19 February 2018

19 Feb.ND: Judge Loya death: ‘We are treating case with highest amount of seriousness,’ say SC judges/Videos of Shambhu Regar, in jail for killing Muslim labourer, show him abusing Muslims

19 Feb.2018:02 Jamadiul-2 1439:Vol:9, No:124
Judge Loya death: ‘We are treating case with highest amount of seriousness,’ say SC judges
The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing in the case related to the death of special CBI judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya to March 5 as arguments were inconclusive. During the hearing, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justice Chandrachud assured the petitioners that they were treating the case with the “highest amount of seriousness”, according to The Hindu. “We treat it as a cause,” they said. “We do not care what is being said outside, but we will do our duty if any fact arouses our suspicion.”A Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanvilkar and DY Chandrachud, are hearing petitions that demanded an independent investigation monitored by the Supreme Court into Loya’s death.Advocate Dushyant Dave, who is representing the Bombay Lawyers Association in the case, opposed the procedure followed by the Supreme Court and urged the court to issue a notice to the Maharashtra government and seek affidavits from the judges who were with Loya at the time of his death.scroll
Judge Loya case:CJI says there will be ground for suspicion if Section 174 CrPC has not been duly complied with
Justice Loya death: We treat it like a cause, says CJI
SC asks centre to apprise it about Haj quota seats, their availability
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to apprise it by Tuesday about the total allocation of Haj quota seats and the vacancies if any on a plea of the Kerala Haj Committee alleging that the policy to grant state-wise quota for Haj pilgrims was discriminatory.A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand, representing the Centre, to file an affidavit by Tuesday giving details of the total Haj quota seats and the figure of such seats which are yet to be allocated.During the hearing, the ASG said the Union of India had been allowed by the Saudi Arabian government to send 1.75 lakh Haj pilgrims every year and the Centre and the Central Haj Committee, in consultation with the state Haj panels, have devised a mechanism to distribute the quota on the basis of the Muslim population in each state.Out of 1.75 lakh Haj seats, 1.25 lakh seats are distributed by the state Haj committees while the remaining seats are given to private tour operators as per the policy decision, the law officer said.Earlier, the SC, in an interim direction, had asked the Centre to file a statement with regard to the fifth time applicants who have crossed the age of 65 years and were below 70 years and have never been able to go for the Haj.The apex court, on January 5, had issued the notice sought to the Centre on the Kerala Haj Committee's plea alleging that the policy to grant state-wise quota for Haj pilgrims was discriminatory.PTI
'Muslims will not shift mosque', 3 plaintiffs refuse out-of-court settlement in Ayodhya case
Ayodhya:3 plaintiffs in Babri Masjid/Ram Janmbhoomi case have said they will not accept any out-of-court settlement. At a gathering of local Muslims here in which the plaintiffs - Haji Mahboob, Iqbal Ansari and Mohammad Umar -- were present, a resolution was passed that the "Muslims will not shift the mosque" to any other site or gift the land to any party, according to a press statement issued after the meeting which was held on Saturday. It said the Hindus can build Ram temple on Ram Chabootra in the outer court yard of Babri Masjid. The resolution also rejected any out-of-court settlement in Babri Masjid/Ram Janmbhoomi case and said that Muslims will only obey the Supreme Court verdict, it said. Among those who signed the resolution were the three plaintiffs, the statement said, claiming that the meeting was attended by the representatives of Barelvi , Deobandi and Shia sects of Muslim community. Talking to PTI, plaintiff Haji Mahboob said they have no objection Hindus build Ram Mandir on Ram Chabootra."Babri Masjid was never built after demolishing any temple. Before December 22, 1949, Muslims offered regular 'namaaz' there. Before 1949, Hindu brothers never staked a claim on Babri Masjid. "Since 1885, the place named as Ram Chabootra situated outside Babri Masjid was observed as Ram Janm Sthan and regular puja of Ram Lalla was done there," he said. "We have no objection if Hindu brothers build Ram Mandir on Ram Chabootra situated in the outer court yard of Babri Masjid, said Mahboob," Mahboob said.Meanwhile, the chief priest of Ayodhya's famous Hanuman Garhi temple and president of Ram Janambhoomi Mandir Nirmaan Samiti (Hindu Mahasabha) came out in support of Islamic cleric Maulana Salman Nadvi. indiatvnews
‘Living illiterate, dying early’: UN report highlights plight of India’s poor and Dalit women
