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Found 53 results

  1. JI chief Siraj-ul-Haq/File photo KASUR: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Siraj-ul-Haq on Thursday visited the family of the late Zainab, a seven-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered, to express his condolences over the heinous incident. Speaking to media on the occasion, Siraj criticised Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his administration for what he said was their failure to prevent the crime. ?Chief Minister sahib, where was your police, where was your dolphin force? Why were [they] sleeping when [Zainab] was kidnapped?? he questioned. ?Innocent Zainab was brutally murdered after being kidnapped,? the JI chief lamented, as he reiterated demand that the culprit(s) be caught and punished. Taking aim at the provincial chief minister, Siraj asked why it took Shehbaz Sharif [so long to visit] the deceased?s family. ?The chief minister?s office [is just] one hour?s drive away from Kasur. Zainab was a poor man?s daughter, that?s why he didn?t visit [on the same day],? the JI chief alleged. The city of Kasur remains in mourning for the third day today, as an air of gloom, mixed with rage, hovers following the brutal discovery of the rape and murder of the minor. Kasur in mourning after brutal rape, murder of minor Zainab Residents still out on streets, lawyers boycotting courts today in protest Protests re-erupted today following a day of demonstrations on Wednesday after news of the incident sparked nationwide public outrage. Residents are protesting on Kali Pul Chowk, whereas the Ferozepur Road, linking Kasur to nearby towns and cities, remains blocked. Markets also remain closed in protest against the incident. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Zainab's residence early Thursday morning. In his conversation with the deceased?s parents, Shehbaz promised not to rest until the culprit(s) responsible for the heinous crime is caught and punished. The chief minister has also constituted a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by Additional Inspector-General Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh. The JIT also includes officials from the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau.
  2. WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday after the first intra-Korean talks in over two years that the United States was willing to speak to North Korea ?under the right circumstances,? although it was far from clear whether this would pay dividends. South Korea said Trump had also said in a phone call with its President Moon Jae-in that there would be no military action while North-South talks were going on and that a Wall Street Journal article saying he was contemplating a military strike against North Korea was ?completely wrong.? ?Who knows where it leads?? Trump told reporters at the White House after his call with Moon to discuss Tuesday?s North-South talks, the first since 2015. He said Moon told him the talks went well, and added: ?Hopefully it will lead to success for the world, not just for our country, but for the world. And we?ll be seeing over the next number of weeks and months what happens.? At a later news conference with the visiting Norwegian prime minister, Trump said the United States had problems with North Korea, but ?a lot of good talks are going on right now.? ?I see a lot of good energy. I like it very much ... So, hopefully, a lot of good things are going to work out.? ?I think that we will have peace through strength,? he said, a reference to his policy of maintaining a powerful U.S. military. South Korea?s Presidential Blue House said both men had said the dialogue ?could naturally lead to talks between the United States and North Korea for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.? At Tuesday?s intra-Korea talks, North Korea said it would attend the Olympics, which South Korea will host next month, while both sides agreed to resolve problems between them through dialogue and to revive military consultations to avoid accidental conflict. However, Pyongyang said it would not discuss its nuclear weapons because they were aimed only at the United States and not its ?brethren? in South Korea, or Russia or China, showing that a diplomatic breakthrough to the crisis remained far off. While Washington has welcomed the talks as a first step toward solving the crisis over North Korea?s program to develop nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, it has reiterated that any talks involving the United States must be aimed at North Korea?s denuclearization. The White House said Trump told Moon the United States was willing to talk to North Korea ?at the appropriate time and under the right circumstances.? Trump, who has swung between hurling insults and threats at North Korea to expressing a willingness to talk, said on Saturday he would be willing to speak to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, though not without pre-conditions. An unsourced article in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday said U.S. officials were debating whether it was possible to mount a limited military strike against North Korea without igniting an all-out war. The Trump administration has said it prefers a diplomatic solution, but that all options are on the table, including military ones. U.S. officials say Trump has been considering a number of military options, including a preemptive strike on a missile or nuclear facility, but officials and analysts have warned of the risks of triggering a catastrophic wider conflict. MOON CREDITS TRUMP FOR TALKS Earlier on Tuesday, Moon made a point of crediting Trump for the Korean talks and also said he himself was open to meeting with Kim at any time if conditions were right and ?certain achievements are guaranteed?. ?The purpose of it shouldn?t be talks for the sake of talks,? he told a news conference, while warning that Pyongyang would face stronger sanctions if ?provocations? continued. North Korea ramped up missile launches last year and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, prompting a U.S.-led campaign to impose some of the strongest international sanctions yet, which Pyongyang dubbed an ?act of war?. Trump and Kim have exchanged threats and insults over the past year, raising fears of war. South Korea and the United States are technically still at war with the North after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. Washington and Seoul opened the way for the talks last week when they announced the postponement of joint military exercises that Pyongyang has denounced as a rehearsal for invasion. Washington had raised concerns that a New Year overture from Kim that led to the talks could be aimed at driving a wedge between the allies, but Moon said he and Washington did not differ over how to respond to North Korean threats. ?This initial round of talks is for the improvement of relations between North and South Korea. Our task ... is to draw North Korea to talks aimed at the denuclearization of the North,? Moon said. ?(It?s) our basic stance that will never be given up.? The United Nations Security Council said following a briefing on the talks that it hopes ?that such interactions will lead toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.? Olof Skoog, Swedish ambassador to the U.N., said his nation had called for the briefing because it was important for the Security Council to remain active and united in its efforts to resolve the Korean conflict. On an agreement on continued military-to-military talks and the reopened inter-Korean military hotline, Skoog said: ?We have consistently underlined the importance of these channels of communication to avoid misunderstanding and to reduce tensions.? North Korea?s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said all problems would be resolved through the efforts of the Korean people alone. ?If the North and South abandon external forces and cooperate together, we will be able to fully solve all problems to match our people?s needs and our joint prosperity,? it said. In spite of the hopeful words about the potential for future talks, the U.S. intelligence assessment of North Korea?s weapons programs has not altered, officials say. U.S. officials familiar with the classified analysis say the consensus is that Kim remains convinced that the United States is determined to overthrow him and that only a nuclear arsenal that threatens America can deter that. One official said the North-South talks were likely to follow the pattern of past diplomatic efforts, in which North Korea has benefited from aid without making concessions. Lee Woo-young, a professor at Seoul?s University of North Korean Studies, said it was wise of Moon to praise Trump. ?By doing that, he can help the U.S. build logic for moving toward negotiations,? he said. The United States and Canada are due to host a conference of about 20 foreign ministers next week in Vancouver to discuss North Korea, without the participation of China, Pyongyang?s sole major ally and biggest trade partner. The State Department said the talks, which will involve countries that supported South Korea in the Korean War, would look at ways both to increase the U.S.-led pressure campaign on North Korea and take diplomatic efforts forward. ?The pressure campaign is intended to lead to credible negotiations on denuclearization,? a spokesman said. China said it was opposed to the meeting as it would not help reduce tensions.
  3. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah. Photo: Geo News FAISALABAD: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on Sunday said Pakistan has come a long way from where it stood in 2013. ?The entire world said that Pakistan would default in 2013 but the nation gave Nawaz Sharif a chance and look where the country is standing now,? Sanaullah said while addressing the inauguration ceremony of a vocational training centre in Faisalabad. The law minister said that load shedding ended in Pakistan during Nawaz?s tenure. ?The world is saying that Pakistan?s economy has strengthened and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project has changed the fortune of the country,? he claimed, adding that despite all the development his party ? Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) ? was "stopped from working." The provincial minister encouraged people to send their daughters to the vocational training centre to learn trades and support them in earning a livelihood.
