Saturday, 28 November 2020

Marriage between first cousins illegal, says Punjab and Haryana High Court

 Court rules after youth, who was in a live-in relationship with a minor girl who was his relative, files for anticipatory bail

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stated that marriage between first cousins is illegal. The assertion came after a youth moved the High Court against the State of Punjab for anticipatory bail.

The petitioner, a 21-year-old youth, had sought anticipatory bail in a case registered under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366A (Procuration of minor girl) of the Indian Penal Code at Khanna city-2 in Ludhiana district.

The counsel for petitioner submitted that his client had also filed a criminal writ petition, along with the girl, praying for grant of protection to their life and liberty. The State however argued the duo were first cousins and their fathers were real brothers.

Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan, while hearing the petition, said, “..the submission in the present petition that as and when she [the girl] attains the age of 18 years, they will perform marriage is per se illegal.”

During the hearing, the court file of the criminal writ petition was also summoned and as per its memorandum of parties, the girl’s age was stated as 17 and the petitioner had filed the said petition with the submission that both of them were in a live-in-relationship.

Along with the petition, a representation was also annexed, in which the girl had stated that while her parents had love and affection for their sons, she was ignored by them. Therefore, she decided to live with her friend and, on that account, she was apprehending that her parents could harass them and disturb their peace of mind. This petition was disposed on September 7.

Justice Sangwan, in the current case, pointed out “ the present petition also, the petitioner has not disclosed the fact that he is the first cousin of the girl and, therefore, the submission in the present petition that as and when she attains the age of 18 years, they will perform marriage is also per se illegal.”

The counsel for the State, who opposed the bail, raised objections, including that the girl was a minor. Besides, the boy and the girl were first cousins as their fathers were brothers. Hence, the petitioner concealed yet another fact in the said criminal writ petition that they fall in the prohibited ‘sapinda’ under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and could not marry each other. The HMA prohibits marriage between two individuals if they have common ancestor.

(Source: The Hindu)

Nurse-turned-farmer, Kerala man now earns Rs 30,000 monthly from growing lotus

 Growing 20 varieties of the Indian bean and catering to customers pan India, Eldhose P Raju says that lotus farming gives him peace of mind.

hile flying back to Kerala from Qatar, an industrial nurse—one who is “assigned emergency cases to provide medical aid in ambulances”—Eldhose P Raju was mulling a plan to find a similar job in his hometown. Wanting to come back home to his family in the Ernakulam district, he was confident enough to find a job as he has 10 years of experience catering to emergency cases. However, his plans took a drastic turn as his job search turned futile. That’s when the lotus entered.

Adopting a winning attitude when life dealt him a bad hand, Eldhose turned to his childhood passion. “Since childhood, I was passionate about plants and had a special love for lotus flowers. So, I set up an aquatic garden on my terrace with some bowl lotuses which were imported. When they bloomed, I shared pictures of them on my Facebook page and Instagram account, and that’s how all it started,” Eldhose tells The Better India.

With a variety of plants at home, he started watching YouTube tutorials on lotus farming and decided to cultivate lotuses at home in the month of March. From then, he began to import lotuses from different places, including Thailand, Europe and America. Once the imported lotuses started to bloom on the terrace garden, Eldhose began to fill his feed with the pretty pictures.

Social media: The saviour

Seeing pictures of flowers in flowerpots and plastic bowls on social media pages, people from different parts of India started to contact Eldhose. “Mainly people from North India contacted me for lotuses seeing the pictures I posted on Facebook. Then I began to supply lotus flowers and its tuber – its dormant roots, across India,” says the 34-year-old.

Most of the customers are from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune. “People from Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram had come to my home and collected lotus plants and bowls too,” Eldhose adds.

More than the tubers, there is a demand for plants. Once Eldhose receives the orders, he removes the dirt and water from the bowls and then sends them to the customers. He adds, “The plants can survive for almost 12 days and tubers survive longer than plants. Once the customer receives the plant, they just have to replant it.”

