TURA, Aug 29: For the first time ever, a Garo song has become a rage in the music world after its airing on the MTV Indies channel, becoming the first ever to feature in any national channel of music. The song by Mikhail Marak speaks for peace, a thought that has bled many hearts of the region.
The song was first aired on August 26, 2015 and is presently playing at 8 A.M., 12 noon and 7 P.M. daily on the channel and has left the creator of the song and its video ‘Jakgitel – a prayer for peace’ very proud.
New Delhi: Rising temperatures due to climate change will increase the spread of deadly vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue especially in the Himalayan region, experts said here on Friday while emphasising there was an urgent need to “strengthen” the country’s health infrastructure.
Speaking at a conference on “Climate change and health risks” organised by the French Embassy in partnership with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water in the lead-up to the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), Ramesh Dhiman, scientist at the National Institute of Malaria Research, said the Himalayan region will be the worst affected by such diseases. “Places like Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand will have the problem of transmission (of vector-borne diseases) by 2032 and the Himalayan region will be the most hit as the rise in temperature will make breeding of mosquitoes easy at higher regions,” Dhiman said.
Dhiman said there was a need to “strengthen” the country’s health infrastructure and reach out to people living in far flung areas of the country.
“We need dedicated health workers who will have to visit each and every corner of the country as surveillance is the crux of the issue,” Dhiman told IANS.
Adding to the menace would be the hazards of heat waves which in 2015 killed over 2,000 people in India alone, said Dileep Mavalankar, Director of Gandhinagar-based Indian Institute of Public Health.
Noting that “pursuit of high growth” will ultimately lead to death, B.N. Satpathy, consultant, NITI Ayog said the government had laid down a low carbon energy growth path.
“The GDP may not be as high as expected but the carbon emissions will be low,” Satpathy said, adding that climate change affects the social eco-system and that nine coastal states in India were the most vulnerable to effects of climate change. According to WHO, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths between 2030 and 2050; 38,000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48,000 due to diarrhea, 6,000 due to malaria and 95,000 due to childhood nutrition problems. (IANS)
Kolkata: High drama was witnessed on Friday in the BCCI’s crucial Working Committee meeting over the presence of N Srinivasan, prompting the President Jagmohan Dalmiya to adjourn the meeting sine die over lack of legal clarity on the sidelined former chief’s status.
“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Working Committee meeting was adjourned sine die after deciding to seek the opinion of the Hon’ble Supreme Court whether Mr. N. Srinivasan could attend the meetings of the BCCI as the authorised representative of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association,” BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur said in a brief statement.
The working committee was to discuss the report of the four-member working group on the roadmap for conducting the IPL in the wake of the two-year suspension of two franchises — Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals — by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice RM Lodha committee.
The meeting was postponed as the members argued over the presence of Srinivasan, who was earlier barred by the Supreme Court from contesting the BCCI President’s post following the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
In his defence, Srinivasan, who attended the meeting as President of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, placed Justice Sri Krishna’s opinion which said he was entitled to attend the meeting, an official who attended the meeting said.
But some BCCI members countered that argument and claimed that the Supreme Court had made it clear that he should stay away from BCCI meetings.
“Since there was no clarity on the legal status of Mr Srinivsan, President adjourned the meeting after the BCCI legal adviser Ushanath Banerjee also said that he was not sure about Srinivasan’s legal standing as of now,” the official said.
The official said that Srinivasan was specifically told not to attend the meeting and among those who tried to dissuade him were IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla and BCCI Treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary. However, the Chennai strongman did not give in and attended the meeting.
Srinivasan tried explaining his stance to the BCCI members by insisting that there was no conflict of interest in his position as an administrator and as owner of Indian Cements — the company which owned CSK. The BCCI, it is learnt, has decided to call an emergency working committee meeting in the first week of September to finalise the date of its Annual General Meeting, which is likely to be held in Kolkata on September 27.
The working committee was to discuss the Justice Lodha Committee report and the subsequent recommendations of the Working Group.
The meeting was also set to deliberate on the the Madras High Court order directing the BCCI, India Cements and others involved to submit their counter affidavits to the petition which has been filed by CSK Ltd.
The High Court has directed the parties to file their written submissions within a certain time period and the next hearing has been scheduled for September 23.
The two-time champions CSK had moved the Madras HC challenging the suspension. The first bench of the High Court had found the petition maintainable and issued notice to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Other key points on the agenda were the NCA committee recommendations on whether to keep the apex academy in Bangalore, discuss affiliation status of Chattisgarh, Bihar and Manipur and the technical committee recommendation among others.
Appointment of India’s next coach was not on the agenda but the working committee was to ask the Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman to finalise the name.
On Thursday, the IPL Governing Council had recommended Having two news teams for the next two editions of Indian Premier League in place of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
Ushanath Banerjee later told reporters that the matter of Srinivasan’s representation in the BCCI would be dealt with after legal consultation.
