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Friday, April 19, 2019

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Notre Dame fire’s billionaire donors ATTACKED - ‘The PUBLIC will pay!’

Posted: 19 Apr 2019 01:48 AM PDT



FRENCH billionaires came under attack after pledging to donate millions for the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was ravaged by a massive fire on Monday evening.

Notre Dame fire: Cause of devastating blaze revealed by French police

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 04:01 PM PDT



THE cause of the catastrophic Notre Dame fire has been identified by investigators, a police official has said.

California airport HORROR: Plane crashes into runway as FIREBALL erupts killing one

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 09:21 PM PDT



A PLANE has burst into flames after crashing into the runway at an airport in the US, leaving one male dead according to reports.

Fox News host defends Trump over Mueller report - 'Most humiliating thing EVER to happen'

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 07:14 PM PDT



DONALD TRUMP has received a defiant defence from a Fox News host following the release of the Mueller report yesterday.

Russia ready for WAR with US over Venezuela as regional tensions SOAR to new heights

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 06:37 PM PDT



RUSSIA has warned the US it's ready for a war over Venezuela as it prepares to invade the crisis-stricken country.

Trump impeachment SHOCK: Ocasio-Cortez launches resolution - 'He OBSTRUCTED justice'

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 07:15 PM PDT



ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ announced her desire to impeach Donald Trump last night.

North Korea missile testing: What are 'tactical guided weapons'?

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 02:57 PM PDT



NORTH KOREA has tested its first missile system following the breakdown of nuclear talks with the United States - but what are "tactical guided weapons"?

Notre Dame fire: Is Notre Dame owned by Catholic Church? Calls for Vatican to help rebuild

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 02:38 PM PDT



NOTRE DAME faces a lengthy and costly renovation after a massive blaze tore through the medieval Catholic cathedral - but is Notre Dame owned by the Catholic Church and will the Vatican contribute towards its repair?

'Gift from HEAVEN' - new Kim Jong-un biography makes bizarre claims on North Korean despot

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 02:32 PM PDT



A NEW biography of Kim Jong-un has described the North Korean despot as an "unusually bold and courageous" leader who is "a gift from heaven".

Russia scrambles warships to track NATO battlegroup in Baltic Sea as tensions surge

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 01:41 PM PDT



RUSSIAN warships are tracking a NATO battlegroup which steamed into the Baltic Sea today, according to Kremlin defence chiefs.

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Food Shortages in Cuba Are Raising Fears of a New Economic Crisis

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 08:15 PM PDT

(BAUTA, Cuba) — Just after 8 a.m., Pura Castell got in line behind about 100 other people waiting for a chance to buy frozen chicken legs. For two hours she leaned on her cane watching people leave the state-run market with their 5-pound limit.

The chicken ran out at 10 a.m. while the 80-year-old Castell still had 20 people in front of her. She returned the next morning, but no chicken. Then, relief. A neighbor told her that chicken had arrived at the government store that distributes heavily subsidized monthly food rations. Her household of three was due three pieces, either thighs or drumsticks.

“I’ve taken care of myself my whole life,” said Castell, a retired janitor. “I don’t just sit on my hands. I’m worn out but I walk all over town.”

After two decades of relative stability fueled by cheap Venezuelan oil, shortages of food and medicine have once again become a serious daily problem for millions of Cubans. A plunge in aid from Venezuela, the end of a medical services deal with Brazil and poor performances in sectors including nickel mining, sugar and tourism have left the communist state $1.5 billion in debt to the vendors that supply products ranging from frozen chicken to equipment for grinding grain into flour, according to former Economy Minister José Luis Rodríguez.

Stores no longer routinely stock eggs, flour, chicken, cooking oil, rice, powdered milk and ground turkey, among other products. These basics disappear for days or weeks. Hours-long lines appear within minutes of trucks showing up with new supplies. Shelves are empty again within hours.

No one is starving in Cuba, but the shortages are so severe that ordinary Cubans and the country’s leaders are openly referring to the “special period,” the years of economic devastation and deep suffering that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s Cold War patron.

“It’s not about returning to the harshest phase of the special period of the ’90s,” Communist Party head Raul Castro said last week. “But we always have to be ready for the worst.”

Two days later, President Miguel Díaz-Canel said cutbacks were necessary because: “This harsh moment demands we set clearly defined priorities in order to not return to the worst moments of the special period.”

The Trump administration is working hard to push Cuba toward economic crisis. Washington has sanctioned Venezuela’s oil industry and the shipping companies that move Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

On Wednesday, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton announced further measures against Cuba and its allies, including a new cap on the amount of money that families in the United States can send their relatives on the island and new restrictions on travel to Cuba. “The troika of tyranny — Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua — is beginning to crumble,” he said.

The move followed the announcement a day earlier that lawsuits would now be permitted against foreign companies doing business in properties seized from Americans after the island’s 1959 revolution. The policy could deal a severe blow to Cuba’s efforts to draw foreign investment.

A senior Trump administration official said the economic pressure on Cuba was aimed at forcing the socialist government to stop helping its allies in Venezuela and Nicaragua. The U.S. has accused Cuba of sending soldiers and spies to both countries to strengthen their leaders against protests and potential defection. Cuba denies that.

“We’re going to make sure they cannot afford subsidized adventurism, subsidized subversion of democracy outside of their borders,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about U.S. policy toward Cuba. “At an extraordinarily vulnerable time in their history, they’re going to have to refocus on the domestic needs, their domestic pressures.”

Despite some market-oriented reforms over the last decade, Cuba is one of the last countries on Earth to maintain a Soviet-style economy, with most business run by the state.

The economy is afflicted by deep inefficiency and corruption. Many state employees demand bribes to provide services to the public. Others spend only a few hours a day at their jobs, spending the rest of their time doing informal private work or selling supplies stolen from their office, warehouse or factory. Despite a highly educated and generally well-qualified workforce, Cuba’s industrial sector is dilapidated after decades of underinvestment. The country produces little of value on the global market besides rum, tobacco and the professionals who earn billions for the government working as doctors, teachers or engineers in friendly third countries.

The agricultural sector is in shambles, requiring the country to import most of its food. Economy Minister Alejandro Gil said Saturday that Cuba would spend $5 billion on food and petroleum products this year.

Over the last 20 years, many of those billions came from Venezuela’s socialist government, which has deep ties to Cuba’s and sent nearly 100,000 barrels of oil daily for years. With Venezuela’s economic collapse, that has roughly halved, along with deep cutbacks in the economic relationship across the board. And the news has been bad in virtually every other sector of the Cuban economy. Nickel production has dropped from 72,530 metric tons in 2011 to 50,000 last year, according to Rodríguez, the former economics minister. The sugar harvest dropped nearly 44%, to a million tons. The number of tourists grew only 1%, with many coming on cruise ships, a relatively unprofitable type of visitor. Overall GDP growth has been stuck at 1% for the last three years.

