UAE-based Kerala businessman is richer than Trump

first_imgUAE-based businessman, LuLu Group chairman M.A. Yusuffali with his net worth of $5 billion, is richer than US president Donald Trump, according to the Forbes magazine’s 2018 list of billionaires.Trump’s ranking on the list fell to 766th place from 544th in the last edition. His wealth is now being estimated at $3.1 billion, $400 million less than a year ago.Ali, who ranked 388 in the Forbes list is the 19th richest man in India and the richest Malayali, the magazine said.Read it at Khaleej TImes Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian woman continues fight to repatriate blue diamond

first_imgLalita Shinde, a member of the trust that is in charge of managing operations at the Trimbakeshwar temple in northwestern India, approached her country’s National Archives this week and presented a memorandum demanding the repatriation of the blue Nassak diamond, which reportedly once graced the crown of Lord Shiva idol.The trustee has been in this quest for a few years now. According to local media, she says that the gem was looted by several rulers some 200 years ago and ended up at a private museum in Lebanon.Read it at Mining Related Itemslast_img read more

Crowdfunding The Next Big Thing in India

first_img“Democratized funding”, is how Professor Jonah Berger, University of Pennsylvania, defines Crowdfunding. It is the practice of raising small amounts of capital from a large number of people to fund projects like new business ventures, startups, films & documentaries, social projects or non-profit works.Read it at Entrepreneur Related Itemslast_img

