30 September 2016
How 25 Indian commandos crawled through enemy territory to kill 38 terrorists in PoK
New Delhi: 30 september
After years of terror strikes supported by Pakistan, the Indian Army has hit back with a textbook surgical strike that killed 38 terrorists, 2 Pakistani soldiers, and destroyed five terror camps.
Few hours after the surgical strikes in PoK, Pakistan government has released the photographs of 2 dead soldiers. They have been identified as Havildar Jumma Khan and Naik Imtiaz.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army has issued a statement, saying one soldier from 37 RR with weapons inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the LoC. It has denied reports of any Indian casualties.
India Today has got exclusive details of the inside story behind the surgical strikes.
Opinion: Indian Army's surgical strikes should make Pakistan think twice before trying another Uri
It was around midnight, when the Army's Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters with 25 commandos from 4-Para and 9-para crossed the LoC into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The helicopters dropped the commandos at earmarked spots and returned. They were now in enemy territory.
HOW THEY REACHED THE TARGET
The Army commandos crawled through mud, rocks and even landmines for about 3 kilometres with the threat of being caught in the Pakistan army's crosshairs. Their destinations included five launch pads where large number of terrorists had gathered.
The launch pads were for terrorists waiting to infiltrate into the Indian side of the LoC to carry out terror attacks in the country. The terror launch pads were located in Bhimbar, Kel, Tattapani and Leepa areas.
The launch pads were under close surveillance of the Indian intelligence agencies. RAW and Military Intelligence had kept an eye on every single movement of terrorists in the target zone.
THE SURGICAL STRIKE
The surgical strike team had six targets on mind, three of which were completely destroyed during the operation. Commandos were equipped with Tavor and M-4 guns, grenades and smoke grenades. They also carried under barrel grenade launchers (UBGL) and night-vision devices. They wore camera-mounted helmets.
After reaching the target spot, the commandos used the element of surprise to mount rapid and deadly attacks on the enemy. With the terrorists taken by surprise, the crack troops added to the chaos by firing a flurry of smoke grenades into the terror camps.
Their actions were so precise and quick that by the time terrorists and Pakistani army personnel realized what was happening, 38 terrorists had been killed. Two Pakistani army personnel were also killed in the action.
Two para commandos of the strike team received injuries during the mission from landmines.
Meanwhile in Delhi, in a scene similar to the US mission to take out Osama bin Laden, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag monitored the entire operation in real time, receiving footage from the helmet cameras as well as a drone.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being regularly briefed about the progress of the operation.
Parrikar congratulated the Army for its successful operation. He said that Army had "credible information about the presence of terrorists in the area and we carried out surgical attacks on those camps." PoK is part of India, Parrikar added.
In an important diplomatic move, Doval spoke to his American counterpart Susan Rice and took her into confidence about the cross-border operation.
A DINNER SKIPPED AND A WAR ROOM MEETING
The operation that began at 12.30 am past midnight ended at around 4.30 am on Thursday. Army headquarters in Delhi had finished its preparation for the operation by 8 pm on Wednesday night.
On Wednesday, in fact, there was a dinner at the Coastguard Commander Conference in New Delhi. Besides Parrikar, Doval and General Suhag were expected to attend the dinner party.
However, the three skipped the dinner and held a war-room meeting at Army headquarters, where they reviewed the plan for the surgical operation and gave their final approval.
Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag said that the army had done what it said by "giving a befitting reply at the place and time of its own choice".
VIGILANT AFTER STRIKE
After paying back Pakistan in the same coin, the Indian Army's morale is high but it has also stepped up vigil along the LoC and the border in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Punjab.
All the three armed forces and paramilitary forces have been put on the highest alert. The leaves of Army and BSF personnel have been cancelled.
Areas adjacent to border and LoC in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are being evacuated. Additional deployment of BSF personnel is also being made. There is a high alert from Gujarat to Kashmir along the border and LoC. Coast Guard has been asked to be extra vigilant.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Army on successful counter terrorism operations.
Meanwhile, the UN has asked India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and encouraged them to continue their effort to resolve their differences peacefully and through dialogue.
"We are obviously following the situation with great concern concerning the increase of tensions across the Line of Control," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
US Security Advisor Calls Ajit Doval, Says 'Expect Pak To Act Against Terror'
WASHINGTON: 29 september
In strong words acknowledging the 'danger of cross-border terror', US National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Wednesday told her Indian counterpart Ajit Doval that the White House expects Pakistan to take "effective action to combat and delegitimise" UN-designated terrorist groups.
"Highlighting the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region, Ambassador Rice reiterated our expectation that Pakistan take effective action to combat and delegitimise United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, and their affiliates," Ned Price, the spokesperson of National Security Council, said in a statement.
Ms Rice, speaking to Mr Doval on the phone, strongly condemned the September 18 terror attack on an army base in Jammu and Kashmir's Uri by terrorists who crossed over from Pakistan.
The top US security official affirmed President Obama's commitment to "redouble our efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism throughout the world," Mr Price said.
"Ambassador Rice discussed our shared commitment with India to pursue regional peace and stability and pledged to deepen collaboration on counter-terrorism matters including on UN terrorist designations," Mr Price added.
India has set in motion a series of steps to penalize Pakistan for the attack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to pull out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad was followed by three more nations boycotting the event and Nepal - which is to chair the summit - urging a "conducive environment that will ensure the participation of all".
PM Modi has also assessed the Indus Waters Treaty and will today discuss with top officials whether to downgrade Pakistan as a trading partner.
Chennai: Woman doctor narrowly escapes sexual assault by Ola driver
Chennai: 27 september
A woman doctor luckily and narrowly escaped a sexual assault attempt by an Ola cab driver at Neelangarai in south Chennai late on Sunday.
The doctor, who lived in Injambakkam in south Chennai, used to regularly commute by cabs to a private hospital at Ambattur in north Chennai.
But this time when she took a cab, it proved to be a nightmare.
She hired an Ola cab and left for work as she had a night shift on Sunday.
The driver took the ECR road and being a weekend, the traffic was significantly less. As the cab was crossing VGP Peace Temple in south Chennai, the driver stopped the car unexpectedly.
Before the woman could react, two men opened the back doors and forced themselves inside, on either side of the woman.
When she asked the driver who they were, the Ola driver said that they were his friends and they would get down on the way.
Fearing something was wrong, the doctor messaged her friend and asked the driver to pull over the vehicle. But the driver denied and the men began to assault her.
The woman began yelling and the driver started driving faster.
Hearing the doctor's cry for help and watching the speeding car, a man who was behind the cab chased the cab and blocked its way.
As the crowd started gathering, the two men who were seated behind ran away, but the cab driver was caught.
The police was informed and upon enquiry, they found that the driver was 23-year-old Marudhu. During police investigation, he revealed the identity of the two men. All three were detained and are being interrogated at a private place.
People commuting through ECR complain that there is only one police check post in the entire stretch, making it easier for anti-social elements to operate.
The recent events in Chennai have put the city in bad light and have raised security concerns among women.
Day Not Far When People of Pakistan Will Battle Their Rulers: Prime Minister Modi
Kozhikode (Kerala):25 September: Making a direct appeal to the people of Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said he wanted to talk to them, and added the day is not far off when the Pakistani people will wage a battle against their rulers and against terrorism.
In his first public speech since the Uri terror attack in which 18 soldiers were killed, Modi hit out at the "rulers" of Pakistan for "exporting terror" to the world and said he wanted to talk directly to the people of the neighbouring country.
Modi spoke firmly in his speech at the public rally here during the BJP national council meeting and made it clear that the sacrifice of lives of soldiers during the Uri incident will not go waste.
