Guwahati: Visibly frustrated at running out of fund to carry out development works in the State, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday said his government was bringing out a White Paper Central fund allocated to the State during the previous UPA government and the present NDA government.
The White Paper will be tabled in the State Assembly for official record. He said the White Paper would serve to negate often repeated claims of visiting Union ministers to the state about allocation for fund to the State under the present regime in New Delhi.
Gogoi also charged the Central government of not releasing money in time for developmental works in the state. Gogoi said he would continue to knock at the door of the Centre with his ‘justified demand’ for more allocation of Central fund to the backward state “It is the same story of insufficient allocation of Central funds for all North Eastern states.
We (N-E states) are not beggars, we are elected chief ministers. We will continue demanding what is justified,” Gogoi said maintaining that even those N-E states which have BJP allies in power have also been deprived of Central funds.
“The NDA government has made changes in the old system of funding the N-E states. If the change could bring about better fund flow from the Centre, it would have been alright. But there has been no positive change, the NDA has just messed up the system,” Gogoi said.
Gogoi criticized the BJP MPs from Assam who have remained silent while the Central government has deprived the state of adequate fund for facilitating development works at the right pace.
Poorest of the poor in the radar: Gogoi further said the findings of the latest Socio-Economic and Caste Census on the state would be analyzed in details to evolve comprehensive schemes to benefit the poorest of the poor.
While pointing that the state fared better than the national average or bigger states in some parameters, the state government would strive to uplift the underprivileged people through special schemes meant for them.
“The poorest of the poor will get priority. There would be emphasis on better implementation of existing schemes. And also, new schemes that will benefit the poorest section most will be worked out,” he said.
Gogoi has constituted a committee headed by the state chief secretary V K Piparsenia, to study the report of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census in respect of the State of Assam that touches on key parameters like homeless and landless, unemployment, irrigation, drinking water, sanitation etc.
The state average for Assam in respect of households with salaried jobs was 12.27 per cent against all India average of 9.68 per cent.
Though Assam ranked 22nd out of 36 states in this parameter, yet it was above states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharastra and Jharkhand. The state has 18.20 per cent of rural household having earning between Rs 5000-10000 per month as against all India average of 17.18 per cent.
Similarly, state percentage of rural household having earning more that Rs 10000 was 11.05 per cent against the national average of 8.29 per cent. The state literacy percentage (72.19) was also higher than the national average of 72.
Itanagar: State Home Minister Tanga Byaling today informed that efforts are being made to arrest the culprits responsible for the murder of a person in Hatimara Forest under Behali Forest range in Assam recently.
The Home Minister in a statement said the incident took place on June 3 at about 1700 hrs, when Assam’s Kolai Orang and his two brothers, Nehru Orang and Lalsai Orang had gone to Hatimara forest in a bid to collect fire woods.
Around six to seven extremists from Arunachal had allegedly started firing on them. However, Nehru and Lalsai managed to escape, but Kolai was stuck on the spot.
On the following day, Orang brothers went back to the forest in search of their missing brother and found his body with multiple injuries on head, Byaling informed, adding, no other injury mark was found on the body.
In the early morning on June 5, a group of armed miscreants retaliated by stopping one Arunachal registered vehicle at Behali and torched the vehicle, owned by TT Tara.
The miscreants assaulted Tara and inflicted burnt injuries on him and his brother-in-law, who was with Tara.
Both the victims were treated with burn injuries in RKM Hospital, here, the statement said. Sensing the chances of communal tension, a statement was issued to the media about a news report that ‘Arunachal miscreants killing one at Behali’ was not authentic.
The State Government has appealed to all sections of people of Assam and Arunachal not to believe in rumours related to the incident and maintain peace, the Home Minister said.
He said the harmony and law enforcing agencies of both the states are making their best efforts to arrest the culprits and bring the case to its logical conclusion.
Byaling said the district administration and police have been in constant touch with their counterparts in Assam and various peace meetings have been held. He assured that the culprits of both the cases must be arrested and punished and had assured full co-operation in investigation of the case.
The statement came as a reply to a question raised by Opposition party leader Tamiyo Taga and MLA Japu Deru on the first day of the fifth session of the Sixth Legislative Assembly here. (UNI)
Guwahati: The Assam state government will provide coaching facilities to aspirants of civil services, defence services, IIT, IIIT entrance and other examinations.
