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Dominique Lapierre, author of City of Joy, dies at 91
Born on July 30, 1931, in Chatelaillon, Lapierre had sold about 50 million copies of the six books he wrote in collaboration with the American writer Larry Collins — the most famous being “Is Paris Burning?”
By Agence France-Presse: Dominique Lapierre, a French author with a passion for India and whose novels sold tens of millions of copies, has died, his wife announced.

“At 91, he died of old age,” Dominique Conchon-Lapierre told the French newspaper Var-Matin on Sunday.

She added that she is “at peace and serene since Dominique is no longer suffering”.

Born on July 30, 1931 in Chatelaillon, Lapierre has sold about 50 million copies of the six books he wrote in collaboration with the American writer Larry Collins — the most famous being “Is Paris Burning?”

The non-fiction book published in 1965 chronicled the events leading up to August 1944, when Nazi Germany surrendered control of the French capital, and was adapted for the silver screen by Francis Ford Coppola and Gore Vidal.

His 1985 novel “City of Joy” — about the hardships of a rickshaw puller in Kolkata — was also a massive success. A movie based on it was released in 1992, starring Patrick Swayze and directed by Roland Joffe.


PM Modi, China’s Xi Jinping exchange greetings at G20 summit dinner in Indonesia
New Delhi :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping publicly exchanged greetings on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali on Tuesday, the first meeting since the Chinese PLA and the Indian Army’s standoff in April 2020.

In September, Modi and President Xi had come face-to-face at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Uzbek city of Samarkand for the first time since the start of the border standoff in eastern Ladakh. But there was no report of a handshake or exchange of pleasantries between Modi and Xi at that time


8 Migrant Labourers Killed In Mizoram Stone Quarry Collapse, 4 Still Missing : The bodies of eight migrant labourers were recovered on Tuesday after they were trapped when a stone quarry in Mizoram collapsed on Monday. Search is still on for four other labourers who are still feared trapped.
“The identification of the dead bodies will be done after post-mortem examination. Search operation is still going on and will be continued till all missing are found,” the National Disaster Response Force said in a statement.

According to sources, the workers at the private company at Maudarh, Hnahthial district, had just returned from their lunch break when the stone quarry caved in. Sources reported that the workers, along with five Hitachi excavators, and other drilling machines were buried under the quarry.

Volunteers from Leite village and Hnahthial town immediately reached the spot for a rescue operation.

State Disaster Response Force, Border Security Force and Assam Rifles were also called to assist in the search and rescue operations.

The quarry has been operational for two and a half years

Indigenous no-state people

Arunachal: Rs 27,000 Crore Boost To Road Connectivity On China Border As Centre Approves Funding For Frontier Highway

Swarajya Staff

Stretegic infrastructure
The Narendra Modi government has approved Rs 27,349 crore for the Frontier Highway project in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Frontier Highway will improve road connectivity on the border with Tibet in Arunachal. As its name suggests, the road will run close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) or the frontier with China.

The fund approved by the Centre will be used for the two-laning of the Frontier Highway over a 1,465-kilometer-long stretch, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said in a tweet on 11 October.

The development comes at a time when China has built over 600 border defense villages along the frontier with India in Tibet. Some of these villages have come up in Indian territory under Chinese occupation.

On the Indian side of the frontier, settlements have turned into ghost villages as people have been forced to migrate for work. It has allowed China to arrest its territorial claims on the ground.

A note shared by the Chief Minister said the road would help in “safeguarding Indo China Myanmar border” and “control migration from border areas.”

Arunachal, with help from the Army, is also building model villages along the frontier with Tibet to reverse the outmigration from border areas.

“We have come up with a border village initiative, in which we have identified three to four villages, which we have plans to develop as model villages,” Army Chief General Manoj Pande, then the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command, said in late 2021.

Apart from the Frontier Highway, the Centre has also approved funding of Rs 15,720 crore for the inter-connectivity corridors project.

Projects approved by the Centre. (Pema Khandu/Twitter)Projects approved by the Centre. (Pema Khandu/Twitter)
Under this project, multiple roads will be built to improve connectivity between the highways in the state.

