Anti-AFSPA activist Irom Sharmila walks free, vows to carry on her fast

News4u-News Desk- Human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who has been on a hunger strike for 14 years on Wednesday walked free from a make-shift prison in Imphal vowing to continue her fight for repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Without the familiar nasal drip, a part of the abiding symbol of her struggle, frail-looking Sharmla, 41, was escorted out of the government hospital at Porompat where a room was converted into a jail.

“It’s God’s will. I’m emotional…I have been suffering so much”, said the activist with a faltering voice, a day after a sessions court in Imphal ordered her release and acquitted her of the charge of attempting to commit suicide by refusing food.

Sharmila, who has been on hunger strike since November, 2000, vowed to continue her fast until her demand for withdrawal of AFSPA is met.

“Until and unless my demands are fulfilled, I will not take anything through my mouth. It is my right. It is a means for my struggle”, she said.

Terming AFSPA as a “draconian” law that gave rise to a “lots of widows”, Sharmila said her agitation “is for justice” and sought the people’s support for it.

“What I want from the people is not singing my glory but their mass support. Real win lies in fulfilment of my demands….for the last 14 years, I have been suffering so much”, she said.


Anti-AFSPA activist Irom Sharmila

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PM asks DRDO to complete projects in time

News4u-News Desk- Against the backdrop of delays in several of its major projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told DRDO to speed up and complete its programmes in time as the world will not wait for it.

With several of DRDO’s programmes being behind schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sent out a strong message to it by flaying the ‘chalta hai’ attitude and asked the defence research body to complete its projects before time to put India ahead in the world.

He underlined that technology in defence sector is changing fast and India is left behind because products which are “two steps ahead” come into the market “even before we conceptualise a system.”

It is not that India lacks the talent pool but “I think there is this ‘chalta hai’ (lackadaisical) attitude”, he said and told DRDO to “decide whether it has to respond to the situation” and set the agenda for the world.

“We can be the world leader by not following but by showing the way,” the Prime Minister said at a function organised here to give away DRDO awards.

“The time demands… the world will not wait for us. We have to run ahead of time. That is why whatever we do, we should try hard to do it before time. It should not be so that a project is conceived in 1992 and in 2014 (we say) it will take some more time. The world will go ahead,” Modi said.

He said the challenge before India is “how do we complete work before time. If the world is coming up with some products in 2020, can we come in the field prepared with products in 2018.”

Modi said the, “DRDO has to decide whether it has to respond to the situation or it has to be proactive and set agenda for the world and we have to set agenda for the global community…”

Although he made no direct mention, several of DRDO’s projects such as the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Nag missile, Long-range Surface-to-Air missile project and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System projects have been delayed by many years and seen several cost overruns.

Drawing parallels between his government and the DRDO, the Prime Minister said, “People say that Modiji, we have lot of hopes and expectations from your government.

People will have hopes from people who work as nobody would have hopes from people who don’t do anything.

“I have hopes from DRDO because I know that DRDO has the capability to perform.”


PM asks DRDO to complete projects in time

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High profile Thug, duped an old lady with 10 lacs

News4u-Bureau - New Delhi: A 40-year-old man Prashenjit Banerjee, posing himself to be the Jt CEO, E-Governance, Govt of Chhattisgarh, has duped a senior citizen of Lacs of Rs. promising her to help in settlement of her old loan account with CSIDC.

Banerjee posed himself as Raw or IB official earlier to this family and told them that after being shot during one of the operations, he has been assigned a different job, but still working with intelligence department. He is on a post from where he can manipulate things on his will.

(Proof of Fake I D , with mobile no)

Since Oct 2013, Banerjee has taken lacs of Rs and provided fabricated NOC & loan ac statement of CSIDC.
After being cheated and duped of so much of money when this lady confronted Banerjee, he confessed and promised to return the money. Later he has stopped taking calls. Many such call recordings, msgs and e mails sent by Banerjee, indicates that he is a dangerous offender.

As per our sources Prashenjit Banerjee ,alias Babu ,  moved around in a red beacon-fitted luxury car with two bodyguards frequently in Delhi, had duped a number of people of crores of rupees on the pretext of getting their work done with Chattisgarh Govt at will.Some photos of him rubbing shoulders with high-ranking police officers and even CM Raman Singh were seen by  the earlier victims.

A complaint to the police has been lodged by the victim.

The officials of CSIDC were unaware of his acts and promised to take adequate action if found guilty.

By- Kabir Malik Editor Investigation (With inputs from Parvez , Raipur)


Prashenjit Banerjee

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No vulgarity in ‘PK’ poster: Aamir Khan

News4u-Entertainment Desk-The poster of Aamir Khan-starrer ‘PK’, in which he appears nude, has sparked controversy but the superstar has defended it saying the issue has been blown out of proportion as there is no vulgarity at all.

