Monday, October 4, 2010

Media Scan

MP Police Killed Kargil Hero for Medals

The Madhya Pradesh police killed a former army man who had fought in Kargil, allegedly in a fake encounter.

According to the wife Yasmin Khan, the block unit Congress chief in Bhind district of MP, her husband was killed “in cold blood by the Bhind police to get medals and promotions.”

Amjad, who was shot dead for being a “dacoit”, was in the Army for 10 years and had fought the 1999 Kargil war before becoming a social worker. He was an active Youth Congress leader of the district, she said.

A police team visited their home and told Khan's family that they (Amjad and three youths) were being taken for questioning in some case.

All four were killed in an encounter with police in the ravines of Bhind district on August 22. Police had claimed that they were “dacoits”.

Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi said that there was no criminal record against Amjad. In an attempt to get medals, the Bhind police hatched a conspiracy and killed the four persons, including Amjad.

CIA Runs Covert Afghan Arm In Pak

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is running a 3,000- strong covert army to hunt down key leaders of Taliban and al- Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reports say.

This disclosure has been made in a new book “Obama’s wars” by journalist Bob Woodward. The book also says that the heavily- armed irregular force manned entirely by Afghan personnel operates in small units called Counter- terrorism Pursuit Teams and is modelled after the US Special Forces. This was reportedly confirmed by the officials.

The brigade- sized force, officials said is “one of the best Afghan fighting force that has made major contribution to stability and security”.

‘New York Times’ said, “Firing missiles from unmanned drones patrolling over Pakistan's turbulent northwest tribal region at a rate that has outstripped the Bush administration's record is bad enough and now to have brigade size paramilitary units operating inside Pakistan marks a significant expansion of the covert war that the Obama administration has waged there.”

These forces, the paper said, conducted clandestine raids into Pakistan as part of stepped- up campaign against al- Qaeda and Afghan Taliban havens there. “The covert army captures and kills Taliban fighters and seeks support in Tribal areas,” the ' NT' reported and quoted Pentagon officials as saying that these Afghan units were closely working with American Green Berets to go after Taliban fighters.

Karnataka BJP Leader Arrested For Transporting Cows

How impractical the state government of Karnataka is was shown by its own. A BJP leader was arrested transporting cows to a slaughter house.

Since the initial stages when the amendment bill was not passed in the assembly nor was it approved by the council, the common public had been against the amendments which not only prohibit completely anything related to the business of cows and buffaloes but also gives undue authority to people to enforce this law, when there is every possibility of this authority being misused.

The bill is a direct attack on the food culture of people and their freedom to trade anything they want. Nevertheless, the BJP government is adamant on its stand neglecting the public opinion.

But to practice what you preach is not what politics is about. The BJP leader M. R. Hegde of Honavar taluk, 38 km away from Bhatkal, is in the animal husbandry business. He sells cattle for his living.

According to a Kannada daily report, around 40 volunteers of Hindu Jagran Vedike seized the truck of Hegde stuffed with 9 animals including one bull, one buffalo and other cows in Honavar taluk.

The members of the Vedike gheraoed the lorry, beat up the BJP leader and then handed them over to the police. Cases have been filed against the leader, the driver Raju Swami and one more person present on the lorry.

British Troops Accused Of Trafficking Opium

The British troops in Afghanistan have been accused of trafficking heroine from Afghanistan.

The Ministry of defence, called the allegation of the troops using military aircraft for the purpose “unsubstantiated”. However, the military police has initiated a probe with the inquiry focusing on service personnel at airports in Camp Bastion and Kandahar.

According to a BBC report, security has been tightened, with additional sniffer dogs being used as part of the crackdown at the bases.

A MoD spokeswoman said that they are aware of these allegations and are taking any such reports very seriously.

“We have already tightened our existing procedures both in Afghanistan and in the UK, including through increasing the use of trained sniffer dogs. Any of our people found to be engaged in trafficking of illegal narcotics will feel the full weight of the law,” the spokesman has been reported by to have said.

