Monday, April 30, 2012

Pakistan Hindus, mercilessly killed, forcibly converted to Islam

When Pakistan came into existence in 1947, 24 per cent of the population were Hindus. And now look at the percentage of Hindus in Pakistan, just below two per cent. What happened to the rest?

by Bharati Krishna

The plight of Hindus living in Pakistan and Bangladesh is not an issue to the world, in particular India. They have been ruthlessly killed or converted to Islam in these religious nations. The remaining Hindu population in these countries have no human rights and they are considered as second-class citizens. Since the formation of these two Islamic republics, the Hindus living there have been terrorized and subjected to forcible conversions.
When Pakistan came into existence in 1947, 24 per cent of the population were Hindus. And now look at the percentage of Hindus in Pakistan, just below two per cent. What happened to the rest? Majority of them have been mercilessly killed by the Islamic fanatics and the rest forcibly converted to Islam.
The same happened in the case of Bangladeshi Hindus. The percentage of Hindu population in Bangladesh in 1947 (then East Pakistan) was numbered at 31. But with course of time it has been declined and stationed at nine per cent now. Massive religious conversion and ruthless murders of the Hindus were the reasons for this decline. Read the full article at


Actually the people of West Bengal are between the devil and the deep sea. The only confusion is to categorize who is the devil and who is the deep sea

by Nilin Kripu

The transition of Mamata Banerjee’s image from a tireless street fighter to an audacious tyrant becomes a reality at an unbelievable pace and fashion, which indeed creates shock waves even among her staunch followers. It has been less than a year since she wrested power by decimating mighty comrades, who handled West Bengal like their private den for more than three long decades.
Now with in this short span, Mamata and her party All India Trinamool Congress have acutely disappointed all the Bengali people who voted en mass in quest of a change. They never expected such a type of Poribortan(change) from Mamata.
Mamata is exercising power in the likes of a dictatress who hobnobbing with intolerance; yes the real face of ‘Didi’ is revealing. Sheer misuse of power and oppression towards dissenting voices would place her one step ahead of tyrannical Marxists.
The number of tantrums that are discharged by Mamata and her brigades in the first year itself could be the biggest proof for it. Actually the people of West Bengal are between the devil and the deep sea. The only confusion is to categorize who is the devil and who is deep sea. Read the full article at

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


New Delhi:  If you adore animals and love the planet, tune into Animal Planet to celebrate the World Animal Day on October 4th.  Bursting with intriguing facts and enchanting animals, Animal Planet commemorates World Animal Day with a full day programming line-up from 12 noon to 12 midnight inspiring viewers of all ages.

Kicking off the day to celebrate all things wild and spotlight some of the rarest and greatest creatures on the planet, Animal Planet follows the lives of several unique species like River Dolphins in India, Hyenas in East Africa, Pygmy Elephants in the jungles of Borneo, Wild Wolves in Ethiopia, Bat-Eared Foxes in Namibia and Ferocious Crocodiles in Africa. 

Discussing the special Animal Planet Marathon on the World Animal Day,Rahul Johri, senior vice president and general manager (South Asia), Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific said, “We dedicate this special day of the year to highlight the wonderful animal kingdom and the amazing relationship it enjoys with humans. Over the years, we have witnessed a growing sensitivity and commitment amongst viewers for Animal Planet's breathtaking and awe-inspiring content. I am most excited to present this year’s 12 hours programming marathon which will do it all - inform, entertain and connect."

Viewers can immerse themselves in the jungle, the water and the desert to see their favourite animals - - swim in Ganges with river dolphin, a mythical creature endowed by local legend with mystical and healing powers; travel to Thailand to follow the gripping story of two monkeys who fall in love and face rival faction; join the race to save the pygmy elephant in Borneo’s deep forests; get stunning insight into the lives of bat eared foxes in Namibia; get privy to the mating rituals of the ferocious African crocodiles and team up with divers who live and breathe their passion for sharks in the islands of Polynesia.

Celebrate the World Animal Day with special programming marathon on Animal Planet, on Tuesday, October 04, from 12 noon to 12 midnight.
Animal Planet’s ‘World Animal Day’ programming line-up includes:

12 noon - Lions and Giants
For decades the Savuti pride on the western Boundary of the Chobe National Park in Botswana has ruled supreme. This pride of lion numbering up to 40 individuals has made hunting elephant their specialty.  A few breakaway lionesses and a group of elephants are forced to leave Savuti and travel north, to the Chobe River.

