Inside India’s Rat Temple Where Rodents Are Worshipped

first_imgOne temple in India is devoted to worshipping 20,000 of the animals. Related Itemslast_img

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The Electronic Fix for India’s Filth and Corruption

first_imgin a country where just over 11% of the population are connected to the internet, is this really possible? Related Itemslast_img

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Sky is the limit for India-U.S. relations: Nikki Haley

first_img“Sky is the limit” for U.S.-India relations, Nimrata “Nikki” Haley, the Indian American Cabinet-ranking official in the Donald Trump government, said during an event at the Indian Embassy on Jan. 30. Haley also commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his aggressive economic and administrative reforms.“It is always a delight to see the sense of pride that Ambassador Haley has in her Indian roots, and the high value she attaches to the India-U.S. relationship even as she plays such a prominent role in the American political sphere,” Navtej Singh Sarna, the Indian Ambassador to the US, who hosted the event, told PTI a day later. He also called her the star of the Trump cabinet.The event, which was held before the State of the Union speech, was attended by high-achieving Indian Americans. Haley told the gathering that the United States is also pursuing aggressive change.It makes sense for the two democracies, having so much in common values to work together, Haley said in her remarks during the luncheon meeting. She added that she wanted the India-U.S. relations to be strong, which wasn’t the case in the last two presidencies.“It didn’t make sense to me because when you look at the values, they’re the same. When you look at the work ethic and what they believe from a corporate standpoint — the same. When you look at the research and all the things that we do, these two democracies have so much in common,” she said.“We’re seeing a growing interest, and a growing relationship and seeing that happen. The president is very very fond of what is happening with India, growing that relationship trying to make sure that we do more with India,” Haley said.“I think that sky’s the limit now. We are going to continue to try and show the values of India to the United States and continue trying to show the values of the US to India,” she said. She also added that she is a proud daughter of Indian parents.Speaking about Modi, she said, “He very much wants to streamline and do all of these reforms, that are very true for this (Trump) administration too. So I think it’s a good combination to have them (Trump- Modi) together.”Haley, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina, is the daughter of Indian Sikh parents who hail from Punjab’s Amritsar district. She was born in Bamberg, South Carolina.  Related ItemsIndian AmericanNikki HaleyUnited Stateslast_img read more

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Separatist Protesters Assault Indian Sikh Leader for Second Time Within a Week in U.S.

first_imgIndian political leader Manjit Singh GK was attacked by a group of Khalistan supporters outside a gurdwara in Yuba City of California on Aug. 25. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and his family were also attacked in New York on Aug. 20, making this the second incident within a week where he has been targeted by Sikh separatists in the United States, PTI reported.Three people have been arrested by the police in connection with the recent attack, the report said.Singh told the news agency over phone from the United States that a group of 30-35 people attacked him when he was visiting the gurdwara in Yuba City to offer prayers. The people were supporters of the “Khalistan 2020 referendum,” he said.People who are demanding Khalistan can continue their fight but violence is not the way, he added. “We will not be part of this fight for Khalistan,” Singh told the news agency.“I am hurt. They pushed me and kicked me brutally. It was a brutal murderous attack,” the report quoted him as saying. He added that one of his associates got injured and was rushed to the hospital.A video, tweeted by ANI, shows a group of people thrashing Singh to the floor and then kicking him. His face was also blackened by the attackers, the report added. His supporters are also seen in the video, trying to protecting him.#WATCH: Akali Dal leader & Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee member Manjeet Singh GK attacked, face blackened outside a Gurdwara in California. 3 people have been arrested in connection with the attack. #USA (25.08.18) pic.twitter.com/HdhnlJn8zP— ANI (@ANI) August 26, 2018Singh is in America to hold discussions with the Sikh community about the 550th birthday anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak. The celebrations will take place next year.Condemning the use of violence by Khalistan supporters, Singh, who is also the chief of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, said that he is not going to be scared by this attack and will never be the part of their fight for Khalistan.The news of the latest attack on Singh was condemned by leaders in India as well as Sikh community groups in the United States.India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took to Twitter to condemn the attack and said that Singh has made a huge contribution to the Sikh community.Strongly condemn the attack on Sardar Manjit Singh GK in California. Manjit GK has made a huge contribution to the management and expansion of the Sikh religious, social and educational institutions.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) August 26, 2018Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Cabinet Minister of Food Processing, termed it an attack on the “Turban” of the Sikhs by ISI agents. She also requested External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take up the matter with the U.S. government.The dastardly attack on S. Manjit Singh GK was not an attack on an individual but on the Dastar of a Sikh. It was an attack by agents of ISI on a party that is fighting the battle of justice for Sikhs. @SushmaSwaraj ji please take it up seriously with the US government— Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) August 26, 2018Sikhs For Justice, the pro-Khalistan group in the United States that has called for the “Khalistan referendum,” said that people have a right to protest against anyone but violence is not unacceptable.The attack on @ManjitGK by Khalistan supporters in US is highly condemnable. You have every right to protest against anyone, but assaulting someone is unacceptable. This is nothing but hooliganism and a sign of intolerance which has no place in civilized society. @sikhsforjustice https://t.co/2Q1ZGFXqhv— Sikhs For Sikhs (@SikhsForSikhs) August 26, 2018On the other hand, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the legal advisor of Sikhs for Justice, claimed that Singh’s people were the ones who attacked Khalistan activists, as the latter were protesting peaceful. He also issued a statement and said that it was Singh’s supporters who instigated the violence.GK Supporters Instigated Yuba City attacks on Khalistan activists who were peacefully protesting Desecration of Guru Granth Sahibji. Will complain to US Immigraion to ban GK from US. @ani @rsrobin1 @News18Punjab @timesofindia @IndianExpress @republic @dna pic.twitter.com/clPGTyZRy6— Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (@Pannun_Lawyer) August 26, 2018Singh was earlier attacked on Aug. 20, while he was coming out of a television studio in New York City. He had then tweeted the video of attack, and said, “A group of people attacked me and my relatives in New York. This will not scare me away from my path to serve the community. I have fought and I will fight until my last breath. Such cowardly incidents do not scare me.”A group of people attacked me & my relatives in #NewYork. This will not scare me away from my path to serve the community. I have fought & I will fight till my last breath.Such cowardly incidents do not scare me.🙏 @SushmaSwaraj @USAmbIndia @IndiainNewYork https://t.co/au9SUx1qrt— Manjit Singh GK (@ManjitGK) August 21, 2018Pro-Khalistan movement demands creation of a separate country for Sikhs from India. Separatist Sikh organizations, including Sikhs for Justice, had organized a pro-Khalistan rally on Aug. 12 in Trafalgar Square, London, to promote their campaign. A counter rally was also organized on the same day at Trafalgar Square by supporters of unified India.The UK government gave permission for the pro-Khalistan rally, citing people’s right to protest, even though India raised its concerns against the event. Britain later distanced itself from the rally, saying that merely allowing the protest to take place did not mean the government’s support towards the separatist campaign. Related ItemskhalistanSikhismUnited Stateslast_img read more

