17 August 2020

17 AUG. NEWS: Is Facebook favouring the ruling BJP in India?Facebook issues clarification, Congress reiterates demand for JPC probe. PMO denies RTI plea seeking info on PM-CARES. Disagreements delay Israeli delegation’s visit to UAE.



17 AUG 2020. 26 ZU AL HIJJAH 1441. Vol-12, No-279



Is Facebook favouring the ruling BJP in India?BBC


Did Facebook go easy on hate speech by an Indian lawmaker belonging to the governing BJP to protect its interests in its biggest market? A Wall Street Journal report, based on interviews with current and former Facebook employees, suggests so, and it prompted immediate calls for an investigation. In its report, the WSJ said Facebook deleted some hateful anti-Muslim posts by T Raja Singh, a lawmaker from India's southern Telangana state only after paper asked about them.The paper reported that Facebook employees had decided in March that Mr Singh's post violated the company's hate speech rules and qualified as dangerous. But the firm's top public policy executive in India, Ankhi Das, opposed applying "hate speech rules to Mr Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in the violence".Ms Das, the paper said, told employees that "punishing violations by politicians from Mr Modi's party would damage the company's business prospects in the country".The WSJ report has sparked calls by opposition MPs for investigations into Facebook's conduct in India.With more than 340 million users, India is Facebook's biggest market. In April Facebook announced it was investing $5.7bn (£4.6bn) in cut-price Indian mobile internet company Reliance Jio, owned by the country's richest person Mukesh Ambani. This would give Facebook a major foothold in India, where its WhatsApp chat service has 400m users and is about to launch a payments service."We prohibit hate speech and content that incites violence and we enforce these policies globally without regard to anyone's political position or party affiliation. While we know there is more to do, we're making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits of our process to ensure fairness and accuracy," a Facebook spokesperson replied in an email response. The firm did not provide any more details. This is not the first time allegations have been raised that Facebook is favouring the governing party.A series of articles by journalists Cyril Sam and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in 2018, wrote about the social media platform's "dominant position in India with more than a little help from friends of PM Narendra Modi and the BJP", among other things. BBC

Row over WSJ report: Facebook issues clarification, Congress reiterates demand for JPC probe


Facebook And Hate Speech: Know About Big Controversy


Afraid of Angering BJP, Facebook Ignored Hate Speech Rules for Party's Anti-Muslim Posts: Report


Congress demands joint parliamentary committee probe into Facebook ‘interference’ in elections


NEW DELHI: Accusing Facebook India of interfering with India’s electoral process, Congress has demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe allegations, triggering a war of words between Modi govt and the opposition party. The latest spat between the 2 parties follows an investigation published by the Wall Street Journal which reported that officials of Facebook India provided “favourable treatment to BJP on election related issues” and violated the company’s own guidelines on hate speech by refusing to take down objectionable comments by BJP leaders. Responding to news report, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accused BJP-RSS of “controlling” Facebook India to spread fake news, hatred and influence the electorate. Gandhi tweeted: “BJP & RSS control Facebook & Whatsapp in India. They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, American media has come out with the truth about Facebook.”He also tagged the WSJ report that said FB India’s top public policy executive, Ankhi Das, had opposed taking down controversial statements of a BJP leader and that she is reported to have told her colleagues that “punishing violations by BJP leaders would affect the company's business in the country”. In a personal attack, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back by calling Gandhi a ‘loser’.Amid the social media storm over the investigative report, BJP’s IT Cell chief Amit Malviya said FB had ‘unilaterally’ taken down 700 pages of their supporters, with millions of followers, just ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls and many of their digital properties were not allowed to “monetize” their content. At a virtual press conference, senior Congress leader Ajay Maken and the party’s data analytics chief, Praveen Chakravarty alleged that FB India’s actions amounted to interfering with Indian elections.


House panel to ask Facebook to explain ‘inaction’ on hate posts linked to BJP


Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology will look into the report in The Wall Street Journal that Facebook’s top public policy executive in India, citing business reasons, didn’t apply “hate-speech rules” to at least four individuals and groups linked with BJP who were “flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence”.“I will certainly look into the issue and the committee will seek the views of Facebook,” committee chairman Shashi Tharoor said.


We Ensure Fairness & Accuracy, Says Facebook After Report Claims It Ignores BJP Leaders' Hate Speeches


Days after an article published in The Wall Street Journal claimed Facebook overlooks hate speech and objectionable content by BJP leaders, the social media giant responded by saying it does not allow speech and content inciting violence. "We prohibit hate speech and content that incites violence and we enforce these policies globally without regard to anyone's political position or party affiliation. While we know there is more to do, we're making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits of our process to ensure fairness and accuracy," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying by ANI.news18


PMO denies RTI plea seeking info on PM-CARES


New Delhi: PMO has denied a RTI request related to PM-CARES Fund on the grounds that providing it would “disproportionately divert the resources of the office.” However, a High Court judgment and multiple orders of the Central Information Commission (CIC) have previously held that, under RTI Act, this rationale can only be used to change the format of information provided, not deny it altogether. This is a “misuse” of the Act, which should attract penalties under the law, says the country’s first CIC Wajahat Habibullah. RTI activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd.) had filed an RTI request asking for the total number of RTI applications and appeals received and disposed of in PMO each month since April 2020, as well as the number of such applications and appeals related to PM-CARES and Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. On the eve of Independence Day, PMO responded, providing the overall data, but denying information specific to the 2 funds. Nevertheless, CPIOs continue to provide this as an excuse to deny information, as seen in the multiple appeal cases heard and dismissed by CIC. The latest example comes from the PMO itself.  “There is no ambiguity. This is a misuse of the clause by CPIOs. It is up to the information commissions to levy penalties as this would amount to misinformation provided under the Act,” said Habibullah, who authored several of those CIC orders. “In my time, it was the initial phase when people were still learning about the Act, so we were lenient with regard to penalties on this issue. However, it is now well established and there is no excuse for such misuse.”


Naga peace talks: PM Modi has mandated IB to carry on talks says NSCN-IM


Guwahati :Blaming Nagaland Governor RN Ravi, who is also the govt’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, for creating an “imbroglio” in the peace process, NSCN-IM said Sunday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the mandate of continuing discussions to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and added that the move did not mean the peace process had been downgraded.A statement by the NSCN-IM — the largest Naga group among those engaging with Centre — released on Sunday evening said, “On the current status of the talks, NSCN put on record that PM-level talk has not gone down to Intelligence Bureau-level talk. The Interlocutor carries the mandate of PM. NSCN has been talking to Ravi as Interlocutor and not as Governor. But since Ravi created an imbroglio in the talks process, PM gave the mandate to continue the talks to a team of the IB as a fast-track channel for communication and clear the pending points in the competency. Once everything is clear, the agreement will be at the political level of the Prime Minister.”

