The government is making preparations to organise a second
visit of diplomats, including several European Ambassadors, to Srinagar and
Jammu next week, sources confirmed here.
Unlike the last visit in January, when European Union (EU)
members declined to travel and asked to be sent as a combined group of 27
members, this time, several members of the EU have agreed, sources said.
“While all the Ambassadors expressed their concerns about issues
like political detentions and Internet restrictions, they were able to see that
there was normalcy on the roads, and the entire Union Territory is not under
lockdown as they had expected,” the source added.
Diplomatic sources said negotiations over the scope and schedule
of the proposed visit have been on for the past month, and had run into issues
over specific demands by the European diplomats to meet detained former Chief
Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah.
Pakistan’s Parliament passed a resolution on Friday calling
for the public hanging of convicted child killers and rapists, drawing a
quick backlash from human rights organisations.
The non-binding resolution follows a spate of high-profile child
sex-abuse cases that have provoked outrage and riots across Pakistan in recent
Child killers and rapists “should not only be given the death
penalty by hanging, but they should be hanged publicly,” said Ali Muhammad Khan,
Pakistan's Parliamentary Affairs Minister, who presented the resolution in the
national assembly, or lower house.
Though a majority of lawmakers approved the resolution, Human
Rights Minister ShireenMazari stressed it was not sponsored by the government.
The resolution “on public hangings was across party lines and not a govt-sponsored
resolution but an individual act. Many of us oppose it our Ministry opposes
this,” Ms.Mazari tweeted.
Child sexual abuses are rampant in Pakistan.In October 2018,
authorities hanged a child rapist in an infamous case in Kasur, near Lahore,
that sparked nationwide protests. In that case, a six-year-old was raped and
murdered by a 24-year-old man.
India’s leopard population may be only a tenth of what it
was a little over a century ago, experiencing catastrophic declines due to
human pressures. Given the threats the animal faces – conflicts with humans,
poaching, habitat loss and availability of prey – a group of scientists with
new insights on loss of leopard abundance say that an initiative similar to
‘Project Tiger’ is required for the cat.
The leopard population, perceived to be stable due to broad
geographic distribution, suffered a possibly human-induced population decline of
75% to 90% between 120 and 200 years ago, the scientists propose, in a paper
titled, ‘Genetic analyses reveal population structure and recent decline in
leopards (Pantherapardusfusca) across the Indian subcontinent’ published in the
journal PeerJ – Life and Environment on Friday.
Scientists from the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS India) and
the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) used genetic data from leopards from
across the subcontinent to investigate population structure and patterns of
decline. They probed the demographic history of each sub-population and compared
genetic decline analyses with countrywide local extinction probabilities.
The authors argue that the population decline in a species seen
as wide-ranging and locally abundant suggest that leopards demand attention just
Authors Supriya Bhatt, SuvankarBiswas, BivashPandav and
SamratMondol from WII, and Krithi K. Karanth from CWS India, collected faecal
samples from the Terai-Arc landscape of northern India and identified 56
individuals using a panel of 13 microsatellite markers, and merged this data
with those of 143 other leopards.
Genetic analyses showed four sub-populations — Western Ghats,
Deccan Plateau-Semi Arid, Shivalik and Terai region with high genetic variation.