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The lottery winner who dropped dead and other thought-provoking tales

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IANS: I refuse to buy lottery tickets on principle. But I still reserve the right to feel cheated when someone else wins. (Hey, you want logic? Buy a calculator.)

Mind you, if I ever did win some big jackpot, I wouldn’t change: I’d still be a bit of an annoying jerk, but I’d be one from my Learjet.

Lotteries are on my mind after listening to a shy but irritatingly nice reader whom I shall call Mr. Goody. He believes that a recent spate of news reports about lottery winners contain A Message To Humanity.

True story: A man who won a fortune on a lottery spent some of it on a medical check-up. The doctor congratulated him on his winnings — and told him he had only a few weeks to live. The winner went home, hugged his family members and died. That sounds like an urban legend, but it’s a news report about a New York guy named Donald Savastano. His funeral was a few days ago.

“It’s impossible not to see a lesson there about what’s really important in life, right,” said Mr. Goody. “Not money or length of days, but love, right?”

I reserved judgment, but he forwarded me another story, also from last month. A woman named Oksana Zaharov, 46 tried to buy a $1 lottery ticket but was mistakenly given a $10 ticket. Not wanting to inconvenience the shop staffer, she paid the higher price — and won a fortune. “See how the Universe rewarded her for being nice,” Mr. Goody asked.

I asked contacts for comments. A Delhi correspondent forwarded me a 2016 story about a young labourer from West Bengal who managed to find a day’s work in South India and spent some of his earnings to help a disabled lottery ticket salesman. His ticket turned out to be so valuable that he raced to the police station in Kerala and refused to come out for two days.

My Indonesian correspondent was more sceptical. “Lotteries give you a one in 100 million chance of not going to work tomorrow. A night out with your buddies gives you a one in four chance of not going to work tomorrow,” he said.

Good point. Still. I know people say that they’d quit their jobs if they won the lottery, but surely it would be WAY more fun to stay at work and misbehave all the time?

A colleague known for his scepticism sneered at my choice of topic. “More than 99.999 percent of lottery transactions are worthless bits of paper being exchanged for actual money,” he said. “Buyers get nothing but the questionable ‘joy’ of playing the game and choosing their own numbers.”

Right on cue, a company called Jackpot Dotcom sent a press release saying it has set up a subscription service. Lottery firms get buyers’ cash automatically every month, and buyers don’t even get the pleasure of playing the game and choosing their own numbers. I’d never sign up for something so idiotic. (But I’ll still feel cheated to read about the winners.)

I’ll give the last word to Mr. Goody, whom I secretly like: “I always wanted to win the lottery but one day I looked around at my beautiful family and realised that I already had.”

By Nury Vittachi

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via his Facebook page)

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2nd wave: Fears of slower global recovery, US polls to weaken rupee

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Wall Stree USA

New Delhi, Oct 31 : Fears of a slower global recovery due to rising cases of Covid-19 infections in Europe and the US will cast pressure on the Indian rupee next week.

Additionally, the rupee is expected to get weaker on account of uncertainties prevailing on the back of upcoming US Presidential Election which will be held on November 3.

“The continuation of the pandemic in absence of a vaccine is creating havoc and is playing out in the Fx market. The fear that economic conditions are going to get worse before they get better, is keeping the dollar strong against EM currencies,” said Rahul Gupta, Head of Research-Currency at Emkay Global Financial Services.

“Adding to this mood is the uncertainty of the US presidential election outcome. So, next week the chances of USDINR trading above 74 are higher and expect the spot pair to trade within 73.50-74.50.”

The Indian rupee closed last week at 74.11, its weakest level in two months.

“Next week, US elections will take centrestage. Democratic candidate, Joe Biden is projected to win the race comfortably based on the current polls and leads. Also based on the current polls there is a likelihood the democrats could win both the House and Senate. This will be huge blue sweep for the and that will drive policy changes,” said Devarsh Vakil — Deputy Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.

“Their stated economic positions suggest that dollar could weaken in the medium term, which could drive commodities and emerging market equities higher.”

Besides, major economic data points such as automobile sales figures for October and ‘Purchasing Manager Index’ will further guide the currency’s movement.

