EU News World News

France opens new era in relationship with animals

“It is time that our ancestral fascination with these wild beings no longer means they end up in captivity.”said Pompili…Reports Asian Lite News

France has said it will gradually ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses as part of sweeping new animal welfare measures,

On Tuesday, Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili said, “Our attitude to wild animals has changed.”

She also announced a ban on farming minks for fur and on keeping dolphins and orcas in captivity in marine parks, BBC reported.

The move was hailed as “an historic victory” by leading animal rights groups.

“It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these [wild] animals,” Pompili said during a press conference.

“It is time that our ancestral fascination with these wild beings no longer means they end up in captivity.”

The Minister did not outline a precise timetable for the changes but said they would be implemented “in the years to come”.

“Putting a date on it does not solve all the problems,” she told reporters.

Ban use of animals in circuses to prevent spread of disease: PETA.

Bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals would no longer be allowed in travelling circuses under the ban. But the government said the rules would not apply to zoos and other permanent attractions or shows.

In addition to the measures, and starting immediately, Pompili said France’s three marine aquariums would no longer be able to breed or bring in new dolphins or orcas. No new marine aquariums would be built, she said.

The Minister added that the government was considering creating a sanctuary for the animals currently in captivity.

Pompili said the government would offer an 8m euro (£7.3m; $9.3m) package to help circuses and marine parks adapt to the new measures.

“We are asking (circuses) to reinvent themselves,” she said. “That transition will be spread over several years because it will change the lives of many people.”

But the announcement was met with anger from the circus industry.

“She didn’t want to listen to us,” William Kerwich, the head of the circus animal trainers’ union, told AFP news agency. “Who is going to pay for the meat for the lions and tigers and the food for the elephants?”

“Circuses will have to abandon their animals and the minister will be responsible,” he added.

Animal rights groups, meanwhile, praised the government’s announcement.

Also read:Covid 19: Second wave could ‘overwhelm’ France

-Top News Dubai UAE News

DHA’s WhatsApp helpline receives huge response

The Dubai Health Authority, DHA, and Facebook have announced that the DHA COVID-19 hotline service on WhatsApp has received 54,881 unique requests from the public between April and September.

The automated chatbot application is a free 24/7 service which was developed to raise awareness among the public and provide them with accurate information about COVID-19 and some other DHA services. The service was also introduced in line with the Authority’s efforts to provide community members with an option to have a 24/7 communication channel available in multiple languages.

Since the launch of the DHA COVID-19 hotline service in April, users have accurate, official health-related information and advice on the coronavirus, with the most asked questions on the WhatsApp service being “Am I eligible for a coronavirus test and what is the procedure to get the test?”, followed by “Can I get a coronavirus medical certificate?” and the third one being “I suspect that there is a sick person with Coronavirus, what do I do?”

Fatma Al Khaja, Director of the Customer Happiness Department at DHA, said that the DHA hotline service has been very helpful in assisting people by debunking rumours about the virus and equipping the public with the necessary knowledge to take preventive measures against COVID-19.

“We wanted a system that would respond to patients’ queries timeously and to give people a credible channel to receive accurate information. The system provides users with an opportunity to learn more about the virus, get UAE statistics and even find out if they are eligible for a coronavirus test,” Al Khaja said.

As part of an ongoing partnership, Facebook has also provided DHA with ad credits to drive people to government websites, to receive more information and statistics about the pandemic in Dubai. Between April and September 2020, the DHA ads on social platforms Instagram and Facebook have since reached more than six million unique users and have been viewed more than 36 million times.

“Facebook is supporting the global public health community’s work to keep people safe and informed during the coronavirus public health crisis,” said Ramez Shehadi, Managing Director for Facebook MENA. “By partnering with the DHA on the WhatsApp service, we are empowering people to access accurate information at the touch of a button, supporting those who require the services and making it easier for people to get tested.”

Facebook also has the Coronavirus Information Centre on top of the News Feed. This is to provide a central place for people to get the latest news on the pandemic. The Centre is directed to over two billion people worldwide, with information from health expert resources, such as health authorities and educational pop-ups to learn more about the virus. Since the release of the feature, over 350 million people have clicked through to learn more via social media platforms Instagram and Facebook.

The DHA WhatsApp hotline utilises Artificial Intelligence, AI, to strengthen communication with the public and give them fast and easy access to accurate and trusted information from official sources. To access the 24/7 service, users can add 800 342 to their phone contacts and send “Hi” on WhatsApp.

