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From birthday bashes to raising a toast to new beginnings to letting their hair down on international shores – Bollywood revellers wore their party hats on more than one occasion in the past month.
Here’s a lowdown on where and how B-towners rocked the month of September.
1. Priyanka Chopra Hosted A Party At Her New York Penthouse

Well, our desi girl who has temporarily shifted base to New York, where she is shooting for the second season of her American TV show Quantico recently threw a bash for all the cast members of Quantico at her New York penthouse.
PeeCee, who plays Alex Parrish in the show wanted to celebrate the premier of the second season of her show with her co-stars and hosted a house party for all of them.
According to sources, the party was an intimate affair and the cast watched the premier together followed by a lavish dinner which comprised a mix of continental and Indian food.
2. Alia Bhatt Parties Hard In Spain

Another Bollywood diva who partied on the international shores was the Udta Punjab actress – Alia Bhatt.

Taking time from her hectic schedules the Badrinath Ki Dulhania actress flew all the way to Spain to surprise a friend for her birthday and partied hard over the weekend.

She even shared pictures from her friend’s birthday celebration on Instagram. And looking at the pictures we can safely say that our petite Bhatt girl had indeed had a wild time.
3. Rima Jain’s 60th Birthday Bash

With who’s who of the industry gracing the 60th birthday celebrations of legendary actor Raj Kapoor’s daughter Rima Jain, this event was undoubtedly the bash of the month.
Right from the Bachchans to Ambanis to Karan Johar to Sridevi to Anil Kapoor to the whole of Kapoor Khandan – every Bollywoodian headed to Amadeus, Nariman Point where the grand party was held.


4. Ranbir Kapoor Celebrated His Birthday

The Ae Dil Hai Mushkil actor turned 34 last month and Ranbir celebrated his special day with his family and friends.


A celebration at home with family and a celebration on the sets of Jagga Jasoos with Arjun Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Anurag Basu, the birthday boy indeed had a rollicking time.
5. B-Town Revellers At Shaad Ali’s House Party

Despite being a Monday night, it was quite a happening night in Bollywood.

The Ok Jaanu director Shaad Ali decided to throw a random bash for his B-town pals and the likes of Katrina Kaif, Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur turned the party into a rocking night as they let down their hair and partied until the wee hours.
6. Kareena’s Birthday Party

It was Bebo darling’s birthday last month and it was obvious that the mommy-to-be celebrated the day with a grand affair along with family and friends at a house party where she binged her way through her favorite delicacies and had a gala time with all her loved ones.

7. Shilpa Shetty’s Surprise Birthday Party For Husband

When husband Raj Kundra turned a year older, his doting wife Shilpa Shetty Kundra decided to throw a surprise birthday bash for him.
The guest list included Shilpa and Raj’s close friends like Sushmita Sen, Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia, Dia and Sahil Sangha, Suniel Shetty, Anil Kapoor, among others.
LiveInStyle.com encourages you to Party Responsibly!
Image credits: Instagram, thequint, bollywoodlife, daily.bhaskar

Paytm digital payment method sign at a spice stall in Delhi.Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg


“There is no reason we cannot move towards a cashless India,” Modi said Nov. 27, reinforcing Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s earlier assertion that the cash ban “will take India towards a cashless economy."

But on the streets in New Delhi, it’s not quite turning out that way.

Deepak Kumar, a 22-year-old security guard who earns 7,500 rupees a month, tried to open an account with a New Delhi branch of the State Bank of India after receiving his salary in old notes. The bank refused, telling him to return in January, he said.

“They said we’re only looking after our customers, we don’t have time to add new customers,” Kumar said, adding he wouldn’t try to open an bank account again. “This cashless thing is good for big people, but for small people like us, it doesn’t mean anything."

Such anecdotes are fueling doubts the demonetization move will lead to a substantial shift to online or mobile payments, particularly among the vast population of poor Indians who lack the necessary bank accounts.

India’s Cash Chaos by the Numbers: Guide to Banknote Revamp
Cash dependent

Problem is, while e-commerce is booming, India remains one of the most cash-dependent countries in the world.

Just over half of the nation’s adults have bank accounts, a precursor to using digital payments. Roughly 98 percent of all transactions are in cash, with 11 percent of consumers using a debit card in 2015, while most retailers don’t accept cards.

In the days after Modi’s Nov. 8 announcement, digital payment companies such as Paytm Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd. lauded the move in newspaper ads and said digital payments usage was up. But most new customers will likely be wealthier urbanites, said Saksham Khosla, a research analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace India.

