Ayushmann Khurrana starrer 'Article 15' is set to get a world premiere at the tenth edition of the London Indian Film Festival.
Ayushmann Khurrana starrer 'Article 15' is set to get a world premiere at the tenth edition of the London Indian Film Festival.
US President Joe Biden, speaking from the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office after signing Day One executive orders, said he would not immediately reveal the contents of the letter out of respect for Trump.
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New Delhi [India], January 21 (ANI): As Kamala Harris took oath as the new Vice-President of the United States, her maternal uncle G Balachandran on Thursday expressed his happiness over the mention of Harris' mother in her election campaign speeches.
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Islamabad [Pakistan], January 21 (ANI): Setting a new low, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) scrutiny committee which is auditing Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) accounts related to foreign fundings on Wednesday walked out of its own meeting after questions were raised over the credibility of the scrutiny process, reported Dawn.
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Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami has thrown down the gauntlet to the former Congress president Rahul Gandhi for a one-on-one ‘duel’ on television. The belligerent anchor dished out the challenge after Rahul Gandhi raised the issue regarding the former’s WhatsApp chats allegedly leaked by Mumbai police. The Gandhi scion alleged a possible nexus between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Republic TV, which is owned by Arnab.
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Director of Tandav agrees to remove scenes deemed to insult Hindu gods and office of Indian prime minister Supporters of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party in Mumbai take part in a protest against the political drama. Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images An Indian political drama on Amazon Prime has been forced to edit out scenes that were accused of being an “insult to Hindu gods”, the first time that streaming platforms have been subjected to Indian government censorship. Tandav, a gritty political drama made by Amazon Prime, one of the world’s largest streaming platforms, had faced growing controversy since it launched last week over allegations it had “hurt Hindu religious sentiments” and insulted the office of the prime minister. A rightwing Hindu nationalist group, politicians with the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), and a BJP group representing members of India’s lower castes were among those who had filed police reports against Tandav and Amazon Prime. Tandav is latest in a wave of bolder, more progressive and political Indian series which have debuted on Netflix and Amazon Prime over the past year and been met with a fierce backlash from rightwing Hindu groups and BJP politicians. The censorship of the show has been seen as indicative of the shrinking space for creative freedom under the Hindu nationalist BJP government. In November, streaming platforms were brought under the control of the Ministry of Information for the first time, leading to fears that content will be subjected to the same tight controls as traditional film and television platforms in India. Tandav’s director, Bollywood stalwart Ali Abbas Zafar, had come under fire for scenes in the show which appeared to mirror real life caste and religious divides in India as well as referencing criminality in the state of Uttar Pradesh and showing the fictional prime minister acting in an “indecent manner”. An adviser to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, accused Tandav’s creators of “spreading hate in the guise of cheap web series” and told them to “be prepared for arrest”. Zafar had attempted to ease tensions by issuing an apology, emphasising that the show was “a work of fiction and any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental” and that no offence was meant. However, he was summoned by the government’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday and agreed to “edit” out the offending scenes, the first time that content on a streaming platform has been altered under apparent government pressure. “The cast and crew of Tandav have made the decision to implement changes to the web series to address the concerns raised,” said Zafar in a statement posted on social media. “We thank the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the guidance and support in the matter. We once again apologise if the series has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments.” Amazon Prime has declined to comment. The streaming platforms have invested billions into the lucrative Indian market and built up a reputation among Indian viewers for programming that is not scared of tackling controversial or divisive issues, from sexual violence against women to communal divides between Hindus and Muslims. Netflix and Amazon Prime have been credited for building a new international audience for Indian content and have garnered multiple Emmy award nominations and wins, a first for Indian-made dramas. However, several shows on the platforms, including Leila, Paatal Lok, Sacred Games and Rasbhari, had all been subjected to police complaints by politicians and Hindu nationalist groups for offending religious or political sentiments. Most recently the BBC adaptation of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, which was made available on Netflix, was subjected to a police complaint for scene which showed a Hindu girl and Muslim boy kissing near a temple. Shivraj Chouhan, the BJP chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, was among those who condemned Tandav and called for greater censorship. “Nobody has the right to disrespect our gods and goddesses,” he said. “In my opinion we need to keep a strict eye on OTT [streaming] platforms as they are showing vulgar content.”
