Monthly Archives

February 2019

Adventure

Fears grow for Italian and British climbers missing in Himalayas

Daniele Nardi (L) and Tom Ballard (R), the climbing partners who haven’t been heard from since Sunday. Photo: Daniele Nardi/Facebook

Kathmandu: Daniele Nardi (L) and Tom Ballard (R), the climbing partners who haven’t been heard from since Sunday. Photo: Daniele Nardi/FacebookRescuers were searching on Thursday for a missing Italian climber and his British climbing partner in Pakistan after efforts were delayed by the country’s closure of its airspace over tensions with India.

Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard were last heard from on Sunday as they climbed Nanga Parbat in the western Himalayas, a peak known as “Killer Mountain”.

“The camp 3 tent has been spotted from a helicopter, buried under snow. Traces of avalanches can be seen,” Nardi’s team reported on the climber’s Facebook page.

Ali Sadpara ha comunicato che è stata individuata dall’elicottero la tenda di campo 3 invasa dalla neve. Nell’area sono state individuate tracce di valanga sul pendio che sta ad indicare la pericolosità della zona.

Il tempo si mantiene discreto sotto i 7000 metri e si è in attesa di ricevere ulteriori informazioni fotografiche e video dal campo base e dall’aviazione pakistana.

“We are waiting for more photographic information and video from the base camp and from Pakistani aviation,” it said.

The rescue teams had been forced to wait for permission to send up a helicopter after Pakistan closed its airspace on Wednesday in response to escalating tensions with India. The searchers have called in Pakistani Muhammad Ali Sadpara, who climbed the peak two years ago, Nardi’s team said.

Chris Bonington, mountaineer and a family friend of Ballard, told BBC Radio 4 earlier on Thursday that the pair were “attempting a very, very difficult route up Nanga Parbat, up the Mummery spur, which is the most direct route up”.

“And they were trying to do it in winter, which is by far the toughest time. They’d certainly been having bad weather throughout, a lot of snowfall and it was also bitterly cold.”

He said the temperature was believed to be minus 40, which may have drained the batteries on their phones.

“There’s still hope that they are alive, and that they are ok, admittedly in very dangerous circumstances,” he said.

Bonington said Ballard was “very much an extreme climber, taking after his mum”, Alison Hargreaves, who was a famous mountaineer who died on K2.

“It is a very, very dangerous game. I am very lucky to be alive. I’ve been climbing for, what, 60 years very nearly and I’ve had at least ten times when I was just unbelievably lucky to get away with it. I think extreme climbers at altitude actually are lucky to survive,” he said. 

International

Abhinandan Varthaman Isn’t the Only POW in Pakistan, 54 Others Remain Forgotten in Time

New Delhi: As India mulled over the possible ways to bring back IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, Pakistan on Thursday said it will decided on according the air force pilot prisoner of war status “in a couple of days”.

“India has raised the matter of the pilot with us. We’ll decide in a couple of days what convention will apply to him and whether to give him Prisoner of War status or not,” Pakistani media quoted the country’s Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal as saying.

The 38-year-old was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday after his MiG-21 Bison crashed during an aerial dogfight with a Pakistani jet.

‘The Missing 54’

While the debate over POW status to Varthaman escalates, 54 other Indians soldiers, officers and pilots continue to be held by Pakistan as POWs since the 1971 conflict, although the Pakistan government has often denied their presence on its soil. The 54 POWs have come to be known as ’The Missing 54’.

‘The Missing 54’ are the soldiers and officers of Indian armed forces who were given the status of missing in action (MIA) or killed in action after the 1971 Indo-Pak war. However, they are believed to be alive and imprisoned in various Pakistani jails. They include 30 personnel from the Indian Army and 24 from the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The 30 Army personnel include one Lieutenant, eight Captains, two Second Lieutenants, six Majors, two Subedars, three Naik Lieutenants, one Havaldaur, five gunners and two sepoys from the Indian Army. The remaining 24 from the Indian Air Force include three Flight Officers, one Wing Commander, four Squadron Leaders and 16 Flight Lieutenants.

This list was tabled in the Lok Sabha in 1979 by Samarendra Kundu, Minister of State of External Affairs, in reply to a question raised by Amarsingh Pathawa.