  4. [embed_video1 url= style=center] HYDERABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Nawaz Sharif has forcefully tried to enter politics of Balochistan, where a crisis situation has emerged, said Pakistan Peoples Party?s Maula Bakhsh Chandio. While referring to the resignations in the Balochistan cabinet, the PPP leader said a crisis situation has risen ever since Nawaz started meddling in the affairs of Balochistan. A notification from the office of governor Balochistan de-notified Sarfraz Bugti as the provincial minister for home and tribal affairs, prisons and PDMA on the advice of the chief minister. Bugti had earlier tweeted rejecting media reports that he had been dismissed from the provincial cabinet, adding that he submitted his resignation on Tuesday afternoon to governor Balochistan. Bugti did not reveal any reasons behind his resignation, he did state that his conscience did not allow him to carry on with a dispensation which had 'completely failed the people of Balochistan'. Shortly after, Balochistan Minister of Fisheries Mir Sarfaraz Chakar Dhomki also resigned and sent his resignation to Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri. The development in the political landscape came after 14 provincial lawmakers decided to take measures against Zehri. Earlier, provincial lawmakers submitted a no-confidence motion against the chief minister of Balochistan. During Wednesday?s news conference, Chandio said Nawaz heads the party of a ?specific province?, and has forcefully entered Balochistan. He added that Nawaz has played his part in politics and has seen his rise. But now, he added, the public would not accept whatever agreement the ruling party was planning to reach. Nevertheless, the PPP leader believed the coming days would see unusual alliances between political parties. About the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Chandio said Imran Khan will be ousted from the place he is conducting his politics from. ?Imran has been blaming and cursing the entire world and would soon start targetting institutions as well,? the PPP leader claimed.
  5. Various Bollywood stars took to social media to share snaps of them vacationing at happening places around the world ahead of New Year. Here are Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt, Kareena and Saif giving their fans some major vacation goals! Alia is away at the peaceful, beautiful Bali island with her girlfriends, and she seems to be having an amazing time. Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna meanwhile are enjoying the deep "blue sea and skies to match, long conversations and fishing for a catch" in Cape Town. And of course Saifeena along with the little Taimur on vacation have already hit the headlines with their adorable family photo. The trio is in Switzerland to celebrate New Year.
  6. Bronx: There are barely any traces of fire on the apartment building´s facade, no puddles of water on the ground, and only a handful of onlookers. The scene of New York´s deadliest fire in decades -- 12 are dead -- seems frozen by the frigid temperatures, which dropped to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius). On Friday, only two fire trucks, their lights still flashing, hinted at the drama that had unfolded the evening before in the Bronx. On the sidewalk, water blasted out by fire hoses encased the branches of a tree in ice -- a reminder of the Christmas decorations adorning 187th Street a few yards (meters) away, which are at odds with the tragic blaze. In this neighborhood, historically Italian but now multicultural, just a few people came to look at the building, which remains behind yellow security tape whipped by a frigid wind. Boy, three, playing with stove caused deadly New York fire, officials say The toddler had a history of fiddling with the stove in the kitchen of his family?s first-floor apartment, his mother said Two men come and go from the corner grocery. They are in their 20s, their shoulders covered with a blanket from the Red Cross. With a faraway look in their eyes, they decline to answer questions from reporters. Rafik Al-Jabali, 47, a neighbor who operates one of three grocery stores on the nearest corner, saw the tragedy quickly unfold. "It happened like this," he says, snapping his fingers. Jabali lives in the building right across the street from the doomed apartment block. He says he was in bed when the fire started. By the time he got to the window, firefighters had already begun working. Thick, dark smoke poured out of several windows. Moments later, he saw a woman taken out on a stretcher. "She was already dead," Jabali said, lowering his eyes. Haunted by the images Joel Rodriguez, 40, lives on the ground floor of the building and was able to escape rather easily, even though smoke had turned the corridors "pitch black." He saw several of his neighbors, brought out -- naked or largely exposed, deprived of their dignity -- on stretchers. Some of them were burned. "It was very tough," Rodriguez says. "I still have the images in my mind. I can´t erase them," he adds, his eyes masked by dark glasses. The city´s fire chief said Friday that a three-year-old boy playing with stove burners apparently accidentally ignited the fire. The victims included three small girls and an unidentified boy. Rodriguez says the building was home to "happy people" who brought out their barbecues in summer, noting: "Everybody has fun. We all get along. There´s no dispute or nothing." A visibly fatigued Rodriguez says he slept a little in his car, between visits to the hospital where his wife is being treated for smoke inhalation. He has a hard time seeing himself return to live in the building of light-colored bricks that was built in the early 20th century and which has become a tomb. "Today, I wouldn´t want to come back. It´s a memorial site right now," Rodriguez says. ´Today, they have nothing´ Behind him, Kenneth Cruiz arrives with a cart full of clothes that he had saved for victims of this year´s hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida, but never had the chance to give away. "This morning, my wife added three more jackets and I came over," he says, marching towards a school where most of the fire survivors are staying. A police officer says nobody is there, even if at least seven of his colleagues are stationed in the entrance, and dozens of officials come and go. He lets Cruiz leave the clothes. "My good deed," Cruiz says. "I´m sure a few hours ago, these people had everything, Christmas presents and everything. Today, they have nothing.
  7. Sony Pictures joined hands with Marvel and gave us the first trailer for 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse', which is supposed to be the first animated feature spider man movie. And now people, it is time to be meet Mile Morales. The trailer made its much awaited release at the 'Comic Con Experience 2017' in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The film is based on the Spider-Verse Marvel event which traced Morlun and his family killing every possible spider character that existed across the humungous Marvel universe. © Sony Pictures Eventually the spider men from all over gather to team up and win this war. The official synopsis of the movie reads something like this: “Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that's the first of its kind. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.” The movie is all set to hit screens on December 14th 2018 so that's a long wait but we trust these trailers to continue coming our way.
  8. KINGSTON: Multiple Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt has described the unveiling of his statue in front of Kingston?s National Stadium as one of the greatest moments of his career. The statue, commissioned by the Jamaican government and revealed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, stands in front of the place where 15 years ago Bolt won the junior championships to announce himself to the world. ?For me this is up there, it can?t be doubted that this is one of the greatest moments in my career,? Bolt told Reuters after the unveiling on Sunday. ?Having a statue in the National Stadium where it all began; there are no words, I am just happy and really excited about this.? The statue was sculpted by Jamaican artist Basil Watson and features the 31-year-old in his trademark ?lightning bolt? pose, seen many times over the years as he set world records in the 100 and 200 metres, winning 11 world and eight Olympic golds. ?It was all worth it: the losses, the injuries, everything I?ve been through, it?s all worth it,? said Bolt, who signed off his stellar career with bronze in the 100m at the world championships in London earlier this year. ?It?s a wonderful thing to look back and see what your career has brought you. I?m very happy and proud of myself for the work. It?s just a good time and I am in a good place.? Holness has previously said that Bolt?s performances over the years has elevated the status of Jamaican sport. ?I have always aimed to make my country proud and to put my country in the best light possible so for the Prime Minister to say that it showed that my work paid off and it?s something that I am happy about,? Bolt added. ?In any way that I can continue doing that, it would be great.? Bolt was stripped of one of his nine Olympic gold medals when his former 4x100m relay teammate Nesta Carter retroactively tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexanamine at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Carter has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the decision resulting from the doping test. Bolt, the only sprinter to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100 relay titles at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012, 2016) until Carter?s test result, was not losing any sleep over the medal missing from his glittering collection. ?I haven?t really been following it (the appeal). I?m just waiting on the time for them to say what is what. I?m just focusing on which direction I want my career to go,? he said.