Low uptake fuelled by fears over safety of vaccine and spread of misinformation Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage Health officials stand outside a vaccination centre in Siliguri, West Bengal. The overall national turnout for jabs has averaged 64%. Photograph: Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images India’s Covid-19 vaccine drive has been hampered by turnout as low as 22% in some states, as fears over the safety of the vaccine and the spread of misinformation has fuelled widespread hesitancy. On Saturday, India launched the world’s largest vaccination programme as it began the massive task of vaccinating its 1.3 billion citizens against coronavirus. On the first day of India’s vaccine drive on Saturday, more than 200,000 vaccinations were given – the highest one-day total of any country – but nonetheless fell short of the nationwide government targets by over 100,000. By Tuesday evening, the government said 631,417 people had been vaccinated, far below the expected figure. So far the overall national turnout has averaged a lacklustre 64%, while in states such as Tamil Nadu and Punjab, uptake of the vaccine was as low as 22% and 23% in the first two days of the vaccination drive. The low turnout was attributed to a nervousness about safety among the healthcare workers who were first in line to receive the vaccine, as well as technical difficulties with the app designed to alert people to their vaccine appointments. Two Covid-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use in India, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – known as Covishield in India – and a domestically developed vaccine called Covaxin, produced by Indian company Bharat Biotech. The Oxford/AstraZeneva vaccine, which has completed international trials and was found to have about 62% efficacy with two doses, has already been widely distributed in the UK. Britain’s NHS says of the vaccines in use in that country: “The coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.” Covaxin has not completed phase 3 trials and so there is no final data on its efficacy, making India one of the few countries rolling out a vaccine still in its trial stages. However, the drugs controller of India said interim data from an ongoing trial of more than 22,000 people showed it was “100% safe” and effective. Nonetheless, some healthcare professionals in India expressed concerns that they had not been provided with enough data on the vaccines’ safety and efficacy and were nervous at the speed the vaccines were being rolled out. Dr Namrata Agarwal, a paediatrician in Kashipur, was among those not eager to take the vaccine. “I’m very hesitant,” she said. “All the protocols have been rushed and hurried through. I am not so concerned about the efficacy of a vaccine – that can vary – and I can handle that but what concerns me is its safety and the chance that it might cause harm.” On Tuesday, Bharat Biotech released a fact sheet of those with underlying heath problems who should avoid the Covaxin vaccine, raising questions about why it had not been publicised before the vaccine was released. Dr Mandeep Aulakh, a pathologist in Chandigarh, said she would wait a few weeks before getting vaccinated. “The vaccine development was rushed,” she said. “I also have a few allergies so I have not volunteered to take it.” India cases The Indian government had hoped to vaccinate 300 million people by August, a target that will prove challenging if uptake remains at its current rate. In the capital, Delhi – which hopes to vaccine 100,000 people a day – only 3,598 healthcare workers received their vaccine on Monday, far below the daily target of 8,136, making uptake just 44% that day in India’s capital. In Delhi’s largest hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), just eight healthcare workers out of an expected 100 turned up on Monday for their jab. In Mumbai, one of the cities worst affected by Covid-19, turnout for vaccines was 48% on the first day, with 1,926 out of a target of 4,000 people turning up for their vaccine. It was far below Mumbai’s ambitious target of vaccinating 50,000 healthcare workers a day. Dr Amit Thadhai, director of Niramaya hospital in Mumbai, said: “There have been a long series of questions which have been raised about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The fact that doctors have been asked to take it first has caused problems; doctors are not used to enrolling in trials which is why the uptake has been so low.” Thadahi said there was also a decreased sense of urgency to take the vaccine because the number of Covid cases in India was in rapid decline, with new cases at their lowest level since mid-June. “The motivation to take a vaccine is not great at the moment,” he said. On Saturday, the state of Maharashtra, which is home to Mumbai, temporarily suspended the vaccination drive after less than 2,000 people were vaccinated across the state. It was partly attributed to widespread technical glitches which meant people were not given alerts for their vaccination appointments. Misinformation and fake news about the vaccine was also doing the rounds on WhatsApp. In one widely circulated video, Dr Johan Denis, an alleged “medical doctor and homeopath” from Belgium, made the unsubstantiated claim that “the vaccine is not proven safe or effective” and the false statements that: “It’s a fake pandemic … it’s all been orchestrated to create fear to make you take the vaccine which might cause irreversible changes to your DNA.” Ashraf Buchson, a carpet seller from Delhi who had been forwarded the video, said the videos had given him second thoughts about the vaccine. “When I see these videos, I feel anxious. I don’t know who to believe and everyone in my family is divided,” said Buchson. The low turnout appeared to take state governments by surprise. In Karnataka only 47% of people registered to receive a vaccine had turned up to their appointments by Monday, making the state government unlikely to hit its target of vaccinating 650,000 healthcare workers by the end of the week. “Despite the district having the highest literacy rate in the state, I am surprised at why healthcare workers are reluctant to take vaccines,” Karnataka’s health minister, K Sudhakar, told local media.Many doctors said politicians and public figures should be publicly taking the vaccine to allay fears. “If well-known figures take it, it will help push up the numbers,” said Dr Sanjiv Zutshi, a cardiologist in Delhi who is going to get the jab in two days. Dr Arun Shah, a senior paediatrician in Muzaffarnagar, agreed. “The prime minister himself and the health minister should have the vaccine. That would reassure many people. And to create a sense of confidence, every vaccinated person should share photos and their experience on WhatsApp to spread reassurance,” said Shah.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed grief at the loss of lives in a fire at the Serum Institute of India building. Five people died and nine were evacuated from the building in the institute's of Manjari premises in Maharashtra after the fire broke out at the facility, police said.
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