20 December 2018

20 DEC. ND:Ex Union Minister Kushwaha joins UPA, becomes part of grand alliance in Bihar/Delhi HC reserves order on CBI Special Director Asthana’s plea seeking quashing of FIR/ US announces complete withdrawal of troops from Syria

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
20 Dec. 2018:12 Rabiul-II 1440: Vol: 11, No:80
Ex Union Minister Kushwaha joins UPA, becomes part of grand alliance in Bihar
New Delhi:RLSP  joined UPA Thursday, becoming part of a grand alliance in Bihar. Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP had pulled out of the NDA on December 10 after disagreements over seat sharing for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.The former Union minister joined the UPA after holding talks with the Congress leadership. “We had said that we have many options and UPA was one of them.The wholeheartedness shown by Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Yadav is one of the reasons I joined but the biggest reason I’m here is the people of Bihar,” ANI quoted him as saying.Kushwaha announced his decision at the AICC headquarters in Delhi in the presence of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, AICC state in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav and opposition leader Sharad Yadav. Welcoming Kushwaha to UPA fold, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said: There is a gathbandhan in Bihar, it’s a matter of happiness that Upendra Kushwaha is joining mahagathbandhan.” Sources said Kushwaha has been offered four or five seats to contest in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Kushwaha’s joining the UPA is likely to give a boost to the formation of a grand alliance in Bihar to counter the NDA combine of BJP-Janata Dal(U)-Lok Janshakti Party. Congress, RJD, ex Bihar CM  Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) are already part of UPA in Bihar and are seeking to give a fight to NDA in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Kushwaha had quit from his post as Union Minister of State for HRD and walked out of NDA alliance in Bihar and at the Centre. In his resignation letter sent to Narendra Modi, he said he felt “dejected, betrayed” by PM’s leadership.indianexpress
Delhi HC reserves order on CBI Special Director Asthana’s plea seeking quashing of FIR
New Delhi The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on petitions of CBI special Director Rakesh Asthana and DSP Devender Kumar seeking the quashing of FIR against them on bribery allegations.CBI Director Alok Verma maintained that all mandatory procedures of law were followed while registering an FIR against Asthana on bribery allegations. The complainant, Sathish Babu Sana, also made allegations of corruption, extortion, high-handedness and serious malpractice against Asthana. The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed a curative petition challenging the appointment of Asthana as the special director of CBI. The court ordered, “We have gone through the curative petition and connected papers. In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this court (in a 2002 case).Hence,curative petition is dismissed.” Verma and his deputy, CBI special director Asthana, were sent on leave by the Centre after a feud between the two came out in public,with both levelling serious accusations of corruption against each other.indianexpress
Rafale deal: Congress leader Moily accuses IAF chief of lying, suppressing the truth
New Delhi: A day after Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said that the Supreme Court has given a "fine judgment" on the Rafale jet deal, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily on Thursday accused IAF chief of "lying and suppressing the truth"."In Govt  records, defence ministry and IAF chief wanted HAL to be involved. IAF chief at that time visited HAL with Dassault and found it (HAL) competent and declared that they have expertise. I think IAF chief (Dhanoa) is not fine, he is lying, he is suppressing the truth," said Moily. Moily's remarks follows Congress' allegations that the Modi Govt  had favored Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as Dassault Aviation's offset partner in place of state-owned HAL. Congress has also alleged irregularities in the deal for 36 aircraft, claiming that the Govt is buying them from France at a price much higher than the one that was being negotiated by the previous UPA Govt.TOI
2016 Latehar lynching case: 8 men, who killed two Muslim cattle traders, convicted by Jharkhand court
A local court in Latehar district, Jharkhand held 8 men guilty of lynching 2 Muslim cattle herders to death in March 2016. 8 men, out of which 5 were arrested and three surrendered earlier but were released on bail later, were sent to jail by first class judicial magistrate until the quantum of punishment is pronounced later this week.Earlier in March 2016, Mazlum Ansari (32) and Imteyaz Khan (13) were beaten to a pulp by a frenzied mob and then hanged from a tree in Latehar. 5 of the 8 accused – Mithilesh Prasad Sahu, Pramod Kumar Sahu, Manoj Kumar Sahu, Awadhesh Sahu, Manoj Sahu, Arun Sao, Vishal Tiwary, and Shahdev Soni – were arrested by the police within 24 hours of the crime while the remaining three surrendered to a local court. All of them were released on a bail later. According to the deceased families, both Ansari and Khan were taking their cattle for sale to a nearby village fair but were stopped by a group of men on the way. It was there that they were brutally thrashed by the group and hung from a tree for all to see.Latehar lynching triggered a series of violent hate crimes across the state where several Muslim cattle traders fell prey to cow vigilantism. After much protests across the country, the Supreme Court intervened and urged Centre to enact separate laws to prevent such mob violence.NewsX
Naseeruddin Shah on Bulandshahr violence: Cow’s death more significant than death of police officer