Also read:‘IPL shows world’s trust in UAE’

-Top News Asia News

Israel to ban mass protests during lockdown

The Government struggled to get the necessary votes after critics accused it of trying to stifle protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…Reports Asian Lite News

Israel’s parliament has handed the government the power to ban mass protests during the country’s second nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

Demonstrators will be confined to groups of up to 20 people and must stay within 1 km (0.6 miles) of their homes.

The law should have been part of a range of measures passed on Friday.

But the government struggled to get the necessary votes after critics accused it of trying to stifle protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, BBC reported.

For weeks, thousands of people have gathered outside his official residence in Jerusalem to demand he resign over corruption allegations and his handling of the pandemic. Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.

The protests have continued despite a dramatic resurgence of Covid-19.

Israel currently has the world’s highest infection rate per capita, with the daily number of new cases exceeding 8,000 last week despite the second lockdown.

Since the start of the pandemic more than 237,000 cases and 1,528 deaths have been reported in the country, which has a population of nine million.

Also read:Surge in infection rate push Israel to tight restrictions

EU News World News

Belgium swears in new PM after 493 days

Alexander De Croo.

De Croo is set to lead the country’s 7-party Vivaldi coalition of Flemish and Francophone socialists, liberals and greens…Reports Asian Lite News

Flemish liberal leader Alexander De Croo will be Belgium’s new prime minister. It was announced on Wednesday ,16 months after an inconclusive election.

De Croo is set to lead the country’s 7-party Vivaldi coalition of Flemish and Francophone socialists, liberals and greens.

De Croo will spearhead the Vivaldi coalition in steering the country through the aftershocks of the pandemic, and is set to face fierce pushback from the Flemish opposition parties, sidelined from the incoming administration despite making big gains in the election, reported Brussels Times.

The choice of De Croo follows calls for the country’s new Prime Minister to be a Dutch-speaker, since the last PM to lead a full-fledged government, Charles Michel, was Francophone.

As De Croo’s fellow government formator, the Francophone socialist Paul Magnette, who leads the largest party within the Vivaldi coalition, was also tipped for premiership.

Talks are ongoing among parties on the makeup of the federal cabinet, which, according to Le Soir, will comprise seven Dutch-speaking ministers and seven Francophone ministers.

De Croo was elected President of the Flemish liberal party at 34, a position which he filled for three years before stepping down.

De Croo has been a Federal Minister since 2012 in the governments of Elio di Rupo (PS) and Charles Michel (MR), twice clinching a vice premiership position. He is the son of Herman De Croo, a former Federal Minister, Deputy and current President of the House of Representatives and the longest-serving MP.

Also read:Venezuelan oil revenue drops 99% in six years

-Top News World News

Venezuelan oil revenue drops 99% in six years

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but its oil industry is hobbled by US sanctions which have thrown the country into its worst economic crisis in years...Reports Asian Lite News

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that US financial sanctions have caused Venezuela’s oil revenue to plunge 99 per cent over the last six years.

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but its oil industry is hobbled by US sanctions which have thrown the country into its worst economic crisis in years, Press tv reported.

Maduro said on Tuesday that 30 billion dollars have been lost each year since 2015, adding “it’s impossible to imagine the amount of pressure placed on our economy.”

“For every 100 dollars obtained through oil sales in 2014 we receive one today,” which means oil revenues fell from more than 56 billion dollars in 2013 “to less than 400 million dollars last year”, he said.

According to Maduro, Venezuela experienced the “sharpest” foreign exchange losses in its history between 2014 and 2019. “In six years we lost 99% of our foreign exchange revenues,” he said.

The main reason for the huge drop in revenues was “the war declared on oil prices,” to “attack the world’s major producers,” he said.

With most shipowners and oil traders shunning business with Venezuela for fear of the sanctions, Iran has emerged as the only country helping Caracas bring its refineries back to service and cope with an acute fuel shortage.

The Iran-flagged tanker Forest, the first of a group of three tankers transporting some 270,000 barrels of Iranian fuel for Venezuela, entered the waters of the South American nation on Monday, reports said.

The two following Iranian tankers, the Faxon and the Fortune, are estimated to arrive in early October. They are together expected to deliver about 820,000 barrels of gasoline and other fuels, helping to ease shortages in Venezuela.

The same vessels and two additional Iranian tankers delivered 1.5 million barrels of gasoline and diesel fuel to Venezuela between May and June despite US threats to stop them, while the South American nation shipped a cargo vessel carrying alumina to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.

An Iranian very large crude carrier (VLCC) is expected to leave Venezuela’s Jose port with 1.9 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy oil for sale in Asia.

