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It’s Chinese New Year 2017, year of the Rooster! What’s your zodiac animal?

Posted on 28 January 2017 by TSL


Chinese New Year 2017 – The Year of the Rooster – has begun and will last until Feb 15, 2018. 

The new year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year. 

Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac.

The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month. 

This year, it's the Year of the Rooster, the 10th animal in the cycle. The next Year of the Rooster will be in 2029.

The personality of the Rooster

People born in the Year of the Rooster are characterised as honest, energetic, intelligent, flexible and confident. But according to Chinese astrology, the year of your sign is believed to be one of the most unlucky years of your life. 

The general image of people in this zodiac sign is that they are hardworking, resourceful, confident and talented.  In addition, their active, talkative and engaging ways make them popular with people. They are happiest when they are in company, enjoying the spotlight. Although they were born with enviable skills, they still have several shortcomings, such as being seen as vain and arrogant with a tendency to brag about their achievements. 

Strengths: healthy, sporty, self-assured 

Weaknesses: a little sensitive, stressed, moody

Lucky Signs for the Rooster

  • Lucky numbers: 5, 7, 8
  • Lucky colours: brown, gold and yellow
  • Lucky flowers: gladiola, cockscomb 
  • Lucky directions: south, southeast

Famous people born under the rooster sign 

Rudyard Kipling, Benjamin Franklin, Prince Philip, Nancy Reagan, Joan Collins, Dolly Parton, ​Michelle Pfeiffer, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Beyonce, Eric Clapton and Yoko Ono.

The years below are a rough guide, but if you were born in January or February it may be slightly different as the new year moves between Jan 21 and Feb 20. The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.   

  • Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960 
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961 
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962 
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963 
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964 
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965 
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966 
  • Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967 
  • Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968 
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969 
  • Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970 
  • Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971   

What does your Chinese zodiac sign mean? 

In Chinese astrology, the 12 animal zodiac signs each have unique characteristics. 

  • Rat: Intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic,  sociable. 
  • Ox: Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, steady, determined. 
  • Tiger: Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leadership, confidence, charismatic. 
  • Rabbit: Trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers. 
  • Dragon: Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, charismatic. 
  • Snake: Philosophical, organised, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive. 
  • Horse: Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent,  adventurous, strong. 
  • Sheep: Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm. 
  • Monkey: Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart. 
  • Rooster: Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident. 
  • Dog: Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart. 
  • Pig: Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable. 

Chinese New Year's Day Taboos 

To be avoided on the first day of the Chinese New Year: 

1. Medicine: Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will get ill for a whole year. 

2. New Year's breakfast: Porridge should not be eaten because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast and people don't want to start the year “poor” as this is a bad omen. 

3. Laundry: People do not wash clothes on the first and second day because these two days are celebrated as the birthday of Shuishen (水神,  the Water God).

4. Washing hair: Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar  year. In the Chinese language, hair (发) has the same pronunciation and  character as 'fa' in facai (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’.  Therefore, it is seen as not a good thing to “wash one’s fortune away”  at the beginning of the New Year.

5. Sharp objects: The use of knives and scissors is to be avoided as any accident is thought to lead to inauspicious things and the depletion of  wealth.

6. Going out: A woman may not leave her house otherwise she will be plagued with bad luck for the entire coming year. A married daughter is  not allowed to visit the house of her parents as this is believed to  bring bad luck to the parents, causing economic hardship for the family.

7. The broom: If you sweep on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.

8. Crying children: The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family so parents do their best to keep children as happy as  possible.

9. Theft: Having your pocket picked is believed to portend your whole  wealth in the coming year being stolen.

10. Debt: Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day and all debts have to be paid by New Year’s Eve. If someone owes you money, do not go to their home to demand it. Anyone who does so will be unlucky all year.

11. An empty rice jar: A depleted receptacle may cause grave anxiety as the cessation of cooking during the New Year period is considered to be an ill omen.

12. Damaged clothes: Wearing threadbare garments can cause more bad luck for the year.

13. Killing things: Blood is considered an ill omen, which will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound or a bloody disaster. 

14. Monochrome fashion: White or black clothes are barred as these two colours are traditionally associated with mourning.

