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MERCILESS MASSACRE
In the bloodiest terror attack in Pakistan in recent years, at least 160 people, mostly children, were on Tuesday killed by heavily-armed Taliban suicide bombers who stormed an army-run school in Peshawar and took several hostages, a throwback to the 2004 Beslan school siege by Chechen rebels. Among the dead are 132 school children, 11 teachers and 9 terrorists.
A group of 9 Arabic-speaking attackers, wearing paramilitary Frontier Corps uniforms, entered the Army Public School on Warsak Road around 10.30 am (local time) and started massacre of innocents, spraying bullets indiscriminately, going from classroom-to-classroom.

Baroness Vadera: Breaking the Banking ceiling
Baroness Shriti Vadera, who has served as life Peer and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, was awarded chair position at Santander UK. Making national history, she is the first woman to head a major British bank, reflecting not just a step forward for women but also the whole British-Asian community.

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AND THE WINNERS ARE…

The winners of the 14th annual Asian Achievers Awards were announced on September 19th at a star-studded gala event at the Grosvenor House Hotel, on London’s Park Lane. Winners included Hanif Kureshi CBE for Media, Arts and Culture; Mahmud Kamani, co-founder of boohoo.com for Business Person of the Year; and Wasim Khan MBE, the first British-Pakistani to play professional cricket in England, for Achievement in Community Service.

2014 in a nutshell
• Common man Arvind Kejriwal becomes Delhi Chief Minister
• Riots case verdict: A shot in arm for Narendra Modi
• Chidambaram wants Congress to name its PM candidate
• Sikh farmer on hunger strike for prisoners' release
• Manmohan to step down, backs Rahul as successor


   
 

India News

Bengaluru man who operated ISIS Twitter handle arrested
Bengaluru: Bengaluru police on last Saturday arrested Mehdi Masroor Biswas, 24, from his Jalahalli residence in North Bengaluru, for handling a pro-ISIS Twitter handle. "Mehdi Masroor has confessed that he was operating the ISIS Twitter account, @ShamiWitness," Karnataka DGP Pachau said. The DGP said that his Twitter handle had become a source of information for new recruits of ISIS.

Haryana to enact law to curb cow slaughter
Chandigarh: Haryana would soon enact a new law to check cow slaughter in the State, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced. Khattar, while addressing a meeting in Yamunanagar, said his government would present a Bill to check cow slaughter in the next session of Haryana Assembly. The issue of cow slaughter is closely linked to cattle theft in many parts of Haryana and often leads to tensions between communities.

HC adjourns hearing on Ashutosh Maharaj's case
Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court last week adjourned till December 11 hearing on the plea by the ashram of Ashutosh Maharaj, who was declared clinically dead on January 29, seeking a 30-day extension on the deadline given by it to perform last rites of the self-styled 'godman'. As the application came up for hearing before Justice M M S Bedi, the court asked the petitioner to put on record any court law wherein he could stay his own verdict.

MDMK plans protest against Modi over Rajapaksa visit
Madurai: A day after some MDMK cadres were detained by the Andhra Pradesh police who wanted to protest against the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Tirupati, party leader Vaiko said black flags would be shown to Prime Minister Narendra Modi whenever he visits Tamil Nadu as the party believes that Modi has acted against the interests of Tamils.

India, Russia ink new N-deal; Moscow to build 12 reactors
India and Russia last week sought to strengthen their “special strategic partnership” by announcing a clutch of agreements in energy and defence, including Moscow’s help in building at least 12 nuclear reactors and a plan to manufacture advanced Russian military helicopters and defence spare parts in India. Unveiling a “Druzhba-Dosti” vision statement for the next decade after a four-hour long meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for “at least 10 more (nuclear) reactors” with the highest standards of safety.

Malala, Satyarthi get Nobel peace prize
Oslo: India's Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize 2014 jointly for their work on promoting child rights in the troubled sub-continent, where millions are deprived of their childhood and education. Malala is the youngest ever Nobel laureate.
"Satyarthi and Malala are precisely the people whom Alfred Nobel in his will calls 'champions of peace'," Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjorn Jagland said in his speech before awarding them the prize.

