09 January 2019

09 Jan.ND: SC rejects Gujarat govt’s plea to keep ex-judge’s report on ‘fake encounters’ confidential/ Kashmir’s IAS topper Shah Faesal resigns to protest ‘unabated killings’ in state; likely to join politics/A Muslim judge in SC bench over Babri case would have boosted confidence: AIMPLB member

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
09 Jan. 2019: 02 Jamadiul-I 1440: Vol: 11, No:97
SC rejects Gujarat govt’s plea to keep ex-judge’s report on ‘fake encounters’ confidential
New Delhi:In a setback to the Gujarat govt, the Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected its plea to keep confidential the report submitted by justice HS Bedi, a former top court judge, on the 24 alleged cases of fake encounters in the state between 2002 and 2006.The bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi handed over a copy of the report to both the parties and sought a response from them within four weeks.The top court observed that it is yet to accept the probe report and would decide on it after hearing both parties.The SC had asked justice Bedi in Dec.last year to inform it if the final report on the fake encounters was prepared in consultation with other members of the monitoring committee that had supervised the investigations in the cases. That order came after the Gujarat government raised an objection that justice Bedi’s final report was unilateral and in contradiction with its earlier reports, where views of other members of the monitoring authority were taken.Justice Bedi was appointed as chairperson in 2012 of the monitoring committee investigating the encounter cases from 2002 to 2006 in Gujarat on a petition filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar and journalist BG Verghese.The task of the monitoring committee was to oversee investigations in encounter deaths by a special task force and to receive complaints from the victims’ families. The monitoring committee had submitted its report in a sealed cover in February last year.HT
Gujarat encounter killings: Share Committee report with petitioners, SC tells govt.
Kashmir’s IAS topper Shah Faesal resigns to protest ‘unabated killings’ in state; likely to join politics
New Delhi: Shah Faesal, outspoken IAS topper whose success inspired many young Kashmiris to join the civil services, announced on Wednesday that he has decided to resign from the government and join electoral politics. Faesal, 35, attributed his decision to protest what he described as “unabated killings in Kashmir and absence of any credible political initiative from Union Government”.“I have decided to resign from IAS. Kashmiri lives matter,” Faesal said in a Facebook post that was severely critical of the central government. Faesal, a 2010-batch IAS officer, was the first Kashmiri to top the civil services examination held by the UPSC. In his Facebook post, Faesal said he will announce his plans on Friday. He is expected to join the National Conference and contest Lok Sabha polls from Barmulla in north Kashmir. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed Faesal to politics.“The bureaucracy’s loss is politics’ gain. Welcome to the fold @shahfaesal,” Abdullah tweeted.Abdullah refrained from outlining any more details, saying Shah Faesal’s “future political plans are his to announce”.Omar has supported Shah Faesal on social media more than once, particularly when Faesal was trolled for his blunt remarks. He was as scathing in his Facebook post announcing his decision to resign.“I wish to reiterate that voices of reason in this country cannot be muzzled for long and the environment of siege will need to end if we wish to usher in true democracy,” he wrote.Faesal, from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district, got into trouble with the government last year and was issued a show-cause notice for tweeting a comment on a story of a man raping his mother. “Patriarchy+ Population+ Illiteracy+ Alcohol+Porn+Technology+Anarchy= Rapistan!,” Faesal had tweeted in April over a story titled “Porn addict rapes 46 year old mom, arrested in Gujarat”.HT
Kashmir IAS officer Faesal resigns, likely to join NC
A Muslim judge in SC bench over Babri case would have boosted confidence: AIMPLB member
On a day All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Zafaryab Jilani was reported to have said that the presence of a Muslim judge in the 5-member Supreme Court bench constituted in the Ayodhya land dispute case would have acted like a confidence booster for the minority community, the AIMPLB top brass distanced itself from any controversy over the composition of the Bench saying they have full faith in the judicial process. Zafaryab Jilani told Times Now that a mixed composition of members representative of different communities sends out a message to communities concerned that all viewpoints are being taken into account. AIMPLB vice-president and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind chief Maulana Jalaluddin Umari said, “ If there was a Muslim judge on the bench it would have been good but even if there is none, it in no way diminishes our faith in the judiciary. We have full faith in the system,” he told TOI.TOI
Day After Phone Call With Modi, Trump Sends Special Afghan Envoy to India
