13 August 2020

13 AUG. NEWS: MHA's Clause 6 panel recommends 1951 as cut-off year for defining Assamese people; MHA panel gave 2 yrs to effect Clause 6 of Accord says minister. Ram Janmabhoomi head, who shared dais with PM Modi in Ayodhya, tests positive for Covid. New Delhi accused of ‘hate-mongering’ over virus:Arabnews


13 AUG 2020. 22 ZU AL HIJJAH 1441. Vol-12, No-278



MHA's Clause 6 panel recommends 1951 as cut-off year for defining Assamese people; AASU says people have right to know about content of report

While the updated final list of NRC was published last year and had set 1951 as the cut-off year for defining indigenous 'Assamese people', the high-level committee for Clause 6 of Assam Accord, which was constituted by the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, has recommended 1951 as the cut-off year for defining 'Assamese people' under Assam Accord. All Assam Students' Union (AASU), which was part of the high-level committee, at a press conference held in Guwahati on Tuesday released the confidential report of the high-level committee and said that the people of the state have the right to know about the content of the report.  Releasing the confidential report, AASU leaders said that the people of Assam have the right to know what suggestions were given by the committee to the government for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. "It has been more than 5 months since we submitted the report to the government but the govt is yet to take action. There is simply no action taken by the government. The people of the state want to know about it," AASU president Dipanka Nath said."We met Union Home minister Amit Shah before submission of the report and he assured us to implement the committee's suggestions by letter on spirit. 5 months have gone but no action has been taken by the government," Dipanka Nath said."We don't know where the report is. Is it in the almirah of the Assam Chief Minister or somewhere? The committee has suggested reservation of 80-100 per cent in parliament seats from the state and creation of an upper house in the state," Dipanka Nath said.

Who qualifies as 'Assamese'? A look at confidential report on Clause 6 of Assam Accord released by AASU


MHA panel gave 2 yrs to effect Clause 6 of Assam Accord: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Guwahati: 14-member high-level committee on implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord has stated in its report that its recommendations should be implemented within 2 years from Feb.this year, when it was submitted, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday. Sarma also said that the committee, constituted by Union Home Ministry, cannot by itself determine the definition of “Assamese people”, and that the recommendation has to be accepted by Assembly before it is implemented. The senior minister criticised the independent release of the report by 4 committee members of the panel on Tuesday. The report was leaked to the media by 3 senior leaders of All Assam Students’ Union and Nilay Dutta, a renowned advocate and Advocate General of Arunachal Pradesh.“The committee has given 2 years for implementation of its recommendations. They have clearly written it in the report….Disclosing the report has only increased complications in the matter,” Sarma told reporters. He said the state government is committed to implement provisions of Clause 6 of Accord, which states, “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”But since the Accord had not defined “Assamese people”, the committee sought to determine a definition before recommending reservations. Calling disclosure of the report a “breach of trust”, state BJP head Ranjeet Dass said: “There is a time-frame and without letting that get exhausted, they released the report. It seems it was released with a mala fide intention. We are going to implement Clause 6; there is no question about it. What is being done is being done by us. Has any government before us done anything regarding Clause 6 implementation?” Indian Express


Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal assures to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that BJP-led government in the state is committed to implementing Clause 6 of Assam Accord.Sonowal also said that his government will not do anything which will harm the interests of the people of the state. Sarbananda Sonowal slammed AASU for disclosing the confidential report and termed it as "very unfortunate".


SC lawyer Mahmud Pracha  plans sit-in protest in Aligarh on August 15 condemning CAA, NRC

A Supreme Court lawyer named Mahmud Pracha from Aligarh is planning to hold a sit-in protest at the Iggah grounds on August 15 condemning CAA and NRC. Mahmud is expected to be joined by the 3 AMU students who were earlier also a part of the protest in the district.A group of social activists from Aligarh have written to the administration, alerting them of the possibility of a serious law and order disruption in the district due to the activities of this SC lawyer, which could spread the anti-CAA violence in Uttar Pradesh yet again.The activists have also alleged that there are a few media groups that have been in contact with these three AMU students and could collude with them to fan the anti-CAA flames. Former Aligarh Mayor Shakuntala Bharti has already met AMU V-C and asked him to keep tab on these three students.Social activist Aamir Qureshi said, "Covid-19 has already disrupted the cycle of life for the middle class and the poor. The businesses across the country are going bankrupt. Everybody is busy trying to protect himself from the virus and at this time, these miscreants are raising the specter of CAA/NRC yet again." Qureshi appealed to the people to support the administration in combating the communal elements. He said that Aligarh is a temple of education and AMU was a symbol of enlightenment among the Muslims at one time, but now this university comes to light more for anti-national activities which tarnish the name of Aligarh. AMU V-C Tariq Mansoor said that no student of the university will be allowed to participate in any anti-national activity and the university is keeping an eye on the students identified to be involved in aggressive political and social debates, to ensure that the name of the institution is not tarnished in any manner.


Arunachal political parties, community-based groups push for 6th Schedule status

Guwahati:The revival of the demand for two autonomous councils has made political parties and community-based groups call for bringing the entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule or Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.The Frontier State bordering Bhutan, China and Myanmar is under the Fifth Schedule that “does not provide special rights for the indigenous communities” unlike the Sixth Schedule.The Sixth Schedule currently includes 10 autonomous district councils in four north-eastern States – Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.Nagaland, on the other hand, is governed by Article 371 (A), which says that no Act of Parliament shall apply in the State in several areas unless the Nagaland Assembly so decides by a resolution. These include administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law and ownership and transfer of land and its resources.“The demand for autonomous councils does not hold water as Arunachal Pradesh is a Fifth Schedule State. Some States in the northeast have autonomous councils because they are under the Sixth Schedule,” said Gicho Kabak, the State unit president of the National People’s Party (NPP).


‘Scandalising of court’: SC allows N. Ram, Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan to withdraw plea with liberty to approach HC

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed veteran journalists N. Ram, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan to withdraw their writ petition challenging “scandalising of court” as a ground for contempt with liberty to approach a High Court.A three-judge Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, however, insisted that the writ petitioners could not withdraw the case with an intention to straightaway move the Supreme Court later on.Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, for the petitioners, agreed, saying they would approach the appropriate forum, that is, the High Court concerned. Dhavan said the issue represented in the writ petition was important, but “this is not the propitious stage”.“We would like to file it, maybe after two months,” Dhavan submitted initially.“We can permit the withdrawal with liberty to you to go to the High Court,” Justice Mishra reiterated. “Yes, High Court is a constitutional court,” Dhavan agreed.The writ petition had challenged the “scandalising of court” as an “incurably vague” ground for initiating contempt action. They said the contempt law in question was unconstitutional, rooted in colonialism and produced a chilling effect on free speech and expression.


