In the city of the Petronas Towers

News4u-Travel Desk- As you enter Kuala Lumpur (KL), your eyes scan the city skyline for a glimpse of Malaysia`s Petronas Twin Towers. You`ve read about them, seen them in numerous `Malaysia, truly Asia` ads, but never in all their steel-and-glass glory. It`s impossible to visit Kuala Lumpur and find a space or experience that isn`t affected by them; they tend to overshadow the other, equally fascinating monuments.

As you enter Kuala Lumpur (KL), your eyes scan the city skyline for a glimpse of Malaysia`s Petronas Twin Towers. You`ve read about them, seen them in numerous `Malaysia, truly Asia` ads, but never in all their steel-and-glass glory. It`s impossible to visit Kuala Lumpur and find a space or experience that isn`t affected by them; they tend to overshadow the other, equally fascinating monuments.

Kuala Lumpur Tower

The 421-metre-high communications tower (also called Menara Kuala Lumpur), the seventh tallest in the world, stands out in the city`s skyline too. Standing majestically at the top of a hill, it looks fabulous at night.

The lobby`s glass domes sparkle through the day. After a 54-second ride up to the top (276 m), you step out onto the observation deck (littered with tourist stalls, binoculars and maps pointing out the important sites) to a 360-degree view of the city.

If the good view isn`t enough, the KL towers have other attractions including a 100-year-old jelutong tree. During construction, builders were forced to shift the tower, at a considerable expense, when they realised its construction was harming the tree. Now it stands behind a protective wall, close enough for tourists to be able to touch its bark, but far enough that they can`t disfigure it.

Up in the air

There`s more to Kuala Lumpur than steel and glass buildings glittering in the sun. The Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) has an open green ground and the Malaysian flag is hoisted atop a 100 m flagpole. It stands in front of the heritage Sultan Abdul Samad Building with gorgeous Mughal architecture, built by the British. The Masjid Negara (the National Mosque of Malaysia), situated amidst lush gardens, is a 73m-high minaret with a 16-point star roof, which can hold over 15,000 people at a point. You can get a better view of the city from the nearby Selangor district, home to the Batu Caves. Climb the 272 concrete steps to reach these limestone caves studded with Hindu shrines and paintings.

At the bottom of the stairs is a 42.7 m, gold-plated statue of Lord Murugan, the highest in the world. The best time to visit is in the morning, as by afternoon the place gets crowded with devotees.
-Courtesy Zee News


Petronas Towers

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Bali, a place for sea lovers and ancient temples

News4u-Travel Desk- Bali: Are you a sea urchin who wants to soak in the sun in a serene ambience? Do you also fancy ancient temples and the fascinating stories around it? Then a visit to the island of Bali in Indonesia - a predominantly Hindu enclave in a country with the world`s largest Muslim population - will more than quench your thirst.

Bali`s undulating landscape is a real treat for the eyes as well as the soul. Bali is an Indonesian province where 84 percent of the population is Hindu followed by Muslims and Christians. It has tropical weather conditions and July-August are considered the best months to visit.

The picturesque city of Nusa Dua, 40 km from Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali, points to the aesthetic sense of the its planners. The city is dotted with huge lush green parks. Statues of various Hindu mythological figures and sculptures of dancing women and various tropical animals and birds are spread across the city.

During the religious festivals, the Balinese people dress up the sculptures. Even temples put umbrellas over the heads of the statues.

The people are soft-spoken, friendly and religious. They start their day by offering flowers and fruits to the gods, a common scene across the island.

“Tourists come from across the world. Many people from the West come just to enjoy the sea,” a tour guide said.

People also throng Bali for the beautiful ancient temples; the place is also known as “The island of thousand temples.”

A visit to Uluwatu Temple will sweep you off your feet. Located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the blue sea, it has a therapeutic effect on visitors. Constructed in the 11th century, it is one of the nine directional temples meant to protect Bali from evil spirits. It is a ritual to wrap a cloth around the waist while entering.

