Govt fires employee who skipped work for 24 years – India

IndiaToday.in New Delhi, January 8, 2015 | UPDATED 22:17 IST

An executive engineer at the Central Public Works Department was fired on Thursday after being absent from duty for more than 24 years.

AK Verma was fired after last appearing for work in December 1990.

“He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work,” the government said in a statement on Thursday.

Even after an inquiry found him guilty of “wilful absence from duty” in 1992, it took another 22 years and the intervention of a cabinet minister to remove him, the government said. Continue reading “Govt fires employee who skipped work for 24 years – India”

Is that a Traffic Light on Mars?

 

Thursday, 25 September 2014
With the now increased traffic in the Red Planet’s region – since India’s satellite reached Mars’s orbit Wednesday – a traffic light might just be what’s been missing. And it didn’t take long for one to be discovered.

NASA’s Mars rover, the Curiosity, which has been exploring the planet for over two years, fitted with 17 cameras, sent a picture of something that looks much like Earth’s traffic lights.

The mobile robot submits plenty of curious pictures from the surface of Mars, which are on public display. This time it was a space enthusiast from the UK, Joe Smith, running an ArtAlienTV YouTube channel, who spotted a striking resemblance.

“I have been following the images from NASA since the start and I flick through them on the NASA website every day. I saw this one and I thought, ‘Hang on, that looks a bit strange.’ I think it looks like a traffic light,” Smith said of a stack of several large rocks from the footage. Continue reading “Is that a Traffic Light on Mars?”

Enemies Stand Helpless Against BrahMos Missile – BrahMos Aerospace Chief / 3x faster than the Tomahawk cruise missile

“export the BrahMos only to friendly nations, determined by the governments of India and Russia”

Enemies Stand Helpless Against BrahMos Missile – BrahMos Aerospace Chief

 

MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) – A supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, developed jointly by Russia and India, leaves any enemy helpless as no effective protection against the BrahMos has been created so far, Sudhir Mishra, the new head of the BrahMos Aerospace Corporation told Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.

“Supersonic speed is the BrahMos’ major advantage. An enemy has yet no effective protection against such missiles. After the missile is launched, all the enemy can do is run. In fact, he has even no time to escape. That is why this is a very promising weapon. And it has no alternatives in the world so far,” Mishra said in an interview Tuesday adding that “even if any other country succeeds one day in creating missiles with similar characteristics, we will be a way ahead already.” Continue reading “Enemies Stand Helpless Against BrahMos Missile – BrahMos Aerospace Chief / 3x faster than the Tomahawk cruise missile”

Chinese Troops Enter Disputed India Territory

 

Chinese troops have advanced in recent days into disputed territory claimed by India, echoing a similar incursion last year that raised tensions between the two rival giants, official sources said on Tuesday (Aug 19).

Chinese troops twice crossed over the border into a remote area of the western Himalayas, with some unfurling a banner that read “this is Chinese territory, go back”, an official said on condition of anonymity.

Indian border police noticed the troops on Sunday in an unpopulated area of Ladakh during a patrol of the informal border that separates India and China. “It was a temporary peaceful face-off with PLA well inside Indian territory,” the official told AFP referring to China’s People’s Liberation Army.

He said troops returned to India’s Burtse area in Ladakh on Monday displaying a banner “understood to be saying ‘this is Chinese territory, go back’.” Indian army spokesman Colonel S D Goswami declined to confirm if any such incidents had taken place. But the incursions were confirmed by several official sources.

Chinese troops crossed over the border into the same area last April and set up camps, triggering a three-week standoff with Indian soldiers which was only resolved after senior officers from both sides reached an agreement for a joint pullback. That row had threatened to dent improving ties between the two countries which have long been dogged by mutual suspicion – a legacy of a 1962 border war.

The informal border separating China and India is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). While it has never been formally demarcated, the countries have signed two accords to maintain peace in frontier areas. Small incursions of a few kilometres (miles) across the contested boundary are common but it is rare for either country to set up camps in disputed territory. Continue reading “Chinese Troops Enter Disputed India Territory”

BRICS sets up own Bank to counter IMF

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

 

The group of emerging economies signed the long-anticipated document to create the $100 bn BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 bn. Both will counter the influence of US based lending institutions and the dollar.

The new bank will provide money for infrastructure and development projects in BRICS countries, and unlike the IMF or World Bank, each nation has equal say, regardless of GDP size.

“BRICS Bank will be one of the major multilateral development finance institutions in this world,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil.

The big launch of the BRICS bank is seen as a first step to break the dominance of the US dollar in global trade, as well as dollar-backed institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, both US-based institutions BRICS countries have little influence within. Continue reading “BRICS sets up own Bank to counter IMF”

Cyber attack on Russia hits India, secret defence documents leaked

Saikat Datta , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 08, 2014

https://i2.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/3/Resenting-image_new1.jpg

 First Published: 21:03 IST(8/3/2014) | Last Updated: 22:06 IST(8/3/2014)
A cyber attack on Russian communication systems by anonymous hackers on early Saturday morning has compromised India’s defence dealings with Russia and raised serious concerns about a possible major security breach.Believed to have been carried out by an international group of anonymous hackers in retaliation to the last week’s Russian invasion of Ukraine, the attack was detected by Indian technical intelligence agencies at about 4am on Saturday.

Most of the leaked documents relate to India’s dealings with Russia for the purchase, overhaul and repair of front-line fighter aircraft like the Sukhoi-30 MKI and the MiG-29.

They include correspondence between Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which makes the SU-30 and MiG-29 among other aircraft, and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which manufactures the aircraft under license in India.

The offices of the defence ministry and national security advisor were alerted after the breach was detected, said an official familiar with the development.

https://i2.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/3/Resenting-image2.jpg

Continue reading “Cyber attack on Russia hits India, secret defence documents leaked”

Luxury fashion CEO says normal Americans shouldn’t whine about being poor because they would be rich in India or China

EEV Solution:  Ostracise anyone wearing Nicole Miller, until Bud Konheim is rich just like the other 99%.

  • Bud Konheim is boss of Nicole Miller which sells $800 sequined dresses
  • Says U.S poverty level is wealthy in 99% of countries around the world
  • Incomes for the richest 1% of Americans nearly tripled from 1979 to 2007

By Simon Tomlinson

UPDATED:          09:08 EST, 13 February 2014

Workers who are not among the wealthiest one per cent of Americans should stop complaining about being poor because they would be considered rich in most other countries, the CEO of a luxury fashion company has said. Continue reading “Luxury fashion CEO says normal Americans shouldn’t whine about being poor because they would be rich in India or China”

‘Are you from China?’ College student, 20, killed by racist thugs in New Delhi

Indians from a part of nation near Myanmar and China say they face discrimination in rest of the country for their ‘Asian’ features

 PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 February, 2014, 1:44am
McClatchy-Tribune in New Delhi
  • 0b148536a27783fc55b685012acb693.jpg
The death of Nido Tania on Thursday sparked a swift outcry across social media in India. Tania’s supporters produced images, including the one above. Photo: SCMP

He was a slight young man, who sported hipster eyeglasses and a wispy moustache. He had dyed his spiky hair blond, but that was not the only thing that made college student Nido Tania stand out in the Indian capital. Continue reading “‘Are you from China?’ College student, 20, killed by racist thugs in New Delhi”

‘Vegetarians are rapists’: Shocking Facebook posts of U.S. diplomat and his embassy worker wife expelled in slave maid row deepen rift with India

  • Wayne May and his wife Alicia Muller May were effectively deported last week by Indian authorities
  • The move was apparently in retaliation for the U.S. expulsion of Indian envoy Devyani Khobragade in December
  • But the outrageous comments have only just come to light – and the couple’s respective social media pages are awash with them
  • Mrs May wrote on Facebook that Indian vegetarians were responsible for a wave of violence: ‘Applies only to Indians, not westerners!’ she added
  • She also put up a picture of a cow, sacred in India, with the label ‘stupid cow’ then admitted insulting Hindus, saying ‘Not the first time, not the last!’

By Associated Press and Helen Pow

PUBLISHED:          15:50 EST, 15 January 2014       | UPDATED:          19:06 EST, 15 January 2014

 

An American diplomatic couple kicked out of India in retaliation for the U.S. expulsion of an Indian envoy triggered a new controversy by posting offensive comments about their former host country on Facebook.

Wayne May and his wife Alicia Muller May, from Corinth, New York, were effectively deported last week by Indian authorities.

But their outrageous comments on social media, including one in which they call India a ‘zoo,’ have only just come to light.

In one shocking musing, Mrs May wrote that Indian vegetarians were responsible for a wave of sexual assaults. Continue reading “‘Vegetarians are rapists’: Shocking Facebook posts of U.S. diplomat and his embassy worker wife expelled in slave maid row deepen rift with India”

Britain ‘backstabbed’ Sikhs by advising India on 1984 Golden Temple raid

Britain betrayed us by advising Indira Gandhi on her fatal raid against militants barricaded in Amritsar’s Golden Temple, say Sikh leaders

Indian troops take up positions on rooftops around the Golden Temple during operation Blue Star

Indian troops take up positions on rooftops around the Golden Temple during operation Blue Star Photo: GETTY IMAGES

By Georgia Graham, and Dean Nelson in New Delhi

6:54PM GMT 14 Jan 2014

Britain’s involvement in the massacre of hundreds of Sikh separatists in an Indian temple in 1984 will be urgently investigated, David Cameron has ordered. Continue reading “Britain ‘backstabbed’ Sikhs by advising India on 1984 Golden Temple raid”

South African ‘interpreter’ fake-signed anti-white song, also accused of murder [VIDEO]

EEV: Would like second confirmation on the validity of the claim. As much as the claim is repugnant, the facts must be sorted. This is about the sub culture of hate, and not about ethnicity or race.
South African ‘interpreter’ fake-signed anti-white song, also accused of murder [VIDEO]
A man passing himself off as a sign language interpreter punches the air during a speech being given by India’s President Pranab Mukherjee at a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB soccer stadium in Johannesburg December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

2:34 PM  12/13/2013

The man who used jibberish sign language at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service also used incoherent hand gestures to sign a notorious anti-white song sung last year by current South African President Jacob Zuma.

Thamsanqua Jantjie, 34, late said that he is schizophrenic and was hallucinating during the Mandela memorial speeches. The interpreter also admitted that he’d been prone to fits of violence in the past, an admission that was worrisome given his proximity to President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

According to NBC News, Jantjie has worked two other gigs on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s majority party. He was paid $85 per diem for his work at the memorial, NBC reported.

One was an event where President Zuma led gatherers in “Kill the Boer,” an apartheid protest song that South African courts have ruled is hate speech.

Boer is an Afrikaans word for farmer and is often used to refer to whites. Thousands of South Africa’s white farmers have been murdered since the end of apartheid. Some have called this a form of genocide and claim that the song provokes racial violence.

Zuma and other ANC leaders have come under fire in the past for singing the song. The ANC largely defends the song as part of the history of its struggle against apartheid-era oppression.

But the hearing-impaired would not have understood Jantjie’s interpretation of the violent song, which contains lyrics like “We going to shoot them with the machine gun” and “You are a Boer, we are going to hit them and you are going to run.”

“He does not interpret a bit at the beginning where Zuma says ‘Come together all the winners,’” said Bencie Woll, director of the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at University College, London. “As an interpreter, he should be interpreting everything said by the speaker. When he does sign, there is little evidence of any facial expression, just as in the Mandela clip.”

Woll said that while she cannot say whether Jantjie was using South African sign language, “Kill the Boer” has many iconic signs.

“I can identify SHOOT, RUN, WILL etc., and these are repeated throughout the various verses. All of what he does looks very inexpressive and mechanistic,” Woll told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Jantjie, who stands as close to Zuma during the song as he did to Obama during his Mandela memorial speech, gestures sporadically during the song. He mimics what looks like someone firing a machine gun and also pumps his arms as if running, though he offers no signs for other song lyrics.

Jantjie’s fraudulent interpretations may be some of his least disturbing behavior. On Friday, eNCA.com reported that Jantjie was accused of murder in 2003. He also faced charges for kidnapping, theft, housebreaking and attempted murder. Jantjie was sentenced to three years in prison in the theft case, though there are no records to indicate whether he served the sentence, according to eNCA.

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Read more:  http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/13/south-african-interpreter-fake-signed-anti-white-song-also-accused-of-murder-video/#ixzz2nO7q62au

7 things that surprise Japanese people working in offices overseas

By Rachel Tackett

Lifestyle Dec. 05, 2013 – 06:20AM JST ( 24 )

TOKYO —

Here’s a collection of seven observations that Japanese people made while doing business in foreign countries.

1. The lack of overtime

In Germany and Spain, there is practically no overtime. Spending time with the family is paramount. Work does not infringe on a person’s personal life. In Australia, people go home precisely at the end of their work hours. They can be somewhat lax when it comes to meeting other deadlines, but if their work day lasts until five, then at five sharp they are out the door.

Continue reading “7 things that surprise Japanese people working in offices overseas”

Health Research Report #169 29 NOV 2013

HRR Logo

169

Health Research Report

WHITE PAPER /ROUGH COPY

169th Issue Date 29 NOV 2013

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

 

In this Issue:

1.      Bitter melon extract may have potential to fight head and neck cancer
2.      Men with prostate cancer who ate a low-fat fish oil diet showed changes in their cancer tissue
3.      Natural Compound Mitigates Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse, University of Missouri Researchers Find
4.      Introducing solid foods while continuing to breast feed could prevent child allergies
5.      LSUHSC research finds combo of plant nutrients kills breast cancer cells
6.      Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold
7.      A touch of garlic helps kill contaminants in baby formula
8.      Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression and illness
 
  Continue reading “Health Research Report #169 29 NOV 2013”

Bitter melon extract may have potential to fight head and neck cancer

Contact: Riya V. Anandwala ranandwa@slu.edu 314-977-8018 Saint Louis University

ST. LOUIS – Extract taken from an Asian vegetable may have therapeutic qualities to treat head and neck cancer, a Saint Louis University researcher has found.

Continue reading “Bitter melon extract may have potential to fight head and neck cancer”

India’s top police official Ranjit Sinha apologises after ‘if you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it’ remark

Head of India’s equivalent of the FBI comes under fire

Majid Mohamed

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

India’s top police official has apologised after a remark he made during a press conference outraged women across the country.

The director of India’s equivalent of the FBI, the Central Bureau of Investigation, came come under fire for saying: “If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying, ‘If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it,’”

Ranjit Sinha made the controversial comment during a press conference about illegal sports betting and the need to legalise gambling. Mr Sinha had said that if the state could not stop gambling it could at least make some revenue by legalising it. He claimed his remarks about rape were in this context.

Angry activists called for Mr Sinha’s resignation today whilst the National Commission for Women (NCW) sought an explanation from for his controversial rape remark.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat said Mr Sinha’s comments were offensive to women everywhere.

“It is sickening that a man who is in charge of several rape investigations should use such an analogy,” Ms Karat told reporters. “He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women.”