“The Board has taken the opinion of two former judges who were of the view that attendance of Srinivasan may invite contempt of court. So, on the ground of conflict of interest, the meeting was adjourned sine die,” he said.
“TNCA also obtained opinion of the former SC judge who said Srinivasan can attend the meeting. So to obtain the clarification on the honourable SC’s order, the Board decided to adjourn the meeting.
“The next meeting of the working group will be decided by the Supreme Court and the AGM will be held tentatively on September 27,” he added. (PTI)
SCA general body meeting on September 19
Shilllong: The General Body Meeting of the Shillong Cricket Association will be held on the September 19 at 2 pm at Arts and Culture Hall of U Soso Tham Auditorium. Two representatives of affiliated clubs are invited to attend the meeting. Nomination forms are available at the office of the SCA and the last date of receipt is September 5. Last date of withdrawal of nomination is September 10. Results will be declared if elected unopposed during the meeting on September 19.
CFL: Mohun Bagan beat Tollygunge Agragami 3-1
Kolkata: Mohun Bagan returned to their winning ways by finishing 3-1 result against Tollygunge Agragami in the Calcutta Football League premier division here on Friday. Bagan led 3-0 at the breather. Nigerian forward Dudu Omagbemi scored a brace while Lalkamal Bhowmick slotted once for the city football giants. Dudu’s compatriot Oluwaunmi Somide Adelja pulled one back in the second session. (IANS)
Eriksen to miss Tottenham’s EPL clash with Everton
London: Midfielder Christian Eriksen is yet to recover from a knee injury and has been ruled out of Tottenham Hotspur’s English Premier League (EPL) football tournament’s home match against Everton on Saturday. The Danish international missed last week’s 1-1 draw against club Leicester City and head coach Mauricio Pochettino on Thursday said that same problem is set to keep the 23-year-old out of Saturday’s match. “Christian Eriksen is still out and we need to assess some players,” Tottenham head coach Mauricio told the club’s website on Thursday. There is better news on English winger Andros Townsend, however, as the winger has rejoined the squad in training after shoulder and ankle problems kept him out of Tottenham’s first three games of the season. “Andros Townsend is in the group again and may be available to be in the squad, but after that there are no big issues or problems,” Pochettino added. (IANS)
Former Zimbabwe cricketer Taylor found sleeping in car
Nottingham: Former Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor, who quit playing international cricket to play English county cricket, was found sleeping in an unlocked car by local police here on Friday. Taylor was partying on Thursday night as his side Nottinghamshire progressed to the semi-finals of the Royal London Cup and then he landed up in the car. He was woken by police after a Nottingham man opened his unlocked car to find him sleeping off a long night, reports ESPNcricinfo. Taylor had taken shelter in the car having lost his bearings several hours after Nottinghamshire’s quarter-final victory against Durham. Nottinghamshire have yet to make a statement on the incident. (IANS)
England batsman Bell not ready to retire
London: England right-handed batsman Ian Bell on Friday said he still has the “hunger and desire” to play top-flight cricket. Bell, 33, hinted he could quit cricket after winning the Ashes last week for the fifth time. But he has had a word with coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Alastair Cook and now is ready to play again. “I was as honest as I could be. Deep down I probably knew I wasn’t ready to call time on my Test career,” Bell was quoted as saying by BBC. Bell has featured in 115 Tests scoring 7,569 runs at an average of 43 with 22 centuries. He managed only 215 runs at an average of 26.87 in the recently concluded five Ashes Tests against Australia. (IANS)
Indian shuttler Verma loses in Vietnam Open GP
Ho Chi Minh City: The Indian challenge came to an end at the $50,000 Vietnam Open Grand Prix as shuttler Sameer Verma lost his mens’s singles quarter-final to South Korean second seed Lee Hyun Il here on Friday. The Korean took just 42 minutes to beat Verma 21-15, 24-22 at the Nguyen Du Stadium. (IANS)
Chelsea make offer for China defender Zhang report
Undated: Chelsea have made an offer for China and Guangzhou Evergrande defender Zhang Linpeng, Chinese media reported on Friday. The Premier League champions sent a contract on Wednesday and hope to secure the 26-year-old right back before the summer transfer window closes on September 1, Titan said. “I’m very happy and very excited to finally have this formal invitation,” the newspaper quoted Zhang as saying. “I’ve worked hard and waited these five-six years for my dream of playing overseas, and finally have recognition from the English Premier League.” Zhang and the clubs were working through the terms of his transfer, Titan said, which was likely to be a loan deal. Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou were not contactable to verify the report. Chelsea have endured a sketchy start to their English title defence, shipping an unusually high seven goals in their first three matches. (Reuters)
Mayweather relaxed about retirement
Las Vegas: Professional boxing star Floyd Mayweather insists that he has “no second thoughts” about his retirement. He will hang up his gloves following his upcoming clash with Andre Berto. The 38-year-old American will move to 49-0 if he beats his compatriot Berto in Las Vegas on September 12. But despite widespread speculation that he will fight again in an attempt to better Rocky Marciano’s record (49-0), Mayweather said he is looking forward to retirement. “Nobody knows what the future holds, but right now, I’m cool and comfortable and having no second thoughts at all about retirement,” Mayweather was quoted as saying by skysports.com on Thursday. “I had a good career, I won every world title, but boxing is wear and tear on the body. It’s time to hang ’em up. I’m looking forward to working with some up-and-coming kids, going on walks, and taking vacations.” (IANS)
200 feared dead till now
TRIPOLI: A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast and officials said up to 200 might have died.