Meanwhile, under agreements Castro struck to rehabilitate Cuba’s creditworthiness, the country is paying $2 billion in debt service to creditors such as Russia, Japan and the Paris Club.

State-run stores that sell low-quality Chinese household goods at double or triple their price outside the country are facing competition from vendors in Panama, Guyana, Mexico, Haiti and even Russia, where Cubans fly in, fill suitcases with goods, and return to sell them at a profit.

That overseas shopping has become a vacuum sucking precious hard currency out of Cuba. Economist Omar Everleny Pérez said he estimated that Cubans spent more than $2 billion a year buying products overseas.

With less cash on hand, there’s been even less in the state-run stores.

The manager of the butcher shop where Castell waited for chicken last week said she needed 80 boxes of chicken to fill that day’s demand and only 40 arrived.

Fears of a return to darker times are growing.

“During the special period we had it bad, like everyone. Even when we had money we couldn’t buy anything,” said Castell, a mother of six.

“It was really rough, blackouts, no food at all, I don’t want to go back to that,” said Ariadne Medina, a 47-year-old worker in a private restaurant who was waiting to buy chicken behind Castell.

Independent experts say a return to the depths of the special period is unlikely. Cuba does business with dozens of nations, hosts nearly 5 million tourists a year and Cubans can travel freely to dozens of countries on direct flights to the U.S., Europe and Latin America. Expatriates send billions home in annual remittances.

“The new government is trying to halt the deterioration, but it’s a tough assignment,” Pérez said. “It’s going to take resources and time.”

‘We Won’t Be Silenced,’ Afghan Female Musicians Tell Taliban

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 07:39 PM PDT

Fresh from a sold-out concert tour of the U.K. and Sweden, Afghanistan’s first female conductor is convinced music can help deliver peace to her war-torn country. If only the Taliban would listen.

At just 22, Negin Khpelwak has already stared down threats and intimidation from her conservative relatives, who wished she would take on any career but music. Now, like many of her fellow citizens, she is watching peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban with growing alarm.

“We can bring freedom, peace and honor to Afghanistan,” said Khpelwak, who leads the country’s the first all-female Zohra Orchestra who’ve played classical Western and Afghan music at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Women can’t go back to the dark days — they can break our instruments, they can ban the music, but they never take it from our hearts.”

The Taliban, who control or contest half the country, banned all forms of music during their brutal regime that ran from 1996 to 2001. Even now, when the orchestra played its last concert in Kabul in February, most of the 700 guests had to pass through as many as 10 security check points protected by armed guards and dogs.

The U.S. reached a draft peace agreement with the insurgent group in January that may eventually lead to a withdrawal of foreign troops and a Taliban pledge not to allow terrorists to use the country. Talks aimed at bringing an end to 18 years of war were scheduled to begin again over the weekend, but appear to have been stalled. After being initially excluded from the U.S.-led talks, the Afghan delegation was set to include 52 women, up from just a handful in earlier sessions.

The country’s key demands in the dialogue include preserving the current government system under “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” holding elections and retaining the current constitution. U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is leading the negotiations. He’s hoping to finalize a deal this year before presidential elections slated for September.

Women’s Voices

Afghan women have repeatedly voiced concerns about the lack of female representation at the peace talks, particularly given what is at stake.

Women have won hard-fought gains in politics, business and education since 2001, pushing back against the country’s male-dominated society. Last year about 400 female candidates contested in 68 seats reserved for women in the parliament, while hundreds of women run small businesses and teach at schools, and more than 3.5 million girls are now in education.

Zakia Wardak has been fighting for women’s rights in Afghanistan for eight years. Last October she stood for a seat in the parliamentary elections in Kabul, the results of which have yet to be announced — sweeping aside concerns for her safety and about entering the hyper-masculine, deeply corrupt world of Afghan politics.

“I highly doubt peace will come at the cost of our rights because the women today are not the women of 1996, neither are the Taliban,” said Wardak, whose late father and brother were Afghan generals, noting she is sure Afghan women will be part of the wider negotiations.

There’s much at stake for Afghan women after the “horrors” they experienced during the last period of Taliban rule, said Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

Read more: Why Afghanistan is Still the Worst Place to Be a Woman

Yet with U.S. President Donald Trump last month calling the war “ridiculous,” many analysts believe the Washington is ultimately unconcerned with protecting the relative gains for women in Afghanistan as it tries to extract itself from the seemingly unending conflict. Some also doubt the Taliban’s lip-service towards women’s rights.

“The Taliban claims to be a more moderate outfit than it was in previous years,” said Kugelman. “If it truly does represent a new and more conciliatory Taliban 2.0, then one would expect it to welcome Afghan women in negotiations. Unfortunately to this point there’s no indication this is happening.”

For now, the group still condemns and punishes anyone playing music, but said it would review its position and make a decision based on “the verdict of Islam” if it returns to the country after a peace deal, their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said in a message, without providing more detail. The group’s current position banning all forms of music is also based on the verdict of Islam.

Musical Journey

Khpelwak was just a baby when the Taliban took over the country in 1996 and immediately banned women from attending schools or leaving home without a partner. Now she is at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, that world is alien to her.

“Music is part of our life and music is our passion,” she said at the school, urging both Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government and the U.S. to convince the Taliban not to harm musicians.

The founder and director of the school music — who himself survived a Taliban bombing in 2014 at a concert in Kabul — said the days of the militant group ruling the country as a dictatorship have now gone.

“The youth of Afghanistan today are a totally different force than the youths of 1996,” Ahmad Naser Sarmast, 56, said at his office adorned with musicians’ portraits and trophies lining the shelves. He said the new generation won’t allow the Taliban “to come and turn the wheel of history backward.”

Music has flourished in Afghanistan since 2001, and now hundreds of students — male and female — are learning the craft in Sarmast’s school, which has represented Afghanistan’s music in more than 35 countries since its inauguration in 2010.

Still, some female musicians worry the Taliban will forcibly push them to quit and stay at home.

“If the Taliban comes back, it might be a great danger for us,” said violinist Gul Mina, who is in grade 11 at the school and hopes to become a violin teacher in order to change other girls’ lives. “Their return could be a huge disaster to our lives and musical works.”