New Delhi :Referring to the Bulandshahr violence where a policeman lost his life to mob fury over alleged cow slaughter earlier this month, veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah has expressed concerns over how “the death of a cow has more significant than that of a police officer” and how he doesn’t see “the situation improving anytime soon”. “In many areas, we are witnessing that the death of a cow has more significant than that of a police officer,” Shah said.The actor was speaking to Karwan-e-Mohabbat India when he also expressed concerns over the “impunity provided for those who take the law into their hands”.“The poison has already spread and it is difficult to put this jinn back into the bottle. There is complete impunity for those who take law into their own hands,” he said.In the two-minute-ten-second video, Shah also expressed fears over his children’s response if they were asked about their religion. “I feel worried about my children. They do not have a religion. I had received religious education as a child. Ratna (his wife who is a Hindu) belongs to a liberal household, so she had received none,” he said.indianexpress
‘You care about death of 2 men but not 21 cows?’ BJP MLA hits out at ex-civil servants
Bulandshahr legislator Sanjay Singh has called the open letter by 82 civil servants demanding UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s resignation ‘politically motivated’.New Delhi: Two days after 82 former civil servants sought UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s resignation for his “failure to abide by the Constitution”, in light of the recent mob violence over alleged cow slaughter in Bulandshahr, the BJP MLA from the area has hit back.In the letter released Thursday, Sanjay Singh questioned the retired civil servants for noticing the death of two men, but ignoring the fate of 21 cows who also allegedly lost their lives.Alleging that the signatories had political ambitions, he also asked them to “have the guts to contest an election”. Ex civil servants had written to PM  Narendra Modi Tuesday, demanding the resignation of Adityanath. “CM of the state acts as a high priest of agenda of bigotry and majoritarian supremacy — an agenda which now seems to take precedence over everything else,” they had written.theprint
Bulandshahr Violence: No Fair Probe; Police Under Pressure, Says Ex DGP
New Delhi:It has been more than two weeks but there is still no trace of the prime accused in the Bulandshahr violence, who are responsible for two deaths, one of the killed being an inspector – Subodh Kumar Singh, investigating the Dadri lynching case. The violence had been sparked in the name of alleged cow slaughter. However, the police claim to have arrested the three accused of slaughtering cow – Nadeem, Raees and Kala. They also have recovered a Gypsy, two double barrel guns, meat chopper, knives and a wooden block from the accused. Action perhaps comes in accordance with the order of UP  CM  Yogi Adityanath, who had ordered the police to take strict action against those involved in cow slaughter. Following which the police had arrested four – Yasin Khan and Mohd Hussain, residents of Naya Bans village, the two accused were 2 minors – Sarfuddin (11) and Parvez (12).Caravan News
Bulandshahr: Families of men held wrongly run up debts, struggle
Bulandshahr :For 2 days, Sabir has been sitting on the footpath outside the Bulandshahr District Jail. He borrowed Rs 800 from relatives for the 100-km journey from his home in Faridabad to the jail and barely notices the winter chill in the open.He is anxious only about meeting his son Sajid, who was arrested a day after Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a civilian, Sumit Kumar, were killed in mob violence on December 3 during protests against alleged cow slaughter near Siyana village. Sajid and 3 others — Sarfuddin, Asif and Nanhe — arrested on charges of cow slaughter a day after the mob violence were given a clean chit by the police and are expected to be released soon. Bulandshahr SSP Prabhakar Chaudhary had said that the four men were “innocent” and police have arrested three others for the alleged cow slaughter.The police’s acknowledgement that the four men were innocent has their families relieved but deep in debt after borrowing money from relatives and neighbours to pay for legal fees and frequent trips to the jail, court and police station. According to Sabir, his family left Siyana village 12 years ago. “We kept on saying that he (Sajid) wasn’t even present during the killings. The police did not pay heed. I have spent more than Rs 50,000 in the last two weeks on food, lodging and transport to visit the jail and police station multiple times. Even today, my cousin had to borrow Rs 800 on my behalf to sponsor the visit. This entire ordeal has set us back by 6 months. Our businesses have stopped.”indianexpress
Allahabad HC dismisses plea for namaz at Ayodhya disputed site, fines petitioner Rs 5 lakh
Lucknow: Allahabad high court today rejected a petition seeking permission to offer namaz at the disputed site in Ayodhya while imposing a fine of Rs 5 lakh on petitioner saying the appeal was filed for “cheap publicity”. Justices D.K. Arora and Alok Mathur of the Lucknow bench of the high court passed the order on the petition of Al-Rahman Trust, which had requested the court to give permission to offer namaz at the disputed site.The court termed the petition as an attempt to gain “cheap publicity” and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the petitioner. The court directed District Magistrate Faizabad to realise the fine amount if it is not deposited by the Trust.PTI
BJP wants mandir in Ayodhya at 'exact spot':A.Shah
