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Jennifer Lopez sued by former driver

News4u-Entertainment Desk-Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly being sued by her former personal driver Hakob Manoukian.

Manoukian, who began working for Lopez, 42, in 2005, is suing the singer and her manager Benny Medina after he gave up his own transportation company to become the head of her security and transportation, reported TMZ online.

He has claimed that he started driving for Lopez and Marc Anthony in 2005 and over time they convinced him to shut down his company and work exclusively as her personal head of security and transportation.

According to the lawsuit filed by him, things turned ugly when Lopez began filming “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” in 2011, that is when Hakob claims he was forced to spend time with Medina.

He has claimed that Medina eventually persuaded Lopez to demote him, taking away his security responsibilities and relegating him to be Lopez’s driver.

Hakob has said that he was forced to resign and now he is suing Lopez and Medina for unspecified damages.

Actress Jennifer Lopez

Actress Jennifer Lopez

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13 killed, 60 missing in glacial lake burst in Nepal

News4u-News Desk-  A glacial lake burst on Saturday in the high Himalayan region in northwestern Nepal sweeping away houses, farms, cattles near the tourist resort of Pokhara, killing at least 13 people and leaving 60 missing, including three foreign trekkers.

The lake waters flooded the Seti river in the remote Kaski district, 300-km away from capital Kathmandu, sweeping away parts of Sardikhola village located on the foothills of the famous Machapuchare peak.

The army and police officials said so far 13 bodies have been recovered from the banks of the swollen river.

“The waters have risen so high that they are touching bridges,” they said.

Official said though the bodies were badly scarred and swollen, most of them appeared to be of local villages.

Army spokesman Ramindra Chhetri said army helicopters and rescue teams had been rushed to the spot and five people buried under deluge were rescued.

He said the fury of the river waters had also swept away trucks and buses.

Fast-flowing floodwaters from the swollen Seti River smashed into two buildings and a number of shacks in Kharapani village, in the shadow of Mt Annapurna.

Though incidents of glacial Himalayan lake burst have been reported from parts of Tibet in China, this is the first such major tragedy in Nepal.

Nepalese experts have warned of such catastrophic happenings triggered by climatic change and melting glaciers.

Chhetri said sixty people were still missing, including three Russian tourists who were part of a trekking team.

The names of the Russians were immediately known.

The flooded region is a major draw for foreign trekkers as the area has three more than 8,000 metre peaks, including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri, but as the trekking season is yet pick up, the number of mountaineering teams is less in number.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has ordered the authorities to conduct the rescue operation without any delay.

He is monitoring the incident and is in touch with the authorities in Pokhara.


Nepal Flag

Nepal Flag

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Presidential rivals fight over France’s economy

News4u-News Desk - When he came to power in 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy seemed just the man to shake up France’s sclerotic economy with his promises of a break from the past.

However, any optimism surrounding his victory five years ago has been replaced by cynicism and recrimination.

Socialist challenger Francois Hollande, whom polls are predicting could win the presidency by a margin of several points, hounded Sarkozy for his handling of the country’s economy.

“We have fallen backward,” Hollande declared, while belittling Sarkozy’s claim that Socialist policies were to blame for France’s poor performance in recent years.

“Our unemployment has risen and our competitiveness has declined. Germany, in all areas, does better than we do.”

If Hollande wins Sunday’s election and embarks on a programme to boost his country’s economy, it will raise questions about France’s commitment to reining in its spending while the rest of 17 countries that use the euro embark on a strict period of belt-tightening to convince investors that they can keep control of their debts.

It also throws into doubt the German-French partnership that has led the eurozone’s response to its financial problems and was built on the personal relationship between Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

There are concerns that if investors are worried the fragile eurozone solution might unravel, they could back away from Europe, sending the continent into a fresh financial crisis.

Sarkozy rode to power in 2007 on promises of sweeping economic and labour reforms that would shake France out of sluggish growth and make it competitive with the world’s emerging economies.

His prime minister, Francois Fillon, vowed a “shockwave of growth” and Sarkozy himself told voters to judge him on his ability to deliver on that promise.