In a dig at the speech of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the United Nations General Assembly, Modi said "the world has no hope from leaders" who read speeches written by patrons of terrorism - referring to Rawalpindi - the Pakistan army headquarters which is widely believed to have written the script.
"But today I want to speak to people of Pakistan. I want to remind them that before 1947 your forefathers too used to consider this country as your motherland, worship it. Keeping that in mind I want to ask a few things."
"The people of Pakistan should ask their rulers... PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) is with you, you can't even manage that. Earlier, East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, was with you, you could not manage that. You are unable to manage PoK, Sindh, Gilgit- Baltistan and Balochistan, and you are talking of Kashmir... They are misleading you on Kashmir," he said.
He said people of Pakistan should ask their rulers that both countries had become independent at the same time, "so how is it that India exports software, but your leaders export terrorists".
Modi said he wanted to ask the people of Pakistan that their leaders had talked of waging a 1,000 year war with India." "Today there is such a government is Delhi. I am ready to accept your challenge," he said.
"I want to tell the people of Pakistan - India is ready to fight a war you. Let's fight who is able to finish poverty first. Youth of Pakistan, let us fight to see if India is first able to end unemployment, or Pakistan. Let us see who wins the battle to end illiteracy," Modi said.
Modi said there was problem of infant and maternal mortality in both India and Pakistan. "Let us see who wins (the battle against it"," he said.
"Rulers of Pakistan listen, the sacrifice of 18 soldiers will not go waste. India has been successful in isolating you. We will accelerate (these efforts) and will force you to be left alone in the world.
"That day is not far when people of Pakistan will take to streets to wage a battle against the rulers of Pakistan and against terrorism," Modi said.
Pakistan Air Force Jets Land on Main Highways, Karachi Stocks Tumble
New Delhi:22 September
Aggressive “exercise” sorties by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets and closure of airspace over northern areas including Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir has moved the country to the edge driving down the stock market, according to media reports from Islamabad on Thursday.
“Despite the confusion, Inter-Services Public Relations and the PAF’s media directorate chose to keep mum and the official silence only fuelled rumour mills,” the Dawn reported.
A senior military official quoted by the newspaper rejected reports about any change in the alert level over the past few days. However, he noted that “extreme vigilance” was being exercised in view of the “current threats from India”.
Official details about the exercises will be released in the coming days, Dawn said.
Pakistan has closed airspace over the northern areas – including PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral – and the M1 and M2 motorways.
The M1 is a 155-km east-west motorway, connecting Peshawar to Rawalpindi where the Pakistan military is headquartered.
The 375-km M2 motorway is a north-south artery connects the capital city of Islamabad with Lahore, which is only around 50 km from Amritsar.
According to Pakistan media reports, PAF jets were seen landing on and taking off from the motorways, which military officials said was part of a routine training exercise called ‘Highmark’.
“Usually held every five years, this exercise is one of the largest undertakings by the PAF and requires months of advance planning,” Dawn reported.
Due to the closure of airspace, PIA flights from Islamabad to Gilgit and Skardu had also been cancelled. A top PIA official told Dawn that a ‘Notice to Airmen’ (NOTAMS) had been issued three days ago, informing about the airspace closure at different times on Sept 21, 22 and 24 due to the exercise.
Dawn said that the closure of the M1 and M2 motorways at multiple points — between Kala Shah Kaku and Sheikhupura/Gujranwala on the M2 and near Peshawar-Nowshera — was announced by National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) through a press release issued a day earlier, but the reason for the close was attributed to “construction work”.
The over-flights by jets participating in the PAF drills also fuelled speculation that caused a sharp decline in the stock market, with the KSE-100 benchmark index dropping a massive 569 points to close at 39,771 points, according to reports.
Dawn said that as small investors ran for cover, the market fell by 1.41pc, wiping out gains netted in the month of September.
Banks, companies and mutual funds remained stable, but panic selling was triggered by individual small investors, who were dabbling in “penny stocks” that usually generated the biggest volumes in the market.
Former Karachi Stock Exchange chairman Arif Habib blamed the tumbling stocks on the hype created by the electronic media about tensions between Pakistan and India, which gave the impression that a confrontation was imminent, Dawn reported.
Cabinet Approves Merger of Rail Budget With Union Budget
New Delhi:21 September: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday has approved scrapping of separate Railway Budget and merging it with the General Budget.
The unanimous decision – to scrap over nine-decade old tradition of separate Railway Budget - was taken after Finance Ministry had proposed to restructure the entire budgetary system. "We are merging the union budget with the Railway budget. There will be only one budget. The functional autonomy of the Railway to be maintained," Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. With a view to get all the legislative approvals for the annual spending and tax proposals before the beginning of the new financial year on April 1, the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved advancing date for presentation of the General Budget by a month instead of present practice of unveiling it at the end of February.
The Cabinet also approved merging Railway Budget with the general Budget and doing away with distinction of plan and non-plan expenditure, officials said. To facilitate this, the Budget Session of parliament will be called sometime before January 25, a month ahead of the current practice. Accordingly, the beginning of budget preparation will be advanced to early October and GDP estimates made available on January 7 instead of February 7 now. Till now Budget was presented on the last day of February and it is not until mid-May that the Parliament approves it in two parts. And with the monsoon arriving in June, most of the schemes and spending by states do not take off until October, leaving just half a year for their implementation. Early presentation of Budget would mean that the entire exercise is over by March 31, and expenditure as well as tax proposals come into effect right from the beginning of new fiscal, thereby ensuring better implementation. Also, the 92-year old practice of presenting a separate budget for Railways has been scrapped and proposals pertaining to it would now form part of the General Budget.
This would lead to presentation of a single Appropriation Bill, including the estimates of Ministry of Railways, thereby saving precious time of Parliament by not having to hold separate consideration and passing of two Appropriation Bills. The Cabinet also approved removal of distinction between Plan and Non-Plan expenditure as the present classification resulted in excessive focus on former with almost equivalent neglect to items such as maintenance which are classified as non-Plan.
The Cabinet felt it is the total expenditure, irrespective of Plan or Non-Plan that generates value for the public. Plan expenditure was for the first time presented separately in the budget for 1959-60.
Uri Attack: Naib Subedar Karnail Fails to Fulfil His Last Promise to Family
Bishnah (Jammu),20, 2016,: Little did Naib Subedar Karnail Singh knew that he will not be able to fulfil his promise to visit his family on a "short leave" in a few days while making his last phone call to them. As the Army brought home the body of the brave-heart, who was killed in Sunday's Uri terror attack, wrapped in tricolor, his family members said death prevented him from fulfiling his promise when he made the last call to them on Saturday.
A pall of gloom descended on Shibu Chak in Bishnah tehsil of Jammu district which lost one of its sons, 48-year-old Singh, who is among the 18 Army men who lost their lives while fighting terrorists who attacked the Army Brigade Headquarters in Uri sector of Baramulla district on Sunday. After a 'guard of honour' and 'gun salute', Singh's mortal remains was consigned to flames with full state honours at his native village, where over 6,000 people had gathered. Youngsters were present at the function chanted 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Ramesh Chaudhary Amar Rahey' while family members lit the funeral pyre of the martyr.
"My father had called me from Uri on Saturday last to tell that he will meet us when he would come to home on a short leave in few days as his unit was shifted to Pathankot," Singh's son Arun said. The soldier left behind his mother Ratna Devi, Geeta Devi and his three son Anmol, Arun and Shivam. While Anmol is studying in First year of a Degree course, Arun is a student of class 11 and Shivam is class 1.
People of Shibu Chak village felt proud of their son over his bravery making them proud as well as with his martyrdom by foiling terror attack and killing a terrorist in retaliatory firing.
"He has made the village a proud with his martyrdom. We heard he was one who fired back first and killed a terrorist", Madan Lal a villger said.
