19 November 2019

19 NOV.NEWS : Govt lied to Parliament on Electoral Bonds, denied ECI had ‘concerns’/ Uproar in Parliament over JNU students’ protest,Opposition demands probe into police ‘atrocities’ / Empowered to intercept, monitor digital informationin public interest: Govt

19 NOV. 2019: 21 Rabiul Awwal 1441: Vol: 12, No: 61
Govt lied to Parliament on Electoral Bonds, denied ECI had ‘concerns’
In the second part of investigation today, HuffPost India, based on documents accessed under RTI by Commodore(Rtd) Lokesh Batra, Modi Govt’s manipulations to hide the details of the electoral bond scheme are revealed.In the first part published yesterda, HuffPost India had shown how the Govt had kept the Reserve Bank of India in the dark, failed to consult it and, finally, overruled its objections saying that the advice had come too late and because the budget papers had already been printed. In the second part today, the report establishes:"Modi Govt lied on the floor of the Parliament while informing that it had received no communication or objection to the electoral bond scheme.Once the lie was called out, the finance ministry came up with the alibi that the misgivings of the Election Commission were not received by the finance ministry ( it was sent by ECI to the Law ministry which had forwarded it to finance).Even after the Election Commission persisted in opposing the scheme, the finance ministry sought to whitewash the objections and downplay ECI’s apprehensions. Finally, in order to give a semblance of a consultative process, the finance ministry under Arun Jaitley wrote to political parties, seeking their comments. But when the political parties, including Congress treasurer Motilal Vohra, wrote back to demand details of the scheme, ministry maintained radio silence and did not share the details with zparties."Documents in question were obtained under RTI by transparency activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd.), which include a letter issued by ECI dated May 26, 2017 addressed to Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and Justice, almost four months after Finance Bill, 2017 containing the scheme was presented. This letter, drew Govt’s attention to the “serious impact on Transparency aspect of political finance/funding of political parties”.It also stated that, “…abolition of relevant provisions of Sec 182 (of Companies Act) would lead to increased use of black money for political funding through shell companies”. ECI’s letter was duly shared with Ministry of Finance, but latter never acknowledged receiving the same despite the issue snowballing into a controversy in Parliament. This saw the then Minister of State for Finance P Radhakrishnan replying to the question raised by MP Nadimul Haque from AITC in the Winter Session of Parliament: ‘Had ECI raised concerns about electoral bonds?’To this, Radhakrishnan replied that Govt had not received “any concerns from the Election Commission on the issue of Electoral Bearer Bonds”.Documents, however, reveal that the ministry had bent over backwards to allay doubts voiced by Election Commission, misleading it in the process. Even later the finance secretary, as late as October, 2018, met Election Commissioners and claimed that the Commission’s doubts were misplaced. The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition on the legality of such bonds.nationalheraldindia
Electoral Bonds: Confidential EC Meeting Exposes Modi Govt's Lies To Parliament:huffingtonpost

Conduct social audit of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, group of ex-bureaucrats urges Election Commission
A group of former bureaucrats has written to the Election Commission of India, asking for a social audit of the last General Elections in order to establish its integrity and fairness. In a letter today, they cited various media reports to say that unauthorised private engineers had access to electronic voting machines and Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail, or VVPAT, machines. VVPAT is a printer attached to voting machines that allows voters to verify that their ballots have been cast as intended.The former bureaucrats said Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India, which manufacture the machines, have refused to respond to Right to Information queries about voting machines and VVPATs. The signatories to the letter pointed out that the doubts about the voting machines were “yet to be resolved satisfactorily”, and urged Election Commissioners to end the controversy.Ex Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Shipping and Transport SP Ambrose, former IAS officer Harsh Mander,ex Health Secretary K Sujatha Rao, and former Coal Secretary Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan were among those who signed the

Modi Govt's flagship scheme benefited only half of eligible pregnant women, RTI shows
New Delhi:Modi Govt’s flagship scheme for pregnant and lactating mothers, PMMVY, benefited only half the total number of women eligible for state support in 2018-19, show official data analysed by economists Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera. Looking beyond the narrow condition of eligibility for the scheme—which, Dreze and Khera say, excludes nearly half of the total number of pregnant and lactating women by limiting state support only for first child—economists estimate that only 25% of all mothers received support once and just 12% did thrice as mandated. These estimates are based on official data about the scheme’s beneficiaries obtained by the economists after filing multiple Right to Information applications with Ministry of Women and Child Development  as well as data about the estimated number of births in India. “Women in the unorganized sector have been completely invisible in the debate on maternity benefits. The meagre benefits (Rs. 6000 per child) that they are entitled to under National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, have been whittled down to almost nothing. In a violation of NFSA, PMMVY arbitrarily reduces it to Rs. 5000 for just the first child. The application process is complicated, and these problems are compounded by Aadhaar payment system,” said Khera.“Using data obtained through a right to information application, we estimate that in 2018-19, only 25% of pregnant women got any PMMVY money,” she added.HuffPost India

