Self-styled Indian ‘godman’ jailed for life for teen rape

admin   •   April 26, 2018   •   2923

FILE PHOTO: Police escort spiritual leader Asaram Bapu (C) outside an airport after his arrest in Jodhpur, in the desert state of Rajasthan, India, September 1, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

A self-styled Indian spiritual guru who claims millions of followers worldwide has been given a life sentence for raping a 16-year-old girl.

Asaram Bapu was convicted of the 2013 attack on the girl, a devotee at his ashram in Jodhpur, by a court in the city’s jail. He is expected to appeal.

The guru, who is 77, has 400 ashrams around the world where he teaches meditation and yoga.

He is also on trial in another rape case in western Gujarat state. — Reuters

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Bharat Biotech warns, India’s COVAXIN not for persons with low immunity, underlying conditions

Marje Pelayo   •   January 22, 2021

India’s Bharat Biotech has released a fact sheet on its vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Covaxin, as to who should and should not receive it.  

The firm said recipients should disclose any health-related issues or medical conditions to the vaccination officer before accepting Covaxin.

It is advisable not to take the vaccine in any of these conditions:

  • Have any allergies
  • Have fever
  • Have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
  • Immunocompromised or if the person is taking a medicine that affects the immune system

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as well as anyone who has already taken another COVID-19 vaccine or those with any other serious health related issues, as determined by the vaccination officer, are also not advised to receive Covaxin.

It also warned of the potential risks of receiving the Indian-made vaccine. 

Among the side effects include:

  • Injection site pain
  • Injection site swelling
  • Injection site redness
  • Injection site itching
  • Stiffness in the upper arm
  • Weakness in injection arm
  • Body ache
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • Weakness
  • Rashes
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 

The company further warned that there is a remote chance or a possibility that Covaxin could cause a severe allergic reaction which may ‘very rarely’ occur after getting vaccination. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can be:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swelling of your face and throat 
  • A fast heart beat 
  • Rash all over your body 
  • Dizziness and weakness 

Bharat Biotech emphasized that these may not be all the possible side effects of Covaxin as serious and unexpected side effects may also occur. 

The pharmaceutical company stressed that the clinical efficacy of Covaxin is yet to be established and it is still being studied in phase 3 clinical trials. 

Thus, the firm said, it is important to appreciate that receiving the vaccine does not mean that other precautions related to COVID-19 need not be followed. 

If any event the recipient experiences side effects, it is important to contact or visit your health provider or vaccination officer or immediately go to the nearest hospital for proper medical advice.

According to the firm’s information, Covaxin has already been used at 2-doses to a total of 680 recipients in  Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials. 

Phase 3 clinical trial is ongoing in 25,800 participants, and all the participants have received the first dose, as of January 6, 2021. 

Bharat Biotech launched Covaxin in January in the largest vaccination drive conducted in India along with another brand Covishield by another local pharmaceutical company Serum Institute of India (SII).

PH, India seeking ways to boost ties in infra development, digital tech — DOF

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines The Philippines and India are exploring ways of enhancing their economic ties, particularly in the areas of financial and digital technologies and infrastructure development, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the department said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and India Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran met recently to discuss both countries’ interests in strengthening their cooperation in the fields of banking and finance.

The DOF said that during his virtual courtesy call, Kumaran offered India’s expertise in setting up the country’s broadband network as well as the national identification system.

Dominguez welcomed the ambassador’s offer of assistance and invited Indian companies to participate in the upcoming rollout of a shared cyber-defense plan for Philippine state-run banks and their subsidiaries, the department added.

The finance chief likewise expressed his appreciation for India’s interest in helping the government implement its digital transformation programs that aim to expand financial inclusion among Filipinos, upgrade the delivery of frontline government services, and further curb corruption among government officials.

Kumaran said Indian companies are interested in taking part in the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program but are “in need of more information on the various opportunities available to them under the President’s centerpiece infrastructure modernization plan.”

“To assist prospective investors on this concern, Secretary Dominguez and Ambassador Kumaran agreed to help organize a webinar or online workshop where the Philippines can showcase the various opportunities open to India’s companies on infrastructure development, as well as other possible areas of cooperation between Filipino and Indian firms,” the DOF said.

It was also mentioned during the meeting that an Indian company – GMR Infrastructure Limited – is already taking part in the “Build, Build, Build” program and has performed “impressively” in operating the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and expanding the Clark International Airport (CIA).

The Philippines and India rekindled their bilateral ties with the official visits of President Duterte to India in 2017 and 2018, which were followed by a state visit of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to the Philippines in October 2019, the DOF said.

India and the Philippines established their diplomatic relations on November 16, 1949.

Senate Committees approve proposal to increase statutory rape age to 16

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 1, 2020

The Senate Committees have approved the proposal to increase the statutory rape age to 16.

The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality approved the proposed measure on Thursday (October 10). Aside from the increase in the statutory rape age, the age for sexual consent was also raised from 12 to 16.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, one of the authors of the bill, said it is time to amend the law especially due to the increase of sexual violence cases among children.

“As legislators, we need to ensure that our children are protected and that we set measures that will mitigate if not totally eradicate these alarming cases and statistics on sexual violence against children and teenage pregnancies,” Zubiri said.

The Philippines currently has the age of sexual consent at 12 which is the lowest in Asia and among the lowest in the world. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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