Saturday, 28 November 2020

Marriage between first cousins illegal, says Punjab and Haryana High Court

 Court rules after youth, who was in a live-in relationship with a minor girl who was his relative, files for anticipatory bail

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stated that marriage between first cousins is illegal. The assertion came after a youth moved the High Court against the State of Punjab for anticipatory bail.

The petitioner, a 21-year-old youth, had sought anticipatory bail in a case registered under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366A (Procuration of minor girl) of the Indian Penal Code at Khanna city-2 in Ludhiana district.

The counsel for petitioner submitted that his client had also filed a criminal writ petition, along with the girl, praying for grant of protection to their life and liberty. The State however argued the duo were first cousins and their fathers were real brothers.

Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan, while hearing the petition, said, “..the submission in the present petition that as and when she [the girl] attains the age of 18 years, they will perform marriage is per se illegal.”

During the hearing, the court file of the criminal writ petition was also summoned and as per its memorandum of parties, the girl’s age was stated as 17 and the petitioner had filed the said petition with the submission that both of them were in a live-in-relationship.

Along with the petition, a representation was also annexed, in which the girl had stated that while her parents had love and affection for their sons, she was ignored by them. Therefore, she decided to live with her friend and, on that account, she was apprehending that her parents could harass them and disturb their peace of mind. This petition was disposed on September 7.

Justice Sangwan, in the current case, pointed out “ the present petition also, the petitioner has not disclosed the fact that he is the first cousin of the girl and, therefore, the submission in the present petition that as and when she attains the age of 18 years, they will perform marriage is also per se illegal.”

The counsel for the State, who opposed the bail, raised objections, including that the girl was a minor. Besides, the boy and the girl were first cousins as their fathers were brothers. Hence, the petitioner concealed yet another fact in the said criminal writ petition that they fall in the prohibited ‘sapinda’ under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and could not marry each other. The HMA prohibits marriage between two individuals if they have common ancestor.

(Source: The Hindu)

Nurse-turned-farmer, Kerala man now earns Rs 30,000 monthly from growing lotus

 Growing 20 varieties of the Indian bean and catering to customers pan India, Eldhose P Raju says that lotus farming gives him peace of mind.

hile flying back to Kerala from Qatar, an industrial nurse—one who is “assigned emergency cases to provide medical aid in ambulances”—Eldhose P Raju was mulling a plan to find a similar job in his hometown. Wanting to come back home to his family in the Ernakulam district, he was confident enough to find a job as he has 10 years of experience catering to emergency cases. However, his plans took a drastic turn as his job search turned futile. That’s when the lotus entered.

Adopting a winning attitude when life dealt him a bad hand, Eldhose turned to his childhood passion. “Since childhood, I was passionate about plants and had a special love for lotus flowers. So, I set up an aquatic garden on my terrace with some bowl lotuses which were imported. When they bloomed, I shared pictures of them on my Facebook page and Instagram account, and that’s how all it started,” Eldhose tells The Better India.

With a variety of plants at home, he started watching YouTube tutorials on lotus farming and decided to cultivate lotuses at home in the month of March. From then, he began to import lotuses from different places, including Thailand, Europe and America. Once the imported lotuses started to bloom on the terrace garden, Eldhose began to fill his feed with the pretty pictures.

Social media: The saviour

Seeing pictures of flowers in flowerpots and plastic bowls on social media pages, people from different parts of India started to contact Eldhose. “Mainly people from North India contacted me for lotuses seeing the pictures I posted on Facebook. Then I began to supply lotus flowers and its tuber – its dormant roots, across India,” says the 34-year-old.

Most of the customers are from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune. “People from Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram had come to my home and collected lotus plants and bowls too,” Eldhose adds.

More than the tubers, there is a demand for plants. Once Eldhose receives the orders, he removes the dirt and water from the bowls and then sends them to the customers. He adds, “The plants can survive for almost 12 days and tubers survive longer than plants. Once the customer receives the plant, they just have to replant it.”

