24 December 2018

24 DEC. ND:Centre's move to authorise 10 agencies to intercept, monitor challenged in SC;court refuses early hearing/ After snooping order : Now Govt moves to access and trace all ‘unlawful’ content online

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
24 Dec. 2018:16 Rabiul-II 1440: Vol: 11, No:83
Centre's move to authorise 10 agencies to intercept, monitor challenged in SC;court refuses early hearing
New Delhi: The Supreme Court registrar has refused to give an early hearing to a petition against the home ministry order that gives sweeping powers to investigating agencies to  intercept and monitor data on computers. Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma filed the petition challenging the government's notification authorising 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system and sought to cancel the Dec.20 notification.The top court registrar said "there is no urgency in the case".Ten central agencies have been equipped with powers of "interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer".Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba signed the order last Thursday.The agencies authorised in the govt order are IB, Narcotics Control Bureau, ED, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, NIA, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in J&K, North-East and Assam only) and Delhi Police Commissioner. In his petition, Sharma termed the notification as "illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires to the law". He also sought to prohibit the agencies from initiating any criminal proceedings, enquiry or investigation against anybody under the provisions of IT Act based on the notification.The petition claimed that the notification was issued "to find political opponent, thinker and speaker to control entire country under dictatorship to win coming general election under an undisclosed emergency as well as slavery which cannot be permitted within the Constitution of India".It alleged that the home ministry's "blanket surveillance order must be tested against fundamental right to privacy".
SC refuses early hearing on PIL challenging govt move to authorise 10 agencies to intercept, monitor
After snooping order : Now Govt moves to access and trace all ‘unlawful’ content online
New Delhi |:In what raises questions over freedom of speech online, the government is proposing draft amendments to rules governing content, Indian Express has learnt.The proposed amendments to rules under Section 79 of IT Act make it mandatory for online platforms to “proactively” deploy technology, which would enable a ferreting of content seen as “unlawful”. They also require end-to-end encryption to be broken so that the origin of messages can be traced.In the draft of IT [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018, Rule 3(9) requires “intermediaries”, or online platforms, to “deploy technology based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms, with appropriate controls, for proactively identifying or removing or disabling access to unlawful information or content”.The insertion of a new Rule 3(4) activates a pro-active monthly notification across intermediaries to warn users repeatedly. Rule 3(5), which will introduce a “traceability requirement”, will in effect require a platform to break end-to-end encryption and introduce systems for retaining data and information specific to each bit of data, including WhatsApp messages. 5-page draft rules were discussed Friday by an official of Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) with others from Cyber Law Division, and representatives of Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Amazon, Yahoo, Twitter, ShareChat, SEBI and Internet Service Providers Association of India.Indian Express has learnt that the “confidential” meeting lasted just over an hour. There has been no public discussion yet on the key changes discussed, and online platforms have been given time till Jan.7 to respond to the draft proposals. These changes, if notified, will push back the regulation and legal architecture a full circle, from where it had been nudged after the Supreme Court ruled in the Shreya Singhal case in 2015. The landmark ruling on March 24, 2015, struck down Section 66A of IT Act, which allowed the arrest of those allegedly posting offensive content online.The proposed changes would mean that social media platforms with more than “50 lakh users” would be liable to help the government “within 72 hours” of a query.They would be expected to appoint a ‘Nodal person of Contact.for 24X7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers to ensure compliance”. The draft amendments envisage that online platforms will keep a record of “unlawful activity” for a period of “180 days”, double the 90 days in the older version. Sources said the government is keen to be seen to be acting before the general elections on the proliferation of social media and its connection to mob violence seen in the recent past.indianexpress
Centre wants feedback on breaking encryption to trace "unlawful" content
Alwar lynching victim Rakbar’s wife and daughter injured, his niece dead in Nuh accident
