Shiite militiamen kills 32 in Iraq Sunni mosque

News4u-News Desk-Shiite militiamen on Friday opened fire during prayers at a Sunni mosque in the Hamreen area northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 32 people, Iraqi officials said.

A resident of the area in Diyala province said the attack was carried out by the militiamen in revenge for a roadside bomb that struck one of their patrols, an account backed up by MP Nahida al-Daini, who put the death toll at 32.

Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan supported that version of events, but said the bomb blast had targeted civilians who have volunteered to fight alongside Iraqi security forces, who then randomly opened fire.

These volunteers are overwhelmingly Shiite and are militia in all but name, though officials are keen to avoid that label due to its association with organisations that carried out brutal sectarian killings in past years.

The incident at the mosque is all but guaranteed to increase already-high sectarian tensions and widespread anger among Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority with the Shiite-led government.

This will undermine government efforts to retake predominantly-Sunni areas overrun by jihadist-led militants, who launched a major offensive in June that swept security forces aside.


Shiite militiamen kills 32 in Iraq Sunni mosque

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Katiyabaaz (Movie-review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk-Katiyabaaz is a moving account of Kanpur’s electricity crisis that makes you realise how badly our country needs to reform the system.

When circumstances push you way past your breaking point, can disobeying the law be justified? This conflict lies at the heart of this riveting docu-drama based on real events in Kanpur. Though it predominantly deals with something as serious as ‘electricity theft’, it never ceases to be a humane drama that is heartbreaking, yet funny at times.

True to the title, the film’s (self-proclaimed) ‘hero’ of sorts is local vigilante Loha Singh, who is a Katiyabaaz, Katiya being the wire used to steal electricity and Katiyabaaz, the expert electricity thief.

Plagued by poverty and power cuts which last for as long as 15 hours a day, Kanpurites prefer paying thieves like Loha to get illegal but instant electricity, as opposed to paying KESCO (Kanpur Electricity Supply Company Limited), which fails to meet their expectations.

On the other hand, due to poor billing and collection standards, lack of funds, soaring demand, inadequate power generation and meter tampering, KESCO has been making heavy losses.

To bring the situation under control, KESCO’s MD Ritu Maheshwari tries her best to resolve the long-standing issues and generate revenue. She orders taking serious steps against the perpetrators and during the process, faces multiple challenges. Is there a solution to this rampant problem?

The film draws your attention to the reasons and repercussions of the critical crisis, instead of merely focusing on the illegalities, thus giving you the whole picture. Balanced in its approach, this is one of very few social issue-based films that dares to take sides. A tale of survival was never so poignant and entertaining, all at once.

Sensitively directed, realistically shot,* Katiyabaaz* will make you value the most basic thing your city provides you with, that you often take for granted - *bijli.* Courtesy toi…


Katiyabaaz

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Mad About Dance (Movie-review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- A bunch of Asians dancers in UK for the first time take on the challenge of a dance face-off with national champs

No Elvis this. Yet his thrusts have a lot of pelvis. He ‘locks’, ‘pops’ and ‘breaks’. He’s fast, smooth and footloose. The heart of this story rests on the dance floor, but dares to step out too.

Aarav Anand’s (Saahil) life pirouettes on one big dream - he wants to join his idol Caesar’s dance group. With little money and pounds of passion, he moves to the quaint town of Sheffield in UK to track down his dancing guru. He bonds with other struggling desis having similar woes of living in a phoren land. He traces Caesar and his troupe of sinister-looking white snobs, who hate the ‘brownies’ (“Brownies are fit to be waiters, cabbies and caterers!”).

He even suffers a humiliating defeat in a dance battle and is ousted. He meets UK-born desi girl Aashira (Amrit) who hates the ‘browns’, but abruptly waltzes over to the other side, finds a partner in him and falls in love too. Aarav then forms the first Asian dance crew in Sheffield that participates in a fierce dance battle at the national level.

Debutant director Saahil Prem’s film is simple with a formulaic story line. It doesn’t ever ‘step-up’ to another level. It delves into issues beyond dance - racial conflict, youth dilemmas and dreams. While none of these sub-plots are well-fleshed out, they end up throwing the story off the dance floor.

