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  • 15th October, 2005

    Indian blogosphere continues attack on institute

    by Sunny at 4:34 pm    

    Heh, like a swarm of bees circling around to attack, Indian blogs are keeping up pressure on the academic institute IIPM. It is currently Technorati’s most searched term. More on the controversy here.

    The annoying thing is, most of the Indian media is too scared to carry the story, presumably because IIPM spends a huge amount on advertising every year in the press, although the Indian new channel NDTV did a short story. According to Press Talk, IIPM may be releasing a statement to the media. No one knows where all this will lead, but at least IIPM is unlikely to keep making wild claims in the press to attract poor students.

    14th October, 2005

    Kashmir relief starts winding down, aid still needed

    by Sunny at 8:48 pm    

    After six days and nights of pure hell, the relief efforts in Kashmir and Pakistan are winding down. That means there is little hope of recovering more people buried alive under the rubble.

    The problems for the millions affected still remain. The coming winter is one. The UN says an estimated two million people need rehousing. The reconstruction will take years.

    The Pak govt is importing 50,000 tents from India, but dismissed reports that Indian troops crossed the LoC to help Pakistani troops in relief. The terrorists wouldn’t be too impressed with that. Already, thunderstorms and rains are expected to cause more problems. Hopelessness is setting in.

    If you can help or donate, please do.

    Filed under: South Asia

    Dutch remain paranoid about Islam

    by Al-Hack at 7:30 pm    

    The Dutch government is instigating a bit of a war against the Burqa, which Muslim women wear to cover themselves fully.

    Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has proposed a ban on the wearing of Muslim burkas - full-length veils covering the face - in certain public places, to prevent people avoiding identification.

    Practical or over the top? I get the feeling that the Dutch are doing everything possible to restrict freedom of religion for Muslims.

    The authorities in the Dutch city of Utrecht have reduced unemployment benefit for women who say their refusal to remove their burkas is preventing them getting jobs. The measure was prompted by the case of two burka-clad women who said they did not attend job interviews.

    It’s difficult to figure out where to stand on this. If they don’t want to work due to the burqa, then it’s their own choice, they shouldn’t be claiming benefits. Last year several Belgian towns, including Antwerp and Ghent, banned the wearing of the burka in public. Why punish everyone in the name of one mad nutter?

    Filed under: Religion,The World

    Just cut their balls off, for “cultural” reasons

    by Sunny at 3:53 am    

    I hate it when someone tries the old “we’re Asian, please be lenient” excuse when they’ve committed a serious crime. It should be all the more reason for a harsher sentence IMO. Did your mum not raise you properly, fool?

    Take for example these three rapists in Australia who are claiming that because their [Pakistani] culture sees women in a degrading way, their actions should be excused.

    A violent gang rapist should have been given a lesser sentence partly because he was a “cultural time bomb” whose attacks were inevitable, as he had emigrated from a country with traditional views of women, his barrister has argued.

    MSK, who, with his three Pakistani brothers, raped several girls at their Ashfield family home over six months in 2002, was affected by “cultural conditioning … in the context of intoxification”, Stephen Odgers, SC, told the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal yesterday.

    Mr Odgers said the new evidence showed that he had a disease, which, combined with alcohol and the cultural conditioning of “a society with very traditional views of women”, was “clearly a factor in the commissioning of these offences”.

    After their balls have been cut off, for cultural reasons you see, their barrister should also get a slap for having the gall to use that line of reasoning. People like this really piss me off. [via DSTPFW]

    Filed under: Culture
    13th October, 2005

    Integrating new immigrants, old-skool style

    by Sunny at 3:16 pm    

    Dominic Casciani has written an eye-opening piece in today’s BBC magazine about the first Asian programme launched on the Beeb 40 years ago this week.

    Apna Hi Ghar Samajhiye taught our parents about the modern gas boilers; how to vote; leaving empty milk bottles outside every night; NHS registration cards and much more. Hehe, attempts at integration at their very best. How Trevor Phillips must yearn for those days again.

    The series started on 10th October 1965 and ran for 14 years. Politicians saw it as a potential way to get votes so Maggie Thatcher came on twice and Jim Callaghan once. Mahendra Kaul, now 83, anchored from 1966 with Saleem Shahed. Enoch wasn’t too enthusiatic about it.

    “I remember one day meeting him at a luncheon and I asked him, ‘Mr Powell, why don’t you take part in our programme?’. And he said, ‘As an MP, I have to advise my own people first’. Well, I said to him, aren’t our audience now your people too?”

