Scrap MoUs violating land act, say tribals


TNN | Feb 4, 2012
RANCHI: The Adivasi-Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch (AMARM), an umbrella organization of tribals and original settlers of the state, has demanded cancellation of all memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed between the state and corporate houses as it violates the provisions of the CNT Act.

The AMARM is also opposed to acquisition of land by the government for Indian Institute of Management and law university at Kanke and Nagri. AMARM convener Dayamani Barla said the MoU signed by the government with the corporate houses was not approved by the Tribal Advisory Council and Gram Sabha. “We want that all MoUs should be cancelled as it is against the law of the land,” said Barla adding that the recent judgment of the Jharkhand high court on strict implementation of the CNT Act confirmed the violation.

Tthe CNT Act Suraksha Samiti has called a mahapanchayat here on February 19. Tribal leaders and activists from all over the state will address the gathering.

Pakistan’s Senate passed a women’s rights protection bill


By: Imran Mukhtar | February 03, 2012 |

The bill creates a National Commission on the Status of Women.

ISLAMABAD- The Senate on Thursday, keeping a mum on the emerging political situation after the Supreme Court decided to bring charges against Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in a contempt of court notice, remained stuck to its legislative business and passed a women rights protection bill.The lawmakers across the divided floor thumped desks when the House unanimously passed the National Commission on the Status of Women Bill, 2012. The National Assembly had already passed the Bill. The Bill provides for the setting up of National Commission on the Status of Women for the promotion of social, economic, political and legal rights of women The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill says that in furtherance of the empowerment of women and to ensure their rights, it is necessary and expedient to establish at a national level, a commission for women, with full administrative and financial autonomy to monitor and oversee compliance with national laws and international conventions; to advocate for the rights of women; to highlight discriminatory practices, abuse and violations of women’s rights; and make policy recommendation.

The Bill got applause from all the lawmakers, especially women legislators, prior to its passage that was moved by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar before the house was adjourned to meet again on Friday at 10am.Before the Chairman Senate put the Bill to vote, Professor Khurshid Ahmed opposed it on technical grounds. He said that Law Ministry and the concerned Ministry of Human Rights had not necessarily vetted the Bill. “Women rights as defined by the Constitution and the criterion of qualification for the appointment of the Chairperson of Commission have not been clearly defined in the proposed legislation,” he said, adding that the members of the Commission should be represented and reflected by all cross sections of the society. He also said that the Commission should be made autonomous and suggested that its passage should be delayed for some time.However, some other lawmakers suggested that the proposed Bill should be passed immediately without any delay.

Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of MQM hailing the Bill said that further delay in its legislation should be considered a great disservice for the women of the country. Begum Gulshan Saeed suggested that the proposed Commission should work on ways to stop forced marriages and marriages with Holy QuranSenator Rehmatullah Kakar of JUI-F supporting the Bill pointed out that the criterion of qualification for the appointment of the Chairperson had not been clearly defined in it. He also said that according to the proposed legislation, the members of the Commission should have a status of government officials that would be a question mark on its autonomy.

Senator Haroon Akhtar of PML-Q said that it was the need of the hour to establish such a commission that could protect all the women rights legislations passed by this present Parliament.Qari Muhammad Abdullah termed the constitution of the Commission exactly right in the light of the teachings of Islam. Senator Abdul Rahim Mandokhel of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkAMP) said he wanted to bring on record that the under discussion subject was not present in the federal legislative list and only provinces could pass legislation on it.

Pakistan pharmaceutical industry and Fake Medicines Crises


By Shoaib Habib Memon

Pakistan has a growing pharmaceutical industry. As of 2012, the total export value of Pakistani-manufactured medicines around the world stood at $400 million.Many different companies sell a diverse range of drugs and pharmaceutical products, the biggest household names of which include:

Ferozsons Laboratories

Getz Pharma

Herbion

Remington Pharmaceuticals

Barrett Hodgson Pakistan

Zahoor Pharmaceutical Industry PVT LTD

Bosch Pharmaceuticals

Nucleus Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Limited

Shaf Pharma

Macter International Limited

Today, the pharmaceutical sector is one of the most developed hi-tech sectors within the country’s economy. New pharmacy schools have been set up nationwide in the past few years which provide and cater to quality pharmacy education to students of pharmacy. Within the province of Punjab,the Punjab Pharmacy Council (based in Lahore) is a government department responsible for conducting examination and tests.