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Chitra Divakaruni: Truth is Complicated

first_imgLike many Indian immigrants, Chitra Divakaruni came to the United States as a hopeful young student planning to pursue a postgraduate degree. She helped pay for that education in the time-honored American tradition by earning money as a babysitter, store clerk, and a bread slicer in a bakery. Divakaruni got her degree, and along the way also became an award winning writer and poet of 17 books.Her short story collection Arranged Marriage: The Unknown Errors of Our Lives won the American Book Award and her best-selling novel Mistress of Spices was made into a Hollywood movie starring Aishwarya Rai. Other major novels include Sister of my Heart (which was aired in India as a Tamil television serial), One Amazing Thing, (optioned by Hollywood), Palace of Illusions, a bestseller in India, and Oleander Girl.Divakaruni currently lives in Texas, where she is professor of Creative Writing at the University of Houston, and this spring published her latest book, Before We Visit the Goddess.“I’ve lived in Texas for 13 years and this is my first book where Texas is there in a major way. It takes me a long time to learn a place and now I feel comfortable about writing about it,” Divakaruni says. “This book is different from all my other books in that every single place that appearsin it, I have actually lived in. “The book took three years to write. “The character Sabitri’s time span is before my birth, so I had to do a lot of reading,” says Divakaruni. “I read novels set in that period, and studied newspapers, and photographs about women’s education at that time. I believe that detail not only brings a scene alive, it makes the reader trust the writer. “The book moves through the lives of the three women, spotlighting pivotal moments that bring about their lasting awareness and also impel the story forward. Divakaruni says she chose not to write the book chronologically, charting the course of each character’s life. “I wanted to create the reading experience.This is a very associative book,” she explains. “It moves through emotions and thoughts. One of the themes of this book is how things affect people, but not necessarily chronologically.”Divakaruni also points out that the strong women she created did not exist in a void, but also had men in their lives, as friends and as lovers, who supported or destroyed them. “I wanted to make the men as real as possible because it brings out many sides to each story. The truth is complicated and that’s what this book reflects,” she says.Divakaruni herself is not a writer who lives in a void. Her books often have a resonance to the world she born into or a response to the world around her. “My previous novel, Oleander Girl, on how to live in a world fractured by communal violence, was inspired partly by the Godhra riots and partly by 9/11,” she says. “Palace of Illusions was a retelling of the Mahabharata. It was influenced by my love for the original text, but also my desire to hear the voices of the women characters. And Mistress of Spices came out of my love for spices and of our cuisine. Running underneath many of my stories set in this country is the changing challenges of immigrant life.”As a writer, Divakaruni finds that managing time to carve out a writing life, as opposed to her role as a teacher, can also be a challenge. “Teaching is consuming,” she admits. She credits the University of Houston for generously agreeing to let her teach her graduate and PhD students for a semester and taking the other semester off for writing. “I’m blessed to have this arrangement,” Divakaruni says, adding that she nevertheless tries to write all year. “I can lose touch with writing a book if I don’t write for half the year. So I think it’s fair to say that I write more during my off semester and less during my teaching period.”Strong-willed women who resist their fate are a running theme of Divakaruni’s books, and her feminist perspectives were probably rooted from an early role model. “In my life, my mother is a very strong character,” Divakaruni says. “She pretty much brought me and younger brother up almost as a single parent, because my father was not around all the time. We had a strong and close and sometimes stormy relationship. You can’t relive your mother’s life, but I think conflict between mothers and daughters is a universal fact across cultures and generations.”Another common thread in many of her works is the transformative and redemptive power of food in the lives of immigrants. “Food influences and affects our identity and I think our relationship with food helps to show who we really are,” she says.The lives of Indian immigrants are central to her work. Her focus is shifting to include children of immigrants who face a different challenge in assimilating into the world they live in. “I see this often in the younger generation that is born here. They move away from their home culture initially. But when they reach a certain level of maturity, then they begin to see value in their culture. I think it is a discovery of something that is rich and meaningful in our culture,” Divakaruni says.The title of the book, which refers to the Meenaskhi temple in Texas, which Sabitri’s granddaughter Tara visits at a turning point in the book, is example of the difference between first and second generation Indians. “Visiting the goddess to me symbolically means to really know who we really are. What is my own true inner identity? That is the metaphor for visiting the goddess. Before we visit, change has to take place in us.”One of the questions that Divakaruni would like readers to take away from her book is what does it mean to be a successful woman. “For me that resonates in everybody’s life,” Divakaruni says. “I hope this book encourages that question. It is a complex and important question.” Related Itemslast_img read more

