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Bollywood ban may hurt Pakistan more than India

When India conducted an air strike in Pakistani territory, Pakistan didn’t just retaliate with force: it also banned Indian film and television. It’s an easy punishment, but may just hit the wrong target, as the BBC’s Ilyas Khan and Shumaila Jaffrey report.

India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since 1947, but their shared love of Bollywood has somehow survived through Partition and beyond.

Despite this, Bollywood has all too often found itself the easy target of governments hoping to make a point – most recently following the deadly attack by militants on Indian soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir, which ended with India launching air strikes against what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan late last month, and Pakistan downing an Indian fighter jet.

A case of survival

Pakistan’s Association of Film Exhibitors said that they were banning the release of Bollywood films and in March, Pakistan’s top court went a step further and ruled that no Indian content could be broadcast on local television either. The ban applies to Indian adverts, soap operas and films.

“Who would want to watch Indian content when India is intruding [into] the country’s boundaries?” the Supreme Court judge demanded as he imposed the ban.

Student Aqsa Khan, 24, wholeheartedly agrees.

“They are imposing war on us, how can we let their movies and dramas get released in Pakistan?” she asked.

But exactly who the ban will really punish is yet to be seen.

In this photograph taken on January 14, 2009 commuters pass a cinema displaying billboads advertising the Indian Bollywood film 'Ghajini' in Karachi. Just a year ago, the screening would not have been possible, as Pakistan had barred films from its rival neighbour for more than 40 years. Lifting the ban has helped revive Pakistan's suffering cinemas, luring film buffs away from the flat-screen televisions in their living rooms and into the movie houses.
Image captionPakistani’s film industry profits massively from Bollywood

For a substantial number of Pakistanis, the pleasure of engaging with Indian entertainment would trump the patriotism of supporting a ban on it.

“I grew up watching Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan,” said Ali Shiwari, an avid cinemagoer who was so inspired by Indian cinema he decided to study film.

“It will take time to find someone like them in the Pakistani industry.”

Perhaps more importantly, however, taking it out of the equation could result in economic consequences – for Pakistanis.

“The Indian film industry is crucial for sustaining the Pakistani box office,” Rafay Mahmood, a film journalist, points out.

There are around 120 movie theatres in the country, he explained, and the average shelf life of a good film is about two weeks. By his estimate, Pakistani cinemas need to show at least 26 new films a year to stay in business.

But Pakistan’s own film industry has only been producing 12 to 15 annually. And, Mr Mahmood notes, these did not attract a large audience.

In fact, some 70% of the Pakistani movie industry’s revenue is earned through Indian films, according to entertainment journalist Hassan Zaidi.

“This ban is just not sustainable,” he said. “The film industry here cannot survive without Bollywood.”

There is proof of just how hard such a ban would hit Pakistan: this is not the country’s first ban on Bollywood.

The longest lasted 40 years, from 1965 until 2005, put in place after a war with India.

It sent the industry into decline: several hundred film theatres across Pakistan were converted into shopping malls or wedding halls.

Once it was lifted, the Pakistani movie industry – which had died a death in the 1990s – also began to revive.

“This spurred the return of audiences to the cinema,” said Atika Rehman, editor of Dawn news website in Pakistan and and a former entertainment journalist. “It also encouraged Pakistani filmmakers to start producing films.”

But these Pakistani movies didn’t always match Bollywood in budget or star power.

That could explain why Bollywood has accounted for more than 60% of film screenings in Pakistani cinemas in recent years, followed by Hollywood, according to a cinema business source.

Fawad Khan
Image captionPakistani actor Fawad Khan was banned from acting in Bollywood

In fairness, the two recent bans on Indian content in Pakistan were reciprocal – the current one was imposed after the All India Cine Workers Association (AICWA) announced a total ban on Pakistani actors and artists working in Bollywood following the Kashmir attack.

And it wasn’t the first time India had announced such a ban: Pakistan’s Fawad Khan was banned from acting in Bollywood films after an Indian right-wing group demanded that all Pakistani artists leave the country after the “surgical strikes” in 2016. Khan had acted in a few Bollywood films by then and continues to enjoy a fan following in India.

There was also a huge uproar when Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan starred in a movie alongside Pakistani actress Mahira Khan in 2017. The movie’s release was punctuated by controversies as right-wing Hindu groups in India demanded for it to be banned. Its release date was delayed in India – but it did not screen in Pakistan, where the censor board claimed the film had “objectionable content”.

