December Issue

December 2017

December 2017


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Burqa-clad gunmen

strike Pakistan

varsity, 9 killed

ISLAMABAD: Taliban fighters

disguised in burqas stormed

Peshawar’s Agricultural Training

Institute on Friday morning,

killing at least nine people and

injuring a further 32, many of

them students. The men, who

reportedly arrived in an autorickshaw,

attacked the students’

hostel. The institute was closed

for the Eid-e-Milad holiday. The

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan

claimed responsibility for the

attack. It also posted a photo of

the three attackers with Taliban

leader Mullah Fazlullah. An

operation launched by security

forces, assisted by military helicopters

conducting aerial surveillance

of the premises, was

successful in killing the three


Pakistan Army spokesman

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor confirmed

all three attackers were

dead, adding that the identity of

a fourth suspected attacker was

being confirmed. Khyber-

Pakhtunkhwa police said they

recovered three suicide jackets,

20 grenades and small arms and

ammunition from the bodies of

the terrorists. Mehsud also said

security forces were able to

secure a second hostel before the

terrorists could reach it. “There

were around 60 people in one

hostel and 50-60 in the other,” he

said, adding that residential

colonies are located in the surrounding


‘Yes, we can solve any


Former president says if the US and India work together, there

is no challenge in the world that they cannot overcome

NEW DELHI: There is no

problem that can’t be solved if

India and the United States

work together, former US president

Barack Obama said on

Friday as he called for a more

inclusive global order to

address challenges such as

inequality and terrorism.

The 44th US president

unveiled a four-point agenda

for the world order: tackling

problems arising from the globalisation

of economies; working

multilaterally on issues

such as climate change and terrorism;

giving diplomacy its

due for dealing with problems

such as the North Korean

nuclear crisis; and the right way

of consuming information.

Arriving to a standing ovation

from an exuberant audience

at the 15th Hindustan

Times Leadership Summit,

Obama recalled his special

fondness for fostering ties

between the “world’s oldest

and largest democracies” that

he had described as the “defining

partnership for the 21st century”.

“If India and the US are

working together, I believe

‘Even if they asked for a

blonde, I went to audition’


32 years, Naomi

Campbell has scorched

the ramp across the

world, achieving stardom

at a very young

age, living a fairytale

life among the who’s

who of fashion and

glamour. Among the

very few black models

in the 80s when she

started her career, the

47year-old Campbell said she

took great pride in being able to

represent her race, the women of

colour, in the industry. “I was

told many times, ‘we are looking

for a redhead or a blonde’.

I went nevertheless to let the

casting director see me and perhaps

remember me for something

else,” she said at the

Hindustan Times Leadership

Summit on Friday. For the

British supermodel, it’s the lessons

she learnt as a youngster

from her mother, a ballerina,

which have guided her and

helped her face the world with

confidence. “I get my physical

there is no problem we cannot

solve,” Obama said, recalling

how the two sides worked

together to deal with tough

issues such as the recovery of

the world economy and the

Paris climate deal.

“That’s one of the reasons

why Prime Minister [Narendra]

Modi and I met an unprecedented

nine times, because all of the

key challenges we face will be

and mental

strength from my

mother... My

mother sacrificed

a lot for me,”

Campbell said. In

a free-wheeling

chat with Indian

model and actor,

Milind Soman,

Campbell shared

nuggets of her

life’s journey —

from her early struggles as a

model, learning to handle criticism

and her love for yoga and

organic products.

Campbell recalled being

raised by a nanny before being

sent to England for her schooling

while her mother stayed back in


easier to achieve if India continues

to play a larger role, not just

in the Asia-Pacific region but on

the world stage,” he added. The

PM met Obama later in the day.

“It was a pleasure to meet, once

again, former President

BarackObama, and learn about

the new initiatives being taken

forward under his leadership at

the @ObamaFoundation and

his perspectives on further

strengthening India-US strategic

partnership,” Modi tweeted.

Obama, who visited India twice

as the US president, praised

Modi and his predecessor

Manmohan Singh, who was the

first state guest during his second

term, in equal measure during

the hour-long interaction.

He called for harnessing

high technology in a way that

creates more jobs and addresses

inequality while countering

fears and worries created

among some segments of society

by the globalisation of the

economy. Though many people

had benefited, some felt globalisation

and automation had

weakened their position and

resulted in job losses.

Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI

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President Donald Trump’s former

National Security Adviser

Michael Flynn pleaded guilty

on Friday to making

false statements to

the Federal Bureau

of Investigation, the

first plea by any of

the four former

advisers of the

President charged

so far in a wideranging


led by special

counsel Robert

Mueller. “Yes, sir,” the retired

three-star General and former

military intelligence chief said

when asked in court if he wanted

to plead guilty. Mr. Flynn

said he lied about his conversations

with Russia’s Ambassador

to the U.S. during the transition

period before Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

The guilty plea makes

Mr. Flynn the first person to

have actually worked in the

Trump White House to face formal

charges in the investigation,

which is examining possible

coordination between Russia

and the Trump campaign to

influence the outcome of the

2016 election. Mr. Flynn has

been under investigation for a

wide range of allegations,

including lobbying work on

behalf of Turkey, however the

fact that he was charged only

with a single count of false

statements suggests Mr. Flynn

is cooperating with Mr.

Mueller’s investigation in

exchange for leniency. Early on,

Mr. Trump had taken a particular

interest in the status of the

Flynn investigation. Former

FBI Director James Comey has

said Mr. Trump had asked him

in a private Oval

Office meeting to

consider ending the

investigation. The

White House has

denied that assertion.

Forced to resign

: Mr. Flynn, who was

interviewed by the

FBI just days after

Mr. Trump’s inauguration,

was forced to

resign in February after White

House officials said he had misled

them about whether he had

discussed sanctions with the

Russian ambassador, Sergey

Kislyak. Administration officials

said Mr. Flynn had not discussed

sanctions that had been

imposed on Russia in part over

election meddling. In charging

Mr. Flynn, prosecutors made

clear they believe that claim to

be false.

Aides under scanner : Mr.

Mueller’s team announced

charges last month against three

other Trump campaign officials,

former chairman Paul Manafort

and his business associate Rick

Gates, and a former foreign policy

adviser, George Papadopoulos.

Signs of Mr. Flynn cooperating

with Mr. Mueller’s team surfaced

in the past week, as his lawyers

told the legal team they could no

longer discuss information about

the case with them. Scheduled

grand jury testimony regarding

Flynn was also postponed by


2 December 2017



“The UK stands ready to support the region’s work to

bring an end to the conflict and suffering in South Sudan”

Statement by Ambassador Jonathan

Allen, UK Deputy Permanent

Representative to the UN, at the

Security Council Briefing on South

Sudan. Mr President, time and time

again, we have voiced our despair at the

depths of the suffering of the people of

South Sudan. The scale of the numbers

is deeply shocking: one third of the population

have been forced to flee their

homes and more than half the population

lack enough food to feed themselves

and their families. And yet, the

parties to the conflict, including the

Government, continue to mount offensives

on innocent civilians. They are

deaf to the misery of their own people.

It is more important than ever that the

international community shows the people

of South Sudan that we will act

together to work for peace, even if

South Sudan’s leaders will not.

Innocent civilians continue to pay the

price for the failures of the political

elite, but President Kiir’s long overdue

decree ordering safe passage for humanitarian

agencies is welcome. We hope

that this will result in real improvements

in getting assistance to those that so desperately

need it. Because physical

restrictions, whether resolved or not,

represent just the tip of the iceberg, as

bureaucratic impediments including

costly registration fees, and delays in

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receiving permits, prevent

humanitarians from reaching

those most in need.

Like others, we are

extremely concerned that

UNMISS continues to face

significant restrictions of

movement, including

restrictions imposed by

Government forces. We are

particularly troubled by a

disturbing trend of harassment,

threats and physical

assault of UN staff. This

must stop immediately.

Those responsible will be

judged by their actions, not

their words.

Mr President, South

Sudan is at a cross roads.

Its leaders are being offered

a last chance to commit to

peace and demonstrate that they care for

their people and their country. They

have repeatedly failed to do so. Too

many times ceasefires have been

declared while gunshots continue to

ring out. But IGAD’s Revitalisation

Forum offers hope for the people of

South Sudan, and I would like to reiterate

the UK’s full support for this process

and to thank both IGAD and the African

Union for their hard work over recent

months. IGAD foreign ministers and the

UK is committed to eliminating

violence against women and girls

Excerpts of the speech

by the British Deputy

High Commissioner

Kolkata Bruce Bucknell

at the ‘International

Conference on Anti-

Human Trafficking’ in

Kolkata. Thank you for agreeing

to include us – the British

Deputy High Commission in

Kolkata – as a partner for this

event today. I congratulate Sister

Monica Suchiang – Director,

Kolkata Mary Ward Social

Centre and her team

for organising this

two-day conference.

And for bringing

together participants

from across India and

overseas. But I’m not

happy that we are discussing this

subject in the year 2017. It is an

abhorrent crime. Victims of

human trafficking are subject to

terrible mistreatment and

exploitation. Those who engage

in it don’t recognise the dignity

Special Envoy have actively reached

out to both the elites and civil society

across the region as part of their revitalization

process. The UK stands ready to

support the region’s work to bring an

end to the conflict and suffering in

South Sudan, and we welcome the

African Union Peace and Security

Council’s clearly worded communiqué

of the 22 of September 2017.

The international community must

use the full range of options to ensure

or worth of human beings.

People are not commodities. We

should bring to justice those who

perpetrate these crimes and

exploit other human beings,

often at the most vulnerable

points in their lives, for personal

or commercial gain. We should

not tolerate it. It’s not just about

individual human beings.

Human trafficking erodes the

security and cohesion of communities.

It undermines the prosperity

of nations.

Jeremy Corbyn personally briefed

on # FreeJaggiNow campaign

London – Last night the

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn

joined Shadow Chancellor John

McDonnell, Deputy leader Tom

Watson and 1,500 supporters at a

Budget rally in West Bromwich.

Sukhvinder Singh, an adviser

to the Sikh Federation (UK) and

Assistant Secretary General of the

Sikh Council UK shared a train

with Jeremy Corbyn as he travelled

from London to Birmingham

New Street. This provided

Sukhvinder Singh an ideal opportunity

to speak to Jeremy Corbyn

and provide a personal briefing on

the latest situation with regards to

the illegal detention and torture of

Jagtar Singh Johal by Indian

police. Jeremy Corbyn was concerned

with Indian police treatment

of the 30-year old Scot from

Dumbarton who has alleged

police torture. He expressed his

disquiet with the method of

abduction, the lack of access to

lawyers, British consular staff and

family for the first 10 days,

Jagtar’s allegations of third degree

torture, the fact he remains in

police custody rather than judicial

custody and the refusal to grant an

independent medical examination.

Jeremy Corbyn said he would discuss

the matter with Preet Kaur

Gill, the Chair of the All Party

Parliamentary Group for British

Sikhs and Labour MP for

Birmingham Edgbaston and try

and meet with Jagtar’s family and

campaigners early next week.

that all parties meaningfully and constructively

engage. This cannot be an

open-ended process that allows more

delays, leading to more suffering for the

people of South Sudan. As the African

Union communiqué says, it must be

clear that this is a final chance and that

there will be consequences for not

engaging. As a Council, we should

commit to return to this issue early in

the new year in order to consider

whether we have seen enough progress,

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whether there are individuals or parties

who are blocking peace, and be ready to

take appropriate action if so.

Given the fragile situation in South

Sudan, we are concerned that the

Government is considering running

elections next year. There is no possibility

that the conditions for good elections

will be in place next year. Seeking to

hold them when the conditions are not

right is likely to drive further conflict.

As the African Union and IGAD have

set out, the timelines in the Peace

Agreement must be revised to allow for

a conducive environment for holding

elections. The National Dialogue must

be held in support of the Revitalisation

of the Peace Agreement; it cannot provide

a solution in itself.

Mr President, I want to conclude by

reiterating our plea to the leaders of

South Sudan: Stop the violence and

engage meaningfully in the revitalisation

process. Stop blocking and impeding

UNMISS and the Regional

Protection Force. Stop attacks against

UN and humanitarian workers. And

stop denying humanitarian aid from

reaching your people. You are starving

them to death. Mr President, South

Sudan is at a cross roads. We should do

all that we can to support the region’s

efforts to ensure its leaders choose the

right path.



December 2017




Over 100 British soldiers on a UN

peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

have been awarded their UN medals.

MEDALS have been awarded to 106

UK troops currently deployed on Op

TRENTON, the UK contribution to the

United Nations Mission in South Sudan

(UNMISS). There are nearly 400 troops

deployed in the world’s newest country,

split across three locations. Soldiers

from the 32 Engineer Regiment led Task

Force were recognised for their service

to the UN by the Special Representative

of the Secretary General Mr David

Shearer on parade in Malakal. He said:

I would like to recognise the commendable

efforts of everyone here on

parade and honour your dedicated service

here in South Sudan. Your efforts

and professionalism are highly regarded

and you make a valuable contribution to

UNMISS.Wear these medals as the

proud and worthy ambassadors of your

country and of the United Nations that

you are. The UK Engineering and

Medical Task Force has made a vital

contribution to supporting the UN mission

through improving infrastructure in

the form of helicopter landing sites, runways,

jetty and drainage improvements

and staff accommodation builds. They

have also been staffing the UK built

Level 2 field hospital which provides

essential healthcare to over 1,800 UN

civilian and military staff based in

Bentiu. Air Vice Marshall Gary

Waterfall, Chief of Staff for Joint

Operations, also presented medals and

thanked the soldiers for their work

which represents the UK’s renewed

contribution to UN peacekeeping operations.

He said: We are dipping our toe

back into the peacekeeping waters. But

this moment marks that we have made it

a step further, with our first full rotation

earning their medals. I am proud of this

achievement, and proud of all of you on

parade that have made it possible.

The Commanding Officer of the UK

Task Force is Royal Engineer,

Lieutenant Colonel Katie Hislop. She

said: Today is about our people and providing

the recognition that all our soldiers

deserve; not just those visible on

200 people attend NDA’s

first stakeholder summit


were set up for local community

groups, including charities and

small businesses, to share ideas

and highlight the achievement of

enterprises that had received

funding from the NDA’s socioeconomic

budget. The second

day was devoted to discussing

support for socio-economic initiatives,

which is part of the

NDA’s mission to decommission

and clean up the UK’s civil

nuclear legacy. NDA representatives

explained how i it was

committed to using all resources

available, including financial

support, to ensure a positive lasting

More than 200 stakeholders

from across the UK and overseas

munities around our sites, and

those further afield who have a impact in the communities

where it operates.

gathered in Cumbria for a 2-day real and genuine interest in our The NDA’s Head of

summit organised by the Nuclear mission to decommission and Stakeholder Relations, Bill

Decommissioning Authority clean up the UK’s

Hamilton, said: I’m

(NDA). It was the first opportunity

for the NDA’s recently

nuclear sites.

The event aimed

delighted about how well

the event has gone and

appointed Chief Executive at encouraging discussion

about the open, honest

Officer David Peattie and

about the

and constructive dialogue

Chairman Tom Smith to meet NDA’s work,

that’s happened over the

collectively with a wide range of including how it

last 2 days.

individuals, including representatives

manages the

Our stakeholders come

from all communities radioactive waste

from as far afield as the

hosting the 17 NDA sites. held on its sites. In

north of Scotland,

David Peattie said: ‘The Big Waste

Ireland, Austria, the Isle

Maintaining strong relationships

with our stakeholders is vitally

important to the NDA and to me

personally. I am committed to

meeting and listening to as many

people as possible from the com-

Debate’, UK and international

nuclear industry experts shared

views alongside renowned academics,

authors and critics of the


An exhibition and workshops

of Man and the south east of

England. To get them all together

in one place to discuss our

decommissioning mission in this

way is a first and has been

extremely valuable for the NDA.

the parade square right now, but those

who are in the sangars and behind the

scenes covering essential duties to protect

and sustain us.

The Task Force has faced some

unique challenges during its deployment

which began at the start of the wet

season. However, through innovation

and teamwork, much needed improvements

to UN infrastructure in both

Malakal and Bentiu have been made.

These will have a lasting impact on the

mission and the next engineering contingent

has been set up well for success

next year. The current contingent will

remain in South Sudan over the

Christmas period, continuing to enable

the mission to protect civilians and

build durable peace. They will return

home to their families in January 2018.

Minister for Africa Rory

Stewart in Kenya

Minister for Africa makes first

official visit to Kenya to attend the

inauguration of President Uhuru

Kenyatta. Minister for Africa Rory

Stewart visited Kenya from 27-28

November to attend the inauguration

of President Uhuru Kenyatta. This

was Mr Stewart’s

first official visit

to the country. The

Minister attended

the inauguration

ceremony and the

official inauguration

luncheon on

28 November. In

the afternoon, Mr

Stewart met with President Kenyatta

and passed on a message of congratulations

from Prime Minister Theresa

May, alongside an invitation to the

Commonwealth Summit in London

next year. During productive discussions,

President Kenyatta and Mr

Stewart discussed the future of the

wide-ranging partnership shared by

the UK and Kenya. The Minister welcomed

the President’s commitment to

national unity, and made clear his

hope that Kenya will now come

together in the spirit of reconciliation,

after a difficult election period.

Speaking at the end of the visit, Mr

Stewart said: I am pleased that I was

able to visit Kenya

and attend President

Kenyatta’s inauguration.

This marks the

moment where Kenya

can move forward

after a prolonged,

divisive election period

in a new spirit of

reconciliation. I hope

that all Kenyans will recognise the

need now for national dialogue and

healing. The UK has extensive and

historic links with Kenya, through our

business links, our development programmes,

and our diasporas. This has

been an opportunity to reaffirm our

partnership and hear more about the

ways that our two countries can work


4 December 2017



Words of Victory from the Victory Coach?

All about money

"You can be young without money, but you can't be old without it."

Tennessee Williams

One of the most important skills for any

person to be victorious in life is to learn

Money Consciousness. In fact, I daresay you

ought to be taught this in schools.

This is most fundamental learning in

today's times. Haven't you heard of stories

where the rich and famous are dying alone

and destitute with no one to care and no

funds to bank on? It's scary and sad. Money

is fast becoming the oxygen of life. Who

doesn't want money? Everyone. Charities

need it as much as capitalists.

Money consciousness.

