Archive | February, 2013

‘From journalism to public relations … it’s been a great voyage’

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

‘There is a disconnect between the federal and provincial systems. A federal system allows a person to immigrate to Canada on the basis of their professional qualifications. When the person lands in the country, these very qualifications are not recognized under provincial standards.’

 ‘The South Asian Diaspora is one million strong in the country and can build bridges to help achieve trade targets between the two countries. Reporting on these issues allows me, in my own small way, to be a part of the bigger plan.’


 Renu Mehta is a communications specialist and a recipient of QE-II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012. She has been actively involved in promoting opportunities and representing immigrant communities to integrate into the Canadian social fabric though extensive involvement in various diversity organizations. She has worked with the CHUM group in the past, presenting Live Traffic for CP24 as well as hosted, reported and produced many programs for OMNI Television and has worked as a consulting editor for The Indian Express (North American edition).

As the creative head of ImageBuilderZ now, Renu has come a long way and is a known name in the field of media relations and communications. She spoke to Generation Next about her aspirations and journey so far in Canada. 

1. When did you immigrate to Canada, from where, why?

We immigrated to Canada almost 18 years ago arriving on May 18, 1995 which also happened to be my birthday. Having lived in the Middle East for more than a decade, we felt Canada would be able to provide a good lifestyle for the family and an all rounded education for our kids. Also we wanted a permanent setup, a foothold in a country that would provide stability, equal opportunity and a diverse mindscape

2. How do you see your journey from Delhi University to ImageBuilderZ?

It’s been a great voyage. The years have brought a lot of positives into my life. Canada is a country that promotes multiculturism and has provided opportunities for me that would have been difficult to come by had we been anywhere else. It was in this country that I began a new career as a journalist, first in television and then in print. The crossover into PR with the formation of Imagebuilderz was inevitable, a career that provides gratification and fulfillment.

While we have had ups and downs which are inevitable when one settles in a new country, the journey has provided a great learning experience.

3. Tell us something about your initial days in Canada as a new immigrant. How smooth was it?

Our initial time in the country was very difficult as we struggled to find our feet. We did not know anyone in the country and there were long intense periods of loneliness. We had no friends initially, no social life and our qualifications were not recognized. I missed my family very much but all this changed when we found jobs and bought our own home. I took a career path in journalism and had to go back to School completing two years in broadcast journalism from Seneca College. I was the oldest student in the class and despite all odds was one of the first students who made it getting a job on CHUM Radio and presenting Live traffic on CP24 on weekends and evenings. This was a dream I had always envisioned and Canada provided that opportunity.

Today, I have one of the largest networks in community, media and social fabric that is very gratifying and valuable.

4. What’s your opinion on the job market scene here? Is there a subtle discrimination here?

There is the question of Canadian experience that holds up some very talented people who probably would contribute significantly to the economy much sooner. There is a disconnect between the federal and provincial systems. A federal system allows a person to immigrate to Canada on the basis of their professional qualifications. When the person lands in the country, these very qualifications are not recognized under provincial standards.

5. What advice would you give to newcomers who face a tough time getting their dream jobs?

Volunteer, volunteer and volunteer. Volunteering opens doors and provides networking and the much needed Canadian experience. I volunteered thousands of hours at Rogers Cable, OMNI (then CFMT), the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce, EIPROC and other organizations that provided valuable networking opportunities.

New immigrants should also upgrade their qualifications as per Canadian needs that will enable them to get jobs faster.

6. You’ve been quite active in media and have reported on pertinent issues related to Canada and India. How do you see this experience as an extension of your personality?

Being in the media and reporting on various issues allowed me to understand the strengths of both Canada and India and what the two can offer each other in terms of energy, education, infrastructure and various other sectors.

 Canada has an ambitious trade agenda and wants to triple trade with India to $15 billion by 2015. Towards that end, the nuclear deal was signed during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit last year to India and CEPA negotiations are entering the seventh round of negotiations. The South Asian Diaspora is one million strong in the country and can build bridges to help achieve trade targets between the two countries. Reporting on these issues allows me, in my own small way, to be a part of the bigger plan.

