Zohra Sehgal : That mischievious twinkle in her eyes

News4u-Features Desk- “Zohra Sehgal is no more” - The news came as a shock to all those who knew her. The question here is natural, why this shock & grief ? Wasn’t she a mortal just like any of us? The answer to this is honest and simple. “She just seemed to be some one who would never walk away leaving us midway. She had become a part of life around, like the earth and the sky, so how could she disappear from view?”

Yes, this was Zohra Sehgal, a link between four generations from Prithviraj Kapoor to Ranbeer Kapoor. If she danced and acted for the former, she sang for the latter. She celebrated the joy of life with a mischievious twinkle in her eyes. With a zest for life, her unabated energy, her acting talent and the unusual sense of humour, she seemed to ask every one who seemed sluggish and tired - “Gym gaya?” Who can ever forget her inimitable dialogue delivery. She lent sugar and spice to every scene she acted in.

After a long innings of 102 years may she rest in peace. Yet without her we would always feel that there is “Chini kum” in our cup of life.

-By Veera Chaturvedi
veera@news4u.co.in


Zohra Sehgal

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The Fault in Our Stars (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk-The film adaptation of John Green’s best-selling novel centers around two cancer-stricken teens, Hazel and Gus, who fall in love knowing theirs won’t be a ‘happy ending’.

Most love stories end with ‘and they lived happily ever after’. But what happens when you may not live another day? Will you still fall in love, knowing your time is limited?

The Fault in our stars Stays faithful to the book. What you see is what you get. When a practical Hazel (Shailene Woodley) meets the charming and cheerful Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) at a cancer support group, sparks fly. He fears oblivion, while she believes it’s inevitable. In his company, she discovers there’s a world beyond hospitals, medication, pain and cancer. Their shared passion for books, common fears, and heartfelt talks make the two inseparable, until death comes knocking…

If you like feel-good, escapist films, this one’s not for you. The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most unpretentious tragic love stories told in a heart-warming manner. ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’ pretty much sums up the story.

Earnest performances lend depth to the characters, making them come alive. Shailene Woodley is brilliantly melancholic while Ansel Elgort displays the complexities of his character with great maturity. The film is not about crying over what you may lose, but learning to live with what you do. After all, it’s not the fear of death that makes you bitter, lack of love does.Courtesy toi…


The Fault in Our Stars

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Munna Mange Memsaab (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk-The title pretty much sums it up. A simpleton runs from pillar to post seeking a gori mem to be his bride.

Naive and jobless, Munna (Peepli Live’s Omkar Das Manikpuri), a small town guy, gets mocked for being ugly, right from his childhood. His mother consoles him by leading him on to believe that he is ‘sundar’ (good looking). She also tells him that one day he’ll marry a pretty ‘memsaab’ (by pointing to a poster of Rani Mukerji).

However, the very next minute, she explains her interpretation of ‘memsaab’ by showing his son another gori mem (tourist) passing by. ‘Someone like her’ she says. He says, “Main aisi hi memsaab se saadi karunga.”

Munna grows up but continues to nurture his dream of getting married to a gori mem, just to make his mother happy. He leaves his village and lands up in a city to fulfil his dream. With great audacity, he proposes marriage to random urban women but his requests get turned down. However, there is light at the end of every tunnel. He eventually bumps into a Katrina Kaif-like firang memsaab. Do they fall in love?

Ample Hindi films with a similar concept have been made before and they were much better if not remarkable. For instance, Govinda-Aishwarya Rai starrer Albela (2001) was a light-hearted romcom that made us smile.

While the intentions are noble here, tacky execution spoils everything. Forced humour fails to amuse and funny sounds used as background score do not compensate for the poor script. The point that the director intends to make does not come across either. His attempt at exposing the shallow-ness of our society that prefers ‘good-looking’ people fails to register.

Also, performances are forgettable. The gori mem is the best actor here! Songs have no relevance to the story. There is no ‘beauty’ in this film…literally and otherwise.Courtesy toi…


Munna Mange Memsaab

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Top 10 European cities to see now

News4u-Travel Desk- With summer prices on the rise, everyone is eager to explore some places that are just starting to appear on many travelers’ radars. With up and coming spots in Europe as the focus, the editors and members of travel website VirtualTourist have compiled a list of the “Top 10 European Cities To See Now”.

