Who wants to be the next president?

10 April 2007 |

Hillary and Obama are fighting it out in the US of A. When it comes to India, quite a few names are springing up these days.

Amitab 'Big B' Bhachan's name has been doing the rounds for a while now. If Ronald 'Cowboy' Reagan can do it, why not our 'angry young man of 70s and 80s'?

Another name that has sprung up is that man from Bengalooru, Narayana Murthy (Infosys fame!)

Churumuri.wordpress.com quotes

Capitalism is about providing equal opportunities for people, giving them the incentive to perform and creating the competitive conditions.

I believe in compassionate capitalism where there is capitalism in the mind, socialism in the heart, and corporations which make profits will have to live in harmony with the society around them.

Beware! Narayana Murthy is a Shylock.

Not just that, the Infosys slave master also has very strong views about India's National Anthem

Deccan Herald reports: National anthem could make foreigners at Infy uneasy: NRN
"We had arranged for five people to sing the anthem. But then we cancelled it as we have foreigners onboard here. They should not be embarrassed while we sing the anthem," said Infosys chief mentor Narayana Murthy.

As per the protocol, the national anthem was played twice at Infosys campus here as President A P J Abdul Kalam stepped in and out -- the only difference being, it sounded like a bad arrangement of musical notes. In other words, the anthem, which should command the utmost respect from all true-blue Indians, did not get its due, from whoever was responsible -- the speakers at the do or the person who ‘orchestrated’ it.

Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure


WebMD Medical News reports that Dark Chocolate and other cocoa-rich foods may lower blood pressure better than tea.

A new study suggests that dark chocolate and other cocoa-rich products may be better at lowering blood pressure than tea.

Researchers compared the blood pressure-lowering effects of cocoa and tea in previously published studies and found eating cocoa-rich foods was associated with an average 4.7-point lower systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) and 2.8-point lower diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number). But no such effect was found among any of the studies on black or green tea.

Cocoa and tea are both rich in a class of antioxidants known as polyphenols. But researchers say they contain different types of polyphenols, and those in cocoa may be more effective at lowering blood pressure.

Polyphenols Help Blood Pressure

Current guidelines call for people with high blood pressure to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which are also high in polyphenols. These compounds are thought to contribute to their beneficial effects on protecting against heart disease and high blood pressure.

But researchers say there are no current recommendations for people at risk for high blood pressure or heart disease to include polyphenol-rich cocoa and tea products in their diet, despite the fact that tea and cocoa products account for the bulk of people’s total intake of polyphenols in Western countries.

In their review, researchers reviewed the effects of cocoa-rich products, such as dark chocolate or specially formulated polyphenol-rich milk chocolate, and blood pressure in five studies, which totaled 173 participants and lasted on average two weeks.

They also reviewed black and green tea and blood pressure in five different studies that totaled 343 participants and lasted on average four weeks. All studies were published between 1966 and 2006.

The results showed four of the five cocoa studies reported a reduction in both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. The reduction was an average of 4.7 points systolic and 2.8 points diastolic.

Researchers say those effects are similar to those found using one-drug therapy with common blood pressure-lowering medications such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors.

None of the five studies on green or black tea were associated with any significant reduction in blood pressure.

Cocoa to the Rescue

Applied to the population as a whole, researchers estimate that the blood pressure-lowering effect associated with cocoa would be expected to reduce the risk of stroke by about 20%, coronary heart disease by 10%, and death from all causes by 8%.

However, they say their findings should not be interpreted as a widespread recommendation to raid the candy counter.

But they say it appears reasonable to substitute polyphenol-rich cocoa products like dark chocolate for other high-calorie or high-fat desserts, such as having a piece of dark chocolate rather than a slice of cheesecake.

"We believe that any dietary advice must account for the high sugar, fat, and calorie intake with most cocoa products," write researcher Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, of the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany, and colleagues, in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Rationally applied, cocoa products might be considered part of dietary approaches to lower hypertension risk."

SOURCES: Taubert, D. Archives of Internal Medicine, April 9, 2007; vol 167: 626-634. News release, Archives of Internal Medicine.

Gandhi's India?


Or is it Munnabhai's India?

