15 January 2019

15 Jan.ND: CAG refuses to share Rafale deal audit, cites breach of Parliament/ Make CVC report on Alok Verma, minutes of Jan 10 meet public: Kharge writes to PM/ NSA Ajit Doval’s phone tapping: Delhi HC seeks Centre, CBI reply on plea for SIT probe

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
15 Jan. 2019: 08 Jamadiul-I 1440: Vol:11, No:102
CAG refuses to share Rafale deal audit, cites breach of Parliament
New Delhi: Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has refused to disclose details about its audit in the controversial Rafale aircraft deal, saying the process is not yet complete and any disclosure at this stage will amount to breach of the Parliament’s privilege, an RTI reply said. In its response to Pune-based activist Vihar Durve who had sought the report from CAG, the country’s auditor said, “The audit is under progress and the report is yet to be finalised. The information cannot be given under Section 8(1)(C) of RTI Act as the disclosure would cause breach of Parliament”.Section 8(1)(C) of RTI Act exempts information the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or State Legislature.Last month, the Supreme Court had dismissed pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets, saying there was no occasion to “really doubt the decision making process” warranting setting aside of the contract.It rejected the pleas seeking lodging of an FIR and a court-monitored probe alleging irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal, in which both the countries have entered into an inter-governmental agreement (IGA).“The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), and the report of CAG has been examined by Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament and is in public domain,” the bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had said, relying on the sealed note submitted by the government.After the Congress raised the issue that no such CAG report had been placed before the PAC, govt approached the court seeking changes in the judgment.In the application, the Centre said the two sentences in paragraph 25 of the judgement appeared to have been based on the note submitted by it along with the pricing details in a sealed cover but indicated the words used by the court lent a different meaning.Centre made it clear that it did not say that CAG report was examined by PAC or a redacted portion was placed before Parliament. It clarified that the note had said the government “has already shared” the price details with CAG, which was written in past tense and “is factually correct”.However, where it was stated by the Centre in the note that the report of CAG “is” examined by PAC, was a description of the procedure which is followed in the normal course, but in the judgement, ‘is’ was replaced with the words ‘has been’, according to the application.PTI
French order for Rafale suggests Modi Govt paid a lot more for a lot less
To the acute discomfiture of the Government, reports emerged on Tuesday that the French Government had signed an agreement with Dassault, manufacturers of the Rafale fighter planes, for 28 Rafale planes at the cost of 2.3 billion Euros.The report has caused a furore in India because the Modi Government had signed with Dassault an agreement to pay 7.8 billion Euros for supply of 36 Rafale planes. Twitter erupted with outrage and the Indian Government was asked to explain the arithmetic.Civil rights activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who had filed a petition before the Indian Supreme Court and challenged the Rafale deal signed by the Indian Government, tweeted: What?!! The French govt is buying an improved version of the Rafales at 2 B Euro for 28 aircraft. As against this, Modi bought 36 Rafales for 7.87 B! That is > 2.5x/aircraft paid by France. We have been looted to pay 30KCr Commission to Ambani as offset! While the Supreme Court had dismissed the petitions challenging the deal, the controversy persists with the opposition accusing the Modi Government of paying almost three times the cost negotiated by the previous Government for each plane.Congress President had also spoken of the then Defence Minister and the present Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar telling his cabinet colleagues that he had all the sensitive files related to Rafale in his bedroom. Parrikar insinuated that since he was privy to the details, the Centre would not dare remove him as CM although he remains ill and confined to bed most of the time.Now the purchase order by the French has put fat in the fire. Excerpts from the report which has set the cat among the pigeons and the link is reproduced below:“French government today signed a €2 billion contract with Dassault Aviation for 28 Rafale aircraft and gave the go-ahead for development of the aircraft’s F4 standard which should be validated by 2024, although some functions will be ready by 2022. 28 aircraft will include some F4 functionalities and be delivered to the French air force from 2023. Defense Minister Florence Parly announced that a further 30 aircraft at the full F4 standard would be ordered in 2023 for delivery between 2027 and 2030.F4 standard will have upgraded radar sensors and front sector optronics as well as improved capabilities in the helmet-mounted display. It will have new weapons, notably MBDA’s Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000 kg AASM air-to-ground modular weapon, be able to carry the new Scalp missiles and be equipped with the Talios multifunction optronic pod made by Thales.”nationalheraldindia
