Wednesday, March 23, 2005

23 mar 05

'Prevent child marriages'

NEW DELHI, MARCH 22. The Supreme Court has asked Collectors and Superintendents of Police to prevent mass child marriages. This is in view of the thousands of child marriages every year during festivals such as "Akshay tritiya," "Akha Teej," "Ram Navami," "Basant Panchami" and "Karma Jayanti." — PTI
Shabana Azmi in NIC

NEW DELHI, MARCH 22. The Centre today appointed the actor, Shabana Azmi, and the Congress leader, Syed Shahabuddin, members of the National Integration Council (NIC).
The NIC was reconstituted last month under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, a spokesperson said.
The names of Ms. Azmi and Mr. Shahabuddin were under the category of Eminent Public Figures, he said.
`Only doctors with 5 years experience can perform sterilisation'
By J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI, MARCH 22. The Supreme Court, expressing serious concern over deaths caused by unregulated sterilisation methods in the country, has directed all States and the Union Territories to permit only those doctors with five years of gynaecological experience to conduct sterilisation programmes.
A three-Judge Bench, comprising Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice C.K. Thakker, passed the order on a petition from Ramakant Rai and another person seeking guidelines for sterilisation procedures.
The Bench said several States had filed affidavits on the steps taken by them to regulate sterilisation procedures. However, it was apparent that there was no uniformity in the procedures and norms for ensuring that the guidelines framed by the Centre were being followed.
The Bench directed all the States and the Union Territories to introduce a system of having an approved panel of doctors with five years of gynaecological experience to carry out sterilisation. The panel might be prepared State, district or region-wise.

Woman Leading Friday Prayers Condemned
Arab News
JEDDAH, 23 March 2005 — The Islamic Fiqh Academy, an affiliate of the 55-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, has strongly condemned as “religious heresy” the recent incident of a woman leading Friday prayers in New York City.
“This is a misleading heresy and sedition,” the academy said about the incident in which Amina Wadud, a professor of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, led prayers for a mixed-gender group.
“The incident is a clear violation of Shariah as it does not allow women leading prayers for men or delivering Friday sermon to them or mingling of men and women at prayers,” said the academy’s statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

Wolfowitz Dating Muslim Woman Causes Stir
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News
Shaha Ali Riza 

WASHINGTON, 23 March 2005 — Here’s a bit of news that had Washingtonians choking on their coffee this morning: President Bush’s neoconservative hawk Paul Wolfowitz, the Pentagon’s architect of the US invasion of Iraq, is dating a Muslim!
While battle lines have hardened over President Bush’s nomination of Wolfowitz to become president of the World Bank, what many say is really fueling the controversy is concern within the bank over Wolfowitz’s reported romantic relationship with Shaha Ali Riza, an Arab feminist who is the acting manager for External Relations and Outreach for the Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank.


Guest Worker May Lose Digits, Toes After Being Tied Up in Bathroom for a Month
Hassan Adawi, Arab News
JEDDAH, 23 March 2005 — A 25-year-old Indonesian woman who came to Saudi Arabia as a guest worker will have several of her fingers, toes and part of her right foot amputated because of gangrene after being tied up for a month in a bathroom by her Saudi sponsor, who also apparently beat her severely, injuring her eye and knocking several of her teeth out.
The reason given was that the woman, who worked as a maid, had not finished cleaning the house. The Indonesian government is demanding justice as Riyadh police continue to investigate this disgusting crime.


Man offers 1 mn for place in Pak cricket team!

Asian News International
Islamabad, March 21, 2005

A London-based Pakistani millionaire has offered the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) an amount of nearly one million pound for giving him an opportunity to play for Pakistan against India in the ongoing series.
M Jamshaid, a Pakistani national living in London, made this offer through e-mail to the PCB.
"We have received an e-mail of this millionaire who boasts of his game skills and wants to play for the country," The News quoted a PCB official as saying.


Malappuram duo wanted in US

KOZHIKODE, MARCH 22: Two village school dropouts from Malappuram have allegedly pulled off a Rs 50-crore investment scam in New York, swindling scores of NRIs and native Americans. They were running an ethnic restaurant there.
Kerala police have decided to seek the Interpol’s help to crack the case.

The Crime Branch has arrested 35-year-old Mohemmed Ali alias Mohemmed Kutty, a green card holder. They are looking for his senior partner, 45-year-old Shefin Syed Mohemmed Abdullah.
Police say the suave Kutty had gone to school for only four years and was a labourer in Malappuram before migrating to the Gulf 16 years ago.
Abdullah was a cook in Nilambur and was known for his special biriyani. He, too, had gone to the Gulf and had eventually managed to get himself a sponsor to the US. Kutty tagged along and by 1993, the duo had rented floor space from a Chinese landowner in Queen’s Village, Hollid Town, to set out with their small 15-guest restaurant, the Malabar Palace.
The restaurant was an instant hit with the local NRI community, and soon began drawing others as well. Over the years, it grew in size and its owners gained in stature. ‘‘This restaurant was a favoured haunt for many politicians and VIPs going to New York, with Kutty and Shefin playing eager hosts. This increased their credibility in the largely Indian expatriate community,’’ says P. Abdul Hamid, a Circle Inspector investigating the case.
A few years ago, they began advertising in local and community publications in New York, seeking investment to expand the restaurant. And money poured in. ‘‘They roped in all kinds of NRIs — from nurses to software geeks to traders to even daily wage earners — and a whole lot of native Americans too,’’ says Hamid.
The duo even issued stamped receipts to investors and told them the money would be deposited in two New York banks — Citibank and Northfort Bank. Then, in 1993, Shefin and Kutty handed over the restaurant to a Malayalee crew to run it till they came back from vacation, and took a flight home. They never returned.
Tired of waiting, six of their victims, led by Islamuddin Khan — an NRI from UP who had handed them $1,60,000 — petitioned the Kerala DGP recently, who later asked the Crime Branch to probe. Kutty, who the police say was staying in Indian cities, was caught two days ago in his village.
‘‘After word of Kutty’s arrest reached US, we are now being flooded with scores of petitions and phone calls, from New York and even other US cities. It would be sometime before we get an accurate picture, but it (the scam) already appears to be worth upward of Rs 50 crore,’’ police said.

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