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President Obama urges India to uphold religious freedom
Report dated Today @ 4:09 PM
Addressing an audience of students and other invitees at the end of his visit to India, US President Barack Obama said 'India will succeed as long as it is not splintered along religious lines'.
Obama said every person has the right to practise their faith as they choose, or no faith at all without fear or discrimination, and he admitted he had often felt treated differently because of his background in the US.
In his 40-minute speech Obama praised democracy that allowed the poor to dream big, in both India and the US, and referring to PM Narendra Modi and himself, he said the two countries were places where the son of a tea vendor can be PM, a Dalit can draft the constitution and the grandson of a cook can be President.
Mr Obama's speech came at the end of his 3-day visit to India after which he left for Saudi Arabia on a condolence visit following the death of King Abdullah last week.
Colleges to conduct entrance tests for NRIs
Report dated 27/01/2015 @ 1:50 PM
The Medical Council of India issued a circular on its website, advising medical colleges to abide by the norm from the next academic year, and admit students under the NRI quota based on merit, through a common entrance test.
Every private medical college is permitted 15 percent of seats under the NRI quota. Self-financing colleges have a management quota and guidelines exist that say universities should form a consortium of colleges and hold a common entrance test for admission, but the Medical Council official expressed doubts about the system's transparency.
The principal of PSG Institute of Medical Sciences which is permitted to admit 22 students under the category said those students get an equivalence certificate from the Association of Indian Universities that certifies their eligibility. They are affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University and as the State does not have an entrance exam it rests with the government to provide them with directions.
The Vice Chancellor of the Sri Ramachandra University that admits students under the NRI quota said he was not aware of a new circular, but would abide by it if it was made the norm.
Several NRIs among Padma recipients
Report dated 26/01/2015 @ 2:12 PM
Former deputy prime minister and BJP veteran L K Advani, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, actors Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, and Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan leader of Ismaili Muslims have been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, after the Bharat Ratna.
Padma Bhushan recipients include Microsoft founder and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates who have donated billions towards health care in India.
Of the list of 104 Padma award winners, 9 received the Padma Vibhushan, 20 were awarded the Padma Bhushan and 75, the Padma Shri.
The list included 17 women, and setting a record, are 17 awardees in the category of foreigners, NRIs and PIOs, prominent among the Padma Bhushan awardees are Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's Japanese associate Saichiro Misumi and US Sanskrit scholar David Frawley who is also known as Vamadeva. Foreigners awarded the Padma Shri are Chinese Indologist Huang Baosheng, French scientist Jacques Blamont, French novelist Jean-Claude Carriere, professor of Tamil at the University of California, Berkeley, George L Hart; and German Indologist Annette Schmiedchen. The NRI/PIO in the category are US NRI economist Nandrajan Raj Chetty, classical vocalist Tripti Mukherjee, and Dr Dattatreyudu Nori, Dr Raghu Rama Pillarisetti and Dr Saumitra Rawat in the field of medicine.
The sports category include 4 women PV Sindhu, the badminton champ, the women's cricket team's Mithali Raj, Hockey player Saba Anjum and the first female amputee to climb Mt Everest, Arunima Singh. Wrestling coach Satpal and hockey team captain Sardara Singh were the only 2 male Padma awardees in the category.
Vice President Ansari led India's delegation at Saudi King's funeral
Report dated 25/01/2015 @ 3:56 PM
India's Vice President Hamid Ansari, who was once the Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, led the Indian government delegation at the funeral of Saudi ruler King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud who died on Friday.
An official statement said 'the government and people of India received with deep sadness and shock the news of the passing of King Abdullah who died of complications from pneumonia. India has maintained close and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Abdullah, bonds that were strengthened by the presence of the large expatriate Indian community that found a home in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent messages of condolence to King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud the successor to the throne.
Modi said a few days ago he spoke to then Crown Prince Salman and enquired about King Abdullah's health, and the news of his passing is saddening.
Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy recalled King Abdallah as one who was considerate to Indians, particularly Keralites, who have made their home in Saudi Arabia, a move that the departed's vision made possible.
A recent study said of the 2.36 million Kerala diaspora, 25.2 percent are in Saudi Arabia.
Supreme Court refuses to interfere in NRI's divorce case
Report dated 25/01/2015 @ 3:53 PM
The Supreme Court has refused to intervene in the Bombay high court's judgment that had rejected the plea of a US NRI husband that said the Pune family court cannot hear a divorce petition filed by his wife who is also a US citizen, thereby upholding the decision that the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act allows a woman to file a case before the court where she resides.
The case related to the husband, a financial analyst who became a naturalised US citizen in 1994, and the wife, a web designer and native of Pune who also acquired US citizenship five years after the couple's marriage in Mumbai based on Hindu Vedic rites. She returned to India in 2012 with her son and filed a petition in the Pune family court seeking a divorce on the grounds of cruelty.
The Bench rejected the New Jersey based husband's argument that the Hindu Marriage Act was not applicable to him as he is not an Indian citizen, and resides in the US. He had also furnished a US court's order directing his wife to return with the son to the US.
The court is now expected to resume the hearing of the divorce petition made by the wife who asked for a grant of maintenance in terms of money, shelter and education for the estranged couple's son who was admitted to a school in Pune.