A security official in the western town of Zuwara, from where the overcrowded boat had set off, said there had around 400 people on board. Many appeared to have been trapped in the hold when it capsized.
By late in the evening, the Libyan coast guard rescued around 201, of which 147 were brought to a detention facility for illegal migrants in Sabratha, west of Tripoli, the official said yesterday, asking not to be named.
Another local official and a journalist based in Zuwara confirmed the sinking but also had no information on casualties.
The migrants on board had been from sub-Saharan Africa, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco and Bangladesh, the security official said.
The Italian coast guard, which has been coordinating rescue operations with the European Union off the Libyan coast, could not immediately confirm a sinking.
Libya’s coast guard has very limited capabilities, relying on small inflatables, tug boats and fishing vessels. Zuwara, Libya’s most western town located near the Tunisian border, is a major launchpad for smugglers shipping migrants to Italy.
Libya has turned into a transit route for migrants fleeing conflict and poverty to make it to Europe. Cross-border smuggler networks exploit the country’s lawlessness and chaos to bring Syrians into Libya via Egypt or nationals of sub-Saharan countries via Niger, Sudan and Chad.
More than 2,300 people have died this year in attempts to reach Europe by boat, compared with 3,279 during the whole of last year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
As many as 50 refugees were found dead in a parked lorry in Austria near the Hungarian border yesterday, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the discovery had shaken European leaders discussing the migrant crisis at a Balkans summit.
Libya has been struggling to cope with an influx of migrants, putting them in overcrowded makeshift detention facilities such as schools or military barracks where they live in poor conditions lacking medical care. The North African country used to deport migrants it caught but with fighting between armed groups having cut off land border crossings to Niger, Algeria and Chad many stay months or years in detention facilities. (REUTERS)
Bangkok: An arrest warrant has been issued for an unidentified suspect over an explosion that took place at a pier in Bangkok a day after 20 people were killed at a shrine in the Thai capital, police said on Friday.
“The Southern Bangkok Criminal Court approved an arrest warrant against a man of unknown nationality over the second blast based on CCTV footage,” national police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said in a statement released late Thursday.
Police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said a court issued the warrant based on grainy video footage of a man in a blue shirt kicking a bag into the water near the pier on the night of August 17, soon after the blast at Bangkok’s Hindu Erawan Shrine.
The warrant describes the suspect in a blue shirt as an Asian male, aged 25-30, 170 cm tall, with yellow-white skin, thick eyebrows, a high-bridged nose and thick hair, the Bangkok Post reported.
The grainy video footage showed the suspect kicking a bag into the water near the Sathon ferry pier on the night of August 17, soon after the blast at Bangkok’s Hindu Erawan shrine that killed 20 people, mostly tourists and injured over 120 others.
However, police have not definitively linked the two blasts.
“We have not yet concluded whether the two blasts are linked to each other,” Prawut said.
In the shrine bombing investigation, police are focusing on a man seen in blurry security camera footage. The footage shows a man in a yellow shirt and dark hair removing a backpack after entering the packed shrine and walking away from the scene before the explosion. Last week, an arrest warrant was issued for an “unidentified foreign man” seen in the video footage along with an image of the suspect. (IANS)
Tokyo: A group of Tokyo university students have staged a rare hunger strike in front of Japan’s parliament as they protest against security bills that critics fear would drag the country into foreign wars.
The move highlights growing opposition to legislation backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, just days after Japan’s national bar association joined the effort to prevent the constitutionally pacifist nation from enacting changes that could see Japanese troops engage in combat for the first time since the end of World War II.
Four male students began their hunger strike on Thursday afternoon in front of the Diet building, saying a “direct and tough approach” was required to block the bills, which are being hotly debated in parliament.
The group, who spent their first night on the street in the Nagatacho political district, said they would hold off food until they reached their “physical limit”. “(A hunger strike) is an act of risking one’s life… but I thought I should express my opposition to these bills more directly,” said Shotaro Kimoto, 19, one of the group members and a student at the prestigious Waseda University.
