masala chat

Nora wants to 'dance and love and dance again'

Dancer-actress Nora Fatehi, in her latest social media post, has revealed what she wants to do.

"I wanna dance and love and dance again," she wrote alongside her image.

Nora, who was dressed in a latex corset and harem pants, will next be seen in the Ajay Devgn-starrer Bhuj: The Pride Of India.

Arun plays character 'close to his heart'

Tamil actor Arun Vijay, who has impressed with his acting in Thadam, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam and Kuttram 23, is set to play an action hero in his next film Agni Siragugal.

He posted a still from the film on Twitter and said: "Ranjith character from Agni Siragugal is close to my heart... Just loved playing it."

Karthi starts dubbing for Sulthan

Karthi Sivakumar has started dubbing for his new film Sulthan.

"In every situation we have to keep moving ahead," said the Tamil actor, who is the younger brother of actor Suriya and the youngest son of actor Sivakumar.

"It feels good to start work again after a long time."

The film marks the Tamil debut of actress Rashmika Mandanna.

Bandish Bandits changed Shreya's life

The recent web series Bandish Bandits is a hit and its budding heroine Shreya Chaudhry is happy that people have recognised her efforts.

Shreya, who played a pop star in the series, said: "The most significant change post Bandish Bandits in my life is that people are identifying me for my work. There is nothing more rewarding than the love of fans."

Tamannaah slowly building stamina

Actress Tamannaah Bhatia, who has recovered from Covid-19, is working hard to build her stamina.

She recently shared a video of her workout schedule on Instagram and said that she is struggling to do even four push-ups - while earlier she could do 40 at one go.

"It's time to take baby steps and get back my stamina," she said. "This is an extremely important step after recovering from the coronavirus. Keep going but make sure you listen to your body."

Varalakshmi turns director with Kannamoochi

Tamil actress Varalakshmi Sarathkumar has surprised fans by revealing that she will be making her directorial debut with a film titled Kannamoochi.

"Finally stepping into this new avatar as a director... thank you for amazing wishes n response... I will work hard to do my best n not let you down," she tweeted on Sunday, when the poster of the film was released by more than 50 women celebrities.

Varun draws inspiration from Bruce Lee

Varun Dhawan, who recently holidayed in the Maldives, posted a photo on social media which shows him chilling out in an infinity pool with the sea as the backdrop.

The actor mentioned that his blissful state reminded him of legendary martial arts star Bruce Lee's philosophy: "Be like water making its way through cracks."

 
 
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Delhi's mean streets create India's Karate Kid

Amritpal Kaur is India's best known young face in karate.

She won the gold at the 2015 Commonwealth Karate Championship and took the title at the last three South Asian Championships.

The 23-year-old's first love was badminton. But New Delhi's mean streets pushed her to take up karate.

She told IANS that when she was 13 it was difficult for her to travel alone to a badminton court from her house in Tilak Nagar because she would be pestered by "eve-teasers" - men who harass women.

"Self-defence was the only reason that I wanted to learn karate," she said. "However, there was something about the sport that made me fall in love with it instantly."

She trained in a park near her house for two years but lost all her competitive bouts. She soon realised that something was amiss.

She then decided to save her pocket money and visited cyber cafes to watch videos of five-time karate world champion Rafael Aghayev from Azerbaijan.

"That is when I realised that what was being taught to me was something very basic," she said. "It also meant that I had to work hard and devote more time to self-training."

Initially her parents did not support her decision to take up karate as they wanted her to concentrate on academics.

Her lower-middle-class family also had no money for her training. Government or private funding was difficult to get because karate is a low-profile sport in India.

But Amritpal, a topper in school, managed to convince her mother that she could strike a fine balance between studies and sport.

While studying for English Honours at New Delhi's Janki Devi Memorial College, she had already proved her mettle in karate at the state and national levels.

The Delhi government then granted her a scholarship. "That is how I could afford my training, travelling and gear," she said.