Washington: A day after US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed efforts to enhance cooperation in war-torn Afghanistan, the former's special Afghan envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is headed for India, according to an official announcement. State Department Tuesday said Khalilzad will lead an inter-agency delegation to India, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan from Jan.8 to Jan.21. However, country-specific dates of his travel were not announced. This is Khalilzad's first trip to India after he was appointed as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation last year. Since then he has made multiple trips to the region, without being to India.During a telephonic conversation on Monday evening, Modi and Trump, among other things, discussed the contentious issue of the US' trade deficit with India and increasing their cooperation in war-torn Afghanistan.Trump last week took a jibe at Modi for funding a "library" in Afghanistan, saying it is of no use in the war-torn country as he criticised India and others for not doing enough for the nation's security.PTI
US envoy for Taliban talks in Delhi after twice skipping India in recent months
Iran: Can use ‘influence’ over Taliban for India
New Delhi: Iran has admitted to having “influence” on the Taliban in Afghanistan, and offered to “use” that influence for India. As Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif meets the Indian leadership for bilateral talks as well as address the Raisina Dialogue, Tehran’s connections with the Taliban are coming out of the closet. Last week, an Iranian delegation met the Taliban in Tehran, though high-level Iranian sources say the first meeting was held in Moscow. “We have some influence on the Taliban, but we generally use it on behalf of the Afghan government. We’re happy to use it for India too,” they said.India is not likely to accept any such offer. In the past 17 years, India has built some contacts, though no one is certain how broad or deep they may be. In any case, India remains squarely on the side of the Kabul govt. So any "contacts" with the Taliban is necessarily covert, sources said.A Washington “leak” that Trump administration might reduce its Afghanistan footprint by as many as 7,000 fighters has resurrected regional manoeuvres with Taliban for a possible post-US situation.US has opened direct talks with Taliban, the fourth round of which will be held in Qatar on Wednesday. According to reports, the US acquiesced to Taliban’s demand to hold the talks in Qatar refusing to go to Riyadh as was originally planned. Reports say a draft agreement includes a phased withdrawal of US troops while keeping a civilian footprint in the country. Others say the US might restrict itself to a counter-terrorism role, keeping main urban centres away from the Taliban. But there is no clarity on the issue at all yet, only a lot of jostling by neighbouring powers.Iranian sources, on the other hand, say the “deal” under discussion, has brought the old group of countries — Saudi Arabia,UAE and Pakistan back together, countries that had supported the Taliban government in the first place. US envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad too has a long history of negotiating with the Taliban in the 1990s, working for US oil interests then. Media reports from Pakistan say UAE and Saudi have given financial assistance to Pakistan to incentivise Islamabad to bring Taliban to negotiating table.Afghan NSA, Hamdullah Mohib, who was in Delhi for talks with Indian officials last week was dismissive about the efficacy of the peace negotiations under way. TOI
Tehran offers Delhi a channel to Taliban
India all set to take over ops in Myanmar's Sittwe Port after Chabahar
India after Chabahar Port in Iran is all set to take over operations of Myanmar's Sittwe Port that will enable to counter-balance China's BRI in the Indo-Pacific region.In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of state for Shipping, Road transport and chemical & fertilizer Mansukh L Mandaviya informed that the "infrastructure at Sittwe Port in Myanmar, constructed with India’s assistance, is ready for operation."The construction of Sittwe Port is part of the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project and its objective is to create a multi-modal sea, river and road transport corridor for shipment of cargo from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar through Sittwe port as well as to north-eastern part of India via Myanmar.Approved construction cost of Sittwe Port and Inland Water Terminals at Sittwe and Paletwa is Rs. 517.29 crore.India and Myanmar signed a bilateral MoU on 22nd October, 2018 for operationalisation of the port at Sittwe and Inland Water Transport (IWT) Terminals at Sittwe and Paletwa. Once fully operational, the project would encourage investment and trade and also open up alternate routes for connectivity to India’s north-east region.The development comes even as India took over the operations of a part of Shahid Beheshti Port, Chabahar in Iran during the Chabahar Trilateral Agreement meeting that was held on December 24th, 2018.ET /TOI
Alok Verma case: Centre moves to convene committee, Kharge seeks time