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Girl Abandoned After Adoption in Spain Does Not Want to Return to India

first_imgA 13-year-old Indian girl, who was adopted and later abandoned by a Spanish couple after they came to know of her real age, does not want to come back to India.“Our embassy in Spain has informed us that the child is happy there and does not want to come back to India. In fact, we have received applications from at least two to three other Spanish couples who want to adopt her,” an official in India’s Women and Child Welfare Ministry told Indian news portal The Print.The girl is now a Spanish citizen and lives in a government-run shelter in Spain, reports said.The Spanish couple had adopted the girl from an agency in Madhya Pradesh in January this year, and abandoned her after claiming that they were deceived about her age. The couple said they were told that the girl was seven years old at the time of adoption, the Hindustan Times had reported earlier.In March this year, the couple wrote to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a part of India’s Women and Child Development Ministry, saying they had been misled about her age. They took the girl for age determination tests after learning that she was already menstruating, and a medical check-up and bone ossification test in Madrid revealed that she was aged above 13 years.In August, Indian Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi requested DB Venkatesh Varma, India’s ambassador to Spain, to contact the girl and take necessary steps to send her back to India, where she would be placed under the care and protection of a suitable local agency. “It has been ascertained that the girl wants to return to India,” Gandhi wrote in her letter, according to a previous report by PTI.The Bhopal-based Special Adoption Agency (SAA) Udaan, from where the child was adopted, is under investigations. The agency has denied the allegations, saying that while the child’s age may be false, it is the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that determines the age before sending a child to an adoption center or to a childless couple.Cases of adoption of Indian children by foreign nationals and Non-Resident Indians (NRI) increased by 10 percent in 2017-18, according to data from CARA. A total of 552 children were adopted in 2017-18 by foreign nationals or NRIs, as compared to 500 in 2016-17.Several Indian adoption agencies have been accused of indulging in malpractices, including trafficking of children. The regulation of inter-country adoptions has been made strict by the Indian government with the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017, the WCD Ministry had earlier said.Adoption of children from India was recently recommenced by the Australian government, eight years after it banned the program. Australia cited an overall improvement in procedures to resume the program. Related ItemsAdoptionCARAspainlast_img read more

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Hunter Who Killed Man-Eating Tiger in India Broke Laws, Officials Say

first_imgThe hunter who killed a man-eating tiger that stalked central India broke several laws, Indian officials said Thursday, injecting new drama into an already contentious case and raising the possibility that the hunter could be prosecuted.The hunter, Asghar Ali Khan, who comes from a wealthy family renowned for tiger hunting, was inexperienced and did not have to kill the tiger last month, according to a report by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, a government agency.The tiger had killed more than a dozen villagers and had left residents of a bushy patch of Maharashtra state in terror while Indian authorities debated for months about what to do. Wildlife activists urged them to leave the tiger alone or to tranquilize it and move it a zoo; villagers insisted that the tiger be killed.Authorities eventually decided to stage a complex, military-style hunt to capture the tiger — whom authorities called T-1 — or, if that was not possible, to kill it. Khan, the son of a legendary hunter, Nawab Shafath Ali Khan, was part of that operation.The younger Khan claimed that he never wanted to kill the tiger, but that the animal had lunged at his open jeep after it was hit by a tranquilizer dart late on the night of Nov. 2. He said he had fired in self-defense, but many wildlife activists do not believe him and have called for a government investigation.The 5-year-old female tiger who had two cubs was beloved by many in India.“The fact is Asghar Ali Khan is a totally inexperienced person and provided a false statement,” the conservation authority’s report said. “The firing in self-defense is doubtful.”The report also said that the team had used an anesthetic in the tranquilizer dart that was 56 hours old, reducing its potency.The report has not yet been officially released, but it circulated widely this week, and a senior official at the authority confirmed its findings Thursday.Khan, reached by phone, disputed the report and said: “I can assure you that we have not violated any law. The tigress was dangerously close to us. She had killed three human beings in that area. We followed all the procedures, norms and laws.”The tiger was believed to have mauled at least 13 villagers, mostly older men or women working in cotton fields or grazing cattle.Authorities said the animal had typically attacked from behind and grabbed the neck and shoulder of the victim with her teeth and claws. In several cases, she ate the flesh of her victims.“The self-defense theory is rubbish; it was a coldblooded murder,” said Dr. Jerryl Banait, a physician and animal welfare activist, who unsuccessfully tried to block authorities from killing the animal.Banait said he would push for criminal charges to be filed against Khan. Punishment for crimes committed under India’s wildlife act can carry up to seven years in prison.In India, clashes between tigers and people are increasing because the tiger population has grown sharply in the past dozen years to an estimated 2,500 tigers. Nearly one-third of them roam outside protected reserves in areas inhabited by people.Wildlife experts say they believe that this conflict will become more intense in years to come.Jeffrey Gettleman contributed reporting.c.2018 New York Times News Service Related Itemslast_img read more

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Discovering New Delhi, Agra and Lucknow