The families have approached both the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross in their 48-year-long campaign, but neither body was able to offer assistance.

On the contrary, during the 1971 war, India had taken almost 90,000 Pakistani troops as POWs. However, all of them were released as part of the Simla peace agreement.

Until 1989, Pakistan had completely denied holding the prisoners. However, then prime minister Benazir Bhutto finally told visiting Indian officials that the men were in Pakistani custody. The POW issue had also figured in the discussions between Bhutto and then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi during their meeting in Islamabad in December 1989. She had also assured Gandhi that she would “seriously look into their release”.

Years later, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf back-tracked on this, formally denying their existence in Pakistan.

However, there has been compelling evidence of the presence of 54 POWs in Pakistan’s custody.

In 1972, Time magazine published a photo showing one of the men behind bars in Pakistan. His family believed he had been killed during the war, but instantly recognised him, The Diplomat reported in 2015.

In her biography of Benazir Bhutto, British historian and former BBC correspondent Victoria Schoffield reported that a Pakistani lawyer had been told that Kot Lakhpat prison in Lahore was housing Indian prisoners of war “from the 1971 conflict”.

Victoria Schofield in her book Bhutto: Trial and Execution also wrote, “Besides these conditions at Kot Lakhpat (jail), for three months Bhutto (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) was subjected to a peculiar kind of harassment, which he thought was especially for his benefit… His cell, separated from a barrack area by a 10-foot-high wall, did not prevent him from hearing horrific shrieks and screams at night from the other side of the wall. One of Mr Bhutto’s lawyers made enquiries among the jail staff and ascertained that they were in fact Indian prisoners-of-war who had been rendered delinquent and mental during the course of the 1971 war.”

“An American general, Chuck Yeager, also revealed in an autobiography that during the 1971 war, he had personally interviewed Indian pilots captured by the Pakistanis. The airmen were of particular interest to the Americans because, at the height of the Cold War, the men had attended training in Russia and were flying Soviet designed and manufactured aircraft,” The Diplomat wrote in 2015.

On September 1, 2015, the Supreme Court also asked the Centre about the status of these 54 Indian POWs languishing in Pakistan jails since 1971.

“Are they still alive?” the Supreme Court had questioned.

“We don’t know,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for External Affairs and Defence ministries, told a bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph.

“We presume that they are dead as Pakistan has been denying their presence in their prisons,” he said.

The provisions of the Geneva conventions apply in peacetime situations, in declared wars, and in conflicts that are not recognised as war by one or more of the parties. The treatment of prisoners of war is dealt with by the Third Convention or treaty. More specifically, the 3rd Geneva Convention of 1949 lays down a wide range of protection for prisoners of war. It defines their rights and sets down detailed rules for their treatment and eventual release. International humanitarian law (IHL) also protects other persons deprived of liberty as a result of armed conflict.

Human Rights

‘Jati Mati Bheti ‘ Govt evicted indigenous landless from govt land as BJP occupies govt land for party office

Lakhimpur: Lakhimpur district administration on Wednesday carried out a massive eviction drive in Sauldhowa-Thekeraguri area. Around 120 families have been affected by the eviction drive that cleared a few bighas of government land. The BJP led state government came into power with electoral promise to protect people land and home.

The families had lived in the area for years after being displaced by flood and erosion in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Majuli. Earlier, the administration had sent notice to the families to evict the government land that belonged to Soil Conservation Department.

“We have been living in the area for years now. Though the government has declared us landless, it has not yet allotted us any houses to live in,” said a local after administration bulldozed her house. “I don’t know where we will go now,” added another local.

On the otherhand on last December BJP  illegally took over a prime land belonging to the State Water resource Department to construct its state headquarter at Basistha Chariali, Guwahati.

According to the employees of the State Water resource Department, the land was acquired from farmers in 1967 by paying money by the state water resource department ad the river research office was functioning from a sprawling 80 bigha campus.

The BJP arm twisted the revenue officials following an order from the Kamrup (M) Deputy Commissioner who cited precedent of the AGP, who got prime government land to build their own party office, to justify his own order for the allotment.