  9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – Hindi Dubbed Movie The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
  10. “Be it caste or communal violence, they stall the growth of the nation. Let us affirm that we will be free from these tensions.” This is a test. It's a great quote, actually. Threatening violence just because of caste or communal differences does take us backwards as a society. We are better than this, right? I like to think we are. Now, just take a moment here and guess whose quote it is. Difficult? Okay, let me make it easier. The quote is by a seasoned politician, with a bright future. Try and guess again and keep it to yourself. It's a test, remember. Read on. The controversy around 'Padmavati' has well and truly erupted in the past couple of days. It's been so crazy that I've personally not managed to keep account of all the bounties on the heads of Ranveer, Deepika and Bhansali himself. Is it Rs. 5 crores for deepika's hands or 10 crores for Ranveer's head? And who are these incredibly rich people who are outbidding and sponsoring murders direct on national television? © BCCL What we're witnessing in 'Padmavati' protests is the silent extreme majority, that's not silent anymore. And this is not just a one-off. There have been warning signs we've ignored for a few years now. It's a continuation of the dilution of the Indian culture to suit the extremist views of the right wing. We've seen it in other forms earlier - you eat meat, you die; you speak out against the establishment, you're anti-national; you marry outside your religion, it's love jihad. For a country that prides itself for being incredibly tolerant, the evidence points otherwise. While artists, journalists and anyone with liberal set of values are labelled inconsequential in regards to this new idea of India, the likes of Hindu Mahasabha and Karni Sena are allowed to run amok. Recently, in one of the most bashful displays of power, the Hindu Mahasabha established a 32-inch tall bust of Nathuram Godse, the assassinator of Mahatma Gandhi at its office in Daulatganj, Gwalior City. For them, Godse was a nationalist and the 'temple' at their office is a matter of pride. "Nobody should have any objection to this as we have set up the temple in our own space. It is Mahasabha's own property," said Mahasabha's Vice-president Jaiveer Bharadwaj, justifying his organisation's actions. To understand the current political environment of the country, it's important to know what feeds this kind of hate and activism. India is going through an economic downturn. After a massive blow to the Indian economy because of outlandish and brutal policies that were executed badly, the government lead by Narendra Modi is facing unprecedented backlash from its core group of supporters. Be it jobs or the promise of bringing structural reforms to labour laws, the gulf of difference between what was promised and what's been delivered is slowly changing the mood at the ground level. It's not scary enough for an upset in the upcoming state elections but it will definitely be an issue if the tide doesn't turn soon. © BCCL Therefore, the current wave of nationalism and cultural protectionism is a quick-fix way to divert attention from issues that truly matter. It's a master-stroke by the government in power but there's a thin line between insanity and genius. Historically, whenever the government of the day muddles in issues that flame communal hatred or pit particular communities against each other, it doesn't end well. Be it Indira Gandhi in Kashmir in 1983 or the Sangh Parivar's agenda of Hindutva now, political parties looking to further their vision of a 'new-age' India with societal controls often blows up with horrendous circumstances. In contrast then, the hullabaloo surrounding Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum-opus 'Padmavati' is intriguing to say the least. The Rajput community contests that some scenes in the movie depict Rani Padmini as the love interest of Khalji, the bashful Muslim ruler who is supposed to have courted Rani Padmini during his conquests in north India. But according to Bhansali himself, that's not the case because the controversial 'dream sequence' was never filmed. This statement from Bhansali must have cleared all such doubts but somehow it snowballed into a bigger controversy thereafter. “This movie embroiled into so many controversies because of some rumour. Rumour is this, in the movie a dream scene has been filmed between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji. I have already rejected this claim and also given a written proof of this. Today again, I am reiterating through this video that in our movie there is no such scene between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji, which would hurt the sentiments of anyone,” Bhansali had said in his attempt to clear the rumours. That there's no dream sequence in the movie is abundantly clear from Bhansali's statement as well as the special screening that was held for a handful of media persons. But still, the release of the movie seems to have been deferred. What is it then that makes the story of 'Padmavati' controversial? © BCCL In order to understand the historical account of this story, it's important to note that Khilji defeated the Rana of Chittor in 1303 and subsequently died in 1316. The story of 'Padmavati' though first appears in 1540, in a book of poetry by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, a sufi poet. That there's no mention of Padmavati for 224 years when she's supposed to have committed jauhar to save her honour against a Muslim ruler shows that the Khilji-Padmavati romance theorists did actually got it wrong. Why haven't then the filmmakers made sure that the true story comes out? Were the protests being seen as a good marketing vehicle for a movie with considerable investment? In hindsight, 'Padmavati' the movie doesn't deserve to be released. In fact, it should be banned. The government, by default, should take steps to stop its screening, now or in future, just because we know how inept it was in stopping all the protests and madness around it. If you are not against it, then you are for it, surely. The makers of the movie have given in to threats and political statements that amount to extortion, even though they can objectively convey that there's not even a single frame with both the characters of Padmavati and Khilji onscreen. They have chosen to take a step back and allow a theatre of threats and lunacy to play and sort itself. It puts up a lot of question marks over their beliefs and priorities because if they can't even stand up for their own work, then why should the audience risk a viewing amidst a threatening and violent environment? And so, we come back to what it means for India. What it means for a country where installing a statue of a murderer is tolerable but releasing a movie with stories of characters that might actually be fictional, is a headache? Can we continue to call ourselves modern when every difference of opinion is labelled anti-national? It's all inconsequential. Why? Read that quote once again. “Be it caste or communal violence, they stall the growth of the nation. Let us affirm that we will be free from these tensions.” -Narendra Modi See the irony now? Modi is essentially a politician PM. And the problem with politicians is that they want us to affirm that we will be free from these tensions (communal, caste violence) but only when it suits their agenda. Other than that, be it Padmavati or Bajirao, Godse or Bhindrawale, they're going to leave you at the mercy of the mob because fear is the best form of social control and that is all they crave, especially when they are in power.
  11. KABUL: US Forces have launched airstrikes on drug-making laboratories in Afghanistan as part a new joint strategy with the Afghan military to cut off funding for the Taliban, authorities said Monday. Numerous drug labs were decimated in a series of aerial bombardments in the poppy-rich southern province of Helmand - a Taliban stronghold - on Sunday night, US and Afghan officials said. The joint operation came days after a UN report showed opium production in Afghanistan - a key source of funding for the Taliban's 16-year insurgency - soared 87 percent this year as the area under poppy cultivation hit a record high. General John Nicholson, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said targeting the drug labs would "hit the Taliban where it hurts" and warned more airstrikes would follow. "The strikes that were prosecuted last night will continue," Nicholson told a news conference in Kabul, stressing that poppy farmers would not be targeted. "We hit the labs where they turned poppy into heroin. We hit their storage facilities where they kept their final products, where they stockpiled their money and their command and control." The Taliban profits from the illegal drug trade by taxing poppy farmers and traffickers across the war-torn country, pocketing an estimated $200 million a year, official data shows. Several videos showing the airstrikes involving B-52 bombers and an F-22 fighter jet were played for reporters. Nicholson said US Forces began identifying drug labs to hit after President Donald Trump's strategy announcement in August made it easier for American air power to proactively target the Taliban and its sources of revenue and infrastructure. The Taliban issued a statement denying the existence of the drug-making facilities. The US-Afghan operation comes as around 3,000 additional American troops promised by Trump are deployed to help train and assist beleaguered Afghan security forces who have been struggling to beat back Taliban and Daesh insurgents. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime warned last week that the "significant levels" of opium cultivation and trafficking in Afghanistan would fuel the insurgency and boost funding for militants. The area under poppy cultivation has expanded by 63 percent to a record 328,000 hectares this year - topping the previous record of 224,000 hectares in 2014 - with the number of poppy-growing provinces jumping to 24. Only 10 Afghan provinces are now considered poppy-free. Nicholson said the Taliban had evolved into a "narco-insurgency" fighting to protect earnings from drug trafficking, illegal mining, kidnapping and murder for hire. "The fighting that they´re doing is to control the means of production, to control the poppy fields, to force farmers into growing poppy and then be able to process this opium into heroin in the relative safety of these areas," he said.
