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Friday, 21 November 2008 08:29




CTA buses carry ads

So you’ve heard about finding love on the 151 bus. How about finding religion?
That’s exactly what a few Chicagoans have discovered after seeing Chicago Transit Authority buses rolling past them with giant advertisements for Islam.

A Chicago-area Muslim group called Gain Peace has spent $29,900 to place signs on 25 CTA buses serving the North Side in a month-long campaign organisers hope will help dispel misconceptions about Islam.


The sign caught Moses Robinson’s eye. A 38-year-old Gary resident who works for a software company, saw one of the buses on Canal Street when he left his office on a break. "Everything clicked into place," he said. After calling the number on the side of the bus and meeting with Gain Peace, he converted to Islam the next day.

Of course, most people interviewed at CTA bus stops downtown Tuesday (October 14) hadn’t even noticed the ads. And one rider thought they were inappropriate, although CTA officials say they see no problem as other ad campaigns on CTA vehicles have featured religious themes or messages.

Gain Peace says the campaign has been a success.

"We’ve had eight conversions, close to 400 calls and we’ve had close to 75,000 hits on our Web site in one week," said Sabeel Ahmed, the director for Gain Peace.
In fact, it’s going so well, the group just bought six more weeks of ads.

The Islam Bus ad campaign was launched by GainPeace.com of ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America).

(Chicagotribune.com, October 15, 2008) By NOREEN S. AHMED-ULLAH - Radiance


British government wants crackdown on sex trade

London: The British government wants to make it illegal to pay for sex and is considering a plan to "name and shame" men who visit prostitutes, a

move critics say would turn back the clock to Victorian times.

The sex trade is already heavily restricted in Britain, unlike in many of its European neighbors where prostitution and solicitation are tolerated in some form. Denmark has even decriminalized the business.

But Britain wants to go its own way, marking yet another foray into human foibles by a government many people call overly moralistic.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the son of a Presbyterian minister, has already backed a series of sin taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, called for tougher drug laws and scrapped plans for Britain's first Las Vegas-style casino.

Officials say there is also a need for a crackdown on prostitution.

"Basically, if it means fewer people are able to go out and pay for sex I think that would be a good thing," Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told The Guardian newspaper over the weekend, before the government's announcement of the plan's details Wednesday.

Any changes will have to be approved by Parliament, where Brown's Labour Party has a 63-seat majority. Debate is expected next month.

The proposal would make paying for sex illegal and carry additional penalties for men who have sex with women forced into prostitution, the Home Office said. But it declined to give details on fines and other penalties before the formal announcement.

Men who frequent prostitutes could also be identified publicly, as they are in the London borough of Lambeth, where police send warning letters to the homes of drivers whose license plate numbers are caught on closed-circuit television picking up street walkers.

In addition, the plan would make it a criminal offense to pay for sex with a prostitute "controlled for another person's gain" and could bring rape charges against men who knowingly paid for sex with a woman forced to work as a prostitute.

Under current laws in England and Wales, it is illegal to loiter and sell sex on the streets or elsewhere in public. Keeping a brothel is unlawful, but a lone woman selling sex inside is not. Similarly, paying for sex is legal. But solicitation in public, commonly known as "curb crawling", is not.

Some 80,000 prostitutes are estimated to be working in Britain, the same as during the Victorian Age, an era when a raft of laws were enacted in a vain effort to curb the flourishing sex trade. These days, cards advertising purported escort services and erotic sites on the web are plastered inside the country's iconic red telephone booths.

Sex workers criticized the government's proposal. They said they might be put at greater risk if they had to ply their trade in remote neighborhoods or to work alone.

Britain made global headlines in 2006 when a man murdered five prostitutes in Ipswich, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of London. Recent headlines, however, have focused on police raids on brothels where women from eastern Europe, Asia and Africa have been forced into the sex trade.

2025: Oil, dollar out; Russia, Islam in

Washington: A new US intelligence report predicts that in 2025 global warming could help Russia's economy, an Eastern or Central European country

could be overrun by organised crime and the US dollar could further decline in importance during the next two decades.

Global Trends 2025 is published every four years by the National Intelligence Council to give leaders insight into looming problems and opportunities.

The report says the warming earth will extend Russia's growing season and ease access to northern oil fields, which will strengthen its economy.

But Russia's potential emergence as a world power may be clouded by lagging investment in its energy sector, persistent crime and government corruption, the report says.

Analysts also warn that the same kind of organised crime plaguing Russia could eventually take over the government of an Eastern or Central European country, and that countries in Africa and South Asia may find themselves ungoverned, as state regimes wither away under security and resource pressure.

The report forecasts a geopolitical rise in non-Arab Muslim states outside of the Middle East, including Turkey and Indonesia, and
suggests that Iran could also be a central player in a new world order if it sheds its theocracy.

The report also suggests the world may complete its move away from its dependence on oil, and that the US dollar, while remaining important, will decline to "first among equals" among other national currencies.


MCOCA slapped on 10 Malegaon blast suspects

MUMBAI: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on Thursday invoked the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the suspects of

the September 29 Malegaon blast case.

The case, being heard by a Nashik chief judicial magistrate, will now be transferred to a special MCOCA court in Mumbai.

The ATS has so far arrested 10 people, including sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt-Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit - the first serving officer to be accused in a terror case - retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay and Kanpur-based Mahant Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey. The ATS also plans to arrest Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who is currently in jail for using a fake ID in the cantonment area in Deolali, Nashik.

Six people were killed and 101 injured when a bomb planted on a bike exploded in central Malegaon on September 29 this year. Karkare added that the accused would be booked for "waging war against the nation'' at an appropriate time.

The Malegaon blast conspiracy was hatched by members of a right-wing Hindu group, Abhinav Bharat. Purohit, who is suspected to be among them, has beentermed the mastermind of the blast and accused of procuring RDX used in the bomb. Investigators say Purohit pilfered 60 kg of RDX from a military cantonment. "We had got this information from a witness and the verification is still on,'' said Karkare.

ATS chief denies allegations of torture

MUMBAI: Strongly denying allegations that Malegaon blast suspects were subjected to third degree treatment, anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief Hemant

Karkare on Thursday termed them "false and baseless''.

When asked if he had any pressure from any political party while probing the blast case, the ATS chief said, "Absolutely zero pressure. We are answerable to the court and not to any party. The arrests are based on evidence and verification. The progress of the probe is satisfactory and we are doing a professional investigation.''