New Delhi: Amit Shah has joined a growing list of Sangh parivar affiliates to demand that the Ayodhya title suit be disposed at the earliest. Shah said that his party wanted a “grand temple” at the “exact spot” and felt if the Supreme Court held “day-to-day hearings”, the verdict could be issued within ten days.Shah was confident that the hearings would begin in Jan.2019 and “whatever the decision”, the apex court should rule on it quickly. He claimed that crores of people, not just his party, wanted to see a “grand temple” built at Ayodhya.Earlier in Oct, the SC said that the Ayodhya title suit would only be listed before an appropriate bench in January 2019.“Ayodhya is a title issue. BJP clearly states that we want to build a grand Ram temple at the exact spot and it is the demand of the entire nation… The case was pending before the Supreme Court much before 2014. Lawyers of both the Centre and UP Govt  requested the court to give priority to the case,” Shah said. thewire
RSS chief leads closed-door dharm sabha in Rajkot for Ram temple construction at Ayodhya
Ahmedabad:In a bid to further push the demand for Ram temple construction in Ayodhya, a 2-day closed-door dharm sabha led by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat began in Gujarat’s Rajkot city today.Arsh Vidya Mandir, an ashram near Saurashtra University campus on the outskirts of Rajkot, is the venue for the meet. Unlike Ayodhya’s dharm sabha last month, which was a public event, in Rajkot, the BJP and RSS top leadership will get together with over 150 saints to brainstorm. Sources have maintained that Ram temple construction is on the agenda.BJP functionaries familiar with the matter said party’s president Amit Shah and CM Yogi Adityanath will join Bhagwat and others on Friday.HT
Modi govt has no data on farmer suicides, says agriculture minister Radhamohan Singh
In an attempt to remain in a state of denial, Modi-led Govt has said it has no data on farmer suicides after 2015. Union agriculture minister, Radhamohan Singh said this in Parliament at a time when the country is going through agrarian crisis and poor crop prices have hit farmers in several states.Radhamohan Singh informed Parliament on Tuesday that NCRB which publishes such data, has not done it since 2016.The Union minister was replying to a question by Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, who had asked details about the number of farmers who had committed suicide since 2016, and whether Govt planned to rehabilitate their families."NCRB under the Ministry of Home Affairs compiles and disseminates information on suicides... These reports on suicides are available up to 2015 on its website. The reports for the year 2016 onwards have not been published yet," the minister said in a written reply.
President’s rule imposed in J&K
As J&K completed 6 months under Governor’s rule, President Ram Nath Kovind last night imposed President’s rule in the state. Kovind signed the proclamation for imposition of Central rule in the state, which plunged into a political crisis in June after the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition Govt collapsed. After 1996, this is the first time the Central rule has been imposed in the militancy-hit state.indianexpress
If elected to power in J&K, will bring resolution of regional autonomy: NC Chief Farooq Abdullah
Jammu :Former CM and NC president Farooq Abdullah Thursday promised that if NC is voted to power in J&K , he will bring a resolution of regional autonomy within 30 days of its forming the Govt .“Today I promise you that if with the grace of God, National Conference came to power, it will bring resolution of regional autonomy within 30 days of its Govt formation", Farooq said while welcoming ex RS Pura MLA Gagan Bhagat, who was recently expelled from party by BJP on charges of “immorality’’ and “indiscipline’’.The document on regional autonomy has been prepared, he said, adding that it will meet the aspiration of people in all the regions of the state. “We have to empower all the three regions of the state and I hope that you people will work to meet their aspirations,” he added.indianexpress
Hansraj Ahir: No provision in Constitution to deal with elements raising anti-India slogans
New Delhi :Constitution does not have any provision to deal with anti-national elements raising slogans against India, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir said on Wednesday. Some residents of J&K  have been influenced by elements inimical to national interests, the minister said in the Rajya Sabha, adding that J&K  has been affected by terrorist and secessionist violence that is supported from across the border for more than two-and-a-half decades.“The Constitution of India does not have any provision to deal with anti-nationalists raising slogans against India, stone pelting on Indian Army and paramilitary forces etc. However, such offenders are dealt with as per the provisions of relevant laws applicable in J&K ,” the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs said in reply to a written question.indianexpress
BJP Allowed Rath Yatras In Bengal, HC Asks State To Keep Order
Kolkata: 3 BJP 'rath yatras', expected to crisscross Bengal ahead of next year's general elections, received a green signal from the Calcutta high court today. The court scrapped the objections of the Mamata Banerjee's Govt, which had claimed that the yatras could trigger communal tensions. The administration was asked to ensure there was no breach of law and order.  The judgment from the division bench overturns an earlier ruling from the court that had refused permission for the rally. Later,state BJP had appealed again. Congratulating the state BJP on the judgment, Union minister Arun Jaitley tweeted:"If any NDA/BJP Govt  had stopped an opposition Programme, it would have been called an "Undeclared Emergency". Why Silence now?" BJP has planned three "Save Democracy" rallies:One from Cooch Behar in the northern part of the state, one from Kakdwip, in the extreme southern part and one from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district, which would converge in Kolkata for a massive rally.Together, the rallies are expected to cover all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bengal -- one of the several non-BJP states, where the party hopes to expand its footprint. There are expectations that PM  Narendra Modi will visit the state to attend one of the marches.ndtv
BJP leader Bukkal Nawab  believes Hanuman is Muslim, he has his reasons!
