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Indian court jails 11 for life over Gujarat massacre

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NEW DELHI — An Indian court has imprisoned 11 Hindus for life for the murder of dozens of Muslims during riots in Gujarat in 2002 that shook India at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister.

The court sentenced 12 other people to seven years in jail for arson and other charges during the disturbances, in which 69 Muslims were killed, while another defendant was handed a 10-year sentence, prosecutors said.

The massacre occurred during a series of religious riots that flared for two months in Gujarat and killed more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.

The court called the massacre the “darkest day” but rejected prosecutors’ demand to sentence the defendants to death, after ruling the attack was not planned.

A Hindu mob scaled the boundary wall of a housing complex in Ahmedabad — Gujarat’s largest city — in February 2002 before torching the homes in which Muslim families were trapped.

Among the victims were children and women who were burned to death.

The riots, among the worst since India’s independence from Britain in 1947, have dogged Mr Modi’s political career for years after he was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence.

Mr Modi, a Hindu, denies any wrongdoing and in 2013 a panel appointed by the Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him.

The violence also tainted Mr Modi’s international reputation even as he rose in power at home, culminating in his 2014 general election victory.

The United States revoked his visa in 2005 but allowed him to travel there again after his election victory.

Reuters

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Health

Sleeping in on weekends may help live longer

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Sleep deprivation has been found to have numerous negative effects on a person’s health. But the new study has shown that sleeping more on the weekend might help ease health problems associated with not getting enough during the week, and even reduce the risk of an early death.

The study, published in Journal of Sleep Research by scientists from Sweden and the United States, suggested that the negative effects of a few nights of short sleep could be counteracted by staying in bed over the weekend.

The from the Stress Research Institute (SRI) at Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute discovered that people below 65 years old who slept less than five hours on weekends had a higher risk of early death after examining medical and lifestyle data from more than 43,000 adults, following them for a period of 13 years.

For people who slept for less than five hours throughout the week but slept longer on the weekends for about nine hours, there was no increase in mortality risk. But, for people who consistently slept for less than five hours through the whole week, the mortality risk is higher.

Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality.

However, those previous studies only focused on sleep during weekdays.

“The results imply that short sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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