S M Krishna leaves for Brazil to attend India-Brazil joint commission meet

New Delhi, Aug 28 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Friday left for Brazil to attend the India-Brazil joint commission meeting on September 1.

Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash has said Krishna would also participate in the ministerial meeting of the trilateral grouping, IBSA – India, Brazil and South Africa – on September 2.

The IBSA brings together economic powerhouses from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The first summit was held in Brasilia in 2006, followed by the Johannesburg summit in 2007. New Delhi hosted the third IBSA summit last year.

The fourth IBSA summit of Heads of State is likely in November. (ANI)

Villagers organise age-old stone pelting festival in Madhya Pradesh

Chindwara (Madhya Pradesh), Aug 22(ANI): Hundreds of people in Madhya Pradesh’s Chindwara district hurled stones at each other as part of a centuries ritual to mark the annual festival known as Gotmar Mela on Saturday.

In the festival, men from Pandhurna and Sawargaon, villages, located on opposite banks of the river Jamuna, hurl stones at each other.

“As per the ritual, when people of the Pandurana village try cutting a Palash tree and sneak it away, people from the Sawargaon would pelt stones on them. This year, however, Sawargaon people put the tree in the centre of the village. They offered prayers to the Palash tree and then they prayed at the temple of the Goddess Chandi,” said Nikunja Srivastava, District Magistrate of Chhindwara district.

The Madhya Pradesh Government and Human Rights Commission discourage the tradition of stone pelting citing the ritual as “inhuman and criminal”.

However, the festival, which claims many lives and leaves people injured, was subdued this year as compared to previous years following the Government efforts to discourage the practice.

Despite the measures taken by the administration to keep away any untoward incident, about 48 people, including two policemen, were injured and about 65 people were arrested.

“Administration and representatives of people have been creating awareness among people that this is an inhumane ritual. They should certainly celebrate the festival with full spirit but not hurl stones at each other. This is against the rules of Human Rights Commission. And I can see positive changes taking place in people this year,” Srivastava said.

“The administration banned the ritual following directives of the state Human Rights Commission and offered the participants its full support in holding any other cultural and religious event,” e added. By Sachin Pandey (ANI)

Baghdad market car bomb blast claims two lives, leaves 20 wounded

Baghdad (Iraq), Aug.21 (ANI): A car bomb explosion in a market in southern Baghdad claimed the lives of two people and wounded 20 others on Friday.

Baghdad police said the blast took place in the Dora neighbourhood at around 8.00 a.m. this morning, as traders gathered to buy fruit and vegetables at wholesale outfits.

Friday’s blast came two days after twin truck bombs at the ministries of finance and foreign affairs left 95 people dead and around 600 wounded. (ANI)

Taliban has destroyed 238 schools in Swat

Swat, Aug. 9 (ANI): The Swat education department has said that the Taliban has destroyed 238 out of 1,576 schools affecting more than 56,250 students in the province.

The department has demanded a grant of 2,203 million rupees from the provincial government, for the reconstruction of more than 238 school destroyed by the Taliban, The Dawn reports.

Recently, most Swat parents had expressed hesitation about sending their daughters to the tent schools without proper security arrangements.

The Swat Taliban had destroyed 162 girls’ schools calling them anti-Islamic.

Parents had urged the education department to hire buildings for girls’ schools and appoint security guards to avert any militant attack, The Dawn reports.

Even schoolteachers are not confident about the security situation in Swat Valley, from where militants are yet to be cleared.

Teachers are not being allowed leaves, as they were bound to complete the course of the academic session. (ANI)

Another Delhi Metro mishap leaves six injured

New Delhi, July 13 (ANI): A day after a Metro Rail bridge collapse caused six deaths in South Delhi’s Zamrudpur area, a launcher turned upside down, leaving another six persons injured on Monday.

The incident took place when two to three cranes were lifting the huge girder at the site but suddenly it just toppled over due to heavy weight and crumbled down, causing everyone standing by rush to safe place.

There was nearly a stampede at the incident site.

The inured were taken to the All India Medical Institute of Sciences (AIIMS).

The area has been cordoned off as a preventive measure. (ANI)

Hike in vegetable prices leaves Bihar residents in harried state

Patna, July 12 (ANI): The high prices of vegetables have upset household budgets of people in Bihar, leaving them both harried and troubled.

