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Suicide bombers strike Syrian capital killing 55

News4u - News Desk : 

Two suicide blasts ripped through the Syrian capital on Thursday, killing 55 people and leaving scenes of carnage in the streets in the deadliest bombing attack since the country’s uprising began 14 months ago, the Interior Ministry said.

A news news agency reporter at the scene said paramedics wearing rubber gloves were collecting human remains from the pavement after the explosions.

Heavily damaged cars and pickup trucks stood smoldering in the area.

The blasts ripped the facade off a military intelligence building, which appeared to be the target of the attack.

More than 370 people also were wounded in the attack, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry, which is in charge of the country’s internal security, said the explosives weighed more than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) Central Damascus is under the tight control of forces loyal to President Bashar Assad but has been struck by several bomb attacks, often targeting security installations or convoys, since the revolt against him began in March 2011.

The government blames the bombings on the terrorists it says are behind the uprising, which has been the most potent challenge to the Assad family dynasty in Syria in four decades.

But opposition leaders and activists routinely blame the regime for orchestrating the attacks, saying they help it demonize the opposition and maintain support among those who fear greater instability.

There was no claim of responsibility for today’s blasts.

But an al-Qaida-inspired group has claimed responsibility for several past explosions, raising fears that terrorist groups are entering the fray and exploiting the chaos.

Maj Gen Robert Mood, the Norwegian head of the UN’s cease-fire monitors in the country, toured the site on Thursday and said the Syrian people do not deserve this “terrible violence.”

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Pakistan tests nuclear-capable ballistic missile Hatf III

News4u-News Desk- ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: Pakistan’s military says it has successfully test-fired a short-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

A military statement says the Hatf III Ghaznavi with a range of 290 kilometers (180 miles) was launched on Thursday at the conclusion of the annual field training exercise of Army Strategic Force Command.

It is the second such test by Pakistan in the past two weeks. On April 25, Pakistan launched what it said was an intermediate-ranged missile after its archenemy India conducted its own missile test.

The country routinely test-fires what it claims are indigenously developed missiles.AP

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News4u-Feature Desk- S. C. Chaturvedi- In most cases of reincarnation type, the previous personality had died some years before the birth of the present personality. The present case has the unusual feature that the previous personality with which the subject became identified did not die until about 3 and half years after the birth of the “physical body of the present personality.”

In the spring of 1954, Jasbir, 3-1/2 years old , son of Shri Girdharilal Jat of Rasulpur, Distt. Muzaffarnagar, UP, was thought to have died of small pox.  Jasbir’s father went to his brother and other men of the village proposing that they assist him in burying his ‘dead’ son.  As it was then late at night, they advised postponing burial until the morning. Some few hours later Girdharilal Jat happened to notice some stirring in the body of his son which then gradually revived completely. Some days passed before the boy could speak again, and some weeks before he could express himself clearly. When he recovered the ability to speak he showed a remarkable transformation of behavior. He then stated that he was the son of Shankar of Vehedi  village and wished to go there. He would not eat food at the home of the Jat on the ground that he belonged to a higher caste, being a Brahmin. This obstinate refusal to eat would surely have led to a second death if a kindly Brahmin lady, a neighbour of Girdharilal , had not undertaken to cook food for Jasbir,  in the Brahmin manner. This she did for about a year and a half. Jasbir’s father supplied the material for the food she prepared. But his family some times deceived Jasbir and gave him food not prepared by the Brahmin lady. He discovered the deception and this realization together with pressure from his family, led him gradually to abandon his rigid Brahmin dietary habits and join the rest of the family in their regular meals. The period of resistance lasted under two years altogether.

Jasbir began to communicate further details of ‘his’ life and death in the village of  Vehedi. He particularly described how during  a wedding procession from one village to another he had eaten some poisoned sweets and alleged that a man to whom he had lent money had given him these sweets. He had become giddy and had fallen off the chariot on which he was riding, suffered a head injury, and died.