1 pm – Ghost of the Ganges
Seldom seen, the Ganges River Dolphin is a creature from another age, and a creature out of time. Constantly singing, almost completely blind, endowed by local legend with mystical and healing powers, the unseeing guardian of an ancient faith, it is a creature as elusive and mysterious as the Giant Squid or the Loch Ness Monster.    

2 pm - A Hyena Princess
This is the epic tale of a young spotted hyena as she struggles to reclaim her rightful place as queen of the largest clan in East Africa. Her life of dominance ends when her mother is killed and a rival female takes over. In this film we see the other side of hyena life; loyal, affectionate, playful and extremely skilled hunters.

3 pm – A Monkey’s Tale
In the mountains of Thailand, two young monkeys are falling in love. This is the story of their lives, as two rival factions of the local simian population declare war to keep them apart. This gripping, real life drama leads up to a dramatic and unimaginable ending of this familiar tale.

4 pm – Ethiopian Wolf
The programme follows the lives of the endangered Ethiopian wolf through the eyes of a young female wolf called Saba. Through Saba the viewer will learn about the various threats that face the Ethiopian wolf; human encroachment, disease, competition for food.

5 pm – Borneo’s Pygmy Elephants
The Pygmy Elephant is much more special and unique than anyone had ever thought possible. Now the scientist race is on to save the Pygmy Elephant before it's swept away by the wave of development that's overwhelming its forest home. Little is known about this fascinating creature because it lives a sedentary life deep in Borneo's forest.

6 pm – Namibia’s Bat-Eared Foxes
This programme gives a stunning insight into the lives of these remarkable creatures. Bat-eared foxes may be small, but they have huge ears sensitive enough to pick up sounds made by insects under the surface of the Kalahari Desert, thus providing their main source of nourishment.

7pm - Ferocious African Crocodiles
Ferocious African crocodiles - they inspire fear and even fascination.  They are said to kill nearly 3,000 people a year in Africa - the highest incidence being in Tanzania.  This film takes viewers face-to-face with the formidable killer, to witness its behaviour underwater and unique survival and predatory methods and meet those who share its habitat.  Viewers are privy to their mating rituals and will be moved by the tender care they give their young.

8 pm - Secrets of the Serpents
This programme uncovers the secrets which have made snakes such a highly efficient group of predators surviving over 100 million years. It shows how cobras, vipers, pythons and sea snakes catch their prey, escape predators themselves and find a mate - even under water.

9 pm - Snakes on the Menu
In this programme, viewers journey across Cambodia to witness the illegal wildlife trade.  From restaurants serving pangolins and snakes, to poachers hunting tigers, the programme follows the trail in a hard-hitting look at a disturbing practice.

10 pm – Cheetah: The Winning Streak
Cheetahs, the elegant hunters of Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, are a species at risk -- even within the boundaries of one of their last sanctuaries Following the journey of several young mothers and cubs, the film shows why certain cheetahs possess a distinct edge over others in the game of survival, and how some male and female cubs develop the skills and instincts that make them winners while others perish.

11 pm - Smile of the Shark
The programme tells the incredible story of the divers who live and breathe their passion for sharks. In the islands of Polynesia, the people believe that the sharks were reincarnations of their ancestors.

About Animal Planet
Animal Planet is the world’s only brand that immerses viewers in emotional, engaging and passionate content devoted to animals – from wildlife to pets. Animal Planet connects humans and animals with rich, deep content and offers animal lovers access to entertainment, information and enrichment via multiple platforms including television, online (at and merchandising extensions. Animal Planet is available to 349 million cumulative subscribers worldwide. Animal Planet launched in Asia Pacific in 1998 and is currently distributed to more than 163 million subscribers in the region. For more information, visit Animal Planet at

Friday, September 2, 2011

Independent group should oversee FIFA reform

Transparency International (TI), the anti-corruption organisation, calls on world football's governing body, FIFA, to carry out comprehensive governance reforms overseen by a group composed of representatives from outside FIFA (elder statesmen, sponsors, media and civil society) and inside football (federations, clubs, professional leagues, players, women’s football, referees, supporters) in a way that ensures its independence.

The proposed group would watch over an independent investigation of existing corruption allegations and the introduction of new procedures to ensure transparency and good governance, such as term limits for senior positions and a conflict of interest policy, with external figures present in bodies that make major decisions.

TI has called on FIFA to take similar steps before, but developed its advice more specifically after FIFA showed a new willingness to change: asking for advice on anti-corruption policies and providing more information about its financial management and governance structures. This has allowed TI to provide detailed recommendations on governance issues targeted to the highest echelons of FIFA.

