Irani attends funeral of aide shot dead in Amethi

first_imgAMETHI: A former village head in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, who worked closely with BJP leader Smriti Irani during her Lok Sabha campaign, was shot dead early Sunday morning. Irani reached his village Sunday afternoon to attend his funeral.Surendra Singh, a BJP worker, was attacked at his home; he died later at a hospital in Lucknow where he was taken for treatment, said police. Police said an old enmity may have led to the killing but have not ruled out a political motive. “We have come to know about old enmity. We are also finding out if there was any political enmity. In the initial investigation, we have got some vital clues,” UP DGP Om Prakash Singh said. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twistSeven people have been taken into custody and they are being interrogated. Surendra Singh was the former head of Baraulia village. He quit the village head post to participate in the BJP election campaign. He had actively participated in Smriti Irani’s Lok Sabha campaign and had also earned praise from the BJP leader in her speeches at public meetings. “My father was a close aide of Smriti Irani and would campaign for her day and night. After she was elected as the member of parliament from Amethi, a Vijay Yatra (victory procession) was carried out. I think some Congress supporters didn’t like it,” Surendra Singh’s son said.last_img read more

Rajasthans six BSP to meet Mayawati on June 1

first_imgJaipur: Rajasthan’s six BSP MLAs will meet party chief Mayawati in Delhi on June 1 during which the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha polls in the state will be reviewed, a legislator said Tuesday. BSP MLA Wajib Ali told PTI that the party’s support to the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government would continue. “There is no agenda of withdrawing support from the government, rather we will discuss how efficiently we can work with the government here,” he said. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist “We will discuss the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections in the state. Future strategy will also be discussed in the meeting,” the MLA added. The six BSP MLAs were scheduled to meet Governor Kalyan Singh here on Monday but the meeting was cancelled at the last moment. Ali said that based on the discussions with the party chief, a decision would be taken regarding the meeting with the governor. In the house of 200 MLAs, the Congress has 100 and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has one. Besides the BSP, which has 6 MLAs, the Congress has the support of 12 out of total 13 independent MLAs.last_img read more

17 killed in storms rain in UP

first_imgLucknow: Seventeen persons have died in separate incidents of dust storms, lightning and rain in various parts of Uttar Pradesh in the past 24 hours. According to reports, four persons died in Siddharthanagar, three in Deoria, three in Basti, two in Ballia and one each in Azamgarh, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Lakhimpur and Pilibhit. In Siddharthanagar, a tin-shed collapsed, killing a labourer Rahim and leaving two women injured. In Basti district, Brijbhan Yadav died when lightning struck. He was working in his fields despite heavy rains. Also Read – ED can withhold names of tax evaders in Panama Papers: CIC Thirty-year-old Vishal died in Debrua village in Basti when a tree fell on him. He was returning from a medicine shop. His eight-year-old nephew Golu, who had accompanied him, has been admitted to the hospital in a critical condition. Budhna, 65, was sitting in the field when a tree fell on her, killing her on the spot. The incident took place in Dumariaganj in Siddharthanagar. In Deoria district, Shubham, 22, died when an electric pole fell on him in Bhulwani village in Deoria. In Gauribazar, in the same district, a woman Israwati, 55, was killed when lightning struck. In the same village an eight-year-old boy died when a wall collapsed on him. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed grief over the loss of lives and has directed district officials to provide all help.last_img read more

Ghazals are such beautiful part of my life Kaushiki

first_imgMumbai: Singer Kaushiki Chakraborty’s ‘Tera khayal’, a contemporary ghazal, is out and she says ghazals are a beautiful part of her life. Sung by Kaushiki, the song has been composed by Deepak Pandit and penned by Manoj Muntashir. “Ghazals are such a beautiful part of my life and ‘Tera khayal’ is so well written. It was an amazing experience to sing and shoot for this track,” Kaushiki said in a statement. Deepak added that the lyrics of “Tera khayal” are so beautiful and Kaushiki has sung the composition very beautifully. The song is very close to Muntashir’s heart. “I am glad that Kaushiki and Deepak got together to create such a beautiful melody,” he added. “Tera khayal” is available on Times Music YouTube channel.last_img read more

