Feb 10 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

India’s Kumbh Mela festival holds most auspicious day

10 February 2013 Last updated at 06:48 GMT

 By Soutik Biswas

BBC News, Allahabad

The main day of bathing is taking place at India’s Kumbh Mela, with more than 30 million pilgrims expected to take a dip at the confluence of India’s Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

This is the most auspicious of six bathing days at the event, billed as the biggest human gathering on Earth.

More than eight million took to the waters on the opening day, 14 January.

Hindus believe a festival dip at Sangam – where the rivers meet – will cleanse sins and help bring salvation.

In all, up to 100 million pilgrims are expected to bathe in the holy waters in January and February at the 55-day Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Afghan children the victims

Violent tide of Salafism threatens the Arab spring

Spain’s Rajoy releases tax returns amid corruption scandal

Peru, Chile and Bolivia hit by floods after heavy rain

Experts weigh causes of US obesity epidemic


Afghan children the victims

February 10, 2013

Kim Gamel

THE US-led international coalition has rejected an accusation that US military strikes have killed hundreds of children in Afghanistan during the past four years, saying they are ”categorically unfounded”.

The statement by the International Security Assistance Force came a day after the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child said the casualties were ”due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force”.

The coalition also dismissed that claim, saying it took special care to avoid civilian casualties. It said the number of children who died or were wounded from air operations dropped nearly 40 per cent last year compared with the year before, although it did not give specific figures.

Violent tide of Salafism threatens the Arab spring

A series of repressive dictatorships have been brought down in north Africa, but the ensuing struggles for power have left a vacuum that has allowed the rise of an extremist movement that is gathering both force and supporters

Angelique Chrisafis, Patrick Kingsley and Peter Beaumont

The Observer, Sunday 10 February 2013

Late last year, largely unnoticed in the west, Tunisia’s president, Moncef Marzouki, gave an interview to Chatham House’s The World Today. Commenting on a recent attack by Salafists – ultra-conservative Sunnis – on the US embassy in Tunis, he remarked in an unguarded moment: “We didn’t realise how dangerous and violent these Salafists could be … They are a tiny minority within a tiny minority. They don’t represent society or the state. They cannot be a real danger to society or government, but they can be very harmful to the image of the government.”

Spain’s Rajoy releases tax returns amid corruption scandal



Spain’s prime minister has released a decade of his tax returns in an effort to subdue reports he and other conservative politicians received secret cash payments. However, the opposition is not satisfied.

The government’s website on Saturday posted official documents detailing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s income and tax details from the past ten years. His ruling People’s Party (PP) on Friday also released four years of financial records in a bid to put the matter to rest.

Peru, Chile and Bolivia hit by floods after heavy rain

BBC 10 February 2013 Last updated at 01:57 GMT

Torrential rain has been creating havoc along the Pacific coast side of South America, with flooding causing the deaths of at least six people in Peru.

In the southern city of Arequipa, thousands of people were left without electricity and drinking water.

In Bolivia, nearly 9,000 families across the country were affected by flooding, said the authorities.

A downpour in the Andean region of Chile has also led to fresh water shortages in the capital, Santiago.

Experts weigh causes of US obesity epidemic

In the city dubbed “the fattest in the US”, health advocates are fighting a battle against obesity.

Rob Reynolds Last Modified: 09 Feb 2013 15:56

McAllen, Texas – The epidemic of obesity that has spread through-out the United States since the mid-1990s is the result of many converging factors. Many people point to overeating and to specific foods, such as sugary sodas and fatty hamburgers as the cause of obesity. But in fact the epidemic has as much to do with changes in society and American family life as with the foods themselves.

Dr Deborah Parra-Medina, an obesity expert at the University of Texas health Sciences Center in San Antonio, has been studying the connections between how families are organized and childhood obesity. Most children these days have parents who work; stay-at-home moms or dads have become the exception rather than the norm.