BJP’s Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Bukkal Nawab today claimed that Hanuman was a Muslim. He said that there are several Muslim names that rhyme with Hanuman like Rehman, Ramzan, Zeeshan, Qurban, Farman and so on. Nawab added that had Hanuman not existed, there would have been no such names in existence today which Muslims use.In another incident, it was not long ago when UP  CM  and another BJP leader Yogi Adityanath told Congress that the grand old party can keep Ali (4th Caliph in Islam and Muhammad’s son-in-law) because Yogi and his party has Bajrangbali (Hanuman).During a rally before Assembly elections in Rajasthan, it was Yogi Adityanath only who took his claims on Lord Hanuman a little too far when he claimed that the deity was a Dalit. UP CM said that Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. “Bajrang Bali worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west,”added Adityanath.From a long time, prominent BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has been asking the Muslims of India to accept that they are Hindus. He has reasoned that India has been a Hindu country ever since its inception and all the dwellers of the country were once Hindus. He has given many explanations to corroborate his theory but the debate still rages on.newsx
Karnataka seer plotted food poisoning to oust temple trustee
Chamarajanagar: Determined to oust a temple trustee and wrest control of funds, a seer hatched a devious plot to poison devotees of the Kichguth Maramma temple in Sulwadi village in Kollegal, police said on Wednesday.At the seer’s behest, his lover, her husband and the priest of a nearby temple poisoned the prasada on December 14 which led to the death of 15 people and left over 100 devotees in hospital. The seer, Immadi Mahadeva Swami, and his 3 accomplices have been arrested. They have been booked for murder which is punishable with death.While the seer, who is the junior pointiff of Salur Mutt in Kollegal taluk, tried to mislead investigators, what helped police crack the case was the suspicious visit of an agricultural officer to the house of Ambika, the seer’s lover, eight days before the incident. The officer, a relative of Ambika, told police that he had given her two 500ml bottles of insecticide. Ambika had told him that she needed it for her garden plants.TOI
Targeting of Manipur Journalist under NSA for Criticising CM Condemned
New Delhi: Several senior journalists, a former judge of Supreme Court and political parties have condemned targeting of a Manipur journalist by the state BJP Govt  for criticising the CM . They have posted their comments on social media platforms. Kishorechandra Wangkhem, a 45-year-old staff reporter of a local cable network, ISTV, who was detained under NSA in last week of November by the BJP-led coalition Govt  in Manipur, has been sentenced to a 12-month jail term by a local court. The court sentencing came after he was arrested a second time within 24 hours over a Facebook post in which he had mocked PM  Narendra Modi and Manipur CM  N. Biren calling Biren the "puppet" of Modi. His first arrest was also for attacking the BJP.Reacting over the arrest of the journalist under NSA, senior journalist and Founder Editor of The Wire, Siddharth Varadarajan said: “Outrageous assault on media freedom.Using the NSA when the courts say the cops don’t have a case is nothing but the abuse of law.”Another senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai commented: “An absolute shocker: shame on the Manipur Govt. How can they be allowed to get away like this?”Journalist Kanchan Gupta demanded the state Govt  to drop the charges against the journalist. “Unless there is more to this story, a wise State Govt would drop charges and set him free.Bluster on Facebook is not a crime.”India Tomorrow
Sohrabuddin Fake Encounter Case: Key Witness Wants to Be 'Re-Examined'
Mumbai: Just 2-days before the special CBI court is scheduled to pass a verdict in alleged fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausarbi and Tulsiram Prajapati, a key witness has moved the court seeking re-examination.Azam Khan, an associate of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram, filed a plea before the special CBI court on December 19, stating that he had faced “unrelenting torture” for 20 days prior to appearing before the court as a witness.In a 22-page application, Khan claimed that because of threats and torture, he was scared to name IPS officers and politicians during his deposition before the court last month. Khan claims his testimony is “incomplete” and sought to be recalled as a witness. He wanted to be provided with security to ensure he is not threatened again.He singled out prime accused Abdul Rehman, a Rajasthan police officer who had allegedly fired at Sohrabuddin. Azam Khan, in his application stated that, “While he (Khan) was able to name one retired IPS officer, he was scared to name other IPS officers and politicians after he was threatened by accused Abdul Rehman (Rajasthan policeman) on the morning of his deposition.”Before his deposition on Nov.3, Khan alleges he was kept in a hotel in south Mumbai and then taken into an SUV car in which Rehman was already present. Rehman allegedly threatened him and asked for a favourable deposition. If he failed to do, Rehman threatened to implicate Khan in false cases.thewire
Goa: Nuns can wear headgear but I can’t says Hijabi woman
