• Pakistani media calls PM Modi's speech venomous

    Islamabad, Sep 24 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech lashing out against Pakistan, was closely monitored by the Pakistani media, and within an hour of its delivery on Saturday evening, excerpts were on websites of major dailies, with most describing it as spewing venom against Pakistan. The News, one of the major English dailies of Pakistan, ran the headline, "Modi threatens to 'completely isolate' Pakistan globally, while 'The Express Tribune' ran the headline, "Modi threatens to 'isolate' Pakistan globally". In the same vein, Geo TV, one of the leading news channel of Pakistan, said: "Indian PM Narendra Modi threatens Pakistan".

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Riteish Deshmukh left fuming over MNS ultimatum to Pak artists in India

    NewDelhi [India], Sept. 24 (ANI): Reacting over the recent orders by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) giving ultimatum to all Pakistani actors to quit India in 48-hours of face consequences, Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh said actors have always been the first ones to be targeted, no matter whatever the agenda is. Meanwhile, the party also warned that it would not allow the release of Bollywood films featuring Pakistani cine or television stars including the upcoming Karan Johar's 'Ae Dil Hai Mushqil' and Shah Rukh Khan starrer 'Raees' as the movies star Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan respectively. India has blamed Pakistan for the attack as the investigating agencies reportedly recovered weapons and ammunition bearing Pakistani marks from the site.

    ANI
  • It's scientifically validated now; Ganga water is 'holy'!

    New Delhi [India], Sept.24 (ANI): Indian scientists have validated the scientific basis of the mysterious 'special power' of the water of Ganga, which Hindus consider as "Brahm Dravya" or divine elixir. Microbiologists from the Chandigarh-based Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), who had studied the special characteristics of Ganges water have found, for the first time, several Bacteriophages, which keeps it non-putrefying. This resolves the mystery for the self-purifying properties of Ganga water.

    ANI
  • 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' trailer creates a lot of musical misfits

    Mumbai, Sep 24 (IANS) All the questions about love and related activities that were raised by the earlier teasers become full-blown riddles in the trailer of Karan Johars Diwali firecracker "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil". The quadrangle created by the presence of Ranbir Kapoor(exuberant), Anushka Sharma (bubbly), Fawad Khan (intense) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (seductive) is a killer. Ranbir seems to love both Anushka and Aishwarya.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Best dressed this week: Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra

    This week, stars across the world gave us a masterclass on formal dressing. Within the city, Katrina Kaif picked up her Smita Patil Memorial Award looking like royalty in a bottle green Sabyasachi ensemble, Kangana Ranaut went slightly edgy in a cut-out Burberry Prorsum number, Neha Dhupia layered up in sharp Sanjay Garg separates, and Jacqueline Fernandez picked a ruffled red number by Fendi. Overseas, Priyanka Chopra stopped traffic at the Emmys in that brilliant red Jason Wu, and Freida Pinto was perfectly put-together in a Burberry dress and coat combo. Want more inspiration for a formal evening out? Check out Emily Blunt’s Alexander McQueen gown, Olivia Culpo’s delicate semi-sheer Zac Posen

    VOGUE India q
  • ASUS ZenFone 3 (5.5-inch): Luxury redefined with super performance

    New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) While most smartphone makers -- especially those from China -- have flooded the Indian market with devices in the Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 price range, Taiwan-based technology major ASUS believes there is still room in the country for luxury with superior performance and design.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Samsung phone emits smoke on Indian airline flight

    By Aditi Shah NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A Samsung Electronics smartphone stored in an overhead baggage compartment on an Indian plane emitted smoke in mid-flight on Friday, India's aviation regulator said, but there was no damage and the aircraft landed safely. Passengers on board an IndiGo flight smelled smoke coming from the baggage bin and alerted cabin crew who saw sparks and smoke coming from a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone, the airline, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, said in an emailed statement. Flight crew used a fire extinguisher on the phone and put it in a container filled with water, the airline said.

