AMU Professor Awarded ‘Vigyan Gaurav Samman’
Prof. Kabiruddin, Department of Chemistry, Aligarh Muslim University has been conferred the prestigious "Vigyan Gaurav Samman" (2008-2009) by the Council of Science and Technology, Government of U.P. The award was given for his outstanding contributions to scientific research and learning.
The award was presented by the Minister of Science and Technology, Government of UP at an impressive function "Vigyan Samaroh" held at Lucknow. It carries a cash prize of Rs. 1, 00,000/-, a memento and a citation.
Prof. Kabiruddin has authored more than 250 research papers, supervised 26 Ph.D., 09 M.Phil., attended about 100 national/international conferences and is a member of several scientific societies. He has completed a number of research projects sponsored by UGC-DAE, CSIR and UP CST. He is also the recipient of Suresh C. Ameta Medal of the Indian Chemical Society.¬
South Americans Held In Bangalore For Stealing
As many as four South Americans were arrested by the Bangalore unit of Central Crime Branch (CCB) on March 30th in a theft case.
The arrested persons have been identified as Pedro Alejandro Maira Rodriguez (30) from Venezuela, Maira Alejandra Aranago Giraldo (22) of Barrio Villa, Pereira, Columbia, Elensilson Amilcar Pocasangre Ruano (34) of Los Rosales, San Salvador, and Luis Alberto Giraldo Lopez (25) from Bogota, Columbia.
According to the reports, the sleuths recovered intact eight kilograms of gold and one kg silver, in all valued at around Rs 1.25 crore, stolen from a Residency Road hotel room on March 22.
The complainants, executives of a gold jewellery firm from Jaipur were so delighted that they gave a reward of Rs five lakh to the investigating team.
It is reported that the gang members met in Malaysia a few months ago. Pedro, himself a designer has wide knowledge of jewellery designs. He and Maira have been together for the past few months. Elensilson and Luis also joined Pedro and decided to visit India to make some fast bucks.
No Mandir Existed In Ayodhya Before 19th Century: Prof Harbans Mukhiya
The famous historian and former professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Harbans Mukhiya has said that there was no Mandir in Ayodhya at all and that Muslims did not use force to convert Indians to Islam.
Speaking on “Reasons behind spread of Islam in India” in Raza Library in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh he said, “as a historian I want to say that there was no Mandir in Ayodhya at all. Before 19th century there was not even imagination about the Mandir there but only after that it was propagated.”
He added, “No historian has written that Mughal emperors used the means of conversion for extension of their government. It is totally baseless that they brought down thousands of Mandirs and forced people to accept Islam.”
Mr Mukhiya said that there was not any established proof behind the claim that Mughal rulers demolished three thousand or sixty thousand Mandirs. “In fact, Some Mandirs were demolished but the reasons were different and not to impose Islam on people. If Mughal emperors demolished Mandirs and forced people to accept Islam then why there were only 15% Muslims in India despite they ruled the country for over eight centuries while their number increased during the period of British rule?” he asked.
He further said that Islam spread in India because of several reasons with the passage of time. “Islamic teachings of brotherhood, communal harmony, tolerance and kindness are some factors that attract people to embrace Islam and Sufiya’s behaviour and teachings also worked in this regard. If Muslim used swords to spread Islam then history never missed to mention that but history of Mughal period is silent on this issue” he added.
Rajasthan Police Accused Of Selling Corpses
Allegations have been made against the Rajasthan police of ‘selling’ the unclaimed bodies to the private medical colleges.
Rajasthan government admitted on March 30th that 15 such bodies were given to private medical colleges and hospitals without following proper legal procedure in Sriganganagar, about 600 km from Jaipur. However it maintained that there was no evidence of ‘selling’ of the bodies.
As per the media reports, the admission of Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal in the Assembly has come in the wake of a BJP member Om Birla raising the issue following allegations by a Sriganganagar based jeweller Rajkumar Soni that the body of his 19-year-old son Rahul, was sold to a medical college by police.
