India, B’desh sign MoU on traditional medicine

News4u-News Desk- Bangladesh and India have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in the fields of traditional medicine like Ayurveda and Unani, as World Health Organisation decided to lay an extra focus on the issue as an “important part of healthcare” in the region.

The two countries inked the deal in Dhaka late Tuesday on the sidelines of the WHO’s South-East Asia regional conference where the traditional medicine was one of the major issues of discussion of the 11 health ministers, experts and officials.

Bangladesh’s health officials said under the deal the two sides agreed to exchange all kinds of traditional medicines alongside the experts and physicians for conducting training.

They said recognised institutions of both the countries would provide scholarships to each other in addition to setting up an ‘academic chair’.

Bangladesh’s Health Minister Mohammad Nasim and his Indian counterpart Harsh Vardhan, WHO Director-General Margret Chan among others witnessed the signing of the deal shortly after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the regional meet of the UN health organisation.

Officials said the deal was signed days after Bangladesh’s cabinet approved the draft. Talking on the sidelines of the conference, WHO’s South-East Asia director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said that being the directing and coordinating authority for health within the UN system WHO now considers traditional medicine to be an “important part of healthcare” as most countries in the region have their own form of traditional medicine”.

“Nine of the 11 countries (of WHO’s South-East Asian region) are practising traditional medicine,” she said, adding this reality now prompted the UN health organisation harness its potential contribution to health and universal health coverage under its new Tradition Medicine strategy for 2014-2024 period.

Singh said the traditional medicine like Ayurveda, Unani and other herbal treatment systems and homeopathy appeared cheaper, affordable and reliable to many people in the region while WHO regional office planned also to include the yoga as a practice as part of a “composite healthcare system”.

“Generally they do not have side effects (unlike allopathic medicines) and many people also think there are some chronic diseases which could be cured only by the traditional medicine,” she said. PTI


India, B’desh flags

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Flood-like situation in Vadodara, Vishwamitri river in spate

News4u-News Desk- Over two lakh people in the city are facing a flood-like situation as the Vishwamitri river in Vadodara has swelled due to incessant rains in catchment areas and inundated residential colonies in its vicinity.

“Over two lakh people are affected due to river water inundating the residential areas mostly in western parts of the city,” Vadodara Municipal Corporation’s standing committee chairman Hitendra Patel said on Wednesday.

“The worst affected areas of the city are Panigate, Karlibaugh, Mandvi, Sayajiganj and Munjhmahuda where water has entered residential areas,” he said.

The administration had on Tuesday shifted 1,500 people from these areas and on Wednesday 200 more were taken to safer places.

Water also entered the city’s Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad hospital, which is located near the river, and the zoo, forcing authorities to shift some animals from there.

All the three bridges on Vishwamitri river have been closed. The administration has ordered closure of schools and colleges.

Water level in the Vishwamitri river is presently at 33.5 feet, way above the danger level of 26 feet.

The catchment areas of the river and the Ajwa dam on it received incessant rains on Tuesday due to which water was released in the river.

“VMC has stopped releasing of water from Ajwa dam located on the outskirt of the city since 0530 hours today. It was done after Vishwamitri river passing through middle of the city was flowing 7.6 ft above the danger level of 26 ft,” Municipal Commissioner Manish Bhardwaj said on Wednesday.

“The water level in the river will start going down as the release from Ajwa dam has been stopped,” he said.

“It is for the first time in its 128-year-old history that the dam’s water level crossed more than 215 feet,” Bhardwaj said.

The civic authorities had opened all the 62 gates of the dam on Tuesday after it touched the level of 215.10 feet against capacity of the dam to store the water upto 214 feet.

The city fire brigade has deployed boats in Sayajiganj, Parshurram Nagar Bhattha, Siddharth Bungalows society in Kareli Bagh and other places to evacuate people after flood water entered their houses, Deputy Municipal Commissioner K S Menat said.

Nearly 1,000 people shifted on Tuesday from the worst- affected areas of the city have been provided shelter in the primary schools premises run by VMC where they are being provided food, medical and other facilities, Patel said.

“About four lakh food packets were distributed among the people affected by floods,” he added.


Gujrat Map

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Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere to receive honours at NY Film Fest

News4u-News Desk- The New York Film Festival will honour actors Ethan Hawke and Richard Gere this year.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced that the actors would be guest of honours at the fest’s “An Evening With…” series on two different dates.

