Barriers at home send students from India to the United States


Nikita Sachdeva – from Delhi – now a student at University of Chicago

Moulshri Mohan was an excellent student at one of the top private high schools in New Delhi. When she applied to colleges, she received scholarship offers of $20,000 from Dartmouth and $15,000 from Smith. Her pile of acceptance letters would have made any ambitious teenager smile: Cornell, Bryn Mawr, Duke, Wesleyan, Barnard and the University of Virginia.

But because of her 93.5 percent cumulative score on her final high school examinations, which are the sole criteria for admission to most colleges here, Ms. Mohan was rejected by the top colleges at Delhi University, better known as D.U., her family’s first choice and one of India’s top schools…

Mohan, 18, is now one of a surging number of Indian students attending American colleges and universities, as competition in India has grown formidable, even for the best students. With about half of India’s 1.2 billion people under the age of 25, and with the ranks of the middle class swelling, the country’s handful of highly selective universities are overwhelmed…

“The problem is clear,” said Kapil Sibal, the government minister overseeing education in India, who studied law at Harvard. “There is a demand and supply issue. You don’t have enough quality institutions, and there are enough quality young people who want to go to only quality institutions.”

American universities and colleges have been more than happy to pick up the slack. Faced with shrinking returns from endowment funds, a decline in the number of high school graduates in the United States and growing economic hardship among American families, they have stepped up their efforts to woo Indian students thousands of miles away…

Indians are now the second-largest foreign student population in America, after the Chinese, with almost 105,000 students in the United States in the 2009-10 academic year, the last for which comprehensive figures were available. Student visa applications from India increased 20 percent in the past year, according to the American Embassy here.

RTFA. A multipliplex of incompetence, political foolishness, unwillingness to see beyond your nose.

India and the United States maintain differing allocations to the concept of an intellectual elite. The easier transition from country to country in an educational culture becoming globalized helps students otherwise marginalized, denied by inequity. But, responsibility still remains unanswered in both India and the United States.

Young people capable of learning, acquiring skills and knowledge, of contributing to the betterment of society lose the opportunity. The barriers in either nation may differ. The result is the same.

Catholic Bishop indicted for failure to report child abuse


“Just leave your wallet or checkbook at the door on the way in!”

A bishop in the Roman Catholic Church has been indicted for failure to report suspected child abuse, the first time in the 25-year history of the church’s sex abuse scandals that the leader of an American diocese has been held criminally liable for the behavior of a priest he supervised.

The indictment of the bishop, Robert W. Finn, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph by a county grand jury was announced on Friday. Each was charged with one misdemeanor count involving a priest accused of taking pornographic photographs of girls as recently as this year. They pleaded not guilty.

The case caused an uproar among Catholics in Kansas City this year when Bishop Finn acknowledged that he knew of the photographs last December but did not turn them over to the police until May. During that time, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, is said to have continued to attend church events with children, and took lewd photographs of another young girl.

A decade ago the American bishops pledged to report suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities — a policy also recommended last year by the Vatican. Bishop Finn himself had made such a promise three years ago as part of a $10 million legal settlement with abuse victims in Kansas City…

“This is huge for us,” said Michael Hunter, director of the Kansas City chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. “It’s something that I personally have been waiting for years to see, some real accountability. We’re very pleased with the prosecuting attorney here to have the guts to do it…”

In a news conference, the Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker said the case was not religiously motivated, but was about the obligation under state law to report child abuse.

“This is about protecting children,” she said.

Finally.

American police, American politicians lead the world in cowardice when it comes to addressing crimes of the Roman Catholic clergy. Sad enough these organizations don’t pay their own way, don’t meet the essential responsibility of paying taxes to fund the sustenance of civil society.

That the politicians of our nation kowtow to some mystical higher presence in the face of crime is sickening. That sleazy exploiters go unindicted and protected by the complicity of princes of the church and loyal hacks in government is one of the most disgusting chapters in the history of American politics.

