*INDIA- ISLAMOPHOBIA, HUMAN RIGHTS & OTHERS*
Daughters have equal coparcenary rights in joint Hindu family property: Supreme Court
Holding that daughters cannot be deprived of their right of equality, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that they will have equal coparcenary rights in joint Hindu family property even if the father died before Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005. A 3-judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S. Nazeer and M.R. Shah said the provisions contained in substituted Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 confer the status of coparcener on the daughter born before or after amendment in the same manner as a son with the same rights and liabilities. Coparcener is a term used for a person who assumes a legal right in parental property by birth only.The Bench said, “the rights can be claimed by the daughter born earlier with effect from Sept.9, 2005 with savings as provided in Section 6(1) as to the disposition or alienation, partition or testamentary disposition which had taken place before Dec.20, 2004. Since the right in coparcenary is by birth, it is not necessary that father coparcener should be living as on Sept.9, 2005.” The verdict makes it clear that the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 granting equal rights to daughters to inherit ancestral property would have retrospective effect. The SC said the appeals on the issue were pending before different High Courts and subordinate courts and the matters have already been delayed due to legal imbroglio caused by conflicting decisions.“The daughters cannot be deprived of their right of equality conferred upon them by Section 6. Hence, we request that the pending matters be decided, as far as possible, within 6 months,” the Bench said.The apex court’s verdict came on the issue whether the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 granting equal rights to daughters to inherit ancestral property would have retrospective effect.PTI
All persons residing in state before January 1, 1951, defined as Assamese: AASU releases confidential report on Clause 6 of Assam Accord
A report on Clause 6 of Assam Accord defines “Assamese people” as all persons residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951, and their descendants. All Assam Students’ Union released a copy of the “confidential” report on Tuesday. The students’ union is part of a high-level committee for the implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord of 1985.The committee, constituted to define the “Assamese people” and implement Clause 6, had submitted the report to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Feb.25 so that it could be handed over to Union Home Minister Amit Shah. All Assam Students’ Union said it released the document as the people have the right to know its contents, PTI reported.Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985 calls upon the Centre to provide constitutional, administrative and legislative safeguards to protect the linguistic and cultural identity of the Assamese people and safeguard their rights to land. The signing of the accord in 1985 ended a six-year-long, violent anti-immigrant movement, sparked by anxiety over fresh migration into Assam in the aftermath of the Bangladesh War of 1971. Using the war as the cut-off, the Accord defined anyone who came before the midnight of March 24, 1971 as an Indian citizen in Assam. But the accord did not define who falls under the ambit of “Assamese people”.Apart from defining the category, the panel has now said that “foreigners” who had entered Assam after 1971 should be resettled outside the state as an interim measure, until they could be deported.
AASU Releases Confidential Report On Clause 6 Of Assam Accord
Decide in 15 days if Dr. Kafeel Khan can be released or not: SC to Allahabad HC
The Supreme Court has set a 15-day deadline for Allahabad High Court to decide on the release of Dr Kafeel Khan, who was arrested in January during anti-CAA protests. “Hear and expeditiously consider the matter on merits and consider in 15 days time, whether Dr Kafeel Khan can be released or not,” the bench said.Khan, who was earlier suspended from Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital, has been in detention since Jan. 29 for allegedly making an inflammatory speech on AMU campus during an anti-CAA protest on Dec.10. The court fixed August 19 as the next date of hearing in the case. Khan’s petitioner has said that he was granted bail by a competent court. However, he was not released for four days and, subsequently, the NSA was slapped on him. The plea has challenged Khan’s detention for four days even after he secured bail in all the cases registered against him.indianexpress
Delhi Riots accused Kasim Ali given bail 3 times due to lack of evidence
A Delhi court has granted bail to a man 3 times in 3 separate FIRs related to the arson of three floors of a building during the north-east Delhi riots. The order came after the police failed to put on record CCTV camera footage they claimed was evidence as part of the supplementary charge sheet despite repeated orders by the judge.The judge, on the third instance on July 28, while granting bail to Kasim Ali due to the absence of evidence in the form of CCTV camera footage, also directed that the copy of the order be sent to DCP and Special Commissioner (Crime) for necessary action.Ali was arrested for rioting and the arson of various houses, including three floors of a building in the Jaffarabad area, on February 24 during the riots. Appearing for Ali, his counsel contended that his client was falsely implicated in the case and the evidence was planted.
‘Caravan’ reporters covering communal tension in North East Delhi say they were manhandled by a mob
3 journalists from Caravan magazine were allegedly manhandled by unidentified people in North East Delhi on Tuesday while they were covering a story about communal tensions that broke out in the area on the night of August 5, following the foundation-laying ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “This is to confirm that 3 of our reporters on assignment, working on stories on the anti-muslim violence in northeast Delhi, were surrounded by a mob and manhandled,” magazine’s editor Hartosh Singh Bal said in a tweet. “We’ll release an official statement shortly.”2 of the reporters were identified as Prabhjit Singh and Shahid Tantray. They were reporting on Hindus celebrating Ram temple event allegedly shouting bigoted slogans and placing saffron flags on gates of Subhash Mohalla. On Tuesday, Singha and Tantray had reported in Caravan about 2 women and a teenage girl who had accused the police in Bhajanpura of sexually assaulting them on Aug.8, when they had gone to file a complaint about the people who had shouted the slogans at midnight, asking Muslim people in the area to leave the neighbourhood.
'We've never had real independence in India': Dr Rowena on Prof Hany Babu’s arrest, house raids, casteism
New Delhi ; “Day in and day out we are reminded that there is no justice in this country. And there is no peace without justice,” Hany Babu Musaliyarveettil Tharayil, an associate professor of English at Delhi University tweeted one day in July this year. Babu is a vocal and influential voice against India’s discriminatory caste system.Weeks later on 28 July, Babu, who is 54 years old, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in connection with Elgaar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case — a sprawling, open-ended investigation into the caste violence near Pune on 1 January, 2018, and the so-called assassination plot against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that critics say, is being manipulated to imprison those dissenting against India’s increasingly authoritarian regime.“To find ten men trying to enter your home early in the morning is disturbing.We are not hardened criminals. We are teachers and academics. My teenage daughter was at home,” said Rowena, an assistant professor in English Department at Delhi University’s Miranda House college. “I didn’t know how long they would stay. I was very worried.”“I told them that I would not let them enter until I phoned someone and told them what was going on,” she said. This wasn’t Rowena’s first police raid, she said.