Under the proposed new rules, Japan’s Self-Defence Forces would have the option of going into battle to protect allies even if there was no direct threat to Japan or its people. Abe and his supporters say the bills are necessary for Japan to deal with the security environment, and want them to clear parliament during the current session which ends late next month.
But opponents say they will drag Japan into distant American wars, and the legislation is deeply unpopular among the general public. A constitution imposed by a post-war US occupation force barred Japan’s military from combat except in self-defence. The bills cleared the powerful lower house last month. “We were appalled and furious that the bills were rammed through the lower house despite strong opposition,” said Motoya Tsuchida, 19-year-old law student at Keio University, a
supporter of the hunger strikers. “We thought we needed to voice our opposition with a tougher approach.”
While relatively small street demonstrations are carried out frequently in Tokyo, hunger strikes are rare.
Two years ago, an anti-nuclear group went on a rotating hunger strike for a week over government efforts to end a demonstration calling for the end of atomic power after the Fukushima accident. (AFP)
Facebook records one billion
logins in a day
San Francisco: A billion users logged into social networking site Facebook on August 24 for the first time, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said. “We just passed an important milestone. For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day,” he wrote on his Facebook page late Thursday. “On Monday, one in seven people on the Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family.” The founder of the world’s largest social network said the achievement was a step towards the company’s objective to connect everyone to the internet.
“Our community stands for giving every person a voice, for promoting understanding and for including everyone in the opportunities of our modern world,” Zuckerberg wrote. He said he believed “a more open and connected world is a better world.” “It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values.” Facebook has a total of 1.5 billion users who connect at least once a month. The social network reached the one billion mark in October 2012. (IANS)
Nearest galaxy powered by two black holes: Astronomers
Washington: Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble telescope have found that the nearest galaxy to Earth that hosts a quasar is powered by two central black holes furiously whirling about each other.
The finding suggests that quasars – the brilliant cores of active galaxies – may commonly host two central supermassive black holes, which fall into orbit about one another as a result of the merger between two galaxies.
Like a pair of whirling skaters, the black-hole duo generates tremendous amounts of energy that makes the core of the host galaxy outshine the glow of its population of billions of stars, which scientists then identify as quasars. Scientists looked at the observations of ultraviolet radiation emitted from the center of Markarian 231 (Mrk 231) to discover what they describe as “extreme and surprising properties.” Mrk 231 is located 600 million light-years away. “We are excited about this finding because it not only shows the existence of a close binary black hole in Mrk 231 but also paves a new way to systematically search binary black holes via the nature of their ultraviolet light emission,” explained Youjun Lu from National Astronomical Observatories of China at Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The central black hole is estimated to be 150 million times the mass of our Sun and the companion weighs in at four million solar masses. The dynamic duo completes an orbit around each other every 1.2 years.
“The structure of our universe, such as those giant galaxies and clusters of galaxies, grows by merging smaller systems into larger ones, and binary black holes are natural consequences of these mergers of galaxies,” added co-investigator Xinyu Dai from University of Oklahoma. The binary black holes are predicted to spiral together and collide within a few hundred thousand years.
World’s largest tennis-ball mosaic created in the US
New York: A giant record-breaking mosaic consisting of over 10,000 tennis balls has been created here to commemorate the 84th birth anniversary of Indian spiritual leader Chinmoy Kumar Ghose.
City-based Ashrita Furman, who holds the most Guinness Records at the same time (currently 195), worked with 20 friends to create the world’s largest tennis ball mosaic. With the creation, the 60-year-old health food store manager set the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest tennis ball mosaic in honour of the meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy. The mosaic consists of 10,084 tennis balls in white, green-yellow, orange and pink fixed on boards.
The ball composition shows a tennis player in action and has a length of 29 feet and 9.5 inches and a width of 15 feet and 4 inches. Furman surpassed the previous record of a 2,732 tennis balls mosaic, which was created by Tennis Emirates in Dubai a year ago. Furman credited Chinmoy for inspiring him and the world to “find more joy and peace in our hearts”. Given that the spiritual leader was an avid tennis player, Furman said he came up with the idea to create the tennis ball mosaic.