New Delhi :Hours after the Supreme Court quashed its order sending CBI Director Alok Verma on leave and reinstated him, the government initiated efforts to convene the high-powered committee that is to take a call on Verma’s future. The meeting is likely to take place at 8pm today. The committee comprises Prime Minister Narendra Modi,CJI Ranjan Gogoi and the Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge. CJI Gogoi has, however,nominated Justice AK Sikri in his place.Sources said the government has sought time from members of the high-powered committee, that chooses and appoints CBI director, to meet at the earliest.  It approached Congress leader Kharge on Tuesday evening itself to attend the meeting of the committee  Kharge, it is learnt, has sought more time to study the order to be prepared for the meeting.According to sources, Kharge, who was busy in the Lok Sabha that sat till late last evening to pass the 10 per cent quota bill, said he would need more time to read the judgment and its implication so that he would be able to put forth his party’s view effectively in the meeting.Kharge has suggested that the meeting could be held on Jan.11.indianexpress
CJI Gogoi pulls out of panel reviewing CBI Director Verma case
New Delhi:Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Wednesday nominated Justice A K Sikri to the Selection Committee that will review the case against CBI Director Alok Verma. 3-member committee also comprises the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.The nomination comes a day after the Supreme Court set aside a government order divesting Verma of his powers, and left it to the high-powered committee to consider the matter “at the earliest and, in any case, within a week from the date of this order”. In the meantime, Verma has been restricted from taking any major policy decisions.indianexpress
50% cap was put to check poll misuse: Justice Ahmadi of Mandal verdict
New Delhi :As the Lok Sabha passed a Bill to provide 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections in the general category, former Chief Justice of India A M Ahmadi, who was part of the landmark 1992 Mandal Commission verdict, which capped reservation at 50 per cent, said Tuesday that BJP-ruled govt’s move is “directly in conflict” with the Supreme Court judgment on reservations. Justice Ahmadi also said that the apex court’s 50 per cent ceiling was to ensure that “reservations are not introduced, and the limit increased, only for election purposes”. “Economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for determining the backward class of citizens contemplated by Article 16 of the Constitution. That is what we had decided in the majority judgment. This is in black and white. In my view, the government’s decision conflicts with the majority view of the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court,” he said. Justice Ahmadi also wondered whether the government had consulted Attorney General KK Venugopal. “I think it (10 per cent reservation for the general category) requires a more deeper study. I don’t know if they had taken the opinion of the Attorney General of India before going through this exercise…It is an important Constitutional decision.He is an independent man. I remember that he had led the arguments against the government when we were hearing the matter,” he said.Asked if the government’s decision to exceed the 50 per cent ceiling was legally valid, Justice Ahmadi said:“Judgment clearly mentions that reservations should not exceed 50 per cent. The SC had put a cap so that reservations are not introduced, and the limit increased, only for election purposes. With this decision, now what remains is just 40 per cent.”indianexpress
Kerala: Muslim groups oppose new quota policy
Kozhikode:Many Muslim organisations have opposed the Union government's attempt to introduce 10% quota for the economically weaker sections among the forward castes. The Jamaat-e-Islami, PFI, and Wisdom Islamic Youth Organisation have termed the move as anti-constitutional and will disrupt the social fabric of the country. In a press release, Jamaat-e-Islami Kerala Amir M.I.Abdul Azeez said NDA government had the next general elections and the upper caste vote up north in mind while coming up with such a proposal that required constitutional amendment. “Moreover, reservation is meant to address the social and educational backwardness, not economic backwardness,” he said.The move to give 10% reservation for the forward castes who made up for 20% of the population was condemnable as the backward classes who formed 80% of the population were getting only up to 50% reservation, he said.PFI chairman E. Aboobacker said the proposal was against the grain of the verdict in the Indira Sawhney case which ruled out economic criteria for reservation.Wisdom Islamic Youth Organisation said that changing the yardsticks for reservation would upset the social fabric of the country.thehindu
KCR, Azam Khan Demand Sub Quota for Muslims in Centre’s Proposed Quota for Upper Caste EWC
