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Century’s longest solar eclipse – First pics

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

The century’s longest total solar eclipse began with thousands of skygazers thronging the major sites to catch a glimpse of the rare celestial spectacle.

The Sun rose eclipsed on Wednesday morning at 5:28 am at a local sunrise point in the Arabian Sea close to the western coast of India near Surat in Gujarat.

Time of the eclipse across the country:

  • Delhi: Eclipse began at 6.24 am
  • Bhopal: Eclipse began before Sunrise; total solar eclipse began at 06:22:11 am
  • Patna: Eclipse began at 05:29:57 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:24:37 am
  • Varanasi: Eclipse began at 05:30:03 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:24:10 am
  • Gaya: Eclipse began at 05:29:34 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:24:26 am
  • Surat: Eclipse began before sunrise; total solar eclipse began at 06:21:16 am
  • Ujjain: Eclipse began before sunrise; total solar eclipse began at 06:22:51 am
  • Vadodara: Eclipse began before sunrise; total solar eclipse began at 06:22:41 am
  • Siliguri: Eclipse began at 05:30:26 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:26:33 am
  • Darjeeling: Eclipse began at 05:30:35 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:27:01 am
  • Sikkim: Eclipse began at 05:30:40 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:27:15 am

Amazing pictures of the eclipse from NDTV.


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Mumbai reacts to Kasab’s confession

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

It was an emotional moment for ordinary citizens and the families of the Mumbai martyrs when Ajmal Kasab confessed to his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Vijay Salaskar, Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte – three officers, all seated in the same car, drove down to confront the terrorists and were killed in a shower of bullets. The tragedy defines the losses of 26/11.

Kasab also shot at Abdul Qureshi at CST, and a bullet is still lodged in his shoulder.

”Kasab should be hanged. He did not differentiate between Hindus or Muslim, woman or children, just kept firing. He is not a Muslim,” said Abdul.

Karuna Waghela’s husband had offered Kasab water, and in return, Kasab killed him. She thinks the confession comes too late.

“Kasab’s confession is fine. But all this has come too late. My young children still ask about their father. I have nothing to say to them,” said Karuna.

During the trial that has completed 65 hearings, key witnesses have corroborated Kasab’s crimes – the doctors who treated him at Nair Hospital, the railway commentator who dodged his gunfire, and kept warning people to safety, the 10-year-old witness, who took Kasab’s bullet, and is on crutches, the photojournalists who captured his killing spree, and the constable who took him on with a gun that refused to work.

The terror attack in Mumbai was something all residents watched in shock and pain. And today as Ajmal Kasab has finally confessed his crime, this is what people have to say:

“The family members have already lost their loved ones. So what kind of justice is this?,” said a Mumbai resident.

“Still there are camps running in Kashmir and there are still blasts. So it will happen again,” said another.

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India gears up for longest eclipse of the century

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

In just a little while from now, the longest solar eclipse expected to occur in the 21st century will be visible in a stretch of Asia, beginning in India and crossing through Nepal, Bangladesh, China and part of the Pacific Ocean.

It is a rare celestial event. The solar eclipse that will take place will be a total eclipse of the Sun.

The eclipse will last six minutes and 39 seconds in some areas. The enthusiasts from around the world have descended on the region to view the event by land, sea and air.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth so that the Sun is fully or partially covered. This can only happen during a new moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from the Earth.

While large parts of central and eastern India will see a total eclipse, other parts of the country will experience a partial eclipse. The big worry, however, is that the monsoon clouds could play spoilsport.

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Kasab : “My mission was to kill, take hostages”

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 21, 2009

Mumbai: Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only gunman on trial for the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, on Tuesday told a court his handlers had instructed him to fire at people indiscriminately and take hostages at the city’s main railway terminus.

Kasab, who made a dramatic confession before special judge M L Tahilyani on Monday, said his handlers had given him detailed instructions for the attack on the CST Railway Terminus.

“I want to give a message to perpetrators across the border,” said Kasab.

Judge Tahilyani then adjourned the court for Tuesday, as the prosecution wanted more time to go over Kasab’s statements.

Kasab on Monday admitted before the court he was a Pakistani and narrated in chilling detail the events leading to the killing spree that left 180 people dead.

In a dramatic twist to the case, Kasab also recounted how he and his associates undertook the sea voyage from Karachi to Mumbai to attack 13 locations in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008.

He recounted how Lashkar-e-Toiba militants had trained him and then packed him for the attack on Mumbai.

