World’s biggest lift irrigation project is flowing in India

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Pumping stations on Friday began lifting river water toward parched land in southern India in what is said to be the world's largest such irrigation project.

Some of the 19 pumping stations on the Godavari River lifted water to a height of 618 meters (2,020 feet) to irrigate about 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) in Telangana state, instead of allowing the floodwaters to flow to the sea.

The project was built in three years at an estimated cost of 880 billion rupees ($12.9 billion).

At its inauguration, the top elected official in Telangana state, Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao, said the project is the world's largest using lift irrigation.Read more on

India uses yoga diplomacy to assert rising global influence

NEW DELHI (AP) — If China has panda diplomacy, India has yoga.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi successfully lobbied the United Nations to designate June 21 International Yoga Day in his first year in power in 2014.

Since then, just as China under President Xi Jinping has given countries pandas for their zoos in a show of goodwill, Modi has used one of India's most popular exports to assert his nation's rising place in the world.

On Friday, the fifth annual International Yoga Day, Modi practiced various yoga "asanas" alongside an estimated 40,000 people in India's eastern state of Jharkhand as members of his Cabinet and foreign envoys rolled out their yoga mats in cities around the world.

"Let our motto be yoga for peace, harmony and progress," Modi said before joining the hourlong practice.

Most of India's 191 embassies and consulates worldwide organized yoga sessions to commemorate the day, according to the foreign ministry.

The ministry shared photos of yoga flash mobs on the streets of Kiev, colorful yoga mats around Brussels' Triumphal Arch, sun salutations under the Washington Monument, hundreds in seated prayer pose at Moscow's Tagansky Park and more than 500 people in identical transparent ponchos and black pants in front of the Yellow Crane Tower in rainy Wuhan, China.

At an event for diplomats in New Delhi featuring India's foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Israel's ambassador Ron Malka said Modi's use of yoga as a tool of diplomacy is "working quite well" to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Walter Lindner, the German ambassador to India, described Modi's yoga bid at the U.N. a "clever move.Read more on

India, Sri Lanka agree to step up anti-terrorism efforts

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage Sunday to the more than 250 Sri Lankans killed in the Easter suicide bombings, and agreed with Sri Lanka's leaders to step up cooperation to combat terrorism.

Modi, on his first overseas tour since being reelected this spring, emphasized India's "neighborhood first" policy during weekend visits to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Before commencing official talks in Sri Lanka, Modi visited St.Read more on

India’s ruling party takes 303 of 542 seats in election win

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with leaders of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday following his thunderous victory in national elections.

Modi met with his outgoing Cabinet ministers and later presented his resignation along with theirs to President Ram Nath Kovind.Read more on

India’s ruling party claims win with assured lead in votes

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party claimed it had won reelection with a commanding lead in Thursday's vote count, while the stock market soared in anticipation of another five-year term for the pro-business Hindu nationalist leader.

Election Commission data by midafternoon showed the Bharatiya Janata Party leading in contests for 299 out of 542 seats in the lower house of Parliament, with its main rival, the Indian National Congress, ahead in 50 contests.

The data didn't indicate what percentage of the estimated 600 million votes cast over the six-week election had been counted.Read more on

Are You Making the Most of Mobile Payments?

