Michelle Obama Says She Sought Marriage Counselling With Husband


Barack and Michelle Obama got married in 1992.

Washington: 

Former US first lady Michelle Obama has opened up about her nearly three decades long marriage to Barack Obama.

During an interview with People magazine, she said that they had sought marriage counseling. “Because we’re role models, it’s important for us to be honest. If you’re in a marriage there are times you want to leave, that’s normal because I felt that way,” she said.

“There were definitely times when I wished things were different. But I don’t think I ever thought, ‘I’m just checking out of this,” People quoted the former first lady as saying.

Speaking about her experience with marriage counseling, Michelle Obama explained that she learned to take control of her own happiness.

“Marriage counseling, for us, was one of those ways where we learned to talk out our differences. What I learned about myself was that my happiness was up to me and I started working out more, I started asking for help, not just from him but from other people,” she said.

The former first couple got engaged in 1991 and tied the knot on October 3, 1992. They recently celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary. They have two daughters- Malia Ann Obama and Sasha Obama.



Source link

Will Form New Political Alliance To Fight Elections: Ranil Wickremesinghe


Ranil Wickremesinghe was replaced by Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka prime minister.

Colombo: 

Sri Lanka’s ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced on Monday that he will forge a new political alliance to fight the January 5 general elections even as he dismissed President Maithripala Sirisena’s justification for dissolving Parliament.

Mr Sirisena dissolved Parliament on November 9 and announced snap polls to be held on January 5 next year after it became evident that he did not have enough support in the House to prove the premiership of 72-year-old Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom he appointed prime minister after abruptly sacking Mr Wickremesinghe on October 26.

The President said the decision to dissolve Parliament was taken to prevent clashes among rival lawmakers and blamed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for not accepting his presidential powers.

Mr Wickremesinghe, the leader of the United National Party (UNP), said his party will form a new alliance with the other parties with a new face to pull the nation out of the present crisis, Daily Mirror reported.

He also responded to Mr Sirisena’s address in which he blamed Speaker Jayasuriya for creating a situation to force snap polls, saying no one had feared any bloodshed in Parliament or murder inside the chamber.

“If the President had any information, he should have informed the Speaker then it would be the Speaker’s duty to take necessary steps,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.

On Mr Sirisena’s charge that parliamentarians were being traded for large sums of money to extend support, Mr Wickremesinghe said: “it was the President who took some of our people to his side and gave them ministerial posts, so he should know about members of Parliament being traded for money”.

Recalling his uneasy three-year alliance with Mr Sirisena, the ousted premier said: “I faced various challenges, slander and heartburn. I tolerated them with patience because I wanted to uphold the mandate we received in 2015”.

“It is not possible to build up a nation through undemocratic and destructive means. We will not allow anyone to destroy this nation which we have managed to safeguard at the risk of our lives.

“I promise to pull this nation through the present curse by associating myself in a new and a broad alliance. Therefore I invite everyone to join this new political force,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.

Mr Rajapaksa, who ruled Lanka for a nearly decade from 2005, was unexpectedly defeated by his deputy Sirisena in the presidential election held in January 2015 with the support from Mr Wickremesinghe’s UNP.



Source link

Turkey Lashes Out At French Minister Over Comment On Khashoggi's Killing


Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Istanbul: 

Turkey on Monday lashed out at “unacceptable” and “impertinent” comments by the French foreign minister who accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of playing a “political game” over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey had shared recordings linked to the Saudi journalist’s murder last month with Riyadh, the United States, France, Britain and other allies, without giving details of the tapes’ specific content.

In an interview with France 2 television on Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he “for the moment was not aware” of any information transmitted by Ankara.

Asked if the Turkish president was lying, he said: “It means that he has a political game to play in these circumstances.”

His comments provoked fury in Ankara.

“We find it unacceptable that he accused President Erdogan of ‘playing political games’,” the communications director at the Turkish presidency, Fahrettin Altun, told AFP in a written statement.

“Let us not forget that this case would have been already covered up had it not been for Turkey’s determined efforts.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded even more sharply, saying that his French counterpart’s accusations amounted to “impertinence”.

“It does not fit the seriousness of a foreign minister,” he said, accusing Le Drian of “exceeding his authority”.

“What lies behind this (statement)? I wonder if they are trying to cover up this murder. We will be running after this.”

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of the Saudi government, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents for his forthcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

Turkey’s chief prosecutor has said he was strangled and then dismembered as part of a premeditated plan. There have been claims that his body was dissolved in acid.

No exception

After repeated denials, Riyadh finally admitted the 59-year-old had been murdered at the mission in what it called a “rogue” operation.

Erdogan has accused the “highest levels” of the Saudi government of ordering the hit, without directly pointing the finger at all-powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He has said he does “not believe for a second” that the prince’s father King Salman ordered the crime.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the crown prince in a phone call Sunday that the United States would hold accountable all those involved in the killing.

Khashoggi’s murder and the war in Yemen are two of the main sources of strain in the decades-old alliance between Washington and Riyadh. The Yemen conflict has pushed that country to the brink of famine.

Altun said Ankara had shared evidence linked to the murder with officials from a large number of countries and that France was “no exception”.

“I confirm that evidence pertaining to the Khashoggi murder has also been shared with the relevant agencies of the French government,” he said.

A representative of French intelligence listened to the audio recording and examined detailed information including a transcript on October 24, he added.

“If there is miscommunication between the French government’s various agencies, it is up to the French authorities — not Turkey — to take care of that problem,” Altun said.

Canada ‘fully briefed’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday of the recordings: “Canada has been fully briefed up on what Turkey had to share.” He had had brief exchanges with Erdogan over the weekend in Paris, he added. World leaders attended commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I Sunday.

“I thanked him for his strength in responding to the Khashoggi situation.”

Asked if he had heard the recording himself, he said: “I have not.”

Trudeau was speaking from Paris, where he was attending a peace forum hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters: “I can tell you that there was an exchange between secret services on this point,” he told reporters, but declined to elaborate.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt held talks Monday with Saudi King Salman and was also expected to meet the crown prince in Riyadh.

“It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear,” Hunt said ahead of his visit.

He encouraged Saudi authorities to “co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation into his death.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

American Comic-Book Icon Stan Lee Dies At 95


Comic-book icon Stan Lee is known for a distinctly new approach to characters and setting. (AFP)

Los Angeles: 

Stan Lee, a writer and editor often credited with helping American comics grow up by redefining the notion of a superhero, including the self-doubting Spider-Man, the bickering Fantastic Four, the swaggering Iron Man and the raging Incredible Hulk, died Nov. 12 at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 95.

The Associated Press reported the death, citing an attorney for Lee’s daughter. The cause was not immediately available.

Lee’s name became synonymous with the company that would become Marvel Comics, which he joined as a teenage assistant and stayed with for much of his adult life.

After toiling in comics for 20 years as a self-described hack, on the verge of quitting the business, he was ordered by his boss to emulate a line of superheroes done by rival DC comics. Lee’s full-color, morally complex heroes helped foster a revival in a largely moribund profession.

Comics had entered a dark age after Senate hearings in the early 1950s that condemned the trade for contributing to juvenile delinquency. What followed was a comics code to monitor standards and ban content deemed immoral and unsuitable for children.

In the ’60s, Lee took a distinctly new approach to characters and setting, as well as to the very interaction with readers who had grown used to comics that were aimed solely at a younger audience and that featuring flawless, square-jawed heroes who had uncomplicated morals.

Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the comic-book-themed novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” said in an interview that Lee’s best-known characters were “vain, pompous, conceited. . . . Everything that works in comic books today is indebted to him for that.”

“There’s no question that Stan and the innovations he came up with saved the comic book and the superhero,” Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, told The Washington Post in 2011. “By crafting characters with feet of clay and personal problems – and not writing down to an audience that was perceived to be primarily 8-year-olds – Stan opened the doorway for more sophisticated and interesting treatments of any subject matter in comics. He made comics interesting and relevant and fun again.”

Lee told The Post in 2012: “All of our characters were freaks in their own way. The greatest example was with X-Men – they were hated because they were different. The idea I had, the underlying theme, was that just because somebody is different doesn’t make them better. … That seems to be the worst thing in human nature.”

Much of Lee’s success was indebted to his Marvel partnership with artist and frequent co-creator Jack Kirby. Their first superheroes, appearing in 1961, were the Fantastic Four.

They were unlike the perfectly genial Superman, a DC Comics character. Fantastic Four were constantly were at odds with one another. Mr. Fantastic was a boring scientist whom the rest of the group constantly interrupted. One of the Four, the Thing, looked like a monster and often acted like one, and he hated the powers that made him look that way.

Other heroes came with their own weaknesses, such as the Jekyll-and-Hyde-like Incredible Hulk, who could not control the anger that gave him his strength; Daredevil, whose blindness helped develop other heightened senses. Iron Man was a billionaire industrialist modeled after Howard Hughes; his weakness was a a piece of shrapnel dangerously close to his heart, acquired on a trip to Vietnam to inspect the weapons he produced for the war.

(Lee wrote in his 2002 memoir, “Excelsior!”: “Due to his injury, he always had to either wear the iron armor, or an iron chest plate he had fashioned for himself, to keep his heart beating. If that explanation doesn’t sound medically correct, hey, he’s a comicbook hero and I’m not a cardiologist.”)

With artist Steve Ditko, Lee created Spider-Man in 1962, of whom cartoonist and author Jules Feiffer said, “He took the anxiety and schlumpiness that had become part of the culture from the ’60s on and put them into the character of a superhero.”

Besides giving the characters human personalities, the artists further attracted readers with the comics’ realistic settings. While other heroes protected fictional cities such as Metropolis and Gotham, Lee’s lived in his native New York.

Lee constantly addressed and engaged the readers. In his memoir, written with George Mair, he remembered one particular author’s note: “On the cover I wrote something like, ‘Look, this may not be one of the best stories we’ve ever done, but we’ve given you enough good ones so that you owe it to us to buy this lemon anyway.’ “

“Stan was the first writer to bring an ironic distance to the material,” said Marvel artist Gerry Conway, as quoted in Tom Spurgeon and Jordan Raphael’s “Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book” (2003).

Behind the scenes, Lee worked to foster a different kind of collaborative process with his artists.

Traditionally, comics were drawn from a screenplay-like script provided by the writer. Instead, Lee said, he would offer his artists plot ideas and brainstorm with them. The artists would then draw the story, and he would later fill in dialogue and text.

Artists in his “bullpen,” where the artists worked in proximity to each other and to him, were much more involved in the creative process. This became known as the Marvel Method.

He crisscrossed the country as a popular college speaker, visiting campus chapters of the official fan clubs he founded, the Merry Marvel Marching Society and later the Friends of Ol’ Marvel. Marvel became – and remains – one of the best-selling comic book companies in the country. In 2009, the Walt Disney Co. reached an agreement to acquire Marvel Entertainment in a deal worth more than $4 billion.

Lee has been criticized for not doing enough to acknowledge Kirby and Ditko’s roles in creating Marvel’s most popular characters. Marvel publicity and press coverage frequently played up Lee’s role and minimized his collaborators.

They were minimized legally, as well. Historically, none of the creators had any ownership rights, not even Lee. Because there were no royalties, comic artists often struggled financially after they stopped working.

In the 1970s, Kirby attempted to get back some of his original artwork to help support his family and sued. Lee, who was Marvel’s public face, refrained from taking an active role in the case. An elderly Kirby eventually received some of the art, years later, after agreeing to relinquish all claim to copyright.

Kirby and Lee had a falling-out. Kirby died in 1994.

“I made whatever I made because I was the editor . . . and I was the publisher and one-time president and chairman of the company,” Lee told The Post in 2012. “I was the scriptwriter. I made no more money than Jack, and at times he made more than I did. … If it hadn’t been for those other guys – like [comic-book artist] John Romita [Sr.] – who took over so many of the [comics], I don’t think these comics” would be as popular today.

“Jack was great, and I have taken pains to say over and over again what a great collaborator he was and how much he contributed,” Lee continued. “But even when he was alive, I was the guy doing the publicity. I was . . . the guy boosting Marvel on the front lines. Jack was the voice of Jack Kirby, and at times he left to work at D.C., and when it served his interests better he came back to Marvel.”

Stanley Martin Lieber was born in New York City on Dec. 28, 1922, the eldest son of Romanian Jewish immigrants. His father was a dress cutter who was frequently out of work.

Lee came by his pen name as a teenager. He claimed he changed his name not because of anti-Semitism, like many comic book artists, but because he wanted to preserve his real name to write a real book.

After graduating high school, Lee took a job with Timely Publications, a company that published Marvel and was owned by his cousin-in-law Martin Goodman. He was hired by Timely editor Joe Simon, who with Kirby co-created Captain America.

During World War II, Lee served in the Army and spent three years in New Jersey writing scripts for training films. After his discharge, he continued spinning out science-fiction and monster comics for Timely, which was renamed Atlas.

In 1947, he married Joan Boocock, a British hat model. Their daughter Jan died days after her birth in 1953. In June 2018, court documents showed that the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating claims of elder abuse against Lee. His circle of business partners and confidantes had shifted tumultuously since his wife, who often guarded his interests, died in 2017.