Jasbir’s  father told he tried to suppress the information of Jasbir’s strange claims & behavior in the village, but the news of it leaked out. The special cooking for Jasbir in the Brahmin style was naturally known to the Brahmins of the village and eventually (about 3- years later) came to the attention of one of their group, Smt Shyamo, a Brahmin native of Rasulpur who had married a native of Vehedi, Shri Ravi Dutt Shukla. She on rare occasions  (at intervals of seven years) returned to Rasulpur. On one such trip in 1957 Jasbir recognized her as his “aunt”. She reported the incident to her husband’s family  and to the members of the Tyagi  family in Vehedi. The details of ‘his’ death and other  items narrated by Jasbir corresponded closely with details of the life & death of a young man of 22, Sobharam, son of Shankarlal Tyagi of Vehendi. Sobharam had died in May 1954 in a chariot accident as related by Jasbir and in the manner described , although the Tyagi family knew nothing of any alleged poisoning or any debt of money owed Sobharam  before they heard of Jasbir’s ststaement. Afterwards they entertained suspicions of poisoning.

Later Ravidatt  Shukla , husband of Smt. Shyamo, visited Rasulpur and heard reports of jasbir’s statement and met him. Then Sobharam’s father and other members of his family went there and Jasbir recognized them and correctly placed them as to their relationships with Sobharam.

A few weeks later, at the instance of the Manager of the Sugar Mill near Vehedi, a villager from Vehedi, Jagannath Pd Shukla, brought Jasbir to Vehedi, where he put him down near the Railway station and asked him to lead the way to Tyagi quadrangle. This Jasbir did  without any difficulty. Later Jasbir was taken  to the home of Shri Ravidatt Shukla and from there led the way (a different route) to the Tyagi home. He remained some days  in the village and demonstrated to Tyagi family & other villagers a detailed knowledge of the Tyagi  family and its affairs. He enjoyed himself greatly in Vehedi and returned to Rasulpur with great reluctance. He still wanted to live in Vehedi and felt isolated and lonely in Rasulpur.

Particularly I would like to draw attention to the fact that the transformation in Jasbir took place rather quickly when he was about 3=-1/2  yrs old. Prior to that age he had seemed a normal child, apart from difficulty in speaking. It will be recalled that the period of transformation of personality in Jasbir coincided with the recovery of his body from an apparently mortal illness. During his early convalescence there was not much scope for any expression of personality and it is therefore impossible to state over what length of time the change in personality occurred. But the complete change took almost a few weaks and perhaps much less time. Moreover we have to do here with a profound change of personality, including refusal to eat his family’s food because of their alleged lower caste. The case therefore differs markedly from those of other children who seem to recall previous lives over a period of several years and in doing so more or less blend the previous personality with the presently developing one.


Jasbir had continued visiting Vehedi. His parents said he went over there every 3 or 4 months and Jasbir himself said he had gone there just two months before the Author’s visit. On that visit he had remained in Vehedi 2-1/2 months working in the Tyagi family’s fields. Sobharam’s father Shankarla Tyagi was still living then. The Tyagis regarded Jasbir as a full member of their family. They had consulted him about the marriage of Sobharam’s son and he had attended the wedding ceremony. Jasbir had also been consulted about the marriage of one of Sobharam’s daughters.When I asked Jasbir to who, if any  in particular, he was attached at Vehedi, he replied that his attachment was to Sobharam’s father and ( as mother Rajkali had died many years earlier, even before Sobharam himself) his children.

Jasbir denied that the memories of previous life had faded. He said he still remembered clearl;y falling off the chariot on his return from the wedding he attended (as Sobharam) at the village of Nirmana. He even mentioned the exact place hwere he fell off the chariot, a detail which he had not earlier mentioned . He still belived that he had been poisoned at the wedding ceremony by a man whom Sobharam had loaned some money, which the man did not wish to repay. This man according to Jasbir,  thought to avoid the debt by killing Sobharam. The man in question later paid Jasbir(not Sobharam’s family) 600 Rupees. In 1971 Jasbir said this was the amount of the debt although in 1961, he had mentioned  the figure of 300-400 rupees. We should not consider the payment of this large sum of Jasbir as confession of guilt on the part of the alleged poisoner, but we certainly can consider it as evidence of this man’s conviction that Jasbir was in fact Sobharam reborn.

