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Dubai International Airport maintained its position as the world's busiest airport for international passengers for the fifth consecutive year. Indian travellers were the largest source of traffic for the airport which registered a record footfall of over 89 million. Dubai became the world's busiest airport for international passenger traffic in 2014 when it overtook London's Heathrow Airport.

Dubai International Airport saw its 2018 passenger traffic increase to 89.1 million compared to 88.2 million in the previous year, missing its target of 90.3 million due to a slowdown in Gulf economies amid lower oil prices. It is the slowest growth for Dubai airport in the past decade. India remained the biggest source of traffic for the airport, accounting for more than 12.2 million travellers. Most of them were coming from the Indian cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Cochin.

Saudis came second over 6.4 million passengers, overtaking travellers from the United Kingdom. About 6.3 million British nationals used the airport. Apart from these countries, 3.5 million flyers from China, 3.2 million from the United States and about 1.5 million from Russia arrived at Dubai airport.

The airport exceeded the 8 million passenger mark twice last year, particularly in July, when passenger numbers reached 8.2 million, and in August, which logged 8.4 million flyers, making it the busiest month in the history of the airport since it started operations in 1960. It overtook the crown of the world's busiest hub for international travel from London's Heathrow in 2014.

Enhancing and controlling the costs were the elements which allowed them to grow their business and contribute to Dubai's economy.

Dubai Airports will close DXB's Southern Runway for an upgrade between April 16 and May 30, 2019, hence reducing the number of flights to and from Dubai International. Emirates airline announced that it would cut 25 percent of its flights during the upgrade.

YANGON: The UN children's agency UNICEF has called on Myanmar's government to release Rohingya children detained as part of a sweeping military campaign in Rakhine state.      More than 600 people were arrested in an army crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in the north of the restive state. The operation was launched after deadly attacks by militants on police posts in October.     Rohingya escapees in neighbouring Bangladesh, where more than 70,000 have fled, gave UN investigators accounts of beatings, torture and food deprivation inside the jails. Minors are among those detained.     UNICEF's deputy executive director Justin Forsyth said he had given the country's de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi details of around a dozen youngsters being held in Buthidaung prison.     "There are some children that are detained in prison, so those are the cases that we're raising," he said late on Saturday at the end of a brief trip to Myanmar.    "Any child that's detained is an issue for us."       

Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi and Myanmar's army chief both recognised "that there's an issue here" but made no firm committment for their release, he added.      Government spokesman Zaw Htay declined to comment when contacted on Sunday.      The UN Human Rights Council has agreed to send a mission to Myanmar to probe allegations that troops and police raped, killed and tortured Rohingya in their months-long campaign.      Myanmar has rejected the accounts collected by UN investigators in the Bangladesh refugee camps, who said the crimes could amount to ethnic cleansing.      "I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening," Suu Kyi said in an interview with the BBC last week.     

Myanmar's police and the military have both launched separate probes to investigate the deaths of at least eight people in custody in northern Rakhine.     UN rights envoy for Myanmar Yanghee Lee said some 450 people were being held in Buthidaung prison when she visited in January, most without access to lawyers or their families.      

Myanmar has long faced criticism for its treatment of more than one million Rohingya, who are vilified as illegal "Bengali" immigrants and forced to live in apartheid-like conditions even though many have lived in the country for generations.      A group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army has claimed the October attacks, which it said were intended to defend the rights of the persecuted minority after years of worsening conditions.       Forsyth said there was a growing recognition among both Myanmar's civilian government and army that depriving Rohingya children of opportunities had bred militancy.    "The reality is if you don't address these issues particularly for these communities then it will come back to haunt them, which is partly what has happened," he said.

Berlin: Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal doesn't get much sleep these days, but says it's well worth it. The community rabbi and head of the Jewish outreach group Chabad in Berlin has been campaigning relentlessly to turn his dream of creating a Jewish campus in Germany into a reality.For years, he's lobbied the German authorities, raised millions of euros (dollars) in funds and bought a 3,000 square meter (32,000 square feet) plot of land next to Chabad's synagogue in the German capital's Wilmersdorf district.

