Citizens' Issues
WHO researching yoga's role for healthier world
The World Health Organization is researching how to integrate yoga with universal health care needs, according to Nata Menabde, the agency's executive director at the UN office.
 
It was a struggle to standardise yoga for use around the world as part of health care systems because of its many different schools of practice, but WHO was working with centres in India and elsewhere to find ways to do this, she told reporters at a briefing here on Sunday's International Day of Yoga.
 
Calling yoga the "ancient Vedic gift to the world", she stressed its ability to bring together body, soul and mind for a holistic approach to health.
 
Yoga is an ideal medium to deal with lifestyle disorders, she said, citing as an example studies in applying it to deal with cardiovascular diseases in Russia that WHO has seen.
 
It can also help in coping with stress and treating mental disorders by helping people develop "inner resilience", Menabde said. 
 
In Goa, yoga was being combined with other therapies to treat mental illness and it was showing results, she said.
 
She said she saw a growing role for yoga as the world's proportion of ageing population increases. Ageing becomes healthier because of the ease of practice and the impact on both body and mind.
 
It has also been shown to help with arthritis and various other illnesses.
 
India's Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji said that the International Day of Yoga celebrations on Sunday would connect the UN with the world outside by linking the observances inside headquarter's open plaza with the mass yoga performances at New York's Times Square and around the world.
 
Every year a yoga event is organised at the Times Square on the summer solstice day by the city's yoga community and the Times Square Alliance. This year it will be a part of the International Day of Yoga and is expected to draw 30,000 people, he said.
 
The celebrations in 256 cities across 192 cities would touch two billion people, Mukerji. They would take place in even strife-torn places like Syria and the Central African Republic and the only country not able to participate would be Yemen, he said.
 
Mukerji said yoga assumed a special meaning this year because of the focus on climate change and the international conference in Paris in December. 
 
The General Assembly's resolution creating yoga day, he said, spoke of its role in "building better individual lifestyles devoid of excesses of all kinds".
 
Yoga's relevance to preserving the environment and combating climate change, Menabde said, is in helping to reflect on what is important and realise the minimalist needs. 
 
This leads one to "be less destructive to the world and to the people around you", she said.
 
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to give the keynote address at the yoga day UN celebrations. 
 
Asked if Ban would participate in the yoga demonstration, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said he may participate in some fashion.
 
In his message about the celebrations, Ban said that he had tried the Vrksasana -- the tree pose -- and "appreciated the simple sense of satisfaction that yoga can bring".

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Rose Valley official arrested
The Enforcement Directorate on Friday arrested an official of the Rose Valley Group which has been indicted for collecting money from the public through illegal schemes.
 
Amit Banerjee, entrusted with supervising the company's field agents, was arrested Friday evening. He will be presented before a court Saturday, an ED official said.
 
A key figure in the company, Banerjee was in the charge of affairs in the absence of chairman Gautam Kundu, now behind bars. 
 
According to ED sources, Banerjee used to raise money from the public through different schemes. 
 
The corporate affairs ministry in 2013 had named Rose Valley as one of the 73 companies involved in ponzi schemes in Bengal.
 
The ED probe has revealed that Rose Valley had garnered more than Rs.15,000 crore from public through issue of various financial instruments which did not have sanction of the capital market regulator.
 
Found guilty of running "collective investment scheme" without necessary approvals, the Securities and Exchange Board of India in June 2014 had ordered the company to refund the money to the investors and barred it barred from accessing the securities market.

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Mumbai hooch tragedy soars to 66
The overnight toll in the illicit liquor tragedy in a suburban bar here soared to 66 on Saturday morning with the death of 13 more people due to the poisonous brew, officials here said.
 
Another 31 victims are undergoing treatment in various hospitals, and the condition of at least a dozen is said to be critical.
 
Police on Friday cracked down on the law enforcers by suspending eight officials, including senior Police Inspector of Malwani police station, Prakash S. Patil, three officers and four constables, said Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni, who is the police spokesperson.
 
So far, six people, including a woman, engaged in the bootlegging trade have been caught from various parts of the suburbs while three - Raju Hanumantha alias Langada, Donald Robert and Gautam Arde - were sent to police remand till June 26 on Friday.
 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an inquiry into the incident and sought a report within two days, an official spokesperson said here.
 
The victims are from very poor backgrounds, mostly living in Laxmi Nagar slums and employed as low-paying drivers and daily labourers. They had consumed the cheap country liquor at a bar in Rathodi village here on Wednesday night.
 
Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria has sought a report on the incident from local DCP and ACP and ordered that the illicit liquor trade must be completely stopped.
 
This is the second biggest illicit hooch tragedy in Mumbai since December 23, 2004, when spurious liquour claimed 87 lives.

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