But one needs to be cautious about the monkeys in the temple premises! They are present in huge numbers and at times give tourists a tough time.

There is also an amphitheatre-like structure within the premises where Hindu mythological plays are performed in the evening.

Bali is also known for its handicrafts like batik works on dress material, wooden crafted objects, showpieces made of shells, leather goods made of snakeskin, various utility items made of wood and cane and traditional musical instruments crafted out of coconut shells, wood and cane.

One needs plenty of rupiahs to purchase this stuff. With the inflation rate steep, $100 will fetch you 1,135,000 to 1,140,000 rupiah depending on the day`s exchange rate. And, any beautiful object one will lay one`s hands on will cost not less than 75,000 rupiah.

Nusa Dua is a serene and private location with lots of upmarket hotels, but to get a hang of the night life in the city one must go to Kuta. Life starts there after 10 p.m. Here one can find lots of reasonable accommodation and open restaurants. Kuta has innumerable night clubs and the hookah crowd flocks the place.

Beaches in Bali are a hot spot for swimming, surfing and sunbathing. Since the mercury never dips substantially in this zone, one can travel light.

Bali caters to the beach spirit of both the rich and bagpackers alike.

How to reach:

* From India, travel through Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia), Singapore (Singapore Airlines and others) or Bangkok (Thai Airlines). Thence, fly by carriers like Air Asia, Lion and others to Denpasar.

Flight time from New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur/Singapore: 5 hours 30 minutes.

Flight time from Kuala Lumpur/Singapore to Denpasar - less than 3 hours.

* Accommodation: Ranges from Rs.3,000 to Rs.50,000 ($47-$792) per night.

For the really high end traveller, there is the Bulgari hotel, one of only two in the world, where a room costs Rs.150,000 ($2,380) a night.

* A meal for four in a mid-range restaurant will cost Rs.2,000 ($31) without alcohol.

* Cuisine to watch out for: Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), Opor Ayam (Chicken curry), Tuna Sambal Matah (Seared Tuna with raw Sambal), Sambal Udang (Prawns in spicy sambal sauce) and Beef Rendang. IANS


Bali, a place for sea lovers and ancient temples

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Few Brain booster Foods for you…

News4u-Features Desk-  It’s that time of the year again… exam period! Whether you’re a high school or university student, I’m sure we all know what it feels like to spend sleepless nights, trying to stuff more content into our over-worked brains.

But did you know that eating the right foods is not only beneficial for your physical health, but it can also boost brain function? Despite it’s size, the brain is an extremely active organ that consumes up to 20% of your caloric intake every day!

Therefore, it’s crucial to fuel it with essential nutrients that will not only enhance mental performance, but also increase productivity and help control those crazy mood swings. Next time you step into the kitchen for a study snack – put down the packet of crisps, and choose one of these brain-boosting options instead!

 

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate

 

Yes, you read that right. Believe it or not, dark chocolate is wonderful brain food to have in moderation. It contains natural stimulants which increase blood flow to the brain, helping you to focus and improve concentration. Not only that, it stimulates the production of endorphins to boost your mood and keep your spirits lifted! Look out for brands that contain 85% or more cacao – the greater the percentage, the more benefits you’ll get from each piece (or two)!

 

 

 

Berries

Berries are a quick, convenient snack packed full of health benefits to promote brain function. The antioxidants and phytonutrients they contain help improve blood flow to the brain to enhance mental performance. In particular, research has suggested that blueberries can improve or delay short-term memory loss. Another great benefit is that they may protect the brain from neurological damage and reduce the effects caused by age-related conditions… anti-ageing for the brain, anyone?

-Agencies


Berries

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Imran calls for ‘civil disobedience movement’ to oust Sharif

News4u-News Desk- Pakistan’s opposition leader Imran Khan on Sunday declared a “civil disobedience movement” against the Nawaz Sharif-led government, saying the country’s future is bleak under the rule of businessmen, as cleric Tahirul Qadri gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the embattled Prime Minister to resign.