Uproar in Parliament over JNU students’ protest, Opposition demands probe into police ‘atrocities’
New Delhi :A day after around 100 JNU students were detained and several injured in a lathicharge by police during a protest march against hostel fee hike, the issue took a political turn today when Opposition parties disrupted proceedings in both Houses of Parliament, alleging police excesses against the students.AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh slammed the police alleging that it was for the first time that students of the university were “beaten mercilessly” for raising demands.“It is the same Delhi Police that was complaining that their uniform was tainted after they were assaulted by lawyers.Does beating innocent students, including a visually challenged one, not taint their uniform,” Singh said. Voicing similar concerns, CPI general secretary D Raja said that use of police force on the students was barbaric and unprecedented. “Modi Govt and the JNU administration should understand that the students are not only fighting for themselves but also for the future of their community,” he said in Rajya Sabha. Similarly in Lok Sabha, Opposition members during the Zero Hour termed alleged lathicharge by police on JNU students as “suppression of voice”. Delhi Police has registered an FIR in connection with the protests by JNU students over the hostel fee hike, a senior police official said. Without divulging any details, official said FIR was registered under the relevant sections of the law. indianexpress

JNU V-C Must go, say JNU teachers after police assault students
JNU teachers plan to protest today against police brutality on students who were marching to the Parliament on Monday. In a statement JNUTA pointed out, "Physically and visually disabled students were also not spared. At Jorbagh, even teachers who had gone as part of a JNUTA effort to ensure peace was maintained were assaulted by the Police with full knowledge of their status as teachers. There were delays in providing them medical treatment. Some students are still in hospital with grave injuries."JNUTA also demanded that the Vice Chancellor be removed first before a dialogue can take place.“JNUTA notes that MHRD has constituted a 3 member High Power Committee to facilitate restoration of normalcy in the University “through a dialogue with all the stakeholders and to advise the JNU Administraton for resolution of contentious issues”.“JNUTA sees the constitution of this committee as a clear acknowledgement by even MHRD that JNU Admin.led by V-C is incapable of running this University. It would only be fitting therefore if the VC steps down from his position immediately.”nationalheraldindia

People’s curfew in Manipur as NE states erupt against Citizenship Bill
Students, farmers and women in North-Eastern States have threatened New Delhi and Modi Govt with a renewed agitation if it went ahead with Citizenship (Amendment) Bill allowing every other migrant community from neighbouring countries except Muslims to become Indian citizens.People are particularly aggrieved with the cut-off year of 2014 proposed in the Bill, which the Centre is expected to table in Parliament during the current winter session. Spokesmen of NESO, umbrella body, hold that the proposed amendment would lead to more demographic changes in region. Effigies of PM and Assam CM were burnt by protesters yesterday and a protest march was led to Raj Bhavan, where a memorandum was handed over. nationalheraldindia

Will uproot you one day, it’s a promise: Sena to BJP
Mumbai :Amid the power-sharing tussle in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena attacked its former long-time ally BJP in a hard-hitting editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana. Reminding the saffron party that it stood with it when nobody supported it, the editorial said,“It is the beginning of the end of politics of arrogance. We promise you, we will uproot you one day as you have challenged us.”Sena also attacked BJP for announcing its ouster from NDA without any meeting and for allotting Opposition benches to its MPs in Parliament.“One Pralhad Joshi, a minister in Modi Govt announced Sena’s ouster citing the Sena is tying up with Congress NCP….he is not aware of Shiv Sena’s spirit and NDA’s actions and deeds. When nobody was ready to stand with BJP and words such as Hindutva and nationalism were not in the political lexicon, Sena stood with you then and prior to that as well with Jan Sangh. So, those who ousted Sena from NDA need to understand the history,” the editorial in Saamana read.indianexpress