FIR Against Society for Opposing Flat Sale to a Muslim Family
Mumbai: 19 September 2016
Police have filed an FIR against eleven members of a cooperative housing society in neighbouring Vasai, after a Muslim family was allegedly denied a flat there.
The FIR was lodged at the Manikpur police station late this evening.
A majority of the members of Happy Jivan Co-operative Society allegedly opposed sale of a flat by its owner to a Muslim family, a police official said.
A meeting was held on September 4 and a resolution opposing the proposed sale was passed.
The members told K Patel, the flat owner, that he was free to sell the flat to someone within the community but not to a Muslim person.
Following this, Patel approached the police, alleging that the society had refused the No Objection Certificate for the sale.
Explosion Rocks Manhattan Neighborhood, At Least 29 Hurt
New York: 18, September: An explosion rocked the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan on Saturday night, injuring at least 29 people, authorities said, adding that they are investigating the blast as a criminal act not immediately linked to any terror organization.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said early indications were that blast was intentional. He said the site of the explosion, outside on a major thoroughfare of a fashionable enclave in one of the most bustling areas of New York City, was being treated as a crime scene.
But he said there was no evidence of a "credible and specific threat" to the city. "We do not see a link to terrorism," he added. "It is too early to determine what the incident was caused by. We believe it was intentional. A full investigation is under way."
A law enforcement source said an initial investigation suggested the explosion occurred in a dumpster but the cause was still undetermined. The head of the New York Police Department's special operations division said on Twitter that a "possible secondary device has been located" in the same general area. CNN reported that law enforcement sources believe an improvised explosive device caused the blast.
Delhi Chikungunya Outbreak: Return Immediately, L-G Tells Manish Sisodia
New Delhi:September 17: Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung on Saturday asked Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is currently in Finland on a study tour, to return to Delhi immediately in the wake of sudden spurt in dengue and chikungunya cases in the national capital.
"The Deputy CM has been asked to come back to Delhi immediately as the city is witnessing spurt in dengue and chikungunya cases," a top source said. Sisodia, who also hold the education portfolio,along with his officers are in Finland to study the education system of that country.
Source said, besides Sisodia, all officers including Education Secretary have been directed to return to Delhi immediately.
Earlier in the day, Congress activists observed 'Bhagoda Divas' in Delhi to protest against the alleged absence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Sisodia and other ministers from the national capital which is at present reeling under chikungunya and dengue outbreak. Refuting the allegation of the Opposition that he is "holidaying" in Finland, Sisodia said it was not a "sin" to study the schooling system of other countries to fix the problems in Delhi's education system.
He said he had worked hard to improve the education system in the national capital and he was in Finland to see what more needs to be done. "Learning from across the world is not a sin. It's a sin to defame an educational tour as a 'holiday'. I'm in Finland. We need to learn a lot from their education system, the best in the world (sic)," he said in a series of tweets.
the woman who is allergic to water
16 September 2016
Rachel wakes up – and drinks a kind of poison that feels like a glass of stinging nettles. As it slip downs her throat, she can feel it blistering her skin, leaving a trail of red, itchy welts behind them. Later that day, scorching drops of the stuff start falling from the sky. At the local leisure centre, she watches others splash around in a pool of the irritant. They seem unfazed, but the moment she dips her toe in, she’s faced with burning pain.
No, this is not some bizarre alternate reality. This is the world of Rachel Warwick, who is allergic to water. It’s a world where relaxing baths are the stuff of nightmares and snorkelling in tropical seas is as appealing as rubbing yourself with bleach. “Those things are my idea of hell,” she says.
The reaction makes me feel as if I’ve run a marathon – Rachel
Any contact with water whatsoever – even her own sweat – leaves Rachel with a painful, swollen and intensely itchy rash which can last for several hours. “The reaction makes me feel as if I’ve run a marathon. I feel really tired afterwards so I have to go and sit down for quite a while,” she says. “It’s horrible, but if I cry my face swells up”.
Otherwise known as aquagenic urticaria, the condition is like being stung by a bush of particularly pernicious nettles, combined with the malaise of hay fever, every single day.
It’s certainly unpleasant, but at this point you’re probably wondering how Rachel is able to survive at all. We’re reminded on almost a daily basis that water is life’s most basic necessity – so much so that NASA’s motto on the hunt for alien life is simply “follow the water”. At least 60% of the human body is water; the average 70 kg adult contains around 40 litres.
So let’s get a few things straight. For a start, the water in our bodies is apparently not a problem. The reaction is triggered by skin contact and occurs regardless of temperature, purity or salt content. Even bona fide, chemical-free, many-times distilled water will set it off.
“When I meet people there’s always a lot of confusion and all the usual questions – ‘how do you eat?’ ‘How do you drink?’ ‘How do you wash?’ The truth is you just have to suck it up and get on with it,” says Rachel.
For Rachel, diving into this pool would be like swimming in potent bleach (Credit: Alamy)
Right from the beginning, aquagenic urticaria was as baffling to scientists as it is to the rest of us. Technically, the condition isn’t actually an allergy at all, since it’s likely caused by an immune reaction to something within the body, rather than an over-reaction to something foreign, such as pollen or peanuts.
The earliest theory to explain how it works is that water is interacting with the outermost layer of skin, which consists mostly of dead skin cells, or the oily substance which keeps skin moist. Contact with water may cause these components to release toxic compounds, which in turn leads to an immune reaction.
Others have suggested that water may simply dissolve chemicals in the layer of dead skin, allowing them to penetrate deeper where they can cause an immune reaction.
Indeed, treating the skin with chemical solvents – which allow more water into this layer – before exposure makes the reaction worse. But when the upper layer of skin is removed completely, the reaction goes ahead as normal.
Perhaps the most left-field idea is that it’s caused by pressure changes, which accidentally set off the immune alarm as water leaves the skin by osmosis.
Whatever the causes, according to Marcus Maurer, a dermatologist who founded the European Centre for Allergy Foundation (ECARF) in Germany, this is a devastating illness which can transform lives. “I have patients who have had urticaria for 40 years and they still wake up with wheals and oedema [swelling] every day,” he says.
Sufferers may be depressed or anxious, always worrying about when their next attack will strike. “In terms of quality of life impairment it’s one of the worst skin diseases you can have,” he says.
Rachel was around 12 years old when she was diagnosed, after noticing a rash after swimming. “My doctor heard what I had to say, and he was like ‘I think you have this’. I was really fortunate that he knew about it,” she says.
In the winter rain, Rachel can’t leave the house
She wasn’t sent for testing. The standard method for diagnosis is to keep the upper body wet for half an hour and see what happens. “He basically told me that what they’d put me through would be worse than the disease,” she says.
And while surviving with the condition is not a problem, enduring everyday life is another matter. In the winter when it rains a lot, for example, Rachel can’t leave the house.
For everyday activities such as washing up, Rachel’s husband – who is also her official carer – steps in. To wash, she limits herself to showering once a week. To minimise sweating, she wears light clothing and avoids exercise. Like others with the condition, Rachel drinks a lot of milk, since the reaction isn’t as bad as with water. Again, no one knows why this is.
People with an allergy can't even tolerate rain or snow on their skin (Credit: Alamy)
For such a mysterious illness, the hunt for a cure has been suitably bewildering. At the moment, the standard treatment is to take powerful anti-histamines. To understand why, first we need to get to grips with what goes down during a reaction.
It all kicks off when immune cells in the skin, known as mast cells, release inflammatory histamine proteins. During a normal immune reaction, histamines are extremely helpful – making blood vessels leaky enough to allow white blood cells through to attack any intruders. During a reaction to water, all you get are the side-effects: fluid seeps out through their walls, causing the surrounding skin to swell up.