Congratulating the 15 youths from Assam for their successes in the recent UPSC examinations, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi talking to reporters here said “We will have a scheme for helping those taking the UPSC preliminary exams and open coaching centres for central government jobs, IIT, IIIT entrance and other exams.” “The success of the UPSC candidates from here indicates that our youth can be successful and will inspire the coming generations.
Our government’s stress on computer education and improving the education policy has changed the mind set positively,” he said.
“There is a sense of competitiveness and and self confidence among the youth to secure a bright future for themselves,” Gogoi said.
The absence of coaching centres here will be looked into and we will try to ameliorate it to help our youth to be successful in various competitive exams,” the Chief Minister added.
Gogoi on Monday congratulated all the successful applicants from Assam who have been selected in the Civil Service Examinations- 2014. (PTI)
Mizo Assembly pays tribute to departed leaders
Aizawl: Mizoram Assembly on the first day of the three-day monsoon session on Tuesday paid rich tributes to former state chief minister Brig. Thenphunga Sailo and former legislator Lalnghenga. Chief minister Lal Thanhawla made obituary references to the two leaders saying their demise was a great and irrepairable loss to the Mizo people. Other members including opposition leader Vanlalzawma also spoke about the contributions of the two leaders to the development of Mizoram and the society. One-minute silence was observed in the Assembly as a mark of respect for the departed leaders. (PTI)
Opium seized from Rangia Railway station, one held
Rangia: A huge quantity of opium has been seized from Rangia Railway station in lower Assam by the Railway Protection Force on Tuesday, according to RPF officer in-charge Biplab Mazumdar. During routine checking by a RPF team along with its anti-drug group, recovered the opium in four packets kept in two big trolley bags, Mazumdar said. One Md Ali of Tatarkuchi, Rangia has been detained for carrying the bags, he said claiming, one Amir Ali was carrying the opium packets to Chandigarh by Chandigarh Express. (PTI)
EMFA demands probe into death of TV journalist
Guwahati: The Electronic Media Forum Assam (EMFA) on Tuesday demanded a high-level enquiry into the mysterious death of television journalist Akshay Singh while covering Vyapam scam a few days ago. The forum also demanded a probe into the scam with an aim to pay tributes to all victims, including the journalist, EMFA President Nava Thakuria and office bearers Bimal Ghosh and Bhaskarjyoti Bhuyan said here in a statement here. The New Delhi based TV journalist Akshay Singh had gone to Madhya Pradesh to cover the scam but he died on Saturday, it said. “The body of Singh, 38, did not show any mark of injury which raised the speculation of murder by anti-social elements,” it said “Hence, the forum urged the concerned authorities to investigate the matter and deliver justice to the victim’s family,” it said. (PTI)
Another housewife in Tripura assaulted in public glare
Agartala: Yet another housewife of Tripura has been publicly tortured in Belonia of South Tripura by a group of villagers accusing her of maintaining extra marital relation. Police said Sandhya Baruah Das (30) had lodged a complaint of physical assault against 12 peoples, including six women, last evening. However, nobody had been arrested yet. Allegedly, Sandhaya, a day labourer and resident of Subhasnagar area under Bharatchandranagar rural development block of Belonia, was tied to a tree and beaten up severely. According to a report, a lady sub-inspector of Belonia police station had recovered her in a half-dressed condition and sent her home without registering any case against the accused. She was also given primary treatment in the hospital. Again at night, the group stormed into her home and attacked her. Sandhya later lodged an FIR against the accused. This is the fifth such incident. (UNI)
Assamese youth killed near Udupi
Mangaluru: An Assamese youth was killed during a clash between two groups of migrant labourers at Shirur Muddumane in Udupi district, police said. The deceased has been identified as Mahendraraj Bonsi (22), police said. A dispute arose between the two groups over job opportunities in the area and it resulted in the clash and Bonsi’s murder on Monday, police said. Many labourers from Assam were working on daily wages at Shirur Muddumane and nearby Mandarti village. Bonsi and three others, working at Mandarti, had gone to Shirur to talk about the dispute. A clash ensued and three people belonging to the rival group allegedly attacked Bonsi with a sickle. He was seriously injured in the attack and taken to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to injuries, police said. (PTI)
Undertrial prisoner escapes from van
Rangia (Assam): An undertrial prisoner of Nalbari Jail escaped by cutting the window net of the prisoners van in which he was being brought back here from court, police officials said on Tuesday. Dipjyoti Kalita, charged with murdering a teenaged boy in August last year, escaped when he was returning to Nalbari Jail in a van from the Rangia Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate Court yesterday, they said. A search operation has been launched to arrest the escapee, they said. (PTI)
Mysterious death of Shillong lady inside Dispur police station toilet
SHILLONG: Home Minister Roshan Warjri has directed the State chief secretary and the director general of police to get a detailed report from their Assam counterparts on the mysterious death of Victoria Kharkongor at Dispur police station on Sunday night.