“I have called for the civil disobedience movement for you, not for myself. We will not pay taxes, electricity or gas bills,” Khan told his supporters while giving a speech which he described as the most important of his political career.

“I thought that if this rally heads towards the Prime Minister House then they will clash with the police,” and they (the police) will get killed which “I don’t want”, he said on the second day of his sit-in here.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief appealed to the people of Pakistan to stop paying utility bills and taxes to the current government.

“I am giving a two-day deadline to the government,” he said, adding that after that he would not be able to stop his workers from marching into the “Red Zone”, where the Parliament, the President and the Prime Minister’s residences and embassies are located. For two days, Khan urged the crowd not to move ahead, because he has promised Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar that he and his supporters will not cross into the “Red Zone”.

Khan asserted that under the rule of “these businessmen who only want to make money for themselves, Pakistan’s future is bleak.” Khan’s remarks were directed at Sharif, one of the country’s wealthiest person and the owner of Ittefaq Group.

“There is only one way now, we will kick off a civil disobedience campaign,” he said to raucous applause from thousands of his supporters, who have traveled from Lahore in his ‘Azadi March’ aimed at ousting Prime Minister Sharif who won a landslide victory in the general election last year.

In the polls, Sharif’s PML-N had won 190 out of 342 seats. Khan’s PTI got 34 seats, the third largest bloc in the legislature. Khan claimed that his party should have won many more seats but for the vote-rigging by Sharif’s PML-N. Earlier, stick wielding PTI protesters hit containers and removed barbed wire blocking their way to the “Red Zone”.

Meanwhile, leader of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) Qadri, who is calling for the arrest of Sharif and his brother Shahbaz for the killing of his 14 supporters in Lahore on June 17, also gave a 48-hour ultimatum to Sharif to resign.

“The country’s survival will be at stake if Nawaz Sharif and his cronies are allowed to rule the country. We don’t want mid-term elections… what we want is revolution,” he said. “We will not allow this system to continue any more,” Qadri said while addressing supporters today.


Imran calls for ‘civil disobedience movement’ to oust Sharif

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Guj by-elections to be litmus test for Anandi’s leadership

News4u-News Desk- The by-elections to the lone Lok Sabha seat and nine Assembly seats in Gujarat next month will be a litmus test for the leadership and acceptance of new Chief Minister Anandi Patel, who was handed over the baton by Narendra Modi after he was elected as Prime Minister.

This will be the first election to be fought under the leadership of Patel in Gujarat after she took over the reins.

All the nine Assembly seats where by-polls will be conducted on September 13, were held by BJP and vacated by sitting MLAs when they recently got elected to the Lok Sabha. The Assembly seats where bypolls will be held are: Anand, Limkheda (Dahod), Deesa (Banaskantha), Matar (Kheda), Maninagar (Ahmedabad), Talaja (Bhavnagar), Tankara (Rajkot), Khambhalia (Jamnagar) and Mangrol (Junagadh).

The Vadodara Lok Sabha seat also fell vacant after Modi decided to retain Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Opposition Congress on the other hand is hopeful of their party’s revival in Gujarat after the exit of Modi from the political scene of the state. It has in the last couple of months aggressively taken up issues of corruption and inflation, and is hoping to turn the tables on the ruling BJP.

“This by-poll will be like a test for the acceptance of new chief minister of BJP among the people of Gujarat. The Assembly seats are generally fought under the leadership of the Chief Minister, and are considered to be stamp on their work or rejection of their work,” Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.

Modi had handpicked Patel pipping several other contenders for the post. In the first few months of power, Patel has extensively spoken on the issues of women empowerment and building toilets, but she is yet to be tested on other fronts.

Under Narendra Modi, BJP has repeatedly won elections since 2001 in Gujarat, and state unit of BJP hopes that people will crown them with victory under the first woman chief minister also.

The BJP also hopes that the charisma of Modi will sail them through the election and they have planned to project Modi’s initiative taken at the state and the Central level to win polls, party leaders said.