The irregularities in disposal of unclaimed bodies by the police came in the light after Soni filed a Right to Information query. His son was found injured in a park in Sriganganagar town on May 25 last year and he died in a hospital the next day. Soni claimed police treated him as an unidentified deceased and sold the body to a private medical college soon after post-mortem without trying to trace his relatives.
According to the information availed from the RTI application, the police from 2005 to 2009 gave 29 bodies to two private medical institutions including those dealing with Ayurveda and Homeopathy, in violation of the Rajasthan Anatomy Act.
Soni said under the Act advertisements have to be given by police to search for relatives of unidentified bodies and could be given to government medical college only after no one claims them.
Meanwhile seven police personnel, including four inspectors, were chargesheeted in this connection. Six others, including five Assistant Sub inspectors and one head constable, were removed from duty and sent to police lines. They have also been served a show-cause notice.
N. America To Launch First Islamic MasterCard Soon
A Canadian Islamic financial institution is launching Canada’s first “halal-approved” credit card this month (April) and will also offer it to US Muslims by year end, its president told news agencies.
The iFreedom Plus MasterCard meets the requirements of Sharia law, which prohibits usury, by being prepaid and therefore interest-free, said Omar Kalair, president of Toronto-based UM Financial.
“Trade is allowed, but usury is not,” he explained. A similar card is already available in Britain, but nowhere else in the West, he said.
Until now, devout Muslims in Canada have either had to do without credit cards or paid off the balance each month to avoid interest charges that go against their faith.
Three Islamic finance experts said in a statement the card “complies with Islamic Laws and Muslims can avail of this product.”
Of course, non-Muslims may want one too, Kalair said.
Benefits include no monthly fee, no transaction fees and discounts on flights with Etihad Airways, which flies from Toronto to Abu Dhabi.
According to a 2001 census, there are 580,000 Muslims living in Canada. Kalair estimates the number is now one million. (Agencies)
IKEA lights For 40,000 Girl Students In UP
Now the shortage of electricity will not hamper the study of 40,000 girls studying in 454 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas in Uttar Pradesh as a Swedish company, Ikea-one of the world’s largest furniture retailers, has decided to provide them with solar-powered lamps through UNICEF.
The first lot of 100 bright, attractive lamps has even been given to students in KGBV at Mal, about 45 km from Lucknow, said the media reports.
Since most of the KGBV schools are in rural areas, the power supply there is bad. The KGBV are residential schools, run under the Centre’s scheme to provide education up to Class VIII — mainly to girls from SC, ST, OBC and minority communities. However, 25 per cent of the students belong to families below the poverty line.
The students are happy to have the lamps as now they do not need light candles or use kerosene lamps when there is no electricity. “We had to discontinue our studies whenever the electricity went off, which is very often. Now, there is no such problem,” said Shabnam Bharti, a Class VI student.
The solar lamps can provide light for around four hours. These require charging for 9 to12 hours in sunlight and over 12 hours on a cloudy day. As the lamps use Light Emitting Diode, the consumption of energy is 70 per cent less. The flexible body of the lamp can be adjusted according to the requirement.
“The initiative will ensure a brighter future for girl students. Children in rural areas of the state do not have access to regular supply of electricity. With this donation, the children will now be able to study at night and have a normal childhood like others,” Angela Walker, Chief Communication Specialist of UNICEF India, has been quoted as saying.
German Troops Kill Five NATO Forces
German troops in northern Afghanistan have killed five Afghan soldiers driving in two civilian cars which did not heed warnings to stop.
The NATO forces were reportedly en route to the scene of a clash with Taliban that left three German soldiers dead.
The two unmarked civilian cars involved are thought to have been an Afghan National Army patrol en route to Kunduz city where the clash had taken place, said NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) while regretting the friendly fire incident.
Germany has the third-largest foreign contingent in Afghanistan. However its participation in Afghanistan has been deeply unpopular with the German public The German parliament voted in February to increase the contingent by up to 850 troops to a total of 5,350.
Dozens of Afghan civilians died last September in Kunduz when German commanders called in a NATO air strike on two hijacked fuel trucks, sparking a political furore in Berlin which continues.
Bedtime Stories Improve Child’s Literacy?