“FIFA says it wants to reform, but successive bribery scandals have left public trust in it at an all-time low. Working with an oversight group – taking its advice, giving it access, letting it participate in investigations – will show whether there is going to be real change. The process has to start now,” said Sylvia Schenk, senior advisor on sport to TI.

TI's eight-page recommendation document, Safe Hands: Building Integrity and Transparency at FIFA, is based on years of experience providing tools for companies and institutions that want to become more transparent and less vulnerable to corruption.

Reforms should have global backing

Because of the special nature of FIFA, meaningful reform requires everyone who has a stake in the game to join the debate and increase the pressure for reform, including supporters, bodies representing clubs and players, and the sponsors.

With its unprecedented reach, political clout and enormous worldwide social influence, FIFA is answerable only to national football officials from 208 countries. TI is therefore also sending the recommendations to national football federations in countries where it has chapters, calling upon those federations to support reform.

“Leaders in the world of sport have a particular responsibility to behave with integrity, not just because sports like football face corruption challenges such as match-fixing, but because sport provides role models for people everywhere, especially young people,” said Schenk.

TI prepared the FIFA recommendations after bribery allegations and a lack of transparency marred FIFA’s presidential elections in June 2011, as it did the selection of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December 2010.

“When an organisation says it wants to change, TI stands ready to provide constructive advice. Now that we have laid out clear, straightforward steps, it’s up to FIFA to prove its commitment to transparency and accountability,” said Schenk.

TI’s recommendations reflect good practice in the business world, and are drawn from existing documents such as TI's Business Principles for Countering Bribery and reporting guidance drawn from the section of the United Nations Global Compact related to fighting corruption.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

US Should Keep Right Balance Between Debt and Recovery: IMF


The United States must strike the right balance between reducing the public debt and sustaining the recovery, the IMF said yesterday. "In the United States, policymakers must strike the right balance between reducing public debt and sustaining the recovery, especially by making a serious dent in long-term unemployment," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in her speech here. A fair amount has been done to restore the financial sector health, but house price declines continue to weaken household balance sheets, she said. "With falling house prices still holding down consumption and creating economic uncertainty, there is simply no room for half-measures or delay," she added. The US needs to move on two specific fronts, she said. First, the nexus of fiscal consolidation and growth. "At first blush, these challenges seem contradictory. But they are actually mutually reinforcing. Credible decisions on future consolidation-- involving both revenue and expenditure-- create space for policies that support growth and jobs. "Growth is necessary for fiscal credibility, after all, who will believe that commitments to cut spending can survive a lengthy stagnation with prolonged high unemployment and social dissatisfaction?" she said. Halting the downward spiral of foreclosures, falling house prices and deteriorating household spending is the second front. "This could involve more aggressive principal reduction programmes for homeowners, stronger intervention by the government housing finance agencies, or steps to help homeowners take advantage of the low interest rate environment," added said. Earlier this month, rating agency Standard & Poor's has downgraded the sovereign rating of the US fromm AAA to AA+ "We have lowered our long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States of America to 'AA+' from 'AAA' and affirmed the 'A-1+' short-term rating. "We have also removed both the short- and long-term ratings from CreditWatch negative," S&P said in a statement. The downgrade, it said, reflects its opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan which Congress and the administration recently agreed to "falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

Parking crisis and worsening air quality and congestion in Delhi and other cities is of serious concern: say experts at CSE´s international conference

· A diverse group of city regulators, civil society representatives and experts from cities across the world gathered in the capital today for a dialogue on Parking Reforms for a Liveable City, organised by Centre for Science and Environment

· Parking crisis is the result of growing dependence on cars and availability of free parking. Solutions do not lie in capturing more valuable urban land for car parks, but in shifting to other modes and releasing the space for other important uses

· Parking devours close to 8-10 per cent of urban land in Delhi; daily addition of new cars creates additional demand for land bigger than 300 football fields. But cars pay nothing or a pittance for using the valuable land

· Car parking is choking roads, walkways, green spaces, when cars carry only 14 per cent of travel trips in the city. Is this sustainable?

· A car needs about 23 sq m to be comfortably parked. But a very poor family in Delhi gets a plot of just 18-25 sq.m. Is this acceptable?

