Category Archives: News

U.N. Criticises Pakistan for allegedly killing 23 in Iran’s Boarder

At least a dozen people and possibly up to 23 have been killed in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province where Revolutionary Guards and security forces have used lethal force against fuel couriers from ethnic minorities and protesters, the United Nations said on Friday.

Iran is investigating an incident in which at least two Iranians were shot dead this week at the border with Pakistan, and Islamabad has handed over the body of one of the victims, the Iranian foreign ministry said a week ago.

The shooting of people carrying fuel across the border led to protests that spread from the city of Saravan to other areas in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, including the capital, Zahedan.

“The series of violent events and unrest began on 22 February, when Revolutionary Guards are alleged to have shot and killed at least 10 fuel couriers, known as sookhtbar, in Sistan and Baluchistan Province at the border with Pakistan, after a two-day stand-off triggered by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps blocking the road to the city of Saravan,” U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva.

The killings had triggered demonstrations in several cities across the province, during which the revolutionary guard and security forces fired lethal ammunition at protesters and bystanders, he said.

Colville said that it has been difficult to verify the death toll due to disruptions of local mobile data networks, but some unconfirmed reports have estimated that as many as 23 people may have been killed.

“We call on the authorities to immediately restore Internet access in areas that remain disconnected,” he said.

Sistan-Baluchistan’s population is predominantly Sunni Muslim, while most Iranians are Shi’ite. Iran has some of the lowest fuel prices in the world and has been fighting smuggling to neighbouring countries.

India Man arrested for beheading own daughter in the name of “honour killing”

Police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have arrested a man suspected of beheading his daughter.

Sarvesh Kumar was arrested as he walked towards a police station carrying the severed head of the 17-year-old girl.

In a video shot by the police, he is heard saying that he was angered by his daughter’s alleged affair with a man he did not like.

Hundreds of people are killed each year for falling in love or marrying against their families’ wishes in India.

In the video, the man says that he had recently found out about this daughter’s relationship and that had made him very angry.He is heard saying that he found her alone at home, locked her in a room and beheaded her with a sharp object.

Alarmed at the sight of a man walking with a severed head, local people alerted the police.

The man told the police that he had left the body and the murder weapon “in the room” and was on his way to the police station.

Police say an investigation is being carried out.

Meanwhile, a policeman was suspended after a photograph showed him carrying the severed head inappropriately.

Wednesday’s crime took place in Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh. Last year, the state topped the list of Indian states with the highest number of crimes against women, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.Murders by family members for being in a relationship are known as “honour killings” and although there are no authentic figures, campaigners say hundreds of so-called “honour crimes” take place every year in India.

Age-old notions of tradition and family honour are still deeply entrenched in many parts of Indian society.

Many victims anger their families by marrying outside their caste and religion and often these crimes against them are endorsed, or even encouraged, by village-based caste councils.

In 2011, the Supreme Court said that people convicted of so-called honour killings should face death penalties.

Poll shows Americans’ trust in the Black Lives Matter Movement has fallen #BLM

Americans’ trust in the Black Lives Matter movement has fallen and their faith in local law enforcement has risen since protests demanding social justice swept the nation last year, according to an exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll.

The debate over the intersection of racism and policing will be in the spotlight again as jury selection opens Monday in the Minneapolis trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide marches last year.

The debate over the intersection of racism and policing will be in the spotlight again as jury selection opens Monday in the Minneapolis trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide marches last year.

The survey finds complicated and shifting views about Chauvin’s actions and broader questions of race. On many issues, there is a chasm in the perspective between Black people and white people.

Last June, 60% in a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll described Floyd’s death as murder; that percentage has now dropped by double digits to 36%. Uncertainty has grown about how to characterize the incident, caught on video, when Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck and ignored his protests that he couldn’t breathe. Last year, 4% said they didn’t know how to describe it; that number has climbed to 17%.

“There were eight minutes that the officer could have made a different decision, and he willfully held a man,” said Valda Pugh, a 67-year-old retiree from Louisville who is Black. She was among those surveyed. “It was a murder. It was willful – maybe not premeditated. Nonetheless, the young man died.”

