Thursday, 18 February 2016 17:50

Pak court to hear Bhagat Singh case

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A Pakistani court will finally hear from Wednesday a petition to prove the innocence of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in the murder case of a British police officer, nearly 85 years after his execution by the colonial government.

Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice Ijazul Ahsan constituted a division bench headed by justice Khalid Mahmood Khan to hear the case from February 3.

The petition was last heard by justice Shujaat Ali Khan in May 2013, when he referred the matter to the chief justice for the constitution of a larger bench.

Advocate Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi, chairman of the Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation, had in November filed a plea in the LHC for early hearing of the matter.

In the petition, Qureshi said Bhagat Singh was a freedom fighter and fought for independence of undivided India.

The case was filed against Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for allegedly killing British police officer John P Saunders.

Singh was hanged by British rulers on March 23, 1931 at the age of 23, after being tried under charges for hatching a conspiracy against the colonial government.

He said Singh was initially jailed for life but later awarded death sentence in another "fabricated case".

The petitioner further said Bhagat Singh is respected even today in the subcontinent not only by Sikhs but also Muslims as the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah twice paid tribute to him.

"It is a matter of national importance and should be fixed before a full bench," he said and pleaded the court to set aside the sentence of Singh by exercising principles of review and order the government to honour him with state award.

In 2014, Lahore police provided the copy of the original FIR of the killing of Saunders in 1928 to the petitioner on the court's order. Singh's name was not mentioned in the First Information Report of the murder of Saunders for which he was handed down death sentence.

Eighty three years after Singh's hanging, Lahore police searched through the record of the Anarkali police station on court's order and managed to find the FIR of the murder of Saunders.

Written in Urdu, the FIR was registered with the Anarkali police station on December 17, 1928 at 4.30pm against two 'unknown gunmen'. The case was registered under sections 302, 1201 and 109 of Indian Penal Code.

Petitioner Qureshi said special judges of the tribunal handling Singh's case awarded death sentence to him without hearing the 450 witnesses in the case. Singh's lawyers were not given the opportunity of cross-questioning them, he said. "I will establish Bhagat Singh's innocence in the Saunders case," Qureshi said.

Small levels of atmospheric oxygen had already developed on Earth about 3.8 billion years ago, much earlier than previously thought, a new study has found.

Reconstructing the emergence and evolution of life on our planet is tightly linked to the questions as to when and to what extent Earth's atmosphere became oxygenated.

Most researchers agree that the oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere happened in two major steps - the first during the Great Oxidation Event about 2.5 to 2.4 billion years ago, and the second during the Late Neoproterozoic Era around 750 to 540 million years ago.

The latter is thought to have been the cause for the emergence of animals during the 'Cambrian explosion' around 540 to 520 million years ago.

Researchers, led by Robert Frei from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, found evidence for the presence of small concentrations of oxygen on Earth 3.8 billion years ago.
The researchers analysed Earth's oldest Banded Iron Formations (BIFs) from Western Greenland.

BIFs are marine chemical sediments originally comprised of alternating layers of silica and iron-hydroxides and are widely used as geochemical archives.

The reason for this is that they retain information on the composition and presence of oxygenation/reduction processes in ambient seawater and on the interaction of the atmosphere with Earth's surface.

The researchers used concentrations and isotope compositions, ie variations of the same elements with different atomic weight, of the elements chromium (Cr) and uranium (U) present in the BIFs.

Chromium and uranium were used as these elements weather rapidly when continental landmasses are exposed to reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as oxygen (O2).

After weathering, they are transported to the oceans by rivers, where they are deposited with chemical sediments and serve as geochemical signals of weathering by ROS.

The fact that the analyses of the BIF layers from Western Greenland show elements that require presence of oxygen in the atmosphere opens up for the possibility of evolution of the earliest primitive photosynthetic life forms as early as 3.8 billion years ago.

"It is generally believed that the Early Earth was a completely anoxic, but our study shows that the surface of the Earth was exposed to a low oxygen atmosphere already this time," Frei said.

"This has far reaching implications for how we investigate the pace of evolution of life and its biodiversity on our planet," he said

Courtesy – Deccan Herald

Thursday, 18 February 2016 17:14

Netaji's cremation records released online

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A UK website set up to catalogue the last days of Subhas Chandra Bose has released the evidence given by a Taiwanese official who claimed to have prepared Netaji's body for cremation after his death in a plane crash in 1945.

The testimony, contained in UK Foreign Office file No FC1852/6 and dating back to 1956, is among the last few documents to be released by www.bosefiles.info set up to establish that the Indian freedom fighter died in the crash on the outskirts of an airfield in Taipei on August 18, 1945.

"Taiwanese official Tan Ti-Ti, who was in charge of issuing cremation permits in Taipei, together with that of other local officials, put to rest any controversy about the last rites performed on Subhas Bose's body," the website said.