Warjri told reporters on Tuesday that Meghalaya Police was awaiting the report from Assam Police on the incident.
The Meghalaya State Commission for Women, meanwhile, has sought the help of its Assam counterpart to get the status report on the death of the Shillong lady at Dispur police station.
“The manner in which the woman died appears to be mysterious. We have taken up the matter up with Assam State Women’s Commission to probe the incident,” said MSCW Chairperson Theilin Phanbuh.
Phanbuh said she has also sought report from Meghalaya Police who will update her on the status of the inquiry being conducted by Assam Police on the matter.
In a significant development, a police team from Khanapara police station led by senior officer J. Rabha went to Dispur police station but was denied permission to check the general diary entry.
The Assam Human Rights Commission has ordered a magisterial probe to be headed by Deputy Commissioner Kamrup into the death of the woman. The report will have to be submitted within 30 days.
There was also a demonstration in front of Dispur police station on Tuesday by the women’s wing of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti in connection with the incident.
SHILLONG: Alleging foul play, the family of late Victoria Kharkongor has demanded an independent inquiry to probe into her death under mysterious circumstances inside a toilet at Dispur police station on Sunday night.
“We demand an independent inquiry since we are not convinced with the suicide theory of Dispur police,” Belin Kharkongor, mother of the deceased, told newsmen at her residence at Nongthymmai Lawjynriew on Tuesday.
She urged the State Government to closely follow the matter to ensure that the truth comes out and also to ensure that no girl from the State faces a similar consequence.
Claiming that she had no idea on why her daughter landed at the International Hospital in Guwahati, the mother said that if her daughter was mentally unstable then Dispur police should have shifted her to a health centre as they are not professionally trained to attend to people who are mentally unstable.
The mother also questioned why Dispur police had not informed the relatives about her after taking her into custody.
“I am also surprised why the hospital authorities handed her over to the police. The hospital would have had psychiatrist who could have provided counseling to find out her actual state of mind. The hospital has failed to perform its duties,” Kharkongor alleged.
Kharkongor vehemently rebutted the mentally unstable theory propounded by Dispur police, saying,
“If she was mentally unstable then she would have never been able to teach.”
Maintaining that there was foul play in the death of her daughter, Kharkongor said, “I have seen the toilet at Dispur police station. It is impossible for any person to commit suicide inside the toilet. There is also no sign on the body that could prove that she had committed suicide. I could see only a slight cut near the neck.”
The mother of the deceased even claimed that Dispur police had asked her to sign on a blank sheet of paper.
“When I questioned them they claimed that they wanted the signed paper in order to note down a list of belongings of the deceased which had to be surrendered to the family,” she informed, while adding that Dispur police has not returned Victoria’s travel bag containing her clothes and documents.
She further claimed that she had received only one out of the two mobile phones, pan card, identity card and a railway ticket from the hand bag which was handed over by Dispur police.
Meanwhile, Kharkongor revealed that the last time she had heard from her daughter was on July 3 at around 4.20 pm when Victoria’s sister called her up and she informed that she had reached Howrah railway station and was on her way to Guwahati.
“After this, she switched off both her mobile phones,” the mother said.
The mother went on to say that Victoria was quite happy with her profession and showed no signs of depression when they had last met in June.
Death condemned: Nongthymmai legislator Jemino Mawthoh has strongly condemned Kharkongor’s death.
