Mother arrested over ‘honour killing’ of journalist daughter

A woman has been arrested over allegations that she murdered her pregnant journalist daughter for falling in love with a boy from a lower caste.

Nirupama Pathak, 22, who worked for the Business Standard, a leading financial newspaper in Delhi, was found dead last week at her family home in the northern state of Jharkhand.

Her mother, Sudha Devi, was arrested yesterday.

“There are indications that family pride was the prime motive behind the murder,” a police spokesman told reporters.

Nirupama’s family are Brahmins, who are at the top of India’s caste hierarchy. She is understood to have agreed to marry her college sweetheart, Priyabhanshu Ranjan, another journalist, who reportedly comes from the lower Kayastha caste…

Police said their suspicions were raised when the mother gave conflicting explanations for her daughter’s death, first claiming that Nirupama had been electrocuted then stating that she had committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan…

Honour killings are not rare in India, but cases involving middle-class families seldom come to court.

“If the charge sticks, it will be a rare case in which an educated middle-class woman will face trial for murdering her own daughter,” the Indian Express newspaper said.


UK records show profound decline in fish stocks

Over-fishing means UK trawlers have to work 17 times as hard for the same fish catch as 120 years ago, a study shows.

Researchers used port records dating from the late 1800s, when mechanised boats were replacing sailing vessels.

In the journal Nature Communications, they say this implies “an extrordinary decline” in fish stocks and “profound” ecosystem changes.

Four times more fish were being landed in UK ports 100 years ago than today, and catches peaked in 1938.

“Over a century of intensive trawl fishing has severely depleted UK seas of bottom living fish like halibut, turbot, haddock and plaice,” said Simon Brockington, head of conservation at the Marine Conservation Society and one of the study’s authors.

“It is vital that governments recognise the changes that have taken place (and) set stock protection and recovery targets that are reflective of the historical productivity of the sea…”

Representatives of industrial fishing and marketing say recent improvements in management counter historic declines.

But Professor Roberts counters that the long historical timeline in his study shows the recent improvements to be small in scale.

“If you get a 50% increase from 2% of a species’ former abundance, you get to 3% of its former abundance, so you shouldn’t celebrate too hard,” he said.

That’s why this perspective is important…”

UK fishermen tend to blame the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for their economic problems, the authors of this study say it proves that depletion stems from mismanagament well before the CFP came into existence.

“There’s nothing basically wrong with the CFP and not much wrong with the scientific research they receive,” commented Dr MacMullen.

“But what happens to that advice when it goes up to the Council of Ministers – it’s completely mis-managed.”

RTFA. If fish ain’t important to your diet, realize they’re still important to your economy.

Immigrant smugglers using phony government/business vans

I don’t think anyone’s tried to copy this – yet

At first glance, the van carrying 10 people looked like it was owned by a San Diego tour company. But a California deputy took a second glance last week and discovered something quite different. The van was a “cloned” vehicle — one that could be quickly converted to look like either a tour van or a security van commonly used to transport illegal immigrants apprehended in the area, authorities say…

Here’s how the operation worked, the agency says: Smugglers in Mexico helped the illegal immigrants get into the United States, either on foot or by other means. Once across the border, the people were met by a van that had “Wackenhut” stenciled on its side. It looks similar to vans contracted by the federal government to transport apprehended aliens.

Border Patrol spokesman Jerry Conlin said a Wackenhut van full of people would not normally raise suspicion in the border area. Once the van was well north of the border, smugglers slapped a magnetic sign reading “San Diego Tours” over the Wackenhut insignia…

The deputy found 10 men inside the van and called for the Border Patrol to help translate. The agents discovered seven Mexican nationals and two Chinese nationals — all in the country illegally. The 10th person, a 19-year-old U.S. man, was charged with smuggling…

Conlin said the cloning of a prisoner transport van is a new twist on an old smuggler ruse. Drug and human smugglers have been known to use vehicles disguised as UPS, DHL and San Diego Gas and Electric trucks, and even one disguised as a contractor working on the border fence.

In more than one instance, smugglers cloned Border Patrol vehicles, he said.

You’re frequently less likely to be stopped when you look like an official. Just pick out someone obscure – and high up the food chain – to clone.

Let there be sex!

When Abdelaziz Aouragh first thought up the idea of an online sex shop for Muslim couples, I bet he didn’t imagine for a moment the amount of interest his new venture would generate. But the site actually attracted so many visitors (70,000 hits within the first four days) that eventually it crashed, and Aouragh was forced to find a new web host to deal with the volume of traffic he was getting.