The Pakistan Pharmacists Society is the national professional organisation of pharmacists country-wide and also acts as a regulatory authority controlling pharmacy practice in Pakistan. Pharmaceutical authorities in Pakistan are part of the International Pharmaceutical Federation.The Pakistan Pharmacists Society (PPS) is the national organization of pharmacists and student pharmacists, committed to providing leadership for the pharmacists. PPS has a mission to promote and expand the profession of pharmacy and the role of pharmacists in Pakistan. PPS is dedicated to improve public health and patient care by enhancing professional development of the pharmacists and the Pakistan pharmacy council.

PPS Objectives are,To promote pharmacy as an essential component of the healthcare team and to serve as primary catalyst for this change.

To contribute to continuing education programmes for pharmacists already engaged in practice to improve the medication use and health outcomes of patients.To promote high standards of professional conduct amongst pharmacists in order to improve medication use.To provide leadership in the identification, development and implementation of health policies of concern to pharmacy.To hold seminars, symposia, exhibitions and conferences in order to foster national and international collaborations. To liaise with health professional organizations and others in order to achieve aforementioned objectives.

In most jurisdictions (such as the United States), pharmacists are regulated separately from  physicians. These jurisdictions also usually specify that only pharmacists may supply scheduled pharmaceuticals to the public, and that pharmacists cannot form business partnerships with physicians or give them “kickback” payments. However, the American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Ethics provides that physicians may dispense drugs within their office practices as long as there is no patient exploitation and patients have the right to a written prescription that can be filled elsewhere. 7 to 10 percent of American physicians practices reportedly dispense drugs on their own.

In some rural areas in the United Kingdom, there are dispensing doctors who are allowed to both prescribe and dispense prescription-only medicines to their patients from within their practices. The law requires that the GP practice be located in a designated rural area and that there is also a specified, minimum distance (currently 1.6 kilometres) between a patient’s home and the nearest retail pharmacy.

In other jurisdictions (particularly in Asian countries such as China, Malaysia, and Singapore), doctors are allowed to dispense drugs themselves and the practice of pharmacy is sometimes integrated with that of the physician, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine.

In Canada it is common for a medical clinic and a pharmacy to be located together and for the ownership in both enterprises to be common, but licensed separately.

The reason for the majority rule is the high risk of a conflict of interest and/or the avoidance of absolute powers. Otherwise, the physician has a financial self-interest in “diagnosing” as many conditions as possible, and in exaggerating their seriousness, because he or she can then sell more medications to the patient. Such self-interest directly conflicts with the patient’s interest in obtaining cost-effective medication and avoiding the unnecessary use of medication that may have side-effects. This system reflects much similarity to the checks and balances system of the U.S. and many other governments.

A campaign for separation has begun in many countries and has already been successful (like in Korea). As many of the remaining nations move towards separation, resistance and lobbying from dispensing doctors who have pecuniary interests may prove a major stumbling block (e.g. in Malaysia).But Still Pakistan pharmaceutical Companies not pursuing the rules. Several Patients die due to usage of Fake  Drugs.

During late January 2012, a fake medicine crisis at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) hospital in the Lahore region of Punjab, Pakistan, claimed the lives of over 100 heart patients. According to various reports, the incident involved patients who had been receiving treatment at the hospital and had been prescribed with substandard medicine.The medicine triggered an unknown disease which deposited itself in the bone marrow and ended the body’s resistance. The generation of white blood cells stopped in the body. Among the symptoms of the disease were a severe chest infection, change in complexion, low platelet count and blood vomiting.

The medicines were free of cost and distributed mainly to poor people. The total number of people who may be at risk after taking medicine from the hospital may be as high as 46,000 according to one report.

Almost all victims were from the Lahore area. One fatality was also recorded in Multan.The Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif vowed “stern action” against those responsible and announced a compensation of Rs. 500,000 each for the victims’ families. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) formed an investigation team to probe the incident on the orders of Minister for Interior Rehman Malik.The team arrested some people reportedly involved in the distribution of the medicine. Cases were also registered against three pharmaceutical companies who made the medicine.

Investigations revealed that the licence in one of the three pharmaceutical laboratories which supplied the contaminated drugs to the PIC had long expired in April 2011. Despite this, the company continued to manufacture the drugs in bulk and supplied them to government hospitals and open markets. As the death toll exceeded one hundred, the Lahore High Court ordered respondents involved in the case to file their replies by the 30th of January.

