10 May 2018

10 May ND: Sachar Committee researcher claims 20% Muslim voters may be missing from Karnataka rolls/ Mahathir-led Malaysia's opposition pulls off shocking poll win, ending 60-yrs reign of ruling party; says will work for pardoning Anwar Ibrahim

10 May 2018:23 Shaban 1439: Vol:10, No:18
Sachar Committee researcher claims 20% Muslim voters may be missing from Karnataka rolls
Abusaleh Shariff was member secretary of the Rajinder Sachar Committee, which in 2005 was given the task of studying the social, economic and educational conditions of the Muslim community in India. Committee’s report, submitted a year later, was praised for conclusively showing that Muslims lagged most other social groups in the country.In the months leading to Karnataka Assembly polls slated for May 12, Shariff and his associate Khalid Saifullah have been studying the state’s electoral rolls. Their aim was to track the level of Muslim participation in the political process. Their findings have led them to conclude that nearly 20% of Muslim adults in Karnataka are missing from the voters list. After going through the findings of his study, Scroll.in asked Shariff to compare the exclusion of Muslims with that of other social groups.He prepared comparative tables, which constitute the basis for this interview that involved multiple conversations over phone and email exchanges. He said, "My team extracted the data from the official website of Karnataka Election Commission. It is an open resource. The extraction was done in Feb. Karnataka then had 4.98 million voters. Subsequently, in April, the Karnataka Election Office issued a press release saying it had enrolled 1.3 million additional voters during a 3-day mass enrolment programme. So, Karnataka now has 6.2 million voters.A large number of Karnataka’s adults are not on its voters list.This number is particularly high for Muslims – 20% or 13 lakh Muslim adults in Karnataka will not vote in the May 12 polls only because they are not on the electoral rolls. In comparison, 12.3% or 53.2 lakh non-Muslims, defined in our study as “All-Others”, will not be able to vote for the same reason. This finding should be seen in the context that Muslims constitute just 13% of Karnataka’s population." scroll.in
Congress will win 115-120 seats in Karnataka:Patel
Congress will retain power in Karnataka by winning 115 to 120 seats in Assembly, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat Ahmed Patel said." Congress will get an absolute majority in the Karnataka Assembly. It will get around 120 seats or so. The BJP will not get more than 65 seats," Patel told the media in Gandhinagar. "It will be an unprecedented Congress win in the state," he added.IANS
Last day of campaign for Karnataka polls on May 12
SC collegium must reiterate KM Joseph’s name, Justice Chelameswar writes to CJI: Reports
Justice Jasti Chelameswar has said in a letter to CJI Dipak Misra that the Supreme Court collegium must reiterate its recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph to the top court, ET reported. Chelameswar added that the reiteration must be done at the earliest.In his letter, the SC judge reportedly rebutted the points that Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad raised while urging the collegium judges to reconsider its decision to promote Joseph, NDTV quoted unidentified officials as saying. 4 of top court’s 5-most senior judges reportedly met on Wednesday afternoon to finalise Memorandum of Procedure. They also discussed whether they should send back Joseph’s name to govt,according to Indian Express. Chelameswar was not present at the meeting as he was on leave. The daily reported that there is near unanimity among the judges about reiterating Joseph’s name, and that Misra is under pressure to convene a formal collegium meeting where the decision can be announced.scroll.in
4 Collegium judges meet, pressure on CJI to reiterate Justice K M Joseph’s name
Amid CJI row, judge says lawyers on TV ‘killing’ SC
New DelhiJustice Arun Mishra, who suffered collateral damage in 2 recent controversies concerning the Supreme Court, on Wednesday lashed out at advocates who, he said, were targeting SC judges within the court as well as on TV debates, thereby “killing the institution”. Justice Mishra’s comments, his first reference to the recent controversies around the top court, came when he was hearing a petition by the Medical Council of India against a Kerala Govt ordinance that allowed two medical colleges to admit students despite a Supreme Court order to the contrary.In January, Justice Mishra found himself to be collateral damage when 4 senior judges held a press conference to speak out against the alleged arbitrary allocation of cases by CJI Dipak Misra. They claimed that sensitive matters were being allocated to junior judges.When asked whether the marking of a petition seeking an independent enquiry into special judge BH Loya’s death to a bench headed by Mishra prompted them to come out in the open, one of the four answered in the affirmative.HT
