14 February 2019

14 Feb.ND: 30 CRPF personnel killed, several injured in J&K attack / AAP vs Centre: SC says Centre controls Delhi’s anti-corruption branch, divided on services/ No proof of sedition against AMU students in early probe: Police

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
14 Feb. 2019: 08 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:128
J&K attack LIVE: 30 CRPF personnel killed, several injured in Pulwama
In a first major militant attack, a massive explosion targeted a CRPF convoy in south Kashmir’s Awantipora area today, killing at least 30 CRPF personnel and wounding several others.Police sources say that the attack was likely carried out by a suicide bomber, who rammed an explosive-laden car into CRPF bus. The bus was part of an army convoy coming from Jammu to Srinagar. “Yes, there has been an attack on CRPF convoy,” IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan confirmed. On Thursday afternoon, at around 3.15 p.m militants targeted the CRPF convoy near Lethpora Awantipora on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. While CRPF initially said that it was an IED, police sources said it was a suicide bomber who rammed his car into the bus of 54 Battalion of CRPF. Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack. There were 70 vehicles in the convoy and one of the vehicles came under attack. Two buses were targeted in an high-intensity IED blast. CRPF DG RR Bhatnagar has informed that there were 2500 personnel in the convoy. ANI/ Indianexpress/others
Pulwama attack Updates: 30 jawans killed as CRPF convoy is targeted in J&K
Condemnation pours in for Pulwama attack killing 28 CRPF jawans
AAP vs Centre: SC says Centre controls Delhi’s anti-corruption branch, divided on services
New Delhi: A 2-judge bench of the Supreme Court in its verdict on AAP versus the Centre case, is divided on Services -- the power to appoint, post and transfer officials in Delhi administration -- but agreed on Centre having control over the Anti-Corruption Branch in Delhi. The services issue has been sent to a larger bench.The SC ruled in favour of Centre on two issues – the key Anti-Corruption Bureau issue and the power to institute commission of enquiry.Electricity and revenue departments (fixing of circle rates), posting and transfer of Grade 3 and Grade 4 officers, appointing special public prosecutor and appointment of directors in discoms will come under Delhi govt. On control over the Anti-Corruption Branch, 2-judge bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan concurred that Centre had absolute power.On electricity act and Delhi electricity reforms act, the judges said that after going through the provision this power lies with the Delhi Govt and centre has no authority.Delivering it verdict on the rates for agricultural land, the judges said LG can form an opinion but not on each and every matter. “LG is not expected to differ routinely but in cogent cases.There may be contingencies where LG and ministers may differ,LG is supposed to refer the difference to President, decision cannot be implemented without referring to LG.”Elaborating on the role of LG, the judges said that he is expected to honour the wisdom of the ministers and not sit over their decisions. “That is a facet of good governance. By and large it demands a mutual respect between the 2 organs. They are here to serve the Delhi citizens.”Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had ended hearings arguments on the 9 petitions around the power tussle between centre and Kejriwal Govt  nearly 3 months back. Last month when AAP govt’s lawyer Indira Jaising pleaded for an early verdict, the judges reassured her that verdict would be out “very soon”.TOI
SC 2-judge Bench split on key issue of who mans transfer, posting of Delhi govt officers
Delhi-Centre tussle: SC verdict is against the Constitution, claims Kejriwal
AAP has called the Supreme Court’s split verdict on the jurisdiction over bureaucrats in National Capital Territory unfortunate, while BJP welcomed the ruling. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said at a press conference that the order was against the people of the city and the Constitution, and wondered how the Govt  would run if an elected govt cannot transfer its officers.“All power to transfer [officials] is with a party that won 3 seats in Delhi Assembly,” Kejriwal said, referring to BJP, which rules at Centre. BJP won 3 of 70 seats in 2015 Assembly elections while AAP won the rest. BJP has won one more seat since then. “For 40 years, Anti-Corruption Bureau was with Delhi govt, now it is not,” Kejriwal said. “So if someone complains to the CM about corruption, how will action be taken?”scroll.in
LG vs CM: Puducherry CM sleeps outside LG Kiran Bedi’s house against her ‘autocracy’, stays put
New Delhi: The bitter turf war between Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and Kiran Bedi intensified as CM pulled an all-nighter outside the Governor’s house over her “autocratic” behaviour. Along with his cabinet colleagues, CM dressed in black spent the night outside Raj Nivas and slept on a blanket on the road. Bedi, shot back, calling the protest “unlawful”.While Narayansamy continues his dharna outside Raj Nivas, Bedi left for Chennai Thursday to attend an event. Demanding that the Centre recalls Bedi, CM listed out 39 proposals where 2 leaders differ. Launching an attack on Centre, Narayansamy accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “encouraging Bedi and problems” in the UT. “She has no power at all, she has to only be a post office and sign papers which have been sent by the council of ministers, she has no right to touch cabinet decisions, she is vetoing decisions,” he said, reported ANI.indianexpress
