India sees 1st arrest under controversial new “love jihad law”



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INDIA-POLITICS-SOCIAL-RIGHTS-PROTEST



a group of items on display: Activists belonging to various human and civil rights organizations protest against various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- led state governments pushing for laws against


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Activists belonging to various human and civil rights organizations protest against various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- led state governments pushing for laws against

New Delhi — Police in India’s Uttar Pradesh state made their first arrest this week under a controversial new law targeting something right-wing Hindu groups call “love jihad” — an alleged religious conversion conspiracy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into marriage and away from their faith. 

Owais Ahmed, a Muslim man, was arrested on Wednesday after a Hindu man accused him of coercing and trying to lure his daughter away from her Muslim husband and into converting to Islam. Ahmed appeared in court and was remanded in custody for 14 days pending trial. 

“This is the first arrest under the new law,” senior Uttar Pradesh state police officer Rajesh Kumar Pandey was quoted as saying by Indian media. 

Speaking to Indian news outlet The Print, Ahmad maintained his innocence and said he has no current connection with the woman, a former high school classmate who got married a year ago to a Hindu man and remains in that marriage. 

Ahmed was the first person arrested under the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020. The new legislation, which has come to be known colloquially in India as the “love jihad law,” was adopted (only hours before Ahmed’s arrest) this week by the regional government in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with almost 200 million residents.

The law is ostensibly aimed at protecting people against “forced” or “fraudulent” religious conversion. A section of the legislation says no person shall convert or attempt to convert any other person from one religion to another by “use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any person abet, convince or conspire such conversion.” 



Yogi Adityanath, Yogi Adityanath holding a sign: Activists from various human and civil rights organizations protest moves by various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state governments to pass laws against


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Activists from various human and civil rights organizations protest moves by various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state governments to pass laws against

People convicted of violating the law can face up to 10 years in prison without the possibility of bail, along with hefty fines. The law places the burden of proof of innocence on the accused, rather than plaintiffs having to prove their claims to a court. 

Critics have called the new legislation Islamophobic, regressive, and politically motivated, and warned that it may lead to harassment of Muslims in the Hindu majority country. Some believe it will drive interfaith couples to hide their relationships. 

On Friday, it emerged that Uttar Pradesh police had also stormed a wedding on Wednesday underway between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man in the state capital of Lucknow. They halted the celebrations and brought both families to a local police station, where officers told the families they would need to get permission from the state government before going ahead with the ceremony, to ensure the new law was not being violated.  

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Japan’s Richest Person Sees Wealth Cross $41 Billion As Fashion Sales Rebound In Japan And China

The net worth of Japan’s wealthiest person, Tadashi Yanai, the billionaire behind everyday fashion brand Uniqlo, touched a peak of $41.6 billion this week, spurred by a shopping frenzy for Uniqlo’s pandemic-friendly clothes from masks to tracksuits.

Yanai’s fortune was buoyed by a 114% rise in shares of flagship Fast Retailing since March, when they fell amid a pandemic-induced global sell-off. Yanai, who has a 47% stake in the world’s third-largest clothing retailer, has more than doubled his fortune since Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list where he was ranked No. 41 with a net worth of $19.7 billion.

Fast Retailing owns the Uniqlo brand in addition to brands like Theory, Helmut Lang, J Brand and GU. Analysts attribute the stock jump to the company’s new digital strategies and its focus on practical, everyday clothing, preferred by those working from home.

“Sales are good due to its product lines fitting the stay-at-home demand,” says Dairo Murata, senior analyst at JP Morgan in Tokyo. “Fast Retailing has always been promoting the ‘LifeWear’ concept, and selling clothes which fit the work-from-home style well.”

The Japanese retailer–which has more than 3,600 stores across 26 markets spanning Asia, North America and Europe–offers the LifeWear range which it promotes as “simple” and “high quality everyday clothing.” It also incorporates proprietary technologies like “Heattech,” which converts moisture to warmth and is currently used in everything from loungewear to T-shirts and socks. Another notable feature is its “AIRism” technology, which keeps the fabric breathable and is currently used in its range of cloth masks. The triple-layer AIRism masks with bacterial filters, which were rolled out in June in Japan were quickly snapped up by hordes of online and offline customers.

However, Fast Retailing’s annual revenues and profits took a hit due to the closure of stores during the pandemic. It reported a 12% drop in annual revenues to 2 trillion yen, or $19 billion, for the year ended August 31, 2020 and a 44% drop in its net profit to $853 million. Uniqlo shut nearly half of its 748 stores in China in January–reopening them in late April. In Japan, 311 of its 817 stores were shuttered in late March and reopened in early May.

Despite these store closures, the Japan Uniqlo business was a bright spot in an otherwise down year. It recorded a 2% increase in profits even as revenue rose 20% year on year in the June to August quarter. Japan Uniqlo sales were boosted by e-commerce sales which rose 29.3% for the fiscal year ended August.

“The spread of Covid-19 has spurred a change in values and encouraged us to scrutinize the way that we live,” Yanai noted in a November message featured on the company’s website.

