13 March 2019

13 March ND: Ayodhya case: Litigants appear before SC-appointed panel/ ‘This has become a joke’: SC slams Assam on deportation of illegal migrants/ Secret Rafale Papers Available To Enemy, Security Risk: Centre To Court

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
13 March 2019: 05 Rajab 1440:Vol: 11, No:150
AIMPLB, Iqbal Ansari, other litigants discuss Ayodhya mediation strategy at Lucknow meet
Lucknow:The day the mediation panel visited Ayodhya, the Muslim side in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute held a day-long meeting in city on Tuesday. Along with primary litigants in the case, members of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) were present. The meeting aimed to discuss the strategy to be adopted by Muslim side for talks. On Wednesday, petitioners in the Ayodhya dispute will meet the mediation panel in Faizabad. Primary litigants Iqbal Ansari, Mohammad Umar and Haji Mehboob, along with lawyers representing them in the SC were part of the meeting held at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama. According to sources, the discussion was undertaken in the presence of president of AIMPLB Maulana Rabey Hasan Nadwi and general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani. The deliberations included the SC lawyers representing the litigants: MR Shamshad, Irshad Ahmad and Fuzail Ayubi. "Talks revolved around a solution to this-long standing Babri Masjid dispute which the Muslim side would keep in front of the panel. All Muslim parties and their lawyers were present, except Mizbauddin, with whom talks were conducted over the phone," the source said. Speaking to TOI after the meeting, Ansari said, "As of now, we do not know what the panel will say to us, but we are hopeful that a just mediation will be done. We are ready to keep our side and hope Hindus and Muslims live in harmony."Another litigant, Mohammad Umar, said, "Our lawyers will be part of the meeting today. A proposal from our side will be given to the panel through them. If that is accepted, well and good, else the court can help find a middle way." To represent UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, lawyers Parvez Dabas and Danish Syed will be present during the mediation. BMAC convener and lawyer Zafaryab Jilani, lawyer Ejaz Maqbool and litigant Asad Rashidi will also be present as they were on Tuesday.TOI
Ayodhya case: Litigants appear before SC-appointed panel
Faizabad: 25 litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case along with their counsels appeared today before a Supreme Court-appointed mediation panel, in Faizabad, officials said. Faizabad administration had issued notice to the litigants on behalf of the panel.The mediation process will take place at a hall at the Faizabad Avadh University, the officials said, adding that no one had been allowed to enter the area. Heavy security arrangements are in place, Faizabad DM Anuj Kumar Jha said. 3-member panel, comprising retired judge Justice Kalifullah, senior advocate Sriram Panchu and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar arrived in Faizabad on Tuesday, he said.PTI
‘This has become a joke’: SC slams Assam on deportation of illegal migrants
New Delhi:The Supreme Court today came down hard on Assam government and said that it was not treating the issue of deportation of illegal migrants seriously enough.“This has gone too far. This has become a joke,” the court said.During the course of the hearing, the court questioned the solicitor general Tushar Mehta regarding the whereabouts of the foreigners,whether the foreigners tribunal was functioning and whether the state’s law and order machinery was functioning to implement the tribunal’s order. The court gave the Assam government time till May 27 to submit a detailed report on the functioning of the foreigners tribunal in the state.“How seriously Assam is considering this matter is quite evident from the absence of any officer to brief you in the matter.An officer sitting here(resident commissioner) files affidavit on detention centres in Assam,” says the bench led by CJIRecalling a 2005 order on the issue, the SC said, “You must have gone through the order passed by this court in 2005 where this court has said Assam is facing the threat of external aggression...We would like to know what Govt of India and Assam has done about it to meet this threat of external aggression.”Saying that the court did not think that the problem was being tackled, the bench said, “Assam will have to inform the court about the number of persons declared foreigners by the tribunals, number of persons detained at the detention centres and number of persons sent back to the country of origin. Assam also had to inform the number of foreign tribunals in the state are considered to be adequate and precise number of additional tribunals required immediately and near future.” Assam govt informed the SC that more than 50,000 migrants had been declared as foreigners in the past 10 years.Assam govt also informed the court that around 900 migrants who had been declared foreigners were being kept in 6 detention centres in the state.HT