If BJP offers 50:50 deal, happy to revive alliance: Sena sources
Shiv Sena says Govt formation with NCP and Congress is on track, regardless of Sharad Pawar's cryptic, noncommittal statements."You don't worry about Pawar and our alliance. Very soon, by the first week of December, a Shiv Sena-led alliance Govt will be in power in Maharashtra. It will be a stable Govt," Sanjay Raut said today.Speculation that a Sena-NCP-Congress is not a done deal was fueled by Sharad Pawar's baffling response to reporters asking him about Shiv Sena's claim about talks with the NCP - "Really?" Raut quipped, "It needs 100 births to understand what Sharad Pawar says."But Sena functionaries conceded that NCP chief is being pursued by BJP, which is desperately trying to outwit Shiv Sena in the race to power in Maharashtra. The job of President of India is on the table, said a Sena source. NCP chief has, for now, ruled out any tie-up with BJP. Sena claims that as far as the alliance with the Congress-NCP is concerned, when it comes to CMship, the party will only agree to an entire five-year term for itself.Sena sources say the party is "happy to revive its alliance with BJP" if BJP reverts to 50-50 CMship formula.But sources say they are aware BJP is chasing NCP to stymie the Sena.The formula offered by BJP, say sources, includes a role in the Govt for the NCP and the President's post for Pawar.NDTV
Deal in works: Uddhav Maharashtra CM for 5 yrs, deputies from Congress, NCP

Rajasthan: Congress sweeps local body polls, Gehlot calls it mandate on govt performance
New Delhi : Coming on the back of its recent bypoll win in the Mandawa assembly seat, Congress Tuesday registered an impressive victory in 23 of the 49 urban civic bodies in Rajasthan, where elections were held last week to elect more than 2,000 councillors. Meanwhile, BJP secured a win in 6 urban civic bodies and others in 20 seats.As per the final state election department data, out of 2,105 ward councillors in all 49 municipal bodies, 961 candidates of Congress have won, followed by 737 of BJP, 16 of BSP and 3 of CPI(M). As many as 386 Independent candidates have also emerged winners. Here are the highlightsWhile Congress has triumphed in Jaisalmer, Barmer, Hanumangarh, Sirohi and Banswara, BJP has most of the local body seats in Sri Ganga Nagar, Alwar and Pushkar.The results come as a shot in the arm for year-old Ashok Gehlot-led Congress Govt following its poor show in Lok Sabha elections, where the BJP-led NDA swept the state by winning all 25 seats.indianexpress

Muslim litigants support AIMPLB on Ayodhya review plea
After All India Muslim Personal Law Board decided to file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict, 3 more Muslim litigants from Ayodhya announced support for the AIMPLB in its move to file a review plea.After meeting of AIMPLB held in Lucknow on Sunday, Jamiat Ulema Hind had announced its decision to file a review petition, first 3 Muslim litigants who supported the move were Mohammad Umar, Misbahuddin residents of Ayodhya and Faizabad, respectively and Maulana Mahfuz Ur Rahman of Tanda Tahsil in Ambedkar Nagar district in eastern UP.On Monday evening, 4 more Muslim litigants — Haji Mahboob, Haji Asad, Hafiz Rizwan and Maulana Hizbullah announced that they will also support AIMPLB and Jamiat in the review petition. Now the total number of Muslim litigants going for a review petition has reached 7, however another Muslim litigant Iqbal Ansari and UP Govt body Sunni Central Waqf Board have already announced that they are not going for a review petition. Haji Mehboob is a prominent Muslim litigant and resident of Ayodhya, Maulana Hizbullah is Ayodhya unit president of Jamiat Ulema while Haji Asad, SP corporator of Ayodhya Municipal Corporation and his brother Hafiz Rizwan, are sons of one of first Muslim litigants in the case, Haji Abdul Ahad. With this, 7 of 10 Muslim parties have agreed to go for a review, barring UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, UP Shia Central Waqf Board and Iqbal Ansari.IANS

SC should have given 5 acres for temple elsewhere:Jamiat Chief
New Delhi: The Supreme Court should have given the five acres of alternate land to the Hindu side to build a temple elsewhere and the verdict is completely opposite to what the evidence pointed to, Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Hind president Syed Arshad Madani has told ET. “In the Supreme Court judgement, all evidence points to the left while the verdict goes towards the right. The judgement accepts that Muslims performed prayers there from 1857 to 1949, concedes that the mosque was damaged in 1934 and Hindus were fined for same, admits installation of idols there in 1949 was a wrong act and calls the mosque’s demolition in 1992 an illegal act,” Madani told ET He added that SC does not say the Mosque was built by demolishing a temple. “If so was established, we would not stake a claim. Very people who demolished the mosque have been granted the land to build a temple now,” Madani said.He said as per the evidence, “what should have happened was that the Hindu side should have been given 5 acres of alternative land to build a temple elsewhere but SC has done the opposite.” Under Islam, a mosque would not be considered one under Islam if it was built by demolishing a temple, he said. “When despite all the evidence, the judgement did not come in our favour, how can we assume that the review will come in our favour? But it is our legal right to file a review, so we will try to reach the place as far as we can go in this legal fight for our land,” he said.ET

