Blast convict wants to sell kidney to fund his defence

Hanif Sayeed has been sentenced to death for his role in the 2003 Gateway of India blast

Haneef Sayyed, who, along with wife Fahmida, has been sentenced to death for their role in the 2003 Gateway of India blast, wants to sell off his kidney to raise money for legal defence, his lawyer said.

“He wrote to me last week saying that he wants to auction one of his kidneys to pay the lawyers,” advocate Sushant Kunjuraman told PTI on Thursday.

“I am going to file a petition in the High Court, seeking direction to the government that Sayyed be allowed to sell his kidney,” Mr. Kunjuraman said.

Sayyed was a taxi driver by profession before his arrest. Sayyed, his wife, and one Arshad Ansari were convicted by the court last year for carrying out twin blasts — at Gateway and Zaveri Bazaar — which killed 54 people.

Their appeals are pending before the High Court.

“Since he is in jail, if he wants to sell his kidney, government’s permission is required,” Mr. Kunjuraman said.

Under the Indian law, no human organ can be removed from a living donor unless it is intended for a close relative. Organ transplants require the consent of government-appointed committees, and no organ can be sold.

Three crew killed in medical chopper crash in US

A medical helicopter crashed in a field in Tennessee early Thursday and state officials confirmed three crew members were killed.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeremy Heidt, in Nashville said the medical flight crashed into a field near Brownsville during a rainstorm shortly after 6 a.m.

Mr. Heidt said the helicopter had flown a patient from Parsons to a Jackson hospital and was returning to its base in Brownsville when it went down only a few miles from its destination. All those aboard were crew members.

Hospital Wing, the company that flies the medical airlifts, didn’t immediately respond to telephone and e—mail messages seeking more details.

The company’s Web site says it flies the Eurocopter Astar AS350B3 model, which is capable of carrying a three—person crew and one patient.

The crash scene is near a highway and about 55 miles (90 kilometers) northeast of Memphis.

World’s tallest tower to ‘go dark’ for Earth Hour

Burj Khalifa , the world’s tallest building during the official opening ceremony in Dubai

Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure, will join tens of thousands of iconic buildings and landmarks from across the world for the Earth Hour on March 27.

To mark the occasion, the golden glow that cascades down the 828-metre tower will be turned off.

Other local landmarks such as Burj Al Arab, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Abu Dhabi Tower of Commerce and Hyatt Regency will also embrace darkness to express solidarity.

Expressing appreciation for the record number of participants this year, Earth Hour, in a statement, said Burj Khalifa was the epitome of global cooperation and unwavering determination and, hence, perfectly reflected the campaign’s ideals.

Earth Hour Executive Director Andy Ridley said growing number of participants symbolised the campaign’s popularity and the world’s resolve to save the planet.

Ridley has seen the campaign grow from a one-city affair in 2007 to more than 4,000 cities in 2009.

“Earth Hour demonstrates the determination of the world’s citizens for a better and healthier world. It is an opportunity for the global community to speak in one voice on the issue of climate change.”

When contacted, Burj Khalifa representatives were unavailable for comment.

Apart from man-made structures, some of the world’s best known natural landmarks, including the Table Mountain and the Victoria Falls, will also join the campaign this year.

Swamis in Scandals: What Keeps the Faith?

Twenty-seven-year-old Priya, a devotee of Paramahamsa Nityananda Swami, can’t believe a video footage where the Karnataka-based spiritual guru is allegedly shown in a compromising position with a Tamil actress.

“I still doubt whether it is swamiji or it is a graphic gimmick,” a shocked Priya told IANS.

Nityananda Swami’s is not the first reported case of a person in religious garb being caught in a scandal. Of late, a number of swamis have been in the news for the wrong reasons.

Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj was arrested for running a multi-crore rupee sex racket in Delhi involving former air hostesses. Kumar Sahai alias Swami Ji was arrested from Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of Delhi, for kidnapping a girl.

Guru Asaram Bapu is still under the police scanner for the deaths of two minor boys in his ashram-run gurukul in Ahmedabad, while several years ago Kancheepuram mutt head Jayendra Saraswathi was charged with the murder of a former employee.

Although many blame followers for not being discerning enough, more interestingly what has emerged is the unshakable faith that devotees, particularly women who seek solutions to personal problems, have in them.

Swami Shantatmananda, secretary of the Ramkrishna Mission, told IANS: “One should seek god through prayer and scriptures and not through fake godmen.”

“They thrive due to thoughtless followers who have not understood the true meaning of spirituality. Ignorant, miracle-and-fortune-seeking followers are the ones who help such fake swamis prosper in our society,” he said.

According to Swami H.H. Sukhabodhananda, founder of the Prasanna Trusta, “Like fake doctors and engineers, there are also fake godmen in society.”

Kamini Jaiswal, a senior Supreme Court lawyer, who has fought a case against Sathya Sai Baba, blames blind followers for such incidents. “It is shocking to see that well educated people are followers of such godmen,” she said.

Police say they can’t act against fake swamis until they get a complaint. “It’s a social issue, with proper evidence, police will do its duty and arrest fake godman. As for the public, it’s high time they recognised such fraudsters,” Rajan Bhagat, Delhi Police spokesman, told IANS.