There has been controversy for decades as to whether the account of the plane crash is true, despite two Indian government investigations concluding that is how Bose met his end.


The proof contained in the Taiwanese police report sent to the British Foreign Office was, the file indicates, forwarded by the British High Commission in Delhi to the Indian government in July 1956.

Albert Franklin, British Consul General in Taiwan, wrote to the Taiwanese government requesting an investigation into the death of Bose on May 15, 1956.

In response, C K Yen, Chairman of the Taiwan Provincial Government, sent a detailed police report dated June 27, 1956.

This included an interview with Tan Ti-Ti, who said the cremation took place on August 22, 1945.

A Japanese army officer who accompanied the body told Ti-Ti: "The deceased was Bose, the Indian leader (on occasions he mentioned him as the Indian commander) who, proceeding to Tokyo on important business, was injured when his plane was involved in an accident."

The previous day – August 21, 1945 – the same Japanese officer, according to Tan Ti-Ti, "submitted the death certificate of a certain Ichiro Okura."

Yen clarified to Franklin that during World War II in the case of military personnel (Bose was then Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army) without family members in Taiwan, "permission for cremation was granted on the strength of a certificate from a military hospital."

This appears to have occurred in the case of Bose.


The police findings based on a report prepared by Taiwan's Department of Health said: "There is a register of cremations at the Municipal Health Centre (formerly under the Welfare Section of the Taipei Municipal Government) and the officers of the Health Centre are of the opinion that the entry (regarding cremating Bose) was made in the name of Ichiro Okura."

Tan Ti-Ti confirmed that on the day of the cremation the same Japanese army officer "came to the crematorium in a car in the company of an Indian," believed to be Bose's ADC Colonel Habibur Rehman, who survived the crash.

Tan Ti-Ti asserted he and another person, called Lin Sui Mu, opened the coffin as the body had been "put into a coffin for conveyance to Tokyo but the coffin was too big for aeroplanes available at the time."

It was, therefore, cremated in Taipei.
The next day (August 23, 1945), the Indian (Col Rehman) and the same Japanese army officer came to collect the ashes, Tan Ti-Ti added.

His version of events matches with Col Rehman's statement recorded on August 24, 1945, which said "the body (of Bose) was cremated on 22-8-1945 at Taihoku (Japanese name for Taipei) under the arrangement of the (Japanese) Army authorities. The ashes were collected on 23-8-1945."

On January 23, this year, the Indian government is slated to declassify a set of hitherto secret documents relating to Bose.

"I would be surprised if the Government of India files contradict anything our website has claimed," said Ashis Ray, creator of bosefiles.info.

Bose's daughter, Professor Anita Pfaff, who lives in Germany, has gone on record to say she finds the story of the air crash to be credible.

Courtesy – Deccan Herald

A Japanese interpreter confirmed that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died at a military hospital in Taipei after a plane crash in 1945, according to information released by a UK website set up to catalogue the last days of the nationalist leader.

Kazunori Kunizuka, who worked as an interpreter with Bose from 1943 to 1945, is still alive and has recorded in graphic detail in his diary the last days of Bose and his death as a result of a plane crash at Taipei on August 18, 1945, said the website bosefiles.info.

The information was conveyed to the website by Noburu Okabe, London correspondent of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper, who also handed over a copy of the diary to the website.

Ashis Ray, Bose's grandnephew and creator of the website, said "The diary is in Japanese. We will get it translated and post relevant portions from it in due course".

According to Okabe, Kanizuka is 98 years old and lives in an old people's home in Kobe in Japan. Okabe has met him and testified the diary unequivocally confirms Bose's demise in a Japanese military hospital in Taipei after the air tragedy.

Earlier when Ray visited Taipei, he met Yukichi Arai, son of Captain Keikichi Arai, a Japanese army officer who was one of seven survivors (of an estimated total of 14 passengers and crew, including Bose, on the flight) of the crash. Captain Arai died in 1971.

However, he, too, recorded in his diary that Bose succumbed to injuries suffered in the crash. As per his description, soon after take-off from Taipei the Japanese bomber carrying Bose "immediately lost speed, crashed and went up in flames".

Of the seven survivors, six deposed before either the 1956 Netaji Inquiry Committee or the 1974 Justice G D Khosla Commission or both, including Bose's most trusted aide de camp Colonel Habibur Rehman and Captain Arai. All six independently submitted Bose died consequent to the crash.

Two Japanese doctors – Dr Taneyoshi Yoshimi and Dr Toyoshi Tsuruta - and a Taiwanese nurse – Tsan Pi Sha - who treated him at the hospital or were by his bedside when he passed away, another interpreter Juichi Nakamura (who personally knew Bose from previous visits to Taipei) and Colonel Rehman, gave eyewitness evidence of Bose's final moments and of him breathing his last.

