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No stone left unturned in welcoming Modi, Xi Jinping

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Modi and Xi Jinping

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government is literally leaving no stone unturned to accord a grand welcome to Chinese President Xi Jinping on his maiden two-day visit to the state on Friday.

The Chinese President will land here on Friday afternoon and at about 4 p.m., he will travel by road in his Hongqi luxury car to Mahabalipuram to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The two leaders will go around the UNESCO World Heritage Site housing rock-cut and stone carved monuments.

It has been learnt that Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and others will receive Xi Jinping on his arrival at the airport.

The Swachh Bharat programme is being implemented in its true form in Mahabalipuram and at a couple of stretches in Chennai with even small garbage being cleaned up, roads and pavements being relaid and walls being painted with attractive images and others.

“Wish the Chinese President takes a tour of the whole city so that the entire city gets cleaned up,” is the general refrain of the citizens here.

Electric transformers or power junction boxes have been covered and roadside shops are being evicted so as to present a pleasant sight to the visiting dignitary.

The airport is also being spruced up and cultural programmes are scheduled to welcome Modi and Xi Jinping.

An eight-feet stone sculpture of Goddess Meenakshi has been temporarily installed at the Chennai airport. The sculpture was supplied by Mayan Handicrafts, Mahabalipuram.

As part of the welcoming programme, students from schools and colleges and others will stand on the pavements waving Indian and Chinese national flags to greet Xi Jinping on his way to ITC Grand Chola Hotel from the airport and from there to Mahabalipuram.

The Tamil Nadu government has also organised troupes from different parts of the state to showcase the various traditional cultures of the state. The troupes are training hard here for the past two days.

They will perform on the stages erected for Xi Jinping to see while he is enroute Mahabalipuram from the ITC Grand Hotel.

While Modi will spend the Friday night at a beach resort near Mahabalipuram, the Chinese President will drive back to the ITC Grand Chola Hotel.

On Saturday morning, Xi Jinping will again go to Mahabalipuram by road and have discussions with Modi.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened at Mahabalipuram and Chennai. The state police have deployed thousands of security forces to thwart any untoward incident and CCTV cameras have been installed at several places.

“We were asked to keep our shops open during Modi and Xi Jinping’s visit,” Mayan Rajesh of Mayan Handicrafts told IANS. Mayan Handicrafts is a major player in the stone sculpture industry in Mahabalipuram.

“However, the movements of the local people are restricted. Residents have been asked to return back to their homes before 10 p.m. failing which they won’t be allowed inside the town,” another local person told IANS.

The people of this tourist town are happy as the town wears a festive look with new saplings being planted as road dividers. Also, the street lights have been replaced with LED bulbs.

“All the buildings located on the routes to be taken by the two leaders got a fresh coat of white paint at government’s cost. Further, the giant sized stone sculptures were moved with the help of cranes brought by the local authorities,” Rajesh added.

However, those whose livelihood is dependent on tourism have suffered a big hit as many tourists are staying away.

As part of the security measures, road traffic has been diverted from the routes to be taken by Xi Jinping for two days.

As Mahabalipuram is a coastal town, the Indian Coast Guard and the Navy will intensify their patrolling.

Fishermen in the nearby villages have been instructed not to venture into the sea for the next two days.

According to a local trader, Chinese security personnel were at Mahabalipuram even 15 days back and were going around like tourists, even buying entry tickets to see the monuments.

“The same persons are now coming as part of the Chinese official team,” the trader told IANS.


Entertainment

Swara Bhasker reacts to question on whether right-wingers are ‘allowed’ to have a crush on her

On being asked about the possibility of entering politics, Swara said, “I am still considering my Bollywood career! (laughs) so I would like to spend many years here before I do anything else in life.”

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Swara Bhasker Farmers

Swara Bhasker, a self-proclaimed right-wing baiter with strong political opinions, reacted to a man asking if right-wingers were allowed to have a crush on her. “Kya RW hokar bhi @ReallySwara par crush allowed h (Are you allowed to be a right-winger and still have a crush on Swara Bhasker)?” a Twitter user asked.

Retweeting the tweet, Swara wrote, “Question of the day!!,” followed by a number of laughing, thinking face and heart-eyes emojis.