7. Do you think Canada needs to open up more as far as international professionals are concerned?

There is a wealth of talent out there and India, with it’s vast young English speaking and professionally qualified population will be able to fill that niche. Canada is also looking at other countries like China and has an ambitious immigration agenda lead by Minister Jason Kenney.

8. Did you at any time face gender inequality in your career?


9. Your vision for future

Continue to build the South Asian brand in the mainstream, bringing their success stories forward, thus allowing them to integrate much faster into the system.

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Are You Prone to Sharing too Much Info?

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

The recent survey shows people between the ages of 18 and 34 are sharing more and more personal information through the mobile phones. These young people are texting sensitive information like credit and debit card numbers.

The poll by Visa Canada found that 45 per cent of this age group is also sharing their payment card info via email, they loaned they cards and gave away their PINs.

These individuals are also inclined to spend more time online sharing activities, including keeping an open profile on a social network site and posting to it daily, publicly sharing photos and posting their employment history. Of course some of it could be to attract new employment opportunities or to find life mates, however putting oneself in the harm’s way is not the right way to do it.

The poll also indicated that only 32 per cent of 35 plus age group individuals reported taking risks with their payment card information. This group also reported less sharing of personal information online.

The survey also found that 43 per cent who had engaged in behaviour such as sharing payment card information or loaning their card had experienced some kind of fraud.

The survey also found that 56 per cent of respondents said they were more concerned now about identity theft than they were five years ago. While 50 per cent of respondents said they were more concerned about payment card fraud today compared to five years ago.

The survey found that less than half — 41 per cent — reported checking their payment card statements more than once a month.

The Canadian Bankers Association says credit card fraud was $436.6 million in 2011, its most recent statistic, up about 19 per cent from 2010.

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Brampton’s Second New Hospital

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Linda Jeffrey, MPP Brampton-Springdale

Since being elected provincially in 2003, improving access to healthcare has been a top priority for me as your representative at Queen’s Park. Early on I fought for and delivered a new hospital at Brampton Civic. I’m extremely proud of our government’s health care investments in Brampton and the great work that the William Osler Health System does to improve care for patients in our community. Since 2003 our investments have allowed Osler to open nearly 200 new hospital beds and 9 out of 10 patients have seen significantly reduced wait times in both the Emergency Room and for many surgical procedures such as hip replacement and cataract surgery.

At the same time I have continued to work towards the redevelopment of Peel Memorial Hospital, which is why I welcome Wednesday’s Town Hall to discuss the City’s fulfillment of their commitment to the redevelopment of this hospital being hosted by Mayor Fennell. While I am not able to attend I know that representatives from both Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health’s Capital Branch will be present in order to answer any technical questions that the public may have about the Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness project.

Upon completion, this site will provide a number of important services to the residents of Brampton including urgent care, day surgeries, diagnostic services and preventative care for chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma. This past November, our government provided an additional $8.6 million in planning and design funding for this project, bringing the funding total to $17 million to date and more to come. Our government remains fully committed to this very important project which is currently in the Request for Qualifications phase, and we will continue to work towards the planned for start of construction this summer.

In March 2010, the City of Brampton publically committed $60 million to the Local Share portion of the full $433 Million Peel Memorial Hospital project and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with William Osler Health System in September of 2012. So it’s a little puzzling why Council – at this late stage professes to have questions about their share of the funding.

The fact of the matter is that Brampton needs two hospitals and these days the building of a new hospital requires a partnership between the local community and the Province. It’s unfortunate that residents may once again be drawn into a pointless debate about why Brampton is required to provide a percentage of the funding. Municipal contributions to hospitals are the norm these days – not the exception. Throughout our province, funding for hospitals requires that the province incur 90% of construction and 100% of planning and design. The local community, along with furnishings and equipment, funds the remaining 10%.