Won’t withdraw Central forces deployed in Assam for NRC work: Centre tells SC
New Delhi :In view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the Central forces deployed in Assam for National Register of Citizens (NRC) work will not be withdrawn.Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said Home Secretary had passed directions that the 167 companies deployed in Assam will continue to remain in the state.Last month, CJI had heavily come down on the Centre and said, “Home Ministry does not want NRC work to go on” and the “entire effort from Home Ministry, it seems to me, is to destroy the process”.indian express
Names not removed from electoral rolls based on draft NRC, ECI tells SC
Hours before UNSC meet, China hints it may block move to blacklist Masood Azhar
New Delhi :Hours before the deadline expires for any member at the UNSC to object to the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, China on Wednesday hinted that it may once again block the move, saying only “the solution that is acceptable to all sides” is conducive to resolve the issue. India has been reaching out to world leaders to blacklist Azhar.“I could reiterate that China will continue to adopt responsible attitude and participate in the deliberations in the UNSC 1267 Committee,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing, PTI reported. The deadline for any country to “seek clarification” — UN jargon for “raising objection” — is 3 pm New York time Wednesday, which is 12.30 am IST on Thursday. The proposal to designate Azhar under 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UNSC— 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent — was moved by France, UK and the US on Feb.27.Over the last 10 years, China has single-handedly blocked Azhar’s listing as a “global terrorist” at the UNSC committee. indian express
24 hours for UN action, US dials Pakistan on Jaish as India works the phones
Pulwama convoy attack militant buried, father waits for DNA report
Midoora (tral):A day after Farooq Ahmad Khan buried his militant son Mudasir Ahmad Khan, he is still not sure if they were his remains.Security forces say that Mudasir, the alleged key conspirator in the suicide car bombing in Pulwama, was killed in an overnight encounter in Tral on Monday, but his father is still waiting for confirmation — the outcome of a DNA test. “There were only pieces of charred flesh. There was no way to identify the body,” Khan said  at his home in Midoora village of Tral. “When I went to (Tral) police station, I was shown two charred bodies. As I started to take one, a doctor stopped me. He checked something and then asked me to take the other body. When I asked him how he knew that this was the body of my son, he said there is an age difference of seven years between the 2 bodies”. “When news spread about Mudasir, I called SHO. He asked me if Mudasir called home to tell that he was trapped,” Khan says. “We didn’t get any call from him (Mudasir)”.On Monday, the security forces said he was the “main conspirator” behind the bombing on a CRPF convoy on Feb.14. “We have no idea… We can’t confirm or deny it. Only he knows the truth,” Khan said. He said 2 weeks after the attack, NIA came calling. “They searched our residence and the officer told me if I could bring back Mudasir and make him surrender,” he said. “He said he could not assure that he would not be punished for his deeds, but he would make sure that the sentence was minimised”.indianexpress       
Religious leaders rally behind Mirwaiz, slam Central ‘interference’
Srinagar :Terming NIA summons to Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to appear in Delhi in a terror funding case as a “direct interference in the religious affairs of Muslims”, all religious leaders across the divide rallied behind him on Tuesday.Signalling a new faultline, this is the first time religious leaders in J&K across the Shia-Sunni, Salafi-Sufi divide have come together against what they call the govt’s crackdown.NIA, investigating a case related to terror funding in Kashmir, carried out a series of raids on separatists, including the Mirwaiz — head of the moderate Hurriyat faction — and summoned him for questioning in Delhi. Citing a threat to his personal security, Mirwaiz declined to travel to Delhi and offered to be questioned in Srinagar. Earlier, his security was also withdrawn.Mirwaiz is not just chairman of the moderate Hurriyat but also the chief priest at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid. “It is a direct interference in religious affairs of Muslims… Mirwaiz is not just a political leader but also a religious head of people of Kashmir,” read a resolution passed by the heads of over 20 religious organisations after a meeting in Srinagar. “Any attempt to harass him, as the NIA notice is one, will be strongly opposed as it will deeply hurt the sentiments and feelings of people across the State”.Mirwaiz Umar took over as Mirwaiz of Kashmir — a 300-year-old religious institution — after the killing of his father Maulvi Farooq in 1990. It was this institution that played a significant role in the uprising against Dogra rulers in 1931.They condemned the ban on Jamat-e-Islami and crackdown against its leadership and activists. “Meeting strongly condemns the imposition of ban on Jamat, and arrest of its leaders and cadres and calls it a blatant interference in religious affairs,” said Mufti Nasir while reading the resolution. “Meeting also condemns the crackdown on the resistance leadership, killings, and harassment of people”.“We discussed the prevailing situation, especially the assault by New Delhi on the leadership seeking a resolution of Kashmir, on socio-religious organisations and the new crackdown,” said Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam, Grand Mufti of Kashmir.On Tuesday, trade bodies of the Valley took a stand against “repeated harassment of leaders, institutions and organisations.”indian express