“There is no vulgarity in it and it has been flared up… people, who watch the movie, would learn the truth,” Aamir said without disclosing any details. The poster of Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘PK’ features Aamir posing nude with a tape recorder placed strategically to hide his modesty.

Aamir, 49, said that the film, which also stars Anushka Sharma, is the toughest movie of his career. “I consider this film incomparable to the rest of my films and it is the most important film of my career both in terms of story and my work,” he said.

Talking about his hit show ‘Satyamev Jayate’, which highlights social issues prevalent in India, the actor said he has been working on changes for the third season.

“This season would be different. It will be interactive wherein viewers having questions or suggestions will be able to talk to me during the show,” Aamir said. “Besides this, our team is also working on taking notes of the messages on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and so on,” he added.

Aamir, who was on a two-day visit to the city to launch and oversee a cleanliness drive ‘Freedom From Waste’, said that there are various problems in the country, which cannot be resolved without active public participation.

“The government or administration alone cannot do anything to resolve them on their own alone unless the public extends its support to them considering those issues to be of their own concern,” he said.

Aamir said that if the country is able to deal with waste management, many issues would be addressed automatically.

“For example, if we were able to deal with this menace and make our country waste free, we would automatically have our expenditure and efforts on medical and health reduced drastically,” Aamir said.

In a major relief the Supreme Court recently dismissed the public interest litigation seeking ban on the release of Aamir Khan’s film ‘PK’ for promoting nudity and vulgarity. As a boost for Aamir’s latest film the apex court said that any restrictions on release of film would affect constitutional right of the film makers.


Aamir Khan

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Depression taking toll on Chinese workforce: Survey

News4u-Features Desk-Depression is affecting Chinese workforce badly as 70 per cent of employees diagnosed with the illness took time off from work and more than half of the depressed staff reported impaired work performance, a new survey showed.

The survey, the first of its kind in the country, showed 53 per cent of employers polled want stronger legislation and government policies to help employees with depression.

The China survey, titled Impact of Depression at Work, was conducted by Ipsos Healthcare UK with an educational grant from H Lundbeck A/S. It was part of a worldwide survey involving 16 countries, including France, Italy, Mexico and Japan.

It polled 1,000 Chinese people, both employers and employees, 16 to 64 years old.

“Depression seriously impairs productivity. In fact, more than half of the social and economic burden caused by depression is related to sick leaves and poor efficiency,” Wang Gang, professor of psychiatry and mental health of the Capital Medical University, was quoted as saying by state-run China Daily.

Wang is also the vice-president of the China Association for Mental Health.

In 2007, a study jointly done by the University of California, Berkeley, and the Shanghai Mental Health Centre showed annual economic losses related to depression in China stood at 51.37 billion yuan (USD 8.35 billion), including 5.62 billion yuan in treatment costs.

Currently, China has an estimated 90 million people suffering from depression on the mainland, which translates into nearly 7 per cent of the population, statistics from the association showed.

Wang pointed to those in sectors like medicine and civil services as being at the greatest risk of developing depression. Six government officials at the local level reportedly committed suicide in July.

Two of them, Zhang Bocheng, a health bureau official in Henan province, and Wang Yunqing, a senior State-owned assets administration official in Hubei province, suffered from severe depression, previous reports said.


Depression taking toll on Chinese workforce

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CAUTION…! Some skin creams may contain toxic mercury

News4u-Features Desk- Some people slather and even inject creams containing mercury onto or under their skin to lighten it, putting themselves and others at risk for serious health problems, scientists say.

Researchers say they can now identify these creams and intervene much faster than before. “In the US, the limit on mercury in products is 1 part per million,” said Gordon Vrdoljak, of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

“In some of these creams, we’ve been finding levels as high as 210,000 parts per million - really substantial amounts of mercury.

If people are using the product quite regularly, their hands will exude it, it will get in their food, on their counter-tops, on the sheets their kids sleep on,” said Vrdoljak.

Identifying the toxic products has been a slow process, however. So, Vrdoljak turned to an instrument that uses a technique called total reflection x-ray fluorescence. He found that the machine can screen product samples for mercury content far more efficiently, and just as accurately, as its well-established but time-consuming counterpart.

That means the team can identify the sources of mercury poisoning and help those affected much faster than before. “Testing one product using the old technique could take days,” Vrdoljak said.

“Using the new instrument, I can run through 20 or 30 samples in a day quite easily. By identifying those products that contain mercury, we can direct people to remove them and clean up their households,” he said.

Although the metal does lighten skin, dark spots and even acne, research has shown that the silvery liquid can cause a number of health problems, including lower cognitive functioning, kidney damage, headaches, fatigue, hand tremors, depression and other symptoms.

As a result, the US and many other countries have set low limits on or have banned mercury in consumer products. But demand is high among certain populations for these skin-lightening products, researchers said.

The work has led to two product recalls earlier this year, but often, they find the cosmetics are homemade and come in unmarked containers, researchers said.

The research was presented at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Francisco.


