March 2019


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March 2019

PM trying to hide failures behind

Indo-Pak tension, says Mayawati

Masood Azhar's brother, relative among 44 held in Pakistan

Islamabad : Pakistan on Tuesday

detained in a crackdown Mufti Abdur

Rauf, the brother of Jaish-e-

Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana

Masood Azhar, along with 43 others

affiliated with proscribed Islamist

organisations operating in the country.

The crackdown came a day after

the Pakistan government issued an

order to streamline a process for the

implementation of sanctions against

individuals and entities of all banned

outfits as designated by the UN

Security Council (UNSC).

Minister of State for Interior

Shehryar Khan Afridi said in a press

conference that the action was taken

without any foreign pressure, the

Pakistani media reported. Hammad

Azhar, reportedly a close relative of

Masood Azhar, was among those

arrested in the crackdown. "In the first

phase of our action we have taken 44

Lucknow : Bahujan Samaj

Party (BSP) supremo

Mayawati on Sunday accused

the Narendra Modi government

of trying to hide behind the

Indo-Pak tensions and extract

political mileage out of the air

strikes on terror launch pads in

Balakot in Pakistan.

Addressing party officebearers

and leaders at a hurriedly

called meeting in the state

capital, the BSP leader said

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

was whipping up the issue of

air strikes to "hide the failures

of the last four years".

"It is not hidden from the

people of Uttar Pradesh and the

country on how miserably the

Central government led by the

Bharatiya Janata Party has

failed in providing good governance

and in addressing problems

facing the country", she

said, while exhorting party

activists to fan out and inform

people on how the issue was

being "misused" by the ruling

party to hide its failures.

At the meeting, called for

stock-taking the party's preparedness

ahead of the Lok

Sabha polls, the four-time UP

Chief Minister said that leaders

and workers of both the BSP

and the Samajwadi Party (SP),

with which it has an alliance for

the general elections, should be

alert about such machinations

of the BJP.

Mayawati is also learnt

to have taken feedback from

party workers about her

alliance with one-time arch

rival SP. While the SP will contest

37, the BSP will fight it out

in 38 seats in UP.

people into protective custody.

We won't let anyone

use Pakistani soil against

anyone so that no force can

intervene in Pakistan's

domestic issues," Afridi

said. The government also

froze bank accounts and

assets of the organisations

banned by the UNSC.

The Interior Ministry

said that the actions will

continue as per the decisions

taken by the National

Security Committee

(NSC). Interior Ministry

Secretary Azam Suleman

Khan said: "This is across

the board - we don't want

to give the impression that

we are against one organisation."

The crackdown is

being linked to the suicide

25 trains cancelled as farmers

block tracks in AMRITSAR

Amritsar : As many as 25 trains were cancelled

and seven diverted on Tuesday as angry

farmers, demanding loan waiver and implementation

of the Swaminathan Commission report,

blocked railway tracks in Punjab's Amritsar district,



A railway official

said the New


Shatabdi Express

and the New



Express were terminated


Jalandhar and

Beas towns,

respectively The

farmers have

been staging a

protest since

Monday. "We are

protesting against the failure of the state government

to waive off loans of all the farmers as

it had promised during the assembly elections,"

protestor Ajaib Singh told reporters. According

to a Northern Railways statement, the trains that

were cancelled include the New Delhi-

Jalandhar Intercity Express, the Amritsar-

Haridwar Jan Shatabdi Express, the Haridwar-

Amritsar Jan Shatabdi Express, the Chandigarh-

Amritsar Superfast Express and the Nangal

Dam-Amritsar Express. The trains that were

diverted include the


Superfast Express

and the Amritsar-

Sealdah Akal Takht


Meanwhile, Aam

Aadmi Party legislator

and party's farmer

wing state chief

Kultar Singh

Sandhawan slammed

the Amarinder Singh

government for

being insensitive to

the demands of the

farming community

and farm labojurers.

In a statement in Chandigarh, he said like the

previous SAD-BJP government, the Congress

government too had failed to address the concerns

of the farmers and backtracked on other

promises it made to them ahead of the assembly


bombing claimed by the JeM that

killed 40 CRPF troopers in Jammu

and Kashmir's Pulwama on February

14 and the later IAF bombing of JeM's

biggest training camp at Balakot in

Pakistan, sending India-Pakistan relations

on a nosedive. A dossier shared

by the Indian government with

Pakistan last week on Pulwama also

mentioned the names of Mufti Abdur

Rauf and Hammad Azhar, Khan said.

"It does not mean that action is being

taken against only those individuals

who are mentioned in the dossier.

"If we have to take over any (organisation's)

assets, we will do so. Assets

can be taken over of organisations

already declared as proscribed, under

the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997.

"If we obtain any further evidence

or if we have to investigate any organisation,

the government can take any

organisation into custody at any time,"

Modi playing

politics over air

strike : Gehlot

Jaipur : Rajasthan Chief

Minister Ashok Gehlot on

Tuesday accused Prime

Minister Narendra Modi of

playing politics over the IAF

air strike in Balakot to draw

political mileage. Addressing a

press conference here, Gehlot

said Modi should answer the

queries raised by senior

Congress leaders Digvijaya

Singh and Kapil Sibal, and

reveal the exact figures of the

terrorists killed in the Indian

Air Force (IAF) air strike on

February 26.

Gehlot also raised doubts

over Bharatiya Janata Party

(BJP) President Amit Shah's

claims that over 250 terrorists

were killed after the IAF

bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed

(JeM) training camp in Balakot.

"From where did Shah get the

information? Even Union

Minister Giriraj Singh claimed

that 300 terrorists were neutralised.

It's time the Prime

Minister comes out with the

right numbers in this context,"

Gehlot said. The Chief Minister

also accused Modi of degrading

the level of language used in the

political discourse only to reap

electoral benefits. The double

meaning comments made by the

Prime Mister does not suit a person

of his stature, Gehlot said.

Modi should remember that

he is the Prime Minister of the

country and not of the Bharatiya

Janata Party or the Rashtriya

Swayamsevak Sangh, he said.

said the Interior Ministry Secretary.

Khan, however, claimed that the

Indian dossier lacked concrete evidence

against any member and that the

Pakistani government had demanded

evidence against the individuals being

linked to the Kashmir suicide bombing.

Action will be taken against the

members if evidence was found during

the investigations, he said. "In case

we don't find any evidence against

them, we will release them."

Foreign Office spokesman

Mohammad Faisal late Monday said

that the government had taken over the

control of all proscribed outfits operating

in Pakistan. "From now onwards,

all kinds of assets and properties of all

banned organizations will be in the

government's control," Faisal had said,

adding that the government will now

also seize the charity wings and ambulances

of such banned outfits.

2 March 2019


Opposition 'unity' hit,

Congress says 'no' to AAP

New Delhi : The opposition's desire to

put up a united front against the BJP suffered

a blow on Tuesday after the Congress

refused to tie up with the Aam Aadmi Party

(AAP) in Delhi and a miffed Chief

Minister Arvind Kejriwal vowed to defeat

the "unholy Congress-BJP alliance".

With this, Delhi is set to see a triangular

contest for Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats,

all of which were won by the Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP) in 2014 and where the

AAP finished second in all places.

The Congress decision, putting to rest

all speculation of a possible tie up, was

arrived at a meeting of its Delhi unit led by

former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had

with party President Rahul Gandhi at his

residence here. "Congress has unanimously

taken a decision that there will be no

alliance with AAP. The decision was taken

in Rahul Gandhi's presence and it is final,"

Dikshit said later. While the Delhi unit was

firm on not aligning with the AAP from the

beginning, the central leadership had been

exploring the possibility of an understanding,

harping on the need for all opposition

parties to put up a united front against the

BJP. Besides Rahul Gandhi, Congress incharge

of Delhi P.C. Chacko had been a

votary of the tie up and had been trying to

get Dikshit on board arguing that an

alliance was likely to consolidate the anti-

BJP vote. However, according to informed

sources, Dikshit stood her ground and was

RLD to contest three seats

with SP-BSP alliance

Lucknow : The Samajwadi

Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok

Dal (RLD) on Tuesday formally

announced their alliance for

the Lok Sabha election, with

the RLD getting three seats to

contest in western Uttar


The SP, which has already

sewed up an alliance with the

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP),

has left Mathura, Baghpat and

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able to convince Gandhi not to go for an

understanding with the AAP, claiming that

the anti-incumbency against the Kejriwal

government will adversely affect the

Congress. Dikshit also pointed out that the

AAP had already declared candidates for

six of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi.

Among those present at the meeting

were Congress Secretary Kuljit Singh

Nagra and Delhi unit working Presidents

Haroon Yusuf and Rajesh Lilothia and former

President Ajay Maken. Maken is

known to be bitterly opposed to the AAP.

Reacting strongly to the development,

Kejriwal accused the Congress of having a

"secret understanding" with the BJP.

"At a time when the whole country

wants to defeat (Prime Minister Narendra)

Modi-Amit Shah duo, Congress is helping

BJP by splitting anti-BJP vote," said

Muzaffarnagar for the RLD,

headed by former Union

Minister Ajit Singh. The RLD's

primary support base is known

to exist in the Jat community.

Ajit Singh's son Jayant

Chowdhary told the media at

the SP headquarters here that

his party will ensure that voters

rally behind the SP-BSP-RLD

alliance across the state.

"We will focus on all the 80

seats," he added. Asked if there

was a rethink on including the

Congress in the

'Mahagathbandhan' in Uttar

Pradesh, SP chief and former

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister

Akhilesh Yadav said the issue

did not hold any water as the

party was already a part of

their alliance. "We have left

two seats - Amethi and Rae

Bareli - for the Congress. Thus

they are a part of our alliance

and I have been saying this all

the time," he said. Asked if he

would change his allies after

the election, Jayant

Chowdhary answered in the

negative. He said this question

should be put to the BJP. "I am

happy to be associated with the

SP as here I find the freedom

to express myself," he said.

The SP will contest 37 seats,

the BSP 38, the RLD three

while two seats have been left

for the Congress, making it a

total of 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Kejriwal. "Rumours (are) that Congress

has some secret understanding with BJP.

Delhi is ready to fight against Cong-BJP

alliance. People will defeat this unholy

alliance," he said. Speaking in the same

vein, AAP Minister Gopal Rai too accused

the Congress of "unofficially helping" the

BJP. "Congress has been speaking the language

of BJP for some time. AAP feels the

way the BJP has helped the Congress win

in Punjab, the Congress is unofficially

helping the BJP win Delhi now," Rai told

the media here. The Congress snub to the

AAP is being perceived as a blow to the

larger opposition's bid to put up a united

front against the BJP and Modi. Even during

the February 13 opposition parties'

meet in which they had resolved to have a

pre-poll pact to defeat the BJP, the

Congress had appeared to keep its options

open about tying up with the AAP.

A day later, Kejriwal claimed that the

Congress had almost said 'no' for an

alliance with the AAP. At the height of the

Modi wave, the BJP got 46 per cent of Lok

Sabha votes in Delhi in 2014 while the

AAP, which was not in power then, earned

nearly 33 per cent. The Congress, despite

having ruled Delhi for 15 long years,

polled around 15 per cent and did not retain

any seat. In the later Assembly elections,

the AAP won a staggering 67 of the 70

seats and the BJP picked up the remaining

three. The Congress was wiped out.

Patna : The day-long Bharat bandh

called by Dalit and Tribal groups on

Tuesday demanding forest rights for adivasis

and job security for ad hoc teachers, and

protesting the anti-reservation policy of the

central government, evoked a mixed

response in Bihar. Police said normal life

was affected as rail and road services were

disrupted in different parts of the state,

though senior state officials said "elaborate

security arrangements had been made".

Thousands of members of Dalits, Other

Backward Classes (OBCs) and Tribal outfits,

including the Bhim Army, descended

on streets since early morning blocking

road and rail traffic. Several arterial roads

were blocked and over a dozen long-route

trains were halted at Ara, Jehanabad, Patna,

Darbhanga, Bhagalpur, Gaya, Muzaffarpur

and Begusarai railway stations.

Clashes between the protesters and the

police were reported from Bhojpur,

Madhepura, Jehanabad and Arwal.

In Bhagalpur, the protesters clashed

with local shopkeepers trying to forcibly

shut markets. Leaders of the Rashtriya

Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress, the

Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), the

Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and the

Left parties, which are supporting the shutdown,

also took to streets to protest the

University Grants Commission's new 13-

point roster system that will drastically

reduce jobs for Scheduled Castes,

Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward


The new system replaces the 200-point

roster system, in which the entire university

was taken as a unit for reservation and

recruitment. Under the new 13-point roster

system, each department is taken as a unit

for implementing recruitment and reservation

policy for teachers.

They were also

demanding an ordinance

over the nowstayed

Supreme Court

order directing eviction

of over 10 lakh families

of Adivasis and other

forest dwellers from

forest lands across 16

states. The apex court

had on February 13

ordered eviction of tribals

in unauthorised possession

of forest land. On February 28,

however, it put the order on hold. In Patna,

senior RJD leaders and party workers

staged a protest march and dharna. "The

Narendra Modi government's decision to

abolish the 13-point roster and approve 10

BSP-SP flay

Modi over video


Lucknow : The BSP-SP on Thursday slammed Prime Minister

Narendra Modi for going ahead with party events and a video

conference, purported to be the largest ever, even as tension

between India and Pakistan continued.

"At a time when India is

facing hostility of war and country

needs firm leadership, Modi,

instead of concentrating on matters

of national security, is trying

to serve political interest by

addressing BJP workers,"

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

supremo Mayawati said. The

outreach programme of the ruling party titled 'Samvad' took place

between Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party workers and supporters

as he addressed about one crore people through what the BJP said

was the "world's largest video conference" as part of the BJP's

campaign for the Lok Sabha election scheduled in April-May.

The 63-year-old Dalit leader took to micro-blogging site Twitter

and vented her anger at the event pointing out how the IAF

thwarted a Pakistani incursion on Wednesday and braveheart

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was still captive.

"The Indian government should put all the might at its command

to ensure his safe release then only will the nation breathe

a sigh of relief" she said. She termed Modi's action "ridiculous"

and said it showed a "betrayal of national sentiments".

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also targeted the ruling

party over the issue and said that when all Indians were on

the same page with regard to national security, it was "ironical

and sad" that the BJP was mustering the support of its party

workers and trying to set records. The former Chief Minister

taunting the "suit-boot sarkar" claimed that the BJP leadership

would not stop "the celebratory mode" even though some party

supporters were "angry and ashamed".

Bharat bandh evokes mixed response in Bihar

per cent quota to the EWS in the general

category is not in line with the principle of

affirmative action prescribed in the

Constitution. The RSS is hell bent upon

scrapping reservation for SC/ST & OBCs,"

said RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

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released under any

pressure: Pakistan

Islamabad :

Indian Air Force

(IAF) pilot


Varthaman was not

freed by Pakistan

due to any pressure

or compulsion,

Foreign Minister

Shah Mehmood

Qureshi said on


The Wing

Commander was

captured by Pakistan

on February 27 after

his MiG-21 crashed inside the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Masood Azhar was in Pakistan

Pakistani territory. He was then action will be taken. The and was “very unwell”.

released on Friday night. Pakistan-based terror group Speaking on Saturday, Qureshi

In an interview with BBC had claimed responsibility for said: “The government will not

Urdu, Qureshi said: “There was the February 14 suicide bombing

in Jammu and Kashmir’s organisation to use weapons or

allow any militia or militant

no pressure on Pakistan to

release him nor any compulsion.

We wanted to convey to troopers, raising tensions their use. If any group does

Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF to spread terrorism through

them (India) that we do not between India and Pakistan. this, then the government plans

want to increase your sorrow, “Pakistan will not allow to take action against them.

we do not want your citizens to anti-state elements to risk the “Pakistan does not want to

be miserable, we want peace. peace of the country or the go in the past… But if it goes in

“Pakistan does not want the region. We plan on taking the past, then we will have to

peace of the region to be risked action against extremist see how the attack on (Indian)

over politics.”

groups,” Qureshi said. Parliament, Pathankot airbase

The Minister reiterated that The Minister had admitted and Uri took place and that is a

if evidence was shared against on Thursday that JeM chief long story.”



March 2019



A Wolverhampton

Conservative councillor has

congratulated a popular

wrestling club in the city on its

success at a national competition.

Cllr Udey Singh, who represents

the Tettenhall Regis

ward, has hailed

Wolverhampton Wrestling

Club’s success on a national

level as “a great achievement

for Wolverhampton” and has

urged the council to use sporting

successes such as these to

combat high levels of childhood

obesity. At the 2019 English

Senior Open Championships,

which took place on Saturday

23rd February in Salford,

medal-winning wrestlers from

the club included Karol

Smedzic – who won Gold in the

92kg category, beating another

local wrestler Hardeep Singh.

Kurram Nawaz and Omiel

Brown both took home bronze

medals in the 61kg and 92kg

categories respectively.

The wrestling club has been

running for more than 50 years,

and was started up by newlyarrived

immigrants from India.

It has been training national

wrestling champions ever since,

in facilities provided by the

nearby Sikh temple – the Guru

Nanak Satsang Gurdwara on

the Cannock Road. The club is

home to 8 national wrestling

champions. Cllr Singh, who is

also Vice-Chair of

Wolverhampton Council’s

Children, Young People and

Families Scrutiny Panel, said:

“This is fantastic news for a

Wolverhampton-based sports

club. To be winning medals at a

national competition is a great

achievement for our city, and

shows that Wolverhampton is

still home to national and international

champions in various

sporting disciplines.

“Unfortunately child obesity

levels in Wolverhampton are far

too high, with figures suggesting

over 43% of 10-11 year olds

in Wolverhampton are obese –

way above the national average.

So the city council should be

promoting the wonderful success

of our sportsmen and

women, and encouraging children

to get involved and perhaps

become the Olympic

medal winners of the future.”

Club coaches Ranjit Singh

and Amarjit Singh said: “This is

another great achievement for

the club. We now host 8 national

champions from

Wolverhampton, and we would

welcome any further support

from the local authority and the

residents of Wolverhampton.”

DCW seeks total

BAN on acid


New Delhi : The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) here

on Tuesday issued a notice to the Divisional Commissioner

(Revenue) in the Delhi government, seeking complete ban on

sale of acid in the city. Its unregulated sale has been the major

cause for continued acid attacks on women, DCW said.

The notice comes amid DCW Chief Swati Maliwal's 13-day

long 'Mahila Suraksha Padyatra' across the city to create awareness

on women's safety. Citing data from the National Crime

Records Bureau (NCRB), the notice states there have been 20

incidents of acid

attack in Delhi, the

third highest after

West Bengal and UP.

The DCW has

initiated proceedings

under Code of Civil

Procedure and

sought an actiontaken

report in the

matter within 10

days. The DCW had

in 2016 recommended

a ban on acid

sale. The commission claimed it has given employment to nine

acid attack victims under various programmes over the past

three years. "The commission has been blessed to appoint nine

acid attack survivors.

Their energy and passion for social causes is infectious and

the DCW has benefited tremendously through their efforts. I

urge all state governments to employ them," Maliwal said. The

'Mahila Suraksha Padyatra', which entered its 10th day on

Tuesday also saw acid attack survivors participating.

Matua matriarch Binapani Devi dead,

Mamata announces state funeral

Kolkata : Dalit Matua community

matriarch Binapani Devi, popularly known

as 'Boroma', passed away at the state-run

SSKM Hospital on Tuesday following

multi-organ failure, hospital Medical

Superintendent Raghunath Misra said.

Boroma, aged 100, breathed her last at

8.52 p.m. She is survived by her younger

son Manjul Krishna Thakur as the her elder

son Kapil Krishna Thakur pre-deceased


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata

Banerjee, who rushed to the hospital after

Boroma's condition became grave,

announced the news of her passing away to

the large number of devotees of the All

India Matua Mahasangha, who had crowded

the area since the morning. Banerjee

said the funeral procession would start on

Wednesday morning, piloted by Kolkata

Police. "She would be given a gun salute

and state funeral," she announced, describing

her death as a "personal loss".

"She was like a guardian for us, she

always supported me," Banerjee said.

State Food Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick

said Boroma would be cremated at the

Matua Mahasangha headquarters known as

'Thakurbari' in Thakurnagar area of North

24 Parganas district.

"Her family members will decide the

timing of her last rights. Lakhs of her followers

will be present there to convey their

last respect to her. The local district officials

are making the necessary arrangements

in that regard," he said.

Admitted to JNM Hospital in Nadia district's

Kalyani on February 28 following

shortness of breath and fever, Boroma was

shifted to the SSKM on Sunday after her

condition deteriorated.

