brad brace

10/8/2008

World Organ Trafficking

Filed under: brazil,china,disease/health,General,india — admin @ 8:41 am

https://www.dafoh.org/
Worldwide there are different forms of organ theft reported. These cases
have in common that they are scattered in various countries and regions.
In some countries reports say that organs were removed from homeless
people, in other cases those “donors” were offered a refund of a couple
hundred dollars in exchange for a kidney donation. All of these cases are
questionable and dubious. If these cases are related to living donors they
are limited to donations of a second kidney.

However none of these documented reports about organ theft has ever
aroused any suspicion that there would exist a nationwide, state sanctioned,
systematic organ theft from living people. The extent of organ harvesting
in China as described by witnesses, by publicly accessible data about
transplantations in China and by the Kilgour & Matas Report is unprecedented.
The data collected by Kilgour & Matas depicts a transplantation-on-demand-
system. The latter carries the potential to enhance transplant tourism to China.

In contrast to the totalitarian regime in China most of the democratic
governments of the affected countries that have encountered such forms of
organ thefts have taken steps to stop these degenerated forms of organ
supply.

The international trade in human organs is on the increase fuelled by growing demand as well as unscrupulous traffickers. The rising trend has prompted a serious reappraisal of current legislation, while WHO has called for more protection for the most vulnerable people who might be tempted to sell a kidney for as little as US$1000.

Increasing demand for donated organs, uncontrolled trafficking and the challenges of transplantation between closely-related species have prompted a serious re-evaluation of international guidelines and given new impetus to the role of WHO in gathering epidemiological data and setting basic normative standards.

There are no reliable data on organ trafficking — or indeed transplantation activity in general — but it is widely believed to be on the increase, with brokers reportedly charging between US$100,000 and US$200,000 to organize a transplant for wealthy patients. Donors — frequently impoverished and ill-educated — may receive as little as US$1000 for a kidney although the going price is more likely to be about US$5000.

A resolution adopted at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) voiced “concern at the growing insufficiency of available human material for transplantation to meet patient needs,” and urged Member States to “extend the use of living kidney donations when possible, in addition to donations from deceased donors.”

It also urged governments “to take measures to protect the poorest and most vulnerable groups from ‘transplant tourism’ and the sale of tissues and organs, including attention to the wider problem of international trafficking in human tissues and organs.”

Earlier this year, police broke up an international ring which arranged for Israelis to receive kidneys from poor Brazilians at a clinic in the South African port city of Durban. But such highprofile successes merely scratch at the surface.

Countries such as Brazil, India and Moldova — well-known sources of donors — have all banned buying and selling of organs. But this has come at the risk of driving the trade underground.

Behind the growth in trafficking lies the increasing demand for transplant organs.

In Europe alone, there are currently 120,000 patients on dialysis treatment and about 40,000 people waiting for a kidney, according to a report last year by the European Parliamentary Assembly.

It warned that the waiting list for a transplant, currently about three years, would increase to 10 years by 2010, and with it the death rate from the shortage of organs.

In Asia, South America and Africa, there is widespread resistance — for cultural and personal reasons as well as due to the high cost — to using cadaveric organs, or those from dead bodies.

The majority of transplanted organs come from live, often unrelated, donors. Even in the United States, the number of renal or kidney transplants from live donors exceeded those from deceased donors for the first time in 2001.

Yet the Guiding Principles on human organ transplantation, adopted by the WHA in 1991, state that organs should “be removed preferably from the bodies of deceased persons,” and that live donors should in general be genetically related to the recipient.

They also prohibit “giving and receiving money, as well as any other commercial dealing”.

9/22/2008

Two-headed baby born in Bangladesh

Filed under: bangladesh,disease/health,india — admin @ 4:18 am

A baby boy with two heads was born by Caesarean section at a clinic in Keshobpur, 135 km from the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, on Monday, according to media reports Thursday.

The baby, weighed 5.5 kilograms, was named Kiron, and was moved to a larger hospital in nearby Jessore city.

Kiron was placed under police protection because hospital officials felt that the baby and his mother, 22, were at risk from the anxious crowd of 150,000 that had gathered to see him, gynaecologist Mohamad Abdul Bari said Wednesday.

“He has one stomach and he is eating normally with his two mouths. He has one genital organ and a full set of limbs,” Bari said.

“He was born from one embryo but there was a developmental anomaly.” Bari said.

Babies born with physical abnormalities in Bangladesh and India are often hailed as living gods. An eight-limbed girl named Lakshmi born in India last October was believed by villagers to be a reincarnation of the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth.

The daily newspaper Samakal said many well-wishers had left money for the baby’s family.

4/10/2008

Food price riots

The UN’s most senior emergency relief co-ordinator has given warning that spectacular food price rises will trigger riots throughout the developing world. A year ago his remarks might have been prescient. Now they are a statement of fact: in Haiti, five people have died in the past week and thousands more have been reduced to eating biscuits made of soil and cooking oil as food riots drag the western hemisphere’s most fragile and impoverished democracy back to the brink of collapse. In Egypt, where wholesale rice prices have more than doubled since October, food price inflation has triggered the worst urban unrest for a generation. From Yemen to Uzbekistan, simple hunger has emboldened citizens to protest against regimes more used to cowed docility.

Public order is at risk in at least 33 countries, according to the World Bank. But the high food prices bringing misery to poor consumers offer the chance of transformative change to poor producers. These are, principally, the rice growers of India, China and South-East Asia, whose output would fetch twice what it commanded just six months ago if they had free access to world markets. Securing this access, and the investment in agricultural infrastructure that would follow, is the only long-term solution to an accelerating global crisis.

The factors bringing the age of cheap food to such a shuddering halt are well understood. Devastating droughts wrecked last year’s grain harvests in Australia and sub-Saharan Africa. The breakneck – and ill-advised – replanting of farmland for biofuels in the Americas helped to double world wheat and livestock feed prices between 2006 and 2007 alone, while high oil prices are transmitted to agriculture via the rising cost of planting, harvesting and distribution. Above all, soaring Indian and Chinese demand for land-intensive meat and dairy products are fuelling food price inflation with global impact and little sign of slowing.