At this point, most of us have a smartphone in our pocket. In fact, you may even be reading this on your smartphone right now.
According to a consumer survey conducted by PYMNTS, smartphone penetration currently stands at 77% of all adults in the US. Of those, roughly 43.5% use an Apple device, while 52% are Android aficionados. But, while smartphone ownership is ubiquitous, smartphone-enabled payments have been much slower to catch on.
Apple’s mobile wallet tool, Apple Pay, debuted back in 2014. Now, five years later, only one in three iPhone owners here in the US have yet tried out the app. That’s just 13% of American smartphone owners as a whole.
Although mobile payments tech didn’t spread like wildfire here as they did in other markets like China, adoption is slowly catching on. The survey mentioned above also noted that 7% of all iPhone owners used Apple Pay to conduct the last transaction they made. This suggesting that a large portion of iPhone owners who eventually give the app a try will end up converting into regular users.
Although we’re still early in the consumer adoption process, it’s just a matter of time before consumers pick up mobile payments en masse. There’s a few why it’s in your interest to expand your payments options and get on the mobile payments bandwagon now.
Mobile Payments Present Opportunities to Engage Buyers
Mobile payments offer numerous benefits for your business. For example, this technology is a great way to cater to customers’ desire for convenience. In turn, you see boosts to you conversion and retention, making shopping cart abandonment less likely.
In a recent study, 42% of online shoppers said the variety of payment options available at checkout will influence their decision when deciding where to shop digitally. Plus, while the number of mobile payments devotees is still relatively small here in the US, accepting mobile platforms can broaden your appeal to international buyers.
Take China, for example. The country is a global epicenter of online retail, with a market valued at nearly $2 trillion in 2019. And, as mentioned before, Chinese consumers are big on mobile payments. eMarketer projects the number of mobile payments users in China will hit 577.4 million by the end of 2019. Many Chinese consumers don’t bother with payment cards at all, opting for platforms like WeChat Pay and Alipay instead.
A similar trend is underway in India, as well as other hot, fast-growing markets like Vietnam and The Philippines. If you can cater to consumer preferences in these various markets, you possess a clear advantage over other international sellers.
Not only that, but there are opportunities for potential integration with your existing or future loyalty program. Kohl’s, for example, integrated their program with Apple Pay, allowing customers to pay with their mobile device and rack up points at the same time. Other outlets like drugstores, restaurants, and even Coke vending machines, took similar steps.
Of course, this requires working through your processor, acquirer, and other service providers to make possible. But, some vendors are actually taking the first step there, recognizing mobile pay integration as a great way to add value to their services.
Most Important: Security
Appealing to customer convenience and opening to new markets are great reasons to embrace mobile payments. If there’s one key advantage to mobile wallets, though, it’s the security factor. In fact, it’s somewhat ironic that 43% of consumers believe mobile wallets are not secure. By any objective marker, these apps are far more secure than any other mainstream payment method.
First, mobile wallets like Apple Pay employ the same tokenization technology as an EMV chip-enabled card. As opposed to magnetic stripe cards in brick-and-mortar stores, or conventional card-not-present transactions online, a mobile wallet app doesn’t transfer any actual cardholder data. Instead, the app exchanges a token, which works like a placeholder for sensitive or valuable data. This gives bad actors much less opportunity to intercept and steal payment information.
Even more impressive is the mobile payment app’s reliance on two-factor authentication. This isn’t inherent to the app. But, in most cases, it’s a practical reality of using a mobile wallet.
Before authorizing a transaction, the customer will first need to unlock the device. This is usually achieved with either a passcode or a biometric scan like a fingerprint. Then, to authorize the payment itself, users must again verify their identities with a biometric scan. Compare that to a standard card-not-present transaction, in which the buyer simply enters their card information. Sure, tools like AVS or CVV verification can help pick our fraudsters, but some attacks will inevitably sneak through even the best antifraud defenses.
The combination of different verification techniques offered by mobile wallet technology translates to much greater payments security than any other method currently in wide use.
More in Store?
The future will bring additional opportunities for those who embrace mobile payments early-on. For example, integration with the recently-announced Apple Card could be a first step toward a revolution in payments.
For now, though, both businesses and consumers will enjoy substantial benefits from mobile payments adoption.

Pooja Mor on Modeling Life, New York, and What Keeps Her Grounded

Fashion modeling, as one might imagine, is not for the fainthearted. It is a world where one has to walk the line between open self-expression and mystery, between being a blank canvas and the total embodiment of a brand’s look, and above all else, being fearless with just the right amount of vulnerability.
If one had to create such a creature, it would sound like a tall order. Yet New York-based Indian model Pooja Mor is all that and quite a lot more.
After being scouted—via Instagram—by the folks over at Louis Vuitton, many other major brands followed. She’s walked and posed for Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Tory Burch, Narciso Rodriguez, Roberto Cavalli, Missoni, Jill Stuart, and Elie Saab. She was not just catapulted to runways and magazine covers, but as a figure of diversity for fashion fans.
If you can really live every second, you will really feel the beauty of life on a much deeper level. Follow your destiny and be grounded in yourself.— Pooja Mor

