New UN report takes firm stand on women’s rights in Afghanistan

Kabul (Afghanistan), July 9 (ANI): A new United Nations report has called for an end to the prevailing abuse against women in Afghanistan, and warned that ignoring this culture of impunity will create an environment of political and social insecurity.

The report, titled “Silence is Violence,” documents the increasingly insecure environment for women in public spaces and the failure of state institutions to deal with it, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

The document, which was co-written by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCR) and the UN’s Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), says that the argument that it’s more important to “have security rather than human rights … is absolutely the wrong concept, since you need human rights for sustainable peace.”

Dr. Sima Samar, the chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, explained that the denial of women’s rights is usually on the grounds of culture and tradition.

The report documents violence that inhibits participation of women in public life, identifying perpetrators as anti-government elements, local traditional and religious power holders, women’s own families and communities and, in some instances, government authorities.

Sexual violence against women was found to be perpetrated by close family members, staff of prisons and rehabilitation centers, military commanders, and members of illegal armed groups and criminal gangs.

“The pattern of attacks against women operating in the public sphere sends a strong message to all women to stay at home,” says the report.

“This has obvious ramifications for the transformation of Afghanistan, the stated priority of Afghan authorities, and their international supporters.”

“Rhetoric [has not been] matched by reality,” says the head of UNAMA’s human rights unit, Norah Niland.

The UN report and its message were backed at the highest level of the UN’s presence in Afghanistan. It was released in the residence of the UN secretary-general’s special representative, Kai Eide, the top UN diplomat in Afghanistan. (ANI)

Jackson’s death boosts public concern over prescription drug abuse risk

Washington, July 8 (ANI): The massive media coverage around Michael Jackson’s death has given a boost to public concern over the risks of prescription drug abuse, suggests a survey.

According to the findings of The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), Jackson’s alleged prescription drug misuse has left patients asking more questions about the dangers involved.

“While circumstances surrounding Michael Jackson’s cause of death are still speculative, the media attention has opened dialogue about the dangers of prescription drug abuse,” ASHP president Lynnae M. Mahaney, M.B.A., FASHP said.

“Medications can make a tremendous difference for people suffering with chronic pain and these patients should seek treatment.

“However, these medications are extremely powerful and when used improperly they can cause serious harm, even death,” she added. (ANI)

Family history may help predict severity of mental disease

Washington, July 7 (ANI): Researchers from Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP) have revealed that family history can play a vital role in predicting the severity of mental disorder.

They suggest that just 30 minutes or less of question-and-answer about the family history of depression, anxiety, or substance abuse is enough to predict a patient’s approximate risks for developing each disorder, and how severe their future illness is likely to be.

“There are lots of kids with behaviour problems who may outgrow them on their own without medication, versus the minority with mental illnesses that need treatment,” said Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychology and neuroscience in the IGSP.

“Family history is the quickest and cheapest way to sort that out,” she added.

Co-researcher Avshalom Caspi, professor of psychology and neuroscience, added that researchers searching for genes responsible for mental disorders might also take advantage of the discovery.

During the study, the researchers examined 981 New Zealanders, who were a part of Dunedin Study.

They tested each individual’s personal experience with depression, anxiety, alcohol dependence and drug dependence in relation to their family history “scores” – the proportion of their grandparents, parents and siblings over age 10 who were affected.

The analysis shows that family history can predict a more recurrent course of each of the four disorders. It is also indicative of those more likely to suffer a worse impairment and to make greater use of mental health services.

Family history could be used to identify those in need of early intervention or more aggressive treatment.

The findings appear in the Archives of General Psychiatry. (ANI)

Jackson fed boys wine before sexually abusing them: Ex-housekeeper

London, July 5 (ANI): Michael Jackson’s former housekeeper has revealed that the King of Pop used to lock the boys in his bedroom and fed wine from babies’ bottles before sexually abusing them.

Adrian McManus worked for the ‘Thriller’ hitmaker for four years and had the only keys to his downstairs private quarters, which included his main bedroom with the children’s rooms in a loft above him.

“Every night I went home feeling sick to my stomach,” the News of the World quoted McManus one of the Neverland Five who sued him for wrongful dismissal.

“He was a lonely, deranged, sick human tragedy. And he wasn’t playing at being a boy again, this man was molesting boys,” she added.

