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‘कुछ-कुछ होता है’ से ‘वीर-जारा’ तक, ऐश्वर्या राय बच्चन ने ठुकरा दिए थे इन बेहतरीन फिल्मों के ऑफर!

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Heroine : मधुर भंडारकर ने शुरुआत में ऐश्वर्या राय बच्चन के साथ अपनी फिल्म ‘हीरोइन’ की घोषणा की थी. हालांकि, एक्ट्रेस तब अपने पहले बच्चे के साथ गर्भवती हो गई और उन्हें फिल्म से बाहर होना पड़ा. आखिरकार, फिल्म निर्माता ने उनकी जगह करीना कपूर खान को ले लिया. हालांकि फिल्म ने बॉक्स-ऑफिस पर कमाल तो नहीं किया, फिर भी बेबो को उनके प्रदर्शन के लिए तारीफ मिली थी. (फोटो साभारः फिल्म पोस्टर)



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अक्षय कुमार ने कैसे लिया ‘सम्राट पृथ्वीराज’ वाला योद्धा लुक? 6 किलो के कॉस्टयूम पहनकर की शूटिंग!

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बॉलीवुड के ‘खिलाड़ी कुमार’ यानी अक्षय कुमार (Akshay Kumar) इन दिनों अपनी अपकमिंग फिल्म ‘सम्राट पृथ्वीराज’ (Samrat Prithviraj) को लेकर सुर्खियों में हैं. फिल्म में उनका योद्धा लुक लोगों को काफी पसंद आ रहा है. फिल्म के प्रमोशन के लिए हाल ही में ‘द कपिल शर्मा शो’ (The Kapil Sharma Show) में भी पहुंचे थे, जहां उनके साथ उनकी को-स्टार मानुषी छिल्लर (Manushi Chhillar) और निर्देशक चंद्रप्रकाश द्विवेदी (Chandraprakash Dwivedi) भी साथ थे.फिल्म की मेकिंग और स्टारकास्ट की फीस से जुड़ी जानकारी लोगों तक पहुंच चुकी है. अब अक्षय कुमार ने खुद खुलासा किया है कि फिल्म में एक योद्धा के किरदार में दिखने के लिए उन्हें क्या क्या करना पड़ा.

‘सम्राट पृथ्वीराज’ (Samrat Prithviraj) 3 जून को सिनेमाघरों में रिलीज हो रही है. फिल्म लंबे समय से सुर्खियों में है. अक्षय कुमार (Akshay Kumar) ने हाल ही में खुलासा कि उन्हें कैसे कपड़े पहनकर वो लुक क्रिएट करना पड़ता था, जो इतिहास के वास्तविक योद्धाओं की याद लोगों को दिला दे.

अक्षय कुमार ने ‘पृथ्वीराज’ की तरह वास्तविक योद्धा दिखने के लिए उन्हें भारी कॉस्टयूम पहनने पड़ते थे. एक्टर ने बताया कि उनका वजन लगभग 5-6 या 4-5 किलो था. फिर भी, हमारे अतीत के वास्तविक योद्धा जैसे सम्राट पृथ्वीराज चौहान, शिवाजी महाराज के जितने भारी नहीं थे, क्योंकि वो ऐसे कपड़े पहनते थे जिनका वजन लगभग 35- 40 किलो होता था. अक्षय ने कहा इतना ही नहीं वह भारी भरकम कपड़ों के साथ बड़ी-बड़ी तलवारों को ले जाते थे. वे असली योद्धा थे और वे भारी पोशाक पहनकर भी लड़ते थे.

फिल्म के डायरेक्टर चंद्रप्रकाश द्विवेदी ने फिल्म प्रमोशन के दौरान इसकी मेकिंग को लेकर भी बात की थी. उन्होंने बताया था कि फिल्म में काम करने वाले स्टार्स के लिए करीब 50 हजार से ज्यादा कॉस्ट्यूम तैयार किए गए. कॉस्ट्यूम तैयार करते वक्त काफी कुछ बातों का खास ध्यान रखा गया था. फिल्म के लिए करीब 500 पगड़ियां भी तैयार करवाई गई थी और सेट पर भी हमेशा पगड़ी एक्सपर्ट मौजूद रहते थे. क्योंकि पगड़ियां राजपूती शान होती है.

Tags: Akshay kumar, Prithviraj



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As Boris Johnson Stumbles, Labour Struggles to Offer a Clear Message

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LONDON — When Boris Johnson hit energy companies with a windfall tax last week as a way of providing more aid for struggling consumers, it was a bittersweet moment for the opposition Labour Party, which had been promoting just such a plan for months.

For once, Labour could claim to have won “the battle of ideas.” But at a stroke, Mr. Johnson had co-opted the party’s marquee policy and claimed the credit.

This might have been a moment of opportunity for Labour. Mr. Johnson’s leadership has been in jeopardy because of a scandal over illicit lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street — missteps highlighted by a civil servant’s report last week that said senior leadership “must bear responsibility” for the failure to follow the rules.

But some political analysts think Labour should focus less on the “partygate” scandal and more on outlining a clear agenda to British voters, who face rising inflation and a possible recession.

Now out of power for 12 years, Labour has lost the last four general elections, including a thrashing in 2019 when Jeremy Corbyn, a left-winger and the party’s leader at the time, was crushed by Mr. Johnson’s Conservatives.

John McTernan, a political strategist and onetime aide to then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, said that while Labour had made a decent recovery under the current leader, Keir Starmer, it had not yet “closed the deal” with the electorate.

“It looks like modest progress because it is modest progress” said Mr. McTernan, while adding that it was still a “massive rebalancing” after the 2019 defeat.

He praised the advances made under Mr. Starmer, but said the party still had work to do if it hoped to install a Labour government in place of the Tories. “This is the year the tempo has to pick up,” he said.

And while the Conservatives lost badly in recent local elections, Labour has made only limited progress, with smaller parties doing well.

Mr. Starmer suffered a setback recently when the police reopened an investigation into whether he, too, broke coronavirus rules. He promptly promised that he would resign if he were fined by the police — in contrast to Mr. Johnson, who suffered that fate in April but refused to quit.

But whatever Mr. Starmer’s future, the Labour Party has yet to draft a convincing message to win back rust belt regions that abandoned it in the last election and that — judging by the local election results — remain to be convinced.

In the 2019 general election, parts of England that for decades had voted for Labour switched en masse to the Conservatives, allowing Mr. Johnson to recast the political map just as Donald J. Trump did in the United States in 2016.

Since then, Mr. Starmer has junked much of Mr. Corbyn’s socialist agenda, posed frequently alongside the British flag to illustrate his patriotism, taken a tough line against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and become the first Labour leader in more than a decade to visit NATO.

But the party has yet to define itself with a clear new vision to British voters, and Mr. Starmer, a former chief prosecutor, has little of the charisma that distinguishes leaders in the mold of Mr. Trump and Mr. Johnson.

Even he accepts that Labour is not yet in a solid, election-winning position.

“I always said the first thing we needed to do was to recognize that if you lose badly, you don’t blame the electorate, you change your party,” Mr. Starmer said in an interview this year after meeting with voters at a town-hall meeting at Burnley College in northwestern England. “We have spent the best part of two years doing that heavy lifting, that hard work.”

Yet Labour’s task is huge.

In 2019, the Conservatives captured areas like Burnley, in Britain’s postindustrial “red wall,” and Labour polled poorly in Scotland, once another heartland, losing out to the Scottish National Party. Looming changes to electoral boundaries are likely to favor the Conservatives in the next general election, which must take place by the end of 2024 but that many expect next year.

So Labour is hosting a series of town-hall meetings where uncommitted voters are asked what would lure them back to the party.

After the gathering in Burnley, Lisa Nandy, a senior member of the Labour Party, reflected on the project to mend what she called “a breakdown in trust” between Labour and its traditional voters.

“It broke my heart in 2019 when I watched communities where I grew up and that I call home turning blue for the first time in history,” said Ms. Nandy, referring to the campaign color used by the Conservatives. She represents Wigan, another former industrial town, speaks for Labour on how to spread prosperity to areas outside England’s prosperous southeast, and knows that her party has work to do.

People at the meeting in Burnley liked the idea of cutting energy bills by placing a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas firms, said Ms. Nandy, speaking before the government announced the plan. Yet few at this time knew this was one of Labour’s main policy proposals.

“The question is, why don’t they know this is what we have been saying?” Ms. Nandy lamented earlier this year, referring to voters.

The reason, she thinks, is that politicians spend too much time in London and too little “on people’s own territory having conversations with them about things that matter to them.”

Labour is also reaching out to a business community whose ties to the government have been strained over Brexit rules that pile mounds of extra red tape onto many exporters. At a digital meeting with businesses in the Midlands, Seema Malhotra, who speaks for Labour on business and industrial issues, heard a litany of problems, including customs bureaucracy, inflation, rising energy and wage costs, and supply-chain difficulties.

“I don’t think anyone is expecting full policy across the board until the time of the next election,” she said. “A lot of what we need to do is about rebuilding our relationship with the country and setting out our values, and people need to get to know the Labour Party again.”

“Whilst people are prepared to listen to Labour again, we cannot be complacent,” she added. “Many people have yet to feel that we have fully moved on from the past enough to now trust us. We have work to do on continuing to demonstrate that our party has changed.”

Some analysts argue that what Labour really needs is a sharper message.

“I know so many progressives who think that politics is like a football game: If you have a 10-point plan on health and your opponents only have a five-point plan you win 10 to 5,” Mr. McTernan said. “You don’t.”

Instead, he added, “You have to say: ‘This is Britain’s big challenge. Labour is the answer. Here’s why and here’s how.’”

To succeed, the party needs to convince people like Ged Ennis, the director of a renewable energy company that equipped Burnley College with solar panels. He has voted for Labour and the Conservatives over the years, but opted for the centrist Liberal Democrats in 2019.

Mr. Ennis said he had been convinced that Labour was keen to listen but confessed to having a hazy picture of Mr. Starmer’s politics. “I think what he needs to do is to be brave and to be really clear about what he wants to deliver,” he said.



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Green Energy Complicates the Taliban’s New Battle Against Opium

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — For years, opium has been the monster too big to slay. One Afghan government after another has pledged to stamp out opium production and trafficking, only to prove unable to resist billions of dollars in illicit profits.

The Taliban government of the 1990s ultimately managed to reduce opium cultivation. But after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, opium taxes and smuggling helped fuel the Taliban’s own 20-year insurgency.

Now, with the Taliban back in power, the insurgents turned politicians are again struggling to eradicate opium cultivation and the rampant addiction problem that has come with it. The Taliban announced on April 3 that poppy cultivation had been outlawed, with violators to be punished under Shariah law.

But stamping out opium will be more difficult than ever because of a shift by poppy farmers to green energy.

Water pumps powered by cheap and highly efficient solar panels are able to drill deep down into rapidly dwindling desert aquifers. The solar panels have helped generate bumper opium harvests year after year since farmers in southern Afghanistan’s poppy-growing belt began installing them around 2014.

Now, solar power is a defining feature of southern Afghan life. Tiny solar panels power light bulbs in mud huts, and solar-driven pumps irrigate cash crops like wheat and pomegranates, as well as subsistence farmers’ vegetable plots.

The solar arrays have been central to ensuring Afghanistan’s status as the global leader in opium. Afghanistan produced 83 percent of the world’s opium from 2015 to 2020, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Even with a grinding war and persistent droughts, opium cultivation in Afghanistan rose to 224,000 hectares in 2020 from 123,000 hectares in 2009, the U.N. reported.

The previous American-backed government had spent $8.6 billion on poppy eradication, but top Afghan officials were deeply complicit in the opium trade, building garish “poppy palaces” in Kabul, the capital, and buying gaudy villas in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. A 2018 government inspector general’s report concluded that the campaign “had no lasting impact.”

The Taliban, for their part, have condemned opium as anti-Islamic, as Afghanistan’s poppy crop sustains addicts in Europe and the Middle East, as well as a huge number inside Afghanistan. But given their own deep ties to opium smuggling during the insurgency, Taliban leaders are walking a fine line between hypocrisy and holiness.

A widespread crackdown would exacerbate Afghanistan’s already devastating postwar economic collapse and antagonize the Taliban’s core constituency among Pashtun farmers, impoverishing families that rely on the crop to be able to afford food. Eradication would require not only seizing farmers’ solar panels, but also confronting Taliban commanders complicit in the trade — at a time when the movement is facing internal dissatisfaction as the money dries up.

The opium trade earned about $1.8 billion to $2.7 billion last year, the United Nations has estimated. Opium sales have provided 9 to 14 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, compared with 9 percent provided by legal exports of goods and services.