Five years later, at the end of Sarkozy’s first term, however, growth has ground to a halt, unemployment has hit 10 percent, and the national debt has ballooned to 86 percent of gross domestic product.

Some of Sarkozy’s plans for reform have been affected by outside factors.

First there was the global economic slowdown touched off by a financial crisis in the US in 2008.

But it is the debt problems of the 17-country eurozone, of which France is its second-largest economy after Germany, that have most distracted Sarkozy from his domestic agenda.



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US drone attack kills 10 suspected militants in Pakistan

News4u-News Desk-A US drone targeted a compound in the restive North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan on Saturday, killing 10 suspected militants in the second such attack in a week.

The CIA-operated spy plane fired two missiles at the compound in the mountainous region of Shawal, 70 km from Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan Agency.

Unnamed security officials were quoted by TV news channels as saying that militants were using the compound as a training facility.

The compound was destroyed. The exact identity of those killed could not immediately be established as journalists are barred from reporting from the tribal belt.

This was the second drone strike in North Waziristan since 29th April and reflected the Obama administration’s resolve to continue with its drone campaign in the face of opposition and condemnation from the Pakistan government.

Italian Drone

U S Drone

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China, US strike 67 agreements during high-level talks

News4u-News Desk- Notwithstanding the row over a blind Chinese dissident, China and the US have struck 67 agreements during their crucial economic dialogue covering a wide range of issues relating to trade and investment.

The two sides gained “significant” results out of the dialogue attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothey Geithner, the state-run media in Beijing reported on Saturday.

While China has vowed to open up its financial market more to foreign investors, the US will quicken its examination and approval for Chinese financial institutions that apply to invest in America, China Daily said.

During the course of the two dialogue which ended on Friday, both sides sorted out the row over blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who had sought refuge in America, with Beijing agreeing to let him leave the country and Washington assuring him all assistance to get asylum.

The US has also agreed to provide him a fellowship to study in American University.

Both delegations said they were deeply encouraged by the results of their dialogue, while President Hu Jintao said there have been “significant agreements” in this round of talks.

The two countries reached 67 agreements in the economic dialogue, covering a wide range of issues in the macro economy, bilateral trade and investment as well as financial cooperation, the China Daily said.

“There is significant progress in financial cooperation between the US and China,” according to Chinese Vice Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao.

Zhu said the US is now quickening its examination and approval process on the Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China’s applications for opening more branches in the US and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s initiative to take over Bank of East Asia (US).

In 2010, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest lender by market value, completed the acquisition of a 70-per cent stake of Bank of East Asia Canada to expand its business in North America.

China will revise regulations to allow foreign investors to raise their stakes in joint venture securities companies and joint venture futures companies to as much as 49 per cent.

Foreign investors’ ownership in securities firms is capped at 33 per cent.

“This is a signal from China’s policymakers to further open financial markets,” said Sun Zhe, a professor at Tsinghua University’s department of international relations.

“But the two countries should further quicken the process of promoting bilateral trade and investment,” he told the Daily.

China has made significant and promising reforms to its currency regime that will lead to further appreciation of the yuan against the dollar and other major currencies over time, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Friday.

“China has acted to move toward a more flexible exchange rate system in which the market plays a greater role. It is intervening less in exchange markets.

“China is also moving to liberalise controls on the international use of its currency and on capital movements into and out of the country,” the daily quoted Geithner as saying during the talks.

Moreover, the US said it is committed to loosening restrictions on high-tech exports to China soon.

According to Yukon Huang, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the former World Bank country director for China, the US restrictions on high-tech exports to China are extremely rigid.

“It doesn’t make much sense from a national security point of view as China can easily get them from somewhere else,” Huang said.

Besides trade, the two sides discussed key international issues.

US Secretary of State Clinton said that they discussed hot spot issues ranging from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran to Sudan and Syria.

Every problem has provided an opportunity for cooperation, she said.

Clinton said she expected the mechanism started in 2009 only to be consolidated in the future.

State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who led the Chinese delegation, called the talks a “tremendous” success.

He said the small-scale strategic talks, which usually touch upon sensitive issues, were the most time-consuming of all dialogue in this round.

