Troops from the 39th Assam Rifles with seized money in Mizoram’s Kolasib district on Friday night. (Source: Express photo)
Troops from the paramilitary force Assam Rifles and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence have seized US $ 48,700 allegedly meant for purchasing illegal arms and arrested one person in Mizoram’s Kolasib district, according to a statement.
Troops from the 39th Assam Rifles and DRI officials intercepted a vehicle near the village of Zanlawn in Mizoram’s Kolasib district on Friday night.
“The seized US Dollars [were] in denominations of 100, 50 and 20 dollar bills,” the statement said, adding the owner has been identified as Khuplianthanga, a resident of Champhai, a town near the international border with Myanmar.
“The seized US currency converted to Indian Rupees is more than 30 lakh rupees,” said the statement, adding a mobile phone recovered from the suspect had contact numbers from Myanmar, and that the money was meant for payments for an arms consignment in Myanmar. [...]
Puri,who was conferred Padma Bhushan for his contribution in the fields of Literature and Education in 2005 and also the Indira Gandhi award for national integration on October 31, 2009.
Veteran journalist and a prominent human rights activist, Padma Bhushan Balraj Puri, died at Government Medical College hospital after a prolonged illness ere on Saturday morning.
He was 86. He is survived his wife, daughter Ellora Puri and son Luv Puri. His cremation will take place at Jogi Gate in Jammu on Sunday.
Born on August 5, 1928, he began his career in journalism as an editor of an Urdu weekly in 1942 and since then, he had been regularly contributing to various local and leading national dailies. He was a multifaceted personality—a political activist, social worker, Human Rights advocate, and a political analyst, writer, author, multi-disciplinary scholar, and a literary critic.
Puri,who was conferred Padma Bhushan for his contribution in the fields of Literature and Education in 2005 and also the Indira Gandhi award for national integration on October 31, 2009, had participated in Quit India Movement against British Raj in 1942 and also supported the Quit Kashmir Movement launched by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah against the Dogra dynasty rule of Maharaja Hari Singh in 1946.
During 1947 partition when communal violence broke out in the Indian sub-continent, he formed Students Peace Volunteer Corps to check communal riots in Jammu. As a member of the Goodwill Mission appointed by Sheikh Abdullah, he toured the riot-affected areas of Jammu and worked for restoration communal harmony. He was also appointed a member of a relief committee to provide relief to refugees coming to the state from Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
He regularly interacted with India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru from 1948 till 1964, mostly on Kashmir affairs. He pleaded for measures to promote inter-regional harmony in Jammu and Kashmir. His formula for Regional Autonomy was accepted by Pandit Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah who jointly announced it at a press conference in July 1952. He enjoyed the confidence and goodwill of both of them even after the dismissal and detention of Sheikh Abdullah in 1953 and tried to reduce their differences inch by inch. He arranged their first meeting in May 1964. However, the final agreement between them was aborted due to sudden death of Pandit Nehru, according to his daughter Ellora Puri.
Puri was also associated with the committee for recovery of Holy Relic which was mysteriously removed from the sacred Shrine of Hazaratbal, Srinagar, in 1963-64. It was on his suggestion, Pandit Nehru had sent Lal Bahadur Shastri to Srinagar to handle the sensitive situation, she pointed out.
Puri attended J&K State Peoples’ Conference in Srinagar in 1968 as the sole representative from Jammu on its steering committee. It unanimously adopted a five-tier internal constitution for the state drafted by him, with regional autonomy and devolution of power to district, block and panchayat levels.
He resumed intermediary role between Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Adbullah after the formation of Bangladesh in 1971. After a series of talks with both of them, he worked out almost all details for the Indira Gandhi-Sheikh Abdullah Accord in 1974.
In 1967, he prevented an attack by a Hindu mob on a Muslim locality in Jammu and offered his own life before any Muslim was killed. An attempt to attack him was foiled by some sympathisers in the Hindu mobs. In 1986, Puri was able to stop anti-Sikh riots in Jammu from spreading to some areas by standing literally between two hostile mobs.
Puri has similarly intervened in many communally critical situations in the country, particularly the Punjab and places like Meerut and Aligarh. He was the first person from outside the Kashmir Valley to visit it after outbreak of militancy in 1989, and since then has been constantly monitoring human rights violations both by the security forces and the militants.
