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  • Union Minister Says Violence During Ramzan Ceasefire Has 'Exposed' Terrorists, But J&K Top Cop Disagrees

    A day after union minister Jitendra Singh said that the continued incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir despite the Centre putting in place a ceasefire have exposed terrorists and their sympathisers, the state's top cop gave a different take on it.

    DGP SP Vaid tweeted on Tuesday that the ceasefire has been successful thus far. "The initiative of Hon'ble PM has helped in general improvement in law & order. The situation especially in south Kashmir has eased and is serving as confidence building measure for families who want their boys to return back home," he wrote.

    The differing opinions of the minister and the DGP stem from the different figures of clashes and violence given by central government forces like the CRPF and the state police since the start of the Ramzan ceasefire.

    The CRPF figures accessed by CNN-News18 said that from May 17 to May 20, 21 incidents of stone pelting were reported in the Valley, injuring three CRPF personnel and damaging 28 vehicles. However, the J&K Police said only six incidents of violence have been reported between the said period.

    “The Ramzan ceasefire has to be contextualised. Between April 1 and 5 this year, there were 92 incidents of stone pelting; comparatively, there have been only six since the ceasefire," the DGP said.

    Dr Jitender Singh, the minister of state in PMO, had told CNN-News18 that the continued incidents of stone pelting, violence, etc expose separatists who are egging the stone pelters on. "It shows people who follow Islam do not have any conviction to follow the tenets of Quran, the sanctity of Ramzan and therefore I am proud that forces are taking retaliatory measures. Then you can't blame our forces," Jitender Singh said.

    "May 21 is a test case to see if the ceasefire is working. Every year violence erupts on this day when death anniversary of Abdul Gani Lone and Mirwaiz is commemorated. This year May 21 was peaceful. Even the PM's visit went off peacefully," a top J&K police officer said.

    Rebutting arguments that the ceasefire will help terrorists regroup, J&K police officials said that 4 LeT terrorists were killed on the May 19. Data released by CRPF showed that in the month of Ramzan violence usually goes down in the Valley.

    GOSINDIA: Parveen Babi and Mahesh Bhatt's heartbreaking love...

    GOSINDIA: Parveen Babi and Mahesh Bhatt's heartbreaking love...: From Romeo and Juliet to Heer and Ranjha, the greatest love stories are tragedies. The story of Parveen Babi and Mahesh Bhatt's romance...

    Meghan is made first EVER Duchess of Sussex! The Queen's wedding gift to Prince Harry

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they get married today.

    The Queen has gifted the titles to her grandson and his bride-to-be as they prepare to walk down the aisle of St George's Chapel in Windsor. 

    The royal groom's dukedom is the highest rank in the British peerage and marks his marriage to the former US actress.

    She will become the first ever Duchess of Sussex later on today as her new husband is made the first Duke of the county in 175 years and the second in history.
    American former actress Meghan will now become Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex.

    Meghan and Harry have also been handed Scottish and Northern Irish titles from his grandmother

    Harry will also receive Scottish and Northern Irish titles, becoming the Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel, making Meghan the Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness Kilkeel.

    All royal titles are given by the Queen and it was up to the monarch to choose which one to bestow on her grandson and his new wife.

    Buckingham Palace said: 'The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales.

    'His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Ms Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.'

    Harry's thoughts on the title will also have been taken into account by the royal matriarch in a private discussion between the Prince and his grandmother.

    Walmart approaches CCI for approval of Flipkart acquisition

    Global retail giant Walmart has approached fair trade regulator CCI for approval of its proposed acquisition of a majority stake in e-commerce major Flipkart, saying the deal doesn’t raise any competition concerns. Stating that the proposed acquisition would be done through its subsidiary Wal-Mart International Holdings, Walmart has told the regulator that Flipkart is a Singapore-based investment holding firm, which along with its direct and indirect subsidiaries, both in India and elsewhere, is primarily engaged in the business of wholesale cash and carry of goods and providing marketplace based e-commerce platforms to facilitate trade between customers and sellers in India.

    Mergers and acquisitions beyond a certain threshold require the approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). According to the notice submitted to the CCI by Wal-Mart International Holdings, the proposed transaction will be effected pursuant to the share purchase agreement and the share issuance and acquisition agreement entered into on May 9 by and among Walmart’s subsidiary and Flipkart.