Concerns over Aadhaar authentication failure must be taken seriously: SC
Supreme Court has said that an Aadhaar authentication failure could lead to a denial of benefits to the needy and this concern raised by the petitioners challenging the unique identification scheme would have to betaken seriously. Justice DY Chandrachud, a member of CJI- led Constitution bench that is hearing a clutch of petitions against the validity of Aadhaar, said the issue raised by the petitioners was genuine. Responding to a submission by advocate Shyam Divan,who represents petitioner Kalyani Shankar Menon, that people would be refused benefits if they fail to authenticate their Aadhaar numbers, the judge said: “It’s not largesse, it’s not charity. We have to find answers for this.”HT
Saharanpur LIVE: Security heightened after Bhim Army leader’s brother shot; internet suspended
Restrictions have been put in place in Saharanpur district after the brother of a Bhim Army leader was shot dead in Ramnagar area on Wednesday afternoon. Fearing a rise in tension, police have put security measures in place and have suspended internet services. The deceased, 24-year-old Sachin, was the brother of Bhim Army district president Kamal Walia. He was shot around 12:15pm, when he was close to his home in Ramnagar, police and his family said.As news of Sachin’s death spread, many activists of the Bhim Army converged at the hospital he had been taken to, demanding action against the upper caste Thakur community. “Sachin was in a street on the other side of the locality when he was shot dead. He was rushed to the Govt hospital, which declared him dead on arrival. Our family and Bheem Army members are in hospital,” Abhishek, victim’s cousin, said.Saharanpur reeled under clashes between Dalits and Thakurs in May, 2017, after members of the Dalit community in the district’s Shabbirpur village raised objections to loud music being played during a procession taken out to honour Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap. 25 houses of Dalits had been set on fire while a man from Thakur community had been killed. The district has remained tense ever since, witnessing bouts of violence, the most recent one being Bharat Bandh protests by Dalit protesters.indianexpress
Need to tell youth Azadi will never happen, you can’t fight us: Army Chief Rawat
Azadi will not happen, you cannot fight the Army — this is a dictum Kashmiri youth need to know, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat has said, in an interview to Indian Express. Expressing concern over Kashmiri youth “picking up the gun” and “those who tell them (that) this path will bring Azadi…misleading them,” Gen Rawat said:“I want to tell Kashmiri youth that Azadi isn’t possible.It won’t happen. Don’t get carried away unnecessarily. Why are you picking up weapons? We will always fight those who seek Azadi, those who want to secede. (Azadi) is not going to happen, never”.General Rawat said that he doesn’t attach much importance to the number of militants who are killed in encounters with Army.“These numbers don’t matter to me because I know this cycle will continue.There are fresh recruitments happening. I only want to stress that all this is futile, nothing is going to be achieved by them. You can’t fight Army”.General Rawat said he is perturbed by the killings. “We don’t enjoy it. But if you want to fight us, then we will fight you with all our force. Kashmiris have to understand that SFs (security forces) haven’t been so brutal — look at Syria and Pakistan. They use tanks and air power in similar situations. Our troops have been trying their level best to avoid any civilian casualty despite huge provocation,’’ he said. “I know that the youth are angry. But attacking security forces, throwing stones at us isn’t the way”.Asked about Army’s current muscular policy, General Rawat said: “Army did try a soft approach too.Until June 2016, everything was fine. What is that incited people so much because of that one encounter? (in which Wani was killed). Everything was turned upside down in a few days time. The entire South Kashmir was out in the streets, throwing stones at us, attacking our posts. By Oct-Nov, I was getting messages that people say Azadi dur nahi hai (Azadi isn’t far away). Somebody was feeding this to people, telling them Azadi was around the corner.Our posts were being regularly attacked. Stones were being pelted at our men. We had to bring the situation under control. We couldn’t afford all that. We needed to tell people Azadi isn’t happening. We had to establish the writ (of the state)”.indianexpress
J&K parties for halting security ops during Ramzan, Amarnath Yatra