He was associated with the Dogri Sanstha in Jammu ever since its formation in 1944. He campaigned for Dogri’s recognition by the Sahitya Academy and by Government of India.
He organised the first Conference of the Gujjars of the State where national leaders of the community were also invited. Indira Gandhi accepted his suggestion to initiate process of recognising Gujjars as a Scheduled Tribe. Similarly, he organised the first conference of the Pahari community and articulated their problems.
He also organised a seminar on 5,000 years of Kashmir, attended by a large number of Kashmiri-speaking intellectuals of both Hindu and Muslim communities in Srinagar on the eve of militancy. Puri has also been campaigning for the recognition of Ladakh as a region, like Jammu and Kashmir in the Constitution of the State.
He was appointed working chairman of Regional Autonomy Committee constituted by Farooq Abdullah government after consulting top experts in various disciplines at the national l [...]
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is received on his arrival at Osaka airport in Japan on Saturday. (Source: PTI Photo)
Varanasi, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents in the Lok Sabha, will be developed into a ‘smart city’ by using the experience of Kyoto, the ‘smart city’ of Japan, under a pact signed here today.
A Partner City MoU was signed by Indian Ambassador Deepa Wadhwa and Kyoto Mayor Daisaka Kadokawa at a ceremony witnessed by Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
The MoU, which was signed soon after Modi’s arrival here on a five-day visit, provides for cooperation in heritage conservation, city modernisation and cooperation in the fields of art, culture and academics, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters.
This will serve as framework for Smart heritage city programme between the two countries, he added.
Kyoto, which is a heritage city with Buddhist culture, provides special symbolism to the visit as the Prime Minister has the vision of “rejuvenating” Indian cities. [...]
Whale shark rescue in progress off the coast of Gujarat.
In decade-long effort at Whale Shark conservation in Gujarat, a total of 412 of the world’s largest fish species have been rescued off the state’s western coast where it was once brutally hunted.
“We have so far saved 412 Whale Sharks that got accidentaly trapped in fishermen’s nets along the coast of Gujarat. This is a big achievement for us,” said CN Pandey, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), state forest department while addressing a seminar organised on the occasion of the International Whale Shark Day observed on Saturday.
Just a decade ago, Whale sharks (Rhincodon Typus) were brutally hunted across the shores of Gujarat. To stop this slaughter, it was brought under the protection of Indian laws in 2001, making it the first fish to be listed in Schedule-I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In 2004, Gujarat Forest Department joined hands with Interntional Fund for Animal Welfare — Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) and Tata Chemicals to begin a Whale Shark conservation campaign.
“We have so far given away a total of Rs 65 lakh as compensation to fishermen who have cut their fishing nets to free the fish as part of this conservation campaign,” said Pandey while addressing an audience consisting of fishermen, scientists and wildlife experts who had come from different areas of the country. A few fishermen and forest guards were also honoured for their efforts during the event.
According to officials of the Wildlife Trust of India, a total of Rs 3 crore have been spent so far on the conservation efforts of this species. This includes satellite-tagging of the fishes.
“We want to take this conservation efforts further. Today, the project is at such a stage that we have an idea of the seasonality of their visits.
But more studies need to be undetaken for their habitat conservation, migration and reproductive behaviour,” Pandey added. [...]
Three members of a family drank insecticide outside the Madhya Pradesh police headquarters here on Saturday, apparently to protest police apathy in probing a missing person complaint.
They were rushed to the hospital where their condition was said to be stable.
According to police, Babybai Vishwakarma, Sanjay Vishwakarma and Sunil Vishwakarma, who hail from Hinotia village under Nazirabad police station limits in Bhopal district, had come to the police headquarters to complain about disappearance of Ramcharan, a family member.
According to them, local police were not probing the case seriously.
As a person accompanying them went inside to meet an official, Babybai, Sanjay and Sunil, who were waiting in the parking lot, suddenly drank insecticide.
As they started vomiting and fell unconscious, all three were shifted to nearby hospital. Their condition was now stable, said police spokesperson Pradeep Bhatia.
Ramcharan had disappeared from the village some days ago following a dispute with the panchayat secretary Jitendra Shrivastava, he said.
DGP Nandan Dube has asked Deputy Inspector General, CID to probe the entire matter, he added. [...]
The message from the militants was revealing.
“You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted,” it said. “We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention, like our sister Dr Aafia Siddiqui. However, you proved very quickly to us that this is not what you are interested in.”