McManus said that the 50-year-old singer was at his happiest when he had little boys with him.

He also kept wine in his room to spike soft drinks – which he gave to the boys.

“He was at his happiest when he had little boys with him,” she said. “He would lock himself in his bedroom for days at a time with them. He acted inappropriately with at least ten boys,” she said.

“He would buy dozens of these baby bottles for the older kids. It was obvious he was drinking and slipping wine into their drinks,” she added.

McManus revealed how she saw Jackson abuse Jordy Chandler in his room.

“I saw Michael kiss and touch Jordan. They both bounded into the bedroom, soaking wet, after playing under the waterfall at the side of the house.

“Then Michael just lent forward slowly and kissed Jordan on the lips.

“Michael then moved his hand down. I froze and realised that my boss was a paedophile,” she added.
McManus said that he even issued veiled death threats to his staff to stop them telling cops about it. (ANI)

Aborigine child abuse six times higher than non-Aborigine child abuse in Australia: Report

Darwin (Australia), July 3 (ANI): The latest two-yearly study of the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission damningly reveals that indigenous children are six times more likely to suffer abuse or neglect than non-indigenous children and 28 times more likely to wind up in jail.

According to The Australian, the report categorically reveals that there has been little or no improvement in many areas of social and economic inequality in spite of federal government promises to reduce indigenous disadvantage.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described findings of the report as devastating.

“We have to redouble and treble our efforts to make an impact,” Rudd said during the report’s release here on Thursday at a national meeting of federal, state and local government leaders.

The Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report measured 50 indicators, including six areas targeted for improvement by federal and state governments since December 2007.

Their goals were to close the life expectancy gap within a generation, halve the difference in infant mortality and employment rates within a decade and improve indigenous education in three areas: early childhood; literacy and numeracy; and high school graduations.

On each of those counts, no significant improvements were recorded.

Although the employment rate rose from 43 per cent to 48 per cent among indigenous people in the five years to 2006, the rate remained 24 percentage points behind other Australians.

Similarly, high school graduation rates increased to more than a third but made no advance on the 74 per cent of non-indigenous people who completed year 12.

In reading, writing and numeracy, “there has been negligible change in indigenous students’ performance over the past 10 years and no closing of the gap,” the report found.

In other areas, the gulf between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians continued to grow.

Productivity Commission chairman Gary Banks said unacceptable disparities persisted in every area measured. (ANI)

‘Broke’ Jackson ‘performed secret gigs for Arab sheikhs for $2.5M’

Washington, July 2 (ANI): Cash-strapped Michael Jackson used to perform private one-night concerts for Arab sheikhs, and charge them 2.5 million dollars a time, say reports.

The King of Pop, who was nearly bankrupt at the time of his death, was said to have relied on handouts from his friend Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of the king of Bahrain.

“He was virtually insolvent. Since his 2005 acquittal on sexual abuse charges, he initially supported himself at the largesse of Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, son of Bahrain’s king,” Contactmusic quoted DailyBeast.com as saying.

“When that money pipeline was cut off, The Daily Beast learned that Jackson resorted to doing one-night gigs for private parties for Arab sheikhs and Russians in London.

“These gigs, I am told, commanded up to 2.5 million dollars for an hour performance or sometimes were bartered in exchange for works of art,” it was added. (ANI)

Jackson’s ‘drug hell and secret girlfriend’ revealed

London, July 2 (ANI): Michael Jackson had a secret girlfriend, and he died from excessive drugs provided by corrupt doctors, the star’s bodyguard has claimed.

Matt Fiddes alleged that his and guru Uri Geller’s efforts to hide drugs and needles from the singer’s room often failed because the King of Pop managed to get some more from the doctors, who he said billed fans up to 10,000 pounds for introductions to their idol.

“I never witnessed him actually taking drugs but I knew they were there and I confiscated packages, and Uri did too,” Sky News quoted Matt as saying.

“And Uri confiscated injection equipment from his room … Uri would scream at Michael, you know, intensely, to stop doing this but we were getting pushed out.

“The doctor had such an influence over Michael that we felt our efforts were falling on deaf ears. As far as I’m concerned they have Michael’s blood on their hands, they know what they’ve done and there’s people out there who could have helped, could have stepped in but didn’t do for financial reasons.