15. Welcoming the New Year: According to tradition, people must stay up  late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year and then let off  firecrackers and fireworks to scare off inauspicious spirits and Nian, the New Year monster.

16. Giving of certain gifts: Clocks, scissors, and pears all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture.  

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Oscar nominations: La La Land scores big

Posted on 24 January 2017 by TSL

The candy-coloured love letter to musicals La La Land has landed a record-tying 14 Academy Awards nominations, matching it with Titanic and All About Eve for the most nominations ever.

Several Australians are among the nominees, including Nicole Kidman and Mel Gibson, while Tanna, a Romeo and Juliet-style film set in Vanuatu, scored Australia's first ever nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Australian drama film Lion, which tells the incredible true story of a Tasmanian man's journey to India to find his biological mother, scooped up six nominations.

But La La Land dominated, earning nods for Best Picture, its stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, its songs, and its writer-director Damien Chazelle.

 

Gosling said the film was a "true collaboration".

"I'm very grateful to the Academy for recognising my work in La La Land … to see everyone else's wonderful work on the film acknowledged so generously makes it even more special," he said.

The other nominees for Best Picture are Moonlight, Arrival, Manchester by the Sea, Hell or High Water, Lion, Fences, Hidden Figures and Hacksaw Ridge.

Following two years of #OscarsSoWhite furore, the Academy of Motion Pictures fielded a notably more diverse field of nominees, led by Barry Jenkins' luminous coming-of-age portrait Moonlight, Denzel Washington's Fences and Theodore Melfi's Hidden Figures.

Full list of nominees:

  • Best Picture: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight
  • Best Director: Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
  • Best Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences)
  • Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Emma Stone (La La Land), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) Dev Patel (Lion), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
  • Best Original Screenplay: Hell or High Water, La La Land, The Lobster, Manchester by the Sea, 20th Century Women
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, Moonlight
  • Cinematography: Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, Silence
  • Best Film Editing: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Moonlight
  • Best Visual Effects: Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Best Production Design: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hail, Caesar!, La La Land, Passengers
  • Best Costume Design: Allied, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Florence Foster Jenkins, Jackie, La La Land
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling: A Man Called Ove, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad
  • Best Original Score: Jackie, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, Passengers
  • Best Original Song: Audition (La La Land), Can't Stop the Feeling (Trolls), City of Stars (La La Land), The Empty Chair (Jim: The James Foley Story), How Far I'll Go (Moana)
  • Best Sound Editing: Arrival, Deepwater Horizon, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, Sully
  • Best Sound Mixing: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
  • Best Animated Feature: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, Zootopia
  • Best Documentary: Fire at Sea, I Am Not Your Negro, Life Animated, O.J.: Made in America, 13th
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Land of Mine, A Man Called Ove, The Salesman, Tanna, Toni Erdmann
  • Best Documentary Short Subject: Extremis, 4.1 Miles, Joe's Violin, Watani: My Homeland, The White Helmets
  • Best Live Action Short: Ennemis Entreniers, La Femme et le TGV, Silent Nights, Sing, Timecode
  • Best Animated Short: Blind Vaysha, Borrowed Time, Pear Cider and Cigarettes, Pearl, Piper

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When is Donald Trump’s inauguration and what time is it? Everything you need to know

Posted on 18 January 2017 by TSL

Courtesy: The Telegraph.

Donald Trump's inauguration is upon us – seeing the 45th President of the United States take office just ten weeks after stunning America and the world by winning the US election He will replace Barack Obama in the White House, but not before a ceremony that dates back to George Washington. The eyes of the world will be on Mr Trump as he takes the Oath of Office, and offers his inaugural address.

When and where is Trump's Presidential inauguration?

Trumps inauguration to become president takes place at noon local time (5pm GMT) on Friday 20th January.

The main ceremony is held at the White House, followed by a number of Inaugural Balls across the city of Washington DC.

The official swearing-in ceremony occurs on the steps in front of the Capitol.

Why is there a gap between US election and presidential inauguration?

The US election was held on November 8 2016, but Donald Trump does not officially become president until midday on January 20.

Until 1933, the new president was inaugurated on March 4, four months after election day.

This was then shortened to around two months with the ratification of the 20th Amendment.

The time between US election and inauguration allows for the incumbent, or 'lame duck', president to tie up any loose ends, and for the incoming president to prepare for his tenure by working on policy and appointing his cabinet.

