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NHRC concerned over incentive-based population policy

News4u-News Desk-  Deeply concerned over incentive- based population policies framed by some state governments, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is mulling to frame guidelines and has sought details from states.

The NHRC has written letters to all states earlier this month seeking details of their population policies by 31st May.

“The Commission has been deeply concerned about population policies framed by the state governments. It has been observed that some of the state governments have adopted the method of incentives/disincentives for adopting small family norms…,” the letter said.

The letter written by J S Kochher, Joint Secretary (Training) in NHRC, noted that small family norms were a “gross violation of human rights, particularly women’s reproductive rights. It is mandatory for India to abandon targets and come up with programme that moved away from incentives and disincentives as New Delhi is a signatory to International Conference on Population and Development in 1994.

“We want to collect some details from the states. We will study it. Then we will make some policy,” NHRC Chairperson K G Balakrishnan said.

The Supreme Court had earlier this month sought the stands of the Centre and various state governments on a plea allegingsterilisation surgeries on women under torchlight, in various places, specially in Bihar, in gross violation of the medical and ethical norms.

A controversy had also broken out in Madhya Pradesh last month when an unmarried youth was subjected to vasectomy during a public camp held in Rewa district.

Balakrishnan also said the 2011 Census has thrown out alarming information about declining sex ratio.

“There are widespread allegations of female foeticide. This is a very unfortunate situation. These things are done in a clandestine manner.

“It is very startling that the economically weaker sections are into such things. The most affluent sections of society are also into such things. It is not that the child could not be reared. So very sad situation. We should change the mindset,” he said.

To examine the population policy and chalk out a better strategy keeping in human rights, the NHRC had in 2007 constituted a Working Group which devised a reporting format to collect information from all states.

“In the meantime, the new Census has been carried out, which reveals that the child sex ratio has decreased from 927/1000 in 2001 to 914/2011 in 2011 which is a matter of great concern.

“Besides, during a span of more than four years, a number of developments might have taken place related to population issues in the states,” the letter said pointing out the need for the exercise to find out the existing policies adopted by various states.



 

NHRC

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Drone strikes are legal and ethical: US

News4u-News Desk- The White House has categorically dismissed Pakistan’s concerns on the drone strikes, as a top Obama aid describing it as a both “legal” and “ethical” tool to get dreaded terrorists.

“As a matter of international law, the United States is in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces, in response to the 9/11 attacks, and we may also use force consistent with our inherent right of national self-defence,” John Brennan, Assistant to the US President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism said on Monday.

“There is nothing in international law that bans the use of remotely piloted aircraft for this purpose or that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battlefield, at least when the country involved consents or is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat,” Brennan said in his remarks at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank.

Broadly speaking, the debate over strikes targeted at individual members of al-Qaeda has centered on their legality, their ethics, the wisdom of using them, and the standards by which they are approved, he noted.

“These targeted strikes are legal,” he asserted. “To briefly recap, as a matter of domestic law, the Constitution empowers the President to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack,” the US official said.

“The Authorisation for Use of Military Force — the AUMF — passed by Congress after the September 11th attacks authorises the president ‘to use all necessary and appropriate force’ against those nations, organizations and individuals responsible for 9/11.

There is nothing in the AUMF that restricts the use of military force against al-Qaeda to Afghanistan,” he said.

Brennan said the targeted strikes are ethical, adding that it is useful to consider such strikes against the basic principles of the law of war that govern the use of force.

Targeted strikes, he argued, conform to the principle of necessity — the requirement that the target have definite military value.

“In this armed conflict, individuals who are part of al-Qaeda or its associated forces are legitimate military targets.

We have the authority to target them with lethal force just as we targeted enemy leaders in past conflicts, such as German and Japanese commanders during World War II,” he said.

Targeted strikes conform to the principle of distinction — the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and that civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted, Brennan said.

 

US drones

US drones
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Exports grow 21% at $303.7 bn, deficit widens to record high

News4u - Business Desk : India’s exports grew 21 per cent and marginally crossed the exports target at USD 303.7 billion in 2011-12 over the previous fiscal.

Imports shot up by 32.1 per cent to USD 488.6 billion, leaving highest-ever trade deficit of USD 184.9 billion, according to the Commerce Ministry data released on Tuesday.

During March, exports fell 5.71 per cent to USD 28.68 billion, while imports grew by 24.2 per cent at USD 42.58 billion leaving a trade gap of USD 13.9 billion.

Oil and non-oil imports during the month increased by 32.45 per cent and 19.91 per cent to USD 15.83 billion and USD 26.75 billion respectively.

During the entire 2011-12, Oil and non-oil imports grew by 46.88 per cent and 26.23 per cent to USD 155.63 billion and USD 263.80 billion respectively.

Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar has said the widening trade deficit is posing a serious challenge for the economy.

The government had set export target of USD 300 billion for 2011-12.

 

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Ahead of Osama raid anniversary, US vows to target Zawahiri

News4u-News Desk- WASHINGTON: Ayman al-Zawahiri , the newhead of terror outfit al-Qaida remains at large in Pakistan’s tribal area, a top US counter-terrorism official has said as Washington vowed to hunt him down.

Labelling the Egyptian cleric as now the number one target of the US, John Brennan , the US deputy National Security Adviser told CNN: “We believe he (Zawahiri) is in that region of the world, as well as other Qaida leaders that continue to borough into areas of… the FATA ofPakistan.” Brennan added: “We’re not going to relent until they’re brought to justice one way or the other.” Speaking to reporters he said: “We demonstrated the ability to do that with bin Laden. We are in constant consultation with our Pakistani counter-terrorism partners on a regular basis about how we can do this as soon as possible.”

Laden letters, diary to be displayed 

US officials say the public will soon be able to read some of Osama bin Laden’s last written or typed words gathered by navy commandos when they raided Abbottabad compound. The trove included correspondence between the terror leader and his far flung affiliates, and a diary written in bin Laden’s own hand.AP

Ayman al-Zawahiri

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Achla Sachdev passes away

News4u-News Desk- PUNE: Yesteryear actress Achla Sachdevbreathed her last after a prolonged illness in the city on Sunday. The 88-year-old actress was ailing and bed-ridden for the last seven months at the Poona Hospital and Research Centre(PHRC).

“Sachdev’s condition became extremely critical two days ago, after she aspirated throat secretions that went into her lungs causing respiratory failure. She recovered from it. However, on Sunday, she again went into respiratory failure following aspiration of throat secretions. All attempts to revive her failed and she died at 5.30 pm on Sunday,” said Sachdev’s physician Vinod Shah, who had been tending to her for more than seven months.

Sachdev played the beautiful wife of Balraj Sahani in B R Chopra’s movie Waqt, for whom he crooned ‘Aae Meri Zohrajabeen’. The actress, who worked in 250 films, was last seen in the Hrithik Roshan-Esha Deol starrer Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002).

Sachdev was a patient of bronchial asthma and had also developed various neurological problems in the last one year. She had undergone a surgery 15 days ago. “We had put a feeding tube into her stomach so that she could directly be given liquid feeds and proteins.”

The actress had been staying in Pune for the last 40 years and had helped hospitals and NGOs in their various charitable and social causes. She had donated Rs 20 lakh and gifted her sprawling two-bedroom apartment in Pune Camp to the Janaseva Foundation, an NGO run by Shah.

“We have started the Achla Sachdev Institute of Education to train village girls in nursing and other vocational training courses in computers, tailoring, etc.,” Shah said. “Achlaji was a generous individual. She was especially keen to work for the upliftment of village girls and wanted to do something for them,” Shah added.

Sachdev had broken her left leg after a fall in her house six months ago. Later, she suffered a brain infraction in which she lost her vision and movements of upper and lower limbs. Since then, she was being treated at the PHRC. “Brain infraction had rendered her a quadriplegic. Occasionally, she would regain consciousness, but it would last only for a few moments,” Shah said.

Rajeev Nanda, a family friend of Sachdev’s, said, “I had been calling and informing people in the industry, her relatives and friends about her health. It is really sad that an actress who spent a major part of her life working in Hindi films and was even active on television till recently was not even being asked about in the film industry.”

Meanwhile, Nanda said, “Achlaji was very fond of music. She used to play the sitar. She was a very good Bharatnatyam dancer. She had promoted people like famous ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, when he would perform in private concerts during the initial phase of his career. She even encouraged actress Meena Kumari to sing. I have a cassette from Achalji with recordings of songs sung by Meena Kumari, Jagjit Singh and Kundanlal Sehgal.”

Some of her other films include Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001); Dahek (1999); Dil Kya Kare (1999); Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Chandni (1989); Love & God (1986); Mangal Dada (1986); Tumhari Kasam (1978), Amaanat (1977); Chailla Babu (1977), Chandi Sona (1977), Karm (1977), Laila Majnu (1976); Julie (1975), Anamika (1973), Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), Heer Ranjha (1970), Mera Naam Joker (1970), Hamraaz (1967) and Shagird (1967).

