The Hindustan Times – Gir lions dying due to highly contagious viral infection, says national medical research body

The highly contagious canine distemper virus is known to have wiped out 30% of the total lion population in the Serengeti forest areas in East Africa in 1994.

New Delhi – India, 10 October 2018. There is an active canine distemper virus (CDV) transmission among Gir lions as reports of 21 out of 27 lions tested for the disease returned positive, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said.

The disease is a highly contagious and life-threatening viral infection that killed 23 lions in Gujarat’s Gir lion sanctuary since September 20. It is known to have wiped out 30% of the total lion population in the Serengeti forest areas in East Africa in 1994.

The research body, which earlier tested samples from dead lions and found five suffering from the CDV infection, has picked up samples from lions that are alive.

“We picked up 80 samples from the lions, who had shown symptoms of lethargy that didn’t seem normal. Of the 27 lion samples, 21 tested positive for the disease,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, director, ICMR.

“Since there is a hint of active disease transmission, we have directed that the lions be given vaccine shots and kept in different geographical locations.”

The virus is known mainly to cause a severe infection in dogs that could turn fatal. It may, however, also affect different wild carnivores such as wolves, foxes, raccoons, red pandas, ferrets, hyenas, tigers and lions.

The ICMR issued a fresh statement on Tuesday confirming a spurt in illness in the lions.

“ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune received a total of 80 samples of nasal, ocular and rectal swabs from 27 Gir lions which were sick and under treatment and observation at Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh, Gujarat.

The samples were referred to ICMR-NIV, Pune by Director, Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagarh, Gujarat on 6th October 2018,” the statement read. “Specimens were again tested for Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) by using molecular methods i.e. RT-PCR”

The research body directed the state to vaccinate the lions against CDV. At present, most of the available vaccines are made up of CDV American genotypes 1 and 2.

The Tribune – CM reviews progress of SIT probe in sacrilege cases

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 09 October 2018. Amid growing concern within the ruling party over the delay in taking action in sacrilege cases and subsequent police firing at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, CM Captain Amarinder Singh today reviewed the progress of the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

He also discussed with the Advocate General and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) the status of case regarding interim stay granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to five policemen, whose names figured in the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report.

The state’s plea for vacation of the stay is coming up for hearing tomorrow.

It is learnt the party’s top brass has drawn up plans to come out with some action before November so that people’s faith in the Congress was restored. The party wants to use the issue to its advantage in the Lok Sabha polls.

A senior government functionary said the presence of hardcore radicals among the gathering at Bargari on October 7 is an area of concern for intelligence agencies. The October 14 gathering to be held at Bargari and Panthic assembly on October 20 and 21 is being closely watched.

The CM and the police officers discussed the scheduled gathering of the Panthic leaders on October 14, called to observe the third anniversary of those killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan. “The Congress wants to oust Badals from the SGPC, but not allow the radicals to take over,” said a senior leader.

Earlier in the day, Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Dhillon are learnt to have met the CM seeking timely action against those whose complicity have figured in the Ranjit Singh report.
Though both termed the meeting as a courtesy call, it is learnt that they have sought taking the sacrilege cases and subsequent police firing to its logical conclusion. More leaders are expected to meet the CM in the coming days over the issue.

De Zuidkant – Jan Samijnstraat – Across ‘t Scheld / Scheldekaai

F Burvenichstraat
De Zuidkant – Groen Gentbrugge

01 September 2018

The Ledebirds

The Ledebirds

Jan Samijnstraat
01 September 2018

Three piggies

Three piggies

Across ‘t Scheld
01 September 2018

Across the bridge and then over over the locks to get from Gentbrugge to Gent

Gentbrugge – Scheldekaai

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

BBC News – MP Preet Kaur Gill queries police raids on Sikh homes

Rahil Sheikh BBC Asian Network

The Labour MP has said she wants to know why details of five Sikhs in the UK were leaked to Indian newspapers after their homes were raided by police.

London – UK, 09 October 2018. Preet Kaur Gill said she was told the Indian authorities had no role in the raids carried out on the addresses.

