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English bulldog Zsa Zsa wins World's Ugliest Dog title

English bulldog Zsa Zsa (main picture) was awarded the title of the World's Ugliest Dog at this year's competition, held at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, San Francisco, on Saturday.

Zsa Zsa's owner, Megan Brainard of Anoka, Minnesota, was chosen to receive the cash prize of $1,500 (€1,285) in the competition, which has attracted significant media coverage in the past few years.

Brainard found Zsa Zsa on a pet-finding website, according to the contest bio.

The organizers of the World's Ugliest Dog competition aim to promote dog adoption.

Dogs in the competition flaunt their imperfections as they walk down a red carpet with their owners. A panel of judges evaluates the ugliness of a dog and decides the winner.

Dogs without hair, dogs with lolling tongues and dogs with other imperfections from all over the US, as well as other countries, participate in the fair. Dog owners must provide documents to prove the animals are healthy.

Last year's World's Ugliest Dog prize went to a 3-year-old, 125-pound (57-kilo) Neapolitan Mastiff named Martha. She was nearly blind from neglect when she was rescued in Sonoma County, California. It took several surgeries before she was able to see again.

The competition is now in its 30th year. 

Source : Deautche Welle

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Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor ties the knot

Actress Sonam Kapoor tied the knot with Delhi businessman Anand Ahuja today. 

Kapoor was a traditional bride in a blood-red Anuradha Vakil lehenga. She completed her bridal look with a jadau choker paired with a longer neck piece, maang tika, and traditional red chooda with kaleere. 

Ahuja opted for a gold sherwani paired with a ruby mala.

Brothers Harshvardhan and Arjun Kapoor walked her down the aisle under a red chaaddar. 

The wedding was conducted at Sonam's aunt's residence in Bandra. Sonam is also the daughter of veteran film actor Anil Kapoor. 

Source : The Economic Times

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Game of Thrones: King of the North ties the knot with a Wildling

Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington and his new wife Rose Leslie couldn't have looked happier after tying the knot at Rayne Church in Aberdeenshire yesterday.The couple grinned from ear-to-ear as they left the church after being announced husband and wife.

Making their way outside, they were met by their guests who were lined up ready to shower them with flower petal confetti. The newly-weds got into an old Land Rover which was decorated with paper hearts and tin cans to drive to the reception at Wardhill Castle.

Kit, who plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, put on a very handsome display for his big day. The 31-year-old certainly dressed to impress as he wore a very suave morning suit.

GOT 2Game of Thrones star Kit Harington flashed a smile as he made his way inside

It came complete with a cream waistcoat, grey pinstripe trousers and a black tail jacket.

After he entered the church, Rose Leslie arrived in her incredible wedding gown.

The actress couldn’t have looked happier as she flashed a huge smile whilst holding her father Sebastian’s hand.

Rose’s gown featured intricate lace detail and long sleeves, complete with a stunning veil.

She also clutched on to a simple bouquet of flowers for her wedding ceremony.

Game of Thrones: Kit and Rose were showered with confetti

Before they tied the knot, Game Of Thrones actress Rose's father said he was "thrilled" for his daughter. 

Speaking outside Wardhill castle, Sebastian Leslie said: "We are absolutely thrilled for Kit and Rose to be marrying today."
The local councillor added: "It's an absolutely lovely day for us."

And he said: "It's a great day for Aberdeenshire. We are using local caterers, local lighting, local flowers."

Rose, who played Ygritte in the HBO hit series, and Kit met on the set of Game of Thrones in 2012 and started dating after playing each other’s love interest on the show.

Their wedding was based at the the remote Wardhill Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

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Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault in retrial 

US comedian Bill Cosby has been found guilty of three counts of sexual assault, each of which carries a potential 10 years in prison.

The actor, 80, has been on trial for drugging and assaulting ex-basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004.

Cosby, the first major black actor on primetime TV, will remain out of jail until he is sentenced, the judge ruled.

"I feel like my faith in humanity is restored," Cosby accuser Lili Bernard said outside the courthouse.

It was the second time the actor had stood trial for the allegations, after an earlier jury failed to reach a verdict in June 2017.

At the start of the retrial in Pennsylvania it was revealed that Cosby had paid Ms Constand almost $3.4m (£2.4m) in a civil settlement in 2006.

Cosby is best known for starring in the 1980s TV series The Cosby Show.

Around 60 women over five decades have publicly accused the Emmy award-winning actor of being a sexual predator. But statute of limitation laws mean that only one charge has been brought to trial.