Survivors include another daughter, Joan Celia “J.C.” Lee; and a brother, comic book artist and writer Larry Lieber.

Lee credited with wife with pushing him to create the Fantastic Four instead of leaving Marvel in frustration at midcareer. His breakthrough against the industry’s self-imposed “Comics Code” came in 1971 when the government asked him to produce a Spider-Man story line that came down harshly on drug use.

The code had a zero-tolerance policy for drugs, even in a negative light, but Marvel ignored the regulations, published without the seal of approval and saw no change in sales. Comic books across the industry stopped following the code’s guidelines.

Lee moved from editor to publisher in 1972, and then moved to Hollywood around 1980, attempting with little success to attain cinematic respectability for his characters. The few projects that came to fruition, such as “Howard the Duck” (1986) and “The Punisher” (1989), were critical and commercial failures.

In 1999, Lee entered the Internet age with the company Stan Lee Media, which produced Web cartoons and briefly gave Lee a paper worth of $100 million. The company collapsed in 2001 amid allegations of a massive scam run by Lee’s partner, Peter Paul, who turned out to be a convicted felon. Paul fled to Brazil but eventually returned to the United States and pleaded guilty to securities fraud.

In 2002, “Spider-Man,” directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, opened at the box office and eventually grossed more than $800 million worldwide. Citing a previously ignored line in his contract, Lee sued Marvel for 10 percent of the profits in what he told Variety was “the friendliest lawsuit in the world.” He won the case in 2005. Retaining his lifetime contract with Marvel, he started a new comic company, P.O.W. (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment.

In 2008, he received the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given to artists by the U.S. government.

Lee, who has had cameos in many Marvel-based films, was known for an economy of humility. As a teenage boss at Marvel, he would sit on a file cabinet and yell, “I am God!” at his artists sitting below. In his memoir, he said, “If I may be totally candid, I’m my biggest fan.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Amnesty International Strips Aung San Suu Kyi Of Highest Honour


Aung San Suu Kyi’s tenure has been marred by a failure to speak up for Rohingya Muslims

London: 

Amnesty International on Monday stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour over the de facto Myanmar leader’s “indifference” to the atrocities committed by the military against Rohingya Muslims.

It was the latest in a string of awards the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner lost since Myanmar’s military drove 720,000 Rohingya out of the Buddhist majority country in what the United Nations has called an act of genocide.

The London-based global human rights organisation said it was revoking the Ambassador of Conscience Award it gave Suu Kyi in 2009 while she was still under house arrest.

“Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights,” Amnesty International chief Kumi Naidoo said in a letter to Suu Kyi released by the group.

“Amnesty International cannot justify your continued status as a recipient of the Ambassador of Conscience award and so with great sadness we are hereby withdrawing it from you.”

Amnesty said it informed the 73-year-old of the decision on Sunday. She has so far issued no public response.

Fallen icon

Suu Kyi was globally hailed as a freedom fighter who stood up to her country’s feared military junta while spending 15 years under house arrest.

Her plight received added attention when she was visited by Hillary Clinton when the two-time US presidential candidate was still Secretary of State in 2011.

Suu Kyi then reaffirmed her committment to working with the United States to bring democracy to her country of around 50 million people.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party swept to power in a 2015 landslide that brought hope of Myanmar correcting injustices inflicted over 50 years of brutal military rule.

But her tenure has been marred by a failure to speak up for Rohingya Muslims. Her government is also fighting an uphill struggle against corruption and local conflicts.

Amnesty said it believes thousands of Rohingyas were killed in Myanmar’s western Rakhine province since the campaign began August 2017.

Many more are thought to have been either tortured and raped.

Myanmar has justified the military’s actions as necessary to combat terrorism.

Amnesty conceded that the civilian government Suu Kyi informally heads does not directly control the powerful security services.

But it accused her of standing up for the crimes and “obstructing international investigations into abuses”.

It added that human rights campaigners and journalists continued to be detained and intimidated by the government since her party’s victory.

Suu Kyi was stripped of her honourary Canadian citizenship over her failure to speak up for the Rohingyas last month.

She has also lost numerous smaller awards from individual universities and local and regional governments.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

American Comic-Book Icon Stan Lee Dies At 95


Comic book icon Stan Lee had suffered a number of illnesses in recent years.

Los Angeles: 

Marvel legend Stan Lee, who revolutionized pop culture as the co-creator of iconic superheroes like Spider-Man and The Hulk who now dominate the world’s movie screens, has died. He was 95 years old.

Lee, the face of comic book culture in the United States, died early Monday in Los Angeles, according to US entertainment outlets including The Hollywood Reporter. He had suffered a number of illnesses in recent years.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Iran Sticking To Nuclear Deal Conditions, Says Nuclear Watchdog


According to the report, Iran’s stockpiles of low-enriched uranium is within the limits set by the JCPOA.

Vienna: 

Iran has been abiding by the terms of its nuclear deal with global powers, the latest report from the UN atomic watchdog indicated Monday, days after fresh US sanctions hit the country.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report showed that as of early November, Iran had been complying with the restrictions to its nuclear programme laid down in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Sweeping new American sanctions against Iran, which came into effect on 5 November, have raised fears about whether the deal can survive.

Some parts of the fieldwork in the report took place before the sanctions came into effect, but a senior diplomat with knowledge of the situation said there was “nothing that indicates that… cooperation from Iran or its attitude has changed since 5 November”.

The report said that as of November 4, Iran’s stockpiles of low-enriched uranium stood at 149.4kg, 10kg up from the time of its last report in August.

However, this is still well within the limits set by the JCPOA.

The agency repeated language which has appeared in two previous reports emphasising the importance of “timely and proactive cooperation in providing such access” on Iran’s part.

However, the senior diplomat suggested that this was meant less as an admonition to Iran than as encouragement to maintain the current level of cooperation.

‘Face Value’

The report makes no mention of recent claims made by Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran was harbouring a secret atomic warehouse.

The latest American sanctions aim to cut off Iran’s banks from international finance and significantly cut its oil exports.

Those have already fallen by up to one million barrels a day since May, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, branding it a “disaster”.

Iran’s economy was already reeling from the effect of US sanctions imposed earlier in the year. On Friday US National Security Advisor John Bolton warned that more sanctions were possible.

Iran has said the future of the JCPOA would be called into question if it no longer received the economic benefits of the deal.

The deal envisaged sanctions on Iran being lifted in return for it accepting IAEA inspections and limits on its nuclear activities.

The remaining five signatories to the JCPOA — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — have backed an EU effort to set up a special payment system in an attempt to continue trade and business ties with Iran.

However, some European companies have already pulled out of Iran. Earlier this month senior EU officials admitted that the mechanism was proving difficult to set up.



Source link

North Korea Operating At Least 13 Hidden Missile Bases: US Researchers


The missile bases are arranged in three belts across North Korea, according to the report

Washington: 

North Korea is operating at least 13 undeclared bases to hide mobile, nuclear-capable missiles, a new study released Monday has found, raising fresh doubts over US President Donald Trump’s signature foreign policy initiative.

Trump has hailed his June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as having opened the way to denuclearization of the divided peninsula, defusing tensions that less than a year ago brought the two countries to the brink of conflict.

Since the summit in Singapore, North Korea has halted nuclear and missile tests, dismantled a missile test site and promised to also break up the country’s main nuclear complex.

But researchers at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said they have located 13 missile operating bases that have not been declared by the government, and that there may be as many as 20.

“It’s not like these bases have been frozen,” Victor Cha, who leads CSIS’s North Korea program, told The New York Times, which first reported on the study.

“Work is continuing. What everybody is worried about is that Trump is going to accept a bad deal — they give us a single test site and dismantle a few other things, and in return they get a peace agreement.”

Cha had been in line for appointment as US ambassador, but was dropped because of disagreement with the Trump administration’s approach.

While US sanctions on North Korea remain in place, enforcement by traditional trading partners China and Russia has relaxed since the summit, US officials have acknowledged.

The bases, which are scattered across the country, are located in underground facilities tunneled in narrow mountain valleys, according to the researchers.

They are designed so that mobile missile launchers can quickly exit the underground facilities and move to previously prepared launch sites.  

The bases are arranged in three belts across North Korea, according to the report, with those for strategic missiles deep inside the country.

Medium-range missiles capable of striking Japan and all of South Korea reportedly are deployed in an operational belt 55 to 100 miles (90 to 150 kilometers) north of the demilitarized zone.

Shorter range missiles fit into a tactical belt 30 to 55 miles from the DMZ.

The report included a detailed profile of one such tactical missile operating base, illustrated with commercial satellite imagery, that is just 84 miles northwest of Seoul.

Led by Joseph Bermudez, an authority of North Korea, the researchers’ findings were based on satellite imagery, defector interviews and interviews with intelligence and government officials.

Trump has said he hopes to meet again soon with Kim, but there are signs of friction in the negotiations with North Korean officials.



Source link

Homes Of Gerard Butler, Miley Cyrus Destroyed In California Wildfire


Gerard Butler posted a pic of his burnt house on Twitter.

San Francisco: 

Hollywood celebrities Miley Cyrus and Gerard Butler have completely lost their homes in the raging California wildfire, which has left filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s home partially damaged.

Cyrus took to Twitter on Sunday to spare a moment to share prayers for the victims.

“Completely devastated by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and love of my life made it out safely and that’s all that matters right now.

“My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family and friends stand strong. I am grateful for all I have left. Sending so much love and gratitude to the firefighters and LA country Sheriff’s department,” Cyrus wrote.

The singer urged people to donate resources and supplies to firefighters as it will help them in combating the fire.

“All I have left. Sending so much love and gratitude to the firefighters and LA country Sheriff’s department… Donate $, time, supplies. I love you more than ever,” Cyrus added.

Butler said it is a “heartbreaking time across California”. 

“Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters,” Butler tweeted.

Giving update about his Bleak House, filmmaker Guillermo del said that his house was affected by minor smoke damage.

“Toro Bleak House (I am told this morning) seems to be fine. Just minor smoke damage. I am aware about how much this fire has taken, how much has been lost – this is humbling and a blessing.”

The wildfire has been spreading through northern California since last week, displacing several people and animals.



Source link

Tulsi Gabbard, First Hindu US Lawmaker, Could Run For President In 2020


Tulsi Gabbard could become the 1st Hindu candidate from a major party to enter the race for White House

Washington: 

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, is considering to run for American presidency in 2020, according to sources close to her.

On Friday, at a Medtronic conference in Los Angeles an eminent Indian-American, Dr Sampat Shivangi, introduced Tulsi Gabbard, 37, and said that she could be the next president of the United States in 2020. The brief statement was marked by a standing ovation, in the presence of the four-term Congresswoman from Hawaii.

Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat, who addressed the gathering, however neither confirmed or denied that she is running for president in 2020.

A decision on this could be taken before Christmas, which might not necessarily result in a formal announcement as that could be delayed till the next year, people familiar with her thinking process told news agency PTI.

However, it is said that she and her team have quietly been reaching out to prospective donors, including a large number of Indian-Americans, and volunteers to build an impressive campaign for her 2020 run.

Given that Tulsi Gabbard is highly popular among Indian-Americans, a constituency she has nurtured from the very beginning of her political carrier, it is but natural that her team has quietly started reaching out to this community, which is considered as the richest ethnic group after the Jewish-Americans. And in many critical states, Indian-Americans can play an important role in her electoral chances.

If Tulsi Gabbard declares her presidential bid she would be the first Hindu candidate ever from a major political party to announce to enter the race for White House. And if elected in 2020, she could be the youngest ever and first woman to be elected as the US president.

Last week Ms Gabbard was elected for the fourth term for the US House of Representatives.

Notably, Dr Shivangi is a Republican and has been the party’s delegate for the past several presidential conventions. However, he had held fund raisers for Ms Gabbard when she ran for the Congress for the first time in 2012. She was the first US lawmaker to take her oath on Bhagwat Gita.

A former vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Ms Gabbard currently serves on powerful House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee. She is also the Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional India Caucus.

“She has been a fresh voice in the Democratic Party, with her support for US-India relations, her opposition to the war in Iraq, her opposition to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and her more recent vigorous opposition to among the rebels in Syria,” Dr Shivangi said.

The 2020 presidential primary cycle is scheduled to kick off from the Iowa Caucuses on February 3, 2020, followed by the New Hampshire Primary on February 11, Nevada caucus of February 15 and South Carolina on February 22. Team Tulsi has been reaching out to people in these four States.

President Donald Trump is all set to seek his re-election in 2020, none of the Democratic candidates have announced their bid yet. The Democratic race is expected to be crowded by the summer of 2019.

Among those Democrats speculated to run for the 2020 primaries include former vice president Joe Biden, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Tim Kaine and Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris.

Amid the clamor of Trump headlines and focus on higher-profile candidates, Ms Gabbard has been quietly making the traditional moves of a presidential candidate. She recently visited Iowa, where locals urged her to run for president, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen. She keynoted a progressive gathering in New Hampshire in September. And she’s writing a book due out this spring titled, “Is Today the Day?: Not Another Political Memoir,” Politico reported last month.
 



