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India, Scotland Sign MoUs For Cooperation In Education




Looking for long-term partnership in academics and research, India and Scotland on Tuesday signed four memoranda of understanding (MoUs) which will facilitate  student and faculty exchange and encourage joint degree development.

India, Scotland Sign MoUs For Cooperation In EducationThe MoUs were signed in the presence of Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.

“The agreement with Scotland advances our sweeping reform agenda for higher education. We intend to empower our students by providing access to the finest university education the world has to offer,” said Sibal.

He said the tie-ups would lead to creation of intangible wealth in the form of knowledge and research in education and health.

“From higher education to research, there is a great opportunity for mutual benefit,” said Salmond, adding “Scotland is the ideal partner for India, as it seeks to grow its education sector and enhance its research and development capabilities, all of which are needed to sustain strong and stable economic growth.”

The first MoU was signed between Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad and University of Abertay Dundee (UAD) for joint research and academic exchange in digital media, arts and (video) games, business and management, biotechnology, bioinformatics and food technology.

MoUs were also signed between Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and Delhi’s Sitram Bhartia institute of Science and Research for providing short-term course on diabetic foot care, and between University of Edinburgh and University of Delhi for academic exchange in various fields.

Another MoU was between India’s National Accreditation Board and Training (NABET) and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to develop  professional and academic accreditation and qualifications.

The two sides, however, clarified that the collaboration may not mean setting up of campuses of the Scottish universities at present.

“Our way of going forward is not exactly setting up a copy of the Edinburgh university, India has fine institutions and we will like to work with them,” Edinburgh university’s vice chancellor Timothy O’Shea, who was there to sign the MoU with the Delhi University, said.

Added Sibal: “Cooperation in education is at various level. There are joint degrees, centres of excellence, one of the stages is to set up a campus. The Foreign University Act is not limited to setting up a physical campus.”

The Edinburgh University vice chancellor added that an office of the university was being opened in Mumbai and a lot of research initiatives in collaboration with Indian universities will also come up.



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



Nawaz sharif

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




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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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus



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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