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ZODIAC

  1. The US said that Iran has agreed to ease key demands that had held up the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal
  2. Instead of considering the opinions of all nine judges in the 2015 case, the SC only considered those of six, writes Salaar Khan
  3. French court finds Salah Abdeslam guilty on terrorism and murder charges, with no possibility of early release
  4. Nuclear pact seemed near revival in March but talks were thrown into disarray partly over whether US might remove IRGC from FTO
  5. Ever since the release of Airlift in 2016, Akshay Kumar entered into the best phase of his career. Post the Raja Krishna Menon directorial, any and every film he was a part of turned out to be a box office success. And this was across genres. But it seems like his golden touch at the box office is slowly fading away. It was the Akshay Kumar starrer Sooryavanshi that became the first post-pandemic hit in the Hindi film industry. However, the movie came with a lot of padding around it. It was a Rohit Shetty directorial which is a brand in itself, the film was a part of Singham Universe and also featured Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh. However, his latest release Bachchhan Paandey, which was expected to set the box office on fire, was shouldered entirely on Akshay’s stardom and box office pull and was a masala entertainer, failed miserably at the box office. © Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment The film recorded such poor collections upon its release that its lifetime numbers couldn’t even go past the Rs 50 crore mark. Now, Akshay himself blamed The Kashmir Files' golden run at the box office for the dud response to his film but is that the whole truth? If a film featuring a superstar is up for a release, the initial is a given. Bachchhan Paandey didn’t interest the audience from day one itself. The opening day of Bachchhan Paandey was shockingly lower than a much smaller film like The Kashmir Files’ day 8. Moreover, the audience completely ignored the film over the next two days as the collections dipped over the opening weekend. Many on social media are debating whether the reason behind the huge failure of Bachchhan Paandey can be attributed to the 'overdose' of Akshay Kumar. Almost every month there is an Akshay Kumar starrer playing either in theatre or on OTT. This indeed could’ve been the reason that people decided to give Bachchhan Paandey a miss as they knew he will come up with another film a month later. And now, if reports are to be believed, his Mission Cinderella is opting for Disney+ Hotstar release in April followed by Prithviraj releasing in June and Raksha Bandhan in August. Bachchhan Paandey is now Akshay Kumar’s first flop since 2015’s Brothers. It is also his lowest-grossing film in a decade. © Dharma Productions The last Akshay Kumar film to earn less than Bachchhan Paandey at the box office was the 2012 disaster Joker. The Shirish Kunder directorial had collected Rs 22.51 crore. © UTV Having said that, there was also Bell Bottom that released last year in theatres and could earn only Rs 30.16 crore and flopped. But, let’s be real, it was a gamble by the makers to release it in theatres as most of the places had the cinema halls shut. And at the places where the film was released, there was only 50 per cent occupancy allowed. So, to be fair to that film, it had a fractured release. View the full article
  6. This is truly a thing our generation may have only witnessed in the movies. While we have all once spoken about a potential war, well, it's surely not a thing of the past or the future. It's truly the reality of Ukraine, which is currently being invaded by Russia on the orders of their President Vladimir Putin. © Reuters At the back of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the idea of war is insane, however, it's still happening while we watch videos of bombings from the comfort of our homes, the reality of citizens losing their livelihoods and homes to such a travesty is crazy. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is leading the war from the front and looks like the people of the country are following in his footsteps in picking up arms to fight for their country and not flee it. © Reuters One such personality who seems to have joined the battle against the Russian invasion is former Miss Ukraine Anastasiia Lenna, who has chosen to join the fight in order to square off against the Russian troops. © Instagram/Anastasiaa Lenna Lenna, who had represented Ukraine in the 2015 Miss Grand International beauty contest, had been sharing various Instagram stories addressing the crisis of the invasion. View this post on Instagram However, it looks like she has now had enough of it and wants to actually get in on the action. Many famous personalities and citizens in Ukraine have opted to voluntarily take up arms to assist their country’s military and President Zelenskyy against Russia, and Lenna is the latest addition. Lenna has shared a series of photos of herself in which she can be seen wearing a uniform while carrying a gun. In her latest Instagram post, Lenna is seen holding a gun while captioning the post as, "Stand With Ukraine Hands Off Ukraine." View this post on Instagram Not just that, Lenna has also shared a warning for Russian troops, telling them that none of them will be spared if they dare cross the border. Posting on Instagram, Lenna wrote, “Everyone who crosses the Ukrainian border with the intent to invade will be killed!.” View this post on Instagram Lenna had also shared a photo of Ukrainian soldiers walking with their President Zelensky, who she's called a “true and strong leader.” Lenna, who is a marketing and management graduate from Slavistik University in Kyiv, Ukraine, has been continuously urging for support and for donations to the Ukrainian armed forces. The beauty pageant/warrior has worked in Turkey - Bodrum, Ankara, and Istanbul as a Public Relations manager and is also said to know five languages. Kudos to her bravery! We really hope that she is successful in defending her country and this crazy war scenario can be called off soon! View the full article
  7. Adam Driver revealed he will never again be heading to Comic-Con after a terrifying experience at San Diego Comic-Con
  8. Govt under tremendous pressure, compelled to buy cargoes at high prices to avoid load shedding in September, says report
  9. Guterres urges US to "lift or waive its sanctions outlined in the plan"; appeals to Iran to fully implement its end of deal
  10. Ravindra Jadeja is like having three elite-level players for the price of one and whatever team he plays for, be it the national squad of the Chennai Super Kings side of the Indian Premier League, they should be thanking their stars for having found such a talent. A fielder batsmen consciously try to avoid, a bowler who can get you crucial wickets when it matters the most, and a batsman who is unafraid to take responsibility, manage to keep his shots in check and go for the big ones when his team needs it, the 32-year old can do all things. Ravindra Jadeja had an unbelievable night out in #IPL2021 - dropped on zero, 37 runs off the one over on his way to a 28-ball 62, plus three wickets and a direct hit run out! 🤯 : BCCI-Sportzpicshttps://t.co/RvTNacWntt pic.twitter.com/OyICDBiamy — cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) April 25, 2021 While his expertise in the fielding and bowling department allowed him to achieve success early in his life, while winning the U-19 World Cup under Virat Kohli’s captaincy in 2008, he remained an on-and-off member of the senior roster ever since making his international debut in 2009. During India’s World Cup 2015 campaign, the southpaw was struggling to prove his worth for a spot in the top-roster. In the eight matches played by the team, he had only managed to scalp nine wickets while failing to make an impact on the batting end. View this post on Instagram For Jadeja to reach his true potential, he needed to add that third angle to his game, he needed to become the chaotic yet organised hitter that he is today. In a conversation with The Indian Express, India’s favourite all-rounder explained how a small piece of advice after the 2015 World Cup loss from his former captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, allowed him to make himself the complete package, which the Men in Blue were dying to have onboard. View this post on Instagram “I remember he said that I was trying to hit shots against balls I shouldn’t be attempting. Shot selection was something I also felt I was doing wrong. My judgement at the start wasn’t right. I would be in double mind. ‘Should I go for the shot, or no?’ These days, I like to take my time and I am clearer in my mind. I know I can always cover up the runs later. That change in thinking has helped,” Jadeja said. “About bouncers, yes when you hit a six against short ones, the confidence increases. I never had a problem against bouncers – as in I don’t remember getting out too many times to it or thinking I can’t play it. It was about the selection of shots and my balance,” he added. View this post on Instagram Having recovered from a severe thumb injury that he had picked during India’s tour of Australia, Jadeja looked in form during the first half of the Indian Premier League before it was suspended due to a break in the bio-bubble. The bat-swirling star is expected to play a crucial role for Kohli’s side in the one-off World Test Championship match against Kane Williamson’s New Zealand roster between 18 and 22 June. View the full article