But flying to international destinations for competitions was difficult because she had no funding.

"Once a Sikh organisation funded me to train in Turkey," she said. "Going for international qualifying matches means flight tickets, accommodation, training and food... it is never easy," said Amritpal, a black belt in Shito-Ryu Seiko-Kai karate style.

Unfortunately, she could not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, now rescheduled to next year, despite having practised six hours daily and maintaining a strict lifestyle.

"All the qualifying matches that started in 2018 were held in Europe and we had to fund ourselves for the trips," she said. "I could not afford to participate."

Then in December last year, while competing at the President's Cup in Goa, a bad fall resulted in a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which helps stabilise the knee joint, and complete bed rest for seven months. Her road to recovery is thankfully underway, thanks to actor Sonu Sood who funded her surgery and subsequent rehabilitation.

"He saw a tweet about my injury on Twitter and immediately got his team to reach out to me and fund my surgery," said Amritpal, who is currently undergoing physiotherapy.

Her campaign to become the first Indian to win the gold at the Karate World Championships next year is well on course now with the support of sports enthusiast, businessman and movie producer Sujay Jairaj.

Jairaj, who secured the rights to Indian badminton champion Saina Nehwal's life story, will also do a film on Amritpal.

"She is a brilliant fighter," he said. "The hardships and struggles she's had to face have not diminished her drive one bit.

"It's so amazing to see that kind of motivation. I believe it is important to share inspiring stories such as hers."

Indo-Asian News Service

 
 
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Juhi back with a bold role

V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR

Juhi Parmar, who was popular as the face of the Hindi serial Kumkum - Ek Pyara Sa Bandhan which ran for seven years, is back on television screens with Hamari Wali Good News.

The Zee TV show, which premiered on Wednesday, is a progressive take on the Indian mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship.

Usually in traditional Indian households, after marriage, barely a year passes before pressure starts building on the daughter-in-law to deliver "good news".

If due to any reason, she is unable to deliver a baby, all hell breaks loose.

In Hamari Wali Good News, the Tiwari family deals with the situation in a unique way.

Instead of finding fault with Navya, the daughter-in-law (played by Srishti Jain), Renuka, the mother-in-law, offers to conceive a child with her husband and hand it over to Navya to raise without caring for what people will say.

Juhi, who plays the mother-in-law, admits that it is a bold concept. But she is sure the theme will be accepted by Indian television audiences.

"Anything that is different will catch audiences' interest," Juhi, the winner of the super-hit Indian reality television game show Bigg Boss in 2011, told tabla! "Even if the audience is not ready, we can influence them by making such progressive shows.

"I am not saying every household needs a mother-in-law to bear a child for her daughter-in-law, but the thought is liberating.

"Every day, a mother-in-law gets several chances to choose whether she wants to support her daughter-in-law or attack her. Why can't the mother-in-law treat the daughter-in-law as a daughter? The concept itself has a positive message.

"The show is setting an example of how the relation should be between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law so that the daughter-in-law feels as safe and protected at her in-laws' place as she is at her parents'."

Juhi, who last featured in the supernatural show Tantra a year ago, spent five Covid-19 lockdown months in India with her daugter Samairra, engaging the seven-year-old with games, school lessons, creating masks together and talking about the importance of sanitisation.

"My lockdown was a homeschooling period and a mini-vacation with my daughter," said Juhi. "I had no time to get bored. I was reading to her, playing with her, cooking for her, feeding her… our bond has become stronger due to the time we spent together."

The actress was married to businessman and actor Sachin Shroff for eight years. But they divorced in 2017 and the custody of their daughter Samairra was given to Juhi.

The 39-year-old, who was also a hit in serials such as Rishtey and Shani, is known for her versatile roles and doing quality work.

"I have always been an actor who prefers quality over quantity," she said. "That's the reason my body of work is so diverse and creditable. I believe in making right choices at the right time."

