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The mass murder of seals in Canada, which has the support of powers that be, must come to an end. The world must come together to exert economic pressure

As I write, what the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) describes as “the largest slaughter of marine mammals on the planet”, continues in Canada. It occurs in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, and usually in spring, the breeding season for seals when pups are born and are nursed by their mothers.

The scale of the carnage can well be imagined from the fact that, as pointed out by the HSUS, “More than one million seals have been slaughtered in the past five years alone.” The actual number is likely to be higher as many of the seals, wounded after being shot from moving boats, are left to die slowly and painfully. This happens principally because the main seal-skin processing firm in Canada deducts $2 for every bullet hole found. Hence, seal-killers are reluctant to shoot more than once, leaving the wounded in agony.

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In Dante’s footsteps

A new book chronicles a hi-tech Hell, which is very different from what one finds in the sacred texts, and echoes our times

Charles Patterson’s recently published novel, In Dante’s Footsteps: My Journey to Hell: A Modern Divine Comedy, unfolds at two levels. At one, it is a set of intertwined narratives about the life of a young man, Thomas Aaron Reed III, who becomes a priest, leaves priesthood, journeys to Hell and returns. At another, it is an exploration of human conduct, values, emotions and aspects of morality.

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Don’t destroy Aravallis

Saturday, 02 March 2019 | Hiranmay Karlekar
 

Haryana’s recent legislative amendment to the land preservation Act will play havoc with the hill range and the environment. Voices against it must get louder

The Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Act (PLPA), 2019, passed recently by the Haryana Legislative Assembly, has understandably alarmed those who care for the ecology of the very large part of the Aravalli hills that fall in Haryana. The PLPA was enacted in 1900 to “preserve” land in undivided Punjab by curbing activities like the felling of trees for timber, quarrying for rocks, agriculture, herding and other pastoral preoccupations on land notified under it. The Act disallowed all human activity that could affect the availability of sub-surface water, alter the landscape, lead to biodiversity loss and other unpredictable consequences.

Section 3A of the amended Act states that the provisions of the PLPA would not apply to “the lands included in the final development plans, any other town improvement plans or schemes published under the provisions of” Acts listed under the Section. The amended Act would throw open almost 30,000 hectares of land to a wide range of activities, particularly construction and mining. The impact would be all the more devastating because its provisions would apply, “except unless expressly provided,” retrospectively from November 1, 1966, when Haryana came into being, and provide legal cover to all activities, some of them subjects of lawsuits, which were clearly in violation of the provisions of the Act prior to its amendment.