The comments come as four men who were sentenced to death in September after being convicted of the brutal gang-rape and murder of a Delhi student continue to protest their innocence. The young woman had been fatally assaulted as she and a male friend made their way home from an evening at the cinema and boarded an off-duty bus which the men were driving around the city. After being beaten, stripped and the young woman repeated raped, the pair were thrown from the moving vehicle.

The attack last December sparked outrage across the world and an unprecedented debate within India about the position of women. The government was forced to enact new laws that increased the punishments for sex offenders and create fast-track courts for rape cases.

New laws introduced after the attack make stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment a crime. They also provide for the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim’s death.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indias-top-police-official-ranjit-sinha-apologises-after-if-you-cant-prevent-rape-you-enjoy-it-remark-8937253.html#

China says will stamp out Dalai Lama’s voice in Tibet

Source: Reuters – Sat, 2 Nov 2013 05:19 AM

Author: Reuters

                                                                     

By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING, Nov 2 (Reuters) – China aims to stamp out the voice of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in his restive and remote homeland by ensuring that his “propaganda” is not received by anyone on the internet, television or other means, a top official said.

China has tried, with varying degrees of success, to prevent Tibetans listening to or watching programmes broadcast from outside the country, or accessing any information about the Dalai Lama and the exiled government on the internet.

But many Tibetans are still able to access such news, either via illegal satellite televisions or by skirting Chinese internet restrictions. The Dalai Lama’s picture and his teachings are also smuggled into Tibet, at great personal risk.

Writing in the ruling Communist Party’s influential journal Qiushi, the latest issue of which was received by subscribers on Saturday, Tibet’s party chief Chen Quanguo said that the government would ensure only its voice is heard.

“Strike hard against the reactionary propaganda of the splittists from entering Tibet,” Chen wrote in the magazine, whose name means “seeking truth”.

The government will achieve this by confiscating illegal satellite dishes, increasing monitoring of online content and making sure all telephone and internet users are registered using their real names, he added.

“Work hard to ensure that the voice and image of the party is heard and seen over the vast expanses (of Tibet) … and that the voice and image of the enemy forces and the Dalai clique are neither seen nor heard,” Chen wrote.

China calls the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, says he simply wants genuine autonomy for Tibet, and denies espousing violence.

Chen said the party would seek to expose the Dalai Lama’s “hypocrisy and deception” and his “reactionary plots”.

China has long defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops “peacefully liberated” Tibet.

Tensions in China’s Tibetan regions are at their highest in years after a spate of self-immolation protests by Tibetans, which have led to an intensified security crackdown.   (Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

http://www.trust.org/item/20131102050818-iiqk8/?source=hpbreaking

Patna bombings: outlawed Islamist group blamed for fatal blasts

Suspect told police that Indian Mujahideen told him to carry out bombings that killed seven and wounded 83

 

  • Associated Press in Patna
  • theguardian.com,  Monday 28 October 2013 07.08 EDT
Indian security officials examine debris

Indian security agency officials examine debris as they search for evidence at the site of one of the blasts. Photograph: Strdel/AFP/Getty Images

An outlawed Islamist group has been blamed for a series of deadly bomb blasts near an Indian opposition rally, in a grim prelude to national elections next spring.

No group has claimed responsibility for the six small blasts, which killed seven people and wounded 83 just before the rally by the Hindu nationalist opposition leader Narendra Modi on Sunday.

However, one of two suspects arrested after the blasts told police that the outlawed Indian Mujahideen had instructed him and others to carry out the bombings as hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the rally in a central park in Bihar’s state capital of Patna, police said.

“The main motive was to create panic and cause a stampede,” said Manu Maharaj, a senior police official in Patna. Officials from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) said they kept news of the blasts quiet until after the rally to avoid panicking the crowd.

Modi is waging an aggressive campaign to become India‘s next prime minister and critics worry that his rise could exacerbate sectarian tensions between India’s majority Hindus and its 138 million Muslims.

After the blasts, police detained three men in eastern Bihar state and three more in neighbouring Jharkhand, where officers raided a home and seized “a huge amount of explosives” along with bomb-making materials.

Police charged two of the suspects with criminal conspiracy and mass murder. The other four were released after questioning.

The Indian Mujahideen, which has been linked to the banned Pakistan-based Islamist rebel group Lashkar-e-Taiba, has not claimed responsibility for Sunday’s blasts. India’s hardline Islamic organisation Jamaat-e-Islami, meanwhile, denounced the attack and demanded swift punishment for those involved.

The death toll rose to seven on Monday as several people died from their injuries. Dozens more were still being treated in a Patna hospital, including several in critical condition.

Modi offered condolences to the victims in a Twitter message after the rally.

Bihar’s top elected official, the chief minister Nitish Kumar, broke with the BJP six months ago over Modi’s candidacy, which he suggested could upset communal relations within India’s secular democracy of 1.2 billion people.

Modi, who has served three terms as Gujarat’s leader, is credited with turning his western state into a haven for investment and industry. But for years Modi has dodged allegations that he and his Hindu fundamentalist party colleagues looked the other way and even encouraged marauding mobs of Hindus as they killed and burned their way through Muslim neighbourhoods in Gujarat in 2002, leaving more than 1,100 people dead in one of India’s worst outbursts of communal violence.

No evidence directly links Modi to the violence, and he says he has no responsibility for the killings. The supreme court criticised his government, however, for failing to prosecute Hindu rioters who justified the rampage as revenge for a train fire that killed 60 Hindus.

An independent inquiry in 2006 determined that the fire was an accident, but a 2008 state government commission said it was planned by Muslims.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/28/patna-bombings-outlawed-islamic-group-blamed

 

How China Fights: Lessons From the 1962 Sino-Indian War ( Oct 20th, 1962 Anniversary )

EEV: Historical Re-Post

Oct 29, 2012 1:00 AM EDT 

China gave India a “lesson” in 1962. Study it now.

The rest of the world may have forgotten the anniversary, but a neglected border war that took place 50 years ago is now more pertinent than ever. Before dawn on the morning of Oct. 20, 1962, the People’s Liberation Army launched a surprise attack, driving with overwhelming force through the eastern and western sections of the Himalayas, deep into northeastern India. On the 32nd day of fighting, Beijing announced a unilateral ceasefire, and the war ended as abruptly as it had begun. Ten days later, the Chinese began withdrawing from the areas they had penetrated on India’s eastern flank, between Bhutan and Burma, but they kept their territorial gains in the West—part of the original princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. India had suffered a humiliating rout, and China’s international stature had grown substantially.

 

Today, half a century after the Sino-Indian War, the geopolitical rivalry between the world’s two main demographic titans is again sharpening, as new disputes deepen old rifts. Booming bilateral trade has failed to subdue their rivalry and military tensions, and China has largely frittered away the political gains of its long-ago victory. But the war’s continuing significance extends far beyond China and India. By baring key elements of Beijing’s strategic doctrine, it offers important lessons, not only to China’s neighbors but also to the U.S. military. Here are just six of the principles the People’s Republic of China relied on in attacking India—and will undoubtedly use again in the future.

SURPRISE China places immense value on blindsiding its adversaries. The idea is to inflict political and psychological shock on the enemy while scoring early battlefield victories. This emphasis on tactical surprise dates back more than 2,000 years, to the classic Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, who argued that all warfare is “based on deception” and offered this advice on how to take on an opponent: “Attack where he is unprepared; sally out when he does not expect you. These are the strategist’s keys to victory.” The Chinese started and ended the 1962 war when India least expected it. They did much the same thing when they invaded Vietnam in 1979.

CONCENTRATE China’s generals believe in hitting as fast and as hard as possible, a style of warfare they demonstrated in their 1962 blitzkrieg against India. The aim is to wage “battles with swift outcome” (su jue zhan). This laser focus has been a hallmark of every military action Communist China has undertaken since 1949.

STRIKE FIRST Beijing doesn’t balk at using military force for political ends. On the contrary, China has repeatedly set out to “teach a lesson” to adversaries so they will dare not challenge Beijing’s interests in the future. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai explained that the 1962 war was meant to “teach India a lesson.” Paramount leader Deng Xiaoping used the same formulation in 1979 when he became the first Chinese Communist leader to visit Washington and told America’s then-president Jimmy Carter that “Vietnam must be taught a lesson, like India.” China invaded its Southeast Asian neighbor just days later. (India’s foreign minister happened to be in China at the time of the invasion, seeking to revive the bilateral relationship that had been frozen since 1962.) China ended its Vietnam invasion and withdrew from Vietnam after 29 days, declaring that Hanoi had been sufficiently chastised.

WAIT FOR IT Choose the most opportune moment. The 1962 war was a classic case: the attack coincided with the Cuban missile crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon and thereby distracted potential sources of international support for India. No sooner had the U.S. signaled an end to the face-off with Moscow than China declared a unilateral ceasefire in its invasion of India. During the war, the international spotlight remained on the U.S.-Soviet showdown, not on China’s bloody invasion of a country that then had good relations with both the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The pattern has persisted. After America pulled out of South Vietnam, China seized the Paracel Islands. In 1988, when Moscow’s support for Vietnam had faded and Afghanistan had killed the Soviets’ enthusiasm for foreign adventures, China occupied the disputed Johnson Reef in the Spratlys. And in 1995, when the Philippines stood isolated after having forced the U.S. to close its major military bases at Subic Bay and elsewhere on the archipelago, China seized Mischief Reef.

 

RATIONALIZE Beijing likes to camouflage offense as defense. “The history of modern Chinese warfare provides numerous case studies in which China’s leaders have claimed military preemption as a strategically defensive act,” the Pentagon said in a 2010 report to Congress. The report cited a long list of examples, including the 1962 war, 1969 (when China provoked border clashes with the Soviet Union), the 1979 invasion of Vietnam, and even 1950, when China intervened in the Korean War. Beijing called its 1962 invasion a “defensive counterattack,” a term it subsequently used for the invasion of Vietnam and the seizure of the Paracel Islands, Johnson Reef, and Mischief Reef.

DARE Risk-taking has long been an integral feature of Chinese strategy. Willingness to take military gambles was evident not only under Mao Zedong’s zigzag helmsmanship but even when the rigorously pragmatic Deng invaded Vietnam, disregarding the possibility of Soviet intervention. And the risk-taking paid off each time. The past success may give Beijing confidence to take even more chances in the future, especially now that China has second-strike nuclear capability and unprecedented economic and conventional military strength.

The 1962 war took place at a time when the People’s Republic was poor, internally troubled, and without nuclear weapons. But it showed the world how China’s generals think. And it helps explain why Beijing’s rapidly growing military power is raising serious concern.

Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and  follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.

Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the privately funded Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, is the author of Asian Juggernaut (Harper, 2010) and Water: Asia’s New Battlefield (Georgetown University Press, 2011).

 

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com.

India’s Missile Modernization Beyond Minimum Deterrence

October 4, 2013

  • Hans M. Kristensen
agni52013

An Agni V missile is test launched from Wheeler’s Island on September 15, 2013.

By Hans M. Kristensen

Every time India test-launches a new ballistic missile, officials from the defense industry go giddy about the next missile, which they say will be bigger, more accurate, fly longer, and carry more nuclear warheads.

Until now, all Indian ballistic missile types have carried only one warhead each, an important feature that has helped constrain India’s so-called minimum deterrence posture.

But the newest missile, the 5000+ kilometer-range Agni V, had not even completed its second test launch last month, before senior officials from India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) declared that the next Agni variant will be equipped to carry multiple warheads.

While the single-warhead Agni V is a major defense weapon, the multiple-warhead Agni VI will be a “force multiplier,” declared the former head of DRDO.

Moreover, the DRDO chief said that all future missiles will be deployed in large canisters on a road- or rail-mobile launchers to get “drastically” shorter response time with an ability to launch in “just a few minutes.“

It still remains to be seen if these are just the dreams of excited weapons designers or if the Indian government has actually authorized design, development, and deployment of longer-range missiles with multiple warheads and quick-launch capability.

If so, it is bad news for South Asia. The combination of multiple warheads, increased accuracy, and drastically reduced launch time would indicate that India is gradually designing its way of out its so-called minimum deterrence doctrine towards a more capable nuclear posture.

This would almost certainly trigger counter-steps in Pakistan and China, developments that would decrease Indian security. And if China were to deploy multiple warheads on its missiles, it could even impede future reductions of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces.

MIRVforia

Indian defense contractors, engineers, analysts and news media reports have for years described efforts to develop multiple-warhead capability for India’s ballistic missiles. Some have even claimed – incorrectly – that some current ballistic missiles are capable of delivering MIRV. A couple of definitions will help:

  • Multiple warhead (MRV – Multiple Reentry Vehicles) missiles deliver two or more warheads against the same target. The warheads all impact within a circle of a few kilometers around the target in order to destroy it more effectively.
  • Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) missiles deliver two or more warheads against different targets. This requires a Post-Boost Vehicle, or bus, that can maneuver in space to release the reentry vehicles individually so that they follow different trajectories, allowing them to hit separate targets. Some MIRVs can hit targets separated by over 1,500 kilometers.

MRV is relatively simple to deploy but MIRV is a much more complex and expensive technology. News reports and private web sites rarely differentiate between the two but automatically equate multiple warheads with MIRV. Similarly, multiple payloads don’t necessarily mean warheads but can involve penetration aids such as decoys or chaff. MRV might involve 2-3 warheads but 4 or more warheads imply MIRV.

For reasons that are still unclear, Indian defense industry officials have for several years described development of multiple warheads for future Agni variants. In 2007, about a year after Agni III failed its first test launch and before Agni V had even left the launch pad, Avinash Chander, who has since been appointed to head the DRDO, said the next Agni variant would have a range of over 5,000 kilometers and “be a multiple warhead missile with a capacity to carry four to 12 warheads.”

So far that hasn’t happened and DRDO leaders have been unclear about what Agni version would receive the MIRV they are so busy working on. Vijay Kumar Saraswat, for example, made the following statement to NDTV shortly before he retired in May 2013 as DRDO chief:

“Saraswat: Agni Series of missiles are in an advanced stage of production. Today, as you remember, we have completed development of Agni I, Agni II, and Agni III. Agni IV and Agni V are in an advanced stage of development. And this year, you will see two more launches of Agni V, which will culminate its complete developmental activity and it will be led to production. Agni IV is already getting into production mode. So with this – Agni I, Agni II, Agni III, Agni IV, Agni V – getting into production mode, the next logical corollary as far as the long-range ballistic missile deterrents capability of this country is concerned, we will switch over to force multiplication. Force multiplication in the case of ballistic missiles will be by way of multiple independently manouevreable [sic] re-entry vehicles (MIRV).

NDTV: Meaning one missile which can carry many warheads?

Saraswat: Carry multiple warheads. Our design activity on the development and production of MIRV is at an advanced stage today. We are designing the MIRVs, we are integrating it with Agni IV and Agni V missiles, and that would also give us the capability to cover a vast area plus deliver in the event any activity requires a number of payloads at a required place.

NDTV: So will the next test be with a multiple warheads system or…

Saraswat: No. The present task, as I was mentioning, will be only with the normal configuration of Agni V. But there will be an experimental test in which we will be testing the MIRV capability.

