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▼ Constantine Mitsotakis, Former Greek PM dies [05-31-17]
Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis passed away on 29 May 2017. He was 98.
Mitsotakis was an early proponent of austerity cuts that Greece eventually had to adopt during the economic crisis of 2010.
Mitsotakis had quit politics in 2004 after serving as the country’s longest-serving parliamentarian.
Mitsotakis served as the Prime Minister of Greece from 1990 to 1993. He had been serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) of Greece since 1946, except for a ten-year break during and immediately after Greece’s 1967-1974 military rule in the country.
He was the Head of the conservative New Democracy party of the country from 1984 to 1993.
On the domestic front, Mitsotakis championed a tight budget and privatisation policies that sparked major union strikes and protests.
His support for budget cuts earned him the nickname ‘Dracula’ from his enemies. Professionally a lawyer by training, Mitsotakis was active in the resistance against the Nazi occupation during World War II on his native island of Crete, Greece.
▼ Former US NSA Zbigniew Brzezinski dies [05-30-17]
Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Adviser to former US President Jimmy Carter, passed away on 26 May 2017 in Virginia. He was 89.
Brzezinski served as the National Security Adviser to Carter during chaotic years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s.
Born on 28 March 1928, Zbigniew Brzezinski was a Polish-American diplomat and political scientist. He served as a counsellor to former US President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968.
From 1977 to 1981, he served as President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor.
Major foreign policy events during his time in office included:
- The normalization of relations with the People’s Republic of China,
- The signing of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty,
- The brokering of the Camp David Accords, the transition of Iran from an important US ally to an anti-Western Islamic Republic,
- Encouraging dissidents in Eastern Europe and
Emphasizing human rights in order to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union, among others.
He was one of the few foreign policy experts to warn against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 1981, President Carter presented Brzezinski with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
▼ Former Punjab DGP KPS Gill passes away [05-29-17]
Former DGP of Punjab KPS Gill, who is credited with wiping out militancy in the state, passed away after suffering cardiac arrest in Delhi on 25th May 2017. He was 82.
Gill was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here after he was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure and significant Ischemic Heart Disease.
The IPS officer had served twice as the DGP in Punjab before retiring from the force in 1995. He was subsequently appointed the president of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
Dubbed "supercop" by the media for his crackdown on Khalistani terrorists, Gill was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in 1989 for his work in the civil service.
The Punjab Police on Sunday joined the CRPF and the Delhi Police in presenting a joint guard of honour to former DGP Punjab K P S Gill, whose mortal remains were consigned to flames in New Delhi with full police honours.
A large number of political and other dignitaries, including IPS officers as well as people from various walks of life, paid homage to the former Punjab DGP.
Gill, who served as DG CRPF besides holding the important post of DGP Punjab, was also Advisor (Security) to the Government of Chhattisgarh in 2006-07.
▼ Godman Chandraswami passes away [05-26-17]
Controversial godman, Chandraswami, passed away due to multi-organ failure on 23 May 2017 in New Delhi. He was 66.
Chandraswami, whose real name was Nemi Chand, exerted enormous power during the regime of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
Born in 1948 in Behror in Rajasthan, Chandraswami was a tantric, often called as godman by some people.
He also claimed to have extraordinary powers called siddhis.
He is also said to have dispensed spiritual advice to the Sultan of Brunei, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain, actress Elizabeth Taylor, British PM Margaret Thatcher, arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, crime Lord Dawood Ibrahim and ‘Tiny’ Rowland.
He rose to prominence as a result of his association with P V Narasimha Rao. Chandraswami was said to have been the former PM’s spiritual adviser. Soon after Rao became Prime Minister in 1991, Chandraswami built an ashram known as Vishwa Dharmayatan Sanathan in Delhi’s Qutub Institutional Area.
Charges Against Chandraswami: Know More
- In 1996, the godman was arrested on charges of defrauding a London-based businessman of USD 100000.
- He has also faced charges for repeated violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. An income-tax raid on his ashram is reported to have uncovered original drafts of payments to Adnan Khashoggi of USD 11 million.
- The Jain Commission, in its report, dedicated a volume to Chandraswami’s alleged involvement in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
- In May 2009, the Supreme Court granted him permission to travel abroad, lifting a ban on overseas travel imposed as a result of his alleged involvement in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
▼ Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave no more [05-19-17]
Dave had not been keeping well for the last few months. He complained of uneasiness at his home this morning and was rushed to AIIMS where he passed away.
Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan will now hold additional charge of the environment ministry.
He took charge as Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge), in New Delhi on July 6, 2016.
He hailed from Madhya Pradesh.
The minister was elected to the Rajya Sabha in August 2009.
At the time, he was appointed member, Committee on Water Resources. He was also on the consultative committee for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
From March to June 2010, Dave was a member of the Parliamentary Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change.
Born in Barnagar in Madhya Pradesh, Dave was a Rashtriya Swyamsewak Sangh (RSS) member since childhood.
His first major political assignment was as an adviser to then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti in 2004.
As environment minister, Dave had speeded up the approval of India’s first river-linking project Ken-Betwa falling in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) gave its conditional principle approval to the project that will submerge one-third of Panna tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh and will irrigate 6.35 lakh hectares of land in drought- prone Bundelkhand.
Dave took several policy initiatives, including delegating power to give environment clearance to building projects to the state governments and time-bound approval to projects.
He pushed approval for genetically modified Mustard which was stalled for the last two years. The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) last week recommended to the government its commercial release.
▼ Veteran actress Reema Lagoo passes away [05-19-17]
Veteran Bollywood actress Reema Lagoo passed away at the age of 59 after reportedly suffering from cardiac arrest.
The senior actress started her career in Hindi and Marathi films in the late 1970s and early 80s.
She was best known for playing the on-screen mother to protagonists in hit films like 'Maine Pyar Kiya', 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun', 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' and 'Hum Saath-Saath Hain'. Reema Lagoo also did notable work in television in popular shows like 'Tu Tu Main Main' and 'Shriman Shrimati'.
The actress was born on February 3 in 1958 and appeared in Marathi and Hindi films, theatres and television shows, serving the industry for nearly four decades.
She was married to Marathi actor Vivek Lagoo and the couple had a daughter Mrunmayee Lagoo.
However, the couple later parted their ways. Presently, Lagoo was working for the daily soap 'Namkaran,' where she was portraying the character Dayawanti Mehta.
Reema Lagoo was born Nayan Bhadbade.
She was the daughter of a well-known Marathi actress Mandakini Bhadbade and began acting herself after finishing school in Pune.
She took the name Reema Lagoo after her marriage - she and her husband later separated but Ms Lagoo retained the name.
Reema Lagoo's best-known roles were as mother to the stars.
Reema Lagoo: Know More
- Born: 1958, Mumbai
- Died: 18 May 2017, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai
- Parents: Mandakini Bhadbhade
- Key TV shows: Shrimaan Shrimati, Tu Tu Main Main
- Children: Mrunmayee Lagoo
▼ Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy, former Puducherry CM, passes away [05-17-17]
Former Puducherry Chief Minister Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy passed away on 15 May 2017 in Puducherry following a brief illness.
He was 80. He is survived by wife and three sons.
Ramaswamy began his political career in Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) during student days. He was Home Minister in the DMK-CPI coalition ministry from 1969 to 1973.
In 1973, he shifted his allegiance to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
He became Chief Minister of AIADMK in 1974 heading the AIADMK-CPI coalition ministry for a brief period.
He was also the Chief Minister in the AIADMK government in 1977, which lasted in office for a little over one year.
He successfully contested as Independent from Karaikal in 1985 and 1990. He joined Congress in 1992.
Puducherry: Know More
- Area: 496 km²
- Population: 1.244 million (2011)
- Official state fauna symbol: Indian palm squirrel
- Languages: Tamil language, Telugu language, Malayalam
▼ Noted sitar player Ustad Raees Khan is no more [05-10-17]
India-born legendary sitar player Ustad Raees Khan passed away in Pakistan on May 6, 2017. He was 77.
He was reportedly diagnosed with an ailment and had been bedridden for quite some time. He breathed his last in Karachi.
He is survived by his wife, renowned singer Bilqees Khanum, and four sons.
Ustad Raees was born in 1939 in Indore, India in a family of musicians.
He was from the Mewati Gharana of Indian classical music. His maternal grandfather Inayat Ali Khan was also considered one of the finest sitar players in the subcontinent.
He learned music from his uncle, Walayat Ali Khan and father Muhammad Khan.