“It took a whole day yesterday” he said, adding both sides have been more candid than before and have become accustomed to in-depth talks with each other.

Dai also noted that human rights should not be used to “interfere in other countries’ internal affairs” and that no country could claim to be perfect in that regard.

According to the Foreign Ministry, among dozens of achievements on the strategic channel, the two sides decided to hold another round of consultation on Asia-Pacific affairs later this year, and a human rights dialogue in Washington in the summer.

A meeting on Middle East affairs was also put on the agenda.

In addition, both sides are considering sending a Chinese maritime security ship to Hawaii in September for a joint drill with a US Coast Guard ship.

US & China Flags

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Arun Tikkoo murder: Simran Sood remanded to police custody till May 8

News4u-News Desk- A metropolitan Magistrate today extended the police remand of Simran Sood, a small time model, till May 8 for her alleged role in the Arun Kumar murder case.

Sood, who is also the wife of Vijay Palande, prime accused in this case, was produced before the court by police, which sought her further remand saying that she was misleading the investigation.

Police alleged that Sood had been revealing several names and giving confusing information, which needs to be verified.

The prosecution submitted that it was Sood, who had introduced Palande to Anuj Tikku, son of the victim, late Arun. Further, it alleged that she was very close to all the accused and her role in the murder needed to be ascertained.

However, her advocate objected to the remand application, stating that Sood did not play any role and knew nothing. The lawyer further argued that Sood was also arrested on April 12 in connection with the kidnapping and murder case of Delhi-based aspiring film producer Karan Kumar Kakkad.

According to the Crime Branch, Sood had introduced her husband Palande to Anuj as her brother. Palande had befriended Anuj and had conspired to grab his flat, admeasuring 1,500 square feet almost six months ago. He also lured Anuj to rent out a portion of his flat to his acquaintance. Sood was signed as witness in the agreement.

The Crime Branch now is investigating Sood’s role in the conspiracy and was probing how she was involved in the murder cases.PTI

Simran Sood

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Pamela welcomes Indian ‘Pyari’ to her California home

News4u - Entertainment Desk : A known advocate for animal rights, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson was moved by the plight of dogs on the streets when she came to India in 2010 to appear as a guest on Bigg Boss 4.

So when Anderson, an honorary director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals US, learned that PETA India Chief Functionary Poorva Joshipura was headed to the States to meet her colleagues and to visit her family, the actress asked if Joshipura would take along a homeless Indian puppy.

Anderson has decided to name her new family member “Pyari” or “Loved One”. The puppy was rescued from a construction site in Mumbai.

“I’m tickled to be able to give Pyari a loving home,” Anderson was quoted as saying in the statement.

“I already have rescued dogs and I urge everyone to join me in adopting a homeless ‘desi’ dog from their local animal shelter or the streets instead of buying a so-called ‘purebred’. Desi dogs are stars: add love and they become healthy and beautiful and will love and protect you always”, she said. PTI


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Dilip Kumar a colossus of Bollywood : Big B

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who received this year’s Dadasaheb Phalke Academy award along with Dilip Kumar, says the veteran is a colossus in the industry.

“The high as always, the meeting with Dilip Saheb, Dilip Kumar, Yusuf Khan! It is tough to see a frail idol admired by millions and my favourite, struggle to move and to recognise familiar faces. Though he always does and has recognised mine. But as always even in his frail health, the charm and grace never ending….Dilip Saheb - a colossus! Once and forever,” Bachchan posted on his blog.

The 69-year-old actor was also all praises for Kumar’s wife Saira Banu for taking care of the yesteryear star so well.

“Credit really to Saira ji who has looked after him so well and still does, with great care and devotion,” he added

Kumar, 89, married actress and beauty queen Saira Banu in 1966 when he was aged 44 and she was 22. PTI

Dilip Kumar & Saira Banu

Dilip Kumar & Saira Banu

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Raman demands a national policy to deal Hostage Crisis

News4u - News Desk :  In the wake of the 12-day hostage crises that ended after the release of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh in New Delhi on Friday sought a national policy to deal with such situations.

“There has to be a national policy to deal with hostage crises. I will ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in tomorrow’s meeting to call all chief ministers to discuss it. There is a need to discuss it briefly”, Singh told reporters in New Delhi.