The experts say that reading out a bedtime story to children for 20 minutes may improve their literacy by at least 10 school days a year.
“Read for just even 20 minutes (every night) and it makes all the difference in literacy’s goals,” Laura Numeroff, a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of children’s books, was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
She said that her parents would read out stories to her and she took keen interest in it. “When I was about nine years old, I was so excited about reading other people’s stories, and I wanted to write on my own. Here I am, doing it for a living.” “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” was a huge hit in the US which prompted Numeroff to expand the book to an entire “If you give” series to include a mouse, a cat and a pig.
The author, however, admitted that making children excited about reading even as they are surrounded by high-tech gadgets is itself quite a mission.
Mona Thomas, a mother who reads daily story to her children said reading not only enhances the vocabulary and knowledge of the children but also makes them think.
“I constantly stop reading stories and ask: do you know what that means, or ask what do you think is going to happen next, why do you think the character did this, how do you think about their feelings? We talk about feelings, vocabulary; so I really use stories to cover a broad range of information,” Thomas said.
Smoking Cause Also Lower IQ
This Smoking has long been known to damage lungs and cause heart disease but it could also lower IQ, a research has found.
“The heavier the smoker, the lower the IQ” says a reports published in dailymail.co.uk.
The results come from a study of 20,000 young men conducted by the Sheba Medical Center at the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel. According to the study, those who smoked more than a pack a day had particularly low IQs of around 90. An average intelligence IQ score ranges from 84 to 116 points.
A typical 18 to 21-yearold smoker was found to have an IQ of 94, while non-smokers of the same age averaged 101.
Crucially, brothers scored differently depending on whether or not they smoked. Despite similar environmental conditions, non-smoking siblings achieved higher IQs than their smoking brothers.
Mark Weiser, who led the research, said it is unclear whether smoking causes IQ levels to drop or whether less intelligent people are simply more inclined to smoke.
Woman Alleges PGI Doctor Molested Her
A resident doctor in PGI’s Nehru Hospital has been accused to have molested a middle-aged woman in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
In her complaint a woman has said that the doctor molested her while explaining how a medicine should be given to her husband, admitted in the ICU for the last few days.
Subsequently, a formal complaint was submitted to the head of the department of anaesthesia, and PGI director Prof K K Talwar. The ICU falls under the department of anaesthesia.
In an earlier incident of molestation in the hospital, an operation theatre assistant was accused of molesting an 18-year-old unconscious girl admitted in the ICU. The incident took place in March 2001.
Subsequently, PGI was criticised for its handling of the matter, which was not reported to the police. The hospital had preferred to rely on an internal inquiry. Later, the erring employee was merely transferred to another department.
Woman shot for 'poor Easter dress sense'
Media reports say that a woman shot her cousin dead during an argument that started because one
woman didn't think the other was dressed properly for Easter dinner.
Danielle Pickens, 19, showed up in a night at the home of Evelyn Burgess wearing a T-shirt and denim shorts.
Ms Burgess, 42, reportedly told the police that she thought the outfit was inappropriate and disrespectful.
In the ensuing fight between the two women, Pickens walked outside to leave and Ms Burgess shot her in the head with a handgun. However, Ms Burgess said that she did not mean to shoot Pickens dead.
Pope Benedict XVI Silent On Sex Abuse Scandal
Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged that the Roman Catholic Church is in "times of difficulty" but avoided direct comment on sex abuse.
Large-scale paedophile scandals have rocked the churches of Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, the US and the Pope's native Germany in recent weeks. The Vatican has adopted a strategy of blaming the media for playing up the revelations, accusing them of trying to smear Benedict.
“Priests, ministers of Christ, have a special responsibility", said the Pope, appearing calm and smiling, adding they should be "messengers of victory over evil and death,” said Pope in an Easter Monday prayer about priests' special responsibility to society.
But the Pope again stayed silent on the abuse scandal, which has reached him with claims he helped shield predator priests when he was head of the Vatican's moral watchdog and as archbishop of Munich.
Benedict has faced criticism over claims that as Cardinal, he failed to take action despite being alerted twice by the archbishop of Wisconsin to claims that priest Lawrence Murphy had abused 200 deaf children.