Make CVC report on Alok Verma, minutes of Jan 10 meet public: Kharge writes to PM Modi
New Delhi:Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the sole dissenting voice in the high-powered selection committee that decided to oust Alok Verma as CBI Director over corruption charges,has asked PM Narendra Modi to make public the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Justice A K Patnaik’s report on Verma as well as the minutes of the January 10 meeting. In a letter on Monday, Kharge has said this should be done “so the public can draw its own conclusions in this matter.”Calling the appointment of M Nageshwar Rao as interim director of the agency “illegal”, Kharge has asked for an immediate convening of the selection committee to appoint a new CBI Director without further delay.The selection committee is headed by PM and comprises Leader of Opposition and the CJI or a Justice nominated by him — Justice AK Sikri had attended the January 10 meeting.The scathing two-page letter raises serious questions on propriety, documents placed on the record and the conduct of proceedings in the committee to ensure the ouster of Verma. Kharge said that the committee “chose to take a decision based on a report that now stands disowned by Justice Patnaik who was asked by the Supreme Court to monitor the CVC’s enquiry.”“The removal of Alok Verma on 10th Jan 2019 was made without following either due process of law or the principles of natural justice,” Kharge writes in his two-page letter, adding that “a committee that consists of senior representatives of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary should not take a decision merely on a report prepared by an outside agency, howsoever competent without vetting that report and applying its own mind.”indianexpress
NSA Ajit Doval’s phone tapping: Delhi HC seeks Centre, CBI reply on plea for SIT probe
New Delhi :Delhi High Court Tuesday sought the response of the Centre and the CBI on a petition seeking setting up of a SIT to investigate the alleged phone tapping of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval by the probe agency.A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao said such activities were “very dangerous for the country” and sent a notice to the CBI.Petitioner Sarthak Chaturvedi has alleged that some CBI officials had abused their power by violating the mandated guidelines on phone tapping and surveillance. The petition has also questioned as to whether permission was received for tapping the phone of Doval and others by the CBI.The petition refers to CBI DIG Manish Kumar Sinha’s submission in the Supreme Court last year challenging his transfer amid the crisis in the agency.Sinha, who was among the officers transferred by interim CBI chief Nageswar Rao after then agency director Alok Verma was sent on leave in October, had alleged that NSA Doval interfered in investigations against Special Director Rakesh Asthana and claimed both their phones were put under surveillance.Sinha, who was probing a bribery case against Asthana, said in his petition that the surveillance had stumbled upon a conversation involving R&AW officer Samant Goel in which he was heard saying that the PMO had managed the CBI issue. That same night, the petition alleged, the entire CBI team involved in the probe against Asthana was removed.He claimed that Doval informed Asthana about FIR after which he reportedly made a request to NSA that he should not be arrested. “NSA informed Rakesh Asthana about the FIR and Asthana reportedly made a request to NSA that he should not be arrested,” the DIG had claimed in his petition.indianexpress
Sohrabuddin’s brother asks MHA, CBI to appeal against accused’s acquittal
Mumbai :Rubabuddin Shaikh, brother of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, who was allegedly killed in a fake encounter, has requested the home ministry and the CBI to appeal against the trial court’s acquittal of all the accused in the case.On December 21, 2018, a special CBI court had acquitted all the 22 accused due to insufficient evidence and the prosecution’s failure to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.The accused, mostly junior level police officers from Gujarat and Rajasthan, were charged with killing Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati in a fake encounter.On January 14 this year, Sohrabuddin’s brother Rububuddin wrote letters to the Ministry of Home Affairs and CBI, the prosecuting agency, requesting them to file an appeal in the Bombay High Court challenging the lower court’s order.“The judgement of CBI court dated Dec.21, acquitting all the accused persons is bad in law and prima facie untenable. The special CBI court has erred in appreciating facts and evidence in right perspective,” the letter said.“I humbly request you (MHA and CBI) to kindly undertake all necessary measures to file appeal before the Bombay High Court,” Rubabuddin said.PTI
SC to hear after 4 weeks Zakia Jafri’s plea against clean chit to Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots
New Delhi :The Supreme Court Tuesday said it would hear after four weeks a plea by Zakia Jafri challenging the clean chit by the SIT to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in connection with the 2002 Godhra riots.Zakia, the wife of Ehsan Jafri, an ex-MP who was killed in one of the worst incidents during the riots, has challenged the Gujarat High Court’s October 5, 2017, order rejecting her plea against the SIT’s decision.The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi, and the counsel appearing for the petitioner said they have circulated a letter seeking adjournment of the hearing. “You are asking for 4 weeks and we are giving your four weeks. List the matter after four weeks,” the bench said.The court previously said it will also look into the application by social activist Teesta Setalvad on becoming a co-petitioner in Zakia’s plea ahead of hearing the main case.Jafri’s counsel told the apex court that a notice needs to be issued in the plea as it pertains to alleged “larger conspiracy” during February 27, 2002 and May 2002. It also maintained that after SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report before a trial judge, the petitioner filed a protest which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering “substantiated merits”.PTI
JNU sedition case: Court to consider chargesheet against Kanhaiya, others on Jan.19
New Delhi:A Delhi court Tuesday set Jan.19 for consideration of chargesheet against former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the 2016 JNU sedition case. The chargesheet was filed against Kanhaiya and others by Delhi Police on Monday, saying he was leading a procession and supported seditious slogans raised on the varsity campus on February 9, 2016, at an event to commemorate the hanging of Afzal Guru.The court pushed the matter for hearing on Jan.19 as CMM Deepak Sherawat was on leave Tuesday. Police also charged former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during the event. Meanwhile, Kanhaiya said that the charges against him are politically motivated and that he would not mind facing the trail in the court of law. indianexpress
"Absurd", Says P Chidambaram After Kanhaiya Kumar Charged With Sedition
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Monday dubbed the charges against former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the JNU sedition case as "absurd" while his party said it hoped that the legal process will be carried out rightfully. Chidambaram said if it took three years for the government to make out the charge of sedition, it "exposes the motive of the govt".He also demanded a debate on whether a provision like Section 124A (sedition) of IPC has a place in the laws of a democratic republic."The charge of sedition against Kanhaiya Kumar and others is absurd. If it takes three years and 1,200 pages to make out a charge of sedition (based on a public speech), that alone exposes the motive of the government," the former home minister said in a series of tweets."How many in the investigating team have read and understood section 124A of the IPC and the case law on the Section. There must be a serious debate if a provision like section 124A has a place in the laws of a democratic republic," Chidambaram said.PTI
7 Kashmiri students named in chargesheet
2 Independent MAs withdraw support from Karnataka govt
New Delhi: 2 Independent MLAs who had extended their support to Congress-JDS alliance when it was formed in May last year announced to withdraw support to the coalition government Tuesday. 2 Independent MLAs R Shankar from Ranebennur and H Nagesh from Mulbagal released letters addressed to the governor stating their withdrawal. 2 MLAs have suggested disgruntlement with the coalition as a reason for withdrawal of support.This, however, is not likely to affect the Congress JDS coalition since the Congress with 80 MLAs and the JDS with 37 enjoy a clear majority in the 224 member Karnataka legislature where is halfway mark is 113. “We have heard that the 2 Independent MLAs want to withdraw support to the government. As Independents, they are free to take any decision they want. They had extended support when the government was formed and one of them was made a minister for a while,” Karnataka deputy CM G Parameshwara said.2MLAs are yet to however meet the Governor and convey their withdrawal of support.indianexpress
Yeddyurappa asks BJP MLAs to be ready for good news, Kumaraswamy says no threat to govt
Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has sent a message to Karnataka BJP MLAs, asking them to be ready for good news by Tuesday evening, reports said. This comes amid allegations of horse trading being made by both JDS-Congress combine and the BJP. BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa had earlier said there was no truth that three Congress MLAs were in touch with BJP. The Opposition Congress has accused the BJP of establishing the Karnataka government through money and power. Congress described BJP’s latest attempt as Operation Lotus 3.0 to topple the ruling Congress-JDS combine ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.Karnataka Minister and Congress leader DK Shivakumar said three Congress MLAs were camping in a Mumbai hotel in the company of some BJP leaders. The BJP, on the other hand, has shifted its more than a hundred MLA to a resort in Haryana’s Gurugram. Earlier in the day, two independent MLA – R Shankar and H Nagesh – withdrew their support to HD Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka.However, there is no threat to Karnataka government which has 5 more MLAs than the required 113 halfway mark. Confident HD Kumaraswamy said attempts by BJP will fail and the JDS-Congress government will last for complete 5 years. He further dismissed any threats to the Karnataka government, saying that his government was stable.The chief minister said he knew they would pull out of the JDS-Congress combine government in Karnataka. NewsX