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A Quebec Comedian Is Happy to Offend in Multiple Languages

first_imgA few years ago, the Quebec comedian Sugar Sammy put a giant ad on a Montreal subway billboard. “For Christmas,” it said, “I’d like a complaint from the Office de la Langue Française,” the Quebec watchdog responsible for preserving the French language.His plea did not go unnoticed.In Quebec, a French province surrounded by an English majority in the rest of Canada, sensitivities about language are profound, and large billboards must typically be only in French. Beyond prompting a complaint to the agency from an irate Montreal lawyer, the stunt spawned a loud debate about language, along with a death threat from a Québécois nationalist at his next show.A fearless comic with a talent for provoking both laughter and outrage, Sammy, born Samir Khullar, is a 42-year-old son of Indian immigrants. He is also a child of Bill 101, the polarizing Quebec law behind the sign infraction, which requires immigrants to send their children to French schools. As a result, he glides effortlessly between English and French in his shows, and has made Quebec’s tortured identity politics his main preoccupation.“Humor allows you to address taboos,” said Khullar, whose parents came to Montreal from northern India in the 1970s and who is far more soft-spoken in person than his swaggering, expletive-fueled stage persona would suggest. “In Quebec the ultimate taboo is identity,” he added.At a recent packed show in a former 1920s cinema in Montreal, Khullar bounded across the stage, before diving into his favorite subject: those who want Quebec to separate from the rest of Canada.“Are there any separatists here?” he asked in perfectly accented Québécois French. “Come on, don’t be shy.”After a dozen people raised their hands, he continued, “Are you happy with where you are sitting, or do you want to separate from the rest of the audience and create your own section?” The mixed Anglophone and Francophone audience, including the hand-raisers, exploded with laughter.He switched to English for a joke on President Donald Trump’s security strategy on the Mexican border. “We don’t have a lot of Latinos in Canada,” he said. “It’s too cold. We don’t need a wall. We have winter.”When he first came up with the idea of doing a bilingual act, “You’re Gonna Rire” (“You’re Gonna Laugh”) in 2012, comedy producers told him he was crazy: The Anglophones wouldn’t understand the jokes in French, and the English humor would be lost on the Francophones.So he produced it himself, and the show became an overnight sensation. It transformed Khullar, a virtuoso improvisor whose looks have been likened to Elvis, into a household name in Quebec, garnering him coveted comedy awards and making him a millionaire.This being Quebec, he was also pilloried by some French-speaking Quebec nationalists for bastardizing the language of Molière by speaking Franglais. Anglophones who didn’t speak French were annoyed at feeling left out.He was variously labeled a dangerous “Francophobe,” a federalist “fanatic,” and a political activist masquerading as a comedian.“If Sugar Sammy is the future of Quebec, then Quebec has no future,” Mathieu Bock-Côté, a prominent Quebecois columnist, wrote in Le Journal de Montréal.Samir Khullar, who performs comedy as Sugar Sammy, at the Olympia Theater in Montreal, Aug. 2, 2018.Photo: Renaud Philippe/The New York TimesKhullar has performed in 31 countries, including Switzerland, Malaysia and France, where GQ enthused that “the funniest person in France is Quebecois.”He recently opened a show in Paris, where he is living for a time, with the line, “I’m happy to be in France. You guys are my favorite Arab country.”Louise Richer, director of L’École nationale de l’humour in Montreal and a leading critic, said Khullar occupied a unique place by bridging Quebec’s cultural divide. “He’s a good barometer of a society that has come of age and can now laugh at itself,” she said.Khullar embodies a new generation in Quebec less burdened by the language and culture wars of the past, said Marc Cassivi, a columnist for La Presse, a leading French-language newspaper, who wrote a book about bilingualism in Quebec.“It is doubtful that Sugar Sammy would’ve survived as a comedian in Quebec of the 1970s, and would’ve left on the first train to Toronto,” Cassivi said.Khullar’s humor was deeply informed by being the son of immigrants; his father sold juice out of the back of a truck before opening two convenience stores. His mother worked in a textile factory before eventually staying at home to raise the family. Growing up in a basement apartment in Côte-des-Neiges, a gritty multicultural neighborhood in Montreal, Khullar worked as a cashier at his father’s shops, which sold beef jerky and cigarettes and were called “Au Gourmet International.”“There was nothing gourmet or international about it,” he said, laughing.Immersed in French in school, Khullar and his younger brother spoke Punjabi and Hindi at home, and learned English on the street and by watching “The Dukes of Hazzard.” At his high school, where he was anointed the class clown at age 15, his best friends were Jewish-Moroccan, Haitian, Guatemalan and Chinese — a comedic focus group of sorts that he credits for his ability now to cross borders and make people laugh.He said he was largely sheltered from racism “because we were all immigrant kids,” adding that his Indian parents always supported his comedy. “If you come to my parents’ place you’re not leaving without watching a Sugar Sammy video,” he explained. “The guy will be, ‘I’m just here to deliver the mail.’”His decision to become a comedian was clinched when he first saw Eddie Murphy’s 1983 stand-up comedy television special “Delirious” as a teenager and was attracted by his raw, unbridled humor. “Here you had this guy in bright red leather owning the stage with the charisma of a rock star,” he said. “I wanted to be that guy.”Eager to find an original stage name, he settled on the nickname his female friends had given him when he was a party promoter while studying at McGill University: Sugar Sammy.His political awakening as a comic came in 1995 during a referendum that asked Quebecers whether the province should become an independent country. After the “no” camp won with a bare 50.6 percent of the vote, Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau, a leader on the “yes” side, blamed the result on, among other things, “the ethnic vote.”The comments stung Khullar, who was 19. “Here I was a teenager who was doing everything to be part of Quebec society and I was being told that I was responsible for the failure of Quebec’s dream of statehood,” he recalled. “I realized that I would always be the ‘other’ in Quebec, no matter what language I spoke.”Instead of stewing, he used his sense of alienation as fuel for his comedy.One of his first big breaks came in 2004 when his show attracted attention at the Montreal-based “Just for Laughs” festival, the largest international comedy festival in the world. He became co-creator in 2014 of a successful French television sitcom called “Ces gars-là,” (“Those Guys”) in the spirit Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and began crisscrossing the globe.An ardent federalist who believes Quebec should remain a part of Canada, he takes mischievous pleasure in skewering those who he calls “separatists,” many of whom prefer to be identified as “sovereigntists.”“I like picking on separatists because it’s fun!” he said in a performance of “You’re Gonna Rire.”He brought up the referendum at a recent sold-out performance here. “There are two kinds of Quebecers,” he mused. “There are Quebecers who are educated, cultivated, well-brought up. Then you have those who voted ‘yes.’”Samir Khullar, who performs comedy as Sugar Sammy, at the Olympia Theater in Montreal, Aug. 2, 2018.Photo: Renaud Philippe/The New York Times)Determined that his comedy have the whiff of authenticity, he obsessively prepares for his shows abroad by observing people on the subway, doing his laundry at public laundromats and eating at restaurants.He has taken his acerbic humor to, among other places, the American Midwest. “I nearly got killed in Missouri because they think Canadians are communists,” he said. He has performed in English, Punjabi and Hindi in his parents’ India. And he traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform at a remote venue, where men and women sat together.“People had such a good time — for that one hour they were free,” he said, recalling the performance. He added with cackle: “If only we felt that way in Quebec.”© New York Times 2018 Related ItemsCanadaquebeclast_img read more