Climate-Change Protesters in London Are Planning to Disrupt Heathrow Airport

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 06:56 PM PDT

(LONDON) — Environmental protesters who have blocked London roads and bridges for more than three days said Thursday they plan to take their civil disobedience campaign to Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, at the start of the Easter holiday weekend.The Extinction Rebellion group said it would mount a protest at the airport on Friday. The group vowed to escalate its campaign of disruption if the British government doesn’t step up action against climate change. London’s Metropolitan Police force urged the group to reconsider, saying the airport action could “cause further disruption and misery to thousands of travelers, many of them families, over Easter.””Protesters can expect a robust police response,” said Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave. “We are determined to keep the airport operating.”Heathrow said it was “working with the authorities to address any threat of protests which could disrupt the airport.”

Hundreds of demonstrators have blocked central London sites including Waterloo Bridge over the River Thames, Parliament Square and the Oxford Circus and Marble Arch intersections since Monday.

The protest sites have sprouted tents, sound systems and even an ice cream van. Traffic has been snarled and many bus routes disrupted, to the frustration of commuters.

Police have made more than 460 arrests.

Extinction rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook said “more people are joining us all the time.”

“It’s certainly an option that tactics will be escalated if our demands are not met,” she said.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Britain’s interior minister, condemned the demonstrations, saying protesters “do not have the right to break the law and significantly disrupt the lives of others.”

“I expect the police to take a firm stance and use the full force of the law,” Javid said.

Tens of Thousands Protest in Sudan’s Capital Demanding Civilian Rule

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 10:39 AM PDT

(KHARTOUM, Sudan) — Tens of thousands of protesters converged on the main sit-in in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Thursday to pressure the ruling military council to speed up the transition of power to a civilian government as the new rulers announced the arrests of former president Omar al-Bashir’s two brothers on corruption charges.

Military council spokesman Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi was quoted by the official SUNA news agency as saying that Abdullah and Abbas al-Bashir were taken into custody, without providing additional details or saying when it happened.

The arrests were part of a broad sweep against officials and supporters of the former government.

The Sudanese military ousted Omar al-Bashir last week, after four months of street protests against his 30-year rule marred by conflict, civil war and corruption. Al-Bashir is also wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court for atrocities committee in the western region of Darfur.

“The arrests are ongoing of the ousted regime’s figures in addition to those who are suspected of corruption,” Kabashi said, adding that authorities are looking for a number of wanted fugitives. He said the detainees will be held in prisons in Khartoum and other cities.

The English-language Sudan Tribune said the brothers and al-Bashir’s wife are suspected of having accumulated illegal wealth through the years of al-Bashir’s rule.

The brothers’ detention was likely another concession by the military to the protesters, who have demanded that all key figures and ranking officials from the former president’s circle be arrested. A number of al-Bashir’s close associates and former government officials have already been taken into custody since the military overthrew al-Bashir last Thursday. A number of them are also wanted by the International Criminal Court.

The military council that now runs the country said the former president was transferred Tuesday to Koper Prison in the capital, Khartoum, a facility notorious for holding political prisoners under al-Bashir.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been spearheading anti-government street protests since mid-December, released Wednesday together with several opposition groups a proposed blueprint for the transfer of power from the military to a civilian government.

Though the street protesters were overjoyed at al-Bashir’s ouster, they were not happy with the military taking over and have demanded a swift handover of power to civilian rule. The military council has said it plans to rule for a maximum of two years as the country prepares for new elections.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday it supports a transition to a civilian government.

“The United States supports a transition to a peaceful and democratic Sudan led by civilians who represent the diversity of Sudanese society,” spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. “The will of the Sudanese people is clear: it is time to move toward a transitional government that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law. ”

The protesters fear the army, dominated by al-Bashir appointees, will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed him. They have vowed to continue to protest, focusing on a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, until the transfer of power is complete.

The two-page blueprint posted online envisages a civilian presidential council made up of “revolutionary figures” and a defense minister, the only representative from the military.

It also proposes the formation of a Cabinet of technocrats to run daily affairs of the state and a legislative council to draft laws and oversee the Cabinet until a new constitution is written.

“We have to continue our sit-ins until a transitional civilian authority takes over,” the document says. “We have faith that our people’s victory is coming and that no power can stop our people from achieving all their goals.”

The military did not immediately comment on the document. The organizers of the protests called for a “one million people rally” to pressure the military to meet the demands of the protest movement. Chanting, dancing and clapping, protesters rallied in massive numbers in front of the military headquarters, the focal point of protests.

It’s not clear what will happen next to al-Bashir, a pariah in any countries. The military has said it would not extradite him to the ICC but has not ruled out that a future civilian government could someday hand him over to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir offered to mediate in Sudan’s political crisis. In a letter seen by The Associated Press, Kiir this week pledged his support for a transition in which the rights of the Sudanese people are protected and offered to “mediate the on-going negotiations” among various groups.

Some in South Sudan are concerned that al-Bashir’s departure will hurt their countries’ fragile peace deal, which al-Bashir helped broker. South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in 2011, following decades of civil war.

But the new country subsequently sank into its own civil war, which ended with an agreement signed in September. The deal calls for opposition leader Riek Machar to return to South Sudan next month to once again become Kiir’s deputy, though that looks increasingly unlikely as tensions continue.

One political analyst called Kiir’s offer of mediation over al-Bashir a “hypocritical public relations” stunt.

“It doesn’t make sense. You cannot leave your house in a mess and claim to clean your neighbor’s house,” Jacob Chol, professor at the University of Juba, told the AP.

Electrical Short-Circuit Likely Caused Notre Dame Cathedral Fire, French Official Says

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 09:40 AM PDT

(PARIS) — Paris police investigators think an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, a police official said Thursday, as France paid a daylong tribute to the firefighters who saved the world-renowned landmark.

A judicial police official told The Associated Press that investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral Wednesday but don’t have a green light to search Notre Dame’s charred interior because of ongoing safety hazards.

The cathedral’s fragile walls were being shored up with wooden planks, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak by name about an ongoing investigation.

Investigators so far believe the fire was accidental, and are questioning both cathedral staff and workers who were carrying out renovations. Some 40 people had been questioned by Thursday, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

The police official would not comment on an unsourced report in Le Parisian newspaper that investigators are looking at whether the fire could have been linked to a computer glitch or the temporary elevators used in the renovation work, among other things. The prosecutor’s office said only that “all leads must be explored.”

Since the cathedral will be closed to the public for years, the rector of the Catholic parish that worships there has proposed building a temporary structure on the plaza in front of the Gothic-era landmark, and City Hall gave its approval Thursday “subject to technical restraints.”

“The rector has no cathedral for the moment. …. But I’m going to try to invent something,” Bishop Patrick Chauvet said.

A crypt containing vestiges dating from antiquity is located under the vast esplanade.