Bulandshahr violence: Prime accused Yogesh Raj features in Bajrang Dal’s R-Day poster
New Delhi:Days after being arrested by the Bulandshahr Police for his key role in the riots that killed a policeman, Yogesh Raj is featured in congratulatory posters allegedly put up by Bajrang Dal workers in regions of Bulandshahr. Posters spelled out wishes to the public for Makar Shakranti and Republic Day on behalf of Praveen Bhati, a co-cordinator and Yogesh Raj whose title is mentioned as District Co-ordinator.“From the day of the riots itself, we have openly admitted that Raj is an able worker of the Bajrang Dal and we stand by him. There is a huge difference between someone who is accused and someone who is convicted. The posters display Yogesh’s patriotism which even an accused has a right to express. We completely endorse this”, said Balraj Dungar, State Convenor of Bajrang Dal. The display also has names of Satish Lodi, Ashish Chauhan, Satendra Rajput and Vishal Tyagi-who have been accused of possible of role in the Bulandshahr violence that claimed the life of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh. “The poster has been put up by Praveen, who is also a worker of the party. We see no wrong in this”, continued Balraj Dungar. The posters were allegedly taken down by authorities within a day from areas including Nayabans village, of which Raj is a resident of.indianexpress
Gauri Lankesh case: Bombay HC asks for accused to be moved to Mumbai for arms haul case hearing
Bombay High Court has ordered that three persons in jail in connection with the Gauri Lankesh murder case be moved from Bengaluru to Mumbai, where they are accused in an arms haul case, PTI reported. Maharashtra ATS had sought the custody of Amol Kale, Amit Baddi and Ganesh Miskin in the Nalasopara arms haul case. It had got their custody for six days in October as well, but a court had refused to extend their police remand and sent them to judicial custody. They were then moved to a prison in
Bhima Koregaon case: Court allows Milind Ekbote to speak at public rally, talk to media
Pune :Milind Ekbote, a Hindutva leader accused in one of the cases of Koregaon Bhima violence, was granted relief by a court in Pune on Monday by relaxing conditions regarding weekly attendance at police station, speaking in public rallies and talking to the media. Accused Milind Ekbote was booked under SC/ST Act following a complaint lodged by Anita Savale, a Dalit woman. Another Hindutva leader, Sambhaji Bhide, was a co-accused in the FIR.While Bhide was never arrested for “a lack of evidence”, Ekbote was arrested by Pune Rural police on March 14, 2018, after the Supreme Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea. However, the court later released him on bail on April 4, 2018, on conditions that he should report to the concerned police station every Monday, not pressurise witnesses in this case, submit his passport to police, not speak to the media and not address any public rally.Meanwhile, police arrested Ekbote in another case lodged by assistant police inspector Nitin Shivaji Lakade, who got injured during the violence on Jan.1. He got bail on April 19 and was released from Yerwada Jail. Indianexpress

Latur man converts to Islam, nabbed by ATS while attempting to fly to Africa on fake documents
Latur: A 30-year-old man of Udgir, was arrested in Latur when his plans to fly to Tanzania in South Africa were discovered to have been made using a passport made using forged documents. Narsingh Jairam Bhuikar aka Mohammad Rehman Ibn Adam came on the radar of ATS after it was discovered that he had lied blatantly while making documents pertaining to his identity. ATS officials soon had him arrested for questioning, reports Marathi daily Saamana.As per the report, the young man hails from Zahirabad in Bidar district. He had come to Udgir a few years ago in search of a livelihood. In Udgir, he found work in a bakery. Here he also converted to Islam and changed his name from Narsingh Jairam Bhuikar to Mohammad Rehman Ibn Adam.Meanwhile, police verification on the application of the passport led to the discovery that all the documents that Jairam alias Rehman had furnished were fake.ATS is gathering information over why this young man was going to Africa on the basis of fake documents and why had he converted from Hinduism to Islam.timesnownews
Unnerved by NIA raids, UP village decides to ‘ostracize’ those involved in cow slaughter, arms supply:TOI