But the main reason for the delay is to allow for the election to continue. On November 8, members of the public cast their votes – but not directly for who they want to be president. Americans vote for people called 'electors' in their state who are supporting the candidate they want to become president – this process is called the 'Electoral College'.

The more people who live in a state, the more electors there are for that state. The candidate with the most electors wins all the state's electoral college votes and the first candidate to win enough states to get to 270 electoral votes is elected to that office.

Mr Trump was declared officially the president-elect when the Texas votes were counted, pushing him over the 270-vote threshold.

After the December 19 vote, Mr Trump finished with 304 electoral votes and his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton got 227. Seven electors defied convention and went against the popular vote, refusing to vote for either candidate. 

The results from December 19 were confirmed by Congress on January 6.

Eve of the inauguration 

President-elect Donald Trump and vice-president elect Mike Pence will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery on January 19. This will be followed by a "Make America Great Again!" welcome concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Oath of Office

At noon local time (5pm GMT) on January 20, Donald Trump will take the Oath of Office and be sworn in as America’s 45th president.

Chief Justice John Roberts of the US Supreme Court will administer the oath on the steps of the United States Capitol Building.

 

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Hollywood star Jennifer Lopez, 47, and Toronto Rapper DRAKE are an item

Posted on 29 December 2016 by TSL

Hollywood star Jennifer Lopez, 47, and Toronto Rapper Drake, 30, appear to be an item. A loved-up picture appeared on both of their Official Instagram pages in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and even though it came with no explanation, it seemed to be enough to reaffirm the tryst. The cuddling holiday post won't be something that his ex-girlfriend Rihanna, 28, is waking up to, since it comes just one day after the news that she unfollowed her love rival, this weekend.

 

Drake and Jennifer Lopez have been spending a lot of time together lately. So naturally, when two single and famous people are seen in the same space, romance rumors are are swirling. Apparently, sources are telling TMZ that it’s “only a matter of time” before the two music powerhouses take their relationship to the next level. Though the two are currently just close friends working on music together, Drizzy and J.Lo are “pretty clearly going in that direction,” according to the publication.Dating rumors first sparked when Drake was seen at not one, but two of Lopez’s Las Vegas shows in the span of one week. At the time, the Canadian rapper shared a selfie with the singer on his Instagram, captioning the photo with a “😍” emoji.

Confirmed? Jennifer Lopez and Drake appeared to confirm their relationship on Tuesday, when they posted a cuddling picture to Instagram

Excerpts from numerous media outlets appended below:

  • Confirmed? Jennifer Lopez and Drake appeared to confirm their relationship on Tuesday, when they posted a cuddling picture to Instagram. The 47-year-old mum-of-two was the first to post the snuggling picture, which sees her younger contemporary wrapping both arms affectionately around her neck with one eye staring down the lens of the camera. Jennifer, nestled into his bear-like grasp, seems more restful and is captured with her eyes closed. Early speculation of a romance has led some to question whether Jenny From The Block went against the 'girl code' by dating a fellow musician's ex. Rumours of a relationship were sparked earlier this month when Drizzy attended two of JLo's Las Vegas concerts back-to-back, and hosted an exclusive gathering that she went to.​
  • Look of love: The 30-year-old rapper posted this Instagram shot with J.Lo earlier this month along with an arrow pointing to an emoji face with hearts for eyes captioned, 'Lotta those'
  • An insider told E! News it was an extremely 'intimate dinner' held at celebrity hot spot Delilah in West Hollywood, and the pair reportedly left together.
  • Jennifer and Rihanna who spent Christmas with friends and family in her native Barbados, are longtime pals despite the 19-year age gap.
  • Earlier in 2016, the brunette beauty gave J.Lo a pair of blue boots from her design collaboration with Manolo Blahnik.
  • In a handwritten note to the singer, Rih called Jennifer 'the baddest… because I know you're gonna wear them better than me!!

The J-Lo way: Jennifer reflected on the year gone by, just two days ago but neglected to mention her new love

Sad end: One of the downs is most likely a summer split with Casper Smart, who she was with on and off for five years (pictured here in March)

But 2016 was the year in which Rihanna and Drake were thought to have rekindled the flame, and he supported her on numerous tour dates – including his Summer Sixteen shows in September, and her Anti World Tour shows in April where he appeared. 