El Asira, as Aouragh’s sex-shop-that’s-not-really-a-sex-shop is called, is back up and running now, but I wouldn’t bother going there if you’re after anything racier than massage oils or herbal potions. Because everything Aouragh sells is strictly halal, and as you can imagine that leaves a lot of things out. You won’t find…anything that requires batteries…

What the instant success of a site like El Asira has shown though is that there’s obviously a gap in the market for this kind of thing – marital aids for couples of faith. Indeed, this is something that Christians have been aware of for some time now; hence the proliferation of online Christian sex shops.

But Christian sex shops are an entirely different beast from the tame, sharia-compliant business that Aouragh has just set up. In fact let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for the absence of naked models on these sites, and if wasn’t for the constant reminders that the items on sale are for the enjoyment of married couples and married couples only, you’d be hard pushed to work out what exactly it is that makes these places Christian at all. I don’t remember reading anything in the Bible about anal beads or rubber ticklers for instance, but then theologians have always been adept at interpreting the text to fit their arguments, so if the vicar says they’re okay then who am I to question otherwise..?

“Traditionally, married couples may only purchase fun and spicy marital toys from stores that sell a plethora of pornographic and inappropriate products. The experience of shopping in these stores is awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing, ‘dirty’, and spiritually overwhelming. It is extremely difficult to serve God, serve your spouse, and appropriately guard your mind and heart while browsing these stores…”


Times Square Bomber walked through TSA without a hitch

Hi there. My name is Faisal. I’m a nutball!

Authorities hunting for the suspect in the botched Times Square bombing dramatically beat the clock overnight, seizing a Pakistani-American citizen moments before he was set to begin a long trip to his strife-torn homeland.

Faisal Shahzad, 30, was arrested around 11:45 p.m. ET Monday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, said Attorney General Eric Holder…

Shahzad was on board Emirates Airlines Flight 202 to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the jetway had been pulled back when the plane was called to return to the gate, a law enforcement source said. Shahzad was booked through to Islamabad, Pakistan, via Dubai, a senior airline official confirmed.

Americans are made to feel better by the quantity and variety of “safety checks” introduced by our politicians. Achieving pretty much nothing more than interfering with the 99.99% of our lives unconcerned with terrorism.

“They just caught him at the last second,” a law enforcement source said…

Continue reading

Trials begin in hospital gas deaths

Some 30 people were sent to trial Monday on manslaughter charges in the 2007 hospital deaths of eight heart patients in southern Italy mistakenly given laughing gas instead of oxygen.

Doctors, anaesthetists, suppliers, technicians and local health officials will stand trial on July 2 for a pipe-fitting blunder that led to the deaths in a coronary intensive care at Castellaneta near Taranto in Puglia between April 20 and May 4, 2007.

The defendants are variously charged with manslaughter, negligence, supplying mistaken materials and administrative violations…

Among the key defendants are staff and executives of the Puglia-based company Ossitalia, which specialises in the installment of medical gas equipment.

Doctors say the patients’ deaths initially failed to arouse suspicion because they were all elderly and in frail condition.

Just what I need to inspire confidence in medical care for old geeks like me.

In my whole life, I’ve only spent 3 days in hospital – most of that being for observation after a serious car crash. The few odd bits of surgery I’ve experienced have been on an out-patient basis.

Now, I get to worry about getting the wrong gas.

Treating battlefield injuries with light-activated technology

Airmen’s traumatic battlefield injuries may be more effectively treated by using a new light-activated technology developed as a result of new research…

This new treatment for war injuries includes using a process or technology called Photochemical Tissue Bonding, which can replace conventional sutures, staples and glues in repairing skin wounds, reconnecting severed peripheral nerves, blood vessels, tendons and incisions in the cornea.

Dr. Irene Kochevar and her colleague…Associate Professor Robert Redmond are both pleased with the initial lab bench experiments that led to a pilot clinical study.

“We have demonstrated that this technology is very helpful in medicine for the Air Force because it produces better healing and functional outcomes than the same wounds that were treated with conventional materials,” she said.

The process of creating the bonding or nanosutures is accomplished by applying a dye to the wound or damaged tissue and then exposing it briefly to green light. The dye absorbs the light and that helps it to molecularly bond proteins on the tissue surface.

“No glues, proteins or other materials are used that might stimulate an inflammatory response,” said Kochevar. “An immediate, water-tight seal is formed between the tissue surfaces leading to reduced inflammation in the near term and better scar formation in the long term.”

This is tech that can be activated on the battlefield – providing immediate care to wounds.

It all starts within the context of a military question; but, the solutions can be applied to the whole world civilian needs, eventually. Bravo!