No proof of sedition against Amu students in early probe: Police
Aligarh: Police in Aligarh said there is no evidence of sedition in the early probe against 14 students of AMU who were charged with sedition yesterday. The charges will be dropped if there is no evidence to back the claim, police said.The students were charged after a local BJP leader alleged in a police complaint that they had indulged in violence and shouted anti-India slogans outside the main gate of the institution the previous day. 8 of these students have been suspended by the university pending inquiry. The politician, Mukesh Kumar Lodi, accused the students of shouting slogans favouring Pakistan over India in the course of the violence.The police, however, said the video submitted by the complainant does not show the students raising objectionable slogans. Tensions rose in AMU yesterday after the students were booked under sedition law. Ndtv
Meet AMU fame Nalini, whose social media history includes abusing Muslims, Rahu; her boss Arnab
Jamia Students Protest over AMU Incident, Burn Arnab's Effigy
New Delhi,— Scores of students of Jamia Millia Islamia took out a protest demonstration here on Wednesday to condemn the incident that took place at AMU on Tuesday. The protesters also burnt the effigy of Republic TV’s Editor Arnab Goswami. At AMU, a scuffle between students and crew of the channel took place when the students asked them to go out of the campus as they were not invited to cover an event of the AMU Students Union. At this, one of the journalists of the channel allegedly used foul language for the university and the students, leading to outrage among the students.n solidarity with the AMU, Jamia Millia students in Delhi took out the protest demonstration. Carrying placards with Arnab’s photo captioned as “Hater”, the marchers were shouting slogans against the channel and the journalist.“I was outraged when I heard that Republic TV’s journalist had used word “university of terrorists” for AMU. We are holding this protest march to condemn the incident,” said a Jamia student.indiatomorrow
SIO condemns sedition cases against AMU Students
New Delhi:Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) has condemned the registration sedition cases against 14 students of AMU after the Tuesday incident.
Gujarat varsity gags SAARC students, relocates Afghans over food habit
Ahmedabad:Nearly 300 foreign students in Gujarat University’s Study Abroad Programme (SAP) have been directed to sign an undertaking that they will not approach the media or police without prior permission of university officials.The directive to not approach the media or police comes after several students from South Asian countries complained of “unhygienic,cramped accommodation” provided to them and warns that “engagement with any outer agency like media or police without prior permission of Gujarat University authorities shall invite immediate expulsion for violating the code of conduct from university/ colleges and deportment to their country”.And among 300 foreign students,35 from Afghanistan, in Sept, were shifted against their wish to a Muslim-dominated area of Lal Darwaja, some 10 km from the campus in Ahmedabad, because of “their eating habits and culture”.“The (Afghan) students staying at the Lal Darwaja facility are mostly, in fact, all are Muslims. So, looking at their eating habits, community and culture they are put up there. There were attempts to provide a hostel facility in the western parts of the city but we received complaints from both students and neighbours about their habits of eating non-vegetarian food. The students also complained that they do not get non-veg food easily.So these facilities were shut down,”SAP and Diaspora Studies Advisor and coordinator Neerja Gupta said.An Afghan student at Lal Darwaja said: “All Afghans do not eat non-veg food.Provide me with a hostel near my college I will not eat non-veg food.”indian express
Upper caste Hindus richest in India, own 41% of total assets; STs own 3.7%, says study
Pune:Caste continues to play a significant role in the educational and professional choices available to an individual, and the resultant income and assets, reveals a two-year-long study jointly undertaken by Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), JNU and Indian Institute of Dalit Studies. Only 22.3% of the country’s higher caste Hindus own 41% of the country’s total wealth and form the richest group, whereas 7.8% of Hindu Scheduled Tribes own only 3.7 %, or the lowest wealth share of the country’s assets, finds the study. Top 1%  (in terms of wealth) of the total households own 25 %  of the country’s total assets, while the top 5 %  owned 46%  of it. In stark contrast, the bottom 40%  households were found to own just 3.4%  of the country’s total assets, which was Rs 3,61,919 billion, as per All India Debt and Investment Survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office in 2013.This in-depth look into the division of assets on the basis of socio-religious grounds, at a time when Union Govt has announced 10% quota for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in both education and jobs beyond caste lines, was stated in a study titled, Wealth Ownership and Inequality in India: A socio-religious analysis. It was conducted from 2015 to 2017, and the study’s findings were revealed recently.