Jaipur ;An accident between an SUV and a truck in Haryana’s Nuh left Alwar lynching victim Rakbar Khan’s wife and daughter injured and his niece dead along with the driver of the vehicle they were travelling in on Sunday. Sahila (10) and Asmina were admitted to the Medical College in Nuh but were referred to New Delhi as the nature of their injuries was serious. Sanjeeda (19) died in the accident along with driver Salim (25). “Rakbar’s children, four of who study in Aligarh, had come home for the holidays and were returning to Aligarh on Sunday when the accident took place,” the family’s lawyer Ishraque Ahmed said. The children study in a madarsa run by Hamid Ansari’s wife Salma Ansari. Nagina police station SHO Sanjay Kumar said, “The accident took place due to the fog. The truck was trying to overtake a vehicle when they collided. There were six persons in the Scorpio, two of whom died and others sustained injuries. We have seized the truck while the driver is absconding. We have lodged an FIR under IPC sections 304 A and 279.”indianexpress
Muzaffarnagar Riots Accused Found Dead Under Mysterious Circumstances, Son Alleges Murder
An accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Sikheda village here, police said on Monday.Sodan Singh's body was found Sunday evening hanging from the ceiling of a room, which housed a tube well, they said. The body was sent for postmortem and the matter is being investigated, police said.Singh's son has lodged a complaint at the local police station and alleged that his 60-year-old father was murdered, they said. Based on the complaint, a case was registered against Anup, Rajesh, Sunil Kumar and Ramgopal, police said.The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas in 2013 had claimed more than 60 lives while over 40,000 people were displaced. Singh was also named as an accused in a sexual harassment case.PTI
Bulandshahr: How will I live with this allegation, asks Muslim man wrongly held for cow slaughter
Bulandshahr: On the afternoon of 3 Dec, as a crowd was gathering near Chingrawathi police chowki in Bulandshahr with “cattle remains”, 38-year-old trader Sarfuddin sensed trouble.For the last 3 days, Sarfuddin had been on duty at an ijtema, or a gathering of Muslims, at least 30 km from Mahav village where the remains had been found.“I came to know later that day that I had been accused of cow slaughter. I had been busy organising the iztema for almost the entire week and I was nowhere close to the area where the cattle remains had been found. Since I knew I was innocent, I felt that the matter would be resolved,” says Sarfuddin. The issue, however, was far from over. According to the police, shortly after the cattle remains were found in Mahav village fields, a large group of people gathered near Chingrawathi police chowki, carrying the cow parts on a tractor, blocking the road. Protests were allegedly by local Bajrang Dal leader Yogesh Raj, who was also the complainant in the cow slaughter case in which Sarfuddin and 6 other were named as accused.theprint    
Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case: Violence a deep-rooted conspiracy, says HC
Mumbai: Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima violence, in which several rights activists are being investigated by the Pune Police, was a "deep-rooted" conspiracy which had "extremely serious repercussions", the Bombay high court has said.The observation was made by a division bench of Justices BP Dharmadhikari and SV Kotwal while dismissing a petition filed by Anand Teltumbde, one of the activists accused in the case, seeking to quash an FIR against him.Teltumbde had claimed that he was being falsely implicated in the case.In his plea, the activist denied all the charges against him even as the police opposed the same and claimed that they have ample evidence implicating him.The bench had dismissed the activist's plea on Dec.21, the order for which became available Monday.The bench observed that there was incriminating material against Teltumbde. "The offence is serious. The conspiracy is deep-rooted and has extremely serious repercussions. Considering the nature and magnitude of the conspiracy, the investigating agency is required to be given sufficient opportunity to unearth the evidence against the accused," the bench said.Expressing its satisfaction with the probe agency, the bench said that Pune Police had sufficient material against Teltumbde and that allegations against him were not "baseless".The HC further noted that initially the probe by the police was limited to the violence that had erupted on Jan.1 this year, a day after Elgar Parishad event was held at historic Shaniwarwada in Pune."However, now the scope of the probe is not restricted to the Koregaon-Bhima incident, but the activities leading to the incident and subsequent activities as well are the subject matter of the investigation," bench said.Therefore, Teltumbde's connection with the banned outfit,CPI(M), will have to be probed into, it said.In the present case, the allegations and material against the petitioner (Teltumbde) travel beyond mere allegations of him being a member of the banned organisation. While opposing Teltumbde's plea, Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna Kamat-Pai had submitted to the HC 5 letters allegedly written by the accused to each other in which Teltumbde's name was mentioned as an active participant.Teltumbde's counsel Mihir Desai claimed that the letters cannot be relied upon to prove his complicity, as they name a person 'Anand' or 'Com. Anand' and hence it cannot be conclusively said that the person referred to in the letters is in fact the petitioner.However, the bench said it was satisfied that the police has the material to establish the identity of Teltumbde as 'Anand' or 'Com. Anand', as referred to in the documents and letters submitted, which also form part of the chargesheet.Pune Police had last month filed a chargesheet in a local court against 10 activists and absconding Maoist leaders in the case.TOI
