28 July 2020

28 JULY NEWS: Kashmiri IAF officer Hilal Rather played key role in fastracking India’s import of Rafale jets. Will verify media reports of LG suggesting restoration of 4G Internet in J&K, Centre tells SC. 43% Indians suffering from depression: Study on Coronavirus.

28 JULY 2020. 06 ZU AL HIJJAH 1441. Vol-12, No-269  


Kashmiri IAF officer Hilal Rather played key role in fastracking India’s import of Rafale jets

Srinagar: It took 4 years for India's first batch of 5 Rafale jets to take off from France. One of the key persons in this whole process has been Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather, who is India’s air attaché to France. The officer, who was seen with India's ambassador to France during the takeoff of Rafale jets, hails from the Bakshiabad area of south Kashmir's Anantnag district. According to sources, he studied at Sanik School. He has also said to have won Sword of Honour in NDA. He was commissioned in Air Force in 1988 and rose from being a flight lieutenant to an Air Commodore. Reports say Hilal is responsible for the quick delivery of Rafale fighter aircraft and its weaponising as per Indian conditions.According to the records accessible online, he has more than 3,000 hours of flying on MiG 21s, Mirage-2000 and Kiran aircraft. He has received Vayu Sena Medal, which is given for devotion to duty as a Wing Commander in 2010 and Vishisht Seva Medal when he was a group captain in 2016. First batch of 5 Rafale fighter aircraft took off from France for India on Monday, nearly 4 years after 2 countries inked an inter-governmental agreement to supply 36 of the multi-role jets to Indian Air Force in a Rs 59,000-crore deal.


Navy deploys almost all operational ships in Indian Ocean to send clear ‘message’ to China

Amid the stand-off with China in Ladakh, the Indian Navy has deployed almost its entire fleet of ships and submarines under Eastern and and Western Naval Commands in Indian Ocean region and specifically close to the Malacca Strait to send out a clear “message” to China, ThePrint has learnt. Sources in the defence and security establishment said that the “message has been registered” by China.They added that 3 service chiefs have been meeting regularly since border tensions in Ladakh started simmering from early May and all military strategies are being planned jointly. As reported by ThePrint, development comes as the Indian military is preparing to respond to Chinese aggression in a joint manner keeping in mind the possible collusion of China and Pakistan. “India has reacted in all domains to counter China and to tell her that what she has done is unacceptable. This involves Army, Navy, Air Force, diplomacy and even economics,” a top govt official said.ThePrint


Troops have disengaged in most locations, preparing for 5th round of talks: Beijing

4 days after New Delhi announced that India and China had agreed on “early and complete disengagement” along Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Beijing Tuesday said border troops of both countries “have disengaged in most locations” following close communication via military and diplomatic channels.There was no official confirmation or response from either the Indian government or the military to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement ahead of the fifth round of talks, likely later this week, between Corps Commanders of the two armies.The military standoff along the Ladakh frontier began early May after troops came to blows on the north bank of Pangong Tso. The Chinese reluctance to step back further from Pangong Tso has stalled the disengagement process and it is likely to be the focus of talks between the Corps Commanders.“The situation is now continuing to head in the direction of easing and cooling down,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told the Global Times at a press conference Tuesday.“A fifth round of commander-level talks is currently under preparations to resolve the remaining issues,” he said.


Correct your wrongdoing, revoke ban on WeChat, other apps. It was deliberate: China tells India

China today protested against India's recent decision to ban a plethora of Chinese apps and warned that India should "correct its wrongdoing". China said the ban was a "deliberate interference" and it will take "all necessary measures" to protect the interest of Chinese businesses.This comes in the wake of India's decision to ban certain apps that belong to Chinese companies and were allegedly involved in activities detrimental to India's national interest.In the latest move, India has banned 47 more apps operating as clones of 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, that were banned last month. In all, over 250 Chinese apps are being monitored by the government, and each that poses a threat is being picked and thrown out. Spokesperson of Chinese Embassy, Counselor Ji Rong in a statement said the matter of "WeChat" app being banned has been taken up with the Indian side. "We have noted the relevant reports. On June 29, the Indian government banned 59 mobile apps with Chinese background including WeChat, which severely damaged the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. The Chinese side has lodged solemn representation to the Indian side and asked the Indian side to correct its wrongdoings," she said.


With $4.5 billion in loans, and a $1 billion more in pipeline, co-founder India is top China-led bank borrower

China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)’s prompt move to set up a Covid-19 support fund for its members is an example of the Multilateral Development Bank’s (MDB) “power of action”, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.Xi said the AIIB, coalition in which India is a co-founder, moved “…promptly to set up a Covid-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (CRF) to support its members in containing the virus and reviving their economies. This is a typical example of the AIIB’s power of action”.The Chinese President was speaking at the fifth annual meeting of the Beijing-based bank, proposed by him in late 2013, and launched in January 2016.Since its launch, India has emerged as the overall top borrower — $4.5 billion — from the Beijing-based bank, and also the top beneficiary of Covid-19-related relief fund. As the largest borrower, India has almost 25 percent of all approved AIIB loans channelled to it.


Meter installation work in J&K: Modi govt facilitating backdoor entry for Chinese company?, asks Congress

 Congress party has alleged that despite the government claiming that it has barred Chinese companies from working in India, the meter installation project in Jammu and Kashmir is being indirectly handled by Chinese company which has worked in Pakistan also.Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged, "The government has facilitated back-door entry of the Chinese company for such a sensitive work in Jammu and Kashmir."The party further alleged that Dongfang company is active in various countries and has special relations with Pakistan. The company has worked in Pakistan's Nandipur power project and is known for making software and hardware for Radio Frequency Technology.The Congress alleged, "the company which has got the work in J&K to install smart electric metres has given its work to Dongfang which is Chinese company and reports to the Chinese Army and the govt. The tender has been given by Power Ministry under rural electrification program.IANS


Prachanda convenes ruling NCP meet without Nepal PM Oli as intra-party rift deepens further