Meerut man accused of firing during anti-CAA clashes now booked under NSA
Meerut: A 48-year-old man, arrested for allegedly opening fire at policemen during the clashes amid anti-CAA protests in Meerut in December, now also faces stringent NSA which local police invoked against him on Monday to ensure that he stays in jail for another few months.Anees alias Khalifa -- who had no criminal record-- was arrested on January 14 this year for allegedly taking part in Dec.20 violence. After his arrest, Anees is said to have told investigators that he shot at policemen to avenge the “murder of his brother at the hands of police” way back in 1987 when Meerut witnessed riots. Police claimed that Anees was identified from CCTV footage.Police also alleged that Anees is linked to PFI. According to sources, Anees had applied for bail and he would have come out sooner or later. But, NSA will ensure his stay in the jail for another at least 3 months.TOI
New 'Babri Masjid' won't be named after Mughal Emperor Babar: Trust Secretary
The new 'Babri Masjid' in Ayodhya, that is all set to come up in Dhannipur, will not be named after Mughal Emperor Babar. In other words, the new mosque won't be called 'Babri Masjid'. In fact, it won't be named after any emperor or ruler, said Athar Hussain, Secretary and spokesperson of the newly formed trust Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) which is entrusted with the task of building the mosque in Ayodhya, in an interview to IANS.Just days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made it clear that he would not attend any events pertaining to the new mosque in Ayodhya, he asserted that the trust would extend an invitation to not just Yogi Adityanath for the ceremony relating to the other community projects that fall under the purview of the upcoming mosque, but also to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Hussain stated, "In Islam, there's no ground breaking ceremony of a mosque. I have gone through the entire Islamic jurisprudence of all 4 schools of thought that cites a precedence. But since we are also providing public utilities like community kitchens or hospitals, the priority of any chief minister of any state is to provide the same. I hope he will come and also contribute to our efforts."IANS
UP: Poet Munawwar Rana writes to PM Modi, offers his five acre land for ‘Babri mosque’
Lucknow: Renowned Urdu poet Munawwar Rana has sent a letter to PM Modi expressing willingness to donate his ancestral 5.5 acre land next to river Sai in Rae Bareli, for construction of a grand Babri Masjid. The poet has also said that the five-acre land in Dhannipur village sanctioned by the government in lieu of Babri Masjid, should be used for building a hospital in the name of King Dashrath, the father of Ram. 69-year-old poet who received Sahitya Akademi award for Urdu but returned it in 2015 over the “intolerance” issue, has also asked PM for a new Muslim waqf Board for protection of waqf properties. The poet reiterated that, “Land for the mosque was thrown away in a far off area in Dhannipur. It is better then that instead of igniting more hate between Hindus and Muslims, Raja Dashrath hospital be built on the said land. People should see what Muslims did.” “In any case mosques are not built on government lands or those usurped by force,” he added. In the letter, Rana has said that Rae Bareli is a city of historical, cultural and religious importance.TOI
Bengal Imam Association terms supporting bhoomi pujan as anti-Islam
Kolkata: Bengal Imams' Association has issued a new diktat stating that supporting Ram temple bhoomi pujan is "anti -Islam".Imams' Association has released a statement lashing out at the right wing for threatening of dire consequences too.Highlighting the Nizamuddin incident, association took a dig at RSS and BJP claiming their actions to be a propaganda against Islam. Imams' Association added on to distinguish RSS-BJP from Hinduism. Slamming the parties, it stated," It is not the foundation of Ram Rajya or Hirashtra but the annual celebration of anti-Muslim sentiment is religion of RSS-BJP."Association further asked the Muslim allies of BJP-RSS to reflect upon their choices and "correct" themselves as it will otherwise erase their identity as a Muslim.The association threatened the right wing and reiterated that their "fight" with RSS-BJP will continue. Md. Yahiya, President stated, "It is to warn those Muslims who are supporting RSS- BJP that they should decide now who they want to support in days to come. This is not any fatwa but they need to understand that they are helping who want to harm Muslims."
W. Bengal minister Chowdhury: Muslims betrayed, discriminated by PM, days after 'bhoomi pujan'
Kolkata: Days after Ram Temple 'bhoomi pujan' in Ayodhya, Siddiqullah Chowdhury, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president and also a minister in Mamata Banerjee's cabinet claims Muslims in India have been betrayed by PM Narendra Modi after he had attended the religious ceremony, performed rituals on August 5. Siddiqullah while appeals for peace and honours the Apex court verdict over the decades-long land dispute, claims "honouring the verdict doesn't mean accepting it".
Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan a ‘civilisational moment’ for India: Author Amish Tripathi
New Delhi: The Ram Temple bhoomi poojan, which was held at Ayodhya on 5 August, was a civilisational moment in India, Amish Tripathi, the best-selling author of the Shiva Trilogy, said .In an interaction with ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta at the 100th edition of Off the Cuff, Tripathi also addressed the criticism that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was subjected to for participating in the ceremony. Many argued that the constitutional head of a secular country like India should not participate in religious events. “While I am a diplomat, I can say that this is a civilisational moment. It gives a message to the world that we are alive, that we are Sanatan Dharma,” he said.He added that community guilt and victimhood, however, served no purpose. “It is necessary to address the pain from the past, especially for those of us who are traditionalists. But using that to engender hatred against someone today for something that could have been done 200 years ago or 1,000 years ago is something that will keep making us go back and forth. There’s a need for pragmatism in the middle,” said Tripathi.
Already booked for Sedition: Police to invoke NSA against Peace Party chief Dr Ayub for ‘communal ad’
Lucknow: UP Police has begun process of invoking stringent NSA against Peace Party national president Dr Mohammad Ayub, 10 days after he was arrested for allegedly inciting possible communal tension over an advertisement issued by him in an Urdu paper last month. An FIR was registered against Ayub on July 31 at Hazratganj police station in Lucknow. Hazratganj SHO Anjani Kumar Pandey claimed that Ayub had issued an advertisement in an Urdu paper on July 30 with content that was “communal in nature” and was “widely condemned” on social media. “He was arrested from his hometown of Gorakhpur and sent to jail in Lucknow. Now, we are invoking NSA after an order by DM,”said Pandey.
PIL In Supreme Court Demands Rebuilding Of Mosques, Temple Pulled Down In Telangana Secretariat
Hyderabad-based advocate Khaja Aijazuddin has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking direction to Telangana govt to give commitment to rebuild two mosques and a temple within the vicinity of the old Telangana secretariat at Hyderabad that were pulled down last month to enable construction of a new building for the state secretariat. Telangana secretariat complex is spread over an area of 25 acres.In his plea, Khaja Aijazuddin said that the temple named Nalla Pochamma was located in A Block of the secretariat while two mosques- one named as Masjid Daffatir-e-Muatamadi was located in C block and the other one Masjid-e-Hashmi was located near the D block.
