Body Of Royal Hoax Nurse Jacintha Saldanha To Reach Indian City Sunday 16 Dec 2012: Police

BANGALORE, India (AFP) – The body of an Indian-born nurse who apparently hanged herself after being duped by a royal hoax call to a London hospital was due to arrive on Sunday in the Indian city of Mangalore, police said.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found dead days after answering the prank telephone call from two Australian radio DJs posing as British royals to the hospital treating Prince William’s pregnant wife Catherine for morning sickness.

Mangalore, some 357 kilometres (221 miles) from the high-tech southern city of Bangalore, is where the mother of Saldanha lives along with another daughter and a son.

Saldanha’s body will arrive a day after the children of the nurse told a mass in her memory at London’s Westminster Cathedral, the main Catholic church in England, that her death had created “an unfillable void”.

Her husband, 14-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son paid tribute to a loving wife and mother, whose death following what the hospital described as a “cruel trick”, had left them bereft.

“We will miss your laughter, the loving memories and the good times we had together. The house is an empty dwelling without your presence,” her daughter Lisha said.

“We love you Mum,” she said.

Police in Mangalore, near Shirva town where Saldanha’s family plan to hold her funeral, told AFP the body would be accompanied by the nurse’s husband, Benedict Barboza, 49, and the children.

“Jacintha’s body is expected to arrive in Mangalore on Sunday afternoon,” Mangalore police commissioner Manish Kardikar told AFP.

Reverend William Menezes, spokesman for the Diocese of Mangalore, told AFP the funeral would take place on Monday at 4:00 pm (1030 GMT) in Shirva and police said as many as 5,000 people were expected to attend.

A London inquest last week heard that Saldanha, who moved to Britain from India around a dozen years ago, had been found hanging in hospital accommodation on December 7.

A few days earlier, the nurse put the prank call from the Australian radio station through to a colleague, who relayed details about Kate’s condition that made global headlines.

Saldanha, whose death shocked many around the world, left three notes, one of which reportedly criticised her colleagues over treatment at the King Edward VII private hospital.

The hospital defended itself, saying it offered support to Saldanha and had stressed to her she would not be disciplined for being taken in by the call.

Dozens of Indian students marched to the British High Commission in New Delhi on Saturday, calling for a probe into what they claimed was a “mysterious death”, according to a statement issued by them.

The demonstrators carried banners demanding “Justice for Jacintha” and alleged that “as a person of Indian origin she was isolated, victimised and subjected to harassment by the authorities”.

Australian police say death threats have been made against Michael Christian and Mel Greig, the DJs from Sydney’s 2Day FM radio station who made the call. The presenters made tearful apologies last week.

‘Dr Death’ Jayant Patel should never have performed surgery on 75-yr-old patient, Oz court hears

Sydney, Dec. 12 (ANI): Indian-origin surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel should never have performed surgery on a 75-year-old patient who subsequently died as a result, a court has heard.

Prosecutors told the Brisbane Supreme Court that Patel performed surgery on a medically unfit patient, Mervyn Morris, after incorrectly diagnosing him from Diverticulitis.

“He (Mr Morris) died, we say, as a result of the operation (Patel performed) and or, of not getting post operative care,” Barrister Peter Davis, SC, for the Crown, on Wednesday said.

“But for the operation (Mr Morris) would not have died. It was an unnecessary operation (performed by Patel),” Davis said.

“(The Crown at any future trial will) have to prove the operation should not have occurred. That basic chin of causation is all the Crown needs to prove,” the courier mail quoted Davis, as saying.

According to the court, the court was told after Morris’s death it was established that Patel’s diagnosis of Diverticulitis was incorrect.

Davis’s submissions came during pre-trial argument ahead of Patel’s trial in February to answer a charge of unlawfully killing Morris, the report added.

Number of Indian students going to Australia for studies ‘dramatically declining’

Sydney, 13 Dec 2012: A dramatic decline in the number of Indian students coming to Australia has massively impacted the international education sector in the nation.

A data analysis by the immigration department shows the number of Indians studying in Australia dropped by 71 percent from 2007/08 to 2011/12.

Australian Council for Educational Research analysis also found there was also a downturn in the number of successful higher-education visa applicants from India, reports.

