19 October 2020

19 OCT. NEWS : Bombay HC asks police to summon Arnab if he is to be accused in TRP scam FIR. Why can’t NBSA guidelines be given more teeth?, court asks Centre. BJP chief Nadda says CAA will be implemented soon, cites pandemic for delay





Bombay HC asks police to summon Arnab if he is to be accused in TRP scam FIR

A Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and M.S. Karnik was hearing a criminal petition filed by ARG Outlier Media Private Limited and Mr. Goswami, who is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Republic Media Network. The plea seeks to quash the FIR registered by Kandivali Police Station against them on October 6. Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing on behalf of Mr. Goswami, argued that Mumbai Police had mala fide interest, that they might arrest Mr. Goswami, and sought interim protection from arrest. To which the court said it could not pass that order as Mr. Goswami had not been named as an accused.Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Maharashtra government and Mumbai Police, said summons would be issued to Mr. Goswami. However, he [Sibal] could not commit on Mr. Goswami not being arrested.While perusing the FIR, the court said, “It is not an encyclopedia. We would like to peruse the investigation papers and see what probe has been done from today till the next date of hearing.The court added, “In case the Investigating Officer proposes to name Mr. Goswami as accused in the case, then, as done with the eight persons, summons shall be issued to him and he shall then cooperate with the police.”The court also raised questions on whether it was correct on the part of the Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh to hold press conferences in such matters. Justice Shinde then said, “Media is considered as the fourth pillar of democracy and, hence, they too need to behave responsibly.”The court directed the Mumbai Police to produce papers of the investigation in a sealed cover on November 4, and said it would hear the matter on November 5.



 Why can’t NBSA guidelines be given more teeth?, Bombay High Court asks Centre

 Bombay High Court on Monday asked why the Union government could not ratify and enforce guidelines of private bodies such as the the News Broadcasters Standards Authority (NBSA) to regulate the content broadcast by TV news channels.A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni said since NBSA had detailed code of ethics and guidelines that all member channels are expected to adhere to, the same could be given some teeth and made enforceable by the government."Can we not make a request to the government, that there are guidelines in place, so that those guidelines get a stamp and can be enforced?" the bench asked.The question came when senior counsel Arvind Datar and advocate Neela Gokhale, representing NBSA, told HC that the private body had taken action on several complaints received against news channels.The advocates said that in the past, the NBSA had imposed the maximum fine of Rs one lakh on some news channels for content that breached its guidelines.While all other channels had apologised and paid the fine, the Republic TV had refused to do so, Datar said."The Republic TV then walked out of the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) and formed its own association, National Broadcasters Federation," Gokhale said.PTI




BARC charges Republic TV with misrepresenting private communication

TV viewership rating agency BARC India has charged Republic TV of misrepresenting its private and confidential communication, saying it has not commented on the ongoing investigation into the alleged manipulation of ratings.In a statement, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) said it was cooperating with the law enforcement agencies in their ongoing investigation in TRP manipulation case.Responding to claims by Republic TV that an email from BARC gives proof of the channel not being involved in any alleged malpractices, the agency said it was "highly disappointed" with the broadcaster's actions.PTI




Kerala High Court dismisses state govt’s plea against Airport lease to Adani Group

Kerala High Court on Monday dismissed the state government's petition against the Adani group managing Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.Kerala government had filed an application against Modi government's decision to lease out the airport to Adani Enterprises. The plea followed an all-party-meeting in the state demanding the withdrawal of the Union Cabinet's decision.Earlier, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, formed to participate in the bid for the airport's lease and maintenance, had lost out to Adani Enterprises by a relatively narrow margin of Rs 16 per passenger.



Bengal polls on mind, BJP chief Nadda says CAA will be implemented soon, cites pandemic for delay

BJP president JP Nadda Monday asserted that Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will soon be implemented in the country and cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the reason for its delay.“Due to Covid-19 pandemic, implementation of CAA go delayed. But as the situation is slowing improving, work has started and rules are now being framed. It (CAA) will b implemented very soon,” Nadda, who was speaking at a meeting of social group of north Bengal in Siliguri, said.“All of you will get the benefits of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. It has been passed in Parliament. We are committed to it,” Nadda was quoted as saying at the meeting by PTI.



