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Four Indian cosmonauts resume training in Russia for Gaganyaan mission

Four Indian cosmonauts resume training in Russia for Gaganyaan mission

Four Indian Air Force fighter pilots are currently under training in Moscow, and are likely to be potential candidates for the Gaganyaan project.

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French paraglider films the terrifying moment he gets tangled midair

French paraglider films the terrifying moment he gets tangled midair

A French paraglider released heart-stopping footage showing his near-literal tangle with death.

The video, from March 6, captured a minute of descent, during which the sportsman, who chose to remain anonymous, turned the wrong way and ended up tangled with his chute. He eventually pulls the emergency parachute and regains control.

“It took me several days to realize what had happened as I was in a state of shock, I didn’t realize,” he told Newsflare. “I now realize how lucky I was.”

“I am 32 years old and I have been adventuring for 15 or 16 years,” he said. “I am also a kayak instructor, mountain bike instructor — I supervise the groups. And I am aware of the risks, I like to push my limits and I take all the precautions, but sometimes things go wrong.”

“I landed in a meadow between two forests without any injury or material damage, as if an angel had protected me,” he added.


The U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association reported that a few fatalities occur each year from accidents during operation. In 2000, there were 43 reports of accidents, which the association cited as a “typical number” of incidents, with as few as one in four accidents actually being reported.

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Bill Maher says he now regrets Trump's impeachment: 'It just emboldened him'

Bill Maher says he now regrets Trump's impeachment: 'It just emboldened him'

“Real Time” host Bill Maher looked back with apparent regret Friday night on the Democratic-led impeachment of President Trump, saying it “turned out to be a horrible thing.”

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Washington state rocked by coronavirus benefit fraud in ‘the hundreds of millions’

Washington state rocked by coronavirus benefit fraud in ‘the hundreds of millions’

Impostors have used the stolen information of tens of thousands of people in Washington state to fraudulently receive hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits, the head of the state’s Employment Security Department said Thursday.

Commissioner Suzi LeVine said the state is working with federal law enforcement, financial institutions and the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate the fraud and try to recover the money paid out during the huge spike in joblessness during the coronavirus crisis.

LeVine said she can’t release specific numbers or details of the ongoing investigation. But she said that counter-measures taken by the state have “prevented hundreds of millions of additional dollars from going out to criminals and have prevented thousands of fraudulent claims being filed.”

LeVine said that in addition to other measures the agency has already taken, they will continue to delay payments — a step they first took last week — to all applicants in order to take extra steps to verify claims.

The New York Times and Seattle Times have previously reported that a U.S. Secret Service alert issued last week identified Washington as the top target so far of a Nigerian ring seeking to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs.

LeVine said she couldn’t speak to the details of the investigation. She said that the Secret Service alert wasn’t directly shared with her but that the Employment Security Department received it through other sources.

WATCH l CERB fraud expected, but how much?

CBC News has learned of new measures to identify people who are wrongfully receiving $2,000 cheques through the Canada emergency response benefit, but getting that money back will take time. 2:03

LeVine said agency officials realized something was amiss even before that alert, once they started receiving communication from employers or employees who got information about unemployment benefits the employee didn’t seek.

More than 1.1 million people in Washington have filed for unemployment benefits since businesses started closing in March due to COVID-19. State officials said Thursday they believe some portion of an increase in claims seen in the past week are due to so-called “impostor fraud” claims.

Nearly $4B in unemployment benefits handed out overall

LeVine said previously that there have been no data breaches at the agency, and that recent fraud attempts are cases where someone’s personal information has been previously stolen from other sources — like during the 2017 Equifax breach — and is now being used to file for benefits.

“These are very sophisticated criminals who have pretty robust collections of information on people, and they are activating and monetizing that information,” she said.

To date, the state has paid out nearly $3.8 billion in benefits to more than 768,000 people, including federal money that is providing the unemployed with an additional $600 per week on top of the state’s maximum benefit of up to $790 per week.

Levine noted that Washington’s state’s weekly maximum benefit — the second highest in the nation — plus the additional federal weekly money “does make us a more attractive target overall.”

