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On the issue of Minority Rights, India can be the Teacher of the World

Cultural and religious plurality is an asset to a nation and not a threat

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Representational Image, Flickr

New Delhi, Oct 5, 2016: On the issue of minority rights in a democracy, India can be the teacher of the world, said an academic on Wednesday.

Professor Peter Ronald DeSouza of Delhi University said this while delivering the 9th Annual Lecture on ‘Minority Rights and Democracy in India’ organised by the National Minorities Commission here.

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“As the world struggles with working out the moral, legal, and social terms of the majority-minority relationship India’s engagement with this question, since the last 70 years, constitutes a valuable global intellectual resource,” DeSouza said.

DeSouza said that three key ideas emerge from this debate on minority rights. The first that cultural and religious plurality is an asset to a nation and not a threat, a bold argument to be made after partition when the sense of the house was overwhelmingly for strong integration.

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The second is that cultural autonomy must be allowed, the protective argument, so that individuals can develop their personalities to the fullest using their cultural resources.

And the third is to give this belief constitutional and not just statutory status.

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 “In the mixed picture about the position of minorities (primarily religious minorities) India stands out as a shining path to follow. I am not saying that things are wonderful in India since much more needs to be done, but that we compare favourably with our neighbours.

“We have the architecture in place from which a robust practice of protecting minority rights can be built. For this, we need the imagination and we need the will. India can indeed be the teacher of the world,” he said. (IANS)

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Treading Towards a More Tolerant Society, Serbia’s Openly Gay PM Joins Belgian Gay-Pride March

Ana Brnabic, Serbia's first openly gay prime minister, has always tried to shift the focus away from her sexual orientation, asking "Why does it matter?"

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gay-pride march
Serbia's first ever openly gay prime minister, Ana Brnabic, center, attends a gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Brnabic joined several hundred gay activists at a pride event held amid tight security in the conservative Balkan country. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (VOA)

Serbia, September 18, 2017 : Ana Brnabic, Serbia’s first openly gay prime minister, joined several hundred activists at a gay-pride march in Belgrade on Sunday.

Brnabic, who is also the first woman in top-level job, said she is working “one step at a time” toward building a more tolerant society.

Serbian riot police cordoned off the city center with metal fences early Sunday to prevent possible clashes with extremist groups opposed to the gay-pride march. Similar events have been marred by violent clashes in the conservative country.

“The government is here for all citizens and will secure the respect of rights for all citizens,” Brnabic told reporters. “We want to send a signal that diversity makes our society stronger, that together we can do more.”

Members of Serbia’s embattled LGBT community face widespread harassment and violence from extremists. Violence marred the country’s first gay-pride march in 2001, and more than 100 people were injured during a similar event in 2010 when police clashed with right-wing groups and soccer hooligans. Several pride events were banned before marches resumed in 2014.

GAY-PRIDE MARCH
Gay rights activists dance during a gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Holding rainbow flags, balloons and a banner reading ‘For change,’ participants gather in central Belgrade, capital, before setting off for a march through the city center. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (VOA)

Brnabic, who was elected in June, has tried to shift the focus away from her sexual orientation, asking “Why does it matter?”

Serbia is on track to join the European Union, but the EU has asked the country to improve minority rights, including for the LGBT community.

The marchers Sunday said they hoped Brnabic will bring about legislative changes for same-sex couples. (VOA)

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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