According to the newspapers our municipal elected officials would have the Brampton community believe that there are only two avenues available to fund the community share – essentially a choice between a special tax levy or borrowing the money. But there is a third option.

Back in 2002 Brampton City Council sold Brampton Hydro for $262 million dollars to Hydro One. Council wisely created a number of reserves to preserve these dollars, one of which was a Community Investment Fund designed to act as a permanent endowment to our community. The purpose of this particular reserve was that it could be borrowed against for major capital projects that benefited Brampton. Isn’t a new hospital a major capital project that benefits Brampton residents? Is there a reason the community’s share can’t come from the Community Investment Fund?

 In addition, over the last decade a rather significant financial shift has occurred that Council rarely talks about but which has provided our community with more money to invest in local priorities like transit, affordable housing and infrastructure. Since 2007 the Province has uploaded millions of dollars to Peel Region. In 2012 the Province uploaded $65,535,900 and in 2013 that amount will grow to $75,666,900. Regional Council and ultimately Brampton City Council now have considerably more tax room in which to manoeuvre and a unique and important role to play in hospital and health care planning in our Region.

For more than eighty years Peel Memorial served the health care needs of our Brampton community and now we are on the verge of seeing exciting plans for an integrated health and wellness system at Peel Memorial come to fruition. The City of Brampton will have the technical assistance it needs at this town hall to help it come to a decision on our behalf regarding how we fund our share of the hospital. It’s vital that residents of this community see a relationship between their dreams and the ability of all levels of government to work together to deliver those dreams. A crucial key to city building and the success of this project is to bring together with resolve and courage, the community, the health care leaders and the politicians to deliver what will be a leading edge centre in health service delivery.

 Linda Jeffrey is Liberal MPP from Brampton-Springdale.

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Jemy Joseph – ‘Best of Canada’

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Samuel Getachew


Fresh from earning a newly minted MSc in Medical Sciences from the University of Toronto mere months ago – Jemy Joseph continues to aspire for greatness.

The 26-year old University of Ottawa medical student, who has only been in Canada for 12 years, is now the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. For Joseph – who once reflected on how “my parents immigrated here in order to provide my brother and I with the best education” – she has had an extraordinary Canadian life.

Joseph was awarded the medal from her local MP, Rathika Sitsabaisean, who singled out the young academia and activism extraordinaire by name for her medical aspirations. She was one of the youngest among the 27 recipients who were awarded for services in the military, activism and contributions to the immigrant communities. The award exemplifies the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada according to the Government of Canada.

With the John H. Moss scholarship in 2008 as well as the New Pioneers Youth Award in 2011 under her belt, Joseph once reflected with The Huffington Post how she wants to use her medical path to pursue a “career where I could continue to foster my scientific and medical interests, while helping improve the health and well-being of Canadian and global society. Being an advocate, promoting public health, engaging in social issues and making contributions globally are all important to me”.

The Kuwait born India native has been a fixture of student activism since arriving in Canada in 2000. She has been involved in many organizations including the Canadian Federation of Medical Students as well as other student governments. She was also a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes scholarship few years back.

One of her great mentors – former Bay street lawyer Bruce Alexander – in accepting an honorary degree from his Alma mater, Queens University, remarked how “Canada is fragile and that could disappear if the sense of community we share with other Canadians is not sustained”. He continued – “this requires that we know and care about our fellow citizens, and the values and traditions that we hold in common.”

In Jemy Joseph – I bet he was imagining the best of Canada.

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Harper Government Continues to Make Concrete Progress in Environmental Sustainability

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

OTTAWA, Ont. — Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, recently released the 2012 Progress Report on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) and the 2013-16 draft Strategy for a 120 day period of public consultations.

“The 2012 Progress Report provides Canadians with a whole-of-government picture of the Government of Canada’s contributions to achieving environmental sustainability,” said Minister Kent. “It demonstrates that the Harper Government is making concrete progress in environmental sustainability and is building on this progress to further advance the transparency and accountability of environmental decision-making.”

