Archive | December, 2013

Egyptian security forces arrest Muslim Brotherhood leaders’ son

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Egyptian security forces arrest Muslim Brotherhood leaders’ son

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : 31 DEC :- Egyptian security forces have arrested the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader on charges of inciting violence, the Interior Ministry said, in the latest move in a crackdown against the group now branded a terrorist organization.

Anas Beltagi was arrested on Monday with two others in an apartment in Nasr City, the same district where security forces in August broke up protests calling for the reinstatement of President Mohamed Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who was ousted by the army in July.

They were found in possession of a shotgun and ammunition, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Beltagi’s father, Mohamed Beltagi, is in jail and facing trial for inciting violence along with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

Security forces launched a crackdown against the Brotherhood in August, arresting many of their leaders including Mursi and putting them on trial for inciting terrorism and violence. Hundreds have been killed.

Since Mursi’s overthrow, security forces have been struggling with some of the worst violence Egypt has seen in decades but the Muslim Brotherhood has denied any links to violence or terrorism.

The military-installed government last week formally listed the group as a terrorist organization and accused it of carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a police station that killed 16 people. The Brotherhood has denied involvement.

The United States expressed concern on Monday about the government’s designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist group, as well as the ongoing detentions and arrests by security forces.

“We remain deeply concerned about all of the politically motivated arrests, detentions, and charges in Egypt. These actions raise questions about the rule of law being applied impartially and equitably, and do not move Egypt’s transition forward,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in Washington.

Also on Monday a Cairo court sentenced 139 Brotherhood members to two years in jail and a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($720) each for engaging in violent actions, protesting and rioting.

Last month Egypt issued a protest law making it illegal to hold demonstrations without the approval of the police.

On Tuesday security forces transferred to court 16 pro-Brotherhood students over accusations of protesting without permission, state media said.

Authorities also froze the funds of 572 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Pakinam el-Sharkawi, one of Mursi’s top aides, judicial sources said.

Clashes between protesters and security forces also renewed on Tuesday at Al Azhar University, a main stage of violent protests since the start of its fall semester in September.

Egypt is pushing through with a roadmap to political transition that could see new parliamentary and presidential elections next year. A referendum on a new constitution is due to take place in mid-January.

Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed al-Borei said in remarks carried by state media on Tuesday that the “door is open” for members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have not been involved in violence to run for the presidential and parliamentary elections as individual candidates.

He also said the Presidency is planning to carry out the presidential contest before parliamentary elections next year, changing a roadmap to democracy that the army outlined in July.

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UK Sikhs, Hindus criticise use of ‘Asian’ in criminality talk

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

London,(GGS NEWS) 31  Dec : British Sikhs and Hindus have launched an online petition asking politicians and media to stop using vague terms like “Asian” while talking of child sex grooming by gangs as it besmirches their communities.

Four leading religious groups ? the Hindu Council UK, the Network of Sikh Organisations, the Sikh Media Monitoring Group and the Sikh Awareness Society ? have sponsored the online petition, The Times said in a report today.

PTI

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Australia’s WikiLeaks Party under fire for Assad talks

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Australia’s WikiLeaks Party under fire for Assad talks

