blue and gray military uniforms, red kerchiefs, and caps emblazoned with crimson stars, young Chinese students in the southwestern province of Guizhou perform kung fu exercises in their courtyard to stave off the winter cold. Their small school, Yang Dezhi, is situated in the rural hills of Wenshui town and was established more than a hundred years ago during the final years of the Qing dynasty. But it has undergone a more recent overhaul. In 2008, it was designated a “Red Army primary school” - funded by China’s “red nobility” of revolution-era Communist commanders and their families - one of many such institutions that have been established across the country. Such schools are an extreme example of the “patriotic education” which China’s ruling Communist party promotes to

boost its legitimacy - but which critics condemn as little more than brainwashing. “The Red Army spirit is a real asset for children. It teaches them to be hardworking and thrifty from a young age,” said school manager Mu Chunyong, who oversees the 136 pupils in first through fourth grades. Guizhou province is one of China’s poorest, but even there, most families are now able to afford relatively comfortable lives, making it important to remind students of the hardships of the past, he said. “If you don’t instill kids these days with a sense of the evolution of history, the kids won’t cherish their current living conditions.”

groups have continued unabated. Bajwa told the officers that the Pakistan Army “must remain within its constitutionally defined role” and “alluded that an impression of a competition between the civilians and the military is counter-productive for the country”, The Nation reported. The report added that three months after becoming army chief, it could be “discerned that while Gen Bajwa believes in civilian supremacy, he will also not do anything that upends that existing structures and dynamics”. When a controversy recently erupted about land allocated to his predecessor, Raheel Sharif, a “sharp, almost edgy, rebuttal came from the military”. It also said the comparison between the personal styles of Sharif and Bajwa “cannot be starker”. While Sharif “basked and glowed under the glare of television and press cameras”, Bajwa “likes to go about his job without pomp and show”. His trips to the frontlines or speeches to troops have “lacked the breathless coverage that was the defining factor” of Sharif’s tenure and there has been no attempt to portray Bajwa as a “parallel, competing powerhouse, with strong political undertones”. Bajwa, in his public remarks, has said the army will support and assist the civilian government in the national interest. Officials were quoted as saying that “United we rise” was the theme adopted by the military and its media arm under Bajwa’s leadership.

US fleet that pressured India during 1971 war to be maintained by Indian company

NEW DELHI The US Seventh Fleet, which was sent to theBay of Bengal in December 1971 by then American PresidentRichard Nixon on Pakistan’s request to pressure India during the Bangladesh liberation war, will now ironically be maintained by an Indian company. Reliance Infrastructure Ltdcontrolled Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd has signed an agreement with US navy for maintenance of vessels of its largest forward-deployed Seventh Fleet, whose areas of responsibility include Western Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. The Seventh Fleet, with 100 vessels, 300 aircraft and 40,000 navy and Marine Corps personnel, is part of the US Pacific Fleet and is headquartered at Yokosuka, Japan. Currently, the vessels visit Singapore or Japan for repair works. Reliance Shipyard in Gujarat’s Pipavav has been selected for

repair and maintenance works after a survey by US government representatives in October last year. The agreement will be the first private sector pact after India and the US had last year signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, a tweaked India-specific version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) which the US has with several countries with close military ties. LEMOA enables militaries of both nations to use each other’s assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies. Rajesh Dhingra, CEO of Reliance Defence, said, “It’s a great opportunity to work with the US navy and the deal will help boost cooperation. The pact is validation of hard work put by our team to achieve the best international standards at Reliance Shipyard.” Reliance Shipyard, the largest in the private sector, is currently engaged in a host of naval and Coast Guard projects.

Children learn patriotic spirit at Red Army school There were more than 200 red army schools as of last year. Sometimes bearing names of prominent Party elders, they are built in “old revolutionary areas”, once cradles of Communist

rebellion but still often among the country’s poorest areas. In the 1930s, Yang Dezhi sheltered Red Army soldiers during their epic Long March through remote and hazardous terrain as they fled rival

Nationalist forces. The nearest city, Zunyi, was where Communist China’s founding father Mao Zedong first consolidated his power over the future ruling party. Yang Dezhi’s Red Army school credentials came with increased funding, which it used to increase teacher salaries and buy backpacks, clothing and water mugs for the children, among other things. A “red culture” class was added to the curriculum, in which children learn to sing nationalistic songs with military precision, discuss stories about the early days of the Communist Party, and study local Red Army history. Like all buildings in China’s south, the school has no central

heating. Instead, children take breaks every hour or so to perform guided exercises in the courtyard to get their blood pumping. Every afternoon, they spend five minutes using their fingertips to massage the area around their eyes to relax before the last round of classes - a practice taught in all Chinese schools. At lunch, they line up in the canteen to serve themselves one by one from trays of rice and huge silver pots filled with potatoes, beans, and chicken, before eating in silence. Students walk at most half an hour to get to school every day through roads often muddied by the region’s fine, persistent rain, stopping at small roadside shops to buy neon-hued, sugary packaged snacks. A martial spirit can teach children “self-reliance, self-confidence, and how to strive for selfimprovement,” said Mu.

Issue - 706 (4)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Bigger blast was planned for Bathinda

New Delhi THE Maur Mandi blast in Bathinda has triggered fears of return of Khalistani militancy amongst India’s intelligence agencies. Sources disclosed that the car blast triggered on the night of January 31, four days before Punjab went to polls “was an old style blast” — a reminiscent of style of Khalistan militancy days in 1980’s. A car had exploded in the bomb blast and the incendiary material in explosion caused massive fire, killing six people. It’s revealed that the attackers had planned a bigger impact, with a primary trigger aimed to set off a secondary trigger in a pressure cooker in the car. The team of NSG’s National Bomb Data Centre in its report to ministry of Home Affairs also mentioned that “commercial-grade explosives” — ammonium nitrate was used in the blast. Sources say, “The blast in the car was primarily triggered by explosives linked to car’s auto-lock mechanism (also

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known as central locking system).” Another source said, “Though the Maruti car was a 1992 model, it had a automated lock and unlock system. The charge created by pressing the button on the key, triggered the blast.” However, according to an official in security agency, the blast could have been much bigger if the primary trigger had set off a secondary trigger in pressure cooker full of potent chemical (ammonium nitrate, nuts and bolts) and could have claimed many more innocent lives, also potentially harming Congress candidate Harminder

Singh Jassi. However, the pressure cooker kept in the car blew off with the impact. The pressure cooker bomb is now a valuable piece of evidence. A senior officer said, “Commercial-grade explosive is often used in mountains or to build roads, and is easily accessible. The type of the bomb is not new.” Investigators have located the six digits of its chassis and are close to deciphering the remaining numbers. According to Punjab Police sources, “The Maruti 800 car used for the blast in Maur town of Bathinda, had a Tricoloured flag, similar to the Congress

party flag, and moved in the convoy of Congress candidate Jassi to ward off any suspicion.” The intelligence wing of Punjab Police had issued an alert to top police officers warning of suspected terror strike. The alert by intelligence wing was generated based on an input received from a central agency relating to efforts of banned terrorist groups to revive militancy in Punjab. Police have now discovered that the 5ampere luminous battery used in the detonator of the IED is neither supplied nor sold in Punjab, but is available in Haryana and Rajasthan. After scanning the 30minute footage from the CCTV camera installed atop State Bank of Patiala on Factory Road in Maur, police have zeroed in on a motorcycle and two riders, one of whom is seen making a cellphone call at 7.43 pm, a split second before Jassi and his convoy left his residence. The two men were wearing sleeveless sweaters and were without any headgear. While the car can be seen taking a left turn from the street outside Jassi’s residence, the convoy goes straight at around 7:44pm. The IED detonated at around 8:35pm when Jassi’s convoy was passing by after a meeting with the truckers’ union. According to police, Jassi had made an unscheduled halt at his residence before leaving for the public meeting at the market where the blast took place. “This gave the two bikers enough time to get the car parked in the market, where convoy was headed. Later, many people kept objecting to the unattended Maruti 800,” said a senior police official. Punjab Police is investigating the case. An NSG team has visited the site.

Saudi man aims to break bee bearding world record

AL ARABIYA Jeddah-Have you ever collected 20,000 bees and let them swarm over your face? A beekeeper from has done so and is working toward setting a world record. Zuhair Fattani, who has collected bees for more than 30 years and claims beekeepers develop some immunity from bee stings, has begun a practice of placing queen bees on his face in order to attract the bees to him. His adventurous shot was demonstrated on a couple of photos recently and he says that he is preparing for a new challenge to reclaim the world record. The apiculturist, who started honey farming as a hobby three decades ago, owns three honey farms including a portable bee colony containing 1,200 different types of bee hives. For honey-bees to produce honey, they consume pollen and nectar from a variety of flowers that blossom in difference seasons, he said, adding that worker honey-bees have a life span of only six weeks during honey production seasons. As for the queens, who are fed with royal jelly, live for an average of six years.

IB officials disown fake UP, Punjab poll surveys continued from page 1 “confidential” and “only for home ministry” written on them. Normally, the IB uses the tag “secret” and never says the report is “only for home ministry” as such reports are sent to all concerned departments. Sources said the bureau prepares a report on elections but not like the ones being circulated on WhatsApp and other social media sites. Officials say it is ridiculous to predict results even before the elections are over. So far, there has only been a single phase in Uttar

Pradesh. Genuine IB election reports are prepared during polls but they normally focus on the sensitive areas and not the outcome of the elections. There are several spelling errors in the reports including in names of parties. This doesn’t normally happen in IB reports are they are cleared for despatch after proper scrutiny. In the Punjab elections report, the Intelligence Bureau logo has been used on the top. But the IB reports normally don’t carry its logo. A genuine report only mentions Intelligence Bureau

in bold letters on the top, followed by Ministry of Home Affairs and Government of India. An authentic report also carries the intelligence report number which the fake ones in circulation don’t have. Also, in original reports, the term “secret” is used either on the top right side or bottom right side of the page. The name of the unit (for example “internal security”) and the name, designation of the officer who has issued the report are also mentioned at the end. However, the fake reports don’t mention any such details.

Issue - 706 (5)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Man’s Search For Meaning - 8 When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves. Viktor Frankl With more than 4 million copies in print in the English language alone, Man’s Search for Meaning, the chilling yet inspirational story of Viktor Frankl’s struggle to hold on to hope during his three years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps, is a true classic. The Contact Weekly is now pleased to present a special gift edition of a work that was hailed in 1959 by Carl Rogers as “one of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years.” Frankl’s training as a psychiatrist informed every waking moment of his ordeal and allowed him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. His assertion that “the will to meaning” is the basic motivation for human life has forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering. The Contact weekly has been publishing this book in weekly installments. If you have missed any part, please check our archives or call us at 416-992-5489.

Experiences in a Concentration Camp There were many similar surprises in store for new arrivals. The medical men among us learned first of all: "Textbooks tell lies!" Somewhere it is said that man cannot exist without sleep for more than a stated number of hours. Quite wrong! I had been convinced that there were certain things I just could not do. I could not sleep without this, or I could not live with that or the other. The first night in Auschwitz we slept in beds which were constructed in tiers. On each tier, measuring about six-and-a-half to eight feet, slept nine men, directly on the boards. Two blankets were shared by nine men. We could,

of course, lie only on our sides, crowded and huddled against each other, which had some advantages because of the bitter cold. Though it was forbidden to take shoes up to the bunks, some people did use them secretly as pillows in spite of the fact that they were caked with mud. Otherwise one's head had to rest on the crook of an almost dislocated arm. And yet sleep came and brought oblivion and relief from pain for a few hours. I would like to mention a few similar surprises on how much we could endure. We were unable to clean our teeth, and yet, in spite of that and a severe vitamin deficiency, we

had healthier gums than ever before. We had to wear the same shirts for half a year, until they had lost all appearance of being shirts. For days we were unable to wash, even partially, because of frozen water-pipes, and yet the sores and abrasions on hands which were dirty from work in the soil did not suppurate (that is, unless there was frostbite). Or for instance, a light sleeper, who used to be disturbed by the slightest noise in the next room, now found himself lying pressed against a comrade who snored loudly a few inches from his ear and yet slept quite soundly through the noise. If someone now asked of us the truth of Dostoevski's statement that flatly defines man as a being who can get used to anything, we would reply, "Yes, a man can get used to anything, but do not ask us how." But our psychological investigations have not taken us that far yet; neither had we prisoners reached that point. We were still in the first phase of our psychological reactions. The thought of suicide was entertained by nearly everyone, if only for a brief time. It was born of the hopelessness of the situation, the constant danger of death looming over us daily and hourly, and the closeness of the deaths suffered by many of the others. From personal convictions which will be mentioned later, I made myself a firm promise, on my first evening in camp that I would not "run into the wire." This was a phrase used in camp to describe

Lost in the Amazon forests for five years

A CANADIAN man missing for five years has been found more than 6,500 miles away in the Amazon jungle. Anton Pilipa trekked across two continents, walking mostly barefoot with just the clothes on his back, after he disappeared from his Vancouver home in 2012. His family spent years desperately searching for the former humanitarian worker, who suffers from suspected schizophrenia, and had almost given up hope when they got a call out of the blue. A Canadianborn Brazilian cop spotted Pilipa, who she initially mistook for a beggar, shuffling down a dirt track in bare feet, and dirty, unwashed Bermuda shorts and a vest. He had no passport, without without any form of identification. With help of several international agencies and embassies, she was able to track down his family who flew down to be reunited with their lost loved one. “I was stunned,” Anton’s brother Stefan told the “I told myself that he was dead. Because that was the only thing I could come up with that explained his absence.

“But in my heart of hearts, I didn’t think he could be. “ “I was really shocked,” added Stefan, who said he’d spent years asking himself the same question: ‘Where is he? What happened to him’.” “I feel amazed that he’s alive and had made it that far.”

Anton, who has been placed back on his schizophrenia medication, travelled through at least 10 countries from Canada, including the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil — all without a passport and with little more than the clothes in his back. His brother said he had one bizarre mission: to get to the National Library of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Tragically, when he finally made it to the library, after walking thousands of miles, he was turned away because he

didn’t have any identification. So he turned around and began his trek into Brazil where he would eventually be found. He described how he survived by picking fruits and berries, scrounging for food and clothes in the trash, and relied on the generosity of strangers. But that’s not to say times weren’t tough. Anton started off with a small bag of belongings but was robbed of what little he did have on several occasions during his trek. While walking 800 km alone through the dangerous Amazon jungle, filled with poisonous spiders, snakes, caiman — which can grow up to 20 feet long and jaguar — all his toenails dropped off. “I’ve never felt alone. It’s been a lot of thinking for years, sleeping in the open. It’s very simple to live, we do not need many things,” he said. But after years on the road, Stefan said he was shocked by his brother’s appearance. “He looked pretty rough,” he said after flying out to Manaus last month to collect his brother. “The rigors of his journey took a toll on his body and face. And he had a lot more hair than last time I saw him.”

the most popular method of suicide-touching the electrically charged barbed-wire fence. It was not entirely difficult for me to make this decision. There was little point in committing suicide since for the average inmate life expectation, calculating objectively and counting all likely chances, was very poor. He could not with any assurance expect to be among the small percentage of men who survived all the selections. The prisoner of Auschwitz, in the first phase of shock, did not fear death. Even the gas chambers lost their horrors for them after the first few days-after all, they spared him the act of committing suicide. Friends whom I met later told me that I was not one of those whom the shock of admission into the camp greatly depressed. I only smiled, and quite sincerely, when the following episode occurred the morning after our first night in Auschwitz. In spite of strict orders not to leave our "blocks," a colleague of mine, who had arrived in Auschwitz several weeks previously, smuggled himself into our hut. He wanted to calm and comfort us and tell us a few things. He had become so thin that at first we did not recognize him. With a show of good humor and a Devilmay-care attitude he gave us a few hurried tips: "Don't be afraid! Don't fear the selections! Dr. M (the SS medical chief) has a soft spot for doctors." (This was wrong; my friend's kind words were misleading. One prisoner, the doctor of a block, of

huts and a man of some sixty years, told me how he had entreated Dr. M to let off his son, who was destined for gas. Dr. M coldly refused.) "But one thing I beg of you"; he continued, "shave daily, if at all possible, even if you have to use a piece of glass to do it . . . even if you have to give your last piece of bread for it. You will look younger and the scraping will make your cheeks look ruddier. If you want to stay alive, there is only one way: look fit for work. If you even limp, because, let us say, you have a small blister on your heel, and an SS man spots this, he will wave you aside and the next day you are sure to be gassed. Do you know what we mean by a 'Moslem'? A man who looks miserable, down and out, sick and emaciated, and who cannot manage hard physical labor any longer . . . that is a 'Moslem.' Sooner or later, usually sooner, every 'Moslem' goes to the gas chambers. Therefore, remember: shave, stand and walk smartly; then you need not be afraid of gas. All of you standing here, even if you have only been here twentyfour hours, you need not fear gas, except perhaps you." And then he pointed to me and said, "I hope you don't mind my telling you frankly." To the others he repeated, "Of all of you he is the only one who must fear the next selection. So, don't worry!" And I smiled. I am now convinced that anyone in my place on that day would have done the same.

Indian hospital worker breaks baby leg for crying NEW DELHI A hospital worker has been arrested after shocking footage emerged appearing to show a man breaking the leg of a threeyear-old boy. The distressing video was taken in a private hospital in New Delhi, where the child was being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for respiratory problems. Reports from India claim the man became ‘annoyed’ by the boy’s crying. It appears to show the man turn the child onto his stomach before twisting his leg in a manner which would have been excruciatingly painful. It was only after the patient was transferred to

another hospital after his condition deteriorated that the broken bone was discovered. Police were called after the CCTV images showed the culprit,

Times Now reports.A police spokesman told ABP News: ‘As per the complaint filed by the family, an attendant manhandled the child.‘We have also been handed over the footage of the whole incident; and have initiated a probe to find out the truth.’

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Issue - 706 (6)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Indian-origin Nasa scientist detained at US border, phone confiscated

WASHINGTON A US-born Nasa scientist of Indian-origin was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) authorities on his return to America from a trip to Chile and pressured into unlocking his phone, amid an anxious debate on how far the Trump administration intends to take the “extreme vetting” that it has promised and whether it would be applied to more recent US-citizens of foreign origin. Sidd Bikkannavar, who works at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), was held by immigration officials when he returned to Houston four days after President Trump signed his controversial executive order on travels into US. Agents confiscated his phone and demanded the pin access number without citing reasons, but since the phone was issued by Nasa and contained sensitive material, Bikkannavar initially declined to comply. He was detained till he parted with the information. With his light skin

and long brown locks, Bikkannavar does not look very “foreign” (or “Muslim” as some reports erroneously described him; his last name is from the Hubli-Dharwad region in North Karnataka). Besides, he is also enrolled in Global Entry a programme through CBP that allows individuals who have undergone background checks to have expedited entry into the country. He had gone to Chile on a personal trip, pursuing his hobby of racing solar-powered cars. “Just to be clear I’m a US-born citizen and Nasa engineer, travelling with a valid US passport,” the young researcher wrote in a Facebook post, explaining that, “Once they took both my phone and the access PIN, they returned me to the holding area with the cots and other sleeping detainees until they finished copying my data.” The episode, aside from the profiling it ostensibly involved, also put him in a fix with his employers, because he was required to protect access to the

phone. “I’m back home, and JPL has been running forensics on the phone to determine what CBP/ homeland security might have taken, or whether they installed anything on the device,” he explained in the post, adding that he has also been working with JPL legal counsel and the lab has issued him a new phone and new phone number. He also said he removed his Facebook page until he was sure the account wasn’t also compromised by the intrusion into his phone and connected apps. The episode is in line with proposals by the Trump administration that visitors and visa applicants to the US will be required to provide access to their social media accounts, including their passwords. “If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come,” homeland security secretary John Kelly told a Congressional hearing last week. There is growing concern in liberal civil liberties circles over whether such vetting will also be imposed on US citizens and permanent residents of “foreign origin”, with some commentators arguing that Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” is a thinly-disguised attempt to “Make America White Again.” The President’s supporters maintain such conclusions, based on a few incidents, are exaggerated, even as they insist national security should trump all other concerns.

Trump administration taking a fresh look at F16 sale to India: Lockheed WASHINGTON The Trump Administration is taking a fresh look at Lockheed‘s proposal to have a F-16 manufacturing base in India if New Delhi agrees to buy the fighter jets, company officials said on Monday. “For several months, we’ve been working with President (Donald) Trump’s transition and governance teams and leaders in Congress providing information on our many programmes and potential business opportunities— including the proposed sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to India,” a Lockheed official told PTI. Lockheed, which is one of the top global manufacturers of fighter jets, said that its officials have briefed the Trump Administration on the current proposal, which was supported by the Obama Administration as part of a broader cooperative dialogue with the Government of India. “We understand that the Trump Administration will want to take a fresh look at some of these programmes and we stand prepared to support that effort to ensure that any deal of this importance is properly aligned with US policy priorities,” the official said. Ultimately, the configuration of any F-16 sale to India will be determined by government-to-government discussions, the Lockheed

official noted referring to the fact that all major defense sales needs approval of the US Government. The official said that the company continues to believe that the F-16 is the right aircraft to meet India’s fighter aircraft needs and the opportunity to sell

both sides to actually rethink their positions,” he said. He said this during a discussion on a report, released by nearly a dozen topAmerican thinktanks+ , that urges the Trump administration for a

sponsor of terrorism’. Authored by a group of eminent US-based Pakistan experts, it calls for a sharper, cleareyed US policy approach towards Pakistan+ . “Pakistan needs to do a little introspection that can we continue this for ever and ever and still have credibility,” Haqqani said about Islamabad’s continued support to terrorist activities against its neighbours. During the discussion, Haqqani was joined by Curtis and Christine Fair, a Georgetown University scholar and South Asia expert. Fair, in her intervention, said Pakistan was “obsessed with trying to illegally occupy” other’s territory. The discussion witnessed acrimonious scenes when a group of pro-Pakistani people, including officials from the Pakistan embassy here and journalists, tried to disrupt the event.

F-16 aircraft to India represents a significant opportunity for the US economy. “The selection of the F-16 by India would preserve US jobs at Lockheed Martin and throughout our US supply chain. It could also create opportunities for future aircraft sales and upgrades by keeping F-16 production active,” the official said. According to Lockheed, which has been in India for more than 25 years, this unique F-16 opportunity delivers advanced defense capabilities and strengthens the strategic partnership between the US and India. The F-16 is ready for any challenge, combining innovative structural and capability upgrades, such as the Active Electronically Scanned Array radar with a new avionics architecture.