Sachdev is survived by her son Jyotin who is 65 years old and stays in the US. He is a business consultant. “Jyotin is expected to arrive in Pune on Tuesday. The funeral will take place at the Vaikunth crematorium at 5.30 pm. We will leave the hospital by 5 pm,” Nanda added. PTI

Achla Sachdev

Achla Sachdev

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Oman imposes ban on import of Indian poultry

News4u-News Desk- The government today said Oman has imposed a ban on import of Indian live birds and their by-products such as poultry meat and eggs.

“The Ministry of Agriculture, Oman has issued an emergency notification dated April 5, 2012, restricting import of live birds and their by-products such as poultry meat, live poultry and eggs originating from India,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

Sharma was replying to a query that whether Oman, the second largest importer of Indian eggs in the world, has imposed ban on Indian poultry imports.

The reason for restricting the import was on grounds of detection of highly Pathogenic Avain Influenza (HPAI) virus Sero type H5, he added.PTI

 

Oman Flag

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Presidential election race hots up

News4u-News Desk-NEW DELHI: The race for Presidential election hotted up today with BJP ruling out support for any Congress candidate including Pranab Mukherjee andHamid Ansari raising the possibility of a contest in the absence of a consensus.

On its part, the Congress continued to keep its cards close to the chest.

In its first public declaration, BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj also ruled out any quid pro quo with Congress on the Presidential election by accepting the Vice President’s post.

On his part Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, whose name along with Ansari has been doing the rounds, parried questions on his candidature saying it is speculation and asked the media not to indulge in it.

Congress-led UPA with 42 per cent votes and BJP-led NDA with 28 per cent votes can get a candidate agreeable to them elected without support from other parties who are in neither formations.

Lending a new turn to the race more than two months before the elections, Swaraj declared that “we will not accept any candidate including Pranab Mukherjee.”

“Ansari does not have the stature to be President and hence BJP will not support him,” she said.

“We are looking at the 2014 elections and do not want to give the impression that we have any truck with the Congress,” Swaraj said.

She said BJP was gauging the mood of the UPA allies on the Presidential elections.PTI

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Rashtrapati Bhavan

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Osama was in touch with Mullah till last: Report

News4u-News Desk-London,(PTI) Parts of ISI are supporting Taliban and protecting their chief Mullah Omar and other militant leaders in Pakistan’s Quetta city, where US officials have discussed sending commandos to capture or kill the terrorists, a media report said here today.
The US is threatening to launch air strikes against Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership in Quetta as frustration mounts about the ease with which they find sanctuary across the border from Afghanistan, ‘The Sunday Times’ reported.
The threat comes amid growing divisions in Washington about whether to deal with the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan by sending more troops or by reducing them and targeting the terrorists.
According to the report, US Vice-President Joe Biden has suggested reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan and focusing on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

News4u-News Desk-London: Terror mastermind Osama bin Laden till his last was in frequent touch with his deputy Ayman al- Zawahiri and Taliban supremo Mullah Omar, plotting operations against NATO forces, documents found at his Abbottabad hideout show.  

The documents show a close working relationship between top al-Qaeda leaders and Mullah Omar, ‘Guardian reported’, saying this could come as a blow to the new peace moves in Afghanistan.

The news will undermine hopes of a negotiated peace in Afghanistan, where the key debate among analysts and policymakers is whether the Taliban, seen by many as following an Afghan nationalist agenda, might once again offer a safe haven to al-Qaeda or like-minded militants, or whether they  can be persuaded to renounce terrorism.

The communications show a three-way conversation between bin Laden, his then deputy Zawahiri and Omar, who is believed to have been in Pakistan since 2001.     They indicate a “very considerable degree of ideological convergence”, a Washington-based source familiar with the documents said.   Part of the documents seized by Americans from the high-walled hideout of bin Laden in Abbottabad in northwestern Pakistan are likely to be declassified soon, the daily said.

  Some communications in the documents date back several years but others are said to be from only weeks before the raid on May 2 last year in which bin Laden was killed.   “Questions and issues come up. They don’t see eye to eye on everything but it’s clear they understand they have an interest in co-operating (on attacks against Nato, Afghan government and Pakistani targets),” the source said.  

  “Of those engaged in the conversation, two (Zawahiri and Omar) are still alive today and there is no reason to believe that either has substantially changed his views in the last year.” Western intelligence officials estimate that there are less than 100 al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Afghanistan, and last year the United Nations split its sanctions list to separate the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Both David Cameron and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton have said that some kind of political settlement involving the Taliban is key to the stability of Afghanistan once most western troops have withdrawn by 2014.   The range of the al-Qaeda senior leadership’s interlocutors revealed by the documents has also surprised investigators, the source said.