Nobody Can Be Called Anti-national For Not Speaking Hindi: DMK Leader Kanimozhi
A day after DMK leader MK Kanimozhi raised the issue of facing taunts at Chennai airport over language, she said that it is wrong to label individuals as 'anti-nationals' for not knowing a particular language. Kanimozhi also said that BJP government is trying to push Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states through the new 3- language formula. Kanimozhi said, "I think the 3-language formula is to push Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states. Nobody is saying don’t learn Hindi. But it can’t be forced. Nobody is against learning any language. The question arises when they ask us to learn a particular language. And if someone calls you anti-national if you don’t know a language, that’s wrong."outlookindia
‘BSNL’s 85,000 employees traitors, will be fired’: BJP’s Hegde
Former Union minister and BJP MP from Uttara Kannada Anantkumar Hegde, no stranger to controversies, has stirred up another one by calling BSNL employees ‘traitors’ and ‘anti-nationals’ who would be fired as they refused to work. In a video of an event in Kumta in his parliamentary constituency on Monday that has been widely shared, the MP was seen saying that the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited was a blot on the country as even after being provided money, infrastructure and a ready market, the telco’s employees just refuse to work.“The only cure for that is privatisation which our government will do. Some 85,000 will be fired and later on more need to be fired,’ he was seen saying in the video.The opposition Congress criticised Hegde’s remarks, saying the comments only showed his own worth. The party also said that the Centre was out to privatise everything and this indicated its inability to govern.
Process of reconstitution of Delhi Waqf Board begins; last date for nomination submission August 17
The process of reconstitution of Delhi Waqf Board (DWB) has been set in motion with the finalisation of dates for the election of member-MLA. According to a public notice issued by the revenue department, elections for the same will be held on August 25 if it requires. The last date for nomination submission is August 17 and scrutiny of the papers will be conducted the next day. The last date of nomination withdrawal is August 19. “In the event of elections being contested, polling will be held on August 25 between 9 am to 2 pm at the office of deputy commissioner (north), who has been appointed as the returning officer for the polls,” said an official of the Delhi government.The election for the member-MLA is likely to take place among five elected Muslims members — Shoaib Iqbal (Matia Mahal), Imran Hussain (Ballimaran), Amanatullah Khan (Okhla), Abdul Rehman (Seelampur), and Haji Yunus (Mustafabad) — of Delhi assembly. All of them belong to AAP.“The possibility of the elections is unlikely. The member-MLA may unanimously be elected. Former chairman of DWB and Okhla MLA Khan is the front runner,” said ex DWB member.
Ex-prof Saibaba seeks parole, HC issues notice to Maha govt
Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has issued notice to the Maharashtra government on an application filed by Delhi University’s former professor GN Saibaba for emergency parole to attend the post funeral rituals of his late mother. Saibaba, who is serving life term in Nagpur Central Prison for links with Maoists, lost his ailing mother on August 1 even as his lawyers were seeking to arrange a video conference between the two.Last week, prison authorities rejected Saibaba’s plea seeking parole for attending the last rites of his 74-year-old mother, who died in Hyderabad.PTI
Punjab: Dalit Village 'Misled' by Govt to Hand Over Panchayat Land for Industrial Park
Chandigarh: One-and-a-half months ago, Amrik Kaur, sarpanch of village Sekhowal in Ludhiana district, was asked to attend a meeting at Ludhiana deputy commissioner’s office. There, she was asked to give her consent for the transfer of a portion of the village common (shamlat) land for a government project.Kaur told The Wire she was informed that the government needed around 200 acres of village shamlat land for an agro nursery.“I thought not much land was required for this project, so I signed the resolution in the presence of the deputy commissioner and BDPO, both of whom were later transferred out of the city,” she claimed.But the village was rattled when the state cabinet on July 8 announced the set up of an industrial park over 955 acres of land, of which 416.1 acres belonged to Sekhowal panchayat. While the announcement outraged environmentalists due to the project’s proximity to Mattewara forest range and the adjoining Sutlej river, the people of Sekhowal village called a meeting of the gram sabha, its supreme body, on July 22, and passed a fresh resolution that no village shamlat land would be handed over for the industrial park project.In this resolution, sarpanch Amrik Kaur said that she had not been informed that the village land was meant for an industrial township when she had attended the meeting with the Ludhiana deputy commissioner.The Wire
Tablighi Jamaat: Karnataka HC quashes cases against 9 foreigners provided they leave country immediately
Karnataka High Court recently quashed criminal cases registered against nine foreign nationals who had attended Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on the condition that they immediately leave the country.The accused were also required to give an undertaking that they will not visit India again for the next 10 years. Single Judge Bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit further clarified that the foreigners would also have to pay the fine amount that may be levied by the competent authority.
No objection to quashing FIRs against foreign Tablighi Jamaat: Police to HC
The police informed the Delhi High Court on Monday that it has no objection to quashing of the separate FIRs against various foreigners, who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event here and allegedly indulged in missionary activities in violation of visa norms and breached anti-COVID-19 guidelines. The submissions were made before Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani who was hearing a batch of petitions by the foreign nationals seeking quashing of FIRs against them. According to the separate petitions, the foreigners said they have already admitted their guilt in FIR lodged by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police in the matter and pleaded for lenient punishments under the provisions of plea bargaining.PTI
Pranab Mukherjee continues to be critical, on ventilator support after surgery
Former President Pranab Mukherjee, who underwent a brain surgery, continues to remain critical and is on ventilator support, Army’s R&R Hospital said. Mukherjee, who also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, is admitted at the hospital in the capital.“Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee was admitted to Army Hospital (R&R) Delhi Cantt at 12:07 hours in a critical condition. Workup at the hospital revealed a large brain clot for which he underwent emergency life-saving surgery. Post-surgery he continues to remain critical on ventilatory support. He was also found to be COVID-19 positive,” statement from the hospital read. Mukherjee has not shown any improvement and his health status has worsened, the statement added.
“The participation of the Muslim youth in UPSC exams is very less”, says topper Qamruddin Khan
Mohammad Qamruddin Khan, who cleared civil services exams this year, is an alumnus of IIT-Kharagpur. He secured 511th rank in UPSC’s list of successful candidates.Despite being in the pretty well white-collar job, he appeared in the most coveted exams. Khan is now on the top of world. Talking about his journey to the Civil Services after having graduating Engineering from IIT-Kharagpur, he told Muslim Mirror that he did not give full time to the study because of his hectic schedule as he is manager in the Indian railways. “I was continuously in job and so, I could never make up a time table out of my hectic schedule. I studied whenever I could. In fact, on some days, I wouldn’t even study”, said Khan on being asked about his study hours.He has already cleared Indian Engineering Services in 2014 at a very young age, later got into Railway Services and got posted as Railway Manager. Khan has always dreamt of serving the nation and so, he took a big decision of switching his stream from Engineering to Civil Services. muslimmirror
Red flags over checks & balances: EIA draft feedback closes today
Greater discretion for the government to decide on strategic projects, allowing promoters to declare violations themselves, and a substantive increase in number of projects that will escape scrutiny.These are among the controversial clauses in Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) draft 2020 for which the deadline to file objections and suggestions by public ends Tuesday.Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Monday that the objections will be discussed before the Ministry takes a call on the final draft. Officials said the Ministry has received 4-5 lakh responses, many of which are calls to withdraw the notification entirely. With feedback mostly comprising “repeat objections”, officials said, the Ministry will scrutinise about 50 main concerns.
