07 January 2019

7 Jan.ND: Cabinet approves 10% quota for ‘economically weaker’ General category/ Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill passed by Lok Sabha/ Cabinet clears Citizenship Amendment Bill, to be introduced in LS/

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
07 Jan. 2019: 30 Rabiul-II 1440: Vol: 11, No:95
Eyes on polls, Cabinet approves 10% quota for ‘economically weaker’ General category
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Modi government Monday decided to amend the Constitution to provide for 10 per cent reservation for ‘economically backward’ upper castes in direct recruitment in government services and admission to higher educational institutions, highly placed sources confirmed. In fact, the government is aiming to introduce the legislation Tuesday on the last day of the current leg of the winter session of Parliament.Though similar suggestions have been made by political leaders like Mayawati and Ramdas Athavale in the past, this is the first substantial move to take legislative route to provide for this change. An attempt to provide for 10 per cent reservation to poor or economically backward among other sections during the Narasimha Rao government’s tenure to offset political backlash against the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations was nullified by the Supreme Court in the early 90s. “Narasimha Rao government’s attempt was thrown out as it violated the basic structure of 50 per cent ceiling,” confided a highly placed source revealing that “this time this basic structure is changed to provide for reservation up to 60 per cent”.“Additionally, a new criterion of economically weaker section as eligible for reservation will be provided for through the Constitution Amendment,” confided the source to stress how the Government move is conscious of keeping its legislative move immune from legal challenges. The move will require amending Article 16 of the Constitution to provide for reservation for economically weaker sections.Unlike the reservation for SC/ST/OBCs, caste is not going to be a criterion for eligibility to the reservation under this new provision. In fact, sources revealed that the government’s move plan to delineate the economically weaker section (EWS) for avoiding confusion.Sources, in this backdrop, revealed that EWS category will be defined as families with income (includes agricultural income as well as from profession) below Rs 8 lakh per annum, possessing agricultural land below 5 acre and residential house below 1,000 square feet. As for urban areas, those with residential plot below 100 yards in notified municipality or residential plot below 200 yards in the non-notified municipal area.The move comes in the backdrop of upper caste backlash against Modi government’s move against the Supreme Court’s attempt at ring-fencing apprehensions of misuse of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The Supreme Court move had sparked nation-wide protests from Dalit groups across the country after which Modi government brought legislation and nullified the SC measure through Parliament in the last monsoon session.indianexpress
Cabinet approves 10% quota for economically backward, beyond the 50% limit
General quota:Centre has woken up to woes of poor 100 days before elections, says Congress
Reacting to the news, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “We will continue to support every such step which provides opportunities as also employment to the economically weaker sections of society. The truth, however, is that after 4 years and 8 months, Modi govt has suddenly woken up to the woes of the economically poor, facing imminent defeat in the 2019 elections with only 100 days to go for polls. That itself raises questions over the intent and the bonafide of the Modi govt altogether.”Union Minister of State Dr Mahesh Sharma welcomed the government's decision to give 10% reservation to the economically poor upper castes.Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Monday welcomed the Union cabinet decision on 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for economically backward sections in the general category. "The central government has taken the decision keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections", he told PTI. "CPI(M) has earlier itself wanted reservation for the economically weaker people among higher castes," he added. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said: "Reservations are meant to correct historical injustice to Dalits. For poverty alleviation, one may run various schemes but reservations are meant for justice."indianexpress
