January 22, 2018

2018 Razzie Awards: Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence, Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson pick up worst actor nominations

Delhi/India/Politics by

Los Angeles: Adventure movie Transformers: The Last Knight led nominations on Monday for the annual Razzie Awards for the worst films on a list packed with previous Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe.

The tongue-in-cheek Razzies, created in 1980, serve as an antidote to Hollywood’s Oscars ceremony. Winners of the year’s worst films — if they turn up — are given a gold, spray-painted trophy at a ceremony held on the eve of the Academy Awards in March.

Jennifer Lawrence in mother! and Russell Crowe in Mummy

Transformers: The Last Knight, the latest in the action franchise based on toys that change from robots to vehicles, earned nine nominations, including worst picture and worst acting nods for many of its star-studded cast, including Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg.

Despite lacklustre reviews, the 5th film in the series earned a healthy $605 million at the worldwide box office in 2017.

Razzie founder John Wilson called Fifty Shades Darker, based on the best-selling erotic novels, “more sleep-inducing than sexy,” while the reboot of Baywatch was among the worst picture contenders.

Johnny Depp — a perennial Razzie target — was singled out for what Wilson called “his worn out drunk routine” in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth entry in the franchise in a summer of Hollywood sequels and remakes.

Lawrence and director Darren Aronofsky also felt some Razzie wrath for their horror movie Mother!, which some movie reviewers viewed as the work of a genius and others found laughable. The movie earned a rare F score from audiences and less than $45 million at the global box office.

Cruise and Crowe were among the worst actor nominees for The Mummy, while Gibson got a Razzie nod for his role in Daddy’s Home 2.

Nominees and winners of the Razzies are voted for online by around 1,000 Razzie members from 24 countries, who sign up online and pay a $40 membership fee. The winners will be announced on 3 March.

Published Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:14 PM | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:14 PM

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Trial of two women for killing of Kim Jong Nam resumes in Malaysia after seven-week break

Delhi/India/Politics by

Shah Alam: Malaysia’s high-profile trial of two women accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader resumed on Monday after a seven-week recess, with witnesses taking the stand to verify the authenticity of security camera footages capturing the attack.

Indonesia’s Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnam’s Doan Thi Huong, 29, are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face in a crowded airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur last 13 February.

File image of Kim Jong-Nam. AP

They pleaded not guilty to murder charges when their trial began 2 October. The two are the only suspects in custody, though prosecutors have said four North Koreans who fled the country were also involved.

Prosecutors, who last year showed the security videos to the court, called three technicians from the airport and the
airport hotel to the stand Monday to explain how they extracted the relevant images from the main computer server and copied them to discs. This was to enable the court to accept the footages as formal evidence.

The court heard that the original footages in the main server have been automatically deleted after 30 days.

“Their whole case is based on the CCTV footages and VX, so the admissibility of the footages is very important. But
they are taking a very simplistic approach and have failed to examine if the women have any motive,” said Gooi Soon Seng, lawyer for Siti Aisyah. Gooi has said Kim’s killing was a political assassination because of the involvement of the North Korean Embassy.

A police witness has testified that a car used to take the North Korean suspects to the airport on the day of the murder belonged to the embassy. The court also heard that an embassy official met the suspects before they fled and facilitated their check-in at the airport.

If they are convicted, the two women could face the death penalty but not if they lacked intent to kill. That is their
defense. Defence lawyers say the women believed they were playing a prank for a hidden-camera TV show. Prosecutors contend the women knew they were handling poison.

The court has heard that traces of VX were found on the women’s clothing as well as on Huong’s fingernails. An autopsy showed VX on Kim’s face and in his eyes, blood and urine as well as on his clothing and bag. Doctors concluded the cause of death was “acute VX nerve agent poisoning,” and ruled out any other contributing factors.

Kim, the eldest son in the family that has ruled North Korea since its founding, had been living abroad for years
after falling out of favor. It is thought he could have been seen as a threat to his half brother Kim Jong Un’s rule. Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea of involvement in Kim’s death and have made it clear they don’t want the trial politicised.

Prosecutors are expected to rest their case in March. The judge could then decide there is no case against the women, who would be freed, or to let the case continue. If that’s his decision, the defense will be called and the trial would last several more months.

Published Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:13 PM | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:13 PM

Australian Open 2018: Hsieh Su-Wei to continue with ‘freestyle tennis’ after pushing Angelique Kerber to brink

Delhi/India/Politics by

Melbourne: Hsieh Su-Wei was happy to hear she had driven former champion Angelique Kerber “crazy” at the Australian Open on Monday, saying she had no plan to change her freestyling ways.

The maverick Taiwanese former doubles World No 1 opened her box of tricks and almost cast a spell over the German two-time Grand Slam winner.

Hsieh Su-Wei beat Garbine Muguruza and Agnieszka Radwanska on her way to the fourth round of the Australian Open. AP

Kerber eventually reached the quarter-finals 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in 2 hours and 8 minutes of riveting action.

An enthralled Rod Laver Arena crowd were treated to Hsieh’s full repertoire of drop shots, slow-paced winners and high looping ‘moon balls’ as time and again she found incredible angles to mesmerise Kerber.

“I’m driving her crazy?” Hsieh said, when told by media she had been driving Kerber “crazy a little bit.”

“OK. This is good you told me that,” said the World No 88 before smiling “next time we try to do more. It was fun to make my opponent and myself run all the time.”