Cigarette + wind gust + beehive hairdo = towering inferno!

A woman suffered serious burns after her beehive hairdo turned into a fiery beacon when gust of wind caught her cigarette.

Sasha Butler, 43, had just lit the cigarette outside a shop when the wind flipped it into her face, setting fire to her heavily-hairsprayed fringe. Shoppers watched in horror as flames engulfed her head…

She managed to smother the fire with her hands before collapsing in agony…

Shop owner Benny Krige said: ”The woman got herself to the shop and collapsed, her hair still smoking.

”My staff got her comfortable, gave her some basic first aid and dialled 999…”

Fire crews were called but the woman had already managed to smother the blaze with her hands before they arrived.

The woman was airlifted to a specialist burns unit at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She suffered burns to her head, face and smoke inhalation.

Cigarette smoking on its own is deadly enough over time. Setting yourself on fire with one more than compounds the danger.

Drugs ring used Medicare to buy OxyContin – sold it on the streets

A federal indictment charges 14 people, including an 88-year-old doctor and two operators of a Los Angeles clinic, with running a scheme to illegally obtain and distribute OxyContin pills, carried out largely through insurance fraud. The indictment stemmed from of a two-year investigation. Ten of the defendants were arrested Thursday morning, officials said.

The distribution ring was allegedly run out of Lake Medical Group, where doctors reportedly wrote prescriptions for the powerful painkiller to uninsured patients who did not need it, federal officials said. Defendants also allegedly obtained the pills from pharmacies by fraudulently billing public insurance programs such as Medicare.

Then members of the organization allegedly resold more than 1 million pills on the street for $23 to $27 a pill, raking in millions of dollars in profits.

The indictment also alleged that in some cases the defendants stole people’s identities and Medicare beneficiary information so they could obtain the OxyContin.

Clinic operators Mike Mikaelian, 43, of East Hollywood and Anjelika Sanamian, 52, of Van Nuys allegedly orchestrated the scheme. Two doctors — Morris Halfon, 88, and Eleanor Santiago, 73 — are accused of prescribing the pills to people who had no medical need for them. The other defendants allegedly assisted in the plot by serving as runners, recruiters or posing as patients.

Throw away the key!

Anthropocene disaster in Southeast Asia heads for Bangkok

As some of Thailand’s worst flooding in half a century bears down on Bangkok — submerging cities, industrial parks and ancient temples as it comes — experts in water management are blaming human activity for turning an unusually heavy monsoon season into a disaster.

The main factors, they say, are deforestation, overbuilding in catchment areas, the damming and diversion of natural waterways, urban sprawl, and the filling-in of canals, combined with bad planning. Warnings to the authorities, they say, have been in vain.

“I have tried to inform them many times, but they tell me I am a crazy man,” said Smith Dharmasaroja, former director general of the Thai Meteorological Department, who is famous here for predicting a major tsunami years before the one that devastated coastal towns in 2004.

The monsoon season this year has brought disaster to Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam as well as Thailand, where 283 people are reported to have died.

Thousands of people have been displaced as typhoons have battered the Philippines, and the country’s steep rice terraces of Banaue are reported to have been damaged by mudslides.

Floods have spread through Cambodia, where the city of Siem Reap is reported to be knee-deep in water, with floodwaters reaching the nearby temples of Angkor.

Thai officials are warning that, in the next few days, Bangkok could be inundated by a combination of heavy floodwaters from the north, unusually high tides and monsoon rains. People in some of the most threatened neighborhoods are building sandbag barriers around their homes and emptying shops of food, drinking water, batteries and candles…

Once the floodwaters reach Bangkok, they will pour into a city that has lost its natural defenses: a huge network of canals that have been filled in — or clogged with garbage — as the city has become an overcrowded behemoth.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap. It doesn’t require warnings on a biblical scale to explain that stupidity and greed combine and grow over time to produce an almighty disaster.