Government lawyers to press hard for resolution of Ram Mandir dispute in SC
Ayodhya:Govt’s top lawyers representing Uttar Pradesh government in Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit before the Supreme Court are likely to push for a resolution, arguing that the dispute has been pending in SC since 2010 while the matter has been languishing since Independence. The case will come for hearing before the apex court in Jan.The government is under strong pressure from RSS and VHP who have relentlessly pushed the Centre to bring an ordinance or law for the construction of Ram Mandir at the disputed site. The hearing in the case will be the last chance for BJP government to push for the construction of Ram temple ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The lawyers are expected to push for regular hearings in the case on the premise that not resolving the matter would be bad for communal harmony.  Times Now
"Will Only Vote For Ram Temple": Rajnath Interrupted During Speech
Lucknow: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday found himself in an uncomfortable situation after slogans demanding the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya were raised in the middle of his speech in Lucknow. Singh, who is a Lok Sabha lawmaker from Lucknow, was speaking at the Yuva Kumbh event in the Uttar Pradesh capital when members attending the function interrupted his speech for around four minutes."Jo Mandir Banwayega, vote ussi ko jayega (We will vote for the party, which constructs Ram Temple)," the audience chanted disrupting Singh's speech. Meanwhile, the organisers requested the audience to maintain calm and listen to Singh.Singh then told the audience that he would only speak if they maintained silence.ANI
Resolve it either through court judgement or mutual understanding: Nitish Kumar on Ram temple issue
BJP ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the Ram temple issue should be resolved either through a court judgement or mutual understanding, an indication of his party’s opposition to the demand by Hindutva groups for a law to build the temple in Ayodhya. To a question on the issue, the JD(U) president told reporters: “We have maintained for a long time that this issue should be resolved either through a court judgement or mutual understanding”. Kumar said every party has its own views but his party’s stand has been the same over the matter for long. He also took a dig at opposition parties,  who have been targeting his government over alleged deterioration of law and order, among other matters, saying their propaganda will have no impact in Bihar.“We are committed to development with justice… I don’t have the habit of speaking unnecessarily. Some people have the habit of only talking while I do my work,” he said. Hindutva groups,  including BJP’s ideological parent RSS, have been pressing the central government to bring a legislation to pave the way for construction of the temple at the site where Lord Ram is believed to have been born.PTI
Suicides in Navodaya schools: 49 in 5 years, half of them Dalit and tribal students
Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas(JNVs), central govt’s pace-setting residential schools for talented rural children, have had close to 50 suicides on campus in just 5 years, an investigation by Indian Express has revealed. Of the 49 suicides witnessed from 2013 to 2017, half were by Dalit and tribal students, and a majority of them were boys, records obtained by the paper under RTI Act show. And all, except seven, were suicides by hanging, and the bodies were discovered either by classmates or members of the school staff. Known for producing the best results in board examinations, JNVs, which were started in 1985-86, have become a passport out of poverty for thousands of underprivileged children. Since 2012, these schools have consistently recorded a pass percentage of over 99 per cent in Class 10 and over 95 per cent in Class 12, which is far better than private schools and CBSE’s national average.“Navodaya Vidyalaya system, which began as a unique experiment, is today unparalleled in the annals of school education in India and elsewhere,” states the official website of Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), an autonomous organisation under HRD Ministry tasked with managing all 635 JNVs. indianexpress
Talaq bill is interference in Shariah: Mufti Mukarram
New Delhi: Shahi Imam of Masjid Fatehpuri, Delhi Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmed said that triple talaq bill is interference in Shariah. He told this during his Friday sermon yesterday. He added though the constitution guarantees freedom of religion, tabling the bill in the parliament by a particular section on the pretext of providing justice to women is against the intention of the constitution. He said protection of women is a national issue hence the government should be concerned about all the women and should not intervene into the religious freedom of a particular community. Mufti Mukarram strongly condemned the provocation and venom spewing of VHP workers on Parade Ground in Jammu recently. He said one of the leaders even said ‘every Hindu should produce 5 children and each child should be given weapon in his hand’. He further said baseless allegations were made against Kashmiris and Muslims in the Dharma Sabha which is condemnable and action must be taken against it.siasat
