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Briefly

- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2007

INDIA

7th person gets death for Bombay blasts

BOMBAY — An Indian anti-terror court sentenced a seventh person to death yesterday over serial bomb attacks in India's financial capital Bombay in 1993 that killed 257 persons, prosecutors said.

The "Black Friday" attacks also left hundreds injured. They were reputedly organized by Bombay's Muslim-dominated underworld in revenge for deadly Hindu-Muslim clashes a few months earlier.

"The court gave the death penalty to Mohammed Iqbal for involvement in the main conspiracy and getting weapons training," chief prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters in Bombay, also home to India's Bollywood film industry.

Eighty-seven of the 100 persons convicted in the case have been sentenced, with seven getting death sentences and 16 receiving life.

INDIA

Anti-smoking laws face resistance

NEW DELHI — India's government said yesterday it will soon introduce more prominent health warnings on cigarette packs but confessed it was having trouble overcoming opposition to anti-smoking laws.

Cigarette packs in India currently only have very small and barely readable text warnings, and the government has been struggling to enforce 2003 legislation for more prominent health messages.

The 2003 law also bans mass media advertising of tobacco products, except at sales points. However, the fine for offenders is a meager $5.

INDIA

GIRL KILLINGS DETAILED IN NEW BOOK

NEW DELHI — INDIA'S UNWANTED BABY GIRLS HAVE BEEN DROWNED IN MILK, BURNED ALIVE IN SEALED MUD POTS OR FED MILK LACED WITH POISONOUS SEEDS, BUT THESE DAYS IT IS MUCH EASIER TO KILL THEM IN THE WOMB.

THESE ARE SOME OF THE CHILLING ANECDOTES IN A NEW BOOK ON HOW A TRADITIONAL PREFERENCE FOR SONS IN INDIA HAS RESULTED IN THE EXTERMINATION OF GENERATIONS OF FEMALES.

INDIA HAS ONLY 927 FEMALES FOR EVERY 1,000 MALES — FAR LOWER THAN THE WORLDWIDE AVERAGE OF 1,050 FEMALES — AND LAST YEAR A REPORT BY UNICEF SAID INDIA CONTINUED TO LOSE ALMOST 7,000 GIRLS EVERY DAY THROUGH ABORTIONS.

NEPAL

FATE OF GODDESS HANGS IN BALANCE

KATMANDU — THE FATE OF A 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL REVERED IN NEPAL AS A GODDESS WAS YESTERDAY HANGING IN THE BALANCE AS AUTHORITIES RECONSIDERED A THREAT TO STRIP HER OF THE TITLE.

SAJANI SHAKYA WAS SELECTED AS A "KUMARI" — THE REINCARNATION OF A HINDU GODDESS — EIGHT YEARS AGO, BUT RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES SAID SHE WOULD BE STRIPPED OF HER TITLE AFTER SHE VISITED THE UNITED STATES TO PROMOTE A DOCUMENTARY.

IN AN APPARENT U-TURN YESTERDAY, THE COMMITTEE IN CHARGE OF THE LIVING GODDESS SAID IT WAS RECONSIDERING.

"WE HAVE NOT YET REMOVED HER TITLE. WE ARE TAKING THIS ISSUE VERY SERIOUSLY AND HAVE BEGUN CONSULTATIONS WITH CULTURAL EXPERTS," SAID JAYA PRASAD REGMI, THE HEAD OF THE COMMITTEE.

FROM WIRE DISPATCHES AND STAFF REPORTS