Lucknow: Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has demanded 5% quota for Muslims out of the proposed 10% by the central government for the economically weaker upper castes.Meanwhile, TRS on Tuesday urged the Centre to amend the proposed Bill to provide 10% reservation for economically backward people in the general category to include Telangana's demand for quota for backward Muslims and Scheduled Tribes. Azam Khan said, “Muslims should get 5% quota out of the proposed 10% by central government. The proposed reservation is for economically weaker upper castes, however today the economic, financial and social conditions of Muslims are even worse than Dalits. We had also earlier demanded that Muslims should be brought in the category of Dalits so that they can also get the benefits like them. However, that could not happen due to some political reasons. Now we demand 5% reservation for Muslims in the proposed 10% quota by the central government.” Khan pointed out that reservation for Muslims was also recommended by the Sacchchar Commission almost a decade ago.Earlier, speaking on the proposed 10% reservation for economically weaker upper castes, Samajwadi Party’s spokesperson had termed the move as one intended to “fool” people and pointed out that the BJP is yet to deliver on its past promises.  In Hyderabad, Telangana Chief Minister and TRS President K Chandrashekhar Rao directed his party MPs to demand the amendments to the Bill when it is taken up in Parliament.KCR, as Rao is popularly known, recalled that the Telangana Assembly had passed a resolution for providing 12% reservation for backward Muslims and 10% reservation for STs and had sent the same to Union govt.news18
‘Muslims’ condition is worse than Dalits’: Azam Khan demands 5 % reservation for the community
30,000 non-Muslims from B’desh, Pak, Afghanistan staying in India on long-term visa
New Delhi:Over 30,000 non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are staying in India on long-term visa, Union minister Kiren Rijiju told Parliament on Tuesday. Replying to a written question in the Lok Sabha, he said in the absence of any authentic survey, the accurate data of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who came from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and settled in various parts of India including Assam by Dec.31,2014 was not available. “However, as per available information, over 30,000 persons belonging to such minority communities in these countries are staying in India on long-term visa,” the Minister of State for Home Affairs added.PTI
6 Assam groups to be accorded ST status
New Delhi: In a bid to calm tempers in Assam in the wake of vociferous protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that a Bill to declare six communities in Assam as ST would be introduced in the current session of Parliament.Speaking on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Singh said the communities that the Centre proposes to give the status to are Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Matak, Moran and Tea Tribes.The legislation will change the demographic status of Assam, making it a tribal-majority State.“Full safeguards will be provided to protect the interests, rights and privileges of the existing Scheduled Tribes of Assam,” the Minister said. A separate Bill would be introduced to grant the ST status to Bodo Kacharis in the hill districts of Assam and Karbis in the rest of Assam, he said. “6th Schedule of the Constitution is also proposed to be amended to strengthen Autonomous District Councils,” he added.thehindu
BJP spokesperson Mehdi Alam resigns over Citizenship Bill
Guwahati:Moments after Citizenship(Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha, BJP spokesperson Mehdi Alam Bora Tuesday resigned from all posts of the party in protest against the development.Bora is the first important person of the party resigning from BJP to protest the Bill. He submitted the resignation letter to the state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass.“I oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill. I truly feel that it will harm Assamese society,”Bora said in his resignation letter.The Bill will bring a crisis on Assamese language-culture and completely nullify Assam Accord, he added.indianexpress
Hindu outfit tries to send women to Sabarimala-linked mosque citing SC verdict; Kerala Police detains members
Palakkad: 6 people, including 3 women from Tamil Nadu, who wanted to visit the famed Vavar mosque near the Sabarimala temple, have been arrested on charges of trying to create animosity between religious groups and intention to trespass, police said Tuesday. 6, said to be members of the fringe outfit Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK), were natives of Tirupur, Coimbatore and Tirunelveli in neighbouring state. They were arrested at Kozhinjampara near here last night when they were en route to the famed Vavar mosque, which is related to the Sabarimala pilgrimage.Erumeli Nainar Juma Masjid, also known as Vavar 'Palli' (mosque) is dedicated to Vavar, the Muslim companion of Lord Ayyappa, the adopted son of the erstwhile Pandalam king as per Hindu belief.The devotees of Ayyappa visit the mosque during the Nov-Jan annual pilgrim season. They do not enter the prayer hall but circumambulate the mosque, make 'kanikka' (offering) and break coconut at the premises as part of traditions.HMK has earlier staged protests against CM Pinarayi Vijayan over the issue of entry of women in menstrual age into the Ayyappa temple.The outfit had reportedly announced it would send women to the mosque, citing the entry of women into Sabarimala temple.Mahallu Committee, controlling the mosque, said there was no bar or restriction on women Ayyappa devotees from visiting Vavar Mosque. Women going to Sabarimala had been visiting the mosque even before the Supreme Court verdict permitting entry of women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa temple, the committee said in a statement in Kottayam.Police said cases had been registered against the 6 people. PTI
Pilgrims can continue prayers at mosque:Kerala Mosque authorities