At least 80 per cent of the women in the poorest 20 per cent in the country are illiterate, a report from the United Nations on gender equality has highlighted. The report also pointed out that data shows a Dalit woman on average dies 14.6 years younger than a higher caste woman.The report from UN Women, titled 'Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,' takes stock of the global status of key aspects of the gender equality as a part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that was set by the UN two years ago. 17 SDGs aim to end poverty and hunger, assure gender equality and build a life of dignity for all in the course of 15 years.In a foreword to this latest report, current Secretary-General of UN António Guterres has stressed that gender equality is imperative to the success of 2030 Agenda. "Gender equality is a goal in its own right," he writes, adding that it is a "powerful force for upholding the main promise of the 2030 Agenda - to leave no one behind."Citing USAID data, the report compared the status of citizens aged 15-49 in the households in the top and bottom 20% of wealth distribution and found out that the illiteracy rates in women in the bottom 20% of the population is more than 80% while that of the men in the top 20% is less than 10%.A crucial part of the report illustrates the compounding effect of wealth and location in widening gender gap. Based on Demographic and Health Surveys data, in India, a 20 to 24-year-old woman from a poor rural household is over five times as likely to be married before 18 and 5.8 times as likely to become an adolescent mother as one from a rich urban household. As for education, she is over 20 times as likely to have never attended school as compared to her rich urban counterpart.The report, which comments on multiple and intersecting inequalities worldwide, also highlights the compounding effect of caste on gender and noted that a woman's caste can increase her exposure to mortality.thehindu
Videos of Shambhu Regar, in jail for killing Muslim labourer, show him abusing Muslims
Jaipur:2 videos purportedly released by Shambhu Lal Regar, who is in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur Central Jail for allegedly hacking a Muslim labourer, were being widely circulated on social media on Monday.In one of the clips, Regar is purportedly alleging threat to his life from cellmate Vasudev Brahman, who he said was from West Bengal. HT can’t independently verify the authenticity of the two clips.Additional director general of police (prisons) Dr Bhupendra Singh confirmed the video has been shot inside the prison and has been uploaded from there. “We have ordered an inquiry into how a mobile phone made its way into a prison cell and other lapses. Inspector General of Police (prisons) is investigating the case,” he said.Jail superintendent Vikram Singh lodged an FIR under the Information Technology Act and under the Prisons Act for taking a prohibited item inside the jail at at Ratanada police station.“The report said the jail authorizes have come to know about a video posted from ward No. 3 of the central jail. The authorities have not recovered any mobile phone during search of the ward. They were interrogating Regar and will inform the police accordingly,” said an officer of the police station, who was not willing to be quoted as he was authorized to speak to media. Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot said the videos clearly showed breach in prison security and connivance between people responsible for providing security and criminals. “A high level enquiry should be ordered in the incident and accountability of police administration should be ensured” he said.In the video clips, Regar says he’s speaking from Jodhpur central jail and that these were last messages of his life.HT
Rajasthan hacking: Accused appears in videos allegedly filmed inside Jodhpur jail, says he has no regrets
PNB fraud may well exceed Rs 19,000 crore: Tax Authority
As the investigating agencies continue the crackdown against diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, a preliminary investigation by the nation's tax authority has said of Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud that "the hit Indian banks would take in the end may well exceed" $3 billion (equals to Rs 19,363 crore), according to an internal note seen by Reuters.It was at the branch of the Punjab National Bank in south Mumbai, according to accounts from PNB executives and government investigators, that a lone middle-aged manager, later aided by his young subordinate, engineered fraudulent transactions totalling about $1.8 billion (over Rs 11,000 crore) from 2011 to 2017.The still unravelling story of how the fraud happened – which includes the alleged misuse of the SWIFT interbank messaging system and incomplete ledger entries – points to a breakdown in checks and balances, and standard banking practices, they said.thequint
PNB won 3 banking vigilance awards while Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi defrauded it off Rs 11,400 crore
While the nation is still busy debating about PNB scam where diamantaires like Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi defrauded the PNB for Rs 11,400 crore over seven long years, it has been found that the PNB was being given several awards for excellent banking vigilance. As ironic as it may sound, the government owned PNB bagged three awards for excellence in banking vigilance. Out of three awards, two came in last year in 2017. However, in the same year, PNB had issued 293 letters of undertaking to the companies owned by Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi. The awards were handed over by the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) KV Chowdary.newsx

