#Karnataka -MoEF closes Gogi mines file


By Ramkrishna Badseshi & Bhimashankar Kakalwara | ENS – GULBARGA

15th February 2013

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has closed the project file relating to uranium mining plant at Gogi village in Shahpur taluk and has delisted it from the pending list of projects.

A letter by Director of Ministry of Environment & Forests Dr Saroj to the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd on December 28, 2012,   was made available to Express on Thursday. According to the letter, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has noted that the public hearing panel going into the setting up a mining extraction plant at Gogi was chaired by Yadgir Assistant Commissioner though he was not the competent authority. Under Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006, the deputy commissioner should chair the panel. Hence the hearing is not valid and has to be conducted afresh according to procedures prescribed in EIA Notification, 2006, it stated.

The letter further stated that since the public hearing was postponed without following procedures, the ministry has decided to close the project file. Yadgir deptuy commissioner F R Jamdar said that as far as the district was concerned, the “uranium mining chapter is closed”.

# India-Child threatened over homework dies after suicide attempt


A ten-year-old boy who immolated himself in Bijapur succumbed to his injuries on Saturday. The fourth standard student was reportedly depressed because his teacher had threatened to punish him if he did not do his homework.

The child was admitted to hospital with severe burns last week after his suicide attempt. No case has been registered against the teacher. The incident came to light after the boy was found missing at the school prayer meeting.

Ironically,  had just read yesterday, in times of india view and counter view on the issue

Study says homework doesn’t help students score better grades

Dec 1, 2012, 12.00AM IST

TIMES VIEW

Still a key part of education

According to the study carried out by University of Virginia researchers – one in which they looked at the transcripts and grades of more than 18,000 Xth grade students – homework doesn’t necessarily help children get higher grades, although it may help them get better standardised test scores. On the face of it, the criticism is valid in India as well. Students in a large number of schools here – both public and private – are burdened with large amounts of homework from an early age. But to conclude from this that homework per se is unnecessary would be to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Does homework need to be rethought so that it is less of a burden and engages the child more effectively? Certainly. As the co-author said, homework should be used to integrate what is going on in the classroom, not simply make the student work for the sake of working. That being said, having homework in some form at least is essential in the Indian system where teacher quality, interest and student per teacher ratio are all often below acceptable norms. In such an environment where classroom learning can be painfully inadequate, homework’s supplementary effect can be crucial. The homework-free style can only work in an ideal education system, and India’s is very far from that.

Even more importantly, the study only measures a narrow, quantifiable aspect of homework’s effects. There are other intangibles that are crucial. Handling homework equips students with a whole set of work and life skills – from taking responsibility for one’s work to work discipline to learning how to research information – that are essential in work life and higher education. And isn’t learning those skills as much a part of a child’s education as learning how to score well in an exam?

COUNTERVIEW

Homework should be abolished

Meghna Roy

School is stressing out our youngsters, as evidenced in the high number of school students committing suicide. We should, therefore, be committed to removing stress from the school system. A primary contributor to stress is the oppressive burden of daily homework foisted on the student. Wrestling with piles of homework, whose load seems to increase every day, parent and kids alike are exhausted in equal measure. The truth is that much of the take-home assignments are simply an act of faith, without benefiting the overworked students.

After long-drawn school hours, kids return home and immediately get down to tackling the day’s homework. Where is the time to relax and do other extra-curricular activi-ties? Little wonder that kids, these days, appear highly-strung and reluctant to go to school. School-related stomachaches, headaches, sleep problems and depression are on the rise. The constant pressure of moving from one deadline to another leaves them perpetually harassed. Parents too have a hard time, often doing a major part of the homework to help out the child. Is homework necessary to get good grades? There’s no foundation for this belief. The fear and pressure of homework exhaust students, killing their curiosity and most importantly their keenness and desire to learn. In many countries like the US, Denmark and Japan, schools have cut down on or entirely eliminated homework, since it contributes nothing to learning or creativity.

At home the debate over homework is yet to have an impact. Even though there’s been discussion around inordinately heavy school bags which burden children, directly linked to the issue of homework. More than a decade ago the Yashpal committee report had proposed concrete suggestions to lessen the school bag load. Regrettably, they haven’t yet come to fruition. Junk the pointless system of homework, and don’t overburden our kids.

 

What “Rape Sonograms” Are Really About



This week, the Virginia State Legislature – joining Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa – passed two of the country’s most restrictive abortion bills. One, a personhood anti-abortion bill and the other, mandating a coercive mandatory transvaginal probe for women seeking abortions. This week’s momentum of the “personhood” movement is not surprising in that it is closely tied to conservative Republican’s inability to target the economy as a problem in a campaign year. A shift in focus on social issues is logical.

It struck me as particularly meaningful, therefore, that I was watching The Loving Story as I thought about the passage of these bills. That documentary is about the mixed race couple who took their challenge of Virginia’s anti-miscegenation slavery laws to the Supreme Court in 1963, exactly 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Can you tell by looking at it, if that map is a map of states considering personhood bills or a map of the states that had anti-miscegentation laws up to 100 years after Emancipation? Of the states that have introduced personhood bills 77% had anti-miscegenation laws on their books as late as 1948-1967. Of the 16 states that never repealed their anti-misegenation laws, but rather had them overturned by Loving vs. Virginia, more than half have introduced personhood bills.