Juhi has been very selective while taking up new projects because she is also a single mum and has to balance her life between acting and taking care of her daughter.

"I am always up for challenges and when Renuka's role was offered to me, I felt that this would be very different," she said. "The makers have given the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship a dynamic twist and redefined the equation.

"Renuka has various shades, making her a very interesting woman and one who is relatable and yet so different. I love that she is so vocal, funny at times and yet so caring and can truly go to any extent for her family."

Is television now coming out with bold themes because it is facing competition from web platforms?

"It will be unfair to take the credit away from television," said Juhi. "There were some brilliant shows made in the past also when the web did not exist.

"Back then, we did a show like Kumkum where a young woman becomes a widow and her own brother-in-law marries her. It was shown so convincingly that not only did the audience accept them but they became the most loved couple on television who are remembered even 11 years after the show ended. That was also bold back then.

"The makers of Hamari Wali Good News have done something different because they wanted to, not because they were challenged."

It has been "totally different" for Juhi to be back on the sets amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The makers are doing everything possible to keep us safe - our temperatures and oxygen levels are checked daily," she said.

"But the atmosphere is totally different. I am used to working with a unit that has fun together, especially in the evenings when we have tea and snacks. But that is not happening.

"Everybody is confined in his own space. If a scene requires us to get close to a colleague, we have to do it. There is no other option.

"But it is difficult to work when there is so little interaction. But we all know that this is the need of the hour."

 santosh@sph.com.sg

"The makers have given the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship a dynamic twist and redefined the equation." - Actress Juhi Parmar

 
 
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Riding to flood relief on horseback

The inundated colonies in flood-hit Hyderabad are witnessing a novel rescue and relief operation as horse riders have stepped forward to comfort marooned people.

Going door to door in Nadeem Colony and other inundated areas, the equestrians from the Hyderabad Horse Riding School (HHRS) are providing food, milk, medicines and other essentials.

Heavy rains and floods since Oct 13 have claimed at least 50 lives in and around Hyderabad and inundated hundreds of colonies in the city.

A group of 20 trained horse riders wearing HHRS uniform ride daily through the flooded lanes of Nadeem Colony, Neerja Colony, Balreddy Nagar and Virasat Nagar to help the victims of one of the worst floods the South Indian city has seen.

HHRS president and chief trainer Mohammed Abdul Wahab usually leads the group, which is divided into different teams.

The school has 40 horses, the oldest 10-year-old Rani and the youngest a four-year-old mare called Kajol.

Mr Wahab told IANS that, while the school is engaged in various social service activities, this is the first time it is using horses for rescue and relief work.

As the heavy rains and flash floods left many areas under water, carrying out relief work is not easy.

"Horses are natural swimmers, history shows they have helped warriors win wars by swimming across rivers," said Mr Wahab, who planned the entire operation, assigning tasks to different teams of riders.

"Horses move in the water like they are trotting. They are also well-trained and tamed and taken care of properly after the rescue operation by the team."

He added that no horse has fallen sick despite being in the water for long hours.

Mr Wahab, who comes from a family of equestrians, said that the scenes on social media of areas inundated and people stuck in their houses saddened him and his team and that is why they decided to volunteer for the rescue operation.

"Serving humanity is the biggest service," he said. "When you have everything at your disposal, you should go out and help those in distress.

"It gives an immense satisfaction that we are of some help to people.

"The havoc caused by the flood waters is shocking. People have lost everything."

He and his team carry essential items and go door to door providing relief to the affected.

"They need utensils and clothes because everything got washed away. Mud has piled up in every house," he said.

Indo-Asian News Service

 
 
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Think positive, breathe deep

People are having more stressful thoughts during the current Covi-19 pandemic.

Reebok's mind coach Vrinda Mehta pointed out that this excessive stress is connected to almost all lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression and anxiety.

"We cannot always control what happens around us but what happens within us can be brought under our control with true knowledge, diligent practice and patience," she said.