A day after confessing to his involvement in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, Ajmal Kasab made some more revelations in court on Tuesday.

When the judge asked him how he came to know that Pakistan had  accepted him as a citizen. Kasab replied, “I came to know through people on duty in jail.”

While pleading guilty on Monday, the 26/11 accused had said that he was confessing because Pakistan had accepted him as its citizen.

Kasab came up with more details of the plot today. He said, “We were told to fire indiscriminately at CST.”

“We were told to take people hostage on the upper floors of CST and were also told to fire at anyone who came to rescue the hostages,” he added.

Following Kasab’s confessions, the trial court was adjourned till Wednesday.

Source : IBNlive and NDTV

India’s Silence on Sri Lankan Bloodshed

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 5, 2009

CEYLON NADU WEBSITE

Civilians stand behind the barbed-wire perimeter fence of the Manik Farm refugee camp located on the outskirts of the northern Sri Lankan town of Vavuniya, May 26. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon toured Sri Lanka’s largest war refugee camp, home to 220,000 refugees, pressing for wider humanitarian access to the camps which have become overcrowded since the government declared victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels after a 25-year war. / AP-Yonhap


By John Smith Thang

India, the world’s largest democracy, refrained from interfering in the Sri Lankan bloodshed and turned a deaf ear by keeping out of the conflict. Usually, India states it is the regional power, and has declared its position to protect the South Asia region.

But, here is testimony to its ineptitude. The India government didn’t take any concrete steps and didn’t put any pressure on the Sri Lankan government.

Even India’s media rarely posted news about this bloodshed conflict. Even though smoke was rising next to her home, at the bottom of its map, in a neighboring country, India was “kow-towing” and keeping silent.

Casualties

The conflict in Sri Lanka escalated terribly over the last several weeks before the government declared an end to the long civil war against the separatist Tamil Tigers.

Thousands of lives were lost and thousands of people are suffering in the conflict zone. According to a U.N. press statement on May 13, at least 188,000 people were internally displaced in Vavuniya alone.

Some 1,700 have been wounded and some 50,000 or more are still trapped in the conflict zone. The news from Agence France-Presse (AFP) is that 70,000 people are dead and 250,000 had fled the war zone as internally displaced persons to date.

Due to the lack of free access for rights workers, aid groups and journalists it is difficult to collect accurate casualty figures and it is assumes that actual numbers will be higher.

The pictures, circulated online by Arundhathi Roy (Booker prize winner), show the headless body of a boy and the dead body of a pregnant woman with her baby spilling out of her womb.

Many body parts were scattered here and there among dead bodies and spilled blood. Children and women are the biggest victims of this tragedy ― a cruel and inhumane act. Probably it is the biggest “holocaust” in Sri Lanka’s civil war.

Sri Lanka’s Democracy?

When democracy in Sri Lanka was hijacked by an extremist group among the majority Sinhalese, the result was the marginalization of small communities and minority groups on the island nation.

Sri Lanka is dominated by Buddhist Sinhalese as a majority, while Hindu/Christian Tamils are an ethnic minority in the country.

The country is led former movie star, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who won the presidential election through populist votes. But his actions against the Tamil ethnic group were totally unfair and heartless.

It is true that Sri Lanka has the right to defend its country. However, the government deliberately chose violence instead of a peaceful political solution.

In the case of a peaceful political solution, Sri Lanka’s government must provide the Tamil ethnic minority with political rights, such as a self-autonomous administration system preserving its language and culture.

Such a provision and mutual agreement would be fair and acceptable as it is a reflection of the democratic spirit.

Conclusion

The Sri Lankan government’s action was a cruel and inhumane act, and it should immediately stop deliberate attacks upon innocent people.

On other side, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) must not use innocent people as human shields, and should quickly return to the negotiating table with the government.

Furthermore regional involvement is necessary to prevent additional bloodshed. Here in South Asia, India is the most appropriate nation to do this, as the international community will be likely to join and support the end of bloodshed.

Of course, India also had committed similar human rights violations in the past ― the genocide of the Muslim minority in Gujarat and the Christian minority in Orissa. So it is uncertain what the Indian reaction to bloodshed within its own sphere of interest would be.

Undoubtedly, it is a man-made disaster ― a crime against humanity.

In conclusion, the most urgent thing is to provide emergency humanitarian aid to people victimized by the civil war. They are tormented and dying due to its effects.