1. Lviv, Ukraine

Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine that’s become a modern business hub, is the spot VirtualTourist members unanimously agreed is the top European city to see now. Many of its highlights are found in an incredibly compact central area, making it the perfect place to explore on a weekend jaunt. Start in Rynok Square, the center of city, which is surrounded by almost 50 unique architectural monuments including the Kornyakt Palace, a Renaissance landmark. Visitors can’t miss the Lviv Opera House, a Neo-Renaissance treasure that is often compared to opera houses of Paris and Vienna. In July, the city hosts “Night Lviv,” a festival that includes over 100 night tours and theatrical performances, like a fire show, late into the night.

2. Hamburg, Germany

Located in Northern Germany on the Elbe River, Hamburg has been overshadowed by Berlin for far too long. With the diversity of being Germany’s second largest city and the outdoor opportunities of a metropolis on the water, Hamburg is primed for a great tourism boom in coming years. Providing both small town qualities with big city growth, you can stroll along Jungfernsteig on Alster Lake just as families have done throughout history or check out the city’s concert hall-in-the-making, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, in the buzzing neighborhood of HafenCity.

3. Vilnius, Lithuania

Home to the largest Baroque old town in Eastern and Central Europe, Lithuania’s capital is a great destination for travelers interested in architecture. The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul is a Baroque masterpiece, with close to 2,000 stucco figures inside, and the pink façade of the Church of Saint Catherine makes it difficult to miss. Multiple VirtualTourist members recommend visiting St. John’s Church and its bell tower, and while Vilnius is famous for Baroque buildings, the gothic St. Anne’s Church is also a must-see. Another interesting spot, the Gates of Dawn, is a shrine within the sole surviving gate of the first original five gates in the city wall; it houses an exceptional portrait of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

4. Valencia, Spain

Only a short train ride from Barcelona, Valencia is finally coming into its own as Spain’s third largest city and a tourism destination in its own right. The city has a unique combination of historical sites and modern attractions. Near the Plaza de la Virgen, visitors can see a number of religious landmarks, such as the Catedral, which holds the Holy Chalice that according to tradition was used by Christ during the last Supper. Another historical site is the Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange), a UNESCO Heritage Site and a great example of Gothic architecture that illustrates the important role the city has in Mediterranean trade throughout history. Newer landmarks are Valencia-born “starchitect” Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences a complex which includes an IMAX theatre, the largest aquarium in Europe, an interactive science museum, and a four hall performance arts center.

5. Porto, Portugal

Built into the hillsides that rise above the Douro River, Porto has long been a favorite amongst VirtualTourist travelers. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and its wine is renowned the world over. Favorite spots among VirtualTourist members include strolling the Ribeira district along the waterfront, visiting the Cathedral or the Sao Bento railway station to view the azulejos (ceramic hand-painted tiles), and stopping by the Lello bookshop. There are also great new buildings to see in Porto including Rem Koolhaas’ Casa de Musica, which hosts classical music concerts every Sunday at noon for less than 10 Euros.

6. Zagreb, Croatia

Croatia’s cities along the Adriatic Sea have long been in the limelight, but the country’s capital, Zagreb, is ready for its close-up. Members love riding the funicular to the city’s Upper Town, where the Zagreb Cathedral, St. Mark’s Church, and the Lotrscak Tower are located. The neo-gothic Cathedral is actually within a medieval fort making it a must-see for both architecture lovers and history buffs, and St. Mark’s Church is famous for the coat-of-arms on its colorful roof. VirtualTourist members also noted that the Oktagon, a shopping passage in the Lower Town, is a beautiful experience and a nice change of pace for sightseers.

7. Valletta, Malta

Only 93 km (58 miles) south of the Italian island of Sicily, Malta has historically had great strategic significance due to its location, and is finally coming into its own as a travel destination. Valletta, the country’s capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was recently named the European Capital of Culture for 2018. One of the most concentrated historic areas in the world, Valletta offers some truly remarkable landmarks including the Co-Cathedral of St. John with its exquisite Baroque interior and two paintings by Caravaggio.