India to limit pilgrim flow to Kartarpur
New Delhi :India will invite Pakistan to discuss the blueprint of the Kartarpur corridor finalised by it.Under the plans drawn up for pilgrims visiting Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, India is likely to cap the number of visitors per day and fix the number of hours a pilgrim can spend at the shrine, which is four kilometres from the Gurdaspur border.A senior official told The Hindu that the safety of the pilgrims is of utmost importance and India would insist on a sovereign assurance from Pakistan. The official said while the security would be robust on the Indian side, conditions on the Pakistan side were a cause for concern.thehindu
SP, BSP ready to forge alliance in Uttar Pradesh
Lucknow:While an official announcement is yet to be made, the formula for an alliance of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal seems to be ready in Uttar Pradesh, with the parties showing little interest in accommodating the Congress, sources say. SP and BSP leaders said the leadership was less inclined to include the Congress, and at best would leave just the Rae Bareli and Amethi seats for the grand old party. However, they said the seat-sharing arithmetic was “still fluid”, and the final call would be taken by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. “Alliance is confirmed. But the final decision will be taken by the national president,” said a senior SP leader on Sunday on condition of anonymity.The leader said while the exact formula for the 80 seats would be revealed “any time”, the two top leaders of the parties had reached an understanding over the arrangement. The SP would also accommodate its ally, the Nishad Party, while the RLD is expected to get a few seats.thehindu
Trinamool Plays Down KCR Visit, Points To Mamata's "Experience"
Kolkata: Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao will meet Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee this evening to take forward their discussion on the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP Federal Front.The two had met earlier in March, when the Telangana CM came to Kolkata. KCR, as Mr Rao is known among his supporters, came to Kolkata this morning after meeting Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.KCR had met Mamata Banerjee in March earlier this year. Rao, who has stepped up his campaign for a Federal Front following his landslide victory in Assembly elections, came to Kolkata this morning.He had spent the last night in Bhubaneshwar after an evening's discussions with Naveen Patnaik.The Odisha Chief Minister, though, is yet to commit to his participation in a Federal Front.K Chandrashekar Rao met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on SundayA similar line was taken by the Trinamool Congress of Ms Banerjee, who, sources say, is interested in forming a pan-India alliance of regional parties to have more leverage in bargaining with the Congress."Mamata is a 7-time MP, two-term Chief Minister, three-time cabinet minister. With 40 years of accomplishments, courage, all this is but natural... Everyone wants to listen to her, share their thoughts with her," said senior Trinamool lawmaker Derek O'Brien. "Looking at 2019, don't be surprised," he added.ndtv
"Nobody Listens," Says Bihar JDU MLA, Submits Resignation
Patna: Bihar's ruling JD-U MLA Shyam Bahadur Singh, who represents Barharia constituency,on Monday resigned from the party's primary membership in capital Patna, saying his voice was not being heard by those in power while the district administration has also turned a deaf ear."I have resigned from JD-U as neither district administration officers in Siwan nor the top brass of the government in Patna listen to my genuine complaints. What pains me is that police has been acting against all those people opposing auction of the govt land to land mafia," Singh said.IANS
Another PDP leader quits party in J&K
Banihal :PDP Monday suffered another setback when its senior leader and ex bureaucrat Bashir Ahmad Runyal announced his decision to quit the party. Runyal, a former IAS officer who was Ramban district president and state secretary of PDP, had joined the party prior to 2014 assembly polls after his retirement and had unsuccessfully contested the elections from Banihal constituency.“I have tendered my resignation from the basic membership of the party and I am fighting the upcoming assembly elections as an independent candidate,”he said .Runyal was accompanied by BJP leader Showkat Javaid Daing who also announced his resignation from the basic membership of the saffron party.“We have decided to join hands in the larger interest of the development of our area which was ignored by the previous PDP-BJP government,” he said. Daing had also unsuccessfully contested last assembly elections on BJP ticket from Banihal constituency which was won by Congress candidate Vikar Rasool Wani.PTI
GST Roadmap To Be To Work Towards A Single Rate Between 12%, 18%: Arun Jaitley