Source link

Israeli Air Strikes Target Gaza Strip After Rocket Fire


Jerusalem: 

Israel’s military said it was carrying out air strikes “throughout the Gaza Strip” on Monday after rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave towards its territory.

A number of rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, AFP journalists said, while Israel’s army said an Israeli bus was hit by fire from the Palestinian enclave. It was not clear if there were injuries.

The flare-up follows a clash that erupted during an Israeli special forces operation in the Gaza Strip late Sunday that killed eight people. Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, had vowed revenge.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Topless Femen Activists Greet US President Amid Protests In Paris


Members of feminist movement Femen with policemen after protests in Paris on Sunday.

President Donald Trump’s black stretch limousine was approaching the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday when a topless woman ran into the rainy street. With her long brown hair flowing down her back, she held up her arms outstretched in a gesture of victory. Though nearly impossible to make out, the words, “FAKE PEACEMAKERS,” were scrawled across her torso with black paint. She writhed and struggled to break loose as three police officers dragged her away.

Few were surprised when the radical feminist group Femen took credit, explaining on its website that it was protesting world leaders it considers war criminals. The Paris-based group, whose members have been described as “feminist terrorists” and “the naked shock troops of feminism” by one of its founders, has a history of pulling similar actions. Though once little-known outside of Europe, the group recently made headlines in U.S. media by protesting outside Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault retrial and disrupting a jazz concert featuring Woody Allen.

Femen’s methods are fairly straightforward: Topless women in flower crowns, their bodies painted like protest signs, disrupt public events by yelling feminist slogans and throwing their bodies at politicians and church leaders. The protests are generally only a few seconds long, since the activists are quickly escorted out of sight or arrested. But the resulting photographs of half-naked women being dragged away by police makes for compelling imagery. On its website, Femen describes the group’s members as a “modern incarnation of fearless and free Amazons,” using their bodies to protest the patriarchy.

Femen was founded in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2008 by young women frustrated that they seemed to have few options in life besides becoming a housewife or working as prostitutes, Inna Shevchenko, one of the group’s leaders, told The Guardian. In its early years, the group was largely focused on opposing Ukraine’s burgeoning sex trade. While protesting topless might seem to contradict the group’s anti-exploitation stance, Femen’s leaders argued that they were deploying their bodies as weapons.

“We are not making sexy sounds, we are screaming as much as we can with our political demands, we’re not showing a passive smiling body, we’re showing an aggressive, screaming body,” Shevchenko told the Guardian. “My body is always saying something. I use it as a small poster to write my political demand.”

Shevchenko fled Ukraine for France in 2012 after she chopped down a crucifix with a chain saw and began receiving death threats. Several other Femen members joined her, applying for political asylum in France and subsequently working to rebuild Femen as an international protest group focused on opposing sexism, oppression, and authoritarianism. All of the group’s founding members were living in exile by 2013, according to the Paris Review.

“Each Femen demonstration is contrived to shock, generate publicity, and come off well on camera,” the Atlantic noted in 2013. “Though in theory any woman may join, almost all the activists are 20-something, fit, and attractive. In protest-spirited France, they quickly became media darlings.”

Calling themselves “sextremists,” Femen targeted, among others, Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Russian Orthodox church, Putin and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. They even disrupted Paris Fashion Week, jumping onto the runway at a 2013 Nina Ricci show.

As the group gained fame, their feminist bona fides came under scrutiny. A 2013 documentary, “Ukraine is not a Brothel,” argued that a man named Victor Svyatski, who had previously been described as a consultant to the group, had actually been integral to its founding and had masterminded many of the attention-grabbing stunts. “These girls are weak,” Svyatski told the documentary producers.

Shevchenko acknowledged that Svyatski had taken control of the movement, though she disputed the claim that he had founded Femen. “Having been born in a country in which feminism was unknown, in the best traditions of patriarchal society we just accepted the fact of a man taking control of us,” she wrote in a 2013 Guardian op-ed. “We accepted this because we did not know how to resist and fight it.” Realizing that sexism had infiltrated the organization was part of what motivated her to leave Ukraine for France and start over, she added.

Femen’s members consider atheism to be a fundamental tenet of the group’s ideology. Along with an end to the sex industry, the list of demands on its website includes the “immediate political deposition of all dictatorial regimes creating unbearable living conditions for women,” starting with “theocratic Islamic states practicing Shari’ah.” Femen has protested the compulsory hijab, angering Muslim feminists who point out that many Islamic women wear the hijab voluntarily as an expression of their religious beliefs.

“The idea of a Muslim feminist is oxymoronic,” Shevchenko told the Atlantic in 2013.

Comments like these have led to charges that Femen is anti-Muslim and that its members have a white savior complex. Amina Sboui, a Tunisian activist who faced death threats after she posted a topless photo on Facebook, quit the group in 2013, saying that she didn’t want to be associated with an Islamophobic organization. Sboui had been jailed that year for painting the group’s name on a cemetery wall, and Femen had held protests outside the Tunisian Embassy in France to demand her release. But after she was freed, Sboui told HuffPost that the group’s efforts had been counterproductive.

“I did not appreciate the action taken by the girls shouting ‘Amina Akbar, Femen Akbar’ in front of the Tunisian embassy in France, or when they burned the black Tawhid flag in front of a mosque in Paris,” she said. “These actions offended many Muslims and many of my friends. We must respect everyone’s religion.”

In recent years, Femen has broadened its choice of targets, aiming its guerrilla tactics at American public figures like Allen, Cosby, and Trump. Sunday’s protest, the group said, was intended to call out Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as Trump for turning Armistice Day into “a funny performance that is only entertaining for those participating criminals.”

“Our activists have once again been arrested,” the group said in a statement. “Yesterday, they spent 10 hours in custody, and they have been charged for sexual exhibition. But this is only reinforcing our determination. Our fight is legitimate.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

China Displays J-20 Jet's Missiles For The First Time At Airshow: Report


Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter jets of Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force. (Reuters)

Shanghai: 

China has shown the missiles in its advanced J-20 stealth fighter jet to the public for the first time at its largest airshow, the Global Times newspaper reported on Monday.

The newspaper said two J-20 fighter jets opened their missile bay doors during a flypast on Monday, revealing that each jet had four missiles in its fuselage and one on either side of the aircraft.

Citing Chinese experts, the newspaper said the demonstration, which came on the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Air Force, displayed the J-20’s superiority to the top U.S. fighter jets, the F-22 and F-35, as well as the PLA’s growing confidence.

It also quoted military expert Song Zhongping as saying the four missiles in the J-20’s fuselage were long-range air-to-air missiles, while the two on the sides were short-range combat missiles meant for aerial combat.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

More Than 200 Still Missing In California's Deadliest Wildfire


In southern California, the fire has scorched at least 85,500 acres and destroyed 177 structures (File)

More than 200 people were missing early on Monday in California’s deadliest and most destructive blaze on record, one of two fires raging in the state which have killed at least 31 people and forced more than a quarter of a million evacuations.

The so-called Camp Fire 40 miles northwest of Sacramento burned down more than 6,700 homes and businesses in the town of Paradise, more structures than any other wildfire recorded in California.

The fire had burned more than 111,000 acres and was 25 percent contained by late Sunday, officials said. Its death toll of 29 now equals that of the Griffith Park Fire in 1933, the deadliest wildfire on record in California.

At least 228 people were still missing, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

In southern California, the Woolsey Fire has scorched at least 85,500 acres and destroyed 177 structures. The blaze was only 15 percent contained. At least two people have died in that fire, according to officials from the statewide agency Cal Fire.

The blaze has forced the authorities to issue evacuation orders for a quarter million people in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and beachside communities including the Malibu beach colony.

Celebrities at the People’s Choice Awards Sunday night in Santa Monica, Ca., asked for prayers and donations for residents and first responders.

Reality television star Kim Kardashian said, ‘It’s been a really rough week in our home in Calabasas, Hidden Hills and our neighbors in Thousand Oaks and Malibu.”

Actor Melissa McCarthy said, “Please keep the victims, volunteers and firefighters in your thoughts.” She also asked people to donate to the Los Angeles fire Department Foundation.

Hot, dry winds were expected to whip up the fires burning in both tinder-dry southern and northern California until Tuesday, officials said.

Officials urged residents to heed evacuation orders.

“Winds are already blowing,” Chief Daryl Osby of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Sunday. “They are going to blow for the next three days. Your house can be rebuilt but you can’t bring your life back.”

Governor Jerry Brown asked U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster to bolster the emergency response and help residents recover.

Trump has criticized the California government in Tweets this weekend, blaming poor forest management for the infernos.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Cops Among 6 Killed In Suicide Attack Near Police Checkpoint In Kabul


Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of a blast in Kabul on Monday.

Kabul: 

A suicide bomber blew himself up in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday, killing at least six people near a police checkpoint, including policemen, officials said, but no terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility.

Six people were killed in the explosion, said Najib Danish, a spokesman for the interior ministry. Ten policemen and civilians, including women, were injured in the blast.

The attacker on foot detonated his suicide vest close to the checkpoint near a school in central Kabul, which is in the same area as the finance and justice ministries and close to the presidential palace.

Police spokesman Basir Mujahid said he was about 20 m away from the blast, near where a demonstration had broken up some 30 minutes before.

“I took four bodies away but there were more on the ground,” he said, without giving further details.

The attack came as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Kabul to protest against the government’s failure to prevent attacks by Taliban terrorists in two provinces.

Afghan security forces suffered scores of casualties in heavy fighting at the weekend with Taliban terrorists in the provinces of Ghazni and Herat, officials have said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Cut Output By One Million Barrels Per Day, Saudi Minister Tells Countries


Oil lost almost a fifth of its value over the past month due to oversupply (Representational)

Abu Dhabi: 

Oil producing countries should cut output by one million barrels per day to re-balance the market, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said Monday, following a drop in crude prices.

“The technical analysis we reviewed yesterday shows that we need a reduction approaching one million bpd to balance the market,” Khalid al-Falih told an energy conference in Abu Dhabi.

Falih said Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil supplier, will cut its production by 500,000 bpd as of next month to help stabilise the market.

Oil lost almost a fifth of its value over the past month due to oversupply and signs of a softer-than-expected impact from US sanctions on Iranian crude exports.

Major producers, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, on Sunday warned that crude supply would outstrip demand next year at a joint OPEC non-OPEC ministerial monitoring committee meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Falih on Monday said there had been a marked buildup in inventories, adding that “the 25 producers will not allow this to continue” and that there were “signals” they would do “whatever it takes to balance the market”.

OPEC and non-OPEC energy ministers are due to meet in early December in Vienna to assess the global market.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

69% Pakistanis Between Ages 15 To 65 Don't Know What Internet Is: Survey


Among internet users, urban-rural gap in Pakistan was relatively small- 13 per cent (Representational)

Islamabad: 

Around 69 per cent Pakistanis between the ages of 15 and 65 do not know what the internet is, an information communication technology (ICT)-based survey has revealed.

The survey was conducted by LirneAsia, a think-tank based in Sri Lanka that carries out ICT research, Dawn news reported on Monday.

The report is based on a survey of 2,000 households in Pakistan.

LirneAsia claims that the sampling methodology was designed to ensure representation of 98 per cent target population aged 15 to 65 at a national level.

Conducted between October-December 2017, this demand side survey helps understand how users use or do not use ICT services.

“The 152 million active cellular subscribers mentioned on Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) website, despite a good SIM registration system, tell nothing about the subscribers – whether they are men and women, rich or poor and does not really help understand access and usage gaps,” LinreAsia CEO Helani Galpaya said in the report.

The study points out that lack of internet awareness is a considerable problem across Asian countries, including Pakistan, where just 30 per cent of the population in the age group of 15-65 is aware of the internet (they were asked if they use the ‘internet’ without explaining what it is).

Some 17 per cent claimed that they used it. Among non-users, the key reason for not using the internet was lack of awareness about it.

Among internet users, the urban-rural gap in Pakistan was relatively small – 13 per cent – in fact the lowest seen in the Asian survey countries.

Pakistani women were 43 per cent less likely to use the internet than men, though this was smaller than the Indian internet gender gap which was 57 per cent and 62 per cent in Bangladesh.

The report particularly sheds light on the “pretty” low (22 per cent) users of smart mobile phones together with the 25 per cent who have feature phones with internet capability.

“The rest of the 53 per cent have no internet capability on their phones. It is time to get smart phones into the hands of the people and basic phones out,” Galpaya added.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) did not react to the findings of the report that contradict its claims of maximum tele-density in the country.

PTA maintained that the survey by the private organisation presented a dismal picture of the tele-density in Pakistan.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Explosion In Afghanistan's Kabul, Say Witnesses


There was no immediate word on the blast’s cause or casualties. (Representational)

Kabul: 

An explosion was heard in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday, Reuters witnesses said, but there was no immediate word on its cause or if it had inflicted any casualties.

The explosion came as Afghan security forces have been suffering scores of casualties in heavy fighting with Taliban militants in two provinces.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

South Korea Gifts Tangerines To Pyongyang In Return For Mushrooms


A South Korean military transport aircraft is loaded with tangerines bound for North Korea. (AFP)

Seoul: 

South Korea has sent 200 tonnes of tangerines to the North in return for mushrooms Pyongyang gave earlier, Seoul said Monday, in the latest reconciliatory gesture between the neighbours.

