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Charred body of a married woman found in her house
Riyadh executes three Sri Lankans, an Egyptian
Hat-Trick National Level Award winning Bahrain based Non-Resident Kannadiga
CPIM protest against water problem in Jappinamogaru
Osama's son Hamza asks jihadists to attack US, allies
Same-sex marriage bill introduced to Australian Parliament
Intercaste couple goes missing: Hindu outfits demand investigation
Raveena alleges misbehaviour during I-Day celebrations in LA
Morgan Freeman's granddaughter stabbed to death in Manhattan
First batch of Hajj pigrims departs from Mangaluru International airport

Search for life beyond earth: Physicist Hawking launches USD 100mn search project

London: Eminent British physicist Prof Stephen Hawking today launched a new USD 100-million project to hunt for aliens.

The Breakthrough Initiatives programme, funded by US-based billionaire and Silicon Valley technology investor and physicist Yuri Milner, was launched at the Royal Society in London and characterised as the "biggest scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth."

"We believe life arose spontaneously on earth. So in an infinite universe there must be other occurrences of life. Somewhere in the cosmos perhaps intelligent life may be watching these lives of ours, aware of what they mean," the 73-year-old wheelchair-bound scientist said.

"Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos – unseen beacons, announcing that here, on one rock, the Universe discovered its existence. Either way, there is no bigger question. It is time to commit to finding the answer to search for life beyond Earth. We are alive, we are intelligent, we must know," the author of 'A Brief History of Time' noted.

Lord Martin Rees, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and University of Cambridge and member of the advisory committee of the initiative, said, "The search for extra-terrestrial life is the most exciting quest in 21st- century science. The Breakthrough Initiatives aim to put it on the same level as the other ultimate scientific questions."

The Breakthrough Initiative is being funded by US-based billionaire and Silicon Valley technology investor and physicist Yuri Milner, who wants to put the entire weight of modern day technology behind this mission.

It plans to cover 10 times more of the sky than previous programmes and scan five times more of the radio spectrum, 100 times faster.

The programme kicks off with 'Breakthrough Listen' to track signals with access to two of the world's most powerful telescopes – Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the US, and Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

The program will include a survey of the 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth and beyond the Milky Way, it will listen for messages from the 100 closest galaxies.

"With 'Breakthrough Listen', we are committed to bringing the Silicon Valley approach to the search for intelligent life in the Universe. Our approach to data will be open and taking advantage of the problem-solving power of social networks," explained Milner.

The public will be invited to participate in efforts to find a signal from another world through the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence or SETI@home project.

A linked 'Breakthrough Message' programme will fund an international competition to generate messages representing humanity and planet Earth, which might one day be sent to other civilisations.

The pool of the worldwide prize will total USD 1,000,000 and its details will be unveiled in the coming months.
  • Published in World

Met Dawood Ibrahim in London, he wanted to return to India: Ram Jethmalani

New Delhi: Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on Saturday claimed to have met Dawood Ibrahim in London, where the underworld don had told him that he was willing to return to India.

Speaking to news agency, Jethmalani rejected a newspaper report, which claimed that he had met Dawood's close associate Chhota Shakeel in London.

The senior Supreme Court lawyer maintained that Dawood had offered to surrender to Indian authorities, but the then Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar had rejected the offer.

However, Jethmalani said that saying no to Dawood's proposal wasn't only Pawar's decision, but the UPA government was also a part of it.

While recalling his encounter with the underworld don, Jethamalani said that Dawood was ready to return to India and be placed under house arrest during the trial, as he feared he would be bumped off in jail.

Jethamalani further said that Dawood told him that he was not involved in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and wanted a guarantee from Indian authorities for his return that he will not be subjected to third-degree torture by the police during his detention.

The senior lawyer's claim comes after Dawood's trusted aide Chhota Shakeel in an interview to The Times of India, said that the underworld don had wished to return to India after the Mumbai blasts and had even spoken to Jethmalani in London, but the Indian government refused.

The newspaper reported that Shakeel had met Jethmalani in London and put forward Dawood's proposal for the Indian authorities.

The Narendra Modi-led government has repeatedly said that Dawood is in Pakistan and that India is determined to bring him back.

Pakistan has denied time and again the fugitive's presence on its soil.

  • Published in National

After ISIS, al Qaeda's 'Jihadi John' makes appearance in terror group's video

London: Al Qaeda has revealed its own 'Jihadi John' in its latest hostage video, suspected to be modelled after the dreaded ISIS executioner.

In al Qaeda's latest video titled 'A Trip To Interview Two Prisoners', the masked militant is seen speaking fluent English in British accent while talking to two Western hostages in the Sahara Desert.