WATCH l Some scams in Canada warn of positive tests:

The COVID-19 pandemic is “prime time” for scammers who thrive on people’s anxieties, vulnerabilities and isolation. 1:46

Washington’s stay-at-home order — in place since March 23 — has been extended through at least May 31.

The state’s unemployment rate has jumped to a record 15.4 per cent last month and the state’s economy lost 527,000 jobs last month. LeVine said that a jump in new unemployment benefit claims last week — long after most business closures occurred — point to additional fraud attempts across various industries.

“It is a broad spectrum of employers in both the public and the private sector who have had this impacting their employees,” LeVine said.

Over the past two months, nearly 39 million people nationwide have filed for unemployment aid due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus.

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Canada Goose to cut staff, Victoria’s Secret shutters some Canadian stores

Canada Goose to cut staff, Victoria’s Secret shutters some Canadian stores

Retailers with Canadian operations are laying off employees and closing stores as they grapple with COVID-19.

Canada Goose Holdings Inc. is cutting 125 of its staff members, or roughly two per cent of its 5,000-person workforce.

The luxury parka company called the decision difficult, but said it had to take steps to address the impact of COVID-19 on its business.

Canada Goose says it’s offering the employees losing their jobs compensation, extended benefits, a personal reference letter from chief executive Dani Reiss and the option to keep their corporate phones and computers.

Meanwhile, U.S. company L Brands says it will close about 250 Victoria’s Secret stores in Canada and the United States and 51 Bath and Body Works locations.

The company says it is suspending store rent for April and May and is in active discussions with its landlords to negotiate payments and future occupancy costs.

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Hertz, car rental pioneer, files for bankruptcy protection

Hertz, car rental pioneer, files for bankruptcy protection

By Niraj Chokshi

Hertz, which started with a fleet of a dozen Ford Model T’s a century ago and became one of the world’s largest car rental companies, filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday after falling victim to its mountain of debt.

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated Hertz by grounding business travelers and tourists, making it impossible for the company to continue paying its lenders. A sharp drop in used car prices has also decreased the value of its fleet.

“They were doing quite well, but when you turn off the revenues and you own all these cars and all of a sudden the cars are worth less it’s a very tough business,” said John Healy, an analyst and managing director with Northcoast Research in Cleveland.

Hertz said late Friday that it would use more than $1 billion in cash on hand to keep its business running while it proceeds with the bankruptcy process.

“Today’s action will protect the value of our business, allow us to continue our operations and serve our customers, and provide the time to put in place a new, stronger financial foundation to move successfully through this pandemic and to better position us for the future,” Paul E. Stone, its chief executive, said in a statement.

The bankruptcy filing excludes operations in Australia, Europe and New Zealand as well as the company’s franchisee locations. Hertz also said that it had sought aid from the federal government but that funding for its industry “did not become available.”

Though it had piled up $17 billion in debt, Hertz, which also owns the Dollar and Thrifty brands, was reporting healthy sales at the start 2020. The company’s revenue rose 6% in January and February.

But the pandemic dealt what the company has described as “a rapid, sudden and dramatic” blow. Sales dried up in March as much of the world started to shelter at home. Airports, where Hertz and its competitor Avis Budget Group earn most of their revenue, turned into ghost towns.

By late March, the company started to cut back on spending, sold some of its cars, furloughed workers and combined nearby outposts. Hertz management suggested that they had some room to maneuver, including access to $1 billion in cash.

“Hertz is a resilient company, with resilient brands and resilient people,” its chief executive, Kathryn Marinello, said in a statement at the time.

But Marinello resigned last week, and Hertz has since laid off or furloughed 20,000 employees, half of its work force. The company had cut pay for senior leaders in March, too, but reversed that decision recently.

The company’s march to bankruptcy began in late April when it missed a payment on a lease for some of its fleet, which includes about 667,000 cars, SUVs and other vehicles worldwide. It persuaded lenders to give it until midnight on Friday to put together a financial plan that they could accept. But in a filing this month, Hertz acknowledged the enormity of the task.

“If our business does not recover quickly and we are unable to successfully restructure our substantial indebtedness, obtain further waivers or forbearance or raise additional capital, there is substantial doubt that we will be able to continue as a going concern,” the company said.