Source : BBC

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10 musical stars who fled their home country

To underline World Refugee Day on June 20, here are 10 famous musicians who fled their home country and whose life would have been very different if they had not been allowed to live somewhere else. 
Freddie Mercury


 The lead singer of Queen was born in 1946 in the Sultanate of Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania). While he spent most of his childhood in a boarding school in India, he joined his parents in Zanzibar in 1963. A year later, Mercury and his family fled the country that was undergoing the Zanzibar Revolution; they settled in England. 

 Gloria Estefan


Born in Cuba, the singer's family was forced to flee after the Cuban Revolution, settling in Miami. Most famous for her breakthrough hit, "Conga," Estefan has not only won three Grammy Awards throughout her career, but was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to American music in 2015. 

 Bob Marley


While political groups were warring in 1976, the legendary reggae singer was wounded by unknown gunmen. He survived the assassination attempt, but he left his home country afterwards to recover, living in self-imposed exiled.

 Arnold Schoenberg


The Jewish Austrian composer moved to the US in 1934 to flee Nazi Germany. His modernist and atonal music had been labeled as degenerate by Hitler's party. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. 



British rapper Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, best known by her stage name M.I.A., was actually born in London in 1975; her family however moved back to Sri Lanka when she was six months old. Her father was a Tamil activist, making it dangerous for the family to stay in the country. M.I.A.'s mother therefore fled with her children.



The famous singer-songwriter was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. Mika's family relocated to Paris in 1984 after attacks on the American Embassy during the Lebanese civil war.



His song "Wavin' Flag" was an anthem for the 2010 World Cup. The hip-hop artist known as K'Naan was born as Keinan Abdi Warsame in 1978 in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Fleeing the country's civil war, his family left Somalia in 1991. 

Regina Spektor


Born in Moscow, Spektor was nine years old when her Jewish family left the USSR during the Perestroika, in 1989. They were admitted to the US as refugees with the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. She pursued her classical music training there, later gaining popularity on the indie music scene with her anti-folk songs. 

 Wyclef Jean


The Grammy Award-winning rapper, most famous for his group the Fugees, is from Haiti and even tried to become president of his home country in 2010. As a non-resident of the country, he was however found to be ineligible for the position. He was a nine-year-old boy when his family left Haiti in 1979, during the Duvalier regime. 

 Rita Ora


The British pop singer and actress was born in Pristina, Yugoslavia (present-day Kosovo) to Albanian parents. As Albanians were persecuted amid the disintegration of the country, the family fled, relocating to London in 1991, when Rita was just a year old.



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Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a prince

Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a princeThe Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a boy - her third child.The new prince arrived at 11.01am UK time, weighing 8lb 7oz, Kensington Palace announced.Kensington Palace announced that the Duchess was admitted to the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, in central London, on Monday morning.The baby will be fifth in line to the throne, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's sixth great-grandchild and a younger brother or sister for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The baby's title will be HRH Prince of Cambridge.Predicted names include Arthur, Albert, Frederick, James and Philip.

Source : The Telegraph

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Royal wedding 2018: Royal Family thanks public

The Royal Family has thanked those who travelled to Windsor for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Thousands of people lined the streets to see the couple, while the ceremony at St George's Chapel was broadcast to TV audiences around the world.

More than 13 million people watched the TV coverage on the BBC - peaking at 13.1 million just after 13:00 BST.

The wedding celebrations ended with a black-tie dinner and fireworks display at Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle. Two hundred of Meghan and Harry's closest friends and family attended the event held by Prince Charles.

Source : BBC

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Blackbuck poaching case: Salman Khan convicted

A Jodhpur trial court today convicted actor Salman Khan, while acquitting other accused in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.

Jodhpur District Presiding Officer Devkumar Khatri pronounced the judgment, while holding off on awarding the quantum of punishment for Salman right away. The sentencing, however, is expected to be announced shortly.

Co-accused Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu were present in court during pronouncement of the verdict. There are two other accused in the case -- travel agent Dushyant Singh and Dinesh Gawre, Salman's assistant at the time. Gawre is still absconding.

The actors are accused of hunting down two blackbucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.

Salman is facing charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. Maximum punishment under Section 51 is six years.

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Netta from Israel wins Eurovision song contest 2018

Israel's Netta has won the Eurovision Song Contest for her quirky dance song Toy - complete with its trademark chicken dance.

She had been an early favourite, but the vote went down to the wire with Cyprus finishing in second place. Netta thanked juries and the public for "choosing different" as she lifted the glass microphone trophy.

Netta - full name Netta Barzilai - picked up a total of 529 points to take the title.

This years final was held in Lisbon, Portugal, with the 2019 contest now set to take place in Israel. The last time Israel won Eurovision was 20 years ago when Dana International was victorious with Diva.

Source : BBC

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Deepika Padukone: India 'long way' from ending mental illness stigma

Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone called for bolder efforts by Indians to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. According to WHO, India has the highest number of suicides in South Asia after Sri Lanka.