In Quad snub to China, Australia joins India, US, Japan in Malabar Exercise 2020

Australia is set to participate in the Malabar Exercise for the first time along with navies of India, US and Japan amid the India-China standoff.Until now, only US, Japan and India were part of the naval exercise which is scheduled to be held in November.This will be the first time Australia will be part of the exercise.It has taken the Indian government some time to finalise on Australia’s participation. There had been some concerns about how China may react to the move.However, the participation of Australia in the exercise is expected to irk China.



Chinese soldier held in eastern Ladakh after ‘straying’ across LAC; to be handed over to PLA soon

Indian Army on Monday apprehended a Chinese soldier in eastern Ladakh. The Army said that the soldier had “strayed across LAC” and will be handed over to the People Liberation Army (PLA) soon.In a statement, the Army said, “a PLA soldier identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long was apprehended in Demchok sector of Eastern Ladakh on 19 October 2020 after he had strayed across the LAC.”“A request has also been received from the PLA about the whereabouts of the missing soldier,” the Army said, adding that, “as per established protocols, he will be returned back to Chinese officials at the Chushul – Moldo meeting point after completion of formalities”.



Biden, could be soft on China; not good for India: Donald Trump Jr

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is not good for India as he could be soft on China, US President Donald Trump's son said at an event to celebrate the "success" of his book that talks about graft allegations against the Bidens.Forty-two-year-old Donald Trump Jr is leading the re-election campaign of his 74-year-old father. The presidential elections in the US are slated to be held on November 3. "We have to understand the threat of China and no one knows that probably better than Indian-Americans," Trump Jr, told a select group of supporters from the community at the event in Long Island, New York.PTI




ED questions Farooq Abdullah in J&K Cricket Association scam, NCP calls it ‘political vendetta’

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday questioned National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah in connection with a money laundering investigation related to alleged financial irregularities in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, ANI reported.Abdullah was the president of the state cricket body between 2001 and 2011, when the alleged irregularities worth Rs 113 crore reportedly took place.The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and parliamentarian appeared before investigators at the ED’s Srinagar office. Unidentified officials told PTI that the National Conference president’s statement will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.National Conference leader Omar Abdullah called the summons a “political vendetta”, coming days after the formation of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. “To set the record straight no raids are being conducted at Dr Sahib’s residence,” he tweeted.




‘Resolve to restore J&K’s special status will continue’: Farooq Abdullah after ED questioning

After being questioned for nearly seven hours by the ED in connection with a case linked to alleged financial irregularities in the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association, Farooq Abdullah on Monday said the resolve for restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir would continue.“Remember one thing, we have a long way to go. This is a long fight. Our struggle will go on whether Farooq Abdullah is alive or Farooq Abdullah is dead…Our resolve has not changed and our resolve will not change even if I were to be hanged,” PTI quoted Abdullah as saying.



Watch: Mosques Burnt Down During Delhi Riots Have Been Rebuilt

During the communal violence that broke out in North-East Delhi in February, at least 14 mosques and a Sufi shrine were burnt down. Most of the attacks occurred in broad daylight, carried out by mobs allegedly chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’.Now, the work of repairing most of these mosques is complete and namaz is being read as before.



NIA Accused of Pressure Tactics in Obtaining Guilty Plea from Terror Accused

NEW DELHI:A SPECIAL court of NIA in Delhi has sentenced 15 Muslims to five to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) and fines of various amounts.They were arrested in 2015 on the alleged charges of recruiting Muslim youths to work for ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and commit acts of terror in India. It was also alleged that they were in touch with Syria-based ISIS media chief Yusuf-Al-Hindi. The sentencing was pronounced on October 16.All the 15 convicts had pleaded guilty. The 16th accused from the lot, Imran Khan, continues to face trial as he has refused to plead guilty. His lawyer Abu Bakar Sabbaq has raised concern over the manner in which the conviction was obtained by NIA.“Apart from my client, all the other accused pleaded guilty in the case. This wasn’t because they actually believed they were guilty, but because of pressure tactics from the NIA. We have seen this in many cases now, where people against whom there is little hard evidence suddenly pleading guilty are convicted,” Sabbaq told Clarion India.“So when NIA or prosecution lawyers tell them to plead guilty and give them hope of being released early, they have a very good reason to agree,” says Sabbaq.Clarion India