At the same time, histamine activates “itch neurons”, whose only role is to make us want to itch. The result is a patch of raised, itchy areas of skin known as welts.
In theory, anti-histamines should work every time. In practice, the drugs have decidedly mixed results.
Back in 2014, Rachel was sent to the ECARF in Berlin as part of a documentary, where doctors suggested she try a high dose. She did as they said – then put them to the test at her local swimming pool. It didn’t work. “Afterwards I was itching like crazy and I looked like I was diseased,” she says.
For years, anti-histamines were the only option. Then in 2008 Maurer and colleagues from the ECARF had an idea. “We didn’t evolve mast cells so that we could suffer from urticaria. So what gets them to do bad things?” he says.
The histamine-releasing cells of people with the condition look entirely normal, and they don’t have any more than the rest of us. So something else must be telling them to act up. From studies in the lab, the scientists thought the culprit might be IgE, the antibody responsible for true allergies, such as those to pollen or cats.
“Instead of reacting to something from the outside world, they’re producing IgE in response to something within themselves,” says Maurer.
All they needed was a drug which could block IgE’s effects. And as luck would have it, there was already a drug on the market which could do just that.
Omalizumab was originally developed as a treatment for asthma. “When we said ‘we’d like to use this anti-allergic drug in these patients’ the drug company said ‘why would you want to do that? It’s not an allergy, how can that work,’” says Maurer.
After convincing the sceptics, in August 2009 they put the idea to the test. Their patient was a 48-year old woman with another rare form of urticaria, which is triggered by pressure. For three years, the patient had been breaking out into a raised, itchy rash at slightest touch. It was so bad, it would happen when she combed her hair or dressed.
After just a week of treatment, the woman’s symptoms were visibly diminished. By the end of the month, they had completely disappeared.
Since then scientists have discovered omalizumab is effective against even the most obscure forms of urticaria – from reactions to sunlight to changes in temperature, to friction. “It’s amazing; I mean this drug is a complete game-changer,” says Maurer.
A drink of water scorches Rachel's mouth (Credit: Alamy)
One of Maurer’s first patients was a young professor who was reacting to his own sweat. He couldn’t run for the bus without breaking out into a painful rash and, most importantly, could not give a lecture to his students because the slightest dampness on his brow was completely disfiguring. “He was basically ready to give up his academic career,” says Maurer. After just a week on omalizumab, he was a completely different person.
It’s safe, it’s effective – it even works for aquagenic urticaria. This should be a happy ending. But there’s a catch. The asthma drug is currently being used “off-label”; that is, the effectiveness of the drug against urticaria hasn’t yet been demonstrated in a large-scale clinical trial. And most healthcare providers, from insurance companies to the UK’s NHS, simply won’t pay for drugs without one.
This is the problem Rachel encountered back in 2014, when the specialist in Berlin recommended omalizumab. At the moment, the drug would set her back around a thousand euros per month.
But finding enough patients for a trial could be problematic. Aquagenic urticaria affects around one in every 230 million people. By that estimate, there are only 32 people with the condition on the entire planet. “We are a big team here, we see more than 2,000 new urticaria patients every year. And we have three with aquagenic urticaria,” says Maurer.
To complicate matters further, the drug is coming to the end of its patent. With so little time left to make any money out of it – and a handful of potential customers – convincing the company to invest in a trial would be extremely difficult. “I’m not sure that we will see such a trial,” he says. (Novartis, who market the drug, haven't responded to our request for more information.) After decades of research to solve the mystery disease, the final hurdle isn’t science, but economics.
So what would Rachel do first if she found an effective treatment? That’s easy. “I’d like to be able to go to swimming at the leisure centre. And go dancing in the rain,” she says.
Mulayam Brokers Peace, Says No Differences in SP
Lucknow: 16 September
Hours after his resignation from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet and Samajwadi Party posts, Shivpal Yadav on Friday morning displayed a show of strength outside his home in Lucknow.
Hundreds of supporters of Shivpal protested outside his house demanding senior leader Ramgopal Yadav's resignation. They said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has undermined Shivpal's position in the party and that he should apologise for this.
Both SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh have rejected Shivpal's resignation.
Shivpal has, however, made it clear that he will continue to follow Mulayam's orders.
"I wish to strengthen the Samajwadi Party. We are all with Netaji (Mulayam). Netaji's wishes are our command. Today, Netaji will come to the party office. In every situation, we will be with him. We are with Netaji and will state our viewpoint to Netaji," Shivpal said.
The feud within the party broke out a few months before the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly elections which are due in early 2017. Shivpal being a prominent leader in the party, his resignation came as a huge setback.
Moreover, Shivpal is not an easy nut to crack and has now asked Mulayam that both Akhilesh and Ram Gopal Yadav must be removed from the party, said sources. He has told Mulayam that he is not interested in holding mere portfolios and that equality to chief minister's post is paramount, the sources added.
In a meeting with Shivpal, Mulayam told his younger brother that Akhilesh is not listening to him.
Sources said that Akhilesh wants to settle the leadership issue once and for all. The CM might agree to return the portfolios, but Shivpal is now asking for much more.
Shivpal had resigned on Thursday evening and submitted his resignation to Mulayam and Akhilesh. Shivpal's wife Sarla too resigned from her post at the Etawah District Co-operative Bank.
Here are some of the possible scenarios to resolve the civil war within the party:
Scenario One: Mulayam may promises a deputy chief minister post for Shivpal Yadav's son.
Scenario Two: Shivpal agrees to take back all portfolios, and stays as chief of SP's UP unit.
Scenario Three: Shivpal is given more leeway in deciding tickets for next elections.
Scenario Four: Creation of a mechanism to ensure Shivpal and Akhilesh are almost equal.
Pakistan unblocks India Today website after media outrage.
New Delhi, 15 September
In the wake of outrage, Pakistan has unblocked India Today's website, which had a magazine cover carrying its Army Chief Raheel Sharif's picture.
In the wake of outrage, Pakistan has unblocked India Today's website, which had a magazine cover carrying its Army Chief Raheel Sharif's picture.
India Today's online portal (IndiaToday.in) was blocked in Pakistan yesterday, according to a report in The Express Tribune.
As per the report, the move came despite the Lahore High Court disposing of a petition seeking a directive to the government to block access to the website.
Referring to an India Today magazine cover that went viral, petitioner Abdul Hameed in his plea had said that the magazine had published a 'derogatory photo' of Pakistan's Army chief General Raheel Sharif.
Though the Lahore High Court Chief Justice observed that only the parliament was authorised to take a decision in this regard, he said elected representatives of the public should be approached on this account.
Earlier, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had decided to crack down on illegal satellite dishes and Indian content that was being aired across Pakistan.
India Woos New Nepali PM to Claw Back Ground From China
New Delhi, 14 September
Kathmandu: India is likely to offer Nepal's new Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (also known as Prachanda) help in building an east-west railway line and better access to its ports on his first visit this week, as it tries to regain ground lost recently to China.
Prachanda, a former Maoist rebel commander, has chosen New Delhi as his first foreign stop, seeking to rebalance ties that chilled under his pro-China predecessor. KP Oli had sealed trade deals that sought to reduce landlocked Nepal's economic dependence on India.
"Relations with India have become frosty for some time. I want to remove the bitterness," Prachanda told reporters on Tuesday evening in Kathmandu, adding India now "wants to help Nepal, which is in difficulties."
Nepal is yet to complete a political transition after a decade-long insurgency and weeks of deadly street protests that brought down the monarchy nearly a decade ago.
A new republican constitution is still a source of rancour for southern plains people who mounted a five-month border blockade that ended earlier this year.