UK hit by Brexit Former Pakistan envoy to US questions Islamabad’s Kashmir policy labour shortages

London The UK is being hit by labour shortage from the European Union (EU) in the wake of the historic Brexit referendum last June, according to a new survey released today. British businesses that rely heavily on EU nationals are finding it difficult to hire the right candidates as such workers decide to stay home, according to a survey by the UK s Chartered Institute of Personnel (CIPD) and the Adecco Group. The survey shows that almost half of all the vacancies are in the retail and wholesale, manufacturing, health and accommodation and food services industries. Fears of a so-called employee “Brexodus” are particularly high in the education and health care sectors, the survey indicates. “Whilst the outcome of Brexit negotiations is still uncertain, employers access to EU migrant workers is likely to change. Investing in young people is a solid long-term strategy, but employers also

need to face the facts and prepare for a situation where they might lose access to significant numbers of skilled EU workers in the near future,” said John Marshall, chief executive at the Adecco Group for the UK and Ireland. The report, which was based on data from over 1,000 employers, also shows that more than a quarter of employers believe that the EU nationals they employ are considering leaving their jobs and possibly the country in 2017. “This is creating significant recruitment challenges in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles,” said Gerwyn Davies, labour market adviser for the CIPD. The number of non-UK nationals from the EU living in the UK almost halved from an average of more than 60,000 per quarter in the nine months leading up to the June 2016 referendum to just 30,000 in the three months to September 2016, according to the most recent labour data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

WASHINGTON Questioning Pakistan’s decades-old Kashmir policy, a former top envoy of the country has said even resolving the issue would unlikely address the challenge of terrorism, sectarian conflict or the Taliban abandoning its goal of establishing an “old Islamic order” in Afghanistan. “Even if Kashmir is resolved how would that end sectarian terrorism, because sectarian terrorism is about killing people who do not have same religious sect as you have. How would resolving Kashmir stop the Taliban, who are aimed at creating their old Islamic order in Afghanistan,” former Pakistani ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani told a Washington audience on Friday. “So sometimes ... making this a hyper nationalistic argument on the side of Pakistan and a very simplistic (one) that we have no choice in Pakistan’s approach in America ... We want

tougher line against Pakistan, involving both pragmatic engagement and consequences for uncooperative behaviour. ‘A New US Approach to Pakistan: Enforcing Aid Conditions without Cutting Ties’co-authored by Lis Curtis of The Heritage Foundation and Haqqani of the Hudson Institute - stops short of recommending declaring Pakistan a ‘state

Issue - 706 (7)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Buckingham Palace offers Trump ban to be boon for recruiting Indian techies in Canada, say experts £30,000-a-year plus benefits to run the Queen’s Twitter

Toronto Indian-origin tech leaders in Canada say the controversial visa and travel restrictions imposed by

Vancouver’s top startupincubator, the situation in the US has prompted his group to set up specialised services for Indian techies

US President Donald Trump will be a boon for tech recruitment and investment in Canada. “This provides a great opportunity for the best talent from India to come, live and work in Canada,” said Shafin Diamond Tejani, CEO of Fantasy 360, a Vancouver-based global leader in creating immersive experiences and games using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR).“We are already getting inquiries from Indian techies, both in India and in the United States, about relocating to Vancouver,” said Tejani, whose family is originally from Gujarat.Together with his partner Ray Walia, another NRI in Vancouver who runs the not-for-profit tech incubator Launch Academy, Tejani is working on streamlined avenues to attract top tech talent from India.The duo is part of the Canadian technology community that has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging him to provide visas to those caught by Trump’s executive orders. “In choosing to hire, train, and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy,” said the letter adding, “By embracing diversity, we can drive innovation to benefit the world.” Tejani and his associates have a target of bringing a dozen Indian start-ups with a focus on VR/AR/MR to British Columbia, which also has a shortage of programmers and other skilled IT professionals. “We are confident we will be able to this,” said Tejani, whose companies have launched over 40 start-ups in 21 different countries, employing over 350 people and generating over $100 million in annual revenues. For Ray Walia, who cofounded Launch Academy in 2012 to become

looking to relocate to Canada. Walia has developed a programme at Launch Academy that leverages the Canadian Startup Visa Program. The programme helps international startups relocate their head offices to Canada and within six months grant Permanent Residency in Canada for up to five key members of a startup and

their family members. “We as leaders and peers need to ensure that the proper infrastructure, support, and education is in place to help the next wave of young entrepreneurs around the world build technology and global businesses that will help shape the future for all of us,” said Walia, whose other family business has also organised over 200 Bollywood concerts around the world. “The Launch Academy Startup Visa Program allows Indians to have the best of both worlds and build their businesses from Canada and continue to not only service the Indian market but also to continue to grow domestic operations in India as well.” Analysts predict that India’s IT outsourcing industry, worth around $108 billion and employing some four million people, will start looking elsewhere if the American restrictions are enacted.

London Buckingham Palace is offering a 30,000 pounds annual package for a job to run Queen Elizabeth’s personal Twitter account, having 2.77 million followers. A job advertisement has been placed on the Queen’s official website seeking a new ‘digital communications officer’ to join a “fast-paced” and “dynamic” team. The full-time role will involve managing the Queen’s Twitter account and letting the world know about her work and the Royal Family’s public role. Tasks will include writing posts on the Queen’s social media accounts including Facebook and YouTube as well as documenting state visits, award ceremonies and Royal engagements, The Sun newspaper reported. The Royal job comes with a “comprehensive benefits

package” and the perks include 15% employer contribution pension scheme as well as training and “personal

Household exceptional,” it said. According to the advertisement, the right candidate must be

development”. The online advert reads: “It’s knowing your content will be viewed by millions. It’s finding new ways to maintain The Queen’s presence in the public eye and on the world stage”. “This is what makes working for the Royal

university educated with an “eye to the future” and experience of managing websites. They also need to be “innovative and with creative flair” and have good photography and video skills. The advertisement, which is posting a maternity cover role, reads: “The reaction to our work is always high-profile, and so reputation and impact will be at the forefront of all you do”. The Queen also personally tweeted on her 90th birthday in June last year. She posted: “I am most grateful for the many digital messages of goodwill I have received and would like to thank you all for your kindness. Elizabeth R.” The monarch has 2.77 million followers on Twitter, as well her own website and Youtube channel.

Techie from Telangana shot dead in California in suspected case of robbery Hyderabad A 27-year-old Indian techie was shot dead by an unidentified miscreant in California on Saturday evening.According to the reports reaching here, Vamsi Chander Reddy Mamidala from Warangal district of Telangana was found dead with bullet injuries near the garage of his apartment at Milpitas in California.He was staying in the US after

completing his MS in Computer Sciences from a private university in Silicon Valley.The police, who reached the spot after hearing the gunshots, suspect that a person, reportedly a black, might have shot him dead to rob him of money and car. The incident occurred barely a day after Mumbai youth Rakesh Talreja (25) was shot dead by four unidentified men in his

Kingston home in Jamaica in a case of similar suspected armed robbery. Two of his Indian roommates also suffered bullet injuries. Vamsi’s father Mohan Reddy Mamidala, a farmer from Vangapahad, told media that he had received a call from the US police on Sunday morning stating that his son was shot dead from a close range by an unknown miscreant.

Vamsi had completed his B Tech from Vathsalya Institute of Science and Technology at Bhongir in Yadadri district of the state in 2014 and left for the US to pursue his MS. After completing his MS degree recently, Vamsi started doing a part-time job at a departmental store in the US and had been looking for a permanent employment.“He was in regular touch with us.

Issue - 706 (8)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Islamophobia’ fuelling terrorism: UN chief

Riyadh “Islamophobia” in parts of the world is fuelling terrorism, the head of the United Nations said on a visit to Saudi Arabia Sunday, as anti-immigrant sentiment rises in some countries. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made the comment to reporters after talks with Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.“One of the things that fuel terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of Islamophobic feelings and Islamophobic policies and Islamophobic hate speeches,” Guterres said at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. “This is sometimes the best support that Daesh can have to

make its own propaganda,” Guterres said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group of Sunni extremists in Syria and Iraq.The jihadist group has also claimed deadly attacks in Saudi Arabia and in Europe. Anti-immigration politicians including France’s Marine Le Pen have seen their popularity rise after an influx to Europe of migrants, many of them Muslims fleeing wars in Syria and elsewhere.US President Donald Trump issued an order in late January that denied entry to all refugees for 120 days.It also blocked travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. Refugees from Syria were blocked indefinitely. But the order has faced obstacles and on Thursday an

Pakistani daredevil hangs bricks from his eyes

LONDON-A stomach churning video shows a daredevil hanging bricks from his eyes and bending a metal bar in his mouth. The footage was taken at a what is described as a ‘stunt school’ in Pakistan. The clip that lasts just over one minute isn’t for the fainthearted.It begins with a man attaching metal clips to his eyelids. As the camera pans down the audience can see that

the clips are attached to rope which is tied to bricks. He proceeds to dangle the bricks from his eyes. Later the same man bends a metal bar in his mouth. Other stunts are shown in the video, taken in Mastung, Balochistan, including balancing on spikes. Another section of the film shows a man being stretched by two motorbikes attached to both feet with rope.

appellate court decided unanimously to maintain a block on Trump’s order.Syria’s conflict has created 4.8 million refugees and killed more than 310,000 people since it began with antigovernment protests in March 2011.Guterres said “we will never be successful in fighting terrorism in Syria if an inclusive political solution is not found for the Syrian people.” A new round of UN-sponsored peace talks is scheduled for February 20 in Geneva.

Shocking! 14-year-old cricketer dies after being hit by angry batsman

Karachi Cricket has always been termed as a ‘gentlemen’s game’. But many a times, some incidents take place on the cricket field which tarnish the image of the game. One such incident took place in Bangladesh where a 14year-old cricketer died after he was hit by a stump thrown by an angry batsman during a friendly game between neighbourhood teams. As per the police, Faisal Hossain, the deceased cricketer, was fielding in the southeastern port city of Chittagong when the batsman was given out. “The

batsman was furious when he saw that he was stumped or bowled out. He grabbed a stump and threw it in the air. The stump hit part of the neck and head of Faisal who was fielding close to the wicket,” assistant police commissioner Jahangir Alam was quoted as saying by the Dawn. “He collapsed on the ground in pain and was declared dead after he was taken to a hospital,” he added. It is reported that the batsman has been detained and would be prosecuted for causing unintentional death.

Syria regime hanged 13,000 in notorious prison: Amnesty

Beirut As many as 13,000 people were hanged in five years at a notorious Syrian government prison near Damascus, Amnesty International said today, accusing the regime of a “policy of extermination.” Titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass hanging and extermination at Saydnaya prison,” Amnesty’s damning report is based on interviews with 84 witnesses, including guards, detainees, and judges. It found that at least once a week between 2011 and 2015, groups of up to 50 people were taken out of their prison cells for arbitrary trials, beaten, then hanged “in the middle of the night and in total secrecy.” “Throughout this process, they remain blindfolded. They do not know when or how they will die until the noose was placed around their necks,” the rights group wrote. Most of the victims were civilians believed to be opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.“They kept them (hanging) there for 10 to 15 minutes,” a former judge who witnessed the executions said.

“For the young ones, their weight wouldn’t kill them. The officers’ assistants would pull them down and break their necks,” he said. Amnesty said the practices amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity, but

Prisoners were raped or forced to rape each other, and guards would feed detainees by tossing meals onto the cell floor, which was often covered in dirt and blood. A twisted set of “special rules”

were likely still taking place. Thousands of prisoners are held in the military-run Saydnaya prison, one of the country’s largest detention centres located 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of Damascus. Amnesty accused the Syrian government of carrying out a “policy of extermination” there by repeatedly torturing detainees and withholding food, water, and medical care.

governed the facility: detainees were not allowed to speak and must assume certain positions when guards enter their cells. “Every day there would be two or three dead people in our wing… I remember the guard would ask how many we had. He would say, ‘Room number one – how many? Room number two – how many?’ and on and on,” said Nader, a former detainee whose name has been changed.

Attempts to undermine ‘historic’ Saudi-US ties will fail, says crown prince

Khobar (Saudi Arabia) Saudi Arabia’s relations with the United States are “historic and strategic”, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef said on the occasion of the visit of CIA director Mike Pompeo to Riyadh.This is the first reported visit by a senior Trump administration appointee to the kingdom.“Our relationship with the United States is historic and strategic, any attempts to undermine that

will falter,” Prince Mohammed said, according to state news agency SPA late on Friday.Prince Mohammed, who is also interior minister, said his country will continue to combat terrorism.In a recent phone call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman invited U.S President Donald Trump “to lead a Middle East effort to defeat terrorism and to help build a new future, economically and socially,” for Saudi Arabia and the region.

Issue - 706 (9)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

US denies visa to Pakistan’s Senate Deputy Chairman

Islamabad Pakistan’s Senate Deputy Chairman and leader of one of the largest Islamic parties was denied a US visa, leading to the cancellation of a two-member delegation’s planned visit to New York to attend a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union at the UN headquarters. Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, the deputy chairman and the secretary general of Jamiat Ulema Islam, was scheduled to lead a two-member Senate delegation at IPU meeting being held on February 13 and 14 at the UN. ”The visa of Haidri was put on hold in what can be termed a technical refusal,” the Express Tribune reported,

quoting its sources. Senator Lt Gen (retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi who was to accompany Haidri was granted a visa just two days before. The visit of the two senators has now been cancelled on the direction of Pakistan’s Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani who had taken notice of the issue. The move comes days after a US court refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on people from seven Muslim- majority countries, which did not include Pakistan. Trump signed an executive order last month barring citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and

Yemen for 90 days, fulfilling one of his campaign promises. Citing official sources, the paper said the Senate Secretariat had applied for official visas for them two weeks ago. “They said when the Senate Secretariat checked with the US Embassy about the status of Haidri’s passport through official channels, it was told that the US authorities would get back to it by Tuesday, clearly meaning that Haidri could not travel to the US to attend the IPU conference,” it said. “It is a technical refusal,” a top Senate official said. Earlier, the Senate Secretariat said that there was a delay in issuance of visa to the deputy chairman and the Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani had taken notice of the issue. Rabbani issued directives to his secretariat not to entertain any US delegation or diplomat till the issue was resolved. “No delegation, member of Congress or diplomat of the US will be welcomed by the Senate of Pakistan, Senate Standing Committees and the senators in their official capacity till this issue is resolved,” Rabbani had said in a statement issued to media yesterday.

Try suffocating kittens, Indian textbook tells kids

NEW DELHI An Indian publisher has caused a furore with a school textbook that encourages children to suffocate kittens as part of a scientific experiment. The book, which is used in hundreds of private schools in India, includes an experiment in which two kittens were placed in separate boxes - only one of which had airholes. “Put a small kitten in each box. Close the boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten inside the box without holes has died,” read the text. Animal rights activists said several schools had already pulled the offending page from the book, entitled “Our Green World”. They have also secured

a promise from the publisher that it will not be included in the next edition. “It might be stupid, but they were endangering the lives of the children and animals by citing such an experiment,” Vidhi Matta, spokeswoman for the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, told AFP on Wednesday. Matta said she was unaware of any student actually conducting the experiment. Indian textbooks frequently make the headlines for their glaring mistakes and controversial content. Last week a passage from a textbook in Maharashtra state caused outrage over its assertion that “ugly” and “handicapped” women had led to a rise in dowries claimed by the groom’s family.

United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart said he did not know why the pilot was allowed

on the plane in plain clothes. He said the company will discuss the incident with the pilot.

London Fourteen retired Anglican bishops have criticised the Church of England‘s attitude to homosexuality, saying the church was not listening to the voices of gay Christians. They were responding to a report from the church’s House of Bishops, which called for a “fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” for gays and lesbians, but says the church should not lift its opposition to same-sex marriage. In an open letter , the ex-bishops said that “while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its

authentic voice.” Former bishop of Worcester,

Sand artist Sudarsan United Airlines pilot removed Pattnaik creates after ranting about Donald Trump Guinness record

New Delhi India’s renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik on Friday created a Guinness World Record for building the world’s tallest sandcastle on the beach of eastern Puri city. Sudarsan and his 45 students took about nine days to make the 48 feet-high sculpture under the theme of ‘World Peace’. The earlier record was reserved in the name of American artist Ted Siebert, who had built a 45 feet-high sandcastle at the Miami Beach in 2015. “Today, we have taken the measurement of this sandcastle and I am very happy to announce that this is now new Guinness

world record,” said Guinness World record official, Swapnil Dangarikar. Pattnaik has won many awards for his sand art and is known for his creativity of combining art and activism. He has participated in more than 50 international sand sculpture championships across the world and won many awards for the country. He has also been conferred with the fourth highest civilian award- Padma Shri in 2014. Pattnaik’s sand sculpture titled ‘Mahatma Gandhi - World Peace’ won the people’s choice prize at the ninth Moscow Sand Sculpture Championship 2016.

Washington A United Airlines pilot was removed from a San Franciscobound flight after she gave a long, bizarre speech about US President Donald Trump and her divorce, the media reported. The pilot boarded the Saturday afternoon flight at AustinBergstrom International Airport a bit late – wearing a ball cap and casual clothes, The Washington Post reported.Straight away, she appeared to get into an argument with crew members at the front of the plane. From his seat near the back, passenger Chris Moore figured at first that she was just another San Francisco-bound flier. ”I thought she was a firstclass passenger, complaining,” he told The Washington Post. “Then she grabs the mic”. Passenger Randy Reiss tweeted, she “asked if we were ok with her flying like that… then said ‘sorry I’m going through divorce’,” CBS News reported She then used the plane’s overhead public address system to rant about President Trump and former presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton – calling them both “a-holes” and then ranting about her divorce which led to passengers tweeting to United to get a new pilot. About 20 passengers said they did not feel safe with her in the cockpit and got off the plane.

Church of England ignores gays, allege retired bishops

Peter Selby, one of the signatories, said on Sunday that some gay Anglicans feel betrayed by the lack of support for change. Gay marriage has long divided the Anglican communion, which has 85 million adherents.

Issue - 706 (10)

Saini Sikh parents invite matrimonial alliance from the GTA for their slim, fair, beautiful, 5’2"/’83 born daughter, born, raised, educated in Canada, Bachelors in Business Management, and employed in the Finance division of a reputable Canadian company. The boy should be clean shaven, born, raised and educated in Canada & professionally employed. P l e a s e email or call 416-741-0777 *** 707*** Well settled Jat Sikh parents seking a suitable match for their daughter, born and raised in Canada, 40 yrs. old, 5’-4” tall, pretty, fair complextion, professionally employed with Toronto Board of Education as a teacher, never married before, having good family values. The boy should be professionally qualified and employed and family oriented. Caste no Bar. Please email recent pictures and bio-data to: Or Call : 416-716-2040 ***707** Well established Jat Sikh parents invite matrimonial alliance for their son, born and raised in Canada, 35 yrs. old, 6’ tall, degree om Criminal Justice, running his own business, very handsome and family oriented. The girl should be born or raised in Canada, well educated, professionally employed, beautiful, tall with family values. Other castes no bar. Please email recent pictures and bio-data to: Or Call : 416-716-2040 ***707** Jatt Sikh Sandhu family seek a suitable match for their daughter, 25 yrs. old, 5'-6" tall, M. Tech. (Energy Science), working for a big corporation, only child of parents belonging to a decent well-settled family, living in India, looking for a Canadian/ American citizen or immigrant boy. Serious inquiries only. Please send your biodata & recent picture to: S A N D H U R I S H T A or call: 647 875 9342 ***707** Hindu Brahman parents looking for a suitable match for their daughter, 27 yrs. old, 5’-4” tall, Canadian Citizen, University educated, professionally employed. The boy should be Canadian/Amarican professionally educated, employed, non-drinker, nonsmoker, vegetarian with family values. Please email recent pictures and bio-data to: ***707** Match for Jat Sikh Dhillon girl, 1985 born (looks like 24-25 yrs old), 5’-5" tall, beautiful, wellcultured, canadian pr, B. Tech (india), Post graduate project management (canada), working

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

in admn. dept in canada. Brother & Parents in USA. The boy should be Jat sikh, equally qualified, clean-shaven. Only serious inquiries via email (no sms/what’s app). Contact father. Please send your biodata & recent picture to : call: 1718-414-4618 ***707** Well settled & established business Jat Sikh family seek a suitable match for their only son, 26 yrs.old, 5’-11” tall, certified professional accountant, doing last year of M.B.A. (Schilich school of Business) working a top class company. The girl should be Canadian immigrant or citizen, professional, homely, beautiful. Call: 647-290-9267 ***707** Jatt Sikh parents seek a suitable match for their canadian born daughter, 24 yrs. old, 5'-7" tall, university graduate. The boy should be living in the Ontario Canada, well settled, belong to Jatt Sikh family, under 28 yrs. old, graduate. Call: 416-6692144 or 647-574-2434 ***707** USA settled wealthy Jat Sikh family seek a m suitable match for theirson, 25 yrs. old, 5’-11” tall, handsome, clean shaven, Convent educated, studying in Australia, having decent commercial & Agricultural property bac home consider him well settled in U.S.A. The girl should be Canadian/American Immigrant or Citizen & from Jat Sikh family. .Please send you recent pictures and bio-date to: Or Call : 1317-918-1718 (Whatsapp) ***707** Jat sikh family seek a suitable match for their beautiful daughter, 24 yrs. old, 5'-4'’ tall, Indian born, Master’s of Science in Education from Canadian university, working in teaching profession. The boy should be Jat sikh, Canadian immigrant/ citizen, well educated, professionally employed, well settled , having good family values. Please send your biodata & recent picture to :jatsikhmaterimonial or call: 1-289-5691895 ***707** Jat Sikh parents seeking a suitable match for their Medico daughter, 35 yrs. old, 5’-9” tall, U.S. Citizen. The boy should be American/Canadian, clean shaven, well educated and from Jat Sikh family. Please email recent pictures and bio-data to: ***707** Jat Sikh parents invite matrimonial alliance for their Canadian born son, 28 yrs. old, 6’ tall, handsome, working as power engineer, family is well settled in Vancouver area and belong to Jalandher. The girl should be good looking, educated with good family values.

Please Call : 1-604-724-0079 Or 1-604-244-0094 ***707** Well educated Jat Sikh parents invite a matrimonial alliance for their son, DOB 1991, 6’ tall, turbaned, B.Tech in Computer Science from Thaper University, Patiala (India),working in one of the top ranking MNCS in Delhi, earining handsome salary, nondrinker, non-smoker. The girl should be Canadian/US Citizen/ Immigrant, well educated, beautiful with family values. Canada prefered. Sister’s family well settled in Canada. Please Call : 647-569-6787 (Whats app) Or 011-91-98726-56787 (Whats app) ***707** Ramgarhia Sikh parents invite matrimonial alliance for their daughter, 31 yrs. old, 5’ tall, B.Sc. Nursing degree from India, residing in India, beautiful, fair and from good family background. The boy should be Canadian/American, Immigrant/ Citizen, educated with family values. Please email recent pictures and bio-data to: Or Call : 647-829-5872 ***707** Ramgarhia Sikh parents invite matrimonial alliance for their son, 27 yrs. old, 5-8”’ tall, Dental Surgeon in India, at present on visitor visa in USA. The girl should be American Citizen/green card holder, faimly oriented. Please email recent pictures and bio-data to: Or Call : 1-662-347-9532 ***707** Jat Sikh parents seeking a suitable match for their daugter, 30 yrs. old, 5’-5” tall, currently living in Canada. The boy should be educated and must have received ITA in express entry. Family well settled in Canada. Please Call : 905-462-5927 ***707** Well settled Chandigarh based Arora Sikh family seek a suitable match for their son, 33 yrs. old, 6’ tall, clean shaven, M.B.A. (USA) working as a programme Manager in Amazone (Sansfrancasco based). The girl should be beautiful educated, family oriented. Please send you recent pictures and bio-date to: Or Call : 1-480-646-2882 ***707** Jat Sikh parents seeking a suitable match for their only son, 30 yrs.old, 5’-11” tall, Canadian citizen, well educated, running his own business. The girl should be Canadian immigrant or citizen, educated, beautiful with family values. BC area prefered.Girl on student visa/ work permit may also be considered. Call: 1-778-5520316 ***1216*** Jat Sikh parents invite a matrimonial alliance for their son, 31 yrs. old, 6’-2” tall, Canadian Citizen, professionally

educated, running his own successful business. The girl should be from USA/Canada, educated, beautiful, tall, family oriented with good family values. Please Call : 1-778-344-0303 ***707** Looking for suitable match for 34 yrs. old, Canadian born male, 5’5” tall, with athletic built, minor physical disability, however fully independent and capable. The girl should be from Canada/ America only. Divorced may also be considred. Please Call : 1-604-722-0279 Or : 1-604-525-8062 ***707** Jat Sikh parents seek a suitable match for their daughter, 26 yrs. old, 5’-2.5” tall, American Citizen, Registered Nurse (RN). The boy should be professionally educated. Seattle (USA), Malwa (India) prefered. Please email recent picture and biodata to: Or Call : 1-206-391-8477 ***707** Saraswat Brahmin family seek a suitable match for their son, 28 yrs. old, 5’-7” tall, M.Tech. Mechanical, College Professor in India. The girl should be educated, American/Canadian Immigrant or Citizen. Uncle is well settled in U.S.A. Caste No Bar. Please send your biodata and recent picture to: Or Call : 1-408-960-9190 ***707** Well settled Ramgarhia Sikh family seeks a professionally qualified match from Canada for their beautiful, fair daughter, 25 yrs. old, 5’-3” tall, Architect, P.R. Applied, based at Hyderabad India. Father retired Army Major & Businessman. Please respond with bio-data and recent picture to: Or Call : 647-669-7997 ***707** Punjabi Brahmin family seek a suitable match for their son, 28 yrs. old, 6’ tall, M.S. (Artho Doctor), working in Govt. Hospital in India as a surgeon, wants to settle his own Business in Canada. The girl should be from Medical Profession, beautiful, Canadian Immigrant/Citizen atleast 5’-6” tall or above. Caste No Bar. Brother & Close relatives are well settled in Canada. Please send your biodata and recent picture to: Or Call : 647-282-9503 Or : 647-

347-3685 ***707** Jat Sikh family seek a suitable match for their daughter, 33 yrs. old, 5’-7” tall, U.S.A. born, beautiful, Degree in Accounting & Finance, working in her own field, family oriented. The boy should be atleast 6’ tall, handsome, equally educated, preferably from Bay Area. The boy on HI Visa can be considred. Please send your bio-data and recent picture to: Or Call : 1-408-849-1525 ***707** Sikh Khatri parents invite matrimonial alliance for their son, 32 yrs. old, 5’-7” tall, teetotaller, working as software consultant in Wisconsin on H1B Visa. Green Card is in process. Looking for a family oriented educated girl.Please respond with bio-data and recent picture to: Or Call : 1-414-552-7913 ***707** Sharma family seek a suitable match for their son, 34 yrs. old, 5'-8'’ tall, fair, Masters degree in business and technology from University of Waterloo, Masters in computers applications from India, Canadian immigrant (PR), working as an I.T engineer in Tata Consultancy services / BMO in Toronto. The girl should be Canadian/American immigrant/ Citizen, well educated/qualified. The girl on student visa or work visa can also contact. Caste no bar. Please send your bio-data & recent picture to: ***707** Punjabi Sikh parents seeking a match for their Canadian born & raised, clean shaven son, 33 yrs. old, 6’-1” tall, handsome, Doctor M.D., completed internal Medicine residency & fellowship (Specialization), now working as a specialist in G.T.A. The girl should be resident Doctor/M.D. or Physician. Born & raised in Canada from Ontario, beautiful atleast 5’-6” tall with family values. Please send your bio-data and recent picture to: sm9058@ ***707** Khatri parents seeking a suitable match for their daughter, 28 yrs. old, 5’-2” tall, Amrican Citizen, professionally settled (Doctor) in her job. The boy should be American Citizen, well educated and well settled in job. Please Call : 1-347-2519112 ***707**

Lady Helper White House Canada in Brampton, requires a Live-in lady helper. Hotel experience preferred but will train the suitable candidate. Must be available to stand, walk and bend for extended periods of time. Duties include making beds, dusting, cleaning bathroom, vacuuming, replenishing supplies, cooking and elderly care (1 hr. daily approx).

