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Kangana wins Best Actress; Bajpayee, Dhanush Best Actors

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Winners of the 67th National Film Awards were announced on Monday, after a delay of around a year due to the pandemic. Top acting honours, for the year 2019, went to Kangana

Ranaut who won the Best Actress award for her films Panga and Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, and Manoj Bajpayee and Dhanush, who shared the Best Actor award for their Bhonsle and Asuran, respectively.

In a video on Twitter, Ranaut thanked the teams of both the films and said the award is shared by them all. Bajpayee, who is presently recovering from Covid-19, dedicated his award to his co-stars and producers who backed director Devashish Makhija’s vision. The names of the winners were announced in a press conference at the National Media Centre in New Delhi.

For supporting roles, Vijay Sethupathi won the award for Best Supporting Actor for Tamil film Super Deluxe and Pallavi Joshi was awarded as the Best Supporting Actress for The Tashkent Files.

The Tashkent Files also won director Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri the award for best dialogue in the screenplay category.

Chhichhore, starring late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, won the award for Best Hindi Film. Director Nitesh Tiwari told PTI, “I was not even thinking about it. I am still surprised,” adding, “On one hand, I am really happy for the team, on the other hand there’s this sense of loss because he (Rajput) isn’t with us.”

Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan won the honour for Best Director in the feature film category for BahattarHoorain. He said he was “overwhelmed” to receive his second National Award after his debut film, Lahore.

In music, Praak won the award for the Best Male Playback Singer for the song “Teri Mitti” from the period patriotic drama Kesari, and later took to Instagram to say thanks to his fans and the makers of the Akshay Kumar-starrer film.

Meanwhile, D. Imman won the award in the Best Music Director category for his work in Viswasam, saying it was “pure joy” to receive national recognition for Tamil music.

Another Tamil film Oththa Seruppu Size 7 bagged the award for re-recording mixer, which was shared by top sound designer Resul Pookutty and Bibin Dev.

Debutant director Vinod Kamble’s Kastoori was named the Best Children’s Film. He said the win was a “surreal” feeling for him.

Among films in other languages, sports drama Jersey won the Best Telugu Film, Kalira Atita was awarded Best Odia Film and Chhoriyan Chhoron Se Kam Nahi Hoti won the award for Best Haryanvi Film.

Producer Shiladitya Bora and director Abhijeet Mohan Warang also received a special mention for Marathi film Picasso.

The 67th National Film Awards were supposed to be held in May 2020 but were delayed indefinitely due to the pandemic.

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MUMBAI COUPLE FALSELY CONVICTED IN QATAR DRUG CASE RETURNS HOME

Preeti Sompura

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MUMBAI

Mumbai-based couple Oniba and Sharique Qureshi, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in a drug case in Qatar in 2019, returned to the city on Thursday with their minor daughter.

An NCB official said that the couple landed at the Mumbai airport at 2.30 am. The couple had been cleared of all charges after it came to light that a relative planted narcotics in their bag without their knowledge.

The couple was arrested at Hamad International Airport in July 2019 after Qatari authorities recovered 4.1 kg of hashish in their bag. It later came to light that Sharique’s aunt, Tabassum Qureshi, had used them to transport the drugs. The trip had been sponsored by her, the official said.

At that time, while Sharique was employed with a Japanese company, Oniba had just learnt that she was pregnant. She delivered a girl, Aayat, in jail last February. The couple’s family members approached the Indian Government, asking it to intervene in the matter.

Following this, the anti-drugs probe agency got in touch with Qatar authorities and the family challenged the lower court order convicting the couple. Eventually, the couple was cleared of all charges.

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Ceremonies and marriages to be held during the day in Haryana

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CHANDIGARH

In wake of a spurt in the Covid pandemic, the state government has come up with a certain set of guidelines and new directions. The government had already imposed the night curfew on 12 April 2021 and in continuation to it, it has been decided night ceremonies, Navratra programmes and marriages will take place during the day. Chief Minister Manohar Lal directed all the Deputy Commissioners that night-time ceremonies and Navratra programmes should be shifted to the day. The government has also issued directions around gathering at public places. According to new norms to control the fatal Covid-19, from now on not more than 200 people can gather in outdoor functions and not more than 50 in indoor functions. Similarly, not more than 20 people will be able to attend funerals.

“We also have to keep in mind as to what is unavoidable and what can be avoided. This time the Covid-19 spread has started from educational institutions so there is a need to be more vigilant, especially there. We also need to reduce crowding in public gatherings etc.,” said the Chief Minister. Due to the increasing number of Covid cases in the country and the state, we have to take strict precautions, he added.

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BOMBAY HIGH COURT CENSURES KRK FOR COMMENTING ON BHAGNANI’S BUSINESSES

Preeti Sompura

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MUMBAI

The Bombay High Court has censured Kamaal Rashid Khan alias KRK for his controversial and defamatory tweets against producer Vashu Bhagnani, his family, business, profession and projects

KRK has been stopped by the High Court from putting out any further tweets against Bhagnani and all his business interests till the pendency of the Rs 1 crore defamation suit filed by the veteran producer for ‘defamatory’, ‘slanderous’, and ‘distasteful’ statements as well as ‘patently false allegations on KRK’s Twitter and YouTube accounts.