Rotomac Pen owner Vikram Kothari Rs 3,600 crore loan default case: CBI lodges FIR, seals house in Kanpur                                   
New Delhi:Close on the heels of the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National  Bank (PNB) scam, CBI on Monday registered an FIR against Rotomac Pen and its promoter Vikram Kothari for allegedly defaulting on loans of over Rs 3600 crore from multiple banks.The agency booked owner Vikram Kothari, his wife and son for allegedly cheating a consortium of seven banks led by the Bank Of Baroda. The total outstanding amount, along with interest liabilities, owed by Rotomac stands at Rs 3695 crore, the CBI said. The agency sealed the house and office of  Vikram Thakur in connection with its probe.Earlier today morning, the agency carried out raids at 3 locations in Kanpur where the company is based. Kothari, his wife and his son were questioned by a CBI team in connection with the case at their residence in Kanpur. Kothari was earlier rumoured to have left the country, but he clarified through local media yesterday that he was in Kanpur. indianexpress
Rotomac owner's 'wilful loan default' pegged at ₹3,695 cr
No response from Nirav Modi on ED summons
New Delhi;(ED has received no response from Nirav Modi or the other accused so far in the PNB scam case, sources have revealed.It is also being investigated as to why Gokulnath Shetty, a retired deputy manager of PNB's foreign exchange department at the Brady House in Fort in Mumbai wasn't promoted in all these years, according to ED sources.ANI
Banks to approach RBI to end impasse with PNB on dues payment
MUMBAI: Banks are planning to approach RBI to break the impasse with the fraud-hit PNB, which is declining to pay them the dues till investigation into the ₹11,500-crore LoU scam is completed, according to an official who attended a meeting of major lenders on the issue on Saturday. “All the banks first tried to convince PNB to honour the commitments. But they are saying let the investigation be over…. so, ultimately, we decided to refer the matter to the RBI for a final decision,” said the official.The banks have decided to approach the central bank through Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).Last week, the state-run lender informed the stock exchanges about the detection of $1.77 billion-worth unauthorised transactions where fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) were issued from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit.thehindu
Nirav Modi case: Stung by fraud, govt looks at supervisory failures in banks, RBI
PNB scandal: Congress demands white paper on bank sector
New Delhi: Congress demanded a white paper on the health of the Indian banking sector and alleged that links between alleged bank fraudsters and the highest echelons of the NDA government raise serious questions about the health of the Indian economy. Continuing its attack on the government over the Rs 11,000 crore Punjab National Bank fraud, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “Bank frauds are tumbling out of closet faster than you can say Jack Robinson. While this Modi-Choksi tango is still going on, reports have emerged about another alleged bank fraud…”.indianexpress
Trudeau in Gujarat Sans Modi: India’s Red Carpet Decidedly Frayed
 New Delhi: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Gujarat today sans Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The absence of the Indian PM is clearly intended as a statement, more so as he personally escorted a series of visiting dignitaries to his home state including of course Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu just last month. Others include Japan’s Shinzo Abe and China’s Xi Jinping.Official sources claim that it is not necessary for the PM to accompany visiting leaders to states, but the absence is noticeable. More so, as it has been already commented upon by the Canadian media.In fact instructions seem to be to lay out a frayed red carpet for Justin Trudeau, a ‘rockstar’ Prime Minister who is here with his wife and three children. He was received at the airport by the Minister of Agriculture Gajendra Singh and the Indian Ambassador to Canada Vikas Swarup in what is being seen as adherence to basic protocol without the extra gesture that determines bilateral relations, and moves the barometer up or down on the cold-hot scale of diplomacy. The decision to send a junior minister to receive Trudeau is being described as a “snub,” especially given PM Modi’s frequency in setting aside protocol to personally receive high profile official dignitaries, who are often then greeted with a big hug.thecitizen  
UP shocker! Man denied ambulance, forced to carry relative’s dead body on shoulder in Sambhal