Afghanistan is the source of 90% of the world’s opium. The multimillion dollar trade in poppy production is used to fuel the insurgency. It allows the insurgents to purchase weapons with which they then attack the Afghan government and international forces, destabilising the region.

NIA to File Report On Kerala IPS Terror Suspected

A senior Kerala IPS officer is under National Investigation Agency (NIA) scanner for alleged terror links.

According to the reports, Inspector General of Police Tomin J. Thachankary has been questioned by the NIA thrice.

Thachankary, a 1987 batch IPS officer, is accused to be in association with certain people having terror links and it is said he met them during his visit to Qatar earlier this year. The charges however were denied by the officer.

A team of the probing agency is likely to visit Qatar to record statements of officials at the Indian Mission there. After this the agency will file its report.
The Centre had ordered full investigation after it received a report from its Qatar mission as well as from other security agencies about the alleged misconduct of Thachankary. When the Kerala government came to now in April that he had not taken permission for his trip to the Middle East it suspended him. The reports say that during the trip he had asked officials of the Indian embassy in Qatar about details of four people who have links with now arrested south Indian commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) T. Nasir. The charges, however, were denied by the IPS officer.

Thachankary was also suspended in July 2007 in the wake of a first information report (FIR) filed in a vigilance court, accusing him of amassing assets worth Rs.95 lakh between Jan 1, 2003 and March 31, 2005.

UN Inquiry Finds Israel’s Flotilla Raid ‘Wilful Killing’

A UN inquiry has found that Israel broke the international law by storming an aid flotilla bound for Gaza. It also said that killing of the activists on the flotilla was comparable to “summary executions”.

In May this year, Israeli military had raided a Gaza bound peaceful caravan of activists from different countries that was carrying aid for Gaza breaking the Israeli naval blockade of the city. The raid saw nice Turkish activists killed. It resulted into bitterness between Israel and Turkey.

The sharply critical report found that there was “clear evidence to support prosecutions” against Israel for “wilful killing” and torture committed in the raid.
Meanwhile, Israel has dismissed the conclusion as biased and against the Jewish state, but said it would review the report in greater detail.

Shane Dillon, who was arrested for being onboard another ship in the flotilla, said he hopes the conclusion could prompt nations worldwide to support humanitarian relief for Gaza.

“Hopefully, international governments and EU governments will take action and support the next flotilla that is due to leave in mid-November for Gaza with more aid,” Dillon said.

Israel maintains that its soldiers acted in self-defence. However, the report found that Israeli commandos’ response was disproportionate and “betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality”.

Poor Children Die as Governments Neglect Them

An extra four million of the world’s poorest children have died over 10 years because governments are “turning a blind eye” to those most in need, says a report by the leading charity ‘Save the Children’.

It is pathetic that children are dying at a rate of one every three seconds. In the report “A Fair Chance of Life” the organization held guilty some of the countries of neglecting the citizens with economically weak background while at the same time helping the richer communities.

Jasmine Whitbread, Save the Children International’s chief executive, said: “It is a disgrace that some countries are ‘ticking a box’ on child mortality without ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable children benefit equally.

“Nearly nine million children under the age of five die every year – many of them from easily preventable or treatable illnesses – just because they can’t get to a doctor or because their parents can’t afford food that is nutritious enough to keep them alive.”

She added that the governments must not be blind to the issue of equity, they must be held accountable for reducing child mortality across all groups in society, regardless of wealth or background.

At recently concluded Millennium Development Goal conference in New York the U.N. general secretary and other leaders resolved to spend $40 billion for different anti-poverty and women and children’s health goals. It is believed that this will enable the world of saving the lives of more than 16 million women and children, preventing 33 million unwanted pregnancies, protecting 120 millions of children from pneumonia and 88 million children from stunting, advancing the control of deadly diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, and ensuring access for women and children to quality facilities and skilled health workers.

