Attacked US prof to dispel notions about community
Sikhs caught in crossfire of France’s battle to stay secular
Maldivian SC delays 2nd round of Prez poll, Nasheed cries foul
Obama ready to explore ‘diplomatic path’ with Iran
Hillary mulls running for President in 2016
Russia files piracy charge against Greenpeace
Gunman killed near N Carolina varsity
Special to the tribune
New York, September 24
“It’s clear that the associations between beards and turbans and terrorism are devastating for an entire community,” said Prabhjot Singh, assistant professor at Columbia University, who was attacked Saturday evening in Harlem, New York City.
"If I could speak to my attackers, I would ask them if they had any questions, if they knew what they were doing. May be invite them to the Gurudwara where we worship, get to know who we are... Make sure they have an opportunity to move past this as well," a sombre looking Singh, wearing a blue turban, said in a press conference here yesterday.
The teenagers surrounded him on bicycles, pulling his beard and punching him. Shortly after the incident a Muslim woman was attacked a few blocks away.
“So I want to continue working to show that core American values are core Sikh values as well,” said Singh. “Most importantly, I want it so that my one-year-old has nothing to fear in this neighbourhood.”
State and federal law enforcement authorities in New York City are investigating the attack as an alleged hate crime, according to two community organisations, the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (SALDEF) and the Sikh Coalition.
An ambulance rushed Singh to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he also works as a resident physician, SALDEF said. Singh was hospitalised with displaced teeth, severe bruising and swelling, a small puncture in his elbow, and a possible fracture in his lower jaw. By Sunday evening, Singh was resting after surgery.
The two community organisations have called on law enforcement officials, including the New York Police Hate Crimes Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to conduct a thorough investigation of the attack.
According to Sikh Coalition community surveys, approximately 10 per cent of respondents in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area have experienced bias-based assaults or property damage because of their Sikh identity. — IANS
Paris, September 24
The contentious issue pits the cherished French principle of secularity in public life and institutions against the essence of the Sikh religion, which requires followers to keep long hair as a mark of their faith and piety and a turban to cover the tresses, worn as a bun on the top of the head.
France’s Education Minister Vincent Peillon has unveiled a new charter on secularity which must be displayed in government-funded schools explaining in child-friendly language why the Jewish skullcap and the Star of David, the Sikh turban, crucifixes and the Islamic veil are taboo.
But the 30,000-strong Sikh community in France argues that they are the victims of ignorance.
They see the recent official emphasis on secularism as being primarily the result of opposition to the Islamic veil and broader tensions with the largest Muslim community in Europe, and say they have been caught in the crossfire.
“We are currently in talks with (Interior Minister) Manuel Valls to explain our unique situation and to be exempted from this law,” said Kashmir Singh, a member of the management committee of the largest gurdwara in France, located in the Paris suburb of Bobigny.
“We have also met Manmohan Singh asking him to put pressure on France for justice to be done,” he said, referring to the Indian prime minister who is also Sikh.
Ranjit Singh was one of the first Sikh boys to be expelled from his lycee, or high school, after the 2004 law.
That left deep scars but he has moved on since and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the prestigious Sorbonne university in Paris. — AFP
Male, September 24
The Supreme Court deferred the second round indefinitely yesterday on the plea of the Jumhooree Party (JP) which stood third and missed the chance of a run-off with Nasheed in the second round by a whisker.
The orders came within hours of Majlis, Maldives’ Parliament, passing a resolution in which it called upon all the state institutions to ensure that the second round takes place, as scheduled, on September 28.
The decision resulted in scattered protests here by supporters of the MDP even as the situation was calm.
The injunction was vetted by majority of a seven-member Bench which was hearing the plea of the JP which demanded annulment of the first round results alleging vote rigging.
Following the orders of the Supreme Court, the Election Commission has brought to pause all the preparations related to the second round of polls which was necessitated as none of the four contenders could garner crucial 51 per cent of total votes, local daily Haveeru reported here.
Nasheed, 46, who led the first round with over 45 per cent of the votes, has to face in the second round the Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Abdullah Yameen who was the runner up in the first phase held on September 7.
Terming the decision to postpone second round as “unconstitutional”, the MDP said it would hold country-wide peaceful protests against the decision.
“This is unconstitutional...This Supreme Court judgment is a response to legislature opposition to the coup. We passed a resolution yesterday calling on state institutions to ensure elections as scheduled,” Member of Parliament and MDP’s international affairs spokesperson Abdul Ghafoor said.
In a statement, the MDP said, “All local and international observers, including those from Transparency Maldives, the United Nations, the Commonwealth and India praised the first round of elections as free and fair and without incident.”
"As stated by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in July 2012, the MDP strongly believes the Supreme Court in particular needs 'radical readjustment.’ — PTI
United Nations, September 24
Obama also expressed the hope that “conciliatory words” by Iran about its nuclear programmes are “matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.” “We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course, and given President (Hassan) Rouhani’s stated commitment to reach an agreement, I am directing (Secretary of State) John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China," Obama said in his address to the 68th session of the General Assembly.
Obama welcomed statements made by the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has issued a fatwah against the development of nuclear weapons as well as by President Rouhani that the Islamic republic will never develop a nuclear weapon.
“So these statements made by our respective governments should offer the basis for a meaningful agreement. We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people while giving the world confidence that the Iranian program is peaceful,” Obama said in his nearly 50-minute address.
“But to succeed, conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable. After all, it's the Iranian government's choices that have led to the comprehensive sanctions that are currently in place.