Bollywood on the Hudson

first_imgPick up a seashell and put it to your ear – and you can hear the roar of the ocean. While the gutsy, lusty ocean of Indian cinema has been around for over a hundred years, American media are just about finally becoming aware of this larger than life phenomenon. While audiences from Russia to the Middle East to Malaysia have been enraptured by Bollywood for years, the U.S. of A is finally discovering its joys. Ashwarya Rai in Kandukondain, Kandukondain. Pick up any mainstream publication – Newsweek, Timeout, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and you hear the murmur slowly cascading to a rising hrefrain worthy of a Broadway musical chorus – Bollywood, Bollywood, Bollywood!Just about five years ago, this writer recalls writing a piece for a mainstream publication in which someone at the copy desk actually changed the word “Bollywood” to “Hollywood,” so little known was the name or the cinema it represented. One could not write the word “Bollywood” without having to include a description of what it meant.Now Bollywood is almost a shorthand, a buzzword for one of the most happening trends in America.Even as the boisterous, colorful Bombay Dreams with music by A.R.Rahman is lighting up Broadway, giving mainstream audiences a spicy taste of filmi music and dance, Bollywood’s reigning queen, Aishwarya Rai, is making inroads into Hollywood with Gurinder Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice as well as Singularity with Brendan Fraser and Chaos with Meryl Streep. Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.Bollywood sensibility is even coming into American living rooms and bedrooms, with sitcom pilots for NBC and HBO, revolving around Indian American families!The Bollywood spirit seems to be invading everything from the music to dance and style. As Susan Carpenter notes in The Los Angles Times: “Scratch a little deeper and you’ll find the Bollywood aesthetic popping up all over the place: There is an all-Bollywood dance studio in Artesia and a Bollywood comic book out of the Bay Area. The style is being picked up by everyone from Dolce & Gabbana to Target. It’s even part of the decor at Tantra, a hip Indian restaurant in Silver Lake that continually plays classic Bollywood films on plasma screen TVs.” A lot of things you didn’t expect to see have come to pass.A decade ago who would have thought that a young Indian American director with the unwieldy name of M. Night Shyamalan would be the toast of Hollywood? With The Sixth Sense and Signs he showed that everything he touched turned to gold at the box-office.A decade ago who would have imagined that a small budget film about a Punjabi wedding shot in a mix of Hindi and English would totally captivate Western audiences? Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding grossed millions across the United States.Again, who would have thought there’d be any interest in a young Indian girl’s passion for, of all things, soccer? Gurinder Chadha knocked everyone’s socks off with her multi-million dollar hit Bend it like Beckham. And yes, Lagaan was nominated for the Oscar for the best foreign film.Will Bollywood be just another passing fad or is it here to stay? It might indeed be here for the long haul, not only because the mainstream is becoming more familiar with it, but also because the Indian film industry itself has gone through some dynamic changes recently.There will certainly be more of a Bollywood-Hollywood interaction.India’s many advantages can make it a compelling place to try new things and its billion strong audience can really make major Hollywood studios salivate.Outsourcing of movies, technical and music effects must surely be a light in some producers’ eyes at the moment, and major studios like Columbia Tristar and Fox already have a presence in India. Sonia Nikore, vice president of casting at NBC. Indian cinema is finally on the radar screen of mainstream America and all these happenings are the harbinger of bigger things to come in the future. For starters, there’s Cinema India! Showcase 2004: The Changing Face of Indian Cinema, a 9-city tour of Bollywood films, being shown at major mainstream museums in New York, Santa Fe, NM; Columbus Ohio; Atlanta, Ga; Boston, Ma; Washington DC; Chicago, Ill; Philadelphia, Penn; and Lincoln, Neb. In New York, the films played at Asia Society and at the American Museum of the Moving Image.Yes, the super hit Dil Wale Dulhaniyan Le Jaye Ge, which has been running in Bombay continuously for eight years, will finally be seen by mainstream America, albeit with the title The Braveheart Will Take the Bride!Radha Welt Vatsal, the curator of the show, did her Ph.D. on film history and distribution of early cinema, and hopes to use some of those ideas in the distribution of Hindi films to a larger, mainstream audience.“A lot of what I’m trying to do has been inspired by the early history of cinema where people were trying new ways to get a new product out and build new audiences,” she says. “It’s a way to think outside the box, using creative ways because you’re trying to educate an audience about this whole area of cinema that is completely under-represented in the U.S.”India is the largest film industry in the world producing over 800 features a year yet Indian films rarely make to mainstream screens. As Vatsal points out, Indian films are not represented as well as those from China, Japan or France or even Iran, and though there’s a buzz about Bollywood, the release patterns have not hreflected the surge.More than just a festival of films, Vatsal hopes to make Cinema India into an organization that promotes good Indian cinema in the U.S., since filmmakers and producers in India are also interested in finding ways to bring their films to mainstream U.S. audiences. Still from Bariwali.What she wants to show is the vast diversity of Indian cinema: “It’s Satyajit Ray and it’s art movies and Bollywood, so many faces of the country that are all represented through the various types of filmmaking, in so many languages, in so many styles. It’s a great experience for both Indians and Americans in the U.S. I believe even the music will cross over.”These exciting times arrive just as the Indian film industry itself is changing, with greater interaction between art house films and Bollywood. The noted art house filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh’s Choker Bali, for instance, starred the major Bollywood draw Aishwarya Rai.Bollywood is also borrowing some of the techniques and sensitivities of art house cinema.Vatsal says, “You are seeing very commercial films that are trying to do things very differently and are taking a new approach to filmmaking.” One of the films in Cinema India is Maqbool, a chilling retelling of Macbeth, set in Mumbai’s underworld, a tightly drawn tale that never veers from the narrative, even though it has its mandatory couple of songs.Then there is Waisa Bi Hota Hai by debut director Shashanka Ghosh who helped launch MTV in Asia and was instrumental in creating Channel V. Says Vatsal, “He’s made a film which combines Bollywood style with a Quentin Tarantino kind of take on story telling with a MTV sensibility to appeal to a younger urbanized Indian viewership that has been brought up on a diet of cable TV.” Still from Chappan.This irreverent and fast-moving fun film captures all the chutzpah of contemporary Bombay where so many worlds intersect. In fact the producer often introduces it to audiences as Bollywood 2004. Says Ghosh, “We are far more exposed to global influences so it becomes an interesting kitchri. The cable has changed audiences tremendously and it’s created a whole new urban market for film.”In this new India the multiplexes make it possible to screen many different kind of movies, catering to different audiences. Says Ghosh, “What’s happening is that from the traditional 1,500 seaters they’ve come down to theaters which seat 150 or 300 people. So it gives the theater owners as well as audiences a lot of choices. It’s changing viewing habits.”A whole new generation seems to be taking center stage in India, both as audience and filmmakers. Says Vatsal: “So you have these young audiences that are being exposed to a lot of different material, and a lot of specific youth programming. You also have young directors coming out of Bollywood who are trying to combine those kind of influences with American-style youth filmmaker influences with a Bollywood sensibility.”Last year 40 new directors debuted in the industry, representing a sea change in a tightly knit community. According to Ghosh, three years ago Bollywood was going through the doldrums with about 124 films out of 128 flopping: “That’s usually a sign that we don’t know what we are doing and we need to look for new ideas. So it’s the end of a formula and the start of another and that’s what I think happened, we all happened to be on that path.”Earlier, he recalls, when he was trying to get financing for his films, he was always asked about the stars; now he finds financers ask, what’s the story? And that is a major change. At the same time, there is a major initiative to make the industry more transparent, so that it can attract public funding. Still from Bend It Like BeckhamDirector Ram Gopal Varma has played a major role in introducing new types of film-making to India. Some of the films tweak the Bollywood style; others adapt Hollywood films to Indian audience tastes.Bhoot drew on horror films like Rosemary’s Baby, while casting it into an Indian idiom for Indian audiences.While formula films are still the staple, offbeat films are breaking out.Then there are English language films like Rahul Bose’s Everyone Says I’m Fine, which do well with an urban audience.The market for English language films has also grown with NRI audiences and regular Bollywood films are also capitalizing on the NRI connection.The recent big box office hit Kal Ho Na Ho was shot entirely in New York and delves into the NRI life. Says Vatsal, “It’s still very much a classic Bollywood style film, but set in New York, and it’s in its own way a variation and a new direction for Bollywood films.”As the Bollywood genre expands and enters new territory, Indian cinema becomes more attractive to mainstream American audiences. Indeed, films like Maqbool, says Vatsal, are more geared to a Western audience in the way the narrative is handled. As a result, it’s a Bollywood film, but has won audiences at the Toronto Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.One of the highlights of the traveling film festival is Bariwali, a beautifully nuanced essay on loneliness, with a powerful performance by Kiron Kher. This offbeat film has won several awards, but since it is not a Bollywood blockbuster, the U.S. market would have been difficult to penetrate. Video stores generally don’t carry films by art house or regional producers, and theater owners don’t want to take the risk of expensive screenings, which may not give them box office returns.Says Vatsal, “Museums may show them once or twic,e but over time if we can prove that there’s an interest and there’s a track record then I think people will start showing these films for a longer duration.