    Another point also made by one of the responses. We had to fight for a slot for Asians then, and 40 years later we’re still doing the same. Hmmmm.

    Filed under: Culture,Media

    Indian bloggers taken on lying IIPM institute

    by Sunny at 5:10 am    

    Wondered why ‘IIPM’ keeps hitting the Technorati top 10 search terms? No? Let me tell you why anyway.

    It all started with fiesty blogger Rashmi Bansal, editor of JAM magazine in Mumbai, doing an exposé of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) in Delhi. Gaurav Sabnis subsequently linked it, inviting legal threats. Others too.

    Overnight, blogs sprung up defending IIPM and making up stories of corruption on Jam. Then it got serious. IIPM started harassing Gaurav’s employer IBM, threatening to burn all their Thinkpads infront of their building. Gaurav decided to resign from his job.

    Desi Pundit took on their cause, supported by Global Voices and Indian Uncut, and hundreds of bloggers came together. The story hit Hindustan Times and ExpressIndia. More coverage is now expected.

    Two points: Firstly, this controversy has rallied Indian bloggers over the web like never before, possibly because of the freedom of speech issues or maybe because they don’t want to bow down to an establishment which is used to ripping off innocent students.

    What will the future hold? The Indian MSM is usually too timid to highlight endemic corruption and take on the state. Remember Tehelka? This could very well herald a new era where Indian democracy is held to account by citizen bloggers who are less afraid to raise issues important to them rather than keep publishing drivel on Bollywood. Expect many more such incidents.

    Filed under: Media,South Asia
    12th October, 2005

    ‘Muslims and neo-Nazis’

    by Sunny at 4:40 am    

    Like an increasing number of commentators these days on current affairs, Melanie Phillips has lost all sense of proportion. Actually, she lost any sense of balance years ago but a recent rant shows how, like many others, all Muslims automatically get equated with being Nazis or anti-semitic.

    Phillips was angry about a BBC Radio 4 documentary broadcast on Sunday titled A war Against Prejudice.

    It looked at the work of the British Jewish defence organisation called the Community Security Trust (CST), and implied that statistics on attacks on Jews were inflated to give the organisation more relevance. No, it wasn’t going to go down too well.

    She dismissed the two Jews on the programme who concurred with this view as “utterly unrepresentative of the mainstream Jewish community”, one simply because he was involved in Jewish-Muslim dialogue. Yeah, because that shouldn’t be allowed.

    The third accuser was Inayat Bunglwala of the MCB and clearly makes an easy target because he’s not exactly an unbiased commentator. Cue some questions Bunglawala should be asked himself. Then this:

    Anyone who talks to the police will know that the Jewish community in Britain has to be guarded against the very real threat of attack from both Muslims and neo-Nazis.

    Every single synagogue or communal event has to be guarded. It is a threat we Jews all live with, daily. We also have to live daily with the pathological hatred of Jewish nationhood that now courses through this country’s media, along with routine claims of a global Jewish conspiracy.

    The words ‘mad’ and ‘freak’ come to mind. Melanie Phillips obviously loves competing with the MCB in the paranoid stakes.

    If I understand her rightly, either most Britons are anti-semitic or every single Muslim is going around with a murderous anti-semitic agenda. No mention of the recent rise in attacks on Muslims but we’ll let it slide. She has a point to prove. Without statistics or anything, mind you.

    There are two points to make here. Her assertion that Jews have to fear Muslims and neo-Nazis (together) is beyond despicable and, I guess, reflects the sorry state of her mind.

    It is also interesting how her behaviour compares to the MCB’s. When the latter replied to the Observer’s accusations just before the Panorama documentary, it also tried to malign the dissenting voice of Abdul-Rehman Malik from Q-News by dismissing the magazine.

    The Muslim Council of Britain was itself accused of the same charge as the CST earlier this year by Kenan Malik, saying it was hyping up Islamophobia.

    Competition between religious groups to be labelled as ‘most sensitive’ and hype up paranoia has been going on for a while (and linked by HP). So the accusation is not beyond the realms of reality.

    For Melanie Phillips though, this equates to anti-semitism and she uses the incident to once again slur all Muslims when all she needed to do was ask the MCB some legitimate but uncomfortable questions. So typical, and she has the audacity to accuse the BBC of ‘racist libel’.