On Tuesday, she was put on ventilator

support after her condition became

"extremely critical", hospital authorities

said. "She was suffering from high fever

when she was brought here on Sunday

which later turned into pneumonia. She

already had pre-existing problems like

COPD and mild diabetes. She was put on

ventilation since 5 a.m. She had multiorgan

failure," Misra told IANS. Boroma

was the chief adviser of the the

Mahasangha. Considered to be Bengal's

second most influential Scheduled Caste

community comprising primarily lowcaste

Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, it

has over one crore members spread over

various southern Bengal districts, especially

North 24 Parganas.

Launched by the followers of Harichand

Thakur, it began as a religious reformation

movement that originated in what is now

called Bangladesh. Born in Jabdakathi village

of Barishal district (now in

Bangladesh), Borma was in 1933 married

to Pramatharanjan Thakur, a freedom fighter

and great-grandson of Harichand.

After the partition of India in 1947,

large number of members of the Matua

community migrated to West Bengal.

Pramatharanjan died in 1990, following

which Binapani Devi took over the leadership

of the community, which has always

been wooed by various political parties in

the state as it commands over 70 lakh votes

in various southern districts and plays a

sizeable role in determining the electoral

fortunes in at least 74 of the state's 294

Assembly seats. Boroma shared a good

rapport with Banerjee, and acted as a big

political force behind the Trinamool

Congress' win in the 2011 and 2016

Assembly elections. In December last year,

the state government bestowed on her its

highest honour - 'Bangabibhushan'.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met

her on February 2 during his visit to North

24 Parganas district's Thakurnagar.

4 March 2019


Strengthen the idea of Inclusive India to

defeat forces trying to destablise us

In the 46th session of the

OIC, external affairs Minister

Sushma Swaraj was invited and

despite Pakistan protest and

boycott, the invitation was not

retracted. The speech on ‘pluralism’

by Sushma Swaraj was

published and BJP’s ministers

were quick to jump that this was

a big turn around and successful

foreign policy initiative by the

Prime Minister. They gave

example that never in the history

of Independent India, we got any

invitation from OIC to speak. In

fact, Mr Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad

invitation was withdrawn at the

last moment in 1969 at the insistence

of Pakistan thus creating

an embarrassing condition for

the host country who had invited

him and requested him not to

attend the summit. Since then,

India has not accorded OIC any

importance but with Modi government’s

overdrive to score

political points, India decided to

send Ms Sushma Swaraj while

Pakistan boycotted the preliminary

session. Now, OIC has

passed resolution presented by

Pakistan criticizing India. While

it does not matter much as OIC

has been speaking this language

for long but the Indian position

was always ignoring it.

Ironically, Pakistan has also

been made the permanent member

of OIC’s human rights body.

Fact of the matter is that pluralism

has never been strength of

OiC member countries, neither

are they devoted democracy and

human rights. India’s strength

was its strong secular credentials

despite all its weaknesses of

prejudices and biases as constitutionally,

we are not a theocratic


Today, India is a power and

world listen to it and want to

embrace it. All this is not a one

day work but India’s growth

story and success of its institutions

now well respected world

over. Globally, the Indian model

of coexistence has been appreciated

but today there is a worry

about India and its secular character.

We always believed that

political power is based on electoral

calculations but institutions

are there to balance things and

implement rule of law to save us

from collapse. These institutions

are under tremendous strain at

the moment, If we saw how our

External Affairs Ministry and

Defense spokespersons were

under tremendous pressure then

we have to realise one fact that

Electronic media in India has

become the biggest curse to our

democracy and the a powerful

threat to our national integration.

It has put enormous pressure on

our armed forces and all their

action under public gaze and all

their acts are being reported and

discussed from morning till

night. It refuses to accept that

our ‘Fauzis’ too are human being

who have family and children.

In the din of their ‘bravery’, it

create an unimaginable strain to

‘succeed’ without understanding

the dynamics of region and

tough ground situation. While

all those who joined armed

forces have to serve the nation

and this come with their work

profile and they go there with

their head high, they also want

to live a life and being loved.

In the last few days, we have

got a number of messages from

the family members, particularly

the wives of those died on the

line of their duties whether in

war or handling the local crisis.

It is well known fact, given the

nature of our society, that the

biggest victims of war are children

and women. Once the

‘josh’ is cooled and calmed

down, the bitter realities of lives

take the center stage. We already

know how after Kargil war, a

number of young women lost

their husbands though the government

tried to compensate it

through money to hide its own

failure, the family crisis deepened.

The crisis of losing a husband

and losing a son. Now, it

was women who were actually

fighting each other. One seeking

compensation for her son, while

other for her husband. In many

places these came in the court.

This society is brutal. It does not

allow a woman to grieve as

media is there all the time. If she

marry after some days, media

jump that she married leaving

her ‘parents in laws’ in lurch. If

she not, the life is difficult for

her. Many of the parents in laws,

want ‘her’ to marry the younger

son against the will and we all

know money becomes the big


As I said, Indian foreign policy

is coming under tremendous

strain. So

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

is our



unity and integrity of the country.

I am not among those who

feel that Imran Khan has

become a ‘peacenik’ because the

power is still in the hands of the

army and the agenda to bleed

India remain the top of

Pakistan’s military leadership.

That is a historical crisis of the

Pakistan elite. Though there was

Arunachal CM announces judicial

probe into violence over PRC issue

Itanagar : Arunachal

Pradesh Chief Minister Pema

Khandu on Tuesday announced

a judicial inquiry into the violence

over the permanent residence

certificate (PRC) issue

that left three people dead and

caused damage to public and

private property.

"Justice will be served to the

bereaved families and people responsible for

causing violence in the state capital will be

brought before the law," Khandu said at the state

BJP Council meeting.

He said the probe will be carried out by a

committee headed by a retired judge to ensure a

thorough and impartial inquiry so that the real

picture of the PRC protest could be unearthed

and appropriate actions taken against people

behind the violence. He reiterated that the PRCs

for non-Arunachal ST communities of Namsai

and Changlang district have been forever

scrapped and a gazette notification

published to this effect.

Clarifying that the state government

had never intended to

move a resolution or bill in the

Assembly for the PRC, Khandu

said that the matter was to be

brought in the Assembly only

for discussion and to make the

recommendations of Joint High

Power Committee on the issue public. He said

the state government had planned to call wider

public consultation involving all stakeholders

but the issue was "misinterpreted", causing

unrest among the students. Sensing the unrest, he

said a statement was issued in social media stating

that PRC matter will not be taken up further.

"Despite such assurance, large scale rioting

and vandalism of government and public properties

took place, which meant that the anti-social

elements had taken control over the protest with

political motives," he said.

a time when many in India felt

that a military leadership was

useful for negotiations with

Pakistan and General Parvez

Musharraf was the prime example

but the Agra summit

between him and Vajpayee was

foiled by Advani and hawks like

him otherwise we would have

progressed more particularly on


In the last four and a half

years this government did not

act on the ground but through

propaganda. It allowed to create

extremely poor and divisive narrative

related to Pakistan which

focused more to cater the

Hindutva constituency and made

little impact on Pakistan. The

attacks on our security forces

increased manifold during these

years but the government and

BJP leaders

focused not

on governance


on TV

channels resulting in we became

a laughing stock world over. I

would say, more than the government,

it is the these channels

who have become huge embarrassment

for our security as well

as foreign policy establishment.

They feel that they are glorify-

Kolkata : Renewing her

attack on the Narendra Modi

government over the Pulwama

terror strike, West Bengal Chief

Minister Mamata Banerjee on

Tuesday said they are strongly

in favour of the nation and its

armed forces but against Modi

and the BJP. She also accused

Prime Minister Modi and his

party of politicising the blood

of the slain soldiers and

claimed that the real factors

behind the ongoing Indo-

Pakistan tension are being hidden

from people.

"We are in favour of the

armed forces and jawans. We

are in favour of peace. But we

are against Modi and the BJP.

"We are in favour of the

nation and its people. But we

ing our forces but in fact they are

putting immense mental pressure

through this war mongering.

Pakistan actually won the

perceptional war where hawks

there feel Modi government

more suitable their propaganda.

The drama played out by

Pakistan in the release of Wing

Commander Abhinandan actually

was to preempt things and not

allow the Indian side to score

any point but I would still appreciate

the sober way the armed

forces dealt with the issue without

giving the media much of a

chance to convert it into a

tamasha. I think it was a good

strategy not allow media access

and platform to create another

crisis. Since Pulwama these fake

warriors have been trying to create

division and crisis for the

benefit of their political patrons.

Like their patrons they too want

to go for a war without thinking

of its consequences as well as

without giving our forces to take

a decision on their own. This is

dangerous and has to stop. India

can not afford to lose even the

perceptional war.

Today, you need diplomacy

to put pressure on countries

which do not follow basic principles.

A country like North

Korea is now realising the cost

of international isolation and

coming for discussion. There are

numerous other ways. No country

would survive if it remain

isolated. Further, for India, it

would be better to strengthen

political movements in Pakistan

as well as strengthen its secular

constitutional values. If people

of India face discrimination on

the basis of their religious or

caste identities or due to their

regional identity, how are we

going to counter the propaganda

by the others. It is a serious concern.

If you exclude people,

communities from the power

structure and political process,

you give potential ammunition

to your opponents.

War take you nowhere. It

destroy. It only bring destruction

and no solution. We had so many

of them and we are still fighting.

We need to seriously engaged

with people in the political

process and develop a culturally

inclusive society. You can not

keep the kashmir people out of

talk to bring peace in South Asia

or between India and Pakistan.

Kashmir for Pakistan is its

Islamic agenda and Indian wanted

to prove their ‘secular’ and

‘democratic’ credentials. It is

important to first bring normalcy

in the valley by strengthening

institutions of governance

involving political parties and

civil society organisations.

There is no other way than talks

talks and talks. These are political

issues which can be resolved

through negotiations and open

heart. Once we have done so, it

would be easier to convince the

world that the Pakistan need to

act against the Islamic terror

organisations. It will be equally

important for Indian government

to act against the venom spewing

channels as well as the

organisations campaigning

against minorities in general and

Muslims in particular. You can

not win a war by deliberately

excluding and marginalising

nearly 15% of your population.

It is time to put this to an end

and strengthen the idea of an

inclusive India which alone will

defeat all those forces trying to

destablise us.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a

social and human rights

activist. He blogs at

twitter @freetohumanity


We are with nation, armed forces,

but against Modi, BJP: Mamata

are against 'Modi-babu'. He is a

shame for the country. Some

national channels are supporting

his acts. Maybe they too are

victims of circumstances,"

Banerjee said at the state secretariat

Nabanna here.

"We are really sorry that the

people of the nation are not

able to know the facts. The real

truth is being hidden from

them. They can give me whatever

punishment they want. I

do not care. I have every right

to speak as a common citizen,"

she said.

Reiterating her claims that

the Centre did nothing to protect

the 40 CRPF personnel

killed in the Pulwama last

month, in spite of having intelligence

inputs about the attack,

the Trinamool Congress supremo

said attempts to win elections

at the cost of the soldiers'

blood will not be allowed.

"Why the Pulwama incident

took place in spite of the prior

intelligence report about a possible

terror strike? Why the

blood of so many jawans were

politicised? Why no attempts

were made to save those people?"

Banerjee asked.

Kim Jong-un back

in Pyongyang after

Vietnam trip

Pyongyang, March 5 (IANS)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is

back in Pyongyang after concluding

his first official state visit to Vietnam

and holding his second summit with

US President Donald Trump in

Hanoi, state media reported on


According to the Korean Central

News Agency (KCNA), Kim's

armoured train arrived at the

Pyongyang train station at 3 a.m. on

Tuesday. He was received by senior

officials and an honour guard of the

North Korean Army, Efe news

reported. The train concluded a

4,500 km journey that began on

March 2 in the Vietnamese town of

Dong Dang, near the border with

China, just after the North Korean

leader attended the last acts of his

two-day official visit to Vietnam.

KCNA made no mention in its

reports about the summit held

between Kim and Trump in Hanoi on

February 27 and 28, although the

North Korean media did mention the

meeting on March 1, when they

described it as "constructive" and

"positive". The meeting ended early

and without any agreement reached

regarding the denuclearization of

North Korea and the relief of sanctions

imposed on Pyongyang,

although both sides have made an

effort to emphasise their willingness

to maintain open dialogue and to

hold another meeting at the highest

level in the near future. During its

journey back home, the train did not

stop anywhere on Chinese territory,

but passed through the cities of

Benxi, Tianjin and Shanhaiguan,

ending speculation about a possible

meeting with Chinese President Xi



Sculpture exhibition

featuring diverse

artworks inaugurated

New Delhi : "Delhi for Sculpt II", a

concept exhibition of public arts,

sculptures and installations, was inaugurated

by Lt. Governor Anil Baijal

here on Tuesday. The two-week exhibition,

at the India International Centre

(IIC), has 17 sculptors presenting

works related to different themes about

life, nature and philosophical introspection,

in the open Gandhi-King

Plaza. The open-air sculptures are

spaces of interaction and conversation,

and beautify a space just as human

beings like to don stylish wear and

accessories, the show's curator and

participating artist Naresh Kapuria told

IANS. His metalwork titled

'Conversation' depicts clusters of birds,

sculpted from iron. "Like how they

chirp together in the evenings, public

open-air sculptures also allow dialogues

to flourish." Asked if most arts

remain incomprehensible to the general

public, another artist said that the

ordinary people view art with an

extraordinary eye. "When people like

us leave, the common person will stand

and deliberate upon each art piece for

several minutes, and enrich the work

with their own interpretations."

An sculpture by Madhab Das shows

the evolution of man in the third

dimension, as he gradually emerges

from a slab of stone, to a cluster of

undefined figures, to ultimately a wellchiseled

human figurine -- possibly

showing a mental evolution of the

homo sapiens. Encouraging people to

think, the ecosystem of these sculptures

offers a moment of relaxed

thought as they walk through the Plaza


The participating artists include

Bipasha Sen Gupta, Anjali Khosa

Kaul, Farhat Jamshed, and Neeraj

Gupta, among others.

Also showing his pyrographic

works is Brajesh Kumar Singh, an IPS

officer working as an Additional

Commissioner of Police (Traffic) with

Delhi Police. The exhibition presented

by Delhi Arts Society will end on

March 19.

Don't ignore heart attack

symptoms while travelling

Tokyo : You should never ignore

heart attack symptoms, especially

while travelling, as researchers say cardiovascular

diseases (CVD) are the

leading causes of death among people

on the move.

The study, presented at Acute

Cardiovascular Care 2019 in Malaga,

Spain, indicates that the long-term outcomes

after a heart attack while travelling

can be good if one gets prompt

treatment. "If you are travelling and

experience heart attack symptoms, such

as pain in the chest, throat, neck, back,

stomach or shoulders that lasts for

more than 15 minutes, call an ambulance

without delay," said co-author

Ryota Nishio from the Juntendo

University in Japan. "Long distance

travel may lead to conditions like dehydration,

leg cramps, electrolyte imbalance,

fatigue, motion sickness and fluid

shifting due to venous blood pooling

that can precipitate a CVD," Deepak

Khurana, senior cardiac surgeon at

Yatharth Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

Thai Airways cancels flights

to Pakistan, European routes

Bangkok : Thai Airways has

announced that its flights to Pakistan and

Europe have been cancelled for Thursday.

It cancelled 11 flights to destinations in

Europe that were operated on Wednesday

and were expected to operate on

Thursday, in order to maintain the highest

passenger and operational safety standards,

Thai Airways International Public

Company Limited (THAI) said.

It cancelled its flights to Pakistan and

those operated through Pakistani airspace

on Wednesday after Islamabad closed its

airspace over tension with New Delhi,

THAI Vice President of Aviation Safety

Pratana Patanasiri said.

The company also said three flights, to

London, Moscow and Frankfurt respectively,

returned to Bangkok and arrived

safely at Suvarnabhumi Airport on

Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

THAI said it has looked

after passengers affected by

flight cancellations, in accordance

to international standards.

THAI is monitoring the

situation closely and has

advised all its passengers to

check company announcements

and keep abreast of all

related news.

There was dogfight in the

India-Pakistan airspace on

Wednesday resulting in the

capture of at least one Indian

pilot by Islamabad. It followed

an Indian Air Force

non-military pre-emptive

strike in Pakistan's Balakot

terror camps on Tuesday.

March 2019


Royal Family

to block,

report social

media trolls

London : The Royal Family has

published social media guidelines

for the public, vowing to block users

who leave offensive or abusive comments

on official channels.

Posts on the Clarence House,

Kensington Palace and Buckingham

Palace feeds may be hidden, deleted

or reported to police, the new rules

said, the BBC reported on Monday.

It follows reports that staff have

been battling a surge in abuse aimed

at the Duchesses of Cambridge and

Sussex. Neither of the duchesses

have personal social media


Meghan closed down hers last

year, before marrying Prince Harry.

In December 2017, shortly after

her engagement, she had 1.9 million

people following her posts on

Instagram, and more than 350,000

Twitter followers. Her Facebook

page had almost 800,000 likes.

Some of the worst, hate-filled

personal abuse directed at the Royal

Family's various social media

accounts is said to come from rival

fans of Kate and Meghan.

The new rules call for comments

not to "contain spam, be defamatory

of any person, deceive others, be

obscene, offensive, threatening,

abusive, hateful, inflammatory or

promote sexually explicit material

or violence", or "promote discrimination

based on race, sex, religion,

nationality, disability, sexual orientation

or age".

The Royal Family said the guidelines

were introduced to maintain "a

safe environment" on channels run

by the three households, and called

for users to show "courtesy, kindness

and respect".

The statement adds: "We reserve

the right to hide or delete comments

made on our channels, as well as

block users who do not follow these

guidelines. We also reserve the right

to send any comments we deem

appropriate to law enforcement


The official Twitter account of

the Duke and Duchess of

Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess

of Sussex and their Royal

Foundation, has almost 1.7 million

followers, while their Instagram

account boasts 7.1 million.

The Royal Family has 3.8 million

followers on Twitter, 4.5 million on

Instagram, and its Facebook page

has 4.8 million likes, while Clarence

House has 812,000 followers on

Twitter and 624,000 on Instagram.

The Duke of Cambridge has been

a prominent campaigner against

cyber-bullying, and has previously

accused social media giants of being

"on the back foot" when it comes to

fighting issues like online bullying,

fake news and hate speech.

In 2017, he convened a new

industry-led taskforce to develop a

shared response to the online bullying

of young people.

6 March 2019


Hate filled warmongering must stop

As the reports of the Indian Air

Force preemptive strike on the Jaish-e-

Mohammad terror camps inside

Pakistan territory came, there was a

sense of gratitude for ordinary Indian

who felt that the terror camps must be

destroyed at all cost but the media and

those who want to use these bombing to

raise the political climate in their favor

have taken up charge and now in full

flow as if it is they who did this act.

Political reactions were as per their

policies and with much maturity. All

complimented our forces for their act of

bravery but the prime minister and BJP

leaders went on claiming as if it BJP’s

victory. It is the same people who during

the Uttarakhand tragedy or attack

on Taj did not give credit to the government

but made every effort to suggest

that the government was different than

the army and forces. Today, all the

political parties across the spectrum

have supported the Strike which is a

good sign and BJP and its leaders must

desist from taking credit of these

claims. Secondly, these issues are of

utmost importance and therefore it is

important to leave the army and the

Indian diplomacy to deal with the issue

and not convert into another hate propaganda

back home. India must remain

united facing this as attempt will be

there to create divisions.

The biggest casualty during the ‘war

time’ is truth particularly when media

become part of the propaganda machinery

of the governing class. India and

Pakistan media are competing with

each other in who can stoop low to the

level of ridiculousness. We are not even

allowing the army and the requisite

Ministry to handle it.

After the Pulwama, we felt proud of

the way CRPF officers send their categorical

message to the country that their

Jawans did not die to create religious

polarisation and hatred in the country. I

can say that the Ministry of External

Affairs Press briefing too was mature

and balanced. Of course, the claims and

figures mentioned are only as per the

‘information’ received. The best part

was when the Foreign Secretary Mr

Vijay Gokhle spoke in a fairly measured

way about ‘India’s ‘non-military preemptive

strike’ which clearly mean that

for India it was not a war against

Pakistan but specific target of ‘eliminating’

the terrorists camps and outfits.

Now, it is another matter whether those

camps, terrorists, hatemongers or

Jehadis have been killed and whether

the threat to common Indians from these

terror outfits have now finished.