Parliament Winter Session: Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill passed by Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha session adjourned till Tuesday after passing the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill. The Bill amends the Divorce Act for Christians, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act and strikes out leprosy as a ground for seeking a divorce. Even as most of the MPs were in favour of the Bill to be passed, AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi opposed The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018,  saying that if anyone conceals a disease like leprosy, this in itself is a fraud in a contract of marriage. So it should remain a ground for divorce. "Do not interfere in Muslim personal law. Marriage is a contract in Muslim law. So any kind of concealment is a ground for disease in any Muslim or Islamic country," he said.The political furore over the Rafale deal continued in Lok Sabha on Monday with Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman terming the doubts raised by the Congress over her statement on HAL contracts as “incorrect and misleading”. “I would like to set all doubts to rest… the doubts raised in this regard are incorrect and misleading,” she told the House. The minister’s remarks came after the Congress on Sunday alleged accused her of “lying” in Parliament that government orders worth Rs one lakh crore were provided to HAL.indianexpress
Union Cabinet clears Citizenship Amendment Bill, to be introduced in Lok Sabha Tuesday
New Delhi: Union Cabinet Monday cleared the redrafted Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the bill and it is expected to be tabled in Lok Sabha Tuesday, an official privy to the development said.The move came within hours of the presentation in Lok Sabha of a report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the bill that was first introduced in Parliament in 2016.Large sections of people in Assam and other northeastern states have been protesting against the bill, saying it would nullify the 1985 Assam Accord under which any foreign national, irrespective of religion, who had entered the state after 1971 should be deported.The fresh bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don’t possess any proper document. This was an election promise of the BJP in 2014.Eight influential students’ bodies of the Northeast, besides more than 40 socio-cultural organisations of Assam, have called an 11-hour ‘bandh’ Tuesday in protest against the central government’s move to amend the Citizenship Act.JPC report was prepared with a majority vote as opposition members have opposed the move to grant citizenship on the basis of religion saying it is against the Constitution.PTI
BJP Loses Another Ally. Asom Gana Parishad Exits Over Citizenship Bill
Guwahati: Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a regional ally of the BJP, has exited the BJP-led coalition in Assam over the centre's stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, just a few months before the national election. While the break-up will have little impact on Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal's government, it adds to the perception of the ruling party losing allies on the verge of a challenging bid for re-election."We have made our best efforts to convince the BJP leadership about the negative impact of the bill and the stand of the people of Assam. But the BJP has decided to go ahead with the bill leaving us with no option but to quit the alliance," AGP president Atul Bora said after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh.The bill is likely to be debated in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.Former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and leader of the AGP had been threatening to part ways with the BJP if the government went ahead with an amendment aimed at allowing Hindu illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries to stay. The AGP is against illegal immigrants regardless of religion."Our alliance with the BJP is a pre-poll alliance, so the BJP should have the morality to face the verdict of the people," Mr Mahanta said.The two parties formed an alliance before the 2016 state election, in which the BJP won 61 of the 126 assembly seats and the AGP got 14. Along with the Bodo People's Front's 12, the BJP-led alliance's tally went up to 87, well above the half-way mark. The AGP's exit will make no difference to the ruling alliance's majority."Assam had voted for AGP and BJP combine. However, the BJP failed to keep the promises of the alliance partner. Being a regional party, we have to respect the wishes and sentiments of the people of Assam," Mr Bora added.ndtv
Asom Gana Parishad severs ties with BJP as row over Citizenship Bill intensifies
After ‘Jinnah’ comment, Himanta says Hindus will be minority in Assam if Citizenship Bill not passed
Guwahati:A day after stoking controversy with his “Jinnah’s legacy” comment, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said Hindus in the State will become minority within five years if the Citizenship Bill is not passed.The senior BJP leader stood by his “Jinnah’s legacy” remark and said those who are protesting against him do not know the history of Assam and its formation during the partition of India.“I strongly believe that if this Bill is not passed, then Hindus in Assam will become minority in just next five years. That will be advantageous to those elements who want Assam to be another Kashmir and a part of the uncertain phase there,” Sarma told PTI.PTI
SC seeks Centre’s response on plea alleging arrests under scrapped Sec 66 A of IT Act