CIA falsely claimed to have thwarted British terror plots
Washington: The CIA had falsely claimed to have thwarted eight terror plots, including three relating to Britain, because of intelligence gained from its enhanced interrogation programme, a Senate reports said.
Dhiren Barot, aka Issa al-Hindi, an al-Qaeda operative who planned to kill thousands in the UK and US, was sentenced to life at Woolwich crown court in 2006.


UK News

Downsizing of UK Visa and Immigration in Mumbai and Bangladesh
Mumbai is one of the largest cities in the world and a place of great importance to India and the British Indian population. Why then, has the staggering decision been made by the government to downsize and downgrade the visa operation there?
The majority of visa applications submitted in Mumbai will now be decided upon in New Delhi, 850 miles away, the same distance as the entire length of the United Kingdom.

Shrien Dewani: After the storm
A stony-faced Dewani made his way back to Britain last Wed 10th, after being held at the Valkenberg psychiatric institute in Cape Town since April of this year. Controversially cleared of the murder of his then wife Anni Dewani, his verdict has evoked a huge reaction from the public and media with Anni's uncle Ashok Hindocha stating that there are yet “holes to be filled” in the account of Anni's killing. Following news of the collapsed trial, vandals threw white paint all over the British billionaire's driveway at his opulent family home in Bristol, Westbury-on-Trym.

Criminal gang of five ordered to pay back £424,000 by court
Five men, including four from Leicester, have been told to pay back a total of £424,000 following a court hearing.
The five were involved either in the distribution of counterfeit clothing or a property investment scam. Some were involved in both.
The ringleader, Gurdip Singh, pictured, was also among a group of six men who had previously committed a £2 million fraud by diverting cash from Sussex University which had been intended for a construction company.

Fugitive Bradford rapist contests extradition from Italy
Fugitive rapist Wakar Akhtar is set to spend Christmas and New Year in an Italian prison after choosing to fight extradition.
Akhtar, pictured, 21, was tracked down to the north of the country after fleeing Bradford halfway through his trial at the city's Crown Court. He was convicted in his absence and sentenced to 17 years imprisonment, along with three co-conspirators Tamseel Virk, 42, Azad Raja, 38, and Najeem Ul-Saeed, 31.

Motorist found driving whilst banned
A motorist was allowed to drive for six years despite not having taken an extended retest after being banned from getting behind the wheel.
The case of Waseem Javed, of Morris Street, Glodwick, has exposed alarming gaps in ensuring banned drivers carry out the required checks before being allowed back on the road.

Sardar Patel Nirvana Day marks the legacy of Sardar
64th Nirvana Day of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was organised by Sardar Patel Memorial Society (SPMS) UK at Kadawa Patidar Centre, Harrow on Sunday 14th December 2014 to pay tribute and celebrate the legacy of the Iron Man of India.

Indian Journalists' Association hosts its gala annual dinner
The creme de la crème of the Asian community gathered at the Millenium Mayfair Hotel on 10th December to celebrate the Indian Journalists' Association annual dinner with the first woman President and Secretary team in the IJA history of 67 years. The theme of the evening was 'Women at Work: India and UK’.
The event was attended by MPs, Peers, businessmen, professionals, artists, community leaders, ambassadors from foreign missions and journalists from British, Indian and ethnic media. Britain's richest businessman Gopichand Hinduja, was also present along with hotelier Joginder Sanger.

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Sports

Amir Khan brightens his chances to meet Mayweather
British fighter Amir Khan last week won a lopsided 12-round decision over former champion Devon Alexander in a welterweight matchup thereby improving his chances for a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Khan (30-3) won round after round using the same formula, jabbing at Alexander and following it with right hands that found their mark more often than they missed. The British fighter didn't knock down Alexander (26-3) and never seemed to really hurt him, but was impressive enough to solidify his spot in the lineup for a possible fight next year with Mayweather.

Anand beats Michael Adams to win London Classic
Five-time chess world champion Viswanathan Anand won his maiden London Classic title after defeating British Grandmaster Michael Adams in the fifth and final round on Monday. Having drawn the first four games of the six-player round-robin tournament, Anand had to win to stay in contention for a podium finish and he was duly assisted by Adams who fought it out instead of going for a dull draw with white pieces. The victory confirms Anand's presence in elite chess for some time. Just two weeks before the London Classic, Anand had suffered defeat against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the world championship match at Sochi and the quick recovery here shows that there is more to expect from the Indian on the chequered board.