Ahmadinejad Threatens Obama Of ‘Tooth-breaking Response’
Reacting tough to the recently disclosed nuclear policy of the United States Iranian President Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned its counterpart of a ‘tooth-breaking” response.
In a policy shift, the United States on April 6th unveiled new limits on the nation’s nuclear arsenal saying it would only use atomic weapons in “extreme circumstances” and would not attack non-nuclear states.
The U.S. for the first time said that countries without atomic weapons that complied with non-proliferation treaty obligations need not fear a US nuclear attack. But Obama warned exceptions could be made for “outliers” such as Iran and North Korea, both accused by the West of flouting UN resolutions.
“I hope these published comments are not true... he (Obama) has threatened with nuclear and chemical weapons those nations which do not submit to the greed of the United States,” Ahmadinejad said in speech broadcast live on state television.
“Be careful. If you set step in Mr. (George W.) Bush’s path, the nations’ response would be the same tooth-breaking one as they gave Bush,” Iranian President is quoted as having said.
Women Trying To Smuggle Corpse Arrested
Two women who allegedly tried to smuggle a dead relative on to a flight out of England have been arrested at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
The suspects pushed the 91-year-old man in a wheelchair and covered his face with sunglasses during a bid to board him on their flight to Berlin, sources said.
When asked by the Airport officials the women, 41 and 66, said that he was merely asleep.
It is believed the pair had somehow managed to ferry the corpse in a taxi from their home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, to the terminal.
But the alleged attempt to smuggle the body to Germany was foiled after airport staff started asking questions.
Leaked Video Shows US Air Crew Shooting Journalist
A Web site WikiLeaks.org has shown a secret video which features a US Apache helicopter crew shooting and killing a Reuters photographer and driver in a July 2007 attack in Baghdad.
WikiLeaks says that it acquired the black-and-white aerial video from whistleblowers in the military and viewed it after breaking the encryption code.
It shows conversation between the pilots in two Apache helicopters as they open fire on people on a street in Baghdad which resulted into the death of 12 people including the Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and the driver Saeed Chmagh, 40.
On the day of the attack, US military officials said that the helicopters were called in to help American troops who had been exposed to small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades in a raid.
But the video does not show hostile action. Instead, it begins with a group of people milling around on a street, among them, according to WikiLeaks, Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh.
Both Eldeen and Chmagh were mistaken to be insurgents and Eldeen’s camera was mistaken for a weapon.
David Schlesinger, the editor in chief of Reuters, said in a statement that the video was "graphic evidence of the dangers involved in wartime journalism and the tragedies that can result."
They Burnt Their Houses To Evade Demolition Drive
In fear of becoming homeless the slum dwellers alongside the Tibba Road in Ludhiana set their huts on fire as the demolition team arrived to remove their hutments.
As per the media reports, on March 30 when a team led by assistant town planner Kamaljeet Kaur, went to demolish the hutments which had come up on two acres of civic body land the dwellers removed their goods from the houses and then two of them allegedly set a straw hut on fire, which soon engulfed the entire area.
The team had to make a quick escape along with the machinery and the fire brigade was called.
The police arrested and registered an FIR against Liyakat Ali and Abdullah on the complaint of Baljit Singh, inspector of the Building Branch.
ATP Kamaljeet Kaur said, “Though most of the slum dwellers were resisting the drive, the two accused were creating a lot of nuisance. It was a narrow escape for us and the fire brigade reached in time.”
More Hindus Than Muslims Have Two Wives
The Shoaib-Ayesha-Sania drama, played out live on TV for days, has enhanced the image of Ayesha and her family. The same cannot be said of the former Pakistan captain who sold himself short by denying his first marriage.
Indians and Pakistanis alike can now heave a sigh of relief that the controversy is settled. But the entire saga offers important lessons. First, although Muslim Personal Law allows a man to take a second wife during the lifetime of the first, it cannot be a license to commit injustice. Under Islamic tenets, a man is allowed to take a second wife only if he is in a position to provide equal partnership and amenities to both.