Environment, Human Rights

Assam forest dwellers panic after Supreme Court order of eviction

by Sanjay Hazarika

Bokakhat : Iillagers living on the fringe areas of forests in Assam are in a state of panic following the Supreme Court (SC) order to evict forest dwellers whose claims over traditional forestlands have been rejected under law.

A three-judge bench, comrising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Indira Banerjee, ordered forced eviction of an estimated 10 lakh Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest-dwelling families from forestlands in the country after the Centre failed to defend their rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

The affidavit filed by Assam said 22,398 claims out of 74,364 filed by the ST people, were rejected while 5,136 claims of the 19,966 claims made by other traditional forest dwellers (OTFD) were rejected. Altogether 10,128 hectares of land were claimed by ST people and 561.4 hectares by OTFD.

The Kaziranga National Park (KNP) has been extended with six additions since 1984, a year after it was declared a world heritage site.

But the lands have not been cleared till date. In the addition process, 43.79 square km in Burahpahar, 6.47 square km in Kohora, 0.69 square km in Paanbari, 0.89 square km in Kanchanjuri, 1.15 square km in Sildubi and 376.50 square km in riverside areas were added. But only in Burahpahar and Kanchanjuri, the lands were handed over to the KNP authority.

In Kohora, 745 households are residing while the number is 129 in Paanbari and 127 in Sildubi.

The court’s orders came on February 13 in a case filed by Wildlife First and other wildlife groups, questioning the validity of the act. The written order was released on Wednesday.

The court asked the state governments to “ensure that where the rejection orders have been passed, eviction will be carried out on or before the next date of hearing”.

The next date of hearing is set for July 27 – the effective date by when 19 states will have to evict tribals to comply with the court orders.

“In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter will be viewed seriously by this court,” the order said.

The act, which was passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s first tenure in 2006, requires the government to hand back traditional forestlands to indigenous and other forest-dwellers against the laid down criteria.

with The Telagraph

International

Pollution map reveals unsafe air quality at almost 2,000 UK sites

Almost 2,000 locations across the England, Wales and Northern Ireland have levels of air pollution that exceed safety limits, according to a pollution mapreleased by campaigners.

In 2017, the worst location for nitrogen dioxide pollution was Kensington and Chelsea, followed by Leeds and Doncaster.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the most harmful pollutant gases, irritating the lungs and potentially causing breathing difficulties. Road traffic is a leading source.

On Tuesday the mayor of London issued a high pollution alert for the capital as people across the UK basked in the unseasonably warm February weather. It was the first alert since last July, towards the end of a long heatwave and dry spell.

Traffic and other emissions from local sources were mainly to blame for this week’s dirty air, with only light winds to disperse them and air from the continent bringing further pollutants.

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In April the first ultra-low emission zone will come into force in central London. The scheme is expected to cut harmful emissions by as much as 45%, according to the mayor’s office.Advertisement

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said high levels of particulate matter in the air were also recorded in the past few days in the East and West Midlands. Other regions were also expected to experience localised pollution in hotspots, carrying on at least into Wednesday.

The new map of nitrogen dioxide pollution limit breaches for recent years shows that Earl’s Court station in London was worst overall, with a recording of 129.5 micrograms per cubic metre, compared with the 40μg/m3 limit set out in the government’s air quality objectives.

Earl’s Court station in London was the worst for pollution limit breaches, the map indicated.
 Earl’s Court station in London was the worst for pollution limit breaches, the map indicated. Photograph: Kevin Coombs/Reuters

A monitoring station near the Ikea store in Brent, north London, recorded levels slightly above 100μg/m3 in 2016, while Kensington High Street, Euston Road and Strand in central London were all above 90μg/m3 in 2017.

Air near Neville Street in Leeds was found to be just under the 100μg/m3 level, closely followed by two locations in Hickleton, Doncaster. Other hotspots included Brighton, Sheffield and Coventry, where the levels on Holyhead Road were found to be near twice the advised limit, at about 76μg/m3 in 2016.

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Friends of the Earth, which mapped the sites and collated the data, said it was further evidence of the dire air quality across the country as a result of burgeoning traffic emissions and poor government controls on emissions sources. The group called for tougher action by ministers.

