Typhoon power woes in Philippines as death toll hits 38

News4u-News Desk-Millions of people in the Philippines endured a second sweltering day without power on Thursday after a ferocious typhoon paralysed the capital and tore down flimsy rural homes, claiming at least 38 lives.

Authorities expressed frustration as reports from badly damaged areas filtered in and the death toll from Typhoon Rammasun, the first major storm of the Southeast Asian archipelago’s rainy season, was nearly doubled to 38.

“We still have to find out what exactly are the reasons a lot of our countrymen refuse to heed the warnings,” National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chief Alexander Pama told reporters.

As part of a “zero casualty” effort, the government evacuated nearly 400,000 people from the path of Rammasun and warned others to stay indoors. But many of the people who died were outdoors, killed by falling trees, collapsing buildings and flying debris, according to the council’s data.

Pama said the death toll could rise further, with mobile phone and other forms of communication still cut to some rural areas. He said at least eight people remained missing. Rammasun, a Thai word for “Thunder God”, swept in off the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday night, then brought wind gusts of up to 160 kilometres an hour across land to Manila and other heavily populated northern regions.

“It really scrambled whole towns, blowing down houses and toppling power lines,” the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Richard Gordon,said.

The typhoon cut electricity supplies to nearly all of Manila, a megacity of more than 12 million people, and surrounding urban areas. Schools and government offices were closed throughout the capital, hundreds of flights suspended and the stock exchange closed.

The stock exchange and government offices re-opened on Thursday, but many schools remained closed partly because of the power problems.

The Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributor which serves the capital and surrounding areas, said 1.9 million households still did not have power on Wednesday.

With the temperature in Manila expected to hit 30 degrees Celsius and the air thick with tropical moisture, Meralco could not give any estimate to frustrated residents when power would be restored.


Typhoon power woes in Philippines

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RS proceedings affected over situation in Gaza

News4u-News Desk-The Gaza situation affected the proceedings in Rajya Sabha for the second consecutive day on Thursday with a determined opposition demanding an immediate discussion on the matter.

Chairman Hamid Ansari said the matter can be taken up at a later date while rejecting the government’s plea against a debate.

Giving his ruling on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s request made on Wednesday, Ansari said, “I am unable to accede to the request of the Minister” and cited rules in favour of the notices given by the opposition in this regard.

Swaraj had opposed any debate on the issue arguing it is not admissible as it is not primarily concern of Government of India and any discourteous remark could affect India’s relations with Israel and Palestine.

“I do not find any infirmity in the notices given by the Leader of the Opposition and others,” Ansari said, referring to the demand by the opposition for a debate.

In another ruling, he accepted the plea of Leader of the House Arun Jaitley that the issue be not taken up for discussion on Thursday and the government will communicate an appropriate date for the same soon.

“Accordingly, in view of the provisions of rule 177 read with the communication received from the leader of the House, the short duration discussion on Palestine has not been listed in today’s agenda paper,” Ansari said.

Citing rules, he said, “The subject having been already admitted, now requires consultations with the Leader of the House to fix the next date and time for discussion.”

Not finding the issue listed in Thursday’s business of the House, infuriated opposition members were up on their feet and in the aisles vociferously demanding that the important issue be taken up today itself.

Questioning the Chairman’s ruling, opposition members said he had no authority to change the agenda and an item listed on Wednesday had to be taken up first on Thursday.

The Upper House saw three adjournments in the pre-lunch session - two during Question Hour and one in Zero hour.

The House witnessed uproarious scenes during Zero Hour after V Maitreyan (AIADMK) wondered that while the opposition members were so agitated over the killing of citizens in a distant land, they were not concerned over the killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lanka.

“I strongly condemn the killing of innocent civilians anywhere in the world, whether it is Palestine or Sri Lanka. I and my party are anguished that while they (opposition) are so concerned about the killing of citizens at a distant place, they are not concerned about killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen in neihgbouring Sri Lanka,” he said.

Irked by his remarks, opposition members including those of Congress and Left parties were on their feet and entered the aisles while Maitreyan received support from treasury benches.

Protesting members demanded that the “aspersions” cast by Maitreyan be expunged.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien sought to pacify the agitated members saying he will check the records and will expunge remarks if they have cast any direct or indirect aspersion against any member.

As uproar continued, Kurien adjourned the House till 2 PM.

Leading the opposition attack, Congress accused the government of “disrespecting” and “diluting” institutions one after another and said that now they were trying to do so with Parliament.

“The question is not what topic is to be discussed and when. The question is that whether the Executive can over-rule the rights of the Legislature. In such a short span of time, this government has disrespected one institution after another in the country. After Judiciary, they are now trying to disrespect Parliament. We will now allow it,” Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Cong) said.


Rajya Sabha disrupted over Gaza issue

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Malaysian passenger plane with 295 on board crashes in Ukraine

News4u-News Desk- A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane with 295 people on board has reportedly crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday.

The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, reports said.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said the plane was brought down by a ground-to-air missile. 280 passengers were on board, with 15 crew. All are believed to have died.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines has also confirmed it has lost contact with flight MH17 from Amsterdam.