Seoul is pushing ahead with a rapprochement with the nuclear-armed North while its security ally the US insists pressure on Pyongyang should be maintained until it denuclearises.

The tangerines — a rarity in the North — were being airlifted to Pyongyang from the southern island of Jeju, where they were grown, in four flights, the last one due Monday afternoon.

The fruits reciprocate two tonnes of pine mushrooms sent by the North’s leader Kim Jong Un during his September summit with the South’s President Moon Jae-in, Seoul’s presidential office said.

The pine mushrooms — a delicacy claimed to help prevent heart diseases and diabetes, and a key Northern export to China — were distributed to Southern families separated from relatives in the North.

“Tangerines are a speciality of the South that ordinary North Koreans normally don’t have access to,” Moon’s spokesman said Sunday.

His office did not elaborate on the fruits’ value but local media, citing local tangerine prices, estimated it at about 400 to 500 million won ($350,000-$440,000).

Opposition politicians were critical.

“This action runs counter to the current atmosphere of the international community,” Liberty Korea Party floor leader Song Hee-kyung said in a statement.

“South Koreans are sick and tired of such sentimental moves.”

Moon — a dovish leader who advocates dialogue with the North to nudge it toward denuclearisation negotiations — has met Kim three times so far and is seeking to hold another summit in Seoul in the near future.

Kim also gave Moon a pair of North Korean indigenous hunting dogs after the September summit — one of which gave birth to six puppies on Friday, according to the South Korean leader.

“The gift of two dogs now grew to six more dogs. It’s a good fortune for us,” Moon said on Facebook on Monday, adding: “I hope inter-Korea ties will also be like this.”

But the peace push has increasingly met with scepticism at home and abroad as denuclearisation talks between Pyongyang and Washington falter.

North Korea last week asked for a planned meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim’s right-hand man Kim Yong Chol to be delayed.

No clear explanation was given, but Pyongyang is demanding sanctions imposed on it over its weapons programmes are eased while the Washington insists that they should stay in place until the North denuclearises.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

France's Macron, Tech Giants Launch "Paris Call" To Regulate Internet


President Emmanuel Macron hopes to promote his push for stronger global cooperation (File)

Paris: 

France and U.S. technology giants including Microsoft on Monday urged world governments and companies to sign up to a new initiative to regulate the internet and fight threats such as cyber attacks, online censorship and hate speech.

With the launch of a declaration entitled the ‘Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace’, French President Emmanuel Macron is hoping to revive efforts to regulate cyberspace after the last round of United Nations negotiations failed in 2017.

In the document, which is supported by many European countries but, crucially, not China or Russia, the signatories urge governments to beef up protections against cyber meddling in elections and prevent the theft of trade secrets.

The Paris call was initially pushed for by tech companies but was redrafted by French officials to include work done by U.N. experts in recent years.

“The internet is a space currently managed by a technical community of private players. But it’s not governed. So now that half of humanity is online, we need to find new ways to organise the internet,” an official from Macron’s office said.

“Otherwise, the internet as we know it today- free, open and secure- will be damaged by the new threats.”

By launching the initiative a day after a weekend of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of World War One, Macron hopes to promote his push for stronger global cooperation in the face of rising nationalism.

In another sign of the Trump administration’s reluctance to join international initiatives it sees as a bid to encroach on U.S. sovereignty, French officials said Washington might not become a signatory, though talks are continuing.

However, they said large U.S. tech companies including Facebook and Alphabet’s Google would sign up.

“The American ecosystem is very involved. It doesn’t mean that in the end the U.S. federal government won’t join us, talks are continuing, but the U.S. will be involved under other forms,” another French official said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Indian-American Tulsi Gabbard May Run For US Presidency In 2020: Sources


Tulsi Gabbard could become the 1st Hindu candidate from a major party to enter the race for White House

Washington: 

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, is considering to run for American presidency in 2020, according to sources close to her.

On Friday, at a Medtronic conference in Los Angeles an eminent Indian-American, Dr Sampat Shivangi, introduced Tulsi Gabbard, 37, and said that she could be the next president of the United States in 2020. The brief statement was marked by a standing ovation, in the presence of the four-term Congresswoman from Hawaii.

Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat, who addressed the gathering, however neither confirmed or denied that she is running for president in 2020.

A decision on this could be taken before Christmas, which might not necessarily result in a formal announcement as that could be delayed till the next year, people familiar with her thinking process told news agency PTI.

However, it is said that she and her team have quietly been reaching out to prospective donors, including a large number of Indian-Americans, and volunteers to build an impressive campaign for her 2020 run.

Given that Tulsi Gabbard is highly popular among Indian-Americans, a constituency she has nurtured from the very beginning of her political carrier, it is but natural that her team has quietly started reaching out to this community, which is considered as the richest ethnic group after the Jewish-Americans. And in many critical states, Indian-Americans can play an important role in her electoral chances.

If Tulsi Gabbard declares her presidential bid she would be the first Hindu candidate ever from a major political party to announce to enter the race for White House. And if elected in 2020, she could be the youngest ever and first woman to be elected as the US president.

Last week Ms Gabbard was elected for the fourth term for the US House of Representatives.

Notably, Dr Shivangi is a Republican and has been the party’s delegate for the past several presidential conventions. However, he had held fund raisers for Ms Gabbard when she ran for the Congress for the first time in 2012. She was the first US lawmaker to take her oath on Bhagwat Gita.

A former vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Ms Gabbard currently serves on powerful House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee. She is also the Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional India Caucus.

“She has been a fresh voice in the Democratic Party, with her support for US-India relations, her opposition to the war in Iraq, her opposition to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and her more recent vigorous opposition to among the rebels in Syria,” Dr Shivangi said.

The 2020 presidential primary cycle is scheduled to kick off from the Iowa Caucuses on February 3, 2020, followed by the New Hampshire Primary on February 11, Nevada caucus of February 15 and South Carolina on February 22. Team Tulsi has been reaching out to people in these four States.

President Donald Trump is all set to seek his re-election in 2020, none of the Democratic candidates have announced their bid yet. The Democratic race is expected to be crowded by the summer of 2019.

Among those Democrats speculated to run for the 2020 primaries include former vice president Joe Biden, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Tim Kaine and Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris.

Amid the clamor of Trump headlines and focus on higher-profile candidates, Ms Gabbard has been quietly making the traditional moves of a presidential candidate. She recently visited Iowa, where locals urged her to run for president, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen. She keynoted a progressive gathering in New Hampshire in September. And she’s writing a book due out this spring titled, “Is Today the Day?: Not Another Political Memoir,” Politico reported last month.
 



Source link

Bangladesh Elections Deferred By A Week, To Be Held On December 30


Bangladesh people watch television as Chief Election Commissioner Nurul Huda addresses the nation. (AFP)

Dhaka: 

Bangladesh will defer its general election by a week to December 30, the country’s chief election commissioner said on Monday, following requests from several opposition parties to give them more time to prepare.

Last week, the Election Commission had announced that the country would go to the polls on December 23.

“At the request of several political parties the date of general election is deferred by a week to December 30 instead of 23,” KM Nurul Huda, the chief election commissioner, said at an event in Dhaka.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Saudi Officials Close To Crown Prince Discussed Killing Enemies: Report


Saudi officials have considered assassinations since the beginning of Prince Mohammed’s ascent. (File)

New York: 

Top Saudi intelligence officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked a small group of businessmen last year about using private companies to assassinate enemies of the Kingdom, The New York Times reported.

The Saudis inquired at a time when Prince Mohammed, then deputy crown prince and defence minister, was consolidating power and directing his advisers to escalate military and intelligence operations outside the Kingdom, sources told The Times on Sunday.

Their discussions, more than a year before the killing of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, indicate that top Saudi officials have considered assassinations since the beginning of Prince Mohammed’s ascent.

Saudi officials have portrayed Mr Khashoggi’s death as a rogue killing ordered by an official who has since been fired.

But that official, Major General Ahmed al-Assiri, was present for a meeting in March 2017 in Riyadh where the businessmen pitched a $2 billion plan to use private intelligence operatives to try to sabotage the Iranian economy, the sources said.

During the discussion, part of a series of meetings where the men tried to win Saudi funding for their plan, General Assiri’s top aides inquired about killing Qassim Suleimani, the leader of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and a man considered a determined enemy of Saudi Arabia.

George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, arranged the meeting.

He had previously met with Prince Mohammed, and pitched the Iran plan to Trump White House officials.

Another participant in the meetings was Joel Zamel, an Israeli with deep ties to his country’s intelligence and security agencies.

Both Mr Nader and Mr Zamel are witnesses in the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and prosecutors have asked them about their discussions with American and Saudi officials about the Iran proposal, The New York Times reported.

General Assiri was dismissed last month when the Saudi government acknowledged Khashoggi’s killing and said he had organised the operation.

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government had handed over a recording of Khashoggi’s killing to the US, Saudi Arabia, Britain and France, pressuring President Donald Trump to more harshly punish the Saudis over the murder.



Source link

"Wanted To Beat Him With Chair," Says Fox News Host, Seen In Bar Scuffle


In a statement released by attorney Michael Avenatti, a country club patron said he may pursue criminal charges against Tucker Carlson after cellphone video showed the Fox News host appearing to threaten him during a scuffle at the bar.

“You better get the f— out of here!” Carlson yells repeatedly in the Oct. 13 video as Juan Manuel Granados sits at the Farmington Country Club bar in Charlottesville, Virginia. A moment later, an unidentified man standing with Carlson grabs Granados by his collar and appears to yank him up from his seat, at which point bystanders break up the confrontation.

Carlson has not disputed that the incident took place – and even volunteered that his son threw a glass of wine in Granados’ face just before the video began. But the conservative news host denied assaulting Granados and accused him of provoking the scuffle by insulting Carlson’s daughter.

“It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do,” Carlson wrote in a statement to reporters this weekend, after Avenatti published the video on Twitter.

In Carlson’s version of events, he was having dinner at the club with two of his adult children and some friends on Oct 13.

“Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend,” he said in his statement, which Mediaite and other outlets obtained from Fox News. “On their way back through the bar, a middle-aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson.”

Upon learning she was the conservative commentator’s daughter, Carlson said, “The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ ” and called her a misogynistic slur.

The woman returned to the table crying, according to Carlson. He and his son got up to confront Granados at the bar. “My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did,” reads his statement, which did not directly address the scene in the cellphone video.

Avenatti, who is known for representing accusers of President Donald Trump and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, called Carlson’s statement “an absolute lie.”

He subsequently released contradictory statements from Granados and two unnamed people he said witnessed the altercation.

In his version, Granados was sitting with a group of friends at the bar and noticed that a woman from Carlson’s table kept walking back and forth to order drinks.

“She was intoxicated,” Avenatti said. He said Granados had been drinking, too, and finally told the woman, without realizing she was Carlson’s daughter: “I can’t believe you’re having dinner with him.”

Granados immigrated to the United States from Buenos Aires, according to his biography at the Women’s Initiative – a mental health provider where he sits on the board of directors. He’s also an LGBTQ rights volunteer in Charlottesville – where a protester was killed at a white nationalist rally last year. Granados sued a sports club several years ago when it refused to give him, his partner and their son a family membership, resulting in a policy change after more than 200,000 people signed a petition to support the “gay dads.”

Carlson is, if not the polar opposite of Granados, at least a few time zones away across the ideological landscape. Gay rights groups have repeatedly accused him of mocking their causes on his highly rated Fox News show. He has warned against the supposed danger of “diversity” and demographic changes, as Politico noted. Earlier this month, a group of antifascists allegedly surrounded his house, beat on his door and terrorized his wife.

Granados would hardly be the first person this year to mix politics and public dining. But in a statement released Sunday through his attorney, he denied insulting Carlson’s daughter and making her cry.

“I NEVER called any member of his family any names,” Granados said. “I never attacked his daughter as Tucker claims. … Tucker has created this story out of thin air – it never happened.”

Rather, Granados said that Carlson, his son and a third man walked over to the bar after Carlson’s daughter complained to them. Everyone seems to agree that Carlson’s son doused Granados with wine. Avenatti said Granados doused the son with a drink in retaliation, at which point things really got ugly.

“Tucker threatened me with physical violence and told me to ‘Go back to where you came from,’ before another patron started filming,” Granados said in his statement.

The brief video Avenatti posted this weekend does not show Carlson telling Granados to return to his home country – though the Fox News host repeatedly curses and orders him to leave the restaurant.

Granados’ replies can’t be heard in the video. Avenatti sent The Washington Post a statement he said was written by an eyewitness who heard Granados tell Carlson: “I’m not leaving. I live here.” The lawyer declined to identify the person who wrote the statement, so The Post cannot verify it.

Avenatti said he is trying to identify the man who grabs Granados’ collar near the end of the video.

“Hey! Hey!” an onlooker yells as the man yanks at Granados’ clothing. “Please! There’s no excuse for violence.”

The collar-grabber turns toward the camera: “You’re not going to defend that guy. You see what he did?”

“I’m just saying there’s no need for violence,” the onlooker repeats.

The conversation is obscured by the sounds of commotion and clinking silverware, but the man appears to say “there will be” before everyone is ushered away from the bar.

