Saturday, June 16, 2007

Concern over incidence of elder abuse
R. Sujatha

SHOWING EMPATHY: SCARF India joint director Shantha Kamath (left), Dignity Foundation vice-chairman K. Radhakrishnan (centre) and director (services) Geetha Kumar at a meeting in Chennai on Friday. — Photo: S.S. Kumar

"In the last five years, we have been getting two to three calls for help from elders every day. We solve eight cases of elder abuse every month," K. Radhakrishnan, vice-chairman, Dignity Foundation, told a function organised here on Friday to mark the World Elder Abuse Day.

"Much of the elder abuse happens in middle and upper middle class homes, 85 per cent of which is related to property," he said. The ill treatment takes the form of denying food and social contact and sometimes even violence. According to Shantha Kamath, joint director of Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) India, about 5 to 10 per cent of the elderly population in the developed and developing countries, except Japan, are victims of abuse. Physical abuse is rare in India, but psychological and financial abuse is high. "HelpAge registers 900 cases a year, she said.

Foundation director (services) Geetha Kumar and social worker Mary Rose Thomas spoke.

Woman breaks space flight record

Sunita Williams Image: Nasa

Sunita Williams is a flight engineer aboard the space station
Sunita Williams, a US astronaut aboard the International Space Station, has set a new record for the longest unbroken space flight by a woman.

As of 0547 GMT on Saturday, she had passed the 188-day, four-hour mark set by Shannon Lucid in 1996.

Mrs Williams, who is of Indian and Slovenian extraction, is due to return to Earth on Thursday on the Atlantis.

She earlier set a record for the longest space walk by a woman, reaching 22 hours and 27 minutes.

That record had been held by astronaut Kathryn Thornton at just over 21 hours.

In her six months in space, Mrs Williams has also "run" the Boston Marathon on a treadmill.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Artists condemn obscenity arrest

By Zubair Ahmed
BBC News, Mumbai

Painting by MF Husain
The BJP has criticised some of the work of MF Husain
Art lovers in India are holding protests against the arrest of a student whose work was vandalised by activists who said they were obscene.

The artists say their right to freedom of expression is being violated.

They are demonstrating in Mumbai and other cities against "moral policing" by right-wing Hindu groups.

Intolerance against artistic expression is rising, with right-wing Hindu groups saying they are protecting Indian culture from malign foreign influences.

'Obscene and distasteful'

The artists have condemned last week's arrest of a post-graduate student from a university campus in the state of Gujarat.

The state is currently governed by the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The activists said that the work of Chandra Mohan is "obscene and distasteful" because it shows naked men.

The dean of the arts faculty at the university was suspended for opposing the student's arrest.

Chandra Mohan was released on bail after being imprisoned for four days.

His case shows that along with rapid economic progress, India is also facing a steady rise in the culture of artistic intolerance.

Recently right wing campaigners were furious over some nude paintings of a Hindu goddess by prominent Indian painter, MF Hussain.

Then last month, a man took court action against the Hollywood star, Richard Gere, for kissing his Bollywood counterpart, Shilpa Shetty, at a public function.

Activists argued that kissing in public went against Indian culture.

But the country's artistic community argues that the "moral brigade" does not enjoy mass appeal.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tribals strike over uranium plans

A strike called by a tribal youth group to oppose the mining of uranium in part of northern India has caused severe disruption in the area.

Rich uranium deposits have been discovered in the Meghalaya hills bordering Bangladesh.

Plans to mine the ore have generated fierce resistance among local political parties and youth groups.

They say the mining will ruin the health of villagers and destroy the local environment.

About 400 villagers ignored the strike to attend a local consultation organised by the Indian government.

About time the people realize that women should be and are capable to be presidents of countries from the United States to the subcontinent of India. Good Luck coming from a man no less,
Have a stress free day, gregor

Woman named for Indian presidency

The governor of the Indian state of Rajasthan, Pratibha Patil, has been named as a presidential candidate by India's Congress-led ruling coalition.

She could become the first woman to occupy the mostly ceremonial position.

Mrs Patil emerged as a surprise, last-minute candidate after the left parties persisted with their opposition to the Congress party's first choice.

Mrs Patil, 72, is a former deputy speaker of the upper house of India's parliament, the Rajya Sabha.

She has been governor of Rajasthan for nearly three years

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