Conversely, this year has seen Jennifer end her five-year on and off relationship with beau Casper Smart, 29, who was similarly more than 17 years her junior.

On Boxing Day, Jennifer admitted that 2016 had been filled with its 'ups and downs' as she expressed her gratitude that her 'coconuts' – her eight-year-old twins Max and Emme – were healthy in a social media post about the year gone by.

He wants her back: Marc Anthony (Jennifer's long-term ex-husband, here in November) was thought to be trying to get back with Jennifer in 201

It's over: Jennifer and Marc (here in February 2011) confirmed the end to their marriage in 2014

'I have a ritual every year once everyone is asleep I like to go sit by the tree and think about the year that just went by,' she wrote to her followers.

She went on: 'This year I can honestly say my heart is full – this year had its ups and downs.

'But as I sit here in my living room with my coconuts sleeping soundly upstairs, all of us healthy, a house full of family and friends, I feel surrounded by love and overflowing with gratitude for the many new blessings in my life.'

She neglected to mention any new love interests, especially since this year has reportedly seen ex-husband Marc Anthony try to win her back.

Marc and Jennifer, who share their eight-year-old twins, were married between 2004 and 2014, but his second marriage to Shannon De Lima was confirmed to have ended this November, too.

Rumours of a reunion between Marc and Jennifer were rife in November when they shared a lingering kiss at The 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. 

With a history of more than 20 years, Marc and Jennifer initially tied the knot in 2004, when her engagement to actor Ben Affleck ended.

 

Jennifer was previously married to Cris Judd for two years, until 2003 and Ojani Noa for two years, until 1998.

Her pride and joy: She is grateful for what she has, including her two 'coconuts,' twins Max and Emme, aged eight (pictured in March 2015)

Her pride and joy: She is grateful for what she has, including her two 'coconuts,' twins Max and Emme, aged eight (pictured in March 2015)

 

They go everywhere with her: Emme and Max are Jennifer's children from her third marriage to Marc Anthony

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Hollywood “fifties” star Debbie Reynolds, 84, no more

Posted on 29 December 2016 by TSL

Lynn Elber, The Associated Press 
Published Wednesday, December 28, 2016 6:24PM EST 
Last Updated Wednesday, December 28, 2016 10:31PM EST

LOS ANGELES — Debbie Reynolds, who lit up the screen in "Singin' in the Rain' and other Hollywood classics despite a tumultuous life, has died a day after losing her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Reynolds was 84.

Her son, Todd Fisher, said Reynolds died Wednesday.

"She's now with Carrie and we're all heartbroken," Fisher said from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where his mother was taken by ambulance earlier Wednesday.

PHOTOS

Debbie Reynolds, left, and Carrie Fisher

In this Sept. 10, 2011, file photo, Debbie Reynolds, left, and Carrie Fisher arrive at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (AP / Chris Pizzello)

Debbie Reynolds

Carrie Fisher, right, presents Debbie Reynolds with the Screen Actors Guild life achievement award at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)

He said the stress of his sister's death on Tuesday "was too much" for Reynolds. Carrie Fisher, who was 60, had been hospitalized since Friday.

"She said, 'I want to be with Carrie,"' her son said. "And then she was gone."

Reynolds enjoyed the heights of show business success and endured the depths of personal tragedy. She lost one husband to Elizabeth Taylor and two other husbands plundered her for millions. Fisher, who found lasting fame as Princess Leia in "Star Wars" and struggled for much of her life with drug addiction and mental health problems, died after falling ill on a plane.

Reaction to Reynolds' death was swift.

"Debbie Reynolds, a legend and my movie mom. I can't believe this happened one day after Carrie," Albert Brooks, who played opposite Reynolds in "Mother," said on Twitter.

"I can't imagine what Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds' family are going through this week. I send all of my love," Ellen DeGeneres tweeted.

Reynolds found superstardom early. After two minor roles at Warner Bros. and three supporting roles at MGM, studio boss Louis B. Mayer cast her in "Singin' in the Rain," despite Kelly's objections. She was 19 with little dance experience, and she would be appearing with two of the screen's greatest dancers, Donald O'Connor and Kelly.