The government is working towards a single national sales tax rate which could be a mid-point between 12 and 18 per cent, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday, in an effort to simplify the tax structure.The government set the range for the Goods and Service Tax (GST) from 28 per cent to 5 per cent on most items when the signature reform was introduced last year."Multiple slabs were fixed transiently in order to ensure the tax of no commodity goes up radically. This contained the inflation impact," Mr Jaitley wrote in his blog.Reuters
23 take oath of office as Ministers in Rajasthan
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday expanded his Council of Ministers. 23 MLAs, including one from Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal, were sworn in as Ministers at the Raj Bhavan in Jaipur. Of the 23, 13 are Cabinet ministers and 10 Ministers of State. Cabinet Ministers are BD Kalla, Shanti Kumar Dhariwal, Parsadi Lal Meena, Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal, Lal Chand Kataria, Raghu Sharma, Pramod Jain Bhaya, Vishvendra Singh, Harish Choudhary, Ramesh Chand Meena, Udai Lal Anjna, Pratap Singh Khachariawas and Saleh Mohammad.The Ministers of State are Govind Singh Dotasara, Mamta Bhupesh, Arjun Singh Bamnia, Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Sukhram Vishnoi, Ashok Chandna, Tika Ram Jully, Bhajan Lal Jatav, Rajendra Singh Yadav and RLD’s Subhash Garg.thehindu
It’s not the Hindu who’s in danger in this country, it’s the Constitution: Kanhaiya Kumar
Nagpur :Terming the current strife in the country as Modi versus “We, the people of India”, youth leader Kanhaiyya Kumar stated on Sunday that the Constitution of the country is in danger not the Hindu religion.Kumar was speaking at the ‘Samvidhan Jagar’ (Constitution awareness) rally organised by a front called Bahujan Vichar Manch, a social organisation comprising followers of various Opposition political parties. Attended by leaders from Congress, NCP and CPI, the rally attracted sizeable crowd at the Mankapur indoor stadium.Former Congress Minister and chairman of the Scheduled Caste front of the party Nitin Raut and Jitendra Awhad of the NCP also attended the rally.indianexpress
Union Minister Giriraj Singh Shares Fake BBC Website’s Article Calling Congress Corrupt
An old article by fake news website BBC News Hub calling the Congress party second most corrupt party in the world has made a comeback on social media. The article was shared by Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shandilya Giriraj Singh on Twitter who called the party, “You are shame for India”.You can access the archived version of the tweet here. The fake news website BBC News Hub published the article titled, “Top 10 List Of Most Corrupt Political Party in the World 2018” on 5th July, 2018. The article had put Indian National Congress in the 2nd place with Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz PML(N) in the 1st place. The article has other parties from around the world like the Nazi party, Nationalist Fascist Party and others on its list. Interestingly, a Facebook page ‘I support Rahul Gandhi’ had also shared another fake post attributed to BBC News Hub that claimed Narendra Modi to be ‘7th most corrupt PM in the world in 2018.’ BOOM had debunked the fake post. Click here to read the story in detail. boomlive
‘Muslim girls ahead in education and hygiene’
Hyderabad: Muslim girls are outshining those from other communities in education and personal hygiene, said Prof Amir Ullah Khan, a development economist and key member of Sudhir Commission.Speaking at ‘financial assistance to orphans’ event, organised by Hyderabad Zakat and Charitable Trust, Khan said: “It is a misconception that Muslims are backward in education in India. They too are competent in education. Out of 80% girls who acquire education across India, nearly 90% of them are Muslims. These 90% get at least primary education, which is most important for living. Also, they are in better health as they wash hands five times a day while performing ablution.” Khan added that Muslim society holds educated women in high regard, but most girls do not acquire higher education. TOI
Adviser: Most Muslim girls leave schooling midway
Erdogan will 'eradicate' ISIL in Syria: Trump
US President Donald Trump has said his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, informed him he will "eradicate whatever is left of Isis in Syria".In a tweet late on Sunday, Trump said that Erdogan "is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right 'next door'."Taking to social media earlier in the day, Trump said he had spoken on the phone with Erdogan about "a slow and highly coordinated" withdrawal of US troops from Syria."We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of US troops from the area," Trump said in a tweet on Sunday, referring to ISIL group. "After many years they are coming home."Trump said he and Erdogan also discussed "heavily expanded" trade between US and Turkey after the 2 NATO allies' relationship went into a tailspin over the summer as a result of a number of issues.Erdogan said in a separate tweet: "I had a productive call with (Trump) today, in which we agreed to strengthen our coordination on a range of issues, including our trade relations and the developments in Syria."Later on Sunday, a US military spokesperson told AFP that the order to pull US troops out of Syria had been signed, without providing further details.Trump's surprise decision on Wednesday contributed to the abrupt resignation of Pentagon chief James Mattis on Thursday. Mattis cited significant policy differences with the president as a reason for quitting. On Sunday, Trump announced Mattis would be leaving his post on January 1, two months earlier than expected. aljazeera