Panaji: A Merces-based young Muslim woman has taken to social media to raise her voice against alleged discrimination she faced in Goa from different authorities for choosing to wear a hijab, while she claimed nuns were allowed to keep their headgear on.A writer and a postgraduate psychology degree holder, 24-year-old Safina Khan Soudagar, is currently busy gathering support from Muslims, after she claimed to have been unable to answer NET, allegedly because she was asked to take her hijab off to be able to meet the test rules. Safina said she has had to face discriminatory behaviour on other occasions, too, because of the headgear she wears for religious reasons. She claimed to have faced such behaviour while getting her passport made.She also claimed that in June she was stopped from entering the ward by GMC staff, where her father’s friend was admitted. “We were told that there were some incidents in the past when woman with hijab entered. Only after much debate, we were allowed to enter,” she told TOI.In her social media post, Safina said that she was scheduled to appear for NET exam on Tuesday, but wasn’t allowed to answer. “Why? Because I refused to take off my hijab.Yes, that’s right. In a democratic country, a secular society, in a forward state like Goa, I was not allowed to answer an exam that I had all rights to do,” she said in her post.Safina said she was told she was required to show her ears and after some debate with officials, she agreed to re-tie her hijab in a manner that her ears were visible. “I asked them to show me to a washroom. They refused. Asked me to do so in the presence of men who aren’t family, which is against Islamic beliefs.”Safina alleged that she was also told that she will have to sit through the exam without her hijab, so she chose not to take the exam.“I chose to keep my faith above these laws that do not allow me to practice my religion freely in a “secular society”. And this incident isn’t isolated. I’ve had to face similar disregard for my hijab in the passport office as well. Where I was told the nuns are allowed to keep their headgear on, but I’m not. Even though both garments signify the same thing, modesty, religious beliefs and our love for God,” Safina said. Calling it double standards, she appealed to her ‘hijabi sisters, brothers in Islam, and friends who have family or friends who observe hijab’ to come together against the alleged injustice. NET authorities could not be reached for comment. TOI
Niti Aayog: 'Identify poorest among minorities through socio-economic caste census'
New Delhi: The Govt ’s think tank NITI Aayog has in its strategy paper for new India at 75 recommended that the poorest among the minority communities be identified through the socio-economic caste census data for proper targeting of various schemes. Concern is raised over the fact that data on development indicators for minorities is not generated at regular intervals. As per Census 2011, of the total population of 121 crore, Hindus constitute 79.8 per cent, Muslims 14.2 per cent, Christians 2.3 per cent, Sikhs 1.7 per cent, Buddhists 0.7 per cent and Jains 0.4 per cent. “While improvements have been made on several fronts, religious minorities lag behind on certain indicators pertaining to educational attainment, gender equality and workforce participation,” it is stated. Disaggregated data from a survey is cited to highlight that the highest proportion of out of school children in the country belong to Muslim communities (4.43 per cent), followed by Hindus (2.73 per cent), Christians (1.52 per cent) and others (1.26 per cent). Data from the 68th round of the National Sample Survey revealed that the proportion of households in urban India with casual labour and self employment as the dominant income source was the highest among Muslims at 15 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. The workforce participation rate among Muslims, Sikhs and Jains was lower than the national average according to Census 2011. NITI Aayog recommends that the primary responsibility for a number of schemes currently being implemented by the ministry of minority affairs (MoMA) may be vested with the relevant line ministries.TOI
AMU students take out protest march against killing of civilians in Kashmir
AMU students took out a silent march on Wednesday to protest the killing of 7 civilians in Kashmir on Saturday. The students submitted a memorandum on the deteriorating situation in J&K to the President of India, Ramnath Kovind through local administration, and urged him to take cognisance of the situation and intervene into the matter.The memorandum reads, “We find the situation in Kashmir very explosive and going out of hand. The local mainstream political parties have failed to govern the state and the Governor rule is about to turn into Presidential rule in next few days”. In the memorandum, the students urged the President to take some immediate measures and direct armed forces to maintain restrain in order to prevent civilian casualties. They also demanded that the use of pellet guns must be immediately stopped and non-lethal alternatives must be adopted, besides revoking the iron fist policy. TOI
AMU Ranked 2nd Best Among Indian Universities
"US News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings 2019" has placed the AMU on the second rank among all Indian universities, in its "Best Global Universities Ranking 2019", university officials said. According to agency, AMU's Dept. of Mathematics is ranked first among all universities and institutions in India, and 154th in the world, with a subject score of 46.9.Similarly, the world ranking body has placed the biological and biochemistry studies [Life Science] in AMU as best among Indian universities and institutions with a score of 35 and a world ranking of 294.Further, US News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings 2019 has also ranked AMU's Department of Physics at 465th, and Dept.of Chemistry at 518th, among best global universities, worldwide. ummid.com