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

SYDNEY,(GGS NEWS) 31 DEC : Whistleblowing group WikiLeaks said Tuesday it had no knowledge of and did not approve a delegation to Syria which met President Bashar al-Assad and included members of Australia’s WikiLeaks Party.
The delegation, aimed at showing solidarity with the Syrian people and opposing Western military intervention, reportedly included WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s father John Shipton, CEO of the political party.
The group met with Assad on December 23, according to a post on the Syrian president’s Twitter feed.
The visit triggered a furore when revealed in Australia on Tuesday, with the centre-left Labor opposition describing it as “extraordinary” and “irresponsible”.
“The Assad regime has been widely criticised and correctly criticised around the world,” said Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen.
“For an Australian political party to think it’s sensible to go and have discussions and try and provide some legitimacy, is something I think which they have to explain.”
The WikiLeaks Party was founded by Assange as part of his failed campaign for election to Australia’s parliament this year, but is distinct from the amorphous whistleblowing group.
WikiLeaks distanced itself from the delegation when asked about it Tuesday.
“Peace brokering a good idea, but obvious meeting would be spun without care. Did not know or approve,” it said on its official Twitter feed.
According to The Australian newspaper, the delegation included Shipton and WikiLeaks national council member Gail Malone, as well as Sydney university academic Tim Anderson and refugee activist Jamal Daoud.
Shipton announced plans to set up a WikiLeaks Party office in Damascus in a show of solidarity with ordinary Syrians, The Australian said.
The WikiLeaks Party said a “formal report from the fact finding delegation will be published once the delegates return to Australia”, in a brief statement on its Twitter feed.
In a December 22 website post announcing it would take part in the “solidarity delegation”, the WikiLeaks Party said the visit was to show opposition to violence and Western military intervention.
“The WikiLeaks Party was the first party in Australia to warn of the deadly consequences of any Western military intervention in Syria,” the post said.
“It went further by questioning the credibility of the excuses of such intervention based on unsubstantiated reports of the Syrian Army’s use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.
“The same excuses”, which turned out to be “no more than fabrications and lies” had been used to justify the US-led war in Iraq, the party said.
Disarmament teams returned Scandinavian escort vessels to port Monday after it became apparent that an end-of-year deadline for the removal of Syrian chemical weapons would not be met.
The US-Russia deal for Syria to surrender more than 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents averted US-led military strikes after a chemical weapons attack on August 21 near Damascus that the United States says killed 1,400 people.

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Yuvraj Singh dropped; Stuart Binny, Ishwar Pandey get nod for New Zealand tour

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Yuvraj Singh dropped; Stuart Binny, Ishwar Pandey get nod for New Zealand tour

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

GGS SPORTS : 31 DEC : All-rounder Yuvraj Singh was on Tuesday axed from India’s ODI squad owing to his poor performance in South Africa, even as rookies such as Ishwar Pandey and Stuart Binny got their maiden call-ups for India’s tour of New Zealand starting with an ODI series from January 19.

Yuvraj, dismissed for a two-ball duck the only time he came out to bat in the lost three-match ODI series against South Africa, was replaced by Stuart Binny — son of former India all-rounder Roger Binny.

Binny, 29, has played 53 first-class matches for Karnataka and scored 2714 runs at an average of 34.79, besides taking 79 wickets.

Another surprise inclusion in the team was Madhya Pradesh seamer Ishwar Pandey, who has been drafted into both the ODI and Test squad.

Again-fit pacer Varun Aaron, 24, has made a comeback to the ODI squad replacing Mohit Sharma, who failed to impress in South Africa. If he makes it to the final XI of the five-match ODI series against New Zealand, it would be Aaron’s first 50-over appearance for India after 2011.

The Test team was not altered too much with Ishwar’s inclusion instead of Pragyan Ojha being the only change made to the 17-member squad for the two-match series against the Kiwis starting February 10 in Auckland after a two-day practice match.

Interestingly, Ojha did not get a single game in the two-match series against South Africa which India lost 0-1 on Monday.

24-year-old Ishwar has played 31 first-class matches, grabbing 131 wickets at an average of 24.43.

The rest of the Test line-up has been left untouched with R. Ashwin, who did not impress much with his bowling, holding on to his place despite the conditions in New Zealand not being too conducive for slow bowlers.

While Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli ensured themselves a spot in the team after fine performances in the trying tour of South Africa, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have managed to retain the selectors’ faith despite coming a cropper.

Senior pacer Zaheer Khan will once again spearhead the Indian pace attack in Tests with Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Pandey to support him on the seaming tracks of New Zealand.

The ODI squad also sports a pace-heavy look but the spearhead’s role would be taken over by Ishant as Zaheer will not play in the five-match series.

The batting line-up remains more or less the same except for Binny coming in to take Yuvraj’s place. The specialist all-rounder’s role continues to belong to Ravindra Jadeja, who shone with the ball but disappointed with the bat in South Africa.

The tour of New Zealand will start with the first ODI in Napier, followed by matches in Hamilton (January 22 and January 28), Auckland (January 25) and Wellington (January 31).

Indians will play a two-day warm-up match in Whangharei from February 2, followed by the two-match Test series in Auckland (February 6 to 10) and Wellington (February 14 to 18).

Test squad: M.S. Dhoni (capt & wk), M. Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R. Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishwar Pandey.

