India News

Top Court Orders Examination Of Woman Over Plea To Abort 28-Week-Old Foetus

The Supreme Court has set up a medical board comprising doctors from the AIIMS to ascertain the health condition of a 28-week-old foetus and the pregnant woman who wanted to abort it on the ground of abnormality.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, to ensure that the woman is examined at the earliest and the report of the medical board be submitted on November 20.

The petition, filed through advocate Garvesh Kabra, said that the foetus was suffering a cardiac disorder which might require immediate corrective open-heart surgeries after the delivery.

The woman’s request for an abortion on November 9 was denied by the doctors on the ground that she was past the prescribed period within which she could undergo a medical termination of pregnancy.

“Hence the denial of her right to an abortion has caused the extreme anguish and has forced the woman to continue with her pregnancy while being aware that the foetus or the child after the birth would never survive a healthy and long life.

“That if the pregnancy is not permitted to be terminated then the petitioner and her family members would be living in constant fear of survival of their child, if born,” the plea said.

It also challenged the constitutional validity of section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, which prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Determination of foetal abnormality in many cases can only be done after the 20th week and by keeping the ceiling artificially low, women who obtain reports of serious foetal abnormality after the 20th week have to suffer excruciating pain and agony because the deliveries that they are forced to go through.

“The ceiling of 20 weeks is therefore arbitrary, harsh and discriminatory and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” the plea said.


Hundreds Unite For A 500 Km Ambulance Corridor To Save Newborn In Kerala

The distance between Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram is 500 Kilometers and usually takes over 13 hours to cover by road. But Wednesday night, for one heartwarming cause, it played out differently.

A 31-day-old infant name Fathima Lavina, who was battling for life with a congenital heart problem was rushed in an ambulance to the Thiruvananthapuram’s Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in a record time of less than 7 hours.

Hundreds of volunteers, and policemen co-orindated across Kerala throughout the night to ensure a new born infant could be saved.

“We got a call from the infant’s bystander in the afternoon saying an ambulance was required in Kannur at 7 pm. I had no idea about the urgency of the situation. I thought it would be like the usual emergency cases. But when I got to know the enormity of the task, we realised that this was highly risky. I called the owner of the ambulance and briefed him. He assured me that he will pass on the message to the ambulance network on WhatsApp and police stations and the road will be made clear. It was overwhelming to see so many volunteers, policemen on the road late in the night, just to ensure that the road is clear for me,” Abdul Thameem, the 27-year-old ambulance driver said.


Strong 6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Jolts Tibet, Felt In Arunachal Pradesh

A strong intensity earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit Tibet’s Nyingchi prefecture, located close to Arunachal Pradesh border, in the early hours of today.

The quake struck at 6:34 am (Beijing time), according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).

The quake struck at a depth of about 10 km, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. It was followed by 5-magnitude earthquake at 8:31 am (Beijing time) around the same place in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The second quake struck at a depth of about 6 km. Reports of any casualties and damage are awaited.


Go Back, Fight Your Child Custody Battle In Chicago: Delhi Court Tells India-Born Woman

An Indian-born US woman has been asked to return to the US along with her toddler daughter by the Delhi High Court which left it to the jurisdiction of American court to decide the child’s custody issue pending there.

The court was hearing a plea filed by the father of the three-year-and-eight-month-old girl, seeking that the child be removed from her mother’s custody and allowed to be taken to the US.

This was in pursuance to a January this year order passed by the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, the US.

The high court in its order noted that it is in the “best interest” of the child to be in her natural environment, receive love and care of her father and grandparents, who live in Chicago, resume her school and be with teachers and peers.

A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Deepa Sharma also imposed several conditions, including that the man should fund the expenses of his estranged wife and child on their initial stay in Chicago, provide reasonable accommodation and arrange a vehicle for them.

It also said that the man should meet the woman’s legal expenses which she may incur till the time she finds a suitable job for herself there.

“Just because the woman has found a safe haven in India – where her parents live, she could not have left the US permanently with their child, without caring for the best interest of the child and tearing her away from her father and paternal grandparents, with whom she had spent her initial life,” the bench said.

It added that Chicago, the US was the ‘Karam Bhumi’ of the couple and the woman cannot run away from there and escape to India, which is her comfort zone, at the cost of the child’s best interest.

“The woman should return to Chicago to fight her battles on that turf, so that the child can be with both her parents. The woman is not alone, and carries with her the responsibility of bringing up the child jointly with her father. It would have been a different matter if the couple had not had a child,” it said.

The bench said the woman was able-bodied, educated, accustomed to living in Chicago and was earlier employed before she came to India in December 2016 and she should not have any difficulty in finding her feet in the US.

“She knows the systems prevalent in that country, and adjustment for her in that environment would certainly not be an issue. Accordingly, we direct her to return to the US with the minor child,” it said.

The man said the child was born in the US and they had come to India on a short trip in December last year. They were scheduled to return to Chicago in January and at the last moment, his wife and daughter went missing and he left for the US as his flight was pre-booked.

The woman had filed a suit here seeking dissolution of marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act on the ground of cruelty and that he tried to forcibly establish physical relations.