Hawke’s tribute will take place on September 30, during which he will participate in an “intimate dinner and a conversation between the guests and NYFF Director Kent Jones” at the Stanley H Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center.

Gere will receive the same honour on October 8.

Hawke directed the documentary ‘Seymour: An Introduction’ which focuses on the life of piano prodigy Seymour Bernstein.

Gere starred in Oren Moverman’s ‘Time Out of Mind’ as a homeless man estranged from his daughter.

“An Evening With” is held to recognise “the work of individuals who have made significant artistic contributions to film culture, and will continue to do so in the future.”

It will benefit The Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Previous honourees include Nicole Kidman, David Cronenberg, Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes. This year’s festival runs from September 26 to October 12.


Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere

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Flood waters recede, lakhs still wait for help, anger mounts

News4u-News Desk- Flood waters started receding in Kashmir Valley on Wednesday giving a chance to civil and military rescue teams to reach lakhs of stranded people but anger mounted over the pace of relief efforts and concerns grew over potential spread of water-borne diseases.

Rescuers evacuated another 32,500 people to safety taking to 80,000 the number of people pulled out in a continuing multi-agency mammoth operation even as an estimated five to six lakh people still waited for help after floods ravaged Jammu and Kashmir.

The floods were stated to be the worst in 109 years after rains pummelled the state on September 2.

Hectic efforts were also underway to gradually restore the snapped telecom links which had hampered rescue work.

As the state government came under criticism over its handling of relief work, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he understood people’s anger.

An NDRF jawan was attacked by angry locals here while few other personnel of the force were heckled while they were rendering relief and rescue operations in the flood-hit areas.

Senor Congress leader Saifuddin Soz was also heckled when he went to visit a relief camp in Humama here yesterday amid shouts of “go back”.

Omar described the flood situation as a “serious humanitarian crisis” but rejected criticism his government was not doing enough.

“We have really been overwhelmed. We have been overwhelmed by the scale of the problem,” he said. “I understand their anger and I don’t grudge them on that anger. They have gone through an extremely difficult time,” he said, as hundreds of locals gave vent to their anger complaining they were not getting any relief material like food, medicines or blankets.

Meena Ahmed, a flood victim residing in Qayoom Colony in Rawalpora, wept unconsolably begging for urgent relief.

“We want food and water urgently. Please give us,” she said.

Omar said the main source of worry for him was the likely spread of diseases after water level in flood-hit areas recedes. “Water levels are receding faster than I expected.”

He said hours before the onset of heavy rains warnings were issued from mosques and police stations that people should move to higher locations but they were largely ignored.

In general, the water level was receding but areas downstream of Jhelum River are experiencing increase in water levels, PRO, Defence, Col G D Goswami said in Jammu.

“In Srinagar town there is a decrease in water level by 3 to 4 feet since the beginning of the floods, whereas there is a rise of 6 inches in Wuller Lake,” he said.

Srinagar town remained the most critical part of flood relief efforts today. Areas of Rajbag, Jawahar Nagar, Gogji Bag and Shivpora where the bulk of the stranded people are located saw a step up in evacuation efforts. Dozens of boats were also pressed into service while food packets were dropped from air.

A total of 79 transport aircraft and helicopters of IAF and Army Aviation Corps were carrying out non-stop rescue and relief operations while Army has deployed one lakh troops.

National Disaster Response Force(NDRF) teams also scaled up their rescue efforts.

Do not panic, Centre tells flood victims, assures every help

Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday assured the flood-affected people of Jammu and Kashmir of all help from the Centre to tide over the crisis which has hit their state. y.

Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, said there is no need to panic and promised every help to the relatives and kin of the people stranded in the flood-hit areas of J-K.

In an official release here, Singh, the MP from Udhampur constituency of J-K, said that over 76,500 people have been rescued so far by the armed forces and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

The remaining affected and stranded persons are also in the process of being evacuated, he said.

Singh lauded the role of the Army, Air Force and paramilitary forces, including BSF personnel, in the rescue and relief operations.

The Air Force and Army have pressed nearly 80 aircraft and helicopters into the effort, he said.

Singh said he had taken up the issue of the need for more relief material with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The Army alone has distributed 1,50,000 litres of water to the flood-affected while more water bottles are being airlifted from Chandigarh and Delhi, he added.

Singh said he was in touch with the state administration and also maintaining regular contact with the Deputy Commissioners of the affected districts.