Frankly, it was not a press-conference

but a statement of India’s position after

crossing the LoC or International

Border. Now the ‘entertainment’ channels

are reporting from ‘sources’ that

over 300 terrorists were killed including

Yousuf Azhar, brother in law of Masood

Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad.

The point is how do our news reporters

come to the conclusion about the deaths

and the individual when the entire operation

was carried out in night and just

confined to bombing of a particular target

without any ground operations ?

Why the media cant keep quiet when

the military establishment has not spoken

about these things.

The problem is that war or military

can be used for short term process to

bring thing to a certain

level but ultimately we all

have to resort to political

process. India and

Pakistan can not absolve

themselves from the political process as

there is no other option. There are however,

people, both the sides who think

of eliminating or deleting communities

and countries from the world map.

Added with idiotic fulmination and

hateful jingoism being played by the

corporate sponsored TV channels who

celebrate these stories of war when people

want peace,

During the war the level of rhetoric

grows and all this is highly patriarchical,

talks of machosim and create a

false narrative of your ‘strength’. The

biggest understanding of this is that

what Pakistan is facing today because

of the fanatic Islamic groups who are

extra-state actors and who think they

are the law unto themselves with army

actively backing them. It is these fanatics

whose shout is more visible than the

common person in the street who wish

friendly relations with India. The danger

of extra-state actors destroying

democratic and constitutional values in

India is equally powerful. We should be

more worried because

whatever formed of

democracy was here, it

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

is better than any military

or dictatorial regime. We all now

who are the forces taking law in their

hand and hitting people at their will.

Democracy there was always fragile

and under control of the military but we

cant have the same in India. Our forces

have shown extremely professional

approach on the issue of being non

political but for the last few years we

are witnessing the political leadership

trying to reap political benefit of a military

action. The soldiers die for the

country and the politicians want to benefit


Geopolitical war games are difficult

to understand. It is surprising that India

did not speak anything about the suicide

attack on Iranian Revolutionary

Guards in which 27 of these guards

were killed and the Iranian Defence

Minister blamed Pakistan based militant

groups. Why India remain quiet to

this issue and did not attempt to find a

common thread of Pakistani support for

these extra state actors. It is also strange

that we were more than eager to

blame the Saudis who did not even

bother to make a statement of condemnation

of Pulwama killing. Was

India’s decision of ignoring Iran was

because of the fear of Americans

who want to isolate Iran ? Where is

the independent foreign policy ?

Even Afghanistan has blamed

Pakistan based Jehadi groups trying to

destablise their government but it is

surprising we do not have any common

strategy with these countries.

At the time when the President

Donald Trump and his North Korean

counterpart Kim Jong Un are meeting in

Vietnam which gives a new hope to the

world that ultimately nations will have

to speak to each other and take a clear

stand against forces which have state

patronage to destablise their neighbors.

Each country today has a problem

points and they need to resolve them

through creating better circumstances

and building confidence among people.

India has said that it did the ‘non

military preemptive strike’ on Pakistan

because there were specific intelligence

inputs that Jaish had planned to carry

more suicide attacks in India. Should

we think now that we will not have any

further escalation. Will Pakistan keep

quiet or respond ? Will they act against

the terror groups ? Saying that it does

not exists when they raise open threat is

basically a blatant lie and will justify

Indian action given the situation world

over when nation states have to take

care of their people and protect them.

The only thing is whether threat to people

at large will be reduced or end ?

I think ,It is time for all of us to stop

these jingoism and let the forces and the

diplomats handle the issue. We are not

afraid of government taking a decision

to protect people but our problem is the

fanatics back home trying to wage a war

against our own people simply because

we may not follow their political ideologies.

The thing is simple that armed

forces will protect us and may win us a

war but our biggest threat is from the

jingoism and hatred being spread on silver

screen by the totally corrupted

media which has taken the role of dividing

people and creating war hysteria.

We have trust in the maturity of our

forces but zero trust on these loudspeakers

who have no sense of accountability

and responsibility towards the

people. We hope good sense will prevail

and diplomatic efforts will made to

isolate the terror outfits and hatemongers

not only nationally but also internationally

so that we can wage a decisive

war against poverty, superstition,

discrimination and illiteracy as defeating

them only will make us a great

nation and a big power.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs


twitter @freetohumanity


Kumbh enters Guinness Book of World Records

New Delhi : The Prayagraj

Kumbh Mela 2019 has secured

place in the Guinness Book of

World Records for the largest

crowd management, largest sanitation

drive and largest painting

exercise of public sites, the government

said here on Sunday.

"A three-member team from

the Guinness World Records visited

Prayagraj for the purpose.

Exercises at a large-scale were

performed before the team for

four days, from February 28 to

March 3.

"Around 503 shuttle buses

were pressed into service on the

highway in one go for the team

on February 28. Several people

participated in a painting exercise

on March 1 and 10,000

workers engaged in cleaning at

the Kumbh, all performing their

duties together," the Ministry of

Culture said in a statement.

The festival, which began on

January 14, will conclude on

March 4 with the sixth and final

"Shahi Snan" (royal bath) on the

occasion of Maha Shivratri.

The previous five royal baths

were held successfully with

more than 22 crore pilgrims taking

holy dips, the Ministry said.


Not worthy of

Nobel Peace Prize,

says Imran Khan

Islamabad : Pakistan Prime

Soon after the Indian pilot was

Minister Imran Khan, addressing calls

handed over to the Indian authorities,

by his countrymen on social media and



in his government to award him a

Nobel Peace Prize for "de-escalating"

tensions with India, on Monday said

that he is not worthy of the honour.

"I am not worthy of the Nobel Peace

Prize. The person worthy of this would

be the one who solves the Kashmir dispute

according to the wishes of the

Kashmiri people and paves the way for

peace and human development in the

subcontinent," he tweeted. Supporters

and officials of Khan's administration

started lobbying for a Nobel Peace

Prize for him following his announcement

to release Indian Air Force (IAF)

officer Wing Commander Abhinandan


started trending in Pakistan on Twitter.

Until Sunday, over 300,000 people had

signed online petitions seeking the

Nobel for Khan.

A resolution was also submitted in

the country's National Assembly

Secretariat last week for the same. The

motion stated that Khan played a

"sagacious role in reducing tension

between Pakistan and India which was

created due to warmongering attitude

of the Indian leadership".

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples

Party, which had earlier questioned the

timing of the release of the Indian

who was captured by Pakistan on inside Pakistani territory. He was pilot, expressed its sorrow over the

February 27 after his MiG-21 crashed released on March 1.

ongoing campaign for the award.


March 2019

SC upholds green

bench order on saving

Bengaluru lake

New Delhi/Bengaluru : The

Supreme Court upheld the National

Green Tribunal order to clear

encroachments around Bengaluru's

largest Bellandur lake, said petitioner

and BJP Rajya Sabha member Rajeev

Chandrasekhar on Tuesday. "The dismissal

of the appeal to quash the

Tribunal order

of May 4, 2016

means defendants


Tech Zone and



Services have

to pay Rs 117.5

crore and Rs

13.5 crore


demolish structures and vacate over 3

acres of encroached area in the lake

catchment area," said Chandrasekhar

in a statement from Delhi. The order

was pronounced by a three-judge

bench of Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.

Abdul Nazeer and Justice M.R. Shah.

Chandrasekhar's Namma

Bengaluru Foundation moved the

NGT in March 2014 and the top court

subsequently to save the lake and its

wetlands from rampant encroachments

and pollution. Located in the

city's southeast suburb, the lake is

spread over 148 square kilometres.

"Mantri Tech Zone, a leading real

estate developer, will also have to rebuild

the storm water drainage,

which was

diverted to

make way for

the illegal construction,"


said. His foundation

has been

fighting since

2014 for

reclaiming the

lake's catchment

area from vested interests,

including land sharks."The battle to

save the lake was a David versus

Goliath legal fight in the green bench

and the apex court against builders

supported by the state government.

By upholding the Tribunal order, the

top court cracked the builder-politico

nexus that was looting Bengaluru and

the lake," he alleged.

India, Bangladesh

begin joint

military exercise

New Delhi : India and

Bangladesh on Sunday began

a two-week-long joint military

exercise in Tangail,

Bangladesh, to hone their tactical

and technical skills to

counter insurgency and terrorism.

"The eighth edition of

the exercise "Sampriti" started

at the Bongobondhu

Cantonment, Tangail,

Bangladesh, with an impressive

opening ceremony on

March 3. The participating

contingents stood side by

side and gave a ceremonial

salute to the national flags of

both the countries to the

strains of 'Jana Gana Mana'

and 'Amar Shonar Bangla',"

the Ministry of Defence said

in a statement.

The Bangladesh contingent

was represented by the

36 East Bengal Battalion,

while the Indian side was represented

by the 9th Battalion

of the Rajputana Rifles.

"The aim of the exercise is

to increase mutual cooperation,

bonhomie and camaraderie

between the two

armies through inter-operability

and joint tactical exercises,"

read the government


A company group from the

Bangladesh Army and an

equal number from the Indian

Army are taking part in the

exercise that will see them

hone tactical and technical

skills in countering insurgency

and terrorism and aid

the civil authorities in disaster

management in an United

Nations peace keeping scenario,

involving combined

deployment at a battalion

level. The exercise, which

was started in 2009 with a

platoon level engagement,

graduated to the company

level in 2015.

8 March 2019


Names of 82 Punjab

Sportspersons for

state honour approved

Chandigarh : Punjab Chief Minister

Amarinder Singh has approved names of

82 sportspersons to be conferred the

Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award, the state’s

highest sports honour.

He also approved the proposal to

include 12 Padma Shri, Arjuna and Rajiv

Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees from the

state in this list, according to an official

statement here on Sunday.

The decision, taken by the Chief

Minister while chairing the Award Apex

Committee meeting on Saturday, would

clear the last eight years’ backlog.

The award carries cash prize of Rs 2

lakh along with a trophy of Maharaja

Iran slams Britain for


Lebanese Hezbollah

Ranjit Singh. Singh also asked state

Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh

Sodhi to thrash out the modalities for setting

up a sports university and review the

progress regularly to ensure that the project

was completed within the timeframe.

The Chief Minister also gave his consent

to flag off the full marathon, dedicated

to the 550th birth anniversary celebrations

of Guru Nanak Dev, on March 31.

Singh said the sports ecosystem,

strengthened with the upgradation

of infrastructure in the last two years,

would be instrumental in nurturing

the budding talent. The state’s new

sports policy had provided the muchneeded

thrust to nurturing budding players,

he said.

Khattar launches

Rs 4,106 crore projects

Amethi ordnance factory

was already producing

small arms: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘habitual

liar’, Congress President Rahul

Gandhi on Monday said the ordnance

factory Modi inaugurated in Amethi on

Sunday had been producing small arms

for a while.

“Prime Minister, I laid the foundation

of Amethi’s ordnance factory in

2010. For the past several years, it has

been producing small arms. Yesterday,

you went to Amethi and being forced

from the habit, you lied again,” the

Congress President tweeted in Hindi.

He also questioned if Modi “don’t feel ashamed at all”.

On Sunday, Modi inaugurated the ordnance factory which

will produce AK-203 assault rifles and subsequently export

them to other countries.

Speaking at the event, Modi said that this work had begun

way back in 2009.

52 specially abled couples

tie knot in mass wedding

Tehran, Iranian Foreign

Ministry on Saturday condemned

Britain’s move to

blacklist Lebanon’s

Hezbollah as a terrorist


Foreign Ministry

Spokesman Bahram Qasemi

said in a statement that

Hezbollah is a very popular

group in Lebanon, Xinhua

news agency reported.

“Hezbollah has a number

of parliamentary seats and is

present in the Lebanese cabinet,”

Qasemi said, adding

that in the meantime,

“Hezbollah is supported by

the Lebanese people for

defending the country’s sovereignty

and territorial

integrity against the Zionist

regime (Israel) occupation

and aggression.” The move

by Britain is turning a blind

eye on a large section of the

Lebanese people and legal

position of Hezbollah in the

Lebanon’s political structure,

he said.

On Monday, Britain said

that it planned to blacklist all

wings of Hezbollah due to

its “destabilising role in the

Middle East.”

Hezbollah on Friday condemned

the British decision

to list it as a terrorist organisation,

saying that Britain

has “servile obedience to the

US administration”.

Chandigarh, Haryana

Chief Minister Manohar Lal

Khattar here on Sunday

launched 211 development

projects worth Rs 4,106 crore

through video conferencing.

Addressing people after

the ceremony, Khattar said:

“This would usher in an era

of development in the state.”

The Chief Minister also said

he had made 7,916 announcements

pertaining to development

during his stint.

Taking on the earlier

Congress government, he said:

“Only 6,500 announcements

had been made by the previous

Chief Minister during his 10-

year regime.” The projects

inaugurate on Sunday include

63 projects worth Rs 408

crore and laying of the

foundation stones for 148

projects worth Rs 3,698

crore, a government statement

said. Khattar also said

Prime Minister Narendra

Modi will launch a new

scheme, Pradhan Mantri

Shramyogi Maandhan

Yojana, on March 5. “All

eligible beneficiaries of the

scheme would have to contribute

a monthly premium

of Rs 55 or Rs 200, and they

would be entitled for monthly

pension of Rs 3,000 after the

age of 60,” he said.

Several injured in clashes as police

stop BJP bike rally in Bengal

Kolkata, Several people,

mostly BJP members, were

injured as clashes broke out

in various parts of West

Bengal on Sunday when

police sought to stop party

activists from taking out

‘Vijay Sankalp’ bike rallies.

Launched by Bharatiya

Janata Party President Amit

Shah on Friday, the bike rallies

are a part of the party’s

nationwide outreach campaign

ahead of the upcoming

Lok Sabha elections.

However, in West Bengal,

the rallies were denied permission

because of board examinations

and traffic issues, a senior

police officer said.

In Kolkata, police intercepted

rally participants on Central

Avenue, Jorabagan, Kakurgachi

and other important points. In

West Medinipur’s Goaltore

area, BJP activists tried to break

police barricades, leading to a

baton charge by police and a

scuffle, which left several people

injured. The BJP, in a statement,

claimed that 40 workers

were injured, 22 arrested and

200 bikes vandalised in West

Medinipur. In South Dinjapur,

10 were injured, while as many

as 176 workers were arrested in

Asansol, with two of them seriously

injured. In north Kolkata,

35 workers were taken into custody

and 10 workers were

badly injured, the statement

said. BJP state unit

President Dilip Ghosh

said if the police and the

administration continued

to create hindrances to

their party programmes,

the party would retaliate.

“The workers were

deliberately attacked and

instigated to retaliate,

leading to disruptions on

the streets. Police wanted

us to resist, so that

Trinamool could make it an

issue and that is what exactly

happened,” Ghosh said.

However, Trinamool Congress

Secretary General Partha

Chatterjee warned the administration

would strongly oppose

all such efforts to spread communal

violence. He said as a

political party, the Trinamool

would ensure peace and harmony

in the state.

New Delhi, Over 50 differently-abled couples tied the knot at

a mass wedding ceremony, here on Sunday.

The mass wedding was organised by Narayan Seva Sansthan,

a charitable organisation, which runs a hospital. It offers free

polio treatment and surgery for differently-abled.

Traditional customs and rituals were followed at the wedding.

Narayan Seva Sansthan has organised 30 mass marriages in

the last 18 years for couples belonging to the differently-abled

and economically weaker sections.

“Narayan Seva Sansthan has been organising Divyang Vivah

for the last 18 years. The objective is to provide support to the

differently-abled and underprivileged people and make them

part of mainstream society,” Prashant Agarwal, president,

Narayan Seva Sansthan, said. “The couples were given household

goods to start their married life. Accessories and makeup

articles were also given to brides,” he said.

Prashant Kishor apologises after

NDA leaders didn’t pay homage

to slain CRPF trooper

Patna, After the father of a slain CRPF trooper expressed

anguish and anger over National Democratic Alliance (NDA)

leaders for not paying homage to his

dead son, Janata Dal-United (JDU)

national Vice President Prashant

Kishor has apologised to him. “We

are sorry for the error of judgement

on part of those of us who should

have been there with you in this hour

of grief,” Kishor said in a tweet on


Pintu Singh, a resident of

Begusarai district, was killed in

Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district

on Friday during an anti-terrorist

operation. After none of the NDA

leaders or Bihar ministers were present at the Patna airport when

his body was brought in on Sunday, his father Chakradhar Singh

said: “Ministers are only concerned about remaining in power. It

shows how concerned they are about the soldiers.

“NDA leaders were more concern about Sankalp rally of

(Prime Minister) Narendra Modi. They have neglected to pay

homage to a brave soldier who was killed for the country.” ASIA March 2019 9

While the nation mourn the deaths of

42 Jawans of the CRPF and rightfully

so standing with these people, sons of

the farmers and Bahujan communities.

The fact is it is the poor who face the

challenge but brahmanical elite in India

enjoy the money in the TV studios with

their pathetic discussions and deliberate


Rather than questioning the absolute

failures of this government which is

rarely bothered to bring normalcy in

Jammu and Kashmir, allowed its paid

channels to abuse every Kashmiri and

use the Kashmir issue for political purposes.

We know well that the Sanghis,

would now jump with their favorite

topic of Hindu and Muslim. They tried

with Aligarh Muslim University and

they will do it more during the elections.

Is it not the shameful thing that these

channels continue to rant the anti Muslim

bias and speak deliberately in a language

which make Muslims and Pakistan as

synonymous and interchangeable. The

fact is that Pakistani power elite, the military

and ISI will always use this narrative

to destablise India but they have

failed miserably. Now these paper tigers

want to wage a war with Pakistan as if

this is just a one day affair.

Yesterday, I was at an apartment and

taking the elevator when a boy around

8-9 years of age also took it. He was

having a ‘pistol’ in his hand saying that

he would lead the Indian army and finish

all the anti nationals and Pakistanis.

My friend just jokingly told him ‘beta

you are needed on the border, that

would be better’.

What I am saying is that the Indian

middle classes which are predominantly

savarna Hindus want to enjoy everything

without an inch of sacrifices. We

all know who were the people who

died, who are getting killed. They are

all the poor. A majority of them hailing

from OBC-Dalit communities. If we

want to know their regional background,

majority of them hail from

Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar,

Rajasthan but then this will always be

the case naturally.

The channels are discussing whether

we can eliminate Pakistan or not but

none debated on the intelligence failure.

They dont want to discuss the failure

of the government to encourage the

political process in the state. When you

want to eliminate everything and make

it an administrative issue, then these are

bound to happen but any saner talk

these times will give you a tag of being

anti national.

Those who dont know the history

and complexities of partition of India,

jump into it to suggest how Nehru gave

Pakistan to Muslim and sadly these are

people with a wider ‘following’.

Obviously, being famous and having

big follower-ship on social media, is not

the guarantee of saying truth but then

Islamabad : Islamabad should begin

its own probe into the activities of the

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a Pakistani

newspaper said on Saturday, with two

editorials faulting Pakistan for boycotting

the OIC meet due to India's presence.

The Dawn termed as "incongruous"

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood

Qureshi's announcement of boycotting

the OIC's Council of Foreign Ministers

meeting in the UAE because of an invitation

by the grouping to his Indian

counterpart Sushma Swaraj to address

Stop war mongering on and

focus on building bridges in


they ‘gain’ knowledge through Sangh

Parivar fed ‘whatsapp University’.

I have said it many time to people

how the Sangh Parivar spread these lies

about partition of India. I want to ask

them as suppose India remain unpartitioned

then how would govern it and

deal with your fellow citizens who do

not belong to your religion. How do you

bring peace in society if you dont want

to acknowledge their right to live with

dignity. Right now, the same thing is

happening on their views on the issue of

Jammu and Kashmir. Pragmatics and all

those who know the harsh realities will

ask for political process and discuss the

issues in details but Sanghis would term

all those living in Kashmir as Pakistanis

and therefore no right to live in India.

So land and geographical entity become

more important than the people for the

Sanghis. Hence if we say that partitioned

be undone, they wont realise that

in that condition

Muslims would be the

biggest block. Their

solution to everything is

that if the Muslims and Christians dont

‘like’ India then they must leave India.

Now, ‘like’ in typical Sanghi language

is to ‘accept’ brahmanical hegemony, be

a second class citizen and not ask for

any rights equivalent to caste Savarnas.

They have the same ideas about

Kashmir as they dont want to talk to

Kashmiris as what are their issues,

problems and other grievances. No,

every Kashmiri is a suspect and that has

made government and its agencies suspect

in the eyes of the people.

