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  • BAI Announces Cash Rewards for Saina, Kashyap

    The Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Tuesday announced a cash award of five lakh rupees each to World number two Saina Nehwal and Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap for their impressive performances at the international stage.

    Both Saina and Kashyap had won the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow in January and Saina also became the first Indian woman to reach the All England Open Super Series Premier finals earlier this month.
    “It has been my policy to reward players who are performing exceptionally well on the international circuit with handsome financial gains as the players are making the country proud with their title triumphs," BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta said.

    "Both Saina and Kashyap had won the gold medal in the Syed Modi GP Gold event. Saina has even reached number two ranking in the world.”

    Sushant Singh Rajput turns into Byomkesh Bakshy

    Sushant Singh Rajput is ready to jump into the character of Sherlock Holmes. He would don the role of a detective in his upcoming ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ The actor is playing the lead in this thriller that would hit the screens on 3rd April. The film is directed by Dibakar Banerjee and it is a Yash Raj Film production. The filmmakers have released a video showing Sunshant Singh Rajput’s transformation from an ordinary guy to the dynamic detective Byomkesh Bakshy. The video features a song sequence paired with a series of clips from the film.

    What makes YRF’s video utmost interesting is how the filmmakers have shown the concept. It starts with the actor in casual western clothes and looks nowhere close to a detective. The music that begins sets Sushant on his feet with energetic moves. But impressive dance moves is not all that has been shown. The actor’s steps are combined with all the power packed action that he indulges in, as seen in the movie. He gets more into the character of the detective as the song progresses. And slowly, we see the hip hop style Sushant transform into the dhoti clad Bengali detective. By the end of the song, detective Byomkesh Bakshy is all ready for the audience.
    The film has been adapted from ‘Byomkesh Bakshy’ that is a Bengali fiction written by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. The Bengali writer in turn, has been inspired by the famous English fiction ‘Sherlock Holmes’ by Arthur Conan Doyle.

    Another lead role in the film is Swastika Mukherjee, would be seen as a spy and a dancer called Anguri Devi. Her character is based on Mata Hari – the well known Frisian exotic dancer. Anand Tiwari plays Ajit Bandyopadhyay – a close friend of Byomkesh Bakshy.
    It has been reported that Rani Mukherjee is the one that the filmmakers had earlier approached for the female lead. But the actress refused as the female lead was required to do some bold scenes. Yet another prominent personality to be considered was Aamir Khan. He was asked to be a villain, but he too refused as he had ‘Dhoom 3’ in hand where he played a villain. Director Dibakar Banerjee wanted to make the film so that Indian get their own detective. And he has worked hard on this, as Sushant says- “A lot has to be done for the film like the look of the 1940s’ hairstyle,

    Defamation case: Kejriwal appears before court after judge says he has no respect for law

    Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and AAP leader Yogendra Yadav on Tuesday appeared before a Delhi court in connection with a defamation case, after they faced a flak from the judge for not appearing.

    Earlier in the day, Kejriwal, Sisodia and Yadav were directed by a court here to appear before it later in the day in connection with a criminal defamation complaint, saying there was no ground for exemption from their appearance.

    Metropolitan Magistrate Mayuri Singh took strong view of absence of Kejriwal, Sisodia and Yogendra Yadav, and said they "have no respect for the law".

    The court fixed May 2, for pronouncing order on framing of charges against Kejriwal, Sisodia and Yadav in the case.

    The case was put up before magistrate Singh as Metropolitan Magistrate Muneesh Garg, before whom the matter was going on, was on leave today.

    During the hearing, the court had said the exemption application displayed no reason for the absence of the accused.

    "There is nothing to reflect why accused (Kejriwal, Sisodia and Yadav) have not appeared. Accused have no respect for law. Considering no one has appeared for accused, I am keeping the matter pending at 2 PM. Call at 2 PM," the magistrate said.
    The court noted that a clerk appeared on behalf of the accused and his advocates and moved the exemption plea.

    The complainant, advocate Surender Kumar Sharma, opposed the plea saying the lawyers are on strike and not the litigants and it would not be in the interest of justice if any adjournment is given in the case as the case had earlier been adjourned three times due to absence of the accused.

    Sharma had alleged that in 2013 he was approached by volunteers of AAP who had asked him to contest the Delhi Assembly elections on a party ticket, saying Kejriwal was pleased with his social services.

    He filled up the application form to contest the polls after being told by Sisodia and Yadav that AAP's Political Affairs Committee of the party had decided to give him the ticket. However, it was later denied to him.

    On October 14, 2013, the complainant claimed, articles in leading newspapers carried "defamatory, unlawful and derogatory words used by the accused persons" which have lowered his reputation in the Bar and the society.

    The summons were issued on the complaint under sections 499, 500 (defamation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC, with the court saying there was prima facie material to summon the accused.

    28 years after Rajiv Gandhi's near disastrous visit, confident Modi strides into Sri Lanka

    Optics, symbolism and body language are crucially important in diplomacy. If one goes by that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a powerful statement in Sri Lanka already.