SC plea seeks guidelines for identifying minority groups at state level

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to formulate guidelines for identifying minority groups at the state level to ensure they get the benefit of the schemes meant for them.PIL filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has also challenged the validity of Section 2(f) of National Commission for Minority Education Institution Act 2004, for not only giving unbridled power to the Centre but also being manifestly arbitrary, irrational and offending.The plea, filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, said denial of benefits to the "real" minorities and arbitrary and unreasonable disbursements under schemes meant for them to the absolute majority, infringes upon fundamental right under Constitution."Direct and declare that followers of Judaism, Bahaism & Hinduism, who are minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshdweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Punjab and Manipur, can establish & administer educational institutions of their choice in spirit of TMA Pai Ruling," the plea said.PTI


Literacy rate for Muslims worse than SC/STs

New Delhi: A decade and a half after Sachar Committee highlighted the issue, a report from National Statistical Office reveals that Muslims are on various yardsticks of academic marginalisation as bad or even worse than SCs and STs. The report shows that among the various social groups, the literacy rate for those aged 7 yrs or more was the highest for “others”, which is non-SC/ST/OBC population groups, at 91% for men and 81% for women. This proportion declines to 84% for OBC men and 69% for OBC women. For SCs, the ratio was 80.3% for men and 64% for women and for STs 78% for men and 61% for women. Among religious groups, 88% of Christian men and 82% of women were literate, the highest proportions for both genders. This was followed by Sikhs and Hindus. The literacy rate of 80.6% among Muslim men was equivalent to that for Dalits and marginally higher than the rate among tribals. The literacy rate for Muslim women was higher than Dalit or tribal women, but lower than for women of any other religious group.The gross attendance ratio (people attending a level of education as a proportion of the population of the corresponding age group) was the lowest for Muslims among various social and religious groups at all levels of education except above higher secondary, where it was between the rates for Dalits and tribals.At the primary level, GAR of 100 for Muslims was lower than “others”, SCs, STs, OBCs, Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus. At the upper primary level, Muslims were the only community whose GAR was below 90%. At the secondary level, the GAR of 71.9% for Muslims was lower than STs (79.8%), SCs and OBCs. Similarly at the higher secondary level, the GAR was lowest for Muslims at 48.3%, well below even the 52.8% for Dalits.


Private trains should have sliding doors, coach surveillance, says Railways in draft specifications

Indian Railways on Wednesday specified a slew of draft specifications that private players must include once they start running trains on its network, reported PTI. More than 20 private firms, including L&T Infrastructure Projects Development Limited, Bombardier, Alstom, Siemens and GMR, attended the pre-application meeting. The deadline for taking part in the bidding process is September 8. Railways said the private players will have to guarantee at least 95% punctuality. If trains are late or early, they will have to pay compensation to Railways, reported Indian Express.The Railways said that for every 1% reduction in the punctuality of a train from the guaranteed 95%, private operators will have to pay extra haulage charge worth 200 km of the train operation. The haulage charge is Rs 512 per km for all private trains. Again, if a train arrives at the destination at least 10 minutes in advance, the private firm will pay the Railways extra haulage charges for 10 km. However, if a train loses 1% punctuality in a year for reasons attributable to Railways, the latter will pay the private company damages equal to 50 km of haulage charges.


Bengaluru clash: ‘Will recover losses from protestors like UP govt,’ says Karnataka minister

Karnataka minister CT Ravi has claimed that the violence that broke out in Bengaluru earlier in the day was orchestrated, NDTV reported. The minister added that the state would emulate Uttar Pradesh government and recover losses from the damage caused to public property from the protestors.At least three people were killed and around 60 personnel were injured in Bengaluru when protestors clashed with the police during a protest. Additionally, at least 145 people have been arrested in connection with the violence so far. Karnataka’s Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai also said the govt will recover the losses, arising from the damage to public property during the violence from the protestors, News18 reported. Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa has said the government will conduct a inquiry by a magistrate into the incident.


Bengaluru violence: HT incorrectly reports on '60,000-strong mob', later amends story

On Wednesday, a day after Bengaluru's Kaval Byrasandra witnessed violence that left three dead and many injured, Hindustan Times published a report that was headlined "Bengaluru violence: 60,000-strong mob had gathered, pelted stones at police, says eyewitness".The report quoted an eye-witness who said there was a "strong mob of 50,000 to 60,000, which pelted stones at police personnel and damaged property at a police station during the violence on Tuesday night in Bengaluru."Later in the day, HT edited its report to remove the 60,000 figure. The updated story now says: "A previous version of the story had quoted an eyewitness who claimed 50,000-60,000 people were part of the mob that had gathered on Monday night. This figure was later found to be inaccurate and removed from the story."Fact-checking website Boom quoted Prasad Sanyal, the editor of HT's web edition, as saying: "The eyewitness account could not be independently verified, and was removed." Sanyal added that the figure came from an ANI interview uploaded on August 12. Fact-checker also quoted “a source in Bengaluru City Police” who said that “the rough estimate of the number of people in the mob was around 2,000.”An AltNews report cited multiple ground reports that put the strength of the mob between 1,500 and 2,000.


Pakistan lodges protest with India over Bengaluru riots

New Delhi: Seeking to fish in troubled waters, Pakistan on Wednesday lodged a "strong protest" with India through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on the riots on Tuesday night in Karnataka’s Capital Bengaluru over a controversial social media post. Islamabad called on the Indian Govt “to investigate the incident and take immediate action against the perpetrators of religious hatred” and “to ensure the safety, security and well-being of the minority communities, particularly Muslims” in India.Deccan Chronicle


Complete Failure of Law And Order Machinery: Congress on Bengaluru Violence

NEW DELHI:Congress on Wednesday hit out at BJP government in Karnataka over the violence in Bengaluru in which three people were killed after police opened fire to quell a mob that went on a rampage irked over a social media post, and said it was a “complete failure of law and order machinery”.Bengaluru violence, riots and arson are “reprehensible, condemnable and unacceptable”, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.PTI


After Ayodhya, 'full ownership' of Mathura and Kashi temple sites sparks row

Agra: After 500-year-old Ayodhya dispute is finally over with the ground breaking ceremony of the Ram Temple, now members of the Hindu community are gearing up to "take back" the Krishna and Shiva temples in Mathura and Kashi where mosques have been allegedly constructed.Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the chairman of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra and Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple, said now the full ownership of the Krishna Janmabhoomi site in Mathura and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, where mosques have been constructed over a significant part of the land, is next in line.Mahant Nritya Gopal Das' statement has sparked a row and the administration has been on alert. High security was maintained during Krishna Janmashtami celebrations in Braj region, which is one of the disputed sites. A large number of Hindus and Muslims live in this area. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das said there will be no protests or demonstrations over the Mathura and Kashi sites. Meanwhile, Mathura Police has registered a FIR against Acharya Dev Murari Bapu, the national chairman of the newly set up Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Nirman Nyas, for making inflammatory speeches. Social activist and Dalit leader, Rajkumar Nagrath, said the Ayodhya land dispute is barely over, and now some anti-social elements want to raise another dispute by through the Mathura and Kashi temple sites.


Mosque complex in Ayodhya gets Hindus’ backing

Lucknow:At least 60% of calls pledging donations and support for a proposed mosque complex outside Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh are from Hindus, the trust building the project said, holding out hope that communal amity can return to the city at the centre of decades of strife. 5-acre site was handed over to UP Sunni Central Waqf Board (UPSCWB) on Aug.2 in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling.“We are overwhelmed by the response that we are receiving from all over the world. 60 percent of the callers are Hindus,” said Athar Hussain, spokesman for Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation, 15-member trust formed by Waqf Board for the development of the site.According to him, the trust will have “more than enough funds” for the project. Besides a mosque, it plans to build a hospital, a community kitchen, and an educational centre on the site. The trust has already received a deluge of commitments, Hussain added. He expressed hope that a galaxy ofpolitical leaders will attend the inaugural ceremony of the complex. Under Islamic laws, a groundbreaking ceremony is not permitted for a mosque, he added.  Also invited for the event were 3 Muslim individuals – title suit litigant Iqbal Ansari, Padma Shri awardee Mohammad Sharif, and AIMPLB secretary Zafaryab Jilani, also a party to the title suit. Soon after, a controversy broke out when the trust for the proposed mosque complex said it would like to invite PM and CM for groundbreaking ceremony of Dhannipur complex. PMO has not responded to the statement; CMO said it was premature to do so.


