PM Narendra Modi reaches Singapore to attend East Asia Summit

PM Narendra Modi reaches Singapore to attend East Asia Summit

Singapore: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Singapore to attend the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) on Wednesday morning. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Good morning Singapore! PM @narendramodi arrives in Singapore, his second visit to the Lion City this year, to attend 13th #EastAsiaSummit & associated meetings. This is PM’s fifth engagement at #EastAsiaSummit.” The Prime Minister was welcomed with a thunderous applause outside his hotel amid loud cheers of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

During the two-day visit, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to attend the 16th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Breakfast Summit, and the 2nd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit. He is also a keynote speaker at the Singapore FinTech Festival. Apart from these engagements, several bilateral meetings are on the Prime Minister’s agenda, including a meeting with the United States Vice President Mike Pence.

Prime Minister Modi shall begin his visit by delivering the keynote address at the Singapore Fintech Festival, where there is an Indian Pavilion, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. He will be the first Head of Government to address the festival as a keynote speaker. Following this, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to attend the second RCEP Summit. Bilateral meetings shall be held afterward, followed by a dinner hosted by current ASEAN Chairman and Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong on November 14.

On November 15, Prime Minister Modi will start his day with the ASEAN-India Breakfast Summit, followed by the EAS. The EAS will be held in two segments on November 15, which is the East Asia Lunch Retreat followed by the 13th EAS in a plenary setting, after which Prime Minister Modi shall emplane for India. The EAS is a leaders-led forum in the Indo-Pacific Region comprised of the ten ASEAN member states – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam – and its eight dialogue partners- India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.

The leaders of the member nations are slated to discuss international development issues like ICT, Smart Cities, Maritime Cooperation, Education, Finance, Food Security, Environment and Energy at the EAS. India and ASEAN celebrated 25 years of their engagement in 2017, which culminated in the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit on January 25 this year. The Summit was followed by the participation of all ASEAN leaders in India’s Republic Day celebrations as chief guests.

India is a tough trade negotiator, says Donald Trump at White House Diwali celebrations

India is a tough trade negotiator, says Donald Trump at White House Diwali celebrations

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday described India as “very good negotiators” as he celebrated Diwali in the White House along with top Indian-Americans and said he is “grateful” for his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The United States has deep ties to the nation of India and I am grateful for my friendship with Prime Minister Modi,” Trump said before lighting the ceremonial Diya in the historic Roosevelt Room of the White House. It is the second consecutive year that Trump has celebrated the largest festival of India and Indian Americans in the White House. “We’re trying very hard to make better trade deals with India. But, they’re very good traders. They’re very good negotiators. You would say right. The best. So we’re working. And it’s moving along,” Trump said referring to the India-US trade deal negotiations that have started between the two largest democracies of the world.

Along with nearly two dozen top Indian American officials of his Administration, President Trump had invited the Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, his wife Dr Avina Sarna, and his special assistant Pratik Mathur to be present during the White House Diwali celebrations, a rare. “India is the world’s largest democracy and the relationship between our two countries connect as a bulwark for freedom, prosperity, and peace,” Trump said.

“Modi is my friend and now her (Ivanka) friend and has great respect for India and the Indian people that I can say,” said the US President as he introduced his daughter to the audience, who was present in the room. “Absolutely,” replied Ivanka, who had visited India last year. She was the first top official of the Trump Administration to travel to India. Sarna in his brief remarks thanks the President for this great honour for India and this great Indian community putting. “They feel very welcome here and so integrated with the American society,” he said.

“I think, we are looking at one of the best times we ever had in India-US relationship,” Sarna said, which was agreed by Trump. “I think, that’s true. Very close, closer than ever before,” said the US President. In his remarks, Trump welcomed senior Indian American officials gathered at the White House for Diwali celebration. “As we light the Diya in the White House we are joined by in a fellowship with all of those who light lamps in their own home, cities and places of worship. America is a land of faith and we are truly fortunate to have these wonderful traditions woven into the tapestry of our national life. And that is true,” he said.

Trump said that he is thrilled to celebrate Diwali at the White House. “I’m honored to host this beautiful ceremony at the White House. Very, very special people. We’re gathered today to celebrate a very special holiday observed by Buddhist, Sikhs and Jains throughout the United States and around the world. Hundreds of millions of people have gathered with family and friends to light the Diya and to mark the beginning of a New year: very special new year,” he said.