New Delhi ;In a shocking and inhuman incident reported from Uttar Pradesh, a man was forced to carry the dead body of his relative on his shoulder after being allegedly denied an ambulance. The incident reportedly took place at a government hospital in Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh where the man was denied an ambulance by a govt hospital. This left him with no other option but to carry the body on his shoulders. The image of this man was shared on micro-blogging website by ANI. DM has ordered an investigation on the matter. However, it is still not clear why the man was denied an ambulance.A similar incident was reported from Sambhal earlier where relatives of Soorajpal were forced to carry his body on a motorcycle after the govt hospital of Sambhal denied an ambulance. The boy had met with an accident while working with his grandfather in the field. He was rushed to the hospital by the relatives and villagers where he was declared brought dead. After this, the hospital authority allegedly asked the relatives of the deceased to immediately take the body away from there.“Doctors asked us to take the body away. We had to carry the body on our shoulders as they did not provide stretcher and later brought it back home on the bike as they hospital authority didn’t even provide us,” a relative of the deceased had said.financialexpress
Dalit students in Himachal school told to sit outside, watch PM Modi’s ‘Pariksha par Charcha’
Shimla;DALIT STUDENTS of a government high school in Kullu were reportedly made to sit separately outside, in a “place used for horses”, during the telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Pariksha Par Charcha’ on Friday.According to reports, the school in Kullu’s Chestha gram panchayat had made arrangements for students to watch Modi’s TV  programme at the residence of the head of the school management committee.In a complaint to Kullu Deputy Commissioner Yunus on Friday evening, some of the students alleged that a teacher, Mehar Chand, told them to sit outside the room where the television had been set up. “Dalit students were made to sit in a place used for keeping horses,” they said, adding that they were warned not to leave midway through the programme.In their complaint, written in Hindi on a school notebook, the students alleged that they are also subjected to “caste discrimination during midday meals”. “Students belonging to Scheduled Caste category are made to sit separately. Even the headmaster does nothing he also practices untouchability,” they said.Following a purported video clip of the incident, a local organisation, Anusuchit Jati Kalyan Sangh, lodged a protest with the school headmaster, Rajan Bhardwaj, and deputy director, education, Kullu, Jagdish Pathania, on Saturday.indianexpress
Gujarat civic polls: BJP wins in 44 municipalities, Congress improves performance with wins in 22
Ahmedabad:Gujarat's ruling BJP on Monday retained power in most of the 75 municipalities in 22 districts where polling was held last week though in line with the Dec.2017 assembly polls' trend, its overall strength declined and the opposition Congress chalked up several gains.From 59 municipalities it controlled in 2013, BJP won only 44 civic bodies while Congress' performance shot up dramatically capturing 22 nagarpalikas from 6 earlier.The result of Gujarat Municipality elections today is the people's referendum on development in the state.This was largely in keeping with the electoral mood in BJP's bastion of Gujarat ever since the assembly elections. The share of the ruling party, which had bagged 117 seats in 182-member assembly in 2012, dipped to below 100 -- at 99 seats.This was only seven more than a simple majority of 92, while at least 15 of its legislators scraped through with margins of less than 500 votes.IANS
Gujarat municipal polls: BJP wins, but victory margin falls
Documents show larger conspiracy behind Mahatama Gandhi's murder, SC told
New Delhi: Pankaj Phadnis, who has sought the reopening of a probe into the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, on Monday told the Supreme Court that he has accessed documents that show a "larger conspiracy" behind the murder.Mumbai-based Phadnis told the bench of Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageswara Rao that he has obtained documents, which the Indian government had banned here, from the Library of Congress in New York and sought permission to file them."The documents show larger conspiracy behind the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Govt of India had banned these documents in India. I got it from Library of Congress, New York, and it's in a sealed cover," he said.Phadnis -- a researcher and a trustee of Abhinav Bharat, a right wing organisation -- said he has filed a plea in the Bombay High Court for lifting the ban on the documents. The bench asked him to file an application before the court giving details of the documents he wanted to file.The court then posted the matter for hearing on March 6.IANS
SC to hear plea for Aadhaar-based voting system after four weeks
New Delhi :The Supreme Court today said it will hear after four weeks a plea seeking implementation of an Aadhaar-based voting system in elections in order to curtail bogus and duplicate voting in the spirit of the election law.The petition was filed before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud which kept the matter for hearing in March. The plea, filed by advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has sought direction to the Election Commission of India to take appropriate steps to implement an ‘Aadhaar based election voting system’ to ensure maximum participation in election and curtail fake, bogus and duplicate voting in the spirit of section 17-18 of the Representation of People Act, 1950.PTI
Bhutan visit: Army Chief Bipin Rawat, NSA Ajit Doval, FS discuss Doklam strategy