Furman has been breaking Guinness World Records since 1979, including building the world’s largest tennis racket. Born in 1931, Chinmoy moved to the US in 1964 after spending almost two decades at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. He died from a heart attack in Jamaica, Queens, New York on 11 October 2007. (PTI)
First Sikh soldier to guard Tomb of Unknown Soldier
Ottawa: In a first, a Sikh soldier has been appointed to watch over the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” at the National War Memorial here in Canada, a media report said. The tomb refers to a monument in dedication to the services of an unknown soldier and to the common memories of all soldiers killed in any war. Taj Aujla is one of the four Canadian soldiers of the 39th Brigade Group, Royal Westminster Regiment, who are currently in Ottawa for three weeks to guard the tomb, Ottawacitizen.com news portal reported. “The basis of Sikhism is service to your country and your community. Being here is a big honour because I am representing the way of life of a Sikh. But it goes back to the tomb, that is why we’re here,” Aujla was quoted as saying. “This gentleman — the unknown soldier — whoever he is, was serving. He made the ultimate sacrifice, for our freedom, for our country for us. To be a part of this is exactly what I practise on a day-to-day basis. What he did was very human,” Aujla said. Aujla joined the reserves of the Canadian forces four years ago. When he came to know about the opportunity to join the ceremonial guard, he researched on the tomb and decided to offer his services. “If people had loved ones who did not make it home from World War I or World War II, this tomb is the place where they can come to pay their respects. To be able to stand guard here is a privilege,” said Aujla. “When I joined the forces and was sworn in, my unit welcomed me as a Sikh and said welcome to the family. There’s a lot of a brotherhood here,” he added. (IANS)
Skyfall” star Daniel Craig says he cannot stand when fans try to discreetly take his photo. “Bars are hard (for me to go to), but that’s more because of mobile phones.
I’ll do autographs all day long, and I’ll even do a picture at the end of an evening. But if I’m being photographed all night long in a bar, that pisses me off,” the actor, 47, said.
“If you ask, I may say yes, but come up to me and say, ‘Would you like to take a photograph with me?’ If you’re sneaking photographs of me…
It’s human nature, you’re sneaking something! But people don’t see it as a problem. Maybe I’m delusional,” he said.
The Bond star said his wife, Rachel Weisz, has an issue with it too. “There were phones back then, but nobody used the cameras,” he said of 2006, when he first took on the iconic role in “Casino Royale”.
“Or there was a rule, if someone did it, you’d be like. My wife is the best in the world at all that, she’ll just turn to them and go, ‘No, thank you very much’, and they’re like, ‘Okay’,” he added. (PTI)
Sonakshi Sinha apologises for false judgment
After the claim of harassment made by Delhi-based girl Jasleen Kaur, proved to be false, Bollywood shotgun junior Sonakshi Sinha, who along with whole nation had come out in support of her, has now apologised for wrongly judging the guy. Jasleen accused Singh of harassment and posted his picture saying that she was eve-teased and obscenely abused by him, who had no fear of the police either. While, the nation gave a support to her. Even Sonakshi showed her support by tweeting, ”Well done Jasleen! Hope this serves as a warning to all the creeps and ncouragement to every girl to take action!”. Recently it came to light that the victim in the case was not Jasleen but the man who was falsely accused and jailed.That’s when she snapped him and went ahead with the whole drama. Being sorry for the wrong judgment Sonakshi has tweeted, ”Being a girl, gave the benefit of doubt to Jasleen, like many others! And like many others am embarrassed n let down! Apologies to the guy.” (UNI)
SRK shares bucket list, wants to finish autobiography soon
Sharing his bucket list of pending works with his fans, superstar Shah Rukh Khan says he wants to quickly finish penning the autobiography which he has been writing for a long time. The 49-year-old actor, who is busy with his back-to-back film releases, called his to-do list “amaranthine”. “Just putting it out there. My amaranthine bucket list. Like I said its perpetually increasing & changing but right now it’s this…,” tweeted the actor, whose list included learning guitar and cooking, making five cocktails, finding a perfect pair of jeans, finishing book among others. About the book, he jokingly added, “Finish book means finish writing the book I have been writing for the last millennium…somebody stop me!!!” Titled “20 Years in a Decade”, the autobiography speaks about the perks of stardom and the disadvantages that tag along with it. (PTI)
Miley Cyrus bakes vegan cake for father’s birthday
Pop star Miley Cyrus especially baked a vegan cake for her father Billy Ray Cyrus, who turned 54. The “Achy Breaky Heart” crooner celebrated his birthday with his daughter and the rest of his famous family, reported E!Online. Miley, 22, shared a few Instagram pics from the intimate at-home party. “Dadaz birffffday brought a bunch of freaxxx togethhhha!!!!!” the “We Can’t Stop” singer captioned one sweet snapshot of her, Billy Ray, mother Tish Cyrus and siblings Trace Cyrus, Braison Cyrus, and Noah Cyrus, 15. “Made a biiiirffffdayyyy cake for papa @billyraycyrus vega. (PTI)
Nicki Minaj will open MTV Video Music Awards
Rapper Nicki Minaj will open 2015 MTV Video Music Awards with a performance. The 32-year-old singer also did the opening act at last year’s VMAs as well, memorably performing “Anaconda” during a medley with Ariana Grande and Jessie J, reported Entertainment Weekly. “@NICKIMINAJ will be performing at the 2015 #VMAs this Sunday at 9/8c for the second year in a row,” MTV announced the news on Twitter. Minaj will join performers including Justin Bieber, the Weeknd, Pharrell Williams, Demi Lovato, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Tori Kelly, A$APRocky, and Twenty One Pilots. (PTI)
Director Kabir Khan blends fact and fan tasy is search of hi-octane thrills in Phantom, a spy drama that is irretrievably undermined by a weak script and pedestrian acting.