"We have a long way to go," said Padukone, who went public about her struggle with depression in 2015 and won praise for her campaign to spark public discourse on mental health in a country that has traditionally considered such illnesses taboo.

The 32-year-old, who starred in xXx: Return of Xander Cage, founded the Live Laugh Love Foundation to create awareness about mental health.

Deepika 1

Deepika speaking at the event

 The charity last Friday launched the results of a survey it conducted in eight Indian cities, including New Delhi and Mumbai, which showed nearly half of Indians held prejudices against people with mental illnesses.

Three out of five of the 3,556 people interviewed for the study referred to the mentally ill using terms such as "retard", "crazy" or "stupid".

While a little more than half expressed some fear towards mentally unhealthy people - with many preferring they be ostracised - more than three-quarters showed sympathy.

Fifty-one per cent said they would seek professional help if they suffered from a mental illness, signalling a shift in the fear and shame usually attached with it in India.

"What gives us immense satisfaction is... knowing that the stigma built around mental illness over the years is now slowly reducing," Padukone said in New Delhi.

"We have come a long way in the last three years, there is increased... awareness, but I still think we have a long way to go."

More than 50 million Indians suffered from depression and more than 30 million from anxiety disorders in 2015, a World Health Organisation study released last year said.

In December, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind warned that the country of 1.3 billion people faces "a possible mental health epidemic" while releasing a report that found 10 per cent of Indians suffered from at least one mental illness.


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Birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore celebrated in Sri Lanka

Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore has a special place in the heart of Sri Lankans, and his legacy continues to have a lasting influence on local art and culture. In this context, special events were organized in Colombo to commemorate the 157th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev.

The Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies of University of Colombo organised an event at the Main Library of the University. H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and garlanded the bust of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Senior Professor Lakshman Dissanayake, Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Prof. Nayani Melegoda, Dean of the Faculty of Graduate  Studies, academicians, students of the University of Colombo and Sri Lankan admirers of Gurudev Tagore, attended the event. This bronze bust of Tagore is sculpted by Janak Jhankar Narzary of Kala Bhavana, Visva-Bharati, and was gifted by Government of India to the University in 2012.
Separately, the Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo organized a special Bharatnatyam performance by Himanshu Srivastava, an eminent dancer from Benaras. The performance was based on Tagore’s compositions, and was deeply appreciated. Numerous other events in Sri Lanka were also held on the occasion.

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Masks and puppets tell Sri Lanka's ancient tales

Masks and puppets tell Sri Lanka's ancient tales

Rajpal Abeynayake

 Puppets from the Ehelepola Kumaraya play, the story of a nobleman's son resisting a Sinhalese king influenced by the colonizing British (Photo by Rajpal Abeynayake)

In Ambalangoda, a vibrant Sri Lankan coastal town of fishermen, sunshine and traditional mask makers, two unique and ancient art forms are battling for survival. One, known as rukada, uses almost life-size puppets to thrill and amuse audiences.

Its not-so-distant cousin is the art of masked drama called kolam, which translates best as "farce." In kolam, costumed men wearing masks act out ancient stories, often to raucous effect. What unites these two art forms are the traditional masks made in Ambalangoda and other maritime towns of Sri Lanka's south, such as Balapitiya.

Both traditions deal with material from Buddhist lore -- the Jathaka tales, which are a retelling of stories from the Buddha's previous incarnations. Comedy and farcical plotlines are a large part of both types of performance.

But the masks themselves, which form the basis of the colorful puppet faces too, originate from a much darker place in the people's psyche.

Masks from Ambalangoda and other maritime towns were first used thousands of years ago in exorcism rituals, in what was called "devil dancing" or thovil. This tradition of ritual therapeutic theater dates back over 2,500 years to pre-Buddhist times.

puppet 1

A puppet from ancient folk tale, dramatized.

 The puppeteers from Ambalangoda also draw on the nadagam, the South Indian dance drama tradition imported from Tamil Nadu in southern India by colonizing Catholics.

Supun Gamini, a computer science and management graduate, is a fourth-generation puppeteer who has launched a determined effort to keep Ambalangoda's rukada art alive.

His greatest challenge, he said, is to work around some aspects of tradition that he feels deter people, especially the young, who prefer today's internet-generated popular culture instead.

Some of the traditions associated with masks and puppetry are dying out, but that may not be an entirely bad thing, according to Gamini. Ignoring some aspects of the ritual may be the way to let the puppet art and masked dances live on.

"For example, each time they cut down a kaduru tree for crafting masks or puppets in the days of my forefathers, they enacted elaborate rituals before the tree was felled," said Gamini. These rites were meant to propitiate the divine beings.

puppet 2

Supun Gamini, a puppeteer, with a puppet styled after the thovil mask tradition.

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