“You start building that way but part of it is building the audience, building the awareness. It’s a very slow and painstaking process to do all of that. We are in nine cities this year, I would like to be in 20, 30 cities next year.” Still from Darna Marna HaiOther interesting developments are afoot with Indian cinema. Mira Nair’s Mirabai Films recently teamed up with Bala Entertainment in April to establish International Bhenji Brigade (IBB), a film production company that will create independent Asian cinema for the global marketplace. The company plans to highlight Asian talent by developing features films from Asia and the Diaspora. Over time, this back and forth, this East-West connection may become far more pronounced. Young Indian American filmmakers are getting into the act. In New York, the Indo American Arts Council Diaspora Film Festival has been the germinating ground for many emerging filmmakers, giving them exposure in the mainstream.A sort of community seems to be developing now with young actors, directors and writers on both coasts. Without big budgets or backers, many of them are attempting to bring their Hollywood and Bollywood sensibilities together on celluloid. There is certainly a chance of one of these becoming a crossover film.The short film format is also popular with young filmmakers as these are easier on the pocketbook and can still be shown at film festivals and create a buzz. The subjects are getting more innovative: Fillum Star is a zany mock documentary about a desi actor in the days before his first Hollywood movie premieres. The film, by Rehana Mirza, was just released on DVD.Another short film made by Indian American filmmakers is Sangam, starring Hesh Sarmalkar and Ajay Chandani, explores two very different lives colliding on a subway train in Brooklyn and was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival 2004.While Indian Americans have been also distributing their films in India with mixed success, some NRIs are injecting money directly into the Bollywood film industry and also working to make it more efficient in its work ethics.Ash Pamani who heads the Pamani Group of Companies in New Jersey has built his sizable business trading from the Far East.Last year Pamani, along with a group of NRIs, acquired K Sera Sera, a company that is listed on the MumbaiºStock Exchange and found himself financing Bollywood movies, the movies of the hottest new director Ram Gopal Varma, no less!The board of directors of K Sera Sera include Ricky Pamani of New Jersey, Ashok Gangwani and Raj Sital of Hong Kong. Says Ash Pamani, chairman of KSS, “Collectively we have over 100 years of business experience!”How did he jump from trading to Bollywood? Pamani says it was a well thought out and focused business decision: “India has already been successful in launching its IT and BFO sector globally/ I feel there is a lot of room for Bollywood to be launched globally.”He says he researched the Indian entertainment industry and saw the tremendous untapped valuation: “Basically entertainment is a product of creativity which when packaged in the right manner along with the mechanics of finance, marketing and distribution strategies can be very lucrative.”Pamani says, “Our approach is professional, our schedules tighter and our team works at multi-levels. I feel Varma is a master creator and both our visions matched: his creativity coupled with our professional business experience, along with our overseas networking makes a fantastic final product. We both believe in the ‘studio’ model.”K Sera Sera has produced and released three films within the first year, Darna Mana Hai, Ek Haseena Thi, and Ab Tak Chappan. The movies currently under production are Gayab, 2 ‘o’ clock Murder, Naach, Darna Zaroori Hai, Vaastu Shastra and James.Recently KSS and Varma Corp. signed a $17 million dollar deal with Sahara India Pariwar to produce 10 films over the next two-and-a-half years. Also in the pipeline are two TV shows.Does Pamani think American financing is going to become big in the Indian movie sector? Says Pamani, “I don’t think it’s only American money. I feel the whole world has realized that Bollywood has a tremendous amount of untapped skill and talent. It’s being able to use a vast corporate infrastructure in Bollywood that is going to make a difference.”He feels NRIs bring an efficiency model to the table, applying the project management approach to film and TV production and distribution. They also implement cost savings and keeping schedules within the specific time frame.He says, “Our pre-production homework is very strong and everyone in India loves our corporate structure. I feel we are only at the beginning stage. There is a lot more to happen and the Indian American entertainment connection will only get bigger.”As Americans become more familiar with their Indian neighbors, spice up their food and learn to groove to bhangra music, Bollywood will be just as addictive.And now Indian actors and sitcoms are finally headed for the living rooms of America. Mainstream television has already opened up a notch to South Asians, with actors like Parminder Nagra in ER or Ravi Kapoor in Crossing Jordan, both series regulars.   South Asians are now both in front and behind the camera, in production and writing, so more scripts are being written about the South Asian experience. The entertainment industry is also waking up to the burgeoning South Asian population. At least two pilots for sitcoms revolving around Indian families are being planned, Nevermind Nirvana by NBC and East West Values by HBO.Sonia Nikore, vice president of casting for NBC Primetime television, has overseen casting on over 50 pilots and Emmy winning series including ER, West Wing, Law & Order, Frasier and Seinfeld. A decade ago when Nikore handled an open call in New York for Disney’s Jungle Book looking for a South Asian to play the lead, just 50 people showed up (the role finally went to a non-South Asian actor, Jason Scott Lee).She says, “What is remarkable is that this time I did an open call for Nevermind Nirvana and we had over 250 people show up in LA, and this is not including all the hundreds of actors who auditioned outside the open call. Internationally we looked at over 1,000 actors.”The South Asian population has reached critical mass and the entertainment industry is taking heed of that. At the same time, the characters are also getting more developed and nuanced. Says Nikore, “We are seeing richer characters. South Asians are not getting relegated to the 711 owners, taxi drivers. Sure these roles are still there, but in addition we are finding these very dynamic, interesting three-dimensional characters that writers are creating for South Asian actors.”She points out that with Nevermind Nirvana, written by Ajay Sahgal, the network has recognized the interest by mainstream America in South Asian culture. She says that while the script is about a South Asian family, it’s a family dynamic that resonates universally: “The generational conflicts, the humor that comes from cultural differences between generations, it happens in Jewish families, it happens in Italian families, Latin families, it happens across the board. It’s not unique to our culture.”East West Values, the HBO pilot that Sabrina Dhawan is working on, is a half hour comedy about a South Asian family in New York. She says the title is a hreference to the language used in matrimonial ads in the Indian newspapers: “They are looking for somebody with East West Values. You want them to be Westernized but you want them to be Indian too. I just love that phrase!”Dhawan, whose thesis film at Columbia, Sanj, won a number of awards at various film festivals, shot to overnight fame with her script for Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding.She has her arms full of assignments for mainstream projects. She has adapted Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri. Cosmopolitan, her adaptation of the Akhil Sharma story has been directed by Nisha Ganatra and airs on June 1 on PBS; she is working on a screen adaptation of Diary of a Teenage Mom for Lifetime television, produced by Kathleen Kennedy, who produced the Oscar nominated Sea Biscuit. She is also working on a project for Killer Films, which produced Boys Don’t Cry.Her management company, Brillstein-Grey, which also produces major TV shows, such as Sopranos for HBO, asked her to come up with an idea for a TV series about Indians in America. The result was East West Values for HBO. She says, “I think TV is just a great indicator of the interest because it’s so much broader and reaches so many more people.”So has it become easier to be Indian and succeed in American entertainment? Says Dhawan: “The answer is yes and no. Yes, it’s easier now but it’s by no means as easy as you sometimes like to believe. Ethnic papers speak about the big rush to make Bollywood crossover films or films with South Asian subjects and that’s really not true. Hollywood is very insular but things are changing considerably.”Dhawan’s sojourn in Hollywood showed her just how many desis there are in the entertainment business, at many different levels. How far Indian Americans have infiltrated into the Hollywood system became apparent when she signed on with Brillstein-Grey, which represents major celebrities like Jennifer Anniston, Brad Pitt and Sean Puff Daddy, and found that her manager was not an “All-American” Tom, Dick or Harry, but Jay Khanna!  It was so great for me. There was this instant bonding!” she recalls. “If Jay is driving me somewhere, we are listening to desi music in the car. I’m just so amazed by it, who would think you could sit with the manager listening to desi ganey? And ten minutes before the meeting, we say ‘Should we go for a paan?’”Yes, things are certainly not what they used to be.But for those who think it’s a major Bollywood invasion or a huge impact on American entertainment, it’s best to take it all with a pinch of salt. As Mira Nair pointed out recently, “It will be a while here before distributors can accept the three hour plus length of the musical. I think the cinematic vocabulary of a Bollywood film is still utterly foreign to an American distributor.”She feels distributors won’t catch on until a pure Bollywood film does in America what it has done in England, get its own audiences: “It’s all incremental as these movies make money slowly American distributors will open their eyes to the possibility of a financial return.”The danger, of course, is that Bollywood may water itself down to be more acceptable to Western audiences, and in the process lose its soul. As Nair observed, “What intrigues me is how will Bollywood film, the pure Bollywood formula film that we all love and adore and need as a part of our staple diet in India and around the world, how will that shift with the now current international attention.” In trying to become more palatable to Western audiences, will Bollywood lose its vigor and panache and its ‘I’ll sing if I want to Sing’ attitude?In the meantime, any exposure is good exposure. At a Q&A session, a recent film school graduate noted that many of her non-Indian friends had embraced Bollywood, but more for its camp value, as something to laugh at, for its exoticness. She asked, “I’m wondering is this a valid approach to treating Bollywood or is it more like a condescending approach?”Responded Nair, amidst great laughter and applause from the audience, “I think any approach is fine right now as long as their bums are on seats and they are watching our films.”   Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian IT Companies Increase Expenditure on Lobbying in U.S.