Delhi Police Register Case Against Students Protesting Hany Babu's Arrest

Delhi Police has registered a case against members of various student organisations for flouting prohibitory orders while protesting the arrest of Delhi University professor Hany Babu by NIA in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case, officials said on Wednesday.AISA said its member Abhigyan and some students from other organisations such as Bhagat Singh Ekta Manch were detained and later an FIR was filed against them while protesting the arrest of professor Hany Babu at Delhi University’s Arts faculty. Delhi Police said an FIR has been registered against Abhigyan (20), Sushil (30), Salman (20), Sangita (26), Rajbir Kaur (25) and Navdeep Kaur (24).


2013 Darbha massacre: Court rejects NIA plea to transfer state police FIR

Raipur:NIA court in Jagdalpur,Bastar, has rejected the central agency’s application to transfer to it a state police FIR in the Darbha massacre case of 2013. The court also refused to order the state police to hand over their case files and records to NIA. The incident in Darbha, Sukma, had wiped out almost the entire Chhattisgarh Congress leadership, including VC Shukla and Mahendra Karma. The then BJP government had transferred the case to NIA.On August 10, Special NIA Court judge DN Bhagat rejected NIA’s application to transfer to it a state police FIR in the case, lodged in May.The judge stated that while NIA was already investigating the matter, against the same people and under the same sections, under Section 10 in NIA Act, provisions exist to allow states to do independent investigation.


67 Indian bank accounts under scanner over embezzlement fraud in Brazil frozen by ED

 Enforcement Directorate (ED) informed the Delhi high court on Thursday that it froze 67 bank accounts of various Indian businessmen and companies in India on the request of Brazil, where a provincial governor is under investigation for embezzling funds. ED has informed the court that it acted on mutual legal agreement between both countries but it hasn’t filed any case in the matter.The agency was responding to a plea filed by advocate Vijay Aggarwal on behalf of company Hamilton Housewares, whose account was frozen by ED last month along with other individuals/companies.Hamilton Housewares Pvt Ltd deals in plastics, thermo steel, thermoware, ceramic ware and glassware under the brand name “Milton”. The company’s accounts was ordered to be frozen by ED on July 13. The order further said that no withdrawals will be allowed without the permission of the agency.


Over 1,700 big wilful defaulters together owe Rs 37,020 crore to PNB

Winsome Diamond & Jewellery, Gitanjali Gems and ABG Shipyard are among the big wilful defaulters who together owe more than Rs 37,000 crore to Punjab National Bank (PNB) as of the end of the first quarter of 2020-21.As many as 1,787 big wilful defaulters owe outstanding loans of Rs 37,020.27 crore at the end of June, according to the list of wilful defaulters with outstanding of Rs 25 lakh and above as of June 30 uploaded on the PNB website.PTI


Mysterious appearance of cow carcasses in Azamgarh pointer towards "right wing conspiracy":  Residents

Lucknow:The sudden spotting of abandoned cow carcasses in Azamgarh during the past few days is a pointer towards a silent conspiracy of the right-wing forces, claim social and civil rights activists in the area including local residents. Rihai Manch, a state-based grass roots organisation working for national unity and social justice has demanded a high-level probe into the incident and termed it an “organised conspiracy” while BJP District head Dhruv Singh has demanded action in the case.According to eyewitnesses, the carcasses were found strewn at different places in the city under mysterious circumstances buttressing fears that a nefarious design is underway to target the minorities. Singh has alleged that that the carcasses are of the cows which were meant to be slaughtered in the abattoirs but since the supply was disrupted, the dead cows were abandoned on the streets. BJP claims the number of dead cows has further alarmed the local residents who believe that it, too, is a part of the conspiracy.Rihai Mach secretary Rajeev Yadav said, “Dozens of cow carcasses were reported to have been found on Aug.5 and 6 at Mehnagar and Saraimeer Police stations. Many dead cows were found to be reported at different places at one and the same time and it cannot be coincidence. Taking into account the previous cases, there is every possibility that these carcasses might have been brought from somewhere else and dumped here with ulterior motives,”he said.According to Rihai Manch, emerging carcasses reveal a violent and communal conspiracy of the right wing aimed at disturbing peace of the area.


BJP MLA says beaten up at police station; Aligarh SHO suspended, SP shifted

Lucknow: SHO of Gonda Police Station in Aligarh was suspended and the Superintendent of Police, Aligarh Rural Area, transferred on Wednesday after BJP workers led by Aligarh MP Satish Gautam protested at the police station, claiming mishandling by the police of party MLA Rajkumar Sahyogi. The police said the SHO had told them the Iglas MLA hit him first. The incident between Sahyogi and Gonda Police Station personnel allegedly happened on Wednesday morning. Sahyogi had arrived at the police station over an August 2 clash between two communities, including an ABVP worker. Later in the day, he returned to the police station with a huge group of BJP workers and Gautam, and told the media that SHO Kumar and other policemen had beaten him up. As BJP men refused to leave, Adityanath directed DGP H C Awasthy to take “immediate action” and hold a probe into the entire episode. Circle Officer Parashuram Singh said that SHO had said MLA first misbehaved with the sentry on duty, and that when SHO objected to it, Sahyogi had slapped him and hurled abuses.


Swadeshi does not mean boycotting all foreign products: RSS chief Bhagwat

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday said using “swadeshi” or indigenous items does not necessarily mean boycotting all foreign products, PTI reported. He also emphasised on the need to only import the materials and technology that are not available in India.Swadeshi means preferring and promoting indigenous products and technologies while not boycotting all foreign items, the RSS chief said at a virtual book launch event.“We will import whatever is suitable for us,” he said, according to ANI.


Pranab Mukherjee’s son clarifies: Former President ‘still alive, haemodynamically stable’

Congress leader Abhijit Mukherjee on Thursday dismissed reports that his father, former President Pranab Mukherjee who is currently on ventilator support, passed away. He added that ex President is “still alive and haemodynamically stable”. Taking to Twitter, Abhijit said: “My father Shri Pranab Mukherjee is still alive and haemodynamically stable! Speculations & fake news being circulated by reputed Journalists on social media clearly reflects that Media in India has become a factory of Fake News.”


Rajdeep Sardesai tweets fake news about former President Pranab Mukherjee, deletes after getting trolled

Rajdeep Sardesai, a well-known journalist with a national news channel on Thursday tweeted that former President Pranab Mukherjee, who is in a criticial condition and is on ventilator for last three days, has died but he deleted the tweet within minutes after netizens called him out for peddling fake news. Soon after the fake news was tweeted, Pranab Mukherjee's son and daughter also clarified on his health and castigated those spreading rumours.The trolling by netizens also forced the journalist to issue a denial and as a face-saving measure he said that though Mukherjee is criticial he is still fighting on.