Nepal''s ruling communist party executive chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" on Tuesday unilaterally convened a meeting of the powerful Standing Committee at Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli''s official residence without his presence, further deepening the political crisis in the country.The crucial meeting of the 45-member Standing Committee of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to iron out the differences between Prime Minister Oli and the rival faction led by Prachanda was scheduled for 11 am. However, it was postponed for the 9th time.Announcing the indefinite postponement of the meeting, Standing Committee member Ganesh Shah said the two leaders need more time for informal consultations to sort out their differences.Prime Minister''s press advisor Surya Thapa also said in a Facebook post that the meeting was postponed as the two leaders need some more time for consultations.The date of the next meeting will be decided after the two leaders hold consultations, he said.PTI


In Imran Khan’s 18-point Kashmir plan for Aug 5, outreach to Turkey, Malaysia and China: HT report

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who counts the campaign against India over Jammu and Kashmir as his govt’s key achievement has roped in the Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, in its 18-point plan to commemorate the Aug 5 anniversary of India scrapping Article 370 that extended special status to the valley, people familiar with the development said. 18-point programme includes a visit by Imran Khan to occupied Kashmir where he is tentatively scheduled to address the assembly, a speech that is going to be beamed live. Before he reaches Muzaffarabad, Khan’s government intends a field trip for foreign journalists to the occupied territory. Like in the past, the terror training camps funded by the ISI would be off-limits for the journalists.For Imran Khan’s elaborate plan for August 5, Islamabad has reached out to Kuala Lumpur, Ankara and Beijing to issue statements to commemorate the first anniversary of Jammu and Kashmir’s new status. Or at least tweet.


Pakistan Senate seeks highest civilian award for separatist Syed Ali Geelani

Pakistan’s Senate on Monday passed a resolution to award its highest civilian honour ‘Nishaan-e-Pakistan’ to Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. A resolution was passed by Pakistan's upper house on Monday, asking the government to confer the country’s highest civilian award on separatist leader and former Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani. As per reports, the resolution also sought inclusion of Geelani’s life story in the school curriculum. The resolution also asked the Pakistan government to name an engineering university in Islamabad after Geelani.The resolution seeking highest civilian award comes days after Geelani announced his resignation from All Parties Hurriyat Conference.


Kashmiri Pandit body demands restoration of Article 370

Srinagar:An organisation of migrant Kashmiri Pandits has asked the government of India to restore the statehood and special status for Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation called Reconciliation, Relief and Rehabilitation has demanded that Article 370 be reinstated in J&K ahead of the completion of a year of its abrogation by govt of India on Aug.5. "We demand immediate restoration of statehood and special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Indian Constitution ensures the right to equality that extends to individuals, communities, religions, regions, and all social and political institutions.The right to equality ensures non-discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, region, or any other social and political sub-categories. Never before a state has been downgraded. This is not done in a democracy. One can't have a military solution to a political situation and can't go to war with their own people," said Satish Mahaldar, chairman of migrant Kashmiri Pandits' organisation called Reconciliation, Relief, and Rehabilitation in a statement on Monday.The group has made an appeal to the Prime Minister, Home Minister and government saying, "The people of Jammu and Kashmir were your own people, love them. As a good gesture, confer special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The representatives /parliamentarians are for the people, by the people and they need to understand the aspiration and the wishes of the people".


Scrapping Article 370 was ‘marital rape’, assault on faith of J&K, says PDP’s Naeem Akhtar

Srinagar: Senior PDP leader and former cabinet minister of Jammu and Kashmir Naeem Akhtar Monday said decisions taken by Modi govt, including scrapping of Article 370 and CAA, have rekindled Hindu versus Muslim discourse, and created a ‘South Asian Ummah’ (Muslim unity), extending from Khyber (in Pakistan) to Chittagong in Bangladesh.In an interview to ThePrint ahead of the first anniversary of the govt’s Article 370 move, Akhtar described the decision as “marital rape”.“I would compare 5 Aug.decision with marital rape because a marriage is done according to rules, according to law, but then there is one party which enforces itself on the other. That is what happened to Kashmir on 5 August. We were part of a covenant, a Constitution, which was used against us to achieve goals that were antitheses of why we had joined Union of India,” Akhtar, considered the closest adviser of PDP chief and former CM Mehbooba Mufti, told ThePrint.


Book on sacrifices, flag-hoisting in all J&K panchayats — BJP’s plans to mark 5 August

New Delhi: BJP is planning to release a book, Mission Accomplished, “chronicling the struggles and sacrifice of BJP leaders in J&K from 1949 right up until 2019”, apart from a host of events to mark the first anniversary of Jammu and Kashmir losing its special status. BJP now plans to launch a ‘Ek Bharat, Ek Atma Bharat (One India)’ campaign in J&K from 5 August to “highlight the importance of the decision”. The party’s state unit has also decided to launch 15-day-long celebrations. According to a BJP circular, the party will launch a nationwide campaign between 28 July to 3 August, which will involve state units holding e-rallies and video conferences. The party wants to use the opportunity to also celebrate the scrapping of triple talaq for Muslim women and has directed each state unit to get hold of Muslim women intellectuals.


Will verify media reports of LG suggesting restoration of 4G Internet in J&K, Centre tells SC

Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it would verify reports in the media quoting Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor G.C. Murmu saying 4G Internet speed should be restored in the Valley.A Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana initially asked the J&K administration and the Centre to respond on August 5. However, the law officers expressed reluctance over the date, saying “the officers may not be available on August 5”.It was on August 5 last year that the Centre abrogated the special rights enjoyed by the people of J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution.The court finally scheduled the next hearing for August 7. Mr. Murmu’s reported recommendation caused a stir as the Centre has been maintaining, and even filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, that the situation was not ripe to restore high speed Internet owing to heightened terror activities in J&K. It had agreed to review the situation again after two months.The hearing began with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the J&K administration, straightaway asking for an adjournment. Mr. Mehta said he had received a rejoinder from the petitioner, Forum for Media Professionals, to the affidavit and needed time to respond.


J&K High Court Bar Association head Abdul Qayoom’s detention not to be extended beyond Aug 6, Centre tells SC

Central Government informed the Supreme Court that the detention order of Senior Advocate and President of J&K High Court Bar Association Mian Abdul Qayoom will not be extended beyond the date of its expiry, i.e. 6th August, 2020, legal news website has reported. The submission was made in the plea filed on behalf of Qayoom, challenging the 28th May, 2020, order of J&K High Court which had dismissed his habeas corpus petition and upheld his detention under the J&K Public Safety Act, 1978. A 3-Judge Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard the matter and directed Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta to seek instructions on whether the government was willing to release the Petitioner immediately on conditional bail till 6th August, 2020, post which the detention order would expire. Accordingly, the plea has been adjourned to July 29th.