Arunachal currently has two west-east road corridors—National Highway (NH) 15, which runs along foothills near the state border with Assam, and NH-13/NH-125, which is being built midway across the state.

While NH-15 has been developed, NH-13/NH-125, also called Trans Arunachal Highway, is under construction. A 1,458-kilometer-long stretch of the 1,540 km Trans Arunachal highway is complete.

The Frontier Highway, running from Tawang in the west to Changlang in the east, which be the third such road in the state.

The roads built under the inter-connectivity corridors project will improve connectivity between these three highways.

The government has also approved Rs 915 crore for the two laning of a 61-kilometer stretch of the Brahmakund–Chokham road.

It is a “strategic road for defence purpose,” the note shared by Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Twitter reads.

The funding comes amid the rapid development of infrastructure by China in the part of Tibet opposite Arunachal Pradesh.

The 1,600-km long Sichuan-Tibet rail line will link Lhasa on the Tibetan Plateau with Chengdu in central Sichuan. In June 2021, China had opened the 435-km-long section of the line between Lhasa and Nyingchi

Nyingchi, a town opposite India’s Tuting sector, in the Upper Siang district of Arunachal, is only 40 km away from the border. The Nyingchi-Lhasa rail line itself runs much closer to the border than that at some points.

The 52nd and 53rd Mountain Infantry Brigades of the CCP’s People’s Liberation Army are based in the larger Nyingchi Prefecture.

China has also built a 250-kilometre-long highway linking Nyingchi with Lhasa, which, like the Lhasa-Nyingchi rail line, runs close to Arunachal.

Construction of the Lhasa-Nyingchi rail line, nearly 75 per cent of which is either over bridges or under tunnels, began in 2015, and track laying was completed over five years, in December 2020, at a cost of $4.8 billion.

The remaining 1,100-km long section of the line, a part (Chengdu-Ya’an section) of which is already complete, is expected to be ready by 2030. The headquarter of China’s Western Theatre Command, which is responsible for the frontier with India from Arunachal to Ladakh, is located in Chengdu.

The Lhasa-Nyingchi rail line project has received consistent attention from the top echelons of the CCP in the past, including President Xi Jinping himself, who linked it to ‘border stability’ as recently as November 2020, during the standoff with India in Ladakh.

Although the Chinese state media links the Sichuan-Tibet rail line project to economic development in Tibet, the CCP apparat has pointed out that it will act as a “fast track” for the “delivery of strategic materials” to Tibet “if a scenario of a crisis happens at the border”.

Dueing his visit to Tibet in July 2021, the Chinese President visited the Nyingchi railway station to inspect the Sichuan-Tibet railway line, and then took a train to Lhasa.

Jinping’s inspection of the project, in the middle of a tense border standoff with India, has brought focus back on this aspect of infrastructure development in Tibet.

The construction of rail lines and highways on the Tibetan Plateau line will not only ease the movement of troops within China’s Western Theatre Command but also enable the PLA to bring trainloads of troops and equipment from other theatres in a very short time, a scenario that can’t be ruled out after China’s massive mobilisation along LAC in eastern Ladakh in 2020.


Cherry Blossom Festival begins on 17 Nov. In Shillong : ———————————————- The Cherry Blossom festival will be held from November 17-November 26 and showcase the best of music, culture and literary prowess the state has to offer

There is much to enjoy in Meghalaya, but nothing comes close to witnessing the state covered in pink hues as the sight of cherry blossoms takes over the land. The joy is palpable in the air as people walk around towns, enamoured by the stunning flowers and their pastel hues against the clear blue sky. And the best place to enjoy the sakura season in Meghalaya is the Shillong Cherry Blossom festival. Lineup

The pre-event festivities across different countries will culminate in India with a Mega Music Contest, the Shillong Literary Festival followed by the Cherry Blossom Festival. Presented by Meghalaya Tourism, the famous band Magic, along with DJ-producer Jonas Blue and HRVY are headlining the event at the city’s Polo Grounds. Assamese pop star Papon, Portuguese rock band Hybrid Theory, DJ-producer and music curator Nikhil Chinapa and Meghalaya’s top independent artists including R&B/soul singer-songwriter Jessie Lyngdoh, hip-hop artists like Meba Ofilia and the duo Dappest x adL are also set to enthrall the audience with their performances.


