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Dia Mirza named Wildlife Trust of India’s brand ambassador

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Mumbai, June 6: Actress Dia Mirza was on World Environment Day on Monday appointed brand ambassador for the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), an official said.

Dia, an ardent advocate for nature conservation in India, has consistently used her celebrity status to bring conservation issues before a wider, more mainstream audience.

She has been the face of several pivotal environmental and humanitarian campaigns and was last year made an ambassador for the Swachh Bharat Mission’s ‘Swachh Saathi’ programme.

Dia has lent her support to WTI’s wildlife conservation endeavours for several years now and is a founder-member of the organisation’s Club Nature initiative, a statement from the WTI said.

“I’m proud to be part of the team that’s securing India’s natural heritage,” Dia said.

“I deeply admire WTI’s mission to conserve wildlife and its habitat and to work for the welfare of individual wild animals in partnership with communities and governments. In my role as brand ambassador, I look forward to launching and elevating the message of WTI’s next vital nationwide campaign, where we celebrate India’s mighty elephants through the Gaj Yatra,” she added.

According to Vivek Menon, Executive Director and CEO of WTI, Dia has been supporting their work for long.

“Over the next few months we will be launching our mega campaign to celebrate elephants across the country, and having Dia on board as a social influencer would be an eminent addition to our team,” Menon said.

Launching in August 2017, the Gaj Yatra is part awareness campaign, part celebration. It is an 18-month road show through 13 states; a confluence of local art, culture and imagination that aims to build a groundswell of public support for India’s elephants.

IANS 

Business

AI’s 76% stake sale plan crashes, other alternatives to be evaluated

We ran a disinvestment process, where we made it very clear what type of bids we were interested in receiving… We asked certain type of bidders with certain bidding criteria to participate.

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Civil Aviation Ministry

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The Central government has said that a 76 per cent stake sale process of the national carrier Air India has ended, as “no interest” was shown by bidders, however, it remains committed to the strategic divestment for which other alternatives will be evaluated.

“We ran a disinvestment process, where we made it very clear what type of bids we were interested in receiving… We asked certain type of bidders with certain bidding criteria to participate,” said Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

“No body expressed any interest during that process. So just by that set of those circumstances it is clear that that process right now is over… We have to move forward and we have to consider other alternatives, now as market conditions as industry circumstances change, we will evaluate all those alternatives but that particular specific process for the moment has come to an end, if need be, we can restart that or any other process depending upon the appropriate market circumstances.”

However, the government clearly stated that it is still committed to the idea of Air India’s strategic divestment.

Sinha added: “The government is committed to strategic disinvestment, what the modalities are and the circumstances are, we will have to monitor and evaluate as we go along.”

According to the Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu a few days back the Empowered Group of Ministers set up to look at the — Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism — reviewed the situation.

The minister, who holds the charge of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said: “… Because there was no interest we have decided to review the situation soon. In the meantime to ensure that Air India runs properly a plan is being prepared by the Air India management to ensure that AI continues continues operate efficiently.

On May 31, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that “no response” was received even during the extended submission deadline for the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) bids under Air India’s divestment process.

“As informed by the Transaction Adviser, no response has been received for the Expression of Interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India,” the ministry had said in a tweet.

“Further course of action will be decided appropriately.”

The government on May 1 had released a detailed document on clarifications sought by interested bidders regarding the divestment process.

The clarification document outlined that net current liabilities as Rs 88.16 billion (Rs 8,816 crore) and “these will remain with AI and AIXL (Air India Express) as these have been incurred in the course of business.”

“After deducting Rs 88,160 mn from Rs 333,920 mn, the remaining figure of INR 245,760 mn is the debt and liability quantum that will remain with AI and AIXL.”

As per the old timelines, the submission deadline for the EOI bids was earlier extended to May 31 and consequently, the date for the “intimation to the Qualified Interested Bidders” — QIB — which was supposed to have been the next stage was slated for June 15.

It was expected that by August-end, the government will be able to determine the highest bidder.

On March 28, the government had issued a Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) inviting ‘EOI’ for the strategic divestment of AI, along with the airline’s shares in AIXL and AISATS (Air India SATS Airport Services) from private entities including the airline’s employees.

The Central government owns 100 per cent equity of Air India. In turn, the airline holds full stake in Air India Express, while it holds 50 per cent stake in the joint venture AISATS.

Accordingly, it has been planned to divest 76 per cent government stake in AI, 100 per cent in AIXL and 50 per cent in AISATS.

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On World Music Day, singing legend Lata Mangeshkar’s tips to singers

I never could bear to hear myself. Whenever a song of mine would play on the radio or television, I’d quickly leave the room. If I ever hear myself singing, I find a dozen faults.

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Lata Mangeshkar

Mumbai, June 20 (IANS) Singing Legend Lata Mangeshkar doesn’t listen to much of today’s music. Not that she listens to her own songs either.

“I never could bear to hear myself. Whenever a song of mine would play on the radio or television, I’d quickly leave the room. If I ever hear myself singing, I find a dozen faults,” says the eternal songstress with a laugh.

Strange, coming from a singer who is known to be ceaselessly faultless. In fact once the great Hindustani classical vocalist Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan had affectionately cribbed: “Kambhakt, kabhi besura nahin gaati(the devil, she never goes off-key).”

Lataji laughs at this. “Woh unka badappan tha (that was his greatness). But any artiste, singer or otherwise, must keep striving for excellence, no matter how much they achieve. Nowadays I don’t see that ‘lagan’ (discipline), that ‘junoon’ (passion) in singers.

“I get the feeling they are happy achieving what they get to achieve in no time at all. No artiste should be satisfied with what he or she has achieved. There is always another sky to conquer beyond the one that you think you’ve just reached.”

The one thing that Lataji sees lacking in singers today is practice. “Riyaaz. That is what makes singing worthwhile. I never felt I had enough time to do riyaaz because I was in and out of recordings constantly. But I still made time to do riyaaz. Alas, not enough time. I wish I had devoted more time to practicing my classical singing. Singers today are losing touch completely with their classical heritage. An A.R. Rahman or a Shankar Mahadevan are so successful and long-lasting because they know their classical heritage.”

Lataji also warns against imitative music. “Re-mixes and cover versions of old classics are very lazy routes to instant success. Remember, a song that has attained a classic’s status is regarded so highly because it is of a quality that cannot be replicated. I’ve heard some of the re-mixes of the songs sung by Rafi Saab, Kishoreda (Kumar), Mukesh Bhaiyya, me and my sister Asha. And I cringe.Please, create original music. Imitation is not creation. It isn’t even art.”

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Alia Bhatt’s ‘Raazi’ mints over Rs 200 cr worldwide

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Mumbai, June 20: Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal starrer ‘Raazi’ has entered the Rs. 200 crore-club at the global box office.

Karan Johar, who has co-produced the film, took to Twitter to share the news, writing “A proud film! Rs 207 crore gross worldwide,”.

The Meghna Gulzar directorial, which minted Rs 32.94 crore in India on its opening weekend, was distributed internationally by Zee Studios International, releasing in 450 screens across 42 countries, read a statement to news agency IANS.

Meanwhile, the political thriller is Alia’s third film to enter the 100 cr-club, after ‘2 States’ and ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya’.

Based on Harinder Sikka’s book “Calling Sehmat”, the story of “Raazi” revolves around a young Kashmiri girl who gets married to a Pakistani Army officer and becomes a spy to give inside information about the neighbouring country to protect her own.

Co-produced by Junglee Pictures, the film also stars Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur, Soni Razdan and Jaideep Ahlawat in pivotal roles.

The film was released in India on May 11.

WeForNews

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