ODI squad: M.S. Dhoni (capt & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ambati Rayudu, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron, Amit Mishra

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Troops deployed in Volgograd as Russia suicide attacks fuel terror fears

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Troops deployed in Volgograd as Russia suicide attacks fuel terror fears

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

GGS NEWS, 31 DEC : A bomb ripped a bus apart in Volgograd on Monday, killing 14 people in the second deadly attack blamed on suicide bombers in the southern Russian city in 24 hours and raising fears of Islamist attacks on the Winter Olympics. President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his prestige on February’s Sochi Games and dismissed threats from Chechen and other Islamist militants in the nearby North Caucasus, ordered tighter security nationwide after the morning rush-hour blast.

The previous day’s similar attack killed at least 17 in the main rail station of a city that serves as a gateway to the southern wedge of Russian territory bounded by the Black and Caspian Seas and the Caucasus mountains. On Monday, the blue and white trolleybus – powered by overhead electric cables – was reduced to a twisted, gutted carcass. Bodies were strewn across the street as Russians prepared to celebrate New Year, the biggest annual holiday. Windows in nearby apartments were blown out by the blast, which Russia’s foreign ministry condemned as part of a global terrorist campaign. “For the second day, we are dying. It’s a nightmare,” a woman near the scene told Reuters, her voice trembling as she choked back tears.

“What are we supposed to do, just walk now?” “Identical” shrapnel to that in the rail station indicated that the two bombs were linked, investigators said. “There was smoke and people were lying in the street,” said Olga, who works nearby. “The driver was thrown a long way. She was alive and moaning … Her hands and clothes were bloody.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either of the two attacks. Investigators said they believed a male suicide bomber was responsible for Monday’s blast. In Sunday’s attack, the federal Investigative Committee initially described the bomber as a woman from Dagestan, a hub of Islamist militancy on the Caspian, but later said the attacker may have been a man. Citing unnamed sources, the Interfax news agency said the suspected attacker in Sunday’s blast was an ethnic Russian convert to Islam who had moved to Dagestan and joined militants there early in 2012.

Volgograd was also the scene of an attack in October, when a woman from Dagestan killed seven people in a suicide bus blast. SECURITY The violence raises fears of a concerted campaign before the Olympics, which start on February 7 around Sochi, a resort on the Black Sea at the western end of the Caucasus range, 700 km (450 miles) southwest of Volgograd. In an online video posted in July, the Chechen leader of insurgents who want to carve an Islamic state out of the swathe of mainly Muslim provinces south of Volgograd, urged militants to use “maximum force” to prevent the Games from going ahead. “Terrorists in Volgograd aim to terrorise others around the world, making them stay away from the Sochi Olympics,” said Dmitry Trenin, an analyst with the Moscow Carnegie Centre.

North Caucasus militants have also staged attacks in Moscow and other cities, the most recent in the capital being an airport suicide bombing three years ago that killed 37 people. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach condemned the “despicable attack on innocent people” and said he had written to Putin to express condolences and confidence that Russia would deliver “safe and secure games in Sochi”.

It was unclear why Volgograd has been hit, though it is close to the restive regions. It also has resonance in Russian national identity as the scene of the battle that turned the course of World War Two, when the city was known as Stalingrad. Putin visited in February to mark the battle’s 70th anniversary.

City leaders have revived the old name for special occasions as Stalin’s image has been somewhat rehabilitated under Putin, while Stalin remains a hate figure to Chechens, whose nation was deported en masse on his orders. Putin has staked his personal reputation on a safe and successful Olympics.

This month, he freed jailed opponents including oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot punk band to remove causes for criticism at the event. Intended to showcase how Russia has changed since the collapse of Soviet communism in 1991, the Games have also been a focus for complaints in the West and among Russian liberals that Putin has stifled dissent and encouraged intolerance. Putin was first elected in 2000 after winning popularity for a war on Chechen rebels who had bid for independence after the break up of the Soviet Union.

Attacks by Islamist militants whose insurgency is rooted in that war have clouded his 14 years in power and now present his biggest security challenge. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry called on world powers to stand together against “terrorists” and named Doku Umarov, the Chechen warlord who leads the insurgency in the North Caucasus, as among those fomenting violence.