Name Ayodhya Mosque as 'Sufi Masjid' to Promote Harmony, Sufi Foundation Tells UP Waqf Board


Kanpur:Madariya Sufi Foundation has written to chairman of UP Central Sunni Waqf Board, suggesting that the mosque that will come up at the land provided by the government in lieu of Babri masjid at Dhannipur village in Ayodhya, be named as 'Sufi Masjid'. "The naming of the mosque as 'Sufi Masjid' will help promote harmony and endorse Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. On behalf of Sufi leaders, sajjada nasheens of dargahs, Islamic scholars and peace-loving citizens of our country, we appeal to the Sunni board that this will have a positive impact nationwide," said Haji Mohd. Sameer Aziz Boghani, president, Madariya Sufi Foundation.IANS


Aligarh: Ex-BJP mayor accused of converting Muslim girls, marrying them off to Hindu boys


Aligarh: A Muslim girl, whose sister married a Hindu boy in Aligarh after going missing, has levelled serious allegations against former BJP mayor Shakuntala Bharti. The girl held a press conference on Sunday in which she accused Shakuntala Bharti of converting Muslim girls by luring them and marrying them off to Hindu boys. Former BJP mayor Shakuntala Bharti has denied the allegations outright and said if someone can prove the charges then she will leave the state forever.However, the girl, who went missing from her house and married a Hindu boy, has said that she married on her own will and no one had put any pressure on her.The girl disappeared from her home on August 7 after which her sister's husband lodged a complaint against a Hindu boy. He alleged that his sister-in-law escaped with the Hindu boy and took some jewellery and cash with her and was converting herself to get married to the boy.Acting on the complaint, police registered a case against the boy under section 363, 366 of IPC and started looking for the girl. The girl's sister, on the other hand, took to Twitter and accused former mayor Shakuntala Bharti of abducting Muslim girls, converting them and marrying them off to Hindu boys. The girl's sister has alleged that when she went to the police station and got an FIR registered, police kept on avoiding it, but, when she threatened to call the media, the cops immediately traced her sister. She said that her sister came in a car with Shakuntala Bharti.


Dalit Village 'Pradhan' Shot Dead by Upper Castes in Azamgarh, Upper Castes Leave Village Due To Fear Of Reprisals


Lucknow: In increasing incidents of attack on Dalits and OBCs in East UP’s Azamgarh district, a Dalit village ‘Pradhan’ of Bansgaon was shot dead by members of the upper castes involving Thakurs and Brahmins.The incident happened on August 14 evening. The deceased has been identified as Satyamev Jayate alias . Following the incident, the Dalit villagers, who are in majority, not only attacked the house of one of the suspects who happens to belong to the Thakur caste but also attacked the nearby police outpost and damaged several police vehicles as an eight year old Dalit boy-Sooraj-was crushed allegedly under the wheels of a police jeep that came to control the situation and opened several rounds of fire in which no one was injured.Heavy police deployment has been made in the village to control the situation and maintain law and order. According to another account, the boy was killed due to a stampede.Meanwhile, two police personnel-Inspector Sanjay Kumar and the Bongaria police outpost in-charge Shiv Bhajan-have been suspended. The upper castes-Thakurs and Brahmins-have locked their houses and escaped owing to fear of retaliation by Dalits and arrest by police. Azamgarh Superintendent of Police Triveni Singh said, “we have suspended the two police personnel”.India Tomorrow


UP Police:: Questions Being Raised About Claims of Alleged "Encounters"by Police In Azamgarh


Lucknow:Many people in Azamgarh district of East Uttar Pradesh are questioning the police claim of encounters in which several persons lost their lives and many got severe injuries.Almost all the victims are reported to Dalits, OBC Yadavs and some Muslims.One of them is Ajay Yadav of Saraimeer, a sleeping town in the district. Speaking to India Tomorrow, Ajay Yadav said that it was in May 2018 when police apprehended him when he was driving his bike and took him to the police station. “Cops tied my hands and legs with ropes and even blindfolded me”, Yadav said with tears rolling down his eyes.India Tomorrow


UP: BJP MLA posts query on Brahmins, embarrasses Yogi 


At a time when Brahmin politics in Uttar Pradesh is already on the boil, BJP MLA from Sultanpur, Devmani Dwiwedi had chosen to embarrass his own party by putting up a question for the upcoming Assembly session, related to the number of Brahmins killed in the past three years. MLA submitted his 'alpsuchit' (short-term) question to Vidhan Sabha Secretariat on Sunday.The Assembly session is scheduled to begin on August 20 but will be adjourned after obituary references. Legislative work will be taken up from August 21.IANS


K'taka to Slap UAPA, Goonda Act on Bengaluru Violence Accused; Will Also Recover Cost of Damage from Them


Initiating stringent action against accused of last week's Bengaluru violence, CM BS Yediyurappa on Monday invoked the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and said that they may also be booked under Goonda Act."Stringent action has been initiated against the culprits of DJ Halli and KG Halli violent incidents including invoking of UAPA. A SIT has already been formed to conduct a detailed investigation in the matter and a team of three special prosecutors will be appointed for speedy trial of the cases. SIT will consider invoking Goonda Act if warranted," the chief minister tweeted.He further said that the Karnataka government has also decided to assess the damages caused to public and private property in the violent incidents in KG Halli and DG Halli, and recover the costs from the culprits.


Bengaluru violence: At least 52 FIRs filed, 264 in custody; prohibitory orders in place till Aug 18


Bengaluru : 5 days after a ‘derogatory’ social media comment allegedly triggered violence in areas of east Bengaluru and mob attacks on a police station, a Congress legislator’s residence and in areas within limits of DJ Halli and KG Halli police stations, the process of registering more FIRs and arrests are still underway.Confirming this, DCP(East) Sharanappa S D told indianexpress.com that at least 52 FIRs have been filed till Sunday afternoon. “A total of 264 accused have been arrested in connection to the violence and rioting that took place on August 11 night with a total 52 FIRs registered at DJ Halli and KG Halli stations so far. More complaints are being taken up as we speak,” he said. The death toll linked to the violence rose to four after an accused aged 24 died at a government hospital on Saturday following a surgery. Meanwhile, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant issued an order extending restrictions imposed in areas under the limits of DJ Halli, KG Halli stations till 6 am on August 18. Meanwhile, residents of the areas alleged that the police teams continued to barge into their houses and “randomly pick up” youngsters. “My brother and others have been arrested on the basis of nothing. Even as we repeatedly requested the cops — who stormed into our apartment at around 1.40 am on Thursday — not to take them as they stayed indoors with us when the incident took place, almost everyone who were of 18 years of age or above were forcefully taken into custody without even an arrest warrant,” a female resident alleged. She added that there has been “no news of those” who were picked up, till Sunday.