“We went to great efforts to keep the doctors away. But as soon as we said anything and it gets back to Michael, Michael would have a screaming fit that we were interfering with his private life, that he knew what he was doing and he was in denial,” he added.

The 29-year-old further slammed reports that the Thriller hitmaker was gay, insisting that he met his secret love on various occasions.

He said: “I’m not going to name who she is but I think the family were aware that there was someone special in his life who he loved and adored and had his ups and downs with. I don’t know how long they’ve been a couple. I know she’s been with him for some time in different capacities but…it’s up to her if she wants it to come out or the family to speak about this very private information.”

Matt, who owns a network of martial arts schools around the UK, further said that Jackson was far from taking hard drugs.

He said: “Michael Jackson was not a druggie. There was no cocaine or anything crazy like that. It was prescription drugs and painkillers from what I understand.”

Speaking about the childe abuse claims, Matt said: “The guy was so naive and so trusting … we never doubted Michael, we knew he was innocent right from the start and what the real reason was, as far as we were concerned, was financially motivated.” (ANI)

Jacko ‘was set to perform with his oldest son during London shows’

Washington, July 1 (ANI): Michael Jackson’s 12-year-old son Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. also known as ‘Prince’ was set to make his stage debut with his father during the tour, it has emerged.

The singer’s long-time family confidante and biographer Stacy Brown has claimed that the King of Pop was busy working behind-the-scenes with Prince who was going to both sing and dance on-stage, reports Fox News.

However, concert promoters AEG said that they had “no knowledge” that this was going to happen.

Meanwhile, Dieter Wiesner, who managed the singer, has claimed that Jackson plunged deeper into drug addiction when child sex abuse allegations piled up.

Jackson once got so doped up that he could not lift a fork to his mouth at dinner, according to Wiesner. (ANI)

Jacko once got so doped up, he couldn’t put fork in his mouth: Ex manager

London, July 1 (ANI): Michael Jackson once got so doped up that he could not lift a fork to his mouth at dinner, according to his former manager.

Dieter Wiesner, who managed the King of Pop, has claimed that Jackson plunged deeper into drug addiction as child sex abuse allegations piled up.

Wiesner said that the late ‘Thriller’ star’s drug use spun out of control in the wake of Martin Bashir’s 2003 TV documentary, when he was asked about sleeping with kids.

“It broke him. It killed him. He took a long time to die, but it started that night,” the Sun quoted Wiesner as saying.

“Previously the drugs were a crutch, but after that they became a necessity. They got him through his days and insomnia-riddled nights. And the people who gave them knew what they were doing. They should never have been around him.

“Those drugs and the ‘Jesus Juice’ – Michael’s name for wine – began to claim him. I’ll never forget the day at Neverland when he walked into the kitchen to eat. He was off his face, he couldn’t even bring the fork up to his mouth.

“It was like watching a clumsy robot. There he was, one of the most talented guys on the planet, unable to even eat because he was so doped up,” Wiesner added. (ANI)

‘Royal protection officers played poker, traded porn in Buckingham Palace’

London, Jun 30 (ANI): A former royal protection officer, who has been accused of being involved in a 3-million-pound betting and property scam, has laid claims that his colleagues played poker and traded pornography while working at Buckingham Palace.

Paul Page, 38, of Granville Road, Chafford Hundred, Grays, Essex, is said to have allegedly cheated colleagues and others out of their life savings.

Page, who describes his job as an “easy life”, denies fraudulent trading, intimidation and threatening to take revenge on a victim who spoke to police between January 1 2003 and March 30 2007.

His wife Laura, 42, was acquitted on June 26 of charges she originally faced in connection with the case.

During his opening defence at Southwark Crown Court today, Page, a father-of-five, revealed that officers in the royal protection command could earn 50,000-60,000 pounds a year with overtime “for doing very little”.

Shifts involved two hours on post, followed by at least an hour off post.

“You didn’t work for a living. That is the bottom line,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

“You have got time to study… There was one officer and he did sell porn. He used to get it from Holland, bring it back and sell it to officers while on duty.

“Everyone knew about it but no one would say anything. Officers were running poker games for money in down time. If people want to do that that is fair enough but senior officers let it go,” he said.

Page also revealed that members of the royal household instilled a class culture and royal protection officers were treated as a “necessary evil” who were expected to turn a blind eye to crime at the palace.

