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My statements ‘doctored and tampered with’, says preacher Zakir Naik

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Zakir Naik
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Mumbai, July 15 

Claiming that his statements were “doctored and tampered out of context”, controversial NRI televangelist Zakir Naik on Friday asserted that he was a “messenger of peace” and unequivocally condemned all terror and terrorist activities.

He also revealed that he was a “NRI”, enjoying residential status in Dubai, Saudi Arabia plus some other countries, and visited India occasionally, including during the holy Ramadan month.

Condemning in his opening remarks Thursday night’s terror attack in France’s Nice, which claimed at least 84 lives, Naik termed as “misinformation” that he had ever advocated suicide bombings.

“I have been preaching for 25 years and I have always condemned terror attacks, suicide bombings since in this innocent people are killed and it is ‘anti-Islam’,” he said, addressing an aggressive media via Skype from Saudi Arabia, where he currently is.

“However, it (suicide attacks) may be used as a tactic of war to save the country, but in all other circumstances where innocents are targeted, it is ‘haram’ in Islam and condemnable,” he contended.

Replying to a question on how his speeches inspired the terrorists behind the recent Bangladesh terror attacks, Naik retorted that he had many fans in that country who watched him on Peace TV, and he attracted 14 million followers on Facebook of which 25 percent are from Bangladesh.

“Even he (the Dhaka terrorist) could be my fan. I challenge the media to show me an official source in Bangladesh who said I have inspired him. The media has picked it up without confirmation,” he shot back.

Claiming that his speeches have been “purposely quoted out of context”, Naik rejected outright the contention that he supported terror and said he was being subjected to a media trial.

He said he had 30 allegations against him and he was quoted out of context and challenged the media persons to prove him wrong since he had the original unedited recordings and could easily verify the doctored tapes doing the rounds on social media networks.

“You have seen doctored clips and tampered statements. You should find out who is doing this, and by using my popularity pushing innocent Muslims to see the (doctored) clips and get influenced,” Naik urged.

“There are some other speakers on Islam who preach that when you kill others or non-Muslims, you will attain paradise. But such speakers are actually misguiding the people, misrepresenting facts and are anti-Quran,” he said.

To a question, he said he had never been summoned or contacted by police in the past nine days since the controversy erupted, but was prepared to fully cooperate with them for any kind of investigations.

“I am an NRI but when my media team informed me of the developments, I decided to come here for a few days to clarify my position,” he said.

On why Peace TV was banned, Naik said he had applied to the Information & Broadcasting Ministry in 2008 for downlinking, so what was the ban when only the downlinking permission had not been given. He alleged that the real reason it is “banned” is because it is a Muslim minority channel.

Naik’s Peace TV and Peace mobile have been banned in Bangladesh following revelations that two of the young Islamist attackers who killed 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, during a Dhaka cafe siege on July 1 drew “inspiration” from his speeches.

After three earlier unsuccessful attempts, Naik’s Skype media interaction finally materialized in a dingy basement hall in Mazagaon area, and at times saw heated exchanges between him and media persons, even as his PR team attempted to control the situation.

(IANS)

 

Entertainment

‘Skyscraper’ Review: A lowbrow, watchable thriller

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Dwayne Johnson Skyscraper

New Delhi, July 20: Film: “Skyscraper”; Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Moller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber and Hannah Quinlivan;

Rating: ** (2 stars out of 5)

Despite being visually exciting, suspenseful and entertaining, “Skyscraper” is a lowbrow, one-dimensional, fun B-grade action thriller that is absolutely worth a watch.

The premise is simple and the plot is predictably straight laced. Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), an ex-military operative who has lost his leg in an explosion, now owns a security company that has been appointed to service ‘The Pearl’, the tallest building in the world, built by the Asian Financier Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han).

Fit with the latest security measures, the building seems insurmountable, till a group of mercenaries led by Kores Botha (Roland Moller) try to sabotage the building by burning it down because of their differences with Zhao Long Ji.

Sawyer’s stakes in saving the building are doubled as his wife Sarah and two children; Georgia and Henry, are stranded in the blazing skyscraper. How he rescues his family and Zhao and saves the building from being completely destroyed, forms the crux of the film.