Mullah Omar Tells Afghans the Taliban Are Winning

The spiritual leader of Afghanistani Taliban Mullah Omar said that the insurgents will soon recapture whole Afghanistan and has asked the American troops to avoid wasting more tax dollars and lives.

In an end-of-Ramadan message posted on jihadist websites and relayed by the Site Intelligence Group, the Taliban leader urged his fighters to adhere to his code of conduct and avoid harming civilians.

“The victory of our Islamic nation over the invading infidels is now imminent and the driving force behind this is the belief in the help of Allah and unity among ourselves,” reportedly said Mullah Omar adding, “In the time to come, we will try to establish an Islamic, independent, perfect and strong system. In remarks directed to the American people, Mullah Omar said the U.S. military has failed.

“You should know that your rulers have continuously told you lies since the beginning of the aggression on Afghanistan until this very day. They have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars of your tax money in the shape of financial expenditures and your manpower in Afghanistan and have still been wasting them,” he said.

“Therefore, they should abandon their headlong stubborn policy. Otherwise, the Americans will themselves face humiliation and disgrace before anyone else.” (Agencies)

Islamikaran On Work In India: RSS Chief

The RSS Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat has alleged that there is an organized effort of Islamikaran to end Hindus from India.

He was speaking to a meeting held in Gandhi Bhawan of Belgaum. The stated purpose of his visit to the city was to address a public gathering in Gurudev Ranade Mandir and to strengthen the unity of Hindus.

Bhagwat, however, made clear that the unity of Hindus has foiled the attempts of Islamikaran. “Hindus throughout India are lured through different means to change their religion. It endangers the unity of the country,” said Bhagwat adding that “Hindus must face this challenged unitedly.” It is a matter of great concern for the community that while Hindus convert to other religions the followers of other religion do not embrace Hinduism as their religion.

Sexual Abuse Continue Creating Trouble for Churches

The ghost of sexual abuse continues haunting the church. The past few months witnessed multiple incidents of sexual abuse committed by the religious leaders of Christianity outside India. But now it was the turn of Indian churches.

Kerala’s Syro-Malabar Church was rocked by the release of a controversial book which accuses its clergy of a range of misdemeanours and abuses.

The book titled “Here Is The Heart Of The Priest”, the autobiography of Shibu Kalaparamban, a former member of the Church’s Vincentian congregation alleges that Catholic priests and nuns have broken the vows of chastity and engaged in sexual sins including homosexuality, child abuse and illicit relations.

Kalaparamban, who was a priest for 13 years, reportedly said that “homosexuality and blue films have become part of religious life.

An official has responded by describing the book as “an all-out attempt to malign the Church.” “I have read the book and feel very sorry about what is written. It is unfortunate,” said Father Paul Thelakat, spokesperson for the Syro-Malabar Church.
A similar controversy broke out in Kerala in 2009, when the autobiography of former nun Jesme alleged a prevalence of sexual abuse and lesbianism in Catholic convents.
The internationally practiced act of sexual abuse remains to be a cause of concern. Recently, the Pope Benedict XVI who visited Britain apologized to the victims of the sexual abuse by priests. People, however, demand that instead of apology, practical steps must be taken to restore the faith of people in churches.

Beggar Found To Be Living In 5 Star hotel

Begging seems to be a lucrative business in the Gulf as the local police found out recently.

An Asian beggar who was recently arrested for begging was found to be residing in a five star hotel, Major Mohammad Rashid Al Muhairi, director of Tourist Security in the Dubai police said.

Without identifying or naming the Asian person arrested, Al Muhairi said the man had been deported earlier, but had returned seeing the high income, the illegal practice offered, “Khaleej Times” reported.

Al Muhairi said, as many as 360 people had been arrested in the city during Ramadan and Eid this year.

He said, most of the people arrested for begging were foreigners on visit visa with the majority of them being Asians followed by Arabs.

