News Leak Centre

Kofi Annan, First Black African UN Secretary General, Dies At 80

 

Former United Nations General Secretary and Nobel Peace Prize laureate General Kofi Annan passed away at the age of 80, following a short illness. Annan, a Ghanaian national, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Announcing the news of the leader’s demise, the Kofi Annan Foundation wrote on its Twitter page, “It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan  Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the  United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on  Saturday 18th August after a short illness.”

Annan was the first black African to assume the office of world’s top diplomat, serving two terms as secretary-general from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2006. He later also served as the UN special envoy for conflict-ridden Syria.

In 2001, Annan and the UN were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Reacting to the death, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted:  “Deeply shocked to learn of the passing of my friend & mentor #KofiAnnan. The last time we spoke he had accepted my invitation to come to Kerala in 2022 to celebrate his “thousand moons”. He was so fit I had no doubt he would go on well past that date. I have lost an elder brother.”

Remembering the late leader, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement, “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.”

Modi Walks Miles behind Atal Bihari’s pyre, breaks Protocol

Not even a single eye was left dry during the funeral of Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the whole nation bid its farewell to him. His pyre was lit by foster daughter Namita Bhattacharya at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal on the bank of river Yamuna today.

 

PM Modi took charge and displayed his love and respect towards the deceased in the most commendable manner. The event was planned without leaving any aspect behind and Narendra Modi took it as an opportunity to display his management skills with the workers of BJP.

This is the first time the Prime Minister of India walked for miles and paid homage. This is the first time any PM has walked behind the coffin of a statesman. Nehruji sat on the vehicle carrying Gandhiji’s remains, Rajivji too sat on the vehicle. Modi is the first PM to walk the entire length behind the gun carriage.

While speaking to NLC, union minister said that the event was planned with no glitches to spare.

Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharam took charge of the family of Atal Ji while Piyush Goyal was in charge of the ceremonies and rituals involved in the funeral. The International Guests were handled by Sushma Swaraj.

Atal Ji Used To Ride Bicycle To This Place in Gwalior

Long before Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister, he used to visit the homes of his childhood friends riding a bicycle, much to the surprise of many here in Madhya Pradesh, his niece Kanti Mishra said.
Kanti Mishra said Vajpayee, who died today at the age of 93, was humble in his conduct despite becoming a towering personality in the Indian politics.

He used to cycle down to the homes of other childhood friends in the city also, she said.
The 75-year-old lives Kanti next door to the former PM’s house in Kamal Singh Ka Bagh area, which plunged into grief after the news of Vajpayee’s death came.
Kanti Mishra said Vajpayee last came to Gwalior, his native town, around 12 years ago.
“Chachaji came to Gwalior last time round in 2006 to celebrate his birthday and stayed here for three days,” she recalls.


Ravi Upadhayay, a photojournalist who lives close to Kanti Mishra’s house, said Vajpayee got his two-storey house converted into a free computer training centre and children’s library in 1997 in the memory of his father late Krishnaji.

Heaven Has Got A Prime Minister now!!!

The demise of Atal Bihari Vaajpayee has left the nation in tears and it is indeed the end of the golden era. After the British Colonial Rule, he was the stepping stone of development and laid foundation to major change in the country.
Twitter was flooded with politicians, celebrities and the nation expressing grief on his death.
Here’s how the nation felt after the loss of this irreplaceable Leader.

Irrfan Khan Shares His Cancer Experience & It Will Give You Goosebumps

Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan, who has been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called Neuroendocrine Tumour, is currently in London for his treatment. The versatile actor, whose upcoming Bollywood offering Karwaan is set to hit the cinemas this Friday, opened up on his life after he was diagnosed with cancer. He revealed that Initially he was shaken and very vulnerable but slowly, he found other ways to look at things that are much more powerful and much more productive and much more healthy.

Irrfan Khan said, “The problem with me initially was everyone was speculating whether I would be out of this disease or not. Because it’s not in my hand. That’s nature that will do whatever it has to do. What is in my hand, I could take care of that. And it offers so much that you feel thankful”.

