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Russia’s Luna-25 probe crashes on the Moon

The Luna-25 probe, Russia’s first Moon mission in almost 50 years, has crashed on the Moon after an incident during pre-landing manoeuvres, Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Sunday.

Communication with Luna-25 was lost at 2:57 pm (1157 GMT) on Saturday, Roscosmos said.

According to preliminary findings, the lander “has ceased to exist following a collision with the Moon’s surface”, Roscosmos said. “Measures taken on August 19 and 20 to locate the craft and make contact with it were unsuccessful.” The space agency said an investigation would be launched into the causes of the crash, without giving any indication of what technical problems might have occurred.

With Luna-25, Moscow had hoped to build on the legacy of its Soviet-era Luna programme, marking a return to independent lunar exploration in the face of growing isolation from the West.

The 800-kilogram Luna-25 probe was to have made a soft landing on the lunar south pole, the first in history.

Russia has not attempted to land on a celestial body since 1989, when the Soviet Union’s ill-fated Phobos 2 probe to explore the moons of Mars failed due to an onboard computer malfunction.

Roscosmos boss Yuri Borisov had said the venture would be “risky”, telling President Vladimir Putin face to face in June that the probability of it succeeding was “around 70 percent”.

Source - AFP


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India mourns singer Lata Mangeshkar, dead at 92

The Indian government has decided to give a state funeral and observe a two-day national mourning on the demise of legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, two days of state mourning will be observed today and tomororw.

"During state mourning, the national flag will be flown at half-mast both days throughout India and there will be no official entertainment.”

It has also been decided that state funeral will be given to her in Mumbai today.

India's Melody Queen passed away this morning at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, where she had been admitted because of Covid-related.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and all political leaders have expressed their condolences over her demise.

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Seven actors in ‘Maria' win award at Hanoi Int’l Film Fest

The seven actors in Aruna Jayawardene's film 'Maria' have shared the award for the best leading actor in feature length films at the 6th Hanoi International Film Festival.

They are the late Darshan Dharmaraj, Hemal Ranasinghe, Mahendra Perera, Dasun Pathirana, Priyantha Sirikumar, Ashan Dias and Suran Dasanayake.

Director Jayawardena and actor Ranasinghe attended the awards ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam last night (12).


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Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with Covid-19

Legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar was admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after she was tested COVID-19 positive.

She is admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. Her relatives confirming the reports said that she has mild symptoms.

Her relatives further said that the legendary singer was admitted to the ICU only as a precautionary step. Lata Mangeshkar in 2019 was also hospitalized after she had some breathing problems.

“She is mild Covid positive. Considering her age, doctors advised us that she should be in the ICU because she requires constant care. And we cannot take a chance. As a family, we want the best and want to ensure she has 24X7 care,” Rachana said. “She will be fine. But it is going to take a while because of her age. And also, COVID-19 takes seven days …,” her niece Rachana told PTI.

Lata Mangeshkar is the recipient of three National Film Awards, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the Bharat Ratna, among others.

Several people took to social media to wish Mangeshkar a speedy recovery. “Get well soon and come out of the ICU even sooner,” Anand Ranganathan, author of The Land of the Wilted Rose, wrote on Twitter. “You are not just the voice of our nation; you are its soul.”

One of the most revered playback singers in India, Mangeshkar has recorded songs in more than 1,000 films. Though she sings primarily in Hindi and Marathi, she has recorded in dozens of Indian and foreign languages.

Nicknamed the “Nightingale of India”, Mangeshkar’s most famous songs include Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, Lag Jaa Gale, Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chaubara and Bahon Mein Chale Aao.

Mangeshkar received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 2001. She is only the second singer, after Carnatic vocalist MS Subbulakshmi, to receive the award.

Mangeshkar took to Twitter in December to commemorate the 80th anniversary of her radio debut.

“On 16 December 1941, I sang two songs for the first time in the studio for radio after seeking the blessings of my parents,” she tweeted in Hindi. “It has been 80 years today. In these 80 years, I have got immense love and blessings from the people. I believe that I will always keep getting your love and blessings.”


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Harry Potter actor Robbie Coltrane dies aged 72

Actor Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, has died aged 72.

He also appeared in ITV detective drama Cracker and the James Bond films Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough.

In a statement, his agent Belinda Wright confirmed the actor died in hospital near Falkirk in Scotland.

She described Coltrane as a "unique talent", adding his role as Hagrid "brought joy to children and adults alike all over the world".

"For me personally I shall remember him as an abidingly loyal client. As well as being a wonderful actor, he was forensically intelligent, brilliantly witty and after 40 years of being proud to be called his agent, I shall miss him.