Jasbir had retained a number of Brahmin habits and attitudes. He still believed Brahmins a superior group of persons compared to members of other casts. He still would not eat food cooked in earthen pots. To accommodate him, his family cooked food for him in metal vessels and allowed him to eat first. Jasbir also wore around his neck the sacred thread which is a distinctive habit of upper caste Hindus(Jats do not wear this thread). He gave his correct mailing address as Jasbir Singh Tyagi S/o Girdharilal Jat. Thus he acknowledged the reality of the paternity of his body, but at the same time also claimed membership in the caste of the previous life.

When asked if he had any idea as to what happened to the mind or personality that had occupied the body of Jasbir before it apparently died of small pox and before that body had seemingly been taken over by the mind of Sobharam. He did not know , Jasbir said that in dreams he sometimes still saw the discarnate Sadhu (holy man) whom he had said (when a achild) he (as Sobharam) had met after the death of Sobharam.  Jasbir had earlier said this sadhu  had advised the discarnate Sobharam to “take over” in the body of Jasbir who had ostensibly dies. Jasbir spoke with some reluctance about these later contacts with the sadhu and gave the impression that he might be violating confidence in mentioning them. He said however, that the sadhu gave him correct predictions of future events in his life. In 1971 Jasbir said that his older brother, who had formerly been particularly hostile to his pretensions or superiority, fully accepted him in the family. Notwithstanding the remarkable healing within the family of Girdharilal Jat, Jasbir felt that the Tyagi family showed him even more affections. He took the demotion of socio-economic circumstances from one life to another not necessarily the one immediately preceding that in which it occurs.

Copied from Book of Dr. Ian Stevenson, Division of Parasychology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Virginia , Charlottesville, Virginia 22901.



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Europe writes off biggest environment satellite

News4u-News Desk- PARIS: The European Space Agency (ESA) on Wednesday declared the official end of Envisat, the Earth-monitoring satellite that went offline last month after operating for twice its predicted lifespan.

Designed to operate for five years, Envisat was launched in March 2002, carrying instruments to monitor the Earth’s oceans, ice, land andatmosphere.

The 8.2-tonne, 10.5-metre craft, the biggest of its kind, carried on working for a decade, racking up a total of 2.25 billion kilometres, or more than 50,000 orbits.

The satellite failed to make a radio call on April 8 as it passed over a ground station at Kiruna in Sweden.

“Following rigorous attempts to re-establish contact and the investigation of failure scenarios, the end of the mission is being declared,” the agency said in a statement.

“Envisat had already operated for double its planned lifetime, making it well overdue for retirement.”

Envisat’s data has been used in 4,000 science projects in 70 countries, including landmark research on climate change.

Its study of ocean currents was used last year to simulate dispersal of nuclear pollution from the Fukushima accident, and it gained real-time images of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

It was an important tool in tackling illegal fishing and observed changes in the ozone layer, the effects of deforestation and shifting sea-surface temperatures.

ESA had hoped to keep Envisat going until its seven replacements, the so-called Sentinel satellites, start being launched in 2013.

Their launch “has become even more urgent to ensure the continuity of data to users, improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security,” said ESA.

The cause of the communications failure has not been established.AFP


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Machu Picchu, the city that was never lost

News4u-Travel Desk- Although US explorer Hiram Bingham achieved worldwide fame for having “discovered” the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, all historical evidence points to the fact that the famous archaeological site had never been lost. 

Bingham mounted three expeditions - in 1911, 1912 and 1915 - to Machu Picchu, which he dubbed “the lost city of the Incas”, but amid his adventures he sidestepped historical information that was found and even failed to mention it to important experts in the area, among them one of his compatriots.

This person was Albert Giesecke, a 29-year-old US academic who was the dean of the Universidad San Antonio Abad in Cuzco and gave him the references and even the name of Melchor Arteaga, the peasant who later guided Bingham to the famous ruins July 24, 1911.

