Coorg, a green escape in Karnataka

News4u-Travel Desk- If you find Ooty, Kodaikanal or Munnar a bit too touristy and crowded a destination in southern India, Coorg is that perfect holiday spot in Karnataka that is sure to please toddlers, youth and the old alike.

Not that this hill station needs to be chosen for a sojourn by eliminating other similar destinations in the vicinity. Just a three-hour drive from Mysore, 150 km away, Coorg district on its own has much to offer, beyond its coffee, cardamom, pepper and beetelnut estates.

There is much to see, admire and soak in at this hill station, which the locals call Kodagu, on the slopes of the Western Ghats, what with some pristine trekking trails, picnic spots, waterfalls, wildlife, woods, forests, valleys and some mouth-watering cuisine.

Situated at a height of 1,525 metres, Madikeri or Mercara is the capital of Coorg, with a nice bazaar, quaint houses with red-roofs and liberal use of teakwood reapers for doors and furniture, so common among homes and clubhouses in Indian hill stations.

It may come as a surprise to some that Coorg has one of the largest settlements of Buddhists in India, just about 30 km away from Madikeri, with their own Namdroling Monastery built in 1963, which the locals call the Golden Temple.

Once you enter the monastery, you feel transported into some other world in the Orient, packed as it is with some 5,000 monks in bright yellow and red robes, with some soothing Buddhist chants, smell of incense and breathtaking sights of pagodas.

After seeing those large golden statues of the Buddha and Tara, the intricate murals and Tangkha paintings, don’t forget to taste some authentic Tibetan food here, especially the delectable momos and the subtle thugkpa, their noodle soup.

One is told it is the largest teaching centre of Nyingmapa - a major lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world - and the present Dalai Lama gave its shorter name, as opposed to Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargyeling that this mesmerising place was called originally.

Before dwelling further, where to stay is a question that is bound to crop up. While there are plenty of hotels and resorts, including the Orange County, that can even set you back by as much as Rs.25,000 per day, it is best to opt for a home stay.

There are some 35 of them in and around Medikeri in a range of Rs.1,000 to Rs.5,000 per day where one gets not just to retire but also taste authentic Coorgi food and take some refreshing strolls on their plantations that grow coffee and other cash crops.

As far as the season goes, October to March — like most places in India — are the best months. The weather is pleasant with that welcome nip in the air. But Coorg during monsoons can be equally mesmerising and enchanting.

There are also plenty of places one can go to. There is Abbey Falls, not far, where one has to make his or her way through some dense woods, dotted with coffee bushes, trees and creepers, to suddenly find a cascading gush of water.

Then about 80 km away is the Iruppu Falls, right next to the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, also called Nagarhole, which is famous for its elephants, with a lot of other game and some 50 species of birds.

Children, especially, are certain to enjoy a visit to Dubare Forest, around an hour and a half from Medikeri. A ferry there takes you across to an elephant camp where one can see the pachyderms being bathed and fed, after which they are ready for a joy ride.

Talacauvery, around an hour away, is the source of the river Cauvery, with a temple to pay homage to this main source of water for some parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Not far is Bhagamandala, the confluence of three rivers: Cauvery, Kanika, and Sujyothi.

Another must-see is Tadiyendamol, which is the tallest peak in Kodagu and gives a breathtaking view of the entire Coorg, apart from the distant Arabian Sea. There is also the Naalkunaadu Palace built by Kodagu king Dodda Raja Veerendra in 1792.

After all this exploring, a bungalow at the plantation is perhaps the best place to retire. Toddlers can chase butterflies, and a hammock and freshly brewed coffee are sure to be at hand!

How far: Around 150 km from Mysore and 260 km from Bangalore

How to reach: By bus or car from Mysore. Closest airport is in Bangalore; the airport in Coimbatore in neighbouring Tamil Nadu is another alternative.

Cost: Around 35-40 home stays in Coorg ranging Rs.1,000 to Rs.5,000 per day.IANS


Coorg, a green escape in Karnataka

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Indian American scientist invented e-mail 32 years ago

News4u-News Desk-Washington: Know who is the inventor of e-mail? The credit goes to an Indian American V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai who received official recognition as the inventor of the computer program for electronic mail system from the US government Aug 30, 1982.

Studying at Livingston High School in New Jersey, Ayyadurai began his work on the email system for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

In 1978, he developed a full-scale emulation of the interoffice mail system which he called “E-mail” and copyrighted in 1982.

At that time, copyright was the equivalent of a patent as there was no other way to protect software inventions, Huffington Post reported.

Based on his work, Ayyadurai won a Westinghouse Science Talent Search Award for high school seniors in 1981.

The official US copyright notice for “E-mail” is now with the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History (SINMAH).