According to the report, other major markets for Australian education also dropped over recent years, but none as dramatically as India.

Researcher Daniel Edwards said the international student market was lucrative and other countries had been making their presence felt in recent times.

“While Australia’s international student numbers are declining, key competitors in this market … have all experienced growth since 2009, suggesting there may be factors specific to Australia influencing this decline,” he said.

The analysis showed the number of Indian students heading to Canada had quadrupled in the same time it had dropped in Australia.

The big decline in numbers of Indian students coming to Australia “highlights the vulnerability of a system that relies so heavily on one or two major markets”, the report said.

But the analysis also said the most recent immigration data suggested a return to growth in the number of international students choosing to come to Australia, the report added.

Gypsies migrated to Europe from India 1,500 years ago

9/Dec/2012: Genetic scientists have found that the Romani, Europe’s largest minority group with approximately 11 million people, began their migration into Europe 1,500 years ago, much earlier than previously thought, from a single population in northern India.

They speak a mosaic of languages and practice different religions and lifestyle, but all share a common yet complex past.

Despite their beginnings, the size of the Romani population now rivals that of several countries, including Greece, Portugal, and Belgium, the Daily Mail reported.

They first arrived through the Balkans and began dispersing outwards from there 900 years ago, the team found.

The gypsies first arrived in the UK in 1513, the team believes.

“We were interested in exploring the population history of European Romani because they constitute an important fraction of the European population, but their marginalised situation in many countries also seems to have affected their visibility in scientific studies,” the paper quoted Professor David Comas, of the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain, as saying.

The Romani people lack written historical records on their origins and dispersal, so the team gathered genome-wide data from 13 Romani groups collected across Europe to confirm an Indian origin for European Romani, consistent with earlier linguistic studies.

The study offers the first genome-wide perspective on Romani origins and demographic history.

The authors claim that their findings could have implications for various disciplines including human evolution and health sciences.

“From a genome-wide perspective, Romani people share a common and unique history that consists of two elements – the roots in northwestern India and the admixture with non-Romani Europeans accumulating with different magnitudes during the out-of-India migration across Europe,” co-author Professor Manfred Kayser from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands said.

“Our study clearly illustrates that understanding the Romani’s genetic legacy is necessary to complete the genetic characterisation of Europeans as a whole, with implications for various fields, from human evolution to the health sciences,” he said.

The findings are published in the journal Current Biology.

Focus on Nikki Haley (South Carolina’s Indian American governor) after US senator quits

7 Dec 2012 – The surprise decision of a Republican senator to quit and become the next head of conservative think tank Heritage Foundation has focused attention on South Carolina’s Indian American governor Nikki Haley.

For under the state law the first-term governor will not only appoint senator Jim DeMint’s successor, she’ll set off dominoes that will reshape the next two years in state politics, culminating with two US Senate elections and her own potential re-election bid, according to Politico, a politics focused media site.

The driving question is whether Haley selects a caretaker for the seat who would agree not to run for the full six-year term in 2014 – or taps an ally that would help cement her legacy, it wondered.

A spokesman for the governor declined to speculate on a timeline for the decision, but DeMint’s resignation will take effect before the next Congress convenes Jan 3, leaving a little more than three weeks for a decision.

House member Tim Scott is seen as the leading contender for the appointment among Republican consultants and officials, largely because the 47-year-old African-American would provide diversity and geographic balance, the site said.

But in-state operatives cited by the Politico cautioned that the fastest way to lose the independent-minded Haley is to try to force her hand.

“Nikki Haley marches to the beat of her own drummer,” Joel Sawyer, a Columbia-based Republican consultant and former executive director of the state party, was quoted as saying.

If Haley was looking for a political escape hatch, she could appoint herself, Politico suggested. A new poll by Winthrop University of all adults pegged her job-approval rating at just 38 percent – a full 10 points behind President Barack Obama.

But Haley quickly quashed that possibility in a radio interview Thursday afternoon, saying, “No, I will not be appointing myself. That’s not even an option.”

Will Bobby Jindal make a White House run in 2016?

Louisiana’s Indian American governor Bobby Jindal may well be making a bid for the White House in 2016, a leading US news site suggested citing a meeting with a wealthy Republican fund raiser.

