20 March 2019

20 March ND: NIA court acquits main accused Aseemanand, 3 others in Samjhauta blast case/ Goa CM Sawant wins trust vote/Under Modi rule, male workforce shrinks for first time in 25 Yrs/

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
20 March 2019: 12 Rajab 1440:Vol: 11, No:155
NIA court acquits main accused Aseemanand, 3 others in Samjhauta blast case
Panchkula:A special NIA court today acquitted 4 people including Swami Aseemanand, the main accused in 2007 Samjhauta train bombing case.Advocate Mukesh Garg, one of the counsel for accused Swami Aseemanand, told reporters that court has acquitted all the accused as NIA was not able to prove the allegations.“The court has said that NIA has not been able to establish any charges against the accused and hence all accused are acquitted,” said Mr. Garg. Former RSS member Aseemanand was the prime accused in the case. The blasts on the Samjhauta Express, near Panipat, on Feb.18, 2007, and the subsequent fire in the coaches killed 68 passengers and injured a dozen. The other three accused who have been acquitted are Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma. Earlier, the court dismissed the application filed by a Pakistan woman in connection with the Samjhauta train bombing case.Momin Malik, counsel for the Pakistan woman told reporters that the court has dismissed the application of Rahila Wakeel to get her statement recorded as witness in the case.“We will now approach the High Court to challenge the decision,” he said.Rahila Wakeel, a Pakistan national and daughter of one of the victims of the blast had on March 11, filed a petition through advocate Momin Malik, to get her statement recorded as witness in the twelve-year-old case.thehindu
Samjhauta blast: NIA court acquits Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder
Samjhauta blast: NIA Court rejects plea for deposition of Pak witness
UK:Nirav Modi denied bail, to stay in jail till March 29
London: He will now be produced before a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates Court.Fugitive billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi was arrested on behalf of Indian authorities on Tuesday afternoon in London and was produced before a judge at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday.He was denied bail, and will stay in jail till the next hearing on March 29.The arrest follows the warrant issued last week, after Home Secretary Sajid Javid referred India’s extradition request for Mr. Modi — wanted in connection with the ₹13,000 crore PNB fraud case — to the Westminster Magistrates Court for approval by a judge earlier this month. Modi was arrested by officers from the Met Police’s extradition unit and would remain in custody until the hearing at which the granting of bail would be determined.thehindu
Goa CM Pramod Sawant wins trust vote
Panaji:Goa's new BJP-led coalition government of Pramod Sawant on Wednesday won a vote of confidence on the floor of the Legislative Assembly during a specially convened session. While the government got 20 votes, the Opposition secured 15 in the 36-member truncated House of 40. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo was in the chair as Sawant resigned from the Speaker's post to become the Chief Minister.While the treasury benches comprised of 11 members of the BJP, th3ree each of MGP and Goa Forward and 3 independents, Opposition had 14 members of the Congress and one from NCP.thehindu
Arunachal : 8 BJP MLAs, including 2 ministers, switch to NPP
8 sitting MLAs, including two ministers, of ruling BJP in Arunachal Pradesh joined National People’s Party led by Conrad Sangma, ANI reported. A total of 18 BJP leaders joined the party on Tuesday, according to Northeast Now.NPP General Secretary Thomas Sangma said that Home Minister Kumar Waii and Tourism Minister Jarkar Gamlin have joined the party. “National People’s Party will not form alliance with anyone,”ANI quoted Sangma as saying. “BJP’s ideology is not right. It is not a secular party.”Sangma said the party would try to field candidates for at least 30 to 40 seats in the 60-member Assembly. “We will form our own government if we win in the seats,” he said, according to
India signals to boycott China’s Belt and Road Forum for 2nd time
Beijing :India today signalled that it will boycott China’s second Belt and Road Forum for a second time, saying no country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity. India boycotted the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF)in 2017 after protesting to Beijing over controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through PoK overriding New Delhi’s sovereignty concerns.Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said that next month China plans to hold a much bigger, second BRF which will also be attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.Speculation is rife whether India would attend the second BRF as China has deepened its commitment to expand the USD 60 billion CPEC, which aims to connect China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port with a host of road, rail, gas and oil pipelines.China has also undertaken a host of energy projects under the aegis of the CPEC.PTI
Boycott call for Chinese goods: How do we stop their sale, 90% market runs on them, say traders