J-K NC Spokesperson Resigns From Post Amid 'Statehood Vs Special Status' Debate

As the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference has been laying more emphasis on the restoration of statehood than the restoration of special status, party spokesperson and senior leader Ruhullah Mehdi on Tuesday resigned from the post. “I have sent across my resignation from the post of Chief Spokesperson of @JKNC_. From here on none of my statements should be considered as such.” Aga, an influential leader in the party, has been arguing for the past few months that the party should take a firm stand on the restoration of Article 370.


Israeli PM Netanyahu's Son Apologises After His Tweet Offends Hindus

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's eldest son Yair has apologised to Hindus after he faced flak from some Indians who found one of his tweets to be "quite offensive". On Sunday, 29-year-old Yair, who is very active on social media and often defends his father's policies, posted a picture of Hindu goddess Durga, with the face of Liat Ben Ari, the prosecutor in his father's corruption cases, superimposed over the goddess' face.Her many arms were also raised in an objectionable gesture."I've tweeted a meme from a satirical page, criticising political figures in Israel. I didn't realise the meme also portrayed an image connected to the majestic Hindu faith. As soon as I realised it from comments of our Indian friends, I have removed the tweet. I apologise," he said in a tweet. Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelbit's face was superimposed over that of a tiger accompanying the goddess under a caption. Israeli PM's trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes opened in May in a Jerusalem court.



Kejriwal govt rejects Delhi police’s list of lawyers for riots cases, fresh face-off with LG looms

Delhi’s AAP government led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has rejected the proposed list of advocates to represent Delhi Police in court cases linked to riots in northeast Delhi. Delhi government, which had expressed its displeasure with the names in the panel submitted by the police, was asked by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to decide the matter expeditiously within a week.“Delhi Cabinet led by Hon’ble CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal dismisses the panel of advocates appointed to represent Delhi Police in Delhi riots case.Delhi cabinet directs Home Dept to appoint the best lawyers for a fair and impartial trial,” stated a tweet on AAP’s official website.  The development has brought into sharp relief the differences between LG’s office and Delhi government on this issue. While Delhi government has objected to names alleging they were suggested by Centre while highlighting the need for a “fair trial” citing the existence of serious questions over Delhi Police’s handling of the riots, LG’s office has dismissed those concerns while stressing on the need for a dedicated team to handle the riots cases with consistency across courts.


‘Hindus resentful’: HC seeks copy of officer’s note to riot probe teams

Delhi High Court Monday directed Delhi Police to file a copy of an order passed by its Special Commissioner of Police to chiefs of teams probing the Northeast Delhi riots, which has been challenged by families of two persons who were killed in the February violence.Justice Suresh Kumar Kait issued the direction on a plea by Sahil Parvez, whose father was shot dead near his home, and Mohd Saeed Salmani, whose mother was lynched inside her house.The petitioners have cited a report ‘Resentment in Hindus on arrests, take care: Special CP to probe teams’, published in The Indian Express on July 15. As reported by Indian Express, the July 8 order, signed by Special CP Praveer Ranjan, stated that the arrest of “some Hindu youth” from riot-hit areas in Northeast Delhi had led to a “degree of resentment among the Hindu community” and “due care and precaution” must be taken while making arrests. The order was addressed to senior officers heading probe teams, and asked them to “suitably” guide investigating officers. Responding to Indian Express report, Delhi Police PRO Mandeep S Randhawa wrote the next day:“The letter was written only to inform the investigating officers about the representations being received from both the communities and to sensitise and guide them through the investigation of these cases.”But there was no such mention in the Special CP’s order which specifically highlighted “resentment among Hindu community” over arrests of “some Hindu youth”. 2 petitioners, through their counsel Mehmood Pracha, sought quashing of the July 8 order.


Delhi riots: Truth had to be told, says Rtd chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission Zafarul Islam Khan

Zafarul Islam Khan retired as the chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission on July 19, after completing 3 years in office. Just before his retirement, 72-year-old journalist and author submitted a series of reports related to the welfare of minorities in Delhi, including DMC Fact-finding Report on Delhi Riots 2020 to the government of Delhi and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, squarely blaming the Delhi police for aiding and abetting the rioters who roamed the streets in communally-sensitive pockets in north east Delhi. "We do not entertain great hopes, but truth had to be told (about the Delhi riots) and placed on record," Khan tells's.


Owaisi warns PM Modi to not violate oath as secular leader by attending Ram Mandir bhumi pujan

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the possibilities of him attending the bhumi pujan ceremony at Ayodhya for construction of Ram Mandir on August 5. Owaisi has said in a tweet, “Attending bhumi pujan in official capacity will be a violation of @PMOIndia’s constitutional oath. Secularism is part of the Basic Structure of Constitution. We can’t forget that for over 400 years Babri stood in Ayodhya & it was demolished by a criminal mob in 1992.”

Babri Masjid Is A Mosque And It Will Always Remain As One: Asaduddin Owaisi


Karnataka: Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali's history out of school textbooks for this year; opposition protests

Bengaluru: After CBSE reduced the syllabi for Classes 9 to 12 due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Karnataka government has followed the suit. Department of Public Instruction has omitted the chapters on Mysuru rulers Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in their attempt to reduce syllabus for state board schools by 30 per cent. Notably, the move is applicable only for the current academic year.Karnataka Text Books Society has made several omissions for the ease of students. The chapters on Mughal and Rajputs’ history and teachings of Jesus and Mohammad have also been truncated."The chapter on Tipu Sultan for Class 7 has been dropped to reduce the syllabus by 30% for this academic year due to delay in reopening of schools due to no let-up in coronavirus spread," Karnataka Text Book Society director Madde Gowda told the media. "As Class 7 students would have read Tipu in Class 6 and will read more on him again in Class 10, dropping it for them in this academic year will not be a loss to them," Gowda added. "The chapter on Tipu will, however, be taught to Class 7 students as part of the assignment and not as a separate lesson," said Gowda.Meanwhile, opposition Congress protested against the dropping of Tipu's lesson for Class 7 students and accused BJP govt of "playing communal politics" in education too.An expert committee headed by noted writer Baraguru Ramachandrappa advised the state government in Nov.2019 against dropping the content on Tipu from history textbooks. TimesNow/IANS