The report highlights real results achieved by the Government of Canada in the areas of climate change, clean air and conservation:

  • Canada has begun to decouple greenhouse gases from economic growth and has put in place measures needed to meet about half of its 2020 reductions target;
  • Air quality in Canada is among the best in the world;
  • The Great Lakes’ Areas of Concern are being restored;
  • Since 1990, protected areas in Canada have nearly doubled; and
  • The Government has made significant strides in greening its operations.

“The Government of Canada is making progress in greening its buildings, fleet, procurement, and office practices,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women. “We will continue to demonstrate leadership by reducing the Government’s environmental footprint.” PWGSC supports the greening of the Government’s operations by working closely with other federal departments and agencies.

The public consultations process on the 2013-16 draft Strategy provides Canadians with a key opportunity to comment on the Government’s progress made on sustainable development, and its goals and objectives over the coming years.

“I am inviting Canadians to take part in the public consultations process as the draft Strategy aims to improve the way the federal government plans for sustainable development. Sustainable development is a long-term issue. Updating the Strategy and reporting on results every three years provide the basis for constant improvement and innovation over the long term,” said Minister Kent. “It also reflects a growing recognition—within Canada and internationally—that environmental sustainability and economic prosperity support and reinforce one another.”

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Visible Minorities See Office of Religious Freedom Favourably

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

The World Sikh Organization of Canada commends the Federal Government of Canada on the launch of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement today in Maple, Ontario.

The Office of Religious Freedom, which will be an arm of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, has been announced as an attempt to make protection of religious freedoms, particularly of vulnerable minorities, a key pillar of Canada’s foreign policy.

WSO Senior Policy Advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “Canada has historically been a leader in the field of human rights and it is certainly laudable that the Canadian government has created the Office of Religious Freedom to advocate for freedom of religion internationally. As Canadians who enjoy great freedoms here in Canada, it is our duty to stand up for the rights of all oppressed people across the world.”

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Women & Their Hearts

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Dr. Amitha Mundenchira


 As a physician, I care for many women from the South Asian background. Regardless of culture, it remains a fact that majority of women put their families before themselves and their own health.

 The proof lies in the “26-year-old teacher who gives up her career to stay at home to take care of her children and her extended family, while her husband works” or in the “50-year-old homemaker who is working 24/7 to take care of her different family members with different schedules”.

These women may be happy with their roles but biological factors do catch up. Not attending to one’s own needs eventually does take a toll on both mental and physical health. There is a risk of missing health conditions in early stages when intervention can prevent progression or a risk of death from these conditions.

Heart disease is one of many such conditions. One of my patients in her late 60s kept ignoring her 3-month- history of chest pains at night because she was too busy taking care of her children/grandchildren and did not want to bother anyone for a ride to my office. Eventually, she got care when she ended up in the emergency with a massive heart attack.

February has been declared HEART MONTH by the Heart&Stroke Foundation – it is the foundation’s largest grassroots fundraising initiative. The Heart Truth as defined by the foundation is that heart disease and stroke is a leading cause of death for women in Canada, but most don’t know it. It is a bigger killer than even breast cancer. The Heart Truth campaign is lead by a Leadership Council of 18 prominent Canadian women like Olympic athlete Diane Jones Konihowski and TV broadcaster Vicki Gabereau; it is financially supported by leading Canadian corporations. – mail.

A key component of The Heart Truth is the Red Dress Fashion Show, which typically takes place during Fashion Week in March. The iconic Red Dress symbol is designed to engage women of all ages, sizes, ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic status in the campaign.

South Asians—including Indians and other ethnic groups like Pakistanis and Sri Lankans—are up to three times as likely as all other ethnic groups combined to die of heart disease, according to a study from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. The overall heart disease rates among South Asian women are as high as or higher than South Asian men – this can be attributed to genetics.