Simon Bowens, a clean air campaigner at FoE, said: “It’s unforgivable that across the UK there are nearly 2,000 locations over air quality limits, leaving millions of us breathing dangerously polluted air. The government needs to step up and do more to help deal with this air pollution crisis. They can’t just carry on leaving the difficult decisions with local authorities, many of which are severely under-resourced.”

London nurseries to get air purifiers after toxic air concerns

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He said the map showed that air pollution was not just a problem for big cities. “Unacceptably toxic air can be found across much of the UK, even in smaller towns,” he said. “It is harming the health of people across the country and is especially bad for young children whose lungs are still developing.”

Air pollution is known to shorten lives and reduce the quality of life for tens of thousands of people, and in recent studies it has also been linked to health problems from dementia to heart disease and miscarriage. Children are most at risk: exposure to air pollution when young can have lifelong effects as it can stunt the lungs and affect intelligence.

A fresh inquest into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a nine-year-old from south London, is expected to be asked to consider whether her death six years ago from an asthma-related seizure could have been linked to high levels of air pollution.

The data used for the map was taken from the most recent annual air quality status reports that have been submitted to government, most of them from last year, with the results adjusted for distance and other factors.

• This article was amended on 27 February 2019 to make it clear that the data in the analysis covered England, Wales and Northern Ireland, rather than the entire UK.

Environment

World’s deepest waters becoming ‘ultimate sink’ for plastic waste

The world’s deepest ocean trenches are becoming “the ultimate sink” for plastic waste, according to a study that reveals contamination of animals even in these dark, remote regions of the planet.

For the first time, scientists found microplastic ingestion by organisms in the Mariana trench and five other areas with a depth of more than 6,000 metres, prompting them to conclude “it is highly likely there are no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by plastic pollution”.

The paper, published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, highlights the threat posed by non-biodegradable substances in clothes, containers and packaging, which make their way from household bins via dump sites and rivers to the oceans, where they break up and sink to the floor.

Microplastics found in every marine mammal surveyed in UK study

The impact of plastic in shallower waters – where it chokes dolphins, whales and seabirds – is already well documented in academic journals and by TV programmes such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. But the study shows this problem is far more profound than previously realised.

Researchers baited, caught and examined subsea creatures from six of the deepest places in the world – the Peru-Chile trench in the south-east Pacific, the New Hebrides and Kermadec trenches in the south-west Pacific, and the Japan trench, Izu-Bonin trench and Mariana trench in the north-west Pacific.

In all six areas, they found ingestion of microparticles by amphipods – a shrimp-like crustacean that scavenges on the seabed. The deeper the region, the higher the rate of consumption. In the Mariana trench – which goes down to the lowest point on earth of 10,890 metres below sea level – 100% of samples contained at least one microparticle.Advertisement

The materials included polyester-reinforced cotton and fibres made of lyocell, rayon, ramie, polyvinyl and polyethylene. The breadth of substances and broad range of geographic sites prompted the authors to observe that increasing volumes of global plastic waste will find their way from surface gyres into these trenches.

“It is intuitive that the ultimate sink for this debris, in whatever size, is the deep sea,” they noted.

Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures

Once the materials reach these areas – often deeper below the surface than Mount Everest is high above it – the waste has nowhere else to go, said Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University, the lead author of the paper.

“If you contaminate a river, it can be flushed clean. If you contaminate a coastline, it can be diluted by the tides. But, in the deepest point of the oceans, it just sits there. It can’t flush and there are no animals going in and out of those trenches.”

The effects on deep-sea species are as yet unclear, though scientists speculate they will experience the same problems of blocked digestive tracts and restricted mobility as creatures at higher depths. They may also be more vulnerable because the trenches are food-scarce ecosystems, which prompts scavengers and predators to gobble up anything they can find.

Jamieson said some new species are being discovered that have never been seen in an uncontaminated state. “We have no baseline to measure them against. There is no data about them in their pristine state,” he said. “The more you think about it, the more depressing it is.”

First published in : The Guardian

International

IAF shot down Pakistani fighter aircraft; one Indian pilot missing in action, MEA says

Pakistan used its Air Force to target military installations in India in response to Indian counter-terrorism operations but their attempts were foiled successfully, though one Indian pilot is “missing in action”, external affairs ministry has said.