Nadeem Mandviwala, a Pakistani film producer, hopes that this ban is temporary.

“Hopefully better sense will prevail between the two countries,” he added.

And let’s not forget, these days Bollywood enthusiasts can stream films on Netflix, YouTube and other platforms – reducing the ban to little more than symbolism.

BBC

News

Indian army’s iron spike to kill wild elephants in Assam

Beds of six-inch long iron spikes put up in an Army cantonment in Guwahati to keep wild elephants out may have been the reason for the death of at least one pachyderm this month and injuries to several others in the past, said forest officials who had flagged this “cruel effort to keep the elephants at bay” in December 2018.

According to records with the Guwahati wildlife division, the carcass of a 9-10 year, 1500-kg male elephant was found near a stream from the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary in Guwahati on March 4.

The post-mortem report noted “externally there are various punctured wounds on right fore and hind legs.” The report said the wild elephant died of septicemia.

The Army’s cantonment in Narengi in Guwahati where the iron spikes have been in place since 2003 in the periphery of a major supply depot in its campus, borders the Amchang wildlife sanctuary home to at least 59 wild elephants, according to officials.

“The carcass was found close to the cantonment and the nature of the injury shows that the wound was caused by the spikes,” said Pradipta Baruah, Divisional Forest Officer, Guwahati.

“The foot pads of elephants are very sensitive,” said BK Gogoi, the forest veterinary officer, Zoo division, Guwahati. “The circumstantial evidence and the post mortem suggest that the injury was caused by those spikes. How can you put these spikes?” he said.

“This Army Base is bordering the wildlife sanctuary which is an elephant habitat, and they do venture into it frequently searching for food,” said Kaushik Baruah, a conservationist who serves as the Honorary Wildlife Warden, Guwahati.

Army officials living in the cantonment claim raids by elephants on army depots are routine and often in the evening herds of pachyderms are seen in the campus.

In December 2018, another elephant was injured by these spikes. Baruah said two elephants died of septicemia in 2018.

On December 27, 2018, after receiving a report from the local range officer, Baruah wrote a letter to the Colonel in-charge of administration, Narengi cantonment noting, “On December 25 at about 2 am one wild elephant injured at supply depot of Narengi Army Cantonment while the elephant cross the pointed iron spikes driven to the ground with the sharp points facing the sky fixed at supply depot by Army personnel.”

In the letter Baruah asked the Army to do away with these types of measures. “This type of cruel effort to keep the elephants at bay is definitely going to defeat the very spirit of wildlife protection and preservation,” he wrote.

The letter according to Baruah, led to a discussion between the Army officials, the forest officials, and experts from the WWF among others in January. Baruah said measures like solar fencing and trenches were suggested to the Army.

An army spokesperson in Guwahati denied any elephants getting killed and said “directions have been received recently to remove the spikes and measures suggested by WWF officials and forest officials have been disseminated to all individuals in the cantonment.”

The spokesperson said that the spikes have been there since 2003. “As far as we are aware, there has been only one instance of injury to an elephant in 2005,” the spokesperson said adding that the incident in 2005 led to the Army digging ditches and subsequently also using ultrasonic buzzers to keep the elephants out.

The spokesperson said “the spikes have been put in areas where operational materials are being stored and shortage of them will cause operational exigencies.” According to a defence source, the supply depots in Narengi store rations for the defence forces in the Northeast.

“It’s understood that the Army is trying to protect its installations but such barriers are detrimental to the survival of elephants in that area and there have been deaths due to septicemia which they got after injuries from these spike. They should take steps to remove these barriers,” said Kaushik Baruah.

“Apart from protecting the country, the Army also has the responsibility of preserving and protecting the wildlife,” he said.

In Assam, human-elephant conflict is a routine phenomenon. According to state government records recently placed in the Legislative Assembly 249 elephants were killed since 2010 which include 20 instances of poaching, 54 deaths in train accidents, 91 which were electrocuted, 38 died of accidental reasons, 30 were poisoned, and 15 died of injuries.  (Source: HT) 

News

Dangerous plane flying in the sky of India

Singapore, Australia ban use of Boeing 737 MAX

Singapore and Australia on Tuesday banned the use of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in their airspace following a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday. 