The foreign fund inflows into the country’s equity markets are greatly influenced by these macro data that show the health of the economy.

Consequently, the flow status of foreign funds also impacts the rupee’s movement.

According to Sajal Gupta, Head, Forex and Rates, Edelweiss Securities: “Just before US elections rupee and equity became wobbly and some people may have booked profits before the event. Rupee has weakend to 74.50 levels. It has traded comfortably above the 74 handle.”

“Expect the rupee to be volatile and trade in wider range of 74 to 75.20 with some more depreciation risk.”

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])

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Lalu’s son Tejashwi trying to secure his own place under the sun

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Tejashwi Yadav

Patna, Oct 31 : As the Bihar Assembly elections are underway amid hectic electioneering, one political leader who is toiling to secure his own place under the sun – away from the political shadow of his father – is Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav.

In the absence of his father and party supremo Lalu Prasad — whose oratory and inimitable style have catapulted RJD quite a few times to power in the past – Tejashwi is spearheading the poll campaign on behalf of his party and the Grand Alliance, of which the RJD, Congress and certain Left parties are a part.

By removing the pictures of his parents – former Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi – from the banners and posters of the RJD early on during campaigning, Tejashwi had give enough indications that he would go among the voters with a new image of a young leadership.

While his father forged a Muslim-Yadav alliance to come to power in Bihar, Tejashwi is talking of going down the developmental path by taking along all sections of society.

While the opposition NDA is bringing up the alleged ‘jungle raj’ during the RJD rule in Bihar in the past, Tejashwi has been avoiding to join issues with them and instead talking of jobs, irrigation and education to woo the voters.

Even as Lalu Prasad, who is presently admitted in the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi, where he has been lodged since May 2018 after conviction in fodder scams starting 2017, may be giving political instructions to Tejashwi and other RJD leaders in the run-up to the electoral battle, Tejashwi has been adding his own elements to the RJD campaign strategy.

Given the huge crowds that are seen at the rallies of Tejashwi, it seems that his poll strategies are a success so far, remarked a party leader.

Even though Tejashwi, who was Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, may not have his father’s ability to take lighthearted potshots at his political adversaries, which has swayed the voters in the past, he has been delivering his speeches in Bhojpuri for the voter connect.

“Tejashwi may not have Lalu’s oratorial skills or style, but he has got his fingers on the pulse of the voters as to what they want. He also understands what to speak so as to make the youths at his rallies to clap. The promises of jobs and to take all along have been paying him dividends,” said an RJD leader on the condition of anonymity.

Political analyst Faizan Ahmed pointed out that by seeking forgiveness from the people for all the wrongs done in the past RJD rule, Tejashwi has given indication that he wants to make a fresh beginning in Bihar politics.

“There is no doubt that he wants to move away from his father’s shadow and prepare his own ground. In this, he is succeeding and making a connect with the electorate.”

Senior journalist Manikant Thakur said that though Tejashwi’s attempt to move away from the past RJD rule is commendable, slip of his tongue once in a while has created fear among the voters.

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Who is Preetika Chauhan? Everything to know about ‘Savdhaan India’ actress arrested by NCB

Saavdhan India’ actress Preetika Chauhan (30) was among one of the people who got arrested after getting caught buying drugs. Here’s everything about her!

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The Narcotics Control Bureau made two more arrests in the drug supply case on Sunday. ‘Saavdhan India’ actress Preetika Chauhan (30) was among one of the people who got arrested after getting caught for buying drugs red-handed.

Who is Preetika Chauhan?

Preetika Chauhan hails from Karsog, Himachal Pradesh. She is a B.Tech graduate and had made her acting debut with the film Jhamela, which was released in 2016.

She went on to play goddess Shachi in Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanumaan.

Apart from Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman, Preetika Chauhan also had appeared in a few episodes of CID and Savdhaan India. She was also seen as Bhudevi in Star Bharat show Jag Janni Maa Vaishno Devi.

Preetika was last seen as Goddess Parvati in Santoshi Maa – Sunayein Vrat Kathayein. Preetika was also part of the TV show ‘Devon Ke Dev Mahadev’.

The case is in the ongoing investigation in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case. The Bollywood drugs nexus case came to light while a parallel investigation was being carried out by the NCB.

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