The hike in fuel prices and a delay in monsoons have adversely affected vegetable prices. People say the prices are too high.

“For the past month or so, vegetables have become very expensive. Whatever was around rupees eight has gone up to 25 rupees. Ladyfinger which was rupees six per kg has gone up to rupees 25-30. Tomatoes, which used to be rupees 10-12, are now being sold at rupees 35-40. Sometimes it goes beyond what we can afford, but we have to manage. We now buy lesser quantities,” said Sunil Kumar Agarwal, a customer.

People say think before buying vegetables or buy just as per their needs.

“The vegetables have become very expensive. We have to think before buying. Previously, we could buy in stock and keep it in the refrigerator. But now, we just buy as per our needs,” said Archana Kumari, another customer.

Vendors say the rise in fuel prices have had a cascading effect on vegetable prices and the prices of other essential commodities.

“The rains were delayed this year so the crop was destroyed. And all the vegetables that we get from outside, they are expensive as the petrol and diesel prices have increased. We spend more, so we sell it for more,” said Guddu, a vegetable vendor.

The hike in petrol and diesel prices has irked the common man. (ANI)

Indian Armed Forces contingent leaves for Paris to participate in France’s National Day Parade

New Delhi, July 8 (ANI): A 270 personnel contingent of the Indian Armed Forces comprising marching columns and a combined military band from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force left here today for Paris to participate in the French National Day.

Yesterday, the first batch comprising 130 personnel left for Paris.

The 400 strong contingent, commanded by Air Commodore RK Mathur, will take part in the march past on the Bastille Day.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will be the Chief Guest at the French National Day Celebrations in Paris this year.

The French National Day marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison on July 14, 1789. (ANI)

Prince Harry leaves Dizzee Rascal speechless singing for him

London, July 6 (ANI): Dizzee Rascal was left stunned when Prince Harry began singing for him during his meeting with the rapper backstage.

The 24-year-old British Royal was enjoying a boys’ night out at the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, London, when he was introduced to Dizzee – real name Dylan Mills.

Dizzee was left speechless when Harry started singing his hit song ‘Bonkers’.

“Dizzee was lost for words. Harry told him Wills was a massive fan of the song too. They swapped numbers and said they’d meet up,” the Sun quoted an onlooker as saying. (ANI)

‘Hippy’ monkeys turn killers when starved of sex

London, July 5 (ANI): Even the world’s most peaceful and egalitarian monkeys can turn aggressive when starved of sex, say researchers.

Northern Muriquis in Brazil have a reputation of the “hippy monkey”, however, the quiet image of the primates suffered a blow after scientists spotted a gang of six attacking and killing an adult male.
he victim, an old male, died an hour after receiving savage bites to his face, body and genitals.

The muriquis peaceful reputation stems mainly from northern populations that feed on abundant leaves, and where males patiently queue to mate with females, reports New Scientist.

However, in the southern part, where the attack took place, fruit is more abundant, which the scientists believe may provide a vital clue to the assault.

According to the lead researcher Mauricio Talebi of the Federal University of Sao Paulo-Diadema, Brazil, since fruits are widely available female primates separate from the main group making them less available for sex with the males than in the north where everyone stays together to eat leaves.

Thus, lack of mates can make monkeys frustrated and aggressive.

The findings appear in American Journal of Primatology. (ANI)

Jacko’s death leaves Quincy Jones heartbroken

London, Jul 4 (ANI): American record producer Quincy Jones has revealed that he has been left heartbroken over King of Pop Michael Jackson’s death.

Jones, 76, who calls Jackson his “little brother”, had been the brains behind the star’s biggest albums – ‘Off The Wall’, ‘Bad’ and record-breaking ‘Thriller’.

“The relationship between a producer and an artist is one of love and tremendous trust. He’s my little brother that’s gone,” the Sun quoted Jones as saying.

“I’d never in my wildest nightmares dream he’d leave before me,” he added. (ANI)

Russell Crowe leaves 600 pounds tip

Washington, June 29 (ANI): Russell Crowe showed off his generous side when he left behind a 600 pounds tip during a recent trip to a small bar in South Wales.

He also gave a pleasant surprise to the people present by playing several songs on his guitar with his friends.