New Delhi:“90 per cent of the market here runs on Chinese goods. How will it function if we call for a boycott?,” says a local shopkeeper in New Delhi’s Sadar Bazar, popular for items manufactured in the neighbouring country.Even as the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) gave a call to burn and boycott Chinese goods across 1,500 places on Tuesday, local markets registered minimal participation as shopkeepers and hawkers continued to sell Chinese pichkaris (water guns) among other items ahead of Holi. Despite a demonstration by the union, locals refused to put on hold the sale of Chinese products, citing the Centre must stop importing items from Beijing.“We are selling Chinese goods. They were stocked up earlier. If India is importing items from China, we have no choice but to sell them. We will continue to sell them as per demand,” says Vikas, a worker at a local shop.indianexpress
National male workforce shrinking, says labour report that Govt buried
New Delhi:For the first time since 1993-94, the actual size of India’s male workforce, or men who are working, has shrunk. Data from NSSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017-18, reviewed by The Indian Express, account for 28.6 crore employed male in the country. This is the first instance of a drop in the male workforce that steadily swelled from 21.9 crore in 1993-94 to 30.4 crore in 2011-12 when the last NSSO survey was conducted. This suggests fewer men were employed in 2017-18 compared with five years ago.The decline in actual numbers occurred, again for the first time since 1993-94, in both rural and urban male workforce (see chart). The slide is steeper — 6.4% — in the rural areas compared to a 4.7% setback observed in the urban sector. The yet -to-be-released PLFS report put the unemployment rate for male in urban and rural segments at 7.1 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively. Experts, who did not wish to be named, said the data requires deeper study, but clearly points to job losses, and fewer fresh employment opportunities. NSSO report, based on the PLFS conducted between July 2017 and June 2018, is yet to be released by the government. The Acting Chairperson of the National Statistical Commission P C Mohanan and another member, J V Meenakshi, quit January-end this year after the government withheld the release of the report that was approved by the commission in Dec. 2018.indianexpress
Under Modi rule, male workforce shrinks for first time in 25 Yrs
US State Dept. names Amit Shah, says uncertain future for 4 million in Assam
New Delhi:US State department has taken note of uncertain future of 4 million individuals in Assam who were not included in the draft NRC. A 55-page report that includes reference to BJP leadership and government ministers, has detailed description of human rights abuses in India targeting minority communities and vulnerable sections of society.“On Sept.24, ruling BJP party president Amit Shah called Bangladeshis who may be in Assam “termites” who will be struck from the list of citizens,” stated the report highlighting that four million residents of Assam who were excluded from the draft NRC face uncertain citizenship status .It also documented that refugees and internally displaced persons need more effective legal safeguards to prevent human rights abuse.The report stated that Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis compose 53 percent of prisoners awaiting trial in jails and said that prison conditions in India remain “life threatening” due to a combination of unhealthy condition and absence of accountability.It documented the death of cattle trader Rakbar Khan on last 22 July in police custody in Rajasthan, and hinted that criminal charges were not pressed against the arrested individuals even after three months.The report also pointed out lack of accountability for human rights abuses by security forces in states like Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir. It said that Indian police has continued to arrest citizens arbitrarily violating the law of the land.the hindu
Lokpal is in:Prez Kovind appoints chief, 8 members
New Delhi:The first Lokpal, the national anti-corruption ombudsman, has been officially set up with President Ram Nath Kovind Tuesday appointing former Supreme Court judge Justice P C Ghose as its chairperson, and eight members, including an equal number of judicial and non-judicial names. According to an official communique, 4 judicial members appointed by the President are former Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale, former Jharkhand High Court Chief Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty, former Manipur High Court Chief Justice Abhilasha Kumari and current Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi. The non-judicial members are Maharashtra Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, retired IPS officer and ex-DG of Sashastra Seema Bal Archana Ramasundaram, retired IRS official Mahender Singh and retired IAS officer I P Gautam, who is currently the full time managing director of Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) Limited.indianexpress
Custodial Death of School Principal, a Jamaat Islami Activist, Triggers Kashmir Protests