8. Budapest, Hungary

Although it has long been on lists of European cities to watch, it seems Budapest is finally primed to be a destination unto itself. Originally two separate cities on either side of the Danube, the capital is noted for its romantic architecture, landmarks with panoramic views, and spa culture. The Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and Matthias Church in Trinity Square are lie on the Buda side of the river, while the Parliament Building and the Gresham Palace, an outstanding example of Hungarian Art Nouveau architecture (now home to the Four Seasons Hotel) are on the Pest side of the river. Many VirtualTourist members enjoy photographing the sites from boat cruises along the Danube.

9. Riga, Latvia

While many Baltic cities are becoming more popular with tourists, the city of Riga undoubtedly provides an eyeful for every visitor. Known for its grandiose Jugendstil facades, the city is widely recognized as having one of the greatest collections of Art Nouveau architecture in Europe. Old Riga, the historical center on the right bank of the Daugava River, is also popular with visitors for its quaint squares and cobblestoned streets. Favorite spots of VirtualTourist.com members include St. Peter’s Church, the House of Blackheads, and the “Three Brothers,” a set of three buildings on Maza Pills Street which reflect the changing trends of Latvian architecture over time.

10. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

While many are aware of the city’s ethnic struggles in the 1990s, far too few know of Sarajevo’s cultural history and successful rebuilding. The city’s position made it directly in the middle of Roman, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian influences throughout the years, all of which are now evidenced in its diversity and its neighborhoods. Bascarsija, the Turkish area of the old town, includes the Sebilj Fountain, built with Moorish details and positioned in front of the Bascarsija Mosque. Other landmarks of note include the Serb Orthodox Cathedral, the Academy of Arts housed in a former Evangelical church, and the Latin Bridge over the river Miljacka. It was on this bridge that Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, inciting the World War 1.Reuters

Top 10 European cities to see now

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Ecotourism destinations

News4u-Travel desk-  When it comes to environmentally friendly tourism, certain locales come to mind immediately. Vietnam, Kenya, Cameroon… the classics. But as the ecotourism movement gains momentum, additional destinations are joining the roster. Here is a roundup of a few of the rising stars of the ecotourism scene.

Dubai
Notwithstanding its reputation for opulence and excess, the emirate was recommended by National Geographic as an emerging ecotourism destination. Visitors interested in sustainable tourism can head to Dubai`s nature reserve or take a day trip into the desert with indigenous guides.

Kerala, India

Kerala

 

 

A growing number of ecotourists are heading to this state in southwest India to take in its dozens of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves and other protected areas. “God`s own country” is the slogan of this region, which is investing in responsible tourism as a sustainable and responsible form of economic development.

 

 

 

 

Bhutan

Bhutan

 

 

In this South Asian nation, respect for local customs and for nature has been established by the government as a matter of national importance. The majority of ecotourism opportunities in Bhutan fall within the luxury travel category and are targeted at high-end clients. And for good reason: each visitor must pay a daily tax of $250, which goes directly towards the preservation of the landlocked country, which is located between India and China, to the east of the Himalayas.

 

 

 

 

Myanmar

Mynmar

 

 

Little by little, the country is opening up to international tourism, offering exceptional opportunities for environmentally conscious tourists looking to interact with local populations. On a hike departing from Kengtung, within the famed Golden Triangle, tourists can come into contact with villagers from the Palaung, Akha, Lahu, Lisu and Khun tribes.

AFP


Dubai

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Law Minister: Nat Judicial Commission, govt’s priority

News4u-News Desk-Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, the proposed National Judicial Commission, which seeks to scrap the system where judges appoint judges, is a matter of priority for govt and a Bill in this regard will be introduced after consideration.

Speaking on a private members’ Bill in Rajya Sabha on Friday, he said the government has a right to be consulted on the matter of appointment of judges.

“National Judicial Commission is a matter of priority for us. I propose to bring this legislation after consideration,” Prasad said in an intervention to a debate on a private member’s Bill.

He, however, shared the concern of the House about judges indulging in the practice of giving legal opinions even after retirement.

But, at the same time, he said that if the government puts a ban on the retired judges taking up arbitration work, the window of alternative arbitration mechanism would be lost.

Moving the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2012 (amendment of article 124), H K Dua (Nom) said Article 124 bars senior judges including former Chief Justices from taking such post-retirement jobs but this was being ignored.

He said there was an instance where a former Chief Justice of India appeared for a private firm in a case in the US and this may have affected the impression about the Indian judiciary there.