Please Call:


Issue - 706 (11)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Bolivia begins fumigation against locust plague

SUCRE Bolivia has started chemical spraying in its eastern grain region to fight a plague of locusts which is endangering

thousands of hectares of crops. The locusts were first reported in January and have already taken over 1,000 hectares in the province of Santa Cruz.

Kashmiri youths held for refusing to stand up for national anthem at a cinema hall

Jammu Two Kashmiri youths have been arrested here for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem, police said. An FIR was registered against the youths--Javaid Ahmad Teeli of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and Mudasir Ahmad, a resident Handwara belt of north Kashmir, for refusing to stand up for the national anthem before the

start of a film at a cinema hall in Narwal belt of Jammu on Thursday, they said.The duo was granted bail by a court here on?Saturday.The Supreme Court had last year directed cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem before the screening of every movie, stating that all persons present must stand up in respect except the differently-abled.

41-year-old man from Rupnagar killed in Philippines

Rupnagar A 41-year-old man, Devinder Singh alias Michael, belonging to Makauri Kalan near Rupnagar, was shot dead by an unidentified person in Valenzuela town of Philippines on February 3, said his family who held his cremation here on Friday.Devinder’s maternal uncle Bhupinder Singh,who also resides in Valenzuela, said that Devinder

had gone to Saudi Arab in 1990, and after some years he (Bhupinder) had called him to Valenzuela ,where Devinder married a local woman, Elena, and changed his name to Michael Singh. He was living in his own house along with his family.Bhupinder said on February 3, around 9 am, Devinder was coming down the stairs from the terrace of his house along with his wife and niece, when an unidentified man who came there on a motorcycle shot at them from a pistol. Devinder was killed while his niece suffered injuries. He said the Valenzuela police had started investigation. The body was brought here on Thursday night.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said it was the first time his country had seen locusts. Neighbouring Argentina has suffered with them since the 1920s. The government has set up a new unit to deal with the challenge and has asked the Argentine government to provide expertise and advice. The government and local farmers in Santa Cruz say they plan to fumigate up to 17,000 hectares to prevent the locusts from spreading and endangering the food supply. Local producers said they were desperately trying to identify where the eggs and locust nymphs were so that the could control the initial stages of the plague more effectively.Bolivia is normally self-sufficient in grain production, and for the moment the area affected by locusts represents only a small fraction of the 100,000 hectares planted with grains in Santa Cruz.The locusts follows a severe drought in Bolivia which led to water rationing and conflicts over water use.Producers in Santa Cruz, one of Bolivia’s wealthiest areas, have for years lobbied the government to allow the use of genetically-modified seeds which they say will help produce crops that are resistant to plagues and adverse climate conditions.

IS made sulphur weapons in Mosul university: Pentagon

Washington Tests have confirmed that the Islamic State group was making rudimentary chemical weapons at the University of Mosul, the Pentagon said today. Coalition-backed Iraqi forces in mid-January took control of the sprawling campus of the university, which IS had used as a headquarters during its twoand-a-half-year rule of the city. Among the many booby-trapped buildings, Iraqi forces found chemicals inside the university, which was heavily damaged in the fighting. The Iraqis have now run tests on the chemicals and these proved positive for sulphur mustard, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said. Mosul university was “central to

the ISIS chemical weapons program,” Davis said, using an IS acronym. “They have received positive samples; that is indeed what was going on there.” Davis said he was not aware of anyone having been killed by the chemicals. “It was used primarily as an irritant and something to scare people,” he said. Iraqi forces began the offensive to retake Mosul in October and have made major advances, though it has been a brutal fight with high casualties. Most of the east side of the city is in Iraqi hands, though countless booby traps and small IS cells remain. Meanwhile, the jihadists still control the west of the city.

Berlin Christmas market attacker was a ‘ladies man’

Berlin Anis Amri, the Berlin Christmas market attacker, was a “ladies man” before he became radicalised inside an Italian prison, a woman at whose house he stayed has claimed. The 22-year-old Italian woman, named only as Jessica, spoke out for the first time about Amri in an interview with Germany’s Bild daily. Amri killed 12 people when he drove a lorry into a packed Christmas market in Berlin in December. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, and released a video of Amri pledging allegiance to its leader, the Telegraph reported. But Jessica described Amri as “charming” and “almost childlike” when she first met him in 2011. She spoke of her horror when recognised the man who slept on the sofa at her and her husband’s home in Rome in television reports of the attack. Jessica’s husband, who is not named in the interview, is a Tunisian asylum-seeker like Amri.“They’d both done a lot of bad stuff: drunk, smoked weed, hit on women,” Jessica said, adding “Anis was a rebel. He was

stubborn, he didn’t talk much.” The two became friends but Amri was jailed after he set fire to a refugee accommodation. After his release, he asked if he could stay with Jessica and her

about attacking Israel with a nuclear bomb.” After a few weeks he left for Germany, saying he had found a job there. It was the last Jessica saw of him, the

husband. He arrived later in 2015 with a prayer rug and a robe. “He was suddenly quite different. Much quieter,” Jessica said. “He prayed at least five times a day. I think he was radicalised in prison. He didn’t smoke any more. If a beer was on the table, he wouldn’t even sit down.” He spoke only rarely about the, and was critical of the group. “He said IS has nothing to do with the Quran. But I saw some of his friends on Facebook had IS flags on their profiles. And he talked

Telegraph reported. A few days later Amri, on the run across Europe, was killed in a shoot-out with Italian police in Milan. The next day officers came to Jessica’s house and questioned her about Amri. “They wanted to find out if he’d tried to come to us. Of course not,” she said. “We have nothing to do with it. We’re scared of the Islamists. “Her husband is currently serving a jail sentence for drug trafficking.

Issue - 706 (12)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

If Kejriwal wins Punjab, it will alter course of politics CHANDIGARH The emerging consensus that there is a wave in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab is terrible news for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, not because they will have lost the election but because the road ahead will become that much more difficult. The image of Narendra Modi, after reversals in this round of election, will have lost sheen irretrievably. The euphoria his victory in the May 2014 general election had generated should have begun to evaporate after two successive AAP victories in Delhi in December 2013 and February 2015, the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Janata Dal-United (RJD-JDU) victory in Bihar followed by BJP defeats in the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. These did not appear to demoralise him. But defeat in key states in the current round will create internal restiveness and aggravate the political effects of demonetisation. For the Congress, the AAP’s further rise spells an existential danger. Its inability to reclaim lost ground in the northern states will begin to look like a pitiable reality, exactly as the visage of the Gandhi-Nehru parivar will.

Holding on to Akhilesh Yadav’s coat-tails in Uttar Pradesh will carry neither Rahul Gandhi nor the Congress very far. That Priyanka Gandhi may give the party a helping hand at a critical juncture is a hope some peripheral Congress leaders nurse. If her behaviour were anything to go by, she is by some accounts in indifferent health and cannot focus even on Rahul and Sonia Gandhi’s constituencies, Amethi and Rae Bareli, which have been assigned to her for safe-keeping. But she clearly has a tremendous sense of survival. There were fears during the 2014 general elections that these seats would be swept away in the Modi wave. That her mother and brother may not be in the next Parliament was an unnerving prospect. She stiffened her sinews and in two weeks of campaigning ensured success for her sibling and her mother. She has talent but, apparently, is short on stamina. There are several reasons for the Congress’ expected defeat. Among the reasons is the habitual delay in naming the chief ministerial candidate. Amrindar Singh was projected as Chief Minister far too late in the day. Congressmen murmur but never actually say that the Congress

US orders evacuation of Yuba City with 13 per cent Indian population over dam collapse threat

President will not project anybody who might have the potential of eclipsing the family, particularly Rahul Gandhi. I am not implying Amrinder specifically, but there are instances. I have always maintained that in

as Prime Minister. What future for the party Vice President who is now playing second fiddle to Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow? During the Panchmarhi conclave of the Congress in September 1998, senior leaders Kamal Nath, Arjun Singh and Jitendra

2014 Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit may well have come up trumps in the state had the party High Command by hint or gesture talked of her in Prime Ministerial terms. Remember the state victory would have been her fourth in a row. Her late husband had been a popular IAS officer; she had been a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. Instead of these credentials being advertised, something that would have enthused the cadres, the High Command demonstrated hostile indifference. Dikshit lost. That was the beginning of Kejriwal and AAP. It is now of course too late in the day for any movement towards fulfilment of Sonia Gandhi’s dream of crowning Rahul Gandhi

Prasad had refused to see the writing on the wall: they had shot down a proposal that the Congress must seek alliances for survival. “No,” they said, “we must recover the social base lost to the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.” By what feat was this goal to be achieved? Chandrajit Yadav and Rajesh Pilot (Sachin Pilot’s father) cried themselves hoarse: “In the present circumstances, there is no alternative to alliances.” What irony, then, that 18 years after Sonia Gandhi shot down alliances at the Panchmarhi conclave, an alliance has been forged in Uttar Pradesh precisely with a party which was anathema to Congress leaders who are even today part of the

UK university offers PhD in chocolate!

California Emergency evacuation of Yuba City and areas in Sutton County was ordered on Sunday following a warning that the damaged Oroville Dam could burst. Claiming that ‘a hazardous situation is developing’, officials said that the operation of the auxiliary spillway, which was used for the first time on Saturday since the creation of the Oroville Dam in 1968, has led to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the emergency spillway structure, officials were quoted as saying. Reportedly, large population residing in areas being evacuated is that of Indian origin Americans. It is believed that the population in these areas consists of 13 per cent Punjabis and Sikhs. An emergency evacuation of Yuba City and Marysville was ordered as of 5:39 pm PST. As

of 6:15 p.m. PST, Gridley and Live Oak were included in the evacuation alert. An evacuation shelter for residents has been set up in Butte County, a media daily reported. If the structure fails, it will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville hence, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is increasing water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second. Noteworthy, residents of Oroville are advised to evacuate in a northward direction towards Chico, reports KRCR-TV. DWR had said there has been severe erosion on the emergency spillway, not the main spillway which was damaged by concrete erosion on Tuesday. Its crews plan to use helicopters to drop rocks into gouge in the emergency spillway to prevent further erosion, officials tweeted.

London A UK university is offering a 15,000 pounds-per-year grant for the perfect course for chocoholics – a PhD in chocolate. The University of the West of England is offering the grant to study the genetic factors that influence the flavour of the UK’s favourite treat. The successful candidate will study how the fermentation of cacao beans leads to specific flavour profiles, according to the prospectus. The three-year position has been created in response to demand from the chocolate industry for more forensic knowledge of different cocoa strains, The Mirror reported.

Candidates have until February 27 to apply to the university’s Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences in Bristol. The novel chance comes close on the heels of the job offer by Mondelez International – behind some of the world’s most famous sugary treats like Cadbury, Milka, Prince and Oreo – of a part-time chocolate taster. The firm, which posted the role on LinkedIn, is looking for someone who can taste its delicacies and deliver honest and objective feedback within its team of skilled panelists. The successful candidate will then help Mondelez perfect and launch brand new products all over the world for years to come.

Sonia coterie.The BJP and the Congress would not have been in the state of funk in which they are today had they defeated each other in the contest. As the third force called AAP rises from Delhi to Punjab, making inroads in Goa too, the demoralisation of the Congress in states like Rajasthan will become palpable as results start coming on March 11.Corporates, comfortable with alternating between the Congress and the BJP, will now have to find new ways of placing their bets. In anticipation of the Punjab results, Kejriwal has already immersed himself in the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections due in two months. What must cause considerable disquiet to the Modi-Amit Shah duet is the AAP targeting Gujarat. To make matters worse, Hardik Patel, the Patidar icon, is already positioning himself in that state as a Shiva Sena leader.Despite the chaos attending demonetisation, Modi was able to prove one thing: he could make the country stand outside banks without any leader being able to ignite a revolt. Things will change now. The momentum behind Kejriwal and Akhilesh Yadav will make Mamata Banerjee, Nitish KumarLalu Prasad and others look like a muscular array of regional forces.

Tension in Punjab after CongressAkali Dal clash

AMRITSAR: Tension prevailed in Punjab's Majitha constituency on Monday following clashes between supporters of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress, a police officer said. Police reinforcements were rushed to Mian Pandher village in Amritsar district, 275 km from Chandigarh, following the clashes."Two groups were involved in the clash. Those injured were taken to hospital. We have stationed police forces in the village and nearby areas," Inspector Paramjit Singh of Punjab Police said.The clashes took place on Sunday after the peaceful polling for the February 4 assembly elections ended. Bricks, stones and rods were used by people from both groups, the police official added. The Majitha assembly seat saw a bitter contest between highprofile Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia and Congress candidate Lalli Majithia.Bikram Majithia is the younger brother of Union Minister for Food Processing and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal.Majithia was declared a sensitive constituency by the Election Commission.

Issue - 706 (13)

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Syrian Arab women battle IS, social stigma Al-Torshan They are fighting the world’s most feared jihadists, but hundreds of Arab female fighters battling the Islamic State group in Syria are also confronting the disapproval of their relatives and society. “I braved my tribal clan, my father, my mother. Now I’m braving the enemy,” says 21year-old Batul, who is part of an Arab-Kurdish alliance battling to capture IS’s Syrian stronghold of Raqa. She is one of more than 1,000 Arab women who have joined Kurdish male and female fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, according to a spokeswoman. Standing in the desert some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Raqa, Batul speaks passionately about her decision to fight IS, which holds the nearby village of AlTorshan. “My parents told me: ‘either you put down your weapons or we disown you’,” she says, wearing an ammunition vest and a floral scarf around her shoulders. Her parents have not spoken to her since. Batul comes from the AlSharabiyeh tribe, one of the best-known of the conservative Sunni Arab tribes of northeast Syria.Her family views her as a rebel, who removed the headscarf worn by many

Muslim women and refused her father’s orders to pray in front of him.But she is proud of the decision she took two years ago to join the YPJ, the female counterpart to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which is a key component of the SDF alliance.“I joined the YPJ to liberate my homeland, but also to free women from slavery,” she says.“We must no longer remain cloistered behind four walls.” - ‘My weapon is part of me’ Syrian Kurds and Arabs has been fighting IS since late 2015, with air support and other backing from the US-led coalition against the jihadist group. But the current battle for Raqa is the first time Batul has been on the front line, where warplanes roar overhead carrying out strikes, and mortars boom in the distance. “The first time I held a weapon, I was very afraid,” she admits. “But now, my weapon has

become part of me. It frees me and protects me.” She speaks in Arabic, but her sentences are peppered with Kurdish words picked up from her fellow fighters. “The relations between us and the Kurdish women are good. We don’t speak the same language, but we’re all here to free the country and women.” Jihan Sheikh Ahmad, spokeswoman for the campaign on Raqa, said the SDF now counts more than 1,000 Arab women in its ranks. “The YPJ’s experience has had a positive impact on society,” she told AFP. “The more territory we liberate, the more Arab female fighters have joined us.” In a tent near the front line, six young Arab female fighters joke and share secrets as they sip tea. - ‘Same rights as men’ “My goal is to liberate women

America’s fault: 9/11 mastermind blasts ‘head of snake, Barack Obama’ in lette WASHINGTON Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, wrote to former president Barack Obama to tell him 9/11 was a direct result of American foreign policy and the deaths of innocent people it has caused.The 18-page

a military judge ordered the Guantanamo prison camp where Mohammed is held to deliver it.“It was not we who started the war against you in 9/11; it was you and your dictators in our land,” he wrote.He says God was on the side of the hijackers on that fateful day when airplanes were

letter was addressed to “the head of the snake, Barack Obama,” leader of “the country of oppression and tyranny.”Defense attorney David Nevin provided a copy of the letter, which has not yet been posted on the US military’s website for Guantanamo proceedings. He told AFP that Mohammed began writing it in 2014.The letter is dated January 8, 2015, but reached the White House only two years later in the last days of Obama’s presidency, according to news reports, after

guided into the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.“Allah aided us in conducting 9/11, destroying the capitalist economy, catching you with your pants down, and exposing all the hypocrisy of your long-held claim to democracy and freedom,” Mohammed wrote.Listing many grievances over America’s “brutal and savage massacres” from Vietnam to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mohammed focused his rage on the plight of Palestinians and US

support for Israel and the “occupier Jews.”“Your hands are still wet with the blood of our brothers and sisters and children who were killed in Gaza,” he wrote in the opening paragraph.Along with the letter, Mohammed sent a 51-page manuscript entitled “Shall I Die when the Crusaders Carry out the Death Sentence? The Truth about Death.” It is illustrated with an image of a noose. Mohammed, who faces a potential death sentence for allegedly masterminding the plane hijackings that killed almost 3,000 people, says he is not afraid of dying.“I speak about death happily!” he wrote. Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and held at a secret CIA prison site overseas.In the letter, he explained that “if your court sentences me to life in prison, I will be very happy to be alone in my cell to worship Allah the rest of my life and repent to Him all my sins and misdeeds.” “And if your court sentences me to death, I will be even happier to meet Allah and the prophets and see my best friends whom you killed unjustly all around the world and to see Sheikh Osama Bin Laden,” he added, referring to the late al-Qaida leader killed in a US raid in 2011 in Pakistan.

from the oppression of Daesh (IS), but also societal oppression,” says Hevi Dilirin, an Arab woman who adopted a Kurdish nom de guerre when she joined the YPJ. “In our society, women have no say. But they should have the same rights as men,” she says, dressed in a camouflage jacket and whiteand-grey sneakers.Syria’s Kurds have emphasised gender equality in both their militias and nascent autonomous institutions.Since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011, they have sided with neither rebels nor government forces, concentrating instead on developing a semi-autonomous region in north and northeastern Syria, as well as fighting IS. But the Arab tribes there are among the more conservative segments of the population, and 21-year-old Doza Jiyan says most Arab families find the concept of female fighters “hard

to accept.”“In our Syrian society, we find it bizarre for a woman to take up arms,” adds Jiyan, from the town of Ras alAin in Hasakeh province. But she speaks confidently as she discusses the military situation with male colleagues. “IS is no longer invincible, they’re only fighting on motorbikes and mining the villages,” she says. IS’s extensive use of IEDs and mines has slowed the SDF’s progress towards Raqa, the jihadist’s group most important remaining bastion in Syria. The SDF announced a new phase in their bid to capture Raqa on February 4, pressing towards the city gradually from the north and northeast. Jiyan is convinced that the SDF’s military successes will eventually sway the opinion of her relatives and society, and she has no plans to leave.“I’m very happy here,” she says.

Undercover British cop praised by judge for busting ISIS cell

London An undercover UK police officer has been praised by a judge for infiltrating a suspected ISIS cell and gathering evidence leading to the conviction of four persons. Judge Michael Topolski said the man, known only as Kamal, had displayed “considerable resourcefulness and even greater courage”, according to a BBC report.ISIS cell leader, Mohammed Alamgir, 37, was jailed for six years for inviting support for the terror group at the Old Bailey court in London this

week. Speeches made by Alamgir and four other persons in Luton in the east of England were secretly recorded by the undercover officer. While sentencing, the judge said, “You are in my judgment deeply committed to an extreme and violent jihad mindset. You are in that sense a dangerous man”. Other members of the cell were also jailed. Rajib Khan, 37, was jailed for five years, Yousaf Bashir, 36, for four years and six months and Mohammed Choudry, 23, for four years.

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FORMER US president Barack Obama unwound from eight years in the White House with some extreme sports on his Caribbean vacation with billionaire friend Richard Branson. New photos show the newly retired Obama going kite-surfing with Branson during a recent getaway on the Virgin founder’s private island. The worries of the

White House are clearly far from Obama’s mind in the photos - as he horses around with Branson on the boat, smiles widely for the cameras and then catches some air on his board. Following Trump’s inauguration last month, the Obamas first flew to Palm Springs, California, where the president treated himself to a few days of golf and desert air.

Then they were off again for Branson’s own piece of the British Virgin Islands. The couple hung out with friends and lazed about the beach for more than a week — a much-deserved break after two terms. Branson spoke about the “honour” of being able to invite the former president and first lady to his island in a blog post on Tuesday. “One of the first

Hyderabad A tribal woman in Telangana killed her newborn girl child by feeding milk laced with pesticides as her husband had threatened to divorce her if she delivered another daughter. Police in Nalgonda district arrested Nagamani and her husband Ramavath Jayaram after the incident came to light on Monday.

The woman, a resident of Padmavathi, a tribal hamlet in Devarakonda block of Nalgonda district, had delivered the girl child early this month. The child died at Devarakonda Area Hospital on February 9, after battling for life for four days. The police took up the investigations after the doctors grew suspicious

about the cause of the death. The investigations revealed that the woman’s husband had threatened to divorce her and marry another woman if she delivered another girl child. This was the couple’s third daughter. While the eldest daughter is five years old and is in the care of her paternal grandparents, the second child died after birth.

Thessaloniki, Greece A massive evacuation has begun in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki so experts can defuse a 500-pound unexploded World War II bomb. Police went house-tohouse Sunday morning, ringing bells and knocking on doors to remind people living within a 1.9-kilometer (1.18-mile) radius of the bomb site to leave their homes. Most were leaving in their cars, but some were being transported by bus to schools, sports halls and cultural centers elsewhere in the city, where they can get food and shelter.Authorities believe about 75,000 people will be evacuated,

most from the western suburb of Kordelio. A state of emergency has been declared in the area involved and about 1,000 police and 300 volunteers are helping in the evacuation. Trains have been halted in the area and church services cancelled. The bomb, dropped during an air raid in the 1940s,

was found earlier this month during work to expand storage tanks under a gas station. Defusing it is expected to take about six hours. “It’s the first time something like this is happening in Greece,” Thessaloniki deputy governor Voula Patoulidou told The Associated Press.

Woman kills newborn daughter after husband’s divorce threat over girl child

Greece evacuates 75,000 people to defuse unexploded World War II bomb

stories Barack told me when he and Michelle arrived on Moskito Island was how, just before he became President, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii. “When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said ‘This will be the last time you surf for eight years’. For the next eight years, he didn’t have the chance to surf, enjoy watersports or do many of the things he loved. So it was tremendous to offer him the chance to learn to kitesurf,” Branson wrote. Branson said the two came up with a challenge. Obama would learn how to kite-surf, while Branson - a seasoned kitesurfer would learn how to kite-surf with a foil board. On the last day, the two faced off to see who could stay up the longest. The Obamas are now back in Washington DC where they have chosen to stay while youngest daughter Sasha finishes high school.

Man sues Uber for revealing affair

PARIS A businessman in southern France is suing ride-hailing company Uber over his wife’s discovery of rides he took to see his lover, his lawyer said.The man says he once requested an Uber driver from his wife’s phone.Despite logging off, the application continued to send notifications to her iPhone afterwards, revealing his travel history and arousing her suspicions. The couple have since divorced. The lawsuit is reportedly worth up to €45m ($48m; £38m). “My client was the victim of a bug in an application,” his lawyer David-André Darmon told AFP news agency after the case was lodged at a court in Grasse.“The bug has caused him problems in his private life,” Mr Darmon added.The lawyer did not comment on a

report in Le Figaro newspaper that the lawsuit was worth up to €45m, saying only that his client wished to remain discreet and anonymous. Other users had also encountered the Uber software bug, Le Figaro said.The newspaper carried out its own experiment by logging in and out of Uber on one iPhone and then logging in on another and ordering a driver. The app then sent screen notifications about the order to both phones. The glitch affected iPhones before a software update in December, the newspaper said. Android phones did not appear to be affected. Uber said it would not comment on the case but added that the best possible protection of clients’ personal details was a priority.