Meerut: Radhna village of Meerut is in the news for all wrong reasons. There has been almost half-a-dozen NIA raids in the village and nearby areas since a local, Naeem Ahmad, was arrested on January 3 for allegedly supplying arms to an terror module. The back-to-back raids and the infamy it brought to the village, which has over a thousand strong population, prompted the locals to call a mahapanchayat.At the massive gathering, the locals took a pledge to not allow five things – arms supply, gambling, betting, liquor consumption and cow slaughter – in the village. They also declared that anyone found indulged in any of these activities will be “ostracized.” Village pradhan Jabbar Ali said, “Because of a few wrongdoers, the village has earned a bad name and is continuously being raided by security agencies which is certainly not a healthy feeling. Hence, we have decided that anyone who is found involved in activities, like arms supply, gambling, betting, liquor and cow slaughter, will be ostracized.” Former village headman Umar Ali said, “Around 2,000 people attended the mahapanchayat, including residents of adjacent villages. At the same time, we also appeal to the government and authorities to only target those who are actually involved in sinister activities. The innocent should not be harassed. We are ready to cooperate with the security agencies.” On January 4, Naeem was arrested from this very village. A day later, the village witnessed the arrival of NIA team along with a bomb disposal squad in addition to a platoon of CRPF. Soon enough more searches were conducted. TOI
Lonavala: Muslim family brutally attacked, girls molested
Lonavala: A Muslim family was brutally assaulted and women and girls molested at the hands of locals residents for no valid reasons.According to Muslim Mirror report, the incident took place at around 6 pm at Lonavala on Monday when members of a Muslim family from Vadodara, Gujarat went to a hillstation near Mumbai, for tourism.They suffered this humiliation and drubbing over a minor dispute of fixed amount for the horse-riding at Tiger’s Point in Lonavala.According to reports, the horseman demanded more money than the fixed amount to offer horse-ride to visitors and began abusing the family members. Suddenly more than a few horsemen came around and mercilessly attacked them.‘They thrashed male members, molested women and snatched their purse and mobiles, informed activist Zuber Gopalani, a kin who rushed the place of incident following the attack to help the family.Those who got severe injuries are Aasim Memon (32), Sufiyan Memon (30) and Ahmed Memon (28).The reorts further claimed that the police over there initially refused to register an FIR, but wrote a complaint after five hours of incident when the pressure was built up. However, arrests have been made in the incident so far.siasat         
Lonavala : Muslim family from Gujarat brutally attacked , 3 injured
Farmers package in the works: Income support scheme and interest-free loans
New Delhi: NDA govt is considering a package of proposals for the distressed agriculture sector that includes interest-free loans, loans without collateral and an income support scheme. Sources said the Agriculture Ministry, in consultation with Niti Aayog, is working on the broad contours of a plan that includes measures to provide income support and funding relief to small and marginal farmers, including the possibility of interest-free loans of up to Rs 3 lakh to this segment. Govt already provides an interest subsidy to farmers who repay their loans on time. While banks have traditionally been reluctant to give interest-free loans, they are likely to go ahead if the government were to reimburse the interest component.The proposals could be announced in the interim budget or even earlier. A senior official said that banks have had consultations with Ministry officials. Another proposal that was discussed is collateral-free loans for farmers. This loan could be up to Rs 2 or 3 lakh. However, banks are not comfortable with collateral-free loans unless steps like a credit guarantee mechanism are put in place by the government. Bankers and the Reserve Bank of India are against loan waivers by states. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das had said any generalised farm loan waiver would adversely impact the credit culture and behaviour of borrowers.Government sources said the Finance Ministry has already asked various ministries and departments to detail their funding required for “new schemes”, as part of its preparations for the Budget likely on February 1.indianexpress
Disquiet in section of court over way in which Collegium changed judge choices for SC
New Delhi :As per the prevailing practice, the decision of the Collegium taken on Jan.10, along with the opinion of the ‘consultee judges’, must have been communicated to the Government since it has been uploaded on the website of the Supreme Court.The Supreme Court Collegium resolution last Thursday that overturned decisions taken by it in Dec — of elevating two High Court Chief Justices to the apex court — has generated disquiet among a section of the judges of the court.The change in resolution stopped the elevation of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, and Justice Rajendra Menon, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, who had been recommended for the Supreme Court by the Collegium on December 12.The Supreme Court, which has a new Collegium that held its first meeting on Jan.10, decided instead to elevate Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, and Justice Sanjeev Khanna, a judge of Delhi High Court.The Collegium, comprising five most senior judges of the Supreme Court, has seen the induction of Justice Arun Mishra after the retirement of Justice Madan Lokur on December 30. Justice Lokur, when contacted, said he had “no comments” to offer.The Indian Express has learnt that there is disquiet among a section of the judges, regarding “the sudden move to just shelve the decisions arrived at in December, without either making that decision public, or stating why it needed to be reversed”.indianexpress