President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants Notre Dame to be restored in five years, a timeline that restoration specialists have questioned as overly ambitious, with some saying it could take three times that long to rebuild the 850-year-old architectural treasure. Macron hopes to reopen the cathedral in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which Paris is hosting.

Earlier Thursday, Macron held a ceremony at the Elysee Palace to thank the hundreds of firefighters who battled the fast-moving fire at Notre Dame for nine hours starting Monday evening, preventing the structure’s destruction and rescuing many of the important relics held inside.

“We’ve seen before our eyes the right things perfectly organized in a few moments, with responsibility, courage, solidarity and a meticulous organization”, Macron said. “The worst has been avoided.”

The cathedral’s lead roof and its soaring spire were destroyed, but Notre Dame’s iconic bell towers, rose windows, organ and precious artworks were saved.

Macron said the firefighters will receive an Honor Medal for their courage and devotion.

Paris City Hall also held a ceremony in the firefighters’ honor Thursday afternoon, with a Bach violin concert, two giant banners strung from the monumental city headquarters and readings from Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Remarkably, no one was killed in the blaze that broke out as the cathedral was in the initial stages of a lengthy restoration.

A large swath of the island in the Seine River where Notre Dame is located was officially closed Thursday by police, who cited “important risks” of collapse and falling objects. The area had been unofficially blocked off since the fire.

Meanwhile, workers using a crane removed some statues to lessen the weight on the cathedral’s fragile gables, or support walls, to keep them from collapsing since they were no longer supported by the roof and its network of centuries-old timbers that were consumed by the inferno.

They also secured the support structure above one of Notre Dame’s rose windows with wooden planks.

Among the firefighters honored Thursday was Paris fire brigade chaplain Jean-Marc Fournier, who told the Le Parisian daily he was able to save the cathedral’s consecrated hosts. The paper said he climbed on altars to remove large paintings, but that he was especially proud “to have removed Jesus” from the Cathedral — a reference to the Catholic belief that consecrated hosts are the body of Christ.

An earlier report credited Fournier with helping salvage the crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion, but Fournier told France Info Thursday he arrived after rescuers had already broken the relic’s protective covering and an official who had the secret code needed to unlock it finished the job. He praised the action that preserved “this extraordinary relic, this patrimony of humanity.”

Among others honored was Myriam Chudzinski, one of the first firefighters to reach the roof as the blaze raged. Loaded with gear, they climbed hundreds of steps up the cathedral’s narrow spiral staircase to the top of one of the two towers.

“We knew that the roof was burning, but we didn’t really know the intensity,” she told reporters. “It was from upstairs that you understood that it was really dramatic. It was very hot and we had to retreat, retreat. It was spreading quickly.”

Benedicte Contamin, who came to view the damaged cathedral from afar Thursday, said she’s sad but grateful it’s still there.

“It’s a chance for France to bounce back, a chance to realize what unites us, because we have been too much divided over the past years,” she said.

France Pays Tribute To the Firefighters Who Saved Notre Dame Cathedral From Collapse

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 08:01 AM PDT

(PARIS) — France paid a daylong tribute Thursday to the Paris firefighters who saved Notre Dame Cathedral from collapse, while construction workers rushed to secure an area above one of the church’s famed rose-shaped windows and other vulnerable sections of the fire-damaged landmark.

President Emmanuel Macron held a ceremony at the Elysee Palace to thank the hundreds of firefighters who battled a fast-moving fire at Notre Dame for nine hours starting Monday evening, preventing the structure’s destruction and rescuing many of the important relics held inside.

“We’ve seen before our eyes the right things perfectly organized in a few moments, with responsibility, courage, solidarity and a meticulous organization”, Macron said. “The worst has been avoided.”

Macron said the firefighters will receive an Honor Medal for their courage and devotion.

As the ceremony took place, investigators continued seeking clues to what sparked the fire. The huge cathedral, including the spire that was consumed by flames and collapsed, was in the initial stages of a lengthy restoration.

The roof was destroyed, but Notre Dame’s iconic bell towers, rose windows, organ, and precious artworks were saved.

Fire officials warned that the building remains very fragile and extremely dangerous for construction workers, restoration experts and neighbors.

Police, citing “important risks” of collapse and falling objects, officially closed Thursday a large swath of the island in the Seine River on which Notre Dame sits. The area had been unofficially blocked off since the fire.

Workers using a crane were removing some statues to lessen the weight on the cathedral’s fragile gables, or support walls, and to keep them from falling, since the section lacked the support of the massive timber roof that burned up in the devastating blaze.

They were also securing the support structure above one of Notre Dame’s rose windows with wooden planks.

Paris City Hall was holding a ceremony in the firefighters’ honor Monday afternoon, with a Bach violin concert, two giant banners strung from the monumental city headquarters and readings from Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Remarkably, no one was killed in the fire, which began during a Mass, after firefighters and church officials speedily evacuated those inside.

Among the firefighters honored Thursday is Paris fire brigade chaplain Jean-Marc Fournier, who says he was falsely credited with helping salvage the crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion.

The chaplain says a team of rescuers broke the relic’s protective covering and an official who had the secret code to unlock the protection finished the job. Fournier told France Info on Thursday that his own team arrived on the heels of the salvaging and praised the action “to preserve this extraordinary relic, this patrimony of humanity.”

However, Fournier told the daily Le Parisian that he himself was able to save the most precious thing for Catholics from the fire, the cathedral’s consecrated hosts. The paper said he climbed on altars to remove large paintings, but that he felt especially proud of another personal salvaging operation: “to have removed Jesus” from the Cathedral.

For Catholics, consecrated hosts are the body of Christ.

Among others honored was Myriam Chudzinski, one of the first firefighters to reach the roof as the blaze raged. Loaded with gear, they climbed hundreds of steps up the cathedral’s narrow spiral staircase to the top of one of the two towers. She had trained at the site for hours for just this moment.

“We knew that the roof was burning, but we didn’t really know the intensity,” she told reporters. “It was from upstairs that you understood that it was really dramatic. It was very hot and we had to retreat, retreat. It was spreading quickly.”

Investigators so far believe the fire was accidental, and are questioning both cathedral staff and workers who were carrying out renovations. Some 40 people had been questioned by Thursday, according the Paris prosecutor’s office.

The building would have burned to the ground in a “chain-reaction collapse” had firefighters not moved as rapidly as they did to battle the blaze racing through the building, José Vaz de Matos, a fire expert with France’s Culture Ministry, said Wednesday.

An initial fire alert was sounded at 6:20 p.m., as a Mass was underway in the cathedral, but no fire was found. A second alarm went off at 6:43 p.m., and the blaze was discovered already consuming the roof.