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza was quoted as saying that his country had learnt from Tehran how to confront the coercive US measures.

An Iranian supertanker that shipped the country’s first oil cargo to Venezuela last week despite US threats to stop it is loading the Latin American country’s crude for export, Bloomberg reports.

Arreaza also said after talking with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif via a video call that Venezuela’s historic relations with Iran are at their best.

Washington has sought to disrupt the deepening bilateral trade between the two countries.

Last month, the US government went on a full-throttle propaganda campaign, claiming that it had seized 1.116 million barrels of Iranian fuel because it was bound for Venezuela.

Iran, however, asserted that neither were the ships Iranian nor their owners or their cargo had any connection to the Islamic Republic.

Venezuela pledged to continue trade with Iran after the US announced new sanctions on Iranian official entities as well as President Maduro this month.

Also read:US can’t reinstate UN sanctions on Iran: EU

Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

‘Star Kids Have Benefits’

Raghav Juyal

Actor-dancer and TV host Raghav Juyal aspires to do a great role in the romance genre, but says he is not the son of a bigtime producer or director and is neither from Bollywood.

Raghav rose to fame in 2003 with his performances on the dance-based show “Dance India Dance 3”. He was then seen in films revolving around the concept of dance, such as “ABCD2” and “Street Dancer 3D”.

Is there anything else he aspires to do? “I am playing an antagonist in ‘Abhay 2′. It is something I wanted to try once, and it happened suddenly. Now I want to try romance — something like ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Tamasha’. I will try for something like this and give auditions. It’s all about the timing. I am not the son of some producer or director nor am I from Bollywood, so that if I say I want to do this it will get done,” Raghav told.

When Raghav Juyal wore his mother’s suit during lockdown

“Obviously, it is a benefit to be a star kid,” he added.

He says he gives a lot of auditions, which is good as he is learning a lot. “But you cannot take away the fact that Ranbir Kapoor is the greatest actor we have. I know that he has a Bollywood background but despite what is being said about nepotism right now, you cannot take away the fact. He is one of the greatest actors I have seen in Indian cinema,” he said.

“Abhay 2” had a staggered release over the past weeks, and all episodes will finally be available at once on Zee5 on September 29, when the final episodes stream.

Bollywood Lite Blogs

Radhika Doesn’t Care About Negative Comments

Mumbai: Actress Radhika Madan seen at Bandra, in Mumbai on March 10, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Actress Radhika Madan says she drew inspiration to join films from superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

Radhika was a well-known face in the television industry before she won plaudits with her film roles. She was seen in the television show “Meri Aashiqui Tum Se Hi” and also participaite din the reality dance contest, “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 8”. In 2018, she made her Bollywood debut with Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Pataakha”, and there has been no looking back.

“I was quite well known in TV, but I had to start from scratch while starting my journey in Bollywood. It was not that I got roles immediately. I had to give several auditions. I had to start from the very beginning. I even heard a lot of negative comments about myself. But those remarks did not stop me from moving ahead. I believed in my dreams,” Radhika tol.

Mumbai: Actress Radhika Madan at the red carpet of Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival in Mumbai on Oct 17, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

“I used to say to myself, ‘If Shah Rukh (Khan) sir or Vidya (Balan) ma’m or Sushant (Singh Rajput) could do it, I can too. Their journeys inspired me a lot. They all came from television background. I feel the medium does not matter. What truly matters is hard work,” Radhika shared.

She recalled working on her debut film “Pataakha”, saying: “It was not a typical Bollywood debut. The film let go off my inhibitions. From getting my hair bleached and teeth stained to gaining 12 kilos, the movie taught me the real meaning of my craft and made me realise how important it is to put the character above yourself. It was a dream debut. Working with Vishal sir was always on my wish list. (I) Couldn’t have asked for more,” Radhika added about her debut film, which also features Sanya Malhotra and Vijay Raaz.

Interview Lifestyle Lite Blogs

‘Animation Is Simply fun’

Anish Mehta, the CEO of Cosmos Maya

With demand for Indian animated content growing among global audiences, especially with children who are a significant consumer group for animations like cartoon shows, a home-grown animation brand Cosmos Maya, the creator of popular children’s show ‘Motu Patlu’, shares that it is an exciting time to be in the animation business. Anish Mehta, the CEO of Cosmos Maya interacts with Siddhi Jain.