    11th October, 2005

    The only reason to watch More4 every day

    by Al-Hack at 11:12 pm    

    Is the Conservative party worth supporting?

    by Sunny at 5:11 am    

    Many Asians would rather slit their wrists than support the Conservative party (with good reason), and some are so right-wing that it’s their natural home. But is the party of Enoch Powell and the slogan ‘If you want a nigger for a neighbour vote Labour’, becoming easier to swallow?

    Exhibit A: Michael Howard has finally gone. Hallelujah!

    Exhibit B: More Asian MPs than ever before. Well, there is a lot of tokenism here, and even the PPCs like Rishi Saha and Kulveer Ranger know this, but then someone has to change the system right? Shailesh Vara was yesterday described in the Guardian as one of eight to watch. A bit bizarre that since the guy never says anything interesting. Maybe the Guardian was looking for a token Asian, who knows. Certainly, Ranger recently felt like that at the Conservative conference.

    Exhibit C: If yesterday’s comments by John Bercow are anything to go by, immigration seems to be firmly off the agenda (for now anyway).

    Continue Reading...
    10th October, 2005

    15 new terrorist organisations to be banned

    by Sunny at 7:36 pm    

    The government it seems has finally had enough of tolerating extremist organisations that coordinate their worldwide operations from London. About time too.

    Fifteen international groups believed to be terrorist organisations are set to be banned, the Home Office has said. These are on top of 25 international organisations already proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000, and a further 14 already banned in Northern Ireland.

    They include groups with links to Iraq, Uzbekistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Morocco. The government is also planning to change the law so that it can ban groups which glorify terrorism.

    Should they also ban Hizb ut-Tahrir? I’m still undecided on that one, even though they’re a bunch of pompous chimpanzees who think they know it all.

    Kashmir earthquake: news and blogs round-up

    by Al-Hack at 4:25 am    

    The death toll from Pakistan’s worst ever natural disaster has hit around 40,000. The number of deaths in India has reached 689.

    It was the strongest there for 70 years, and is a result of the sub-continent ‘moving forward‘ apparently. Around a 140 small tremors have hit Pakistan since the big one.

    The disaster may ease tensions even further between India and Pakistan, although American Christian evangelist Pat Robertson isn’t too optimistic, claiming that all this points to the return of Christ.

    There are estimated to be around 600,000 Kashmiri Britons, many of who retain strong ties back home. Most are from Mirpur and Kotli districts of the Pakistan controlled part of Kashmir. [Assoc. of British Kashmiris]

    In a Five Live doc last month, Navid Akhtar reported on a community in crisis. He argued that when the community arrived from rural Kashmir in the 1950s, it maintained tribal allegiances, and refused to integrate. Only now leaders acknowledge that their community is in crisis and feels it needs to stop seeing itself as a victim and start reforms from within.

    The Independent reports on anxious British Kashmiris and their rush to go to the area and find loved ones.

    From the Blogosphere…
    Juan Valdez asks if earthquakes are increasing in frequency. Islamabad based Shahzada Hatim has initial reactions, and so does Shivam Vij from India.

    9th October, 2005

    Sending aid to Kashmir

    by Sunny at 2:26 pm    

    (Updated Monday 10th Oct, 8pm)
    With over 20,000 now declared dead in the Kashmir region due to yesterday’s earthquake, international relief efforts have sprung into action and there have been appeals for voluntary donations. This post has information for British residents and will be updated regularly.

    We would also appeal that people donate to well known international charities who have experience in such relief efforts rather than Kashmir based organisations. Some have been known in the past to divert money to buying arms for their activities.

    • British Red Cross
    • Doctors Without Borders
    • International Rescue Corps
    • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies
    • Islamic Aid
    • Islamic Relief
    • Muslim Aid
    • Oxfam; 0870 333 2500
    • Rapid UK
    • Unicef UK; 0800 037 9797 or 08457 312 312

    My advice is not to go with charities like KIRF because they have suspect links with terrorist groups.

    • Pakistani embassy in London
    • Pakistan government website
    • DFID on the UK response.
    • Foreign and Commonwealth Office on travel advice to Pakistan
    • Government helpline: 020 7008 1500
      More news
    • BBC in-depth coverage
    • Dawn newspaper
    • The Jang
      Earthquake specific blogs
    • South Asia quake help
    • Lahore Metblogs
    • Pak Quake

    International aid (updated)
    UK: Two flights carrying aid and workers left the UK on Saturday. The government has so far committed £500,000 and 60 medics, Foreign Office staff and aid workers. There has been some criticism that this is a low amount, but no one knows the full extent of the damage yet. The govt has said its contribution will rise in the coming days.