Guj by-elections to be litmus test for Anandi’s leadership

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Two ancient Maya cities discovered in Mexico

News4u-News Desk- Archaeologists have unearthed two ancient Maya cities hidden in thick vegetation in the Mexican jungle.

The cities were discovered in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Campeche, in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula.

Expedition leader Ivan Sprajc, of the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and his team found the massive remains as they further explored the area around Chactun, a large Maya city discovered by the Slovenian archaeologist in 2013.

One of the newly discovered cities featured an extraordinary facade with an entrance representing the open jaws of an earth monster, ‘Discovery News’ reported.

The site was visited in the 1970s by American archaeologist Eric Von Euw, who documented the facade and other stone monuments with yet unpublished drawings. However, the exact location of the city, referred to as Lagunita by Von Euw, remained lost.

Lagunita was identified only after the archaeologists compared the newly found facade and monuments with Von Euw’s drawings. The monster-mouth facade turned to be one of the best preserved examples of this type of doorways, which are common in the Late-Terminal Classic Rio Bec architectural style, in the nearby region to the south

. Researchers also found remains of a number of massive palace-like buildings arranged around four major plazas. A ball court and a temple pyramid almost 65 ft high also stood in the city, while 10 stelae (tall sculpted stone shafts) and three altars (low circular stones) featured well-preserved reliefs and hieroglyphic inscriptions.

The other city unearthed by Sprajc was named Tamchen, which means “deep well” in Yucatec Maya. More than 30 chultuns were found at the site. These are bottle-shaped underground chambers, largely intended for collecting rainwater.

Like in Lagunita, plazas were surrounded by large buildings. These include the remains of an acropolis supporting a courtyard with three temples on its sides.


Two ancient Maya cities discovered in Mexico

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Bhagwat: Hindutva can incorporate other religions in itself, its our identity

News4u-News Desk- Stoking yet another controversy, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity.

“Hindustan is a Hindu nation…Hindutva is the identity of our nation and it (Hinduism) can incorporate others (religions) in itself,” he said.

Last week, Bhagwat had said in Cuttack, “The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture.”

If inhabitants of England are English, Germany are Germans and USA are Americans then why all inhabitants of Hindustan are not known as Hindus, he had posed.

Bhagwat was in Mumbai today on the occasion of Krishna Janamashtami to attend the inauguration programme of the golden jubilee celebrations of the VHP, that was founded in Mumbai on August 29-30, 1964.

He said the goal of VHP in the coming five years would be to ensure equality among the Hindus of the nation.

“For the next 5 years we have to work with the aim of bringing equality among all the Hindus in the country. All Hindus should be drinking water at one place, should be praying at one place and after their death, their bodies should be burnt at the same place,” he said.


RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

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Now, Facebook to act as deterrant to fight corruption

News4u-News Desk-In a bid to check corruption and embarrass the offenders, the Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) is planning to launch a page on a popular social networking site where it would upload the pictures of those caught for taking bribes.

“In a bid to intensify our action against corrupt and reach out to people, we are planning to use the popular platform of Facebook in a week time,” said Director General of Police (ACB) Pravin Dixit.

The Facebook page, if started, will have the pictures of the accused, besides the details of the bribe amount the accused took, valuables and other documents recovered from him/her during searches at office and home, police said.

The ACB, which has laid as many as 744 traps so far this year, a 114 per cent jump from the same period last year, has been for the past two months publishing pictures of those caught in the act on its own website.

During the 744 traps till August 16, it has arrested 1009 government employees and their associates, who are private individuals. In the same period last year, 348 traps were laid in which 452 were arrested.

“The reason why we are considering this idea is that it will damage the image of the arrested accused and it will deter others from accepting bribe,” said another official.

If the pictures and other details are uploaded on the social networking site, the accused would be embarrassed in front of their family and friends and they may not indulge in such acts in future, if reinstated in their service, police said.