Detrimental deletions from CBSE Syllabus aimed at clearing ground for Hindu Rashtra’ : Forum for Right to Education

New Delhi: All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE), coalition of hundreds of  education organizations,  on Monday Condemned on the detrimental deletion of syllabus pertaining to people’ struggles and scientific attitude from the CBSE Syllabus. It alleged that the deletions are aimed at clearing the ground for advocating the Hindutva concept of the Hindu Rashtra for which the present regime is aggressively working.Union HRD Ministry has affected significant deletions in CBSE Syllabus for Classes 9 to 12 under the pretext of ‘Rationalisation’ of Syllabus. The decision attracted sharp criticism from the several quarters which termed it as a part of RSS agenda to turn the country into a ‘Hindutva rashtra’.On July 7,  MHRD made significant deletions from CBSE syllabus for secondary and senior secondary classes for the academic year 2020-21, removing from its purview chapters and subject matter relating to important movements, events, concepts and values that are central to understanding the character and goals of modern India’s social, cultural and political life.Sharply reacting on it, Prof Jagmohan Singh, Chairperson, AIFRTE, said  the move is  with a goal to clear the ground for advocating the Hindutva concept of the Hindu Rashtra as the present  government is aggressively working for it. Prof Singh warned that if this concept of “Hindu supremacy, veneration of the State and unchallenged adulation and obedience to a Supreme Leader is to be successfully promoted, and then it would alter the whole narrative of contemporary Indian nationhood and citizenship.”“For the concept of “Hindu supremacy, it is essential that the Indian people and in particular the children and youth be indoctrinated in a narrative that is completely different from the actual experience and history of the people’s struggles that have contributed to the making of contemporary Indian nationhood and citizenship.” Dr. Vikas Gupta, Organizing Secretary of Forum, also warned that   the truncated CBSE syllabus announced by the Center constitutes a “dangerous ideological” step towards consolidating its anti-people, anti-Constitution and anti-national agenda. Therefore, it must be the focus of our nation-wide resistance against the fascist Hindutva- cum-neoliberal capitalist assault on our Constitutional Rights and values as reflected in the sphere of Education, just as anti-CAA movement fought for our Constitutional Rights on the question of citizenship, Dr Gupta averred.MuslimMirror


Muslim Appeasement?  No Muslim out of 12 Madrasa teachers recruitment in West Bengal

Kolkata: On 23rd July, Public Service Commission of West Bengal Government declared the recommended teachers list of Geography subject for 12 state run English Medium Model Madrasa in Bengal. Surprisingly all  12 recommended teachers come from Hindu community. No Muslim figures in the recommended teachers list. Netizens  on social media are protesting against the ‘communal’ approach of the ruling government. Even, former State Minority Affair and Madrasa education Minister Dr. Abdus Sattar, who is now a congress leader, has condemned the discrimination recruitment proces of Model Madrasa teachers.   Ariyan Sultan, head of organization said that they had started campaigning against the discrimination of Muslim candidates in  Model Madrasa teacher recruitment in the state.


Bhima Koregaon case: NIA opposes Sudha Bharadwaj plea

MUMBAI :NIA on Tuesday “strongly opposed” the criminal appeal filed after interim medical bail of trade unionist and human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj was rejected by NIA court.Advocate Ragini Ahuja representing Ms. Bharadwaj lodged at Byculla jail appeared before a division bench of Justices R.D. Dhanuka and V.G. Bisht at Bombay High Court. She said Ms. Bharadwaj was arrested on August 28, 2018 and has been in jail since almost two years on charges under UAPA in the Bhima Koregaon case.The Bench directed the central agency to file a short reply to the petition and adjourned the matter to be heard on August 4.


Bombay HC rejects bail plea of former DU professor Saibaba

Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail application of former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba, who is serving life sentence in a prison here for links with Maoists.Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound with over 90 per cent physical disability, had filed the bail application on medical grounds, saying his weak health along with comorbities make him vulnerable to contract the coronavirus infection in jail.She attached the medical certificate of the 58-year-old Ms Bharadwaj and the medical report submitted by the jail authorities to the petition. The jail medical report had revealed that Ms. Bharadwaj was suffering from diabetes and ischemic heart disease.


Submit report on Varavara Rao’s health, Bombay HC tells city hospital

Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed Nanavati Hospital in the metropolis to submit a report in court on health condition of jailed poet-activist Varavara Rao.A bench led by Justice RD Dhanuka also directed the hospital authorities to submit details of the “nature of medical treatment” being provided to Rao, an accused in Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case, who tested positive for coronavirus on July 16 and is admitted in Nanavati Hospital.The court directed the hospital authorities to submit the report on Rao’s health and treatment within three days from the time the hospital receives communication on the court’s order. PTI


Sedition case against Amulya Leona: Karnataka HC disposes of plea seeking NIA probe

Karnataka High Court on Tuesday disposed of the public interest litigation filed by an advocate from Mandya, seeking transfer of the sedition case against Amulya Leona Noronha, a 19-year-old college student in the city, to NIA. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice HP Sandesh disposed of the petition, saying this is not a case for invoking extraordinary jurisdiction and entrusting it to NIA for a probe, directing the magistrate court to cancel the bail granted to her or ordering a probe against the investigating officer for alleged delay in filing the charge sheet.


