Yakshagana artiste, former MLA Kumble Sundar Rao dies at 88

News Network
November 30, 2022

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Mangaluru, Nov 30: Acclaimed Yakshagana and Talamaddale artiste and former MLA Kumble Sundar Rao passed away in the wee hours of Wednesday. He was 88.

Rao was an exponent of Thenkuthittu style of Yakshagana and the MLA serving Surathkal (present Mangalore City North) constituency from 1994 to 1999.

As an artiste, he had served in Surathkal and Dharmasthala yakshagana mela. Known for distinct style of dialogue delivery, he had carved a niche for himself in the performance art Yakshagana. 

Sundar Rao had served as president of Karnataka State Yakshagana Academy.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters. The mortal remains of Sundar Rao will be kept for public to pay tributes at his residence near Pumpwell in Mangaluru. 

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News Network
March 1,2024

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At least four people are said to be injured after a low-intensity blast occurred at The Rameshwaram Cafe in Brookefield in east Bengaluru on March 1, 2024.

Fire department officials said they received a call at 1.09 p.m. Initially suspected to be a cylinder blast, fire department officials have now dismissed this, and the source of the blast is yet unknown.

“It is very clear that the blast has not happened because of any cylinder or any other kitchen-related equipment as none of it was near the blast site. All our equipment is at the back of the restaurant. There is only a handwash area with a sink, dustbin and a stand to collect plates. Some people told us that someone came and kept a bag there and went and the blast happened after that. We have found a bag that exploded at the spot,” Divya Raghavendra, Managing Director and founder, The Rameshwaram Cafe, said.

Three of our staff members and one customer have been injured and they’re being treated at a hospital. The doctors have told us that they’re out of danger. The police are further investigating the matter and we are providing full support. We’ve already given them access to all the CCTV footage,” she added.

Speaking to media persons near the restaurant, Shabarish, an eye witness said, “There was a loud sound a little after 1 p.m. which must have been audible up to a kilometre away. There was a lot of smoke around the restaurant. When I went and checked, a few customers and employees were injured and bleeding. We sent them to hospital in the ambulance.”

Sachin Lamani, a security guard with The Rameshwaram Cafe at Brookfield told The Hindu that he was just outside the cafe when he heard a loud explosion at around 1:15 pm. As he rushed inside, he saw smoke and fire near the wash basin area, he said.

“There was a big explosion-like sound and there was a burnt smell. I don’t know how the blast occurred. I saw many people injured and helped them rush to a hospital,” he said. The cafe was filled with people as it was a Friday and lunch time. “I did not see how the fire occurred. But it was not a cylinder blast or an electric short-circuit as there were no cylinders or any equipment near the wash basin,” he added.

Another eye witness, Suresh, who was opposite the cafe when the blast happened, said he heard a huge explosion sound and rushed to the cafe. “There was dense smoke and none of us could go in. It took us over 10 minutes to get inside the cafe. We saw at least eight people injured,” he said.

The eatery is very popular among locals and usually bustling with people during lunch hour.
 

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News Network
February 28,2024

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An Indian businessman and philanthropist donated 1 million dirhams (approximately Rs 2.5 crore) to secure the release of 900 prisoners from jails across the Gulf nation since the beginning of 2024. He aims to get 3,000 prisoners released this year.

Firoz Hussain Merchant, 66, owner of Pure Gold Jewellers, donated 1 million dirhams to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities. He is based in Dubai.

This is a message of humility, humanity, forgiveness and kindness ahead of Ramadan, Firoz Merchant's office said.

"Prominent Dubai-based Indian businessman and philanthropist Firoz Merchant of Pure Gold has donated close to Rs 2.25 crores (AED 1 million) to ensure the release of 900 prisoners from jails across the Arabian nation," said the statement from his office.

Merchant, known for his 'The Forgotten Society' initiative, has already facilitated the release of 900 prisoners since the beginning of 2024.

This included 495 prisoners from Ajman, 170 prisoners from Fujairah, 121 prisoners from Dubai, 69 prisoners from Umm Al Quwain, and 28 from Ras Al Khaimah, according to Maagulf news portal.

Merchant also paid their debts and provided airfare for them to return home, aiming to reunite families and offer a second shot at life, according to Maagulf, an online news portal for the Telugu community residing in the Gulf.

His goal for 2024 is to help over 3,000 prisoners go free.

In conjunction with the Director Generals of Police at the Central Jails across the UAE, Merchant's initiative has helped over 20,000 prisoners over the years, earning him accolades from government officials and prisoners alike.

"I am grateful for the collaboration with the government. The Forgotten Society believes that humanity knows no borders, and we work together to offer these individuals the chance to reconcile with their families and communities," said Merchant.

Colonel Mohammed Yusuf Al-Matrooshi, a UAE official, commended Merchant's dedication to prisoner rehabilitation.

"He has helped countless individuals, and his quiet generosity offers genuine hope to those struggling to pay their fines," Al-Matrooshi said.

Who is he?

Born in 1958 as one of the nine children of Gulam Hussain and Malekbai in Mumbai, Merchant had a childhood of struggles after his father's real estate business failed. At the age of 11 Merchant dropped out of school to help his family financially. 

He found his calling in the gold business during a trip to Dubai at the age of 22 and established the first Pure Gold Jewellers in 1989, which has now grown to more than 120 outlets.

Pure Gold Group consists of FGM Holding, Pure Gold Jewellers, Pure Gold Real Estate Development, La Moda, and Pure Gold Manufacturing.  

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News Network
February 27,2024

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Bengaluru, Feb 27: In a setback to the BJP-JD(S) alliance, saffron party MLA S T Somashekar voted for Congress during the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka on Tuesday.

Somashekar, who is upset with the BJP and had been rebellious against the party, voted in favour of the Congress candidate, the BJP leaders said and added that the party will be exploring legal options to deal with him.

“We have got the information that Somashekar has done cross-voting. I believe that people do not like cheating now and then,” the Leader of Opposition R Ashoka told reporters here.

“I consulted with advocate Vivek Reddy who is our state legal cell president and a high court lawyer. We will ask the Speaker to initiate action against him (Somashekar) and explore the possibilities to take action following the law,” Ashoka, former deputy chief minister, said.

Ashoka termed Somashekar’s decision as “political suicide”.

Somashekar had quit the Congress and joined the BJP and served as the minister (in the BJP government) and he was made the Mysuru district in-charge minister. 

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