Topper From UP, Studying In US, Dies In Accident After Alleged Harassment
Bulandshahr: A 20-year-old woman from western Uttar Pradesh, who overcame many odds to secure 98 per cent in her class 12 board exams in 2018 and then went on to receive a full-time scholarship at a prestigious university in US, was killed on Monday in a road accident in the state's Bulandshahr district.The family of Sudeeksha Bhati, the woman who died, has alleged that she met with an accident because two men on a bike chased 20-year-old - who was on a separate motorcycle with her uncle - and tried to harass her. The district administration has said the officials probing the case have found no proof of harassment. However, a CCTV footage that shows the two men is being investigated by the police.The student from Bulandshahr had returned from US in June amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and was scheduled to go back in August. 2 years back, she had made it to the prestigious Babson College in Massachusetts after she topped her district in CBSE class 12 exams in the Humanities stream.
*SOUTH ASIA, INDO-PAK & J&K*
Can help with Kashmir dispute if India, Pakistan agree: UN General Assembly president-elect Volkan Bozkir
United Nations General Assembly’s president-elect Volkan Bozkir has said he is willing to help Pakistan and India resolve their differences over Kashmir, if requested by both parties, PTI reported. “If my assistance is requested by the parties, I will be ready to provide contributions within my mandate,” he said during a two-day visit to Pakistan. Turkish diplomat, who was elected president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in May, arrived in Islamabad on Sunday. He was supposed to visit Pakistan on July 26, but the trip was postponed because of “some technical flight problems”.At a press conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Bozkir said ending the Kashmir dispute between the two nuclear-armed neighbours was needed for sustainable peace in South Asia. This, he said, should be done peacefully through “meaningful mutual agreements”.The diplomat also referred to the resolutions adopted by UN that allowed for Kashmiris to decide whether they want to merge with India, with Pakistan or whether they prefer independence, Anadolu news agency reported. Besides this, he said 1972 Simla pact between Islamabad and New Delhi also called for resolving the dispute through political and diplomatic channels.When asked about Turkey’s position on the matter, the diplomat said: “Turkey’s stand on Kashmir is well-known to the world. It has been explained time and again.” Bozkir added that as a Turkish citizen, “my hands are big for Pakistan”, but as UNGA president, “I have to follow certain procedures and maintain impartiality”.
India-Pakistan should resolve Kashmir mutually, will assist only if asked: UNGA President-elect
4G Internet in one division each in Jammu and Kashmir after August 15, Centre tells SC
New Delhi: Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that high-speed 4G Internet access will be opened up after Independence Day on August 15 at one district in each of Jammu and Kashmir’s divisions. Centre, however, said a blanket removal of the 4G ban was not possible now, considering the “overall situation” and “threat perception” to national, border and local security. Appearing before a three-judge Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana, Mr. Venugopal read out from an additional affidavit that the “carefully calibrated” opening up of 4G access will be on a trial basis.The access will be limited to specified areas that are not adjacent to the international border and have seen “low intensity terrorist activities”. The access will be strictly monitored to protect national, border and local security.The decision is based on recommendations made by a SC-constituted special committee headed by Union Home Secretary A.K. Bhalla, which met on August 10. The committee will review the situation every week and meet again after two months.
Facing Contempt, Centre to Allow ‘Carefully Calibrated Easing’ of 4G in J&K from Aug 15
Army starts investigation into July 18 Shopian encounter
Srinagar: Army has started an investigation into the killing of 3 alleged militants in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian on July 18, after 3 families from Rajouri claimed the deceased may be their missing kin and demanded DNA testing.“We have noted the social media inputs linked to the operation at Shopian on July 18, 2020. 3 terrorists killed during the operation have not been identified and the bodies were buried based on established protocols. Army is investigating the matter,”Srinagar-based Army spokesman said.However, 3 families claimed that they lost contact with their kin, who were labourers, on July 18 when “they were on the way home and were stationed in Shopian for a night”.The missing youth were identified by families as Ibrar Ahmad, Imtiyaz Ahmad and Muhammad Yousuf, all residents of Rajouri.“We have already lodged a missing report. The families should be allowed to identify the bodies,” Hussian Ahmad, a relative of a missing youth, said.The families have demanded DNA matching. Saleem Ahmad, a relative of Ibrar, said he spotted the face of his cousin in the pictures uploaded online of the slain militants killed in the encounter on July 18. Regional parties in Kashmir have demanded a probe into the incident.
'They Were Poor Men': Locals Question Army Version on Shopian 'Encounter'
Shopian: On July 16, Imtiyaz Ahmad, a labourer from Rajouri, rented a small room near the army’s Rashtriya Rifles (RR) camp at Chowgam, near Shopian town.“Imtiyaz met me in the afternoon that day, seeking accommodation on rent. I was initially reluctant to give him the room. He then gave the reference of a local lumberdar, Muhammad Yosouf, so I agreed to give him the room on rent for Rs 1,600 per month,” says Shakeel Ahmad Lone from Chowgam.Shakeel’s wife, Fareeda, said the 3 men immediately took possession of the room and started settling in.The next morning, the landlord’s family found that the door of the room was locked from the inside, but one of the windows was unlocked and open. “I knocked on the door repeatedly but there was no response. Since then, we don’t know their whereabouts. They never came back,” Fareeda says.3 young men disappeared on the intervening night of July 16 and 17. Some 24 hours later, on the night of the 17th, an encounter took place some 10-12 kilometres away from this room, at Mirzpora Chak. According to the army, three unidentified militants were killed. However, three families from Rajouri have disputed this claim, saying those killed in the gunfight were innocent labourers.The lumberdar’s family in Chowgam also endorsed the claim that Imtiyaz knew them. “We knew him. He had been coming here for the past few years to work as labourer,” said Touseef, a family member of the lumberdar.At Mirzapora Chak, locals are convinced that those killed in the encounter were not militants.
Fear grips BJP leaders in Kashmir after 5 partymen killed in less than a month
Srinagar:India’s newest Union Territory appears to be turning into a danger zone for BJP.While BJP-led govt in New Delhi is making all efforts to portray the post-Article 370 developments in Jammu and Kashmir as significant, the party’s unit on the ground seems to be feeling the heat. In less than a month, at least six local BJP leaders were attacked in the Valley, of which 5 died.The local BJP leaders have become vocal over lack of security. Many of them have officially asked the administration to earmark safe zones for BJP workers in each district of the Valley. After the murder of Budgam resident Abdul Hamid Najar, the local BJP unit has urged the police top brass to work out a “security model” for its leaders and workers.“The safe accommodation at district HQ should have a place for at least 50 to 60 people. They should be provided with food and other basic facilities as well,” said BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur.