The Supreme Court Monday came down heavily on the Centre over alleged violation of the court’s 2015 order scrapping Section 66A of the IT Act.The court was hearing a plea by human rights body PUCL India, alleging prosecutions even after the apex court scrapped Section 66 A of the IT Act under which a person could be arrested for posting allegedly “offensive” content on websites.A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman said concerned officials will be arrested and sent to jail if the apex court order of March 24, 2015 scrapping the provision of the IT Act is violated. Appearing for PUCL, advocate Sanjay Parikh said more than 22 people have been arrested under the provision of the IT Act scrapped by the top court in 2015.In 2015, after hearing a batch of petitions that alleged that the section tramples upon the Fundamental Right to freedom of speech and expression, and asked that it be declared unconstitutional, the Supreme Court scrapped the Section 66A. Section 66A defined the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device like a mobile phone or a tablet. A conviction can fetch a maximum of three years in jail and a fine. The vagueness about what is “offensive” triggered opposition to its constitutional validity.indianexpress
Plea in Supreme Court to cross-verify at least 30% EVM-VVPAT vote count
NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to respond to a plea that Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) count and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) paper count should be cross-verified in at least 30% randomly chosen polling stations in each Assembly segment or constituency, especially in the light of Lok Sabha elections due in May 2019.A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi ordered the Commission to respond to the petition jointly filed by former IAS officer M.G. Devasahayam, ex foreign services officer K.P. Fabian and retired banker Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, represented by advocate Prasanna S.The petition said the Commission has chosen to conduct the cross-verification exercise in an “inexplicably minuscule” manner in the recent State Assembly elections.“The fraction of polling stations chosen for such random cross-verification by the Election Commission has been inexplicably minuscule (less than 1% of polling stations in each constituency) and the Petitioners contend that a decision to limit the cross-verification to such a minuscule share is manifestly arbitrary, irrational, unreasonable and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution,” the petition said.It said an effective violation of democracy principles and the principle of elections not only need to be free and fair, but also seen to be free and fair.The petition sought that “in order to detect and deter any such mischief or bias in the EVM process, at least 30% of all polling stations in a constituency must be chosen randomly for EVM counts to be cross-verified with VVPAT counts.”The petitioners submitted that the Supreme Court in its judgment Dr. Subramanian Swamy versus ECI, reported in 2013, had held it was imperative that elections held through EVMs ought to implement a mechanism of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails so that the voter can satisfy himself/herself that the vote was accurately recorded.thehindu
CBI row: SC to rule on Tuesday on Alok Verma’s plea against Centre’s move to send him on leave
The Supreme Court will announce on Tuesday its verdict on a petition filed by CBI Director Alok Verma challenging the government’s move to divest him of his powers, Bar and Bench reported. The non-governmental organisation Common Cause had also filed a similar petition. The court had reserved its order on December 6.On Oct.23, the Centre had relieved both Verma and his deputy, Rakesh Asthana, of their duties after they traded charges of corruption and interference in several cases. They had later moved the Supreme Court against the action.The tussle in the CBI had come to light on October 15 after the agency named Asthana in a First Information Report for allegedly accepting a Rs 2-crore bribe to scuttle an investigation against businessman Moin Qureshi, who is accused in multiple corruption cases. Asthana, in turn, accused Verma of trying to falsely implicate him and levelled corruption charges against him.During the hearings in the Supreme Court, the Centre had said it was “absolutely essential” for it to step in and relieve Verma of his powers and duties to save the public image of the institution. Verma’s counsel had told the court that the CBI director cannot be transferred without the approval of the selection committee that had appointed him.scroll.in/
Brahma first to discover dinosaurs, mentioned them in Vedas: PU geologist
