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ISLAMABAD: The Sindh Rangers on the night between Wednesday and Thursday held scores of suspects during multiple targeted operations in Karachi recovering firearms and ammo, Geo News reported.
Sources told Geo News that Rangers personnel combed parts of Old City and Lyari in search of malefactors. These areas included Chakiwarda, Jadgal Chowk, Dhobi Ghat, and Kashti Chowk.
The arrested suspects were later moved to unknown locations for further investigation, the sources said.
Furthermore, Rangers also raided buildings in Gadap and Mehmoodabad and nabbed four suspects with weapons and ammo.
ISLAMABAD: The Kohistani women who were sentenced to death by a Jirga for clapping during a marriage ceremony are likely to be produced before the Supreme Court of Pakistan today (Thursday).
During Wednesday’s hearing the two men who were also condemned by the same group of tribal elders for dancing and singing at wedding party told the Supreme Court that the five co-accused Kohistani women were already dead.
Meanwhile, the police informed the court on Wednesday that the girls were alive and would be produced before the court today (Thursday).
A Jirga in the village of Palas, Kohistan, had convicted six people for clapping and singing after a videotape of them was circulated. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhamamd Chaudhry, heard a suo moto case regarding the video scandal and death decree issued to six people by some clerics of Kohistan.
Four girls and two men were allegedly caught on video singing and dancing together at a wedding party in defiance of tribal customs in Kohistan.
According to the Hazara commissioner, the helicopter sent for the girls could not land in their village due to bad weather. Earlier, the chief secretary of the province had told the Supreme Court that the girls were alive, and a helicopter had been sent to produce them before the court. The court had adjourned the hearing till 6:00pm on Wednesday and ordered that the girls be produced then.
The two accused men, Bin Yasir and Gul Nazar, were produced before the court and claimed that five girls, four of whom were visible in the video, had already been killed on the orders of the Jirga. However, the local police and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government continue to deny that the incident took place.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik appeared before the bench and assured it his assistance in the case.
Later, talking to reporters outside the Supreme Court, the brother of the two accused men, Afzal Khan, said he could swear that the five women had been killed on May 30 on the orders of tribal elders while he, along with his brothers, would also be murdered.
Afzal Khan said that the police couldn’t be trusted, as they had received threats from the DIG and commissioner of Hazara Division.
TRIPOLI: The brother of al Qaeda's second-in-command, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike, said Washington's use of the remote-controlled weapons is inhumane and makes a nonsense of its claims to champion human rights.
U.S. officials said on Tuesday that Libyan-born al Qaeda operative Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan, in what was described as a major blow to the militant group.
The attack is likely to fuel an increasingly fierce debate about the legality and morality of the drones, which have become one of the chief U.S. weapons against al Qaeda but which opponents say stretch the definition of the legitimate use of lethal force.
"The United States talks human rights and freedoms for all, but the method they used to kill him is savage," Abu Bakr al-Qayed, brother of al-Libi, told Reuters on Wednesday in a telephone interview.
"The way the Americans killed him is heinous and inhumane," he said, speaking from the town of Wadi Otba, south of the Libyan capital. "We are in the 21st century and they claim to be civilised and this is how they take out people."
"Regardless of my brother's ideology, or beliefs, he was a human being and at the end of the day deserves humane treatment," he said.
For years considered a covert Central Intelligence Agency programme, the unmanned aircraft can be remotely piloted from thousands of kilometres (miles) away and can fire missiles at targets at the push of a button.
White House officials say there is nothing in international law that forbids the use of the drones and that, by killing dangerous insurgents, they are making Americans safer.
That view has been challenged by authorities in Pakistan, who are angry because many of the strikes have happened on their soil, and by rights campaigners.
Civil liberties groups argue that the strikes are illegal because they take place outside an active battlefield, meaning the rules of law which allow a combatant to kill their opponent do not apply.
The United States and security analysts say al-Libi was a veteran militant and leader of operations for al Qaeda, a group responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities as well as dozens of other acts of violence.
His brother offered a more nuanced account, describing how al-Libi had gone from being a chemistry student in Libya to hiding out in the mountains of Pakistan's North Waziristan region.
He said his brother, also known as Mohammed Hassan al-Qayed, had been radicalised by his treatment under Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader killed in an uprising last year. Gaddafi's security forces routinely arrested anyone who strayed from officially approved Islam.