“Our nation is blessed to be home to millions of hardworking citizens of Indian and South East Asian heritage to enrich our country in countless ways. Together we are one proud American family. Do we agree with that? I think so. I think we do. Right? Better, believe it,” he said.  Trump said Americans of Indian and South East Asian heritage have done an incredible job and identified several of them by name including the chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai; Manisha Singh, Acting Under Secretary of the Department of State; Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services; Uttam Dhillon, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Raj Shah, the Deputy White House Press Secretary.

The first White House Diwali celebrations was held in 2003 under the then US President George W Bush, who never attended the celebrations in person. A senior administration official represented him. It was mostly held in the India Treaty Room of Executive Office Building, which is part of the White House complex. Since 2003, Diwali celebrations at the White House has become an annual tradition. In 2009, President Barack Obama lighted the ceremonial lamp in the East room of the White House. The event was attended by about 200 guests.

In 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Diwali in the East Room. Immediately before the celebrations, she participated in a Bollywood dance with local students in the State Dining Room. In 2016, Obama celebrated Diwali in the Oval Office with a group of Indian Americans officials from his administration.

In 2016, Vice President Biden hosted a Diwali reception at his official residence Number One Observatory Circle. In 2017 President Trump celebrated his first Diwali in the Oval Office with Amb Nikki Haley, senior officials from his administration and a small group of Indian Americans. Over the years, it is being celebrated by the Indian Americans in Pentagon and the State Department. For the past several years, Diwali is also being celebrated at the US Capitol by Rep and Senators, being hosted by India Caucus.

Girls face barriers to education in Pakistan: Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Girls face barriers to education in Pakistan: Human Rights Watch (HRW)

written by Agencies -New York: Pakistan is failing to educate a huge proportion of the country’s girls due to the government’s under-investment in schools, prohibitive school fees and gender discrimination, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on Tuesday. The 111-page report, titled “‘Shall I Feed My Daughter, or Educate Her?’: Barriers to Girls’ Education in Pakistan”, said many girls simply had no access to education because of a shortage of government schools for them. Nearly 22.5 million children were out of school, of which majority were girls

Thirty-two per cent of primary school age girls were out of school in Pakistan, compared with 21 per cent of boys. By 9th grade, only 13 per cent of girls remain in school, the report said. “The Pakistan government’s failure to educate children is having a devastating impact on millions of girls,” said Liesl Gerntholtz, the women’s rights director at HRW. The New York-based HRW interviewed 209 people for the report, most of them with girls who never attended school, in all four of the country’s provinces: Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh. Among the factors keeping girls out of school, HRW found, were the government’s under-investment in schools, lack of schools, prohibitive school fees, corporal punishment and a failure to enforce compulsory education.

HRW also found poor quality within both government and low-cost private schools, a lack of government regulation of private schools and corruption. In addition, girls were also blocked from attending school by external factors including child labour, gender discrimination, child marriage, sexual harassment, insecurity and attacks on education. The Pakistan government’s investment in education was much below than that recommended by international standards.

Up until 2017, Pakistan was spending less than 2.8 per cent of its gross domestic product on education — far below the recommended 4 to 6 per cent. The report said that government schools were in such short supply that even in Pakistan’s major cities, many children cannot reach a school on foot safely in a reasonable amount of time. The situation was far worse in rural areas. And there were many more schools for boys than for girls.

“Even parents who are not educated themselves understand that their daughters’ future depends on them going to school, but the government is abandoning these families,” Gerntholtz said. “Pakistan’s future depends on educating its children, including its girls.” Newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s political party’s manifesto promised major reforms to the education system, including for girls’ education. However, there were many who said that the government doesn’t help them educate their children.

Michelle Obama opens up about seeking marriage counselling in the past

Michelle Obama opens up about seeking marriage counselling in the past

Washington D.C.: Michelle Obama opened up about her nearly three decades long married life with husband Barack Obama. During an interview with PEOPLE, Michelle revealed that the former United States first couple had sought marriage counseling with Barack in the past. “Because we’re role models, it’s important for us to be honest and say, if you’re in a marriage and there are times you want to leave, that’s normal, because I felt that way,” she said.