“The cultivation of opium and export of opiates is hugely important for the Afghan economy as a whole, and any implementation of the ban will have wide-ranging consequences,” the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent research group, wrote in a report last month.

Opium farmers now rely on at least 67,000 solar-power-fed water reservoirs across Afghanistan’s desert southwest, according to a European Union-funded research project by David Mansfield, a consultant who has studied illicit economies and rural livelihoods in Afghanistan for two decades.

The panels, which supplanted more expensive and less reliable diesel to run water pumps, have helped turn the desert green. The population of previously uninhabited desert areas in Kandahar, Helmand and Nimruz Provinces ballooned to at least 1.4 million people in recent years as solar-driven pumps helped expand arable land, according to Dr. Mansfield’s research.

“For many opium farmers, abundant water is now a given,” he said. “No one perceives it to have a cost.”

The Taliban have taken aim at some solar-powered pumps. On May 13, the governor of Helmand Province, adjacent to Kandahar Province in the opium belt, ordered the police to confiscate panels and pumps so that newly planted poppies would die in parched fields.

“Do not destroy the fields, but make the fields dry out,” Gov. Maulave Talib Akhund said in a statement. He added, “We are committed to fulfilling the opium decree.”

The opium ban comes amid catastrophic levels of hunger, poverty and drought. The United Nations estimates that 23 million Afghans are suffering acute food deprivation. An economy once propped up by Western aid has collapsed under sanctions and freezing of Afghan government funds abroad.

“It’s too bad for Afghans because poppy is the wealth of the Afghan people,” Shah Agha, 35, a poppy farmer from the Zari District of Kandahar, said of the ban.

After investing about $500 on seeds, fertilizer, labor and other expenses, Mr. Agha said, he hoped to gross about $5,000 after selling the 20 kilograms of opium he expected to harvest this spring.

The opium ban was met with a collective shrug this spring by southern farmers, many of whom were already harvesting their spring crops. Opium prices surged almost immediately, several farmers said, to roughly $180 per kilogram from $60 per kilogram.

“I think they banned it for their own benefit because most of the smugglers and Taliban commanders have tons of opium, and they might want to increase the prices,” Mr. Agha said.

Taliban forces this spring seemed unable or uninterested in initiating a swift eradication campaign. Taliban patrols drove leisurely past bountiful opium fields where the spring crop was being harvested. Workers flanked by bright solar panel arrays used curved knives to scrape sticky opium paste from poppy bulbs

The government has indicated that it will allow the spring harvest because it was already underway. But the Taliban have vowed to crack down on farmers who try to cultivate any new crops.

As the United States did during its long presence in Afghanistan, the Taliban have suggested shifting to alternative crops like wheat, pomegranates, cumin and almonds. But even if poppy growing were eliminated, alternative crops would still be at risk because desert aquifers are being rapidly depleted.

Dr. Mansfield said that determining how long the aquifers could continue to supply water was uncharted territory because no one had been able to conduct a rigorous scientific study of the desert groundwater.

Amir Jan Armani, 45, who said he hoped to gross about $4,000 from 45 kilograms of opium he harvested in Kandahar Province this spring, said he had watched water levels drop precipitously since solar panels arrived.

When farmers used diesel-powered pumps, groundwater levels dropped about three meters a year, Mr. Armani said. But since solar panels arrived, they have sometimes sunk up to nine meters annually. His well is 30 meters deep, he said, but his neighbor’s well across the river is 60 meters deep.

“We have to continue to dig our wells deeper and deeper,” Mr. Armani said.

He and other farmers have saved money this spring by not paying opium taxes imposed by the Taliban in previous years. No such taxes have been levied this year, said Noor Ahmad Saied, the Taliban’s director of information in Kandahar.

Many farmers in Arghandab, a district in Kandahar famous for its pomegranates, have chopped down pomegranate trees killed by drought or fighting. They planted poppies instead.

Even when prices are high, many poppy farmers say, they earn only about $2 a day for each family member. They are at the very bottom of a narcotic trafficking system in which profits increase exponentially from growers to middlemen to processing labs to major cross-border traffickers.

Ehsanullah Shakir, 31, an opium smuggler in Helmand Province, said Taliban enforcement of the ban this year had been uneven so far. Some farmers had planted almonds, cumin or basil after harvesting their spring poppies, he said, but others had ignored the ban and planted poppies for a second harvest. And opium markets continue to operate as usual in many areas, Mr. Shakir said.

Farmers whose poppy fields were plowed under by the previous government could send their sons to paying jobs as soldiers or police officers — or to the constellation of unskilled jobs provided by the United States and NATO. But those options are gone, and unemployment has soared under the Taliban.

In the Maiwand District of Kandahar, Nek Nazar, 41, worked to install a new water pump at the edge of his poppy field. He began growing poppies five years ago, he said, because they produced far more income than the wheat he had grown.

Mr. Nazar spoke as though the crop shift had been preordained and was not a matter of choice. For him, it was either plant poppies or starve.

“Growing poppies is the only option to survive right now,” he said.

Taimoor Shah contributed reporting from Kandahar.



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A Cafe Devoted to Remembering Duterte’s Drug War Victims

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QUEZON CITY, the Philippines — On the second floor of a nondescript coffee shop in a trendy neighborhood outside of Manila, patrons were welcomed by a marble gravestone with a tiny inscription written in gold: “Stop the Killings.”

The gravestone, part of an art exhibition at the coffee shop, is dedicated to the memory of those killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

Another marker in the exhibition featured the Filipino word “nanlaban,” which means resisted.For the authorities, the word suggests a drug suspect who resisted arrest and engaged in gunfire before being lawfully killed by the police. But for the families of the dead, it suggests the person was victim of an extrajudicial killing.

The coffee shop, Silingan, opened last year and is staffed primarily by the mothers and wives, sisters and daughters of those killed since 2016, when Mr. Duterte took office. Beyond serving lattes and cappuccinos, these women aim to educate the public about the brutal truth behind Mr. Duterte’s promise to rid the streets of drug dealers and addicts at all costs.

According to the Philippine National Police, roughly 8,000 people accused of being involved in the illegal drug trade have been slain since Mr. Duterte launched his deadly war on drugs. Rights groups have reported higher numbers.

“Here we don’t just sell coffee,” said Sharon Angeles, the head barista at Silingan. “We tell customers about our life, and how this place serves as a place of healing for us. We also tell them, if they care to listen, why Duterte’s drug war is a war on the poor, and not on drugs.”

The women of Silingan, which means “neighbor,” hope to see Mr. Duterte held accountable for the violence before it is too late. This month, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the former dictator, was elected to succeed Mr. Duterte, with Sara Duterte, the president’s daughter, as his vice president.

But they, like many others in the Philippines are increasingly concerned that once Mr. Marcos and the president’s daughter take office next month, the new administration will block any effort to investigate Mr. Duterte once he is out of office and no longer immune from prosecution.

Ms. Angeles’s brother Christian became one of the first victims of the extrajudicial killings when he was picked up by the police just four months into Mr. Duterte’s term. Christian, who was 20, never took drugs, Ms. Angeles said. But his two companions at the time of the raid were known users with petty criminal records.

When the two companions saw the police approaching, they fled.

“But Christian did not run because he knew he was clean,” Ms. Angeles said. “Still, I had warned him before that a bullet will not listen to his excuses.” Her brother was a volunteer watchman who believed in the law, she said, adding that the results from the autopsy the family ordered came back negative for drug use.

“My brother was killed like an animal,” Ms. Angeles said. “If Duterte did not win, this wouldn’t have happened, and Christian would be alive today.”

On a recent weekend at the cafe, Ms. Angeles talked to two university students who had wandered into the shop.

The film majors said they grew curious when they saw a painted message on the steps of its black metal stairs leading to the art exhibition on the second floor: It’s not a war on illegal drugs. It’s an illegal war on drugs.

“Nanlaban” was no excuse in 2018 when a court convicted three officers for murder and sentenced them to life in prison in the death of Kian Loyd delos Santo, a 17-year-old college student.

The uproar prompted Mr. Duterte to temporarily suspend his antidrug campaign, only to relaunch it weeks later.

“We talk to customers about the drug war, and how it has affected us,” Ms. Angeles said. “It’s up to them to do what they want with the information.”

Grace Garganta, another employee at the coffee shop, said “nanlaban” was the pretext the police used to justify the killing of her 52-year-old father and her 27-year-old older brother.

Days after Mr. Duterte took office, the police raided their home in one of Manila’s sprawling slums. The father, Marcelo, was killed in what police said was a shootout.

Ms. Garganta’s bother Joseph was later arrested when he protested against the raid. She said his body was fished out of a river the following day. His face was wrapped in packaging tape and his genitals were mutilated, she said.

The Garganta family soon became the face of Mr. Duterte’s unfolding drug war after local tabloids began depicting the father as a “big-time pusher,” Ms. Garganta said.

Neighbors kept silent for fear of being identified as accomplices. Ms. Garganta, who was studying for a degree in hotel and restaurant management at the time, dropped out of school.

But at Silingan, she has found some redemption.

Now a mother to two young children, Ms. Garganta said her only wish is for people to hear her story and those of the other women at the coffee shop who seek to hold the authorities responsible for the killings. “I am no longer afraid,” she said. “The public needs to know the truth.”

Mr. Duterte remains overwhelmingly popular in the Philippines and has denied any wrongdoing in the drug war. He has insisted that violence was a necessary part of his effort to eliminate the scourge of drug use afflicting many poor Filipinos.

But the local Commission on Human Rights has said that of the nearly 600 episodes it reviewed involving drug-related extrajudicial killings, nearly all of them showed signs of foul play by the police.

Many of the victims were fatally shot multiple times, usually at close range, according to the commission. They also showed blunt-force injuries and signs of torture.

The commission’s findings resemble those of international rights groups such as the Human Rights Watch, which has been campaigning to have Mr. Duterte investigated.

The International Criminal Court has said there was evidence to show crimes against humanity had been committed in the Philippines under Mr. Duterte, who officially withdrew the country from the international body in 2019, after it began its preliminary investigation into the matter.

“There are people who come in here and angrily tell us they support Mr. Duterte,” said Ms. Garganta, who was among the first to join street protests calling for Mr. Duterte to be investigated by the I.C.C.

“I just keep quiet, because I don’t need to engage them. They have their own minds.”

Yet with Mr. Duterte on his way out next month, Ms. Garganta fears no one will be punished for the thousands who were killed in the Philippines without trial. “All we want is to be given the chance to be heard,” she said.



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Live Updates: In War of Weapons, Ukraine Tries to Match Russia’s Power

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KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — Russia has made liberal use of one of its most fearsome conventional weapons in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian military commanders, medics, British officials and videos from the battlefields.

The weapon, a track-mounted rocket artillery system nicknamed Solntsepek, or the Heatwave, fires thermobaric warheads that explode with tremendous force, sending potentially lethal shock waves into bunkers or trenches where soldiers would otherwise be safe.

“You feel the ground shake,” said Col. Yevhen Shamataliuk, the commander of Ukraine’s 95th Brigade, whose soldiers came under fire from Russia’s Heatwave weapon in fighting this month near the town of Izium.

“It’s very destructive,” Colonel Shamataliuk said. “It destroys bunkers. They just collapse over those who are inside.”

The United States and other militaries also deploy thermobaric warheads in missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. And Ukraine’s Army said on April 5 that it had fired Heatwave thermobaric rockets from a captured system back at Russian troops, intending to burn them with their own weapon, in fighting near Izium.

Thermobaric weapons are not banned, and they are not addressed in the Geneva Conventions, a series of international agreements that govern warfare. Russia’s military has deployed the Heatwave weapon in the war in Syria, but its use in Ukraine has become systematic, according to the Ukrainian military and video footage of strikes on towns in eastern Ukraine.

Such explosives, also called fuel-air bombs or vacuum bombs, scatter a flammable mist or powder that is then ignited and burns in the air. The result is a powerful blast followed by a partial vacuum as oxygen is sucked from the air as the fuel burns.

Ukrainian soldiers who have been caught in the explosions and survived suffered a mix of burns and concussions, said Sgt. Anna Federchuk, an ambulance medic based in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine, who has treated casualties from Heatwave strikes.

“It’s a mixed diagnosis,” she said of the typical casualty from a Heatwave explosion. “The burns are deep and severe.”

The Russian weapon carries a box of rockets atop a tanklike tracked vehicle. It can fire single rockets or a terrifying volley. Still, like many Russian weapons deployed in the Ukraine war, the Heatwave system may not be as effective or decisive in combat as Russian military propaganda suggested it would be.

Developed in the 1980s and once viewed as an awesome and feared invention of late-Soviet military prowess, the Heatwave, formally known as a Tos-1 heavy flamethrower, has drawbacks.