The most dangerous role has been

played by the Sanghi media which is

creating a war like situation. Frankly,

more than a war they want to create

civil war by deliberately creating narratives,

targeting Muslims, their institutions

and leaders. Will that take us anywhere


Pakistan’s power structure dominated

by the military actively added by the

western world to suit their own interests

in Afghanistan, has never accepted a

secular plural progressive India. The

more we succeed in living together in

greater harmony, the

argument and justification

of a theocratic

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

state fail to impress any

one. Theocracies and

militarisation are not the answer for

these created hatred. The polarisation

help the merchandisers of hatred who

continue to build their narrative of ‘victimisation’

and ‘oppression’. Once we

are strong internally and listen to the

issues of the people in a democratic

way, things will become better but to

build a strong India the precondition is

to respect and honor its ethnic diversities

and understand the historicity of the

issues. Sensitiveness of people in border

states need to be understood as it is

not merely geography but people who

are important. You can not allow things

like that happened in Jammu yesterday

when Muslims were targeted by the

communal begot.

Government of India must send

strong guidelines to these TV channels

to behave responsibly. Let the ministry

of External Affairs do its work of doing

things diplomatically as well as

Ministry of Home to do the task of

bringing normalcy in the valley. Jammu

and Kashmir police and its officers

have complained against the mischief

being played by these Sanghi

channels as they want to use the

opportunity to demonise the

Muslims and make the ground for

favorable political atmosphere for

the ruling party.

The ‘deshbhakt’ have forgotten

that it was Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his

foreign minister Jaswant Singh and

intelligence chief Ajit Doval who handed

over the dreaded terrorist of the JeM

to his friends in Kandahar. Moreover,

the meeting.

"In the midst of a crisis with India, to

reject an opportunity to put across

Pakistan's point of view to the OIC

countries is a decision that will do little

to advance this country's diplomatic

position," it said in an editorial. In similar

vein, the Daily Times said that

Islamabad "has, perhaps, hastily decided

to boycott and apparently send junior

officials" to the OIC summit.

It quoted former President Asif Ali

Zardari as expressing valid concerns

over the boycott since Pakistan may have lost "a momentous opportunity" to effectively convey its concerns and take

that time too, the government came

under pressure as the families of those

abducted were abusing the government

and asking for taking immediate action.

The hysteria had been created and as

government faulted on many places, it

could not allow, its middle class vote

bank turn against it, hence it agreed.

Now, those who near dear got

released never complained but others

continued to speak. Frankly speaking, it

is the same crowed which market the

nationalism for their own profit. The

soldiers , the son of soil who sweat and

die for the nation do not get the money

that these paid deshbhakts on TV screen

get. The retired generals are in ‘big’

‘demands’ as if they are the only

panacea for the nation. Why should we

talk about poverty, discrimination, caste

system, untouchability, student unrest,

employment, farmers suicide etc, when

we have got a ‘bigger’ issue now. The

thing is that many of these hatemongers

were waiting for such an issue to come

so that they do their chest thumping and

keep the atmosphere ‘hot’ so that other

important issues gets into cold storage.

When the Taj was attacked in

Mumbai, these channels were live

broadcasting troops movement and

started condemning the government.

They did not give any credit to the government

and made them villain. They

praised the army but not give credit to

political leadership as if army did work

without the guidance of political leadership

but when surgical strikes happened

the media gave credit to the government.

This corrupted media does not

question this government for its failure.

All its questions are to the opposition

hence it want Rahul Gandhi and others

not to ‘politicise’ the issue but does not

question a Manoj Tiwari dancing on

some c-grade Bhojpuri songs or Modi

and Amit Shah continue campaigning

elsewhere. It is highly appreciable that

all the opposition parties stood together

and asked the government to do the

needful . The response from the major

sections of society was far better and

superior than the Sanghi inspired TV

channels and politicians who are back

to their divisive and hate propaganda.

We need utmost restraint in these

hours. Let those who are working on

the ground do those things. Political

process must take center stage along

with increasing vigilance on the border.

Creating communal polarisation will

only gladden the heart of those who

want the Indian subcontinent in perpetual

war so that more money is spent on

arms and ammunition and ignore the

bigger issues of poverty, illiteracy,

superstition and ignorance.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs


twitter @freetohumanity


Islamabad should have attended OIC meet: Pakistani editorials

other members of the organisation into

confidence over the India-Pakistan ties.

Although India must prove that JeM

carried out the suicide bombing which

killed 40 CRPF troopers on February

14, "Pakistan must nevertheless start

investigating the role of JeM and(its

chief Masood) Azhar in the Pulwama

attack on its own", said an editorial.

Added the Dawn: "Slowly and and

incrementally, the region may be limping

back towards relative normality, but

there is still much to be done before the

current crisis can be deemed to be over."

10 March 2019


Delhi to install hydraulic lifts in

1,000 standard floor CNG buses

New Delhi : Taking a step

towards making public transport

accessible to all, the Delhi

Cabinet on Friday approved the

installation of hydraulic lifts in

1,000 standard

floor CNG buses

in the city.

The Cabinet,

in a meeting

chaired by Chief

Minister Arvind


approved a proposal

of the

Department of

Transport for

reimbursement of

incremental cost for fitment of

hydraulic lifts in 1,000 standard

floor CNG-propelled buses to

the concessionaires.

"Sufficient modes of public

transport are the only way to

reduce air pollution in Delhi and

bring down the number of vehicles

on the roads to reduce congestion,"

the government said in

a statement. "The technology of

fitment of lifts in standard floor

buses is new to India. However a

prototype of buses with

hydraulic lifts for wheelchairbound

commuters has been prepared,"

the statement added. The

cabinet approved the proposal to

allow reimbursement of the

overall cost of fitment of lifts on

1,000 buses, at a benchmark cost

of Rs 3,63,396 per bus, amounting

to a total of Rs

36,33,96,000 to the

concessionaires, it


"The reimbursement

of the cost

shall be made to the

concessionaires, at

the time of actual

induction of buses

subject to a supplementary


to be executed by

the concessionaire with the

department about the recovery of

expenses incurred by government

after taking into account

the depreciation factor in the

eventuality of termination of

agreement," it added.

The decision to install

hydraulic lifts in standard floor

buses has been taken following

the directions from the Supreme

Court and the Delhi High Court,

it said.

The Delhi government made

a promise to bear the installation

cost of lifts in 1,000 buses before

the Supreme Court.

Delhi Assembly passes

2019-20 Budget

New Delhi : The Delhi

Assembly on Thursday passed

by a voice vote the Rs 60,000

crore budget, fifth of the Aam

Aadmi Party (AAP) government,

for 2019-20.

Tabled on

Tuesday by Deputy

Chief Minister

Manish Sisodia, the

budget outlay was

two times the first

one presented by the

AAP in 2014-15.

Education once

again received the

major share, which

was 13.21 per cent

higher than the

Budget Estimate

(BE) of Rs 53,000

crore in 2018-19.

Speaking at the motion of

thanks, Sisodia also the Finance

Minister, said he took "personal

interest in supervising a

makeover of school education

in Delhi in the past four years as

the Education Minister."

He also shared a four-minute

video on the transformation in

government schools since the

AAP came to power.

"This video should be shown

throughout the country. I had

asked the officials to show it in

cinema halls and television

channels in Delhi. But the

Education Department officers

had denied permission in writing,

saying how could they

believe the video

showed the transformation

in Delhi

schools," Sisodia

said. Pointing at the

Bharatiya Janata

Party MLAs,

Sisodia said: "They

have intentionally

got such officers

posted in the Delhi


Speaker Ram

Niwas Goel later

said a special committee

will be

formed to look into the matter.

Hailing the budget, Chief

Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it

was for everyone and dedicated

to the soldiers.

Anti-terrorism protest at UN demands action

against Pakistani terror sponsors, JeM chief

United Nations : Members of

the Indian community and international

supporters have held a

protest outside the UN headquarters

demanding that the international

organisation act against

Pakistani leaders abetting terrorism

and impose an arms embargo

on Islamabad.

The protest on Sunday by about

400 people also included concerned

citizens from the US,

Bangladesh, Caribbean countries,

Sri Lanka and Israel, as well as

from Pakistan's Balochistan


The protesters held up signs

listing various terrorist attacks

around the world linked to

Pakistan -- from Pulwama to New

York's Times Square, and from

Mumbai to London, and the

Pakistani military's atrocities during

Bangladesh's War of Independence.

Their posters also listed terrorist

organisations like the Al Qaeda, Lashkare-Taiba,

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM),

Haqqani Network, Taliban, Laskshar-e-

Omar, Sipah-e-Sahaba that are based in

Pakistan and operate internationally.

A memorandum from the protesters to

the UN said the world body should

declare Pakistan a global terrorist state

and JeM leader Masood Azhar an international

terrorist and impose sanctions on


As a member of the Security Council,

China has been protecting Azhar and has

vetoed efforts by other members to add

him to the list of global terrorists so he

would face international sanctions.

The JeM claimed responsibility for the

suicide bombing in Pulwama in Jammu

and Kashmir on February 14 which killed

40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.

The memorandum also asked the UN

to impose an arms embargo on Islamabad

and financial and travel sanctions on

Pakistani political and military leaders

involved in protecting and aiding terrorist


Overseas Friends of BJP President

Krishna Reddy Anugula said that they

would send the memorandum to

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on


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March 2019


Air Force doesn't count

casualties: IAF chief

Coimbatore : Amidst a raging

controversy over the damage

inflicted on the Jaish-e-

Mohammad (JeM) terror camp

in Balakot, IAF chief B.S.

Dhanoa on Monday said his

force does not count human

casualties but the airstrike had

hit the "target".

"The Indian Air Force is not

in a position to clarify the number

of casualties. The government

will clarify that. We don't

count human casualties. We do

not count how many people were

dead. We count what targets we

have hit or not. We hit our target.

The air force doesn't calculate

casualty numbers. The government

does that," he told the

media here. "The target has been

clearly amplified by the Foreign

Secretary in a statement. If we

plan to hit the target, we hit the

target. Otherwise why would he

(Pakistan Prime Minister) have

responded. If we dropped bombs

in the jungles why would he

respond," Dhanoa said in his

first public remarks on the

February 26 air force operation

as a consequence of the February

14 Pulwama attack in which 40

CRPF personnel were killed.

There has been a controversy

over the number of people

killed in the attack on the

JeM camp in Balakot. While

officially no figures have

been given, BJP President

Amit Shah claimed in

Ahmedabad on Sunday that

more than 250 terrorists were

killed in that airstrike.

Union Minister S.S.

Ahluwalia had said that the

Balakot strike was to convey a

message that India has the capacity

to strike deep inside enemy

lines and was not intended to

inflict any human casualties.

Dhanoa said the bomb damage

assessment was a different aspect

and it was difficult for the IAF to

confirm casualties. How many

people were inside the targets

cannot be said. He also defended

the use of the vintage MiG-21

Bison in the aerial engagement

with a large package of intruding

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighters

on the Line of Control (LoC).

"One is a planned operation

in which you plan and carry out.

But when an adversary does a

strike on you, every available

aircraft goes in, irrespective of

which aircraft it is. All aircraft

are capable of fighting the

enemy. "The Mig-21 Bison is a

None on other side

would have survived if

we had Rafale: Modi

Jamnagar (Gujarat) : Prime

Minister Narendra Modi on

Monday asserted that the defence

situation in the country would

have been different if the Indian

Air Force had Rafale fighter jets.

"Not one this side would have

gone and no one on the other

would have survived," he

added.Addressing a rally here,

the prime minister called upon

the Opposition, without naming

it, to use "common sense" when

it speaks about the Rafale jets.

"If the Indian Air Force had

the Rafale today, the situation

would have been different, but

some people do not have it in

them to understand this," Modi

said, adding "When I say this,

they question the Air Force

strikes."The prime minister, who

is on a two-day visit to his home

state, went on, "The nation

agrees that the disease of terrorism

has to be eliminated. I want

to ask you, don't you trust what

our armed forces say? "Should

or should not everyone, including

me, believe in our armed

forces without raising questions?

We should be proud of our

armed forces." Modi was

addressing the rally after inaugurating

a 750-bed annexe and PG

hostel of the Guru Gobind Singh

Hospital here. He also laid the

foundation stones of various

development projects in the

Saurashtra region.

The prime minister will reach

Ahmedabad later in the day to

inaugurate the first phase of the

six-km-long Metro rail service.

He will also lay the foundation

stone of the Patidar community's

Umiya Mata Temple Complex in

the city.

capable aircraft, it has been

upgraded, it has better radar, airto

air missiles and better

weapons system," he said.

Refusing to get drawn into

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's

comment that the outcome would

have been different had Rafale

jets joined the service, Dhanoa

said that after the upgradation,

the Bison is 3.5 generation with a

range of missiles and avionics.

He said it has all the systems like

chaffs, flares and other features.

The IAF chief also said that the

first Rafale should come to India

by September. Amidst various

reports in the international media

questioning the veracity of the

Indian claim of shooting down a

PAF F-16, Dhanoa said it is confirmed

that the American jets

were used.

On the question of the US

objecting to Pakistan using F-


to reopen

on May 9

Dehradun : The sacred

portals of the Kedarnath temple,

a top Himalayan shrine

in Uttarakhand, will reopen

on May 9 after a gap of nearly

six months, officials said

on Monday.

The date and timing for

the opening was announced

on the occasion of Maha

Shivratri at Omkareshwar

temple, Ukhimath in

Rudraprayag district, which

is also the winter sojourn of

the Kedarnath idols. Amid

chanting of vedic hymns and

sounds of conches, the priests

announced the muhurat.

"The Kedarnath temple

will reopen at 5.35 a.m. on

May 9," an official of the

Badrinath-Kedarnath temples


The muhurat for the

reopening of the Badrinath

temple has already been

announced, which is on May


All the portals of the four

shrines - Kedarnath,

Badrinath, Gangotri and

Yamunotri - collectively

called Chardham, are closed

in October-November every

year and are reopened in

April-May after a gap of six


16s in a combat role against

India, the IAF chief said he was

not aware what is the end-user

agreement between Washington

and Islamabad over F-16s.

"I don't know about the enduser

agreement between

Pakistan and the US."

He said India has got the evidence

of F-16 fighter planes

being used by Pakistan in its

attack on India as a part of the

AMRAAM missile was recovered

from the Indian soil.

Talking about Wing Commander

Abhinandan Varthaman getting

back into his squadron, Dhanoa

said it will depend on his medical

condition and how fast he

recovers to get back into a fighter

cockpit. "Abhinandan flying

again depends on his medical fitness.

If he is fit to fly a fighter

plane then he will go back to the

same unit." Elaborating on the

IAF's future inductions, he said

final price negotiations for 83

LCAs will be finalised soon.

The IAF is awaiting LCA mk

1a and LCA mk 2, still on the

drawing board, to replace

Jaguars, Mig-29s, and Mirages

leading to the fifth generation

Advanced Medium Combat

Aircraft (AMCA).

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12 March 2019


Amid border tension and

poll season, small investor

returning, FIIs are bullish

It was an eventful week with a lot of action on the border, and

some of it, at the bourses. India struck Balakot in Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan in a preemptive strike in the

early hours of February 26. This was the first time after 1971 war

that India crossed the international border and struck.

Pakistan followed this with aggression and looked to attack at

six different places the very next day. In the aggression, an MiG-

21 Bison aircraft shot down an F-16 and an MiG too was also

shot down. The Indian pilot was captured . Over the next 48

hours, all-round pressure on Pakistan saw the Indian Wing

Commander Abhinandan return without any condition.

The firm stand by the Indian government, which gave a free

hand to the armed forces to retaliate the killing of 40 of its CRPF

men by a suicide bomber on February 14, culminated in the preemptive


Both sides, after an aggressive mood, seem to have cooled

down. The F-16, which was to be used only for fighting terrorism,

is the bone of contention between Pakistan and the US.

France, the UK and the US have moved a resolution to include

Masood Azhar under article 1287 and declare him a terrorist.

China, which has been vetoing the same, has till March 13 to

decide. Moving from the borders to the market, we had a lot of

action here too. February futures expired almost flat with a net

loss of 38.45 points or 0.36% at 10,792.50 points. Friday saw a

rally and led to markets ending in the green for the week.

BSESENSEX gained 192.33 points or 0.54% to close at

36,063.81 points while NIFTY gained 71.85 points 0.67% to

close at 10,863.50 points. BSEMIDCAP and BSESMALLCAP

had a very strong showing with gains of 2.35% and 3.43%

respectively. Going forward, this is where the action would be.

The Lok Sabha polls are likely to be notified this week and the

code of conduct would kick in. This would ensure no new

schemes or projects can be launched. Post-border tension, the

market is slowly but steadily veering to the idea that the current

ruling party has the edge in the upcoming elections and that

'mahagathbandan' would not be able to cobble up the numbers.

This feeling is helping the markets gain ground.

With the small and midcap space gaining, the small investor

is enthused and is returning to the markets. Finally the icing on

the cake is that FII's have been bullish on India and have invested

continuously in the last few weeks.

With so much happening and markets weathering the storm,

they are set to open positive when trading resumes on Tuesday

after a festival holiday on Monday. The two exchange-traded

funds from the government, CPSE ETF and ICICI Bharat 22.

look very attractive at current prices simply because the underlying

stock have been hammered and are indeed cheap.

The Bharat 22 has the added advantage that 40% of the underlying

value comes from three stocks, Axis Bank, ITC and L&T

making it that much more attractive. Ride the momentum.

Samsung reportedly offering

foldable tech to Apple, Google

SEOUL : Samsung has sent samples of its foldable display to

tech giants Apple and

Google, according to media


"The samples reportedly

measure 7.2 inches, just 0.1

inches smaller than the main

panel on the Samsung

Galaxy Fold," AppleInsider

quoted South Korea's ET

News as saying on Saturday. The company would be a likely

candidate for providing foldable panels to Apple since it already

supplies most of the OLED components for the iPhone XS and

XS Max. "Samsung is currently able to produce about 2.4 million

foldable displays per year, it's contemplating ramping up to

10 million," the report said. Apple has shown interest in foldable

OLED for years in the form of related patent applications. With

the launch of the Galaxy Fold, the company may now be under

pressure to deliver a competing product.

According to the report, 2019 iPhones are expected to retain

fixed panels however, and the typical analyst view is that Apple

won't have any foldable iPhones ready until at least 2020.

From tribal hamlets to world markets

The amazing journey


Araku (Andhra Pradesh)

: From tribal hamlets to Paris,

Araku coffee has come a long

way and is set to lure the taste

way the French group wine

according to the "terroir"

(earth, soil) of the grape

farms. The project also uses

buds of New York's coffee aficionados

this year.

Started as a livelihood project

for tribals by Naandi

Foundation, a non-governmental

organization, it has

given to the world a top-notch

coffee with a distinct aroma.

The picturesque valley,

biodynamic agriculture,

about 100 km from

Visakhapatnam, is today a

synonym for world-class coffee.


Chairman Anand Mahindra,

who is also chairman of

Naandi Foundation, introduced

the coffee in Paris with

a flagship store in 2017.

Araku Originals, a social

enterprise formed by him

along with three other life

trustees of Foundation, is now

looking to take the unique

brand to New York and

Tokyo. A month ago, the company

started selling the coffee

online in India and plans to

open cafes in Bengaluru and

Mumbai this year.

Famous for delicious fruit

flavour intertwined with

caramel and a finish of

bittersweetness, Araku coffee

scores 88-90, the world's

highest rating on a scale of

100 in quality marking by

Specialty Coffee Association,

a non-profit organisation that

represents coffee professionals,

from producers to baristas

all over the world.

Naandi procures 100

tonnes of Araku coffee every

ED questions Chanda Kochhar

for fourth straight day

year. Nowhere in the world is

specialty coffee produced in

such a huge quantity.

The region's unique environment,

bio-dynamic agriculture

and the involvement of

world's top coffee experts in

every stage of production

makes it a world-class coffee.

"There are 21 steps and in

every step we are best in the

world. Ours is not industrial

production," Naandi CEO

Manoj Kumar said.

The Foundation originally

started its work in the tribal

belt in 2001 to check the high

maternal mortality rate. It

later started giving coffee

saplings to provide some cash

to tribals.

Offering double wages to

farmers growing dark red

cherries, it motivated them to

strive for the best quality.