The ‘Gladiator star’ had gone with co-stars to Carew Inn near Tenby for a toast from his side.

The actor is currently shooting in Wales for his new Robinhood film ‘Nottingham,’ which also stars Cate Blanchett.

Few days back, the Hollywood biggie said that Blanchett and he shared a great chemistry on the sets of the film. (ANI)

Farrah Fawcett leaves part of her fortune to women’s charities

London, June 29 (ANI): Farrah Fawcett had planned charity for victims of domestic abuse before she died of cancer.

The Charlie’s Angel’s star who had remained committed to helping the victimized in the society through out her successful career had set aside part of her fortune in her will to her favourite charities, the Daily Star reports.

The actress who expired at the age of 62 had decided to donate thousands of dollars from her estate to U.S. shelters for abused women, according to Radar Online.

The actress had starred as an abused woman in 1984 TV movie ‘The Burning Bed’. (ANI)

Jacko’s death leaves Lady Gaga hysterical at Glastonbury

London, Jun 27 (ANI): American singer Lady Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, became hysterical when she heard about the death of King of Pop Michael Jackson.

Lady Gaga, 23, who was in a flood of tears, refused to give any interviews prior to her Glastonbury debut on June 26.

She even refused to leave her tour bus, and spent the time instead talking with a producer friend.

“GaGa was hysterical with grief. She could not be consoled and spent the day on the phone to her producer Red One in America,” the Sun quoted a source as saying.

“They penned hits Poker Face and Just Dance together. He had been working with Michael on new material recently and was beside himself,” the source added. (ANI)

Fresh batch of 1,703 Amarnath pilgrims leaves Jammu for holy shrine

Jammu, June 22 (ANI): A fresh batch of 1,703 pilgrims left Jammu on Monday for their onward journey to the holy Amarnath cave shrine.

The batch comprising of 1,185 men, 384 women, 61 children and 73 sadhus left in 53 vehicles, including 40 buses, from the base camp at Bhagwati Nagar here at around 4. 50 a.m.

With today’s batch, a total of 7,793 pilgrims have left Jammu for the Shrine since the beginning of the Yatra on June 15.

The yatra remained suspended for three days due to bad weather prevailing in Kashmir valley before resuming on June 19.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has set up three base camps at Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu, Nunwan in Pahalgam and Baltal for providing food and lodging facilities to pilgrims.

Located in Jammu and Kashmir, the Amarnath caves shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Last year, over 450,000 pilgrims visited the cave. The two month long pilgrimage will conclude on August 5. (ANI)

Ajaypal Banga – MasterCard – Ajaypal Banga, Grabs an offer of 90 Crore from MasterCard – Ajay Banga leaves Citigroup and joins MasterCard

Ajay Banga, is joining credit card network MasterCard, becoming the firm’s President and Chief Operating Officer, will get a package of about Rs 90 crore , Citigroup announced Mr. Banga, CEO of Citigroup Asia Pacific, would leave to pursue another opportunity, served at Citigroup for past 13 years.

Britain ready to release, deport Pak student as charges of security threat withdrawn

London, May 30 (ANI): The British authorities have agreed to release and deport Pakistan student, Tariq-ur-Rehman, who was arrested in the terror raids carried out on May 8.

The Nation reports that Rehman is being released after British Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, agreed to withdraw the charges of threat to the national security labeled against him.

Smith’s counsel, in a letter to Rehman’s lawyer, said that if Rehman leaves Britain voluntarily, the Deportation Order will not be made against him.

It added that once Rehman leaves the United Kingdom, the Notice of Intention to Deport will be formally withdrawn.

However, the British Home Secretary could not give any assurance that Rehman will not be harmed or ill-treated by Pakistan authorities.

“It would be open to Tariq-ur-Rehman to seek permission to bring a fresh appeal out-of-time against the decision to refuse leave to enter once he had left the United Kingdom. However, it would be for the appellate body to decide whether or not to accept such an appeal,” the British Foreign Secretary said. (ANI)

Major fire leaves 8000 transformers gutted in Punjab

Kotkapura (Punjab), May 24 (ANI): A major fire destroyed a power sub-station at Kotkapura near Faridkot on Saturday. Although the inferno caused enormous damage, there have been no casualties reported.