“Going by the narration of the relatives, I strongly suspect there is a foul play,” Mawthoh said, while adding that he has taken up the matter with Home Minister Roshan Warjri to closely follow the case.
Nongthymmai MDC Latiplang Kharkongor, while condemning the death, urged the State Government to take up the issue with the Assam Government in the right earnest.
“We would want the truth to come out,” the MDC said.
Meanwhile, CSWO has alleged various lapses on the part of Dispur police who first took the woman to the police station at night and failed to intimate the relatives about the arrest.
SHILLONG: Aiming to arrive at a political consensus, the Meghalaya Government has sought the help of all political parties in the State to solve the long-pending boundary dispute with Assam.
A meeting of all the political parties was held on Tuesday at the Main Secretariat to take the views and suggestions of all political parties to work out the modalities for a permanent solution to the vexed issue of the Assam-Meghalaya boundary dispute.
Earlier, the State Government had passed a resolution in the Assembly for constitution of a Boundary Commission, which, however was rejected by the Assam legislative assembly through a resolution.
Tuesday’ meeting resolved to invite traditional heads from the disputed areas for a meeting with the Government in the later part of July so that they can be made aware of the status of the talks with Assam on the border dispute.
The State Government admitted that the boundary dispute with Assam has been one of the most contentious issues and require a resolution that is acceptable to the people of the State.
The government felt that the long-pending issue has resulted in conflicts in the past and subsequent dislocation of people living along the border areas.
The State Government reiterated that the issue needs to be resolved at the earliest and requires the involvement of all concerned so that when the modalities of resolving the issue is worked out, it is capable of capturing the concerns of all concerned and is acceptable to the people of the State.
Official sources said that the first exercise of the consultative meeting with all the political parties is part of the commitment of the Government to effectively engage with the Central Government and Assam on the issue.
The Government also wanted to enlighten the members of various political parties in respect of the documentation that the State Government has carried out and shared with its counterpart to build up the claims of the State with regard to the 12 areas of differences.
The twelve areas of differences are Upper Tarabari, Gisang Reserve Forest, Hahim area, Langpih area, Bordwar area, Nongwah Mawtamur area, Pilangkata Khanapara area, Deshdemoria area, Khanduli area, Umkhyrmi Psiar area, Block I, Block II and Ratacherra.
The suggestions that have evolved out of the meeting with the political parties will be further discussed to decide the way forward jointly involving all the political parties, the sources said.
Different political parties in the State participated in the meeting and various concerns were raised and suggestions and ideas were shared during the discussions to evolve a mechanism to find a solution on the boundary dispute, the sources added.
TURA, July 06: An RTI has shed some light on the extremely poor state of education in Garo Hills which found that about a hundred schools in just 3 blocks of West Garo Hills (WGH) in the Tura Division having only one teacher for the entire primary section. The revelation brought forth the challenges faced by students as well as teachers as they struggle to balance imparting education and the humongous task of juggling between classes.
An RTI filed by Maxbirth G Momin, a social activist from Tura found 20 schools in the Gambegre block, 33 in the Dalu block, and 40 in the Rongram block to have only one teacher each for the primary section. These include both the deficit as well as government LP schools even as these schools cater to more than 2000 students in various classes.
SHILLONG, July 07: NCP MDC Sanbor Shullai has demanded the KHADC to pass an ‘executive order’ and notification to implement the United Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills District (Establishment of Town Committee) Acts 1960 and The United Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills District (Establishment of Town Committee) Acts 1962 within the tribal scheduled areas of the KHADC.
“The district council is urged to urgently pass an executive order and notification for implementation of these acts,” Shullai said in his letter to the KHADC CEM PN Syiem on Tuesday.
SHILLONG, July 07: The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) on Tuesday said that it will submit its views and suggestions to both the state government as well as Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for incorporation in the proposed amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The decision was taken after the views and suggestions were submitted by all the 30 MDCs of the KHADC during an ‘all party meeting’ convened by the Chief Executive Member (CEM) PN Syiem here on Tuesday.
Addressing pressmen after the meeting, Syiem said, “We will soon submit our views and suggestions to the state government and also to the Ministry of Home Affairs for necessary incorporation in the proposed amendment.”
SHILLONG, July 07: Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) on Tuesday informed that said steps are being taken for immediate withdrawing of the notification of the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) from the schedule areas.