“I am also happy to help my customers with tips and tricks to take care of the plants. I don’t encourage those people to buy plants who buy them just for fun,” he says and adds, “Seeing my plants, I feel relaxed and happy. They are my stress busters. Money will come and go, but I believe peace of mind should be there for every individual.”

20 varieties of lotuses

Eldhose cultivates almost 20 varieties of lotuses, including the Zhizun Qianban, Magnificent, Charming lips, Da Sajin and Fire bowl. From the lotus farming, he receives a “good salary”. “In a month, I make approximately Rs 30,000, which I feel, is good.

In my garden, I have plants ranging from Rs 850 to Rs 3500,” he says and adds that he is proud of himself for doing what he loves.

“I also thank my family for being my all time support system. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to reach where I am today. My family respected my decision to choose the plant business even though I have a different educational background,” says Eldhose, who lives with his father, mother and wife.

Eldhose receives orders via direct messages on Instagram and Facebook. If you wish to order lotus plants from him, you may contact him on this number 89439 11901.

(Source: TBI)

Friday, 27 November 2020

Maradona Shrine in Kerala: Hotel room he once stayed in has been a museum for 8 years

 This hotel room in Kerala is rented out only to customers who are fans of the iconic player- Diego Maradona.

When V Ravindran heard that football legend Diego Maradona had passed away, one of the first things he remembered was the deafening applause that one of the greatest footballers of all time received as he stepped out of the Blue Nile hotel in Kannur district of Kerala on 23 October 2012.

"Three months before Maradona arrived, his team came to inspect hotels in Kannur. They selected our hotel and gave us a list of preparations that they wanted for a VIP's stay, without revealing the name. We thought that it would help our business too. Two rooms were joined together and made into a large suite room. We arranged everything as they mentioned. Later in October we were informed that the guest was Maradona. I was overjoyed, because I was a great fan of the game and of Maradona," Ravindran, the owner of Blue Nile hotel says.

Room number 309 of the hotel is still kept as a tiny museum in memory of Maradona's visit. The accessories used by the football player, plates, spoons, bed sheets, bathroom accessories and even the shell of the prawns he ate were kept in glass frames. The room also has a display of rare pictures of the footballer and newspaper clippings about him.

The room is rented out to other customers as 'Maradona special suite'. "We give the room only to people who are fans of Maradona and to those who come in search of the room, because everyone may not maintain the room as it is and won't understand the value," he says by adding that at least two or three guests come to his hotel in a month to stay in the room.

On Thursday, for the first time, the room was opened from 10 am to 5pm for the public in Maradona's memory.

Ravindran has a lot of memories to share about Kannur's favorite, Maradona.

"It was like god coming to our hotel. So we made sure that everything was perfect. Prior to Maradona's arrival we read that he is used to Russian cuisine. So I appointed a person who had previously worked as a chef in Russia. Prawns, salads, carrots and sweet lemon juices were the things Maradona mainly ordered. He doesn't speak English so his secretary spoke to us," he added.

Maradona stayed in the hotel for two days. Ravindran recalls how thousands of people gathered around his hotel just to catch a glimpse of their icon.

"I haven't seen that much of a crowd ever in my life. We were scared that they would rush inside the hotel. So we requested Maradona just to come out of the balcony and wave at the public. He did so, and the applause, I can still hear it in my ears, it was huge" he recalled.

He says that when the footballer hugged him while leaving, he was elated. "I still get goosebumps thinking about those days," he added.

(Source: TNM)

Metal monolith found by helicopter crew in Utah desert

 A strange metal monolith has been discovered in the Utah desert by a helicopter crew, leaving local authorities baffled.

Wildlife officials spotted the "unusual" object while counting sheep during a flyover in a remote south-eastern area of the US state.

They said the structure had been planted in the ground between red rock.


There was no indication who installed the monolith, which was about 10 to 12ft (3.6m) tall.

In an interview with local news channel KSLTV, the helicopter pilot, Bret Hutchings, said: "That's been about the strangest thing that I've come across out there in all my years of flying."

