SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI
W O R L D

1 crore foetuses aborted in India in 20 years
London, January 9
At least 1 crore foetuses have been aborted in India over the past two decades by middle-class families determined to ensure they have male heirs, a newspaper report claimed today.

Sharon begins breathing independently
Jerusalem, January 9
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began breathing on his own today after doctors started bringing him out of an induced coma to assess damage caused by his massive stroke, doctors said.
Israeli children paint for ailing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at a kindergarten in Hulon near Tel Aviv on Monday
Israeli children paint for ailing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at a kindergarten in Hulon near Tel Aviv on Monday. — Reuters photo



EARLIER STORIES
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

NATO to wind up Pakistan relief operations.
(28k, 56k)

Daily criticises Musharraf over militancy in Kashmir
Islamabad, January 9
Criticising President Pervez Musharraf for permitting militant outfits to take part in relief and rehabilitaion efforts in quake-hit areas of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, a leading newspaper today said this has “destroyed” the credibility of his claims of cracking down on these outfits.

Editorial: General idea

5 more bird flu cases in Turkey
Ankara, January 9
Five more persons have tested positive for the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu in Turkey, health officials said today, raising to 14 the number of people confirmed as infected with the disease.

Coffee: a future female Viagra?
Houston, January 9
Could something as simple as caffeine be the answer to women’s prayers for female version of Viagra? Maybe! Going by a research study by Fay Guarraci, an assistant professor of psychology at Southwestern University, and Stacey Benson, a 2005 graduate, it sure could be a female Viagra.

British cuppa becomes an official icon
London, January 9
The cup of tea, that staple of everyday English life for centuries, officially became a national icon today as the British government launched a new project to celebrate the country’s cultural heritage.
Top




 

 

 


 

1 crore foetuses aborted in India in 20 years

London, January 9
At least 1 crore foetuses have been aborted in India over the past two decades by middle-class families determined to ensure they have male heirs, a newspaper report claimed today.

The figure is revealed by a survey of more than a 10 lakh homes published today which found that sex determination in pregnancy and selective abortion accounted for 5 lakh missing girls each year, The Independent reported.

Population censuses in India show that the number of girls has been falling steadily for the past two decades relative to the number of boys. For every 1,000 boys up to the age of six, the numbers of girls dropped from 962 in 1981 to 945 in 1991 and 927 in 2001.

Researchers say the most likely reason for the fall is the availability of ultrasound which allows parents to discover the gender of their child before birth and has been widespread in India for most of the past two decades.

Writing in The Lancet, which publishes the findings online today, Shirish Sheth of Breach Candy hospital, Mumbai, says, "To have a daughter is socially and emotionally accepted if there is a son, but a daughter's arrival is often unwelcome if the couple already have a daughter."

Researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada and the Institute of Medical Education in Chandigarh, studied almost 1,34,000 births in 1997 among 60 lakh people living in 11 lakh households who are part of the ongoing Indian National Survey.

The effect was more than twice as great among educated mothers compared with those who were illiterate, but did not vary by religion.

Based on the natural sex ratio from other countries, the researchers estimated that 1.36 crore to 1.38 crore girls should have been born in India in 1997 but the actual number was 1.31 crore. The deficit amounts to between 5.90 lakh and 7.40 lakh female births.

Researchers found that when the first birth was a girl, at the second birth there were 759 girls born to every 1,000 boys. In the third birth, the sex ratio declined further to 719 girls to every 1,000 boys when the first two births were girls. By contrast, when the first or second child was a boy, the number of girls born at second or subsequent births exceeded the number of boys. — PTI

Top

 

Sharon begins breathing independently

Jerusalem, January 9
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began breathing on his own today after doctors started bringing him out of an induced coma to assess damage caused by his massive stroke, doctors said.

Outside experts said while independent breathing meant Sharon had better chances for survival, it gave no indication about his other physical or mental capacities.

Doctors made the decision to lift the anesthesia after a round of consultations today. The hospital director, Dr Shlomo Mor-Yosef, said the process of weaning Sharon from sedation could take hours or days.

“As soon as we started reducing the drugs...the Prime Minister started to breathe independently, although he is still hooked up to a respirator that is used as an aid,” Mor-Yosef said, adding that Sharon remains in critical condition.

Outside experts have said doctors should have a good idea of the extent of the damage by the end of the day. One of Sharon’s neurosurgeons has cautioned that it was unlikely he could function as Prime Minister again.

After withdrawing the sedatives, doctors are to pass their assessment of brain damage to Attorney-General Meni Mazuz, who will then decide whether to declare the Prime Minister permanently incapacitated.

