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$1.5m sculpture for Sunak’s garden amid financial crunch

The 1980 sculpture bought by the taxpayer-funded Government Art Collection is believed to have been sold at a Christie’s auction last month for just over 1.3 million pounds.

 As millions feel a financial crunch in the UK, the government has splurged 1.3 million pounds (US$1.5 m) on a sculpture for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s garden.

The bronze sculpture by Henry Moore, titled Working Model for Seated Woman, has been sent to 10 Downing Street amid burgeoning cost of living crisis in the UK, The Sun reported.

The 1980 sculpture bought by the taxpayer-funded Government Art Collection is believed to have been sold at a Christie’s auction last month for just over 1.3 million pounds.

According to the Christie’s website, the piece of art “conveys a strong sense of maternity and pregnancy — from the gentle watchfulness of the woman’s face and her guarded posture to the protective nature of her arms and the architectural shelter she offers between her lap and shoulders to this, semi-abstract, embryonic and Jean Arp-like form”.

Downing Street said no politicians were involved in the decision to buy, The Sun reported.

With inflation hitting a 41-year high of 11.1 per cent in October, Britons have been cutting back on their spending.

According to a GlobalData for VoucherCodes research, Britons will spend 8.7 billion pounds ($10.5 billion) over the Black Friday weekend (November 25 – November 28).

A new MetLife UK research said 48 per cent of the people are worried about missing their mortgage repayments due to the soaring cost of living crisis.

The study further revealed that 42 per cent have no savings to fall back on if they found themselves unable to pay their mortgage.

Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty were recently ranked 17th on the UK’s ‘Asian Rich List 2022’, with an estimated wealth of 790 million pounds.

ALSO READ: Indians get top share of UK ‘worker’ visas

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#UniteAgainstTerrorism protest outside Pak mission in London on 26/11

The protest is being launched by numerous groups and concerned individuals under the hashtag #UniteAgainstTerrorism at Lowndes Square, London, at the Pakistani High Commission on the day of the anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, reports Rahul Kumar

The Indian diaspora is planning a major demonstration in front of the Pakistani High Commission in London to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. The protest is also to highlight the scourge of State-sponsored terror that threatens the world.

The protest is being launched by numerous groups and concerned individuals under the hashtag #UniteAgainstTerrorism at Lowndes Square, London, at the Pakistani High Commission on the day of the anniversary of the attacks.

India Narrative reached out to some of the organisers of the protest.

Medical practitioner Dr Vivek Kaul said: “This protest is important as the world has to be constantly reminded about the dangers of State-sponsored jihadi ideology and the havoc it can play with peace-loving nations.”

The protest also seeks to highlight the fact that justice has not been delivered to the families of the people who have been killed and injured by Pakistan-trained terrorists.

On why the diaspora is holding the protest at the Pakistani High Commission, the Indic Society, an online group said: “Pakistan is the only country in this world that not only uses terrorism as a State policy and strategy to inflict pain on other sovereign nations but also people residing within their geographical boundaries.” The group highlights how Pakistani armed forces have been regularly unleashing armed terrorists to create havoc in India.

On November 26, 2008 ten terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) set sail for Mumbai from Karachi in Pakistan and attacked landmarks including the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail terminus, the Chabad House, Cama hospital, Leopold Cafe and Nariman House business.

The attacks were carried out by automatic weapons and grenades. Lasting four days, the LeT terrorists killed 166 people and injured 300 including foreign tourists. Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was captured alive and hanged after a lengthy trial.

Pakistan has been sheltering LeT chief Hafiz Saeed despite being placed under the Grey List by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). A special anti-terror court in Pakistan jailed Saeed for 31 years for raising terror funds. China too has supported Pakistan by blocking India and the US to designate Saeed’s son Hafiz Talah Saeed as a global terrorist.

Moshe Holtzberg, the two-year-old son of a Jewish rabbi escaped the attack even as the attackers killed his parents. Earlier this week, he read prayers in the Israeli Knesset commemorating the Mumbai terror attack.

