24 November 2020

‘Love jihad’: UP govt clears ordinance against unlawful conversions; SIT probe into ‘love jihad’ rules out conspiracy angle, outside funding; contradicts Adityanath’s claims. Govt blocks 43 more mobile apps, including AliExpress, Alipay Cashier, CamCard. Israel’s Netanyahu says he will visit Bahrain soon



24-11-2020 ,20:44 IST



‘Love jihad’: UP govt clears ordinance against unlawful conversions; third state to do so

Uttar Pradesh government Tuesday approved the draft of a stringent law to check unlawful conversions  — which BJP leaders refer to as “love jihad” — in the state. The ordinance provides for a jail term of 1-5 years with Rs 15,000 penalty for forceful religious conversion. For conversions of minors and women of SC/SC community, there will be jail term of 3-10 years with Rs 25,000 penalty.“In cases of forced mass conversions, the ordinance provides for jail term of three-10 years with Rs 50,000 penalty. If a person wants to perform marriage after converting into any other religion, they will need to take permission from DM two months before marriage,” state Cabinet Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said.The approval for the ordinance was given at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow.After Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, UP is the third such state which announced the enactment of a legislation to check “love jihad”.The move also comes a day after 2-day meeting of National Executive Committee meeting of RSS ended in Prayagraj.Meanwhile, at least five Opposition-ruled states have condemned the announcements by Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana as an encroachment on personal liberty, and an attempt to create a communal divide in the country.


SIT probe into ‘love jihad’ rules out conspiracy angle, outside funding; contradicts CM Adityanath’s claims

A ‘special investigation’ launched by UP Police into allegations of allurement and forced conversion of Hindu women – which is termed as ‘love jihad’ by UP CM Yogi Adityanath – has concluded that the majority of Hindu-Muslim romance cases probed were consensual, a report carried by The Wire says. The police added that they also found no proof that those involved in the cases were receiving foreign funding or that it was an organised conspiracy. All 22 police stations in Kanpur city were asked to report suspicious instances of Hindu-Muslim romance but only 14 cases eventually emerged, which SIT probed.  SIT’s report concludes that in 8 of the 14 cases, Hindu women had either married Muslim men or been with them of their own free will. In 6 cases, FIRs registered are still being investigated, though in one of those cases the accused Muslim man has been released on bail.Kanpur Police SIT probed 14 cases in September in which Muslim men allegedly married Hindu women and forcibly converted them or had developed ‘love relations’ by deception.


Term ‘love jihad’ itself a farce, say interfaith couples as their challenges increase amid politics over it

Crisscrossing lines of religion as they navigated love, societal approval and marriage, interfaith couples have never had it easy but the many hurdles on their road to happily ever after' are now increasingly edged with unease and the oxymoronic stamp of love jihad'.Their challenges increase as the chorus gets louder with politicians and others speaking out and several states declaring their intention to come out with a law against ‘love jihad', a term coined by a section of Hindu groups for Muslim men allegedly forcing women to convert in the guise of love and marriage, said several couples.The societal scanner on their relationships has perhaps never been so intense with every incident, whether of crime or an advertisement or a film, impacting on their day to day lives, said a cross-section of men and women in interfaith relationships and marriages.PTI


Priyanka, Salamat not Hindu-Muslim: Amid row over 'love jihad', Allahabad HC upholds freedom of choiceIndia

 Amid a raging debate over 'love jihad', Allahabad High Court, on Tuesday, struck down its own judgment in which it had said that religious conversion 'just for the purpose of marriage' was not acceptable. Hearing a plea by petitioners Salamat Ansari and Priyanka Kharwar a.k.a. Alia, both residents of Kushinagar district, the court said that the right of 2 adults to live together cannot be encroached upon by the state or others. "We do not see Priyanka Kharwar and Salamat Ansari as Hindu and Muslim, rather as two grown-up individuals... To disregard the choice of a person who is of the age of majority would not only be antithetic to the freedom of choice of a grown-up individual but would also be a threat to the concept of unity in diversity," the court said.The bench, comprising Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Justice Vivek Agarwal observed that interference in a personal relationship would constitute serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice. "We fail to understand that if the law permits two persons even of the same sex to live together peacefully then neither any individual nor a family nor even state can have any objection to the relationship of two major individuals who out of their own free will are living together," the verdict said.Times Now