"We come from a great line of students of religion, we are a religious family and we all studied Islamist jurisprudence at school. I am an Islamic studies professor," al-Qayed, 57, told Reuters.
"He was a very bright student and always had high marks and he wanted more out of his studies, so was forced to leave Libya... The last time we saw him was in 1990 when he left to study abroad because he was oppressed in Libya due to his beliefs."
"The last time we spoke to him was in 2002, and since then we only know what's happening with him through the media," the brother said.
"I never heard him speak of killing innocent people and don't believe he would ever condone it. He was a Muslim, and we don't kill people without reason."
"My brother was attracted to his ideology because he was oppressed and we were all oppressed and saw great suffering from Gaddafi's regime."
In what one analyst said was a retaliation for al-Libi's killing, a bomb exploded outside the offices of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi early on Wednesday. There was only slight damage.
Al-Qayed said he knew nothing about the attack in Benghazi. Asked if he expected any reaction inside Libya to his brother's killing, he said only: "I don't know, but the Muslim is the brother of the Muslim."
He appealed to Pakistan's government and humanitarian agencies to find his brother's body and bring it back to Libya "so we may bury him here as a martyr."
BEIRUT | Wed Jun 6, 2012 6:01pm EDT
(Reuters) - Activists said pro-government militia men and security forces killed at least 78 people, including children, in Syria's central province of Hama on Wednesday.
Some of those killed in the village of Mazraat al-Qabeer were stabbed to death, the activists said, and at least 12 bodies had been burned. Some activists who spoke to Reuters said at least 40 of the victims were women and children.
Syria's 15-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule has grown increasingly bloody in recent months, raising concerns the country may be slipping towards civil war.
The killings came less than two weeks after a massacre in the Syrian town of Houla, in which security forces and pro-Assad militia men known as 'shabbiha' killed 108 people, nearly half of them children.
Syrian forces had been shelling Mazraat al-Qabeer and the nearby village of Maazarif, which are around 20 km (12 miles) from the central city of Hama.
"Shabbiha headed into the area after the shelling and killed dozens of citizens, among them women and children," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, describing a similar pattern of events as recounted from the Houla massacre on May 25.
Both massacres have happened in the presence of United Nations observers, a 300-strong force sent into Syria to observe a ceasefire deal brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan. The truce was hardly observed by the government or the rebels, who last week said they would no longer honor the ceasefire because of recent killings.
There was no comment from the government, and events on the ground are difficult to verify as Syria tightly restricts access to international media.
Activists called for an immediate investigation.
"The Syrian Observatory for Human rights calls on the international monitors to go immediately to the area. They should not wait to tomorrow to investigate this new massacre," the British-based Observatory said in a statement.
"They should not give the excuse that their mission is only to observe the ceasefire, because many massacres have been committed during their presence in Syria."
KARACHI: Commuters on Wednesday faced hardships in reaching their destinations and overall routine life was disturbed in the city due to thin public transport at roads, following the ‘indefinite’ strike called by CNG Associations across the country against government decision to increase tax on CNG Sector.
Supporting the CNG Dealers Associations in their strike, transporters in Karachi kept their vehicles, run on CNG, off the roads in protest against likely imposition of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), thus affecting the routine life of commuters.
“All our CNG-converted vehicles, that account to 60% of all public transport buses in Karachi, are off the roads today against the likely imposition of huge cess on CNG sector,” said Chairman Karachi Transport Ittehaad Irshad Hussain.
He told PPI that they will continue to support the CNG Associations. Even if they decide to ply vehicles, how they can operate if there is no CNG.
Chairman CNG Dealers Association Abdul Sami Khan, when contacted, said the strike would continue until government withdraws its 12% cess it is going to impose on CNG. ‘After imposition of the cess, price of CNG will jump to Rs.91 per kg, from Rs.79/KG currently.”
If the rates of CNG are kept at par to petrol the business of the compressed natural gas would completely be ruined, that’s what the government intends, he added.
He said government wanted to throw CNG dealers’ investment of Rs.500 billion into a loss.
He told that transporters had also extended their support to CNG associations in the indefinite strike. When asked about the split in CNG Associations as an interior Sindh-based group announced operating of CNG stations in Hyderabad and other interior parts, he responded that those dealers were under immense pressure and closure of CNG Stations in far-off areas of Interior Sindh was not easy due to intervention of some influential figures in those areas.