“Caste still continues to determine the level of education, nature of profession and resultant income and assets that an individual will own in this country. Ownership of assets, be it in the form of land or building, was found to be higher among Hindu High Castes (HHCs) than any other caste in India,” Nitin Tagade, lead author and assistant professor at Dept.of Economics, SPPU, said. Researchers have also found a marked divide in wealth distribution depending on whether members of a particular caste lived in urban or rural areas.For example,34.9% wealth in urban areas was held by Hindu HCs, whereas people from the same caste living in rural areas owned only 16.7% of the total wealth.Similarly, Hindu STs were richer in rural areas and owned 10.4% wealth, in comparison to a mere 2.8% wealth share owned by their urban counterparts.indianexpress
Members of Scheduled Tribes occupy just 23 faculty posts across IIMs, IITs: Report
CJI sacks 2 SC officials for tampering with order in Ambani's contempt case
New Delhi: Following an inquiry, the Supreme Court has sacked its 2 assistant registrars who were found involved in tampering with a court order which appeared favourable to Reliance Communication chairperson Anil Ambani in a contempt case.On Wednesday, CJI Ranjan Gogoi issued the order to summarily dismiss 2 court officials, who were responsible for taking down the judge's orders and getting them uploaded on the website. CJI, acting on a complaint by Justice Rohinton F Nariman, who has been hearing the contempt case, used his powers under Article 311 of the Constitution and Section 11(13) of the SC which empower CJI to dismiss any employee under “extraordinary” circumstances without resorting to normal disciplinary proceedings. What prompted the extraordinary step from CJI was an instance of tampering with Justice Nariman's order in Jan.when a show-cause notice of contempt was issued to Ambani over alleged failure to clear outstanding dues to Ericsson India despite categorical undertakings to the top court.News18
 CAG allowed itself to become joke:Chidambaram
Former finance minister P Chidambaram today slammed CAG report on the Rafale deal as "useless", saying the institution has allowed itself to become a "joke".The report contains no useful information or conclusion and its motive is to hide the truth, the senior Congress leader told reporters.He reiterated his party's demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the deal, saying only it can call for all relevant records. CAG is not God, he said, apparently rejecting the ruling BJP's contention that the national auditor's report should be the final word on the contentious issue."CAG allowed itself to become a joke and an honourable Govt  in future will restore the prestige and credibility of the institution," he said "If you thought those 33 pages will bring to light the hidden aspects of the deal and explain matters relating to numbers, pricing, delivery etcetera and comment on correctness and propriety of transaction, you will be disappointed," he said.nationalheraldindia
If back, won’t scrap, will buy more Rafale at better rate:  Chidambaram
New Delhi : IF voted to power, Congress will not scrap the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, and rather buy more by making it a better deal, said senior party leader P Chidambaram. He said the choice of offset partner was “indeed an issue”, but the “most critical issue” was the number of aircraft and the price and the delivery schedule.He said, “Rafale aircraft would be bought. This deal can undergo changes and modifications to make it a better deal.”He also said he was not in favour of the matter to be taken to courts. “It is not a matter which is amenable to judicial resolution,” he said. He favoured a Parliamentary investigation, based on which different agencies can act given their mandate.indianexpress

Andure, Kalaskar shot and killed Dabholkar: CB
Pune: CBI, which is probing the murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, on Wednesday filed a supplementary chargesheet against two of the accused, Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, naming them as the shooters who opened fire on anti-superstition activist on the morning of August 20, 2013.CBI sources have said that the chargesheet filed on Wednesday includes statements of witnesses corroborating the agency’s theory that Andure and Kalaskar were the shooters, and also includes evidence gathered from the subsequent probe. The chargesheet was filed in Special Court of Additional Sessions Judge Kishor D Vadane by Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi.Till now, CBI has arrested 6 persons in the case, 5 of them in August and September last year.Both Andure and Kalaskar are from Aurangabad. Kalaskar was first arrested in August last year by the state ATS in connection with the Nallasopara arms and explosives haul case. indian express
Can’t disclose data on ph tapping permission:MHA