Jindal and two other Republican governors, John Kasich of Ohio and Bob McDonnell of Virginia stopped by the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to meet privately with its owner Sheldon Adelson, “a man who could single-handedly underwrite their White House ambitions,” Politico, the politics-centric website, said.

Jindal, Kasich and McDonnell ventured over to the Venetian for separate private meetings with Adelson while they were in Las Vegas for the Republican Governors Association winter meeting, held last month at the rival Wynn Resort, Politico said.

Jindal, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Susana Martinez of New Mexico – arrived in Vegas before the RGA conference for a gathering of the association’s high-dollar Executive Roundtable, which is open to donors who give a minimum of $25,000 a year.

The roundtable’s chairman, top Republican fundraiser Fred Malek, met with Jindal, the incoming RGA chairman, on the sidelines of the RGA conference and was said to be impressed, Politico said.

Malek wouldn’t comment on the Jindal meeting or the 2016 field, but his extensive connections in the Republican big-money world would be a major boon to any presidential hopeful, it said.

In addition to his work at the RGA, Malek helps lead a pair of unlimited-money John Boehner-linked outfits, Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network.

Among the prospective 2016 Democratic presidential candidates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has by far the greatest potential for a mega donor network that could compete with the deeper-pocketed outside groups that emerged on the right over the past few years, Politico said.

The donor base that she built during her New York Senate bids and her 2008 presidential campaigns – combined with the philanthropic network her husband has cultivated in his post-White House years and her appeal to newly active female donors – could take Democratic outside money to a new level, it said.

Indian-origin nurse Jacintha Saldanha in Duchess Kate royal pregnancy prank call commits suicide

Mother-of-two Jacintha Saldanha was found dead near the King Edward VII hospital in central London

A nurse who answered a prank call at the London hospital that was treating Prince William’s pregnant wife Kate for morning sickness has been found dead, the hospital said on Friday 7th December 2012, in a suspected suicide.

The death comes days after the King Edward VII hospital apologized for being duped by an Australian radio station and relaying details about Kate’s condition which made headlines around the globe.

“It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha,” John Lofthouse, the King Edward’s chief executive told reporters outside the central London hospital.

“We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time.”

Jacintha Saldanha photo

Police said they had been called at 9:35 a.m. (4:35 a.m. EDT) about a woman found unconscious at an address near the hospital. The woman was pronounced dead after ambulance staff arrived.

Police said the death was being treated as unexplained but they we’re not looking for anyone else, indicating the nurse had taken her own life.

William and Kate, who left the hospital on Thursday, said they were “deeply saddened” by the death of the nurse, who was married with two children.

“Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time,” a statement from William’s office said.

Jacintha Saldanha family in India


The radio station launched its stunt in the wake of a frenzy of media attention in Britain and worldwide after officials announced Kate was pregnant with a future British king or queen.

Two presenters from Australia’s 2Day radio station called the hospital early on Tuesday British time, pretending to be William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth and his father, the heir-to-the throne Prince Charles.

Despite unconvincing accents, presenters Michael Christian and Mel Greig were put through to the ward where Kate was being treated and were given details about how she was faring.

Saldanha had answered the call as it was early morning and there were no receptionists on duty, and had passed it to a nurse on the ward. Saldanha, who had worked at the hospital for four years, had not been facing any disciplinary action, a source said.

“She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues,” Lofthouse said.

William’s office said there had been no royal complaint about the breach of confidentiality, although the hospital said it was reviewing its “telephone protocols”.

“On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times,” a royal spokesman said.

William’s father, Prince Charles, had made light of the intrusion, joking to reporters after the incident: “How do you know I’m not a radio station?’

The private hospital is one of Britain’s most exclusive and has a history of treating members of the royal family, including the Queen’s husband Philip who was admitted in June for a bladder infection after taking part in a jubilee pageant on the Thames river.


The prank call and its tragic aftermath comes as Britain’s own media scrambles to agree a new system of self regulation and avoid state intervention following a damning inquiry into reporting practices.

A recording of the call was widely available on the Internet and many newspapers printed a transcript of the call.

The Australian radio station and its owner Southern Cross Austereo said the presenters were shocked and would stay off their show until further notice out of respect for Saldanha’s death.

“Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family.

