Petrol price cut by Rs 2 per litre; diesel by 50 paise

An employee counts money at a fuel station in Kolkata

New Delhi: Petrol price was today cut by Rs 2 per litre and diesel by Rs 0.50 a litre, the third reduction in rates this month on fall in global oil rates.

The new rates will be effective midnight tonight, said Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s largest fuel retailer.

Price of petrol in Delhi has been cut by Rs 2 per litre, including local levies, and will cost Rs 61.20 per litre from tomorrow as against Rs 63.20 currently.

A litre of diesel will cost Rs 44.45 as compared to Rs 44.95 currently. Oil firms had last cut petrol price by Rs 1.27 a litre and diesel by Rs 1.17 per litre with effect from August 15. Prior to that, rates of petrol were cut on August 1 by Rs 2.43 a litre and that of diesel by Rs 3.60.

“Since last price change, there has been a decrease in international prices of both petrol and diesel. However, Rupee-US Dollar exchange rate has depreciated during this period. The impact of both these factors warrants a downward revision in prices, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price decrease,” IOC said in a statement.

Last month, the price of petrol was cut on July 1 by 31 paise per litre and diesel by 71 paise a litre. This was followed by a Rs 2 per litre cut in rates of both petrol and diesel, excluding local sales tax, from July 16 but consumers in Delhi were deprived of the benefit as the Delhi government raised VAT.

As a result, petrol price in Delhi went up by 28 paise a litre after hike in VAT or sales tax on the fuel from 20 to 25 per cent.

Rates of diesel, on which VAT was raised from 12.5 per cent to 16.6 per cent, saw a smaller reduction of 50 paise per litre.

“The movement of prices in international oil market and INR-USD exchange rate shall continue to be monitored closely and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes,” IOC said.


Movie Review: ‘All is Well’ is an entertaining film both for the classy as well as mass audiences


Banner: Allchemy Productions & T – Series
Producers: Shyam Bajaj, Varun Bajaj, Bhushan Kumar & Krishan Kumar
Director: Umesh Shukla
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Asin, Rishi Kapoor & Supriya Pathak
Music: Meet Bros Anjjan, Amaal Mallik, Mithoon & Himesh Reshammiya

Director Umesh Shukla in his debut directorial offering ‘OMG – Oh My God!’ had displayed a fair sense of his directorial finesse. And in his 2nd directorial outing ‘All is Well’ he has surpassed his own directorial skills by giving a gift of a beautifully entertaining film.

The plotted scenario of ‘All is Well’ depicts Indar (Abhishek Bachchan) is a musician based in Bangkok. Nimmi (Asin), a true blue romantic at heart (in the literal sense) loves Indar but the angry young man can’t reciprocate her feelings as he belongs to a dysfunctional family where his father Bhallasahab (Rishi Kapoor) & mom (Supriya Pathak) were always at loggerheads. As he didn’t want to be a part of his father’s fledgling bakery business, Indar had been asked to leave the house. Quirky fate proves instrumental in bringing Indar back to his home town Kasol where his dad was under enormous debt while his mom was unwell. The local moneylender Cheema (Zeeshan Ayyub) makes Bhalla & Son run for their money and madness unleashes relentlessly.

All in all, ‘All is Well’ proves Umesh Shukla’s mastery over his directorial treatment. Not only the cast, but also the entire technical crew of ‘All is Well’, especially music composer Amaal Mallik, deserves a pat on their back for living up to not only Umesh Shukla but also the cine goers expectations.

Performance wise Abhishek Bachchan has delivered a marvellous performance. Rishi Kapoor is brilliance personified. Zeeshan Ayyub’s act is the most entertaining. Asin looks glamorous. Supriya Pathak is competent. While Seema Pahwa is hilarious.

Tail Piece: ‘All is Well’ is one fun filled family entertainment which is not to be missed at any cost.