“The world has seen Iran evade its responsibilities in the past and has an abiding interest in making sure that Iran meets its obligations in the future.” The US President cautioned that there may be roadblocks ahead. — PTI
Calls for strong resolution on Syria
US President Barack Obama asked the UN Security Council to pass a “strong resolution” that would impose consequences on Syria if it fails to deliver on its commitment to destroy its chemical weapons.
“US on course to end Afghan war”
President Barack Obama said the US is on course to end the Afghan war next year after having “achieved” its mission of dismantling the core of Al Qaeda that attacked America on September 11, 2001.
New York, September 24
On being asked in an interview by the New York magazine whether she wrestles with the idea of running for president, Clinton replied, "I do".
“But I’m both pragmatic and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country,” Clinton said.
“I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other,” she said in her first interview since departing as President Barack Obama’s top diplomat in February.
Some of her close confidants are far less circumspect than she is, according to the magazine.
"She’s running, but she doesn’t know it yet," an aide was quoted as saying by the magazine. “It’s just like a force of history. It’s inexorable, it’s gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does,” the aide said.
“She’s doing a very Clintonian thing. In her mind, she’s running for it, and she’s also convinced herself she hasn’t made up her mind. She’s going to run for president. It’s a foregone conclusion,” a longtime friend is quoted as saying.
Clinton in the interview also said that she has time to decide on the presidential bid as it is an important decision not to be made light of.
"I'm not in any hurry," Clinton has been quoted as saying. — PTI
Murmansk, September 24
The activists are on a Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, which was seized last week by the Russian Coast Guard and towed today into a port near Murmansk.
It was unclear how many of the 30 activists on board face piracy charges, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of $15,500. The Investigative Committee, Russia’s federal investigative agency, said it would question all those who participated in the protest and detain the “more active” among them.
Two activists tried to climb onto the Prirazlomnaya platform on Thursday and others assisted from small inflatable boats. The Greenpeace protest was aimed at calling attention to the environmental
“When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights’ organisation try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement.
He said the activists posed a danger to the work of the oil platform. “Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said.
Greenpeace insists that Russia had no right under international law to board its ship. One activist said the Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored today in a small bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 25 kilometres north of Murmansk. Greenpeace said the 30 activists were from 18 countries. — AP
Durham, September 24
The Durham police tracked the suspect onto the campus late yesterday, prompting officials to lock down the school for several hours. It was not immediately clear why the Durham police had pursued the man.
He was subsequently found in some woods southeast of the university campus before midnight. The man challenged three officers with a gun and they fired in response, campus Police Chief Timothy Bellamy said.
The man’s name was not immediately released. The police said he was not a student. There were no injuries reported to others. The officers have been placed on administrative leave while the State Bureau of Investigation reviews the shooting. A school spokeswoman did not immediately respond to messages early today.
University Chancellor Debra Saunders-White said in an email to students, faculty and staff that the school would hold a town hall meeting later today morning to discuss the matter. North Carolina Central is part of the University of North Carolina system with an enrolment of more than 8,000 students. — AP
Shyam Bhatia in London
A 19th century Sikh silver parasol or 'chattri' that depicts the 10 Gurus is being sold next month in London by a British auction house.
The miniature chattri, only 9 inches high, and some other collectors' items, including three wax seal impressions (in nasta'liq and Gurmukhi script) are from the personal collection of the late Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison and are being sold by Bonhams auctioneers in London.
Aitchison was Lieutenant Governor of Punjab from 1882-1887 and is the founder of Lahore's famous Aitchison College, designed and built by Sir Ganga Ram, and which includes the cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan among its graduates.
Bonhams speculate that the miniature chattri may once have hung over the Guru Granth Sahib. A comparable example is available in the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, which depicts Guru Nanak along with his two companions, Bhai Mardana and Bhai Bala.
The chattri and seals are among the many splendid and expensive items, including paintings by 20th century masters that Bonhams are selling. The most expensive work, entitled 'Bhopal', is by the late Maqbool Fida Husain and commemorates the world's worst gas leak. It has been valued at between £200,000 and £300,000.
Commenting on the painting Bonham's head of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art Nour Aslam commented, "The subject might be macabre, but that's what makes it a landmark work. Hussain paints with bright colors to give the grim reality of destruction power and a flicker of light".
The second highest valued item for sale is an acrylic on canvas painting by Sayed Haider Raza that is expected to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000. Also for sale at an estimated £40,000-£60,000 is a painting ('Unitled') by the late Francis Newton Souza.
"Souza was a prolific painter whose sources of inspiration knew no bounds. In the 1970s, he moved to New York and became fascinated with Jonas Salk's research on DNA which led to the first successful development of the polio vaccination", says a spokesman for Bonham's. " The paintings that Souza produced at the time were colorful and electric; they were the visual equivalent of Salk's new and exciting scientific finds.
"Souza's disfigured and chaotic yet simplistic style was also undoubtedly influenced by the works of such artists as Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach, although his paintings are less severe than theirs. The appeal of 'Untitled' comes from Souza's unusual 'cake-like' method of painting and his use of rich colours."
Soldier who claimed SAS hand in Diana’s death flees Clashes, attacks kill 25 in Iraq Bunker Roy, Malala to get top US awards Prince Harry to visit Australia next month Scientists discover ‘black holes’ in sea
Clashes, attacks kill 25 in Iraq
Bunker Roy, Malala to get top US awards
Prince Harry to visit Australia next month
Scientists discover ‘black holes’ in sea