Malaysia Airlines said via its twitter feed, “Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.”

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said he has directed the country’s Ministry of Defense to investigate the incident, according to a message on his Twitter account.

He said he could not confirm that the plane was shot down.

Ukraine prime minister Areseny Yatseniuk orders investigation into Malaysian “Airline catastrophe,” says plane was en route from Amsterdam.

Interfax news agency says the passenger airliner was shot down at an altitude of 10km above Eastern Ukraine.

ITAR-Tass news agency reported that the airliner flying at the altitude of over 10,000 metres was supposed to enter the Russian air space at 17:20 Moscow standard time (13:20 UTC).

“However, it fell down in 60 kms from the border; the plane’s emergency location beacon went off,” the agency reported quoting sources.


Malaysian passenger plane with 295 on board crashes in Ukraine

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Next BRICS Summit to be held in Russia

News4u-News Desk- The next year’s BRICS Summit will be held in the Russian city of Ufa after the grouping’s successful meeting in Brazil that saw an agreement being reached on establishing a development bank and a contingency reserve arrangement.

“Brazil, India, China and South Africa convey their appreciation to Russia for its offer to host the Seventh BRICS Summit in 2015 in the city of Ufa and extend their full support to that end,” the BRICS leaders said in the Fortaleza Declaration.

Ufa is the capital city of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia, and the industrial, economic, scientific and cultural centre of the republic.

The sixth summit held here was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, as they deliberated on global economic, political and strategic issues.

BRICS Summit last night decided to establish the New Development Bank with an initial authorised capital of USD 100 billion for which the initial subscribed capital will be equally shared by the founding members, a point New Delhi emphasised to prevent domination by anyone of the members.

During the summit, agreement was also reached on establishing a contingency reserve arrangement with an initial size of USD 100 billion.

Russia, India, China and South Africa also extend their warm appreciation to the Government and people of Brazil for hosting the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza.


BRICS Summit

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Rajnath Singh denies charges of horse trading

News4u-News Desk- BJP on Thursday scoffed at reports that it was trying to lure MLAs of other parties to form government in Delhi, saying the party has never indulged in horse-trading and will not do so in future.

“BJP has never done any horse-trading, nor will it do so in future. The question does not arise at all,” Home Minister and former BJP president Rajnath Singh told reporters in New Delhi.

He also rubbished Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s allegations that BJP was trying to poach some opposition MLAs to be able to form government in Delhi.

The Home Minister, however, evaded a direct reply on the possibility of BJP forming the government in the national capital in near future.

“Please ask our party President Amit Shah.

I am not aware of it. I have no information,” he said. Asked whether there was any direction to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to take initiatives for government formation, Singh said no such directive has been given by the Home Ministry.

Delhi is currently under President’s Rule after the Kejriwal-led AAP government resigned in mid-February. So far the BJP has been refusing to take the plunge citing lack of majority.

Newly-appointed Delhi BJP Chief Satish Upadhyay had on Wednesday said that the party would consider taking a shot at government formation if invited by the Lt Governor.

All BJP MLAs and MPs in Delhi are believed to be in favour of the party forming the government and a final decision on it is expected to be taken when Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns from the BRICS summit in Brazil.

Former Delhi Finance Minister Jagdish Mukhi is considered to be in the race for Chief Minister’s post. BJP will require the support of five additional MLAs to prove majority in the Assembly and party sources said the party was confident of getting them.

BJP had emerged the single largest party after the polls with 32 seats, including one of Akali Dal, in the 70-member Assembly.

But it had refused to form government in December, saying it did not have the numbers and will not resort to any “unfair means” to take the reins.

AAP with 28 MLAs had later formed the government with support of eight Congress MLAs. BJP’s number came down to 28 after three of its MLAs - Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma - were elected to the Lok Sabha.

The strength of the Assembly also went down to 67 and the simple majority mark would be 34.


Rajnath Singh denies charges of horse trading

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Selena Gomez suffers wardrobe malfunction

News4u-Entertainment Desk- London: Singer-actress Selena Gomez forgot to zip her black playsuit up while taking a stroll with `Spring Breakers` director Harmony Korine in Miami Beach.

With her brunette hair tied back, the 21-year-old former girlfriend of Justin Bieber showed off her bare back, reportedly.

Her long legs took centre stage next, as she wore chunky black boots for the meeting, although it`s still unclear if it was business or pleasure meeting with the filmmaker.

The former Disney star has been flaunting her body a lot these days and even appeared to have accidentally shown the world her private part on Instagram.PTI


Selena Gomez

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Having TV in bedroom helps couples enjoy sex twice as much

News4u-Features Desk- London: A new study has revealed that couples have double the amount of sex if they have a television in their bedroom.

Two thirds of Brits also thought they have a healthier sex life because of it and around half of those are happy they can watch their favourite programmes at the same time, the Daily Star reported.

According to the poll, just under half (47 percent) of people admit to actually watching the telly during their necking sessions with their partners.

While 26 percent of those who don`t have a TV in their room said that they thought it might make them less active in the bedroom.

The research was conducted by www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk and 2,431 people in relationships were asked about their love lives and how TV can play a big part in it.