Some dance routines (B-boying, locking, popping, break-dance, free-style - Salah Benlemqawanssa & Supple Nam - Kryptic Movement) will arouse cheers, and the dancers are undeniably impressive during the fiery dance face-offs. Yet, for a dance film, it lacks pace, energetic enthusiasm and a good soundtrack. The lead pair burns the dance floor, can’t say the same about their romance. Most of the cast dances better than they emote.

Saahil strikes with aggressive moves, he’s silently charming, but underplays his emotions. Amrit is smooth on the dance floor and likeable; Raashul Tandon (of the buddy gang) provides laughs.

‘MAD’ puts its best foot forward at the end, hold your breath for the last dance. Overall, it’s a film for dance lovers. Even if it leaves the heart dancing for more. Courtesy toi…


Mad About Dance

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Two killed in heavy Pak shelling on 22 border posts, 13 hamlets

News4u-News Desk-In a major escalation, Pakistani troops on Saturday indulged in heavy “unprovoked” shelling and firing on 22 border outposts and 13 villages, killing two civilians and injuring six others including a BSF jawan along the International Border in Jammu sector.

Over 3000 people living in border hamlets have been evacuated to safe areas under a contingency plan, enforced today after the latest ceasefire violation by Pakistan soon after midnight targeting the entire border belt of Arnia and R S Pura as well as Hamirpur sub-sector in Poonch.

The BSF troops took positions and responded with equal calibre weapons to Pakistani firing which resulted in heavy exchange of fire till 0700 hours today, a senior BSF officer told news agencies.

“Pak Rangers resorted to heavy shelling of 82-mm mortars and firing of automatic weaponry on 22 BoPs and civilian areas along IB in Arnia and R S Pura sub-sectors of Jammu district from 0030 hours today,” the officer said.

In Jora farm,Akram Hussain and his son Aslam were killed and three other family members were injured when a Pak shell exploded inside their house after tearing the roof, Sub Divisional Police officer (SDPO), R S Pura, Devender Singh.

This was heaviest unprovoked and indiscriminate firing and shelling by Pak Rangers this year along IB in Jammu frontier in violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement, he said.

Pakistan troops also violated ceasefire twice today by resorting to heavily firing with automatic and small arms along Hamirpur sub-sector in Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir, forcing Indian troops toretaliatestrongly.

There was a heavy onslaught of 82-mm mortar shells by Pak Rangers on atleast 13 border hamlets triggering panic among the people living along the IB.

Six persons including a BSF jawan were also injured and 5 houses suffered damaged, security officials said.

Singh, who led the evacuation and rescue operation, said that firing and shelling has taken place in entire border belt of Arnia and R S Pura.

The shelling targeted villages of Sia, Jordha farm, Treva, Nikowal, Pittal, Pindi, Top-2, Gari, Gharana, Abdullian Korotana, Korotana Khurd and Vidhipur Jattan.

Among the injured are Ajay Chowdhary of Korotana Khurd and Rani Devi of Vidhipur Jattan, besides a BSF jawan.

“At least 3000 people from seven to eight villages, falling within firing range of the Pakistani troops, were evacuated by the district administration in view of their safety and shifted to safe shelters,” Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Zone, Shant Manu said.

They were housed in safe shelters in the Government High School, Rangpur in Basspur Bungalow and Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI), RS Pura. These two government buildings were among the accommodation identified by the district administration to protect civilians from Pakistan firing as a part of the contingency plan.

Administration and police official were camping in RS Pura and have made arrangements for accommodating the border villagers, he said.

The heavy firing and shelling comes after the discovery of a possible cross-border tunnel from PoK along LoC in Chalka post in Pallanwala sector of Jammu district on Friday.

There have been 16 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in nearly a fortnight and 18 this month.

Meanwhile, Pakistani defence sources on Saturday claimed that a woman and a 60-year-old man were killed in firing by Indian troops near Sialkot.