On the other hand, the man had approached the US court which ordered that the child be immediately returned to her father, who was granted interim sole custody of the child. He then approached the high court, demanding that this order be complied with.

The court said the child, who does not receive the love, care and attention of both the parents, is bound to suffer from psychological and emotional trauma, particularly if the child is small and of tender age.


Four Die As UK Light Aircraft And Helicopter Collide Mid-Air

Four people were killed on Friday after a mid-air collision between a light aircraft and a helicopter in southern England, police said.

The incident took place just after 1200 GMT at Upper Winchendon, near the village of Waddesdon, about 45 miles (72 km) to the northwest of London.

“Officers are in the process of working to locate and support their next of kin. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has been informed and their staff have been on the scene,” Superintendent Rebecca Mears, from Thames Valley Police, said in a statement.

Police said officers and members of other emergency services including the fire and ambulance services attended the scene.


Man Accidentally Shoots Himself And His Wife At A Church

About 20 elderly people sat down for an early Thanksgiving meal Thursday at a church in East Tennessee, unaware that the pleasant afternoon would take a grim turn.

During their meal, they decided to discuss gun safety in light of recent mass shootings – an idea that came to them after a neighboring county’s sheriff’s department chose to hold similar seminars at its local churches, said Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks.

“Well, I’ve got my gun on me,” an 81-year-old member of First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains said, according to Parks, whose department investigated the incident. He pulled out his holster, which held a .38-caliber Ruger handgun. He removed the magazine, cleared the chamber and showed the gun to the other parishioners. They talked about how to safely bring guns to church – and how sad it was that so many people nationwide had been killed in recent mass shootings. Earlier this month, a gunman killed 26 people when he opened fire with an assault-style gun during Sunday service at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

The 81-year-old man put the magazine back into the gun and put the gun back in the holster, Parks said. Later, while people were cleaning up, a church member who had missed the demonstration asked to see the weapon.

Just as he was about to show it to the church member, the man accidentally pulled the trigger without realizing the gun was loaded.

A bullet fired across the palm of the 81-year-old’s hand and toward his 80-year-old wife, who was sitting in a wheelchair next to him. It ripped through her lower left abdomen, out the right side of her abdomen, into her right forearm and out the backside of her forearm. The bullet then struck the wall and ricocheted, landing under the wife’s wheelchair, Parks said.

Panic swept the church. Most people weren’t aware of the second demonstration and – having just discussed mass shootings – assumed an active gunman entered the church.

“They had their backs to it,” Parks said. “Somebody hollers, ‘He’s been shot! She’s been shot! Call 911!’ So someone grabs their cellphone and calls 911, and says we’ve had somebody shot at church.”

What came next was a muddle of misinformation. The dispatcher answering the call shortly after 1 p.m. assumed someone had entered the church and was shooting. As a result, the local hospital and several local schools were put on lockdown, Parks said. Because of their old age, Parks said, the husband and wife were flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in critical condition.

About 45 minutes later, police realized someone had accidentally discharged a handgun. The hospital and school lockdowns were lifted, Parks said.

The husband and wife’s conditions have been stabilized as of Thursday evening, Parks said. The couple’s family has asked their names not yet be released.

No charges will be filed, Parks said.


India, China Hold First Border Talk After Doklam Standoff

India and China today held their first meeting on the border consultation and coordination mechanism here after the Doklam standoff and reviewed the situation in all the sectors of their border and exchanged views on enhancing CBMs and military contacts.

The 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held in Beijing, a press release from the Indian Embassy here said.

The WMCC was established in 2012 as an institutional mechanism for consultation and coordination for the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas.

It was established to deal with the tensions over recurring border incursions as well as to exchange views on strengthening communication and cooperation, including between the border security personnel.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.

Today’s talks were held in a constructive and forward- looking manner, the release said.

Both sides reviewed the situation in all sectors of India-China border and agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas is an important prerequisite for sustained growth of bilateral relations, it said.

The two sides also exchanged views on further confidence building measures (CBMs) and strengthening of military-to- military contacts, it said.

The talks between the delegations headed by Pranay Verma, Joint Secretary (East Asia), Ministry of External Affairs and Xiao Qian, Director General, Department of Asian Affairs, were the first such dialogue between the two countries after the 72-day-long standoff at Dokalam in the Sikkim section.

The standoff which began in mid-June ended on August 28 after Chinese troops stopped building a key road close to India’s Chicken Neck corridor. India objected to the construction highlighting its security concerns. The road was being built by the Chinese troops in the area also claimed by Bhutan.

This is the first round of talks between the two countries after Chinese President Xi Jinping began his second five-year term as the chief of the ruling Communist Party of China last month.

Today’s talks took place ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s planned to visit to India to take part in the Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting expected to be held in New Delhi next month.

Chinese officials earlier said Wang is expected to meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj as well as top Indian leaders.

The contentious issues bedeviling both the countries, including the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as Beijing’s veto blocking UN listing of JeM leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist are expected to be discussed during Wang’s talks with Indian leaders.