The film harks back to the festering wounds inflicted on India by the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai and constructs a wishful scenario: each of the perpetrators of that crime is punished by an intrepid agent unleashed by RAW. Kabir Khan is on a strong wicket after the runaway success of Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
But Saif Ali Khan is in desperate need of a career-resurrecting hit. Like his eponymous character did in Agent Vinod, his fearless spy here is an inveterate globe-trotter who is never in one place for any length of time.
The script based on S Hussain Zaidi book Mumbai Avengers is no different – it flits about aimlessly as the hero goes pursues the mission of eliminating the big, bad terrorists in the neighbouring country and elsewhere. One commendable aspect of Phantom is its matter-of-fact approach that it adopts to its portrayal of the fight against terror. It keeps chauvinistic chest-thumping to the bare minimum.
While it does not conceal the identities of the men who plotted the 26/11 attack, it does not blame Pakistan as a nation or any particular community for that dastardly act. In fact, Phantom projects the people of Pakistan as victims too, introducing a Lahore mother who has lost her son to the Lashkar-e-Taiba. RAW plucks tainted soldier Daniyal (Saif Ali Khan) out of thin year and sends him on an impossible mission.
The man has nothing to lose for he has lost all interest in life since being dismissed from the army for allegedly deserting his men in a bunker.
He is introduced to Nawaz (Katrina Kaif), a former RAW agent who, too, has a personal reason to go after the terror masterminds. Chicago, London, Beirut, Amman, Lahore – the duo hops from one location to another looking for their quarries in dangerous places. Much of this is rather dreary and mechanical.
It is not until Daniyal lands in Pakistan that Phantom perks up a bit. The climax is passable, but Phantom takes two-and-a-half hours to get there, by which time the action has turned too predictable and humdrum to kindle genuine interest of what is unfolding on the screen.
Saif Ali Khan wears an inscrutable facial expression all through Phantom. It is difficult to tell whether the lack of animation is a reflection of the character’s state of mind or the current state of the actor’s career.
Katrina Kaif is a misguided missile in this drama – she does not know what she is supposed to be doing here. And neither does the audience. Phantom has its moments, especially in the second half, but that isn’t enough to sustain the film all through its running time. (PTI)
SHILLONG, Aug 28: Hundreds of land owners, exporters and suppliers along with the KHADC and JHADC on Friday resolved to approach the Apex Court against the ban on limestone mining by the Meghalaya High Court, likely by next month.
A meeting was held on Friday at the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) to discuss on the impact of the High Court’s order to ban extraction and transportation of limestone and other minor minerals.
The meeting was attended by the two chiefs of the KHADC and Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) respectively, besides representatives from the different Associations of land owners, exporters and suppliers.
SHILLONG, Aug 28: Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) on Friday took out a bike rally to protest and demand immediate withdrawal of the Government’s Ordinance on Village Headmen.
Over 30 riders participated in the rally, which started from Student’s Field, Jaiaw and passed through different localities of the city and its suburbs.
The two-wheeler rallyists displayed anti-Ordinance placards and shouted slogans like “We demand Government to immediate revoke the Ordinance” and “No Ordinance, KHADC Rules, we welcome.”
Apart from this, the rallyists also shouted anti-MUDA building byelaws slogans during the rally.
SHILLONG, Aug 28: The Joint Action Committee of All Meghalaya Farmers’ Union (JACAMFU) on Friday demanded the Congress led MUA-II government to implement the Agricultural Policy to unravel options for addressing major issues in agricultural development, both short and long term perspective.
Submitting a memorandum to Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma here on Friday, JACAMFU chairman C. Shangpliang said the government needs to come up with an Agricultural Policy to save the farmers from various setbacks and address the issues related to farmers and agricultural development in the state.
Kohima/Dimapur, Aug 28 (IANS): The Indian Army on Friday killed six militants and an 'overground' worker of the NSCN-K in Nagaland, officials said. The dead include a woman cadre.
According to the army, three 'overground' workers of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang group and a security force personnel were also injured in the operation in Tuensang district.
The operation took place early morning at Pangsha area in Tuensang located close to the India-Mynamar border in the state, defence spokesman Lt. Col. Suneet Newton said.
Karachi: A Pakistani anti-corruption court here on Thursday issued non-bailable arrest warrants against former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and former trade minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim for allegedly minting money by approving subsidies to fake companies.
The court issued arrest orders after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented a formal charge sheet of 12 cases registered against the duo and some senior officials of Trade Development Authority Pakistan (TDAP).