Macron wants to rebuild the cathedral within five years — in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics that Paris is hosting — but experts say the vast scale of the work to be done could easily take 15 years, since it will take months, even years, just to figure out what should be done. Nearly $1 billion has been pledged for the cathedral’s restoration.

Benedicte Contamin, who came to view the damaged cathedral from afar Thursday, said she’s sad but grateful it’s still there.

“It’s a chance for France to bounce back, a chance to realize what unites us, because we have been too much divided over the past years,” she said.

North Korea Demands Removal of Secretary of State Pompeo From Nuclear Negotiations

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 07:21 AM PDT

(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korea said Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon,” its first such test in nearly half a year, and demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear negotiations.

The test, which didn’t appear to be of a banned mid- or long-range ballistic missile that could scuttle negotiations, allows North Korea to show its people it is pushing ahead with weapons development while also reassuring domestic military officials worried that diplomacy with Washington signals weakness.

Separately, the North Korean Foreign Ministry accused Pompeo of playing down the significance of comments by leader Kim Jong Un, who said last week that Washington has until the end of the year to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement to salvage the high-stakes nuclear diplomacy. Both the demand for Pompeo’s removal from the talks and the weapon test point to North Korea’s displeasure with the deadlocked negotiations.

In a statement issued under the name of Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the American Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry, North Korea accused Pompeo of “talking nonsense” and misrepresenting Kim’s comments.

During a speech at Texas A&M on Monday, Pompeo said Kim promised to denuclearize during his first summit with President Donald Trump and that U.S. officials were working with the North Koreans to “chart a path forward so we can get there.”

“He (Kim) said he wanted it done by the end of the year,” Pompeo said. “I’d love to see that done sooner.”

The North Korean statement said Pompeo was “misrepresenting the meaning of our requirement” for the negotiations to be finalized by the year’s end, and referred to his “talented skill of fabricating stories.” It said Pompeo’s continued participation in the negotiations would ensure that the talks become “entangled” and called for a different counterpart who is “more careful and mature in communicating with us.”

In a speech at his rubber-stamp parliament last week, Kim said he is open to a third summit with Trump, but only if the United States changes its stance on sanctions enforcement and pressure by the end of the year.

Kim observed the unspecified weapon being fired Wednesday by the Academy of Defense Science, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said. Kim was reported to have said “the development of the weapon system serves as an event of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People’s Army.”

The Associated Press could not independently verify North Korea’s claim, and it wasn’t immediately clear what had been tested. A major ballistic missile test would jeopardize the diplomatic talks meant to provide the North with concessions in return for disarmament. A South Korean analyst said that details in the North’s media report indicate it could have been a new type of cruise missile. Another possible clue: one of the lower level officials mentioned in the North’s report on the test — Pak Jong Chon — is known as an artillery official.

Some in Seoul worry that the North will turn back to actions seen as provocative by outsiders as a way to force Washington to drop its hard-line negotiating stance and grant the North’s demand for a removal of crushing international sanctions. A string of increasingly powerful weapons tests in 2017 and Trump’s response of “fire and fury” had many fearing war before the North shifted to diplomacy.

Russia announced Thursday that Kim will visit later this month for talks at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, but gave no further details. Russian media have been abuzz in recent days with rumors about the rare meeting between the leaders.

Putin is to visit China later this month, and some media speculated that he could meet with Kim in Vladivostok, the far eastern port city near the border with North Korea.

Trump said last month that he “would be very disappointed if I saw testing.” There have been fresh reports of new activity at a North Korean missile research center and long-range rocket site where the North is believed to build missiles targeting the U.S. mainland. North Korean media said Wednesday that Kim guided a flight drill of combat pilots from an air force and anti-aircraft unit tasked with defending the North from an attack.

Kim Dong-yub, an analyst from Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said North Korea’s descriptions of the test show the weapon is possibly a newly developed cruise missile. The North’s report said the “tactical guided weapon” successfully tested in a “peculiar mode of guiding flight” and demonstrated the ability to deliver a “powerful warhead.”

The analyst said the test could also be intended as a message to the North Korean people and military of a commitment to maintaining a strong level of defense even as it continues talks with Washington over nukes.

Melissa Hanham, a non-proliferation expert and director of the Datayo Project at the One Earth Future Foundation, said the North Korean weapon could be anything from an anti-tank weapon to a cruise missile.

The North said Thursday that Kim Jong Un mounted an observation post to learn about and guide the test-fire of the weapon.

This is the first known time Kim has observed the testing of a newly developed weapon system since last November, when North Korean media said he watched the successful test of an unspecified “newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon.” Some observers have been expecting North Korea to orchestrate “low-level provocations,” like artillery or short-range missile tests, to register its anger over the way nuclear negotiations were going.

North Korean officials accompanying Kim at the test included Ri Pyong Chol and Kim Jong Sik, two senior officials from the North’s Munitions Industry Department who have been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for their activities related to the country’s ballistic missile program. Ri is believed to be a key official involved in North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile development, while Kim Jong Sik has been linked to the country’s efforts to build solid-fuel missiles. The Pyongyang-based Munitions Industry Department is sanctioned both by the United States and the U.N. Security Council.

“Even if this is not a ‘missile’ test the way we strictly define it, these people and MID are all sanctioned entities for a reason,” Hanham said.

The White House said it was aware of the report and had no comment. The Pentagon also said it was aware but had no information to provide at this point. South Korea’s presidential office said it has no immediate comment. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it is analyzing the test but did not specifically say what the weapon appeared to be.

After the animosity of 2017, last year saw a stunning turn to diplomacy, culminating in the first-ever summit between the U.S. and North Korea in Singapore, and then the Hanoi talks this year. North Korea has suspended nuclear and long-range rocket tests, and the North and South Korean leaders have met three times. But there are growing worries that the progress could be killed by mismatched demands between the U.S. and North Korea over sanctions relief and disarmament.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo Declares Victory in Re-Election Campaign

Posted: 18 Apr 2019 07:04 AM PDT

(JAKARTA, Indonesia) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Thursday he has won re-election after receiving an estimated 54% of the vote, backtracking on an earlier vow to wait for official results after his challenger made improbable claims of victory.

Widodo, after meeting with parties in his coalition, told reporters that the leaders of Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey and numerous other nations have congratulated him on securing a second term.

The vote estimate is based on so-called quick counts of a sample of polling stations by a dozen reputable survey organizations. Widodo said that 100% of sample polling stations have now been counted or close to that. The quick counts have been accurate in previous elections.

“We all know that the QC (quick count) calculation is a scientific calculation method. From the country’s experiences of past elections the accuracy is 99.9%, almost the same as real count results,” Widodo said.