"Just like we follow a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine for physical fitness, we need to have a healthy mental diet of positive thoughts, emotions and regular breathing exercise to ensure mental well-being."

She suggested a few simple steps:

Begin the day with the five basic Pranayama or breathing techniques: Bhastrika, Kapalbhati, Anulomvilom, Bhramri and Udgeeth.

According to yogic science, our mind and breathing are directly connected.

Include positive affirmations during the Pranayama routine.

Become aware of your breath. Get into the habit of taking slow, deep breaths especially when you are stressed.

Surround yourself with positive people. Think about positive things.

Keep a gratitude journal. Make a habit of writing down five things that you are grateful for each day.

Connect with nature. Get some sunshine as it is a powerful electromagnetic energy that helps in cleansing and rejuvenation.

Reconnect with the earth by walking barefoot on grass and sand.

Listen to calming, soothing music to relieve stress.

Get proper sleep by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and staying away from electronic gadgets before bedtime.

Consciously develop a habit of being positive in any given scenario and be truly grateful for all that you have.

Indo-Asian News Service

 
 
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Singapore cricket loses dear friend

V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR

In a way, Datuk Dr Harjit Singh helped Singapore win SEA Games gold and silver in cricket in Kuala Lumpur in August 2017.

The Singapore Cricket Association (SCA) was without a ground for the national team to train after the Kallang Cricket Field was taken away by the authorities in 2016, and he came to the rescue.

Dr Harjit, the president of the Johor Cricket Council (JCC) who died due to heart complications at the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur on Monday aged 70, offered the JCC Oval at Taman Mutiara Rini for the Singapore squad to train and play warm-up matches. Singapore went on to win the gold in the T20 and the silver in the 50-over tournament in the 2017 SEA Games.

"It was not an easy time for us as we had to travel up and down to Johor almost every week for two months," said Saad Khan Janjua, the SCA CEO. "But Dr Harjit made it easy for us.

"He was a wonderful person and very supportive. Although we were paying the JCC for the facilities, he made lunch arrangements for us and allowed us to use the indoor nets.

"Mutiara Rini was like a home ground for Singapore. We played 36 matches in all in preparation in Johor and this was crucial in Singapore winning the medals at the 2017 SEA Games.

"We can never forget what Dr Harjit did for us. He always stood with friends unconditionally."

Former Singapore national team head coach Sarika Prasad too has fond memories of Dr Harjit, who was the JCC president from 1987 and deputy president of the Malaysian Cricket Association from 1990 to 2003.

"I knew Dr Harjit since 1989 when I came with a team from Visakhapatnam in India to play a friendly game in Johor," said Sarika.

"Whenever I asked him for JCC facilities for Singapore teams to train and play matches, he readily agreed.

"Before the International Cricket Council World Division Three matches in Uganda in May 2017, the Singapore team had no ground to train. I spoke to Dr Harjit and he organised everything immediately.

"We prepared at the JCC Oval at reasonable charges. He was a nice, helpful man, always approachable."

Former SCA cricket development officer and coach Arjun Menon "really got to know Dr Harjit very well" during that period in 2017 when they interacted almost every week.

"Dr Harjit had a wealth of cricketing knowledge, especially about the development of the sport in Malaysia and Singapore, and as a Singaporean who worked in cricket and wanted to know more about the history of the game in my country, I would sit with him and have long conversations," said Arjun.

"He painted to me a bigger picture of what the game of cricket was to Singaporeans and Malaysians back in the old days and that reinforced my sense of belonging to the game. Cricket began to take a special meaning for me with its rich connection to my nation.

"It is easy for many to think that Singapore's cricketing history is very recent, but it is in discussions with stalwarts of the game like Dr Harjit that you truly appreciate that it is long and illustrious and made up of many heroes from the various races."

Dr Harjit understood how important it was to celebrate and preserve the cricketing traditions between Singapore and Malaysia and ensured that the long-standing bilateral matches for the Carl Schubert Trophy, the Stan Nagaiah Trophy, the Saudara Cup and the Joe Grimberg Trophy were held regularly.