Phagwara :A Panjab University (PU)  geologist, who has been conducting a research on origin and existence of dinosaurs in India, for more than 25 years, Sunday suggested that Lord Brahma, being the “greatest scientist of this universe” knew about dinosaurs and well-documented them in Vedas.”There is nothing that Lord Brahma, who is creator of this universe, did not know. He was completely aware of the existence of dinosaurs and even mentioned them in Vedas. Before anyone else in the world, it was Lord Brahma who discovered dinosaurs’ existence on earth. India was a hotspot for dinosaur evolution and breeding before extinction. A dinosaur named Rajasaurus had originated in India,” Ashu Khosla, associate professor in the department of geology at Panjab University, Chandigarh said. He has presented his research paper on topic ‘Biotic assemblages from the Deccan trap-associated sedimentary sequences of penninsular India’ at 106th Indian Science Congress at Lovely Professional University in Phagwara.“It is from our Vedas that Americans and Britishers took the concept of dinosaurs and got to know about them. Even though the dinosaurs had become extinct almost 6.5 crore years back, Lord Brahma must have got to know about them through his unmatched spiritual powers when he might have closed his eyes, while writing the Vedas. No one in this world will accept or digest it, but it is a truth that origin of everything, including the dinosaurs is mentioned in Vedas. Even the word dinosaur has its origin in Sanskrit – ‘dino’ means terrible, it translates to ‘daayan’ (witch) and ‘saur’, which otherwise means lizard, is related to ‘asur’ (rakshas). So, everything that exists on earth is well-mentioned in Vedas,” he claimed.Khosla claimed that he, along with his team, had discovered the remains of the “Indian” dinosaur in Kheda district of Gujarat and officially named it ‘Rajasaurus Narmada ensis’.“When we found the remains of Rajasaurus in Gujarat in 2001 along the banks of river Narmada, we named it ‘Raja’ to signify ‘lion’ as it was a meat-eating dinosaur. It was believed that Rajasaurus was linked to Tyranosaurus, which had origin in North America, but we proved that Rajasaurus was a new dinosaur and originated in India,” he claimed.indianexpress
Indian Science Congress: Principal Scientific Adviser wants complaint lodged against VC's pseudoscience talk
New Delhi:Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India K. VijayRaghavan, in response to a pseudoscientific discourse at the ongoing Indian Science Congress at Phagwara in Punjab, has said in a blog post that a formal complaint should be lodged against the speaker, and the country's science academies must voice their objection to it.“It is unfortunate that sitting vice chancellor of a great State university — and a biologist to boot — says something that is scientifically completely untenable. His Chancellor should receive a formal complaint from those who were present in the audience, and he will also surely hear from individual scientists and our vocal science academies,” he said.In a speech last Friday, Andhra University Vice Chancellor G. Nageshwar Rao said that the Kauravas of the Mahabharata were born due to stem cell and test tube technologies and that India possessed knowledge about guided missiles thousands of years ago.VijayRaghavan said, “When lay people, including politicians, make random and erroneous statements linking religion, culture, history etc, to science, the problem must be addressed by collegial communication. When scientists make such links, they should be addressed more squarely. If there’s a chance that such views may enter policy, the amount of engagement needs to go up.”thehindu
Sabarimala: Alleged RSS worker held for hurling crude bomb outside Nedumangad police station
New Delhi :Two persons were arrested in connection with the January 3 mass violence that broke out during the state-wide hartal called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi in Kerala. N Nishant, allegedly a RSS worker, was arrested for hurling a crude bomb near the Nedumangad police station while BJP worker P Pratheesh was held for surrounding and later attacking a police jeep during the protest.Praveen, another RSS worker and the main accused, is still absconding, police said.During the protests, two police stations were attacked and scores of CPI(M) offices were vandalised by agitators. In many places, the protest turned into a street fight between the BJP and CPI(M). Police were forced to use teargas shells to disperse the protesters, and 31 policemen were injured and around 100 buses of the state-owned transport corporation KSRTC were damaged.indianexpress
Kerala mosque stoning: DYFI, CPI (M) activists booked
Perambra :Perambra Police registered a case against DYFI/ CPIM activists for allegedly promoting enmity between two groups.Cases were registered against Akhildas and 20 others under section 153A for promoting enmity between two groups and attempting to cause a riot, in connection with the pelting of stones at a mosque in Perambra last week.This comes at a time when the state is witnessing spurts of violence owing to the entry of two women into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa shrine earlier this month.On Thursday, violent protests broke out across Kerala- a day after two women of menstruating age-Bindu and Kanakadurga climbed the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala.The Kerala police have arrested 1369 and detained 717 under preventive measures till Friday morning in connection with the hartal-related violence in the state after the entry of the women into the hilltop shrine.ANI
AMU Jinnah portrait row: Magisterial probe blames police, intelligence
