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Comedy Clubs where stand up comedians perform in front of an audience are commonplace in the western world. In fact, this culture has become so popular in certain places like London that there is cut throat competition between different comedy clubs in London (get more information on comedy store london) and organizers are constantly innovating and enhancing their services to attract customers.

Apart from comic acts, stand up performances, magic shows and musical performances, these comedy clubs also have restaurants and bars to entice customers to come in groups and enjoy an entire evening of fun and laughter.

Following are 2 videos showing the kind of stand up acts that are performed in comedy clubs:

Gena Yashere at The Comedy Store Comedy Club in London

Frank Deuring at Lion’s Den Comedy Club in London

Although, this is a popular concept for western audiences, countries like India are just starting to discover this option for recreation and business. In India, it is easy to find a therapeutic morning laughter club, where all the oldies gather in the wee hours of the morning to boisterously laugh out their stress and tensions, but very difficult to imagine a place where stand up comedians perform live every evening.

Recently, Indian television has seen a growing trend of successful laughter competitions and comedy shows where comic artists from across the country perform different kinds of acts and compete with each other. This is somewhat creating awareness about stand up performances and about how difficult, challenging and entertaining live acts are.

Looking at this growing awareness about live comedy in this part of the world and also in order to explore new markets outside the highly competitive UK market, The Comedy Store, a renowned UK based comedy club, is opening India’s first comedy club in Mumbai. The Comedy Store already has 2 venues in London and Manchester and would be opening its first international branch in Mumbai at the Palladium Luxury Shopping Mall at High Street Phoenix in Lower Parel on January 14th, 2010.

The owners have big plans for their first international venture and plan to make the Mumbai outlet as good as their London and Manchester venues, if not better. The club has a budget of 2.5 million pounds or 19 crore rupees and is a joint venture between the UK based The Comedy Store and the Gurgaon based The Spa Group. The club will have a restaurant, a bar and a huge auditorium which will acommodate 325 people. There will also be a parking lot for upto 300 cars.

By opening India’s first comedy club, The Comedy Store hopes to create a market for stand up comedy in India, just like it did in London over 30 years ago. When it started, The Comedy Store was the first of its kind in London and now there are over 300 clubs where one can watch stand up comedy and enjoy a fun-filled evening.

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With less than an year to go for the XIXth Commonwealth Games, Delhi, the host city, is striving to put up a successful show. Come October 3rd 2010 and all eyes would be on Delhi and all of India to fulfill its promise of hosting a spectacular Commonwealth Games.

For the past 2 years, Delhi has virtually become a huge construction site with major infrastructure projects being executed all across the Indian Capital. The Airport is being revamped, the Delhi Metro project is being completed, roads and flyovers are being constructed everywhere and most importantly 12 venues which will be used for hosting the Commonwealth Games are being setup. This is a mammoth task for the Delhi Authorities and has become of part of life for the people of Delhi for the past 2 years. How Delhi fares in hosting the games successfully is anyone’s guess but one thing is for sure, the XIXth Commonwealth Games are set to experience a totally different feel in Delhi as compared to the developed metropolitan cities of Melbourne and Manchester where the games were played in 2006 and 2002.

Recently, there have been speculations that Delhi is running slow in terms of preparedness for the mega event. This came after officials of the Commonwealth Games Federation visited the city. Only 2 out of the 12 venues have been completed so far and the deadline for many infrastructural projects has been postponed. Delhi authorities are trying their best to keep such speculation under wraps with top Indian officials including the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Dr. P. Chidambaram and Sports Minister Mr. M.S. Gill, all giving statements to assure that the preparations are on track.

Another major concern for participating countries and the Indian authorities is the security arrangements during the 2010 Commonwealth Games. After last year’s horrific terrorist attack in Mumbai, India is being looked at as a country vulnerable to security lapses. Delhi authorities including the Delhi Police have presented a detailed plan on how security issues will be managed during the Commonwealth Games. This plan includes continuous surveillance with the help of IAF helicopters, watch towers, snipers, 4 level security checks and use of the latest technology for identification cards, cameras and centralized monitoring.

This is the 2nd major sporting event in many years for the city of Delhi and all of India for that matter, the first being the Asian Games in 1982. Delhi will welcome over 8500 athletes and officials from around 70 Commonwealth nations during the games. India is desperate to prove to the world that it can be a feasible venue for hosting major international events beyond cricket tournaments. The success of Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games will mean more visibility for this fast developing nation and will also encourage authorities to pitch for Olympics 2020.

Sister Alphonsa

Alphonsa Muttathupandathu or Sister Alphonsa

October 12 was a proud moment for the Indian Church, having a history of 2000 years, when Sister Alphonsa became the first India woman to be awarded Sainthood. On October 12, at 2:40pm, Kerala nun Sister Alphonsa was declared Saint Alphonsa when she was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City becoming the first Indian woman to be anointed.

The ceremony was attended by over 25000 people of Indian origin some of whom carried the Indian Flag to show their pride. A big delegation from India headed by Union Labor Minister Oscar Fernandes was also present to attend the prestigious ceremony.