    He came here with folded hands, and then stretched out his arms with an open mind. In bitter contrast, the last time an Indian Prime Minister visited Colombo – Rajiv Gandhi on 30 July, 1987 – he was famously hit by a soldier’s rifle butt when he was inspecting a guard of honour.

    If Rajiv Gandhi had not been alert and ducked, he may have died on the spot. Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva’s rifle butt hit Rajiv on the shoulder, not on the head where it was meant to land. Wijemuni instantaneously became a popular figure, so much so that after his release from prison he even contested a general election under a ticket for the Sihala Urumaya party in 2000, but lost. Less than two years ago, he admitted in an on-record interview that he intended to kill the Indian premier. Read the full interview here.
    Modi with President Maithripala Sirisena: PTI

    Modi with President Maithripala Sirisena: PTI
    Wijemuni’s action was meant to be an act of revenge against Rajiv Gandhi’s fateful decision of sending the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka.

    This was the time when India-Sri Lanka relations were at their nadir and anti-India rabid Tamil parties were born and got strengthened in Tamil Nadu and Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the LTTE in Tamil Nadu on 21 May, 1991.

    This contrasting tale of two Indian Prime Ministers in Sri Lanka conveys a lot. To drive the point further home, PM Modi visited the IPKF memorial here and paid homage to IPKF soldiers. This ritual will definitely become a must-do for all future Indian Prime Ministers who visit Sri Lanka.

    The significance of his visit is not lost on Modi himself.

    Sample his words in his media statement after his talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena: "I am conscious of the significance of this visit. It is the first standalone bilateral visit to Sri Lanka by an Indian Prime Minister since 1987. Last month, President Sirisena honoured us by making India his first foreign visit as a President. I am glad to be here so soon. This is how it should be between neighbours. We should meet regularly. It helps us understand each other better; find solutions to mutual concerns; and, move our relationship forward. That is what we achieved in my meetings with President Sirisena today."

    Apple’s upcoming Watch will replace your car keys, says CEO Tim Cook

    Apple Watch will replace your car keys and its battery will last the whole day, Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook told the Telegraph in an interview. The watch is designed to replace car keys and the clumsy, large fobs that are now used in many vehicles, Cook told the newspaper.

    Its battery will last the whole day, and will not take as long to charge as an iPhone, the report quoted Cook as saying. Apple Watch will also work as a credit card through Apple Pay, Cook told the paper, but did not mention how user verification will work with the watch.

    The rollout of the watch might pose a challenge for Apple’s stores, which may involve “tweaking the experience in the store,” the Telegraph said, citing Cook’s conversation with the staff at Apple’s Covent Garden store in London.

    Last March, Apple unveiled CarPlay, which lets drivers access contacts on their iPhones, make calls or listen to voicemails without taking their hands off the steering wheel. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the iPhone maker is looking at making a self-driving electric car, and is talking to experts at carmakers and automotive suppliers.
    In the interview, Cook said that the Apple Watch will operate a special rewards system, track the user’s activity and “be correct to 50 milliseconds”.

    Apple was not immediately available for comment.

    The company has scheduled a special event on March 9, where it is expected to showcase Apple Watch, which will be launched in April. While announcing Apple’s record-breaking earnings, CEO Tim Cook had revealed a rough launch date of April 2015 for the device.

    The smartwatch was announced last year in September, but the company didn’t reveal much about its availability, except that it would come in ‘early Spring’. Later, Apple retail chief, Angela Ahrendts,was more specific and revealed the Watch would come only after the Chinese New Year. She had also disclosed how Apple had started planning marketing strategies and all retail employees would be trained to help customers try out the new watch and its features.

    The Apple Watch sports a squarish design instead of a circular one popularised by Motorola’s Moto 360. The Watch is crafted from custom alloys of polished or space black stainless steel (Apple Watch), space gray or silver anodized aluminum (Apple Watch Sport) and 18-karat rose or yellow gold (Apple Watch Edition).

    Egyptian court labels Hamas as terrorist group

    An Egyptian court has reportedly declared Palestinian group Hamas as a terrorist organisation after accusing it of supporting an insurgency in northern Sinai.

    Judge Mohamed el-Sayed said in his verdict that the group was undoubtedly involved in acts of sabotage, assassinations and the killing of innocent civilians and members of the armed forces and police in Egypt, reported the BBC.
    The court ruling will effectively ban Hamas inside Egypt. It comes a month after another court listed the armed wing of Hamas as a terrorist group.

    Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which was itself designated as a terror outfit in 2013.

    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by military last year.

    SC reserves judgment on Teesta Setalvad anticipatory bail

    The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved judgement in an anticipatory bail plea for human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand.

     Setalvad had appealed a Gujarat high court order that denied her anticipatory bail on 12 February. Setalvad and Anand have been accused of embezzling funds collected through donations for the construction of a memorial for the 2002 Gujarat riot victims at Gulbarg Society.

    As a temporary relief, however, the apex court directed that no arrests would be made in relation to the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of funds through Setalvad’s two trusts—the Centre for Peace and Justice and Sabrang Trust.