“I am also happy to help my customers with tips and tricks to take care of the plants. I don’t encourage those people to buy plants who buy them just for fun,” he says and adds, “Seeing my plants, I feel relaxed and happy. They are my stress busters. Money will come and go, but I believe peace of mind should be there for every individual.”

20 varieties of lotuses

Eldhose cultivates almost 20 varieties of lotuses, including the Zhizun Qianban, Magnificent, Charming lips, Da Sajin and Fire bowl. From the lotus farming, he receives a “good salary”. “In a month, I make approximately Rs 30,000, which I feel, is good.

In my garden, I have plants ranging from Rs 850 to Rs 3500,” he says and adds that he is proud of himself for doing what he loves.

“I also thank my family for being my all time support system. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to reach where I am today. My family respected my decision to choose the plant business even though I have a different educational background,” says Eldhose, who lives with his father, mother and wife.

Eldhose receives orders via direct messages on Instagram and Facebook. If you wish to order lotus plants from him, you may contact him on this number 89439 11901.

(Source: TBI)

Friday, 27 November 2020

Maradona Shrine in Kerala: Hotel room he once stayed in has been a museum for 8 years

 This hotel room in Kerala is rented out only to customers who are fans of the iconic player- Diego Maradona.

When V Ravindran heard that football legend Diego Maradona had passed away, one of the first things he remembered was the deafening applause that one of the greatest footballers of all time received as he stepped out of the Blue Nile hotel in Kannur district of Kerala on 23 October 2012.

"Three months before Maradona arrived, his team came to inspect hotels in Kannur. They selected our hotel and gave us a list of preparations that they wanted for a VIP's stay, without revealing the name. We thought that it would help our business too. Two rooms were joined together and made into a large suite room. We arranged everything as they mentioned. Later in October we were informed that the guest was Maradona. I was overjoyed, because I was a great fan of the game and of Maradona," Ravindran, the owner of Blue Nile hotel says.

Room number 309 of the hotel is still kept as a tiny museum in memory of Maradona's visit. The accessories used by the football player, plates, spoons, bed sheets, bathroom accessories and even the shell of the prawns he ate were kept in glass frames. The room also has a display of rare pictures of the footballer and newspaper clippings about him.

The room is rented out to other customers as 'Maradona special suite'. "We give the room only to people who are fans of Maradona and to those who come in search of the room, because everyone may not maintain the room as it is and won't understand the value," he says by adding that at least two or three guests come to his hotel in a month to stay in the room.

On Thursday, for the first time, the room was opened from 10 am to 5pm for the public in Maradona's memory.

Ravindran has a lot of memories to share about Kannur's favorite, Maradona.

"It was like god coming to our hotel. So we made sure that everything was perfect. Prior to Maradona's arrival we read that he is used to Russian cuisine. So I appointed a person who had previously worked as a chef in Russia. Prawns, salads, carrots and sweet lemon juices were the things Maradona mainly ordered. He doesn't speak English so his secretary spoke to us," he added.

Maradona stayed in the hotel for two days. Ravindran recalls how thousands of people gathered around his hotel just to catch a glimpse of their icon.

"I haven't seen that much of a crowd ever in my life. We were scared that they would rush inside the hotel. So we requested Maradona just to come out of the balcony and wave at the public. He did so, and the applause, I can still hear it in my ears, it was huge" he recalled.

He says that when the footballer hugged him while leaving, he was elated. "I still get goosebumps thinking about those days," he added.

(Source: TNM)

Metal monolith found by helicopter crew in Utah desert

 A strange metal monolith has been discovered in the Utah desert by a helicopter crew, leaving local authorities baffled.

Wildlife officials spotted the "unusual" object while counting sheep during a flyover in a remote south-eastern area of the US state.

They said the structure had been planted in the ground between red rock.


There was no indication who installed the monolith, which was about 10 to 12ft (3.6m) tall.

In an interview with local news channel KSLTV, the helicopter pilot, Bret Hutchings, said: "That's been about the strangest thing that I've come across out there in all my years of flying."

Mr Hutchings said a biologist counting big horn sheep in the helicopter was the first one to spot the structure from the sky.

