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Nagarjuna Akkineni To Host Season 3 of 'Bigg Boss Telugu': Sources March 20, 2019 12:58

After successfully winding up two seasons of the popular reality show Bigg Boss Telugu, now season 3 is on the cards and there are a lot of guesses making rounds about who would host the show. According to the latest reports, the makers have now approached Nagarjuna Akkineni to host the new season. Nagarjuna made his television debut hosting Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, the Telugu version of Kaun Banega Crorepati, on Maa TV. However, an official confirmation is still awaited on whether he is hosting Bigg Boss Telugu. The first season of the reality show, which was launched in 2017, was hosted by Tollywood star Jr NTR and had turned out to be a huge hit. The TRPs of the show skyrocketed, breaking some records as well. However, the star could not take up Season 2 as he was busy with his acting assignments. The offer then went to Nani, who hosted it successfully. The makers for the third season as well approached Jr NTR, reportedly the star also agreed to come back but then, the latest we hear is that Jr NTR has backed out as he is busy with RRR, under SS Rajamouli’s direction. While Nagarjuna is busy with his current movie assignments, the reality show is shot in the premises of his Annapurna Studios, which can also be convenient for the actor. On the film front, Nagarjuna’s next will be Manmadhudu 2, to be directed by Rahul Ravindran of Chi La Sow fame. The film will be bankrolled by Nagarjuna under his banner. By Sowmya

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These Stories of Rishi Kapoor to Aishwarya Rai Are Proof How Fake Indian Award Ceremonies Are March 20, 2019 09:56

If you switch on the TV and direct to some Indian regional channels, especially on weekends, you would get a glimpse of a large number of celebrities decked strikingly and receiving awards. But, have you ever wondered how real these Indian award functions are? You would probably have a voice in your head that says, "This star isn't popular enough to receive this award." While award shows are meant to celebrate talent in the Bollywood industry, they have been reduced to an entertainment event. There have been rumors since long that potent industry insiders have a say in the decision-making process and that some of the awards are even up for sale. There have been murmurs about how celebrities are paid a whopping amount for their performances and every so often they even demand an award for showing up to the event. There have been many instances when some of the influential Bollywood celebrities rubbished award functions as a sham and recently a report revealed how Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was betrayed at an awards' show in 2011. The actress was nominated for her breathtaking performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish and was informed beforehand that she would be presented an award. However, at the last moment, due to the demand of an influential Bollywood celebrity, her name was replaced. Instead, Kajol won the 'Best Actress Award' for My Name Is Khan that year. (Source: The Economic Times) The similar thing happened with Kangana Ranaut, who is known for boycotting award shows as she feels they're rigged. She spoke about her experience in an interview with a leading daily. The actress said, "In 2007, I got dressed up for some award, I don't remember the award but I was supposed to receive the award for supporting cast for Life In A Metro. I got stuck in traffic. I started getting calls asking 'where are you?' The hysteria and panic that I experienced, I didn't make it and Soha Ali Khan got it for Rang De Basanti." (Source: indiatvnews.com) She shared another experience from 2014. She said, "I was in the United States for my screenwriting course when I got a call from Filmfare in 2014. They told me I was going to get an award for Krrish 3 and they requested me to come back for just one day so I could attend the awards. I told them I am doing my course and going back and forth will cost me around 10 lakh. Because I would miss my classes, I told them it's not possible. They decided to give the Best Supporting Actress award to Supriya Pathak for Ram Leela instead." Ajay Devgn also spoke about how he feels that award shows in India aren't honest. The actor said, "I feel all awards in India are rigged. You know how the business operates, it’s a money-making thing. They have to sell the function to the TV channel, promising that big stars will turn up. So, whichever star says they’ll come and perform, gets the award. I haven’t been to an award function in 15 years. Even Aamir Khan doesn’t go. They are such a farce." He also confessed that he fooled the organizers of an award show one time. "I kept telling them that I’d be there till the last moment. I never turned up, but I got three awards." (Source: Filmfare) In February 2016, Rishi Kapoor bragged about buying a Filmfare Award for Best Actor. He told The Quint, "I have no hesitation in admitting that I was impetuous once. I had to buy the Filmfare Award for my performance in Bobby (1973)." He later told India Today that he coughed up Rs. 30,000 for the trophy. (Source: Scroll.in) Alongside, the organizers hinge on heavily on celebrity turnout as that's how they attract sponsors. -Sangam Sowmya        

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Whoop It up This Holi with Events near You in the United States March 20, 2019 09:01