India Offers $ 20 Million More Aid To Pakistan

Days after Pakistan agreed to take the initial $5 million aid from India for flood victims, India increased the amount five times.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told that the $ 25 million assistance will be routed to Pakistan through United Nations.

Out of this amount, $ 20 million would be contributed to the “Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Plan” launched by the UN for the coordinator of humanitarian affairs while the balance of $ 5 million would be contributed to the World Food Programme for its relief efforts in Pakistan.

The Minister said that the decision to increase assistance to Pakistan has been taken after more concrete assessment emerged of the damage because of floods and the urgent needs of the people. He informed the House that Pakistan has conveyed its deep appreciation of India’s offer of assistance.

The recent floods in Pakistan have been described as the worst in that part of the world in the last 80 years. According to latest figures given by UN, 17.2 million people have been adversely affected by the floods and the death toll is more than 16 hundred. More than 1.2 million houses have also been damaged or destroyed and infrastructure, crops and livestock have also suffered damaged. All the four provinces in Pakistan and Pak Occupied Kashmir have suffered the consequences of floods.

I Need No Lessons about Cow Protection: Bhardwaj

Facing criticism over his stand over the controversial Karnataka animal preservation bill and in a rare instance of a constitutional authority the state governor Mr. H. R. Bhardwaj said that he does not need lessons from BJP about protecting the cows as he himself was a Brahmin.

The amendment bill passed in the assembly and the council when came to the governor for signing he forwarded it to the President Mrs. Pratibha Patil with signing. The signature of the governor is mandatory if the bill has to be made a law.
“I am a Brahmin. I need not learn from anybody about cow protection,” Bhardwaj said, slamming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers attacking him for not giving his assent to a bill banning cow slaughter.

Several ministers and state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa have been criticising Bhardwaj for not assenting to the bill and had organised a state-wide demonstration to press Patil for early nod to the legislation.

Daughter Of Terry Jones Calls Her Father Mad

The daughter of the pastor Terry Jones, the man who had announced to celebrate the 9/11 attack anniversary by burning copies of the Holy Qur’an said that her father had gone mad and needed help.

Although Jones could not fulfil his plan but merely the announcement was enough to create religious tension between the Christian and Muslims.

According to the reports, Emma Jones, 30, even emailed her father urging him to drop his plan but he did not reply back.

“My father is not one to give up,” said Emma. “As a daughter, I see the good-natured core inside him. But I think he needs help,” she said adding, “I think he has gone mad.”

Terry Jones, said his daughter, spent years in building a Christian community Germany. This community was Bible-oriented but later it was changed. Emma who left the community aged 17 said that his father preached and did things that she didn't find biblical at all. “He demanded total allegiance to himself and his second wife,” she said. His first wife, her mother, died in 1996.

Emma Jones said the community kicked out her father in 2008, when he returned to the United States. “I really hope he comes to his senses,” she said.

Woman Refused Entry in Mumbai Hospital For Not Removing Burqa

It came as a shame to the secular India when a woman in Mumbai was refused entry by a security guard from King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEM) located in Parel (Mumbai), for not removing her veil.

The incident coincided with the day the French Senate passed the bill to ban women from wearing the burqa in public spaces across the country.

The media reports read that Tanveer Fatima (47) was refused entry in KEM Hospital, as she had her face covered with a burqa. It all happened when Fatima along with her husband and another relative reached the hospital as her uncle was not well.

“We brought our uncle to the hospital, as he is ill. However, the moment I tried to enter, he stopped me and they asked me to show my face and my hair too. I am ready to show my face but showing my hair is too much. They said that it is compulsory because the image should reflect in the CCTV. They even told me to keep my face open inside the hospital,” reportedly said Fatima.

On the other hand, Vinay Girish Meshram, the security guard told reporters that they were ordered by their seniors to ask all to follow such instructions because of security reasons and were also given a circular, which they claimed was handed out by the Mumbai Police Commissioner's office. Being asked by the reporters to show the circular, the security guard refused. And when Bhoiwada police station was contacted to confirm the presence of such a circular the officials at the station were unaware of such a circular being passed.