Dalit lawyer killed over ‘anti-Brahmin’ posts in Gujarat: SIT

Rajkot :Investigations into the murder of Dalit lawyer Devji Maheshwari have found evidence of prime accused Bharat Raval having killed him over an argument over his social media posts.Raval, the 22-year-old man who was working in a printer repairing shop, and Maheshwari had had a heated argument over phone about the latter’s social media posts just days before the former stabbed him to death in Rapar town of Kutch on September 25, police said.Incidentally, Mumbai police, which had nabbed Bharat the day after the alleged murder, had also said that the accused had killed the victim over the latter’s social media posts which the accused found prejudicial to Brahmins, the community he hails from. The police have not found any evidence so far against the eight persons who were named by Maheshwari’s wife Minaxiben in the FIR.



Dalit woman raped at gunpoint by 2 men in Uttar Pradesh

A Dalit woman was allegedly raped at gunpoint by two men, including a former village head, in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur Dehat.Although the incident took place a week ago, the police were informed about it on Sunday.Superintendent of Police (Kanpur Dehat) Keshav Kumar Choudhary said: "According to a complaint filed by the victim's parents, the accused barged into their house when the 22-year-old woman was alone and raped her in turns at gunpoint. They left after threatening her of dire consequences if she dared to speak about the incident to anyone."A case has been registered under relevant sections of IPC and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in the matter. Three police teams headed by SHO Derapur, circle officer and additional SP apart from SWAT team have been formed to arrest the absconding accused."IANS



Uttar Pradesh: Man arrested for allegedly raping teenager in a car that bore BJP sticker

Officials in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh said on Sunday that they have arrested a 20-year-old man for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl, the Hindustan Times reported. However, NDTV reported that the teenager was 18 years old.The police alleged that the accused, Pulkit Saini, raped the girl in a car that bore the sticker of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Goraksha Samiti. The party, however, has denied any relation to the accused. Meerut BJP chief Mukesh Singhal said the accused had fraudulently used the sticker on his car.HT




As Tejashwi Yadav Supports Chirag Paswan, Double Worry For Nitish Kumar

Patna, Bihar: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been at the receiving end of barbs from opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav as well as ally-turned-rival Chirag Paswan in the Bihar election campaign. The only factor that could make the situation worse for him would be for the two to join forces.On that score, Nitish Kumar has reason to worry. Tejashwi Yadav's remarks this morning attacking him referenced Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan, who is contesting separately from the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and insists he remains a BJP ally even though he is fighting the Chief Minister in the polls.




Bihar Election : Minister Maheshwar Hazari heckled by locals in Samastipur, asked to go back

Planning and Development Minister Maheshwar Hazari faced resistance from locals in Samastipur, Bihar when he went there to ask for votes. Hazari was heckled and asked to go back. Voters asked where was he for the last 10 years? The locals heckled the minister in his own constituency.According to the local residents of Samastipur, Minister Maheshwar Hazari has not properly looked after the constituency. He was blocked by the locals and asked to go back. The locals said he would not get any votes as the minister has not worked for their development for 10 years.#



Modi govt destroyed economy and infected maximum number of people: Rahul

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday put out a chart on Twitter comparing how other countries handled the COVID-19 and the economy to argue that the Narendra Modi government “destroyed the economy and infected the maximum number of people”.The data — sourced from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Worldometer, a well known reference website — compared the GDP growth for 2020 and the number of COVID-19 deaths per million of a country’s population.



Govt May Not Extend Rs 3 Lakh Crore Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs Beyond October

New Delhi: The government is unlikely to extend the Rs 3 trillion-Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for MSME sector beyond October even though the sanctioned amount so far is only nearly 65% of the target, sources said.The scheme is meant to provide financial support to businesses, primarily Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), impacted by slowdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.Sources said the objective is to provide support to all those affected and if there are no takers for the scheme, there is no need to extend the scheme even though there is some room left.PTI




Supreme Court Slams 'Inordinate Delay' by Government Authorities in Filing Appeals

