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Pakistan Defies Domestic and International Calls for Revoking Travel Ban on Journalist Cyril Almeida
ISLAMABAD, October 12, 2016: Pakistan appears to be defying domestic and international calls for immediate removal of a controversial travel ban on one of its leading journalists, insisting the move is meant to bring “an early closure” to the inquiry into his “concocted” story on a secret national security meeting.
Cyril Almeida, the journalist in question, was informed on Monday that his name had been included in the so-called Exit Control List (ECL). The move bars the journalist from leaving the country, forcing him to abandon a family holiday trip to Dubai.
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The punitive measure stemmed from a front-page article his employer, the English-language DAWN newspaper, published on October 6, in which he gave details of an unusually heated exchange between civilian and military leaders during the secret high-level meeting over how to tackle militant groups allegedly operating out of Pakistan.
“Placement of the name of the journalist, Cyril Almeida, on ECL is only meant to bring the inquiry on the inaccurate, concocted and misleading contents of the press report written by him to an early closure,” a senior interior ministry official told VOA Wednesday.
Government defends move
He insisted there is no “check nor restraint” on Almeida’s movements inside Pakistan, though the ECL is primarily meant for barring individuals on the list from undertaking foreign travels.
“Am concerned, possible convinced, more than 24 hours after the travel ban was imposed that government is planning to take further, uglier actions,” Almeida said in a latest message posted on his official Twitter account late on Tuesday.
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Am concerned, possibly convinced, more than 24hrs after the travel ban was imposed that govt is planning to take further, uglier actions.
— cyril almeida (@cyalm) October 11, 2016
The controversial article cited anonymous sources describing the face-off, in which the civilian leadership warned that the country faced international isolation unless the military cracks down on anti-India and anti-Afghanistan Islamist groups using Pakistani soil.
Top government officials and the chief of the military spy agency attended the secret meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The government, however, has since repeatedly called the story “fabricated” and “irresponsible journalism.” On Monday, Sharif said “those responsible should be identified for stern action.”
Local and international media watchdogs, as well as human rights groups, are outraged at the ban on the prominent journalist, who is highly respected for his columns and stories.
DAWN defends report
In a scathing editorial Wednesday, DAWN maintained the accuracy of its reporting.
“As gatekeeper of information that was “verified, cross-checked and fact-checked,” the editor of this paper bears sole responsibility for the story in question. The government should at once remove Mr. Almeida’s name from the ECL and salvage some of its dignity,” it said.
Dawn's edit on its journalism: https://t.co/fxDEzHrS2T
— Zaffar Abbas (@abbasz55) October 12, 2016
Another leading English-language newspaper, The Nation, has also written a highly critical editorial in defence of Almeida.
“Since the government would counsel us, the press, on how to do our job, we would like to offer some advice for them, on how to better do theirs. Leave journalists alone. Worry a great deal about Pakistan’s image abroad – some of our actions and inactions as a country are indefensible – everyone knows it, no matter how much we may pretend otherwise,” it said.
US, rights groups voice concern
In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters the U.S. is aware of the reported restrictions on Almeida. “We’re concerned about any efforts to limit press freedom or the ability of journalists to conduct their very, very important work.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has also demanded the restrictions on Almeida be swiftly lifted.
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“Pakistan can be a dangerous place for journalists, but the nation has a proud tradition of a fiercely independent press,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler.
”Unhappiness with a press report should never be used as an excuse to restrict the freedom of a journalist,” added Butler.
Amnesty international criticized the “chilling” language used by Prime Minister Sharif’s office and joined the calls for immediate removal of travel restrictions on Almeida.
“It is one thing for the authorities to dispute and contradict a media report. But it is quite another to threaten a journalist under the guise of national security,” the group said. (VOA)
When it comes to our day-to-day life, there are several things which help us enhance our day with every step. One such thing is music. It enhances, motivates and boosts certain aspects of our personality in ways that may not come into notice. There have been several researches on how music affects human brain. Studies show it helps us in recovery and healing, and also, encouraging us to be better if exposed to the right kind and fit.
From kids to elderly, music as a commodity, can be consumed by all. It is the universal language that is spoken by each and every being, from animals to humans to plants, each respond to it in their own ways. Suffice to say, we are united by music and the effect it has over us. Plants, for example, grow better when exposed to good music. Many songs are being composed specifically to enhance and boost their growth. Same is the case for humans. For humans, the right kind of music can boost good health, physically as well as mentally. You might have noticed how in gyms, upbeat music is played. That is to channel energy into everyone present. It adds to the workout. Several researches around the world have shown better physical output when exposed to appropriate music. Fast paced songs with upbeat nature channeled speed and the slower ones slowed downs the listeners, without them noticing. The sub-conscious effects of music are continuously being studied.
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Our heart starts beating according to the music we are listening to.Unsplash
Listening to upbeat or happy music also reduces stress and pressure from our minds. Many people become relaxed while listening to calming music. This is why calming sounds are used during a yoga session. Classical music seems to have the same calming and soothing effect. Furthermore, classical music has much more advantages over metal or techno music, it has proven to enhance learning and improve sleep in its listeners. A study was conducted in which participants were divided in groups where one group was exposed to classical music, another to metal and last one was supervised without any music. The group exposed to classical music showed healthier sleeping pattern than the rest.