  12. LOS ANGELES: Charles Manson, the convicted mass murderer and cult leader who died on Sunday at the age of 83, orchestrated the gruesome murders of seven people in August 1969 in California by his followers, a group of runaways and outcasts known as the ?Manson Family.? Charles Manson: mastermind of infamous ´Family´ murders dies Manson headed an apocalyptic cult that committed random murders in upscale mostly white neighborhoods of Los Angeles -- unleashing a wave of panic in the city and beyond Here is what has become of several of the members of Manson?s cult: Charles ?Tex? Watson Watson, 71, described himself as Manson?s ?right hand man.? On Aug. 9, 1969, he and three female accomplices murdered actress Sharon Tate and four visitors at her Beverly Hills home. The following night, they killed a couple, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, at their Los Angeles home. Watson remains in prison in California after repeatedly being denied parole. He became a minister in 1981, taking a path similar to some other ex-Manson Family members who also turned to Christianity. Susan Atkins Atkins, who took part in several of the slayings including those at the Tate residence and who wrote ?Pig? in blood on a house wall, died of brain cancer in a California prison in 2009 at age 61. Atkins had been denied a request to be freed on parole as the fatal illness took hold. Patricia Krenwinkel Krenwinkel, 69, who took part in the murders of the LaBiancas and at the Tate residence, has become California?s longest-serving woman prisoner. In June, commissioners again denied parole for Krenwinkel, after a six-month inquiry to look into allegations that she had been abused by Manson or someone else, according to the Los Angeles Times. Leslie Van Houten Houten, 68, is serving a life sentence for taking part in the murders of the LaBiancas. Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown overturned a parole board recommendation that she should be released, saying that Van Houten still posed an ?unreasonable danger to society.? In September, the parole board again granted her parole, which started a 150-day review process that will likely culminate in a final decision by Brown. Bruce Davis Davis, 75, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1969 murders of music teacher Gary Hinman and stunt man Donald ?Shorty? Shea. Brown has repeatedly overturned recommendations by the California parole board that Davis should be freed. Robert (Bobby) Beusoleil Beusoleil, 70, is serving a life sentence for the 1969 murder of Hinman. A California parole board last denied his bid on Oct. 14, 2016. He will be eligible for a hearing again in 2019. Lynette ?Squeaky? Fromme Fromme, 69, was a member of the Manson Family and attended Manson?s trial. In 1975, she was tackled by a Secret Service agent after she aimed a pistol at then-President Gerald Ford. Convicted of attempted assassination, she was sentenced to life in prison. She was paroled in 2009 and moved to Marcy in New York state, according to the New York Post.
  13. 1. 'Dil Chahta Hai' Situation: Akshay Khanna slaps the crap out of Aamir Khan after the latter makes fun of him for being in love with an older woman. Significance: Nothing hurts more than your best buddy failing to support or at least understand your feelings. In this case, where Khanna was head over heels in love a woman twice his age, Khan mocking him and trying to talk him out of the whole thing was simply the last straw for him. Resulting in epic bitchslap! 2. 'Kal Ho Na Ho' Situation: Saif Ali Khan comes in his resplendent best, all set with flowers and music to tell Preity Zinta how deeply he loves her. But his heart is ripped from his chest and he is in visible pain when he finds out that she is in fact madly in love with his rambunctious friend- Shah Rukh Khan. Go figure. Significance: Oh this needs no elaboration! Unrequited love is like common cold but without a cure. One can only pray not to find themselves in poor Saif's shoes. 3. 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' Situation: Poor Parmeet Sethi faced the embarrassment of a lifetime after his fiancée Kajol jumped onto the train to happiness with SRK, right in front of his family and friends (after getting beaten up black and blue on top of everything). He was not even the villain and he was meted such terrible treatment. Significance: Not everyone is Raj, nor does everyone want to be. But there are thousands of Kuljeets who are asked to swallow the bitter medicine just because they come across as the 'bad guys'. Hey! They have feelings too. 4. Devdas: Situation: A miserable SRK attends the wedding of his childhood sweetheart Aishwarya Rai. Poor bloke gives her away and even shoulders her palanquin. Significance: Those who have stood and watched helplessly as the woman they love began a new life with another man can relate to his pitiful situation. Of course, stumbling around drunk in grief and blind to the world is never recommended. 5. 'Raanjhanaa' Situation: Basically Dhanush in the entire movie. He literally dies trying to prove his love for a zombified Sonam Kapoor (who is already grieving for her dead Muslim lover). From being a stalker to a rickshawalla to also being mistaken for a beggar by college students! Boy, did he get the rough end of the deal. Significance: How far can you go for the one you love? It is a situation many of us have found ourselves in at some point. Finding ourselves charging full speed without brakes, all in an attempt to be at least visible to them can be exhausting. It is an interesting concept how the word “pride” suddenly loses all significance. 6. 'Student Of The Year' Situation: Varun Dhawan walks in on a horrific scene where his girlfriend Alia Bhatt and best friend Sidharth Malhotra are full on making out! No need to elaborate. Significance: Oh hell no! This is nothing but betrayal of the purest form. No wonder it took them 10 years to resolve the matter, which eventually ended in a public brawl with them punching the lights out of each other. Hurting your bro is evil enough, but making a move on his girl too? Honestly, getting hit is not enough punishment. 7. 'Pyaar Ka Punchnama' Situation: Divyendu Sharma (Liquid) gets humiliated at work in front of his colleagues by the woman he has a massive crush on. Especially AFTER he helped her in the company, paid for her flat, accompanied her literally everywhere, even listened when she whined about her loser ex. Panorama Studios Significance: The moral of the story in this situation is pretty simple: Don't become a ch****a even when you fall in love. If you do not respect yourself, then please don't expect others to. 8. 'Bachna Ae Haseeno' Situation: “What goes around comes back around”. This quote is personified spectacularly by playboy Ranbir Kapoor, who after breaking the hearts of two women who were in love with him, gets a taste of his own medicine by the fiercely independent Deepika Padukone. Significance: There are some of us who just have to learn things the hard way. And that's when Karma steps in. Basically, being a jerk has its repercussions. 9. 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' Situation: Ranbir Kapoor is bonkers for the hopped-up-on-sugar-and-life Anushka Sharma. But she wants nothing more than friendship. He even ends up singing heartbroken at her wedding…which is followed by a tantrum where he repeatedly bangs his chest with a flower pot (yes, trying to show literal pain!) Significance: Friendzone is a bitch. It is the place where all hopes and dreams die. And if by God's miracle you do escape from that dark pit, please spread the knowledge to your bros. 10. 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' Situation: Poor Salman Khan! Finds out on his effing wedding day that his bride is in love with someone else. Lord knows how he let this humiliation slide by and handed over Kajol to SRK with a smile on his face. Significance: The art of learning to let go is what Sallu bhai taught us in this emotionally charged scene. However, not all of us actually have the strength to sing and dance with flair after getting stomped on the heart in public.
  14. SEOUL: No unusual activity has been detected at the border with North Korea where a North Korean soldier defected this week, South Korea?s Unification Ministry said on Wednesday. The soldier is still being treated for his gunshot wounds after being shot several times by North Korean soldiers during his escape, ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a regular briefing. ?There will need to be some questioning on why he defected after his treatment is over,? said Baik.
  15. So far, three hotels, all beachfront resorts in Mexico, have been pinpointed in the warning system-Reuters NEW YORK: Women?s anti-violence groups on Thursday welcomed a new warning system on the online travel site TripAdvisor Inc that shows which hotels are believed to have been sites of sexual assault. The giant booking site, which claims hundreds of millions of online visitors each month, said it will measure hotel safety based on users? post and news media reports. Hotels where there have been incidents will be designated on the online listing, the Needham, Massachusetts-based company said. So far, three hotels, all beachfront resorts in Mexico, have been pinpointed in the warning system, which began on Wednesday. TripAdvisor lists 1.9 million hotels and other lodging options in 49 countries. ?Anything that gives honest information to the public is always a very good thing,? Ebony Tucker of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. A third of all women experience violence at some point in their lives, and that figure is twice as high in some countries, according to the United Nations, where leaders recently launched a global anti-violence effort campaign. The move by the travel site also comes amid heightened awareness of sexual harassment as accusations have been mounting against a multitude of public figures. A spokesman for TripAdvisor said more hotels are expected to be designated as the site?s staff assesses user reviews. However, the company says it does not fact-check the reviews, which could pose a problem for participating hotels, said Suzanne Markham Bagnera, an assistant professor at Boston University?s School of Hospitality Administration. ?Without having that verification process, it can create an impact for your business,? she said. The designations will remain on a hotel?s TripAdvisor web page for up to three months and may be renewed or removed based on decisions by TripAdvisor staff, the company said. The warning system is a sign of increased recognition in the hospitality industry of a need to protect against sexual assault and harassment, said Maya Raghu, spokeswoman for the National Women?s Law Center in Washington. She said a US labor union campaign has been pushing for laws to protect hotel workers from sexual harassment by guests. Some US hotels have equipped housekeepers with panic buttons. ?There are several different trends that are happening right now that are perhaps forcing the travel and hospitality industry to address this issue,? she said. ?I?m glad (TripAdvisor) are taking this issue seriously,? she said. TripAdvisor was criticized last week after USA Today reported it had repeatedly deleted posts from a user who said she was raped by a security guard at a Mexico resort. TripAdvisor apologized to the women in a public statement.