With a range of only six miles, it must be driven close to the front to fire. There, it has been vulnerable to Ukrainian ambushes. In March, a drone video showed Ukrainian soldiers blowing up a Heatwave weapon during an ambush outside the Kyiv suburb of Brovary.

The strike on the vehicle sent its rockets sailing out into the Russians’ own column of armored vehicles, though it was unclear whether any were destroyed.

Their use near the front has also allowed Ukraine to capture some of the weapons. Videos have appeared online purporting to show Ukrainian tractor drivers towing captured Heatwave weapons away from the front. Ukrainian soldiers have claimed on social media to have seized five of the weapons systems as trophies.

Ukraine’s military has also said that the Russians have suffered friendly fire incidents with the Heatwave as it sprayed out highly destructive but unguided rockets.

“The leadership of the 97th Infantry Battalion expresses its satisfaction with the actions of the Russian occupiers,” the Ukrainian military said in a sarcastic statement on May 8 after what it said was a friendly fire strike in the Zaporizhzhia region that killed Russian soldiers. “Such actions are positively perceived and supported in every way by the Ukrainian military. We understand there is a tradition of cooking shish kebabs in May.”

Maria Varenikova contributed reporting.



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करण जौहर की बर्थडे पार्टी में ऐश्वर्या राय ने बनाई सलमान खान से दूरी, अभिषेक बच्चन ने की भाईजान से बात

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नई दिल्ली: करण जौहर (Karan Johar) की 50वें जन्मदिन की पार्टी में बॉलीवुड के कई बड़े स्टार्स शामिल हुए. कुल मिलाकर उनकी बर्थडे  पार्टी स्टार्स के मेले से कम नहीं थी. शाहरुख खान (Shahrukh Khan), सलमान खान (Salman Khan) से लेकर आमिर खान (Aamir Khan) और अभिषेक बच्चन (Abhishek Bachchan), ऐश्वर्या राय (Aishwarya Rai) समेत कई स्टार्स करण जौहर के बर्थडे बैश में शामिल हुए. इस पार्टी की तस्वीरें अब तक सोशल मीडिया पर वायरल हो रही हैं.

सबसे दिलचस्प बात यह है कि इस पार्टी में एक ही छत के नीचे सलमान खान और ऐश्वर्या राय भी मौजूद थे. ऐश्वर्या राय खुद अभिषेक बच्चन के साथ शामिल हुई थीं. लेकिन, पिंकविला की एक रिपोर्ट की मानें तो सलमान खान और ऐश्वर्या राय पार्टी में एक दूसरे से दूरी बनाए हुए थे. वहीं, अभिषेक बच्चन और सलमान खान ने एक दूसरे से मुलाकात की और काफी बातें की. सलमान खान को जैसे ही अभिषेक बच्चन ने डांस फ्लोर पर देखा, वो गए और सलमान खान से बातचीत की. इस दौरान ऐश्वर्या राय ने दोनों से दूरी बनाए रखी.

लगभग एक ही समय पर पहुंचे सलमान-ऐश्वर्या
ऐश्वर्या राय उस दिन लगभग 12:30 बजे गईं तो वहीं, सलमान खान ने लगभग 45 मिनट बाद रात 1:15 बजे ग्रैंड एंट्री ली. हालांकि, तीनों ही स्टार्स ने अलग-अलग तस्वीरों में शाहरुख खान, माधुरी दीक्षित और गौरी खान के साथ पोज देते नजर आए. इसके पहले ये भी कहा गया था कि रणबीर कपूर और कैटरीना कैफ ने भी एक दूसरे से बर्थडे बैश में दूरी बनाए रखी.

रणबीर-कैटरीना ने बनाई दूरी
बॉलीवुड लाइफ की एक रिपोर्ट के अनुसार रणबीर कपूर अपनी मां नीतू कपूर और अयान मुखर्जी के साथ ही लगातार एन्जॉय कर रहे थे. वो अपने खास लोगों के साथ पार्टी में मस्ती कर रहे थे. रिपोर्ट की मानें तो उन्होंने और कैटरीना कैफ ने एक दूसरे से मुकातात नहीं की. दोनों ने एक दूसरे को अवॉयड करना बेहतर समझा.  हालांकि, कैटरीना कैफ और सलमान खान का आमना-सामना हुआ और दोनों एक दूसरे को दुआ-सलाम कर आगे बढ़ गए.

एक्टर्स ने की मस्ती
एक्टर और कैटरीना कैफ के पति विक्की कौशल की रणबीर कपूर से बॉन्डिंग है. दोनों की बॉन्डिंग ‘संजू’ फिल्म में भी दिख चुकी है. अच्छी बात यह थी कि करण जौहर की पार्टी में दोनों एक दूसरे के साथ असहज या शर्मनाक स्थिति का सामना नहीं करना पड़ा. हालांकि, ब्रेकअप के बाद रणबीर कपूर और कैटरीना कैफ साथ में ‘जग्गा जासूस’ की कुछ-कुछ सीन्स की शूटिंग साथ में की थी और फिल्म का प्रमोशन भी साथ में किया था.

Tags: Aishwarya rai, Salman khan



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कमल हासन ने जब दिलीप कुमार के साथ काम करने के लिए जोड़ लिए थे हाथ, खुद सुनाया किस्सा

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साउथ के सुपरस्टार कमल हासन (Kamal Haasan) लंबे समय के बाद बड़े पर्दे पर नजर आने वाले हैं. उनकी फिल्म ‘विक्रम’ (Vikram) 3 जून को रिलीज होने वाली हैं. कमल हासन को लंबे समय के बाद पर्दे पर देखने के लिए फैंस एक्साइटेड हैं. ‘विक्रम’ के मेकर्स और स्टार कास्ट इन दिनों फिल्म के प्रमोशन में जुटी है. कमल हासन ने एक से बढ़कर एक सुपरहिट फिल्में दी हैं, लेकिन उन्हें एक बात का बेहद मलाल है. उन्हें अफसोस है कि वह दिवंगत दिग्गज अभिनेता दिलीप कुमार के साथ काम नहीं कर सके.

कुछ किस्से यादगार होते हैं, जिनको भूला पाना आसान नहीं होता. कमल हासन (Kamal Haasan) ने हाल ही में ऐसे ही एक किस्से का जिक्र करके बॉलीवुड के महान एक्टर दिलीप कुमार (Dilip Kumar) को याद किया और बताया कि दिलीप साहब के साथ काम करने की उनकी कितनी चाहत थी, जो अधूरी ही रह गई.

कमल हासन के लाख मनाने के बाद भी नहीं माने थे दिलीप साहब
कमल हासन ने इंडियन एक्सप्रेस से बात करते हुए बताया कि एक एक्टर, जिन्हें मैं याद करता हूं और वास्तव में जिनके साथ काम करना चाहता था. मैंने वास्तव में उनके साथ काम करने के लिए उनसे याचना भी की, लेकिन उन्होंने अभिनय नहीं करने का फैसला किया था, वह थे दिलीप कुमार साहब. कमल हासन ने बचाया कि मैं उनके साथ ‘थेवर मगन’ बनाना चाहता था. हालांकि इस फिल्म को बाद में प्रियदर्शन ने हिंदी में ‘विरासत’ नाम से अनिल कपूर और अमरीश पुरी के साथ बनाया, जिसमें दोनों ने बाप-बेटे की भूमिका निभाई.

साल 1997 में सबसे ज्यादा कमाई करने वाली फिल्म थी ‘विरासत’
कमल हासन ने ‘थेवर मगन’ में शिवाजी गणेशन, रेवती, गौतमी और नासर के साथ अभिनय किया, जिसे भरत ने निर्देशित किया था. वहीं, प्रियदर्शन द्वारा निर्देशित विरासत में अनिल और अमरीश के अलावा तब्बू, पूजा बत्रा, मिलिंद गुनाजी और गोविंद नामदेव थे. फिल्म की कहानी कमल ने लिखी थी. ‘विरासत’ 1997 की सबसे अधिक कमाई करने वाली बॉलीवुड फिल्मों में से एक के रूप में उभरी और फिल्म ने 43वें फिल्मफेयर पुरस्कारों में 16 नामांकन प्राप्त किए थे.

एक्शन ड्रामा फिल्म में नजर आएंगे कमल हासन
कमल की अपकमिंग फिल्म ‘विक्रम’ है. इस एक्शन ड्रामा में विजय सेतुपति और फहद फासिल के साथ कालिदास जयराम, नारायण, एंटनी वर्गीस और अर्जुन दास भी सहायक भूमिकाओं में हैं. फिल्म में सूर्या का भी कैमियो है. ये 3 जून को दुनियाभर के सिनेमाघरों में रिलीज होने वाली है.

Tags: Dilip Kumar, Kamal haasan



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आयुष्मान खुराना ने हिंदी पर छिड़ी बहस पर दिया रिएक्शन, बोले- यह देश अलग है, एक भाषा सामने नहीं रख सकते

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नई दिल्ली: आयुष्मान खुराना (Ayushmann Khurrana) पिछले कुछ दिनों से अपनी फिल्म ‘अनेक’ (Anek) को लेकर चर्चा में हैं. यह फिल्म नॉर्थ ईस्ट इंडिया में राजनीतिक संघर्ष पर बेस्ड है. पिछले कुछ दिनों से भारतीय राष्ट्रीय भाषा हिंदी को लेकर बहस छिड़ी हुई है. इसकी शुरुआत अजय देवगन (Ajay Devgn) और कन्नड़ स्टार किच्चा सुदीप (Kichha Sudeep) के बीच ट्विटर पर हुई बहस के बाद शुरू हुई थी. अब इस पर आयुष्मान खुराना ने प्रतिक्रिया दी है.

आयुष्मान खुराना ने कहा है, ‘भारत के अलग-अलग हिस्सों की संस्कृति अलग है. इसलिए हम एक भाषा को आगे नहीं रख सकते हैं. उन्होंने कहा, ‘मुझे नहीं पता कि इसका क्या मापदंड होना चाहिए. नई भाषा ही राष्ट्रभाषा होनी चाहिए या जो सबसे पुरानी भाषा है वो. इसे ऐसे देखा जा सकता है कि जो आपकी भाषा वो आपकी पसंद है. हम कोई एक भाषा को सामने नहीं रख सकते भले ही यह पुरानी, नई या मिली हुई है. यह वैसा देश नहीं है.’

हिंदी कई भाषाओं का मिश्रण
आयुष्मान खुराना ने आगे कहा, ‘हिंदी कई भाषाओं का मिश्रण है. हम ज्यादातर हिंदी, इंग्लिश और उर्दू को मिला देते हैं. हमारे देश में हर भाषा और हर संस्कृति महत्वपूर्ण है. इस बीच, ‘अनेक’ को लेकर भी आयुष्मान खुराना ने मीडिया से बात की. आयुष्मान खुराना और अनुभव सिन्हा की यह दूसरी फिल्म है. इसके पहले उन्होंने ‘आर्टिकल’ 15 साथ में की थी. आयुष्मान खुराना ने कहा, ‘हम कई मुद्दों पर बात करते रहते हैं. पिछले कुछ सालों से हम एक दूसरे के संपर्क में रहते हैं.’

‘आर्टिकल 15’ का एक्सेंटशन है ‘अनेक’
आयुष्मान खुराना ने आगे कहा,”आर्टिकल 15 के दौरान ही हमने ‘अनेक’ के विषय पर चर्चा की थी. आगे जाकर उन्होंने स्क्रिप्ट लिखी और मैंने भी फिल्म के लिए हां कर दिया.” आयुष्मान खुराना ने आगे कहा, “फिल्म की आत्मा एक है. यह आर्टिकल 15 का एक्सेंटशन है. यह फिल्म भी भेदभाव पर आधारित है. यह अधिक चैलेंजिंग है.”

चुन रहे अलग-अलग फिल्में
पिछले कई सालों से आयुष्मान खुराना अपने लिए अलग-अलग तरह की फिल्में चुन रहे हैं. ‘विक्की डोनर’ से लेकर ‘दम लगा के हईशा’, ‘बाला’, ‘बधाई हो’, और ‘चंडीगढ़ करे आशिकी’ तक में उन्होंने बेहतरीन फिल्में की है. आयुष्मान खुराना ‘डॉक्टर जी’ नाम की भी फिल्म कर रहे हैं. इस फिल्म में पहली बार आयुष्मान खुराना डॉक्टर का किरदार निभाते नजर आएंगे.