Addressing newsmen here on Tuesday, KHADC CEM PN Syiem said, “The matter is presently being taken up by the district council with the MUDA for immediate withdrawing of its notification from the schedule areas.”
BEIJING: China on Monday downplayed an accusation by US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that Beijing had tried to “hack into everything that doesn’t move in America”.
At a campaign event in New Hampshire Sunday, Clinton said the US must be “fully vigilant” about China’s military, adding that Beijing had stolen commercial secrets from defence contractors and “huge amounts of government information”.
Beijing has in the past expressed outrage over US government claims it engages in state-sponsored hacking of commercial information, saying China is itself a victim of hacking attacks.
Asked about Clinton’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the two sides had taken a “constructive spirit” in tackling the issue.
“China and the US have taken a constructive spirit and approach to strengthening dialogue and cooperation to jointly face various challenges in line with the interests of both sides in a way that is conducive to peace and prosperity in the region and the world,” Hua told a regular news briefing.
Clinton is the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination for the November 2016 presidential election.
In the most recent case involving suspicions of Chinese hacking, Obama administration officials have said China is the top suspect in the massive hacking of a US government agency that compromised the personnel records of at least 4.2 million current and former government workers.
China has denied hacking into the computers of the US Office of Personnel Management. (Reuters)
Quito (Ecuador): Pope Francis arrived in Ecuador to kick off his first South American trip in two years that will also take him to Bolivia and Paraguay and see him highlight the plight of the poor.
The 78-year-old, who hails from Argentina, landed at 2:43 pm Sunday at a blustery Mariscal Sucre international airport in Quito — it was so windy his skullcap was blown off only seconds after he emerged from his plane.
It is the first visit by a pontiff to Ecuador in three decades, and thousands of excited people massed in the capital and lined the roadsides to greet him.
He jetted in aboard an Alitalia passenger plane, in a sign of the austere simplicity he has sought to bring to his office.
Still smiling despite losing his skullcap, he was met on the tarmac by a beaming Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa and the pair shared a warm embrace. Indigenous children wearing traditional outfits lined the lengthy red carpet, while an orchestra played.
Francis shook the hands of each of them, as a considerable security detail kept at a discreet distance.
His last visit to South America was a triumphant trip to Brazil in 2013 that culminated with three million people gathering in Rio de Janeiro along Copacabana beach for a mass at the end of a Catholic youth festival.
Most of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics hail from Latin America, despite the onslaught from Evangelical beliefs and practices in recent years.
“I want to bear witness to the joy of the Gospel and bring God’s tenderness and care,” Francis, the first South American pope, said before leaving for the eight-day trip, during which he is to deliver no less than 22 speeches.
All three of the countries he is visiting are predominantly Catholic and have been marked by a long history of poverty and inequality mostly afflicting indigenous populations. (AFP)
VIENNA: Iran’s foreign minister said on Monday some differences still remained between Iran and six powers over the country’s disputed nuclear programme ahead of tomorrows deadline for a final agreement to end a 12-year-old dispute.
“Still nothing is clear. … Some differences remain and we are trying and working hard,”Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters.
The deal under discussion between Iran and the powers is aimed at curbing Tehran’s most sensitive nuclear work for a decade or more, in exchange for relief from sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
The United States and its allies fear Iran is using its civilian nuclear programme as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran says its programme is peaceful.
Reaching a deal would be the most important milestone in decades towards alleviating hostility between the United States and Iran, enemies since Iranian revolutionaries captured 52 hostages in the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.
Washington is negotiating the deal as part of a group of major powers that also includes Britain,China, France, Germany and Russia. It is a major initiative both for the administration of US President Barack Obama and for Iran’s pragmatic elected President Hassan Rouhani, both of whom face scepticism from powerful hardliners at home.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday that reaching an agreement is possible this week if Iran makes the “hard choices” necessary, but if not, the United States stands ready to walk away from the negotiations.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang-Yi said an agreement was within reach: “What is important today and tomorrow (is that) all parties especially, the United States and Iran, should make their final decisions as quickly as possible.”
An Iranian official told the semi-official Tasnim news agency that the talks could continue until July 9, echoing some Western diplomats.
Kerry said negotiators were still aiming for the July 7 deadline, which the negotiators set when they missed a June 30 deadline last week.