New Delhi ;IN A rare visit, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval travelled to Bhutan earlier this month where they held extensive talks with the Bhutanese leadership on key strategic issues, including the situation in Doklam and the Chinese building defence infrastructure around the plateau, according to government sources.The sources told PTI that the two sides reviewed bilateral security and defence cooperation with focus on China’s increasing military posturing and infrastructure development around the Doklam plateau.indianexpress
Any fiddling with Article 370, demography of J&K is intolerable: PDP
Srinagar: Reacting to the statement of UP politician Amar Singh on Article 370 and Muslims, ruling PDP said that any fiddling with the special status and demography of the state is intolerable.Senior Vice-President of PDP Sartaj Madni in his reaction to Mr Singh’s statement said that Jammu and Kashmir is availing the special status as per constitution and its Muslim majority character is a recognized historical reality.UNI
Srinagar: Mentally challenged person shot dead near J-K Air Force station
Srinagar :A mentally challenged person was shot dead when he entered the security area of an Air Force station in Jammu and Kashmir’s Badgam district, police said on Monday.“The incident took place late Sunday night. The victim crossed the security fence and came close to the station perimeter wall. Despite repeated warnings from the sentry, the individual did not stop. When he did not budge, the sentry fired towards him. The victimis yet to be identified,” a police official said.IANS
Parents of alleged love jihad victims come together in Kerala; likely to launch an association
To help the daughters across the state from being alleged love jihad victims, parents across the state of Kerala have come together to launch an association against love jihad. The parents urged the state government to bring back their daughters and take appropriate action against the culprits who trapped their daughters for conversion to Islam. Talking about the matter, father of Hadiya, Ashokan KM and Bindu K, mother of Nimisha claimed that children of 30 families were love jihad victims. The parents criticised the state government for not taking appropriate action against terrorists who are influencing their daughters. Bindu K said, “The police and government have failed to take action against the real culprits and accomplices. While probing into the cases of love jihad, many individuals and organizations names have been revealed to the state government but nobody in the state knows where they are. Due to the matter, many girls have committed suicide and some of them were killed or subjected to sexual abuse.” The parents also asked the Kerala people to support their campaign against the alleged menace. Growing cases of love jihad is a threat to our society, so the parents across Kerala should come together, said Hadiya’s father. He added that there is an urgent need to take this campaign forward through legal action.newsx
Decks cleared for Aurangabad Tablighi Ijtema, all NOCs submitted
Aurangabad: The organisers of the Maharashtra level Tablighi Jamaat Ijtema, to be held at Limbe Jalgaon village near Aurangabad, have submitted all the necessary NOCs needed for the department's permission, local police said on Saturday."We have received from the orgnanisers the NOCs the Aurangabad Ijtema organisers have obtained from various department including Fire Brigade, Health Department, Public Works Department and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL)."The police permission will be soon granted to the Ijtima organisers after we cross verify these documents with the respective departments", Deputy Commissioner of Police Vinayak Dhakne informed the media persons on Saturday.He also said a total of 5000 policemen will be deployed for the security at the Tablighi Jamaat Ijtima site, scheduled to be held on February 24, 25 and 26,
Bihar: Muslim women protest against triple talaq bill
Patna: Hundreds of Muslim women on Sunday participated in a silent procession against  talaq bill  as well as President Ram Nath Kovind’s statement in favour of the bill.The procession was jointly organized by the women’s wing of AIMPLB Bihar Chapter and Rashtriya Secular Seva Manch. They also handed over a memorandum to ADM (law & order) Md Moizuddin to submit it to governor Satya Pal Malik.Supported by 28 other voluntary women organizations, the procession started from Patna Science College and concluded near Sabzi Bagh on Ashok Rajpath. Although the organization had called for a silent procession, the protesters shouted slogans against the government’s bill.They urged the government to delete the paragraph on Muslim women from the President’s address to the Parliament and demanded the withdrawal of the bill.TOI
Bhopal:Muslim women to take out rally against talaq bill
BHOPAL: Women wing of AIMPB will hand over a memorandum to Governor addressed to President against triple talaq bill. The Muclim women will take out rally at Neelam Park on February 20 and thereafter hand over the memorandum to the Governor Anandiben Patel.The wing has accused the union government of making grounds to make changes in Shariat act by bringing triple talaq bill. The wing members, interacting with media on Saturday, said that government should not insult Muslims women by bringing triple talaq bill as it will increase problems for Muslims women. AIMPB member of executive Committee Arif Masood said that Muslim  women should also come forward for dignity of Shariat.freepressjournal