Holi, the Hindu spring festival is a day away to revel and despite the fact that scores of Indians leading their lives in foreign parts they still would come across the essence of the festival as untold will be taking place across the world.The events will be filled with nonstop live music from great bands, yoga, mantras, dance, cuisine, and the throwing of colors. For Indians and Holi enthusiasts living in the United States, we are here to let you know the Holi events near you: Festival of Colors in Phoenix, Arizona Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019Location: 2804 W Maryland Ave Phoenix, AZ 85017 Know moreFestival of Colors in San Fernando Valley, California Date: Saturday, April 6, 2019Location: Woodley Park6100 Woodley AvenueVan Nuys, CA 91406 Register hereFestival of Colors in Las Vegas, Nevada Date: Saturday, April 13, 2019Location: Sunset Park  2601 East Sunset RoadLas Vegas, NV 89120Register hereFestival of Colors in Chicago, Illinois Date: March 23, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - March 24, 2019, 11:00 a.m. (UTC)Location: Aon Grand Ballroom, 840 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611Register hereFestival of Colors in Andover, MassachusettsDate: Sunday, March 31, 2019Location: Raagini indian bistro209 North Main Street,Andover, MA 01810Register here Festival of Colors in Washington, D.C.Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019Location: Karma DC2221 Adams Place Northeast,Washington, DC 20018Know moreFestival of Colors in South El Monte, California Date: Sunday, March 24, 2019Location: Whittier Narrows Recreation Area750 Santa Anita Ave,South El Monte, CA 91733 Register hereFestival of Colors in Chicago, Illinois Date: Friday, March 22, 2019Location: Ovie Bar & Grill120 N Canal St 60661,Chicago, IL 60606Register hereFestival of Colors in Centreville, Virginia Date: Sunday, April 28, 2019Location: Bull Run Regional Park7700 Bull Run Dr,Centreville, VA 20121Register hereBy Sowmya Sangam

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Brian Ellis Resigns After Being Accused of Raping Woman Back in 2015 March 20, 2019 12:25

Brian Ellis, a Pennsylvania state representative resigned on Monday, days after he was accused of having sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent. The Republican submitted his resignation to the House speaker. Earlier this week, a woman whose work involves the General Assembly alleged that Ellis raped her in 2015. Ellis has not been charged with a crime yet."It is with immense gratitude to the sacrifices made by my family, the support of my constituents, and the friendship of my colleagues that I have concluded that it is in the best interest of my family, the residents of the 11th House district, and my own health that I resign from the General Assembly," Ellis wrote in his resignation letter. "This is an acknowledgment of the credibility of the allegation," the woman's lawyer told NBC News.According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, House Republicans in January had asked Ellis to resign after the Dauphin County district attorney initiated an investigation into allegations that he had sex with a woman without her acceptance. The woman said that she had been out at a piano bar with a friend and then at a fundraising event for a politician before blacking out in October 2015."I woke up in pain, injured and naked the next morning in the bed of Representative Ellis,” the woman claimed. She wrote in the memo to a House Republican lawyer that Ellis told her they had sex, and she responded she would never have done that. "He smugly replied, ‘I always knew we would,'” she wrote. She said she has no memory of having sex with Ellis.By Sowmya Sangam

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Devyani Khobragade’s Strip-Search Could Have and Should Have Been Avoided: Preet Bharara in Her New Book March 20, 2019 06:48

The Indian American former attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, in her new book has acknowledged that the strip-search which Indian diplomat was subject to following her arrest in 2013 for alleged visa fraud "could have and should have been avoided".In a new book titled 'Doing Justice - A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment and the Rule of Law,' Bharara writes about Khobragade's arrest and charges filed against her.The occurrence had triggered a major diplomatic row between India and the United States and plummeted bilateral relations to a new low.Bharara writes in his book that in 2013, the State Department "arrested a mid-level female Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, for visa fraud in connection with lies about what she would pay her domestic worker."He said the Southern District of New York had agreed to prosecute the case, at the State Department's 'explicit request"."It was not the crime of the century but a serious offense nonetheless and a burgeoning problem among the diplomatic corps in the United States. That's why the State Department opened the case; that's why the State Department investigated it; that's why the career agents in the State Department asked career prosecutors in my office to approve criminal charges," he writes.There was outrage in India over the arrest of Khobragade, who was then the country's Deputy Consul General in New York, and reports that she had been strip-searched furthered caused anger in India."Khobragade was afforded a number of courtesies during the course of her arrest, because of her diplomatic status, but she was strip-searched per regular procedure by the United States Marshals Service in the SDNY.That could have and should have been avoided, given that no one would have sought pretrial detention," Bharara writes.The admission that Khobragade's strip-search could and should have been avoided is the first by a former top prosecutor who had handled the case.Bharara said in the book that Khobragade's arrest had caused an international incident.In the days following Khobragade's arrest and indictment, in a retaliatory action, India removed security barriers from outside the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.Devyani Khobragade Incident Devyani Khobragade, on December 11, 2013, then the Deputy Consul General of the Consulate General of India in New York City, the U.S. authorities charged her with committing visa fraud and providing false statements with an intent to gain entry to the United States for Sangeeta Richard, a woman of Indian nationality, for employment as a domestic worker for Khobragade in New York In addition, she was charged with failing to pay the domestic worker a minimum wage. Her arrest and treatment have received much media attention especially in India and triggered a major diplomatic standoff between India and the United States.By Sowmya Sangam