Avenatti said he intends to file a complaint of assault and battery against the man and complaints of violent threats against Carlson and his son. Fox News has not replied to a request for comment on the accusations.

“I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger,” Carlson wrote in his statement this weekend. “But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son.”

Nor, he said, did he know anything about Granados’ ethnicity or sexual orientation before the incident – “not that it would have mattered.”

Carlson said he complained to management at the country club immediately afterward, and Granados’ membership was revoked after a three-week investigation.

In a statement to The Post, the club’s management declined to comment on the investigation but disputed “inaccurate allegations being spread by individuals who were not present during the incident, and whose interpretation of events are refuted by the accounts of multiple eyewitnesses.”

The club did not identify the witnesses its investigators spoke to. Neither did Avenatti, who provided statements from two people he said were at the bar and never heard Granados insult Carlson’s daughter.

Avenatti did confirm that his client’s membership was revoked last week. He blamed Carlson.

“There’s no question he’s attempting to use his notoriety and influence to have this man excluded from the club,” the lawyer said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Yemen Clashes Leave 149 Dead In 24 Hours, Say Officials


Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida. (AFP)

Hodeida: 

At least 149 people including civilians were killed in 24 hours of clashes between government loyalists and rebels in Yemen’s flashpoint city of Hodeida, medics and military sources said Monday.

A military source in Hodeida confirmed seven civilians had died in the key port city, without giving further details.

Medics in hospitals across Hodeida reported 110 Huthi rebels and 32 loyalist fighters killed overnight. Military sources confirmed that a Saudi-led pro-government alliance had targeted the rebels with multiple air strikes.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Facebook Fired Oculus VR Co-Founder Because He Supported Trump: Report


Washington: 

Facebook’s firing of Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey last year was reportedly on the grounds of him supporting US President Donald Trump, a media report has said.

According to a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday, Luckey was asked to leave after he donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group during the 2016 US presidential elections.

“His donation sparked a backlash from his colleagues. Six months later, he was out,” the report added. Facebook had acquired Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. Luckey never revealed why he left Facebook.

The WSJ spoke with people familiar with the matter, who said Luckey’s support for Trump upset several at Facebook, as well as many in the Silicon Valley.

“Luckey’s ouster from Facebook was a harbinger of battles that have broken out over the past year over the overwhelmingly liberal culture of Silicon Valley, which has given the tech industry public-relations headaches and brought unwanted attention from Washington,” the report noted.

While testifying before Congress about data privacy earlier in 2018 though, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied Luckey’s departure had anything to do with politics.

Reacting to the WSJ report, Facebook said details about specific personnel are kept strictly confidential.

“We always made it clear that any mention of politics was up to Palmer, and we did not pressure him to say something that was not factual or true,” Quartz reported, citing a Facebook statement.

In October, Luckey said his exit from Facebook was not of his own choosing.

“I can’t talk about it too much, but I’ll say that it wasn’t my choice to leave,” Luckey told CNBC.

Luckey left Facebook amid controversy surrounding his political contributions and financial support of far-right groups.

Another Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe also announced to leave the social networking giant in October.

“So much has happened since the day we founded Oculus in July 2012. I never could have imagined how much we would accomplish and how far we would come. And now, after six incredible years, I am moving on,” Iribe said in a Facebook post.

Several key Facebook executives have quit over the last months.

The Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left the company in September.

Zukerberg’s goal to monetise WhatsApp forced the mobile messaging service’s co-founders also to leave.

One of them, Brian Acton, told Forbes that Zuckerberg was in a rush to make money from the messaging service and undermine elements of its encryption technology.

WhatsApp Co-founder Jan Koum left Facebook in April.



Source link

US Navy Fighter Jet Crashes In Philippine Sea, Pilots Rescued


The crash is being investigated, says US Navy. (Representational)

Tokyo: 

A U.S. F/A 18 fighter jet crashed in the Philippine Sea on Monday after experiencing mechanical trouble during routine operations, the Navy said in a statement.

Both pilots were immediately rescued and are in good condition, it said, adding that the crash was being investigated.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Sri Lanka's Political Parties Challenge Dissolution Of Parliament In SC


Sri Lanka has been gripped by an unprecedented constitutional crisis. (AFP)

Colombo: 

Sri Lanka’s main parties on Monday challenged in the highest court the president’s sacking of parliament, a move which has escalated a political crisis and deepened international alarm.

President Maithripala Sirisena late Friday called snap elections for January 5 and dismissed parliament, two weeks after sacking the prime minister and installing the divisive Mahinda Rajapakse in his place.

Three parties, which together enjoy an absolute majority in the assembly, on Monday asked the Supreme Court to declare the president’s actions as illegal.

Sacked premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), the main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the leftist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, were among 10 groups that filed the action, officials said.

“The petitions were accepted this morning and it is up to the Chief Justice to decide when it will be taken up for hearing,” a court official said.

He said several civil society groups and individuals too had submitted separate petitions, all seeking a declaration against the presidential action against the legislature.

On Sunday, the speaker of parliament, Karu Jayasuriya, urged civil servants to defy Sirisena’s “illegal orders”.

“I have watched over the last two weeks as the executive branch has seized the rights and usurped the powers of members of parliament who were elected to represent the people,” he said.

“We must all act with patriotism and independence to safeguard the future of democracy in our country.”

“Civil unrest”

The same day, Sirisena said violent clashes among rival MPs could have led to “civil unrest” across the country if the legislature had met as scheduled this week.

“Had I allowed the parliament to meet on November 14, there would have been violence in the House and it could have spread to our villagers and towns,” Sirisena said in his first address to the nation since the crisis erupted on Friday.

“I acted to prevent civil unrest.”

Sirisena’s rivals maintain that he had no constitutional power to sack the assembly until it completed four-and-a-half years of its five-year term that ends in August 2020.

Only China has recognised the appointment of Rajapakse, who during his decade as president relied heavily on Beijing for both diplomatic and financial support as the West shunned him over his human rights record.

The United States has led a chorus of international voices expressing concern over threats to democracy on the island of 21 million people strategically located in the Indian Ocean.

Election monitors have questioned the legality of the snap poll announced by Srisena.

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections said it had already asked the independent Elections Commission to seek an opinion from the attorney general and an order from the Supreme Court.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Bangladesh Must Ensure Rohingya Not Confined To Camps in Myanmar, Says US


Myanmar will take back 2,000 Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh in the first batch. (File)

Washington: 

Seeking a voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar, the US asserted that Dhaka must ensure that the returnees have freedom of movement and are not confined to camps.

Dhaka and Naypyidaw agreed last month to begin by mid-November the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh to escape a Myanmar army crackdown.

Under the agreement, Myanmar will take back 2,000 Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh in the first batch, which will be followed by a second batch.

“We have engaged both governments at the highest levels to express our serious concerns about premature returns, and to emphasize that, consistent with international practice, returns be informed, voluntary, safe, and dignified. Further, returnees to Burma must have freedom of movement and not be confined to camps,” the US State Department said in a statement on Sunday.

However, the State Department also said it agree with the assessment of the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) that conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for returns of the Rohingyas.

“This is because full access to Burma is needed to understand the conditions in areas of return and to allow refugees and internally displaced persons to make an informed choice about returning to Burma,” it said.

Over 720,000 of Myanmar’s stateless Rohingya fled in August last year, taking shelter in crowded camps in Bangladesh and bringing with them harrowing tales of rape, murder and arson in the brutal military crackdown.

Urging Myanmar to play a constructive role in resolving the Rohingya issue, the US said the country should address the root causes of the crisis in the Rakhine state and provide access to a transparent and efficient citizenship verification process, freedom of movement and access to livelihoods to the minority Muslims



Source link

"2D Characters Can't Cheat, Age Or Die": Japanese Man "Marries" Hologram


Akihiko Kondo poses next to a hologram of Japanese virtual reality singer Hatsune Miku. (AFP)

Tokyo: 

Akihiko Kondo’s mother refused an invitation to her only son’s wedding in Tokyo this month, but perhaps that isn’t such a surprise: he was marrying a hologram.

“For mother, it wasn’t something to celebrate,” said the soft-spoken 35-year-old, whose “bride” is a virtual reality singer named Hatsune Miku.

In fact, none of Kondo’s relatives attended his wedding to Miku — an animated 16-year-old with saucer eyes and lengthy aquamarine pigtails — but that didn’t stop him from spending two million yen ($17,600) on a formal ceremony at a Tokyo hall.

Around 40 guests watched as he tied the knot with Miku, present in the form of a cat-sized stuffed doll.

“I never cheated on her, I’ve always been in love with Miku-san,” he said, using a honorific that is commonly employed in Japan, even by friends.

“I’ve been thinking about her every day,” he told AFP a week after the wedding.

A doll of Japanese virtual reality singer Hatsune Miku, wearing a wedding ring, lies on the bed of Akihiko Kondo. (AFP)

Since March, Kondo has been living with a moving, talking hologram of Miku that floats in a $2,800 desktop device.

“I’m in love with the whole concept of Hatsune Miku but I got married to the Miku of my house,” he said, looking at the blue image glowing in a capsule.

“Drop dead, creepy otaku!”

He considers himself an ordinary married man — his holographic wife wakes him up each morning and sends him off to his job as an administrator at a school.

In the evening, when he tells her by cellphone that he’s coming home, she turns on the lights. Later, she tells him when it’s time to go to bed.

He sleeps alongside the doll version of her that attended the wedding, complete with a wedding ring that fits around her left wrist.

Kondo’s marriage might not have any legal standing, but that doesn’t bother him. He even took his Miku doll to a jewellery shop to get the ring.

And Gatebox, the company that produces the hologram device featuring Miku, has issued a “marriage certificate”, which certifies that a human and a virtual character have wed “beyond dimensions”.

Kondo’s not alone either: he says Gatebox has issued more than 3,700 certificates for “cross-dimension” marriages and some people have sent him supportive messages.

p6mviv2

Akihiko Kondo poses with a doll of Japanese virtual reality singer Hatsune Miku, as he shows their marriage certificate. (AFP)

“There must be some people who can’t come forward and say they want to hold a wedding. I want to give them a supportive push,” he says.

Kondo’s path to Miku came after difficult encounters with women as an anime-mad teenager.

“Girls would say ‘Drop dead, creepy otaku!’,” he recalled, using a Japanese term for geeks that can carry a negative connotation.

As he got older, he says a woman at a previous workplace bullied him into a nervous breakdown and he became determined never to marry.

In Japan, that wouldn’t be entirely unusual nowadays. While in 1980, only one in 50 men had never married by the age of 50, that figure is now one in four.

But eventually Kondo realised he had been in love with Miku for more than a decade and decided to marry her.

A “sexual minority”

“Miku-san is the woman I love a lot and also the one who saved me,” he said.

And while Kondo says he is happy to be friends with a “3D woman”, he has no interest in romance with one, no matter how much his mother pushes for it.

Two-dimensional characters can’t cheat, age or die, he points out.

“I’m not seeking these in real women. It’s impossible.”

sri0igp

Akihiko Kondo poses next to the dolls of Japanese virtual reality singer Hatsune Miku. (AFP)

Even in a country obsessed with anime, Kondo’s wedding shocked many. But he wants to be recognised as a “sexual minority” who can’t imagine dating a flesh-and-blood woman.

“It’s simply not right, it’s as if you were trying to talk a gay man into dating a woman, or a lesbian into a relationship with a man.”

“Diversity in society has been long called for,” he added.

“It won’t necessarily make you happy to be bound to the ‘template’ of happiness in which a man and woman marry and bear children.”

“I believe we must consider all kinds of love and all kinds of happiness.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Dozens Of Mummified Cats Found In Ancient Egyptian Tomb


Ancient Egyptians were often buried with mummified animals and animal statues, experts say

Ancient Egyptians were serious cat people, if a discovery in a tomb near Cairo is any indication.

On Saturday, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced that a team of archaeologists had uncovered dozens of mummified cats, along with 100 wooden cat statues and a bronze bust of Bastet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of cats. The artifacts, found in a tomb in a cemetery in what would have been the ancient city of Memphis, are about 6,000 years old.

Members of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities tweeted several pictures of the finds.

It was part of an effort, they said, to draw visitors back to Egypt after tourism nose-dived following the Arab Spring. Those working to excavate the tomb hope to “show the exceptional richness of the Egyptian civilization and to attract the attention of the world towards its magnificent monuments and great civilization so that it becomes the focus of the world as it deserves,” according to the ministry’s release.

Ancient Egyptians were often buried with mummified animals and animal statues, experts say. It was seen as a way for the dead to bring pets with them to the afterlife, archaeologist Salima Ikram, a professor at the American University in Cairo, wrote on her blog.

Gilded statues of cats and other animals were also found from the Egyptian tomb

There were other incentives as well: Animals were buried in tombs “to provide food in the afterlife, to act as offerings to a particular god and because some were seen as physical manifestations of specific gods that the Egyptians worshiped,” she wrote.

In an interview with NPR, Ikram said animal mummification was the ancient-world equivalent of lighting a candle in church to ask for a blessing.

Antonietta Catanzariti, a curator at the Smithsonian, said scientists have found hundreds of thousands of cat mummies over the years. The ancient Egyptians were drawn to felines’ hunting prowess and their ability to protect their young. Catanzariti said the Egyptians saw those qualities as signs of divinity.