President Ram Nath Kovind to attend annual convocation of AMU
ALIGARH: President Ram Nath Kovind would be the chief guest at the Aligarh Muslim University's 65th annual convocation on March 7, official sources said today.The president has accepted the invitation extended by the university's vice-chancellor, Tariq Mansoor, they said here.It is after 32 years that a president will attend a convocation of the AMU.Giani Zail Singh during his tenure as president had attended the 1986 convocation, the sources said.PTI 
Rajasthan: Vasundhara Raje government decides to withdraw gag Ordinance from Select Committee
After severe backlash over the gag Ordinance issue, Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan has decided to withdraw the controversial Bill from Select Committee.There had been a lot of hue and cry over the Ordinance by members of the Civil Society, the journalist fraternity and from the Congress as well.The Ordinance sought to prohibit publishing any news about Judges, Magistrates or public servants, against whom sanction to hold investigation is pending.The Vasundhara Raje led government in Rajasthan, after the uproar by Congress and civil rights activists, had referred the controversial Criminal laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill to the Select Committee of the Assembly.However, civil rights activists continued to demand complete withdrawal of the Bill.Scores of activists including Kavita Srivastava of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Nikhil Dey of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), Salim Engineer of the Jamaat- e-Islami Hind and others had come together in opposition against the Bill.indiatoday
Nawab Fazal Jah, son of Hyderabad’s last Nizam dies
Hyderabad:Nawab Fazal Jah Bahadur, the son of the seventh and last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan died after a brief illness, according to a member of the erstwhile royal family of Hyderabad. Nawab Fazal Jah (72) was admitted to a private hospital on last Thursday night and died yesterday, said Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, grandson of the seventh Nizam and president of the Nizam Family Welfare Association.PTI
Turkey: 'Nobody can stop' Turkish forces in Afrin
The Turkish foreign minister has said that Syrian forces cannot stop its army's advances in Afrin, in response to reports that the Syrian regime forces will fight alongside Kurdish YPG fighters in the border town.Speaking at a press conference in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that Turkey welcomed the entry of Syrian forces into Afrin if it was to confront fighters belonging to the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG)."If so, there is no problem. However, if they are entering [Afrin] to protect YPG/PKK, nobody can stop the Turkish army," he added, referring to the armed Syrian Kurdish group YPG, which controls Afrin, and banned Kurdistan PKK active in Turkey.aljazeera
Turkey warns Assad regime against supporting YPG/PKK
'Syrian forces to back YPG' in fight against Turkey
The Kurdish YPG fighters claim they have reached a deal to allow Syrian government troops to enter Afrin in the northwestern part of the border town.Nuri Mahmoud, a spokesman for the People's Protection Units (YPG), told Al Jazeera on Monday that they are calling on the Syrian government forces "to preserve a united Syria", in a development that could mean regime forces might directly confront Turkish troops in the region.aljazeera
Erdogan, Putin discuss Afrin operation, Idlib on phone
Turkish and Russian presidents on Monday discussed Turkey’s ongoing operation in northwest Syria and the establishment of new observation points in Idlib, Turkish presidential sources said.Speaking over the phone, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to continue cooperation and coordination in the fight against terrorism.The two leaders discussed the latest developments in Afrin and the process of establishing new observation points in the de-escalation zone in Idlib.World Bulletin worldbulletin
Civilian death toll rising in Syria's Eastern Ghouta
In Eastern Ghouta, dozens of people died on Monday in rocket and air-strikes. Local observers say the attacks are a prelude to a major offensive on the rebel-held territory, which has been under siege since 2013.Since the end of last December, a stepped-up government campaign killed more than 400 civilians, including at least 100 children. Syrian govt and its allies haven't taken ground, but over the years they have continuously bombarded residential neighbourhoods.aljazeera
Kerry: Saudi Arabia, Egypt wanted US to bomb Iran
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry said the late Saudi King, Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and ousted Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, asked the United States to bomb Iran.Speaking at a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference yesterday, Kerry said Mubarak personally told him that “the only thing to do with Iran is to bomb it”.According to the former US official, the discussion took place in September 2013 when a number of countries in the region were increasingly concerned over Iran’s nuclear programme. Kerry added that Washington responded at the time that Tehran had already begun enriching nuclear fuel, and that a military strike will not stop this development.As US Secretary of State in former President Barack Obama’s administration, Kerry was one of the main drafters of the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries which in July 2015. The deal allows for the lifting of decades of sanctions imposed on Tehran in exchange for it ceasing its nuclear programme. middleeastmonitor