Women often fail to make the connection between risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and their own chance of developing heart disease. If women make appropriate lifestyle changes to cater first to their own health, they can reduce their risk of heart disease. The lifestyle changes include eating well and staying active – this automatically can help reduce the stress that comes naturally with putting oneself last. Staying active can be as simple as daily 30-minute routines of brisk walking without breaks; walking inside the home or inside a mall are alternatives for the cold or snowy days.

Eating well includes both eating the right food and the avoidance of skipping meals. When in the grocery store, choose more products with the Health Check logo ( Also, read the Nutrition Facts table to compare products and make healthier choices. Using oil is a major part of our South Asian cooking. A simple possible change is to try baking, broiling, grilling, steaming or roasting instead of pan frying or deep frying. Choose vegetable oils that contain healthy unsaturated fats like canola oil, soybean oil or olive oil. Limit fats that are high in saturated or trans fat such as ghee or vegetable ghee, butter, hard margarine, lard or shortening. The following link has heart-healthy South Asian recipes as reviewed and approved by the Heart&Stroke Foundation dietitians – high in fibre and low in saturated fat/cholesterol/salt:

The above link also has resources to help prevent and manage risk factors like high blood pressure – the pamphlets are in different South Asian languages including Hindi.

Dealing with day-to-day stress may be the hardest. However, managing stress early is important to prevent progression to depression or other psychiatric disorders. Some simple steps include sharing feelings and setting aside daily time for self to pursue a hobby or to just relax.

Putting others before oneself leads women to downplay their symptoms. The following may be symptoms of a heart attack and should not be ignored:

(1)   sudden discomfort or pain that does not go away with 10-15 min of rest

(2)   pain may be in the chest, neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back

(3)   pain may feel like burning, squeezing, heaviness, tightness or pressure

(4)   chest discomfort that is brought on with exertion and goes away with rest

(5)    pain with difficulty breathing

(6)   pain with sweating or clammy skin

(7)   pain with nausea or indigestion

(8)   pain with anxiety

A diagnosis of heart disease that may result from not taking the above mentioned preventative measures may be further devastating. However, the sooner the acceptance of the condition, the easier it will be to manage with the help of the healthcare system and with the support of family/friends.

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Controlling obesity in Children

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

What Causes Obesity in Children?

Children become overweight and obese for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. Only in rare cases is being overweight caused by a medical condition such as a hormonal problem. A physical exam and some blood tests can rule out the possibility of a medical condition as the cause for obesity.

Although weight problems run in families, not all children with a family history of obesity will be overweight. Children whose parents or brothers or sisters are overweight may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves, but this can be linked to shared family behaviors such as eating and activity habits.

A child’s total diet and activity level play an important role in determining a child’s weight. Today, many children spend a lot time being inactive. For example, the average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television. As computers and video games become increasingly popular, the number of hours of inactivity may increase.

What Diseases Are Obese Children at Risk For?

Obese children are at risk for a number of conditions, including:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Early heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Bone problems
  • Skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne

How Do I Know if My Child Is Overweight?

The best person to determine whether or not your child is overweight is your child’s doctor. In determining whether or not your child is overweight, the doctor will measure your child’s weight and height and compute his ”BMI,” or body mass index, to compare this value to standard values. The doctor will also consider your child’s age and growth patterns. Assessing obesity in children can be difficult, because children can grow in unpredictable spurts.

How Can I Help My Overweight Child?

If you have an overweight child, it is very important that you allow him or her to know that you will be supportive. Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them, and if you accept your children at any weight, they will be more likely to feel good about themselves. It is also important to talk to your children about their weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you.

It is not recommended that parents set children apart because of their weight. Instead, parents should focus on gradually changing their family’s physical activity and eating habits. By involving the entire family, everyone is taught healthful habits and the overweight child does not feel singled out.

Too Much Screen Time: What’s the Problem?