Srinagar:All-party meet in J&K on Wednesday advocated that the Centre should go for unilateral ceasefire during the forthcoming Muslim holy month of Ramzan and ensuing Amarnath Yatra so that common people get some relief from the ongoing bloodshed in the Valley. CM Mehbooba Mufti had convened the meeting to discuss the worsening situation in the Valley that has seen frequent gunfights between militants and security forces and deaths of civilians in clashes during protests near these encounters. A tourist was killed on Monday in a stone-pelting incident near Srinagar. “Everybody agreed that we should appeal to the central Govt to consider unilateral ceasefire during Ramzan, Amarnath Yatra and Eid like it had happened at the time of i Vajpayee Govt (Nov.2000) so that common people get some relief,” Mufti told reporters after meeting. Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq dubbed all-party convened by Mehbooba as a farce to mislead people into believing that Govt is serious or can do something to bring people out of the current oppressive state.HT
‘Ceasefire will wash away Army’s efforts,’ says BJP as it rejects Mehbooba’s bid for peace
Ruling PDP’s alliance partner BJP Thursday refused to support calls for a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir during Ramzan.The refusal came a day after J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti said all parties in the state agreed to the move.Mehbooba had made the statement after an all-party meeting convened to discuss the worsening security situation in the state amid civilian deaths in encounters and the general turmoil. She said the parties would make an appeal to the union Govt “to consider a unilateral ceasefire on the lines of Vajpayee’s, so that the people of Kashmir have some relief from encounters and search operations”. Meeting also pushed for dialogue with Pakistan. BJP said such a ceasefire would go against the “national interest” and “could wash away Army’s efforts” in the state.“We are in complete disagreement and CM cannot pressure us on this,”J&K BJP spokesperson Sunil Sethi said.
Student with ‘Indian-occupied Kashmir’ in Twitter bio seeks Sushma’s help, no place like that,she says
New Delhi:A student from J&K  with “Indian occupied Kashmir” set as his Twitter location was schooled by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday after he asked for help from the Philippines.Sheikh Ateeq, who tweets from his @SAteEQ019, requested Swaraj to help him with getting a new passport and said he needed to get back to his “home, India” as his health was deteriorating.“I am from J&K doing medicine course here in Philippines my passport got damaged I applied for new one 1 month ago I request u pls help me to get it as i literally need to go home for medical checkup (sic),” Ateeq tweeted. Swaraj, who actively addresses people’s grievances on Twitter, replied to Ateeq saying she would have helped him if he belonged to the state of J&K.“Your profile says you are from ‘Indian occupied Kashmir’. There is no place like that,” Swaraj tweeted.HT
I won’t leave Gorakhpur, nor India; my soul resides in this soil: Dr Kafeel Khan
New Delhi: Though the unjustified action by UP  CM  Yogi Adityanath leading to his arrest and imprisonment for eight months financially devastated the family of Dr. Kafeel Ahmad Khan, the same seems to have made Dr. Khan very strong and determined to do something big for the encephalitis-affected children of Gorakhpur.“My family suffered a lot. The business of my brother was closed. My brother-in-law shut down his own business.They were running from one police station to another, from Gorakhpur to Lucknow to Allahabad.They approached all and begged for mercy for me. They asked why I was being targeted when I had done nothing wrong. But none heeded. My mother and my wife met CM  Yogi Adityanath twice. All said I will get justice. But justice took such a long time,” said Dr. Kafeel while interacting with press in the national capital, first time after his release from Gorakhpur jail.Caravan
Impossible to believe Aligarh BJP MP unaware of Jinnah portrait: AMU union
Aligarh: AMU students’ union has said it was “impossible to believe” that BJP MP who triggered a row over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the campus was unaware of it till recently.Students’ union secretary Mohammad Fahad said a RTI reply confirming the existence of the Pakistan founder’s portrait was sent last year to all members of AMU court, which includes Aligarh MP Satish Gautam.RTI activist Alok Kumar had filed a query last August asking AMU to confirm whether such a photograph existed.An AMU spokesman confirmed that the query had been received by the university and was then forwarded to the students’ union. Answer to this RTI query was distributed to all members of AMU court, the union said on Tuesday.The reports on RTI query had then stirred a controversy and MP should have raised the issue then at the university court, the institution’s highest governing body, instead of waiting for nearly 8 months, Fahad said.The university said portraits of all students’ union life members hang on the walls of its office.Jurist Faizan Mustafa said that contrary to the notion spread by some forces, Muslim youth today nurse “a very strong grievance” against Jinnah for “dividing Indian Muslims into 3 countries”.HT