Trump, Erdogan discuss 'slow' US military pull-out from Syria
US President Donald Trump says he has spoken on the phone with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, about "a slow and highly coordinated" withdrawal of US troops from Syria."We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of US troops from the area," Trump said in a tweet on Sunday, referring to the ISIL group. "After many years they are coming home."Trump said he and Erdogan also discussed "heavily expanded" trade between the US and Turkey after 2 NATO allies' relationship went into a tailspin over the summer as a result of a number of issues.Erdogan said in a separate tweet: "I had a productive call with (Donald Trump) today, in which we agreed to strengthen our coordination on a range of issues, including our trade relations and the developments in Syria."Aljazeera
Order For US Military Withdrawal From Syria Signed: Pentagon
Washington:The order has been signed for the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, where they have been deployed to assist in the war against ISIS, a US military spokesperson said on Sunday."The execute order for Syria has been signed," the spokesperson told AFP, without providing further details.US President Donald Trump has declared the terrorist group "largely defeated," and made the surprise decision to bring US forces home -- a move that many US politicians and international allies fear is premature and would further destabilize the already devastated region.The decision -- which was followed by another to make a significant cut to the number of American troops in Afghanistan -- has prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and US envoy to the international anti-IS coalition Brett McGurk.AFP
Turkey Working With Other Nations To Take Khashoggi Probe To UN: Minister
Istanbul: Turkey is working with other countries to carry the investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to the United Nations, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.Cavusoglu made the comments during a news conference in Tunis alongside his Tunisian counterpart. He also called on Saudi Arabia to share its findings on the case with the international community.Reuters
Nawaz Sharif gets 7 years jail term in Al-Azizia, acquitted in Flagship case
Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s ousted prime minister, Monday was sentenced to seven years in jail in Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case, while he was acquitted in the Flagship Investments case. The accountability court had indicted Sharif for holding assets beyond his known sources of income in August 2017.3 cases – Avenfield properties case, Flagship Investment case and Al-Azizia steel mills case – were launched by the National Accountability Bureau on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the apex court that disqualified Sharif. While Sharif was sentenced to 11 years jail earlier this year in connection with the Avenfield properties case, Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik had reserved the verdict on Dec.19 in the other two cases.Sharif, who is out on bail, arrived in Islamabad from Lahore on Sunday. The three-time former prime minister who appeared before the court for at least 78 times has denied any wrongdoing. “I do not have any sort of fear; my conscience is clear. I have done nothing that would force me to bow my head. (I) have always served the country and this nation with absolute honesty,” he said outside the court. The security was beefed up around the judiial complex of the accountability court. Scores of PML-N workers gathered outside the court premises to show their support for the party’s supreme leader. Sharif’s daughter Maryam and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar were also convicted in the Avenfield properties case. His two sons – Hassan and Hussain – were also co-accused in all three cases but they were declared absconders for failing to appear before the court even for a single time. The court decided to hear their cases separately once they returned back.indianexpress
Indonesia on alert as death toll from devastating tsunami rises
Rescue workers are stepping up efforts to reach many areas devastated by a deadly tsunami that hit an Indonesian strait almost without warning in the darkness, smashing into houses, hotels and other buildings.As doctors worked to help survivors and hundreds of people searched on debris-strewn beaches along the Sunda Strait for more victims, Indonesian officials said on Monday morning that the death toll had risen to at least 281, with 1,016 injured.Dozens are missing from the disaster areas along the coastlines of western Java and southern Sumatra islands. The numbers could increase once authorities hear from all stricken areas.The waves that swept terrified people into the sea on Saturday night followed an eruption and possible landslide on Anak Krakatoa, a volcanic island that emerged from the sea in the 1920s.aljazeera
Former General Observer of Sudan Muslim Brotherhood dies aged 78