"He was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!'. And I was like, 'What?'. And he's like, 'There's this thing back there - we've got to go look at it!'," Mr Hutchings said.

Mr Hutchings speculated that the monolith may have been installed by "some new wave artist", or a fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 1968 film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Imposing black monoliths created by an unseen alien species appear in the movie, based on the writing of novelist Arthur C Clarke.The Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau released images of the rectangular-shaped metal object in a news release last week.

It said authorities would determine if "they need to investigate further".

"It is illegal to install structures or art without authorisation on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you're from," the department said.

The department has not disclosed the exact location of the monolith, fearing explorers may try to seek it out and "become stranded". The big horn sheep wildlife officials were counting are native to many parts of southern Utah, where the terrain is rugged.

As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for installing the structure.

Looking for answers, Utah's highway patrol turned to social media, writing in a post on Instagram: "Inquiring minds want to know, what the heck is it? Anyone?"

Most observers presumed it was an installation left by a sculptor, with some saying it resembled the work of late minimalist artist John McCracken.

(Source: BBC)

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Mysterious new mushroom species glow like the Northern Lights in Meghalaya forests

A mushroom documentation project in the forests of Northeast India has revealed not only 600 varieties of fungi, but also led to a new discovery: a bioluminescent — or light emitting — variety of mushroom. The new species — named Roridomyces phyllostachydis — was first sighted on a wet August night near a stream in Meghalaya’s Mawlynnong in East Khasi Hills district and later at Krang Shuri in West Jaintia Hills district. It is now one among the 97 known species of bioluminescent fungi in the world.  

Michele P. Verderane

How the scientists found it

During the monsoon season, a team of scientists from India and China embarked on a fungal foray in Assam. Over the course of two weeks, they were amazed by the vast diversity of fungi in the region: hundreds of species of fungi were spotted, some of which were new to science. After hearing reports from locals of “electric mushrooms”, they headed to West Jaintia Hills District in Meghalaya. It was a drizzly night and a local person guided the team to a bamboo forest, which is part of a community forest, and asked them to switch off their torches. A minute later, the group was awestruck by what they saw: in the midst of the darkness an eerie green glow emerged from dead bamboo sticks that were smothered in tiny mushrooms. The fungus emits its own light—a phenomenon known as bioluminescence.

Natural torches for residents

Interestingly, local residents used the glowing bamboo sticks as natural torches to navigate the forest at night. Steve Axford, a fungal photographer who accompanied the team, set up a small studio and took photos.

Upon closer observation, the team noticed that only the stipes (stalks) of the mushroom lit up and they suspected it could be a new species, said Gautam Baruah, who leads the Rural Futures initiative at the Balipara Foundation in Assam and is a co-author of the report. A detailed examination in the laboratory had confirmed their suspicion: it was a new species from the genus Roridomyces—and the first fungus in this genus to be discovered from India.  

This mushroom was only found growing on dead bamboo (Phyllostachys mannii). Special elements could be present in the bamboo substrate that this fungus prefers, said Samantha Karunarathna, senior mycologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and lead author of the report She added that more research is needed to understand why they grow on this bamboo species. So far this mushroom is known from Krang Shuri, West Jayantia Hills District and Mawlynnong, East Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya.

Michele P. Verderane

Lights serve a purpose

Only a few species of glowing fungi have been reported from India. Two have been reported from the Western Ghats, one in the Eastern Ghats, and one in the state of Kerala, among others. Glowing fungi have also been spotted in the forests of Maharashtra and Goa (part of the Western Ghats) but they have not been scientifically reported. Karunarathna believes the actual number of bioluminescent fungi in India should be higher.

Michele P. Verderane

A 2015 study showed that bioluminescence in Neonothopanus gardneri, a large, bright mushroom that grows at the base of young palm trees in Brazilian coconut forests, is under the control of a circadian clock. The activity of the enzymes involved in producing light peaks at night and this regulation implies that the lights serve a purpose.