“I’m very doubtful that this will lead to any meaningful financial inclusion," Khosla said. "It does seem a little tacked on. They’re trying to find more and more uses for demonetization than may have originally been intended."

Flip-Flops: U-Turns Blight Modi’s Cash Ban, Leaving Indians Outraged

Part of the problem is the poor penetration of banks in India’s villages -- there are only 18 ATMs per 100,000 citizens in India, according to the World Bank, compared to 129 in Brazil. Additionally, just 22 percent of Indians use the Internet “at least occasionally” and only 17 percent have a smartphone, according to a Pew Research Center report.

By Rajesh Kumar Singh | NEW DELHI

India posted on Wednesday the world's fastest growth rate for a large economy in the September quarter, yet that offered cold comfort after misery inflicted by the government's unexpected move to remove high denomination banknotes from circulation.

Gross domestic product (GDP) INGDPQ=ECI clocked an annual 7.3 percent growth between July and September, faster than 7.1 percent in the previous quarter and higher than China's 6.7 percent.

That impressive headline figure, however, failed to mask the underlying weakness in Asia's third-largest economy.

Not only was the overall growth lower than expected, it was primarily driven by consumer and government spending. Contraction in capital investment deepened.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision this month to scrap 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee banknotes as part of a crackdown on tax dodgers and counterfeiters denting consumer spending, which makes up 55 percent of India's economy, the outlook for upcoming quarters is not encouraging.

In a country where most people are paid in cash, and buy what they need with cash, Modi's decision has removed 86 percent of the currency in circulation virtually overnight. His shock therapy has left companies, farmers and households suffering.

"Post-demonetization the situation is really grim whether you look at any sector or talk to people," said Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist at India Ratings & Research.

KNOCK-ON EFFECTS

Economists agree the economy will take a hit this quarter and for several quarters to follow. But opinions on the scale of damage vary widely.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expects a minor impact lasting for a quarter or two. Private economists, however, reckon the impact would be felt through 2018.

The most optimistic forecasts suggest that India will finish this fiscal year in March with a respectable, but slightly lower, growth rate of 7.3 percent.

But the most pessimistic forecast, from Mumbai-based brokerage Ambit Capital, is for a precipitous drop to 3.5 percent growth.

Modi has sold the move as an attack on the illicit "black economy", it is also aimed at shrinking the cash economy which has lasted so long because few Indians have bank cards and infrastructure for online transactions is poor.

According to Credit Suisse more than 90 percent of consumer purchases are made in cash, while another study shows 85 percent of workers are paid in cash.

The crackdown will also have a spillover effect for India's formal economy.

Take India's construction sector, for example. It relies on so called "black money" for funding, but it accounts for about eight percent of GDP, employs about 40 million people and has a direct bearing on steel, cement and manufacturing companies.

"In terms of the policy implications, today's release is unlikely to have much of an impact," said Shilan Shah, India Economist with Capital Economics. "Attention has already turned to the impact of the government's demonetization measures."

STRANDED TRUCKS

Supply chains at small, medium and even larger companies are already crumbling. Trucks are stranded with no money for fuel, workers won't load goods for free, and distributors can't pay up. Wholesale markets in many cities are shut.

In the wheat-growing states, farmers have told Reuters they have run out of cash, and as a consequence sales of seeds and fertilizer have plunged halfway through the sowing season.

At least the potential for lower inflation holds out some hope that the Reserve Bank of India will extend its easing cycle with a quick interest rate cut - possibly as early as next month.

"We think that it will attempt to cushion the blow from demonetization," said Shah, who expects a 25 basis rate cut at the central bank's policy review meeting on Dec. 6-7.

(This story was refiled to remove extraneous word in fourth paragraph)

(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

A vendor selling clothes smokes a bidi, a local cigarette hand-rolled with leaf tobacco, as he waits for customers at his stall under a flyover market at a market in Kolkata, India, July 13, 2015. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files By Krishna Eluri

BENGALURU (REUTERS)Indian inflation is expected to have cooled to a 14-month low in November after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise removal of high denomination bank notes caused an intense cash shortage and severely hurt consumption, a Reuters poll found.

Modi's announcement on November 8 that he was withdrawing 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes in an attempt to curb corruption and tax evasion made it much harder for consumers to make purchases in the predominantly cash-based economy.

Consumer spending makes up 55 percent of India's economy and most people buy and get paid in cash. The virtual overnight removal of 86 percent of the currency in circulation has left companies, farmers and households suffering.