As per the court order, an injunction has been issued, pending the final disposal of the suit, that prohibits “the defendant from publishing, circulating or repeating the allegations and tweets and/or making, publishing, circulating and/or communicating to the public any defamatory/slanderous comments and/or statements against the plaintiff and/or his family and/or his business, profession and/or his projects.”

“Social media is a very powerful tool which on many occasions is misused to defame reputed persons. Courts have time and again deprecated such misuse. This is yet another occasion where the Bombay High Court has passed an order restraining KRK from making slanderous and defamatory remarks against Vashu Bhagnani, his family members, his business, and his projects. This is the third court order against Khan in succession,” said Ameet Naik, Founder and Managing Partner of Naik Naik & Company. After hearing the matter at length, the court observed that the tweets are not criticism given by a film critic which is contrary to the defence of KRK and are serious defamatory and slanderous remarks.

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CAPT AMARINDER LAUNCHES KEY MSME REFORMS

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Chandigarh: Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh launched a fresh wave of reforms to further reduce the regulatory burden on MSMEs through rationalisation, digitalisation and decriminalisation of the regulatory landscape, thus enabling entrepreneurs to focus on expanding their operations in a predictable business environment during this Covid-19 pandemic. The reforms on removing imprisonment terms, building flexibility and reducing oversight in the labour rules, and pursuing a data-driven assessment of service delivery delays are all centred around making entrepreneurship easier in Punjab, said the Chief Minister.

Terming it the beginning of the state’s transformation journey, he said with these reforms, commitments had been set for future changes including rationalising trade license with shops and establishments act and removing imprisonment terms from 100 low-risk provisions in non-labour related rules. Besides, the Chief Minister announced that the number of labour registers will be reduced, requiring an entrepreneur to maintain from 60 to less than 14, and flexibility enhanced in hiring women employees. Discretionary powers of inspectors are being removed with regard to deductions related to the absence or leave which will be deduced from labour registers going forward. These changes will be incorporated in the new State Rules.

Further, to ensure timely delivery of key licenses and permits, as prescribed under the Transparency Act 2018, Government has begun a monthly data-driven assessment mechanism under the Chief Secretary to make sure not a single license or permit is delayed beyond the stipulated period. Going forward, it is also proposed to reduce the number of Pre-commissioning licenses & NOCs to start a business by at least 20% and the possibility of doing this entirely online being explored. Also, changes will be made in Land Use for starting new business and mechanisms will be developed for timely and hassle-free water, electricity and sewage connections. “These reforms are the start of a journey, and we hope to make Punjab a lighthouse State for MSME growth support,” he said, adding, “We have listened to entrepreneurs on the ground and we will continue to reduce the compliance burden to start, operate, and grow a business.”

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Punjab CM sets 2 lakh a day vaccine target for April

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CHANDIGARH

Even as he noted with satisfaction that the Covid numbers in the state appeared to have plateaued, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered strict enforcement of Covid appropriate protocols to prevent any super spread events, along with an increase in daily vaccination doses to 2 lakh per day, and a special control room to be set up for effective in-person monitoring of home isolation cases.

Citing figures on mortality and positivity, the Chief Minister said that the restrictions currently in place are showing results, and the same needed to be implemented strictly, particularly in Mohali and other big cities showing high rates of transmission and cases.

He pointed out that the state’s positivity rate stands at 8.1%, even though positivity in the age group of less than 40 years had come down from 54% (September 2020) to 50% (March 2021). The curbs, coupled with strong efforts by all concerned, helped reduce the percentage of mortality in the age group below 60 years from 50% (September 2020) to 40% (March 2021), and should be strictly adhered to, he added. However, he reiterated his demand that the Centre should allow vaccination for under 45 in areas with more cases since the UK variant is infecting younger people more. He directed Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to pursue the matter with the Central government while Dr KK Talwar stressed that patients of kidney and liver disease, who are under 45 years, should at least be allowed to be vaccinated.

The Chief Minister was chairing a virtual meeting with several ministers, senior administrative and police officials as well as medical/health experts to review the Covid and vaccine situation in the state.

Making it clear that there is no scope for complacency, he said the special control room with a dedicated team could utilise ANMs, ASHA workers, interns from medical colleges to move beyond just telephonic to more in-person monitoring. GMCHs should provide students to RRTs at District Level immediately, he further directed the Health Department.

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RAJNATH SINGH CONGRATULATES IAF ON ITS RESPONSE TO CHINA IN EASTERN LADAKH

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NEW DELHI

While addressing the biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference (AFCC-21) at Air Headquarters, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Indian Air Force for its befitting response to the “sudden developments in Eastern Ladakh” and appreciated its focus on “reorienting for the future” on Thursday. He also advised the Commanders to draw up long-term plans and strategies for capability enhancement to counter future threats.

He expressed happiness that the conference coincides with the birth anniversary of the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC. Speaking about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Rajnath appreciated the role played by the IAF in assisting other government agencies in their task, as per an official statement from the defence ministry.

Referring to changing international geopolitics, he observed that the perceptible shift of focus from Trans-Atlantic to Trans-Pacific has become more obvious in the recent past. “Changing dimensions of war would now include advanced technologies, asymmetric capabilities and info-dominance, and IAF’s future preparations must include these aspects.”

The Defence Minister emphasised the need to promote ‘atmanirbharta’ in defence infrastructure, adding that the IAF’s order for LCA would result in a substantial boost to the domestic defence industry and will be a game-changer from the indigenisation perspective. With ANI inputs

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