09 February 2019

9 Feb. News Digest : In strong punitive action US may withdraw zero tariffs export concession for India as reaction to new FDI rules that hurt Amazon, Flipkart/ Defence Ministry protested against PMO undermining Rafale negotiations: The Hindu

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
09 Feb. 2019: 03 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:123
In strong punitive action US may withdraw zero tariffs export concession for India as reaction to new FDI rules that hurt Amazon, Flipkart: Reuters
India could lose a vital US trade concession, under which it enjoys zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to US, amid a widening dispute over its trade and investment policies, people with close knowledge of the matter said. A move to withdraw Generalised System of Preferences(GSP) from India, world's largest beneficiary of a scheme that has been in force since the 1970s, would be the strongest punitive action since President Donald Trump took office in 2017 vowing to reduce US deficit with large economies.Trump has repeatedly called out India for its high tariffs. PM Narendra Modi has courted foreign investment as part of his Make-in-India campaign to turn India into a manufacturing hub and deliver jobs to the millions of youth entering the workforce. Trump, for his part, has pushed for US manufacturing to return home as part of his Make America Great Again campaign. The trigger for the latest downturn in trade ties was India's new rules on e-commerce that restrict the way Amazon.com Inc and Walmart-backed Flipkart do business in a rapidly growing online market set to touch $200 billion by 2027.That, coming on top of a drive to force global card payments companies such as Mastercard and Visa to move their data to India and the imposition of higher tariffs on electronic products and smartphones, left a broader trade package the two sides were working on through last year in tatters.GSP was tied to the trade package and since that deal had slipped further away, US was considering withdrawing or scaling back the preferential arrangement, two sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. US Trade Representative (USTR) was completing a review of India's status as a GSP beneficiary and an announcement was expected over next 2 weeks, the sources said."(2 sides) were trying to sort out the trade package, but were not able to actually finish the deal. In the meantime these other things, data localisation and e-commerce, have come along," one of sources said."In a sense, it's like someone has rained on the parade."US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is due in India next week where he is expected to raise concerns about the e-commerce policy and data localisation, officials said.New Indian rules announced in Dec. for e-commerce sector banned firms such as Amazon and Flipkart from striking exclusive deals with sellers, restricted their ability to offer discounts and barred them from selling products via vendors in which they have an equity interest.
No intimation from US on export benefits withdrawal: Govt
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/Govt -says-no-intimation-from-us-on-export-benefits-withdrawal/articleshow/67909736.cms
New Delhi:US has not formally informed India that it is ending preferential benefits for $5.6 billion worth of Indian exports,a senior official said.“We have not received any communication from them that they want to pull the plug on this programme. It is non-reciprocal, non-discriminatory and a unilateral prerogative of US,” senior official said after Reuters reported that US is considering withdrawal of zero tariffs for India. US withdrew duty benefits worth $75 million from Indian exports of certain musical instruments, leather, textiles, dairy and chemicals in Nov, based on import ceilings in the scheme to limit duty-free access.economic times
Defence Ministry protested against PMO undermining Rafale negotiations: The Hindu
At the height of the negotiations over the controversial €7.87 billion Rafale deal between India and France, Defence Ministry raised strong objections to “parallel negotiations” conducted by PMO with the French side. Stating that it was clear that such parallel discussions by the PMO had “weakened the negotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team,” a Defence Ministry note dated Nov.24, 2015 brought this to the attention of the then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar. Stating that “we may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays [parleys] with the officers of French Govt ,” it suggested that “in case PMO is not confident about outcome of negotiations being carried out by MoD, a revised modality of negotiations to be led by PMO at appropriate level may be adopted in the case.”According to govt’s submission to the Supreme Court of India in Oct.2018, negotiations over Rafale deal were conducted by a seven-member team headed by Deputy Chief of Air Staff. There was no mention of any role for PMO in these negotiations.Official documents available to The Hindu reveal, however, that Defence Ministry protested that the position taken by PMO was “contradictory to the stand taken by MoD and the negotiating team.”Then Defence Secretary,G. Mohan Kumar, made this official notation in his own hand: “RM may pl. see. It is desirable that such discussions be avoided by PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously.” is firm opposition was recorded on Nov.24, 2015 on a note prepared by SK Sharma, Deputy Secretary (Air-II), and endorsed by Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager(Air) and DG(Acquisition) in Ministry. New Rafale deal, which bore little resemblance to original deal under prolonged negotiation, was announced in Paris by PM Narendra Modi in April 2015.This was followed by signing of a MoU between India and France when President Francois Hollande visited Delhi on the occasion of Republic Day in 2016.Inter-govl deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets was eventually signed on Sept.23,2016.According to Defence Ministry note, details of parallel negotiations conducted by PMO came to the Ministry’s notice only from a letter of Oct.23, 2015 from General Stephen Reb, head of French Negotiating Team. Letter “made mention of a telephonic conversation between Jawed Ashraf,Joint Secretary in PMO and Luis Vassy, Diplomatic Adviser to French Minister of Defence, which took place on 20.10.2015.”General Reb’s letter was brought to the notice of PMO by Defence Ministry. The head of Indian Negotiating Team, Air Marshal SBP Sinha, AVSM VM, Deputy Chief of Air Staff, also wrote to Ashraf.