Gilani and Fahim are named in a multi-million-rupee graft scandal for alleged corrupt earnings by approving subsidies to fake companies through a scheme of TDAP. FIA charged them for approving and disbursing fraudulent trade subsidies worth millions of rupees to several fake companies through fictitious claims and backdated cheques.
Both Gilani and Faheem failed to appear before the court despite notices to them, forcing the court to issue their non-bailable arrest warrants.
The court also ordered police to arrest them and present them before the court in the next hearing on September 10. Gilani, 63, was prime minister from 2008 to 2013 when he was sacked after the Supreme Court held him responsible for defying an order of the court to write a letter to the Swiss government to reopen a corruption probe against then President Asif Ali Zardari.
Both Gilani and Faheem are senior leaders of Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Apart from the two leaders implicated in the corruption case, authorities yesterday also arrested a confidant of Zardari, an ex-petroleum minister Asim Hussain from Karachi for alleged involvement in corruption. (PTI)
ouston: Three persons, including a policeman, were killed on Thursday in separate shooting incidents in the US, a day after a disgruntled gunman killed two TV journalists, highlighting the growing cases of gun-related violence in the country.
In the first incident, a gunman killed two persons in Sunset suburb in southeastern US state of Louisiana. The assailant, identified as Harrison Lee Wiley Jr, drove his car to a convenience store in Sunset and barricaded himself inside, St Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said. Sunset police officer Henry Wilson, 51, the first responder, was shot and killed at the scene of a domestic disturbance call where authorities found three women with serious stab wounds, Guidroz said.
One of the injured women, Shameka Johnson, 40, died at hospital. Her sister Surlay Johnson, 34, was in critical condition. Both are sisters of Shaterral Johnson, interim mayor of Grand Couteau, a town just to the northeast of Sunset.
Officers threw tear gas shells and stormed the store when the man refused to leave. The gunmen was later overpowered by police authorities and taken in custody, Guidroz said.
Indian-American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took to Twitter to react to the shooting incident and said, “Our thoughts & prayers are w/ the families of Sunset Police Officer Henry Nelson & the other victims as they endure this senseless tragedy.”
In another incident, one person was killed in a shooting at a school parking in southwest Houston in Texas. School officials said the shooting has not affected campus operations. (PTI)
Berlin: Keen to be part of ‘Clean Ganga’ initiative, Germany has offered to rejuvenate a segment of the river in Uttarakhand by using technology it had employed to clean the Rhine, considered one of the most important waterways in Europe.
In an address to a select group of Indians here, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj referred to the German proposal while appealing the Indian diaspora to whole-heartedly contribute to the “Clean Ganga Mission” as well as ‘Swachh Vidyalaya’ initiative which is aimed at providing a functional toilet in every school toilets. Swaraj said her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeir placed the proposal to clean Ganga in Uttarakhand during the two-hour-long meeting she had with him in which both the leaders reviewed entire gamut of bilateral ties.
“The German Foreign Minister told me that ‘you call Ganga mother. We cleaned Rhine. Rhine is like father and Ganga is mother’,” she said addressing the gathering last evening. Exhorting the Indian community to be part of India’s development, she said the country has witnessed “momentous changes” since the NDA government came to power with a clear majority.
“I invite all of you to engage with India and be part of our developmental journey,” she said.
The External Affairs Minister said India’s stature at the world stage has gone up significantly in the last 15 months and gave example of how it had rescued nearly 1,900 foreign nationals from Yemen besides over 4,000 Indians.
She said even the US had requested India to rescue their citizens from the war-torn country which was unprecedented.
“A government with clear majority has come after 30 years. The political pundits had said the coalition government’s will continue for at least 20 years more but they were proved wrong,” Swaraj said.
“When we gave the slogan of 272 plus, some people made fun of us, some people questioned us and some people wondered how we will manage the magic figure.
It was a big political change because India is the largest democracy in the world. And the most striking aspect of our democracy is that change of power has always taken place through ballot and not bullet,” Swaraj said, Swaraj said the NDA government was determined to live up to peoples’ aspirations and that is why it has launched a total of 21 initiatives which include are three flagship programmes – ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’ programmes.
“There is lot of expectations and aspirations behind the huge mandate. We also knew that when people vote with such aspiration, they become impatient soon.
That’s why we knew we have to deliver at the earliest. I am happy to tell you that we have taken 21 initiatives in the last one year,” she said.
Calling Indian embassies “home-away-from-home” for the diaspora community,the External Affairs Minister said approach of Indian missions towards the citizens have changed significantly.
“Not only the government changed, systems are also changing,” she said. Swaraj had arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day visit. (PTI)
Actor John Abraham has quashed rumours of his divorce with wife Priya Runchal, saying everything is beautiful in his marital paradise. Gossip mills are abuzz with reports that all is not well between the newly married couple. Priya and John have reportedly been living separately for a couple of months.
