Dubai, July 3 (IANS) Ornate 24-carat gold canopies for the Guru Granth Sahib religious text of Sikhism, Italian marble on the walls and floor, stunning chandeliers and a five-star kitchen - Dubai's first gurdwara is a grand realisation of the aspirations of 50,000 Sikhs in the UAE. Gurunanak Darbar is a heady mix of spirituality, tradition, modernity, opulence and the determination of a man. On entering the building, one is in awe of its sheer grandeur and the attention to detail. A sense of calm descends as strains of "Tu Prabh Daata," a popular 'kirtan' or devotional chants, fill the air. As the ambience sinks in, NRI businessman Surender Singh Kandhari, the man behind the Sikh temple, walks in, urging devotees to use the lift instead of taking the stairs to the main prayer hall. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, who donated a piece of land in the Jebel Ali area for the gurdwara about six years ago, wanted it to be iconic. The opulent building is worth every bit of the 65 million Dirhams spent on it - a large part of it contributed by Kandhari himself. "We didn't want to compromise on anything. It has the latest Italian marble and best lights. I told the contractor I want a 100-year guarantee for the building so that our future generations are able to utilise it," Kandhari told IANS in an interview. "I told the ruler, 'Well, one can't surpass the Golden Temple.' But what we have is the most modern gurdwara in the world," said Kandhari, chairman of the Al Dobowi Group that manufactures and distributes automotive batteries and tyres. The idea of the building was born 11 years ago with the growing need of a proper place of worship for the Sikhs, who until January this year shared space in the cramped temple premises in Bur Dubai. The permission came through six years ago when the ruler of Dubai gave 25,400 sq feet of land to build the temple, said Kandhari. On the grand opening of the gurdwara January 17, Kandhari compared Sheikh Mohammed, also the vice president of the UAE, to Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir, who had laid the foundation stone of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest shrine for Sikhs. Six months on, as many as 10,000 people visit the temple with three floors of parking space on Fridays. "On Baisakhi, we served food to around 40,000 people visiting the gurdwara," Kandhari said proudly, adding that several Pakistani Sikhs also come to offer prayers besides many Sindhis and Hindu Punjabis. The state-of-the-art kitchen, which churns out food for devotees through the day every day, is worth a peek. It is complete with a dough-kneader, a chappati-maker and large dishwashers. And along with the rest of the building, the kitchen too is spotless. Apart from a large carpeted prayer hall, there are three smaller rooms for private functions, a meditation room, a library and the spacious 'langar' or common kitchen hall. Gurunanak Darbar is modelled on both the Golden Temple and the gurdwara in Southall, London. Interior designer Paul Bishop was sent to both these shrines "to get the feel" of gurdwaras. To develop religious values among the next generation of NRIs, special three-hour sessions are held for children on Saturdays at the temple where they are taught Punjabi, 'Kirtans' and how to behave in places of worship. "There are already 55 children attending these classes. All four of my grandchildren, one of them just two years old, go there," he said. "The women are keen on sending their children to learn kirtans. When you are out of India, your desire to connect to your roots becomes stronger," he said. Having grown up in Andhra Pradesh and later studying in Chennai's Loyola College, Kandhari admitted that he learned about his language and religion when he came to Dubai in 1976. Thus, he understands the need for children to know about their culture in a foreign land. "They can't learn without getting proper lessons. In Vijayawada, I had no one to teach me Punjabi. While in Loyola College in Madras, I used to go to church every Sunday. I started learning about Sikhism and Punjabi after coming to Dubai." Although the NRI businessman had to borrow from friends to complete the gurdwara, he calls the income generated by it as "unbelievable". He already has plans to use the money. "I want to build a hospital for the poor. Healthcare is so expensive in Dubai... Labourers living in camps nearby can't afford the high medical costs." Kandhari says the gurdwara now attracts visitors from across the world. "We have visitors from the UK, the US, France and Canada... They get surprised that in an Islamic country, we have the most modern gurdwara." (Malavika Vettath can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