    Reuters
  • Jayalalithaa is recuperating fast: AIADMK

    Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Sept. 24 (ANI): Amid speculations that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will fly to Singapore for treatment of high fever and de-hydration, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Saturday termed the nwes as "completely false" and assured that their party chief is recuperating even as the people of Tamil Nadu are praying for her speedy recovery. Honourable Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is very well. The people of Tamil Nadu and Tamilians across the world are praying for her," AIADMK leader C.R.Saraswathi told ANI.

    ANI
  • For Apple, Keeping Problems Away May Be Very Difficult In The Coming Year; Major Losses Foreseen

    Apple is in the news for various reasons – be it for the grand launch of iphone 7 or the tax evasion controversy in Ireland. What do the stars indicate about the fortunes of the technology giant?

    GaneshaSpeaks.com
  • Sahara chief Subrata Roy gets temporary relief from court

    India's Supreme Court extended embattled Sahara conglomerate chief Subrata Roy's parole by a week on Friday, temporarily staying an order it had issued just hours before that he be taken back into custody. Roy was first arrested in March 2014 after Sahara, a household name in India, failed to comply with a court order to refund 360 billion rupees ($5.4 billion) raised from millions of small investors by selling them bonds later ruled to be illegal. Roy was released from prison on parole in May and the hearing on Friday was to determine whether it should be extended.

    Reuters
  • Oil sinks as OPEC deal seen unlikely; stocks dip

    Oil prices tumbled on Friday on signs that Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to disagree over output limits ahead of a meeting next week aimed at freezing production, while global stock indexes dipped. Energy ...

    Reuters
  • Actor found slain at L.A. home of Canada TV host Stroumboulopoulos

    By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An actor has been found murdered at the rented home of Canadian talk-show host George Stroumboulopoulos in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, police and the TV personality said on Friday. The body of Richard Hong, 41, was found at the house by officers responding to reports of a burglary there shortly after 2 a.m. PT (0900 GMT), said Officer Norma Eisenman, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman. The Los Angeles Times, citing a coroner's spokesman, said that the victim had sustained head trauma.

    Reuters
  • This Engineer Left His Job To Adopt And Educate The Children Of Drought Affected Farmers