Kevin Hayworth, 66, of Garner, Iowa, who is white, disagreed. “I think it was a police officer doing his job,” he said in a follow-up phone interview. “It was just a tragedy, but I think he was within the limits of his duty of jurisdiction.”

Nearly two-thirds of Black Americans, 64%, view Floyd’s death as murder; fewer than one-third of white people, 28%, feel that way. White Americans are more likely to describe it instead as the police officer’s “negligence,” 33% compared with 16% of Black respondents.

That said, Americans who have heard at least something about Chauvin’s trial say 4 to 1, or 60%-15%, that they hope Chauvin is convicted. That included 54% of white Americans and 76% of Black Americans.

The online poll of 1,165 adults, taken Monday and Tuesday, has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Drake drops 3 new hits for Scary Hours 2

Drake’s hotly anticipated album Certified Lover Boy may still be indefinitely delayed, but the Canadian rapper has given us some new music to tide us over. At midnight on Friday, March 5, Drake released the EP Scary Hours 2, featuring three new songs, guest verses from Lil Baby and Rick Ross, and an accompanying video for the first track on the EP, “What’s Next.” In “What’s Next,” Drake makes it very clear how he’s spent his quarantine: stretching and you-know-what-ing.

“Well, summer, all I did was rest, okay? / And New Year’s, all I did was stretch, okay? / And Valentine’s Day, I had sex, okay? / We’ll see what’s ’bout to happen next,” Drake raps in the chorus, giving us the juicy deets about what he’s been up to for the past year. Given the fact that he underwent knee surgery in 2020, it’s no surprise that he’s been stretching a lot these days, but it’s still nice to know Drake is making time for calisthenics (and other carnal pleasures) during the global pandemic.

Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu being investigated for 650 crores income discrepancy or is it to silent them?

Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu are outspoken critics of the government and have lent their voice to various causes, including the ongoing farmer protests against central laws.

Income Tax officials today raided properties linked to filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapsee Pannu in Mumbai over alleged tax evasion, sources said. Both are being questioned by income tax officials in Pune.

Searches took place at 30 locations in Mumbai and Pune, including premises linked to a talent agency as well as Phantom Films, which was co-promoted by Anurag Kashyap, producers Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena

“The Income Tax department probes someone based on whatever information they get. The issue goes to court later,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said during a BJP briefing.Exceed Entertainment and its promoters are also being searched. Exceed has been managing Saif Ali Khan for several years. Some executives of Kwan Talent Management, which manages actor Deepika Padukone, are being questionedAnurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu are outspoken critics of the government and have lent their voice to various causes, including the ongoing farmer protests against central laws. Recently, Ms Pannu had criticised the show of solidarity by celebrities towards the government in response to pop star Rihanna’s post drawing attention to the farmers’ agitation. The actor took a jibe at the pushback and questioned “one tweet” rattling one’s belief.”If one tweet rattles your unity, one joke rattles your faith or one show rattles your religious belief, then it’s you who has to work on strengthening your value system not become propaganda teachers for others,” Ms Pannu had said on social media last month.Several ministers in Maharashtra slammed the tax raids, saying Mr Kashyap and Ms Pannu were being targeted because of their views. “The way in which raids were conducted in the homes and offices of Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu, this is definitely the usage of Enforcement Directorate or the Income Tax against those who take a stand against the government or its policies. Anurag Kashyap and Tapasee Pannu have raised their voice against the Modi government’s policies. This action is an attempt to suppress their voices,” Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik saidRashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav called the raids a “condemnable act” and slammed the centre. “They first employed IT, CBI, ED to conduct raids on vocal and upright political rivals for their character assassination. Now Nazi govt is chasing social activists, journalists & artists to threaten them against calling spade a spade,” the Bihar politician tweeted.

Anurag Kashyap had been vocal about condemning the violence against anti-Citizenship Act protesters in 2019. Last year, he had expressed support for actor Rhea Chakraborty in the Sushant Singh Rajput case and had slammed Bollywood actors for not speaking up enough on the case.