Tags: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bollywood actors



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निक जोनास बेटी मालती के लिए हर दिन गाते हैं गाना, प्रियंका चोपड़ा बजाती हैं आईपॉड और अन्य इंस्ट्रूमेंट्स

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निक जोनास और प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने इस साल की शुरुआत में सरोगेसी के जरिए अपनी बेटी मालती मैरी का वेलकम किया. निक और प्रियंका ने जनवरी में अपनी बेटी के जन्म की खबर शेयर की और हाल ही में अपनी बेटी की पहली तस्वीर शेयर की. प्रियंका और निक की बेबी नियोनैटल इंटेसिव केयर(एनआईसीयू) में 100 दिन बिताने के बाद घर आई थी. अब निक ने एक इंटरव्यू में खुलासा किया कि वह अपनी बेटी के लिए गाना गाते हैं. बेटी के लिए उन्हें सॉन्ग गाना पसंद है.

निक जोनास “मैं उसके लिए गाता हूं. आप जानते हैं, मुझे उसके लिए गाना पसंद है, और सच में, यह बहुत सुंदर है. मैं बहुत ज्यादा गा रहा हूं, आप जानते हैं, क्लासिक्स सॉन्ग भी.” निक ने आगे कहा, “मेरी पत्नी (प्रियंका चोपड़ा) आईपॉड या जो कुछ भी है, उससे ज्यादा चीजें बजाती है, लेकिन मैं गाता हूं.” निक बेटी मालती के बा रे में ‘द केली क्लार्कसन शो’ में बात की.

निक जोनास ने कहा, “यह बहुत खुशी देने वाला  है, उसके पास दिल जैसा प्यारा चेहरा है. वह सबसे अच्छी है. यह हमारे जीवन का मैजिकल टाइम रहा है. उसका घर होना सौभाग्य की बात है.” इससे पहले, निक जोनास ने हॉलीवुड लाइफ को दिए इंटरव्यू में भी बेटी मालती को गाना सुनाने की वजह बताई थी. उनका कहना था कि उनके गाने से बेटी बहुत जल्दी सो जाती है.

निक जोनास की इस व्यवहार की प्रियंका चोपड़ा भी कायल हैं. वह बेटी के सुलाने में पति का साथ देती हैं. रिपोर्ट में दावा किया गया कि बेबी को शांत करने और सुलाने के लिए गाना गाने की सलाह निक के भाई ने दी थी. इसके बाद से लगातार इस प्रैक्टिस को फॉलो करते आ रहे हैं. मालती पापा की आवाज में गाना सुनकर काफी खुश होती हैं और क्यूट स्माइल फ्लॉन्ट करती हैं.

Tags: Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra



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कनिका कपूर को था शक, पति गौतम का परिवार नहीं करेगा उन्हें स्वीकार, खुद किया वजह का खुलासा

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कनिका कपूर ने इस दौरान उनकी शादी पर उनके बच्चों के रिएक्शन के बारे में भी बात की. उन्होंने बताया कि उनके तीनों बच्चों युवराज, अयाना और समारा की कैसी प्रतिक्रिया थी. कनिका ने कहा कि अगर मैं ये कहूंगी कि, वे चिंतित नहीं थे तो ये झूठ होगा. मुझे याद है कि, शादी से कुछ दिन पहले मेरी सबसे छोटी बेटी ने मुझसे कहा था, ‘अब हम आपको देने जा रहे हैं’. ये बात सुनकर मैं हैरान थी. उसकी बात सुनने के बाद मैंने उससे कहा कि हम सब उनसे शादी कर रहे हैं, क्योंकि तुम सब मेरा हिस्सा हो. इसके बाद मेरे बच्चे मेरी इस नई जर्नी के लिए काफी खुश थे.’ फोटो साभार[email protected]/kanik4kapoor/Instagram



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Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali से आयुष शर्मा के बाहर होने की ये है असली वजह, रखी थी ऐसी डिमांड

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‘कभी ईद कभी दीवाली’ (Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali) जबरदस्त सुर्खियों में है. फिल्म की स्टार कास्ट और शूटिंग को लेकर लगातार खबरें आ रही हैं. इस दिनों फिल्म सलमान खान (Salman Khan) ने बहनोई यानी आयुष शर्मा (Aayush Sharma) को लेकर खास चर्चाओं में है. आयुष शर्मा फिल्म से बाहर हो गए हैं. फिल्म से वह आउट क्यों हुए इसका कारण सभी जानना चाह रहे हैं. अब सामने आया है कि आखिर असली वजह (real reason why Aayush Sharma Aayush Sharma) क्या है?

‘कभी ईद कभी दीवाली’ (Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali) की घोषणा के बाद से ही फिल्म में लगातार उतार चढ़ाव देखने को मिल रहे हैं. पहले कृति सेनन के फिल्म में लीड रोल होने का खबर फिर निर्माता साजिद नाडियाडवाला का फिल्म से खुद को दूर कर लेना और अब सलमान खान की बहन अर्पिता खान के पति आयुष शर्मा (Aayush Sharma) और जहीर इकबाल (Zaheer Iqbal) का फिल्म से बाहर होना.

लोगों के मन में हैं कई सवाल
खबरें आईं कि फिल्म को लेकर कुछ मतभेदों के कारण आयुष शर्मा को फिल्म से बाहर कर दिया गया. लेकिन आखिर क्या हुआ था? वो कौन से क्रिएटिव मतभेद थे, जिसकी वहज से आयुष को बाहर कर दिया गया? लोगों को अब शायद इस सवाल का जवाब मिल जाएगा. टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया की एक रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक, फिल्म से उनके आउट होने का असली वजह अब सामने आई है.

आयुष के फिल्म छोड़ने का वजह!
दरअसल, आयुष फिल्म में अपने हिस्से में सबसे ज्यादा डायलॉग्स चाहते थे और उनकी ये डिमांड ठुकरा दी गई और इसी वजह से वे फिल्म से बाहर का रास्ता दिखा दिया गया.आयुष फिल्म में सलमान के भाई का रोल प्ले करने वाले थे. फिल्म के डायरेक्टर फरहाद शामजी हैं.

फिल्म में है दो भाईयों का किरदार
‘कभी ईद कभी दीवाली’ में सलमान का किरदार दो भाईयों वाला होगा. दूसरे भाई का किरदार जहीर इकबाल निभाने वाले थे, लेकिन खबरें उनके भी बाहर जाने की हैं. जहीर अब फिल्म में क्यों नहीं हैं, ये अभी तक पता नहीं चल पाया है.

कैसे हैं आयुष और सलमान के रिश्ते?
लोगों के मन में ये भी सवाल है कि फिल्म छोड़ने के बाद आयुष और सलमान के रिश्ते में कुछ मतभेद आए हैं? तो रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक, आयुष ने बहुत ही शालीनता के साथ फिल्म छोड़ी और दोनों के रिश्ते आज भी वैसे ही हैं, जैसे कल थे.

ये होंगे नए किरदार?
खबरों की मानें तो आयुष और जहीर इकबाल की जगह मेकर्स अब भाग्यश्री के बेटे अभिमन्यु दसानी और जावेद जाफरी के बेटे मीजान जाफरी को फिल्म में लेने का प्लान कर रहे हैं. मेकर्स ने इन दोनों को अप्रोच भी किया है, हालांकि अब तक कुछ फाइनल नहीं हुआ है.

Tags: Ayush Sharma, Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali, Salman khan



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Cannes Closing Ceremony: दीपिका पादुकोण ने फ्लॉन्ट किया ट्रेडिशनल लुक, रफल्ड साड़ी में दिखा उनका खूबसूरत अंदाज

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कान्स फिल्म फेस्टिवल 2022 में भारतीय सेलेब्स के चर्चे रहे. भारतीय फिल्मों, डॉक्यूमेंट्री से लेकर भारतीय कलाकारों के रेड कार्पेट लुक तक, सबने पूरी दुनिया को अट्रैक्ट किया. लेकिन दीपिका पादुकोण इन सबमें सबसे आगे रहीं. कान्स के आखिरी दिन भी जाते-जाते उन्होंने अपने खूबसूरत रेड कार्पेट लुक से पूरी दुनिया को अट्रैक्ट किया. (फोटो साभारः Instagram @deepikapadukone)



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ऐश्वर्या राय-अभिषेक बच्चन से लेकर अनुष्का शर्मा-विराट कोहली तक, इनकी लव स्टोरी फिल्मी कहानी से नहीं है कम

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ऐश्वर्या राय बच्चन (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan)-अभिषेक बच्चन (Abhishek Bachchan), अनुष्का शर्मा (Anushka Sharma)- विराट कोहली (Virat Kohli) जैसे बॉलीवुड कपल की लव स्टोरी किसी फिल्म की रोमांटिक कहानी से कम नहीं है. चलिए आपको बताते हैं इनके प्रपोज करने की मजेदार कहानी.



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Pankaj Kapoor B’day: पंकज कपूर हैं दिग्गज कलाकार, उनके साथ काम करते हुए बेटे शाहिद कपूर को आ जाता है पसीना!

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पंकज कपूर (Pankaj Kapoor) बड़े पर्दे से लेकर छोटे पर्दे तक अपनी प्रतिभा का लोहा (Pankaj Kapoor Theatre, television and films Actor) मनवा चुके हैं. पंकज आज अपना 68वां जन्मदिन मना रहे हैं. 29 मई 1954 को लुधियाना में पैदा हुए पंकज एक मंझे हुए कलाकार हैं. ऐसे दिग्गज एक्टर हैं कि उनके साथ काम करने पर उनके बेटे शाहिद कपूर (Shahid Kapoor) को ही घबराहट होने लगती है. हाल ही में रिलीज हुई फिल्म ‘जर्सी’ में भी शाहिद और पंकज ने साथ काम किया था. पंकज कपूर के जन्मदिन पर बताते हैं पिता-पुत्र से जुड़ा दिलचस्प किस्सा.

लंबे अरसे से कई सफल फिल्मों और टीवी सीरियल्स का हिस्सा रह चुके पंकज कपूर बॉलीवुड की चकाचौंध से दूर सिंपल लाइफ जीते हैं. अपनी फैमिली के साथ भी उनका रिश्ता कुछ ऐसा ही है. पंकज कपूर ने अपने बेटे शाहिद कपूर को लेकर एक फिल्म ‘मौसम’ बनाई थी. साल 2011 में रिलीज हुई इस फिल्म को पंकज कपूर ने लिखा भी था और निर्देशन भी किया था. शाहिद लीड रोल में थे और उनके साथ सोनम कपूर थीं. हालांकि ये फिल्म फ्लॉप हो गई थी लेकिन शाहिद को इंडस्ट्री में जमाने का भरपूर मौका दे गई थी.

पापा पंकज कपूर के साथ शाहिद कपूर की शानदार बॉन्डिंग है. (फोटो साभार: shahidkapoor/Instagram)

‘शानदार’ में पंकज के साथ काम करते हुए घबरा गए थे शाहिद
शाहिद कपूर और पंकज कपूर ने फिल्म ‘शानदार’  में पहली बार साथ काम किया था. इस फिल्म के प्रमोशन के समय शाहिद ने बताया था कि उनके पापा इतने दिग्गज कलाकार हैं कि उनके साथ काम करना जब शुरू किया था तो बहुत ही घबराहट हो रही थी जबकि पिता होने के नाते उल्टा होना चाहिए था. लेकिन बाद में मेरे पापा ने मुझे सहज करने में काफी मदद की और कुछ दिनों बाद हम दोनों मजे से काम करने लगे’. ‘शानदार’ एक फैमिली फिल्म थी, जिसमें पंकज कपूर और उनकी दूसरी वाइफ सुप्रिया पाठक की बेटी सना कपूर भी थीं. ये सना की डेब्यू फिल्म थी. इस फिल्म में पंकज ने आलिया भट्ट के पिता का रोल प्ले किया था.  पंकज अब अपने बेटे शाहिद को एक बड़ा कलाकार मानने लगे हैं.

ये भी पढ़िए-पंकज कपूर मजबूरी में बने थे ‘करमचंद जासूस’, मुफलिसी के दिनों में दूरदर्शन के इसी धारावाहिक ने दिया था सहारा

‘हैदर’ के बाद शाहिद से खुश हो गए पंकज कपूर
पंकज कपूर ने फिल्म ‘मौसम’ के फ्लॉप होने को लेकर एक दिलचस्प बात बताई थी. समय के साथ शाहिद काफी आगे बढ़ गए हैं, उनकी फिल्म ‘हैदर’ जबरदस्त हिट हुई थी. एक बार पंकज ने कहा था कि ‘‘हैदर’ की कामयाबी के बाद तो मुझे शाहिद को फिल्म ऑफर करने में डर लगता है कि कहीं बतौर डायरेक्टर वह मुझे ही रिजेक्ट ना कर दे’.

