Monday, December 6News That Matters

Opinion

The future of Afghanistan depends on lessons learnt from the past

The future of Afghanistan depends on lessons learnt from the past

Opinion
The people of Afghanistan have seen turmoil for the past many decades, either at the hands of foreign powers or because of internal division and civil war. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the late 1970s, which started the war in which Afghans of all creeds and cultures united to fight against the ’infidels’. The Afghans were supported by the USA and KSA and Pakistan; with the former providing material support and the latter, moral. The Soviets left within a decade, humiliated and financially bankrupt, one of the reasons for the break-up of the USSR. Civil war ensued afterward amongst the mujahedeen. Kabul saw more destruction because of this civil war than it endured because of invasion by the Soviets. The unrest and constant fighting was the main cause for the rise of the Taliban in th...
Fatty Liver Disease from Consumption of Soft Drinks

Fatty Liver Disease from Consumption of Soft Drinks

Opinion
The COVID-19 pandemic has put everything on hold and suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of a major health crisis. While keeping track of the developments in COVID-19 treatment and pathogenesis, the other pandemic that has been around for over the last decade is that of metabolic syndrome. This involves the commonly found clinical features of obesity, Type II diabetes, dyslipidemia, fatty liver disease, arterial hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. All these conditions are defined under a broad term called metabolic syndrome or simply metabolic disease. Besides these conditions, individuals with metabolic syndrome are susceptible to other conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, cholesterol gallstones, asthma, sleep disturbances, some forms of cancers, and elevated uric acid ...
Blinken’s priorities

Blinken’s priorities

Opinion
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's strong assertion that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan will turn it into a pariah State does not reassure the region because of the US dependence on Pakistan to tame the Taliban. Even while slamming the Taliban's atrocities as deeply disturbing, Blinken in a newspaper interview said that 'Pakistan has a vital role to play in using its influence with the Taliban to do whatever it can to make sure that the Taliban do not seek to take the country by force'. This came as no surprise as the US State Department had only on July 16 announced the US-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan-Pakistan Quad for the peace process. Of course, a Quad in Central Asia with Pakistan in it can also balance the other Quad in the Indo-Pacific that India keeps hyping up. However, Pakistan...
Fix income tax portal

Fix income tax portal

Opinion
After a bumpy start on June 7, an assurance was given at a review meeting hastily called a fortnight later to sort out the problems flagged by harried taxpayers and chartered accountants, yet the new income tax portal continues to face technical glitches and challenges. Both Infosys, which has developed the new website, and the Ministry of Finance cannot escape blame for going ahead with the much-touted project without ensuring a foolproof, seamless transition, notwithstanding Finance Minister Sitharaman's honest admission that she wished it had not happened this way and 'we are correcting the course'. The exercise to invite inputs from stakeholders — the ministry received 700 emails detailing over 2,000 issues, including 90 unique problems, in the portal — should ordinarily have taken pla...
The Quran’s encouragement, not censure, of Critical Thinking

The Quran’s encouragement, not censure, of Critical Thinking

Opinion
Why would God dislike and abhor critical thinking when He himself has blessed man with this faculty and has time and again insisted on the use of it? This is a billion-dollar question that students of religion must think about. — Ameen Fayaz Prophet Abraham (PBUH) is one of the most important prophets mentioned and talked about in the Quran. In fact, three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are all of the Abrahamic tradition. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is connected with Abraham through Ismaiel, one of the sons of Abraham, who settled in Makka and laid the foundation of this city. According to a tradition, Prophet Abraham and his son, Ismaiel, re-established and renovated the Ka’aba, the House of God, at Makka. There are dozens of references in the Qur’an which talk about...
Oxygen deaths

Oxygen deaths

Opinion
THE uproar caused by the Union Government's recent statement in the Rajya Sabha, claiming that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were reported by states and union territories during the second Covid-19 wave, has prompted a much-needed reassessment of the contentious issue. The Centre has finally sought data from states and UTs on fatalities linked to oxygen shortage, particularly during April-May, when the second wave peaked and inflicted maximum damage in terms of lives lost. The demand for medical oxygen in the country had shot up to nearly 9,000 metric tonnes (MT) daily in the second wave, almost three times the peak requirement of 3,095 MT during the first one. The havoc wreaked by the paucity of the life-saving gas had been widely reported in the media. Several hospitals across the coun...
Spotlight on the homeless

Spotlight on the homeless

Opinion
Among the other shortcomings in our country, such as those related to healthcare, the pandemic has turned the spotlight on beggary. While conceding to the immediate need of vaccinating the homeless, the Supreme Court on Tuesday took the humane angle of acute poverty, the prime reason for beggary, rather than the 'elitist view' projected in the plea seeking the removal of beggars from public places to contain the spread of Covid-19. Underlying the sad fact that poor people resort to alms-seeking in streets not out of choice but due to compulsion, the court favoured their rehabilitation and a long-term solution to the grave socio-economic issue. As per the 2011 Census, there are over 4 lakh beggars in India. However, there are few facilities to help uplift them from extreme depravity and, u...
What does the nation need – Diamond or Oxygen?

What does the nation need – Diamond or Oxygen?

Opinion
The Madhya Pradesh Government had surveyed the Bundelkhand regions under “Bunder Diamond Project” through Australian company Rio Tinto in 2000-2005 to find out the probability of diamond reserves. In the survey, Kimberlite rock, whichis the major source (ore) of diamonds, was traced in the Buxwaha forest areas. Presently, Panna of MP is the largest repository of diamond having approx 22 lakh carats. It is said that Buxwaha forest contains 15 times more diamond than Panna. The state government has allotted the mining area to Aditya Birla Group’s Assell Mining and Industries Ltd on lease for 50 years. The mining area of 364 hactares is part of approx 3,000 hactares of Buxwaha protected forest. To excavate the diamonds, nearly 2,15,875 trees of various species will be cut down. Not only MP, b...

A letter to DC Baramulla from a cricket enthusiast

Opinion
Respected DC Saab, I hope you will be in good health when this letter reaches your office through the medium of this newspaper. I am sure you will spare a few minutes from your busy work schedule to read these lines before they pass into oblivion. I am writing this letter as a representative of hundreds of youths who feel deprived, disappointed, and depressed by the doings of local authorities. I am a resident of a scenic village named Doulathpora, located in tehsil Kreeri, 2 km away from the national highway and 5 km from the tehsil headquarters. Doulathpora, i.e., village of wealth, is not only monetarily rich but educationally and intellectually rich, too. Our area has been blessed with a wealth of resources and good developmental infrastructure. Our ex-elected representative, MLA Sangr...
Change in Karnataka

Change in Karnataka

Opinion
The replacement of BS Yediyurappa as the chief minister of Karnataka could well set the template for the BJP to tackle dissidence in the party. The demand for generational change was evident with the four-time CM facing resistance from the younger leaders in the state BJP and yet again failing to last his full term. Yediyurappa had steered the BJP's course in the state and was instrumental in bringing it to power, managing the affairs in trying times of the pandemic, but had to step aside to boost the party's prospects ahead of the Assembly elections in 2023. The change in Karnataka comes after Pushkar Singh Dhami replaced Tirath Singh Rawat in Uttarakhand and Sarbananda Sonowal made way for Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had crossed over from the Congress, in Assam. In Uttar Pradesh, a former ...