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Pulwama Terror Attack: A Tragic Reminder

The Pulwama attack, which took place on February 14, 2019, was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in recent years in the Jammu and Kashmir region of India. The attack was carried out by a member of the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), who drove a car filled with explosives into a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, resulting in the deaths of 40 soldiers.

The Pulwama attack was a shocking and tragic event that sparked widespread outrage in India and raised concerns about the ongoing threat of terrorism in the region. JeM claimed responsibility for the attack, and India accused Pakistan of supporting and sheltering the group.

In response to the attack, India launched airstrikes against JeM targets in Pakistan, escalating tensions between the two countries. Pakistan condemned the violence and denied involvement in the attack, but India maintained that Pakistan was responsible for supporting terrorist groups.

The Pulwama attack also highlighted the role of social media in spreading extremist ideologies and facilitating the recruitment of terrorists. The attacker reportedly had been radicalized through online content, underscoring the need for greater vigilance and regulation of online platforms.

The attack led to calls for greater cooperation and coordination among international and regional actors to address the threat of terrorism. It also highlighted the importance of sustained efforts to prevent and combat terrorism, as well as the need for unity and shared commitment to peace and security in the face of such threats.

The Pulwama attack was a tragic event that had a significant impact on India and the region. It underscored the ongoing threat of terrorism and the need for sustained efforts to prevent and combat it. The attack also highlighted the role of social media in facilitating extremist ideologies and recruitment. It is imperative that international and regional actors work together to address this threat and ensure the safety and security of all people in the region.

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LTTE leader Prabhakaran is alive and healthy will return soon

Talking to media persons in Mullivaikkal Memorial in Thanjavur Nedumaran said that the international situation and the powerful insurgency by Sinhalese people which vanquished the Rajapakshe regime in Sri Lanka have made this the right moment for Prabakaran to come out.

He said this announcement will put to rest what he claimed as speculations and doubts spread in a motivated manner. Nedumaran called upon the Eelam Tamils and Tamils the world over to remain united in rendering full support to Prabhakaran. He also called upon the Government of Tamil Nadu, parties and the public in Tamil Nadu to stand by Prabhakaran.

Responding to a question, Nedumaran said he was in touch with the family members of Prabhakaran, who conveyed his well-being. He also claimed he is announcing the proposed coming out of Prabhakaran with the consent of the LTTE leader.

To another question about the whereabouts of Prabhakaran, Nedumaran said he is also as curious as others about Prabhakaran’s whereabouts and the time of his coming out. Kasi Anandhan, poet of Tamil Eelam was present.

The death of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), marks the end of one of the longest and most brutal civil wars in recent history. The LTTE, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, was a separatist militant organization that fought for an independent Tamil state in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. The group was responsible for numerous acts of terrorism, including suicide bombings and the assassinations of high-profile politicians.

Prabhakaran, who was born on November 26, 1954, founded the LTTE in the early 1970s. He led the group for more than three decades, during which time it became one of the most feared and well-equipped insurgent forces in the world. Prabhakaran was known for his ruthless tactics, including the use of suicide bombers and the forced conscription of child soldiers.

The Sri Lankan government, with the support of the international community, launched a military offensive against the LTTE in 2006, and after years of intense fighting, the group was finally defeated in 2009. Prabhakaran was killed in the final stages of the conflict, on May 18, 2009, along with a number of his top lieutenants.

The Sri Lankan military claimed that Prabhakaran was killed while attempting to escape the battle zone in an ambulance, while some sources suggested that he may have committed suicide to avoid capture. Regardless of the exact circumstances of his death, it was widely celebrated by the Sri Lankan government and many of its citizens as the end of a long and bloody chapter in their history.

The death of Prabhakaran was seen as a major turning point for Sri Lanka and a step towards reconciliation and healing. The country has made significant progress in the years since the end of the conflict, with the government taking steps to address the grievances of the Tamil community and to rebuild the areas affected by the war.

However, Prabhakaran’s legacy continues to be a source of controversy. While many Sri Lankans view him as a terrorist responsible for countless deaths and acts of violence, others see him as a hero who fought for the rights of the Tamil people. The debate over his legacy is likely to continue for many years to come.