Swara has campaigned for political candidates belonging to different parties, including Kanhaiya Kumar of the Communist Party of India, Digvijaya Singh of the Congress and Atishi Marlena of the Aam Aadmi Party. She has also been a part of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and even joined protesting farmers at the Singhu border last month.

In an interview with Hindustan Times in 2018, Swara said, “[The majority of] things that I have commented on, I have not said [or commented on them] unthinkingly. I think that I normally say something when I believe in it, and that’s why I don’t take my statements back. I will always stand by what I say, because it’s not coming from a place of ill intention or impulsiveness. It comes from a belief in something [ideologies, principles, etc.].”

On being asked about the possibility of entering politics, Swara said, “I am still considering my Bollywood career! (laughs) so I would like to spend many years here before I do anything else in life.”

Last year, Swara appeared in a number of digital projects. She started with the Amazon Prime Video series Rasbhari, followed by Flesh on Eros Now. Most recently, she was seen in the Netflix show Bhaag Beanie Bhaag, in which she plays a woman who gives up a cushy life to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.

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India

Anna Hazare to stage fast in Delhi for farmers; first meeting of SC-appointed panel on laws likely on Jan 19

Meanwhile, the first meeting of the Supre Court-appointed panel on farm laws is likely to be held on January 19, according to one of the members Anil Ghanwat.

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anna hazare

With protests against three agri-marketing legislations completing 50 days, Social activist Anna Hazare on Thursday wrote a letter to to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and reiterated his decision to launch a hunger strike for protesting farmers in the national capital by the end of January. In his letter, 83-year-old Hazare, who was the face of the India Against Corruption movement in 2011, said that he has written to the concerned authorities for permission to the Ramlila Maidan on four occasion, though received no response in the matter.

“On the issue of the farmers, I have corresponded (with the Central government) five times, however, no response has come,” Hazare wrote in his letter. “As a result, I have decided to go on a hunger strike of my life.”

Hazare’s letter to the Prime Minister has come a day before farmers are scheduled to hold the ninth round of talks with the Central government in a bid to end the deadlock. The two sides have failed to reach consensus on two of the main demands of the protesters: Government’s guarantee to the MSP and the repeal of the three agri laws.

Late last month, Hazare had written a letter to Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, threatening of the hunger strike if his demands, including the implementation of the MS Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations on agriculture, were not fulfilled.

Meanwhile, the first meeting of the Supre Court-appointed panel on farm laws is likely to be held on January 19, according to one of the members Anil Ghanwat. The committee had been appointed on January 11 after the government and agitators failed to reach on consensus on two main issues.

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Entertainment

Who is Jasleen Bhalla? Voice behind corona vaccine caller tune; check details

Amitabh Bachchan who has given his voice for coronavirus caller tune in India is now getting replaced by Jasleen Bhalla, who has even lent her voice for Delhi metro, Spice Jet, Indigo

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Jasleen Bhalla

Amitabh Bachchan who has given his voice for coronavirus caller tune in India is now getting replaced by Jasleen Bhalla, who has even lent her voice for Delhi metro, Spice Jet, Indigo and used to be a sports generalist at the channel before she became a full-time voice-over artist and has been an artist for over 10 years now.

Amitabh Bachchan’s caller tune has been in place for about 4-5 months and now it will be Jasleen Bhalla, who would be updating people with vaccine information which will be available from today onwards.

On lending her voice for caller tune, Jasleen Bhalla said that one day she had recorded this message, but didn’t know that it is being recorded for this purpose. And one day out of nowhere when my relatives and friends called they told me that my voice is being heard all over the nation and I couldn’t believe it.

The new caller tune will be active from Friday, January 15, 2021, and will be heard by people all across the nation who would be calling each other and have to hear the message about the covid-19 vaccination and it uses. As per Jasleen, it is a dream come true as everyone will hear her voice now.

Prior o this, a PIL was filed by an advocate over Amitabh Bachchan’s voice as teh caller tune, as he said that the caller tune should be removed as Government is paying Amitabh Bachchan’s crores of rupees for lending his voice, so a better person, a covid-19 warrior should rather be the voice behind giving the message.

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