Shah Faesal: A perception was built that I am anti-national
Shah Faesal, who resigned as President of J&K People’s Movement and quit politics,said that Kashmir faced a new political reality, and he did not want to show “quixotic dreams” to people when he had no power to change it. In an interview to Indian Express,Faesal also said a perception had been built he was an anti-national. “In the last one year due to some of my problematic utterances, a perception was built that I am an anti-national…due to some of my statements, I let down a lot of people who had immense goodwill for me. I want to undo that,” he said. According to Faesal, he realised that in politics it was really hard to tell the truth to public. “I did not want to lead Kashmiris down the garden path and raise unrealistic expectations,”he said. Avoiding a direct reply to a question on whether he would consider returning to govt service, Faesal said he had a life ahead of him and wanted to move and “do something productive”. He said “I realised that at the end of the day you are all alone. It’s your family that suffers the most while ironically those for whom you seem to be standing up are drawing a sadistic pleasure out of your misery. Detention gave me the clarity of mind that I belong somewhere else. That I can’t destroy my life for those who won’t even cry for me”.
In Kashmir, Only A Dead Leader Is A Good Leader: Shah Faesal After Quitting Politics
Ladakh clashes: ‘Maintaining sound development of bilateral ties with India a priority,’ says China
China on Monday said that maintaining bilateral ties with India was one of Beijing’s future diplomatic priorities, PTI reported. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a press briefing that Beijing will continue to improve relations with neighbouring countries. His comments came in the aftermath of a standoff with India along LAC. “For the China-India relationship, two sides should jointly safeguard peace and security in the border areas and maintain a steady and sound development of bilateral ties,” Zhao told reporters. “We will continue to deepen strategic mutual trust and expand shared interests with our neighbors and other developing countries.” The spokesperson was responding to questions about China’s diplomatic priorities in future amid the coronavirus pandemic.
'Indian Army ready for long haul on LAC with China, deployment in harsh winters,' Parliamentary panel told
Top Indian military brass briefed a Parliamentary panel about Chinese aggression along LAC, adding the Indian side was prepared for a long haul on LAC with China. The panel was also told that the Army was ready for deployment during harsh winters in eastern Ladakh sector.Led by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, the top military officers informed the panel that de-escalation between India and China may take more time. However, the Indian side assured its preparedness in case of any eventuality.
Nepal has stalled 11 new flood prevention projects on the border, UP CM tells PM Modi
Uttar Pradesh government said on Monday that 11 new flood prevention projects worth Rs 53.64 crore could not be completed on Indo-Nepal border as the neighbouring country did not provide permission for their implementation in its geographical area due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Hindu reported. UP CM Adityanath made the complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference meeting on Monday.As many as 582 villages in at least 19 districts of Uttar Pradesh remain affected by floods, with 303 of them marooned, despite below-normal rainfall this year, State Relief Commissioner Sanjay Goyal said. Most of the flood-affected districts are in the eastern part of the state. Till Monday, 1.04 lakh families (5.75 lakh individuals), 76,623 animals and 38, 248 hectares of farm land have been affected by the floods. 3 dams were damaged but have been repaired.On Monday, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar too had told Modi that Nepal had not been cooperating in flood relief.
'Rajasthan Crisis Resolved': Congress 'Welcomes Back' Sachin Pilot After Patch-up Talks
Several Congress leaders "welcomed back" Sachin Pilot on Tuesday after former Rajasthan deputy chief minister's meeting with Rahul Gandhi that signalled an "amicable resolution" of nearly a month-long political crisis in the state. Soon after his patch-up talks with senior Congress leaders, Pilot on Monday night said he has never hankered after posts and his was a fight for principles. "Welcome back Sachin. A constructive and enjoyable phase of Rajasthan building awaits," senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi tweeted after the party issued a statement saying Sonia Gandhi has decided that the AICC will constitute a three-member committee to "address the issues raised by Pilot and the aggrieved MLAs and arrive at an appropriate resolution thereof".Singhvi also congratulated Rahul Gandhi and his tireless team, including K C Venugopal, Randeep Surjewala and Ajay Maken, and added "not to forget political instincts of (Ashok) Gehlot which rarely fail him".Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "The political crisis in Rajasthan Congress stands resolved amicably by the intervention of none other than Rahul Gandhi himself."PTI
Airing Views Within Party Isn't Revolt, Says Sachin Pilot, Back In Jaipur
Congress's Sachin Pilot, back in Rajasthan after ending his month-long revolt against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, said today that he had "no hard feelings" and was no longer part of the government but expected the "head of the family" to resolve issues and take everyone along."I have not asked for any post. I have only said there should be no vendetta politics against the MLAs who are returning to the fold," Sachin Pilot said on the 18 rebels who stayed away from Rajasthan, like him."Priyanka Gandhi Vadra agreed. She said we are all part of the same family, how can there be any differences?"Pilot returned to a cold reception from his former boss. Ashok Gehlot flew to Jaisalmer in the morning and decided to spend the night there, avoiding any contact with his sacked deputy, whom he has attacked sharply over the past month.
Rajasthan: HC Adjourns to Thursday Hearing in Plea against Merger of 6 BSP MLAs with Congress
Rajasthan High Court adjourns the hearing on petition against merger of 6 BSP MLAs with Congress till Aug13. Arguments remained inconclusive and the matter was posted for next hearing on Aug.13, a counsel for the Rajasthan speaker said. The petitioner has challenged the merger of 6 MLAs with Congress and demanded a stay on the execution of the order passed by the speaker in this regard.
Manipur: 6 Congress MLAs resign after skipping trust vote in Assembly
6 Manipur Congress MLAs, who are among the 8 who skipped the Assembly session during Monday’s vote of confidence, have tendered their resignation to Speaker Y Khemchand, said party MLA O Henry Singh, according to PTI. BJP-led coalition government won the trust vote. MLAs said they have lost trust in the leadership of former CM Okram Ibobi Singh, adding that because of him, the party could not form a government in the state even after being the single-largest party. Henry Singh said MLAs were summoned by the Speaker after Monday’s Assembly session and their resignation letters were verified. He added that the legislators will resign from the party membership later in the day. 60-member Manipur Assembly currently has a strength of 53 after the resignation of 3 BJP MLAs and disqualification of four members under the anti-defection law. The ruling coalition has 29 MLAs, including Speaker Y Khemchand, while the Congress has 24.
Bihar Assembly polls to be held as per schedule with precautions: chief election commissioner
Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora on Monday said the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar will be held as per schedule and ruled out any possibility of a delay that may be necessitated because of the coronavirus outbreak. In an interview with India Today, Arora said the panel’s aim was to ensure the safety and health of voters and workers while adhering to timelines and SOPs of the electoral process.“Necessary preparations to conduct Bihar Assembly elections in time are underway at the Election Commission, state and district level,” he told the channel. “Since elections are being held during a pandemic, all instructions for electoral processes would be suitably modified to ensure requisite arrangements of social distancing, sanitisation, disinfection, and masks or gloves etc.”