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J OLLY LLB was a jolly good movie. A smallbudget film by Subhash Kapoor, it was shouldered by actors like Arshad Warsi and Saurabh Shukla. Actors, not stars. So when a second film in the franchise was announced, and Akshay Kumar got attached to it, it brought along big expectations. But there was also a shed of regret at seeing yet another tiny film being hijacked by a star. In the sequel to the courtroom drama, Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly (Akshay Kumar) repeats the formula of Arshad Warsi — a smalltime lawyer with a pure heart. The film is generously peppered with one-liners that deserve to be repeated. Most of these highvoltage lines are mouthed by the film’s pivot, Justice Sunderlal Tripathi (an inimitable Saurabh Shukla). Shukla brings his humour and straightfaced dialoguedelivery from the first Jolly LLB, including references from it. However, this is a different courtroom. This is Lucknow and you’re told “Muskuraiye, Aap Lucknow mein hain,” even as goons blow bullets through brains. weekend REVIEWS Jolly moves out of the shadow of his employer Rizvi Sa’ab and opens his own chamber. He

14 Feb. - 20 Feb, 2017

Jolly good ride Ananya Bhattacharya By

Jolly LLB 2 Cast: Akshay Kumar, Saurabh Shukla, Annu Kapoor & Huma Qureshi Direction: Subhash Kapoor takes money from a heavily pregnant client (Hina, played by Sayani Gupta), looking for justice for the death of her husband. Jolly lands right in the middle of a tragedy in the process. Nightmares rob him of sleep and he decides to file a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) and begins fighting the case. His adversary in this Lucknow court is bigshot advocate Mathur (Annu Kapoor).

Mathur symbolises all the lawyers who are driven to nondescript courts in flashy red Range Rovers. The movie repeats the rich lawyer vs the underdog formula. At its core, Jolly LLB 2 is the story of the condition of courts in the country, much like its predecessor. Akshay Kumar is the driving force of this drama. Although director Subhash Kapoor doesn’t do enough to extract the best of Akshay’s comic timing, there is enough to get by. Saurabh Shukla’s dialogues make you break into a laugh every now and then. The man steals the show. The movie feels stretched at times but it is a crowd-pleaser all right. The film could have been a lot tighter and streamlined had the filmmaker concentrated on just the case. But no, it is an Akshay Kumar film. So you must have Akshay Kumar delivering lectures on

patriotism in the courtroom. You have to have Akshay Kumar taking bullets on duty. You have to have Akshay Kumar breaking into song and dance at the drop of a hat, right when he’s out of the hospital, ad nauseum. Well, you do need the whistles for Kumar too. Jolly LLB 2 leaves you with a strong sense of deja vu. Annu Kapoor is among the weaker points of the film. Kapoor’s character is tolerable to a certain point before saturation hits you like a bus. Huma Qureshi doesn’t have much to do in Jolly LLB 2. The supporting cast is chosen well. The charm of this film lies in the details. Scenes like Saurabh Shukla discussing his daughter’s wedding lehenga on the mobile in front of a board asking people to not use mobiles inside the courtroom are brilliant. There are little things here and there that are extraordinarily done.

PINTO IN NO RUSH FOR BOLLYWOOD Govinda: KJo jealous of me and dangerous FREIDA Pinto is excited about her upcoming international projects but says there are no plans for a Bollywood venture yet. The 32-year-old actress rose to prominence with the 2008 British drama Slumdog Millionaire, her first appearance in a film. Post the Academy Awardwinning film, Freida went on to work in more Hollywood films like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Desert Dancer and Immortals. When asked about her upcoming projects and if she plans to venture into Bollywood as well, Freida told reporters, “I am very excited for April. I have a

miniseries that’s coming out on Showtime, I don’t know on what channel it’ll be coming out in India but I super excited about it. It’s very topical. When Bollywood happens, it will happen.” The actress, along with Ewan Gunn, Brand Ambassador, Diageo, was speaking at an event to celebrate International Scotch Day. I do love drinking with my dad but the person I enjoy with more is my sister. Because we get into these talks about whose Scotch is better. She veers towards something which is more smoky, while I prefer the sweeter, mellow flavour,” she said.

GOVINDA and Karan Johar have no love lost between them. The actor has repeatedly hit out at the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil director, whether it is for not inviting him to KJo’s show Koffee With Karan or for alienating him. Now, Govinda is miffed with Karan for his “smart move” to ensure that Govinda’s comeback film, Aa Gaya Hero, does not do well. In a recent interview, Govinda talked about him coming on Karan’s show, “He must have said that it would be a matter of national respect for him if he calls Govinda, but he is releasing Varun’s (Dhawan) film just a week after my film. He shows that he’s very humble and innocent, but woh mujhe David (Dhawan) se zyaada jealous and zyaada khatarnak lagta hai. (I find him more jealous and more dangerous

than David Dhawan)” This revelation comes as a shock, considering David

Dhawan and Govinda have worked in several hit films together, including Haseena Maan Jayegi, Jodi No 1 and Partner. But Govinda’s words clearly indicate that all is not well between the director and his former blue-eyed boy

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No one launched me, I have earned my roles: Huma Qureshi In nearly five-year long career she has mostly done multi-starrers but Huma Qureshi says she doesn’t regret being part of the ensemble cast as no one offered the actress custom-made roles and it’s her hardwork that helped her make a mark in Bollywood. The 30-year-old star debuted in 2012 with “Gangs of Wasseypur” and went on to appear in films like “Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana”, “D-Day”, “Dedh Ishqiya”, “Ek Thi Daayan” and “Badlapur”. “There was no plan really. Till ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ every film that I have done, I’d

auditioned for it. And I say it very proudly because I feel that I’ve earned it. It wasn’t designed for me or it wasn’t planned for me. No one decided to launch me,” Huma told PTI. “I’ve worked at it. I am from Delhi I’ve done theatre and I’ve come up that way so I’m very proud of the fact that there’s a growth in my career and that at least I’m not going in minus,” she added. Huma is now all set to foray into Hollywood with Gurinder Chadha’s “The Viceroy’s House” and the actress is all praise for her Indian-origin English film director.

“I’m very excited to work with Gurinder. It’s a very beautiful film and Gurinder is known for this very interesting BritishIndo way of looking at things. “I was very excited to work for this project because first of all she (Gurinder) is a woman and she is British then she is Indian and Punjabi and she was going to make a film on partition.” The movie is a love story between a Muslim girl and a Hindu boy and also stars Manish Dayal, Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson. Though she is happy to

Karan Johar reveals he didn’t adapt Shiva trilogy out of fear

Bollywood Director Karan Johar today said the fear of repercussions was one of the reasons for him not to adapt Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy. “Fear of repercussions was one of the reasons for not adapting Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy,” he said in an interaction with the audience at “The Huddle”, an interactive event with personalities from different walks of life, organised by The Hindu. Shiva Trilogy was the fastest selling book series in Indian publishing history. Johar also said he had to change the lyrics of many songs because of objections raised by some sections of the people. “We even have to consider if people will be offended by the lyrics of songs,” he said. Replying to a query, Johar said he was deeply disturbed and felt apologetic on putting out a video saying he was an Indian as his film ‘Ae Di Hai Mushkil’ was steeped in a controversy as it featured Pakistani actors. “I was advised to put a video saying I am Indian, and love my country. I feel apologetic that I had to do that, it was something deeply disturbing,” he said. Johar further said the delay in film’s release for few days costs the producers dearly. Stand-up comedian Mukul

Kesavan spoke about ransacking of Bhandarkar archive to make a point against a researcher. “Sometimes you wonder which country

this is?” he said. Talking about the shades of film industry, Johar rued there is no solidarity in film fraternity, but was hopeful of getting there. “Very unfortunate that I don’t see a sense of support and solidarity in the industry. Only when one is victimised does one feel that we need to stand up for others,” he said.

sign her first ever international project, Huma says “she has not said yes to the movie just because it is Hollywood”. The actress says it was the story which prompted her to get on board. “For me whether it’s English or any other language it doesn’t really matter. You should be excited about your role, you should be excited about what you are doing. You should not do an English movie just because everyone is doing an English film. That’s kind a little sad. “If this film was made in Hindi or Tamil or Telegu, I would have still done it.” The actress is currently seen in Akshay Kumarstarrer “Jolly LLB 2”. Directed by Subhash Kapoor, the movie is a sequel to the 2013 film.

Shamita Shetty: I made many decisions I shouldn’t have Shamita Shetty, who has had a short stint in the Hindi film industry, says she made many choices she could have avoided. Shamita’s Bollywood career never took off as well as that of her sister Shilpa. Asked if she has any regrets in making some decisions regarding her career, Shamita told IANS here: “I have made many decisions that I probably shouldn’t have made, but life is about making mistakes, learning and moving on. Growing and learning from your experiences — and that is the way I have taken it.” Shamita forayed into Hindi filmdom with

superstar Shah Rukh Khan starrer ‘Mohabbatein’, which was directed by Aditya Chopra. She also found success as an actress with her first solo hit ‘Zeher’. But she also had duds like ‘Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors’ and ‘Cash’.

The 38-year-old actress was last seen on the small screen in 2015 as a contestant of the eighth season of celebrity dance-based reality show ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’. Shamita currently has no films in her kitty.

Sunny Deol is looking for a girl for son Karan

Ileana D’Cruz: I’ve luxury of healthy body, great job, amazing family

Sunny Deol has still not found a suitable girl to be launched opposite son, Karan. The film, ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’, will be directed by Sunny as well. Last September, he had headed to Delhi on a talent hunt. As the girl’s character is that of a north Indian, Sunny felt a girl from that region would be ideal. There is no sign of either the girl or the project rolling any time soon. Meanwhile, Karan, better known by nickname Rocky, is preparing for his launch by gymming and learning how to dance; something which his dad was not known for.

Chennai: Ileana D’Cruz, last seen on the big screen in Akshay Kumarstarrer ‘Rustom’, says she is most thankful to her family for her successful life. Ileana wrote on her Instagram page on Monday: “Although work keeps me away from them, I’m thankful for a beautiful family. There are days I do not want to get out of bed just because I want another hour of sleep, I’m thankful; I have the luxury of a healthy body, a great job and an amazing family.” Having made her acting debut with 2006 Telugu romantic-drama ‘Devadasu’, she went on to star in several Telugu hits such as

‘Jalsa’, ‘Kick’ and ‘Pokkiri’. In Bollywood, Ileana is currently shooting for Emraan Hashmi and Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Badshaho’. She also has Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor starrer ‘Mubarakan’ in her kitty. kful; I have the luxury of a healthy body, a great job and an amazing family.” Having made her acting debut with 2006 Telugu romantic-drama ‘Devadasu’, she went on to star in several Telugu hits such as ‘Jalsa’, ‘Kick’ and ‘Pokkiri’. In Bollywood, Ileana is currently shooting for Emraan Hashmi and Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Badshaho’.

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Channing Tatum to launch his own vodka line

Hollywood actor Channing Tatum is launching his own brand of vodka called Born and Bred. “On the inside label, once you drink it down, or if

you get your eye really close to the bottle, it says, ‘Cross my heart and hope for mischief’. That’s just what I want when I pour myself a drink. I

want to just cause a little havoc, get into some trouble, get into some safe, manageable mischief,” Tatum told Bon Appetit magazine, reports The 36-year-old star came up with the idea for the spirit line after going on a quest to find a “good American vodka” with his friend. He said: “It was me and my buddy Jack, we were just sitting around drinking one day and he was like, ‘Why are all vodkas foreign and from somewhere cold? I would like an American vodka!’ This was before Titos became what Titos is. We had no intention of jumping into the business at all. We just drank vodka. That was it. From there we went on a search. “We wanted to find a good American vodka. We tried 25 or so and we really only liked about three. Grand Teton became our favourite. It just tasted better, different than any vodka that was on the top shelf. There was a smooth taste to it, like a cool feeling in your mouth. The aftertaste doesn’t burn. That’s the difference.” Tatum is not surprised by his new venture because every part of his life has been “shocking”. “I’m a stripper that became an actor that I guess is working in vodka. Nothing surprises me anymore. It’s all shocking. Every day I wake up and I have a pinch-yourself reality moment,” he said.

Taylor Swift is protective of her songs, says Ed Sheeran Award-winning singer Taylor Swift’s BFF Ed Sheeran recently revealed the extent to which she goes to protect her music. Responding to a question on whether Swift sends him previews of her work, the Shape Of You singer said, “She would never send new songs, no. I hear them, but it has to be with her.” In fact, 25-year-old Sheeran wasn’t even independently allowed to hear his 2012 track, Everything Has Changed, a joint collaboration with Swift, 27. “When I did a song with her for her album, I was in San Francisco and they sent someone with a locked briefcase with an iPad and one song on it, and they flew to San Francisco and played the song I have done with her...They asked if I like it, and I was like, ‘Yeah,’ and then they took it back. That’s how I heard it.”

Matt Reeves steps in place of Ben Affleck to direct Batman movie?

Planet Of The Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves will apparently take Ben Affleck’s place as director of the standalone Batman film after the actor stepped down a few weeks ago citing “considerable handwringing” as the reason behind his decision. Sources state while an official confirmation is yet to be made, Reeves has committed to helm the film.

Affleck, who co-wrote the script along with DC Films cohead Geoff Johns, remains on board to play Bruce Wayne (Batman). The 44-year-old actor had earlier said, “Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require.

Justin Timberlake reveals he doesn’t have a normal childhood

Singer-actor Justin Timberlake has said that he does not want his son Silas to go through the same childhood trauma which the star has experienced. Lately, since the birth of his son, Timberlake’s been rummaging more and more in those memories and how, when he was 10, his childhood took its abrupt swerve toward the unusual, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “You go through your life with your own traumas, big and small, and think, ‘It’s not that bad, I have a lot to be thankful for, my parents did the best they could. “But then you have a child of your own, and suddenly it opens all the floodgates, and you’re like, ‘No, no, no! That childhood trauma really did freak me up,” Timberlake said. Recalling the very first time he got chased by a mob of shrieking teenage girls, the 36-year-old star said, “I was about 15 or 16 years old. We’d just given a concert in Germany at a festival on this huge field. “And we were in the tour bus afterward, driving on a dirt road, and I looked out

the window and saw all these young, impressionable females running after the bus. I

think we can all agree that I did not have a normal childhood.”

George Michael’s family demands Kylie Jenner flashes bra and panties in investigation into leaked 999 call Members of George Michael’s family have demanded an investigation into how a 999 call made after his death was apparently leaked. A statement issued by solicitors acting on their behalf said the family was “truly appalled” that the audio recording was made public. In a statement, they said, “George’s family and friends are extremely upset and truly appalled that such a personal, painful and clearly confidential recording has been leaked. On their behalf, we will be ensuring that a full investigation takes place to establish how this material was made available and we will expect the culprit(s) to be dealt with appropriately. We firmly believe that anyone contacting the emergency authorities in situations such as this should be entitled to expect that recordings will not be released to the media and it is deeply distressing to the family that this transcript, and audio recording, has been made public.”

see-through dress

Reality TV personality was spotted wearing nude lingerie in a see-through bodysuit during a dinner date. Kylie, who is here for the New York Fashion Week, was flashing her nude knickers and matching bra underneath the thin layer of sheer material. She wore the revealing look with a tan jacket and nude over-the-knee boots. She wore her hair scraped away from her face with slight make-up. Kylie will also be opening her second pop up store in the city.

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Anish Kapoor wins ‘Jewish Nobel’ Putin likely to ‘gift’ Snowden to Trump

RENOWNED Indian-origin British sculptor Anish Kapoor, who has emerged as a champion of Syrian refugees’ rights, on Tuesday won Israel’s prestigious one million dollar Genesis Prize for his commitment to Jewish values. This award is the second distinction for the artist within the first two months of 2019 as his design was also shortlisted for the UK Holocaust Memorial in London last month. This year’s Genesis prize, dubbed the ‘Jewish Nobel’, also symbolically coincides with the celebration of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel. The exceptionally gifted artist was described as the perfect choice for the prize, given how he was born in Mumbai to a Baghdadi Jewish mother and Indian father. Later, when he was 16, he moved to Israel before shifting to the United Kingdom permanently in the 1970s. Israel’s ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon said about Kapoor’s felicitation, “I congratulate Mr Kapoor for winning the prestigious Genesis Prize of 2017. Kapoor’s contribution to the world - both artistic and humanitarian – is deservedly celebrated.” Stan Polovets, chairman and cofounder of the Genesis Prize Foundation, said, “It gives us enormous

pleasure to bestow this prestigious award upon Anish Kapoor. The profound impact of Anish’s work continues a long history of Jewish contribution to the arts, while his social activism reaffirms the commitment of the Jewish people to humanitarian causes.” “We particularly admire how, in an age frequently characterised by cynicism and indifference, Anish continually advocates for the world’s disadvantaged – challenging all of us to do more to help wherever and whenever we can. Anish’s commitment to alleviate the plight of Syrian refugees will resonate with the Jewish community, especially young Jews, everywhere,” Polovets added. Kapoor said he will use his $1 million award – and the global platform provided by the Genesis Prize – to help alleviate the refugee crisis and try to expand the Jewish community’s engagement in a global effort to support refugees. Established in 2012, the annual Genesis Prize is awarded by the Genesis Prize Foundation, the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency. Previous laureates of the prize include Michael Bloomberg, Michael Douglas and Itzhak Perlman.

RUSSIA is considering sending Edward Snowden back to the United States as a ‘gift’ to President Donald Trump, according to a US Intelligence report. Trump has called the whistleblower a ‘spy’ and a ‘traitor’ who deserves to be executed. A Snowden handover is an attempt for Russia President Vladimir Putin to ‘curry favour’ with Trump, a senior US official with knowledge of sensitive Russian intelligence information told NBC News on Friday. Snowden’s ACLU lawyer, Ben Wizner, said he was unaware of any plan to extradite his client. “Team Snowden has received no such signals and has no new reason for concern,” Wizner said. The Trump administration should be cautious in accepting any Snowden offer from Putin, said former deputy national security adviser Juan Zarate. “For Russia, this would be a win-win. They’ve already extracted what they needed from Edward Snowden in terms of information and they’ve certainly used him to beat the United States over the head in terms of its surveillance and cyber activity,” said Zarate. “It would signal warmer relations and some desire for greater cooperation with the new administration, but it would also no doubt stoke controversies and

cases in the US around the role of surveillance, the role of the US intelligence community, and the future of privacy and civil liberties in an American context. “All of that would perhaps be music to the ears of Putin.” The White House did not comment on the report, but the justice department told NBC

News it would welcome the return of Snowden, who has been charged under the Espionage Act and could face decades in prison. Snowden was working as a contractor at a National Security Agency facility in Hawaii when he leaked a trove of documents to journalists in 2013 that exposed widespread surveillance on ordinary Americans through the bulk collection of metadata. He fled to and was granted asylum in Moscow. His residency permit was recently extended until 2020, which could make him eligible to apply for Russian citizenship, an official said.

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US appeal in UN to ban Jaish chief turns heat on Pakistan but China throws a spanner in works again


TURNING the heat on terrorism and its sponsors, the United States on Tuesday moved a resolution in the United Nations for imposition of sanctions against Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of Pakistanbased jihadi group Jaish-eMohammed. The resolution was cosponsored by the United Kingdom and France but China, as in the past, put a technical hold on the resolution at the 1267 ISIS/Al Qaeda sanctions committee. The move indicates the new US administration’s intent to continue with the state policy of acting tough against terrorist networks across the globe as well as the close cooperation and coordination between New Delhi and Washington on combating terror. “This is not just about India but US, UK and France coming together seeking sanctions against a known terrorist,” top officials in the government, who did not wish to be named, told Mail Today. “It is strange that the group Azhar leads, JeM is proscribed by the UN but its leaders roam around freely and exporting terror. We are seeking sanctions against Azhar, his brothers Rouf Azhar and Muhammed Ibrahim Athar Alvi so that they do not have the freedom to spread terror, raise funds and mastermind attacks,’’ officials said. Undeterred by China’s technical hold, India intends to pursue the case and seek sanctions against Masood Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf Azhar as well. Masood Azhar is wanted in India for a series of terror attacks including the 2001 attack on Parliament and the 2016 attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot. Officials said the focus will now be on how the Trump Administration and Ambassador Nikki Haley deals with China blocking the US sponsored Resolution at the UN, and India is monitoring the situation closely. Both India and the US are concerned by the growing footprint of Pakistanbased terror groups in the US and in Europe. The arrest of Pakistan born terrorists Tahawwur Hussein Rana (exPakistan Army officer holding a Canadian passport) and David Coleman Headley (Pakistani-origin terrorist holding a US passport) in Chicago immediately after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks show the deep inroads Lashkar-e-Taiba had made in the US. “The fact that FBI investigations revealed Headley had carried out video reconnaissance missions in Copenhagen, Denmark and

was in touch with secret LeT sleeper cells in UK show the spread of Pakistan based terror groups in Europe. Subsequent investigations have indicated that LeT and JeM are not just India centric terror groups but seek their presence across the globe,’’ top sources, who have been working on the campaign told MAIL TODAY. Apart from NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, India’s permanent representative at the UN Syed Akbaruddin has been engaged with both the outgoing Obama administration and the new Trump Administration. China blocking India’s Resolution in the 1267 SEE PAGE 6 SEE PAGE 7 SEE PAGE 14 Sanctions Committee last year and putting a Technical hold this year is a set back to the effort to tackle Pakistan sponsored Terror but sources say China is being very myopic. India did not give up after China’s veto of the Indian Resolution. Indian diplomats apart from extensively engaging with the US, UK and France on the subject also engaged with Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Sweden and Ethiopia among other countries, sources added. Of the 15 countries at the UNSC, only China has blocked the efforts to impose sanctions on Masood Azhar. While China stands isolated globally on backing Pakistan on Masud Azhar, its

investment of billions of dollars in the China-Pak economic corridor and Pakistani assurance to check Uighur freedom fighters is seen as the main reason. India will also deepen engagement with Russia on the issue of Pakistan sponsored Terror. US President

Donald Trump has repeatedly hit out at Pakistan sponsored terror between 201216. In 2012 he wanted Pakistan to apologise for providing sanctuary to Osama bin Laden for six years. He questioned Obama for calling Pakistan an ally.

Lawyers to be trained on Muslim personal law REPORTS on lack of understanding of Muslim personal law and rising number of cases involving its use have prompted the Delhi Legal Service Authority (DLSA) to conduct training sessions for its empanelled lawyers. This is the first time that the Authority held any training session on Muslim personal law. Dharmesh Sharma, Member Secretary, DLSA, said, “As the number of cases pertaining to Muslim law are comparatively less, we realised that our lawyers were facing difficulties while dealing with them. As advocates do not have the requisite exposure to Muslim law, it was decided to hold a training session.” “The Muslim personal law has several provisions to provide remedies to a woman, but due to lack of understanding, they are not being used,” he added. DLSA has so far conducted two training sessions with Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Najmi Waziri. During the sessions,

participants were sensitised on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Divorce) Act, cases related to

inheritance of property by a woman, inter-religious marriage, law on maintenance, guardianship and adoption. Lawyer Chandra Shekhar Yadav said, “I keep

dealing with various cases pertaining to Muslim law. However, every case seems to be a little complicated as they do not come under usual practice. One such case that came to me was of a man divorced under Muslim law who was being asked for the decree when the fact is that law has no mention of decree. We had to file a suit which was decided in eight months.” Several queries were raised primarily by family court lawyers at the training sessions, especially in matters of property dispute and divorce cases filed on the basis of cruelty. Lawyer Vikram Singh said, “I did not know that Muslim law has defined cruelty. If a woman is seeking divorce under Muslim law, the reasons cited before the court has to match the ones listed.” With a surge in demand for lawyers with hands on experience in Muslim personal law, DLSA will also organise legal literacy camps, especially in Muslim-dominated areas.

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China courts Ivanka to smoothen ties with US

CHINA IS establishing a channel to manage President Donald Trump’s aggressive posture by establishing links to the president through his daughter Ivanka and sonin-law Jared Kushner. Ivanka Trump won positive reviews in staterun Chinese media after she visited the Chinese embassy in Washington in celebration of the Chinese New Year. During the visit, she shook hands with the Chinese ambassador, Cui Tiankai. Daughter Arabella wore red, payed with puppets, and participated in the event. Later, she won admirers across the Pacific after her mother released a video of her singing a Chinese a song in Mandarin. “Happy New Year’ Ivanka wrote on Instagram in Mandarin”. “Arabella singing a song she learned for #ChineseNewYear,” Ivanka Trump wrote. “Wishing everyone an amazing year to come during these days of celebration.” Ivanka Trump, a former Trump Organization executive who gave up her post to move to Washington with her family, posted the video of Arabella singing while dressed in traditional Chinese clothing. The video was viewed millions of times in China. Her husband, Jared Kushner, has been providing a direct link for the Chinese ambassador outside of official State Department channels from his post as a White House counselor. They are also neighbours, residing in the same tony Kalorama neighborhood in Washington where the Chinese embassy is located. Kushner and Cui “have had an extensive ongoing dialogue that has been positive,” a White House official told Bloomberg News. China is using the direct lines to try to stave off a potential trade war or even a military confrontation, the publication reported. It noted that President Trump has yet to connect by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearing said China’s construction of military bases on islands in South China sea would not be recognized. “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed,” he said, in remarks that were affirmed by the White

House. “It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,” said White House spokesman Sean Spicer last month. Ivanka Trump’s visit

won approving words in the Chinese state-run Global Times, which remarked that Trump did not send a written greeting but did dispatch his acting secretary of state and his daughter. “Trump’s lack of a new year greeting has been interpreted as maintaining a hard-line stance toward China,” the paper wrote. “Ivanka Trump’s attendance at the Chinese new year celebration sent an opposing message, which was seen as balancing Trump’s harsh posture.”