Pulwama:A school principal who was detained by J&K police for questioning in a “militancy related case” died in police custody in Srinagar, triggering protests and clashes across Kashmir.Rizwan Asad Pandit, a resident of Awantipora in Pulwama district, was picked up by the police late March 17 during a raid at his family home, his father Asadullah Pandit, a retired govt employee, told The Wire.Early this morning, reports started circulating on social media that 30-year old Rizwan had died in police custody during the previous night. A statement issued by police confirmed death on Tuesday afternoon. “In pursuance of a militancy case investigation, one suspect Rizwan Pandit of Awantipora was in police custody. The said person died in police custody,” the police statement tersely noted.It, however, didn’t mention the cause of death or provide any further details. At the time of publication, the family was yet to see or receive the Rizwan’s body.  A shattered Pandit alleged that when a contingent of J&K police raided their house at around 10.30 pm on Sunday, the family was warned not to tell anybody about Rizwan’s arrest.“They took away my son, assuring us he would be released the next morning. But today I got a call from the police that my son has died. It is cold-blooded murder. How could they kill my son and then ask me to take the body home?” asked Pandit, who is a rukun of the Jama’at-e-Islamia. Rizwan was also associated with Jama’at, according to his family.His elder brother Mubashir said the victim was the principal at a local private school. Condemning what they called a “custodial killing”, both mainstream and separatist politicians demanded a time-bound probe into incident and exemplary punishment to the accused.“I had hoped custodial deaths were a thing of our dark past. Exemplary punishment must be handed out to the killers of this young man,” former chief minister Omar Abdullah said.Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that “custodial killing” of the teacher has once again exposed the “helplessness” of the people of Kashmir. “Distraught at the brutal custodial killing of young Rizwan.Brutal killing once again exposes the, helplessness, vulnerability and insecurity of the lives of Kashmiri’s as impunity to the authorities keeps rising,” Mirwaiz wrote. While the “custodial killing” triggered protests and shutdowns in several parts of Kashmir, angry young men outside Rizwan’s house raised pro-azadi slogans and pelted stones on a contingent of  the police and CRPF that was deployed to prevent them from marching towards the local police station.thewire
J&K school principal dies in police custody, family alleges murder
Religious figure among 11 detained in Pulwama
Pulwama:Intensifying their crackdown on religious leaders and dissenters, government forces on Monday night detained eleven persons including a prominent cleric in south Kashmir's Pulwama district. The cleric was however released later.A police official said that Moulana Muhammad Amin Shah was detained by police from his residence in Dangarpora village. However, according to the official, Shah was released after a few hours. Another police official said that 10 persons were picked up by the forces from their residences during a string of overnight raids in Kakapora area.greaterkashmir
Terror-funding case: Delhi court allows ED to quiz Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law
New Delhi :A Delhi court Wednesday allowed ED to quiz Altaf Shah, son-in-law of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and others in connection with a terror-funding case. Special judge Rakesh Syal allowed the agency to question Shah, Zahoor Watali, influential businessman who has allegedly friendship with Pakistani leaders and Kashmiri separatists, and Naval Kishore Kapoor, a UAE-based businessman. The court said the ED would get 3 days between March 24 and April 5 to quiz Shah, Watali and Kapoor, who were arrested by NIA in terror-funding case and are lodged in Tihar jail.PTI
ED attaches 13 assets of Hizb chief Salahuddin
Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday attached 13 assets located in Jammu and Kashmir in a terror financing case against Syed Salahuddin. Salahuddin is the chief of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, as well as United Jehad Council.The properties, worth Rs 1.22 crore, were attached under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, PTI reported. Enforcement Directorate said they belong to a person called Mohammad Shafi Shah, a resident of Bandipora, and 6 other residents of J&K, who allegedly work for Hizbul
Pak woman who entered J&K with Kashmiri husband gets 5 years jail
Jammu:She was sentenced with imprisonment for a further 2 years and fined Rs 10,000 more under provisions of the Passport Act for entering India without a valid passport, with the judge stating that the two sentences shall run concurrently.A 27-year-old woman, who in 2012 allegedly accompanied her husband and their three minor children on his return to Jammu and Kashmir from PoK under a scheme for the return and rehabilitation of former militants, was on Monday sentenced to 5 years’ jail and fined Rs 20,000.In 2005, Sheraz Ahmed alias Shakir married Faiza Begum in PoK and the couple travelled to J&K with their 3 minor children in 2012 via Nepal. Indianexpress
Godhra train carnage case: SIT Court gives convict Yakub Pataliya life sentence
Ahmedabad: A special SIT court in Gujarat today sentenced a man to life imprisonment in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case.The court of Special SIT judge HC Vora convicted Yakub Pataliya based on submissions made earlier in the case by 5 other accused. Pataliya was arrested by Godhra Police in Jan.2018, nearly 16 years after being booked in connection with the incident. His trial was held at a special court set up at the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad. Earlier, the special SIT court convicted 31 people in the case. It later awarded death sentence to 11 of them and life imprisonment to 20 others. the hindu
Ishrat Jahan killing: Gujarat won’t let us prosecute Vanzara and Amin, CBI tells court
