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Sri Lanka ranked top country for travel in 2019 by Lonely Planet
Improved train services mean it’s easier than ever to explore Sri Lanka but campaigners warn a surge in tourism could ruin its natural beautyAlmost 10 years after the end of its civil war, Sri Lanka has been named the best country in the world to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. Better transport links, new hotels and a growing number of activities were cited as the reason the south-Asian island was chosen for the top spot in the guidebook publisher ’s annual Best in Travel awards.“Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived,” says Lonely Planet author Ethan Gelber in the Best in Travel 2019 book, published today. Related: A backpacker’s guide to Sri Lanka: a one-month itinerary Related: Sri Lanka’s best food and where to eat it Continue reading... [...]
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'No questions, no excuses': the squad enforcing Mumbai's ban on plastic
Shopkeepers and vendors fear a hefty fine from inspectors who are tasked with keeping the Indian city free of plastic bagsAt 10am on a muggy October morning, Crawford Market, one of Mumbai’s oldest, is stirring into life.In a first floor office inside the complex, the feared “blue squad” has assembled, forming a semi-circle around their boss, Anand Shinde, who is pumping them up. At 10.30am, the phalanx, dressed in blue uniforms, hurries down the wooden staircase and hits the streets around the market. Their target: shopkeepers and street vendors using plastic bags.Our goal is not to punish but to make people aware. Don’t do it for us, do it for your children Related: Huge rise in US plastic waste shipments to poor countries following China ban Continue reading... [...]
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Lawyer fined Rs 25,000 for filing PIL to lower marriage age of men
Lawyer fined Rs 25,000 for filing PIL to lower marriage age of men [...]
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Rs 1.96 crore debt no bar: Luxury cars for Punjab mantris
Rs 1.96 crore debt no bar: Luxury cars for Punjab mantris [...]
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What lies behind Alok Verma vs Rakesh Asthana fight in CBI, explained in 10 points
What lies behind Alok Verma vs Rakesh Asthana fight in CBI, explained in 10 points [...]
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Pentagon confirms US general shot in Afghanistan Taliban attack
Brig Gen Jeffrey Smiley wounded at Kandahar compoundTwo senior provincial officials assassinated The Pentagon has confirmed that a US general was shot and wounded in a Taliban attack that killed two Afghan leaders in Kandahar province this week. Related: Afghanistan postpones Kandahar elections after police chief killed Continue reading... [...]
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Amritsar train tragedy: Justice remains elusive, police evict protesters from accident site
Amritsar train tragedy: Justice remains elusive, police evict protesters from accident site [...]
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Afghans go to polls amid violence and corruption claims
Three police officers killed in Kabul and problems reported with biometric systemVoters in Afghanistan are heading to the polls in parliamentary elections overshadowed by chaotic organisation, corruption allegations and violence that has forced a postponement of the vote in the southern province of Kandahar.Several security incidents marred polling day, and three police officers were killed and at least eight people wounded in explosions in Kabul. There were clashes between Taliban fighters and members the security forces in at least three provinces. Continue reading... [...]
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I am 78, please expedite harassment case against me, RK Pachauri tells court
I am 78, please expedite harassment case against me, RK Pachauri tells court [...]
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At least 50 killed after train ploughs into crowd in India – video
Dozens of people died in northern India when a train ploughed into a  group of people who had gathered to watch fireworks during a religious festival. The victims were standing on the tracks on the outskirts of Amritsar and did not hear the train approaching At least 50 dead as train hits crowd watching fireworks in India Continue reading... [...]
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At least 50 dead as train hits crowd watching fireworks in India
Victims were stood on tracks during festival in Amritsar, says a Congress party leader A speeding train has run over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India, killing at least 50 people, according to a Congress party leader.Pratap Singh Bajwa said the train had failed to stop after the accident on the outskirts of Amritsar, Punjab. Continue reading... [...]
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'It's a miracle': the scheme ending abuse against women in Tajikistan
For 22 years, Rano Mahmurodova was violently abused by her husband. A groundbreaking new project changed everythingThe change in behaviour of Rano Mahmurodova’s husband was nothing short of a “miracle”.Married at 18, the 42-year-old had spent more than two decades being physically and verbally assaulted by her husband, who was fuelled by drink, drugs and unemployment.I feel we are a family now. I didn’t feel that before Related: Afghan women still jailed alongside murderers for 'failing' virginity test | Fariba Housaini Continue reading... [...]
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Brother of Aung San Suu Kyi fights to sell symbolic site of her house arrest
Myanmar leader’s relative launches court bid, saying ‘I already let her live for free for 12 years’The crumbling lakeside villa, which served as Aung San Suu Kyi’s prison for 15 years during her house arrest, has become the source of a bitter family dispute between the Myanmar state counsellor and her brother.Aung San Suu Kyi’s estranged older brother, Aung San Oo, an engineer who lives in the US, has submitted an appeal at the supreme court, petitioning for the auction of the home and a share of the proceeds. Continue reading... [...]
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'I'm more valued than before': women in Tajikistan get a new lease of life – in pictures
Physical and sexual violence against women is commonplace in Tajikistan, but a project designed to address the issue has produced remarkable results• All photographs by Anisa Sabiri for the Guardian Continue reading... [...]