MEA said : We unfortunately lost one MiG-21 in this engagement and an Indian pilot is missing in action. Pakistan claims the pilot is in their custody, however we are ascertaining the facts.

In the aerial engagement, a Pakistan fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG-21 Bison. The aircraft was seen by ground forces falling on the Pakistan side: MEA

Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan’s attempts were foiled successfully: MEA

The Government today confirmed that India shot down a Pakistan Air Force fighter jet and in that operation one Indian Air Force pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has used its Air Force to target military installations in India in response to Indian counter-terrorism operations but their attempts were foiled successfully, External Affairs Ministry said.

In a very brief press statement, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, accompanied by Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor, al .. 

In a very brief press statement, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, accompanied by Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor, also said details are being ascertained about Pakistan’s claim of having captured one Indian pilot. 

“Against this Counter Terrorism Action, Pakistan has responded this morning by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan’s attempts were foiled successfully,”Kumar said. 

He said the Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. “In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. 

Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,” he said.,” Raveesh Kumar said. 

The statement follows after Pakistan claimed that it shot down two Indian military aircraft over Pakistani air space and arrested two pilots.

Art & Culture

2019 Oscars gone to …

The 91st Academy Awards, commonly referred to as The Oscars and presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences(AMPAS), honored the best films of 2018. The ceremony was held on February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. AMPAS presented Academy Awards in 24 categories. The ceremony was televised in the United States by American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and produced by Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, with Weiss also serving as director.[3] It was the first ceremony in three decades, since the 61st Academy Awards in 1989, to be conducted with no host.

In related events, the Academy held its 10th Annual Governors Awards ceremony at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland Center on November 18, 2018.[4] The Academy Scientific and Technical Awards were presented by host actor David Oyelowo on February 9, 2019, in a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.[5]

Green Book won three awards, including Best Picture, and Bohemian Rhapsody won four awards, the most for the ceremony, including Best Actor for Rami Malek‘s portrayal of Freddie MercuryRoma and Black Panther also received three awards, with the former winning Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón and becoming the first Mexican submission to win Best Foreign Language FilmOlivia Colman was awarded Best Actress for portraying Anne, Queen of Great Britain, in The Favourite.[6] With U.S. viewership of 29.6 million, it marked a 12% increase over the 2018 ceremony, but still ranks among the least-watched shows in Oscar history.[7][8][9]

Winners and nominees

The nominees for the 91st Academy Awards were announced on January 22, 2019, at 5:20 a.m. PST (13:20 UTC), at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by actors Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross.[10][11]

Awards

Alfonso Cuarón, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film winner

Rami Malek, Best Actor winner

Photo of Olivia Colman in 2014.

Olivia Colman, Best Actress winner

Photo of Mahershala Ali in 2016.

Mahershala Ali, Best Supporting Actor winner

Photo of Regina King in 2010.

Regina King, Best Supporting Actress winner

Photo of Peter Farrelly in 2009.

Peter Farrelly, Best Original Screenplay co-winner

Photo of Spike Lee in 2018.

Spike Lee, Best Adapted Screenplay co-winner

Photo of Lady Gaga in 2018.

Lady Gaga, Best Original Song co-winner

Photo of Ruth E. Carter in 2018.

Ruth E. Carter, Best Costume Design winner

Photo of John Ottman in 2011.

John Ottman, Best Film Editing winner

double-dagger

Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface, and indicated with a double dagger ().[12]