However, the claims Ayyadurai made for the invention led to controversy over his place in the history of computer technology, with some other people claiming to have invented e-mail. IANS


e-mail

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Nick Cannon prefers ‘strong’ women

News4u-Entertainment Desk-Los Angeles: Actor-rapper Nick Cannon, who has recently separated from wife Mariah Carey, prefers to be with women who know exactly what they want.

Whether he is ready to move on or not, is still unknown, but he seems to be clear about the kind of woman he’d like to be with, suggest reports.

Talking about his relationship needs, Cannon said he prefers “a strong woman.”

“I like somebody who knows what they want and getting right to it. That makes a lot of sense for me. And so I welcome that, or ‘welcomed’ that,” he added.

The 33-year-old also doled out advice on how to ask a woman out on a date.

“You never want to make it about the individual. You say, ‘Hey, what are you and your friends doing? I want to come hang out with y’all.’ Or, ‘Let’s all go together.’ So that takes all the pressure off of it of this whole one on one conversation,” he said.

He believes friendship is the first step to “everything”.

“Everybody that I was probably ever serious with it always started off like, ‘Yo, let’s just be cool,’ and then it turned into something else,” he said. IANS


Nick Cannon

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Militants take hostage 44 peacekeepers in Golan

News4u-News Desk-United Nations: At least 44 peacekeepers have been taken hostage by the militnts in the Golan Heights, a UN spokesperson said Friday.

“The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) reported that 44 Fijian troops were detained and 72 Filipino troops still stranded in the region,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a daily briefing.

“The United Nations continues to engage with a wide range of parties within Syria, and is making every effort to ensure the safety and security of its personnel,” he said.

The UN is also engaging with member states who may have influence over armed opposition elements to encourage the safe release of the peacekeepers, he said.

UNDOF peacekeepers were previously detained by armed elements in March and May of 2013 and were released safely.

Peacekeepers serving with the UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war.

In June, the Security Council extended the mission`s mandate for another six months, until Dec 31, 2014.

As of July 31, 2014, there were 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries-Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and Philippines — serving in the UN agency. IANS


Militants take hostage 44 peacekeepers in Golan

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Members of Jewish sect leave Guatemala village

News4u-News Desk-Guatemala City: Members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish group have been forced out of a village in western Guatemala after disputes with indigenous residents over cultural and religious differences.

Misael Santos of the Lev Tahor community says the Jewish group started leaving San Juan La Laguna yesterday after the town’s Elders Council voted to kick them out.

Santos says that there were 230 members of the Jewish community living in the lakeside village and that some had been in the town for six years. Others arrived earlier this year from Canada, where they face a child removal case.

The town’s Elders Council voted last week to give the group 24 hours to leave because they say some members of the sect have mistreated indigenous residents and tourists in the area.PTI


Members of Jewish sect leave Guatemala village

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Best not to mess with nuclear Russia: Vladimir Putin

News4u-News Desk- Lake Seliger: President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia’s armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: “It’s best not to mess with us.”

Putin told the assembly, on the banks of a lake near Moscow, the Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence. He said continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists launched an uprising in April, was the result of a refusal by Kiev to negotiate.

Ukraine, and Western governments, accuse Russia of sending troops and armour to back the separatists in a conflict that has already killed over 2,000 people. Russia denies the charge.

“Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts,” he said at the camp on the banks of Lake Seliger. “We don’t want that and don’t plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia.

“Russia’s partners…should understand it’s best not to mess with us,” said Putin, dressed casually in a grey sweater and light blue jeans. “Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.”

Putin compared Kiev’s assault on the rebel-held cities of Donetsk and Luhansk to the 900-day Nazi siege of Leningrad in which 1 million civilians died, perhaps the most powerful historical analogy it is possible to invoke in Russia.

“Small villages and large cities surrounded by the Ukrainian army which is directly hitting residential areas with the aim of destroying the infrastructure,” he said. “It sadly reminds me the events of the Second World War, when German fascist…occupiers surrounded our cities.” Putin spoke easily with the students, many of whom looked to be asking scripted questions about demography and history. Other times he accepted gifts or, smilingly, played down their praise.

When a student said that she had not heard a single negative comment about Putin’s presidency from camp speakers, he responded with a grin that “objectivity” was important.

His tone darkened when speaking on Ukraine, blaming the United States and the European Union for the “unconstitutional” removal of Kiev’s former Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich and replacement with a pro-European government.

He said eastern Ukraine did not agree with Yanukovich’s removal and was now subjected to “crude military force” from government planes, tanks and artillery.

“If those are contemporary European values, then I’m simply disappointed in the highest degree,” he said, comparing Ukraine’s military operations in the east of the country with the Nazi siege of Leningrad in World War Two.