“There were definitely times when I wished things were different. But I don’t think I ever thought, ‘I’m just checking out of this,” PEOPLE quoted the former first lady as saying. Speaking about her experience with marriage counseling, Michelle explained that she learned to take control of her own happiness.

“Marriage counseling, for us, was one of those ways where we learned to talk out our differences. What I learned about myself was that my happiness was up to me and I started working out more, I started asking for help, not just from him but from other people,” she said.

When it comes to leading a sorted married life, it seems like Michelle has got it all figured out. In October this year, Michelle had revealed that separate bathrooms are the key to a happy marriage life. “One of the keys to a successful marriage is separate bathrooms. When he (Barack Obama) enters my bathroom sometimes I’m like, ‘Why are you here?’ And he’s like, ‘I live here, can I enjoy my bathroom too?'” she said. The former first couple got engaged in 1991 and soon tied the knot on October 3, 1992. They recently celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary. They have two daughters- Malia Ann Obama and Sasha Obama.

Colombo shooting: Arjuna Ranatunga’s security guard’s remand extended

Colombo shooting: Arjuna Ranatunga’s security guard’s remand extended

Colombo: The Ministerial Security Division (MSD) officer of former Sri Lankan Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Arjuna Ranatunga, has been further remanded on orders of the Colombo Chief Magistrate on Monday after he was identified by two witnesses as the perpetrator behind a mob shooting at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) that left one dead.

On October 28, Ranatunga’s security guard allegedly fired five live bullets at the crowd that had blocked the former Sri Lankan Minister’s way when he arrived at CPC for a meeting. Two people got injured in the shooting while one of them succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

While Ranatunga was arrested a day after the incident his security personnel was arrested on October 28 and remanded to judicial custody. Colombo Page reported that the security personnel was scheduled to be identified by three witnesses at the hearing held on November 12, during which two of the witnesses identified the officer as the shooter. The MSD officer has been sent to judicial remand till November 15, while the Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne has also ordered for the submission of the post-mortem report on the next hearing.

Dead bodies recovered in cars, homes as death toll in California wildfires reaches 44

Dead bodies recovered in cars, homes as death toll in California wildfires reaches 44

Paradise: The dead were found in burned-out cars, in the smoldering ruins of their homes, or next to their vehicles, apparently overcome by smoke and flames before they could jump in behind the wheel and escape. In some cases, there were only charred fragments of bone, so small that coroner’s investigators used a wire basket to sift and sort them.

At least 44 people were confirmed dead in the wildfire that turned the Northern California town of Paradise and outlying areas into hell on earth, making it the deadliest blaze in state history. The search for bodies continued Monday. Hundreds of people were unaccounted for by the sheriff’s reckoning, four days after the fire swept over the town of 27,000 and practically wiped it off the map with flames so fierce that authorities brought in a mobile DNA lab and forensic anthropologists to help identify the dead.

Meanwhile, a landowner near where the blaze began, Betsy Ann Cowley, said she got an email from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. the day before the fire last week telling her that crews needed to come onto her property because the utility’s power lines were causing sparks. PG&E had no comment on the email, and state officials said the cause of the inferno was under investigation.

As the search for victims dragged on, friends and relatives of the missing called hospitals, police, shelters and the coroner’s office in hopes of learning what became of their loved ones. Paradise was a popular retirement community, and about a quarter of the population was over 65.

Tad Teays awaited word on his 90-year-old dementia-stricken mother. Darlina Duarte was desperate for information about her half-brother, a diabetic who was largely housebound because he had lost his legs. And Barbara Hall tried in vain to find out whether her aunt and the woman’s husband, who are in their 80s and 90s, made it out alive from their retirement community.

“Did they make it in their car? Did they get away? Did their car go over the edge of a mountain somewhere? I just don’t know,” said Hall, adding that the couple had only a landline and calls were not going through to it. Megan James, of Newfoundland, Canada, searched via Twitter from the other side of the continent for information about her aunt and uncle, whose house in Paradise burned down and whose vehicles were still there. On Monday, she asked on Twitter for someone to take over the posts, saying she is “so emotionally and mentally exhausted.” “I need to sleep and cry,” James added. “Just PRAY. Please.”