It is not obsessing about being rich as

such, but being inthe awareness of how

money affects your life and the financial

implications it has in your life. And, itall germinates

in the mind. You have to first decide

what do you want. If you are focussing on

being a money magnet, you're doing it all

wrong. Money has no relevant ferromagnetism.We

do not attract money.We can, however

create wealth. Therein lies the difference.The

concept of attracting money is passive,

stagnant, and limited. On the contrary,

creating wealth is unlimited and active.

Without money consciousness, building

wealth can be quite difficult, elusive and perhaps

erratic. There is no other way. Think of

people who win lotteries. Most winners of



One of the most known

Asian Football Club in the

country, FC Khalsa Leicester,

whose home ground is at

Judgemeadow Community

College, celebrated their

recent promotion to the

Premier Division of

Leicestershire Senior League

with a Dinner Dance and

awarded one of their former

players Shingara Singh "

SHANNY " with the 1st ever

LEGEND TROPHY to recognise

his achievements in Asian

and Local football on

Saturday 18 November at

'The Venue', Gwendolin Road,


The special award was presented

by the Chief Guest Deputy

Mayor of Leicester City Council

Piara Singh Clair who congratulated

the club for returning to the

Premier League and was also full

of praise of FC Khalsa's amazing

other achievements and was

pleased to be invited among his

friends. In his prime Shingara

Singh "Shanny" was one of the

best around and thrilled fans with

his his wing play and goals. The

packed hall of over 400 people

gave Shanny a standing ovation

that lasted 10 minutes. He arrived

in Leicester from the land of five

rivers Punjab, India just after the

1966 World Cup, lived on Mere

Road opposite the Spinney Hill

Park. Shingara Singh said parents

did not have much money in

those days so our father got us

Author - Farzana Suri

lotteries throw away their newfound money

within a year. Why? Because without money

consciousness, wealth hardly stays around.

Money consciousness and wealth creation

starts within. It is,simply evidenced outside.

But, how can you become a money conscious


To be conscious about money is to ask

yourself in any situation that involves a

financial obligation, these questions?

1. Do I really want to do this or are there

other things I would rather spend the money

I have on?

2. Is this a smart spending decision?

DO NOT focus, solely on the immediate

cost. Take into account the long-term

expenses associated with your choice. Get a

one football with which we

played whenever possible. One

ball got so many kids playing.

Started playing for the Moat Boys

School team and went to play for

Sapna, East Park, Invincibles,

Carabean Club, and New Parks in

the early 70s " We played against

Shingara Singh of Leicester many

times. He was a very good

winger who had absolutely no

friends during the game yet

everyone was his friend when the

match finished. Such a nice

person. Loads of

Congratulations from all of

us"....Sarabjit Singh Garcha,

ex - First Team Coach,

Hounslow FC.

Shingara Singh commented

" I feel very good and honoured

to be presented with the

1st Legend Trophy by FC

Khalsa Leicester whom I

enjoyed playing for. It makes

you extra happy and proud

when others associated with

the great game of football

like players and supporters

think of you as a legend. I

would like to thank my first

Manager Mr. Nirmal Singh Ji for

his dedicated encouragement and

support. My best game was at the

first Derby Summer Tournament

against the local Punjab United

Derby who were one of the best

teams at the time. We had three

players sent off and were losing 2

- 0. Just like the Leicester City

that won the Premier League in

2016 we never gave up. I scored

a goal, won a penalty which made

it 2-2. After this there was going

to be one winner and we got

another goal in normal time to

reach the final which we also won

against Bedford despite having a

weakened team as the sent off

players in the semi final could not

play in the final.

Kids should play football and

other outdoor games which will

keep them fit and healthy as well

as out of trouble. "

handle on how much that particular action

will cost. That's it. And, yes, it's okay to

spend now and then on those frills. However,

a check and balance attitude can go a long

way. Last year, I noticed I spent more money

on buying clothes I either don't wear or don't

fit me!Almost INR 3 lacs!

Watch where you spend. Has it helped

you grow or your money grow?

Focus on creating value

Do not focus on attracting or getting

money. Create value in the world and watch

how wealth follows you around like a besotted


Keep asking the right questions. Because

how you think affects what you think.

How do you create value to become


Wake up each morning asking yourself

these questions:

1. What can I help with?

2. How can I add more value to more people

in less amount of time?

With amoney conscious lifestyle,watch

your financial decisions improving and your

bank account growing.

Don't pine for money. Romance her,


Wish you victory in managing your


Trump wrong to share far-right

videos: British PM’s office

London, It was wrong for

US President Donald Trump to

retweet videos posted by farright

group Britain First,

Downing Street has said.

Trump shared three posts by

the group’s deputy leader,

including unverified footage

purporting to show Muslims


crimes. British

Prime Minister

Theresa May’s

spokesman said

Britain First used

“hateful narratives

which peddle lies

and stoke tensions”,

BBC reported on

Wednesday. Labour’s Jeremy

Corbyn called the retweets

“abhorrent” and “dangerous”.

Britain First was founded in

2011 by former members of the

far-right British National Party

(BNP). The group has grabbed

attention on social media with

controversial posts about what

it deems “the Islamification of

the UK”. It has previously put

up members to run in European

elections and by-elections on

anti-immigration and antiabortion

policies, but has yet to

secure any seats. The first

tweet, from deputy leader

Jayda Fransen, claims to show

a Muslim migrant attacking a

man on crutches.

This was followed by two

more videos of people Ms

Fransen claims to be Muslim.

White House spokeswoman

Sarah Sanders said May and

other world leaders knew the

videos highlighted “real threats

that we have to talk

about”. “Whether

it’s a real video, the

threat is real,” she

a d d e d .


tweets — shared

with his 43.6 million

followers —

prompted a wave of criticism

in the UK. Corbyn tweeted: “I

hope our government will condemn

far-right retweets by

Donald Trump. They are

abhorrent, dangerous and a

threat to our society.” Veteran

Tory MP Nicholas Soames said

Trump had finally proved he is

“wholly unsuited” to the role of

president. Meanwhile, fellow

Conservative MP Nadhim

Zahawi has written a letter to

Trump urging him to delete the

retweets Speaking in the

Commons, Labour MP David

Lammy accused Mr Trump of

“promoting a fascist, racist,

extremist hate group”.



December 2017


Is media becoming a threat to democracy ?

I had long left watching the PR agents on the

TV studios discussing nationalism or pushing the

particular agendas of their political parties. It is

over 5 years that I stopped buying newspapers or

magazines. I do go through the news through my

twitter handle as well as some other forwarded

material but that too I am quite selective. In the

morning, I go through the important tweets that i

follow including some of them coming from prestigious

dailies internationally as well as nationally.

The new web news-portals are doing far better

work than the çhaudhuries’ of our so called mainstream


In the past, when I used to read a whole bunch

of papers and magazine, I only read them for getting

news. One news in 5 different dailies would

be presented in different ways. During the Babari

Masjid demolition period, I found that the owners

of the biggest dailies and news conglomerate did

a balancing act. Most of the owners had group of

publications in English and

Hindi. Some of them went

to the other languages

too. So, one publication

was dedicated to promoting

Hindutva while other

would be chasing them

out. But it was basically a

division of work between

Hindutva brahmins versus

socialist brahmins. A

Padgaonker would write

against BJP while a Vidya

Niwas Mishra, sitting in

Navbharat Times would

be giving them sermons

of greatness. And it was

not the story of the Times.

All the major newspaper

houses were doing that. All of them had two commonality

of ideas. One, to portray Hindu Dharma

as the greatest of the world, most liberal and second

all of them happened to be opposing Mandal

Commission recommendations and hated reservations.

Some of them had open hatred while others

had concealed hatred for reservation. There was

other combination. Arun Shourie in the Indian

Express and Prabhash Joshi in Jansatta. Both had

mastery over their languages. While Shourie was

a hard core anti Mandal who used VP Singh and

later started abusing him, Joshi remain his friend

yet condemn his Mandal Act. Both of them would

interact with their readers. Arun Shourie was dismissed

unceremoniously by Ramnath Goenka

when he wrote a nasty piece against VP Singh

which the Express owner felt was against the policy

of the paper. Shourie slowly made his way to

Hindutva camp abusing all the seculars and

minorities. His third class work on Ambedkar

became a talk of town among the middle class

casteist Hindus who jumped on his anti reservation


Not many people knew that the first ever book

that Shourie published was a kind of critique of

Gita and Hinduism itself but he perhaps has disown

that. I don’t know whether the copies are

available but later he became an unabashed fan of

brahmanical Hindutva. Prabhash Joshi became

You can’t think of

them coming anywhere

close to Times, Guardian or

The New York Times. Of

Course, the loudmouths may

claim them the best and

biggest champions of nationalism

but we don’t need to

respond to them as they

have openly exposed themselves

and the ideology

underneath which reflect in

their venomously cooked up

stories spreading poison of

hatred and conflict just for

attaining farcical TRPs.

the champion of the secular brigade who considered

that Hindus can not be represented by the

Sangh Parivar. His viewpoint was clear that the

Sanghi brahmins cannot represent

the secular-socialist

brahmins but Joshi was

arrogantly proud of his

brahmin faith. He would

quote copiously from those

texts. Joshi was the ‘progressive’

editor who supported

the Sati and felt that

it was the highest tradition

of sacrifice of the Indian


Once Prabhash Joshi

wrote an article in Jansatta :

Jaat pe mat jaao meri baat

pe aao’, where he responded

in details the accusation

of being castiests. I wrote a letter regarding

that as an editor he will have the last laugh. He

can interact, write and unilaterally be selective. I

told him that all his arguments can be countered

very easily but I respected him because I loved his

language. He personally wrote and send me a

handwritten letter giving in details why he felt

pained because people charge him with being

casteist but then the facts remain. I did not enter

into an argument but in his later stage he perhaps

was more visible in the social movements on economic

issues as most of the time they are afraid of

caste issues because of their uncomfort.

Today, our media is doing the same. The media

war is a reality today. I wrote about it long back

when Times Now unleashed a campaign against

the screening of a documentary made by a British

documentary maker and was supposed to be

broadcasted at the NDTV. So, the corporate houses

are jumping into it as profit is the main motive.

As I said, we have a Mirror Now, started by Times

Houses and it is taking political position in contrast

to Timesnow. The woman who is main

anchor speak absolutely like Arnab Goswami,

perhaps his student with only difference is that

she is taking on the Hindutva fringe too. I don’t

know this is her ideological position or a guidelines

by the Jains of Times of India.

So journalists whose job was to give us unbiased

news have now become news themselves.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

And most of them have their followers or Bhakts

who quote them like Gita, Quran and Bible.

Whether pro and anti, we are victims of the new

world order that work on branding

so we have a few brands in each

segments. Many Brahmins,

Banias and a few of them from the

others to get fixated into their

scheme of things. Some are raising

the issue of Hindu pride and

suggesting why can’t we do it

while others are championing the

cause of ‘secularism” but in these

two dividing lines and their followers,

there is no space for the

segments who are victims of both

these high class sawarna perception.

There is no space for an

alternative vision and thought. If

somebody is secular and want to

discuss about Ambedkar, the panelists are the same

on their identity lines. This fixing

will not help as media has lost

its credibility. Whether you pretend

to be secular or non, most

of you don’t want diverse voices

in your newsrooms.

The recent CARAVAN-

Express spat is another point.

The story of Judge Loya’s suspicious

death was reported

very boldly by Caravan magazine.

None of the ‘mainstream’

media picked it up but suddenly

an Express story tried to

debunk the entire issue of ‘suspicion’.

It picked holes in the

Caravan story but embarrassingly

got stuck into those holes

itself. So far the Express has

not bothered to answer those

questions which have been raised.

This is the second biggest fiasco that the Express

has done in recent years. The first one was

Shekhar Gupta’s so called ”scoop’ of General V K

Singh and army attempted coup several years

back. The Express neither regretted nor challenged

those who questioned. Some time, in their

attempt to look different these things comes up.

While we appreciate Express’s investigative journalism

and stories and definitely among these

crowd they stood apart but we must not depend on

them too much. People have found their ways out.

We know ultimately all these newspapers and

channels have their own interests and they can’t

go beyond a limit. During the UPA period too,

media, had an understanding not to target a few

individuals which included the PM,

Chidambaram, Manmohan Rahul, Sonia, Arun

Jaitley, Sharad Pawar, Naveen Patnaik and all

those who were in power to get their thing done.

Media may look divided on ‘secularism-communalism’

issue but on broader issues of economic

liberalisation, they remain the same. Almost, all

of them, have been speaking for it and singing jai

ho for the opening up of our economy and selling

of the public sector and handing them to private

corporations. All these ópinionmakers” remain

highly anti Dalit and casteism as can be reflected

in the nature of people they have in their newsrooms

and the mindset which hate the issue of

Dalit Bahujan identity and their issues of fair representation

in all walks of our lives.

The only way is now that people should take

the best and leave the worst. Look for news and

not the views. Verify news from various ways and

focus on developing our own. Today, they hate

social media, call it uncontrolled and want it to be

regularised but are our channels better. They have

become trolls themselves and teaching hatred and

contempt for the opponents. When we are in a

position to do on our own, they want to close.

Indian mainstream media can not even match the

great warriors in Sri Lanka and Pakistan who are

courageously taking a bold stand against the misdeeds

of their government and publishing people’s

stories. You can’t think of them coming anywhere

close to Times, Guardian or The New York Times.

Of Course, the loudmouths may claim them the

Today, our media is doing the

same. The media war is a reality

today. I wrote about it long back when

Times Now unleashed a campaign

against the screening of a documentary

made by a British documentary maker

and was supposed to be broadcasted at

the NDTV. So, the corporate houses are

jumping into it as profit is the main

motive. As I said, we have a Mirror

Now, started by Times Houses and it is

taking political position in contrast to

Timesnow. The woman who is main

anchor speak absolutely like Arnab

Goswami, perhaps his student with only

difference is that she is taking on the

Hindutva fringe too. I don’t know this is

her ideological position or a guidelines

by the Jains of Times of India.

best and biggest champions

of nationalism but we

don’t need to respond to

them as they have openly

exposed themselves and

the ideology underneath

which reflect in their venomously

cooked up stories

spreading poison of hatred

and conflict just for attaining

farcical TRPs. Their

high decibel sound bites

have created thousands of

semi literate bunch of

goons who don’t know the

repercussions of their act

towards integrity and unity

of the country. Newsmedia

therefore, has become the

biggest obstacle in our free

and fair choices. Rather than

defending the rights of the people, it has become

the lapdog of those in power and defending their

misdeeds with planting stories, defaming the

opponents, killing and defaming civil society and

human rights movements and therefore who else

can we blame for the degradation except this

mainstream media whose acts have now become a

threat to democracy.

UK MP abused online for not opposing Johal’s arrest

LONDON: A Sikh MP in the UK has

been abused and targeted with threats of

violence from furious trolls who think

he was not speaking enough on issues

related to the community, according to a

media report.

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who

became Labour’s MP for Slough in

June, was accused of ignoring the plight

of a British Sikh man who was arrested

during his visit to India. But Dhesi

vowed to continue working for the

whole public “regardless of background,

colour or creed” rather than

focussing on just one community, The

Sun reported. The abuse came after

Dhesi won the right to speak at prime

minister’s questions and used the slot to

ask about a rail link in his local area.

Trolls said he should have asked about

Jagtar Singh Johal, a UK-based non-resident

Indian who has been arrested by

Punjab Police for his alleged role in targeted

killing of Hindu right-wing leaders,

the report said. One troll wrote to

the MP saying: “...A Sikh British citizen

is being tortured in Punjab and you’re

worried about rail. You have no

response to that. You need a slap upside

your head you fake Sikh!” Dhesi reacted

with fury and pointed out that he has

repeatedly worked on Johal’s case.

“It’s hard enough serving as an MP

without having to face constant abuse

from various quarters (whether that’s

the farright/extremists/others who feel

that I’m only interested in ‘my community’s

issues’, or those from within my

‘own’ community who feel I don’t do

enough),” he wrote on Facebook.

“When people resort to abuse, they are

actually doing a disservice to their own

cause. I will do what I genuinely feel is

right. I am not merely a Sikh MP/representative

speaking solely on Sikh

issues,” Dhesi added.

6 December 2017



India, China have no option but

to live peacefully : Dalai Lama

Bhubaneswar : Tibetan spiritual

leader the Dalai Lama on

Monday said India and China

have no option except to live

peacefully and help each other.

On to the strained ties

between the two countries in the

wake of the Doklam standoff,

the Nobel Peace laureate said

that is not an important issue.

“Both the countries across the

border have more than two billion

people together. So, they

need each other. India needs

China and China needs India.

There is no other way except live

peacefully and helping each

other,” said the Dalai Lama after

meeting Chief Minister Naveen

Patnaik. He said even though

small problems keep happening

between the two countries, it was

nothing serious.

The Tibetan spiritual leader,

after arriving at the airport here,

Bhubaneswar: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama talks to

press at Naveen Niwas in Bhubaneswar on Nov 20, 2017. Also seen

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

said: “War is not a solution.

Solve the problem amicably as

no country eventually wins a

Agra : Polling began on Wednesday to elect chairmen

of local bodies in 24 districts of Uttar Pradesh,

and the mayor of Agra along with 100 corporators,

officials said.In the three-phase election, 24 districts

of Uttar Pradesh are going to polls on Wednesday,

while 25 districts would go to the polls on November

26, and 26 districts on November 29.

Twenty-four districts of Uttar Pradesh with 1.09

crore voters would elect 4,325 candidates for various

positions in the local bodies polls. The mayors of five

corporations including Agra would also be elected.

war.” He said modern India

should pay more attention to

learn ancient knowledge about

Despite the misty morning chill, long queues of anxious

voters turned up at 364 polling booths in the district.

"The expectation level is high and the contest is

fierce, as all major political parties have put up formidable

candidates for the post of Agra mayor," said

insurance agent Sudheir Gupta, at the Vijay Nagar

colony polling booth. The results would be

announced on December 1. The Agra mayor seat is

being hotly contested by the Bhartiya Janata Party

(BJP) candidate Navin Jain, Bahujan Samaj Party

(BSP) candidate Digambar Singh Dhakrey, Rahul

Now, Capt

toes party

line on



day after he broke ranks

with his party and joined

chorus of BJP leaders

opposing release of

Sanjay Leela Bansali’s

movie ‘Padmavati’,

Punjab chief minister

Captain Amarinder Singh

said he had neither suppo

rted a ban on the movie

nor backed those issuing

threats to the actors and

crew of the movie.