TN Thowheed Jamath takes out a massive protest in Chennai against Ayodhya verdict
Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath organised a massive demonstration against the Supreme Court verdict regarding Babri Masjid verdict, condemning the decision, saying the promise of rebuilding the mosque was never fulfilled. “While so much injustice has been done to Muslims, an image has been strongly being portrayed as if the Muslims unanimously had accepted the verdict…to ensure that it is not misrepresented in history, Thowheed Jamaath is holding a massive protest,” said the organisation. TNTJ said the SC was expected to provide judgement based on laws instead provided the verdict based on beliefs. “This decision has been extremely disappointing for Muslims, who were hoping for justice,” the organisation added. twocircles

Govt says Law & Order improved in J&K after article 370 move, but arresting of 765 people in stone-pelting cases show otherwise
New Delhi: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today told the Lok Sabha that the law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley has improved since Aug.5. However, the supporting data released does not bolster the claim. When BJP MP Kanakmal Katara asked if incidents of stone pelting have gone down, Minister of State (MOS) G Kishen Reddy replied in the affirmative, but the subsequent data appears contradictory.“Since Aug.5, 2019, to Nov. 15, 2019, 765 people have been arrested in 190 cases registered relating to stone pelting/law and order,” said the MHA’s written reply. “From January 1, 2019, to Aug,4, 2019, 361 such cases were registered.” The reply did not mention how many people were arrested for stone pelting before the Govt’s move to revoke J&K’s special status.Reddy said the Govt had adopted multi-pronged policies to check the menace of stone pelting and had succeeded in curbing it to the extent that a large number of troublemakers, instigators and mob-mobilisers were identified and various preventive measures taken against them, including detention under the stringent PSA and preventive arrests.He blamed Hurriyat-backed organisations for the incidents of stone pelting.news18

Kashmir: Pakistan foreign minister writes to UN again, asks it to reject bifurcation of state
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has written a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Security Council President Karen Pierce, asking them to reject India’s decision to bifurcate J&K, Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. “Pakistan continues to internationally highlight the dire situation in Indian occupied J&K and the plight of the Kashmiri people in the face of inhuman lockdown since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August,”ministry said in an official statement.“Among other things, Foreign Minister conveyed Pakistan’s rejection of ‘bifurcation’ of Indian Occupied J&K; highlighted the continued violation of human rights by Indian occupation forces; underlined India’s belligerent rhetoric and actions vis-à-vis Pakistan; and reiterated the call for strengthening of UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan,”ministry said. It added that at Islamabad’s request, the letter has been circulated to member states of UN, as an official document to UNSC.This is the sixth letter Qureshi has written to UN against India’s actions on

Empowered to intercept, monitor digital information in public interest: Govt
Govt today said it’s “empowered” to intercept, monitor and decrypt digital information in the public interest as long as its agencies follow the law.Laws allowed federal and state Govts to intercept “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource,” G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of State for Home told Parliament in a written reply when asked by an opposition MP whether the Govt had snooped on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and Google calls and messages. Information can only be intercepted by “authorised agencies as per due process of law, and subject to safeguards as provided in the rules,” statement said.Reddy didn’t answer a question on whether federal Govt had used the services of NSO Group’s Pegasus software to snoop on calls and messages on WhatsApp Inc’s mobile platform.Indian news reports had earlier this month listed activists and human rights lawyers who had spoken out against Govt policies as among those whose phones were hacked.HT
Did Centre use spyware to tap WhatsApp calls? Minister avoids direct answer, cites law allowing it

New WhatsApp breach: cyber cell advises update
India's main cyber security agency, Cert, has asked users to update WhatsApp on their phones after the discovery of a new malware on older versions of the messaging app.The malware is triggered by a video file sent from an unknown number.In a statement, WhatsApp said that it had no reason to believe that users' phones were affected. News of the new malware came soon after WhatsApp admitted that its software was used to install spyware on phones.Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, had announced the new vulnerability in the system a few days ago. BBC

Fathima Latheef suicide: IIT Madras students call off hunger strike
Chennai :A section of students who went on a hunger fast on Tuesday have called it off, following assurances that the Indian Institute of Technology Madras would concede to two of their three demands.According to the protesters, the Dean of students had assured them that the demands made by the Students Legislative Council —for an external committee to study the issues of students in the Institute and the setting up of a grievance mechanism in every department to deal with issues of harassment and discrimination, apart from academic grievances — would be implemented.thehindu

RSP leader Premachandran: ‘Probe into Latheef’s death not being properly done’
RSP leader N K Premachandran speaks on Opposition’s walkout over the suicide of IIT Madras student Fathima Latheef. Premachandran said, "the girl belongs to my constituency. The inquiry conducted by the state Crime Branch is unsatisfactory. The post-mortem was done in a hurry and it was not videographed. The probe is not being properly done. Now IIT authorities have complained to police that her parents are trying to tarnish IIT’s image. This is highly insensitive. They are trying to protect those who are accused of harassing the girl." He added,"minister concerned was so insensitive in responding to the issue.He simply said Higher Education secretary visited the place and an investigation is on. A high-level probe is required. We want a CBI enquiry. We will take up this issue with PM too."indianexpress