Obama must submit the deal by July 9 in order to get an expedited, 30-day review in Congress. If it is submitted later, the Republican-led Congress would have 60 days to review it, bringing more opportunities for the deal to unravel.
Kerry and Zarif held a string of meetings on Sunday, trying to overcome remaining differences, including how to lift United Nations sanctions and what advanced research and development Iran may pursue. Foreign ministers of the other powers started to return to Vienna yesterday to help push for a swift deal.
In parallel with the powers’ talks, delegates from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were due to hold talks with Iranian officials in Tehran today, following a visit from the body’s chief Yukiya Amano last week.
The powers want Iran to grant more access to IAEA inspectors and to answer its questions about previous nuclear work that may have had military purposes. (Reuters)
Bangkok: Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha ton Monday said 14 students, who were arrested last month for staging a rare rally in defiance of the ruling junta’s sweeping curbs on civil liberties, will be tried by a military court.
General Prayut said it had been made clear after the coup what offences would be tried by a military court, adding that violating an order by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was one of them.
The 14 students were detained last month for staging anti-coup rallies and were in remand after they refused to apply for bail. The students had made impassioned speeches at a peaceful protest at the Democracy Monument here on June 25 where they also sang songs urging an end to junta rule, cheered on by dozens of supporters.
Political protests are banned under the junta-rule besides any criticism of the military that seized power last year.
Earlier, Deputy Defence Minister Gen Udomdej Sitabutr said that the students had staged a political gathering in violation of the NCPO order. The government had to enforce the law after fruitless talks and compromising efforts, he said.
“The government holds no hostile attitudes against anyone. We see the students as our children. But, since they had violated the law after repeated warnings, we have to take legal action. “If we did not do anything, the situation might have escalated into a mass gathering with potential to cause damage to the country,” he was quoted by the Nation as saying.
The army chief said he believed the majority of people understand the government but they had not come out to clearly say so, unlike those who opposed the government.
“While the country is moving towards democracy and the prime minister and all military and police personnel are performing their duties to reach that goal as soon as possible, they have been obstructed by some groups of people. “So please don’t support wrongdoings. Let’s help one another to maintain law and order,” he said. (PTI)
Sydney Opera House cracks down on selfie sticks
Melbourne: Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera House has joined the list of global cultural institutions to crack down on the use of the selfie stick by tourists.
A spokeswoman for the Sydney Opera House, the most instagrammed site in Australia 2014, confirmed taking photos during performances is “strongly discouraged”. However, visitors are permitted to take “selfies” outside the Sydney landmark and within the building’s foyer. Selfies are encouraged by Opera Australia during the interval but they can only be done at arm’s length, not with a selfie stick, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“In fact, for our summer and Vivid campaigns this year, we produced precinct maps highlighting the Opera House’s best selfie spots,” she said.
Selfie sticks are said to be a common sight on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, that recently came 13th on a global list of Top Selfie Sites. “I love that people want to share their opera experience with their friends by taking selfies, with or without a stick. It’s a fantastic way for us to reach potential new audiences. “I’m more than happy for audience members to do that before the opera begins or at interval, but not during the production when it could disturb performers or other patrons,” said Lyndon Terracini, artistic director of Opera Australia.
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most photographed buildings in the world, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Each year, 8.2 million people visit the site, with thousands of tourists snapping a photo of themselves and instantly posting it on social media sites. (PTI)
World’s oldest living person in US turns 116
New York: A woman in the US who celebrated her 116th birthday today has officially been recognised as the world’s oldest living person by Guinness World Records.
Guinness World Records has confirmed that Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn, New York, born on July 6, 1899, is now the world’s oldest living person.
In addition to the early present from Guinness World Records, Jones is celebrating this milestone year with two birthday parties – an intimate gathering of family today and a larger celebration with her housing community, friends and local officials in attendance today.
Jones became the record holder at the age of 115 years and 346 days, as of June 17, 2015.
Jones took the title of the world’s oldest living person from Jeralean Talley who died, just 26 days after her 116th birthday at her home in Inkster, a Detroit suburb, on June 17.
Asked for the secret of her longevity, Jones said “sleep!” While she has lost her eyesight and is hard of hearing, Jones is not bed-bound and only takes two medications a day.