NDTV: So that would be what? Agni VI or…

Saraswat: No we are not naming it Agni VI… it will be Agni V missile with MIRVs. 

NDTV: So Agni V plus?

Saraswat: You can name is Agni V plus or Agni VI, but certainly it is not Agni VI.

NDTV: It is not Agni VI but Agni V will have multiple warheads so we can have a single missile going and hitting several targets at the same time?

Saraswat: Yes it will be in that category.”

But only three months earlier, Saraswat was quoted by numerous newspapers as explicitly crediting the Agni VI, not the Agni V, with multiple warhead capability: “Agni-V is a major strategic defence weapon. Now, we want to make Agni-VI, which will be a force multiplier.” The new Agni variant “will have force multiplier capability by the MIRV approach which would enable us to deliver many payloads at the same time using only one missile. Work is on in this area and designs have been completed. We are now in the hardware realisation phase,” he said.

agnitable

ZeeNews quoted an unnamed “top scientists from DRDO” saying “Agni-VI missiles will carry four or six warheads depending upon their weight.”

After Agni IV and Agni V are handed over to the armed forces, DRDO’s “two major focus areas will be maneuvering warheads or reentry vehicles to defeat enemy ballistic missile defence systems and MIRVs (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles),” Chander said.

Shorter Launch Time

Ignore for the moment that none of India’s potential adversaries have missile defense systems that can intercept Indian missiles, DRDO is also working on making the missiles more mobile and quicker to launch by deploying them in “canistered” Transportable Erector Launchers (TEL).

agni5canister

DRDO’s prototype missile canister-launcher, which looks similar to China’s DF-21 and DF-31 launchers, is intended to “drastically” shorten the launch-time of India’s nuclear missiles. Credit: DRDO.

The new canister-launchers “will reduce the reaction time drastically…just a few minutes from ‘stop-to-launch’,” according to Chander. “We are committed to making [the missiles] much more agile, much more fast-reacting, much more stable so that the response can be within minutes,” he said. In an interview with India Today, Chander explained: “In the second strike capability, the most important thing is how fast we can react,” he claimed and said: “All future strategic missiles will be canisterised,” with the first canister Agni V launch scheduled for early 2014.

Contrary to the DRDO chief’s claim, however, “the most important thing” in a second-strike posture is not how fast India can react but simply that it can retaliate. The ability to launch quickly is only relevant for two scenarios: One, if India’s adversaries have military forces that are capable of destroying Indian missile launchers on the ground before they can be used. China faces such a capability from the United States and Russia but neither China nor Pakistan has a capability to conduct a disarming first strike against India’s nuclear forces.

The second scenario where a quick-strike capability could be relevant is if India planned to conduct a first strike against its adversaries, but only if the adversaries were able to detect preparations to strike. But planning for first strike would contradict India’s no-first-use policy.

Nor is a quick-launch capability necessarily “more stable,” as Chander asserts. On the contrary, it could significantly decrease stability both in peacetime – by stimulating Chinese and Pakistani planners to further increase the responsiveness of their nuclear missiles – and in a crisis by shortening decision time and increasing risk of overreaction and escalation.

agni-ChanderSaraswat

DRDO leaders Chander (second from left) and Saraswat (second from right) say they are working on multiple-warhead and quick-launch capabilities for India’s nuclear missiles.

In addition to increasing warhead loading and responsiveness, DRDO is also working on improving the accuracy of warheads delivered by the missiles, although media reports about “pinpoint accuracy” are probably greatly exaggerated. Even the statement by the Ministry of Defense that the payload from the recent Agni V test reached the target area “within a few meters of accuracy” seems over the top. In contrast, back in 2007 when the Agni V was being designed, Chander said: “We are trying to attain an accuracy level of 100 metres.”

There is probably some overlap with conventional missions (the Agni missiles are dual-capable), but accuracy of 100 meters (300 feet) would bring Agni V well within range of the accuracy of the best U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles (in itself a reason to be skeptical). But their accuracy was pursued in support of highly offensive counterforce strategies designed to target and destroy each other’s ICBM silos, missions that are incompatible with India’s minimum deterrence doctrine.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Statements made by Indian defense officials over the past few years about increasing the payload, responsiveness, and accuracy of nuclear ballistic missiles are worrisome signs that India may be designing its way out of its minimum deterrence posture towards one with more warfighting-like capabilities.

This includes development of multiple-warhead capability to move India’s nuclear missiles beyond “a defense weapon” to “a force multiplier” that can strike more targets with each missile. It includes upgrading launchers to “drastically” shorten the launch-time to “minutes.” And it includes increasing the accuracy of the reentry vehicles to more effectively strike their targets.

Where these requirements come from and who sets them is anyone’s guess, but they demonstrate a need for the Indian government to constrain its weapons designers and more clearly reaffirm its adherence to a minimum deterrence doctrine. Not only does the combination of multiple warheads, increased accuracy, and quick-launch capability challenge the credibility of minimum deterrence. It also sends all the wrong signals about India’s intensions and will almost inevitably trigger weapons developments in the nuclear postures of India’s neighbors – developments that would decrease Indian security and that of the whole region.

India is, to be fair, not alone in taking worrisome nuclear steps in the region. Pakistan is developing short-range nuclear missiles envisioned for tactical use below the strategic level that appears to envision potential use of nuclear weapons sooner in a conflict. China is mixing nuclear and conventional missiles that could trigger misunderstandings in a crisis and researching MIRV capability that may well be motivating Indian planners to follow now rather than catch up later.

Together, India, Pakistan and China have embarked upon extensive nuclear arms development and deployment programs with no apparent or declared end in sight. They seem to be making many of the same decisions (and mistakes) as the United States, Russia, Britain and France did during their Cold War. Now it is necessary to complement the nuclear postures with nuclear arms control measures for the region to constrain the forces.

A first step could be to block deployment of multiple warheads on ballistic missiles to prevent what otherwise appears to be a dangerous new phase of the nuclear arms competition in the region.

For its part, the Indian government should make a pledge not to deploy multiple warheads on its missiles a formal part of its minimum deterrence doctrine. Pakistan could easily join such an initiative.

China should join its southern neighbor in a no-multiple-warhead pledge, which would reaffirm its existing minimum deterrence posture and also help reduce India’s interest in multiple warheads. Moreover, a Chinese pledge not to deploy multiple warheads on its missiles would ease U.S. and Russian concerns about China’s potential to “sprint to parity” and therefore help ease the way for further U.S. and Russian reductions – something that both Beijing and Delhi favor.

All sides would seem to benefit from banning multiple warheads on ballistic missiles and India could take the first and honorable step toward a safer future.

[See also additional descriptions of the nuclear forces of India, China, and Pakistan.]

This publication was made possible by grants from the New-Land Foundation and Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

 

http://blogs.fas.org/security/2013/10/indianmirv/

Kashmir And The Coming Nuclear Holocaust

August 21, 2013: Pakistani politicians are caught between Indian officials (civil and military) enraged at the growing number of border incidents (Pakistani troops firing on Indians) and their own generals who insist it’s all the fault of the Indians. Some Pakistanis see this as another army ploy to pressure the civilian politicians to let the military select the new Chief of Staff (commander of the military) when the current one retires later this year. In theory, the elected leaders have the right to select the new Chief of Staff but in practice the military has always intimidated the politicians to allow the generals to do the choosing. The military needs continued military and diplomatic tension with India to justify all its economic and political privileges and to discourage the politicians from prosecuting serving and retired officers for past crimes.

The Pakistani generals believe that, since Pakistan got nukes in 1999, it can torment the Indians with these unprovoked border attacks without fear of escalating retaliation turning into a major war. Indian diplomats are reminding their Pakistani counterparts that nukes are not an absolute guarantee that the border incidents and continued Pakistani army and ISI support for Islamic terrorists working to attack inside India won’t lead to a nuclear exchange. India would be badly hurt, but Pakistan would be destroyed. So far Pakistani diplomats are officially supporting the story that this is all the fault of India. By Indian count Pakistan has violated the border 65 times this year, which was nearly twice as often as last year. Since 2009, when Pakistan began regularly breaking the 2003 ceasefire, India has counted over 250 ceasefire violations.

Pakistani troops on the LoC (Line of Control which separates Indian and Pakistani held Kashmir) have violated the ceasefire regularly all this year. Before that the LoC had been quiet for the last ten weeks of 2012. The Pakistanis never admit to being the aggressor and continue to insist they have justification for firing across the border. They don’t, but continue to do it anyway. This is all in violation of a 2003 peace agreement. Before that, Pakistan even more frequently fired across the border, often to assist Islamic terrorists trying to sneak into India.

The increased Pakistani Army violence on the Kashmir border has been accompanied by an increase in separatist and terrorist violence inside Kashmir. After several years of declines, this year has seen a sharp increase in such violence, all apparently with the encouragement and support of Pakistan. India has responded with more curfews and increased patrols.

A growing number of senior Pakistani government officials, both serving and retired, are openly saying that someone in the Pakistani government must have known Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad for six years, within shouting distance of the Pakistani Military Academy. None of these officials will admit to knowing anyone who knew, which may be the result of the army and ISI running the bin Laden sanctuary operation without letting any civilian officials know, or none that will now admit it.

In eastern India (Jharkhand) Maoist violence and death threats have halted a $2 billion project to build two electrical generating plants. The same threats have halted work on a coal mining operation that would fuel the plants. The Maoists are demanding more money for the locals in the thinly populated rural area, as well as some cash for themselves as well as fewer police. The government has been unable to provide enough police to halt the assassinations, which have convinced the contractors that it is unsafe to work in the area. The government is also investigating political corruption associated with these large projects, with accusations that local politicians were paid off to allow the projects to go forward. That is fairly normal throughout India.

August 20, 2013: A Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for former president Musharraf, in connection with the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto six years ago. The usual suspects, the Taliban, took pleasure in the murder but denied they were responsible, and it increasingly appears that is the case. It’s now believed the ISI or Pakistani Army were behind the killing, and the Pakistani police helped cover this up. Three years ago similar warrants were used for two senior police commanders, in connection with an investigation into who was behind the Bhutto attack. There have been more arrests since then, apparently leading to Musharraf (the former head of the army, which has long supported Islamic terrorists and used these fanatics for “special jobs”).

Police in Lahore, Pakistan raided a Taliban safe house that was used as an international call center to handle ransom negotiations with the families of people kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The “call center” contained communications equipment, weapons, and five people (including at least one woman), and all of these were arrested and are being interrogated.

In the Pakistani tribal territories (Quetta, Baluchistan) police seized a hundred tons of bomb making materials (mostly phosphate fertilizer). A tip led police to a warehouse. The seized material apparently belonged to a Sunni terror group that has been attacking Shia Moslems in Baluchistan with large car and truck bombs.

The U.S. sanctioned the Ganj Madrassa (religious school) in Pakistan’s tribal territories (Peshawar). The U.S. charged the madrassa of supporting terrorism activities by al Qaeda and the Taliban. The sanctions will make it more difficult for the madrassa to raise money or for its staff to operate internationally.

India and China began their fifth round of negotiations to work out a new border treaty that will prevent more border incidents. India accuses Chinese troops of being caught on the Indian side of the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in Kashmir much more frequently this year and blocking Indian troops from using Indian built trails and roads that Indians have patrolled for decades. China says all these incidents were misunderstandings, but in the GPS age this is not as convincing as it used to be. India is accusing China of violating a March agreement that was supposed to halt the Chinese practice of sending troops to follow each other’s infantry patrols along the LAC and sometimes sending troops into Indian territory. The LAC is also known as the MacCartney-MacDonald Line and is the unofficial border between India and China. The LAC is 4,057 kilometers long and is found in the Indian States of Ladakh, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, and Arunachal. On the Chinese side it is mostly Tibet. China claims a lot of territory that is now considered part of India. The practice of monitoring each other’s patrols has led to hundreds of armed confrontations over the last few years, as one side or the other accuses “foreign troops” of crossing the LAC. China has become less vocal about its claims on Indian territory recently but has not abandoned these assertions. The Chinese troops, when confronted by Indian soldiers or border guard, will claim they are really in Chinese territory but back off rather than open fire over the issue. This is a big relief to India, which has a defense budget one third that of China’s. India fears that the Chinese troops are becoming bolder and more stubborn and that this could lead to shooting incidents.

In the Pakistani tribal territories (North Waziristan), 2 more cases of polio were reported, making 14 in the territories so far this year. A Taliban ban on polio vaccinations has left over 250,000 young children vulnerable to the disease. Polio should have been eliminated entirely by now, but there has been resistance from Islamic clergy in some countries, who insist the vaccinations are a Western plot to harm Moslem children. This has enabled polio to survive in some Moslem countries (especially Nigeria, Somalia, and Pakistan). The disease also survives in some very corrupt nations, like Kenya and India, because of the difficulty in getting vaccine to remote areas and tracking down nomad groups.

August 18, 2013: Responding to Taliban threats of assassinations and terror attacks, the Pakistani government has delayed the resumption of executions. In the last week a Taliban faction began distributing pamphlets outside the tribal territories warning of retaliation if the government went forward with the plan to resume executions of terrorists at the end of the month. Pakistan has over 7,000 people on death row, most of them Islamic terrorists. For five years such executions have been suspended, as part of an effort to get a peace deal out of the terrorists. That has not worked and the executions were supposed to resume at the end of August. One reason for this was that the Taliban have been increasingly effective at busting convicted terrorists out of jail.

In Indian Kashmir troops detected a group of Islamic terrorists trying to sneak across the border, in the ensuing gun battle the terrorists fled back into Pakistan.

In eastern India (West Midnapore) villagers angry at continued Maoist violence beat to death a local Maoist leader who came to their village.

August 17, 2013: In Pakistan’s largest city (Karachi) a feud between the leaders of two Taliban factions left one of the leaders dead. The two terrorists leaders had actively been trying to kill each other for weeks.

August 14, 2013: Pakistan claimed that unprovoked Indian firing across the LAC had killed a civilian and wounded another (the dead victim’s daughter). India denied the accusation.

In India a Russian built Kilo class sub belonging to India (INS Sindhurakshak) seemed to catch fire and explode while docked near Mumbai. The 16 year old submarine had recently returned from Russia after an $80 million refurbishment. Eighteen sailors were killed as the sub sank at dockside. The cause appears to have been an accident, but a thorough forensic investigation will eventually determine if it was caused by human error or equipment failure.

August 13, 2013: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) a clash with Maoists left one of the leftist rebels and three paramilitary police dead. A tip had brought the police to the area but the leftist gunmen saw the police coming and opened fire first. The Maoists took more casualties but took these men with them as they retreated.