The emerging economic superpowers account for more than a third of the world’s population but less than a quarter of global food output. India and China must, therefore, take urgent steps to modernise their farming sectors as fast as their export-led manufacturing. But no amount of investment in irrigation or high-yield crops will ease the current crisis unless developed as well as developing economies can agree to lift trade barriers instead of impose them.

The EU, on paper at least, has led the way with an undertaking to scrap large-scale food subsidies provided it can keep smaller ones for as-yet undefined “sensitive” commodities. The Philippines has followed by lifting rice import tariffs out of an urgent need to buy more on world markets. But the same emergency has led Vietnam, one of the world’s largest rice producers, to introduce new export tariffs.

Vietnam’s dilemma is acute and repeated across the developing world. Its people cannot go hungry for the sake of its exports, and its Government’s first duty is to craft safety nets for the most vulnerable. But beyond that, the solution is not to hoard food but to grow more of it, and to sell it on open markets that reward the most efficient farmers. That will take political courage and an unsqueamish approach to GM foods. Affordable food and social stability will require a greater openness to science and trade.

3/29/2008

U.N. human rights body turns to climate change

GENEVA – Climate change could erode the human rights of people living in small island states, coastal areas and parts of the world subjected to drought and floods, the U.N. Human Rights Council said on Friday.

In its first consideration of the issue, the 47-member forum endorsed a resolution stressing that global warming threatens the livelihoods and welfare of many of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The proposal from the Maldives, Comoros, Tuvalu, Micronesia and other countries called for “a detailed analytical study of the relationship between climate change and human rights”, to be conducted by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, headed by Louise Arbour.

“Until now, the global discourse on climate change has tended to focus on the physical or natural impacts of climate change,” the Maldives’ ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, told the session.

“The immediate and far-reaching impact of the phenomenon on human beings around the world has been largely neglected,” he said. “It is time to redress this imbalance by highlighting the human face of climate change.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made the fight against climate change one of his top priorities, and encouraged all U.N. agencies to incorporate it into their work.

Experts say global warming could cause rising sea levels and intense storms, droughts and floods which would restrict access to housing, food and clean water for millions of people.

The Human Rights Council, which wraps up its latest four-week session in Geneva on Friday, also agreed to appoint an independent expert to assess countries’ human rights obligations linked to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Under the resolution introduced by Germany and Spain, that expert will clarify what can be done to stop discrimination in their provision.

“This issue is very important for quite a large number of people,” Doru Romulus Costea, Romania’s ambassador who serves as council president, told a news briefing.

Russia voiced concern that the council’s foray into water and sanitation issues may unduly stretch its agenda and complicate its work, and Canadian diplomat Sarah Geh stressed that setting up the post did not create a human right to water.

U.N. member countries have set a goal of halving the proportion of people who lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services — such as toilets — by 2015.

10/24/2007

Drunk elephants kill six people

Filed under: General,india,wildlife — admin @ 5:19 am

Assam is home to half of India’s elephants.

Drunken elephants have trampled at least six people to death in the northeast Indian state of Assam, local officials say.

The herd of wild elephants stumbled across the supplies of homemade rice beer after they destroyed granaries in search of food.

The incident happened near Tinsukia, 550 kilometres (344 miles) from the Assam capital, Guwahati.

“They smashed huts and plundered granaries and broke open casks to drink rice beer. The herd then went berserk killing six people,” a forestry official said.

Police said four of those killed were children.

According to experts, elephants often emerge from Assam’s forests in search of food.

But much to the annoyance of the local residents, they destroy rice fields and granaries.

Environmental questions

Growing elephant numbers and the devastation of the animal’s natural habitat are partly to blame for the problem.

Officials in Assam say at least 150 people have been killed by elephants in the last two years.

The deaths have led villagers to kill up to 200 elephants.

“It has been noticed that elephants have developed a taste for rice beer and local liquor and they always look for it when they invade villages,” an elephant expert in Guwahati said.

The region is home to more than half of India’s elephant population, estimated at 10,000.

The Assam Government’s protection of elephants over the last 20 years, including a ban on their hunting, has led numbers to increase to about 5,500.

10/5/2007

The amazing DIY village FM radio station

Filed under: General,india,media — admin @ 4:38 am

Inside Raghav FM Mansoorpur, a village FM radio station in India:

It may well be the only village FM radio station on the Asian sub-continent. It is certainly illegal.

The transmission equipment, costing just over $1, may be the cheapest in the world.

But the local people definitely love it.

On a balmy morning in India’s northern state of Bihar, young Raghav Mahato gets ready to fire up his home-grown FM radio station.

Thousands of villagers, living in a 20km (12 miles) radius of Raghav’s small repair shop and radio station in Mansoorpur village in Vaishali district, tune their $5 radio sets to catch their favourite station.

After the crackle of static, a young, confident voice floats up the radio waves.

“Good morning! Welcome to Raghav FM Mansoorpur 1! Now listen to your favourite songs,” announces anchor and friend Sambhu into a sellotape-plastered microphone surrounded by racks of local music tapes.

For the next 12 hours, Raghav Mahato’s outback FM radio station plays films songs and broadcasts public interest messages on HIV and polio, and even snappy local news, including alerts on missing children and the opening of local shops.

Raghav and his friend run the indigenous radio station out of Raghav’s thatched-roof Priya Electronics Shop.

Ingenious

The place is a cramped $4-a-month rented shack stacked with music tapes and rusty electrical appliances which doubles up as Raghav’s radio station and repair shop.

I just did it out of curiosity and increased its area of transmission every year
Raghav Mahato
He may not be literate, but Raghav’s ingenuous FM station has made him more popular than local politicians.

Raghav’s love affair with the radio began in 1997 when he started out as a mechanic in a local repair shop. When the shop owner left the area, Raghav, son of a cancer-ridden farm worker, took over the shack with his friend.

Sometime in 2003, Raghav, who by now had learned much about radio mechanics, thought up the idea of launching an FM station.

It was a perfect idea. In impoverished Bihar state, where many areas lack power supplies, the cheap battery-powered transistor remains the most popular source of entertainment.

“It took a long time to come up with the idea and make the kit which could transmit my programmes at a fixed radio frequency. The kit cost me 50 rupees (just over $1),” says Raghav.

The transmission kit is fitted on to an antenna attached to a bamboo pole on a neighbouring three-storey hospital.

A long wire connects the contraption to a creaky, old homemade stereo cassette player in Raghav’s radio shack. Three other rusty, locally made battery-powered tape recorders are connected to it with colourful wires and a cordless microphone.