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    Just because I like the name Sidharth doesn’t mean I’m rekindling anything, says Alia Bhatt

    Last year, she completed a glorious five years in Bollywood, and the sixth year started off on a “super busy note” for Alia Bhatt. But she is clearly not complaining. “I always want my working atmosphere to be a happy one,” says the actor, as she gears up for the release of her next, Raazi. She also talks about her working style, link-up rumours and more.

    Thank God, my manager takes care of my date diary (laughs). But it is a crazy time for me. This is the most that I have worked continuously. I have worked every day since January without even a single day off. But I am not complaining as it’s a new kind of time for me. I am learning a lot about myself, my work, and I am understanding new things as well as meeting new people too. We are just in the fifth month of 2018 but it feels I have already gone through the whole year. It’s all going very fast but also slow in a way. The difficult part is switching between the characters. Fortunately, I have finished Gully Boy so, now I just have Brahmastra and Kalank but they both are in very different worlds. I just wish my directors lots of love and luck to handle this kind of a mess (laughs).
    I feel a film is made up of many characters, so it is not just me. But yes, one can say that Raazi is my solo film of sorts after some time. I would not say that it’s completely my film. It is very difficult without your co-actors to bring a character to life. Also, it has been a while since my last film (Badrinath Ki Dulhania; 2017) released, so I am a little nervous because I have never done such a film. There is no reference to do such a film. But the nervousness is there, regardless of a film being big, difficult or small. I will always be nervous but it’s a different kind of nervousness.

    I don’t know for sure but I think it does. I am feeling very tired, but not because of the physical aspects [of a character] but because every character that I am playing is quite layered. For instance, my part in Kalank is also quite difficult. I did not realise it initially, when I started shooting for it. But then, I was like, ‘it’s so difficult. Why am I struggling?’ On the second day, I gave 11 takes for one shot which has not happened with me for a long time. So I choose my characters thinking, ‘yeh kuch alag hoga but it’s like apne pair par kulhaadi maarna’. After this year is over, I just want to have fun and maybe do a nonsensical part with no hectic, stressful and layered work (laughs).

    Alia Bhatt takes part in a promotional event for the forthcoming Hindi film Raazi directed by Meghna Gulzar in Mumbai. (AFP)

    In an earlier interview, you said that a 20-something isn’t always a poster girl of pure positivity and constant joy…

    You know, I always try and remain positive but at the same time, I also feel, ‘why should the world feel your internal struggles?’ I want my working atmosphere to be a happy one. I want to only give love and positivity. But neither am I always happy nor I am permanently positive. I am constantly paranoid, worried from time to time, under confident and insecure as well. I don’t think these are bad emotions. There is a certain perception that you always need to be happy. I am totally against that. For me, happiness is not an emotion, but moments. I think happiness has been defined all wrong for us. Happiness doesn’t mean you have to be constantly giggling, smiling and laughing.

    I am a very positive and happy person. I certainly believe in the better things in life. But it does not mean that I don’t have bad moments. It’s okay if I don’t laugh too much on a certain day. To put it correctly, I like being warm and that’s my vibe. I can be sad but still be warm. So, I would rather be warm, cozy and comfy. Happiness is overrated.

    More than others, I have high expectations from myself. So, it never weighs me down. I won’t use the word ‘critical’, but I am quite objective about when I am killing it and when I am not. When I watch my film, I don’t think, ‘oh, I wish I had done it better’. I only judge what’s good and what’s not or what’s great and what is average, to be aware that I will be able to do it better the next time.

    Sonam Kapoor's endearing candour, winsome frankness has set her apart from her contemporaries

    I write this piece about Sonam Kapoor, not as a fan but as a fellow person that respects difference in others. Sonam and I, if there is any room for comparison at all, hail from different worlds in this world. She is opinionated often, and sometimes, terribly misled in her understanding of the world, politics and various seismic socio-political aspects of our country. Like her co-star Kareena Kapoor Khan, sometimes, she says things strangely. Yet, Sonam endears because of her candour and ability to discern a different voice than hers — an art that has gone quite missing from Indian social conversations and chatter these days.