Phantom Films was dissolved in 2018 following Vikas Bahl being named in an incident of alleged sexual misconduct.

Jay-Z gets on board Tidal As Square, Inc buys majority share

Financial technology company Square, Inc. said Thursday that it has reached an agreement to acquire majority ownership of Tidal, the music streaming service partly owned by Jay-Z.

Under the deal, Square will pay $297 million in cash and stock for Tidal, Jay-Z will be named to Square’s board of directors, and he and other artists who currently own shares in Tidal will remain stakeholders.

Tidal will operate as a distinct entity alongside the point-of-sale hardware and software offerings of San Francisco-based Square, the payments company founded by CEO Jack Dorsey, who is also co-founder and chief executive of Twitter.

Tidal has presented itself as the artist-friendly alternative to other music streamers, and Square says it will take that phenomenon further for musicians just as it has for businesses with its financial systems.

“It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” Dorsey said in the statement announcing the deal. .

Jay-Z said in the statement that the “partnership will be a game-changer for many.” I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”

[TRENDING] What’s with the sudden #Pitmad craze?

#Pitmad is a quarterly pitch event ran by Pitch Wars where people all over the world can pitch their manuscripts to agents on Twitter.

The aim of #Pitmad is to help connect aspiring writers with agents, but the challenging part is fitting a gripping pitch into just one tweet.

WHAT IS PITMAD ON TWITTER?

#PitMad is the original twitter pitch event, where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts.

Agents and editors make requests by liking/favouriting the tweeted pitch.

This year, in an effort to amplify Black voices, they have added a #BVM (Black Voices Matter) hashtag, which you can include in your tweet if you are a black author.

PITMAD DATES REVEALED

Pitmad is an online event which occurs quarterly, the upcoming dates are listed below:

December 3, 2020 (8AM – 8PM EST)
March 4, 2021 (8AM – 8PM EST)
June 3, 2021 (8AM – 8PM EST)
September 2, 2021 (8AM – 8PM EST)
December 2, 2021 (8AM – 8PM EST)

PITMAD RULES EXPLAINED
The rules, as stated on the Pitch Wars website, are stated below:

Your manuscript should be completed, polished, unpublished, and ready to query.
Your pitch must fit inside one tweet. Do not thread tweets. You don’t have to include the title of your book in the pitch.
Include the #PitMad hashtag and an age category sub-hashtag.
You may include multiple genre or additional hashtags as they apply.
You can pitch more than one manuscript throughout the day.
You may only tweet three pitches for each manuscript throughout the day. They can be the same pitch or different pitches.

Do NOT attach pictures unless it’s an illustration for a Picture Book, Graphic novel, or other material that includes illustrations.

Do NOT include links. Many agents use search filters that will render tweets with links invisible to them.
If an industry professional favorites/likes your tweet, check their recent tweets for submission preferences

[Full Story] Did Biden Just Called Abbott a Neanderthal?

President Joe Biden on Wednesday slammed states that repealed Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and rescinded mask mandates for residents, calling the moves a “big mistake.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, both republicans announced Tuesday they would allow buisness to reopen at 100% capacity and lift mask mandates. Biden’s remarks were in response to shouted questions from the press specifically about the two states.

“Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms… The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking, that, ‘In the meantime, everything’s fine. Take off your mask. Forget it.’ It still matters.”

He added that it is “critical, critical, critical” that state officials “follow the science” and encourage Americans to continue to wear masks and follow all public health guidelines.

“I know you all know that,” Biden told reporters. “I wish the heck some of our elected officials would.”

In response to Biden’s remarks, Reeves tweeted that “Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.”

In announcing their decisions, Reeves and Abbott both cited the declining number of new Covid-19 cases and the increasing availability of vaccines as reasons for ending the restrictions. But federal officials have been warning that the decline in new cases appears to be stalling out and that the emergence of new coronavirus variants could lead to a resurgence.

“It is clear from the recoveries, the vaccinations, the reduced hospitalizations, and the safe practices that Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed,” Renae Eze, Abbott’s press secretary, said in a statement to CNBC. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans. The Governor’s focus has been, and always will be, protecting the lives and livelihoods of Texans.”