The unidentified al Qaeda militant seems to be aping the manner in which ISIS's 'Jihadi John', believed to be Mohammed Emwazi from London, had appeared in the execution video, according to news reports.

Speaking in a calm but menacing tone like Emwazi, al Qaeda's 'Jihadi John' is masked and dressed in military fatigues.

Emwazi was last seen in an ISIS propaganda video in January this year and is believed to have fled Syria after his identity was revealed.

The hostages, identified as Johan Gustafsson from Sweden and Stephen McGowan from South Africa, were kidnapped in Mali over three years ago.

The undated video shows the militant speaking to the hostages and telling them that negotiations for their release are underway.

The hostages then make an appeal to their governments to negotiate for their release with al Qaeda.

Shot in an undisclosed location, the authenticity of the video could not be verified which claims to have been released by Al-Andalus, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Magreb (AQIM).

The video was posted on YouTube on a Mauritanian website called Sahara Medias, which has a history of releasing statements by Islamist groups, the Daily mail report stated.
  • Published in World

Dubai pips London, Miami in second home purchases

Dubai — Dubai has got the most popular city rank for second home purchases amongst global High-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), who accounted for 75 per cent of sales in 2014, according to the latest study by real estate arm of auction house Christie’s.

Dubai, which is home of the world’s tallest tower Burj Khalifa and man-made island Palm Jumeirah, left behind London (44 per cent) and Miami (40 per cent) for international second home purchases, revealed Christie’s International Real Estate, which launched a Dubai affiliate in its first expansion into the Middle East market six months ago.

Titled Luxury Defined, the report stated more properties than ever before were both sold and listed for sale at $100 million or higher in 2014. As the number of billionaires globally reached new heights, so too did the price benchmarks for their trophy homes, as the world’s most affluent focused more and more on acquiring ‘collectable’ residential assets in prized locations across the globe. So $100 million is now firmly established as the billionaire benchmark for ultra-prime property.

The report also mentioned the world’s top 10 “Best of the Best” cities that also include Dubai and other nine top international markets are Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney, and Toronto.

Joachim Wrang-Widen, senior vice-president of Christie’s International Real Estate comments: “Dubai is increasingly playing the role London has successfully played for over two centuries, namely being geographically located ‘in the right place’.”

Whereas London allows the financial markets to trade with an overlap time-wise between Asia, Europe and North-America, Dubai is increasingly seen as a stopover point for long-distance travel between Europe and Asia.

The significant growth of Gulf -based airlines and the explicitly stated intention and implementation of not only building the world’s largest airport in Dubai but also expanding it reinforces this trend.

Dubai international airport is already the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic and the sixth busiest by passenger traffic overall as well as ranking number six by cargo.

“Passengers transiting through Dubai, motivated initially by competitive airfares, are now more and more motivated to stay for a few days in conjunction with changing flights, and discovering Dubai, deciding increasingly to acquire second homes,” Wrang-Widen said.

For international buyers, the opportunity of acquiring real estate in a market that is characterised by dynamism and an extremely large degree of internationalisation without any income tax or capital tax being levied contributes to international purchasers viewing the Dubai market favourably, he said, adding: “Tax, whilst important, is not ‘making a market’ on its own if the underlying rationale for investing is not present. Dubai satisfies the underlying criteria by being business and investor-friendly, excellent air transport accessibility, leisure-related activities, and being geographically almost equidistant between Asia and Europe. The Expo 2020 has definitely increased the level of interest.”

At the more traditional luxury residential real estate price segments, the overall market experienced steady growth in 2014, with $1 million plus home sales up by an average of 16 per cent over 2013 in the 80 luxury residential markets surveyed for the report.

The third annual edition of the research paper not only examines the world’s top 10 cities for prime property, but also analyses an additional 70 key regional markets, exploring the dynamics and drivers shaping the globe’s high-end real estate market.
  • Published in UAE
Mahatma Gandhi gets London statue near nemesis Churchill

Mahatma Gandhi gets London statue near nemesis Churchill

Britain will unveil a statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Saturday in London's prestigious Parliament Square, a space packed with monuments to men who defended the British Empire which Gandhi helped destroy.

In an ironic twist, Gandhi's likeness will sit close to that of Britain's former wartime leader Winston Churchill, a man who strained to thwart Indian independence and who despised Gandhi and everything he stood for.

Churchill famously called Gandhi "a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace."