Police rules out Bengaluru riots accused Naveen’s claim that his phone had been hacked


The cyber forensic team of Bengaluru police has ruled out riot accused P. Naveen Kumar’s claim that his social media account had been hacked before posting blasphemous material about Prophet Muhammad, which triggered the violence in DG Halli and KJ Halli areas Tuesday night. However, Naveen, nephew of Pulakeshinagar’s Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, has now claimed an unknown person may have accessed his phone and posted the offensive message, because he is an “aspiring” politician whose residence was visited by many people.


Muslim Man Arrested in Bengaluru Violence Dies After Being Hit by Tear Gas Shells


Bengaluru;A 24-year old Muslim man arrested for his alleged involvement in the riots at D.J. Halli and K.G Halli and lodged at Parappana Agrahara Central Prison for two days, died on Saturday evening after being hit by tear gas shells.While three youths from the adjoining areas in east Bengaluru died in police firing, this is the fourth death of a person related to the violence that broke out on Tuesday, when a mob went on a rampage over a derogatory social media post against Prophet Mohammed.The deceased has been identified as Sayyad Nadeem, a resident of K.G. Halli. He also tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Nadeem, who had said that he was hit by a tear-gas shell during the riots on Tuesday and later developed a severe abdominal pain, died after an abdomen surgery at Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in the city. However, the police said they are yet to ascertain the facts of the case.He was reportedly at the spot where the riots turned most violent in front of the D.J. Halli Police Station on the night.Clarion India


Bengaluru Violence: Muslim Delegation Meets MLA Srinivas Murthy, Offers to Rebuild His House


NEW DELHI – A group of Ulema (Muslim religious scholars) led by the Amir-e-Shariat of Karanataka, Maulana Saghir Ahmad Reshadi, on Sunday met Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy whose house in Bengaluru’s DJ Halli area was vandalised by an alleged mob of Muslims on August 11 following an outrageous Facebook post, allegedly written by his nephew Naveen.The Muslim delegation expressed its regret over the vandalism and offered to rebuild the legislator’s house. “Muslim religious leaders from Karnataka visited the house of MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy to ask his permission to reconstruct his house that was damaged in the Bengaluru violence. Now, will the media highlight this to show generosity of Muslims?” said on Twitter.Clarion India


Anti-CAA protests: Dr Kafeel Khan’s detention under NSA extended by 3 months


 Uttar Pradesh government has extended the detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under NSA by 3 months, PTI reported. Khan has been in jail since Jan. 29 for delivering an allegedly provocative speech at a protest against CAA on Dec.10. Khan was arrested on Jan. 29 and granted bail in the case by a court in Aligarh district on Feb.10. However, he was not released from the Mathura jail. Instead, NSA was invoked against him 3 days later and his detention continued.


‘SC’s judgment in Prashant Bhushan’s contempt case does not restore authority of court in the eyes of public’


The Supreme Court's judgment in Prashant Bhushan's contempt case does not restore the authority of the court in the eyes of the public, and will discourage lawyers from being outspoken, 41 practicing members of the Bar have said in statement.Days after the Supreme Court held senior advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court in the suo moto contempt case against him, 41 practicing members of the Bar have written to the apex court and "the public of India at large". "We, the below named, practicing members of the Bar in India, have noted with dismay, the judgment of the Supreme Court, in Mr Prashant Bhushan's contempt case," the statement says, adding that while some of those who have signed the statement might be of "divergent views on the advisability and content of Mr Prashant Bhushan's 2 tweets", they are "unanimously of the view that no contempt of court was intended or committed".The statement, signed by Vrinda Grover, Dushyant Dave and Sanjay Hegde, among others, said: "While Mr. Prashant Bhushan as a lawyer of good standing of the Supreme Court, may not be an ordinary man, his tweets do not say anything out of the ordinary, other than what is routinely expressed about the court's working in recent years by many on public fora and on social media."The statement goes on to add that the SC's judgement "does not restore the authority of the court in the eyes of the public".


SC to examine when corruption allegations against judiciary can be made public


The Supreme Court on Monday decided to launch a detailed examination into the circumstances under which a person can make public allegations of corruption against the judiciary.A 3-judge Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra also decided to hear arguments on laying down a procedure to be adopted if such statements of corruption are made in public against sitting as well as retired judges. The Bench framed the two questions while hearing a contempt case initiated against advocate Prashant Bhushan for his remarks on corruption in judiciary in an interview to Tehelka magazine published in 2009.


Need free speech protection to raise judiciary corruption: Prashant Bhushan


Facing charges of criminal contempt over his remarks in an interview to Tehelka magazine in 2009, Advocate Prashant Bhushan has told the Supreme Court that there is “no effective procedure” currently “to deal with corruption in the judiciary” and, therefore, lawyers raising such issues in public interest must fall within the ambit of free speech.In written submissions to the court, he pointed out that the Supreme Court in 1995 case, C Ravichandran Iyer vs Justice A M Bhattacharjee & Ors, had “indicated that members of the bar and others should not speak in public but use only the inhouse procedure which has been devised for receiving complaints against judges”.


India is moving towards a form of ‘elected autocracy’, says former judge AP Shah


Former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court AP Shah on Sunday said India was moving towards a form of “elected autocracy”, reported The Hindu. He criticised the Parliament for failing to lead the people of India amid the worsening coronavirus crisis and gave the ruling dispensation “a free rein to do as it pleases”.Shah made the remarks during his speech at the Janta Parliament webinar, which was jointly organised by several civil society groups.The former judge said that institutions empowered to keep the government in check were being systematically destroyed in India. “Since 2014, every effort has been made to systematically destroy these institutions, not necessarily in the blatantly destructive way that the Indira Gandhi government did in the past, but certainly, in ways that have rendered the Indian democratic state practically comatose, and given the executive the upper hand in most matters,” he said.


Declared minor, son of RTI activist gets bail after 5 months in jail


Patna : A Week after Indian Express reported that 14-year-old son of an RTI activist in Buxar has been in jail since February after police declared him an adult while arresting him on charges under the Arms Act, the state Juvenile Justice Board has declared the boy a minor, and granted him bail. The bail order was issued Friday, and the boy is likely to return home Monday. Following the report published on Aug.8, Buxar SP Upendra Nath Verma had ordered a probe to find out if local police were responsible for declaring the boy an adult. The boy was arrested while he was returning home after appearing for his Class 10 exams on Feb.29.