Bengaluru couple allege daughters ‘illegally confined’ at Nithyananda’s ashram in Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad:Controversial self-styled baba Nithyananda finds himself in another controversy with allegations of “illegally confining” two daughters of a Bengaluru-based couple.A petition has been filed in the Gujarat High Court by the couple seeking the court’s help to get back the daughters allegedly “illegally confined” at an ashram set up by Nithyananda, who faces rape charges.Couple stated in their habeas corpus petition that they had admitted their four daughters to an educational institution run by Nithyananda in Bengaluru in 2013 when they were in the age group of 7-15 years. However, their daughters were allegedly shifted to another ashram in Ahmedabad without their consent. When they learnt that their daughters were this year shifted to another branch of Nithyananda Dhyanpeetham, named Yogini Sarvagyapeetham, situated on the premises of Delhi Public School in Ahmedabad, they rushed to Ahmedabad and tried to meet them. thehindu

Mughals intended to destroy Tripura’s cultural wonders by bombing them, claims CM Deb
Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb on Monday claimed that Mughal emperors intended to destroy the cultural wonders of the state by “bombing them”, Indian Express reported.“Tripura has enough wonders still unknown to people, the Mughals intended to destroy the culture of Tripura by bombing its arts and architectures,” Deb said at an event in state capital Agartala.CM, however, did not elaborate on his comment. Deb urged people to talk about tourist destinations in the state, its beauty and heritage on social media. In a statement issued later, the CM said efforts to promote tourism would not require special advertisements if people posted about at least five places. “Tripura will be popular all over the world automatically [if people promote tourist spots],” he added. Ever since coming to power, CM has made the headlines for his controversial comments.

Owaisi sees red over Mamatae’s ‘extremists among minorities’ remark at AIMIM
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee purportedly likening the AIMIM to “extremists among minorities” did not sit well with the Hyderabad-based party chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who said “extremism is allowing BJP to win 18 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal”.Addressing Trinamool Congress workers at an event in Cooch Behar on Monday, Banerjee, without naming the AIMIM, said: “”There are some extremists among the minorities. They have their base in Hyderabad. Don’t listen to them. Don’t trust these forces”. Owaisi hit back at the CM saying: “Our fight is for justice. If this reminds the CM of extremism, then extremism is that she allowed the BJP to win 18 Lok Sabha seats. Extremism is that by abusing me you are insulting the Muslims in Bengal.”He also asked Banerjee to stop “Muslim appeasement” and work towards empowering the community.indianexpress

Islamic terrorists behind Maoists activities, claims CPM Kozhikode district secretary
Kozhikode: CPM district secretary P Mohanan said that a Muslim terror outfit from Kozhikode is supporting the Maoists in Kerala. Islamic terrorists are encouraging Maoists and Mohanan wanted the police to examine this. The remark by Mohanan was made at KSKTU district meeting at Thamarassery.Mohanan said that Islamic terrorists are encouraging the Maoists in Kerala and hence Kozhikode is in the centre of all the Maoists activities. The Islamic terrorists centered in Kozhikode are giving them all backing and the police must probe this angle.At the same time, Mohanan did not mention the name of the terror outfit that was extending support to the Maoists. Mohanan said he would fully support the Govt action of slapping UAPA against 2 CPM activists for their Maoists links.mathrubhumi

Andhra govt enhances financial aid for pilgrimage to Jerusalem, other biblical places
AP Govt has enhanced the financial assistance to Christians for undertaking pilgrimage to Jerusalem and other Biblical places.A Govt order issued in this regard said pilgrims with an annual income of upto 3 lakh would be given ₹60,000 for pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jordan River, Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee. The assistance was last enhanced to ₹40,000 which was fixed by former Govt in 2016.PTI

IT Companies May Shed up to 40,000 Mid-Level Employees: Financial expert Mohandas Pai
India’s information technology services companies may shed 30,000 to 40,000 middle-level employees this year as growth slows down,IT industry veteran T.V. Mohandas Pai said.Ex Chief Financial Officer of IT major Infosys Ltd termed these job losses as once-in-five-years normal phenomenon with maturing of the industry. “As in all sectors in the West, in India too when a sector matures so many people will be there in the middle level who will not be adding value to the salary they get,” Pai told PTI.Promotions are okay when companies are growing fast but when it slows down, people getting fat salaries will aggregate at the higher level, prompting companies to periodically reset their pyramids, and shedding people, he said.“It’s going to happen again and again and again every 5 years,” said Pai, Chairman of Aarin Capital and Manipal Global Education Services.“All across industry, may be 30,000 to 40,000 in a year…,”he said when asked about the number of middle-level staff who would lose their jobs. PTI