London, July 3 (IANS) Is social media censorship a means to quell a modern uprising? Politicians and law enforcers thought so in the context of last year's political turbulence. But recent research suggests that uncensored citizens experience less violence and longer periods of peace between outbursts than communities subject to censorship. A consensus is forming around internet censorship in the wake of last year's uprisings, extending from the Arab Spring to the UK, according to Antonio Casilli, associate professor in digital humanities at Telecom ParisTech, France, and Paola Tubaro, senior lecturer in economic sociology at the University of Greenwich, UK, the journal Bulletin of Sociological Methodology reports. "In the absence of robust indicators as to the rebelliousness of a given society, the choice of not restricting social communication turns out to be a judicious one for avoiding the surrender of democratic values and freedom of expression for an illusory sense of security," say Casilli and Tubaro. The authors used sophisticated computer modelling to find out if the assumptions that actors' use of media - such as Twitter - fuelled mob action through greater awareness were true, according to a Greenwich statement. The researchers used state-of-the-art agent-based modelling as a starting point. Political conflict is often described as cumulative, involving 'escalating' conflict and sometimes ending with regime change. In Casilli and Tubaro's computer simulation, censorship narrows down vision. It interrupts the flow of communication and decreases the ability of individuals to appreciate their environment. In this sense, censorship blinds social actors to their own context. The researchers found that all possible scenarios led to initial outbursts of violence but how the situation evolved was significantly influenced by government social media censorship. In a total censorship scenario, similar to the Egyptian riots, violence levels remained at a maximum. Stronger censorship led to an increase in the average level of endemic violence over time.
Paris, July 3 (IANS) Airbus, a leading European aircraft manufacturer, Monday announced to set up its first manufacturing facility in the US. The move is part of a plan to bolster competitiveness and strengthen its position in the booming American market, Xinhua quoted the company as saying. Airbus plans to produce about 50 aircraft of the A320 family annually by 2018, with works to start in 2015 and the first deliveries scheduled one year later. The France-based company said the facility in Alabama will "create jobs and strengthen the aerospace industry". "The US is the largest single-aisle aircraft market in the world, with a projected need for 4,600 aircraft over the next 20 years - and this assembly line brings us closer to our customers," Airbus president Fabrice Bregier said. Over 11,500 Airbus aircraft have been sold to more than 470 customers worldwide and over 7,200 of these have been delivered since the company first entered the market in the early seventies, the company said in a statement.
Paris, July 2 (IANS) Didier Deschamps has quit as Marseille's coach, the club announced Monday, bolstering expectations that he will take over as the French team coach from Laurent Blanc. "Olympique de Marseille and Didier Deschamps have finally decided by mutual agreement not to continue their collaboration for the 2012-2013 season," the club said in a statement posted on its website. "The appointment of the next coach of Olympique Marseille will be in the coming days," it added. Deschamps, a former World Cup-winning captain, is considered the favourite to take over from Blanc, who turned down a new contract offer foe the French national side, reported Xinhua. Blanc stepped down Saturday after a European Championship campaign that ended in the quarter-finals and with his players also being questioned about their behaviour. The French Football Federation is expected to make an announcement after its executive committee meets Tuesday.
London, July 2 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Serena Williams fended off a second set comeback to defeat wild card Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the fourth round of the Wimbledon tennis championships here Monday. After breezing through the first set, sixth seed Williams took her foot off the gas in the second to allow the French Open quarter-finalist back into the match. But Williams closed out the decider to register a 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 win. The world No. 65 Shvedova bowed out having clinched only the second so-called golden set in the history of tennis by winning all 24 points against in one set against Sara Errani in the third round. Williams will face either 24th seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy or the reigning champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-final. --IANS/RIA Novosti sr/vm
Le Castellet (France), July 2 (IANS) While India's Aditya Patel, the guest driver, finished eighth and sixth, it was his Euro International team-mate Jeffri Nabil of Malaysia who dominated the weekend's double-header with two podium finishes, including a win, in the JK Racing Asia Series at the Paul Ricard Circuit here. Championship leader Nabil won the fifth round race Saturday and finished second behind compatriot Afiq Ikhwan Yazid of Team Meritus in the sixth round Sunday. On Sunday, Patel benefited when Hiqmar Danial Hidzir suffered a puncture that helped the Indian to gain a spot to sixth which he maintained till the finish. In the previous round Saturday, Patel had made places to come in eighth despite lack of track time after making the switch from saloon cars to single seaters. The JK Racing Asia Series will continue with Rounds 7 and 8 at the famous Spa Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium July 27-29.