New Delhi: Information on permissions given to central agencies for phone tapping cannot be disclosed as it would prejudicially affect interests of the state, might endanger a person or impede the process of investigation, the home ministry said in response to an RTI query.The applicant had sought to know the number of sanctions issued by the ministry to central agencies permitting them to intercept phones between 2009 and 2018.He had also asked for data related to the number of times an agency had sought permission to tap phones and about permissions being denied by the ministry.The applicant did not seek any specific details such as cases, individuals, file noting from the ministry. MHA invoked three exemption clauses from RTI Act to withhold the information without giving any reasons. Giving reason is mandatory in case information is being denied by a public authority.MHA took refuge under Section 8(1)(a) of RTI Act to withhold data.TOI
SC reserves judgement on plea seeking law against torture in accordance with international convention
New Delhi:The Supreme Court today reserved the judgement on the petition seeking a direction with regard to delay in defining and enacting a law in connection with torture in accordance with international convention.The petition filed by advocate and ex law minister, Ashwini Kumar, sought the court to take up onus of enactment of law as Govt s have failed to come up with one such enactment.A 3-judge bench of the SC, headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, reserved the judgement.The court was hearing the contention by Kumar, who had asked the court to enact a law for witness protection in accordance with international conventions. ANI
Mayawati slams Congress, BJP: Invoking NSA ‘example of state terror’
BSP chief Mayawati today slammed Congress Govt  in Madhya Pradesh and BJP-led Uttar Pradesh Govt  over the use of NSA. BSP chief was referring to two separate incidents in MP and UP where NSA was invoked by the respective state Govts. In MP, the newly formed Congress regime has invoked NSA against 3 persons arrested on charges of cow slaughter in the communally sensitive Khandwa town. While in UP, 14 students of AMU were booked on the sedition charge and other IPC sections Wednesday for allegedly raising anti-national slogans on the campus.Terming the incidents as an “example of state terror”, Mayawati said that should decide what is the difference between the Congress and the BJP Govt s.indianexpress
They've nearly said no:Kejri on alliance with Cong
New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal said today the Congress has "nearly said no" to an alliance with his AAP in Delhi, a day after an late-night opposition meeting he attended along with Congress president Rahul Gandhi."We are very worried about the nation, so we are more keen (on an alliance). Congress has almost said no to an alliance," Arvind Kejriwal said, asked by told reporters today. Delhi CM was at a meeting at NCP leader Sharad Pawar's home to prepare a united strategy for the national election due by May, which also featured Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi. Congress president's comment after the meeting had indicated that his party was ready to go it alone in both Bengal and Delhi, where his party is a rival to Trinamool Congress and Kejriwal's AAP."We will compete with each other as well," said Rahul Gandhi. Mamata announced that the opposition parties had decided on a pre-poll alliance to take on PM Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP. Asked about Bengal and Delhi, she said it has "not been decided yet".But sources said opposition leaders urged Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi to consider burying their differences for the national election. The lack of an alliance in Delhi could harm the picture of unity, the two were told.NDTV
Mahagathbandhan Reaches Delhi as AAP Hosts Gathering of Opposition Leaders
Mamata ready to team up with Left, Cong at national level to oust BJP in general election
New Delhi: While making her most pronounced pitch for the PM berth, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee made it clear on Wednesday that she was willing to fight alongside the Left and Congress against PM Narendra Modi - but on her own terms.Mamata was speaking at the opposition rally at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.news18
Some parties to move Supreme Court against use of EVMs: Chandrababu Naidu
Amaravati:Some political parties have decided to approach the Supreme Court against the use of EVM, AP CM N.Chandrababu Naidu said in Amaravati today.In his daily teleconference with TDP leaders, Naidu said this decision was taken during a meeting of 15 parties at Sharad Pawar’s residence in New Delhi on Feb.13 night.A TDP release on the teleconference, however, did not give any further details on the issue.TDP has been demanding that EVMs should not be used in the coming general election and that the Election Commission of India revert to the paper ballots.PTI
Azam claims Mulayam was forced to praise Modi
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan today expressed shock at former party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s statement that he wanted to see Narendra Modi become the prime minister once again after the Lok Sabha elections. Khan claimed that Singh had been forced to make such a statement, News18 reported.“I am deeply saddened by these remarks,” Khan said. “This is not his own remark, he has been forced to make it.”IANS