(Source: India Times)

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Nepal’s elite failed to preserve Gurkhas’ 200-year history. But folk songs kept it alive

 In ‘Ayo Gorkhali’, former British Gurkha regiment officer Tim I. Gurung stitches together a history of his community that goes beyond soldiering and bravery.

The history of Nepal won’t and can’t be complete without the 200-year-long history of the Gurkhas.

I am not an expert on this subject. However, I’ve tried to find and read as many books as possible in researching this subject and found out that my choices were somewhat limited. The Gurkhas have a vibrant, diverse and distinguished history, especially during WW I and WW II. Unfortunately, they were mostly limited to oral history. As we didn’t bother to preserve them, they were mostly lost when the storytellers died. The damage is already done. They are mostly all gone and never going to be recovered again.

Display at the Gurkha Museum in Nepal | Wikimedia Commons

Nepali writers outside the country were more active than the ones inside when it came to writing about the Gurkhas. Indra Bahadur Rai, PaariJaat, Daulat Bikram Bista and Bhupi Serchan were some notable names, who wrote about the Gurkhas. The powerful poems of Bhupi Serchan brought the stories of Gurkhas to the masses and evoked emotions. Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung, a geographer, anthropologist, author, and artist known for his conservation works, was one of the champions of the Gurkhas. Being a son of an Indian Gurkha himself, he spent his childhood and youth in an army garrison. The Gurung surname also helped. He had done a lot of research and writing on the subject and was the leading scholar on Gurkha matters, and any writer who had come to Nepal in search of the Gurkhas’ matter could not have done their job without consulting him. Almost all the books about the Gurkhas that I have seen so far have forewords by the eminent Dr. Gurung or mention his name. That clearly showed the influence and respect he had had among the writing communities. In brief, if anyone had done something for the Gurkhas, it was Dr. Gurung.

The interest and endeavour shown by the new generations on this particular subject are noteworthy. Basanta Thapa of Himal Books has published a trilogy of Gurkha-related books. Lahureko Katha (The Story of the Gurkhas) by Bharat Pokhrel, Basanta Thapa and Mohan Mainali is a collection of the stories of Gurkha war veterans and compiles a list of thirteen real, detailed and heartbreaking stories of Gurkha veterans who fought in WW II. British Samrajyaka Nepali Mohora (Nepali Footprints on the British Empire) by Jhalak Subedi is the second one of the detailed and up-to-date books on Gurkhas, and the book covers the history of the Gurkhas in general. This book is based on the life of former GAESO president Padam Bahadur Gurung.

The third and last book of the trilogy is Warrior Gentlemen: ‘Gurkhas’ in the Western Imagination by Lionel Caplan, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London and an expert on South Asian politics, including Nepal. British-Gurkha (From Treaty to The Supreme Court) is another good book on the Gurkhas and published by the British-Gurkha Study and Research Centre, Nepal.

Peter J. Karthak, the writer, musician and veteran journalist, who passed away in April 2020 was an authority on Gurkha-related subjects. Lt. Col. (Retd.) J.P. Cross is another enlightened author who has tried to bring the Gurkha legacy to the world through his various books. During the process of researching this book, I read some of his books as reference and found them very helpful. ‘Cross Saheb’ was the Commanding Officer of BGC Camp Pokhara when I joined the British Army as a recruit in 1980, and I still remember the speech that he delivered to us in fluent Gorkhali.

The main problem the intellectuals from Nepal have with the Gurkhas is that they always think of Gurkhas as na├»ve, thick-headed and sometimes even cocky. They don’t consider the Gurkha stories worthy of being written about. As a result, the Gurkha legacy has been neglected by all.

The singers and musicians of Nepal have compensated for the shortcomings found in the written word. Nepal is indeed rich in folk songs. We have a wide variety of folk songs in our society. The Gandharwa/Gaaine (the singing caste) with their one-size-fits-all-type of music instrument called sarangi, must take credit for continuing the old tradition. They did indeed sing a lot about the Gurkhas. Their songs genuinely reflected the actual situation: the pain of separation, and the agony of waiting, for the Gurkha community as a whole. Listening to their songs was the only way of forgetting their pain within the community, especially in the time of wars. Crowds would grow wherever they started singing.