Speaking about his cancer treatment, Irrfan Khan said, “I have had the fourth cycle of chemo. And I have to have six cycles and then we need to have a scan. After the third cycle, the scan was positive. But we need to see after the sixth scan. And then we’ll see where it takes me. There’s no guarantee of life with anybody. My mind could always tell me to hang a kind of chip on your neck and say, “I have this disease and I could die in a few months or a year or two.” Or I could just avoid this conversation completely and live my life the way it offers me. And it offers so much. I admit I was walking around with blinders. I couldn’t see what it offered me”.

My partner is a ‘warrior’: Irrfan Khan’s wife dedicates a post on her husband’s health

Amidst Sridevi’s death that took the entire country to dismay, comes another news that says actor Irrfan Khan is hospitalised for the reasons unknown. Rumour mills sparked the internet when the actor took to twitter and posts about his ‘rare disease’. Irrfan writes, “Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life-shaking you up. The last 15 days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease.”

And now Irrfan’s wife Sutapa Sikdar through a Facebook post has thanked all his fans for their best wishes. Sutapa wrote, “My best friend and my partner is a ‘warrior’ he is fighting every obstacle with tremendous grace and beauty. I apologize for not answering calls msgs, but I want all of you to know I am truly humbled indebted forever for the wishes prayers and concern from all over the world.”

She further wrote, “My humble request to all of you is to concentrate on the song of life, to dance of life to victory. My family will soon join in this dance of life. Thank you all from bottom of our heart.”

Earlier, Irrfan’s Blackmail co-star Kirti Kulhari said that she is concerned about his health but prays for “good news” from his side soon.

“It (the news) makes me sad. The first news came out when we were supposed to meet at the trailer launch. I didn’t take that very seriously. I thought ok, he must be unwell. But I’m saddened by it. I honestly don’t know the details and I wouldn’t want to speculate,” Kulhari said.

Dear Government, no need for bullet trains, instead give us safe roads

We live in a country where we are talking about bringing high-speed bullet trains into transport and yet couldn’t fix some deadly potholes on roads.

Earlier, on Tuesday evening, a 21-year-old bike-borne woman died after allegedly ramming into a lorry while trying to avoid a pothole in Devanahalli.

According to the police, while trying to negotiate a pothole, Vijayalakshmi slowed down the two-wheeler when a truck hit them from behind. As the women fell off their vehicle, the truck ran over Kavita, killing her instantaneously.

A woman, identified as Radha (47), lost her life when she was run over by a truck at Pantharapalya near Nayandahalli. She was riding pillion with her nephew Ravi Kumar (24) in a bike which skidded while negotiating a crater-like pothole.

In another incident, a one-year-old infant fell from her mother’s arms and died as her father lost control of the two-wheeler they were riding due to potholes on the roads of Bengaluru.

Roads in the city of Bengaluru also claimed the lives of a scooter-borne couple, while their granddaughter escaped with minor bruises early in the day on Mysuru Road.

Police said Anthony Joseph (55) and his wife Sagai Mary (52) were on their way home on their scooter with their six-year-old granddaughter from St Johns Hospital, where they had taken her as she was running a fever.

Merely a day after a couple stumbled and fell to their death due to Bengaluru’s pothole-ridden roads, another couple became victims to the same pothole. However, they survived to tell the tale.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has blamed torrential rains for the potholes in the city and has promised to rid the city of potholes in a fortnight.
Facing heat over battered city roads becoming a nightmare for commuters claiming three lives in the past one week and leaving scores of others injured, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday directed the BBMC to make the city roads pothole free within a fortnight.

The chief minister has just handed the BBMP a major task of filling up 15,935 potholes across Bengaluru in just 15 days. It will be just an impossible task, whether it is a hot mix, cold mix or white topping that the BBMP is likely to take up. In the process, politicians, contractors and officials make money, leaving the residents to their fate, even as deaths due to potholes continue to mount.

A stretch of potholes and puddles denies access to a petrol bunk near Koramangala 6th Block.