"Gene Kelly was hard on me, but I think he had to be," Reynolds, who more than held her own in the movie, said in a 1999 Associated Press interview. "I had to learn everything in three to six months. Donald O'Connor had been dancing since he was three months old, Gene Kelly since he was 2 years old."

The 1964 Meredith Willson musical "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," with Molly's defiant song "I Ain't Down Yet," brought Reynolds her only Academy Award nomination. She also received a Tony nomination in 1973 for her starring role in the Broadway revival of "Irene," in which her daughter also appeared.

After her transition from starlet to star, Reynolds became popular with teenage girls and even more so when in 1955 she married Eddie Fisher, the pop singer whose fans were equally devoted.

The couple made a movie together, "Bundle of Joy," which seemed to mirror the 1956 birth of Carrie. The Fishers also had a son, Todd, named for Eddie's close friend and Taylor's husband, showman Mike Todd.

During this period, Reynolds had a No. 1 hit on the pop charts in 1957 with "Tammy," the Oscar-nominated song from her film "Tammy and the Bachelor." But the Cinderella story ended after Mike Todd died in a 1958 airplane crash. Fisher consoled the widow and soon announced he was leaving his wife and two children to marry Taylor.

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Family members ‘traumatised’ after three die in South Auckland fire

Posted on 26 December 2016 by TSL

 

Saturday Dec 24, 2016

 

The scene of the fatal house fire on Plantation Ave in Flat Bush. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The scene of the fatal house fire on Plantation Ave in Flat Bush. Photo / Jason Oxenham

An 11-year-old girl who escaped the fatal house fire which claimed the lives of her mother, brother and grandmother is inconsolable with grief.

Her 5-year-old brother, 39-year-old mother and 66-year-old grandmother – died in the fire at the Plantation Ave home in Flat Bush on last night.

The girl, her grandfather and her father, Kaileshan Thanabalasingham, survived the blaze; with the latter in a critical but stable condition in Middlemore Hospital's intensive care unit tonight.

Sivaram Anandasivam, a close friend of Kaileshan Thanabalasingham, said the young girl cried inconsolably when she was told of her loved ones' deaths.

"She started crying, crying the whole day."

Both the girl and her grandfather were taken to Middlemore Hospital before being released yesterday.

They were now being cared for by family friends.

Grandmother lives in Canada

Anandasivam said they seemed to be physically okay but were obviously "traumatised".

The girl's grandparents lived in Canada and had been in New Zealand on a family holiday.

Close friends and relatives from Canada were due to fly into New Zealand tomorrow.

They'll come and they're going to have a brief discussion about how they're going to conduct the funerals."

Thanabalasingham, a 47-year-old refugee advocate originally from Sri Lanka, suffered burns to 40 per cent of his body.

Anandasivam said Thanabalasingham had his third operation this morning.

Khailesh Thanabalasingham survived the fire but lost his wife, son and mother-in-law. Photo / Supplied

Khailesh Thanabalasingham survived the fire but lost his wife, son and mother-in-law. Photo / Supplied

He added the tragedy which claimed the lives of the three family members had been hard to comprehend.

"I'm thinking about Kailesh. When I heard the news he was stable that's given me some kind of relief, but that's not going to change my mindset," he said.

Barrister Deborah Manning said Thanabalasingham had worked tirelessly for other people since he came to New Zealand as a refugee more than 10 years ago.

"He didn't come to New Zealand to look after himself. He made sure he looked after as many people as he could."

Thanabalasingham is an executive officer of the Refugee Council of New Zealand.

"Everybody is just in a state of shock and stress and utter sadness for the loss of his beautiful wife and son," Manning said.

Neighbours of the Flat Bush home looked on in horror as the blaze took control of the house on Thursday morning.

They were alerted to the tragedy after hearing screaming and glass breaking in the home.

"All I heard was screaming, I just thought people were arguing, and then glass breaking, I just thought people were throwing things at each other," Julie Pedrido said.

"I just woke up to fire sirens and the police. And then I looked out the window and I couldn't really see the fire, I just saw light and smoke."

Another resident posted on Facebook: "We are right next door. Can't get the father's cries out of my head. So horrible."