· The conference recommended - manage parking well, pay for parking, limit parking where good public transport is available, and give people more attractive options for travel

New Delhi: Cities must formulate parking strategies to reduce traffic chaos. At the same time, they need to use parking controls and pricing to reduce parking demand and car usage. This is needed to free valuable urban space for other important uses and clean up our air.

This was the conclusion drawn by a select group of regulators, experts, and civil society representatives from different Indian cities and abroad, who had gathered in the capital today for a conference on Parking Reforms for a Liveable City, organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The Centre has been at the forefront of a campaign to encourage and push Delhi towards adopting a parking strategy.

Speaking at the conference, Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE´s executive director-research and advocacy and head of its air pollution team, said: "Our cities are on a suicidal path. The policy of increasing parking spaces and offering them free to meet the insatiable demand for parking is absolutely wrong."

Parking potholes

Keeping in mind the ever-increasing number of cars on our roads, parking entails enormous costs - pollution, congestion, traffic delays and wastage of fuel. Uncontrolled and free parking encourages more car dependency. Says Roychowdhury: "Parking already devours close to 10 per cent of the urban land in Delhi; the daily addition of cars here creates an additional demand for land bigger than 300 football fields. The same space could have been used for more important things, such as building schools, affordable housing, commercial centres or public green spaces."

Reiterates Vivek Chattopadhyaya, deputy programme manager of the air pollution team at CSE: "A city can never have enough land for parking. But parking will block the options of using the same land for other uses."

Car parks use up high value urban land, but pay nothing or a pittance for using the land. This also leads to very iniquitous use of urban land. A car gets about 23 sq m to be comfortably parked in a structured parking lot. But a very poor family in Delhi gets a plot area of just 18-25 sq m. This, says CSE, is completely unacceptable.

As it is, car users enjoy a hidden subsidy. This subsidy works out to be even higher if the rental or the land cost of the parking space in prime areas is considered. Increased investments in expensive multistoried structured car parks will further increase the subsidy burden as the parking rates are not expected to recover the costs.

Globally, cities are combining good public transport with direct restraints on cars to reduce pollution and congestion. They are making car parking prohibitively expensive, adding high premium to car ownership, exacting dues for entering prime busy areas, only allowing a fraction of them on roads at a time, or just not allowing them in the city centre. They are also giving people more options to cars. But Indian cities continue to encourage private car usage by charging a pittance for road usage and for parking.

Hong Kong and Tokyo have restricted car infrastructure in terms of wide roads and parking facilities. In Hong Kong, office buildings in the central area can have zero to minimal parking as they are very well connected with other modes of transport. Despite high car ownership, Tokyo provides less parking slots - only 0.5 slots per 100 sq m in commercial buildings. But Delhi, with 115 cars per 1,000 people, provides two-three parking slots per 100 sq m.

Winds of change

Policies in India have now begun to examine this issue seriously. The National Urban Transport Policy states land is valuable in all urban areas and parking occupies a large part of it; it asks regulators to recognise this, and levy high parking fee linked to the value of the land to make public transport more attractive.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has recommended to the Supreme Court that land is limited and there is a limit to the additional parking space that can be created in the city. The provision of parking for personal motorised vehicles cannot be considered as a matter of public good. Individual users should pay for the use of the space for parking and `user pays principle´ should be applied. The Supreme Court has taken these principles on board.

Well managed priced parking and parking restraints will benefit all

· Car user will benefit: Car users can have more reliable and predictable advance information about parking that can reduce cruising time. Efficient billing makes payment more transparent and accurate. If short-term parking is managed well, the chances of finding a space for quick errands improves and reduces waiting and cruising time as well as fuel cost spent on cruising. This decreases traffic chaos due to indiscriminate on-street parking.

· Non-car users will benefit: Well managed parking will help to protect footpaths and allow barrier free walking, frees up public spaces for cycle tracks, rickshaw parking, autoriskshaw-parking, play grounds and also improves access to bus-stops. Improve safety of children, women and elderly people. Removal of cars from the shopping frontage improves visibility and access to shops for more customers, improves shopping experience, and increases throughput of customers. Walkable neighbourhood fosters mixed use, free up public space for play grounds, improve overall environment, green areas and public recreational spaces. Well managed common parking can make it easier for emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, police, etc. to reach all homes/ offices/ buildings.

· Public health will benefit: Paid and restricted but well managed parking can reduce car use/ dependency which can reduce air pollution and congestion in the city. Air pollution is already taking heavy toll as large number of people is suffering from respiratory diseases like asthma, cardiac problems. Long term exposure to such levels will cause increased occurrence of cancers and other diseases in most individuals. Noise level can also be controlled. Global experience shows that when parking policy is designed as a travel demand management it reduces car usage and therefore congestion, air emissions as well as fuel use.