Along with the cats, researchers uncovered gilded statues depicting a lion, a cow and a falcon. There were also wooden snakes and crocodiles and a handful of mummified scarab beetles. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, called the bugs in particular unique.

“It is something really a bit rare,” he told Reuters. “A couple of days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were sealed coffins with drawings of scarabs. I never heard about them before.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

In China's Himalayas, A Wine "Flying Above The Clouds"


While wine consumption is soaring in China, it is not known as a major producer (Representational)

Adong: 

A $300 bottle of wine sold in the United States and Europe is made in the unlikeliest of places: at the foot of the Himalayas in China, where farmers sing traditional songs while picking grapes.

A stone’s throw away from Tibet, Ao Yun’s vineyards are located beneath the sacred Meili mountain at altitudes ranging up from 2,200 metres (7,218 feet) in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

While wine consumption is soaring in China, it is not known as a major producer, but French luxury giant Moet Hennessy has bet on this remote location to show the Asian country can produce a first-class bottle of red.

It took four years for the company to find the ideal spot in the vast country and the result was Ao Yun, Chinese for “flying above the clouds”, which debuted in 2013.

“The place is magical, it has this wild side,” Maxence Dulou, Ao Yun’s estate manager, told AFP as he carefully inspected the grapes at one of the vineyards.

Dulou, 43, said he had “dreamed” of discovering a great “terroir” — the unique French term for the ground and climatic conditions in which grapes are grown — in China since his university days.

The company wanted to show that a great wine could be made in China, where even local consumers trust French wines more than homegrown products, he said.

The smooth full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc has surprised many wine lovers.

Only 2,000 cases are produced per year and are sold in China, other Asian countries, the United States and Europe.

East meets West

Moet Hennessy leased the vineyards for 30 years from local farmers in 2012 — a decade after the municipal government encouraged villagers to switch from growing barley to grapevines in an attempt to kickstart the wine industry.

But without proper knowledge or training, they floundered until the luxury giant turned up, bringing a wealth of expertise and resources to four villages: Adong, Shuori, Sinong and Xidang.

The vineyards are situated in the middle of the Mekong, Yangtze and Salween rivers, a unique location which boasts moderate temperatures all year round so the vines do not need to be buried to prevent them from freezing in the winter.

The property is divided into more than 300 small parcels spread over 28 hectares and grapes are harvested by hand, requiring four times more work hours on average than the biggest vineyards in the world.

For villagers like 42-year-old Ci Liwudui, who leases out his land and has family members working on the vineyard, the transformation of the farms that once grew basic crops into bustling, profitable businesses was a godsend.

“It has brought good changes to the four villages, lots of change, we don’t have to worry about money, people don’t have to go out to work laborious jobs anymore,” Ci said.

Dulou attributes the wine’s success to the collaboration between East and West.

“The Chinese are very creative and they are not afraid of change and that’s extraordinary because you can be the most creative in the world, but if you are afraid of change there is no creativity,” the viniculturist said.

Revamping ‘Made in China’

China’s appetite for wine has matured over the last 10 years, led by its burgeoning middle class. The country is set to become the world’s second largest wine consumer by 2021.

China’s wine market was worth $71 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow 27 percent in the next five years to nearly $91 billion, according to research group Euromonitor.

However, Chinese consumers are turning their noses up at local wines, as imported wine consumption grew over 17 percent year on year in 2017 while domestic wine sales plummeted for the fifth consecutive year.

Chinese wine has had a history of inconsistent quality, but Dulou is determined to change the prejudice attached to the term ‘Made in China’.

“I think that little but little, Chinese people will realise that we can make great products in China, notably wines,” he said.

“We do everything with passion, and we do it with utmost precision to make the best wine possible, to have the best grape possible, and to be one of the companies that revamp ‘Made in China’.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Number Of Dead Reaches 29 In California Wildfire, Deadliest In State


Search teams scoured the carnage of California’s most destructive ever wildfire for victims on Sunday.

Paradise: 

The death toll from a devastating California wildfire has matched that of the deadliest to hit the state, with 29 people killed, a local sheriff said Sunday.

“Today, an additional six human remains were recovered, which brings our current total to 29,” Sheriff Kory Honea told a news conference.

 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Sikh Soldiers' Memorial In UK Vandalised Hours After World War I Tribute


The 10-foot-high statue in UK depicts a Sikh soldier of the 15th Sikh battalion during World War I

Chandigarh: 

Condemning the vandalism at UK’s newly inaugurated Indian War Memorial, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has called for strict action against the culprits of the apparent racial attack on the occasion of the World War I centenary.

“The vandalism of the 10-foot-high statue, depicting a Sikh soldier of the 15th Sikh battalion, symbolic of the contribution of South Asian soldiers to World War I, was outrageous,” said the chief minister said in a statement while expressing serious concern and distress over the incident.

The incident comes in the backdrop of a series of racial attacks against Sikhs in the UK and other Western nations in recent months.

The statue was unveiled last Sunday and was damaged hours before a planned remembrance event to honour the Sikhs soldiers who laid down their lives during the Great War.

Over 74,000 soldiers from India died during World War I and several events were being organised in various countries to commemorate the sacrifices of soldiers from around the world who participated in the war effort between 1914 and 1918, as part of the centenary of the Great War.

The chief minister said that the “shocking and horrific act” was a clear attempt by racist elements to undermine the contribution of Sikhs soldiers to the war and to create an environment of hatred and enmity against the community.

“The anguish of the Sikh community over the incident was understandable,” he added, urging the UK authorities to go all out to identify and punish the culprits.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick had donated around 20,000 pounds for the bronze sculpture, while the local Sandwell Council had invested in creating the public space with seating and lighting to house the new monument.

The inaugural event was attended by hundreds, including Labour Party MP Preet Kaur Gill, the UK’s first female Sikh MP.

Mr Singh said that more than the financial loss, it was the “pain caused to the sentiments of the Sikh community, which had lost thousands of men to the war, in distant lands, far from their homes.”
 



Source link

Help Pours In For Man Who Fought Off Melbourne Attacker With Trolley


Michael Rogers, a homeless man, used a shopping cart to halt last week’s terror attack in Melbourne.

Melbourne: 

Donations poured in Monday for a homeless man dubbed “trolleyman” for his attempt to use a shopping cart to halt last week’s deadly lone wolf terror attack in Melbourne.

An online GoFundMe campaign set up to help Michael Rogers after video of his bid to stop Friday’s attack went viral surged past AU$100,000 (US$72,000) Monday, more than double the target of AU$45,000.

As of early Monday morning, AU$104,790 had been contributed to the fund by more than 3,700 people.

“I was scared, I was scared for myself,” Rogers told Channel Seven television following the incident, when Hassan Khalif Shire Ali went on a stabbing rampage in central Melbourne, killing one man and wounding two others before being fatally shot by police.

Video taken by passers-by shows Rogers repeatedly pushing a metal shopping cart toward Shire Ali as he wielded his knife against two policemen trying to subdue him.

“I have seen the trolley to the side, so I’ve picked it up and I ran and threw the trolley straight at him,” Rogers said. “I did that motion … quite a number of times, but it just wasn’t getting him down.”

Rogers insisted he was “not a hero, but I feel that I’ve probably saved some lives, maybe.”

Police said Shire Ali, a 30-year-old Somalia-born Australian, was inspired by ISIS but did not have a direct link to the terror group and seems to have acted on his own.



Source link

"Nationalism Betrayal Of Patriotism": Emmanuel Macron, Trump By His Side


Soldiers who died fought to defend the “universal values” of France, Emmanuel Macron said

Paris: 

In the shadow of a grand war memorial here, French President Emmanuel Macron marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I by delivering a forceful rebuke against rising nationalism, calling it a “betrayal of patriotism” and warning against “old demons coming back to wreak chaos and death.”

His words during a solemn Armistice Day ceremony under overcast skies at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe in the heart of the French capital were intended for a global audience. But they also represented a pointed rebuke to President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and others among the more than 60 world leaders in attendance.

Speaking in French, Macron emphasized that a global order based on liberal values is worth defending against those who have sought to disrupt that system.

The millions of soldiers who died in the Great War fought to defend the “universal values” of France, he said, and to reject the “selfishness of nations only looking after their own interests. Because patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism.”

Macron has attempted to stand as a vocal counterweight to Trump, who recently called himself a “nationalist” and has moved to set the United States apart from global treaties, including the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord ad a U.N. program for refugees.

Amid growing divisions in Europe that have strained the European Union, Macron defended that institution and the United Nations, declaring that the “spirit of cooperation” has “defended the common good of the world.”

“By putting our own interests first, with no regard to others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values,” Macron said.

He denounced fringe ideologies that have become more mainstream, warping religious beliefs and setting loose extremist forces on a “sinister course once again that could undermine the legacy of peace we thought we had forever sealed.”

The powerful remarks came as the world leaders gathered here have sought to mark the 100 years since the war by honoring those who served and died.

Among those who participated were German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

British Prime Minister Theresa May did not attend, remaining in London to preside over a war remembrance there, though she had visited France last week to lay wreaths at military cemeteries and meet with Macron. Chinese President Xi Jinping also was not present.

Putin told Russia’s RT network after the ceremony that he and Trump spoke during a leaders’ luncheon, but a formal meeting would wait until they cross paths at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aries later this month. Putin said the two leaders agreed to a request from French officials not to overshadow the war remembrance ceremony.

“We are ready for dialogue,” said Putin, adding a dig at the Trump administration for announcing the United States would exit a landmark Cold War arms treaty. “We’re not the ones exiting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.”

Ahead of the ceremony, dozens of world leaders dressed in black strode shoulder-to-shoulder along the Champs Elysees toward the Arc. Military jets streaked overhead, emitting red, white and blue smoke, the colors of France.

Trump and Putin did not participate in the processions. The group, which had first gathered at the Elysee Palace, had come to the Arc on tour buses along the 230-foot wide boulevard. Bells at Notre Dame cathedral tolled at 11 a.m., marking the signing of the armistice of a war in which 10 million military troops perished.

Trump and Putin took their own motorcades to the event and made separate entrances a few minutes after the main group. A White House spokeswoman said Trump arrived separately due to “security protocols,” though she did not elaborate.

Trump and Putin shook hands with leaders, assembled on risers at the foot of the monument, and took their own positions. Trump and first lady Melania Trump took spots next to Merkel, while Putin stood next to Macron.

The ceremony could begin.

To the sound of a military brass band, Macron inspected French troops standing at attention and a choir sang the national anthem. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed a solo piece.

For Trump, dressed in a dark blue suit and red tie, the ceremony marked the beginning of a day in which he also attended in a luncheon with the world leaders and then delivered a speech at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial – a day after he skipped a visit to a different cemetery.

At Suresnes, Trump ditched an umbrella and spoke in the rain for 10 minutes, at one point joking that the crowd was “getting drenched.”

“It is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended,” Trump said of the 1,541 buried there. “We renew our sacred obligation to memorialize our fallen heroes.”

He did not address Macron’s speech.

The relationship between Trump and Macron has soured as the U.S. president has promoted an “America First” foreign policy that has unsettled allies on trade and defense. Macron has sought to counter some of Trump’s agenda and he has organized a three-day Peace Forum that began Sunday afternoon, just as Trump headed home to Washington on Air Force One.

For European observers, the commemoration was a somber event – and not exclusively because of the dead it honored.

In a climate of resurgent nationalism – which has seen upheavals in Rome, Budapest, Warsaw and even London – Macron was alone on the dais, preaching the virtues of multilateralism. Merkel, his most loyal partner in this endeavor, has announced she will soon leave public life.

“Franco-German reconciliation was at the very heart of what we’ve been seeing together,” said Dominique Moisi, a French foreign policy expert at the Paris-based Institute Montaigne and an informal adviser to the Macron campaign.

“But she’s out,” he said of Merkel, who announced she will step down in 2021. “The spirit in which we are commemorating the events is no longer fully present.”

Macron’s speech was full of literary allusions, including to the French poets Guillaume Apollinaire and Charles Peguy, both of whom served in World War I. (Peguy was killed in combat in 1914.)

Sunday’s address also contained a number of historic rebukes. He made a subtle reference to a well-known 1927 French book that decried the elites at the time, who embraced reactionary, nationalistic ideologies at the expense of a rational consensus.

Taking the stage to applause at the Paris Peace Forum later Sunday, Macron avoided presenting the weekend’s event as a success. Instead, he said history would remember the image of multiple world leaders whose countries were once at war gathered in peace under the Arc.

The question, Macron said, was how that image would be interpreted.

“Will it be the symbol of a durable peace among nations?” he asked. “Or, on the contrary, a photograph of a final moment of unity before the world descends into a new disorder?”

The Washington Post’s Anton Troianovski in Moscow contributed to this report.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Mississippi Senator Faces Backlash After Joke About A "Public Hanging"


The full context of her comment was not immediately clear, but she faced swift backlash.

Drawing cheers from a gaggle of supporters, the line appeared to be a throwaway one.

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., is heard saying in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday morning.