The victims of Operation Leech:

With the help of the Calcutta intelligentsia and human-rights activists, can Burmese victimised by an Indian armed operation in the Andamans find justice?

by | Soe Myint

On 11 February 1998 in New Delhi, the Ministry of Defence announced in a press conference that on 8 February, a joint operation of the three wings of the Indian armed forces had successfully intercepted “an international gang of armed smugglers” and seized arms and weapons worth of USD 1 million in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The operation had been code-named “Operation Leech-111”. The security forces claimed to have arrested 73 foreign nationals. Six “gun-runners” were said to have been killed in the encounter.

The media soon brought to light glaring gaps in the government’s story. The newspaper Andamans Today exposed the fact that those arrested and killed in the operation belonged to the National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) and the Karen National Union (KNU), ethnic nationalities’ organisations from Burma that have been fighting against the military regime for decades for self-determination and human rights. It was discovered that they had come to India after an agreement with Indian intelligence operatives that they would be allowed a base at Landfall Island in the Andaman and Nicobar atoll in exchange for their cooperation with intelligence gathering along the Burmese coast. One particular Indian military intelligence officer, a certain Lieutenant Colonel Grewal, was found to have betrayed the trust of the Burmese freedom fighters at the behest of the military junta and to have killed six of their leaders in cold blood.

The freedom fighters were kept under illegal detention at Campbell Camp on Nicobar Island in horrific conditions for several months and then transferred to the prison at Port Blair. The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed to file a charge sheet for a full six and half years. Its representatives told the lower court that they could not file one because the Ministry of Defence was not co-operating with them.

India’s Guantanamo Bay

Not many know that this little hellhole festers just outside Port Blair, where cardinal violation of human rights is routine.

Abhimanyu George Jain

A hundred rupees by auto from Port Blair takes you to Prothragarh, a small place that houses the Prothragarh Jail and open prison. The open prison is a temporary holding place for foreign nationals caught in Indian territorial waters without sufficient reason to explain their presence. Nobody is quite certain who these people are. Most of them are Cambodian, Burmese or Bangladeshi nationals who might be fishermen blown out into the open sea, smugglers, poachers or even human traffickers. Once caught, they are tried, sentenced and sent to jail. After they have served their prison terms, they are interred in the open prison until they can be deported back to their native countries.

Shockingly, however, some of the inmates are kept in the open prison for years after they have served their prison terms. There are a few who have been in the open prison since 1998, which effectively means that there are people in Prothragarh who have not been released even eight years after serving their sentences. There are at least two inmates in the open prison who are yet to be charged with a crime. They have been detained without charges being brought against them for several months, let alone being presented before a magistrate within 24 hours, which is mandatory under the Indian laws.

Worse still are the conditions within the prison. The prison has a capacity to hold 110 inmates. It holds more than 300! Prisoners are housed in tin sheds that become cruelly effective boiler houses under the hot Andaman sun. Short of space, several inmates are forced to sleep out in the open, under sheets tied between adjoining sheds. The toilets overflow with faeces and waste, and clean drinking water is a mythically rare concept.

Praying for Life

09 April 2007 |

As the Smoke Kills...

The burning of incense releases high levels of some chemicals associated with lung cancer, findings over the past five years indicate.

Incense, used primarily for religious, medicinal and meditative purposes, was found to create air quality environments hazardous to human health, according to reports by New Scientist magazine.

A set of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are of primary concern. While organic and often aromatic, PAH include carcinogenic chemicals such as the components of benzene and the chemical used in mothballs.

A 2001 study by the National Cheng Kung University of Taiwan surveyed the air quality inside a poorly-ventilated temple and found benzopyrene levels that are 40 times greater than what is found inside of the homes of people who smoke cigarettes. The air quality in the temple was almost as bad as standing next to a busy intersection filled with car exhaust.

Another report says:
Benzene and methyl chloride was the most abundant species in temple air. It is concluded that incense burning in temples is a significant source of air pollution. It is suggested that visitors may decrease the amount of incense burnt and better with the period short in the temple, especially during peak periods in order to reduce the health impact.

Acute (short-term) exposure to high concentrations of methyl chloride in humans has caused severe neurological effects. Methyl chloride has also caused effects on the heart rate, blood pressure, liver, and kidneys in humans. Chronic (long-term) animal studies have shown liver, kidney, spleen, and central nervous system (CNS) effects. Inhalation studies have demonstrated that methyl chloride causes reproductive effects in male rats, with effects such as testicular lesions and decreased sperm production.

