‘A gift of love’! LuLu Yusuff Ali saves Kerala woman's house from bank repossession

News Network
December 7, 2021

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LulLu Group chairman and managing director MA Yusuff Ali has saved a Kerala woman’s house from being repossessed by a local bank in a random act of kindness.

The UAE-based businessman was approached by the woman, identified as Amina, while he was visiting people who rescued him and several others during a helicopter crash eight months ago, it is learnt.

Yusuff Ali, his wife Shabira, and five others, including the pilot and co-pilot, survived the crash following a forced landing of their helicopter in a swamp amid heavy rains and winds on April 11 in Panangad, a village in Kochi. The accident took place when Ali was on his way to meet with a relative at a hospital in Nettoor.

“Yusuff Ali and his team went to visit the families that rescued him during the crucial moments after the crash. While he was walking towards his car, an elderly lady named Amina ran up to him with several bank documents in her hand,” V Nandakumar, director of marketing and communications at Lulu Group, Abu Dhabi explained.

The incident took place on Sunday, December 5. Amina said her house was soon to be repossessed by a neighbourhood bank due to non-payment of dues. 

In a now-viral video that was shared by bystanders, Amina can be seen desperately asking Yusuffali for assistance.

“The bank will repossess my home. Please help me,” she is seen saying in the video. Without a moment’s notice, the UAE-based businessman promised her his support.

A day later, senior Lulu Group officials have confirmed to Khaleej Times that Yusuffali’s personal staff went to the bank, paid the outstanding amount of approximately Dh18,506 (INR 3,80,000) to the Keechery Service Co-operative Bank. “Yusuffali has also paid Dh2,435 (INR 50,000) which will go towards Amina’s family’s medical expenses,” added Nandakumar.

“The title deed of her house and other documents would be returned to her in two days,” he explained.

Ali had returned to the crash site and visited villagers who rescued him, after fully recovering from injuries he sustained during the accident.

The group said he first met with Rajesh and his wife Biji, a local policewoman.

Yusuffali recollected it was Rajesh who first came to his rescue after the chopper made a belly landing in the waterlogged plot of land. He thanked Rajesh and his wife for their invaluable rescue work during adverse weather conditions, without realising who Yusuffali was.

“It was Biji who rushed to a nearby police station to inform cops about the accident,” said the Group. The head of the retail business presented the family with gifts and a cheque, which Ali called ‘a gift of love’.

Yusuffali spent nearly 30 minutes with the family and promised Rajesh he would extend all the support that was needed to organise his cousin’s wedding.

He also visited Peter, the owner of the land where the crash took place and handed gifts over to him.

The UAE-based Indian businessman and billionaire is very closely involved in several social and charitable humanitarian activities. Earlier this year, he saved Kerala man Becks Krishnan from death row after he paid Dh 500,000 in blood money. 

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News Network
December 8,2022

Bengaluru, Dec 8: With the BJP registering a massive win in Gujarat, Revenue Minister R Ashoka claimed on Thursday that at least 10-12 Congress lawmakers would switch over to the saffron party in Karnataka where elections are due in April-May next year.

“Many are waiting to quit the Congress and join the BJP. Many of them are in touch with us, at least 10-12 people. Our high command will decide about this. It is guaranteed that there are people who want to switch,” Ashoka said. 

Congress has no future in India and Karnataka, Ashoka insisted. “We’re seeing that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is taking Congress’ place. Congress’ votes are shifting to AAP. In Karnataka, if AAP manages to get 4-5 per cent votes, Congress will get decimated. Such is the situation in Karnataka,” Ashoka claimed. 

Reacting to the Gujarat election result, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai maintained that it would have a “positive impact” on Karnataka. “This shows that people support an administration that has good governance. Gujarat has shown that there’s pro-incumbency. Winning seven times isn’t easy. For pro-incumbency, governments have to perform. And, it was PM Modi who laid the foundation,” Bommai said. 

Defending the BJP’s loss in the Delhi civic body polls, Bommai said it cannot be compared with an Assembly election. “Being in power for 15 years in a local body is a big achievement in itself. There will be many local issues and the number of voters is small with a multi-cornered contest,” he said. 

Former chief minister BS Yediyurappa asserted that the BJP would win over 140 seats in the Karnataka election. “I’ve said before that we’re not dependent on any election result. We have our own strength here and the party has grown. We’re giving good administration,” he said, adding that the Gujarat result was “a big support and inspiration” to party workers. 

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News Network
November 27,2022

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Shanghai/Beijing, Nov 27: Protests against China's heavy COVID-19 curbs spread to more cities, including the financial hub Shanghai on Sunday, nearly three years into the pandemic, with a fresh wave of anger sparked by a deadly fire in the country's far west.

The fire on Thursday that killed 10 people in a high-rise building in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, has sparked widespread public anger. Many internet users surmised that residents could not escape in time because the building was partially locked down, which city officials denied.