Jones, known as ‘T’ to her 100 nieces and nephews, will also become the oldest living female, Guinness said. Jones was born in Lowndes County, Alabama, to Mary and Callie Mushatt.
Her father was a sharecropper who picked cotton to support his wife and ten children. In 1922, Jones left Alabama for New Jersey before moving to New York City in 1923, finding employment as a live-in housekeeper and childcare provider. (PTI)
More than 15 years after the release of her now-classic album “Oops!… I Did It Again”, Britney Spears revisited her heyday with her sons while the trio had fun at Disneyland.
The 33-year-old pop star and sons Jayden, 7, and Sean Preston, 8, came across some strings of red, blue, and pink beads, and playfully posed with them in a tribute to Spears’ hit album, reported Us magazine. “The boys and I doing our best #Oops album cover pose!” she captioned the adorable snap, which had her and the two boys — looking very grown up — peeking out from among the colourful beads. Spears’ original album cover has the singer in a sultry pose from behind a crystal beaded curtain.
This isn’t the first time Spears and her boys have collaborated, however. Two years ago, Sean Preston, Jayden, and Spears’ niece Maddie, 7, all made cameos in the singer’s music video for “Ooh La La,” featured in The Smurfs 2 movie soundtrack. (PTI)
The ensembles are ready, family members have arrived, guests are pouring in, the venue is set with 50 rooms blocked at a Gurgaon hotel, and its grand Presidential Suite is occupied — preparations for Bollywood star Shahid Kapoor’s wedding here on Tuesday are on in full swing.
Shahid, son of Pankaj Kapur and his now estranged wife Neelima Azim, is tying the knot with Mira Rajput, said to be a graduate from the University of Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College. They reportedly met due to their connect with the religious group Radha Soami Satsang Beas, and managed to develop a bond despite their 12-year age gap. Shahid’s family members started arriving at the Trident Hotel in Gurgaon from Sunday night and the arrivals are continuing.
The “Haider” actor, meanwhile, has wrapped his initial shoot for reality show “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa”, on which he is coming in as a judge for the forthcoming season. He will return to the shoot only after his wedding reception, according to a source.
From Gurgaon on Monday, photographs surfaced online of the celebrity groom’s father, veteran actor Pankaj Kapur – looking cool and casual in a pair of jeans and white shirt with a blue cap – and Shahid’s step-mother Supriya Pathak in a simple suit with a gajra in her hand, entering the hotel.
A source told IANS: “As many as 50 rooms are blocked in Trident, Gurgaon, for the family and guests, and the Presidential Suite of The Oberoi, Gurgaon, is occupied by Shahid himself.”
The Presidential Suite, a luxury two-bedroom residence, spread across a vast 5,300 sq ft, is adorned with original modern art, features an Italian marble fireplace and includes a dining room, study, pantry, gym-cum-yoga room and an outdoor pool, according to the official website of The Oberoi. According to a source, it costs as much as over Rs.600,000 plus taxes per night. For a function, the Grand Ballroom of The Oberoi has been booked. Reports indicate that the nuptials will take place at a Chhatarpur farm, followed by an after-party at the hotel’s ballroom, which can accomodate around 500 people. According to a source close to the “Jab We Met” and “Vivah” actor, the function is planned as a “small gathering with no big celebrities”.
“Only very close family and friends of the couple will be attending the wedding. A wedding reception in Mumbai on July 12 will be a big grand affair with Bollywood celebrities in attendance,” the source told .
For the ensembles, designer Kunal Rawal, a close friend of Shahid, has been roped in to design the outfit for the groom, while ace designer Anamika Khanna is said to have created the wedding dress for Mira.
Buzz said that the couple will be unable to head out for a honeymoon immediately as Shahid has work commitments to look after. (IANS)
Auditions for the up coming season of “X Factor” have been cancelled after the death of judge Simon Cowell’s mother, Julie Brett. The 55-year-old music mogul and his new judging line-up of Rita Ora, Nick Grimshaw and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, were supposed to start the first set of auditions in Manchester on Monday, reported the Daily Mirror.