Widodo’s rival, former Gen. Prabowo Subianto, has claimed he won 62% of the vote in Wednesday’s election based on his campaign’s own counts, repeating a similar claim when he lost to Widodo in 2014.

The Election Commission is required to release official results by May 22.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, is an outpost of democracy in a Southeast Asian neighborhood of authoritarian governments and is forecast to be among the world’s biggest economies by 2030. A second term for Widodo, the first Indonesian president from outside the Jakarta elite, could further cement the country’s two decades of democratization.

Subianto, a strident nationalist, ran a fear-based campaign, highlighting what he sees as Indonesia’s weakness and the risk of exploitation by foreign powers or disintegration.

Widodo said he had sent a representative to talk to Subianto and his camp.

“This afternoon I have sent an envoy to meet Prabowo to set a meeting, and if people see our meeting, we will be able to show how the elections have ended smoothly, safely and peacefully,” he said.

The country’s security minister and its military and police chiefs said earlier Thursday that they will crack down on any attempts to disrupt public order while official results from presidential and legislative elections are tabulated.

Security minister Wiranto, who uses a single name, told a news conference with the chiefs of police and all military branches that security forces will “act decisively” against any threats to order and security.

He said the voter turnout of 80.5% gives the winner of the presidential election “high legitimacy.”

National police chief Tito Karnavian said the Election Commission and courts are the appropriate institutions for resolving complaints about the election.

Subianto’s hard-line Muslim supporters plan mass prayers in central Jakarta on Friday but it was unclear if the event will be allowed to go ahead.

“I appeal to everybody not to mobilize, both mobilization to celebrate victory or mobilization about dissatisfaction,” Karnavian said.

The election was a huge logistical exercise with 193 million people eligible to vote, more than 800,000 polling stations and 17 million people involved in ensuring the polls ran smoothly. Helicopters, boats and horses were used to get ballots to remote and inaccessible corners of the archipelago.

Voting ran smoothly, apart from a few districts where logistical problems caused delays, and was peaceful, a remarkable achievement for a country steeped in political violence.

Widodo’s campaign highlighted his progress in poverty reduction and improving Indonesia’s inadequate infrastructure with new ports, toll roads, airports and mass rapid transit. The latter became a reality last month in chronically congested Jakarta with the opening of a subway.

Kipling, Manto and Conrad in Mumbai

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BBB identifies 75 senior officers for leadership roles in PSBs

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Dollar steadies after upbeat US data amid holiday-thin trade

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Goldman works out best times to enter, exit earnings trades

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Oil prices inch up on signs of tighter global supply

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Nissan to cut global production by 15%: Nikkei

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Malian PM resigns over surge of violence

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Uber wins $ 1 bn investment from Toyota, SoftBank fund

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WTO largely sides with US in dispute over China grain import tariffs

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Elections 2019: 36 file nominations in Delhi on Thursday for LS polls

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AI offers ‘rescue’ fares to stranded international passengers of Jet Airways

Air India on Thursday announced special fares to international passengers of Jet Airways who have been stranded due to the grounding of the airline.
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Amazon, Google agree to allow each other’s streaming apps

Amazon and Google announced on Thursday they had agreed to allow each other’s streaming media applications to work on their platforms, ending a spat
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Pandya brothers, Chahar set-up resounding win for Mumbai

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Facebook says more Instagram passwords exposed than thought

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Top five stories to watch out for on April 19, 2019

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Broker's call: Bajaj Consumer Care (Buy)

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GVK signs stake sale deed with ADIA, NIIF

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Bengal leads high turnout in Phase II polling

BJP sees wave against Mamata government; TN and UP witness over 60% turnout
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Board of Patel Integrated Logistics approve sale, transfer of surface transport business Patel Roadways

The board of directors of Patel Integrated Logistics on Thursday approved the sale and transfer of the company’s surface transport business Patel Road
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Board of Vivo Bio Tech approve acquisition of 100 per cent stake in Donakanti Consultancy Services

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HDFC Bank, AU Small results in focus

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Vande Bharat Express exclusive: Second engine-less Train 18 to roll out in May; 3 more expected this year

Vande Bharat Express exclusive: Second engine-less Train 18 to roll out in May; 3 more expected this year
Vande Bharat Express is a luxury air-conditioned chair car train service that will eventually replace Shatabdi Express trains on the Indian Railways network.

Source: TFE

Lalit Modi threatens to sue Rahul Gandhi for saying ‘all Modis are thieves’

Lalit Modi threatens to sue Rahul Gandhi for saying ‘all Modis are thieves’
The message from Lalit Modi comes days after Rahul Gandhi while addressing a rally in Dehradun wondered why all thieves have the 'Modi' surname.

Source: TFE

Samsung Galaxy S10 finally gets dedicated Night mode: How it works

Samsung Galaxy S10 finally gets dedicated Night mode: How it works
To check for this update on your Samsung Galaxy S10, go to phone’s Settings, followed by a tap on Software Update

Source: TFE

All is well with Modi’s Mudra loans; NPAs within RBI limits, says finance ministry official

All is well with Modi’s Mudra loans; NPAs within RBI limits, says finance ministry official
 The overall non-performing assets under the government's flagship scheme "Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana" for promoting small businesses  are under the Reserve Bank of India’s permissive limits but there are a few PSU banks which may have breached the RBI’s threshold.

Source: TFE

Priyanka Chaturvedi quits Congress day after criticising party, shoots resignation to Rahul Gandhi

Priyanka Chaturvedi quits Congress day after criticising party, shoots resignation to Rahul Gandhi
Priyanka, one of the Congress party's most vocal faces on key issues, sent her resignation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday evening. There is no word yet on her future course of action.

Source: TFE

Student of the year 2: Tiger Shroff, Ananya Panday and Tara Sutaria dance on yet another remix ‘The Jawaani Song’

Student of the year 2: Tiger Shroff, Ananya Panday and Tara Sutaria dance on yet another remix ‘The Jawaani Song’
Student of the Year 2 The Jawaani Song: Starring Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday, this Vishal-Shekhar recreation retains the old melody. Directed by Punit Malhotra, Student of the Year 2 releases on May 10.

Source: TFE

India’s per-capita soft drink consumption to be almost double to 84 bottles a year by 2021: VBL

India’s per-capita soft drink consumption to be almost double to 84 bottles a year by 2021: VBL
The Indian soft drinks market is in growth phase and the gap between urban and rural consumption is on the decline, it added.

Source: TFE

WATCH: Man slaps Hardik Patel on stage at Congress meeting in Gujarat’s Surendranagar

WATCH: Man slaps Hardik Patel on stage at Congress meeting in Gujarat’s Surendranagar
However, the man who slapped the Congress leader is yet to be identified. The reason for the move is also not known.