This message, sent to the employers of American journalist James Foley by fighters belonging to the Islamic State (IS), highlighted an audacious gambit: they had sought to exchange Mr Foley for a Pakistani woman who has been dubbed Lady al-Qa’ida and who was once described as the world’s most wanted woman, but whom her family insist is an innocent victim. The IS also wanted £80m.
The Obama administration declined to consider either option and the 40-year-old American journalist was subsequently beheaded, a video recording of the execution being posted on the internet.
Amid the outrage and horror over the stark, shuddering murder of Mr Foley, the offer made by the militants for Siddiqui has also led to fresh questions about the curious case of the 42-year-old mother-of-three, whose release from US custody the IS fighters were seeking. Who is she and why were the IS fighters interested in her?
Aafia Siddiqui was born in Karachi and grew up in an upper middle class family before travelling to the US to study. Siddiqui, whose mother once served in Pakistan’s parliament and whose father trained in the UK to be a doctor, began her studies at the University of Houston in Texas before moving to Massachusetts and earning a PhD in neuroscience from Brandeis University.
She and her first husband, Amjad Mohammed Khan, an anaesthesiologist whom she wed in an arranged marriage, left the US after the attacks of September 2001, eventually returning to the Karachi in the summer of 2002. While still in the US, the FBI questioned Siddiqui and her husband regarding their purchase over the internet of £6,000 worth of night vision equipment and body armour. They said it was for hunting.
Siddiqui and her husband divorced in late 2002. He would later claim she had become too abusive and that he was concerned about her increasingly extremist views. “I was aware of Aafia’s violent personality and extremist views and suspected her involvement in Jihadi activities” he told a local newspaper two years ago.
Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who has been dubbed Lady al-Qa’ida (Getty Images)
Shortly after the divorce, Siddiqui allegedly married Ammar al-Baluchi, the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man accused of plotting the al-Qa’ida sattacks on New York and Washington. To this day, her family deny this marriage happened and say the was a story invented by the Western media.
Yet other reports say there is substantial evidence of the marriage. Ammar al-Baluchi has been in US custody since 2003 and was moved to the US prison at Guantanamo Bay in 2006. The US says he was one of two main people who handled the money that financed the September 11 attacks.
In March 2003, Siddiqui and her three children disappeared, just says after the FBI announced a global “wanted for questioning” alert for her and her first husband. [Mr Khan was questioned over alleged terror links and released without charge.] It is believed her name as a possible al-Qa’ida operative was mentioned by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who was repeatedly questioned and tortured by the US after he was arrested in Rawalpindi at the beginning of March 2003.
There remains an intense and ongoing debate about what happened to them during the next five years. Some believe Siddiqui and her children were held by the Pakistani authorities, while her family say she was a “ghost prisoner” of the US and kept in a secret prison at Bagram airbase.
Her ex-husband believes she and her children spent those years at large in Pakistan, under the eye of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). [Her eldest son, Ahmed, has only been permitted to speak a few snatches to the media about his experience. He claims they were detained by US and Pakistani officials.]
Pakistani protesters set an effigy of US President Barack Obama on fire during a protest rally in Lahore (Getty Images)
The next confirmed sighting of her was in the summer of 2008 when she was detained in Afghanistan after being discovered close to the home of a senior official in Ghazni province. On her possession were documents describing the production of explosives, chemical weapons and the Ebola virus, and hand-written notes referring to a “mass casualty attack” in the US.
The diminutive Siddiqui was eventually convicted in the US, not on terror-related charges, but on counts of attempted murder – charges resulting from the claim, denied by her, that she tried to shoot her US questioners while in Afghanistan. She was sentenced to 86 years in jail and is currently being held at the Federal Me [...]
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley was addressing a press conference at National Media Centre in New Delhi on Saturday. (Source: PTI Photo)
India on Saturday said ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC and International Border were “serious and provocative” and created an environment “not very conducive” for relationship between the two sides.
“Incursions (ceasefire violations) at both the Line of Control and the International Border are serious and they are provocative…these incidents are creating an environment which is not very conducive for relationship between the two countries,” Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said.
The minister was asked at a press conference to comment on the recent spate of ceasefire violations along the LoC and the IB by Pakistan and the killing of a jawan in such an incident earlier today.