     A bench of justices Dipak Misra and A.K. Goel heard arguments from the Gujarat government and Setalvad for nearly two hours. Judge Misra questioned the need for custodial interrogation in a case where there were allegations of embezzlement and possible irregularity in the accounts of the trusts.
    Lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, for the Gujarat state, who was also the special public prosecutor before the high court, said that they were asking for custodial interrogation because there had been “rank non-cooperation” and “tampering with witnesses” by Setalvad and Anand. He added that trust money, collected for the beneficiaries, here the riot victims, had been used for personal credit card payments.

    While refraining from making any observations to that extent, the court orally said that while some cases required custodial interrogation, this perhaps was not one of them.

     Lawyer Kapil Sibal, for Setalvad, agreed to furnish documents required by the Gujarat police in furtherance of the investigation. He also said that 11,000 pages of documents had been given to the high court, including cash vouchers.

    Swine flu claims 47 lives in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh

    At least 47 people have died due to swine flu in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh this year, health officials said here Thursday.

    While Punjab has reported 82 confirmed cases and another nearly 100 suspected cases, 120 cases have been reported in Haryana.

    In Punjab 26 people have died in recent days, while in Haryana 18 people have died. Three people have died in Chandigarh due to the H1N1 virus.
    Health officials in both states said that monitoring of people suspected to have symptoms of swine flu was being done and confirmed cases were being treated in isolation wards of hospitals. They said that adequate stocks of medicines were available and people were being made aware about the spread of the disease.

    "While some people are going in for preventive vaccination, a number of people were getting themselves tested for the disease," said Gagan Arora, a general practitioner.

    Vikas, Vishal Yadav get life term in Nitish Katara murder case

    The Delhi High Court on Friday enhanced the life imprisonment terms of Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav, convicted of the 2002 murder of Nitish Katara, to 25 years without remission but rejected a plea for them to be given the death sentence.

    A special bench of Justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha gave both men five more years in prison for destroying evidence. It also imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh each on Vikas, the son of Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav, and his cousin Vishal for the murder.

    The court also increased the jail term of another convict in the case, Sukhdev Pehelwan, to 25 years. The judges said all the men will have to undergo rigorous imprisonment without any remission except for the additional five years.

    The bench turned down a plea by Katara's mother Neelam and Delhi Police seeking the death sentence for the three men.

    Neelam, who was in court when the judges announced their verdict, expressed disappointment at the rejection of her plea for the death penalty but said she was happy with the prison sentences of the trio being enhanced.

    "I will appeal against the order in the Supreme Court," she said. Neelam said she did not require the compensation awarded by the court as she believed no monetary value could be put on the life of her son.

    The judges, in their judgement running to more than 700 pages, said the time spent by Vikas in hospital (from October 10, 2011 to November 4, 2011) should not be counted as part of his prison term.

    They asked the central and Delhi governments to conduct an inquiry into the visits to hospital by Vikas and Vishal after they were sent to jail.
    Vikas, Vishal and Pehelwan are serving life terms for abducting and killing Katara, a business executive and son of a railway officer, in February 2002. They killed him as Vikas was opposed to Katara's relationship with his sister Bharti because they belonged to different castes.

    Katara had fallen in love with Bharti while they were both studying at the Institute of Management Technology in Ghaziabad.

    The High Court had been hearing arguments on the punishment given to the three men since April last year. The convicts had sought leniency and exemption from the death sentence on the grounds that they could reform. They had also claimed their actions were not so brutal or gruesome that they deserved capital punishment.

    Neelam Katara and Delhi Police had demanded death for the trio, saying their offence was "the rarest of the rare".

    The High Court had in April 2014 upheld sentences awarded to the three men by a lower court and described Katara's murder as an "honour killing" stemming from a "deeply-entrenched belief" in the caste system.

    Rahul Gandhi: Modi put Jayanthi Natarajan against me

    Breaking his silence, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said his former party colleague Jayanthi Natarajan had been pitted against him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he had been fighting for the poor and other weaker sections of the society.

    "Ek din maine Modiji ke baare mein kuch kaha, agle din unhone Natrajan ko khada kiya (One day, I said something about Modi, the very next day, he put up Natarajan)," the Congress Vice President said at a rally here. This was his first reaction to Natarajan's allegation that he used to interfere in grant of green nods when she was Environment Minister before being forced out in December 2013. She resigned from the party on Saturday last, reported PTI.
    "I want to tell you that I have fought for the poor and the adivasis and I had told Jayanthi Natarajan that we should look into the welfare of the environment, poor and the adivasis. I will continue to fight for the poor, the hutsmen and the weaker sections," the Congress vice-president said at an election rally here. Alleging that the Prime Minister is working only to benefit his "industrial friends", he said he had joined politics to ensure welfare for the poor and the weaker sections of the society and not to benefit some businessmen.
     
    Natarajan had last Saturday resigned from the primary membership of Congress alleging that she was "vilified" for rejecting green nod to industrial projects during her tenure as Environment Minister, which she said she had done following communications by the Congress vice-president. She had also written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi a few months back alleging that she had received specific requests from Rahul on environmental clearances and consequently rejected big ticket projects, a contention she reaffirmed at the time of announcing her resignation.

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