J&K: Muttahid-e-Masjlis Ulema calls for shutdown against NIA summon to Mirwaiz, Jamat ban
Terror funding: ED attaches J-K businessman Zahoor Watali's assets worth Rs 1.03 crore
ED has attached assets worth Rs 1.03 crore belonging to businessman Zahoor Ahmmad Watali in a money laundering case related to funding of terror organisations in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Monday. They said the agency has issued a provisional order for attachment of assets of Watali under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The immovable property is located in Gurgaon and is worth Rs 1.03 crore. Official sources said Watali allegedly held this property for terror outfits operating in the Kashmir Valley. PTI
Terror funding case: ED looks at role of Pak High Commission in disbursing funds
Raghuram Rajan says capitalism is ‘under serious threat’
London:Ex-RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday warned that capitalism is under “serious threat” of a “revolt” as the economic and political system has stopped providing for the people, especially after the 2008 global financial meltdown.Rajan, now a professor at University of Chicago, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that govts across the world cannot afford to ignore social inequality when considering the economy.“I think capitalism is under serious threat because it’s stopped providing for the many, and when that happens, the many revolt against capitalism,” former Chief Economist at IMF said. Rajan said he believes that capitalism is breaking down because it is not providing equal opportunities.PTI
Secret Rafale Papers Available To Enemy, Security Risk: Centre To Court
NEW DELHI: The action of petitioners, who wanted a review of the verdict in the Rafale case, brought classified documents into public domain, the government told the Supreme Court today. It put national security at risk and such unauthorised photocopying of secret documents amounts to theft, the government said, targeting The Hindu newspaper over its investigative stories on the purchase of 36 fighter jets from France.The government has asked that the petitions in the case -- who want a review of the Court's Dec.verdict that gave a clean to the Modi government over the deal for the fighter jets -- be dismissed. The government has also contended that those asking for a review relying on "secret documents" are violating the Official Secrets Act, for which the punishment is jail or fine. "These documents are privileged ones under Officials Secret Act and without the Centre's permission, can't be put in public domain," the government told the court.Those who have photocopied the documents have "offended India's agreement with foreign country" as the agreement has a secrecy clause, the government said. The documents, the court was further told, gives an incomplete picture. The Hindu
Photocopying secret Rafale docs to annexing them in review is a 'conspiracy'; national security in jeopardy: Govt to SC
Eyewitness to murder of his brothers shot dead during 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots
Muzaffarnagar:An eyewitness to the murder of his 2 brothers was shot dead in the city’s Khatauli area Monday evening. The victim, Asbab, was delivering milk to a shop when 2 armed assailants on a bike shot him multiple times.The incident took place a few metres from Khatauli police station, where an FIR under Section 302 has been registered against unknown persons. Asbab’s brothers,Nawab and Shahid, were killed in a neighbouring village during the violence that swept the region in Sept.2013. While an FIR was filed at the Mansurpur police station against unknown persons, on Feb.25 this year, Asbab confirmed the names of 6 accused in connection with the murders, while recording a statement before a magistrate in the district court. The next hearing in court was due later this month.While Khatauli SHO Harasaran Sharma said murders of Nawab and Shahid were not connected to the Muzaffarnagar riots, a senior official said Asbab’s family was indirectly affected. “Several cases of isolated crimes were reported in the district including murders, that were indirectly affected by the riot-like situation. Almost 15-20 such cases are pending in the district court. They were part of a silent war occurring in pockets. The police revisited many such cases to solve them in fresh light. Asbab’s brothers’ case was one,” said the official. Asbab’s family alleged the accused had threatened him after he named them. “They are influential people and had come to our house, claiming that they will have their ‘own sense of justice’. We were scared but we had to pursue the case. And he was killed only few days later. We left our own village, Khedi, since things were never the same after the violence.Accused took 2 brothers away from us. And now my husband. We are shattered,” said Asbab’s wife.indian express