Here are some examples of the famous folk songs of Nepal regarding the Gurkhas in the past.

● Cassino Attack Jandama Dekhina Ankha Dhuwale, Chhadyo Saathile … (On the way to the Cassino attack, they couldn’t see through the billowing smoke and were left behind by friends.)

Gaai Palyo Banaiko Bhaglai, Chhora Palyo Germanko Dhawalai … (I raised the cow for the tiger of the jungle, and so were my sons in the battle with the Germans.)

● Ghar Ta Mero Himali Pakha Beisi Ho Re, Kun dinko Sanyogle Bane Lahure … (The Himalayan slopes and valleys are my home, which day’s luck made me a Lahure?)

● Lahureko Relimai Feshanai Ramro, Rato Rumal Relimai Khukuri Bhireko … (The fashion of Lahures makes my dear so lovely, with a red handkerchief for my love and sporting a kukri.)

The song below was sung by a singer named Jhalakman and heard in the aftermath of the Nepalese revolution of 1950.9 WW II had ended only a few years ago and the song clearly showed the pain, agony and misery of the people whose sons had gone to war and there was no guarantee they would return safely home again.

Aama Basi Dharti Naroya Aama, Banche Pathaula Tasvirai Khichera,

Don’t sit on the ground and cry, my dear mother, I will send you a photo if I survive,

Baba Runchan Barsha Din, Aama Runchin Jindaji Bharilai Hajura,

Father will cry for a year, and mother will cry for a lifetime, my dear!

Hai Barai, amale sodhlin ni khwoi chhora bhanlin, ranhai khulyo bhandias

Mother will ask where is my son; tell her the war had just begun

Babale sodhlan ni khwoi chhora bhanlan, ranh jitdaichha bhandias

Father will ask where is my son; tell him I am winning the battle

Dajaile sodhlan ni khwoi bhai bhanlan, aunsai badhyo bhandias

Elder brother will ask where is my brother; tell him his share has increased

Elder sister will ask where is my brother; tell her the gift has decreased

Bahinile shodlin ni khwoi bhai bhanlin, maiti ghatyo bhandias

Younger sister will ask where is my brother; tell her you’ve one fewer brother now

Chhorale shodlan ni khwoi baba bhanlan, topi jhikei bhandias

Son will ask where is my father; tell him to take his cap off

Chhorile shodlin khwoi baba bhanlin, sunchurako daan diyas …

Daughter will ask where is my father; tell her to forget about the gold bangle

Priyale shodlin khwoi swami bhanlin, baatai khulyo bhandias
Wife will ask where is my husband; tell her the way is cleared

Bhaujyule shodlin ni khwoi dewar bhanlin, khasi kaat bhandias

Sister-in-law will ask where is my brother-in-law; tell her to celebrate at her will

Saathile shodlan khwoi lahure bhanlan, mayamaar bhandias
Friend will ask where is my lahure; tell him to forget about me

The other famous song that every Gurkha must have sung at least a few times in his army career is the one called Resham Fiririri … During the recruit training especially, song and music play a significant role in the training, and a session of dances and songs was held every evening. No one was spared and all had to dance or sing in their turn and as far as I was concerned, the dance and singing sessions were the ones I would have liked to forget. I was shy then. But now, I can afford a smile or two at my misery.

Resham Phiriri, Resham Phiririi
The fluttering sounds of my silk handkerchief …

Udera Jaun Ki Dandai Ma Bhanjyang, Resham Phiririi
Shall we fly over to the mountain pass? The fluttering sounds of my silk handkerchief

Eknale Banduk Dui Nale Banduk Mirgalai Takeko
Single-barreled rifle, double-barrelled rifle pointing at a deer …

Mirgalai Maile Takeko Hoina Maya Lai Dakeko
My aim is not pointed at the deer but you, my love …

Resham Phiriri Resham Phiririi

The fluttering sounds of my silk handkerchief …

This song was said to have been collected from the villages near Pokhara, composed by Budhi Pariyar, and sung by Sundar Shrestha and Dwarika Lal Joshi through Radio Nepal. Although the official song came out later, the original song was already famous before that, especially among the Gurkhas, among whom this song was undoubtedly the most popular one.