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UK Opens up Its Armed Force Recruitment to Commonwealth Citizens

first_imgThe United Kingdom has decided to hire people from India and 52 other Commonwealth countries for its armed forces.According to a statement by UK’s Ministry of Defense, Britain’s military will increase the number of Commonwealth recruits to 1350 per year, to be introduced over several years.With the changes in recruitment rule, citizens of Commonwealth countries can apply for British defense vacancies even if they have not lived in Britain, an opportunity that will help Indians. The decision has been made based on the shortage in its ranks.Earlier, the MoD had a five-year residency requirement for citizens from Commonwealth countries to qualify for recruitment into the armed forces. But this decision has removed the criteria. “All roles and ranks will be open to Commonwealth citizens, from all Commonwealth countries who are aged 18 or over,” the MoD statement said.Mark Lancaster, Minister of State for the Armed Forces said, “As an outward-looking nation, Britain has always counted on the dedicated service of our friends from the Commonwealth to keep this country safe. So, we’re stepping up the numbers of recruits from the Commonwealth, knowing that they will bring key skills and dedicated service to our military.”“Their different perspectives will also help us to enhance our cultural understanding, giving us an operational advantage over our adversaries,” the MoD statement quoted Lancaster as saying.The statement also said, “Of the 1350 new annual recruits, the Army is expecting to hire around 1000 personnel, with the Navy and the RAF expecting to recruit around 300 and 50 respectively.”The department will also consider the applicants who have applied previously but could not get in due to limited seats, the statement added. “As part of the phased approach, those who have already applied for Army roles but been on hold due to the limited numbers we were able to accept each year, will be given priority. The Royal Navy and RAF will begin recruitment procedures immediately, with Army applications opening in early 2019.”In recent years, Britain has employed more than 7500 Commonwealth citizens in its ranks, with a wide variety of countries represented, including Fiji, Ghana, South Africa, Jamaica, Australia, and St Vincent, the statement said. Related Itemslast_img read more

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Micromax Canvas Hue 2 A316 with 5-inch display launched

first_imgMicromax has just launched the Canvas Hue 2 A316, the latest in its Canvas series of smartphones. The device is now available on e-retail website eBay. It will come in the color black and is priced at Rs 11,736. Mahesh Telecom, the Mumbai based retailer has claimed that the device will have an aluminium body and will be 7mm thick.It sports a 5-inch 1280×720 pixels AMOLED display and is powered by a 1.7GHz octa-core processor alongside 2GB RAM. Other features include 16GB of internal storage, which is expandable upto 32GB, 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 5-megapixel front camera, and a 2000mAh battery. The dual-SIM smartphone runs on Android 4.4 KitKat . Connectivity options include 3G HSPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. The device is quite similar to the earlier Canvas Hue AQ5000 which was launched earlier, but does have upgraded features. The official launch of the device is expected to take place soon.last_img read more

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Bajaj Pulsar AS 150: On a new adventurous ride

first_imgLet’s start by getting the obvious out of the way first. As stands for “Adventure Sport” as Bajaj tags the bikes but there’s barely any resemblance to an ADV bike. No long-travel suspensions, dual-sport tyres or panniers here. What you get instead is a half-fairing and a tall windscreen.Cosmetically both the AS200 and AS150 look alike with only beefier tyres on the 200 making it look bigger. Bajaj explains that the aim was not to offer an out-and-out adventure bike, instead the motive was to bring the genre to the masses and have them familiarise with adventure touring. With this, the AS150’s intent and purpose become clearer.Projector low-beam and halogen high-beam headlight offer great illumination. A half-fairing gets slapped onto the familiar NS 200 tank and rear section. But this semi-faired AS 150 gets a lowbeam projector and halogen highbeam to light up those dark statehighways. And the fairing isn’t just there for aesthetic value addition, the tall wind screen offers enough real estate to duck behind. Taller handlebars and slightly rearset footpegs make up the rider triangle and offer comfortable ergonomics. You’ll also be looking at a recognisable instrument cluster originally from the NS, and the stock tank pad is a stylish and functional touch.Meter console has been borrowed from the Pulsar NS200 and uses an analogue-digital layout. Mechanically, the AS 150 gets a new engine shrouded in a perimeter frame and monoshock rear suspension. The combination of these translates to handling, which the previous 150cc Pulsars have never experienced. The bike is flickable through traffic and holds a confident line around fast corners. The 150cc engine is the most powerful air-cooled engine in its class with 17bhp on tap but is relaxed in nature due to its over-square construction. Power flows in a linear fashion and the AS 150 never feels out of breath. But here comes a slight drawback – power builds up over 6,000rpm and below it, there’s a definite lack of poke. One has to really give it the beans to stir the motor for spirited riding.advertisement149.5cc 17bhp engine is the most powerful air-cooled unit in the country right now. Overall, the AS 150 brings the much needed freshness that Bajaj desperately needed in this segment. The touring-biased design will prove to be a boon for riders looking for a machine that can balance the weekend rides with the rigorous daily commutes.last_img read more

