Archives  >  2020  >  January  >  20th

Children Against CAA

1. What’s the story?

India has been protesting against the newly minted controversial citizenship laws for over a month now. All over India, especially in BJP-ruled states, the police has been cracking down hard on protestors. And now, it seems like even minors are not being spared

Tell me more.   

“Bihar police have arrested 13 minors and identified them as “adults” over anti-Citizenship Amenment Act protests on 21 December 2019 in town of Aurangabad turned violent. All arrested are Muslim youths.

Firstpost had earlier reported that Bihar Police had altered the age of two minor boys and passed them off as adults in the First Information Report (FIR). The next hearing is on 28 January when the Juvenile Justice Board will decide on their age.

Lawyer for the minors Meraj Khan said after the board’s decision he would move for their bail plea. Most of the minors are aged between 14 and 17, Khan said and added that while one is 13, another one is as young as 12.

The 12 minors have been lodged in adult prison for the past one month with hardened criminals, Khan said. Only one was sent to a juvenile home after he sustained serious injuries in both his hands during the police lathicharge. “It is a straightforward case. We have their birth certificates, documents and we have presented them before the Juvenile Justice Board on 16 January. On 28, the board will declare them juveniles.”

So, what now?

Some Government officials, however, have claimed that this mix-up was intentional since there are currently no juvenile homes in Aurangabad. 

“”It has been done intentionally. There is no juvenile home in Aurangabad. It is under construction. The closest one is about 60 kilometres from here in Gaya. If the police had written their accurate ages, they would have had to hire a separate vehicle, and travel to Gaya. The police did this to avoid that extra effort.”

When contacted, Aurangabad SP Dipak Baranwal said that the case is an “old one now” and he “does not remember the details”. “Speak to the SHO, he will give you all the details,” he told this reporter. SHO Ravi Bhushan refused to speak and hung up.”

Watch this space for details. We’ll keep you updated. 

2. Where else should I be keeping my eyes on?

Iraq, that’s where. In a case that’s been attracting headlines, a 51-year-old Indian farmer has been wrongfully held there since December in an apparent case of mistaken identity. Till date, there seems to be no resolution in sight. 

“Wife of 51-year-old Nazir Ahmad Dar, a farmer from Kashmir’s Srinagar who has been detained in Iraq in an apparent case of mistaken identity since 30 December after a red corner notice was issued by Interpol with his name and year of birth, begs Indian authorities to intervene and ensure his return.

Dar, a farmer, was reportedly held by Iraqi authorities at the Al Najaf international airport on 31 December for being on the Interpol watch list, upon his arrival from Syria, while on an international pilgrimage.

Dar has been detained despite his address on his passport listed as Srinagar, and that of the wanted criminal on the red corner notice being Soppore.

While his wife, along with the rest of the pilgrims have returned to India, Dar is still in Iraq’s custody. The family is attempting to secure his release by getting the Ministry of External Affairs involved and appealing to the government of Iraq.”

3. What more?

In Syria, women are “part survivors, part mourners”. And now they may be the country’s only way forward. 

“Eight years and counting of bloodshed have condemned a generation of Syrian men to their deaths, to prison or to precarious lives as refugees. Now, with most of the country once again under government control, yet ruptured beyond recognition, moving forward is up to the women left behind: part survivors, part mourners, part mop-up crew.

Grandmothers are raising orphaned grandchildren. Single women worry they will never find husbands. Widows are supporting families gutted by losses that once seemed unendurable, and that the world now treats as routine.

In many cases, women are leaving the house on their own and working for the first time, old customs succumbing to the extremities of war and an economy in collapse — nothing new in large cities like Damascus, the capital, but a swift transformation for some of the more traditional corners of this socially and religiously conservative country.

“Before, women were afraid of everything,” said Fatima Rawass, 32, who opened a beauty salon for veiled women in May, three years after her husband died in the war. “But now, there’s nothing to be afraid of.” ”

4. Anything else?

Hundreds of animal species hibernate during winter. And now, in a fascinating new development, you may be able to as well. “The science of adapting to cold weather could change treatment of inflammatory diseases, insomnia, and trauma.”

““It’s very possible that humans could hibernate,” says Kelly Drew, a professor at the University of Alaska’s Institute of Arctic Biology. Drew studies arctic ground squirrels, chunky little creatures that disappear into burrows for eight months of the year. When she and I spoke, it was 35 degrees Fahrenheit below zero (without wind chill) at her lab in Fairbanks, at 2:00 in the afternoon (just before sunset). Suddenly my case for hibernation felt trivial.