But before Bingham, who is thought to be the inspiration for “ Indiana Jones”, other people visited the site, although always in search of treasure, mineral deposits or river routes to the Amazon.

The most famous of all of them was Cuzco landowner Agustin Lizarraga, who arrived at the ruins nine years before Bingham and even wrote on the wall of the Three Windows in Spanish “A. Lizarraga, July 14, 1902″.

Lizarraga carried out the first efforts to clean up the ruins along with Justo A. Ochoa, Gabino Sanchez and Enrique Palma, but he drowned in the Vilcanota River in February 1912.

Even before Lizarraga, however, there existed 19th century maps on which Machu Picchu was marked and, going back even further, the first indications of the site date back to 1565, when in the writings of Spaniard Diego Rodriguez de Figueroa it appears bearing the name “Pijchu”.

Much of this information was presented in 2003 by Peruvian historian Mariana Mould de Pease in her book “Machu Picchu and the Code of Ethics of the American Anthropological Society”.

She provided maps that prove that the Inca citadel had been known and - apparently - looted in the 19th century by German adventurer August Berns.

In addition, the historian revealed that Bingham had among his papers the resolution authorising the presence of Berns at the historic site, and she also said that British historian Clements Markham, who became president of the Royal Geographical Society in London, also had maps showing the location of Machu Picchu.

Peruvian historian Carlos Carcelen says, meanwhile, that Berns settled in the Cuzco region and founded a lumber and mining company in the late 1880s and then set about looting the artifacts he uncovered at Machu Picchu with the knowledge of the government.

Mould also noted the existence of other maps dated in 1870 and 1874 and said that they constitute “irrefutable proof that Machu Picchu was completely integrated into republicanPeru”.

With the passage of a century, and with the full acknowledgment of the archaeological world, the consensus exists that Bingham was not the discoverer of the site, although he was certainly the first person to take note of the historical and cultural significance of the citadel, now held to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.IANS

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

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Eat right, don’t stress, lose weight

News4u-Feature Desk- Mastering simple mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques could help prevent weightgain even without dieting, according to a new study

UCSF researchers found that women in the study who experienced the greatest reduction instress tended to have the most loss of deep belly fat.

To a greater degree than fat that lies just under the skin, this deep abdominal fat is associated with an elevated risk for developing heartdisease or diabetes.

“You’re training the mind to notice, but to not automatically react based on habitual patterns - to not reach for a candy bar in response to feeling anger, for example,” said UCSF researcher Jennifer Daubenmier, PhD, from the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

“If you can first recognize what you are feeling before you act, you have a greater chance of making a wiser decision,” she stated.

The women who participated in the study were not on calorie-counting diets. Instead, 24 of the 47 chronically stressed, overweight and obese women were randomly assigned to mindfulness training and practice, and the other 23 served as a control group.

Although no diets were prescribed, all participants attended one session about the basics ofhealthy eating and exercise.

The training included nine weekly sessions, each lasting 2 1/2 hours, during which the women learned stress reduction techniques and how to be more aware of their eating by recognizing bodily sensations - including hunger, fullness and taste satisfaction. At week six they attended an intensive seven-hour, silent meditation retreat.

Those who had greater improvements in listening to their bodies’ cues, or greater reductions in stress or cortisol, experienced the greatest reductions in abdominal fat.

Among the subset of obese women in the study, those who received the mindfulness training had significant reductions in cortisol after awakening and also maintained their total body weight, compared to women in the waitlist group, who had stable cortisol levels and continued to gain weight.

“In this study we were trying to cultivate people’s ability to pay attention to their sensations of hunger, fullness and taste satisfaction as a guide for limiting how much they eat,” Daubenmier explained.

“We tried to reduce eating in response to emotions or external cues that typically drive overeating behaviour,” she added.

Daubenmier said the small study is preliminary and must be confirmed in ongoing, follow-up research.

The study has been published online in the Journal of Obesity.ANI

Eat right, don't stress, lose weight

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Madhuri Dixit - A challenging actress

News4u - Entertainment Desk :  Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit, who will be seen next in “Dedh Ishqiya” and “Gulab Gang”, says with different genres of films she wants to challenge her acting prowess.