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has deprecated the inordinate delays by government authorities in filing appeals before it and said they must pay for wastage of judicial time and such costs can be recovered from officers responsible. A bench headed by Justice S.K Kaul said the apex court cannot be a place for the governments to walk in when they choose to ignore the period of limitation prescribed in the statute.We have raised the issue that if the government machinery is so inefficient and incapable of filing appeals/petitions in time, the solution may lie in requesting the Legislature to expand the time period for filing limitation for government authorities because of their gross incompetence. That is not so, said the bench, also comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari.PTI




Nigerian drug regulator blacklists Gujarat pharma company for ‘substandard’ antibiotics

New Delhi: Nigeria’s drug regulator National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has blacklisted Gujarat-based pharma firm Mars Remedies for manufacturing “substandard and falsified” antibiotic tablets.In a letter written to Mars Remedies on 9 October, the NAFDAC said the company manufactured “falsified” Ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets. The letter was also marked to Dr V.G. Somani, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).“We wish to formally bring to your notice the recent incident of pharmaceutical products inspection violation by your company with respect to the manufacture of eight (8) batches of falsified Pinnacle Ciprofloxacin 500mg film coated Tablets for export to Nigeria,” read the letter accessed by ThePrint.




'Odd-Even Scheme Will Be Our Last Weapon': Delhi Govt On Air Pollution Control

As the air quality continues to deteriorate in the national capital, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Monday said implementing the odd-even scheme would be the “last weapon” to fight air pollution in the city. “We have implemented the odd-even scheme several times in Delhi and it will be our last weapon. Odd-even is also a way to reduce vehicular pollution so right now we are completely focussing on this (‘Red Light On, Gaadi off’) campaign and if all other programmes don’t work then the government will think about implementing the odd-even scheme,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.



Hyderabad Rains Updates: 70 have died across Telangana in rain-related incidents, says CM

The flood situation has remained grim in Telangana and Karnataka due to the overnight heavy rains that battered some parts of the states on Saturday night, leaving a trail of destruction. According to an IBF advisory, a Yellow alert has been issued as heavy rains are very likely to occur at isolated places in Telangana districts. Thunderstorm accompanied with lightning is also very likely to occur at isolated places over Telangana. An Orange alert (be prepared) has also been issued for Hyderabad and heavy rains have been predicted in Chennai city of Tamil Nadu. Due to the incessant pour since Saturday, Army was pressed into service in four affected districts in Karnataka. In Hyderabad, a total of 50 people have lost their lives in rain related incidents.




*corona & lockdown*


Haj 2021 will depend on national, international Covid-19 protocols: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

A decision on Haj 2021 will be taken after the Saudi Arabian government’s final call on the pilgrimage and the national, as well as international COVID-19 guidelines, will have to be kept in mind to ensure the well-being of the pilgrims, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Monday.While chairing a Haj review meeting here, Naqvi said Haj 2021 is scheduled for June-July and the Haj Committee of India, as well as other Indian agencies, will formally announce the application process and other related preparations for the pilgrimage after a decision is taken by the Saudi Arabian government.He said the final decision regarding Haj 2021 will be taken in due course, keeping in view the necessary guidelines to be issued by the governments of Saudi Arabia and India in view of the coronavirus pandemic to ensure the health and well-being of people.PTI



Coronavirus | No visitors allowed inside Durga Puja pandals across West Bengal: Calcutta High Court

No visitors will be allowed inside Durga Puja pandals across West Bengal, and the Puja mandap will be treated as a “containment zone” this year, the Calcutta High Court said in an order on Monday.A Division Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee said that only organisers of the Durga Puja committees can enter pandals in numbers ranging from 15 to 25. “No Entry” notices should be put up near the pandals this year, and an awareness drive should be taken up to inform people about the High Court’s order, the Bench said.Hearing a public interest litigation on the issue of Durga Pujas being allowed in the State during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court observed that the police does not have enough resources to control the crowd if people descend on the streets.




Coronavirus: India’s active cases below 8 lakh for third day, toll lowest in nearly four months

India’s tally of coronavirus cases rose to 75,50,273 on Monday with 55,722 new cases in 24 hours, the lowest in five days. The country’s toll rose by 579 to 1,14,610 – lowest in nearly four months. India’s active cases stood at 7,72,055, while the recoveries reached 66,63,608. The recovery rate stood at 88.26% and the mortality rate was 1.52%.Metro services in Mumbai will resume services on Monday after several months. Passengers will undergo thermal screening at the stations, and will have to follow physical distancing norms. Schools in Uttar Pradesh will reopen for students of Class 9 to Class 12 from Monday. However, the schools in containment zones will continue to remain shut.