first_imgIndian IT companies have had to shell more money for lobbying in the United States over the last few years to mitigate the difficulties from anti-immigrant policies in America.Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the biggest IT company in India with a market capitalization of $100 billion, spent $120,000 in the first quarter of 2018. This is an increase of $100,000 it spent during the same period in 2017. TCS spent $20,000 in every quarter of 2016 and the first three quarters of 2017 for lobbying in the United States. During the last quarter of 2017, their spending went up to $50,000, Times of India reported.Companies are opting for a direct approach than going through India’s apex industry body, NASSCOM. To facilitate a direct approach, TCS employed international law firm Squire Patton Boggs for lobbying on legislation and United States policy related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education and to seek clarity on certain tax issues and their impact on financial reporting.Nasscom’s lobbying spend has decreased by a tenth in 2017. It had spent $3,90,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, Infosys, which spent only $60,000 in 2016, spent $200,000 in 2017, and $60,000 in the first quarter of 2018, according to TOI.New Jersey-based Cognizant spent $360,000 in 2017 on lobbying, including employing a firm to provide strategic guidance and counsel on potential immigration reform and the impact on Cognizant, as per the report.Infosys is working with McGuireWoods Consulting, a law firm, to lobby about Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, and the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act. While Cognizant has hired lobby groups for the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act and to seek clarity on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.While H-1B visa dependent companies have reduced their usage of the non-immigrant visa, it still remains important to them. Measures like seeking more evidence of the work that an H-1B visa worker would be doing in the United States has also reduced the number of applicants.According to legal experts, Economic Times reported, going direct is the companies’ way of showing their individual initiatives to adhere to the policy of protecting American jobs. TCS, Infosys and Cognizant, and other companies, had earlier announced that they would be opening offices in various cities in the United States and employing American nationals.However, the lobbying is yet to yield much benefit for the companies as the United States Customs and Immigration Enforcement is soon going to shift its attention from H-1B visa workers to L-1 workers apart from ending work authorization of H-4 visa holders. Related ItemsInfosysTCSlast_img read more