With terrorists and terror organisations wreaking havoc in India with support from Pakistan and China, India is upping the ante on State-sponsored terror. At the ‘No Money for Terror’ conference in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Certain countries support terrorism as part of their foreign policy. They offer political, ideological and financial support to them… There must be a cost imposed on such countries.”

Last month too India had organised a special meeting of the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) which adopted the Delhi Declaration on countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with

ALSO READ: Sharif says terrorism is Pakistan’s foremost problem

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Eggs thrown at King Charles, one arrested

The eggs missed the king as he ignored the man while being escorted out of the site…reports Asian Lite News

A 23-year-old man on Wednesday was arrested by the police for throwing eggs at King Charles and Queen Consort, Camilla, during a walkabout in York. He was arrested under the charge of disturbing public order.

The accused, a University of York student, was heard shouting, “this country was built on the blood of slaves,” and “not my king”, while throwing the eggs as the king and consort were being welcomed by city leaders.

However, the eggs missed the king as he ignored the man while being escorted out of the site.

The university said it was “appalled” by the images and would be reviewing the incident in line with its misconduct procedures, reported the BBC.

On the other hand, people in the crowd started pronouncing “God save the king”, while others bellowed “shame on you” at the protester.

Meanwhile, the accused remains in police custody.

King Charles III was formally proclaimed the King of Britain in the first televised Accession Council on September 10 at St James’s Palace in London following the demise of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II – Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

ALSO READ-King Charles offers Diwali sweets to Sunak

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Iconic London Eye changes colour to mark Diwali

It is interesting and noteworthy how the festival of Diwali is marked in different parts of the UK. Unique events range from cultural programs at a variety of venues to staff parties in the corporate sector.

To mark this special occasion, the iconic London eye changed its colour to celebrate the festival of lights recently.

Speaking to Asian Lite correspondent, organiser Ravi Bhanot MBE says “We are grateful that London Eye and the Diwali in London Committee helped organise the event.”. “It is amazing that Diwali, the festival of lights, this year sees the London Eye change colour to rangoli colours and also sees a man of colour as the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, on the same day.”

Lord Rami Ranger, who switched the London Eye colour said, “It is nice to see London enjoy the diversification of culture. It makes the country strong.”

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National Unity Day marked at The Nehru Centre London

Rashtriya Ekta Divas was marked by Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence recently at the Nehru Centre (ICCR London). An excellent cultural programme depicting the unity and diversity in art forms and cultural representations was presented by 14 performers, hailing from different professional and arts streams.

Author Amish Tripathi, Director at The Nehru Centre and Minister of Culture at HCI gave a thought-provoking opening speech emphasising the need to be united.

A rich dance ballet demonstrating classical and folk-dance forms of different regions of India was presented by Anuja Tirumalasetty, Arya Arun, Vilina Ananya, Harsha Rani, Lakshmi Aveen, Manju Sunil, Mona Jethwa Patel, Dr Prtha Dasmahapatra, Reema Virdee, Sreyashi Deb Roy and Soundarya Gokulnath.

Amish Tripathi rendering opening words

These performers are from various linguistic backgrounds and are also full-time doctors, IT & medical professionals, and business entrepreneurs who passionately continue to practise & present performing arts.

Popular multi-lingual song Mile Sur Mera Tumhaara was beautifully presented by classical singer Irawati Mulmule. Solo Odissi dance recital by Dr Pritha Dasmahapatra, Bharatanatyam recital by Arya Arun and Kathak recital by Priya Kushwaha captivated the audience.

In appreciation of their presentations, the performers were felicitated with shawls by Sanjay Sharma, Deputy Director of The Nehru Centre. The program is conceived and choreographed by Ragasudha Vinjamuri, Founder of Sanskruti Centre.

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Leicester Riots conflated to Hindu-Muslim rivalry

The Hindu residents of Leicester objected to the media not putting forth their plight and turning this into a Hindu-Muslim rivalry when it was clear that clashes had the characteristic of post-game events riots that dot the European landscape every now and then, writes Arshia Malik

When violent clashes erupted in UK’s Leicester on 28 August, nobody had expected it to conflate into a Hindu-Muslim rivalry. After India won the Asia Cup T20 match against Pakistan, a cycle of violence was triggered with clashes breaking out between young men of Pakistan and Indian origin. Adding fuel to the fire some Muslim extremists and radicals joined the commotion with fake news and rumours and threats, using social media to widen the chaos to sour diplomatic relations between India and the UK.