Global Coronavirus Cases Hit 40 Million As Canada Nears 200,000

Worldwide coronavirus cases crossed 40 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, as the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere fuelled a resurgence in the spread of the disease.The Reuters tally is based on official reporting by individual countries. Experts believe the true numbers of both cases and deaths are likely much higher, given deficiencies in testing and potential under-reporting by some countries.The Reuters data shows the pace of the pandemic continues to pick up. It took just 32 days to go from 30 million global cases to 40 million, compared with the 38 days it took to get from 20 to 30 million, the 44 days between 10 and 20 million, and the three months it took to reach 10 million cases from when the first cases were reported in Wuhan, China, in early January.










First commercial passenger flight from UAE lands in Israel

The first-ever passenger flight from UAE to Israel has landed near Tel Aviv, a month after the countries signed an agreement normalising ties.Etihad Airways Flight 9607 landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion international airport just after 7am on Monday.Boeing 787 Dreamliner departed for Abu Dhabi several hours later with an Israeli travel and tourism delegation on board, according to an Etihad statement.The Israeli tourism professionals will be visiting the UAE for a two-day trip organised by Israeli company Maman Group, an airline spokesperson said. UAE carrier said it had made “history”.Etihad said it plans to schedule regular passenger flights between the countries in the future and was launching a Hebrew website. UAE and Israel were due on Tuesday to sign an agreement to have 28 weekly commercial flights between the countries, a transportation ministry official said.




Israel and Bahrain formalise relations at ceremony in Manama

Bahrain and Israel have signed a joint communique to formalise ties during a visit by an Israeli and US delegation to Manama to broaden cooperation that Washington has promoted as an anti-Iran bulwark and potential economic boom.Bahrain followed UAE in agreeing last month to normalise ties with Israel in US-brokered deals, stunning Palestinians who had demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.UAE and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab states to agree to normalise ties with Israel, following Egypt’s peace deal with Israel in 1979 and a 1994 pact with Jordan.Israeli delegation, which flew on an El Al Israel Airlines charter flight from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, was accompanied by US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.“It was indeed an historic visit, to start opening relations between both countries,” Bahraini Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdullatif al-Zayani said after the signing ceremony with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat.Al-Zayani touched elbows with Ben-Shabbat, who described the step as a “promising beginning” and said the Israeli delegation was accepted “with open arms, with warmth and cordiality”.Israel and Bahrain, host to US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, inked the so-called “Abraham Accords” at a White House ceremony on September 15, a document that fell short of a formal treaty. The El Al flight flew over Saudi Arabia, an accommodation by the Gulf’s powerhouse, which has so far resisted US appeals to normalise ties with Israel.




Israel is turning 36 West Bank nature reserves into settlements

The Israeli occupation authorities control 36 areas in Area C of the occupied West Bank and is planning to convert them into settlements and military camps, Jordanian Assabeel newspaper reported on Sunday.General Director of natural resources at the Palestine Authority (PA)’s Environment Quality Authority Issa Musa indicated that there are 50 nature reserves in the West Bank, including 36 in Area C, which are under full control of the Israeli occupation.Musa explained that there are 11,000 dunams of fertile farmlands located in Jericho extending to the eastern West Bank city of Tubas, on which the Israeli occupation intends to build Jewish settlements and military camps.




Rights group reports escalation of Israel demolition of EU-funded Palestine projects

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has documented a sharp increase in Israeli demolition of European Union (EU)-funded Palestinian projects built in occupied territories, a report issued over the weekend revealed.According to the report, which was circulated by world news agencies, in 2019 the Euro-Med monitor documented a record high of 204 Palestinian structures that Israel had demolished in East Jerusalem alone, representing a spike when compared with previous years.



Arab support for PA budget falls by 82%

Arab support for the Palestinian Authority’s budget has fallen by 82 per cent during the first eight months of this year, Shehab news agency reported.According to data issued by the PA Ministry of Finance, the Arab countries have paid the PA $38.1 million in 2020 so far, compared to $198.33 million during the same period last year.Over the past few months, US President Donald Trump revealed that he had asked the wealthy Arab states to stop paying money to the Palestinians. In July, the PA’s Minister of Finance Shukri Bsharah reported that a number of Arab states had suspended their financial aid for the authority.