    In 2015, Ashok Deshmane founded Snehwan – a home and school for children of marginalised and drought-affected farmers. Vishnu Gite, a gifted and intelligent child from a farmer’s family, is not interested in eating chocolates and ice cream like the city kids he sees on TV. All he wants is to be in school because he is attracted by the sight of educated, well dressed adults and he dreams of being like them every night. The main source of income for Vishnu's family was farming. But, due to the drought, their land stopped yielding any food crops and they migrated elsewhere to work as daily wage labourers. [caption id="attachment_68960" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Vishnu Gite's family had to migrate from their village due to drought.[/caption] His parents fought for survival on a daily basis and even contemplated suicide like many other farmers in drought affected areas. Vishnu missed his old school but kept quiet – he knew better than to ask his parents for the impossible. Ram and Lakhan’s story is not very different from Vishnu’s. Their father, Santosh Rathod, was a daily wage worker in the Jalna district of Maharashtra. Santosh had to take care of his entire family all by himself with the meagre income he earned daily. But then the drought happened and things went from bad to worse. He started losing whatever little work he had and there were days when his family literally starved. In the hope of finding a job and giving his family a better chance at survival, Santosh moved to Thane in the Mumbai area. He started working at a brick furnace here and his wife found a job as a domestic help. Living from hand to mouth, they could only think of feeding their kids; the question of sending them to school did not even arise. So, when a man named Ashok Deshmane offered to look after these children in his NGO Snehwan, and take complete responsibility for their education too, the two families were dumbfounded to say the least. Today, Ram is studying in Class 4 and aspires to become a policeman, whereas Lakhan is studying in Class 3 and wants to serve the nation by joining the army. Vishnu’s education is being taken care of as well. But it’s not just these three – many more farmers’ kids like them have also found a home in Snehwan. The founder of Snehwan, 27 year Ashok Deshmane, had a childhood similar to that of the kids he now looks after. He was born in a farmer’s family in a small village called Mangrul in the Parbhani district of Maharashtra. [caption id="attachment_68967" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Ashok Deshmane[/caption] The four acres of land that his father owned gave them enough to survive on only if it rained well. Maharashtra had been experiencing a drought every four years since 1972. This was extremely hard for small farmers like Ashok’s father, who cultivated just enough to feed their families and had no other savings. They had to depend on loans from local money lenders, who gave them money at high interest rates every time there was a drought. It soon became difficult to survive on farming alone, so Ashok’s father started doing tailoring too. The hunger, the pain, the distress, and the helplessness of farmers like his father found expression in every word of Ashok’s poems when he started writing at the age of 13. “Poetry was my only medium of dealing with the pain. But that was when I didn’t know how else I could help the farmers. I soon realised that my poetry was worthless if I did not do something to change the situation I was writing about. I understood, early on in my teens, that it was possible for farmers to get out of the vicious cycle they were caught in if they were educated. So, I started teaching their kids for free. ” When Ashok was in Class 12, he came across a documentary on Ramon Magsaysay Award winner, Dr. Prakash Baba Amte. Ashok was so inspired by Amte’s work that he became even more determined to help farmers. [caption id="attachment_68968" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Ashok with Dr. Prakash Baba Amte[/caption] But all he knew was that he had to educate himself first before helping educate others. So he started working with a transport company to support his own education. After a tremendous struggle, Ashok finally completed his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and then Master’s in Computer Science. Next, he got a well-paying job with a known software company in Pune. In the meantime, he had also been visiting his village to help the children there with their studies. Now, he also started teaching the children of street vendors in Pune on weekends. However, since the street vendors kept moving from one place to another, it made it difficult for their kids to study. This is when Ashok realised that it was very necessary to have a permanent shelter for the children of migrant labourers. By the end of 2015, Ashok had completed five years of work and had enough savings to buy a house and a car. But, at about this time, a visit home on the occasion of Diwali changed everything. Parbhani had once again been affected by drought. People were leaving their homes along with their families. There was no water in the entire village. Ashok had to walk 4-5 kms with his mother to get water to celebrate Diwali. “When I asked these people why they were leaving the village, they said there was no water, no crops and nothing to eat. These people were moving to the cities to work as daily wage labourers – jobs that would give them only as much as one meal a day. When I asked about the education of their kids they bluntly told me they could only think of filling their stomachs right now and school was a luxury for their children in such a situation.” Ashok came back to Pune in December 2015, registered his NGO Snehwan, and quit his job. Snehwan would be both a home and school for children of marginalised and drought-affected farmers. [caption id="attachment_68969" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Children are also taught yoga and meditation at Snehwan.[/caption] When Ashok’s boss came to know why he had quit his well-paying job at the peak of his career, he told him he wanted to support him. He gave Ashok the option to do night shifts so he could dedicate his days to the NGO. Ashok accepted the offer. He would leave for his office at 8 pm and return at 8 am, after which he would visit several villages in search of kids who needed his help. By June 2016, Snehwan had 17 children whose parents had migrated from their villages, or had committed suicide, or were living hand-to-mouth. Ashok’s friends helped him in every possible way to set up Snehwan. Anil Kothe offered his five-room house where the kids could live. Uma Kommineni, an NRI, gave computers to the home. The iLeadFarmers company developed the NGO’s website and now maintains it for free so that people can donate through the website. Webonise Lab gave funds for the renovation of the house. A nearby school, Samta Vidyalay, gave admission to the children at nominal fees. Rahul Deshpande and Asha Thipse started working with Snehwan as volunteers. But this was not as easy as it sounds. Ashok’s night shifts continued. When he would return home after work he would find the kids crying because they missed their parents. Ashok started feeling that along with education, food and clothing, these kids needed a lot of attention and love too. So, in August 2016, he finally quit his job and dedicated himself full time to the kids of Snehwan. “I could sleep only during the two hours while I was commuting to and from work. I was not able to give enough time and energy to these kids, so I left my job. I knew that finances would be an issue. But there was an inner voice that said everything would be taken care of.” On seeing their son’s dedication, Ashok’s parents too left their village and came to stay with the kids of Snehwan. “My parents were not very happy initially. They told me I should get married and settle down. But I told them that although I did not have a big house or a car or a lot of money, I was getting the satisfaction of educating the future generation of farmers. Maybe if I continued working at my job my family would get a better life in Pune. But how would that change my village? It would still be the same as it was when I was struggling to study 15 years ago. And if I continued with my wonderful career, the village would remain the same for the next 15 years too. I had to take a step right now.” Snehwan has 17 kids in the age group of 9 -14 years. Most of these kids have never been to school before; even if they have it is only so they could get a midday meal for free. Ashok has worked hard to teach them everything from scratch. And now the kids can read newspapers, use PCs, write letters, etc. “Even when there used to be a drought in the village, you could always find some farmers who were unaffected. The secret was knowledge. These kids will learn farming without even going to school. But they will learn to deal with farming problems only if they have knowledge, and only quality education can provide them with that,” says Ashok. Ashok is leaving no stone unturned to give the best opportunities he can to the bright yet deprived children under his care. Today, kids from the districts of Parbhani, Jalna, Beed, Hingoli, Aurangabad, and Wardha are living happily in Snehwan. However, as there is no income, Ashok is struggling to arrange for funds for their daily needs. “Recently, due to bad weather, most of my children were suffering from viral fever. It is difficult to arrange for their medical expenses at times because generally we get donations in the form of clothes and other utilitarian items. Also, we had enough donations to start the shelter home. But very few people know about the existence of this place now. We appeal to our well wishers to donate some funds so we can take care of the children’s health and other issues that arise from time to time.” Please donate money, clothes, and stationery, or become a volunteer at Snehwan. You can visit Snehwan Sr.no. 186, Mayur Colony, Near Chakrapani Vasahat, Bhosari, Pune-39, Maharashtra, India. Email at ashok.deshmane123@gmail.com Or call at +91-823 727 7615 to help these kids. Click here to Donate through Milaap. Like this story? Have something to share? Email: contact@thebetterindia.com, or join us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia). To get positive news on WhatsApp, just send 'Start' to 090 2900 3600 via WhatsApp.