Another CNG Associations representative, on condition of anonymity, told that government intended to abolish CNG sector and paving ways to introduce Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) due to their own vested interests. He vowed CNG Associations would strongly oppose any such move and will resort to strong protest.
ISLAMABAD: Secretary Petroleum & Natural Resources Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry has vehemently denied the position taken by CNG Association for their 'unjustified' strike.
"The factual position is that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has not imposed any new Tax or cess on CNG. The proposed increase in Gas Infrastructure Development Cess is a part of Money Bill by Finance Division which is proposed to be levied in a phased manner on all sectors with a rational approach and understanding," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Secretary also took notice of the incorrect figures of gas consumption by CNG sector as being propagated by CNG Association. "Factual position is that CNG consumption is increasing day by day and is at present over 400 MMCFD on systems of both the companies i.e. SNGPL & SSGCL. As a result, the Fertilizer Plants and Power Sector is badly suffering.
"The Ministry once again clarifies that there is no discrimination in gas allocation, tariff, cess and management towards CNG sector. All these facts were clarified to Ghias Paracha, Chairman, APCNGA but the response is, regretfully not positive, and it amounts to playing with the emotions of the general public," he said.
Secretary said that the strike is uncalled for, unjustified and should therefore be called off immediately.
PALLEKELE: Pakistan and Sri Lanka will meet today in first of five-match series here today. The two teams last played in UAE where Pakistan won the series 4-1.
The hosts have remarkable record against their opponents. 'In the 127 matches played, Pakistan hold a distinct 76-47 head-to-head advantage.
Misbah-ul-Haq on Wednesday urged his players to come out with a collective effort as Pakistan look to draw first blood in their opening One-day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka on Thursday (today).
Shahid Afridi, who scored a brisk half-century and grabbed two wickets in Pakistan's series-levelling win last Sunday, is expected to play a pivotal role in the 50-overs-a-side games.
But Misbah, who remains the Test and one-day captain despite being dropped from the Twenty20 team, called for a collective display from his side to tackle the Sri Lankans. "It's not about one or two players, the whole team has to contribute, because Sri Lanka are tough opponents anywhere, especially at home," Misbah said.
Pakistan's batting has been bolstered with the return of Misbah and veteran Younis Khan, who was also not part of the Twenty20 squad.
Sri Lanka will hope to improve their recent one-day record against Pakistan when they clash in a five-match series starting on Thursday.
The World Cup runners-up have lost five of their last six one-dayers against Pakistan, four in the United Arab Emirates last November and one in the Asia Cup in Dhaka in March.
The key to Sri Lanka's success will be a solid batting performance by Mahela Jayawardene's men against a side that boasts a rich variety in both spin and pace bowling.
The spin trio of Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez has proved a handful for most rivals, helping Pakistan win 16 of their last 22 one-dayers.
The pace attack will be spearheaded by Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami and Sohail Tanvir, who was drafted into the one-day squad in place of injured batsman Nasir Jamshed.
Sri Lanka will rely heavily on their trusted trio of Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan to test the resurgent tourists.
"Pakistan will be a challenge and what makes them competitive is the sort of bowling options available, apart from the specialists," Jayawardene said ahead of the series.
The rivals shared the preceding Twenty20 series in the southern town of Hambantota as Pakistan bounced back to draw level after Sri Lanka had won the opening match.
The second one-dayer will also be played in Pallekele on Saturday before the action shifts to Colombo for the last three games on June 13, 16 and 18.
The one-dayers will be followed by a three-Test series starting on June 22.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Sami, Asad Shafiq, Aizaz Cheema, Azhar Ali, Imran Farhat, Sohail Tanvir.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Upul Tharanga, Nuwan Pradeep, Dilhara Fernando.
LONDON: Former Pakistani paceman Muhammad Asif has revealed that he is training regularly to keep himself fit. He has also been helping his legal team to finalise his appeal against his two convictions at the Southwark Crown Court that relate to spot-fixing allegations.
Muhammad Asif, who after having served just half of his 12 months prison sentence walked to freedom from a UK prison a month ago. He was speaking to Geo News in an exclusive along with Ravi Sukul of Balham Chambers, who has taken Asif’s case to the Court of Appeal.