Iran denies 'hegemon' plans, denounces Saudi and Israel
Iran deflected accusations by Saudi Arabia and Israel that it was destabilising the Middle East, calling the two "US client states" who were trying to gloss over their "poor choices" and "strategic blunders". Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir joined Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in blaming Iran for rising regional tensions, at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.Jubeir called for "fundamental change in the Iranian regime" after Netanyahu labelled Iran as "the greatest threat to the world" and accused it of trying to impose an "empire" across the Middle East.Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said in his speech that criticism of his country's policies in the Middle East had become "obsessive" and denied attempts to become a "hegemon.aljazeera
Moscow concerned about tensions between Iran, Israel
Moscow is concerned about rising tensions between Iran and Israel, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.Speaking at the Discussion Club Valday in Moscow, Lavrov said Moscow cannot accept attempts to deal with any regional problem through a prism of fighting against Iran.“We observe such attempts in Syria, in Yemen and even around the development of the Palestinian problem, including recognizing Jerusalem as a sole capital of Israel,” he said.Lavrov also said the incident involving an alleged Iranian drone downed in Israel should be probed.“It was not obvious that this drone was Iranian. And there are represented mechanisms to sort out such incidents: the UN Disengagement Observer Forces on the Golan Heights and UN Truce Supervision Organization.worldbulletin
Saudi journalist  Khashoggi warns of ‘changes’ to religious establishment
Renowned Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi warned of what he described as the “enormous changes” witnessed by the religious establishment in the Kingdom.Speaking at a seminar hosted by Rwaq Istanbul on Friday evening, Khashoggi said: “One of the most prominent manifestations of change witnessed by the religious establishment in the Kingdom is the abolition of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Yes, the body still exists, but is no longer influential.”“The Saudi people are now enjoying the atmosphere of freedom and openness, but I think that euphoria is a passing phase. The reality is that the Saudi people are conservative,” he said.Remarking on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s talk about moderate Islam, Khashoggi said: “I think he does not have the answer to what moderate Islam means.” middleeastmonitor
Israel courts have backed state’s position on Gaza blockade ‘almost blindly’
Israeli courts have backed the state’s position on the blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip “almost blindly” over the last decade, a new report has found.According to Israeli NGO Gisha, which focuses on access issues for Palestinians under occupation, the Israeli court system has “persistently disregard[ed] international law and the legal framework it provides for the protection of their [Palestinians in Gaza] human rights”.The compilation, and analysis, of key judgments compiled in “10 Years, 10 Judgments – How Israel’s courts sanctioned the closure of Gaza” “paints a bleak picture”, says Gisha.In repeatedly affirming the state’s position, “the courts have sanctioned severe violations of Palestinians’ rights, primarily, the right to freedom of movement”.middleeastmonitor
Hamas denies US accusations on Gaza misery
Palestinian resistance group Hamas has dismissed U.S. accusations for the group of causing a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.Earlier this month, Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's special representative for international negotiations, blamed Hamas for causing "misery" to Gaza's people by choosing "to increase violence”.“We reject the White House allegations that Hamas was responsible for Gaza’s aggravating humanitarian crisis,” Hamas said in a statement on Sunday.It described the U.S. accusations as a “green light for the Israeli occupation to continue its aggressive approach against the Palestinian people."worldbulletin
Islamic State kills 25 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk
Kirkuk:Islamic State militants ambushed a convoy of government-backed militia fighters near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk late on Sunday, killing at least 25 of them, police and militia commanders said on Monday. Police and militia commanders had earlier said 12 militia fighters were killed in the ambush and at least 10 were missing, but security forces later found another 13 bodies dumped nearby with multiple gunshot wounds.IS claimed responsibility for the attack.Reuters  
12 ISIL widows sentenced to death, life by Iraqi court