However, if you were to carry out an honest survey across the country, you would find that more Hindu men than Muslims have more than one wife. In such cases, the second wife is neither recognized by society nor given the legal status of ‘wife’.
It’s interesting to note that throughout the controversy — and despite Sania’s wholehearted support for Shoaib — the Muslim community in particular and Indian society at large was solidly behind Ayesha, who was seen as the victim in the whole saga.
Perhaps that’s why Shoaib did not succeed in his attempt to cover up his first marriage.
Also, Ayesha’s acceptance of a divorce without preconditions sends out a strong signal to the Pakistani people — the people of India are forgiving if you make amends.
Karzai Aide Brands Ex-UN Envoy A ‘Liar’
The deputy spokesman of Hamid Karzai has called the former UN envoy to Afghanistan a ‘liar’.
His statement came after the ex-UN envoy Peter Galbraith questioned Karzai’s “mental stability” over the latter’s allegation that foreign forces were behind the fraud in last years’ presidential elections.
“He’s prone to tirades. He can be very emotional, act impulsively. In fact, some of the palace insiders say that he has a certain fondness for some of Afghanistan’s most profitable exports,” Galbraith told MSNBC television.
“This continued tirade raises questions about his mental stability and frankly this has been something that has been of concern to diplomats in Kabul,” he added.
Reacting harsh to his statement the deputy spokesman of Afghanistan leader Siamak Hirwi said, “Since he is a fraudster and a liar, so are his recent comments,” he told AFP. “One could take his recent comments as an example that everything he has said so far about Afghanistan and the Afghan election has been a pure lie.”
Galbraith was sacked from his post last year over how far to push the Afghan authorities on electoral fraud allegations in the August vote. EU observers reached similar conclusions that ballots were stuffed on a massive scale in favour of Karzai.
Karzai eventually acknowledged irregularities and was returned to power after his main challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew from a second-round contest.
India Will Overtake China's Growth Rate: Chidambaram
Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that he hoped India will overtake China’s growth rate in the next ten years.
"While the last decade was remarkable and exciting, this decade will be more exciting for India. There is more possibility that India could overtake China's growth rates," he said reportedly.
While the world’s sixth largest economy China has recorded an average nine per cent growth over the last two decades India has seen growth touch nine per cent and this too only in the three years till 2007-08. The global financial crisis ate into this progress and growth slipped to 6.7 per cent in 2008-09.
The Planning Commission, at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this month, scaled down India's growth target for the 11th five-year plan period (2007-12) to 8.1 per cent from the previously estimated nine per cent.
The minister's confidence also stems from the fact that Foreign Direct Investment inflows -- key to growth -- have been increasing rapidly, although they slowed during 2008-09 at the height of the financial crisis.
"We are young and will continue to grow...corporate India will continue to grow in the current decade. The young CEOs and executives must help to take India to the next level," he said.
Chidambaram said human resources will not be a burden for India in this decade--rather they will count as assets.
Islamic Banking Can Solve Vidarbha Crisis: M S Swaminathan
Though Islamic Banking is opposed because of it being associated with a religion it may come as a solution to financial problems especially of the poor.
Father of Indian green revolution, M S Swaminathan has said that Islamic Banking will be a solution to farmer suicide in Vidarbha as it propagates zero interest lending.
He said that exorbitant lending rates charged by money lenders in Vidarbha have created a vicious cycle of debt and suicide in the region and every now and then we come across the news of farmers committing suicide under the pressure of debt.
He was speaking at Karuna Award—an award given by Karuna International for outstanding work on ahimsa, love for ecology and vegetarianism—held in Chennai on April 5.
He recollected his childhood incident, when he was asked by his parents to donate his jewellery to Gandhiji, who auctioned those valuables to raise money for the cause of Harijans. “My father was a freedom fighter. And he taught me to give away the surplus for the cause of the downtrodden. I was asked to donate my bangle and chain at an auction by Gandhiji to raise money for Harijans”, he said.
Rajasthan Women lead A Better Life Owing To NREGA
Even though there are misappropriation of funds and nepotism as regards the fair implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), many families are benefitting from it.