He was the founder of the first cricket programme in primary schools in Johor - and Malaysia - in 1987 and was instrumental in setting up the first dedicated cricket ground in Malaysia at Taman Mutiara Rini in 1998 which for many years was the largest cricket ground in the country.

The JCC Oval hosted the Under-19 World Cup in 2008.

"He always looked after the Singapore players like they were his own family," said former Singapore captain Chetan Suryawanshi.

"When he did things, he did it in style. Cricket is not a popular sport in Malaysia. But he took it to a high level and earned it the same respect that Malaysians give soccer."

Condolences are pouring in from Malaysia and other parts of the world for Dr Harjit including a tweet from the Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, whose family knew him well since the time he was the family doctor during the reign of the late Sultan Iskandar.

The man who revolutionised cricket in Johor is survived by his wife of 38 years Kaldip Kaur and sons Dr Rajinder Singh and Gurdip Singh, who both live in Australia.

"He always used to host cricket teams from Singapore since the early 1970s," said Stacey Muruthi, a former Singapore captain.

"He got his boys to play in the Singapore league so they could improve and worked hard to ensure that the cricketing ties with Singapore were always strong.

"Singapore cricket has lost a dear friend."

 santosh@sph.com.sg

"We can never forget what Dr Harjit did for us. He always stood with friends unconditionally."

- Singapore Cricket Association CEO Saad Khan Janjua

 
 
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Festival spread on web platforms

There is history, humour, lots of violence and more drama in store, as web platforms lay out the spread for the Navaratri festival weekend.

Here is a list of engrossing shows and films that are available for viewing from Oct 23 evening till Oct 25 night. MIRZAPUR 2 It's finally time for the second season to unfold. Starring Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Rasika Duggal and Shweta Tripathi, the second season is expected to be more blood-soaked and vengeful.

It will be interesting to see how the story unfolds after the death of Vikrant Massey's character Bablu. The show starts on Amazon Prime Video on Oct 23. BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM It is a follow-up to the 2006 comedy centring on the adventures of a fictional Kazakh television journalist named Borat.

The film stars Sacha Baron Cohen and Irina Nowak in the lead roles and is directed by Jason Woliner.

It will be released on Oct 23 on Amazon Prime Video.

COMEDY COUPLE The film stars Saqib Saleem and Shweta Basu Prasad. Directed by Nachiket Samant, the rom-com is based in Gurgaon and set against the backdrop of the burgeoning stand-up comedy scene in the city. It started streaming on Oct 21 on Zee5.

A SUITABLE BOY

Mira Nair's screen adaptation of the Vikram Seth novel A Suitable Boy features Tabu, Ishaan Khatter and newcomer Tanya Maniktala.

It is a story of two young lovers who dare to break tradition and stereotypes in newly independent India.

The limited series has already been launched on BBC One in the United Kingdom. It will be released on Netflix on Oct 23.

CAPTIVE STATE Set in a Chicago neighbourhood nearly a decade after the Earth has been occupied by an extraterrestrial force, Captive State explores the lives on both sides of the conflict - the collaborators and the dissidents.

Starring John Goodman and Ashton Sanders, the film started streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Oct 21.

CRIBS INTERNATIONAL SEASON ONE The show offers a sneak peek into the luxurious houses of celebrities - from Caitlyn Jenner to Tom Allen.

The eight-episode show will stream on Voot Select from Oct 27.

LOCKDOWN RISHTEY Shot during the Covid-19 lockdown in India, the series will bring five stories about five relationships - a couple on the verge of divorce, a person who gets stuck with 10 relatives, a loving couple who are about to elope, a girl who goes to her prospective in-laws to call off the marriage only to realise that she is stuck in their home, and a man who lives with his cute pets.