Bihar custodial deaths: Kin of youths to approach rights panel, court
Ramdiha:Families of two men, who were picked up in a case of robbery and murder and allegedly tortured to death in custody in Sitamarhi on March 7, have decided to approach the State Human Rights Commission and CJM Court once the postmortem report is out.Police teams are still conducting raids to arrest the five suspended policemen of Dumra police station, who escaped from custody at Runisaidpur police station. The policemen are yet to be named in the FIR.Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey said, “All 5 policemen could face dismissal if they do not surrender soon. A departmental proceeding has already been initiated. They will be duly named in the case in due course of investigation.”Gufran Alam (30) and Taslim Ansari (32), residents of Ramdiha village under Chakiya police station , were picked up on March 6 from their homes.indianexpress
How anti-Muslim crimes reached a village in Karnataka after Pulwama attacks
For some unfortunate Muslims from Raichur district, post-Pulwama anti-Muslim hatred has landed them in a lengthy legal battle.On Feb.16, Muslims of Talekhan village, Lingsagur Tehsil, Raichur District in Karnataka had gathered for the Friday prayer when members of RSS barged in and beat up the worshippers and drove them away. Then, the miscreants set fire the prayer mats, the green flags of the adjacent dargah, wall posters of Kaaba and other materials inside the mosque. They even beat up some of the villagers who tried to stop them and filed a complaint with the police alleging that they were celebrating the Pulwama bombing and raised Pro-Pakistan slogans.The police promptly took the complaint, charge sheeted the 6 Muslim men under various section of IPC. Police arrested them. Talekhan is a small village with a population of about 1,500 people out of which about 300 are Muslims. ‘TV5 KannadaTV’ picked up the news and telecasted that about 15 people were waving green flags and celebrating the Pulwama attack. Head of the Raichur Bar Association, who is of right winged ideology, called for a meeting of the lawyers and passed a resolution that no lawyer should help the accused traitors to file bail plea. As a result, no lawyer came forward to help them. Later,  ‘INSAF’, an NGO in Bidar wrote to state's Home Minister and other authorities demanding a fair enquiry.“A fact-finding team from INSAF went up to Tehsil and adjacent village but we were not allowed to enter the village by the police. We were told that the matter is sensitive and the police are doing its own fact-finding” said head of INSAF Syed Farhan Ali. He also informed that the families of the 6 arrested persons left the village out of fear.Razak Ustad, a member of APCR, Raichur chapter informed that since the mosque stood on Wakf property, APCR requested the Wakf office to file a complaint with the police about the damage to the Mosque property.There is a video clip circulating on social media as evidence. Wakf board filed a complaint and even mentioned the names of the people responsible but the police in their FIR mentioned them as ‘unknown persons’.“Their faces are visible in the video where they are damaging the mosque, which was shown to the police, yet they have made no arrest. Instead, they arrested 6 men just on a verbal complaint with no evidence,” said Razak. Advocate Niazi, from APCR Bangalore said, “We can challenge the Bar Association resolution and also file a case against them.” Meanwhile, after activists of APCR and other NGOs wrote to the minority commission to intervene, the families were brought back to their homes in the village with a warning to the locals not to harass them. The bail plea is scheduled for hearing on 25th March. Due to pressure from civil rights groups like APCR and INSAF, police finally arrested 9 persons who were vandalising the mosque.TCN
Jharkhand: Muslim man beaten to death by sister’s ‘harassers’, brother in hospital
Ranchi :One person was beaten to death and another severely injured in Karimendin village in Jharkhand’s Palamu district on Tuesday after they confronted a few men after their sister was allegedly harassed by them earlier in the day.Police have arrested two people in connection with the case, and are currently in search for the others involved.According to the police, a minor girl was allegedly harassed when she was returning home on Tuesday. Police said she complained about the incident to her brothers Abdul Vakil Khan and Danish Khan. The two brothers then went to confront the alleged harassers, and were consequently beaten up, with Vakil succumbing to his injuries.“A few men taunted Vakil and Danish Khan’s sister, after which they engaged in an scuffle with the prime accused Deepak Ram. Vakil Khan was hit with a rod on his chest, and prima facie died of internal injuries. Danish Khan is also injured and has been admitted to the hospital. We have arrested Deepak Ram and one co-accused, and a hunt is on to nab the others engaged in the fight,” said SP.indianexpress