Centre’s note to SC silent on PMO role in Rafale deal
SC verdict on Rafale deal diminished judiciary’s credibility says  Shourie: Indian express
Nagpur:Senior journalist and ex-Union Minister Arun Shourie said Friday that the Supreme Court judgment on the plea on Rafale deal, of which he was one of the petitioners, had only diminished judiciary’s credibility.He was replying to a question if he regretted having moved the apex court in Rafale deal while talking to journalists on the sidelines of a journalism award function here.“No, no. Why should I regret? In fact the ruling that came had only diminished judiciary’s credibility. Ruling had contents plagiarised from the Govt note that was submitted to the court.So we have proved our point,” he said.
Rafale exposé: Revelations put SC ruling in question, says Rahul Gandhi
Modi govt waived off 3.5 lakh cr debt for industrialists, says Rahul Gandhi
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi mocked Modi Govt for announcing support of ₹6,000 per year to small and marginal farmers when it "wrote off" ₹3.5 lakh crore loans of 15 big industrialists.Gandhi also reiterated that PMO was directly involved in conducting negotiations with French side on Rafale deal.Congress would ensure minimum income guarantee for the poor if elected to power after the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, he said. He  said that BJP hailed the announcement of the cash support for farmers in the Lok Sabha when the interim Union Budget 2019-20 was presented."They were hailing the decision, but announced only ₹17 assistance per day to farmers.On one hand, Govt  wrote off ₹3.5 lakh crore loans of 15 big industrialists, but gave ₹ 17 per day to farmers."If you divide that amount further, it comes down ₹3.5 per person,"Congress President informed gathering.PTI
PM should answer if Rafale deal was meant to strengthen IAF or an industrialist: Shiv Sena
Operation Lotus exposed: BJP offered 200 cr to MLAs to topple Cong-JDS govt in K’taka:Cong
In a sensational revelation, Congress today accused PM Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah and former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa of hatching a conspiracy to topple the Congress-JDS Govt  in Karnataka by offering bribes to some MLAs.Releasing an audio tape of an alleged conversation between Yeddyurappa and a JD(S) MLA, Congress said that the tape reveals the “ugly and dirty politics” that BJP and the Modi-Shah duo indulge in.According to the Congress, Yeddyurappa had planned to offer ₹10 crore per MLAs and ₹50 crore to the speaker KR Ramesh Kumar in order to buy their loyalty.Addressing a press conference, Congress general secretary,KC Venugopal said Yeddyurappa was offering ministerial positions to 12 MLAs and chairman position to 6 MLAs.Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also addressed the media, and urged the Supreme Court to take action against the BJP. He said that the BJP leader can be heard saying we will manage the judges also, if the matter goes to the apex court." Will the Supreme Court take action ?” asked Surjewala.nationalheraldindia
CBI questions Kolkata police chief in Shillong
New Delhi :Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar is being grilled by CBI in Shillong Saturday in connection with the Saradha chit funds scam case. Both Kumar and CBI officials arrived at the central agency’s headquarters in Shillong today morning.Meghalaya capital was chosen as the “neutral” meeting place by the Supreme Court last week.Sources said that Kumar has requested CBI that he won’t be able to stay in Shillong for long as that would affect the police deployment decision ahead of Saraswati Puja and board exams. Accompanied by 3 top state police officers, Kumar reached Shillong on Friday.A 10-member team constituted by CBI will question top cop in connection with central agency’s ongoing probe into chit fund cases.Meanwhile, TMC leaders and supporters staged a protest outside CBI HQRS  at CGO Complex, shouting slogans against Centre.indianexpress
Kolkata cops show up at firm with links to ex-CBI interim chief wife
Day before Kolkata top cop Kumar’s questioning, state police raids firms linked to CBI chief Rao
A day before the questioning of Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar by CBI in connection with Saradha scam, the Kolkata police raided 2 firms allegedly linked to former interim CBI chief Nageswara Rao. Though the police clarified that it was only an examination, move is widely being seen as a response to CBI trying to arrest Rajeev Kumar on Sunday. The company that is being probed is Angela Mercantiles Pvt Ltd, the raid was carried out at 2 of its offices, one in Kolkata and the other in Salt Lake City. According to reports, the raids have been carried out after a complaint was filed at the Bowbazar Police Station.Former interim CBI chief M Nageshwar Rao issues a press statement, refuting any link with M/s Angela Mercantile Pvt Ltd which is being raided by Kolkata Police today.There were reports that this company was owned by Nageswara Rao’s wife Mannem Sandhya, however, the former interim CBI chief issued a statement to deny the ownership of the company and explained the financial transaction that took place with the company.NewsX
NSA slapped on 2 more persons in MP for ‘illegal’ cow transport
The authorities in Agar Malwa district of MP on Friday booked 2 men under draconian NSA for allegedly transporting cattle illegally and disrupting public peace, a police officer said.On Monday, Congress-led Govt  had invoked NSA against 3 men accused of cow slaughter in Khandwa district.“2 accused — Mehboob Khan, a resident of Lambikheda in Ujjain district, and Rodumal Malviya of Agar Malwa — were arrested on Thursday for transporting cows illegally and disrupting public peace,” Kotwali police station in-charge Ajit Tiwari said.Agar Malwa witnessed tension on Jan.29 when the two accused were carrying cows in their vehicles, the police said. Following protests, the market was shut. thehindu
Chidambaram: Imposing NSA on cow cases wrong
New Delhi: Ex- Union minister P. Chidambaram has said the recent case of Congress Govt in MP invoking stringent NSA in alleged cattle smuggling cases is a mistake. He said party leadership had communicated this to the State Govt  in Bhopal.“Use of NSA in Madhya Pradesh was wrong. If a mistake has been committed, the mistake has been pointed to Govt by the leadership,”he said at the formal launch of his new book Undaunted: Save the Idea of India.The book was formally released by former Vice-President Hamid Ansari and followed by a panel discussion that included former Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Trinamool MP Dinesh Trivedi and Congress MP Sushmita Dev.thehindu
Cong divided as minority leaders of party slam MP govt for slapping NSA on cow slaughter accused
Congress unease over NSA in Madhya Pradesh cow case: What message is being sent?