“You are not police officers any more. For example instances of domestic abuse in the royal household where the servants live and sleep in the palace,” he said.

“Some have drink problems and fight. You are told not to get involved. There is a class culture within the palace.

“You are treated like dirt – that includes police officers on the gate.

“Some (members of the royal household) are very nice but the majority, they treat you like you are on a lower level,” he revealed.

He added that he believed money was “thrown at you” because the security level had to be kept up.

“I shouldn’t be saying what I am saying but it has to be done – I need you to understand the culture,” Page added at the court hearing. (ANI)

Farrah Fawcett leaves part of her fortune to women’s charities

London, June 29 (ANI): Farrah Fawcett had planned charity for victims of domestic abuse before she died of cancer.

The Charlie’s Angel’s star who had remained committed to helping the victimized in the society through out her successful career had set aside part of her fortune in her will to her favourite charities, the Daily Star reports.

The actress who expired at the age of 62 had decided to donate thousands of dollars from her estate to U.S. shelters for abused women, according to Radar Online.

The actress had starred as an abused woman in 1984 TV movie ‘The Burning Bed’. (ANI)

Jacko ‘took morphine overdose’ after infamous Bashir interview

London, June 29 (ANI): Michael Jackson nearly died after taking a morphine overdose following his infamous interview with British journalist Martin Bashir, a doctor who treated him has claimed.

Bashir spent eight months interviewing the King of Pop at his Neverland ranch for the controversial TV special Living With Michael Jackson.

The broadcast showed Jackson’s confession of offering his bed to child friends, which later led to sexual abuse charges against the late icon for which he was found not guilty.

A doctor, who was treating Jackson’s brother Randy, alleged that the Thriller hitmaker landed himself in danger after he worked himself up into a “frenzy of anxiety” over a TV interview and collapsed in 2003.

“His frame was light but not severely malnourished. He probably weighed about 11 stone,” the Daily Star quoted the expert as having told Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper.

“Randy said Michael had been under severe stress because of the television programme which had aired that night.

“I recall him saying that an earlier TV documentary had caused all manner of problems and that Michael had worked himself into a frenzy of anxiety over this one,” he added.

The doctor further said that he warned the family against the singer’s addiction problems, saying: “I was deeply disturbed by the event. I told Randy that his brother should voluntarily go to a rehabilitation centre to deal with his obvious addiction problem… I wanted to discuss with Michael directly the damage he was doing to his health and the very real concerns I had for his well-being. I never heard from any of them again.”

Jackson died aged 50 on June 25 after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest amid speculation he had taken a cocktail of prescription drugs. (ANI)

Scientists identify alcohol-binding site in the brain

London, June 29 (ANI): Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have a step closer to understanding how alcohol alters the way brain cells work.

The researchers say that they have identified a binding site for alcohol in an ion channel that plays a key role in several brain functions associated with drugs of abuse and seizures.

They believe that their results could lead to the development of novel treatments for alcoholism, drug addiction, and epilepsy.

Ethanol, the alcohol in intoxicating beverages, is known to alter the communication between brain cells.

“There’s been a lot of interest in the field to find out how alcohol acts in the brain,” Nature magazine quoted Dr. Paul A. Slesinger, an associate professor in the Peptide Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute, as saying.

“One of several views held that ethanol works by interacting directly with ion channel proteins, but there were no studies that visualized the site of association,” added the lead researcher.

He says that his study has shown that alcohols directly interact with a specific nook contained within a channel protein.

According to him, this ion channel plays a key role in several brain functions associated with drugs of abuse and seizures.

In their previous research, Slesinger’s team focused on the neural function of these ion channels, called GIRK channels, which open up during periods of chemical communication between neurons and dampen the signal, creating the equivalent of a short circuit.

“When GIRKs open in response to neurotransmitter activation, potassium ions leak out of the neuron, decreasing neuronal activity,” says UCSD Biology graduate student and first author Prafulla Aryal.

While alcohols have been previously shown to open up GIRK channels, no study ever determined whether this was a direct effect or whether this was the by-product of other molecular changes in the cell.

The researchers say that the identification of the location of a physical alcohol-binding site important for GIRK channel activation could point to new strategies for treating related brain diseases.

They believe that this protein structure may be used to develop a drug that antagonizes the actions of alcohol for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

“(Alternatively) If we could find a novel drug that fits the alcohol-binding site and then activate GIRK channels, this would dampen overall neuronal excitability in the brain and perhaps provide a new tool for treating epilepsy,” says Slesinger.