The researchers define screen time as time spent watching TV, videos, and DVDs, and also playing video or computer games. Too much screen time is linked with obesity, delayed language development, aggressive behavior, and other problems, the researchers note.

Screen times have risen in recent years. The average preschooler now gets about four hours a day, according to a recent study by Christakis.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages television viewing for children ages 2 or younger. For older children, it advises no more than one to two hours a day of educational, nonviolent programs.

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Move Towards Elections

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

       Dr. Hasan Askari

 The doubts about the holding of the general elections are over now. The dismissal of Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s request for the dissolution of the Election Commission by the Supreme Court of Pakistan has set aside the major threat of delay of the elections. The military top leadership also expressed its support to the holding of the elections on time in a statement issued on February 21. It also rejected the impression widely shared in the political circles that the military wanted to set up a technocratic setup for an extended period. Some circles were arguing that the sectarian killings of the Hazara in Quetta and other sectarian attacks or killings in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and interior Sindh aimed at causing uncertainty to delay the elections. Now, all this speculative reports have been set aside and all politically active circles have realized that the elections are coming. If there is strong violence in some constituency for any reason in the course of the elections the polling can be postponed in that particular constituency or if the polling is disputed due to violence, re-polling can take place later. Rest of the country can have elections on time.

  The political parties are now taking initial steps for preparing themselves for the elections. The decision of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on February 16 to withdraw from its partnership in power with the PPP and quit the federal and the Sindh provincial governments can be explained in the context of the forthcoming elections.

 The MQM has its secure constituencies in urban Sindh, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad, with huge concentration of Urdu-speaking populace. It does not need any political party’s support to win in these constituencies. Now, being the single largest party in the Sindh Assembly, its leader has become the leader of opposition in the provincial assembly. This gives the MQM a role in deciding about the caretaker chief minister for Sindh in consultation of the PPP chief minister.

 The MQM will be free to negotiate partnership with any party that gets the highest seats in the National Assembly in the elections for the formation of the federal government. In case the PPP does not sustain its position of having the largest number of seats in the National Assembly, the MQM will be free to negotiate a deal for partnership with the PMLN or any another party that leads the new coalition government.

 The PPP had passed a law to establish a dual local government system in Sindh in September 2012 on the demand of the MQM. This alienated a good number of political circles in interior Sindh because they were opposed to the dual local government system. This encouraged the Sindhi nationalist groups, the Muslim League led by the Pir of Pagaro and the PML Nawaz Sharif to make an attempt to win over the political activists alienated from the PPP. After the MQM ended its partnership with the PPP, the latter abolished the dual local government system on February 21 and reintroduced the modified version of the 1979 local government law that was favored by Sindhi groups and parties. This change is going to enable the PPP to win-back those in interior Sindh who were unhappy with the PPP for introducing dual system of local government.

 Some Islamic parties have created electoral alliances and partnerships with the hope that they perform as good as these did in the 2002 elections. There are no signs that their dream can realize in the forthcoming election.

  A number of political leaders are shifting from one party to another mainly to counter the possibility of being dropped by their original party from nomination as the party’s candidate for the elections. At times, these shiftings take place because of local factionalism. If one faction in the party gets an upper hand in electoral politics, the rival faction may (not always) decide to move to another party.

  In the Punjab, the PMLN continues to sustain its leading position and the recent defections from the PPP have been a morale booster for the party. The PPP is struggling hard to overcome its leadership crisis in the Punjab which has caused mobilization problem in and outside the party. It can benefit from fact that a large number of political parties with Islamic and Right wing political orientations are competing with one another. These include various Islamic parties, Tehrik-i-Insaf and different factions of Pakistan Muslim League. If Dr. Tahirul Qadri decides to enter the elections by activating Pakistan Awami Tehrik, this will be another entry to the above category. To the PPP advantage, Dr. Qadri’s party is expected to adopt anti PMLN disposition.