The fire broke out at around 6′o clock in the evening reportedly by a short circuit at the 132 KV power grid sub-station and gutted around 8,000 old and new transformers, power cables and property worth millions of rupees.

More than seven fire brigade tenders including a couple from the military were rushed to the spot.

Since the power service station is close to a residential area, authorities asked the residents to vacate immediately.

Meanwhile, the district administration is taking stock of the situation to investigate the cause of the devastating fire. (ANI)

Jessica Biel leaves house only when picture perfect for paparazzi

Washington, May 21 (ANI): Hollywood actress Jessica Biel has revealed that she never leaves the house unless sure about her perfect looks, as she just does not want to look ugly in any of her pictures published by the media.

The actress has been a major attraction for the paparazzi ever since she started dating pop singer Justin Timberlake in 2007, with photographers constantly following the couple to click shots of them together.

Biel says that she just does not want herself to look less than her best in any picture.
“It’s wonderful to do what I do, but everything that goes with it? It’s bizarre. The invasion of privacy is very tough. I am followed all day, every day. Going to the dentist, the cleaners,” Contactmusic quoted her as telling Allure magazine.

“I guess I could look like s**t going to the dentist, but only if I didn’t care what I saw in the papers,” she added. (ANI)

Here is what Obama reads before he sleeps

Washington, May 18 (ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama has revealed that he is presently reading a book by Joseph O’Neill, titled ‘Netherland’.

He has revealed that reading the book for a half hour forms part of his daily schedule-which includes morning workouts, office work, and spending time with his family.

“I’m a night owl. My usual day (is): I work out in the morning; I get to the office around 9, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; work till about 6:30 p.m.; have dinner with the family, hang out with the kids and put them to bed about 8:30 p.m. And then I’ll probably read briefing papers or do paperwork or write stuff until about 11:30 p.m., and then I usually have about a half hour to read before I go to bed … about midnight, 12:30 a.m.-sometimes a little later,” News Week quoted the President as saying.

As to what the book is about, Obama revealed: “It’s about after 9/11, a guy-his family leaves him and he takes up cricket in New York. And it’s fascinating. It’s a wonderful book, although I know nothing about cricket.”

Obama also revealed that he did not watch cable news at all.

He said that the only thing he watched on TV was sports.

However, the President does enjoy films, with the latest seen by him being Star Trek.

“Now, movies I’ve been doing OK [with] because it turns out we got this nice theatre on the ground floor of my house … So Star Trek, we saw this weekend, which I thought was good,” he said.

When asked whether he watched Star Trek when he was growing up, he said: “I used to love Star Trek. You know, Star Trek was ahead of its time. There was a whole-the special effects weren’t real good, but the storylines were always evocative, you know, there was a little commentary and a little pop philosophy for a 10-year-old to absorb.” (ANI)

Here is what Obama reads before he sleeps

Washington, May 18 (ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama has revealed that he is presently reading a book by Joseph O’Neill, titled ‘Netherland’.

He has revealed that reading the book for a half hour forms part of his daily schedule-which includes morning workouts, office work, and spending time with his family.

“I’m a night owl. My usual day (is): I work out in the morning; I get to the office around 9, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; work till about 6:30 p.m.; have dinner with the family, hang out with the kids and put them to bed about 8:30 p.m. And then I’ll probably read briefing papers or do paperwork or write stuff until about 11:30 p.m., and then I usually have about a half hour to read before I go to bed … about midnight, 12:30 a.m.-sometimes a little later,” News Week quoted the President as saying.

As to what the book is about, Obama revealed: “It’s about after 9/11, a guy-his family leaves him and he takes up cricket in New York. And it’s fascinating. It’s a wonderful book, although I know nothing about cricket.”

Obama also revealed that he did not watch cable news at all.

He said that the only thing he watched on TV was sports.

However, the President does enjoy films, with the latest seen by him being Star Trek.

“Now, movies I’ve been doing OK [with] because it turns out we got this nice theatre on the ground floor of my house … So Star Trek, we saw this weekend, which I thought was good,” he said.

When asked whether he watched Star Trek when he was growing up, he said: “I used to love Star Trek. You know, Star Trek was ahead of its time. There was a whole-the special effects weren’t real good, but the storylines were always evocative, you know, there was a little commentary and a little pop philosophy for a 10-year-old to absorb.” (ANI)