Centre trying to break Muslim majority status of J&K: Mehbooba Mufti
Srinagar:Ex J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday alleged that the Centre is trying to “break Muslim majority character” of the state and warned that such a move will have “dangerous consequences”.“You (Centre) are trying to break the Muslim majority character of the state. We will not let it happen. Its consequences would be very dangerous,” she said at a press meet in Srinagar. “We want to tell, not only to the Governor but also the Govt of India, that you are playing with fire,” she said.Mufti put her weight behind the people of Kargil and demanded that the divisional headquarters in Ladakh should be based in Leh and Kargil on a rotational basis.She also demanded separate divisions for Pir Panjal and Chenab valley in Jammu province.“Otherwise, it would mean that you have a hidden agenda,”she said.“You want to disempower Muslims of J&K; you want to divide them into separate compartments, into Shia-Sunni, into Kashmiri-Punjabi, into Gujjar and Pahari,” she said. She warned of agitation in Pir Panjal and Chenab valley regions of Jammu if they are not given divisional status.indianexpress
Demonetisation: No information on deaths related to note ban, says PMO
PMO has said that it has no information on the number of deaths in the aftermath of demonetisation, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov.8, 2016, PTI reported.RTI applicant Neeraj Sharma in Oct.2017 sought data from PMO on the number of deaths caused due to demonetisation and a list of the names and details of the deceased. As PMO failed to divulge the information within the mandated period of 30 days from the date of filing of an application, Sharma approached the Central Information Commission. He also requested that the body penalise the information officer, who provided a response in Feb. 2018.scroll.in
Muzaffarnagar riots: Non-bailable warrants issued against 6 accused in Kawal killing case
Muzaffarnagar: A court in Muzaffarnagar has issued non-bailable arrest warrants against six accused for not surrendering in connection with the killings in Kawal village here. The Chief judicial magistrate Rakesh Kumar Hote has again issued NBWs against accused Ravinder, Prehlad, Bishan, Tendulkar, Devender and Jitender and asked the police to produce them in the court in the murder case.According to complainant's lawyer Mohsin Zaidi, a complaint was filed by Shahnawaz's father who alleged that he was stabbed to death by the accused at Kawal village in the district on August 27, 2013. PTI
Mumbai: 26 yrs after riots, Suleman Usman bakery trial begins, 2 turn hostile
Mumbai: 26 years after a firing at the Suleman Usman bakery claimed 8 lives, the trial in the case commenced on Wednesday with the first 2 witnesses being declared hostile. The witnesses, both relating to panchnama of the spot, did not support the prosecution’s case. Currently, 7 accused , all policemen, are on trial in the case. 2 accused are reported to be dead. Eight people had died in the firing that took place on Jan.9, 1993, at the Dongri bakery in the middle of the second round of the 1992-93 communal riots. In 2011, the SC confirmed the Bombay high court and session court orders discharging ex senior cop RD Tyagi and eight others. At the time of the incident, Tyagi was JCP (crime). Later, he became police commissioner. On Wednesday, the first witness took to the stand. 55-year-old man is a footwear seller at Mohd Ali Road. He told court his stall was situated near the bakery, but he did not know what happened there. He said in June 2001, cops came to him. He claimed they did not ask him anything but took his signature on a document. The witness said he did not know contents of the panchanama. The prosecution then declared him hostile. TOI
UP: Woman shot dead 5 days after she got triple talaq over phone
Lucknow: 5 days after she was reportedly given triple talaq over phone by her Dubai-based husband, a 30-year-old woman was shot dead while she was returning home on a tempo in Shahaganj area of Jaunpur district on Tuesday. Mohammad Mannan, husband of the woman Irfana, is working as a labourer in Dubai.An FIR has been lodged against Mannan’s elder brother Danish and younger brother Mustakeem on murder charges at the Shahaganj police station on a complaint by the victim’s brother, Abu Zar of Azamgarh. No arrest has been made so far. indian express
Rebuking Trump, House votes to end US involvement in Yemen
Washington:House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday that would end the United States's support for Saudi-UAE war in Yemen, a strong rebuke to US President Donald Trump.The measure, which was passed by 241-177 vote, will now go to the Senate where it enjoys broad support among Democrats and key Republicans. Senate passed a similar measure in December, but that bill died when Congress adjourned for the year. "Nearly all of the bombs that have fallen say the same thing, `Made in US', " Democratic Representative Jim McGovern said ahead of Wednesday's vote."They fall on weddings. They fall on hospitals and on homes. They fall on funerals, refugee camps and school buses," he added. "It is an aerial bombing campaign that hammers civilians every single day."Two amendments were added to the resolution before the final vote. The first allows for continued intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia, and the second condemns anti-Semitism and declares it's the policy of the US to oppose trade boycotts against allies such as Israel.The bill invokes the 1973 War Powers Act, which gave Congress the ability to end US involvement in a conflict if there was no formal declaration of war.If the bill passes the Senate, it faces a likely veto by Trump, who avoided any mention of Yemen in his State of the Union address last week and whose administration has escalated tensions with Iran.aljazeera