Centre targets MIM, TRS with ‘CBI probe’
Hyderabad:Modi govet is trying to crack down on K. Chandrasekhar Rao government in waqf matters. A 3-member Committee of Central Wakf Council consisting of Rayees Khan Pathan, Naushad Ali and Waseem Rahat Ali Khan visited the Telangana State Wakf Council and interacted with Chairman, CEO and officials on core issues on Tuesday.Some officials of the board strongly believe the Centre was aiming to kill two birds with one stone. By initiating a CBI inquiry into allegations against the Mutawalli of Dargah Shah Khamoosh, the Modi government plans to embarrass TRS and AIMIM as the Mutawalli of the said Dargah, Syed Akbar Nizamuddin, is associated with the AIMIM.It is learnt that at the instance of the Centre, the Wakf Council is contemplating initiating a CBI inquiry on the role of the Telangana  government for having allowed a damage of about `2,000 crore worth of wakf properties attached to the Dargah Shah Khamoosh by exercising authority as a feudal lord in violation of the Wakf Act and principles of natural justice, citing a report submitted by a former member of the Central Wakf Council.The matter of Dargah Shah Khamoosh is a unique case of daredevilry of alienating of 847 acres of waqf property none other than by its custodian. The present Mutawalli of the Dargah became a member of the Wakf Board although an inquiry against him was pending.deccan chronicle
Come April, Muslim votes to play key role in 14 seats in Maharashtra
Mumbai:The much-touted Muslim card will play a role in 14 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state with some improvement likely in the relationship that the community has shared historically with BJP. Congress-NCP combine, which was said to be the natural home for Muslim voters, is likely to see a dent in this support base with the emergence of Prakash Ambedkar-Asaduddin Owaisi political front in the state.“Unlike north India, there is no fear of BJP among Muslims in Maharashtra. However, there is strong antipathy against the Congress. Muslim in Maharashtra is willing to hedge his bets. He will support a BJP-Shiv Sena candidate where he feels he has no options.He will support a Congress-NCP candidate he feels can challenge BJP and, at the same time, vote for a strong Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi candidate who can put up a fight. Muslims have stopped voting as a monolith,” said Ubaid Bahussain, a political activist who had run a campaign seeking greater electoral representation for Muslims.Maharashtra’s 1.3 crore Muslims make up 11.56 per cent of the state’s 11.24 crore population. It does, however, have a slightly higher concentration in northern Konkan, Khandesh, Marathwada and western Vidarbha.Muslim community will play a substantial role in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies —including seats in Mumbai — where they make up between 14 and 25 per cent of the electorate. These 14 seats where Muslims will play a major role are Dhule, Nanded, Parbhani, Latur, Aurangabad, Bhiwandi, Akola, Thane and the six seats of Mumbai.indian express
Bhima-Koregaon case: Activists were mobilising Dalits to overthrow govt, says police
Mumbai: Maharashtra Police on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that activists arrested in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence and Maoist links were mobilising Dalits to achieve the motive of the CPI (Maoist) to "overthrow the government".Pune's ACP Shivaji Pawar said this in an affidavit filed before the court to oppose the bail plea filed by one of the accused, Arun Ferriera.Apart from Ferriera, the police earlier arrested eight other activists, including Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde. Ferriera and Gonsalves later filed bail petitions which came up for hearing on Wednesday before Justice P N Deshmukh, who posted the matter for April 5.The police are yet to submit the affidavit over Gonsalves's petition.PTI
Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad arrested once again
Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhim Army chief, has been arrested once again. He was arrested in Deoband. Immediately after the arrest, his health deteriorated and he was rushed to Meerut Hospital. At present, his supporters are protesting his arrest. There are reports of unrest among Dalits in many villages.Chandrashekhar Azad was taking out a Bahujan Hunkar Rally on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Kanshi Ram, the founder of BSP. Hundreds of his supporters were accompanying him on motor cycles. Many leaders, including the former legislator of Bijnor, Mohammad Ghazi, were also there.nationalheraldindia
Buckling under US pressure, Modi govt warns Indian oil companies against importing Venezuelan crude