  11. A brief heatwave gripping Karachi was so intense that the temperature remained 40°C even after sunset, says a Met official
  12. Zendaya expressed joy that she stood up for herself in 2015 during Academy Awards' red carpet moment after an offensive comment about her hair sparked controversy
  13. US says ready to reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with JCPOA commitments
  14. Xiaomi was one of the first ones to make fun of Apple when they had announced about the new iPhones not having a charger in the box. But soon after that, they announced that the Mi 11 won't come with a charger. An interesting turn of events indeed but now the company says they had been planning to do that since 2015. Yes, Xiaomi's CEO Lei Jun has assured that they did not copy Apple's move to make this decision. It looks like Xiaomi has been planning to do this since 2015. Jun just noted that they waited long enough to implement it because it wasn't sitting well with the consumers. © Weibo That being said, he didn't mention what made them implement it now. We're pretty sure a decision like this isn't going to sit well with consumers ever. We're also not sure why Xiaomi decided to make fun of Apple when they had their own plans to implement something similar. Not including box content isn't something new for Xiaomi, by the way. In fact, they were one of the first ones to stop adding in-box accessories like wired earphones and cases. © MensXP/Karthik Iyer Overall, we definitely think this move to not include the charger in the box seems like it was inspired by Apple. We just have to wait and see if they stop including the charger with all their devices. It'll be interesting to see how the consumers will react to not seeing a charger in the box with budget phones. Source: BGR View the full article
  15. September has finally brought with it some good news for all of us. On Tuesday, people in Delhi woke up to the cleanest air it breathed in years, as the national capital recorded its air quality in the “good” category, with experts attributing it to favourable wind speed and good rains last month. The city recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 48 at 9 am on September 1st. Suprabhatam! And hello September!! Cleanest Delhi air since air quality index measurement began in 2015! Have a super day friends! pic.twitter.com/r4U6tSxtnp — Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 1, 2020 Let us tell you which level is considered safe and which is severe. Air Quality Index (AQI): 1. 0-50 is taken as good air quality 2. 51-100 is satisfactory 3. 101-200 is moderate. 4. 201-300 is poor 5. 301-400 is very poor which causes problems like asthma and many other lung problems. 6. 401-500 is considered severe which causes the death of asthma patients and breathing problems. People on social media gave mixed reactions to this piece of news. Some were extremely happy with this development while others saw this as temporary, given that from next month onwards stubble burning will begin in nearby states - which is one of the main causes of pollution in Delhi. Check out some of the reactions here: And credit goes to @ArvindKejriwal — Suraj Kumar (@iamsurajka) September 1, 2020 Wait for another 3 months. — Neville (@NeViLLe_bt) September 1, 2020 Yep. Cleanest air because nothing's running. Another act of God. — Jyoti Singh (@synchronise1857) September 1, 2020 Let’s hope it lasts! — Ordinary Indian (@indian_ordinary) September 1, 2020 Stubble burning is coming next month. — Diddy🧢 (@immune_soul) September 1, 2020 At last some positive news — Krishna Nohwal (@KrishnaNohwal) September 1, 2020 Earlier on Monday, the city recorded a 24-hour average AQI of 41 which was the lowest since the Central Pollution Control Board started maintaining air quality records in 2015. Isn’t this phenomenal? According to reports, it was the fifth “good” day in terms of air quality this year. AQI values were 45, 50, 50 and 45 on March 28, August 13, August 20 and August 24, respectively. In fact, the AQI value remained between 50 and 70 on most days in August. Also, 2020 has been the cleanest year in terms of air quality, as it has recorded the maximum number of good-air days, so far. Of course, this could largely be because of the nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus global health scare. PTI quoted a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) official saying that the improvement in air quality can be attributed to favourable weather — good wind speed and rainfall and curbs due to COVID-19 pandemic. Finally some respite amid this dreary atmosphere we are living in and we truly hope this lasts. (With inputs from PTI) View the full article