These statistics are not a coincidence. Racism, sexism, homophobia – they go hand in hand and the people oppressed by them experience them in intersecting ways. Worldwide, women’s human rights are complicated by these intersections.

Like these two Virginia bills, anti-misegenation laws were really not about “morality” or “decency”, but about social order. They’re not about “personhood” but “humanity.” Sex, controlling other people’s private lives, dictating what they do with their bodies and controlling their “place” in society. The more “human” you perceive yourself to be, the more you presume you have authority to tell others how to be and what to do. And, like those laws, these bills are based on ignorance, entitlement and arrogance. After many years, the Lovings won their landmark case and succeeded in finally dismantling shameful government-sanctioned racism in regards to mixed-race marriages.

Exactly how ugly and perversely wrong do things have to get before people pay attention to how fragile women’s rights and choices are in the face of sexism, misogyny, and legislative bullying? Is requiring women to undergo a medically unnecessary, invasive vaginal penetration bad enough? To me, it sounds as punitive, threatening and coercive as “virginity tests” that female Egyptian anti-government protestors were subjected to last year.

Personhood bills grant full rights, privileges and immunities to multicellular diploid eukaryotes. They also, for good measure, restrict and may entirely ban hormonal contraception. The second Virginia bill, and others like it, is what I want to focus on here. It forces any woman seeking an abortion to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound. Without her consent.

You see, if you raise the bar for decency, humanity and safety so far up, it might make your actual indecency and coded threats of violence seem somehow reasonable.

Either that, or the Republican Virginia legislators are unclear about what “trans,” ”vaginal,” and “consent” mean. “Trans,” a panic-inducing prefix for conservatives, means “across.” “Vaginal” means a place in a woman’s body to put phallic things into when the government wants to. For someone that hasn’t had to or will never have to experience it this is how Medline Plus explains what happens when you put “trans” and “vaginal” together in an ultrasound:

“You will lie down on a table with your knees bent and feet in holders called stirrups. The health care provider will place a probe, called a transducer, into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel…The doctor can immediately see the picture on a nearby TV monitor.”

“Consent” means with permission. I am surprised, since a TV monitor is part of the procedure, that they haven’t yet mandated a live-stream into the legislative chamber – just to make sure no one is cheating them of their god-given right to invade another person’s body without her permission.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, a conservative Roman Catholic, who has never experienced a transvaginal probe, has explained that he will sign the ultrasound bill, although he is uncertain about the personhood bill. Does this mean he’s not sure if a mass of undifferentiated cells are people, but he is sure that women aren’t?

Not only are they fuzzy on those terms, but the Governor and Republican members of the Virginia State Legislature don’t understand what rape is. Maybe they should consult the FBI, which defines rape this way:

“The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Or their own state’s rape statute:

“If any person has sexual intercourse with a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in sexual intercourse with any other person and such act is accomplished (i) against the complaining witness’s will, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person; or (ii) through the use of the complaining witness’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness; or (iii) with a child under age 13 as the victim, he or she shall be guilty of rape.”

Or maybe they just think women should “expect to be raped” if they live in Virginia and want abortions, just like in the military.

Republican legislators explicitly declined to vote for a proposed amendment that would have required women to sign a consent form. Carrie Brandstrom, who started the FaceBook page Stay out of MY UTERUS! Stop ANTI-Women Legislation, called it a “rape sonogram” earlier this week and she is right. That’s what it should be called.

As Andy Kopsa, writing in RHReality Check, put it, “The bottom line is pro-choice legislators in state houses around the country as well as physicians and women’s rights activists must start drawing the clear line between state forced transvaginal ultrasounds and rape.”

I know that the Republicans in the Virginia Legislature, and the people that support them, don’t want to rape good women. They know that unless a woman screams and fights, it’s not “real rape.” They want toprotect women from their own intrinsically poor decision making faculties and take away the access to birth control and abortions that turn them into craven sluts.

Can you imagine making it mandatory for any man needing medicine for erectile dysfunction to pay for and have a rectal exam and cardiac stress test? I mean, how ridiculous is that? No legislative body would ever pass an amendment making anal penetration with a probe mandatory for men who don’t want it.

Ha! What a joke! Except it isn’t.

It was a protest that no one took seriously. Virginia State Senator, Janet Howell, to whom I am currently erecting a small shrine in my office, attached the mandatory rectal exam and cardiac test to theses abortion bills. Needless to say, it did not pass. That’s because THAT is different and the legislators in question have no doubt about whattransrectal probes are. Just to be clear, I don’t want to make any transorifice probe mandatory, but there is no difference between these procedures except the gender of the people subjected to them.

Delegate David Englin, a Democrat who thinks women are equal before the law, had this to say:

“This bill will require many women in Virginia to undergo vaginal penetration with an ultrasound probe against their consent in order to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, even for nonsurgical, noninvasive, pharmaceutical abortions. This kind of government intrusion shocks the conscience and demonstrates the disturbing lengths Republican legislators will go to prevent women from controlling their own reproductive destiny.”

He proposed the failed amendment that would have required women to give their consent before the invasive procedure. These bills go beyond casual misogyny. They ignore and revoke women’s right to privacy and deny them their personal liberty, not to mention dignity. They are unconstitutional and will be challenged if signed into law.

How long will it take for women to have full and equal reproductive rights and control over their own bodies, free from conservative legislative interference?
By Soraya L. Chemaly | Sourced from Feminist Wire

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