Indians Among Largest Number of Foreign Nationals Facing Slavery in UK: Report

first_imgAs many as 90 Indian citizens were victims of modern slavery during 2016 in the United Kingdom, according to a report by public watchdog National Audit Office. The number is a conservative estimate as it only counts people who have been reported to authorities. India is among the top eight countries whose citizens were referred to UK authorities as being victims of slavery.“The campaign to drive out modern slavery is in the early stages,” NAO head Amyas Morse said in a statement. “So far it is helping to establish the scale and international nature of this issue. To combat modern slavery successfully, however, government will need to build much stronger information and understanding of perpetrators and victims than it has now,” he added.“Modern slavery is a barbaric crime that destroys the lives of victims across the globe,” a Home Office spokesperson was quoted as saying by the Independent. “We welcome the NAO’s report’s recognition of the work we have done to identify the issue and put in place the ambitious Modern Slavery Strategy and the Modern Slavery Act 2015 – the first legislation of its kind in the world.“Since the NAO examined our work on modern slavery we have made significant strides in a number of areas it identifies in its report.”Indian citizens accompany their employers using a domestic worker’s visa and but end up in abusive situations with poor wages, and unable to change their employer after arriving in the United Kingdom, the report, released on Dec. 15, said. Albania, with 472 referrals, topped the list in the report, followed by Vietnam with 292 people embroiled in modern slavery.Campaign groups such as Human Rights Watch, Kalayaan and Southall Black Sisters say that Indians are among the largest number of foreign nationals facing such situations.Permila Tirkey’s case is an example of modern slavery. She was employed as domestic help by an Indian-origin couple and was under severe restrictions. She was paid much below United Kingdom’s minimum wage, and her passport was withheld by the employers. Tirkey was awarded £184,000 by an employment tribunal in 2015.There were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the country in 2013, as per Home Office estimates in 2014. The report, titled “Reducing Modern Slavery,” said the authorities had an “incomplete picture of the crime,” the victims and the perpetrators.The report added that until the government is able to establish effective oversight of the modern slavery system as a whole, it will not be able to significantly reduce the prevalence of modern slavery or show that it is achieving value for money.Modern Slavery Strategy was introduced by the UK government in 2014 to curb the prevalence of the practice. The 2015 Modern Slavery Act made provisions for slavery, servitude, forced labor and for human trafficking, including those for protection of victims and for an independent anti-slavery commissioner. Only 80 prosecutions were held under the Modern Slavery Act for 155 offences in 2016. Related ItemsEmploymentTraffickingUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