What: Shillong Cherry Blossom festival

Where: Polo Grounds, Shillong

Dates: November 17–26

For more information, click here:

Human Rights

U.S., Belgium to question India on CAA, minority rights, hate speech at U.N. Human Rights Council– —-The negative observations that several human rights organisations have submitted to the world body raise questions.
Treatment of journalists and human rights defenders, Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and custodial torture are expected to dominate the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of India at the Human Rights Council in Geneva that will take place on Thursday.

In “Advance Questions” submitted to the Council, Belgium has called the Citizenship Amendment Act “anti-minority” and asked India if the law would be repealed. Similar concerns have been raised by the United States which has highlighted “hate speech”, “internet shut downs” and the issue of hijab in Karnataka.

“Will the government of India review and repeal anti-minority laws such as the Citizenship Amendment Act and anti-conversion laws which target religious minorities, and introduce measures and legislation to prevent and respond to communal and targeted religious violence?” Belgium asked.

The country further asked about the steps that the Government of India will take to ensure that “human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organisations can exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, free from threats, harassment, intimidation and attacks”.

As of Tuesday, the United States, Belgium, Spain, Panama, Canada and Slovenia have submitted “Advance Questions” ahead of the India-centric session on Thursday.

The U.S. has submitted strong comments about the human rights situation in India and has submitted eight questions so far covering the treatment of minorities in India, “faith leaders”, activists and “cow slaughter laws”.

“A law in one Indian State infringes on wearing religious garb in educational institutions. In addition, we are concerned about acts that intimidate religious and ethnic minority communities, such as hate speech and the targeting of their homes and businesses. What steps are being taken by the government to protect members of religious minority groups from discrimination?” the United States asked.

The U.S. has also asked the Government of India about how the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the National Security Act, Public Safety Act and sections 124A, 499, and 500 of the Indian Penal Code comply with India’s international human rights obligations and commitments. The country has urged India to explain how it was holding government officials accused of anti-minority actions, accountable.

Panama has asked about what “specific measures” has India taken to help people who are at risk of becoming Stateless.

The Universal Periodic Review will be conducted on the basis of the national report provided by India, information provided by independent human rights experts and groups, and international human rights groups.

In the national report submitted in August, India informed the Council that laws were fully and consistently enforced to ensure protection of the minority communities. The national position on the issue of human rights gives an indication of the line that India is expected to take during the upcoming deliberation which has drawn curiosity because of the negative observations that several human rights organisations have submitted to the world body.

The report further states that the National Crime Records Bureau has recorded a decline in communal riots since 2018. It says that India believes in use of “minimum force” and cited legal precedents saying that security forces do not have “absolute immunity” and “when allegations are made against the forces, law take its course”.

It further states that the National Human Rights Commission has issued guidelines to State governments to inform the Commission within 24 hours of the occurrence of a custodial death, stating, “India signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in October 1997 and remains committed to ratify the Convention. Since the subject falls under the Concurrent List, the Central government shall also take into account the opinion of States in this regard.”

The Universal Periodic Review will be conducted on the basis of the national report provided by India.


Honestay are available in Gnathang Situated at an altitude of 12,700 feet above sea level Gnathang Valley is under Pakyong District in Sikkim, mind blowing scenic beauty surrounding area is the main attraction for the tourists to explore during the season which lasts for 6 months and rest 6 months the area is largely covered by thick blanket of snow. In the last 5 to 6 year only the tourists have started coming to Gnathang Valley in large scale. There’re roughly 520 residents, 150 houses in this area dominated by Sherpa community mainly who had been running their daily life in farming but all of sudden when road connectivity were established the valley started becoming major tourist attraction. There are now 20-25 homestays operated by the locals who are offering good hospitality and service towards their guests. Speaking to TVOS, now the Homestay owner from Sherpa and Bhutia community says that despite off season they are now capable in managing services to tourists.