August 12, 2013: An Afghan group calling itself the Afghan Cyber Army has hacked over 300 Pakistani websites, leaving behind a new home page showing Afghan soldiers and a warning that Pakistan must cease firing across the Afghan border and allowing their troops to cross that border. The problem here is that there is no general agreement on where that border is. That causes all manner of problems. For example, earlier this year Pakistan built some new border posts forward of previous ones but still, according to Pakistan, on Pakistani territory. This has led to shooting between Afghan and Pakistani border guards. There’s also a tribal rivalry element to all this. Most of the Afghan-Pakistani border is occupied by Pushtun tribes. This frontier, still called the “Durand Line” (an impromptu invention of British colonial authorities) was always considered artificial by locals because the line often went right through Pushtun tribal territories. However, the Afghans are more inclined to accept the Durand Line and fight to maintain it. The Pakistanis believe absolute control of the border is impossible, and their attempts to stop illegal crossings cause additional trouble (as tribesmen do not like excessive attention at border crossing posts). This recent violence is also linked to years of anger over Afghan Taliban and other terrorists hiding out in Pakistan and Islamic terrorists (fighting the Pakistani government) hiding out in Afghanistan. This has led to regular Pakistani shelling of suspected terrorist camps in Afghanistan, which often kills innocent (or semi-innocent) Afghan civilians. The Afghans protest and the Pakistanis refuse to halt the shelling and rocket fire or even admit that they are doing it.

India launched its first locally made aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. There is still much work to do and the Vikrant will not enter service for another five years. The largely completed hull will now be moved to another dock so that the flight deck and some internal work can be completed. The current schedule calls for sea trails to begin in 2016, followed by needed modifications and then, in 2018, commissioning.

August 11, 2013: In northern Pakistan the army has sent more troops into an area where Taliban gunmen have been attacking (and often killing) police investigating the June attack on foreign mountain climbers. This killed nine of them (including American, Chinese, Lithuanian, Nepali, Slovakian, and Ukrainian victims) along with a Pakistani cook. A Taliban faction took credit for the attack and said it was revenge for a fatal UAV attack against one of their leaders in May. The rest of Pakistan was outraged at this attack on foreign guests (and very lucrative ones at that). The additional troops are meant to hunt down and finally kill or capture the murderers and any other Islamic terrorists in the area. Northern Pakistan contains some of the highest, and most difficult to climb, mountains in the world. The area had always been quiet and safe and the government encouraged the development of tourism. Foreign climbers were particularly attracted to the remote area and their visits have become a major part of the local economy. For a while, at least, that is all gone. Even Pakistani tourists have cancelled visits. Many non-climbers, especially Pakistanis, came to the area for its cooler weather in Summer and reputation for safety from terrorism and crime. After this attack soldiers and police searched the area for the attackers, who were able to get away. For now, and the next few years, the economic damage is done and the locals will suffer a sharp decline in living standards until tourists return. That can take a few years, or longer, if the Taliban continue operating in this area. The locals, including Moslem clergy, have cooperated with the soldiers and police, but there are some terrorist sympathizers in the region who appear to be giving the killers some protection.

India revealed that it had purchased 25,000 Invar anti-tank missiles from Russia. The average cost will be about $2,000 per missile, largely because 60 percent of the missiles will be built in India under license. Invar is fired from the 125mm main gun of the T-90 tank and is highly accurate out to 5,000 meters (over three miles).

 

http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/india/articles/20130821.aspx

India urged not to hang suspected bombing mastermind

Source: Reuters – Thu, 22 Aug 2013 03:52 PM

Author: Reuters

 

GENEVA, Aug 22 (Reuters) – India must not go ahead with the imminent execution of a professor convicted of charges related to bombing the All Indian Youth Congress in 1993, the International Commission of Jurists said on Thursday.

Devinder Pal Bhullar, a German-based Sikh, was sentenced to death in 2001 for masterminding the bombing, which killed nine people. The bomb targeted Maninderjit Singh Bitta, a leader of the ruling Congress Party and a critic of militant separatists in Punjab.

India’s Supreme Court rejected a plea to commute the sentence to life imprisonment in April this year and upheld its decision on Aug. 14, the ICJ, an international group of 60 lawyers and judges, said in a statement.

The ICJ’s South Asia Director Ben Schonveld said there were serious questions about Bhullar’s trial.

“His conviction and death sentence are based solely upon an alleged confession he made in police custody, which he later retracted, claiming it was extracted under torture,” Schonveld said in the statement.

In a separate statement, Amnesty International said one of the three judges at Bhullar’s trial had found him not guilty, saying there was no evidence to convict him.

It also said international standards prohibited the use of the death penalty against people with mental disability, and Bhullar had reportedly been suffering from psychosis and severe depression and had suicidal tendencies.

India ended an eight-year moratorium on the death penalty in November 2012 with the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the gang of Pakistan-based militants who killed 166 people in a rampage through Mumbai.

India also hanged Mohammad Afzal Guru in February this year for an attack on India’s parliament in 2001. The execution sparked clashes between protesters and police in Kashmir in which dozens were injured.   (Reporting by Tom Miles; editing by Andrew Roche)

http://www.trust.org/item/20130822154724-k71tl/?source=hpbreaking

 

Ingredient in Turmeric Spice When Combined With Anti-Nausea Drug Kills Cancer Cells

Aug. 20, 2013 — In a laboratory, preclinical study recently published by the journal Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center researchers combined structural features from anti-nausea drug thalidomide with common kitchen spice turmeric to create hybrid molecules that effectively kill multiple myeloma cells.

Thalidomide was first introduced in the 1950s as an anti-nausea medication to help control morning sickness, but was later taken off the shelves in 1962 because it was found to cause birth defects. In the late 1990’s the drug was re-introduced as a stand-alone or combination treatment for multiple myeloma. Turmeric, an ancient spice grown in India and other tropical regions of Asia, has a long history of use in herbal remedies and has recently been studied as a means to prevent and treat cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. According to the American Cancer Society, laboratory studies have shown that curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, interferes with several important molecular pathways and inhibits the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents.

“Although thalidomide disturbs the microenvironment of tumor cells in bone marrow, it disintegrates in the body. Curcumin, also active against cancers, is limited by its poor water solubility. But the combination of thalidomide and curcumin in the hybrid molecules enhances both the cytotoxicity and solubility,” says the study’s lead researcher Shijun Zhang, assistant professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the VCU School of Pharmacy.

Compared to mixing multiple drugs, creating hybrid molecules can provide certain advantages. “Enhanced potency, reduced risk of developing drug resistance, improved pharmacokinetic properties, reduced cost and improved patient compliance are just a few of those advantages,” says another of the study’s researchers Steven Grant, M.D., Shirley Carter Olsson and Sture Gordon Olsson Chair in Oncology Research, associate director for translational research, program co-leader of Developmental Therapeutics and Cancer Cell Signaling research member at VCU Massey Cancer Center.

The hybrid molecules of turmeric and thalidomide created more than 15 compounds, each with a different effect. Scientists found that compounds 5 and 7 exhibited superior cell toxicity compared to curcumin alone or the combination of curcumin and thalidomide. Furthermore, the compounds were found to induce significant multiple myeloma cell death.

“Overall, the combination of the spice and the drug was significantly more potent than either individually, suggesting that this hybrid strategy in drug design could lead to novel compounds with improved biological activities,” added Grant. “The results also strongly encourage further optimization of compounds 5 and 7 to develop more potent agents as treatment options for multiple myeloma.”

Pak carries out ‘biggest ceasefire violation’, says Indian army ” “Our restraint should not be taken for granted”

 

S Venkat Narayan

The Island

Publication Date : 11-08-2013

Pakistan violates ceasefire with 7,000 rounds of heavy ammunition and mortar shells fired along the Indian border

Even as there is heightened tension on the India-Pakistan border over the killing of five Indian soldiers last Tuesday, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire yet again by firing 7,000 rounds of heavy ammunition and mortar shells for seven hours at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

The fresh ceasefire violation late on Friday night, which the Indian Army termed as the “biggest ceasefire violation” in recent times, comes four days after five Indian soldiers were killed by specialist troops of the Pakistan army on the LoC.

The Indian army retaliated by firing back. There was no loss of life in the firing from across the border.

“Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing on several Indian forward posts along LoC in Durga Battalion area in Poonch district around 2220 hours last night”, Defence spokesman SN Acharya said on Saturday.

“They fired 7,000 rounds of heavy weaponry Pika ammunition and medium mortars targeting several Indian posts in order to cause heavy causalities till 0430 hours, the spokesman said. It was “biggest ceasefire violation’’ in recent times, he added.

Army troops guarding the borderline took positions and fired back effectively, he said. Indian troops also fired 4,595 rounds of Medium Machine Guns (MMGs), INSAS rifles and KPWT Machine guns besides 111 RPGs, 11 rockets and 18 mortar shells of 81 mm in retaliatory action.

There was no loss of life in the firing from across the border, but tension prevails along the border, the spokesman said.

The sound of heavy firing and mortar blasts was heard in Poonch town and the firing exchanges triggered panic among the people living in the area.

On August six, a group of 20 heavily armed men led by Pakistani troops had entered 450 metres into the Indian territory in the Poonch sector in J&K and ambushed a patrol, killing five Indian soldiers.

Tension between India and Pakistan mounted last week after the killing of Indian soldiers on the LoC.

The incident also cast a shadow on the resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue process. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are slated to meet in New York late next month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The dialogue process was put on hold following the beheading of an Indian soldier and another soldier’s body found mutilated following the January 8 attack by Pakistani troops in the same Poonch sector.

Defence Minister AK Antony had blamed the Pakistan army for the “brutal” act and also warned that last Tuesday’s incident will have “consequences” on India’s behaviour on the Line of Control and on relations with Pakistan.

“It is now clear that the specialist troops of Pakistan army were involved in this attack when a group from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) side crossed the LoC and killed our brave jawans (soldiers),” he had said.

Taking a hard position, Antony had told parliament that the “brutal and unprovoked” attack on Indian side of the LoC in Poonch sector “outraged us all” and “naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the LoC and for our relations with Pakistan”.

Sending out a message to Pakistan, he said, “Our restraint should not be taken for granted; nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of LoC ever be doubted.”

Antony had said: “Those in Pakistan who are responsible for this tragedy and the brutal killing of two soldiers earlier this year should not go unpunished.

“Pakistan should also show determined action to dismantle terrorists networks, organisations and infrastructure and show tangible movement on bringing those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 to justice quickly,” he had said.

http://www.asianewsnet.net/Pak-carries-out-biggest-ceasefire-violation-says-I-50147.html

 

In search of fair babies, Indians chase Caucasian donors for IVF

Shobita Dhar,  TNN Jul 21, 2013, 04.06AM IST

 

(Dr Manish Banker, director…)

Mayuri Singhal, 36, married into a fair-skinned family. She herself is what is often described in matrimonial columns as ‘wheatish’. When she couldn’t conceive, she walked into an IVF clinic with her demand: a ‘white’ baby. “I had read on the internet that one could access a donor who is fair. I decided to opt for one so that the child blends in with the family.”

According to the World Health Organization, there are close to 19 million infertile couples in India and their numbers are growing. “Couples who come for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) list out specifications — the egg or sperm donor should be educated, fair, have blue eyes,” says Dr Rita Bakshi, an IVF expert. Dr Bakshi says roughly 70% clients ask for fair donors.

Infertility experts warn that getting a ‘designer’ baby is difficult and expensive. “You need a lot of paperwork and approvals,” cautions Dr Anjali Malpani, a Mumbai-based fertility specialist. European donors may charge between $1,000 to $5,000 (Rs 6,000 to Rs 30,000 approximately) depending on factors such as physical health and educational background.

Dr Manish Banker, director of a fertility clinic, says: “Seeking fair-skinned donors is a rising trend. Couples usually ask for donors with blue or brown eyes.”

IVF clinics can obtain permission to import frozen human embryo after getting certain documents in order. Caucasian eggs are usually sourced from donors in Spain and countries in Eastern Europe. Dr Bakshi of Delhi explains: “You need to get a legal agreement signed by the intended parents, and the clinic, which should be registered with the ICMR. The clinic should issue a No Objection Certificate to import frozen human embryo and it should be signed by the intended parents while they are physically present in India.” Various courier services and cryopreservation companies ship such biological material to India.

Laws vary according to the country. For example, Canada forbids its donors from demanding any financial compensation. On the other hand, the US does not regulate the amount of money that can be paid to a donor. In 2012, fertility watchdog Human Fertility and Embryology Authority raised the limit for UK donors from £250 per cycle to £750 (Rs 22,600 to Rs 67,800 approx.).

But there are issues of logistics and laws. Dr Malpani of Mumbai cites a 2010 incident where a container carrying frozen human embryos from the US was seized by customs officials at Mumbai airport and returned to the US. While the ART Bill 2010 clearly states that import of human embryos is allowed, the customs department has yet to update its import tariff manual to include it.

None of this deters couples like Suresh and Supriya Shetty from Hyderabad who scouted for a donor fairer than them. “We are so grateful that our daughter Vani is as white as milk. There is no denying that it is easier to get fair girls married,” says Suresh who came to Ahmedabad to get IVF treatment done.

 

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-21/india/40708297_1_ivf-donors-dr-manish-banker

India school lunch deaths: pesticide found in cooking oil

July 20, 2013 14:36

The children died after eating a free school lunch of lentils, potatoes and rice in the Bihar region on Tuesday.

pesticide india lunches

School lunch that killed 23 children in India was found to have contained agricultural pesticide. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

A powerful insecticide killed 23 young Indian students last week, a forensic report has found.

The children died after eating a free school lunch of lentils, potatoes and rice in the Bihar region on Tuesday.

The industrial-strength insecticide was found in the cooking oil used to make the meal. It was said to be five times stronger than commercial chemical insecticides.

“The report has found organophospharus in oil samples collected from the school where the mid-day meal was prepared and consumed by the children,” said Ravinder Kumar, a senior police officer in Bihar state capital Patna, according to AFP.

“It was observed by the scientists of the Forensic Science Laboratory that the poisonous substance in the (food) oil samples was more than five times the commercial preparation available in the market.”

More from GlobalPost: Poverty, not poison, killed Indian school lunch kids

The victims, aged four to 12, were buried in the playfield near the primary school that served the lunch.

Another two dozen children are still being treated in hospital.

The deaths sparked protests in the region.

Authorities are still investigating how the chemical got into the cooking oil. No arrests have been made.

The lunch was part of India’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme, which feeds 120 million children – often their only meal of the day.

The plan seeks to alleviate malnutrition and boost school attendance rates.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/130720/india-school-lunch-deaths-pesticide-found-cooking-oi

Equalities minister sees no need for law against caste discrimination

Her leaked letter urges Hindus to submit evidence to help get legislation scrapped

 

 

Emily Dugan

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Landmark legislation to ban caste discrimination in Britain is being deliberately scuppered by the Conservative equalities ministers in charge of getting it on the statue book, a leaked document indicates.

Discrimination on the basis of caste was outlawed in April as part of the Equality Act, after Business Secretary Vince Cable secured a last-minute amendment. The Act was supposed to mean the estimated 400,000 Dalits – so-called untouchables – who live in the UK would have legal protection from discrimination by other Hindus.