Amid row over Jinnah portrait, a Gandhi plaque at Karachi commerce chamber
Amid a controversy in India over the demand for removing a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah from AMU, an ornate building in the port city of Karachi proudly flaunts its connection with Mahatma Gandhi.Standing tall between 2 of Karachi’s main thoroughfares — MA Jinnah Road and II Chundrigar Road – is the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Within the sandstone structure, built with material brought from as far as Jodhpur, is the original foundation stone which states that it was laid by Mahatma Gandhi in July 1934. At the time, the representative body of the southern city’s business community was known as the Karachi Indian Merchants Association.HT
3 yrs after beef ban, slaughter of buffaloes in Maharashtra at an all-time high
Pune : 3 years after Maharashtra effected a ban on beef, slaughter of buffaloes is reportedly touching an all-time high in the state. Figures collected by the department of animal husbandry revealed that, last year, 9,61,516 buffaloes were slaughtered for human consumption — as against 6,13,134 animals culled in 2014-15 —year ban was implemented. Concerns were raised from various quarters when the Devendra Fadnavis-led Govt had obtained the Presidential nod for banning slaughter of animals belonging to the cow progeny in the state in March 2015. The government, through an Amendment to Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976, had banned the slaughter of bulls, bullocks, ox and oxens for meat. Figures suggest that prior to the ban, on an average, 3 to 4 lakh such animals, along with an equal number of buffaloes, were slaughtered for human consumption. Currently, such slaughter carries a jail term of 5 years.indianexpress
After Red Fort’s corporate takeover, govt adopts RSS’ memorial
3 days after the Modi Govt leased the iconic Red Fort to Dalmia Bharat Group under the “Adopt a heritage” scheme, BJP Govt in Maharashtra accorded Grade C tourism status to KB Hedgewar Smruti Mandir in Nagpur. 78-year-old building is known to house the memorial of RSS founder KB Hedgewar.Located in the Resham Bagh area of Nagpur, Hedgewar Smruti Mandir is headed by the grandson of second RSS Sarsanghchalak chief MS Golwalkar.The district administration of Nagpur had issued a notification of granting the status on April 17, 2018, three days before the Red Fort was leased to Dalmia Bharat Group in Delhi.nationalheraldindia
Suicide abetment case: Congress asks why Arnab Goswami is free without anticipatory bail
Congress questioned police inaction against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami over an abetment to suicide case, asking why he was still roaming free without any anticipatory bail.Police had registered a case under Section 306 of IPC against Goswami and 2 others on Tuesday after an interior designer, Anvay Naik (53), allegedly committed suicide along with his mother, over "non-payment" of dues.Police, however, haven’t arrested the accused persons so far.Naik’s wife Akshata Anvi Naik (48) had eventually lodged a police complaint.  A suicide note purportedly written by Naik, MD of Concorde Designs Private Limited, stated that he was forced to take his life as he was not paid his ₹5.40-crore dues by the 3.nationalheraldindia
UP: Mosque caretaker murdered inside premises
 A caretaker of a mosque in UP 's Kakori area was found dead inside the mosque premises, on Wednesday.60-year-old caretaker, identified as Imtiyaz, was found with his throat slit. He had been living in the mosque for four years. Police reached the site and have begun probe into the case. ANI
Mahathir-led Malaysia's opposition pulls off shocking poll win, ending 60-yrs reign of ruling party; says will work for pardoning Anwar Ibrahim
An opposition alliance led by Malaysia's former ruler Mahathir Mohamad has won a majority in parliament - a shock victory that ends the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition's 60-year grip on power. The opposition won 113 seats - one more than required for simple majority - and the BN has 79 in the 222-member parliament, according to official results announced on Thursday.The election race was one of the most closely contested in Malaysia's history, with 92-year-old Mahathir coming out of retirement to take on his former protege, PM Najib Razak, who has been embroiled in a massive corruption scandal.Mahathir called for the PM  to be appointed immediately, stressing that Najib's role as an interim Govt in "now over"."We need to form a Govt now, today," the 92-year-old added.As the Pakatan Harapan or Alliance of Hope's win became clear, supporters took to social media and the streets of Malaysia's biggest city, Kuala Lumpur, waving flags of opposition. Mahathir turned against Najib in the wake of the financial scandal at 1MDB, calling his role in Najib's rise "biggest mistake of my life".The former ruler then teamed up with an alliance of parties that opposed him when he was in power. That included opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, his former deputy who was jailed for sodomy and corruption - charges Anwar maintains were politically motivated after he and Mahathir fell out in the late 1990s.  