"He is survived by his sister Annie Rae, his children Spencer and Alice and their mother Rhona Gemmell. They would like to thank the medical staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for their care and diplomacy.

Coltrane was made an OBE in the 2006 New Year's honours list for his services to drama and he was awarded the Bafta Scotland Award for outstanding contribution to film in 2011.

The Scottish star, whose real name is Anthony Robert McMillan, was born in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, in 1950.

Coltrane was the son of teacher and pianist Jean Ross and GP Ian Baxter McMillan, and was educated at independent school Glenalmond College in Perth and Kinross.

The actor's career began in 1979 in the TV series Play for Today, but he came to prominence in A Kick Up the Eighties, a BBC TV comedy series which also starred Tracey Ullman, Miriam Margolyes and Rik Mayall.

He also appeared in the 1983 ITV comedy Alfresco, with Fry, Emma Thompson, Siobhan Redmond and Hugh Laurie.

By 1987 he had a leading role in Tutti Frutti, about Scottish rock and roll band The Majestics, which also starred Emma Thompson and Richard Wilson. The year before he was in British crime film Mona Lisa, starring Bob Hoskins.

Coltrane gained further fame starring as criminal psychologist Dr Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald in the ITV series Cracker from 1993 to 1995 and in a special return episode in 2006.

The role secured him the Bafta award for best actor for three consecutive years from 1994 to 1996.

Arguably his best-known role came in the Harry Potter film series as he starred in all eight movies as Rubeus Hagrid alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

In 2016, he starred in Bafta-winning Channel 4 drama National Treasure, with Dame Julie Walters, about a comic and TV host accused of sexual abuse of women.

Late last year he appeared in the Harry Potter reunion TV special, which reunited the cast, although JK Rowling was absent and featured only in archive video clips.

Coltrane appeared alongside Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, along with Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman and Ralph Fiennes.


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Betty White, Golden Girls star, dies at 99

Betty White, the five-time Emmy Award-winning actress, has died, PEOPLE has confirmed.

Her career spanned six decades and included pivotal roles on some of TV's most influential shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls.

She was 99 years old, and would have turned 100 on 17 January.

"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," her agent and friend, Jeff Witjas, told PEOPLE in a statement Friday.

"I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again."

An only child, White was born in Oak Park, Ill., raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1939.

She was on TV before it was even beamed into homes: White sang an operatic song with a high school classmate on an experimental transmission two months before NBC famously presented the then new-fangled medium at the New York World's Fair in 1939.

After spending the '40s working in radio, White officially hit the TV airwaves in 1949 on the local variety show Hollywood on Television, for which she snagged her first Emmy nomination.

White went on to produce and star in the show's domestic spin-off comedy, Life With Elizabeth.

An assortment of short-lived roles followed, including an eponymous variety show and the first of her famed spots on game shows, from What's My Line to Make the Connection to Password.

Years later, White appeared on other game shows, including Pyramid and Match Game, as well as hosted NBC's Just Men! (for which she won a Daytime Emmy).

Her association with the genre earned her the nickname "First Lady of Game Shows."

Appearing on Password in 1961, White met her third husband, Allen Ludden, who hosted the show (White was briefly married twice in the '40s).

The pair got hitched in 1963, and Ludden died of stomach cancer in 1981. White never remarried.

The first of White's two most famous TV roles began in 1973, when she joined the cast of the super-successful CBS sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, playing "happy homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens.

The character was legendary as a two-faced, nasty maneater hidden behind a sweet facade. White snagged two Emmys for the role.

Then in 1985, she debuted as Midwestern simpleton Rose Nylund alongside Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan on NBC's The Golden Girls, a series that focused on four geriatric ladies living together in a Miami house with a spacious lanai and lots of cheesecake.

Considered a precursor to Sex and the City, Golden Girls was a surprise Saturday night hit that stirred the cultural zeitgeist because of its frank discussion of taboo topics like sex over 60, AIDS, and gay issues.

White's character famously told meandering stories about her hometown of St. Olaf, Minn., and spouted off weird, Scandinavian vocabulary.

White was nominated for an Emmy during each of the show's seven seasons and won in its first.

"With The Golden Girls, it wasn't so much sadness [at the end] as it was a deep realization that none of us would ever be a part of something so special again in our careers," White told EW in 2005, on the show's 20th anniversary.

"It was the peak of everybody's career."

White joined McClanahan and Getty in a spin-off the following year, The Golden Palace, but it lasted only one season.

After Palace ended, White took roles on Bob Newhart's CBS sitcom Bob and Marie Osmond's ABC show Maybe This Time.

In her later years, White became something of a magnet for Guest Actress Emmy nominations: Between 1996 and 2004, she tallied four nods in series ranging from The John Larroquette Show to The Practice; her part in the latter drama led to a recurring role as a conniving legal secretary on Boston Legal.