But in a letter to Hindu groups opposed to the legislation shown to The Independent, equalities minister Helen Grant says a safeguard has been introduced so the caste legislation can be removed from the statute book if reviews show it is not appropriate. She urges the groups to submit evidence against the law to an ongoing consultation “as we remain convinced” legislation is unnecessary.

Politicians and equality campaigners say the letter appears to be a fishing exercise, designed to gather support for the view that the new legislation is not needed. They also believe it shows that she has “prejudged” the consultation.

In a letter to the Alliance of Hindu Organisations dated 9 May, Mrs Grant says: “I made no secret at our meeting – and nor do I now – of my disappointment that it has been necessary for the Government to concede to making an order to include caste as an element of race in the Equality Act 2010.

“We remain concerned that there is insufficient evidence of caste-based discrimination to require specific legislation. We also have concerns that incorporating caste into domestic law – even in the context of anti-discrimination – may send out the wrong signal that caste is somehow becoming a permanent feature of British society.”

The letter outlines ways the law could be watered down and eventually scrapped: “Because, as I have said, we do not believe or accept that caste and caste division should have any long-term future in Britain – we have introduced an additional safeguard into the Act. This is the ability to carry out reviews of caste legislation to see whether it remains appropriate. If it does not, we have the option of removing it from the statute book.”

The issue of caste discrimination divided the Coalition, with Liberal Democrats supporting the addition to the legislation and Conservatives opposed. Liberal Democrat Lord Avebury said: “It’s entirely improper that the minister who’s supposed to be implementing the legislation – and initiating the consultation – is making it clear she’s opposed to the whole process.”

Meena Varma, director of the Dalit Solidarity Network UK, said: “Until this legislation is passed, the thousands of Dalits who say they are discriminated against will have no recourse to justice. Grant’s tactic seems to be to kick the whole thing into the long grass until five years have passed and the Government can scrap the legislation.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “Parliament has said that legislation needs to be passed to make caste discrimination unlawful. We are not just committed to the eradication of any sense of caste discrimination, but to ensuring that caste itself does not become a permanent feature of British society. To prevent this from happening, we have included a measure that will allow for the new caste protections to be reviewed after five years, to see whether they remain appropriate and necessary.”

Case study: Solicitors accused of victimisation

Vijay Begraj, a British-born Hindu from the Dalit caste, is still waiting for a full hearing for his case of caste discrimination; it began in February but collapsed after the judge was handed information by the police which might prejudice the case.

Mr Begraj says he and his wife Amardeep faced caste-based discrimination, humiliation, victimisation and harassment because of their relationship. His wife is of a higher caste, as are the people who run Heer Manak, the Coventry solicitors where they both worked. He also gave evidence that he had been assaulted by relatives of the firm’s partners and called derogatory names relating to his caste.

The firm told The Independent they would not comment, but have described the claims as “ludicrous” and “outrageous”. Mr Begraj said: “Hindu groups say there’s no issue of caste discrimination in Britain but it’s nonsense.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/equalities-minister-sees-no-need-for-law-against-caste-discrimination-8704049.html#

 

Wealthy widow AVOIDS jail after keeping maid as a virtual slave for more than five years and ‘making her sleep in a closet’ in her 20,000-square-foot mansion

  • Annie  George, 41, sentenced to five years’ probation, eights months of home  confinement
  • Judge  ordered George to forfeit her $1.9million Llenroc stone mansion in Rexford,  NY
  • Widow was  acquitted of treating Valsamma Mathai as a slave for financial gain
  • Mathai was  removed in May 2011 after her son in India called the National Human Trafficking  Resources Center

By  Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 14:36 EST, 9 July  2013 |  UPDATED: 14:42  EST, 9 July 2013

V.M. worked for Annie George (pictured) and her late husband at their 20,000-square-foot mansion 

Punishment: Annie George, 41, was sentenced to five  years’ probation and forfeiture of her 20,000-square-foot mansion

An hotelier’s widow in upstate New York has  been sentenced to five years’ probation, including eight months of home  confinement, for keeping an Indian servant in the country illegally.

Annie George, 41, was convicted in March of  harboring an illegal alien at her stone mansion in rural Rexford, 15 miles  northwest of Albany.

She was acquitted of treating the woman as a  slave for financial gain, although prosecutors alleged George owed Valsamma  Mathai $317,000 for 5 1/2 years of work while Mathai said she was paid only  $26,000 that was mostly sent to her family in India.

A federal judge in Albany also ordered the  widow to forfeit the 20,000-square-foot mansion as a financial  penalty.

Defense attorney Mark Sacco says he’ll file  notice of appeal, which will halt the mansion seizure. He says authorities  estimated its value at $1.9million and his client owns about 10 per  cent.

George had faced a possible penalty of up to  five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing Tuesday.

The George family had employed Mathai as a  live-in maid at their suburban 26-room Llenroc estate for more than five  years.

During her sentencing, Judge Gary Sharpe  lambasted George for lying about her association with Mathai when she testified  in her own defense last March.

‘You tried to hoodwink that jury!’ Sharpe  told the defendant after noting that her case ‘is not the crime of the  century.’

The judge imposed a harsher sentence on the  41-year-old woman than either defense or prosecutors requested.

AnnieAnnie

Lucky break: George had faced a possible penalty of up  to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but she was acquitted of enslaving  her maid for financial gain

 

George’ defense attorney said that the issue  of truthful testimony came from a garbled tape with different voices on it,  produced by the maid’s son in India, and George denied it was her  voice.

According to Sacco, his client, didn’t  initially hire the maid and was left with the situation after her husband and  oldest son died in a 2009 plane crash.

George was to begin serving the home  confinement sentence immediately, Sacco said, and the mansion seizure will be  halted during the appeal process.

Federal prosecutors recommended eight months  of home detention, 200 hours of community service, two years of probation and a  $20,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Belliss in  court papers said George deserved a harsher penalty under federal guidelines  than the defense sought because she tried to obstruct investigators in  2011.

 

While knowing her servant was in the U.S.  illegally, George kept her even after her husband died because it was convenient  and probably cheaper than hiring someone legally, he wrote. Sharpe agreed,  saying the obstruction also reflected trial testimony.

During the trial, Mathai had testified that  she slept in a closet, worked 17-hour days without vacation, days off or sick  time and wasn’t allowed to leave the property, a palatial stone mansion on a  cliff overlooking the Mohawk River.

The case surfaced when Mathai’s son in India,  Shiju Mathai, called the National Human Trafficking Resources Center in  2011.

In March, George testified that the tape  recording of a phone call between a woman and Shiju Mathai wasn’t her voice.

On the call, the woman warns Shiju there  could be dire consequences, even jail time, for his mother if she was to tell  authorities about working in the United States.

Palatial home: V.M. worked in the George family's more than 20,000-square-foot stone mansion called Llenroc, 15 miles northwest of Albany 

Palatial home: V.M. worked in the George family’s more  than 20,000-square-foot stone mansion called Llenroc, 15 miles northwest of  Albany

‘If she says that she’s working here, that’s  a big problem,’ George told the son, according to Belliss. ‘They’ll put her in  jail for sure.’

At another point, George allegedly said: ‘All  it took was one person to say something and look what has happened  now.’

The widow testified that she was left in  desperate financial straits when her husband died in 2009.

She said she knew nothing of his  business  dealings, including the arrangement to have Mathai live with  them, because he  required her to stick to her duties as his wife and  mother of their six  children and severely punished her if she tried to  make any decisions in the  home.

 

Her late husband, Mathai George, was a native  of India who built a hotel and real estate development business  in the United  States.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2359003/Annie-George-Wealthy-widow-AVOIDS-jail-keeping-maid-virtual-slave-years-making-sleep-closet-20-000-square-foot-mansion.html#ixzz2YbaJj2h2 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Global corruption survey reveals one in four people paid a bribe in past year

Transparency International investigation highlights lack of public faith in politicians and widespread public concern about graft

 

Liberia

Urban perturbation … on a scale of concern about corruption ranging from one to five, people in Liberia recorded 4.8. Photograph: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

One in four people paid a bribe in dealing with public services and institutions in the past 12 months, according to a global corruption survey.

In the world’s largest assessment of public opinion on the subject, Transparency International found that political parties are considered the most corrupt institutions, followed by the police, the judiciary, parliament and public officials. Religious institutions are seen as the least corrupt.

Transparency International says its annual survey shows a crisis of trust in politics and real concern about the capacity of institutions responsible for bringing criminals to justice.

“It is the actors that are supposed to be running countries and upholding the rule of law that are seen as the most corrupt, judged to be abusing their positions of power and acting in their own interests rather than for citizens they are there to represent and serve,” said the global corruption barometer, a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries.

Politicians could lead by example by publishing asset declarations for themselves and their immediate family, suggested Transparency International. Political parties and individual candidates should disclose where they get their money from to make clear who funds them and reveal potential conflicts of interest.

According to the survey, many people regard corruption as a very serious problem for their societies. On a scale of one to five, where one means “corruption is not a problem at all” and five means “corruption is a very serious problem”, the average score across the countries surveyed was 4.1. Concern was highest in Liberia and Mongolia, which both scored 4.8. More optimistic were people in Denmark, Finland, Rwanda, Sudan and Switzerland, all of which recorded scores below three.

Of the 107 countries surveyed, only 11, including Azerbaijan, Rwanda and South Sudan, thought corruption had decreased.

The survey reported that 27% of respondents had paid a bribe – the most direct experience of corruption for a person – with police the most often bribed institution. Police bribery rates were highest in the Democratic of the Republic of the Congo (75%), Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Corruption in the land sector can be particularly critical. One in five people report having paid a bribe for services such as registration or land transfer. Those who cannot make illegal payments are left with little or no protection under law, making them vulnerable to eviction and abuse.

High bribery rates for land services in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Liberia, Pakistan and Sierra Leone, which range from 39% to 75%, are an especially marked concern.

“Corruption in the land sector is particularly critical in post-conflict societies and countries in transition, where transparent and efficient land management is necessary to rebuild and reconstruct the country,” said the survey.

Nearly nine out of 10 people surveyed said they would act against corruption, however, while two-thirds of those asked to pay a bribe refused. Most said they would be willing to report corruption. However, compared with the 2010-11 survey, belief in citizens’ power to address corruption has dropped from 72% to 67% across the 91 countries covered by both surveys.

“Governments need to make sure that there are strong, independent and well-resourced institutions to prevent and redress corruption,” said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International. “Too many people are harmed when these core institutions and basic services are undermined by the scourge of corruption.”

Case study

Ahmed, living in a slum with his wife and two children, was entitled to a new plot of land under a national programme in Morocco to move slum dwellers to cleaner homes. But the public officials responsible for administering the programme used their position of power to allocate land only to those people who could pay. Unable to do so, Ahmed and his family were left homeless when their slum was destroyed.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jul/09/global-corruption-survey-bribery

 

Suspicious Death Of British Girl In Indian Hospital Raises Specter Of Illegal Human Organ Trade

By | May 15 2013 7:23 AM

  • An empty swing

An eight-year old British girl of Indian descent was allegedly murdered by health care workers in India so they could harvest her organs, her grieving parents claim.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the mother and father of Gurkiren Kaur Loyal said staff-members at a clinic in Khanna, Punjab, in northwest India, gave the girl a mysterious injection for to treat a simple case of  dehydration.

That injection killed her. Suspicious, the girl’s family protected her body to prevent anyone from stealing her organs. However, that measure proved futile — after a post-mortem was conducted on the child, her major organs were removed, making it impossible to determine the actual cause of death.

It happened on Gurkiren’s first-ever visit to India.

“My baby was innocent and now I am devastated without her,” her mother Amrit Kaur Loyal said.

“Gurkiren was fine, she was chatting to us and planned to buy some gifts for her cousins. While we were talking an assistant came up carrying a pre-filled syringe and reached for the tube in her hand. I asked what was the injection for, but he gave me a blank look and injected the liquid into her.”

Amrit Kaur added that she knew they had killed her daughter.

The Loyals also claim that police and health officials in India made no effort to investigate the bizarre death.

 

Only after the body was flown home to England did the family realize her organs were missing.

Now, British lawmakers in Loyal’s native Birmingham are demanding answers from Indian authorities.

Birmingham councilor Narinder Kooner said she believes Gurkiren’s organs were harvested for wealthy transplant [patients in India.

“People with money pay to help their family members,” she said. “We are trying to build a portfolio of other cases.”

The Guardian reported that MP Shabana Mahmood, who represents the Loyals Birmingham-Ladywood constituency, wrote to the British Foreign Office asking it to petition Indian officials to return Gurkiren’s organs

“This is a deeply shocking and devastating tragedy,” Mahmood said, according to The Daily Mail.

“Gurkiren’s death, and the failure of the Indian authorities and the British High Commission to provide adequate support to the family, has added to their considerable distress – as has the appalling removal of all of her organs. It is imperative that we have the chance to independently establish the cause of death with the authorities in the UK.”

The trade of human organs – though illegal since 1994 – is believed to be widespread and highly lucrative in India.

In 2007, Ravindranath Seppan, of the Chennai Doctors’ Association for Social Equality, declared that “India’s rich are turning to India’s poor to live longer.”

Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency reported that of the 90,000 or so children reported missing in Indian every year, many end up victims of organ traffickers.

The Guardian reported that sometimes the organ recipients are wealthy foreigners who cannot abide by long waiting lists in their native lands.

Kidneys, which are in great demand, may be purchased for as much as $200,000 from organ traffickers in India, Pakistan and China. In India, sometimes these kidneys are stolen or bought for as little as $1,000.

The “sellers” are typically very poor and desperate people.

“The illegal trade worldwide was falling back in about 2006-07 – there was a decrease in ‘transplant tourism’,” said Luc Noel, a doctor and official with the World Health Organization.

“The trade may well be increasing again. There have been recent signs that that may well be the case. There is a growing need for transplants and big profits to be made. It’s ever growing, it’s a constant struggle. The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there.”

The problem in India is exacerbated by the fact that Indians are reluctant to donate their own organs, creating a huge shortage for legal transplants.

The Times of India reported that while Spain boasts 35.1 organ donors per million people, Britain has 27, USA has about 26, Canada, 14, and Australia, 11 – India has only 0.08 donors per million people.

Only about 10 percent of Indians who need organ transplants receive them annually.

Chinese hackers infiltrate Indian Defence Research Organisation

Posted by: Mohit Kumar onWednesday, March 13, 2013
Chinese hackers infiltrate Indian Defence Research Organisation

According to an exclusive report published today by DNA news, the computers of highly sensitive Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have reportedly been hacked by Chinese hackers as biggest security breach in the Indian Defence ever.