More than just a new facility, Teichtal sees the centre as a step toward Chabad's goal of re-establishing a vibrant Jewish community in the former Nazi capital, in part by welcoming and integrating Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union and encouraging interactions with non-Jews."Everyone in Europe talks about fears and uncertainties, we're talking about going forward," said the 44-year-old orthodox rabbi, looking across the large empty plot where a few containers have been set up as a temporary extension of Chabad's kindergarten.The planned seven-story building will be dedicated to Jewish education, culture and sports, the first of its kind in Germany. If all goes to plan, the groundbreaking is scheduled for September and the entire campus is slated to be finished in late 2019.German authorities approved some of the still-outstanding permissions earlier this month."With all the challenges we're facing today, building this campus is a signal: We're here to stay - otherwise we wouldn't build," says Teichtal, who wears a traditional beard, a velvet kippah and a black caftan.

Germany has experienced a strong influx of Jews in recent decades and Berlin has the biggest Jewish community in Germany, with about 40,000 members. Those numbers are still a far cry, however, from Germany's flourishing Jewish community of more than 500,000 before the Nazi period, with some 120,000 Jews in Berlin alone.

Overall, some six million European Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.Because of its history, Germany took in some 200,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union since the fall of communism in 1989 - most of them secular and with only a little knowledge about their own religion.When Rabbi Teichtal and his wife Leah set out from Brooklyn to Berlin 20 years ago, they came with the goal of reaching out to this group, but also to the established German Jewry. Though New York-based, Chabad members are sent out as "Jewish messengers" around the globe with the aim of getting mostly unaffiliated Jews in touch with their religion.

In the last two decades, the Chabad community in Berlin has kept growing and there are now around 600 to 700 families who regularly take part in the community's offerings, Teichtal said.Chabad has a synagogue, an educational centre, a kindergarten, an elementary and high school - but the facilities are spread over the city and so popular that the Jewish group can't offer places to all the applicants.

With the establishment of the new 7,000 square-meter (75,300 square-feet) campus, all Chabad schools will all be united under one roof and also offer more facilities, including a library, cafeteria, movie theatre, concert hall and a ballroom for weddings and other festivities.The sports centre will include an indoor basketball court and opportunities for soccer and other ball games. Outside, there'll be a playground and a garden.The cost of the entire campus is projected at around 18 million euros ($20.3 million). It's being funded by the federal government, Berlin's state government, several German foundations and private donations.

Unlike most Jewish institutions in Germany, which are behind fences and tightly guarded against anti-Semitic attacks, Teichtal says he wants the Jewish campus to be open to everyone."It should become a place where Jews and non-Jews can come together and meet," he said.

Pyongyang: North Korea has vowed to bolster its defences to protect itself against air strikes like the ones President Donald Trump ordered against an air base in Syria.The North called the air strikes "absolutely unpardonable" and said they prove its nuclear weapons are justified to protect the country against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war."The comments were made by a Foreign Ministry official and carried Sunday by North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency. The report did not name the official, which is common in KCNA reports.The air strikes, announced shortly after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up dinner at a two-day summit in Florida last week, were retaliation against Syrian President Bashar Assad for a chemical weapons attack against civilians caught up in his country's long civil war.

"Some forces are loud-mouthed that the recent US military attack on Syria is an action of warning us but we are not frightened by it," the report said, adding that the North's "tremendous military muscle with a nuclear force as its pivot" will foil any aggression by the US."We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defence to cope with the US ever more reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force," it said.

North Korea has long claimed that the United States is preparing to conduct similar precision strikes against its territory or even launch an all-out invasion. It claims its nuclear weapons are a necessary deterrent to the US military threat. Washington denies it has any intention of invading the North.Tensions have been even higher than usual over the past few weeks because annual war games between the US and South Korean militaries are underway. The exercises this year are the biggest ever and have included stealth fighter training and other manoeuvres that are particularly sensitive to North Korea.

For its part, the North test-launched a ballistic missile just ahead of the Trump-Xi meeting and has been rumoured to be preparing for a possible nuclear test.The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with an armistice, not a formal peace treaty.North Korea considers Syria an ally. But unlike Syria, experts warn that North Korea has a means of striking back if provoked.

Along with its rapidly advancing nuclear and long-range missile capabilities, the North has its artillery and short-range missiles trained on Seoul, the capital of US ally South Korea and a city of more than 10 million people.

Moscow: Twelve people were hospitalised after a commuter train collided with a long-distance train in western Moscow, Russian authorities said on Sunday.Russia's minister of emergency situations, Vladimir Puchkov, told Russian news agencies that "12 people were hospitalised, including six in serious condition" as a result of the collision.