Ahmedabad:Gujarat government has declined sanction for the prosecution of retired police officers D G Vanzara and N K Amin in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004, the CBI informed a special court Tuesday.This was the only information made public by the CBI which handed the Gujarat government’s response in a sealed cover to special court judge J K Pandya. Vanzara and Amin are seeking discharge from proceedings and the matter will be heard next on March 26. Special public prosecutor R C Kodekar, representing CBI, later said : “The letter was in a sealed cover and only the last part where prosecution was not granted to both (Vanzara and Amin) was made public.”Kodekar said it was now up to the court to take a decision. “The court can either agree with the government, or it can disagree, or it may ask us to make a submission on this aspect,” he said.Vanzara said: “The contents of the government report will be made public only on March 26, and then we will decide the future course of action.”indianexpress
‘Don’t use places of worship, activities of defence forces for propaganda,’ poll body tells parties
Election Commission has asked political parties and religious leaders to refrain from using places of worship for propaganda during the campaign for Lok Sabha elections, reported PTI. The poll body’s statement came a few days after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit requested it to appoint special observers at mosques to prevent alleged attempts to influence Muslim voters.“As per the Model Code of Conduct, the use of caste and religion during the election campaign is strictly prohibited,” said a statement issued by the Delhi’s chief electoral officer. It said political and religious leaders should not indulge in activities that “aggravates existing differences or cause tension between different caste or communities, religious or linguistic”
EC mulls action against Hindi papers for code violation after carrying full page ads for film on Modi
Election Commission will send notice to at least two newspapers that ran full page advertisements for Vivek Oberoi-starrer film on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. EC has taken a dim view of the code violation by the two Hindi newspapers.Two newspapers that carried the full page ads are Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran. While Bhaskar has given full page space to the advertisement on the film, Jagran too has carried a full page ad, but not on the front page. The full page ad for Narendra Modi’s film in Jagran has appeared in its supplementary page for Noida.A source in the EC told Janta Ka Reporter, “While we will take a call on whether the film should be allowed to release next month when the Model Code of Conduct is in force, we’ve decided to send notices to the two newspapers, who carried the ad on Modi film, for the code violation.”jantakareporter
Delhi HC stays order holding EVMs as information under RTI
Delhi High Court has stayed a Central Information Commission (CIC) order which held that EVMs come within definition of 'information' under the provisions of RTI Act.The court was hearing a plea on Monday filed by the Election Commission challenging a CIC order dated February 12 which held that EVMs are within the definition of "information" under Section 2 (f) of RTI Act of 2005.Justice V Kameswar Rao has sought a response from the CIC and RTI applicant Razaak K Haidar, who had sought access to information related to EVMs maintained by the poll panel.Haidar's application was rejected by the Central Public Information Officer after which Haider filed an appeal with the CIC.IANS
Delhi HC stays order holding EVMs as information under RTI
Delhi High Court has stayed a Central Information Commission (CIC) order which held that electronic voting machines (EVMs) come within definition of 'information' under the provisions of RTI Act.The court was hearing a plea on Monday filed by the Election Commission challenging a CIC order dated February 12 which held that EVMs are within the definition of "information" under Section 2 (f) of (RTI Act of 2005.Justice V Kameswar Rao has sought a response from the CIC and RTI applicant Razaak K Haidar, who had sought access to information related to EVMs maintained by the poll panel.Haidar's application was rejected by the Central Public Information Officer after which Haider filed an appeal with the CIC.IANS
Congress, NC forge alliance in J&K for LS polls
National Conference and Congress on Wednesday sealed an alliance for three Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir and decided to go for friendly contests on three other seats. The state sends six MPs to the Lok Sabha. Congress will not field any candidate against NC president Farooq Abdullah from Srinagar while the regional party left the seats of Jammu and Udhampur for Congress.Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad and chairperson coordination committee for elections, Ambika Soni arrived in Jammu on Wednesday morning and finalized the deal with NC president, Farooq Abdullah after other senior leaders of the two parties ironed out the differences during a meeting Tuesday meeting.HT
Haryana: Hindutva goons assault Muslim father, son; forcefully shave their beard