Raghav FM Mansoorpur station in Bihar
The radio station is a repair shop and studio rolled into one
The shack has some 200 tapes of local Bhojpuri, Bollywood and devotional songs which Raghav plays for his listeners.

Raghav’s station is truly a labour of love – he does not earn anything from it. His electronic repair shop work brings him some two thousand rupees ($45) a month.

The young man, who continues to live in a shack with his family, doesn’t know that running a FM station requires a government licence.

“I don’t know about this. I just began this out of curiosity and expanded its area of transmission every year,” he says.

Local hero

So when some people told him sometime ago that his station was illegal, he actually shut it down. But local villagers thronged his shack and persuaded him to resume services again.

It hardly matters for the locals that Raghav FM Mansoorpur 1 does not have a government license – they just love it.

Raghav Mahato
Raghav makes his living from repairing electronic goods
“Women listen to my station more than men,” he says. “Though Bollywood and local Bhojpuri songs are staple diet, I air devotional songs at dawn and dusk for women and old people.”

Since there’s no phone-in facility, people send their requests for songs through couriers carrying handwritten messages and phone calls to a neighbouring public telephone office.

Raghav’s fame as the ‘promoter’ of a radio station has spread far and wide in Bihar.

People have written to him, wanting work at his station, and evinced interest in buying his ‘technology’.

“But I will never share the secret of my technology with anyone. This is my creation. How can I share it with somebody who might misuse it?” he asks.

“With more powerful and advanced chips and equipment I can make a kit which could be transmitted up to 100km or even more.”

A government radio engineer in Bihar’s capital, Patna, says it is possible to use a homemade kit to run a FM radio station.

Radio listener in Bihar village
The station is a rage with listeners in the area
“All it needs is an antenna and transmitting equipment. But such stations offer no security. Anyone can invade and encroach such locally made transmitters,” says HK Sinha of India’s state-run broadcaster All India Radio (AIR).

But people in Mansoorpur are in awe of Raghav’s radio station and say it gives their village an identity.

“The boy has intense potential, but he is very poor. If the government lends him some support, he would go far,” says Sanjay Kumar, an ardent fan of his station.

But for the moment Raghav FM Mansoorpur 1 rocks on the local airwaves, bring joy into the lives of the locals.

9/18/2007

Plan for Sea Canal Puts Hindu Belief In Sharp Relief

Filed under: General,global islands,india,sri lanka — admin @ 5:24 am

ADAM’S BRIDGE, India — In the emerald waters separating India and Sri Lanka lies a long chain of sand-capped rocky formations. Devout Hindus believe the god Ram built the shoals before a battle with a demon king. Fishermen along India’s coast believe the shoals saved them from a tsunami three years ago. And environmentalists treasure them for their patch reefs, sea fans, sponges and pearl oysters.

Now, however, the shoals — which form what is known as Adam’s Bridge — are being threatened by the construction of a massive sea canal.

The Indian government began dredging the shallow ocean bed two years ago and is now poised to break apart Adam’s Bridge, whose demolition is necessary to allow ships to traverse a direct route between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. But the project has become entangled in a complex web of resistance from environmentalists, fishermen, political parties and Hindu activists.

Opposition to huge industrial projects is common in India, but the controversy over Adam’s Bridge, or Ram Sethu, marks one of the first times religion has become an obstacle to major development. Thousands of Hindu protesters have rallied in the streets since last week, blocking traffic and chanting, “We will save Ram Sethu, we will save Hindu heritage!”

“Millions of Hindus believe that Ram built that bridge across the sea. Our scriptures and epics mention it,” said Surendra Jain, a leader of the World Hindu Council, a hard-line Hindu group. “We will not let them destroy our religious heritage.”

An ambitious project with an estimated cost of more than $500 million, the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal was originally envisioned in 1860, and at least 14 proposals have been abandoned over the years because India lacked the financial resources to build it.

Ships coming from the Arabian Sea currently go around Sri Lanka to reach India’s east coast and Bangladesh. With the proposed channel, 13 yards deep and 328 yards wide, ships are expected to be able to pass straight through India’s territorial waters. That would mean more revenue for India’s ports.

“The ships will save about 30 hours in navigation time,” said Rakesh Srivastava, a senior official at the Shipping Ministry in New Delhi. “More than 3,000 ships will use this channel every year. This is a very prestigious project for India and would lead to the economic transformation of the ports and the coastal people.”

While many critics have petitioned the Supreme Court in a bid to have the project scrapped, the Hindu activists support the sea canal as long as it can be built in a way that would avoid damage to Adam’s Bridge. Some activists have proposed dredging to the west of the bridge to make way for a canal.

Government officials have said that approach would be misguided. And they contend the bridge isn’t important in Hinduism.

“People have mixed religion with reality,” Srivastava said. The shoals were formed from calcium deposits and natural sedimentation over millions of years.”

In court, the government contended that the Hindu god Ram was a mythical character, an argument that only further enraged Hindus opposed to the current project. The Hindu nationalist political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, called the statement a blasphemous insult, and the government hurriedly withdrew it.

Hindu opposition to the project is only the most recent hindrance to the canal’s completion. Naval experts have questioned assertions that the canal would save ships 30 hours in travel time, as well as the economic viability of the project. Fishermen’s unions have staged sit-ins, blocked rail traffic and petitioned the court.

Umayavel Tharakudiyan, a 55-year-old fisherman in the village of Ramakrishnapuram on the coast of Tamil Nadu state, said the dredging of sand has already reduced the number of fish he and others catch. He explained his fears by drawing a map of his village and the canal route in the sand.

“We will lose our freedom. For different kinds of fish, we go out at various times of the day. Once the ships start sailing, we will be assigned special times of the day for fishing. They will deny us entry with our boats and nets in some areas,” he said as he sat on the sandy ground outside his thatched-roof home.

His wife, Tamilarasi, said Adam’s Bridge has shielded the area during cyclones and other natural disasters. “The bridge protected us from the tsunami,” she said. “Once that goes, our villages may disappear in the next cyclone.”

Although the government has received formal environmental clearance for the canal, there are lingering concerns about the impact it would have on a marine biosphere reserve 12 miles west of the area to be dredged. A row of 21 islands rich in coral reefs, sea turtles, dolphins and sea cows, the reserve is one of the most biologically diverse areas in South Asia.