The Fire Service arrived within five minutes of the initial 111 call. The blaze had torn through the house by the time they arrived.

It emerged the 11-year-old girl bravely escaped the blaze to tell firefighters people were trapped inside.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.

The charity Refugees as Survivors New Zealand has set up a Give A Little page to raise money for Kaileshan and his family.

"We respect and admire Kailesh for his work with asylum seekers and refugees in the community. If anyone was in trouble, day or night, he would help them," the page reads.

"The least we can do is to help him in his hour of need."

More than $48,000 had been donated by 8:30pm tonight.

– NZ Herald

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Sri Lankan tragedy – Three dead, three rescued in South Auckland house fire

Posted on 26 December 2016 by TSL

Neighbours have told of hearing screaming and glass breaking in a house fire that killed three people in South Auckland.

Fire Service Northern shift manager Scott Osmond said six people were in the Plantation Ave, Flat Bush, home when the fire broke out at 3.25am.

Three people were rescued and have been taken to Middlemore Hospital.

A 47-year-old man is in a critical condition in the intensive care unit and an 11-year-old girl and older male were in stable conditions, said a hospital spokeswoman.

Newstalk ZB reporter Michael Allan is at the cordon outside the house.

"Neighbours heard screaming and glass breaking at about 3 o'clock this morning, they didn't really know what was going on until they looked outside and saw the house well involved," he said.

Three people died in a fire in a Flat Bush home early this morning. Photo / Michael Allan

Three people died in a fire in a Flat Bush home early this morning. Photo / Michael Allan

 

He said a police officer said it was very sad to be dealing with the deaths only days out from Christmas.

"The top storey of the house is gutted with all the windows blown out," the reporter said.

Julie Pedrido lives across the road and said she heard commotion but did not realise how serious it was.

"All I heard was screaming, I just thought people were arguing, and then glass breaking, I just thought people were throwing things at each other."

 

Continued below.

Related Content

 

She said the deaths were a tragedy for the street, especially so close to Christmas.

"I'm really shocked because I live right across the road, and I feel really bad because I didn't even know," she said.

"I just woke up to fire sirens and the police.

"And then I looked out the window and I couldn't really see the fire, I just saw light and smoke," Pedrido said.

Another resident posted on Facebook: "We are right next door. Can't get the father's cries out of my head. So horrible."

A Plantation Ave resident, who asked not to be named, said she woke up about 3:20am.

"There was glass breaking and people screaming. It wasn't nice."

She then heard sirens blaring as fire engines rushed to the scene.

The woman was unsure who lived at the property but she believed it had only been sold a few months ago.

"It's a quiet area. People stick to themselves."

A police cordon is in place outside the house in the quiet subdivision. A fire engine, two other fire appliances and two police cars are still at the house.

Osmond said the two-storey Plantation Ave property was engulfed by fire when crews arrived within minutes of the alarm being raised.

He said firefighters were told people were inside and mounted a search and rescue operation.

 

"There were multiple calls to the fire. We got there within five minutes and the house was well involved in fire," he said.

"We had information that people were in the house and unfortunately it turned out there was."

 

Firefighters found three people dead in the house and a further three with injuries.

The home is a recently built property in a new subdivision and was sold earlier this year.

It was not clear if those inside the home were related.

Investigations were now under way into the cause of the fire.

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Deepika is Asia’s most followed woman on Twitter

Posted on 18 October 2016 by TSL

 

Deepika Padukone has become Asia’s most followed woman on Twitter. After striking gold at the box office with her recent hits ‘Piku’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’, exploring international terrain with ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ and being listed in the top 10 highest paid actresses in the world by Forbes, the actress has added another feather to her cap.

With a whopping 16 million followers, Deepika has taken social media by storm by becoming the most followed woman on Twitter in Asia and has surpassed Asian celebrity Agnez Mo who stands at 15.8 million followers.

Deepika’s journey as an actress has been an inspiring one for her fans and peers alike. From different characters she portrayed in her movies to her speaking about her struggle with depression, she has been a very relatable personality. Amidst taking over Bollywood and expanding her horizons in the west, the actress also finds time to connect with her fans on social media.