Best PictureGreen Book – Jim BurkeCharles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, and Nick VallelongaBlack Panther – Kevin FeigeBlacKkKlansman – Sean McKittrickJason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele, and Spike LeeBohemian Rhapsody – Graham KingThe Favourite – Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, and Yorgos LanthimosRoma – Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso CuarónA Star Is Born – Bill GerberBradley Cooper, and Lynette Howell TaylorVice – Dede GardnerJeremy KleinerAdam McKay, and Kevin J. MessickBest DirectorAlfonso Cuarón – RomaYorgos Lanthimos – The FavouriteSpike Lee – BlacKkKlansmanAdam McKay – VicePaweł Pawlikowski – Cold War
Best ActorRami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody as Freddie MercuryChristian Bale – Vice as Dick CheneyBradley Cooper – A Star Is Born as Jackson “Jack” MaineWillem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate as Vincent van GoghViggo Mortensen – Green Book as Frank “Tony Lip” VallelongaBest ActressOlivia Colman – The Favourite as Anne, Queen of Great BritainYalitza Aparicio – Roma as Cleodegaria “Cleo” GutiérrezGlenn Close – The Wife as Joan CastlemanLady Gaga – A Star Is Born as Ally MaineMelissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Lee Israel
Best Supporting ActorMahershala Ali – Green Book as Don ShirleyAdam Driver – BlacKkKlansman as Philip “Flip” ZimmermanSam Elliott – A Star Is Born as Bobby MaineRichard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Jack HockSam Rockwell – Vice as George W. BushBest Supporting ActressRegina King – If Beale Street Could Talk as Sharon RiversAmy Adams – Vice as Lynne CheneyMarina de Tavira – Roma as SofíaEmma Stone – The Favourite as Abigail MashamRachel Weisz – The Favourite as Sarah Churchill
Best Original ScreenplayGreen Book – Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter FarrellyThe Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamaraFirst Reformed – Paul SchraderRoma – Alfonso CuarónVice – Adam McKayBest Adapted ScreenplayBlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee (based on the book by Ron Stallworth)The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (based on the short stories All Gold Canyon by Jack London and The Gal Who Got Rattled by Stewart Edward White)Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty(based on the book by Lee Israel)If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins (based on the book by James Baldwin)A Star Is Born – Eric RothBradley Cooper, and Will Fetters (based on the 1954 screenplay by Moss Hart and the 1976 screenplay by Joan DidionJohn Gregory Dunne, and Frank Pierson; based on a story by Robert Carson and William A. Wellman)
Best Animated Feature FilmSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Bob PersichettiPeter RamseyRodney RothmanPhil Lord, and Christopher MillerIncredibles 2 – Brad BirdJohn Walker, and Nicole Paradis GrindleIsle of Dogs – Wes AndersonScott RudinSteven Rales, and Jeremy DawsonMirai – Mamoru Hosoda and Yūichirō SaitōRalph Breaks the Internet – Rich MoorePhil Johnston, and Clark SpencerBest Foreign Language FilmRoma (Mexico) in Spanish and Mixtec – Alfonso CuarónCapernaum (Lebanon) in Arabic – Nadine LabakiCold War (Poland) in Polish and French – Paweł PawlikowskiNever Look Away (Germany) in German – Florian Henckel von DonnersmarckShoplifters (Japan) in Japanese – Hirokazu Kore-eda
Best Documentary – FeatureFree Solo – Elizabeth Chai VasarhelyiJimmy Chin, Evan Hayes, and Shannon DillHale County This Morning, This Evening – RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes, and Su KimMinding the Gap – Bing Liu and Diane QuonOf Fathers and Sons – Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, and Tobias N. SiebertRBG – Betsy West and Julie CohenBest Documentary – Short SubjectPeriod. End of Sentence. – Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa BertonBlack Sheep – Ed Perkins and Jonathan ChinnEnd Game – Rob Epstein and Jeffrey FriedmanLifeboat – Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn MooserA Night at the Garden – Marshall Curry
Best Live Action Short FilmSkin – Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray NewmanDetainment – Vincent Lambe and Darren MahonFauve – Jérémy Comte and Maria Gracia TurgeonMarguerite – Marianne Farley and Marie-Hélène PanissetMother – Rodrigo Sorogoyen and María del Puy AlvaradoBest Animated Short FilmBao – Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-CobbAnimal Behaviour – Alison Snowden and David FineLate Afternoon – Louise Bagnall and Nuria González BlancoOne Small Step – Andrew Chesworth and Bobby PontillasWeekends – Trevor Jimenez
Best Original ScoreBlack Panther – Ludwig GöranssonBlacKkKlansman – Terence BlanchardIf Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas BritellIsle of Dogs – Alexandre DesplatMary Poppins Returns – Marc ShaimanBest Original SongShallow” from A Star Is Born – Lady GagaMark RonsonAnthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt (music and lyrics)All the Stars” from Black Panther – Mark SpearsKendrick Lamar Duckworth, and Anthony Tiffith (music); Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith, and Solána Rowe (lyrics)”I’ll Fight” from RBG – Diane Warren (music and lyrics)”The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns – Marc Shaiman (music); Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (lyrics)”When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – David Rawlings and Gillian Welch (music and lyrics)
Best Sound EditingBohemian Rhapsody – John Warhurst and Nina HartstoneBlack Panther – Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve BoeddekerFirst Man – Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou MorganA Quiet Place – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik AadahlRoma – Sergio Díaz and Skip LievsayBest Sound Mi