“They were due to start on Tuesday and carry on into Tuesday and Wednesday. Tomorrow’s have been cancelled and we have not made any decisions beyond that,” confirmed a spokesman for Syco Entertainment, the production behind “X Factor”. ”
Everyone at ‘X Factor’ is devastated for Simon and there was no suggestion that filming would go ahead,” a source said.
Simon Cowell’s mother Julie Brett has died after suffering a stroke. She was 89. According to a statement released through a family spokesperson, the former ballet dancer and socialite passed away on Sunday, July 5, reported Ace Showbiz. “Today our beloved mum Julie passed away,” the representative said. “Anyone who had met her would know what a truly special and kind lady she was. We are heartbroken and will miss her terribly, but she is now at peace.” The spokesperson later said that the family was seeking privacy during the difficult time.
“We would like to thank the media for kindly respecting Julie’s privacy throughout and we politely request continued privacy for the entire family at this particularly difficult time,” the spokesperson added. Simon’s brother, journalist Tony, took to Twitter to pay tribute to his mother after the news broke. “Very sad night tonight.
We will all miss Mum so very much. She was the heart and soul of our family,” so he wrote. (PTI)
B-Town’s ‘livewire’ Ranveer Singh turns 30
Actor Ranveer Singh, who has regaled his fans with films like “Band Baaja Baaraat” and “Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela”, turned 30 on Monday. Hindi film fraternity members have wished ‘Mr. Energy’ a year full of happiness. Ranveer, who ventured into tinsel town with the 2010 romantic comedy film “Band Baaja Baaraat”, has since starred in many films like “Lootera”, “Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela” and “Gunday”. The actor was last seen in Zoya Akhtar’s “Dil Dhadakne Do” and will next be seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period film “Bajirao Mastani”. Here’s what celebrities tweeted on his birthday: Arjun Kapoor: Happy Burday Bollywood ka portable charger Hindustan ki energy drink the Natkhat Nakhreela Nutella @RanveerOfficial. Ayushmann Khurrana: Happy bday @RanveerOfficial! Mr energy! Superstar! Your potential energy has got converted into kinetic energy and magnetic energy. Shanoo Sharma: AND IT WAS BORN!I LOVE YOU!GOD BLESS!ACCHA READ AND SEE BELOW!YOU ARE MY KING! @RanveerOfficial. Aditi Rao Hydari: Happy birthday Energizer bunny! @RanveerOfficial. Parineeti Chopra: Happppppyyyy bday to my first hero, my linguistic buddy, my LUST!!!! LOVEE THIS GUY RANVEER SINGH BHAVNANI ARGHHHHHHH!!! @RanveerOfficial. (IANS)
Khloe Kardashian spotted on a date with James Harden
Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian and NBA star James Harden have sparked dating rumours as the two were spotted together in Las Vegas. The 31-year-old reality TV star visited some venues with Harden, 25, on July 4 night, reports tmz.com. Kardashian and Harden were spotted having dinner at an Asian restaurant, Red 8, in Wynn hotel. Sources said the pair looked like a couple as they were snuggling side by side during the meal. According to the report, the two headed to Drai’s nightclub, located quite far from the restaurant, after they finished with their dinner. However, the two were partying up before leaving the hotel as other sources spotted the two spending some time at the Encore Beach Club, in the same hotel where the restaurant is located. Kardashian and Harden reportedly began to know each other since the Houston Rockets player served as one of the coaches during rapper Kanye West’s birthday tournament at Staples Center last month. Kardashian is still legally married to ex-NBA star Lamar Odom. (IANS)
Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis marry secretly?
Hollywood star couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have reportedly tied the knot. The couple are said to have tied the knot over the weekend, but neither the pair nor their representatives have confirmed the news, reports people.com. Kutcher and Kunis sparked wedding rumours in January after Kutcher, 37, posted a cryptic image on Facebook with the words: “Happy New Year Love The Kutchers” written on the sand. Later in March, Kunis, 31, was asked about her relationship status with Kutcher in an interview with James Corden of “The Late Late Show”. “I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe,” Kunis replied, leaving fans wondering if she and Kutcher was actually a married couple. The duo first met on the set of FOX’s sitcom “That ’70s Show” which ran from 1998 to 2006. However, their romance started blossoming only in 2012. In February 2014, they got engaged and later in October, they welcomed their daughter Wyatt Isabelle. (IANS)