Prasad said that while he shared the concern of Dua, there is, however, a larger issue which has to be taken into account as pendency of cases was too high in the country. Dua later withdrew the bill.

At present, there are 2.68 crore cases pending in subordinate courts, the Law Minister said.

“Government’s mission is to make India a hub of legal arbitration. If you have a complete ban on arbitration, you are impeding the process of alternative dispute resolution. That window will stop. In light of alternative arbitration mechanism, this has to continue,” he said.

Prasad said he has written five letters to the Chief Justice of India to fill vacancies in High Courts as well as the chief ministers to expedite criminal cases involving women and children, disabled and the elderly on fastrack basis.

Responding to demands for raising the retirement age of judges, the Law Minister said government has not taken a call on it though it is a “debatable issue”.

Supporting the Bill, Shantaram Naik (Cong) said government should also ensure that off the cuff remarks by judges that ‘whether Parliament was sleeping’ should be looked into by the government.

P Rajeeve (CPI-M) supported the bill and said there have been instances cited in the Upper House where judges have been accused of creating post-retirement avenues for themselves.

Avinash Rai Khanna (BJP) supported the bill saying this was an ethical bill. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (SAD) favoured raising the retirement age of judges but Baishnab Parida and A V Swamy of BJD were against it as it would compromise with the dignity and the independence of judiciary.

E M Sudarsana Natchiappan (Cong) felt well trained judges should be accommodated as judges become wise after 65 years of age.

K Keshav Rao (TRS) emphasised on ensuring the prestige and dignity of the judiciary.

D Raja (CPI) demanded passage of the legislation for establishment of the proposed national judicial commission to maintain accountability of judiciary.

Before Dua withdrew his Bill, he suggested framing of guidelines for retired judges taking up the work of arbitration.


Ravishankar Prasad

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Spokesman : Putin ‘may’ meet Ukraine leader at World Cup

News4u-News Desk-Russian President Vladimir Putin could meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko at the World Cup final, his spokesman said on Saturday as the crisis between the two countries escalated.

After Brazilian officials said Poroshenko had accepted an invitation to attend tomorrow’s final in Rio de Janeiro, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a meeting between the two could not be ruled out.

“We haven’t prepared any separate meeting, but we have been informed that he will also be there,” Peskov told journalists in Buenos Aires, where the Russian president met with his Argentine counterpart Cristina Kirchner ahead of his visit to Brazil to watch the World Cup final.

“There will be a separate table inside the stadium for the leaders, so it is of course impossible to rule out that they could meet.”

Putin and Poroshenko spoke briefly last month when their paths crossed at D-Day anniversary celebrations in Normandy, their first meeting since the pro-Western Ukrainian leader was elected in May.


Anti Russia Protest

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Israel, Hamas defiant as death toll rises to 151

News4u-News Desk-Israel intensified its air assault on Gaza on Saturday to counter rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, killing 46, as the death toll rose to 151 with over 1,100 Hamas positions targeted in five days of offensive.

According to Palestinian officials, two nephews of Hamas ex-PM Ismail Haniyeh were among the 46 killed, as Gaza was hit by multiple strikes. 30 Palestinians were killed earlier in the day as new Israeli strikes on Gaza City late Saturday evening killed 15.

“At least 15 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on the Tuffah neighbourhood in Gaza City that hit a house and a mosque,” emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

One was killed in southern Gaza’s Rafah. At least 151 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its operation. In addition to those killed, over 1,000 people - mainly civilians - have been injured.

The UN Security Council urged Israel and Hamas on Saturday to end their hostilities in Gaza, calling on both sides to respect “international humanitarian laws” and return to the “calm and restitution of the November 2012 ceasefire.”

In an unanimous declaration, the 15-member council called for a de-escalation of the crisis. The UNSC expressed “serious concern” over the “protection and welfare of civilians on both sides.”

It urged the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table “with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on the two-state solution.”

Israel said on Saturday that it has carried out 1,160 strikes since Tuesday while asserting that Hamas fired 689 rockets. A mosque in the central Gaza Strip was also bombed overnight.

A Hamas spokesman reportedly said that a pair of mosques was struck in the first attack of its kind since Israel began its offensive. The Israeli military said, the building had been used to store weapons.

A large fire broke out in a UN humanitarian relief compound in the east of Gaza City. Israel said, it was caused by Hamas rockets falling short, though this has not been confirmed.