Gurgaon: In an outrageous incident occurred in Charkhi Dadri, Haryana, some communal elements harassed Muslims. The miscreants beat up a father and son in Sanjarwas village and forcefully shaved their beard.The goons not only assaulted the father and son duo but threatened to kill them. Victims belong to Bulandshahr. On the complaint of the local Muslims, police registered a complaint on charges of inciting religious sentiments. According to sources, Idrees and his son Mohsin, residents of Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, were going to Sanjarwas village on March 14. According to them, when they reached Sanjarwas bus stand, 4 youth asked their name and then assaulted them. They bullied the Muslim men and forcefully shaved their beard.Police station in charge Rakesh Kumar confirmed that he has received the complaint.siasat
Increase spending on education to 8 % of GDP:SIO
Udupi :Students Islamic Organisation of India has sought an increase in spending on education to 8 % of GDP.Addressing presspersons here, Afwan Hoode, president of the district unit of Students Islamic Organisation of India, said that the increase in funding for education was one of the many demands in the organisation’s Students Manifesto being released across the State.Education under the Right to Education Act should be provided till a child attains 18. Quality education should be provided in the mother-tongue or the regional language. Student council elections should be held in all colleges and universities.the hindu
Proceedings Against Prof Apoorvanand In A Case Alleging 'Offending Religious Sentiments':HC
In a temporary relief to well known commentator and academic Professor Apoorvanand Jha of Delhi University, Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed proceedings in furtherance of a FIR registered against him for allegedly offending religious sentiments and promoting communal disharmony by writing an article. The single bench of Justice Shekher Dhawan stayed the proceedings while issuing notice on the petition filed by Jha under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing FIR.FIR was registered for offences under Sections 153A and 295A of IPC based on a complaint by a Yamunangar resident who alleged that Apoorvanand Jha's article titled 'Gujarat Loses Battle With Itself' published by 'The Tribune' offended religious sentiments and promoted communal disharmony.
MP: Parents of Dalit girl who was raped and decapitated fear boycott
Sagar:The parents of a 12-year-old Dalit girl who was raped and decapitated allegedly by three of her brothers and an uncle are in shock and grief and are concerned that they may face a social boycott.The minor girl went missing on March 13 from her home and her body was found the following day in a field outside the village in Sagar district. The accused were arrested on Monday. “I still cannot believe that my sons and brother could do such a thing. I was out that day and returned to learn my daughter was missing. I dialled 100 from a neighbour’s phone. My three sons and brother were with me all this time, but they were silent,” the father said, shaking his head and choking on his words.HT
Fatwas against Ram Janmabhoomi film; clerics asks actor Nazneen Patni to 'revive' her faith in Islam
Bhopal: A body of clerics in MP has issued two 'fatwas' asking Muslims to avoid watching the film "Ram Janmabhoomi" and its woman actor to "revive" her faith in Islam. All India Ulama Board (AIUB) demanded the central and MP governments to prevent film's release, alleging it was "an instrument to create hatred between two communities of society".It said the movie was being released to "vitiate" the atmosphere at a time when efforts were being made to resolve Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya through mediation. UP's Shia Waqf Board head Syed Waseem Rizvi has written and produced the film. It is set for release on April 29.AIUB MP unit vice president Noor Ullah Yousuf Zayi shared two fatwas, signed by AIUB MP chapter head Qzai Syed Anas Ali Nadwi,with reporters. One of the fatwas appealed to Muslims to avoid watching TV shows and movies which spread obscenity, communalism and portray Islam in poor light, and also films like "Ram Janmabhoomi".Another fatwa was issued against the film's actor Nazneen Patni, advising her to "revive her belief in the light of Shariat". PTI
Old video and images shared as several converting to Islam after Christchurch massacre: altnews
On March 15, at least 49 people were killed in a horrific massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. 2 days later, a claim started circulating on social media that 350 people have converted to Islam, after the Christchurch massacre, in New Zealand. “Did you know? The terrorist attack in #Christchurch killed 51 Muslims, today approximately 350 people have converted/reverted back to #Islam in New Zealand. Stop fearing/hating Islam, please try to understand it.”, tweeted Zain Khan, a broadcast journalist based in UAE, on March 18. The tweet included three pictures of women wearing a hijab.Multiple people on Twitter have shared the claim based on a blog published on March 17, 2019. “50 Muslims were killed on Friday in New Zealand & 350 people accepted Islam today in New Zealand”, states the title of a blog according to which 350 people have converted to Islam after the mass shooting in Christchurch. The blog also carried a photograph of a couple, where the woman was seen donning a hijab. It has garnered close to 3.8 lakh shares on Facebook alone. The video now viral on social media with a narrative that 350 people have been proselytized to Islam in New Zealand is at least 10 years old and unrelated. It was posted on YouTube on Sept.27, 2009, while the video stated that it dates back to 2007.Alt News found that the photographs shared as those of proselytized individuals are several years old and are not related to the claim.