Congress leader Rajiv Tyagi dies after TV debate

Minutes after he appeared on a TV debate, Congress party’s national spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi collapsed and was pronounced dead in a Noida hospital on Wednesday. Tyagi was participating in debate from his home in Ghaziabad.



Sonia, Rahul seek immediate withdrawal of EIA 2020

Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the government of dismantling India’s environment rules and demanded that the draft EIA 2020 be withdrawn immediately.The draft environment impact assessment (EIA) notification, 2020, which involves the procedure of issuing environmental clearances to various projects, was issued by the Environment Ministry in March this year and has received thousands of suggestions from the public.Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said the EIA 2020 is only a draft and not a final notification and the ministry has received thousands of suggestions from the public which will be considered before a final draft.PTI


'Faceless, Fair, Fearless': PM's Big New Push For Tax Reforms

PM Narendra Modi today launched a new platform to ease the compliance burden for assessees and reward the "honest taxpayer". "The country's honest taxpayer plays a big role in nation-building... A faceless tax system will give the taxpayer confidence on fairness and fearlessness," PM said in a video address after rolling out the ''Transparent Taxation - Honoring the Honest'' platform in a big push for tax reforms. PM Modi said a "faceless appeal facility" will be available to all citizens from Sept.25, and the initiatives will strengthen the efforts of "reforming and simplifying our tax system". The taxpayers' charter was announced in the Union Budget for fiscal year 2020-21 by Finance Minister. The facility is likely to empower citizens by ensuring time-bound services by Income Tax Department.


Jamia Millia Islamia tops central universities in government rankings

NEW DELHI: Jamia Millia Islamia, which had been in turmoil in the past few months, has bagged the first spot among all central universities in the country in rankings released by the ministry of education with a score of 90%.In the ‘Grading/scoring of performance of central universities’ by the ministry, Jamia had a score of 90%, compared to 83% of Rajiv Gandhi University of Arunachal Pradesh, 82% of JNU and 78% of AMU. The score is based on an evaluation on key parameters fixed under an MoU in 2019-20.All the universities were required to sign a tripartite MoU with MHRD and UGC for continuous evaluation. Jamia was the first university in 2017 to sign this MoU and present itself for performance evaluation,” said a statement by the university.


India’s Population Will Be 1.52 Billion by 2036, With 70% of Increase in Urban Areas

New Delhi: India’s population is expected to grow by 25%, with reference to 2011, to 1.52 billion by 2036, according to the final report of the technical group on population projections dated July 2020. The group was constituted by the National Commission on Population (NCP) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the mandate to provide population projections for the period 2011 to 2036. India’s population growth rate is expected to decline to its lowest since the Independence in the 2011-2021 decade, with a decadal growth rate of 12.5%. It will decline further to 8.4% in the 2021-2031 decade, as per the report, which The Wire has seen. According to these projections, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country around 2031 – almost a decade later than UN projection of 2022.



100 days of LAC crisis: Indian envoy reaches out, Delhi waits for Beijing word on talks

India’s ambassador to Beijing, Vikram Misri, reached out Wednesday to a key interlocutor in the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee to try and make headway in talks on resolving the crisis along LAC in Ladakh where the standoff between troops of the two countries enters its 100th day Thursday.Misri met Liu Jianchao, Deputy Director of Office of CPC Central Committee Foreign Affairs Commission, and “briefed him on India’s stance vis-à-vis the situation on the borders in eastern Ladakh UT and overall bilateral relations”, Indian embassy in Beijing said in a tweet. Central Committee is a political body comprising top leaders of the Communist Party of China. Officials said Liu wields influence within the CPC’s foreign affairs division, and can help convey the need to resolve the border situation at the political level. It is learnt that New Delhi is looking at another round of official talks through an established diplomatic framework with Beijing in the coming week. Official sources said that4th meeting of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) has been proposed but a date is yet to be confirmed by Beijing. The meeting is expected to take place next week.


China extends anti-dumping tariff for 5 years on India-made optical fibre

China has extended an anti-dumping tariff on optical fibre made in India, the ministry of commerce said in a notice published on its website today.The duties will be renewed from Friday and remain in place for 5 years.In the announcement, MOFCOM “…decided to continue to impose anti-dumping duties on imported single-mode optical fibers originating in India from August 14 on the basis of the final review of the investigation results. The implementation period is 5 years”.Several Indian companies were named in the announcement.


Nepal to seek ID cards from Indian visitors

Nepal will seek identity cards from visitors from India, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa has said. He told a parliamentary panel that Nepal will use the data to better deal with the coronavirus situation.“Archiving is under way. The government will focus on developing it in a system that will make it permanent,” Thapa told the State Management and Good Governance Committee of Parliament. Nepal’s Ekantipur reported that the Minister said Kathmandu will implement the identity cards and registration system and will try to formalise record-keeping process to better manage movement of people and the pandemic. Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has recently blamed India for the spread of the COVID-19 in the country.India and Nepal have an open border which is demarcated but for Kalapani in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Susta in the Uttar Pradesh-Bihar region. Nepal has increased deployment of armed personnel on the border with India since the Kalapani dispute intensified in May.


Kamala Harris is vocal on Kashmir, ‘unbreakable bond’ with India & loves her idli-sambhar: theprint

New Delhi: Kamala Harris, who was Tuesday selected as Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s running mate for the upcoming US presidential polls, is the first person of Indian — and Asian — origin to enter vice-presidential race. She had entered the campaign season as a presidential hopeful but dropped out in Dec.2019 on account of funding constraints. Harris is the daughter of a Chennai-born mother, Shyamala Gopalan, who arrived in US in 1960 to pursue cancer research and a Jamaican-origin father, Donald Harris, who retired as an economics professor from the premier Stanford University. Her parents divorced when she was seven, and Harris and her sister Maya were raised by their mother, who brought them to India every other year to visit their grandparents. As a public figure, Harris has batted for strong ties between India and US, but was also critical of the situation that emerged in Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370 last year. As she weighed in on the situation in Kashmir after the Modi govt’s Article 370 move, Harris said in Oct.2019, “We have to remind the Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world. We are keeping a track on the situation. There is a need to intervene if the situation demands.” She also stood by her fellow Indian-origin Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar refused to attend a meeting in US over her participation. Jayapal had earlier moved a resolution on the Kashmir issue in House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Biden, her partner in the election, has been critical of the CAA. Harris has always been “proud” of her roots, joking about having smoked pot (a stereotype often associated with Jamaicans) and talking about her love for idli-sambhar.


Indian-American Muslims celebrate Kamala Harris nomination as US Vice-Presidential candidate

Washington,DC : Association of Indian Muslims Muslims of America (AIM), an American organization of expatriate Indian Muslims, today congratulated Senator Kamala Harris, on her nomination as Vice-President to the Democratic party ticket for US Presidency in the upcoming election. Sen Harris will be formally nominated in Democratic party convention next week. In a statement, its Executive Director, Kaleem Kawaja expressed joy at the remarkable high success of a second generation Indian-American in becoming a candidate for the second highest public office in America.  Sen Harris is the daughter of Prof Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer biologist, who was from Chennai, India, and had emigrated to US in 1965. Kawaja applauded the fact that now 4 Indian-Americans are US Congressmen and one is a US Senator.