Mumbai, July 2 (IANS) Snapping a four-day rally, a benchmark index for Indian equities markets closed 31 points lower at 17,398.98 Monday. Amid volatile trade, the 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 17,438.68 points Monday, closed at 17,398.98 points, down 0.18 percent or 31 points from its previous close of 17,429.98 points. In the absence of a domestic trigger or overseas cues, the markets failed to build on Friday's rally of 439 points. The Sensex touched a high of 17,486.57 points and a low of 17,363.04 in intra-day trade. The midcap index of the BSE rose 55.52 points, while smallcap index closed 71.54 points high. The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange was down 0.01 percent down at 5,278.60 points. The FMCG index was down by 104.08 points followed by automobile index, down 52.50 points and IT index down 15.68 points. ITC was the top loser at the Sensex, down 3.42 percent at Rs.250.10 after the Uttar Pradesh government hiked value added tax on cigarettes to 50 percent. Other main losers were Jindal Steel, down 2.49 percent at Rs.457.80; Hindustan Unilever, down 1.61 percent at Rs.447.05; Tata Motors, down 1.53 percent at Rs.238.35; TCS, down 1.36 percent at Rs.1,260.20; and Hero MotoCorp, down 1.30 percent at Rs.2,114.35. Major Sensex gainers were HDFC Bank, up 1.84 percent at Rs.573.85; Bharti Airtel, up 1.59 percent at Rs.309.85; Sterlite Inds, up 1.56 percet at Rs.104.25; BHEL, up 1.31 percent at Rs.235.15; Tata Steel, up 1.29 percent at Rs.447. At the closing bell here, European markets were trading in the green. France's CAC was 1.13 percent up, while Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE 100 were trading 0.99 percent and 0.62 percent higher respectively.
Kiev, July 2 (IANS) The following is the list of Golden Boot winners at the European football championship: The top scorers in the UEFA European Championship finals: 2012: Fernando Torres (Spain) 3 2008: David Villa (Spain) 4 2004: Milan Baros (Czech Republic) 5 2000: Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands), Savo Milosevic (Yugoslavia) 5 1996: Alan Shearer (England) 5 1992: Dennis Bergkamp (Netherlands), Thomas Brolin (Sweden), Henrik Larsen (Denmark), Karl-Heinze Riedle (Germany) 3 1988: Marco van Basten (Netherlands) 5 1984: Michel Platini (France) 9 1980: Klaus Allofs (West Germany) 3 1976: Dieter Muller (West Germany) 4 1972: Gerd Muller (West Germany) 4 1968: Dragan Dzajic (Yugoslavia) 2 1964: Ferenc Bene (Hungary), Dezso Novak (Hungary), Jesus Maria Pereda (Spain) 2 1960: Milan Galic (Yugoslavia), Francois Heutte (France), Drazan Jerkovic (Yugoslavia), Valentin Ivanov, Viktor Ponedelnik (both USSR) 2 Overall top scorers at the Euro: 9: Michel Platini (France) 7: Alan Shearer (England) 6: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Thierry Henry (France), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands), Nuno Gomes (Portugal), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands) 5: Milan Baros (Czech Republic), Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany), Savo Milosevic (Serbia), Wayne Rooney (England), Marco van Basten (Netherlands), Zinedine Zidane (France)
Moscow, July 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Four-time Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf has moved to the Brazilian League with Botafogo, the club said Sunday. The 36-year-old Dutch midfielder has signed a two-year deal with the top-flight Rio de Janeiro side. "This is the greatest ever signing of a foreigner by a Brazilian club," Botafogo said in a website statement. Seedorf left AC Milan earlier this month after a 10-year spell that included two Champions League titles and two Serie A championships, saying that the Italian club had been prepared to offer him a new contract. At the time, he said he was looking for a "project" to continue his career, and could return to Milan in a non-playing capacity at a later stage. Seedorf's wife Luviana is reportedly a passionate Botafogo supporter. Seedorf switched to Milan from city rivals Inter in 2002 in exchange for defender Francesco Coco after earlier spells with Ajax and Real Madrid. He retired from the Dutch national team in 2008 after scoring 11 goals in 87 appearances during a 14-year international career. Botafogo have not won a major trophy since lifting the 1995 Brazilian title, and are eighth of 20 teams in the Brazilian Serie A after playing six games of the 2012 season. --IANS/RIA Novosti abr/vt