SpiderMan mints over Rs 10 cr on first day

first_imgNew Delhi: Tom Holland’s Spider-Man: Far From Home has registered a business of Rs 10.05 crore on its opening day in India. The film released on July 4, 2019. According to the film’s publicist, despite opening on a non-holiday, Spider-Man: Far From Home collected Rs 12.10 crore gross (Net: Rs 10.05 crore). The Jon Watts directorial follows the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame. Sony Pictures Entertainment India released the film in India in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography”Hollywood continues to consolidate its presence in India. ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ casts its web at the box office. Embarks on a flying start. It opens in double digits and is the biggest opener in the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise India business,” trade expert Taran Adarsh tweeted. According to a film crtitic’s review, Spider-Man: Far From Home is an action packed, road trip-cum-coming of age film. Apart from Holland, the film also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders and Jon Favreau, among others.last_img read more

Countdown for Chandrayaan2 mission to start at 643 pm ISRO Chairman Sivan

first_imgChennai: The countdown for Monday’s Chandrayaan-2 mission launch will start at 6.43 p.m. today, ISRO chairman K. Sivan has said. The rocket and spacecraft’s systems will undergo checks and fueling during the countdown.The GSLV-Mk III rocket with Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was originally scheduled for flight at 2.51 a.m. on July 15. However, the flight was postponed after a technical snag was detected an hour prior to the rocket lift-off. ISRO later rectified the fault in its 44-metre Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III). Weighing about 640-tonne, the GSLV-Mk III rocket is nicknamed ‘Bahubali’ after the hero of a successful film of the same name. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DayJust like the protagonist of the film lifted a heavy Lingam in one of its scenes, the rocket will carry the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft.About 16-minutes into its flight, the Rs 375-crore GSLV-Mk III rocket is expected to sling the Rs 603-crore Chandrayaan-2 into its 170×40400-km orbit.ISRO has sent up three GSLV-Mk III rockets so far. The first carried Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment in December 2014. The second and third GSLV-Mk III carried communication satellites GSAT-19 and GSAT-29 in February 2017 and November 2018 respectively.GSLV-Mk III will also be used for India’s manned space mission in 2022.last_img read more

INX case Karti alleges political vendetta challenges ED notice to vacate house

first_imgNew Delhi: Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, Thursday challenged the Enforcement Directorate’s notice to vacate his Jor Bagh residence here, alleging that the government was pursuing a politically motivated vendetta against his family.Karti’s immovable property situated in the posh locality had been attached on October 10 last year by the ED in connection with the INX Media corruption case in which the father-son duo is accused. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The eviction notice was served on Wednesday evening following an earlier order of the Adjudicating Authority, PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act). The case involving Rs 305 crore relates to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2007 for receipt of funds by INX Media. Karti approached the authority saying an appeal in this regard was already pending adjudication and ED’s directions on Wednesday were a violation of law. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIn his plea, Karti said: “Central government has been pursuing a politically motivated vendetta against the family of P Chidambaram, especially his son Karti and all persons even remotely connected to the appellant including his mother Nalini.” He said that the vendetta is reflective of the “mala fide intention of the central government” and for the past four years the Centre has pursued its vendetta against the appellant by abusing the powers of agencies like the Income Tax department, ED and the CBI, all of which are under its control. “In the light of the conduct of the Central agencies over the past four years, it is submitted that, it is undeniable that they have been acting malafide and harassing the appellant without any justification,” the plea said. The petition contended that the order and the entire attachment proceedings in the case are “bad in law” and the notice under section 8(4) PMLA is purely a “mala fide” exercise of power to “prejudice” him. “There is no cause or reason to issue the notice after four months from the date of filing the appeal, except the untenable contents of the notice that the ED is authorised to take the possession of the said premises under section 8(4) of the PMLA,” the plea said.last_img read more