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‘72 terrorists came from banned list of countries’

A REPORT released by the US Senate provided information on the 580 individuals convicted of terrorism in America since the 9/ 11 attacks. The conservative nonprofit Center for Immigration Studies claim they obtained a copy of the information, which was originally released in 2016 by the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, then chaired by new Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The CIS asserts that 72 of those convicted of terrorism hail from the seven countries addressed by President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban. Their analysis maintains that out of the 580 convicted terrorists, 20 came from Somalia, 19 from Yemen, 19 from Iraq, seven from Syria, four from Iran and two from Libya. The right-wing think tank, whose motto is ‘pro-immigrant, low immigration’, also claims that 17 of those 72 entered the country as refugees. Twenty-five of the 72 eventually became US citizens and spread about 16 states, their report says. The most populated state by the group was New York, with 10 living settling there, Minnesota and California both harboring eight, and Michigan with six. Critics of the Senate report argued that many individuals on their list were mislabeled as

terrorists, as they were convicted of comparatively low-level crimes such as identity fraud or making false statements. The CIS claims that 33 of the 72 terrorists from Trump’s banned countries were convicted of severe crimes, such as ‘use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit a terror act, material

support of a terrorist or terror group, international money laundering conspiracy, possession of explosives or missiles, and unlawful possession of a machine gun’. The article comes in the wake of an impromptu interview given by

Trump aboard his Air Force One aircraft on Friday where he discussed his travel ban. He maintained confidence that his administration would ‘win’ regarding his immigration executive order, despite it coming to a startling halt in a federal

3L kg Cold War-era gold back in Germany

GERMANY HAS completed an effort to bring home 300 metric tonnes of gold stashed in the United States, part of a plan to repatriate gold bars kept abroad during the Cold War. The German central bank said it brought 111 tons of gold back from the Federal Reserve in New York last year, concluding in September — the last of 300 tonnes slated for return. The gold was earned by West Germany from trade surpluses in the 1950s and 1960s, but was never moved out of the United States due to fear of invasion by the Soviet Union. In 2013 Germany launched the transfer to Frankfurt of 300 tons of gold from New York and 374 tons from Paris. The bank also repatriated 105 tonnes of gold from Paris last year, but still has another 91 tons to return from the French capital, and said it plans to bring them back in 2017. Once the transfers are completed, Frankfurt will hold half of Germany’s 3,378 tons of reserve gold, with the rest in New York and London. “The transfers were carried out without any disruptions or irregularities,” said Carl-Ludwig Thiele, board member of the central bank, called Bundesbank.

Thiele said there would not be any further transfers and Donald Trump’s presidency didn’t change the situation. As of December 31 last year, there were 1,236 tons of German gold in New York — 36.6 percent of the total. The Bank

of England in London held 432 tonnes, or 12.8 percent. During the Cold War, West Germany kept most of its gold abroad for fear it could fall into the hands of the Soviet Union if the country were invaded. It also made sense for Germany have the precious metal close to foreign currency markets in London, Paris and New York, where gold is traded.

appeals courts this week. 17 out of the 72 convicts entered US as refugees He said: “We will win that battle. The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily, but we will win that battle. We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new

order.” Trump gave no details of any new ban he is considering. It’s possible that he could rewrite the original order to explicitly exclude green card holders, or permanent residents, said a congressional aide familiar with the matter. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told reporters late on Friday that taking the case to the Supreme Court remained a possibility, after another White House official said earlier in the day the administration was not planning to escalate the dispute. “Every single court option is on the table, including an appeal of the Ninth Circuit decision on the TRO (temporary restraining order) to the Supreme Court, including fighting out this case on the merits,” Priebus said. “And, in addition to that, we’re pursuing executive orders right now that we expect to be enacted soon that will further protect Americans from terrorism.”

Anti-Trump figure may be German Prez A GERMAN parliamentary assembly will elect the country’s new president on Sunday, with a respected former foreign minister who last year called Donald Trump one of the world’s ‘hate preachers’ the overwhelming favorite to win. The German president has little executive power, but is considered an important moral authority. The new head of state will succeed Joachim Gauck, a 77-year-old former pastor and East German prodemocracy activist, who announced last year that he wouldn’t seek a second fiveyear term because of his age. The president is elected by a special 1,260member assembly made up of the 630 lawmakers in parliament’s lower house and an equal number of representatives from Germany’s 16 states. FrankWalter Steinmeier, Germany’s

foreign minister until last month, has the support of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ‘grand coalition’ of centerright and center-left parties. Between them, Merkel’s conservative Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats her junior coalition partners hold 923 seats, which should assure Steinmeier ’s election. Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, emerged as the government’s candidate after Merkel was unable to find a conservative of presidential stature willing to run for the job.

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Bounty hunters chasing immigrants in Hungary AT FIRST glance, the video looks like a Hollywood thriller. Set to strident, aggressive music, it shows a group of muscular men using motorbikes, helicopters and even horses to race across the countryside in pursuit of human quarry. When the targets are captured, they are wrestled to the ground and their hands bound as the patrol members, in camouflage

clothing, stand menacingly over them. But the ‘narrator’ whose voice can be heard over these chilling scenes is not a highly paid movie star. He is, in fact, a provincial politician, and his message is unequivocal: “Hungary is a bad choice for migrants.” He’s been true to his word. His team of bounty hunters have caught hundreds of immigrants trying to make it into Hungary, on the way to neighbouring Austria and beyond, on the so-called Balkan smuggling route. The man’s name is Laszlo Toroczkai, a charismatic 45-yearold mayor who has made it his life’s work to prevent what he calls the destruction of his country. Disturbingly, his views are increasingly being echoed by his compatriots. Mayor Toroczkai is in charge of a small Hungarian town called Asotthalom, on the border with Serbia — a nation still outside the EU — which was pitched into the centre of the refugee crisis in 2015, when thousands of immigrants started

pouring across the unprotected border each day. The crisis erupted after Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, announced to the world that Europe would welcome refugees, prompting more than one million to head to Germany alone, while hundreds of thousands of others made for Britain, France and Italy. The mayor’s team of bounty hunters has caught hundreds of

immigrants trying to make it into Hungary, on the way to Austria and beyond, on the so-called Balkan smuggling route. With locals in Asotthalom — a traditional farming town with a population of 5,000 — finding

has introduced a zero-tolerance policy against all migrants, saying that the very future of Europe is at stake because of people he calls Muslim ‘invaders’ and ‘future terrorists’, and has vowed to stop this movement of people. “It is very important for the village to preserve its traditions,” he said. “We can see large Muslim communities in western Europe that haven’t been able to integrate — and we don’t want to have the same experience here.” He has announced new rules for the town he runs, and wants the rest of Hungary to follow suit, banning the building

groups of immigrants sleeping in their gardens and outbuildings, and others watching aghast as thousands streamed through the centre of the village on their way through Europe, the mayor decided enough was enough. He

of mosques, making the Muslim call to prayer illegal, and banning the burqa and the ‘burkini’ swimsuit. He says the measures are key to preventing Muslims ‘causing fear, alarm and shock among the locals’.

Heaviest woman lands in Mumbai for treatment

EMAN Ahmed is the 36-yearold Egyptian woman who is touted as the world’s heaviest woman, weighing around 500 kg. She reached Mumbai on Saturday and will be treated at Saifee Hospital. Before coming here, Eman had not moved or left her home in 25 years. EgyptAir made sure that a special bed/cot was created which was required to ensure the safety of Eman while she was traveling. Equipment required in case of emergency, such as portable ventilator, portable defibrillator, oxygen cylinders, intubating laryngoscope and other safety drugs, were are also present. Upon landing in Mumbai, officials loaded the bed on an open truck, which was escorted by an ambulance and police to Saifee Hospital, where she will undergo bariatric surgery. Hospital officials said that she will have to undergo an extensive line of treatment for the next six months, including several surgeries.

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Pak MP wants Hindus & Sikhs to man their shrines

Islamabad ISPHANYAR Bhandara, Member of Pakistan’s National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) on a reserved seats for minorities as a Parsi,

has advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to give jobs to unemployed youngsters of minorities in no-Muslim projects. Speaking to MAIL TODAY Monday Isphanyar Bhandara who is well-known for speaking for rights of minorities living in Pakistan, said as many as 90 per cent non-Muslims should be given jobs in the non-Muslims related projects. “If we appoint Hindus in Hindu’s sacred places in Pakistan, it will be a honour for them to work there. I will appreciate if the government takes steps to appoint majority non-Muslims graduates in projects meant for non-Muslims like Katas Raj complex. Muslims should not be given jobs at such places,” he said. In

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, one can hardly find one or two Hindu working, he said. SGRH is a 550-bed hospital in the heart of Lahore which was established by Sir Ganga Ram Agrawal, a Hindu Vaishya civil engineer who served the British government, in 1921. Isphanyar condemned the statement given by a minister of Kyber Pakhtoon Khaw province in 2013 that “non-Muslims can only be recruited as sweepers”. Talking about possibility of enhancing trade between Pakistan and India, Ishanyar said Pakistan has some issues with India which should be addressed first. Smooth sailing of trade between Pakistan and India is not possible until

Catching ‘em young: Russian students get military training

THIS IS Vladimir Putin’s Young Army, where children are groomed Sovietstyle in military skills and patriotism. Unveiled last year, the Yunarmia has already recruited more than 42,000 school students. It is a ‘military and patriotic’ organisation that has been criticised as an echo of Hitler Youth. TV pictures showed star recruits from Moscow being presented to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation at a time of rising tension with the West. Schoolchildren as young as ten are taught military drills, how to handle Kalashnikovs, practice wrestling and learn to make parachute jumps. The project was rolled out in Yaroslavl last May with 2,014 cadets, and began nationwide in September. The oath of male and female ‘yun-armists’ (young soldiers) reads: “I swear to aim for victories in studies and sports, to live a healthy lifestyle, to make myself prepared for the service and labour for the sake of the Motherland, to cherish the memory of the heroes who fought for freedom and independence of our Motherland, to be a patriot and a dignified citizen of Russia.” The moving force behind the young army was hawkish defence minister Sergei Shoigu, a close ally of Putin’s. Officially the new set-up is known as the Voluntary Society of Support for the Army, Air Force and Navy, known as DOSAAF, and it mirrors a Soviet organisation. Recruit Igor Izbayev, 18, from Yekaterinburg, said: “Yunarmia is increasing the patriotic spirit of the country. “It is now popular. Hard times, wars are everywhere. It is necessary to increase the patriotism to avoid the civil war like in Ukraine. There is never too much patriotism.” When the young army was established, General-colonel Alexander Kolmakov said reviving an old tradition of children and youth organisations can lead to the “growing of a generation of citizens who treat the history with care, who are kind and responsive, ready to build a bright future for themselves and for their country”. His phrase “svetloe buduschee” or “bright future” was widely used in Soviet times to describe the expected

great future of the USSR when Communism finally triumphed over the West’s capitalism. “The Yunarmia movement, created upon the initiative of the Russian Defence Ministry and supported by the President of Russian Federation, will unite all organisations and bodies that train the citizens before they join the army,” he said last year. “And DOSAAF will allow members of the new movement to use its facilities for training.” Russia has witnessed a surge of nationalism since Putin’s land grab in Crimea in 2014. The Russian army is

accused of supporting pro-Putin rebels in eastern Ukraine, amid fears a new war could erupt. And Moscow’s forces have been deployed in Syria propping up the Assad regime. Top brass launched the young army saying they want to make the country’s “growing number of patriotic military movements” more structured. Some young army groups are sponsored

by major enterprises, for example the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company. Russian sports stars are backing the initiative. Olympic pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, 34, and Svetlana Khorkina, 38, have been prominent in backing the initiative. The first-ever woman in space, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, 79, attended an ‘initiation ceremony’ to welcome to new ‘conscripts’. “I hope that studies and practical training will give you a chance to join the Russian Army later and to become the true defenders of our motherland,” she told the children. The complicated international situation demands attention and training, she explained, alluding to perceived Western threats to Russia. “I congratulate you. I want to hope that our joint work will produce new sportsmen and new heroes. I wish each of you becomes the decent officer of the Russian Army. “The new cadet force had a proper military-patriotic and military-sports programme,” she said. Military-type sports, army service studies — it is not only about assembling and dissembling guns, it is also a course for a young soldier with marching and firing training with pneumatic guns. Children will study tactics and the military history of Russia. They will also be taught the basics of first aid.

major issues like Kashmir are resolved. “We have to resolve issues of Kashmir, and water. Secondly, India should remove their forces from border and send a message that they did not intend to fight. If India is ready to do all this then Pakistan is ready to allow it to make use of CPEC to send goods across the globe, including Afghanistan and central Asian states. We cannot feed it if it has a blade in his hand,” said Bhandara who is also the head of Pakistan’s only brewery, Murree Brewery. “We hope that Nawaz Sharif government has sympathy for the minorities and it will increase the existing funds to address their problems,” he said.

What a jerk! Osama set self-play rules for jihadists

A LETTER from Osama bin Laden detailing when jihadists should be allowed to masturbate has been revealed. The Al-Qaeda leader had such a pull on his followers that he was able to dictate when they pleasured themselves. In a memo marked top secret, he wrote to one of his trusted aides in North Africa saying that in the extreme conditions of being kept separate from their wives, the terrorists could masturbate. It was seized along with 49 other documents by the US in 2011, and now they have been made public by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). In it, the one-time world’s most wanted man discussed attacks on America and targeting France should efforts fail against the US. But he also lifts the lid on the sexual activity of his jihadis. In the letter, he wrote: “Another very special and top secret matter - it pertains to the problem of the brothers who are with you in their unfortunate celibacy and lack of availability of wives for them in the conditions that have been imposed on them. We pray to God to release them. God is not ashamed of the truth. As we see it, we have no objection to clarifying to the brothers that they may, in such conditions, masturbate, since this is an extreme case.” The letter goes on to say: “The ancestors approved this for the community. They advised the young men at the time of the conquest to do so. It has also been prescribed by the legists when needed, and there is no doubt that the brothers are in a state of extreme need.” Although the control AlQaeda’s top terrorist had on his militants may be shocking, his liberal view on masturbation should come as no surprise. The DNI released a list of books the 9/11 mastermind was reading when he was killed six years ago, as well as a trove of letters he exchanged with family members from the lair.

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You experience the luxury of emotions and feelings this week. Business booms and new opportunities for expansion are on the cards! You are relaxed after a hectic time of activity last week; let your hair down, as they say, and make the most of it. As professional projects approach completion, you look for fresh opportunities that take a little while coming, so don’t be impatient. A beloved surprises you with a generous gift. This is a good time to approach difficult friends with a friendly attitude, as they are ready to make compromises. Beware of overdoing or going over the top emotionally.

You are at your creative best and have the opportunity to be original and the courage to be different this week. A youthful and beautiful influence surrounds you and enhances your life as you rejuvenate energy to move into new ventures. You may be involved in an international project. A trip overseas is likely and visitors from far off lands may surprise you. Personal relationships are meaningful. You may remain busy with work in the office and springcleaning at home to get a lot done this week. You are in good physical shape and can indulge in sport, theatre or dancing at this time.

You combine energies and collaborate with professionals and partners to achieve success in an ambitious project. Overseas travel and communication are important in the wake of new business contracts. Actions are based on accurate calculation and you achieve success after making elaborate maneuvers. Beware of making promises you can’t keep. You are in demand during a social event with your charm and gift of communication. You achieve objectives in creative and emotional aspects and handle multifarious activity with wisdom and good judgment.

You inspire others to change attitudes and enthuse the work culture with energy, motivation and creativity this week. You are able to deal with people in power, control or government with ease and aplomb. A short and important trip is on the cards! You may come up against egoistic and ambitious people vying for power and importance at work and at home. It’s best to ignore them and keep focused on your own projects or they can involve you in unnecessary conflict and argument. You may take on added responsibilities at work and at home, which you are able to handle with ease.

You carry on doing what you have to valiantly, despite low physical and emotional energy this week! Health and finances need watching. Be aware of spending too much time and energy on others as they can be demanding and depleting. You may be caught in a private struggle and duality regarding personal relationships and business partnerships, which concludes at the end of the week. It’s important for you to take a break by indulging in happy pastimes. Do not give into depression or a feeling of insecurity as situations, moods and difficult relationships change by themselves, given a bit of time.

Great care in some things is counterbalanced by equal disorder in others this week. A negative attitude leads to stress, anxiety and ill health rather than give you direction. It’s best to calm down, take one step at a time and think positively as you deal with work and relationships. Beware of wasting energy in details causing neglect of important professional aspects. Lack of persistence and interest at work leads to disruption and disarray! You are not about to make compromises or accept restrictions and limitations despite conflict and chaos.

You may feel oppressed by forces detached from spiritual sources this week. Your generous, noble and dignified approach allows you to come out of difficulties, unscathed and looking good. Go around blocks and destructive elements rather than encountering them directly. Despite hindrance and blocks you are able to achieve goals and targets at the end of the week. Look at your own political masks and games, which will give you insights into others and their false aspects. Find a healing and creative way of releasing stress and tension that is building up inside you to avoid a catastrophe!

Your personal relationships and professional aspects are infused with a quality and depth that is inspiring. Despite changes in personal and professional situations you remain firmly entrenched in a position of power and authority. You may need to take care of family, parents, children or friends during an event or support them during an illness or difficult time. Fitness routines and diets should be a point of focus. There is love, joy and commitment in personal relationships. You are open and receptive to hear the rhythm of your own heart for the grace, meditation and bliss to descend within you.

You are a winner this week as your Yin and Yang energies are in fine balance. You are triumphant after a long period of strife and hard work. There is love in personal relationships and success at work. Family and friends are close and there are fun times to look forward to. You are lucky – what you put energy into works out well. An ongoing conflict is resolved as you take a clear stand on priorities. From being a worker and taking directions you become a consultant or advisor and share your wisdom and expertise with others. Health problems should not be neglected.

You may be disappointed this week, as your great expectations do not actualise in exactly the way you had hoped they would. Learn a lesson from negative experiences and get on with your life. It’s time to let go the past rather than cling to it and say a reverent farewell. A beloved supports you through a difficult time. Changes at work are unexpected and its best to move into them and watch the wheel of life turning around you without making any decisions or judgments. Love and friendship return at the end of the week as unexpectedly as they disappeared.

Business partnerships and professional collaborations are restored to a healthy level after a period of conflict and strife. There is likely to be alternation of gain and loss, mood swings and attitude changes for a short while. Your personal presence is required for things to go well, so be where you are needed. Women play significant roles in your life and influence your decisions. You can be led away by enthusiasm if careful balance is not maintained. Listen to your inner voice and intuition for the right answers. You are much in demand socially and need to cut out some social commitments.

You are likely to play three different roles and its best to keep them separate or there can be confusion. You may work closely with two others in a professional venture that brings fame, gain and appreciation. It’s best to combine and integrate resources, forces and energies to achieve common goals and targets. Organise and conserve your assets and energy at this point. Opportunities and developments are exciting but need to be viewed from a realistic perspective. Guard against emotions in business matters and analysis in loving relationships.

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Technology Twitter grows by 2 million users in Q4 New York Twitter has grown by two million monthly active users in the fourth quarter, finishing the year with 319 million worldwide, media reports said. According to a report in Recode on

Twitter’s COO Anthony Noto, Trump sparks “conversation and discussion” on Twitter, but chalked up Twitter’s small user growth during the quarter to “product changes and marketing”, not the election. Trump’s rise and other newsy events are making Twitter more addictive and engaging for its users. ”The whole world is watching Twitter. While we may not be currently meeting everyone’s growth expectations, there is one thing that continues to grow and outpace our peers: Twitter’s influence and impact,” Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter, was quoted as saying. According to a report in Verge, Twitter’s revenue growth came in at just one per cent, a far cry from the 48 per cent yearover-year growth Twitter reported during the same period in 2016.

Sextortion, sexting, revenge porn growing concern in India: Microsoft

There is a growing concern for cyber bullying, terror recruiting, sexting, revenge porn and sextortion among Indian users as internet penetration shows an increase, a new study released by Microsoft on Tuesday has found. The study noted that 77 per cent Indians reported behavioral concerns like cyber bullying, trolling, online harassment, sexual solicitation, sexting, revenge porn or sextortion. The study conducted through Digital Civility Index (DCI) is a part of Microsoft’s commitment to raise awareness on the need for digital civility and safety across 14 countries. With internet comes the risk of being exposed to a plethora of

online risks. At least 63 per cent of Indian respondents reported having been exposed to an online risk and 44 per cent said they had experienced their most recent online risk in January only. “Microsoft is using the DCI to demonstrate the need to

Facebook Safety Check will now aid you in emergencies

WhatsApp rolls out two-step verification for enhanced security

US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Saudi Arabia for the first couple of weeks. For the community to use Community Help after an incident, Safety Check must first be activated. For Safety Check to activate, two things need to happen. First, global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International alert Facebook that an incident has occurred and give it a title, and Facebook will begin monitoring for posts about the incident in the area. Second, if a lot of people are talking about the incident, they may be prompted to mark themselves safe, and invite others to do the same. ”If an incident is a natural or accidental disaster, people will see Community Help. They can find or give help, and message others directly to connect from within Safety Check,” Gleit added.

New Delhi WhatsApp on Friday rolled out a two-step verification process for all devices to enhance the security of users’ accounts. WhatsApp has been working on two-step verification for the past several months. “When you have the feature enabled, any attempt to verify your phone number on WhatsApp must be accompanied by the six-digit passcode that you choose,” WhatsApp said in a statement. Users can activate the two-step verification process by going into ‘Settings’ and then tapping the ‘Account’ where they can enable ‘Two-step verification’. The new feature will be available to all 1.2 billion WhatsApp users across iPhone, Android and Windows.

Thursday, the spectacle of the US presidential election was Twitter’s best material in years, and made the service a crucial source for direct news.For Twitter, it was the slowest quarter all year for user growth. Its US user growth, where it has 67 million monthly active users, was actually zero. This is in contrast to the Facebook where the user growth is accelerating despite its larger size. According to

New York Social media giant Facebook has announced an update to Safety Check, called Community Help, that lets people find and give help such as food, shelter and transportation after a crisis. In the areas of immediate danger, Safety Check allows people to notify their family and friends that they are safe. This feature of Facebook has been used during natural calamities and terrorists attacks across the world.

“With Community Help people can find and give help, and message others directly to connect after a crisis. Posts can be viewed by category and location, making it easier for people to find the help they need,” said Naomi Gleit, VP Social Good, Facebook, in a statement. To start, Facebook will make Community Help available for natural and accidental incidents, such as an earthquake or building fire and will be rolled out in the

further educate young adults, parents, educators and policymakers about the real-world consequences of negative online interactions,” said Madhu Khatri, Associate General Counsel, Microsoft India. Interestingly, more males (64 per cent) in India

reported risks as compared to females (61 per cent). It was also found that youths in India were more confident than adults in managing uncivil behaviour and were more knowledgeable about where to get help if needed.

Facebook can be your new weatherman

New York Facebook has rolled out a new feature that shows full weather forecast on its mobile app and desktop site. According to a report in TechCrunch, within the new Weather section, users can view a full forecast for a week ahead, powered by data from The new feature, an extension of its earlier version ‘weather greetings’, can be accessed from News Feed or the mobile app’s ‘More’ menu. ”Facebook confirmed that the new feature was launched to around 95 per cent of its global population this

week,” the report noted. Facebook rolled out ‘weather greetings’ a year ago in News Feed, which would briefly update the weather on top of the News Feed. In the latest feature, users will see a similar weather information with a link to the full, five-day forecast. ”We are doing this because our goal is to develop products that connect people to the things they care about most and create moments of joy in people’s day, like simply telling you that it’s going to rain later,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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Chinese soldier back home after 53 years

A CHINESE soldier, who lived in India for 53 years after he crossed the border post in the 1962 war, finally returned home on Saturday with his Indian family to an emotional reunion and a hero’s welcome. He was given an offer to make a new

home for himself and his Indian family there. As Wang stepped off an airplane in Xian province, he was greeted by dozens of relatives and the Chinese media, which has front-paged the story of his return in the past week. Wang was whisked away to a city hotel, and the exhausted 77-yearold will visit his home village in the coming days. He was accompanied by his son Vishnu Wang and daughter Anita. Dozens of members of the Wang clan welcomed him with banners and bouquets of flowers. Nephews and nieces born after he was caught in India had a surreal first

meeting with one of their family’s oldest members, simply known as ‘the Indian uncle’. His two brothers shed tears after seeing him. They last met when they were barely teenagers. In the quiet and remote village of Xuezhai, Wang’s relatives were waiting in anticipation. His old family home where his brother and sister-in-law live has been decorated, while provincial government officials told MAIL TODAY they have directed local authorities to make his old plot of land available should he choose to stay on. “We think it is up to Wang Qi if he wants to stay here. We will be more than happy if he chooses to stay on,” Wang Zengwei, an official in the village Party committee, said. Wang has been living with his Indian family in Tirodi, a village in Madhya Pradesh, for the last six years. He was sent there after release in different jails, caught crossing the border in 1963. He married Sushila, a girl from the village. Even though he found a family in India, he was a man without a country as neither India nor China pushed his case. The Chinese only issued him a passport in 2003. Wang’s greatest regret is being unable to visit China before his mother’s death in 2006. One of his first activities on his return will be to visit and pray at her grave. In China, the story has been seized upon for its propaganda value — both for the government securing his return and to showcase strained India-China relations in a good light. “We have to thank the Indian authorities. This is a special case and they have given it special attention,” his nephew Wang Yingjun said. “We also thank our country and the foreign ministry to make this happen very quickly. We are very happy and grateful.”