3 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in occupied West Bank
Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in 2 separate incidents on Tuesday night, Palestinian health ministry and emergency services said.Omar Abu Leila, 19, was suspected of carrying out a deadly stabbing-and-shooting attack in the occupied West Bank 2 days earlier.Abu Leila, who was on the run, was found in a house in the village of Abwein, north of Ramallah. He was killed after he opened fire at Israeli forces who had come to arrest him, the Israeli Shin Bet security service said. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed a person had been killed in the clash, but provided no further details.Protests in the village then broke out between Palestinian youth and the army. According to Palestinian Red Crescent, nine men were injured, including two with live ammunition. In a separate incident, the Palestinian health ministry said two more Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.aljazeera
Israeli forces may have committed war crimes: UN
Israeli forces committed violations against Palestinian protesters in Gaza last year that may amount to war crimes, a UN report said.A UN Independent Commission of Inquiry found that Israeli soldiers used live ammunition against unarmed protesters, killing at least 189 Palestinians during protests near the separation fence between Israel and Gaza last year. "Israeli Security Forces committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law," said UN Commissioner Kaari Betty Murungi. "Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel."252-page report scrutinises the Israel Defence Forces' directives for snipers' use of lethal force against Palestinian protesters, who have been regularly demonstrating along the separation fence.aljazeera
Israel begins construction of 840 new illegal settlement units in West Bank
Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant along with Mayor of Ariel Eli Shaviro yesterday laid the cornerstone of new a settlement project comprising 839 settlement units in the illegal settlement, Arab48 reported.The new project is expected to attract hundreds of young settler families to the second largest Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.According to Arab48, the project includes new malls, education facilities, parks and attraction sites serving the new illegal Jewish community.Shapiro said that this settlement project came in response to the killing of an Israeli soldier and a settler near the illegal settlement, which is built on the occupied land of the Palestinian city of Salfit.However, the project was approved two years ago, according to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the area on Monday.“Tomorrow, as the mayor of Ariel told me, we are beginning construction of some 840 housing units in a new neighborhood, a neighborhood that I approved two years ago,” Haaretz reported Netanyahu saying.MEMO
Israel demolishes school building in a refugee camp
Israeli bulldozers demolished today an under-construction building belonging to a Palestinian school in Shufat refugee camp of occupied East Jerusalem. Dozens of Israeli soldiers escorted bulldozers into the refugee camp, surrounded the al-Razi School and went up rooftops of surrounding buildings as drones flew overhead; Israeli bulldozers then began to demolish the school’s building.Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets towards locals in refugee camp.Muhammad Alqam, owner of the school building, told Ma’an that the Israeli authorities had issued a demolition order against the building last November, pointing out that he had headed to the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality before the construction of the building to issue necessary permits, however, he was told that the area belongs to UNRWA. Principal of the school, Saleh Alqam, pointed out that the demolition was carried out without a prior notice.maannews
Palestine protests Hungary over Jerusalem office
Ramallah: Palestinian Authority on Wednesday summoned Hungarian ambassador Shaba Rada to protest the opening of a diplomatic trade office in Jerusalem. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the diplomat was summoned to express “indignation and anger” over the Hungarian move to open the office in the occupied city. The ministry described the Hungarian step as an “aggression against all Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims around the world”. “This move is a violation of international law and a violation of the EU position to the city of Jerusalem,” Assistant Foreign Minister for European Affairs Amal Jado said. The Palestinian official warned that the Hungarian move “threatens bilateral relations between the two countries and will have serious repercussions at all levels". Anadolu Agency
Egypt tightens restrictions on media, social networks