The full context of her comment was not immediately clear, but she faced swift backlash. Lamar White, a journalist and blogger who tweeted the video, said in his tweet that Hyde-Smith made the remark while campaigning with a cattle rancher in Tupelo, Mississippi. There was no response to an email to a spokeswoman for Hyde-Smith and calls to her offices Sunday for comment.

Hyde-Smith became the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress after she was appointed in April to replace Thad Cochran, a Republican senator who was forced to step down because of health problems. She faces Democrat Mike Espy in a Nov. 27 runoff to determine who will serve the remaining two years of Cochran’s term, as neither candidate was able to win more than 50 percent of the vote in the Nov. 6 special election, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Espy and Hyde-Smith, who received President Donald Trump’s endorsement, were the two highest vote-getters, each receiving about 41 percent of the vote. If Espy were to win, he would be become the first black senator to represent the state since the reconstruction era.

 

In a statement Sunday, Espy called Hyde-Smith’s comments “reprehensible.” He added, “They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country. We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state.”

Many critics of Hyde-Smith’s comment also noted the history of racism and hangings in the state. Statistics from the NAACP show that nearly one-eighth of the 4,743 lynchings between 1882 and 1968 that occurred in the United States took place in Mississippi.

Cristen Hemmins, chair of the Lafayette County Democrats in Mississippi, said the video was “absolutely stunning.”

“With the history of lynching of Mississippi, you just don’t say something like that,” Hemmins said in an interview Sunday. “I can’t even imagine the kind of mind that would come up with a throwaway phrase like that. I’m a Mississippian. Nobody I know talks like that. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

Hyde-Smith, of Brookhaven, Mississippi, is a former Mississippi Democratic state senator and agriculture commissioner. In 2010, she switched to the Republican Party, according to the Clarion Ledger. Last week, she vowed to keep pushing Trump’s agenda, asserting that “Republicans are going to keep this seat” and that she would “fight like nobody’s business the next three weeks.”

Trump has been vocal in his support for Hyde-Smith, tweeting in August that she is “strong” on issues such as job creation and his proposed southern border wall, helping him to “put America First!”

He added, “Cindy has voted for our Agenda in the Senate 100% of the time and has my complete and total Endorsement. We need Cindy to win in Mississippi!”

At an Oct. 2 rally in Southaven, Miss., Trump continued to stump for Hyde-Smith.

“She’s always had my back,” he said. “She’s always had your back. And a vote for Cindy is a vote for me.”

Republicans are expected to gain seats in the Senate. The majority they held before the election, 51 seats, will end up higher – between 52 and 54 depending on races in Florida and Arizona.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

"Hell In Paradise": Teams In Grim Search For California Wildfire Victims


Only two Californian wildfires have claimed more lives — most recent more than a quarter-century ago.

Paradise: 

Search teams scoured the carnage of California’s most destructive ever wildfire for victims on Sunday, as the state-wide death toll rose to 26 with high winds hampering the effort to rescue property and save lives.

Firefighters took advantage of a brief calm overnight to make headway against the multiple blazes, but conditions were expected to be hellish on Sunday with winds reaching as high as 70 miles (110 kilometers) an hour.

In fire zones north and south, acrid smoke blanketed the sky for miles, the sun barely visible. On the ground, cars caught in the blaze were reduced to mangled metal carcasses, while power lines were gnawed by the flames.

The largest inferno — the so-called “Camp Fire” in the northern foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains — has destroyed 6,700 homes, business and other buildings in the town of Paradise, effectively wiping it off the map.

At least 23 people have lost their lives in and around the community of 27,000, according to an official count by authorities.

An AFP journalist in Magalia, a 10-mile drive north of Paradise, saw workers from a local mortuary team recover another body which was put into a blue bag and loaded onto a hearse.

Only two Californian wildfires have claimed more lives — the most recent more than a quarter-century ago.

At the southern end of the state, where the “Woolsey Fire” is threatening mansions and mobile homes alike in the coastal celebrity redoubt of Malibu, the death toll has been limited to two victims found in a vehicle on a private driveway.

Los Angeles County Fire chief Daryl Osby told reporters of his gratitude to firefighters “who’ve done all they could do save tens of thousands of people’s lives and thousands of people’s homes.”

‘New normal’

Rescuers spent Saturday collecting bodies around Paradise and placing them in a black hearse. Charred body parts were transported by bucket, while intact remains were carried in body bags.

At the Holly Hills Mobile Estate the mobile homes had been reduced to smoldering piles of debris. Yellow police tape delineated spots that were tagged “Doe C” and “Doe D,” a grim marker of the bodies that had recently been removed.

Locals fled the danger, but police told AFP some farmers returned to check on their cattle.

Fanned by strong winds, the “Camp Fire” has so far scorched 109,000 acres (45,000 hectares) and is 25 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said. So far, three of the more than 4,000 firefighters deployed have been injured.

They estimate they will need three weeks to fully contain the blaze.

Evacuation orders have been issued to more than 250,000 people across California, with authorities urging residents not to ignore warnings to flee.

“We’re entering a new normal. Things are not the way they were 10 years ago,” Ventura County Fire Department Chief Mark Lawrenson said.

“The rate of spread is exponentially more than it used to be. Please heed evacuation warnings. Do not stay in your homes to try to defend them.”

‘Dangerously wrong’

Almost 6,000 miles away, President Donald Trump, in France for World War I commemorations, drew fierce criticism for an unsympathetic reaction to the devastation.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted, threatening to withdraw federal support.

Brian Rice, the head of the California Professional Firefighters, slammed the tweet as “ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines.”

He said the president’s claim that forest policies were mismanaged “is dangerously wrong.”

The tweet also drew political criticism. Republican Senator Cory Gardner told ABC News on Sunday: “I don’t think it’s appropriate to threaten funding.

“That’s not going to happen. Funding will be available. It always is available to our people wherever they are, whatever disaster they are facing.”

Malibu mansions in flames

In southern California, the “Woolsey Fire” engulfed parts of Thousand Oaks, where the community is still shell-shocked after a Marine Corps veteran shot dead 12 people in a country music bar on Wednesday.

It has consumed around 83,000 acres, destroyed at least 177 buildings and was ten percent contained, Cal Fire said Sunday.

The blaze reached the Paramount Ranch, destroying sets used for hundreds of productions including HBO’S sci-fi western “Westworld,” network officials said.

Keegan Gibbs, 33, was crushed to find his childhood Malibu home had been consumed by flames.

“Malibu is a really small community and gets a bad rap for being this kind of elitist, snobby place, and it’s exactly the opposite,” Gibbs told the Los Angeles Times.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

US Says Will Hold All Involved In Khashoggi's Killing To Account


Jamal Khashoggi’s killing has strained the relationship between US and Saudi Arabia.

Washington: 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday the US will hold accountable all involved in the killing of a dissident Saudi journalist in a wide-ranging telephone call that also took in the conflict in Yemen.

Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident, was murdered in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and the crown prince has been accused of orchestrating the killing, which has strained the decades-old alliance between Washington and Riyadh.

“The Secretary emphasized that the United States will hold all of those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable, and that Saudi Arabia must do the same,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The top US diplomat has previously said Khashoggi’s killing “violates the norms of international law,” and that the US was reviewing possible sanctions on individuals identified as having been involved.

But Pompeo and Trump have also both emphasized America’s important commercial, strategic and national security relationships with the petro-state.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was critical of Prince Mohammed and the country’s intervention in Yemen, a conflict which also came up during the call, said Nauert.

Pompeo “reiterated the United States’ calls for a cessation of hostilities and for all parties to come to the table to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict,” she said.

Pompeo has previously called for an end to hostilities in the rebel-infested Arab state, emphasizing the need for the Saudi-led coalition to halt strikes in populated areas.

Prince Mohammed has overseen Saudi Arabia’s Yemen war effort, a highly controversial intervention to bolster President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government in the face of an insurgency by Huthi rebels.

Nearly 10,000 people have since been killed and the country now stands at the brink of famine.

 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Alibaba Makes Record $30 Billion During 24-Hour Online Sale


The record sales come as the company grapples with a slimmer sales outlook amid US-China trade tensions.

Shanghai: 

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd cashed a record 213.5 billion yuan ($30.70 billion) in sales on Sunday during its 24-hour online retail frenzy Singles’ Day, but the event’s annual growth dropped to its slowest-ever rate.

Shoppers in China and across the world snapped up hot items including iPhones, furniture and milk powder starting pre-dawn, with Alibaba recording roughly $10 billion in sales in the first hour after midnight.

Singles’ Day, also called “Double 11” is the world’s biggest online sales event, outstripping the sales of U.S. shopping holidays Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

The Chinese event was originally a novelty student holiday to celebrate being single, countering Valentines Day, but has since grown into a month-long online shopping festival that peaks with a 24-hour sale on November 11.

This year, the company surpassed last year’s full-day sales record of 168 billion yuan in just under sixteen hours.

Despite the record haul, the annual sales growth rate fell from 39 percent to 27 percent, at the low end of analyst estimates, and the smallest rate in the event’s 10-year history.

It comes as the company is grappling with a slimmer sales outlook amid rising trade tensions the U.S. that have taken a bite out of China’s economy.

Earlier this month it revised down its full-year sales outlook by 4-6 percent, sending further chills through the company’s stock price, which has dropped roughly 16 percent this year after almost doubling in 2017.

To compensate, the company will take in less commission from its platforms in the near term in order to retain brands and attract new buyers, it said.

Online sales growth is also slowing across the board in the country’s eastern mega-cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, and Alibaba said roughly 75 percent of new users last quarter were in “less developed” areas.

While small appliances and cosmetics were strong on Sunday, sales in big-ticket items including large appliances slowed alongside a downturn in the housing market, Alibaba vice chairman Joe Tsai told press.

“If people aren’t buying new homes, they aren’t buying appliances,” he said.

Bigger And Bigger

Despite the milder growth, executives were upbeat on Sunday at a press event in Shanghai, attended by roughly 800 journalists who watched a live-streamed ticker of the sales.

“Today we reached 200 billion (yuan). But we have to change. We have to continue to change to reach 300 billion or 500 billion,” said chief executive Daniel Zhang, who is credited with being the architect of the original Singles’ Day sales.

Alibaba kicked off this year’s sales with a gala event that featured U.S. singer Mariah Carey, a Japanese Beyonce impersonator and a Cirque du Soleil performance.

It’s expected to be the company’s final November sale with founder and chairman Jack Ma at the helm, and Zhang will take over as chairman next year, the company said in September.

During this year’s event the company said it worked with 180,000 brands across over 200 countries, and shortly before midnight on Sunday it had sent over a billion packages.

A disproportionately large number of sales are recorded in the first minutes of the 24-hour spending spree, when transactions occur for items that have been put on hold.

The company settled roughly $1 billion within the first one minute and twenty five seconds after midnight.

Analysts said the sales continue to be cannibalised by competing events, including the “618” festival spearheaded by Alibaba competitor JD.com Inc in June.

“With an increasing number of promotion events a year, consumers no longer feel that Double 11 is the only opportunity to get good bargains,” said Pedro Yip, partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

“Having said that, there are more consumers who still enjoy shopping at double 11 than those that don’t,” he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Sri Lanka President Says Parliament Sacked To "Prevent Civil Unrest"


Maithripala Sirisena sacked the Sri Lanka parliament days before it was scheduled to convene. (File)

Colombo, Sri Lanka: 

Sri Lanka’s president on Sunday defended his controversial sacking of parliament, saying violent clashes among rival MPs could have led to “civil unrest” across the country if the legislature had met.

Maithripala Sirisena said there were media reports that politicians would clash during a vote to decide between two men claiming the premiership after he controversially sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last month.

“If I allowed the parliament to meet on November 14, there would have been violence in the House and it could have spread to our villagers and towns,” Sirisena said in a televised address to the nation. “I acted to prevent civil unrest.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin Skip Leaders' Symbolic Walk In Paris


The US and Russian Presidents arrived separately for the solemn ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe.

Paris: 

United in the rain, world leaders walked slowly up the Champs-Elysees in Paris to mark a century since the end of World War I — but there were two notable absences, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The line of black-clad leaders was reminiscent of another moment of unity: after the 2015 Charlie Hebdo jihadist attack, when senior officials from more than 40 countries marched through Paris to denounce terrorism.

But on Sunday both the US and Russian presidents arrived separately for the solemn ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, skipping the bus ride and symbolic walk with other leaders.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump, who wore a cornflower — France’s war remembrance flower — in his lapel, had arrived separately “due to security protocols”.

His trademark bright red tie stood out among the dark coats in the front row as he and Putin stood either side of Macron.

The French president walked alone through the rain to greet veterans to the strains of the national anthem, La Marseillaise.

The moment stood in contrast to Trump’s much criticised decision Saturday to call off a US cemetery visit because of rainy weather.

In another stark contrast with Trump, Macron went on to deliver a forceful speech against fear-mongering and isolationism, calling on fellow leaders to fight together for peace.

“Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” Macron said.

“Let us build our hopes rather than playing our fears against each other.”

‘Will We Ever Learn?’

The ceremony, to remember the millions who died in the war, including colonial troops fighting for European powers, had a deliberately international flavour.

The superstar Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed alongside Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo and a European youth orchestra led by a Russian conductor.