The essence of hibernation, Drew explains, is body-temperature regulation. Dropping the body’s core temperature induces a low-metabolic state of “torpor,” in which animals require almost no food. Most of the calories we “warm-blooded” animals burn go into maintaining our body temperatures—our basal metabolic rate. The squirrels Drew studies, for example, curl up into little balls and plummet from 99 degrees to 27. This drops their basal metabolic rate by about 99 percent.

This set point was long thought to be immutable, but it may not be. Even though humans don’t typically go into torpor of their own volition—and our bodies typically prevent it by shivering—Drew explains that there’s no single “hibernation molecule” or organ that humans lack. In fact, torpor can be induced by doctors in extreme circumstances. Surgeons, for example, use hypothermia during procedures in which the heart must be stopped for a prolonged period—allowing the brain and other organs to survive longer while deprived of fuel. Cooling is also used in emergency cases after cardiac arrest. Covering sedated patients in blankets that circulate cool water is believed to have a similar effect to putting an ice pack on a sprained ankle, decreasing the inflammatory process to minimize lasting damage to the heart and central nervous system.

Cooling is now widely practiced in hospitals, and some doctors have come to believe the principle could be taken further—essentially keeping people alive after they die. At the University of Maryland, the surgeon Samuel Tisherman is studying what he calls “emergency preservation and resuscitation,” or EPR, an experimental protocol in which doctors rapidly cool trauma victims whose heart stops beating. This could buy time for emergency surgery. Right now, in a severe trauma case, a patient may only have a matter of minutes to live—not enough to make it to the operating table. For example, Tisherman describes a person with a gunshot wound to the aorta who’s bleeding internally, very quickly. If that person’s heart stops, Tisherman’s team will surgically open the chest and massage the heart to keep it pumping as they try to repair the aorta. This only takes a few minutes, but when the patient loses too much blood, it’s over. Deprived of oxygen, the brain dies within minutes.”

5. Is that all?

Norway and China make for unusual partners. But in an interesting development, a mayor in Norway’s Arctic is “looking to China to reinvent his frontier town.”

“Looking out across a foggy harbor toward a peninsula jutting off the Norwegian coast, Rune Rafaelsen has a bold plan that could raise the profile of his remote Arctic town — with a little help, he hopes, from China.

He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. His office is in the small town Kirkenes — population a little over 3,500 — which overlooks the icy gray Barents Sea.

The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere on the planet. While the melting sea ice has alarmed scientists and residents, newly accessible waterways mean commercial ships are increasingly plowing along polar lanes.

“Now you can go from Asia to Europe through the Northern Sea Route. And the ice is decreasing. And so Kirkenes is the first western harbor you meet when you start from Shanghai and go along the Russian sub-Siberian coast,” says Rafaelsen.

To leverage this, Rafaelsen wants to turn his tiny town into a major logistical hub, including a massive port and train line to Finland. He is courting Chinese investors to help carry out the projects.

That could place NATO ally Norway on the map of China’s “Polar Silk Road” plan for ships voyaging across the Arctic — if Rafaelsen’s port and rail dream ever comes true.

Residents and officials have questioned the commercial and environmental viability of the mayor’s big idea, as well as raising concerns about his overtures to China. Yet some Norwegian businesses say they’re on board.”

6. Before you leave…

Take a look at Palestine’s first “surf lifesaving club.”

“In a city ringed by fortifications, Gaza’s 45 Km of shoreline is one of the few places to offer a sense of space and freedom.

Living in the narrow and besieged strip of land abutting the warm waters of the Mediterranean, the beach was, and remains, one of the few entertainments freely available to residents of Gaza. The crowded city runs regularly without power, has few cinemas or sporting clubs and a bare handful of parks in which children can play.

The trips to the beach were signal occasions in a young life in the territory, and while the gentle waves and blue water appealed, Saleh and his siblings were forbidden from swimming.

“My mother would never let us,” Saleh tells the Guardian through an interpreter. “We weren’t allowed in the water. She wanted us to be safe, and she was worried because we couldn’t swim well.”

He is determined to change this for the next generation of Palestinian children.

For the month of January, Saleh is in Sydney, guest of the North Steyne Surf Lifesaving Club, training to be one of Gaza’s first qualified lifesavers.

He aims to return to Palestine to establish its first surf club: the Gaza Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

“We want to build a lifesaving club of our own, for Gazans, to keep people safe,” he says.

“Even though the sea is more gentle in Gaza than the ocean in Australia, unfortunately, still many people drown because they cannot swim safely. Last summer, in 2019, seven people died.” ”

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