Chhattisgarh interfaith couple: Yet to be reunited with husband, woman threatens to go on fast
Bhopal :Comparing her stay at the Raipur-based Sakhi One Stop Centre with detention, Anjali Jain, whose interfaith marriage has drawn the wrath of her family, the Jain community and Hindu organisations, said on Monday that she would give up food and water if she was not reunited with her husband.“The court order is in my favour and yet they are not letting me free. I want to go to my husband,’’ 24-year-old said in a brief interaction with media outside Sakhi, where she has been staying for several months now. She wanted to talk to reporters on Sunday, but Sakhi authorities did not allow her. A division bench of Chhattisgarh High Court on Friday ruled in her favour and said she was free to be with the “person of her choice and at any place of choice’’. But even 3 days after the order, she is yet to be with Ibrahim Siddique (34). An official release has now said she will be released at 11 am on Wednesday.indianexpress

Punjab Dalit killed: 3 ministers, CM’s political secy negotiate deal — Rs 20 lakh, govt job to victim’s wife
Chandigarh :The family of a Dalit labourer who died days after he was mercilessly thrashed and forced to drink own urine, ended their protest after Punjab Govt Monday announced a compensation of Rs 20 lakh, Govt job to the victim’s wife and free education for their three children.The state Govt also announced a probe into the case by an additional director general of police rank officer, besides ensuring filling of challan against the four accused in court within seven days. All efforts would be made to ensure stringent punishment for the culprits within 3 months, a Govt statement said.indianexpress

Sewer Deaths: Only About 50% of Victims' Families Received Rs 10 Lakh Compensation
Between 1993 and 2019, families of only around 50% of the workers who have died cleaning sewers have received the compensation of Rs 10 lakh each. In several cases, the compensation amount is less than Rs 10 lakh, a RTI query filed by The Wire has revealed.In a historic judgement in 2014, the Supreme Court had ordered that the families of all those who died during sewer cleaning must be given Rs 10 lakh as compensation. However, in response to an RTI query, the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) has revealed that according to information provided by different states, 814 people are officially reported to have died during sewer cleaning in 20 states since 1993, out of which full compensation of Rs 10 lakh has been granted in only 455 cases.thewire

Avalanche hits Army patrol in Siachen, 6 killed
Srinagar: 4 soldiers and 2 civilian porters were killed after an Army patrol was hit by an avalanche at Siachen Glacier in Ladakh on Monday, officials said.A senior Army official in Srinagar said that avalanche hit Northern Siachen Glacier around 3 pm. “It was an Army patrol of 8 personnel. The avalanche took place at a high altitude. The temperatures are very low in the area,” he said.A search and rescue operation was launched, he said, and all efforts were made to trace personnel.indianexpress

Industries won't need NOC from Depts of Pollution, Labour, Industry in Delhi: Javadekar
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that there will be no need for industries to get NOC from Departments of Pollution, Labor and Industry in the national capital."Modi Govt's big decision for Delhi. It will be easier for domestic industries to operate. No need for NOC from Department of Pollution, Labor and Industry. 3 lakh domestic industries will benefit," he tweeted.ANI

Sea level along Indian coast rose by 8.5 cm in last 50 years: Environment Minister
Sea level along the Indian coast has risen by 8.5 cm in the last five decades, Union Minister Babul Supriyo said in Rajya Sabha.Responding to a question on whether several cities will be submerged as temperatures are rising due to global warming, Minister of State for environment said that the rate of increase of sea level due to climate change cannot be attributed with certainty.PTI

Earthquake with magnitude 5.3 hits Nepal, tremors felt in Delhi
A magnitude 4.9 earthquake jolted Nepal Tuesday and its tremors were felt in parts of Delhi. The quake struck at 7:00 pm and hit a depth of 14 km. No casualties or injuries reported yet.More details awaited.indian express

After Airtel And Vodafone-Idea, Reliance Jio To Hike Mobile Tariffs
 Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio today said it will increase mobile phone call and data charges in the next few weeks. The statement came a day after Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Ltd announced a hike in call and data charges from next month.Jio said telecom regulator TRAI is likely to initiate consultation process for revision in telecom tariffs.Reliance Jio in a statement said it would carry out an "appropriate" increase in tariffs which "does not adversely impact data consumption or growth in digital adoption and sustains investments".ndtv