It stars Rohit Roy, Gurdip Punjj, Kaveta Chaudhry, Ashi Mahesh Joshi, Zia Ahmad Khan, Saad Bilgrami, Darshanaa Gahatraj, Smita Dongre, Abhishek Kapur, Indraneel Bhattacharya, Pallavi Rao, Neena Cheema, Sunil Pushkarna, Shubhangi Latkar and Sumit Sharma, among others.

The series was released on MX Player on Oct 21.

Indo-Asian News Service

 
 
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Award winners not resting on their laurels

K. JANARTHANAN

Phase Two of Singapore's reopening following the drop in Covid-19 infections may have eased some worries about how to combat the pandemic. But the battle is far from over for migrant worker welfare activist Dipa Swaminathan and her team of dedicated volunteers.

"The types of issues now are different," said Ms Dipa, 49, the founder of the five-year-old non-profit group It's Raining Raincoats (IRR).

"During the circuit-breaker period we had grown men in tears calling us about not having enough food. Now we see more of these workers losing their jobs and facing work permit or salary issues. Many of them want to go home but are not able to or they don't want to go but they are forced to."

Ms Dipa, a Harvard-educated lawyer who works as assistant general counsel at Singtel, was among 31 people who were awarded this year's President's Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) by President Halimah Yacob at the Istana last Friday. She received the Leader of Good award along with seven others.

"Over the past few months, I have seen many Singaporeans from all walks of life coming together to help others. It inspires me greatly to know that in the most difficult of times, humanity still prevails," said Ms Halimah during the ceremony. "This is why I have decided to dedicate this year's PVPA to recognising these unsung heroes who have given selflessly during the Covid-19 outbreak."

Organised by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, the PVPA recognises individuals and organisations that have achieved excellence in giving to the community. The award recipients made contributions in various areas such as food security, accommodation, procurement and distribution of medical supplies and dissemination of critical information.

Ms Dipa said it is "very gratifying and humbling" to receive the award, but there is still plenty of work for her and her team - which has grown from 10 volunteers to 501 over the past five years. "Even if they were paid the highest salaries, their work would have been just as impressive," she said.

The regular interactions with the migrant workers seeking aid have taken an emotional toll on the volunteers. But they try to help each other.

Another award recipient, Mr Anil David, helps another group of people who are often overlooked - former convicts.

Having gone to prison three times for fraud and criminal breach of trust, he knows their plight only too well.

"We have been employing quite a number of ex-offenders," said Mr Anil, referring to his social enterprise Agape, which was set up in 2012. It had only him and his wife in the beginning. Now there are 150 staff.

The Covid-19 circuit-breaker measures have greatly reduced the personal guidance available to ex-convicts for rehabilitation. The economic downturn has made it even more difficult for them to find jobs.

For the past six months, Agape staff members, who include single mothers and people with disabilities, have helped calm down distressed ex-convicts before directing them to trained professionals, including psychologists, counsellors and social workers.

In April this year, the company was given the big job of manning the National Care Hotline, set up by the Government to offer psychological aid and emotional support during the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Anil is happy that he is one of the nine recipients of the People of Good award. "I was happy seeing how delighted both my daughters were," he said. "I had spent a long time away from them in prison, and seeing them excited about my work makes me really glad."

Mr Anil and his team have helped resettle 600 ex-convicts. He hopes to equip 1,500 more with work and life skills which would increase their chances of securing employment.

 janark@sph.com.sg

 
 
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India in 2 minutes

Chinese soldier handed back

A Chinese soldier apprehended by the Indian army earlier this week after he strayed across a tense de facto border was handed back to China on Tuesday.

The People's Liberation Army soldier had been captured on Monday in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, according to a statement from the Indian army.

Modi urges coronavirus caution

In a televised address on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Indians to tighten their vigilance against Covid-19 as the Hindu festival season approaches.

"Recently, we saw many photos and videos which clearly proved that people have lowered their guard," he said. "This isn't right."