Sudha Sundaram, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), says their should checks and balances.

“The government should come up with a state-level monitoring system to check the registration of an ashram and its source of income before providing monetary support,” he said.

But there are those who are angry with the names of gurus being dragged into scandals. One of them is yoga guru Ramdev, who said the recent arrests, were “a very big conspiracy”.

“Some politicians and communal forces are conspiring to malign the name of Indian saints by trapping them in cases related to fake currency, rape, murder, sex scandals and drugs,” he said.

Agreed Anitha Swaminathan, a member of the Theosophical Society in Chennai. “Our country has veteran sadhus and swamijis. Such fake godmen are just a bubble in the water,” she said.

The arrests have not altogether made much of a dent in the mindset of people or deterred them from following a guru who would show them the light in their day to day problems. But it has helped them understand the need for the right one.

Naunidhi Kaur, a follower of Radhaswami Satsung, said: “There are numerous ashrams and satsangs that stand out for their spiritual teachings and true selfless service to mankind. A follower just needs to be more knowledgeable about the faith and not just be a blind one.”

Summed up Balakrishnan, who follows the preachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti: “I am not a follower of any particular swamiji. But I have come across many sadhus who are true. With just one or two involved in such cheap incidents, we cannot condemn the whole community,” he added.

Cleaner petrol, diesel to cost more from April 1

NEW DELHI: Thirteen cities including Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad may witness oil price hike of 41 paise per litre on petrol and 26 paise per litre on diesel with the introduction of cleaner Euro IV grade fuel from April 1, Petroleum Secretary S Sundareshan said here on Wednesday.“The introduction of Euro IV is going to cost the oil marketing companies 41 paise per litre on petrol and 26 paise per litre on diesel. This is not on the basis of capital expenditure that they have incurred for making these upgradations but purely on the principle which we are following to bring domestic rates to international parity”, he said while speaking at the launch of Bharat Stage-IV fuels here.The 13 major cities which would switch over to Euro-IV from April 1 are Delhi and NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat, Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Agra, Solapur and Lucknow.The introduction of Euro-IV fuel would improve the quality of air and will help in reducing the air pollution as the dangerous Sulphur content in the fuels would be reduced to 50 parts per million (PPM). This would in turn result in the reduction of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and suspended particulate matter during fuel combustion that is emitted into the atmosphere.The Petroleum Secretary said that if the government did not take any hard decision, the under recoveries of oil marketing companies would slip from the current Rs 45, 000 crore to the order of Rs 70,000 crore by 2010-11.The Ministry of Petroleum is pushing for increasing auto fuel price so that the cost of supplying cleaner fuel does not add to the current Rs 6 per litre loss on selling petrol and Rs 4.06 per litre loss on diesel for the oil companies.The higher price for Euro-IV fuels is on the anvil to compensate the oil marketing companies for the investment that they have made in upgrading their refineries to Euro-IV standards.

Manila Earthquake | Earthquake Philippines

earthquake, earthquake manila, earthquake today,

Manila Earthquake:Earthquake Philippines Today March 25 2010 – Just moments ago a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck the west of Manila according to the Seismological Institute of the Philippines.
The first reports that are coming in,claimed that the buildings of the capital shook for about thirty seconds pushing several employees to run out of their offices into the nearby streets. It was not immediately clear if there were any damage or casualties.The director of the institute, Renato Solidum said the seisme occurred at about 10km under the sea.
That’s all we have for now on Manila Earthquake.

SC okays Muslim quota

New Delhi:The Andhra Pradesh government today received a major boost with the Supreme Court, in an interim order, upholding the validity of four per cent reservation provided to backward members of Muslim community in the state.

A bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices J M Panchal and B S Chauhan, however, referred the issue to a Constitution bench to examine the validity of the impugned Act since it involved important issues of the Constitution.

The bench passed the direction while dealing with a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the government against an order of Andhra Pradesh High Court which had earlier struck down the provision as being unconstitutional.

A seven-judge Constitution bench of the High Court had by a majority judgement of 5:2 held the Andhra Pradesh Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of
Muslims Act, 2007 “unsustainable” and violative of Article 14 (equality before law) and other provisions pertaining to prohibition of discrimination by State on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

The High Court, while setting aside the state Act, had also quashed a subsequent 2007 government order allocating four per cent reservation to Muslim groups in educational
institutions and jobs.

The state had moved a bill in the Assembly on the basis of a report submitted to it by Andhra Pradesh Commission for Backward Classes (APBC). The bill was later passed by the

The report had recommended that the socially and educationally backward should be adequately represented in the state.

The High Court held that the recommendation made by the APBC was unsustainable as it failed to evolve and spell out proper and relevant criteria for identification of social
and educational backwardness and inadequate representation in public employment among classes or persons belonging to Muslim community.

It said the data was not collected properly by the APBC for determining the social and educational backwardness of the Muslims in the state.

The High Court said the Commission relied on data collected and observations made by Anthropological Survey of India which was meant to make an anthropological profile of
Indian population and has no relevance to the affirmative action or reservation under Article 15(4) and 16 (4) of the Constitution which enables a state to make law on reservation.