Also, there are at least three first-hand testimonies of Bose's cremation at Taipei as provided by Tan Ti-Ti, a Taiwanese who worked at the crematorium and personally prepared the body for the last rites, Ko Keng Yuan, a Taiwanese health official, and Colonel Rehman.

Bose died in the air crash in Taipei in 1945, according to documents that form part of 100 secret files, comprising 16,600 pages which were made public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Bose's 119th birth anniversary last month.

Courtesy – Deccan Herald

 

Monday, 15 February 2016 17:16

3D 'mini-brains' developed in lab

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Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed tiny 3D 'mini-brains' that mimic some of the human brain's structures and functionality and can be used to study diseases such as Alzheimer's and autism.

The creation of these 'mini-brains' could dramatically change how new drugs are tested for effectiveness and safety, researchers said.

Performing research using these balls of brain cells that grow and form brain-like structures on their own over the course of eight weeks should be superior to studying mice and rats because they are derived from human cells instead of rodents, they said.

"Ninety-five per cent of drugs that look promising when tested in animal models fail once they are tested in humans at great expense of time and money," said study leader Thomas Hartung, professor at Johns Hopkins University in US.

"While rodent models have been useful, we are not 150-pound rats. And even though we are not balls of cells either, you can often get much better information from these balls of cells than from rodents," said Hartung.

"We believe that the future of brain research will include less reliance on animals, more reliance on human, cell-based models," he said.

Researchers, including Anupama Kumar of John Hopkins University, created the brains using what are known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

These are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state and then are stimulated to grow into brain cells.

Cells from the skin of several healthy adults were used to create the mini-brains, but Hartung said that cells from people with certain genetic traits or certain diseases can be used to create brains to study various types of pharmaceuticals.

The brains can be used to study Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and even autism.

The mini-brains are very small - at 350 micrometres in diameter, or about the size of the eye of a housefly, they are just visible to the human eye - and hundreds to thousands of exact copies can be produced in each batch.

One hundred of them can grow easily in the same petri dish in the lab.

After cultivating the mini-brains for about two months, the brains developed four types of neurons and two types of support cells - astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, the latter of which go on to create myelin, which insulates the neuron's axons and allows them to communicate faster.

The researchers could watch the myelin developing and could see it begin to sheath the axons. The brains even showed spontaneous electrophysiological activity, which could be recorded with electrodes, similar to an electroencephalogram, also known as EEG.

To test them, the researchers placed a mini-brain on an array of electrodes and listened to the spontaneous electrical communication of the neurons as test drugs were added.

 

Courtesy – Deccan Herald

 

Monday, 15 February 2016 17:14

Gratitudes?. Nation Protectors?. Strikes?. Peace?.

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We must be grateful to those brave hearts who have been saving us night & day by freeding their lifes and also safe guarding our People, Nation and its Interests.

Are we really compensating or conveying our gratitude to them?. When these kind of questions rises, the answer will be always ???.... only, because we ( Most of the people ) have become selfish in all the manners.

There must & should be a Compulsory law makes us to serve the Country in being Any Part of the Army, how those days will be?. Will it not be nice & pride for being protecting our Country by our self??...

If entire protection sector & its people strikes for a week time with out thinking of any thing?. Will our country be in a normal situation?.

Editorial Desk – Padmanabha. N – Chief Editor

 

More than a century after the original Titanic ship infamously sank on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic Ocean, a fully-functioning replica of the gigantic vessel will set sail in 2018, according to a media report.

Built at a cost of 300 million pounds by an Australian billionaire Clive Palmer and his company Blue Star Line, Titanic II will be 270 metres long, 53 metres high and weigh 40,000 tonnes.

Unlike the original, the new ship will be four metres wider to meet 21st century safety regulations and have enough lifeboats, along with marine evacuation systems - besides a boat deck housing replicas of the original lifeboats.

Titanic II's maiden voyage will not be from Southampton to New York, like the original ship, but from Jiangsu in eastern China to Dubai.

"The new Titanic will of course have modern evacuation procedures, satellite controls, digital navigation and radar systems and all those things you'd expect on a 21st century ship," said James McDonald, marketing director of Blue Star Line.

"It is people looking to use the opportunity of the trademark and licensing potential of the project... We own the Titanic II name and trademark and people are lining up to be part of it," McDonald was quoted as saying by 'Independent'.

The updated version, physically identical to its predecessor except for small changes made to satisfy modern safety requirements, will offer first, second and third class tickets.

It will have nine floors to accommodate 2,400 passengers and 900 crew members, besides a swimming pool, Turkish baths and gyms.

The original Titanic, the 'ship of dreams' sank on its maiden voyage in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic - killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

 

Courtesy – Heccan Herald

Climate change has caused Earth's parched land masses to soak up increasing amounts of water in the last decade, slowing the pace of sea level rise, according to a new NASA study.

