Kangana derides Congress, says Indians were slaves of Italy!

Agencies
April 30,2019

Mumbai, Apr 30: Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut has said Indians were, in the past, enslaved by an 'Italian government', in a veiled jibe at the Congress party.

The 32-year-old, while speaking to reporters after casting her vote at a polling station in Khar area here on Monday, said, "This (polling day) is a very important day for us, it comes only once in five years. I feel India is gaining independence today in real sense. Earlier, Indians were slaves of British, Mughal and Italian governments. Please exercise your Swaraj (independence) and vote."

The 'Italian government' remark is an apparent reference to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who was born and raised in Italy. Gandhi was the president of the Congress party for nearly two decades before handing over responsibilities to her son Rahul Gandhi in December 2017.

Kangana went on to say that the situation that prevailed in the country was the worst during Congress' government at the Centre.

"The political leaders used to chill in London and the country used to suffer from an array of issues like poverty, pollution, rapes etc. The situation in our country was worst when Congress was in power. Now that our time has come, we should vote in large numbers," she added.

Polling was held on Monday for 72 seats across nine states including five seats in Bihar, one in Jammu and Kashmir, three in Jharkhand, six each in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, 13 each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, eight in West Bengal and 17 in Maharashtra.

An overall voter turnout of 64.05 per cent was registered in the fourth phase of polling.

Seven-phase elections will end on May 19, and results will be declared on May 23.

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Sonu Sood donates 25,000 face shields to Maharashtra Police

News Network
July 17,2020

Mumbai, Jul 17: After helping scores of stranded migrant labourers return to their native places amidst the coronavirus pandemic, actor Sonu Sood has now extended a helping hand towards the coronavirus warriors as he donated 25,000 face shields to Maharashtra Police personnel.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday took to Twitter to thank the Bollywood actor for his "generous contribution" to help the Police personnel who have been working tirelessly amid the testing times.

"I thank Sonu Sood Ji for your generous contribution of giving 25,000 #FaceShields for our police personnel," tweeted Deshmukh.
Responding to the Home Minister, Sood said, "Truly honoured by your kind words Sir! My police brothers and sisters are our real heroes and this is the least that I can do for the commendable work which they have been doing. Jai Hind."

The 46-year-old actor who is known for his roles in films like 'Singh is Kinng,' 'Simmba', and 'Happy New Year' has been hailed all over the media for arranging hassle-free passage of migrant labourers to their respective homes.

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56 AIE passengers injured in Kozhikode plane crash discharged

Agencies
August 10,2020

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New Delhi, Aug 10: Fifty-six passengers, who had suffered injuries in the Kozhikode plane crash, have been discharged from various hospitals after obtaining complete fitness, according to Air India Express.

The Air India Express flight carrying 190 passengers, including 10 infants, crash-landed at Kozhikode airport on August 7, claiming 18 lives including two pilots.

The black box of Air India Express flight was brought to Delhi on Sunday and has been kept at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) lab for examination.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that findings of the investigation into the accident will be made public.

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Faithful begin Hajj pilgrimage under strict Covid-19 measures

Agencies
July 29,2020

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Dubai, Jul 29: Muslim pilgrims on Wednesday begin the annual Haj, downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage.

The Haj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings.

But this year only up to 10,000 people already residing in the Kingdom will participate in the ritual, a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world that attended last year.

"There are no security-related concerns in this pilgrimage, but (downsizing) is to protect pilgrims from the danger of the pandemic," said Khalid bin Qarar Al Harbi, Saudi Arabia's director of public security.

Pilgrims will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing during a series of religious rites that are completed over five days in the holy city of Makkah and its surroundings in western Saudi Arabia.

Those selected to take part in the Haj were subject to temperature checks and placed in quarantine as they began trickling into Makkah at the weekend.

State media showed health workers sanitising their luggage, and some pilgrims reported being given electronic wristbands to allow authorities to monitor their whereabouts.

Workers, clutching brooms and disinfectant, were seen cleaning the area around the Kaaba, the structure at the centre of the Grand Mosque draped in gold-embroidered cloth towards which Muslims around the world pray.

Haj authorities have cordoned off the Holy Kaaba this year, saying pilgrims will not be allowed to touch it, to limit the chances of infection.

They also reported setting up multiple health facilities, mobile clinics and ambulances to cater to the pilgrims.

Saudi authorities said only around 1,000 pilgrims residing in the Kingdom would be permitted for the Haj. Some 70 per cent of the pilgrims are foreigners residing in the Kingdom, while the rest will be Saudi citizens, authorities said.

All worshippers were required to be tested for coronavirus before arriving in the holy city of Makkah and will also have to quarantine after the pilgrimage as the number of cases in the Kingdom nears 270,000.

They were given elaborate amenity kits that include sterilised pebbles for a stoning ritual, disinfectants, masks, a prayer rug and the Ihram, a seamless white garment worn by pilgrims, according to a Haj ministry programme document.

"I did not expect, among millions of Muslims, to be blessed with approval," Emirati pilgrim Abdullah Al Kathiri said in a video released by the Saudi media ministry.

"It is an indescribable feeling... especially since it is my first pilgrimage."

The Haj ministry said non-Saudi residents of the Kingdom from around 160 countries competed in the online selection process but it did not say how many people applied.

Despite the pandemic, many pilgrims consider it safer to participate in this year's ritual without the usual colossal crowds cramming into tiny religious sites, which make it a logistical nightmare and a health hazard.

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