The collision occurred at 22:16 (1916 GMT) on Saturday when the driver of a commuter train braked suddenly to avoid hitting a person on the tracks, the Russian Railways state corporation said in a statement.Its brakes damaged, the train went into reverse and collided with a long-distance train, travelling to the Belarusian city of Brest that had stopped on the same track, the statement said.Twenty-eight people sought medical attention after the collision, Russian Railways said. No casualties were reported. Video footage broadcast on state television showed emergency workers examining the damaged trains while medics assisted passengers.

The collision caused two of the commuter train's wagons and a portion of the long-distance train to derail, Russian Railways said.Puchkov said in televised comments that more than 200 people were working at the site of the collision to clear the tracks.Train service in the area resumed at 5:46 am (0246 GMT), Russian Railways said.

Juba: More than 6,000 people have fled fighting in southern South Sudan, with refugees recounting the slaughter of civilians by armed forces, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.Fighting between government forces and rebels erupted on Monday in the town of Pajok in the country's southern Equatoria region, a previously peaceful part of the country that has seen a surge in conflict in recent months.According to a statement from the UNHCR over 6,000 people have fled into the northern Ugandan district of Lamwo since the attack while many others were hiding in the bush trying to find their way to safety in Uganda as main roads were blocked by armed groups.

"People fleeing the recent incident claimed that the town came under an indiscriminate attack by the South Sudan armed forces," the statement said."Refugees told the UNHCR team on the ground in Lamwo terrifying stories of violence and abuse against civilians. Many have witnessed their loved ones shot dead or slaughtered like animals," UNHCR spokesman Rocco Nuri told AFP."Families fled in all directions. Those unable to run were reportedly shot dead, including the elderly and people with disabilities."

A local pastor who fled Parjok on Wednesday, and asked not to be named, said soldiers had entered the town in tanks "and suddenly we saw shooting and we just had to run."Both he and regional Anglican Bishop Oringa Benard reported that some 135 people had been killed, however this could not be independently verified.The UN peacekeeping mission UNMISS said in a statement on Wednesday that they had twice been prevented from accessing Pajok."The mission has received reports of fighting between SPLA (government) troops and the opposition there and is trying to follow-up on reports of civilians killed in the area," the statement added.

UNMISS urged the government to immediately allow it access "so it can fully implement its mandate, including to protect civilians and report on human rights violations."South Sudan government spokesman Michael Makuei confirmed that its forces had attacked Pajok."As you know Pajok has been in the hands of the rebels so what happened was government forces went there and fighting ensued and so the civilian population that has been staying with the rebels had to run away," he said.

"I don't know the figure (of those who might have been killed or injured) but in any fighting there must be casualties."Uganda currently hosts more than 832,000 refugees from South Sudan, including over 270,000 in the Bidibidi refugee camp which in eight months has gone from an empty patch of land to the world's biggest refugee camp.

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari was thrilled by his team’s 3-1 derby victory over Atletico Madrid on Saturday as the European champions forced their way back into the La Liga title race. Casemiro, Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale’s goals allowed Real to condemn Atletico to their first home defeat of the season and move within five points of leaders Barcelona, who face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

 

 

Seth Rollins challenges Brock Lesnar, Becky Lynch to face Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania. A day after winning their respective Royal Rumble matches, Becky Lynch challenged Ronda Rousey for the women's title and Seth Rollins will go after Brock Lesnar's Universal Title.Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins on WWE Raw

Brock Lesnar thrashed Seth Rollins with six F-5s on WWE Raw. A day after winning the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match to book his ticket to WrestleMania, Seth Rollins made his intentions clear as to whose title he was going after. Eyeing the WWE Universal Championship title, Rollins was brought to surface in what a herculean task it is to go face-to-face with champion Brock Lesnar. On the face of it, few are bolder than Rollins but as he interrupted a Paul Heyman tirade on WWE Raw, and slugged The Beast Incarnate in the face, he was made to regret his decision.

Mahesh Bhupathi admitted that the his players were under pressure, something that top singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran also echoed. 
Indian captain Mahesh Bhupathi on Friday rued that his men failed to seize the opportunities against a much higher-ranked Italy, which raced to a 2-0 lead on the opening day of the Davis Cup Qualifier.