If Hsieh had a game plan, it worked a dream in the opening set which she won behind a dazzling array of unpredictable shot-making.

But the likeable Hsieh revealed she had forgotten to do her homework on Kerber and was making up her strategy as she went along.

“Actually, my boyfriend was looking at her game earlier this morning. I forgot to ask him what she plays, so, I actually have no plan to go on the court,” she said.

“So I was trying to go my Su-Wei style, you know.”

Plan or not, she forced Kerber to the brink in the second set as the German served at 4-5, 0-15.

Hsieh was just three points away from a first-ever Slam quarter-final in her 28th main draw appearance stretching back to the 2005 US Open.

“It’s not easy that game because she was serving pretty well, and of course then it gave me some pressure when I leading 5-4,” said Hsieh.

“I was thinking, Oh, I have a chance. I want to hang in there and then get my shot.”

Kerber held and broke for the crucial advantage and held to love to level the match before easing to victory in the final set.

So how would Hsieh describe “Su-Wei style'”?

“I like to play freestyle. When the ball comes, I decide at the last moment where to hit, so sometimes the girls say: ‘Oh, I don’t know where she hit it’,” she smiled.

“But sometimes I don’t know where I hit it, too.”

Published Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:11 PM | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:11 PM

Indian Railways planning to install 12 lakh CCTV cameras at 8,500 railway stations across India

Delhi/India/Politics by

In its endeavour to provide a safe and secure travel experience to passengers, India Railways is pitching for the procurement of about 12 lakh CCTV cameras to ensure state-of-the-art surveillance systems in all trains and stations across the country.

Representational image. Courtesy- News18.

The Railways will make a provision of around Rs 3,000 crore in its budget for 2018-19 to install CCTV systems in all 11,000 trains — including premier and suburban services — and all the 8,500 stations in the Indian rail network, to provide safety and security at rail premises.

As per the plan, while each coach will have eight CCTV cameras covering the entry gates, aisle and vestibules, all crucial points at stations will have the systems.

Currently, there are about 395 stations and about 50 trains that are equipped with CCTV systems.

“All mail/express and premier trains, including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and local passenger services, will be equipped with the modern surveillance systems in the next two years,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Railways is exploring various options to fund the installation of the CCTV surveillance systems — and may even raise resources from the market if needed.

Given the increased number of derailments last year, the Rail Budget this time is slated to give top priority to safety and prevention of accidents — followed by improving passenger amenities to make the journey pleasant.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would roll out the details of provision for strengthening safety mechanism in train operations in his Budget 2018-19.

Elimination of 4,943 unmanned level-crossings, replacement of all old tracks and strengthening of the remaining tracks are among other safety-related proposals that will be highlighted in the budget.

Besides track defects, unmanned level-crossings are among the reasons for a maximum number train accidents.

It has been decided to eliminate all unmanned level crossings by 2020, the official said.

Published Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:11 PM | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:11 PM

Akhilesh Yadav to contest 2019 Lok Sabha poll from Kannauj; Mulayam Singh Yadav from Mainpuri

Delhi/India/Politics by

Lucknow: Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said he would like to contest next year’s general elections from Kannauj constituency, presently held by his wife Dimple Yadav.

“I will like to contest from Kannauj,” he told reporters here after paying tribute to veteran socialist leader Janeshwar Mishra on his death anniversary.

Replying to a question, Akhilesh Yadav said ‘netaji’ Mulayam Singh Yadav will contest the polls from Mainpuri.

File image of Samajwadi Party leaders Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the 78-year-old Samajwadi Party patriarch had contested from Azamgarh and Mainpuri and won both, but chose to retain Azamgarh to strengthen the party in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

He vacated Mainpuri, which was then won in a by-poll by his grandson, Tej Pratap Yadav.

The Samajwadi Party insiders said the decision of the party chief to contest the next general elections from Kannauj was aimed at quelling allegations of promoting “dynasty” in the party.

Kannauj could, however, pose crucial test for the Samajwadi Party in the present scenario as in last year’s Assembly election, the party had lost two of the three seats in the Lok Sabha constituency to the BJP while it won the Kannauj city seat by meagre 2,000 votes.

To make matters worse, the SP lost all the three nagar palika chairman seats and all five nagar panchayat chairman seats in Kannauj in the recent civic polls.

Dimple Yadav had beaten the BJP candidate in 2014 by just 20,000 votes.

Akhilesh Yadav has represented Kannauj thrice in the Lok Sabha before relinquishing the seat after becoming chief minister in 2012.

Speaking about the current BJP regime in the state, Akhilesh Yadav charged the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh with “failing” on all fronts, especially the law-and-order situation.

“The Yogi Adityanath government has failed on all the fronts. There is no law and order in the state. The incident of dacoity yesterday in Kakori, on outskirts of the state capital, has exposed the tall claims of the state government on the law and order front,” he said.

“Kakori, which was known for martyrs who laid down their lives for the sake of the country’s freedom, is now becoming infamous for dacoities,” he said.

Martyrs Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Lahiri and Thakur Roshan Singh, were hanged on 19 December, 1927, for the Kakori conspiracy against the British.

Citing recent crime incidents in Kannauj and Mathura, Akhilesh Yadav accused the police of inflicting atrocities on people and said that under such circumstances only Samajwadi (socialist) ideology can fight for the people.

“The BJP divides the society while samajwadis unite people,” he said.

Published Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:09 PM | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 15:09 PM

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