Whether it’s participating in Live chats or fulfilling a die-hard fan’s request of personally wishing the fan’s father on Father’s Day, she has been able to interact with fans despite leading a hectic life. Her fan following has steadily increased over the years which has led to her becoming one of the most followed actress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Meanwhile, the latest buzz is that Deepika, who is currently busy with her Hollywood debut project, may be next seen in a Tamil film. Ace filmmaker Sundar C’s next directorial venture, ‘Sangamithra’, has already been making a lot of noise in the Kollywood. The mega-budget multilingual movie will have a big star cast consisting of A-listers from Tamil and Telugu industries. Now the speculations are rife that the director has offered the female lead role to Deepika. The Indian Express

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Maldives leaves Commonwealth as it claims unfair treatment in row over reforms

Posted on 13 October 2016 by TSL

13 OCTOBER 2016 

Courtesy: Telegraph News – The Maldives has left the Commonwealth, claiming it was "unfairly and unjustly" treated by the global body that was due to consider sanctions – including suspension – against the nation after its "lack of progress" on a raft of democratic reforms.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland said she and the family of nations were saddened and disappointed by the decision, but hoped the move would be only a "temporary separation".

The islands have been in political turmoil since its first democratically-elected leader Mohamed Nasheed resigned in 2012 – the outsted leader claims he was deposed at gunpoint.

The prime minister at the time, David Cameron, urged leaders, at last year's biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, to toughen up their approach over the "unacceptable" actions of the nation's administration.

In its resignation statement the Maldives hit back, accusing the Commonwealth of trying to become an "active participant in the domestic political discourse" of the country and using it as an "easy object" to increase its global political standing.

The Secretary-General said: "The Commonwealth family at large – its member governments and its peoples worldwide – will share my sadness and disappointment at this decision.

"The Commonwealth Charter reflects the commitment of our member states to democracy and human rights, development and growth, and diversity.

"We will continue to champion these values and to support all member states, especially small and developing states, in upholding and advancing these practically for the enduring benefit of their citizens.

"Therefore, we hope that this will be a temporary separation and that Maldives will feel able to return to the Commonwealth family and all that it represents in due course."

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, which deals with persistent and serious violators of the Commonwealth's shared principles, had been monitoring the Maldives' progress on reforms.

But, at its last meeting a few weeks ago, the group highlighted the lack of progress in areas like the prompt release of political leaders and misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.

It stated that in the "absence of substantive progress across the priority areas" it would consider its options, including suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth, at its next meeting in March.

In a statement, the Maldives ministry of foreign affairs said: "The Government of Maldives has decided today to leave the Commonwealth. The decision to leave the Commonwealth was difficult, but inevitable."

It added: "The Commonwealth has sought to take punitive actions against the Maldives since 2012 after the then president of Maldives resigned, and transfer of power took place as per the procedures set out in the constitution."

The statement went on to say that, since the change of leader: "The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and the Commonwealth Secretariat have treated the Maldives unjustly and unfairly.

"The Commonwealth has sought to become an active participant in the domestic political discourse in the Maldives, which is contrary to the principles of the Charters of the UN and the Commonwealth.

"The CMAG and the Commonwealth Secretariat seem to be convinced that the Maldives, because of the high and favourable reputation that the country enjoys internationally, and also perhaps because it is a small state that lacks material power, would be an easy object that can be used, especially in the name of democracy promotion, to increase the organisation's own relevance and leverage in international politics."

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Five men who died at packed Sussex beach were Sri Lankan friends who travelled from London

Posted on 25 August 2016 by TSL

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, TSL (With files from The Sun):

eft to right, Nitharsan Ravi, Ken Nathan, Kurushanth Anna, Kobi Nathan and Inthushan Sriskantharasa

eft to right, Nitharsan Ravi, Ken Nathan, Kurushanth Anna, Kobi Nathan and Inthushan Sriskantharasa

FIVE men who mysteriously drowned at a packed beach yesterday are thought to be a group of Sri Lankan pals who had come down from London for the day. Three victims, in their 20s, were pulled ashore at Camber Sands, East Sussex. Two were found later.

One man has been named locally as Nitharsan Ravi, from south-east London – his friends are thought to be Kobi Nathan, Ken Nathan and Kuru Anna. The full name of the fifth victim is not yet known. The men are believed to be from the Tamil community in Greenwich, south-east London.