  16. ‘Game Of Thrones‘ has pretty much glued its actors to their respective characters and it's kinda impossible to imagine them doing anything else, but this. Right? Like if I told you Khaleesi has starred in a modern day rom-com, it's actually tough to imagine her without that flowing gown, flying with Drogon and laying waste to Lannisters and white walkers. So yeah, that's the power of perception. The showrunners did a pretty good job in writing such amazing characters that we can't imagine them as anything else. So we dug up other famous projects the actors have starred in and it's a visual surprise. 1. Diana Rigg (Lady Olena Tyrell) ‘I want her to know it was me', she died with words that stung like a wasp. Probably one of the most brutal characters who used her words just as well as swords. She played the role of Emma Peel in the ‘Avengers' in a previous life. © HBO and Marvel 2. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) He knows stuff and he drinks wine. Peter played Miles Finch in the movie ‘Elf'. © HBO and New Line Cinema 3. Lena Headey (Cersei ) The woman we all love to hate with so much passion. Lena was also seen in ‘The Purge' opposite Ethan Hawke and also as Queen Gorgo in ‘300'. © HBO and Universal Pictures 4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) Before donning the role of the famous incestuous brother, Nikolaj played Master Gary Gordon in ‘Black Hawk Dawn' in a small but cool role. © HBO and Universal Pictures 5. Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) The beautiful princess who met a very cruel end courtesy her wicked mother-in-law, looked intense as Cressida in ‘Mockinjay'. Just look at that amazing hair! © HBO and Revolution studios 6. Aiden Gillen (Petyr Baelish ) He didn't make it to the eight season of GOT but Aiden was spotted in ‘The Dark Knight Rises'. © HBO and Warner Bros 7. Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) You know nothing Jon Snow, because in case you missed it, he was seen as Vincent Cooper in ‘Silent Hill: Revelation'. © HBO and Davis Films 8 . Sean Bean (Ned Stark) You probably missed this one as well, but the brave king played Tracie Tremarco, in BBC's ‘The Accused'. Yeah, he wore a dress. © HBO and BBC 9. Rory McCann (The Hound) The brother of the Mountain played the role of Michael Armstrong in ‘Hot Fuzz' and it was downright hilarious. A far cry from the badass he plays on GoT. © HBO and Universal Studios 10. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) Our beloved Khaleesi was recently seen in a romantic tale called ‘Me Before You'. © HBO and New Line cinema In case you were missing any of these characters, now you know where to spot them in a different ‘avatar'.
  17. Take any fan photos and you will notice the same old boring pattern where the fan is super excited to meet his or her favourite artist and the latter obliges to their requests by either hugging them or just randomly standing next to them while clicking a picture. But, there is one guy who is breaking this monotony by clicking some of the coolest pictures we have ever seen. Honestly, he looks more excited than the fans themselves. But, it's not like we are complaining. In fact we are actually in love with his humility, down to earth attitude and gratitude towards his fans. We are talking about our beloved Frodo Baggins from ‘The Lord Of The Rings' aka actor Elijah Wood. © Imgur Despite being extremely popular and famous, Wood makes sure that his fans are happy at the end of the day and can go back and have a good laugh at the picture they clicked with him. Be it burying his face in someone's chest, posing as Batman, enjoying a piggyback ride from a fan or fanboying his own poster; these pictures are proof that no one can take better fan photos that Elijah Wood. Come Mr. Frodo! I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you! Friend of mine took an epic picture with Elijah Wood. Maybe this ring belongs to Dark Lord Sauron, which he wants to destroy. Thank you @woodelijah!!! Awesome photo :D #FanExpo — Aaron Drake (@PixelLitch) 31 August 2014 Is there anyone else who noticed the ‘No physical contact' board at the back?? Elijah Wood faceplanted my boobs today! Just Elijah Wood fanboying his own poster. © Imgur If Frodo Baggins had kids, here's how they would have looked. © Imgur We don't know if it's the inferiority complex of him standing with some shirtless dudes or questioning his own choices, but his expression speaks volumes about this picture. © Imgur He won't take it light just because you're his fan. Don't be fooled… @woodelijah is ruthless in arm wrestling. I learned the hard way, so that you don't have to. — Tristan Risk (@littlemissrisk) 1 October 2014 Had we not seen his movies, this picture could have easily passed off as two friends enjoying a match. Enjoying the Brewer Game and met Elijah Wood #wisfanphoto — PG (@bigvideodj) 21 September 2014 Just three college students hanging out after their class…not really. So, Brodie and I just met freaking Elijah Wood at the Royal York. — Lauren O'Neil (@laurenonizzle) 31 August 2014 She is a lucky girl. © Imgur Who exactly is the fan in this picture? © Imgur Frodo Baggins seems to be the happiest person in the world. i miss him so much, im cherishing this photo forever @woodelijah — Saira Rose (@dornessiti) 31 August 2014 Batman fan spotted with a fan of Elijah Wood. We honestly don't know whom to cheer for. If you saw batman walking around Comic-Con last week, there's a pretty good chance it was Elijah Wood Elijah Wood photobombing his fan's picture like it's nobody's business. It was nice seeing you again @woodelijah — Fernando Guisa (@Fer_Guisa) 24 September 2014 Elijah Wood is hands down one of the coolest actors we have ever seen and it isn't a surprise that his fans love him so much. Capt. Faramir, Mr. Baggins is alive and well. Recognised me immediately.#Ranger #LotR @woodelijah @MiddleEarthNews — Joshua of the North (@TheJoshTime) 1 September 2014
  18. Before we can start talking about the sort of dystopian future that's unfolding before us, we'll show you something that might make you laugh. Hard. Whether or not you laughed, we'll ask you a question that will definitely make you think hard. Is this how you see your kids taking care of you once you're old and challenged by the wear of your bodies? You may not be shipped off to the oldies home, but bots taking care of you, and from what you saw in the video, that care is questionable, is this how you imagine your life a few decades from now? Lacking basic human touch? Let's come back to the present. We're sure you've heard of the sexbot. Here's a video of it that can refresh your memory. Sure a lot of people today prefer being alone to taking on the responsibility that comes with human relationships and, more often than not, headaches that come with one time hook ups. Is the sexbot what you're going to turn to because it's shapely and doesn't demand your time or commitment, except to perhaps clean it once after you're done? And the government says homosexuality is unnatural...bizarre, don't you think? What's going to happen when the need for companionship catches up? Will "feels real" suffice the innate need for close companionship in flesh and blood? "How to make yourself happy" articles on the internet can make one feel good, combined with the sexbot, but how long is this happiness going to last? If the examples we cited haven't managed to freak you out, we hope that the one we saved for the last, will... An artificial womb that successfully birthed a lamb. A miracle, one would say. A boon, especially for women who want to give birth to children but can't because of biological inadequacies and for couples who don't want to turn to surrogacy because it is expensive and may have adverse psychological impact on the birth mother, making postpartum separation difficult and messy. On the flip side, and give it thought, isn't it undermining one of the most basic purposes of life-- procreation? © YouTube - The Cosmos News For now, "Biobag" can only provide a safe environment for premature babies to grow in, but the thought is in place, experimentation will follow and soon there will be an autonomous artificial womb that will only need to be fed a fertilised embryo. But that's not all. Science is one step closer to bringing Victor Frankenstien's fictional creation to the physical realm. Where would there be need for natural human procreation when humans can create humans in laboratories-- the Island is grossly close to becoming a reality and we aren't even talking about breeding humans for organ transplant. So far only animals have been cloned, but how much do we really know about human cloning being worked on behind closed doors? Twice in the last two decades, news of the human embryo being cloned in South Korea, created much excitement, before both claims being dismissed for lack of solid evidence. Does that mean the practice stopped? © 20th Century Fox If this, in fact, is in process, from where we see it, the future appears to be a dystopian nightmare. How? They say all scientific and technologic development is always done bearing best human interest in mind, but imagine a world where cryogenic embryo and sperm storage is already in place and all that is required is an artificial womb to birth a human baby. Genetic coding can also be changed to introduce desired traits in the human being birthed. Now answer us this, if you had the power to breed humans in your laboratory, which selfish needs of yours would take over the proposed purpose of experimentation for the sake of greater good of humanity? © Paramount Pictures Believe it or not, you'd want slaves. With blue eyes, possibly blue-green, blond hair. Fantastic cook, if you're a foodie, a bomb in bed if your libido is one that can't be satiated. Probably both combined with super human strength so that you could be protected when threatened. Superior intelligence and intellectual levels. The scariest bit, you'd want to wipe out anybody and everything that doesn't fit well in your view of an ideal world and you'd have the power to do it because you have the resources and you'd have mastered the science behind it. This is where you open your eyes and look at the number of institutes involved in cloning or of creating bots that feed you, beat you at sports, have *** with you and relieve you of your daily chores, all in the name of progress. Reducing human effort. Is taking fundamental human function away from the hands of the rightful doers and placing it the hands of artificial creations, truly progress? Is it reducing human effort or reducing humans to nothing at all?