Donating money to poor not a substitute for animal sacrifice, says Darul Uloom, Deoband

MEERUT: Leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom, Deoband has come out with what it said is “much needed clarity” on animal sacrifice, saying it is an integral part of Eid-ul-Adha prayers and donating the cost of the animal to the poor is not a way out. It comes a day after one of the leading Islamic seminaries in South India, Hyderabad’s Jamia Nizamia, issued a fatwa advising Muslims to donate money to the poor if they cannot sacrifice animal on Eid-ul-Adha or Bakra-Eid, which is likely to be celebrated on July 31.Interestingly, the fatwa (edict) was issued by Darul Uloom, Deoband in reply to a query posted by the officiating vice-chancellor of the university, Abdul Khaliq Madrasi.The fatwa says that any Muslim devotee who does not offer an animal for sacrifice will be responsible for “abandoning” the holy ritual on the occasion.TOI


People on Eid should sacrifice their children, instead of animals;BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh

BJP MLA from Loni Constituency in Ghaziabad, Nand Kishore Gurjar stirred a controversy when he asked people celebrating Eid ul Adha to "sacrifice their children instead of animals". He also said that "meat spreads coronavirus" so people should not be allowed to sacrifice innocent animals."People who want to sacrifice on Eid should sacrifice their children. I will not let people consume meat and alcohol in Loni. We will not let people sacrifice innocent animals because meat spreads coronavirus," said BJP legislator according to a report in ANI. "The way people have followed the guidelines of the government by not offering prayers and namaz at temples and mosques to contain COVID-19, in the same way, they must not offer the sacrifice of animals on this Eid," he said.


Jamat Islami Hind Telengana demands ‘re-construction of Shaheed Mosque on the same site at the secretariat’

Hyderabad: Jamat e Islami Hind Telengana demanded that mosques demolished at the secretariat in the name of expansion must be restored and built at the same sites. The demands for restoration of worship is growing as the state govt did not take religious groups into confendence before taking this harsh decision which had hurt the religious sentiments of people. In a statement, JIH Telangana President Hamid Mohammad Khan urged the state govt to formally announce the reconstruction of Hashmi Mosque and Masjid Daftar-e-Mutamdi in the Secretariat premises. CM Chandrasekhar Rao should break his silence on this issue and immediately announce the reconstruction of the Secretariat’s martyred mosques on the same site. MuslimMirror


Uttar Pradesh: Dalit woman’s body refused cremation by upper caste men in Agra, Mayawati seeks probe

A Dalit woman's body was unceremoniously removed from funeral pyre minutes before she was to be cremated by upper caste men in Agra a few days back. The incident has now snowballed into a major controversy after video of the act went viral on social media.BSP president Mayawati on Tuesday hit out at the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh and demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident. In a tweet, Mayawati said, "In UP near Agra, the body of a Dalit woman was removed from the cremation ground by people of upper castes having casteist mentality because the cremation ghat belonged to upper castes. This is most shameful and most condemnable."IANS


Vikas Dubey encounter: SC junks pleas to remove ex-UP DGP from probe panel

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said cannot look at one part of the statement and question the integrity as it junked pleas to remove former Uttar Pradesh DGP KL.Gupta as a member of the inquiry commission set up to probe the Vikas Dubey encounter case.The petitioners cited Gupta's statements in the media supporting police action.IANS


Delhi: Seelampur girl living in tiny room with family in slum scores 96% in CBSE 12th result without teacher or tuition

When most of us privileged students appear for board exams, we are given are separate room with fewer distractions to prepare for months before the exam. But Fazia didn’t. 18-year-old lives in a 60/70 sq. ft. room with her mother, brother and three sisters in JJ Cluster in Seelampur. Before her board exams, she woke up each morning and performed her household chores, following by her stitching job to bring in some money.But these duties didn’t stop her from scoring an incredible 96% in her CBSE 12th results 2020.Fazia has no tuition and no teacher and it was hard for her to manage her household duties and studies together, she told ANI.


Floods, coronavirus hobble two of India's poorest states

Floods caused by heavy monsoon rains in 2 of India’s poorest states have displaced or affected 8 million people and killed 111 since May, authorities said on Tuesday, at a time when coronavirus cases have swelled there.Brahmaputra river in the northeastern state of Assam is flowing above the “danger level” in many places, while heavy rains that began this week in Bihar in the east will last until Wednesday, officials say.Since the start of the monsoon season on June 1, Assam has received 15% more rainfall than a 50-year average and Bihar 47% more, according to the country’s weather department.The floods in Assam, where at least nine one-horned rhinos have drowned in an inundated national park, have so far affected 5.7 million people, more than 45,000 of whom are still sheltered in makeshift relief centres.In Bihar, floods have stranded more than 2.4 million people, with around 12,800 staying in government shelters, complicating efforts by officials to enforce social distancing measures to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.It has so far reported more than 41,000 infections, with 255 deaths from COVID disease, straining health resources in the state.Reuters




Round 3: Ashok Gehlot's Fresh Proposal To Governor On Assembly Session

Rajasthan Congress government today sent, for third time, its recommendation for an assembly session from July 31 to the Governor, who has blocked two previous requests. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot met his cabinet earlier this morning to discuss Governor Kalraj Mishra's three conditions, which included a 21-day notice and a coronavirus plan for the house.The revised proposal does not mention whether the state government wants a trust vote in the assembly session. It also asserts that the Ashok Gehlot government has a majority.  "We have a majority. We will prove it if we think it necessary," Rajasthan minister Harish Chaudhary told NDTV after the meeting.On Monday, the Governor wrote to the Chief Minister that he was not against calling an assembly session. "The Raj Bhavan (Governor) gives the go ahead to call Assembly session keeping in mind the suggestions made," he wrote, listing questions that needed to be dealt with.He asked whether the Chief Minister wanted to bring a trust vote; if that is the case, a 21-day notice is not needed. "Do you want to bring a confidence motion? As it is not mentioned in the proposal but in public you (Mr Gehlot) are making statements that you want to bring a Confidence Motion," Mr Mishra had questioned.Governor also said it would be difficult to call all MLAs at short notice during the pandemic. "Can you consider giving 21 days' notice to the MLAs?" - his note asked. The government has said that assembly sessions have been held in Goa, Manipur and Puducherry in the middle of the virus fight.


"Only Essential Items Sold In Lockdown, Like MLAs...": AAP Leader Sanjay Singh's Dig

New Delhi: An AAP leader's post on Twitter today was seen to be a dig at the Rajasthan govt crisis, where allegations of MLAs being bribed have been flying between rival factions.AAP leader Sanjay Singh's tweet listed MLAs among "essential commodities" that can be sold during the coronavirus lockdown. "Everything will be shut in the lockdown but essential items will be sold, like - alcohol, MLAs, trains, airports, banks and government assets," Mr Singh tweeted in Hindi.The post appears to allude to recent stake sale decisions by the central government and allegations of "horse-trading" that have emerged from states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in the middle of the nation's fight against coronavirus.