Monsoon mayhem Various incidents of road cavein reported from Gurugram

first_imgGurugram: The rainfall in 2018 continued to wreak havoc on Gurugram infrastructure and it was said that things will get improved in 2019. Ironically, this year’s monsoon has witnessed more waterlogging and road cave-in incidents than the previous year. If in 2018, a massive cave-in near IFFCO Chowk made the headline, this year it was seen at Basai road with a 15 feet deep hole at the busy route.With the massive hole being a cause of serious embarrassment for public officials, various public agencies shifted the blame to other agency for the maintenance of the road. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe cave-in of the Basai road came just a day after the IFFCO Chowk underpass caved in.Some of the prominent places where the incidents of road caving in have been reported in the past include IFFCO Chowk. IFFCO Chowk flyover, Hero Chowk, and Cybercity road. These areas are not only known as the busiest routes but are also in the process of development which is cited by the government for projecting Gurugram as an Icon city. Following the poor state of road infrastructure, various residents have taken to social media and are demanding accountability from the public officials. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsApart from the issue of poor condition of the roads, there are complaints of poor upkeep of roads by the public agencies. Most of the resident bodies, however, claim that there is a lack of proactive action among the public agencies towards the improvement of the roads in the city. In the past, residents have pooled money themselves to build and maintain roads for better connectivity. “There is not a single road in the city at present that are free from potholes. While there are a lot of construction activities happening at the prominent stretch of Golf Course Road and NH-8, the condition of rest of the road continues to be in the poor state,” added Rashmi Singh, a city resident. The crumbling infrastructure and the poor state of roads were raised prominently after the heavy rains on July 29 in 2016 that crippled the city. Following the debacle, the public agencies along with the cooperation with central agencies tried to put a lot of investment in revamping the major routes like NH-8, Sohna Road, MG Road, Golf Course Road and Golf Course Extension Road. Crores were spent on revamping the major city roads but the complaint of not tackling the problem of internal roads remained till now. The state government has launched a Har Path app for people to upload the pictures of bad roads in the city. The presence of multiple agencies for road maintenance, however, prevents fixing of accountability.last_img read more

WhatsApp from Facebook tag added in latest beta Report

first_imgSan Francisco: WhatsApp is adding an update to its latest beta that adds the “WhatsApp from Facebook” tag to the application. This comes less than a week after the Facebook-owned platform started rolling out a feature called “Fingerprint lock” for its Android beta users. The tag is visible under WhatsApp’s Settings and is a clear indication of Facebook marking its territory. Although Facebook has kept the app separate, the company hasn’t given up on the dream of a unified platform, the MSPoweruser reported on Saturday. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year The social networking giant purchased WhatsApp back in February 2014 and has made sure that people know about the purchase and this is another step in that direction. Meanwhile, when the Fingerprint lock feature is enabled, it would let people use fingerprint to open WhatsApp. However, users would still be able to answer calls even when WhatsApp is locked, WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp updates, reported earlier this week.last_img read more

Afghan President postpones US trip to discuss Taliban deal

first_imgKabul: Afghanistan’s president has postponed a planned visit to Washington early next week where he was to discuss the US-Taliban talks on ending America’s longest war, a person familiar with the negotiations said Friday. The development emerged after the US envoy negotiating with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, abruptly returned to Qatar for unexpected talks with the insurgents on the deal that he had described as complete just days ago. The Taliban maintain a political office in the Gulf Arab state. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe agreement “in principle” to begin a US troop withdrawal only needed President Donald Trump’s approval, Khalilzad had announced on Monday. The person who told The Associated Press of President Ashraf Ghani’s postponed Washington trip was not authorised to talk to reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity. Since Khalilzad’s announcement on Monday, two horrific Taliban car bombings in the Afghan capital, Kabul one of which killed a US service member and objections to the deal from the Afghan government and several former US ambassadors to Afghanistan have put pressure on Khalilzad as many wonder whether a deal will truly bring peace. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe Taliban have explained their surge in deadly attacks including on the capitals of northern Kunduz and Baghlan provinces last weekend as necessary to give them a stronger negotiating position in talks with the US, a stance that has appalled Afghans and others as scores of civilians are killed. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel has even demanded that Khalilzad testify before the House committee about the negotiations, saying that “I do not consider your testimony at this hearing optional.” The Afghan president has been shut out of the US-Taliban negotiations, and during Khalilzad’s visit to Kabul this week Ghani was shown the agreement but not allowed to keep it. The Taliban have rejected negotiations with the Afghan government, seeing it as a puppet of the US, though it has expressed willingness to meet with Afghan officials in their personal capacity. Ghani’s government this week raised objections to the deal, echoing the former US ambassadors’ concerns that a full US troop withdrawal that moves too quickly and without requiring the Taliban to meet certain conditions, such as reducing violence, could lead to “total civil war” such as the one that engulfed the country in the 1990s after a rapid Soviet pullout and before the Taliban swept into power. “Afghans have been bitten by this snake before,” presidential adviser Waheed Omer said Thursday, recalling past agreements from which the Afghan government has been sidelined. The US hopes its deal with the Taliban will bring the militant group to the table for intra-Afghan talks to begin ahead of Afghanistan’s presidential election on September 28 a vote that Ghani insisted must be held on time and not be swept aside by any kind of interim government.last_img read more