Ponting to coach Mumbai Indians
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting will take over as head coach of Mumbai Indians from the upcoming IPL season. Ponting will replace former India and New Zealand coach John Wright, who has been given a new role of talent scouting in addition to creating a youth development organisation to be run by the franchise.

Sachin honoured by Guinness Book of World Records
Sachin Tendulkar added another feather in his cap of laurels when he was honoured by the Guinness Book of World Records to commemorate the completion of its 60 years. The organisation has honoured about 60 athletes with a certificate and a medal of its 60th anniversary, which is also their recognition of the achievements of the sports personalities.

Germany beat Pakistan, lift Champions Trophy
Germany made good use of the new format of the Champions Trophy to win their 10th title at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday last. After coming last at the group stage, they played some great hockey in the knockout stages and eventually beat Pakistan 2-0 in the final on goals from Christopher Wesley and Florian Fuchs.

Australia take 1-0 lead despite Kohli ton
Despite a brilliant century by debutant captain Virat Kohli, India lost their last eight wickets for just 73 runs in the last session of the final day at Adelaide Oval to hand Australia a thrilling 48-run win.

Steven Smith to lead Australia
Steven Smith, 25, was named Australia's new vice captain but will lead the side for the rest of the four-match Test series against India after a hamstring injury ruled out regular skipper Michael Clarke for an uncertain period.


World News

3 killed as police storm Sydney cafe to end hostage siege
Sydney: Heavily armed Australian police stormed a Sydney cafe early on Tuesday morning and freed terrified hostages held there at gunpoint, in a dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in which two captives and the attacker were killed. Two Indians were among the hostages rescued by the police.

Pakistan 8th most dangerous country in the world
Washington: Pakistan is placed eighth in the list of the most dangerous countries in the world which is led by Iraq, according to a US-based intelligence think tank. Afghanistan, the only other South Asian country in the list, is placed fourth in the Country Threat Index (CTI) compiled by IntelCenter, a washington-based company working for intelligence agencies.

US Senate confirms Vivek Murthy as surgeon general
Washington: The 37-year-old Indian-American physician Vivek Hallegere Murthy has been confirmed as the 19th surgeon general of America by US Senate. He is youngest person and first person of Indian-origin to hold the post. The upper house of US Congress confirmed Murthy's nomination by 51 votes to 43 more than year after President Barack

Pakistan govt, Imran's party to hold talks
Islamabad: The negotiating teams of Nawaz Sharif-led government and Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are scheduled to meet in Islamabad soon to find an amicable solution to the ongoing political crisis.
In their previous round of talks, both sides exchanged initial proposals and demands regarding formation of a Judicial Commission to probe the alleged rigging of 2013 general elections, Radio Pakistan reported.

Verma confirmed as next US envoy to India
Washington: The United States senate confirmed, by a voice vote, the nomination of Richard Rahul Verma as the next US ambassador to India. Verma, 46, is the first Indian-American to be the US ambassador to India and is expected to be sworn in shortly. He will arrive in New Delhi ahead of the India visit of US President Barack Obama who will be the chief guest on this year's Republic Day.

US unhappy over Putin trip to India
Washington: The US is unhappy over India doing "business as usual" with Russia, but it will have no effect on President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to India which remains an "important partner." "No. India remains an important partner," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters when asked whether deals reached during Russian President Vladimir Putin's just concluded visit to India would change Obama's plans. "Obviously, our economic relationship is a big part of what we continue to work on," Psaki said while repeating its caution to "allies and partners" that it was not time for doing business with Russia following its intervention in Ukraine.

UN declares June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga'
United Nations: Less than three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea, the UN general assembly on Thursday last adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga', recognizing that "Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being." The resolution was introduced by India's ambassador to UN Asoke Mukerji and had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any general assembly resolution.

 
 
  Horoscope

  

        

The Sun’s transit continues to put a spotlight on your solar tenth house. Satisfaction and fulfilment during this cycle comes from being professionally responsible and contributing to the world in practical ways. You will get a lot of support from authority figures during this transit. Avoid the pitfalls by being confident and positive.

Columnists


Keith Vaz



Navin Shah



Alpesh Patel



Kapil Dudakia



Maria Fernandes



Spriha Srivastava



Rani Singh



Mamta Saha



Tanveer Mann



Rajen Vakil



Neha Garg


   
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