The blaze was part of an outbreak of wildfires on both ends of the state. Together, they were blamed for 44 deaths, including two in celebrity-studded Malibu in Southern California , where firefighters appeared to be gaining ground against a roughly 143-square-mile (370-square-kilometer) blaze that destroyed at least 370 structures, with hundreds more feared lost.

Some of the thousands of people forced from their homes by the blaze were allowed to return, and authorities reopened U.S. 101, a major freeway through the fire zone in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Malibu celebrities and mobile-home dwellers in nearby mountains were slowly learning whether their homes had been spared or reduced to ash.

All told, more 8,000 firefighters statewide were battling wildfires that destroyed more than 7,000 structures and scorched more than 325 square miles (840 square kilometers), the flames feeding on dry brush and driven by blowtorch winds. In Northern California, fire crews still fighting the blaze that obliterated Paradise contended with wind gusts up to 40 mph (64 kph) overnight, the flames jumping 300 feet across Lake Oroville. The fire had grown to 177 square miles (303 square kilometers) and was 25 percent contained, authorities said. Winds were expected to weaken on Monday night.

Greg Woodcox, who led a caravan of vehicles that was overcome by flames, said he heard screams and watched a friend die as the heat blew out the vehicle’s windows. Four other people also died. The 58-year-old told the San Francisco Chronicle he was in a Jeep ahead of the other vehicles and ran when the flames overtook them. He followed a fox down a steep embankment and survived by submerging himself in a stream for nearly an hour.

But there were tiny signs of some sense of order returning to Paradise and also anonymous gestures meant to rally the spirits of firefighters who have worked in a burned-over wasteland for days. Large American flags stuck into the ground lined both sides of the road at the town limits, and temporary stop signs appeared overnight at major intersections. Downed power lines that had blocked roads were cut away, and crews took down burned trees with chain saws. The 29 dead in Northern California matched the deadliest single fire on record, a 1933 blaze in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. A series of wildfires in Northern California’s wine country last fall killed 44 people and destroyed more than 5,000 homes.

Facebook coaxing teenage girls to befriend middle-aged men: Report

Facebook coaxing teenage girls to befriend middle-aged men: Report

London: Facebook is encouraging ‘grooming’ by offering to teenage girls middle-aged men as ‘friend suggestions.’ Teenage girls, as young as 13-year-olds, who join the social network, are given up to 300 suggestions, as to who they can add as friends, some of which include middle-aged men who are topless in their profile photos, The Telegraph reported late on Saturday.

Facebook has said that was not a typical experience for teenagers for signing up for the service and that it has safeguards built into its recommendation system. Following the findings, UK-based charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, has called for friend recommendations to be suspended for children on the social networking giant’s platform.

‘‘Groomers are seeking to infiltrate children’s friendship groups on social networks, often with the intention to move children to live streaming or encrypted sites where it is easier for them to commit sexual abuse,” Andy Burrows, NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online, was quoted as saying.

According to Facebook, the company has safeguards to protect children. However, the campaigners warn that the networking giant must do more to stop groomers who use the site to become friendly with children.  In October, Facebook had removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity with the help of previously undisclosed machine learning software that automatically flagged such photos during the last quarter.

The company has said that it is also considering rolling out systems for spotting child nudity and grooming to Instagram.
“Grooming is incredibly serious, and we have teams specifically focused on keeping children safe, informed by extensive research and outside experts,” said a spokesman for Facebook.

‘‘We use artificial intelligence to proactively identify cases of inappropriate interactions with minors and we refer potential abuse to law enforcement.  “We limit how children can be found in search, we remind them to only accept friend requests from people they know and we caution them before making public posts.”

Watch: Father pushes son in front of ball to save a goal; earns the title ‘Father of the year’ on internet

Watch: Father pushes son in front of ball to save a goal; earns the title ‘Father of the year’ on internet

In a children football match a father pushed his kid who was a goalkeeper to save a goal. The video is going viral on the internet.  The son, who was a goalkeeper, was talking to his father on the side during a game when the ball was kicked towards the goalpost. The man knocked his distracted son off his feet to get him to stop the ball. The final outcome, however, was not quite what the father wanted.

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 Dad of the Year Award goes to... ????????