Sikh activists have said they believe the raids were instigated by the Indian government, a claim denied by police.

West Midlands Police counter-terrorism officers searched the addresses in the Midlands and London last month.

The force said it had targeted suspects accused of being involved in extremist activity in India, but no arrests were made.

Since then the names and details of five Sikh activists were published in Indian newspapers, which has sparked claims by Sikh groups in Britain that the Indian authorities were involved in the operation.

‘Horrible experience’

Shamsher Singh, a well-known British Sikh activist, was one of the five whose homes were raided in Birmingham, Coventry and West London. He said the raids left him and his family traumatised.

“The whole experience was really horrible and totally absurd. It was really out of the blue. I don’t really understand it,” he said.

“Things happened to my friends, their children and elderly family members that I never thought would happen in this country”.

Ms Gill, the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, who is the first female Sikh MP elected to the UK Parliament, said there were unanswered questions.

“We’re trying to establish the facts,” she said. “We’re trying to establish why in the Indian media you have one story, while here the West Midlands Police have given out very little information but have actually stated to myself that these raids were not conducted as a result of India requesting this to take place.

Now the information being put out in the public domain is quite contradictory.”

Ms Gill said there were concerns in the Sikh community that any Indian involvement could be linked to the case of Jagtar Singh Johal.

Mr Johal, from Dumbarton, was arrested in India last November and is still being held in an Indian jail without charge, accused of being involved in political violence in Punjab.

“The fear in the community, when I’ve spoken to many of the organisations, is that because there’s been no charge on Jagtar Singh Johal in India, are these raids to try and build some kind of evidence?” said the MP.

“And therefore are they targeted and have they been done in an underhand way, which is something Gareth Peirce, who is representing the five, will be looking at.”

Indian journalist Manoj Joshi said: “The threat of Sikh extremism in India isn’t very serious. But it would be in the Indian government’s interest to keep track of it.

“Because there are areas which are used for fundraising and propaganda so I think it is a legitimate interest of the government in India to at least keep track of this and to tip off British authorities if they think something could become more serious.”

Shamsher Singh said the raids had gone down very badly with Sikhs in the UK.

“I don’t really understand it because can West Midlands Police investigate stuff that happened in India? Are they acting on behalf of the Indian government?

“It’s really confusing at the moment, so we’ve got lawyers, Sikh organisations and Sikh politicians who are trying to work this out and understand what’s happened.

“From what I’ve seen Sikhs are enraged because they think that Sikh activists are being targeted.”

West Midlands Police denied any involvement by the Indian government. In a statement the force said the operation was carried out based on intelligence gathered over a period of time related to terror offences relating to activity in India and fraud offences.

It also said the operation was not directed by either the UK or Indian governments and also denied it was connected to the Jagtar Singh Johal case.

The Indian government has been approached for comment but has not responded.

The five Sikh activists have said they are seeking a legal case against West Midlands Police and Ms Gill said she would raise the issue with Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

The Hindu – No comment yet from Ministry of External Affairs on journalist’s charges against Minister M J Akbar

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 09 October 2018. Senior journalist Priya Ramani alleges she was harassed by him in a hotel room when he was editor of a newspaper.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is yet to comment on senior journalist Priya Ramani allegation that she was made to feel uncomfortable and harassed by Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs M J Akbar in a hotel room when he was the editor of a newspaper (The Asian Age).

The Samajwadi Party (SP) has called for the Minister of State to step down from office. Its spokesman Ghanshyam Tiwari was quoted as demanding Mr Akbar’s resignation.

The Minister, who served as editor of several leading publications over the last four decades, is yet to respond to the allegation.

Minister in Nigeria

Mr Akbar is leading a 70-member business delegation to Nigeria for a conclave. The event will conclude on Tuesday. He has not posted any new comment on his social media handles over the last three days after which the allegation surfaced.

The allegation against Mr Akbar comes amid a series of charges of sexual harassment by a large number of women against some leading Bollywood personalities and editors / senior journalists.