Incense sticks have been linked to cancer, asthma and dermatitis (a skin rash). One study reported that foetus or nursing infants whose parents burned incense had a higher chance of getting leukaemia (a cancer of the blood organs). Carbon monoxide, benzene (which can cause cancer, leukaemia and damage the developing foetus) and fine particles (“particulates”) are also released when incense is burnt.

Say No to Incense Smoke

Stop Elephant Slavery


Elephants shouldn't be made slaves, chained and paraded in religious festivals. Yesterday, during a muslim festivity in Kerala, a tusker went wild - killing the mahout and injuring another elephant. It took almost three hours for the angry tusker to be tranquilised.

Circumcised what?

05 April 2007 |

To understand the 'circumcised Aids prevention strategy', one has to understand the politics behind it. This American government wouldn't pay for Africa's condoms. Using Condoms goes against the principles of sex laid out in the holy scriptures.

Bush stopped efforts by the Senate and House to increase funding for AIDS in Africa. When he talks big about AIDS in Africa he doesn't tell you he made sure one third of the money must be used for abstinence-only programs -- a complete waste of 300 million dollars. And none will go to any agencies offering family planning.

And because Bush does not trust the Global AIDS Fund he wants the money to be given out by his State Department -- which knows absolutely nothing about HIV and chose 14 African countries for funds based on politics not their ability to use the money.

Countries that have spent years planning and developing treatment programs that are left out of Bush's list are outraged.

In the U.S. the story is similar. Scientists are told not to apply for research funds to study safer sex or which use the words condoms or anal sex among others. And money for HIV treatment is shortchanged for people Bush feels are sinners -- gays, addicts and sex workers.

The circumcised Aids policy is based on a 'research work' - Male circumcision and HIV infection: 10 years and counting by Daniel T Halperin and Robert C Bailey.

Who is this Daniel T Halperin? Who funded his research project?
Daniel T. Halperin, an AIDS expert for the U.S. Agency for International Development based in Swaziland, who in speeches and private presentations pointed to dozens of studies showing that condom promotion campaigns were having little impact and that it would be more effective to target the multiple, concurrent sexual relationships that fuel high rates of HIV.
Halperin is one who believes Circumcision provides more protection against HIV than a Condom! Bush should honour Halperin and Bailey.

Another research document, "Male circumcision: a role in HIV prevention?" addresses some serious issues.
It has been suggested that following circumcision, the surface epithelium of the glans develops a protective keratin layer, a form of natural condom. Thus, circumcision could reduce the HIV incidence by directly decreasing the susceptibility of uninfected men to HIV.
Damn! The entire project circumcised Aids prevention is to create a myth that people shouldn't use condoms.

Here is a comment I saw in Washington Post:
Circumcision has not worked in America where at least 85 of males are circumcised and yet they have the highest rate of HIV in the developed world. In South Africa Xhosas do circumcise and Zulus don't, yet both are dying as fast from AIDS. HIV does not seem to have a fetish for foreskins as proposed.

Most of Europe is intact with very low HIV rates. National health policy cannot be based on ONE biased and flawed study that conveniently ignored the most comprehensive meta-analysis yet conducted on this issue - the Cochrane Review.

Why is USAIDS and the Kaiser Foundation funding this research on circumcision and funding clinics in the developing countries when circumcision clearly has not worked in America to curb HIV infection? Why are they not promoting HIV vaccine research preferentially?
No thick-skinned glans helps in protecting you from HIV. Condoms do - as HIV is passed on through body fluids.

Again, the entire circumcision champions are only worried about men. If a man, carrying HIV, has unprotected sex - he is bound to pass on the virus to the woman. Isn't it better to protect the woman?

As a man, whether you are cut or uncut - if you wear a condom - you are reducing the risk by a BIG margin. If you don't wear a condom, the risk factor remains VERY HIGH - cut or uncut.

HIV prevention is not about MEN alone, it is about protecting WOMEN as well. If we unleash these circumcised morons, who believe they are free to have unprotected sex (that they have this keratinised skin protecting them!), HIV will be the winner.

If you want to live healthy, be smart. Don't buy this circum crap.