Palestinian officials said, Israel hit a residential home for disabled people in Beit Lahiya, killing two severely handicapped women in the care facility. The Israeli army also warned Palestinians on Saturday in the northern Gaza Strip to “leave their homes for their own safety.

The army said that Gaza militants also fired several rockets on Saturday towards Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There were no reports of injuries in the rocket fire.


Israel, Hamas defiant as death toll rises to 151

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Northeast can become world’s largest organic producer: VK Singh

News4u-News Desk-The Northeast has the potential to become the largest producer of organic foods in the world, Union minister Vijay Kumar Singh said on Saturday.

VK Singh, the Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region said, “Potential in North East is very high as it is already an organic hub by default.”

“However, farmers here do not know what organic is. If we work on it, NE can become the largest producer of organic foods in the world,” Singh told the National Cold Chain Summit by ICC in Guwahati.

“Food processing and cold chain storage are of utmost importance to NE,” Singh said, adding that 40 per cent of food in the country was wasted due to lack of storage facilities.

He emphasised on the need to establish cold chain storage facilities, which would be beneficial to both farmers and consumers.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary to the Ministry of Food Processing Siraj Hussain spoke about giving government support in creating cold storage units in North East. “Return in this business is very low.

Power availability in NE is a problem. So at least for next five years, government support is needed,” he said. According to a study in 2010, the gap of such facilities stood at 30 million tonne, while the country could add only 10 million tonne in 10 years, Hussain said.

He urged Singh to increase the current limit of Rs 10 crore grant given to an individual creating such a facility. Hussain also requested that the grant given for building non-horticulture cold storage given by state governments, be raised from the existing Rs 4-5 crore.


VK Singh

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Anderson: Glad to help England get back in the match

News4u-Sports Desk-England pacer James Anderson said on Saturday that he was delighted with his maiden Test half-century and even more so with the fact that his innings allowed his team to find its way into the first Test versus India in Nottingham,.

Anderson scored a personal best of 81 runs while Joe Root score an unbeaten 154 as the two shared a world-record 198 runs for the tenth wicket, powering England to 496 all out and a first-innings lead of 39 on day four.

Anderson said, “It is a brilliant feeling, to bat like that and build a partnership like that. I am glad to get the team back in the game. My earlier highest score of 49* was in a match winning cause, so let’s see if we can trump that with this innings.”

The duo beat the 163-run stand of Australia’s Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar scored at this very ground during the Ashes series in the 2013 summer. Their partnership also beat a long-standing 111-year old English record for the 10th wicket of 130 runs by Tip Foster and Wilfred Rhodes scored against Australia at Sydney in 1903.

“When I came in to bat, the idea was to bat for a bit. Joe took a lot of strike and then when I settled down, we rotated the strike as well. Our plan worked well yesterday and we had to start again today. We knew we had a job to do and once we started scoring runs, we knew we had to eat away into the time and chip away at their lead. We didn’t really expect to get where we got to,” Anderson added.

“He took a lot of strike and rotated it very well. He is young but he batted with a lot of maturity out there, almost like a very experienced batsman. He talked me through the innings I played today,” he praised his young partner.

Anderson’s score was the third highest by a number 11 batsman in Test cricket after Ashton Agar’s 98 versus England at the same ground in 2013 and Tino Best’s 95 runs, also versus England, at Birmingham in 2012.

Anderson’s effort was also the highest Test score by an England number 11 batsman, beating John Snow’s effort of 59 not out versus West Indies at The Oval in 1966.

“I thought last night that if I ever got a fifty in Test cricket, it would be on a pitch like this. If you have got a game plan you stick to it, because there are only certain types of balls that will get you out on this turgid pitch. The short ball was not very dangerous because it came so slow. So we got stuck in,” he said.

When asked if he thought about getting a hundred, he replied, “No I didn’t. But lunch came at the wrong time for me though I didn’t get out because of that break. I doubt I will get a Test hundred.”

His partnership means that England have now turned the match with India finishing at 167/3 at stumps, with a lead of 128 runs. The first session on the fifth morning will be very crucial.

“There are no demons in the pitch and even number 11 batsmen are batting well. But we bowled well in the second innings and stuck at it and managed to get three wickets. We need to chip away again in the morning,” he signed off.


Anderson: Glad to help England get back in the match

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