20 February 2007
New Delhi, Feb 20 (indianmuslims.info) Sahitya Academy has declared 19 books in Indian languages as winners of Sahitya Academy Translation Award. A decision to this effect was taken in the AcademyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s management council meeting with its president Professor Gopi Chand Narang in the chair here Monday.
Renowned novelist and story writer Sajid Rasheed has been named as winner for his Urdu translation of Vishwas PatilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Marathi novel Jhada Jharti into the Urdu language. The jury for Urdu comprised Professor Sadiq, Haider Jafri Syed and Professor Syed Manzoor Ahmad.
As a novelist, Sajid Rasheed is known for dealing with the themes of justice, agitation and human sympathy in his works. His stories are marked with a typically bold treatment of injustice and inequality in society. Four collections of his novels in Urdu and Hindi have been published.
A winner of Katha Award, Mr Rasheed is at present editing a distinguished literary magazine Naya Warq.
Other winners of Sahitya Academy Translation Award include Dr Muhammad Zakir for his translation of Deputy Nazeer AhmedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s book Ibnul Waqt into English, Late Nishat Ansari (posthumous) for Kashmiri translation and Kirpal Singh for Panjabi (Gurumukhi) translation of the same book, Jyoti Bhushan Chaki for Bangla translation of Kaifi AzmiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work, Asawri Ka Kade for Napali translation of Kali DasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Meghdoot, and Podyar Asu for Telugu translation of Qazi Nazrul IslamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s works.
Sahitya Academy awards translators of selected distinguished works into 24 languages every year.
The award consists of Rs 20,000 cash and a certificate.
These awards will be handed over to the recipients in a function to be organised in August 2007.
Farmington, Michigan, Feb 19 (IndianMuslims.info) The American
Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) strongly condemned the
dastardly attack on the Samjhauta Express and expressed its deep
sympathy for the victims and their relatives. " North American
Muslims of Indian origin are deeply shocked. The attack was clearly
aimed at derailing the Indo-Pak peace process and inciting hostilities
between the two nations. We urge the Indian government to use the full
force of law to apprehend and prosecute those who are behind this
terrible act," said Dr.Shakir Mukhi, President of AFMI in a press
"We also hope that the peace process and the confidence building
measures that are being developed between India and Pakistan will
continue," he added.
United Nations, Feb 20 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the terrorist bombing of the Delhi-Lahore 'Friendship Express' in which 67 people were killed and nearly 20 injured.
"This heinous crime cannot be justified by any cause and its perpetrators should be brought to justice," a spokesperson for Ban said in a statement Tuesday referring to Monday's blasts on the Samjhauta Express.
Strongly condemning the "brutal" blast, the statement conveyed Ban's condolences to the families of the innocent victims and the governments of India and Pakistan.
"The Secretary-General expresses his satisfaction that the leaders of India and Pakistan have reaffirmed their determination to continue on the path of dialogue," the spokesman said, adding that Ban "is also encouraged by the strong reaction among the various communities in the subcontinent and their common resolve to thwart the motives of the terrorists."
Washington, Feb 20 (Xinhua) The 'diabetes clock' may start ticking in women years in advance of a medical diagnosis of the disease, according to a new research.
Epidemiologists at the University at Buffalo in New York have found that newly identified risk factors for diabetes found in the blood, such as markers of endothelial dysfunction, chronic sub-acute inflammation and blood clotting factors, are present early on in women who eventually progress from normal glucose status to the pre-diabetic condition.
Pre-diabetes is diagnosed when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to indicate full-blown diabetes. The markers weren't associated with progression from normal to pre-diabetic status in men, said the study that appeared in the February issue of Diabetes Care.
"This is one of the first reports to show that otherwise healthy women are more likely than men to show elevated levels of endothelial factors and other markers of progression to pre-diabetes," said lead author Richard Donahue.
"Because these pre-diabetic markers are not routinely assessed, and because diabetes is strongly linked with coronary heart disease, the study may help explain why the decline in death rates for heart disease in diabetic women lags behind that of diabetic men," he said.
"Previous research had shown that hypertension and cholesterol were elevated among women who later developed diabetes. However, current findings that these novel risk factors are elevated among women even earlier than previously recognised does suggest that the 'diabetes clock' starts ticking sooner for women than for men."
The study involved 1,455 healthy participants originally enrolled in the Western New York Study, a case-control investigation of patterns of alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease conducted from 1996-2001. In the current study all participants were free of pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and known cardiovascular disease. They received a physical examination when they entered the study and again for this six-year follow-up.