Oral talaq a real issue but wrongly caught in politics: Minority Women’s Constitutional Rights Forum
Pune :“Women want to work towards positive politics,” says Razia Patel, who heads the minority education cell of the Indian Institute of Education. Patel, along with others, has set up a minority women’s constitutional rights forum (Muslim Mahila Sanvidhan Hakka Parishad) that aims to raise practical issues and set a development agenda.“Religious minority groups are just engaged and engulfed in the religious politics and their issues are being used for vested interests…Latest example is current politics of a very sensitive issue of oral talaq, which is a real issue but wrongly caught in politics. On the other hand, real issues of the community, such as education, employment, security and empowerment for women, and human and citizenship rights are not getting addressed by policy makers in an effective way,” Patel said.The forum was set up after the Indian Institute of Education conducted a two-day national workshop for women from minority groups on ‘leadership development and constitutional rights’ on January 3 and 4.Likes of Prof Sabiha Hussain from Jamia Millia Islamia, who feels there is a tremendous challenge before Muslim women regarding their leadership development, Hasina Khan, who has been working on the talaq issue, Mumtaz Shaikh, another activist, Jamila Begum from Mumbai, who has been working on ‘Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao aandolan’, and Prof Qudsia Anjum from Saharanpur have come together to set up a new platform.Dr Sharad Javdekar, joint member secretary of the Indian Institute of Education, said that efforts to push women behind were being made by vested interests.indianexpress
Budget Session from Jan.31 to Feb.13, Interim Budget on Feb.1
New Delhi:The Budget session of the Parliament will be held from Jan.31 to Feb.13. Finance minister Arun Jaitley will present the interim Budget on February 1, ANI reported. With this being the last Budget before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the government may announce sops to reach out to the electorate.The decision on the Budget session was taken in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA).Modi government had scrapped the colonial-era tradition of presenting the budget at the end of Feb.HT
Members of Parliament seek inquiry against JNU V-C and his suspension
As many as 45 Members of Parliament have signed and submitted 2 memorandums to Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, seeking his intervention to put JNU back on the rails. Endorsing a litany of allegations against the V-C M Jagadesh Kumar, the MPs have pointed out that as many as 70 litigations seem to be pending before the Delhi High Court pertaining to the central university, with 60 of them challenging various acts of omission and commission by the VC. According to a press statement by JNUSU General Secretary the members of Parliament have demanded the removal of JNU VC stating that the policies he has implemented have been ‘severely detrimental to JNU’.nationalheraldindia
Kataria spews venom against Muslims in video
A video has gone viral in which former home minister Gulab Chand Kataria can be seen spewing venom against ‘Love Jihad’ and a particular community. He decries the situation in Jaipur as one where Hindus are being prevented from worshiping in temples. The video shot in Kataria’s home district Udaipur comes at a time when BJP is gearing up for general elections and is clear indication that the party will further play the polarisarion card.Congress has come down heavily on Kataria’s statement.Kataria gave this controversial speech at a meet of BJP workers organised in the Parshvnath temple in Vallabhnagar in Udaipur on the occasion of new year. In the 3.49 minute video that has gone viral, Kataria, the two-time former home minister, made an impassioned appeal to the people of Udaipur to save their girls from ‘Love Jihad’ which he said is “an increasing problem in present times”.Further elaborating on the issue, Kataria goes on to say, “Ensure that your city does not become like the walled city of Jaipur where Hindus cannot even pray in their temples.” This, he said, is due to a certain community’s interference.dnaindia
Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati seeks Muslims’ cooperation to defeat communal elements
New Delhi: Shankaracharya of Dwarka peeth Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati in a statement condemned the elements who are creating violence and disrupting peace in the name of the temple. He said followers of every religion living in India have the responsibility to play their role in the development and growth of the country while following their own religion. He urged all to solve their issues peacefully while defeating violent elements.He said while Babri Masjid case is in the court, several outfits are making propagandas regarding immediate construction of the temple. Shankar Acharya said we want to solve the matter through consensus.In a written statement Shankar Acharya said temple cannot be built in a day hence it is enough to conduct Shilanyas. He said if Muslim scholars agree for it will be a historic step. It will help defeat people who are spreading hatred between religions for their political gains.siasat
SC takes serious note of ex-MP Atiq Ahmed assaulting realtor in Deoria jail