The study shows that while ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt, changes in weather and climate over the past decade have caused Earth's continents to store an extra 3.2 trillion tonnes of water in soils, lakes and underground aquifers, temporarily slowing the rate of sea level rise by about 20 per cent.

New measurements from a NASA satellite have allowed researchers to identify and quantify, for the first time, how climate-driven increases of liquid water storage on land have affected the rate of sea level rise.

The water gains over land were spread globally, but taken together they equal the volume of Lake Huron, the world's seventh largest lake.

Each year, a huge amount of water evaporates from the ocean, then falls over land as rain or snow, and returns to the ocean through runoff and river flows.

Scientists have long known that small changes in Earth's water cycle could lead to large, although temporary, changes in the rate of sea level rise.

By measuring the distance between the two satellites to within the width of a strand of human hair as they orbit the planet, researchers can record changes in Earth's gravitational pull that result from water moving across its surface.

Careful analysis of these data, allowed the scientists to measure the change in water storage over land.

"We always assumed that people's increased reliance on groundwater for irrigation and consumption was resulting in a net transfer of water from the land to the ocean," said lead author J T Reager of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

"What we didn't realise until now is that over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge," said Reager, who began the research project as a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Courtesy – Heccan Herald


"This is the first study to observe these changing water storage patterns on land and their impact on modulating current rates of sea level rise," said senior author Jay Famiglietti, professor at UCI.

"Our work will certainly sound the alarm about the possible effects of climate change on shifting patterns of freshwater availability, as well as the potential for modulating future rates of sea level rise by managing the amount of freshwater stored on land," Famiglietti said.

The study is the first to observe global patterns of wetting and drying on land, with wet areas getting wetter and dry areas getting drier.

The research was published in the journal Science.

 

The plea filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffry made Pakistan's claim over the 105-carat gem on the basis that it hailed from the territory that became Pakistan in 1947.

A Pakistani court has accepted a petition seeking direction to the government to bring back Koh-i-Noor from British Queen Elizabeth-II, overruling the objection to the plea for the famed diamond, which India has been trying to get from the UK for years. Lahore High Court Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan on Monday overruled the objection by the court’s registrar office to the petition which has named Queen Elizabeth II and British High Commission in Pakistan respondents in the case.

The plea filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffry made Pakistan’s claim over the 105-carat gem on the basis that it hailed from the territory that became Pakistan in 1947. The court directed the office to fix the petition before any appropriate bench for hearing. In December last year, the registrar office’s had dismissed the plea terming it as non-maintainable and said that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case against the British Queen.

The petitioner filed a fresh application in the high court pleading that in Britain the Queen is respondent in every case. “Why not she can be made respondent in a case in Pakistan,” he argued in the court. In the petition, Jaffry argued that Britain “forcibly and under duress” stole the diamond from Daleep Singh, grandson of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, and took it to Britain.

“The diamond became part of the crown of incumbent Queen Elizabeth-II at the time of her crowing in 1953. Queen Elizabeth has no right on the Koh-i-Noor diamond,” he said. The London-trained lawyer said that he has written 786 letters to the Queen and to Pakistani officials before filing the lawsuit.

“Koh-i-Noor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law or ethics. A wrong is a wrong. It does not become righteous or right by passage of time or even acquiescence,” he said in the petition. Claiming that the diamond was cultural heritage of Punjab province and its citizens owned it in fact, he sought direction to the government to bring the diamond back to Pakistan from the UK.

The Koh-i-Noor is one of the Crown Jewels and is now on display in the Tower of London. India has made regular requests for the jewel’s return, saying the diamond is an integral part of the country’s history and culture. India says that Koh-i-Noor was illegally acquired and demands that it should be returned along with other treasures looted during colonial rule.

The Koh-i-Noor was mined in medieval times in the Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district. The diamond was originally owned by the Kakatiya Dynasty, which had installed it in a temple of a Hindu goddess as her eye. Reportedly, in 1849, after the conquest of the Punjab by the British forces, the properties of the Sikh Empire were confiscated.

The Koh-i-Noor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore. The properties of the Sikh Empire were taken as war compensations. It passed through the hands of various invaders and was finally appropriated by the British in 1850 during the Raj.

India has been long demanding the return of Koh-i-Noor which was owned by several Mughal emperors and Maharajas before being seized by the British. When Queen Elizabeth II made a state visit to India marking the 50th anniversary of independence in 1997, many
Indians in India and Britain demanded the return of the diamond. British Indian MP Keith Vaz had called for the return of ‘Koh-i-Noor’ diamond to India ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November last year.

Britain has, however, consistently rejected India’s claims on the gem and during a visit to India in 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron had said in an interview on Indian television: “What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty.”

Courtesy - Indian Express