But almost seven decades after India won independence from Britain in 1947, in large part thanks to Gandhi's peaceful civil disobedience campaign, relations between the two countries are strong with both nations keen to boost economic ties.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will unveil the statue, opposite the British Parliament, to mark the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's return to India from South Africa to start the struggle for self rule.

"It also marks an important, historic moment celebrating the strong bond between our two nations," Jaitley said in a statement before the unveiling.

"India and the UK share the same values and we are a partnership of equals. This lasting friendship is just one of many legacies left by Gandhi."

British Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said his country's relations with India were those that Gandhi dreamed of - as friends and equals.

Gandhi's grandson, and former governor of West Bengal, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, will speak about his famous relative at the ceremony. Hundreds of invited guests and members of the public are also expected to attend.

The bronze statue of Gandhi was crafted by British sculptor Philip Jackson and is based on a number of photographs and in particular one of Gandhi standing outside the London offices of the British prime minister in 1931.

The statue will be lower than others on the famous square, a deliberate decision made by the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust to reflect the fact that Gandhi considered himself a man of the people.

The idea, the trust says, was that the statue would be among visitors to Parliament Square. The square also includes statues of former US president Abraham Lincoln and South African president Nelson Mandela.

  • Published in World
Tipu Sultan's arms and armour to be auctioned in London

Tipu Sultan's arms and armour to be auctioned in London

London: A spectacular collection of arms and armour once owned by Tipu Sultan, the erstwhile King of Mysore, will go under the hammer here next month.

The items will be sold by Bonhams as part of the Islamic and Indian art auction at Bonhams New Bond Street on April 21, the auction house said in a statement.

All the items come from a single collection, which has been exhibited and published.

The collection features sabres, gem-set trophy swords, embroidered arrow quivers, exquisite quilted helmets, blunderbusses, fowling pieces, sporting guns, pistols, and a three-pounder bronze cannon, with each and every weapon a work of art in its own right.

Tipu's personal motif was the tiger, and he adorned both objects of art and instruments of war with images of the animal and with the tiger-stripe design, earning him the nickname the 'Tiger of Mysore'.

The incorporation of the bubri or the tiger stripe is what makes Tipu's firearms unique, according to Robin Wigington, who undertook extensive research on the king for 30 years.

"Although the tiger stripe as an art form was widely used throughout the Islamic world, and notably in India from early times, Tipu's particular pattern of stripe was very much his own," he had noted.

Tipu, who famously declared "I would rather live one day as a tiger than a lifetime as a sheep" was the East India Company's most tenacious enemy, fighting them until his death in 1799.

His campaigns against the colonisers were often based on the latest technology in weaponry, and it is believed that he introduced the military rocket for attacks on enemy infantry, a tactic which won him numerous victories over the seemingly invincible British armies. 