Wildlife & Biodiversity

India’s Newest Mammal ‘White-cheeked Macaque’ Discovered in Arunachal Pradesh In an important discovery, scientists have recorded presence of White-Cheeked Macaque (Macaca leucogenys) from central Arunachal Pradesh in India. The significance of the discovery is that it marks a new addition to mammals of India.

The species was discovered in 2015 by a group of Chinese scientists from the Modog region in southeastern Tibet and this discovery was considered a significant breakthrough as far as primates are concerned.White- Cheeked Macaques are distinct from other macaques found in the region by displaying white cheeks, long and thick hairs on the neck area, and a longer tail.


Facebook is ‘biased against facts’, says Nobel prize winner

The campaigning Philippines journalist Maria Ressa, who was last week awarded the Nobel peace prize, has launched a stinging attack on Facebook, accusing the social media firm of being a threat to democracy that was “biased against facts” and failed to prevent the spread of disinformation.

She said its algorithms “prioritise the spread of lies laced with anger and hate over facts”.

Ressa, who co-founded the news website Rappler, won the Nobel prize on Friday for her work to “safeguard freedom of expression”, along with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.

Ressa said Facebook had become the world’s largest distributor of news, “yet it is biased against facts, it is biased against journalism … If you have no facts, you can’t have truths, you can’t have trust. If you don’t have any of these, you don’t have a democracy.”

Ressa’s rebuke came days after former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed the company placed profits over people. UK politicians are also raising concerns about Facebook’s ability to protect children from harmful content, with one senior Tory MP accusing it of deploying a “ridiculous scouts-honour system” for verifying the age of its users.

There are now cross-party calls for action from Facebook and the government in the wake of Haugen’s explosive testimony, in which she accused the firm of steering young users towards damaging content. She also suggested that the minimum age for social media accounts should be raised from 13 to 17.

Julian Knight, Tory chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, called on Facebook to demonstrate that it was capable of enforcing even its existing rules. “It’s less about the minimum age, more about the way social media companies police this at present,” he said. “They rely on a ridiculous scouts-honour system when actually we need them to actively pursue proper, regulated, robust age assurance. Time is long past that they took responsibility.”

Other parties also called on the government to step in and strengthen measures in its online harms bill, which is designed to protect children from dangerous content. The NSPCC is among those claiming that the current plans do not go far enough. Ministers insist it will force social media companies to remove and limit the spread of harmful content or face fines of billions of pounds.

Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary, said that Facebook had proved “time and time again” that it could not be trusted and the government now needed to step in. “It has entirely lived up to its internal strategy to ‘move fast and break things’ no matter what the cost, provided it doesn’t affect its bottom line,” she said.

“Four years on from the Conservative government’s promise of tough legislation against online harms, all we have is a weak and watered-down bill that will still allow Facebook to self-regulate. It doesn’t matter what age limits are adopted, Facebook cannot be trusted to put public safety before its profits.”

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, called for schools to teach children about how to use social media safely and responsibly.

Revealed: anti-vaccine TikTok videos being viewed by children as young as nine
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “Our pioneering online safety bill will make the internet a safer place and is the most comprehensive in the world at protecting children. It will require internet companies to enforce age limits so underage kids can’t access pornography or content that is harmful to them, such as promotion of self harm and eating disorders.”

Facebook denied that the company put profits above people and said it was using sophisticated methods to weed out children not old enough to have an account. “Protecting our community is more important than maximising our profits,” it said. “To say we turn a blind eye to feedback ignores these investments, including the 40,000 people working on safety and security at Facebook and our investment of $13bn since 2016.

“We use artificial intelligence and the age people provide at sign-up to understand if people are telling the truth about their age when using our platforms. On Instagram alone, these processes helped us remove over 600,000 underage users between June and August this year. We will continue to invest in new tools as well as working closely with our industry partners to make our systems as effective as possible.” by Michael Savage