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Trump’s idea of Saudi -led “Arab NATO” will prove disastrous for the region



Donald Trump Saudi Prince

As he arrived in Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip as U.S. President, Donald Trump forged a stronger relationship with King Salman by signing arms deal and other investments amounting to $350 billion with the Kingdom.

This new type of U.S.-Saudi partnership and convergence of interests is the result of preparatory work done by  high level political and economic delegations of both the countries. US Defense Secretary James Mattis  and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo visited Riyadh and the intensive meetings between Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s  and US President  and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir’s meetings with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

It is pertinent to mention that Trump is set to float an idea of building a regional military bloc dubbed as “Sunni Nato” at an Arab-Muslim summit in Saudi Arabia which will be attended by 50 odd leaders of Muslim countries.

Saudi led “Arab NATO” will destabilize the Middle East as Shiite Syria and Iran has the backing of Russia. Trump ‘s foreign policy agenda is to put special emphasis on peace and stability in the Middle East but his proposed multi-national mutual security architecture of Arab NATO comprising Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey will substantially change the world order as it will lead to war. Saudi Arabia which is a close friend of Pakistan will term Islamabad as a crucial ally in the war against terrorism and that will adversely effect India’s geopolitics.

Trump’s main objective is to make his first 9-day foreign trip to Middle East and Europe a success  amid the political scandal  engulfing his administration. Trump  announced a nearly $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia as a  substantial proof of a renewed commitment by the United States to the security of the Persian Gulf region thus re-shaping the politics and diplomacy of the Middle East by finding a common ground of convergence in combating terrorism.

Building  a new economic partnership for the success of  deputy crown prince’s ambitious Vision 2030 economic reform initiative with US companies investing hugely in  Saudi corporate including a series of multibillion-dollar deals. Among them: Lockheed Martin signed a $6 billion letter of intent to assemble 150 Black Hawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia, and General Electric announced projects it valued at $15 billion.

His policy of working closely with Gulf nations differs from his campaign remarks for Saudi Arabia on social networking site Twitter  when he said that We demand free oil for the next 10 years from Saudi Kingdom or else we will not protect their Boeing 747s. i.e. to pay for every support.”

Trump is working on a strategy to unite the Muslim world against Islamic terrorism and extremism in view of his executive order to temporarily ban visitors entering America  from  nine Muslim countries, but courts have blocked his move.

Trump said it was a “tremendous day” and spoke of “hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs. So I would like to thank all the people of Saudi Arabia.”

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist



COVID-19: Ignoring social distancing norm cost Indore dearly




Coronavirus india lockdown

Indore, April 2 : Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, which is known for its cleanliness, is now struggling with the novel coronavirus. There may be many reasons behind it but the biggest reason is not following the social distancing norms. Also, despite the initial cases, the necessary arrangements were not made in time.

Indore is the most developed and advanced city of the state. It has an international airport, major rail and bus terminals and big industries. These apart, thousands of students from across the state and the country come here for studies. The city also provides many employment opportunities to educated youth.

Amulya Nidhi, the national co-convenor of the Public Health Campaign who has worked as a social worker in Indore and Malwa Nimar for a long time, said: “Indore is an internationally connected metropolitan city. A large number of people come here from the neighbouring states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. When the corona epidemic came to light, the arrangements that were needed in Indore were not made. The check up facility was not there and people did not follow the social distancing norm. Perhaps, people came into contact with infected persons and after that the disease spread rapidly”.

“There is another reason for the increasing number of patients. Earlier fewer samples were being taken and fewer investigation reports were coming in. Now more samples are being taken and more reports are coming in. It should not be taken in a negative way, but if more patients are being found, then it is also giving us a message to be ready for further measures,” he said.

Vinay Bakaliwal, President of the Indore Pharmacists Association, said: “Social distancing was not followed in Indore and this was the biggest reason for the spread of the disease. When the lockdown has taken place, efforts are now being made and it is expected that the patients will be identified soon and the city will be safe”.

On the question of increasing number of patients in Indore, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Praveen Jariya told IANS, “It is true that the number of infected patients in Indore is much more than other places. But it is a matter of relief that people from only a few families are infected and only those who came in their contact got infected. The administration is putting people in quarantine and isolating others to stop the spread of the disease.”

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan agreed that the virus has spread in certain areas of Indore. He urged the people to observe the lockdown and maintain social distancing. This is because the chain of the disease can be broken only by staying inside the house.

It is also coming to light that most of the infected patients are being found at places like Ranipura, Nayapura, Daulatganj, Hathipala in Indore. A large number of people have been quarantined here. Special arrangements are being made for these patients in hotels and private medical colleges.

Indore has been the most affected by the coronavirus in the state. The number of patients here has increased to 75, while the number of victims in the state is 98. Six people have died so far. Apart from Indore, there are four patients in Bhopal, eight in Jabalpur, two each in Gwalior and Shivpuri, one in Khargone and six in Ujjain.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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Most diets help you lose weight but only for some months




Apple Tomato

New York, April 2 : Most diets lead to weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors but the results may disappear within a year, say researcher, suggesting that people should choose the diet they prefer without concern about the size of benefits.