High-school students read letters from soldiers at the front in English, French, German and Chinese.

“Am I dreaming?” read one letter from a French soldier upon learning that four years of brutal trench warfare were coming to an end in November 1918.

“I’m so happy, I can hardly believe that the news is true,” he wrote.

Another letter, from a British soldier, read: My darling parents, today has been perfectly wonderful. We got news of the armistice at 9.30 this morning… The streets were packed with wildly cheering civilians.”

The crowds who braved the rain for the ceremony along the famed Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris also came from far afield.

Nevan Lancaster, a 47-year-old from New Zealand, extended a work trip to Europe to pay his respects to a grandfather who fought in the war.

“I’m here for him. He didn’t speak about the war — it was his job, it was his duty,” Lancaster told AFP.

Keith Evans, a 70-year-old Scot, said he had come “to remember the sacrifice, and the cost” of a conflict that claimed up to 20 million lives.

“I hope that with this event, the leaders here will learn the lesson of what President Macron has just said,” Evans said, a remembrance poppy pinned to his raincoat.

“We should do better for peace,” he added. “Will we ever learn? I hope so.”

After the ceremony, which ended with Macron lighting anew the flame at the Arc de Triomphe’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the leaders headed for lunch at the presidential palace.

As Trump made his way towards his limousine, there was some booing from the crowd.

 



Source link

Putin Says Had A Good Conversation With Trump In Paris: Report


Donald Trump and Putin will also meet in Argentina.

Moscow, Russia: 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he had a brief but good conversation with US leader Donald Trump at World War I centenary events in Paris, Russian media reported.

When journalists asked Putin whether he managed to speak to Trump, he said “yes”, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Asked how it went, Putin replied “well.”

He did not provide further details.

Around 70 leaders including the Russian and US leaders travelled to the French capital to mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice.

Speaking to the Kremlin-backed channel RT France earlier, Putin said he would probably speak to Trump during a working dinner later Sunday.

Putin added he would likely have a full-blown meeting with Trump “on the sidelines of the G20 or later”, referring to a summit scheduled to be held in Argentina at the end of this month.

He said they agreed not to have a lengthy meeting on the sidelines of the commemorative events in Paris in a nod to the hosts.

The Kremlin said earlier that the prospect of a full meeting between the US and Russian presidents had prompted huge international media interest, leading to concern from the French organisers this could overshadow the commemorations.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader and Trump greeted each other during lunch in Paris but had no opportunity to have a full-blown meeting.

When they parted they told each other “until we meet again”, Peskov said.

Expectations have been growing for a new Trump-Putin meeting as tensions pile up over the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and US sanctions against Moscow.

Last month Trump sparked concerns globally when he said he would ditch the INF pact.

Putin warned that abandoning the treaty would unleash a new arms race and put Europe in danger.

 



Source link

Sri Lanka President Usurped The Rights Of Lawmakers: Parliament Speaker


Maithripala Sirisena triggered an unprecedented constitutional crisis on October 26. (File)

Colombo: 

Sri Lanka’s parliamentary Speaker Sunday accused President Maithripala Sirisena of “usurping” the rights of legislators and asked public servants not to carry out his “illegal orders”.

Karu Jayasuriya in a hard-hitting statement said Sirisena’s actions since October 26 to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and dissolve parliament undermined the freedoms of the people.

“I have watched over the last two weeks as the executive branch has seized the rights and usurped the powers of members of parliament who were elected to represent the people.

“I call upon all public servants to refuse to execute any illegal orders they may receive, no matter from whom.”

Sirisena triggered an unprecedented constitutional crisis on October 26 when he sacked Wickremesinghe and replaced him with former leader Mahinda Rajapakse.

Wickremesinghe insisted his dismissal was illegal and unconstitutional and refused to vacate the official residence of the premier.

Sirisena agreed thrice to reconvene parliament which he had suspended shortly after sacking Wickremesinghe to prevent him proving his majority on the floor of the House.

Just five days before parliament was due to reconvene, Sirisena dissolved it and called snap elections for January 5.

“Since the president has prevented parliament from ruling on the legitimacy of the president’s actions, it will be up to the Supreme Court to determine the legality of these actions,” Jayasuriya said.

He was concerned about claims by the “purported foreign minister” who said parliament was sacked because Jayasuriya was planning to prevent an address by the president when the House reconvened on Wednesday.

“I wish that the purported minister (Sarath Amunugama) had proposed a more honest and plausible excuse for the actions of his colleagues, that would have drawn less ridicule to our country on the world stage.

“Based on this fiction, several of his cohorts have openly threatened to send me to jail,” Jayasuriya said, adding that he would gladly face any consequence for his actions to defend the rights of MPs.

 



Source link

"Patriotism Is Opposite Of Nationalism," Says Macron, Trump By His Side


French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a 20-minute address in presence of Donald Trump.

Paris: 

French President Emmanuel Macron led tributes to the millions of soldiers who died during World War One on Sunday, holding a solemn ceremony attended by dozens of world leaders in Paris to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice.

In the presence of US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of princes, monarchs, presidents and prime ministers, Macron also talked about patriotism and nationalism.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite nationalism. Nationalism is its betrayal,” the French leader said in his 20-minute address.

Those who fought in the trenches of World War One lived through an unimaginable hell, Macron said, highlighting that as well as the deaths of 10 million troops, millions of women were widowed and children orphaned.

“Old demons are reawakening, ready to sow chaos and death,” he said, warning of how ideology, religion and a disregard for facts could be exploited. “History sometimes threatens to repeat its tragic patterns, and undermine the legacy of peace we thought we had sealed with the blood of our ancestors.”

“The lesson of the Great War can not be that of resentment between peoples, nor should the past be forgotten,” said Macron, sorrow etched on the faces of former French soldiers standing to attention around him during the ceremony.

“It is our deeply rooted obligation to think of the future, and to consider what is essential.”

The commemoration is the centrepiece of global tributes to honour those who perished during the 1914-18 war and to commemorate the signing of the Armistice that brought the fighting to an end at 11 a.m. on Nov 11, 1918.

In a glass canopy at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, built by Emperor Napoleon in 1806, Trump, Merkel, Macron, Putin and the other leaders listened through earpieces as the French president spoke. Putin, who was last to arrive at the ceremony, gave Trump a brief thumb’s up as he greeted them.

As Trump’s convoy was making its way up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, a bare-breasted protester from the Femen radical feminist group ran towards his motorcade, coming within a few metres, before being apprehended by police.

Photographs of the incident appeared to show that she had the words “fake peacemaker” scrawled across her body.

In a rare public display of emotion by the leaders of two world powers, Macron and Merkel held hands on Saturday during a poignant ceremony in the Compiegne Forest, north of Paris, where French and German delegations signed the Armistice that ended the war.

The conflict was one of the bloodiest in history, reshaping Europe’s politics and demographics. Peace, however, was short-lived and two decades later Nazi Germany invaded its neighbours.

Macron spent the week in the build up to Sunday’s ceremony touring towns and former battlfields that laid along France’s western front. During the tour, he warned of the dangers of the resurgence of nationalism in Europe, saying it posed a threat to the continent – a theme he touched on again in his speech. After the ceremony, leaders returned to the Elysee Palace for a lunch to be hosted by Macron and his wife Brigitte.

On Sunday afternoon, Macron will host the inaugural Paris Peace Forum, which seeks to promote a multilateral approach to security and governance and ultimately avoid the errors that led to the outbreak of World War One.

Merkel said in a statement the forum showed that “today there is a will, and I say this on behalf of Germany with full conviction, to do everything to bring a more peaceful order to the world, even though we know we still have much work to do.”

Trump, who champions a nationalist ‘America first’ policy, will not attend the forum but Putin is expected to.
 



Source link

Ahead Of Sri Lanka Snap Polls, Mahinda Rajapaksa Joins Newly-Formed Party


The 72-year-old strongman ruled Lanka for a decade from 2005. (File)

Colombo: 

Sri Lankan strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed prime minister in a controversial move by President Maithripala Sirisena, on Sunday ended his five-decade-long association with the SLFP and joined the newly-formed Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP).

Mr Rajapaksa’s move signalled that he would contest the snap polls, to be held on January 5, under his own party banner and not that of Mr Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The former president obtained the membership of the SLPP, launched by his supporters, on Sunday morning.

His father Don Alwin Rajapaksa was a founding member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which was formed in 1951.

The SLPP was formed last year by Mr Rajapaksa’s supporters to create a platform for his re-entry into politics. The party in February’s local council election won two-third of the total 340 seats.

The 72-year-old strongman, who ruled Lanka for a decade from 2005, was unexpectedly defeated by his deputy, Mr Sirisena, in the presidential election held in January 2015 with the support from Mr Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).

However, the power-sharing arrangement between Mr Sirisena and Mr Wickremesinghe became increasingly tenuous on several policy matters, especially on economy and security.

Finally, on October 26, Mr Sirisena abruptly ousted Mr Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mr Rajapaksa, after three-and-a-half years of an estranged relationship with him.

The island nation plunged into a constitutional crisis following the move. Mr Sirisena had suspended parliamentary proceedings until November 16. Later, owing to domestic and international pressure, he issued a notice to reconvene parliament on November 14.

However, on Friday, Mr Sirisena dissolved parliament and announced snap polls on January 5 next year after it became evident that he did not have enough support in the House to prove the premiership of Mr Rajapaksa.

Mr Rajapaksa needed the support of minimum 113 parliamentarians in the 225-member House to prove his majority.



Source link

Topless Female Protester Runs At Trump's Motorcade In Paris


The woman seems to be of a Paris-based radical feminist activist group and carries out shock protests.

PARIS: 

A topless female protester with “Fake Peacemaker” scrawled across her chest ran at the motorcade carrying U.S. President Donald Trump along the Champs Elysees in Paris ahead of a ceremony on Sunday to mark the end of World War One.

She came within a few metres of Trump’s motorcade before she was apprehended by police, in an incident that is likely to raise questions about security at the event attended by some 70 world leaders.

The radical feminist activist group Femen, based in Paris, said it was behind the stunt. Femen frequently carries out shock protests against sexism, racism, homophobia and other social and political issues.

Paris police said they detained two people over the incident.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

50-Year-Old Woman Arrested Over Australia Strawberry Needle Scare


More than 100 incidents of pins and needles found in strawberries were reported in September in Australia

Sydney: 

A woman has been arrested after a “complex” investigation into an Australian strawberry scare where needles were found stuck into the fruit, police said Sunday, in a crisis that sparked nationwide panic.

Queensland state authorities offered a large reward and the national government raised jail terms for such crimes after sewing needles were found in plastic boxes of the fruit sold in supermarkets in September.

Since the first case came to light when a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after consuming strawberries, more than 100 alleged incidents of pins and needles found in fruit, mostly strawberries, were reported in September around the country.

One incident was also reported in neighbouring New Zealand.

Police said a 50-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday afternoon “following a complex… and extensive investigation” into the contamination case.

“The (Queensland Police Service) coordinated a national investigative response with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” they added in a statement.

The woman was set to be charged Sunday evening and appear in court in Brisbane on Monday.

Police did not reveal any further details, including what the charges would be or the reasons and motives behind her alleged involvement.

The sabotage crisis led supermarkets to pull the fruit from the shelves and saw farmers dump tonnes of the unwanted berry. The government raised the maximum prison sentence for fruit tampering from 10 to 15 years.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

Facebook "Suggests" Teenage Girls To Befriend Middle-Aged Men: Reports


According to Facebook, the company has safeguards to protect children. (File)

London: 

Facebook is encouraging grooming by offering teenage girls “friend suggestions” of middle-aged men, according to reports.

Teenage girls, as young as 13-year-olds, who join the social network are given up to 300 suggestions for who they can add as friends, some of which include middle-aged men who are topless in their profile photos, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Facebook has said that was not a typical experience for teenagers for signing up for the service and that it has safeguards built into its recommendation system.

Following the findings, UK-based charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has called for friend recommendations to be suspended for children on the social networking giant’s platform.

“Groomers are seeking to infiltrate children’s friendship groups on social networks, often with the intention to move children to live streaming or encrypted sites where it is easier for them to commit sexual abuse,” Andy Burrows, NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online, was quoted as saying.

“Social media algorithms risk making it easier for groomers to find and contact children and ‘friend of friend’ or ‘new follower’ recommendations can add legitimacy to their requests, which is why we are calling for these features to be blocked for children.”

“For too long social networks have failed to make their platforms safe for children, and that is why the Home Secretary must commit to strong and effective regulation to finally ensure that children’s safety is non-negotiable,” she said.

According to Facebook, the company has safeguards to protect children. However, the campaigners warn that the networking giant must do more to stop groomers who use the site to become friendly with children.

“Grooming is incredibly serious, and we have teams specifically focused on keeping children safe, informed by extensive research and outside experts,” said a spokesperson for Facebook, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

“We use artificial intelligence to proactively identify cases of inappropriate interactions with minors and we refer potential abuse to law enforcement. We limit how children can be found in search, we remind them to only accept friend requests from people they know and we caution them before making public posts,” the spokesperson added

In October, Facebook removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity with the help of previously undisclosed machine learning software that automatically flagged such photos during the last quarter.



Source link