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement that it was “temporarily suspending operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore in light of two fatal accidents involving Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in less than five months.”

Hours later, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority followed Singapore’s lead with a temporary suspension to review the risks, citing the best interests of safety.

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 went down minutes into a flight to Nairobi on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. This came just months after a Lion Air jet of the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.

The move comes as airlines around the world remove the model from their schedules, while US regulators have ordered Boeing to make urgent improvements to the jet.

Singapore’s suspension will take effect from 2pm local time (06:00 GMT), the authority said.

It also said SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, operates six Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Other airlines operating the planes to Singapore are China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air.

The regulator said it was working with the city-state’s Changi Airport – a major global hub – and affected airlines to minimise any effect on passengers.

“During the temporary suspension, CAAS will gather more information and review the safety risk associated with the continued operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore,” it said.

“The suspension will be reviewed as relevant safety information becomes available.”

Also on Tuesday, a South Korean airline, Eastar Jet, suspended operation of its two Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. The aircraft will be replaced by Boeing 737-800, starting Wednesday, on routes to Japan and Thailand, according to the airline official who did not want to be named, citing office rules.

On Monday, China also ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 until after “confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety”.

Indonesia said it was also grounding its 11 jets of the same type. Ethiopian Airlines has done the same “until further notice”, so did Gol in Brazil, Argentina’s state airline Aerolineas Argentinas and Mexico’s Aeromexico.

On Tuesday, India’s Jet Airways said it grounded its five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, saying it is not flying any of the 737 Max planes in its fleet and is “in contact with the manufacturer”.

Air Italy, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines and Russian airline S7 said they were closely following the ongoing investigation into the crash and were in contact with Boeing, but the aircraft would continue to fly as scheduled.

Jens Thordarson, the operations chief of Icelandair, which flies three Boeing 737 MAX 8s, said that it would be “premature” to link the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. For now, “nothing pushes us towards the slightest action,” he said.

Norwegian Air Shuttle, which has 18 aircraft of the same type in the air, and Flydubai also have confidence in their planes

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 India is likely to order grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft by Wednesday afternoon which will force SpiceJet to take 12-13 aircraft out of operations, highly placed sources said on Tuesday.

The five B737 that Jet Airways has in its fleet are already grounded due to non-payment of lease rentals.

“The order will be issued by Wednesday afternoon. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will see if overflying by the Boeing 737 MAX also needs to be stopped after studying whether airlines of nearby regions use this plane to overfly India on their international routes. We need to study that before taking a call on overflying by MAX,” sources said.

A large number of countries and standalone airlines have grounded the B737 MAX, with Singapore and Australia even banning its overflying following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed 157 people on Sunday, five months after a similar Indonesian Lion Air jet plunged into the ocean, killing 189.

SilkAir, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines (SIA), used to operate its MAX to Hyderabad and Bangalore. 

“SilkAir will be flying the Boeing 737 NG (new generation) to Hyderabad and Bangalore instead of the Boeing 737 MAX,” said a SIA spokesperson. 

Singapore’s aviation authority has suspended “all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore.”

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority temporarily suspended airlines from flying B737 MAX jets to or from Australia. 

China and Indonesia had taken a similar decision soon after Sunday’s crash. 

Aerolíneas Argentinas is grounding its five Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes and so are Ethiopian Airlines, Aeromexico, Cayman Airways and South Africa’s Comair and South Korea’s Eastar Jet.

The DGCA had on Monday issued instructions asking only captains and co-pilots with over 1,000 and 500 hours of flying experience on this aircraft to operate the B737. 

The direction was criticised by several experts who pointed out that pilots operating the ill-fated Lion Air and Ethiopian B737 MAX had significant flying experience.

“It is about a snag in the aircraft, its operating system. It is not something that can be taken care of by simply asking experienced pilots to fly the plane. That decision by DGCA made no sense,” said a senior pilot of the B737 MAX who said a new operating system almost gives the MAX “a mind of its own after which the pilots can do nothing.”