Teen faces weapons charge for taking gun from suicidal friend THE father of a Florida teenager facing a felony weapon possession charge for taking a gun off his suicidal friend at school said he was ‘heartbroken’ by the state’s decision to charge his son. William Caldwell, 16, was arrested at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida, on Tuesday for bringing a firearm to school property. The charge is a third degree felony which carries a maximum jail term of five years if William is tried as an adult, a decision which is yet to be made by a judge. William took the gun off his friend on February 3 after he threatened to kill himself on campus. He took it home with him for the weekend then brought it back to school on Tuesday, February 7, with an empty chamber to return to the boy. Another girl who knew of the suicide plot told staff William had the gun and he was arrested after showing police the weapon in his backpack. William’s ex-marine father Jeff spoke briefly on Thursday to confirm that his son had been released from custody but said he was devastated by the state’s decision to move forward with the case. “No good deed goes unpunished,”

he told, adding that William was a “good kid” who was trying to make sure no one got hurt when confiscated the gun. “His intent was to get no one in trouble,” Caldwell, who works at the Navy’s Puget Sound Shipyard in Washington, said. His mother, Michele, said he was “very scared”. The family is waiting to find out whether he will be tried as an adult or minor. She said the boy he was trying to protect is safe and that he and his parents are “very concerned” that William could be punished for stepping in. The boy was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation after the incident and is not facing any charges. Police arrested the teenager after a female student told staff she knew he had the weapon on Tuesday.

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500 years of robots go on show in London LONDON Why do humans build machines that resemble them - and what does that say about us? A London exhibition opening on Tuesday is surveying 500 years of simple to sophisticated robots

to find out. Take a lip-syncing monk from the 16th century or a cartoon-like humanoid avatar that helps children with autism today. They and 100 other robots on display at the Science Museum chart an evolution of machines that fascinate and terrify in equal measure. “One of the big issues with doing a show like this is people’s preconceptions that robots come in, they destroy the world and they enslave us all,” lead curator Ben Russell told AFP. “One of the advantages of taking a long view of robots as we have done, is that you realise a lot of these concerns have been with us for a very, very long time,” Russell said. But he dismissed these fears as overblown and said humans

would prove “much more adaptive”. Studying robots is a good way to learn what society was like at any given point, the exhibition argues. A 16th-century articulated

manikin - a little model of a man - allowed its owners to explain and explore the human body. A monk statue built on behalf of King Philip II of Spain, also from the 16th century, was designed to impress. It is able to pray, walk across a table while moving his lips, and raise a crucifix. And dating from 1773, a stunning Silver Swan moves with grace thanks to three separate clockwork mechanisms. Science fiction has fed for more than a century on fears that humans might be overtaken by the machines they create, and the robotisation that is increasingly a part of everyday life still stirs up debate. A report from the Reform think tank this week predicted 250,000 British public service jobs could be lost to robots over the next

Austrian authorities seeking Hitler double seen around birthplace

VIENNA Austrian authorities are investigating reports of a man appearing in public in Adolf Hitler’s birthplace as the Nazi dictator’s double, including the distinctive moustache, haircut and clothing. “I have often seen this gentlemen in Braunau and wonder if this means something,” the Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten paper cited a local resident as saying on his Facebook page alongside a picture of the man it said resembled Hitler. Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, then part of Austria-Hungary, in 1889. Prosecutors confirmed the

report. The man, estimated to be 25 to 30 years old, was last seen in a local bookstore browsing through magazines about World War Two, adding he had identified himself in a local bar as “Harald Hitler. On at least one occasion, he was photographed in front of the house where Hitler was born. Austria’s parliament voted in December to buy the threestorey house where Hitler was born, which the government has rented since 1972 to control how it is used. Glorifying Hitler or the Nazis is a crime in Austria, which Nazi Germany annexed in 1938.

15 years. In France, a presidential candidate wants to create a “robot tax”. Artificial intelligence (AI) has also divided the scientific community, with renowned physicist Stephen Hawking saying AI could be “either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity.” A replica of “Maria” from the film “Metropolis” and the original T800 Endoskeleton robot used in the film “Terminator Salvation” are straight from the trove of dystopian fiction on the subject. But many of the latest robots are all about entertaining, and even taking care of, humans. Kaspar, with its mop of thick back hair and interactive features, is designed to engage with children with autism and help them learn about communication. Its minimally expressive face is easier to interpret for autistic children than a human face is. And its pre-programmed behaviour helps teach children about cause and effect. If hit, Kaspar makes a sad face, turns away and says “Ouch, that hurts.”Zeno R25 is used in learning activities and therapy for children. One of the most expressive humanoid robots that can be bought off the shelf, it can replicate facial expressions of people it sees in front of him. Finally Harry, Toyota’s first walking humanoid, can play the trumpet.The exhibition runs until September 3.

Philippines dismisses about 100 policemen for using drugs

Manila The Philippine police have sacked nearly 100 policemen since the start of the year because they were found to be drug users, a top official said on Saturday, in a clean-up of the ranks after President Rodrigo Duterte halted police anti-drug operations. More than 7,700 people have been killed since Duterte unleashed his bloody war on drugs seven months ago, about 2,500 in police operations, while the rest are being investigated. Duterte had been unwavering in defending the police in the face of international outrage over the toll, but his faith was shaken by the killing of a South Korean businessman late last year by rogue officers. Ninety police officers have been fired since the start of the year and nine were removed last year, Internal Affairs Service inspector general Alfegar Triambulo said in comments broadcast on ANC TV.

“Those caught using illegal drugs, according to the civil service rules, must be dismissed...that is a grave offence,” he said, adding he had promised the chief of police that he would quickly resolve outstanding cases. Triambulo said he would recommend next week the dismissal of 40 more policemen to the chief of police. Last month, Duterte denounced the police as “corrupt to the core” and suspended their role in antidrug operations, although he vowed to forge ahead with the drug campaign. Human rights groups suspect many of the killings being investigated were committed by vigilantes or hitmen supported by the police. The Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency has been put in charge of anti-drug operations and Duterte has raised the possibility of getting the military to help.

US troops can fight terror in Syria as long as they respect sovereignty: Assad Beirut Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview released on Friday that the United States is welcome to join the battle against “terrorists” in Syria as long as it is in cooperation with his government and respects the country’s sovereignty. In an interview with Yahoo News, Assad said he has not had any communication direct or indirect with President Donald Trump or any official form the new U.S. administration. But the Syrian leader appeared to make a gesture to the new U.S. president in the interview, saying he welcomes Trump’s declaration that he will make it a priority to fight terrorism a goal Assad said he also shares. However, Assad’s government has labelled all armed opposition to his rule including the U.S.backed rebels as “terrorists.” “We agree about this priority,” Assad said of Trump. “That’s our position in Syria, the priority is to fight terrorism.” Syria’s six-year civil war has killed more than 300,000 people and displaced half the country’s population. The country is shattered and the chaos has enabled the rise of the Islamic State group, which in a 2014 blitz seized a third of both Syria and neighboring Iraq. The extremist group, responsible also for

several deadly attacks around the world, has declared an Islamic caliphate on the territory it controls. Assad also told Yahoo News that his country would welcome U.S. “participation” in the fight against terrorism but it has to be in cooperation with the Syrian government.

Assad’s comment ignored the U.S.-led international coalition, which has been targeting the Islamic State group and alQaida’s affiliate in Syria with airstrikes since September 2014. The U.S. also has advisers in Syria along with predominantly Kurdish fighters north of the country who are fighting against the Islamic State. “If you want to start genuinely, as United States ... it must be through the Syrian government,” Assad said. “We are here, we are the Syrians, we own this country as Syrians, nobody else, nobody would understand it like us.”“So, you cannot defeat the terrorism without cooperation with the people and the government” of Syria, he added.

The Syrian government has always blamed the U.S. for backing opposition fighters trying to remove Assad from power. The rebels formed a serious threat to the Syrian leader until 2015, when Russia joined Syria’s war backing Assad’s forces and turned the balance of power in his favor. “We invited the Russians, and the Russians were genuine regarding this issue. If the Americans are genuine, of course they are welcome, like any other country that wants to defeat and to fight with the terrorists. Of course, with no hesitation we can say that,” Assad said in English. But when asked if he wants American troops to come to Syria to help with the fight against the Islamic State group, Assad said that sending troops is not enough a genuine political position on respecting Syria’s sovereignty and unity is also needed.“All these factors would lead to trust, where you can send your troops. That’s what happened with the Russians; they didn’t only send their troops,” Assad added.Assad would not comment on Trump’s move to bar Syrian refugees and people from seven majorityMuslim countries from entering the U.S., calling it an “American sovereignty” issue.

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Sidhu May Swing It Big In Upcoming Elections, But A Political Century Seems Unlikely “Troubles are like babies, the more you nurse them, the more they grow.”Said Navjot Singh Sidhu the man with a funny bone, which can literally make a person roll on the floor laughing. The man with the colourful turbans and the extraordinary poetic calibre, has been there and done a lot. Being a highly explosive batsmen, he was one of the bright performers during the 1987 World Cup and later went on to become the first Indian to score more than 5 centuries. Though he played for only one team in his cricketing days – India, things in the political sphere seem to be a bit different. He has joined Congress after ending his 12-year association with the BJP. In this article, Ganesha takes a look at his stars and predicts how things will shape up in the near future. “If you are trying to beat India in their home, then you are trying to get milk out of an ox.” Decoding Navjot Singh Sidhu – the cricketer, politician, actor, TV personality The planets scoring a lot of boundaries in Sidhu’s Chart? Ganesha notes that there are a lot of strong planetary configurations in Sidhu’s Birth Chart. The multiple planetary

highlights indeed make him a colourful personality, with various talents. Venus in good dignity: Venus is placed in its own Sign and is in conjunction with the Sun. The strongly placed Venus

Sidhu has He has Moon placed with Mars in Scorpio Sign. So, he is dynamic, aggressive and spontaneous. But, he is choosy about people and can sometimes be stubborn. It is his strong emotions, views and

explains his ability to effortlessly grab the limelight and enjoy great popularity. The Sun-Venus combine renders a lot of charisma and enables him to achieve considerable success in the field of politics. Moreover, this very strength of Venus explains his continuing presence in the entertainment industry and his entertaining abilities. Mars in own domain – rendering the unlimited fire:

intuition which generally guide him to take vital decisions and stand firm against the opposite views. Jupiter and Saturn in own Signs: Jupiter and Saturn are placed in their own Signs – Pisces and Capricorn respectively. The heavyweights being placed in strong positions indicates great strength of character and leadership potential. This factor has probably helped him to

sustain his fame and influence for a longer duration. Due to the blessings of both these planets, he is able to enjoy widespread fame, that too on various platforms. One thing is to be noted that both these planets are retrograde in his Chart. Due to this, he will be unorthodox and unconventional in his approach and he will not hesitate in trying out new methods and ideas. The stars seem to be indicating a mixed year ahead for Navjot Singh Sidhu. But what about yours? Find out all with the exclusive 2017 Yearly Report for FREE! Exalted Mercury – the point of origin of Sixer Sidhu’s verbal flair: Planet Mercury – the planet of intelligence, humour and mental agility is exalted in the Birth Chart of Sidhu. This placement blesses him with a wonderful sense of humour and sharpness. Mercury and Venus are both powerful in the Horoscope of Navjot and this bestows upon him the skill to create poetic marvels out of thin air. “The ball slipped from his hands like butter from hot parantha.” A glance at the events likely to follow in Sidhu’s life: Planets seem partially favourable

From November 2014, Saturn has been transiting over the natal Moon and Mars, which has been creating a some problems for Sidhu; his health suffered during one period, and then started the problems at the political front. However, Saturn will have changed Signs in some time, which will act in his favour. On the other hand, Jupiter is passing through a favourable position, which will provide quite a conducive environment for him to make good progress on the political plane. He will be able to devise effective strategies and new concepts, which may increase the support in his favour. Complete realisation of political ambitions uncertain: Jupiter’s transit will be more favourable post September 2017 and with this support, he will be able to play an important role in Punjab politics. It also indicates a strong chance of getting success in forthcoming assembly elections of Punjab. However, the impact ot transiting Saturn indicates that his political fortune will remain variable and despite a strong performance, his political desires may remain unfulfilled. With Ganesha’s Grace, Tanmay K. Thakar

Divorced ‘father’ lives with Swami Om, associate a son & seven sex dolls booked for misbehaving with woman

LI CHEN spends every day looking after his seven companions, who are humansize silicone dolls. The 58-year-old man, from Huishui, China’s Guizhou Province, is a ‘big fan’ of the ‘beautiful female figures’ and considers them his daughters. In an interview with MailOnline, Li, who goes with a pseudonym, said he does not use his dolls for the purpose of sex, instead he grooms and dresses them. He even takes them on holidays and makes music videos for them. The man has spent more than 100,000 yuan (`975,897) buying nearly 100 costumes for his seven silicone partners. He plans to start a business to design and produce fashionable clothes for his dolls, each of

which costs at least 10,000 yuan (`97,590). When asked why he likes his dolls, Li said: “Many people in China call me and other fans of dolls ‘perverts’. I do not wish to justify myself. These dolls are beautiful. They are the combinations of the best

features taken from various women. I’m simply appreciating their beauty.” Although these dolls are sold as sex toys, the man insisted that he does not consider t h e m p l e a s u r e devices; instead he treats them as family members. However, he encourages his only son, who is 18 years old, to use dolls “to satisfy his biological needs”. On his son’s 18th birthday last month, Li bought him a silicone figure as a gift so “he could put her to good use when he needs”. The father explained: “I want him to use the doll instead of catching random diseases from outside by accident. “When I gave him sex education, I taught him the importance of staying safe when it comes to sex.” Li and his son currently live with seven dolls.

New Delhi A woman has accused former ‘Bigg Boss’ contestant Swami Om and his associate of allegedly outraging her modesty by ripping off her clothes, police said today. A case in this regard has been registered at IP Estate police station, they said. According to the complaint filed by the victim, Swami Om and his associate Santosh Anand allegedly ripped off her clothes on February 7. The victim alleged that the duo attacked her and ripped off her clothes in an attempt to humiliate her in full public view a few days ago at Rajghat area here, police

said.She also alleged that they threatened her of dire consequences and abused her. The attackers then fled from the spot after she screamed for help, they said. “Acting on the compliant, a case under section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC has been registered against Swami Om and his associate. The victim will record her statement on Monday before the magistrate. Police will take necessary action against the accused,” said a senior police officer. The officer added that both parties had a history of dispute.

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Sikh group calls for inquiry into UK’s role in ‘Operation Blue Star’ London UK-based Sikh group has written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office demanding a public inquiry into Britain’s alleged involvement in

the 1984 Operation Blue Star. Sikh Federation UK has been working on a report titled ‘Sacrificing Sikhs: The need for an investigation’, which claims to have evidence regarding the full extent of the UK’s alleged role in the military action. “It is of crucial public importance that the allegations are investigated, in an effective and transparent manner,” reads the letter, addressed to Indian-origin foreign office minister Alok Sharma, in charge of India and the Pacific. The letter goes on

to claim that the 2014 Heywood Review, set up by then Prime Minister David Cameron into the exact nature of British involvement in Operation Blue Star, was “flawed” as it did not

consider certain “directly relevant” material. The FCO acknowledged the receipt of the letter, written by the group’s solicitors KRW Law last month. ”The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is considering the points raised in your letter. You will receive a full response shortly,” the letter dated February 2 reads. The latest exchange follows a call for a “fresh, independent investigation” into the issue by the UK Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a letter to

Indian-origin family to get payout over toy gun episode in UK

British Prime Minister Theresa May last month. “Given concerns regarding the effectiveness and integrity of the January 2014 review, I believe we must consider a fresh, independent investigation into this episode in British history. It is clear to me from my discussions with Sikh groups in the UK that there remains significant resentment that over the 30 years since this most appalling event, questions remain about the role which the United Kingdom played,” Corbyn said.The Heywood Review had been ordered by Cameron in 2014 after documents released previously under the 30-year declassification rule had implied British SAS commanders had advised the Indian government as it drew up plans for the removal of militants from the Sikh shrine. “The report concludes that the nature of the UK’s assistance was purely advisory, limited and provided to the Indian government at an early stage in their planning,” William Hague, then UK foreign secretary, had told the House of Commons in February 2014. However, Sikh Federation UK has maintained that some files recalled by the Foreign Office hold further information on the issue and has been calling for the secret documents to be made public. It claims the report it has been compiling will reveal certain measures taken against the Sikh community in Britain in 1984 and 1985 by the then Margaret Thatcher-led government.

UK drops hundreds of soldiers misconduct claims over Iraq, Afghan wars

Britain is dismissing hundreds of allegations of misconduct by its soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, the defence ministry said on Friday, following an investigation that uncovered spurious claims. The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), which was set up in 2010 and is dealing with hundreds of cases, will be shut down in the summer and 20 of its cases will be handed over to the Royal Navy police. This follows an investigation that led to campaigning lawyer Phil Shiner, who had brought many of the claims, being struck off earlier this month. The announcement was made by defence minister Michael Fallon, who also said that 90 percent of the 675 current misconduct allegations involving British troops in Afghanistan were being dismissed.“This will be a relief for our soldiers who have had allegations hanging over them for too long,” Fallon said in televised remarks. “Now we are taking action to stop

such abuse of our legal system from happening again,” he said. But Amnesty International criticised the decision to hand over the remaining cases to the Royal Navy police, calling instead for an independent investigation to be conducted. “The UK’s military reputation is on the line -- any credible allegations of abuses by UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan should be independently investigated, which must mean by a body that is separate from the military itself,” the rights group said in a statement. A parliamentary committee report earlier on Friday found that serving and retired troops had been subjected to “deeply disturbing” treatment by IHAT. The report said IHAT investigators had used “intimidatory tactics” and spied on war veterans. “IHAT has operated without any regard to its impact on the UK military which has directly harmed their reputation across the world,” the report said.

Bashar al-Assad says ‘terrorists’ hiding among Syrian refugees LONDON A family of mixed Indian and Middle Eastern heritage has won compensation after two brothers, aged seven and five, were questioned by police over the toy guns they were playing with at a school in the East of England. The boys were reported to Bedfordshire Police as being at risk of radicalisation in March last year but officers quickly concluded there was no issue of concern.The school and the boys cannot be named to protect their identity as minors.“I was told they had displayed signs that were worrying in terms of being reasonable indicators of being involved in terrorist activity. They had no other reason to believe they had any signs of extremism other than the colour of their skin,” the mother, of Indian Hindu heritage, told BBC.“I understand that [terrorism] is a problem, but this is a rather blunt instrument with which to tackle it. There are some residual effects - both boys have suffering nightmares. My younger boy fears he might taken away. We are trying to help

them move on,” she said. She claims being told that one of the boys had been speaking Arabic and talked about attending a mosque even though none of the family spoke Arabic and the children did not go to mosques.Central Bedfordshire Council has since accepted the children were racially discriminated against and issued an apology as well as agreed to pay an undisclosed sum in compensation.“We accept the boys were discriminated against and have apologised to the family,” a council statement said. The school’s governors have reportedly found that teachers were unsure if they had a duty to report their concerns under Prevent, the UK government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, which had led to this incident. “We were called to reports of concern for safety and two officers attended - this was not in a ‘Prevent’ capacity but routine police attendance and the officers were only present for a short time,” Bedfordshire Police said in its statement.

Washington Syrian President Bashar alAssad said some of the millions of refugees who have fled his country’s conflict are “terrorists,” in an interview published today. Asked by Yahoo News about US President Donald Trump’s claim that extremists are hiding among refugees, Assad agreed, saying “you can find it on the net.” “Those terrorists in Syria holding machine guns or killing people, they are peaceful refugees in Europe or in the West,” the Syrian leader said. He did not specify how many of the 4.8 million Syrian refugees he meant, saying “you don’t need a significant number to commit atrocities.”He also rejected Trump’s plan to carve out safe zones for civilians in Syria. The US president said last month that he “will absolutely do safe zones in Syria” for people displaced by the violence in a bid to reverse their migration to Europe and elsewhere. He did not provide details. ”Safe zones for the Syrians could only happen when you have stability and security. Where you don’t have terrorists. Where you don’t have flow and support of those

terrorists by the neighboring countries or by Western countries,” Assad said. “It’s not a realistic idea at all.” The White House last month ordered the Pentagon and State

developments Friday, the Kremlin said that Russia and Turkey have agreed to improve coordination in Syria to prevent further friendly fire incidents after a Russian airstrike killed three

Department to draw up a plan to “provide safe areas in Syria and in the surrounding region.” The announcement came ahead of a surprise ban on refugees from Syria traveling to the United States, which a court has since suspended.Other US politicians and officials have long supported the idea of safe zones in Syria, including Democrats such as Trump’s presidential rival Hillary Clinton. Critics say it would risk the US military becoming bogged down in Syria’s civil war. In other

Turkish soldiers and wounded 11 the day before. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the accidental strike near the town of al-Bab in northern Syria prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to discuss better cooperation in fighting the Islamic State group in the area. In a signal that the incident hasn’t hurt a Russia-Turkey rapprochement, Peskov said that Erdogan is set to visit Russia next month.

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Indian-origin banker ordered to make payments to ex-wife in UK LONDON An Indian-origin banker in the UK has been ordered to make payments to his ex-wife from pension funds he had transferred out to India, in a high court ruling that has been described as a

“landmark”. The Goyal vs Goyal case in the Family Division involves a long-running divorce battle between Amit and Ankita Goyal and strikes a blow at attempts by divorcing spouses to trying to conceal their assets overseas. “There are powerful reasons for making a supplementary periodical payments order in favour of the wife,” Justice Mostyn said in his ruling, published last month. Under his order, the wife will receive new periodical payments of around 5,200 pounds per annum, which add up to 100 pounds per week. “This is a very small sum objectively, but it will be a meaningful sum for her as she attempts to rebuild her life and to support their child. It will end, of course, if she were to remarry, which she hopes to do,”

the judge added.The law in Britain provides that a pension may be divided between divorcing spouses by means of a pension sharing order pursuant to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. However, a previous judgment of

the Court of Appeal in this case had decided that pension sharing pursuant to Section 24B did not apply to foreign pensions. One of the husband’s submissions to the UK Court of Appeal was that it was not possible for the court to make a pension sharing order in respect of overseas pensions and the wife had failed to show that the pension sharing order would be enforceable in India. However, the latest ruling decided that it was open to the court to order the UK-based husband to make payments from the annuity to the wife as maintenance payments. “This is a landmark judgment in a long running financial remedy case which relates to a foreign pension which the husband had transferred out of the UK to India.

Tanzanian arrested for ‘fake translation’ of tourist

TANZANIA A tour guide at a Tanzanian game park has been arrested after falsely translating a tourist’s comments about the country and its people.In a widely circulated video clip, the guide says in Swahili that the tourist wants Tanzanians to stop “complaining” about hunger.The woman, in fact, says Tanzanians are “fabulously wonderful”. The guide was arrested on unspecified charges on Thursday on the orders of Tourism Minister Jumanne Mshembe. Tanzania markets itself as The Soul of Africa, and is popular with tourists because of its wildlife and spectacular scenery. The

unnamed guide was from the Serengeti National Park in the north-west. Regional police commander Philipo Kalangi told the BBC that he was being questioned, but did not give more details. The BBC’s Lizzy Masinga in the main city, Dar es Salaam, says it is unclear why he has been arrested or whether he will be charged. The minister may have felt that he was mocking the tourist or mimicking President John Magufuli, as some of his words were similar to those used by the president at a rally last month when he called on people to stop complaining about hunger, our correspondent adds.