Men, women eating together at functions un-Islamic: Darul Uloom
Muzaffarnagar: Men and women eating food together in any programme or function is un-Islamic, says Deoband-based Islamic seminary Darul Uloom. The seminary also said that eating food while standing is also not "jayaz" (legitimate).A Deoband resident, who did not wish to be identified, had approached Darul Uloom seeking the seminary's opinion on the matter. "I had sought to know from the seminary the proper way, under Islamic rules, of having food at programmes such as wedding functions and other events. I also sought to know if one can have food while standing," the man said.Replying to the man's query, Darul declared that both the acts are forbidden and un-Islamic under the Shariat. Darul Ifta, a wing of the Islamic seminary, issued a written fatwa that reads, "It is 'na-jayaz' (illegitimate) and sin for men and women to have food together at wedding functions or other events." Replying to the other query of the man, the seminary said, "Doing such act (eating while standing) will ruin Muslim society. Muslims should avoid such act." Supporting the fatwa, Deoband-based Mufti Athar Qasmi said, "Women eating or taking part at such programms in which strange men are present is not good for women, and it is strongly forbidden and is a sin under Islamic law. Eating while standing also na-jayaz. We appeal all Muslims to follow this fatwa."TOI 
Banks may remain closed for 5 days due to holidays, strikes in Dec 26
Kolkata: Ahead of the strike called by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on Dec.26, one of the bank officers' union has called a strike on December 21, demanding unconditional mandate for the XIth bipartite wage revision talks, officials said on Wednesday. In the wake of strikes and holidays, the banks will remain closed from next Friday to Wednesday, except on Monday and the banking services could adversely be affected on these days.The banks will remain closed on December 22 and 23 on account of fourth Saturday and Sunday respectively. December 25 will be national holiday for Christmas. IANS
Jinnah’s photo in Faizabad jail event sparks row
Faizabad :A photo of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah during an event in UP’s Faizabad jail has sparked a row, with BJP and right-wing groups demanding strict action against the organisers. On Wednesday, a function was organised inside the jail premises to mark the martyrdom day of freedom fighter Ashfaqulla Khan. During the event, the photo of Jinnah was put up along with that of several other notable personalities like Bahadur Shah Zafar, Tipu Sultan and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, among others.The incident created a storm with ruling BJP and right-wing groups like VHP demanding strong action against those who organised the programme.“The organisers by putting up Jinnah’s photo has made great the occasion of Ashfaqulla Khan’s martyrdom day a disputed programme. By doing this they just want to come into limelight, but this is not accepted, we will take action against them,” local BJP MLA Ved Gupta said.PTI
Mumbai’s Jinnah House to be MEA property, to host top-level meets, banquets
Mumbai:External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said her ministry is in the process of acquiring Jinnah House, originally owned by the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Swaraj said Jinnah House would be converted into a venue along the lines of Hyderabad House in New Delhi.In a letter to city BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha, she said the ministry is in process of “transferring the ownership of the property in our name”. Lodha said, “The move by the Govt will end the controversy about the ownership and how it should be utilised.”Jinnah House has been the subject of a legal battle between the Govt of India and Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia, who in 2007 petitioned in Bombay high court to regain control of the property. Wadia died in Nov. last year.HT
US announces complete withdrawal of troops from Syria as Trump declares Islamic State defeated
US has started withdrawing its troops from Syria, White House said on Wednesday, after President Donald Trump declared that ISIS group has been defeated in the country. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that "victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of Global Coalition or its campaign". "We have started returning US troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign," she added. "US and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists' territory, funding, support and many means of infiltrating our borders."Sanders's comments came after reports surfaced that US was considering a full troop withdrawal from the country.A complete, rapid withdrawal, if confirmed, would upend assumptions about a longer-term US military presence in Syria, which US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other senior US officials had advocated to help ensure ISIL cannot re-emerge. Still, Trump has previously expressed a strong desire to bring troops home from Syria when possible. Prior to Sanders's statement on Wednesday, Trump tweeted, "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during Trump Presidency." An unnamed US official told Reuters news agency that all State Department personnel are being evacuated from Syria within 24 hours. The official added that the US plans to pull military forces out of the country once the final stages of the last operation against ISIL are complete and that the timeframe for the troop pullout is expected to be between 60 to 100 days. US still has about 2,000 troops in Syria, many of them special operations forces working closely with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab groups known as Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).The partnership with SDF has outraged NATO ally Turkey, which views US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as an extension of an armed group fighting inside Turkey.The deliberations on US troops come as Ankara threatens a new offensive in northern Syria. aljazeera