Hertz had struggled in the years after the financial crisis of 2008 but had begun to turn around recently. Under Marinello, the company had improved operations, cut costs and reduced its debt, analysts said.

“I have no doubt that had the coronavirus not happened that Hertz would have eventually achieved its turnaround,” said Ryan Brinkman, an automotive industry analyst with J.P. Morgan.

The company’s shares closed on Friday at $2.84, down from around $20 in late February. Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor, owned about 39% of the company’s shares as of mid-March.

Its peers were better suited for the moment. Avis Budget Group, which has less debt, said last month that it had access to enough cash to survive the year. Avis, which also raised $500 million in a bond sale this month, acted more quickly to cut costs, analysts said. Enterprise, a private company, is better diversified and not nearly as reliant on rentals at airports as either Avis or Hertz.

When Marinello took the helm of Hertz in early 2017, she inherited a troubled company.

In addition to amassing a lot of debt, Hertz had recently purchased too many compact cars, which have been falling out of favor with American drivers for years, and failed to meet corporate cost-cutting goals. Her predecessor spun off the company’s equipment rental business. Earlier, Hertz decided to move its headquarters from New Jersey to Florida, which led many seasoned executives to leave the company.

“The company lost a lot of momentum during that time,” Marinello told investors soon after taking over. She was the company’s fourth boss in three years. And Hertz had been poorly served by “incredibly optimistic demand forecasts” and misguided car purchases, she said.

By some accounts, the company’s modern difficulties date to 2012. That year, Hertz, under the leadership of Mark Frissora, bought Dollar Thrifty in a deal valued at $2.3 billion, a price that some investors and analysts believed was too rich.

“That was the beginning of their troubles,” said Betsy Snyder, a credit analyst at S&P Global Ratings.

In mid-2014, Hertz said it would need to correct its financial results going back three years because of a string of accounting errors. A few months later, Frissora stepped down.

The bankruptcy filing represents a devastating blow to an institution that began in the early days of the American automobile industry.

Hertz was founded in Chicago in 1918 when a former Ford Motor salesman, Walter Jacobs, bought a dozen Model T’s and formed Rent-a-Car, Inc. The business grew rapidly and, within five years, it had a fleet of about 600 vehicles, according to Hertz.

In 1923, Jacobs sold the company to John Hertz, the owner of Chicago Yellow Cab Co., who renamed it. Together, the pair expanded the business nationwide. In 1932, the company opened its first airport car rental facility at Chicago’s Midway Airport, according to Hertz. The next year, it started offering one-way rentals. By 1955, the company had more than 1,000 locations worldwide. Today, there are more than 12,000 corporate and franchisee locations.

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Day 60 of coronavirus lockdown: Ground report from Indian cities | India News

Day 60 of coronavirus lockdown: Ground report from Indian cities | India News

NEW DELHI: Streets were once again jammed with traffic and mask-wearing shoppers were seen in markets in various cities across the country as the almost two-month-long lockdown was eased earlier this week.
This was also the week when the number of coronavirus cases in the country crossed the 1,00,000-mark.

Here are the latest updates


  • With the easing of lockdown restrictions and the commencement of vehicular movement in the capital and nearby regions, the pollution level in Delhi docked in the higher end of the ‘moderate’ category with the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 162 at 9 am on Saturday.
  • The total number of containment zones in the city reached 86 on Friday after nine new areas were declared as containment zones.
  • The excise department on Friday ordered the opening of 66 private liquor stores that sell foreign and Indian-made foreign liquor in the capital. This is in addition to about 172 shops run by government agencies that were allowed to open from May 4.
  • Fresh Covid-19 cases in Delhi touched another new peak on Friday, the fourth in as many days, with 660 infections added to the city’s virus count, which crossed the 12,000 mark.


  • The BMC on Friday finally issued orders allowing home delivery of liquor during the lockdown; across-the-counter sale remains barred. Deliveries will not be allowed in containment zones, or areas where a Covid-19 patient or his high-risk contacts live.
  • The city’s toll breached the 900 mark even as cases continued to rise by over a thousand for the sixth consecutive day. On Friday, 1,751 cases — the highest single-day rise — were registered. The only silver lining was that it recorded 27 deaths as against 41 on the two preceding days, taking the toll to 909.
  • In order to reduce waiting time of patients for ambulances, the BMC has decided to make use of the technology platform of app cabs so that it can track the movement of government ambulances realtime and despatch them quickly where they are needed.