News

World leaders come together at UN Environment Assembly

NAIROBI: More than 4700 head of state, including French President Emmanuel Macron, ministers from different countries,
business leaders, senior UN officials and representatives from civil society gather at the fourth UN Environment Assembly
(UNEA), held in Nairobi from March 11 to March 15.
The assembly, this year, will consider new policies, technologies and innovative solutions for achieving sustainable
consumption and production. Outcomes from the meeting will set the global environmental agenda and boost chances of
success in the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda.
Ahead of the assembly, UN Environment’s Acting Executive Director, Joyce Msuya, appealed to nations to step up and start
delivering real change.
“Time is running short. We are past pledging and politicking. We are past commitments with little accountability. What’s at stake
is life, and society, as the majority of us know it and enjoy it today,” she wrote in a policy letter.
Raising concerns over the growing throwaway culture, Msuya said, “It’s clear that we need to transform the way our economies
work, and the way we value the things that we consume. The goal is to break the link between growth and increased resource
use, and end our throwaway culture.

News

Saudi Arabia to cut crude oil exports in April: Saudi official

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia plans to cut its crude oil exports in April to below 7 million barrels per day (bpd), while keeping its output “well below” 10 million bpd, a Saudi official said on Monday, as the kingdom seeks to drain a supply glut and support oil prices. So fuel price most likely to hike in India after it Lok  Sabha Election.

State-owned Saudi Aramco’s oil allocations for April are 635,000 bpd below customers’ nominations — requests made by refiners and clients for Saudi crude, the Saudi official said.

“Despite very strong demand from international waterborne customers at more than 7.6 million bpd, customers were allocated less than 7 million bpd,” the official said.

March’s oil exports will also be below 7 million bpd, the official said.

The April allocations by Aramco show “a deep cut of 635,000 bpd from customer requests for its crude oil,” he added.

“This will keep production well below 10 million bpd in April,” the official said, adding that this is also below the 10.311 million bpd that the kingdom has agreed as its production target under an OPEC-led supply cut agreement.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers such as Russia, colloquially known as OPEC+, agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from Jan. 1 for six months.

“Saudi Arabia is demonstrating extraordinary commitment to accelerating market rebalancing,” the Saudi official said, adding that the kingdom expects all other OPEC+ countries to show similar levels of contributions and high conformity.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday that March oil production was 9.8 million bpd and that the country, OPEC’s biggest producer, plans to keep its April output at the same level.

Saudi Arabia’s oil production in February fell to 10.136 million bpd, a Saudi industry source told Reuters on Friday, down from 10.24 million bpd in January. – Reuters

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/03/11/saudi-arabia-to-cut-crude-oil-exports-in-april/#UTBXF8Ksd878EvT2.99

India has raised concerns about the rising price of crude oil during a meeting with Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of Saudi Aramco, Khalid A Al-Falih.

An official statement said, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan raised concerns about increasing trend in global crude oil prices during a meeting with Falih. Pradhan also pointed to the need for uninterrupted supplies of crude oil and LPG (cooking gas) to India in view of the OPEC+ cuts.

Both Ministers also discussed about possible adverse impact of recent geopolitical developments on global oil market, the statement added.

Falih and Pradhan also reviewed various Saudi investment proposals in the Indian oil and gas sector, including the urgent steps to be taken to expedite the implementation of the first Joint Venture West Coast Refinery and Petrochemical Project in Maharashtra. The refinery cum petrochemical project is estimated to cost $ 44 billion, which will be the largest greenfield refinery in the world. Saudi Arabia’s participation in Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) Program was also discussed.

The meeting was a follow-up to the first State visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in February this year.

Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier of crude and LPG to India. In 2017-2018, India’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia were 36.8 million tonne, accounting for 16.7 per cent of total imports.

News

JNU ‘sedition’ case: Why hurry to file chargesheet without getting sanctions, court asks police

A Delhi court on Monday sought a report from the Delhi Police in connection with the sedition case against former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leaders, ANI reported. Former JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar is among the accused in the 2016 sedition case.

The Delhi Police on Monday told the court that authorities were yet to give requisite sanctions to prosecute the accused, PTI reported. The chief public prosecutor informed the court that it could take two to three months to procure the sanctions.

“You [Police] could have filed [chargesheet] after procuring sanction only. What was the hurry?” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat said. “I can go ahead with the case.” It sought an update from the Deputy Commissioner of Police assigned to the case.

At a hearing last month, the court had asked the city police to procure sanctions by February 28. Earlier, on January 19, it had criticised the police for filing a chargesheet in the 2016 case without the approval of the Delhi government.