Car burnt, puppy killed outside Arunachal MP’s house

first_imgThe police in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar have launched a hunt for a man who burnt a car and clubbed a puppy to death outside the residence of newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tapir Gao.Police said closed-circuit television captured the man, identified as one Tongam Jomoh, driving a white hatchback up to the gate of MP Gao’s residence in Itanagar and setting it on fire after killing a puppy that came in his way. The incident happened around 6 a.m. on Friday.Mr Gao won the Arunachal East parliamentary seat, defeating his nearest Congress rival James Lowangcha Wanglat by 69,948 votes.“Mr Gao’s wife registered a complaint at the Itanagar police station. We identified the man from the CCTV footage. He is on the run,” Complex Superintendent of Police Tumme Amo said.The miscreant, claiming to be the president of All Arunachal Abo Tani Association, had ahead of the April 11 Assembly elections in the State warned Mr Gao of dire consequences for providing BJP ticket to “outsiders”. Mr Gao was the president of the BJP’s State unit then.The MP said he did not rule out the possibility of his “political rivals” sending an intimidatory message. “My party workers and I have filed many cases against those who have been attacking me on social media,” he said in a message to the State’s Chief Secretary.last_img read more

Kolkata doctors strike: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan calls for restraint

first_imgDays after some junior doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, were grievously assaulted on Monday night following the death of a patient, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has condemned the violence, stating, “It is necessary and important for doctors to have a safe work environment.”He added that doctors are an integral pillar of society, and often work under stressful and difficult conditions. ‘Observe restraint’“I urge the patients and their caregivers to observe restraint. Likewise, I also urge doctors to observe restraint so that essential services to the people are not disrupted,” said the Minister on Thursday. Dr. Vardhan said that he would be taking up the matter with the Bengal State government so that such incidents can be avoided in future. Expressing solidarity with doctors protesting in West Bengal, resident doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, worked wearing bandages and helmets on their heads in a symbolic protest, and will be joining the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) nationwide call to observe a ‘black day’ on Friday.“Violence against medical doctors in West Bengal is worrisome and disheartening. There is a complete breakdown of law and order, with reports of mobs attacking doctor hostels with weapons. The government has failed to provide protection and justice to doctors,” said a statement issued by the AIIMS Resident Doctors Association (AIIMS RDA) on Thursday.One-day strikeThe group added that doctors across the country are deeply hurt by this turn of events. “Keeping in view our commitment towards safe and non-violent working environment for residents, AIIMS RDA stands in support of our colleagues in West Bengal and has decided to hold a one-day strike of work on June 14, where only emergency services will be operational,” it said.Doctors have also urged the West Bengal Chief Minister to intervene in the matter and address security concerns so that residents can continue serving patients. The IMA has directed the members of all its State branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday.DemonstrationsIt has instructed all its State presidents and secretaries to organise demonstrations in front of District Collectors’ offices from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Friday, and hand over a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister to the Collectors in every district. The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) has also urged its members to observe a ‘black day’ on Thursday against the brutal attack.“All the local branches and individual members of the IMA will send an appeal to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister, demanding a central Act on violence against doctors and hospitals,” said an IMA release.last_img read more

Maharashtra political leaders pay tributes to Sheila Dikshit

first_imgCutting across party lines senior political leaders from Maharashtra paid tributes to veteran Congress leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit who passed away in New Delhi on Saturday.Among those to offer condolences were Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Union Railway and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, who was in Mumbai on Saturday, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat.“There is some tragic news coming in. Our beloved social worker and politician who had dedicated life to the nation, Sheila Dikshit has passed away. I offer my condolences to her family,” said Mr. Goyal in Mumbai. Mr. Fadnavis also tweeted his condolence message to the 81-year-old leader: “Extremely sad to learn about sudden demise of Smt Sheila Dikshit. My deepest condolences to her family & followers.” Mr. Pawar, who has known Ms. Dikshit from his time in the Congress said the party and country has lost an able administrator. “Her tenure as CM of our capital city will always be remembered. We have lost a senior Congress leader and an able administrator. My sincere condolences to her family members,” Mr. Pawar said. Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat termed Ms. Dikshit’s demise as “very painful”, and said she was a very loyal follower of the well-cultured tradition of the Congress.The Twitter handle of Maharashtra Congress also said, “Extremely sad to learn about sudden demise of Smt #SheilaDixit. An affectionate & accessible leader, she leaves behind a rich legacy. India can never forget her contribution for the transformation National capital. Our deepest condolences to her family & followers.” “Deeply anguished on learning about the death of veteran leader Sheila Dikshit ji. It is an immeasurable loss to the country. May her soul Rest In Peace,” Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil said on Twitter.last_img read more