A recent government report said the canal could “drastically alter the dynamics of the ecosystems” in the biosphere.

“Sea animals communicate through waves, and the dredging work disturbs them. In the last six months, sea cows are losing their way and are seen closer to the shore,” said Rakesh Kumar Jagenia, the wildlife warden at the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve. “It will get worse once the ships start sailing, with the high noise levels and thermal pollution.”

Environmental activists and fishermen complain that despite their long struggle, it is the religious claim to Adam’s Bridge that has provoked the most public interest and drawn a reaction from the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, ecologists and fishermen’s groups are reluctant to build alliances with the Hindu nationalist organizations.

“People are debating nonissues,” said T.S.S. Mani, an activist fisherman opposed to the canal. “This is a battle for environment, people’s lives and livelihoods, but unfortunately it has acquired a religious branding.”

9/9/2007

Breaking 10-year silence, China reveals it’s now No 1 arms supplier to Bangladesh

Filed under: bangladesh,General,global islands,india,military,sri lanka — admin @ 5:29 am

While Islamabad remains Beijing’s traditional business partner when it comes to weapons and military equipment, it’s Dhaka that’s emerging as the prime buyer of weapons made in China.

This has been revealed for the first time in 10 years when last week, China submitted a report on its exports and imports of major conventional arms for year 2006 to the United Nations.

And outside South Asia, Africa is China’s new destination for weapons supplies.

This has implications for India. Given that the military holds the levers of power in both Pakistan and now Bangladesh, too, China’s weapons trade brings a new dimension to India’s engagement with its two neighbours.

India’s only defence export between 2000 and 2005 has been the sale of six L-70 anti-aircraft guns to Sri Lanka two years ago. New Delhi never openly admitted to this — wary of domestic political repercussions — but has indicated it in its annual submission to the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

The seven categories on which this reporting is done are battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships (including submarines) as well as missiles and missile-launchers.

According to its declaration to the UN, China has sold 65 large-calibre artillery systems, 16 combat aircraft and 114 missile and related equipment to Bangladesh last year.

A scrutiny of Bangladesh’s report to the UN also confirms the growing profile of China as its major arms supplier over the last three years.

The 65 artillery systems shown as exports to Bangladesh in China’s report are further sub divided in Dhaka’s import list: 18 122-mm Howitzers and 16 rocket launchers. In 2005, 20 122-mm guns were imported from China.

Besides this, some 200 small arms like pistols and sub-machine guns have been imported along with regular 82-mm mortars.

Interestingly, the other keen supplier to Bangladesh is Pakistan which sold 169 anti-tank Bakhtar Shikan missiles to Bangladesh in 2004.

China’s 1996 record shows that its principal buyers were Pakistan and Iran, which purchased five warships, five combat aircraft and over 100 missiles and missile launchers. A decade later, the profile has changed with Pakistan (10 battle tanks) still on the list as a traditional importer of Chinese equipment. Bangladesh tops the list and the rest of the concentration is in Africa.

China has sold four armoured combat vehicles to Congo, six to Gabon and two to Tanzania. Six combat aircraft each have been exported to Namibia and Zimbabwe. Outside Africa, the one-time large export is to Jordan of 150 large calibre artillery systems.

A decade ago, China stopped providing this information to the UN because US had mentioned Taiwan in a footnote while explaining some of its exports.

An angry China had then remarked that the UN register is a “register of legitimate transfers” and that Taiwan being a “province of China”, any arms transfer between US and Taiwan is “illegitimate”.

With US deciding, of late, to no longer make such a mention in its reports, Beijing last week took a decision to file the arms transfer report as well as tell UN about its military spending.

“In light of the fact that a certain country has stopped providing data on its illegal arms sales to the Taiwan province of China to the UN Register of Conventional Arms, China decides to resume providing annually the data of its imports and exports of conventional arms in the seven categories to the Register from this year,” the Chinese representative in Geneva told relevant UN bodies.

As for its own purchases, China indicates importing two warships from Russia and a little over 1500 missile and missile launching equipment from Russia and Ukraine. There are no other imports in any of the other categories.

Breaking 10-year silence, China reveals it’s now No 1 arms supplier to Bangladesh

Filed under: bangladesh,General,global islands,india,military,sri lanka — admin @ 5:29 am

While Islamabad remains Beijing’s traditional business partner when it comes to weapons and military equipment, it’s Dhaka that’s emerging as the prime buyer of weapons made in China.

This has been revealed for the first time in 10 years when last week, China submitted a report on its exports and imports of major conventional arms for year 2006 to the United Nations.

And outside South Asia, Africa is China’s new destination for weapons supplies.

This has implications for India. Given that the military holds the levers of power in both Pakistan and now Bangladesh, too, China’s weapons trade brings a new dimension to India’s engagement with its two neighbours.

India’s only defence export between 2000 and 2005 has been the sale of six L-70 anti-aircraft guns to Sri Lanka two years ago. New Delhi never openly admitted to this — wary of domestic political repercussions — but has indicated it in its annual submission to the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

The seven categories on which this reporting is done are battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships (including submarines) as well as missiles and missile-launchers.

According to its declaration to the UN, China has sold 65 large-calibre artillery systems, 16 combat aircraft and 114 missile and related equipment to Bangladesh last year.

A scrutiny of Bangladesh’s report to the UN also confirms the growing profile of China as its major arms supplier over the last three years.

The 65 artillery systems shown as exports to Bangladesh in China’s report are further sub divided in Dhaka’s import list: 18 122-mm Howitzers and 16 rocket launchers. In 2005, 20 122-mm guns were imported from China.

Besides this, some 200 small arms like pistols and sub-machine guns have been imported along with regular 82-mm mortars.

Interestingly, the other keen supplier to Bangladesh is Pakistan which sold 169 anti-tank Bakhtar Shikan missiles to Bangladesh in 2004.

China’s 1996 record shows that its principal buyers were Pakistan and Iran, which purchased five warships, five combat aircraft and over 100 missiles and missile launchers. A decade later, the profile has changed with Pakistan (10 battle tanks) still on the list as a traditional importer of Chinese equipment. Bangladesh tops the list and the rest of the concentration is in Africa.