Standard measures - height, weight, waist girth, blood pressure - were taken, plus blood samples to determine concentrations of fasting glucose and insulin, specific proinflammatory markers, C-reactive protein and markers of dysfunction in the endothelial tissue, the tissue lining blood vessels.
Results showed that 52 women and 39 men had progressed from normal blood glucose levels to pre-diabetic status during the previous six years.
Donahue said the question of what explains the sex difference remains to be determined, and he plans to study this in the future. He suggested that women whose blood glucose increases over time, even if it doesn't reach diabetic levels, should be screened more intensively for cardiovascular disease.
New York, Feb 20 (IANS) Indian American Rajan Zed has been appointed to the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) Citizens Advisory Committee of Nevada state in the US for a three-year term.
"This committee provides input on policy issues related to public transportation, regional street and highway systems, and transportation planning," Zed told IANS in an e-mail.
RTC, founded in 1979, is responsible for public transit services, transportation network, maintaining and improving road network and planning for current and future transportation needs.
Zed was elected unopposed in the last US mid-term elections to the office of general improvement district trustee of Verdi TV district in Nevada. He was a journalist in India before migrating to the US.
Zed serves on the governing board of directors of Northern Nevada International Center and the Nevada World Trade Council. He is also a fellow of The Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Britain.
He was named the International Professional of the Year-2005 by the International Biographical Centre of England and is in the 'Who's Who in America'.
New York, Feb 20 (IANS) Over 8,000 Indian professors are enriching university campuses all across the United States with many holding top positions in their respective fields and making their mark.
In an era of the global economy some of the brightest minds shaping international economics include Amartya Sen of Harvard University and Jagdish Bhagwati of New York's Columbia University.
The impact of Indian academics is being felt all the way to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where Raghuram G. Rajan is economic counsellor and director of research. Rajan is the first person of Indian origin - and the youngest ever - to be chief economist at IMF.
Business guru C.K. Prahalad, professor of business administration at the University of Michigan, has been named among the top 10 management thinkers of the world and is recognised as a specialist on corporate strategy, according to Little India, a South Asian magazine.
Indian academics are making their mark in every discipline. "You take any field and the top people are Indian," said Bhagwati, who has authored several books and articles.
"The only thing we haven't got into yet is the mafia. But then I think, maybe we have, but just haven't been caught yet!" he said jokingly.
According to Homi K. Bhabha, professor of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University, "the rise of Indian intellectuals who were brought up in post-colonial India were deeply immersed in western ideas, western languages and western cultures, while also being very much a part of our own Indian societies and traditions and values."
Several noted Indian-American writers like Bharati Mukherjee, Vikram Chandra and Amitava Ghosh teach creative writing in major US universities.
Indian immigration to the US was earlier driven by students coming to pursue their master's or Ph.D. programmes at universities. Many of them ended up in academic careers until opportunities opened up in corporate America in the 1990s.
Many Indian academics have risen to hold important posts in the US educational set-up. Beheruz N. Sethna, professor of business administration, is in his 12th year as president of the University of West Georgia, Carrollton.
He is also currently serving as interim executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the University System of Georgia, which covers 35 institutions.
Michael Rao is president of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He heads one of the country's largest campuses with 28,000 students. He earlier served as president of Mission College in California's Silicon Valley and chancellor of Montana State University.
Similarly, several Indian-Americans academics are deans of educational institutions. While Ajay Menon is dean of College of Business, Colorado State University, Yash Gupta is dean of Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
Singapore, Feb 20 (IANS) Indian food seems to be the flavour of the month here as people celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Demand for hot and spicy Indian dishes has zoomed in the past few days and has kept most of the Indian restaurants busy through day and night, according to the online edition of Channel News Asia newspaper.
For Brinda's, a popular Indian restaurant, business has increased threefold since the celebrations started.
"There's a lot of fusion reunion dinners. They just don't want to have boring Chinese cuisine all the time. So they want to have a bit of mixture. In fact the trend started last year and this year it has been more," said Malathi Ramasamy, co-founder of Brinda's.
To meet the demand for Indian dishes, Brinda's has ordered more food and hired additional staff to work during the next few days.
By Sudeshna Sarkar,
Kathmandu, Feb 20 (IANS) A new message by King Gyanendra has created fresh controversy in Nepal with protests and public demonstrations erupting in the kingdom over the monarch's attempt to justify his power grab two years ago.