John Smith Thang is a Burmese human rights activist based in Korea. He can be reach at cdhrn.kr@gmail.com.

India accused of complicity in deaths of Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 1, 2009

TIMES ONLINE
Tamil civilians at the Manik Farm refugee camp

Jeremy Page, South Asia Correspondent

India was accused yesterday of complicity in the killing of an estimated 20,000 civilians in the last stages of Sri Lanka’s 26-year war against the Tamil Tigers.

Major-General Ashok Mehta, a former commander of Indian peacekeeping forces in Sri Lanka, said that India’s role was “distressing and disturbing”. Two international human rights groups said that India had failed to do enough to protect civilian lives.

“We were complicit in this last phase of the offensive when a great number of civilians were killed,” General Mehta, who is now retired, told The Times. “Having taken a decision to go along with the campaign, we went along with it all the way and ignored what was happening on the ground.”

Despite being home to 60 million Tamils, India has provided Sri Lanka with military equipment, training and intelligence over the past three years, diplomatic sources told The Times. More controversially, it provided unwavering diplomatic support and failed to use its influence to negotiate a ceasefire for civilians to escape the front line, they said.

India joined a bloc led by China and Russia at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council last week to thwart a proposal for a war crimes inquiry, and instead supported a resolution praising Sri Lanka. In January India voted in favour of a war crimes inquiry into Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip, which killed an estimated 926 civilians.

General Mehta said that the Indian Government, led by the Congress Party, wanted to counterbalance China and Pakistan, its main regional rivals, which had each increased arms sales to Sri Lanka in the past few years. It also wanted to avenge the Tigers’ assassination in 1991 of Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister and late husband of Sonia Gandhi, the current Congress leader, he said.

Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said that neither reason justified failing to act when the Red Cross warned of an “unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe”. India “could have saved many lives if it had taken a proactive position — and it would not have affected the outcome of the war,” he said.

Sam Zarifi, Asia Pacific director of Amnesty International, said: “India . . . simply chose to support the [Sri Lankan] Government’s notion that it could kill as many civilians as it would take to defeat the Tigers.”

India says that it provided Sri Lanka with non-lethal military equipment and sent officials repeatedly to persuade the Government to protect civilians. “We’ve consistently taken the line that the Sri Lankan Government should prevent civilian casualties,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

However, President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka told NDTV: “I don’t think I got any pressure from them. They knew that I’m fighting their war.”

Mr Rajapaksa told The Week magazine that he planned to visit Delhi next month to thank Indian leaders. “India’s moral support during the war was most important,” he said.

Diplomats, human rights activists and analysts say that Delhi either did not use its full diplomatic force or, more likely, gave Colombo carte blanche to finish the war. India’s only real concerns, they said, were that the conflict should not create a flood of refugees to India. Some raised questions about Vijay Nambiar, a former Indian diplomat, who is chief of staff to Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General. The Times revealed last week that Mr Nambiar knew about but chose not to make public the UN’s estimate that 20,000 civilians had been killed, mostly by army shelling.

Vienna backlash: 2 die as violence spreads across Punjab

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on May 26, 2009
  Indian Express

Jalandhar_protestJalandhar:

 Two people have died as tension mounted in Punjab on Monday with violence breaking out in several parts of the state following the attack on the head of Dera Sachkhand Baland and his supporters in Vienna on Sunday.

 Mobs torched three trains, including Jammu Express, but no one was reported injured. Unconfirmed reports said two persons were killed in police firing. Reports of violence have also come from Amritsar, Patiala and Nawanshahr. A showroom of Hyundai motors in Jalandhar was torched destroying at least 15 brand news cars.

Police fired in the air and curfew was imposed in at three cities of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur. Traffic on the national highway and train services have been disruppted. Protesters also burnt down a train at Dakola near here but one was reported injured.

Army has been called out in certain parts of Jalandhar and has been put on alert all across the state.

Last night followers of the sect had torched several vehicles and indulged in arson in Jalandhar. Senior Superintendent of Police R K Jaiswal said security forces have been deployed at sensitive points to check any untoward incident.

 At least 30 people were injured, nine of them seriously when two groups had clashed with knives and handgun at a gurdwara in Vienna on Sunday.

 Meanwhile markets in several areas of Punjab, including Patiala, have been closed and bus service has been suspended.

 Sources said that the second-in-command of the sect Sant Ramanand who was shot in Vienna died early Monday morning, as he had suffered gun shots.

 

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