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Election Commission Asks Social Media Platforms To Come Up With ‘Code Of Ethics’ March 20, 2019 06:13

Election Commision held a meeting with officials of Social Media Platforms and also Internet and Mobile Association of India on the usage of Social Media ahead of the Lok Sabha Polls. They agreed to come up with a ‘Code of Ethics’ for the Industry laying down operational details by today evening.   Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora speaking to officials said that  Model Code of Conduct as a unique and historic document which is followed by all political parties /entities from the date of declaration of schedule of elections till the election process is concluded, official statement said.“This Code is the outcome of consensus evolved amongst the different Political Parties and ECI. In fact, more often than not, this Code has obviated the need for application of more stringent provisions of law,” he said. He urged the Social Media companies, who are formidable force-multipliers, to come up with a similar Code for the ongoing election process in the immediate context and a lasting document in the long run.Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said that today's has been a momentous meeting for evolution of ‘behaviour’ of Social Media platforms on Social Media.He said that voluntary restraint is a hallmark of civilized society and works as effectively as any regulation. He suggested that a clear clause on users' voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes should be considered by the management.Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra reminded the representatives that Election Commission of India is committed to ethical, free & fair elections.He reiterated that role of social media in helping spread information as well as curbing misinformation cannot be underestimated.He added that deterrents like some punitive action against users misusing the platform should be considered pro-actively. Chandra said that a participative approach from the social media platforms would greatly help ECI meet its objectives.The meeting was centered on discussing issues like appointment of dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by the organizations, pre-certification and transparency in expenditure of political advertisements.The meeting also focused on evolving a notification mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of R.P. Act, 1951 and preventing misuse of these platforms, ECI statement said.The following meeting was attended by the industry head Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and representatives from social media organizations such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok and BigoTV.By Sai Kumar

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Delaware Declares April 2019 as ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’ March 20, 2019 04:12

Delaware governor John Carney has signed an executive proclamation naming April 2019 as the "Delaware Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month" in recognition of the contribution of the Sikh community in the economic and social milieu of the state. Throughout April, the public will be educated about what Sikhism. In his proclamation on Tuesday, Carney said the contribution of Sikh-Americans to Delaware and the United States has been immense.Earlier, the Delaware House of Representatives and the Senate simultaneously passed unanimous resolutions proclaiming April as ‘Delaware Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’. The move is significant as the state has a small Sikh population.This year's resolution is especially meaningful because it comes in the 550th birth year of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak, Delaware Sikh Awareness Coalition (DSAC) chairman Charanjeet Singh Minhas said.Before the resolution was introduced in the state legislature, the DSAC had sponsored an interfaith luncheon session and a presentation that discussed the universal aspects of Guru Nanak's teaching and their relevance today."On a work day, during working hours, it was amazing to see the participation of close to 100 guests," Minhas said.Attendees included Anurag Kumar, Indian Embassy's minister of community affairs, as well as interfaith leaders and members from Delaware's Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities.According to the resolution, since September 11, 2001, nationally, Sikhs have been subject to school harassment, employment discrimination, and fatal shootings, including the murder of six Sikhs in the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara shooting on August 5, 2012.By Sowmya Sangam

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Holi 2019: Celebrate This Holi With These Six DIY Natural Holi Colors That Are Benign and Healthy for Skin March 19, 2019 12:51