Modi government has asked India’s oil companies to stop the purchase of Venezuelan crude, amid US’ sanctions on the administration of President Nicolas Maduro.“The Indian government is warning companies to halt purchases of Venezuelan oil or face undisclosed consequences,” MM Kutty, the Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas told energy industry executives at a conference in Houston, US, on Monday, as per a news updated by Bloomberg. The remarks came at the conference titled CERAWeek, which brands itself as a premier energy event.The significant comments by the Indian government official come in the wake of several warnings by US officials to countries involved in purchase of Venezuelan crude.During a meeting between India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, Pompeo urged India to not be the “economic lifeline” for Maduro.nationalheraldindia
Israeli authorities to reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
Israeli police said the entrances to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound will be reopened on Wednesday morning, a day after they sealed off the gates in response to what they said was a firebombing of a police station on the site.Palestinian witnesses, however, said the fire was caused by children who were playing with fireworks. No injuries were reported, but scuffles broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian worshippers, which resulted in the arrest of at least two Palestinians, Israeli authorities said.Palestinian political groups said escalating tensions around Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, is a continuation of arbitrary policies of Israel against Palestinians."Prevention of the congregation, which wanted to pray in al-Aqsa, Judaisation, occupation, destruction and deportation of the capital [Jerusalem], will not affect the determination of our people to remain loyal to the resistance and the land," Fatah movement spokesperson Atef Abu Saif said in a written statement.Saif said incidents in Jerusalem was as a result of silence of the international community before the violation of all international agreements and human rights. Palestinian resistance group Hamas also decried the incidents and called on people to be insistent on their will to enter and leave the sacred mosque when they want.Mustafa Barghouthi, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative movement, also condemned the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian worshippers.Warning of Israeli provocation to damage sacred places, he said Palestinians can fail Israel in its aims by being united and determined.The closure of the sacred compound also drew censure from Jordan, the custodian of Muslim holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem.aljazeera
Selling Jerusalem: How Palestinian homes end up in settler hands:aljazeera
Trump cuts will leave military aid to Israel untouched
Trump administration spending cuts will not impact military aid to Israel, reported Globes. 2020 budget proposal that the White House has sent to Congress includes the full $3.3 billion aid in MOU signed by President Barack Obama.Obama signed the MOU in his last year of office.In the Trump administration’s budget document, relevant clause in the section “Department of State and Other International Programmes” states: “The Budget fully supports the US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding and includes $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing grant assistance to bolster Israel’s capacity to defend itself against threats in the region and maintain its qualitative military edge.”As reported by Globes, “the aid package to Israel includes aid for Israel’s rocket and missile defence programme.”MEMO
Pakistan elected OIC general body’s deputy chairman
Pakistan has been elected as the deputy chairman of the general body of the Parliamentary Union of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an influential grouping of 57 countries, majority of which are Muslim-dominated. According to an official announcement, Pakistan was elected deputy chairman of the general body of the Parliamentary Union of OIC member States (PUIC) on Monday in Rabat, Morocco, the Dawn reported.PUIC is composed of parliaments of member states of the OIC.PUIC conference also adopted two resolutions presented by Pakistan related to Kashmir.The election of Pakistan to the forum comes after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the inaugural plenary of the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC in Abu Dhabi on March 1. PTI
IS facing imminent defeat as thousands of civilians evacuated from Syria's besieged enclave