 A magisterial probe into the violence at AMU on May 2 last year over the removal of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait from AMU Students’ Union hall has revealed lapses on the part of the police and local intelligence unit. The report has also given a clean chit to right wing Hindu organisations, which were accused of planning an attack on former VC Hamid Ansari on the campus. Additional district magistrate, finance, Uday Singh -- who conducted a detailed inquiry into the clash between students and police that led to injuries to about 24 people -- had submitted his report to the home department last month.Confirming the move, Aligarh district magistrate CB Singh said further action would be taken by the home department. DM said that, in the 22-page report, the ADM has indicated lapses on the part of then incharge of civil lines police station, who could not stop the second attempt by Hindu activists trying to force their way inside the campus. The report also blames the local intelligence unit for not assessing the gravity of the incident that led to the violence.  The report, however, states no evidence was found while probing the allegations that activists of Hindu Jagran Manch, Hindu Yuva Vahini and other right-wing outfits had planned to attack former vice-president of India, Hamid Ansari, who was at the AMU guesthouse near the Baba-e-Syed gate, where the violence started. TOI
Don’t allow Mehbooba Mufti to visit: Hizb chief to militants’ kin
Srinagar:3 days after former CM Mehbooba Mufti visited the family of a slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant in south Kashmir, the outfit’s operational chief Riyaz Naikoo termed it “drama” and asked the families of militants not to allow her into their homes.“The shameless Mehbooba Mufti is unconcerned —- how can she go into the houses of people despite her hands being soaked in their blood?” he is heard saying in an audio message released on Sunday. “I have requested the families of militants not allow her to enter their home…”On Jan. 3, Mufti visited the family of Idrees Sultan in Safnagri village of south Kashmir’s Shopian. She also demanded immediate release of his brother Javeed Sultan, who is in police custody for over a month. Mufti had also visited the family of another Hizbul militant at Patipora village of Pulwama. The family was allegedly tortured by the police.Naikoo said they were aware of who facilitated these visits of Mufti. “They are PDP agents and very soon, we will teach them a lesson.”“Today the late Mehbooba Mufti has started a new drama. Don’t get puzzled why I called her late. There is not much difference between a dead person and a living person whose conscience is dead,” he said.indianexpress
RBI expected to pay government up to $5.8 billion interim dividend: Report
New Delhi: RBI, having changed management last month following a clash with the government, is likely to transfer an interim dividend of 300-400 billion rupees ($4.32 billion-$5.8 billion) to the government by March, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the matter.The dividend could help Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration bridge a widening budget deficit following a drop in tax collections, and would come after the government pushed the RBI for the additional funds ahead of a national election due by May.Former finance ministry official Shaktikanta Das was appointed as the new governor of the RBI, following resignation of Urjit Patel last month amid tensions over the dividend payout and other issues.Govnt and RBI have now appointed a panel to look into the issue around the sharing of the RBI’s reserves.“We are absolutely sure that an interim dividend of more than 300 billion rupees would be paid before March end,” one of the sources told Reuters.The RBI did not respond to an email seeking comment, while the Finance Ministry declined to comment.Reuters
Amartya Sen supports Naseeruddin Shah, says losing ability to tolerate others is cause for concern
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Sunday came out in support of actor Naseeruddin Shah and said that attempts were being made to “disturb” him, PTI reported. Last week, Shah appeared in an Amnesty India video and expressed concern about “walls of hate in the name of religion” and an increasing “crackdown” on freedom of expression in the country.Speaking about Shah’s earlier remarks, Sen said there must be “protests against such attempts to disturb the actor”. “What is happening [in the country] is objectionable,” said the 85-year-old economist. “It should stop.”scroll.in
US NSA heads to Turkey to hammer out a deal for Syria's Kurds
