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Indian American Congressman asks Trump to end government shutdown. VOA

The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives has passed a legislative package aimed at ending the partial government shutdown without paying for President Donald Trump border wall, drawing a veto threat from the White House.

The first bill passed by the House on Thursday in a 239-192 vote was a continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security through February 8 that would not allocate any new wall spending. Five Republicans joined Democrats in approving the legislation.


Then, the House voted 241-190 to approve funds for six agencies, including Departments of State, Commerce, Agriculture, Labour, Treasury and other agencies through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year, CNN reported.

The package will now go to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is expected to be blocked. This will leave congressional Democrats and the administration at a stalemate, with the partial shutdown no closer to getting resolved.

It has affected hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have either been furloughed or have had to work without pay.

Trump has said he will reject any measure that does not provide $5 billion in funding for his wall on the Mexican border. Newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the proposed border wall as “waste of money”.

“We’re asking the President to open up government,” she told the Today show before the first session of the new House. “We have given the Republicans a chance to take yes for an answer.”


Donald Trump. VOA

Democrats say that Trump was holding government funding hostage for the wall, which they feel was “unnecessary and ineffective”.

Congressional leaders from both parties were expected to meet the President for another round of budget talks at the White House on Friday.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans will not back measures that Trump does not support and called the Democrats’ move a “total non-starter” and a “political sideshow”.

As of Thursday, 102 women serve in the House, an all-time high, including 36 newly-elected members and a record 43 women of colour.

The new members included the first Muslim congresswoman — Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, who took her oath on the Quran — and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, who became the first person to wear a hijab in Congress.

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New Mexico’s Debra Haaland and Kansas’ Sharice Davids were the first Native American congresswomen in the House, while New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman to be elected to Congress.

The White House had issued a veto threat against the legislative package ahead of the House vote.

The partial government shutdown stretched into its 13th day on Thursday, when the new Democratic House majority was sworn in. (IANS)


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CNN

Doris Lessing who won a Nobel Prize in Literature

London (CNN)- At five o'clock in the morning, the esteemed 86-year-old astrophysicist Jim Peebles was woken suddenly by the telephone ringing.

"In previous experience, the only phone calls at that time of night are bad news," he said. This one was great news. "The opening sentence from the caller was: 'The Nobel committee has voted to award you the Nobel Prize in Physics. Do you accept?'" Peebles recalled. The wording threw him. Who wouldn't accept a Nobel Prize? "You know the Bob Dylan fiasco?" he said during a phone interview with CNN. "That might have put the wind up them."The "fiasco" Peebles mentions refers to the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, which was controversially given to an utterly unimpressed Dylan.Aside from being ever-presents on college campuses in the 1960s, little connects Peebles, an expert in theoretical cosmology, with Dylan. But one of the starkest contrasts might lie in their reactions to winning a Nobel -- and the songwriter is far from the only laureate whose crowning turned out to be an awkward affair.

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Sindoor implies the longevity of a woman's marriage to her husband in the Hindu tradition

Married Hindu women are recognised by a red streak of vermillion in the middle of their foreheads. This is traditionally called 'sindoor', which is derived from the Sanskrit word sindura, meaning 'red lead.'. Sindoor is traditionally powdered turmeric and lime, sometimes red saffron, or red sandalwood. It is also called vermilion, or Kumkum.

Vermilion powder mixed on a plate Sindoor is traditionally powdered turmeric and lime, sometimes red saffron, or red sandalwood. It is also called vermilion, or Kumkum. Image source: Photo by Gayathri Malhotra on Unsplash

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Wikimedia Commons

Actress Urvashi Rautela has recently announced the name of her next film which is titled 'Dil Hai Gray'.

Actress Urvashi Rautela has recently announced the name of her next film which is titled 'Dil Hai Gray'. It's a Hindi remake of Tamil film 'Thiruttu Payale 2'. Urvashi Rautela will be seen alongside Vineet Kumar Singh and Akshay Oberoi.

Urvashi shares: "I am excited to announce the title of my next film 'Dil Hai Gray' on the auspicious day of Vijaya Dashami. The film is very close to my heart and it was lovely working with director Susi Ganeshan sir, producer M Ramesh Reddy sir, and my co-stars Vineet Kumar Singh and Akshay Oberoi. "

"The film has created a massive response in the south industry and I am very positive about the story that it will be also be loved by the audience here. I hope my fans would bless us with their love and support. Super excited to watch my film on the big screen after a long time," she concludes. (IANS/ MBI)


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