    The Better India
  • Saudis offer oil cut for OPEC deal if Iran freezes output - sources

    DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has offered to reduce oil production if rival Iran caps its own output this year, four sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters, as Riyadh tries to strike an elusive OPEC deal to curtail supply and boost prices. The offer, which has yet to be accepted or rejected by Tehran, was made this month, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity. OPEC holds an informal meeting next week in Algiers, which non-OPEC Russia will also join.

    Reuters
  • Common myths about modular kitchens busted

    New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) Many people think modular kitchens aren't durable as the material used is of inferior quality. Neeti Macker, founder of the website The Homemakers, has listed a few myths that are common among people: * No scope for customisation: Modular kitchen companies work on the basis of international hardware and accessory sizes, and have a large variety of standard carcass sizes, a combination of which would suit most households. * Inferior quality: This is a very common misconception that modular kitchens are not durable as the material used is of inferior quality.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • 8 Worst Things to Buy at Dollar Stores

    These discount retailers stock plenty of bargains, but some of the merchandise isn't worth the buck.

    Kiplinger.com q
  • HC orders WhatsApp to remove users' data collected till September 25

    New Delhi [India], Sept. 24 (ANI): The Delhi High court on Saturday ordered Internet messaging service WhatsApp to delete all date of people who have deleted the messaging app from their devices till September 25, when its new privacy policy comes into effect. A bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal passed this order while responding to the petition filed by Karmanya Singh, who challenged the new policy of the messaging app, alleging it violates the fundamental right to privacy. The first direction is that users who want to completely delete or not use WhatsApp, WhatsApp will have to delete all of their data and that data cannot be shared with Facebook," said Karmanya Singh.