Two killed in heavy Pak shelling on 22 border posts, 13 hamlets

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Kerala liquor policy to make state ‘dry’ in a decade

News4u-News Desk-The Kerala government’s intention to bring about prohibition in a phased manner has begun with a new liquor policy that will turn the state into a dry one in a decade.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who Friday finalised the new liquor policy, told reporters it will be submitted to the Kerala High Court Aug 26.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) arrived at the decision following state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran’s tough stand when he, citing a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, argued that 418 bars with poor infrastructure in the state should not be given new licences this fiscal.

The issue reached the Kerala High Court which asked the government to come up with a new liquor policy, and also directed a two-member government committee to submit its report Aug 26 on the condition of these bars.

“Not only will the 418 bars that are closed now will not open, but the 312 bars that are open will be closed at the earliest. We have to settle their outstanding amounts and we have got legal opinion that we need not wait till this fiscal-end to close down these bars. From next year, only five star hotels will be serving liquor,” said Chandy.

Kerala’s sole liquor wholesaler is the state-owned Beverages Corporation and in all, there are 383 retail outlets.

“Starting Oct 2 this year, 10 percent of the retail outlets will close down and apart from the existing dry days, all Sundays will now be dry days. In 10 years’ time, total prohibition will be in place in Kerala,” said Chandy.

However, CPI-M politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said: “This is just an eyewash as total prohibition is not going to be practical and this sudden decision is just meant to settle down the issues in the Congress party.”

Finance Minister K.M. Mani when asked if Chandy has usurped all the glory in his one stroke, said: “If the glory is there for the chief minister, we being his cabinet colleagues will also get the glory of this very excellent decision.”

“No finance minister will like to become poorer, as there will be an estimated drop of Rs.1,811 crore this fiscal following the closing down of all the bars and 39 retail outlets. But the cause is more important as there has been a pending demand for bringing down liquor consumption,” he told reporters.

After Chandy came out with the new policy, Hindu Ezhava leader Vellapaly Natesan was the first to tell reporters that some religious institutions (Christian churches) use wine and that should also be banned.

“Some churches even sell wine and this should also be stopped,” said Natesan.

However, Syro Malabar Catholic Church spokesperson Paul Thelekkat said the wine issue was being given a “communal colour”.

“The response of Natesan is not a criticism of the use of wine for the Holy Mass by the church but a type of lampooning which is distasteful as everyone knows of the sacred use of it. The excise department of Kerala knows it,” said Thelekkat.

Chandy said the real concern will be to tackle the illicit liquor trade once the new policy comes into effect.

“This is a concern that we are having and it’s for that we have decided to impose a five percent cess on all liquor that will be sold and this money would go into a corpus fund set aside for running anti-liquor campaigns — to educate on the ill-effects of liquor and for rehabilitating employees who are as of now working in bars.

“We are giving a call to the people to contribute one day’s income to a new fund which has been named as the Kerala Alcohol Education Research Rehabilitation Compensation Fund to be used for all these activities,” said Chandy, adding he has already received the first contribution of Rs.1 lakh.

Friday evening, Chandy’s office staff handed him Rs.1 lakh as their one day’s salary towards the fund.


Kerala liquor policy to make state ‘dry’ in a decade

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Romance in ‘Mr. X’ is dark: Amyra Dastur

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Chennai: ‘Issaq’ fame Amyra Dastur, who is paired with Emraan Hashmi in Vikram Bhatt-directed ‘Mr. X’, says the romance in the film is darker than a usual romantic entertainer.

“It`s (`Mr. X`) a love story, but it`s not your happy, teen romance. It`s darker than your usual romantic films because it`s also a thriller. It`s a superhero film,” Amyra said.

“What`s really interesting is that I`m not actually romancing Emraan, I`m chasing him in the film. That`s what makes this a darker love story and quite different from other films,” she said.

Amyra, who is simultaneously shooting for Tamil film ‘Anegan’ with Dhanush, finds Emraan to be extremely “witty”.

‘Mr. X’ also features Arunoday Singh in an important role. IANS


Amyra Dastur

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UNSC condemns American journalist’s cowardly murder

News4u-News Desk- The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the “heinous and cowardly” murder of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants, saying the hatred espoused by them must be stamped out.