The husband claimed he had transferred his pension annuity to a friend to satisfy a debt. The court disbelieved this claim and concluded that the story about the friend owning the annuity was a bare-faced lie,” said Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors, the law firm which represented the wife on a pro bono basis. The couple were married in 2004 before separating in 2011 and have a nine-year-old daughter together. A judge had previously ordered the 39-year-old exbanker to hand over his remaining assets to his 35-year-old ex-wife. However, they have been locked in legal battles for years now, something the judge in the latest ruling expressed his regret about.“I hope that the husband will accept this judgment and will now desist from further pointless litigation in these proceedings. I note that he will however resist the suit brought against him by the wife’s family in India...I know nothing about this case but only express regret that it appears likely that these parties will remain locked in litigious battle in India for years to come,” Justice Mostyn said. It had emerged in court last year that Amit Goyal had worked at highflying jobs at well-known banks in heart of the financial district in London but got drawn into spread-betting losing his fortune and falling into heavy debt.

Thailand tries to tackle 1km-long mass of ocean trash

BANGKOK Thai authorities are trying to clean up a massive, onekilometre long tangle of trash, officials said Friday, calling it the largest garbage heap to float through the kingdom’s waters. The mass of debris was estimated to weigh some 300 tonnes, said Sopon Thongdee, deputy director of Thailand’s Marine and Coastal Resources Department. “In all my working life I’ve never seen an amount of garbage this huge,” he told AFP, adding that it was first spotted off of southern Chumpon province and has since floated north. Authorities believe much of the detritus was carried into the ocean by floods that swept through Thailand’s south in January. Four ships have been mobilised to retrieve the trash a task made more difficult as the cluster began to break off into smaller chunks on Friday, said

Sopon. Thailand is one of the world’s top consumers of plastic bags and a major contributor to ocean waste. In a recent report, US-based advocacy group Ocean Conservancy estimated that Thailand was one of just five countries responsible for as much as 60 percent of plastic waste dumped into the ocean.The other nations are China, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.



Chinese family reunites 500 members for rare photo Beijing More than 500 members of one Chinese family have posed for the ultimate family photo. The pictures were taken at a Ren family reunion at Shishe village in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang. It was held last week during the Lunar New Year period, which is usually marked by the Chinese with large family gatherings and meals. Photographer Zhang Liangzong took the pictures with a drone in front of basalt formations near Shishe. He told the BBC that the Ren family, which originates from the village, can be traced back 851 years, but their family tree had not been updated for more than eight decades. Village elders recently began updating the family tree records and managed to track down at least 2,000 living descendants spanning seven generations, Mr Zhang said. They marked the family tree’s completion by holding a massive reunion, and managed to gather more than 500 people. Village chief Ren Tuanjie told state news agency Xinhua: “One reason was to understand where our descendants have spread to, where they have ended up and where they live, to account to our

ancestors.” “And another reason was also to let descendants all over the country know their roots, so that wherever they go they will not forget where they come from,” said Mr Ren, who belongs to the 26th generation of Rens and whose name happens to mean “reunion” in Chinese. Although large family photos are common, many in China were taken aback by the scale of the Rens’ photographs, which were featured widely in national media and prompted headlines such as “Do these family members even

know one another?”. There were also jokes aplenty on microblogging network Weibo. “What if they meet someone they like in the group? Can they still get married?” asked one user. Others made reference to the Chinese tradition of adults giving money in red packets to children during the new year. “When they give out red packets, will they start to cry?” said one Weibo user. “The youngest family members will be collecting New Year’s money until their hands go weak,” joked another commenter.

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Fresh whales stranding on notorious New Zealand beach FAREWELL SPIT Another 200 whales were stranded on a New Zealand coastline late Saturday, frustrating rescuers who had battled through the day and even defied a shark threat to try and

keep them at sea. At twilight, Department of Conservation (DOC) officials made the decision to leave the whales overnight as it became too risky to continue efforts to refloat them as darkness approached. The crisis began Friday when a pod of 416 whales became stranded on Farewell Spit in Golden Bay on the northwest of the South Island.Most of them died but volunteers converged Saturday on the spit, which is a notorious whale trap, to help in the rescue of 100 survivors. The whales were refloated at high tide in the late morning but linked up with a so-called “super pod” of another 200 whales gathered

off shore. Rescuers waded into neck-deep water, defying a shark threat to form a human wall and guide the survivors out to sea while also prevent the other 200 from coming to shore. “But in spite of

best efforts by everyone to prevent further losses, the large pod of approximately 200 pilot whales that were free-swimming, have stranded,” DOC spokesman Herb Christophers said. “We may salvage some of the stranded whales. Not all stranded whales can successfully be refloated. “Even when some whales are saved, they may still restrand as has happened in this instance and prolongs the effort and reduces the chances of success.” About 20 whales who restranded earlier in the day were euthanised “out of concern for their welfare,” Christopher added. The whales beached at low tide,

three kilometres (1.8 miles) from where the first group had died Friday. “We don’t know why the super pod came in,” said Daren Grover, the general manager of environmental group Project Jonah which is assisting with the rescue. “They may have been picking up some calls from the whales here and come in to respond. It’s very unusual, not something we have seen before.” DOC ranger Mike Ogle told Radio New Zealand the whales could have been frightened into the shallows by a shark. One whale had been found with bite wounds and great white sharks were known to be in the area off Farewell Spit, he said. “There’s one carcass out there with some shark bites in it - but not a big one, just a small one, but quite fresh bites so yeah, there’s something out there.” Hundreds of volunteers mobilised to help the rescue operation with many working to comfort the stranded animals and keep them cool in the morning heat while they waited to refloat them on the high tide. Tim Cuff, a marine mammal medic with Project Jonah, told the New Zealand Herald of emotional scenes over the mass deaths. “It’s a pretty sad scene up on the beach where there’s a long line of dead whales,” he said. “One German girl didn’t really want to leave her whale.

Monkey skull ornaments, skewers in cheeks at Borneo parade

SINGKAWANG Hundreds of men and women with metal skewers pierced through their cheeks and wearing costumes adorned with monkey skulls Saturday took part in a colourful parade on Borneo island. As they marched, the people in bright costumes known as “tatungs” - struck themselves with machetes and swords and walked over nails, without apparently suffering any injuries. Some appeared to fall into a trance as they marched to the sound of loud music. The “tatung”, who live around Singkawang on the Indonesian part of Borneo, are believed to possess supernatural powers that means they do not feel pain when hit with sharp weapons and are considered healers. They are a culturally mixed group, and their members include ethnic Chinese and Dayak tribespeople. The “tatung” tradition has been passed down for generations in the area. “I am happy to preserve the culture of my ancestors, while also helping tourism,” said

65 year old Khin Djung, who was taking part in the parade. The event, which involved some 600 “tatung”, was part of extended celebrations to mark Chinese New Year in predominantly ethnic Chinese Singkawang. The festivities, called Cap Go Meh, mark the 15th day of Chinese New Year. Participant Elvi Mutan, 15, showed no signs of pain as a metre (three-feet)-long skewer was stabbed through her cheeks - or hours later when it was removed. Tiny slit marks were visible on her cheeks but she said they would fade in a matter of days. “It doesn’t hurt,” she insisted. The parade attracts thousands of tourists and highlights the kaleidoscope of different cultures found across the sprawling Indonesian archipelago. While 90 percent of Indonesians are Muslim, the country is home to hundreds of different ethnic groups and religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

ROCKVILLE First lady Melania Trump has refiled a libel lawsuit against the corporation that publishes the Daily Mail’s website, this time in New York. Trump had previously filed the lawsuit against Mail Media Inc in Maryland, but a judge earlier this month ruled the case shouldn’t be filed in Maryland and dismissed it. The lawsuit now filed in New York, where the

corporation has offices, seeks compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million. Trump had sued Mail Media Inc along with blogger Webster Tarpley for reporting rumors that she worked as a high-end escort. Trump filed the lawsuit in Maryland after both Tarpley and the Daily Mail issued retractions. The lawsuit against Tarpley has been allowed to move ahead in Maryland.

Snowden’s lawyer says extraMelania Trump re-files Daily dition report is ‘speculation’ Mail lawsuit in New York

Moscow Edward Snowden’s Russian lawyer on Saturday dismissed a US report that Moscow was considering extraditing the NSA whistleblower as a “gift” to President Donald Trump. Anatoly Kucherena, who has represented Snowden since his

arrival in Russia in 2013, told Interfax news agency that “Russia has no legal basis to hand over Snowden.” US channel NBC on Friday quoted a senior US official with access to highly sensitive intelligence reports as saying Russia was considering the move “to curry favour” with

Trump. Snowden’s US lawyer Ben Wizner told NBC that he was not aware of such plans. “All this talk is just ordinary speculation. Someone is indulging in wishful thinking,” Kucherena said, insisting that Snowden “lives in Russia

absolutely lawfully.” The former National Security Agency contractor shook the American intelligence establishment to its core in 2013 with a series of devastating leaks on mass surveillance in the US and around the world. He has been living in exile in Russia since the summer of

2013 after spending weeks in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. Russia’s immigration service in January extended Snowden’s residency permit to 2020. “Russia doesn’t trade in people and human rights, although American secret services constantly try to draw us into various acts of provocation,” Kucherena said. Snowden wrote on Twitter on Friday that the NBC report was “irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel.” “No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next,” wrote Snowden. The US has charged him with espionage and theft of state secrets after he released thousands of classified documents in 2013. Former CIA acting director Michael Morell in an opinion piece in January suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin could hand over Snowden to mark Trump’s inauguration that month. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded by condemning what she called a proposal to “hand over those who seek protection.”

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Sticky, insect-sized drones could act as pollinatos MIAMI Small drones coated with horsehair and a sticky gel could one day help pollinate crops and help offset the costly loss of bee populations worldwide, researchers in Japan. The

miniature robots described in the journal Chem are a long way from being deployed in the field, but researchers say they may offer a partial solution to the loss of bees due to disease and climate change.“The findings, which will have applications for agriculture and robotics, among others, could lead to the development of artificial pollinators and help counter the problems caused by declining honeybee populations,” said lead author Eijiro Miyako, a chemist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) Nanomaterials Research Institute.In 2007, Miyako began experimenting with liquids that could be used as electrical

conductors.One failed attempt produced a sticky gel, like hair wax, which he relegated to a storage cabinet for almost a decade. The gel was rediscovered during a lab cleanup, and its unchanged

nature gave Miyako an idea. He began experimenting with houseflies and ants, applying the gel to them to see if it could help pick up pollen from tulips in a box. It worked.Then he moved to drones, coating them with horsehair to mimic a bee’s fuzzy

coating.He added the gel to their undersides and flew them over pink-leaved Japanese lilies (Lilium japonicum).“The robots absorbed the pollen and then could be flown to a second flower, where the grains were deposited, artificially pollinating the plants and causing them to begin the process of producing seeds,” said the study.The United States recently listed the rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) as an endangered species. Meanwhile, colony collapse disorder continues to spread around the globe, with devastating impact on bee populations.Pollinators contribute some $15 billion to the value of US crop production each year, and they are needed worldwide for one-third of edible crops.Someday, artificial pollinators might be called on to help.“We believe that robotic pollinators could be trained to learn pollination paths using global positioning systems and artificial intelligence,” said Miyako.

WASHINGTON US embassies could ask visa applicants for passwords to their own social media accounts in future background checks, Homeland Security Secretary John Kellysaid on Tuesday. Kelly said the move could come as part of the effort to toughen vetting of visitors to screen out people who could pose a security threat. He said it was one of the things under consideration especially for visitors from seven Muslim majority countries with very weak background screening of their own — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. “We’re looking at some enhanced or some additional screening,” Kelly told a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee. “We may want to get on their social media, with passwords,” he said. “It’s very hard to truly vet these people in these countries, the

seven countries... But if they come in, we want to say, what websites do they visit, and give us your passwords. So we can see what they do on the internet.” “If they don’t want to cooperate, then they don’t come in” to the United States, he said. Kelly stressed that no decision had been made on this, but said tighter screening was definitely in the future, even if it means longer delays for awarding US visas to visitors. “These are the things we are thinking about,” he said. “But over there we can ask them for this kind of information and if they truly want to come to America, then they will cooperate. If not, next in line.” The seven countries were targeted in presidentDonald Trump‘s January 27 immigrant and refugee ban order, which has sense been at least temporarily blocked under court order.

of finance, brokers “scrape” data from online and other sources in new ways to make decisions on credit or insurance. This too often amplifies prejudice against the disadvantaged, O’Neil argues.

knowledge. “These computational systems can infer all sorts of things about you from your digital crumbs,” Tufekci said in a recent TED lecture.“They can infer your

Her findings were echoed in a White House report last year warning that algorithmic systems “are not infallible - they rely on the imperfect inputs, logic, probability, and people who design them.”The report noted that data systems can ideally help weed out human bias but warned against algorithms “systematically disadvantaging certain groups.”Zeynep Tufekci, a University of North Carolina professor who studies technology and society, said automated decisions are often based on data collected about people, sometimes without their

sexual orientation, your personality traits, your political leanings. They have predictive power with high levels of accuracy.”Such insights may be useful in certain contexts - such as helping medical professionals diagnose postpartum depression - but unfair in others, she said. Part of the problem, she said, stems from asking computers to answer questions that have no single right answer.“They are subjective, open-ended and value-laden questions, asking who should the company hire, which update from which friend should you be shown, which

convict is more likely to reoffend.” Frank Pasquale, a University of Maryland law professor and author of “The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information,” shares the same concerns. He suggests one way to remedy unfair effects may be to enforce existing laws on consumer protection or deceptive practices. Pasquale points at the European Union’s data protection law, set from next year to create a “right of explanation” when consumers are impacted by an algorithmic decision, as a model that could be expanded.This would “either force transparency or it will stop algorithms from being used in certain contexts,” he said. Alethea Lange, a policy analyst at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said the EU plan “sounds good” but “is really burdensome” and risked proving unworkable in practice. She believes education and discussion may be more important than enforcement in developing fairer algorithms. Lange said her organization worked with Facebook, for example, to modify a muchcriticized formula that allowed advertisers to use “ethnic affinity” in their targeting.

Michelle Obama to come as guest judge on ‘MasterChef Junior’ Los Angeles Former First Lady Michelle Obama is set to appear as a guest judge on on the upcoming season of Gordon Ramsay’s hit show MasterChef Junior. Apart from Michelle, a string of famous chefs and celebrities will act as guest judges in order to

US could ask visa applicants for social media passwords

replace former MasterChef Junior judge Graham Elliot, including Martha Stewart and the Muppets, reported the Los Angeles Times. Last year, Michelle filmed an episode of cooking show “Barefoot Contessa” with host Ina Garten at the White House.

How algorithms run the world WASHINGTON When you browse online for a new pair of shoes, pick a movie to stream on Netflix or apply for a car loan, an algorithm likely has its word to say on the outcome. The complex mathematical formulas are playing a growing role in all walks of life: from detecting skin cancers to suggesting new Facebook friends, deciding who gets a job, how police resources are deployed, who gets insurance at what cost, or who is on a “no fly” list.Algorithms are being used experimentally - to write news articles from raw data, while Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was helped by behavioral marketers who used an algorithm to locate the highest concentrations of “persuadable voters.” But while such automated tools can inject a measure of objectivity into erstwhile subjective decisions, fears are rising over the lack of transparency algorithms can entail, with pressure growing to apply standards of ethics or “accountability.” Data scientist Cathy O’Neil cautions about “blindly trusting” formulas to determine a fair outcome. “Algorithms are not inherently fair, because the person who

builds the model defines success,” she said.O’Neil argues that while some algorithms may be helpful, others can be nefarious. In her 2016 book, “Weapons of Math Destruction,” she cites some troubling examples in the United States: - Public schools in Washington DC in 2010 fired more than 200 teachers - including several wellrespected instructors - based on scores in an algorithmic formula which evaluated performance. - A man diagnosed with bipolar disorder was rejected for employment at seven major retailers after a third-party “personality” test deemed him a high risk based on its algorithmic classification. - Many jurisdictions are using “predictive policing” to shift resources to likely “hot spots.” O’Neill says that depending on how data is fed into the system, this could lead to discovery of more minor crimes and a “feedback loop” which stigmatizes poor communities. - Some courts rely on computerranked formulas to determine jail sentences and parole, which may discriminate against minorities by taking into account “risk” factors such as their neighborhoods and friend or family links to crime.- In the world

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70,000 evacuated in Greece to defuse WWII bomb THESSALONIKI Greek authorities on Saturday began evacuating some 70,000 people in the city of Thessaloniki ahead of an operation to defuse

a bomb from World War II. The bomb, containing nearly 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of explosives, was unearthed in the northern city during road works last week and is due to be defused on Sunday. More than 300 disabled people and bedbound patients were set to be the first evacuated on Saturday using 20 ambulances, authorities from Greece’s second city said. The full evacuation of all residents within a 1.9-kilometre (1.1-mile) radius of the bomb site, affecting three working-class neighbourhoods around west of

the city-centre, is due to be completed before 0800 GMT on Sunday. Evacuation is “obligatory”, regional security chief Apostolos

Tzitzikostas told reporters Friday.The operation is unprecedented in Greece, “where a bomb of this size has never been found in an area this densely populated,” Tzitzikostas added.Regional authorities said the entire operation would take up to eight hours, but local military spokesman Colonel Nikos Phanios was more cautious.“We don’t know what we’re going to find,” he told AFP. Defusing the bomb and then moving it to a military shooting range “could take us up to two days”, he added. It is not yet known which side in

Muslim woman denied teaching job for wearing Hijab wins discrimination case in Germany

Berlin A Muslim woman in Germany has been awarded nearly 9,000 euros in compensation after a court ruled that Berlin city discriminated against her by denying her a teaching job due to the headscarf she wears. The Muslim woman won an appeal before a BerlinBrandenburg court yesterday in a case over her rejection for a teaching job at a Berlin elementary school. Head judge Renate Schaude was quoted by The Local as saying that the woman had been discriminated against and because her wearing a headscarf posed no danger to school peace, the discrimination against her was illegal. She was therefore awarded 8,680 euros in compensation. She had lost her initial case last

year as the Berlin school argued neutrality rules meant no one could wear religious symbols in schools. But in 2015, Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled that general bans on state school teachers wearing headscarves were unconstitutional -- unless headscarves were found to “constitute a sufficiently specific danger of impairing the peace at school or the state’s duty of neutrality”. After this major ruling, some states had to revise their regulations -- also because they gave preferential treatment to Christian symbols. But the Berlin-Brandenburg court ruled that Berlin’s neutrality rules were still constitutional. This law states that police, teachers, and justice workers may not wear any religious apparel.

the war dropped the bomb or when it fell, Phanios said. A thousand police officers have been mobilised for the operation, with residents given several days’ warning via the media, leaflets and posts on social networks. Thessaloniki residents were facing disruption on the bus and train networks, with facilities set up to host evacuees in need of shelter. People living in a nearby refugee camp will also have to be evacuated, the migration ministry said, without specifying the number affected. At their request, the refugees will use the evacuation as an opportunity to visit the local archaeology museum, the ministry added. Seven decades after the end of World War II, unexploded bombs from the conflict are still being found around the globe. On January 23 dozens of people were evacuated after a bomb was found near a Hong Kong university, while three days before that Britain’s navy disposed of a suspected World War II bomb found close to the parliament in London. In the German city of Augsburg, 54,000 people had an unwelcome Christmas surprise on December 25 when they had to leave their homes while authorities dealt with a bomb dropped by Britain during the war.

Just fat? Doctor removes 130pound tumor from Mississippi man

BAKERSFIELD, California A California doctor removed a 130-pound tumor from a Mississippi man who had been told by other physicians that he was just fat. Roger Logan, 57, had the noncancerous growth removed on January 31 atBakersfield Memorial Hospital, where he will remain for another week or so before returning to Gulfport, Mississippi. The tumor probably started as an ingrown hair that became infected, swelled and developed its own blood supply, Logan’s surgeon, Dr Vipul Dev, told the Bakersfield Californian. It sprouted from his lower abdomen more than a decade ago.Doctors told him: “You’re just fat, it’s just fat,” Logan told KERO-TV in Bakersfield. The tumor grew so massive that it hung to the floor when he sat.

“I used to equate it, you just put a strap around your neck and carry three bags of cement around with you all day long, just swinging,” Logan said. Virtually unable to move, he spent most of his time in a recliner in one room of his home. By the time the tumor reached 130 to 140 pounds, doctors told Logan it was too risky for him to have surgery, giving him only a 50 percent chance of surviving it. But his wife, Kitty, scoured the country for specialists to perform the operation and found Dev, who had performed similar surgeries. “She just kept pushing,” Logan told the Californian. “She wouldn’t let me quit.” Logan finally made the 2,000mile, 40-hour trip to Central California with his chair bolted to the floor of a cargo van, “just like I was in my living room at home,” Logan told the paper.

China villagers ‘beat the Buddha’ for a good harvest LONGYANG Beating a rock statue of Buddha to wish for a good new year and an abundant harvest, villagers in China’s eastern Fujian province have a unique way of worshipping the deity. The religious ceremony held Friday in Yuxi village is one of many in the run-up to the traditional Lantern Festival, which falls on February 11 this year. It is a time for colourful ceremonies in the coastal province, where the Hakka people have maintained folk traditions. Legends about the statue vary, but all agree that the stone represents a local god capable of defending the village against both drought and flood. In preparation for the event, villagers wrapped the centuries-old Buddha technically nothing more than a rock - in red cloth and rinsed it with water, before tightly tying it to a wooden palanquin. Four men who had been on a strictly vegetarian diet for three days attempted to carry it across a nearby river, while another team

of more than a dozen tried to stop them by blocking them with freshly hewn bamboo sticks. Liao Qinhai, who was on the defence side, said he travelled

relented and welcomed the rock Buddha into the village. According to one of the most popular legends, the village suffered flooding for many years

from his home in the eastern city of Xiamen to Yuxi, where he grew up, with his 11-year-old daughter specifically for the event. “We want to wish for a good harvest for our village and I want to show my kid the culture that I grew up with.“Lots of us do business in other places and it’s a good chance to bond with my people.” The mock struggle lasted for hours until the defenders finally

during the Ming Dynasty, which ruled China from 1368 to 1644, and harvests were frequently ruined. At the time, one of the villagers had a dream that a rock hidden in the fields could stop the flooding. They just needed to find it and build a temple to house it near the river.But the rock-turnedBuddha likes to run away, the legend says, and people believe beating it can make it stay.

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Ivanka Trump steps After legal setback, Trump considering down as Murdoch Trustee ‘brand new’ immigration order Washington Blocked by courts, President Donald Trump is considering a “brand new order” to prevent terrorists from entering the United States even though he said he was confident of winning the legal battle over the stalled executive order.

“We will win that battle,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One on way to his Florida resort where he is hosting visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinto Abe and his wife for the weekend. “The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily, but we will win that battle. We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order.”

The president indicated it could come as early as “perhaps Monday or Tuesday”. Asked for details, he replied, “New security measures. We have very, very strong vetting. I call it extreme vetting and we’re going very strong on security. We are going to have people

coming to our country that want to be here for good reason.” An appeals court in San Francisco ruled on Thursday to uphold a lower court’s stay on Trump’s January 29 executive order barring visa-holders from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. ‘Political’ and ‘disgraceful’ Trump, who called the appeals

Obama’s White House photographer trolls US President Donald Trump on Instagram

court ruling “political” and “disgraceful” has essentially three options, according to experts. One, challenge the ruling before a larger bench of the appeals court, the ninth circuit. But, being the most liberal of the circuit courts, the outcome might be no different. Two, appeal to the Supreme Court, which is currently tilting left with four liberal justices to three conservatives; the eighth justice tends to vote either way, making him the swing vote that no group can count on as theirs. Three, Trump could come back with a new order, as he has indicated he is considering, retaining elements from the stalled version and hope for this one to not face the same fate, which is unlikely, as opponents and critics have tasted blood. The order continued to be challenged in court around the country. The order bars citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya from entering the US for 90 days, from the date of issue, and all refugees for 120 days; indefinitely for those from Syria. The administration, which has said the seven-country list could be expanded, plans to use the time to put in place “extreme vetting” measures to keep terrorists “bad dudes”, as the president has called them out of the country. And when the refugee programme resumes, the plan is to reduce the annual intake by more than half.

New York US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka has stepped down as a trustee for a fortune set aside for the daughters of American media mogul Rupert Murdoch, according to a media report. Ivanka, 35, who served for several years as a Murdoch trustee stepped down in December, ‘The New York Times’ quoted a close source as saying. Her role highlights the close ties between President Trump’s family and the family that controls Fox News Channel, The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets, the report said yesterday. The trust for the Murdoch daughters holds some USD 300 million in stock in News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, companies that 85-year-old Murdoch leads and in which he and his family hold

controlling interests. President Trump has been a favourite topic of Murdoch’s New York Post for decades, and in the years before last year’s presidential campaign, he had a regular morning call-in segment on Fox News. During the campaign and since the election, Fox News has covered him far more favourably than its competitors, the report alleged. Murdoch has two daughters, aged 15 and 13, with his former 48-year-old wife Wendi. It was Wendi Murdoch who chose Ivanka as a trustee, the report said, quoting a close source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The two women have long been close, and their friendship has continued since the Murdochs’ 2013 divorce. Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner served as a conduit between the Trump campaign and Murdoch.