Nepal's Maoist guerrillas, who had been waging an armed struggle to abolish monarchy, were the most vocal to condemn the king's message issued Monday, celebrated as Democracy Day in the country to commemorate the overthrow of a despotic hereditary regime in 1950.
Maoist cadres organised protests in Chitwan, Kaski, Tanahun, Gorkha, Bhairahawa and capital city Kathmandu, alleging the monarch was freshly conspiring to seize power and scuttle the June elections.
Enraged Maoist cadres dismantled the statue of King Mahendra, the present king's father, in Hetauda town near Kathmandu and hoisted their red party flag in its place.
Reacting immediately to the royal message, Maoist chief Prachanda said the king's move was surprising when the new constitution had taken away all his positions as head of state and showed he could be still trying to return to power.
Condemnation also poured in from professional organisations as well as Nepal's ruling parties, who said it was politically incorrect of the king to have tried to justify his bloodless coup and 15-month absolute rule.
In his message to the nation Monday, King Gyanendra had said he was forced to take control of the government to fulfil people's aspirations. The king blamed the inability of then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to hold elections in time and the escalating Maoist insurgency.
Though the king also owned up to the moral responsibility for the "successes or failures" of the 15-month reign, neither the parties nor the Maoists were mollified.
Three of the biggest parties in the ruling alliance - prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala's Nepali Congress, deposed premier Deuba's Nepali Congress (Democratic) and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist - denounced the statement, saying it was an unnecessary intervention at a time the new constitution has put monarchy on hold.
The message by the king has given fresh grist to the Maoists, who are now contemplating beginning a campaign for a republic ahead of the June elections, when the fate of monarchy will be decided.
The royal move comes in spite of the prime minister's reported advice to the king to keep a low profile and say or do nothing that could antagonise people.
Nepal's 238-year-old monarchy began fast losing its appeal after King Gyanendra seized power with the help of the army in 2005 but was compelled to step down last year after mounting public opposition to his reign.
The new government that came to power after the fall of the royal regime has pledged to hold a constituent assembly election by mid-June when a special electoral college will decide if monarchy should be retained or axed to make way for a republic.
By Arun Kumar,
Washington, Feb 20 (IANS) Love, more than money, inspires legal immigrants from around the world, including India, to go through the naturalisation process to become American citizens, according to a new US study.
Naturalisation rates increased after the 1996 Welfare Reform Act restricted many benefits only to citizens, causing speculation that the promise of welfare benefits was inspiring immigrants to become full-fledged citizens.
But results of a study by demographers Susan K. Brown and Frank D. Bean at the University of California, Irvine, show a much stronger connection between the extent of a community's welcoming attitude toward immigrants and the rate of naturalisation.
"Legal immigrants are twice as likely to naturalise when they live in states with a warm, welcoming attitude toward immigrants," said Brown, an assistant professor of sociology.
The population of Indian Americans today is estimated at about two million. Most illegal immigrants in the US - estimated at 12 million - come from Mexico, but in recent years those from India have swelled the most with about 280,000 coming in illegally during 2000-05, showing a 133 percent increase.
The researchers, using data from the General Social Survey, considered attitudes "welcoming" in areas where locals believe immigrants are hardworking and beneficial, and where they tend to oppose English-only policies.
The study appears in a recent issue of Social Forces and was co-authored by Jennifer Van Hook, an associate professor of sociology at the Bowling Green State University.
"There's no doubt that welfare reform has contributed to increased rates of naturalisation - it added value and salience to citizenship," said Bean, Chancellor's professor of sociology and economics and director of the Centre for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy.
"But when we look at all the different forces influencing immigrants to naturalise, money doesn't seem to be the major factor - it's whether the state puts out its welcome mat."
The most favourable attitude toward immigrants was reported in Arizona, the district of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, and immigrants in those areas were more likely to naturalise.
Bean noted that greater welfare benefits available in a particular state did not cause significantly more immigrants to naturalise in that state, which runs counter to the idea that money is the driving force behind the rise in naturalisation rates.
Nearly one million people obtain legal permanent residence in the US each year - more than double the number of new illegals who come.
"Unlike Canada, the US does not have a settlement assistance policy to help legal residents ease into their new life," said Bean. "This may be one of the reasons Canada's naturalisation rates are so much higher than those in the US."
The researchers' next step in this work is to investigate what happens after immigrants have been on welfare, and whether welfare impacts their ability to establish and maintain financial stability in the US.