Tags: Actor, Bollywood Birthday, Shahid kapoor



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Tropical Storm Agatha Headed to the Mexican Coast

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Tropical Storm Agatha, the first named storm this year in the eastern Pacific, is hurtling toward the Mexican coast and has the potential to become a hurricane, triggering life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, the National Hurricane Center said on Saturday.

Agatha could make landfall on Monday as a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour, Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the Hurricane Center, said on Saturday.

Agatha was headed toward the largely rural Mexican state of Oaxaca and was expected to dissipate Wednesday morning. A hurricane watch was posted for the southern coast of Mexico, from Salina Cruz to Punta Maldonado.

Mr. Feltgen said storms originating in the eastern Pacific did not generally reach the United States as hurricanes. The same applies to Agatha, he said, though he added that if the storm “survives its trek across Mexico, then its remnants could emerge into the Gulf of Mexico.”

Agatha formed off the Mexican coast and was named on Saturday, not long after the official start of the eastern Pacific hurricane season, which runs from May 15 to Nov. 30.

The Atlantic hurricane season — the term used for storms that form in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean — runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Those regions account for the severest hurricanes that have struck the United States, Mr. Feltgen said.

This year is on track to be the first time since 2014 that a hurricane has not formed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season. However, the season generally does not peak until mid-August to late October, and forecasters predict above average Atlantic activity this year, with six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said this week.

If the prediction comes true, this year will be the seventh consecutive above average hurricane season.

The causes for the predicted intensity of hurricanes cited by NOAA includes the climate pattern known as La Niña, which affects the speed and direction of wind, and a particularly intense West African monsoon season, which produces waves that can lead to powerful and long-lasting hurricanes.





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जब सलमान खान ने कहा था- ‘मेरी और कैटरीना की वजह से जॉन को बड़ी हिट मिल गई’, जानें क्या था पूरा मामला

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मुंबईः बॉलीवुड सुपरस्टार सलमान खान (Salman Khan) और जॉन अब्राहम (John Abraham) के बीच कोल्ड वॉर की चर्चा पुरानी हो चुकी है. यह उन दिनों की बात है जब कैटरीना कैफ ने जॉन अब्राहम पर आरोप लगाया था कि अभिनेता ने उन्हें एक फिल्म से हटवा दिया था, जिसमें वह जॉन के साथ काम कर रही थीं. लेकिन, अभिनेता ने इन्हें इस फिल्म से हटवा दिया. जिसके बाद सलमान खान ने कैटरीना (Katrina Kaif) को एक फिल्म करने के लिए मजबूर किया जो बाद में एक बड़ी हिट साबित हुई और कैटरीना कैफ की किस्मत के सितारे भी चमक उठे.

हालांकि, इसके बाद सलमान खान का एक बयान खूब सुर्खियों में रहा था. सलमान खान ने एक शो में कहा था कि उनकी और कैटरीना की वजह से जॉन अब्राहम को एक बड़ी हिट मिल गई. इस बयान पर जॉन अब्राहम ने भी यह प्रतिक्रिया दी थी कि उनके और सलमान के बीच कुछ तो समस्या है, लेकिन इस समस्या के बारे में उन्हें खुद भी कोई जानकारी नहीं है. तो अगर आप भी इस पूरी घटना के बारे में जानना चाहते हैं तो पढ़ें ये पूरी कहानी-

रजत शर्मा के शो ‘आप की अदालत’ के दौरान सलमान खान को ये कहते सुना गया था कि- ‘मुझे याद है, कैटरीना के पास एक फिल्म थी, जो बाद में तारा शर्मा को मिल गई. कैटरीना पूरे समय बैठकर मेरे पास रहो रही थी. उसने कहा- ‘मेरा करियर बर्बाद हो गया.’ मुझे पूरे 3 दिनों तक यह देखना पड़ा. मुझे लग रहा था कि ये एक दिन इस देश की सबसे बड़ी स्टार में से एक होगी और ये रो रही है.’

‘मैंने उससे कहा- ‘कुछ सालों बाद तुम हंस रही होगी.’ जवाब में उसने मुझसे पूछा कि आप ये कैसे कह सकते हैं. सिर्फ इसलिए कि आप सलमान खान हैं. आप बहुत बड़े स्टार हैं, आपको ये समझ नहीं आएगा. ये मेरा करियर है. कोई मुझे कैसे हटा सकता है, जबकि मैं शूट कर चुकी हूं.’ सलमान खान ने आगे खुलासा किया कि इसके बाद कैटरीना को एक और मौका मिला और वह मेरे पास आईं और कहा- ‘जॉन भी इस फिल्म का हिस्सा हैं.’

कैटरीना से क्या बोले थे सलमान खान?
इसके जवाब में दबंग अभिनेता ने कहा- ‘फिल्म की कास्ट स्क्रिप्ट और डायरेक्टर पर निर्भर करती है.’ ऐसे में कैटरीना को पुराने दिन याद आ गए, जब जॉन ने उन्हें एक फिल्म से हटवा दिया था. इस पर सलमान खान ने कैटरीना से कहा- ‘उदार बनो.’ कैटरीना को सलमान की बात समझ आ गई और दोनों ने उस फिल्म में साथ काम किया और ये बड़ी हिट साबित हुई. इसी दौरान सलमान खान ने रजत शर्मा से कहा- ‘कैटरीना और मेरे दोनों के बड़प्पन की वजह से जॉन अब्राहम को बहुत बड़ी हिट मिली.’

जॉन अब्राहम बोले- नहीं पता समस्या की वजह
इसके बाद जॉन अब्राहम भी जब इसी शो का हिस्सा बने तो रजत शर्मा ने सलमान खान के बयान पर जॉन की प्रतिक्रिया मांगी. जवाब में जॉन ने कहा कि उनके और सलमान खान के बीच कुछ समस्या है, लेकिन वह समस्या क्या है उन्हें इसकी जानकारी नहीं है. इसके आगे जॉन ने कहा कि वह उन दिनों इंडस्ट्री में नए थे और किसी भी डायरेक्टर या फिल्म मेकर से यह कहने की क्षमता नहीं रखते थे कि वह किसी एक्टर या एक्ट्रेस को फिल्म से हटा दें.

Tags: John abraham, Katrina kaif, Salman khan



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रोहित शेट्टी ने ‘नॉर्थ वर्सेज साउथ’ डिबेट पर कही दिल की बात, जानें बॉलीवुड के भविष्य को लेकर क्या बोले

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रोहित शेट्टी (Rohit Shetty) का कहना है कि भारत में साउथ इंडियन फिल्मों की बढ़ती लोकप्रियता की वजह से बॉलीवुड को खत्म नहीं समझ लेना चाहिए. फिल्म मेकर का मनना है कि नॉर्थ और साउथ सिनेमा साथ मिलकर अच्छा काम कर सकते हैं, क्योंकि दोनों के बीच कभी कोई प्रतिस्पर्धा नहीं थी.

मीडिया रिपोर्ट के अनुसार, रोहित ने रणवीर सिंह के साथ मुंबई में एक प्रोमोशनल इवेंट में बॉलीवुड पर साउथ इंडियन फिल्मों के असर पर खुलकर बात की. रोहित से पहले, अक्षय कुमार और करण जौहर ने ‘नॉर्थ वर्सेज साउथ’ डिबेट पर अपनी राय जाहिर की थी. दरअसल, साल 2022 में कई गैर-हिंदी फिल्मों ने पूरे भारत में अच्छा परफॉर्म किया है. इनमें ‘केजीएफ चैप्टर 2’, ‘आरआरआर’ और ‘पुष्पा द राइज’ जैसी फिल्में शामिल हैं.

रोहित शेट्टी: बॉलीवुड कभी खत्म नहीं होगा
डीएनए की रिपोर्ट के अनुसार, रोहित ने कहा, ‘बॉलीवुड कभी खत्म नहीं होगा. अस्सी ​​के दौर में जब वीसीआर आए थे, तो लोगों ने कहा था कि थिएटर खत्म हो जाएगा और बॉलीवुड समाप्त हो जाएगा. ओटीटी में आए उछाल के बाद, कई लोगों ने कहा कि बॉलीवुड खत्म हो गया है. बॉलीवुड कभी खत्म नहीं होगा.’

रोहित शेट्टी ने रीमेक को लेकर कही बात
रोहित ने यह भी कहा कि साउथ इंडियन फिल्मों को 1960 के दशक से हिंदी में बनाया जा रहा है. वे कहते हैं, ‘जब आप इतिहास पर गौर करेंगे, तो आप जानेंगे कि साउथ सिनेमा 60 और 50 के दशक से है. शशि कपूर की ‘प्यार किए जा’ एक साउथ फिल्म की रीमेक थी. 80 के दौर में, जब अमिताभ बच्चन और विनोद खन्ना अपने पीक पर थे, तब सिनेमा की दुनिया में एक नए लड़के की एंट्री हुई. ‘एक दूजे के लिए’ में कमल हासन सर नजर आए. यह एक हिट फिल्म थी.’

श्रीदेवी और जया प्रदा का किया जिक्र
रोहित शेट्टी ने 80 और 90 के दौर की ‘सुपरस्टार हीरोइनों श्रीदेवी और जया प्रदा के बारे में भी बात की, जिन्होंने हिंदी फिल्मों में एंट्री से पहले साउथ इंडियन फिल्मों में अभिनय किया था. उन्होंने हिंदी फिल्म इंडस्ट्री में साउथ इंडियन आर्टिस्टों के योगदान के बारे में भी बताया. बता दें कि रोहित और रणवीर सिंह ‘सर्कस’ पर काम कर रहे हैं, जो दिसंबर 2022 में थियेटर्स में रिलीज होगी.

Tags: Rohit shetty



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How Influencers Hype Crypto, Without Disclosing Their Financial Ties

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Some of the projects that Mr. Armstrong promoted were small-time, experimental crypto ventures that eventually encountered problems. In those cases, he said, he considered himself a victim, too.

“They’re preying on the novice crypto influencer who just got popular and is trying to figure out what they should and shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “It’s hard to go from 12,000 followers to a million in one year and make all the right decisions.”

Mr. Paul rose to fame as a video blogger and an occasional actor; YouTube once reprimanded him for publishing footage of a dead body he found in a Japanese forest. Over the years, he has parlayed his internet fame into an eclectic array of entrepreneurial pursuits, including a line of energy drinks.

Mr. Paul became interested in crypto last year as the market for NFTs started booming. In a recent interview, he acknowledged that he was still learning how to navigate the crypto market, even as he tried to profit from the technology. “I’m an extreme ideas person, not much of an executor,” he said.

Mr. Paul was involved in some of the initial brainstorming for the Dink Doink project. But the venture was ultimately spearheaded by one of his roommates, Jake Broido, who gave Mr. Paul 2.5 percent of the tokens that were initially issued.

In a tweet last June, Mr. Paul called it one of the “dumbest, most ridiculous” cryptocurrencies he had encountered, and circulated a video of a cartoon character singing sexually explicit lyrics. “That’s why I’m all in,” he added. He also appeared in a shaky-cam video on Telegram in which he hailed Dink Doink as possibly his favorite crypto investment.

The campaign was a flop, and Mr. Paul was pilloried by YouTube critics. The price of Dink Doink hovered well below a cent, before falling even further in value over the summer. Mr. Paul said he had never sold his tokens or profited from the project. But he said he regretted promoting the coin without disclosing his financial stake. “I definitely didn’t act as responsibly as I should have,” he said.





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Australia Wields a New DNA Tool to Crack Missing-Person Mysteries

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MELBOURNE, Australia — When a man washed up on the shores of Christmas Island in 1942, lifeless and hunched over in a shrapnel-riddled raft, no one knew who he was.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the Royal Australian Navy began to suspect that he may have been a sailor from the HMAS Sydney II, an Australian warship whose 645-member crew disappeared at sea when it sank off the coast of Western Australia during World War II.

In 2006, the man’s remains were exhumed, but DNA extracted from his teeth yielded no match with a list of people Navy officials thought might be his descendants. With few leads, the scientist who conducted the DNA test, Jeremy Austin, told the Navy about an emerging technique that could predict a person’s ancestry and physical traits from genetic material.

The method, known as DNA phenotyping, relies on variations in the genome associated with traits connected to physical appearance to assess the likelihood that a person has a certain hair, eye or skin color, among other characteristics. It differs from older techniques in that it does not require DNA to be matched with an existing sample in a database.

The new tool is primarily used by police departments around the world to help identify suspects in cases where there are no witnesses. That has raised concerns about the potential for racial profiling.

In Australia, forensic scientists are repurposing the technique to help link missing persons with unidentified remains in the hope of resolving long-running mysteries. In the case of the sailor, Dr. Austin sent the sample to researchers in Europe, who reported back that the man was of European ancestry and most likely had red hair and blue eyes.