Ankara-US National Security Adviser John Bolton arrives in Turkey on Monday to try to hammer out a deal for Syria's Kurds as the United States prepares a military withdrawal from the country.Bolton will touch down in the Turkish capital, Ankara, where he will be joined by US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, having stated the US pullout is conditional on defeating the ISIL, as well as Turkish assurances on the security of the US's Kurdish militia allies.President Donald Trump's December 19 announcement of the withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Syria has heightened expectations that Turkey could launch a military operation targeting the People's Protection Units (YPG), which has spearheaded the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against ISIL."We don't think the Turks ought to undertake military action that's not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States," Bolton told reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday.He added Turkey must "meet the president's requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered."Responding to Bolton's remarks, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin maintained Turkey's opposition to the YPG, which he described as oppressing Syrian Kurds.aljazeera
US will 'assure' Israel's security before Syria pullout
The withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria would take place in a manner that "absolutely assured" the security of Israel and other US allies in the Middle East, a top adviser to President Donald Trump has said.John Bolton made the pledge on Sunday, hours after laying out the conditions for the US troop pullout from Syria on the defeat of the ISIL, as well as assurances from Turkey over the safety of Kurdish fighters allied with US.Speaking to reporters leading up to talks with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bolton said the pullout would be done in a way that guaranteed the ISIL "is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again".aljazeera
Israel carries out overnight air strikes on Gaza
Israeli military carried out air raids on the Gaza Strip overnight on Monday, causing damage to property, Palestinian media reported.According to Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at a site in Beit Lahiya in the northern strip. No casualties were reported.In a statement, the Israeli army said it had carried out air strikes against Hamas positions in response to a rocket being fired into Ashkelon in southern Israel. Fighter jets and helicopter gunships then raided "terrorist targets at Hamas military camps" on the Gaza Strip, the statement said."Earlier today, an explosive device attached to multiple balloons was launched on a model plane from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory," the statement said.A Hamas security source said one attack occurred east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip and hit an observation point for Hamas's armed wing, while the second was east of Gaza City.The security source said no injuries had been reported.Gaza frontier has been relatively calm in recent weeks after a deal in which Israel allowed Qatar to provide millions of dollars in aid for fuel and salaries in the blockaded enclave.aljazeera
Palestinians vow hunger strikes if Israel worsens jail conditions
Hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli jails, detention facilities, and interrogation centres are preparing to launch a mass hunger strike once Israel implements new measures that will worsen conditions for prisoners.In a joint statement, prisoners, including administrative detainees who are held without charge, said their decision was in response to a "new level of oppression"."These measures are a declaration of war that marks a new phase of our struggle," the statement read.They also called on Palestinian factions and activists to stand in solidarity with them and demanded nationwide rallies.Israel holds 5,500 Palestinian prisoners, including nearly 500 administrative detainees, according to the Jerusalem-based Palestinian prisoners' rights group, Addameer.The call to action is in response to Israel's plans to worsen what are already poor conditions for Palestinians held in its jails. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced the measures last week and the Israeli government is expected to enforce the measures in the coming weeks.aljazeera
Israeli ex-SC judge compares Netanyahu to Mafia boss
A former vice president of Israel's Supreme Court has accused PM Benjamin Netanyahu of acting like a Mafia boss in his recent efforts to influence public sentiment against a possible decision to indict him for corruption crimes."I cannot recall any time in my entire career such statements against law enforcement by anyone other than heads of crime organizations," Eliyahu Matza said. Matza's stinging criticism came in response to Netanyahu uploading a video to his Facebook account on Saturday urging Israeli citizens to consider an indictment against him to be illegitimate if it occurs before the upcoming national elections.middleeasteye
Turkey orders detention of 100 soldiers over alleged Gulen links
Turkish prosecutors have ordered the detention of about 100 soldiers over suspected links to the network of a US-based Muslim religious leader and businessman, Fethullah Gulen, who has been accused of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016,. The detentions are the result of investigations into pay phone communications between alleged members of Gulen's network, Anadolu agency said, adding that they were in the process of being carried out.Police have conducted a steady stream of raids against Gulen's alleged supporters since 2016 coup attempt, in which hundreds of people were killed. Gulen denies involvement in attempt.More than 77,000 people have been jailed, pending trial, while 150000 civil servants,military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs as part of the post-coup purges. Aljazeera