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Smith Rowe helps Arsenal past Blackpool

first_imgArsenal bounced back from their draw with Crystal Palace by beating League One side Blackpool 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium to reach the EFL Cup quarter-finals, as both teams had a player sent off.Unai Emery’s side saw their 11-match winning run come to an end at Selhurst Park on Sunday, but they avoided falling short for a second game in a row, even if the performance left a lot to be desired.An otherwise unremarkable first half was punctuated by Stephan Lichtsteiner’s first goal for the club and 18-year-old Emile Smith Rowe seemingly wrapped things up in the 50th minute. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! But Matteo Guendouzi’s red card just before the hour for two cheap bookings boosted the visitors and they pulled one back through Paudie O’Connor soon afterwards. They could not force the equaliser and their goalscorer was dismissed late on.Arsenal eventually got a first shot on target in the 33rd minute and it provided them with the opening goal, as Lichtsteiner managed to nudge the ball into the bottom-left corner when stretching to reach Guendouzi’s lofted pass.They got themselves another early in the second half – Smith Rowe finding the net from close range after Mark Howard parried Carl Jenkinson’s miscued cross to the midfielder.Blackpool were offered encouragement soon after when Petr Cech knocked a corner delivery against his own crossbar.Guendouzi was then shown a second yellow for a needless tug on Jordan Thompson and Blackpool capitalised 10 minutes later, O’Connor heading home from Thompson’s corner.     Cech attempted to dribble his way out of danger 21 minutes from time and was tackled by Jay Spearing, but Nathan Delfouneso’s goal was disallowed for offside. Blackpool’s hopes of getting a second ended with O’Connor being shown a straight red six minutes from the end for a cynical tackle on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.                                                                                     It’s a standing ovation for @emilesmithrowe_ @alexiwobiSmith RoweWe made another change earlier on too… @LTorreira34 @Ains_7 #CarabaoCup  2-1  (72) pic.twitter.com/iHxAZAw01W— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) October 31, 2018 What does it mean? Gunners show grit after making things hard for themselvesIt was by no means an impressive collective performance from Arsenal and they shot themselves in the foot with Guendouzi’s red card, yet after O’Connor’s goal they generally – Cech’s blunder aside – kept things tight. Smith Rowe catches the eye againAfter an impressive pre-season, Smith Rowe has continued to look the part for the Gunners. On Wednesday he was a driving force in midfield, always willing to run at the defence, and he got himself a goal.Cech yourself before you wreck yourselfPlaying for the first time since late September, Cech was back from injury and eager to impress after Bernd Leno’s recent performances. Unfortunately, the veteran was poor. He looked susceptible to crosses and with the ball at his feet. The offside flag bailed him out after his worst moment.Key Opta Facts- Arsenal have reached the League Cup quarter-final for the third consecutive season – they’ve eliminated non-Premier League opponents in the fourth round in each of these seasons, beating Reading in 2016 and Norwich City in 2017.- Matteo Guendouzi is the first Arsenal player to be sent off in the League Cup since Denilson against Blackburn Rovers in December 2007.- Stephan Lichtsteiner became the oldest player to score a competitive goal for Arsenal since Sol Campbell scored aged 35 years 152 days against Porto in February 2010.- Paudie O’Connor is the first player to both score and be sent off in the same League Cup match since Lewis Cook for Leeds United versus Doncaster Rovers in August 2015.What’s next?Arsenal return to Premier League action on Saturday and face their toughest task of the season so far as Liverpool visit. Blackpool host Bristol Rovers in League One. read morelast_img read more

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Toby Alderweireld ruled out until next year with hamstring injury

first_imgTottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld will be missing until next year with a hamstring injury, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday.Alderweireld, who suffered the injury during the first half of Tottenham’s Champions League victory against Real Madrid, was already ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League derby at Arsenal.The severity of his injury, however, is an unexpected blow.”He’s out until after Christmas,” Pochettino told reporters. “He feels disappointed but he’s trying to focus on his recovery and the first stage of the rehabilitation.TEAM NEWS: @AlderweireldTob (hamstring) & @VictorWanyama (knee} continue their rehabilitation from injury. pic.twitter.com/f16X2Zroio- Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 16, 2017″Always with this kind of injury we have to be cautious.”Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks, who all withdrew from the England squad for friendly internationals against Germany and Brazil, trained on Thursday, although Pochettino refused to say whether they would all play.”We need to assess them again tomorrow,” he said.Tottenham are third in the table, four points above Arsenal, but are yet to win at the Emirates since Pochettino took over in 2014, all three games ending in 1-1 draws.TEAM NEWS: @dele_official (hamstring), @HKane (knee), Hugo Lloris (groin), @Vorm_Official (knee) & @HarryWinks (ankle) have returned to full training for the first time today. pic.twitter.com/oToz78juGt- Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 16, 2017last_img read more