Hamas: the US has told Arab states to stop supporting the PA

A senior Hamas official has claimed that the US has told a number of Arab states to stop giving financial support to the Palestinian Authority, Al-Aqsa TV reported on Sunday. According to Saleh Al-Arouri, a number of states have been asked to put pressure on Fatah, which controls the PA, in order to pull out of any reconciliation with Hamas.The Deputy Head of the Hamas Political Bureau added that these countries are those which sponsored the US deal of the century. He stressed, however, that Hamas is committed to the Palestinian understandings reached in Istanbul and would never backtrack on them.



 PLO leader Saeb Erekat in ‘critical’ condition

Prominent Palestinian leader Saeb Erekat is in a critical condition and his health has deteriorated as he undergoes treatment for COVID-19-related complications. Erekat, 65, was moved from his home in the occupied West Bank city of Jericho to Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital on Sunday.“Mr Erekat had a quiet night but this morning his condition deteriorated, and it is now defined as critical,” a statement from the Israeli hospital’s spokeswoman, Hadar Elboim, said on Monday.“Due to respiratory distress, he was put on a ventilator and placed in a medically induced coma.”The statement said Erekat was also being treated for a bacterial infection.



Israel: Ultra-Orthodox Jews ignore government coronavirus orders, attend schools

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews have challenged the Israeli government’s restrictions to combat the coronavirus and attended educational institutions across the country on Sunday. The Jerusalem Post reported that ultra-Orthodox students have returned to Haredi boys schools, Talmud Torah primary schools and Yeshiva Ketana high schools in infected neighbourhoods, including Bnei Brak, Beitar Illit, El’ad and some suburbs of Jerusalem. This occurred despite the government’s decision to shut down all educational institutions in red-designated areas on the coronavirus epidemiological map.The challenge to the government’s decision came after Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 92, who is himself infected with the coronavirus, on Saturday ordered schools associated with his group to reopen after no agreement was reached for the reopening of schools.



Mosques reopen in virus-hit Gaza Strip

Palestinian authorities reopened mosques in the Gaza Strip on Sunday after weeks of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, Anadolu Agency reports.The Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs, however, decided to keep mosques closed in areas categorized as “red zones,” where high numbers of virus infections were recorded. A ministry statement said dozens of mosques were disinfected before the reopening.In August, the ministry shut all mosques across the Palestinian territory following the detection of virus cases in the enclave.



Nagorno-Karabakh fighting continues as second truce fails to hold

Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on Monday, with both countries ignoring a renewed truce that was meant to come into effect at the weekend.The truce was agreed on Saturday after a similar deal brokered by Russia a week earlier failed to halt the worst fighting in the South Caucasus since the 1990s.In both instances, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused one another of breaking the truce within hours of agreed deadlines.



Armenia continues to violate cease-fire with Azerbaijan:official

TERTER:Armenia continued to violate the new humanitarian cease-fire reached with Azerbaijan by attacking civilian settlements in Terter and Aghjabadi cities, an official statement said on Monday.“The Armenian armed forces continue to commit criminal acts against our civilian population in gross violation of the requirements of the announced humanitarian truce,” Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General’s Office said. Yesterday, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry had said that Armenia’s armed forces “grossly violated” the new humanitarian cease-fire just hours after it got effective at 12:00 a.m. local time on Sunday [2000GMT Saturday].



Azerbaijan liberates 13 more villages from occupation

The Azerbaijani army has liberated 13 more villages in Jabrayil district from Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan's president announced Monday.“The villages of Soltanli, Emirvarli, Mashanli, Hasanli, Alikeykhanli, Gumlag, Hajili, Goyerchinveysalli, Niyazguzlar, Kechel Memmedli, Shahvelli, Haji Ismayilli and Isagli in Jabrayil district have been liberated. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” Ilham Aliyev said on Twitter.He said Armenia’s armed forces have blatantly violated the agreed humanitarian ceasefire regime and as of 00:02 hours, Oct. 18, were using heavy artillery to fire on Azerbaijan’s residential areas and combat positions.