He said there was hope that the “situation would be better” after discussions between the Directors General of Military Operations Lt Gen PR Kumar and his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Sarfaraz Chaudhary.
Jaitley said both the Army and the BSF at the LoC and IB respectively are fully alert and responding effectively to every situation emerging there.
Against the backdrop of frequent ceasefire violations and Pakistani High Commissioner’s meeting with separatist Kashmiri leaders, India had called off the Foreign Secretary-level talks with it scheduled for August 25.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had yesterday laid ground rules for future talks saying that “any meaningful bilateral dialogue necessarily requires an environment that is free from terrorism and violence”.
There have been 24 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in August. Two villagers have been killed and 17 others, including 4 BSF jawans, suffered injuries in such incidents. [...]
A man was sentenced to gallows by a local court for raping and killing a 12-year-old girl last year.
Additional Sessions Judge Satyaprakash Naik awarded death penalty to Abhay Yadav alias Ubhan Yadav yesterday.
The naked body of the girl was found under a tree in Isarhana village of Kotwali Deva area on March 30, 2013, prosecution said.
Father of the girl had lodged a case against unidentified persons.
Later, during investigation, the name of Abhay surfaced and his role was confirmed through his medical examination, the lawyer said.
The convict had told the police that he had strangulated the victim after the rape as she was threatening to reveal the incident to her mother. [...]
BARMER: An Indian energy major and modern technology have combined to bring about a revolution in two districts of Rajasthan that were infamous due to the scarcity of potable water. Thanks to water ATMs, many otherwise arid villages here have 24X7 access to the commodity at the swipe of a card - at 20 litres for Rs.5.
Under Cairn India's "Jeevan Amrit Project", kiosks with reverse osmosis (RO) plants have been installed to provide safe drinking water in villages like Bhakharpur, Kawas, Guda, Jogasar, Aakdada and Baytu to benefit 22,000 people.
"The project is a good example of a PPP model, where Cairn India has partnered with the Rajasthan government's Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Tata Projects and the respective village panchayats to provide potable drinking water at the doorsteps of the local community," Cairn India CSR head Nilesh Jain told IANS.
Rajasthan, with 10.4 per cent of the country's geographical area, 5.5 per cent of the population and 18.70 per cent of the livestock, has only 1.16 per cent of surface water available in the country.
The state is one of the driest states of the country. Rainfall is erratic and there is a large variation in its distribution pattern in the state. The average annual rainfall ranges from 100 mm in Jaisalmer to 800 mm in Jhalawar.
At present, 22 RO plants (17 with the swipe facility) catering to drinking water needs of 22,000 villagers on a daily basis are up and running. The project is expected to scale up in the coming years in terms of number of plants and locations. Through this technology, villagers can now get clean drinking water by swiping their smart cards in the machines installed at the plant," Cairn India general manager (CSR) Ritu Jhingon told IANS.
The cards come with an initial value of Rs.150 and can be recharged for a similar amount. Plans are afoot to also provide Rs.20 recharges.
This makes the dispensers self-sustaining, with the revenue earned used by the village's water committee to meet the running expenses of the RO plant, such as salary of the operator, electricity and maintenance. The surplus money is used to undertake developmental work in the village.
And to maximize its reach, water from the RO plants is transported to the surrounding dhanis (hamlets) through vehicles at nominal charges (Rs.1-2 extra, as decided by the water committee).
The dispensers are getting increasingly popular among the locals with more and more people purchasing the smart cards
"Once it was difficult to get water, forget about clean water to drink. Now things have changed. I can, at any time, get clean water for my family," Ram Pyari, a resident of Kawas village, told IANS.
Such sentiments are echoed by other users, including Ratna Ram, sarpanch of Sawai Padam Singh village, who became a role model after he inspired more than 100 households in his village to utilize safe drinking water and four another village sarpanchs to initiate the "Jeevan Amrit" project in their gram panchyats.
"My father used to regularly take painkillers for a long time as he suffered from severe joint pain. We have been using RO water for six months now, and miraculously my father has stopped taking medicines for the last two months," Ratna Ram told IANS.
The number of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea in children, has also come down. Cases of joint pain caused by high fluoride content in drinking water have also decreased.
Cairn India funds the cost of the RO plants, which are delivered and installed by Tata Projects, PHED provides the premises and the source water connection and a 15-member village water committee, formed under the panchayat, is responsible for operation and maintenance of the kiosks. Dhara, the local NGO partner for this project, spreads awareness about safe drinking water among locals and hand-holds the water committee for better success.