On February 28, the court had chided the Aam Aadmi Party government for delaying the process to grant the required sanction. Sherawat had said the court will proceed with the case even if the administration does not grant the requisite permission.

The case is related to accusations against Kanhaiya Kumar and others in connection with anti-national slogans allegedly chanted at the campus during a demonstration on February 9, 2016. The Delhi Police had filed a chargesheet in a local court on January 14.

The next hearing in the case will take place on March 29. NDTV

News

Main Pulwama Conspirator, Killed In Kashmir Encounter

A Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist who was a key-conspirator of the Pulwama terror attack was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Tral on Monday, the Army has said.

Three Jaish terrorists were killed in the Tral encounter. “Jaish commander Mudassar Khan was among the terrorists killed in the encounter. He was the main conspirator of the Pulwama terror attack,” said Lt Gen KJS Dhillon, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps .

The Army said 18 terrorists have been killed in the last 21 days.

News agency PTI reported that Mudassar Khan has been identified as the brain behind the Pulwama terror sucide attack that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel on February 14.

The CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish terrorist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle — a Maruti Eeco minivan — into their bus. Adil Ahmed Dar, who blew the explosive-laden vehicle had been in constant contact with Khan, PTI quoted officials as saying.

Twenty-three-year-old Mudassar Khan is an electrician with a graduate degree. He is resident of Pulwama and arranged the vehicle and explosives used in the Pulwama attack, PTI reported.

The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area in Tral after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of militants in the area. The operation turned into an encounter after the militants opened fire at the search party of the forces who retaliated.

GNN

News

Polls to be held from April 11 in 7 phases, counting on May 23 to form 17th Lok Sabha

The Election Commission today announced that the Lok Sabha election will be held in 7 phases. CEC Sunil Arora said that the Model Code of Conduct has come into force as it announced the dates for the elections to 17th Lok Sabha. The elections will start on April 11 and continue till May 19. The counting will be held on May 23. Nearly 90 crore voters will be eligible to vote for 543 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country. With the announcement of dates the moral code of conduct comes into force

State-wise poll details:
Phase 1 (April 11)
Andhra (25), Arunachal (2), Assam (5), Bihar (4), Chhattisgarh (1), J&K (2), Maharashtra (7), Manipur (1), Meghalaya (2), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Odisha (4), Sikkim (1), Telangana (17), Tripura (1), UP (8), Uttarakhand (5), West Bengal (2), Andaman (1), Lakshadweep (1); Total (91)

Phase 2 (April 18)

Assam (4), Bihar (5), Chhattisgarh (7), Gujarat (26), Goa (2), J&K (1), Karnataka (14), Kerala (20), Maharashtra (14), Odisha (6), UP (10), West Bengal (5), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1), Daman and Diu (1); Total: 115

Phase 4 (April 29)
Bihar (5), J&K (1), Jharkhand (3), MP (6), Maharashtra (17), Odisha (6), Rajasthan (13), UP (13), West Bengal (8); Total: 71

Phase 5 (May 6)
Bihar (5), J&K (2), Jharkhand (4), MP (7), Rajasthan (12), UP (14), West Bengal (7); Total: 51

Phase 6 (May 12)
Bihar (8), Haryana (10), Jharkhand (4), MP (8), UP (14), West Bengal (8), Delhi-NCR (7); Total: 59

Phase 7 (May 19)
Bihar (8), Jharkhand (3), MP (8), Punjab (13), West Bengal (9), Chandigarh (1), UP (13), Himachal (4); Total: 59

States which will have polling in one phase: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Andaman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshwadeweep, Delhi, Puducherry, Chandigarh.

*Approximately 10 lakh polling stations in 2019, compared to 9 lakh in 2014. 

*Photo voter slip shall be used for guidance but not as proof of identity at polling stations 

*17.4 lakh VVPATs will be used with EVMs at all polling stations. 

*Usage of loud speakers is prohibited between 10pm-6am in order to curb noise pollution.

Key Highlights from Chief Election Commissioner’s speech:

*The Chief Election Commissioner said that the Commission started preparing for elections for quite some time. The Commission started organising meetings with election commissioners of states and UTs. Several rounds of discussions were held with MHA and several other departments like railways for smooth conduct of elections.

C K Duarah