General Observer of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan Shaikh Ali Mohamed Jawish died yesterday morning at the age of 78.Jawish was born in the Al-Joul village in the Nile River State.He received his elementary education in the villages of Al-Bawqa and Berber and then went to secondary school in Port Sudan. Later, he joined the Faculty of Economics at Khartoum University from which he graduated in 1965.From 2005 until 2010, he held a seat in the Sudanese parliament for the Muslim Brotherhood. Later he ran a commercial office in Khartoum until his election as the group’s General Supervisor replacing Yusuf Nur Al-Daem.Last Thursday, local media reported a statement by Jawish stating he supported the current protests in the country.“On the political side, an honorable group of our country’s sons have met in the so-called national dialogue,” Jawish said in the statement, adding that the participants presented a summary of their ideas to take the country out of its current economic woes.middleeastmonitor
Egyptian court re-sentences Muslim Brotherhood figure to 10 years in jail
Cairo:Egypt's Cassation court sentenced on Sunday the Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie to 10 years in jail over anti-government violent acts.The court also sentenced 37 others to three-year imprisonment in the case publicly known as Beni Suef incidents when Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked and set fire to a police station, real estate notice office and a school in Upper Egypt's province of Beni Suef on Aug 14, 2013, official MENA reported.The Beni Suef Criminal Court previously sentenced Badei and three others to life imprisonment and another 35 to 15 years in jail in the same case.Muslim Brotherhood-oriented President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the army in July 2013.Many Brotherhood members and loyalists, including Morsi himself, are currently jailed, and have received appealable death sentences and life imprisonments over charges varying from inciting violence and murder to espionage. Xinhua/UNI
Bangladesh EC: No grounds to cancel 25 Bangla Jamaat-affiliated candidatures
Election Commission  of Bangladesh said that there is no legal bar for cancelling the candidature of 25 Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, including 3 independent and 22 BNP-backed, to contest in the general polls on Dec.30.The commission finalized its decision after a meeting headed by the Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda at the Election Commission building in Agargaon on Sunday. Regarding the meeting’s decision, Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said that the commission did not find any legal bar on the candidates contesting the polls as Jamaat was not a registered party with the commission. Helal Uddin also said that the commission would send its explanation of the matter to the High Court.On December 17, the High Court asked the Election Commission to dispose of an appeal for cancellation of candidatures of 25 Jamaat leaders contesting the general elections as independent candidates, hiding their position as Jamaat leaders.The court also asked the commission to explain the legality of why Jamaat’s participation in the elections with BNP electoral symbol or as independent candidates would not be declared illegal. From the meeting, the Election Commission also dismissed the application of BNP to allow them to provide fresh candidates or reschedule the polls at the constituencies where its candidates were disqualified by the High Court order. Dhakatribune
Israel to hold early election in April
Israel will hold a general election in April, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanuyahu said on Twitter, after a meeting between members of his governing coalition."The leaders of the coalition decided unanimously to dissolve parliament and go to a new election in early April," the spokesman said.A coalition crisis over a military conscription bill affecting exemptions from compulsory service for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men led to the decision.Netanyahu, now in his fourth term as prime minister has been governing with a razor-thin majority of 61 seats in the 120-member parliament. He heads the right-wing Likud party.Under Israeli law, a national election had to be held by November 2019.aljazeera

Ex-Israel PM: Netanyahu not fit to remain PM
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak said that Benjamin Netanyahu is not fit to continue to serve in his position as prime minister, Quds Press reported.“Netanyahu cannot concentrate on anything and does not remember whether his wife was in Nicaragua or Guatemala,” Barak said. “Netanyahu is no more trusted.”He added: “Netanyahu’s role is to rule the country, but he does not carry out his job; therefore, he is required to conduct a comprehensive discussion about Israel’s goal: to support Mahmoud Abbas and weaken Hamas or vice versa.”Barak, who has been an outspoken critic for Netanyahu, added: “Netanyahu’s government failed to carry out its job and it does not set moral criteria for its work. We see it falling.”“Israel is the strongest power in the region and Hezbollah and Hamas do not pose existential danger for us, but they can only bother out daily life.”middleeastmonitor
Hamas MPs meet Iran’s foreign minister