Singing and dancing skills were one of the criteria for promotion in the army. Young soldiers with a feminine face and a slim body were encouraged to dance as a ‘Maaroni’ (man dancing in a woman’s attire). They were in massive demand for special events, especially in Dashera (Dashain) and other festivals. Some of them did achieve the rank of Gurkha officer or senior NCO through this particular skill, and all the Gurkha battalions had a few such talents of their own. The senior officers were quite fond of these dancers.

In time perhaps, the Gurkhas will be written about more, especially in Nepali literature.

Excerpted with permission from Ayo Gorkhali: A History of the Gorkhas by Tim I. Gurung, published by Westland, November 2020.

(Source: The Print)

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Qatar farm starts harvesting saffron for first time

A Qatar farm has started harvesting saffron for the first time in the country and is eyeing 25 percent local market share.

Jaber Al Mansouri, owner of Saffron Qatar

Saffron Qatar, located in Um Lushoosh, North of Qatar, marked the opening of the harvest season today and was attended by officials from Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar Chamber and Hassad Food.

“We are very happy to inaugurate the first farm in Qatar that produces saffron, as these plants are usually found in Iran, Morocco, Afghanistan, Spain and other countries. Today we celebrate the inauguration of the farm,” Jaber Al Mansouri, the owner of the farm, said.

The farm uses latest technologies for cultivating saffron like hydroponic - soilless – and also using soil in special containers.

“We want to expand the project to increase the produce to supply to the local market as a Qatari product. We expect to meet 25% of Qatar market needs,” Al Mansouri added.

(Source: The Peninsula)

Truly down-to-earth and humble, Brad Pitt personally delivered groceries to low-income families

Brad Pitt may be an A-list actor, one of the most recognized celebrities across the world, and a pretty big deal no matter where he goes but today he has proved is a man with a heart of gold. 

Last week, Brad Pitt was spotted personally delivering and distributing groceries to countless people so that they can get a meal on the table for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Because of his attitude and just how casually he was dressed, most people had no idea that they were actually getting their groceries from THE Brad Pitt. 

An eye-witness who is supremely impressed to see Brad Pitt doing this work and not just pay countless people to do it was remarkable. 

Brad Pitt distributing groceries / Daily Mail

"Brad really did seem like a hero, the man did not stop all day.  He was completely committed, you could see it wasn't a case of him turning up and showing his face. He had his gloves on and he was involved as much and probably more than anyone else there. His heart was in it and it was just a hats-off moment," the eyewitness told Daily Mail. 

Another source was equally excited to see the Oscar-winner doing this extra-ordinary charitable work for absolutely nothing in return. 

“It was Brad Pitt like you've never seen him, with his guard totally down, laughing, joking and chatting” and he “didn't seem to have a care in the world," another eyewitness told Daily Mail. 

Are Indian celebrities except for Sonu Sood taking note?

(Source: India Times)

Monday, 23 November 2020

Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Satish Dhupelia dies of COVID-19 in South Africa

 Satish Dhupelia's sister Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie confirmed that her brother had died of COVID-19 related complications after he contracted the disease in hospital.

Satish Dhupelia, the South African great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, succumbed to COVID-19 complications here on Sunday, three days after his 66th birthday, a family member said.

Dhupelia's sister Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie confirmed that her brother had died of COVID-19 related complications after he contracted the disease in hospital where he had been under treatment for a month due to pneumonia.

"My beloved brother has passed on after a month of illness with pneumonia, a superbug contracted in hospital and then COVID-19 also contracted while he was being treated. He suffered a major cardiac arrest this evening," Uma said in a social media post.

Satish Dhupelia, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, succumbed to COVID-19. (Photo | Facebook saindians)

Besides Uma, Dhupelia leaves back another sister, Kirti Menon, who lives in Johannesburg, where she is active in various projects honouring the memory of Gandhi.