AAI to implement ACDM platform at 4 airports by Jan

first_imgMumbai: Government-run AAI said on Tuesday it plans to implement its Airport- Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) platform at Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram by early next year amid the rapidly growing passenger and aircraft traffic at these aerodromes. Implemented as a pilot at the city’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in 2015, developed in-house the A-CDM platform is a common information sharing platform for processing timely and accurate information for quick and precise decision making. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”A-CDM will be implemented atAhmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports by January 2020, considering the growth in passenger and aircraft movements,” the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said in a release. A-CDM solution takes into consideration aircraft’s expected time of arrivals, target off block times of departures, runway-in-use along with runway handling capacity and accordingly determines the aircraft arrival and departure sequence. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostAs part of its efforts to market in-house solution to other private airport operators, AAI also held a meeting in Mumbai with its private-sector peers on sharing of information among stakeholders in bringing further efficiency and improvement in operations across congested airports, using the platform. “Keeping in line with facilitating air travel and air navigation services, senior officials of the AAI met private airport operators in Mumbai on Monday to discuss the usage of the A-CDM solution which helps improve the efficiency of airport operations at busy and congested airports,” the AAI said. According to AAI, all the A-CDM project activities such as software development, network design, hardware planning, live testing, implementation and software maintenance was completely done by in-house by the AAI team. The solution involves all stakeholders to achieve optimum utilisation of airspace, aircraft and airports, particularly the busy and congested ones, in the country. Apart from senior AAI officials, senior executives from private airports in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochin took part in the meeting, said the release.last_img read more

RCMP charge southern Alberta man after womans horses sold to slaughterhouse

first_imgSTIRLING, Alta. – A man in southern Alberta is facing charges after a woman’s two horses were sold to a slaughterhouse and processed without her knowledge.RCMP say the woman had been boarding her two horses at a farm near Stirling for five years.Last month, a relative of the farm owner told her that he had died and she had to find a new home for the horses by the end of April.When she went to the farm on Saturday to get the horses she was told the animals had been sold.Livestock investigators determined the horses had been sold to a slaughterhouse in Fort MacLeod by a man who claimed to be their owner.Wayne Jubb has been charged with theft, trafficking stolen property and uttering forged documents.Jubb has been released from custody and is to appear in Lethbridge provincial court on May 23.last_img read more