    Sonam Kapoor. Twitter/ Sonam Kapoor RussiaSonam Kapoor. Twitter/ Sonam Kapoor Russia
    Sonam’s world is filled with wealth, privilege, love — from her family, her sister, friends and now, Anand Ahuja. She delights in dressing up and like Kangana Ranaut, has taken Indian women’s fashion a few notches higher. A clotheshorse, she can pull off anything — be it a feathered, lavish gown on the Cannes red carpet, or an electric blue plastic like dress at the world’s biggest movie jamboree.
    As an actor, Sonam has scope for improvement. There is will to do better but efforts are still not quite there yet. She has improved as she has grown, and has tried to diversify as performer. Neerja, Raanjhana and now Padman reflect improvement. As part of a family production, she has tried to carve out a space with her sister Rhea Kapoor. Khoobsurat might bore at times but the character of Milli ‘gets’ what a girl wants. Similarly, Veere Di Wedding, where all its lead characters swear, does not make swearing by an educated, urban woman a ‘thing’. Perhaps, because, it is nothing out of the ordinary; women swear all the time. That part is impressive. A heroine turning producer makes news these days, as their courage is systematically lauded. But Rhea Kapoor, with Sonam as muse, had taken this path quite early on with Aisha — musically solid but an average film.

    For someone having watched her films and tracking cinema for a living, I took some time to actually meet Sonam Kapoor. And that was an eventful evening. I first met Sonam for a video interview for an entertainment news website, one that Bollywood usually loves to be featured on. My first impressions were ineffectual as I watched Sonam get ready for the interview, perfectly coiffured and styled, in a lavish and comfortable office space of their film company. As the young, sincere stylist clicked a photo to post on social media, Sonam struck a perfect pose, sighed elegantly and said, “These girls…!”. Looking divine or sighing elegantly or sitting perfectly have never crossed my mind — that is not what I usually want (from life). I also don’t feel self-conscious about my split ends (which I definitely had then), or near absent pedicure. But I was amused at just how naturally Sonam took to looking gorgeous — it was rather effortless, part of her as a person. I did feel a tad bit like an unironed cotton shirt.

    And then she tore right into me. Her grouse was with the website that I then represented, for not having controlled the trolling of Fawad Khan — the dashing Pakistani heart throb who was making his Bollywood debut with Khoobsurat. Their trailer launch coverage got some really mean comments. I heard her out, wondering if I should do a self-righteous huff and leave. After all, I had not said anything nasty about Fawad and the internet is open field.

    But I held my peace because beneath the sheen and glamour that she so perfectly projected, what Sonam was saying to me made sense. I offered an apology and said we would make amends. A bit miffed, she stated that everyone thought they (Rhea and her) were dad’s credit card brats, and they were not like that. For they made their own money since they were 17 or 18.  She also reiterated that fashion can never be any one person’s bastion and that everyone should wear what they feel comfortable in. An effort was made to cut through the glam diva public image during this conversation.

    7th Pay Commission This is first state to approve CPC recommendations, hiked salary from April only

    7th Pay Commission latest news today: Jammu and Kashmir has become the first state in the country to approve the recommendations of the 7th pay panel for its employees and also announced to pay revised salary from this month itself.

    From this month onwards, employees of Jammu and Kashmir government will start getting the revised salary as per the recommendations of the 7th pay panel.
    The Jammu and Kashmir government’s information department on Tuesday said the government employees of the state will start drawing revised scales of pay from April itself. “As already announced by Govt, the employees to draw revised scales of pay from current month,” the state information department tweeted.

    7th Pay Commission recommendations were implemented by the Centre two years ago. Addressing a press conference today, Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Altaf Bukhari said J&K is the first state in India to implement the 7th CPC recommendations. The minister further said that the state doesn’t have much resources but the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has fulfilled the commitment she had made.

    Ground reality points at unlivable conditions with no drinking water or healthcare

    On April 9, the Supreme Court ordered the Centre to file within four weeks a status report on basic amenities provided to two Rohingya camps in Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj and Haryana’s Mewat. Over the next three days, The Indian Express visited four settlements, including these two in Delhi, Mewat and Faridabad, and found practically unliveable conditions — with no access to drinking water, education, healthcare or sanitation. What also came to light were tales of women being denied reproductive rights and children suffering from malnutrition and diarrhoea.

    Noor Fatima (23) is petrified of leaving her three-month-old daughter Shazia alone even for a minute, so she takes her everywhere — including when she has to defecate next to an open drain near her shanty in Shram Vihar.

    “She was a month-old when a rat bit her all over the face. I was bathing and when I came back, she was covered in blood and it was nibbling her face. Is this any way to live?” she asks.