Though he reiterated that

anyone feeling hurt by

the “distortion of historical

facts” had the right to

peaceful agitation,

Amarinder on Tuesday

said a distinction needs

to be drawn between

threats and protests.

“How can I seek or support

a ban on the movie

when I have not even

watched it,” asked the

CM, denying that he had

on Monday said if there

had been any attempt to

distort history then

protests against the same

were justified.

how to tackle emotion.

The Chief Minister said they

discussed several issues of contemporary


Honoured to receive Dalai

Lama at “my residence…

Discussed many issues of contemporary

importance and

sought his blessings and guidance

for working towards our

state’s development and welfare

of the people”, tweeted Patnaik.

The prime preacher of

Buddhism is scheduled to visit

Chandragiri in Gajapati district

where a sizeable population of

Tibetans resides after their banishment

from Tibet by China

years ago. The Dalai Lama will

receive the prestigious Kalinga

Institute of Social Sciences

Humanitarian Award for the year

2017. The award will be conferred

on him on Tuesday at a

special function at the institute.

First phase of UP civic bodies' polls begins

Fire breaks out in Delhi

market, no casualties

New Delhi, Over half-a-dozen

temporary shops were fully gutted

in a fire that broke out

here in a market around

midnight on Thursday,

police and fire officials

said. The kiosks, comprising

of pan shops

and small eateries, were

situated in the middle of

Malviya Nagar market

in south Delhi. There

was, however, no casualty

as most of the kiosks were shut

A fire brigade

official said the

blaze was contained

before it

could spread

beyond the row

of kiosks

for the night.

Police were informed about the

fire by the local residents

and 4-5 fire tenders

reached the spot

and doused the blaze

after a half-an-hour battle.

A fire brigade official

said the blaze was

contained before it

could spread beyond the

row of kiosks. The

cause of the fire was yet

to be ascertained.

Chaturvedi of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Vinod

Bansal of the Congress. The Aam Admi Party (AAP)

has fielded Rajesh Gupta. The votes are likely to be

divided among 13 mayoral candidates.

A district official told IANS 4,200 policemen,

1,000 home guards, eight companies of Provincial

Armed Constabulary (PAC) and two Central Reserve

Police Force (CRPF) companies have been deployed

for poll duty. The poll process would be supervised

by 8,000 state government employees. The Agra

Municipal Corporation has 12,67,595 voters.


India’s Manushi

Chhillar on Saturday

won the Miss World

2017 crown in China.

The 20-year-old from

Haryana’s Jhajjar,

who is a medical student

in Sonepat,

edged out other top

four contestants from

England, France,

Kenya and Mexico.

“The winner of Miss

World 2017 is Miss

India Manushi

Chhillar,” said the

announcement on the

pageant’s official

Twitter handle as

well as on its

Facebook page.

Rajnath asks J&K govt to

shift juveniles from jails

to remand homes

NEW DELHI: Home minister Rajnath Singh

has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government

to move all juveniles, arrested for pelting stones

and other unlawful activities, from jails to

remand homes and review their cases sympathetically,

officials said. The issue was discussed

in a meeting of the core group on Kashmir. The

state government is expected to take the initiative

to shift the juveniles to remand homes and

review their cases soon, the official said.



December 2017


Toilet still a dream for 732 million

New Delhi : India has the

highest number of people — 732

million —without access to toilets,

according to a report by

international charity WaterAid.

If all these people stood in a

line, the queue would run more

than four times around the earth,

said the report released ahead of

World Toilet Day on Sunday.

Women and girls are among the

worst hit, with 350 million of

them lacking access to basic sanitation,

the report said.

BJP leader

booked for Rs. 10

crore bounty on

Deepika, Bhansali


GARH: State Bharatiya Janata

Party (BJP) leader Surajpal

Amu was booked by Gurgaon

Police for criminal intimidation

on Tuesday, two days after he

offered a bounty of Rs. 10

crore for beheading lead actor

Deepika Padukone and director

Sanjay Leela Bhansali of the

film Padmavati. The police

filed a first information report

at Gurgaon’s Sector 29 police

station on the

complaint of

an “art lover

and fan” of

Padukone and


against Suraj

Pal Amu, the

ruling party’s

media coordinator in Haryana.

Officials said Amu was booked

under section 506 of the Indian

Penal Code and that they

would call him for questioning.

The National Commission for

Women on Monday had asked

Haryana’s director general of

police to take action against

Amu for his derogatory

remarks. The complainant

Pawan Kumar of Gurgaon said

he was “deeply hurt” after

watching the video in which

Amu issued the bounty on

Sunday. The Haryana unit of

the BJP distanced itself from

Amu’s remarks on Monday and

issued a show-cause notice

asking to explain his statement.

“We are law-abiding people.

But if anyone plays with our

society, caste, and country’s

history then I would not have

any problem in breaking law. I

am ready to face arrest to save

country’s history,” Amu said in

his defence.

“On World Toilet Day we

reaffirm our commitment

towards improving sanitation

facilities across our nation. I

compliment all those individuals

and organisations working

towards building more toilets in

various parts of India. Their

invaluable contribution adds

solid momentum to Swachh

Bharat Mission,” PM Modi

tweeted Sunday. The Swachh

Bharat Mission is a flagship programme

of the Modi government





Toilet Day on Sunday, Prime

Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed

his government’s commitment

towards improving

sanitation facilities across the

nation. “On World Toilet Day,

we reaffirm our commitment

towards improving sanitation

facilities across our nation,”

the PM tweeted.

“I compliment all ...working

towards building more toilets...

Their contribution adds solid

momentum to Swachh Bharat

Mission,” he said.

launched on October 2, 2014.

One of its primary objective

is to make India 100% open

defecation free (ODF) by

October 2, 2019, marking five

years of the launch of the

Swachh Bharat Mission. “While

India is making rapid progress in

improving sanitation under the

ongoing Swachh Bharat

Mission, we need to ensure

inclusion, recognising the

importance of safe and accessible

toilets specific to the needs

of the differently abled, the elderly,

the poorest, as well as

women and adolescent girls,”

VK Madhavan, chief executive

Cong to enter Rahul era

NEW DELHI: The Congress’

s highest decision-making body

approved a road map on Monday

to elevate Rahul-Gandhi, who

could become the party president

as early as December 5.

The Congress will be holding

leadership elections after seven

years. Nominations will close on

December 4 and applications will

be sc rut in is ed a day later.

Voting will be held on December

16 but it was unlikely Rahul

Gandhi will face a challenge. The

47-year-old politician, once

referred toast he “Reluctant

Prince” for his refusal to lead the

party or join its last government,

has virtually helmed the organisation

after his mother and party

president Sonia Gandhi took a

back seat two years ago. He has

been the vice president of the

131-year-old party since January

2013. Sources say Sonia, a binding

force for the party and known

for her ability to build alliances,

Women worst affected, ODF deadline of

Oct 2019 will require 12 crore new toilets

could play the role of its chief

patron. Sonia might continue as

head of the Congress

Parliamentary Party, sources said.

Monday’s decision by the CWC

came after an assessment that

Rahul Gandhi’s elevation would

help Congress in Gujarat polls.

Karnataka CM tells Haryana to act

against those threatening Deepika

Bengaluru, Karnataka Chief Minister

Siddaramaiah has urged the Haryana government

to act against fringe elements threatening to bodily

harm Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone for her

lead role in Hindi film “Padmavati”. “I have asked

Haryana Chief Minister

Manohar Lal Khattar to take

strict action against those

threatening to harm Deepika, as

she just played the lead role in

the film as an actress as directed

by its maker,” Siddaramaiah

told reporters here on Monday.

Though 31-year-old Deepika

stays in Mumbai, she hails

from Bengaluru, where her

family, including her father and

legendary badminton champion Prakash

Padukone, mother Ujjala, younger sister Anisha

and grandmother Ahilya live in the city’s southwest

suburb. Padukone runs a badminton academy

in the city’s western suburb to coach youngsters in

the game.

“I call upon the CM of Haryana @mlkhattar to

take strict action against those holding out threats

against her,” tweeted Siddaramaiah later.

Reacting to a threat by media cell coordinator of

Haryana unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Suraj

Pal Ammu, who allegedly offered to reward Rs 10

crore to anyone who would “behead” Deepika, the

Chief Minister said the state

government would provide

security to her and her family in


“I condemn the culture of

intolerance and hate perpetuated

by the BJP and its right-wing

groups. Karnataka stands by

Deepika who is a renowned

artiste from our state,” asserted


The yet-to-be certified historical

film is said to have distorted the character

role of the 13th century Rajput queen Padmini or

Padmavati of Chittorgarh in Rajasthan. Taking cue

from the Chief Minister, state Home Minister

Ramalinga Reddy told reporters at Belagavi in the

state’s northwest region that the state police would

provide security to Deepika whenever she was in

Bengaluru or anywhere in Karnataka.

How many

more Pakistans

will you create,

asks Farooq

JAMMU: Former Jammu

and Kashmir chief minister

and National Conference president

Farooq Abdullah on

Saturday not only reiterated

his recent statement of ‘PoK

belongs to Pakistan’ but also

lashed out at the Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP) government

at the Centre

asking, “You

have made one

Pakistan. How

many more

Pakistans will

you create?”

He also

painted a scary

picture if

Article 35-A was revoked saying,

“Jammu will be the first to

bear its maximum brunt”.

Addressing party workers

at party headquarters here he

said that PoK was with

Pakistan for the past 70 years

and India and Pakistan have

fought four wars.

“What did I say? When did

National Conference stop anyone

to take back PoK? Go and

Addressing party

workers at party headquarters

here he said

that PoK was with

Pakistan for the past

70 years and India

and Pakistan have

fought four wars

for WaterAid India, said. The

ODF deadline of 2019 will

require 12 crore new toilets

between October 2017 and 2019.

Till November 2017, only 5.38

crore new toilets have been built.

A report released by TERI

University earlier found that the

only state to meet its toilet construction

target was Gujarat.

In a survey conducted by

Quality Council of India (QCI)

that assessed 1.4 lakh households

in 4,626 villages across all

states, a little more than half of

all households (62.45%) in rural

India had access to toilets, which

were used 91% of the time.

take it. They (Pakistan) are not

wearing bangles. They also

have atom bombs. Even the

Prime Minister talked about

maintaining the sanctity of the

Line of Control (LoC). Today,

we are being intimidated by

them. And, when did National

Conference ask for Azadi. We

always asked for


which is in the

I n d i a n


he said.

Farooq also

said that the BJP

government was

hell bent upon

creating a divide between

Hindus and Muslims. “Ye

Hindustan tumhare baap ka

nahi (This country is not your

father's). This country belongs

to everyone, be it Hindu,

Muslim, Sikh or Christian.

They can choose their candidate,

it's their right,” he said

and added that people of India

can’t be threatened to garner


8 December 2017



No opposition tolerated by Modi`s Chamchas

Swaraj India President Yognedra Yadav reminded Mr Modi about his pre-election promises made to

the farmers of India who gathered from all over the country at the Kisan Mukti Sansad in Delhi

Bihar BJP President threatening

to chop off fingers of anyone

who points fingers at Prime

Minister Narendra Modi. It certainly

indicates that no individual

or political party dares to

challenge the current policies of

the Modi government in the fear

that one might face the wrath

and indignation of the Modi

Bhagats. Swaraj India President

Yognedra Yadav reminded Mr

Modi about his pre-election

promises made to the farmers of

India who gathered from all over

the country at the Kisan Mukti

Sansad in Delhi

"I am pointing my finger at

Mr. Modi, the whole Kisan Mukti

Sansad is pointing fingers at

Modi because he cheated and

looted the farmers of this country,

let us see how many fingers they

can chop and how many hands

they can cut off," Yogendra

Yadav said while addressing the

farmers. Responding to his

appeal, thousands of farmers

raised their fingers in unison as a

symbolic protest against the government

policies. Yogendra

Yadav also said that Mr. Modi

does not have time to visit the

farmers who are at a distance of 5

minutes from his residence and


On the future course of action

of All India Kisan Sangarsh

Coordination Committee

(AIKSCC), Yogendra Yadav said

that Kisan Mukti Abhiyan will

Rahul to ask Modi a question

every day in Gujarat poll run-up

begin a campaign to ensure that

no crop is being sold below the

set MSP. He also said that the

country wide campaign will

begin on 26th of November - the

day when the constitution of this

country was finalised and end on

26th of January - the day when

the constitution was approved.

The campaign will begin from

Bardoli in Gujarat. "Mr. Modi is

a busy man. He does not have

time to meet us here. May be he

is busy in Gujarat, so we will go

there and begin our campaign

from there, and if he has any concern

left for the farmers of this

country, he should come and

meet them there."

Rahul Kumar

(Senior Correspondent)

New Delhi, Congress Vice

President Rahul Gandhi will ask

Prime Minister Narendra Modi a

question every day in the run-up

to the Gujarat assembly elections,

the party said. Congress

chief spokesperson Randeep

Singh Surjewala on Wednesday

said Gandhi would ask a question

to the Prime Minister every


“Rahul Gandhi is asking a

question every day, why did mis-governance of

22 years create such a situation,” he tweeted.

Gandhi wrote on Twitter on Wednesday “22

salon ka hisaab, Gujarat mange jawaab.

(Gujarat demands answers for 22 years of

BJP)”. He said he would demand answers for 22

years of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) rule in

the state and the promises made to the people.

New Delhi, BSF

Director General K.K.

Sharma on Wednesday said

Pakistan has not stopped its

infiltration bids into Jammu

and Kashmir, and added

that routes used by militants

have been identified

and the BSF is ready to

tackle future attempts.

He also said the neighbouring

country was making

repeated ceasefire violations

despite both issues being

raised repeatedly at the DG

level talks with Pakistan

Rangers. “Pakistan is continuing

with its attempts at infiltration.

We will not let their

intentions succeed. We know

“First question to the Prime

Minister on the state of affairs in

Gujarat — In 2012, promises

were made to provide 50 lakh

new houses but built 4.72 lakh in

five years.

Will the Prime Minister tell,

whether it will take another 45

years to fulfil the promise?”

Gandhi posted on Twitter.

Congress spokesperson

Deepender Singh Hooda said he

hoped Modi and the BJP would answer

Gandhi’s queries on “22 years of mis-governance”

in Gujarat. “We expect that the Prime

Minister and the BJP to find time and answer

the questions asked to them by Rahul Gandhi,”

he said. “The BJP is working for the super rich

and middlemen. The party’s (BJP) economic

policy was at the cost of the poor,” he added.

Pakistan’s infiltration

bids, ceasefire violations

continue : BSF

“Pakistan is continuing with its attempts at infiltration.

We will not let their intentions succeed

their routes and are

ready to handle any situation,”

Sharma told

reporters at the annual

press conference of the

Border Security Force.

He said that talks

with the Pakistan

Rangers earlier this

month were held in a

cordial atmosphere.

“We raised the issue of

infiltration and ceasefire violations

but they continue to take

place,” he said.

www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA December 2017 9

Longowal elected

42nd SGPC chief

Amritsar : The Shiromani

Gurdwara Parbandhak

Committee (SGPC) General

House elected former Dhuri

MLA Gobind Singh Longowal

as the 42nd president during its

annual meeting at Teja Singh

Samundri Hall here today.

Longowal, whose name was proposed

by Bibi Jagir Kaur,

replaces Kirpal Singh Badungar.

Of the 170 members present,

Hardeep Singh Mohali did not cast

his vote in protest against “political

interference” in SGPC affairs

and the clergy’s “controversial”

decisions. A former chairman of

the Sangrur district planning

board, Longowal defeated Amrik

Singh Shahpur of Dera Baba

Nanak, securing 154 votes.

Shahpur, who polled 15 votes, was

later included on the 11-member

executive at the insistence of the

Panthic Front, constituted some

weeks prior to the poll by Sukhdev

Singh Bhaur, a former general secretary.

The SGPC had to remove

Jarnail Singh Kartarpur to make

way for Shahpur. The other executive

members are: Sajjan Singh

Bajuman, advocate Bhagwant

Singh Sialka, Lakhbir Singh, Bibi

Gurpreet Kaur Kapurthala, Gurtej

Singh Dadde, Hardev Singh

Rogla, Ravinder Singh

Chakmukerian, Gurmeet Singh

Buh, Baba Gurmeet Singh

Trilokewala and Navtej Singh.

Gurbachan Singh Karmowala

was elected general secretary,

Raghujit Singh Karnal senior

vice-president and Harpal Singh

Jalla junior vice-president unopposed.

Longowal said his top

priority was propagating

Sikhism. He ducked queries on

the crisis within the community

and “damage” to SGPC’s image.

Former minister

was awarded


• Gobind Singh Longowal, a

three-time MLA and a minister

in the Badal Cabinet, was

among 40 leaders awarded

‘tankhah’ (religious punishment)

by Akal Takht for visiting

Dera Sacha Sauda ahead of

Assembly elections

• The adopted son of the late

Sant Harchand Singh

Longowal, he won the Dhuri

byelection in 2015, defeating

Congress-Sanjha Morcha candidate

Simar Partap Singh,

grandson of Surjit Singh


• Longowal’s wife is a schoolteacher

and younger sister Dr

Inderjeet Kaur chairperson of

the All-India Pingalwara


Snubbing Islamabad,

India promises more medical

visa to Pakistanis

New Delhi, Snubbing objections

from Islamabad, External

Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

on Wednesday assured visa to

four more Pakistanis, including a

three-year-old boy, seeking medical

treatment in India. “Yes.

Muhammad Shafay is only 3

years old. We will issue visa for

his open heart surgery

in India,” Sushma

Swaraj tweeted in

response to a request

from Masroor Akhtar

Sidiqqui, who said his

son had an appointment

on December 20

for an open heart surgery.

To a request by a

Muhammad Sajid that a visa be

issued to Muhammad Tyab on

humanitarian grounds, she said

the necessary papers should be

submitted to the Indian High

Commission in Islamabad.

“Indian High Commission will

issue visa for her liver transplant

surgery in India,” Sushma

Swaraj said in response to another

request by Sohail Aarbi, who

said that his 14-year-old daughter

Hadia Aarbi was in a critical

state. The Minister also assured a

visa to nine-year-old Abdur

Rehman to undergo bone marrow

transplant in India. Earlier this

week, Sushma Swaraj assured

medical visas to 12 Pakistani

nationals seeking treatment in

India. Last week, Pakistan

accused India of politicising

humanitarian issues and said

“selective issuance” of

medical visas to its citizens

was not a gesture

of compassion but

“cold blooded politicking”.

