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India's top court bans tourism near Andaman tribe

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court has banned all commercial and tourism activity near an ancient tribe’s habitat in the country’s remote Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Indian Ocean. The ruling bars hotels and resorts from operating within a five-kilometre buffer zone around the Jarawa reserve, which is home to the ancient Jarawa tribal people. The order, announced late yesterday, means a number of resorts that had opened near the indigenous Andamanese tribe’s reserve will have to close. The Jarawas are among the world’s most ancient people, with many stil...
Published On: 2012-07-04

Tibetan monks tackle science in Indian hills

SARAH: The shouts of more than a dozen Tibetan monks echo through the small classroom. Fingers are pointed. Voices collide. When an important point is made, the men smack their hands together and stomp the floor, their robes billowing around them. It’s the way Tibetan Buddhist scholars have traded ideas for centuries. Among them, the debate-as-shouting match is a discipline and a joy. But this is something different. Evolutionary theory is mentioned — loudly. One monk invokes Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Another shouts about the subatomic nature of neutrinos. In an ...
Published On: 2012-07-04

Obama climbs back on the campaign bus in Ohio‚ Pa.

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is embarking on his first bus tour of the 2012 campaign and seeking to raise more questions about Republican rival Mitt Romney's business record. During the trip, he'll also face another important update on the economy. Obama's "Betting on America" bus tour begins Thursday and will take him through several northern Ohio communities that formed the backbone of his support in 2008. The tour also will take him into western Pennsylvania with a stop in Pittsburgh. Obama has released new advertising questioning Romney's commitment to keeping jobs in Ame...
Published On: 2012-07-04

Tax hikes on the rich in new French budget

PARIS: France's Socialist government wants to raise €7.2 billion ($9 billion) in new revenue from higher taxes on estates, banks and oil companies to try to reduce the deficit. The measures are among those in a revised 2012 budget draft presented at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday. It will go to parliament later this month, where it is expected to win approval. France's new leadership has criticized austerity measures imposed around Europe, saying they are making the region's debt crisis worse. It has focused on higher taxes for the well-off, though some spending cuts are also expected. Pr...
Published On: 2012-07-04

French army hands over key province to Afghan forces

MAHMOOD-E-RAQI: The French military officially handed over control of the key Afghan province of Kapisa to local forces on Wednesday. The transfer is an important stage in France's withdrawal from the war-torn country, which new President Francois Hollande has accelerated by ordering the return of troops by the end of 2012, a year earlier than previously planned. France is the fifth largest contributor to NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is due to pull out the vast majority of its 130,000 forces by the end of 2014. Kapisa, an extremely unstable province where Fre...
Published On: 2012-07-04

German hostage drama claims 5 lives

BERLIN: Five people were shot dead after a gunman facing eviction seized hostages in an apartment in the southern German city of Karlsruhe on Wednesday, police said. The gunman, who possessed several hunting rifles, was thought to be among the dead, officers added. "Special forces broke into the apartment after smelling smoke and found four dead bodies. Probably one of them is the gunman," a police spokesman told Reuters. Police later said a fifth body had been also found and that one of the victims was a woman. They declined to comment on German media reports that the hostages i...
Published On: 2012-07-04

Myanmar hardliners face axe in 'reshuffle'

YANGON: Several hardliners will leave Myanmar's top leadership in an imminent reshuffle, officials said Wednesday, as the reformist regime welcomed the parliamentary debut of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition. The reshuffle hastens the pace of reforms since a quasi-civilian government replaced army rule last year and coincides with the ascension of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) to the heart of political decision making. Around three senior ministers are expected to be replaced soon by more moderate figures in the new line-up, a government official told AFP. "Those who are a...
Published On: 2012-07-04

Australia scrambles to rescue stricken migrant boat

SYDNEY: Australian rescuers were trying to help a migrant-filled boat in bad weather and rough seas off Indonesia on Wednesday, a day after the countries agreed to strengthen maritime ties to combat people smuggling. The wooden boat issued a distress call Wednesday morning and was believed to have up to 180 people on board, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. Its initial location was 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Panaitan, a small island off the western end of the main Java island, but by afternoon, it had drifted within 180 miles (290 kilometers) of Christmas Island, Indon...
Published On: 2012-07-04

Chlorine leak in Georgia‚ 73 taken to hospital

TBILIS: Seventy-three people were treated in hospital after a chlorine leak at a water distribution company in Georgia late on Tuesday, a Tbilisi city official said. "Around 30 patients are still in hospitals, but the majority of them will be discharged by the end of the day," Temur Grigalashvili, told Reuters on Wednesday. The leak was caused by the malfunction of a tap on a tank containing chlorine. Nearly half of those taken to hospital were on a bus that passed through the area in Tbilisi where the leak occurred, Grigalashvili said. An 18-year-old male patient suffering from ...
Published On: 2012-07-04

South Korea anthem talk draws disloyalty claims

SEOUL: A South Korean lawmaker's suggestion to replace the national anthem with a folk song popular in both Koreas does not at first glance seem like an act of disloyalty. The folk tune, "Arirang," has no mention of socialism or glorification of North Korea's ruling family. It is a song of longing, of the sorrow of separation, heavy on images of sunsets over mountains and stars shining in clear skies. But the comments by Lee Seok-ki, a politician in a minor opposition party who has been hounded by claims of pro-Pyongyang views, have fed a media and political firestorm about the po...
Published On: 2012-07-04