Cong trying to compete with BJP on cow: Kerala CM
New Delhi : Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan slammed Congress Govt  in MP for invoking NSA against 3 men for cow slaughter, saying not even the previous BJP Govt  took such a harsh step.“It is not only wrong but an anti-secular move. Congress claims to be secular but then follows the Sangh Parivar line. Even earlier BJP Govt  in MP did not use such a stringent section for cow slaughter,”Vijayan said. He accused the Congress of “competing with the BJP on the cow”.“Even in Kerala, Congress toed RSS line on Sabarimala. This is its biggest failure,” he added.thehindu
Ram Temple issue of faith, Sabarimala about customs: Chidambaram
Ram temple issue is about “faith” and Sabarimala is about “customs” and the 2 should not be mixed, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said Friday.His comments came during the launch of his new book. “Ram temple is not an issue of customs, it is an issue of faith. While Sabarimala is a matter of customs which are opposed to modern constitutional values,”ex-Union minister said in response to a question on the two issues. In Ayodhya, and not to trivialise the faith of those who believe in Lord Ram and his birthplace, it is a matter of faith, he said. “And, it is because of that, a group of people are claiming the land. Others are saying a mosque existed several hundred years ago.”The question is whether the Supreme Court would resolve issues raised by Allahabad High Court,” he said. Many issues are amenable to judicial resolution “but I don’t think we can mix up customs and faith”, he said. As far as Sabarimala is concerned, it is an issue on which one can’t take a categorical view, he added.“I as an individual accept the SC judgement, but how can I stop ordinary men, women and party workers to express those views,” Chidambaram said.Congress took a view, saying “we accept the SC judgement, but we can’t tell our party workers, you can’t have other views”. PTI
Rahul Gandhi Repeating His Father's Monumental Mistake on Triple Talaq:Jaitley
New Delhi: Criticising Congress for promising to withdraw the Triple Talaq Bill if it comes to power, Union Minister Arun Jaitley wrote in his blog that Bareilly Nikah Halala type incidents, which shook conscience of people, ought to be made unconstitutional. “Some incidents are so unconscionable and repulsive that they shake the conscience of the society and compel it to take remedial measures. Injustice perpetuated by personal laws is a glaring example of this,” wrote Jaitley.“Late Rajiv Gandhi committed a monumental mistake in legislatively overturning Shah Bano judgment of the Supreme Court, which guaranteed maintenance to all Muslim women,” BJP minister wrote. Comparing the 32-year-old incident with Congress’s current stand,he wrote “Unfortunately, when human conscience should have been repelled while reading this news in the morning papers; Rahul Gandhi and his coterie, while addressing a minority convention, promised to withdraw the bill pending in Parliament,” wrote Jaitley.news18
Ram was ancestor of Hindus and Muslims: Ramdev
Yoga guru Ramdev said the proposed construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya in UP  was linked to the nation’s pride, and claimed that Hindu deity Ram was the ancestor of Hindus and Muslims, PTI reported.Ramdev said this while talking to reporters at Nadiad town in Gujarat’s, where he attended a yoga camp organised by Santram temple. He claimed that the Ram temple matter was not linked to vote-bank politics.“I firmly believe that Ram mandir must be built in Ayodhya,” Ramdev said. “If not in Ayodhya, where would you build it? It is obvious that it will not come up at Mecca, Medina or Vatican City. It is an undisputed fact that Ayodhya is Ram’s birthplace.”scroll.in
Citizenship Bill: Tribals Hold Protests in Tripura Ahead of PM's Visit
Agartala:Ahead PM  Narendra Modi's 2-day visit to 3 northeastern states - Assam, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh - several tribal parties and NGOs on Friday held a massive demonstration in Tripura demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.The protesting groups also demanded the withdrawal of sedition charges levelled by the state police against 3 tribal leaders.The several hours long demonstration took place in northern Tripura's Manughat, 100 km north of Agartala, 10 days after a huge protest rally on the same issue in Khumulwng, 20 km north of Agartala.Agitation was spearheaded by newly formed Movement Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (MACAB), a conglomerate of several NGOs and 4 tribal outfits, including Tripura's oldest tribal party Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT). North-East Students Organisation(NESO) called an 11-hour shutdown in entire northeastern region excluding Sikkim to oppose Citizenship Bill, was also part of the agitation. NESO is an association of 8 student and youth organisations from 7 northeastern states.IANS
Modi in Guwahati, protesters show black flags
China needles India within hours of Modi's Arunachal visit, warns against 'complicating border issue'
China's foreign ministry on Saturday condemned PM Narendra Modi's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, also claimed by China, saying it "resolutely opposes" activities of Indian leaders in the region.Modi's visit was part of a series of public meetings in the region aimed at garnering support for Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of elections that are due to be held by May. Despite recent efforts to improve bilateral ties in both countries, disputes over the mountainous Indo-China border — which triggered a war in 1962 — and the region that China claims as southern Tibet have remained a sensitive issue."China urges the Indian side to proceed from the overall situation of bilateral relations, respect China's interests and concerns, cherish the momentum of improving relations between the 2 countries, and refrain from any actions that intensify disputes and complicate the border issue," the country's foreign ministry said. Reuters
BJP youth wing demands temple on AMU campus, gives 15-day ultimatum
BJYM, youth wing of the BJP, has demanded the construction of a temple on the premises of the AMU.BJYM district president Mukesh Singh Lodhi wrote a letter to the varsity's V-C Tariq Mansoor giving him a 15-day ultimatum to act on the demands, failing which the "thousands of BJYM workers" will forcefully do a "murti sthapana", HT reported."Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of AMU, had stated that both Hindu and Muslims are 2 eyes of AMU and this should be the driving force for the V-C of the university to allow the construction of a temple on AMU campus," the letter read.The youth wing leader alleged that thousands of Hindu students studying at the varsity were facing problems in offering prayers owing to the lack of a temple.new indian express