“The meaning of clothes is also changing as we witness a strong shift away from clothes worn to beautify or emphasize the

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Brewdog’s ‘Willy Wonka’ style competition to find gold beer cans sees some customers claim delivery drivers are tampering with boxes to sneak a look



a close up of a bottle: MailOnline logo


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Beer lovers were excited to learn that Brewdog has hidden 10 gold cans in online deliveries this month, with lucky recipients receiving prizes worth up to £25,000.

The Scottish beer firm launched the ‘Willy Wonka’ style promotion earlier in November, shipping out 10 ‘solid’ gold cans to customers in its 12-pack Punk IPA boxes.

It is likely many have been snapping up orders in the hopes of finding one of the cans, with two prizes already claimed. 

However, some of those receiving deliveries are accusing drivers of opening the cases up beforehand.



a display case: Brewdog is running a promotion where Punk IPA drinkers can win a gold can worth £25,000


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Brewdog is running a promotion where Punk IPA drinkers can win a gold can worth £25,000

Many are speculating they are doing so to find the gold cans and claim the prize for themselves, with a swap with a regular can of Punk IPA easy to make. 

Although Brewdog’s tweet shows a solid gold can, the actual winners will receive just regular can of beer with a gold sticker wrapped around the outside.

In the sticker is an email to contact to claim their prize and a unique code to verify it is genuine. But this would be quite easily visible to anyone who opens up the case. 

Jeremy Stern, chief executive of PromoVeritas, promotional compliance experts, said: ‘A real gold one would have been very difficult to make as well as very heavy. 

‘It is also the case that a consumer is paying money for 12 cans of beer, so legally it needs to get 12 cans of beer.’

Any consumer who wins the prize can then trade the gold stickered can for a solid gold one, worth £15,000.

Other prizes include £10,000 in Brewdog shares and a tour with founders James Watt and Martin Dickie at their site in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

Despite the gold can actually being a regular one, questions still remain over how this sort of competition can be regulated.

For example, if a delivery driver did happen to find the gold can, albeit it a stickered version not a solid 24 carat one, could they claim it as their own?

Stern said: ‘Most probably yes. Most promotional terms would say “employees and their families are excluded” but firstly few check it and also what is the definition of family?

‘In this case, the delivery drivers are unlikely to be employees of Brewdog, they will be working for a logistics company, so would not be covered by this exclusion. 

‘Lets say a lorry driver does find one, if he is clever he will give it to someone else to claim and

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Business Editor’s Notebook: Tech Alliance sees virtual model key to its future | Business Notebook

WHILE GOING VIRTUAL might be a temporary measure for nonprofits while COVID-19 curtails public events, it’s the path forward for the New Hampshire Tech Alliance.

A four-day Innovation Summit that begins Monday likely will be the alliance’s business model for years to come, its leaders say.


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Japan sees spike in suicides among young women as pandemic drags on

But Japan and South Korea are among the few countries to issue current data on suicides, with most countries taking a year or two to issue their numbers. Experts worry that the emerging trends in the two countries could be an early warning for the rest of the world as the pandemic and lockdowns take a toll on mental health.

Research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the summer found that 1 in 10 respondents had seriously considered suicide the previous month, twice the rate observed in 2018. The rate among those 18-24 years old in the survey was 1 in 4, the CDC reported. There is also some evidence that the rate of suicides among U.S. military personnel has risen.

In Britain, a study issued in October by British Journal of Psychiatry found that thoughts of suicide had increased during the first six weeks of lockdown, with women and young adults the worst affected.

The total number of suicides in Japan rose to 2,153 in October, the highest monthly count in more than five years, with the greater increase among women, according to government statistics. Between July and October, at least 2,810 Japanese women took their own lives, nearly 41 percent more than the 1,994 who died by suicide in the same period last year, the reports showed. Preliminary data by age group shows the sharpest rises in people younger than 29.

Japan already has the highest rate of suicide among the Group of Seven industrialized nations — just ahead of the United States — and is the only country among the seven where suicide is the leading cause of death among 15- to 34-year-olds, the Ministry of Health reported.

South Korea has a higher suicide rate than Japan, with deaths by suicide peaking at nearly 16,000 in 2011, the highest per capita rate among industrialized nations. While the overall numbers show a decline in suicides this year, there has been a 43 percent increase in suicides by women in their 20s in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period last year.

Calls to hotlines

In Japan, teenagers and young women have flooded suicide helplines and have called for help on Twitter and in online forums, according to social service groups.

Jiro Ito, the head of OVA, a nonprofit group trying to prevent suicide, said the people reaching his group’s helpline tend to have one thing in common: loneliness.

“Under coronavirus, we have less communication and fewer chances to talk to people,” he said.

“If you have a family, you spend more time with them, and if you have a good relationship with your family, you’d be happy,” he continued. “But you don’t have a good relationship, and you’re shut off from the outside world, that would only add to your sense of loneliness and stress.”

Men accounted for 70 percent of the 20,169 suicides in Japan last year.