Facebook

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‘Janmashtami’ fervour grips nation; Celebrations begin in Mathura

News4u-News Desk-The famous Dwarkadheesh Temple in the land of Lord Krishna reverberated with sounds of conch, bells and vedic hymns as Janmashtami celebrations began on Sunday. “Milk, curd, honey, ‘khandsari’ and ghee was used to bath the deity in the morning.

Lasting for half an hour, the abhishek (anointment) ceremony was completed with aarati,” Adhikari of the temple Sridhar Chaturvedi said. Since it is the only temple where Janmashtami is being celebrated on Sunday, the areas around it were crowded with pilgrims, with their numbers increasing by the evening.

“No untoward incident has been reported today. Since most of the temples, including temples of Sri Krishna Janmasthan area, are celebrating Janmashtami on Monday, security has been beefedup for Monday,” Deputy SP Anil Yadav said. “The city area has been divided into three Zones and 13 sectors with ADM and Additional SP incharge of each zone. About 4,000 police personnel have been deployed to ensure peaceful celebration of the festival,” he said.

In Gokul, preparations are on in full swing to welcome ‘Kanha’ (Lord Krishna) after this midnight. “Since ‘Kanha’ was brought from Mathura by Vasudeo after midnight and the residents of Gokul got to know about him one day after Janmastami, the festival in the form of ‘Dadhikana’ is celebrated in Gokul the next day.

It is virtually a Holi where people drench each other with a mixture of curd and turmeric,” social activist Narayan Tewari said. Since Janmashtami in Radha Raman, Radha Damodar and Tedhe Khambhawala temples of Vrindaban will be celebrated during the day onMonday, priests are ensuring sufficient availability of several quintals of milk, curd and other items for the anointment ceremony.

“Owing to flood of pilgrims now, arranging eleven quintals of milk and curd is a problem. However we are sure that there will be no dearth of milk and curd as we are getting offer from unexpected quarters,” priest Dinesh Chandra Goswami said. Also, the markets of Mathura and Vrindaban are flooded with dresses and other items related to the festival.

“The maximum demand this year is of peacock feather- attached dress of Thakur Ji,” said Vikas, a trader from Vrindaban.


‘Janmashtami’ fervour grips nation

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Oval Test:Eng beat India by an inning and 244 runs

News4u-Sports Desk-India’s recent saga of spineless performances touched a new low as they crashed to a humiliating innings and 244 runs defeat well inside three days in the fifth and final cricket Test against England, who clinched the series with a 3-1 margin, in London today.

It was yet another abject surrender by the batsman, who were shot out for 94 in just 29.2 overs as they continued their embarassing display succumbing to their heaviest Test defeat in 40 years.

This was after England took a gigantic 338 runs lead with a healthy first innings score of 486 riding on a brilliant 149 not out by Joe Root.

The series win enbaled Alastair Cook and his boys to retain the Pataudi Trophy for the second straight time in three years.

While statistically, it was not a ‘Whitewash’ like the last time in 2011 when India lost 0-4, but once the script took a different turn in Southampton, it had only been a case of humiliation of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men, who simply were not good enough to put up a semblance of fight against a rampaging English outfit, running all over them.

The likes of Gautam Gambhir (3), Cheteshwar Pujara (11), Virat Kohli (20) whose faulty techniques in adverse conditions was cruelly exposed by the likes of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad.

While Kohli did not have a clue about how to tackle deliveries shaping away, Pujara was all at sea against the ball coming into the right-hander.

It was ironical that India lost two Test matches with a total playing time of five days — which is the duration of a single Test match.

It was near-impossible to prevent a landslide victory for England but opener Murali Vijay (2), who had a decent first half of the tour got an incutter from Anderson was adjudged leg-before.

Gautam Gambhir (3) didn’t slide the bat in as he was a feet short off the crease failing to beat a direct throw from Chris Woakes.

While India went into the lunch at 9 for two, the writing was there on the wall.


Lost Indians

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