By Arun Kumar,
Washington, Feb 20 (IANS) Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon is expected to convey New Delhi's concerns over "certain elements" in the law passed by US Congress on the civil nuclear deal with it during a visit starting Tuesday.
Menon, who is visiting Washington for a High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) meeting Feb 22-23, is likely to bring India's draft proposals to be incorporated in the bilateral 123 Agreement that is under negotiation to implement the deal.
Making his first visit to Washington after taking over as foreign secretary in October, he is expected to follow up on the discussions prime minister's special envoy on nuclear issue Shyam Saran had here last month with US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns on the way forward on the 123 Agreement.
New Delhi is not ready to accept any legally binding provision on future nuclear testing in the 123 Agreement. Nor is it happy with provisions relating to conditional access to reprocessing technology, end use verification of reprocessed fuel and the attempt to cap India's strategic nuclear programme.
Besides discussions with Burns Wednesday, Menon will meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other officials in the departments of state, commerce, agriculture, energy, defence and the National Security Council.
An early conclusion of an agreement will provide broad contours for India to negotiate a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
On Feb 22, Menon and Burns will participate in "a conversation" on 'The US, India and the World' at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a leading Washington think tank.
The two officials will share their perspectives on how India and the US view their interests in the emerging international system and how both countries are working towards the construction of global partnerships in a variety of functional and regional areas, including India's immediate and extended neighbourhoods.
Menon, who will co-chair the fifth meeting of the Indo-US High Technology Cooperation Group with Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Sampson Feb 22-23, is expected to press for removal of some extant sanctions on trade in some high technology items between India and the US.
US Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, just back from an India visit to explore opportunities to further invigorate commercial relations between the two countries, will brief HTCG on his India mission and discuss emerging avenues of trade and economic cooperation.
In a daylong business-to-business interactive session, HTCG will address critical issues affecting high technology cooperation in these areas of digital economy: IT & telecommunications; pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and IPR; and defence & strategic cooperation.
Gutierrez's Feb 13-14 India visit followed last November's largest US government business development mission in history led by US Under Secretary for International Trade Frank Lavin. The mission included 250 American business representatives and state government officials who explored export opportunities to India.
The US is India's largest trading partner, and through November 2006 that partnership was worth $29 billion in two-way trade. US exports to India increased 25 percent from January-November 2005 through January-November 2006, and investment is up 10 percent.
Bonn, Feb 20 (DPA) After the holidays and after many comfortable winter evenings, many people notice they have put on weight, particularly on their hips, thighs and buttocks.
But one or two kg of additional weight should not cause panic, said Isabelle Keller of the German Society for Nutrition in Bonn.
"When people return to their usual nutritional habits and become more active, the kilos go away quickly," Keller said. However, there is a problem when people put on weight over the holidays year to year and never lose it.
Pills and laxatives are just as ill advised as crash diets. The pounds tumble off, but they return quickly once the diet is discontinued. A better approach is to recognise what is causing the weight gain.
It usually is overeating or eating a poor combination of foods. The only certain way a person can lose weight, keep their weight steady and remain healthy is to change to a balanced mixture of healthy foods and to get enough exercise.
A weight loss programme can be a good start. Germany's consumer testing organisation found one-third of 90 programmes tested to be recommendable or worth a try. All good diet programmes include a lot of vegetables, fruit, wholegrain, not more than 30 grams of fat in a day and little or no sugar.
"Eating meat three or four times a week is enough. Calcium in the form of milk should not be left out," said Dorothee Lennert of the Berlin-based organisation. It's important that a diet fit the person's needs, Keller added. Complicated calorie calculations before every meal is not practical, and when cooking all ingredients must be easily obtainable.
In addition a good time to start should be set. An especially stressful period or the beginning of a vacation are not good times to start, said Andrea Benecke, psychotherapist at the University of Mainz.
"And in light of the hormonal changes the body goes through during puberty and menopause, it is difficult to reach a weight loss goal during those times," she said. Dieting while pregnant or nursing should never be undertaken.
Lennert recommends people tell their family and friends loudly and clearly: "In future, I'm going to eat differently and cook differently. "Then it is up to them to stick to it. A good change of habit is to go shopping with a list and not to fill the shopping card with extras that aren't part of the plan.
"Drink something before or during the meal or eat a salad so that the stomach is active," Benecke suggests. Watching television while eating is a distraction that often leads people to devour more than necessary. Also, when pots of steaming food remain on the table, people tend to reach for more. It's not as easy to do that if the food remains in the kitchen.