Egypt's top media regulator put into effect tighter restrictions that allow the state to block websites and social media accounts with over 5,000 followers, if they are deemed a threat to national security. The move, implemented on Tuesday, is latest step by govt of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to suppress dissent.In recent years, Egypt has launched an unprecedented crackdown on reporters and the media, imprisoning dozens and occasionally expelling some foreign journalists. New regulations allow the Supreme Media Regulatory Council to block websites and accounts for "fake news," and impose stiff penalties of up to 250,000 Egyptian pound, all without having to obtain a court order. Prominent journalists have called the measures unconstitutional, saying they grant far-reaching powers to authorities to censor the media, in violation of basic press freedoms. Chief regulator Makram Mohammed Ahmed refused to comment. Mohamed Abdel-Hafiz, a board member of journalists' union, said govt was threatening journalists with "vaguely defined national security violations, as well as vaguely defined political, social or religious norms".aljazeera
Ex-Egypt VP slams restrictions on Brotherhood leader El-Beltagy
Former Egyptian Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei has decried crippling restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities on jailed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed el-Beltagy."I have never met with el-Baltagy in my life and I believe that I differ with him in many things, but I do not understand at all what is happening to him and other prisoners," ElBaradei said on Twitter. ElBaradei said el-Beltagy and other Egyptian prisoners have been deprived of their "fundamental rights." "This is not Egypt I know, nor Egypt which we want to see," he said. His comments came shortly after el-Baradei's family called for providing urgent treatment to him after his health deteriorated in prison. Anadolu
Prosecution detains suspects believed to be involved in Muslim Brotherhood protest calls
The Supreme State Security Prosecution has detained 10 new suspects for 15 days pending investigations into a recent call to protest by Muslim Brotherhood leaders on March 1.The prosecution charged them with using social media sites to spread false news and calling for demonstrations against law.According to investigations carried out by NSA’s officers, suspects participated in a call to demonstrate on March 1, urging others to join in and carry out the orders of Muslim Brotherhood leaders. The suspects were represented by lawyers, who demanded that the suspects be released because of invalid procedures regarding the investigations and arrest.They denied the accusations against them, saying they had not participated in any demonstrations and that a number of them had been arrested from their homes and from the streets.Al-Masry Al-Youm
Egypt extends pretrial detention of Qaradawi’s daughter for 14th time
An Egyptian court had extended the detention of the daughter of prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and her husband for 45 more days, bringing the period they have spent in pretrial detention to 630 days.This is the 14th time Ola Qaradawi and her husband Hossam Khalaf have had their detention extended. The couple is accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.They deny the charges. Qaradawi’s family issued a statement calling for Ola to be admitting to a hospital and provided medical care, and for the couple’s immediate release. Yusuf Qaradawi’s granddaughter: ‘It never crossed our mind they would detain my mother because of my grandfather’. MEMO
HRW calls on Egypt to uncover whereabouts of ‘missing’ ex-MP
HRW called on Egyptian authorities to locate disclose the whereabouts of ex MP Mostafa Al-Nagar who has been missing “for nearly five months”.“The Egyptian authorities should exert serious efforts to find and reveal the whereabouts of Mostafa Al-Nagar,” HRW said.The rights organisation pointed out that the Egyptian govt had denied playing a role in Al-Nagar’s arrest, describing the accusations as “false rumours.”middleeastmonitor
‘Azaan’ to be broadcast nationally in solidarity with Muslims: NZ PM
Christchurch: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said Azaan (the call to prayer) will be broadcast nationally along with a two minutes’ silence this Friday to show support to the Muslims community, RNZ reported.Speaking to media on her second visit to Christchurch since the terror attack, she said there would be a memorial service on Friday.“While it will be in Christchurch we want to involve the rest of New Zealand. There is a desire to show support to the Muslim community as they return to Mosques, particularly on Friday.”“To acknowledge this there will be a two minutes’ silence on Friday. We will also broadcast nationally, via TVNZ and RNZ, the call to prayer.”