  19. LONDON: Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr has very little left to prove. Yet at 77, he´s about to release his 19th solo album, filled with nostalgia about a glorious past that he has often sought to distance himself from. Starr teams up with former bandmate Paul McCartney in the album, entitled "Give More Love". Collaborations between the last two surviving members of the Beatles always generate media frenzy. This time was no different. When Starr posted a picture on Twitter of the two of them working together back in February, the news quickly spread. "When we´re together it´s good because we spent a lot of very intense time together, a lot of loving time together," he told AFP at a London hotel. "For me, he´s just an incredible human being, besides an incredible bass player," he added. The album features a blink and you´ll miss it moment referring to the "Fab Four". In "Don´t Pass Me By," Starr croons "I´d like to be under the sea" as the track slowly fades out. "That´s a homage to one of my songs called ´Octopus´s Garden´," he explained about the 1969 song in the famous "Abbey Road" album. "I thought it was an interesting thing to put those songs I´ve done before but with these young bands," he said. Starr has in the past tried to play down the Beatles, a band that only existed for eight years, but whose legacy has continually overshadowed the work they each produced post-split. Born in 1940, Starr was only 29 years old when the Fab Four broke up and has, therefore, spent most of his career as a solo artist. Nowadays, he seems to have made his peace with people forever wanting to know more about the Liverpudlian quartet. ´Not looking to retire´ Dressed in black jeans, bomber jacket, and rockstar black sunglasses, he looks remarkably youthful as he walks around bumping elbows with people in greetings and making his now famous peace and love "V" sign. A germophobe, he bumps elbows with people in greetings to avoid shaking hands. The reminiscing in "Give More Love" goes further still than his time in history´s top-selling pop group. "Electricity" references the Liverpool of his youth, and his Rory and the Hurricanes´ bandmate Johnny Guitar. "He played so great. I have great memories of his playing to this day and that was a long time ago," said Starr, who now spends most of his time in Beverly Hills in the United States. Having celebrated his 77th birthday in July, Starr could reasonably hang up the drum sticks. Instead, he´ll be doing eight shows in October at a Las vegas casino followed by a short US tour. "I´m not looking to retire, it doesn´t make sense for me," he said. "I can go as long as I can hold the sticks".
  20. The ‘Purge' franchise has earned a lot of flak for its bold moves but gained a lot of success, thanks to its extensive blasphemous use of political allegory in the movies. The concept was bold, it was voyeuristic and sadist in nature, and the fact that many people love it, speaks a lot about how humans function. © Universal Pictures Out of all the movies, it's the first one that set the tone right, hitting people in the feels. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey did a wonderful job after all. If like many others, the first one was your favourite too, then this spells good news for you. James DeMonaco is coming up with ‘Purge: The Island', the next instalment in the series and the best part about this is that it will pick up right from where the first one ended. More like a prequel to what actually happened before the purge night. This movie will tell the story of the first ever purge, which could mean more violence. © Universal Pictures You know what's even better? Monaco is also working on a TV show which will be set during seven years after the first purge. The series tackles larger issues like social and class division in a very dark manner. For those of you who are not familiar to the whole gruesome concept of the series, ‘Purge' is set in a hypothetical world, America namely, where an annual ‘purge' night is held. This means that all criminal activities are legal and allowed in a 12 hour window and the government doesn't intervenes. © Universal Pictures Watching the new Purge which will trace the history of how it all began will be a treat for the fans. The movie is all set to release July 4th, 2018.
  21. We can all agree that Shashi Tharoor is an amazing orator, and he has never shied away from voicing his opinions about the reality of British colonialism in India. A few months back he made headlines when he talked about the atrocities meted out by the British Empire onto Indian inhabitants, mincing no words in pointing out that the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who is revered as a great leader, has as much blood on his hands as Adolf Hitler. © Twitter Now, he is out here again, putting Britain back in its place. This week he appeared on ABC TV's Q&A for a panel discussion on politics and the world at large. Right towards the end of the show, an Indian-Australian audience member raised a question to Shashi Tharoor asking if there were any positive aspects of the British colonising India, even citing a few examples. He asked, “You've mentioned reparations from Britain before. But what about the skills in engineering India acquired, the democratic processes it inherited, the infrastructure and the rapid education of Indian people?” © ABC Well, he didn't to be asked twice to bust out the receipts and broke down the question, point by point. He replied, “The British came to one of the richest countries in the world, accounting for 27% of the global GDP in 1700s and 23% in 1800s. And, over 200 years of exploitation, loot and destruction reduced it to a poster child for poverty, with just over 3% of global GDP.” © ABC He then went on to describe the condition in which the British left India : “90% of the population was living below the poverty line, the literacy rate was below 17% and the life expectancy was 27. The growth rate of British India between 1900 to 1947 was 0.001%. That's what they were doing while draining the country of taxes and resources.” © ABC He then went on to further explain the point of education : “Education? My Gosh! The last thing the British wanted to invest in was educating Indians. Will Durant, an American historian travelling in the 1930s pointed out that the expenditure on Indian education was less than half the high school budget of New York State.” He also made sure to point out that all the Indian institutes of technology, the engineering achievements were established after independence, by the government of India. © ABC “Apologists like to say you missed the bus for the industrial revolution. We missed the bus because you threw us under its wheels.” Honestly, what a mic drop moment. You can watch the whole thing here, or just skip to 44:45 to see him shutting things down:
  22. POPULAR PICKS People travel to these astonishing destinations just to dive and explore underwater marine wonders. Great Barrier Reef, Australia © Great Barrier Reef, Australia - Courtesy Sean Scott Photography This is one destination whose tourism is all about exploring this underwater wonderland. Colourful fish, starfish, turtles, dolphins, countless species of aquatic animals and plants and thousands of reefs stretching over hundreds of kilometers have made this the most popular and prominent diving destination in the world. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and tourism alone at the Great Barrier Reef generates approximately $4 billion revenue every year. For Indians, their honeymoon trips down under are incomplete without a dip exploring this mesmerizing setting. Philippines © Whale Shark Diving in Cebu, Oslob, Philippines - Courtesy Philippines Department of Tourism The Philippines is a haven where divers from across the globe throng to enjoy the dive of their lifetime. Some of the sites here are hailed as among the top places in the world to enjoy and explore beautiful underwater settings. Apo Island in Dauin, Monad Shoal in Cebu, Anilao in Batangas, World War II wrecks in Coron Bay, Palawan, Baracuda Lake in Palawan, Blue Hole in Romblon Island, Ticao Pass in Ticao, Masbate, Tubbataha Reef National Park in Sulu Sea, Palawan and Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan - when it comes to diving destinations in the Philippines, the list is endless. A special word of appreciation needs to put in for the local administrators in ensuring these dive sites are well maintained and live up to their reputation as among the world's best. The incredibly rich marine life and fantastic underwater landscape have divers hooked to these destinations. Similan Islands, Thailand © Phang Nga-Mu Ko, Similan National Park, Thailand - Courtesy Tourism Authority of Thailand This has to be the most popular destination for both a deep sea