An initial drop in weight that is noticeable on the scale is important for motivation. But the goal must be realistic and sensible.
"A big danger is losing too much weight too fast," Lennert warned. "Then the metabolism changes and uses the calories available more readily."
A weight loss of about two kg per month is completely sufficient.
Amman, Feb 20 (DPA) Jordan's ancient city of Petra is on course to become one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Votes from across the world placed Petra among the top seven sites along with the Coliseum in Rome, the Great Wall of China, Peru's Machu Picchu, India's Taj Mahal, Egypt's Pyramids of Giza and the stone statues of Easter Island.
Queen Rania received an official certificate of candidacy announcing Petra as one of the 21 finalists competing for the title in a competition organised by the privately funded New Seven Wonders Foundation established by the Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber.
Millions of people have voted online and by telephone since Weber began the venture in 1999. Nearly 200 sites were under consideration at the beginning of the campaign, and they have now been narrowed down to 21 ahead of the announcement of the final seven on July 7 in Lisbon.
According to Weber, the competition was not intended to replace the ancient seven wonders declared by Philo of Byzantium in 200 BC but rather to preserve historical landmarks and enhance global cultural heritage awareness.
The Jordanian government is stepping up a nationwide campaign that it initiated in November to garner support for Petra to join the ranks of the world's wonders. The rose-red city carved into rock was first revealed to the Western world by the explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhart in 1812.
The remaining finalists are Athens' Acropolis, Granada's Alhambra palace and fortress complex, Cambodia's temples of Angkor, Mexico's Mayan city of Chichen Itza, Rio de Janeiro's Christ Redeemer statue, Paris' Eiffel Tower, Istanbul's Haghia Sophia, Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple, Moscow's Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral, Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle, New York's Statue of Liberty, England's Stonehenge, the Sydney Opera House and Timbuktu.
By Syed Ali Mujtaba
The twin bomb blasts that killed 67 passengers in the Indo- Pak Samjhauta Express train on Sunday midnight once again exposed the vulnerability of the people in the country. It also exposed the callousness of the intelligence and the security forces that refuses to accept that they are a national burden. On the contrary, it has established the smartness of the terrorists outfits that they can strike anywhere in India according to their chosen date, time and place.
Samjhauta Express is the oldest train link between India and Pakistan since Partition in 1947. The bi-weekly train had resumed its operation since July 22, 1976, after a long haul of the acrimonious Indo-Pak relationship to give peace a chance. This friendship and goodwill train has been on the hit list of the militant groups but had withstood the test of time of militancy. However, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not so anymore, now it too has become the target of another episode of bomb blasts in the country.
For a change itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s for the first time that Ã¢â‚¬ËœDelhi DurbarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ has not raised the Ã¢â‚¬Å“foreign bogeyÃ¢â‚¬Â? the usually practice, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s routinely done minutes after such blasts. Conspicuous by silence, is also the Ã¢â‚¬Å“mantraÃ¢â‚¬Â? of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Jaish Ã¢â‚¬â€œE-MohmmadÃ¢â‚¬Â? and Ã¢â‚¬ËœLashker Ã¢â‚¬â€œ E- Taiba that our 24 hours news channels keep chanting minutes after such blasts.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was reportedly quick to announce that the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express train blasts will not go unpunished. Home Minister Shivraj Patil tried to pacify the tempers mostly building across the borders saying that the government is in the know of the culprits but to divulge the details may hamper the investigation. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was more playing to the gallery saying that the real culprits of the blast were those who oppose the India- Pak peace process.
One may believe what suits oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thoughts, the fact remains the target of the Samjhauta express blast were overwhelmingly Ã¢â‚¬ËœMuslims.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Normally, it is the Indian and Pakistani Muslims that travel back and forth on this train to meet their relatives separated across the border due to the Partition of India in 1947.
One is free to deduce from the profile of the target that who could be behind the blasts and what could be their motive. However, if we go by the governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s assessment then we have to accept that the blasts were the handiwork of the spoilers of peace.
The set argument is that the terrorists based in Pakistan are realizing that they would be the biggest losers in India- Pak peace process, swooned from across the border, killed few dozen people, no matter even if they belonged to their religion, and returned back to their safe heavens.
So there we goÃ¢â‚¬Â¦there ends the matter... if we want to get them, we have to cross the border and since hot pursuit is not our governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s policy, the case is solved and closed.