Source: TFE

Banks Board Bureau identifies 75 senior officers for leadership roles in PSBs

Banks Board Bureau identifies 75 senior officers for leadership roles in PSBs
BBB, headed by former Department of Personnel and Training secretary B P Sharma, also suggested revamping credit governance architecture in nationalised banks to reinforce efforts to minimise credit costs and enhance efficiency of credit allocation.

Source: TFE

Air India to the rescue: Offers special fares to stranded Jet Airways passengers

Air India to the rescue: Offers special fares to stranded Jet Airways passengers
Coming to the aid of Jet Airways passengers, state-run carrier Air India announced that it will provide special fares to its flyers who are stuck in foreign destinations.

Source: TFE

Jerrie Cobb, NASA’s first female astronaut candidate, dies at 88

Jerrie Cobb, NASA’s first female astronaut candidate, dies at 88
The Mercury 13's story is told in a recent Netflix documentary and a play based on Cobb's life, "They Promised Her the Moon", is currently running in San Diego.

Source: TFE

7 smart money moves for working millennials to remain financially fit

7 smart money moves for working millennials to remain financially fit
As financial decisions taken during the early stage of one's career are very important, here we are taking a look at some financial moves for ensuring the financial fitness of working millennials.

Source: TFE

Reliance Retail tops Rs 1 lakh crore revenue: 5 mind-boggling numbers from Mukesh Ambani’s RIL results

Reliance Retail tops Rs 1 lakh crore revenue: 5 mind-boggling numbers from Mukesh Ambani’s RIL results
Reliance Industries achieved several milestones, one of them being Reliance Retail becoming the first Indian retail company to top Rs 1 lakh crore revenue in FY19.

Source: TFE

5 lesser known tax saving options that can maximise your earnings

5 lesser known tax saving options that can maximise your earnings
Here is a list of five little-known tax-saving options that employees can avail of in order to save taxes.

Source: TFE

Hanuman Jayanti 2019: Whatsapp status, messages, and wishes for your loved ones

Hanuman Jayanti 2019: Whatsapp status, messages, and wishes for your loved ones
The day falls on the 15th day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Chaitra, which is a Purnima.

Source: TFE

Bar Sadhvi Pragya from contesting election, Malegaon blast victim’s father urges court

Bar Sadhvi Pragya from contesting election, Malegaon blast victim’s father urges court
The development comes just days after the BJP fielded Sadhvi Pragya to take on senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

Source: TFE

Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s remarks spark debate over China working hours

Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s remarks spark debate over China working hours
Newspaper People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece, issued an editorial, saying mandatory overtime reflects managerial arrogance and was also impractical and unfair to workers.

Source: TFE

‘Mahagathbandhan’ seeks Modi’s ouster for his stand on corruption, says Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das

‘Mahagathbandhan’ seeks Modi’s ouster for his stand on corruption, says Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das
At a road show at Pesrar in Lohardaga, earlier in the day, Das lauded the police for weeding out extremism from Pesrar.

Source: TFE

World liver day 2019: Here are some evergreen secrets from Ayurveda to keep your organ healthy!

World liver day 2019: Here are some evergreen secrets from Ayurveda to keep your organ healthy!
Ayurveda lists a few easily available food items that can help you detox your liver naturally.

Source: TFE

Uber wins USD 1 billion investment from Toyota, SoftBank fund

Uber wins USD 1 billion investment from Toyota, SoftBank fund
Khosrowshahi has promised greater transparency as he seeks to restore confidence in the global ridesharing leader hit by a wave of misconduct scandals.

Source: TFE

President Donald Trump to be first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new emperor: White House

President Donald Trump to be first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new emperor: White House
Trump will also hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in addition to a visit by Abe to Washington on April 26-27, Sanders said.

Source: TFE

Russia report tells how angry Donald Trump wanted Mueller fired

Russia report tells how angry Donald Trump wanted Mueller fired
Claiming that Barr has been working to whitewash the Russia report, Democrats will push for more details and testimony in the near future.

Source: TFE

BSE, NSE closed today on account of Good Friday; RIL results, Wipro buyback and other highlights from the week

BSE, NSE closed today on account of Good Friday; RIL results, Wipro buyback and other highlights from the week
The Indian stock markets BSE, NSE will be closed today on the occasion of Good Friday. We take a look at key highlights from the week including RIL results and Wipro buyback.

Source: TFE

IPL 2019: Pandya brothers, Chahar set-up resounding win for Mumbai Indians against Delhi Capitals

IPL 2019: Pandya brothers, Chahar set-up resounding win for Mumbai Indians against Delhi Capitals
Hardik, who is looking more dangerous with each passing game, whipped Morris for a six before pulling off a helicopter shot off Rabada in the final over.

Source: TFE

The story behind Mulayam-Mayawati split and what brought them back

The story behind Mulayam-Mayawati split and what brought them back
This will be the first time in over two decades both the leaders will meet again after the infamous guesthouse case in 1995.

Source: TFE

Malian PM resigns as anger mounts over massacre

Malian PM resigns as anger mounts over massacre
Jihadist attacks have also spread to Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.

Source: TFE

Uber’s self-driving arm gets $1 billion investment ahead of IPO

Uber’s self-driving arm gets $1 billion investment ahead of IPO
The deal will help Uber, which tallied a $3 billion operating loss last year, to continue funding a very costly endeavor.

Source: TFE

Refused U.S. visa eight times, Zoom CEO is now a billionaire

Refused U.S. visa eight times, Zoom CEO is now a billionaire
After two years of rejection, Yuan, 49, finally made it to the U.S. and is now the major shareholder of video conference services firm Zoom Video Communications Inc., which raised $751 million in an initial public offering Wednesday.

Source: TFE

Amazon launches free music streaming to boost Alexa sales

Amazon launches free music streaming to boost Alexa sales
Users can request playlists and stations to stream different types of music to suit different moods and situations.

Source: TFE

Google, Amazon end boycott of each others’ video services

Google, Amazon end boycott of each others’ video services
Walt Disney Co. joined the fray this month with a $6.99-a-month streaming service carrying popular content like Star Wars and Marvel superhero movies.

Source: TFE

Priyanka Chaturvedi quits Congress after party brings back leaders who misbehaved with her

What can be called as a big blow to Congress, spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi quit the party two days after the leaders who had misbehaved with her were reinstated in the organisation.

According to NDTV, she was upset with her party bosses for reinstating Congress workers who had been thrown out last year for misbehaving with her. “Lumpen goons” get preference in the Congress over those who had “given their sweat and blood”, she wrote in her tweet on Wednesday.