Gabon says coup attempt foiled
Gabon has foiled an attempted military coup arresting several plotters just hours after they took over state radio in a bid to end 50 years of rule by President Ali Bongo's family. Five army officers who took over state radio in the coup attempt on Monday have been arrested, government spokesman Guy-Betrand Mapangou, told Radio France International.Authorities have regained control of the state broadcasting offices and a major thoroughfare in the capital, Libreville, which were the only areas taken over by the officers, according to the spokesman. Earlier on Monday a soldier who identified himself as Liuetenant Obiang Ondo Kelly, commander of the Republican Guard, read out a statement saying the military had seized control of the government of this West African country.He was flanked by two other soldiers holding weapons and all were dressed in camouflage uniforms and green berets.He had said they were taking over to "restore democracy". A curfew has been imposed over the capital, Libreville, and the internet has been cut. The city on the Atlantic Ocean coast is being patrolled by military tanks and armed vehicles. Mapangou told France 24 that the situation was under control after the arrests."The government is in place. The institutions are in place," he said. Antoine Lawson, a Gabonese journalist, told Al Jazeera the coup attempt had caused panic in Libreville. aljazeera
Saudi to notify women of divorce by text message
Saudi courts will notify women by text message when they get divorced, in a new regulation that took effect on Sunday, officials said.The measure approved by the justice ministry appears aimed at curbing seemingly rampant cases of men secretly ending marriages without informing their wives, AFP said."Women... will be notified of any changes to their marital status via text message," the justice ministry said in a statement carried by state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel and other local media."Women in the kingdom will be able to view documents related to the termination of their marriage contracts through the ministry's website.""Saudi courts have started to send such notifications ... a step aimed at protecting the rights of female clients," the Saudi Ministry of Justice said in a statement on their website."In most Arab countries, men can just divorce their wives," said Suad Abu-Dayyeh from global rights group, Equality Now."At least women will know whether they are divorced or not. It is a tiny step, but it is a step in the right direction," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.But Abu-Dayyeh said knowing about a divorce does not mean a woman will get alimony or the custody of her children.The move comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler, spearheads a liberalisation drive in the conservative kingdom, which has some of the world's toughest restrictions on women. middleeasteye

Thailand stops deportation of Saudi teen fleeing family
Thailand has halted plans to deport an 18-year-old Saudi woman back to the Gulf, the country's immigration chief said on Monday, after she barricaded herself inside her airport hotel room and refused to be returned to her family. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun has been at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport since Saturday, when she was denied entry by Thai immigration officials, who on Monday admitted contact with the Saudi embassy before her arrival, after previously denying it. "Saudi embassy contacted the immigration police ... and said that the girl had run away from her parents and they fear for her safety," the chief of immigration police Surachate Hakparn told reporters. "We acknowledged this and checked her paperwork. She had a passport but no return ticket, no travel plan, and no destination or hotel reservation in Thailand ... so per airport security procedures, immigration denied her entry."middleeasteye
Bomb, Taliban attacks kill 27 across Afghanan
At least 27 people, including civilians and security forces, have been killed in separate incidents in 2 provinces of Afghanistan, officials said on Monday.6 civilians were killed and as many others injured after a bomb they were carrying went off in southeastern Paktika province, said the head of the provincial council, Bakhtiar Gul Hemat.The individuals had found roadside bomb in Jani Khel district and were transporting it inside a car when the device exploded, Hemat said. Elsewhere, Taliban attacks in western Badghis province late on Sunday killed at least 21 security personnel.aljazeera

flash: views & NEWS
France debates where to teach Arabic: public school or local mosque?New York Times
Black Flags in Kashmir – Mere Shadows or the Coming of Islamic State?Mehmood ur Rashid
J&K needs a coordinated effort from all stakeholder organisations: Syed Ata Hasnain
On the NRC, Even the Supreme Court is Helpless;Mohsin Alam Bhat

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:42 PM)


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