The country's last government said the fuel and trade embargo had the tacit backing of India - a charge New Delhi has denied.
Prachanda said that, on his four-day trip starting on Thursday, the two sides would discuss the railway line stretching from Mechi in east Nepal to Mahakali in the west that India will help build.
An Indian railway official said the project that runs parallel to Nepal's 1,030 km (640-mile) east-west highway has been talked about in the past, but that the two countries are now discussing financial terms.
"The plan is to push forward immediately with this project. It's a big development project," said the official involved in preparations for the visit. The mountainous country has only one short rail line from Jaynagar on the Indian border to Janakpur.
Another possible project, Prachanda said, was a hydro-electric power plant that could be built with Indian grant aid.
VYING FOR INFLUENCE
Nepal is one of several South Asian countries where India and China are vying for influence. India has long considered the country of 28 million people as a natural ally based on their close historical ties and long open border.
But China has gained a foothold, rapidly building roads and hospitals while there was little progress on long-standing Indian proposals for hydro-electric plants and trade and transit corridors that became mired in political disputes.
It is part of a broader push by China into South Asia, including a $46 billion economic corridor across India's neighbour and rival Pakistan and investment in a port in Sri Lanka, where a Chinese nuclear submarine docked in recent years.
Under Oli's government, Nepal signed a deal to extend China's Tibet rail network to Kathmandu, created special economic zones for Chinese firms and sealed a long-term agreement for petroleum imports, alarming New Delhi.
In July, Oli stepped down after months of stalemate over the new charter, which experts said underlined the vulnerability of governments in Kathmandu that take a stridently anti-India line.
Prachanda may have chosen to come to Delhi first for that reason, they added.
"It is the politicians' understanding that without keeping India in good humour they cannot remain long in power," said Guna Raj Luitel, editor of the Nagarik daily.
India is still Nepal's biggest trade partner, donor and supplier of essential goods, as well as the only source of fuel for the impoverished country that is struggling to recover from two earthquakes last year that killed 9,000 people.
"The previous government very definitely coordinated with China more explicitly than earlier governments. That was a response to the border situation and sent a message to New Delhi," said one Western diplomat, referring to the blockade on the border that ended in February.
Prachanda is making "a deliberate recalibration away from what the previous prime minister planned, which was a closer relationship with China", the diplomat added.
Nepali media said Chinese President Xi Jinping had put off a visit planned for October due to lack of progress on Nepal's part on the projects agreed between the two countries.
Nepal's foreign ministry denied any cancellation but gave no date for the visit.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying would not directly confirm that Xi's October visit to Nepal had been cancelled, but said instead that exact dates had not been set.
"The term 'cancelled visit' is not very accurate, because the two sides are maintaining communication on high-level bilateral exchanges through diplomatic channels," Hua told a regular press briefing in Beijing on Monday.
The Annapurna Post said Beijing was particularly unhappy about Nepal's tardy progress on its One Belt, One Road initiative, Xi's signature project to build out infrastructure and establish new trade routes across the region.
"Nepal should have moved faster on these projects as they are in our long-term interest. By now we should have submitted concrete proposals to the Chinese side on them," Mahesh Maskey, a former Nepali envoy to China, told Reuters.
RJD’s?Shahabuddin walks out on bail after a decade behind bars
Bhagalpur : Sep 10, Former Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Mohammad Shahabuddin walked out of Bhagalpur prison in Bihar early on Saturday to a grand welcome from his supporters. Shahabuddin, who has been in jail for a decade over multiple cases, was granted bail by the Patna high court on Wednesday in connection with the murder of a man who witnessed the killing of two brothers in Siwan. “I have remained away from home for 13 years. Everyone knows I was falsely implicated in the case,” the former parliamentarian said after leaving jail. Shahabuddin faces more than 40 criminal cases, including those of abduction and murder, and has been in jail for the past 11 years. In the last 10 of them, the former MP was transferred thrice to different prisons – once to Bhagalpur jail and other times to Gaya jail. From Bhagalpur, Shahabuddin will head to his native place Pratappur in Siwan where security has been scaled up, with reinforcements being sent from other places. Security in Bhagalpur has also been bolstered to manage the crowds. MP for four consecutive terms since 1996, contesting from jail in 2004, the RJD member said party chief Lalu Prasad was his leader. “The entire country knows which party I am with. Nitish Kumar became a chief minister due to circumstances,” he said. The release of Shahabuddin, a Siwan strongman, might turn out to be a show of strength of the RJD. All hotels and But not everyone is happy. Many complainants and witnesses in cases against Shahabuddin have already sought police security. Since 1990, the district has seen blood on the streets because of a brutal battle for supremacy between Shahabuddin and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation. Read | IB seeks help from Bihar Police to find ‘missing’ Shahabuddin files “I represented Siwan, which has a population of 22 lakh. How many people in Siwan fear me. It is not possible to keep everyone happy, but there is nothing called fear due to me,” he said. He also dismissed BJP leader Sushil Modi’s remark that the state government had facilitated his release, saying he didn’t take it seriously.
“I think my party also does not take him seriously. It is a legal process through which I have come out.” According to sources, of the cases he faces, Shahabuddin received judgment in 12, four of which have been acquittals, while he has nearly completed his sentence in eight cases. He has been convicted in 10 other cases, while in some, trial is incomplete. In some cases, the fact sheet is in compilation stage, while in some part judgements have granted temporarily bail as the cases continue.
Cauvery Water Dispute: Complete Shutdown in Bengaluru, South Karnataka
First published: September 9, | 1 Several parts of Karnataka including Bengaluru will be completely shut on Friday in protest against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
Public transport may be affected as state transport buses will stay off the roads, and autorickshaw and cab unions are extending their support to bandh. Metro services are also likely to be hit.
Schools in the state, which have lost many working days due to such protets, have declared a holiday on Friday across the state.
Agitators tried to barge into Kempe Gowda International Airport in the city and were later taken into custody. Thousands of passengers are stranded at the airport as there is no transport between city and the airport. Situation is similar even at the city Railway station.
Karnataka state cable TV operators association has also decided to not air Tamil TV channels in the state on Friday. The Kannada film fraternity will hold a rally in Bengaluru in which many of the leading actors are expected to take to join the protest.
To counter all anti-social elements during the bandh, the Bengaluru Police is all geared up. Police commissioner NS Megharik told CNN-News 18 that one unit of the Rapic Action Force (RAF), 36 platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), 30 units of Armed Reserve Forces (RAF) and 260 Hoysala units will be deployed across the city to control the law and order situation.
Meanwhile, the state government has written to the Ministry of Water Resources asking them to constitute an expert committee to have a re-look at the ground situation in Karnataka.
Protests on the Bengaluru - Mysore highway over releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu (Photo: Imran Khan)
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order. Extra forces have been deployed with two companies each from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, one from Maharashtra and 10 companies of central forces, police said.
Chief Minister Siddaramiah made an appeal for peace and said there should be no damage to public property during the bandh.
"We are making all required arrangements. Bandh should be peaceful and no untoward incident should happen. Those who have called for bandh should also take care," he added.
The Chief Minister also held a meeting of senior officials of Home and police departments to review security measures.
Seeking cooperation from public and organisations in maintaining peace, Home Minister G Parameshwara said the issue is of entire state and the government had to take certain decisions within the framework of law.
Protests around PuttannaChetty Town Hall in Bengaluru (Photo: Imran Khan)
In Bengaluru, more than 14,000 police personnel will be deployed. 36 Karnataka State Reserve Police, 30 City Armed Reserve platoons and one company Rapid Action Force have been deployed.
'Kannada Okkoota', led by Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj will be holding a "massive" protest march from Town hall to Freedom Park in city in the morning.
The Cauvery row erupted after the Supreme Court on Monday directed to Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days to address the plight of farmers there.