Also Read: Undiscovered Music Trends For Indian Music
Several brands and outlets encash on different characteristics of music. Calm and soothing music is used in spas to help customer relax. It is a known fact that our heart starts beating according to the music we are listening to. So, music with faster beats will have our heart beating faster and the slow one will have calmer effect. This is why slow music channels calm. And the same fact has led to faster and upbeat music being played in food outlets. A study conducted in a farm, where people were invited to have food, where one half was exposed to slower music and for other fast-paced music was played. Not only did the group exposed to fast-music ate faster but also ate more than the group who ate in slower one. Next time you are in a food outlet or a restaurant observe the kind of music they are playing and the eating pattern.
Music can even be a facilitator of communication. We can sometimes convey our thoughts through the medium of a song. Sometimes someone’s words justify our inner feelings better than us. Or sometimes a song brings back certain memory or a place, and takes us to that certain moment. To say music is a time-machine would not be wrong. It is a dynamic blessing that can be used throughout our lives.
Key Words: Music, Calm, Soothing, Effects of Music
As more and more people are acknowledging the importance of their mental well-being, the wave of awareness the acknowledgment has brought is unprecedented. It may not have paved a clear path towards complete healing but it certainly has shown the way. The awareness is the key to heal. Healing begins only after the problem is identified. Similar to physical illness, the identification of the problem area is the first step. Even in case of a minor wound, when we go to the hospital the nurse first locates the wound. They, then, ask how we got hurt and identify the nature of the wound. Only then, they clean, put ointment and wrap it up if it needs wrapping and protection from air and dust. Sometimes, that protection is not needed. The wound heals out in the open. Same goes when it comes to healing of a mental trauma or illness. Sometimes, we confine in professionals or our loved ones, in order to let it out and process it openly. Sometimes, the trauma reduces with time. In any way, being aware and vigilant is the way to go.
Being knowledgeable about life in general, opens many channels for you. Being knowledgeable about yourself, opens gates inside you that lead to spiritual and general awareness about the concept of self. And the inner awareness is not necessarily internal, it can be seen from the outside as well. When we have positive energy from within it radiates physically as well. Have you encountered someone who’s spiritually awakened and aware? Do they stand out in the crowd? There are prominent examples of people who have made their mark in history, there is Swami Vivekanada, his awakening has revolutionised generations, one live example we can witness is The Dalai Lama.
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Healing is part of the spiritual journey.Unsplash
Also Read: Follow These Tips For a Better Mental Health
Awareness is the first step towards the staircase of spirituality. Healing is part of that journey. In our world, we go by our lives without paying much attention to causes of our actions. Every little thing we do, we do it for a reason. We might be suffering without being aware of it. There might be certain actions which are screaming those are trauma-response and not really us. But we go by our days, without paying heed to the fact that it really is the small actions that carry weightage in our lives. When we become attentive and thoughtful with what we do, we introspect, and then act. Thoughtless actions do not bear much fruit anyway. Thoughtfulness not only benefits us personally, but makes world a better place to live in. It really is the need of the hour to introspect every little doing and if it does not fit with the idea of self, then, it is time to find the root cause of what has us where we are.
Being self-aware is crucial as a human quality as well. When we face our problems, we gain experience, that experience leads us to understand and empathise with others’ sufferings too. It is a wholesome development.
Key Words: Self-awareness, Spirituality, Thoughtfulness, Mental Health
Honestly, who hasn’t watched one of the epic series of HBO– Game of Thrones?
There’s no question that when the first episode of Game of Thrones was released on April 11, 2011, the youth population of the world became exuberant. The main reasons behind this reaction was, first, the theme of the show, and second, the hidden lessons which it put forward.
Some of the valuable lessons which the Game of Thrones taught us are:
1. The pack always survives. This aptly meant that whether your pack consists of your family or your friends, you are the strongest when you are surrounded by a support system. This is what Ned Stark taught his children, to be together when “the winter comes”.
2. Never forget who you truly are. One of the most important lessons was given by Tyrion Lannister. He taught us that we should never forget who we really are. This means that we must not forget our bad habits and where we lack. So, once we know who we are, no one could ever use our lagging points against us.
3. Reading is necessary. Tyrion Lannister said, “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” There is absolutely no denying that reading is not a habit now-a-days, but a necessity. If you want to be sharp and smart, then you must devote sometime to books, for they would teach you a lot!
4. Always pay your debts. Well, one of the most philosophical and learned houses if Game of Thrones is House Lannister. And so, one of the sayings of their house is, “A Lannister always pays his debts.” From here we get another life lesson that we must always pay off what we owe from people.
5. Always believe, “You know nothing.” Ygritte said this to Jon Snow in a teasing manner. But, this is actually for all those who believe that they know each and everything. Well, never believe that you know everything. Always learn from new experiences and never hesitate to take advice from others.
So, these were five most significant lessons which the series Game of Thrones offered us. In reality, we all are aware of these lessons, but we never really work upon them. But now, let’s try to understand each lesson and become the heir someday!
Keywords: Entertainment, Game of Thrones, HBO, Series, Youth, Lessons.