CAUTION…! Some skin creams may contain toxic mercury

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Sikkim gets highest number of foreign tourists among NE states

News4u-Travel Desk-Sikkim has become the most favoured destination of foreign tourists in the north-eastern states of the country.

While the state received 23602 tourists in 2011, the figures were 26489 in 2012 and 31698 in 2013 respectively, a press release issued by the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front quoting the latest figures of the Tourism Ministry issued by the Centre said.

Sikkim is followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura respectively, the release said.

Tourism development has been the priority of the SDF government and the state government has been working for tourism development for a long time creating “world class tourism infrastructure in the state”, the SDF release said.

The release said the state has already been recognised as the best place to visit, in the world famous travel guidebook ‘Lonely Planet’.


Sikkim

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Japan landslides: ‘Eighteen dead’ in Hiroshima

News4u-News Desk-At least 18 people have been killed in landslides that struck Japan’s Hiroshima prefecture, reports say.

The landslides happened in a residential area on the outskirts of Hiroshima city.

They were triggered after the equivalent of a month’s rain fell in the 24 hours up to Wednesday morning, Japan’s weather agency said.

Images from the scene showed houses buried in mud and rocks, as rescue teams worked their way towards homes.

Japanese media outlets said 18 people were known to have died, but it was not clear whether more were missing.

“A few people were washed away and it is hard to know exactly how many are unaccounted for,” the Associated Press news agency quoted local government official Nakatoshi Okamoto as saying.

Among the dead was a two-year-old boy who was buried in the mud, Kyodo news agency reported.

More rain could trigger further landslides, officials warned.

Much of central and southern Japan is mountainous, with many homes nestled into steep slopes.

Last year, a typhoon triggered landslides on Izu Oshima island, south of Tokyo, that left 35 people dead.BBC


Japan landslides: ‘Eighteen dead’ in Hiroshima

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100,000 elephants killed in Africa

News4u-News Desk-Poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012, a huge spike in the continent’s death rate of the world’s largest mammals because of an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations, according to a new study published on Tuesday.

Warnings about massive elephant slaughters have been ringing for years, but the study is the first to scientifically quantify the number of deaths across the continent by measuring deaths in one closely monitored park in Kenya and using other published data to extrapolate fatality tolls across the continent.

The study which was carried out by the world’s leading elephant experts found that the proportion of illegally killed elephants has climbed from 25 percent of all elephant deaths a decade ago to roughly 65 percent of all elephant deaths today, a percentage that, if continued, will lead to the extinction of the species.

China’s rising middle class and the demand for ivory in that country of 1.3 billion people is driving the black market price of ivory up, leading to more impoverished people in Africa “willing to take the criminal risk on and kill elephants.

The causation in my mind is clear,” said the study’s lead author, George Wittemyer of Colorado State University.

The peer-review study was published on Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It was co-authored by experts from Save the Elephants, the Kenya Wildlife Service, an international group called MIKE responsible for monitoring the illegal killings of elephants, and two international universities.

“The current demand for ivory is unsustainable. That is our overarching conclusion. It must come down. Otherwise the elephants will continue to decrease,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants.

Elephant deaths are not happening at the same rate across Africa.

The highest death rate is in central Africa, with East Africa Tanzania and Kenya not far behind.

Botswana is a bright spot, with a population that is holding steady or growing.

South Africa’s rhinos are being killed, but poachers have not yet begun attacking elephants. Some individual elephant death numbers are shocking.

The elephant population in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve dropped from 40,000 to 13,000 over the last three years.

China is aware of its image problem concerning the ivory trade. The embassy in Kenya this month donated anti-poaching equipment to four wildlife conservancies.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Xianfa said at the handover ceremony that China is increasing publicity and education of its people to increase understanding of the illegal ivory trade.


100,000 elephants killed in Africa

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Jihadists claim beheading of US journalist

News4u-News Desk-Jihadist group the Islamic State has claimed to have executed American journalist James Foley in revenge for US air strikes against its fighters in Iraq.

The Islamist group released a video showing a masked militant purportedly beheading the reporter, who has been missing since he was seized by armed men in Syria in November 2012.

“Find James Foley,” the campaign run by his family to secure the 40-year-old freelancer’s release, posted a public message online following the release of the video asking for time “to seek answers.”

Foley was an experienced correspondent who had covered the war in Libya before heading to Syria to follow the revolt against Bashar al-Assad’s regime for the Global Post, AFP and other outlets.

According to witnesses, Foley was seized in the northern Syrian province of Idlib on November 22, 2012.

His family has not heard from him since, despite a public campaign for information.

In the five-minute video, distributed online by known Islamic State sources, the group declares that Foley was killed after US President Barack Obama ordered air strikes against IS positions in northern Iraq.

The purported execution is carried out in an open desert area with no immediate signs as to whether it is in Iraq or Syria, by a black-clad masked militant who speaks in English with a British accent.


American journalist James Foley

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