PM Modi; West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana need more testing
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana have a high coronavirus test positivity rate, and have not carried out enough tests. He said these states need to increase testing. Chief ministers of 10 states attended a video conference meeting with Modi to discuss the coronavirus crisis.Modi also said that according to experts, the spread of the coronavirus can be controlled if the patient is diagnosed within 72 hours. “So, it is important that all the people who come in contact with an infected person must be tested within 72 hours,” he said.The prime minister added that it was clear that India had been taking the right steps, as the average fatality rate had been going down and the recovery rate increasing. India’s fatality rate fell below 2% on Tuesday.“Every state is fighting the battle against the challenging situation arising due to Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. “Role of each and every state is very significant in overall control of the spread of the disease.” India has more than 2.2 million confirmed coronavirus infections, the third highest tally after US and Brazil.India has reported at least 50,000 cases every day since July 30, and experts worry that the already burdened health system may not be able to take the strain as infections spread to the hinterland.scroll/reuters
Only 33% parents support reopening of schools from 1 September, finds survey
New Delhi: Only 33 per cent parents support reopening of schools in September, according to a survey by LocalCircles, a community social media platform.States such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Goa are considering reopening up of schools from 1 September, with precautionary measures in place, in the next phase of easing lockdown restrictions.While 13 per cent of the survey respondents said they cannot afford to take chances with their children, 1 per cent thought there was serious risk of exposing senior members in the family to the virus if a child gets infected. Nine per cent said social distancing will not be possible in schools and 5 per cent believed Covid-19 will spread even faster if schools reopened.Two per cent respondents believed online education was a “good substitute” and 47 per cent gave all of the above reasons for not wanting schools to reopen.The survey also discussed the issue of children living in villages and schools that do not have online education facilities. Parents, it found, felt that the government should enable online classes in such schools via radio, television and financial support.
Schools reopen in Sri Lanka after no Covid-19 case found since April 30
Columbo:After a closure of over four months to contain the spread of Covid-19, Sri Lanka reopened schools on Monday. All schools had been closed on the island nation from mid-March when the first coronavirus case was detected.Schools have been reopened now after successfully beating the community spread of the disease -- Sri Lanka has not witnessed a single Covid-19 case since April 30.Health officials have warned however that the threat was not completely gone. "All schools are reopened today with respective grades starting classes on a staggered basis," Education Secretary NHM Chithrananda said, as per PTI.
Rahat Indori dies of cardiac arrest in Indore after testing coronavirus positive
Celebrated poet and lyricist Rahat Indori passed away due to cardiac arrest after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. He was admitted to Sri Aurobindo hospital in Indore, MP. He was 70 years old.Rahat Indori was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. He suffered two heart attacks and could not be saved, said Dr Bhandari, from Sri Aurobindo hospital. Dr Bhandari also said that he had 60 per cent pneumonia. The news of his demise was also announced on his official Twitter account. The tweet read, "Rahat Sahab died due to cardiac arrest at 5:00 pm. Pray for his journey (sic)."Earlier today, the acclaimed lyricist shared the news of testing positive for the novel coronavirus on his official Twitter account.
Overcrowded prisons in Kashmir turn into COVID epicentres: 35 fresh cases reported in Srinagar jail
The overcrowded prisons in Kashmir are turning out to be COVID epicentres with 35 fresh cases reported at the Srinagar Central jail.Last year in August, when Central government revoked the semi autonomous status of Kashmir after abrogating the Article 370, the number of inmates in the prison witnessed a sudden increase. The authorities have recently stepped up their operations and detained several militant sympathisers while several people have also been imprisoned for anti-India "dissent" on social networking sites.The new 35 COVID-19 positive cases at one of the biggest prisons in Kashmir has come weeks after more than 90 inmates were found positive at the Anantnag jail. Capable of holding not more than 3,234 inmates, prisons in Jammu and Kashmir currently have 3,700 inmates. The number of prisoners remains more than double in some jails, like the Anatnag district jail, while the detainees include several hundred women as well senior citizens (above the age of 60).Local prison officials admitted that the capacities in Kashmiri prisons were inadequate. With fresh cases, the families of detainees have expressed worries over the condition of the inmates.
Muslim Manch Performed Last Rites Of COVID Deceased, Wins Hearts Of All Communities In Pune
PUNE:Muslim Mulnivasi Manch, a Pune-based social organisation has been tirelessly carrying out the last rites of dead COVID-19 deceased persons belonging to all faiths- Hindus, Muslims and Christians since the lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in last week of March.The organisation has been at the forefront in providing relief to the families who lost their near and dear ones in COVID crisis but had no wherewithal to perform their last rites due to the restrictions of lockdown. So much so that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has legally permitted the organisation to carry out last rites at crematoriums, graveryards and cemeteries. The organisation has so far carried out as many 240 last rites related to cremation and burials during the last three months.
Lockdown woes: Nearly 80% of rural India stopped working, 68% faced severe monetary difficulties, says survey
The reason why the country’s economy plummeted during the lockdown, with the rural economy suffering the most, is the stopping of work in rural areas and severe cash crunch.A survey conducted by Lokniti-CSDS and Gaon Connections Insight has concluded that nearly 80 per cent people stopped working during the lockdown. The survey also found that nearly 70 per cent people faced high or very high monetary difficulties during the same period.Based on face to face interviews with 25,300 respondents, the survey that was conducted at the national level, concluded that nearly 60% of skilled workforce faced a complete shutdown.“The survey was conducted using a structured and standardised interview schedule that was administered via a specially designed mobile phone application. The interview schedule was designed by researchers at CSDS for Gaon Connection,” said Gaon Connection.As per the survey, MGNREGA launched by the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government provided some relief, with 20% of the respondents saying that they availed work under the scheme during the lockdown. While 23% said that they had to borrow money during the lockdown to survive, 71% said they got rations from govt.Surprisingly, despite hardships and lack of work,on an average, three out of four said they are satisfied with the handling of the pandemic by Modi govt.Highlighting inadequate health services in rural India, the survey said nearly 40% had gone without medical treatment.