China has sold four armoured combat vehicles to Congo, six to Gabon and two to Tanzania. Six combat aircraft each have been exported to Namibia and Zimbabwe. Outside Africa, the one-time large export is to Jordan of 150 large calibre artillery systems.

A decade ago, China stopped providing this information to the UN because US had mentioned Taiwan in a footnote while explaining some of its exports.

An angry China had then remarked that the UN register is a “register of legitimate transfers” and that Taiwan being a “province of China”, any arms transfer between US and Taiwan is “illegitimate”.

With US deciding, of late, to no longer make such a mention in its reports, Beijing last week took a decision to file the arms transfer report as well as tell UN about its military spending.

“In light of the fact that a certain country has stopped providing data on its illegal arms sales to the Taiwan province of China to the UN Register of Conventional Arms, China decides to resume providing annually the data of its imports and exports of conventional arms in the seven categories to the Register from this year,” the Chinese representative in Geneva told relevant UN bodies.

As for its own purchases, China indicates importing two warships from Russia and a little over 1500 missile and missile launching equipment from Russia and Ukraine. There are no other imports in any of the other categories.

8/10/2007

Floods death toll rises to 521 in South Asia

Filed under: bangladesh,General,global islands,india,weather — admin @ 5:49 am

NEW DELHI: The death toll from two weeks of heavy rains across South Asia rose sharply as rescuers reached remote submerged villages in northern India amid a respite in the annual monsoon.

The rains across much of northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal have flooded rivers and submerged villages and farmland, killing at least 521 people and stranding some 19 million more, officials said.

Though the rains have abated, dozens of villages and much farmland remain under water across northern India.

Heavy rains since Tuesday also lashed Gujarat, killing at least 15 people, said D A Satya, a top state official.

Even though the rains have ceased in Gujarat, several villages remain under water and more than 22,000 people have been evacuated and moved to higher ground in Rajkot, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Surat and Porbander districts, where 945 villages were left without electricity, Satya said.

In Bihar, 29 people were reported dead from rain-related causes in the last two weeks, according to Manoj Srivastava, a member of the state disaster management committee.

Another 16 deaths were reported in northern Uttar Pradesh state on Thursday, state relief commissioner Umesh Sinha told reporters. Nearly 2,300 villages remained submerged, he added.

The causes for the deaths ranged from electrocution and house collapses to snake bites and boats capsizing.

With flood waters receding and thousands of villagers returning to their homes, aid workers have rushed food, clean drinking water and medicine to flood-hit areas to ward off an epidemic.

Nearly 1,000 people have been treated for cholera and gastroenteritis in Uttar Pradesh, officials said.

International aid agencies have warned that stagnant waters left by the floods are a lethal breeding ground for germs causing diarrhea, waterborne diseases, and various skin diseases, with children, who make up 40 per cent of South Asia’s population, particularly susceptible.

In Bangladesh, there were 1,400 reported cases of diarrhea this week, said Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the Word Health Organization.

The World Food Program and UNICEF have been distributing emergency food supplies to thousands of people in Bangladesh and Nepal, WFP spokesman Simon Pluess said in Geneva. India has not requested any aid, he said.

On Thursday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched an appeal for US$1.7 million (euro1.24 million) to help those affected by flooding in southern Nepal.

More than 21,500 families, or around 127,000 people, have been displaced by floods and landslides, while at least 26,500 houses have been damaged or destroyed, according to the Nepal Red Cross Society.

8/9/2007

Dangerous Tourism

Filed under: General,global islands,india — admin @ 4:07 pm

THE “Incredible India” campaign to promote tourism in India urges people to experience the emerald islands of Andaman and Nicobar. The campaign became aggressive after the tsunami of December 26, 2004 caused severe damage to people, places and aqua marine life around the 572 islands that form Andaman and Nicobar. The government handed out attractive packages and discounts to visit the islands. The results were for everyone to see — the tourism figures that had declined post-tsunami recovered within a year.
While the picture postcard images of the virgin beaches are true, the increasing numbers of visitors to the islands are posing several challenges to the fragile ecology of the cluster.

On December 26, 2004, the tidal wave that swept over the islands, left after killing over 1,000 people, leaving over 3,000 missing and putting the damages at over Rs1,000 crore. A constant and huge flow of funds, relief operations, reconstruction and redevelopment followed. The tsunami had hit when the tourism season was at its peak causing the numbers to drop.

Since tourism is recognized as one of the main occupations along with coconut cultivation, the government undertook special efforts to restore the falling figures in 2005. In 1980, less than 10,000 tourists visited the islands but by 2004, the number had crossed 100,000. In 2005, the number dipped to 50,000 but it is estimated that the following year, over 130,000 travellers visited the islands.

According to the tourism policy and vision statement of the administration, there are plans to increase access to the islands that are not open yet but have potential. But even with the existing facilities, the islands are facing a crisis. In November 2006, even before the peak season had set in, the lack of adequate accommodation meant that tourists had to be accommodated in temples and airport premises. Many new resorts and hotels are being constructed to accommodate the rising figures.

Syed Liyakhat from Equitable Tourism, an NGO based in Bangalore, cautions about the pressure on the islands, “If the population of the islands is put at 3,56,265 according to 2001 census or even just over 4,00,000, then the tourists comprise of more than 25 per cent. One has to see if the place is equipped to handle this kind of pressure.”

Zubair Ahmed, who runs the weekly *Light of Andamans*, says, “It is important that any tourism activity helps the local economy but that is not the case here. There are talks about opening up of islands. Tourism activity will be closer to the sea and on the beach. This may result in flouting of rules.”

After tsunami, stricter Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules were brought to make the structures safe and avoid any risk of damages due to unusual sea activity. No construction activity is permitted within 200 meters of the coastline. Even fishing communities that lived within this distances are being relocated. However, with upcoming beach resorts, these rules may be relaxed.

Samir Acharya, who runs Society for Andaman and Nicobar Ecology (SANE), says, “To cater to the large number of tourist arrivals, there is a mushrooming growth of accommodation and such accommodations are coming up without proper planning and frequently in violation of the law of the land. In Havelock Island, in most popular tourist destination outside Port Blair, 90 per cent of all tourist facilities stand in violation of CRZ.”