White continued to appear on the small screen, in spots on the daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful, sitcoms My Name Is Earl and Community, as well as the big-screen rom-com The Proposal opposite Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

From 2010 to 2015, White delighted fans with her portrayal of widowed caretaker Elka Ostrovsky in TV Land's Hot in Cleveland.

As generations of other stars came and went, White managed to endure — and thrive.

"Television was a fledgling, barely out of the nest, when I began taking my first stumbling professional steps," she wrote in her 1995 autobiography Here We Go Again: My Life in Television.

"It boggles my mind that in such a transitory field of endeavor, I am still allowed to hang in there."

More than just "hang" in television, the gutsy, sweet White left an indelible mark.

In addition to her incredible Hollywood career, she was also a pet enthusiast known for her animal advocacy.

White worked with various animal organizations over the years, including the Los Angeles Zoo, spcaLA, and the Morris Animal Foundation, where she had served as president emeritus since 2009.


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Sri Lankan wins Linnean Medal for Zoology, the ‘Nobel prize for naturalists’

Sri Lankan author, educator and taxonomist, Rohan Pethiyagoda has been awarded the coveted Linnean Medal for Zoology 2022, considered the ‘Nobel Prize for naturalists.’

This is the first time a Sri Lankan has won the medal, which has been awarded annually by the Linnean Society of London since 1888 to distinguished botanists and zoologists across the globe.

Pethiyagoda is the second Asian to win the medal.

Pethiyagoda is one of the country’s leading naturalists and a taxonomist on freshwater fish of Sri Lanka. He is also an accomplished researcher who has authored numerous books and articles on zoology.

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Dr. Vajira Chitrasena conferred with ‘Padma Shri’ award

The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka handed over the Padma Shri Award given by the Indian President to Dr. Vajira Chitrasena on Wednesday (17) in the presence of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

She was recognized for her valuable contributions in the field of art further strengthening India-Sri Lanka cultural ties.

Three eminent personalities from Sri Lanka have so far been conferred with one of the highest civilian honours in India.

Earlier this month, the President of India conferred #PadmaShri upon Late Prof Indra Dassnayake posthumously for her contributions to Hindi & Indian culture.

Vatshala Dassanayake Ishtaweera received the Award on behalf of her late mother at a grand ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhawan.

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Veteran actor Wilson Karunaratne passes away

Veteran Sri Lankan actor Wilson Karunaratne has passed away at the age of 79, family sources told Ada Derana.

Fondly known as ‘Wilson Karu’, Karunaratne was also a stunt director.

He was also considered one of the best villains in Sinhala cinema.

Karunaratne, who made his movie debut through ‘Hadawath Naththo’ (1974) as a stuntman, has acted in more than 200 movies.

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Yohani to perform in Dubai on UAE National Day

Young Sri Lankan singer Yohani de Silva is set to perform in Dubai’s World Trade Centre on the National Day of the United Arab Emirates on 02 December.

Yohani will also be headlining a show at the Sri Lanka pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in the first week of March next year.

“Yes, I have been to Dubai once (in 2019). And yes, I am coming to Dubai soon to perform,” Yohani has told City Times, without confirming any dates.

The concert is expected to be a musical showcase of Sri Lankan talent directed towards south Asian audiences.

Yohani’s set list is expected to feature a mix of Indian and Sri Lankan songs.

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‘The Newspaper’ is best 2020 Asian film at Bengaluru Film Fest

The Sri Lankan film ‘The Newspaper’ has won the award for the best Asian film for 2020 at the 13th Bengaluru International Film Festival.

There were 332 screenings of over 200 films from 55 countries during the week-long festival.

Governor of Karnataka state Thaawar Chand Gehlot presided over the event and presented the awards.

Co-directed by Sarath Kothawalawa and Kumara Thirimadura, ‘The Newspaper’ was produced by minister Bandula Gunawardena along with Ravindra Guruge and H.D. Premasiri.

It stars both directors Kothalawala and Thirimadura in lead roles while Gihan Fernando, Dharmapriya Dias and Pubudu Chathuranga are in supporting roles.

lkMusic is composed by Gayathri Khemadasa.

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Veteran singer Lakshman Wijesekara passes away

Veteran singer and musician Lakshman Wijesekera, who made a significant contribution to the field of art for several decades, passed away a short while ago.

Sources say the 73-year-old had been ill for some time and was receiving treatment at hospital at the time of his death.

He became popular as an actor from the teledramas 'Ira Paya' and 'Ganga and Nissanka.'

The remains of the late musician will be kept his residence in Mount Lavinia tomorrow (13) and the final rites will be performed at the Mount Lavinia Public Cemetery on Sunday (14).

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