On tinted glass issue, Meghalaya MLA seeks action against police officer

first_imgRights groups in Meghalaya have slammed an MLA for misusing his power to take a traffic officer to task for asking him to remove tinted films from the glasses on his vehicle.On August 7, a team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Walsall Momin stopped the vehicle of Kimfa Sidney Marbañiang, a Congress legislator representing the Rambrai-Jyrngam Assembly constituency, in Malki area of State capital Shillong for using tinted glasses without proper authority.VIPs are allowed to use tinted glasses if they possess exemption certification from the State Security Commission. The MLA did not have one but lodged a complaint with the Deputy Speaker of the 60-member State Assembly against Mr. Momin for “embarrassing a public representative”.Mr. Marbañiang also said every government official should know who the elected members of the Assemby are.Last week, the Assembly’s Committee of Privileges to be chaired by Nationalist Congress Party legislator Saleng A. Sangma summoned Mr. Momin on September 5.The traffic officer attributed his summoning to lack of knowledge about the procedures. “The recommendation for using tinted glass even for vehicles used by VIPs enjoying Z+ or Z-category security has to be given by the Security Commission. What can we do when we try to correct people and they feel offended?” Mr. Momin told The Hindu, adding “such things happen”.Agnes Kharshiing of the Civil Society Women’s Organisation stated that overbearing MLAs were setting a bad example for people. “The Assembly Privileges Committee cannot drag in an officer or any other government officer working within the law,” she noted.Officials said the MLA in question had 100% tinted glass on his vehicle. According to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, the visual transmission of light through the windscreen and rear window of every vehicle should not be less than 70% and that for the side windows not less than 50%.“Besides, the Supreme Court has categorically banned the use of tinted glass on vehicles and advised issuance of certificates only for official cars of VIPs and VVIPs depending upon the category of security such persons have been awarded by the competent authority,” said Angela Rangad of rights group Thma U Rangli-Juki.“Equality before law is paramount and should prevail at all times and for everyone. This culture of privilege and impunity needs to end,” she added.The Meghalaya police had a few weeks ago sought a written clarification from the government to know how many VIPs have been allowed to use tinted glass on their vehicles.last_img read more

Court reserves verdict in Bihar rape case

first_imgA Delhi court on Monday reserved judgment in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case in Bihar.Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshrestha reserved the judgement on conclusion of final arguments. Main accused Brajesh Thakur and 20 others are facing trial. Several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at the shelter home.The court had on March 30 framed charges of rape, criminal conspiracy, sexual assault, drugging of minors and criminal intimidation against the accused, and the trial began on April 3.Thakur, whose NGO, Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, managed the shelter home, was charged under the POCSO Act, including Section 6 (aggravated sexual assault). The offence attracts punishment from 10 years to life imprisonment.On February 7, the Supreme Court transferred the case from Bihar to the POCSO court in Saket District Courts complex with a direction to conclude the trial within six months.The Tata Institute of Social Sciences had blown the lid off on the assault on the minor girls at the home while conducting social audit of such homes in the State.last_img read more

Perkins tows Cignal HD to Game 1 blowout in D-League Finals

first_imgRich Guinitaran also had 10 markers in the losing effort.The Scores:CIGNAL HD 78 – Villarias 17, Perkins 16, Bringas 13, Sumalinog 11, Batino 8, Uyloan 6, Sara 4, Raymundo 3, Apinan 0, Arboleda 0, Arong 0, Belencion 0, Cahilig 0.CEU 56 – Ebondo 27, Guinitaran 10, Aquino 6, Manlangit 4, Jeruta 3, Arim 2, Saber 2, Uri 2, Casiño 0, Cruz 0, Fuentes 0, Intic 0, Wamar 0.Quarters: 24-11, 39-25, 59-43, 78-56. LATEST STORIES The blowout put the Hawkeyes a win away from completing a back-to-back title romp after winning the 2017 Aspirants’ Cup last conference, a feat which only NLEX and Phoenix have been able to accomplish.Game 2 is on Thursday at 5 p.m., still at Ynares Sports Arena.But Fernandez is keeping his players’ feet on the ground as he expects a tough fightback in the possible clincher.“Again, it’s not yet over until it’s over. We know CEU is capable of coming back and I’m sure that they’ll find a way. So the challenge for us is to be ready for them on Thursday,” he said.Congolese big man Rod Ebondo paced CEU with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and two blocks, but failed to get much support from his locals.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next PH snags 2 silvers, 2 bronzes in karatedo LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Perkins was smoking hot from the get-go, unfurling eight of his 16 points in the first quarter to go with 11 rebounds.“Jason knows that he’s a very important part of this team. It shows that he’s always been stepping up for us,” said coach Boyet Fernandez. “The challenge of stepping up is there, and I commend all my players, especially Jason.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutByron Villarias also shot 6-of-8 from the field to top his crew with 17 markers, on top of seven boards,  while Mark Bringas registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.Everything went Cignal’s way that even when the Scorpions cut the deficit to 12, 37-25, late in the second quarter, it was able to stifle the rally and cruise to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three championship duel. View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netJason Perkins took matters tino his own hands as he led Cignal HD to a dominant 78-56 Game 1 victory over Centro Escolar University in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.The former La Salle forward set the tone for the Hawkeyes as they came hot off the gates and established a commanding 24-6 lead.ADVERTISEMENT LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspensionlast_img read more