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Infiltrate leading to the leak of thousands of top secret files related to Cabinet Committee on Security, which have been detected to have been uploaded on a server in Guangdong province of China.
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Indian Defence Minister A K Antony said, “Intelligence agencies are investigating the matter at this stage and I do not want to say anything else.
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The leak was detected in the first week of March as officials from India’s technical intelligence wing, National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), working with private Indian cyber security experts cracked open a file called “army cyber policy”. The file had been attached to hacked email accounts of senior DRDO officials that quickly spread through the system in a matter of seconds.” DNA news reported.
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Intelligence officials also discovered documents of deals struck between DRDO and Bharat Dyamics Ltd, a defence PSU which makes strategic missiles and components. Even the e-tickets of DRDO scientists who had travelled to Delhi in February were found on the server.
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This week, Chinese hackers infiltrated Reserve Bank of Australia also.
Photo Mohit (Mobile) aka ‘Unix Root’  is Founder and Editor-in-chief  of ‘The Hacker News’. He is a Security Researcher and Analyst, with experience in various aspects of Information Security. Other than this : He is an Internet Activist, Strong supporter of Anonymous & Wikileaks.http://thehackernews.com/2013/03/chinese-hackers-infiltrate-indian.html

Herbal defluoridation of drinking water

Contact: Albert Ang press@inderscience.com Inderscience Publishers

Researchers in India have developed a filter system based on a medicinal herb, which they say can quickly and easily remove “fluoride” from drinking water. The technology described in the March issue of the International Journal of Environmental Engineering uses parts of the plant Tridax procumbens as a biocarbon filter for the ion.

Drinking water can contain natural fluoride or fluoride might be added as a protective agent for teeth by water companies. However, its presence is not without controversy while in some natural drinking water levels may be above those considered safe by the World Health Organisation. Chemist Malairajan Singanan of the Presidency College (Autonomous), in Chennai, points out that the WHO guidelines suggest that a safe level of fluoride is 1.5 milligrams per liter. He adds that various techniques to reduce fluoride content have been tried including coagulation, adsorption, precipitation, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, and electrodialysis. However, metal ions with an affinity for fluoride in a biocarbon matrix represent a promising new approach.

Singanan has investigated Tridax procumbens, which is commonly used as a medicinal herb in India, as a biocarbon absorbent for fluoride. Previously, the plant has been tested in the extraction of toxic heavy metals from water. He explains that by loading up plant tissue with aluminum ions it is possible create a safe biocarbon filter that will readily absorb fluoride ions from water warmed to around 27 Celsius passing through the filter. His trials show that it takes just three hours to remove 98% of fluoride with just 2 grams of the biocarbon filter.

The biocarbon filter might provide an inexpensive way to defluoridate water in regions where the natural level of this mineral is high in ground water, including India, China, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Spain, Holland, Italy, Mexico, North and South America. It might also be adapted for those consumers who wish to reduce their exposure to fluoride, despite its dental health benefits, in parts of the world where it is added to the water supply for public health reasons.

###

“Defluoridation of drinking water using metal embedded biocarbon technology” in Int. J. Environmental Engineering, 2013, 5, 150-160

Britain to India: Diamond in royal crown is ours

by Reuters|21 February 2013
Queen Alexandra wearing the Koh-i-Noor in her coronation crown (left) and a copy of the new cut of the Koh-i-Noor.
Queen Alexandra wearing the Koh-i-Noor in her coronation crown (left) and a copy of the new cut of the Koh-i-Noor.

Amritsar, India – British Prime Minister David Cameron says a giant diamond his country forced India to hand over in the colonial era that was set in the late Queen Elizabeth I’s crown will not be returned.

Speaking on the third and final day of a visit to India aimed at drumming up trade and investment, Cameron ruled out handing back the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, now on display in the Tower of London.

One of the world’s largest diamonds, some Indians – including independence leader Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson – have demanded its return to atone for Britain’s colonial past.

“I don’t think that’s the right approach,” Cameron told reporters on Wednesday after becoming the first serving British prime minister to voice regret about one of the bloodiest episodes in colonial India, a massacre of unarmed civilians in the city of Amritsar in 1919.

“It is the same question with the Elgin Marbles,” he said, referring to the classical Greek marble sculptures that Athens has long demanded be given back.

“The right answer is for the British Museum and other cultural institutions to do exactly what they do, which is to link up with other institutions around the world to make sure that the things which we have and look after so well are properly shared with people around the world.

“I certainly don’t believe in ‘returnism’, as it were. I don’t think that’s sensible.”

Britain’s then colonial governor-general of India arranged for the huge diamond to be presented to Queen Victoria in 1850.

If Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, eventually becomes queen consort she will don the crown holding the diamond on official occasions.

When Elizabeth II made a state visit to India to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s independence from Britain in 1997, many Indians demanded the return of the diamond.

Cameron is keen to tap into India’s economic rise, but says he is anxious to focus on the present and future rather than”reach back” into the past.

 

http://www.plushasia.com/article/20153

Human intelligence is declining according to Stanford geneticist

Published: 18 February, 2013, 23:56 Edited: 18 February, 2013, 23:56

Ever can’t help but think you’re surrounded by idiots? A leading scientist at Stanford University thinks he has the answer, and the bad news is things aren’t likely to get any better.

Dr. Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Stanford, has published a study that he conducted to try and identify the progression of modern man’s intelligence. As it turns out, however, Dr. Crabtree’s research led him to believe that the collective mind of mankind has been on more or a less a downhill trajectory for quite some time.

According to his research, published in two parts starting with last year’s ‘Our fragile intellect. Part I,’ Dr. Crabtree thinks unavoidable changes in the genetic make-up coupled with modern technological advances has left humans, well, kind of stupid. He has recently published his follow-up analysis, and in it explains that of the roughly 5,000 genes he considered the basis for human intelligence, a number of mutations over the years has forced modern man to be only a portion as bright as his ancestors.

“New developments in genetics, anthropology and neurobiology predict that a very large number of genes underlie our intellectual and emotional abilities, making these abilities genetically surprisingly fragile,” he writes in part one of his research. “Analysis of human mutation rates and the number of genes required for human intellectual and emotional fitness indicates that we are almost certainly losing these abilities,” he adds in his latest report.

From there, the doctor goes on to explain that general mutations over the last few thousand years have left mankind increasingly unable to cope with certain situations that perhaps our ancestors would be more adapted to.

“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues. Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2000–6000 years ago. The basis for my wager comes from new developments in genetics, anthropology, and neurobiology that make a clear prediction that our intellectual and emotional abilities are genetically surprisingly fragile.”

According to the doctor, humans were at their most intelligent when “every individual was exposed to nature’s raw selective mechanisms on a daily basis.” Under those conditions, adaption, he argued, was much more of a matter than fight or flight. Rather, says the scientists, it was a sink or swim situation for generations upon generations.

“We, as a species, are surprisingly intellectually fragile and perhaps reached a peak 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,” he writes. “If selection is only slightly relaxed, one would still conclude that nearly all of us are compromised compared to our ancient ancestors of 3,000 to 6,000 years ago.”

That doesn’t mean it’s all downhill, though. Dr. Crabtree says, “although our genomes are fragile, our society is robust almost entirely by virtue of education, which allow strengths to be rapidly distributed to all members.”

“We have a long time to solve it. People 300 years ago had no idea where we’d be scientifically now,” he says. “We’ll be able to deal with this problem with a range of humane and ethical solutions.”

 

http://rt.com/usa/news/intelligence-stanford-years-fragile-531/

World’s tea producers brew up a plan to raise prices : Global tea cartel formed to boost profits and control supply

AFP Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013

COLOMBO – The price of a cup of tea could rise after the world’s biggest producers agreed to join forces to boost profits, a Sri Lankan minister announced Wednesday.

After two days of talks in Colombo between Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Indonesia, Malawi and Rwanda, which account for more than 50 per cent of global production, the nations announced the formation of the International Tea Producers’ Forum.

Sri Lanka’s Plantations Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said exporting nations had been trying to establish a forum for 80 years. “In that context, what we have just achieved is a historic land mark in the tea industry,” he said.

Efforts will initially focus on sharing knowledge and boosting demand for tea to raise prices, but he suggested more sophisticated – and controversial – methods such as supply controls would be raised in the future.

Production quotas “are not part of the objectives listed in the constitution, but I am sure these are matters which will be discussed some time in the future,” he added.

In 1994, Colombo proposed a tea cartel on the lines of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the crude oil cartel dominated by Saudi Arabia, but there was no unity among producing nations at the time.

“Price stability is one of the objectives to improve the livelihoods of tea small holders (farmers owning small plots of tea),” he said. “Another objective is to ensure high quality standards.”

Samarasinghe explained that unity among producers was “very important from a variety of aspects like foreign exchange earnings, income generation, employment opportunities and several other very useful aspects.”

Global tea prices are around US$2.5 (S$3.06) a kilo, down from about US$2.84 a year earlier, while world-wide consumption is set to rise marginally over one per cent this year, Sri Lanka tea officials said.

Sri Lanka’s tea promotion chief Janaki Kuruppu said prices were much lower compared to other beverages and noted there was room to increase the price of a cup of tea.

“People can pay a little more for tea,” Kuruppu said. “In Sri Lanka, tea is cheaper than bottled water.”

China and Iran, two of the big consumer nations, have been invited to be observers to the Forum. China is also the world’s biggest producer of green tea.

 

http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/SoShiok/Story/A1Story20130123-397447.html

Indian Kashmir advises people to prepare for nuclear war

AFP

By Parvaiz Buhkari | AFP – 12 hours ago

Police in Indian Kashmir have warned residents to build underground bunkers to prepare for a possible nuclear war in the disputed region, which is on edge after a string of deadly border clashes.

The warning comes despite a ceasefire which took hold last week in the scenic Himalayan region, after the Indian and Pakistani armies agreed to halt cross-border firing that had threatened to unravel a fragile peace process.

“If the blast wave does not arrive within five seconds of the flash you were far enough from the ground zero,” says the notice, headed “Protection against Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Weapons”.

It warns of “initial disorientation” from a nuclear attack, saying the blast may “carry away many prominent and familiar features”.

The instructions were issued Monday in a local English-language Greater Kashmir newspaper by the State Disaster Response Force, which is part of the police.

They vividly describe a nuclear war scenario to prepare residents to deal with “the initial shock wave”.

The notice tells them to “wait for the winds to die down and debris to stop falling”.

“Blast wind will generally end in one or two minutes after burst and burns, cuts and bruises are no different than conventional injuries. (The) dazzle is temporary and vision should return in few seconds,” it says.

It tells residents to build toilet-equipped basement shelters “where the whole family can stay for a fortnight”, and says that they should be stocked with non-perishable food.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought three wars since partition in 1947, two of them over the Kashmir region that both nations claim.

Police confirmed they issued the notice but said it “should not be connected with anything else”, in an apparent reference to border tension.

The notice is part of regular year-round civil defence preparedness, Mubarak Ganai, deputy inspector general of civil defence in Kashmir police, told AFP.

An Indian counter-terrorism expert criticised the warning as valueless for Kashmiris, who could be forgiven for imagining war was an imminent prospect.

“There can be no conceivable motive for issuing a notice like this,” Ajay Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi, told AFP.

“Such information collected from here and there is not worth the paper it is printed on,” he said, adding that “there can be no preparedness for such an eventuality”.

There has been calm along the de facto border in Kashmir since commanders of the two sides agreed last Thursday to halt the cross-border firing.

Pakistan says three of its soldiers died in the firing while India says it lost two of its soldiers — marking the worst violence along the frontier dividing the region since the two nations nearly went to war in 2003

Indian army chief warns Pakistan, saying that India would retaliate at “the time and place of its choice”

Indian army chief warns of reprisal

Sri Krishna The Statesman Publication Date : 15-01-2013

Talking tough and describing as “unpardonable” the beheading of a soldier by the Pakistan Army on the Line of Control, the Indian Army Chief, Gen Bikram Singh, yesterday warned that the Army would retaliate at “the time and place of its choice”.

He said what Pakistan did on January 6 was “pre-meditated and pre-planned and the Pakistan army was essentially looking at legitimising and giving legal justification to its action”.

Addressing a press conference here on the eve of Army Day, Gen Singh said there had been nine violations of the ceasefire this year but ever since the ceasefire of November 26, 2003, came into operation “some aberrations” have taken place for which Pakistan is responsible.

“What has hurt us is beheading of our soldier ( Lance Naik Hemraj). It is unacceptable and unpardonable and that beheading is against all rules of engagement,” Gen Singh said. He said the attack was carried out by Pakistan Army personnel but did not rule out the possibility of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists being associated with it.

To a question on response to the Pakistani provocation, Gen Singh said “we have been firing back and orders are clear that when provoked, we will retaliate and local commanders have been told to be aggressive.”

Gen Singh discounted the possibility of the skirmish leading to a full-fledged war and was dismissive of Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, saying it had no relation to the local conflict.

On any response to the Pakistani action, he said it has to be the decision of the government.

Gen Singh admitted that there could have been technical errors in patrolling the border, which allowed Pakistani troops to cross over and ambush the Indian soldiers on 8 December. An inquiry, he said, would be conducted later.

He emphasised that the incident was a tactical level operation, localised, and India’s response would not be disproportionate. “We will uphold the ceasefire, but we will not be passive when fired at,” he said.

“It was a gruesome and unpardonable act. This act defied all logic. This is against the rules of soldiering,” said Gen Singh, admitting that there had been another such incident in 2011 when two soldiers from the Rajput regiment were reportedly beheaded in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Army chief denied any attempt to conceal these incidents, saying details had been shared by the Army with the defence ministry.

Gen Singh said the Indian Army had intelligence inputs that Pakistan’s elite commandos, the Special Service Group, was also involved in the cross border raid.

On the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir where the state government wants to revoke it in some areas of the state, Gen Singh was against any decision to dilute it.

“I am of the view that we should not dilute provisions of the AFSPA. Terrorists are afraid of this because this gives us powers to carry out operations against inimical elements and enemies of the state who defy the rule of law. Any decision to revoke from any part where it is applicable must be taken after consideration of all facts and inputs from all security agencies that are deployed,” he said.

On demilitarisation of Siachen Glacier area, he said, “It is strategically important for us and it is an area that belongs to us and we have to hold it”. He felt that in the backdrop of the “trust deficit” existing with Pakistan, there cannot be demilitarisation. He said any decision on demilitarisation has to be “very conscious, deliberate and pragmatic and not lose out the strategic gains that we have made. We have shed a lot of blood in trying to gain that advantage and let us value that”.

On the recent incident at the residence of former Army chief General V K Singh where an Army signals man was apprehended for allegedly trying to dismantle the telephone exchange, Gen Bikram Singh said, “We have already apologised to him and there was no device placed at his residence. We respect all our ex-servicemen. On coming to know of it, I immediately deputed the GOC-in-C of Delhi Area to meet and apologise to him.”