    Kuwait has pledged $100m in aid to Pakistan. Half will be in the form of emergency supplies while the other $50m will cover reconstruction work.

    The USA has now increased its pledge to $50m and a plane bearing supplies has already landed there. “My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this horrible tragedy,” Bush told reporters in Washington.

    South Korea said it would provide $3 million in aid and send the first four people of a 24-member rescue.
    Malaysia has also pledged $1 million in aid and a 46-member search and rescue team including 18 medical officers is leaving for Pakistan.
    Australia has lifted its aid contribution to $4.2 million, with the possibility of more if needed.

    EU: £2 million
    China: 49 rescuers, dogs, 17 tons of equipment
    Japan: 50 rescue workers
    Russia: 30 rescuers, sniffer dogs, special equipment
    Germany: $60,000

    The World Bank has earmarked $20m, and the Asian Development Bank $10m.

    Supplies, help teams, food and medical equipment also dispatched from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Malayasia, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Greece. More on international aid efforts here.

    Pakistan president Musharraf said he also personally thanked India’s PM Manmohan Singh for their offer of help.

    Filed under: South Asia
    8th October, 2005

    100s feared dead in Kashmir earthquake

    by Sunny at 1:44 pm    

    Hundreds of people are feared dead after an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hit Kashmir at 3:50am GMT. The quake affected people mostly in Pakistan administered Kashmir, but was felt as far as Delhi and Kabul.

    Once they go through the full extent of the damage, over a 1000 may have been killed, according to the BBC. The link also has video and pictures.

    The BBC website also has a roundup of reports from different correspondents in the area here and some personal accounts by people here.

    Update:400 children are also feared dead. The Lahore Metroblog has personal accounts. More pictures from AFP/Yahoo.

    Update2: At least 19,000 are declared dead now, with 42,000 injured according to the Beeb, which has a dedicated section here. India and Pakistan are likely to be coordinating relief efforts in the worst-hit areas, Dawn reports. It has more coverage on its site.

    Filed under: South Asia
    7th October, 2005

    It was God wot made me do it

    by Sunny at 5:10 pm    

    The Guardian and Indy lead today with the news that President Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq. Well, tell us something new guys, really.

    He made the statement to a group of Palestinian politicians four months after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: “President Bush said to all of us: ‘I am driven with a mission from God’. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.”

    No one can accuse the Palestinians of making it up because the Israeli newspaper Haaretz broke the story then. Bush also told the Palestinians that he had a “moral and religious obligation” to get them a state. No timeline was specified though, so expect this part of the promise to drag onto 2050.

    Bush’s office quite predictably denies the claims. “He’s never made such comments,” according to his spokesman Scott McClellan. Hang-on, not the same guy who kept denying Karl Rove had anything to do with the CIA agent outing?

    Simon Barrow from Faith in Society isn’t too happy with the usage of God’s name in vain either.

    I might add, by way of a footnote, that while GW is convinced that God told him to oust Saddam Hussein, God apparently made no mention to him or his president-father that there was anything wrong with arming the dictator to the teeth in the first place. Presumably this is because the Almighty, ever-concurrent with GOP policy swings, was at that stage more worried about Iran.

    Funny that eh, God and the Bush family think alike? For the Christian think-tank Ekklesia, he continues to look at how Christian leaders have tried to stop Bush using God’s name in vain.

    At the heart of Christianity is Jesus’ call on his followers to be peacemakers. Outside the counsel of fanatics, there are few who believe this readily translates into divine enthusiasm for policies based on bombing and killing. Even the pragmatic ‘just war’ tradition is about limiting not sanctioning conflict.

    As an ending sidenote, blogger Scott Burgess isn’t too happy that his most hated publications have run with the story, and is happy to swallow the White House’s dismissal. It might have something to do with this upcoming BBC series that made it a newsworthy story. But who cares about such niggly details when there is an axe to grind?

    Turmoil in Pakistan

    by Al-Hack at 4:15 pm    

    Our insensitive jerk from Pakistan is still paralysed over dealing with religious extremism in the country. When the fuck is he going to pull his head out of the sand? Eight died and over 20 injured when gunmen opened fire as worshippers from the Ahmadiyya sect in Punjab state.

    Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said: “We condemn this attack. Any act of violence in which innocent people are killed should be condemned.”

    Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, also condemned the killings, but said the government had failed to protect minorities.

    In Pak, this doesn’t happen just to Ahmadiyyas, but also frequently to the Shias. Pakistan also had its first gay marriage, but its unlikely to open a flood of others.

    On hearing of the wedding, a tribal council told the pair to leave the area or be killed for breaking religious and tribal “values and ethics”.

    I’m more worried about the fact that the old man was buying the young kid. Hmmmm…

    Filed under: Religion,South Asia
    6th October, 2005

    Muslims demand more change to something!

    by Sunny at 6:47 pm    

    Every week a new controversy comes up where Muslims have supposedly asked for something to be banned or changed.

    But examine each issue and they are mostly either conjured up by the media or the result of “well-meaning but misguided” individuals.

    The result is that Muslims are villified even though most are unaware of these controversies or, going by online chatter, scarcely care for them. In all of the cases I mention, there was no consultation or a grassroots campaign - just media hype.

    Yet newspapers and blogs jump on board with another excuse to bash Muslims. Shouldn’t “liberals” be rising above it?

    Continue Reading...

    Where is the love?

    by Sunny at 5:10 pm    

    Leslie from the new blog Points of Jew makes a good point:

    I remember going along to an event organised by London Mayor Ken Livingstone a couple of years and I recall both Jews and Muslims there. But they didn’t really talk to each other.

    At this time of year when both Jews and Muslims are having holy days, where are the joint events? Why hasn’t the Board of Deputies wished well the Muslim community during Ramadan and likewise, why hasn’t the Muslim Council of Britain wished the Jewish community well during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

    Ahhh, but that would be too much to ask for wouldn’t it?

    Filed under: Religion
    5th October, 2005

    Tariq Ramadan and Amartya Sen

    by Sunny at 12:42 pm    

    The Guardian yesterday published a long-awaited interview with the scholar Tariq Ramdan, worthwhile reading. His best points are always on integration.

    He picked apart the Islamic scriptures and considered the laws of liberal democracies, and concluded that both were flexible enough to coexist.

    But to realise this, everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim, had to be able to accept that their values might be different from those of people around them, but that they were still part of one society. He calls it “psychological integration”.

    However, her makes a very good point also about Muslims becoming overly defensive and retreating back to their communities than engaging in debate over important issues (MCB take note).

    It’s a seductive idea of tolerance and understanding. But when Muslims are being accused of terrorism and extremism, what is easier: to retreat into the safety of their own community, or work their way into the wider society? It’s a difficult psychological leap, Ramadan agrees. “We need an intellectual revolution. First it’s about education. It’s about self-confidence. Don’t look at yourself as part of a marginalised minority. At the moment, there is a ‘protect yourself’ mentality among Muslims. But the best way to be respected is to give something to your society. To give value and presence.”

    He also makes a point about the Iraq war that many who support it try to skirt around.

    “Of course there is a relationship between what is happening internationally and here. In one of the videotapes, [a bomber] said: ‘You are killing our brothers in Baghdad, we are going to kill you here.’ He is wrong. What he said is unacceptable. But he is building a political link. So give political answers. It’s not right to say this is a Muslim problem. It’s a political problem.”

    Another article worth reading is the one written by Amartya Sen, the nobel peace Economics prize winner and generally a fantastic dude, published in the launch issue of Prospect magazine ten years ago. They’ve put it online to celebrate their 10th year. [Link]

    Update: Madeleine Bunting has been asked to interview Al-Qaradawi by the Guardian, so that should be interesting to look out for, in about a month’s time.

    Telling a thousand words

    by Sunny at 12:25 am    

    The World Press Photo foundation celebrates the 50th anniversary of its annual photographic competition this year, according to the BBC, and it shows some of the previous award-winning photographs.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the pictures relate to war and personal grief. Below shows 13-year-old Omayra Sanchez trapped in debris caused by a mudslide following the eruption of a volcano in Colombia in 1985.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Media,The World
    4th October, 2005

    Brown, black or … coloured?

    by Al-Hack at 2:27 pm    

    Trevor Phillips doesn’t stop making headlines does he? At this rate he’ll be more recognised than the prime minister soon. At the Conservative party conference today he said: “Is it really offensive to call someone ‘coloured’?” You mean apart from the fact that it sounds so colonial? He added:

    Globalisation means that the rules of multi-ethnic Britain are under constant challenge as we encounter new cultures and our own culture changes. We need a modern highway code for multi-ethnic Britain, our unwritten handbook for getting on with each other.