  16. Yes, nearly every Intel chipset released after 2015, that is, in the past five years contains a vulnerability that could allow hackers to gain deep access to your computers. This particular issue was brought to light by the security firm Positive Technologies. Essentially what's happening is that whenever you boot your computer that's running on Intel chipset, the security measures within the CPU's Converged Security and Management Engine (CSME) aren't being executed properly. These security measures are in place to lock down the computer's memory and prevent hackers from modifying it. © Reuters According to the folks over at Positive Technologies, there's a brief moment between booting the computer and when protections within the CSME execute. That window is enough for hackers to execute a malicious code and get deep access to your computer. That, however, isn't even the worst part. According to the folks over at Ars Technica, it looks like the flaw cannot be fixed with a firmware update because it's hard-coded into the silicon itself. Yeah, it's just as scary as it sounds. So What Can You Do? © Reuters As scary as the vulnerability sounds, it's worth pointing out that exploiting it will require physical access to your computer. Also, it's not something that an average scammer can do. Exploiting a system through this vulnerability will require a significant amount of knowledge, and it's not something that can be done via a phishing link. Long story short, you, as an average user, are probably safe and don't have to worry about this much. It looks like Intel is aware of this particular issue and it says that the users must keep their system up to date at all times. We'll definitely be reporting more on this as we hear from Intel. Source: Positive Technologies View the full article
  17. Khawaja Asif. Photo: FilePakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former minister Khawaja Asif has claimed that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Zardari kept apologising after his controversial 2015 statement about the...
  18. GENEVA: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Friday more than 20 staffers have left the organisation since 2015 after "paying for sexual services," as it called for a change in the humanitarian sector facing "a watershed moment". Following reports of sexual misconduct involving aid workers across multiple agencies, Yves Daccord ? the secretary-general of the ICRC ? said the Geneva-based organisation had conducted a thorough internal review. "I have instructed my teams to scour the data we do have on sexual misconduct, and I can tell you that since 2015 we?ve identified 21 staff members who were either dismissed for paying for sexual services or resigned during an internal enquiry," Daccord said in a statement sent to AFP. Two others did not have their contracts renewed over similar circumstances, he added, explaining that the decentralised nature of the organisation with 17,000 staff worldwide made it difficult to compile figures. Unlike crisis-hit British charity Oxfam, which did not explicitly bar its employees from hiring prostitutes, the ICRC has forbidden "the purchase of sexual services" since 2006, even in places where prostitution is legal, Daccord explained. He voiced concern that a number of incidents have not been reported, or reported cases were mishandled and vowed the ICRC was working to address the problem. Broadly, the ICRC needed to "acknowledge the cultural shift required for the organisation," Daccord said. "This is a watershed moment for the humanitarian sector as a whole. We owe it to the people we serve to behave with absolute integrity." The ICRC disclosures follow revelations that Oxfam was investigating 26 cases of sexual misconduct since a crisis erupted over its handling of a scandal involving prostitution in Haiti. Three of Oxfam?s senior leaders have apologised for the charity?s handling of an internal investigation into the hiring of prostitutes by staff in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. UNICEF?s deputy director Justin Forsyth resigned following complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff in his previous post as head of British charity Save The Children.