“Am trying to explore new roles and do different types of films. Want to challenge myself as an actor! Having fun. I think you will be thrilled with the roles. They are powerful, moving and will leave an impression! More films to come…..” Dixit posted on Twitter.

The 44-year-old mother-of-two relocated to India in October last year after 12 years with her family. She made her acting comeback with the 2007 film “Aaja Nachle” and also appeared in television reality show ‘Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa’.

Madhuri Dixit

Madhuri Dixit

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Prasar Bharati exempted from paying income tax

News4u-News Desk-NEW DELHI: In a major relief to the country’s public broadcaster, the Prasar Bharati has been exempted from paying any income tax, with the smooth passage of the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha.

As per one of the amendments in the Finance Bill, 2012 which was passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday, “any income of Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India)” is now mentioned among entities who will not have to pay tax.

Though the Prasar Bharati does not pay income tax currently since it does not earn profits, the exemption comes as a big relief.

Till now Prasar Bharati had to maintain accounts at nearly 600 Drawing and Disbursal offices( DDOs) to meet the requirement of Income Tax procedures, officials said.

The public broadcaster will also be spared of the financial burden of engaging tax consultants and chartered accountants.

Officials of the Public Broadcaster said that while the decision to exempt Prasar Bharati from paying income tax was a welcome step, this demand had not found a very receptive audience among Finance Ministry officials for a long time.

“The proposal to exempt Prasar Bharati had been there but only after Information and Broadcasting MinisterAmbika Soni examined the matter and decided to raise it with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the process caught pace,” a senior official said.

The official said that Prasar Bharati worked in national interest and the drain of its resources was ultimately being borne by the government.

“The exemption is an important step to improve Prasar Bharati’s financial affairs and also a great recognition of the important role it plays,” said the senior official.PTI

Prasar Bharati

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Wreckage of missing Russian jet spotted in Indonesia: Official

News4u-News Desk-  JAKARTA: An air force official says the wreckage of a Russian-made passenger jet that disappeared during a demonstration flight inIndonesia appears to have been spotted on the side of a volcano.

Maj. Ali Umri Lubis, of Atang Sanjaya Air base in Bogor, told MetroTV on Thursday that helicopters spotted what they believe is the plane on the side of a cliff on Mount Salak in West Java province.

He said it was at an elevation of about 1,500 meters but had no further details.

The Sukhoi Superjet-100 was carrying 48 people - including potential buyers and journalists - when it dropped off the radar just 21 minutes after takeoff on Wednesday.AP

Wreckage of missing Russian jet spotted in Indonesia: Official

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Tejinder Singh withdraws from SC plea against Army chief Gen V K Singh

News4u-News Desk- NEW DELHI: In a surprise move, retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh today withdrew his petition from the Supreme Court seeking a CBI inquiry into the alleged misconduct of Army chief Gen V K Singh.

Appearing before a bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar, senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan urged the court to grant permission for withdrawing the petition.

“Your lordships please don’t open the file at all. Kindly grant me permission to withdraw the petition and move the appropriate forum,” Dhawan urged the court.

Accordingly, the bench granted permission for withdrawal of the petition.

Tejinder Singh had approached the Supreme Court on April 25 seeking a CBI inquiry on the alleged role of the Army chief in the purported bugging of the defence minister’s office and action against him for “misconduct”.

The government has already denied reports of bugging.

The petition was filed days after the Army chief accused Tejinder Singh of offering him bribe of Rs 14 crore for purchase of Tatra trucks. Following the complaint by the Army chief, the CBI initiated a probe into the matter.

He had also accused the Army chief of professional misconduct by making “political statements” while holding the key post. He had alleged the Army chief had stated that the Maoist problem in the country is the creation of the government when the Centre had sought help of the Army in Naxal-affected areas.

Tejinder Singh had made the Army chief a party in his petition.

He has also filed a criminal defamation case against Gen V K Singh and four other senior Army officers in a trial court.PTI

V K Singh/ Tejinder Singh
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