Depending on who was reporting, Muslim heritage journalists presented a biased one-sided view and used their pet scapegoat of Hindutva, RSS, and Indian nationalism to give cover fire to instigators like Maajid Freeman and Mohamed Hijab, UK-based radicals with links to terror organisations. The Hindu residents of Leicester objected to the media not putting forth their plight and turning this into a Hindu-Muslim rivalry when it was clear that clashes had the characteristic of post-game events riots that dot the European landscape every now and then.

Also, a mob staged a violent demonstration outside the Durga Bhawan temple in United Kingdom’s Smethwick in Birmingham on September 20. Leicester Police Department took charge of the incident and released statements of Hindus not being involved in any kind of violence while the mob had been dog-whistled from different counties and cities of England to converge on planned dates and behave rowdily. India and Pakistan have permanent fissures and the Hindu and Muslim populations in India have permanent fault lines due to the Partition; whereas there isn’t any significant Hindu population left in Pakistan. The little percentage that is left is often targeted for their faith and their daughters are kidnapped and married forcibly to Muslim men, often middle-aged.

That Leicester would then be a battle of narratives between the countries of origin was a foregone conclusion. The United Kingdom stepped in, and a UK-based think tank Henry Jackson Society’s (HJS) Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism carried out this research and published the report from their official Twitter handle. The 39-page report is written by Charlotte Littlewood. It mentions that influencers on social media spread a false narrative that “RSS terrorists” were to blame for the violence to persuade Muslims from across the UK to participate in the demonstrations. In a video showing himself leading a group through Leicester, an influencer named Mohammad Hijab with over 800,000 followers urged Muslims to “protect themselves against Hindu fascism” and wrote, “Muslim patrol in Leicester.”

The report debunked the narratives that RSS and Hindutva groups played part in the violent clashes, putting the wider Hindu community at risk from hate, vandalism, and assault. There was significant civil unrest from September 4-20 between ethnic minority groups in Leicester, including vandalism of property, assaults, stabbings, and attacks on places of worship, said the HJS report.

Littlewood insists the cause of the violence is a community cohesion breakdown pertaining to loud festivals, antisocial behaviour and a conflict between Muslim youth and Hindu youth stemming from territorial attitudes towards one another.

Commenting on how media relied on these Muslim social media influencers for reporting rather than going into the minor details of the incidents, Charlotte Littlewood noted, “The media has at times conflated the issue by regularly relying on influencers included in this report for comment and focusing on an issue of Hindutva extremism and India politics rather than providing nuanced and accurate analysis of the incidents.” Underlining threats in front of the local community, she further said, “There is a real concern that Majid Freeman is regularly being provided a platform to express his views regarding the presence of Hindutva extremism in the UK and posing as a ‘community leader, meeting with the City of Leicester’s mayor and discussing the future of the upcoming independent review.” Most notably, the report pointed out that on the weekend of September 17, marches comprised of Hindu and Muslim adherents occurred in the city, accompanied by chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Allah u Akbar’.

Fifteen arrested after continuing ‘disorder’ in Leicester (Ld)

In a statement issued earlier, the Labour Convention of Indian Organisations (LCIO) had said it was “deeply saddened” by the incidents of violence, which it fears is now fuelling religious hatred in the communities. The statement further read, “Having spoken to locals, it seems extremist groups are pushing 3 baseless narratives – that diversity in the UK has failed; the disturbances are being orchestrated by forces from India and historic differences mean that we can’t live together peacefully as one community.”

So in this age of social media, disinformation campaigns and digital warfare, the ancient Hindu-Muslim rivalry from the medieval times when Islamic conquests established Muslim rule and the Hindu population was left bereft of the control of their religious places, any event of festivity be it Diwali, Holi can be construed as triggering factors for the minorities in the UK, with extremist individuals like Anjem Choudhary of the Hizbut Tahrir conflating the issue to generate a false narrative of Hindutva forces disrupting local life in the English counties and towns.