    At the slum in Shaheen Bagh, 90 Rohingya Muslim families are spread across a cluster of privately-owned plots, which they have taken on rent. They have lived here since 2012, when, like a thousand others, they fled Myanmar because of religious persecution.

    Semi-naked children with protruding bellies run around, stepping on faeces, slush, used band-aids, dirty diapers, broken syringes and bloody gauze. In the midst of the settlement is a bluish mountain of medical waste, right next to one of two hand pumps put up by residents. While some Rohingya Muslims work as labourers, many search through garbage to sell items and earn a living.

    “We wash utensils at this pump, bathe here, and drink this water too. Everyone is sick here — breathing problems, malnourishment and stones. The children almost always have diarrhoea,” said Mohd Younis (28), who came to Delhi from Bangladesh in 2012, after fleeing the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. SOURCE

    Special category status row: Statewide bandh in Andhra Pradesh, motorcycle set ablaze near RTC bus stand in Tirupati

    Andhra Pradesh Pratyeka Hoda Saadhana Samiti is observing a one-day statewide bandh today over the demand of Special Status for the state. Opposition parties such as the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Jana Sena, Congress and the Left parties have also extended their support to the shutdown. A Motorcycle has been set ablaze near RTC bus stand in Tirupati during the statewide bandh in Andhra Pradesh.

    The Left parties are protesting on National Highway 16 which connects Kolkata and Chennai. In the meantime, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses will operate only till Andhra Pradesh state border due to the statewide bandh. However, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which has been agitating for the Special Category Status and implementation of the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, has opposed it and not taking part in the protest.

    Reacting to the shutdown call, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said bandhs were not welcome as they hamper development.

    The Jagan Reddy-led YSRC hit back, accusing the Chief Minister of adopting 'double standards'. "When Naidu was the Opposition leader, he had called for bandhs on many occasions, but as a Chief Minister he is now opposing them (bandhs), saying they hinder development," YSRC political affairs committee member Ambati Rambabu said.

    Rambabu said Naidu should understand that bandh was a form of a democratic protest and he had no right to oppose it. The YSRC leader also alleged that the ruling TDP government was threatening those who were supporting the bandh, saying cases would be booked against them. "Why this intimidation? As long as they are peaceful, we will continue all forms of democratic protests," Rambabu added.

    Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will observe a day-long hunger strike here on his birthday, April 20, in protest against the Centre's non-cooperation towards the state.

    During an event to mark Ambedkar Jayanti in Guntur district, the Chief Minister unveiled the designs of 'Ambedkar Smriti Van' to be built in Amravati spreading over 20 acres with a cost of Rs 100 crores.

    While addressing the gathering, he announced that he will sit on fast on his birthday i.e., April 20 as part of his fight over the Central government demanding to fulfill assurances made in Rajya Sabha including Special Category Status and provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
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    Samsung Galaxy Note 9 leaks, could be codenamed ‘Crown

    Samsung has already started working on the new Galaxy Note smartphone, expected to launch sometime this fall. Some details about the Galaxy Note 9 have surfaced online and a report by popular leaker Evan Blass reveals the codename the flagship device will carry. According to Blass, the Galaxy Note 9 is said to bear the codename ‘Crown’. The Galaxy Note 9 will succeed the Galaxy Note 8, which made its debut in August last year.

    This isn’t the first time we’re hearing that the Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 codename is ‘Crown’. Last year, South Korean site The Investor reported that Samsung was developing the Galaxy Note 9 under the codename ‘Crown’. Samsung is calling the Galaxy Note 9 ‘Crown’ internally, which shows that the company wants to position its next flagship as the best phablet in the market. For example, the Galaxy Note 8 was codenamed ‘Baikal’ and this was used to highlight the phone’s gigantic edge-to-edge display. For those who’re not aware, Baikal is one of the largest lakes in Europe and Russia.

    The Galaxy Note 9 will hog all the limelight when it arrives later this year. After all, the flagship is likely going to compete with Apple’s 2018 iPhone X and Huawei’s next Mate smartphone. Expect the Galaxy Note 9 to feature the top-of-the-line spec sheet and features. The handset will use two different processors  – a Snapdragon 845 chipset and Samsung’s own Exynos processor — depending upon the market. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will likely come with a set of dual cameras on the rear. Plus, of course, the Galaxy Note 9 will also feature the S-Pen stylus which can be used to take notes.

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