Bhamori, a mother of eight is happy that she has a water tank constructed for free and also earned money for its construction in a village in Rajasthan where the largest beneficiary of the NREGA are women.
The scheme assures 100 days work in a year for a rural family. Now with a 60,000 litre water storage tank built in her home at Sribalaji village in arid Nagaur district, 150 km from Jodhpur, Bhamori says for the first time she could have peace of mind as earlier she had to trudge over five kilometres every day for two buckets of water for her family during the hot summer months.
Bhamori not only got the tank free but also earned working for by working for it under NREGA scheme. "I was also able to open my first savings account at the local post office," she said proudly.
As per the reports, over 67 per cent of total days of work generated by NREGA in Rajasthan were utilised by women with the government assuring a minimum of 33 per cent work for them.
Lakhs of women enrolled under NRGEA now can manage their square meal while staying at their home. "Earlier, they had to migrate to states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka to work in the fields and could save very little,” said Jethu Bhai, who runs an NGO in Pali district.
Rajasthan has earned a name for good implementation of NREGA schemes. Nevertheless, there have been also been complaints of misappropriation of funds and nepotism.
Israeli Shoot Dead Palestinian Teenager In Gaza
Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian teenager near the southern Gaza border town of Rafah on March 30, Palestinian medics said. Muawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza emergency services, said Mohammed Al Faramawi, 15, was shot dead close to Gaza’s defunct airport, without giving further details.
The Israeli military would not immediately comment on the report.
Gaza’s borders had been mostly quiet since a massive 22-day Israeli offensive against the territory’s Islamist Hamas rulers ended in January 2009.
But two Israeli soldiers and two Palestinians were killed last weekend in Gaza in the heaviest clashes since the end of the war, and several rockets have been fired by Palestinian militants in past weeks. (AFP)
Mass Suicide Attempt In Russian Jail
At least 10 prisoners cut their writs in a mass suicide attempt at a penal colony in Russia's southern Saratov region.
Their suicide attempts came after they were placed in solitary confinement over their collective refusal to go out on the daily walk in the quad of the penal colony in the Volga River city of Engels.
It is believed that jailers' actions were behind the mass suicide attempt. A statement by the prosecutors says, “In answer to the actions of the employees at the penal colony, the convicts who were in solitary confinement began cutting their veins.”
"As a result, 10 men were wounded," it added. "All the prisoners, who tried to end their lives by suicide, have been given special medical care."
An employee of the local prosecutors' office reportedly told that investigators had launched a probe into the conditions at the penal colony. "There were some problems.
Whether they are related to the suicides or not, I cannot yet say. Investigators have been sent to the site," the employee said on condition of anonymity.
Earlier, lawyer Sergei Magnitsky had died in pre-trial detention last year. His supporters say poor conditions and neglect led to his death.
The death of Magnitsky, who had been awaiting trial in a highly controversial financial case, put the spotlight on the fate of thousands of other inmates in Russia's overcrowded jails
However, President Dmitry Medvedev had vowed reforms in December, sacking 20 top officials in the penal system -- a largely Soviet legacy that houses the world's second largest prison population after the United States.
500 Went Missing In Last Two years In Chandigarh
As many as 500 people have disappeared in the last two years from Chandigarh. The figure may be even higher. More worrisome is that the number of missing people is increasingly growing, the police said.
As for this year, so far 75 people, including 21 children, have gone missing. In 2009, 203 people, many of them children, went missing; this figure for 2008 was 261 people, according to the data available with the Chandigarh Police.
Neither the police nor the families know about the whereabouts of missing people.
A resident of Gidderbha in Punjab, Raghav Wadhwa who studied law in Rayat College of Law went to drop his cousin to Sector 23 in his white Maruti Swift car on January 5 this year and is missing ever since.
“We have been trying our best to trace Raghav,” Jaswinder Singh, SHO of the Sector-17 police station, said. In Raghav’s case, an FIR of kidnapping was registered on February 2.
In almost all of these cases, their families are hopeful that the missing person will return some day.
“In many cases involving adult persons, they either elope or run away on their own. But even that needs investigation and that’s why FIRs of missing persons are duly registered,” UT Senior Superintendent of Police S S Srivastva said.