Historically, suicide was seen in Japan as a way to

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Matt Nagy Sees “Better” Model of Mitchell Trubisky

Mitchell Trubisky version 2.0, or possibly 3.0, seems ready to roll out on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.

It’s not official because Bears coach Matt Nagy is trying to play games and keep the Green Bay Packers guessing, but Nick Foles was unable to practice on Wednesday for the second straight time and Trubisky is handling the first team in his absence.

Two plus two still equals four, even at Halas Hall, so figure on No. 10 not No. 9.

“So right now for me and for us, it’s literally day to day for Nick as to where he’s at,” Nagy said.

The glute/hip injury is holding Foles back and Trubisky’s right shoulder injury suffered Nov. 1 either isn’t severe enough to keep him sidelined or has healed.

“But for sure it has to start with availability, and that’s kind of where we’re at with the day-to-day stuff with Nick,” Nagy said.

Nagy acknowledged the advantage it gives his team, although with Foles not practicing it’s difficult to see why the Packers would even care about preparing to face him.

“You look at your opponent, regardless of who it is and the history you have, they are two different style quarterbacks,” Nagy said. “So, no matter who you are as a (defensive) coordinator, there are some things you have to be prepared for with one and with the other that are different.”

Trubisky is the mobile passer and Foles the pocket passer, but there hasn’t been much of a pocket lately for him and it’s why he left the last game on a cart.

The final announcement could come any time, and Nagy isn’t really one to worry about whether his other players on offense—backs, receivers or their few healthy linemen—are in sync with Trubisky this time around. After all, they’ve all started with both quarterbacks.

“They don’t really get into that too much,” Nagy said. “That’s not something that they ask questions about. They just kind of roll.”

What would be different is Trubisky himself, Nagy maintained.

It’s been said before, but Nagy wasn’t above saying it again: Trubisky is a changed quarterback. In the past, he said it when he believed Trubisky had evolved into a passer to handle the 2.0 level of his offense.

Trubisky wasn’t ready, hence Foles for the last seven games.

Now, watching for the first time since Week 4 of the 2017 season, Trubisky is a changed quarterback according to his coach.

“My belief is that Mitchell has used these weeks to make himself a better overall NFL quarterback,” Nagy said. “And I don’t know, whenever and if ever he gets that chance, where and when he does, but I do believe in my heart of hearts that he has grown from this situation and I believe that he will be a better player because of it.”

There is nothing more being offered to indicate the change from Mitch 2.0 to 3.0 or whatever number model this is.

“There’s just, I

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Fragrances & accessories division of Titan Co sees ‘greenshoots’ of demand recovery

The Fragrances and Accessories division of Titan Company Ltd has been witnessing some “greenshoots” in terms of a pick-up in demand during the festival season. The recovery in Q3 (October-December quarter) is expected to be close to 65-70 per cent of a normal year as against around 40 per cent in the second quarter.

According to Manish Gupta, Associate Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Accessories Division, Titan Company, while sales during the first quarter was muted, it has been improving on month-on-month basis for both its brands, Skinn and Fastrack.

Also read: Titan reports 37.8% drop in net profit for Q2

“Last year, we had clocked almost 2x the growth rate of the industry. We had been growing very well and had an ambitious plan for this year, and then Covid stuck. It has been challenging as discretionary spends have been worst-affected. First quarter sales were very small, but as the months are passing, our recovery rates in terms of Skinn and Fastrack brands have been improving, compared to some other categories within the company,” Gupta told BusinessLine.

The overall topline of the company, which includes divisions such as jewellery, eyewear, watches, and fragrances & accessories, recovered to about 89 per cent in Q2. Jewellery saw a recovery of around 98 per cent, watches 55 per cent, eyewear 65 per cent, and the fragrances division witnessed a recovery of about 50 per cent.

The division is expecting a “better recovery” in Q3 backed by a pick-up in demand during the festival season and improved recovery in sales from exclusive channels.

“In Q3, we should be 65-75 per cent of our sales in a normal year and are hoping to touch around 85-90 per cent in Q4. Accessories would be around 10-15 per cent lower than fragrances (in terms of recovery),” he said.

While fragrances account for nearly 60 per cent of sales under the division, accessories account for the remaining 40 per cent.

The rate of recovery has been different for various categories as well as at the channel level. While the company’s own retail channel has witnessed sales recover to the tune of 70 per cent, e-commerce has seen 100 per cent recovery. Recovery in general trade is around 40 per cent, while that in departmental stores is close to 50 per cent.

Also read: Online jewellery firms shine on festival cheer

“Our focus would be on maximising recovery and managing inventory and cash management,” he said.

Expanding reach, launching products

The fine fragrances industry, which is estimated to be worth about ₹2,000 crore, had been growing at around 12-13 per cent year-on-year before the pandemic. The penetration of fine fragrances in the country is less than 10 per cent, thereby presenting a huge opportunity for growth over the next five years, given the rise in disposable income and growing preference among the youth for fine fragrances.

Fine fragrances are still largely concentrated in the big 25 cities. The division plans to strengthen its reach in Tier

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