Pranab Mukherjee continues to be critical, still on ventilator: Hospital


New Delhi :The condition of former President Pranab Mukherjee continues to be critical and he is on ventilator support, Army's Research and Referral hospital said on Monday. Doctors attending on him said that his vital and clinical parameters are stable and he is being closely monitored. Mukherjee was admitted to the hospital in Delhi Cantonment on August 10 and was operated for removal of a clot in the brain. 84-year-old has been in a coma and continues to remain critical since then. He has also tested positive for Covid-19. PTI


Supreme Court dismisses plea demanding postponement of JEE Main, NEET 2020


New Delhi :The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking postponement of NEET and JEE, scheduled to be held in September 2020. It said the postponement will put students’ career in peril. Dismissing the petition, the apex court said it has taken note of assurance by the authorities that the exams will be held with adequate precautions.


Bihar Government Questioned Over Floods, Officials Blame Nepal: Sources


New Delhi: Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources has indicted Bihar government officials for failing to strengthen flood management systems in districts that border Nepal.Sources have told NDTV that the committee believes the poorly-maintained systems aggravated a flooding crisis that has affected over 81.44 lakh people across 16 districts in the state.Nitish Kumar government, however, has blamed Nepal for the flood crisis; the state disaster management department has claimed that rivers originating in the neighbouring country and flowing into north Bihar were wreaking havoc.According to sources Parliamentary Standing Committee has instructed officials to take urgent steps to reinforce flood management measures, including starting dredging, or anti-silting, operations in rivers flowing through border areas.


Floods killed nearly 900 people across 11 states since May, says Centre


As many as 868 people across 11 states in India have died due to floods between May and August 12, the Centre has said.West Bengal reported the maximum deaths at 245, followed by Assam (136), Kerala (101), Gujarat (98), Karnataka (86), Madhya Pradesh (77), Uttarakhand (46), Tamil Nadu (24), Bihar (24), Arunachal Pradesh (17) and Uttar Pradesh (14), the report released by the Ministry of Home Affairs’ disaster management division last week showed.


Aamir Khan Meets Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan


Actor Aamir Khan and the Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan found a spot on the list of trends after pictures of their meeting in Turkey went viral - not entirely in a good way. Aamir Khan is trending furiously on Twitter which is none too happy about the meeting because of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks about Kashmir during his address in Pakistan's parliament. Aamir, who is unlikely to respond to the trolling, took the shooting of his upcoming film Laal Singh Chaddha to Turkey, where he met Emine Erdogan - the pictures of which meeting she shared on her official Twitter handle. Emine Erdogan described Aamir Khan as "the world-renowned Indian actor" and wrote that she's "looking forward" to watching his film. Emine Erdogan tweeted: "I had the great pleasure of meeting Aamir Khan, the world-renowned Indian actor, filmmaker, and director, in Istanbul. I was happy to learn that Aamir decided to wrap up the shooting of his latest movie Laal Singh Chaddha in different parts of Turkey. I look forward to it!"



Amid Strained Ties Over New Map & Oli's Ayodhya Claims, India Downplays 'Scheduled' Meet With Nepal


Indian ambassador in Nepal, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, had a virtual interaction with Nepalese Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi in Kathmandu on Monday. The virtual meeting was the first official interaction between the two sides since the KP Sharma Oli government pushed through Parliament a new map that included Indian territories of Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh.However, sources in the Indian government immediately downplayed the meeting by referring to it as a “scheduled oversight mechanism meeting” which they said was part of a regular interaction between India and Nepal.The oversight mechanism (OSM) was set up in 2016 to review ongoing bilateral economic and development projects and meets on a periodic basis, said sources, indicating that it should not be viewed as anything more than meeting that purpose. This was the 8th OSM held after a gap of one year since July 8, 2019. Significantly, out of the projects under assessment were two that were jointly inaugurated by PM Modi and his Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli. These include the operationalisation of Motihari-Amlekhgunj cross-border petroleum products pipeline, inaugurated in Sept.2019, which is South Asia’s first cross-border petroleum products pipeline, It is 69 kilometres long with a capacity of 2 million metric ton per annum and very crucial for Nepal’s fuel needs. Similarly, the Integrated Check Post at Biratnagar was also jointly inaugurated by the two leaders in January this year itself.

India, Nepal diplomats review development projects, Ramayan circuit; no border talks



‘Important to respect, support each other’: China reacts to Modi’s ID speech, remarks on ties with India


China is ready to work with India to enhance mutual trust and properly manage differences, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday, adding that the “right path” ahead for the two countries is to respect each other.The foreign ministry was reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech where he talked about strengthening the Indian armed forces and said the country’s territorial integrity is supreme.“From LoC to LAC , anyone who casts an eye on the sovereignty of the country, the armed forces have responded in the language they understand,” Modi had said in his address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort.Modi also referred to the border clash in eastern Ladakh without naming China.


Modi’s Cowardice Allowed China to Take Our Land, His Lies will Ensure They Keep It: Rahul


New Delhi – Alleging that PM Narendra Modi lied about the Eastern Ladakh stand-off, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cowardice allowed China to take Indian land and his lies will ensure they keep the Indian territory.Taking to Twitter, the Congress leader wrote, “Everybody believes in the capability and valour of the Indian army. Except the PM: Whose cowardice allowed China to take our land. Whose lies will ensure they keep it.”A day after Prime Minister Narandra Modi’s address to the nation from the Red Fort’s ramparts, the Congress on Sunday questioned him for not taking the name of China in his Independence Day speech in the wake of Chinese actions on the LAC and in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh.


Will back India against threats on border, says Biden; Harris speaks of Gandhi, pluralism


In a clear signal to China and Pakistan, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Sunday said he would stand with India in confronting the threats along its borders.In first remarks to the Indian American community after he chose Senator Kamala Harris, who is of part Indian ancestry, to be his running mate, Biden said that being “democracies with diversity” was a “mutual strength” of India and the US. The two countries “will have an honest conversation, but always as close friends”, he said.Expression his faith in Harris, Biden, who was Vice-President to President Barack Obama from 2008-16, said: “Like Barack Obama asked of me, I’m asking Kamala Harris be the last person in the room, ask the tough questions of me, provide counsel, and most of all to always represent beliefs and possibilities.”Biden described Harris as “smart, tested, prepared” for the role.Harris, who too spoke at the virtual event organised by ‘South Asians for Biden’ in the early hours of Sunday India time, identified herself as the first Vice Presidential candidate “of South Asian descent”.