New Delhi:The Supreme Court took serious note of the alleged kidnapping and assault of a realtor at the instance of former MP Atiq Ahmed in Deoria jail recently, when gangster-turned-politician was lodged there, and sought a report within a week from the state government on the incident.Ahmed was shifted to Bareilly jail following the incident. Ahmed is accused of getting the realtor kidnapped, taken to Deoria jail and then assaulting and forcing him to transfer his businesses in his aide’s name. Case involving Ahmed was brought to the court’s notice while it was hearing a PIL by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who sought a life ban on politicians convicted in criminal cases, besides setting up of special courts to expeditiously try cases involving elected representatives.HT
Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Saumitra Khan joins BJP
Kolkata :Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP from Bishnupur, Saumitra Khan Wednesday joined the BJP. He is the first Lok Sabha MP to leave Trinamool Congress and join BJP. Earlier in Nov.2017, Mukul Roy, who was once number two in Trinamool Congress and a Rajya Sabha MP, had joined the saffron party.Khan’s move comes a day after he alleged that a section of officers of the district police was hatching a conspiracy against him through social media.Khan was known to be close to Mukul Roy while he was in Trinamool Congress and he won from Bishnupur Lok Sabha constituency in Bankura district in 2014.indianexpress
Day Two of Bharat Bandh: Sporadic Violence in Bengal; Kerala Bank Branch Attacked
New Delhi: 2-day nationwide strike by central trade unions to protest against the Centre’s ‘anti-worker’ policies and unilateral labour reforms entered its second day on Wednesday, impacting normal life in some parts of the country.The ten central trade unions (CTUs) which have given a call for the two-day Bharat Bandh are protesting the government’s snub of their 12-point charter of demands seeking minimum wage of Rs 18,000, social security for all workers and issues related to price rise.In a joint statement issued on Monday, the CTUs also alleged that the government undermined tripartism and continued its “aggressive attack with arrogance on the lives and livelihood of the working people.”They are also opposed to the proposed amendments in Trade Union Act, 1926, saying those are irrational and extremely damaging to the independent functioning of unions.Farming communities, through their associations, have also extended support to the strike. Student and teacher organisations of various universities have also declared support, the statement had said.
China's new naval radar can monitor areas size of India: Report
Beijing: China has developed an advanced compact size maritime radar which can maintain constant surveillance over an area of the size of India, media reported on Wednesday.The domestically-developed radar system will enable the Chinese navy to fully monitor China's seas and spot incoming threats from enemy ships, aircraft and missiles much earlier than the existing technology, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported, quoting the scientist who took part in China's over-the-horizon (OTH) radar programme. Liu Yongtan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) from the Harbin Institute of Technology, is credited to have upgraded the China's radar technology and developing an advanced compact size radar for the PLA Navy's carrier fleet to "maintain constant surveillance over an area the size of India," the Post reported.President Xi Jinping conferred the country's top science award, carrying a prize money of $1.116 million, to Liu and another military scientist, Qian Qihu at an event in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday for their contributions.PTI
How Gulf states hatched plan with Israel to rehabilitate Assad: middleeasteye report
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt have hatched a plan with Israel to welcome Syrian President Bashar al-Assad back into the Arab League to marginalise the regional influence of Turkey and Iran, Middle East Eye can exclusively reveal.The diplomatic initiative was agreed at a secret meeting held in a Gulf capital last month which was attended by senior intelligence officials from the four countries including Yossi Cohen, the director of Mossad, Gulf sources with knowledge of the meeting have told MEE.The meeting was also convened in response to a noticeable “cooling” of relations between US President Donald Trump and Riyadh since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Oct.Trump has publicly stood by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the CIA and members of the US Congress hold responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.But an official with knowledge of the meeting said that the intelligence officials were told: "Trump had done what he could and was not going to do more."The officials also agreed at the meeting that they considered Turkey, rather than Iran, to be their major military rival in the region, and discussed plans to counter Ankara’s influence.The Israelis told the meeting that Iran could be contained militarily, but that Turkey had a far greater capability. In the meeting Cohen is reported to have said: “Iranian power is fragile. The real threat comes from Turkey."To tackle these issues, those present at the meeting agreed four measures.The first was to help Trump in his efforts to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan, where about 14,000 American soldiers remain deployed in support of Afghan government forces fighting the Taliban and militant groups.2nd measure was “to control the Sunni card” in Iraq, by which was meant efforts to minimise the influence of Turkey among the Alliance of the National Axis, the largest parliamentary bloc of Sunni Iraqi deputies.The third measure discussed was a diplomatic initiative to restore full diplomatic relations between the three Arab states and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.The fourth measure agreed on at the meeting was to support Syria’s Kurds against Turkey’s attempts to expel the YPG and its political counterpart, PYD, from the Turkish border right up to the Iraqi border.middleeasteye