After claiming victory, Mahathir told reporters he will work on obtaining a royal pardon for Anwar, who is serving a 5-year prison sentence."Once [Anwar] is pardoned, he will be eligible to stand as PM . But he still must stand for elections to be an MP," Mahathir was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.aljazeera
Mahathir Mohamad: A stunning comeback for Malaysia's ex-leader
Militants Kill 15 in Afghan Attacks, as Taliban Expand Their Control:NYT
Kabul:Insurgents killed at least 15 people in 3 separate attacks in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and 6 policemen died in an airstrike for which officials blamed American military, illustrating the precarious security situation in a country wracked by years of fighting.The attacks came a day after two rural northern districts fell to the Taliban, expanding the territory controlled by that militant group. Gunmen and suicide bombers launched what appeared to be simultaneous assaults in the capital, Kabul — one close to the offices of the Asian Development Bank, in the downtown Shar-e Naw neighborhood, and the other in the western part of the city at a police headquarters. Those attacks killed at least 7 people and wounded 17 others, according to Wahidullah Majroh, the spokesman for the Afghan Public Health Ministry.Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told a group on the WhatsApp messaging service that the attack had been aimed at the Afghan intelligence agency, near the bank.In Badghis Province, the Taliban killed 8 policemen, according to Abdul Basat Sarem, a member of the provincial council. The insurgents attacked a police base that had been established to guard a voter registration center; many such centers have been attacked.Also in Badghis, local authorities reported that an airstrike, which they attributed to American forces, killed six policemen. An American military spokesman said the episode was under investigation.NYT
Taliban advance in Afghan province where Indians were abducted
New Delhi:A key district in Afghan province of Baghlan, where 7 Indians were abducted on Sunday, has fallen to Taliban, increasing concerns about security in the region.Taliban overran Tala Barfaak district in the northern province on Tuesday after fighting left at least 15 Afghan troops dead. Another 100 troops were reported missing, Afghan media quoted local MP Muhammad Azim Muhseni as saying.Taliban also seized weapons and armoured vehicles. 2 other districts were seized by the militants in the past fortnight and several more have been threatened, according to The Long War Journal, which closely tracks the security situation in Afghanistan.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced that the district centre and police HQRS in Tala Barfaak had been overrun by the group’s fighters on Tuesday.Though no group has claimed responsibility for the abduction of the Indians, Afghan officials have blamed the Taliban. HT
Iran targets Israeli bases across Syrian frontier, Israel pounds Syria
Jerusalem/Beirut:Iranian forces in Syria launched a rocket attack on Israeli army bases in the Golan Heights early on Thursday, Israel said, prompting one of the heaviest Israeli barrages in Syria since the conflict there began in 2011.The attack on Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, just past midnight, marked the first time Iranian forces have hit Israel from Syria, where they have deployed along with Iran-backed Shi’ite militias and Russian troops to support President Bashar al-Assad in the seven-year-old civil war.Syrian state media said dozens of Israeli missile strikes hit a radar station, Syrian air defence positions and an ammunition dump, underscoring the risks of a wider escalation involving Iran and its regional allies.Israel said the Iranian salvo of 20 Grad and Fajr rockets were shot down by its Iron Dome air defence system or fell short of the Golan targets. Quds Force,an external arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, carried out the launch, Israel said.“It was commanded and ordered by (Quds Force chief General) Qassem Soleimani and its has not achieved its purpose,” military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters.Israel struck back by destroying dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria, Conricus said, as well as Syrian anti-aircraft units that tried unsuccessfully to shoot down Israeli planes.“We do not know yet the (Iranian) casualty count,” he said.“But I can say that in terms of our purpose, we focussed less on personnel and more on capabilities and hardware ... to inflict long-term damage on the Iranian military establishment in Syria. We assess it will take substantial time to replenish.”Thursday’s flare-up came hours after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu returned from a visit to Moscow, where he discussed Syria concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Reuters