“We will continue our consistent fight against an insidious enemy that can only be stopped together,” the ministry said. Likening the Volgograd bombings to attacks in the United States, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, it criticised those who seek to justify some such violence – an apparent dig at Western powers who have supported Syria’s insurgents and who, at least in the 1990s, showed some sympathy for Chechen rebels. “The United States stands in solidarity with the Russian people against terrorism,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

“The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants.” Russia has in the past complained that Western countries do not consider its North Caucasus militants a threat, although Moscow cooperated with Washington after the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people in April. The Boston suspects, two brothers, were Chechens who had lived in Dagestan.

On Twitter, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “shocked & saddened” by the attacks. “I’ve written to President Putin to say the UK will help Russia in whatever way we can.”

Police said additional officers were deployed to railway stations and airports nationwide. In Volgograd province, more than 4,000 police and interior troops were activated in operation Anti-terror Whirlwind, checking documents and searching for suspicious people, Interfax quoted regional police as saying. Itar-Tass said they were focusing on migrant workers. “There is a horrible feeling of helplessness against these monsters,” said librarian Margarita Savicheva, 50. “I fear for my daughter, who also takes the trolleybus. Something diabolical has come to our town.”

The police force in Volgograd, a city of a million people, has been depleted as some 600 officers were redeployed to Sochi to help with Olympics security a police officer told Reuters. More attacks can be expected before the Olympics and nearby cities are easier targets than Sochi itself, said Alexei Filatov, a prominent former member of Russia’s elite anti-terrorism force, Alfa. “The threat is greatest now because it is when terrorists can make the biggest impression,” he said.

“The security measures were beefed up long ago around Sochi, so terrorists will strike instead in these nearby cities like Volgograd.” The attacks also threaten to fuel ethnic tension, which has increased with an influx of migrants from the poor Caucasus and Muslim Central Asian nations to Russian cities in recent years. “They need to be chased out of here. It has become a transit junction – there are all these non-Russians, both good and bad,” said Olga, a saleswoman at a store near the mangled bus. Several dozen nationalists held a protest outside a chapel in the city on Monday and police detained more than 20 of them.

“We are Russian; we must not be afraid,” said Mikhail Yasin, a protester who lit a candle for bombing victims. “God is with us. We are in our own land and no terrorist can frighten us – nor can the police.”

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BREAKING NEWS : BJP gets serious on Virbhadra Singh, protests outside Rahul Gandhi’s residence

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BREAKING NEWS : BJP gets serious on Virbhadra Singh, protests outside Rahul Gandhi’s residence

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) 31 DEC :  Demanding action against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh over the corruption allegations against him, hundreds of BJP activists and supporters held protests outside Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s house in Delhi today.As the protesters, led by BJP leader Anurag Thakur, tried to cross the security barricades outside Mr Gandhi’s residence and raised anti-Congress slogans, the police used water cannons and also resorted to lathi-charge to bring the situation under control. Many protesters were detained and later taken to a nearby police station.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has been accused by the BJP of taking a bribe for granting extension to a private power firm for a project. Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley has written to the Prime Minister seeking to know to what action he, the Congress President and Vice President would take against Mr Singh.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has rejected the charges against him as “false and highly defamatory” and has said he is ready to face any enquiry ordered by the Prime Minster.

The Congress, while dismissing the allegations, has dared the BJP to move court or approach appropriate investigating agencies if it has any proof.

At a news conference in Delhi yesterday, Mr Jaitley said, “This is a test for the Congress too. This is a test for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi too. Do they still feel angry on seeing these facts…This will show if their recent outburst on corruption in the Adarsh case was a put on… or it was a genuine reaction or was contrived anger.”

In his five-page letter to the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha has said that the case required an immediate investigation by Income Tax authorities and also the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“Of all the cases I have seen till now, I have no hesitation in saying this is an open and shut case against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh… How can such a person continue to be Chief Minister of a state of India,” Mr Jaitley said.

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Most of vitamin supplement studies flawed: Study

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Most of vitamin supplement studies flawed: Study

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : 31 DEC : A new research has suggested that most clinical trials of vitamin supplements, including some that concluded they are of no value or even harmful, have a flawed methodology, which makes them largely useless in determining the real value of these micronutrients.

Many projects have tried to study nutrients that are naturally available in the human diet the same way they would a powerful prescription drug.

Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, said that this leads to conclusions that have little scientific meaning, even less accuracy and often defy a wealth of other evidence.