Doctors with medical degrees from PoK barred from practice in India

New Delhi: Medical Council of India (MCI) has issued a circular barring people with degree from Pakistan-occupied J&K and Ladakh (PoJKL) to practice medicine in India. “This is to inform all concerned that entire territories of UT of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India. Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the territory. Accordingly, any medical institution in Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh requires permission/ recognition under IMC Act, 1956. Such permission has not been granted to any medical college in PoJKL,” a public notice issued by MCI stated. “Therefore, any qualification obtained from medical colleges located within these illegally occupied areas of India shall not entitle a person for grant of registration…”


Amnesty International calls for independent probe into killing of 3 J-K labourers,trials%20%E2%80%9Coffer%20a%20degree%20of

Srinagar: Amnesty International has called for investigation and prosecution into the alleged extrajudicial execution of 3 labourers by the Indian Army troops in J&K's Shopian district by independent civilian authorities, saying civilian investigations and trials “offer a degree of transparency and independence that is missing from the military justice system”.The human rights watchdog was reacting to Indian Army’s statement that it has launched an inquiry into the reports that 3 labourers Imtiaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed Khan and Abrar Yusuf from frontier Rajouri district were killed in a fake encounter by the troops in Shopian on July 18, a day after the trio had arrived in the area to work in an apple orchard to earn their livelihood.The organisation said that UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors implementation of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a state party has stated that in cases of human rights violations by security forces, investigations should be carried out by civilian authorities in order to ensure independence.Deccan Chronicle



Assembly session agenda yet to be decided, Speaker tells SC

After the Supreme Court has asked him on the agenda for special assembly session, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said he has asked the Speaker, but nothing has been finalised so far. The SC has asked him to check with Speaker whether confidence motion is likely. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal started the debate in SC on behalf of the Speaker. Sibal said the High Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case. “The Constitution has given this right to the Speaker. Interim order of Speaker cannot be judicially reviewed. “The business advisory committee of the Rajasthan assembly is scheduled to meet at 10 am tomorrow to decide agenda. All opposition parties will be represented in BAC meeting,” Kapil Sibal said. A month after Sachin Pilot’s rebellion against the Congress plunged the Ashok Gehlot government in a crisis, Rajasthan Chief Minister said resentment among the party MLAs is “natural”. Following the return of dissident legislators to the party-fold, CM Ashok Gehlot asked them to forgive, forget and move on. With Congress Legislature Meet (CLP) scheduled for today, 2 Congress leaders may come face-to-face -- first time after Pilot camp legislators rebelled against the Gehlot government. Amid latest developments, the BJP has scheduled a meeting for its MLAs today at 11 am at the party office in Jaipur. Vasundhara Raje, the former Chief Minister of Rajasthan, will also be attending the meet. For the latest from Rajasthan, stay tuned to IndiaToday. BJP legislature party meeting underway at party headquarters in Jaipur. Former CM Vasundhara Raje also present. Rajasthan High Court on Thursday resumed hearing the petitions filed by a BJP MLA and BSP challenging the merger of six BSP MLAs with Congress last year. The hearing, however, remained inconclusive in Rajasthan HC. The matter has been now posted for 10.30 am tomorrow.

Gehlot says forget and forgive, his MLAs taken to Jaipur resort


Supreme Court Boost For Ashok Gehlot On 6 MLAs Key To Majority

New Delhi: 6 MLAs who shifted from Mayawati's party to the Congress will be able to vote during the trust vote of Rajasthan's Ashok Gehlot government, which, sources said, is likely to be held tomorrow. The Supreme Court, which was hearing a petition for a temporary freeze on the merger, has refused to allow it. The court left the decision to a single judge in Rajasthan, which is hearing the matter.The petition had asked the top court to urgently take a call on the matter in view of the beginning of the assembly session.But during the hearing today, a three-judge bench said, "We will not interfere in this case at this stage since High Court is already hearing it"With no interim order, the former BSP legislators will be allowed to participate in the proceedings of a special assembly session that will begin tomorrow.


Tension simmers in Punjab Congress, both sides look to high command

More than 10 days after senior Congress leaders Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo raised a banner of revolt against Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, there has been no intervention from central leadership, surprising many in the party. They argued that simmering tension in another Congress-ruled state, close on the heels of crises in MP and Rajasthan, is bad optics and could be fatal for party in Punjab.The central leadership’s reluctance to intervene on time to broker peace between the Kamal Nath-Digvijaya Singh duo and Jyotiraditya Scindia in Madhya Pradesh had resulted in the young leader joining BJP and the Congress losing its government. Even in Rajasthan, the high command brokered peace a month after Sachin Pilot rebelled. In Punjab, both sides are attacking each other viciously.



New Delhi accused of ‘hate-mongering’ as no public uproar over prominent temple becoming virus hotspot,  but Tablighi called 'super spreader':Arabnews report

New Delhi: Muslim groups and political analysts have accused Indian govt of double standards after a Hindu temple in Andhra Pradesh, said over 700 of its members had tested positive for coronavirus. The accusation follows claims that Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary group, were “super spreaders” after a New Delhi gathering in March. “Our political class has accepted the hegemony of Hindu majoritarianism uncritically, and that has been the guiding principle in dealing with this health crisis. Taking an anti-Muslim stance characterizes the new normal,” said Hilal Ahmad of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. However, despite the prominent temple becoming a disease hotspot, there has been no public uproar, as was the case when Jamaat was accused of spreading the disease earlier this year. The govt alleges that Tablighi Jamaat hosted gatherings of thousands of people from across India and abroad despite the coronavirus threat. However, some believe that PM Narendra Modi’s govt is being “divisive” in its approach. “Coronavirus in India is being used by hate-mongers to divide people in the name of religion,” said Shahid Ali, a Jamaat lawyer. He added that when coronavirus cases were detected among the Tablighi group, both the media and a section of the ruling class “began propagating hate against Muslims.”“As a result, common people started sidelining and threatening Muslims. Now, when there are so many coronavirus cases in Hindu places of worship, the media is silent. Coronavirus does not have a religion, but India gave coronavirus a religion,” he said. However, the ruling BJP spokesperson Sudesh Verma said the comparison is misplaced and maintained its stance that Jamaat was the “perpetrator” of the virus, while the Hindus in Tirupati are “victims.” However, some have disagreed and accused the authorities of being “anti-science” and stigmatizing Muslims. "Now we know that the govt and media were working with a particular agenda – they just wanted to victimize Muslims,” said Harjit Singh Bhatti, president of New Delhi-based Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum. Bhatti raised the issue of Ayodhya event, where PM launched the construction on a Hindu temple, in “a total disregard for anti-virus measures and protocols.”


Ram Janmabhoomi head, who shared dais with PM Modi in Ayodhya, tests positive for Covid

More than a week after sharing the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the bhoomi pujan, Ram Janmabhoomi Trust chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das tested positive for novel coronavirus on Thursday. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Anandiben Patel were also among the top leaders who were present for the event at the temple site on Aug.5. In a statement today, Uttar Pradesh govt said that CM has spoken to Mathura DM and has urged Dr Trehan of Medanta Hospital to provide immediate medical attention. Das heads Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, a Trust constituted by Centre for the construction and management of the Ram temple. Last week, PM laid the foundation for Ram temple in Ayodhya amid chanting of shlokas, declaring that the Ram Janmabhoomi had been “liberated” from the “centuries-old cycle of destruction and resurrection”.