Credit…Australian War Memorial

That alone wasn’t enough to identify the sailor, but it narrowed the search. “In a ship full of 645 white guys, you wouldn’t expect to see more than two or three with this pigmentation,” said Dr. Austin, deputy director of the Australian Center for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide.

In Australia, there are thousands of long-term unsolved missing-persons cases, along with hundreds of unidentified remains held in police custody across the country. The Australian Federal Police’s National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing Persons, launched in July 2020, is applying a suite of techniques to help law enforcement find potential links between the remains and missing persons, including DNA phenotyping.

This forensic tool, which has been slowly advancing since the mid-2000s, is similar to genetic tests that estimate risks for certain diseases. About five years ago, scientists with the Australian Federal Police began developing their own version of the technology, which combines genomics, big data and machine learning. It became available for use last year.

The predictions from DNA phenotyping — whether a person had, say, brown hair and blue eyes — will be brought to life by a forensic artist, combining the phenotype information with renderings of bone structure to generate a three-dimensional digital facial reconstruction.

“It’s an investigative lead we’ve never had before,” said Jodie Ward, the director of the new program.

Her lab, located in Canberra, the capital, will begin offering this service to police departments across the country later this year. For now, she and her team are fine-tuning the technique by testing it on DNA samples taken from remains of people who have donated their bodies to science. Soon, the technology could also include predictions about age, body mass index and height, as well as certain facial features like lip fullness and cheek structure.

While Dr. Ward’s focus is missing-persons cases, DNA phenotyping technology will also be used by the Australian Federal Police to aid criminal investigations.

In the United States, police departments have for years been using private DNA phenotyping services, like one from the Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs, to try to generate facial images of suspects. The images are sometimes distributed to the public to assist in investigations.

Many scientists, however, are skeptical of this application of the technology. “You cannot do a full facial prediction right now,” said Susan Walsh, a professor of biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis who developed some of the earliest phenotyping methods for eye and hair color. “The foundation of the genetics is absolutely not there.”

Facial image prediction has been condemned by human rights organizations, including the A.C.L.U., which suggest that it risks being skewed by existing social prejudices.

One such episode played out in Germany in 2007, when DNA phenotyping predicted that a sample taken from a crime scene involving the murder of a police officer belonged to a woman of Eastern European ancestry. The same DNA was then linked to dozens of serious crimes across Western Europe, prompting a theory that the perpetrator was a serial offender from a traveling Roma community.

It turned out that the recurring genetic material belonged to a female Polish factory worker who had accidentally contaminated the cotton swabs used to collect the samples.

Similar concerns have been raised about DNA phenotyping in Australia, where some populations — particularly Indigenous Australians — are arrested and jailed at disproportionately high rates.

Gabrielle Samuel, a sociologist at King’s College London, said that DNA phenotyping “will ultimately reflect the biases of the climate in which it is used.”

But Dr. Ward, the director of the new program at the Australian Federal Police, said that using DNA phenotyping on unidentified remains did not raise the same ethical questions, because the people are deceased and because the cases are about missing persons, not crimes.

“The families want any and all techniques applied to these cases if it’s going to help answer the question of what happened,” she said.

Dr. Ward said she did not see DNA phenotyping as a silver bullet for solving long-term missing-persons cases. She and her team will also make use of more traditional methods, like skeletal analysis, dental record searches and radiocarbon dating. “One forensic technique is not going to give us the critical bit of information,” she said.

Such was the case with the mystery sailor. After his genotype was sequenced and his phenotype predicted, a team of scientists across several Australian institutions, including Dr. Ward’s program, used this information to track down a woman they believed to be a living relative of the soldier. They checked her DNA and had a match.

His name was Thomas Welsby Clark, the son of wealthy sheep ranchers and a descendant of Scottish immigrants. He had been a sailor on the ill-fated warship, and most likely escaped the burning vessel in a raft before dying at sea. A photograph of Mr. Clark was found, and Navy technicians had it colorized. They gave him shining blue eyes and red hair.



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अर्जुन कपूर की बहन अंशुला का ट्रांसफॉर्मेशन देख फैंस हुए हैरान, बोले- ‘सीक्रेट क्या है?’

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मुंबईः अर्जुन कपूर (Arjun Kapoor) की बहन और बोनी कपूर की बेटी अंशुला (Anshula Kapoor) लाइमलाइट से दूर ही रहती हैं. अपने दूसरे भाई-बहनों से अलग अंशुला ने अब तक बड़े पर्दे से दूरी बना रखी है. लेकिन, इन दिनों वह खूब सुर्खियों में हैं. अंशुला कपूर (Anshula Kapoor Weight Loss) इन दिनों अपने वजन को लेकर चर्चा का विषय बनी हुई हैं. दरअसल, अंशुला ने अपना काफी वजन कम किया है. अपना वजन कम करने के लिए अंशुला लगातार एक्सरसाइज कर रही हैं और अपना डाइट चार्ट भी फॉलो कर रही हैं, जिसका असर उन पर साफ दिखाई दे रहा है. स्टार किड ने हाल ही में अपनी एक तस्वीर भी शेयर की है, जिसके अब चर्चे शुरू हो गए हैं.

अंशुला कपूर इस तस्वीर में पहले की तुलना में काफी पतली लग रही हैं और उनका ये ट्रांसफॉर्मेशन देखकर फैन भी हैरान हो गए हैं. फोटो में अंशुला शर्ट और पैंट में चेयर पर बैठीं कैमरे की ओर देखते हुए हंस रही हैं. उनकी मुस्कुराहट देखने के बाद यूजर खुद को उनकी तारीफ करने से रोक नहीं पा रहे हैं. कई यूजर लगातार अंशुला के लुक्स की तारीफ कर रहे हैं और उनसे उनके ट्रांसफॉर्मेशन का सीक्रेट पूछ रहे हैं.

अंशुला कपूर ने घटाया वजन
अंशुला की फोटो से साफ पता चलता है कि उन्होंने पिछले कुछ समय में कुछ किलो वजन घटाया है. फोटो में अंशुला बेहद खूबसूरत और खुश लग रही हैं. बेटी की इस तस्वीर पर बोनी कपूर ने भी कॉमेंट किया है. वह लिखते हैं- ‘लुकिंग लवली.’ बोनी कपूर के अलावा और भी कई सेलेब्स ने अंशुला की तारीफ की है. अंशुला की चाची और संजय कपूर की पत्नी महीप कपूर लिखती हैं- ‘सो प्रिटी.’

अंशुला कपूर की शेयर की तस्वीर अब चर्चा में है. (फोटो साभारः इंस्टाग्राम: @anshulakapoor)

वहीं अंशुला के फैंस और फॉलोअर भी उनकी जमकर तारीफ कर रहे हैं और उनके वेट लॉस का सीक्रेट भी पूछ रहे हैं. वहीं कुछ की निगाहें उनकी खूबसूरत स्माइल पर टिकी हैं. कई ने उनकी स्माइल की तारीफ की है. वहीं कुछ अंशुला के वेट लॉस से इंस्पायर्ड भी नजर आ रहे हैं. कई यूजर्स ने कॉमेंट करते हुए अंशुला के वेट लॉस की तारीफ की है और उनसे ये भी पूछा है कि आखिर उन्होंने अपना वजन कैसे कम किया.

Tags: Anshula Kapoor, Bollywood



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गौरी खान ने किया खुलासा, इंटीरियर डिजाइन में शाहरुख खान को है कितनी रुचि और समझ

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शाहरुख खान (Shahrukh Khan) की पत्नी गौरी खान (Gauri Khan) शहर के फेमस इंटीरियर डिजाइनरों में से एक हैं और एक अच्छा खासा बिजनेस चला रही हैं. वह अक्सर अपने काम से लोगों को इंप्रेस कर देती हैं. उन्होंने बॉलीवुड की कई सेलिब्रिटीज के घर को खूबसूरत बनाया है. हाल ही में गौरी ने अपने एक इंटरव्यू में किंग खान की इंटीरियर डिजाइन में रुचि के बारे में बताया जिसमें उन्होंने यह खुलासा किया कि घर के अंदर की सजावट को लेकर केवल उन्हीं की नहीं बल्कि सुपरस्टार शाहरुख खान की भी बड़ी गहरी रुचि है.

ईस्टर्न आई के साथ अपनी बातचीत में गौरी ने कहा कि उन्होंने रेड चिलीज के ऑफिस में सुधार के लिए शाहरुख खान के साथ मिलकर काम किया था. उन्होंने बताया कि शाहरुख इस प्रोजेक्ट को लेकर कितने सीरियस थे. उन्होंने कहा “SRK ने रंगों छत आदि के बारे में अपनी राय दी थी. उन्होंने उस प्रोजेक्ट में बहुत इंटरेस्ट लिया था और जब भी संभव हो वह इसमें शामिल होना पसंद करते हैं.” गौरी ने यह भी बताया कि प्रोजेक्ट के सभी डिजाइनों को शाहरुख की तरफ से हरी झंडी दी गई थी.

‘मन्नत’ की डिजाइन को बदलती रहती हैं गौरी
इसके अलावा गौरी ने शाहरुख के बंगले ‘मन्नत (Mannat)’ को अपना सबसे यादगार इंटीरियर डिजाइन प्रोजेक्ट कहा. उन्होंने कहा “यह मेरे लिए बहुत ही पर्सनल और एक लगातार चलते रहने वाला प्रोजेक्ट है”. गौरी अक्सर अपने घर को अलग अंदाज में डिजाइन करती रहती हैं. उन्होंने बताया कि वह अक्सर अपने घर के हर कोनों को नए-नए तरीकों से सजाती रहती है और यहां तक कि समय-समय पर वह अपने बच्चों के कमरों की डिजाइन को भी बदलती रहती हैं.

गौरी ने की थी 25 लाख रुपये की नई नेमप्लेट डिजाइन
इससे पहले गौरी ने ‘मन्नत’ की नई नेमप्लेट (Nameplate of ‘Mannat’) भी डिजाइन की थी जिसकी कीमत करीब 25 लाख रुपये थी. कथित तौर पर गौरी घर के लिए कुछ ‘क्लासिक’ चाहती थीं जो उनकी खान फैमिली के स्टैंडर्ड को मैचअप कर सके. इस बीच वर्क फ्रंट की बात करें तो शाहरुख खान फिलहाल सिद्धार्थ आनंद की फिल्म ‘पठान (Pathaan)’ में दीपिका पादुकोण और जॉन अब्राहम के साथ काम कर रहे हैं. इसके आलावा वह राजकुमार हिरानी की फिल्म ‘डंकी (Dunky)’ में भी नजर आएंगे.

Tags: Gauri khan, Shah rukh khan



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Stampede at Church Fair in Nigeria Kills 31

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ABUJA, Nigeria — A stampede Saturday at a church charity event in southern Nigeria left 31 people dead and seven injured, the police told The Associated Press, a shocking development at a program that organizers said aimed to “offer hope” to the needy.

The stampede at the program organized by the Kings Assembly Pentecostal church in Rivers State involved many people who were seeking assistance, according to Grace Iringe-Koko, a police spokeswoman in the state.

Many of the victims came to an annual “Shop for Free” charity program organized by the church. Such events are common in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, where more than 80 million people live in poverty, according to government statistics.

Saturday’s charity program was supposed to begin at 9 a.m. but dozens arrived as early as 5 a.m. to secure their place in line, Ms. Iringe-Koko said. Somehow they broke open the locked gate, she said. She added that the seven injured were “responding to treatment.”

Videos from the scene showed the clothing, shoes and other items meant for the beneficiaries. Doctors and emergency workers treated some of the injured as they lay in the open field.

The “Shop for Free” event was suspended while authorities investigated how the stampede had occurred.



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Sounds of bombardment drown out the ‘last bell’ for the final day of school in Ukraine.

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The final day of classes in Ukraine is normally a festive occasion when gleeful students get dressed up and jump into fountains — and as tradition dictates, the smallest student climbs onto the shoulders of the tallest to ring a bell marking the school year’s end.

This year, in the throes of a devastating war that has forced millions of children from their homes and reduced schoolhouses to rubble, many schools made do on Friday by holding virtual “last bell” ceremonies online, with some of the children signing on from overseas where their families have fled to escape the violence.

Near the front lines of the war in the country’s east, a local official lamented that instead of the bell, children were hearing gunfire and explosions.

“The last bell did not ring today in Luhansk region,” Serhiy Hadai, the head of the region’s military administration, wrote on his Facebook page. “Those children who still remain in the area’s bomb shelters listened to the cannonade.”

In Luhansk, which is on the verge of being taken over by Russian troops as the city of Sievierodonetsk makes its last stand, schools have been reduced to “empty brick boxes” with wind whistling through shattered windows and desks scorched down to their metal frames, he wrote.

