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Agartala/Aizawl, Nov 2, 2016: Amidst uncertainty of repatriation of over 31,000 Reang tribal refugees, living in Tripura for the past 19 years, Mizoram government officials on Wednesday began their identification.
“A 30-member team of Mizoram government officials led by the state’s Mamit district Deputy Commissioner Lalbiaksangi arrived in north Tripura on Tuesday, and from today (Wednesday) they started the identification process,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kanchanpur Sub-Division Santosh Deb told IANS over phone.
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He said: “The identification process would continue till November 21. After that the schedule of repatriation of refugees from Tripura to Mizoram would be finalised.”
About 31,300 Reang tribals, who locally call themselves ‘Bru’, have been living in seven makeshift camps in North Tripura’s Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions adjoining Mizoram since October 1997 after they fled their homes in western Mizoram following ethnic violence in the northeastern state.
Despite several initiatives by the Mizoram government to bring them back, the refugees have been reluctant to go back to their villages unless their demands for food and security are met.
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Refugees’ apex body, Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), has been insisting that three teams of their organisations want to visit three Mizoram districts — Mamit, Lunglei and Kolasib — to see the situation there as the tribal refuges would be rehabilitated in these three districts after the repatriation.
“We have sent a letter to Union Home Ministry’s Special Secretary (Internal Security), Mahesh Kumar Singla, on October 18 to ask the Mizoram government to arrange the visit of the MBDPF leaders.
“We are yet to get any response from the MHA. How can the refugees return to Mizoram without seeing the local situation in those villages,” MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha told IANS.
He said the MBDPF has submitted 14 points demands to the MHA. The demands include allotment of five hectares of land to each tribal family, undertake special development plan for the backward tribals and provide adequate security to the repatriated refugees.
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The refugee leader said the Home Ministry agreed to give each refugee family housing assistance of Rs 38,500, cash assistance of Rs 41,500, free rations for two years, blanket and utensils, while Mizoram would reimburse their transportation cost.
The ministry also verbally agreed to extend Rs 1.3 lakh housing scheme under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to each family, said the MBDPF leader, but added he was doubtful about the repatriation in the near future.
Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate said that the Tripura government would provide the logistical support when the repatriation of refugees starts.
A high-level meeting held on October 17 at the Union Home Ministry in New Delhi, discussed in depth the repatriation of the tribal refugees.
MHA’s Special Secretary (Internal Security) Mahesh Kumar Singla presided over the meeting where senior officials from the MHA, Tripura and Mizoram government and MBDPF leaders were present.
A Tripura government’s official said that the Mizoram government officials wanted to start the repatriation from January 2017 instead of pre-scheduled November as the Union government had urged.
The Mizoram officials also remained non-committal to the refugee leaders’ desire to visit the proposed sites where the tribals would be rehabilitated after being repatriated.
The MHA officials recently visited Tripura and Mizoram and held a series of meetings with the officials of both governments and tribal leaders over the repatriation.
The measures came in wake of the Supreme Court’s directives about the repatriation, and the roadmap submitted by Mizoram on how it plans to rehabilitate the displaced people.
Mizoram Home Minister R. Lalzirliana said in Aizawl earlier this week that the state government would not concede the demands of the MBDPF as a pre-condition of the refugees’ repatriation.
“It would also be impossible for the state government to allot the five hectares of land to each repatriated tribal family. Authority to allot land is not vested with the state, but with the village councils.
“The repatriated refugee families also would have to wait for allocation of land for construction of houses and for farming in accordance with the guidelines of their respective village councils,” the minister said while addressing a meeting of ruling Congress party workers.
Meanwhile, the Tripura government has been asking the Union and Mizoram governments to repatriate the refugees at the earliest as serious socio-economic and law and order problems have cropped up in the state. (IANS)
Facebook must pay a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million in back pay to eligible victims who say the company discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreign ones, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
The discrimination took place from at least January 1, 2018, until at least September 18, 2019.
The Justice Department said Facebook "routinely refused" to recruit or consider U.S. workers, including U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees and lawful permanent residents, in favor of temporary visa holders. Facebook also helped the visa holders get their green cards, which allowed them to work permanently
In a separate settlement, the company also agreed to train its employees in anti-discrimination rules and conduct wider searches to fill jobs.
The fines and back pay are the largest civil awards ever given by the DOJ's civil rights division in its 35-year history.
"Facebook is not above the law and must comply with our nation's civil rights laws," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke told reporters in a telephone conference.
"While we strongly believe we met the federal government's standards in our permanent labor certification [PERM] practices, we've reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM program, which is an important part of our overall immigration program," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Facebook, Employment, Justice Dept., Recruitment
Tomatoes are a staple in the Indian diet, be it a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dish. It has to be a part of each meal in some form. As puree, paste, flavour, or diced into the dal. This tangy, sweet, and juicy ingredient was not always Indian. In fact, it did not even grow in India until the British sanctioned it. It is a product of colonization and has come a long way to become part of our everyday meals.
Originally, the tomato was considered poison. Its actual native is debatable. Some say it is European while others argue that is came from indigenous parts of Spain and Portugal. Either way, it is a plant species that is associated with the legendary Nightshade. It looks very similar to this poisonous plant that tomatoes were not even harvested for a long time, for fear of picking Nightshade instead. It was believed that Nightshade caused the blood to turn to acid and that tomatoes had the same property. Later research proved that the plant itself may be poisonous but the fruit is not.
The fruit if the woody nightshade plant Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Tomato is considered a fruit instead of a vegetable because it is cooked. But this theory has an interesting tale behind it. in the United States, in 1887, a tax was levied on the transport of vegetables, but not on fruits. By then, tomatoes had become a huge part of the American diet and traders could not afford to pay the ten percent duty. So, they began to call the large loads they transported fruits, just to avoid the tax due. In time, this is how the tomato came to be regarded. Some scientists went even further and stated that it is a berry. Botanists claim that since it is a part that grows from the flower's ovary and contains seeds, it is a fruit and not a vegetable. But this is a debate that will never end.
Incorporating tomatoes into the Indian diet must have happened so long ago that people do not remember a time without tomatoes, considering how it is the fundamental ingredient of most cuisines. The tomato has a name in every language as well, so the trading between nations, the voyages that brought them to India, and the decoding of the fruit-vegetable must have taken place far earlier than our ancestors remember. Or, perhaps we liked it so much that we decided to use it everywhere and make it our own. Nonetheless, it has been a delightful addition.
Keywords: Tomato, Fruit, Vegetable, Nightshade, Voyage, Staple
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television