Asif remains determined to clear his name and play again for Pakistan. “I am training regularly these days. I spend a lot of time speaking to my family on the phone and over the internet. I am hopeful that I will play for Pakistan as I played before.”
Asif laughed off at the rumours in some Pakistani media that he had applied for political asylum in Britain. “There is no question of applying for political asylum in Britain. Those who run away from Pakistan apply for asylum. I want to return to Pakistan as soon as possible. I intend to return to Pakistan and play for my country,” he stressed.
The former ace player revealed that he was able to spend the last few weeks assisting his lawyer Ravi Sukul of Balham Chambers with the preparation of the final grounds for appeal the two convictions.
Speaking about the help provided by his legal team at the SJS Solicitors, Asif remarked: “I am very happy with the way my legal team has dealt with my case. They have done a good job on my appeal papers.”
Asif has been granted permission by the Home Office to remain in the UK to assist in the progression of both his appeal against conviction and his appeal against the ICC ban.
Speaking to Geo News, Ravi Sukul and Savita Sukul of SJS Solicitors both confirmed that Asif’s application to appeal against his convictions is being considered by the Court of Appeal and his appeal against the ICC ban is to follow.
Asif has always maintained his original defence that he did not bowl the no ball deliberately nor accepted any money unlawfully. The pace bowler was convicted last November on two conspiracy charges.
Ravi Sukul suggested that Asif’s appeal against those two convictions is based upon mistakes made by the judge during the trial. The mistakes, according to Ravi Sukul, are related to some of the Judge’s decisions and the explanation he gave to the jury about the evidence the prosecution brought against Asif. This correspondent understands that the judge did not explain the conspiracy offence accurately to the jury which consisted of 12 members of public.
The appeal papers focus on the fact that the marked “corrupt” money was found in the hotel rooms occupied by Salman Butt and Mohammed Amir but none was found in Asif’s room. The bowler’s side contends that why would the spot-fixer pay off Butt and Amir and not pay Asif when they were all staying at the same hotel and were all in that hotel supposedly at the time of the pay-off.
That ground leads to another question which is that if Asif did not bowl the no ball for money why did he bowl it in the first place? Asif has been persistent that the fact he bowled the predicted no ball is unrelated to any agreement he had with anyone and that he had no knowledge of what was going on.
Asif’s legal team is anxious to point out at the Court of Appeal that Asif’s margin of no ball was measured at close to two inches over the bowler’s line but no fast bowler was called to answer about the ability of a skilled fast bowler to deliberately bowl a specified no ball to such a tight margin. If that delivery was so crucial, says the defence, where is the logic in bowling it at such a slim margin and run the risk that the umpire may not see it, as they do so often.
LOS ANGELES: "Snow White and the Huntsman" was the fairest of them all at the North American box office over the weekend with a $56.3 million debut, industry estimates showed Sunday.
The film starring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame, which offers a new twist on the classic fairy tale, knocked the sci-fi comedy sequel "Men in Black 3" off the top of the charts.
The reunion of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as secret agents battling aliens living on Earth, which topped the box office charts last weekend, took second place with $29.3 million, according to Exhibitor Relations.
"Men in Black 3" has total takings of $112.3 million so far.
In third place was comic book superhero blockbuster "The Avengers," pocketing $20.3 million. It has so far taken in $552.7 million in North America.
The film has become the highest-grossing movie in Walt Disney Studios' history with global earnings so far of almost $1.4 billion, the third-highest total of all time.
"The Avengers" maintained its lead over the big-budget but critically panned "Battleship," which dropped to the number four spot in its third weekend with $4.8 million in box office receipts.
In fifth was comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator," at $4.7 million.
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a comedic drama about British retirees in India, took in $4.6 million for sixth place.
Keeping its seventh place was romantic comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting," about five interconnected couples sharing the experience of having a baby, with $4.4 million.
Next was Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" reboot starring Johnny Depp, in eighth place with $3.9 million.
Ninth place went to horror flick "Chernobyl Diaries." The tale of a group of tourists taking a disastrous tour of the ghost town of Pripyat in Ukraine, abandoned after the 1980s nuclear disaster, made $3 million.