The animation studio and Arbaaz Khan Productions have recently come together to adapt the blockbuster franchise ‘Dabangg’ into an animated series. This news comes right in line with the tenth anniversary celebration of the film franchise that introduced the character of Chulbul ‘Robin Hood’ Pandey for the first time in 2010. The show will feature animated avatars of all of the franchise’s characters. Targeted at kids and family audiences, Season 1 will be launching in summer 2021.

Anish Mehta, the CEO of Cosmos Maya – whose content is airing or streaming in over 150 countries on major OTT or TV platforms in 18 languages, speaks about Indian animation and how promising its future is, globally. Excerpts:

Tell us about the making of some of your most popular IPs.

Our idea behind most of our content output is to ensure familiarity with novelty. Implementing insights, we derive from everyday familial and social life that are relevant for kids in a package that adapts to changing sensibilities and requirements of our young audience. For example, naughtiness and clumsy behaviour is something which many kids expect to be reprimanded for and is often the subject of most kids’ animation, so ‘Motu Patlu’, showing on Nick and Voot Kids, subverted the trope by providing a set of adults indulging in such behaviour instead.

New Delhi: Popular cartoon characters Motu Patlu on a visit to IANS ahead of the TV premiere of the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards (KCA), to be aired on January 6; in New Delhi on Jan 3, 2019. (Photo: Amlan Paliwal/IANS)

‘Selfie with Bajrangi’ streaming on Disney TV and Disney+ Hotstar takes the fantastical power of invisibility and shape-shifting and provides the lead character a friend in Bajrangi, a junior version of a revered god who is known for such powers. We largely credit our business spread and market share of over 60 percent to this core philosophy. We are always looking out for arenas where we can be first innovators, such as the Dabangg animated series coming out on Disney+ Hotstar soon, which will be one of our first projects and a step for the Indian animation business towards working with established Bollywood IPs and provide them a creative and lucrative extension.

How exciting is it to be in the animation business right now? How has it picked up over the years?

Our company is in the remarkable position where we have only witnessed but been a significant catalyst to the growth of the animation and post-production industry in India. We have seen the transition of this market from a solely outsourcing-based service provider sub to and IP-rich industry. Additionally, more and more media outlets and business entities have come to realise that this medium helps them accomplish greater storytelling and advertising potential, as it works perfectly for the zaniest of narratives and visual mandates.

Animation is simply fun, being one of the first visual interfaces a child has for the world, and it is a sector that has proved resilient in the face of global calamities, which reflects in the performance of the industry despite an entire locational shift in the workspace of people involved. The projected growth of the sector is expected to reach almost $26 billion in FY21, and we strive to make the most of it.

Children are huge consumers of animated content. How do you create content around them?

We have a think tank comprising of people from the creative, business, sales and executive departments and concept artists, who come together to discuss and derive actionable insights from everyday life and how kids are adapting with the times. How life reflects in their worldview and behaviour, and what kind of ideals their parents as the content moderators want to inculcate in them. Our show ‘Titoo’ on Pogo takes the story of an everyday boy akin to ‘Dennis the Menace’, and delivering it in a tone and language relevant to kids today in a slice-of-life narrative. ‘Bapu’ and ‘Gadget Guru Ganesha’ take a similar setup as ‘Selfie with Bajrangi’ to provide known and respected figures as best friends/role models to the lead characters and helping them navigate through, discussing relevant topics such as social responsibility in a non-pedagogical manner.

Please tell us about animation as an art form.

Two things render animation its artistic status – that it adapts to nearly every creative requirement that a content creator may have of its narrative, and that it’s limited only by their imagination. Animation lends itself to the most randomly imaginative narratives and visual detail and nearly every genre of storytelling in a manner that is adaptive, conducive and cost-effective.

Anish Mehta, the CEO of Cosmos Maya

What’s the global appeal of Indian animated content as of now? Animation is mostly thought of as Japanese or Korean.

Our show ‘Eena Meena Deeka’ can be called to the stand to answer this. A non-dialogue show about three chickens and their battle of wits with a hungry fox, is one of our best performing shows in over 80 countries, and is one of the most highly viewed shows in Europe and Latin America. ‘Vir: The Robot Boy’ has nearly 11 billion views globally on our YouTube multi-channel brand WowKidz. From long-format to short-format content, Indian animation is catering to audiences across the world and is steadily creating its own niche. If the demand for Indian animation is going anywhere, it’s up.

Some new trends you may be observing in the industry or consumer group?