Srivastva added that missing children, especially below the age of 14, were an area of concern. “There are others who do not inform the police even after they are reunited with their families,” he said.
One Third Muslims Below Poverty Line: NCAER survey
In yet another evidence that Muslims are far backward economically, a National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) survey has found that nearly one third of Muslims survive on less than Rs 550 a month.
According to the survey, three out of every 10 Muslims were below poverty line and lived on less than Rs 550 a month in the year 2004-05.
The survey took the poverty line at Rs 356 per person per month in rural areas and at Rs 538 in urban areas for 2004-05. Even among the poor, urban Muslims were better off compared to those in villages, who survived on Rs 338 a month during the year under review.
This has come amid the ongoing debate on reservations for Muslims in jobs and educational institutions. Supreme Court, in an interim order, has upheld the validity of four per cent job and educational reservation provided to backward members of Muslim community in Andhra Pradesh.
However, in the country, Muslim households are slightly better off than Dalits and Adivasis as a whole.
The survey said Muslims are most likely to generate income from small family businesses, partly because of educational differences across the community. It said social group differences in enrolment are striking.
Gaza’s Sole Power Plant Shuts Down
The sole power plant in the besieged Gaza Strip was shut down on April 9 because fuel supplies ran out, with Palestinians and Israel blaming each other.
Notably, the industrial diesel needed to run the power plant — which supplies about 25 percent of Gaza’s energy — comes through an Israeli-controlled fuel terminal, with Israel setting import quotas.
Referring to the Israeli blockade of Gaza since its 2007 takeover by the Islamist Hamas movement assistant director of Gaza’s electricity authority Kanaan Obeid said, “The power plant shut down completely this morning as a result of a shortage of fuel caused by the Israeli siege.”
But Israel said the shut-down was caused by a rift over funding among the Palestinians, and that the Hamas rival, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, had stopped fuel purchases.
The imports have declined since November when the European Commission transferred responsibility for buying the fuel to the Palestinian Authority, after its aid program expired.
The Israeli army said the Palestinians had stopped buying fuel in recent days after Hamas failed to pay its share of the costs.
Israel supplies about 70 percent of Gaza’s power and Egypt provides five percent, with the remainder from the closed power plant.
Since March 3, the facility had been producing only 30 megawatts of electricity, or 38 percent of its full capacity.
This has led to blackouts of eight to 12 hours a day in parts of the impoverished territory, affecting the provision of essential services, including water supply, medical treatment and sewage disposal, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The power plant has had to shut down on several occasions in the past because of fuel shortages. (Agencies)
Opposition To Karnataka Cattle Preservation Bill Continue
Though the Karnataka assembly has passed the Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2010 on Friday, Mar 19, general public is not happy at all with it.
The bill introduces strict measures to ensure the slaughter and transporting of not only cows but also of buffaloes, calves and bulls among and in future may be whatever the word ‘cattle’ refers to.
Every kind of efforts from demonstrations to seminars are being made to compel the government withdraw the bill.
In such an attempt a counselling meeting was called jointly by Imarat-E-Shariah Karnataka, All India Milli Council Karnataka and Jamiat-Ul-Quraish Beef Merchants Association, Karnataka on March 25.
The participants argued that the formulation of such a law in other words will mean the imposition of Hindu law in a country that boasts of its multi-religious and multi-cultural society.
“Considering the holiness of cow in Hinduism the government intends to ban cow slaughter. But why does it not see the religions of non-Hindus? They permit their followers for consuming beef. If cow slaughter is banned other than Hindus will be compelled to abandon what their religions allow,” said Mufti Ashraf Ali Baqwi, Ameer-E-Shariat Karnataka.
“Indian Constitution sanctions everyone to do business in what they want. It will unconstitutional to stop someone from doing business in cattle,” said Zulfiqar Raza Noori.
The Imam of Jama Masjid Bangalore Maulana Riyaz-Ur-Rahman Rashadi said that we should adopt optimistic approach. “The bill is yet to be approved by the Council, Governor and President of India. And of course even after that we will have Indian Constitution,” said Rashadi who expressed apprehensions about the intention of the governor. “In the very Jama Masjid the governor (Hans Raj Bhardwaj) had promised that he will not let the bill be passed. But after some days he was reported by the newspaper to have urged the congress leaders help pass the bill.”