A Turkish woman was sentenced to death and 11 other foreign widows to life in jail by an Iraqi court, for their involvement with the ISIL.12 women - 11 Turks and an Azeri, some of whom appeared at the court in Baghdad nursing infants - were convicted on Sunday, despite pleas they had been duped or forced by their husbands to join them in Iraq.The women, aged between 20 and 50, were all arrested in Mosul or Tal Afar, where their husbands were killed as Iraqi forces recaptured the northern cities from ISIL last year.Only the woman condemned to death, speaking through an interpreter, acknowledged she willingly travelled to Iraq with her husband and their children."We had to leave Turkey because my husband was a wanted man. I wanted to live in an Islamic state where sharia (Islamic law) is the law of the land," she said.But "I regret having come," said the 48-year-old Turkish woman, whose husband and two sons were killed in air attacks. She broke down in tears, while another Turk almost fainted.aljazeera
Nigerian court releases 475 Boko Haram suspects
Nearly 500 Boko Haram suspects have been released by a Nigerian court citing a lack of evidence, with some detainees held for years without charge.The 475 suspects will be returned to their home states for "proper rehabilitation" before being sent back to their families, a justice ministry statement said on Sunday. Those detained were arrested on suspicion they belonged to Boko Haram or had concealed information about the group's plans or fighters' whereabouts."However, the Prosecution Counsel could not charge them with any offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them. Therefore, the suspects were released," the statement said.The court proceedings in the town of Kainji, in central Niger state, was part of the second phase of an unprecedented mass trial of more than 1,600 suspects. Some of the cases heard last week involved suspects held without trial since 2010.Among those released was a young girl with a three-month-old baby from Borno State who was taken to a Boko Haram enclave by her brother and married off to his friend when she was 11. She was arrested in 2014 while trying to escape.aljazeera
ElBaradei: Egypt authorities ‘committing mass suicide’ against people
Former Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei has warned that authorities in Egypt are “committing mass suicide” by their continued crackdown on dissent as the country prepares for next month’s presidential elections.The opposition figure took to Twitter to voice his opinions after a government critic was arrested last week.“Oppression never was or never will be a solution… nations are built on freedom not oppression, on knowledge not ignorance, on transparency not deceitfulness,” ElBaradei posted. middleeastmonitor
Sudan denial of Brotherhood deportation claim
A leader of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) denied media claims on Saturday that senior Muslim Brotherhood officials have been told to leave the country.“There are no Egyptian Islamists in Sudan,” insisted Abd El-Sakhi Abbas, a member of the NCP’s political section. “If there were, Egypt would name them and demand their extradition.”He described the claim that Sudan has requested the Brotherhood members to leave the country as a “media brainchild”. Abbas stressed that there are no political or organisational links between the NCP and the movement in Egypt.middleeastmonitor
Egyptian troops killed amid Sinai operation
Three army troops were killed as part of an ongoing security operation in the restive Sinai Peninsula, according to the Egyptian military on Monday. In a statement, the army said security forces destroyed five militant targets and killed four “extremely dangerous” gunmen as part of the operation. “An officer and two conscripts were killed during a clash,” the statement said, adding that two other officers were injured.According to the statement, some 417 suspected militants were detained during the operation. Monday’s casualties are the first to be announced by the army since the operation began last week against militants blamed for a string of attacks across the country. World Bulletin
Imran Khan ties the knot for the third time, marries spiritual guide Bushra Maneka
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has confirmed party chief Imran Khan’s marriage to his spiritual guide Bushra Maneka, thus ending weeks of speculation about the union.Khan, a cricketer turned politician, married Bushra Bibi (also known as Pinki Pir) in a simple ceremony held in Lahore yesterday, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet.He said the marriage ceremony was held at Maneka’s brother’s residence in Lahore. PTI Central Executive Committee member Mufti Muhammad Saeed performed the ‘nikah’. “Marriage is the combination of two hearts and two souls which join each on this special day of wedding. I wish a very happy and blessed married life to Imran Khan,” Chaudhry said. “The valima ceremony will also be held in a simple manner in a few days,” he said.The PTI’s media wing released pictures of the marriage ceremony in which Khan is seen wearing shalwar kameez and black jacket while the bride is decked in red suit with woolen shawl. None of Imran’s sisters was present in the ceremony triggering rumours that Khan had not taken them into confidence about his third marriage.PTI
Party confirms Imran Khan's marriage to Maneka in Lahore
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:35 PM)


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