News site claims Mossad head met Saudi, UAE, Egypt intel officials on Gulf visit
Erdogan: US made a serious mistake on Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has denounced comments by a senior US official urging protection for Kurdish allies as "seriously mistaken".US National Security Adviser John Bolton held talks in Ankara with Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and other officials on the handling of armed groups in northern Syria and the US's planned pullout of its forces there.A joint press briefing scheduled to take place was abruptly cancelled and Bolton was set to depart Turkey without meeting Erdogan in a likely snub over disagreements about Kurdish fighters.During his visit to Israel on Sunday, Bolton set conditions for the US pullout from Syria that included Turkey guaranteeing the safety of the Kurdish militia that spearheaded the fight against ISIL group."We cannot accept the message Bolton gave from Israel, we cannot be deceived by it," Erdogan said in a speech to his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies.US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria last month in a statement that shocked many politicians in Washington as well as Western and Kurdish allies who fought alongside the US in the war-torn country.Turkey has long condemned Washington for its military relationship with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.aljazeera
US Envoy Zinni tasked with resolving Gulf crisis resigns
A US envoy tasked with resolving the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf Arab neighbours has quit his post citing "unwillingness" of regional leaders to engage in dialogue, according to CBS News.US-based broadcaster said on Tuesday that Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine general, resigned after realising he "could not help resolve" the 18-month-long dispute, in which four Arab countries cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, after accusing it of supporting "terrorism".  Zinni, a former commander of US Central Command, said he was stepping down because of the "unwillingness of regional leaders to agree to a viable mediation effort that we offered to conduct or assist in implementing."aljazeera
'Panic' grips Rohingya as Myanmar army battles Buddhist rebels
Frequent clashes between Myanmar security forces and Buddhist rebels in Rakhine state have spread alarm among thousands of Rohingya refugees living in no-man's-land on the country's border with Bangladesh, as concerns grow over the intensified fighting.More than 730,000 members of the mostly Muslim minority have fled Myanmar to escape a brutal military-led crackdown that started in 2017. Most of the Rohingya have taken shelter in sprawling refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh but some have been living in limbo on the border, unwilling to enter the settlements or return home.They are now caught on the sidelines of fighting between Myanmar troops and the Arakan Army, an armed group seeking more autonomy for western Rakhine state's Buddhist-majority population."Heavy fighting is going on between the government troops and Arakan Army inside Myanmar," Rohingya leader Dil Mohammad told AFP."The situation is very tense," he said, adding that the security build-up and daily gunfire had created "panic".Myanmar soldiers last week set up security camps and bunkers along the border after fighting saw 13 police killed.aljazeera
Palestinian family relives Israeli massacre 10 yrs on
Gaza City - Surviving members of the al-Samouni family gathered in Gaza City, commemorating the 10th anniversary since the horrors of Israel's 2008-2009 offensive ruptured their lives forever.On the morning of Jan. 4, 2009, 16 members of Talal Hilmi al-Samouni's family evacuated to the first floor of their home in the al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, south of Gaza City, after an Israeli missile struck third floor.According to Palestinian rights group al-Haq, shelling intensified resulting in three other Samouni families - Ibrahim al-Samouni (12 members), Rashad al-Samouni (11 members), and Nafiz al-Samouni (10 members) - seeking refuge in Talal's home.Later the same day, Israeli forces approached Talal's house and ordered the congregated families to move to another home, that of Wael al-Samouni (11 members). The men were ordered to lift up their shirts on their way out.The result was 60 people under one roof without access to water or electricity, which had been cut off since the start of the offensive, named Operation Cast Lead, on Dec. 27. Dozens of Israeli soldiers and tanks also surrounded Wael's house.
