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PICKING OUT BAD APPLES
The Wall Street Journal reported the appointment of Prithviraj Chavan as the new Maharashtra chief minister after his predecessor, Ashok Chavan, had to resign because of his alleged involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam recently exposed by the media;and also member of Parliament Suresh Kalmadi resigned from a key Congress post in aftermath of heavy criticism and allegations of corruption levelled against him as the chairman of India's Organizing Committee for 2010 Commonwealth Games. The India correspondent of WSJ, Amol Sharma writes: "The changes are seen as an attempt by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's ruling party to clean house and ensure that any potential wrongdoing by some of its members doesn't interfere with its legislative objectives. The leading opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has pushed Mr. Singh's government to take strong action against officials involved in the Commonwealth Games and Maharashtra housing controversies. " Although corruption amongst politician and bureaucrats lacks novelty value in India but the PM who is known for his professional integrity is worried at the increasing instances of corruption within his party coming to light. "Congress Party officials wouldn't comment on why, specifically, Mr. Chavan stepped down or whether he had transferred apartments to his relatives. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters, 'We went on certain reports, general perceptions' and 'based on certain facts. ' The BJP said the Congress Party moves weren't a serious-enough effort to tackle corruption. BJP President Nitin Gadkari accused Congress of running 'the most corrupt government in the history of the country. '"

DISAPPEARING STRIPES

A recent study done by wildlife trade monitoring group, TRAFFIC, reveals that more than 1, 000 parts of tigers have been seized in the past decade. And most of these big cats were poached in India, China and Nepal. Denis D Gray reported the new statistics in an article in The Washington Post. "The report says most of the tiger parts - including skins, bones, skulls and penises - were destined for use in traditional medicines, decorations and even good luck charms. " The findings of the study once again raise fears about extinction of tigers. "The report comes before a Nov 21-24 'tiger summit' in St. Petersburg, Russia, that is to finalize a plan to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. There are believed to be as few as 3, 200 wild tigers remaining, down from about 100, 000 a century ago. " The trade in tiger parts is largely fuelled by their demand in China where many people believe that the beast's body parts have the power to cure diseases and improve sex drive. "A major trafficking route, uncovered in recent years, begins in India, home of half the world's tigers, and ends in China. Experts say China's economic boom has helped fuel the illegal trade, with more Chinese able to afford the expensive tiger products. " According to the report between 1, 060 and 1, 220 tiger parts were seized in the decade ending April 2010. "Many seizures take place within 50 kilometers of protected tiger areas like the Western Ghats in India and the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. 'Clearly enforcement efforts to date are either ineffective or an insufficient deterrent, ' the report quoted Mike Baltzer, a tiger expert with The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), as saying. But the report stressed that enforcement alone would not curb the trafficking and that concerted effort was needed to curb demand for tiger parts. "

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