The experts grouped 6,000

farms on the basis of their

characteristics exactly the

which looks at impact of

moon on weather, which was

introduced by David Hogg,

Chief Agriculture Advisor of

Naandi. With 25,000 farmers

across 720 villages, it is said

to be the largest organic cooperative

in the world, helping

100,000 tribals. On an average,

farmers earn Rs 1 lakh

every year. They get another

Rs 1 lakh from black pepper,

which they have planted as

shade tree. The pepper also

gives the coffee a special


As Araku was found to be

too good a coffee, Naandi

realized that in India, no one

would buy coffee at that price

and hence started building the

brand abroad. "If you have to

create a brand, you have to

create in place where they

appreciate quality," said

Manoj Kumar, who is also

Araku Originals co-founder.

Currently, it has 50-55 distributors

in Paris.

The four variants of Araku

coffee are sold in France for a

price range of Rs 2,800-Rs

7,000 a kg. It sells the same

coffee at a third of the price in

India "The coffee, the brand

and the story are all a tribute

to the legacy of the adivasis. It

was something emerged out of

integrity, beauty and philosophy

of adivasis. We only happen

to be a medium," Manoj

Kumar noted.

Mumbai : The Enforcement Directorate

(ED) on Monday questioned former ICICI

Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar for the fourth

consecutive day in the ongoing probe into

the alleged irregularities and corrupt practices

in sanctioning a Rs 1,875-crore loan

by the bank to the Videocon Group.

Chanda Kochhar's questioning began at

ED's office after she deposed before the

investigators around noon.

The ED questioned Chanda Kochhar for

the first time on March 1 at her south

Mumbai residence along with her husband

Deepak Kochhar. On Sunday she was

questioned for the third straight day.

The agency on Sunday also quizzed

Nishant Kanodia, chairman of Matix

Group and son-in-law of Essar Group cofounder

Ravi Ruia, regarding investments

made by his Mauritius-based firm Firstland

Holdings in NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd,

a company run by Deepak Kochhar.

Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group promoter

Venugopal Dhoot were on March 2

were quizzed till late night in the case. The

ED on March 1 also carried out raids under

the Prevention of Money Laundering Act

(PMLA) at five offices and houses owned

by the Kochhars and Dhoot.

The ED started the probe after registering

a criminal case under the PMLA in

February against the Kochhars, Dhoot and

Visa, PayMate tie

up for operations

in Europe, Middle

East, Africa

New Delhi : Global payments

major Visa and Indian business-tobusiness

(B2B) payments facilitator

PayMate on Monday said they have

partnered for corporate payment

operations in Central and Eastern

Europe, Middle East and Africa


The move would mark

PayMate's entry into international


"Visa and PayMate, announced

an expanded collaboration to provide

Visa's issuing financial institution

clients in the CEMEA region

with access to PayMate's proprietary

payment platform for their

corporate customers' payments

needs," a joint statement by both

companies said.

Commenting on the partnership,

Rakesh Khanna, Vice President,

head of Visa Business Solutions,

CEMEA Visa said: "Our initial

foray with Paymate in India resulted

in a large number of enterprises

and SMBs (small and medium businesses)

making payments using

Visa commercial cards across

industry verticals, contributing to

significant B2B payment volume

growth in the country."

The companies tied up for operations

in India in 2017.

"We are keen to extend this

alliance to enable our financial

institution clients in CEMEA to

streamline the B2B payments

process for their corporate customers,"

he added. Ajay

Adiseshann, CEO, PayMate said:

"There is an ever-increasing

demand for automation and digitisation

of the entire procurement to

payment cycle to help save cost,

time and effort. We have a comprehensive

payments platform that

reduces expenses and time for processing

payments, thus helping

buyers pay earlier and helping sellers

receive payments faster."

others, taking cognizance of a first information

report filed by the Central Bureau

of Investigation.

The FIR named the Kochhars, Dhoot

and his companies -- Videocon

International Electronics Ltd and Videocon

Industries Ltd. It also included names of

Supreme Energy, a company founded by

Dhoot, and NuPower Renewable, a firm

controlled by Deepak Kochhar.

The authorities are trying to determine

whether any wrongdoing was involved in

the sanctioning of the Rs 1,875 crore loan

by the ICICI Bank as part of a consortium.

The CBI has alleged the ownership of

the two companies changed hands through

a complex web of share transactions

between Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot.

It is alleged Dhoot invested in NuPower

through his firm Supreme Energy, a quid

pro quo to loans cleared by the ICICI Bank

after Chanda Kochhar took over as the

Chief Executive Officer on May 1, 2009.


March 2019


Insomniac? Blame it on your genes

New parents face up to six

years of disrupted sleep

Finding it hard to sleep at night? If

so, blame your genes, say researchers,

who identified 57 genes associated with

symptoms of insomnia, affecting 10 to

20 per cent people worldwide.

“Our findings confirm a role for

genetics in insomnia symptoms and

expand upon the four previously found

gene loci for this condition,” says an

expert. “All of these identified regions

help us understand why some people

get insomnia, which pathways and systems

are affected, and point to possible

new therapeutic targets,” she added.

The study, published in the Nature

Genetics journal, associated 57 gene

sites with self-reported insomnia, associations

that were not affected by

known risk factors such as lifestyle,

caffeine consumption, depression or

recent stress.

Instead the genomic regions identified

include genes involved in ubiquitin-mediated

proteolysis — a process by

which proteins are tagged for destruction

—and those expressed in

several brain regions, skeletal muscles

and the adrenal gland, researchers

noted. The team also found evidence

that increased insomnia symptoms nearly

doubled the risk of coronary

artery disease. They were also linked

to symptoms of depression and a

reduced sense of well-being.”Insomnia

has a really significant impact on millions

of people worldwide. We’ve long

known there’s a link between insomnia

and chronic disease. Now our findings

suggest that depression and heart

disease are actually a result of persistent

insomnia,” added an expert. For

the study, the team analysed data

from more than 4.5 lakh participants, 29

per cent of whom reported frequent

insomnia symptoms.

Working long hours ups depression

risk in women

Women who work more than 55

hours a week are at a higher risk of

depression, according to study which

found that the same is not true for men.

The study of over 20,000 adults,

published in the BMJ’s Journal of

Epidemiology & Community Health,

found that women who worked extralong

hours had 7.3 per cent more

depressive symptoms than women

working a standard 35-40 week.

Weekend working was linked to a higher

risk of depression among both sexes.

Women who worked for all or most

weekends had 4.6 per cent more depressive

symptoms on average compared to

women working only weekdays. Men

who worked all or most weekends had

3.4 per cent more depressive symptoms

than men working only weekdays.

“Many women face the additional

burden of doing a larger share of

domestic labour than men, leading to

extensive total work hours, added time

pressures and overwhelming responsibilities,”

says an expert. “Additionally,

women who work most weekends tend

to be concentrated in low-paid service

sector jobs, which have been linked to

higher levels of depression,” the study

added. The research showed that men

tended to work longer hours in paid

work than women, and having children

affected men’s and women’s work patterns

differently: while mothers tended

to work fewer hours than women without

children, fathers tended to work

more hours than men without kids. Two

thirds of men worked weekends, compared

with half of women. Those who

worked all or most weekends were more

likely to be in low-skilled work and to

be less satisfied with their job and their

earnings than those who only worked

five days or some weekends.

Researchers analysed data from 40,000

UK households since 2009 about working

hours, weekend working, working

conditions and psychological distress

from 11,215 working men and 12,188

working women between 2010 and

2012. Depressive symptoms such as

feeling worthless or incapable were

measured using a questionnaire.

“Women in general are more likely to

be depressed than men, and this was no

different in the study,” Weston said.

“Independent of their working patterns,

we also found

that workers with the most depressive

symptoms were older, on lower

incomes, smokers, in physically

demanding jobs, and who were dissatisfied

at work,” she said.

London : Having a baby disrupts sleep quality of the new parents for up to six

years after the child's birth, a study has found.

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK studied sleep in 4,659 parents

who had a child between 2008 and 2015.

During these years parents also reported on their sleep in yearly interviews. In

the first three months after birth mothers slept on average one hour less than

before pregnancy while fathers sleep duration decreased by approximately 15

minutes, researchers said in statements.

The study shows that after birth of the first child and up to six years after birth

mothers and fathers sleep duration and sleep satisfaction do not fully recover to

the levels before pregnancy.

“Women tend to experience more sleep disruption than men after the birth of

a child reflecting that mothers are still more often in the role of the primary caregiver

than fathers," said Sakari Lemola, from the University of Warwick.

However, when the children were 4-6 years old sleep duration was still about

20 minutes shorter in mothers and 15 minutes shorter in fathers compared to their

sleep duration before pregnancy.

A similar time course was also observed for their satisfaction with sleep. Sleep

effects were more pronounced in first-time parents compared with experienced

parents. In the first half a year after birth the sleep effects were also somewhat

stronger in breastfeeding compared with bottle-feeding mothers.

Higher household income and psychosocial factors such as dual vs single parenting

did not appear to protect against these changes in sleep after childbirth.

“While having children is a major source of joy for most parents it is possible

that increased demands and responsibilities associated with the role as a parent

lead to shorter sleep and decreased sleep quality even up to six years after birth of

the first child," said Lemola.

Low-carb diets are trending nowadays

among those who want to maintain

a healthy weight. But a diet which

is low in carbohydrates cannot be called

healthy because carbohydrates besides

being a major source of energy for the

body also serve many important functions.

A diet low in carbohydrates can be

dangerous to for body's gut microbiota.

Carbohydrates produce short-chain

fatty acids in colon (large intestine) by

fermentation of fibre (found in complex

carbohydrates) in the intestinal tract.

Intestinal microbes are beneficial for

human health. These short chain fatty

acids are good for colon health as well.

Long periods of not eating complex

carbohydrates can damage the gut

health because the gut, then, would

remain deprived off many good nutrients

which we get from good or complex


Fibre is a key to a healthy body, as

beneficial bacteria rely on the carbohydrates

for energy by using the fibre

which we eat that we get from the diet


though carbohydrate sources. If

we don't include carbohydrates

in the diet, then bad bacteria

may impact digestion. The

good bacteria that we get from

digestion of fibre has many

form a gel like substance. It gives

many health benefits. It reduces

blood sugar, blood cholesterol,etc.

Oats, peas, carrot, psyllium husk,

citrus fruits, apple, barley, etc. are

some sources of soluble fibre.

vital functions. These

Insoluble fibre: It does not mix with

metabolise nutrients and drugs

in our body. These bacteria

help immune system to prevent

infections. These also they help

in T-cell (natural immune cells)

production. These bacteria also

maintain structure of the gastrointestinal

tract. Dietary fibre plays

important role in preventing colon cancer.

Our diet should have a proper balance

of carbohydrates, proteins and

fats. Dietary fibre is generally defined

ed, fully or partially. It is also called

bulk or roughage. It is something that

humans cannot digest. We lack the

digestive enzyme that is needed to

break dietary fibre.

water and passes through the digestive

system as it is. It acts as a bulking

agent, and helps speed the passage

of food and waste through the

intestines. It is beneficial for those

who struggle with constipation.

Wheat bran, whole wheat, legumes,

vegetables are sources of insoluble


Women need 25 gm of fibre per day

and men need 38 gm of fibre per day.

Carbohydrates, especially complex

as that portion of food that is not digested

There are two types of fibres — ones, and the fibre in these is an important

in the small intestines and passes to

the large intestines where it is ferment-

soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fibre: It dissolves in water to part of diet. It is not only beneficial

for gut health but overall health as well.

Some ways to include fibre in diet

1. Choose whole grains over refined

grains: Whole grains are naturally rich

in fibre but processing removes fibre

from them like white rice, white bread,

etc. Choose brown rice, oats and food

made with whole grains.

2.Choose snacks wisely: Most of the

time we munch on snacks which are

processed and low in fibre. Opt for

nuts, popcorns and fruits over biscuits,

noodles, etc.

3.Eat a fruit everyday: This is the

easiest way to increase fibre in the diet.

Eat a fruit in a day it gives you essential

vitamin and minerals and provide bulk

in the diet.

4.Eat minimum three servings of

vegetables: Have at least five servings

of vegetables and fruits everyday to

give your body adequate fibre. Add

vegetables in each meal and eat fruits as

a healthy snack.

5.Add beans to your salad: Next

time you make salad, add kidney or

other beans to salad. It will add fibre

and help you to achieve your daily fibre


14 March 2019


Eat tomatoes to fight liver cancer, inflammation

NEW YORK : Higher consumption

of tomatoes could be associated with a

decreased risk of liver cancer caused by

high-fat diets, a study has found.

The study, conducted on mice,

showed that tomatoes are rich in

lycopene—a strong antioxidant, antiinflammatory

and anti-cancer agent—

which helps in effectively reducing

fatty liver disease, inflammation and

liver cancer development.

"Consuming whole foods like tomatoes

and processed tomatoes from

sauces, tomato paste, canned whole

tomato products, ketchup and juice,

provides the best source of lycopene,"

said Xiang-Dong Wang, Professor at

Virus-infected bacteria can aid

in fight against climate change

New York : Viruses do not always kill

their microbial hosts, say researchers who

found that virus-infected bacteria could thus

provide help in the fight against climate


The study showed that viruses develop a

mutually beneficial relationship with their

microbial hosts. The virus establishes itself

inside the microbe and, in return, grants its

host with immunity against similar viruses.

Understanding this relationship is beneficial

not only for medical research and practical

applications but also in marine biology as

well as climate change, said Alison Buchan,

Professor at the University of Tennessee,


"Marine microbes are uniquely responsible

for carrying out processes that are essential

for all of earth's biogeochemical cycles,

including many that play a role in climate

change," she said.

The function of a microbial community is

in large part dictated by its composition -

what microbes are present and how many of

each. Within the community, bacteria compete

with one another for resources. In the

course of this fight, some bacteria produce

antibiotics and use them against other types

of bacteria. This kind of interaction has been

known for some time.

But there is another fight strategy that scientists

are now considering - bacteria might

use the viruses that infect them as weapons

against other types of microbes, Buchan

explained during the annual meeting of the

American Association for the Advancement

of Science in Washington, DC.

"We have recently discovered that while

they are in the process of dying, microbes

New Delhi : Women who use personal

care products like moisturisers

and lipstick — rich in plastic chemicals

known as phthalates — during

pregnancy may put their babies at the

risk of motor skill deficiency in adolescence,

a study warns. A motor skill

is a learned ability to cause a predetermined

movement outcome with maximum

certainty. The study, published in

the journal Environmental Research,

measured levels of phthalates and their

metabolites in urine collected from

women during late pregnancy and

from their children at ages three, five,

and seven years. The Bruininks-

Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency

(BOT-2), a screening test for motor

problems, was administered at age 11

to assess motor skills.

The findings suggest that maternal

exposure to phthalates in late pregnancy

could have long-lasting adverse

effects on motor function in children in

later childhood, particularly in girls.

There was also evidence that childhood

exposure to phthalates may have

more harmful effects on motor function

in boys. “Almost one-third of the

children in our study had below or

well-below average motor skills.

can produce new viruses that then go to

attack their original invader.

This is a form of resistance we had not

observed before," she said. This type of

competitive interaction, Buchan said, is

important for stabilising the size of microbial

populations in marine systems.

This balance may be crucial for biogeochemical

processes, including many related

to climate change, Buchan noted.

Children with even subtle motor problems

often have difficulty participating

in daily activities of childhood, particularly

sports,” said Pam Factor-Litvak,

a professor at Columbia University in

Tufts University in the US.

Interestingly, we observed that

tomato powder is more effective than

the same dose of purified lycopene supplementation

to prevent liver cancer

development, said Wang.

This could be due to the potential

beneficial effects of other nutrients in a

whole tomato, such as vitamin E, vitamin

C, folate, minerals, phenolic compounds

and dietary fibres.

In addition, feeding mice tomato

powder increased the richness and

diversity of beneficial microbiota and

prevented the over-growth of some bacteria

related to inflammation, said the

study, published in the journal Cancer

Prevention Research.

For the study, infant mice were

infected with a liver carcinogen and

then fed an unhealthy high-fat diet similar

to a Western diet, with or without

tomato powder containing lycopene.

Other foods including guava, watermelon,

grapefruit, papaya, and sweet

red pepper also contain lycopene, but in

much lower concentrations compared

to tomatoes. Eating tomatoes and tomato

products such as tomato sauce rich in

lycopene is also associated with a lower

risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis,

diabetes, and certain cancers,

including prostate, lung, breast and

colon cancer, the study showed.

Garlic, onion lower

colorectal cancer risk

the US.

“Children with motor problems

may also experience low self-worth

and self-esteem, high rates of anxiety

and depression, as well as behavioral

BEIJING : Consumption of

allium vegetables

i n c l u d i n g

garlic,onion and

leek, is associated

with a reduced risk

of colorectal cancer,

researchers say.

Colorectal cancer

is the cancer of the

colon or rectum,

located at the digestive

tract's lower


The study, published

in the Asia

Pacific Journal of Clinical

Oncology, showed that the odds

of having colorectal cancer was

79 per cent lower in adults who

consumed high amounts of allium

vegetable compared with

those who consumed them in

low amounts. "It is worth noting

that in our research, there seems

to be a trend: the greater the

amount of allium vegetables, the

better the protection," said

researcher Zhi Li from the First

Hospital of China Medical

University. "In general, the present

findings shed light on the primary

prevention of colorectal

cancer through lifestyle intervention,

which deserves further

in-depth explorations." For the

study, 833 patients of colorectal

cancer were matched to 833

healthy controls by age, sex and

residence area.

Importantly, according to

World Health Organization, colorectal

cancer is one of the most

common cancers around the

world along with male preponderance

with 1.80 million cases

and 862,000 deaths in 2018. In

addition, the incidence is on the

rise in India.

Chemicals in moisturisers, lipstick may harm motor skills of kids: Study

The study,

published in the

journal Environmental

Research, showed that

maternal exposure to

phthalates - plasticiser

chemicals - in late

pregnancy could have

long-lasting adverse

effects on motor function

in children.

disorders, such as ADHD,” Factor-

Litvak said a statement. Phthalate

exposures likely occurred when

expecting mothers and their children

unknowingly ingested small amounts

of products like lipstick or plastic food

containers or packaging. They may

also have absorbed these chemicals

through their skin.

“This study adds to the substantial

body of evidence on the health risks of

phthalates for children, which also

includes elevated risk for asthma and

cognitive issues,” said Julie Herbstman,

an associate professor at Columbia

University. “To the extent possible,

expecting mothers should minimise

their exposures to products like lipstick

and moisturizers that contain these

chemicals by paying attention to product

labels. “In addition, policymakers

and manufacturers should consider

steps to limit or eliminate the use of

these chemicals. No chemicals should

be this widely available until they are

proven to be safe,” Herbstman said.


March 2019


‘Scheduled Tribes most affected

by leprosy in GUJARAT’

Ahmedabad : Gujarat’s Scheduled

Tribe population is disproportionately

afflicted with leprosy, but camps held

to ascertain the incidence of the disease

in the population have not

recorded data specific to the marginalised

community, for fear of being


A leprosy case detection campaign

(LCDC), conducted from February 4

to February 22, found that there has

been a substantial decrease in the total

number of new cases of leprosy infections

in the state. The number fell

from 1,219 cases in 12 districts, where

the disease is highly prevalent, in

August to 717 cases in nine highly

endemic districts in February.

However, numbers specific to the

Scheduled Tribes are unavailable for

this year. They were last recorded in

2016-17, when it was found that 64.8

per cent of leprosy affected people

were from the Scheduled Tribes. The

figure had gone up from 63.91 per

cent in 2015-16, and is way higher

than the national average of 18.8 per

cent in 2016-17 and 18.79 per cent in


The cause for such high incidence

in the population: the bacteria responsible

for causing leprosy survives in

humid and cold temperatures of the

hilly regions of the state, where tribal

people mostly live, said State Leprosy

Officer of the Commissionerate of

Health Dr Girish Thaker. “These nine

districts (Bharuch, Narmada,

Panchmahal, Dahod, Chhota Udepur,

Navsari, Valsad, Tapi and Dang where

the disease is highly endemic), are

either humid locations or forest

areas,” he said. “However, for our

record-keeping, we do not demarcate

Scheduled Tribe cases anymore as we

As much as 64.8 per cent of leprosy affected people in the state are

from the Scheduled Tribes. The figure had gone up from 63.91 per

cent in 2015-16, and is way higher than the national average of

18.8 percent in 2016-17 and 18.79 per cent in 2015-16.

believe it is discriminatory.”

The state has, however, made

progress in reaching out to patients

who might not seek treatment for fear

of being stigmatised by society. The

Indian Express spoke to two leprosy

paramedical workers (PMW) in highly

endemic districts. They said their

biggest challenge was to get patients

to take their medication.