Commercial airplane incidents accidents jump in 2017 safety board says

first_imgOTTAWA – The number of incidents involving commercial aircraft flew above the average last year, raising calls from an airline pilots association for the Liberals to boost spending on safety oversight.Figures released Tuesday from the Transportation Safety Board showed there were 94 incidents in 2017 involving commercial aircraft operators, a jump from the 63 recorded in 2016 and higher than the five-year average of 79 incidents.Large passenger airliners were involved in nine of those incidents last year. In 2016, the figure was one.The board also said the first known collision between a commercial aircraft and a drone was among the 921 overall aviation incidents last year.A complete statistical report on 2017 accident rates will be released this spring.The Transportation Safety Board said the increase in airline incidents overall last year is partly due to a higher number of flight training accidents.There was also the first fatal accident in six years: One passenger died after a December crash in Fond-du-Lac, Sask., the first such death involving a Canadian aircraft since 2011 when a First Air flight crashed in Resolute Bay, Nunavut.There have been other high-profile incidents in the last year, including a July incident when an Air Canada plane came within metres of crashing into four jets on arrival in San Francisco.The Canadian Federal Pilots Association argues the jump in incidents can be traced to federal government cutbacks in oversight, including fewer in-person reviews in the process to certify pilots in favour of targeted inspections.The association is renewing its calls on the Liberals to boost spending on Transport Canada inspectors, some of whom the association represents, in the name of passenger safety.Transport Canada said in a statement late Tuesday night that the oversight practices in place follow international standards. And airlines are required to have safety plans to go along with planned inspections, the agency said.Oversight is targeted where the risks appear greatest, based on available data, a spokeswoman said.“Transport Canada has a robust oversight program that allows the department to prioritize its resources to areas that provide the greatest safety benefit,” Annie Joannette said.“The department continuously evaluates and modifies its oversight tools to ensure they continue to be effective.”Greg McConnell, national chair of the pilots association, said the government should go back to its old system of comprehensive reviews and full-scale assessments of operators and airports.“They’re down to doing process inspections, which is sort of the third level of inspection that the department can do,” McConnell said.“An analogy that I like to use is if you were going to buy a car, and you brought a mechanic with you, you would want the mechanic to check the whole car. You wouldn’t want the mechanic to just check the electrical system.”last_img read more

Winterweary Newfoundland wakes to dusting of snow frigid wind chills

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Some people waking up in parts of Newfoundland got a wintry jolt when they looked out their window this morning and saw white.Areas around Gander and St. John’s got a light dusting of snow as temperatures dipped to about -1 C, with a wind chill of about -7 C.Some called it a cruel Spring joke that yielded some bemused Twitter comments.“Seriously?” wrote one, while another joked, “Nothing like a June snow to make you question your choices in life #nlwx.”Alan Doyle of the Newfoundland band, Great Big Sea, chimed in on Twitter with this dejected comment: “Lovely bit of snow on the go” and the hashtag, #jaysus.In St. John’s, softball games were postponed because of cold that saw people bundled up in winter coats and stocking caps to walk the dog.Meteorologist Brian Walsh says the wintry weather this late in the year is rare, noting it’s been 22 years since St. John’s airport last recorded snow in June.Other parts of Atlantic Canada didn’t fare much better, with Halifax seeing temperatures of about -1 C, Charlottetown 1 C and Fredericton at 2 C.last_img read more