The way ahead

Many Indian cities are now investing on parking structures. Without a pricing and a management strategy, capital-intensive parking structures can remain grossly underutilised. It is recognised the world over that the demand for parking is infinite and any amount of supply cannot fulfill it -- if additional measures are not implemented to control car growth and usage. It is important to rethink strategy on multilevel parking in India. Major cities have been mandated under the JNNURM to reform parking policy. The guidelines from the urban development ministry have said clearly: "Introduce paid parking as a method to dissuade car use and/or raise revenue."

The workshop set the following terms for action on parking in cities:

· Parking policy should aim to reduce vehicle traffic (particularly urban-peak traffic) to reduce congestion, accidents, pollution, etc

· Eliminate parking subsidies. The right price tag on cars and its usage makes a difference. People are more sensitive to the direct cost of driving and this forces them to take decision to reduce car usage and move to alternatives. When combined with priced parking, limit on parking space and improved public transport, parking strategies promote alternative modes and restrain car usage.

· Integrate parking for more effective multimodal integration that gives priority to public transport buses, non-motorised transport and walking.

· Promote efficient management strategies and use parking spaces- as far as possible -- as common and shared public parking spaces that are priced.

· The policy will have to integrate the parking needs of the public transport buses, non-motorised transport and freight transport in a city.

· Maximize the parking revenue gains to be ploughed back for other sustainable practices. The NUTP has also stated that revenue from parking should be used for public transport betterment.

· Use parking creatively for multimodal integration to improve usage of buses, cycling and walking.

Says Roychowdhury: "With the help of a parking policy, it is possible to arrest and reverse these unsustainable trends. This can work well in Indian cities where public transport, cycling and walking still carry more than half of all daily commuting trips. Cars may be choking our cities. But a substantial part of daily commuting is on buses, foot and pedal. This is the strength that the Indian cities need to build on. Parking levers can help to achieve this."

Another Blow To Al-Qaeda

Another blow to f al-Qaeda. The killing of it's second-in-command Atiyah abd al-Rahman in Pakistan last week, has dealt the terror organization a blow so significant, it has left it's core operations virtually paralyzed, intelligence experts said Sunday.

Al-Rahman, a Libyan national, rose to the number two spot when Ayman al-Zawahri took the reins of al-Qaeda after Laden
in May in a US raid in Pakistan.
One US official said Rahman was killed in a strike by an unmanned drone on August 22. He was killed in Waziristan in northwest Pakistan where intelligence officials believe members of the organization are hiding, other US officials said.

"Atiyah's death is a tremendous loss for al-Qaeda, because (Zawahri) was relying heavily on him to help guide and run the organization, especially since bin Laden's death," one US official said.

"The trove of materials from bin Laden's compound showed clearly that Atiyah was deeply involved in directing al Qaeda's operations even before the (May) raid. He had multiple responsibilities in the organization and will be very difficult to replace," the official said.

US and Pakistani intelligence ties have been strained since the unilateral American strike against bin Laden, and Pakistani intelligence did not confirm Rahman's death. Sources in Pakistan said four people known to have been killed in a US drone strike on August 22 were local militants and not al-Qaeda.

Although most US officials described Rahman as al-Qaeda's No. 2, one said his rank wasn't as clear, saying he could be considered one of the top three leaders of the organization.

Regardless, Rahman's death would signal another significant setback for al Qaeda's core group just days before the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Noman Benotman, a former Libyan Islamist and now an analyst with Britain's Quilliam think tank, described Rahman as al-Qaeda's "CEO," or chief executive officer.

"This was the one man al Qaeda could not afford to lose," Benotman said.

"In the last two years he successfully, and I think more or less single-handedly, created the dynamics that kept al-Qaeda together."

A US official said Rahman ran daily operations for the group, spoke on behalf of bin Laden and Zawahri and was the one that "affiliates knew and trusted."

"Zawahri needed Atiyah's experience and connections to help manage al Qaeda. Now it will be even harder for him to consolidate control," the U.S. official said.

Zawahri is believed to lack bin Laden's presence or his ability to unite different Arab factions within the group, analysts say.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last month on a visit to Afghanistan that he believed the strategic defeat of al Qaeda was within reach if the United States could kill or capture up to 20 remaining leaders of the core group and its affiliates.