He cited the break down of communication and telephone links as a major hassle and hoped these would be restored in the next one or two days.

Rescue teams are using satellite phones for communication, he said.

Heavy rainfall led to floods in many areas of J-K, leaving nearly 200 people dead and rendering thousands homeless.

Army will continue to work through ‘day and night’: Army Chief

Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag today said the forces would continue to work through “day and night” to render relief to the affected people in Kashmir.

He said the flood situation in Kashmir is “improving” and stressed upon the need to supply affected people with food, water and medicine.

In the state capital to oversee the massive rescue exercise launched by the Army, he expressed confidence that situation will improve “quite a lot” in two to three days.

“It (situation) is improving. Water level is receding. I was here three days back and from then to now the water level has come down four to five feet or six feet at some places. So things are improving,” he told reporters.

Suhag, however, emphasised on the need to carry relief material to the rescued people.

“What is required is we need to supply food, water and medicine to people who need that,” he said, adding that Army was taking full care of people under its watch and augmented its medical facilities to meet the challenge.

He said the road network within the valley would be motorable for lighter vehicles by tomorrow and the broken-down communication network be restored to a large extent in two to three days.

Army had rescued close to 50,000 people by this morning, he added.


Flood waters recede, lakhs still wait for help

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Swaraj, Karzai agree to intensify security, defence ties

News4u-News Desk- As Afghanistan prepares for a democratic transition of power, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Afghan President Hamid Karazi on Wednesday held wide-ranging talks on political and security situation in the war-torn country and agreed to intensify cooperation in areas like security and defence.

During the meeting, Swaraj expressed India’s strong commitment to continue extending its all possible help to Afghanistan to meet various challenges and conveyed that it will remain engaged in the country’s reconstruction activities in a significant way.

Both the sides underlined the need for expanding trade ties. Swaraj, who is on her first visit here as External Affairs Minister, drove straight from the airport to presidential palace where she held talks with Karzai on various key issues.

Sources said entire political situation was also discussed during the meeting. Swaraj said India will speed up various development projects in Afghanistan.

As NATO forces prepare to withdraw from the country, Afghanistan wants India to help it in meeting security challenges. Afghanistan has been pressing India for supply of military hardware and weapons system to it. Sources said Afghan side conveyed to India its security needs.

Seeking to enhance strategic cooperation and help Afghanistan deal with key challenges of security and stability, Swaraj arrived here earlier in the day.

Swaraj’s visit also assumes significance as it comes amid rising fears of the reemergence of the Taliban and other al-Qaeda linked elements in the country following withdrawal of NATO forces by end of the year.

Afghanistan also awaits eagerly the result of the disputed second round of the presidential election held on June 14.

An audit of votes of the election has already been completed and results may be announced in the next few days.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani were in a tight race in the polls and the winner will succeed incumbent President Hamid Karzai who has been in power for nearly 13 years.

Afghanistan has been pressing India for supplying military hardware to strengthen its security set up in view of drawdown of NATO forces. Karzai has already given a “wish-list” to India.

After a visit to New Delhi in December last year, Karzai had expressed satisfaction over India’s response to his demand for stepping up military aid and said the “facts” on such supplies were much better than “what is known”.

Asked whether NDA government will review policy towards Afghanistan, Swaraj had said there was no question of any change in it and asserted that India will continue to help the country in its reconstruction.

India has invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction and trained scores of Afghan officers but has been careful in supply of arms and military hardware for fear of provoking Pakistan as well as armed groups in Afghanistan.

Swaraj is also likely to seek better security arrangement for Indian assets in Afghanistan.

The Indian Consulate in Herat province was attacked on this day in May.

In August last year, a failed bombing against the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad city near the border with Pakistan killed nine people, including six children. No Indian officials were hurt.

The Indian Embassy in Kabul was attacked twice in 2008 and 2009 that left 75 people dead.

The issue of Afghanistan refusing to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US is also likely to figure in talks between Swaraj and Karzai.

Karzai has refused to ink the proposed Afghan-US security pact demanding that the US must put an immediate end to military raids on Afghan homes and demonstrate its commitment to peace talks before he would sign the agreement.

The BSA would provide for stay of nearly 15,000 US forces at nine locations across Afghanistan. Afghan officials said over 350,000 Afghan forces have taken responsibility of security and they were capable of taking care of the country’s security.