She added that Texas have “the tools and knowledge to combat” Covid-19 and can make their own decisions. Eze said the “Governor was clear in telling Texans that COVID hasn’t ended, and that all Texans should follow medical advice and safe practices” during the pandemic.

Both governors struck a similar tone in making their announcements Tuesday, saying that people should still follow public health guidance, but that statewide mandates are not appropriate. Despite the rollback of the restrictions some businesses in both states have said they will still require masking in their stores.

On Monday, before the two governors made their announcements, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned state officials against lifting public health restrictions too quickly.

Over the past seven days, the U.S. reported an average of more than 65,400 daily new cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s far below the peak of about 250,000 new cases every day that the country was reporting in early January, but it’s still well above the rate of infection the U.S. saw over the summer when the virus swept across the Sun Belt.

“At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Walensky said Monday. “With these statistics, I am really worried about more states rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19.”

“Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she said.

#OurSurvivalAtStake – Americans are facing unemployment and homelessness

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell slightly to 787,000, evidence of a job market stumbling in the face of the viral pandemic and the damage it has inflicted on the economy for nearly 10 months.

Thursday’s figure from the Labor Department, a slight decline from the previous week, showed that many employers are still cutting jobs as the pandemic tightens business restrictions and leads anxious consumers to stay home.At the same time, the number of people who are receiving regular state unemployment aid fell 125,000 to 5.1 million. And fewer people were on extended unemployment benefit programs.

Unemployed Americans gained some urgently needed help late last month when a $900 billion rescue aid package was signed into law. That measure provided a $300-a-week federal jobless benefit on top of an average state benefit of about $320. As many as half the states are now distributing the federal benefit, according to an unofficial tally at UnemploymentPUA.com. In states that take longer to pay out the $300 payments, any missed payments can be made retroactively.

The federal extension of benefits was lengthened to 24 weeks by the congressional legislation. That program will remain in place until mid-March. A separate program that provides jobless aid to contractors and gig workers who previously weren’t eligible was also extended for 11 weeks. Both benefits had briefly expired Dec. 26, temporarily cutting off all aid for 10 million jobless Americans.

The Labor Department said this week that despite President Donald Trump’s delay in signing the relief package — he did so six days after Congress’ approval — jobless benefits under the extended

In November, consumer spending — the lifeblood of the economy — declined for the first time in seven months, having steadily weakened since summer. Retailers have been especially hurt. Purchases at retail stores have dropped for two straight months.

During the holiday shopping season, consumers pulled back on spending, according to debit and credit card data tracked by JPMorgan Chase based on 30 million consumer accounts. Such spending was 6% lower in December compared with a year ago. That was worse than in October, when card spending was down just 2% from the previous year

The First Transgender Soldier of South Korea found dead

South Korea’s first transgender soldier, who was discharged from the military for undergoing gender reassignment surgery, has been found dead at her home.

The cause of death of Byun Hee-soo, a transgender rights campaigner, is not yet known.

She launched a landmark legal challenge against the military in January last year over her dismissal.

Her petition for reinstatement was rejected in July.

South Korea remains conservative on matters of sexual identity.

The 23-year-old had been receiving counselling from a mental health centre in her home province of Gyeonggi, north of Seoul. Her counsellor became concerned after not hearing from her since 28 February and called emergency services

Ms Byun’s case triggered debate about the treatment of transgender troops and soldiers from the LGBTQ community in the country.

She previously told reporters that apart from her gender identity, she wanted to show everyone that she could also be one of the great soldiers who protect the country.

All able-bodied South Korean men are required to carry out military service for nearly two years.

In December, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea said the decision not to allow her to continue to serve in the military had no legal grounds.

South Korea is far less tolerant of the LGBTQ community than its East Asian neighbours.

Being LGBT is often seen as a disability or a mental illness, or by powerful conservative churches as a sin, and there are no anti-discrimination laws in the country.

In Ms Byun’s case, anti-LGBT campaigners had attempted to identify her online. They also held demonstrations urging the military to dismiss her after news about the case emerged and have called for further demonstrations.

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