Mumbai Attacks Case: Pakistan Court Issues Notice to Lakhvi, 6 Others
Lahore: 8 September 2016
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Wednesday issued notices to LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, six other accused as well as the government in the 2008 Mumbai attack case. The action comes on a plea to examine the boat used by the 10 LeT terrorists to reach the Indian coast.
"The Anti-Terrorism Court Islamabad held Mumbai case hearing at the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi and issued notices to seven suspects and the prosecution to present arguments regarding inspection of Al-Fauz boat parkedat theport city of Karachi," a court official said after the hearing.
He said both prosecution and defence lawyers would present their arguments on next hearing on September 22.
The Islamabad High Court had in August set aside the verdict of trial court in Mumbai case for not allowing a commission to Karachi for inspection of Al-Fauz.
The HC had termed the trial court's decision as "flawed and not in accordance with law" and allowed examination of Al-Fauz. The prosecution had pleaded that vessel should be made "case property".
Al-Fauz is in the custody of the Pakistani authorities in Karachi, from where the 10 terrorists, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades, had left for India to carry out the Mumbai attack in November 2008.
According to the Federal Investigation Agency, the attackers used three boats including Al Fauz to reach Mumbai from Karachi.
It said the security agencies had also traced the shop and its owner from where the culprits bought the engine and the boat while a bank and a money exchange company were also traced which were used for the transaction of money.
The notice comes a day after the US state department urged Pakistan to show more accountability on the trial of 26/11 attacks.
"We want to see accountability and justice in the case of the Mumbai attacks. There were American citizens who lost their lives in those attacks," US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner had said.
The 10 LeT terrorists had left Karachi on the boat on November 23, 2008. En route, they hijacked another boat, killing four of its crew. They forced the vessel's captain to take them close to the India shores. The captain was killed when the vessel reached Mumbai's coast.
According to prosecution, all Pakistani witnesses have recorded their statements and trial cannot be concluded till recording the statements of Indian witnesses.
LeT operations commander Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum are accused of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.
Lakhvi, believed to be the mastermind of the attacks, is living at an undisclosed location after getting the bail a year ago. Other six suspects are in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi. The case has been underway for more than six years.
After Lifetime With the Poor, Mother Teresa Speeds to Sainthood
Vatican City:September 4, 2016, Affectionately called the "saint of the gutters" during her lifetime, Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be made an official saint of the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday, just 19 years after her death.
A Nobel peace prize winner, Mother Teresa was one of the most influential women in the Church's 2,000-year history, acclaimed for her work amongst the world's poorest of the poor in the slums of Kolkata. Hundreds of thousands of faithful are expected to attend the canonisation service for the tiny nun, which will be led by Pope Francis in front of St. Peter's basilica. Although criticised both during her life and following her death, Mother Teresa is revered by Catholics as a model of compassion who brought relief to the sick and dying, opening branches of her Missionaries of Charity (MoC) order around the world.
"Even in popular culture she's identified with goodness, kindness, charity," said Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the MoC priest who campaigned for her sainthood.
In novels or movies often characters say, "'Oh, who do you think I am? Mother Teresa?'" he told Reuters. Her critics view her differently, arguing she did little to alleviate the pain of the terminally ill and nothing to stamp out the root causes of poverty.
In 1991, the British medical journal the Lancet visited a home she ran in Kolkata for the dying and said untrained carers failed to recognize when some patients could have been cured. Kolodiejchuk said her detractors missed the point of her mission, arguing that she had created a place to comfort people in their final days rather than establish hospitals.
"We don't have to prove that saints were perfect, because no one is perfect," he said.
Christianity 'not the only way'
In her adopted India, Mother Teresa has been accused of looking to convert the destitute to Christianity - something her mission has repeatedly denied.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), also accuses Mother Teresa of revelling in the misery of others. "As a resident of Kolkata, I feel insulted to see its poverty being glorified by the MoC. As a Hindu nationalist I also feel that Christianity is not the only way of salvation," said Jishnu Bose, the RSS spokesman.
But Mother Teresa still has legions of supporters in India, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "All her life she worked to serve poorer sections of Indian society. When such a person is conferred with sainthood, it is natural for Indians to feel proud," Modi said on Sunday.
Mother Teresa was born Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in 1910 in what was then part of the Ottoman Empire and is now Macedonia. She became a nun at 16 and moved to India in 1929, creating her mission in 1950.
The Roman Catholic Church has more than 10,000 saints, many of whom had to wait centuries before their elevation. But Mother Teresa, one of the most recognizable faces of the 20th century, was put on the fast track to sainthood after dying of a heart attack on September 5, 1997.
The late Pope John Paul II bent Vatican rules to allow the procedure to establish her case for sainthood to be launched two years after her death instead of the usual five, and she was beatified in 2003. The Church defines saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in Heaven and able to intercede with God to perform miracles. She has been credited with two miracles, both involving the healing of sick people. The latest involved a Brazilian, Marcilio Andrino, who unexpectedly recovered from a severe brain infection in 2008. He and his wife Fernanda will attend the canonisation, which is considered the highlight of Pope Francis's Holy Year of Mercy.
Delhi, Gurgaon Rained in; Traffic Snarls, Massive Waterlogging in Capital
New Delhi: 31 August 2016
Delhi and adjoining areas woke up to heavy rain and thunderstorm on Wednesday morning. Heavy rain across the national capital region has caused traffic snarls and affected transport networks.
The MET department has said that the NCR region is experiencing moderate thunderstorms which will continue for the next few days.
Roads leading to Gurgaon from Vasant Kunj area are completely jammed due to the rains. More jams are also expected across the capital.
Flight operations have also taken a hit with due to bad weather. Indigo has tweeted that to & fro flights have been affected and delays are expected.
Yogeshwar Dutt's London Olympic Bronze May Be Upgraded to Silver
New Delhi: 30 August 2016
Indian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt's bronze medal from the London Olympics may be upgraded to silver amid reports that the silver medallist from the 2012 Games-- deceased Besik Kudukhov of Russia--has been stripped off his medal for using banned substance.
As per Russian agency, flowrestling.org, the four-time world champion and two-time Olympic medallist Kudukhov, who had died in a car crash in 2013 in southern Russia, has been found positive for dope test conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
As a result, Yogeshwar, who had bagged a bronze medal in men's 60kg freestyle category in London Games, may move up from bronze to silver and join Sushil Kumar as another silver medallist from the 2012 Olympics.
However, the official confirmation will have to come from the United World Wrestling (UWW) and the International Olympic Committee.
On whether and when Yogeshwar, who had bowed out in the first round of men's 65kg freestyle at the recently concluded Rio Olympic Games, would be handed a silver medal will be confirmed only when the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) gets it in writing from the World body (UWW).
Pakistan embarrassed as Baloch activists in Germany chant anti-Pakistan, pro-Modi slogans
NEW DELHI:Neelakantan Aug 28, Even as Pakistan has begun to internationalize its Kashmir campaign+ , the country was hugely embarrassed after dozens of exiled Baloch activists in Germany came out on Saturday to chant anti-Pakistan protests and to laud Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his stirring call to end atrocities in the beleaguered province, Times Now reported.
Many of the Baloch activists were flying the Indian flag and shouting pro-Modi slogans at a rally they held in the town of Leipzig, Times Now reported. This protest came even as Nawaz Sharif announced that he has appointed a 22 MP 'K' squad to tour the world with a Kashmir agenda.
"We respect PM Modi, are thankful to him. Unlike Pakistan he treats us with humanity," one protester Hooran Baloch said, according to Times Now . He added that Pakistan has again launched search operations in areas where Balochis live, and taken away "our brothers".