The film is serious at times with by-the-numbers, over-the-top set action pieces and a few little twists here and there that defy expectations. The audience may find the set pieces to be incredibly entertaining, but in actuality, they don’t particularly mesh with the narrative. But then, as an action film it delivers the goods.

Overall, the film is Dwayne’s canvas. He entices the audience with his jaw-dropping stunts especially when he is dangling outside the building with nothing but a rope and wrapped prosthetic leg keeping him alive, the notion of “suspension of disbelief” only goes so far to save it.

He and Neve Campbell, who plays his wife Sarah, have surprisingly solid chemistry and together they as a couple make the telling of the film relatable. The kids are there to tug you on the emotional note, which definitely seems forced.

Overall, the film delivers on pretty much everything it promises and even adds a layer of emotion when looking at the family dynamics.

In fact, it even tries to reach the levels that the original “Die Hard” did, but then the ridiculous dialogue at the end – “You nearly need a shower” belittles Sawyer’s endeavour and takes away from the seriousness of the events one witnessed.

IANS

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Google ‘Launchpad Accelerator’ India chapter to nurture desi startups

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google

New Delhi, July 10: In a bid to nurture Indian startups working in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Google on Tuesday announced to open the India chapter of its global “Launchpad Accelerator” mentorship programme.

The three-month “Launchpad Accelerator” India programme has been designed to grow the AI/ML ecosystem by helping desi startups build scalable solutions for the country’s unique problems.

The programme, based out of Bengaluru, will provide a cohort of 8-10 Indian startups mentorship and support from the best of Google in AI/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, web, product strategy and marketing, along with up to $100K of Google Cloud credits, the company said in a statement.

“India has the appetite to build entrepreneurs of the future and we are proud to announce a focused programme for the next wave of Indian entrepreneurs, who are using new technologies to solve the country’s needs,” said Roy Glasberg, Global Launchpad Founder.

Over the years, Google has worked with some incredible startups across India who are using advanced technologies such as AI/ML to tackle everything from agri-tech to language web, healthcare and transportation.

“With the dedicated India-only Launchpad Accelerator programme, we will be able to build a bridge between startups and the industry ecosystem and support them to drive innovation in the India market,” Glasberg added.

Applications for the first class is open till July 31 and the first class will start in September 2018.

In an effort to mentor emerging start-ups, Google India hosted a four-day boot camp for the first 10 Indian startups as part of its ‘Solve for India’ programme.

The India-focused accelerator programme is building on Google’s “Solve for India” roadshow from last year.

Ten Indian startups were shortlisted from across India which underwent four days in one-on-one consults with experts from Google and mentors from the industry to solve critical product and growth challenges.

“We shortlisted 10 startups from 160 home-grown start-ups by travelling across 15 cities in India, and are now ready to scale this pilot as a dedicated programme for India,” Karthik Padmanabhan, Developer Relations Lead, Google India, said at that time.

The participants were the founders of startups including Nebulaa, Slang Labs, PregBuddy, LegalDesk, PaySack, Vokal, FarMart, Meesho, Pratilipi and M-Indicator.

“Launchpad” regional accelerators are tailored specifically to their local markets, helping startups build great products, Google said.

IANS

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Fuel prices hiked for fifth consecutive day

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Petrol Price

New Delhi July 9: Petrol and diesel prices on Monday hiked for the fifth consecutive day, according to the Indian Oil Corporation data.

Petrol is being sold in Delhi at Rs.76.36 per litre, as against Rs.76.13 on Sunday, while diesel is being sold at Rs.68.07 per litre, as against Rs. 67.86 on the previous day.

While in Mumbai, petrol prices increased from Rs. 83.52 on Sunday, to Rs. 83.75 per litre on Monday, and diesel prices from Rs.72 to Rs. 72.23 per litre.

Members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last month, agreed to jointly increase oil production, which was estimated to be about one million barrels a day.

The deal, which came after days of negotiation, was reportedly aimed at easing fears of a global supply crunch.

WeForNews 

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