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US says India has 180 million Muslims
Report dated 05/09/2011 @ 5:58 PM
According to a diplomatic cable on the US' interpretation of Indian Islam, that was leaked by WikiLeaks, the US believes that the official Indian census of 2001 figure of 138 million is under represented, and that the actual number is closer to 160 to 180 million Muslims.
The cable originated from the American embassy in Delhi last year and says that the majority of Muslims live in a very poor condition despite some millionaires from the community like Azim Premji, who influence the Indian market. It also cited Shahrukh Khan the iconic Bollywood celebrity.
The communication noted however that Indian Muslims are eager to catch up to their compatriots and their Sufi heritage, that promotes pluralism and tolerance should leave them well-equipped to compete in secular India.
However lingering resentment from the partition and external influences threaten to divide the community.
The US believes that Islam in India presents a series of dichotomies like most issues affecting the world's largest democracy
India bans chewing tobacco
Report dated 04/09/2011 @ 5:30 PM
Under its new food safety guidelines, the government of India has now added chewing tobacco to the list of banned 'food' products that already include gutka and paan masala.
Following the ban on the use of plastic pouches to package chewing tobacco and pan masala, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a notification prohibiting the use of tobacco as an ingredient in any food product.
The FSSAI say chewing tobacco can be called a 'food' because it is consumed like any other food product.
Health activists have welcomed the move as the increasing incidence of oral cancer is evident, with the 2010 figure at over 70,000 cases.
Sports bodies in urgent need of a regulatory overseer
Report dated 04/09/2011 @ 5:28 PM
India has over 40 sports associations that cover every discipline from archery to yachting, each of which is headed by a politician or an an associate of one.
For example the BJP's V K Malhotra has headed the archery association for decades and is the acting president of the Indian Olympic Association.
Other than cricket, India's global rankings are miserable and medal prospects in international events are the pits.
Since most of these controlling bodies are funded by the government, everyone now agrees that the federations are inept and venal.
Baba Ramdev booked for foreign exchange violations
Report dated 03/09/2011 @ 1:16 AM
Celebrated yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his Haridwar trusts have been booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for foreign exchange violations.
A case has been registered by the ED on the basis of a report from the RBI and suspicious financial transaction inputs from abroad.
The ED had earlier found irregularities in foreign remittances and fund flows and proceeded with their investigations under the provisions of FEMA.
They approached authorities in the UK concerning the island of Little Cumbrae in Scotland that serves as Ramdev's overseas base and which was 'gifted' to Ramdev by a couple who are his followers. The Directorate also approached officials on the island nation of Madagascar.
The flow of money and transactions through three trusts floated by Ramdev were checked by the Directorate, leading to the probe.
Court orders free treatment for the poor in Delhi hospitals
Report dated 03/09/2011 @ 1:16 AM
The Supreme Court has ordered Delhi's private hospitals, built on subsidised government land, to provide free treatment to the poor.
City hospitals have been ordered to reserve 25 percent of their out-patient department capacity and 10 percent of beds at the indoor level for the free treatment of the poor.
Some 37 hospitals were granted land by the government at concessional rates, of which 27 have been providing free treatment to poor patients.
Other hospitals resisted and challenged the order, but the Bench dismissed the plea and held fast, saying the hospitals could no longer 'wriggle out' of their responsibility to treat the poor free of cost.