Israel says it hit Iranian military targets in Syria
Israeli army said on Thursday it hit dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria overnight, accusing Tehran of launching rocket and missile attack towards its forces in the occupied Golan Heights."The (Israeli military) has struck dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria," Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists. He said they targeted intelligence, logistics, storage and vehicles as well as the origin of the rockets.aljazeera
'Blatant theft': Syrians denounce Absentee Property Law
As the deadline for a new law that requires citizens of Syria to register their property draws to a close on Thursday, many of the 12 million refugees and displaced Syrians are decrying the impossibility of the task.Absentee Property Law, or Law Number 10, was decreed at the beginning of April by President Bashar al-Assad, and gave citizens 30 days to register property with the ministry of local administration or risk confiscation.However, many Syrians who were forcibly displaced see this as a deliberate scheme by the Govt to strip them of their land and homes, as they say it is impossible to return as the seven-year war rages on."This is blatant theft," said Nawras al-Bourdani to Al Jazeera. "Our inability to defend our properties has given the regime the chance to take revenge on those who do not support it."aljazeera
Netanyahu seeks understanding on Iran with Putin
Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin Wednesday on a day marking Russia's World War II victory over Germany, stressing to him Iran's similarities to the Nazi regime and Israel's right to defend itself against it."We in Israel do not forget for a moment the great sacrifice of the Russian people and the Red Army in the victory over the Nazi monster," Netanyahu remarked at the beginning of their meeting, ahead of a parade commemorating the occasion."Neither do we forget the great lesson of the need to stand against a murderous ideology in time," he continued. "It is unbelievable, but 73 years after the Holocaust, there is a country in the Middle East, Iran, that is calling for the destruction of anther 6 million Jews.""I'm excited to participate, as President Putin's honored guest, in the parade commemorating victory over Nazi Germany in Moscow today," Netanyahu said at the ceremony."I was very moved to hear the 'Tikvah' (Israel's national anthem) at the Red Square," Netanyahu added. "I salute the heroism of hundreds of thousands of Jews who fought in the ranks of the Red Army and in other allied armies.ynetnews
HRW: Israel attempting to shut down human rights record criticism
A prominent human rights group accused Israel of attempting to "shut down criticism" of its rights record after its local director was ordered to leave the country within 14 days.Israel's interior ministry opted not to sign off on a work permit renewal of Omar Shakir - Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine director - on May 7 over his alleged support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.Both HRW and Shakir deny having any part in the movement. Israel considers BDS - which demands an end to the occupation of Palestine, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees to their homes - to be anti-Jewish.Iain Levine from Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Tuesday the move was an attempt to "muzzle" the NGO.HRW's Executive Director Kenneth Roth accused Israel of trying to "silence" the organisation.In a joint statement on Wednesday, 15 Israeli human rights groups condemned Israel's decision to expel Shakir.aljazeera
Saudi will seek N weapon if Iran does: minister
Saudi Arabia will seek to develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran does, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN on Wednesday, amid spiraling tension between the regional rivals. Asked whether Riyadh would “build a bomb itself” if Tehran seizes on Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran deal to resume a nuclear weapons program,Jubeir said:“If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same.”Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has long said it would match any Iranian weapons development, but Jubeir’s renewed vow came after US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of an accord designed to prevent Tehran’s alleged quest for bomb.