Stressing that Naxalism is not a state-specific problem, the chief minister said, a national policy can help in tackling the situation in all the affected states.

“I feel there is a need to initiate a policy at the national level. Maoism is not a state problem. It is a problem of the country”, he said.

2006-batch IAS officer Menon, who was abducted on April 21 in Sukma district while touring a village, was on Thursday handed over to the two Maoist mediators — B D Sharma and Prof G Hargopal — at Tadmetla.

“The release of Sukma collector is a matter of relief and happiness for us. The agreement between the government and Maoists mediators will be a milestone to create a positive atmosphere in Chhattisgarh”, Singh said.

He said, as promised, a committee was constituted within an hour of the collector’s release. “The Committee will be headed by former Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh Nirmala Buch. The Committee will review all the pending cases of all prisoners languishing in Chattisgarh jails including the cases demanded by the Maoists on a priority basis”, the CM added.

Singh also said the three-member committee, comprising the state Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, had a meeting on Thursday.

“The committee is holding a meeting today also. It is a permanent committee. No time limit has been set for deciding on the cases”, he said.

The Chief Minister said that there was no secret deal or any quid pro quo between the Naxals and the state government behind the release of Menon.

“There was no secret deal. There is nothing secret in the world. All dialogues and discussions were held between the mediators. We have put a copy of the agreement between the state government and Maoists mediators on our website”, he said.

Singh said that the state Government will provide all necessary help to Menon’s two security officers — Amjad Khan and Kishan Kujur — killed by Maoists before kidnapping the collector.

“The government is working for the development of the people. Many positive steps are being taken. And, if Maoists abduct officials like Menon, who are pro-development, then it is a wrong thing which needs to be condemned. It clearly exposes their claim of no-development in the region”, he said.

When asked whether the operation against Maoists was continuing in the state, Singh said “let me clarify, there is nothing like Salwa Judum and Green Hunt operations. There is no existence of such things. You will not find any word like Green Hunt in the dictionary. There is no Green Hunt operation”.

The Chief Minister of the BJP ruled state is in the national capital to attend a meeting called by the central government to discuss National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) scheduled in New Delhi.

“We will talk on the matter. We will keep Chhattisgarh’s stand in the meeting tomorrow. I cannot discuss it today”, Singh added.

Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh with Home Minister Chidambaram during an event in Raipur.

Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh with Home Minister Chidambaram during an event in Raipur.

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NCTC interferes with the federal structure: Mamta

News4u - News Desk : The Centre State meeting to decide the future of NCTC will take place on Saturday while the centre is hopeful that the information given to the states on standard operating procedures of the proposed body will address the apprehensions of the states.

Non-Congress Chief Ministers such as Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik, Tamil Nadu’s J Jayalalithaa and Gujarat’s Narendra Modi are likely to oppose the formation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre at the Chief Ministers’ conference despite the Centre’s assurance that state governments will be taken into confidence before any operation is conducted in any state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram are expected to allay the apprehensions of some of the Chief Ministers who had opposed the NCTC saying it would encroach upon the states’ powers and hurt the federal structure of the country.

Sources said UPA ally and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar may lower their opposition and are likely to come on board for setting up the NCTC.

Earlier this week, the Home Minister had said the draft of the two SOPs for operating the NCTC were circulated to the states and they would allay many apprehensions of the Chief Ministers who have expressed their concerns.

“I think if the Chief Ministers will read (the SOPs), I believe they will read, much of the doubts will be dissolved and at the (May 5) meeting if they have any suggestion on the SOPs, we are willing to listen to those suggestions, incorporate as many as possible”, Chidambaram had said, adding that fighting terrorism was a shared responsibility of the states and the Centre.

The Home Ministry has sent the draft SOPs listing powers and functions of the anti-terror hub’s Standing Council, which will have representatives of all state governments and the Centre.

Director Generals of Police or Chiefs of ATS of all states will be members of the Standing Council of the NCTC and before any anti-terror operation is conducted, the NCTC would take into confidence the concerned state’s police officers.


Mamta Banerjee

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