Kamala Harris Appoints Indian-American Sabrina Singh As Her Press Secretary


 Senator Kamala Harris has roped in Indian-American Sabrina Singh, who previously was the spokeswoman of two Democratic presidential candidates, as press secretary for her Democratic vice presidential campaign.Sabrina Singh, 32, previously headed the press shop of two Democratic presidential candidates -- New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg.PTI


4G mobile internet service restored in J&K’s Udhampur, Ganderbal


After nine months, 4G mobile Internet services were on Sunday restored in 2 Jammu and Kashmir districts - Udhampur in the Jammu region and Ganderbal in the Kashmir Valley, on a "trial basis".An order issued by the Union Territory's Principal Secretary, Home, Shaleen Kabra, said: "The high speed mobile data services in the districts of Udhampur and Ganderbal shall be restored forthwith, on trial basis, while in the rest of the districts, Internet speed shall continue to be restricted to 2G only." The order also said on fixed landline connections, Internet connectivity, without any restrictions, shall continue to be made available with Mac-binding.The decision would remain in force till September 8, unless modified earlier, it said.IANS


2 CRPF men, policeman killed in Baramulla attack


Srinagar : 3 security personnel, including 2 CRPF jawans and a policeman, were killed in a militant attack in north Kashmir’s Baramulla on Monday morning.According to police officials, militants opened indiscriminate fire at a joint checkpoint of the CRPF and the police at Tindim village of Kreeri in Baramulla district around 9.30 am. The firing left 3 security personnel injured. “All the three injured succumbed to their injuries in hospital,” police sources said.


Jammu and Kashmir: Mob beats up Muslim shepherd in Reasi district for chasing cows from field


A mob attacked a Muslim shepherd in Garri Gabbar village in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir after his son drove a few cows away from their pastureland, News18 reported on Sunday. Mohammad Asghar, who was thrashed by a 20-strong mob, has now been hospitalised with serious injuries. The incident took place a few days ago when the cows strayed into Asghar’s field and began eating and destroying his crop.When Asghar’s son drove the cows away from the pasture, one of them received an injury on the back. This angered community members and a headman of the village asked Asghar to report to an uphill village for a meeting.


Pak army chief visits Saudi to revive ties strained over Kashmir: Reuters


Pakistan’s army chief was visiting Saudi Arabia on Monday in an effort to ease a row between the two countries over policy towards the disputed region of Kashmir.The argument, brought on by Pakistani demands for Saudi Arabia to take a firmer line against India’s behaviour in Kashmir, has threatened Riyadh’s financial lifeline to Islamabad. General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s visit was “primarily military-affairs oriented,” the Pakistani army spokesman said.But Pakistani military and government officials told Reuters Bajwa would try to calm a situation that if not reversed could badly hurt Pakistan’s central bank foreign reserves.“I think our case is to convince them [Saudi] that there’s no foreign policy shift,” a senior Pakistani military official said. Reuters


Sri Lanka Easter attack probe panel summons former president Sirisena


 Sri Lanka's former president Maithripala Sirisena has been summoned by a presidential probe panel on August 26 to record his statement on the deadly Easter Sunday attacks, officials said on Monday.The previous government headed by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was blamed for its inability to prevent the attacks despite the prior intelligence made available on the impending attack.PTI



Spate of defections in Bihar — why JD(U) minister joined RJD & 3 MLAs went the other way


Patna: Before Covid-19 struck Bihar, Nitish Kumar-led JD(U)-BJP government seemed to be sitting pretty heading into the assembly elections later this year. But the way the pandemic has been handled has led to public resentment against the NDA government, something even the alliance’s leaders admit, leaving CM Nitish looking for new faces.Over Sunday and Monday, this manifested itself in a spate of defections. Industries Minister Shyam Rajak was sacked and expelled from the JD(U) Sunday, and joined the opposition RJD. But three RJD MLAs — Maheshwar Yadav, Prema Choudhary and Faraz Fatmi — went the other way, joining the JD(U) Monday after being expelled by the RJD.


Minority community members from Shaheen Bagh join BJP: new indian express report


New Delhi:Several members of the minority Muslim community from Shaheen Bagh area, which was the centre of the anti-CAA protests, joined BJP in the presence of its Delhi unit leaders, said a party statement.The induction ceremony took place in the presence of president of BJP’s Delhi unit Adesh Gupta and national vice-president and in charge of Delhi unit Shyam Jaju, it said.“The enthusiasm with which Muslim brothers and sisters are joining BJP clearly shows that people of all religions have faith in Modi government,” Gupta said on the occassion at the Delhi BJP office.Shaheen Bagh social activist Shahzad Ali was one such new inductee. Some though have questioned the legitimacy of Ali’s role in the movement. “Firstly, Shahzad Ali lives in Jasola and not Shaheen Bagh. Secondly, he was never an activist and never could be. He came to the protests for his own agenda... Everyone knew from the beginning that he was involved with BJP and RSS,” said Syed Taseer Ahmad, a Shaheen Bagh Activist.


Sanjay Jha not Congress member, spreading rumours on BJP's behalf: Party on letter controversy


New Delhi:Hours after suspended leader Sanjay Jha said 100 in the Congress wrote to Sonia Gandhi for a change in political leadership and transparent elections within the organisation, the party said he was spreading rumours on the directions of BJP.In an official statement on Sanjay Jha's claims that 100 party leaders including MPs approached Sonia Gandhi demanding leadership change and transparency in polls, Congress also said the party president received no such letter.



Lack of jobs force migrant labourers to return to cities they left in March due to lockdown


NEW DELHI :Anand Vihar bus terminal — where thousands of migrant workers had assembled four months back in a desperate bid to return to their home towns after a nationwide lockdown was announced — is again abuzz with labourers, but this time they are desperate to return to the city.With the lockdown virtually shutting down the economy, labourers said they were “forced” to return to their villages in March; and are now coming back in the “hope” of finding work again. Migrants who left the capital during Lockdown period, seen returing from various districts of UP and Bihar at the Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in New Delhi. Migrants who left the capital during Lockdown period, seen returing from various districts of UP and Bihar at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in New Delhi. Sitting behind a tea stall after reaching the Capital from Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal district, Prem Singh and 32-year-old Nausheen said that lack of income in the last four months had taken a toll on their family.“There is absolutely nothing to do in the village. No source of income whatsoever for me. I have a family to look after. I have been staying in Delhi for the last 10-15 years and have sustained my family in whatever way I could. But with the lockdown, everything went for a toss. How long can we stay away from work? We have to restart our lives somehow,” said 37-year-old Mr. Singh, a rickshaw puller in Shahdara.Having just reached the city from U.P.’s Sultanpur district and waiting for a ride to Gurugram, 42-year-old Shashi said: “I was lucky to have left the city a day before the lockdown started. I at least reached home safe. But with not much work there it was becoming difficult to sustain ourselves.” For Sanjay Sharma, from Bihar’s Gorakhpur district, coming to Delhi was a “way out” of months of distress in the family. While a steady stream of daily wagers are returning in search of livelihood, the ones who “survived” lockdown in the Capital are not too hopeful of the current scenario.