More than a third (37 percent) of partners that have a TV in their room thought it improved their sex life because they can watch erotic movies and programmes together.

Yet 29 percent said their partner would put something boring on and therefore sex would distract them from it.

And a surprisingly small minority of just 14 percent of those who have a TV in the bedroom said that it brings them and their partner “closer together”.IANS


Having TV in bedroom helps couples enjoy sex twice as much

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Israel steps up action in Gaza; death toll crosses 210

News4u-News Desk- Israel has stepped up its military offensive in Gaza saying it has “no choice” and has asked thousands of Palestinians in the coastal strip to leave their homes amid speculation that a ground operation could follow even as the death toll crossed 210 amid air strikes.

An Egypt mediated truce initiative on Tuesday failed to halt rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas militants and other groups who called it “capitulation and surrender”, choosing to continue with rocket and mortar fire.

Israel, which suffered its first fatality yesterday in a mortar attack at the Ere crossing, said senior Hamas militants had died in strikes on Gaza overnight.

Palestinian medics in Gaza claimed that 208 people had so far been killed in Israeli raids, including 10 overnight, and more than a 1,000 injured in the last nine days of Operation Protective Edge launched by Israel.

Among those reported killed was a five-month-old baby, Palestinian medics said charging Israel of having killed mostly innocent civilians.

Israel has accused Hamas and other Gaza-based militant factions of using civilians as human shields as activists of the groups went around telling people not to evacuate homes.

Militants have fired more than 1,200 rockets at Israel, which yesterday caused the first Israeli death.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) dropped leaflets and used recorded phone messages to warn some 100,000 residents of Gaza to leave their homes before 8 AM today.

The warning came as militants continued to fire rockets at Israeli cities, the IDF said, adding that its Iron Dome missile shield had intercepted four rockets launched at Tel Aviv.

Following continued rocket attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he now had no choice but to “expand and intensify the campaign against Hamas” and that “When there is no ceasefire, our answer is fire”. “This would have been better resolved diplomatically… but Hamas leaves us no choice but to expand and intensify the campaign against it,” he said.


Israel steps up action in Gaza

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Bollywood touch makes gay rights video U.N.’s “most watched ever”

News4u-News Desk- A Bollywood-style music video on gay rights featuring Indian actress Celina Jaitly has got over one million views online and become one of the United Nations’ most watched videos ever.

The video was launched by the U.N. in April as part of a global fight against homophobia.

Charles Radcliff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) tweeted on Tuesday that the video had become one of the “U.N.’s most watched ever”.

Ms. Jaitly expressed her gratitude on Twitter saying the video has crossed one million views on YouTube.

The two-and-a-half-minute clip was part of the U.N.’s ‘Free and Equal’ campaign championing equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people and an end to homophobia.

Ms. Jaitly, who made her musical debut in the clip, was last year nominated by the High Commissioner for Human Rights as a U.N. Equality Champion in recognition of her support for LGBT rights.

Ms. Jaitly had expressed the hope that the video would spread the broader message of the need to change not just laws but also attitudes and to challenge stereotypes about the LGBT community in light of the threats and discrimination the community faced in India and across the world.

The video, titled ‘The Welcome’, is about a young man who brings his boyfriend home to meet his family for the first time.

Ms. Jaitly, a mother of two-year old twins, has said that she has received threats for supporting gays and lesbians but will continue to work towards achieving equality for the community.

In a message during the launch of the video, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had applauded India’s human rights activists and film fraternity for standing up for the rights of lesbians and gays as he called for the immediate repeal of all laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships.

Mr. Ban said he hoped the video would carry a message of equality to millions of people.

He had expressed his support for the campaign and his solidarity with India’s LGBT community, reaffirming his staunch advocacy to end prejudice and intolerance against LGBT persons.PTI


Actors Imran Khan and Celina Jaitly, Laxmi during the launch of a United Nations music video for LGBT equality in Mumbai.

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Syria’s President Assad sworn in for new seven-year term

News4u-News Desk- Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in on Wednesday for a new seven-year term in a red carpet ceremony in Damascus, after an election his opponents had slammed as a “farce”.

Assad swore by the Koran before the country’s parliamentarians in an extraordinary session, 40 months into a conflict estimated to have killed more than 170,000 people.

“Syrians, three years and four months… have passed since some cried ‘freedom’,” he said, referring to the start of a March 2011 revolt that demanded his ouster.

“They wanted a revolution, but you have been the real revolutionaries. I congratulate you for your revolution and for your victory,” Assad told his supporters.

“Those who lost their way can now see clearly… the monstrous faces have been unveiled, the mask of freedom and the revolution has fallen.”

More than 1,000 people were invited to the inauguration ceremony, with Assad arriving at the presidential palace in a black sedan car before being met on a red carpet by a military band.

Parliamentarians and other guests cheered for Assad in the hall where Assad was sworn in and then gave a speech.

Assad won a June 3 election held only in regime-controlled territories by 88.7 percent, defeating two other candidates seen as figureheads, rather than genuine opponents.

The opposition National Coalition branded the election a “farce” even before it was staged, in a statement later echoed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen.


Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad

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