A research article describing the study has been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. (ANI)

Pakistan has an estimated 5 million drug addicts

Islamabad, June 28 (ANI): The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has estimated that there are about 5 million drug addicts in Pakistan, and that the invasion of drugs is affecting younger people in the country.

KPT Chairperson Nasreen Haque revealed this fact during a seminar at its Staff College on Friday, which was aimed at creating awareness about drug abuse and to prevent it in the society.

She further said that drugs that reach the country under various garbs are threatening to control people’s lives.

She also stressed the need for measures to keep the invasion of such drugs in check.

She said that the country has a colossal problem at hand, and that a committed response was required to address it effectively.

Nasreen insisted that synergistic efforts were required to implement various drug prevention and treatment strategies.

She pointed out that the drug situation was witnessing changing trends, and that people were increasingly turning to Charas, Opium and Heroin.

According to her, synthetic drugs like Ecstasy and Ketamine had also gained popularity and are finding place in parties held in posh localities.

She congratulated the United Nations Association of Pakistan for organising the awareness program, and said that the social disease is to be fought at all levels – individual, parental, community, societal, administrative, legal and educational. (ANI)

What made Jacko a legend

New Delhi, June 28 (ANI): Remembering the ebb and flow of late King of Pop Michael Jackson’s career, the critics are busy jotting down facts that made the singer a legend.

And, now, a report shedding light on such facts reveals that Jackson’s Billie Jean made him the first black artist whose video to have his video broadcast on MTV.

Published by the China Daily, the report reveals that another reason behind why Jackson was so famous was the fact that he owned the rights to the South Carolina State Anthem South Carolina on My Mind, recorded by Hank Martin and Buzz Arledge.

Jackson was so popular that his waxwork features in five Madame Tussauds museums across the world. Only Elvis Presley and Madonna have more Tussaud figures-they have six each.

The report reckons that Jackson’s total lifetime earnings from royalties, solo recordings and music videos, revenue from concerts and endorsements were about 500 million dollars.

Jackson was also famous for receiving a Presidential Humanitarian Award from Ronald Reagan in 1984, for his support of charities helping people overcome alcohol and drug abuse.

He was also know for losing a fight against fellow 50 year old Madonna on MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch.

Three of Jackson’s albums-Bad, Dangerous and Thriller-are among the bestsellers of all time. Thriller remains the biggest-selling album since records began.

To date, over 300 million copies of his records have been sold worldwide.

Jackson was also known for wearing his trademark black armband to remind fans of the suffering of children around the world.

His favourite superhero was Morph from the X-Men.

He picked up his iconic moonwalk moves, which he debuted at the Motown 25th Anniversary show in 1983, from streetdancers he had spotted performing outside a hotel.

Little Richard thought that Jackson would be the right choice to play him in a biopic.

Jackson’s most famous pets were Bubbles the chimp and Ben the rat.

He, however, also befriended a ram called Mr Tibbs, a python called Crusher, and Louie the llama.

The fact that a French Jackson aficionado committed suicide in 1984 after his mother refused to allow him to undergo surgery to look like the star shows how popular he was among his fans.

In 1984, a U.S. library accused Jackson of owing it over one million dollars in overdue book fines. Officials said that they would scrap the fines if he returned the books autographed. (ANI)

Michael Jackson ‘wanted to be buried at Neverland’

London, June 28 (ANI): Michael Jackson wanted Neverland to be his final resting place, his pal has revealed.

Michael was forced to abandon Neverland after facing child abuse claims.

Yesterday, family of the King of Pop held a conference to decide whether to grant his wish, reports the Mirror.

A friend revealed: “Michael wanted Neverland to be his final resting place but wasn’t sure the authorities would give permission.

“It would give fans a place to focus on and a place to visit. Neverland would become a place of pilgrimage. It would also leave his heirs a legacy which could be worth billions.”

On Friday night, Michael’s body was handed over to his family by a coroner and taken to a secret destination.

The legend passed away at the age of 50. He died of an apparent heart attack stemming from drugs overdose. (ANI)

Mugabe, Zimbabwean military earning “blood money” after diamond field massacre: HRW

London, June 26 (ANI): A Human Rights Watch report has claimed that senior leaders in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the country’s armed forces are making millions from a diamond field where hundreds of miners were massacred last year.