Corona death toll surges past 50K, India’s tally crosses 26L


India's novel coronavirus tally crossed the 26-lakh mark on Monday with 57,981 new cases in 24 hours, while the death toll climbed to 50,921 with 941 more fatalities, said the Health Ministry.Out of the total 2,647,663 cases, recoveries have surged to 1,751,555 with a record 57,584 more people recuperating in the past 24 hours, taking the recovery rate to nearly 72.51 per cent. The actual caseload of the country is the active cases, which currently stand at 6,76,900.The country had touched the two-million mark on August 7 and added more than six lakh cases in ten days. The silver lining, however, is that the gap between recoveries and active cases is growing every day. Currently, recoveries are over 12 lakh more than the active cases.IANS


Chetan Chauhan, Former Cricketer And UP Minister, Dies Of COVID-19


New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Chetan Chauhan, one of Indian cricket's most well-known openers, died on Sunday from COVID-19 related complications after being put on life support for nearly 36 hours.Chetan Chauhan, who played 40 Tests for India, was 73 and is survived by his wife and son Vinayak. He was currently serving as the Minister of Sainik Welfare, Home Guards, and Civil Security in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet.


TMC MLA dies due to Covid


Trinamool Congress MLA Samaresh Das, who had tested positive for coronavirus recently, died at a hospital in East Midnapore district in West Bengal on Monday, PTI reported. He was 76.According to party sources, the three-time MLA from Egra assembly constituency in the district was admitted to the hospital a few days back after he had tested positive and developed complications of heart and kidney.


Rajasthan HC Chief Justice Tests Negative for COVID After False Positive


Jaipur: Chief Justice of Rajasthan high court Indrajit Mahanty on Sunday tested negative for COVID-19 after a scare that he has contracted the infection.Jaipur Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Narottam Sharma said the first report had come out positive due to a technical error in the rRT-PCR test.However, he has tested negative in two subsequent reports, Sharma said, adding that there is a possibility of an error cropping up due to mistakes by the health staff or technical issues.The laboratory technique, called reverse transcriptase real-time polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test, is widely used in the diagnosis of genetic diseases and considered more reliable due to its sensitivity.PTI



Hindu family in Gwalior claims Muslim man’s body, cremates it, hospital orders probe


A hospital in Gwalior handed over the body of a Muslim man on Saturday to a Hindu family which did not remove the plastic to take a look even after he had tested negative for Covid-19 and cremated it, the Madhya Pradesh police said Sunday.The family members of the Muslim man have lodged a complaint with the police over the goof-up .This incident came to light on Sunday morning when family members of Irtaza Mohammed, 64, reached the hospital to bring the body. Earlier, on Saturday evening when they wanted to take the body for burial, the staff in the hospital showed them a different body and then asked them to return in the morning.


Covid vaccine: First batch of Russian vaccine ready, roll out from August-end


The first batch of Russian vaccine for novel Coronavirus has been produced, according to a report in Reuters. Russia had, on August 11, that a vaccine being developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute was ready and had been approved. It’s the first novel Coronavirus vaccine to be approved for public use. The Reuters report said Russia would roll out the vaccine by the end of this month. That is earlier than its previous announcements about making the vaccine available by September and starting mass inoculations by October.



China grants country's first COVID vaccine patent to CanSino:report


BEIJING: China's vaccine specialist CanSino Biologics Inc has won a patent approval from Beijing for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate Ad5-nCOV, state media reported, citing documents from country's intellectual property regulator.It is the first COVID-19 vaccine patent granted by China, state-owned newspaper People's Daily reported on Sunday.The paper cited documents published by China's National Intellectual Property Administration saying that the patent was issued on August 11.Saudi Arabia said this month it plans to begin Phase III clinical trials for the CanSino vaccine. CanSino has said it is also in talks with Russia, Brazil and Chile to launch Phase III trials in those countries.REUTERS



Lebanon needs two-week lockdown after COVID-19 spike: health minister


Lebanon should be locked down for two weeks after a spike in COVID-19 infections, the caretaker government's health minister said."We declare today a state of general alert and we need a brave decision to close (the country) for two weeks," Hamad Hassan told Voice of Lebanon radio.Lebanon registered a record 439 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Sunday.





Disagreements delay Israeli delegation’s visit to UAE


Internal Israeli disagreements have led to the postponement of a visit to UAE to finalize details of a deal to normalize relations between two countries, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday. The daily said the disagreements have arisen over the composition of an Israeli delegation that will travel to Gulf state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assigned the head of the Israeli National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabat, to form delegation.“Israeli delegation that was meant to leave for Gulf for those talks is being delayed by disagreements on the division of authority between National Security Council, Mossad and Foreign Ministry,” Haaretz said.According to the newspaper, Foreign Ministry representatives have already travelled to Abu Dhabi to check out buildings that might house the Israeli embassy.Haaretz said many cabinet members, particularly those from Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s White and Blue coalition, are angry with the way Netanyahu conducted the talks with UAE “while circumventing the Foreign Ministry and keeping Gantz and [Foreign Minister Gabi] Ashkenazi in the dark.”“Instead of using people from the Foreign Ministry who had been working for years to strengthen ties with the Gulf state, Netanyahu sent his close associate, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, and Ambassador to US Ron Dermer to conduct the talks practically by themselves,” newspaper said. According to the report, Israeli-UAE talks have been taking place over the past 2 months, since US administration suggested delaying annexation plan "in exchange for normalizing relations with Gulf state." UAE is the first Gulf state and third Arab nation to have full diplomatic relations with Israel after Egypt and Jordan. Despite reports that the deal halted Israel’s controversial plan to annex parts of West Bank, Netanyahu confirmed his govt’s continued commitment to annexation plan. Palestinian groups denounced the deal, saying it does nothing to serve the Palestinian cause and ignores rights of Palestinians. Anadolu Agency


Israel, UAE launch direct phone links after historic accord


Israel and UAE have inaugurated direct telephone services between their countries following their agreement last week to normalise relations.The countries' foreign ministers called each other and "exchanged greetings following the historic peace accord", a statement said.Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi - who held a call with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan - tweeted on Sunday that the two sides "decided together on the establishment of a direct communication channel ahead of signing of the normalisation agreement... to meet soon".