Raees Khan gave his first performance at the age of 5 in Bombay’s Sunder Bhai Hall.
The performance was attended by the governor and `maharaja of India, who appreciated the his talent.
He then went to international venues to perform.
Ustad Raees has composed many famous songs: `Jab Tera Hukam Mila Tarkay Mohaabat Kar Di’ and `Ab Kay Saal Poonam Main, `Neend Ankhoun Se Uri’, `Mojoun Sahil Se Milo’, `Main Khayal Hun Kisi Aur Ka’, `Kabhi Kitaboun Main Phool Rakhna’ to name a few.
Khan was honoured with Presidential award and Sitara-eImtiaz in 2005 and 2017, respectively.
▼ First woman CJ of State HC in India dies [05-8-17]
Justice Leila Seth who became the first woman Chief Justice of a State High Court has passed away at the age of 86.
She has also received the distinction of becoming the first woman to top the London Bar exam as well as the becoming the first female judge of the Delhi High Court.
Leila Seth is the mother of the noted author Vikram Seth.
Justice Leila Seth began her career in 1959 as an advocate in the Calcutta high court as well as in the Supreme Court.
Justice Seth had been on the panel of lawyers for the Bihar and the West Bengal government.
Justice Leila Seth was made as a permanent judge of the Delhi High Court in 1980. In 1991, she was made as the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court.
Justice Leila Seth had also served as member of the 15th Law Commission of India (1997 to 2000).
She was also member of the Justice JS Verma committee which was mandated to take a relook at the criminal laws after the December 16 gang rape incident.
The committee’s work resulted in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, that widened the definition of rape and made the punishment more stringent.
Justice Seth has also written a number of books, namely, an autobiography, titled ‘On Balance’, ‘We, the Children of India’ (2010), ‘Talking of Justice: People’s Rights in Modern India’ (2014).
▼ America's oldest Olympian swimmer, Adolph Kiefer dies [05-8-17]
Adolph Kiefer, the 100-meter backstroke champion at the 1936 Berlin Games, died on May 5, 2017 at the age of 98.
He was America’s oldest living Olympic champion.
Kiefer broke 23 records in all, including every backstroke record.
Kiefer helped develop a curriculum for teaching sailors to swim during WW2, as well as the “victory backstroke,” which is credited with saving thousands of lives.
Adolph Kiefer, winner of the 1936 Olympic gold medal for the men’s 100m backstroke, raises his arms before a medal ceremony during the US Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska, in June 2012.
Adolph and Joyce Kiefer built Kiefer Swim, a swimming equipment company that he is said to have joked sold “everything but the water.”
They developed the nylon swimsuit, and the first non-turbulent racing lane, which helped to level the playing field by making it harder for swimmers to “ride the wake” of a swimmer in another lane.
Kiefer became the first man to break the one-minute mark in the 100-yard backstroke while competing as a 16-year-old in the Illinois High School Championships of 1935.
He swam the distance in 59.8 seconds.
His 1936 Illinois state championship backstroke time of 58.5 seconds was the Illinois state high-school record until 1960. On April 6, 1940 Kiefer set another record, swimming the 100-yard backstroke in 57.9 seconds.
Kiefer broke twenty-three records after breaking the one-minute backstroke mark. Kiefer went on to set a world record for 100-meter backstroke of 1:04.8 on January 18, 1936, at Brennan Pools in Detroit, Michigan.
After establishing his learn-to-swim programs at Bainbridge, Kiefer established the company Adolph Kiefer & Associates, based out of Chicago. He would run the business until 2014.
In addition to creating the first nylon suits and non-turbulent lane lines, Kiefer also became the first to distribute Dura-Flex Diving Boards.
Dura-Flex is now the only competitive diving board used world-wide.
Over the years, Adolph Kiefer & Company became the official supplier to the USA Olympic Team and the Olympic Games.
Keifer was a Donor Swimming member of the inaugural class inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965.
In 2007, USA Swimming presented Kiefer with a gold medal from the 1936 Olympic Games, to replace the one that had been stolen shortly after he returned from Berlin 71 years ago.
The medal was specially cast from the original mold for the occasion by the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
He was nominated for a US Medal of Freedom.
Born June 27, 1918, he was the oldest living U.S. Olympic gold medalist in any sport and the only living gold medalist from the 1936 Olympic Games.