Mr Hutchings said a biologist counting big horn sheep in the helicopter was the first one to spot the structure from the sky.

"He was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!'. And I was like, 'What?'. And he's like, 'There's this thing back there - we've got to go look at it!'," Mr Hutchings said.

Mr Hutchings speculated that the monolith may have been installed by "some new wave artist", or a fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 1968 film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Imposing black monoliths created by an unseen alien species appear in the movie, based on the writing of novelist Arthur C Clarke.The Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau released images of the rectangular-shaped metal object in a news release last week.

It said authorities would determine if "they need to investigate further".

"It is illegal to install structures or art without authorisation on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you're from," the department said.

The department has not disclosed the exact location of the monolith, fearing explorers may try to seek it out and "become stranded". The big horn sheep wildlife officials were counting are native to many parts of southern Utah, where the terrain is rugged.

As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for installing the structure.

Looking for answers, Utah's highway patrol turned to social media, writing in a post on Instagram: "Inquiring minds want to know, what the heck is it? Anyone?"

Most observers presumed it was an installation left by a sculptor, with some saying it resembled the work of late minimalist artist John McCracken.

(Source: BBC)

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Mysterious new mushroom species glow like the Northern Lights in Meghalaya forests

A mushroom documentation project in the forests of Northeast India has revealed not only 600 varieties of fungi, but also led to a new discovery: a bioluminescent — or light emitting — variety of mushroom. The new species — named Roridomyces phyllostachydis — was first sighted on a wet August night near a stream in Meghalaya’s Mawlynnong in East Khasi Hills district and later at Krang Shuri in West Jaintia Hills district. It is now one among the 97 known species of bioluminescent fungi in the world.  

Michele P. Verderane

How the scientists found it

During the monsoon season, a team of scientists from India and China embarked on a fungal foray in Assam. Over the course of two weeks, they were amazed by the vast diversity of fungi in the region: hundreds of species of fungi were spotted, some of which were new to science. After hearing reports from locals of “electric mushrooms”, they headed to West Jaintia Hills District in Meghalaya. It was a drizzly night and a local person guided the team to a bamboo forest, which is part of a community forest, and asked them to switch off their torches. A minute later, the group was awestruck by what they saw: in the midst of the darkness an eerie green glow emerged from dead bamboo sticks that were smothered in tiny mushrooms. The fungus emits its own light—a phenomenon known as bioluminescence.

Natural torches for residents

Interestingly, local residents used the glowing bamboo sticks as natural torches to navigate the forest at night. Steve Axford, a fungal photographer who accompanied the team, set up a small studio and took photos.

Upon closer observation, the team noticed that only the stipes (stalks) of the mushroom lit up and they suspected it could be a new species, said Gautam Baruah, who leads the Rural Futures initiative at the Balipara Foundation in Assam and is a co-author of the report. A detailed examination in the laboratory had confirmed their suspicion: it was a new species from the genus Roridomyces—and the first fungus in this genus to be discovered from India.  

This mushroom was only found growing on dead bamboo (Phyllostachys mannii). Special elements could be present in the bamboo substrate that this fungus prefers, said Samantha Karunarathna, senior mycologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and lead author of the report She added that more research is needed to understand why they grow on this bamboo species. So far this mushroom is known from Krang Shuri, West Jayantia Hills District and Mawlynnong, East Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya.

Michele P. Verderane

Lights serve a purpose

Only a few species of glowing fungi have been reported from India. Two have been reported from the Western Ghats, one in the Eastern Ghats, and one in the state of Kerala, among others. Glowing fungi have also been spotted in the forests of Maharashtra and Goa (part of the Western Ghats) but they have not been scientifically reported. Karunarathna believes the actual number of bioluminescent fungi in India should be higher.

Michele P. Verderane

A 2015 study showed that bioluminescence in Neonothopanus gardneri, a large, bright mushroom that grows at the base of young palm trees in Brazilian coconut forests, is under the control of a circadian clock. The activity of the enzymes involved in producing light peaks at night and this regulation implies that the lights serve a purpose.

(Source: India Times)