US Secretary of State  Pompeo says 'new era' of cooperation needed in Middle East
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for a "new era of cooperation" in resolving Middle East challenges and said no country could afford to remain on the sidelines."US seeks a new era of cooperation between all of our countries on how to confront these issues," Pompeo told foreign ministers and other officials from more than 60 countries in Warsaw on Thursday.He refrained from directly criticising Iran, instead including it in a list of regional challenges ranging from Syria and Yemen to Palestinian-Israeli peace."None of the region's challenges will solve themselves. We must work together for security," he said. "No country can afford to remain on the sidelines."Reporting from Warsaw, Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra said that while many nations agreed that ending the wars in Syria and Yemen, as well as Israel-Palestine peace plan, were important, a number of questions remained over the efficacy of the summit, as Russia, China, the Palestinians and Houthis, were not in attendance.Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, is taking part in the Warsaw conference where he will speak behind closed doors on the contours of a US peace proposal to be presented after Israeli elections in April.The Palestinian Govt is not attending and has called the conference an "American conspiracy". It is refusing US mediation after Trump in 2017 recognised bitterly contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital.aljazeera
EU pressured US to cancel Warsaw conference
Netanyahu: Israel has relations with whole Middle East except Syria
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel maintains relations with all countries in the Middle East except one – Syria.Prior to leaving Israel for the US- sponsored Warsaw Conference – which is set to take place in the Polish capital this week – Netanyahu told reporters that the conference unites Israel with all world countries against Iran,New York Times reported. Netanyahu stated that Israel maintains “good relations” with all countries in the Arab region except Syria. The New York Times pointed out that Syria has been a target of Israeli attacks in recent months, stating that the attacks aimed to remove alleged Iranian targets. NYT also cited AP as saying that the Warsaw conference would be a gift for Netanyahu if he could make his secret “good relations” with Arab countries public.MEMO
UAE crown prince key to Israel relations, documentary claims
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed is crucial to UAE’s relations with Israel,an Israeli documentary has claimed.Israel’s Channel 13 News continues to unveil what it describes as “secrets of mutual relations between Israel and Arab Gulf states,” after broadcasting on Monday evening the third episode of its documentary series – all of which have been daily translated by Arabi 21.The latest episode tackles the relations between UAE and Israel, notably its relations with Abu Dhabi.The political analyst of Channel 13 News, Barak Ravid – who prepared the documentary series – indicated that “the failure to seal a drone deal between an Israeli company and UAE has resulted in a rupture in relations between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.” Ravid continued: “The condition for establishing the deal was the agreement on a bilateral cooperation to confront Iran. However, the cancellation of the aircrafts bargain has led to the breakdown of relations between the two countries for several years, until an additional deal was [later] finalized.”Ravid pointed out that “the secret deal was agreed upon in 2009, but its last-minute cancellation damaged relations between the countries for two years, in addition to frustrating Israeli efforts to weaken Iran. Hence, the severe crisis was resolved only by means of tireless efforts made by the administration of ex US president Barack Obama and marathon negotiations under the auspices of the Mossad.”middleeastmonitor
EU adds Saudi to 'dirty money' blacklist
European Commission has added 7 countries including Saudi Arabia, Panama, and Nigeria to a blacklist of nations that pose a threat because of lax controls on terror financing and money laundering.New countries targeted by the commission on Wednesday join another 16 already on this register, bringing the total up to 23. The commission said it added jurisdictions with "strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks".The move is part of a crackdown against money laundering after several scandals hit EU banks in recent months.But it has triggered criticism from several EU states worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi. aljazeera
Saudi pays $60m to support PA’s budget
Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has transferred $60 million to the Palestinian finance ministry’s account, the Saudi ambassador to Egypt and the kingdom’s permanent representative to the League of Arab States, Osama Bin Ahmed Naqli, announced.Naqli explained that the remitted amount represented Saudi Arabia’s monthly contributions to support the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s budget for November and Dec.2018, and Jan.2019.The disbursement, he added, comes within the framework of the kingdom’s “permanent support for Palestinian cause at all political, economic and humanitarian levels.”middleeastmonitor
Hamas asks UN to pressure Israel to commit to truce
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh has phoned the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, asking him to put pressure on Israel to commit to a truce. Haniyeh asked UN envoy to follow up on international efforts aimed at lifting the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007, Haniyeh’s officer announced yesterday evening.He communicated to UN envoy the state of anger among the Palestinian people, which has erupted due to Israeli attempts to ignore the truce.UN envoy stressed, according to Haniyeh’s office, that he was exerting efforts to implement many projects in the impoverished enclave that would ease blockade.MEMO
Haniyeh: Gaza will ‘remain guard’ for Egypt national security
Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh has said that Gaza will remain a guard for Egypt’s national security.Speaking to editorial staff of Egyptian Al-Masri Al-Youm, Haniyeh explained that “Palestinians and Egyptians maintain deep and strong and relations and Gaza will remain a guard for Egyptian national security”. During a visit to the paper’s head office in Egyptian capital Cairo, Haniyeh extended his movement’s congratulations to Egypt for being elected head of the African Union, wishing Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi success in his new position.Haniyeh added that Hamas – which governs the besieged Gaza Strip – would continue coordination with Arab countries, first among which would be Egypt, to uphold Palestinian principles and fulfill the aspirations of the Palestinian people.MEMO
Suicide attack kills 27 Iranian Revolutionary Guard
27 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard were killed in a suicide attack in the southeast of the country on Wednesday. At least 10 members of the Guard were also wounded in the suicide car-bomb attack, which targeted a bus transporting the security force, Iran's Fars news reported."This incident will not damage the resolute will of the people in defending the Islamic revolution, and the national resolve for an unrelenting battle against terrorism will become more resolute than ever," said Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri.The attack on the security forces occurred in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province.Jaish al-Adl armed group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Fars.aljazeera
Taliban announce surprise talks with US in Pak capital
Taliban has said it will meet envoys from the US for talks next week in Pakistan, even as another round of negotiations is scheduled in Qatar by the end of this month. The unexpected move on Wednesday was followed by a US State Department spokesperson saying in a statement that Washington had "noted" the announcement but had not "received a formal invitation to any talks".The developments came as US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad tours the globe, shoring up support for a peace process to end his country's longest war.In his statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his side would also meet Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan to hold "comprehensive discussions about Pakistan-Afghanistan relations".Islamabad did not immediately confirm the talks.Talks in Doha would follow a week later on Feb. 25, Taliban statement said. While Mujahid said the Taliban delegation would meet US team, he did not specify any meeting with Khalilzad. US is also pushing hard for the Taliban to talk to the Afghan Govt , which the group has so far refused to engage with, branding it "a puppet of Washington".aljazeera
Egypt executed 6 Islamists in 2 weeks: Rights group
cairo:An international rights group says Egypt has executed 3 Muslim Brotherhood members sentenced to death following torture and beatings to extract confessions. Wednesday’s statement from Amnesty International says the executions brought the total number of Islamists executed in Egypt to six within a span of 2 weeks.The other 3 were executed last week. Amnesty’s Najia Bounaim says the developments “mark an alarming escalation in executions so far this year,” and 6 executed were sentenced “based on confessions they said were extracted under torture.”There was no immediate comment from authorities.AP
Morsi trial: Egypt security agent says 2011 uprising was CIA conspiracy