US says Israeli settlements are no longer illegal
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that US was softening its position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration that reversed decades of US policy. Pompeo said the administration of President Donald Trump will no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that the settlements were "inconsistent with international law"."After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees... establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,"Pompeo said.The move was immediately slammed by Palestinians and rights groups. Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the US announcement "rights a historical wrong" aljazeera

US settlement move endorses 'law of the jungle' : Palestinians
Palestinians have condemned a decision by US to abandon its four-decades-old position that Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are inconsistent with international law.Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said it threatened to replace international law with the "law of the jungle".Palestinians have long called for the removal of the settlements, where about 600,000 Jews live, arguing that their presence on land they claim for a future independent Palestinian state makes it almost impossible to make such a state a reality."Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, are not only illegal under international law, they are war crimes," said Erekat. "Once the Trump administration decides to undermine international law... this constitutes a major threat to international peace and security."Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said: "US is neither qualified nor is authorised to negate international legitimacy resolutions, and it has no right to give any legitimacy to Israeli settlement." Palestinian militant groups also weighed in, calling it the official funeral of the Oslo peace process - which laid the foundations for Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip - and urging stepped-up resistance to Israeli occupation. Meanwhile, UN human rights office reaffirmed its position that the settlements were unlawful, saying the change "of one state does not modify existing international law nor its interpretation by International Court of Justice and Security Council". European Union's foreign policy chief,, said the bloc's position was that "all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of 2-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace".bbc
Palestinians slam US policy reversal on settlements

Settler leaders, right-wing politicians urge West Bank annexation after US policy shift
Israeli right-wing politicians and settler leaders welcomed a decision by US to reject a long-standing position that the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal.Oded Revivi, mayor of Efat settlement and foreign “ambassador” for the settler leadership, praised US policy shift, and urged Israeli Govt to take full advantage of the development: “Settlement is not a crime and it is not an obstacle to peace.”MEMO

Israel authorities publish tender for hotel in major West Bank settlement
Israeli authorities have published a tender for the construction of the first ever hotel in Ma’ale Adumim, a major settlement in the central occupied West Bank. According to the Jerusalem Post, citing reports by the settlement’s spokesperson, Mayor Benny Kashriel sees the development as of “revolutionary” significance. Ma’ale Adumim is located east of occupied East Jerusalem, and has played a key part in Israeli efforts to split the southern and northern West Bank through land colonisation and settlement.middleeastmonitor

Israel’s Prez does not want coalition govt with Arabs
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has asked head of Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, not to form a Govt backed byArab-majority parties, Kan reported. According to the Israeli broadcaster, Rivlin extended his request to Gantz during a meeting that took place on Saturday at the former’s residence.Meanwhile, the broadcaster said that Rivlin also told Gantz that he does not oppose a Govt dependent on Arabs from the outside, but said he was afraid it would not function very well.Kan reported sources who attended meeting saying that Rivlin asked Gantz to form a coalition Govt with the right-wing Likud, led by the outgoing PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing indictment over several corruption cases.MEMO

Ex-UNRWA chief blames US, Israel for his resignation
Pierre Krahenbuhl, former commissioner-general for UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has blamed US and Israel for his resignation, Al Jazeera reported.According to news site, Krahenbuhl said it was clear to him that he would have paid the price for defending UNRWA and refuting the claims of Israel’s ambassador to the UN.He stressed that the ongoing investigation into the mismanagement of funds related to UNRWA’s work is being completed for political purposes. Krahenbuhl stated that he was affected by those who have been targeting UNRWA in order to achieve their goals.middleeastmonitor

US, Australian hostages 'freed in Taliban prisoner swap'
Afghan Taliban have freed 2 Western hostages in exchange for three imprisoned senior militants, officials and Taliban sources say.American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks were released three years after being kidnapped outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul where they worked as professors. 3 militants arrived in Qatar from Afghanistan as part of the swap.Afghan officials say the deal is aimed at restarting talks with Taliban. President Ashraf Ghani said last week the decision was "a tough, but important" one and a "humanitarian gesture".The swap includes Anas Haqqani, a leading figure and fund-raiser in the Haqqani militant group, and two other senior commanders, who had been held in prison by Afghan authorities.Anas Haqqani's older brother, Sirajuddin, leads the Haqqani network of fighters and is a deputy leader of the Taliban, which has a political office in Qatar. Fate of 10 Afghan soldiers who the Taliban are reportedly to free as part of the deal is unclear, New York Times reported.BBC
Taliban commanders 'land in Qatar' as part of prisoner swap move

Turkey will launch another Syria operation if area not cleared of Kurdish YPG - Anadolu
Turkey’s foreign minister said Ankara would launch a new military operation in northeast Syria if the area was not cleared of what he called terrorists, state-owned. Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that US and Russia had not done what was required under agreements that halted a Turkish offensive against Kurdish YPG militia in northeastern Syria last month.The deals stipulated that the YPG would be removed from a swathe of land bordering Turkey in northeastern Syria.Cavusoglu called on Washington and Moscow on Monday to do what is necessary under the deals.Reuters