The three siblings are descendants of Manilal Gandhi, who Mahatma Gandhi left behind in South Africa to continue his work after he returned to India after spending two decades.

Dhupelia, who spent most of his life in media, especially as a videographer and photographer, was also very active in assisting the Gandhi Development Trust to continue the work started by the Mahatma at the Phoenix Settlement near Durban.

He was renowned for assisting the needy in all communities and was active in a number of social welfare organisations.

Tributes poured in from his friends and dear ones.

“I am in shock. Satish was a great humanitarian and activist,” Politican analyst Lubna Nadvi said.

"He was also a great friend of the Advice Desk for Abused Women, and always assisted the organisation in whichever way he could,” Nadvi added.

Dhupelia was also a member of the Board of the 1860 Heritage Foundation, which on Monday November 16 commemorated the arrival of the first indentured labourers from India to work on the sugar cane fields of Durban.

On the day, in one of his last Facebook posts for which Dhupelia was renowned, especially for his humour, he wrote: “Let us also not forget that we still need to stand together to achieve our final goals of equality for all and an eradication of poverty”.

Funeral arrangements of Dhupella have not been announced yet.

(Source: TNIE)

Sunday, 22 November 2020

10 years of moon pics: NASA explains why moon shines in red, blue and even purple

Moon has since forever been the most beautiful jewel of the night sky on Earth. The planet’s constant companion undergoes a cyclic change in its appearance, all thanks to the periodic reflection of light of the Sun. 

This change in shape, however, is not the only different form that the moon takes in the night sky.

As you might have noticed, the moon has lately been observing a completely different colour than its usual grey. This, however, is not the only colour change that the moon displays. In fact, an astrophotographer has managed to capture the various shades of moon experienced by the observers on Earth over the last 10 years. NASA now clears that these changes in colour shades are caused by the Earth’s atmosphere.


In a recent post shared by the US space agency, a picture depicts the several shades of the moon, ranging from Purple to Red and even Blue. In the post, NASA says that although the moon appears to be “brown-tinged gray” from space, Earth’s atmosphere can have varying effects on the same, making the moon appear different from its real colour.

At times, it appears red, as NASA explains that “a red or yellow colored moon usually indicates a moon seen near the horizon.” This is because the blue light gets scattered over the long distance it takes for the moonlight to reach from the horizon to Earth’s surface, thanks to the atmospheric particles on the way, including dust.

The rare Blue moon, on the other hand, lights up the night sky when there are larger dust particles present in the atmosphere. This means that light from the Blue spectrum can reach the surface without getting dispersed on the way.

It is yet unclear as to how the moon turns Purple but NASA guesses that it should be “a combination of several effects.”

Different shades of the Moon (Image: Marcella Giulia Pace)

Among the collection, the last image portrays the total lunar eclipse of 2018 July. During the eclipse, the moon which was covered in the Earth's shadow, appears to be a faint red. The reason for this is cited to be the “light refracted through air around the Earth.”

The images have been collated by Marcella Giulia Pace, a primary school teacher and an astrophotography enthusiast in Italy. It took Pace 10 years to capture all the shades of the moon as seen in the image.

In its post, NASA explains that the next full moon, known by some as the Beaver Moon, will occur at the end of this month until it goes back to its new moon stage by the middle of December.

(Source: India Times)

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Two years to go: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 countdown draws closer

Saturday, 21 November, marks exactly two years until the next and ground-breaking edition of the FIFA World Cup. The compact nature, modern landscape and fascinating culture offered by the first edition of the event to be held in the Middle East and Arab world will guarantee a unique experience in 2022. Among the many distinctive features, travelling fans will have the opportunity to potentially attend more than one match a day during the group stage, which will feature an exciting schedule with four daily fixtures, as announced earlier this year. 

Khalifa International Stadium

Infrastructure planned for the event has reached 90% completion, with the three stadiums that have already been finalised – Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City – safely hosting more than 100 matches in 2020 in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three more tournament venues are in the final stages of construction: Al Rayyan, Al Bayt and Al Thumama. The main works at the remaining two stadiums – Ras Abu Aboud and Lusail – are set to be completed in 2021. 