JDS keeps suspense on issue of support in Bengaluru civic body

BBMP poll

Bengaluru: Maintaining suspense over his party’s move, JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda today made it clear that he is in no hurry or ‘anxious’ to take a call on the issue of extending support either to the ruling Congress or BJP to take control of the city civic body.

Gowda said he would convene a meeting of party MLAs, MLCs and corporators and defeated candidates in the August 22 polls held to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), on September 5 to take a decision.

“I am calling all my MLAs, MLCs and corporators – both victorious and defeated on Sept 5.We will all sit together and interact to find ways to strengthen our small regional party,” he told PTI, even as his party corporators were cooling their heels in Kerala to prevent from being “poached” upon.

Gowda said he is not anxious nor was he a beggar to go to the doorsteps of the national parties – BJP and Congress – for lending support to rule BBMP. “I am not anxious. Why should I be bothered? I am not a beggar either. People know who are anxious. Congress and BJP are (anxious),” he said.

The JDS chief said, nevertheless he has to take a decision very carefully, given the past records of both the national parties sullying the image of his party. “I have to be very careful in taking a decision because both parties took our support earlier and damaged our reputation … I took the support of Congress and burnt my fingers.Dharam Singh was then made the CM who led Congress-JDS government. The Congress destroyed my party,” he said.

“Later, without my knowledge, my party leaders took the support of BJP, and thereafter what happened everybody knows. My son’s image was tarnished by a BJP leader after he levelled corruption charges in a mining case,” he said.

Asked which is a more dangerous party between BJP and Congress, Gowda said, “How do I say who is the better evil?” Gowda also questioned BJP’s claim of having people’s mandate, saying “If I support BJP, the Congress has to sit in the opposition, and if I support Congress, the BJP has to sit in the opposition. Who is saying BJP enjoys the mandate.”

Asked about the intriguing drama being unfolded even for a city corporation, Gowda ruled out any horse-trading. “Let me tell you with great responsibility. Nobody can indulge in horse-trading. No Operation Kamala this time, that BJP crafted in 2009.Nobody can touch(my corporators),”he said.

BJP has accused the Congress of indulging in horsetrading to gain control of BBMP. The Congress is working on ways to thwart BJP from ruling BBMP for a second term but the party is reportedly divided over taking help from JDS.

Upsetting Congress plans to wrest control of the BBMP council, BJP won 100 wards out of 198, as the results were declared on Tuesday for the polls held on August 22. Congress had bagged 76, JD(S) bagged 14 and others eight.

With one independent Corporator joining BJP, the party has increased its tally to 101.
Besides Corporators, the 255-member BBMP Council includes 57 other members from Bengaluru with voting rights. They include Members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, MLAs and MLCs.

With the magic number to gain control over BBMP being 128, BJP’s strength including non-corporator members stands at 125, Congress’ at 101, JD(S) 21 and others at eight.


India inch closer to series victory against Sri Lanka


Colombo: India remained on course for an away Test cricket series victory against Sri Lanka after 22 years, as the hosts chasing a challenging target of 386 to win, struggled to reach 67/3 in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day of the third match here on Monday.

Opener Kaushal Silva (24 not out) and skipper Angelo Mathews (22 not out) were at the crease for Sri Lanka at stumps at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). Indian pacers Ishant Sharma (2-14) and Umesh Yadav (1-32) struck yet again in the second innings to leave the visitors just seven wickets away from a memorable victory.

Virat Kohli-led India slumped to a 63-run loss in the first Test at Galle despite dominating much of the match, but shook off the disappointment by thumping the hosts to a 278-run loss in the second Test at the P. Sara Oval. India are eyeing their first Test series win in the island nation since 1993.

The fourth day of the ongoing Test belonged entirely to India which started off with their batsmen showing their class and composure to build a strong lead. Sri Lanka had managed 201 in the first innings in reply to India’s 312.

Sri Lanka came into bat in the second innings with a daunting 386-run target ahead of them and looked nervous right from the start as opener Upul Tharanga (0) fell in the sixth ball of the innings to Ishant.