Union minister Shripad Naik tests positive for Covid-19

Union minister of State for defence Shripad Naik has tested positive for Covid-19, he revealed in a post on Twitter.“I underwent Covid-19 test today and it has turned out asymptomatically positive. My vitals are within normal limits and I have opted for home isolation. Those who have come in contact with me in the last few days are advised to get tested for themselves and take required precautions,” Naik said. Barely 2 days ago, the minister had felicitated kar sevaks who had participated in the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya at a function in Ponda tehsil of Goa.


Ajju, who declares reward to ‘catch’ Tablighis dies of COVID

New Dlehi: A leader of Hindu Yuva Vahini, who declared a cash reward of Rs 11,000 for ‘catching’ Tablighi Jamaat members dies of COVID-19. Ajay Srivastav aka Ajju Hindustani, was an ultra member of Hindu Yuva Vahini, a right-wing Hindu outfit founded by CM Yogi Adityanath, which operates outside of the ruling BJP in UP, as his personal force.Ajju was one of Yogi’s favorite members and was locally known as ‘Yogi’s Hanuman’. Members of Tablighi Jamaat that was roundly criticised for being a super spreader of the Coronavirus in the country. siasat


Raza Academy writes to Maharashtra CM, requests re-opening of mosques

Raza Academy, a body representing Indian Sufi Muslims, on August 12 requested Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to open mosques with social distancing "in the view of High Court judgement for Jain Temples"."The honourable High Court of Mumbai has directed the disaster management team of the BMC to consider the opening of Jain temples for their Padushan Festival. The Hon. Court has noted that if Malls, Gyms and Shops can be opened why can’t religious places be opened with necessary precautions and arrangements," Raza Academy's general secretary, M. Saeed Noori said in a letter to Thackeray.


Indians fear pandemic will deepen inequalities among students: survey

3 out of 4 Indians say COVID-19 pandemic will deepen inequalities among primary and secondary students, according to a survey by global education firm Pearson. Almost 80% fear the pandemic will continue to disrupt education until a vaccine is found.The global online survey was conducted for Pearson in May by a market research firm, with results weighted for age, gender, education and socio-economic status so that proportions are representative of national demographics. Over a thousand Indians were included. Primary and secondary education will fundamentally change because of the pandemic, according to 80% of Indian respondents. Almost the same proportion says that online learning is going to become a bigger part of schooling for young people. With three-fourths of respondents recognising a widening digital divide, they were asked what solutions public education needs to invest in. About 45% felt the need to equip schools to switch to online learning, while 33% felt the top priority is to increase access to technology for underserved learners.


One in 4 young people in UP experienced depression due to lockdown: study

Pune : One in 4 young people in Uttar Pradesh experienced depression during the lockdown, finds a study on the impact of Covid-19 on young people, conducted by the Population Foundation of India. Another study found high social media usage and increasing anxiety over joblessness among the youth. To understand how India’s young people are coping with these challenges, the Population Foundation of India (PFI) conducted two rapid assessment surveys to understand the level of knowledge and attitude of young people towards Covid -19 and how it has impacted their lives and mental health.The key findings show that 68 per cent respondents in Uttar Pradesh reported an increase in social media use during the lockdown. Of those respondents who reported feeling depressed, social media use was even higher at 92 per cent. 6 of 10 students responded that they felt anxiety regarding their ability to find jobs due to Covid-19 while one in four young people in UP experienced depression during lockdown, Poonam Muttreja, executive director of PFI, said in a statement issued on the occasion of International Youth Day.


Record single-day spike of 66,999 cases takes India’s Covid-19 tally to nearly 2.4 million

India saw its Covid-19 tally jump by 66,999 new cases - highest single-day spike - on Thursday which pushed the number of cases to nearly 2.4 million.The country recorded 942 fresh fatalities in the last 24 hours, which pushed the death toll due to the disease to 47,033.The number of active cases in the country are 6,53,622 while 16,95,982 patients (or more than double the number of active cases) have been discharged so far, according to Union health ministry update on Thursday morning.


30% of SARI patients Covid positive: NIV

Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) has found at least 30 per cent of Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases were positive with coronavirus disease. “A sizable number of people with Covid-19 have been found among those hospitalised with SARI, in Pune. This is an ongoing activity. Of 4,939 referred SARI cases from January-end till August 4, a total of 1,501 were found positive for Covid-19,” said Prof Priya Abraham, director of ICMR-NIV. More than 1.5 lakh samples have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 at the apex research institute. “These are samples mainly from Pune and around. As many as 26,232 out of 1.5 lakh samples were positive (around 17 per cent). Transmission rates are variable in different settings in all regions,” the director said.


Bengal changes lockdown dates 4th time in a fortnight, sparks criticism

West Bengal govt on Wednesday changed statewide lockdown dates for this month a fourth time in a fortnight and dropped August 28 from the list earlier announced, triggering criticism from opposition parties.While CPI(M) said Mamata govt has made lockdown a “farce”, Congress said CM should consult experts before making such changes. BJP claimed the move has political import, and meant to please a “particular community”. As per the latest government order, the lockdown dates, after dropping August 28 (Friday), for the remainder of this month are August 20 (Thursday), 21 (Friday), 27 (Thursday) and 31 (Monday).


Coronavirus: Procurement of vaccine to be done by Centre in equitable manner, says expert panel

National Expert Group on vaccine administration has decided the Centre would handle procurement of the drug for Covid19. “The committee also advised all the states not to chart separate pathways of procurement,” a statement by the health ministry said.The expert panel announced that it will set up digital infrastructure to track potential vaccines processes “with particular focus on last-mile delivery”.


Countries must avoid ‘vaccine nationalism: Experts

To achieve fair and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, it is imperative to develop a rules-based regime, experts have said in a policy brief published in the Observer Research Foundation. The brief examined challenges that India must face to successfully manufacture and distribute a vaccine. WHO and WTO must step in to prevent cartelisation or profiteering, brief stated, adding that countries must avoid “vaccine nationalism”, which will not only be detrimental to public health but also to the global economy. “It is difficult to determine which of the candidates for vaccine development will succeed. So, manufacturers, multilateral organisations and governments must adopt various strategies to ensure access to the vaccine, or vaccines, which finally get approval by a national regulator and WHO,” the brief said.


Physical hearing may begin in some courts in Supreme Court from next week

A committee of 7 Supreme Court judges is learnt to have recommended holding physical hearings in at least two or three of the 15 benches in the apex court as early as next week with some additional safety measures, PTI reported. In the last week of July, 7- judge panel headed by senior most judge Justice NV Ramana had apprised the bar leaders of its decision to not open the SC for physical hearings "for the time being" and had assured to meet them again after two weeks to reconsider the issue. Now, Shivaji M Jadhav, President of the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA), said that the judges committe met Bar leaders on Tuesday and "is seriously considering to start at least 2-3 physical courts from the next week".


Govt’s Handling of Covid-19 Borders on Criminal Negligence: Prashant Bhushan

Prashan Bhushan, senior Supreme Court advocate and activist, who has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court on the handling of coronavirus situation by the Modi govt, has said that the Central government has committed gross mismanagement in dealing with covid-19 situation which borders on criminal negligence.In an interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, he also said that this ‘mismanagement’ needed to be investigated by an independent commission headed by a former Supreme Court judge.Bhushan talked about his PIL and the charges he levelled in his petition against the government regarding the mishandling of the situation emanating from the outbreak of the pandemic.