“Patients don’t want their neighbours

to see them collecting medicines

at a primary health centre, for fear of

being outcast,” said one of the paramedical

workers. “At other times,

patients don’t take medication because

they don’t understand the seriousness

of the disease”But things are improving.“Today

ASHA (accredited social

health activists) and PMW go door-todoor

to check on cases,” Dr Arun

Parmar, a medical officer with the

state’s department of health and family

welfare, said. “Patients can also opt

to get their medicines home-delivered.”

However, the stigma is real.

Mamta Patel, 40, who had reconstructive

surgery for her leprosyafflicted

hands, has been married for

16 years to Praveen Patel. She is

uncomfortable visiting her in-laws.

“There is awareness now, so no one

says anything outright, but it is always

evident, with separate utensils [for

me] and continuous glances at my

hand and deformities,” says Patel. The

couple stay at Sahyog Kushtha Yagna

Trust, a government recognised NGO

in Sabarkantha that rehabilitates leprosy

patients. Dr MF Sheikh, head of

the burns and plastic surgery department

at Civil Hospital, said the need

for reconstructive surgery has fallen

now. “It is usually someone who has

had leprosy for 10-12 years that

requires surgery,” he said. “Such

cases have become uncommon now.”

The case of middle-aged Dattabhai

Hingle illustrates why treatment

should be taken early. “There wasn’t

any discomfort so I didn’t take medicines”

he said. “But ten years later, I

couldn’t blink, my eyelids weren’t

shutting even when I slept and I had to

get surgery done.”

The government has been striving

to bring down the prevalence rate to

below 1 in the 33 districts in the state.

Nine districts are yet to meet this target.

Notably, there has been a fall in

new cases in Gujarat. As of February

22, 4,118 new cases were reported for

the year 2018-19, compared to 6,894

in 2017-18. But the outlook for

Gujarat is positive. From ranking fifth

highest among states in which leprosy

was prevalent In 2014-15, Gujarat has

fallen to seven.

Some cases, however, stay off the

radar. This is because it is difficult to

track leprosy among migrant labourers,

says Dr Arun Kumar, district leprosy

officer at Panchmahal. And

sometimes health workers overlook

the severity of symptoms, he said.

New Delhi : Scientists have

identified ‘killer’ immune cells

that can fight all known strains

of flu virus, a “game-changing

result” that could lead to a universal,

one-shot vaccine against

the potentially deadly disease.

These microscopic killers are

white blood cells that can maintain

a memory of previous

exposure to a flu strain, said

researchers from the University

of Melbourne in Australia. If

they recognise an invader, these

cells start an immune response

to target and kill off the virus

— stopping the infection, they

said. Despite hopes that the

‘memories’ of killer cells —

formally known as CD8+T

cells — could be used to create

a vaccine that would last for

life, previous studies have

shown that these cells could

only mount a repeated attack

against strain A.

In a study published in the

journal Nature Immunology,

scientists revealed gamechanging

results — the ‘killer

cells’ can actually fight all

influenza strains, A, B and C.

“Our team has been fascinated

by the killer cells for a long

‘KILLER’ immune cells may

lead to universal flu vaccine

time,” said Katherine

Immune cells which

Kedzierska, a professor at the

University of Melbourne.

could fight all kinds of

Working with Fudan

influenza virus have

University in China, the team

been discovered by scientists,

a "game-chang-

studied the immune responses

of patients to the first outbreak

of the avian-derived H7N9

ing result" that could

influenza virus (bird flu) in

lead to a universal, oneshot

vaccine against the

China in 2013. This outbreak

was contracted directly from

birds and was dominated by the

potentially deadly disease.

type A virus. It hospitalised

more than 90 per cent of infected

people and killed more than if it had potential for a flu vaccine,”

said Kedzierska. The flu infected, our cells dissect the triggering them to kill off the

for a universal vaccine. When ‘Killer’ cells recognise it,

35 per cent of them. The

research found that those virus is composed of protein flu virus and use a protein infected cell. The researchers

patients who recovered within coat that covers its genetic code called HLA to present parts of focused on which epitopes

two to three weeks had robust in its core,” said University of the virus (peptides) on the cell were common among all three

killer CD8+T cell responses, Melbourne PhD candidate surface, alerting the immune flu strains. “We started with

whereas those who died had a Marios Koutsakos. The team system that they have been 67,000 viral sequences to look

diminished presence of the analysed which parts of the flu compromised. This HLA and for epitopes common among all

‘killer’ cells. “So our next step virus were common in strains viral peptide combination act the flu viruses. These tens of

was to discover how their protective

mechanism worked, and which would be the best target fier, known as an epitope. rowed down to three

A, B and C in order to find out as a passport or a unique identi-

thousands were eventually nar-


that were cross-reactive, that is

they are common to all flu

viruses,” Koutsakos said. “We

identified the parts of the virus

that are shared across all flu

strains, and sub-strains capable

of infecting humans,” he said.

Having established which sections

of the virus were conserved

or cross-reactive, the

researchers then conducted

tests to establish if those viral

parts did produce a robust

immune response. These flu

virus epitopes were found in

blood samples taken from

healthy humans, and influenzainfected

adults and children.

The research team next conducted

vaccination tests on

mice by using the peptides

responsible for activating the

killer cells as a form of vaccination.

“Our vaccination test

studies revealed remarkably

reduced levels of flu virus and

inflammation in the airways in

animal models,” Koutsakos

said. “These results show that

killer T cells provide unprecedented

immunity across all flu

viruses, a key component of a

potential universal vaccine,”

Koutsakos said.

16 March 2019


The beard signifies

machoism or valour and

bravery, something that

our hero Abhinandan has

shown the world. He has

added the ‘heroism’ quotient

to this style.

His bravado apart, Indian Air Force

(IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman’s

stylised beard — a mix of a thin mutton

chop beard, a classic gunslinger or

a Franz Josef — has become the talk

of the town. It may not be too long

before it becomes a trend among people,

say experts. Reminiscent of a

beard sported by megastar

Rajinikanth in Petta or Suriya in

Singam, Abhinandan’s well-groomed

facial hair style may well be the next

Beard it like


big thing for men who have drawn of India will remember this as Abhinandan has shown the world. He

from shapes sported by cricketers Abhinandan moustache only,” Taneja has added the ‘heroism’ quotient to

Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan and said, adding a gunslinger is typically this style. “His moustache reflects his

Bollywood star Ranveer Singh in considered a cool and classic style strong physical and mental health.

recent times.

that never goes out of vogue. Just see how groomed and cool his

“It won’t be wrong to say the beard “It signifies machoism or valour moustache looks — it would make

sported by the IAF pilot will be soon and bravery, something that our hero any man want to follow his style.

be called India’s very own

Abhinandan style,” Darshan

Yewalekar, personal hairstylist to

Ranveer Singh and owner of D Shave

Barbershop, said.

Abhinandan, an IAF Wing

Commander, returned to India on

Friday night, two days after he was

captured by Pakistan when his MiG-

21 crashed in that country.

After the end of the nail-biting

drama over his return, Twitterati have

finally got a chance to mull over his

unique moustache. For generations

altogether, Army and Air Force personnel

have been particular about

flaunting a well-groomed moustache

or beard, and it is part of their sub-culture.

“It tells a lot of the soldier’s and

the official’s individuality. It is like an

expression of their character and they

wear it with pride,” Yewalekar said.

Bharti Taneja, founder and director,

Alps Beauty Group, finds

Abhinandan’s moustache more of a

gunslinger. “It is shaped somewhat

like the handlebars of a bicycle. But

from now onwards the common man

Women are loving it too! It’s a style of

a gentleman,” Taneja said.

Twitterati are going gaga over the

moustache. If there are memes, there

are also discussions about how long

it’s going to be before the style

becomes a rage. “Barbers are going to

have a tough task designing this, and

may thus benefit from premium pricing,”

wrote one user, while another

mentioned the IAF wings on

Abhinandan’s uniform, and quipped:

“I love how no one is acknowledging

#Abhinandan’s double wings. His

IAF wings and his moustache wings.”

One user commented: “Abhinandan’s

moustache will be the next styling

sensation throughout India.

Don’t get flabbergasted when your

barber asks you ‘Abhinandan cut

chahiye?’” Some even recounted

actor Suriya’s Singam moustache and

calling Abhinandan the “real Singam”

for his bravery.

I have to prove myself

with every film: Taapsee

Be it hit films such as Baby (2015), Naam

Shabana (2017) and Judwaa 2 (2017), or her

last release Manmarziyaan (2018) that didn’t

fare as well at the boxoffice, actor Taapsee

Pannu doesn’t let either get to her head. And

because she doesn’t have any background in the

movie business, she feels like she has to give

her 200 percent to every project lest she loses

her credibility as an actor.

“For most people, one film is enough,” she

smiles. “You know that it’ll be challenging. But

that is something you have to accept. If you

keep fighting and complaining, it’s only you

that suffers. I have to prove myself with every

single film. If two of my films flop backtoback,

questions will be raised about my acting

abilities. I don’t know if I will get to work or

not in the future. So keeping that in mind, I am

choosing my projects and moving on. I am sure

that if I have come this far, I will be able to go

further. The road maybe longer and tougher for

me, but I will get there someday. I signed up for

this,” adds Taapsee. The actor is already looking

forward to the release of her next film,

Sujoy Ghosh’s Badla, this week. Co-starring

with her in it is actor Amitabh Bachchan. They

earlier starred together in the 2016 courtroom

drama, Pink. In Badla, too, Bachchan plays a

lawyer. “[But this is] a proper murder-thriller.

He is my lawyer and I’m his client, so we don’t

go to court in the film,” shares Taapsee.

Director Sujoy, who has delivered hits like

Kahaani (2012), is known to be good with mysteries

and thrillers, a genre Taapsee thinks is

still untapped in Bollywood. This was one of

her major reasons to take up the project.

“I haven’t done a murder mystery. Secondly,

in our industry, we haven’t seen too many murder

mysteries in recent times because we have

been experimenting with too many genres,” she

opines. Talking about her films’ success, and

Manmarziyaan opening to great reviews but

falling short when it came to box-office collections,

Taapsee admits it was disappointing, but

says that earning ?100 crore at the box office

cannot be the only parameter to judge a film’s

success. “I don’t do films for critical acclaim, I

do it for box-office collections and I am very

honest about it. The only mark of a good film is

doing well at the box-office. However, every

film cannot earn ~100 crore to be called a hit

because the budgets are different. Had

Manmarziyaan made ?50 crores, we would’ve

been thrilled but unfortunately, the collections

stopped at 32. But I realised that maybe it was

a little ahead of its time. Also, maybe because

this is my film I am saying it but sometimes

films that don’t do well at the box-office

achieve this classic status much later. So, I am

hoping that it happens to us,” says the actor.

Just for you

Tamannaah Bhatia is ready to break ‘no

kissing’ contract for Hrithik Roshan

Actress Tamannaah Bhatia,

who has a no on-screen kissing

clause in her film contracts, is

ready to break the policy for

actor Hrithik Roshan.

In an episode of chat show

Famously Filmfare

( T a m i l ) ,

Tamannaah said

that if she ever

gets a chance to

work with Hrithik,

she is ready to

bend the rule for

him. “I don’t kiss

on-screen basically.

So that’s actually

a part of my

contract. But I

keep joking with

my friends, with

Hrithik Roshan,

yay! I would, I would,” she said

as she blushed away.

The Baahubali: The

Beginning actress also recalled

her first meeting with Hrithik.

She said: “I am a huge

Hrithik Roshan fan. I recently

bumped into him and I was so

stupid. I was like ‘Hi, I am a

big fan and so nice to meet you’

and then I was like okay I didn’t

know what else to say. And

then he walked a little and

looked back. He

was like, ‘You

want a picture?’

and I was like

‘Yes! I want a

picture. “So, I felt

like a 16-year-old

when I met him

for the first time.”

On the work

front, Tamannaah

has done several


movies like


Entertainment and

Himmatwala, but she is more

popular down south.

Tamannaah has featured in

several southern films. She is

currently gearing up for the

release of the Telugu remake of

Kangana Ranaut’s Queen.

Ridhima Pandit’s claim to fame was her debut

show Bahu Hamari Rajni Kant after which she

went on to do various web series and shows.

However, very few people know that she was an

artist agent before jumping in front of the camera.

Ridhima Pandit’s claim to fame was her debut

show Bahu Hamari Rajni Kant after which she

went on to do various web series and shows.

However, very few people know that she was an

artist agent before jumping in front of the camera.

“Being an artist agent, I used to help lock the

endorsement deals for the celebrities and take

care of their contracts and bookings. I’m so

happy that today I can do all my contracts and

bookings by myself,” Ridhima says.

She, too, faced celebrities’ tantrums that made

her learn what not to do as an actor. “Some of the

actors who I was working with were very troublesome

with their silly demands and not being

committed to their work. When I was aspiring to

become an actor, I used to look at some celebrities

and say that I’ll never be troublesome for

anyone,” Ridhima says.

It was her boss at the artist management company

who pushed her to take the leap of faith. “I

wasn’t willing to leave my job and try my luck in

acting, looking at the instability and unorganised

‘After Uri, offers

have improved’

Actor Mohit Raina says the film’s success and reception

has definitely helped him bag better movie offers

Actor Mohit Raina is happy with all the praise

that’s been coming his way after Uri: The Surgical

Strike managed to create all the right noises with the

audience as well as at the box office. Actor Mohit

Raina is happy with all the praise that’s been coming

his way after Uri: The Surgical Strike managed

to create all the right noises with the audience as

well as at the box office.

He shares there’s been a change, an improvement

of sorts, in the variety of roles he’s being offered

now. “It has definitely improved,” he admits and

adds, “Uri was a prior commitment, and I have a

project lined up after this as well, for which I will

start shooting in May-June. Whenever a project

does well, it benefits anybody and everybody who’s

involved... [As a result of which] I have more good

offers and scripts to read [now].”

On how did he take the success of Uri, which

recently completed 50 days in theatres, Mohit says,

“The feeling is that of happiness. The subject has

been appreciated and has touched every Indian

across the globe. I never expected people, (say) in

the United States, to go for the night shows to

see the film. It’s a ~200 crore film, things have

become beyond, of course. But this connection

is beyond numbers now. It has

become an emotion. I wanted to have

my name attached to this project. I

[had a feeling] that if it hits the

right spot, it’d [receive] much

appreciation, and touch the

audience.” Mohit, who

played the role of Major

Karan Kashyap in Uri,

says even though he

has started getting


I was once yelled

at by a director :

Ridhima Pandit

way of working. My boss, one day, literally rassments didn’t stop me. Instead, it made me

chucked me out and said that I can come back fearless and take up new challenges. I only try to

even when I’m 59 years old. If my acting plan give more than I’m asked for and that’s how I’m

flops, they will take me back,” Ridhima says. growing,” Ridhima says.

And there is no looking back for her. But with But now being on the other side, Ridhima

no acting background, the actor went through a agrees that a celebrity’s life is not easy. “I’ll not

tough time. “I’m not a trained actor. Whatever I blame the actors as they also have a very busy

know, I learned on the go by observing other schedule and sometimes you’re not in the frame

actors. There were times when I was yelled by of mind while shooting, maybe due to your loved

the director who would say “stop overacting ones’ health or any sort of rejection. But one has

yaar… what are you doing?’ Facing rejection to draw a line and not let other things affect you,”

made me doubt myself but insults and embar-

Ridhima adds.

more offers, his outlook

towards the process of bagging

(vis-à-vis screen tests)

a film hasn’t changed. “I

don’t have any issues going

for a screen test. It has

always worked in my

favour. There’s no end to

acting, as a job. You cannot

say you have ‘arrived’.

Every filmmaker is different.

A screen test allows the

makers to visualise,” says


On how Super 30 happened for her, Mrunal

says, “It was fantastic. It was a long process, where

auditions and screen tests happened. Then there

were workshops with Hrithik. I learnt a new language

— Bihari — and

also the dance form

Kathak. The way I used

to emote earlier, there’s a

huge difference in it now,

post learning Kathak.

And then, working with

the Greek God himself…

Everything I have done

has been different — television,

films like Love

Sonia. Every day I learn

something new.”

Love Sonia, which

highlighted the issue of

sex trafficking, released

last year to critical

acclaim, and also premiered in London, recently.

In Batla House, Mrunal has a completely different

role. “Every time I go on sets of Batla, I am so

nervous, excited, and confused as to how do I make

it different? The best thing is that the interviews

March 2019


Good girls go to heaven, but I can

be everywhere: Sangita Ghosh

Several television actors are shedding the good bahu archetype

to take up antagonist roles, and actor Sangita Ghosh says that playing

such characters allows her to be ‘limitless’.

She played a negative role in Rishton Ka Chakravyuh and is

again doing one in her current show. Asked what she likes about

going bad, Sangita laughs, “There is a saying: ‘Good girls go to

heaven (bad girls go everywhere). I think I can be everywhere.”

On a slightly thoughtful note, Sangita adds, “If you are good,

your conscience needs to be clean. When you are bad, conscience

isn’t there. I am only talking about roles here. There’s a lot more

you can try and experiment with, when you go bad. There is no

limit. I like the limitlessness.”

Of late, Hindi TV shows such as Sasural Simar Ka and Naagin

have explored the supernatural/fantasy space. However, in her

case, she says, it was sheer experimentation that she set out for.

“It’s something that I had never done before. I had done almost

everything on television as a protagonist. Then a negative role was

offered to me. I did that in my last show,” the actor says.m “So,

when I was offered a supernatural kind of a role, I was like ‘This

is such a dark role and I’ll get to do stuff that I had never done

before’. I loved the character. She is not the regular horrifying

looking supernatural entity that keeps on flying. She is very confident,”

ends Sangita, who is best known for the romantic TV

drama Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand.



and press junkets I did during Love Sonia helped

me learn the body language of a news anchor,

which I play in Batla. I myself am a journalist, but

it was still difficult and I am trying to figure things

out,” she shares.

Meanwhile, she has

started prepping for the

larger-thanlife, actionpacked

Baahubali series.

“I have started preparing,”

says Mrunal.

“I have started learning

Kalaripayattu, and finished

my horse riding

classes before going to

London. The audience

watches television,

films... all platforms.”

“They shouldn’t be

restricted to TV, films,

web... I want to explore

and set an example, ki har koi sab kuchh kar sakta

hai. Nowadays, streaming platforms are the next

thing. So why not? I feel every opportunity is golden.

I shouldn’t waste whatever comes my way. I

just hop onto it if my gut agrees,” she ends.

18 March 2019


New learning centre honours

diplomat and codebreaker

Lady Cicely Mayhew

The Duke of Cambridge attended the

opening of a new state-of-the-art learning

facility at the FCO, along with three of

Lady Mayhew’s children.

The Diplomatic Academy’s new theatre

was named after Cicely Mayhew following

a vote amongst Foreign and

Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff in

which she was the runaway winner.

The Mayhew Theatre is an interactive

learning environment that allows remote

participation from across the FCO global

network thanks to high-resolution, multiple

cameras and microphones that work seamlessly

to capture presenters and speakers in

the room.

The project began in 2017 when the

Diplomatic Academy, the learning and

development body of the FCO, requested a

facility to make learning accessible to its

global network.

A space was identified in an unused

internal courtyard but as the FCO is a

Grade 1 listed building, simply erecting a

roof over the courtyard was not feasible.

Instead, the new theatre building, including

its hyperbolic paraboloid roof, was lowered

into place by crane. Jon Benjamin,

Director of the Diplomatic Academy, said:

The new Mayhew Theatre shows in tangible

form our commitment to equip our

staff all across the world in physical and

virtual learning sessions, ensuring they

have the skills and knowledge needed for

21st Century diplomacy.

It is an honour for us to name this new

learning facility after the pioneering female

British diplomat, Lady Cicely Mayhew,

and to welcome her family members to its

opening ceremony. Cicely Mayhew

worked at Bletchley Park, having been

recruited from university by naval intelligence.

In 1947 she joined the FCO as one

of the first female diplomats, helping to

pave the way for more women to join the

Diplomatic Service, which had excluded

women until 1946. Cicely met her future

husband while posted to Geneva but

because of the ‘marriage bar’ in the

Diplomatic Service (lifted in 1972), she

was required to resign from the FCO. As

compensation she was given an allowance

of one month’s salary for each of the two

years she had served with the diplomatic


Pope Francis to visit Morocco, conduct mass

Casablanca (Morocco) : Pope Francis

will visit Morocco at the end of the month

and conduct mass on March 31 in the presence

of 10,000 people, many of them

migrants, church officials said on Tuesday.