Dimuth Karunaratne (0) too perished in the fourth over, leaving Lanka in a spot of bother at 2/2.

In-form batsman Dinesh Chandimal (18) too soon went back to the pavilion, leaving the hosts on a sticky wicket with a day remaining in the Test match.

Earlier, India resumed the fourth day at 21/3, with overnight batsmen Rohit Sharma (50) and Kohli (21) getting the proceedings underway by facing the Sri Lankan bowlers smartly on a bright sunny morning.

But Kohli edged one to first slip off the bowling of Nuwan Pradeep to hand the opposition their first wicket of the day. India were 64/4 then.

Then Stuart Binny joined hands with Rohit for a handy 54-run partnership for the fifth wicket to take the lead past the 200-run mark.

Just a few minutes before lunch, Rohit gave his wicket away while attempting a pull off a short delivery from pacer Prasad.

With the dismissal of Rohit, debutant wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha joined Binny in the middle as India reached 132/5 at lunch.

The partnership between Binny (49) and Ojha (35) ended soon after lunch as the team’s score reached 160.

After striking seven fours in his 62-ball 49, Binny edged a good length delivery from pacer Dhammika Prasad to Tharanga, who at first slip dived to his left and plucked a low catch.

His partner Ojha who was also looking set, soon fell to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, leaving India wobbling at 179/7.

Two quick wickets did not matter for incoming batsmen Ravichandran Ashwin (58) and Amit Mishra (39) as the duo added some vital runs in a 55-run partnership to push ahead India’s lead.

Off-spinner Ashwin was the highest run-scorer for India and the last wicket to fall as India were bowled out for 274 in their second innings and set a challenging 386-run target for the hosts.

Pacers Nuwan Pradeep and Prasad clinched four wickets each for the hosts.


EU calls emergency meeting in September for refugee crisis

About 2,500 asylum seekers have died crossing the Mediterranean and trying to reach Europe this year. (AFP/File)

About 2,500 asylum seekers have died crossing the Mediterranean and trying to reach Europe this year. (AFP/File)

by Andolu Ajansi

The European Union has called for an emergency meeting on September 14 to discuss solutions to the escalating refugee crisis facing the 28-nation bloc.

Luxembourg, which holds EU’s rotating presidency, called for an emergency meeting of interior ministers from the 28 EU member states in Brussels Sunday.

“The situation of migration phenomena outside and inside the European Union has recently taken unprecedented proportions,” Luxembourg said in a statement late on Sunday.

The interior ministers will discuss policies on how to return refugees back to their home country and to prevent human trafficking.

The announcement came three days after 71 refugees, believed to be from Syria, were found dead last Thursday in an abandoned lorry on a highway in Austria near the Hungarian border.

Around 2,500 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe this year alone, according to the United Nations.

Law Commission for “swift” scrapping of capital punishment

Death Penalty

New Delhi: The Law Commission Monday recommended by a majority “swift” abolition of death penalty except in terror-related cases, noting it does not serve the penological goal of deterrence any more than life imprisonment.

The recommendation by the 9-member panel was, however, not unanimous, with one full-time member and two government representatives dissenting and supporting retention of capital punishment.

In its last report, the 20th Law Commission said there is a need to debate as to how to bring about the “abolition of death penalty in all respects in the very near future, soonest.”

The panel, while refusing to recommend any single model for abolishing death penalty, said “the options are many — from moratorium to a full-fledged abolition bill. The Law Commission does not wish to commit to a particular approach in abolition. All it says is that such a method for abolition should be compatible with the fundamental value of achieving swift and irreversible, absolute abolition.”

While supporting death for those convicted in terror cases and for waging war against the country, the report, ‘The death Penalty’ said that although there is no valid penological justification for treating terrorism differently from other crimes, concern is often raised that abolition of capital punishment for terror-related offences and waging war will affect national security.

The panel also questioned the “rarest of rare” doctrine in awarding death to convicts.

“After many lengthy and detailed deliberations, it is the view of the Law Commission that the administration of death penalty even within the restrictive environment of ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine is constitutionally unsustainable.