Death of Velupillai Prabhakaran marks the end of one of the most brutal civil wars in recent history and a turning point for Sri Lanka. While his legacy remains a source of controversy, it is important to remember the lessons of the conflict and to work towards reconciliation and healing for all communities in Sri Lanka.

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Narayana Murthy responded to son-in-law Rishi Sunak becoming UK PM

Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys, congratulated his son-in-law Rishi Sunak after he was confirmed to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Murthy said that he was “proud” of what Sunak has achieved and expressed his confidence that he will “do his best” for the country. 

Congratulations to Rishi. We are proud of him, and we wish him success. We are confident he will do his best for the people of the United Kingdom,” Murthy told ANI on Monday. 

Sunak got married to Murthy’s daughter Akshata after the couple met at Stanford University in the United States while pursuing their MBA. Akshata lived abroad for most of her life due to her studies and profession, and the couple got married at a traditional Indian wedding in Bengaluru. 

The couple has two daughters – Krishna, 11, and Anoushka, 9. 

Sunak and Akshata were stakeholders in Murthy’s company – Catamaran Ventures – but the incoming PM transferred his stakes to his wife in 2015. However, the controversies continue to haunt both due to the financial windfall as well as the allegations of profiting from Infosys’ operations in Russia. 

Sunak was the favourite in the UK leadership race with more than 140 supporters in the Conservative Party, but the elections never took place as Penny Mordaunt pulled out on Monday. As a result, Sunak was picked unanimously as the next PM of the United Kingdom after the resignation of Liz Truss. Truss had a torrid tenure in office after her economic measures were criticised from all corners following a fall in the value of the pound against the United States dollar.

Sunak, who describes himself as a proud Hindu, is the UK’s first Prime Minister of South Asian heritage and the youngest for more than 200 years at the age of 42. His victory on Diwali has resonated among the Indian diaspora groups across the UK, who have hailed it as a historic moment in British social history. Rishi Sunak will take charge as Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister after an audience with King Charles III today.

Outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss will chair her final Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street today before she makes her way to Buckingham Palace to formally tender her resignation to the 73-year-old monarch. Sunak, 42, will then arrive at the palace for his meeting with the King, who will formally anoint him as the UK’s new Prime Minister.

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WhatsApp is down in several parts of the world

Many users have raised issues on Twitter and members of the India Today Tech team are also unable to use WhatsApp. Meta says it is working on the issue. Most users could open the app but were not able to send messages and media files. Naturally, users aren’t able to use other services, such as WhatsApp audio and video call.

As per the outage tracker, Downdetector, many users started facing issues with the WhatsApp mobile app and web at around 12:30 PM today, October 25. At the time of writing this article, over 2,000 users reported issues with the app on the website. Downdetector also points out that 69 percent of users are facing issues with sending messages, while 21 percent of users are facing server connection-related problems. Around 9 percent of users face other unknown issues with the smartphone app.

WhatsApp Web also appears to be affected by the outage, and we can confirm that the app’s web client is also unable to connect to the WhatsApp servers, suggesting a server-level outage, and not one that only affects the Android and iOS apps. Anyone trying to use WhatsApp Web will be greeted with an error message like the one seen below.

WhatsApp has acknowledged the issue. “We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble sending messages and we’re working to restore WhatsApp for everyone as quickly as possible,” a Meta spokesperson said.
It is not clear what has caused the disruption. There is no statement on WhatsApp or parent company Meta’s (erstwhile Facebook) official Twitter account.

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How to leave Russia – Where The Flights Leaving Russia Going

Moscow: After Russian Vladimir Putin called for additional troops to fight Ukraine, one-way flights out of Russia are rocketing upward in price and are selling out fast. This comes amid raising fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave the country and may be sent to the frontlines. According to a New York Times report, tickets for countries like Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Armenia, where Russians can travel without visas, have sold out or become extremely expensive.

How to Leave Russia

On September 21, there were reportedly no one-way tickets available from Moscow to Istanbul or Yerevan — the capital of Armenia. Flightradar 24, a Swedish service that provides real-time flight tracking information, shared a time-lapse video showing a flurry of flights out of Moscow and St Petersburg.