A study done by Equitable Tourism in 2002 states, “The tourism vision, if not anything else, is only rhetoric on sustainable ecotourism with little substance to back it up. On the contrary, the vision seeks to relax CRZ and other environmental guidelines for projects on the coast and obtain clearances for tourism projects on forest lands.”

The other concern expressed by environmentalists is of the high volume of low-budget tourists that arrive having availed of the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) given by government and public sector companies. LTC tourists are proving to be burden on the islands, as they do not contribute to the local economy. To promote tourism, the government subsidises travel by air as well as by ship. The expenditure borne by the administration and not the tourists is not helping the economy, say locals. More than 90 per cent of tourists are domestic tourists and of the foreign tourists, most of them are backpackers.

Samir Acharya disapproves of the tourists who visit. “Most of the tourists are LTC tourists who come here solely for the privilege of flying and not for the destination. Among the foreign tourist arrivals, a great majority are backpackers and a dollar-a-day tourists. Their main contribution is to enjoy the subsidies and privileges given to the Islanders at Indian taxpayers cost. For example a ship passage by bunk class from Chennai or Kolkata to Port Blair costs only Rs. 1,500 after allowing a Rs. 6,000 subsidy,” he says.

With rich but delicate and fragile aqua culture, the islands need ecologically conscious tourists, who are sensitised about the environmental challenges. There have been several incidents where corals have been broken or damaged intentionally or unintentionally by tourists who go for diving and other aqua sports. Resorts like the Jungle Resort by the Barefoot Group,
encourages low volume high-end tourists where the facilities provided are expensive but keep environmental concerns in mind.

Tourist activity also results in over-consumption of available resources like water and electricity. The local population bears the brunt to provide for the extra. Pankaj Sekhsaria of Kalpavriksh says, “The A&N administration needs to extremely careful with the way they are promoting tourism in the islands. We have seen in the last few months that fresh water is a serious constraint, particularly in parts of Port Blair and it seems evident that the administration has not considered matters such as this and the limited infrastructure in the islands to cater to this kind of tourist rush.”

All the 38 inhabited islands depend mostly on rainwater. Despite getting good rains during the monsoons, by April the islands face severe water shortage. Moreover, the tsunami wave, which swept over the few fresh water springs, has perhaps caused permanent damage to those springs, thus making most inhabitants dependent on the administration supply.

Acharya provides details of water rationing, “The shortage of water in Andamans is a matter of record. Post tsunami it is increasingly worsening. Water rationing is an annual feature here starting usually from February and continuing till the onset of the monsoons. This year, the authorities were forced to resort to rationing a full month in advance in January itself. During water rationing, the average Port Blair family gets water only for half an hour every alternate day. At present we are getting water half an hour a day in three days. Many rural areas and the poorer folk in town are worse off. Since tourists are also human beings, obviously, they consume quite a bit of water. In fact even in middle class hotels and resorts an average tourist consumes two to three times the quantity that an average Port Blairian gets.”

Another problem is waste management. There is no dedicated waste management plan to deal with increasing number of tourists and the commensurate increase in disposables like bottled water. As of now large amounts of garbage and sewage finds their way into the sea. As Sekhsaria points out, “There needs to be an assessment of volume of tourists that the islands can presently handle, of what resources will be needed and what is available. It is asking for trouble otherwise. We also have no idea whether the administration has waste management and disposal systems in place to deal with the huge tourist rush.”

Of the total area, nearly 86 per cent is forest cover and with the stricter CRZ rules, the land available for development is less than eight per cent of the total land. Though this seems like sufficient forest cover, cutting down of trees will result in several rare species of flora and fauna going extinct. The islands also are home to 22 per cent mangroves cover of India and the recent tsunami has caused permanent damage to large areas of cultivation as well as mangroves. Despite the damage caused by tsunami to the coral reefs and marine life, the archipelago is still home to several rare species. However, if the forests and sanctuaries are denotified and are made open to public, there is a risk to some of the near-extinct and rare species.

If the settlers are this apprehensive about unplanned tourism, one can only imagine its impact on the tribal population. The islands have some of the oldest aboriginal tribes in the world with whom “friendly contact” has yet to be established. Anthropologists and environmental groups have time and again criticised the ATR (Andaman Trunk Road), which cuts through the Jarawa reserve. Not only is maintaining this road an expensive affair, it has also exposed the Jarawa community to the passing traffic resulting in exploitation of Jarawas for exchange of tobacco and money. There is a possibility of opening up of 15 islands and more access to reserved sanctuaries as a part of promotion of tourism industry. This will result in reducing the natural habitat for these tribes and they will be forced to assimilate with the passing tourist traffic and local population.

Apart from the direct impact of unchecked tourism, another form of pressure is from the migratory population. Mohammad Jadwet, President of Andaman Chamber of Commerce, says lack of skilled labour is an obstacle for tourism activity. “There is lack of skilled labour and for everything one has to bring people from the mainland. Be it hospitality industry in terms of cooks or management or be it construction. Even labour is brought from mainland.” This may result in several hundred people resettling on the islands, which has already crossed the maximum brim 400,000 mark. The Andamans and Nicobar islands leave tourists breathless with excitement. Yet it is these very visitors that could, in the long run, lead to the destruction of what makes these islands unique.

6/26/2007

India quietly ringing Bangladesh with barbed-wire, cutting off former neighbors

Filed under: bangladesh,General,global islands,india — admin @ 4:28 am

SUJATPUR, Bangladesh: Everyone knew it was out there somewhere, an invisible line that cut through a cow pasture and, at least in theory, divided one nation from another. But no one saw it as a border.

It was just a lumpy field of grass, uneven from the hooves of generations of cattle, and villagers crossed back and forth without even thinking about it.

Today, no one can ignore the line.

In a construction project that will eventually reach across 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles), hundreds of rivers and long stretches of forests and fields, India has been quietly sealing itself off from Bangladesh, its much poorer neighbor. Sections totaling about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) have been built the past seven years.

In Sujatpur, a poor farming village, the frontier is now defined by two rows of 3-meter-high (10-foot-high) barbed wire barriers, the posts studded with ugly spikes the size of a toddler’s fingers. A smaller fence, and miles of barbed wire coils, fill the space in between. The expanse of steel, set into concrete, spills off toward the horizon in both directions.

“Before, it was like we were one country,” said Mohammed Iqbal, a Bangladeshi farmer walking near the border on a windy afternoon. “I used to go over there just to pass the time.”