Mumbai: 'Ploy to make Muslims infertile' rumours stall vaccination drive by BMC
Mumbai: In an example of how spreading fake news could lead to massive social and political problems, some Muslim schools in Mumbai have refused to permit health officials to administer the Central government's flagship measles-rubella vaccination to kids because of social media rumours claiming that the vaccination caused infertility.According to rumours, these vaccinations are a ploy by the government to sterilise Muslims. At least 60 Urdu schools have now refused a vaccination due to this fake news doing the rounds on the social media.Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now making all efforts to convince the Muslim community that this was merely a piece of fake news. Meanwhile, an official said: "There is no substance in this rumour.This vaccination and infertility have no connection. We have vaccinated nearly 14 lakh people in Mumbai." Times Now
Minority community opposes non-veg food ban at Jaipur Municipal community centres
Banning non-veg food in the community centres of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) has created a new controversy. Muslim organisations have warned the state government of running a movement against the JMC order. Representatives of Muslim organisations have given a memorandum to Congress MLAs Mahesh Joshi and Amin Kagzi. Muslim leaders said they will meet CM Ashok Gehlot in this regard.Last week, acting Mayor Manoj Bhardwaj had directed the municipal officials to ban non-veg cooking, eating and serving it in the JMC community centres. Bharadwaj had told JMC officials that while booking community centres, it should be ensured that non-veg food will not be cooked and served there. There is a resentment among the Muslim community with this order. A delegation of Kabristan Bachao Committee met Joshi and Kagzi and gave them memorandum. The two leaders assured them that they would talk to the chief minister regarding this. General Secretary of Kabristan Bachao Committee, Ferozuddin said that community centres have been constructed for the poor sections of the society for their facility. The poor cannot afford the rent of expensive marriage gardens and homes for family functions. That is why they organise their functions in the community centre. DNA          
At Trilokpuri masjid, NGO sets up camp for EWS admission
New Delhi: On Monday, the loudspeaker at Trilokpuri’s Madina Masjid broadcast a different message: “If you have children between the ages of 3 and 6, come to our camp. We will help you get them admitted to a good private school for free.”As the online nursery admission process for EWS/DG students at private schools kicks off on Tuesday, workers of Josh, an NGO working in East Delhi, set up a camp at the mosque to help parents with the process. Deepa, who has a five-year-old child and does sewing from home, said she has never heard of the EWS/DG reservation before. “I found out about it today, when my neighbour told me about the camp,” she said. However, her late husband did not have an SC certificate, required for the admission process.NGO workers noted down numbers and addresses of all those who came to the camp. indianexpress

Transparency International Discovers Irregularities in Bangladesh's general election
Dhaka: Anti-corruption group Transparency International said on Tuesday it found “irregularities” in 47 of 50 constituencies it surveyed during last month’s general election in Bangladesh, which was marred by allegations of vote rigging.The poll that gave PM Sheikh Hasina a third straight term was undermined by ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and the occupation of polling booths among other malpractices, the group’s Bangladesh chapter said. The govt rejected the report, saying the group had “lost its neutrality” and should be investigated for any “secret link” to the main opposition BNP.In its report, Transparency International said the BNP-led opposition could not effectively campaign for votes, opposition workers were threatened by government agencies, and Election Commission could not ensure a level-playing field for all parties. Ruling Awami League-led coalition won 46 of 50 constituency races surveyed by the organisation.There are 300 elected seats in parliament, and another 50 members are nominated.“Election Commission did not perform its role properly,” Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International‘s            Bangladesh chapter, told reporters in Dhaka.“We recommend an investigation by a judicial enquiry committee, because such an election is not positive for democracy,” he added.Reuters
Saudi denies reports about reopening embassy in Syria
Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied media reports claiming that the Kingdom is planning to reopen its embassy in Damascus.An official source at the ministry said that the reports are entirely untrue, the government’s SPA news agency reported. However, earlier reports quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf as saying that the embassy in the Syrian capital will reopen on Thursday at 1:30 pm.The Syrian government welcomes the reopening of any Arab embassy in Damascus, most of which were closed at the start of the civil war in the country; the UAE and Bahrain recently reopened their embassies. Last month, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir made a brief and surprise visit to meet Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, which was only announced after it had ended.MEMO