After this program, too, Dalits, Muslims, Christians and secular Hindus raised their voice against the bill in various programs and through staging rallies and demonstrations.
One In Five Men Hide Savings Account From Partner
According to an interesting survey, one in five men has a savings account, which is hidden from his partner.
The survey conducted by OnePoll for the Post Office in the week starting March 22 and which questioned 2,258 people online said that husbands and boyfriends keep the money a secret because they think their income is none of their partner's business or for safety in case the relationship does not work out.
"It comes as no surprise that more men have a savings account unknown to partners, and more men make major financial decisions without their partners," Times Online quoted Donna Dawson, a psychologist specialising in personality, behaviour and relationships, as saying.
The men in the study said that a covert account made them feel more independent and they were also able to spend money guilt free.
More than a fifth of male respondents said that they were concerned partners might not approve of their investments.
Only 7 per cent of men and women who held secret accounts said that the money had been set aside to buy a present for a partner.
One in six reported making significant financial decisions without consulting their partner.
Fifteen per cent said that they had taken out a secret credit card, while one in ten admitted to an undisclosed unsecured loan.
RSS Chief On Target Of Malegaon Blast Accused: Patil
In a startling revelation the Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said in the state assembly that his department had ample proof that the Malegaon blast accused made derogatory remarks against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, and hinted that they were planning his assassination.
This, he said, was revealed through an audio-cassette which ATS seized from a Malegaon blast accused. In the cassette, derogatory remarks have been made about the RSS chief.
The conversation also had a reference about the use of chemical poison to eliminate a person, which comes much later in the tape.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said they came to know about the plot from the media, adding that they also knew this report, which came out almost two years ago.
"We came to know about it from the media. Such reports came out two years ago when the investigating officers said that there was a plot," said Madhav reportedly.
Mohan Bhagwat has, however, refused to disclose information about the assassination plot against him.
Russian Anti-racism Judge Shot Dead
A Russian judge who had tried high-profile racist murder cases was shot dead on April 12, in the stairwell of his house.
"Unknown assailants shot the federal judge of the Moscow city court ... on the third-floor landing in the first entrance of building 24 on Strelbishchensky Street," the investigative committee reportedly said in a statement.
The Interfax news agency suggested links between the killing and neo-nationalists, quoting an unnamed law enforcement source.
According to local media, the 47-year-old judge had sentenced a group of ultra-nationalists from the Russian fascist group known as the "white wolves" to up to 23 years in jail in February.
The group, comprising mostly teenagers, were found guilty of a string of brutal murders against migrants from Central Asian countries, many of whom had been bludgeoned to death.
Sova, a non-governmental organisation that tracks racist violence in Russia, said Chuvashov faced threats against him on several radical websites.
His killing comes just over a year after the murder by right-wing radicals of a top lawyer who was also active in the fight against racism.
Deoband Welcomes Akhilesh Yadav With Photo Hoardings!
It was unexpected on the part of the biggest Islamic University of Asia, Darul Uloom Deoband (DUD) that political banners with photos be stuck on its walls and the gates.
DUD has always opposed drawing of pictures, except in immense need as for passports or IDs. The seminary has a considerable number of Muslim followers throughout the world, especially in the sub-continent.
But, to welcome the Uttar Pradesh president of Samajwadi Party Mr Akhilesh Yadav the gates and external walls of the University were adorned with party flags and his photo hoardings.
DUD is solely a religious institution and its involvement in politics is zero. Yadav who visited Deoband also denied that his visit was politically motivated. Earlier, SP national chief Mulayam Singh Yadav too had visited the institution and sought blessings from its rector Maulana Marghoob-Ur-Rahman.
Speaking on the occasion Akhilesh Yadav not only praised the academic contributions of Darul Uloom Deoband all over the world but also said that it played a key role in Independence. “Even now, the institution (DUD) is on the forefront to give patriotic lessons,” Yadav said.