Iran issues warning over Nagorno-Karabakh stray fire

Iran said Monday that the security of its citizens was a “red line”, after stray missiles hit an Iranian district as a result of the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.“Iran will respond to any aggression even the unintentional ones,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in statements cited by the official IRNA news agency.He said the Iranian armed forces have already sent necessary warnings to opposing sides in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.




Ersin Tatar elected new Turkish Cypriot leader

Right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar has won a leadership runoff vote in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).With all of the ballots counted, the Ankara-backed Tatar secured 51.74 percent of the vote on Sunday, ahead of the incumbent Mustafa Akinci, at 48.26 percent, according to official media.Tatar, who favours stronger ties with Turkey, had won 32.5 percent of the vote in last week’s first round, with Akinci closely following with 29.84 percent in a vote marked by low turnout.Tatar appears to have benefited from a higher turnout in the runoff. He managed to rally supporters from the approximately 200,000-strong electorate who may not have voted in the first round.



US legislators call on Egypt’s el-Sisi to release prisoners

More than 50 United States politicians are calling on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to release activists, journalists, lawyers and prisoners of conscience.In a letter released on Monday, 55 congressional Democrats (and one independent) urged el-Sisi to release those “unjustly detained for exercising their fundamental human rights”.The letter is spearheaded by three Democratic lawmakers: Ro Khanna, Jim McGovern and Sherrod Brown.“The unjust detention of Egyptian human rights defenders, peaceful political activists and other prisoners of conscience is in direct opposition to the rights and freedoms enshrined in Egyptian and American law,” said McGovern.The politicians warned that the continued unjust imprisonment might result in their deaths in the face of significant COVID-19 outbreaks in Egyptian prisons.




US official went to Syria seeking Americans’ release: Report

A White House official travelled to Damascus earlier this year for secret meetings with the Syrian government to seek the release of at least two United States citizens, a Trump administration official was quoted as saying.The US official who travelled to Syria was identified as Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump and the top White House counterterrorism official, saying he had flown to Damascus.



Imran Khan Incapable and Clueless, Has Betrayed People of Pakistan: leaders of Pakistan Democratic Movement

Prime Minister Imran Khan is “incapable and clueless”, and his government is worse than a dictatorship, leaders of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of 11 opposition parties, alleged at its second rally here.The PDM, which was formed last month, , has launched a three-phased anti-government movement under an “action plan” to oust the Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government. Under the plan several rallies public meetings and demonstrations will be held across the country, before a “decisive long march” to Islamabad in January next year. The first of these rallies was held on Friday in Gujranwala near Lahore.Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice presidents Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mehmood Achakzai and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman were among the leaders of opposition parties who attended the rally.PTI




Nawaz Sharif's Son-in-Law Arrested in Karachi, Police 'Broke Hotel Room Door'

Karachi: Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s vice-president Maryam Nawaz on Monday alleged that the police barged into her hotel room in Karachi and arrested her husband and deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar.“Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt Safdar,” said Maryam, who addressed a large anti-government rally in the port city on Sunday.PTI



‘We are not afraid’: France rallies after teacher beheaded

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Paris and cities across France on Sunday in solidarity with a secondary school teacher who was beheaded outside his school in an attack that shocked the country.Samuel Paty was killed on Friday, after he had discussed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad with students during a civics class.Demonstrators on the Place de la Republique held aloft posters declaring: “No to totalitarianism of thought” and “I am a teacher” in memory of Paty.“You do not scare us. We are not afraid. You will not divide us. We are France!” tweeted Prime Minister Jean Castex, who joined the Paris demonstration.



"Don't Be In Data Denial": Red Flag For India As China GDP Data Out

New Delhi: On a day when data on China's growth, with its economy growing at 4.9 per cent on-year in the third quarter, was released, economists highlighted the projections for other Asian economies. China sustained its rebound from bruising virus lockdowns and moving closer to pre-pandemic levels, official data showed.Bangladesh and China may lead the recovery path while India may be the worst performing in Asia, according to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) projection in terms of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the full year.India economy, severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic and is projected to contract by 10.3 per cent this year, is set to drop below Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Nepal, Pakistan and five other Asian economies, as per the IMF's projections.




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