Bin Laden appears to have been in direct or indirect communication with Nigerian-based militant group Boko Haram as well as many other militant outfits. The new documents give a reliable account of bin Laden’s life on the run. PTI

 


Mullah Omar

Mullah Omar

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India earns two Olympic quota places

News4u-Sports Desk- India earned two quota places for the London Olympics, one competitor each in the men’s and women’s sections, as the Asian weightlifting championships concluded at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on Monday.

India finished fifth in the men’s team standings with 134 points and fourth in the women’s section with 93 points to earn the quota places.

The top seven nations in the men’s and the top six in the women’s section gained one quota each for the London Games.

The Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) stated on Monday that the selection of the lifters for the Olympics would be done later.

The Indian qualification came on expected lines.

Barring a bronze earned by Soniya Chanu in the women’s 48kg category snatch, there was no medal for India in the championships.

Soniya, who was sixth in the World Championships in Paris last year with 171kg, once again had the best place finish among the Indian women, taking the overall fourth position in the 48kg category with a total of 175kg (snatch 75kg, clean and jerk 100kg).

She could, however, earn only 23 points towards the team’s tally, as the third-placed contestant among non-qualified nations.

Two Uzbek lifters, who did not figure in the World championships, finished ahead of her for the silver and bronze, with totals of 178kg and 177kg respectively. Chinese Huang Yuezhen (200kg) won the title.

Those countries that had gained qualification slots through the combined points tally from the 2010 and 2011 World championships were not eligible for any more quota from the Asian meet.

The best points collection for the Indian women’s team came from Laishram Monika Devi in the 69kg category.

The Manipur woman, the lone Indian entry in the Beijing Games weightlifting competition and who was stopped from proceeding at the last moment because of an anti-doping rule violation four years ago, came sixth (98, 117, 215kg).

But she managed the first position among non-qualifiers, contributing 28 points to the team’s tally. Monika, who was 22nd in the 2011 World championships, improved upon her total in Paris (212kg).

India earned its women’s team points from the 48kg (two lifters), 53kg and 69kg sections, while in the men’s section it compiled its tally from all except 85kg and 105kg divisions.

Among men, Katulu Ravi Kumar, in the 69kg class, was the best, coming sixth overall (141, 170, 311kg), and first among non-qualifiers, thus gathering 28 points.

The selection committee will meet shortly to pick the two lifters who will take part in the July 27-August 12 London Olympics.

The Indian results (with overall positions in parenthesis): Men: 56kg: Ranjit Chinchwade (10), 105, 135, 240kg. 62kg: Rustam Sarang (10) 116, 145, 261kg. 69kg: K. Ravi Kumar (6) 141, 170, 311kg. 77kg: Satish Kumar Sivalingam (8) 139, 165, 304kg. 85kg: Jasvant Singh (19) 135, 160, 295kg. 94kg: Chandrakant Mali (9) 147, 187, 334kg. 105kg: Christopher Abhilash Victor (5) 145, 178, 323kg. Above-105kg: Himanshu Kumar (10) 146, 175, 301kg.

Women: 48kg: Soniya Chanu (4) 75, 100, 175kg; Sanjita Chanu (11) 71, 91, 162kg. 53kg: Tikina Gopal (10), 76, 95, 171kg. 58kg: Minati Sethi (10) 76, 100, 176kg. 63kg: Rajwant Kaur (10) 72, 103, 175kg. 69kg: Monika Devi (6) 98, 117, 215kg.

Points tally for Olympic qualification: Men:  1. Japan (148), 2. Chinese Taipei (147), 3. Vietnam (139), 4. Kyrgyzstan (138), 5. India (134), 6. Saudi Arabia (129), 7. Syria (116).

Women: 1. Uzbekistan (99); 2. Syria (94); 3. Indonesia (94); 4. India (93); 5. UAE (92); 6. Malaysia (91). PTI

Weightlifting

Weightlifting

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Did Einstein starve his wife of sex?

News4u-News Desk-  LONDON: Professor Albert Einstein, who laid down major fundamentals in physics, may have starved his wife of sex by demanding her to obey a cruel list of rules, a new book has claimed.

According to the book, titled ‘Einstein: His Life and Universe’ , the scientist barred his wife Mileva Maric from sitting with him or going out together - and even ordered - “Stop talking to me if I request it.”

And, Einstein made clear that sex was a no-no: “You will not expect intimacy from me,” ‘The Sun’ reported. The cruel list of rules insisted his wife tidied his study, did his laundry regularly and gave him “three meals regularly”.

They were his conditions for them staying together for the sake of sons as their 11-year marriage foundered in 1914. But, within months his wife Serbian missus, fled Berlin, Germany , with the kids for Zurich. They divorced in 1919.PTI

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

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