“Continued administration of death penalty asks very difficult constitutional questions…These questions relate to the miscarriage of justice, errors, as well as the plight of the poor and disenfranchised in the criminal justice system,” the report said.

One of three full-time members Justice (retd) Usha Mehra and both the ex-officio members — Law secretary P K Malhotra and Legislative Secretary Sanjay Singh gave their dissenting notes.

The Law Commission comprises a Chairman, three full-time members, two ex-officio members who represent the government, and three part-time members.


In Japan, tens of thousands anti-war protesters reject return to militarism

‘Instead of enacting such pro-war bills,’ said one demonstrator, ‘I want Japan to exert leadership roles in facilitating world peace.’

Protesters hold up banners reading 'No To War,' during a rally to protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive to enact two controversial security bills on Sunday in Ogimachi Park in Osaka's Kita Ward. (Photo: KYODO)

Protesters hold up banners reading ‘No To War,’ during a rally to protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to enact two controversial security bills on Sunday in Ogimachi Park in Osaka’s Kita Ward. (Photo: KYODO)

by Jon Queally, Common Dreams

Tens of thousands of people gathered outisde the Japanese parliament building on Sunday to reject plans put forth by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that would see an aggressive expansion of the nation’s armed forces despite a long-standing constitutional mandate for a “defense only” military posture.

The enormous crowd—estimated by organizers as more than 120,000 people—is opposing a set of bills moving through the country’s legislature which would allow the country’s military to engage in overseas fighting and ratchet up spending on new weapons systems. Despite loud public protest against the plan, Abe has continued to defend the plan. Demonstrators carried banners reading “Peace Not War” and “Abe, Quit!”

“Sitting in front of TV and just complaining wouldn’t do,” Naoko Hiramatsu, a 44-year-old associate professor in French and one of the Tokyo protesters, told Reuters. Holding his four-year-old son in her arms, she continued, “If I don’t take action and try to put a stop on this, I will not be able to explain myself to my child in the future.”

As the Asahi Shimbum reports:

In one of the largest postwar demonstrations in Japan, tens of thousands of protesters swarmed in front of the Diet building in Tokyo on Aug. 30 to oppose the Abe administration’s contentious security legislation.

Following a wave of weekly protests near the Diet building in recent months, rally organizers had worked to mobilize 100,000 participants from across the nation.

Amid the gloomy and rainy weather, protesters held up placards and banners and chanted slogans against the legislation, which is being pushed through the Diet.

A huge banner hanging from dozens of balloons read: “Abe, Quit!”

Opponents blasted the security bills on concerns that they would drag Japan into unwanted conflicts overseas.

Organized by a union of three different anti-war citizens’ groups, the Japan Times reports Sunday’s rally was arguably the most massive in a string of similar protests in recent months.

The Times spoke with several people in the massive crowd who rejected Abe’s arguments that Japan must return to a war footing more than half a century after the carnage that resulted from the Second World War:

Yamada, who at 5 years old witnessed the Great Tokyo Air Raid in 1945, said he was still haunted by the horrifying scene in which his neighbors in the Ryogoku area of northeast Tokyo jumped into the Sumida River in a desperate bid to escape the deadly blast and ensuing inferno.

“With the advance of technologies (over the past seven decades), war is likely to be more deadly than it used to be,” Yamada said. “In this age of nuclear weapons, you will never know how massive a death toll is going to be. The danger is far bigger than before. “We should never let it happen again,” he added.

A 38-year-old mother, who only gave her first name, Naoko, said she was worried about possible consequences of the bills that her children would have to face.

The bills, which she said ran counter to the pacifist policies Japan has adhered to over the past 70 years, could see her children embroiled in wars.

“Instead of enacting such pro-war bills, I want Japan to exert leadership roles in facilitating world peace as has done (since World War II),” she said.

Translator Hiromi Miyasaka, 49, said she resented the way the government was trying to steamroll the bills into enactment despite widespread public concerns.