As he spoke, a cow wandered past, brass bells jangling around its neck. “But now that’s over,” he said.

In the United States, the decision to fence 1,100 kilometers (700 miles)of the Mexican border triggered months of political debate ranging across issues from immigration reform to the environmental impact. When Israel announced it would build a 680-kilometer (425-mile) barrier around the West Bank, an international outcry erupted.

But there has been barely a ripple over India’s far larger project, launched in earnest in 2000 amid growing fears in New Delhi about illegal immigration and cross-border terrorism.

The Bangladesh government made a few complaints — the fence felt like an insult, as if their country was a plague that needed to be quarantined — but soon gave up.

India has become enamored with fences in recent years.

First it started closing off much of its border with Pakistan, trying to stop incursions by Muslim extremists. Then it turned to its other Muslim neighbor, Bangladesh, and has been building the fence intermittently ever since.

There’s no clear completion date for the US$1.2 billion project, which when finished will nearly encircle Bangladesh — leaving open only its seacoast and its border of about 320 kilometers (200 miles) with Myanmar.

India believes some Indian militant groups are based in Bangladesh, a charge the Bangladeshi government denies.

But the larger fear in New Delhi is that illegal immigrants will flood out of Bangladesh, one of the world’s most crowded countries. Its 150 million people, about half the U.S. population, jam an area the size of Wisconsin, and the low-lying land is prone to devastating floods and typhoons. Scientists also warn that rising sea levels from global warming could force millions of Bangladeshis from their homes.

India already has millions of its own citizens living in desperate poverty, despite an economy growing at more than 8 percent annually. Its population is approaching 1.2 billion and what little is left of its once-vast wilderness is being chewed up rapidly.

It is nearly impossible to judge how many residents of India are actually Bangladeshi. Particularly among the poor, many people have no identification showing their nationality, and residents of the frontier region tend to be similar in language and ethnicity. But some experts estimate as many as 20 million Bangladeshis are in India illegally, most crammed into large cities or in shantytowns just over the border.

“You’ve got an increasing population (in Bangladesh) with a shrinking land mass,” said Ajai Sahni, head of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management who worries the Indian government is not building the fence quickly enough. “India has enough nightmares of its own without adding to them.”

In villages like Sujatpur, India’s fears have changed everything.

It began about a year ago, when Indian soldiers and construction workers arrived on their side of the border without warning and announced the frontier was closed.

Until then, people from this village of thatch-roofed huts, barely 200 yards from India, crossed the border daily to graze cattle, see friends or — since this part of India is one of the few that remains heavily forested — cut firewood and bamboo. Indians came to shop in Bangladeshi markets.

For Bangladeshis, particularly, the open border was a lifeline. India’s US$730 per capita income looks pitifully low by Western standards, but it’s a decent income to many in Bangladesh, where some 60 million people live on less than US$1 a day.

In a place like Sujatpur, where most families live hand to mouth, the cheap Indian grazing land and extra income from harvesting bamboo were economic godsends.

“Look at this place, we are poor,” said Iqbal, gesturing around him. “Selling that wood earned us money that we needed.”

The fence is being built on Indian soil, though, and there’s nothing that can be done about it on this side.

“They’re big and we’re small and so they can do this to us,” said Sulaiman, a Bangladeshi border guard with only one name. “It’s insulting.”

But it’s also easy to see why India is nervous.

Sujatpur may reflect a picturesque side of poverty, with its Technicolor-green fields and gentle-spoken farmers, but a glance at the border makes a stark statement.

On the Bangladesh side are huts and roads, rice paddies and cattle. There are families whose sons have fled to the cities, or to India, because there is no land left to farm. It’s a rural area, but people are everywhere.

On the Indian side, sealed off behind the barbed wire, there is nothing but silent forest.

India quietly ringing Bangladesh with barbed-wire, cutting off former neighbors

Filed under: bangladesh,General,global islands,india — admin @ 4:28 am

SUJATPUR, Bangladesh: Everyone knew it was out there somewhere, an invisible line that cut through a cow pasture and, at least in theory, divided one nation from another. But no one saw it as a border.

It was just a lumpy field of grass, uneven from the hooves of generations of cattle, and villagers crossed back and forth without even thinking about it.

Today, no one can ignore the line.

In a construction project that will eventually reach across 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles), hundreds of rivers and long stretches of forests and fields, India has been quietly sealing itself off from Bangladesh, its much poorer neighbor. Sections totaling about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) have been built the past seven years.

In Sujatpur, a poor farming village, the frontier is now defined by two rows of 3-meter-high (10-foot-high) barbed wire barriers, the posts studded with ugly spikes the size of a toddler’s fingers. A smaller fence, and miles of barbed wire coils, fill the space in between. The expanse of steel, set into concrete, spills off toward the horizon in both directions.

“Before, it was like we were one country,” said Mohammed Iqbal, a Bangladeshi farmer walking near the border on a windy afternoon. “I used to go over there just to pass the time.”

As he spoke, a cow wandered past, brass bells jangling around its neck. “But now that’s over,” he said.

In the United States, the decision to fence 1,100 kilometers (700 miles)of the Mexican border triggered months of political debate ranging across issues from immigration reform to the environmental impact. When Israel announced it would build a 680-kilometer (425-mile) barrier around the West Bank, an international outcry erupted.

But there has been barely a ripple over India’s far larger project, launched in earnest in 2000 amid growing fears in New Delhi about illegal immigration and cross-border terrorism.

The Bangladesh government made a few complaints — the fence felt like an insult, as if their country was a plague that needed to be quarantined — but soon gave up.

India has become enamored with fences in recent years.

First it started closing off much of its border with Pakistan, trying to stop incursions by Muslim extremists. Then it turned to its other Muslim neighbor, Bangladesh, and has been building the fence intermittently ever since.

There’s no clear completion date for the US$1.2 billion project, which when finished will nearly encircle Bangladesh — leaving open only its seacoast and its border of about 320 kilometers (200 miles) with Myanmar.

India believes some Indian militant groups are based in Bangladesh, a charge the Bangladeshi government denies.

But the larger fear in New Delhi is that illegal immigrants will flood out of Bangladesh, one of the world’s most crowded countries. Its 150 million people, about half the U.S. population, jam an area the size of Wisconsin, and the low-lying land is prone to devastating floods and typhoons. Scientists also warn that rising sea levels from global warming could force millions of Bangladeshis from their homes.