Among India’s major infrastructure projects in the country include, the highway from Zaranj to Delaram in South-Western Afghanistan which is considered a symbol of India’s commitment to reconstruction efforts in the country.

India is also constructing the Afghan Parliament building.

India has also taken initiative to develop the Chabahar port in Iran which could act as a major transit point for India to Afghanistan.

Chabahar port is strategically crucial as it gives access route to Afghanistan. The port, which is surrounded by a free trade zone, is vital for transit facility from India to Afghanistan.

Swaraj inaugurates new Indian Embassy building in Kabul

A new USD 40 million Indian Embassy building was inaugurated on Wednesday by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the heart of Afghan capital here which features an integrated security system.

The building is spread over an area of 5 acres and has been constructed at the cost of USD 40 million.

The total area of the building is 8,300 square metre. The building at Wazir Akbar Khan close to the Afghan Foreign Ministry. Foundation stone of the building was laid by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 and the actual work started in 2009.

The building, constructed by Central Public Works Department (CPWD), has a modern integrated security system which has been installed by Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Afghan Foreign Minister Zarar Osmani and a number of foreign diplomats.

“This is critical decade of transformation for Afghanistan. India will always be Afghanistan’s first strategic partner and we will always share Afghan people’s vision of a strong, independent, united and prosperous Afghanistan for which so many Afghans sacrificed so much,” Swaraj said.

“India is prepared to do whatever is possible, whichever capabilities and means, to work with Afghan government and its people to realise this vision.

“I would like to thank the Afghan people for consistently praising our work in Afghanistan amongst the best and most effective aid and humanitarian programmes. This has always been a source of great encouragement and inspiration for us,” the Minister said.

India has invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction and trained scores of Afghan officers.

“Before coming here for the inauguration, I also spent some time remembering our officials and personnel who laid down their lives during targeted terrorist attacks against our diplomatic premises and developmental projects,” she said.

The Indian Embassy here was attacked twice in 2008 and 2009 that left 75 people dead.

“I am deeply grateful to valiant personnel of Afghan security forces who continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our premises and personnel remain safe,” Swaraj said.

“I recognise the contribution of our security forces guarding our installation and personnel,” she said. “India is here to stay,” she added.


Swaraj, Karzai

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Doval meets top Chinese diplomat to finalise Xi’s India visit

News4u-News Desk- National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday held talks with China’s top diplomat and State Councillor Yang Jiechi to finalise the arrangements for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India expected to take place next week.

Doval arrived on Monday as the Special Representative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make final preparations for Xi’s visit.

The two officials met at the Diaoyutai Guest house to finalise the schedule and agenda for Xi’s visit.

Welcoming Doval, Yang who is also China’s Special Representative for Sino-India border talks, said he highly appreciates Doval’s visit.

It speaks volumes about the importance the Indian side attaches to Xi’s visit and bilateral relations, he said.

“We believe that with specific efforts from both sides President’s visit will be a full success and bilateral relations will be taken to higher level,” he said.

Expressing happiness over Doval taking over as NSA, Yang appreciated his contribution to the bilateral ties. Appreciating the gesture to receive him at a short notice, Doval said he had brought a special message for Xi from the Prime Minister’s side. Doval is due to meet Xi later in the day.

During his visit to India, Xi is expected to announce major Chinese investments as well as hold talks with Modi on border dispute as well as China’s plans to revive a number of Silk Road Projects including the Maritime Silk Road.

Doval’s visit is taking place in the immediate backdrop of the cancellation of Xi’s visit to Islamabad planned as part of his first visit to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.

Dates for the visit of Xi, also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, have not yet been officially announced by both sides.

Initially, Xi was to pay a three-day visit to New Delhi from September 17.

Speculation is rife that in view of the cancellation of the visit to Pakistan, Xi may arrive in India earlier and may visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat before he lands in New Delhi.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who visited Beijing twice including early this month, has laid ground for Xi’s visit by holding extensive talks with Chinese officials on the package of investments as well as measures to address India’s concerns of trade deficit.

China-India are in discussions to modernise Indian railways.

China plans to invest in industrial parks, locations of which are expected to be announced by Xi.

Besides finalising the schedule, Doval’s visit is expected to focus on the political aspects of Xi’s tour, including issues related to the boundary dispute and new routes for Kailash and Manasarovar Yatra.

Yang is China’s Special Representative for boundary negotiations held two rounds of talks with Doval’s predecessor, Shivshankar Menon.