Rounding out the top 10 was "For Greater Glory," a chronicle of the Cristero War of 1926-29, an uprising against the Mexican government also known as the Cristiada. It took in $1.8 million on its debut weekend.
Final figures were due out on Monday.
MIANWALI: Well-known folk singer Attaullah Esa Khelvi performed at a musical night, organised for the employees of Pakistan Air Force on the occasion of Youm e Taqbeer in Mianwali.
A large number of PAF staff along with their families attended the show.
NEW YORK: Sweet drinks have been linked to a slightly higher risk of developing high blood pressure, but a US study finds that fruit sugar may not be the culprit as found in earlier research.
Researchers followed more than 200,000 men and women for up to 38 years and found that regularly consuming sweetened drinks, either containing sugars or artificially sweetened, was associated with a rise of about 13 percent in the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Carbonated and cola drinks were most strongly linked to a risk for hypertension, but fruit sugar, or fructose, in drinks did not stand out as a driving factor, the group reported in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
"We don't know what causes the increased risk in artificial-or sugar-sweetened beverages," said Lisa Cohen, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"It's hard to say that from the fructose itself you're increasing your hypertension risk."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week proposed a ban on large-size sugary sodas, the latest in a string of public health initiatives that include a campaign to cut salt in restaurant meals and packaged foods.
Earlier studies had implicated fructose as a factor related to a risk of high blood pressure, but Cohen noted that those have only taken a snapshot in time and could not determine which came first, the high blood pressure or taste for sweet drinks.
Cohen and her colleagues looked at data from three massive studies, including nearly 224,000 healthcare workers, whose diet and health were tracked for 16 to 38 years. No participants had diagnosed high blood pressure at the start of the study.
Over time, those who drank at least one sugar-sweetened beverage a day had a 13 percent increased risk of developing hypertension relative to those who only had a sweet drink once a month or less.
Similarly, people who drank at least one artificially-sweetened drink a day had a 14 percent increased risk of developing hypertension relative to those who had few or none.
To see if it was the fructose that was responsible, researchers also looked at people who had high levels of fructose in their diets from other sources, such as fruits.
Among people who consumed 15 percent of their calories from fructose sources other than drinks, the risk of developing hypertension was either lower or the same as people who ate very little fructose.
"You would think if fructose were the causative factor, then eating a lot of apples (for example) would also increase your risk of hypertension," Cohen told Reuters Health.
The "markedly" stronger link between carbonated sweet drinks and increased hypertension risk might be explained by the larger serving sizes associated with sodas, or some other unknown ingredient common to all of them, the researchers said - but further research is needed. (Reuters)
PARIS: The meteoric rise of a natural, healthy alternative to sugar - a holy grail for the food industry - might just be a little too good to be true.
In two years stevia, a plant used for centuries by Paraguay' s G uarani Indians, has shot to prominence in products by Coca-Cola, Danone and Merisant.
Encouraged by distrust of artificial sweeteners and demand for natural products, they have turned to extract of stevia, which is up to 300 times sweeter than traditional beet or cane sugar.
The problems are the aftertaste, the cost, and possible hurdles in defining it as natural in some European Union markets.
Initial sales and projections are impressive but the plant's extracts have a strong aftertaste, often compared to liquorice, and are far more expensive than artificial sweeteners including aspartame, saccharin and sucralose.
To ease stevia's taste products like French sugar maker Tereos' Beghin-Say and Coca-Cola's Fanta Still - trialed with stevia - still include sugar in their recipe
Tereos PureCircle said that out of the 604 new products containing extracts of stevia launched worldwide in 2010 - up from 373 in 2009 - 60 percent still contained sugar.
Poor consumer feedback also led dairy giant Danone to work on a new recipe for its stevia yoghurts marketed under its leading low-calorie brand Taillefine in 2010.
"We are trying to find solutions to erase this liquorice taste but it's not easy," Marilise Marcantonio, communication director for Danone Fresh Products, said. "Consumers are looking for natural products - but not at any price."
Some scientists also note that a technique to extract Rebania-A, derived from stevia leaves, through ethanol, rather than water, to obtain purer and sweeter products could mean stevia may not be able to be marketed as "natural" in some EU countries, undermining the current marketing strategy.
"They are advertising stevia as a miracle," marketing consultant Sam Waterfall said. "If consumers begin to feel they are misled, this could be a real disaster."