Chappal Wearing Students Denied Entry In Rahul’s Programme

In what seemed to be a precaution that the young Indian leader Mr. Rahul Gandhi may be the next victim of shoe protestors, students of Panjabrao Krushi Vidyapeeth College (Maharashtra) who wore chappals were denied entry into the auditorium.Mr. Gandhi was to interact with them.

Authorities later however allowed entry of students wearing chappals but by that time a large of number of students had returned.

The print and electronic media were also not allowed entry into the auditorium. A brief TV footage showed security personnel collecting some sneakers and belts presumably of students who were asked to remove them.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah are among some prominent political leaders who became victims of shoe protests since the trend began when an Iraqi journalist hurled a shoe at US President George W Bush in Baghdad in December 2008.

During the interaction with around 400 students Rahul faced a volley of questions ranging from farmers suicides in Vidarbha to the need for a separate Union Budget for Agriculture like Railways. “The Government is providing more funds for Agriculture sector growth,” he said.

He also said that the Central and state governments were spending a lot on welfare schemes but benefits were not reaching to the last person. “There is a fault in the system and you (students) will have to rectify it,” he added.

Obama Says Islam Not The Enemy

The U.S. President Mr. Barrack Obama has said that Islam is not the enemy.
Speaking at the Pentagon on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of 9/11 terror attack Obama said. “As Americans, we will not and never will be at war with Islam. It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was al-Qaeda, a sorry band of men, which perverts religion.”

Mr. Obama urged Americans not to succumb to “hatred and prejudice,” and vowed: “Just as we condemn intolerance and extremism abroad, so will we stay true to our traditions here at home as a diverse and tolerant nation.”

Earlier, a Florida Pastor Terry Jones had announced to burn the copies of the Holy Qur’an to mark the anniversary of the terror attack that is associated with some Muslims.

It is said that Obama has been trying to bridge the gap between Americans and the Muslim community throughout the world due to the wrong policies of former U.S. president George W. Bush. His famous Cairo speech in which he wished good relations with the Muslim countries is considered a landmark in this regard.

Employees Can Take CCL Without Sacrificing Paid Leaves

There’s good news for women government employees. They can now avail 730 days of child care leave (CCL) despite having a bagful of earned leaves.
Earlier, mothers without earned leave could alone avail full 730 days of CCL during their entire tenure. This was leading to considerable anguish among women government servants.

The leave, which is treated like an earned leave, can be availed by women with children aged less than 18 years.

A memorandum issued in 2008 by the department of personnel under the prime minister had put the condition that CCL can be availed only if an employee has no earned leave left. The government had also clarified in the memorandum that the leave may not be granted in more than three spells in a calendar year and for less than 15 days at a time.

Such leave can be granted to a probationer in extreme situations, but only if the sanctioning authority is fully satisfied.

“These orders take effect from September 1, 2008. Earned leave, if any, availed by women employees before availing CCL subsequent to the issue of the [earlier memo] may be adjusted against CCL, if so requested by the employee,” the new memorandum says.

Girlfriend Can’t Be Prosecuted For Cruelty: SC

The Supreme Court has decided that a girlfriend, concubine or live- in-partner cannot be prosecuted for cruelty by an estranged wife. However, the husband and other family members can be made liable for the offence.

A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and A K Patnaik in a judgement said that under Section 498A, it is the husband and his other relatives who can be prosecuted but not the girl friend, live- in partner or concubine even if they are staying with him.
Under Section “498A, husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty, whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine,” ruled the court.

Israel Makes Gaza War Commander Military Chief

The next military chief of Israel, General Yoav Galant, is linked to the allegations of war crimes.

A former special forces commander and one time lumberjack Galant, 51, was confirmed by the government as the next Chief of Staff and will replace incumbent Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi in February.