Two weeks ago, in what is being seen a a big strategic shift, PM Modi began to call out Pakistan for its so-called hypocrisy in commenting about Kashmir even as it continues to oppress people within its borders. And now, Baloch activists in Pakistan and those forced into exile abroad are rallying around Modi's stirring speeches against Pakistan's atrocities in the Balochistan province and in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
"We want freedom", ''Free Balochistan'', "Balochistan Zindabad' and "Go ahead Modi" were some of the slogans raised during the Leipzig rally, ANI reported. "We are fighting for our nation. How many people will you kill? We believe in humanity, there is nothing higher than that to us," Hooran Baloch said. "Our protest is for the people of Balochistan and for the human rights violation happening in Pakistan+ by the Pakistani state," said another protester.
"The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Balochistan and PoK," PM Modi said at an all-party meet in the second week of August. He bolstered his comments by again referring to the issue during his Independence Day Speech+ August 15.
The PM in his speech said that the Baloch people in Pakistan have thanked him+ for his firm stand against terror and for highlighting attacks against them by people within Pakistan.
"Baloch nation hopes that the United States and Europe will join Prime Minister Modi and hold Pakistan accountable for the crimes against humanity and the war crimes it has committed against the Baloch nation in 68 years of its occupation of Balochistan and during the five wars that the Baloch nation has fought with Pakistan to win its national freedom," said Khalil Baloch, chairman of the Baloch National Movement, a day after the PM's speech.
Pakistan army committing 'tsunami of rights violations' in Balochistan: Brahumdagh Bugti
WASHINGTON:27 August 2016
Pakistani forces are engaged in a "tsunami of human rights violations+ " in Balochistan+ , a top Baloch leader alleged on Friday as he sought the help of the international community including India in the Baloch nationalist movement.
Brahumdagh Bugti, president of the Baloch Republican Party and the grandson of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti who was killed in an encounter with the Pakistani army 10 years ago, also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for recently raising concern over the situation in Balochistan.
"Pak forces are engaged in tsunami of human rights violations. We do not want to live with Pakistan anymore," said Switzerland-based Bugti as he demanded a referendum of Baloch people under the supervision of the United Nations.
Speaking over phone from Switzerland where he had gone for a commemorative event to pay homage to his grandfather, Bugti urged the international community, including the US, NATO countries, Israel and India, to help them fight their cause including political and military.
He said he is ready for a dialogue with the Pakistani government but insisted that there is no going back on freedom movement.
Balochistan, of the size of France, is Pakistan's largest province which has been under 'illegal Pakistani occupation for the last seven decades', he said.
Bugti said Modi's recent remarks during his Independence Day is the "most powerful statement" in the last seven decades.
"It is for the first time that an Indian Prime Minister has spoken. We believe that India should have taken this step a long time ago," he said, adding that he is convinced about Balochistan freedom.
"I am thoroughly indebted to Prime Minister Modi. I thank Prime Minister Modi for speaking raising the voice of Baloch people in his Independence Day address+ ," he said and alleged that Pakistani crime against people are a shocker to the global community.
Use of aerial bombardment, use of gases have become routine, he claimed and added that Balochistan is the world capital of missing people.
"We are political people. We want to solve this with peaceful means. But there is no way we are going to be part of the Pakistan any more. We want freedom of Pakistan. We are not fools to try our luck again and again with Pakistan. We are ready to negotiate through peaceful means," Bugti said.
Stating that his immediate course of action would be to create awareness in the international community, Bugti, at the same time, also called for military assistance to the Baloch freedom struggle.
"So far we have never received any support from any international countries including India. We want to request India and other countries to help Balochistan. It is genocide of (the) Baloch (people) in Pakistan going on," he said.
Rajnath to Hold Talks With Civil Society Groups, Curfew Continues in Kashmir
Srinagar:August 25, Curfew and separatist shutdown continued in Kashmir on Thursday for the 48th consecutive day as the death toll in the ongoing unrest rose to 66. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a two-day visit to review the security situation in the Valley, will meet members of the civil society on Thursday.
Amid tight security, Singh drove through the tense city roads dotted with para-military forces who ensured he did not have to face any protesters.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti will also address the media and will talk about the ongoing unrest in the Valley since July 9.
"Violence has not changed anything in Kashmir but only brought miseries and bloodshed to the state. Unfortunately, some sections of the youth resorting to violence are impeding the resolution process instead of facilitating it," she said at an event.
She said violence has changed nothing on political spectrum of Jammu and Kashmir, but brought mayhem, miseries, economic disaster, academic breakdown and social disorder to the state. Curfew is in force in five police station areas of downtown city and Batamaloo and Maisuma areas in uptown, a police official said. In south Kashmir, curfew was imposed in Pulwama district while it continued in Anantnag town as well today to maintain law and order.Curfew was imposed in Pulwama in view of killing of a youth in security forces action in the district on Wednesday during clashes.
Shops, private offices, educational institutions and petrol pumps remained closed while public transport continued to be off roads.
The attendance in government offices and banks was also affected, the official said.
Mobile Internet also continued to remain suspended in the entire Valley, where the outgoing facility on prepaid mobiles remained barred.
The separatist camp, which is spearheading the agitation in the Valley over the civilian killings during the protests against Wani's killing, have extended the strike call in the Valley till September 1.
Over 20,000 pages of classified data on India's Scorpene submarine leaked, says report
Sydney, August 24, 2016
The French shipbuilder which earlier this year won a A$50 billion ($38.06 billion) contract to build Australia's next generation of submarines has suffered a massive data leak, raising doubts about the security of one of the world's biggest defence projects.
France's DCNS Group beat out Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG and a Japanese-government backed bid by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries , in a blow to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to develop defence export capabilities as part of a more muscular security agenda.
The leak, which was first reported in The Australian on Wednesday, contains more than 22,000 pages outlining the secret combat capability of six submarines that DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.
The documents cover the Scorpene-class model and do not contain any details of the vessel currently being designed for the Australian fleet.
"As a serious matter pertaining to the Indian Scorpene programme, French national authorities for defence security will formally investigate and determine the exact nature of the leaked documents," a DCNS spokeswoman said in a statement.
"The matters in connection to India have no bearing on the Australian submarine programme which operates under the Australian government's arrangements for the protection of sensitive data."
A spokesman for the French embassy in Canberra declined to comment when reached by Reuters. A spokesman for the Indian High Commission in Canberra also declined to comment.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sought to deflect concerns about the leak, touting the high security standards in Australia, where the submarine will be built. The Australian reported that the leak occurred in France in 2011.
"But clearly, it is a reminder that, particularly in this digital world, cyber security is of critical importance," he told the Seven TV network.
INDIA, MALAYSIA, CHILE TO BEAR THE BRUNT
The breadth of detail in the documents creates a major strategic problem for India, Malaysia and Chile, all of which operate the same submarine, an Australian political source with decades of experience in the global arms industry told Reuters.
Excerpts published in redacted form on the newspaper's website contained highly sensitive details of the submarine including technical manuals and models of the boat's antennae.
"If it's 22,400 pages, it's a major stuff-up," the source said. "It's a huge deal.
"It allows them to understand everything about the submarines. What speeds it can do; how noisy it is; what speeds the mast can be raised at ... all of that is just devastating."
Japan had been seen as early frontrunners for the contract, but its inexperience in global defence deals and an initial reluctance to say it would build in Australia saw it slip behind DCNS and ThyssenKrupp.
Tokyo called the decision "deeply regrettable" and demanded an explanation from Australia of why its bid failed.
The leak comes as Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne announced that she would visit Japan this week for meetings with her Japanese counterpart, Tomomi Inada, the first visit by an Australian defence minister since the winning bid was announced.