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Kandahar election postponed after police chief's killing
Election commissioners recommend suspension after Abdul Raziq shot deadSaturday’s parliamentary election in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar has been postponed for a week following the assassination of the powerful local police chief.The national security council approved the recommendation by the Afghan electoral commission on Friday, dealing a severe blow to an election process already bedevilled by security threats as well as technical and organisational problems. Continue reading... [...]
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So close yet so far: 2 women return from Sabarimala doorstep
So close yet so far: 2 women return from Sabarimala doorstep [...]
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Relief for customers on Dussehra as petrol, diesel prices fall in major cities
Relief for customers on Dussehra as petrol, diesel prices fall in major cities [...]
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Top Afghan power broker killed in Kandahar shooting
Abdul Raziq was controversial figure accused of rights abuses but seen as bulwark against TalibanThe most important power broker in southern Afghanistan has been shot dead along with at least one other senior official days before parliamentary elections, leaving a security vacuum in the Taliban’s heartland.The gunman, part of the governor’s elite bodyguard, wiped out much of the leadership in Kandahar province, the birthplace of the insurgent group, as they emerged from a meeting. Continue reading... [...]
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DJ Mim Shaikh on finding his dad: ‘I wanted the Disney ending so much’
The 1Xtra presenter didn’t remember his father, and everything he had heard about him was bad. So why was he so driven to track him down?Mim Shaikh is explaining why he went looking for his father. “My nan always said to me that when you turn 25, you become a real man,” the the BBC 1Xtra presenter says. “That’s when you know your own mind and can make proper choices.”Now 27, Shaikh does seem to have changed in the past two years. He is still as warm and good-humoured as he was when we last met, but he seems more serious. It was the death of his grandmother in 2016, he tells me, that “changed everything” for him. Related: ‘I was reunited with my long-lost family on Oprah’ Continue reading... [...]
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Women vs MJ Akbar: Defamation case against Priya Ramani in court today
Women vs MJ Akbar: Defamation case against Priya Ramani in court today [...]
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Indian minister resigns over #MeToo allegations
Mobashar Jawed Akbar has filed criminal defamation charges against one of his accusersAn Indian minister accused of sexual harassment by more than 20 women has resigned as India’s #MeToo movement widens.Mobashar Jawed Akbar, a junior foreign minister, submitted his resignation on Tuesday, saying it was appropriate to step down while he presses defamation charges against one of his accusers.As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #metoo Continue reading... [...]
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Tensions high in Kerala as Hindu temple opens gates to women
Protests intensify around Sabarimala shrine after India’s supreme court overturns banA standoff is under way in the south Indian state of Kerala, where mainly female protesters are attempting to stop other women from entering the Sabarimala temple.On Wednesday, the Hindu shrine will open its gates for the first time since 28 September, after the supreme court struck down an entry ban on women of menstruating age. The judges ruled the ban against girls and women aged between 10 and 50 as discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional. Related: Adultery is not a crime, India's supreme court rules Continue reading... [...]
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Sabarimala to open today, Kerala braces for law vs faith standoff
Sabarimala to open today, Kerala braces for law vs faith standoff [...]
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Ace strategist Prashant Kishor rises above the rest as national vice president of JD-U
Ace strategist Prashant Kishor rises above the rest as national vice president of JD-U [...]
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Died and gone to heaven? No, that's air pollution Bryan Adams
In the heat of the night, singer mistakes his silhouette in New Delhi’s toxic haze for something magicalA sea of fans with lights held aloft face a stage. Above them a dark figure hovers, silhouetted in the glow of the light. Is it a man? A ghost? No, says Bryan Adams, it is his shadow, floating over fans who attended a concert in New Delhi.“In this photo, if you look carefully you can see my shadow silhouetted in the dust and smoke of the venue over the audience. I’ve never seen that before. Magical India. Namaste,” Adams wrote on Instagram, sharing an image of a concert at Leisure Valley Park in Gurgaon, south-west of Delhi. Related: Delhi's air pollution is now so bad it is literally off the chart Continue reading... [...]
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Hindu nationalist-led state changes Muslim name of Indian city
Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, headed by hardliner accused of violence against Muslims, to become PrayagrajAn Indian city in a state led by a hardline Hindu nationalist preacher accused of instigating violence against Muslims has had its Muslim name changed to one with Hindu associations.The state cabinet in Uttar Pradesh announced on Tuesday that it had approved the renaming of Allahabad as Prayagraj, which harks back to the city’s ancient appellation, Prayag, before it was changed by Mughal-era rulers in the late 16th century. Continue reading... [...]
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How to beat air pollution? Stop burning the fields
Instead of contributing to smog by burning stubble, farmers are learning that waste products can be turned into profitDeep breath. Autumn in India is smog season, the worst time of year for some of the world’s most polluted cities.There’s a reason for this. In addition to everyday problems such as traffic, industry, domestic cooking and road dust, this is the time of year when farmers set fire to their post-harvest fields. It’s called “stubble burning” – a cheap and easy way to deal with crop residue that needs clearing for the next planting season. Continue reading... [...]
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3 arrested as UP cops claim failed plot to attack Parkash Badal rally
3 arrested as UP cops claim failed plot to attack Parkash Badal rally [...]
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