Flights departing Moscow and St. Petersburg today. The @AP is reporting international flights departing Russia have either sold out or skyrocketed in price after Putin announced a mobilization of reservists.
Search SVO, VKO, DME for Moscow airports and LED for St. Petersburg.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) September 21, 2022

Flights from Moscow to Istanbul via Turkish Airlines were either all booked or unavailable until Sunday, as of 14:15 Moscow time (11:15 GMT). Some routes with stopovers, including those from Moscow to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, were also unavailable, while the cheapest flights to Dubai cost more than 300,000 roubles ($5,000) – about five times the average monthly wage.

Typical one-way fares to Turkey shot up to almost 70,000 roubles ($1,150), compared with a little more than 22,000 roubles a week ago, Google Flights data shows. Turkish Airlines, meanwhile, said on its website that flights to Istanbul, which has become an important travel hub to and from Russia, were fully booked until Saturday. The next available AirSerbia flight to Belgrade was posted for September 26.

Putin Orders Partial Mobilization

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of reservists Wednesday to bolster his forces in Ukraine, a deeply unpopular move that sparked rare protests across the country and led to almost 1,200 arrests.
The risky order follows humiliating setbacks for Putin’s troops nearly seven months after they invaded Ukraine. The first such call-up in Russia since World War II heightened tensions with Ukraine’s Western backers, who derided it as an act of weakness and desperation.

In his 14-minute nationally televised address, Putin also warned the West that he isn’t bluffing about using everything at his disposal to protect Russia — an apparent reference to his nuclear arsenal. He has previously rebuked NATO countries for supplying weapons to Ukraine. Confronted with steep battlefield losses, expanding front lines, and a conflict that has raged longer than expected, the Kremlin has struggled to replenish its troops in Ukraine, reportedly even resorting to widespread recruitment in prisons.

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High inflation in sight, Fed to signal more rate hikes ahead

Washington: Last month, when Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spoke at an economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, he issued a blunt warning: The Feds drive to curb inflation by aggressively raising interest rates, he said, would bring some pain” for Americans.

When the Fed ends its latest meeting on Wednesday and Powell holds a news conference, Americans will likely get a better idea of how much pain could be in store. The central bank is expected to raise its key short-term rate by substantial three-quarters of a point for the third consecutive time. Another hike that large would boost its benchmark rate which affects many consumer and business loans to a range of 3 percent to 3.25 percent, the highest level in 14 years.

Many Fed watchers, though, will be paying particular attention to Powell’s words at a news conference afterward.
His remarks will be parsed for any hint of whether the Fed expects to moderate its rate hikes in the coming months or instead to continue tightening credit significantly until it’s convinced that inflation is on its way down.

In a further sign of the Feds deepening concern about inflation, it will also likely signal on Wednesday that it plans to raise rates much higher by year’s end than it had forecast three months ago and to keep them higher for longer. Economists expect Fed officials to forecast that their key rate could go as high as 4 percent before the new year. They’re also likely to signal additional hikes in 2023, perhaps to as high as roughly 4.5 percent.

Short-term rates at that level would make a recession likelier next year by sharply raising the costs of mortgages, car loans, and business loans. The Fed intends those higher borrowing costs to slow growth by cooling a still-robust job market to cap wage growth and other inflation pressures.
Yet the risk is growing that the Fed may weaken the economy so much as to cause a downturn that would produce heavy job losses.
The economy hasnt seen rates as high as the Fed is projecting since before the 2008 financial crisis.
Last week, the average fixed mortgage rate topped 6 per cent, its highest point in 14 years. Credit card borrowing costs have reached their highest level since 1996, according to
Powell and other Fed officials still say the Feds goal is to achieve a soft landing”, by which they would slow the economy enough to tame inflation but not so much as to trigger a recession.
By last week, though, that goal appeared further out of reach after the government reported that inflation over the past year was a painful 8.3 percent.
Even worse, so-called core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, rose much faster than expected.
The inflation report also documented just how broadly inflation has spread through the economy, complicating the Feds task. Inflation now appears increasingly fuelled by higher wages and by consumers steady desire to spend and less by the supply shortages that had bedeviled the economy during the pandemic recession.