Winnipeg voters could vote on future of downtown intersection Portage and Main

first_imgWINNIPEG – For decades, Winnipeg residents have debated the idea of allowing pedestrians to once again cross a downtown intersection many consider iconic.This fall, they may be able to vote on it.Mayor Brian Bowman announced Wednesday he supports a fellow councillor’s motion to include a referendum question in the upcoming municipal election on whether to remove the concrete barriers that prevent people from crossing the road at Portage Ave. and Main St.“I’ve been listening, and certainly respect that Winnipeggers have passionate and polarizing views on the intersection’s future,” he wrote on Twitter. “Winnipeggers will expect the results to be honoured which I’m committed to do regardless of the outcome.”Arguments over a roadway juncture may be minor in other cities, but in Winnipeg, there has been passionate — sometimes heated — debate between those who say the barriers help traffic flow and those who say removing them is crucial to help turn Winnipeg’s downtown into a more-modern, people-friendly metropolis.“Forty years ago, we decided to erect concrete walls and remove people from a place that has held a special narrative in our city, and to be honest, in the country,” said Brent Bellamy, an architect who chairs an arm’s-length city development agency with a focus on the downtown.“Two generations have only known Portage and Main in the configuration of what is essentially a freeway interchange. It has lost its special place.”There is no public square in the intersection. There’s not much to see except office towers on the corners, traffic lights, several lanes of traffic, and an old Bank of Montreal building from the city’s early days.But Portage and Main is held dear to many people’s hearts. It was where the city’s first business was set up outside a fort to the south. It was the centre of Winnipeg as the city grew, a century ago, to become the gateway to the West.The intersection has appeared on a stamp, been the subject of a song by rocker Randy Bachman, and is where people gather, blocking traffic, when the NHL Winnipeg Jets give fans cause to celebrate.The intersection was open to pedestrians until 1979, when developers agreed to build an adjacent office tower and underground mall on condition that the city close off the intersection and force pedestrians below street level.The 40-year agreement to keep Portage and Main’s barriers up is set to expire soon, and Bellamy and other proponents have listed several reasons why millions of dollars should be spent to open up the intersection: Increased foot traffic would be good for street-level businesses, make it easier for people with disabilities to get around, and make the downtown more walkable.“If you think about the best cities you’ve ever been in, you don’t come home from your vacation and say ‘Wow, I could drive out of that city centre really quickly’,” Bellamy said.“It’s about the experiences you have walking the sidewalks and the social engagement you have with other people.”But supporters of the status quo are just as adamant. They say the barriers keep pedestrians safe and minimize traffic jams. They also say the millions of dollars required to open up the intersection won’t make much of a difference to the downtown, because pedestrians can already cross either street one block in any direction.Jino Distasio, the director of the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg, counts himself among those with conflicted feelings.“We need to get more Winnipeggers … and tourists coming downtown, period. I don’t really know that one intersection is life-and-death for the City of Winnipeg in terms of whether we open or close it.”Other residents are tired of the issue. Bowman campaigned in 2014 on a promise to open the intersection and has now decided to let the public vote on it. One of his opponents this time around, Jenny Motkaluk, has promised to keep the intersection off-limits to pedestrians and has made the issue one of the main planks in her platform to date.“I swear if #wpg18 becomes all about (Portage and Main), I’m going to cry,” Twitter user Matt McLean posted, using the hashtag for the municipal election.last_img read more

Elderly Ottawa man dug out by police after spending winter snowed into

first_imgOttawa Police say they helped dig an elderly man out of his home Thursday after discovering he had been snowed in and unable to get out all winter.The police say the man’s neighbours called Thursday evening asking them to check on him because they hadn’t seen him for a while.Officers found a “winter’s worth” of snow in the driveway, with no sign that anyone had been in or out for some time.After digging their way to the front door, the man answered their knock and told them he had been snowed in and had spent the winter living off what he had in the house.He had heat and power and a working phone but police say he decided he would just wait out the winter rather than calling for help.The police cleared his driveway and are bringing him groceries and the City of Ottawa helped remove mounds of ice that built up at the end of his driveway.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Harry Belafonte To Be Honored At UNICEF Snowflake Ball

first_imgUNICEF is set to host the Snowflake Ball, one of New York City’s most notable black-tie galas, to celebrate the lighting of the UNICEF Snowflakes and to honor those whose philanthropic commitments support its mission to save children’s lives.Since its debut in 2005, the annual holiday occasion has raised over $16 Million for UNICEF’s lifesaving programs.This year’s event will take place on November 27 at Cipriani 42nd Street, and will honor Harry Belafonte with the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award. Tony Bennett will perform.Menu design has been set by Marcus Samuelsson, and the host committee includes Rachel Bilson, Michael Douglas, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Angie Harmon, Angelique Kidjo, Lang Lang, Joel McHale, Roger Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Vanessa Redgrave, Susan Sarandon and Kevin Spacey. The Gala Committee includes Tea Leoni.To find out more about the event, click here.last_img read more

JK Rowling Announces Charity eBook Publication Of The Tales Of Beedle The

first_imgJK Rowling has issued an online message to let readers in the digital world know about the eBook publication of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and encourage them to support the vital work of Lumos.Video: J.K. Rowling Announces eBook version of The Tales of Beedle The Bard to Benefit LumosAnd a moving animation about the work of Lumos, narrated by J.K. Rowling, is available for the first time today.Video: J.K. Rowling: This is LumosThe Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of wizarding fairy tales mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book of the series. J.K. Rowling originally produced an edition of seven handwritten, illustrated manuscripts. In 2007, one was offered at public auction and sold for £1.95 million, setting a record auction price for any modern literary manuscript.Following public demand ‘Beedle’ was published in hardback in 2008 and became the fastest selling book of the year. To date both the auction copy and the published book have raised over £18 million for Lumos.Eight million children globally live in large institutions that deny them individual love and care, can damage their brain development and destroy their understanding of right and wrong.Less than 10% of these children are orphans. Most have families who love them and want them, but they are separated because of poverty or discrimination. When they grow into adults, they struggle to cope in society. Research shows they are: 10 times more likely than their peers to be involved in prostitution 20 times more likely to have a criminal record 500 times more likely to commit suicideLumos works at every level, from international decision makers to individual children, to transform outdated systems. Institutions are replaced with family and community based services, so that all children can have a real chance of a childhood and a future. J.K.Rowling is the Founder and Chair of Lumos.To find out more about the charity, click here.The eBook The Tales of Beedle the Bard price £3.99 is available from the Pottermore Shop.last_img read more