PA reinforces relations with Syria’s Assad
Palestinian Radio and TV Corporation opened its office in Syrian capital Damascus yesterday, reinforcing relations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.Several Palestinian officials attended the inaugural celebration for the Radio and TV Corporation, which is headed by Minister Ahmad Assaf, Al Khaleej reported. Several members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Fatah’s Executive Committee, and a number of other Palestinian faction leaders and ambassadors also attended the ceremony.Meanwhile, Syrian officials representing the Syrian information ministry also attended the celebration.Senior Fatah leader, Azzam Al-Ahmad said today that PA President Mahmoud Abbas would visit Damascus soon.middleeastmonitor
Erdogan: Turkey to set up 'security zone' in Syria
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country would set up a security zone in northern Syria as suggested by US President Donald Trump as both leaders sought to ease growing tensions.Addressing his deputies on Tuesday, Erdogan said he held a "quite positive" telephone conversation with Trump late on Monday where he reaffirmed "a 20-mile security zone along the Syrian border ... will be set up by us".Erdogan said he viewed the planned security zone in Syria positively and added its range may be extended further.The president added he and Trump reached "a historic understanding" during the phone call, but Erdogan didn't elaborate. Trump confirmed the idea of establishing a zone around the border in a tweet earlier, referring to the proposed area as a "safe zone".aljazeera
Freezing weather kills 15 displaced kids in Syria: UN
At least 15 children displaced within Syria have been killed by sub-zero temperatures and lack of access to medical care, the UN said. According to Unicef, the UN’s agency for children, eight were killed by the freezing cold in the Rukban camp on the Syria-Jordan border.Another seven died as they were displaced by fighting in the northeastern town of Hajin between IS group  and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)."Freezing temperatures and harsh living conditions in Rukban... are increasingly putting children's lives at risk," Unicef’s regional director Geert Cappelaere said."In just one month, at least eight children - most of them under four months and the youngest only one hour old - have died."Rukban, which is located in no-man’s land between Syria and Jordan, is notoriously inaccessible.Some 80 percent of its 45,000 population are women and children, which Cappelaere said increases the likelihood of infant mortality.middleeasteye
Israel police end siege of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque
Israel Police has ended its siege of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, allowing Muslim worshippers to enter the mosque for prayers yesterday evening.One of the mosque’s guards, who preferred not to be named, told Anadolu Agency that the Israeli police withdrew from the Al-Aqsa compound yesterday, adding that dozens of worshippers were subsequently able to pray freely.Israeli police had imposed a siege around the Dome of the Rock – located inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – demanding that the mosque’s guards turn themselves into the Israeli authorities. Firas Al-Dibs, an employee of the Waqf (the religious endowment which administers Al-Aqsa compound) said that tensions had broken out after the mosque guards refused to allow an Israeli policeman – who was wearing a Jewish kippah (head covering) at the time – to enter the Dome of the Rock.MEMO
Israel evicting Palestinian family to replace them with settlers
Sheikh Jarrah, Occupied East Jerusalem - Huddled around an electric heater on a chilly winter day, four Palestinian women sit nervously, making calls to acquaintances to ask about homes for rent in the city."We can't leave it to the last minute. We have to figure it out - the Israelis can come at any time to evict us from our homes," says 31-year-old Ramziyeh Sabbagh. She is due to give birth to a baby girl in five days."My husband is in denial that we may be evicted," says Khadija Sabbagh, Ramziyeh's aunt. "I don't know what we're going to do. We only have God at this point." Umm Alaa Skafi, who lives next door and whose family is also facing eviction, came over to check on her dear neighbour."Keep praying. Don't let your mind wonder. Keep yourself busy. I am here for you. I'll make a dish and bring it over for you and your family," Umm Alaa tells Khadija.On January 12, Israeli authorities handed an eviction order to the Sabbagh family - numbering about 45 people - so Israeli settlers could move into their homes. aljazeera
Arab Christians protest 'McJesus' sculpture in Israel