ALSO READ: Braverman blames Leicester riots on new migrants

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India joins World Travel Market

After world’s largest vaccination drive, the country is ready for international tourists.  India is participating in WTM 2022 to showcase itself as a preferred destination for tourism…reports Asian Lite News

Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is participating at World Travel Market (WTM) 2022 from 7th to 9th November in London which is one of the largest international travel exhibitions.  The theme of this year`s exhibition is ‘The Future of Travel Starts Now’. With the reopening of the country to foreign tourists, after a gap of almost 2 years, this year`s participation of India is particularly significant. After world’s largest vaccination drive, the country is ready for international tourists.  India is participating in WTM 2022 to showcase itself as a preferred destination for tourism.

During 2019, the contribution of travel & tourism to India`s GDP was 5.19% of the total economy. In 2019, the Indian tourism sector accounted for 79.86 million jobs (direct and indirect employment). The consistent efforts of the Central and the State Governments has helped the tourism industry to gradually recover from the Covid-19 pandemic shock to the pre pandemic levels.

A total of 16 stakeholders, including from State Governments, other Central Ministries, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as the industry partner, DMCs, tour operators, hoteliers, travel agents, online travel agents, facilitators of medical value travel are participating as co-exhibitors in the India Pavilion. The objective is to showcase the diverse tourism products and services including Medical Value travel, luxury trains and the gamut of tourism products to the international business community. This year, the Indian delegation is being led by Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary (Tourism), Government of India includes Shri Rakesh Verma, Additional Secretary and other senior officials from the Ministry, besides representatives from the Indian travel and tourism stakeholders.

The Indian Government is cognizant of the country’s potential in the tourism industry and has taken several steps to make India a global tourism hub. During the visit to WTM 2022, the Indian delegation led by Sh. Arvind Singh, Secretary Tourism, Government of India will showcase the varied tourism offerings of India to the global tourism industry stakeholders such as tour operators, travel agents, media etc.. As India is poised for massive growth in the tourism sector in the future, this visit shall also offer opportunity to the Indian Government delegation to showcase the investment opportunities and potential which India offers to the global investors.

India is also gearing up for the G20 Presidency which is scheduled to start from 01st December,  2022. Under its Presidency, the country is expected to host over 200 meetings across 55 cities in the country. The G-20 Presidency will give India’s tourism sector an unparalleled opportunity to highlight India’s tourism offerings and share India’s tourism success stories on a global stage. 

The Ministry of Tourism is aiming to develop the tourism sector especially in the aftermath of COVID Pandemic to new heights and accelerating the transition to achieve sustainable development targets of 2030.

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Maha minister Lodha to attend wife’s book launch at Nehru Centre, London

Maharshtra’s minister for Tourism, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Woman and Child Development BJP loyalist Mangal Prabhat Lodha – a reputed builder and politician will join his wife Dr Manju Lodha to launch her book ‘’Ankahin Kahaniyan’’ at the Nehru Centre, London at 6.00 pm on 4th November, reports Asian Lite’s Rahul Laud

Big wigs from trade, industry, government and Indian High Commission offices are expected to attend the launch and rub shoulders with India’s Maharashtra state minister. Director of Nehru Centre, renowned author, writer  come diplomat, First Secretary, Culture  Amish Tripathi is also expected to attend the glamorous launch.  

Manju Lodha, a writer, poet, and philanthropist is the Chairperson of the Lodha Foundation which is involved in social activities. Author of 11 books , Manju is an orator and is never short of words. She takes care of Lodha Dham – a religious complex. She is the Founder of Gyan Gangitri Kavya Manch, which is the only women’s literary organization for the development of literacy skills for housewives in Mumbai. She is running 3 libraries, which include the world’s largest religious library with over six lac religious books and one ‘Mobile’ library. She has written 11 books in all.