Officials have been warned to meet the deadline or face action. But whether the Chief Minister has taken the weather into account when giving this ultimatum, is anybody’s guess.  Going by the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre the city is likely to receive heavy rain right up to October 20, which does not augur well for officials trying to repair the city roads as all their efforts could get washed away.

Observes  Mr D S Rajashekar, president, Citizens’ Action Forum with sarcasm, “The Chief Minister has set enough deadlines, not just for potholes, but for  projects like the Hennur flyover, Indira Canteens, the Kempegowda Layout site sharing and so on, but they are not met and then he gives another deadline. It is impossible to fill potholes in 15 days. Even if officials try to fill some in an adhoc manner,  they are sure to be washed away in the rains.”

Mr Rajashekar also believes the BBMP has greatly underestimated the number of potholes in the city. “If we go by the BBMP, there are only 15,935 potholes in the city, which has 15,000 km of road. Roughly put it this works out to only one pothole for every kilometre of road, which is impossible. The BBMP should get its basics right first,” he stresses.

Potholes and cracks on a white-topped road in Vasanth Nagar

The civic activist rightly wonders why no road contractor has been penalised or blacklisted for not maintaining the roads as required. “This only means there is no accountability and that  there is a cartel at work. Today’s contractors become tomorrow’s corporators, who in turn become MLAs and then eventually Ministers. It’s a vicious circle,” he adds with regret, stressing that only citizen participation in ward committees can put an end to this sad state of affairs.

Coming down hard on the BBMP for its lack of realism, traffic expert and advisor to the state government on infrastructure, Prof M N Srihari asks indignantly, “Is Bengaluru the only city in India to receive so much rain? Even a school child  knows there are many other states and cities that receive more rain than Bengaluru but do not have as many potholes.”

A pothole on Ambedkar Medical College Road

While residents in the city are sceptical of this ‘hole’ exercise, officials on the ground spoke to Express about the challenges they face. Like new potholes springing up every day following rains, making their task difficult.

“Many of us have been doing the job manually. We go around the area along with contractors and note down the number of potholes and other details. With rains lashing the City every night, these numbers are increasing,” said an engineer.   He said waterlogging also alters the dimensions of the potholes.
“We go along with the contractor, measure the potholes and provide an estimate to fill these. When we visit the same spot a day or two later, the potholes would have become deeper. The other parameters also change following this,” said another BBMP engineer.

A crater filled with rainwater on Infantry Cross Road in Bengaluru

Dear Government, please wake up..!!

Farmer shocked: Government making mockery by giving Rs 10 loan waiver to Uttar Pradesh farmers

It looks like Uttar Pradesh government is standing tall on their claim to waive off farmer’s loan amounting to Rs 36,000 crores, however, what the farmers have received so far are loan waiver certificates worth Rs 10 and Rs 215.

In the event organised at Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh, farmers were in a shock after receiving a loan waiver certificates with amounts as low as Rs 10. The event is witnessed by state Minister for Labour and Employment Exchanges, Manohar Lal (Mannu Kori).

The farmers, who have a debt amounting to Rs 50,000, were left stranded clueless when they were handed certificates worth Rs 10 or 20. The state of confusion gripped the farmers as they were left nowhere to waive-off the remaining amount.

On receiving complaints regarding these faulty loan waiver certificates of Rs 10 and Rs 20, Mannu Kori said, “It might be due to some misprint in the certificate, the matter will be investigated and discrepancies will be corrected.”

The farmers were disgruntled over the administration and expressed their displeasure over the distribution of these certificates and said it was nothing less than a mockery on their plight.

Munni Lal, a farmer from Umri village in Hamirpur, approached the Minister of State and while showing his bank passbook complained that he had a debt of around Rs 50,000 and received a certificate of Rs 215. Another farmer, Babulal, complained of receiving a loan waiver certificate of Rs 28,000 while he had a loan of Rs 50,000

Around 12,460 farmers, just from the Hamirpur district, are supposed to get farm loan waivers in the first phase of the scheme.

MoS Mannu Kori, on Monday, distributed the certificates of farm loan waiver to 5,000 farmers. Many of the farmers among 45, who were called on the stage, complained of getting these low-value certificates.