  • Tamil Nadu govt has allowed plying of autos and cycle rickshaws from today amid Covid-19 lockdown, except in Chennai & containment zones.
  • Tamil Nadu govt permits beauty parlours to function in all rural areas excluding Greater Chennai Police limits from May 24 between 7 am and 7 pm.
  • Chennai recorded 569 cases as top health, finance, revenue and disaster management officials on increasing hospital beds, care centres, and facility for quarantine in Chennai in preparation for the peak and a staggered exit from the lockdown.


  • Belagavi-Bengaluru tri-weekly special train started its maiden run at 8 am today. 99 passengers have boarded the train at Belagavi.
  • Karnataka government may allow schools to reopen in August but is yet to decide whether teaching should be online or in classrooms or a mix of both.
  • People returning to Karnataka by air, rail or road from Maharashtra, Gujarat, TN, Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and are asymptomatic will have to undergo institutional quarantine for seven days followed by seven days of home quarantine if their test results come negative.
  • Karnataka returnees from all other states will be exempted from institutional quarantine and will be asked to home-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Karnataka on Thursday notched up another feat in its fight against Covid-19 by conducting 11,449 tests in a single day. The number of daily tests has gone up by nearly 250% from 3,279 on April 22.


  • Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials confirmed that tracing primary and secondary contacts of Covid-19 patients who have drivers and domestic workers has turned out to be a hectic task.
  • Four TRS legislators have written to chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to provide free government quarantine instead of paid quarantine to Telangana workers returning from the Gulf.
  • Making a major shift in the treatment protocol of Covid-19 patients, the medical and health department is now contemplating treating mild patients also after coming across instances of entire families getting infected with the coronavirus. This move is considered as more than 60% of the cases in the state, especially in Greater Hyderabad limits, are from a few families.


  • People arriving at Amausi Airport from across the country will have to be in home quarantine for 14 days. The domestic air services set to begin from Monday will have 16 flights from Lucknow on Day 1 carrying nearly 1,500 people stuck in the city. All passengers will be thermally scanned.
  • Even as many markets reopened in the city following the left-right formula, residents of Patrakarpuram in Gomtinagar and some other areas like Alambagh, Aaashiana and Faizullaganj will have to wait till Monday to go shopping.
  • Faced with the possibility of protests by state government employees over its decision to suspend the payment of at least seven allowances amid the coronavirus-triggered economic slowdown, UP government has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act, banning any strike in government departments for six months.


  • As the sun reappeared through the cloud cover, signs of life returned to Kolkata streets on Friday morning. A large number of shutters went up and shops reopened after remaining closed for almost two months.
  • The civil aviation regulator has released a provisional schedule for a whopping 93 fights out of Kolkata on Monday, the first day of domestic flights resuming operations after they were grounded on March 24 to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.


  • In an alarming development, the number of staffers at Gujarat Cancer Research Institute (GCRI) in Civil hospital campus who have contracted coronavirus has climbed to 102. Against 600-odd patients treated by the hospital, this calculates to a ratio of one positive staffer for every six patients who took treatment at the 500-bed hospital.
  • On Friday, Ahmedabad district recorded 9,724 cumulative Covid-19 positive cases and 645 deaths. In terms of Indian cities, Ahmedabad is on the third spot after Mumbai and Delhi and slightly ahead of Chennai.
  • With 288 Covid-19 patients discharged on Friday, the recovery rate of Ahmedabad city is now 39%, up from 19% on May 5, when the new crisis management team took over.


  • Come May 26 and the Chandigarh Passport Seva Kendra and the regional passport office will start the process for an appointment for applicants.
  • After starting the sale of liquor and groceries items from CSD canteens for military personnel and veterans, the central government has now also resumed the sale of four- and two-wheelers. The decision was much awaited by the defence personnel and military veterans, as the facility was closed since mid-March.
  • A total of 25 NRIs returned to Chandigarh on Friday. The UT administration brought them from airports in Amritsar, Delhi and Chandigarh Among these 25, nine were from the US, three from Malaysia and 13 from Canada. As many as 44 NRIs have reached Chandigarh so far. One of them has been discharged after completing his quarantine period.