On the family of Lance Naik Hemraj apparently wanting the Army chief to visit them, Gen Singh said “I will go to meet them. It is my bounden duty as head of the family. Let Army Day be over and I would go definitely.”

http://www.asianewsnet.net/Indian-army-chief-warns-of-reprisal-41418.html

Indian, Pak troops trade gunfire afresh

News Desk

The Statesman

Publication Date : 13-01-2013

 

Indian Air Force chief says India may have to look at “some other options for compliance” if the ceasefire violations by Pakistan continue

 

Indian and Pakistan troops yesterday night traded gunfire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector after the movement of suspected infiltrators was detected, in a fresh escalation of tension after a lull of 48 hours.
Indian defence spokesman said in Jammu that Indian troops opened fire after movement of some six or seven persons was detected close to the LoC opposite Krishagati sub-sector in Poonch sector at around 9:45pm. Thereafter, a heavy exchange of fire took place.
Earlier yesterday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, said India may have to look at “some other options for compliance” if the ceasefire violations by Pakistan continue.
“We have a Line Of Control, we have a ceasefire agreement, we have certain mechanisms, we have certain structures, and that is sacrosanct and any violation of these… with impunity, especially what’s been happening in the last few months, is totally unacceptable… if these things continue the way they are and the violations continue to take place then perhaps we may have to look at some other options for compliance,” the IAF chief told reporters.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said the government will not buckle to “wild calls for revenge” over the killing and beheading of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops while Minister of State for information and broadcasting Manish Tewari said the Centre is doing everything at the strategic level to express its anger over the incident.

http://www.asianewsnet.net/Indian-Pak-troops-trade-gunfire-afresh-41341.html

Indian soldier ‘mutilated in Pakistan attack’

08    Jan     2013
SRINAGAR, India (AFP)

Two Indian soldiers were killed in a firefight with Pakistani troops near their disputed border in Kashmir on Tuesday and one of the bodies was badly mutilated, an army spokesman said.

Spokesman Rajesh Kalia told AFP that Pakistani troops had intruded into Indian territory before the clash began.

An Indian ground patrol “saw something suspicious and then there was a firefight with Pakistani troops”, Kalia said by phone of the incident around noon (0630 GMT).

An Indian soldier looks through a spotting scope at a military camp in Gurez on August 20, 2011. Pakistani troops have killed two Indian soldiers near the tense disputed border in Kashmir, two Indian military sources said, two days after Islamabad said one of its soldiers was killed there.

“We lost two soldiers and one of them has been badly mutilated,” he added, declining to give more details.

“The (Pakistani) intruders were regular soldiers and they were 400-500 metres (1,300-1,600 feet) inside our territory,” Kalia said.

http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/indian-soldier-mutilated-pakistan-attack

 

Indian troops raid Pakistani military post, killing one – Pakistani army

Sun, 6 Jan 2013 06:48 GMT

Source: reuters

 

By Mubasher Bukhari

ISLAMABAD, Jan 6 (Reuters) – Indian troops raided a Pakistani military post on Sunday, killing one soldier and injuring another, the Pakistani military said, an incident that could heighten tensions between the neighbouring nuclear powers after a period of rapprochement.

The Pakistani army repulsed the attack on the Sawan Patra checkpost in Kashmir, an army spokesman said in a statement.

The two sides then exchanged fire across the Line of Control, an internationally recognised line in the disputed Kashmir region patrolled by troops from both countries.

The Indian defence ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Attacks across the Line of Control are not uncommon. The two sides sporadically exchange fire, though far less frequently than they used to.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, when they became independent from Britain. The two countries share many similarities in language and culture, though most of Pakistan’s citizens are Muslim and most of India’s Hindu. Both countries claim Kashmir as their own.

Kashmir, and the human rights abuses committed there by Indian troops, is a politically explosive issue in Pakistan. Pakistani security forces have long trained militant groups to attack Indian soldiers.

The two countries fought their most recent war in 1999, when Pakistani troops crossed the Line of Control and occupied Indian territory in Kargil, but were forced to withdraw.

After a period of quiet, relations between the two countries nosedived again in 2008, when a militant squad rampaged through the Indian city of Mumbai, killing 166 people. India accused Pakistan of sheltering the masterminds behind the attack, charges that Pakistan denies.

The two countries have been slowly repairing relations in recent months. In November, India executed a Pakistani man who was the last surviving perpetrator of the Mumbai attack.

Last month the two countries signed a deal designed to ease visa restrictions for some citizens to travel between the two countries.

Tension between the two countries has also spilled over into nearby Afghanistan, which borders Pakistan. India offers military and economic aid there, but many Pakistanis fear this is an attempt to lessen Pakistan’s influence.

The United States has repeatedly urged Pakistan to move against al-Qaeda and militant havens along its Afghan border. Pakistan says it does not have enough troops because so many of them are patrolling the border with India.

Some U.S. officials also believe Pakistan is unwilling to move against the militants because some elements in Pakistan’s security forces would prefer to be able to use the militants to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan after most foreign combat troops have pulled out by the end of 2014.  (Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/indian-troops-raid-pakistani-military-post-killing-one-pakistani-army/

 

10,000 Indian government and military emails hacked

State-sponsored snoopers suspected of large scale incursion

By Phil Muncaster

Posted in Security, 21st December 2012 05:14 GMT

Free whitepaper – Why RAID is Dead for Big Data Storage

India’s government and military have suffered one of the worst cyber attacks in the nation’s history, after over 10,000 email accounts belonging to top officials were compromised, despite a warning from the country’s cyber security agency.

The attack came on 12 July, four days after the government was warned by the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC), part of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), that some sophisticated malware was spotted targeting specific individuals and organisations.

News of the attack was revealed at a day-long NCIIPC meeting in New Delhi this week, according to the Indian Express [1].

Email addresses belonging to officials working at the Prime Minister’s Office, defence, home, finance and external affairs ministries and intelligence agencies were nabbed in the attack, which has been blamed on state actors.

“The Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs took the biggest hit, plus strategic information related to critical sectors, including troop deployment, was compromised,” an NTRO official told the Express.

“Paramilitary forces were also badly hit, especially the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), as deployments were revealed. There were serious cases of negligence, the involvement of insiders, if any, is also being checked.”

India’s most prolific foe in cyber space is thought to be Pakistan, but the frequent skirmishes between the two tend to involve web site defacements and the occasional DDoS attack from various hacktivist groups.

Back in March, minister for communications and IT, Sachin Pilot, revealed that over 100 government sites had been compromised in this manner between December 2011 and February 2012, while the India CERT said there were 834 defacements of .in sites in January alone.

However, the attack in July appears to have been more co-ordinated and carried out with the aim of obtaining specific information.

The NTRO was tight-lipped on the source of the attack.

“We would not like to name the state actors but D4 — destroy, disrupt, deny and degrade — process was initiated and counter offensive launched,” the NTRO official told the Express.

Back in June reports emerged that India’s National Security Council was finalising plans to give the NTRO and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) the power to carry out unspecified offensive operations if necessary. ®

Indian navy prepared to deploy to South China Sea to protect oil interests: Asian giants could be on a collision course

India has sparred diplomatically with China in the past over its gas and oil exploration. -AFP

Mon, Dec 03, 2012         AFP

NEW DELHI – The Indian navy is prepared to deploy vessels to the South China Sea to protect India’s oil interests there, the navy chief said on Monday amid growing international fears over the potential for naval clashes in the disputed region.

India has sparred diplomatically with China in the past over its gas and oil exploration block off the coast of Vietnam. China claims virtually the entire mineral-rich South China Sea and has stepped up its military presence there. Other nations such as Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia have competing claims.

Indian state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has a stake in a gas field in the Nam Con Son basin, off Vietnam’s south coast.

Indian Navy Chief Admiral D.K Joshi said while India was not a claimant in the dispute over territorial rights in the South China Sea, it was prepared to act, if necessary, to protect its maritime and economic interests in the region.

“When the requirement is there, for example, in situations where our country’s interests are involved, for example ONGC … we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that,”Joshi told a news conference.

“Now, are we preparing for it? Are we having exercises of that nature? The short answer is yes,” he said.

He described the modernisation of China’s navy as “truly impressive” and acknowledged that it was a source of major concern for India.

Any display of naval assertiveness by India in the South China Sea would likely fuel concern that the navies of the two rapidly growing Asian giants could be on a collision course as they seek to protect trade routes and lock in the supply of coal, minerals and other raw material from foreign sources.

“It is one of the most important international waterways and freedom of navigation there is an issue of utmost concern to India because a large portion of India’s trade is through the South China Sea,” said Brahma Chellaney, analyst at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

Chellaney, however, played down Joshi’s comments, saying the Indian navy’s focus would remain on the Indian Ocean, which the Asian nation views as its strategic backyard.

NEW RULES

In September 2011, an Indian warship sailing in the South China Sea to the Vietnamese port of Haiphong was challenged when a caller identifying himself as an official of the Chinese navy warned the ship on an open radio channel that it was entering Chinese waters.

Nothing happened, the ship sailed on, and both India and China have since played down the incident, with New Delhi saying the vessel was well within international waters in the South China Sea and that there was no confrontation.

China’s neighbours are fretting about a recent Chinese media report on new rules that will allow police in the southern Chinese province of Hainan to board and seize control of foreign ships which “illegally enter” its waters from Jan. 1.

The Philippines on Saturday condemned the Chinese plan as illegal and Singapore, home to the world’s second-busiest container port, said on Monday it was concerned.

Asked about the report of China’s plan to board ships, Joshi said India had the right to self-defence.

Estimates for proven and undiscovered oil reserves in the South China Sea range as high as 213 billion barrels of oil, the US Energy Information Administration said in a 2008 report. That would surpass every country’s proven oil reserves except Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, according to the BP Statistical Review.

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20121203-387407.html

India’s poster boy for vegetarianism – he’s just fathered a child at 96

Andrew Buncombe

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The world’s oldest father has been recruited by activists in India who maintain lifelong vegetarians retain their “vigour” better than others.

Ramajit Raghav, who shot to celebrity two years ago at the age of 94 when he first became a father, features in a new campaign by for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) India.

A photograph of Mr Raghav, who recently fathered his second child, Ranjit, at the age of 96, shows him cradling the baby with the headline “Vegetarians Still Got It at Age 96”.

“I have been a vegetarian all my life, and I credit my stamina and virility to my diet,” said the elderly father from the state of Haryana. “Being a vegetarian is the secret to my strength and good health.”

Peta claims living a vegetarian life makes perfect sense and that India is increasingly seeing problems associated with heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which it says are associated with a meat-eating diet.

“And since each vegetarian saves the lives of more than 100 animals a year, their consciences are lighter, too,” it said. “Viagra and other anti-impotence drugs may get you through the night, but a vegetarian diet can get you through your life. Numerous physicians agree that the best way to prevent artery blockage and other conditions that cause impotence is to eat a diet high in fibre, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

When he was interviewed last month by The Times of India, Mr Raghav revealed he had been a bachelor until meeting his wife, Shakuntala Devi, ten years ago.

He has been a strict vegetarian and has never drank alcohol. Instead, his diet is made up of fresh milk, clarified butter, vegetables and chapattis.

“I wake up at five in the morning and go to bed before 8pm. During the day, I work in the fields and also take an afternoon nap,” he said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indias-poster-boy-for-vegetarianism–hes-just-fathered-a-child-at-96-8360464.html#

India and China row over new map in passport – Claims part of India plus disputed areas of the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan

A fresh row has broken out between India and China over territorial claims in the north-eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin area in eastern Kashmir.

In new passports, China’s maps show the two areas as Chinese territory.

The Indian embassy in Beijing is said to have retaliated by stamping Chinese visas with a map of their own which shows the territories in India.

Several of China’s neighbours have also protested against the new map.

Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan have all objected because it shows disputed islands in the South China Sea and Taiwan to be a part of China.

They have described the new design as a violation of their sovereignty.

Chinese official maps have long shown Taiwan and the South China Sea to be part of its own territory, but the inclusion of such claims on the passport has caused considerable anger.

The potentially oil-rich Paracel Islands, claimed by Vietnam since their troops were forced to leave by China in the 1970s and also claimed by Taiwan, make an appearance on the map, as do the Spratly Islands, part of which are claimed by the Philippines.

The disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands, at the centre of recent tension between China and Japan are not included in the new document.

Relations between India and China have been uneasy – the two countries dispute several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962.

Delhi is yet to officially take up the row over the map with Beijing.

(BBC News)

Wal-Mart India unit suspends CFO, others pending bribery probe

Posted 2012/11/22 at 11:41 pm EST

MUMBAI, Nov. 22, 2012 (Reuters) — The Indian joint venture of Wal-Mart Stores Inc <wmt.n> has suspended its chief financial officer and other employees as it investigates alleged violations of U.S. anti-bribery laws, a development that could hamper India’s efforts to open its domestic supermarket sector to foreign investment.

Two-wheelers move past the newly opened Bharti Wal-Mart Best Price Modern wholesale store in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad September 26, 2012. Picture taken September 26, 2012. REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said last week it has opened internal inquiries or investigations into bribery allegations in Brazil, China and India, which follows an earlier probe in Mexico.

“The suspension is a routine global practice followed in such investigations,” an official at the Indian unit said, declining to be named. “We cannot carry out a fair investigation when the people we are investigating are in office. What we must not forget is they are innocent until proven guilty,” the person said.

Separately, a spokeswoman for the joint venture confirmed the suspensions and said the venture was “committed to conducting a complete and thorough investigation.” Wal-Mart’s partner in the venture is Bharti Enterprises.

Indian authorities are also investigating claims that Wal-Mart violated foreign exchange rules when it invested $100 million in a domestic unit owned by its wholesale joint-venture partner.

Indian opposition parties and allies within the Congress party-led coalition government in New Delhi are opposed to allowing global giants like Wal-Mart into the retail sector, saying to do so would drive small traders out of business.

After several delays, the government in September finally allowed foreign direct investment in the sector to revive stalled reforms and help halt a slide in economic growth.

On Thursday, when the Indian parliament opened for its winter session, opposition politicians demanded a debate and vote on the policy decision and have threatened to halt parliamentary proceedings.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Writing by Ranjit Gangadharan; Editing by Matt Driskill)

http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre8am02m-us-walmart-india-probe/

Bitter melon extract attacks breast cancer cells

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Nancy Solomon
solomonn@slu.edu
314-977-8017
Saint Louis University

Early Saint Louis University research points to promising area of research

IMAGE:Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Saint Louis University, found bitter melon extract inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells.

Click here for more information. 

ST. LOUIS — The extract from a vegetable that is common in India and China shows promise in triggering a chain of events that kills breast cancer cells and prevents them from multiplying, a Saint Louis University researcher has found.

Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis University and lead researcher, said she was surprised that the extract from the bitter melon she cooks in stir fries inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells.

“To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the effect of bitter melon extract on cancer cells,” Ray said. “Our result was encouraging. We have shown that bitter melon extract significantly induced death in breast cancer cells and decreased their growth and spread.”

Ray said she decided to study the impact of bitter melon extract on breast cancer cells because research by others have shown the substance lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Bitter melon extract is commonly used as a folk medicine to treat diabetes in China and India, she said.

Ray conducted her research using human breast cancer cells in vitro – or in a controlled lab setting. The next step, she says, is to test bitter melon extract in an animal model to see if it plays a role in delaying the growth or killing of breast cancer cells. If those results are positive, human trials could follow.

While it’s too early to know for sure whether bitter melon extract will help breast cancer patients, the question is worth studying, Ray said.

“There have been significant advances in breast cancer treatment, which have improved patient survival and quality of life. However women continue to die of the disease and new treatment strategies are essential,” Ray said.