Samjhauta blasts would remain another unresolved puzzle in the strings of blasts that our country has witnessed in the recent past. The Varanasi blast, the Delhi blasts, the Mumbai train blasts, and the Malegoan blasts, no conclusive evidence has been established either of the perpetrators or their motives.
The common thread in them is, they all were the work of the Muslim or Islamic terror groups that want to destabilize the country. At least that is what the government, the media and other mass communication sources want the entire country to believe.
Now who are the so-called Islamic terror groups, operating in India? According to the government and media- they come in three varieties. Kashmiri outfits that have overt or covert support of PakistanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s intelligence agencies. The Pakistani terrorists groups that often breach the Indian security cordon. The homegrown Muslim terrorists, that have sprung up after Ayodhya related communal riots and Gujarat communal pogrom and have been accused of seeking help from either Pakistan or Bangladesh.
In the wake of Delhi and Varanasi blasts, the government had reportedly blamed the Pakistani and Bangladeshi terroristsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ outfits for that crime. However, it never provided any clinching evidence of their involvement nor it has answered to anyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s satisfaction as to who were behind these blasts and their motives.
Soon after the Mumbai train blasts, the government reportedly announced that script of this terror plot was written in Pakistan and was executed with the help of the Kashmiri militants and the Muslim youth of Mumbai. The national security advisor had reportedly said that it has evidence of Pakistani involvement but it is best known to him whether he has handed over them to Islamabad. The nation owes answers about its follow up?
The Malegoan blasts had taken place some days after the Mumbai train blasts and this again remains shrouded in mystery. In comparison to Mumbai train blasts where the target was overwhelmingly Hindus, the Malegoan blast target were Muslims as it occurred on a Muslim religious day and in a Muslim graveyard where no non-Muslim would set their foot. In spite of the logical deduction, the government blamed the Student Islamic Movement of India, a radical organization, to be behind the Malegoan blast.
Now coming to the Samjhauta Express blasts, what motives could be attributed to this blast. Do homegrown so-called Muslim terrorists have any stakes in derailing the Indo- Pak peace process? If not then it leaves ground for the Kashmiri and Pakistani variety of the terrorist to hatch this plot. Now if we ask had the motive been to sabotage the peace process, canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that be done so by attacking the non-Muslim targets? What additional mileage could such terrorists gain by choosing an all-Muslim target?
If no sufficient answer can be put forward, then it may compel to look at other elements that could be responsible for this blast. The Nanded blasts have very well exposed evil designs of the Hindu radicals that have stepped into the business of terrorism in our country. Their role needs to be thoroughly scrutinized in Samjhauta Express blasts. They have vested interest in derailing the Indo-Pak peace. If the motive was to take revenge for the earlier bomb blasts where the targets were Hindu, again their role become prominent. Wishing them away or just reinforcing the stereotypes would be closing our eyes to the realties that are taking shape among us.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a working journalist based in Chennai, India. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Karachi, Feb 20 (IANS) The sari is back in fashion in Pakistan, especially among the urban elite, nearly three decades after it went out of vogue due to the conservative policies followed by former dictator Zia-ul Haq.
The comeback of the beautiful six-yard drape is partly thanks to Indian cinema and TV channels.
"The Indian electronic media has played an important role in promoting the sari culture in Pakistan. Now Pakistani actresses on TV channels are being seen wearing saris, especially young women," The Nation newspaper said.
Reviled as an 'alien' dress, especially during the 1980s as part of Zia's "Islamisation" drive, when the conservatives and the clergy termed it "vulgar" and "revealing" because women wearing it expose their midriffs, the sari is making "a strong come back", the newspaper said.
Among the new advocates for the sari is Nasreen Jalil, the Naib Nazim, or deputy mayor of Karachi, Pakistan's commercial capital. She has been seen and photographed at official functions sporting "expensive French chiffons".
Jalil's specialty in wearing saris with sophisticated patterns and vibrant colours has long captivated people in the world of fashion. Now other women are following suit.
It is not that the traditional and more popular salwar-kameez is out, but the urban elite seem to be preferring the sari for formal occasions, the newspaper noted.
Among the graceful ladies who regularly wore saris were Naheed Mirza, wife of former president Iskander Mirza, Nusrat Bhutto, wife of former prime minister Z.A. Bhutto and mother of Benazir, and Begum Shaista Ikramullah and her daughter Princes Sarwat, who was married to Prince Hassan of Jordan. Pakistani actresses Nayyar Sultana and Sabiha Khanam also preferred to wear saris in films.