Apart from providing an innovative solution to a grave problem, these water kiosks have also proved to be a model of good self-governance. The water committees have created an identity for themselves and are looked upon as an effective social group in the villages. Along with efficiently running the RO plants, the committees are also undertaking many developmental projects.
Cairn India is one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in India with a market capitalisation of $10 billion. It was rated the fastest-growing energy company in the world in the 2012 and 2013 Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings.
Cairn India generates 30 per cent of India's domestic crude oil production. Through its affiliates, Cairn India has been operating for close to 20 years playing an active role in developing India's oil and gas resources. To date, Cairn India has opened four frontier basins with over 40 discoveries, 31 in Rajasthan alone.
The Mangala field in Rajasthan, discovered in January 2004, is the largest onshore oil discovery in India in more than two decades. [...]
UP district has witnessed a string of communal incidents since the riots in September last year that left over 60 people dead and hundreds of others displaced.
Tension prevailed after four students from a community were beaten up by a group of people in Jat colony, sparking protests. The trouble started when the four youths had gone for tuition classes in the colony last evening. A group of people allegedly attacked them claiming that they were indulging in eve-teasing, police said.
The boys were rescued by the police and were admitted to hospital. Irate protesters laid a siege at a police station demanding action against those who had beaten up the boys.
Police have registered a case against 150 people for the violence and named three of them.
Superintendent of Police Sarvan Kumar said on Saturday that some people tried to block the road at Meenakshi Chowk last evening but additional forces were rushed and the situation brought under control.
Security has been tightened and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in sensitive areas in Muzaffarnagar.
The western Uttar Pradesh district has witnessed a string of communal incidents since the riots in September last year that left over 60 people dead and hundreds of others displaced. [...]
A schoolgirl in Hisar was found dead under mysterious circumstances, after being allegedly stalked by some youths, police said on Saturday.
The 15-year-old girl, a class 9 student, was allegedly stalked by some youths when she had gone to meet a friend of her, they said.
The gang of four youths passed lewd remarks and later on some villagers intervened to help the girl to let her go.
After the incident, she feared that the entire village had come to know about it and apparently developed a sense of guilt. On Thursday, the girl was found dead in her village in Hisar, police said.
“The girl had a friendship with a boy of the village. She was spotted with the boy by some youths who teased her and passed some objectionable remarks. The boy was beaten up by them,” Hisar’s SP, Vikas Dhankar, said on Saturday.
He said a case has been registered against the youths and further investigations were in progress.
The incident comes close on the heels of a stalking case in Rohtak earlier this week, in which two teenaged girls had allegedly consumed poison at their coaching centre, after they were allegedly stalked and harassed by some youths. [...]
Internet pornography has different legal structures in different parts of the world.
Countries that ban pornography completely:
Internet pornography was outlawed in China effective 2002, when state censors issued guidelines requiring that all websites remove any pornographic material. The government started a crackdown in 2004.
In some of the Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines) there is a complete ban of pornography. In Pakistan also pornography is illegal and the governments imposed a 100 per cent ban since 2011. All the Middle Eastern countries ban all forms of pornography.
Countries with a partial ban:
India altogether has different legal recourse. Possession of pornography is purely legal where as its distribution is illegal. In the cyber world, Section 67 of the Information technology deals with “publishing obscene information in electronic form” in India.
The same system in Australia where possession of pornography material is permitted, but it is an offense to sell, exhibit or rent.
In Russia the laws are unclear.
Countries where pornography is legal:
The 18 plus age limits restrictions are imposed but pornography is legal.
In Canada, sale of hardcore pornography is illegal to anyone under the age of 18 (19 in some provinces), but anyone above that age may own or possess pornography.
In US pornography is lawful at the federal level, but is subject to the Miller test. Advocates for pornography are staunch defenders of the 1st Amendment, free speech, and the arts; while its critics and detractors have blamed it for a succession of societal ailments as well as a general religious downfall. Pornography between consenting adults is legal in most Latin American countries.
Most of the the European countries also have a legal recourse on pornography. In UK (England and Wales main legislation on pornographic materials is the Obscene Publications Act 1959, the Obscene Publications Act 1964, and the Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981.
Note: Data has been compiled from various sources online. [...]
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