The big-serving Ramkumar Ramanathan got a break point in his very second game after he was leading 1-0 but the world number 37 Andreas Seppi used all his experience to hold his serve. Then again in the eighth game with Ramkumar leading 4-3, Seppi fended off another break before switching gears to wrap the set 6-4 and the second set turned out to be a formality with the Indian proving no match.

Mumbai: India’s first and only individual Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra and national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand enumerate as jury members for the second Indian Sports Honours to be presented in Mumbai on February 16.

The selection panel includes former Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh, tennis veteran Mahesh Bhupathi, legendary athlete PT Usha and former shooter Anjali Bhagwat.

“The award an athlete gets is just not for that individual but it also recognises the team and support staff which is committed for the athlete’s success, the award is just not a reflection of an individual’s success but it reflects his/her team’s efforts too,” shooting ace Bindra said.

Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bengaluru have kickstarted their five-day conditioning camp primarily with eight of its domestic players including 16-year-old Bengal prodigy Prayas Ray Burman and Ranji Trophy's top run-getter Milind Kumar.

Eight players have already joined the camp which also includes Uttar Pradesh captain Akshdeep Nath, Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dubey, talented Delhi batsman Himmat Singh and seamer Kulwant Khejroliya, Tamil Nadu's Washington Sundar and Devdutt Paddikal from Karnataka.

 

 

Petra Kvitova will next face either eighth-seeded Donna Vekic or lucky loser Veronika Kudermetova. 
Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova won eight straight games to take control of the match before needing a tiebreaker to finally beat Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 7-6 (3) on Wednesday in the second round of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

Kvitova, playing her opening match after a first-round bye, went from trailing 2-1 in the first set to a 3-0 lead in the second. But she double-faulted on match point at 5-1 to let Azarenka back into the match.

In India, Facebook added five new partners in its third-party fact-checking programme aimed at reducing the spread of false news on its platform.

With the addition of the new partners, Facebook has expanded the programme to three new languages. The new partners - India Today Group, Vishvas.news, Factly, News-mobile and Fact Crescendo - will review news stories on Facebook for facts, and rate their accuracy starting on Monday, Facebook said.

Along with its existing partners BOOM Live and AFP, the Facebook partners will be doing fact checking in six languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi.

"We are excited to announce new partners including some leading traditional media to our fact checking programme in India. We are committed to fighting the spread of false news on Facebook, especially ahead of the 2019 general election campaign season," said Manish Khanduri, News Partnership Head, Facebook India.

When a fact-checker rates a story as false, the social network shows it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution. The social media giant warned that Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will also see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetise and advertise removed.

Grocery stores, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms that have the facility of internet-enabled temperature control systems, have the risk of being hacked.

Security researchers at Safety Detective found over 7,419 networked thermostats manufactured by Scotland-based electronics manufacturer Resource Data Management (RDM) to be suffering from the vulnerability.

Most of the thermostats are still using the default password, which makes them incredibly easy for an attacker to gain control of. On hijacking these devices, the hackers are able to adjust temperatures, change alarms and obtain floor places of facilities were the freezers are located. The issue with RDM products comes from users failing to follow the necessary steps to secure their products. 

When approached by Safety Detective about the issue, RDM said ‘the issue is related to the use of default passwords and users are encouraged to change them." Of course, companies could take action to force users to set up new passwords rather than rely on them to take action on their own, but for now, the firm is passing the blame onto users.

Social media giant Facebook has acquired visual search startup GrokStyle that lets users search and shop for products online by clicking their pictures, with the help of artificial intelligence.

The startup, which began as a research paper in 2015, was co-founded by IIT Bombay alumnus Kavita Bala. GrokStyle’s technology, which was integrated into Ikea’s mobile app, was simple in practice. A user takes a picture of a piece of furniture and the technology would match it to similar products that could be purchased online. Facebook could use the underlying AI technology and GrokStyle’s employees to bolster its own efforts in the field.

The company recently disclosed on its website that it is winding down but nothing about joining Facebook.

“We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook,” Facebook spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said in a statement. “Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities.” She declined to disclose a purchase price.

Facebook could use the underlying AI technology and GrokStyle’s employees to bolster its own efforts in the field. The GrokStyle purchase marks the second reported acquisition by Facebook this year. Earlier this month, the company bought the team behind blockchain technology company Chainspace for an undisclosed sum. The company purchased at least four firms last year, including startups focused on messaging and AI.