Matt Damon Goes On Toilet Strike

first_imgMatt Damon, co-founder of, has held a press conference where he announced that to protest the fact that 2.5 billion people lack access to a toilet or basic sanitation, he will be going on a “toilet strike.”’s Matt Damon holds up a toilet seat in protest of the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to clean water and sanitationDamon remained afterward to make appearances in videos by top talent on the YouTube platform designed to bring awareness and activism to the global water and sanitation crisis.Video: Matt Damon Goes On Strike!At the news conference, Damon pointed out that “780 Million people, that’s twice the population of the United States, lack access to clean water.” He then announced his “toilet strike,” declaring: “In protest of this global tragedy, until this issue is resolved, until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation… I will not go to the bathroom.”Damon challenged reporters to tell him how they celebrated World Toilet Day; observed annually on November 19th, it aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge. Hearing no meaningful responses, Damon asked the press: “[Does] anybody have any idea what invention has saved more lives than any other in the history of humankind? …The Toilet.” To underscore his point about the sanitation component of the water crisis, Damon added “More people have cell phones than toilets.”Damon is also working with a group of YouTube creators on appearances scheduled to debut on each creator’s YouTube channel, including ShayCarl, EpicLloyd, WheezyWaiter, LivePrudeGirls, Smosh, Stan Lee, Lisa Schwartz, and John Elerick.Gary White, co-founder and CEO said: “Matt’s strike announcement and the vlogger videos are designed to start an online conversation that can engage people across the digital landscape, and we hope people will share the video, and respond to it with their own thoughts…” Gary added, “I’ve been working on the water crisis for over 25 years and the interest and excitement for our work against one of the world’s most solvable problems has never been more real. We are confident we will solve this crisis in our lifetime.”“’s latest public awareness campaign shows how nonprofits can use video to raise awareness about important issues. YouTube is committed to helping more nonprofits reach global audiences with important messages and is thrilled that is leading the way.” – Jessica Mason , YouTube for Good invites viewers to visit where they can “Support the Strike,” subscribe to upcoming videos, and donate to the cause. The site supports integration with YouTube, Facebook Connect, Twitter OAuth, bitly, and Instagram.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

Wanda Sykes Speaks Out Against Continuous Chaining Of Dogs

first_imgIn letters sent last week on PETA’s behalf, Wanda Sykes urges the mayors and city council members of Suffolk and Newport News to follow the leads of nearby Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, and her native Portsmouth and enact legislation that bans or significantly restricts the continuous chaining of dogs.As Sykes explains, forcing highly social pack animals to live their lives at the end of a chain is both cruel and dangerous since chained dogs are more likely to become aggressive and attack people, children especially.“Dogs ask for so little yet give us so much. The very least that we can do for them is to pass a law that protects them from the cruelty of being chained their entire lives,” writes Sykes. “I truly hope that Newport News [and Suffolk join] dozens of other U.S. jurisdictions—including my hometown of Portsmouth—that have passed anti-chaining laws in response to public safety and animal welfare concerns.”PETA responds to more chained-dog cases in Suffolk than in any other city in the area, but the 24/7 chaining of dogs is also common in Newport News. Just this winter, a PETA fieldworker found two malnourished dogs chained in a Newport News backyard with no access to food or water. Just feet away lay the body of a third dog who, as revealed by a necropsy, had starved to death. PETA has since filed charges against the homeowner.Source:PETAlast_img read more