New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) He might have been forgotten in his homeland, but poet, writer and doyen of Bhojpuri theatre Bhikhari Thakur's ballads and folk songs are garnering huge appreciation in places as far apart as Mauritius and France. A musical album titled "The Legacy of Bhikhari Thakur" was released by Mauritius Prime Minister Anil Kumar Bachoo at a function in Port Louis in Mauritius earlier this month. Singer Kalpana Patowary launched the musical documentation album with nine tracks together with London-based Virgin Records/EMI Music. It will be launched in London in August and later in the year in Trinidad and South Africa. The album is even available online and has evoked a lot of interest on the web. Kalpana says Bhojpuri is spoken in 14 nations around the world. The language, primarily, spoken in Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh spread to across the world as Indians were taken to the British, French and Dutch colonies around the world. It was the language and cultural traditions that gave the Indian workers their identity. Bhojpuri is understood and spoken in Mauritius, Trinidad, South Africa, Suriname, Guyana, Fiji as well as among the migrant communities in Canada, the US, Britain and Australia. "I want Bhojpuri music to go international. In Mauritius people of Indian origin speak traditional Bhojpuri - the original Bhojpuri as it was spoken a hundred years ago. It is now mixed with some Creole and French words," said Kalpana. "The people in Mauritius understand the songs; the 'bidesi' songs of migration - of leaving the family home and going away to find work, touch a deep chord among the listeners. They get emotional listening to the songs from India," she added. Legendary cultural personality Bhikhari Thakur was often called the Shakespeare of Bhojpuri literature for he led the renaissance in Bhojpuri folk music and launched a folk theatre movement. Bhikhari Thakur was born in a backward, barber community in Kutubpur village of Saran district in Bihar in 1887. Unlettered and practically illiterate when he left home and went to Kolkata for work, he educated himself and began writing poetry with an emphasis on social issues. After returning to native Bihar, Thakur wrote about social-ills such as child marriages and wove them into folk songs. His best known work is the creation of the theatre form 'Bidesia' on the lines of 'Jatra' in Bengal. Kalpana tried to locate the old songs of Bhikhari Thakur talking to folk artists and singers in the small towns and villages of Bihar. But it was a fortuitous meeting with an old man in a remote village called Bakhorapur in Arrah district, Bihar that opened the wealth of Bhikhari Thakur's oeuvre for her. Kalpana was in the village for a cultural show when a few local artists were called to sing a few songs before she began her own performance. Among the singers was a 95-year-old artist, whose rustic songs had a very different presentation that had a powerful appeal. It turned out that he was from the original Bhikhari Thakur mandali. He helped Kalpana record many of the legendary poet's songs in their original 'thekas' (rhythms) and style of presentation. Kalpana could extract additional information through "Bhikhari Thakur Rachnawali", the only written material about the great folk traditionalist. "I am trying to bring out the original vibrancy and richness of the Bhikhari Thakur folk forms so that people from the world over can experience the originality and richness of Bhojpuri music," said Kalpana. (Shubha Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)