    ANI
  • Sonia Gandhi Will Have To Ensure That She Remains Illness-Mukt In The Upcoming Year

    Sonia Gandhi – the powerful Congress politician has been facing various health issues in the recent past. Also, there are various upcoming elections. What do the stars indicate about her future? Find out.

    GaneshaSpeaks.com
  • VW's MAN to cut 1,400 jobs at diesel-engine unit

    Orders for new turbo engines may stay at current low levels for years to come, Chief Executive Uwe Lauber said, citing external factors which he did not specify. "For this reason, we need to prepare ourselves and increase our flexibility and efficiency even further," the CEO said.

    Reuters
  • How One Bangalore Based Organisation Is Working Tirelessly to Provide Blind Students with Braille Books

    While there are many schools for educating blind people, very few equip them with the skills that would enable them to contribute to the economy of the country. Mitra Jyothi, a 26-year-old organisation based in Bangalore, works exclusively on this issue. According to them, there are an estimated 45 million blind people in the world, out of which one in three live in India. This would mean around 15 million blind people across the country. Uma Krishnamurthy, the Chief of Operations at Mitra Jyothi, spoke to us about how the organisation functions and how they hope to make reading more accessible to the visually impaired. They run various programmes to empower blind people; one such notable initiative is the Computer Training Centre. They train around twenty students per batch, and start out with basic instructions on how to operate a keyboard or monitor. From this, they slowly move on to sending emails and making use of Microsoft Office. Students from all over the sub-continent live in dormitories during the six-month long programme.  Uma says, “Learning these skills helps them become a part of the workforce with so much ease.” Another admirable initiative taken up by Mitra Jyothi is a talking book library, which opened twenty years ago. The primary objective of the library is to store and supply audiobooks, which have been converted to recordings from printed books, by volunteers. The audiobooks are in the Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY), which is the standard system of navigating through audio files for people with visual impairment. She explained further, “We make CDs out of books which are stored in the library and send them to the members of our library. We have a library catalogue available online, people can call up our library and place an order for a particular audio book. We make a copy of the CD and post it to them. If we do not have a book, we take an order and attempt to convert the books to DAISY format. Most of the time, members send us a physical copy of the book which we use, and this helps our library grow.” Their impressive collection has close to 5,000 books in four regional languages including Tamil and Hindi. A large number of the books are in Kannada, because a majority of their beneficiaries study in schools across Karnataka. They also provide audio books for students studying Economics and Physics at the Masters level. The Mitra Jyothi team decided to make reading more accessible to visually impaired people by collecting funds for publishing 30 braille books. When we asked Uma why they picked the braille format when they already have a huge collection of audiobooks, she said, “We have around 5,000 people who are currently using the audiobook service. But, the problem with audio books is that you have to have some exposure to digital media or need access to an audio player. The number of DAISY players given by the Indian Govt. is very meager when one considers how many people require it. It is also important to keep in mind that DAISY players cost Rs. 11,000, hence not many people can afford them.” Uma also stressed on the fact that many young visually impaired students start learning and studying using only braille. She said, “The braille stylus and sheet are equivalent to our pen and paper. And only if children are financially well off do they get to access electronic media. To encourage reading among students, we need to give them books to read!” With their braille books campaign, the organisation hopes to focus on children from the age of five to fifteen. Uma observed that in Karnataka, there are no books in braille for school children apart from textbooks, which also are delivered pretty late into the school year. She said, “Through a Government of India grant, we got two volume braille printing machines. So we decided to build small braille libraries in schools across Karnataka that have partnered with us. We want to identify around three books per class or for various age groups, such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and Panchatantra.” The number of books that are sent out will be dependent on the funds that they receive. Mitra Jyothi has started a campaign in order to achieve this goal. Donate here, to help more blind children read books that not just enable them to live fully but also let them lend their lives to fantasy. Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia).  

    The Better India