JMI professor accused of sexual harassment sent on leave
New Delhi:A day after students of Jamia Millia Islamia’s Faculty of Fine Arts alleged they were roughed up and sexually harassed by “goons close to the head of the department”, university administration suspended 3 students. The students had been protesting for nine days demanding the ouster of HoD on charges of sexual harassment, unfair marking and favouritism.The university on Friday also sent HoD Hafeez Ahmad on leave. Ahmad said all charges against him were “fabricated”.“I have not heard from the administration… that they are sending me on leave. In fact, I had requested medical leave because it was getting too much to take all this.I have been targeted and I will speak in my defence soon,” he said.PRO Ahmed Azeem said: “Taking serious note of the complaint against three male students of Faculty of Fine Arts by girl students of Faculty…the action has been initiated against them. Pending the decision of the Disciplinary Committee, they are hereby suspended with immediate effect from University and debarred from entering the campus and attending the classes for two weeks.”indianexpress
Jamia Millia : Professor sent on leave after students accuse him of sexual harassment
JNU sedition: Kejriwal questions timing of chargesheet
CM Arvind Kejriwal has said the chargesheet filed by Delhi Police in JNU sedition case right before Lok Sabha elections raises several questions and it needs to be "legally studied" by AAP Govt .Kejriwal said the police took 3 years to file in a court chargesheet in connection with the sedition case against Kanhaiya Kumar and 9 others.Last month,court had questioned the police for filing the chargesheet without procuring the required sanction from authorities." Govt  is currently studying the chargesheet. It took Delhi Police three years to file a charge sheet...The police filed it without Govt's nod, and also right before the elections, which raises several questions. There is a need to legally study it," he said. NDTV
Batla House convict gets parole to attend sister’s wedding
New Delhi:Batla House encounter case convict Shahzad Ahmed, who is serving life imprisonment, has been granted one-day custody parole by the Delhi High Court to attend his sister’s wedding at Azamgarh in UP  on Feb.9.A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vinod Goel ordered that the petitioner, Ahmed, be taken in “proper police escort to attend the marriage of his sister on Feb.9, between 10.00 am to 2.00 pm, excluding the time that shall be taken for completing the journey from Delhi to Azamgarh and back”.“In case of need, the in-charge of the escorting police party shall be entitled to keep the petitioner overnight in lock-up at the local police station, during the course of journey,” it said.indianexpress
ED files money laundering case in Palwal Mosque terror funding matter
Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case of money laundering against Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation , an NGO run by LeT, for allegedly funnelling money into India for construction of a mosque in Haryana.ED’s case is based on an FIR filed by NIA in Oct.last year. “Probe under PMLA has been initiated by ED to establish money trail and to identify proceeds of crime that are suspected to be generated out of the criminal activities,” an ED statement said.indian express
ED  files money laundering case against Pak group
Fridge compressor blast injures 14 madrassa students
Muzaffarnagar: A refrigerator compressor blast in a madrassa here resulted in injuring 14 students, police said. Later, 11 of the injured students were were referred to the Medical College in Meerut. According to police, a burning candle kept on the refrigerator led to the compressor's blast in a room where 15 students were sleeping. Incident occurred around in Madarsa Islamia Ashraf-Ul at Sujru village under in Nagar-Kotwali area. SP Omveer Singh said,“As many as 14 kids were injured in this incident and 11 of them were referred to a higher centre in Meerut. All the kids are out of danger. An investigation has also been ordered into the matter.”TOI
Haryana rule banning links of govt employees with RSS still in effect:TOI
Chandigarh:Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar is a self-acknowledged “swayamsevak” but any kind of association of Haryana Govt  employees with RSS  is still proscribed in the state. The instructions, issued by the general administration department of the chief secretary’s office in April 1980, restraining the state Govt  employees from any association with the activities of RSS and Jamaat-e-Islami are still in force in Haryana. Although former RSS pracharak Khattar has been the head of Govt  in the state for around 4-and-a-half years now, these instructions have not been replaced or withdrawn. Since then, the ban on Govt officials participating in the activities of RSS and Jamaat-e-Islami is still in force as this was never repealed or amended by the Haryana govt till date. These instructions, according to legal experts, do not directly affect the CM or his ministers with strong RSS affiliation because they are not governed by the service rules. “However, presence of such rules could create some legal complications for officials because the state is ruled by the leaders from the restricted organization, or RSS,” the experts added. A senior advocate of the Punjab and Haryana high court, on the condition of anonymity, said these instructions are very old and the ruling party may not be aware of them or may not have repealed them due to fear of being getting an adverse reaction. But these instructions may create some situation where judicial intervention or interpretation may be required in future,” the advocate added. When contacted, Rajiv Jain, media adviser to Haryana CM, said actually nobody had ever tried to look into these instructions issued many years ago. “Though these instructions never created any problem for anyone in our Govt , we will look into the matter,” Jain added.TOI
J&K orders creation of separate division for Ladakh
https://scroll.in/latest/912516/jammu-and-kashmir-Govt -orders-creation-of-separate-division-for-ladakh
J&K Govt  on Friday ordered the creation of a separate administrative division for Ladakh region.This division will comprise Leh and Kargil districts and headquarters at Leh, according to a statement released by the state Department of Information and Public Relations. The state will now have 3 divisions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.Ladakh region was earlier a part of the Kashmir division. The statement said people in the region had raised persistent demands for the creation of a separate division due to topographic conditions, unique cultural status and that it deserved special treatment due to the distance from the capital Srinagar.scroll.in