In the next few weeks, more than one billion Indians will celebrate several major holidays, including Dussehra and Deepavali, and authorities are worried about large crowds of revellers ignoring social distancing rules during the festivals.

Creditors back plan to get Jet Airways flying again

Creditors have backed a surprise plan by a consortium to revive Jet Airways 18 months after India's biggest private airline went bankrupt with US$1.2 billion in debt.

London investment fund Kalrock Capital and Dubai-based tycoon Murari Lal Jalan proposed the rescue that was "duly approved" by a creditors' committee, Jet said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Punjab passes Bills to bypass Central farm laws

In a historic move, the Punjab legislature on Tuesday unanimously passed three Bills to counter the contentious farm laws enacted by the Central Government last month.

Among other things, the Bills make buying wheat and paddy below minimum support price a punishable offence. There is also a provision to levy a fee on corporate houses making purchases outside markets. The fee will be used for the welfare of farmers.

Sethupathi pulls out of Muralitharan biopic

Popular actor Vijay Sethupathi, who was set to star as Sri Lanka's legendary cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan in a biopic, withdrew from the project on Monday after Muralitharan warned he could face a backlash from India's Tamils.

Politicians in Tamil Nadu accuse Muralitharan, who retired from Test cricket in 2010, of betraying fellow Tamils in his country during a civil war that ended in 2009.

Sethupathi had been under pressure to drop the role in "800" - named after the world record number of Test wickets Muralitharan took in his career.

Pink Patrol for women in Uttar Pradesh

Amid rising reports of sexual offences against women, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to ramp up efforts to ensure their safety with the creation of a special women police unit that will be operational round the clock.

The force, called Pink Patrol, will have 250 women police personnel, who have been deployed after going through rigorous training.

Outcry after Kashmir Times office sealed

Jammu and Kashmir authorities have sealed the Srinagar office of Kashmir Times, one of the region's oldest and most prominent English-language newspapers, the publication said on Tuesday.

Political parties and journalists criticised the move, but the state's estates department said the premises were not being used as an office, but as a residence by the newspaper's employees.

Mizoram-Assam border row

No breakthrough has been achieved in ground-level talks between Mizoram and Assam to resolve their border dispute in the Barak Valley region, where several people were injured in a clash over the issue last week.

Mizoram has hardened its stand and has said it will get essential supplies from neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and Bangladesh if the blockade of transport trucks in Assam is not eased.

Gyms in Maharashtra to reopen

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said that gyms and fitness centres in the state will be allowed to restart operations after Dusshera but only if they strictly follow the standard operating procedures.

The gyms, which have been shut since March when the nationwide lockdown was announced to combat the spread of Covid-19, are likely to open from Oct 25.

Supreme head of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church dies

Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, the supreme head of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, headquartered in Thiruvalla, Kerala, died on Sunday. He was 89.

The Metropolitan was battling cancer and was admitted to a private hospital at Thiruvalla for a few days.

Sanjay Dutt 'victorious' in cancer fight

Sanjay Dutt, one of Bollywood's top stars, said on Wednesday that he has emerged "victorious" after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

"Today, on the occasion of my kids' birthday, I am happy to come out victorious from this battle and be able to give them the best gift I can - the health and well-being of our family," the 61-year-old star said on Instagram.

He gave no details of his treatment.

 
 
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Kaziranga National Park reopens in Assam

Assam's Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, famous for its one-horned rhinoceroses and tigers, reopened for tourists on Wednesday, after being shut for over seven months - the longest in its 112-year history.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, all five national parks and 18 wildlife sanctuaries in Assam, including Kaziranga which usually remains shut for five months annually due to floods, were closed in March.

The 430 sq km haven for wild animals is one of the major tourist destinations in India. Every year, it attracts thousands of tourists from India and abroad.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal formally reopened Kaziranga and hoped that this will revive the state's tourism sector which has been severely hit by the pandemic.

He said that unemployed youths in and around Kaziranga would find meaningful employment again through jeep safari and other tourism-related activities.

 
 
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