    Jeez! Are race relations so touchy these days that people need some sort of a code? Would it work? And would you like to be called coloured? I think Asian or brown suits me just fine. What about you?

    Filed under: Current affairs

    It’s festival time

    by Sunny at 2:42 am    

    Happy Navratri, Ramadan Mubarak and happy Rosh Hashanah to you religious folk!

    Filed under: Culture,Religion
    3rd October, 2005

    Quick web round up

    by Sunny at 9:06 pm    

    I wrote an article for the Independent, which was published today, on how Asians who want to do comedy on TV still suffer from stereotyping (taking the example Anil Gupta who produced The Office).

    The BBC is investigating whether its coverage of Israel-Palestine is biased towards either side as both sides keep claiming (via PointsofJew).

    Adloyada has written something nice (for once?) on Muslim-Jewish dialogue, and points out, thankfully, that Irshad Manji and Salman Rushdie are not a good place to start with.

    London’s Evening Standard refuses to apologise for wrongly accusing a Muslim bookshop-owner of peddling hatred and carrying extremist literature even after being proved wrong..

    Finally, Riz has written a funny piece on The Real Man Fraternity on Gillette continuously expanding the number of razor blades in their products; SA writes on Turkey and the EU; the Globalisation Institute has an interesting piece on Sumo going global.

    Any other news or blog entry you want to flag up? Do it below!

    2nd October, 2005

    Google-bombing President Musharraf

    by Sunny at 11:44 pm    

    Raven from Reality Cafe has come up with a great idea to Google-bomb President Musharraf as an insensitive jerk.

    If enough people link using the words above, typing that term into Google will lead to his website. More on Google bombing here.

    This has nothing to do with his nationality or religion, and everything to do with his previous comments on women in Pakistan (one, two).

    Support the cause! Get the insensitive jerk to think next time before saying women get raped for a visa. The Washington Post had more on this yesterday.

    Filed under: Humour,South Asia

    Brain pills, anyone?

    by SajiniW at 3:11 pm    

    As a society, we are getting increasingly better at managing our own symptoms and signs.

    We can see that the increased medicalisation of daily life is an ever-growing phenomenon, with even Bree from Desperate Housewives getting in on the act. She uses her child’s Ritalin to assist her in accomplishing more within her busy schedule. Her husband sees a turnaround in her uptight demeanour, and her children are pleased to see her taking a greater interest in their daily lives.

    The trend is increasingly spreading here.

    Prescriptions of Methylphenidate - most commonly sold as Ritalin - rose to 359,100 last year, a rise of 344,400 since 1995. Figures from the Prescriptions Pricing Authority reveal that there has been a 180-fold increase in prescriptions since 1991 when only 2,000 were issued in England.

    Several newspapers also suggest that an increasing proportion of doctors are giving patients (considered intellectually equal to themselves) free rein with medications designed to support their emotional wellbeing.

    After all, they should know right? Plus, choice is the current buzzword of choice in the medical world.

    Researchers at Cambridge University foresee a future where ‘cosmetic neurology’ is the way forward in gaining more from our lives.

    Ritalin was originally marketed as a treatment for children and adults with attention deficit or hyperactivity problems but, as with many drugs, was rapidly adopted by alternative users.

    Many students found it helped them concentrate and calm down before exams. The drug is now frequently sold illicitly on campus and is widely available on the internet.

    Given the disparate views on medication and nature prevalent within the populace, I ask you whether you’d be up for using Ritalin to help you with revision in the way that a fifth of American university students have confessed to doing?

    1st October, 2005

    Why Bali will continue to be a target

    by Rohin at 7:05 pm    

    Today the small Indonesian island of Bali was rocked by bomb attacks on two popular tourist areas, killing at least 22. BBC Coverage.

    Bali is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Nowadays, post-Jason Donovan and Ricky Martin, it’s known for its tourist trade as much as it is for its natural wonders. One can only hope that it doesn’t develop a new, darker claim to fame. However I fear that Bali may become one of the most popular targets for Islamist terrorists.

    For those who believe in the supremacy of their warped Islamic beliefs, Bali represents a triple-whammy. Three reasons to target the jewel in Indonesia’s crown.

    Continue Reading...
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