Tests performed by the British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom indicated that one of the five suspected drugs – Isotab – was contaminated. A report also showed that the medicines contained Pyrimethamine which is in fact used for the treatment of malaria. The presence of pyrimethamine proved to be toxic.

The writer can be contacted at -shoaibhmemon@yahoo.com

Andaman Nicobar island case – new videos suggest role of Indian Police


Jarawa girls told to dance semi-naked for the camera as two videos offer fresh proof of official involvement in ‘human safaris’

Gethin Chamberlain

The Observer, Sat 4 Feb 2012
Two videos obtained by the Observer offer fresh proof of official involvement in “human safaris” to see the protected Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands.

A three minutes and 19 seconds clip, shot on a mobile phone, shows half-naked girls from the tribe dancing for a seated Indian police officer. A second, shorter clip again focuses on a girl’s nudity, while men in military uniform mill around.

The new evidence comes as authorities in Orissa state set an example to their counterparts in the Andamans by moving swiftly to end human safaris to see the Bonda tribe, another abuse revealed by an Observer investigation.

The Indian government had ordered both sets of officials to take swift action to investigate and prevent abuse. In an interview last week, tribal affairs minister V Kishore Chandra Deo said exploitation by outsiders had to be stopped.

A preliminary report quickly commissioned by the Orissa government concluded that the Bonda needed greater protection. Officials suggested that tourists would in future be banned from photographing the tribe and all cameras would have to be deposited with officials before they could enter the area. Two tour operators have already been charged with selling tribal tours “in an obscene manner”.

Police in the Andamans have repeatedly denied any involvement in human safaris after an Observer investigation last month found evidence that officers had accepted bribes to allow tourists to meet and film the Jarawa. A video of young Jarawa women being ordered to dance in return for food caused outrage in India and around the world.

But the new videos raise fresh questions about the complicity of officers who are supposed to be protecting the tribe.

An off-camera voice at the start of the longer clip is heard to tell the girls: “Dance”. Initially, the camera is focused on the breasts of the oldest girl. A few second later, the man tells the girls: “Move back, move back a little, a little more”. They do, until they are all in shot. The girls are young, wearing red string skirts and jewellery. “Do it,” the voice tells them, and they start to dance again, swaying their hips and clapping.

Halfway through, the camera pans round briefly to show a police officer sitting by the side of the road, watching. For the opening seconds, the camera focuses on the girls’ baskets: inside are items including a packet of Parle-G biscuits – a popular Indian brand.

The second video is less structured and shows a group of young Jarawa being filmed with military personnel. The camera points first at a bare-breasted girl. A male voice, off camera, tells her, “isko to de” (“at least give me that”), which prompts her to run to protect her basket of belongings. The clip ends with a male voice saying, “chal chal” (“get lost”).

The words are spoken in Hindi. The speakers are, it appears, members of the Indian defence forces (the Andamans is unusual in that it has a force structure combining all three military services, known as the Andaman and Nicobar Command). Neither video is datestamped, but the longer one is understood to have surfaced about two months ago in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The Indian government ordered a crackdown on human safaris after the Observer revealed that hundreds of tourists drove through the Jarawa jungle every day on the Andaman trunk road, taking photos of the tribe and throwing them fruit, biscuits and other snacks.

The Jarawa are believed to have lived on the islands for tens of thousands of years but did not make contact with outsiders until about 14 years ago.

Campaigners say police are heavily involved in abusing the trust of the Jarawa. Six years ago, a report for the Indian government’s National Advisory Council, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, president of the ruling Congress party, warned about the sexual exploitation of Jarawa women and the involvement of police. Despite reports of Jarawa girls being seen entering police huts at night, and the birth of a non-Jarawa child, no action was taken.

The original Observer investigation found evidence that some police officers were taking bribes to allow tourists to meet and film the Jarawa inside their jungle reserve, both of which are illegal.

The Indian government has taken a hard line, ordering the governments of the Andamans and Orissa to investigate and take action to prevent future abuse.

The tribal affairs minister said last week that the government would review its policy on the Jarawa within the next 12 months, and promised to consult the tribe. He said: “Their land rights have to be protected. Their sources of livelihood have to be protected. Finally, their exploitation by outsiders has to be checked.” The minister has also written to the Orissa government and promised to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of culprits.