Holi without colors is to no purpose. Since many colors that are detrimental entering the market, the call for natural colors has surpassed. At one time, Holi was played with natural colors, sourced from plants, flowers, and kitchen ingredients. But the artificial colors that we by and large use these days can lead to many side effects, especially if they stay on the skin for too long or enter the eyes and nose. Here we are to your rescue with 5 Do It Yourself (DIY) colors you can make at home from scratch.Turmeric for Yellow                       (Image source from: India.com) Turmeric is the best household ingredient for yellow color and it’s much better if it is organic. But turmeric is notoriously difficult to remove. Thus it is advisable to mix it with chickpea flour, Multani mitti or rice flour. In addition, turmeric does the skin a lot of good as it has antiseptic properties, which help treat many skin infections.  Beetroot for Pink                       (Image source from: India.com) For magenta or pink colored powder, you can either use dehydrated beetroot powder or beetroot juice. To dehydrate beetroot, you can leave thinly sliced beets in the sun for a few days or place them in the dehydrator. Or if you don’t want all the fuss, simply juice a few beets and mix the liquid with rice flour.  Red Sandalwood for Red                       (Image source from: NDTV Food) For red colored powder, use Raktachandana or red sandalwood. It is an important ingredient in Ayurvedic lepas meant for skin diseases. Red sandalwood powder is used for treating many skin diseases due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The powder is available at stores that supply Ayurvedic drugs. Red Sandalwood and Turmeric for OrangeFor orange color, mix red sandalwood powder with turmeric. This can be used in both wet and dry form. If you want a brighter orange, use more turmeric and if you want a deeper shade, increase the ratio of red sandalwood.Leafy Greens for Green                       (Image source from: India.com) For green color, leafy greens like palak can be juiced or ground into a fine paste for a bright green hue. You can also mix it with a little bit of besan or chickpea flour to make it easier to apply. For the dry powder, you can buy packets of neem powder and mix it with rice flour for easy application.Multani Mitti and Coffee Powder for BrownMultani mitti or fullers earth is used as a base for many skin preparations. It has a clay-like consistency, which can be mixed with other ingredients. For a rich brown color, mix the instant coffee powder with some Multani mitti.None of these natural colors is detrimental to the skin and the best part is that the shades don't stay on the skin for an uncomfortably long time. If making these colors are too tedious, you can always opt for food colors. Accessible in all the shades, food colors can be easily mixed with cornstarch, Multani mitti or rice flour.By Sowmya Sangam

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IPL 2019: MI Captain Rohit Sharma Reveals His Batting Position This Season March 19, 2019 12:35

Mumbai Indians Captain Rohit Sharma on Tuesday said that he will open the batting for team in this edition of Indian Premier League (IPL).In a pre-season press conference captain Rohit said, “My approach will be the same as it is for any tournament. I have in the past batted in the middle order and I have opened as well in a few games. Yeah, wherever the team requires me to bat, I have to bat there. We have to make sure we get the right balance and team composition,”“This year, I will open the batting in all the games. That's for sure. World Cup is one of the factors. But that [opening position] is where I have got a lot of success of late. The team understands that. We now have got some experience in the middle order. That allows me to go and bat at the top. I will try and open in every game possible,” MI captain said.Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma also talked about the workload management during IPL ahead of world cup.He said, “We've been on the road for the past couple of years. You have to listen to your body. If it needs rest, I'll take rest. We're here for the biggest league in the world. So we know our priorities.”Rohit also talked about Yuvraj Singh who is part Mumbai Indians team this season  “Yuvraj, as we all know brings a lot of experience to the table. He is a match-winner,” the skipper added.MI Mentor and Former fast bowler Zaheer Khan also believes that Yuvraj will play crucial role for the team in this season of Indian Premier League.“Many players go unsold. I’ve been unsold myself in the first round. Auction dynamics make you do that. Yuvraj Singh has been a boost to the side. We needed an experienced batsman who controls the game in the middle. Who is better than Yuvraj Singh to do this,” Zaheer said.By Sai Kumar

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U.S. to Begin Accepting New H-1B Visa Petitions from April 1 March 19, 2019 12:25

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would start accepting new H-1B visa petitions for the fiscal year 2020 starting April 1, while the employment start date for these visas would be October 1, the American Bazaar reported Monday.Similar to previous years, the regular visa cap limit for H-1B this year remains at 65,000. In addition, another 20,000 petitioners, who have a Master's, or a higher degree from the United States university, will also get the visas.This year may be extraordinary, according to many attorneys because of the continued scrutiny as well as some subtle rule changes announced earlier this year.In January, the USCIS introduced a change in the order in which allocations would be counted.The agency will now put all the petitions including the ones with an advanced degree in the regular cap. In the second round, it will select the remaining petitions. The new order is expected to increase the chances of petitioners with a U.S. Master's degree.According to the USCIS, the new change would result in an estimated 16 percent rise, or an increase of 5,340 workers, in the selected H-1B petitioners with an advanced U.S. degree.Florida-based paralegal Vishal Ghadia told the American Bazaar: "In the last six years, USCIS has received enough H1-B applications to fill the 85,000 cap within the first five working days of the month of April. This time, too, we can expect the cap to reach within five days and the number of H-1B applications similar to the last few years."However, some lawyers have said that an apparent crackdown on H-1B and the overall negative sentiment around immigration would reflect on the filings.Prominent immigration attorney Sheela Murthy told the American Bazaar: "We expect fewer H-1B filings since many employers are frustrated with the system and the administration that has its head in the sand regarding the shortage of high-skilled workers to keep up the momentum of our economy."In the meantime, Kansas City-based attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford said that due to "the administration working overtime to limit all immigration, there is an uncertainty to the H-1B season this year".By Sowmya Sangam

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