Courtesy; Wikipedia

International

India-Pakistan crisis: Tensions rise over Kashmir after ‘surgical air strike’ on militant training camp

Pakistan has promised to retaliate to any Indian ‘adventurism’

Indian fighter jets crossed the line of control into Pakistan to carry out a bombing raid against a militant training camp, the Indian government said, causing Islamabad to scramble its own aircraft in response.

The operation early on Tuesday was the first major military response to the militant car bombing in Pulwama, Kashmir earlier this month which the Indian government blames on Pakistan.

The Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan-administered Kashmir and “released a payload” towards Balakot in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, said spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces Asif Ghafoor.

Pakistan called the sortie “a grave aggression by India”. In a brief statement, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said India had violated its territory and that Pakistan reserves the right to respond.

India’s ANI news agency, quoting air force sources, said 12 Mirage 2000 aircraft crossed the line of control at 3.30am on Tuesday and dropped 1,000kg of bombs on militant camps. 

And at an extraordinary media briefing, India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said the raid targeted the largest training base belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group. JeM has claimed responsibility for orchestrating the 14 February Pulwama attack.

Mr Gokhale said there was “credible intelligence that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack”. “In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary”.

The foreign secretary said the camp was led by the brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar, and that the operation eliminated “a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers [and] senior commanders”.

The attack was a response to “the menace of terrorism” and not the Pakistani state, Mr Gokhale said, referring to it as “non-military preemptive action”. He also said the target, a remote forest camp, was selected “to avoid civilian casualties”.  

Prakesh Javadekar, India’s human resource development minister, tweeted: “This was a necessary step for the defence of the country, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the armed forces a free hand. The whole country stands behind the armed forces.”

Pakistan has played down the success of the operation, with prime minister Imran Khan describing India’s account of it as “fictitious”. 

Its armed forces posted pictures to Twitter that appeared to show nothing more than impact craters from bombs in forested countryside, and officials repeatedly asserted that the Indian sortie caused neither damage to infrastructure nor loss of life.

Armed forces spokesman Ghafoor said: “Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.”

India has accused the Pakistani state of allowing JeM to operate within its borders, as well as shielding the group’s leader Azhar from being named an international terrorist by the UN Security Council.

The Indian Army’s top commander in Kashmir went as far as to accuse Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of “controlling” the Pulwama attack directly.

The day after the car bombing, which killed 40 Indian paramilitary officers and was the deadliest of its kind in Kashmir, Narendra Modi said India would give a “fitting, jaw-breaking response to this attack”.

Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, had previous said that any “adventurism” on India’s part would be met with retaliation. Later on Tuesday, after convening a meeting of the country’s National Security Committee, Mr Khan accused India of “putting regional peace and stability at grave risk”. “India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing,” he said.

Mr Modi has been under domestic pressure to give a show of force in the wake of the Pulwama attack, which has dominated India’s news agenda for almost two weeks. The prime minister is gearing up for a general election which must be held by the end of May.

India has already withdrawn Pakistan’s “most-favoured nation” trading status and whacked a 200 per cent tariff on Pakistani goods, though the measly state of the neighbours’ cross-border commerce makes the impact of these measures limited.  

Both India and Pakistan administer a portion of Kashmir but claim the entire region as their own. The two countries have fought three major wars over the issue, though not since 1971.

The last time India claimed to have carried out a “surgical strike” against militant camps across the line of control was in 2016, and that was allegedly by troops on the ground rather than an air raid. To this day, Pakistan denies that any such incursion took place.

Courtesy: The Independent