The mass would take place at a stadium,

located on the outskirts of the Moroccan

capital Rabat, Archbishops Cristobal

Lopez of Rabat and Santiago Agrelo of

Tanger said at a press conference at Our

Lady of Lourdes Church here, reported Efe

news. Agrelo said the migrants would

come to "hear (from the pope) a clear word

about the situation of those who are in transit

(between nations) and are legally


In June 2018, Moroccan authorities

began a crackdown against migrants arriving

as undocumented individuals in the

North African country, many from sub-

Saharan Africa. There are around 30,000

followers of Catholicism in Morocco. The

Catholic church will transport the faithful

from their cities of residence to the 50,000-

seat Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium to

attend the mass.

Francis will be the second pope to travel

to the Muslim-majority country after the

visit of Pope St. John Paul II in 1985 to

Casablanca. On his trip's first day, March

30, Francis is expected to see a Caritas center,

where Catholic aid workers help

migrants with health, education and legal


The pontiff would also visit on March

31 a social service centre, run by the

Daughters of Charity, as well as a centre

for burn-injury patients. He will be welcomed

by Morocco's King Mohammed VI

at the Rabat airport.

Last month, Francis led an open-air

mass in the United Arab of Emirates, as

part of his historic trip as the first head of

the Catholic Church to visit the Arabian


Hundreds of thousands attended the

mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu


2019 Lok Sabha polls:

Women voters hold the

key, says report

New Delhi, Women are likely to play a decisive role in the

upcoming general elections as their voting participation is likely

to be higher than that of men in the 2019 polls, a Centrum report

said on Monday. According to the report, “Election 2019 – The

Swing Factor”, men still outnumber women in terms of registered

voters, but the actual turnout of women voters is increasing

at a rate faster than that of men, and that would make the difference

this time. “Their (women) rising participation at the ballot

represents a remarkable trend; by 2019, it is plausible that

women’s turnout will meet – or even exceed – that of men,” said

the report empahsising “she matters”.

“Rising turnout and the growing political assertiveness of

Indian women are making their voices and policy preferences

heard loudly across the country’s political stage. As is evident,

women voters are agents of change – they vote differently than

men and can affect re-election prospects,” it said.

It observed that although education and awareness are the

important drivers of this trend, another major factor is peaceful

polls as evident in women’s turnout in states such as Uttar

Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where previous

polls were marred by violence.

Data from the Election Commission showed that the average

turnout in general elections increased significantly in 2014 and

the gender gap in terms of voter turnout was also lowest in the

last general elections since Independence.

“Women’s rising turnout in elections and their growing political

assertiveness will again be an important swing factor in the

upcoming election,” it said.

In the last few years, the concerns regarding women and their

issues have gained importance and received attention from the

political class, at least in slogans and speeches. Women’s issues

are a key in political manifestoes, though their effectiveness is

debatable. The current NDA government also has rolled out several

schemes and legislative measures during its tenure including

the The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2016, “Beti

Bachao, Beti Padhao” scheme and “Sukanya Samriddhi

Account”. These schemes, implementation and benefits actually

availed by women as a result of these measures may play a role

in forming the preference for women voters.

A significant yet unaccomplished demand for better political

representation of women may also be a factor in the upcoming

elections. The Women’s Reservation Bill, which was passed by

the Rajya Sabha in 2010, still awaits clearance by the Lok Sabha,

according to the report.

Another major factor for the 2019 elections, political campaign

for which has started gaining momentum, would be the

around 13 crore first-time voters.

The political spectrum including the ruling Bharatiya Janata

Party (BJP) and the Congress have set their eyes on these young

voters and are speaking of their needs such as employment. More

than 150 million of these first-time voters played an important

role in giving additional seats to the BJP in 2014 elections.

High-fat diet in elderly linked to heart disease, diabetes

London : Elderly people, who consume

a high-fat diet rich in Omega-6

fatty acids, could be at risk of developing

health issues ranging from diabetes

to heart failure, researchers,

including one Indian-origin, said in a

study. The study conducted on a mice

model showed that a calorie-dense,

obesity-generating diet in ageing mice

disrupted the composition of the gut

microbiome. Young mice, who were

fed an obesity-generating diet were

able to resolve inflammation after a

heart attack, even though their gut

microflora had already been altered by

the diet.

In contrast, in aged mice fed the

obesity-generating diet, the heart

attack triggered nonresolving inflammation

-- associated with heart failure.

The study, published in FASEB

Journal, investigated how ageing and

omega 6-enriched diet impact

microflora in the gut, the structure and

function of the spleen (abdominal

organ), and a subsequent immune

response to heart attack.

"This study highlights that diet and

age are critical factors that have differential

impact with age, and it highlights

the spleen and heart as an interorgan

communication system with the

immune defence system," said Ganesh

Halade, Associate Professor at the

University of Alabama.

The team found that obesity-generating

diet increased the proportion of

neutrophils in the blood of aged-mice.

Higher neutrophil counts means

that you have an infection or are under

a lot of stress. The obesity-generating

diet in eldery also led to structural

deformities in mice spleens.

The spleen, a secondary immune

organ, is a known reservoir for leukocytes

that move to the heart to begin

tissue repair and help resolve inflammation

in case of an heart attack.


TRAI to decide on rules

for internet calling,

messaging firms soon

Barcelona : Telecom regulator TRAI

will release its recommendations on the

regulatory framework for over-the-top

(OTT) services in a couple of months, its

chairman RS Sharma said Tuesday.

“We already have a paper on OTT (overthe-top).

We will come out with appropriate

recommendations and regulations in

near future, a couple of months from now,”

Sharma told at the Mobile World Congress

2019 here.

The telecom sector at MWC has been

displaying technology and sharing their

plans around 5G services. The business of

5G will be dominated by data-related business

which is expected to blur differences

between services provided by Internet

companies and telecom service providers.

The sector has been talking about the

same set of rules for companies providing

similar services. Last week, global industry

body GSM Association Director General

Mats Granryd said globally telecom companies

should be regulated at par with

Internet firms as they are planning to move

beyond providing just connectivity to

adopt a data-centric business model with

“intelligent connectivity” with 5G coming

in. He said India is the only country that

has announced to gradually end mobile call

termination rates — a move that will end

price arbitrage between online players providing

calling and messaging service and

telecom operators.

Talking about the evolution of new technologies

and impact on regulatory jurisdictions,

Sharma said, “Regulatory systems

will continue to develop as technology

develops. Our approach is regulator should

RS Sharma, the

chairman of TRAI,

said that the telecom

regulator will

release its recommendations

on the

regulatory framework

for over-thetop

(OTT) services

in a couple of


not become a hindrance.”

Besides this, Sharma said all telecom

operators will have to put in place

blockchain based system to curb pesky call

and messaging menace from March 1 and

no extension will be granted to them.

Indian enterprise messaging firm Tanla

Solutions announced here that it has

installed the first system to stop pesky calls

and messaging system as per Trai rule on

Vodafone Idea network that has gone live

from Tuesday onwards.

March 2019


Google uses AI to predict

wind energy output

San Francisco : In collaboration

with its Britain-based

Artificial Intelligence (AI) subsidiary

DeepMind, Google has

developed a system to predict

wind power output 36 hours

ahead of actual generation.

Google said that these type of

predictions can boost the value

of wind energy and can

strengthen the business case for

wind power and drive further

adoption of carbon-free energy

on electric grids worldwide.

“Over the past decade, wind

farms have become an important

source of carbon-free electricity

as the cost of turbines has plummeted

and adoption has surged,”

Sims Witherspoon, Programme

Manager at DeepMind and Will

Fadrhonc, Carbon Free Energy

Programme Lead at Google

wrote in a blog post this week.

“However, the variable nature

of wind itself makes it an unpredictable

energy source—less

useful than one that can reliably

deliver power at a set time,” they

said. In search of a solution to

this problem, DeepMind and

Google started applying machine

learning algorithms to 700

megawatts of wind power capacity

in the central US.

These wind farms—part of

Google’s global fleet of renewable

energy projects—collectively

generate as much electricity

as is needed by a mediumsized

city. Using a neural network

trained on widely available

weather forecasts and historical

turbine data, the researchers configured

the DeepMind system to

predict wind power output 36

hours ahead of actual generation.

“Based on these predictions,

our model recommends how to

make optimal hourly delivery

commitments to the power grid a

full day in advance,” Witherspoon

and Fadrhonc wrote. This is

important, because energy sources

that can be scheduled, or can

deliver a set amount of electricity

at a set time, are often more valuable

to the grid. “To date, machine

learning has boosted the value of

our wind energy by roughly 20

per cent, compared to the baseline

scenario of no time-based commitments

to the grid,” the post


20 March 2019


Facial recognition software to help

identify US Civil War soldiers

WASHINGTON : Scientists

have developed a software that

uses crowdsourcing to help

algorithms identify faces in

photos, that could uncover the

mysteries of the nearly 4 million

photographs of Civil Warera

images that may exist in the

historical record. Kurt Luther,

an assistant professor at

Virginia Tech in the US, was

inspired to develop the software

for Civil War Photo

Sleuth while visiting the Heinz

History Center's exhibit called

"Pennsylvania's Civil War" in

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

There he stumbled upon a Civil

War-era portrait of Oliver

Croxton, his great-great-great

uncle who served in Company

E of the 134th Pennsylvania,

clad in a corporal's uniform.

"Historical photos can tell us

a lot about not only our own

familial history but also inform

the historical record of the time

more broadly than just reading

about the event in a history

book," said Luther.

The Civil War Photo Sleuth

project allows users to upload

photos, tag them with visual

cues, and connect them to profiles

of Civil War soldiers with

detailed records of military history.

Photo Sleuth's initial reference

database contained more

than 15,000 identified Civil

War soldier portraits from public

domain sources like the US

Military History Institute and

other private collections.

More than 600 users contributed

more than 2,000 Civil

War photos to the website in

the first month after the launch,

and roughly half of those photos

were unidentified.

Over 100 of these unknown

photos were linked to specific

soldiers, and an expert analysis

found that over 85 percent of

these proposed identifications

were probably or definitely

NASA decodes how our Moon got 'sunburns'


Moons 'sunburns'—distinctive

patterns of swirls—are a result

of interactions between the

Sun's damaging radiation with

pockets of lunar magnetic field,

according to NASA data. Every

object, planet or person travelling

through space has to contend

with the Sun's damaging

radiation. Research using data

from NASA's Acceleration,

Reconnection, Turbulence and

Electrodynamics of the Moon's

Interaction with the Sun

(ARTEMIS) mission suggests

that lunar swirls could be the

result of solar wind interactions

with the Moon's isolated pockets

of magnetic field.

The Sun releases a continuous

outflow of particles and

radiation called the solar wind.

The solar wind washes over the

planets, moons and other bodies

in our solar system, filling a

bubble of space—called the

heliosphere—that extends far

past the orbit of Pluto. On

Earth, we are largely protected

from the damaging effects of

the solar wind. Since the solar

wind is magnetised, Earth's natural

magnetic field deflects the

solar wind particles around our

planet so that only a small fraction

of them reach our planet's


Unlike Earth, the Moon has

no global magnetic field.

However, magnetised rocks

near the lunar surface do create

small, localised spots of magnetic

field that extend anywhere

from hundreds of yards

to hundreds of miles.

This is the kind of information

that needs to be well

understood to better protect

astronauts on the Moon from

the effects of radiation,

researchers said. The magnetic

field bubbles by themselves are

not robust enough to protect

humans from that harsh radiation

environment, but studying

their structure could help

develop techniques to protect

our future explorers.

"The magnetic fields in

some regions are locally acting

as this magnetic sunscreen,"

said Andrew Poppe, a scientist

at the University of California,

Berkeley in the US.

These small bubbles of magnetic

"sunscreen" can also

deflect solar wind particles—

but on a much smaller scale

than Earth's magnetic field.

While they are not enough to

protect astronauts by themselves,

they do have a fundamental

effect on the Moon's

appearance. Under these miniature

magnetic umbrellas, the

material that makes up the

Moon's surface, called regolith,

is shielded from the Sun's particles.

As those particles flow

toward the Moon, they are

deflected to the areas just

around the magnetic bubbles,

where chemical reactions with

the regolith darken the surface.

This creates the distinctive

swirls of darker and lighter

material that are so prominent

they can be seen from Earth—

one more piece of the puzzle to

help us understand the neighbour

NASA plans to re-visit

within the next decade.

correct. Presently, the database

has grown to over 4,000 registered

users and more than 8,000

photos. "Typically, crowdsourced

research such as this is

challenging for novices if users

don't have specific knowledge

of the subject area," said

Luther. "The step-by-step

process of tagging visual clues

and applying search filters

linked to military service

records makes this detective

work more accessible, even for

those that may not have a deeper

knowledge of Civil War military

history," he said.

Person identification tasks

can be challenging in larger

candidate pools because there

is a larger risk for false positives.

The novel approach behind

Civil War Photo Sleuth is based

on the analogy of finding a needle

in a haystack. The data

pipeline has three haystackrelated

components: building

the haystack, narrowing down

the haystack, and finding the

needle in the haystack.

When combined, they allow

users to identify unknown soldiers

while reducing the risk of

false positives. Any time a user

uploads a photo to identify it,

the photo gets added to the

site's digital archive or

"haystack," making it available

for future searches.

Following upload, the user

tags metadata related to the

photograph such as photo format

or inscriptions, as well as

visual clues, such as coat

colour, chevrons, shoulder

straps, collar insignia, and hat

insignia. These tags are linked

New Delhi : WhatsApp is

reportedly working on a new

‘Advanced Search’ feature that

will be available for iOS beta

testers soon. According to a

WABetaInfo report, the feature

will let users search for all

types of messages including

photos, links, audio, GIFs, and

more in chat.

WhatsApp currently allows

for text search through its

search feature. WhatsApp currently

allows for text search

through its search feature. It

looks like the ‘Advanced

Search’ feature will let users

search for more like photos,

GIFs, links, documents, videos,

documents, and audio.

The Advanced Search feature

will also display the number

of media files stored on the

user’s device segregated as

photos, videos, GIFs, audio,

etc. When one clicks on a specific

type of media, all the messages

containing that media are


It will also show a preview

of the media. So for instance,

when users type photos in

WhatsApp’s Advanced Search

bar, they will be shown a preview

of each image in a listicle

format. The search can be further

filtered by typing a specific

word for the exact photo

users are looking for.

As per the report,

to search filters to prioritise the

most likely matches. For example,

a soldier tagged with the

"hunting horn" hat insignia

would suggest potential matches

who served in the infantry,

while hiding results from the

cavalry or artillery.

Next, the site uses state-ofthe-art

face recognition technology

to eliminate very different-looking

faces and sort the

remaining ones by similarity.

Both the tagging and face

recognition steps narrow down

the haystack.

Finally, users find the needle

in the haystack by exploring the

highest-probability matches in

more detail. A comparison tool

with pan and zoom controls

helps users carefully inspect a

possible match and, if they

decide it's a match, link the previously

unknown photo to its

new identity and biographical

details. Retracing historical

Civil War photos through facial

recognition software like Photo

Sleuth has broad applications

beyond identifying historical

photos, too. The software has

the potential to generate new

ways to think about building

person identification systems

that look beyond face recognition

and leverage the complementary

strengths of both

human and artificial intelligence.

WhatsApp iOS beta testers to get

‘Advanced Search’ feature soon

WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new 'Advanced Search'

feature that will be available for iOS beta testers soon. The

feature will let users search for all types of messages including

photos, links, audio, GIFs, and more in chat.

WhatsApp’s ‘Advanced

Search’ feature is under development

at this moment and is

not available. It will be rolled

out for iOS beta testers initially

and Android availability is

expected to follow. In the

development phase, the audio

preview has not been enabled,

neither it is known whether it

will be possible to search for

Locations and vCards using

this feature.


March 2019


The successful strike made by a

dozen Mirage 2000 jets of the Indian

Air Force on Feb 26 to take out the

biggest training camp of Jaish-e-

Mohammed at Balakot in the Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, in

just about ten days after the terror

attack on the CRPF at Pulwama,

speaks as much of the decisiveness of

the Modi regime on the national security

front as of all that obviously went

into that action by way of defence preparedness,

functional consolidation of

India's intelligence set-up and a comprehensive

diplomatic reach out to the

world by our Prime Minister himself

on the issue of Pakistan-sponsored


Indian jets also pounded the terrorist

launch pads at Muzaffarabad and

Chakothi in POK. In all of this, the

role of the National Security Advisor,

Ajit Doval, in the formulation of

responses at the level of both policy

and tactics and also overseeing the

execution of a brilliant operation of

the IAF swiftly completed on a note

of complete surprise for the adversary,

was noteworthy. India has retained the

moral high ground in going after a set

of dangerous terrorists condemned

even by the UN Security Council.

Pakistan had consistently projected

them as 'non- state' actors on its soil

but had remained totally complicit

with them for reasons known to the

entire world. The event gives a new

turn to India-Pakistan relations leaving

little scope for India to shift from

its firm stand against cross-border terrorism.

India's Foreign Secretary in a

media briefing disclosed that credible

intelligence was received that JeM

was training fidayeen for attempting

further suicide terror attacks in various

parts of India and that, in the face

of this imminent danger, a preemptive

strike had become absolutely necessary.

He made it clear that the action

at Balakot was a 'preemptive nonmilitary

strike targeting militants and

not the people or the State of

Pakistan'. The forthright statement of

India has helped to give the right message

to the world about India's bona

fide in responding to a grave threat to

its national security. The note of

understanding struck by major powers

like the US, UK, France, Australia,

Russia and even China on the Balakot

operation vindicates India's policy

against terrorism. This is a marked

success of our military and diplomatic


For decades now, Pakistan's deep

state had been unabashedly pursing a

'proxy war' against India in the name

of Kashmir using faith-based terrorism

to avenge the ignominious defeat

of 1972 it had suffered at the hands of

Return of the

political will

India in the Bangladesh war. It first

instigated militant separatism in

Kashmir -- through the slogans of

Plebiscite and Azadi and also sponsored

the armed 'Khalistan' movement

in Punjab but could not derail the

overpowering democratic processes


It was in the Nineties that, following

the success of anti-Soviet armed

campaign in Afghanistan for which

Pakistan was given all the credit by

the US-led West, the Pak army-ISI

combine planned to replicate the

Afghan Jehad in Kashmir by sending

in Mujahideen from across the Valley

and subduing the Kashmiris to the call

of Jehad through its agents and

acolytes. Jamaat-e-Islami outfits like

Hizbul Mujahideen and Dukhtarane

Millat were made to take orders from

the Pak-based Lashkar-e-Toiba chief

Maulana Hafiz Sayeed. The Hurriyat

totally converted into a Pak proxy.

The network of Pak agents within the

administration and outside, including

those who took shelter under the

umbrella of politics was constantly

expanded to create an atmosphere of

alienation and public unrest.

Also, Maulana Masood Azhar's

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which

was an old collaborator of Al Qaeda-

Taliban combine -- it was a constituent

along with Taliban of the first

set of Mujahideen sent to the valley

under the label of Harkatul Ansar way

back in 1993 -- was utilised for raising

fidayeen or suicide bombers.

These were lately being trained for

using car bombs. What is more disconcerting

is that the Balakot training

camp was the venue for raising

Border Action Teams comprising of

both Jaish militants and army soldiers.

The attack on the CRPF convoy

at Pulwama was the doing of a Jaish

Fidayeen who used a car bomb with

over 60 kg of RDX mix. The act

owned by the Pak-based JeM was a

manifestation of the new level of

escalation of terror caused by the Pak

army after it had discovered that

stone pelting and grenade lobbing on

security camps by its agents in

Kashmir were bringing it diminishing


Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

Washington, The US and South

Korea will suspend two large-scale

joint military exercises this year,

American officials said, as part of

President Donald Trumps efforts to

maintain the truce he struck with

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

A limited version of the training

drills known as Key Resolve and Foal

Eagle however, are still expected to

go forward, The New York Times

quoted the officials as saying on


The decision to scale back the military

exercises follows nuclear talks

in Hanoi this week between Trump

and Kim that ended without an agreement

on how or whether to shut down

North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

As the Trump administration continues

to seek a resolution, a Defence

Department official said the high-profile

missile exercises that Pyongyang

views as provocative will be toned


The official said the decision to

formally suspend the large-scale drills

was officially expected to be

announced by the US and South

Korea in the next few days.