Although Orissa has taken swift action, there was embarrassment for ministers last week when it was revealed that tribal people were being paraded for visitors to a state-run exhibition. Human rights activists protested that the government was “making a circus” out of the tribes. Several tribal people had been brought to the exhibition in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, and told to sit outside models of tribal houses for visitors. In the face of protests, organisers quickly withdrew the human exhibits.

Andaman police failed to respond to the new allegations, claiming to be unable to view evidence submitted by the Observer because of problems with their internet connection. Earlier the commander-in-chief of defence forces on the islands had promised to take “appropriate action” if evidence was found of the involvement of military personnel.

Denis Giles, the campaigning editor of the islands’ Andaman Chronicle newspaper, says the tribespeople believe the police are protecting them; the reality is that they are being used.

He says police have taught the Jarawa to beg. Officers take the money they collect and give them tobacco, which they never previously used, and food. The possibility of abuse is obvious, and Giles says there have been cases where women have given birth to children fathered by outsiders. The babies are not accepted by the Jarawa and are killed, he says.

Like many previously uncontacted tribes, the Jarawa are vulnerable to new diseases. They have started succumbing to measles and mumps and even malaria, to which they previously appeared to have some sort of immunity.

Assam launches scheme for pregnant mothers


pregnancy test - negative

pregnancy test - negative (Photo credit: slayerphoto)

Assam launches scheme for pregnant mothers

Under the scheme all pregnant women are entitled to free delivery — including caesarean section —in public health institutions of the state
Submitted on 01/31/2012

Guwahati: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday launched an Assam government scheme entitling all pregnant women to free delivery — including caesarean section —in public health institutions.

The “Janani Sishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK)” also provides for free transport from home to institution, between facilities in case of a referral and a drop back home.

Azad also launched 23 mobile medical units (MMUs) for the 23 sub-divisions in the state, reports IANS.

Danish Journalist Tom Heinemann Denied Visa To India


By Neha Dixit

03 February, 2012

Countercurrents.org

Embarrassment and Outrage are the two tags that explain freedom of expression in this country. We were still recuperating from the treatment doled out to Salman Rushdie, who was denied an entry in

India for the Jaipur Literary Festival, when we heard a similar case.

Tom Heinemann, award winning documentary film maker from Denmark has been denied a visa by the Indian Embassy in Copenhagen. Last week, the Indian Embassy stated that no journalist employed at Danish Broadcasting Service (DR) are welcome in India anymore. Still, an unnamed employee at the Indian Embassy said that all other journalists are still welcome. But not Tom Heinemann. The reason: In 2005 he made the film “A Killer Bargain” on the working conditions at i.e. Danish companies in India.The refusal also applies to his wife, Lotte la Cour, who is his

regular television cameraman.

More importantly, the Indian embassy stamped three letters in both their passports – ‘VAF’. It stands for ‘Visa Application Failed’ and, according to Tom Heinemann, a stamp that makes his passport virtually useless in many of the countries he would like to visit. “It’s something you write in the passport of alleged terrorists and villains. I am persona non grata in India for life. It is what it

means. And I have to switch passports, otherwise I can’t go into a lot of other countries, “says Heinemann.

Heinemann has done phenomenal work in his journalistic career. He also won the Grand Jury, Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism 2011. His documentary, The Micro Debt raises uncomfortable questions about microcredit. Sparked by his own personal experiences from extensive travel in countries and regions such as India, Bangladesh and South America, Heinemann shows viewers the potential dark side of the microcredit phenomenon. He also highlights human tragedies, such as

suicides that have resulted from the pressure of personal debt or the social exclusion that can ensue when individual misfortune places a borrowing group in jeopardy. The fundamental tenet of microcredit – to provide cheap finance to entrepreneurial individuals in developing countries – is questioned and Heinemann forces his viewers to consider whether the premise that anyone can be an entrepreneur is no more than a hopeful fantas y, instead often ending in an inescapable spiral of

debt.

The documentary was broadcast in more than 14 countries. Heinemann and his friends in Denmark are also paying for the education of four children of a common friend they have in India. Tom and his wife wanted to visit these children on a tourist visa.Tom Heinemann has informed the Danish ministry of foreign affairs that he again has been refused a visa.

In a comment, the chairman of the National Danish Union of Journalists, Mogens Blicher Bjerrregaard demands that the government immediately intervene: “The Danish government must explain the Indian authorities that this is not how press freedom works”.There has been no response from the Indian authorities about the matter. Goes without saying, freedom of press and expression is a ferocious facade in this country. Demand what is rightful and the facade gushes forth.