An Egyptian criminal court has adjourned the trial of ex Egyptian president Morsi until 19 Feb so as to listen to the testimony of a security officer who claims the country’s 2011 uprising was part of a CIA conspiracy. The witness, Adel Azab, is a senior officer at the State Security Agency. He was responsible for Muslim Brotherhood-related affairs in the agency during 25 Jan.uprising in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring.In the first part of his testimony, Azab said that the revolution – which ousted long-serving president Hosni Mubarak after 30 years of rule – was part of a grand conspiracy orchestrated by CIA in coordination with the intelligence agencies of other Western powers, including Britain, France and Germany. He alleged that this grand plot was carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Middle East.Azab alleged that the plot targeted the Middle East in general and Egypt in particular, with the aim of creating a state of chaos. Part of the purported conspiracy was also to divide some Arab countries into smaller entities and to subject them to Turkey, Iran and Qatar, all of which Azab alleged were among the plotters. He said that this was not the first time Western powers had carried out a conspiracy like this, arguing that a similar scenario took place in Afghanistan. He placed the alleged plot in the context of an ongoing US effort since then-US President George W. Bush vowed to wage a “War on Terror”.middleeastmonitor
Turkey’s Deporting of Young MB Member Reveals Split Within Group:Asharq Al-Awsat
Cairo:As a heated wave of Muslim Brotherhood criticism hits the group’s leaders living in Turkey, after Ankara having deported a young Egyptian MB member, the movement expert Omar Abdel-Moneim said: “there are growing fears within the group of the rest being sacrificed.”“Turkish authorities may be obliged to hand over all (Muslim Brotherhood members) in Ankara, to appease European Union,” Abdel-Moneim said,A few days ago, Turkish authorities deported MB member Mohamed Abdel Hafiz Hussein, who faces a death sentence back home for being involved in the assassination of ex Egyptian Attorney General Hisham Barakat.Following Hussein’s deportation, fear struck deep amidst Egyptian MB members living in political refuge in Turkey. They may face forced deportation to Cairo, where they will be subject to trial, imprisonment and possibly execution.An Egyptian young man from the Muslim Brotherhood in Istanbul,Nader Fattouh, uploaded a YouTube video confirming that MB leaders have turned their backs on Hussein, stripping him of his membership.In the video, Fattouh said Turkey-based MB leaders told authorities at Ataturk airport that Hussein was not a member of the group nor was guaranteed by one of their leaders, leading up to the young man’s immediate deportation.Abdel-Moneim, for his part, pointed out that there has been a split within MB 4 years ago between founders and youth, and the two generations have contradictory ideas.As for MB youth concerns about upcoming deportations to Egypt, Abdel-Moneim said:“These fears are in their place, for fear of sacrificing them, and the experience of Mohamed Abdel Hafiz Hussein was very revealing.”“It is not an indication of abandoning the Brotherhood, but attempts to absolve Turkey of its accusations of terrorism against the EU by sacrificing some of the Brotherhood,” Moneim noted.
International Coalition bombing a mosque in Deir ez-Zor
US-led coalition forces attacked a mosque in the town of Al-Baghuz in the Syrian governorate, Deir ez-Zor as part of the airstrikes waged to support an operation carried out by the terrorist organisation YPG, commonly using the name SDF.During a statement, coalition announced on Tuesday that the Combined Joint Task Force carried out an airstrike against Daesh command centre, which was previously used as a mosque in Al-Baghuz Fawqani town, on 11 February in support for SDF Forces.The statement pretended that the mosque has no longer been classified as “sheltered place” after Daesh took hold of it.The statement did not mention any information about civilian casualties in the mosque.According to local sources, 50 civilians were killed because of airstrikes, rocket fires, and artillery initially targeting Daesh in the besieged town of Al-Baghuz in Deir ez-Zor. The same sources highlighted that most of the victims were women and children.middleeastmonitor
Pak court grants bail to PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif
Lahore:In a major relief, a top court today granted bail to PML-N chief and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in two corruption cases. Sharif is currently in jail.A 2-member bench of the Lahore High Court headed by Justice Malik Shahzad accepted Sharif’s plea and granted him bail in ₹1400 crore Ashiyana Housing and Ramzan Sugar Mills scams.PTI
Jordan's king facing mounting pressure as tribal support ebbs away: middleeasteye
Hundreds of Jordanian protesters have been rallying every Thursday evening since 13 Dec.near PMO in Amman, calling for a change in economic policy and political reforms. The demonstrators' demands include the suspension of fuel taxes, the abolition of sales tax on basic goods, the release of all political prisoners and action against corruption.In the first protest on 13 Dec, police used tear gas as at least 1,000 protesters gathered in the Jordanian capital.Hashemite Kingdom is battling a soaring unemployment rate that hit 18.6 % in the third quarter of last year, rising inflation as a result of taxes on basic commodities and a national debt which stood at $39bn in 2018.The protests are the latest in a round of demonstrations in Jordan that started with a labour union strike on 30 May over IMF-backed income tax hike plans,which then grew into daily demonstrations across country attended by thousands of people.
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:27 PM)


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