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.


Bryant’s widow sues helicopter company over fatal crash

Updated 24 February 2020

Bryant’s widow sues helicopter company over fatal crash

  • The suit was filed on the same day that Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the other seven crash victims were memorialized in a public ceremony at the Staples Center
  • The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters, Island Express Holding Corp. and the estate of the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, who was among the victims

LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa filed a lawsuit on Monday against the operators of the helicopter that crashed on January 26, killing the NBA icon and eight others.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on the same day that Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the other seven crash victims were memorialized in a public ceremony at the Staples Center.
The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters, Island Express Holding Corp. and the estate of the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, who was among the victims.
Gianna Bryant’s basketball teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, Altobelli’s parents John and Keri, Payton’s mother Sarah and basketball coach Christina Mauser were also killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the exact cause of the crash, although preliminary findings showed no sign of mechanical failure.
Monday’s lawsuit faults the company for allowing the helicopter to fly in “heavy fog and low clouds” that Sunday morning, conditions which prompted “law enforcement agencies and tour companies” to ground their helicopters.
“On information and belief, Island Express Helicopters Federal Aviation Administration operating certificate limited its pilots to flying only under visual flight rules,” the lawsuit says.
“The subject helicopter was not licensed or certified to be flown into instrument conditions. On information and belief, the pilot-in-command, Ara George Zobayan, was required to fly only in conditions that he could navigate visually.
“Ara George Zobayan attempted to maneuver the helicopter up and forward to clear the clouds, then entered a turn sending the helicopter into steep terrain at approximately 180 mph,” according to the suit. “Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the helicopter flying through a layer of clouds and fog before the helicopter crashed.”
The lawsuit notes that in 2015 Zobayan was cited by the FAA for violating the visual flight rules minimums by “flying into an airspace of reduced visibility from weather conditions.”
Island Express did not immediately comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified general, economic and punitive damages.