Ladakh division: Omar says Chenab, Pir Panjal will also get status if his party is elected
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Friday said his Govt will grant Chenab valley and Pir Panchal regions the status of division if his party is elected to power in the Assembly elections that are expected later this year.His statement came hours after the state Govt ordered the creation of a separate administrative division for Ladakh region. “After the elections of 2019, should the people of J&K repose faith in [National Conference] , our Govt  will grant division status to Chenab valley[and] Pir Panchal regions as already laid out in our regional autonomy promise,” Abdullah said in a tweet.“We will take care of regional and sub-regional aspirations,” he added. “We won’t adopt the pick [and] choose approach of the Governor but will instead take a holistic view [and] address the wider problems. Our regional autonomy document will be our template.”Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the govt’s decision but wondered why the state had ignored Chenab valley and Pir Panjal regions, which are also remote areas, PTI reported.“Although Leh and Kargil already have hill development councils, we welcome the decision to grant division status to Ladakh,” Mufti, also a former CM, said. “But I fail to understand what is the intention behind ignoring Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal regions. These are remote areas, the terrain is hilly and population is much larger.”scroll.in
11 including 8 cops killed as avalanches strike Kashmir
Srinagar:At least 11 people have died in snow avalanches across J&K  in the last 24-hours, including 7 in a massive one that buried a police post near Jawahar Tunnel in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, officials said on Friday. 2 more were crushed in landslides on the Ramban highway, while one person drowned.10 people, 8 of them police personnel, were buried under snow on Thursday evening by the avalanche. 2 were rescued alive on Friday morning while bodies of 5 policemen and two others were recovered. One policeman is missing.Qazigund block medical officer, Zahoor Ahmad, said the rescued policemen were stable.HT
J&K Jamaat grieved over loss of lives in avalanches
 Jamaat-e-Islami J&K has expressed grief over the loss of lives due to avalanches in Banihal and Kokernag. The Jamaat expressed solidarity with the bereaved families. Jama’at also expressed sorrow over the death of a Mo’azin in south Kashmir as the roof of Mosque crushed due to snowfall.Kashmir Reader
Separatists call for strike to mark Guru’s anniversary
Normal life in Kashmir was affected on Saturday due to a strike called by separatists to mark sixth death anniversary of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged on this day in 2013.Shops and other business establishments remained closed while public transport was off the roads due to shutdown called by separatists, officials said.Separatists Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), consisting of both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF, called for a shutdown to press for their demand that Guru’s mortal remains be returned for burial in Kashmir.Authorities have placed Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and several other separatist leaders under house arrest to prevent them from holding any protest marches,officials said. PTI
India protests against Pak on Saeed's rally
New Delhi:India has taken a strong note of Hafiz Saeed's recent rally in Lahore on the occasion of so-called 'Kashmir Solidarity Day' and sent a note verbale to Pakistan in protest against JuD chief's gathering, sources said.Sources added that India registered a strong protest against the continued use of Pakistani soil by extremist elements to freely propagate and promote violence against New Delhi.They further said that the Indian Govt  once again called upon the Pak Govt  to fulfill its international obligations and abide by it bilateral commitment to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India, in any manner.ANI
Jadhav case:Pak claims it has evidence of his ‘sabotage activities’
Pakistan has said it will present its case in International Court of Justice on Feb.19 against ex Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, Geo News reported. Jadhav is on death row in Islamabad after Pakistan charged him with spying for Indian intelligence agencies in 2016.“Pakistan has all the evidence against Jadhav of sabotage activities inside Pakistan,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said at an event in UK. “Jadhav has admitted to being involved in such activities.” “Pakistan’s legal team will present its stance in the case at The Hague on 19th of this month,”said he.scroll.in/
Saudi Prince to arrive In India on Feb.19
New Delhi: While it’s not clear yet if Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will visit India this month, official sources confirmed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be here on Feb.19. India and Israel have not yet been able to find a mutually convenient date for Netanyahu’s visit even though the Govt  remains keen to host him. Prince Salman’s visit will be significant as Saudi Arabia is a major energy security provider for India. Saudi Arabia also is India’s fourth largest trade partner. During the visit, he will inaugurate the new embassy complex in New Delhi. Visit of Prince Salman, who will be accompanied by a large delegation of ministers and senior officials, will further strengthen India-Saudi energy cooperation besides emphasising enhancement of ties across several areas, including IT, health and tourism. TOI
Hyderabad: Miscreants attack Muslim youths, pelt stones at Masjid
Hyderabad: A group of miscreants attacked Muslim youths and pelted stones at Jamia Masjid of Tondpally of Shamsabad Mandal. After this incident, panic prevailed in the area. According to the details,last night, Krishna Goud, Manoj Goud and four of their companions who are associated with Hindu fundamentalist outfits attacked 5 youths and threatened them to leave the country. After abusing them, the miscreants pelted stones at the masjid resulting in the breakage of window panes. The local residents informed Shamsabad Rural Police.It is reported that Kishore Goud and Manoj Goud were involved in such incidents earlier also.siasat
Dalits, Muslims will not vote for Congress even if disillusioned with Modi:Prakash Ambedkar