Former director general of World Health Organisation (WHO) Nafis Sadiq was among the international bureaucrats who donned the sari.
The sari culture was targeted during Zia-ul Haq's tenure when religion was used to attack the significance of sari and the then information minister Mujeebul Rahman allegedly banned the sari on Pakistan TV.
Observers pointed out that women belonging to other walks of life like education, medicine, showbiz, and representatives of social organisations prefer to wear the sari because it enhances the beauty and personality of the wearer, the newspaper said.
Washington, Feb 20 (IANS) Sexualised images in the media and advertising have a negative effect on healthy sexual development in girls, warn US experts.
A task force from the American Psychological Association analysed the content and effects of television, music videos, music lyrics, magazines, films, video games and the Internet on young girls, reported the online edition of BBC News.
The experts scrutinised recent advertising campaigns and merchandising of products aimed at girls and found that sexualisation has negative effects on them, including in their cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development.
Sexualisation was defined as occurring when a person's value comes only from her or his sexual appeal or behaviour, to the exclusion of other characteristics, and when a person is portrayed purely as a sex object.
Sexualisation can lead to a lack of confidence with their bodies as well as depression and eating disorders. Such images also have a negative effect on healthy sexual development in girls, said Eileen Zurbriggen, chair of the group and associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The task force called on parents, school officials and health professionals to be alert to the potential impact on girls and young women. It also advised that pupils be taught media literacy skills and be exposed to information on the negative effects of images portraying girls as sex objects in sex education programmes.
"One of the key things here is social responsibility. Advertisers and other media need to be aware that the products they produce and images associated with them have an impact and it's not always a good impact," said Andrew Hill, a professor of medical psychology at the University of Leeds.
Cairo, Feb 20 (DPA) An Iraqi Sunni Muslim woman has accused three Iraqi police officers of raping her, pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera reported.
The 20-year-old victim, who appeared on Al-Jazeera Monday with her face veiled, said the incident began when police stormed her house early Sunday in Al-Amel district in western Baghdad while her husband was away.
According to the victim, the police accused her of cooking for Sunni insurgents and took her to a police station, where they raped her. "They covered my eye, and I heard one of them saying let's start," the woman said.
One of the officers took photographs during the rape and threatened her with murder if she reported the rape. The woman said that a neighbour alerted US soldiers about the attack, and she was released.
Christopher Garver, a US military spokesperson, told Al-Jazeera that he could not confirm any US role in the incident, but said, "The US military will support the Iraqi government in its investigation."
Al-Jazeera reported that the woman did not specify that her attackers were Shia Muslims, though Iraqi Shias form the majority within the ranks of Baghdad police, especially senior commando units.
The allegation is likely to spur more tension between Sunnis and Shias as Iraqi-US joint forces have been attempting for the seventh day to enforce a crackdown in the capital as part of a new Iraqi security plan.
Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Hussein Ali Kamel rejected the allegation: "Something like this could not happen, because Iraqi forces are operating with US forces all the time."
"By God, if you don't bring justice to this Muslim Iraqi woman, history will curse us with eternal disgrace," Sunni Iraqi Parliament speaker Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani told Al-Jazeera.
Malegaon, Feb 20 (Indianmuslims.info) The 3-day Ijtima of Tablighi Jamaat concluded here Sunday with invocation to God for Muslim unity. The number of participants touched five figures on the concluding day, most of whom wanted to participate just in Dua, which continued for about half an hour.
The organisers of the Ijtima and dignitaries of Malegaon on Monday organised a get-together at the Ijtima venue to felicitate the government officials who were in charge of the security and civic administration duties during the Ijtima.
MalegaonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s District Collector, Municipal Commissioner and those IPS and IAS officers who had discharged the responsibilities of security around the Ijtima were present in the get-together.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We witnessed for the first time how lakhs of people attended the Ijtima gatherings and there never was any threat to peace and security during the three-day gathering, Malegaon regionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s IG, TK Jain said.
He expressed his marvel and said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Whatever we may say in praise of the great discipline, it will remain only an understatement.Ã¢â‚¬Â?
Congratulating the participant of the Ijtima, TK Jain said he had been here continuously for the last three days, and what they had witnessed is to be appreciated. He wished his own department had such civilized and disciplined personnel. He asked the organisers to help his department recruit candidates for police force from among their group.
Zarar Quraishi, administrator of the Ijtima expressed his appreciation that officials of District Council, District Collector and police department helped them in organising such a mammoth gathering and due to their positive role there occurred not a single untoward incident during the three-day gathering. He said the government officersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ services for the Ijtima were highly appreciated.