As the Army’s commander for southern Israel, he oversaw the devastating December 2008-January 2009 offensive in the Gaza Strip in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

A U.N. probe said both Israel and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the 22-day campaign, which Israel launched in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.

After Major-General Galant was nominated last month, pending formal Cabinet approval, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem called for thorough scrutiny of his role in the Gaza campaign, codenamed “Operation Cast Lead”.

“Galant's suitability for the position must be considered in light of his responsibility for suspected violations of human rights during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, which he commanded,” B'Tselem said in a statement. The group said that investigations into the operation had focused on rank and file soldiers and that there was a need for an inquiry into the conduct of senior commanders. (Agencies)

Vijay Mallya’s Website Hacker Yet To Be Traced

Even though some of the media reports had said that the hacker of the M.P. Vijay Mallya’s website was based in Pakistan the reality remains that the investigating agencies are yet to trace the hacker group.

The case, which was forwarded to the Cubbon Park police, was later transferred to the cyber crime police due to lack of technical knowledge.

A senior investigating officer from the cyber crime police station said, “We haven’t yet received the log sheet regarding the website from Vijay Mallya or his associates. Unless we receive the log sheet, we cannot get the details on the service providers without which it is difficult to trace the IP address.

But for this, we could have traced the origination of the mail and arrested the accused within a period of 48 hours.”

The website, which was hacked into on Independence Day had an offensive message posted allegedly by a Pakistani hacker group.

In a similar incident, the chief minister had received an e-mail which threatened to kill him and his colleagues, on August 29. The mail which was signed as Jihad, Pakistan, was traced to a cyber cafe in Malleswaram.

The investigating officer added that such cases of hacking happen mostly in countries like Nigeria, Italy and Australia and was not common in Pakistan.

Dalits Forced To Migrate, Demand Justice

A fact-finding team, comprising women activists that visited Challakere village in Chitradurga district of Karnataka, to look into the alleged social boycott of Dalits in Budihalli village, has urged the Government to provide suitable rehabilitation package to the 35 affected families.

Notably, about 35 families of the Madiga (Dalit) community from Budihalli had migrated to Challakere village on August 18, 2010 mainly because of intense social boycott and continuing sexual exploitation of its women by landowners belonging to the Nayaka and Golla communities of Budihalli village.

This was stated in the fact-finding report that was released recently. Revenue Minister Karunakara Reddy had recently asked the families to return to the village, where they will be provided all the facilities by the Government. However, the villagers, said Geeta Menon from Stree Jagruti Samiti and one of the members of the committee, the families were not prepared to accept the Reddy’s offer.

Instead, the affected families demanded rehabilitation around Challakere, either through employment or through cultivable land.

Based on the demands of the members of the Madiga community the all-woman fact-finding team made several recommendations, which included stringent legal action against the perpetrators of sexual crimes against women, transfer of the deputy commissioner for not conducting an impartial inquiry and not providing any relief to the deprived community, to start gruel centres to prevent starvation, create sustainable livelihood for the community, constitution of an independent body comprising community members, women's organisations, Dalit bodies and human rights groups to ensure proper utilisation of funds, including Rs. 63 lakh sanctioned for the development of the community.

Pak President, PM’s Offices Bugged

Pakistan’s Presidency, the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, ministries and important offices are being bugged, intelligence reports said.

“Almost all the important offices are being bugged. The President’s and Prime Minister’s offices are also not safe,” a senior government official said quoting intelligence reports.

A top government official dealing with internal security revealed that a modern bugging device that uses rays to listen to indoor conversations from a distance of even half a km is being used by certain foreign missions and operators to spy on almost all the government top offices surrounding the Presidency.

Sibal Firm on Quota For Poor In Schools

Even as the Supreme Court referred to a Constitution Bench the petitions challenging the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, the Centre made it clear that it is not inclined to reconsider the particular provision of the Act that makes it mandatory for every private educational institution to reserve 25 per cent of the seats for children from poor families.