Very few people outside Kerala would have known Sister Alphonsa before she was chosen in 2007 to be anointed as a Saint. Its after more than 100 years of her birth that she has been declared a Saint by Pope Benedict XVI and has become the first Indian woman and the second Indian Roman Catholic to be conferred this honor after Gonzalo Garcia, who was declared a Saint in 1862.

Sister Alphonsa was born in the year 1910 in Bharanganam village in Kottayam district of Kerala. Her mother passed away when she was very young and she overcame her sufferings and pain by finding solace in spirituality. Sister Alphonsa spent her entire life helping and serving the people of that region and promoting good values. She is also believed to have been associated with many miraculous incidents two of which were officially put up to the Pope. Sister Alphonsa passed away at a young age of 36 years in 1946. While conferring Sainthood on Sister Alphonsa, Pope Benedict XVI read our passages from the Bible and also excerpts from Sister Alphonsa’s biography.

The ceremony in Vatican City completed the canonization process which started more than 50 years ago. Along with Sister Alphonsa, Pope Benedict XVI conferred Sainthood on Maria Bernarda Butler of Switzerland, Father Gaetano Errico of Italy and Narcisa de Jesus Marlillo Moran of Ecuador.

Ironically for the Indian Christian community, such a proud moment comes at a time when many Indian states like Orissa and Karnataka are dealing with incidents of serious violence against Christians. This has drawn severe international critism over the past few weeks. Pope Benedict XVI also referred to this during the ceremony when he said “my prayers are with Christians (in India) in these difficult times”.

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First Train Service In Kashmir

First Train Service In Kashmir

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flagged off the first train service in Kashimir on Saturday, 11th October at Nowgam station amidst tight security despite heated protests which left 2 people dead. He was joined by Congress Party President, Sonia Gandhi and Railway Minister, Laloo Prasad Yadav for the low key ceremony. Earlier on Friday, Manmohan Singh inaugurated a Dam in Baglihar which is a disputed region even though there were protests from Pakistan.

Manmohan Singh Inaugurating The Train Service

Manmohan Singh Inaugurating The Train Service

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the staring of this train service as a “Dream Come True”. “Our intention is that the future of Kashmir should be socially, economically and politically bright”, he added.

Many people have been hurt and over 30 killed in clashes between security forces and separatists elements in Anti-India protests which have dominated the state over the past couple of months since August. As the Prime Minister arrived here for the inauguration, the separatists have called for a 2 day strike across the state.

Separatists Protest In The Valley

Separatists Protest In The Valley

The train links Qazigund in the South to Baramulla in the North as of now and was built with tremendous difficulties due to the ruthless mountaneous terrain and security issues. The project was started in the year 2000 but had to be paused for a while in 2004 when an engineer and his brother were killed by suspected millitants. Although the entire track is around 117 Km in length, for the moment only 66 Km is ready to be used. The next phase would be to integrate this new railway line to the massive Indian railway network. Its usefulness will be multiplied in this way.

Route Of The Train Service

Route Of The Train Service

The new trains on this route which would comprise of 2 AC trains having large windows to let people enjoy the picturesque views of Kashmir would be run with additional security at all times. A separate wing of the railway police has been set for this purpose.

The main beneficiaries of this service would be the people living in remote villages of Kashmir that are now connected by this line. Those who previously faced long journeys to reach larger towns and cities will be able to travel much faster now. Many people in this part of the valley travel long distances everyday for work and education. This service will come as a true blessing for them.

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More than 3 months after Meghna Subhedar, a 28 year old techie from Bangalore, was declared dead, Meghna has suddenly appeared at one of her relatives’ place in Pune. Meghna’s case and her subsequent search started in early April when she went missing. A couple of months later in June, she was declared dead. However, on 10th October, Meghna called her parents and informed them that she was in Pune at her relatives’ residence. Her father immediately informed the police about this development and now a team has been sent there.

The whole issue began when Meghna, a software professional at Genesis, called her parents in Korba, Chhatisgarh on the 10th of April informing them that she would be boarding the Geetanjali Express on the same day to come home . However, she did not reach home as per schedule and her parents filed a complaint with the Government Railway Police for their missing daughter on the 11th of April.

The police tracked Meghna’s movements after she went missing and found that she had used an ATM in Andheri, Mumbai on 13th of April and then another ATM in Margaon, Goa on the 14th. After sometime, a naked decomposed body was found on Candolim beach in Goa which was identified as Meghna by her father and a case of murder was registered by Calangute Police. However, when her mother objected to this conclusion, DNA tests were carried out and it was found that the body was of another individual.

Now that Meghna is back after missing for such a long time, the biggest question is what happened to her on the 10th of April and where has she been all this while. But mysteriously, Meghna herself is not able to answer this question and says she does not remember anything about what happened and where she was over these months.

Meghna Subhedar - Then and Now

Meghna Subhedar - Then and Now

Meghna told her father that someone had hit her on the head with a hard object on Friday, 10th October because of which she regained her memory and was able to call home. Thus, it seems that Meghna had lost her memory while she went missing. Trying to figure out what may be the reason for this loss of memory, Meghna’s father, who is a doctor by profession, said that Meghna was an avid reader and notably had a lot of books related to Black Magic which may have had something to do with this mysterious behavior of his daughter.

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