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Indian Students Continue To Shun Australia

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Indian Students Continue To Shun AustraliaMelbourne: Even while the number of international students coming to Australia continues to fall, Malaysia has replaced India as the second largest source of students in the field of Higher Education. As a result, the losses suffered by the Australia international education sector have ballooned to $2 billion in the last one year.

While China has maintained its top position as the source country (40 per cent), Malaysia is now on the number two position with a distant 7.5 per cent. Indian contribution, according to the September month figures made available by Australian Education International, has plummeted further in both Higher Education and Vocational Training segments.
A year earlier while China was responsible for 27 per cent of international students enrolling in Australian university for Higher Education courses, the Indian share was 15 per cent. The overall fall in international students’ numbers coming to Australia, as compared to figures exactly one year back, is 9.4 per cent.
While often exaggerated news reports about the attacks on Indian students Down Under have contributed to the dwindling numbers, the so-called integrity measures adopted by the Australian immigration authorities have also led to students being refused visas to study in Australian universities and other higher education institutes.
Australian vocational training institutes have suffered the most as most of the students coming from India were enrolling in ‘Trade’ courses like cookery, hairdressing, automotive engineering, etc. A year back, India was the top source for Vocational Training students accounting for 32.1 per cent enrolments.
The decline in enrolment for Australian Vocational Training courses has been the steepest of all as 17.5 per cent less enrolments were recorded in as compared to September 2010. “The number of Indian students enrolling in courses like cookery and hairdressing is huge by any standard, leading to closure of many institutes here in Australia,” a Melbourne-based vocational trainer Deepak Chopra said.
Overall, India continues to cling to the second position as the source country with 12.8 per cent of overall figure (519,025). China has also maintained the top position by sending 28.9 per cent of the total number of international students’ enrolments in Australian institutes.
The Australian government is making efforts to check the decline as reforms based on ‘Knight Review’ have been approved and would come into force by the middle of next year. “Our international education sector is world class, and the reforms announced today will help entrench Australia as a preferred destination for international students,” Senator Chris Evans Minister of Tertiary Education said in a media release, adding, “The reforms will assist in ensuring Australia remains an attractive study option and will offer practical support for international education providers that have been under pressure as a result of the high Australian dollar.”
-IANS

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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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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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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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