UAE says agreement with Israel is 'not directed at Iran'


UAE's agreement to normalise ties with Israel is a "sovereign decision" that was not directed at Iran, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said."UAE-Israeli peace treaty is a sovereign decision not directed at Iran. We say this and repeat it. We do not accept interference in our decisions," Gargash said on Twitter on Monday.


UAE summons Iranian diplomat over 'unacceptable' Rouhani speech


UAE has summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Abu Dhabi in response to a speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that foreign ministry described as “unacceptable”, state news agency WAM said.Rouhani said in a speech, UAE had made a “huge mistake” in reaching a agreement to normalise ties with Israel and called it a betrayal by the Gulf state.There was no response yet from Tehran.reuters


Israel says it expects Bahrain and Oman to follow UAE in formalising ties


 Bahrain and Oman could be the next Gulf countries to follow UAE in formalising ties with Israel, Israel's intelligence minister said. "In the wake of this agreement (with UAE) will come additional agreements, both with more Gulf countries and with Muslim countries in Africa," intelligence minister Eli Cohen told Army Radio. Reuters


Thousands of Pakistanis protest UAE-Israel deal


Tens of thousands of Pakistanis marched Sunday against a recent, controversial deal between UAE and Israel meant to normalize bilateral relations, including opening embassies in each other's territory.Rallies and demonstrations were held in capital Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad and dozens of other cities and towns on the call of Milli Yakjehti Council, a religiopolitical alliance. In the garrison city of Rawalpindi, thousands marched through the city's thoroughfares led by Sen. Sirajul Haq, chief of the country's mainstream Jamaat-e-Islami Pak (JI) party. JI observed the day as "Palestine Day" to express solidarity and support the Palestinians' resistance against the illegal Israeli occupation.Carrying banners and placards with slogans such as "Down with Israel," "UAE-Israel deal on US pressure unacceptable," and "Pakistanis stand with Palestinians," among others, the protesters gathered at the historic Liaquat park to begin the rally.Addressing the participants, Haq said Palestine was not the issue of Arabs only but the entire Muslim world.The party chief urged Islamabad to try convening an urgent meeting of OIC to discuss the latest situation.JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman termed the deal a big blow to Muslim unity and "backstabbing of Palestinians."The JI held another protest outside the Lahore Press Club, which was addressed by the party's secretary-general, Ameerul Azim, and other leaders. ANADOLU AGENCY


Kuwaiti NGOs denounce Israeli-UAE deal


KUWAIT:Over 30 NGOs in Kuwait issued a joint statement Sunday condemning an agreement between UAE and Israel to normalize relations. "We reject any kind of normalization with occupying Israel. Normalization is a dagger stuck in the Palestinian cause and in the back of Arab society," NGOs, including the Kuwait Lawyers Association, Kuwait Media Association and Kuwait Economic Association, said in a joint statement.The statement said the "occupying Zionist" country continues its violations against Palestinian brothers and sisters, adding the Palestinian cause is the priority of Arabs.


Israeli police shoot deaf Palestinian in Jerusalem


 Israeli forces shot and injured a deaf Palestinian at a military checkpoint in Jerusalem on Monday, according to the Israeli police.In a statement, the police said a 60-year-old Palestinian did not heed orders to stop, prompting soldiers to shoot him at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah city.According to the statement, the Palestinian man was moderately injured.ANADOLU


Saudi silent over Israel-UAE deal but covert ties under focus


RIYADH: UAE's decision to normalise ties with Israel could propel Saudi Arabia to deepen its furtive relations with the Jewish state as Riyadh seeks to entice investments to fund an ambitious economic transformation, analysts say.Saudi Arabia, Arab world's biggest economy, has maintained a conspicuous silence over the deal, but local officials have hinted that Riyadh is unlikely to immediately follow in the footsteps of its principle regional ally.However, "UAE-Israeli normalisation lends itself to expanding the realm of indirect Saudi-Israeli relations," said Aziz Alghashian, a lecturer at Essex University specialising in the kingdom's policy towards Israel.AFP


‘Israel, Sudan to normalize ties in near future’


Israel and Sudan may sign a normalization deal in the near future, Israel’s intelligence minister said. “A normalization agreement with Sudan is coming soon. This historical agreement may be signed before the new year,” Eli Cohen told KAN, Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, in the wake of controversial deal with UAE.


Lebanon president fails to rule out peace with Israel


Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has cast doubt over his position on making peace with Israel after he failed to rule out the possibility during an exclusive interview with French news channel BFMTV on Saturday.Asked during interview whether Lebanon could be prepared to agree a peace deal with its southern neighbour, Aoun said: “That depends. We have problems with Israel, we have to resolve them first.” Lebanon and Israel are technically at war and tensions along UN demarcated Blue Line which separates the two, remain high. As recently as 2006, a war was fought over the border between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, who have a stronghold of support in the south of Lebanon.


Yemen’s remaining Jews to be transferred to UAE following Israel deal


Yemen’s remaining Jewish community are to immigrate to Abu Dhabi following the peace deal made between UAE and Israel, reported Al-Araby Al-Jadeed over the weekend. According to a Yemeni rabbi, the plan will see 100 Jews transferred to UAE, although previous estimates of the community were said to be as low as 50 or less.Al-Araby added that US govt was behind the request for the move, while UAE has asked Iran to help facilitate the transfer. The report, which is yet to be confirmed by an official source, also suggests some 40 Yemeni Jews have agreed to the move with others being persuaded by being told they will not have any problems integrating into Emirati society.


UAE arrests opponents of Israel peace deal


UAE State Security Agency has secretly arrested scores of Emiratis, Palestinians and Jordanians living in UAE for opposing Abu-Dhabi’s peace deal with Israel.Emirates Leaks website quoted human rights sources as saying that the Emirati citizens were arrested after expressing their opposition to the deal either in private meetings or on social media.Emirati opponents living in exile have categorically rejected the agreement and described it as “betrayal of the nation and the people” as well as “a stain on the regime’s face”.An opinion poll conducted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy revealed that 80 per cent of the Emiratis oppose the establishment of relations with Israel.


Ex-UAE police chief: Israel made 'a strategic mistake' killing Hamas official in Dubai


Former Chief of Dubai Police, General Dahi Khalfan, justified Israel’s assassination of senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in UAE 20 years ago, Arab48 reported.In an interview with Israeli TV Channel 12, Khalfan hailed UAE-Israeli peace deal which was announced on Thursday. “This deal is strategic as the culture of peace must prevail in the Middle East,” he said, adding: “The region does not need more tensions.”Israeli TV presenter introduced Khalfan as the general who carried out a “professional” investigation into the assassination of Al-Mabhouh.