KEY FRENCH MARKET
France is keenly watched as a testing ground for Europe, having cleared stevia-based products in late 2009. New checks and administrative hurdles delayed its approval at EU level until November 2011.
Stevia has been used for decades in Japan and has spread in the United States since 2008, where sales rose over 60 percent in 2011.
Since early 2010 its extracts have been used in France in low-calorie products ranging from soft drinks to yoghurts, jam and tabletop sweeteners, with some products recording triple-digit rises in sales last year.
"It's a revolution. In two years an ingredient has been able to turn the sweetener market upside down," said Olivier Badinand, marketing director for Europe of Merisant, maker of Canderel, leader in France's tabletop sweeteners market.
Stevia's market share among high-intensive sweeteners is still less than 1 percent but growth rates are impressive. Volumes jumped over 50 percent in France last year, and are expected to more than double in 2012 and quadruple by 2014.
"We are in a market that is really taking off," said Michel Laborde, head of sales and marketing at France's largest sugar maker, growers-owned Tereos, which has stepped into the stevia market through a joint venture with the world's leader PureCircle.
Paris will host on Thursday the World Stevia Organisation's fourth conference, gathering academics, industrials and sellers.
Despite taste and cost misgivings, the surge in sales to date, EU clearance and growing demand for low-sugar products correlated with a rise in obesity, has prompted food giants to launch new products.
Coca-Cola's flagship drinks Sprite and Nestea's recipes have been modified to include stevia in a bid to cut the sugar level by up to 30 percent and will soon be available in French stores, Claire Meunier, nutrition manager at Coca-Cola France said.
The world's main producers of compounds from stevia's leaves like Rebaudioside A (Reb A) are Malaysia's PureCircle and U.S. agrigiant Cargill.
Tereos PureCircle Solutions, created in late 2010, sells stevia-based sugar products to food and drink makers in several EU countries including Belgium, Italy and Spain.
Tereos also replaced aspartame with stevia in some of its low-calorie tabletop sugar Beghin-Say Ligne and sales trebled in the year to March, Laborde said, adding that the firm was in the process of launching a stevia powder sugar in France.
"The French market was absolutely key. In light of the success, we had a model to apply, time to look at the results and adapt our strategy to other countries," Merisant's Badinand said. The firm has now deployed stevia in around 20 EU states.
Merisant sells a stevia version of its flagship product Canderel and created a separate brand, PureVia, whose products - powder and cubes - look like sugar but contain none.
PureVia sales grew by 81 percent and Canderel Stevia by 115 percent in the year to end-February to a total of 14.7 million euros and Merisant targets 20 million in 2012, Badinand said. (Reuters)
GEO Amazing and Interesting
TOKYO: A Japanese man astonished the people by eating 32 boiled eggs in one minute.
The 33-years old Takeru Kobayashi also holds the world record for hot dog eating for six years.
NEW DELHI: At least 430 people, mainly children, have died from an outbreak of encephalitis in a deeply neglected region of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, officials said on Saturday.
K.P. Kushwaha, chief paediatrician at the BRD Medical College in the state's hardest-hit Gorakhpur district, said it was one of the worst outbreaks of encephalitis in the impoverished region, which borders Nepal.
"The situation is grim and the epidemic is worse than previous years and with so many patients there are no empty beds at the hospital," Khuswaha said.
"We count such cases since January but most of these casualties have occurred since July."
He said more than 2,400 patients have been admitted to government hospitals in the region so far this year of which at least 430 have died.
"Until Saturday, 336 children and 94 adults have died," Kushwaha told from the overcrowded hospital where patients were lying two to a bed.
He said 262 patients were undergoing treatment in the state-run facility.
"Everyday between 30 and 40 patients are being brought in for treatment," he said.
Some 215 people, a majority of them children, succumbed to encephalitis in Gorakhpur last year while the death toll from the disease in 2005 was more than 1,400 in Uttar Pradesh.
Eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh are ravaged by encephalitis each year as malnourished children succumb to the virus, officials say.
Encephalitis causes brain inflammation and can result in brain damage. Symptoms include headaches, seizures and fever.
Health experts say 70 million children nationwide are at risk of encephalitis.
Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, has been struggling for years with an encephalitis prevention programme, vaccinating millions of children against the virus. (AFP)