Kannada actor-politician Ramya faces sedition charge for 'Pakistan not hell' remarks
New Dehli, 23 August
1Actor-politician Ramya faces sedition charge for her 'Pakistan not hell' remarks.
2Pakistan people are just like us, the 33-year-old Congress leader said.
3The case will be heard on Saturday.
A petition has been filed against actor-politician Ramya at the office of the Judicial Magistrate of First Class Court at Somavarapete in Karnataka's Madikeri, demanding that she should be booked under the sedition law for her comments on Pakistanis.
Referring to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's recent remark "going to Pakistan is like going to hell," the 33-year-old former Congress MP had said, "Pakistan is a good country, not hell. People are just like us. They treated us very well. Manohar Parrikar's comment is not true."
Advocate Vithal Gowda has filed the case against Ramya, apparently "appalled" that she praised a country that India blames for promoting terrorism in India. Ramya had made the statement on August 20.
The case will be heard on Saturday.
PV Sindhu Returns Home to a Rousing Reception
Hyderabad, 22 August : India's Silver Olympian PV Sindhu returned home to a rousing reception on Monday along with her coach Pullela Gopichand after a successful show at Rio.
Several ministers and political leaders greeted the 21-year-old "silvern" shuttler with bouquets, shawls and selfies at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad.
Sindhu, who is accompanied by her family members, is heading towards the Gopichand's academy in an open deck double-decker bus of Mumbai's BEST.
Telangana government has announced Rs 5 crore cash reward to Sindhu, a 1,000 square yard housing site near the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Gachibowli and suitable government job, if she is willing.
Telangana government has also announced cash prize of Rs 1 crore to Sindhu's coach P Gopichand.
On August 19, the 21-year-old from Hyderabad lost to world no-1 Carolina Marin of Spain 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a pulsating final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes.
Sindhu, the two-time World championship bronze medallist, became the first Indian woman player to clinch a Silver in the Olympics and fifth woman player from India to win a medal in the quadrennial games.
China blame 'fierce' competition after Rio flop
RIO DE JANEIRO: Aug 21, 2016,China blamed fierce competition for their Rio flop and promised to examine their "shortcomings" after slumping to their worst Olympic performance in 20 years.
China sent 410 athletes, their biggest team at a foreign Olympics, but by the penultimate day they had won just 24 gold medals, their fewest since Atlanta 1996. Worse, China trailed not only the United States but also Britain on the medals table, a fact that has prompted splutterings of indignation in Chinese media.
China topped the table in 2008 and were second in 2004 and 2012, but Chinese Olympic committee chief Liu Peng said rising standards had taken them by surprise. "There are a few problems we cannot overlook. In the Rio Games we didn't win so many medals... we didn't assess objectively the challenges we might face at these Games," said Liu.
"In recent years more countries have attached importance to the Olympic Games, so the level of play internationally has come up and the competition has become fierce. We need to employ a new mentality and new understanding how to improve our performances and ability. We need more experiences and learning."
Liu said inexperience particularly had cost China, whose team was young with three-quarters of them competing at their first Olympics. "We have trained these athletes but the training isn't enough," he said. "Because when these athletes are facing fierce competition and challenges they have to too much to think about and too many mental burdens and they didn't play at their highest level."
But he had warm words for swimmer Fu Yuanhui, whose bubbly personality and frank comments - rare for a Chinese athlete - won hearts at home and abroad. "Her happiness, starting from the bottom of her heart, fully demonstrated her spirit to continue to challenge herself and achieve excellence," said Liu.
"This is something that touched audiences on the very deepest level. Her 'prehistoric strength' as she put it fully demonstrated the modern Chinese athletes: they're confident, they're active and they've fully pushing forward."
Liu also praised China's athletes for competing in the right spirit and not appearing desperate to win at all costs. "We have fully demonstrated our Chinese spirit. We're not arrogant when we win, we don't give up easily and we continue to strive forward," he said.
How Sakshi Malik turned around the match to clinch Bronze at Rio Olympics
Rio de Janeiro: Aug 18, Sakshi Malik brought an end to India’s long wait for a medal at the ongoing Rio Olympics, clinching bronze in the Women’s Freestyle 58kg category with a spirited comeback victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan.
The 23-year-old from Rohtak overturned a 0-5 deficit in a hectic second round to script an 8-5 victory in the bronze medal bout at the Carioca Arena 2 on Wednesday.
It was a rousing display of fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude from the Indian.
Sakshi, who had also finished on the podium at the 2015 Asian Championships, created history by becoming the first Indian female wrestler to clinch an Olympic medal.
Aisuluu was clearly the superior wrestler in the totally one-sided opening round, displaying impressive strength and technique to take five points and open up a formidable lead.
But Sakshi -- who has previously shown a knack of staging strong comebacks -- was a totally transformed grappler in the second round, taking eight consecutive points to send the sizable number of Indian fans in the stands into wild delirium.
Read: This is the result of over 10 years of hard work: Sakshi Malik after bronze
The bronze medal bout was off to a hectic start as Aisuluu tried to force the early initiative with an attempted leg hold but Sakshi defended successfully.
The Kyrgyz grappler displayed impressive strength and was more active in the opening stages which forced Sakshi to go on the defensive.
However, the referee invoked the passivity rule against Sakshi which handed the Kyrgyz the first point.
Aisuluu then made a successful takedown to bag another two points. Aisuluu continued to pile on the pressure and bagged another couple of points with another successful tackle to build up a healthy 5-0 lead at the break.
Sakshi made a superb comeback in the second round, turning a defensive position into offensive to bag two points before flipping the Kyrgyz to bag another couple of points.
India's Sakshi Malik, top, competes against Kyrgyzstan's Aisuluu Tynybekova. (AP Photo)
With the momentum firmly behind her, Sakshi continued to pile on the pressure before drawing level with another two-pointer.
Read: How India celebrated Sakshi Malik’s ‘golden’ bronze at Olympics
With just seconds remaining in the bout, the Indian pulled off another takedown to take the lead and make sure of the win.
Earlier, Sakshi had crashed out of contention for the gold medal after a one-sided 2-9 loss to Valeria in the quarter-finals.
Kaori Icho of Japan won the gold medal in the category while Russia’s Valeria Koblova took the silver.
Eight-time African champion Marwa Amri of Tunisia took home the other bronze medal in the category.
Sakshi’s medal capped another day of heartbreaks for India including an unfortunate injury to Vinesh in the women’s 48kg Freestyle category that forced her out of the competition.
IT Dept Finds Unaccounted Wealth of Rs 130 Crore With AAP MLA
New Delhi:August 9, The Income Tax Department has found unaccounted income and investment worth Rs 130 crore with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Kartar Singh Tanwar, sources said on Tuesday.
The department has already seized unaccounted cash and jewellery of nearly Rs 1 crore from Tanwar and his brother. Tanwar has been questioned by the Income Tax Department twice in the recent past after the raid. Reacting to the raids, Tanwar alleged it was a political witch-hunt by the BJP-led Central government. Tanwar was a BJP leader before he joined AAP in 2014. Sources in the IT department said the recent raid revealed that transactions for buying farm houses in Chattarpur and Ghitorni were being done in cash by Tanwar and his associates.
The sources in the IT department added that Tanwar was not paying stamp duty and registration fee on huge land transactions, thus allegedly cheating the Delhi government.
Sources also claimed that Tanwar was fudging his book of accounts by showing money from land transactions as loans and advances in companies controlled by him. He had floated 30 to 35 companies for doing these transactions. The department has also allegedly found a large number of documents showing unaccounted and benami properties. An assessment of the value of these transactions is being done.
IT department is also investigating unexplained and unaccounted expenses on construction of a mall, residential houses, marriage expenses and farm houses having possibility of substantial tax evasion.