New Zealand Parliament Session Starts with Recitation of Holy Quran After Mosques Massacre
The first Parliament session in New Zealand, after the deadly attack in Christchurch on the Muslim community during Friday prayers by a far-right terrorist, commenced with the recitation from the Holy Quran, according to reports.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, addressing the Parliament, also greeted the gathering with “Assalamo alaikum” and expressed unity with the families of the victims and also vowed on Tuesday never to utter the name of the twin-mosque gunman.“ Families of the fallen will have justice,” said Ardern during her address, adding she would never mention gunman’s name.caravandaily
N Zealand FM 'to confront' Erdogan over mosque attack comments
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday that her foreign minister will travel to Turkey to "confront" comments made by President Tayyip Erdogan on the Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 50 people.Erdogan, while campaigning for March 31 local elections, said on Tuesday that Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not.He presented the attack as part of an assault on Turkey and Islam and warned anti-Muslim Australians would be "sent back in coffins" like their grandfathers at Gallipoli - a blood-drenched World War I battle. Australian PM Scott Morrison summoned Turkish envoy over Erdogan's speech but dismissed the "excuses" offered.aljazeera
'I Still Love You': New Zealand Mosques Attack Survivor Forgives His Wife's Killer
Christchurch: A wheelchair-using worshipper who survived the slaughter at Christchurch's Al Noor mosque, but whose wife was killed, has offered an olive branch to the gunman, saying he would like to meet him and telling him "I still love you.""I want to give the message to the person who did this, or if he has any friends who also think like this: I still love you," Farhid Ahmed, 59, told Reuters at his house, as mourners arrived to offer condolences for his wife, Husna."I don't agree with what you did … you took a wrong decision, a wrong direction, but I want to believe in you. That you have great potential in your heart," he said.Reuters
New Kazakh president: Astana should be renamed to 'Nursultan'
Kazakhstan's newly sworn-in President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has proposed renaming the country's capital in honour of former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, a day after the longtime ruler's shock resignation."I propose ... naming the country's capital Astana in honour of the first president," Tokayev said on Wednesday, suggesting the new name be "Nursultan"."The opinion of [Nazarbayev] will be of special, one can say priority, importance in the development and adoption of strategic decisions," the new leader added.Tokayev, a career diplomat who had been senate speaker, can serve the remainder of Nazarbayev's term ahead of scheduled elections next year. Nazarbayev surprised many by announcing in a televised address on Tuesday that he would step down after nearly 30 years, making Tokayev only the second president in country's independent history. Nazarbayev attended Tokayev's inauguration on Wednesday, entering to lengthy applause from assembled dignitaries before taking a seat on a podium above and behind the lectern where Tokayev gave an address.aljazeera
Pompeo starts of Middle East tour
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for unity in the Gulf region, as he kicked off his Middle East tour with a stop in Kuwait City for the third US-Kuwait strategic dialogue session. Pompeo will seek to strengthen cooperation on defence, cybersecurity and trade, during his stop in Kuwait, his spokesperson Robert Palladino said. Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal said the US top diplomat would also focus on creating "a breakthrough in finding a resolution to the GCC crisis" describing Pompeo's visit to Kuwait as "the most challenging part of his trip".aljazeera
US air attacks killed or wounded civilians in Somalia: Amnesty
There is credible evidence that US military air raids in Somalia have killed or wounded nearly 2 dozen civilians in the past two years, an international human rights group said on Tuesday, suggesting that the Pentagon is not adequately investigating potential casualties.US Africa Command officials immediately disputed the allegations laid out in a report by Amnesty International and insisted that the military has investigated 18 cases of possible civilian casualties since 2017 and found that none were credible.The report came the same day that a Somali intelligence official and two local residents said a US drone attack on Monday killed civilians.aljazeera
Bangla top security adviser accused of abductions
Most senior security and defence figure in Bangladesh has been accused of using military intelligence agents to abduct and interrogate people to settle a business dispute involving his wife.The allegations have been made against Major General Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's security adviser who has effective control over the country's armed forces and intelligence agencies. Siddique is considered one of the most influential members of Sheikh Hasina's Awami League government and a very close personal ally; his brother is married to the Prime Minister’s sister, Sheikh Rehana. His niece is UK Labour member of parliament, Tulip Siddique.The claims against General Siddique are being made by a former army officer and one-time business associate, Colonel Shahid Uddin Khan who is currently living in self-exile in the UK.aljazeera
Flash: views & NEWS
Makkah Masjid, Hyderabad to Masjid Al Noor, New Zealand – Muslims becoming target of terrorism
Egypt's Morsi: The Final Hours
Rumour of missing Najeeb Ahmed joining ISIS recirculates on social media:Arjun Sidharth
Instagram sensation shamed for Islamophobic comments and calling Sikhs 'a type of Muslims'
For scholars, faith and evidence of historicity are two separate matters: Romila Thapar
Economic data: Fact vs fiction: Surjit S Bhalla
J&K: Ruled Article 370 is permanent provision of Constitution
If I Had Got More Than a Minute to Speak: Arun Shourie on Rafale Proceedings in SC

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:58 PM)


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