On Friday morning,  the news emerged as the missing “INC spokesperson” on her Twitter bio was noticed. Sources from Congress told India Today that, she tendered her resignation to party president Rahul Gandhi late last night.

On April 18, Priyanka Chaturvedi had expressed her anger over the party reinstating members who had misbehaved with her and threatened her. She lashed out at the party in public and accused it of giving preference to “lumpen goons” over those who had given their “sweat and blood” to the Congress.

“Deeply saddened that lumpen goons get preference in @incindia over those who have given their sweat and blood. Having faced brickbats and abuse across board for the party but yet those who threatened me within the party getting away with not even a rap on their knuckles is unfortunate,” tweeted Priyanka Chaturvedi.

The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) had suspended some of its workers for their unruly behaviour with Chaturvedi in Mathura while she was addressing a press conference on Rafale deal. The orders were reportedly revoked after the intervention by Congress General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh West Jyotiraditya Scindia.



Source: FPJ

Well ‘Bowled’! Jasprit Bumrah’s exacts perfect revenge, sends Rishabh Pant’s stumps cartwheeling; watch

It was supposed to be tough fight between Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians yesterday in IPL 2019 clash, but Mumbai took the game away easily after winning the match by 40 runs. Even while going for a chaseable target of 169 runs, Delhi Capitals lost most of the wickets in the second innings and were far away from the victory.

The best moment of the match was the rivalry between Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah, in which Bumrah had an upper hand this time. In their first clash of IPL 2019, Pant’s superb knock of 78 from 27 balls was the talking point of the game. But in yesterday’s match, Bumrah dismissing Rishabh Pant was a crucial moment.

Bumrah, who is often not seen performing wild celebrations after dismissals, came out with a strong gesture after he bowled Pant. On a length delivery, he removed the off stump of Pant to send him back. This was followed by unusual celebrations by him. Have a look at the video.



Source: FPJ

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Hardik Patel slapped at a public meeting in Gujarat

In a shocking incident, on Friday Congress leader Hardik Patel was slapped at a public meeting in Gujarat’. The incident took place in Gujarat’s Surendranagar district during a Jan Aakrosh Sabha.

In the video, it is seen that Hardik Patel was addressing people and out of nowhere a man came up on the stage and slapped Patel. According to reports, the person who slapped Patel on stage was caught but is yet to be identified. 25-year-old Patel, who led the Patidar reservation stir in Gujarat since 2015 and joined the Congress last month, has emerged as a star campaigner for the opposition party and has been crisscrossing the state to address poll rallies.



Source: FPJ

Sadhvi Pragya stokes controversy, says ‘Hemant Karkare lost his life because I cursed him’

Bhopal: Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case and the BJP candidate against Congress’s Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal, said that former Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) Hemant Karkare lost his life because she had cursed him.

“I called Hemant Karkare and asked him to let me go if there is no evidence (against me). He (Karkare) said that he will bring evidence but will not leave me. I told him — You will be ruined,” she said. Karkare was killed along with two other senior police officers while fighting terrorists during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.

Pragya Thakur is among the seven accused facing trial in Malegaon blast case. Six people were killed and a dozen others were injured after a bomb placed on a motorcycle exploded in Maharashtra’s Malegaon on September 29, 2008. She was arrested in 2008 but was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency in 2015 for lack of evidence. However, the trial court refused to let her off, saying it was difficult to accept since her motorcycle was used in the blast.

Thakur has been cleared of charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017 but remains an accused under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. On Wednesday, she formally joined the BJP and will contest against Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal parliamentary constituency. Several opposition leaders have slammed the BJP for fielding a terror accused in the Lok Sabha elections.

“After spending 10 years in jail due to Congress conspiracy, I have come here to fight the political and religious war,” Thakur said after joining the BJP. She is expected to file her nomination from Bhopal on April 23. Bhopal will go to polls on May 12. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.



Source: FPJ

Eastwood may direct ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’

Los Angeles: Veteran actor Clint Eastwood might direct “The Ballad of Richard Jewell”, a look at a security guard whose life gets turned upside down after media reports identified him as a possible suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing. The film is currently set up at Disney/Fox and could reunite Eastwood with Alan Horn, the current Disney Studios chief who worked with the filmmaker when he was in charge of Warner Bros motion picture division.

Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio had originally been attached to star, but they will no longer appear in the movie. Their involvement will be limited to producing the film, reports variety.com.

Eastwood’s involvement could change. He circled the project several years ago before opting to direct “Sully” with Tom Hanks. Director Ezra Edelman was last person to consider the project.

DiCaprio’s business partners Jennifer Davisson Killoran, and Kevin Misher are also producing. “Captain Phillips” screenwriter Billy Ray is writing the script, which will be based on a Marie Brenner article in Vanity Fair. Jewell reported on the knapsack bomb at the 1996 Summer Games and helped clear bystanders – only to find himself vilified and suspected of being involved in the terrorism plot.  He was cleared as a suspect three months later and died in 2007 of a heart attack at the age of 44.



Source: FPJ

Lalit Modi to take Rahul Gandhi to UK Court over ‘all Modis are chor’ remark

New Delhi: Former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief operating officer (COO) Lalit Modi on Friday hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his “all thieves have Modi in their surnames” jibe and said he would take the Congress chief to a court in the United Kingdom.

“The papu @rahulgandhi says “All MODI’s are CHOR’s”. Well he will be taken to court in the UK by Me. But reality is that the world knows 5 decades of daylight looting of India was and is done by none other than the Gandhi family,” Lalit tweeted. “Kaun #chor Kaun #chowkidar – you decide. @RahulGandhi @narendramodi @lalitkmodi” read his second tweet posted along with a video of the alleged scams done by Congress.

Gandhi, while addressing an election rally at Kolar on April 13, had said, “I have a question. Why all the thieves have Modi in their names whether be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi? We don’t know how many more such Modis will come out.” The Congress chief drew flak for this remark from Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

Sushil Modi on Thursday filed a defamation case against Gandhi over his comment in Patna Civil Court. “I have filed a defamation case against Congress president Rahul Gandhi. In an affidavit, I have stated that Rahul had said all people having surname Modi are thieves. His statement has hurt the sentiments of people. Besides, it has also hurt the watchmen in Bihar,” he had told ANI. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi said Gandhi maligned the “backward community” he hails from through his remark.

“The Congress and its allies say that all Modis in the society are thieves. The Congress and its allies have not kept any shortcomings in abusing of my backward caste. This time they have crossed the limits and abused the entire backward society,” Modi had said at a rally in Solapur on Wednesday. Lalit, who started the IPL, was ousted as chairman in 2010 as he was accused of financial irregularities. He had fled the country after being charged with money laundering.



Source: FPJ