Prakash Ambedkar-led BBM is making its first foray into politics, with a new front called the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, an umbrella of smaller regional parties, including AIMIM. It has decided to contest all 48 Lok Sabha seats. Prakash in an interview said, "I strongly believe that the Dalits and Muslims will not decisively vote for the Congress even if they are disillusioned with the Modi Govt …The traditional vote base of all mainstream alliances will be shaken in the elections. A lot of churning will take place."indian express
SC refuses to stay 10% quota for upper castes
New Delhi:The Supreme Court has refused to stay the decision to give 10%  quota for economically weaker sections among upper castes and clubbed all petitions, including by Tahssen Poonawala, for early hearing.A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi refused to stay the govt’s decision, which has now become law, to grant 10%  quota to economically poor in the general category as a PIL by Poonawala contended that such a reservation was contrary to several pronouncements by the court.Appearing for Poonawala, senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan said there was a cap of 50 %  in the top court’s ruling in Mandal Commission case that came in the wake of OBC quota by then VP Singh Govt .IANS
SC refuses to entertain sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s plea seeking security for his family
New Delhi:The Supreme Court has refused to entertain sacked Gujarat cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhat’s plea seeking security for his family. A bench of Justices AK Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer asked Bhat to approach the Gujarat High Court with his plea.On Oct.4 last year, the apex court dismissed his wife Shweta Bhat’s plea, challenging the police probe and his judicial custody in a 22-year-old case of alleged planting of drugs to arrest an advocate, and said he could approach an “appropriate forum” for relief.PTI
Trains cancelled, as Gujjars on quota stir block tracks
Jaipur/New Delhi: Members of Gujjar community continued to block railway tracks on the second day of their agitation today to demand implementation of 5% reservation that was promised to them by Rajasthan Govt . Agitating Gujjars sat on railway tracks at Malarna Doongar near Sawai Madhopur, leading to the cancellation of 5 trains and re-routing of 15.The blocked railway line in the West Central Railway connects Delhi to Mumbai. Delhi-Jaipur-Agra line, however, remains clear. Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla started a dharna yesterday along with his supporters on the railway tracks in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district, demanding reservation for five communities including Gujjars.ndtv
5 Held in Connection with PMK Man’s Murder in TN
Even as tension prevails in Kumbakonam town, Tamil Nadu, over the murder of a PMK functionary, 5 persons have been arrested in connection with the case. Ramalingam,PMK functionary in Thirubuvanam, Kumbakonam town, was attacked on Tuesday,, after which he succumbed to his injuries.Attack happened after he was seen in a video having an altercation with a couple of Muslim men who were allegedly in the area to proselytise. Police officials confirmed that 5 persons had been arrested in connection with the case: Mohammad Azaruddin, Mohamma Riaz, Nizam Ali, Sarbuddin and Mohammad Riaz.SP of Thanjavur, Maheshwaran, said that Nizam was seen in the video and he was a member of PFI. SP did not confirm if other 4 were from PFI and said that this would be revealed only after probe.thequint
Death toll due to consumption of illicit liquor in Uttarakhand, UP rises to 92
Death toll has risen to 92 due to consumption of illicit liquor in the states of UP  and Uttarakhand.Around 18 deaths have been reported in Meerut, 46 in Saharanpur, 20 in Roorkee, 8 in Kushinagar among others. Saharanpur DM Alok Pandey said,"There have been 46 postmortems so far out of which 36 deaths are clearly due to consumption of illicit liquor according to the doctors. Other cases are being ascertained."The authorities said that they do not want to get involved in any blame game and will leave no stone unturned to get the culprits. It has been revealed that the source of liquor consumption is from Uttarakhand.indiatoday
Swine flu claims 250 lives in country this year
New Delhi:Swine flu has so far claimed over 250 lives in the country this year so far with 30 more deaths due to the disease being reported in last three days till Feb.7.PTI
India, Bangladesh call for expediting safe and sustainable repartition of Rohingya refugees
Foreign Ministers of India and Bangladesh held talks on Friday to further intensify ties between 2 countries as they called for expediting safe and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees, according to a statement from Ministry of External Affairs. During the fifth meeting of India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission(JCC), External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj assured her counterpart AK Abdul Momen India’s continued support for safe, speedy and sustainable return of the displaced persons to Myanmar.2 sides also inked three pacts, including in the areas of health services and training of civil servants. The ministers discussed the gamut of bilateral issues of mutual interest and reviewed ongoing cooperation, including the implementation of decisions taken during the visits of PM Narendra Modi and PM Sheikh Hasina,the statement said.2 ministers agreed on the need to expedite safe and sustainable repatriation of the displaced people from Rakhine State of Myanmar,”it said.PTI
Bangladesh requests India to help with early repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar
Delhi minorities commission offers internship to law, political science students
New Delhi: Delhi Minorities Commission has started an internship scheme for students seeking hands on experience in the fields of minority rights, law and other related subjects.The Commission aims to induct 8-10 students from the final year courses of LLB and political science to give them experience in matters of law, minority rights and other such related subjects, said Zafarul Islam Khan, chairman of the panel."Students from departments like law and political science can come to the Commission for a week or more, understand its work and how complaints are received and dealt with," Khan said.PTI
Twitter CEO, top officials decline to appear before parliamentary panel: Sources
New Delhi:Twitter CEO and top officials have declined to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on IT that had summoned them over the issue of safeguarding citizens’ rights on social media platforms, sources in panel said on Saturday. Parliamentary Committee, headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, had issued a summon to Twitter via an official letter on Feb.1.The parliamentary committee meeting was scheduled for Feb.7,but was later postponed to Feb.11 to allow Twitter CEO and senior officials more time to make themselves available. Twitter cited “short notice of the hearing” as the reason, despite being given 10 days to travel, sources said.PTI