Thanks to the near simultaneous growth of video-sharing websites, OTT streaming and e-commerce, the issue of piracy is very nearly taken off, with financial losses on that front reducing significantly. Moreover the Indian industry is moving fast to make a foothold in the licencing and merchandising market which is the largest profit driver for the global animation industry. Cosmos-Maya is taking active steps in that direction as well, with advertising-funded modules being discussed with brands. Animation is being explored in detail as an effective communication touch point for business consumers.

India News Lite Blogs Travel & Tourism

Getaway To Indian Leisure Destinations

World Tourism Day: Jaipur, Goa, Kochi to be most popular leisure destinations.

Air travel taking a backseat, combined with the opening up of many state borders to welcome tourists once again has led to the rise in demand for domestic leisure destinations, as a getaway from city life…reports Asian Lite News.

According to a data-backed predictive analysis, OYO predicts ‘India’s Next Destinations’ that brings to light the country’s upcoming leisure destinations for travellers. Here are the top destinations set to power the country’s tourism industry back on track.

Jaipur, followed by Goa and Kochi are set to become India’s top leisure destinations in October, November and December 2020

World Tourism Day: Jaipur, Goa, Kochi to be most popular leisure destinations.

What’s hot for the coming long weekend: With October 2 long weekend on the horizon, the report reveals that travellers are opting for staycations across India’s beach destinations – with Goa topping the list, followed by the seaside resort town of Digha in West Bengal. Travellers are also opting for Jaipur, Pondicherry, Agra, Tirupati, among others.

Rise in pilgrimages: Interestingly, the report reveals that Indians will turn to faith during these tough times. The trend forecasts an upswing in demand for the alluring, holy cities of India, including Varanasi, Shirdi and Haridwar.

Road trips are here to stay: The data predicts that most leisure destinations to rule the roost in the latter half of the year are within a driving distance from mainstream cities, such as Jaipur and Udaipur for Delhiites, Goa and Shirdi for Mumbaikars, Mysore for Bangaloreans, among others.

Given the reality around Covid-19, leisure travel took a backseat to business or essential travel in the past couple of months, leaving little room for recovery of predominantly tourist destinations. However, on the brighter side, with each unlocking phase and the reopening of states, there’s a positive upswing for consumers aspiring to travel in the next three months. As per OYO’s consumer use cases, 56percent of consumers will be travelling for leisure while 43 percent would travel for business.

World Tourism Day: Jaipur, Goa, Kochi to be most popular leisure destinations.

When asked about their next travel destination, most respondents opted for Kerala, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan. Amongst these, 45 percent of leisure travelers would prefer hill stations like Shimla, Mussoorie while the remaining 55 percent of leisure travelers would prefer non-hill station destinations like Goa, Agra, and Jaipur.

The data further highlights that 56 per cent of consumers would travel via private vehicles to nearby locations, with family or friends, preferably between the duration of 1-3 days.

Also Read-BREAKING: CBI Court Acquits All Accused in Babri Demolition Case

India News UAE News

Fortune found a right owner in Joshy

Winning the Emirates Lotto has not changed the lifestyle of this 45-year-old UAE resident and electrical engineer from India. Not only that, he is also involved in a search to find people who need help in this difficult times.

Joshy Isaac from India was lucky enough to claim AED 500,000 when he and another winner shared AED 1,000,000 in an Emirates Loto draw on 13 June 2020, and since that time he has mostly helped others in need.

“To be honest since winning the Emirates Loto draw, my lifestyle hasn’t changed that much but I have helped people who need the money more than I do”, said Joshy. “My family in India have benefited from my good fortune too, but I also helped a friend by paying for some urgent medical expenses as he could not afford it.”

During his search for good causes to help, Joshy found a family in need and paid for the construction of their home: “Rather than donating to local charities I thought I would help a family in need to build a house. Security and financial stability should never be taken for granted, especially during times like these.”

Having lived in the UAE for 15 years and a father of three, Joshy has decided to keep doing the same job he did prior to winning Emirates Loto. “The UAE has been very good to me, and I have so much appreciation for Emirates Loto and what it stands for. I am so thankful to be able to have helped others with my winnings; I don’t feel hard times are over just yet.”

Joshy recently postponed a planned vacation due to the continued rise of COVID-19 cases in his home country, and like many others, has not seen anyone there for more than one year. He continued: “International travel has now become quite a complicated luxury, but I have faith that one day, we will look back on these times having emerged stronger as a global community. One has to crawl through the shadows, then stand in the sun.”

Emirates Loto is set to re-launch soon and continues to work behind the scenes ahead of its first draw. Emirates Loto will also continue to support communities across the UAE and beyond through philanthropic and CSR initiatives that are aligned with its corporate mission and values.

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