Jewish Moroccan scholar: ‘Israel uses Holocaust as a justification of occupation’
Moroccan Jewish scholar, Jacob Cohen, who is known for his anti-Zionist ideas, stated that “Israel is still employing the cause of the Holocaust to justify the occupation and gain the sympathy of global public opinion.”Cohen’s statement came during a seminar entitled: “The Holocaust and the Zionist Agenda,” which was organised by the non-governmental National Working Group for Palestine in Rabat.Cohen, who is a human rights activist and an author, added: “Israel has been trying to invest in this cause since the 1970s in order redeem its public image and distract the world from the violations committed against the Palestinian people.”“Israelis are always trying to raise this issue to suggest that Israel is threatened,” he noted.Cohen continued: “At the domestic level, all the Israeli governments are trying to root the Holocaust issue in the consciousness of the Israeli citizens to continue spreading fear and violence and create a state of permanent aptness for war.”middleeastmonitor
China permits exit of 2,000 ethnic Kazakhs from Xinjiang region
China is allowing more than 2,000 ethnic Kazakhs to abandon their Chinese citizenship and leave the country, the Kazakh foreign ministry has said.The move is a sign that Beijing may be starting to feel a mounting backlash against its crackdown on Muslims in the far west region of Xinjiang.The detention of Uighur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in internment camps has been an issue in neighbouring Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country of 18 million people. China being a major trading partner, Kazakhstan's state media avoided reporting on the issue. But activists say pressure for action has slowly built following international media coverage.Kazakh foreign ministry said the incoming Kazakhs will be allowed to apply for citizenship or permanent residency after their arrival in Kazakhstan.Chinese foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.Chinese authorities in Xinjiang have launched a massive surveillance and detention campaign that has swept as many as a million people into internment camps.aljazeera
After cancelling Saudi meet, Taliban calls off 2-day peace talks with US officials in Qatar over agenda disagreement
Peshawar: Taliban said they had cancelled planned peace talks with US officials in Qatar this week over a disagreement regarding the agenda of the talks."Both sides have agreed to not meet in Qatar," senior Taliban members based in Afghanistan told Reuters.Talks had been planned for two days starting on Wednesday in Qatar, senior Taliban members had earlier told Reuters. Taliban had rejected requests from regional powers to allow Afghan officials to take part in the discussion, insisting that the US is their main adversary in the 17-year war and that Kabul is a "puppet" regime.The insurgents called off their scheduled meeting this week with US officials in Saudi as well because of Riyadh's insistence on bringing the Western-backed Afghan government to the table. The talks would have been the fourth in a series between Taliban leaders and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad."After mutual consultations, we are going to meet US officials in Doha today. The meeting will continue for 2 days, Wednesday and Thursday,” a senior member of the Afghan Taliban had said on condition of anonymity.Reuters
Taliban attack kills 13 police officers in Afghanistan
Mazar-I-Sharif:At least 13 police officers were killed Wednesday in a Taliban attack in northern Afghanistan, an official said.Munir Ahmad Farhad, spokesman of the Balkh governor’s office, told reporters that the Taliban attacked a police station in Chahar Bolak district.Farhad said that the militants were repelled by the security forces dispatched to the region upon attack.Meanwhile, the Taliban asserted that the attack claimed 24 lives of soldiers and police officers.Anadolu
Ennahda denies Ghannouchi’s nomination for Tunisia’s presidential elections
Ennahda spokesman, Emad Al-Khemiri, denied that Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi is the nominated candidate of the movement for the presidential elections expected in November. Al-Khemiri told Al-Mugtama Magazine on Monday evening that the sources which have circulated the rumours are accustomed to dropping similar bombs occasionally (meaning a breaking piece of news without conducting a background check),and letting it explode. He added: “Yemina Zoghlami (a leader in Ennahda movement) stated that Ennahda’s most probable candidate is Ghannouchi. However, this statement does not necessarily mean that Ghannouchi and the institutions of the movement have already decided in this regard.”Al-Khemiri explained that Ennahda’s institutions had not considered this option yet. He pointed out that the Shura Council in its last session did not address this issue at all, but instead called on the movement’s different departments to present a vision on how to run for the electoral race, at presidential and parliamentary levels, and submit the recommended plans to the party’s concerned bodies.MEMO
Plans To Oust Republican Leader In Texas Because "He Is Muslim"
Houston: Shahid Shafi, an India-born Republican leader in Texas is likely to be ousted as the party's vice chairman for "being a Muslim" and allegedly preferring Islamic law over US law, according to media reports.A group of Tarrant County Republicans will vote on Thursday on whether to remove Shafi as vice-chairman of the county party after a small faction of the members put forth a formal motion to oust him because he is Muslim, The Texas Tribune reported.Those in favour of the motion to recall Shafi, a trauma surgeon and member of the Southlake City Council, said he does not represent all Tarrant County Republicans.They also said Islamic ideologies run counter to the US Constitution -- an assertion many Texas Republican officials have called bigoted. Shafi has also denied the allegations.PTI
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 5:55 PM)


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