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Newsletter. Issue 2010-11. May 22, 2010

 
 
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News Clips From India
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India News Clips

Pakistan says Canada should toughen G8 border plan to fight terror havens
http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/world/article
Mike Blanchfield,| The Canadian Press | 09 May 2010 01:26

OTTAWA - Pakistan says a Canadian-led G8 initiative to rehabilitate its lawless Afghanistan border region doesn't go far enough to stamp out terrorism. Islamabad has asked Ottawa to expand the scope of its plan, and is also concerned how it will be financed: forcing Pakistan deeper into debt with international lenders, The Canadian Press has learned.

Pakistan says it is grateful for the "Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Region Prosperity Initiative" that was announced by G8 foreign ministers in March, but says it doesn't do enough to lift up the fortunes of the vulnerable, economically-backward region that is now become a safe haven for al-Qaida terrorists.

Pakistan's dubious distinction as a terror base has once again been highlighted as U.S. officials say the Pakistani Taliban directed the plot to detonate a bomb in New York City's Times Square. The accused bomber, Faisal Shahzad, is accused of spending five months in Pakistan before returning to the U.S. to prepare his attack.

Pakistan has asked Canada to consider expanding the initiative - announced when G8 foreign ministers met in the Ottawa area in March - arguing more needs to be done beyond one or two "signature" projects.

Pakistan has asked Canada, the chair of this year's G8, to take a second look at its wish list for addressing the series of woes that bedevil its western frontier with Afghanistan. "Our feeling is the initiative should not confine itself to one or two high profile projects, but do something in terms of uplifting those regions," Akbar Zeb, Pakistan's High Commissioner to Canada, told The Canadian Press.

"If it's even one signature project, we can't object to that. We are happy to take that." Canada has cited one possibility, a highway that would link Peshawar in Pakistan and Jalalabad in Afghanistan, the two main cities that straddle the Khyber Pass.

But Pakistan pitched a much broader program of initiatives that would include poverty alleviation, improvements to infrastructure and health services.

Pakistan pitched building seven schools in strategic areas, a water purification plan, and a small dam about 30 kilometres from Peshawar. Canada approached Pakistan for its wish list in early March, about 10 days before G8 political directors - known as Sherpas - held a major planning meeting in Ottawa.

"These are the areas that constituted the so-called breeding grounds for terrorism," said Zeb. "We need to pay more attention to the economic betterment of the region. The two governments (of Pakistan and Afghanistan) have failed in many ways to invest in those areas. The expectation was that these two areas would be developed with the help of our friends in Western countries."

Pakistan also objects to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank being the institutions that would finance the initiative because the country wants to avoid further debt. Instead it wants G8 to put some money on the table themselves.

"It shouldn't be in the form of a loan. If it is a G8 initiative, it should be G8 funding," said Zeb. "We are not looking for more loans for something like this." Zeb said Japan might commit some money, and there could be direct G8 contribution, but he said the funding details remain "a bit hazy."

Pakistan says its portion of the highway project to the Afghan border would cost $165 million. The G8 began looking at Pakistan in earnest in 2008, when Japan hosted the group. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon announced the Afghanistan-Pakistan initiative of behalf of his G8 counterparts in late March as part of a plan to "strengthen regional cooperation and bring greater stability to the region." At the time, Cannon said the initiative would "focus on projects, identified as priorities by the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan."

International security issues will be on the agenda when Canada hosts the G8 leaders' summit on June 25 and 26 in Ontario's Muskoka region.

 

Toronto Lawyer gets honoured By India

TORONTO, May 11 /CNW/ - Brampton Lawyer Shan Padda was honored this evening by Hon Purneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs of India for his human rights work with SAHRA (South Asians for Human Rights Association) and for his contributions towards the promotion of establishing a World Punjabi center in Toronto. The event was organized by Banda Bahadur Foundation. "Shan Padda is a tireless worker of the Punjabi Culture and Human Rights and we are proud that he is getting Honored," said J.S. Dhaliwal, The president of Banda Bahadur Foundation. Shan Padda is a Human Rights and Immigration Lawyer who is a director of Toronto Based Human Rights Organization SAHRA.
 
For further information: Roger Nair, (416) 477-5777, www.HumanRightsCanada.Org

 

Eight Indian students in Intel ISEF
http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/cgi-bin/ecprint/MasterPFP.cgi?doc=f
 

Eight young students who have been successful at the India Initiative for Research & Innovation in Science (IRIS) with their innovative science and technology projects will now represent India in the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held in San Jose, California from May 9-14, 2010.

The Intel ISEF is a program organized by the Society for Science & the Public (SSP). With a gathering of over 1,500 young students from 50 plus countries, representing 1200+ projects, it is an opportunity for the best young minds in the world to come together to share ideas, showcase cutting-edge projects, and compete for $4 million and more in awards and scholarships. The Intel ISEF winners are judged on their creative ability and scientific thought, as well as the thoroughness, skill, and clarity shown in their projects.

Eight students (Four in the individual category and two each in the team category) with their winning science and engineering projects will now travel to the U.S. to compete. During the week-long Science and Engineering Fair, the students will have the opportunity to meet leading scientists and exchange ideas on various evolving topics in science, research and technology. ?The success of these students reveals their scientific aptitude, research acumen and innovation in the country,? said Rahul Bedi, Director, Corporate Affairs, Intel South Asia.

He added, ?Intel believes that today's youth are this country?s future innovators and that young people are the key to solving global challenges. Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, encourages students to tackle challenging scientific questions through authentic research practices to solve the problems of tomorrow. Intel is directly involved in education today to inspire tomorrow?s innovators through initiatives like the ISEF.?

 

Only in India: A Brahmin groom for a Catholic bride
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/5935792.cms?prtpage=1
Ashley D'Mello, TNN, May 16, 2010, 12.42am IST


MUMBAI: When Winnie D'Souza wanted to marry her daughter into a ?decent' family, she scanned the matrimonial columns of Catholic periodicals in Panaji. After shortlisting a few young men, D'Souza made inquiries about their caste. She wanted her daughter to marry a Brahmin. Most Catholic publications do not list caste categories as they did 20 years ago, but casteism has not disappeared among Christians. It has merely become more subtle.

Unlike Bihar, Orissa and the North-East, which have large tribal Christian populations, the Christians of Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu remain in thrall to the caste categories of their Hindu ancestors.

Father Augustine Kanjamala, a theologian in Mumbai, has researched caste among Christians. Caste exists in different forms in various Christian communities, he says. In Kerala the Christians admitted to the faith almost 2,000 years ago are called Syrian Christians. They are better off than Latin Christians, who are mainly from poorer communities. Syrian Christians and Latin Christians do not inter-marry. They even have different institutions to train their priests.

In Goa, Christians belonging to Brahmin or Charado (Kshatriya) castes are more privileged than the others. They dominate Church institutions and activities. Father Augustine says that in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Dalit Christians are not given much access to Church festivities. Sometimes they are reduced to having a separate church. Two decades ago, the graveyards had separate sections for upper and lower castes. This is changing because some progressive priests have challenged the iniquitous system.

"In Mangalore, a few families of Dalit Christians have returned to Hinduism as they felt humiliated living among Christians who discriminated against them,? says Father Augustine. "Caste will not die out in the Church easily, but in cities like Mumbai, the urban situation has led to the breaking down of barriers of caste".


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