Rights group: Egypt executes 3 Muslim Brotherhood members tortured to confess
Cairo:An international rights group on Friday said Egypt executed 3 Muslim Brotherhood members sentenced to death following torture and beatings to extract confessions. Human Rights Watch said in a statement the families of the men were notified of their hanging on Thursday and asked to come to the morgue to pick up the bodies.3 were convicted last year for 2014 killing of a judge’s son in Nile Delta town of Mansoura. HRW said a letter from one of the men was reportedly smuggled out of prison, describing torture and beatings. Michael Page, deputy director at the New York-based group, says Egypt “committed a glaring injustice by executing 3 men who apparently gave ‘confessions’ extracted through electric shock and other torture.”Later Friday, the Interior Ministry confirmed the execution, saying prison authorities carried out a final court order after the defendants’ appeal was turned down. HRW’s statement came after Turkey this week launched an investigation into 8 police officers over the deportation of a wanted Islamist and Egyptian national back to Egypt, where he could face death penalty.Young man escaped Egypt after he was sentenced to death in absentia last year, and arrived in Turkey on Jan.16 where was detained and deported 2 days later, despite requesting political asylum.He is likely to face a new trial in Egypt over the same accusations.AP
HRW condemns Egypt hanging of 3 'political detainees'
Trump misses Senate deadline to report on Khashoggi
US President Donald Trump declined to meet a Friday deadline to report to the Senate on whether the White House believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, also known as MBS, ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.A senior administration official told US media that the president maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests.A bipartisan group of US Senators triggered the terms of the Global Magnitsky Act on Oct.10, 2018, which required the president to probe and determine if a foreign person is responsible for Khashoggi's death within 120 days. White House had until Friday to submit their report.Although the White House has sanctioned 17 Saudi individuals for their involvement in the murder, including two top aides to MBS, members of Congress have called for greater action to be taken against the kingdom and its leaders." Trump has steadfastly insisted the US-Saudi relationship is more important than establishing accountability for murder," said Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC.The White House decision comes a day after a New York Times report revealed MBS told a top aide in a conversation in 2017 that he would use "a bullet" on Khashoggi, according to a conversation intercepted by US intelligence agencies. Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir dismissed the report along with the possibility MBS, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, had any role in Khashoggi's killing.aljazeera
‘MBS had threatened to use 'a bullet' on Khashoggi’
UN: Riyadh 'undermined' Turkey's access to Khashoggi murder scene
US preliminary observations of human rights inquiry into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi says it was a "brutal, premeditated killing - planned and perpetrated by Saudi Arabian officials". The findings of UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, Agnes Callamard, follow a weeklong trip to Turkey with a team of experts to examine the evidence.Her initial conclusion is that Saudi "seriously undermined" Turkey's efforts to access the crime scene and investigate the murder at the Istanbul consulate.Callamard has requested an official visit to Riyadh and expressed "major concerns" about fairness for the 11 suspects on trial for the murder.aljazeera
Khashoggi murder: No closure without body:fiancee
Kushner to visit Middle East for peace plan
Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser, is expected to head to the Middle East later this month for an official visit to discuss a US proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Kushner, will be joined by US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, US envoy on Iran Brian Hook and other administration officials who have worked on the economic part of the plan, dubbed the "deal of the century". The trip - which includes stops in Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, is aimed at building support for the initiative which Kushner has been tasked with leading.aljazeera
2 Palestinian teens killed by Israeli forces in Gaza
2 Palestinian youths were killed by Israeli fire on Friday during the weekly protest near the Israeli fence east of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian health ministry in the besieged enclave said. Hasan Shalabi, 14, "was killed by Israeli occupation live fire to the chest east of Khan Younis" in the southern Gaza Strip, the ministry said, as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated along the heavily fortified frontier with Israel for 46th week running. Hamza Shteiwi, 18, was also killed after he was shot in the neck by Israeli forces, the ministry added. Another 17 Palestinians were shot at different protest sites along the fence, including 2 journalists and 4 medics.aljazeera
Report: Israel will consider revisions to economic agreements with Palestinians
Citing “Palestinian, international, and Israeli sources”, Israeli news site Globes has reported that the Israeli Govt  “has agreed in principle to a request by Palestinian Authority (PA) to reconsider Paris economic agreements signed by the PA and Israel in 1994”.Report claims that the Israeli PM ’s Office has approved PA’s request “in principle”, agreeing “to hold talks in a number of professional committees in various areas, apparently including international partners”.One Palestinian source told Globes “that French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to help by hosting these talks, as was the case when the economic discussions were held and the economic agreements signed in 1994.”MEMO
Hamas discusses Jerusalem with Egypt’s Al-Azhar
A Hamas delegation led by group leader Ismail Haniyeh held a meeting in Cairo with Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar.“The meeting addressed the dangers facing the Palestinian cause, Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, along with ongoing [Israeli] attempts to Judaise the holy city,” Hamas said in a statement released yesterday evening.The officials also tackled the dire humanitarian situation in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s 12-year blockade of the coastal enclave.In the statement, Hamas urged Muslim nations to “focus their efforts on safeguarding Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and supporting the steadfastness of the city’s Palestinian residents”.In its own statement issued after the meeting,  Al-Tayeb said that the Palestinian cause remained “primary issue facing Muslim nation”.MEMO