The book ’Ankahin Kahaniyan’’ pays homage to India’s greatest revolutionaries and freedom fighters and narrates their emotional yet inspiring stories that laid the forefront of India’s freedom and constitution. “It is about all the heroes of our country, be it soldiers, warriors, kings, and sultans, revolutionaries, freedom fighters, politicians who have led the country through very tough times and steered the country towards betterment and who are unsung ,” says Manju.

“This book is an ode to visionaries that revolutionised India through social, cultural and industrial reforms and an amalgamation of stories that have inspired me in my journey as an author, poet and philanthropist,” Manju added.. From the powerful story of Savitribai Phule that revolutionized the Indian education system, to accounts of General Tatya Tope’s rebellious victories, this book aims to inspire the youth of our nation through tales that are left untold.

Later minister Lodha will be joined in London by his core tourism team from Maharashtra – Saurabh Vyas IAS, secretary tourism; Dr B N Patil IAS Director, Directorate of Tourism and Dr Dhananjay Sawalkar, Dy Director, Directorate of Tourism Tourism who will pitch to attract tourists and trade at the World Travel Market between 7-9 November  in London.

ALSO READ: Sanskruti-Veekshanam amazes audiences at Nehru Centre

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London all set to host 2022 Pilot Careers Live event

This year’s Pilot Careers Live event is being supported by British Airways, EasyJet and Loganair…reports Asian Lite News

The 2022 Pilot Careers Live event will be held in London on November 5.

Pilot Careers Live has been running Europe’s leading flight training events for over two decades.

The event will begin at 9am on Saturday at Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5 and will offer the chance to find out latest information about a career as a pilot, speak to leading Flight Training Organisations, watch live seminars, interviews and ask questions.

The must-not-miss event is being supported by British Airways, EasyJet and Loganair and will cover wide range subject including Training routes, Ground school, UK vs EASA licences, APS/MCC, Selection process, Job potential and Pilot and cadet welfare.

Event organisers, Pilot Career News, are committed to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and are encouraging delegates from Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to attend. To show their support, they are offering a 20% discount to readers of Asian Lite.

To get your discount enter the promotional code: ALNLHR20 on the PCL ticket page at

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We must starve terrorists of funds: Cleverly

The UK Foreign Secretary also called on countries to work together to fight online terrorism – including global terror recruitment campaigns.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly addressed the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee in New Delhi on Saturday and stressed the need to curb the exploitation of emerging technologies and starving terrorists of the vital funds used in terror activities.

Speaking at the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee in New Delhi, he called on countries to work together to fight online terrorism – including global terror recruitment campaigns.

“We have made tacking illicit finance a core pillar of our cooperation with international partners like the UAE,” he said on ‘Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes’.

“If we are to keep our people safe, we must comply with human rights and we must continue to work together and with all parts of our communities to discredit the narratives of hate, to counter radicalisation… to foil plots, to starve terrorist of the finances and the emerging technologies that they would use, to do us harm,” he added.

Terming terrorism as a global problem and a global threat, UK Foreign Secretary started off his address by thanking External Affairs Minister Jaishankar for using India’s Security Council presidency to focus on this crucial issue.

On the emerging technologies, Cleverly said, within the space of just two decades, terrorists have gone from circulating crackly voice recordings from the depths of Tora Bora to global online recruitment and incitement campaigns to live-stream attacks.

To counter this threat posed by technologies, UK Foreign Secretary said Britain also working with the G7 and Global Internet Forum to counter terrorism. “We continue to press tech companies amongst whom are also the internet’s biggest players to crack down even harder on the extremist content online,” he added.

Cleverly said his country has taken a host of measures in recent years to combat terrorism such as, setting up the Counter Daesh Communication Cell in London and launching a counter-unmanned aircraft strategy.

“We are funding new counter-drone technologies and working through the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum to ensure that we do more to stop terrorists from misusing drones,” he added.

It comes after he paid his respects on Friday at the Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai, to those who lost their lives in the city’s 2008 terror attack, including three British nationals.

During the visit, the UK Foreign Secretary announced further collaboration between the UK and India through British International Investment.

The UK Foreign Secretary is due to meet minister Jaishankar today to discuss the latest on the 2030 Roadmap, the landmark commitment to boost cooperation between the UK and India over the next decade. (ANI)

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