Plea in SC seeks commission for inquiry into mismanagement of COVID pandemic

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Friday a plea which has sought a direction to the Centre to appoint a commission, headed by a retired apex court judge, for inquiry into the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The petition has alleged that the Centre failed to undertake timely and effective measures for containing transmission of the virus and an independent inquiry by a commission, appointed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952, was essential to inquire into the "lapses".PTI


COVID: Indian Railways’ refund exceeds earning from passengers in Q1, but freight holds ground, RTI finds

Perhaps for the first time in its 167-year-long history, the Railways has refunded more than it has earned from ticket bookings, registering a negative passenger segment revenue of Rs 1,066 crore in COVID-19-hit first quarter of 2020-21, an RTI query has found. The freight earnings, however, during the period managed to hold ground, according to RTI reply provided by the Railways to Chandra Shekhar Gaur, a Madhya Pradesh-based activist.PTI


Coronavirus: Zydus Cadila launches its remdesivir version in India, priced at Rs 2,800 per vial

Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila on Thursday announced the launch of what it said was the cheapest generic version of anti-viral drug remdesivir for Covid-19 treatment in India. One 100 gram vial of medicine will cost Rs 2,800.“Priced at Rs 2800 for a 100mg lyophilized injection, RemdacTM is the most economical Remdesivir brand in India,” the company said in a statement. In June, Zydus Cadila had signed a deal with American biotechnology company Gilead Sciences to produce and sell remdesivir in India. Zydus Cadila is the fifth Indian firm after Hetero Labs, Cipla, Mylan NV and Jubilant Life Sciences to produce a version of the anti-viral drug. Hetero Labs had priced its version of remdesivir at Rs 5,400 per vial.



Israel uses Beirut blast pretext to change mandate of UN force in Lebanon

Under the guise of the Beirut blast, the Israeli occupation has been mobilising members of UNSC to change the mandate of UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), reported on Wednesday. Israeli Ynet News reported Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi taking diplomats from some of the Security Council member states on Tuesday to the Israel-Lebanon border, where the Israeli army claims that Hezbollah attempted to infiltrate Israel earlier this month. Speaking to a group of 12 ambassadors, Ashkenazi stated: “Israel supports the existence of UNIFIL, but it wants full application of its mandate,” claiming that UNIFIL is unable to carry out its full mandate due to Hezbollah.“Israel cannot remain indifferent in the face of Hezbollah’s attempts to harm its civilians,” Ashkenazi asserted.He added: “The organisation operates in densely populated urban areas using Lebanese civilians as human shields, as was evident in the recent tragic event in Beirut that caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.”


US preparing sanctions against Hezbollah's allies in Lebanon: Report

US government is preparing to impose anti-corruption sanctions against prominent Lebanese politicians and business figures in an attempt to weaken Hezbollah's influence in the country, Wall Street Journal reported.Since last week's explosion at Beirut port, Washington has accelerated efforts to blacklist Lebanese leaders aligned with the Shia movement, the paper reported on Wednesday.US officials see unrest in the country as an opportunity to drive a wedge between Hezbollah and its allies, said the paper, as Lebanon seeks billions of dollars in international aid to rebuild Beirut.Lebanon has been rocked by protests in recent days, with thousands taking to the capital's rubble-strewn streets to vent their anger and frustation, demanding the overthrow of a system they say has lost all legitimacy. On Monday, Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his government resigned, setting up a new tussle over who should lead the country."Some of us are hoping we can finally take advantage of the situation to shake things up among the political elites there," one US official told the Journal."It seems to me that concurrent local popular outrage and well-thought-out external pressure can force some big changes in how the elites do business politically, not to mention financially, with respect to Hezbollah."


Lebanon parliament approves sweeping powers for army

Lebanon's parliament has approved a state of emergency that grants sweeping powers to the army, citing the exceptional circumstances in the country following a massive explosion in Beirut last week.The cabinet had declared a two-week state of emergency on Aug.5, the day after the Beirut blast.Parliament on Thursday voted for the emergency declaration eight days in, as is legally required, though it could have also voted it down. The state of emergency allows the army to curb free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press, as well as to enter homes and arrest anyone deemed a security threat.All court proceedings are to take place in the country's military courts, which HRW and other rights groups have shown do not conform to standards on due process.Rights groups have raised serious concerns about the state of emergency, saying it would enable security forces to crack down on a public raging with anger against the ruling class following the blast.


Israeli missile hits school in Gaza, causing damage

An Israeli warplane Thursday fired a missile that landed in a school run by UN Refugees Agency (UNRWA) in Al-Shati refugee camp, western Gaza city.A Palestinian security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the missile didn't explode but caused damages to the school building. The source added though UNRWA management has suspended the education process in the school, it has yet to comment on the incident. Hamas group held Israel responsible for military escalation and stifling blockade in Gaza.“These aggressive policies aim to exacerbate the crises our people in Gaza are enduring, to paralyze their daily life and to disrupt the efforts of combating coronavirus amid international and regional silence."Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesperson for the Hamas group, said.At Thursday dawn, Israeli warplanes raided several locations of the Hamas military wing across Gaza, but no injuries were reported.


Israel cuts fuel to Gaza 'in light of' incendiary balloons

Israel announced it was halting the import of fuel into Gaza Strip, a day after launching strikes against Hamas targets in response to a wave of airborne fire bombs dispatched from the besieged Palestinian territory in recent days.Israel, which cites security threats from Hamas for its land and naval blockade, on Wednesday struck a Hamas naval force compound, underground infrastructure and observation posts with warplanes, attack helicopters and tanks.


Qatar: ‘We face obstacles to send assistance to Gaza’

Chairman of the Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza Ambassador Mohammed Al-Emadi stated on Wednesday that his country faces obstacles in sending assistance to Gaza, Palestinian media reported.According to Safa News Agency, Al-Emadi explained that his country maintains continuous contact with Israel to facilitate the entry of Qatari aid to Gaza, noting that the obstacles and challenges had recently risen.He confirmed that the communications between Israeli occupation officials and senior Qatari officials are not new, pointing out these talks are intended to ease the effects of the Israeli siege imposed on the “Palestinian brothers”.


Report: Israel tried to expel 60000 Palestinians to Uruguay

Israel tried to expel 60,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Uruguay after reaching understandings with the government of the South American state in 1969, Israeli Public Broadcaster (Kan) has revealed.According to Al-Hadath news website, Kan said that the late Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, who served from 1963-1969, laid down the bases of this plan.The plan was part of Israeli deliberations about how to deal with the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 which multiplied the occupied lands by three folds.One of the other possible plans, was setting up an agricultural Palestinian neighbourhood in Sinai, which was under Israeli occupation at the time.


Report: Israel arrested 429 Palestinians in July, including 32 minors

 Israeli occupation forces arrested 429 Palestinians in July in occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, including 32 minors and 10 women, a report prepared by rights groups revealed on Wednesday.