“This incident is a tragic reminder of the increasing dangers journalists face every day in Syria. It also once again demonstrates the brutality of IS, which is responsible for thousands of abuses against the Syrian and Iraqi people,” the 15-nation Council said in statement.

The Council expressed its deep sympathy and condolences to the Foley family, the US government as well as to the families of all victims of IS.

“IS must be defeated and the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out,” Council members said, emphasising the unity among governments and institutions to counter IS, Al-Nusra Front and other groups associated with Al-Qaida.

The Council’s strong condemnation echoes that of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who two days ago deplored Foley’s “horrific murder”, which he declared “an abominable crime that underscores the campaign of terror the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS) continues to wage against the people of Iraq and Syria”.

He said perpetrators of this and other such horrific crimes must be brought to justice.

According to international law, journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict are generally considered as civilians and shall be respected as such, members stressed. It is essential to bring perpetrators of these “reprehensible acts of terrorism” to justice.

“Those responsible for the killing of James Foley shall be held accountable,” the Council stressed, urging all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the United States.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, members added.


James Foley

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Defence Minister Arun Jaitley commissions INS Kamorta

News4u-News Desk- Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday commissioned India’s first indigenously-built stealth anti-submarine warfare INS Kamorta at naval dockyard in Vishakhapatnam.

Jaitley also received the guard of honour at the event.

The warship has been built by the state-owned Gardenreach Shipbuilders in Kolkata and is the first vessel in the Navy whose all weapon systems are manufactured indigenously.

It will form part of the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Command. Kamorta has enhanced stealth features that make her less susceptible to detection.


INS Kamorta

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Part of human brain stays ‘youthful’ into older age

News4u-Features Desk-At least one part of the human brain may be able to process information the same way in older age as it does in the prime of life, according to a new study.

The research conducted at the University of Adelaide compared the ability of 60 older and younger people to respond to visual and non-visual stimuli in order to measure their “spatial attention” skills.

Spatial attention is critical for many aspects of life, from driving, to walking, to picking up and using objects.

“Our studies have found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention,” said Dr Joanna Brooks, who conducted the study as a Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology and the School of Medicine.

“Both younger (aged 18-38 years) and older (55-95 years) adults had the same responses for spatial attention tasks involving touch, sight or sound.

“In one task, participants were asked to feel wooden objects whilst blindfolded and decide where the middle of the object was - participants’ judgements were significantly biased towards the left-hand side of the true object centre. This bias is subtle but highly consistent,” Brooks said.

“When we think of ageing, we think not just of the physical aspects but also the cognitive side of it, especially when it comes to issues such as reaction time, which is typically slower among older adults.

“However, our research suggests that certain types of cognitive systems in the right cerebral hemisphere - like spatial attention - are ‘encapsulated’ and may be protected from ageing,” she said.

Brooks, who is now a Research Fellow in Healthy Ageing based at the Australian National University, presented her results at the International Cognitive Neuroscience Conference in Brisbane.

“Our results challenge current models of cognitive ageing because they show that the right side of the brain remains dominant for spatial processing throughout the entire adult lifespan,” Brooks said.

“We now need to better understand how and why some areas of the brain seem to be more affected by ageing than others,” said Brooks.

The research could also be helpful in better understanding how diseases such as Alzheimer’s affect the brain.PTI


Part of human brain stays ‘youthful’ into older age

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Your smartphone may be recording your journey!

News4u- Features Desk- A mapping device on your smartphone may be allowing it to track your every move, monitoring and recording each part of your journey, experts say.

Cell phones are now constantly hooked up to the internet via mobile signal and owners can be tracked to within inches of their actual location.

For owners of an Android device or anyone who’s signed up to Google Now, this detailed data is instantly beamed to their Google account, where it can be stored for months.

These movements can now be viewed on a fully interactive location history map, ‘Express.co.uk’ reported.

Once logged into a Google account, users simply click on a day, week or month and the map lights up with red dots and lines showing exactly where they have been.

However, Google said that the service they provide is not compulsory and users can turn location services off.


Your smartphone may be recording your journey!

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