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Google Doodles On Freddie Mercury’s 65th Birthday

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Google Doodles On Freddie Mercury's 65th BirthdayLondon: Flamboyant Parsi-British musician Farrokh Bulsara, better known by fans as Freddie Mercury and the lead singer of popular rock band Queen, was remembered on his 65th birth anniversary by Google with an animated doodle on its home page.
The 100-second collage, said to be among the longest posted by Google, has been kicked off with a blog by Brian May, who was a song-writer for Queens with numbers like ‘We Will Rock You’ that made Mercury one of the most popular artists ever. “From time to time, we invite guests to post about items of interest and are thrilled to have Brian May join us to talk about friend and bandmate Freddie Mercury,” said Google, introducing the blog on Mercury, equally versatile on piano, keyboard and guitar.
“Freddie was fully focused, never allowing anything or anyone to get in the way of his vision for the future. He was truly a free spirit. There are not many of these in the world,” said May, remembering his friend, who would have been 65 Monday.
“Some people imagine Freddie as a fiery, difficult diva who required everyone around him to compromise. No! In our world, as four artists attempting to paint on the same canvas, Freddie was always the one who could find the compromise — the way to pull it through.”
Born to Bomi and Jer Bulsara in the British protectorate of Zanzibar, now in Tanzania, Bulsara soon moved to Panchgani near Mumbai and spent his childhood there. He started taking piano lessons since seven and five years later formed a rock band of his own.
His family then moved to Feltham in Middlesex, England, and after his graduation and some odd jobs, he joined a band called Ibex in 1969. A year later, along with May and drummer Roger Taylor, he formed Queen — and also changed his surname to Mercury.
Counted among the greatest entertainers, Mercury himself wrote several songs, notably “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Killer Queen”, “We Are the Champions”, “Seven Seas of Rhye”, “Play the Game”, “Somebody to Love” and “Don’t Stop Me Now”.
He was openly gay, but hid his HIV status — believed to have been diagnosed sometime in 1987 — from the public for at least two years. He died Nov 24, 1991 at his home in Kensington, when he was barely 45, a few months after he said bye to Queen.
Among the other notable tributes, luxury car-maker Lotus has produced a one-off Evora S coupe in his honour in pearl white with red and gold accents that was the entertainer’s signature costume in the mid 1980s.
The car is to be auctioned off for an HIV-AIDS charity formed by his Queen-mates.

-IANS

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Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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