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High time BCCI threw its weight behind India’s world-class blind cricket team

first_imgThe Indian blind team defeated their arch-rivals Pakistan by two wickets to win the Blind Cricket World Cup on Saturday. It was a story of another final, another win for the other ‘Men in Blue’. The defending champions won the previous edition as well in 2014. Add to that, victories at 2012 and 2017 T20 World Cup and 2016 T20 Asian Cup – the only team to win all three championships.Looking at their success, it would not be wrong to assume that these cricketers must be at the height of stardom and life would be very easy. After all, cricket is India’s favourite sport and its fandom is unparalleled. But that’s not the case for Ajay Reddy and his team. Many of the members of the blind team struggle to make ends meet. Take the example of Anilbhai Gariya from Gujarat – a member of the World Cup-winning team. Gariya and his two children are completely dependent on his wife, who works as cook in a government school, despite undergoing a primary teacher training course. His story is similar to many of his teammates.The Championssssssssssssssssss!!#BlindCricketWorldCup #WorldChampions #TheOtherMenInBlue #INDIA pic.twitter.com/CnQhw3Wwi2— Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) (@blind_cricket) January 20, 2018So why is that continued success at international level has not had any positive impact on their lives. That is because they are blind. Blind cricket in India is not affiliated to BCCI. The game is governed by Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI).”It’s high time BCCI comes forward and recognises the efforts of the blind cricketers,” World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) President Mahantesh GK told India Today.advertisement”They congratulate us and promise us help. But these good words need to translate into action. India is the only team to win T20, ODI World Cup and T20 Asia Cup. (Image tweeted by DD)Mahantesh, who is also the president of CABI, added that even though there’s hardly any money in the sport for the players, they continue to play because of the passion for the sports.Money in blind cricket is unpredictable, often forcing players to spend from their own pockets to fuel their dreams. BCCI support would help the association host tournaments, providing more opportunities. An affiliation will also give them access to BCCI’s infrastructure and grounds.LESSONS FROM PAKISTANIf you are looking for how a board affiliation can change the lives of blind cricketers, look no further than Pakistan. The Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) which was formed in 1997, is fully affiliated with the Pakistan Cricket Board. The affiliation has helped the council groom over a dozen of clubs and host state and national level tournaments. On the financial front, separate funds are allocated for blind cricketers and players have been provided with contracts to ensure financial security.CHAMPIONS #TeamIndia #BlindCricketWorldCup pic.twitter.com/P9ptcuL7Lk— BCCI (@BCCI) January 20, 2018The support has also helped to raise the awareness about the team and allowed the players to earn the much deserved recognition in their country. The practice, however, is not limited to Pakistan. Cricket boards in Australia, England, South Africa and other smaller nations have also recognized their blind cricket.GOVERNMENT APATHYEven the government has time and again disappointed with its lack of support for blind cricket. After winning the T20 World Cup last year, the Sports ministry announced an award of mere Rs. 10 lakh for the team. No wonder it was declined.This time around, CABI had planned to host an event for the team along with the sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore ahead of the Blind World Cup. But the ministry never responded to their requests.’We wanted the sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to meet the boys before they left for the World Cup. It would have been a huge morale booster. But we couldn’t reach him. We did everything we could,” informed Mahantesh. India blind cricket team celebrating their win. (CABI photo)”These guys have always made India proud. What more do they need to do to get the recognition and support?”Yes, what more do they need to do? BCCI stands for Board of Control for Cricket in India. In spirit they are supposed to regulate entire cricket functioning in India and there’s no logical reason why they should continue to ignore blind cricket, especially after another World Cup triumph. It’s high time the national board corrects its past mistake and grant affiliation to blind cricket.last_img read more

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An NFL Star Dressed As Boss Hogg From ‘Dukes Of Hazzard’ To Celebrate New Contract

first_imgTaylor Lewan dressed as Boss Hogg.What do you do when you sign the richest contract in NFL history for an offensive lineman? Well, if you’re Taylor Lewan you get dressed up.Lewan didn’t just show up at his press conference dressed in formal wear. He came in costume.Lewan wore an all-white suit and top hat with brown shoes. He was going for the look of Boss Hogg of the famous TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”You can see photographic evidence of Lewan’s sartorial splendor below.The Boss Hogg has arrived. @TaylorLewan77 pic.twitter.com/NAKel9XMRW— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) July 27, 2018With new deal, @TaylorLewan77 comes out with Boss Hogg suit and hat and his line mates. Suit finished couple days before camp opened. He came out to Dukes of Hazard theme song. #Titans pic.twitter.com/jYKAxSOor5— Teresa Walker (@TeresaMWalker) July 27, 2018I guess this sort of fits? “The Dukes of Hazzard” was set in the South–Georgia, not Tennessee–and Lewan is an offensive lineman, which are sometimes referred to as “hogs” or “hog mollies.”Perhaps I’m just reading way too much into this though.Anyway, however much that suit cost him, Lewan should have no problem covering the price. His new contract is worth $80 million over five years.last_img read more

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State Minister Calls for Relentless Push to Control Substance Abuse

first_img State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says there must be an unyielding push to control substance abuse.Commenting on the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) 2016 Household Drug Survey, which indicated that one in every six males and one in every 17 females admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs over the past year, the State Minister said this behaviour is a negative factor on the roads.“No surprise when we look at the data on the number of road fatalities and instances of dangerous driving,” Senator Charles Jr. said while addressing a drug forum organised by the NCDA on February 13 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.The State Minister said the issue not only affects the individuals abusing the drugs but other areas of national life, and work must continue to show the cost to the country from substance abuse.“The more preventative work we put in increases the chances of successfully reducing the current burden on our criminal justice system and the required resources, which we would prefer to channel into far more productive and positive endeavours,” the State Minister told the audience.Senator Charles Jr. said he believes in the power of partnership and collaboration to tackle the many challenges faced by the society.The forum was used to release findings from a 2017 study on drug use, conducted with technical assistance from the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States (CICAD-OAS). “No surprise when we look at the data on the number of road fatalities and instances of dangerous driving,” Senator Charles Jr. said while addressing a drug forum organised by the NCDA on February 13 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. Story Highlights Commenting on the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) 2016 Household Drug Survey, which indicated that one in every six males and one in every 17 females admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs over the past year, the State Minister said this behaviour is a negative factor on the roads. State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says there must be an unyielding push to control substance abuse.last_img read more