 The PPP is hoping the competition among the Islamist and the right wing political parties would give it an advantage. Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf is expected to cause more vote losses to PMLN than the PPP. The Tehrik-i-Insaf’s political fortune has decline over the last six months. It is expected to be present in the National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly. However, it is not expected to displace the two leading political parties which are the PPP and the PMLN.

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Justice Mehra Commission raps Delhi Police, transport dept in gang rape case

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

Divya Kaeley

Justice Usha Mehra Commission has rapped the Delhi Police and the city transport department, saying lack of coordination between them allowed the bus used in December 16 gangrape case to ply uninterrupted despite being fined many times. The Commission also said there was no

coordination between the capital’s police and its counterparts in the neighbouring regions and sought framing of rules for better cooperation. “We have recorded the statement of officials of the Delhi Police and the city transport department. We have found that there was lack of coordination between the police and the transport department. Despite being challaned many times, there was no action to prevent plying of the bus,” Justice Mehra told reporters here after handing over the report to law minister Ashwani Kumar

 She said, “There was non-coordination between the police of NCT (National Capital Territory) and the NCR (National Capital Region). There is no rule so far on how will they work together if there is a crime. “Rules must be framed on how to coordinate. There should be sensitisation at all levels,” she said.

Invoking the provisions of the new ordinance promulgated in wake of the Delhi gangrape incident, the victim in the Suriyanelli case filed a police complaint on Friday insisting that Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien be made an accused. The victim and her parents went to the police station but the assistant sub-inspector refused to register the complaint, saying the sub-inspector was not present but only accepted it, her counsel Anila George said.

 The complaint lodged at Chingavanam police station also sought that Dharmarajan, an absconding convict who had jumped bail in the case and was arrested recently from Karnataka, and two other persons – Unnikrishnan and Jamal, be also arraigned as accused.

According to the complainant, Dharmarajan had told a television channel that he had accompanied Mr Kurien to Kumily rest house in his car on February 19, 1996 where the girl had been reportedly sexually exploited.

 But P J Kurien, who is in the eye of a storm over the Left demand for his resignation in the wake of fresh charges in the Suryanelli gangrape case, recently presided over the Upper House without objection from any member. Kurien conducted the proceedings during the post-lunch session when a discussion on Hyderabad twin blasts was underway and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was replying to the members’ clarifications.

In a welcoming move the CBSE has decided to offer elective course on Human Rights and Gender Studies at higher secondary school level to increase awareness among students on the issues. The elective course will be offered for class XI and XII at pilot stage for CBSE-affiliated schools in 2013-14 session and as a regular elective from 2014-15 session onwards, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor said while replying to a question in Rajya Sabha. The National Curriculum Framework, 2005, prioritises gender as an important guiding principle in all curricular areas, he said.

In another big news of the country, the Centre and Andhra Pradesh passed the buck on security inaction after intelligence inputs, even as death toll in the twin blasts in Hyderabad rose to 16 on Friday. Multi-agency investigative teams combed the blast sites at Dilsukhnagar rocked by near simultaneous explosions yesterday evening. Initial leads and the modus operandi employed – Improvised Explosive Device (IED) strapped to bicycles – pointed fingers towards Indian Mujahideen.

Sources told media channels that the United Jehad Council (UJC) could be behind the blast. UJC, comprising of militant outfits like Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and al Badr, met on February 13 to plan revenge on India following the execution of Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru.

After facing sharp attack from Opposition as well as UPA allies on tackling the issue of terror in a “very casual” manner, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday assured the Parliament that government will not be slack in cracking the case. Shinde made a statement in the Rajya Sabha on yesterday’s blasts saying government will make all possible efforts to apprehend the perpetrators and masterminds.

Shinde said, “Alert was issued to Hyderabad on February 16, 19 and 20, that Pakistan-based terrorist groups may carry out attacks in a major city to avenge the hanging of 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The Centre will take firm steps in the matter and will never hesitate to take strong steps to tackle it.”

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