India stops release of biopic on PM Modi ahead of polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is seeking to retain power in elections starting April 11. (AFP)
Updated 10 April 2019

India stops release of biopic on PM Modi ahead of polls

  • The movie, ‘PM Narendra Modi,’ would give an unfair advantage to Modi’s Hindu nationalist party as it seeks re-election
  • Voting will conclude May 19, and vote counting will begin May 23

NEW DELHI: Indian election authorities have stopped the release of a Bollywood biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi with national elections scheduled to begin on Thursday.
The Election Commission accepted arguments from the Congress party and other opposition parties that the release of the film, “PM Narendra Modi,” would give an unfair advantage to Modi’s Hindu nationalist party as it seeks re-election.
Film producer Sandip Ssingh had scheduled the release of the movie in Indian theaters for Thursday.
The commission ruled Wednesday that any biopic material that has the potential to create an uneven playing field during the multi-phase election should not be displayed in electronic media.
Voting will conclude May 19, and vote counting will begin May 23.
The commission also is examining opposition complaints that the launch of a television channel named after the prime minister violated a law barring political parties from starting such channels after the announcement of the election schedule.
The Congress party and the Aam Admi Party said the channel, funded by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, started broadcasting Modi’s election campaign and a compilation of speeches three weeks after the voting schedule was announced by the commission on March 10.


Trump: I am Israel’s best pal in the White House

Updated 10 min 39 sec ago

Trump: I am Israel’s best pal in the White House

  • Unlike his predecessors, Donald Trump says ‘I kept my promises’
  • The president also claimed there are some Jewish people in America who don’t love Israel enough

HOLLYWOOD, Florida: President Donald Trump said Saturday that Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than him because, unlike his predecessors, “I kept my promises.”
Trump energized an audience that numbered in the hundreds at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida by recounting his record on issues of importance to Jews, including an extensive riff on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and relocate the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Trump said his predecessors only paid lip service to the issue.
“They never had any intention of doing it, in my opinion,” Trump said. “But unlike other presidents, I kept my promises.”
Trump also highlighted his decision to reverse more than a half-century of US policy in the Middle East by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the strategic highlands on the border with Syria.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war but its sovereignty over the territory had not been recognized by the international community.
In his speech, the president also claimed there are some Jewish people in America who don’t love Israel enough.
“We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more,” Trump said, to some applause. “Because you have Jewish people that are great people — they don’t love Israel enough.”
Aaron Keyak, the former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, denounced Trump’s remarks as anti-Semitic.
“Trump’s insistence on using anti-Semitic tropes when addressing Jewish audiences is dangerous and should concern every member of the Jewish community — even Jewish Republicans,” Keyak said.
Trump has been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic stereotypes before, including in August, when he said American Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” A number of Jewish groups noted at the time that accusations of disloyalty have long been made against Jews.
The Israeli American Council is financially backed by one of Trump’s top supporters, the husband-and-wife duo of Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate.
Both Adelsons appeared on stage to introduce Trump, with Miriam Adelson asserting that Trump “has already gone down in the annals of Jewish history, and that is before he’s even completed his first term in office.”
The Adelsons donated $30 million to Trump’s campaign in the final months of the 2016 race. They followed up by donating $100 million to the Republican Party for the 2018 congressional elections.
Trump’s entourage at the event included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, along with Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Michael Waltz, whom he described as “two warriors” defending him against “oppression” in the impeachment inquiry.
Trump criticized Israel’s sworn enemy, Iran, saying he withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal with other world powers because Tehran must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon
But Trump voiced support for Iranian citizens who have been protesting a decision by their government to withdraw fuel subsidies, which sent prices skyrocketing.
Trump said he believes thousands of Iranians have been killed in the protests and that thousands more have been arrested.
“America will always stand with the Iranian people in their righteous struggle for freedom,” he said.