Foreign Office


Mohammad Faisal said

the Indian policy of

selective issuance of

medical visa to Pakistanis was

“regrettable”. On November 25,

another Pakistani national,

Shahzaib Iqbal from Lahore,

tweeted to Sushma Swaraj that

“after Allah, you are our last

hope” and sought a medical visa

for his cousin. The Minister did

not disappoint him. On

Independence Day, the External

Affairs Ministry had announced

that India would provide medical

visa to all bonafide Pakistani


Khaira loses cool, lashes out at Capt

An emotionally charged Khaira made disparaging

remarks against the chief minister and a journalist friend

of his from Pakistan. Khaira also filed a complaint with

Chandigarh Police in the audio clip scandal.

CHANDIGARH : The ongoing

audio clip controversy took an ugly

twist when leader of opposition

Sukhpal Khaira launched a no-holdsbarred

attack on Punjab chief minister

Captain Amarinder Singh on

Wednesday, using intemperate language

and taking swipes at his private

life. The AAP leader flew off the handle

after the Punjab assembly passed a

resolution against Lok Insaaf Party

(LIP) MLAs, Balwinder Bains and

Simarjeet Bains, who released the

audio clip of an alleged attempt to

bribe a judge in a drug case against

Khaira, and requested the chief justice

of Punjab and Haryana to take suo

motu notice and action in the matter.

An emotionally charged Khaira led

a walkout of AAP and LIP members

from the House and held an impromptu

press conference in the press room

where he made disparaging remarks

against the chief minister and a journalist

friend of his from Pakistan.

Khaira, who has repeatedly accused

the state government of framing him in

the controversial drug case, broke

down, alleging a conspiracy to “eliminate

me politically and physically”.

AAP MLAs, Kanwar Sandhu and

Aman Kumar Arora, who were flanking

Khaira, tried to calm him down, but

he snubbed them. “Let me say what I

feel. I am not overstepping. I am stating

facts only,” he insisted.

Continuing his outburst against the

chief minister, the leader of opposition,

who has been making headlines for his

hectoring attacks on rivals, used several

unprintable words.

“By passing the resolution against

the two MLAs, Capt has tried to

obstruct the justice in a false case

against me,” he said.

On being questioned about use of

swear words by Khaira, Sandhu and

some other AAP leader called it an

“emotional outburst” and “unintentional


While the AAP-LIP members are

still to decide their next strategy on the

resolution passed by the state assembly,

the subsequent flare-up, particularly

his language, triggered by it has

caused disquiet in a section of the

party. The resolution moved by parliamentary

affairs minister Brahm

Mohindra, which caught most members

on treasury benches unawares,

strongly condemned the “wrongful

involvement” and “scandalous allegations”

made against the judge for

“political purposes and vested motives.

“The House would urge and request

the chief justice to take further action

as required in the case which amounts

to nothing short of impairing the

majesty of law, obstructing the administration

of justice and lowering the

image and dignity of the court and its

honourable judges,” it read.

Khaira files police complaint :

Sukhpal Khaira, on Wednesday filed a

complaint with Chandigarh Police in

the audio clip scandal. Khaira said he

handed over the complaint to deputy

inspector general (DIG) Om Prakash


“I will share the details and names

of persons against whom I want the

case once the police call me to record

my statement,” he said, refusing to

share any further information. He was

accompanied by MLAs Kanwar

Sandhu, Aman Arora, Balwinder Bains

and Simarjeet Bains. Mishra said the

MLA’s complaint is being examined.

He, too, refused to divulge its contents.

Haryana Police files chargesheet against Honeypreet

Chandigarh, The Haryana

Police on Tuesday filed a

chargesheet against Honeypreet,

the closest aide of the rapist sect

chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim

Singh, and other accused in connection

with the August 25 violence

in Panchkula and other

places in Haryana following

conviction of the sect chief. The

979-page chargesheet was filed

by the special investigation team

(SIT) of the Haryana Police

before the court of Chief Judicial

Magistrate in Panchkula, adjoining

Chandigarh. Honeypreet and

several other sect functionaries

and followers were booked by

police on charges of sedition,

inciting violence and criminal

conspiracy. Honeypreet, whose

real name is Priyanka Taneja,

was arrested on October 3 after

remaining fugitive for 38 days

after the August 25 violence. She

has been lodged in the Central

Jail, Ambala, 45 km from here,

since October 23. The SIT took

Honeypreet to various locations

in Haryana to establish evidence

of her involvement in the violence.

A court in Panchkula had

in September issued arrest warrants

against top Dera functionaries

— Honeypreet, Aditya

Insan and Pawan Insan. All three

were booked by the Haryana

Police on charges of sedition,

inciting violence and being

involved in a conspiracy to help

the Dera chief escape after his

conviction by a Central Bureau

of Investigation (CBI) court on

August 25 on two counts of rape

of female disciples in 1999.

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December 2017

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12 December 2017



US dollar trades mixed amid GDP report

New York, The US dollar traded mixed against

other major currencies as investors pondered over

the country’s economic growth data for the third

quarter of 2017. US economy expanded at an

annual rate of 3.3 per cent in the third quarter of the

year, slightly higher than 3 per cent previously estimated,

the Department of Commerce reported on

Wednesday. In late New York trading, the euro rose

to $1.1862 from $1.1839 in the previous session,

and the British pound climbed to $1.3422 from

$1.3376 in the previous session, Xinhua reported.

The Australian dollar lost to $0.7577 from

$0.7597. The US dollar bought 111.83 Japanese

yen, higher than 111.55 yen of the previous session.

The US dollar fell to 0.9839 Swiss franc from

0.9844 Swiss franc, and

it moved up to 1.2853

Canadian dollars from

1.2816 Canadian dollars.

The revised gross

domestic product (GDP)

data also showed that

US economy in the July

to September period

grew at the fastest pace

in three years, despite

disruptions caused by

hurricanes Harvey and

Irma along the Gulf

Coast in late August and September. economic

expansion is increasingly

broad based across sectors

as well as across much of

the global economy,”

Federal Reserve Chair

Janet Yellen said

Wednesday before the Joint

Economic Committee of

US Congress.

Wednesday’s report also

confirmed the fact that US

economy had expanded

above 3 per cent in backto-back

quarters for the

first time since 2014. Meanwhile, according to the

Fed’s Beige Book released in the afternoon, US

economic activity continued to increase at a modest

to moderate pace in October and mid-

November across the 12 Fed Districts. On other

economic news, the Pending Home Sales Index

rose 3.5 per cent from a downwardly revised 105.6

in September to 109.3 in October, beating market

estimates, according to the National Association of

Realtors on Wednesday. Analysts thought that the

strong economic growth is likely to bolster market

expectations for another rate hike by the Fed in


The dollar index, which measures the greenback

against six major peers, decreased 0.10 per cent at

93.179 in late trading.

GST to be simple for everyone

by March : Union Minister

Equities close flat ahead of

F&O expiry, Q2 GDP data

Mumbai, Key Indian equity

indices on Wednesday closed on

a flat note with minimal losses

as investors traded with caution

ahead of futures and options

(F&O) expiry as well as the second

quarter GDP data announcement

on November 30

(Thursday). The benchmark

indices, which traded in the

green during most part of the

day, closed marginally in the red

as investors booked profits in

banking and metal stocks.

However, losses were trimmed

by healthy buying in consumer

durables, capital goods and

healthcare stocks. On closing

basis, the wider Nifty50 of the

National Stock Exchange (NSE)

was down 8.95 points or 0.09

per cent at 10,361.30 points. The

barometer 30-scrip Sensitive

Index (Sensex) of the BSE

closed at 33,602.76 points —

down 15.83 points or 0.05 per

cent — from Tuesday’s close.

The BSE market breadth was

bearish — 1,376 declines and

1,341 advances.

“Markets ended trade with

flattish tone as sentiments

remained cautious ahead of the

gross domestic product (GDP)

for the July-September quarter

due tomorrow (Thursday).

Caution prevailed over the latest

missile test by North Korea and

softness in Chinese shares hit

Asian markets,” Dhruv Desai,

Director and Chief Operating

Officer of Tradebulls, told

IANS. According to Deepak

Jasani, Head, Retail Research,

HDFC Securities, markets ended

marginally lower on Wednesday

as the Nifty continued to consolidate

in a range. “It was the second

consecutive session of losses

for the Nifty. The slide was

led by heavyweights like Axis

Bank and Zee Entertainment,”

Jasani told IANS. The S&P BSE

mid-cap index closed lower by

0.17 per cent and the small-cap

index by 0.01 per cent. Vinod

Nair, Head of Research, Geojit

Financial Services, said:

“Q2FY18 GDP is likely to

improve to 6.4 per cent as per

the consensus estimates, while

any extension in crude oil production

cut in the upcoming

OPEC meet will provide some

volatility in the near-term.”

“However, strengthening rupee

over US dollar and expectation

for further upgrade in earnings

after the good set of second

quarter results will keep the sentiment

positive,” he added.

On the currency front, the

rupee strengthened by 10 paise

to close at 64.31-32 against the

US dollar from its previous close

at 64.41-42.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE

banking index declined by

106.62 points, followed by metal

index by 77.64 points and IT

index by 26.27 points. On the

other hand, the S&P BSE consumer

durables index rose by

126.72 points, capital goods

index by 49.64 points and auto

index by 44.86 points. Major

Sensex gainers on Wednesday

were: Wipro, up 1.33 per cent at

Rs 297.90; Adani Ports, up 1.16

per cent at Rs 402.55; Sun

Pharma, up 0.77 per cent at Rs

547.90; Hindustan Unilever, up

0.75 per cent at Rs 1,277.35; and

Tata Steel, up 0.72 per cent at Rs

709.30. Major Sensex losers

were: Axis Bank, down 2.32 per

cent at Rs 549.15; HDFC, down

1.31 per cent at Rs 1,702.90;

Asian Paints, down 1.18 per cent

at Rs 1,156.20; State Bank of

India, down 1.16 per cent at Rs

328.80; and Tata Consultancy

Services, down 0.98 per cent at

Rs 2,658.55.

Kolkata, Union Minister of

State for Finance Shiv Pratap

Shukla on Wednesday said the

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

should smoothen out by March

2018 as the government has been

addressing the concerns and it

would become so simple that

people would not have any

issues. “By March, it will be so

simple that even children will

able to understand… even in a

country like Singapore, it took

four years for GST to get stabilised.

I am proud that our government

has responded to the

issues so quickly,” he said while

addressing the 116th annual session

of the Merchants’ Chamber

of Commerce and Industry.

Post the Guwahati meet of the

US stocks end mixed

in holiday season

New York, US stocks closed mixed, as a

rally in retail stocks faded. The Dow Jones

Industrial Average on Monday increased 22.79

points, or 0.10 per cent, to 23,580.78, Xinhua

reported. The S&P

500 ticked down

1.00 points, or 0.04

per cent, to

2,601.42. The

Nasdaq Composite

Index inched down

10.64 points, or

0.15 per cent, to 6,878.52. The traditional

brick-and-mortar-retailers got a big boost following

Black Friday, as investors expected

strong sales during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Shares of Macy’s rose 0.66 per cent on

Monday, while Gap jumped 1.21 per cent.

Meanwhile, analysts have observed shifting

consumer behavior in recent years as customers

are more likely to make purchases

online for better discounts and using mobile

phones for convenience. “The big story this

holiday season is in mobile shopping. Retailers

know this is where the audience is now and are

delivering better experiences,” said Mickey

Mericle, Vice President of Marketing and

Customer Insights at Adobe.

E-commerce giant Amazon increased 0.83

per cent to close at $1195.83 dollars per share

on Monday. “Shoppers looking for discounts

are getting better at using smartphones to

quickly close the deal, and we are seeing better

mobile conversion this season at over 10 per

cent growth,” Mericle added.

GST council, tax rates on many

products were reduced to 18 per

cent from 28 per cent, which was

appreciated by businesses, the

minister said. About the increasing

non-performing assets

(NPA) problem, he said, the

Central government has done its

bit in terms of recapitalisation

support to banks to ensure their

better financial health, but the

banks should not make it a “tradition”

to depend on the government.

“If we did not do that (provide

recapitalisation support) the

banks could not have been

saved. But banks should not

make it a tradition,” he said.

Banks, particularly the nationalised

ones “should stand on

their own”, he said. Elaborating,

he said many public sector banks

appear to be sinking just because

they went ahead and lent huge

amounts of money to entities

without proper due diligence.

The Central government has

already announced Rs 2.11 trillion

recapitalisation support to

state-run banks to help them to

meet capital requirements.

Pay Rs 275 cr by Dec

31, SC tells Jaypee

New Delhi, AThe Supreme Court on

Wednesday asked real estate major Jaypee

Associates to deposit Rs 275 crore — in

two instalments — by December 31,

telling it to “behave like a good child”. The

bench of Chief Justice Dipak

Misra, Justice A.M.

Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y.

Chandrachud asked the firm

to deposit another Rs 275

crore after it allowed it to

deposit Rs 275 crore with its


It directed the Jaypee

Associates to deposit Rs 150

crore by December 13 and

another Rs 125 crore by

December 31. Permitting Jaypee

Associates to deposit another Rs 275 crore

in two installments in December, the court

said: “Needless to say that direction for

deposit of Rs 2,000 crores shall remain as

it is. The only indulgence is to pay the

same in installments.” The court order is

seen as a relief to Jaypee Associates whose

earlier plea to deposit Rs 400 crore was

turned down as court had asked it to be

ready with sizeable amount of Rs 2,000

crore that it has been directed to deposit to

safeguard flat buyers’ interests. Jaypee

Associates had on a mentioning on

November 6 had told the they have Rs 50

crore “ready in hand” and will arrange for

another Rs 350 crore by Friday (November

10). Directing the next hearing of the matter

on January 10, the court said none of

the promoter directors and

the independent directors

would alienate their personal

assets. “Neither the independent

directors nor the

promoter directors shall

alienate their personal properties

or assets in any manner,

and if they do so, they

will not only be liable for

criminal prosecution but

contempt of the court,” the

court said in its order on Wednesday. It further

ordered that “the properties and assets

of their immediate and dependent family

members should also not be transferred in

any manner, whatsoever”.

The court appointed advocate Pawan

Shree Agrawal as amicus curiae and asked

him to prepare a portal carrying all the

details on the lines of one he had prepared

in the case of real estate major Unitech and

ordered that Jaypee Associates counsel

Anupam Lal Das “shall provide all the

details as required by Mr. Pawan Shree




December 2017


Dear parents, shield

kids from air

A study found that relatively small increase in

air pollution can cause significant increase in treated

psychiatric problems, with its results showing

mental and cognitive health is at great risk due to

polluted air, putting children at even higher risk.

Days after the Centre for Science and Environment

stated that air pollution is responsible for 30% of

premature deaths in India, doctors have claimed

that air pollution is also compromising mental


“Children are more vulnerable to such health risks as their

lung capacity is small and respiratory rate high, therefore

they are more likely to inhale more air per unit of their

body weight than adults,” said Deepali Batra, Senior

Consultant and Clinical Psychologist, Max Hospital Delhi

health of children apart from their lungs. The doctors

say that the presence of nitrogen oxides and

sulphur oxides in the air affects brain cells which

causes a decrease in the IQ level.

“As children are in a growing stage, when they

inhale polluted air, the pollutants through their

blood travels to different parts of the body including

brain,” said Raj Kumar, Director (Acting), of

the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute here.

It can even affect their mental health

“Pollutants like NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and SO2

(sulphur dioxide) affect the brain cells which causes

decrease in IQ level and other related problems.”

According to the CSE report, over 61% of total

deaths in India were attributed to lifestyle or noncommunicable

diseases. “More than 1.73 million

new cancer cases are likely to be recorded each

year by 2020, air pollution, tobacco, alcohol and

diet change are primary triggers,” said the report

“Body Burden” by CSE. A study published in the

British Medical Journal found that relatively small

increase in air pollution can cause significant

increase in treated psychiatric problems, with its

results showing mental and cognitive health is at

great risk due to polluted air, putting children at

even higher risk. The research involved examining

pollution exposure in 500,000 participants under

18 and comparing it with records of medicines

prescribed for mental illnesses, ranging from sedatives

to anti-psychotics.

“Children are more vulnerable to such health

risks as their lung capacity is small and respiratory

rate high, therefore they are more likely to

inhale more air per unit of their body weight than

adults,” said Deepali Batra, Senior Consultant

and Clinical Psychologist, Max Hospital Delhi.

Stressing that detrimental health impacts of air

pollution seem to be increasing with each passing

day as pollution level reaches to extremely toxic,

she said the new studies shows that the “future of

our kids is in grave danger until such situations

are handled with every means necessary”.

Cigarette smokers,

switch to vaping

E-cigarette use not harmful, finds research

A new study found

that there was no evidence

of health concerns

associated with

long-term use of e-

cigarettes in the relatively

young users

who did not smoke


While the health

effects of e-cigarettes use are yet

to be fully established, a new

study has shown that long-term

vaping does not pose serious

health risk among adults. The

study revealed no evidence of a

lung injury amongst even the

heaviest e-cigarette users, in the

form of physiological, clinical or

inflammatory measures. Further,

no changes were observed in the

blood pressure or heart rate of

the young e-cigarette users.

“There was no evidence of

health concerns associated with

long-term use of e-cigarettes in

the relatively young users who

did not smoke tobacco,” said

Riccardo Polosa, Director at the

The study

revealed no evidence

of a lung

injury amongst

even the heaviest

e-cigarette users,

in the form of


clinical or inflammatory


University of

Catania in Italy.

For the research,

published in the

journal Scientific

Reports, the team

conducted a



study on

a group of daily e-cigarette users

aged between 23 and 35 years,

and another group of young

adults who have never smoked.

The researchers examined

health factors like blood pressure,

heart rate, body weight,

lung function, respiratory symptoms,

exhaled breath nitric oxide

(eNO), exhaled carbon monoxide

(eCO) and high-resolution

computed tomography (HRCT)

of the lungs in both the groups.