Theyre going try to avoid recession, said William Dudley, formerly the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The problem is that the room to do that is virtually non-existent at this point. The Feds rapid rate hikes mirror steps that other major central banks are taking, contributing to concerns about a potential global recession.
The European Central Bank last week raised its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a percentage point. The Bank of England, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the Bank of Canada have all carried out hefty rate increases in recent weeks.
And in China, the world’s second-largest economy, growth is already suffering from the government’s repeated COVID lockdowns. If recession sweeps through most large economies, that could derail the US economy, too.

At his news conference on Wednesday, Powell isn’t likely to drop any hints that the central bank will ease up on its credit tightening campaign. Most economists expect the Fed to stop raising rates in early 2023. But for now, they expect Powell to reinforce his hard-line anti-inflation stance. It’s going to end up being a hard landing, said Kathy Bostjancic, an economist at Oxford Economics.

He’s not going to say that,” Bostjancic said. But, referring to the most recent Fed meeting in July, when Powell raised hopes for an eventual pullback on rate hikes, she added: “He also wants to make sure that the markets don’t come away and rally. That’s what happened last time. Indeed, investors responded then by bidding up stock prices and buying bonds, which lowered rates on securities like the benchmark the 10-year Treasury. Higher stock prices and lower bond yields generally boost the economy the opposite of what the Fed wants.

The central bank has already engaged in the fastest series of rate hikes since the early 1980s. Yet some economists and some Fed officials argue that they have yet to raise rates to a level that would actually restrict borrowing and spending and slow growth. Loretta Mester, president of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, and one of the 12 officials who will vote on the Feds decision on Wednesday said she thinks it will be necessary to raise the Feds rate to somewhat above 4 percent by early next year and hold it there”.

I do not anticipate the Fed cutting rates next year, Mester added, dispelling the expectations of many investors on Wall Street who had hoped for such a reversal. Comments like Mesters contributed to a sharp fall in stock prices last month that began after Powells stern anti-inflation speech at the conference in Jackson Hole.
Our responsibility to deliver price stability is unconditional, Powell said then a remark widely interpreted to mean that the Fed will fight inflation even if it requires deep job losses and a recession.

Many economists sound convinced that a recession and widespread layoffs will be necessary to slow rising prices.
Research published earlier this month under the auspices of the Brookings Institution concluded that unemployment might have to go as high as 7.5 percent to get inflation back to the Feds 2 percent target. Only a downturn that harsh would reduce wage growth and consumer spending enough to cool inflation, according to the paper by Johns Hopkins University economist Laurence Ball and two economists at the International Monetary Fund.

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We will not allow ideology of BJP and RSS to divide our country: Rahul Gandhi

Addressing a massive crowd of Congress workers, Gandhi said it is impossible for the country to progress if it follows policies of hatred and anger. Expressing his gratitude for the massive turnout seen in Kerala for his 150-day long yatra, Gandhi said people are joining his walk as they understand that the future of the country was at risk.
“Do you think a country that is divided can solve problems like unemployment? Do you think a divided society can build hospitals, and roads and can educate our children? It is impossible for India to solve such problems if we are following the path of hatred,” Gandhi said.

He said it’s the common people, on whose shoulders this country runs, who pay the price of hatred that is being spread.
“How is it that we have the richest persons in the world but our people pay the highest price for essential items? Is it something that we could just accept? We will not allow the ideology of the RSS and the BJP to divide this country and we will not accept India where millions of Indians are jobless. We will not accept an India where millions of people are drowning in high prices for essential items,” he said.

Gandhi said he has seen a confident Kerala in the last few days of his walk as the state does not believe in hatred, anger or violence. “Today, India is full of anger, violence, and hatred. The BJP spreads this hatred and violence. Its in their DNA and the result is a handful of people make billions in profits,” he said.
The senior leader said the yatra has the support of not only the Congress workers but that of the commoners and some Left workers.

“It’s because everyone understands that this country is at risk. You are not supporting an individual. Individuals are not important. Individuals come and go. You are supporting an idea and you are supporting the culture, the history and the tradition of our country,” he said.

Gandhi said if social reformers like Sree Narayana Guru or Chattambi Swamikal or Mahatma Ayyankali were alive today, they would say Bharat Jodo. He asked Keralites not to lose their ability to love. “It is what defines the people of this state and it is what makes you a successful state. It makes your nurses successful all over the world. It allows you to build cities like Dubai. So I would like to thank you for all the love and affection you have given me. I am in debt to you but I doubt whether I will ever be able to repay it,” he said.