It is the latest in a series of planned

unlike his predecessors, took a hard

line towards Pakistan once he discovered

-- after extending the hand of

friendship to then Prime Minister

Nawaz Sharif -- that in Pakistan the

civilian government was a mere fig

leaf for its army and that the Pak

army-ISI combine was determined to

use terrorism as the instrument of

state policy to get hold of Kashmir.

The terror attack on Pathankot air

base in January 2016 led to the declaration

of Modi government that 'terror

and talks could not go together' -- a

policy that has been proved right by

the course of developments. The punitive

surgical strike on terror launch

pads carried out by Indian troops

across the LOC within days of Uri

attack the same year was in glaring

contrast to the supine response of the

government of the day to the deadly

LeT sponsored Mumbai attack of

2008- 26/11 being rightly described as

India's 9/11.

For lack of understanding of the

distinction between Islamic radicals

of Al Qaeda-Taliban axis who took

on the US and the India-specific outfits

nurtured by Pak ISI as instruments

of cross border terrorism

against this country the then government

first committed a foreign policy

blunder of granting a 'shared victimhood'

to Pakistan in regard to terrorism,

at the Havana summit and then

went on to spinelessly accept the line

of John Kerry -- visiting Chairman of

the Foreign Relations Committee --

that 26/11 was solely the doing of

'non state' actors of Pakistan. In the

period that followed, the Pakistan

army worked with the presumption

that it could keep up its proxy offensive

against India without any fear of

retribution. It is the Modi government

that got President Donald

Trump to abandon the artificial construct

of a distinction between 'good

terrorists' and 'bad terrorists', call the

bluff of Pakistan on its role in the

'war on terror' that was a combat

against Islamic radicals and clearly

direct Pakistan to stop providing safe

havens to terrorists across the Islamic

spectrum. The government has

unflinchingly stuck to the policy of

'talks and terror do not go together'

and Indians are totally behind the

government on this -- the charge of

'politicisation' raised by peaceniks

and sections of the opposition is not

cutting much ice.

In the current geo-political context,

Pakistan is left with no option but to

sue for peace -- its sabre rattling by

way of sending some F-16s to unsuccessfully

attempt to bomb a military

establishment on our side of LOC a

day after the Balakot strike, has not

taken it anywhere. An Indian pilot

intercepting the enemy plane fell in

Pak hands. Pakistan was compelled to

declare his release after India rightly

warned it that any ill-treatment of the

pilot would be considered a war


Since India's Pak policy revolves

round the issue of Pakistan effectively

giving up on cross-border terrorism,

India should legitimately demand

handing over of Maulana Hafiz

Sayeed and Maulana Masood Azhar

for trial in 26/11 and Pulwama attack

respectively as a condition for talks.

Pakistan should not be permitted to

exploit its proximity to Saudi Arabia

and UAE in the OIC nor should it be

allowed to manoeuvre the support of

Russia and China on the Afghan table.

Meanwhile, India's war machine

should remain in full swing to take on

any military adventure of Pakistan --

the threat of nuclear flash point does

not work for Pakistan any more.

Pakistan, however,is likely to step up

its aggressiveness in Kashmir and it

would be quite in order for India to

take to an approach of 'offence is the

best defence' along the LOC.

US, S. Korea to suspend large-scale military exercises

military exercises that Washington

and Seoul have cancelled in the past

year in order to avoid roiling

Pyongyang. Trump has also said that

the war drills cost too much.

Last June, without consulting the

Pentagon, the President suspended

major military exercises with South

Korea following his first summit with

Kim in Singapore.

American and South Korean soldiers,

airmen and sailors have continued

to carry out joint training sessions.

In addition, the two sides have

staged so-called tabletop or virtual


22 March 2019


Sanders vows to fight racial,

economic injustices in US

Chicago : Vermont Senator Bernie

Sanders has made a passionate bid to

win the Democratic nomination for

President, promising a fight against

racial and economic injustices in the

US if he is elected in 2020.

Addressing thousands of his supporters

on Sunday during his nearly

40 minutes of speech at the Navy

Pier's Festival Hall here, the 77-yearold

said his second presidential bid

would finish the political revolution

that began in 2016, Efe news reported.

"We have got to do it together by

the millions. We are going to finally

create an economy and government

that works for all and not just the one

person," the Senator said.

"Together we are going to create a

political system which is based on the

democratic principle of one person,

one vote and end a corrupt political

system in which billionaires are buying


Sanders said his struggle was not

"just about defeating Donald Trump"

but to trounce crony capitalism by

taking on the "incredibly powerful

institutions that control the economic

and political life of our country".

He said the fight was against Wall

Street, insurance companies, drug

Sri Lanka to offer

multiple entry visas for

business travellers

Colombo : The Sri Lankan government on Monday

said that it will change its immigration rules to offer multiple

entry visas for business travellers who aim to trade

and invest in the island country, according to media

reports. Local media quoted the state information office

as saying that the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal

by Minister of Internal and Home Affairs Vajira

Abeywardena to change the Immigrants and Emigrants

Act in order to implement the new visa scheme.

The government aims to extend the duration of tourist

visas and issue multiple entry visas for commercial activities,

Xinhua news agency reported citing a statement

from the Information Department. The amendments will

launch a visa system to attract investors and introduce a

single fee scheme for tourist visas.

Currently, tourists are only granted a one-month visa

and if it needs to be extended, tourists need to make a further


A penalty fee of $500 will also be introduced for those

who overstay in the country without visas.

companies, the military-industrial

complex and the prison industrial

complex. "Today, I want to welcome

you to a campaign which says loudly

and proudly that the underlying principles

of our government will not be

greed, kleptocracy, hatred, authoritarianism

and pathological lying."

If he were elected to the White

House in 2020, "the principles of our

government will not be racism, sexism,

xenophobia, homophobia, and

religious bigotry", Sanders added.

Sleep apnoea linked with Alzheimer's marker : Study

New York : Researchers have

found a link between sleep apnea

and increased levels of a toxic

brain protein commonly associated

with Alzheimer's disease. The findings

suggests that people suffering

from sleep apnea may have higher

accumulations of an Alzheimer's

disease biomarker called tau in an

area of the brain that helps with


Those who had apneas had on

average 4.5 per cent higher levels

of tau in the entorhinal cortex than

those who did not have apneas,

"The principles of our government

will be based on justice, on economic

justice, on social justice, on racial justice,

and environmental justice."

Sanders, in his no-holds-barred

speech, said his campaign was to tell

corporate America, the billionaire

class and other powerful special interests

"who control so much of our economic

and political life that we will

no longer tolerate their insatiable

greed". He said this greed had resulted

in the US having more income and

suggests the study presented at the

American Academy of Neurology's

71st Annual Meeting in

Philadelphia. Tau, a protein that

forms into tangles, is found in the

brains of people with Alzheimer's

disease. "Our research results raise

the possibility that sleep apnea

affects tau accumulation. But it is

also possible that higher levels of

tau in other regions may predispose

a person to sleep apnea," said coauthor

Diego Z. Carvalho from

Minnesota's Mayo Clinic.

According to the researchers,

wealth inequality than any other

major country in the world.

He reiterated his vow to raise the

minimum wage to $15 an hour and

asked American companies like

"WalMart, and the fast food industry

and other low-wage employers" that

they should stop paying workers

"starvation wages".

In a bid to win over black voters,

Sanders noted that the US still had a

long way to go to end institutional

racism and income disparities in a

country where the average black family

has one-10th the wealth of the

average white family.

"Have we made progress in civil

rights in this country since the early

1960s when I lived here? No question

about it. Do we still have a long way

to go to end the institutional racism

which permeates almost every aspect

of our society? Absolutely," he said.

Sanders, who competed for the

Democratic presidential nomination

in the 2016 primaries, which were

won by Hillary Clinton, began his

second campaign on Saturday in New

York where he addressed thousands

of followers and vowed to defeat

Trump, describing him as "very dangerous"

for the nation.

Kim Jong-un's train

makes no stop in China

Seoul : North Korean

leader Kim Jong-un's special

train passed the Chinese port

city of Tianjin on Monday,

ened in downtown Tianjin

early in the morning and then


It seems like Chairman

sources said, ending speculation

Kim's train has passed

about a possible meeting

with Chinese President Xi


Kim left Dong Dang station

in Vietnam on Saturday after a

failed two-day summit with

US President Donald Trump

and an official visit to the

through the city," a source

said. Despite earlier speculation,

Kim did not stop in

Guangzhou, a Chinese port

city northwest of Hong Kong,

nor in Beijing to meet

President Xi on his way back

home. His train is expected to

Southeast Asian nation, the sources, apparently taking reach Dandong station and

reports Yonhap news agency. the same route as when he travelled

nearly 66 hours by train to known as the Amrok River, near

then cross the Yalu River, also

His train passed through Tianjin

at around 7 a.m., according to Vietnam. "Security was tight-

the border, on Monday night.

China accuses

detained Canadians

of spying

Beijing : Chinese authorities on

Monday accused two detained

Canadians of spying as tensions

between the two nations grow over the

possible extradition of a Huawei executive

to the US.

Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat,

and Michael Spavor, a businessman,

were detained in December after

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng

Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on

suspicion of fraud and breaching sanctions

on Iran.

China had condemned Meng's arrest

and the diplomatic spat hurt Canada-

China relations. The arrest of the two

Canadians was seen as Beijing's retaliation.

Meng has sued Canada over her

arrest, which was made at the request

of the US. Canada said China had not

made a specific link between the detentions

and Meng's arrest, but experts and

former diplomats said Beijing was

using their detentions as a way to put

pressure on Canada. Chinese authorities

said Kovrig was passed intelligence

by Spavor, according to a statement

released on Monday by the

Chinese Communist party's central

political and legal affairs commission.

Spavor has also been in detention

since December. Kovrig had often

entered China using an ordinary passport

and business visas, "stealing and

spying on sensitive Chinese information

and intelligence via a contact in

China," it said. "Kovrig's actions, suspected

of stealing, spying on state

secrets and intelligence, have seriously

violated Chinese law," the commission

said. It described Spavor as his "main

contact", the Global Times reported.

The Chinese state media said Spavor

"had provided intelligence to Kovrig

and was an important intelligence contact

of (his)". Meanwhile, Canada's

Justice Department on Friday approved

the beginning of extradition proceedings

for Meng who is on bail and

denies the charges against her.

In her lawsuit, Meng sought damages

against the Royal Canadian

Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian

Border Services Agency (CBSA) and

the federal government for allegedly

breaching her civil rights under

Canada's Charter of Rights and

Freedoms. Her detention was "unlawful"

and "arbitrary", the suit said, and

officers "intentionally failed to advise

her of the true reasons for her detention,

her right to counsel, and her right

to silence".b

obstructive sleep apnea is a condition

that involves frequent events

of stopped breathing during sleep,

although an apnea may also be a

single event of paused breathing

during sleep.

"A person normally has fewer

than five episodes of apnea per

hour during sleep," Carvalho

added. For the study, the research

team involved 288 people of age

65 and older who did not have cognitive

impairment. Bed partners

were asked whether they had witnessed

episodes of stopped breathing

during sleep. Participants had

positron emission tomography

(PET) brain scans to look for accumulation

of tau tangles in the

entorhinal cortex area of the brain,

an area of the brain in the temporal

lobe that is more likely to accumulate

tau than some other areas.

This area of the brain helps manage

memory, navigation and perception

of time. The researchers

identified 43 participants, 15 per

cent of the study group, whose bed

partners witnessed apneas when

they were sleeping.

‘Polluted air kills around 6

lakh children every year’

Geneva : Air

pollution, both

outside and inside

home, is a silent

and invisible prolific

killer responsible

for premature

death of 7

million people

each year, including

600,000 children,

according to

a UN expert on

environment and

human rights.

According to

David R. Boyd,

UN Special Rapporteur, more

than 6 billion people, one-third

of them children, are regularly

inhaling air so polluted that it

puts their life, health and wellbeing

at risk.

“Every hour, 800 people are

dying, many after years of suffering,

from cancer, respiratory

illnesses or heart disease directly

caused by breathing polluted

air. Yet, this pandemic receives

inadequate attention as these

deaths are not as dramatic as

those caused by other disasters

or epidemics,” Boyd said during

the Human Rights Council

in Geneva.

Boyd emphasised that air

pollution is a preventable problem

and gave a call to abide by

their legal obligations to ensure

clean air, which is essential for

fulfilling the rights to life,

Archaeologists find Mayan

artefacts in Mexico

Mexico : Mexican authorities have announced that at least 200

millennium-old ceramic artefacts have been discovered in an

underground ritual cave in the Mayan city of Chichen Itza.

According to Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and

History (INAH), the cave, which was discovered 50 years ago but

has remained unexplored, is called Balamku, Efe news reported.

The cave is located 2.7 km from the Temple of Kukulkan at the

Chichen Itza complex on the Yucatan peninsula.

On Monday, INAH archaeologist Guillermo de Anda told the

media that this was the most important discovery since the

Balamkanche cave was found in the 1950s.

Most of the objects found are censers dedicated to Tlaloc, the

water god, used for rituals and as offerings in the late classic period

of Mayan civilisation, from the 7th to 10th centuries.

The archaeologist said research has discarded the initial

hypothesis of a Toltec invasion of Mayan territory, but surmised

that "central Mexico must have had an influence on Chichen Itza".

"In that case, these items will help us establish a chronology,"

the researcher said, adding that they expect to discover in Balamku

many more artefacts than the 200 already found. The censers and

vessels discovered in Balamku still preserve the charred remains

of food, seeds, jade, shells and bones, among other things the

Mayas offered their deities in those days. The archaeologist maintained

that this cave is "probably more sacred" than the Sacred

Cenote itself, a circular sunken pit 197 feet in diameter and 49 feet

deep, filled with water and located in Chichen Itza.

China sets 2019 GDP

growth target at 6-6.5%

Beijing : China has set its GDP growth target at 6-6.5 per

cent for 2019, according to a government work report available

to the media ahead of the annual legislative session on Tuesday.

China aims to maintain consumer inflation level at around 3

per cent and create over 11 million new urban jobs.

The surveyed urban unemployment rate is projected to stay

around 5.5 per cent, the registered urban unemployment rate

within 4.5 per cent, according to the report to be delivered on

Tuesday morning at the second session of the 13th National

People's Congress, China's top legislature, Xinhua reported.

"The above projected targets are ambitious but realistic--they

represent our aim of promoting high-quality development, are

in keeping with the current realities of China's development,

and are aligned with the goal of completing the building of a

moderately prosperous society in all respects," the report says.

health, water and sanitation,

adequate housing, and a

healthy environment. “There

are many examples of good

practices, such as programmes

in India and Indonesia, that

have helped millions of poor

families switch to cleaner

cooking technologies that are

successfully eliminating the

use of coal-fired power plants,”

said Boyd.


March 2019


Nitrogen pollution is a big

issue : UN Environment

Nairobi : Nitrogen

pollution is one of the

biggest environmental

issues faced by humans

today and requires urgent

action from nations

around the world, the UN

Environment agency said

on Monday.

Its Frontiers report,

launched ahead of the UN

Environment high-level

assembly beginning here

on March 11, explores

environmental issues that

will have profound effects Nitrogen is essential for life “Altogether, humans are

on society, economy and but excess nitrogen pollution producing a cocktail of reactive

ecosystems, along with some has tremendous consequences nitrogen that threatens health,

novel solutions.

on humans and the environment,

the report said. In the ing nitrogen one of the most

climate and ecosystems, mak-

By scanning the technological

and environmental horizons,

the report identifies five example, it is 300 times more ing humanity,” the report

form of nitrous oxide, for important pollution issues fac-

major topics — synthetic biology,

ecological connectivity, as a greenhouse gas, in addition “Yet the scale of the problem

powerful than carbon dioxide warns.

permafrost peatlands, nitrogen to the effects of various nitrogen

compounds on air quality unacknowledged outside scien-

remains largely unknown and

pollution and maladaptation to

climate change.

and the ozone layer.

tific circles,” it adds.

24 March 2019


59 KILLED in

Afghanistan floods

Macron calls for

'EU renaissance' ahead of polls

Kabul : At least 59 people were killed

and another 143 injured as flash floods

struck Afghanistan following heavy rains

in the country, officials said on Monday.

Kandahar and Helmand provinces were

the most affected by the floods that hit the

country following heavy rains last

Saturday. "In the past three days, 59 people

were killed and another 143 people

injured in flash floods and heavy rains in

nine out of the 17 provinces in deferent

parts of the country," the operations chief

for the State Ministry for Disaster

Management, Ahmad Khan Nafi, told Efe

news. Nafi said the number of casualties

could change as communication systems

had been disrupted in many parts of the


At least 2,000 houses were destroyed in

floods, besides, schools and hospitals,

Hashmat Khan Bahaduri, spokesman for

the State Ministry for Disaster

Management said. Bahaduri said hundreds

of trapped people have been rescued and

taken to temporary camps by the Afghan

security forces. He said about 8,000 families

have been provided food and other

assistance. Although the rain has stopped

and water receded, displaced people were

still staying at temporary camps.

Paris : French President

Emmanuel Macron has proposed a

series of reforms to ensure the

future of the European Union.

In an opinion piece being published

around Europe, he calls for

the creation of an agency to protect

the bloc against cyber-attacks, the

BBC reported on Tuesday.

Ahead of May's European elections,

he advocates a ban on foreign

powers financing European political

parties. And he suggests the

British people were not properly

informed before voting to leave the


Macron set out his proposals for

a "European renaissance" in an

open letter addressed directly to the

"citizens of Europe", which was

published in newspapers in all 28

EU member states.

In his letter, Macron says the EU

as an institution needs a major

shake-up if it is to stop member

states "retreating into nationalism" -

- a direct reference to Brexit.

"Who told the British people the

truth about their post-Brexit

future?" he asks, using the UK's

withdrawal from the union as an

example of the EU being in crisis.

"Who spoke to them about losing

access to the EU market? Who

mentioned the risks to peace in

Ireland of restoring the border?"

He describes the EU as "not just

an economic market" but a "project",

before going on to set out his

"roadmap for the EU". In his open

letter to Europe, Macron proposes

the creation of several new bodies

that would oversee change within

the EU. They are: European Agency

for the Protection of Democracies,

to protect against cyber attacks, the

spread of fake news, and to ban foreign

powers from funding

European political parties

European Council for Internal

Security, which would comprise a

Europe-wide border force agency

and asylum office, and a European

security council that would have

"the UK on board".

An EU minimum wage, which

would be "appropriate to each

country" and negotiated collectively

on an annual basis, and a guarantee

that EU citizens would get "the

same pay for the same work".

European Climate Bank, which

would finance the EU's transition to

his suggested environmental targets,

"zero carbon by 2050 and pesticides

halved by 2025".

A European food safety force, to

"improve our food controls" and

protect them from the "lobby

threat" with "independent scientific

assessment of substances hazardous

to the environment and health".

A Conference for Europe, which

Macron wants the EU to set up by

the end of this year, so that changes

can be proposed and approved by

representatives from EU institutions

and member states.

Sharif's request

for early appeal

hearing rejected

Islamabad : The

Pakistan Supreme Court

has rejected a request

moved on behalf of former

Prime Minister Nawaz

Sharif for an early hearing

of his appeal against last

month's Islamabad High

Court (IHC) order of turning

down his plea seeking

bail on medical grounds in

a corruption case.

Sharif was on December

24, 2018, sentenced to

seven years in prison by an

anti-corruption court in the

Al-Azizia Steel Mills case

for owning a steel factory

abroad without disclosing

its ownership.

On March 1, senior

counsel Khawaja Haris

Ahmed had filed the appeal

before the Supreme Court

on behalf of Sharif, asking

the apex court to grant him

bail after suspending the

execution of the December

24, 2018 sentence, reports

Dawn news.

But the Supreme Court

registrar office on Monday

returned the application for

early hearing on the

grounds that no special

treatment could be accorded

and the routine procedure

would be followed to

take up the matter.

In his appeal, Sharif

argues that he retains the

right to have his medical

treatment conducted by the

practitioner of his own

choice despite his conviction

and consequent

imprisonment in jail.

The IHC in its February

25 order had held that none

of the medical reports

about Sharif's condition

suggested that his continued

incarceration would in

any way be detrimental to

his life, adding he had been

hospitalised time and again

since January whenever he

made complaints about his


But Sharif's appeal contended

that the IHC order

was in violation of his fundamental

right to life.

The anti-corruption

court judge had last year

imposed hefty fines on

Sharif after ruling that Al-

Azizia Steel Mills -- a

Saudi Arabian firm carrying

the name of his son --

belonged to the three-time

Premier and that he was

unable to demonstrate how

the project was funded.

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