“No pathological findings could

be identified on HRCT of the

lungs and no respiratory symptoms

were consistently reported

in the e-cigarette users,” Polosa


Subsidy on fruits, vegetables

may help reduce death risk

New York : Cutting

down the prices for healthy

food items such as fruits,

vegetables and nuts could

save thousands of lives per

year, finds a new study.

Besides, increasing the

tax rates on junk foods

including sugar-sweetened

beverages and red meat can

reduce the deaths caused by

diabetes and cardiovascular

diseases. The findings

showed that if the prices of

all the seven dietary items

— fruits, vegetables, whole

grains, nuts seeds,

processed and unprocessed

red meats and sugary drinks

— were altered 10 per cent each, an estimated

23,000 deaths per year could be

prevented. A 30 per cent price change

almost tripled that approximation with an

estimation of 63,000 deaths prevented

per year, or 9.2 per cent of all cardiometabolic

disease deaths. “We found

that modest price changes on healthy and

unhealthy foods would help decrease

overall cardiometabolic deaths. The

largest changes were viewed after reducing

the prices of fruits and vegetables and

increasing the price of sugary drinks,”

said Jose L. Penalvo, Assistant Professor

at the Tufts University in Boston, the US.

While taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages

reduced diabetes deaths, subsidies

on fruits and vegetables decreased deaths

caused by stroke, revealed the study published

in the journal BMC Medicine.

Moreover, the results suggest that

financial incentives to purchase healthy

food, and disincentives to purchase

unhealthy foods, can prove successful in

meaningfully reducing cardiometabolic

disease disparities.

fruits, vegetables,


grains, nuts


processed and


red meats and

sugary drinks

— were

altered 10 per

cent each, an


23,000 deaths

per year

Beijing launches HIV/AIDS hotline

Beijing, Beijing on

Thursday launched a

hotline number to provide

consultation services



Beijing Home of

Red Ribbon, a nongovernmental


launched the hotline

to provide a series

of services, including

basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS, evaluation

of unsafe sex, and psychological counselling,

reports Xinhua.

Zhao Hongxin, an HIV/AIDS expert with

Beijing Ditan Hospital, took the first call on

the hotline, answering questions about

unsafe sex and anti-retroviral drugs. “We

must give HIV/AIDS patients enough care

and support, mainly medical aid, to solve

their problems,” said Wang Kerong, Beijing

Home of Red Ribbon office director.

The organisation was established in 2005

and provides comprehensive care for

HIV/AIDS patients and their families, with

medical support, volunteer services and

legal aid.

14 December 2017



Avoid red meat, dairy

products in winter

New Delhi : Dry fruits,

nuts, tulsi, ginger, leafy vegetables

in your meals in winter is

good, but avoid red meat and

control the intake of milk products,

suggest experts.

Bhavishya Wadhwan,

Founder at 98FIT and Neha

Ranglani Nutritionist and

lifestyle educator, have listed

food habits not advisable for the

cold season:

* Dairy products: Although

milk is known as a complete

food, but in winter it is better to

reduce its intake. Milk causes

phlegm and can thicken the

phlegm already present. This

makes you more uncomfortable

and increases the irritation in

the throat.

* Hot or cold drinks:

Everybody loves hot coffee, hot

tea, or hot chocolate in winters.

But we need to keep in mind the

amount of fat and caffeine they

contain. These drinks dehydrate

your body, which leads to much

thicker mucus. So, it is best to

avoid caffeine and opt for water or

herbal fusions instead.

* Red meat: Meat and eggs are

known to be the best source of protein.

High protein can cause a

build-up of mucus in your throat.

Processed meat and high fat meat

can cause problem, while fish and

poultry are relatively safer. But

you must choose organic meat

instead of processed.

* Fried food: Deep fried food

is a source of trans-fat and adds up

to your total calorie consumption

without giving you any actual food

value. Fried food also run the risk

of making your stomach upset.

* Non seasonal fruits:

Whenever a particular fruit is

available on off-season, don’t consume

them as they are not fresh.

This is because it may lead to illness

and health issues. Intake of

more citrus fruits during winter

season will boost up

our body metabolism.

* Sugar: Cold

weather and hot

chocolate go hand in

hand, but many doctors

believe that too

much sugar can

weaken your immune

system. One study

found subjects who

had just consumed a

lot of sugar weren’t

able to fight off bacteria

as compared to

those who had mostly


* Alcohol: During

winter, we naturally

tend to drink less water and due to

the dry weather, the chance of

being dehydrated is high. Alcohol

can be a good option to warm up

your body but alcohol dehydrates

the body extensively which can be

most damaging during winter.

Moreover, alcohol increases

your body temperature quickly

which adds to the chance of getting

cold during winter.

Why women are more vulnerable

to asthma risk than men

New York : Women are more likely to suffer from asthma

than men because of the absence

of testosterone — the male sex

hormone — which prevents

lungs from inhaling harmful

pollen, dust or other airborne

allergens, finds a study. The

findings showed that testosterone

acts on immune cells that

act as first line of defenders of

the body against invading viruses.

These immune cells are

linked to asthma symptoms, such as inflammation and mucus

production in the lungs, which causes airways to narrow during

an asthma attack. “Initially we thought that ovarian hormones

would increase inflammation, more so than testosterone

making it better,” said Dawn Newcomb, from the

Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, the US. “I was surprised

to see that testosterone was more important in reducing

inflammation,” Newcomb said. Prior studies have showed

before puberty boys have approximately 1.5 times higher rate

of asthma than girls. That trend reverses after puberty, when

women are twice likely to have asthma as men. This pattern

continues until women hit menopause, and then the asthma

rates in women start to decline, the researchers said. For the

study, appearing in the journal Cell Reports, the team focused

on lung cells called Group 2 innate lymphoid cells, or ILC2

cells — which make cytokines, proteins that cause inflammation

and mucus production in the lungs, making it harder

to breathe. The researchers collected blood from people with

and without asthma and found that those with asthma had

more ILC2 cells than those without. Asthmatic women were

found with more ILC2 cells than men.

In addition, when the researchers added testosterone, to

the ILC2 cells, they found that the male hormone prevented

the cells from expanding and reduced the production of

cytokines. However,”sex hormones are not the only mechanism

but, rather, one of many mechanisms that could be

regulating airway inflammation”, Newcomb said.



December 2017


I am a typical Delhi boy : Kohli

In entertainment, it was actor Rajkummar Rao, who won the award

defeating Varun Dhawan, and ‘Team Baahubali’.

New Delhi, Describing himself as a

“typical” Delhi boy, India skipper Virat

Kohli has said he always remembers

where he comes from. “I am a typical

Delhi boy at heart. Wherever I might be

in life, I always remember where I come

from and what I have gone through to

be where I am. That never goes away

from me,” he said here on Thursday

while receiving the CNN-News 18

Indian of The Year Award. “No expectations,

no milestones… there is a simple

mindset. I just go there and do my duty.

I don’t believe in tags and comparisons.”

“For me the joy of life is just

watching that ball and hitting it from the

middle of the bat,” he said. Kohli was

also given the ‘Popular Choice’ award.

Badminton player Srikanth Kidambi

won CNN-News18 Indian of the Year

2017 award in sports category. Afroz

Shah, Mumbai-based lawyer and champion

of one of the largest citizen-driven

environment programme, won the

award in the field of ‘Public Service’.

In entertainment, it was actor

Rajkummar Rao, who won the award

defeating Varun Dhawan, and ‘Team

Anjum Chopra unveils gates

named after her at Kotla

New Delhi, Former Indian women’s cricket

team captain Anjum Chopra on Wednesday

unveiled the Ferozeshah Kotla Ground’s Gate

No. 3 and 4, which were named after her.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association

(DDCA) decided to name the two gates after

the cricketer-turned-commentator, who represented

the country in six World Cups. She is

also the first Indian to play 100 One-Day

Internationals (ODIs) in women’s cricket. “Delhi has produced several

illustrious cricketers and it’s a great honour to be considered (by

DDCA) as one of them. Kotla has changed a lot over the years and

it is a humbling honour to have my name at the entrance gates,” 40-

year-old Anjum said at the unveiling ceremony. Earlier, former India

opening batsman Virender Sehwag had Gate No.2 named after him.

Baahubali’. While receiving the award,

Rajkummar spoke about the ongoing

controversy around Sanjay Leela

Bhansali’s Padmavati. “We should not

make any perceived notions about a

movie before watching it. Without

watching it, you can’t really say if the

historical facts have been distorted.

“The same goes for other films as well.

“No comments about the film

(Padmavati) in particular. Nobody is

trying to distort the facts probably,” he

said. “Baahubali” and its team were

given the award for ‘Outstanding

Achievement’ of the year.

In the business category, the winner

was Acharya Balkrishnan, CEO of the

Yoga guru Ramdev-run Patanjali.

Former cricketer and Indian

coach Ravi Shastri was awarded

for ‘Special Achievement’.

Indian Women’s Cricket

Team and Manushi Chhillar,

who won the Miss

World 2017 title,

were also

awarded in the

same category.

Perera named new Sri Lanka limited overs skipper

New Delhi, All-rounder Thisara

Perera was on Wednesday named Sri

Lanka’s limited overs skipper, making

him the seventh player to lead the

islanders across different formats in

2017. Perera, who had led the depleted

T20I side against Pakistan in Lahore last

month, will lead the ODI team for the

very first time during the three-match 50-

over rubber against India.

The 28-year-old will take over from

opening batsman Upul Tharanga under

whom the Sri Lankans suffered three 5-0

whitewashes against India, South Africa

and Pakistan this year. Wishing the new

skipper, Sri Lanka legend Mahela

Jayawardene said on Twitter: “Wishing

SLC new captain @PereraThisara all the

very best..Come on panda.”

Earlier, Tharanga had replaced Angelo

Matthews, who stepped down from the

position after the islanders lost an ODI

series for the first time to Zimbabwe. Sri

Lanka Cricket (SLC), however, is yet to

confirm Perera’s tenure at the helm,

which begins with the India series, starting

December 10. ]Thisara is the seventh

man to captain Sri Lanka in 2017, following

Mathews, Lasith Malinga,

Rangana Herath, Dinesh Chandimal and

Chamara Kapugedera who have borne

the responsibility in one format or other.

Aussies to continue sledging in Ashes

Adelaide, Ahead of the historic

day-night second Ashes

Test against England here from

Saturday, Australia batsman

Peter Handscomb on Thursday

warned the tourists to be ready

for more on-field verbal barbs.

Since the start of the opening

Test at the Gabba, the Ashes

have been embroiled with verbal

fireworks from either side but

gained momentum once it was

revealed that English stumper

Jonny Bairstow headbutted

Australian opener Cameron

Bancroft in a Perth bar last


The Kangaroos used the incident

to fire salvos at Bairstow on

the fourth day of the Gabba Test,

which the hosts won by 10 wickets.

Heading in to the second

game, Handscomb said Australia

will continue to target the

tourists with the verbal volleys.

“It’s something that’s part of

the game, it always has been, it

always will be,” the wicketkeeper-batsman

was quoted as saying

by cricket.com.au.

“If there’s a moment that we

can exploit someone’s mental

capabilities well then yeah,

we’re going to go about it.

“There are moments you pick

and choose and obviously the

right words. There’s a line and

we’ve just got to make sure we

don’t cross it,” he added.

Handscomb, who shared

Yorkshire dressing room with

Bairstow, said there was no room

for sentiment when they are

reprenting their respective countries

in a high-octane series like

the Ashes.

“When I played with him at

Yorkshire we had a great time

together. I really like Jonny, we

got along really well but it’s a

different ball game now.

“I’m not trying to make him

(Bairstow) feel good out there.

That’s not my job,” he added.

16 December 2017



President, PM hail Mirabai’s

World Championships gold feat

New Delhi, President Ram

Nath Kovind and Prime Minister

Narendra Modi on Thursday

congratulated weightlifter

Mirabai Chanu, who became the

first Indian in over two decades

to clinch a gold medal at the



Championships in Anaheim,

United States.

“Congratulations Mirabai

Chanu for winning a gold medal

in the World Weightlifting

Championship. India is so proud

of you. And congratulations

Manipur for giving the country

such a wonderful series of champion

sportswomen!” President

Kovind’s tweet read. Wishing

the weightlifter for her future

endeavours, PM Modi wrote:

“India is proud of Mirabai

Chanu, who has won a gold at

the World Weightlifting

Championship. Congratulations

and best wishes for her future

endeavours”. The 23-year-old’s

feat is India’s first at the prestigious

World Championships

since Karnam Malleswari’s

medal in 1995.

Chanu, who is employed with

the Indian Railways, lifted 85kg

in snatch and 109kg in clean and

jerk to total an impressive 194kg

in the women’s 48kg, in the

process setting a new national

record. The Indian pipped the

title favourite Thailand’s

Sukcharoen Thunya by just one

kilogram to clinch the yellow

medal. While Thunya bagged the

silver with a total lift of 193,

Colombian Segura Ana Iris

bagged the bronze with 182kg.

Nearly 400 athletes from

about 70 countries and regions,

including six reigning Olympic

champions, will be competing

through December 5 at the competition.

This will be the first

world championships featuring

eight weight categories for both

men and women. Some of the

world’s top weightlifting nations

such as Russia, China,

Kazakhstan, Ukraine and

Azerbaijan could not take part in

the competition due to issues

related to doping.

Australia, Belgium

arrive for HWL Final


Defending champions

Australia and

world number three

Belgium arrived to

a rousing reception

at the Biju Patnaik


Airport here on

Sunday for the

Men’s Hockey World League (HWL)

Final, which is scheduled to begin at

Kalinga Stadium here on December 1.

The teams were welcomed by Odisha

state government officials accompanied by

host Hockey India (HI) amidst hockey

buffs longing to click a picture with their

favourite international stars. Argentina,

Germany and the Netherlands will arrive

in the city on Monday, said a statement.

With the top teams in the world vying to

live up to the billing, it will be hard to predict

or single out one team as a clear winner,

expressed Australia chief coach Colin

Batch. “You can’t predict which team will

make the Final of the tournament. If you

see the Sentinel Women’s Hockey World

League Final in

Auckland, it was

hard to predict till

the end who will

make the final.

“It is a matter of

playing well early

on and play your

best hockey from

the quarter-finals

onwards. It is going to be an exciting tournament

in that respect. We have played

England, Spain and Belgium earlier this

year so it will be important to assess our

team against the other top teams of the

world,” Batch stated. The defending champions

will meet India in their first Pool B

match on the opening day of the tournament

and Batch expects a good contest.

“They (India) are playing at home and

will have big expectations. They have

some talented players from the Junior

World Cup last year where they did very

well. We play them in our first match

which I am sure will have a good atmosphere

and I am very much looking forward

to that,” added the coach.

Virat inspires

me to be fit :

Mithali Raj

New Delhi, India

Women’s cricket team

captain Mithali Raj on

Thursday heaped

praise on skipper Virat

Kohli and said it is

commendable how he

stays focused on staying

fit throughout the

year. “It feels great

that all of them are

getting their due, and

It feels great

that all of them

are getting their

due, and that

people are finally


them,” the 34-

year-old said at

the CNN-

News18 Indian

of the Year 2017

that people are finally recognising them,”

the 34-year-old said at the CNN-News18

Indian of the Year 2017.

“I’ve come so far playing cricket in an

era where it was not really appreciated,

and responding to trolls is not really

worth my time. “There are so many people

who inspire me every day, not one

person. But if I do have to name someone,

it’s got to be Virat Kohli, for bringing the

focus on fitness. Be it the men or women,

everyone wants to be the best in international

cricket,” Raj added.

I-League : Aizawl hold

East Bengal to a 2-2 draw

Kolkata : Aizawl FC’s

William Lalnunfela scored deep

into stoppage time to pour cold

water on East Bengal’s victory

ambitions and hold them to a 2-2

draw in an entertaining I-League

football encounter here on

Tuesday. Brazilian defender

Eduardo Ferreira (66th

minute) and Japanese midfielder

Yusa Katsumi

(72nd) gave the hosts a

two-goal cushion only for

Lalnunfela (74th) to pull

one back in the next

minute. Just as the match

headed towards the final

whistle, a corner by substitute


Khawlhring was tapped in

by Lalnunfela to achieve

parity and send the reigning

champions into wild celebrations.

Only a handful of spectators

turned up at the revamped

Vivekananda Yuba Bharati

Krirangan –hosting an I-League

match after early 2016 — due to

the match being organised in

three days’ time. Initially the

state government had said that

regulations do not permit two

matches to be held in 48 hours’

time at the same venue. Indian

Super League (ISL) side ATK

played FC Pune City last Sunday

at the same venue. But after

dilly-dallying, permission was

given very late, leaving the club

with little time to print tickets.

Coming to the game, East

Bengal’s Trinidadian forward

Willis Plaza was guilty of missing

two good chances in quick

succession, early on in the first

half. First, U-22 defender

Mehtab Singh crossed for Plaza

inside the box but the latter took

a touch too many for visiting

defender Kareem Omolaja to

clear the ball. Seven minutes

later, Rafique teed up the 30-

year-old but Aizawl goalkeeper

Avilash Paul dived low to keep

the effort from close at bay.

It was one way traffic for the

home side as the likes of midfield

general Yusa Katsumi and the



Vanlalremdika tried to make

inroads only to be thwarted in the

final third. The red and gold

brigade’s best chance came 10

minutes to halftime but Plaza

was unlucky here to see his longranger

from 25 yards cannon off

the upright. Both teams went into

the break locked

goalless. In the first

minute after the

restart, Syrian midfielder


Al Amna — moving

to the right

flank with Katsumi

coming inside —

missed the goal by

a whisker. Avilash

then pulled off a

pair of superb saves

to deny Plaza twice in the space

of three minutes. East Bengal

finally broke the deadlock and it

was Ferreira who rose highest

after Md. Rafique flicked the ball

in his path from a Katsumi corner.

Minutes later, Rafique’s

attempt to a big deflection off

Katsumi squirmed over the line.

Lalnunfela, in the next minute,

headed in the ball in front of an

empty net and in stoppage time

scored again. East Bengal and

Aizawl now have one point from

their first outing this season.



had almost got


Chitrangda Singh, who is currently shooting with Sanjay Dutt for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb

Biwi Aur Gangster 3, has said she was almost named Jodhabai. The actor was born in Jodhpur

and is happy to shoot in the city. She plays a Rajasthani girl in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3.