“The way the government brushes aside public worries . . . it’s as though Japan is slipping back into its pre-World War II state,” she said.

Demonstrators opposing the security bills pack the streets near the Diet building in Tokyo on Aug. 30. (Photo: Asahi Shimnum/Shiro Nishihata)

People protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s security bill outside the parliament in Tokyo August 30. (Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Protesters hold up banners reading ‘No To War,’ during a rally to protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to enact two controversial security bills on Sunday in Ogimachi Park in Osaka’s Kita Ward. (Photo: KYODO)

Thousands attend flag hoisting at Bengaluru’s Mary’s Basilica

Bernard Moras

Bengaluru: Even as the clouds seemed to threaten rain, devotees stood their guns (umbrellas of-course) ready to face an impending spell of rain. Thousands of devotees gathered in the lanes and by-lanes of the ‘congested’ Shivajinagar that bustles with business activity.

The century old 160 feet tall St. Mary’s Basilica that is nestled amidst a historic Mosque and Hindu temple has been home for devotion for people of all religious faiths. Prelate Archbishop Bernard Moras in his message to devotees in the presence of Chief Guest KJ George (Home Minister of Karnataka) appealed to devotees “we must work for an ambience of peace and harmony between peoples of all religions”. Quoting the papal encyclical of Pope Francis ‘Laudio Si’ he made a clarion call that the “common good” must take utmost place. He called upon devotees of Mother Mary to become catalysts of change where ‘peace and harmony should prevail over violence and hatred’.

Mary Basilica

As the Prelate waved to the multitude, he said ‘my concern is for Justice. Let God’s people feel that God cares’. On the sidelines he said “ This is the year of the family and also the year dedicated to Consecrated Life’. ‘ families in peril need extra prayers. “During the novena let us pray that love, forgiveness and understanding prevails over hatred, revenge among families. The Archbishop persistently pressed for peace both, within Christian families and people of other religions.

Home Minister KJ George said “ As home Minister, God has placed a heavy responsibility upon me to promote Peace. With the Help0of Mother Mary, and all your prayers, I will continue my job of ensuring peace in this State”.

The Arch bishops’ greeting of waving hands at the people sparked a euphoria with people throwing rose petals towards the flag-post of Mother Mary and waving back at the Archbishop and the over hundred priests at the flag-post. Many devotees were seen in tears with hands lifted up towards the flag-post.

Top Police officers attended the celebrations.

The feast will be celebrated septemeber 8th concluding with a grand car procession.

MAX presents Elite Model Look India 2015


Bengaluru: MAX, the country’s largest international value fashion brand, is back with the 2nd edition of Elite Model Look India 2015 after getting raving success last year.

Elite Model Look is one of the most sought-after & prestigious contest in the world. This contest is a lifetime opportunity for thousands of boys and girls to become the next international supermodel and reach great heights like Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Gisele Bundchen, Sigrid Agren and Constance Jablonski.

The contest which will tour 6 cities across India to hand pick the best talents, reached Bangalore after getting fabulous response from Delhi, Chandigarh & Chennai. The Bangalore Regional Casting took place at Phoenix Market City, Bangalore on 29th August 2015. The city was brimming with energy and enthusiasm as young boys and girls made a bee-line to participate in a rare, unique and an unbelievable opportunity to be a supermodel. The whole environment was charged as they competed fiercely to get shortlisted. Cheering fans and guidance from the experts turned this contest into a memorable and exciting day for the young contenders.

The esteemed jury included – Max Fashion’s Executive Director VASANTH KUMAR, Licensee Elite Model Look India & highly renowned Fashion Director MARC ROBINSON, Supermodels NICOLE FARIA and RACHAEL BAYROS.

Contestants were shortlisted from hundreds of hopeful contenders based on criteria like their ramp walk, first impression and photogenic appeal. These contestants will compete in the final selection round inNational Casting along with contestants shortlisted from other cities including Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Kolkata & Mumbai.

