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San Diego, California: IGNOU programme for sex workers in Gujarat

Roy R. Spencer 2168 Pike Street San Diego, CA 92123

AHMEDABAD, FEB 11:

After Kolkata, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is all set to launch an educational programme for sex workers and their children in Gujarat.

“Deliberations are on… We are gearing up to launch the programme in July. The idea is to bring them into the mainstream so that with the help of education they can establish their capacity building,” IGNOU Regional Director Dr Sujit K. Ghosh said.

“In a conventional system, it is difficult for them (sex workers) to seek education, and find an institute of repute to count on for career making,” he said.

“We are in the process of identifying a suitable centre for learning for the programme… it is yet to be finalised,” Ghosh said.

In 2008, IGNOU had first launched this educational programme in Kolkata, where over 300 sex workers and their children had got enrolled, and have benefited.

The programme enables the students to gain eligibility for the degree programme in university. Being a marginalised lot, sex workers in the country have very few rights.

The programme is significant in Gujarat, as the women of Sarania community (a denotified tribe), in Vadia village of Gujarat, have been into prostitution as a ‘tradition’ for years now. The Sarania community originally hails from Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, IGNOU, which is offering bachelors and degree programmes to the jail inmates in Gujarat, is planning to start a Ph.D programme for them.

“We have enrolled over 1,300 inmates in all the jails of Gujarat. We offer them bachelors and masters programme and are now considering to enrol them for Ph.D programmes also,” Ghosh said.

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Berlin, New Jersey: DELHI SEEKS AMNESTY FOR 3 INDIANS ON DEATH ROW IN INDONESIA, QATAR

John M. Mayberry 1797 Valley Street Berlin, NJ 08009

India is using the diplomatic route to seek Presidential pardon for the three Indian nationals on death row in Indonesia and Qatar. India has urged the Governments there that the execution of Indian prisoners should be stayed till all legal recourses are exhausted. The last-minute Government efforts came at a time when one Gurdip Singh is facing execution within next 24 hours for drug peddling.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday night that Government was making las- minute efforts to save Singh. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Thursday the Indian Embassy officials in Jakarta are reaching out to the Indonesian Foreign Office and the senior leadership of the country on the issue.

“Afdhal Muhammad, the legal representative of Singh, was of the view that he can file for Presidential clemency under the relevant law before the President of Indonesia. The Embassy sent a Note Verbal to Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry requesting that all legal recourse should be exhausted before the death penalty is carried out,” Swarup said.

“Our Embassy Consular officials are camping in Cilacap and have met Gurdip Singh,” said Swarup adding the officials are also in constant touch with Singh’s wife and brother in India and keeping them informed of the current situation.

Singh is among 14 people who are facing execution after the authorities decided to resume implementing death penalties. The 14 convicts to be executed also include persons from Indonesia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. The 48-year-old man from Punjab was arrested in August 2004 while trying to smuggle in 300 grams of heroin. He was found guilty by the Tangerang Court, which awarded him Capital Punishment in February 2005, against the prosecutors’ request for 20 years’ imprisonment. His appeal against the death penalty was turned down by the Supreme Court which upheld his death penalty.

Apart from Gurdip Singh, three more Indians are facing death row in Qatar on the charges of murder of an elderly Qatari woman. With the help of the Embassy, these men filed an appeal in higher courts which upheld death penalty for two while commuting death sentence of one.

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Hickory, North Carolina: High Performance Liquid Chromatography in Phytochemical Analysis of Eurycoma longifolia

Aaron L. Stanley 3998 Hannah Street Hickory, NC 28601

An analytical method using HPLC with UV detection was developed to investigate the quassinoid content of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Simaroubaceae) collected from various sources. Eurycomanone (1), longilactone (2), 14,15β-dihydroxyklaineanone (3), 15β-acetyl-14-hydroxyklaineanone (4), 6α-hydroxyeurycomalactone (5), and eurycomalactone (7) were isolated as reference standards and together with the synthesized 1β,12α,15β-triacetyleurycomanone (6, internal standard), were identified by NMR, MS, UV and IR spectroscopies. Their coefficient of variation values for 0.50-35 µg ml-1 concentrations of quassinoids and their retention times measured within- and between-day were small. The recoveries of the spiked quassinoids in E. longifolia samples and their detection limits at 8.5 times signal to noise ratio were 99.75-109.13% and 0.01 µg ml-1, respectively. From the root samples analysed, 1 had the highest concentration, being about 16.8-39.6 fold higher than the other quassinoids 2, 3, 5, 7 but 145.3 fold higher than 4 which showed the lowest concentration.

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Cambridge, Massachusetts: At UN, India stands by death penalty

Leo W. Christofferso 2245 Hinkle Lake Road Cambridge, MA 02141

India was among the 39 countries that voted against a UN General Assembly draft resolution which called for abolishing the death penalty, saying every nation had the “sovereign right” to determine its own legal system.

The non-binding resolution called for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

It was adopted yesterday at the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social and humanitarian issues, after 110 nations voted in favour of the resolution while 36 abstained.

The draft resolution expresses its “deep concern about the continued application of the death penalty and calls on states to establish a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the practice”.

It calls on nations to progressively restrict the death penalty’s use and not impose capital punishment for offences committed by persons under age 18 or pregnant women.

States would also be called on to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty might be imposed.

Speaking in explanation of the vote, India said each state had the sovereign right to determine its own legal system.

“The draft resolution sought a moratorium on executions. India could not support the text in its present form,” India said in its explanation of the vote. Among the nations voting against the resolution were Bangladesh, China, Korea, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan and the US.

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