BJP open to joining hands with Shiv Sena again, says Maharashtra BJP chief, raises eyebrows

Maharashtra BJP chief has said the party is open to joining hands with Shiv Sena.

In a statement that has raised many eyebrows, Maharashtra state BJP president Chandrakant Patil has said that his party is open to joining hands with the Shiv Sena. The statement came immediately after BJP national president JP Nadda appealed to state office bearers to strive towards bringing back the party to power in Maharashtra on its own.The two allies had a bitter fallout following the Maharashtra elections after Shiv Sena dumped its old ally BJP to join hands with arch rivals NCP and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.Chandrakant Patil, while speaking to reporters in Kolhapur said, "Even if we come to power and have to forge an alliance with Shiv Sena, we will still contest the elections on our own. We can form the government together, but that does not mean we will contest the elections together."






Coronavirus pandemic | 43% Indians suffering from depression: Study

Ever since the pandemic hit India over five months back, followed by an unprecedented lockdown, stress levels have been on the rise with 43%Indians suffering from depression, according to a new study.Conducted by GOQii, a smart-tech enabled preventive healthcare platform, the study surveyed over 10,000 Indians to understand how they have been coping with the new normal. According to the study, 26 per cent respondents were suffering from mild depression, 11% were feeling moderately depressed, and six% were facing severe symptoms of depression.“The last five months have been unexpected. The situation has taken a major toll on the mental health of citizens. With the series of lockdowns, anxiety, job cuts, health scares, and the overall volatile environment, stress levels are at an all-time high. Copious amounts of stress can lead to depression. With the current lockdown and lifestyles drastically changing, we have seen that 43% of Indians are currently plagued with depression and are learning to cope with it,” the study said.To monitor the severity of depression in the respondents, study relied on self-administered Patient Health Questionnaire or PHQ-9 (a form of primary care evaluation of mental disorders).Those feeling depressed complained of having little interest or pleasure in doing things, feeling hopeless, dealing with erratic sleep cycles, poor eating habits, low levels of energy, low self esteem, having trouble concentrating, being restless, and having thoughts of self harm. “More than 59% of the population said they had little pleasure in doing things these days, out of which 38% have this feeling on a few days and 9% feel so more than half of the days. Nearly 12% felt this way almost every day in these times,” the study said.


Sleep pattern of people affected in lockdown, finds a study led by AIIMS, across 25 states

The sleep pattern of people was significantly affected in the lockdown with many taking over an hour to fall asleep and many having reduced sleeping time, according to the results of a study led by AIIMS Rishikesh along with other major hospitals in 25 states of the country, said AIIMS officials.The study which was based on a survey comprising questionnaire on various aspects of sleep was spearheaded by Head of Department of Psychiatry & Neurology in AIIMS Rishikesh, Dr Ravi Gupta. In the survey conducted in early May on social media platforms, the group of doctors involved in the study received response from 958 respondents across the country and some from foreign countries.“The lockdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic affected the life of almost every person in the country. We wanted to find out how it has also affected the sleep pattern of people for which we decided to a do a study based on a survey in the public,” said Dr Gupta.



Education in time of COVID: 179 professional colleges shut down this year, highest in last 9 years

Nearly 180 professional colleges, including engineering institutes and business schools, have shut down during the academic year 2020-21, the highest number of closure of technical institutions in the last nine years, according to All India Council of Technical Eduction (AICTE) data.Besides the closure of 179 institutes, at least 134 institutes did not seek approval this year in view of large number of seats lying vacant over the last 5 years thus making it unviable for continuing the institution.Also, at least 44 institutes could not get approval or their approvals were withdrawn due to punitive action by the technical education regulator. While 92 technical institutes had to close down in the 2019-20 academic session, the figures were 89 (2018-19), 134 (2017-18), 163 (2016-17), 126 (2015-16) and 77 (2014-15).Progressive closure means institute cannot admit the students for the first year during the academic year, however, the existing students will continue till completion of their course and their degrees are treated as valid. In the academic year 2020-21, a total of 1.09 lakh seats approved by AICTE have been reduced in pharmacy and architecture institutions.PTI


Too much hand sanitiser can lead to severe hand dermatitis

New Delhi: Hand sanitisers have irrefutably become the most important thing in our lives to protect ourselves during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic; the other things include masks and social distancing. It has been a long time since hand sanitisers became mandatory; while they are effective in dealing with germs and bacteria, excessive usage can result in killing good bacteria as well.Citing medical reports, alcohol-based sanitisers are considered effective in eliminating the spread of disease. However, there have been claims that excessive usage of the same has led to severe skin problems like hand dermatitis. People have also encountered skin issues like severe dryness, burning, and redness of the skin along with cracked or bleeding skin. However, both alcohol-free and alcohol-based sanitisers are known to provide good results as long as one adds-on these habits to save your skin from a any negative effects.IANS


What can be done to expedite trials against foreign Jamaat attendees, asks SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta what can be done to expedite the trials against the foreign nationals, who attended the Markaz Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin in March this year.A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the blacklisting and cancellation of visas of foreign nationals who attended the congregation, which had reportedly become an epicentre for the spread of coronavirus in the country.Mehta, senior law officer representing the Central government, submitted that 23 foreign nationals, out of the total 34 petitioners, have been let off on fine after they accepted mild charges under the plea bargaining process.ANI


Tablighi Jamaat: Foreigners not deported due to seven more pending FIRs, claim their representatives

At least 70 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members, who were ordered to be deported on payment of fine by a Delhi court after they accepted mild charges related to various violations during the COVID-19 lockdown, have not been able to return to their countries as 7 other FIRs are pending against them, their representatives claimed on Monday.Police has moved the court for proceedings in these seven FIRs against the Tablighi members, who had participated in a religious congregation herein March, and the court will hear the matter on Tuesday, they said.These foreigners from different countries including Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Brazil, Sudan and Afghanistan, who were charge sheeted by the Crime Branch of the Delhi police in the case, have also been booked under the same charges in the seven FIRs filed by the local police, they said.These seven FIRs were lodged at different police stations including Sadar Bazar, Seelampur, Jahangirpuri, Wazirabad, Dayalpur, but no summons were served to them or any charge sheet filed in the cases, claimed the representatives.PTI


No revised guidelines for Bakri Eid celebrations in Maharashtra, MHA rules to be followed

Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Tuesday clarified that the state government will not issue fresh guidelines for Bakri Eid celebrations and that rules laid out by the Union Home Ministry will be followed.Malik said that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government was not considering issuing fresh guidelines for the Islamic festival, reported Times Now's Kajal.Earlier, it was reported that the state government is expected to come up with revised guidelines for Bakri Eid after state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat and state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh met the Chief Minister last night, reported Times Now.