Published in the journal The BMJ, the research found that in most diets, weight reduction at the 12-month follow-up diminished, and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors largely disappeared — except in association with the Mediterranean diet, which saw a small but important reduction in ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.

To reach this conclusion, the International team of researchers set out to determine the relative effectiveness of dietary patterns and popular named diets among overweight or obese adults.

The findings are based on the results of 121 randomised trials with 21,942 patients (average age 49) who followed a popular named diet or an alternative control diet and reported weight loss, and changes in cardiovascular risk factors.

They grouped diets by macronutrient patterns (low carbohydrate, low fat, and moderate macronutrient – similar to low fat, but slightly more fat and slightly less carbohydrate) and according to 14 popular named dietary programmes (Atkins, DASH, Mediterranean, etc).

Compared with a usual diet, low carbohydrate and low-fat diets resulted in a similar modest reduction in weight (between four and five kg) and reductions in blood pressure at six months.

Moderate macronutrient diets resulted in slightly less weight loss and blood pressure reductions.

Among popular named diets, Atkins, DASH, and Zone had the largest effect on weight loss (between 3.5 and 5.5 kg) and blood pressure compared with a usual diet at six months. No diets significantly improved levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol or C reactive protein (a chemical associated with inflammation) at six months.

Overall, weight loss diminished at 12 months among all dietary patterns and popular named diets, while the benefits for cardiovascular risk factors of all diets, except the Mediterranean diet, essentially disappeared.

The researchers pointed to some study limitations that could have affected the accuracy of their estimates. But said their comprehensive search and thorough analyses supports the robustness of the results.

Evidence shows that most macronutrient diets result in modest weight loss and substantial improvements in cardiovascular risk factors, particularly blood pressure, at six but not 12 months.

The extensive range of popular diets analysed “provides a plethora of choice but no clear winner,” the researchers noted.

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All you want to know about Tablighi Jamaat

The Tablighi Jamaat holds ‘Ijtema’ which is an Islamic congregation. The one held in Delhi in March was one such ‘Ijtema’.




Tablighi Jamaat

The Tablighi Jamaat, founded in 1927 by Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi in Mewat region in Haryana, is a movement that focuses on ensuring that Muslims practise the religion as it was practised in the time of Prophet Mohammad.

The Tablighi Jamaat can be termed as an organization that promotes fundamentalism and targets those Muslims who have adopted a liberal lifestyle.

A member of the Tablighi Jamaat who lives in Lucknow said on condition of anonymity, “We try to give a sense of belonging to the Muslim youth who are feeling uncared for in the prevailing scenario. We tell the youth that to overcome this restlessness, they must practise the religion in matters of rituals, dress and behaviour because it is this that will take them closer to Allah.”

The Tablighis, as they are called, are known to wear religion on their sleeve.

The movement has spread over the years, especially in the past five years, and has over 300 million members in South Asia alone.

The Tablighi Jamaat holds ‘Ijtema’ which is an Islamic congregation. The one held in Delhi in March was one such ‘Ijtema’.

Their members are regularly sent out to various states and regions where they “educate” the youth about the need of being a “practising Muslim”.

The lifestyle of a Tablighi is frugal.

“We travel in buses or trains, stay for months in local mosques and eat whatever our followers offer us. We spread our ideology and then move on. For us, our family is secondary and our duty is primary,” said the Tablighi member.

Interestingly, the Tablighi Jamaat is strongly patriarchal in nature and has virtually no room for women who are never invited to the Ijtema.

Over the years, the Tablighi Jamaat has emerged as a vibrant and most influential Islamic movement. Though it does not propagate terror, it does promote religious fanaticism. It rejects violence as a means for evangelism but it is slowly developing as a breeding ground for Islamic militancy.

The movement has made inroads in Uttar Pradesh, especially after the Ayodhya movement, and has gained roots even though it has no political affiliation.

According to a source, Tablighis can be found in almost every city and village that has even a ‘small’ Muslim population.

According to an intelligence official, the Tablighi network has become so strong over the years that action against the organization could prove to be a problem.

“There is not a mosque in Uttar Pradesh that does not have a Tablighi member,” he said.

The Tablighis, interestingly, are different from Deobandis in the sense that the Darul Uloom in Deoband has restricted itself to being an Islamic seminary and does not go beyond teaching the tenets of Islam.

Maulana Muhammad Saad Kandhlawi, 55, is the head of the Tablighi Jamaat and is a well-known preacher. He is the great grandson of the Tablighi Jamaat founder Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi.

Saad, who lives in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi, has three sons and daughters.

The Darul Uloom has gone to the extent of issuing a fatwa against Maulana Saad for his controversial interpretation of verses of holy Quran.

Some leading Maulanas of the Sunni sect also seem to be unhappy with Maulana Saad’s provocative statements.

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