Nitharsan's cousin said: "Yea we think it's him. He hasn't been formally identified yet – we're still waiting for that – but the police have contacted us and we think it's him.

"We're not really sure about anything at the moment. We literally just found out today.

"We don't know anything for definite yet."

Friends began paying tribute to the victims today, with Jackson Bosco sharing an emotional message to Nitharsan on Facebook.

He said: "Can't believe to hear the news you were one of the boys at #CamberSands.

"You were truly a good person with a good heart. You are going to be missed on this earth.

"Condolences and prayers to the family at this time."

Nitharsan's and Kobi's Facebook pages say they studied at the University of Brighton. All three Facebook pages say the men are from Sri Lanka and live in Greenwich.

Earlier reports said the three men were "fully-clothed" – but police have since confirmed all five victims were dressed for the beach.

Police have now identified the men and believe they were all friends who came to the beach from London for the day. 

Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly said: "We believe we now know who the men are and that they came to the beach together for the day.

"We believe they are all in their late teens and early 20s and come from the Greater London area.

"These men were not fully clothed when they were pulled from the sea but wearing clothes appropriate for being at the beach for the day.

"We have no further reports of anyone else missing from Camber and there are no on-going searches related to this incident.

"This has been an incredibly tragic incident and we are offering their next of kin support at this difficult time and our thoughts are with them."

Witness reports had earlier suggested the men were "fully-clothed" and may have been migrants – which police deny.

The Home Office also confirmed the border force was not involved in last night's investigation.

The men were hauled on to a packed beach by the public and lifeguards.

An air ambulance and rescue helicopter were scrambled to Camber Sands, East Sussex, but the men died despite efforts to resuscitate them.

Just hours later two more bodies were recovered and last night a search was under way for a reported sixth body. This has since been called off.

The tragedy was shrouded in ­mystery yesterday as police worked to establish the victims’ identities and where they were from.

One theory was that they drowned after being dragged out to sea by a riptide, which has caused deaths there in the past.

But the beach has relatively shallow water and was said to be calm yesterday afternoon.

Witnesses said the first three men were fully clothed and did not appear to have any family or friends on the beach with them.

It led to speculation the victims could be illegal immigrants.

But a Sussex Police source insisted: “We’ve been advised that there is currently nothing to suggest the men were migrants.”

They later added all three men were dressed "appropriately for the beach".

Another theory was the men had been injured in a jellyfish attack – but Sussex Police confirmed the incident was "in no way jellyfish related".

A number of people have commented on the lack of lifeguards at the popular tourist beach.

One beach-goer said police told her to stay out of the sea due to a rip tide while another, who declined to be named, said: "We noticed when we came here that there were no lifeguards. We had kids here and we were worried about them."

He said he could not understand how the men had run into difficulties as the sea appeared calm.

"The sea is very shallow for quite a long way," he said. "It seems so strange how they got into trouble. There was no waves and no wind."

Rob Manning, who works at Bavarian Beach Grill, saw one if the men pulled from the water.

He said: "I saw them take one of them back up on the pick up and they were giving him CPR.

"I heard it was a group of men who got into trouble. How could five men get in trouble? It was a lovely day there wasn't a ripple in the sea.

"If it was a red flag day and the sea was rough you could see how they got into trouble, but the sea was perfect. It's really strange."

A spokesman for Rother District Council said that, despite there being no lifeguards, there are summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers, reunite lost children with their families and deal with incidents on the beach.

"While it's very upsetting to see two similar, tragic incidents this summer, over the years these kind of incidents are extremely rare and on a fine day around 25,000 people use the beach safely," he said.

"Although it's too early to draw any conclusions from this latest incident, in recent years we have seen a change in the make-up of visitors to Camber, including more people from outside the area who are not familiar with the sea and the dangers it can pose."

Emergency crews were called to the scene shortly after 2pm following reports that one man was in difficulty in the sea.

Rita Wilcox, 61, from Sidcup, Kent, who was on the beach with husband Alan and two grandchildren, said: “We don’t know if the men were washed up or caught in a riptide.”

Another witness said: “They had all their clothes on — shorts and T-shirts.

"We found it quite odd because we didn’t see any family or anything for them on the beach.”

 

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