dive and a scuba dive. The crystal clear water, amazing aqua life and beautiful natural formations have made Anita's Reef, Christmas Point, Batfish Bend, Elephant Head Rock, West of Eden and Deep Six in the Similan Islands as favorite spots for tourists and divers alike. The coral reefs here are said to be as picturesque and mesmerizing a reef can be. TRAVEL AND DIVE These destinations are popular tourist destinations with an influx of travelers from around the world who also choose to dive and explore the underwater wonderland that these destinations offer. Wales, UK © St. brides, Wales - Courtesy Visit Wales It is not just the attractive coastal scenery of Wales that attract tourists from across the globe. It is the mesmerizing underwater formations that are huge draw for diving enthusiasts too. Pembrokeshire has among the best underwater formations that charm divers. Steep walls, reefs, mounts wrecks, caves, a visibility of up to 10 meters at some sites and abundant sea life make every dive a memorable affair. Main diving sites in Wales are St Brides Haven Beach and Skomer Marine Reserve that double as both diving and training sites. There are some diving facilities around Fishguard and Mathry areas. USA © Thinkstock/Getty Images With such vast eastern and western coastlines, the United States is among an immensely popular diving destination. Alaska, California, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Florida are some states with awesome coastal and inland dive sites. These sites boast of some of the best aquatic life, vibrant fauna and a few shipwrecks. Your next US vacation will be incomplete without a dip at one of these sites. New Zealand © Diving wonders at Poor Knights Head in Northland, New Zealand - Courtesy Northland Inc Tourism These islands are a paradise down under. While the natural beauty of this country is well documented, the underwater sights and scenes here are second to none. Your New Zealand plans may include all the adventure activities but a snorkelling or dive session are an absolute must. Poor Knights Islands, Cape Rodney, Punakaiki (Dolomite Point) and Akaroa (Akaroa Harbour) are some points where you can enjoy the lively marine life and beautiful geological formations. Leading divers have raved about their dives in these regions as a memorable experience. NEW DIVING WONDERS These destinations are coming up as the new diving hot spots. Oman © Oman - Courtesy Oman Tourism Oman is fast emerging as the new hot diving destination. Boasting of unmatched underwater life, its location on the Tropic of Cancer, meeting point of three seas - the Arabian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea, and abundance of pristine dive locations have made Oman as the hottest new thing on diving map. It has some of the best coral reef settings at Muscat area, Daymaniyat Islands, Bandar Jissah, Bandar Khayran, Al Fahal Islands, Sharqiya, Barr al Hikman, Masirah Islands, Dhofar, Musandam and Marbadh. Warm waters here are a huge attraction for aquatic creatures thus every dive has a possibility of unmatched sightings for a diver. Iceland © Silfra Fissure, Iceland - Courtesy Scuba Iceland Dive Team Another new attraction emerging as a prominent diving destination is Iceland, especially the Silfra Fissure. Located in Thingvellir National Park, this dive site may look like an innocuous water body from top but it is a wonderland beneath, promising an unforgettable experience. It is one unique site where you get to swim through an underwater canyon and through a surreal shade of blue water. This waterbody is a rift between tectonic plates of North America and Europe. A dive here is actually a swim between two continents! INCREDIBLE INDIA Our very own Indian diving havens! Lakshadweep Islands © Thinkstock/Getty Images This archipelago is known for its crystal clear water, pristine beaches and amazing lagoons, beautiful reefs and superb sea life. Deep sea diving is a major attraction that draws tourists from across India to this destination. While not all islands are open to tourists, there are some that are, such as Kadmat, Kavaratti and Minicoy, and are extremely popular destinations to enjoy a deep sea dive. Caves, reefs and wrecks and an amazing variety of flora and fauna found near these islands will leave you spellbound. Andaman and Nicobar Islands © Thinkstock/Getty Images The islands comprise of some of the best diving sites in India. Visitors from across the globe throng to this archipelago to enjoy a leisure dive and deep sea swims through beautiful coral settings. Havelock Island, Port Blair and Neil Island are three of the most popular islands that offer amazing dive spots. This pristine setting has to be right atop your bucket list this season!
  23. You type ‘Okunoshima' into Google and your search results will show up a range of videos of people being showered with bunny love; rabbits of all shapes, sizes, colours and breeds hopping, jumping, climbing up humans to love, purr and snuggle them up. © GoIn Japanesque Okunoshima is a small island located in the Inland Sea of Japan in the city of Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture and the inhabitants of the island are rabbits which has led to the island fondly being called ‘Usagi Shima'; it translates to Rabbit Island in Japanese. So, I ask you this: What would you do on an island of thousands of fluffed up wild rabbits, waiting to welcome you with delightful gallops? It seems almost unbelievable; however, it is the truth. The story goes that between 1929 and 1945, the Japanese army is said to have produced over 6,000 tons of poison gas on Okunoshima—the area said to have been chosen due to its remoteness from civilian population. The testing for these chemical weapons was done on a colony of rabbits that were brought into the island to test the effects of the poisonous gas. Some researchers claim that the rabbits on the island today are relatives of the test bunnies from back in the day; however, many others claim that the rabbits that reside on the island today have no relation, whatsoever, to the ones who were brought in for testing. Yet another theory suggests that roughly 8 rabbits were brought into the island in 1971 and were allowed to breed amongst themselves. And that's how Rabbit Island got its name. © Chad Santos Whether or not, they're related to the test bunnies, is unclear. What is definitely clear is that the feral creatures are friendly and rather attuned to the tourists who visit the island from time to time. You may not get to see a lot in terms of scenic locales and so on, during a trip to Okunoshima; but, what you experience is a vision of innate cuteness and love exploding from these four-legged fur balls who will wobble up to you as you arrive. It will make your heart overwhelmed with joy and love; like no therapeutic visual in Bali, or the Maldives would do. © Chad Santos The island continues to see a growing number of tourists visiting with each passing year—more than 100,000. The island has been included in the Seto Inland Sea National Park and given the status of ‘kyukamura' which translates to a village of rest and recreation. Okunoshima is just a short ferry ride from Tadanoumi on the mainland and consists of a small golf course, camping grounds and beautiful beaches. You can even cycle to the island which happens to be on a diversion towards Shimanami Kaido. You can tour the historical and now derelict, Poison Gas Museum on the island which opened in 1988, and is a lesser known reminder of the Japanese past during the World War II, the abandoned gas facilities and the ruined military posts. You can also embark on adventurous hiking trails on the island. Team all of this up with little bunnies at your feet as you roam the island and you're actually in the best place you could ever be in. © TripAdvisor As soon as you port at the island, you can buy rabbit food at the visitor centres on the island, to feed the furry, friendly creatures who are all but ready to take over your entire being in one big stampede of love. You're advised to wear gloves so the little bunnies don't nibble away at your fingers with the food. The past few weeks have been a little frustrating trying to retrieve pictures from a "corrupt" sd card that carried all of our Japan pics. Long story short, and more importantly, I got our Japan pics back just yesterday. I can't think of a better birthday present ððð A post shared by Joanna Y. (@j0_y) on Feb 6, 2017 at 7:21am PST Japan is known to have an inherent “cute culture” and Rabbit Island only adds to the cuteness overload by a thousand times. I advise you to plan a trip to the island if you're in Japan, or are travelling there anytime soon. If you have already been one of the few who happened to have visited, I'd love to hear from you about your personal experience with the bunnies on the island!