The actor has been utilising her time between the shoots to revisit her childhood. “My

mom told me about the army hospital where I was born and even remembers the room

number. I saw the place and it felt special. Then, I also got to know that I had almost

been named Jodhabai. According to my mother, the lady who was looking after me

at the time had taken to calling me Jodhabai. Thank God mom didn’t go by her suggestion,”

the actor said in a press statement. On her upcoming film, the Hazaaron

Khwaishein Aisi star said, “We are staying in a 300-year-old fort and there’s so

much history here. It’s a different world altogether. I play a Rajasthani girl in the

film and that shows in my outfits and the way I speak. The look is not urban so

we had to work on the costumes carefully. I also had to take some dance lessons

as part of my prep to get the traditional moves right."

Chitrangada started shooting for Saheb Biwi aur Gangster 3 in Bikaner this

September. Talking about reuniting with Tigmanshu, Chitrangda also said,

“Tigmanshu and I were supposed to work together way back in 1997, when he

was making his first film, Haasil. Somehow, that didn’t work out. If it had, it

would have probably been my first film instead of Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.

Today, neither of us recalls why the collaboration didn’t work out then.

Tigamanshu is extremely edgy and I like his style of filmmaking.”


December 2017


I become rude in public :

Jennifer Lawrence

Los Angeles, Actress

Jennifer Lawrence says she

becomes “incredibly rude”

in public. Lawrence is

widely regarded as one of

Hollywood’s most down-toearth

stars. However, she

says her attitude towards

people changes as soon as

she enters a public space,

reports variety.com. “Once

I enter a public place, I

become incredibly rude, I

turn into a huge a**,”

Lawrence said. “That’s kind

of like my only way of

defending myself (from fan

attention),” she added. The

27-year-old actress said she

has no qualms about declining

to pose for selfies with

her fans. “That’s like my

only defence. One of my

best friends is Amy

Schumer. I take my dog to

the park all the time,

Central Park. As soon as I

meet her in the park, we’re

f****d,” she said.



In cinemas worldwide on 26th January 2018, through

Sony Pictures Entertainment, India

‘Dad and I

never spoke

about box

office battle

A superhero is a heroic stock

character, who is dedicated to

protecting their public and

fighting evil and oppression at

all costs, often single handily.

However, contrary to popular

folklore, not all superheroes

wear capes and can sometimes

blend in with the conventional

public. Here’s introducing the

inspiring story of one of TIME

Magazine’s 100 Most



Arunachalam Muruganantham,

a rural welder from India turned

incredible innovator and inventor,

who certainly wasn’t wearing

a cape when he was moved

to provide women with access

to high-quality and affordable

sanitary pads 20 years ago. His

story has been fictionalised for

its silver screen debut with

PadMan, the world’s first feature

film on menstrual hygiene

releasing in cinemas around the

world on 26th January Co-produced

by Mrs Funnybones

Movies, Hope Productions,

KriArj Entertainment, and Sony

Pictures Entertainment, India,

PadMan is written and directed

by ad-man turned film-man R

Balki (Paa). It is billed as the

most progressive family entertainer

yet, starring international

megastar Akshay Kumar

(Toilet: Ek Prem Katha) who

assumes the titular role of

Arunachalam Muruganantham

to once again showcase his

commitment to social entertainers.

He is joined by critically

acclaimed actresses Sonam

Kapoor (Neerja)and Radhika

Apte (Kabali).

The story of Arunachalam

Muruganantham was first fictionalised

in the Founder of Mrs

Funnybones Movies, Twinkle

Having witnessed two of his biggest films clash at

the box office with actor Aamir Khan’s movies —

Ghayal with Dil in 1990 and Gadar with Lagaan in 2001

— actor Sunny Deol is not new to the concept of box

office battles. This year, his film Poster Boys released

on the same day (September 8) as Arjun Rampal’s

Daddy. However, Sunny, son of veteran actor

Dharmendra, prefers to count himself among the old

school actors, who never worried about box office

clashes or got involved in the number game after their

films released. He says, “I don’t think that clashes made

any difference back then, and neither did they have any

significance even when my dad was active in films. It’s

just hype created for people to talk about.”

Amid several films racing to make it to the coveted

100 crore club nowadays, Sunny says that it has never

been his game plan. “We, my dad and I, have done it several

years ago. The difference is that we never spoke

about it at that time, and so we were respected. Those

days, nobody fought. But now, actors and filmmakers

talk about it, and they are all fighting for it,” the actor

says. Talking about how big the number game has

become these days, Sunny says people no longer go to

theatres to enjoy a film. “They go in large numbers to

watch a film and if they don’t like it, it doesn’t matter to

them. It’s no longer restricted to the desire to see something

because it might make you feel nice,” he adds.

Sunny maintains that all these years, all he has focused

on as an actor is to do great cinema. “That’s how I want

to be known. I’ve never bothered about where and how it

happens. I didn’t even know when [my] films were a hit

or how big they had become. I never sat down and

planned my way ahead. So, it’s best to go on and keep

moving ahead if you want to enjoy it,” signs off Sunny.

Khanna’s award-winning book

of short-stories, The Legend of

Lakshmi Prasad. A renowned

vocal women empowerment

champion,interior design entrepreneur,

best-selling author,

newspaper columnist and producer,

Twinkle Khanna then felt

compelled to project

Arunachalam Muruganantham’s

story to a wider audience by coproducing

PadMan under her

banner Mrs Funnybones Movies.

PadMan traces Arunachalam

Muruganantham’s international

journey from an outcast exiled

from society for his endeavours

to delve into such a taboo subject,

to becoming a super-hero

of India’s modern history, as he

followed his dream to bring a

revolution to menstrual hygiene

in India.

Akin to the tagline of the

film Superhero Hai Yeh Pagla

(He’s a Crazy Superhero),

PadMan is nothing short of an

impulsive, flamboyant and

driven entrepreneur extraordinaire,

who refused to give up in

the wake of scrutiny and

ridicule, using his resilience and

initiative to invent India’s low

cost sanitary napkin making

machine. An extreme enigma in

his home town, Arunachalam

Muruganantham’s super-heroic

efforts led to a business that

today employs hundreds of

women across India.

Issues relating to menstrual

hygiene are a global phenomenon.

Whether this is a result of

the stigma and taboo resulting

in the marginalisation and disempowerment

of women in

societies, the economic and

social impact of “period poverty”,

to the consequences on

women’s health, there is a need

to educate both men and

women on the impact and to

ensuring all women have menstrual

dignity. Committed to the

cause of women empowerment,

Arunachalam Muruganantham

faced the risk of isolation and

marginalisation as he challenged

the stigma and stereotypes

associated with menstrual

hygiene head-on in order to

improve the lives of thousands

of women. As is the case with

many superheroes, it’s the element

of social segregation that

makes Arunachalam

Muruganantham’s story so special.

He is challenged by the

extreme backlash of a bigoted

society stuck in its ways, to liberate

and empower women

across the country – just like a


Whilst his exterior may

resemble that of a regular man,

Arunachalam Muruganantham

is the paradigm to the theory

that not all heroes wear capes!

PadMan is a tribute to every

ordinary and simple man and

woman, who dare to dream and

impact the lives of millions of

others. Padman releases in cinemas

worldwide on the 26th

January to inspire all the capeless

heroes amongst us, through

Sony Pictures Entertainment,


18 December 2017



Sonakshi Sinha is enjoying

the best of both worlds

Sonakshi Sinha’s latest film, Ittefaq, has received a positive response for its content and performances

even without the extensive pre-release promotions that are usual these days. The actor has been

picking roles that showcase her versatility, and says that frequent reinvention is what she aims for.

Did you anticipate the response that Ittefaq received? This kind of a film is so rarely attempted that

we didn’t know what to expect. All I can say is that as a team, we were very happy when we saw

how the film turned out. All of us were content and knew that a good film would always get the

right kind of appreciation, and that’s what happened. Are you game for more murder mysteries?

What other genres would you like to attempt? Why not? If the role excites me I’d

attempt the genre again. Otherwise, an out-and-out romcom is something that I’ve wanted

to do. Something on the lines of Jab We Met (2007) or You’ve Got Mail (1998). Your

next is a stage reality film.

Are you consciously signing films that are different and don’t fall in the so-called

commercial entertainment space? I’m deliberately picking roles that challenge

me in some way or the other. Now, whether that falls in the category of a commercial

potboiler or any other category, I’m okay with doing it.


try not be

repetitive; reinvent

[myself] with every

role I choose; and [try]

to make the audience

look at me from a different






Barely three years into film production, actor Anushka Sharma is

already experimenting with subjects and making movies that are offbeat.

Her next home production, in which she plays the lead, is a mysterious

love story. How soon before she tries her hand at the third major aspect

of filmmaking — direction? “I have never planned things. And I guess that has

worked for me so far. That’s just who I am as a person,” she replies. That means,

she isn’t saying yes and she isn’t saying no. “By telling you I’m not going to do

it, there’s no guarantee that I am 100 per cent not going to do it. But I’m not actively

thinking about direction yet, at the moment,” says Anushka. On switching hats,

and how she manages to slip into different characters on screen, the actor says that

she has completely “streamlined” her life.

“I have no time for anything futile. I constantly want to keep getting better,”

asserts Anushka. “I focus on only what needs to be done. It may get difficult;

but at least I’m not doing faltu ki cheez. I’m focussing on what I really have

to,” adds the actor. For someone who is so focussed, do social media form

a distraction? And how does she handle trolls? “I don’t take it at face

value. I think it shows you the kind of society we live in,” says

Anushka. “You feel sad that people can be so rude and mean.

I’m not just talking about the things that they’ve said to

me, but generally the kind of things they’ve managed

to say to other people also.


Sharma holds

forth on work

goals and




feels when it

comes to fans’

love, there’s

no need to

bring in a


aspect or put

an unhappy


to it”

It needs to be dealt with

sensitivity: Sidharth

Bollywood actors

have always had stories

to tell about

crazy fans, who go

out of their way to

show their affection

for the stars. One of

Varun Dhawan’s

fans seemingly

took it to another

level recently. A few

days back, he started

receiving WhatsApp

messages continuously

from a female fan, so he

blocked the number.

Then, an unknown person

called Varun and threatened

that his fan would kill herself

if the actor did not respond to

her messages. Disturbed by

the suicide threat, Varun

decided to file a police complaint.

Ask Sidharth

Malhotra, who also has a huge

fan following amongst the

youth, if such an incident is

scary and he says: “Of course,

it is [scary]. I am sure nobody

would wish that upon their fans;

that they take such drastic steps

or put their lives at risk [for us].

It is very unfortunate that they

say certain things which, in a

way, make you feel responsible

for anything negative that they

do.” The Ittefaq actor feels showing

affection towards someone

only has positivity. “Sometimes,

[such things make] you feel that

it’s not fair because it [being a

fan] is a positive thing. If anyone

likes a star, it is a positive thing,

right? Then, there shouldn’t be a

need to bring in a negative aspect

or put an unhappy connotation to

it,” says the actor, adding that fan

can “go to any extent to get in

touch” with them. “But you have

to be sensitive and make sure that

you don’t encourage such

things,” he says. In fact, Sidharth

says he “felt very awkward”

when he recently met a girl at an

event. “She started crying on

meeting me. That was sad

because you want your fans to be

happy and not sad. That being

said, crying is still acceptable but

someone saying that they will

take their life is not acceptable at

all. I hope it never happens and

people say that only to gain

attention,” he says. In hindsight,

such a thing “Can also be someone’s

way of showing their love

by attracting attention,” says

Sidharth. “It needs to be dealt

with sensitivity and handled

carefully. I have never experienced

anything like that. Yes,

there have been people, who

have said that they want to meet

me because they are on their

death bed,” he says.

Interestingly, Sidharth

recounts an experience wherein,

he met a fan from Europe. “Yes,

I met one guy from Europe, who

said that he is not well but eventually,

we realised that he was

lying. He just wanted to meet,

and that’s not cool. You can’t just

lie to get that kind of sympathy.

But I guess that is part and parcel

of being a known face and people

loving you,” says the actor.

Kirron Kher stirs controversy

with advice to

gang rape victim

Chandigarh, Chandigarh’s BJP MP

Kirron Kher has stirred a controversy by giving

unsolicited advice to a young woman

who was gang raped earlier this month here

by an auto-rickshaw driver and his two

accomplices. Kher said on Wednesday that

the victim should have been more cautious

and not boarded the auto-rickshaw in which

three men were already sitting. The

Bollywood actress and Lok Sabha member

on Thursday sought to clarify her statement, saying it was “only in

the context of certain precautions” that women should take and that

it was “not intended to blame the victim or shaming her”.

The Bharatiya Janata Party MP had earlier said that the 21-yearold

gang rape victim should have avoided boarding the auto-rickshaw

when she saw that three men were already sitting in it. “I want

to tell this girl and all other girls that if you see three men sitting in

the auto, they should not board it. I am saying this to protect the girls.

“We all have to be alert about such things. I am saddened by what has

happened with the woman,” Kher told media on Wednesday. On

Thursday, Kher clarified her stand. “I just said that the world is a bad

place. We all, especially ladies, have to take precautions. As a mother,

I am saying this that we need to take care,” Kher said. She said

that if the victim had called up the police control room, the police

would have taken her and dropped her safely to her home. “If the

Congress wants to make an issue out of it, I cannot help,” she said.

The victim was allegedly gang raped by three men on November 17

evening after she hired the shared auto-rickshaw to go back to her

paying guest accommodation in Mohali town, adjoining Chandigarh.



December 2017


Google ‘Datally’ app to help

you save on mobile data

New Delhi, Google on Thursday

launched an app designed to help

Android phone users understand,

control and save on their expensive

mobile data. This app, called Datally,

allows users to track their data usage

in real time, and get personalised recommendations

on saving data along

with notifications of public Wi-Fi

spots available nearby.

The app is now globally available

on the Google Play Store for all

phones running Android 5.0

(Lollipop) and higher, Google said.

Datally is an initiative of Google’s

Next Billion Users division that aims

to make Internet services more accessible

even in countries with limited

technology infrastructure.

“Mobile data is expensive for

many people around the world. And

what’s worse, it’s hard to figure out

where it all goes. “That’s why we

built Datally, an app that helps you to

Los Angeles, Intel has

entered into an agreement with

entertainment company Warner

Bros to develop in-cabin

“immersive experiences” such

as virtual reality (VR) and augmented

reality (AR) for people

riding in autonomous cars of the


Announcing the

partnership at the

Los Angeles

Auto Show on


Intel CEO

Brian Krzanich

said that

autonomous driving is “today’s

biggest game changer”, offering

a new platform for innovation

from in-cabin design and entertainment

to life-saving safety

systems. “Called the AV

(autonomous vehicle)

Entertainment Experience, we

are creating a first-of-its-kind

proof-of-concept car to demonstrate

what entertainment in the

vehicle could look like in the

future,” Krzanich said.

The vehicle will showcase

the potential for entertainment

in an autonomous driving

world, Intel said. With the rise

of the AV industry and as pas-

control, save more and do more with

your data,” Caesar Sengupta, Vice

President, Next Billion Users,

Google, said in a blogpost. Tests of

the app in the Philippines had shown

that Datally could help users save up

to 30 per cent on their data, Google

said. Datally helps users do three

things. First, it allows users to see

data usage on an hourly, daily, weekly

or monthly basis

and get personalised


for how they can

save more. Secondly,

it also help users

block background

data usage and track real-time data

usage while using each of the apps

“It’s like a speedometer for your

data,” Google said. And lastly,

Datally also tells users if they are

near public Wi-Fi so that they can

save on data.

Intel partners

Warner Bros to

make self-driving

car rides fun

“Called the AV (autonomous vehicle)

Entertainment Experience, we are creating a

first-of-its-kind proof-of-concept car to

demonstrate what entertainment in the vehicle

could look like in the future,” Krzanich said.

sengers shift from being drivers

to riders, their connected-device

time, including video-viewing

time, is set to increase.

“Not only do we see passengers

consuming content ranging

from movies and television programming,

we imagine riders

enjoying immersive



seen before,

courtesy of incabin


reality and augmented

reality innovations,”


said. “For example, a fan of the

superhero Batman could enjoy

riding in the Batmobile through

the streets of Gotham City,

while AR capabilities render the

car a literal lens to the outside

world, enabling passengers to

view advertising and other discovery

experiences,” the Intel

CEO added. But more than

enjoying the ride, the

autonomous systems, which

Intel believes are the logical

extension of seat belts, air bags

and anti-lock braking systems,

are about reducing drivingrelated

fatalities, the company


Google Search adds donate button for nonprofits

San Francisco, To make it

easier for people to give

money to their favourite

organisations this holiday

season, Google Search has

added a “Donate” button to

its knowledge graph. The

button allows users to contribute

to the organisations

directly when they search for

US-based nonprofits. But for

the button to appear, the nonprofits

need to enroll with

Google. “Starting today,

when you search for a growing

list of US-based nonprofits,

you’ll see a new ‘Donate’

option. “Tap or click on

Donate, and you’ll see an

easy donation flow that lets

Earlier in 2017, Google pledged $1 billion

in Google.org grants over five years to nonprofits

around the world. According to some

estimates, Google said, nearly 30 per cent of

all giving happens during the holiday season.

you give to your favourite

organisation as easily as you

can look up its history, phone

number, or website,”

Google’s Product Manager

Prem Ramaswami wrote in a

blog post on Tuesday. “We’re

starting with organisations in

the US across causes and

locales who have opted in

through Google for

Nonprofits, and we hope that

more opt in moving forward,”

Ramaswami said.

Earlier in 2017, Google

pledged $1 billion in

Google.org grants over five

years to nonprofits around

the world. According to some

estimates, Google said, nearly

30 per cent of all giving

happens during the holiday

season. “This spirit shines in

our search trends, too, with

many people looking for

ways to donate and support

nonprofits. We hope this feature

makes it easier for nonprofits

to reach potential supporters,

and for you to donate

to important causes, this holiday

season and beyond,”

Ramaswami said.