The two sides held 17 rounds of talks and reached a stage to focus on the framework to resolve the dispute. The next stage was stated to be exchange of maps about the mutual perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Both the countries have signed Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) last year to ensure peace and tranquillity at the LAC pending the settlement of the border dispute.


Doval meets top Chinese diplomat

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Third Dharamshala Film Festival to begin on October 30

News4u-Entertainment Desk- The third edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival, featuring 24 full-length feature films and documentaries, will begin on October 30.

The four-day festival will also screen Hansal Mehta’s ‘City Lights’ and the director will be present at the event, which will take place at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala.

The highlight of the festival according to the directors, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, are films on the conflict in Syria catering to different aspects of the issue. While ‘Return to Homs’ is about a group of young revolutionaries battling government forces in the besieged city of Homs in western Syria, ‘The Square’ is a view of personal stories unfolding against the background of the Egyptian revolution.

Another addition to the upcoming edition, which will invite around 12 filmmakers from India and abroad, is that five budding directors from the Indian Himalayan regions will be selected to attend film screenings, master classes and workshops, and engage in one-on-one mentoring sessions with established filmmakers.

“We want to nurture these raw talents and feel this is a good platform to show them. We hope they learn something. We got a lot of entries and they showed their work to the judges, on the basis of which, they got selected,” said Sarin, who is also a filmmaker from Dharamshala.

Movies like ‘Nirnay’, ‘Liar’s Dice’ and ‘Bringing Tibet Home’ will also be a part of the festival. A food, arts and crafts fair will also be organised during the festival. Sarin said that with the festival, she hopes to create a truly meaningful, non-partisan cultural platform to engage and involve all communities that inhabit the area- Indians, Tibetan refugees and expatriates.

“People love cinema there but can’t watch. As my husband Tenzing Sonam and I are Dharamshala natives, they are happy there is no one from outside coming there to open such a festival. They feel the event belongs to them,” Sarin said.


Dharamshala Film Festival

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India Unites

News4u-Features Desk- The entire nation is engulfed by shock & grief as the small screen in drawing rooms flash images of heaven’s fury raining down on Kashmir, the paradise of India. All the drama and debate about Kashmir’s status as a part of India has been swept away by Jhelum and the lakes with in the state.

Atleast 2600 vilages have been badly affected and the local administration has been dumbfounded by the volume of disaster. As roads and bridges are swept away by the flooded rivers, many part of the state are completely cut off. It is the defence forces who are acting as the life line of the state.

Working day & night the jawans have successfully rescued more than 20000 people till now. They have put up numerous camps and a number of medical tems are supporting them in these operations.

When the Army chief General Dalbirsingh Suhag declares that his soldiers won’t return to their barracks till the last survivor is rescued, we feel so proud of our army. With this pride is mingled a sense of grief, how many of these soldiers lose their lives battling with nature, with hardly an award for bravery & courage.

They say every cloud has a silvery lining. May be the people of Kashmir will now look at the army with a better understanding and not as an enemy. The central govt is also doing its utmost to help the state in its hour of distress. Lets hope when the swelling rivers withdraw, a new sun will shine on the beautiful state of Kashmir with thoughts and opinions purified by the water from heaven and from sorrow and despair emerge better relations and a better future for all.

-Veera Chaturvedi

veera@news4u.co.in


srinagar flooded with water

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The Religion of War

News4u-Features Desk- American and European leaders are “shocked” that the Islamic State (IS) barbarians beheaded two American reporters, Steven J. Sotloff and James Foley. Their “shock” is disingenuous and troubling.

They react as though such barbarism is something new among Islamists. It is anything but. And if not earlier, then certainly in the aftermath of al Qaeda’s attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, a spike in Islamic groups’ and individuals’ barbaric crimes has been reported worldwide.

Islamist beheading is nothing new. Open a Quran in any translation to find the instructions

that the IS and other jihadists groups are following, in the name ‘the Beneficent, the Merciful Allah.’ Bloody fighting as prescribed in the Quran serve as the foundation of their religion of War.

Here are a few examples: The Book of Muhammad, verse 4 (47:4) – “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), strike off their heads; at length; then when you have made wide Slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives: thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens.”

According to the Book of Al-Maeda, verse 33 (5:33) -“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”

And the Book of Al-Anfal, verse 12 ( 8:12) – “I (Allah) will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off.”