“The minute we know what damage has occurred, we will talk,” Justice Ministry spokesman Yaakov Galanti said.

Since an acting Prime Minister is in place, there is no urgency to such a declaration, Galanti added. — AP

Top

 

Daily criticises Musharraf over militancy in Kashmir

Islamabad, January 9
Criticising President Pervez Musharraf for permitting militant outfits to take part in relief and rehabilitaion efforts in quake-hit areas of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, a leading newspaper today said this has “destroyed” the credibility of his claims of cracking down on these outfits.

“Although the world recognises the fact that cross-border terrorism has gone down considerably since the Indo-Pak peace process began, it continues to be puzzled by the way President Musharraf has (not) dealt with the jihadi militias most active in Kashmir,” the ‘Daily Times’ said in an editorial.

“The banned jihadi organisations have changed names and are still operating. If there was any credibility to Pakistan’s claim that they had gone off the field, it was destroyed when the jihadis re-emerged and took over the reconstruction of the earthquake-hit regions of POK and NWFP, incidentally the very areas where they had been known to train for covert jihad,” it said.

Commenting on Musharraf’s latest interview in which he defended permitting groups like Jamat-ud-Dawa to take part in the relief work, the paper said, “The most notorious of them all continues to issue violent statements in Lahore and does not even spare the President himself.” — PTI

Top

 

5 more bird flu cases in Turkey

Ankara, January 9
Five more persons have tested positive for the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu in Turkey, health officials said today, raising to 14 the number of people confirmed as infected with the disease.

A senior ministry official said on the condition of anonymity that the tests at Turkish laboratories had identified the five as carriers of the H5N1 strain, which is potentially deadly to humans.

Two children have already died of the disease in eastern Turkey.

Four of the new confirmed infections, all children or teenagers, come from the northern provinces of Samsun, Kastamonu and Corum.

The fifth comes from the eastern province of Van, Turan Buzgan, the head of the ministry’s Basic Health Services Department, told Anatolia news agency.

The two cases from Kastamonu — two siblings, aged four and five, currently hospitalised in Ankara — have not yet shown any sign of illness, Buzgan told Anatolia.

A five-year-old from Corum, initially treated for pneumonia, was brought to the same hospital in Ankara and is now improving.

A 12-year-old, who had been in close contact with sick poultry, is currently undergoing treatment in Samsun, Buzgan said.

The fifth patient, aged 18, was hospitalised in Van, where two children in the same family died from the H5N1 virus last week. A third child from the same family also died but the cause of her death is yet to be established. — AFP

Top

 

Coffee: a future female Viagra?

Houston, January 9
Could something as simple as caffeine be the answer to women’s prayers for female version of Viagra? Maybe! Going by a research study by Fay Guarraci, an assistant professor of psychology at Southwestern University, and Stacey Benson, a 2005 graduate, it sure could be a female Viagra.

The study titled “Coffee, Tea and Me: Moderate doses of caffeine effect on sexual behaviour in female rats,” is the first of its kind and examines the interaction between caffeine and sex in females.

Guarraci and Benson gave 108 female rats a moderate dose of caffeine before a mating test to determine if the caffeine had any effect on female mating behaviour.

The study published in a forthcoming issue of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour found that administration of caffeine shortened the amount of time it took the females to return to the males after receiving an ejaculation, suggesting that the females were more motivated to be with the male rats.

While it is tempting to speculate that caffeine exposure could also effect sexual motivation in other female mammals such as humans, Guarraci cautioned that may not be the case since most humans consume moderate doses of caffeine on a daily basis.

“These rats had never had caffeine before,” she said. “In humans, it might enhance the sexual experience only among people who are not habitual users.”

“Understanding the circuits that control this behaviour will help us understand how the brain works and what part of the brain mediates motivation because sexual behaviour is a motivative behaviour,” she said. — PTI

Top

 

British cuppa becomes an official icon

London, January 9
The cup of tea, that staple of everyday English life for centuries, officially became a national icon today as the British government launched a new project to celebrate the country’s cultural heritage.

The humble “cuppa” was named as one of 12 symbols that best represents England in an online initiative spearheaded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Others include football’s FA Cup, World War II fighter plane the Spitfire and the Routemaster, the red bus with its distinctive spiral staircase and open platform that until last year plied the streets of London.

The collection is designed to spur greater interest in England’s heritage and prompt more people to visit galleries and museums.

More popular icons will be added in the months to come from nominations made by people logging on to a special website, www.icons.org.uk. — AFP

Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |