25 February 2019

25 Feb.ND: SC order evicting 1 million forest dwellers sparks protests: Reuters/S Swamy moves SC for urgent listing of plea seeking fundamental right to pray at Ayodhya/ Pleas challenging constitutional validity of Article 35A listed in SC from Feb 26-28

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
25 Feb. 2019: 19 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:137
SC order evicting 1 million forest dwellers sparks protests: Reuters
Bhubaneswar:Indigenous people waved flags and shouted slogans in eastern India on Monday to protest a court order evicting more than one million indigenous families accused of encroaching on forest lands, witnesses said. The Supreme Court issued an order on Feb.13 to evict forest dwellers in 21 states, where over 1.3 million land claims, each potentially representing a household, had been rejected.State govts had rejected the claims made under a forest rights law. Some environmental groups which argued the claims threatened forest conservation efforts had filed the initial petition seeking removal of the alleged encroachers.The court order highlights the risks faced by India’s underprivileged lower castes and indigenous groups as country of 1.3 billion people pursues higher economic growth and development.Protesters marched to the city of Behrampur in Odisha on Monday. Many waved placards, including one that said: “Stop eviction of tribal families and forest dwellers from their homeland.” Bhalchandra Shadangi, a protest leader, told Reuters by phone that the court order was “an undeclared war on tribals” and nearly 150,000 people faced eviction in Odisha. Rights activists say federal and state governments have for decades diluted land rights for indigenous people and bowed to pressure from mining companies in the mineral-rich central and eastern states of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.3 states are also home to a decades-old Maoist insurgency that fought security forces over land and mineral resources in indigenous forest areas, although the insurgency has waned in recent years.Monday’s protests at Behrampur followed a march on Saturday by indigenous protesters in the state of Jharkhand, where more than 28,000 people face eviction, according to the order.Birendra Kumar, an activist leader in Jharkhand, said a rally was planned for New Delhi on March 2. Reuters
Forest dwellers to fight eviction order with protests
S Swamy moves SC for urgent listing of plea seeking fundamental right to pray at Ayodhya
New Delhi:BJP leader Subramanian Swamy Monday moved the Supreme Court for urgent listing of his plea seeking enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at the disputed Ram Temple site at Ayodhya.A bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked Swamy to remain present in the court on Tuesday when the main Ayodhya matter will be taken up for hearing. Swamy, while mentioning the matter for urgent listing, told the bench that his plea should be heard separately. However, CJI said,“You be present here tomorrow. We will see.”The SC had last year disallowed Swamy from intervening in Ayodhya land dispute case and made it clear that only the parties to original lawsuits would be allowed contest.However, the bench had considered Swamy’s submission that he had not sought to intervene in the matter but had filed a separate writ petition seeking enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.“I had filed a writ petition saying that I have a fundamental right to worship and this is a superior right than property right,” Swamy had said.“As we are not inclined to permit the intervention application, the writ petition filed by the applicant (Swamy) shall stand revived and it shall be dealt with by the appropriate bench in accordance with law,” the bench had said.The top court will hear the politically sensitive Ayodhya’s Ram-Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid land dispute matter on Feb. 26. PTI
SC dismisses PIL seeking probe into alleged conspiracy behind Pulwama attack
The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a plea seeking probe into alleged larger conspiracy behind the Pulwama attack.A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda, seeking probe into alleged larger conspiracy in the attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. PIL submitted that nearly 370 kg of RDX was used in the attack and it required a through probe. PTI
SC refuses to hear plea seeking judicial inquiry into Uri, Pulwama attacks
Pleas challenging constitutional validity of Article 35A listed in SC from Feb 26-28, hearing unlikely
New Delhi:A bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A relating to the special rights and privileges enjoyed by the people of J&K, is listed in the Supreme Court’s Weekly cause list for hearing between February 26 and February 28. The state, however, had sought postponement of the case citing the absence of elected Govt there. Weekly cause list on apex court website shows the matters are listed from Feb. 26-28, but the chances of the hearing are less as J&K  had already moved a letter before the court for an adjournment of the case.The matters are in the Weekly cause list for the last two weeks but have not come up for hearing.ANI
SC to hear challenge to Article 35A from Feb 26-28
Situation in J-K will be worse than Arunachal if Centre interferes with Article 35 A: Omar Abdullah
Srinagar:Former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said J&K  might find itself in a situation that is worse than what Arunachal Pradesh is presently facing, if the Centre interferes with Article 35 A of Constitution, which gives special rights and privileges to people in J&K . Abdullah said, “You keep threatening us with article 35 A. Look at what is happening in Arunachal now where there is no militancy. They have interfered with their Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) as we have. See what is now happening there. If you interfere with 35 A in J&K , the situation here might be worse than Arunachal Pradesh. ““I am telling you this is a reality. Centre and Governor have only one responsibility right now that is to hold elections. So, hold elections, let people take the decision, the new Govt will itself work towards safeguarding Article 35A,” he said.ANI
Holding timely elections in J-K will be Modi govt’s moment of truth: Omar Abdullah
Any change in J&K’s status will kill mainstream thought: Sajad Lone
Srinagar:With A clutch of pleas on Article 35A likely to be heard by the Supreme Court later this week, BJP ally and Peoples’ Conference chief Sajad Lone said that any tampering with the special Constitutional character of J&K  would mean “the death of mainstream thought” in the state.Lone also described the attacks on Kashmiris outside the Valley, following the Pulwama attack, as the “7 darkest days”. He also said that the arrest of the top leadership of Jamat-e-Islami would only help the separatists and provide them with “another set of leadership” for the next 3 decades.Lone said:“You have to understand that these are Articles of trust, Articles of dignity. This is how India as a country is perceived here — will it or will it not stand by its promises? It would be the unluckiest day because that would be the death of mainstream thought here. If they (Centre) want to slaughter the mainstream thought, they are most welcome but that is what they will be doing by tinkering with Article 35A.”Asked about the crackdown on Jamat-e-Islami and Hurriyat, Lone said it has “failed” in the past and would only help the separatists.”I am of the opinion that it has not worked in the past, it will not work now. It is a tried, tested and failed model. It will never work,” he said. “We have done it in 1990.That was VP Singh govt and Mufti (Sayeed) sahib was the Home Minister. The first time they took all the leaders to jails across India was in 1989 or 90. Did it help?”Describing jails as “training colleges”, Lone said the crackdown would give rise to a new generation of separatist leadership in the Valley. “1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th line of separatist leadership evolved from those, who were jailed,” he said. “Now they are aged. Now they are taking a big bunch. Now for the next 30 years they will provide another set of leadership. These (jails) are training colleges. You can’t expect them (separatists) to be corrected there”.Lone said arrests of Jamat leaders and activists would also result in more violence in Kashmir.
Crackdown absolute political vengeance:JK Jamaat
Srinagar: Jama’at-e-Islami J&K has strongly denounced the arrest spree and termed it a “murder of democracy”. It has appealed human rights groups, UNOand OIC to intervene into “grave situation” prevailing in J&K and use their influence to stop the “lawlessness” here. A Jama’at spokesperson in a statement issued here said, “The state Govt while misusing its power is trying to appease BJP and other communal forces and have unleashed atmosphere of terror across the valley wherein hundreds of young and old having religious tilt have been detained under baseless grounds.”The “repressive” policy adopted by authorities “clearly smells bad”, he said. “Since (past) two days, police have arrested hundreds of Jama’at members including its top brass leadership.” Spokesperson said that Jama’at chief Dr Abdul Hameed Fayaz was on Sunday produced before DM Budgam who sent him to central jail Srinagar under judicial custody till March 2.He said Jama’at’s deputy chief Moulana Ahmad Ullah Parray (Makki) was also detained by Anantnag police along with prominent religious scholar Peer Noor-ud-din. “Besides this, dozens of tehsil leadership from south to north have also been arrested. Police also detained Jamiat Ahle Hadith deputy Moulana Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, Moulana Mohammad Maqbool Akhurni and many other religious leaders from different organisations,” he said.Jama’at spokesperson said that “any untoward act by New Delhi of scrapping Article 35-A is unacceptable for the people of J&K”,kashmir Reader
Give peace a chance, will act on Pulwama but give actionable evidence first: Imran Khan to PM Modi
New Delhi:Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "give peace a chance". Imran Khan said he "stand by his words" and Pakistan will "immediately act" if India provides "actionable intelligence" on the Pulwama attack."PM Imran Khan stand by his words that if India gives us actionable intelligence, we will immediately act," a statement released by the Pakistan PMO said.Imran Khan's "peace" appeal came after PM Modi threw a challenge to his Pakistani counterpart asking him to act honourably by bringing to justice those behind the strike, if he was indeed a "Pathan's son".Imran Khan also recalled the time he met PM Modi in Dec.2015 where he said they both agreed to alleviate poverty."In my meeting with PM Modi in Dec.2015, we had agreed that since poverty alleviation is a priority for our region, we would not allow any terrorist incident to derail peace efforts, however, long before Pulwama, these efforts were derailed in Sept.2018. Sadly, now peace remains elusive due to elections in India. PM Modi should give a peace chance," the statement read.India Today
Pakistan appoints administrators to supervise believed to be JeM HQRS in Bahawalpur
Lahore:Pakistani authorities have appointed 2 administrators to supervise a seminary and a mosque believed to be the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammad. Punjab Govt appointed the administrators 2 days after it announced taking over the control of Madrassatul Sabir and Jamia-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur, over 400-km from Lahore.The seminary and mosque are believed to be HQRS of Jaish.Earlier in a complete U-turn, the Pakistan Govt dismissed its own claim of taking over the control of JeM HQRS in Bahawalpur and said the complex had no link with JeM.In a video message on social media, Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Punjab Govt took administrative control of Madrassatul Sabir and Jamia-e-Masjid Subhanallah in line with the decisions taken during National Security Council meeting held and as part of NationalAction Plan. Rejecting his earlier announcement that the complex was JeM HQRS, he said, "This is the madrassah and India is doing propaganda that it is the JeM HQRS".PTI
OIC calls emergency meeting of Kashmir contact group: Report
Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has called an emergency meeting of its Contact Group on J&K  on Feb. 26 following a request by Pakistan, a media report said."On the request of Pakistan a meeting of the Contact Group on J&K ...will be held at the OIC General Secretariat" on Tuesday at 11am, said a notice marked "urgent" sent to members of the contact group by the OIC secretariat in Jeddah, reported Dawn News.The meeting of the contact group will be held at the level of permanent representatives, according to the notice. Quoting sources, DawnNewsTV said the meeting will review the actions taken by the India in the aftermath of the attack on a CRPF convoy in south Kashmir's Pulwama district that left 40 troopers dead.The contact group meeting will precede the 46th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, scheduled for March 1-2 in Abu Dhabi, it said.For the first time, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been invited to address the inaugural plenary of the OIC foreign ministers meeting. The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan could also come face to face in Abu Dhabi on March 1.greaterkashmir
India’s invitation to Islamic Nation’s conclave may lead path to dialogue with Pakistan
First consignment of Afghan exports through Chabahar flagged off
New Delhi:IN what would be first consignment of Afghan exports to India through Chabahar Port, Afghan carpets, dry fruits, cotton, talc and stones were sent from Afghanistan on Sunday.While India has sent goods to Afghanistan through Chabahar port, this is the first time the port in Iran is being used — to bypass Pakistan — and trade with India.Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani flagged off the first consignment of Afghan exports to India through Chabahar Port on Sunday at a ceremony held at Zaranj in Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province. The ceremony was attended by the ambassadors of India, Iran, Turkey and diplomats of Indonesia and Kazakhstan.“The export consignment, loaded in 23 trucks consisted of Afghan carpets, dry fruits, cotton, talc, stones and other items weighing 570 tonnes,” a source said. This is expected to increase Afghan exports to India by more than 40%, sources said. indian express
SC agrees to examine plea seeking protection of Army personnel from unruly mobs
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a plea seeking the framing of a policy to protect security personnel against human rights violations by unruly mobs or individuals while discharging their duties.A bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notices to Centre, Ministry of Defence, J&K and NHRC on the plea filed by the daughters of a retired CRPF Jawan and a serving officer.indian express
J&K: Stone-pelting cases against minors to be withdrawn, says Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a 2-day visit to J&K, said cases against minors and those “misled into stone pelting”  in the Valley will be withdrawn. Union Home Ministry late last year had ordered to withdraw cases against youths involved in stone pelting. Singh appealed to the youth not to tread the path of destruction and said Centre and the state Govt had initiated several schemes to help them secure their future.While addressing a Sports Conclave at SK Indoor Stadium in Srinagar, he said, “Sports can bring a change in your lives. Children can be misguided easily but we know the truth that is why we have withdrawn all stone-pelting cases against them.”Lauding the state Govt for carrying out works for improving the sports infrastructure, Home Minister said funds will not be a problem for promoting sports in J&K .“Funds will be provided for promotion of water sports at Mansar and Pahalgam…Funds will be arranged for development of sports infrastructure,” he said. CM Mehbooba Mufti, who was also present on the occasion, echoed similar sentiments. indianexpress
SC dismisses plea seeking direction to parties not to field candidates having over 2 kids
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a PIL seeking a direction to political parties not to give tickets to those who have more than two children.A bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a plea seeking a direction that political parties should comply with the ‘two-child norm’ and not field candidates having more than two children.The plea, filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, sought declaration of the ‘two-child norm’ as a mandatory criteria for Govt jobs, aids and subsidies and urged that the law, dealing with the “condition for recognition of a state or national party” be suitably amended.PTI
Maharashtra budget session: Opposition boycotts Guv’s address over remarks on RSS
Mumbai: The budget session of Maharashtra legislature began on a stormy note on Monday with opposition parties boycotting Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s address to the joint sitting of both Houses to voice their protest against his recent remarks on RSS.In remarks made in Nagpur earlier this month, Rao described RSS as one of the most secular and inclusive organisations and said it has always respected the right of individuals to practice their own faith.Expressing displeasure over the remarks, opposition members stayed away from the Central Hall where the governor delivered his address to the joint sitting of both the Houses on the first day of the budget session.Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde said they decided to boycott the address because they “were doubtful if it will be the governor’s address or that of a RSS person”. “A governor’s post is constitutional. We had doubts whether his speech was going to be in the interest of the state or RSS. Hence, we decided to boycott it,” he added.NCP’s group leader in the Assembly Jayant Patil told reporters outside the House that the opposition had taken the decision to protest Rao’s support to the RSS, “which sows the seeds of divisiveness”.PTI
Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musliyar elected as new Grand Mufti
New Delhi: Muslim scholars selected Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliyar as Grand Mufti of Sunni-Sufi Muslim community in India. He was named as Grand Mufti at the Gareeb Nawaz peace summit in New Delhi on Sunday. Kanthapuram is the first person from south India who was elected for the top position of Muslim community. Believers at summit unanimously welcomed the declaration on new Grand Mufti. With Grand Mufti title, Kanthapurm will be the supreme leader of Muslim community who believe in various madhab of Sunni and Sufi sects.Addressing the event, Kanthapuram asked the believers to join hands together irrespective of the differences in their ideology.mathrubhumi
Gujarat:Social media post triggers communal clash
Ahmedabad: Tension gripped communally sensitive town of Khambhat in Anand on Sunday afternoon allegedly following arguments over a social media post, sources said. As many as 17 teargas shells were lobbed by the cops to bring the situation under control, said police sources.The tension began two days ago after arguments over a social media post regarding compensation for martyrs of Pulwama attack. According to sources, a group of people reportedly arrived in the town in a tempo around afternoon on Sunday and started pelting stones. Matters soon turned ugly and members of both communities began pelting stones at each other, said sources. Members of the Muslim community alleged that the police did not turn up for four hours. 3 vehicles, one cabin and 3 houses were set on fire following clashes.Seventeen teargas shells had to be lobbed to stop the stone-pelting crowds and bring the situation under control in Akbarpur locality in Khambhat town here, said Anand SP  Makarand Chauhan. He said no one was injured in the incident but houses were set ablaze by the mob. According to the police, it is a communally sensitive area with members of both Hindu and Muslim communities residing here. While many people were arrested following the clash, several others managed to flee. Police personnel from Anand police stations, local crime branch, SOG and SRP company from Gandhinagar were deployed to avoid any further tension. Ahmedabad Mirror
Denied CM post thrice because I am a Dalit: Karnataka Dy CM
Hubli:Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara on Monday said he was denied the chief minister's post thrice as he belonged to the Dalit community."PK Basavalingappa and KH Ranganath missed the chief ministerial post. Mallikarjun Kharge also couldn't become the CM. I missed it thrice. Somehow, I was made the deputy CM," Parameshwara said at an event in Davangere on Sunday," he said."Dalits are being discriminated at the Govt level too. Even though the reservation is facilitated, there has been injustice in promotions,"he added.Parameshwara’s statement comes at a time the coalition Govt in Karnataka is facing trouble over dissatisfaction from the Congress, over conceding the CM’s post to JD(S) leader and chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. ANI
After UP, Mayawati’s BSP and Akhilesh Yadav’s SP announce Lok Sabha poll pact for MP, Uttarakhand
Lucknow: BSP-Samajwadi Party(SP) alliance on Monday announced a poll pact to fight Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand with the former establishing a dominant position in the seat-sharing arrangement. SP will contest three of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in MP while BSP contest the rest.SP will contest Balaghat, Tikamgarh, and Khajurago seats in Madhya Pradesh.In Uttarakhand which has 5 Lok Sabha seats, SP will contest Garhwal (Pauri) seat and BSP will fight in three, according to a joint statement by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati. With this SP-BSP alliance has officially spread to three states. The two parties had announced their alliance on January 13 in Lucknow.HT
'Hafta is All You Need': As Death Toll Rises to 159, Locals Narrate How Liquor Sale Continues in Tea Estates
Guwahati: Assam's biggest hooch tragedy, in which at least 159 people have died so far in Golaghat and Jorhat districts, has exposed the alleged nexus between state's enforcement agencies and the illegal spirituous liquor sellers in the tea garden areas.More shockingly, clandestine liquor dens in the garden areas were continuously selling alcohol even as the death toll shot up with every passing minute.Hospitals in the two districts are also struggling to accommodate over 200 patients, who were taken ill and are struggling with their lives. Balindra Ojha, a worker from the Halmira tea estate in Golaghat district where some 99 people lost their lives, described how amidst ongoing police crackdown on illicit liquor across the state, workers in the tea garden have been "sipping death".Citing his neighbour Mahindra Telenga's case, Ojha said, "Mahindra died on Sunday, a day after his younger brother Anupam Telenga passed away following consumption of the 'poisonous' drink.Upset with the loss, Mahindra too drank a few glasses of liquor after the last rites of his brother.A couple of hours later Mahindra died.”News18
Arunachal protests: Curfew remains in Itanagar and Naharlagun, no reports of violence so far
Arunachal Pradesh Police on Monday said that no reports of violence were reported from anywhere in the state even as an indefinite curfew imposed in Itanagar and Naharlagun continued, PTI reported. Internet services continue to be suspended and shops and markets in Itanagar and Naharlagun remained closed, said police.Central paramilitary forces sent to assist the state administration in maintaining law and order also reached Itanagar, according to police. 10 companies of 100 personnel each have been deployed. Arunachal Pradesh witnessed massive violence since Friday in protest against a recommendation of the Joint High Power Committee granting permanent resident certificates to six communities who are not natives of the state, but have been living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades. The communities are the Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis, Mishings and
Parliamentary panel asks Twitter to engage more with EC; summons Facebook, WhatsApp officials on March 6
NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel on Monday asked micro-blogging site to address issues in real-time and engage more with the Election Commission of India (ECI) ahead of general elections and also summoned senior officials of other social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram on March 6.This was informed by Anurag Thakur, chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, after a nearly 3-and-a-half-hour meeting with global vice president of and other officials of the micro-blogging platform.Thakur said Twitter officials were asked to "engage more" with the ECI and address issues on a "real-time" basis.The Twitter officials were told that there should not be any "international interference" in the Lok Sabha polls.Sources said the social media platform was categorically asked to ensure the forthcoming elections are not undermined and influenced by foreign entities.This message to the micro-blogging site was in an apparent reference to numerous complaints of interference by social media platforms in the US elections, they said. Thakur said Twitter officials replied to most questions and would submit replies to remaining queries in writing in 10 days.The panel, which hear the views of the representatives of Twitter on 'safeguarding citizens rights on social/online news media platforms', has also summoned public policy heads of , WhatsApp and Platform, he said. PTI
Bombay HC asks Election Commission to submit EVM details
Bombay High Court has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to provide within three weeks details regarding EVMs and procedures applied for maintaining their data.The directive came in response to a PIL seeking directions to ECI, Maharashtra State Election Commission (M-SEC), Union Home Ministry and two public sector EVM manufacturing companies, Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).The petitioner, activist Manoranjan S Roy, on the basis of RTI replies, has alleged large scale discrepancies in the manner in which a large number of EVMs and VVPATs are ordered by the ECI and various SECs.Also, he has claimed huge contradictions in the figures of orders and supplies made by the 2 manufacturers. The information collected by Roy purportedly revealed how the Bengaluru-based BEL had dispatched large quantitinationalheraldindiaes of electronic voting machines by “hand-delivery” and “by post” to various unidentified recipients.nationalheraldindia
Adani group wins bids to operate five airports
 Adani Group has entered the airport business after winning bids to operate five of six airports that were designated for privatisation by the Centre, PTI reported. An unidentified Airports Authority of India official said the conglomerate has won the contracts to run the non-metro airports of Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow, Mangaluru and Jaipur airports.The official said the group was selected because it was the highest bidder in the “per-passenger fee”
'We want war to end': Afghan talks set to kick off in Doha
Kabul: US and the Taliban are to sit down for what could be the highest level of negotiations yet in the Qatari capital, Doha, aimed at finding a solution to the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan."Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has arrived in Doha and will be part of the peace talks with Zalmay Khalilzad," a Taliban source in Doha told Al Jazeera ahead of the four-day talks due to be held in Doha.Mullah Baradar, who was appointed as the head of its political office in Qatar last month, arrived late on Sunday from Pakistan, where he had been held for years.The former number two of Taliban group is expected to join the fifth round of talks between the Taliban representative and US envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who has expressed hope for a peace agreement.The talks have gained momentum in recent months as the US has decided to engage with the Taliban, which has been waging a deadly armed rebellion since the group was removed from power.The administration of US President Donald Trump seeks to end the 17-year war that has left thousands dead."Talks will pick up from where it was left last time mainly focusing on US withdrawal of troops," the Taliban source who is part of the meeting told Al Jazeera.Previous rounds of peace talks in Doha have raised hopes after the two sides hailed significant progress and agreed on a "draft framework" that included discussions of a Taliban commitment that the Afghan territory would not be used by international "terror" groups.The Afghan Govt has been excluded from Doha talks but President Ashraf Ghani said last month that US negotiator has kept him informed of the progress.Khalilzad is expected to push Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan Govt in the meeting on Monday.Taliban refuses to hold formal talks with the Afghan govt, calling it a "US puppet".aljazeera
UK to ban Lebanon's Hezbollah, calls it a 'terror organisation'
United Kingdom has said it would ban Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, adding the group, including its political wing, to its list of banned "terrorist" organisations. "Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East - and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party," Home Secretary Sajid Javid said."Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety."aljazeera
Gaza protesters call on Mahmoud Abbas to quit
Thousands of protesters gathered in the Gaza Strip on Sunday to call for Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to resign after his attempts to pressure Hamas with financial cuts in the impoverished enclave.The pro-Hamas crowd gathered at al-Sarya square yelled for the long-serving leader to "leave" and called on the PA to pay the full salaries of public sector employees in Gaza.They also demonstrated against Israel's more than a decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.The demonstration was called for by the Gaza-based Popular Movement for National Salvation, which comprises Palestinian factions including Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip, and other Abbas opponents in the enclave."It's an historic moment where we are standing here against injustice and tyranny," the movement said in a statement."We are here to stress that we are not the slaves of the ruler … We came here to call for general elections, including presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections."Palestine's Wafa news agency, meanwhile, reported that thousands of people demonstrated on Sunday in support of Abbas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron.Speakers at the rally called on Hamas to return to "work for the general good of Palestine at a time [when] schemes are being plotted against the future of the Palestinian people", the report said.aljazeera
Palestinians call for immediate release of females held in Israeli prisons
Gaza City:Scores of Palestinian women staged a rally in the Gaza Strip on Monday in solidarity with detained females in Israeli prisons. Participants carried pictures of detained women outside the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City. "Palestinian females are going through an endless suffering in Israeli prisons," Dina el-Helou of Islamic Jihad group, which organized the rally, told the participants."Israeli authorities are exercising the worst types of physical and psychological torture against detainees,"she said.During the rally, participants chanted slogans calling for the international community and rights groups to intervene to guarantee an immediate release of women held in Israeli prisons.Anadolu
Israel detains Al-Aqsa guard amid mounting tensions
Jerusalem :Israeli authorities have detained a guard at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and temporarily banned two other Palestinians from entering the flashpoint site, a Palestinian official said Monday. “Police arrested Ahmad Oweis, an Al-Aqsa guard, from inside the mosque compound,” Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Religious Endowments Authority (a Jordan-run agency mandated with overseeing the city’s Muslim and Christian holy sites), said. According to al-Dibs, Israeli police also temporarily banned two other Palestinians from entering the site.“Mohamed Daqaq was banned [from entering the Al-Aqsa compound] for six months, while Netham Abu Ramouz was banned for a four-month period,” he said. Tension at Al-Aqsa has mounted in recent days after a series of Palestinian protests and the subsequent arrest of dozens of Palestinian activists.told Anadolu Agency
Israel: Supreme Court does not have power to cancel Nation State Law
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that the Israeli Supreme Court does not have the power to cancel the Jewish Nation State Law, Arab48 reported. Shaked’s comments came as the Supreme Court awaits the responses of the Israeli Public Prosecution to 14 petitions filed against the racist law which declared Israel as “the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it.”Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Israeli government Avichai Mandelblit announced that the Supreme Court will be asked to postpone its response until after the elections which are due to be held on 9 April.middleeastmonitor
S. Africa mosque set alight by attackers: Officials
Johannesburg;Unknown attackers set a mosque ablaze in South Africa's coastal city of Durban in the early hours of Monday, a leading Muslim organization said in a statement."The Muslim community of South Africa has received with shock and anguish the news of an alleged arson attack on the Effingham masjid (Mosque) in Durban,” said Moulana Rafiek Mahomed, secretary general of the Jamiatul Ulama KwaZulu-Natal, in a statement seen by Anadolu Agency. Mahomed called on law enforcement agencies to swiftly investigate the matter and appealed to the Muslim community to be calm."We had someone who was sleeping at the back end of the mosque and he was awakened by the sound of shattering glass. When he tried to investigate he found the entire ladies section engulfed in flames," Imraan Subrathie, an official of the mosque, told local channel ENCA.Anadolu Agency
EU-Arab League summit in Egypt is 'insignificant, ceremonial'
Arab and European leaders are convening on Sunday in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh for first ever EU-Arab League summit as the region faces turmoil and political challenges. Overshadowed by internal divisions and regional issues, including the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Gulf crisis, regional wars, and Brexit, the two-day summit aims to "strengthen Arab-European ties", according to an EU statement.At least 24 European leaders will be welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who will be co-chairing the summit with European Council President Donald Tusk.Leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian and British prime ministers, Giuseppe Conte and Theresa May, will be in attendance. It remained unclear how many countries of 22-member Arab League are attending the summit. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday. It was not yet known if his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been under mounting international pressure over the Khashoggi murder, would also join the meetings. aljazeera
Half of Arab leaders did not attend Arab-European summit in Egypt
Incumbent Macky Sall wins Senegal presidential election: PM
Dakar:President Macky Sall has won Sunday's presidential election in Senegal, the country's prime minister said.Mahammed Dionne, citing a provincial tally, said Sall garnered at least 57 percent of the votes cast in Sunday's poll."We must congratulate President Macky Sall for his first-round election victory," Dionne said early on Monday at a news conference in Dakar, the capital."Our gathered results show that our candidate has largely won the election in the 13 out of 14 regions in the country. We can expect a minimum of 57 percent. From tomorrow, our candidate restarts his work putting this country on the path toward development," Dionne added. More than 6.5 million people registered to take part in the vote.The electoral commission has not made any announcement. Official results are expected no later than Friday.aljazeera
Bangladesh police say suspected plane hijacker carried toy gun
A Bangladeshi man who was shot dead after he tried to hijack a plane had been carrying a toy gun and did not have any explosives on him, police said on Monday.The passenger had tried to enter the cockpit of a state-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight after waving a gun and threatening to blow up the plane, airline and aviation authority officials said."The pistol with the suspect was a toy pistol and he had no bomb attached to his body," Kusum Dewan, additional commissioner of police in the southeastern city of Chittagong told Reuters."He appeared to be mentally imbalanced. We heard he had a personal issue with his wife and demanded to speak to the prime minister. But we are still investigating. We don't want to come to any conclusion right now," said the commissioner.aljazeera
Egyptian intellectuals predict a second wave of ‘Arab Spring’
Egyptian intellectuals and journalists have predicted the outbreak of a second wave of “Arab Spring” that would save Egypt and the Arab crises countries from the deteriorating situations. They have particularly praised the Sudanese and Algerian movements and stressed through social media websites that the oppression policies which have spread in the countries that had witnessed the first wave of “Arab Spring” would eventually result in the outbreak of new revolutions. This rings the bells of warning in Arab countries like Egypt, whose laws prohibit demonstrations and deny the existence of deep crises in the country.Political Science Professor Dr Hassan Nafaa tweeted on Saturday: “It seems that the second wave of Arab Spring revolutions has already started but from Sudan this time. Algeria is getting ready to move, and it is likely that other Arab countries will follow it. It is clear that the Arab peoples have not and will not surrender to tyranny and social injustice. We hope that the forces of change will learn from the lessons of the first wave.“The spirit of Arab Spring is still flaming, and it will be more widespread this time,” said the oppositionist writer and a representative of Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian National Front, Qutb Al-Arabi, in a post on his Facebook page.Poet Abdul Rahman Yusuf also predicted the outbreak of a second wave of the “Arab Spring”.According to Dr.Mahmoud Refaat, President of European Institute for International Law and International Relations (EIIR), Sudanese people have paved a new path for “Arab Spring” which may have already started from there with what is happening in Algeria.MEMO
Fighter to minister: Philippine Muslim rebel's new 'struggle'
MANILA: Murad Ebrahim's life as the Philippines' top Muslim rebel led him into fierce jungle combat and to meet with Osama bin Laden, but a very different challenge now awaits him: governing.Murad has been tapped to lead the majority-Catholic nation's brand new territory in the restive south where Muslims have won new powers and an influx of cash in a push for peace.After decades as a rebel, Murad will need to become a bureaucrat and complete complex projects as chief minister of the body that will steer the new Bangsamoro region until elections in 2022."We also see the difficult challenge we will be facing ahead. To us, the struggle is not yet over,"70-year-old Murad told AFP. "This is only another level of the struggle."Once a feared commander, Murad is chairman of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which signed a landmark pact with the Govt in 2014 to end a separatist insurgency that killed some 150,000 people since the 1970s.That deal led to the creation of Bangsamoro, which is based on the southern island of Mindanao and was overwhelmingly approved in a is the largest of several rebel groups fighting for independence or autonomy in Mindanao, the ancestral homeland of the nation's roughly 6 million-strong Muslim minority.AFP
Iraq: Ex-Nineveh governor calls for help to rid Mosul of Iran
Former Governor of Nineveh Province Atheel Al-Nujaifi has called on the international community to intervene and help rid the northern city of Mosul of the influence of Iranian-backed militias who seized the city from Daesh in 2017.“The conflict of regional interests in Iraq in general and the city of Mosul in particular has disturbed social peace in the city and turned its components against each other,” Al-Nujaifi said in an exclusive interview with Khaleej Online news site.“The American-Iranian conflict is raging and its arms have cost the city and its people dearly. All of our indicators confirm that we as political actors and civil society are unable to confront the influence of both Washington and Tehran. Therefore we need to involve the international community by internationalising the case of Mosul in order to impose the Iraqi vision adopted by the people of the city, which are not being taken into consideration,” he said.“Iranian-backed militias have controlled the city’s capabilities since its liberation from Daesh with the aim of achieving financial and political gains by exploiting the security imbalance and their influence in state institutions,” he added.middleeastmonitor

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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:26 PM)


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