PA: Our envoy will never return to the UAE


Secretary of Fatah Central Committee, Jibril Al-Rajoub, said yesterday that Palestinian Authority’s (PA) ambassador had left the UAE and will not return, Anadolu reported.His remarks came during an interview with Al Jazeera news network on Saturday. “Our ambassador has left UAE and will never return back to it,” he saidHe added: “Mohamed Dahlan, the dismissed Fatah leader [who lives in the UAE], is part of the normalisation deal between UAE and Israel.”


Mauritania supports 'good judgment' of UAE on Israel deal


Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, said it trusts the “wisdom and good judgement” of UAE leadership for signing an accord with Israel to agree to normalise relations, UAE state news agency WAM said.“UAE possesses absolute sovereignty and complete independence in conducting its relations and assessing the positions it takes in accordance with its national interest and the interests of Arabs and Muslims,” said statement from Mauritania’s foreign ministry.


Israel approves mega settlements projects


Israeli authorities have revealed a mega settlements plan, Arab48 reported, which will connect major illegal settlement blocs. Arabic news site reported Israel’s Ynet News as saying that one of the settlement projects aimed to connect the settlement bloc of Benyamin in occupied Ramallah with the occupied city of Jerusalem.The largest of these projects is paving a highway between Benyamin Industrial Zone with Atarot Industrial Zone in the north of Jerusalem. The highway includes a 600-metre tunnel that passes through the West Bank cities of Qalandia and Al-Ram.Ynet News reported that this project was planned in coordination with Palestinian Authority, claiming that Palestinians would use it.At the same time, Israeli occupation authorities approved a project related to the settlement highway Route 60, which Israeli Jewish settlers from the settlements of Adam, Bsagot, Beit El and Ofra use to reach Jerusalem directly.


Hamas: Detention of Sheikh Salah aims to obstruct his defence of Jerusalem


Israel’s detention of Sheikh Raed Salah is an effort to undermining his national role in defending Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause, Hamas said.In a press release, Hamas stressed that “Israeli practices and ongoing aggression against the Palestinians in the territories occupied in 1948, including the national figures and leaders, will not alter their identity, status or loyalty to their homeland.” It went on to hail Salah for his “heroic” role and struggle for Palestinian rights and constants and Al-Aqsa. “Through his detention, Sheikh Raed Salah is writing a new phase of his journey in defence of Jerusalem,” Hamas said, pointing to the 28-month prison sentence handed to him.


Egypt delegation in Gaza for Hamas talks


GAZA CITY: An Egyptian security delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday for talks with Hamas leaders on a recent tension in the Palestinian territory.The talks will dwell on a host of issues, including recent military escalations and the implementation of truce understandings between Israel and the Palestinian factions, a Palestinian source said.On Sunday, Egyptian delegation held talks in Ramallah with leaders of Fatah group and the Palestinian intelligence chief. According to the official Wafa agency, the talks in Ramallah focused on the political and security situation in Palestine as well as efforts to heal the Fatah-Hamas rift.


Israeli tanks attack Hamas targets in Gaza Strip


Israeli army says its tanks have attacked Hamas targets in Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rockets and airborne firebombs launched into southern Israel. "Tanks targeted a number of military observation posts belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in Gaza Strip," an army statement said on Monday, referring to the group that rules the enclave.aljazeera


China welcomes Putin's proposed summit on Iran


China welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposed summit of world leaders to avoid "confrontation" over a US attempt to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran. US lost a bid on Friday to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran.Russia and China opposed extending the weapons ban, which is due to expire in Oct. under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. Eleven members abstained, including France, Germany and Britain, while the US and the Dominican Republic were the only 2 votes in favour.Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the failure of US resolution "again showed that unilateralism has no popular support and hegemonistic behaviour will not succeed".


Video of Bahrain woman breaking Ganesha idols goes viral, authorities initiate action


Days ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, Bahrain authorities have initiated legal action against a 54-year-old woman for breaking several Ganesha idols and “defaming a sect” in a supermarket in Manama’s Juffair.In a video that has gone viral on social media, the woman is seen shouting at a salesman while lifting the idols from a shelf and slamming them on the floor.Ministry of Interior, Bahrain said that the woman was referred to Public Prosecution. “Capital Police took legal steps against a woman, 54, for damaging a shop in Juffair and defaming a sect and its rituals, in order to refer her to the Public Prosecution,” it said in a tweet. Read in Malayalam hereThe woman, speaking in Arabic, is heard purportedly saying “this a Muslim country”. The incident also evoked strong reaction from the royal advisor Ahmed Al Khalifa who condemned it. According to a 2010 census, Hindus comprise 9.8 per cent of the population in Bahrain.


11 Yemen soldiers killed in clashes and rebel attack


Eleven Yemeni government troops, including a senior officer, were killed in a rebel missile attack and clashes to the northeast and east of the capital Sanaa, military and medical sources said Monday.General Mohammed Ali-Roqn, commander of the army's 122 Brigade, along with eight other soldiers were killed in battle in Al-Jawf province on Sunday while trying to reclaim positions lost months ago, the sources said.The rebels also suffered casualties, a military official added without elaborating.


Turkey is being estranged from EU: Deputy FM Kaymakçı


Turkey is being estranged from the European Union, Faruk Kaymakçı, Turkey's deputy foreign minister and director of EU affairs, stated Friday, adding that Ankara determined to pursue its relations with bloc.“There are some accusations coming from the EU; ‘Turkey is drifting apart from the EU, from the EU’s values,’ they say. I think the main problem is that Turkey is being estranged from the EU,” Kaymakçı underlined, speaking at Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey’s (DEIK) DEIK EU Talks.Daily Sabah


Belarus starts military drills on western border with NATO's Lithuania, Poland


Belarus has started military drills on its western border, NATO member Lithuania said Monday, accusing its neighbor of escalating tensions amid mass protests against embattled leader Alexander Lukashenko."We are witnessing Belarusian efforts to further escalate and develop a narrative about the so-called foreign threats," Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said in a statement to AFP. He stressed that Baltic nation was closely following the situation together with NATO allies."I can confirm the information that was announced yesterday by Belarus about military exercises beginning today close to the border with Lithuanian and Poland," the minister said.Lithuanian foreign affairs minister, Linas Linkevicius, warned Monday Russian military help in Belarus would constitute "an invasion."Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had told longtime Belarusian president that Moscow was ready to assist Belarus in accordance with a collective military pact if necessary. Belarus's defense ministry said Sunday that it would hold military exercises in Grodno region from Monday to Thursday. Meanwhile, Lukashenko said on Monday there would be no new presidential election despite calls from the opposition and nationwide anti-government protests, Belta reported.

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