India's coronavirus tally crosses 15-lakh mark

India has registered 28,652 new cases of coronavirus since Monday evening, taking the countries Covid-19 tally past the 15-lakh mark. A PTI tally of data reported by states by evening puts the total number of Covid-19 cases in India at 15,06,380. Union Health Ministry site is likely to reflect the new numbers by Wednesday morning.In its most recent update, the Union Health Ministry placed the total number of cases at 14,83,156 and the death toll at 33,425. The ministry said that 9,52,743 people have so far recovered from the infection.


Mumbai Sees Lowest Single-Day Covid Cases In 3 Months

 On a day Mumbai recorded its highest coronavirus testing figures with almost 9,000 tests, only around 700 positive cases were reported from these tests. From the 8,776 tests conducted on Monday, around 700 samples were positive, which is the lowest in the last 100 days.The country's financial capital reported 1,033 COVID-19 cases on Monday from tests conducted on Sunday. The doubling rate in the city is 68 days now and Mumbai's recovery rate is at 73 per cent. The overall growth rate of coronavirus cases in Mumbai from July 20 to July 26 was 1.03 per cent.


Mumbai sero-survey: 57% respondents in slums exposed to coronavirus,16% in residential societies

A sero-survey conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on 6,936 people from three wards found that 57 per cent respondents in slums had been exposed to and developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus, as opposed to 16 per cent in residential societies.Those who were associated with the survey said that shared facilities like toilets, high population density and lack of physical distancing may be the reasons why those living in slums were 3.5 times more exposed to the virus than people living in housing societies.


"Total Negligence": UP Covid Patient Records Message Hours Before Death

Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh: A disturbing video - shot by a coronavirus patient at a top government hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi city - was widely shared on social media after his death on Monday as questions were raised yet again on the Yogi Adityanath govt's claims about adequate facilities for COVID19 patients at the state-run hospitals. 52-second video was shot by the patient admitted to the Covid ward of the Jhansi Medical College and Hospital on Monday. The clip shows him struggling as he breathes; his vest appears to be soaked in blood. "There is no arrangement for water. I am feeling very hassled. Shift me to another hospital. There is no care here. There are no arrangements and there is total negligence," the man is heard saying. As he moves the camera to show the Covid ward, other patients can be seen lying on beds around him at the Jhansi hospital, about 300 km from state capital Lucknow.


Air pollution is bigger killer than coronavirus, much worse than conflict, terrorism: study

New Delhi: A new report by Energy Policy Institute of University of Chicago (EPIC.) says that air pollution is a bigger killer than coronavirus, much worse than conflict and terrorism. India has the second-worst air pollution in the world, after Bangladesh, its research shows. All of India's 1.4 billion people live in areas where the annual average particulate pollution exceeds the WHO's standards. If pollution levels persist, almost 250 million people in northern India could lose more than eight years of life expectancy.Published in the middle of coronavirus pandemic, Air Quality Life Index, 2020, annual update report says, "Air pollution was the greatest risk to human health before COVID-19 and will be after COVID-19." Air pollution has deadly effects on a person's heart, lungs, brain and other systems and organs, its impact more devastating than even conflict and terrorism. The report says the average life expectancy lost per person due to air pollution is 1.9 years but 23 days due to war and terrorism.People in Delhi stand to lose over 9.4 years because of particulate pollution, the highest of all the states. But if one compares cities, then the worst-hit is Lucknow. It has the highest level of pollution in the country, 11 times more than WHO's guideline. If the level of air pollution persists, people here stand to lose 10.3 years of life expectancy.


West Bengal Lockdown: Biweekly lockdown extended till August 31, says CM Mamata

Kolkata :West Bengal Lockdown: In a bid to arrest the rising Covid-19 cases in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced an extension of the biweekly lockdown till August 31. Besides, the lockdown in containment zones has also been extended till August 31.Addressing media persons in Nabanna, Banerjee said, “We are extending the two-day lockdown every week in the state, which was in force till July 31, till August 31.” Schools and colleges will remain closed till August 31, but if the situation improves then, from September 5, they can be opened on alternative days, she said.


India readies five sites for final phase of human trials of Oxford COVID vaccine

Five sites across the country are ready for the third and final phase of human trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Secretary Renu Swarup said on Monday.This is an essential step because it is necessary to have data within the country before the vaccine is administered to Indians, Swarup said.The Serum Institute of India, the largest vaccine maker in the world, has been chosen by Oxford and its partner AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine once it is ready. Trials results for the first two phases were published earlier this month.PTI


Doctor accuses Wuhan officials of COVID-19 cover-up

A doctor, who diagnosed early coronavirus cases in China, has said that he believes local officials in Wuhan, where the virus originated last December, covered up the scale of the initial outbreak, a media report said on Monday.Professor Kwok-Yung Yuen, who helped to investigate in Wuhan, told BBC that physical evidence was destroyed and the response to clinical findings was slow."When we went to the Huanan supermarket, of course, there was nothing to see because the market was clean already.IANS


Turkey plans to reopen all schools as long as virus keeps receding

Turkey plans to reopen schools nationwide on August 31, to get students back into classrooms and free up working parents, assuming a recent stabilisation in coronavirus cases holds.Teachers and administrators are preparing on-site health precautions, but two government sources told Reuters that the daily infection rate may need to dip below the more than 900 seen recently to allow them to execute what they called Plan A.Schools shifted to distance education in March, when Turkey identified its first case and began restricting movement.