  24. It's not Lord Voldemort who is looking for Harry but everyone else is. Yeah, of course, he can't do that now, he is probably dead. Yeah, confirmed dead. Ask J.K. Also, most of us reading this post grew up watching and reading J.K Rowling's magical world, ‘Harry Potter', but after that Daniel Radcliffe seemed to drop off the map. Well, he's been hard at work on other films. Here is a list of movies that Daniel Radcliffe has starred into. He was working in different films other than Harry Potter series all these years. And, though many of his movies have got mixed reviews they are still pretty different and will welcome you into a bunch of new worlds and plots. 1. Jungle (2017) Though this one is yet to be released. The latest trailer is out. Check it out below. It is a story of a group of friends who join a guide for a trek into the Bolivian jungle, searching for an Indian village. The men soon realize that the jungle is a difficult place to be. 2. Swiss Army Man(2016) ©A24 A very weird, but different script. It is something that will make you forget what logic stands for in the real world. Daniel Radcliffe plays the part of a dead body. A farting corpse that sometimes becomes a water well and at other times, guides you to your home with his erection. Yeah, you read that right. IMDb rating: 7 3. Kill Your Darlings(2013) ©Képes Ifjúság It is a biographical drama film about the college days of some of the earliest members of the Beat Generation (A literary movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-World War II era.) If you are looking for a movie about the lives of writers and inexperienced freshman years. This is the pick for you. IMDb rating: 6.5 4. Now You See Me 2 ©Vanity Fair Daniel was brought in to pump up the magic in the second installment of a series full of magicians but this time without his wand. So did he add that much needed magic? Watch it to know more. IMDb rating: 6.5 5. Horns(2013) ©Wikipedia After Hellboy its Dan now. Similar look but not a superhero. 'Horns' is the story of a man who uses the magical abilities of his horns to find the true killer of his girlfriend for whom he is the current accused. IMDb rating: 6.5 6. Imperium(2016) ©Wikipedia A story of an FBI agent(Daniel Radcliffe) inspired by real events. Radcliffe goes undercover to acquire secret information against a white supremacist group that's plotting an act of terror. IMDb rating: 6.5 7. Victor Frankenstein(2015) ©IMDb The movie is an adaptation of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein which revolves around athe groundbreaking research done on immorality in humans and the havoc it brings. Though the movie has got mixed reviews, it still deserves a watch if you are looking for a fantasy horror film and are a Dan fan. IMDb rating: 6 8. The Woman In Black(2012) ©Twitter It is the story of a man who is assigned to travel to a village where someone is killing children. There he examines a house that belonged to a recently deceased woman and the mystery starts to unfold. IMDb rating: 6.4 9. December Boys(2007) ©Wikipedia A story of four friends(all orphans) who are on the verge of growing up and then find themselves competing against each other for the attention of a prospective foster family. IMDb rating: 6.6 10. What If(2013) ©Flickering Myth “I don't know if you are actually cynical or a super crazy romantic cheeseball,” says Chantry to Wallace (Daniel). Chantry is hanging out a lot with Wallace even when she is in a relationship with another guy. Wallace, a guy who has just come off another failed relationship. You know what kind of situation I am talking about here. Just don't miss it. IMDb rating: 6.8 11. The Gamechangers(2015) ©YouTube It is a British docudrama (a dramatized television film based on real events.) produced by the BBC. It depicts the controversy caused by Grand Theft Auto, a video game series by Rockstar Games, in which various attempts were made to halt the production of the games. IMDb rating: 6.3 12. The Tailor of Panama(2001) ©Pinterest Though for a very small duration, you can actually spot Daniel in the movie. And, yes, this movie came out a year before 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' had released. IMDb rating: 6.1 13. My Boy Jack(2007) ©Daniel Radcliffe UK 'My Boy Jack' is a true story of Jack Kipling, the son of acclaimed British author Rudyard Kipling. His struggle to become a soldier to fight in World War I and his parents' frantic search for their son makes it a fascinating watch. IMDb rating: 7.2 14. Trainwreck(2015) ©BuzzFeed Daniel appears when there is a movie playing within this movie. Search for the keyword ‘Daniel Radcliffe The Dog Walker' and you will see how people wished that there should have been a full movie about it. IMDb rating: 6.3
  25. <p>There has forever been a hue and cry over marijuana consumption in India and the various health concerns related to it. The world has always been divided between two schools of thought – one that is against the consumption of cannabis or marijuana, and the other that believes in its medicinal benefits and wants to use it for the same. While, the west has been pondering over its medicinal values for quite some time now with some even implementing it, India too has shown interest in this area and is now pitching for medical marijuana to be legalized here. Union Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi recently made a groundbreaking suggestion about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. According to a report with PTI, this suggestion was made at a meeting of Group of Ministers, which examined the draft cabinet note National Drug Demand Reduction Policy.</p> <p class="articleimg"><img id="ed-img" class="art-lazy imwidth-full" title="Maneka Gandhi Suggests Legalisation Of Medical Marijuana" src="" alt="Maneka Gandhi Suggests Legalisation Of Medical Marijuana" data-original="" />© Facebook</p> <p>Reportedly, Gandhi said “in some of the developed countries like the US, marijuana has been legalized which ultimately results in less drug abuse.” She further added that “marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes, especially as it serves a purpose in cancer.” However, not everyone thinks on the same lines. The Social Justice and Empowerment Secretary, G. Latha Krishna Rao said, “it may not be appropriate to legalise such drugs” citing the large population and low level of literacy as possible reasons for the same. Although Rao did say that a possibility can be explored in future. </p> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">People want marijuana legalized in India, where chemists will sell you the most potent drug without prescription.<br />Good luck with that, GOI.</p> — FarraGau CowFefe (@YearOfRat) <a href="">July 31, 2017</a> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Being a frequent visitor to US, youth is ruined due to Marijuana. Pls STOP! <a href=""></a><br /><br />Student from NCR</p> — Harsh Bhasin (@Hellseeker217) <a href="">July 31, 2017</a> <p>While, India is still debating over legalization, here are some countries where medical marijuana is legalized. </p> <p>Chile – The country had legalized marijuana way back in 2005 for medical purposes. In fact, they started growing their own cannabis in the year 2014.</p> <p>Croatia – To combat illnesses like cancer, AIDS or multiple sclerosis; Croatia legalized medical cannabis. </p> <p>Columbia – In 2012, Columbia first decriminalized marijuana possession and then went ahead to legalise it for scientific and medical use in 2016.</p> <p> Jamaica – In 2015, the country decriminalized marijuana possession. In fact, they further created a cannabis licensing authority too for cultivation and distribution of cannabis. </p> <p class="articleimg"><img id="ed-img" class="art-lazy imwidth-full" title="Maneka Gandhi Suggests Legalisation Of Medical Marijuana" src="" alt="Maneka Gandhi Suggests Legalisation Of Medical Marijuana" data-original="" />© Pixabay</p> <p>Argentina – The recent one to join the bandwagon is Argentina, which legalized marijuana this year for medical use. </p> <p>Australia – In 2016, Australia passed the Narcotic Drugs Act that permits cannabis to be grown for medical and scientific purposes.</p> <p>Finland – In 2008, Finland legalized medical cannabis wherein the doctors prescribed the drug to only those patients who stopped responding to traditional medicines.</p> <p>Czech Republic – They have strict rules in terms of usage of medical marijuana, which was approved in 2013. However, apparently cannabis can be imported from Netherlands only and people will need a special electronic prescription from specific medical professionals to use it. </p> <p>Source: <a href="" target="_blank">The Times Of India</a></p>