  • Published in World
Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

London: The unmasking of militant “Jihadi John” as a Londoner who had repeatedly been questioned by security services sent shock waves through Britain Friday, with Prime Minister David Cameron stepping in to defend British spy craft.
Cameron tried to defuse criticism of Britain’s intelligence community, which had “Jihadi John” on its list of potential terror suspects for years but was unable to prevent him from traveling to Syria, where he has played a prominent role in grisly beheading videos.
Cameron did not mention “Jihadi John” or refer to his real identity: Mohammad Emwazi, a Kuwait-born computer science graduate raised and educated in Britain. But he said the country’s spies make “incredibly difficult judgments” daily about how to pursue threats to national security and have broken up plots that would have caused immense damage.
Emwazi had been known to the British intelligence services since at least 2009, initially in connection with investigations into terrorism in Somalia.
David Anderson, who is in charge of reviewing Britain’s terrorism legislation, said intelligence agencies may have dropped the ball, but faced a big challenge to identify real threats from “hundreds, probably thousands” of suspects.
“Perhaps they did slip up in this case but one won’t know until there’s been an inquiry or a report of some kind,” he told the BBC.
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‘Killing Jihadi John will not end the bloodshed’
Cameron vows justice after ‘Jihadi John’ named
The case has some parallels to that of two Al Qaida-inspired extremists who murdered a British soldier in a London street in May 2013. A report by lawmakers concluded that delays and other failings by the agencies had contributed to that tragedy.
However, it is not clear what laws could have been used to prevent Emwazi from leaving Britain at the time, since he had not been charged with any terrorist-related offenses. It is not known if police or security services had any evidence he was planning to join extremists in Syria.
His identification as the front man in Daesh murder videos has raised questions about how a soccer-playing London youngster who liked smart clothes became one of the world’s most wanted men.
Authorities were working to piece together the path to radicalisation of Emwazi, who came to Britain from Kuwait as a small child and attended state schools in London before studying computer science at the University of Westminster.
Court documents from 2011 obtained by the BBC list Emwazi as part of a network of west London men suspected by MI5 of sending funds, equipment and recruits to Al Shabab militants in Somalia. The group included Bilail Al Berjawi, a Lebanese-British militant who was killed in a US drone strike in Somalia in January 2012.
Emails that Emwazi sent to a Muslim advocacy group reveal a young man increasingly frustrated by the attentions of British spies and angry at the plight of Muslims around the world.
Emwazi approached the group, CAGE, after he and two friends were arrested and deported on a trip to Tanzania in August 2009. They said they were going on a post-university safari. But Emwazi said he was grilled by a British intelligence officer who accused him of trying to travel to Somalia to link up with terrorists there.
He said the agent, who identified himself as Nick, suggested Emwazi “work for us” before saying “life will be harder for you” if he did not cooperate.
It is clear that Emwazi was unnerved after his unwanted interrogation.
“He knew everything about me” where I lived, what I did, the people I hanged around with,” he wrote in one of the emails that CAGE made public Thursday. “He even said that he would try to visit me. But I refused and told him that I did not want him to pay me a visit.”
The following year Emwazi accused British agents of preventing him from going to Kuwait, where he had a job and planned to marry. He wrote in one email that his “’life’ is kind of on a ‘pause.’”
Like many British Muslims who have become radicalized in recent years, he seemed to feel that Muslims were increasingly under attack in many parts of the world and complained to CAGE of the plight of his fellow believers in Chechnya, Iraq and elsewhere.
CAGE said that Emwazi even changed his name in a bid to escape the attentions of the security services, but still was barred from going to Kuwait. His family reported him missing early in 2013. Four months later, police told them Emwazi was in Syria, CAGE said.
He appeared in a video released in August showing the slaying of American journalist James Foley, denouncing the West before the killing. A man with similar stature and voice was also featured in videos of the IS killings of American journalist Steven Sotloff, Britons David Haines and Alan Hemming, and U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
Foley’s parents in Arizona on Thursday expressed surprise that “Jihadi John” was an educated man who had real prospects in life.
“So he, in a sense, had a privileged upbringing, so to me that makes that even more sad that he’d want to use his gifts for such evil and such hatred. It’s very frightening to me,” Diane Foley said.
“We need to forgive him for not having a clue what he was doing,” she said.
The widow of Haines, a British aid worker, said Friday she would like to see “Jihadi John” captured and put on trial.
Dragana Haines told The Associated Press in a phone interview from her home in Croatia that “I really hope he will be caught, I think it would be a good lesson for all.”
Haines, whose husband was killed in September, said she would rather see Emwazi judged in a court of law than killed by enemy action.
“People of his kind believe that death in combat is an honor, something special,” she said.
In the modest west London neighborhood where Emwazi’s family lived, citizens were shocked after his identify was revealed.
Sharaft Ullah, who worships at the Harrow Road Mosque near the family home, remembered Emwazi as a strict Muslim who prayed several times a day. He said Emwazi was “a very good local guy and polite with everybody.”
“I feel angry because he was educated in this country and he graduated from Westminster,” Ullah said. “If he has been doing these things it’s wrong.”
Another mosque that Emwazi was reported to have attended, the Greenwich Islamic Centre, said it had no knowledge of him.

  • Published in World

Flats in 117-Storey Mumbai Skyscraper Are Being Sold in London

London:  Luxury apartments in a Mumbai skyscraper that's billed as the world's tallest residential building have gone on sale in the British capital with a starting price tag of 1.4 million pounds. 

The Giorgio Armani-designed apartments in the World One Tower are to be completed next year and are primarily aimed at high net worth Indians or Indian-origin millionaires based in London who often visit India.

"Since the London economy has recovered, developers are now starting to launch overseas projects in the capital in order to tap into the wealthy expatriate and other international people who are based in London either part or full time," said Peter Wetherell, chief executive of high-end London estate agents Wetherell which has started selling the flats in the exclusive property.

When completed in 2016, World One Tower will have 117 storeys, making it the world's tallest residential skyscraper.

A swimming pool, gym and health club come as standard with most of the luxury apartment blocks and the complex is also expected to have cricket pitches and a pavilion.

The 442-metre high tower has been built at a cost of more than 205 million pounds and will have more than 300 luxury apartments, many of them overlooking the Arabian Sea.

Each apartment is promised a "generously sized reception room, kitchen/breakfast room, luxurious bedroom suites and beautifully appointed bathrooms."

  • Published in Mumbai
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