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Onus for IndoPak peace on Pakistan White House

first_imgWashington: Amidst new peace overtures from the Imran Khan government after the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House has made it clear to Pakistan that the onus for sustained peace in South Asia was on it by putting the terror groups out of business. Khan has written a second letter to Prime Minister Modi after his re-election, saying that Pakistan wants talks with India to resolve all differences, including on the Kashmir issue. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist The Pakistani premier said talks between the two nations were the only solution to help both countries’ people overcome poverty and that it was important to work together for regional development. However, India has rejected Pakistan’s offer of talks, maintaining that terror and talks cannot go together and said that no bilateral meeting has been planned between the two premiers on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO) in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on June 13-14. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France What the United States is really looking for in Pakistan are arrests and prosecutions and not allowing these groups to operate and move around freely, acquire weapons, cross into India, carry out attacks, a senior White House official told PTI this week. The United States is looking for sustained and irreversible steps that shut down their operations, asserted the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Until these groups are put out of business, it’s going to be very difficult for India and Pakistan to achieve a sustained peace. So the onus is on Pakistan to ensure that they crack down on these groups, said the White House official responding to a question on the US assessment of the Indo-Pak tension. A senior State Department official said that in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, the US has seen Pakistan taking some initial actions against designated terrorist organisations and more steps to enhance counter terrorism financing measures. We welcome those steps, the official said. We have always agreed that the underlying causes of the tensions between India and Pakistan needed to be addressed and the underlying tension has been the role of terrorist forces that have sanctuary on Pakistani soil. So we certainly encourage the creation of an environment that will lead to a dialogue, the official said. Pakistan needs to take practical steps to demonstrate that it is countering terrorist financing and extremists that are located on their territory, a senior State Department Official told reporters last week. Paris-based international terror financing watchdog FATF in June last year placed Pakistan onto its watch list in a bid to push the country to halt support for militant groups. In February, the FATF decided to continue the ‘Grey’ listing of Pakistan for its failure to stop funding of terrorist groups such as the JeM, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).last_img read more

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UN global health report card flu threat remains progress made on TB

But on the positive side, public and private partners came together to improve global health with notable results, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported. Progress was made to halt resurging yellow fever in Africa, international health regulations came into effect giving the world clear guidance on reporting and responding to cross-border health dangers, and efforts to wipe out the last bastions of polio and to stop tuberculosis advanced. Landmarks, such as major success in the fight to cut measles deaths in Africa, and the release of a more accurate profile of the HIV epidemic, were also notable. WHO noted that avian influenza continued as a threat in several countries this year, with cumulative figures showing a human toll of more than 200 deaths in Asia, Africa, the eastern Mediterranean and Europe since December 2003. “The world needs to be prepared for a potential influenza pandemic… with special attention to influenza viruses that come from the animal world such as H5N1,” the agency said, referring to the virus behind the current outbreak. “The good news is that countries are now more prepared than ever for such an emergency. For example, projected supplies for an influenza vaccine in the wake of a pandemic rose sharply this year, to 4.5 billion courses by 2010,” it added. On Ebola and Marburg fevers, WHO reported that its network of experts supported intensive surveillance and control measures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.“Investigative work to pinpoint the suspected source of Marburg fever – sick bats in a mine shaft where people worked – helped to increase understanding of the emerging disease,” it said. But in another field, maternal death rates are falling too slowly in the developing countries. “A serious public health challenge was reconfirmed this year,” the agency said. “The global maternal mortality ratio – which compares maternal deaths to live births – fell less than 1 per cent annually from 1990 to 2005. This compares to a required 5.5 per cent annual decline to meet the United Nations target to reduce maternal deaths by three quarters before 2015.” Eastern Asia came closest to the target with a more than 4 per cent annual decline. 21 December 2007The continued looming threat of a flu pandemic, outbreaks of Ebola, Marburg and other infectious diseases, and high female mortality rates during pregnancy and childbirth in developing countries are among the issues that mark 2007, according to the United Nations health agency. read more

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Indian climate scientist wins UNs top meteorological prize

A renowned Indian environmental scientist has been awarded one of the world’s top prizes in meteorology and hydrological sciences by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the agency said today.Jagadish Shukla of India was awarded the 52nd International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize at an event in Washington D.C. hosted by the United States’ National Academy of Sciences.President of the Institute of Global Environment and Society since 1991, Dr. Shukla is Professor of Earth Sciences and Global Change and Chairman of Climate Dynamics at George Mason University in the US.WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said Professor Shukla “has been a pillar of the weather and climate research community along a period during which revolutionary advances in atmospheric and oceanic observation, modelling and predictive capabilities have taken place.”It was also announced today that Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), has garnered an award for exceptional alumni of the University of Illinois in the US.The Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Award for Exceptional Achievement award is in recognition of Dr. Yumkella’s leadership in efforts to link sustained economic growth to poverty reduction, as well as his efforts to promote increased trade and more efficient use of resources, the University said in its announcement. Dr. Yumkella has also worked extensively on development topics in Sierra Leone, his native country, where he served as the Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprise. Since becoming Director-General of UNIDO in 2005, Dr. Yumkella has been involved in the development of programmes to stimulate economic growth that benefit the poor in developing countries and economies in transition, the announcement said. 3 April 2008A renowned Indian environmental scientist has been awarded one of the world’s top prizes in meteorology and hydrological sciences by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the agency said today. read more

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