Inflation is expected to ease to 3.90 percent in November from a year earlier, according to the median consensus from the Reuters poll of over 20 economists.

That would compare with October's 4.20 percent and the Reserve Bank of India's target of 4 percent to be reached by 2021.

"Overall, I think there is a 10- to 20-basis point impact on inflation due to demonetization. We have downgraded our forecast to the same degree," said Tushar Arora, senior economist at HDFC Bank.

Indian services activity dived into contraction last month due to a sharp decline in demand following the withdrawal of the high denomination bank notes, with factory activity showing a sharp deceleration as well.

Despite the turmoil following the cash clampdown, India's central bank surprised markets by eschewing a rate cut and leaving its key policy rate unchanged at 6.25 percent this week, choosing to wait for more information before judging the full effects of the demonetization.

Before last month's announcement, the recently formed Monetary Policy Committee chaired by RBI Governor Urjit Patel was expected to cut interest rates in early 2017.
With the central bank passing up the opportunity to make a rate cut in December, despite cooling inflation, a February move could be on the menu.

Wholesale price inflation likely cooled to 3.10 percent in November from 3.39 percent in October, the poll found.

(Polling by Shaloo Shrivastava and Khushboo Mittal; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman/Files
By Serajul Quadir

DHAKA(REUTERS)A Bangladesh government-appointed panel investigating the cyber-heist of $81 million from its central bank in February found five officials at the bank were guilty of negligence and carelessness, the head of the panel told Reuters on Thursday.

In his first detailed comments on the inquiry since a report was submitted to the government in May, former central bank governor Mohammed Farashuddin said the officials were low to mid-level and were not directly involved in the crime.

"They were negligent, careless and indirect accomplices," he said in an interview in his office. "The committee came to the conclusion that the heist was essentially committed by external elements."
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Bangladesh has so far refused to make the inquiry report public saying it wanted to deny perpetrators knowledge of the investigation into one of the world's biggest cyber-heists.

It was not immediately known if Bangladesh had shared the report with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the main agency investigating the crime.

Farashuddin did not name the officials he found were negligent. A senior central bank official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no action had been taken against any employee since the inquiry report had not been made public.

Bangladesh Bank spokesman Subhankar Saha declined comment.

Although over 10 months have passed since the heist, there have been no arrests and no word on who carried out the complex heist.

Hackers used stolen credentials to try to transfer nearly $1 billion from Bangladesh Bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York through the SWIFT transaction system. Many of the transfer orders were blocked or reversed but $81 million was sent to accounts in a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) in the Philippines.

The money eventually went into the sprawling casino industry in the Philippines and most of it remains untraced.

Like Bangladesh police investigators, Farashuddin said the inquiry panel also found the hackers may have exploited loopholes in the bank's online security when technicians hooked up the central bank's local money transfer system with SWIFT's international payments network late last year.

SWIFT has denied charges that its technicians were responsible for exposing Bangladesh Bank's systems to hackers.

Reuters has reported earlier that Bangladesh Bank had not protected its computer system with a firewall, and used second-hand $10 electronic switches to network computers linked to SWIFT, weaknesses that the hackers may also have exploited.

Farashuddin said that RCBC was responsible for allowing the stolen funds to be withdrawn and disbursed into the casino industry. Bangladesh has said it wants RCBC to compensate it for its losses.

RCBC has said Bangladesh Bank was "negligent" in letting the initial security breach take place there, and hence the Manila-based bank need not pay any compensation. So far only about $15 million of the stolen funds have been recovered.

Farashuddin said his personal opinion was it would be better to make the inquiry report public, since it would make clear that some local officials were negligent but not responsible for the heist.

"If the government would publish, then Bangladesh Bank's position would be strengthened," he said.

Bangladesh's law minister said earlier this week that his government would share the findings of the inquiry with Philippine authorities.

(Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)


Relatives grieve as they wait for word on the collection of the remains of victims of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash at PIMS hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik and Asad Hashim

ISLAMABAD (REUTERS) Pakistan on Thursday mourned the 47 victims of its deadliest plane crash in four years, including a famed rock star-turned-Muslim evangelist, as officials sought to pinpoint the cause of the disaster.

Engine trouble was initially believed responsible, but many questions remain, stirring new worries about the safety record of money-losing state carrier Pakistani International Airlines.

The ATR-42 aircraft involved in the crash had undergone regular maintenance, including an "A-check" certification in October, said airline chairman Muhammad Azam Saigol.

"I want to make it clear that it was a perfectly sound aircraft," Saigol said.

