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SC seeks clarification for lowering jail term of black marketers

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The Supreme Court has issued a show cause notice to the government authorities, demanding the reason for shortening jail terms of black marketers amending Some Other Public Crimes and Punishment Act, 1975.

The five-member Constitutional Bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli, Deepak Raj Joshee, Om Prakash Mishra, Deepak Kumar Karki and Cholendra SJB Rana on Wednesday issued the notice to the government, seeking clarification on the two-year-old amendment that provisions a lower jail term than before for those convicted for black marketing.

Stating that the government led by KP Sharma Oli amended the Act with an intention of supporting black marketers, petitioner by advocate Jagannath Mishra had accused it of reducing the jail term to ultimately support entrepreneurs who engage in black marketing.

The petitioner also stated that the government had hatched a conspiracy to support black marketers with a lighter punishment by amending the Act.

The amendment came into effect from February 25, 2016 which reduced the jail sentence for various crimes such as profiteering, manipulating the supply of goods, cheating on quality and creating artificial shortages, from between three to 10 years in jail to up to no more than one year.

Advocate Mishra accused the government of undermining social justice for consumers as enshrined in the Constitution stating the provision was inserted in the Act in a grave deviation from the principal of consumerism and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of consumers.

Article 52 of the Constitution states that only cases deserving more than one-year jail sentence can be tried in district court and other cases which may deserve lighter punishment will be tried in other quasi-judicial bodies such as the District Administration Office.

The petitioner has sought the apex court’s intervention to put the rights of consumers back on track.

The bench has given the defendants — the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Parliament Secretariat — 15 days to submit their written replies.

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Health

Regular bedtime beneficial for heart and metabolic health among older adults

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But a new study on sleep patterns has suggested that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults too.

Researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in a study of 1,978 older adults, have found that people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.

The study  was published Sept 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.

“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” said study’s lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery.

“Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”

African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American or Hispanic, the data showed.

Still, the data suggest tracking sleep regularity could help identify people at risk of disease, and where health disparities may impact specific groups.

Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.

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