Education City Stadium

Countrywide infrastructure is also being delivered at a rapid pace, including the state-of-the-art Doha Metro – which was successfully utilised by fans during the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 – new roads and the expansion of Hamad International Airport, which is planned to cater for more than 50 million visitors a year by 2022. 

“2020 has surely been a challenging year for the entire world, and football was no exception. Despite the difficulties, steady progress was made in the last few months, showing yet again Qatar’s strong and continued commitment – under the leadership of the Amir, whom I personally thank – to hosting an unforgettable FIFA World Cup in two years’ time, which will no doubt build a legacy long beyond 2022,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. 

Khalifa International Stadium

“Besides the very important labour reforms recently announced by the government, progress has also been made on stadium construction, along with the implementation of strict measures to protect workers’ health. During my short visit to Doha a few weeks ago, I witnessed first-hand how well preparations have advanced, and I am looking forward with confidence to Qatar 2022, for the transformative impact it is already having on the country and the region, for the unique experience it will provide fans from all over the world and, of course, for witnessing the best World Cup ever.” 

Al Janoub Stadium

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, added: “We are immensely proud of the progress we have made over the last ten years. Both tournament and national infrastructure projects are well advanced, with everything on track to be completed well ahead of the big kick-off. Our legacy projects, meanwhile, are already having an impact on people’s lives in areas such as workers’ rights, education and entrepreneurship.” 

“This is an incredibly important FIFA World Cup – for Qatar, the region and the world. Qatar 2022 will introduce billions of people to the Middle East and Arab world for the first time, and help to foster a greater understanding and break down stereotypes that people may have of our country and region. We’re very excited to welcome the world in 2022.” 

Al Bayt Stadium 

Qatar will host the most compact version of the FIFA World Cup in modern times. All the stadiums are in close proximity to one another and will be linked by an ultra-modern transport infrastructure, meaning short travel times for fans, players and media. Visitors will be able to stay in one location throughout the tournament and will not be required to take any internal flights. The longest distance between stadiums is 75km (Al Bayt to Al Janoub), while the shortest is just 5km (Education City to Al Rayyan). 

In July, it was confirmed that the opening match would take place at the stunning Al Bayt Stadium, a 60,000-capacity venue designed to resemble a traditional tent used in the Arab world. The final will be staged at the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium on 18 December 2022 – Qatar National Day, which is a public holiday.  

(Source: The Peninsula)

Friday, 20 November 2020

Indian airline Vistara to start Doha flights

 Indian Airlines Vistara will start flying to Qatar from India from November 19. The full-service airline, a joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore airlines, said that they will start flying to Doha from Indian capital Delhi.

Currently, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, India allows only flights from certain countries with which it has an ‘air bubble’ agreement to enter its airport. Qatar and India have air bubble deal and Indian carries and Qatar Airways are allowed to operate flights from Doha to various Indian cities.

In addition to Qatar Airways, Indian budget airlines Indigo and Air India Express and full service airlines Air India operates flights to Doha as part of the agreement, which was recently extended till December 31.

As per Vistara website the flights will leave Delhi at 20:00 and will arrive in Doha 21:45 on Thursdays and Sundays and return from Doha at 22:45 and will reach Delhi on Thursdays and Sundays. The airline said that schedule is valid from November 19 till December 31. (Schedule is subject to regulatory approval. All timings shown are in local time zones.). They will be operating a Airbus A320 in this route as per their website.

“We are excited to spread the new feeling to Doha, the fastest growing and most popular city in Qatar, with flights from Delhi!,” Vistara said on their website.

Bookings for these flights are now open on their website and when we checked the round-trip fares for Delhi-Doha-Delhi start at INR 15,499 and round-trip Doha-Delhi-Doha start at QAR 669.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions residents entering Qatar will have to apply for an exceptional entry permit and depending on the kind of permit will need to book a hotel for 7-day quarantine.

(Source: The Peninsula)