The aircraft appeared to have suffered a failure in one of its two turboprop engines just before the crash, he added, but this would have to be confirmed by an investigation.

"I think there was no technical error or human error," Saigol told a news conference late on Wednesday. "Obviously there will be a proper investigation."

Grief erupted online soon after flight PK661 smashed into the side of a mountain near the town of Havelian, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, on Wednesday, after taking off from the mountain resort region of Chitral.

It crashed just 50 km (31 miles) short of its destination, the international airport in Islamabad, the capital.

A PIA spokesman said the pilot, who issued a "mayday" emergency call before the crash, may have prevented an even bigger catastrophe by manoeuvring the plane away from populated areas.

"It seems that the pilot directed it away from people's homes. Otherwise there could have been even more damage," Daniyal Gillani told Reuters outside a morgue at an Islamabad hospital where bodies were being identified.

Stunned relatives gathered there, some weeping quietly, others besieging officials with questions.

"What can I tell you?" said Raja Amir, as he waited for his mother's remains. "I don't know what we will get of her. There is still another hell to go through." 


Remains continue to be brought by helicopter to Islamabad, where DNA tests will be used to identify them.

Television images appeared to show rescue officials retrieving the aircraft's "black box" flight recorder from the wreckage, and the airline confirmed the recovery to the Geo News channel.

ROCK STAR AND ROYALTY

Much of the public's anguish focused on Junaid Jamshed, the vocalist of Vital Signs, one of Pakistan's first and most successful bands of the 1990s, who abandoned his music career in 2001 to become a travelling evangelist with the conservative Tableeghi Jamaat group.

Many comments on social network Twitter pointed up the contrast between his two roles, first as a pop sensation singing about love and heartbreak, and then as a stern, bearded preacher admonishing young people for straying from Islam.

"Junaid Jamshed's journey was so quintessentially Pakistani. Conflicted, passionate, devoted, ubersmart, and so, so talented. Tragic loss," Mosharraf Zaidi, an Islamabad-based development professional and analyst, said in a tweet.

Others simply shared his band's many hits, such as 'Dil Dil Pakistan', which has become an unofficial anthem, played at public gatherings since its release in 1987.

Among the 46 others who perished were two infants, three foreigners - two Austrians and a Chinese man - and five crew listed on the manifest.

Foreign tourists increasingly travel to Chitral, along with numerous domestic visitors, as Pakistan emerges from years of militant violence.

The dead included a member of Chitral's traditional royal family, his wife and family, besides a regional administrative official, Osama Ahmad Warraich, killed with his wife and infant daughter.

At a funeral for the Warraich family, Osama's mother was seen waving at the coffins and weeping: "Let me say goodbye to my kids one more time".

Photo BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Friday, amid questions about what President-elect Donald Trump's foreign policy will mean for the country as it faces a renewed Taliban-led insurgency.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Friday, amid questions about what President-elect Donald Trump's foreign policy will mean for the country as it faces a renewed Taliban-led insurgency.

Carter will meet U.S. troops and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while in Afghanistan.

Trump has given few details on his foreign policy plan, with surprisingly little specifics on Afghanistan, where nearly 10,000 U.S. troops still remain more than 15 years after the Islamist Taliban were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces.

Afghanistan was barely mentioned during a bitterly fought election campaign, which largely focused on domestic issues, between Republican Trump and his Democratic rival, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Trump, however has said the United States should stop carrying out "nation building".

Ghani and Trump spoke by telephone last week, the Trump transition team said in a statement, when they discussed the "terrorism threats facing both countries".

One of the most important questions on Afghanistan facing Trump, former officials and experts say, is how many U.S. troops will remain there.

Acknowledging that security in Afghanistan remained precarious and Taliban forces had gained ground in some places, President Barack Obama shelved plans to cut the U.S. presence almost in half by year's end, opting instead to keep 8,400 troops there through to the end of his presidency in January.

General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, said last week there was a medium level of risk with the current number of U.S. forces.

"My assessment of our current capabilities (is that) we have adequate resources to conduct this mission at a moderate level of risk going forward ... this is acceptable for what we need to conduct," Nicholson told a Pentagon briefing.

James Dobbins, a former U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, said Afghanistan would not factor highly for Trump given the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

This, Dobbins said, was likely to mean that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan would remain unchanged, at least in the short term.

Trump will inherit a challenging security situation in Afghanistan. A number of provincial capitals have been under pressure from Taliban militants and Afghan forces have been suffering high casualty rates, with more than 5,500 killed in the first eight months of 2016.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Paul Tait)