Debt revamp proposal to prolong Indian banks' asset quality uncertainty: Fitch
MUMBAI:A one-time debt restructuring allowed by RBI to help lenders and borrowers amid COVID-19 will prolong uncertainty about the banking sector’s asset quality, Fitch Ratings said.RBI said last week it will allow restructuring of corporate and personal loans to ease debt strains on companies and lenders, a move widely awaited by the banking industry.“The policy could open a window for banks to build capital buffers while putting off full recognition of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on loan portfolios, but is reminiscent of a strategy adopted over 2010-2016 that delayed and exacerbated problems for the banks,” Fitch said.Indian banks are saddled with more than $120 billion in bad loans and the sector is ranked the third-worst among 13 major world economies in asset quality.Reuters
India's June industrial output shrinks 16.6%, hit by coronavirus
India’s industrial output contracted 16.6% in June from a year earlier, government data showed on Tuesday, as a monthly measure indicated some recovery in the sector that was hit by lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.Analysts polled by Reuters had expected industrial output contraction of 20.0% in June, compared to a revised 33.9% annual contraction in May, the data showed.Reuters
Air India scraps flights to 5 European destinations over loss of revenue amid pandemic
Air India has now decided to stop flights to at least 5 European destinations owing to a drop in passenger carriage that was resulting in loss of revenue. This comes as the latest impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on India's aviation sector.Future flights of the national carrier to Madrid, Milan, Copenhagen, Vienna and Stockholm have been scrapped effective immediately since it was not financially viable for Air India to operate on these routes.An internal note circulated by Commercial Division of Air India states, "In view of COVID situation, it has been approved by competent authority to close down following stations and become offline."
Railways Suspends All Regular Passenger Services Indefinitely, Special Trains Will Continue to Run
Railways has stated that all regular passenger train services will remain suspended till further notice, but 230 special trains will continue to be in service. "This is to bring to the notice of all concerned that as decided and informed earlier as well, regular passenger and suburban train services will continue to remain suspended till further notice," a statement from the Railways said."It may be noted that 230 Special Trains, which are running at present, will continue to operate. Local trains in Mumbai, which are presently being run on limited basis only on the requisition of state government, will also continue to run," it said. The occupancy of special trains is being monitored on a regular basis and additional special trains may be run based on the requirement, the national carrier said.PTI
Russia approves first coronavirus vaccine, Putin says his daughter received dose
President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a coronavirus vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess. He added that his daughter has been vaccinated. The development paves the way for mass inoculation of Russian population, even as the final stage of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue.The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective product, but has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before sound science and safety.Putin said vaccine, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, was safe and that it had even been administered to one of his daughters."I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks," said Putin.Reuters
Russia: 20 Countries Have Pre-Ordered A Billion Doses Of COVID Vaccine
Moscow has dubbed its new coronavirus vaccine "Sputnik V" after Soviet satellite, head of the country's sovereign wealth fund said, after Russia declared itself the first country to develop a vaccine.Kirill Dmitriyev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund which finances the vaccine project, said Phase 3 trials would start on Wednesday and industrial production was expected from Sept.AFP
India should have vaccine by Dec: Serum Institute chief
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Monday said India should have a vaccine against the novel coronavirus by the end of 2020, reported CNBC-TV18. He added that the final pricing of vaccine – known as Covishield in India – developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca will be announced in two months. Pune-based firm, which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, is expected to start trials of the vaccine candidate soon in India in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research. “We should have a vaccine by the end of this year,” Poonawalla told CNBC-TV18. “We will conduct trials in India on a few thousand patients in partnership with ICMR.” Earlier, Poonawalla had said company plans to manufacture 300 million to 400 million doses by end of the year.
World surpasses 20 million Coronavirus cases, WHO chief says 'there are green shoots of hope'
The coronavirus pandemic chalked up another horrific milestone Monday as the world surpassed 20 million recorded cases of infection from the tiny killer that has upended life just about everywhere.The number as of 3.45 am IST (22.15 GMT) was 20,002,577 cases, with 733,842 deaths recorded, according to an AFP tally of official sources.In yet another staggering landmark, the death toll is expected to surpass 750,000 in a matter of days as the global health crisis that began late last year in China rages on.WHO urges people not to despair as more things, once unthinkable became harsh reality like having to wear a facemask in touristy spots in Paris, or reserve a spot on Copacabana beach in Rio via an app and then social distance on the sand."Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering... But I want to be clear: there are green shoots of hope," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "It's never too late to turn the outbreak around."
OIC rejects Israel’s plan to annex Palestinian lands
Dubai: Israel’s plan to annex Palestinian land is considered a flagrant violation of international law and human rights, state news agency SPA reported citing the Independent Permanent Commission for Human Rights of Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Earlier in July, Jordan’s PM said the Kingdom would look “positively” on the creation of a binational state that guarantees equal rights to Israelis and Palestinians if Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank closes the door on a two-state solution.arabnews
Israeli Defence Minister Gantz hints that siege may be lifted if Hamas returns soldiers’ remains
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has hinted that the government could basically lift the siege of Gaza if the remains of soldiers held by Hamas in the territory are returned, the Times of Israel has reported. 2 civilians are also believed to be held by Islamic Resistance Movement. “We have no interests in Gaza other than total calm and the returning of the boys,” Gantz told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. “We would be happy to see Gaza blossom, I would be happy to see workers coming out of the Gaza Strip. This can happen under one condition — that the boys are returned home. When this happens, we can open the Gaza Strip.” Gaza has been under a land, sea and air blockade imposed by Israel and its allies since 2007. UN and independent human rights organisations point out that the blockade has caused a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory.
Israel closes one of Gaza's main border crossings
Israel closed one of its main border crossings with Gaza after incendiary balloons set fire to areas on Israeli frontier.Israeli media reported that more than 30 fires were set around border communities by balloons carrying incendiary devices."Karem Abu Salem will be closed for the passage of all goods, with the exception of the entry of essential humanitarian equipment and fuel," Israel's Defence Ministry said.
Ireland MP: Airbnb deliberately advertising West Bank homes as ‘in Israel’
A Green Party member of parliament in Ireland has filed a complaint against online accommodation and tourism giant AirBnB for listing holiday homes in the occupied West Bank as being in Israel, reported Irish Examiner.Patrick Costello, Teachta Dála (member of parliament) for Dublin South-Central, wrote to Advertising Standards Agency for Ireland (ASAI) accusing AirBnB of breaching the advertising standard code which states: “A marketing communication should not mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise.” ASAI registered the complaint over Airbnb on 28 July, after which the company had ten days to respond to the issues raised. A reminder is sent after the ten-day period. Explaining his decision to file the charge, Costello says he found more than 20 examples of holiday homes in illegal Israeli settlements on OPT in the West Bank as being listed as being in Israel and warned the Irish Examiner we should not allow them to become “normalised” or we risk facilitating a “de facto annexation”.