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Indian economist appointed to key World Bank position in South Asia

Indian economist appointed to key World Bank position in South Asia

Washington: Abhas Jha, an Indian economist, has been appointed by the World Bank to a key position on climate change and disaster management in South Asia, the global lender said.

Jha’s appointment comes at a time when Cyclone Amphan has badly hit West Bengal, Orissa in India and Bangladesh.

In his capacity as World Bank’s Practice Manager for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management for South Asia, one of the top priorities of Jha will be to encourage and help the South Asia region (SAR) Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change team to connect and collaborate across Global Practice boundaries, the bank said in a statement on Friday.

And also to the World Bank to conceive and deliver innovative and high-quality development solutions to respond to client demands and strengthen disaster risk management and climate action in the region, the statement said.

Based out of Singapore, Jha will also work closely with other Practice Managers, Global Leads and Global Solutions Groups to incubate, pilot and scale-up innovative and high-quality development solutions, and to promote the generation and flow of global knowledge to serve these countries, the bank said.

According to the bank, Jha’s mandate is to nurture, lead, inspire and deploy a team of highly qualified professionals to deliver the best solutions for these countries.

Jha, an Indian national, joined the Bank in 2001 in the office of the Executive Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka and has since worked in Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific regions.

His most recent assignment is Practice Manager for Urban Development and Disaster Risk Management in the East Asia and Pacific region. His area of jurisdiction includes India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives.

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Prem Chopra opens up on meeting Rishi Kapoor after he came back from the US | Hindi Movie News

Prem Chopra opens up on meeting Rishi Kapoor after he came back from the US | Hindi Movie News

Since the day Bollywood star Rishi Kapoor passed away, his family members, co-stars and fans have been sharing throwback photos of the actor. Recently, in an interaction with an entertainment portal Veteran star Prem Chopra opened up about the late actor.

The ‘Shaheed’ actor reportedly said that he called Rishi’s wife Neetu. He feels She and her son Ranbir Kapoor have taken it bravely.

He further revealed that he met him on his birthday soon after he had come back from his treatment in the US. Rishi visited him at his house on Chopra’s special day.

After that, he had gone to his place. The actor said that Rishi was looking very nice. He even told him that he was clear as far as the cancer was concerned. Rishi also mentioned that his immunity had gone down and he needs to take rest. Later, he contracted pneumonia and was taken to the hospital.

A few days back, the Kapoor family had a small prayer meet for the actor at the Kapoor residence in Bandra. Rishi Kapoor’s daughter Riddhima Kapoor Sahni shared pictures from the rituals on her social media.

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New York Knicks icon Patrick Ewing tests positive for coronavirus

New York Knicks icon Patrick Ewing tests positive for coronavirus

Georgetown basketball coach Patrick Ewing tested positive for COVID-19 and is being treated at a hospital.

“This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly,” the Hall of Famer as a player for the Hoyas in college and the New York Knicks in the NBA said in a statement issued by the university. “I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this.”

The school said the 57-year-old Ewing is the only member of its men’s program who has contracted the coronavirus.

As a player, the 7-foot Ewing helped Georgetown win the 1984 NCAA men’s basketball championship and reach two other title games.

During Ewing’s four years playing for John Thompson Jr., Georgetown went 121-23, a winning percentage of .840.

He was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1985 draft after the Knicks won the NBA’s first lottery. Ewing wound up leading New York to the 1994 NBA Finals, where they lost to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.

Ewing played 17 seasons in the NBA, 15 with the Knicks.

After retiring as a player, he spent 15 years as an assistant or associate coach with four teams in the pros. In April 2017, he returned to Georgetown for his first job as a head coach at any level, replacing Thompson’s son in that job with the Hoyas.

In his first three seasons at his alma mater, Ewing’s teams have gone a combined 49-46 with zero trips to the NCAA Tournament.

In 2019-20, Georgetown finished the season with seven consecutive losses and a 15-17 record.

Last week, sophomore guard Mac McClung announced that he was planning to enter the NCAA transfer portal, joining four other Georgetown players who said during the season they would be switching schools.

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