Gandhi said he opted to walk through the nation and rejected the suggestion of using a car as he respects those who cannot afford a car in this country. Earlier in the day, Gandhi met representatives of the tourism industry in Kerala in a houseboat in Vembanad lake.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted a photo of the meeting and said they discussed issues related to the tremendous loss of revenue and jobs in the tourism industry due to the pandemic, the lack of financial assistance from the government, and the lag in revival. Later, Gandhi also participated in a mock snake boat race arranged by the KPCC in Vembanad lake.

Gandhi was seen rowing the snake boat along with around 50 other oarsmen accompanied by two other snake boats.
Earlier, he had met the fisherfolk at Vadackal beach in Alappuzha and discussed their challenges — rising fuel costs, reduced subsidies, dwindling fish stock, lack of social welfare and pensions, inadequate educational opportunities, and environmental destruction — with them.

Senior Congress leaders K Muraleedharan, Kodikkunnil Suresh, Ramesh Chennithala, K C Venugopal, Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan, Pawan Khera, and others accompanied Gandhi. The 12th day of the yatra which began from Vadackal beach concluded at Kanichakulangara in the Alappuzha district.

The yatra will reach the Ernakulam border on September 20 night and will traverse through the district for two days. The Congress 3,570 km and 150-day-long foot march started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7 and will conclude in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which entered Kerala on September 10 evening, will go through the state covering 450 km, touching seven districts over a period of 19 days before entering Karnataka on October 1.

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Earthquake of 7.2 Magnitude Hits Taiwan’s East of Yujing

A strong earthquake of 7.2 Magnitude struck off 85 km East of Yujing of Taiwan on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no initial reports of casualties or damage. This earthquake struck the region just a day after a 6.5-magnitude quake hit just after 9:30 pm (1330 GMT) about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the coastal city of Taitung at 10 kilometers deep, the USGS said.

A two-story residential building collapsed near the epicenter, according to a Taiwanese media report. The shaking was felt at the north end of the island in the capital, Taipei. Following the quake in Taiwan, Japan Meteorological Agency issued an advisory for a tsunami as high as 1 meter (3 feet) reaching several southern Japanese islands.

The agency said the earliest waves could reach Yonaguni island, Japan’s westernmost island about 110 kilometers (70 miles) east of Taiwan, at around 4:10 p.m. (0710 GMT) and subsequently three nearby islands. The islands are about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) southwest of Tokyo. Weather officials urged residents in those areas to stay away from the coastline.

Taiwan’s Taitung County was hit by a 6.4 earthquake Saturday night and has been rattled by numerous aftershocks since then.

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Suez Canal authority to raise transit fees by 15% in 2023

Egypt said on Saturday that it will increase transit fees for vessels, including oil-laden tankers, passing through the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most crucial waterways.

The Suez Canal Authority said in a statement on Saturday that it will add 15% to the fees for tankers carrying oil and petroleum products, and 10% for dry bulk carriers and cruise ships. The authorities chief, Osama Rabie, said the hikes, which will take effect on Jan. 1, are inevitable and a necessity. He blamed booming global inflation rates, which have increased the cost of the waterways operations, maintenance, and maritime services.

About 10% of global trade, including 7% of the world’s oil, flows through the Suez Canal, a major source of foreign currency to Egypt, the most Arab populous country with over 103 million people. Egypt has faced towering economic challenges and is running low on foreign currency needed to buy essentials such as grain and fuel. Authorities said 20,649 vessels passed through the canal last year, a 10% increase compared to 18,830 vessels in 2020. The annual revenues of the canal reached $6.3 billion in 2021, the highest in its history.

Canal authorities have been working to widen and deepen the waterways’ southern part, since a hulking vessel ran aground and closed off the canal in March 2021. The six-day blockage disrupted global shipment. On August 31, an oil tanker ran aground and briefly blocked the waterway before it was fed.

“The (tolls) increase is inevitable and is a necessity in light of the current global inflation, which translates into increased operational costs and the costs of the navigational services provided in the canal,” SCA Chairman Ossama Rabiee said in the statement.

He said the SCA adjusted the tolls through clear mechanisms incorporating the changes in the maritime transport market, noting the canal remains the most efficient and least costly route compared to alternative routes.

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