Knesset rejects bill barring Netanyahu from heading government

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, rejected a bill which would prevent its members indicted on criminal charges from forming a government, the Times of Israel has reported. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces corruption and fraud charges, and opposition leader Yair Lapid traded insults after the discussion in the chamber.The bill, which was introduced by Lapid, aimed to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government if another General Election is held in Israel. According to reports, 53 MKs rejected the bill and 37 supported it. The Blue and White bloc, Netanyahu’s partner in the government, abstained in the vote.


UK has been ‘non-committal’ in tackling Israel’s plans to annex West Bank

Europe has an important role to play in combatting Israel’s illegal annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, speakers at a webinar held yesterday said. Hosted by the European-Palestinian Relations Forum (EuroPal Forum), the webinar heard from Independent Member of the House of Lords Baroness Tonge, Member of the European Parliament Jakop Dalunde, United Kingdom Member of Parliament Mickey Bradey, and the General Director of the League of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds Dr. Makram Balawi.In her address, Baroness Tonge said her questions to UK government regarding Israel’s planned annexation have repeatedly been rebuffed by officials. UK government is making “representations to the Israeli government”, she is told again and again. A response which she believes is indicative of the UK’s “non-committal” position regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.As a result, UK will not impose sanctions on Israel should the occupation state go ahead with annexation plans, as it believes that “persuasion and discourse is a better way of doing things”.


Greece stoking tensions in East Med: Turkish president

Turkey's president on Thursday blamed Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration for increasing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean by excluding Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)."It's not Turkey that is increasing tensions in Mediterranean, but rather the Greek Cypriot-Greek mentality attempting to disregard Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the 19th foundation anniversary of his ruling AK Party.Erdogan repeated Turkey's call for dialogue and negotiation with Athens as "the only way to a resolution in Eastern Mediterranean" for a "win-win solution." "We'd never pursue an unnecessary adventure or stoke tensions."


Turkey accuses Greece of ‘oppressing Muslim minority’

Turkey has accused Greece of “systematically closing Turkish minority schools” in the country’s Western Thrace region.“Athens’ practice of temporary suspending minority schools in Western Thrace – a region where around 150,000 Muslim Turkish minority have resided for the past 25 years is a part of Greece’s assimilation and oppression efforts against Muslims,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hami Aksoy, said in a statement.Such oppressive policies, Aksoy added, “have been carried out for decades against the Turkish minority in Western Thrace.”“For 25 years, Greece has been systematically shutting down schools belonging to the Turkish minority on the pretext of austerity measures and insufficient enrollment,” Askoy pointed out.


Greece, Egypt deal 'unethical': Turkish nationalist party head

Greece’s controversial move last week to sign a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt, while also sitting for talks with Turkey in Germany, is unethical, said a Turkish political party leader Wednesday, Anadolu reports.Turkey’s internal and external problems have intensified, said Devlet Bahceli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in a statement.Global and regional tension is worrying, and the port blast in Beirut has also negatively affected Lebanon’s internal politics and the regional dynamics, he said.


Libya: Trump talks demilitarised zone with Erdogan

US embassy in Libya has announced President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan discussed in a phone call the steps necessary to achieve a demilitarised zone in central Libya.The two leaders also addressed ways to achieve a complete withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, and stressed the need to enable the National Oil Corporation to resume its vital work.


France to boost military presence in eastern Mediterranean

France will boost its military presence in eastern Mediterranean amid an escalating standoff between Greece and Turkey over oil and gas exploration in disputed waters.France will send two Rafale fighter jets and the naval frigate 'Lafayette' to the region as part of plans to increase its military presence, the armed forces ministry said on Thursday. French President Emmanuel Macron called the situation in the eastern Mediterranean "worrying", and urged Turkey to stop its "unilateral" prospecting and "allow a peaceful dialogue" between neighbouring NATO members.


Turkey says operation against PKK in Iraq to continue

Turkey will continue its cross-border operations against Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq if Baghdad continues to overlook the rebels' presence in the region, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, urging Iraqi authorities to cooperate with Ankara.Turkey has regularly attacked Kurdistan PKK fighters, both in its mainly Kurdish southeast and in northern Iraq, where the group is based.


Islah leader calls Saudis 'mice' and says he will liberate Yemen's Mocha from UAE: middleeasteye

A leaked video has thrown into sharp relief the divisions between Yemen's Islah and Saudi Arabia, even if the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated party has yet to make a formal announcement of the split. In the video, leaked on 1 August, the leader of Islah's military wing in Taiz province mocks the Saudis as "mice" and says that Islah is planning to launch attacks against UAE-backed force in Mocha. Coupled with recent statements by other Islah leaders, it reflects the reality that the party's one-time alliance with Riyadh is over, and that Saudi Arabia is now considered an enemy whose actions have failed to lead Yemen to peace. Discussing the planned attack in the video, Abdu Farhan Salem says: “Mocha is ours. They said ‘Turkey will provide us with weapons and those [Saudi-led coalition forces] will become mice’.”Mocha, a port city on the Red Sea coast located in Taiz province, is currently under the control of Tareq Saleh, a nephew of the late president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is seen by many as responsible for hundreds of deaths in Taiz.Saleh's National Resistance Forces (NSF) are heavily backed by UAE and there has been recent fighting between pro-Islah fighters and NSF fighters in Taiz.


Saudi King Salman Lands In Red Sea Megacity To "Rest" After Surgery

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's King Salman arrived at a planned Red Sea megacity to "rest and recuperate", state media said Thursday, after 84-year-old ruler underwent surgery to remove his gall bladder.The kingdom has sought to quell speculation over the health of the ageing monarch, who has ruled the top oil exporter and Arab world's biggest economy since 2015."The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman arrived in NEOM, where he will spend some time to rest and recuperate," official Saudi Press Agency said .AFP


Pak army chief to visit Saudi in quest to smooth ties: Reuters

Pakistan's army chief will visit Saudi Arabia this weekend, officials said, seeking to calm diplomatic strains over Kashmir as financial support for Islamabad hangs in the balance.The two countries are traditionally close and Saudi Arabia in 2018 gave Pakistan a $3bn loan and $3.2bn oil credit facility to help its balance of payments crisis.But Riyadh is irked by criticism from Pakistan that Saudi Arabia has been lukewarm on the Kashmir territorial dispute, two senior military officials told the Reuters, motivating General Qamar Javed Bajwa's planned fence-building visit on Sunday."Yes he is travelling," Pakistan army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told Reuters, though the official line was that the visit was preplanned and "primarily military affairs oriented".


Saudi industry fires foreign workers and hires Saudi citizens

Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector has fired more than 1,900 foreign workers and hired almost 500 Saudi citizens in a drive to replace its large expat workforce with the Kingdom’s nationals. Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef announced yesterday that the sector had been witnessing positive results in July in terms of hiring more Saudis and the laying off of expatriates.


US Makes Exceptions In H-1B Ban, Move Likely To Help Indian Professionals

Washington: In a move that could help Indian tech professionals and those working in the healthcare sector, the Trump administration has announced certain exemptions in H-1B and L-1 travel ban for those continuing employment with the same employer.The exemptions to the June 22 Presidential Proclamation 10052, commonly referred to as H-1B or L-1 travel ban, also includes the family members of H-1B, L-1 and certain categories of J1 visas.President Donald Trump, in his June proclamation, banned the entry into the US of workers in several key non-immigrant visa categories, including H-1B, arguing that they eat into American jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.


*views, Articles, FEATURES*

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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 4:32 PM)


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