Syria: Putin welcomes Trump's decision to pull out US troops;world reactions
Russian President Vladimir Putin has welcomed US President Donald Trump's decision to send troops home from Syria after declaring victory over ISIL."The fact that US has decided to withdraw its troops is right," Putin told a press conference on Thursday. Putin said that "as concerns the victory over IS, on the whole I agree with the US president," he said, adding that "we have dealt serious blows against IS in Syria."Nevertheless, Putin cast doubt on Washington's plans, saying "we don't see any signs of withdrawing US troops yet, but I concede that it is possible."Despite Trump's declaration that ISIL had been defeated, officials in France and UK stressed the threat the armed group continues to pose to their interests. British junior defence minister, Tobias Ellwood was more blunt, retweeting a message from Trump that the group had been defeated in Syria with the words: "I strongly disagree."Speaking on Thursday, France's defence minister said that ISIL had been weakened but not defeated.Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would escalate its fight against Iranian-aligned forces in Syria.Israel also worries that its main ally's exit could reduce its diplomatic leverage with Russia, the Syrian Govt 's big-power backer."We will continue to act very aggressively against Iran's efforts to entrench in Syria," Netanyahu said in televised remarks, referring to an Israeli air campaign in Syria against Iranian deployments and arms transfers to Lebanese Hezbollah, carried out with Moscow often turning a blind eye.aljazeera
'Triumph for Erdogan' as he announces Syria pullout
Syria: World reacts to Trump's decision to pull US troops out
US clears Patriot missile sale worth $3.5bn to Turkey
US has said it approved a sale of $3.5bn in missiles to Turkey amid tensions between NATO allies over Ankara's plans to buy them from Russia.The State Department said it had informed the US Congress of plans to sell Turkey a Patriot package that includes 80 Patriot missiles, 60 PAC-3 missile interceptors and related equipment."The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of Turkey military to guard against hostile aggression and shield NATO allies who might train and operate within Turkey's borders,"it said.aljazeera
UAE says US-Taliban talks show 'positive' result
UAE said talks it is hosting between US and the Taliban have yielded "positive" results.US-Taliban "reconciliation talks" produced "tangible results that are positive for all parties concerned", the UAE's official WAM news agency said on Wednesday.A new round of talks would be held in Abu Dhabi "to complete the Afghanistan reconciliation process", it said without providing further details.The two days of meetings in the Emirati capital are Washington's latest attempt at ending Afghanistan's 17-year conflict, which has cost it nearly $1 trillion since 2011 when it led an invasion to overthrow Taliban Govt  of Afghanistan following the Sept.11 attacks. Taliban, which has not confirmed meeting Afghan officials, said it had held "preliminary talks" with US envoy. US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said he had "productive" meetings in UAE with Afghan and international partners "to promote intra-Afghan dialogue towards ending the conflict".Khalilzad tweeted he met with Pakistani officials on Wednesday to brief them before travelling to meet Afghan leaders in Kabul.In another breakthrough, three representatives of the Haqqani network - Hafiz Yahya, Saadullah Hamas and Dr Faqeer - were also present at the talks, AP quoted an anonymous Taliban source as saying. Although part of the Taliban, the Haqqani network has its own military committee. Its leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is deputy head of Taliban. The group's prowess on the battlefield makes its presence at the meeting particularly significant because it's unlikely any agreement could be enforced without their support.aljazeera
Social media giants censor user content at Israel’s request
Social media giants are collaborating with Israeli authorities to censor user content, according to a new update by legal rights centre Adalah.Adalah is continuing to demand that Israel’s state attorney’s office closes its “Cyber Unit”, which works with companies like Facebook and YouTube to remove posts. According to official data, in 2016 unit submitted 2,241 content removal requests, of which 69 per cent of posts were duly removed. In 2017, the unit submitted a massive number of 12,351 content removal requests, 85 per cent of which were removed. Adalah maintains that there are “constitutional and legal flaws inherent in Cyber Unit’s activities”.“The state attorney’s authority in such issues is limited to the possibility of retroactively appealing to the courts and bringing suspects to trial,”Adalah stated.MEMO