Union human resources development minister Kapil Sibal firmly said “we won’t budge an inch” in implementing the 25% reservation for underprivileged kids under the RTE Act.

He told that the 25% reservation for the children belonging to poor is meant to enable them having access to education and the provision had been made after a series of deliberations.

The RTE Act, which came into force on April 1, says all schools should provide admission to 25% children from the neighbourhood.

Sibal also pointed out that one of the main challenges to enforce the RTE Act is the severe shortage of 12 lakh among elementary school teachers. “The state governments have to take up the matter urgently,” he said.

Chinese Pilots Who Faked Resumes Back In The Air

Chinese pilots who had lied about their flying experience have been allowed to return to work after they took remedial action to make up their hours.
Chinese media reported that a probe in 2008 had found about 200 pilots had falsified elements of their resumes.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said they had found 192 pilots whose “flying experience to different degrees did not accord with reality.”
Some had their licenses revoked, but others were given the chance to retrain and had been allowed to fly once more.

“Those pilots given compulsory retraining were, after a thorough inspection of their qualifications, allowed to resume their posts,” it said.

The official Xinhua news agency said that with the rapid expansion of the aviation sector in China, “airlines turn a blind eye to fake records since they are happy to see more pilots certified by the administrative agency.”

China’s aviation industry was jolted by an accident in the northeast of the country last month in which 42 people died when a Henan Airlines jet crashed short of the runway.

Until that crash, there had been no other major accident as a result of stricter safety rules and relatively young fleets of mainly Western-made aircraft. (Agencies)

Arab States Snub US over Israel Resolution

Even after the efforts by the United States and the European Union the Arab countries insist over their stand about Israel that it also sign up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Israel is believed to be the only Middle East power to possess nuclear weapons; an allegation the country continue to deny.

The 22 Arab nations would forward resolution about this issue at the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and it was last year that the resolution was passed calling for Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and putting all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive safeguards of IAEA.

Prior to this conference scheduled to be held on 20-24 September the Arab Group plan to urge to keep the item ‘Israeli nuclear capabilities’ on the agenda of the general conference and ... will submit a draft resolution. The Arab Group requests the IAEA member states to support the draft resolution and vote in favour of it.”

Brussels and Washington believe that zeroing in on the Jewish state would jeopardise a proposed conference in 2012 on the creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. It could also have a negative effect on re-launched peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

America and EU asked the Arab countries to withdraw the resolution as it would jeopardise Middle East peace talks. However, they are silent over the possibility that the nuclear owner Israel may use the weapons to jeopardise peace in the Middle East.

Starvation Keeps Brain Sharp

New research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that, in fruit flies, being hungry may provide a way to stay awake without feeling groggy or mentally lathargic.

The study showed that starvation nearly tripled the amount of time they could survive without sleep. This happens because of a protein that helps the fruit fly brain manage its storage and use of lipids, a class of molecules that includes fats such as cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D.

Like humans, flies deprived of sleep one day will try to make up for it by sleeping more the next day, a phenomenon referred to as sleep debt. Scientists tested the starving, sleepless flies for two markers of sleep debt: an enzyme in saliva and the flies” ability to learn to associate a light with an unpleasant stimulus. Both tests showed that the starving flies were not getting sleepy.

“If you’re starving, you want to make sure you’re on the top of your game cognitively, to improve your chances of finding food rather than becoming food for someone else,” said Matt Thimgan, a postdoctoral research associate. (Agencies)

Russia Plans To Spend $613 Bn On Arms

Russia plans to spend 19 trillion rubles (613 billion dollars) to purchase new weapons over the next decade as it seeks to modernise its Soviet-era army, defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in a recently released interview.

The government is in the process of approving a plan to ramp up the arms budget for 2011-2020 by 46 percent from the previous estimate of 13 trillion rubles, Serdyukov told Bloomberg news agency in an interview.

Serdyukov, who spoke following his talks with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Washington earlier this month, also said Russia was interested in US technologies. He did not elaborate.