The Zanu-PF rewarded the country’s military with mineral deposits to suppress illegal miners at eastern Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa Diamond deposits, the report says.

Ignoring a British company’s legal claim, the Mugabe government declared the diamond field open in 2006, leaving it prone to illegal mining, the Daily Telegraph reports.

According to HRW’s report, ‘Diamonds in the Rough’, hundreds of Zimbabwean soldiers, some of them airborne, were sent in to evict the miners by force, and “at least 214″ people were killed at Chiadzwa.

“The police and army have turned this peaceful area into a nightmare of lawlessness and horrific violence. Zimbabwe’s new government should get the army out of the fields, put a stop to the abuse, and prosecute those responsible,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at HRV.

Operation Hakudzokwi or ‘No Return’ lasted for three weeks in October and November 2008.

Thousands of miners fled the region, and mining and the associated revenues are now controlled by the military and police.

While the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is on a tour of Europe and the US seeking funding for reconstruction, it is estimated that the diamond fields, if operated legally, could earn the government 200 million dollars a month, the report says.

Joyce Mujuru, the Zanu-PF vice-president, is also alleged to own a claim in the diamond fields.

“Soldiers on mission in Marange would first get special allowances directly from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and then be offered a ‘once- in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to benefit directly from diamond smuggling. The plan was for all army units to rotate and take turns to ‘guard’ the diamond fields and take the associated benefits,” the report said. (ANI)

Chinese man warned by cops mailing urns to scare ex-girlfriend amounts to abuse

New Delhi, June 27 (ANI): A Chinese man has been asked by police to stop sending funeral urns to his ex-girlfriend, warning that it is a form of abuse.

The man in Tanghai, Hebei province, got separated with his ex-lover after he got a job in a neighbouring county last August.

He has been angry with her and her family ever since, reports the China Daily.

The newspaper also reveals that he has been harassing the girl’s family through text messages, and has even threatened to kill her family members.

According to the report, he taped her pictures on ash-containing urns, and mailed them to her home.

The police caught up with him last week and told him to stop. (ANI)

Jacko was the greatest dancer, musician the world has seen: Martin Bashir

London, June 27 (ANI): English journalist Martin Bashir has honoured Michael Jackson, calling the King of Pop the “greatest entertainer the world has ever known”.

Bashir spent eight months and conducted a series on interviews with the singer at his Neverland ranch for the controversial TV special Living With Michael Jackson.

The broadcast showed Jackson’s confession of offering his bed to child friends, which later led to sexual abuse charges against the late icon for which he was found not guilty.

“Michael Jackson was probably, singly, the greatest dancer and musician the world has seen,” The Sun quoted Bashir as saying.

The 46-year-old added: “I was out running in Central Park in New York when I heard. I came home, showered and came into the office.

“When I made the documentary, there was a small part that contained a controversy concerning his relationship with young people.

“But the truth is that he was never convicted of any crime, and I never saw any wrongdoing myself. His lifestyle may have been unorthodox, but I don’t believe it was criminal.

“I think the world has now lost the greatest entertainer it’s probably ever known.”

Jackson died aged 50 on Thursday. He was reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest but medics are yet to determine the cause of his death. (ANI)

International Day against drug abuse observed in New Delhi

New Delhi, June 26 (ANI): The International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking was observed here today with a “run” organised against drug abuse.

Over 2,500 participants including one hundred recovered addicts, joined the three-kilometer run from Raj Ghat.

The main objective of the event was to create public awareness about the ill effects of drug abuse and to prevent illicit trafficking of drugs.

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, D. Napoleon presided over the event.

Speaking on the occasion, D. Napoleon, made a strong appeal to the people against drug abuse.

“By this run, we must create awareness among the people about drug abuse. Your place, your community, there is no place for drugs,” he said.

The initiative is being taken by the Asian Marathon Champion Sunita Godara for the past six years in collaboration with various government stakeholders, United Nations agencies and the corporate world.

Enthusiastic participants from various schools, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), police forces, National Cadet Corps (NCC), martial art students took part in the event.

The organisers hope that the campaign will send out a strong message of positive health, fitness and well-being and encourage participants to adopt a healthy lifestyle and build a drug free environment. (ANI)