Gaza’s Al-Aqsa TV to go off air after Israel bombing
Gaza Strip’s Al-Aqsa TV is to go off air tonight, a month after its studio was destroyed by an Israeli air strike. TV station announced that it would go off air today at 17:00 local time , citing a “suffocating financial crisis” caused by an Israeli air strike which left the channel with $4.5 million worth of damages, Times of Israel reported. Director of Al-Aqsa TV, Wisam Afifa, said that it is unclear if and when the station will be able to resume its broadcasts, saying the timescale “depends on the availability funds”.Though the station yesterday provided an email address and phone numbers that could be used to make donations, it is unlikely enough funds will be raised to prevent the channel from ceasing its broadcast tonight. Afifa added that some 220 people work for the channel, meaning they are likely to be left without work following the station’s closure.MEMO
UN World Food Programme to cut back aid to 190,000 Palestinians
UN World Food Programme (WFP) is to cut food aid from next month to about 190,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank due to a shortage of funds, WFP's senior official for the Palestinian Territories has said. The announcement follows the slashing of US aid funding to humanitarian agencies working in the occupied territories, which UN agency responsible for Palestininan refugees said this week would mean that half a million fewer Palestinians would be recipients of aid. “WFP’s assistance has been a lifeline to tens of thousands of people who have exhausted all their meagre resources while trying to cope with unabated and mounting hardships,”said,WFP director in Palestine.middleeasteye
Sudan protesters torch ruling party HQ over rising prices
Protesters in Sudan have set fire to the ruling party's offices as part of a series of demonstrations against rising bread prices and shortages of fuel, both subsidised by the Govt .Images circulating on social media showed the ruling National Conference Party's offices in Atbara, some 320km north of the capital Khartoum, being set on fire, while other fires were scattered across the streets at the centre of the protests. Residents said that the protests were triggered after bread prices increased from one Sudanese pound to 3 Sudanese pound. The protests, which also broke out in the city of Port Sudan, the capital of Red Sea state, saw demonstrators call for the "overthrow of the regime", a slogan that was common during the Arab Spring uprisings that swept through the region in 2011.Hatem al-Wassilah, the governor of the Nile River state, told Sudania 24 TV that a state of emergency had been declared in Atbara and a curfew imposed from 6pm local time  to 6am .aljazeera
Egypt court acquits 40 NGO workers after retrial
An Egyptian court has acquitted 40 pro-democracy NGO workers, in a retrial of a long-running case that has strained the country's relations with the US.In 2013, 43 Americans, Europeans, Egyptians and other Arabs were sentenced to jail terms ranging from one to 5 years on various charges, including operating NGOs without necessary approval. Their offices were ordered to close.In April, Egypt's top appeal court overturned the jail sentences of 16 of the workers and ordered their retrial.Many of the defendants, including at least 15 Americans, left Egypt at the time and received five-year sentences in absentia.The remaining three defendants who were not acquitted on Thursday are among those who were sentenced in absentia, but did not apply for a retrial, a judicial source said.aljazeera
Gulf Arab blue collar workforce continues to grow: UN
Blue-collar migrant workers continue adding to the labour force of the oil-rich Gulf, skewing long-standing efforts by its leaders to increase the percentage of its own citizens in the workforce, data of UN's International Labour Organization (ILO) shows.Figures released this month in a 78-page study, ILO Global Estimates on National Migrant Workers, showed that the proportion of migrants in the eastern Arab region's workforce ballooned by 5.2 percent from 2013 to 2017, mostly in the construction sector.Migrants now make up 40.8 percent of the workforce across a 12-nation region that includes GCC bloc of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.aljazeera
Lankan Prez appoints cabinet after political crisis
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a 30-member cabinet, days after Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated as PM  following a lengthy political crisis.Sirisena administered oaths in a private event today. Mangala Samaraweera was reappointed as finance minister as parliament considers a temporary budget aimed at avoiding a Govt  shutdown from Jan.1.Wickremesinghe's reinstatement as PM  earlier this week and the appointment of a new cabinet will result in Sri Lanka's Govt  resuming functions that have been obstructed since October. aljazeera
Explained: Mandir demand and the law: Kaunain Sheriff M
Will We Keep Allowing Judges to Channel Personal Religious Beliefs Through Courts?M.R. Shamshad
Here are 15 Questions for PM  Narendra Modi, If He Will Ever Face Them:thewire
How President’s Rule in J&K  Differs From That in Other States:thewire
https://thewire.in/Govt /presidents-rule-jammu-kashmir-different
Identity politics has trampled secular values; India is not a ‘Hindu nation’:Ram Puniyani

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:10 PM)


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