In three months of war, parents and teachers have been scrambling to provide education for Ukraine’s 5.5 million school-aged children through a patchwork of online and in-person instruction and even makeshift classrooms in subway stations, where civilians have been sheltering from Russian shelling.

Any semblance of continued schooling can be helpful to provide children with some stability and to give them a safe space to process trauma, experts say.

Ukraine’s education ministry said that some students would have their classes continue into June because the war had interrupted their instruction.

“Despite the war, the last bell will ring,” the education minister, Serhiy Shkarlet, told students in a speech on Friday. “But it will not be heard by those children and teachers who were killed by the Russian occupiers. We will always remember you.”

The United Nations has confirmed the deaths of 261 children in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion but warned that the true toll is likely far higher.

One school in a small town in western Ukraine wrote on its Facebook page that students had tuned into a tearful online ceremony on Friday from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

The United Nation’s Children’s Fund also livestreamed a last-bell ceremony for the country’s children, featuring a pop-star-turned-soldier, a professor who has continued teaching from the battlefield and the frontman of the band Kalush Orchestra, the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The agency has previously said that two-thirds of Ukraine’s children have been displaced from their homes by the war.

“The war has changed the daily lives of our children,” Antonina Ulyakhin, a regional politician in Dnipropetrovsk, wrote in a post marking the final day of school. “Many children were forced into adulthood early.”



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अक्षय कुमार की ‘सम्राट पृथ्वीराज’ ही नहीं, इन सितारों की फिल्मों के भी बदलने पड़े थे नाम

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अक्षय कुमार (Akshay Kumar) की फिल्म ‘पृथ्वीराज’ का नाम बदलकर ‘सम्राट पृथ्वीराज’ (Samrat Prithviraj) कर दिया गया. इससे पहले भी लोगों की भावनाओं और तथ्यों को ध्यान में रखकर फिल्मों के नाम बदलने पड़े थे. आइए, सितारों की उन फिल्मों के बारे में जानते हैं, जिनके नाम बदले गए थे.



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कार्तिक आर्यन पहुंचे कोलकाता, टैक्सी के ऊपर चढ़कर किया भूल भुलैया 2 का प्रमोशन, देखें PICS

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मुंबईः कार्तिक आर्यन (Kartik Aaryan) इन दिनों अपनी हालिया रिलीज फिल्म ‘भूल भुलैया 2’ (Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2) के प्रमोशन में व्यस्त हैं. द कश्मीर फाइल्स के बाद कार्तिक आर्यन की फिल्म लंबे समय तक सूखे के बाद बॉलीवुड बॉक्स ऑफिस पर राहत लेकर आई है. फिल्म पहले ही 100 करोड़ी क्लब में शामिल हो गई है, जिसे लेकर कार्तिक आर्यन फूले नहीं समा रहे हैं. कार्तिक आर्यन अपनी फिल्म को प्रमोट करने में कोई कसर नहीं छोड़ रहे हैं. अभिनेता ने आज कोलकाता में फिल्म का एक नया ट्रैक रिलीज किया. इस दौरान उन्हें टैक्सी के ऊपर खड़े होकर अपनी फिल्म का प्रमोशन करते देखा गया. (फोटो साभारः इंस्टाग्रामः @viralbhayani)



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U.N. Human Rights Chief Tempers Criticism at End of China Trip

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HONG KONG — The United Nations’ top human rights official offered limited criticism of China’s crackdown on predominately Muslim minorities, saying at the end of her six-day trip to the country on Saturday that she had raised questions about its application of “counterterrorism and de-radicalization measures” but that her visit “was not an investigation.”

The comments from Michelle Bachelet, the first U.N. high commissioner for human rights to visit China since 2005, were sharply criticized by overseas Uyghurs and human rights advocates who had called on her to more vociferously condemn China’s policies.

Rayhan Asat, a lawyer whose younger brother is imprisoned in Xinjiang, said Ms. Bachelet’s comments “show a total disregard for the Uyghur people’s suffering.”

“The crisis has been going on for six years, and it needs no further examination but condemnation,” she said. “We did not see any of that in her remarks.”

Ms. Bachelet, who spoke by video with Xi Jinping, China’s leader, during her trip, described the main outcome of the visit as the possibility of discussing concerns “at the highest level” and identifying areas “that could be very useful in the future to continue cooperating and collaborating.”

During her conversation with Mr. Xi, she said it was a priority to engage with China’s government on the issue of human rights, adding that China “has a crucial role to play within multilateral institutions” in confronting threats to peace, climate change and inequality.

Human rights groups were critical of Ms. Bachelet’s emphasis on engagement with the Chinese government. “That mandate requires a credible investigation in the face of mountains of evidence of atrocity crimes, not another toothless dialogue,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

China’s increasing global sway has translated into growing influence within the United Nations. Critics say the lack of pressure on China over its rights record is only the latest example of its success in co-opting multinational bodies including the World Health Organization, which endorsed parts of Beijing’s narrative over the origins of the pandemic.

Ms. Bachelet praised China’s poverty alleviation efforts, its support of the U.N.’s sustainable development goals, and its legislation protecting women’s rights.

One of the longest answers during her 45-minute news conference was in response to a question from Chinese state television about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which her critics described as a distraction from her mission in China.

“Did Texas get more words than Xinjiang?” Ms. Richardson asked.

Still, some experts said Ms. Bachelet was savvy enough to know the limits of such a trip and was right to focus on cultivating ties with the Chinese leadership.

“It’s imperative that the high commissioner be seen to be engaging with the government of China,” Philip Alston, a former United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, told an online forum on Friday. “The mere fact that she had a direct exchange with President Xi Jinping is an accomplishment.”

Ms. Bachelet first proposed visiting China in 2018, as “deeply disturbing” allegations spread of an extensive campaign of repression against predominately Muslim minorities in the far western Xinjiang region.

Rights groups and scholars say China has held one million or more people in indoctrination camps, often for commonplace behaviors such as travel to Muslim countries or signs of religious devotion. The authorities have destroyed mosques and shrines, imprisoned scholars and intellectuals and forced people into work programs that experts say amount to forced labor.

China at first denied any such campaign, then framed it as a vocational program designed to steer people from terrorism and religious extremism.

Ahead of Ms. Bachelet’s trip, many overseas Uyghurs appealed to her to visit family members who have been imprisoned or not been heard from in years. They also called upon her to confront Chinese leaders over their policies in the region, which the United States and some other governments have labeled a genocide.

The Chinese authorities refused to allow an investigative trip and went to great lengths to frame the narrative around Ms. Bachelet’s visit. When she spoke with Mr. Xi, state media quoted her as praising China for “protecting human rights.” Within hours, Ms. Bachelet’s office issued a rebuttal and pointed to “her actual opening remarks,” which made no mention of admiring China’s record on rights.

During her news conference, Ms. Bachelet called for the protection of Tibetan identity and said the arrests of activists, journalists and others in Hong Kong, under the territory’s National Security Law, were “deeply worrying.”

Her references to the crackdown in Xinjiang were couched in the language of the Chinese government, which has described its program as a response to terrorist attacks. She said she raised “questions and concerns about the application of counterterrorism and de-radicalization measures and their broad application, particularly their impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.”

She said she also questioned the lack of judicial oversight over camps and reports of unduly severe restrictions on legitimate religious practices.

Ms. Bachelet said that during her two days in Xinjiang she visited a prison and the site of a former indoctrination camp, using the Chinese government’s official designation of V.E.T.C., or vocational education and training center. She said the government assured her that the system “had been dismantled” but acknowledged she was “unable to assess the full scale of the V.E.T.C.s.”

China said it ended the program in 2019, but reporters from The New York Times who visited after that declaration found evidence that the camps continued to operate. Satellite images have shown that China expanded a variety of detention sites in the region, and prisons have swelled after a sharp increase in convictions.

Some overseas Uyghurs say family members in the region were threatened and imprisoned in their homes during Ms. Bachelet’s visit. Kalbinur Gheni, a Uyghur who lives in Virginia, said she received threatening messages from Chinese officials after she posted a message on Twitter asking Ms. Bachelet to investigate the case of her imprisoned sister.

Ms. Asat said she learned that her parents in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, had not been allowed to leave their home during Ms. Bachelet’s trip, apparently out of concern they might meet with her.

Ms. Bachelet said she heard from people seeking information about family members in Xinjiang and raised many such cases with the authorities, but declined to go into details. She said her office would raise questions of intimidation through direct channels.

Vivian Wang contributed reporting.



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Samrat Prithviraj : मानुषी छिल्लर को पसंद हैं चुनौतियां, आशुतोष राणा संग शूटिंग करते हुए डर गई थीं एक्ट्रेस

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मानुषी छिल्लर ने बताया कि ‘ये सबसे लंबा और भारी भरकम सीन था जिसे मैंने किया, वास्तव में ये एक अर्गुमेंट सीन था जिसे आशुतोष सर के साथ किया था. जब वह कैरेक्टर में होते हैं तो उनसे डर लगता है. दोनों ही बेहद प्यारे इंसान हैं. पूरे शूट के दौरान, जब कभी, जहां भी प्रैक्टिस करनी होती थी वे तैयार रहते थे. मैंने उनके साथ काफी बातें की, काफी कुछ सीखा’. (फोटो साभार: manushi_chhillar/Instagram)



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Vatican Power Broker Faulted for Handling of Sex Abuse Cases Dies at 94

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ROME — Cardinal Angelo Sodano, an Italian who rose to the pinnacle of the Roman Catholic Church as the Vatican’s top diplomat, ultimate power broker of the papal court and deeply influential dean of cardinals before seeing his reputation stained by his connection with the cover-up of sex abuse scandals, has died. He was 94.

The cardinal died on Friday night, according to the Vatican. No cause of death was given.

Cardinal Sodano served as secretary of state, the second-highest ranking position in the Vatican, after the pope, for 16 years, covering a good portion of the pontificate of John Paul II, who once described him as “my first and precious collaborator.” As Parkinson’s disease and other ailments debilitated John Paul II, Cardinal Sodano, along with the pope’s private secretary, played an outsize role in running the church.

The cardinal mediated in the Balkan wars and vigorously opposed the George W. Bush administration’s war in Iraq, once telling reporters in 2003, “We are asking for reflection not only on whether a war would be just or unjust, moral or immoral, but also whether it is opportune to irritate a billion followers of Islam.”

But Cardinal Sodano is most known in the church for the power he often exercised within the Vatican hierarchy, including to block investigations of sexually abusive priests and to further his conservative and anti-communist vision of a church that put protection of the institution above all else. In 2010, speaking during a public Easter address, he infamously called accusations of abuse “petty gossip.”

Francis, knowing Cardinal Sodano’s sway in the Vatican, where he had nurtured the careers of many top officials, was always careful to show him respect, including in death.

“The passing of Cardinal Angelo Sodano stirs in my soul feelings of gratitude to the Lord for the gift of this esteemed man of the church,” Francis wrote in a note of condolence on Saturday. He added, “I recall his diligent work alongside so many of my predecessors who entrusted him with important responsibilities in Vatican diplomacy,” and credited him with working for reconciliation in South America, where Francis, an Argentine, is from.

Angelo Raffaele Sodano was born in 1927 in northern Italy to Delfina Brignolo and Giovanni Sodano, a politician, but his career and connections would become deeply rooted in South America, where he worked in the church’s diplomatic corps as a young priest. In 1977, Pope Paul VI sent him to Chile as the papal ambassador. He navigated, and critics say grew exceedingly close, to the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet as well as to a charismatic priest, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, a prominent and financially generous religious movement founded in Mexico that fueled the church with priests, universities, media outlets and money.

In 1991, John Paul II, sharing his anti-communist zeal, made him Cardinal Sodano and soon elevated him to secretary of state, a position from which the cardinal exercised near unrivaled power in the Vatican.

Critics have long argued that Cardinal Sodano abused that power, and identified him as a dominant force for the secrecy and malfeasance that alienated many faithful from the hierarchy in Rome during John Paul II’s pontificate.

Cardinal Sodano was “the man who, more than any other, embodies the misuse of power that has corrupted the church hierarchy,” Jason Berry, a reporter on the church’s sexual abuse scandals, wrote in a New York Times guest essay in 2013.

In L’Osservatore Romano, the church’s official newspaper, Cardinal Sodano in 2010 called the abuse accusations “unfair attacks” that were “used as a weapon against the church” by its enemies.

He overruled efforts to urge Pope John Paul II to speak out against abusive priests, such as in the case of Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër. The pope remained silent on that scandal, even though Cardinal Groër’s successor as archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, said that he was “morally certain” of his predecessor’s guilt. Cardinal Schönborn told reporters several years later that Cardinal Sodano “literally said — to my face — ‘Victims? That is what you say!’”

