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 Jammu-Srinagar highway to remain closed

Jammu-Srinagar highway to remain closed

Jammu, Jan 24 (IANS) The Jammu-Srinagar highway will remain closed on Thursday for the fourth consecutive day following fresh snowfall in Bannihal sector, an official said.

Although the debris of an avalanche that hit the Jawahar Tunnel has been removed and both tubes made functional, traffic cannot be allowed on the highway as the road has turned slippery, Senior Superintendent of Traffic Police in Kashmir Muzaffar Ahmad Shah told IANS.

"The decision has been taken keeping safety of travellers in mind. A big landslide had also hit the highway in Anokhi Fall area of Ramban district due to incessant rain," Shah said.

Intending travellers have been advised not to undertake the journey without contacting the control rooms in Jammu and Srinagar.

The strategic highway is regarded as the lifeline for the landlocked valley as all essential supplies are routed through this road.

Closure of the highway especially during the winter months helps hoarders and profiteers hike prices of essentials by creating artificial scarcity.

--IANS
sq/in

09:16 AM
 Microsoft search engine Bing blocked in China

Microsoft search engine Bing blocked in China

Beijing, Jan 24 (IANS) Microsoft announced on Thursday that its search engine, Bing, has been blocked in China, the last major foreign search engine operating in the country.

"We've confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps," CNN quoted a Microsoft spokesman as saying.

It was not immediately clear why Bing has been being blocked.

China's internet regulator is yet to comment on the development.

Microsoft, which recently overtook Apple as the world's most valuable company, is the latest US tech giant to face difficulties in China.

Top internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been blocked in China for years, blacked out by a vast government censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall.

Google pulled out in 2010.

According to Greatfire.org, a group that tracks what sites are blocked in China, said the site appeared to be inaccessible in parts of the country but reachable in others, reports The New York Times.

China's blockages often take time to spread nationwide, though in the past some services have been blocked in some places only to be restored later.

--IANS
ksk

09:26 AM
 Punjab beat MP in PWL tie

Punjab beat MP in PWL tie

Ludhiana, Jan 23 (IANS) Defending champions Punjab Royals defeated debutants MP Yodha 4-3 to claim their second consecutive win in the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) Season 4 here on Wednesday.

World championships silver medallist Bajrang Punia engineered the turning point of the tie when he prevailed over reigning European champion Haji Aliyev 8-6 in a dramatic power-packed 65 kg category bout full of aggression.

This was Bajrang's second win in a decider this season.

Before that, world championships bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda won the crucial sixth bout of the evening 9-3 against Mimi Hristova in the female 57 kg category to keep MP Yodha alive in the tie.

Earlier, the former European championships bronze medallist Dato Magarishvili gave Punjab Royals an early lead overcoming the 2017 Commonwealth Championships gold medallist Deepak of MP Yodha 10-0 in a one-sided encounter in the 86 kg category.

In a major upset, Khelo India Youth Games gold medallist Punjab Royals' Anju defeated the 2017 Commonwealth Championships gold medal winner Ritu Phogat 6-4 in an exciting encounter to put the defending champions 2-0 ahead in the tie.

It was 3-0 in favour of Punjab Royals after the 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Korey Jarvis of Canada clinched the 125 kg super heavyweight bout against the upcoming Indian wrestler Akash Antil of MP Yodha 6-0.

MP Yodha's European Championships silver medallist Elise Monolova held on to a late onslaught by Punjab Royals' Anita to win the women's 62 kg bout 3-2 and bring the PWL debutant MP Yodha back into the tie.

Sandeep Tomar showed glimpses of his past as he overcame an intense challenge from Punjab Royals' Nitin Rathi 3-2 in the men's 57 kg category and keep MP Yodha alive in the tie making it 2-3 after the fifth bout.

--IANS
ajb/bg

09:56 PM
 Kim happy with Trump's summit plans

Kim happy with Trump's summit plans

Pyongyang, Jan 24 (IANS) North Korean top leader Kim Jong-un has expressed "great satisfaction" after receiving a letter from US President Donald Trump that expressed his "unusual determination and will" towards a second summit between the two, the North's state media said.

His comments came after he met with one of his top aides who went to Washington last week, the BBC quoted the KCNA as saying on Thursday.

"Kim Jong-un said that we will believe in President Trump's positive way of thinking, wait with patience and in good faith and, together with the US, advance step by step toward the goal to be reached by the two countries," North Korean state run news agency KCNA said.

The report also said Kim "spoke highly of President Trump for expressing his unusual determination and will" towards a second US-North Korea summit.

The conciliatory tone comes after the North Korean leader in his New Year speech warned his country might change course if the US continued its sanctions.

The two sides have been planning the second summit by the end of February, according to the White House. No venue has been announced for the new talks but observers say Vietnam could be a potential location, the BBC reported.

Kim also visited China for talks with President Xi Jinping, as he did before the Singapore summit, while his top negotiator Kim Yong-chol met Trump at the White House.

Last year's rapprochement and the Singapore summit came after a turbulent 2017 marked by North Korea testing missiles that could reach the US mainland and an escalation in rhetoric with both sides trading insults and threats of nuclear destruction.

The first summit ended with a general agreement towards denuclearisation but little has been achieved since. US sanctions remain in place and the North has not provided a detailed account of its nuclear facilities.

--IANS
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08:56 AM

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