Unlike Facebook’s

Charitable Givings feature

that has gotten popular with

users who “donate” their

birthdays to fundraising,

Google does not charge a fee

when donations are made

through its button, The Verge


World needs to collectively

tackle fake news: Facebook

The Kremlin-linked Russian organisations purchased more than $100,000 of ads on social

media platforms during the US election. Facebook told US Congress this month that 126 million

of its users in the US might have seen ads produced and circulated by Russian operatives

New Delhi, Although Facebook is doing

its job to tackle the presence of fake news

and polarised ads on its platform, the world

needs a collective take on bad actors — be

it state or non-state — to ensure the flow of

high-quality information on social media, a

top company executive said here on

Thursday. Speaking at the HT Leadership

Summit, Alex Hardiman, Head of News

Product at Facebook, said that there are

several aggressive bad actors with sophisticated

ways who are spreading misinformation

and both traditional media outlets and

social media platforms must come together

to devise increasingly smart methods to

deal with them. “At Facebook, we are

spending tremendous amount of time and

energy to identify fake news. We are now

sharing information with other big tech

companies to find out the root cause.

Facebook is going to increase head counts

and investments to counter fake news in

2018,” Hardiman told the gathering.

“All stakeholders — governments, thirdparty

players, traditional media houses and

social media giants — need to come under

one umbrella to eliminate bad actors,”

emphasised Hardiman who has worked as

Vice President of News Product at The New

York Times. Facebook along with tech giants

like Twitter and Google is facing intense

scrutiny in the US after the company disclosed

details about the presence of Russian

political ads, tweets and posts on their platforms

during the presidential election in

2016. The Kremlin-linked Russian organisations

purchased more than $100,000 of ads

on social media platforms during the US

election. Facebook told US Congress this

month that 126 million of its users in the US

might have seen ads produced and circulated

by Russian operatives. Not just the US,

Facebook and Twitter have also agreed to

share details with British authorities on

Russia’s interference in the Brexit referendum

by using their platforms.

“Facebook is fully cooperating with the

governments. I can’t comment on the

specifics but we are regulated — be it in the

EU or the US. We will abide by the laws of

the land. Back at the company, we are recalibrating

efforts and will make sure that inclusive

news goes out,” she noted.

According to her, Facebook is identifying

and blocking misinformation in myriad

ways. “Our Machine Learning (ML) tools

are constantly eliminating fake accounts.

Human reviewers are helping us spot

nuanced information in sensenalised posts

and ads. We are also doing third-party factchecking

to understand what is real and what

is not,” Hardiman said. Using Artificial

Intelligence (AI) and ML techniques,

Facebook is removing Islamic State (IS) and

Al Qaeda-related terror content from its platform

before anyone flags it, the social media

giant said this week. In its bid to help readers

identify trustworthy news sources,

Facebook along with Google, Twitter and

several media organisations have joined the

non-partisan “The Trust Project”.

“The Trust Project” is led by award-winning

journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa

Clara University’s Markkula Centre for

Applied Ethics. As part of the project, an

icon will appear next to articles in

Facebook News Feed. When you click on

the icon, you can read information on the

organisations’ ethics and other standards,

the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they

do their work.

“We are now deeply involved with

media houses to identify false news as

bringing both sides together will ensure

high-quality news,” the Facebook executive

said. Hardiman is positive on the India market

for Facebook. “The Indian publishers

have so much data and can make good decisions

about content strategy and revenue

models. Facebook is bullish on India when it

comes to local context, regional languages

— to create strong threads and connect the

next billion,” she told the audience, adding

that Facebook product like “Instant Article”

are being fast adopted in the country.

Talking about India-first innovation,

Hardiman said: “More than four million

donors in India have signed up for

Facebook’s blood donation feature which the

company launched from the country”.

In October, Facebook launched a new

blood donations feature, starting in India, to

make it easier for people to donate blood.

20 December 2017



Samsung leads Indian

smartwatch market,

unveils 2 new wearables

New Delhi, As wearables begin to

gain a foothold in the country, Samsung

India has captured 50 per cent of the

premium smartwatch market (in value

terms) in the first half of 2017 which

was driven by its flagship smartwatch

Gear S3, a top company executive said

here on Wednesday. “Samsung Gear S3

smartwatch has given us phenomenal

growth this year. In the first half of

2017, in the premium smartwatch segment,

(which is greater than Rs 25,000),

we now enjoy a 50 per cent market

share and are growing at the 50

per cent rate over last year

in terms of value,”

Aditya Babbar,

General Manager,

Samsung India, told

IANS here. The

company also witnessed

a 70 per cent growth during

the festive season this year (in value

terms) for Gear S3 business compared

to the period last year. “In the festive

season, we saw a 70 per cent growth

with Gear S3 which makes us believe

that our new line-up will also be successful,”

Babbar added. Bullish on the

growth, Samsung India on Wednesday

expanded its line-up of wearables and

launched Gear Fit2 Pro, a GPS sports

band with smart features at Rs 13,590

and Gear Sport smartwatch at Rs

22,990. “There are fitness bands that

have features like step counting,

heartrate monitor and others. We wanted

to give users a completely new experience.

Gear Fit2 Pro gives a swimming

solution (with 5 ATM water resistance

and ‘MIL STD’ 810G) and real-time

heart rate

monitor which

are top of the line features,” Baddar

said. The devices with 5 ATM water rating

can withstand pressures equivalent

to a depth of 50 metres. “MIL-STD-

810G” is series of tests designed by the

US military to test its equipment limits

in various conditions.

Gear Sport sports 1.2-inch

AMOLED display and rotating bezel

user interface (UI). The smartwatch is

powered by a 300mAh battery and supports

wireless charging while Gear Fit2

Pro features a 200mAh battery.

Gear Sport will let the user receive

nutrition management alerts and activity

recommendations even if they are

offline and has been designed with military-level


Both Gear Sports and Gear Fit2 Pro

support water resistance and swim

tracking technology.

Gear Fit2 Pro features

built-in GPS tracking and

sports 1.5-inch Super

AMOLED curved display

and a high-resolution colour

touchscreen. Both the devices will

go on sale in December, the company

said. “We have introduced new smart

capabilities, easy-to-use features and

partnered with leading names in tech

and fitness to help consumers go

beyond fitness and live an active, balanced

and fulfilling life,” Babbar added.

According to market research firm

Gartner, smartwatches will continue to

drive the demand for wearable technology

that projected to increase by 16.7

per cent in 2017.

Watch YouTube videos right

in WhatsApp on iOS devices

San Francisco, A new WhatsApp

update rolled out for iOS will let users

play YouTube videos right within the

instant messaging app. The update will

also let users navigate to another chat

while you are watching the video.

The information regarding the new

WhatsApp update Version 2.17.81 was

published on

AppStore and first

spotted by

WABetaInfo, a website

that tracks

WhatsApp Beta programmes,

on Tuesday.

“When you receive

a link to a YouTube

video, you can now

play it right within

WhatsApp. With picture-in-picture,


can also keep watching

the video while

you navigate to another

chat,” the new

update read on AppStore. Earlier, when

users clicked on the link, the YouTube

video would open in YouTube app

installed on the smartphones. The latest

update can also help you record long

messages with ease.

“Want to easily record long Voice

Messages? When recording a Voice

Message, just swipe up to lock recording

so you can continue to record without

keeping your finger down,” read

the description. Apparently, the

YouTube feature in WhatsApp is currently

disabled and it would soon

enable it from the server.

WhatsApp is also working on a new

feature that will allow users to quickly

switch from voice to video call while

the voice call is in progress.

According to WABetaInfo, in the

new Android update, WhatsApp is

developing a new button that will allow

users to quickly switch from voice to

video call without stopping the voice

call in progress. The recipient, however,

will be able to reject the upcoming

video call if he or she wants.

“WhatsApp is also testing a feature

that will allow to direcly mute a video,”

the report added. WhatsApp has over

200 million monthly active users in

India and 1.2 billion users worldwide.


Trump lights US national


Washington US President

Donald Trump has lit the national

Christmas tree, located behind

the White House, in a ceremony

followed by a performance of

the 1960s-hit pop band, The

Beach Boys. On Thursday,

Trump and his wife, Melania

Trump, went hand in hand to the

Ellipse, a public park to participate

in the Christmas tree lighting

ceremony, an annual tradition

which US Presidents usually

attend. “We want to wish

everybody a merry Christmas, a

happy New Year, have unbelievable

holidays, and we are now

going to light a very beautiful

tree,” said Trump. After a countdown

from ten initiated by

Trump, the first lady flipped a

switch to set aglow a 8.5-metre

Christmas tree, illuminated with

bright yellow and blue lights,

Efe news reported. Then, The

Beach Boys, now left with only

one founding member, Mike

Love, took the stage and performed

their traditional

Pentagon withdraws plan

to ban use of cluster bombs

Washington, The Pentagon

has withdrawn a plan to ban the

use of certain cluster bombs that

are widely seen as a hazard to

civilians, Pentagon spokesman

Tom Crossen has said. “The

Department of Defense has

determined that cluster munitions

remain a vital military

capability in the tougher warfighting

environment ahead of

us, while still a relatively safe

one,” said the statement on

Thursday, Xinhua news agency

reported. In response, Mary

Wareham, from the Cluster

Munition Coalition, an international

campaign seeking to eliminate

cluster bombs, argued that

there is no compelling reason for

the use of cluster munitions.

“We condemn this decision to

reverse the long-held US commitment

not to use cluster munitions

that fail more than 1 per

cent of the time, resulting in


regained unity



return to AU,

says top


deadly unexploded sub-munitions.”

she said.

Cluster bombs contain

bomblets that scatter widely and

can detonate months or years

later. The Convention on Cluster

Munitions, an international treaty

that began in 2018 and has been

signed by more than 100 countries,

prohibits the use, transfer

and stockpile of the weapon.

However, the US is not a signatory.

Instead, the then Republican

George W. Bush administration

set a now nine-year-old policy

that the US, by January 1, 2019,

would end its use of cluster

bombs that did not meet a standard

of failing to detonate 1 per

cent of the time or less, according

to a The Hill report. The US

rarely uses cluster bombs but it

has sold them to other countries

and says they could be useful in

any future large-scale ground

war, said the report.

Abidjan, Chairperson of the African

Union Commission, Moussa Faki,

termed the return of Morocco to the

African Union as “delightful” and added

that with it Africa has regained its unity.

“With the delightful return of the

Kingdom of Morocco, embodied today by

the presence of King Mohammed VI,

Africa has regained its unity,” he said at

the opening ceremony on Wednesday of

the 5th African Union-European Union

Summit, which was attended by the King.

“With this return, the AU-EU couple has

Christmas song “Little Saint

Nick”. The First Lady unveiled

on Monday the White House’s

Christmas decoration and said

that “the President, Barron, and I

are very excited for our first

Christmas in the White House”.


Pope urges world to take decisive

measures to address Rohingya crisis

Dhaka, In his first public

speech in Bangladesh

delivered on Thursday,

Pope Francis considered

that no one could ignore

the gravity of the Muslim

minority Rohingyas’ situation

and urged the international

community to take

decisive measures to

address this grave crisis.

Once again, the Pope

avoided mentioning the word

“Rohingya” explicitly in the

speech delivered at the presidential

palace in the Bangladeshi

capital, referring to them as “a

massive influx of refugees from

Rakhine State,” Efe news agency


“It is imperative that the international

community take decisive

measures to address this

grave crisis, not only by working

to resolve the political issues that

have led to the mass displacement

of people, but also by

offering immediate material

assistance to Bangladesh in its

effort to respond effectively to

urgent human needs,” the Pope

said. The Pontiff, who minutes

earlier had met privately with

Bangladesh’s President Abdul

Hamid, praised the spirit of generosity

and solidarity which

marked the country’s society.

This spirit, he added, had

been seen most vividly in the

Bangladeshi society’s humanitarian

outreach to the refugees

regained its balance, its

strengths and an exceptional bicontinental

status,” he added,

MAP news agency reported.

Since the last summit held in

Brussels in 2014, the AU has

undergone significant changes

that are part of a restructuring

dynamic driven by its leaders in

order to make it an effective

instrument of development and integration

and achieve the aspirations of the African

peoples, he added. The theme of this 5th

from Rakhine State, providing

them with temporary shelter and

the basic necessities of life, at no

little sacrifice. “None of us can

fail to be aware of the gravity of

the situation, the immense toll of

human suffering involved, and

the precarious living conditions

of so many of our brothers and

sisters, a majority of whom are

women and children, crowded in

the refugee camps,” said Pope

Francis. The Pope highlighted

the importance of meetings with

leaders from various religions

which are to take place during

the visit, and added that the

country was known for the harmony

that has traditionally existed

between followers of various


“This atmosphere of mutual

respect, and a growing climate of

interreligious dialogue, enables

believers to express freely their

deepest convictions about the

meaning and purpose of life. In a

world where religion is often _

scandalously _ misused to

The Pope highlighted

the importance of meetings

with leaders from

various religions which

are to take place during

the visit, and added that

the country was known

for the harmony that has

traditionally existed

between followers of

various religions.

foment division, such a

witness to its reconciling and

unifying power is all the more

necessary,” he added.

The Pope recalled the common

reaction of indignation that

followed 2016’s terrorist attack

in Dhaka, and the clear message

sent by the nation’s religious

authorities that the name of God

can never be invoked to justify

hatred and violence against fellow


Pope Francis also mentioned

the role played by the Catholics

in Bangladesh, who despite

being a relatively small community

collaborate in the development

of the country, particularly

through their schools, clinics and

dispensaries. “I am confident

that, in accordance with the letter

and the spirit of the national

Constitution, the Catholic community

will continue to enjoy the

freedom to carry out these good

works as an expression of its

commitment to the common

good,” he added.

December 2017


US urges all nations to sever ties with

N. Korea, Russia calls it ‘goading’ Kim

United Nations, The US has urged all nations

to cut diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea

after its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test

and warned that if it comes to war, the rogue

regime will be “totally destroyed”.

The call was rejected by Russia on

Thursday as it accused Washington

of provoking Pyongyang into stepping

up its nuclear missile programme.

Russian Foreign Minister

Sergei Lavrov dismissed the call by

the US Permanent Representative to

the UN Nikki Haley to sever ties

with North Korea and said “sanctions

do not work”. He advocated

negotiations instead. Speaking during

a visit to the Belarussian capital

Minsk, Lavrov asked whether

America was actively seeking to destroy North

Korea. The Americans, he said, “should explain to

us all what they’re after”.

“If they want to find a pretext for destroying

North Korea, as the US envoy said at the UN

Security Council, then let them say it outright and

let the supreme American leadership confirm it.”

Calling for new talks with North Korea, Lavrov

added: “We have already emphasised… that the

squeeze of sanctions has essentially come to an

end, and that those resolutions which

introduced the sanctions should have

included a requirement to renew the

political process, a requirement to

renew talks. “But the Americans

completely ignore this requirement

and I consider this a big mistake.”

Speaking at the UNSC on

Wednesday, Haley warned that

North Korea’s government will be

“utterly destroyed” if a war breaks

out. She said that Washington also

called on China to show leadership

and cut off oil supplies to pressure

Pyongyang following the test. Haley told the

Council that the North Korean dictator was bringing

“the world closer to war”. “We have never

sought war with North Korea,” she said. “And if

war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean

regime will be utterly destroyed.”


nt in

Germany falls

to record low

Berlin, Germany’s labour

market is going from strength

to strength, according to figures

from the Federal

Employment Agency. The

number of unemployed

Germans fell by 20,000 to

2.36 million in November, hitting

the lowest level since the

re-unifiction in 1990, Xinhua

reported on Thursday citing

the Agency figures. As a consequence,

the unemployment

rate also declined by 0.1 point

to 5.3 per cent. Year on year,

164,000 fewer people were

registered as out of work than

that in November 2016.

“The labour market’s very

good development continues,”

said Valerie Holsboer, member

of the executive board of

the Federal Employment


“Unemployment and

underemployment are

decreasing and companies’

demand is still rising from an

already high level,” Holsboer

added. The Federal

Employment Agency

described November’s fall in

unemployment as “stronger

than usual.” Even on a seasonally-adjusted

basis there were

18,000 fewer Germans out of

work during the month.

AU-EU Summit, which dovetails

with that of the AU for

the year 2017, namely

‘Harnessing the Demographic

Dividend through

Investments in Youth’, “is far

from being mere coincidence”,

he noted, adding that

this thematic convergence

confirms that Africa and

Europe share the same concerns regarding

today’s demands. “This invites us to build

up a strategic alliance and not just a partnership

in pursuit of mercantile interests,

through a deeper dialogue between our

cultures and our civilizations and through

the building of a bridge of friendship

between our two continents,” Faki said.

The 5th AU-EU Summit is themed

‘Investing in Youth for a Sustainable

Future’. In addition to the main theme of

youth, the Summit will also discuss an

array of issues as peace and security, governance,

democracy, human rights, migration

and mobility, investment and trade,

competence building and job creation.

22 December 2017



Caste debate in British Parliament

Caste Debate was held in the House which are currently being analysed, and

relevant points raised when deciding the way in which we ensure that that

of Commons on Thursday 23rd we will respond in due course.’

how to proceed.

does not happen must be proportionate.

November 2017 as reported in Hansard

Volume 631.

Bob Blackman, Conservative MP for

Harrow East asked a question of the

PM, When she plans to respond to the

Government’s consultation on caste as a

protected characteristic in equality legislation.

Nick Gibb, Minister for Equalities

Bob Blackman : Given the thousands

of responses from British Hindus saying

that having caste as a protected characteristic

in equality law is unnecessary

and divisive, will my right hon. Friend

take action to remove that provision—

which was introduced by the Labour

party—from the legislative book?

Nick Gibb: We appreciate that caste

Kate Green MP for Stretford and

Urmston (Labour) : Does the Minister

recognise that leaving people to rely

only on case law would not be sufficient,

because they would be uncertain

whether their cases would necessarily

accord with decisions in previous cases,

and does he agree that legislation is necessary

for that reason?

We will respond to the consultation in

due course.

Reflecting on the debate , Mr Sat Pal

Muman , Chair CastewatchUK said that

‘13,000 represents a significant number

of respondents to the recent Caste consultation

which suggests Caste discrimination

to be a serious matter. People

may argue for or against the legislation

responded that ‘ the

is an extremely sensitive

Nick Gibb: The hon. Lady has but Mr Muman called on the

public consultation on

Sat Pal Muman

and emotive subject

expressed an opinion, and so has my Government to not lose sight of the victims

who must be given protection and

how best to ensure that

which is important to

hon. Friend the Member for Harrow

there is appropriate and proportionate

legal protection against caste discrimination

many people, but there is clearly no

unanimous view among consultation caste discrimination. We are therefore

East (Bob Blackman). As I have said,

we are looking at 13,000 opinions. We

urged the Government to implement the

Caste provision of Equality Act 2010 as

closed on 18 September. We respondents about how best to provide considering the responses very careful-

completely oppose any form of discrim-

mandated by both houses of

received more than 13,000 responses, the necessary legal protection against ly, and will be taking account of all the ination related to a person’s caste, but Parliament.’