Lead author Alexander Michels, an LPI research associate, said that in cell culture experiments that are commonly done in a high oxygen environment, vitamin C is unstable and can actually appear harmful.

He said that almost every animal in the world, unlike humans, is able to synthesize its own vitamin C and doesn’t need to obtain it in the diet, which makes it difficult to do any lab animal tests with this vitamin that are relevant to humans.

The new review has been published in the journal Nutrients.

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NASA Sends Out of This World New Year’s Greeting in Times Square

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NASA Sends Out of This World New Year’s Greeting in Times Square

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

GGS NEWS,(GGS NEWS) 31 DEC : NASA astronauts will help ring in 2014 by sending greetings from space and from Earth to the crowd gathered in New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Astronaut Mike Massimino will participate in the New Year’s Eve Countdown event on Tuesday evening, Dec. 31. He also will introduce a video greeting from Expedition 36 flight engineer Karen Nyberg, who returned from the International Space Station in November, and from three of the astronauts currently on board the space station: NASA’s Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins, and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The New Year’s countdown will be shown from 6 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. EST on the Toshiba Vision screen atop One Times Square, right below the New Year countdown ball. Eddie Temistokle, senior manager of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility for Toshiba America Inc., will welcome Massimino to the stage at 9:47 p.m.
Mastracchio, Hopkins and Wakata are part of a six-member crew currently on the orbiting laboratory, along with Oleg Kotov, Mikhail Tyurin and Sergey Ryazanski of the Russian Federal Space Agency.
Prominently positioned below the world-famous Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball, the dual LED screens will allow revelers in Times Square to see this special greeting from space.
Several NASA events have been broadcast in Times Square, including the Curiosity rover landing on Mars, which drew thousands of viewers, and the launches of two other spacecraft.

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New Year’s Eve 2013 marked with animated Google doodle

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New Year’s Eve 2013 marked with animated Google doodle

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : 31 DEC : New Year’s Eve 2013 has inspired the last doodle of the year. Upon hovering the mouse over this animated doodle, the text Happy New Year! is displayed.

Tuesday’s doodle features numbers 2, 0, 1, and 3 on the dance floor with the number 4 waiting along the sides, waiting for its turn to replace 3. The dance floor is made up of little squares that are changing colours, designed to represent the floor lights in various colours. The word Google is seen sandwiched between two speakers, with the second O replaced by a disco ball.

Also present on the Google home page is the text “What did the world search for this year? Remember the moments of 2013”, with a link to the Google Zeitgeist 2013. This has of course been seen for a while, and is not a new addition.

Though the latest Google doodle looks interactive, we tried various browsers and we couldn’t get the doodle to do anything except show Google search results for New Year’s Eve 2013. The first result is a Google search card that says, “Tuesday, December 31 New Year’s Eve 2013”, similar to what you get while searching for other important days like Diwali 2013 on Google India, or Memorial Day 2013 on the Google US homepage.

The rest of the page looks like any other Google results page, with news, image and search results for the query New Year’s Eve 2013. Many search results refer to fireworks planned on New Year’s Eve 2013. Interestingly, New Year’s Eve 2016 comes as a related search for the phrase, which has us wondering – who starts their party planning three years early?

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Finally, Rani Mukerji and Aditya Chopra set a wedding date and venue

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Finally, Rani Mukerji and Aditya Chopra set a wedding date and venue

Posted on 31 December 2013 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : 31 DEC : Remember Masala! gave you the scoop on Rani Mukherji’s wedding plans ?? It looks like things are now falling in place and Rani and Aditya will indeed tie the knot on February 10, 2014. And if the buzz doing the rounds in Jaipur and Jodhpur is to be believed, Aditya and Rani have not only finalised a date for their wedding, they have also chosen the venue!
The grand wedding with only close friends and family will allegedly take place at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur (one of the grandest and most popular wedding venues) and all arrangements for the same are rumoured to be currently being made. It looks like Rani will actually get hitched in royal ‘rani’ style!
A source alleges, “When Rani went to Jodhpur for Nita Ambani’s birthday celebrations, she did a recce of the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The confirmation of the wedding plans came in just a few days ago. The celebrations will take place in the first two weeks of February, and the wedding might be on February 10. Since they want to keep it private, they have asked that everyone (we presume this includes the hotel staff) should respect their request for total secrecy around the wedding.”

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