National Casting finalists will undergo a week long grooming sessions by industry experts including Marc Robinson and Erika Oliveira, an Elite Model and winner of prestigious Golden Globe for “Best Model Female”. These rigorous grooming sessions conducted in a safe, supportive and fun environment help aspiring models to understand the concept of stage presentation, poise and most importantly to be confident. Shortlisted aspirants will be put on their road to success though guidance and mentoring by our experts right up to the Grand Finale, schedule to take place in Delhi in September.

The ultimate goal is to win the prestigious World Final and represent India on International level. The winners will aim for the super model trophy and will also secure a 3-year contract with the Elite agency.

Commenting on the occasion, VASANTH KUMAR, Executive Director, Max said “With the launch of Elite Model Look India 2015, Max reinforces its positioning of democratizing fashion and giving the Indian models the exposure to establish themselves in the International fashion circuit.”

Speaking at the event MARC ROBINSON, Fashion Director & Licensee Elite Model Look India said, “The fashion industry in India today is bereft of “Supermodels” that once had an iconic influence in the fashion scene in the 1990’s, today they simply and sadly don’t exist. With the introduction of a genuine initiative by the fashion brand like MAX and Elite Model Look, Paris, it will provide an opportunity to aspiring young male and female models”

Supermodel NICOLE FARIA said “It’s a great opportunity for young girls and boys to participate in ​E​lite ​M​odel Look. Not only it’s prestigious, it puts you on a very good platform.”

Commenting on the occasion, Supermodel RACHAEL BAYROS said “Elite Model Look India 2015 is a great opportunity for young aspiring models. Being part of such a credible model search, automatically ensures that you will be noticed by the best people in the fashion and glamour industry. I wish the contestants all the best.”

Yemen hospitals facing closures as fighting rages

Major hospitals in Sanaa and Taiz facing closure due supply shortages as fighting rages, NGOs say.

More than 15.2 million people are lacking access to basic healthcare across Yemen, according to Save the Children [EPA]

More than 15.2 million people are lacking access to basic healthcare across Yemen, according to Save the Children [EPA]

by Al Jazeera

Major hospitals in Yemen have been struggling to function due to a supply shortages caused by the increased fighting between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The main hospital in rebel-held capital, Sanaa, is on the verge of shutting down due to limited access to basic medicines and equipments caused by blockade imposed by pro-Hadi fighters, while hospitals in Taiz were under siege by Houthi rebels.

Save the Children said Al-Sabeen Hospital – that caters to children and pregnant women in Sanaa – could shut its doors on Tuesday over critical fuel shortages and a lack of medical supplies.

The hospital, reliant on the Red Sea port of Hodeida for 90 percent of its imports, serves an estimated three million people, the organisation said in a statement.

“The hospital has entirely run out of IV fluid, anaesthetic, blood transfusion tests, Valium to treat seizures and ready-prepared therapeutic food for severely malnourished children,” the statement said citing the hospital’s deputy manager Halel al-Bahri.

Basic healthcare

In Taiz, Yemen’s third city, two major hospitals have already closed due to a supply shortage caused by a blockade imposed by Houthi fighters, Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors without Borders (MSF) said.

“Yemen International Hospital and the military hospital, the biggest in Taiz, have shut their doors because the rebels refused to allow us to deliver drugs and medical supplies,” Salah Ibrahim Dongu’du, a project coordinator at MSF, told Al Jazeera over phone.

“Safwa Hospital is closing today, and Rawda hospital can only accept emergency cases,” he said. “The medical situation in Taiz is not good. It is catastrophic.”

Dongu’du said that there are more than 1,400 people in need of immediate medical help in the besieged city.

The Saudi-led coalition has mounted an air campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels late March in support of the exiled President Hadi.

Across Yemen, 15.2 million people are lacking access to basic healthcare, an increase of 40 percent since March, Save the Children warned.

More than half a million children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition this year, and there has been a 150 percent increase in hospital admissions for malnutrition since March, it said.