Much of Russia’s military equipment dates back to Soviet times and the government has in recent years promised extra money for modernisation.

Russia has been negotiating with France for months to buy a Mistral helicopter carrier, in its first ever purchase of military hardware from a member of NATO. The talks have been mired by disputes over technology transfer however. (Khaleej Times)

Muslims Flee Kashmir Valley, Like the Pandits

In a reminder of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in the early 1990s, Muslims caught this time between stone- throwers and security forces are moving from Srinagar to Jammu in the dark of the night.

“I didn’t inform anyone in the neighbourhood where I was headed,” Abid Ahmad, who left Srinagar and came to Jammu with his family, said on the condition that his locality be not disclosed as it could spell trouble whenever he returned.

Many like Ahmad are fleeing the strife- torn Kashmir Valley - where violent protests and clashes have left over 100 dead in the past three months - to escape the stones hurled by mobs and the retaliatory guns of security forces. And they usually undertake their journey to Jammu, 294 km south, between 3 am and 4 am. “ It’s the time when stone- throwers are resting and the policemen are busy warming themselves around bonfires on roadsides,” said Ahmad, who started his journey from Srinagar along with his family at 3 am. While Kashmir is a Muslim- majority area, Jammu is dominated by Hindus.

Over 100 families, according to unofficial estimates, might have reached Jammu post- Eid (Sept 11), when mobs went on the rampage in Srinagar.

Sharing their miseries, the migrants tell their Kashmiri Hindu friends, who had migrated to Jammu 20 years ago: “Now we know why the Pandits fled and that too in the darkness of night.”

Over 300,000 Kashmiri Pandits living in the valley migrated when violence erupted there in 1990. Most of them came to Jammu and were housed by the government in various camps on the edges of the city. They had to initially live in tents until the authorities built one- room tenements for them. (IANS)

Pakistani Scientist Jailed For 86 Years In US

A New York court sentenced the Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years in prison for attempted murder of US officers in Afghanistan. It sparked outrage throughout Pakistan and hundreds of activists demonstrated, chanting anti-US slogans.

Siddiqui, a mother of three, was found guilty of grabbing a rifle at an Afghan police station in the town of Ghazni where she was being interrogated in July 2008 and trying to gun down a group of US servicemen and FBI agents.

Defense lawyers, however, argued there was no physical evidence, such as finger prints or gunpowder traces, to show Siddiqui even grabbed the rifle.

Aafia Siddiqui, 38, is also suspected to have links with the Al-Qaeda and she was dubbed “Lady Qaeda” by the US tabloids. Nevertheless, Siddiqui was never charged with terrorism.

“It is my judgment that Dr Siddiqui is sentenced to a period of incarceration of 86 years,” Judge Richard Berman said, imposing a heavy sentence .

Siddiqui, a neuroscientist who trained at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University denied shooting at US officers and called in rambling commentaries for world peace.

She also referred repeatedly to claims that prior to the July 2008 incident she had spent the past five years in secret prisons, including at the Bagram US military base near Kabul, where she was tortured and “brainwashed.”

Her case also attracted the attention of human rights groups, which supported her claim to have been abducted in 2003 and placed in a secret network of US prisons.

Western Diplomats Walkout Over Ahmadinejad Speech

US diplomats and other Western delegations walked out of a United Nations summit as the Iranian president said some believe the 9/11 attacks on the US was the work of Americans to save Israel.

Ahmadinejad said there was a theory that “some segments within the US government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.

“The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view,” he said.

P.J.Crowley, the US assistant secretary of state, told reporters that the statement was “totally outrageous”.

“Those killed in the attacks were people of all faiths, all nationalities. They were killed by 19 people, a plot perpetrated by al-Qaeda,” he said.

Ahmadinejad accused the US of building up its nuclear arsenal instead of dismantling it and reiterated his call for a nuclear-free world.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad condemned some of the permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the US - for monopolising nuclear power.

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