“Small villages and large cities surrounded by the Ukrainian army which is directly hitting residential areas with the aim of destroying the infrastructure… It sadly reminds me of the events of the Second World War, when German fascist… occupiers surrounded our cities.” Reuters


Vladimir Putin

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John Lennon’s killer apologizes for being an ‘idiot’

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Washington: John Lennon’s killer Mark David Chapman has said that he is sorry for “being such an idiot”.

Chapman, who shot Lennon outside his Dakota apartment house, said that he still gets letters about the pain he had caused, suggest reports.

New York state corrections officials recently released the transcript from the hearing at the Wende Correctional Facility.

Chapman was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder of the singer. ANI


John Lennon

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World’s longest garland honours Indian spiritual guru in US

News4u-News Desk- Over 200 meditation students of Sri Chinmoy from 35 countries, including India, have set a new Guinness world record for the World’s longest fresh flower garland to honour the Indian spiritual leader.

Joining them at an event in Queens in New York, home to a large number of Indian-Americans, to honour Sri Chinmoy’s (1931-2007) 50 years’ work for world peace on his Aug 27 birthday were New York City Councilman Jimmy and Ashrita Furman, holder of 206 current Guinness Records.

The garland, which goes 5 miles in multiple loops on Joseph-Austin-Field in New York’s Queens borough surpasses the previous record by 1.9 miles (3 km). Made of 180,000 carnations of various colours, it weighs 4000 lb (1800 kg), according to a media release.

Chinmoy, a renowned peace visionary founded the Oneness-Home Peace Run, world’s largest torch relay for peace, composed 21,000 songs, wrote 1600 books and established meditation and peace centres in 60 countries.

The supersized garland also ensures Furman a new entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

The previous record of a 5 km (3.1 mile) garland was set by a team in India, four month after Ashrita had broken the record with a 2 mile (3.2 km) garland in 2011.

Furman, a 59-year-old health food store manager from Queens, New York currently holds 206 Guinness world records, including the official record for “the most records held at the same time by an individual”.

Furman worked for three months with flower farms in South America and gathered a team from all over the world to plan the assembly of the garland, the release said.

Furman and his team worked from 7 am until 2 pm to create the longest garland of the world.

New York City Councilman Jimmy Gennaro completed the world’s longest flower garland by attaching the last flower assembly.

“We hope this will inspire others to feel peace in their hearts. After the record we will give the flowers to people in the neighbourhood,” said Furman.


Sri Chinmoy- hounoured with Longest garland

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India, Israel discuss counter-terrorism, homeland security

News4u-News Desk- India and Israel on Friday discussed the implementation of agreement on counter-terrorism and homeland security between the two countries.

Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.

The ambassador told the Home Minister that Israel is looking forward to a meaningful cooperation with India in the area of homeland security. He said that the recently signed agreement is a step further in this direction.

The Home Minister welcomed the ceasefire in Gaza and hoped that it would usher in peace and tranquillity in the region that would be beneficial for both the sides.

The ambassador agreed with the Home Minister and indicated that the first priority of Israel is the reconstruction, rehabilitation and demilitarisation of Gaza so that peace and normalcy return to the region at the earliest.

The ambassador said during his meeting with the Home Minister he has discussed issues of mutual concern, common values and how to counter terrorism.

“We have also discussed how to implement the agreement on counter-terror and homeland security that Israel and India have already signed,” he said.

India and Israel have agreements on homeland and public security, on protection of classified materials and information and a mutual legal assistance treaty in criminal matters.

Replying to queries, the ambassador said the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was a danger to the free world. “ISIS is definitely a danger to free world and India and Israel are part of the free world,” he said.

ISIS, which is fighting Iraqi and Syrian forces, is an al-Qaeda splinter group. It has seized hundreds of square miles of land in Iraq and Syria.

The Ambassador has invited the Home Minister to attend the third Israel Homeland Security International Conference and Exhibition to be held in Tel Aviv during November this year.


India, Israel

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President to inaugurate church centenary celebrations in Kerala

News4u-News Desk- President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the centenary celebrations of Seventh Day Adventist Church in Kerala on 24th October.

The function in this regard will be held at the International convention centre in the state capital at 2 PM, Pastor J Tito Arattukulam told reporters in Kochi.

The World President of the church, Dr Ted C Wilson will also be attending the function, he said.

The church was established by Suvishesha Muthu, an evangelist from Tamil Nadu, who came to the village of Vadacode, near Neyyatinkara in Thiruvananthapuram in October 1914.

Presently, the church is located at Thrissur with regional offices at Thiruvananthapuram, Alapuzha, Thrissur, Thiruvalla and Kozhikode.

Thirty schools and a hospital are run by the church. In India, the church has 25 lakh believers and the headquarter of its South Asia Division is at Hosur, Tamil Nadu.


President Pranab Mukherjee

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