Fatah rejects Egyptian and Russian initiatives to meet Palestinian factions
Fatah is reported to have rejected official invitations extended by Egypt and Russia to host Palestinian reconciliation meetings, Resala.net has reported. According to informed sources, Egypt has proposed a meeting in Cairo for the factions, but Fatah has declined as it does not want to meet Hamas anywhere. They added that the secular group which controls the Palestinian Authority will also inform the factions that it will not attend any meetings in Moscow, under the pretext that it does not want to hold new meetings with the Islamic Resistance Movement. The Palestinian factions have all received official initiations from Russia to visit Moscow in early April. Meanwhile, Hamas and Islamic Jihad will meet with Egyptian intelligence officials to discuss the deteriorating situation, especially the PA’s cutting of its employees’ salaries in Gaza.middleeastmonitor
Russia refuses to move embassy to Jerusalem
Russia has refused to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, despite previously recognising the west of the city as Israel’s capital.The announcement was made by Russia’s Ambassador to Israel, Anatoly Viktorov, through TASS news outlet.“Issue of transferring Russian Embassy to Jerusalem is off the agenda,” explained Viktorov. “Russia is committed to the international legal framework concerning Jerusalem, including corresponding UNSC  resolutions.” Such resolutions condemn Israel’s actions in the Holy City.MEMO
Contradicting Trump, Merkel says IS not defeated
Berlin:Islamic State is far from defeated, and instead is morphing into an asymmetrical warfare force after the militant group lost almost all of the territory it once controlled in Syria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.Merkel’s remarks contradicted statements by Donald Trump that the Islamist group has been defeated.“The so-called Islamic State has been luckily driven out of its territory but this unfortunately doesn’t mean that Islamic State has disappeared,” Merkel said. “It is transforming into an asymmetrical warfare force. And this, of course, is a threat.”Reuters
US to pay damages of war after withdrawal from Afghan: Siraj
Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (JI) Ameer Senator Sirajul Haq has said that US would not only have to withdraw from Afghanistan but also pay the damages of the war.In Mansoora, he said that a few years back, nobody was ready to shake hands with the Taliban and whoever attempted that was condemned as a traitor.However, he said, now Washington was begging Taliban for talks and several countries including Russia were requesting the Taliban to open their offices in their countries to be able to participate in the talks.Haq further said that US defeat in Afghanistan after Soviet Union made it clear that Afghanistan’s future was with Islam and this auspicious development would be greatly helpful in the enforcement of the Islamic system in this country.nation.com.pk
Morocco suspends participation in Saudi war in Yemen
Morocco has suspended its participation in the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition's fight against Yemen's Houthi rebels, Govt  officials have said.Speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the diplomatic tensions, two officials said that Rabat had also recalled its ambassador to the kingdom. aljazeera
Myanmar villagers flee to Bangladesh amid violence
Scores of ethnic-minority villagers have crossed from western Myanmar into Bangladesh in recent days amid fighting between the Myanmar military and ethnic Rakhine rebels, according to Bangladesh border guards and an activist. Members of 38 families said they fled their homes fearing attack from military helicopters, Colonel Zahirul Haque Khan, the Border Guards Bangladesh commander in Bandarban district where the group of 136 people are now living in shelters, was quoted as saying by Reuters.aljazeera
Saudi deporting Rohingya despite UN calls
Rohingya activists demand action against Myanmar at NYC summit
Trump and Kim Jong-un to meet in Hanoi on Feb.27 and 28
US President Donald Trump has announced that he would hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam’s Capital Hanoi on Feb.27 and 28.“I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace,” Trump tweeted. “North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, will become a great economic powerhouse. He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him amd fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of rocket – an economic one!” scroll.in
Khamenei's 'Death to US' aimed at leaders, not people'
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has defended "Death to America" chants that are a standard fare at anti-US rallies across Iran, but said the slogan was aimed at American leaders and not its people.Khamenei said the chant meant "death to US leaders, death to [US President Donald] Trump and John Bolton and [Mike] Pompeo"."It means death to America's rulers ... we have nothing against the American people," he said.aljazeera
flash: views & NEWS
After new Rafale revelations, what would you call SC’s judgment ‘not based on facts’?Indira Jaising
8 Yrs on, Bihar’s AMU Centre Yet to See Light of the Day:Waquar Hasan
Irrationality Behind the Benchmark Price of the Rafale Deal:Sudhansu Mohanty
https://thewire.in/Govt /irrationality-rafale-deal-benchmark-price
Govt's Real Target Is Not Prashant Bhushan but a Transparent Judiciary:Apurva Vishwanath
https://thewire.in/law/the-Govt s-real-target-is-not-prashant-bhushan-but-a-transparent-judiciary
Why Lynchings Have Become A Substitute For Communal Riots:Ziya Us Salam
Civil Court Has No Jurisdiction When There Is A Dispute As To Whether Suit Property Is Wakf Or Not: SC
Daily Fix: In Adityanath’s UP, people accused of majoritarian violence are protected, rewarded:Ipsita Chakravarty, scroll.in
Remembering Rakhine: As Jammu turns hostile to Rohingyas, memories return of persecution in Myanmar:Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal
How Western liberalism has failed South Asia: Khaled Ahmed
Why did Indira Gandhi call off Emergency? Fali S Nariman
Issues of Indian Muslims & their solutions: Zafar Mahmood
US: Alabama executes Muslim man who wanted an imam by his side

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:23 PM)


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