Israel faces double whammy in goal to preserve ethnic majority in Palestine

Israel is expected to face a massive post-pandemic wave of emigration and a significant drop in the rate of immigration, the country’s leading demographer warned in an interview with Haaretz.Drawing attention to the highly sensitive issue of the Zionist state’s demographic makeup, which over the decades has been maintained as a Jewish majority through ethnic cleansing and violent gerrymandering of boundaries, Professor Sergio DellaPergola warned that high unemployment rate, coupled with political discontent, could drive young Israelis away.This prediction, argued the Italian born professor who emigrated to Israel in 1966, challenged the government’s rosy coronavirus Aliyah (immigration of diaspora Jews) forecasts.“I pray that I’m wrong, but I’ve been doing population projections for 40 years – and, unfortunately, I’m usually right,” said DellaPergola, who worked at the Hebrew University and according to Haaretz is widely regarded as the dean of Jewish demographers.Refuting the Israeli governments forecast DellaPergola explained that “It looks like all those making these predictions are operating on the basis of hopes and fears rather than rationality.”


Meshaal proposes plan to confront Israeli annexation

Former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has proposed a plan to confront Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank and the US deal of the century, reported on Monday.Meshaal’s proposal is part of a “political vision” produced for the Arab Thinking Forum in London. It was announced in an interview with the Chairman of the forum, Mohamed Amin.According to, the proposal is based mainly on rebuilding the Palestinian national programme and reformation of the Palestinian Authority in a way that enables it to face up to the measures imposed by Israel.Meshaal spoke about the Israeli annexation plan, its background and the tactical reasons for its postponement. He stressed that the Palestinian national programme must include “comprehensive confrontation” with the Israeli occupation.


Hamas rejects offer of $15bn in return for disarming

Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement revealed on Monday that it had rejected a $15bn offer for Israel to lift its siege imposed on Gaza on condition that it disarms and abandons resistance to the occupation.Hamas revealed that its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said that the movement had turned down the offer about two months ago.The offer included financial aid, infrastructure projects, an airport and a seaport for the besieged Gaza Strip, as part of the “deal of the century”. The official Hamas website pointed out that Haniyeh told this for the first time to a Qatari newspaper. In the interview, the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister said that the parties which made the offer asked for the resistance to be disarmed and the Palestinians’ right to Jerusalem to be abandoned.


Lebanon's Hezbollah accuses Israel of fabricating border clash

 Hezbollah denied its fighters staged an "infiltration attempt" that led to clashes with Israeli forces on Monday calling the Israeli account a move to create "false victories".Lebanese armed group also vowed revenge for a Hezbollah member killed in a suspected Israeli air strike in Syria last week saying a response against Israel was "coming for sure".Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disputed the armed group's denial of any border incident, adding  "Hezbollah should know that it is playing with fire."The Israeli military said earlier three to five Hezbollah fighters crossed into the disputed Shebaa Farms area that is occupied by Israeli forces, and they were repulsed after Israeli troops opened fire. Shebaa Farms was captured by Israel in 1967 Middle East war and is claimed by Lebanon.But Hezbollah denied it carried out a raid over the southern border saying the incident was "from one side only, from the anxious enemy" who opened fire first.


Turkey pauses energy-exploration research in east Mediterranean

Turkey has said it will suspend research for oil and gas exploration off a Greek island amid tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.Greece's navy last week said it had deployed ships in Aegean in "heightened readiness" after Turkey announced plans for energy exploration near the island of Kastellorizo.In an interview with national broadcaster CNN Turk, spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had requested that operations be put on hold.A Turkish vessel, the Oruc Reis, planned to search for hydrocarbons "180 kilometres from the island of Meis (Kastellorizo in Greek)", Kalin said. "Despite this, our president said while the negotiations are continuing, let's be constructive and hold for a while," he said.Kalin on Tuesday said Greece was an "important neighbour" to Turkey and added: "We are ready to discuss with Greece without any conditions."


Malaysia's Najib gets 12 years in jail for 1MDB-linked graft case

 Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been sentenced to serve 12 years in jail after a court in Kuala Lumpur found him guilty of corruption in the first of several cases linked to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from the state fund, 1MDB.Tuesday's ruling makes Najib the first Malaysian leader to be convicted of corruption.But the 67-year-old remains free as Judge Mohamad Nazlan Ghazali granted a stay order on the execution of Najib's sentence, pending an appeal."Surely, I am not satisfied with the result," Najib told reporters as he exited Kuala Lumpur's High Court.


Former President Ahmadinejad sends letter to ‘brother’ Bin Salman

With little regard for normal diplomatic protocol, Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reached out to arch-rival Mohammad Bin Salman in a letter dismissed by officials and experts.Ahmadinejad has apparently urged the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince to join hands in ending war and conflict in the Middle East. “I know that your Excellency is not happy about the current situation of innocent people dying and getting injured every day and infrastructure being damaged,” said the former Iranian official in his letter, a copy of which has been sent to the New York Times. “You are upset that regional resources belonging to the people are used for destruction instead of developing peace and prosperity. For these reasons you will welcome a just peace.”


Tunisia: Ennahda demands forming government of ‘national political unity’

Ennahda Movement has called on Prime Minister-designate Hichem Mechichi to form a government of “national political unity”.This came in a brief statement to a source familiar with the Executive Office of the Ennahda movement following a meeting of the office that continued until the early hours of yesterday morning. The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “The movement wishes success for Mechichi in his mission.”He added that the movement wanted to form a “government of national political unity” that would respond to the aspirations of Tunisians.On Saturday, Tunisian President Kais Saied announced the appointment of Mechichi to form a government within a period not exceeding a month, in accordance with Article 89 of the Constitution, starting from Sunday.


Taliban announce 3-day ceasefire in Afghanistan for Eid al-Adha, starting Friday

Kabul: Taliban announced on Tuesday that they will observe a 3-day ceasefire in Afghanistan for Muslim occasion of Eid al-Adha, starting Friday, the group’s spokesman said.“In order for our people to spend the three days of Eid in confidence and happiness, all fighters are instructed not to carry out any operations,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.However, he added that if Taliban fighters come under attack from government forces, they will retaliate. Violence in Afghanistan has increased over recent weeks as the prisoner exchange between the Afghan government and Taliban has stalled.Reuters


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