Beirut:Even as it faced imminent defeat in its last populated territory in eastern Syria, Islamic State made a new propaganda film calling on the few remaining residents of its cold, besieged encampment to maintain their prayers and seek refuge in God.“Servants of God, keep reciting your prayers and ask for forgiveness,” loudspeaker of a beaten up van cries as it tours the ramshackle camp in the video.“Repent and ask God for forgiveness, oh servants of God, for perhaps the almighty will find a way out for us.”While acknowledging its military setbacks in the face of a global campaign against it, IS uses the new film to urge followers to maintain their faith in IS even in adversity.US-backed SDF said on Tuesday the assault to capture the besieged enclave of Baghouz, near the Iraqi border, was as good as over.“Tomorrow, God willing, we will be in paradise and they will be burning in hell,” said an IS member whom the video identified as Abu Abd al-Azeem. Though the physical “caliphate” is now in ruins, the video showed IS has not renounced its claim to be the contemporary heirs to Prophet Mohammed, sovereign over all Muslim lands and people.“Infidels laughed at, humiliated us in this world, but war has its ups and downs and the battle is not over,” al-Azeem said, adding that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the only Muslim leader on earth today.SDF has been laying siege to Baghouz for weeks but repeatedly postponed its final assault to allow the evacuation of thousands of civilians, many of them wives and children of IS insurgents. As thousands of people flooded out of Baghouz in recent weeks,many told of severe shortages, with people reduced to eating grass at times. “Why are we bombed by planes, why do all the nations of the unbelieving world come together to fight us?...What is our guilt? What is our crime? We (just) wanted to apply the sharia of God,”Al-Azeem said. IS still operates in remote territory elsewhere in Syria and Iraq and it is widely assessed that it will continue to represent a potent security threat after the fall of Baghouz.Reuters
China says Muslim ‘training’ centers will slowly disappear
China says heavily guarded internment camps for Muslims which it calls vocational training centers will “gradually disappear” if there comes a day that “society does not need” them.The camps in the far-west Xinjiang region have elicited an international outcry, with former inmates describing harsh conditions where Muslim minorities are subject to political indoctrination and psychological torture.Human rights groups, researchers and US government estimate that around 1 million people from the predominantly Muslim Uighur and Kazakh ethnic groups are held in the vast network of compounds. Xinjiang Gov Shohrat Zakir declined at a news conference Tuesday to disclose the number of what he called “trainees.” However, he said the figure is far less than 1 million. Zakir said religious activities are banned in the campsAP
Disputed claims as US air raids kills 11 in Afghanistan's Ghazni
Taliban and the US show no sign of slowing down their battle in Afghanistan, even as they conclude peace talks in Qatar.Meanwhile, on the ground in Afghanistan, the violence continues.US has conducted a series of air attacks against Taliban fighters, but elders and local officials say they killed 35 civilians.American forces are refuting reports of civilian deaths and have called it "Taliban propaganda".aljazeera
UK parliament blocks May's Brexit deal for second time
London: With the clock counting down to Britain's scheduled departure from the European Union, UK legislators have voted down embattled Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal for a second time this year.A second so-called "meaningful vote" on Tuesday ended with another heavy defeat for the prime minister, with 391 MPs voting against and 242 supporting the deal.The last time May put the agreement to parliament, in January, she suffered a major defeat as the deal agreed with the EU over 18 months of painstaking negotiations was defeated by a margin of 230.This time it was 149. Tuesday's vote came just 24 hours after May made a last-minute dash to Strasbourg for a meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission. Two documents were published as a result of the meeting, which May said would deliver the legally-binding changes to the withdrawal agreement MPs had asked for.But it soon became clear that those changes would not be enough to win the vote. aljazeera
Air strikes kill 12 children as chaos sown in Yemen's Hajjah province
Air strikes have killed at least 22 civilians, including women and children, as residents in a northern Yemen province say they are caught between bombs and ground fighting after a month-long battle that besieged thousands.The bombardment, which has continued on Tuesday, came as the Houthis overran a group of fighters who had been trying to kick the rebel group out from the Hajawr area of Hajjah province during more than a month of fighting.Houthi forces blamed Saudi Arabia for the air strikes, but the Saudi-led coalition has denied it was responsible.Medical sources quoted by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen said the attacks in Hajjah's Kasher district killed 10 women and 12 children, and wounded 30 people, including 14 under the age of 18.middleeasteye
Flash: views & NEWS
Beyond optics, Congress has begun flirting with some of BJP’s favourite campaign themes:  Christophe Jaffrelot
Leftist historians, commentators have a flawed understanding of Babri case:Arun Anand
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:49 PM)


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