The fire has fuelled a wave of civil disobedience unprecedented in mainland China since Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago.

In Shanghai, China's most populous city, residents gathered on Saturday night at Wulumuqi Road - which is named after Urumqi - for a candlelight vigil that turned into a protest in the early hours of Sunday.

As a large group of police looked on, the crowd held up blank sheets of paper - a protest symbol against censorship. Later on, they shouted, “lift lockdown for Urumqi, lift lockdown for Xinjiang, lift lockdown for all of China!”, according to a video circulated on social media.

At another point a large group began shouting, “Down with the Chinese Communist Party, down with Xi Jinping", according to witnesses and videos, in a rare public protest against the country's leadership.

The police tried at times to break up the crowd.

Beijing is adhering to a zero-COVID policy even while much of the world tries to coexist with the coronavirus. While low by global standards, China's cases have hit record highs for days, with nearly 40,000 new infections reported on Sunday for the previous day.

China defends Xi's signature zero-COVID policy as life-saving and necessary to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system. Officials have vowed to continue with it despite the growing public pushback and its mounting toll on the world's second-biggest economy.

Widespread public protest is extremely rare in China, where room for dissent has been all-but eliminated under Xi, forcing citizens mostly to vent on social media, where they play cat-and-mouse with censors.

Frustration is boiling just over a month after Xi secured a third term at the helm of China's Communist Party.

"This will put serious pressure on the party to respond. There is a good chance that one response will be repression, and they will arrest and prosecute some protesters," said Dan Mattingly, assistant professor of political science at Yale University.

Still, he said, the unrest is far from approaching that seen in 1989, when protests across the country culminated in the bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

"Popular sentiment matters," he said. "But as long as there is no split in the elite and as long the PLA (People's Liberation Army) and security services remain on his side he does not face any meaningful risk to his hold on power."

The next few weeks could be China's worst since the early weeks of the pandemic for the economy and the healthcare system, Mark Williams of Capital Economics said in note last week, as containing the outbreak will require additional lockdowns.

In the northwestern city of Lanzhou, residents on Saturday upturned COVID staff tents and smashed testing booths, posts widely shared on social media showed. Protesters said they were put under lockdown even though no one had tested positive.

Candlelight vigils for the Urumqi victims took place in universities in cities including Nanjing and Beijing.

Internet users showed solidarity by posting blank white squares on their WeChat timelines or on Weibo. By Sunday morning, the hashtag "white paper exercise" was blocked on Weibo.

Videos from Shanghai showed crowds facing police and chanting “Serve the people”, “We want freedom", and “We don’t want health codes”, a reference to the mobile phone apps that must be scanned for entry into public places across China.

The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

The city's 25 million people were put under lockdown for two months earlier this year, an ordeal that provoked anger and protests.

Chinese authorities have since then sought to be more targeted in their COVID curbs, an effort that has been challenged by the surge in infections as the country faces its first winter with the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

On Friday night, crowds took to the streets of Urumqi, chanting "End the lockdown!" and pumping their fists in the air after the fire, according to videos on social media.

Many of Urumqi's 4 million residents have been under some of the country's longest lockdowns, barred from leaving their homes for as long as 100 days.

In Beijing, 2,700 km (1,700 miles) away, some residents under lockdown staged small protests or confronted local officials on Saturday over movement restrictions, with some successfully pressuring them into lifting the curbs ahead of a schedule.

A video shared with Reuters showed Beijing residents marching in an unidentifiable part of the capital on Saturday, shouting "End the lockdown!"

The Beijing government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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News Network
December 7,2022

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Belagavi, Dec 7: The Karnataka police has filed an FIR against Kannada activists for pelting stones and damaging trucks from Maharashtra, police said on Wednesday.

According to police, an FIR had been lodged against 12 Kannada activists attached to the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike at Hirebagewadi police station in Belagavi.

On Tuesday, Kannada activists were prevented from entering Belagavi city. They have come from various districts across the state to prevent entry of ministers from Maharashtra to Belagavi city in the backdrop of border dispute.

As the Maharashtra ministers cancelled their Karnataka visit, the police prevented Kannada activists at Hirebagewadi toll and denied entry to Belagavi city to maintain law and order situation.

The activists staged a protest on the highway and resorted to violence. They pelted stones on trucks of Maharashtra. They plucked out plates bearing registration numbers and even climbed up police vehicles with Kannada flags.

The police had detained Karanataka Rakshana Vedike President T.A. Narayana Gowda and hundreds of Kannada activists.

The case had been registered under IPC Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint), 427 (mischief causing damage) and 149 (offence committed by unlawful assembly).

The police have stated that they are not able to arrest the Kannada activists as they had escaped and they will initiate further action soon.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike is staging a protest in district headquarters of Karnataka against Maharashtra raking up the border dispute.

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