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2:40 AM - Nov 9, 2018
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The Twitter user found the incident amusing after a video was posted. However, the man earned the title of ‘Father of the year’ on the internet when he pushed his son to prevent a goal.


 Great save ????????

Bleacher Report

Dad of the year ????

(via @chris_wilks2) 

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2:04 AM - Nov 9, 2018
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Bleacher Report

 · Nov 9, 2018
 Dad of the year ????

(via @chris_wilks2) 

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He pushed him so hard his feet are in the air!! Jkjjsjjsjjsnz ????????????????????????????????

2:09 AM - Nov 9, 2018
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Tom Munns

 I can’t stop watching this. Dad of the year ????????????⚽️

11:28 PM - Nov 8, 2018 · Liverpool, England
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California fire: Death toll touches 23

California fire: Death toll touches 23

Butte County: The death toll in the fast-moving wildfire has risen from 9 to 23 after 14 more sets of remains were discovered on Saturday. Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told reporters that the victims belonged to the now-burned-down town of Paradise, reported CNN.

The deadly wildfire has wreaked havoc destroying a record number of buildings and displacing as many as 300,000 people. The fire grew fierce as the state had not witnessed rain in more than a month and dry vegetation worked as fuel.
The White House, late on Friday, in a statement issued emergency in California as the death toll in the fast-moving wildfire went up to nine.

Hollywood stars including Kim Kardashian West, Alyssa Milano, Lady Gaga, Caitlyn Jenner and more were among the thousands of people who were forced to evacuate their homes due to the Woolsey Fire that is ravaging Los Angeles County . The blaze that started on Thursday night (local time) had pushed towards Malibu and the Pacific Ocean, prompting evacuations in Malibu, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, and other nearby areas.

US midterm elections: Democrats take control of House of Representatives, Republican retains Senate

US midterm elections: Democrats take control of House of Representatives, Republican retains Senate

Washington: The opposition Democratic Party is projected to regain control of the House of Representatives while the ruling Republican Party is all set to retain its majority in the Senate in the critical midterm elections held on Tuesday, according to projections made by major US media outlets. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, 78, is expected to be re-elected as Speaker of 435-member House of Representatives, which is equivalent to Lok Sabha in Indian parliament.

In the outgoing House, the Republicans had 235 seats while the Democrats 193. The new House would come into being next January. However, the ruling Republican Party led by President Donald Trump appeared to be all set to retain majority in the 100-member Senate where it currently has a razor-thin majority of 51-49 seats. The GOP is expected to increase its tally, as counting of votes were still going on when reports last came in.

In his first tweet after election results started coming in Trump claimed success. “Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!”. Trump in campaign rallies had said that he was on the ballot and made it a referendum on his nearly two years rule.

Donald J. Trump

 Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!

9:44 AM - Nov 7, 2018
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The US President who headlined an unprecedented 50 rallies – 30 in the last two months alone – and has campaigned for dozens of candidates at all levels of government, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, watched the results come in with friends and family in the White House residence.

“The President has energized a staggering number of Americans at packed arenas and in overflow crowds at rallies across the country,” Sanders said.

“Under Trump’s leadership, the Republican National Committee has raised more than a quarter billion dollars, fuelling an extraordinary ground game geared toward defying midterm history and protecting the GOP’s majorities,” she said.

In her victory speech in Washington DC, Pelosi said: “Tomorrow will be a new day in America”.

The former House speaker said that the election result is about “restoring the system of checks and balances” in Trump administration thus indicating that the new Democratic party would play the role of a strong opponent in for the US President. In victory, The Washington Post said Democrats regained some of the confidence – although less of the power – they lost in 2016 when Trump won a surprise victory over Hillary Clinton.

“In this election, they sought to energise groups that Clinton did not: young voters, Latinos, African Americans and infrequent voters,” the daily said.

According to The New York Times, amid signs that the nation’s deep political and cultural divisions that lifted Trump in 2016 may only be deepening, “rural voters were breaking sharply” with their counterparts in the suburban districts and metropolitan areas, as turnout soared in a midterm election that came to serve as a national referendum on the president.

The Democrats also won some of the high-profile governor’s race including Kansas, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. The GOP retained its governorship in Florida. The elections also resulted in Rashida Tlaib becoming the first Muslim woman elected to the House of Representatives along with Somali-American Ilhan Omar.