42 wounded as earthquake of magnitude 6.0

hits southeast Iran, more tremors feared

Iran : A magnitude 6.0

quake is considered strong

and is capable of causing

severe damage. A strong

earthquake of magnitude 6.0

struck southeastern Iran on

Friday, injuring at least 42

people and destroying several

homes in an area where

most people live in villages

of mud-walled homes. State

media said no deaths had

been reported.

Rescue workers, special

teams with sniffer dogs and

units of Iran’s Revolutionary

Guards and Basij militia

forces were sent to the

quake-hit areas in Kerman

province, Iran’s semi-official

Fars news agency said.

At least 9 killed, 30 injured as

burqa-clad terrorists attack Peshawar

agriculture college in Pakistan

Peshawar : Police officials

present at the site of the attack

told Dawn news that four terrorists

were also killed Pakistani

Taliban gunmen, using the disguise

of all-enveloping burqas,

stormed the campus of an agriculture

university in Pakistan on

Friday, killing at least nine and

wounding 30, police said. Police

officials present at the site of the

attack told Dawn news that four

terrorists were killed.

The attackers were exchanging

fire with security forces at

the Directorate of Agriculture

Institute of Peshawar, said

Tahir Khan, chief of police in

the northwestern city. “Police

and army commandos have

cordoned off the campus,”

Khan said. “A blast was also

just heard from the campus.”

According to initial reports, 16

people were admitted to

Khyber Teaching Hospital.

Three of them succumbed to

State TV said many residents

rushed out of houses in Kerman

city and nearby villages and

towns, fearing more tremors

after some 30 aftershocks following

the 6:32 a.m. (0232

GMT) quake.

“The quake destroyed some

houses in eight villages but so far

there has been no fatalities,” a

local official told state TV. The

US Geological Survey said the

quake, at first reported as magnitude

6.3, was centered 36 miles

(58 km) northeast of Kerman

city, with a population of more

than 821,000. The quake was

very shallow, at a depth of 6.2

miles (10 km), which would

have amplified the shaking in the

poor, sparsely populated area.

injuries. The Pakistani Taliban

quickly claimed the attack, saying

in message from

spokesman Mohammad

Khorasani that they had targeted

a safe house of the military

Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

agency. The gunmen arrived at

the school’s campus in a rickshaw

and disguised in the

burqas worn by many women

in the region, Khan said. They

shot and wounded a guard

before entering the campus, he

said. In December 2014,

Pakistani Taliban gunmen

killed 134 children at

Peshawar’s Army Public

School, one of the single deadliest

attacks in the country’s

history. The Pakistani Taliban

are fighting to topple the government

and install a strict

interpretation of Islamic law.

They are loosely allied with the

Afghan Taliban insurgents who

ruled most of Afghanistan until

they were overthrown by U.S.-

backed military action in 2001.

Beijing bans

fireworks ahead of

Lunar New Year

celebrations, evil

spirits rejoice

Beijing : During the 15-day Lunar New Year period, the bangs,

pops and flickers of fireworks are constant, and are thought to drive

away evil spirits.

China may have invented fireworks but Beijing banned them

from the capital Friday ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations, as

authorities clamp down on potentially dangerous activities.

The new regulation was passed by the local government, state

news agency Xinhua said, and comes amid a city-wide campaign

that is driving an estimated tens of thousands of migrants from

homes that authorities deem unsafe following a deadly fire.

In a country that is known for its fireworks -- and is thought to

have invented them more than a thousand years ago during the

Tang Dynasty -- the ban will likely not be popular.

During the 15-day Lunar New Year period, the bangs, pops and

flickers of fireworks are constant, and are thought to drive away

evil spirits. It is unclear if Beijing authorities will enforce the ban

during the boisterous national holidays as well.

Firework sellers are worried though. “No more firework stalls

will be allowed within the fifth ring road,” said Tao Liang, marketing

manager of Panda Fireworks, referring to the road that encircles

the heart of the city.

“It’s clear that sales will fall a lot.” The ban adds Beijing to a

long list of Chinese cities that have restricted firework use in recent

years amid safety and pollution concerns. Those restrictions have

sent Panda Fireworks, one of China’s largest firework makers,

searching for new business. “Our company has been thinking about

the transformation for a long time,” said Tao. “We established

Panda International Information Technology Company in 2014,

which is doing pretty good.”



UN appeals for $22.5 bn

humanitarian aid for 2018

United Nations, The United

Nations has appealed for a

record $ 22.5 billion in humanitarian

aid for 2018.

The global aid appeal aims to

raise funds to help 91 million of

the world’s most vulnerable people,

out of 136 million in need, a

UN statement said on Friday,

BBC reported. More than $10

billion is needed to address the

humanitarian crises in Syria and

Yemen alone, it added. The UN

also said needs are rising substantially

in a number of African

countries. Driven by conflicts in

Africa and the Middle East, the

number of people in need of

New Delhi : When it comes to tweeting,

former US President Barack Obama has

some advice for all, including the current

President Donald Trump — think hard

before you tweet and don’t just post thoughts

as they appear in your mind.

According to Obama, you must think

before you open your mouth, you must ponder

over before you tweet and should not

allow the first thing that pops into your head

to become your thought to the world. “I have

many more followers on Twitter than those

who use the social media tool more often.

We should be mindful of the power the social

media tools have and must post after weighing

thoughts carefully,” Obama told the gathering

at the HT Leadership Summit here on


Obama has 97.4 million followers on the

micro-blogging platform while Trump has

43.7 million followers.

Taking an apparent jibe at Trump who is

famous for introducing typos and spelling

errors in his tweets, though without naming

him, Obama said: “Remember your parents

humanitarian aid has increased

by more than 5 per cent, according

to UN co-ordinator Mark

Lowcock. The targeted fund is a

1 per cent increase on the

amount requested last year. By

the end of November, the agency

had raised nearly $13 billion —

which the UN says is record levels

of funding. More than a third

of the fund requested is to

address the needs created by the

devastating civil war in Syria:

$3.5 billion to provide humanitarian

aid inside the war-ravaged

country and $4.2 billion to help

the 5.4 million registered Syrian

refugees in neighbouring countries.

In Yemen, which is facing

the world’s worst humanitarian

Think before you tweet : Obama’s

advice apparently to Trump

when it comes to tweet —

think first and post later.

Before I tweet, I do spell

check and use punctuation

tool and don’t forget to put

period at the end of the sentence,”

Obama chuckled.

Trump, who has been

tweeting round the clock,

has grabbed global attention

for typos and spelling errors,

like “unpresidented act,”

“honered” or the most hilarious

one “covfefe” (that

meant coverage).

“Think before you tweet so that you do

not need to delete it later,” Obama told the

gathering during a question and answer session

with seasoned journalist Karan Thapar.

According to Obama, the habit of tweeting

casually about sensitive subjects which may

affect millions was not a healthy practice.

“Don’t just say ‘climate change is a hoax’ on

Twitter as it shuts all doors to debate, to evaluate

for various stakeholders. It is difficult

for a democracy to work in

that situation. If you say it is

a hoax then there is no way

we can build bridges,”

Obama emphasised.

Trump has been issuing

periodic statements, affirming

his belief that man-made

climate change is a myth.

“We need to do deep

analysis with all stakeholders

around the concerned

topic and then evaluate it

collectively. Don’t just

scratch the surface and

tweet,” Obama added. On a question of how

the media is becoming biased, Obama said:

“This is part of a trend globally. In the US,

Fox News and The New York Times have

completely different viewpoints. If I watch

Fox News, I won’t even vote for me! The

NYT is doing things in its own ways,”

Obama said. Fox News is tilted towards

Trump while the NYT continues to question

Trump and his policies.

crisis, the UN says $2.5 billion is

needed to assist those most desperately

in need. The UN has

acknowledged they aim to cover

the needs of only half of the 20

million people in Yemen who are

in need of urgent humanitarian

assistance. Eleven million of

those are children and 400,000

are affected by severe acute malnutrition.

Each of Congo,

Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia,

South Sudan and Sudan are in

need of more than a billion dollars

of aid to assist the most vulnerable.

The UN statement also

said that in some other countries,

including Afghanistan, Ethiopia,

Iraq, Mali, and Ukraine, humanitarian

needs have declined.

Ockhi raises questions over Kerala's disaster preparedness

KERALA : Cyclone Ockhi

not only left a trail of destruction

across South Kerala, but also

raised questions over the State’s

preparedness to deal with major

natural calamities affecting tens

of thousands of families. Even as

the Coast Guard, Navy, and Air

Force began efforts to rescue

over 150 fishermen reported

missing at sea, coastal communities

allege that the storm had

exposed fundamental flaws in

the State’s disaster management

system. They are demanding

action against the State Disaster

Management Authority (SDMA)

for the failure to provide warning

in time. The Kerala

Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali

Federation and National

Fishworkers Forum alleged that

the disaster management set up

in the State had failed to respond

to the situation. Friends of

Marine Life, a city-based NGO,

said the SDMA was guilty of

having ignored the warnings

issued by the India Met

Department. According to

Robert Panipilla, coordinator,

FML, efforts to rescue fishermen

were launched a full 40 hours

after the storm had started

wreaking havoc along the Kerala

coast. Countering the allegations,

a press note issued by the

SDMA said the routine alerts on

strong winds and high waves

issued by the IMD and INCOIS

could not be taken for a disaster

situation. The SDMA kicks in

only after a cyclone has been


“Our Standard Operating

Procedure lays down clear

guidelines on when to declare an

emergency. This is to avoid creating

false alarms that could lull

vulnerable communities into

complacency,” it said.

The SDMA said the authority

had wasted no time in informing

the officials concerned and the

media about the cyclone. “Early

morning on Thursday, the IMD

had announced the formation of

a depression 270 km south east

of Kanyakumari. There was no

cyclone warning for the State. A

second bulletin at 8.30 a.m.

showed that the system had

intensified into a deep depression

over Comorin and a cyclone

alert was issued for

Lakshadweep,’’ it said.

“It was only at 12 noon that

the IMD issued an Orange message

with a cyclone warning for

South Kerala. Immediately after,

the SDMA had issued a warning

to officials and the media, activated

the SOP and alerted emergency

services. By evening, the

Chief Minister convened a meeting

to coordinate and discuss the

arrangements,” it said.

December 2017




release new

version of

tax bill

Washington : Senate

Republican leaders have

released a new version of their

tax plan that incorporates a

number of changes that lawmakers

sought in order to support

the bill, the media reported

on Saturday. The changes in

the “substitute amendment”

released by Senate Finance

Committee Chairman Orrin

Hatch on Friday night include

an increase in the deduction for

pass-through business income

from 17.4 per cent to 23 per

cent, reports The Hill magazine.

These changes are paid

for in several ways, including

the restoration of the alternative

minimum tax, which was

initially repealed in the bill.

The new version of the bill,

which stands at 479 pages, was

panned by Democrats for

being released close to the

final vote, without much time

to review.

Democrats received a copy

earlier in the day and noted

that it includes some handwritten

changes. Democrats

also criticised specific provisions

that were added to the

bill, such as one that they said

would benefit Wall Street and

another that they argued was

targeted to exempt conservative

Hillsdale College from an

excise tax on university


Republican leaders were

racing on Thursday night and

Friday morning to find support

for the bill, hoping to avoid a

repeat of the health care bill

debacle earlier this year that

left them empty handed.

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24 December 2017



Trump denies plans to replace

Tillerson as Secretary of State

Washington, US President Donald

Trump has said he has no plan to replace

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, though

he acknowledged disagreements with

the latter on certain subjects. “The

media has been speculating that I fired

Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving

soon — FAKE NEWS! He’s not

leaving and while we disagree on certain

subjects, (I call the final shots) we

work well together and America is highly

respected again!” Trump wrote on

Twitter on Friday, Efe news reported.

That was the President’s first public

response after The New York Times

quoted anonymous sources saying that

Trump wanted to replace Tillerson with

Washington, US President

Donald Trump’s son-in-law,

Jared Kushner, is being named

as the “very senior member” of

the President’s transition team

who directed former National

Security Adviser Michael Flynn

to contact Russian officials,

media reports said.

Quoting sources

CNN said Kushner

directed Flynn to

get in touch with

R u s s i a n

Ambassador to the

US Sergey Kislyak

and other envoys.

Flynn on Friday

pleaded guilty to

making false statements

to the Federal

Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

about meetings with Kislyak

weeks before Trump’s inauguration.

The filings from Flynn’s

plea hearing on Friday say a

“very senior member” of

Trump’s transition team asked

Flynn to contact officials to learn

where each country stood on the

UN Security Council vote on

Israeli settlements and to influence

it. An attorney for Kushner

did not respond to a request for

comment, the CNN said.

The court documents provide

the clearest picture so far of

coordination between Flynn and

other Trump advisers in contacting

Russian officials to influence

international policy.

It also raised questions about

who higher up the chain of command

in Trump’s orbit — possibly

even including the President

himself — is in Special Counsel

Robert Mueller’s sights after he

agreed to a plea deal with retired

General Flynn, CNN said.

The revelations also undermine

Trump’s often repeated

contention that the Russia investigation

is little more than a

witch hunt being perpetrated by

his political enemies, the CNN

CIA director Mike Pompeo.

Tillerson also made his first statement

on Friday in that regard and said

the news is “laughable,” but avoided

any mention of whether he has discussed

the matter with the president.

“It’s laughable. It’s laughable,” he

responded earlier to a question about

how he’s handling the matter and what

he’ll do about news that the White

House seeks his resignation.

The news was repeated later by

numerous US media including CNN

and The Washington Post, also quoting

anonymous sources. Tillerson gave his

terse reply about the matter at the State

Department while welcoming Libyan

‘Kushner told Flynn

to contact Russians’

said. A person familiar with the

transition’s effort on the UN vote

told CNN it was well-known and

a collaborative effort by various

transition officials, including

Trump’s former chief of staff

Reince Priebus, former adviser

Steve Bannon, Flynn and

Kushner. In court,


detailed calls

Flynn had made in

late December

2016 to the senior

Trump transition

team at Mar-a-

Lago to discuss

conversations with

Kislyak. The document

also says

Flynn falsely said

he did not ask Kislyak to delay

the vote on the UN Security

Council resolution. lates that he

will cooperate with federal, state

or local investigators in any way

that Special Counsel Robert

Mueller’s office might need,

according to a document filed in

court Friday. He could also be

required to participate in covert

law enforcement operations,

such as wearing a wire, if asked

or to share details of his past

dealings with the Trump transition

team and administration,

CNN said. Kushner met with

Mueller’s team earlier in

November as part of the investigation

into Russia’s meddling in

the 2016 US election, according

to two people familiar with the

meeting. “Kushner has voluntarily

cooperated with all relevant

inquiries and will continue to do

so,” Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s

lawyer has told CNN. The conversation

lasted less than 90

minutes, one person familiar

with the meeting said, adding

that Mueller’s team asked

Kushner to clear up some questions

he was asked by lawmakers

and details that emerged through

media reports.

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. On

Thursday, State Department spokeswoman

Heather Nauert said that White

House Chief of Staff John Kelly

told Tillerson it wasn’t true that

Trump plans his ouster within the

coming weeks or months.

Questioned insistently about the

matter during her daily press conference,

Nauert defended Tillerson

by saying he’s “committed to doing

this job”.

She added, however, that the top

diplomat “does serve at the pleasure

of the president”. Asked if

Tillerson would fight to keep his

job despite all the rumors going

around, the spokeswoman said she’d

rather not get involved in such speculation.

She acknowledged that Trump and

Tillerson “have certainly had areas of

disagreement” that are well-known, and

gave as an example their opposite positions

on climate change.

At a parallel press conference, White

House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee

Sanders avoided giving a “yes” or “no”

answer to the question of whether

Trump has confidence in Tillerson.

“When the president loses confidence

in somebody they will no longer

be here,” was all Sanders would say.

As for Tillerson’s future, Sanders

said that he and the president “are continuing

to work together to close out

what we’ve seen has been an incredible


Agri, education, health key focus areas: Ambani

NEWDELHI: With his multi-billiondollar

investment in telecom services well on track,

Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh

Ambani on Friday signalled the start of the

next investment cycle, which might see the

group venture into agriculture, education and

healthcare. In its last cycle, the group invested

$60 billion in India largely through

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which has placed

India on the cusp of becoming the country

with the world’s largest data network. “We

have nearly completed this investment cycle.

We are now ready to commit even more in our

next investment cycle. We are doing this out

of our undiminished conviction that India is

the biggest investment opportunity in the

world,” Ambani said at the Hindustan Times


military officials

named to top

cabinet posts

HARARE: Zimbabwe’s

new president, Emmerson

Mnangagwa, appointed military

officials to top posts in his

new cabinet and chose a veteran

cabinet minister to head the

finance ministry.

Mnangagwa was sworn in

as president last Friday after

93-year-old Robert Mugabe

quit under pressure from the

army. He also brought back

many faces from the Robert

Mugabe era, which could disappoint

Zimbabweans who

had been expecting a broadbased

government and a break

with the past. Mnangagwa is

under pressure to deliver,

especially on the economy,

which is in the grip of severe

foreign currency shortages that

have seen banks failing to give

customers cash.

Leadership Summit in

New Delhi. “As we

move forward, we will

look at issues that create

more and more

value for all Indians. I

think agriculture is difficult;

education is

important; healthcare

is the most difficult. We can only think about

what we can do in each of these areas,” he

said. “What we did with Jio, not many in the

world had backed us but... India in terms of

the data infra will be ahead of the US by

2019,” he added. According to him, Jio is on

course to turning profitable, as the company is

already ahead of schedule in terms of the

returns that it is generating.

Ambani also said that India potentially

offers the world’s largest investment opportunity

as data connectivity and artificial intelligence

converge to trigger a new industrial

revolution that could vault Asia’s third

biggest economy past China and the US in

economic prosperity. This convergence has

the potential to transform agricultural productivity,

healthcare services and education to

empower a new generation. “Data is not only

the new oil, data is also the new soil,” said

Ambani. His blueprint for the next industrial

revolution involves use of digital infrastructure

and technology in the farm sector to bring

about a green revolution by rejuvenating soil

and improving efficiency in supply chains.

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