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Anna Burns wins 50th Man Booker Prize for ‘Milkman’

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Milkman

London, Oct 17: Anna Burns from Northern Ireland has won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her third novel “Milkman”. She won the much coveted 50,000 pound award for her timely, troubles-set novel about a young woman being sexually harassed by a powerful man.

Burns, 56, became the first Northern Irish winner of the award and accepted the prize at a ceremony at Guildhall here late on Tuesday.

She is also the first female winner since 2012, when Hilary Mantel took the award with “Bring Up the Bodies”.

Booker’s chair of judges, the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, said that the novel is “incredibly original”.

“Milkman” is narrated by an unnamed 18-year-old girl, known as “middle sister”, who is being pursued by a much older paramilitary figure, the milkman.

“None of us has ever read anything like this before,” said Appiah, announcing the prize.

“Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in a surprising and immersive prose. It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour.”

Written in lengthy blocks of paragraphs, eschewing character names for descriptions, Appiah admitted that “Milkman” could be seen as “challenging, but in the way a walk up Snowdon is challenging. It is definitely worth it because the view is terrific when you get to the top,” he said.

Previous Irish winners, including John Banville, Anne Enright and Roddy Doyle, all come from the Irish Republic.

Burns beat writers including American literary heavyweight Richard Powers, Canadian Esi Edugyan and Daisy Johnson, at 27 the youngest author ever to be shortlisted for the award.

According to Appiah, the judges, picking from a shortlist that delved into some dark themes, were “unanimous” in their choice of winner — and not influenced by concerns that picking a third American winner in a row could cause controversy.

Burns, who was born in Belfast and now lives in East Sussex, drew on her own experiences growing up in what she called “a place that was rife with violence, distrust and paranoia”.

As the milkman presses his advances on the reluctant middle sister, rumours begin that she is having an affair with him.

Milkman also spoke to the concerns of today, Appiah said. “I think this novel will help people think about #MeToo … It is to be commended for giving us a deep and subtle and morally and intellectually challenging picture of what #MeToo is about.”

First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading award for quality literary fiction written in English.

Its list of winners includes many of the giants of the last five decades, from Salman Rushdie to Margaret Atwood, Iris Murdoch to J.M. Coetzee.

The prize has also recognised many authors early in their careers, including Eleanor Catton, Aravind Adiga and Ben Okri.

No Indian authors were longlisted or shortlisted for the 50th edition of the prize.

IANS

India

President Kovind unveils statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Paramatta

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Sydney, Nov 22: President Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady Savita Kovind on Thursday unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Parramatta in Sydney.

Prime Minister of Australia, Scott John Morrison, was also present.

WeForNews 

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America

Trump grants new authority to troops to protect border personnel

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US TROOPS
(Photo Credit- CNN)

Washington, Nov 22: US President Donald Trump has approved a memorandum that grants new authority to US troops on the Southwest border to protect Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel from migrants if they engage in violence, according to the Pentagon.

Department of Defence spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told CNN on Wednesday that the Pentagon had received the memorandum.

The White House memo authorises the troops to conduct activities such as “crowd control, temporary detention and cursory search”, according to the memorandum.

It allows troops to use “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary)” in order to perform these protective activities.

While some have questioned whether active duty troops detaining and searching people on US soil constitutes law enforcement, the memo, which is signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, said that US troops “shall not, without further direction from the President, conduct traditional civilian law enforcement activities, such as arrest, search, and seizure”.

“On detention we do not have arrest authority, detention — I would put it in terms of minutes, in other words if someone’s beating on a border patrolman and if we were in a position to have to do something about it we could stop them from beating on them and take them over and deliver them to a border patrolman who would then arrest them for it,” Secretary of Defence James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

The decision comes as a large group of migrants is arriving at the US-Mexico border.

More than 2,000 Central American migrants arrived in the border city of Tijuana in recent days, and about 3,000 more migrants were estimated to be in Mexicali, Mexico, another border city about 100 miles away.

Until this new authority was granted, troops were not allowed to intervene if CBP personnel came under attack unless they needed to act in their own self-defence.

The Pentagon has been working for the last several days on options for how troops can protect CBP. There are 5,800 to 5,900 troops assigned to the border mission, CNN said.

Trump has said he will deploy as many as 15,000 troops if needed to push back against the group of migrants who are planning on asking for asylum.

On Tuesday, Trump told reporters that the troops “are proud to be on the border. They are proud to be defending our nation. And we are not letting people in”.

IANS

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Good news for Bollywood as Sweden government to cut tax for film shooting

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Bollywood movies 2017

Panaji, Nov 21 :The Swedish government is examining a proposal on tax cuts for foreign film production houses shooting in Sweden, which once approved could open the doors for Bollywood films to be shot in the Nordic country in a big way, Swedish Consul General in Mumbai Ulrika Sundberg said on Wednesday.

Sundberg was in Goa to participate in a special programme, as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman on the sidelines of the ongoing International Film Festival of India.

“There are a lot of opportunities around this… One of the issues is that my tax authorities have not been willing to give them tax cuts for production, but now we have a proposal on the table. I need the new government to take a decision on changing the rules, in which case we will be willing to give tax cuts. That will put us on par with other countries,” Sundberg told IANS.

She said that there is a lot of scope to host Indian film production houses in Sweden, known for its stunning locales, and that the synergy is not being tapped currently to the possible extent.

Sundberg further said that there has been a spike in the interest of Indian tourists in Sweden.

“I see the interest is there. I have seen major increase in the years that I have been here. We have seen 30 per cent increase in Indian tourists travelling to Sweden. They are all fascinated by the Northern Lights. They all want to go to the Ice Hotel, they want to see our indigenous people with their reindeers. So the interest is there. Now how you get the Ice Hotel into a Bollywood film, I leave it to Bollywood to decide,” she said.

The diplomat also described Bergman as one of the major ambassadors of her country to the world, a man who not only put Sweden on the international film map with his vision but also created a lot of jobs in that country.

“Bergman opened the doors and subsequent producers have capitalised on the platform that he gave them. I think…he gave us the key to understanding that some of the existential questions which he was raising were also relevant for a Japanese person or someone living in the US. That humanity is struggling with the same questions one way or the other…at different times in life,” she said.

The film industry, whose leading star was Bergman at that time, was responsible for employment of around 100,000 people in Sweden, she added.

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