Such incidents have cropped up in the past too. On 8th September, an incident at Brabanki district, where certificates were distributed to 5,000 farmers. Farmers in Barabanki too complained of receiving waiver certificates of Rs 12 and 24.

Going by the Yogi government’s decision, small and marginal farmers in Uttar Pradesh were to get up to Rs 1 lakh for their losses. There are about 2.15 crore farmers in UP, whose loans amounting to Rs 30,729 crores, are supposed to be waived.

The Rs 30,729 crore debt waiver would benefit farmers who had suffered losses due to drought, flood etc in Uttar Pradesh. Other farmers, whose loans were declared Non-Performing Assets by the banks and are beyond recovery, will also be waived. This would amount to another Rs 5,630 crores, in addition to the Rs 30,729 crore.

Now, robots to offer Buddhist funeral rites in Japan

If I a ask you, ‘What’s the new trend in robotics? It might be religion. Hot on the heels of Germany’s Protestant-inspired automated blessing machine, BlessU-2, a Japanese company has unveiled a smiling automaton programmed to conduct Buddhist funerals.

Unveiled during the annual Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo, a funeral industry trade show, the little robot was presented by Nissei Eco Co. as an inexpensive alternative to hiring a flesh-and-blood monk. According to Reuters, the robot, a reprogrammed version of SoftBank Robotics’ “Pepper” model of the interactive humanoid automaton, can chant Buddhist sutras and beat a little drum to honor the dead. It can even live stream the service if needed.

As funeral costs rise, Nissei Eco says, it can offer the robot, which was decked out in a little robe at the show, for just around $450 per service. Of course, this would come at a steep initial cost. According to the SoftBank website, Pepper robots, which are generically built to work as hosts and promotional tools, cost upwards of $25,000. For that and perhaps a host of other reasons, it’s unlikely that funeral Peppers are going to change the end-of-life industry overnight.

More and more, however, it’s starting to seem like religion truly is the opiate of the mechas.

Blue Whale game claims one more; Boy kills himself in West Bengal

A Class 10 student of West Bengal is reported to have killed himself over the Blue Whale Challenge — a dangerous online game that has spread alarm among parents and law enforcement authorities.

The student, identified by reports as 14-year-old Ankan Dey from West Bengal’s Anadpur in West Midnapore, choked to death after he covered his face with a plastic bag he tied tightly around his neck with a nylon cord.

The victim’s father said that his mother after he returned from school on Saturday afternoon to hold off his lunch until he had a bath. When he didn’t come down after a considerable time, his mother went looking for him and found him motionless on the floor. He was taken to a hospital immediately but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Reports claimed teenager was seen playing the Blue Whale Challenge, although police have yet to confirm this.

Another student of a school in Dehradun was also stopped from killing himself after school authorities noticed his unusual behaviour, a report in a leading daily claimed on Sunday.

The game that is believed to have its origins in Russia and has already claimed 150 lives worldwide now appears to be increasingly popular in India. A 14-year-old boy in Mumbai who jumped to his death from his fifth floor home is believed to be its first Indian victim.

A 13-year-old victim was stopped from killing himself over the game in Indore when some people saw him heading to the rails of a balcony in his school. The game is also blamed for a teenager having gone missing in Pune this week, and another who ran away from his home in Maharashtra’s Solapur to complete a task. He was eventually found, however.

What is the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’?

Blue Whale Challenge’ is an online game that is believed to have originated in Russia, where several teenagers have already killed themselves over it. The game starts by asking participants to draw a blue whale on a piece of paper, and later onto their own flesh.

The game advances innocuous challenges at first, such as waking up at unusual hours or watching horror movies alone. However, the challenges get progressively dangerous. The administrator usually set the tasks over 50 days. The last task is suicide.

Although Russia has the highest victims, ‘The Blue Whale Challenge’ is also believed to have claimed lives in the UK and the US.

The name comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, a process by which the mammals strand themselves on a beach.

The creator of the game, Philipp Budeikin, was sentenced to three years in jail by a court in Russia for having incited at least 16 schoolgirls to kill themselves. He is reported to have told investigators when he was arrested that he was “cleansing society”