Neha Dixit is a frequent contributor to Countercurrents.org.

She can be reached atnehadixit123@gmail.com

Tom Heinamann can be contacted at tomheinemann@gmail.com

Cameroon- Breast Ironing to avoid sexual violence


In a desperate attempt to prevent sexual assault and teen pregnancy, Cameroonian mothers are literally ironing their daughters’ breasts with hot stones to make them less attractive.

Breast ironing is not an acceptable form of pregnancy prevention or a replacement for sex education.

The ritual affects a quarter of all women in Cameroon and as soon as they show signs of puberty, sometimes as young as nine. The girls cry as they’re held down and scalding hot stones are pressed onto their breasts.

The possible damage of this practice can be severe, including bruises, deformities, abscesses, and even the disappearance of one or both breasts.

Cameroon mothers may think breast ironing is “for their [daughters’] own good,” but it’s not the way to prevent sexual violence and early pregnancy. Urge UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to speak out against breast ironing and to advocate for adequate sex education in Cameroon.
Please do sign the petition

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/154/051/021/>

Appeal for Kashmir Refugees in Mumbai


Dear all,

Supriya and  Ramlath , today visited a group of refugees (mostly Muslim) from Kashmir, who have been living for the past one month, in makeshift tents (of bed sheets and blankets) near the Bandra Terminus, Bandra East, Bombay. They had fled from Baramullah and had come to Delhi where they had been living for the past two to three years. Last month, a group of 1000 came to Bombay.

They are hoping to return to Kashmir in March. The government has called them back offering relocation to a safer area. Some of them have got their train tickets for 15th March, others are in the process.

The group is largely of older men and women, mothers with children and a few young men. Some of these men have got temporary jobs. What they need is food. The camp, if it can be called that, is in very bad condition, they have nothing and mainly no food. Individuals have donated food but that is usually on a daily basis. They are here till mid March.

What they need is:
Rice
Dal (Tur)

Oil (Sarson preferable)

Sugar
Chilli (mirchi) powder
TUrmeric (Haldi) powder

If any of you are in a position to help, please do, you could contact Bilal, he is one of the coordinators (9987126019).

If there are any NGO’s or groups who can help them, please let us know ( ramlathkavil@yahoo.co.uk or madangarli@gmail.com

Faiz Centenary Celebration Program -Pl share widely


FAIZ AHMED FAIZ
Birth Centenary Celebration Program

”Faiz is a poet who drew as many as fifty thousand people to his readings, a poet whose work is quoted by heart by the literate and the illiterate, a poet whose lines were recited even by those who opposed him…. A poet whose ghazals had been (and continue to be) sung by the leading singers of the subcontinent (including the legendary Begum Akhtar), a poet who was such a master of the ghazal that he transformed its every stock image and, as if by magic, brought absolutely new associations into being. For example, the beloved – an archetypal figure in Urdu poetry – can mean friend, woman, God. Faiz not only tapped into these meanings but extended them to include the Revolution….Waiting for the Revolution can be as agonizing and intoxicating as waiting for one’s lover…”

– Agha Shahid Ali

Kashmiri poet and a translator of Faiz’ poetry

Faiz wrote all his life with an unmatched empathy for the toiling people and to give spirit to their struggle to change their lives. His poetry gave hope to struggling people everywhere of their ultimate victory……Come, let us celebrate his birth centenary …..

Programme

Release of a book published by Muktiyaan Sanskritik Sangathan of essays on the life and poetry of Faiz along with a selection of his poems translated into Marathi by

NADIRA ZAHEER BABBAR
Actor, director and daughter of Com Sajjad Zaheer, the mentor and close friend and comrade of Faiz

Talk on the life and philosophy of Faiz by

PROF. ZAHIR ALI
Writer, freelance journalist, professor of political science, author of a book on Faiz in Urdu entitled Talmihaat-e- Faiz

Recital of Faiz’ poetry and singing of his ghazals interspersed with a Multimedia Presentation on his life and times

Friday, 10th February, 2012

5.45 pm (please try and be on time)

P L Deshpande Sahitya Academy, Mini Theatre, Ravindra Natya Mandir Complex, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025.

Entry is free. All are welcome.

—–Muktiyaan Sanskritik Sangathan & Faiz ki Biradari—–

Mumbai scribes to take protest to Delhi


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