An art exhibit in Israel featuring a crucified Ronald McDonald - a primary mascot of the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain - has sparked protests by the country's Arab Christians.Hundreds of Christians calling for the removal of the sculpture titled "McJesus" demonstrated at the museum, where the artwork has been put on display, in the northern city of Haifa last week.Israeli police said the rioters hurled a firebomb at the museum and threw stones that wounded three police officers. Authorities dispersed the crowds with tear gas and stun grenades.Church representatives brought their grievances to the district court on Monday, demanding it ordered the removal of the exhibit's most offensive items, including Barbie doll renditions of a bloodied Jesus and the Virgin Mary.Museum director Nissim Tal said he was shocked at the sudden uproar, especially because the exhibit - intended to criticise what many view as society's cult-like worship of capitalism - had been on display for months.It has also been shown in other countries without incident.The protests appear to have been sparked by visitors sharing photos of the exhibit on social media.aljazeera
‘Tunisia’s democratic experience is not in a safe situation,’ warns President
Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi warned that the country’s democratic experience is not in a safe situation, Anadolu has reported. He also warned of the risks of a general strike called by his country’s largest labour union for Thursday.Essebsi made his comments during a speech at the opening of an exhibition celebrating the revolution of 14 January 2011. The exhibition is being held at Bardo National Museum in the capital Tunis.“We have adopted a democratic path and completed elections and a constitution,” explained the veteran Tunisian leader. “Despite the deficiencies in the constitution, it still distinguishes the Tunisian experience.” Of all the so-called Arab Spring countries, he pointed out, Tunisia is the only one to undergo such a thorough process. “However, we do not think that the democratic experience in Tunisia is in a safe situation.”President accepted that people are still preoccupied with the formation of the government. middleeastmonitor
Brexit vote: Theresa May faces worst government defeat in 95 years
London: Prime Minister Theresa May is set to see her Brexit deal rejected in the biggest Parliamentary defeat for a British government in 95 years after her last minute pleas for support appeared to fall on deaf ears. The battle now is over not whether May loses, but how badly.At least 70 of her Conservative Party, as well as sometime allies in the Democratic Unionist Party, are publicly pledged to join opposition Members of Parliament in voting against her agreement Tuesday. That would translate into a defeat by a margin of 150 or more, the largest in over a century. Even if some abstain, a defeat by more than 100 would be the worst since 1924.May postponed a vote before Christmas in the hope of winning over Parliament with new concessions from Brussels over the so-called backstop intended to ensure the post-Brexit Irish border stays open, but EU leaders’ letters of reassurance were treated with scorn in the House of Commons Monday.Bloomberg
Pompeo and MBS agree on 'importance' of Yemen de-escalation
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have agreed on the importance of de-escalation in military operations in Yemen amid United Nations' peace efforts to end the conflict."On #Yemen, agreed on need for continued de-escalation and adherence to Sweden agreements, especially cease-fire and redeployment in #Hudaydah," the US embassy in Riyadh tweeted on Monday after a meeting between Pompeo and Prince Mohammed.The Iranian-allied Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government agreed during peace talks in Sweden in Dec.on a ceasefire in Hodeidah and to withdraw troops from the strategic Red Sea port city.aljazeera
Pak University to Celebrate Sisters' Day on Valentine's Day to Promote 'Islamic Traditions'
A Pakistani university will celebrate Sisters' Day on February 14 to promote "Islamic traditions", according to the vice chancellor.Female students can be gifted scarves and Abayahs (clothes) as decided by Vice Chancellor Zafar Iqbal Randhawa of the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad and other decision makers, Dawn News reported.The vice chancellor believes it was "compatible with Pakistan's culture and Islam", the report said.While speaking to TV, he said that he was not sure if his suggestion to celebrate Sisters' Day "would click or not".He said that although some Muslims have turned Valentine's Day into a threat, "My thinking is that if there is a threat, convert it into an opportunity". The report quoted Randhawa as saying that women face certain conditions related to their attire which dictate that their body should not be revealed.PTI
flash: views & NEWS
Master of Roster Has Also Become the Master of Collegium:Prashant Bhushan
How Governments Use Big Data to Violate Human Rights;Andrew Thompson
JNU ‘sedition’ case: Unanswered questions in the chargesheet against Kanhaiya Kumar and others: Abhishek Dey
Congress could be a spanner in the works of the SP-BSP alliance: Badri Narayan
Faesal's post invokes a narrative of Kashmir that is at odds with reality: Abhinav Kumar
Fact Check: Did Rahul Gandhi attribute Mahatma Gandhi's non-violence mantra to Islam?
Without realising, BJP has surrendered India to Muhammad Ali Jinnah:SHASHI THAROOR

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:19 PM)


Post a comment