India already has millions of its own citizens living in desperate poverty, despite an economy growing at more than 8 percent annually. Its population is approaching 1.2 billion and what little is left of its once-vast wilderness is being chewed up rapidly.

It is nearly impossible to judge how many residents of India are actually Bangladeshi. Particularly among the poor, many people have no identification showing their nationality, and residents of the frontier region tend to be similar in language and ethnicity. But some experts estimate as many as 20 million Bangladeshis are in India illegally, most crammed into large cities or in shantytowns just over the border.

“You’ve got an increasing population (in Bangladesh) with a shrinking land mass,” said Ajai Sahni, head of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management who worries the Indian government is not building the fence quickly enough. “India has enough nightmares of its own without adding to them.”

In villages like Sujatpur, India’s fears have changed everything.

It began about a year ago, when Indian soldiers and construction workers arrived on their side of the border without warning and announced the frontier was closed.

Until then, people from this village of thatch-roofed huts, barely 200 yards from India, crossed the border daily to graze cattle, see friends or — since this part of India is one of the few that remains heavily forested — cut firewood and bamboo. Indians came to shop in Bangladeshi markets.

For Bangladeshis, particularly, the open border was a lifeline. India’s US$730 per capita income looks pitifully low by Western standards, but it’s a decent income to many in Bangladesh, where some 60 million people live on less than US$1 a day.

In a place like Sujatpur, where most families live hand to mouth, the cheap Indian grazing land and extra income from harvesting bamboo were economic godsends.

“Look at this place, we are poor,” said Iqbal, gesturing around him. “Selling that wood earned us money that we needed.”

The fence is being built on Indian soil, though, and there’s nothing that can be done about it on this side.

“They’re big and we’re small and so they can do this to us,” said Sulaiman, a Bangladeshi border guard with only one name. “It’s insulting.”

But it’s also easy to see why India is nervous.

Sujatpur may reflect a picturesque side of poverty, with its Technicolor-green fields and gentle-spoken farmers, but a glance at the border makes a stark statement.

On the Bangladesh side are huts and roads, rice paddies and cattle. There are families whose sons have fled to the cities, or to India, because there is no land left to farm. It’s a rural area, but people are everywhere.

On the Indian side, sealed off behind the barbed wire, there is nothing but silent forest.

4/11/2007

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands,india,sri lanka — admin @ 7:15 am

3/31/2007

Tamil Tigers warn of bloodbath

Filed under: global islands,india,sri lanka — admin @ 5:52 am

Colombo – Thousands of civilians are fleeing Tamil Tiger-held territory in east Sri Lanka as troops and rebels battle with artillery and mortar bombs, the two sides said on Thursday, amid a rebel warning of a bloodbath.

Nearly 13 700 civilians have fled rebel areas in the eastern district of Batticaloa in the past fortnight, 3 800 of those alone on Wednesday. The Tigers and the military both said thousands more were fleeing on Thursday.

“Civilians are worried they will be held as human shields as happened earlier and are fleeing the area,” said military spokesperson Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe.

“The security forces’ plan is to liberate civilians from the Tigers and neutralise rebel gun positions that pose a direct threat to troops in Batticaloa,” he added.

The military already have captured a large coastal swathe of territory in recent months that the Tigers held under the terms of a now-tattered 2002 ceasefire pact, forcing the rebels to flee to jungles further inland or to their northern base by sea.

However, troops had not yet begun a push to clear the Tigers from a jungle area called Thoppigala about 40km west of Batticaloa, where rebel fighters have regrouped and which analysts say will be the next target of a military offensive.

A bloodbath

The Tigers warned on Monday of a bloodbath if the international community was unable to convince the military to halt a declared plan to wipe them out militarily.

Analysts fear a new episode in a two-decade civil war that has killed about 68 000 people since 1983 will deepen.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who say they are fighting for an independent state for minority Tamils in north and east Sri Lanka, said the military had mounted attacks on most of the areas it still controls in Batticaloa.

The Tigers said they had recovered the body of one soldier, but there were no immediate details of any wider casualties.

Resettling refugees

Thursday’s fighting comes after land and sea battles, ambushes and suicide attacks that have killed about 4 000 people in the past 15 months alone.

It also comes a day after authorities started to resettle the first of more than 15 000 refugees displaced by months of fighting in newly captured territory further north in Batticaloa.

President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government has vowed to unveil a power-sharing proposal within weeks, but has rejected the Tigers’ demands for a separate homeland.

3/9/2007

Buruz

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands,india — admin @ 4:36 pm

The saint was able to disappear from sight, to become completely invisible, and to practice buruz, exteriorization. According to legend, Rumi attended seventeen parties at one time and wrote a poem at each one! The saint was capable of coming to the aid of his disciples wherever they were through the faculty of tayy al-makan, of being beyond spatial restriction, which is often attested to in hagiography.

NYC cabbies from Bangladesh

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands,india — admin @ 8:06 am

Taking a look at where New York City’s 43,402 taxicab drivers are from: about 2,300 are American.

The top five countries of origin for NYC cabbies:

1. Bangladesh
2. Pakistan
3. India
4. Haiti
5. United States

Although there are currently only 13,000 yellow cabs in NYC, one driver said that many ex-cabbies keep their taxi licenses active as a back-up plan in case their current jobs don’t work out.

3/8/2007

Mystical Awareness

Filed under: bangladesh,General,global islands,india — admin @ 9:31 am

Revelations of colored lights occur to the initiate during his spiritual training: there are dots and spots and circles; the soul passes through periods of black color and of black and red spots until the appearance of the green color indicates that divine grace is near–green has always been considered the highest and heavenly color.

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands,india — admin @ 9:19 am

3/7/2007

Sufi note

Filed under: art,bangladesh,General,global islands,india — admin @ 5:26 pm

Letters written with ink do not really exist qua letters. For the letters are but various forms to which meanings have been assigned through convention. What really and concretely exists is nothing but the ink. The existence of the letters is in truth no other than the existence of the ink which is the sole, unique reality that unfolds itself in many forms of self-modification. One has to cultivate, first of all, the eye to see the selfsame reality of ink in all letters, and then to see the letters as so many intrinsic modifications of the ink.

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