Pompeo: Arabs, Israelis are speaking with one voice on Iran
US will introduce a resolution this week to extend the arms embargo on Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “Countries in the Middle East from the Gulf to Israel support extending the arms embargo,” he tweeted. “It is deeply important to every one of them. Arabs and Israelis are speaking with one voice, and the Security Council must listen.”Pompeo’s remarks come as Dr. Nayef F.M. Alhajraf, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, sent a letter to the UN Security Council in support of the move. “GCC Secretary-General pointed out that Iran has continued to proliferate conventional weapons and arm terrorist and sectarian organizations and movements throughout the region,” the council said in a statement.jpost.com
Pompeo 'cleared of wrongdoing' over arms sales to Saudi, UAE
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been cleared of wrongdoing in a disputed arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies, according to his office, although the report on internal investigation has not yet been released.Pompeo was accused of abuse of power after he used an obscure emergency procedure to ram through $8.1bn in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan in May of last year. At the time, members of Congress had been blocking weapons sales to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, angry about the huge civilian toll from their air campaign in Yemen, as well as human rights abuses such as the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Ashraf Ghani Signs Off on Taliban Prisoner Release, Peace Talks Expected Shortly: Reuters
Kabul: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday signed a decree to release a final batch of “hardcore” Taliban prisoners demanded by the militants, sources told Reuters, paving the way for long-awaited peace talks to begin in Qatar.“It is signed,” a presidential palace source said.Afghanistan’s grand assembly, or Loya Jirga, on Sunday approved the release, under election-year pressure from US President Donald Trump for a deal allowing him to bring home American troops. “We are ready to sit for talks within a week from when we see our prisoners released. We are ready,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Reuters.It was not immediately clear when the release would happen.“The original plan is to travel to Doha on Wednesday and the talks will begin on Sunday,” a government source told Reuters before the decree was signed. US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, said “In the next few days, we expect the completion of prisoner releases, then travel of Islamic Republic team to Doha, & from there the immediate start of intra-Afghan negotiations.”Reuters
'We need new blood': Lebanese demand change after gov't quits
Angry Lebanese have demanded the removal of what they see as a corrupt ruling class to blame for the country's woes, adding that the government's resignation on Monday did not come near to addressing the tragedy of last week's Beirut explosion. A protest with the slogan "Bury the authorities first" was planned near the port, where highly explosive material stored for years exploded on August 4, killing at least 200 people, injuring 6,000 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.PM Hassan Diab, announcing his cabinet's resignation, blamed endemic corruption for the explosion, the biggest in Beirut's history and which compounded a deep financial crisis that has collapsed the currency, paralysed the banking system and forced up prices."I said before that corruption is rooted in every juncture of the state but I have discovered that corruption is greater than the state," he said, blaming the political elite for blocking reforms. Talks with the International Monetary Fund have stalled amid a dispute between the government, banks and politicians over the scale of vast financial losses. For many Lebanese, the explosion was the last straw in a protracted crisis over the collapse of the economy, corruption, waste and dysfunctional government. "It does not end with the government's resignation," said the protest flyer circulating on social media."There is still [President ] Aoun, [Speaker] Berri and the entire system."Many people in Lebanon, and on social media, felt Monday's announcement by Diab would do little to change the political situation. "It's a good thing that the government resigned. But we need new blood or it won't work," silversmith Avedis Anserlian told Reuters in front of his demolished shop."I don't think it [the government's resignation] will make a difference. All the ministers in Lebanon are just a face. Behind that are the militias who control everything," Rony Lattouf, a shop owner in Beirut, told Al Jazeera.
More dangerous chemicals found at Lebanon's Beirut port
Members of a French clean-up team in Beirut say that chemical experts and firefighters are working to secure at least 20 dangerous chemical containers at the explosion-shattered port, after finding one that was leaking.Some of the containers were punctured when last week’s deadly blast ripped through the port and the Lebanese capital, a French chemical expert said.It is believed to have been caused by a fire that ignited a 2,750-tonne stockpile of highly volatile ammonium nitrate. The material had been stored at the port since 2013 with few safeguards despite numerous warnings of the danger.“We noted the presence of containers with the chemical danger symbol. And then noted that one of the containers was leaking,” said Lieutenant Anthony, a French chemical expert at the site who was not authorised to be identified by his full name according to government policy.
Over 100,000 lost their jobs in tourism sector after Beirut port blast
The blasts in Beirut’s port has “wiped out tourism sector”, President of Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon, Tony Rami, said.Some 10,000 tourism establishments were damaged in the blasts and over 100,000 people have been left without a job as a result, he added. Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Rami as saying that the losses incurred by the tourism sector alone from the explosion had exceeded $1 billion.
UN: Facebook has not shared 'evidence' of Myanmar crime
The head of a UN investigative body on Myanmar said Facebook has not released evidence of "serious international crimes", despite promising to work with investigators looking into abuses in the country including against the majority-Muslim Rohingya.Nicholas Koumjian, head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM), told the Reuters news agency the social media giant was holding material "highly relevant and probative of serious international crimes" but had not shared any during year-long talks.He declined to give details of the material the IIMM had asked for.Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
China accused of seeking to turn Taiwan into 'the next Hong Kong'
Taiwan faces an increasingly difficult position as China pressures the democratic island to accept conditions that would turn it into the next Hong Kong, its top diplomat told visiting US Health Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday.Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday as the highest-level US official to visit in four decades, a trip condemned by China which claims the island as its own.Chinese fighter jets on Monday briefly crossed the median line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait, and were tracked by Taiwanese anti-aircraft missiles, part of what Taipei sees as a pattern of harassment by Beijing. Azar's trip to Taiwan has also coincided with a further crackdown in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, where, on Monday, police arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai under a tough new national security law.
Ennahda sets condition for success of government consultations
Ennahda Movement in Tunisia has that the formation of a minority government cannot be accepted, Anadolu has reported. Speaking on the sidelines of the movement’s Shura Council meeting in Hammamet on Saturday evening, council head Abdelkarim Harouni stressed the need for the next government to respect the role of the parties and the election results.“It is not possible to form a minority government with parties that have not succeeded in creating a basis for governmental and parliamentary cooperation, which is a destabilising factor that prevents the prime minister from implementing decisions,” explained Harouni, whose party has 54 out of 217 seats in parliament. “Governments are formed by political parties with the highest success rates in elections. We are keen to ensure the success of the consultations, and the basic condition for that is to work on forming a political government that respects the role of the parties.”The new government, he added, must respect the voters’ wishes and the balance of parliamentary blocs, so that it has a majority that enables it to pass decisions and implement reforms.
Turkey ready to resolve differences over Eastern Mediterranean: Erdogan
Turkey is always ready to resolve the Eastern Mediterranean issue through dialogue on an equitable basis, the Turkish president has said.“We are always here and ready to resolve conflicts through dialogue on equitable basis,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, following the Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara on Monday.Erdogan also called on Mediterranean countries to cooperate in finding “an acceptable formula that protects the rights of all.”“In no way would Turkey consent to any initiative trying to lock the country to its shores, ignoring the vast Turkish territory,” Erdogan said.“Turkey will continue to implement its own plans in the field and diplomacy until a common sense prevails on the issue [of Eastern Mediterranean],” he added.Last month, following Athens' objection to Ankara's seismic survey in an area south of island of Meis, or Kastellorizo German diplomatic efforts helped defuse tension between Turkey and Greece.
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:33 PM)