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BTS to take time out for military service

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The world’s biggest boy band BTS will be abandoning their fandom “army” to join the South Korean military for national service, their agents say.

The confirmation ends years of debate over whether the K-pop stars might be exempted from military duties.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men aged 18-28 must serve about two years.

The seven BTS members had been allowed to put off starting their military service until they turned 30. The oldest, Jin, is currently 29.

He will begin preparations next month, the band’s management revealed on Monday. All seven members of the group – the youngest of whom is 24 – also plan on following through with their service, it said.

South Korea retains compulsory military service mainly because the country is still technically at war with its nuclear-armed neighbour, North Korea.

The band had previously won a deferral – when in 2020, South Korea’s parliament passed a bill allowing the biggest K-pop stars to delay their duties until the age of 30.

The announcement by BTS comes just months after the band announced they would be taking a break, with some members pursuing individual projects.

The K-pop group have been the world’s best-selling artists for the past two years – known for catchy, upbeat hits like Dynamite and Butter. They’ve also been praised for their advocacy on young people’s mental health.

Viewed by many South Koreans as national treasures – some lawmakers had suggested the band could be granted an exemption so they could keep performing. Such exemptions have been given to Olympic medallists and other high-achieving sports stars, classical musicians and dancers.

However, the statement from the band’s managers on Monday said the musicians were content to carry out their duties. Jin – who had originally applied for his service start date to be delayed – had cancelled that request, their agency said.

The announcement suggests the band would probably not get back together for at least a couple of years.

“Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment,” said their management company in a statement.

South Korea’s defence minister, in discussing the band’s prospects in August, had suggested the group could still perform while being enlisted.

“There would be a way to give them a chance to practice and perform together,” said Lee Jong-sup.

(BBC News)

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Popular Indian singer Pankaj Udhas no more

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Popular ghazal and playback singer – Pankaj Udhas has passed away aged 72. 

The Udhas family confirmed his death on Monday was due to a prolonged illness.

Taking to Instagram, Pankaj Udhas’ daughter Nayaab shared a statement on Instagram which read, “With a heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padmashri Pankaj Udhas on 26th February 2024 due to a prolonged illness.”

He had passed away around 11am at the Breach Candy hospital, Indian media reports citing a family source.

 His last rites will be held on Tuesday. 

Pankaj is survived by wife Farida Udhas, daughters Nayaab and Reva Udhas, and brothers Nirmal and Manhar Udhas, who are also singers.

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Laugfs Gas prices to remain unchanged too

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LAUGFS Gas PLC has also decided not to revise the prices of domestic LP gas cylinders for the month of February 2024.

Accordingly, the current prices are as follows:
12.5kg cylinder – Rs. 4,740 
5kg cylinder – Rs. 1,900

The announcement comes hours after Litro Gas Lanka stating that they will not revise gas prices this month.

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Actress Poonam Pandey passes away

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Actress and model Poonam Pandey has passed away last night (Feb. 01) due to cervical cancer at the age of 32, according to her team who posted the news of her death on her Instagram handle.

Poonam made her feature film debut with Nasha, an erotic drama that was released in 2013. She made cameo appearances in films such as Love Is Poison (Kannada) and Aa Gaya Hero (Hindi). The actress also headlined the Telugu movie Malini & Co and The Journey of Karma.

She was also part of the television reality competition series Lock Upp.

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