“Cancer prevention by the use of naturally occurring dietary substances is considered a practical approach to reduce the ever-increasing incidence of cancer. Studying a high risk breast cancer population where bitter melon is taken as a dietary product will be an important area of future research,” Ray said.

She cautioned against seeing bitter melon extract as a miracle cure for breast cancer.

“Bitter melon is common in China and India, and women there still get breast cancer,” Ray said.

 

###

The research was published in the March 1 edition of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, infectious disease, liver disease, aging and brain disease and heart/lung disease

British officials will continue to provide up to £30 million worth of expert advice to India every year, even after aid to the country is cut.

UK will still send £30m of ‘expertise’ to India after aid cuts

India aid - Indian children stand in a queue for relief food in Cuddalore some 185 kms south of Madras, 30 December 2004

Existing schemes that have already been agreed will continue until the last of them concludes in 2015, when all UK financial aid to India will cease Photo: AFP

<!– remove the whitespace added by escenic before end of tag –>

By , Political Correspondent

1:51PM GMT 09 Nov 2012

Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, told MPs that no new financial aid programmes would be agreed for India, with immediate effect.

Existing grants that have already been signed off will continue until the last expires in 2015, when all UK financial aid to the country will cease, she said.

However, officials confirmed that Britain will continue to provide an estimated £30 million of “technical assistance” to India after the financial aid dries. The government said this was a recognition of India’s “successful transition” to a major global economic power.

Miss Greening’s decision follows a visit to India for talks on future aid arrangements this week.

Officials said she was told that the Indian government valued Britain’s “technical assistance” far more than the grants that currently comprise the bulk of the UK’s £280 million annual aid programme to the country.

In February this year, Pranab Mukherjee, then India’s finance minister and now the country’s president, suggested Britain’s aid programme represented “a peanut in our total development expenditure”.

Miss Greening said it was time for Britain and India “to move to a relationship focussing on skills-sharing rather than aid”.

“Having visited India I have seen first hand the tremendous progress being made. India is successfully developing and our own bilateral relationship has to keep up.

“It is of course critical that we fulfil all the commitments we have already made and that we continue with those short-term projects already underway which are an important part of the UK and Government of India’s development programme.”

The UK’s overall financial contribution to India since the Coalition took office is expected to total more than £1 billion.

After 2015, the contribution of Britain’s technical expertise to development programmes in India will cost an estimated £30 million, about one tenth of the current aid budget to the country.

New programmes will focus on sharing British expertise in areas such as growth and trade, skills training and healthcare. Private sector projects will also be encouraged with British help, in an effort to benefit India’s poor and generate a profit at the same time.

As existing grants are phased out, the government expects to save around £200 million over the next three years.

In recent years, India has emerged as a major economic power and now has its own space programme as well as an international development scheme providing £328 million a year to other countries.

Miss Greening’s announcement is likely to be seen as a sign that Britain intends to cut aid to wealthier nations, including those that are preparing to enter the EU, and focus instead on the poorest countries.

She told the Conservative conference last month: “We should recognise that as countries get richer, we need to be responsible about how we transition in our relationship with them from aid to trade.”

Some Tories want David Cameron to abandon the promise to spent 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid, an amount that will reach £12.6 billion by 2014.

This commitment will not be affected by the announcement on India and officials said money saved was likely to be spent on aid to poorer parts of the world.

Gerald Howarth, the Conservative MP for Aldershot and a former defence minister, welcomed the cuts and said he would like the overall development budget to be reduced. “I welcome this as a first step in hopefully ultimately reducing the overseas aid budget,” he said.

Robert Oxley, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told BBC News that ministers should stop aid to India sooner.

“The Government has been roundly criticised for continuing to send money to India. It’s been £280m and let’s not kid ourselves, that budget isn’t stopping now. It will continue on till 2015,” he said.

“This is also only a bit of spin. Ministers have been saying they were going to undo this programme for quite a while.”

He suggsted India did not need of British aid. “It’s got space programmes, it’s got quite a significant defence force and it is the largest democracy in the world and so this isn’t about Britain abandoning its commitments but saying there is a limited pot of money, where’s it going to go?”

However, charities criticised the decision. Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, Phil Bloomer, said: “We’re concerned that completely withdrawing British aid to India by 2015 is too hasty. It’s crucial that we don’t cut off money which gives a lifeline to poor families, and a third of the world’s poorest people live in India.

“The scale of the challenge remains huge, as 250 million Indian citizens go to bed hungry tonight.”

Indian wardens bang drums to halt peeing in public

Tuesday, Nov 06, 2012 AFP

NEW DELHI – Volunteers in India armed with drums and whistles are to lead a crackdown on going to the toilet in public under a new scheme in the western state of Rajasthan, a report said Monday.

“We are constructing public toilets… and people will be encouraged to use them,” Ramniwas Jat, head of the state’s Jhunjhunu district council, told the Times of India.

“We want to raise awareness against the practice of urinating in public, which gave birth to the idea of beating drums and blowing whistles.”

The Times said that volunteers, who will be paid a small wage, would embarrass people caught urinating or defecating by standing behind them and letting loose a barrage of noise.

Guilty parties would also have their names read out on public address systems.

Defecating in the open is a serious social issue in India, touching on health, hygiene, women’s rights and the clash between traditional and modern lifestyles.

Women often refuse to go to the toilet outdoors during daylight hours to preserve their modesty, so they must go before dawn or wait many hours before it is dark again.

Walking barefoot where villagers defecate every day also spreads diseases such as tapeworm, and many children play close to outdoor latrine areas.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh recently encouraged future brides to check their new family’s home to ensure it had an indoor toilet before accepting any marriage proposal.

Earlier this year he said India should be ashamed that nearly 60 per cent of all people in the world who defecate in the open were in India.

 

http://www.yourhealth.com.sg/content/indian-wardens-bang-drums-halt-peeing-public

Units of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) have reported Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOS) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian soldiers spooked after UFOs fly over

Monday, 05 November 2012

Units of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) have reported Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOS) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

An ITBP unit based in Thakung, close to the Pangong Tso Lake, reported over 100 sightings of luminous objects between August 1 and October 15 this year.

In reports sent to their Delhi headquarters in September, and to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), they described sighting “Unidentified Luminous Objects” at day and by night.

The yellowish spheres appear to lift off from the horizon on the Chinese side and slowly traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing.

These were not unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), drones or even low earth-orbiting satellites, say Army officials who have studied the hazy photographs taken by ITBP.

Three of these drones intruded into territory claimed by India along the 365-km-long border with China in Ladakh, manned by ITBP.

Such mysterious lights have been sighted before in Ladakh, a barren, 86,000 sq km heavily militarised zone wedged between Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Chinese-occupied Aksai Chin.

The persistent sightings by the ITBP this year, however, worried the Army’s Leh-based 14 Corps. The ITBP, did not respond to a detailed India Today questionnaire.

http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/22142/53/

World’s lowest paid workers: Indian cleaners get just £64 after 40 YEARS of scrubbing toilets without a day off (and they’ve never had a pay rise!)

  • Two women have applied to  the Guinness World Records for the lowest salary in the  world

By Kerry Mcqueeney

PUBLISHED:11:24 EST, 22  October 2012| UPDATED:12:59 EST, 22 October 2012

 

 

For more than 40 years they’ve toiled away,  meticulously scrubbing and cleaning toilets in southern India

However, astonishingly, two dedicated  cleaners in India have only £64 EACH to show for their four decades of working  their fingers to the bone.

Akku and Leela Sherigar have earned an  average of 180 rupees – or £2 – a year. And for the last 11 years the have  worked for free following a dispute with their employer.

Record breakers? Akku and Leela Sherigar, both 59, have applied to the Guinness World Records for the lowest salary ever paid 

Record breakers? Akku and Leela Sherigar, both 59, have  applied to the Guinness World Records for the lowest salary ever paid

 

 

The two women, both aged 59, started working  as toilet cleaners for the Government’s Women Teacher’s  Training Institute, in  South India, in 1971, for 15 Rupees (18p) a month as fresh-faced  18-year-olds.

But they’ve not had a pay rise ever since,  even though they have never missed a day’s work.

Even though they are angry, they’ve  now  applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for the title of the  lowest  salary in the world.

Akku said: ‘We were promised a pay rise every  year but it never came. We trusted our employers that eventually they’d pay us.  We never believed it’d come to this.

Dedicated: The two women started working as toilet cleaners in South India, in 1971, for 15 Rupees (18p) a month 

Dedicated: The two women started working as toilet  cleaners in South India, in 1971, for 15 Rupees (18p) a month

‘We take pride in our work; we couldn’t give  it up. We have always hoped that we would get what we were promised.’

In 2001, they finally had enough and  complained to the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, in Udupi, near Goa, in  southwest India.

Then, their wages stopped altogether with no  mention of any reimbursement.

But the dedicated women still went into work  cleaning 21 toilets, three times a day, seven days a week.

And for the last 11 years, they have worked  for free.

Ravindranath Shanbhag, president of the Human  Rights Protection Foundation, in Udupi, has been helping the women take their  case to the Supreme Court of India.

However, even though the Karnataka  Administrative Tribunal ordered the government to pay out, in 2003, nothing was  given to the women.

And even after the same decision from the  High Court of Karnataka, in 2004, and the Supreme Court, in 2010, concluded the  government should pay out, they are yet to do so.

With the help of the Indian press and local  support Akku and Leela are now praying they’ll get what they’re deserved, plus  interest, before they can happily retire next year.

‘All we want is what is due to us, what our  hard work through the past 42 years deserves,’ Akku added.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2221444/Indian-cleaners-earned-just-64-40-YEARS-scrubbing-toilets-day-off.html#ixzz2A4RhNOdk Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Should we decide which breed of humans to create?

  • by: JULIAN SAVULESCU
  • From:         News  Limited Network
  • October 09,  201212:58PM

Foetus

Does chance need a helping hand  when it comes to our children?  Source: Supplied

Today it is possible to create designer babies – either by testing embryos,  using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or fetuses, using prenatal testing.

Legislation and National Health and  Medical Research guidelines  restrict the use of these techniques to testing for  the presence of  diseases.

Sex selection and testing for non-disease characteristics, like   intelligence, empathy, altruism, etc. are not allowed. That is, testing  for  diseases and disorders is ok; creating designer babies is not.

The targets of the Nazi and  other eugenic programs, widely employed at the  time in the United States  and Europe, were people with intellectual disability,  the poor and  criminals.

The Nazis would have fully approved of the current system of  eugenics, which  focuses on diseases, including genetic disorders which  cause intellectual  disability like Down Syndrome and Fragile X syndrome.

One disability activist once said to me, “When you say it is ok to  abort a  baby or an embryo with a disability, but not ok to abort a  ‘normal baby’, you  are saying that lives with disability are less  deserving of respect, or have  lower moral status. When you allow  abortion for disability, but not for sex  selection, you are saying that  people with disability have less of a right to  life.”

There is some truth to this. If either the embryo or the fetus has a  moral  status – then it would be wrong to kill either, whether or not a  disability is  present. If the embryo or fetus does not have a moral  status, it should be  permissible to destroy an embryo or abort a fetus  for any reason.

In this way, paradoxically, allowing testing for diseases, but not for other  genes, is eugenic in objectionable ways.

Testing for some characteristic, like intelligence or sex, is  sometimes said  to send a message that people who lack that  characteristic have lives which are  less valuable, of lower status, or  less deserving of respect. Selecting for a  male sends the message that  females are less valuable.

But we should treat all people equally, regardless of race, sex or   disability. So genetic testing is seen to send the wrong message about  the  equality of people.

However, the same is sometimes said about testing for disease.  Testing for  cystic fibrosis or Down syndrome is said to send the message  that such lives  are less valuable, that those people are of lower  status.

This is deeply mistaken. To say that a disease is bad is not to say  that a  person with that disease is less equal or bad in some way. The  problem is some  people identify with their disease, disorder or some  other characteristic about  themselves, like sex.

But we are all individual people, deserving of equal respect,  regardless of  features about ourselves. To say that X is bad, or not  desired by me, is not  say that John or Julie with X has few rights.  Selecting embryos for certain  characteristics or treating diseases are  both entirely independent of the  equality of persons.

The last common objection to creating designer babies is that it will  have  bad social effects. This is easiest to see in the case of sex  selection, where  sex selection has seriously disturbed the sex ratio in  parts of India and  China.

I personally think that social reasons can provide a justification  for  interfering in liberty of reproduction. Massive overpopulation would  be a  reason to restrict fertility. People should not be having ten  children today,  as they did in the past.

But it is important to recognize that this is one of the objections  that  were laid at the door of the Nazi eugenics program: that it tried  to use  restrictions on reproduction (and killing) to bring about a  certain race (the  Aryan race).

To place restrictions on the freedom of reproduction for social  purposes  requires that we really be aiming at some uncontroversially  good social purpose  (not the Aryan race), that the restriction is  necessary to achieve that  purpose, and that there is no less  liberty-restricting policy that could  achieve that purpose.

Bans on the use of genetic testing for non-disease states fail this  test.  Consider two examples. There is no reason that a total ban on sex  selection is  necessary in Australia to maintain a roughly even sex  ratio. The sex ratio  could be monitored, sex selection could be allowed  only for females or only for  family balancing (having a child of the  opposite sex to existing children). All  three of these policies would  preserve the sex ratio, while allowing sex  selection.

Or consider more controversially, future tests for intelligence,  empathy,  etc. One of the major objections to this is that diversity is  necessary for  social functioning. We need a spread of intelligence, the  argument goes, to  fill all jobs. Or we need a certain number of  psychopaths in the population  (though I never really understood for what  – ruining companies?)

These are incredibly controversial claims and a poor basis for restricting  the liberty of people to access genetic tests.

Regulation of genetic testing to bring about social goals is  controversial  and can, in a limited number of circumstances, be  justified. But it should only  rarely constrain the liberty of couples to  access the widest range of tests and  knowledge in making decisions  about reproduction.

The current restrictions on genetic testing, allowing embryos to be  tested  only for the purpose of detecting diseases, are  liberty-restricting,  objectionably eugenic and immoral.

Paradoxically, Australia is much closer to Nazi eugenics by only  allowing  testing of embryos for diseases than it would be if it lifted  the ban on tests  for non-disease characteristics, like sex,  intelligence, empathy, altruism and  so on.

Should we decide what breed of humans to create? Some people believe  that  children are a gift, of God or Nature, and that we should not  interfere in  human nature.

Most people implicitly reject this view – we already routinely screen   embryos and fetuses for diseases. In the case of genetic selection, the   children who come to exist as a result of selection could have been  chosen by  chance.

And they have a reason to be grateful insofar as their lives are  good. We  should use the emerging knowledge from genetics to have not  just healthier  children, but children with better genes. We should give  chance a helping  hand.

Julian Savulescu is Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting  Professor  at Monash University and Chair in Practical Ethics at  University of Oxford. He will appear on SBS’s Insight program tonight, 8.30pm on  SBS ONE.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/news/should-we-decide-which-breed-of-humans-to-create/story-fnepjsb4-1226492003389#ixzz28wE3l8IU