“Chief Executive Officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters, they are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances,” an SCA statement said.

The two presenters deleted their Twitter accounts shortly after the news broke and there was widespread condemnation of their actions on the social media website.

“Remember that #RoyalPrank …? Yeah, the girl you humiliated is dead. You must feel great,” one wrote.

Facebook tribute pages swiftly set up after the nurse’s death attracted messages of sympathy, some echoing calls for the radio station to pay compensation to her family and for the presenters to resign.

Saldanha’s body was removed from the red brick, five-storey building where it was found, and transferred to a small private ambulance, shortly after the hospital confirmed her death, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

She had been staying in staff accommodation in the building, away from her family in the city of Bristol, western England, a source said.

Her family said they were deeply saddened and asked for media to respect their privacy “at this difficult time”, in a statement released by police.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian at Austereo, Sydney, Australia

First Sikh to guard Buckingham Palace – and in turban

London, 2 Dec 2012 : An Indian-origin Sikh is all set to be the first person guarding the Buckingham Palace in his turban after being given the privilege not to wear the mandatory bearskin on ceremonial duties.

Guardsman Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar, 25, who joined the Scots Guards this year, has been given permission to wear a turban when on guard duty outside Buckingham Palace, breaking hundreds of years of tradition, Daily Mail reported Sunday.

The regiment traces its origin back to 1642 and its soldiers have worn bearskins on parade since 1832.

Bhullar is based at Wellington Barracks in Birdcage Walk. The base is used by soldiers from the Scots Guards’ F Company, who are responsible for public duties and guarding the Queen.

According to military sources, Bhullar, from Birmingham, is expected to parade for the first time next week. When he marches with his colleagues he will become the first guardsman not to wear a bearskin headgear.

As a devout Sikh, it is mandatory for Bhullar to wear a turban. It is intended to protect his hair, which he never cuts, and to keep them clean.

For centuries, Sikhs have worn turbans in battle and fought as part of the British Army – including Bhullar’s grandfather, who served in World War II.

The step, however, has irked some serving non-commissioned officers based at Wellington Barracks, who are furious that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) compromised centuries of history for one soldier.

Traditionalists in the Scots Guards say the allowances made for Bhullar will make the whole company look ridiculous to tourists and onlookers.

Bhullar is one of only 20 to 25 British-born Sikhs in the British Army.

An MoD spokeswoman said: “The Army takes great pride in its diversity. Discussions are underway between this unit, the Sikh community and the MoD. The individual will have the full support of the Army and his colleagues.”

Musharraf blasts Indian embassy in UAE for issuing ‘report to police’ visa

Dubai, Nov 22: Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has lashed out at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi for issuing him an Indian visa with ‘report to the police’ stamped on it.

“I do not know whether it was done to humiliate me or it was a slip-up. I leave it to the Indian Ambassador to decide,” Musharraf told XPRESS.

“Even if it were a slip-up, I certainly would expect the Ambassador to take the official who committed such a great error to task,” he added.

The visa issued by the Indian Embassy to Musharraf and his wife Sebha required them to ‘report to the police’ soon after landing in New Delhi last Friday.

Musharraf, however, was quick to praise the warmth and hospitality of Indian immigration officials at Delhi Airport who quickly rectified the issue, Gulf News reports.

Commenting on the bungle by his office, M.K. Lokesh, Indian ambassador to the UAE, said that it was a ‘human error’ and was corrected immediately.

“It was a mistake by one of our consular staff. I was in New Delhi when the former president arrived in the capital,” the paper quoted him, as saying.

“We immediately took steps to solve the issue and remove the clause from his visa,” he added.

India relaxes tourist visa rules for Emiratis

Abu Dhabi, Dec 4: India has removed the mandatory interval of two months for Emiratis to apply for a tourist visa, according to a report.

The two month gap rule is still applicable for some other nationalities. but Emiratis have been exempted from that restriction, M.K. Lokesh, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said.

Gulf News quoted Lokesh, as saying that it would benefit a large number of Emiratis who are frequent visitors to the country.

“The Indian diplomatic missions in the UAE issue about 80,000 visas a year and most of them are to Emiratis,” he added.

India issues tourist visas for a period of three months for a single entry.

It also issues tourist visas with multiple entry of up to six months.