Russian mercenaries 'beat and beheaded Syrian man' in leaked video
Avideo has emerged purporting to show Russian mercenaries torturing and beheading a Syrian army deserter, in what is thought to be rare footage of Moscow's shadowy paramilitary outfit operating in Syria. Video, which dates to 2017 but was only released in full on Russian social media site VK last week, appears to show Russian-speaking fighters striking the man with a sledgehammer before decapitating him and lynching his body.It came to the attention of online sleuths who used open-source intelligence to geolocate the footage to al-Shaer oil fields in Homs, central Syria, which was under Russian and Syrian Govt control at the time of the attack.

Jailed Egyptian activist,daughter of Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater faces 'premature death'
Aisha Shater, an Egyptian activist and daughter of senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater, could die in prison if not hospitalised for a serious health condition, a human rights group has warned.Shater, 38, was arrested in Nov. 2018, in a wave of detentions that targeted nearly 40 human rights workers in Cairo. She was charged with “belonging to an organisation established contrary to the law” and “inciting to harm national economy".Her husband, human rights lawyer Mohamed Abou Horayra, was also arrested in the sweep and faces the same charges.According to We Record, an online Egyptian rights network, Shater is suffering from a "bone marrow failure which has led to severe blood cell shortages in the platelets and erythrocytes in conjunction with bleeding," one of the symptoms of the illness. According to the group, Shater’s health condition is very dangerous as it "portends an inevitable premature death if Aisha does not receive proper treatment as soon as possible”.Shater’s health has also been complicated following a hunger strike she started in Sept. Since 18 Sept., she has only drunk water as she demands better prison conditions, including ending her solitary confinement and a ban on visits from her 2 children, middleeasteye

UN: Air raid in Libya kills 10, may constitute a war crime
At least 10 people have been killed and 35 wounded in an air attack that hit a biscuit factory in Libya in what a senior UN official said was a possible war crime.The majority of those killed in the attack on Monday in Wadi Rabea, 13 miles from the centre of the capital, Tripoli, were apparently migrants, while two were Libyan, the UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame told UNSC. Malek Merset, a spokesman with the Tripoli-based health ministry, said at least 33 workers, mostly from Niger and Bangladesh, were taken to hospital for urgent treatment. Merset said 7 people have died in the attack.aljazeera

Trump impeachment inquiry deepens with week 2 of public hearings
US impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump kicks off its second week of public hearings on Tuesday with four current and former US officials set to testify.House Intelligence Committee will first hear from Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, and US Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, National Security Council's top Ukraine expert. They listened to the call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that prompted a whistle-blower complaint and eventually led to the impeachment inquiry.A second hearing will follow with Kurt Volker, ex US special envoy for Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, ex National Security Council Russia expert.aljazeera

US Holds Over 100,000 Migrant Children in Detention
At least 330,000 children are held in detention because of migration issues worldwide, and the US alone is responsible for nearly one-third of the number, UN-linked human rights lawyer Manfred Nowak said. Nowak is the lead author of a new UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. According to his team’s findings, the US currently has some 103,000 children in detention, which includes unaccompanied minors, those detained together with their families, and those who have been separated from their relatives. US Govt did not respond to the questionnaire sent out by Nowak’s team. However, he said that the number was based on latest available official data and “very reliable” additional sources. He also said the figure of 103,000 was a “conservative” assessment.DW

UN urges Iran restraint as reports say 'rioters' kill 3 soldiers
UN has called for Iranian authorities to rein in the use of force to disperse protests sparked by a fuel price rise, as Iranian media reported that three members of the country's security forces were stabbed to death by "rioters". Rupert Colville, a spokesman for UN's high commissioner for human rights, said the body had received reports that dozens of people were killed during the demonstrations. Describing the extent of reported casualties as "clearly very serious", Colville called on authorities to uphold the demonstrators' rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.aljazeera

Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif  leaves Pak for treatment
Pakistan's former PM Nawaz Sharif, who is serving a prison sentence for corruption, has left the country to receive medical treatment in London.Sharif, a three-time PM, has an immune system disorder and other health problems.Lahore High Court lifted a travel ban on Saturday and Govt rubber-stamped the decision on Monday. Imran Khan's Govt had been reluctant to release Sharif.It wanted the politician - who has so far served less than 12 months of a 7 year prison sentence - to sign an indemnity bond worth $44m before allowing him to go abroad.However, the court allowed him to travel without signing the
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 3:04 PM).


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