Ahead of the talks, Chinese officials have expressed optimism that differences over the listing of Masood Azhar by China in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council may be resolved soon. China has blocked India’s application last year and vetoed a similar resolution sponsored by the US, the UK and France twice this year.

Also the 20th round of India-China border talks headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, who are the designated Special Representatives, are expected to be held in New Delhi next month.

The dates for both RIC and border talks are yet to be announced.

The Special Representatives were also mandated to discuss all issues related to India-China relations.

The delegations at today’s talks comprised of diplomatic and military officials from each side.

The two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the WMCC at a mutually convenient time, the release said.

India News

Bill Gates Meets Yogi Adityanath, Discusses UP’s Medical Issues

Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Friday met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and discussed with him ways to intensify the immunisation programme against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

The chief minister met Mr Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, at the Shastri Bhawan here.

The state government would intensify the JE and AES immunisation programme with the help of the Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation and an MoU will be signed for the purpose soon, Mr Adityanath said in an statement.

“The Uttar Pradesh government will also seek technical help from the foundation on mother and child health, and also in programmes related to agricultural and other sectors for the next five years,” he said.

The chief minister apprised Mr Gates about the efforts of the government to eliminate prevalent vector borne diseases in the state.

Mr Gates said that his organisation would like to work and help the state in controlling vector borne diseases and improve sanitation, solid waste management and agriculture production techniques, an official statement said.

It said the foundation would also help the state in mother and child nutrition programmes.

He said his organisation had held talks with the Indian Medical Research Council for establishing JE and AES monitoring centre at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur and offered services in controlling diseases such as filaria, diarrhoea and tuberculosis, the statement said.

Chief Secretary Rajive Kumar said that after going through the department-wise priorities, an MoU will be signed with the foundation soon.

He also informed the Microsoft founder that the state government recently organised a successful vaccination programme to counter vector borne diseases.

The programme has covered over 92 lakh children between May 25 and June 11 this year, the chief secretary said.

Eliminating the menace of JE and AES is one of the top priorities of the Uttar Pradesh government, he said, adding that the state-run BRD Medical College has been on the forefront of this mission.

The chief minister was informed by Gates that the foundation has a expertise in sewage treatment solutions and they were working on various projects in other states and would also like to work in this area in Uttar Pradesh to treat municipal wastes and help clean rivers, the statement said.


13 Patients Die After Patna Hospital’s Junior Doctors Strike Work

At least 13 patients died after more than 500 junior doctors at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) in Patna went on a strike to protest an assault by a deceased patient’s attendants, hospital officials said on Friday.

“Thirteen critical patients died due to lack of treatment after the doctors went on strike on Thursday night, which also hit Emergency and Out Patient Department services,” an official said.

“So far, 36 surgeries have been deferred and dozens of patients refused admission.”

Officials said hundreds of patients and their attendants were at loss as to whom to turn to for treatment.

“Dozens of patients, battling for life, have been forced to shift to private hospitals and nursing homes by their families.”

The junior doctors are demanding adequate security and action against attendants of the patient who attacked their colleagues after his death soon after arrival at the hospital. It is the third assault incident at PMCH in two months.

A senior PMCH doctor admitted that nurses were now handling patients following the strike.

PMCH Acting Principal VK Gupta said senior doctors have been put on duty in the Emergency Ward.

Health Minister Mangal Pandey has since invited the striking doctors for talks on Friday afternoon.


Sherin Mathews’ Foster Mother Arrested In US For Leaving Her Home Alone

The foster mother of Indian girl Sherin Mathews, found dead last month in a culvert in Dallas, has been arrested after police alleged that the Indian-American couple left the 3-year-old home alone the night before she was reported missing.

Sini Mathews and husband Wesley Mathews, who was arrested last month, went out for dinner with their biological daughter October 6, leaving Sherin because she refused to drink her milk, police in the US state of Texas said.

The 35-year-old mother, an Indian-American registered nurse, was arrested yesterday after her attorney took her to the Richardson police station.

She is being held in the Richardson jail on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child, a state jail felony. Bail has been set at USD 250,000, police said.

A state jail felony in Texas is an offense that is punishable by confinement in a state jail facility from six months up to two years.

Police said they have not determined whether Sherin was alive when they returned home an hour and a half later, the Dallas Morning News reported.

An affidavit said the toddler was in the kitchen where they left her. “The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office is continuing to work on determining the cause of death. Those results will be made available when complete,” Richardson Police said in a Facebook post.

Wesley, the 37-year-old foster father, who has since been charged in connection with Sherin’s death, remains in the Dallas County Jail on a charge of injury to a child. Bail has been set at USD 1 million. The crime is punishable with up to 99 years in prison.

Wesley had initially said he sent Sherin outside to an alley near their house about 3 am because she refused to drink her milk.

He later changed his story and to say he “physically assisted” Sherin with her milk, and admitted to removing her body from the home after she choked and stopped breathing, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Sherin’s death prompted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to ask the Indian Embassy in the US to be actively involved in the case and keep her informed. She also sought a probe into the adoption process of Sherin, who was adopted by the Indian-American couple last year from Bihar.

Following Sherin’s case, India decided that passports to adopted children will be issued only with prior clearance by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.