A senior delegation of Hamas MPs, headed by Mahmoud Al-Zahar, met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif yesterday in the ministry’s head office in Tehran.In a message sent to MEMO, the members of the delegation, who have undertaken an international tour for a month, hailed Iran as a supporter of the Palestinian people at all international bodies.The Palestinian delegation also praised the position of the Iranian foreign minister for his opposition to the American “Deal of the Century”, which condemns the Palestinian resistance.According to the message, the Palestinian parliament stressed that the reception of the Iranian foreign ministry to its delegation “is considered a form of support which helps it encounter the conspiracies being plotted against it.” Meanwhile, the Iranian foreign minister reiterated his country’s support for the Palestinian people, as well as its solidarity with them against the crimes committed by the “Zionist occupation”.middleeastmonitor
Next year in Bethlehem: Gaza Christmas celebrated despite siege
Gaza Strip - For yet another year, Gaza's tiny Orthodox Christian minority will not be able to celebrate Christmas with a visit to Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.With the ongoing Israeli siege on the enclave, Palestinians in Gaza are prohibited from uniting with family members in the West Bank, and are barred from visiting Bethlehem, where the Nativity Church is located.Before Gaza fell under siege, "the days of Christmas were livelily celebrated - with the attendance of dignitaries - in large public squares with music, diverse shows, scout parades, a huge lit-up tree and tens of people dressed as Santa", Samir Abu Nussira, a resident of Gaza, told Al Jazeera."The streets were beaming with joy and excitement, people were genuinely happy," Nussira said."Back then, we used to celebrate at the Nativity Church, then visit our relatives in other parts of the West Bank on Christmas Eve," Nussira continued. "This year, however, my wife and I petitioned [the Israeli authorities] to travel with our kids to Bethlehem for Christmas, but only my children received a permit to travel out of Gaza, while my wife and I were rejected."Al Jazeera
Mission To Mars Is "Stupid, Ridiculous," Says Ex-Astronaut, Blasts NASA
London: Bill Anders, one of the first men to orbit the Moon has said that it is "stupid" to plan human missions to Mars.Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Anders, lunar module pilot of Apollo 8, the first human spaceflight to leave Earth's orbit, said sending crews to Mars was "almost ridiculous". Anders' comment came as NASA prepares new human missions to the moon. It also wants to learn the skills and develop the technology to enable a future human landing on Mars.NASA was approached for a response to Anders' comments, but has not responded.Anders, 85, said he is a "big supporter" of the "remarkable" unmanned programmes, "mainly because they're much cheaper". But he added the public support simply was not there to fund vastly more expensive human missions."What's the imperative? What's pushing us to go to Mars?" he said, adding "I don't think the public is that interested".Robotic probes have been exploring Mars. In November, the InSight lander, which would sample the planet's interior, successfully touched down at Elysium Planitia.In Dec.1968, Anders, along with crewmates Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida atop a Saturn V, before completing 10 orbits around the Moon.The crew of Apollo 8 spent 20 hours in orbit, before returning to Earth.IANS
Myanmar’s Buddhists block Rohingya Muslims from blood supplies, report says
YANGON: One day earlier this month, a businessman turned social worker was going about a familiar and urgent task: Looking for blood donors in camps crowded with Rohingya Muslims driven from their homes.This time, U Nu Maung needed three pints — one of O-positive, two of B-positive. Among those in need was a woman who had suffered complications during childbirth.The military-led purges and abuses carried out against Myanmar’s Muslim minority Rohingya over the past year continue to yield new hardships. The blood hunt, as described by aid groups and others, offers another look at the extreme segregation Rohingya Muslims face in their own country.Rohingya are effectively blocked from accessing the blood bank in the main medical facility in the western Rakhine state, where most Rohingya live in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, according to two internal reports by a consortium of six major international aid groups.Washington Times
Water shortages worsen in Afghanistan as drought persists
Afghans are facing water shortages due to the persistent drought that has ravaged the country this year.In many places, including the capital Kabul, local residents have to carry containers to fill at water points several times a day.''Water used to be available 24 hours every day, but now it is only available three to four hours. More than 500 families gather here to get water during these few hours,'' said Sayed Ali, a local resident.In the past year, the amount of precipitation dropped by more than 50 percent compared with that of average levels in most parts of Afghanistan. Sixteen out of 34 provinces are suffering from drought.aljazeera
Fact Check: Video showing attack on Hindus is not from Rajasthan, but Bangladesh: Arjun Deodia , Amit Arora
Ram Guha is wrong. Gandhi went from a racist young man to a racist middle-aged man:Ọbádélé Kambon, theprint
The Rohingya who flee to Saudi Arabia:Areeb Ullah
Bulandshahr Violence: ‘Milking the Cow’ Won’t Help UP Or BJP:Prabhat Shunglu
Why a Bhil farmer burned abandoned Muslim houses in the 2002 riots:Revati Laul
Militant killings in J&K this year rose 70%; a steady network of informers allowed spike: Sameer Yasir

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:19 PM)


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