Blazing Indians extend win streak to 19 straight

first_imgCleveland Indians’ Francisco Lindor scores on a sacrifice fly by Jose Ramirez against the Detroit Tigers during the second inning in a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)CLEVELAND — Unrelenting and unbeatable at the moment, the Cleveland Indians refuse to lose.With their latest overpowering win, they extended baseball’s longest winning streak since 2002 to 19 games with an 11-0 blowout of the Detroit Tigers on Monday night to move closer to a record that has stood for 101 years.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Francisco Lindor tripled home three runs off rookie Myles Jaye (0-1) in the second inning, and the Indians, who haven’t lost since Aug. 23, added another blowout to their growing list of lopsided conquests.The defending AL champions aren’t just rolling, they’re steamrolling opponents, outscoring them 132-32 during a stretch that includes six shutouts.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCarlos Carrasco (15-6) struck out nine in six innings, Lindor had four RBIs and Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer as the Indians lowered their magic number to clinch the Central to six.Cleveland is the sixth team in history to win at least 19 straight, and the streak is the longest since the 2002 Oakland Athletics won 20 in a row — a run that was celebrated in the film “Moneyball.” BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Read Next View comments E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  LATEST STORIES The Indians can match those A’s on Tuesday, and their chances of getting No. 20 are strong with AL Cy Young Award contender Corey Kluber starting.At this point, it hardly matters who’s on the mound.Cleveland joined the 1906 Chicago White Sox (19), the 1947 New York Yankees (19), the 2002 A’s (20), the 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and the 1916 New York Giants (26) as the only teams to reel off 19 consecutive wins. The Giants’ record run is in the books as the major league mark, although it did include a tie, which does not count as an official game in baseball, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.Even tying these Indians during a game has been nearly impossible.Cleveland has trailed in only four of 171 innings, scored first in 18 of 19 games and has hit 38 homers. In a season where other teams have displayed dominance, the Indians stand alone.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READcenter_img Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kluber is 7-1 with a 1.92 ERA in his last eight starts. The right-hander, who leads the AL in ERA (2.56) and opponent batting average (.192), will face Detroit’s Matt Boyd. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:04Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games “No knock on the Dodgers or the Astros, they’re obviously both very good teams,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “I think this is the most balanced team and probably the biggest threat to anybody in baseball to win a World Series because they do kind of cover every facet of the game.”Cleveland’s streak has happened despite the team missing three of its best players: All-Star reliever Andrew Miller, All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis. They’re all on the disabled list.“It’s just the next guy up,” Kipnis said. “It doesn’t matter who it is or what goes down. We like the depth that we have. We have the players that go out and compete each night and you’re going to win a lot of games when guys play with that attitude.”MILLER MOVINGMiller threw 30 pitches in a simulated game, a major step in his recovery from knee tendinitis. The team will see how Miller responds Tuesday before deciding the next move. Kipnis faced Miller during the workout and doubled off the left-hander.“After I fouled one off, I said, ‘I’ve already had a better at-bat than I have ever versus him in a game,’” Kipnis said. “He smiled at that one.”TRAINER’S ROOMTigers: RHP Jordan Zimmerman received an injection last week for the neck injury that’s bothered him since last season. He will begin a throwing program in the next few days, and Ausmus said Zimmerman will make a few more starts if there are no setbacks. Zimmerman is 8-12 with a 6.18 ERA in 27 starts. … OF Mikie Mahtook (sore left groin) was out of the lineup for the third straight day.Indians: Rookie CF Bradley Zimmer will undergo surgery on his broken left hand on Tuesday in New York. Zimmer got stepped on while diving into first base on Sunday. The Indians do not have a timetable on his return, but it’s safe to assume his season is over.UP NEXT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Nadal, Federer back at the top in 2017last_img read more

Josh Richardson gets $42M deal to stay with Heat

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Josh Richardson of the Miami Heat tries to get a shot off between Tobias Harris #34 and Marcus Morris #13 of the Detroit Pistons during the first half at the Palace of Auburn Hills on March 28, 2017 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFPMIAMI — Josh Richardson will go to Miami Heat training camp later this month with a new contract.Richardson and the Heat agreed Wednesday on a four-year extension that could be worth $42 million, a person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press. The fourth year will be at Richardson’s option, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the signing.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:10Hong Kong’s leader rejects ‘police state’ label01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Read Next LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City The contract goes into effect in the 2018-19 season. Richardson will make about $1.5 million this coming season, and will likely be in the mix of candidates vying for the starting small forward spot with the Heat. The deal was not a surprise, given that Miami officials had indicated repeatedly that they had no plans on letting Richardson go elsewhere.Richardson is entering his third season with the Heat. He averaged 10.2 points last season, appearing in 53 games and making 34 starts. He shot 46 percent from 3-point range as a rookie, then 33 percent from beyond the arc last season — after missing training camp with a knee injury.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Heat begin this season’s training camp Sept. 26.Richardson turns 24 on Friday. He was the No. 40 overall pick by Miami in the 2015 NBA draft after a four-year career at Tennessee. E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  LATEST STORIES UFC strips Jones, reinstates Cormier as 205-pound championlast_img read more