Priya is in US pursuing her higher studies while the actor is in Mumbai for films. Apparently, both of them are finding it difficult to handle their long-distance relationship. “All is superb in paradise… to set the record straight. Everything is beautiful in paradise. It is not true. You believe all that crap. I just feel bad when people put out things. All is beautiful in (my) paradise,” John told PTI.
“I was doing a comedy film but I did not know that comedy was happening outside my life…just put all this rumours to rest…there is nothing happening. It is all superb,” he added. The couple got married during New Year Eve of 2013 while vacationing in the US. The 42-year-old “Madras Cafe” star then took to Twitter to wish his fans a very Happy New Year and subtly announced he had tied the knot with his girlfriend, by introducing his new wife as Priya Abraham.
John said he feels frustrated that his silence on his personal life is misunderstood. “It is difficult because you are trying to explain your point of view sometimes to people. John Abraham is always silent. And because he is quiet… the silence is often mistaken for his weakness.” (PTI)
Jennifer Lopez, Shakira to feature
in new film on Latin music Jennifer Lopez, Shakira And Pitbull are among the
artists who have contributed to music mogul Tom
my Mottola’s new documentary about the cultural importance of Latin music in America. The ‘Latin Explosion: A New America’ will also feature interviews with Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Eva Longoria, Los Lobos, Rita Moreno, Romeo Santos, Thalia and Sofia Vergara, while John Leguizamo provides narration, reported RollingStone magazine. The film charts the history of Latin music in the United States and focuses on the success of acts like Desi Arnaz, Carlos Santana, Emilio and Gloria Estefan and Ricky Martin. The documentary, produced by Mottola, will premiere in America on cable network HBO in November. (PTI)
Amber Rose, Blac Chyna planning for new reality show
Hip-hop sensations Amber Rose and Blac Chyna are gearing up to launch their own reality show. Chyna, 27, and Rose share who live similar lives are about to finalise a show deal with MTV, reported TMZ. “The show won’t be ratchet… It will focus on Amber and Chyna taking care of their kids while juggling work, including club appearances,” a source close to the production said. Rose, 31, and Chyna have a lot in common. The “Fame” hip-hopper began dating rapper Wiz Khalifa in early 2011 and got married two years later. Their son Sebastian Taylor Thomaz was born in 2013. The couple split in 2014. Chyna, on the other hand, dated Tyga and the duo have son King Cairo Stevenson together. They announced their split in earlier this year. (PTI)
Caitlyn keeps Olympic gold medal in make-up drawer
Reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner shared that she keeps her Olympic gold medal in her make-up drawer and it is her most prized possession. The 65-year-old star, who was known as Bruce Jenner before undergoing gender transition in May, won the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics and considers the medal as her most prized possession. “My gold medal is my most prized possession – I’m so proud of it,” the “I Am Cait” star said at her weekly series of editorials ‘The Real Me’ that talks about issues and people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, reports mirror.co.uk. But Jenner does not display the medal at home because she does not want her children to feel under pressure to achieve a similar level of success. (PTI)
Jenner has two teenage daughters Kendall, 19, and Kylie, 18.
“I never wanted my children to feel like they had to have a gold medal in order to be considered a success. I didn’t want them to constantly compare their own achievements to my time in the Olympics, so I haven’t displayed my medal. Here’s why it currently lives in my make-up drawer,” Jenner said. (PTI)
Star Trek Beyond cast pay a moving tribute to Leonard Nimoy
The cast of Star Trek Beyond have paid a moving tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy through a new video for the Omaze charity. Filmed on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba and stars of the blockbuster offer up a Vulcan salute to their co-star, who played Spock across TV and film over the course of five decades, reported Digital Spy. Quinto, who played a younger version of Nimoy’s iconic character, led the video tribute by calling him “an actor, a champion of the arts, and a true inspiration to so many”. “Through his legendary portrayal of Spock, he influenced countless scientists and artists – myself and the rest of the cast included,” Quinto said. Omaze is a campaign supporting nine charities chose by the stars of “Star Trek Beyond”. St Jude Children’s Research Hospital was a cause Nimoy had a huge passion for. (PTI)
Michael Keaton wins legal battle over ‘Merry Gentleman’
Birdman star Michael Keaton has won a long-run ning legal battle over his 2008 directorial debut “Merry Gentleman” after an appeals court judge ruled he cannot be held responsible for the flop. The production company behind the film sued the 63-year-old actor for failing to complete the project on time and then failing to promote it properly, said the Hollywood Reporter. The 7th Circuit court of appeals in Illinois ruled in favour of the “Batman” star, insisting there was little proof to suggest the director’s actions led to the flop. Judge David Hamilton said the plaintiffs needed to show some evidence their losses were caused by a contract breach, adding Keaton did in fact complete The Merry Gentleman. Keaton was represented by Michael Kump and Jeremiah Reynolds of Kinsella Weitzman, along with local counsel. (PTI)