Soft-spoken, humble, and wise, Mor recounted the quirky twist of fate that thrust her into the limelight and launched her career in a conversation with this Epoch Times reporter in Chelsea, Manhattan.
Fashion model Pooja Mor meditates in Central Park on April 19, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
An Unplanned Miss Ahmedabad
In college, where Mor studied computer engineering, she got involved with a modeling hunt in the city of Ahmedabad called Fresh Face—as an organizer.
But as the crowd became increasingly rowdy, cheering for the contestants, she stepped on stage to curb their enthusiasm so that the event could continue smoothly.
Instead of heeding her request, the venue resounded to the name of Pooja!
It turns out her friend had submitted her name as one of the contestants as a joke.
The judges asked her to showcase her talents and, on the spur of the moment, Mor decided to simply walk, stopping at the end of the stage to do a turn and some “funny” poses.
To cut a long story short, to Mor’s great surprise, she turned out to be the “fresh face” they were looking for and won the contest.
Her first modeling stints, during Fashion Week in Delhi and then in Mumbai, gave her a taste of things to come, although she didn’t foresee that her next job would land her in Bob Hope’s futuristic house in Palm Springs where she modeled the Louis Vuitton Resort collection just last May.
It has been exactly one year since Mor decided to call New York home—or at least, a home away from home. Yet dressed in skinny jeans, a black leather jacket, and comfy lace-up boots, she looks the part of a New Yorker, except that she wears no make up.
“New York is the easiest city to live in because everybody is from everywhere and there’s a common language as well. And there are so many options for everything,” she said, speaking softly.
Fashion model Pooja Mor in Central Park on April 19, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
A day off means going to see Bollywood movies with friends, cooking and eating Indian food, trips to the library, walking in Central Park, and going to Brooklyn to relax and explore outside Manhattan.
She returns to India to de-stress from the crescendo of engagements that culminate around fashion weeks, then comes back again to the energy hub that is New York.
Mor credits her seamless adjustment to the high pressure world of fashion to always maintaining a positive attitude—the rest “flows from that,” she said, including her “runway face.”
“You need to have a lot of confidence to walk in front of so many people and they’re looking at every single inch of you,” she said, punctuating every word. “Even if it’s for 30 seconds, you really feel it. I have good thoughts.”
What also helps is the fact that Mor studied Indian classical dance in the Kathak (storytelling) style from the time she was a child, performing onstage in full costume and makeup.
“People notice that I move differently. I think dancing helped me a lot,” she said.
Mor discussed her career, her advice to models who are starting out, and some philosophies that keep her grounded on a daily basis. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Fashion model Pooja Mor in Central Park on April 19, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Quick Q&A
Epoch Times: What keeps you grounded?
Ms. Mor: I started Falun Dafa two years ago. I always keep some time for myself [in the morning], doing Dafa exercises (meditation) and then Pilates. That time is my time that connects me to myself—to look within. Being born Indian I always did meditation—yoga and meditation, you just do since you’re a kid. My family is so spiritual. That makes me look at life differently.
Epoch Times: Role models?
Ms. Mor: Blake Lively. When I was in India I was inspired when I saw her Gucci campaign, but I also like her style, and the way she carries herself is very beautiful.
Epoch Times: Have you ever been surprised by the way you are captured in a photo?
Ms. Mor: It’s always so amazing to create something so different from what you are, and also to still have the connection of yourself to that.
Epoch Times: What is your beauty routine?
Ms. Mor: I don’t use soap on my face, I just rinse with water and I use coconut oil—it’s great for your skin, andhair as well.
Epoch Times: If you were to be involved with the beauty industry, what kind of products would you be involved with?
Ms. Mor: Ideally, [products for] hair, and any natural, organic skin care. And makeup is amazing—it can give you so many ideas; you can create so much.
Epoch Times: What would you do if modeling didn’t work out?
Ms. Mor: I would continue with my studies but I’m still looking to find out what I’d like to do my post-gradate studies in. I was preparing to do my MBA [Master of Business Administration] after completing my computer engineering degree, but then I started modeling.
Epoch Times: Favorite place to travel apart from your home town in Gujarat?
Ms. Mor: Paris, I love the city. The first time I went there, I felt like I was walking in a dream. I was really touched, by the architecture. Now I’m used to it, but I still remember the first time; I just walked along the river and the whole city looked so much like a dream.
Epoch Times: If you could time travel, which period would you go to?
Fashion model Pooja Mor in Central Park, New York, on April 19, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Ms. Mor: I can answer it but I will answer it according to Indian culture. I would like to go to the time of Satiyug [Satya Yuga]. It is the time when humans were just born, and it was the first period of time. So [in Indian culture] the periods are divided in four Yugas (ages): Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and the last one, Kali Yuga, which is now.
Epoch Times: Why Satiyug?
Ms. Mor: Because I always heard about it in stories. At that time, the culture was so deep. [It was a time when] human and gods were very close, and you could talk to any god you want. People didn’t have much pain or suffering. They used to go to the goddess of color to get more colors. There are many TV series about these stories. And you can also read them in the scriptures.
Epoch Times: What do you hope to communicate to the world through your work?
Ms. Mor What I’ve seen here, is how people are always stressed about what is going to happen. I think if you can just let go of that, and just follow your path, it’s easier. So if you can really live every second, you will really feel the beauty of life on a much deeper level. Follow your destiny and be grounded in yourself.
Epoch Times: What about some of the decisions that models are sometimes asked to make?
Ms. Mor: The most important thing is that you should know what you want to do, and you should also know what you don’t want to do. You make your own decision. Sometimes girls do things under pressure, trying to launch their careers. But if you have the talent, your career is going to go well, any which way. Turning down one thing will not stop you from doing a thousand other things.
Fashion model Pooja Mor in Central Park on April 19, 2016. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

APTOPIX India Hindu Festival

Devotees carry an idol of elephant headed Hindu god Ganesha from a workshop to a worship venue ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Sept.Read more on

India Hindu Festival

Devotees cover an idol of elephant headed Hindu god Ganesha with a plastic sheet at a workshop before shifting the same to a worship venue ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Sept.Read more on