Berlin court bars woman with Muslim headscarf from teaching primary school
Berlin: A Berlin labour court today found the city was right to bar a teacher who wears a Muslim headscarf from teaching primary school classes, rejecting her discrimination complaint.Justice Arne Boyer ruled that the city state's so-called neutrality law, which bars the wearing of overt religious symbols and clothing for state employees on duty, weighed stronger than the right to free religious expression.It found however that the young woman, who was not publicly named and did not appear at the court hearing, is allowed to continue teaching older vocational students in a Berlin public secondary school.AFP
N. Korea frees US prisoners before Trump-Kim summit
North Korea released 3 US citizens from prison following a visit to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in advance of an historic meeting between both countries' leaders.The 3 Americans appear in "good health",US President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.Trump added the time and date for the future meeting between himself and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had been "set".3men travelled back to US alongside Pompeo, who was in Pyongyang to arrange the planned US-North Korea nuclear summit. They're expected to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland early Thursday.Trump said he will "be there to greet them". A White House statement on Wednesday said Trump appreciated Kim's decision to free Americans and views it as "a positive gesture of goodwill". The prisoners' release marks the latest development in improving US-North Korea relations in the run-up to Trump and Kim's summit.aljazeera
Trump's nominee to head CIA, Gina Haspel vows CIA will not engage in torture
US President Donald Trump's nominee to head the CIA has vowed the spy agency will "never, ever" resume a programme of harsh interrogations, often denounced as torture, under her watch.Gina Haspel, who is facing opposition over her role at a secret CIA prison in Thailand in 2002, told her Senate confirmation hearing the spy agency learned "tough lessons" from its use of harsh detention and interrogation tactics on "terror" suspects after Sept. 11 attacks.Haspel, an undercover agent for most of her more than 30-year career, faces what will likely be a close confirmation vote in the full Senate.That is in part because she was chief of a base in Thailand, where the agency ran one of the secret "black" prisons where suspected al-Qaeda detainees were interrogated using methods that included waterboarding, as well as the destruction of videotapes documenting the tactics.Haspel's testimony was interrupted by a protester who yelled, "Bloody Gina" and "You are a torturer," before being removed by police. Before the hearing, a small group of protesters shouted, "Say 'no' to torture," before also being removed.Haspel needs 51 votes to be confirmed as the first woman director of CIA in the 100-seat Senate, where Trump's fellow Republicans hold a 51-49 majority.aljazeera
Pakistan's parliament passes new law according transgender citizens right to self-identify
Pakistan's parliament has passed a law guaranteeing basic rights for transgender citizens and outlawing discrimination by both employers and private business owners.Members of parliament voted to pass the wide-ranging Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday.The law accords citizens the right to self-identify as male, female or a blend of both genders, and to have that identity registered on all official documents, including National Identification Cards, passports, driver's licenses and education certificates.The law guarantees citizens the right to express their gender as they wish, and to a gender identity that is defined as "a person's innermost and individual sense of self as male, female or a blend of both, or neither; that can correspond or not to the sex assigned at birth".aljazeera
Karnataka: 6 reasons why BJP is set to lose Karnataka: Six reasons why BJP is set to lose:SUDIEP SHRIVASTAVA
Manmohan explains real reason why RSS arthashastra isn’t working:Raman Swamy
Karnataka elections: Election Commission proving to be a lame duck:
US sanctions on Iran threaten PM Modi’s major foreign policy achievement:DHAIRYA MAHESHWARI
Eclipsing Factionalism: The Missing Story from the Gaza Protests:RAMZY BAROUD
Remember, Kashmir Tends to Be the Graveyard of All Reputations:GOWHAR GEELANI
UK silence on Israel's detention of Palestinian children

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 4:13 PM)


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