But criticism of Cardinal Sodano often centered on his connection to, and protection of, Father Maciel, the Legionaries of Christ founder who engaged in decades of molestation of children and of seminarians, abused drugs, fathered children, and employed his order’s enormous financial assets — billions of dollars according to some estimates — to buy influence in the church’s leadership. Those revelations, and Cardinal Sodano’s apparently benefiting from Father Maciel’s largess, cast a long shadow on John Paul II’s entire papacy. Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Father Maciel from ministry in 2006. He died in 2008.

“We accept and regret that, given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life,” the Legionaries conceded in 2010.

Cardinal Sodano long denied accusations of having protected Father Maciel.

In 1998, accusations against Father Maciel crossed the desk of a powerful German cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger, who led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handled abuse cases. Cardinal Ratzinger ordered an investigation, but opposition — critics say led by Cardinal Sodano — led Cardinal Ratzinger to table the investigation for years.

Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. A year later, he replaced Cardinal Sodano.

But for nearly another 15 years, Cardinal Sodano served as dean of the College of Cardinals, though he had passed the voting age of 80 to participate in the 2013 conclave to elect a new pope after Benedict’s resignation.

Vatican analysts reported that Cardinal Sodano used his influence to benefit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was elected in that conclave and took the name of Francis. But the cardinal’s influence waned in the new pontificate, which sought to confront, albeit with mixed results, the church bureaucracy that Cardinal Sodano had long controlled.

Francis has also taken significant steps to shed light on the Vatican’s missteps in handling the scourge of sexual abuse, moves that did not always reflect well on Cardinal Sodano.

In Chile, Cardinal Sodano had also became close to Fernando Karadima, another charismatic priest, who had become influential among the social elite of the capital, Santiago, and who had deep connections to the country’s military regime. As early as the 1980s, accusations surfaced of Mr. Karadima’s abusing boys, but Chilean prelates continuously dismissed the charges.

The truth exploded a few years into the pontificate of Francis, who, disastrously, chose to believe his bishops over the abused, even accusing victims of calumny. The resulting crisis caught the pope flat-footed and made him look tone deaf. In the wake of the controversy, Francis changed tack and set in motion new norms for accountability and transparency in the church aimed at preventing further abuse and holding to account those who cover it up. Francis defrocked Mr. Karadima in 2018.

On his 90th birthday, Cardinal Sodano returned to his hometown, near Asti, where he was ordained in 1950.

“This is the hour of sunset,” he said. “It’s time to say thank you.”

Anna Momigliano contributed reporting.



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‘स्वर कोकिला लता मंगेशकर फोटोग्राफी की थीं बेहद शौकीन’ सोनू निगम ने किया खुलासा

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स्वर साम्राज्ञी ‘दिवंगत गायिका लता मंगेशकर (Lata Mangeshkar) हमेशा ही सबकी प्रेरणा रही हैं और रहेंगी. उनके जाने के बाद उनकी याद में शो ‘नाम रह जाएगा’ शुरू किया गया है, जिसके जरिए उनके लाखों फैंस को अपनी आईडल की जिंदगी के बारे में जानने का मौका मिल रहा हैं. इस शो में कई महान कलाकार लता जी के गानों के जरिए उन्हें याद करते हैं और उनके बारे में बताते हैं. बहुत कम लोग जानते हैं कि भारत की कोकिला के रूप में जानी जाने वाली गायिका लता मंगेशकर एक बेहतरीन फोटोग्राफर भी थीं. इस बात का खुलासा सोनू निगम (Sonu Nigam) ने किया है.

‘नाम रह जाएगा (Naam Reh Jayegaa)’ शो में लता जी के जीवन के कुछ यादगार पल सामने रखते हुए इस बार सोनू निगम ने फोटोग्राफी में उनकी दिलचस्पी का खुलासा किया. उन्होंने बताया कि सिंगिग के अलावा लता जी की कुछ अन्य रुचियां भी थीं, जो उनके रचनात्मक व्यक्तित्व के बारे में बहुत कुछ बताती हैं. उन्होंने कहा, “लताजी को फोटो क्लिक करना बहुत पसंद था. वह हर बार सफर के दौरान अपना कैमरा साथ रखती थीं.”

जंगल सफारी पर क्लिक करती थीं ढेर सारी तस्वीरें
सोनू निगम ने कहा, “लता जी के पास जब भी समय होता, वह जंगल सफारी के लिए जाती थीं और बहुत सारी तस्वीरें क्लिक करती थीं. वास्तव में, उनके पास तस्वीरों का एक बड़ा कलेक्शन था और बहुत जल्द ही हम उनके फोटोग्राफिक कलेक्शन पर बुक लॉन्च करने की उम्मीद करते हैं.” इससे पहले सोनू निगम ने इसी शो में एक कहानी शेयर करते हुए यह भी बताया था कि लता जी को मंच पर जाने से डर लगता था.

‘नाम रह जाएगा’ शो
स्टारप्लस की 8 एपिसोड सीरीज ‘नाम रह जाएगा’ के जरिए लता मंगेशकर को खास श्रद्धांजलि देने के लिए भारत के सबसे लोकप्रिय 18 गायक और गायिका एक साथ आए हैं. इसमें सोनू निगम, अलका याज्ञनिक, उदित नारायण, अरिजीत सिंह, नीति मोहन, शंकर महादेवन, नितिन मुकेश, साधना सरगम, शान, कुमार शानू, अमित कुमार, जतिन पंडित, ऐश्वर्या मजूमदार, स्नेहा पंत, प्यारेलाल जी, जावेद अली, पलक मुच्छल और अन्वेशा शामिल हैं. इसका हर एपिसोड स्टार प्लस पर हर रविवार शाम 7 बजे प्रसारित होता है. शो की कल्पना और निर्देशन गजेंद्र सिंह ने किया है.

Tags: Lata Mangeshkar, Sonu nigam





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Diplomats Fear Russia May Use Syrian Aid as Bargaining Chip in Ukraine

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WASHINGTON — Only one route remains open for international convoys bringing food, water and other aid to over one million Syrians besieged by civil war. Now, officials warn, Russia might try to shut it down or use it as a bargaining chip with world powers in another war, about 1,000 miles away in Ukraine.

Diplomats and experts said closing the corridor, at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, would almost certainly force thousands of people to flee Syria. That would only worsen a refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East that is already considered the world’s largest since World War II.

The U.N. Security Council, where Russia wields a powerful veto, will vote in July on whether to keep the aid route open. But the corridor already appears caught up in the fallout from the war in Ukraine and the competing interests of Russia and the United States.

“The war in Ukraine is having wide-ranging implications for Syria — and for the whole region and for the world,” Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi of Jordan said in an interview this month in Washington.

Mr. Safadi said Jordan was warily watching to see how Russia would approach the vote. More than one million Syrian refugees already live in Jordan, he said, and brokering a peace agreement in Syria’s 11-year civil war “would definitely need U.S.-Russian agreement.”

“Given the dynamic right now,” he said, “consequences could be severe in terms of living conditions for Syrian refugees and displaced persons.”

Using its veto power at the Security Council, Russia helped shut down three other humanitarian corridors into Syria in 2020 and last year agreed to retain the one at Bab al-Hawa only after intense negotiations with the United States. It has defended the route closures as necessary to maintain Syria’s sovereignty and has pushed for the aid to be distributed with the approval of President Bashar al-Assad’s government instead of through the United Nations.

Russia is one of Mr. al-Assad’s benefactors in Syria’s civil war, which began in 2011, and the aid was largely going to rebel-occupied areas. The route from Bab al-Hawa leads into Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, one of the last pockets of rebel-held territory in the country and an area that has become a haven for an extremist organization linked to Al Qaeda.

An international pressure campaign to keep the route open is now underway. The United States is presiding over the Security Council this month and has held a series of meetings touching on the plight of Syrians who have been become homeless or otherwise need assistance to survive.

Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said Moscow had not decided how it would vote. But in an interview on Friday, he said that under the current system, the aid was vulnerable to extremists in Idlib.

“I do not deny that it goes to refugees as well, but the terrorist groups — they benefit from this,” he said, adding that the extremists had attacked deliveries.

Mr. Polyanskiy would not discuss negotiations to keep the corridor open, except to say that talks between Russia and the United States were stagnant, given “current geopolitical circumstances.”

“Frankly, we don’t have very many things to make us optimistic at this stage,” he said.

But three foreign diplomats said Russia had sent vague signals suggesting it might try to use the vote to gain concessions in the standoff over Ukraine. The United States and European countries have imposed a variety of sanctions on Russia to punish the country for invading its neighbor.

The diplomats would not describe the signals in detail and said Moscow had stopped short of directly tying the corridor’s fate to the war in Ukraine. But they said they believed Moscow would lean on countries that would be directly affected by a new wave of refugees for help in evading the sanctions.

One of the diplomats also predicted Russia would counter accusations that its invasion had violated Ukraine’s sovereignty by denouncing the aid convoys as an infringement on Syria’s territorial integrity.

Separately, a senior American diplomat said the United States and other nations on the Security Council would send “a clear message” to Moscow urging against closing the route but that there was no guarantee it would be heeded. All of the diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

“There was never a recognition by the Russians that Bab al-Hawa was really vital and we need to keep it open,” said Sherine Tadros, the head of Amnesty International’s office at the United Nations. “It was just part of their strategy to chip away, chip away, chip away. And this has always been subject to a lot of back deals.”

“That’s what’s really also very sad — how they play with the lives of people,” Ms. Tadros added.

A vast majority of Syrian refugees live in Turkey, where officials have warned for years that the diaspora is pushing the country to a breaking point.

Turkey is bracing for what Russia might do, according to two people familiar with internal discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe them. Both said they expected the route to be part of diplomatic conversations with Moscow over Ukraine.

Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is supplying Ukraine with weapons and has barred Moscow’s warships from strategic waterways leading from the Black Sea. But this month, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey signaled that the country would oppose allowing Sweden and Finland to join NATO, citing security concerns. Moscow has long demanded that the military alliance halt its expansion toward Russia’s borders.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is blocking a European Union embargo on Russian oil to counter rising energy prices. Hungary has expelled tens of thousands of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries but has taken in more than 600,000 Ukrainians this year.

Jordan, which has ties with both Russia and the United States, has tried to avoid being pulled deeply into the standoff over Ukraine and instead is urging the Biden administration to revive negotiations to end Syria’s civil war. The conflict in Ukraine, Mr. Safadi said, has created “more of a stalemate.”

“The status quo is, from our perspective, dangerous because it is only increasing the suffering of the Syrian people,” he said in the interview. Jordan is one of several Middle Eastern countries that have recently resumed relations with Mr. al-Assad’s government, despite disapproval from Washington.

The Syrian civil war has forced 5.7 million people to leave their country. About 6.7 million Ukrainians have fled their country since Russia’s invasion.

A looming global food shortage, caused in part by the disruption of wheat exports from Ukraine and Russia as a result of the invasion, is expected to cause more suffering.

“Suppose we’re going to have a humanitarian crisis because of lack of food,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy told journalists in Washington this month when asked about the growing number of refugees in Europe. “Then the situation could become very, very difficult to manage.”

In a statement on Thursday, the Kremlin said it would help avert the food shortage if the West eased its sanctions. President Vladimir V. Putin “emphasized that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizers, provided that politically motivated restrictions from the West are lifted,” said the statement, which was released after a phone call between Mr. Putin and Mr. Draghi on Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and North Africa arrived in Italy during a crisis that peaked in 2015 as 1.3 million people fled to Europe. In Washington, Mr. Draghi said Italy had taken in nearly 120,000 Ukrainians this year. But he said the number of Syrians who remained in his country, instead of moving on elsewhere in Europe, was “not significant.”

At an international donors conference this month in Brussels, the United States pledged to send nearly $808 million to support humanitarian needs in Syria — one of the largest single U.S. contributions since that war began. The U.N. refugee agency raised $6.7 billion at the conference to support Syria this year and beyond, although it had asked for $10.5 billion just for 2022.

Announcing the aid, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the food shortage had made humanitarian aid to Syria “especially important this year.” Without mentioning Russia, Ms. Thomas-Greenfield called the July vote on the relief route “a matter of life and death.”

Mr. Polyanskiy, the Russian diplomat, said other, unofficial border crossings into Syria could allow for aid deliveries to continue. “It will be difficult to deliver U.N. aid through these points, of course, but it doesn’t mean that these crossing points will be idle,” he said.

The issue also has given rise to comparisons between Russia’s support for a brutal government in Syria and Mr. Putin’s own aggressions in Ukraine.

“No one who has followed Putin’s brutality in Syria for the past decade should be surprised that he is starving and shelling Ukrainians — just as he starved and shelled Syrians,” said Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.



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