  19. Oil pumpjacks in Aneth, Utah, US, October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen/Files CALGARY: Oil prices dipped on Wednesday after hitting a near two-and-a-half year high in the previous session as a rally fuelled by supply outages in Libya and the North Sea ran out of momentum. Brent crude futures dropped to $66.38 a barrel, down 0.9 percent, or 64 cents, at 1933 GMT after breaking through $67 for the first time since May 2015 the previous day. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $59.64 a barrel, down 34 cents from their last settlement. WTI broke through $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015 in the previous session. ?The market continues to gravitate towards bullish news but today we are seeing a little bit of profit-taking,? said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. On Tuesday, Libya lost around 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil supplies after a pipeline feeding Es Sider port was blown up. Repair of the pipeline could take about one week but will not have a major impact on exports, the head of Libyan state oil firm NOC told Reuters on Wednesday. RBC Capital Markets analyst Helima Croft said in a note to clients the pipeline bombing may not be a one-off and that a new wave of political unrest ahead of national elections could see Libyan production fall considerably further in the coming months. The Libyan outage added to the supply disruptions of recent weeks, which also included the closure of Britain?s largest Forties pipeline. On Wednesday, Forties was pumping at half its normal capacity and its operator was pledging to resume full flows in early January. The Forties and Libyan outages, which together amount to around 500,000 bpd, are relatively small in a global context of both production and demand approaching 100 million bpd. ?While supply impact is immaterial, it shows that with the market structurally undersupplied and inventories continuing to draw, geopolitical risk has now re-emerged as an important factor in day-to-day trading dynamics,? analysts at Tudor Pickering Holt Energy Research said in a note. Oil markets have tightened significantly over the past year thanks to voluntary supply restraint led by the Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC Russia. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that global oil markets gradually came into balance by 2016 and started to show a slight supply deficit this year following rampant oversupply in 2015. The data implied a shortfall of 180,000 bpd for the first quarter of 2018. A major factor countering OPEC and Russia efforts to prop up prices is U.S. oil production C-OUT-T-EIA, which has soared more than 16 percent since mid-2016 and is fast approaching 10 million bpd. The latest U.S. production figures are due to be published by the EIA on Thursday.
  20. SHANGHAI: China has jailed 21 people for their roles in a deadly fire that killed 39 elderly people at a private nursing home two years ago, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. Xinhua said the nursing home in the central Henan province had been illegally extended and flammable materials had been used on the extension. Fan Huazhi, legal representative for the nursing home, received a prison term of nine years while contractor Feng Chunjie, who did not have the appropriate work certificate, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison. The other defendants, including firefighting officers and managers at the nursing home, received jail terms ranging from two-and-a-half to eight years. Reuters was unable to reach Fan or Feng for comment. China has had a history of similar disasters as workers are often poorly trained or ill-equipped to protect themselves from accidents. In January, a fire at another nursing home in northeastern China killed seven people.
  21. Oil prices hit their highest levels since July 2015 early on Monday as markets tightened, while Saudi Arabia?s crown prince cemented his power over the weekend through an anti-corruption crackdown that included high profile arrests. Brent futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, hit $62.44 per barrel early on Monday, their highest level since July 2015. Brent was at $62.27 per barrel at 0051 GMT, up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent from the last close and 40 percent above June?s 2017 lows. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 hit $56.00 per barrel in early trading, also the highest since July 2015, and was at $55.83, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent from the last settlement. WTI is a third above its 2017 lows. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia?s designated future king, has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including prominent business billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal and the head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah. ?This consolidates the reforming process underway, part of which is a desire to drive the price of oil higher,? said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader, said that the purge. Bin Salman?s reforms include a plan to list parts of giant state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco next year, and higher oil prices are seen as beneficial for the market capitalization of the future listed company. In oil fundamentals, traders said that there were ongoing signs of tightening market conditions. US energy companies cut eight oil rigs last week, to 729, in the biggest reduction since May 2016. The decline in US drilling activity comes as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a non-OPEC group lead by Russia have pledged to hold back about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in oil production to tighten markets. The pact to withhold supplies runs to March 2018, but there is growing consensus to extend the deal. While supplies are tightening, analysts say demand remains strong. ?Synchronous global economic growth and new supply disruptions are creating the most constructive oil price environment since ... 2014,? Barclays bank said. The British bank said it was raising its average Q4 Brent price forecast by $6 per barrel to $60 per barrel. ?The surprisingly strong macro backdrop and the accelerated inventory drawdown mean that these slightly higher price levels are likely to be sustained through Q1 of next year. Barclays said it raised its full-year 2018 forecast by $3 per barrel to $55 per barrel.
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