The IS and other jihadists are doing their best to follow the Quran’s barbaric instructions, using machetes, the popular modern version of the Prophet’s 7th-century sword. Indeed, a sword features in the national flags of Iran–the center of Shia radicalism, and Saudi Arabia–the center of Sunni/Wahhabi radicalism. The sword is not merely a symbol. The sword represents WAR. the most important value for this radical regimes.

The Saudi kingdom carries out barbaric physical punishments today as they have done since Ibn Saud founded it in 1932. Cutting off hands of thieves, stoning to death, beheading and crucifying those who violated the sharia, are carried out regularly.

Under Hassan Rouhani’s, the new “moderate” Iranian president, the number of officially reported executions increased from 580 to 687 (by the end of 2013 and in a more rapid pace since), the majority of which (68%, or 458) were carried out after Rouhani ascended to power, according to Iran’s Human Rights organization. The mullahs seem to prefer hanging, though the sword is

When American politicians and talking-heads point out that even Wahhabi Saudi Arabia and Qatar (47% Salafi/Wahhabi) are warning of the more radical Islamic State, take it with a grain of salt and keep in mind that the Saudis fear for their kingdom and Qatar has been funding Al Qaeda, al- Nusra, Hamas, and the like for many decades..

Yet the West’s thirst for Saudi, Qatari and Iranian oil and gas blinded them to the atrocities and barbaric nature of the religion of war and destruction. And when Western greed was oiled by Muslim Brotherhood hooked their lies in familiar Western democratic terminologies, the liberals in the US and Europe swallowed the bait.

The question now is how deep has the bait penetrated and whether the West can unhook itself long enough to realize that it’s time to call the enemy by its name everywhere it manifests itself and then take the necessary steps to defeat it, much like Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Perhaps he can help Obama with a pragmatic strategy to stop the spread of a sect of a barbaric jihadi murderers before it spells over across the ocean.Courtesy AC Democracy

By Rachel Ehrenfeld


The Religion of War

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In the city of the Petronas Towers

News4u-Travel Desk- As you enter Kuala Lumpur (KL), your eyes scan the city skyline for a glimpse of Malaysia`s Petronas Twin Towers. You`ve read about them, seen them in numerous `Malaysia, truly Asia` ads, but never in all their steel-and-glass glory. It`s impossible to visit Kuala Lumpur and find a space or experience that isn`t affected by them; they tend to overshadow the other, equally fascinating monuments.

As you enter Kuala Lumpur (KL), your eyes scan the city skyline for a glimpse of Malaysia`s Petronas Twin Towers. You`ve read about them, seen them in numerous `Malaysia, truly Asia` ads, but never in all their steel-and-glass glory. It`s impossible to visit Kuala Lumpur and find a space or experience that isn`t affected by them; they tend to overshadow the other, equally fascinating monuments.

Kuala Lumpur Tower

The 421-metre-high communications tower (also called Menara Kuala Lumpur), the seventh tallest in the world, stands out in the city`s skyline too. Standing majestically at the top of a hill, it looks fabulous at night.

The lobby`s glass domes sparkle through the day. After a 54-second ride up to the top (276 m), you step out onto the observation deck (littered with tourist stalls, binoculars and maps pointing out the important sites) to a 360-degree view of the city.

If the good view isn`t enough, the KL towers have other attractions including a 100-year-old jelutong tree. During construction, builders were forced to shift the tower, at a considerable expense, when they realised its construction was harming the tree. Now it stands behind a protective wall, close enough for tourists to be able to touch its bark, but far enough that they can`t disfigure it.

Up in the air

There`s more to Kuala Lumpur than steel and glass buildings glittering in the sun. The Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) has an open green ground and the Malaysian flag is hoisted atop a 100 m flagpole. It stands in front of the heritage Sultan Abdul Samad Building with gorgeous Mughal architecture, built by the British. The Masjid Negara (the National Mosque of Malaysia), situated amidst lush gardens, is a 73m-high minaret with a 16-point star roof, which can hold over 15,000 people at a point. You can get a better view of the city from the nearby Selangor district, home to the Batu Caves. Climb the 272 concrete steps to reach these limestone caves studded with Hindu shrines and paintings.

At the bottom of the stairs is a 42.7 m, gold-plated statue of Lord Murugan, the highest in the world. The best time to visit is in the morning, as by afternoon the place gets crowded with devotees.
-Courtesy Zee News


Petronas Towers

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