Facebook announced additions to rules governing political advertisements in India in order to create more transparency ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Facebook had first announced plans aimed at bringing transparency to political ads in India in December. The social media giant hope the move will help to ensure more transparency in political advertisements and will be effective from February 21. 

Facebook users will now begin to see political ads with “Published by” or “Paid for by” disclaimers specified by advertisers. “This will give people more information about who’s responsible for the ads they see.” Users will also be able to access an ad library that allows them to search and learn more about political ads, including the cost of the advertisement, and demographics of views.

In December, the company had made it mandatory for users who want to use Facebook for political advertising to confirm their identity, location and also give the platform more details about who is placing the ads. With this new policy people will be able to see the country locations of users who manage pages that carry political ads in the coming weeks.

“By increasing transparency around ads and pages on Facebook, we hope to increase accountability for advertisers, help people assess the content they’re seeing and prevent future abuse in elections,” said Facebook.

In a bid to reduce exposure of minors to self-harming, provocative and disturbing content on its platform, Instagram has launched the “sensitivity screen” feature that blurs questionable pictures and video-thumbnails on the app until the viewer opts in.

The new feature - that has already reached users in India - blocks images of cutting and self-harm that could pop-up in search, recommendations or hashtags and influence minors into physical danger.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced the rollout of "sensitivity screens" officially.  This new feature came up because of the suicide of British teenager Molly Russell. Her parents blamed the photo-messaging app for exposing their daughter to self-harm and suicidal content.

"We are not yet where we need to be on issues of suicide and self-harm. We need to do everything we can to keep the most vulnerable people who use our platform safe," said Mosseri.

The announcement comes after UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued a warning to Instagram-owner Facebook to improve protection for young people on its apps or face legal action.

 TRAI has come up with a set of rules which changes plans, packages and pricing of TV channels by all operators like Airtel DTH, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Cable TV, etc.

Whether you are a DTH or cable TV subscriber, your TV bill will not appear the same from when the new regulatory regime kicks off. The new regime which is mandated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), have to be followed by all the operators.

The new tariff order by TRAI, will reduce the price you pay for watching television if you make a sensible choice of channels. After the TRAI order, not only have major broadcasters announced individual pricing of all their TV channels but they have also come up with bouquets of several channels at discounted packages.

The new framework mandates all operators, including DTH, cable service provider or multi-system operator, to have a base package of 100 channels. You have the freedom to choose free to air (FTA) or pay channels or any bouquet of several channels in that list.

Your service provider cannot charge more than ?130 for the base package, excluding GST. If you want to watch a pay channel you will have to pay more for every such choice you make. TRAI has come up with a portal 'www.channeltariff.trai.gov.in' which lists the price of all pay channels as well as bouquet packages of all broadcasters. The price mentioned in the list is MRP and no distributor can charge more than the maximum retail price declared by a broadcaster.

In case you want to watch more than 100 channels in the base package, you can top it up with more channels. For every 25 channels, you add to the list of 100, you pay ?20 extra. Besides that, you will have to pay extra for any pay channel you include on the list.

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Director Aashiq Abu’s Virus has hit rough weather even before its release. The film was embroiled in controversy after filmmaker Uday Ananthan moved court accusing the director of copyright infringement. Uday has claimed that he has the right to the title and the story of Virus.

Hearing Uday’s petition, the Ernakulam district court on Thursday stayed the release of the movie. However, Aashiq seems to be unfazed by the controversy as he reportedly said that he will take “necessary action at the right time.”

“My movie is inspired by real incidents. So how can it be termed as a copy of someone’s story,” Aashiq Abu argued. The shooting of the film is currently in progress in Kozhikode, which was touted as the epicenter of Nipah Virus infection.

Virus is based on actual incidents that happened in the backdrop of the disease outbreak. The film is Aashiq Abu’s most ambitious project as he has put together a set of highly-talented actors for this movie. The all-star cast includes Revathy, Asif Ali, Rima Kallingal, Parvathy TK, Remya Nambissan, Tovino Thomas, Kalidas Jayaram, Soubin Shahir, Dileesh Pothan and Chemban Vinod Jose. The filmmaker has also assembled a solid technical crew, including Muhsin Parari, Suhas and Sharfu, cinematographer Rajeev Ravi, composer Sushin Sam. Virus is expected to hit screens this summer.

 

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