Indian-origin US citizen held for smuggling of antiques New Delhi Pete Souza’s term as the chief photographer at White House may have come to an end with Barack Obama’s tenure, but it seems Souza has a few thoughts on how presidents should behave.Souza has taken to his Instagram account to post behind-the-scenes photos taken through Obama’s presidency, offering a subtle commentary on US president Donald Trump’s actions. In just two weeks, his personal account has garnered over 800,000 followers. In one of Souza‘s pictures, Obama is seen laughing with a young school girl who wears a head scarf. This was posted after Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Instagrammers didn’t miss the hidden meaning behind his posts, “Pete we know what u doing, and we love it! ??” commented user arlene_berlian. Another powerful picture shows just the legs of four people. While one wears men’s shoes –

ostensibly Barack Obama – the other three are dressed in long skirts and heels. This was posted after a photo of Trump signing an executive order on abortion, surrounded by an allmale group of advisers, went viral. The post reads “Meeting with top advisors. This is a full-frame picture. I guess you’d say I was trying to make a point.” Throughout the course of his presidency, Barack Obama made a concerted effort to increase the number of women in top roles in the White House. Trump’s cabinet so far, “is more white and male than any first cabinet since Reagan’s”, reported The New York Times. Most photos on Souza’s Instagram suggest that he has turned his account into a politically subversive piece of art. A few days after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled his meeting with Trump, after the latter tweeted that Mexico should pay for the wall, Souza posted a photo of Obama chatting with Nieto over glasses of tequila.

MUMBAI Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on Tuesday arrested an Indian-origin US citizen here after searches at his house and a godown led to discovery of several antique pieces valued at crores of rupees in the international market.“It’s invaluable ... This is a loot of our cultural heritage,” said additional director general, DRI, Ajit Kumar. Vijay Nanda, the accused, did not have any legal documentation which would allow him to possess or deal in antiques, DRI officials said.“The search of his house resulted in discovery of several figurines and stone sculptures. These include terracotta figurines from 1st century AD, bronze figurines of Mahishasur Mardini and Ganesh dating back to 17th and 18th century,” said a DRI official.The officials searched Nanda’s house in Girgaum in south Mumbai and his godown in Byculla in central Mumbai.Large stone statues of ‘Varada Ganesha’, ‘Padmapani’, ‘Awalokateshwara’, ‘Standing Vishnu’ and figurines of ‘Naga and Nagini’ were found packed in crates at the godown. They seemed to be stolen from various temples in Eastern and Southern India and belong to the 10th-11th century, DRI officials

said. The officials were also scrutinising the documents regarding several other antique pieces found at Nanda’s house,

garments, DRI officials said. Nanda arranged auctions and sale of antiques in the United States and Hong Kong to private collectors and museums,

suspecting that they too were stolen from museums or were looted from ancient temple sites. Nanda apparently arrived in India a few days ago to make arrangements to smuggle the statues stored in the crates. His business associate Udit Jain has been arrested by DRI in Chennai for smuggling of antiques. Jain was part of ‘Deendayalan smuggling syndicate’, according to officials.To legitimise the stolen antiques, ASI certificates were either forged, or certificates were obtained by providing false information and documents. The antiques were smuggled out of India concealed in consignments of furniture, handicraft or

officials added. “Gupta-era gold coins, post-Mauryan terracotta figurines, Rajputana swords and daggers, Chola bronzes and Tibetan Buddhist statues are among the antiques that have been smuggled by this syndicate in the past, and Nanda is a prime player in the international art smuggling syndicate with extensive connections in the US, Europe and Hong Kong,” said an official. A local court remanded Nanda in judicial custody till February 20 following his arrest. In the recent past, art smuggler Subhash Kapoor, also based in the United States, was extradited to India based on information provided by the DRI.

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A BELIEVER of the old adage that a captain is only as good as his team, Indian skipper Virat Kohli lauded his bowlers for their lion-hearted effort on a flat track against a spirited Bangladesh side. Asked how much has he improved over the 19 Tests that he has captained, Kohli said: “Honestly it is the players that make you the captain that you become. To be very honest, anyone knows how to set fields in the ground, it’s just that you have to make sure that you take up the responsibility of keeping the energy of the team up.” I look to push myself, throw myself around in the field so that other guys know that they also have to push for a wicket. “The bowlers know what they need to do but the fielders within the ring need to support the bowlers. I need to do that first, for the guys to show that energy. I have been able to maintain that and that has been a takeaway from the games that I have been captain so far. Lot of times, you know that there is only so much that you can do as a captain,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference. Talk about the performance of the fast bowlers, Kohli seemed satisfied. “Very good. Credit to our bowlers, they were able to get result on this

kind of a track. Considering that the wicket was very good to bat on, it took a bit of patience for us to get wickets during Bangladesh first innings. I thought Umesh (Yadav), Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and Ishant Sharma were brilliant in the first innings but Umesh stood out,” he said. “In the second innings, all three bowled really well but Ishant stood out. I have said in the postmatch that quality of our spinners allows our fast bowlers to attack because of the way spinners bowl and contain runs, the pacers can really attack as soon as it starts reverse swinging.” “I thought today Ishant’s spell was really good, he bowled with pace and had to put in effort to take wickets at that stage and he took both the set batsmen out. That was really good for us,” he added. Talking about his 19-match unbeaten streak as a captain, Kohli said: “I don’t think it’s because of me. I mean everyone at the international level wants to do well. We are playing as a team and that’s been the difference in this team, if you see, you can say probably 2016, I scored a lot of runs but before that in 2015 as well, we won a lot of matches. I didn’t score many runs but the other guys

‘Ashwin thinks like a batsman’

stepped up and scored runs.” “Ajinkya’s two tons in Delhi (vs South Africa) and second innings hundred in Sri Lanka, so there are quite a few instances, where all the members of the team have stepped up at some stage or the other. And that’s why we stand where we are and having that streak is not down to 2-3 people, it is a combined effort of all the guys.” India have had exponents of reverse swing like Zaheer Khan but never have they had four fast bowlers who can all reverse the ball consistently. “See Shami, Ishant and Umesh we all know that they have done it with the old ball, lot of times. I think with way Bhuvi has bowled is because of his fitness levels having increased, having more strength in body to put more pace behind the ball which is key for reverse swing,” Kohli said.

CHETESHWAR Pujara feels that what makes Ravichandran Ashwin such a cerebral bowler is the fact that he thinks like a batsman and is expected to play a key role with cracks in the pitch opening up and increase in the turn on offer. Ashwin, who completed a milestone of fastest 250 Test wickets bowled much better in the second innings which Pujara attributed to a different role of a restrictive bowler that he essayed in the first innings of Bangladesh. “Probably, he (Ashwin) is the toughest spinner when it comes to any opposition team. The teams now plan on how they are going to face Ashwin. I would like to congratulate him for reaching 250 wickets. The kind of brain he has, he thinks as a batsman, what are his weaknesses and areas he needs to bowl. I think its his experience that makes him one of the strike bowlers in this team,” Pujara said after stumps on day four of the one-off Test in Hyderabad. In the first innings, Ashwin went for nearly 100 runs getting two wickets but Pujara said that he was given a restrictive role. “He (Ashwin) understands that there are situations where he has to bowl tightly. If you look at first innings, he tried his best. He bowled to a plan. There might be some occasions, he cant get wickets. But thats the best part about this Indian team. We bowl as a unit, we bowl in partnerships, most of the times. Ashwin is the one who takes wickets and Jadeja plays the role of a holding batsman. Sometimes Ashwin has to play the role of holding the batsman and he did that in the first innings.” Pujara said that the wicket is now offering turn which they expected from third day onwards. “I think the ball has started turning now. The wicket is slightly on the slower side but

it has opened up and there should be more assistance for spinners tomorrow. We had expected the ball to turn from day three and it started turning little more from fourth compared to third day. Lot of credit goes to the bowlers. It wasnt an easy wicket where you can run through the sides. You needed a lot of patience. They (bowlers) had to work hard to get them out.” Pujara expects that the last seven Bangladesh wickets will be taken in next couple of sessions. “We are hopeful that we will get those seven wickets as early as possible. They batted well in first innings, but it was difficult conditions for our bowlers, I dont want to criticise our bowlers. We are hopeful we will get seven wickets in next couple of sessions.” Being dubbed as a ‘Test specialist’ at times can be a bane rather than a boon and no one understands it better than Pujara, who feels that the perception of people would change soon. Unsold at the last auction, Pujara, who scored a quickfire half-century in the second innings and at times was more aggressive than skipper Virat Kohli, said that he now has more shots in his armoury which has helped him change his game in limited overs format. With IPL auctions slated next Monday, Pujara said: “I am very hopeful that perception (Test player) will change.

BANGLA CAPTAIN DRAWS POSITIVES DISAPPOINTED at not being able to save the one-off Test against India on a flat wicket, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said his team could have done it if it had even one batsman of Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s calibre. Mushfiqur was asked if he agreed with Kohli’s notion that basic batting technique would have saved the visitors from a defeat, Mushfiqur sarcastically replied: “If you had basic technique like Virat Kohli (has), then you would have scored at

an average of 50 plus in Test matches. Then you won’t be needing even seven batsmen on the final day to save a match. Four would have been enough for a draw.” “Unfortunately, we don’t have a Virat Kohli in our team,” the visiting captain said. One of the positives for Mushfiqur was that Bangladesh stretched the game into Day 5. “It’s also a rarity that we stretched the game into Day 5 trying to save the match. We have had matches where we have lost in three and

half or four days. It was a learning curve for me as well. Feeling bad but got self belief,” he concluded. Asked about reports that he would be stripped off captaincy, Mushfiqur made it clear that he would neither quit captaincy nor wicket-keeping as he has a batting average of 34. “My average is not more than 34 or 33. So, how can I be No. 1 batsman of Bangladesh. If you are entrusted with 2 or 3 roles, that means management has shown faith in you. So I need to

deliver in all three departments really well. If I am not doing well, that’s upto the Board to take a call on my future,” he said. “At the moment, I am enjoying what I am doing as I love to spend time in the middle. The way you can do your job is to spend time in the middle rather than dressing room. There are people, who are sitting outside (BCB officials), they can take a decision but as far as I am concerned, I am happy to do all three,” Mushfiqur said.

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OBAMA-FAME OFFICER KEEPS HOME FORNOW Military court stays govt eviction order against Wing Cdr Thakur, who is fighting for longer service

ONCE the poster girl for rising woman power in the Indian armed forces, Wing Commander Pooja Thakur has been struggling to hold on to her government accommodation even while her battle for permanent commission into Indian Air Force carries on simultaneously. Thakur, who turned heads by leading the guard of honour for former US president Barack Obama in January 2015, was served a notice to vacate her government accommodation in southwest Delhi but managed to secure a stay order on the eviction last Monday. “The eviction proceedings taken against the officer shall be kept in abeyance and she should be allowed to continue in her present accommodation on usual terms till the disposal of her case (seeking reinstatement into services),” an Armed Forces Tribunal bench headed by Justice Babu Mathew said. IAF officials,

who did not wish to be named, said the force had no role in the eviction notice as Thakur’s accommodation came under central government pool. The officials said as per the rule, IAF officers are supposed to vacate their houses after retirement and due process must have been followed by the authorities concerned at the ministry of defence. The military court has asked defence ministry’s joint secretary (training) and chief administrative officer for taking necessary action and implementing its order. Defence ministry officials declined comment, saying they were not aware of the details of the case. While Thakur and her counsel declined to speak to MAIL TODAY in relation to the

judgment or eviction notice as the matter is sub-judice, sources in the IAF said the officer was allotted a government accommodation from the air force quota in New Delhi’s Dwarka residential cluster. In September, 2016, soon after her short service commission tenure ended, Thakur was served an eviction notice. The officer approached the tribunal, where her counsel Major S S Pandey contended that she be allowed to retain her house till her case for getting reinstated into the force was decided. The military court ruled in her favour and ordered the government to stay the eviction process. Thakur, arguably the most widely known face in the Air Force due to the famous 2015 event, is engaged in a legal battle with IAF since July 2016 against denial of a permanent commission like her other counterparts. Permanent commission allows a woman officer get an opportunity to rise to the rank of lieutenant general and retire at 60 with full benefits

that the men officers get. The officer in her petition stated that the IAF decision was “biased, discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable”. Over a month after filing the case, Thakur’s tenure came to an end and she retired with her case still pending for final decision. The IAF stand in the court was that Thakur had rejected to be absorbed earlier and cannot be given a choice again. This has been challenged

by her counsel, who said, “At that time, her personal situation was such that she could not decide and that is why she requested the Air Force to change her option. They denied it to her and that is why we have filed a petition.” Stressing that Thakur was entitled to a permanent commission, her counsel submitted: “The Air Force has on the basis of a policy stated that she is not entitled for permanent commission. The policy is their own local policy as the government did not give any decision about it. They did not offer her permanent commission in 2006 which they should have, but when the High Court passed the order in 2010 they offered her the same.” Thakur was the first woman officer to lead an InterService Guard of Honour when Obama visited India as the chief guest for the 2015 Republic Day parade.

Hundreds of whales die on NZ beach HUNDREDS of whales stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand’s South Island have died, while rescuers are working to refloat more than one hundred more. Whale rescue organisation Project Jonah said in a Facebook post that there were 416 pilot whales stranded on Farewell Spit, and that 75 per cent had died overnight. “Efforts this morning will be focused on refloating the remaining live whales at high tide,” the organisation wrote on Friday. Together with the Department of Conservation, Project Jonah was calling helpers to the northern end of Golden Bay on the island’s west coast to help refloat the surviving whales. A team of up to 30 trained whale medics were headed to the stranding. Volunteers from around the country also scrambled to get to the beach 90 kilometres south west of Nelson. It is the biggest whale stranding in New Zealand in recent times. In February 2015, 200 pilot whales were stranded in the same area, New Zealand’s most notorious ‘whale trap’.

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Health Successful heart surgery performed on HIV patient for the first time in China!

New Delhi In a first for the country, China was witness to a successful heart surgery performed on an HIV patient. Surgery was the only solution for the the 58-year-old male patient, who was suffering from a cardiac aortic valve calcification problem.

“It was China’s first successful heart surgery on an HIV-positive patient,” said Lu Hongzhou, director of the Shanghai Center for AIDS Diagnosis and Treatment. Sun Xiaoning, a surgeon with Zhongshan Hospital under Fudan University, said after the surgery on January 6, the

patient was transferred so that HIV-related complications could be treated. “There is an occupational risk when operating on HIV-positive patients. Our team was not afraid, it was our obligation,” Sun was quoted as saying by state run Xinhua news agency. Zhu Tongyu, director of the Shanghai Public Health Clinic Centre, said people living with HIV/AIDS are often rejected by hospitals for surgery. The centre’s AIDS Diagnosis and Treatment Centre has dedicated itself to addressing this difficulty for the past seven years. It was with the help of the centre that the patient was admitted by the hospital. The centre has helped AIDS patients get surgery ranging from orthopaedics, neurosurgery, oncology to ophthalmology.

Here comes an easy way to battle asthma, allergies

New Delhi Researchers cliam that consumption of fish oil, which is considered rish source of omega 3 fatty acids may benefit patients with diseases such as asthma.The findings, led by researchers at University of Rochester in New York, found that omega-3 fatty acid products can reduce the production of IgE — the antibodies that cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in people with milder cases of asthma. Once ingested, the omega 3 fatty acids convert to special pro-resolving mediators that halt inflammation without

suppressing the immune system. However, in patients with severe asthma who use high doses of oral steroids, the omega-3 fatty acids were found less effective because the corticosteroids block the beneficial effects. Previous studies have shown that certain fatty acids contained in fish oil regulate the function of B cells.For the new study, published in the journal JCI Insight, the team collected blood from 17 patients and isolated their B immune cells in the laboratory to explore the impact of pure omega-3-derived products on IgE and other molecules that fuel the disease.

Aggression and autism have this This recreational drug may thing in common – Know what! New Delhi According to US researchers, a new study has found a connection between aggression and autism. The smaller the brain stem, the greater the likelihood of aggression in children, with autism. According to researchers from Brigham Young University in the US, there is an inverse correlation between aggression and brain stem volume in children with autism and the study will provide clues into the link between aggression and autism that will eventually lead to more effective intervention. The finding is significant because “the brain stem is really involved in autonomic activities breathing, heart rate, staying awake - so this

accelerate ageing of heart

is evidence that there`s something core and basic, this connection between aggression and autism,” said study author Kevin Stephenson. They examined MRI images from two groups of children with autism - one that exhibited problematic levels of aggression and other that did not.”Identifying the brain stem as having at least a

partial involvement in aggression helps to lay a foundation for better treatment,” said another researcher Terisa Gabrielsen. “If we know what part of the brain is different and what function that part of the brain controls, that can give us some clues into what we can do in the way of intervention,” Gabrielsen stated.

New Delhi Recreational drug amphetamine popularly known as speed, ice, and ecstasy can possibly accelerate the ageing of heart. As per the research, amphetamine is a stimulant and is associated with cardiovascular system effects, including speeding up the heart rate, sharply increasing blood pressure and boosting the risk of stroke, heart attack and aneurysm rupture. Long term use of amphetamine sends the sympathetic nervous system and production of the ‘fight or flight‘ hormone adrenaline into overdrive, the study said. The researchers found that the effects amphetamine were seen in both men and women and irrespective of

other potential risk factors for heart disease and stroke. “The study implies that recurrent habitual amphetamine abuse ages the cardiovasculature and likely the whole organism generally. It is therefore conceivable that stimulant abusers do physiological and

cardiovascular harm,” said Albert Stuart Reece, associate professor at University of Western Australia.However, “it`s not clear if this damage is reversible either, they add, suggesting that their findings add even greater impetus to the need to tackle the “global stimulant epidemic,” Reece added.

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Teens using e-cigs are more likely to smoke cigarettes New four-in-one pill found to treat hypertension New Delhi Scientists have found a new low dose of four-inone pill which can be quite helpful in treating hypertension patients. Every patient on the pilot trial conducted by The George Institute for Global Health in Australia saw their blood levels drop to normal levels in just four weeks. Recognising the need to check whether trial results were “too good to be true”, the researchers also completed a systematic review of past trials, including 36 trials with 47,500 patients testing

single and dual quarterdose therapy. This previous evidence also indicated little or no side effects with very low doses, and important benefits with three or four drug combinations. Professor Clara Chow, of The George Institute, said the results were exciting but larger trials were still needed to see if these high rates could be maintained and repeated diseases hiding in plain sight. This ultimately means we will be able to deliver life changing medications much more quickly, and more affordably,” Chow said.

London In a shocking revelation, a study warns that teenagers aged between 17 and 18 who use ecigarettes, a practice referred as vaping, in high school are four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes a year later. According to researchers, vaping is a “one-way bridge” to cigarette smoking for teenagers in the study published in journal Tobacco Control. “This paper just shows that teenagers who try cigarettes are more likely to also try e-cigarettes (and the other way round) compared to teenagers who do not do such things. This is trivial,” said Peter Hajek from Queen Mary University of London. They examined whether vaping was a predictor of future cigarette smoking among 17 and 18-yearolds.They examined 350 teens from a larger survey

of 122 schools around the country. The participants were first surveyed on their smoking and vaping habits in 12th grade and then surveyed them again one year later. Among teens who said they vaped in the 12th grade but had never tried a tobacco cigarette, 31 percent went on to try tobacco cigarettes in the next year, the study found. In contrast, among teens

who had not vaped or smoked tobacco cigarettes in the 12th grade, just seven percent went on to try tobacco cigarettes in the next year, the survey revealed. “These results contribute to the growing body of evidence supporting vaping as a one-way bridge to cigarette smoking among youth,” the authors said. “This article is the latest American study to claim

that using an e-cigarette can lead to tobacco smoking in teenagers - in fact the authors go as far as to describe it as a `one way bridge` to smoking,” said Linda Bauld from the University of Stirling in UK. “While we don`t want to encourage that, the key public health priority is to prevent young people from starting to smoke, a habit that eventually kills one in two regular smokers.

Lung cancer: Know these common signs and symptoms of the disease

Eat these foods to keep your uterus healthy! New Delhi Uterus is a major hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ in a woman’s body. It is very important to keep the female reproductive organ healthy, if you want to have babies. And for that one needs to eat a balanced diet and right foods to have a healthy uterus. Here are some foods which should be included in diet for healthy uterus: Nuts Start consuming lots of nuts such as almonds, flaxseeds and cashew nuts as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and good cholesterol which help in eliminating fibroids and also prevent uterine

cancer. Vegetables One should consume lots of vegetables in their daily diet as they are a great source of calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamins. And vegetables are rich in phytoestrogens which have the ability to compete with the body’s estrogen. It also helps to bring down the estrogen levels which halts the growth of tumor in the uterus. Fruits Being a rich source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, consuming lots of fruits can help in impeding the growth of fibroids in your uterus. They can also help

normalize the estrogen levels. Bioflavonoids also prevent ovarian cancer and help in keeping your reproductive system healthy. Green veggies Include lots of greens veggies such as kale, spinach, collard greens and stinging nettles in your diet as they help to maintain the alkaline balance of your uterus. Dairy products Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, milk and butter are rich in calcium and vitamin D which is essential for uterine health. Though calcium helps to keep our bones healthy, but vitamin D also plays a vital role in keeping the uterine fibroids away.

New Delhi Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer among aged adults. Smoking is one of the main causes of this disease, but those who have never smoked can also develop this deadly disease. This disease doesn’t shows any signs and symptoms in its early stages and may take years to develop. Here are some common signs and symptoms of the disease which we all

should be aware of : Severe cough which gets worst Coughing up blood or rustcolored sputum, spit or phlegm. Difficulty in breathing Loss of appetite Weight loss Feeling tired or weak Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away New onset of wheezing Common symptoms that usually occur in the later stages of lung cancer: Bone pain like pain in the back or hips.

Nervous symptoms like headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures, from cancer spread to the brain or spinal cord. Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) when the cancer spread to the liver. So, it is advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you notice any of the signs of lung cancer as an early diagnosis and prompt treatment can make a world of difference to the prognosis.

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Turkey Lentil Chili

Ingredients: 2 cups dry lentils 2 quarts vegetable broth 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 large onion, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 1 pound turkey sausage 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded,

and chopped 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes sea salt to taste 1 (8 ounce) container plain lowfat yogurt 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

for garnish Directions: Bring lentils and vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over mediumhigh heat. Stir in the garlic, onion, celery, and sausage; cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, thyme, and red pepper flakes; cook 5 minutes more. Stir the sausage mixture into the simmering lentils. Continue simmering until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Garnish each serving with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped parsley to serve.

Pumpernickel Rye Bread Ingredients: 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses 1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour 1 cup rye flour 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons dry milk powder 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tablespoon caraway seed 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast Directions: Place ingredients into the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select Whole Wheat

Ingredients: 2 pounds new potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons cumin seed 2 teaspoons ground turmeric 2 teaspoons curry powder 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions: Place whole potatoes into a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until just tender. Drain, and cut potatoes into quarters. Set aside to keep warm. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the cumin, turmeric, and curry powder for 1 minute. Add potatoes, and saute until toasted. Toss potatoes with sea salt, pepper and fresh cilantro, and serve hot.

Elk Chili cycle, and Start. After the first rise, remove dough from the machine. Shape, and place into a lightly oiled 9x5-inch loaf pan. Cover, and let rise for 1 hour.

Bake at 350 degrees C (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

One Pot Pinto Beans

Ingredients: 6 1/4 cups water 1 cup condensed chicken broth 2 pounds dried pinto beans 5 cloves cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 red onion, chopped 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, or to taste salt, or to taste 1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese (optional) 1 (16 ounce) container pico de gallo (optional) Directions: Combine water, con-

Curried Cumin Potatoes

densed chicken broth, beans, garlic, onion, and crushed red pepper flakes into a large saucepan; season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer; cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft, about 3 1/2 hours. You may need to add additional water to keep the beans from drying out. Mash cooked beans with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in mozzarella and pico de gallo before serving.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 pounds ground elk meat 2 large yellow onions, diced 2 (10 ounce) cans tomato sauce 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italianstyle stewed tomatoes 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles (optional) 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 cup brown sugar Directions: In a large deep skillet over medium heat, cook the ground elk with the onion until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease. Pour the tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, kidney beans and green chilies into the skillet with the meat, and stir to blend. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano and brown sugar. Cover, and simmer over low heat for at least one hour.

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The Contact Epaper 14 Feb, 20 Feb 2017