By Arun Kumar,
Washington, Feb 20 (IANS) Taking the terror attack on an Indian train as an urgent warning, a US lawmaker is proposing a legislation to secure America's rail systems in the hope of preventing a similar attack here.
"Today's headlines delivered the startling news of another terrorist attack carried out against rail transportation systems in India," said Bennie G. Thompson, Democratic chairman of the House committee on Homeland Security Tuesday in announcing his move.
"Terrorists have yet again demonstrated that transportation systems are targets, and this notice must not be ignored," he said referring to Monday's twin blasts in Pakistan bound Samjhauta Express that left 67 dead.
Long an advocate for securing America's rail and public transportation systems, he will introduce legislation next month to secure these systems in the hope of preventing a similar attack on our soil, he said.
"Next month marks the third anniversary since the Madrid bombings; while later this year marks the second anniversary of the London bombings and a year since the Mumbai blasts," Thompson said.
"Sadly, despite a history of terror attacks against rail and transit systems around the world, millions of men and women who travel America's rail and public transit systems remain vulnerable to known security deficiencies."
"We have received enough warnings. History will judge us if we don't act now," said Thompson asking members of the House and Senate to work with him "to secure our trains and public transit systems."
By Prasun Sonwalkar,
London, Feb 20 (IANS) After Tata Steel acquired Corus in January, the next mega deals involving Indian companies are expected to be Vijay Mallya's United Breweries taking over whisky major Whyte & Mackay and Apollo Hospitals buying out a string of private hospitals in Britain.
After several months of negotiations, Mallya has reportedly agreed to raise his price for Whyte & Mackay to 550 million pounds. His initial offer was said to be 475 million pounds while the current owner of the Scotland-based company had valued it at 600 million pounds.
Reports here say that a final deal is "still subject to a process of due diligence", but sources close to Mallya are quoted as saying that the deal could be wrapped up within as little as a fortnight. Neither of the two companies has formally announced any move on this subject so far.
Whyte & Mackay brands include W&M Scotch whisky, Vladivar vodka and Jura single-malt whisky. According to the Daily Telegraph, the company has a 9 percent share of the global Scotch market.
Last week Mallya told Scotland On Sunday: "Negotiations on Whyte & Mackay continue in a positive sense. Progress is being made and the gap between previous positions of both parties is narrowing."
A deal worth 550 million pounds would be a windfall for Whyte & Mackay's shareholders, including chairman Vivian Immerman and his brother-in-law, Robert Tchenguiz. The two had bought the company along with other investors in 2001 for 208 million pounds.
The expected deal with Mallya's United Breweries needs to be seen in the context of the long-drawn battle of wits and power between Mallya and the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which has campaigned vigorously at various levels in Britain, the European Union and India to ensure that India reduced its import duties on imported spirits in line with WTO (World Trade Organisation) regulations.
There is considerable interest in the Indian market due to its growing middle class and exponentially increasing demand for Scotch whisky. Industry leaders are keenly awaiting India's forthcoming federal budget for announcements of reduction in import duties.
Also on the takeover path is the Apollo Hospitals Group, which is reported to be stalking a string of private hospitals as potential takeover targets. It is said to be in talks with potential co-investors to drive its international expansion plans.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Britain had become particularly attractive to Apollo's founder and chairman, Prathap Reddy, because of a surge of transactions that have seen Britain's private healthcare industry rapidly consolidate into private equity-backed portfolios.
The newspaper reported: "People with knowledge of Apollo's plans said the company had already expressed an interest in the operating arm of Capio UK, one of Britain's biggest hospital operators. Capio's business in Britain, which consists of 21 hospitals across the country, is part of a much larger European group of the same name.
"Dr. Reddy's interest in Britain is unsurprising. Despite the political sensitivities of the industry, private healthcare has been among the most persistent targets of private equity deals in the UK during the past five years as buyout firms have unlocked hidden value in real estate portfolios and introduced tight cost controls by merging rival operators".
Meanwhile, one of Scotland's oldest manufacturing companies, Weir Pumps, is being sold to the Swiss company Sulzer for 48 million pounds and much of the work is to be farmed out to the new owner's plants in India and China. The buyout is expected to result in several job losses in the company founded in 1871.
Mark Selway, chief executive of Weir Group, told reporters that Sulzer already had a presence in India and China and were better placed to compete with other manufacturers with bases in low-cost countries.