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Hyderabad To Host Global Bio-diversity Meet

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            Hyderabad To Host Global Bio-diversity Meet  Hyderabad: Hyderabad is gearing up to host a global bio-diversity meet next month in which about 10,000 delegates from 193 countries, including heads of states and governments are set to participate, officials said Wednesday.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy personally reviewed the arrangements for the mega event, to be held from Oct 1 to Oct 19.
About 10,000 delegates from 193 countries including heads of states and heads of government are expected to attend the conference which comprise two events – the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety Oct 1-5 and the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity Oct 8-19.
The chief minister, accompanied by six ministers and other top officials, visited Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), the venue of the conference.
He also visited Shilparamam, the crafts village, state art gallery in Madhapur and other places where side events are being organised. The chief minister inspected beautification works being taken up in different parts of the city.
Greater Hyderabad mayor Majid Hussain, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) commissioner Krishna Babu and other senior officials accompanied the chief minister.
During the conference, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will lay foundation stone for national museum on bio-diversity.
A bio-diversity park is also coming up on 15-acre land on Gacchibowli-Mehdipatnam Road. The officials said 500 rare and endangered species would be planted in the park. A similar park is also coming up in Dulapally reserve forest on the city outskirts.
A sculpture park is being developed at Shilparamam. The chief minister also visited JNTU College of Fine Arts, where sculptures are being prepared with scraps. He also went around Rayadurg Junction, where biodiversity pylon is being constructed.
Officials of GHMC and Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) are working overtime for beautification of the city. The municipal authorities are undertaking repair and recarpeting of major roads in the city.
The pillars of various flyovers in the city are also being decorated with art work and new saplings are being planted below the flyovers. Hundreds of workers are also working for beautification and re-designing of the traffic islands in the core area of the city and also in Cyberabad, the IT district where the conference venue is located
Major tourist attractions like Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Golconda Fort, Lumbini Park are being spruced up for the conference. The chief minister expressed satisfaction over the arrangements and directed the officials to complete all the works on war-footing.
The Planning Commission has already agreed to release a sum of Rs 300 crore to the state government to meet the operational expenses for hosting the event.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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