‘Love Jihad’ needs to be first defined legally: Shiv Sena

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday said ‘Love Jihad’ needs to be first defined legally, and BJP leaders should come out of the “illusion” that they can trouble the Maharashtra government by harping on the issue.Without taking any name, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said BJP’s Minister of State for Home Affairs earlier this year said in Parliament that the concept of ‘Love Jihad’ has no place in law and till now no case has been reported by central agencies in this connection.PTI



Shaheen Bagh 'Dadi' who Became Face of Anti-CAA Protests Features in BBC's List of 100 Women of Year

Octogenarian Bilkis of Shaheen Bagh has made it to BBC's top 100 women of the year list. According to BBC, this year 100 Women is highlighting those "who are leading change and making a difference during these turbulent times." Bilkis was among several other elderly women who came to be known as dadis of Shaheen Bagh after they became as the face of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in the national capital.Shaheen Bagh is a Muslim-dominated locality in South Delhi and came to limelight in December last year for holding round the clock protest demonstrations against CAA. The protest was essentially led by the women,who braved the winter chill for weeks, and the elderly women became the face of the protest."At 82, Bilkis was part of a group of women who peacefully protested against a controversial citizenship law. She became the face of a long-running protest at the capital's Shaheen Bagh, the Muslim locality where the protests were held. Indian journalist and author Rana Ayyub described her as "the voice of the marginalised," the BBC wrote for Bilkis and called her 'protest leader'.


21-yr-old wanted in anti-CAA protests case held in Lucknow

Lucknow :A 21-year-old man was arrested in connection with the violence in Lucknow’s Thakurganj area during the anti-CAA protests last Dec.Police said Anas, who was booked under the UP Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act and carried a reward of Rs 5,000, was arrested from Lucknow’s Vikas Nagar area on Monday.“He had been absconding for several months. We traced him to Vikas Nagar and arrested him. Nothing was recovered from him during the arrest,” said SHO (Thakurganj) Rajkumar.


W.Bengal: NIA Seizes Quran, Religious Books During Raids, Calls Them ‘Jihadi literature’

NEW DELHI—Are the Holy Quran, the Hadith(statements of the Prophet Muhammad) and other Islamic literature in Arabic and Persian languages ‘Jihadi literature’? Is it a crime for a Muslim in India to grow beard? One believes or not but these literature have allegedly been shown as ‘Jihadi literature’ seized by the sleuths of NIA during raids in Murshidabad district of West Bengal to arrest those allegedly affiliated with Al Qaeda?Would you believe that those who don’t even own multi-media cellphones can form whatsapp groups on their phones to undertake terror activities?Can someone, who merely has a balance of Rs. 250 in his bank account, be involved in funding of terror activities?Can a drill machine used by an electrician be a dangerous weapon and his tool box a store of weapons? Can a safety jacket worn by an electrician be a bullet proof jacket? Can a septic tank being constructed for a toilet in house be a tunnel?No one with a common sense would believe NIA allegations but highly qualified and trained sleuths of NIA recruited to probe serious and international terror cases are alleged to have mentioned all these things in their reports to prepare a case against 11 youths, one of them mentally retarded, arrested for being affiliated with Al Qaeda.India Tomorrow


Govt blocks 43 more mobile apps, including AliExpress, Alipay Cashier, CamCard 

The government on Tuesday blocked access to 43 more Chinese mobile apps, including Alibaba Workbench, AliExpress, Alipay Cashier, CamCard and WeDate, for being prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and defence of the nation.The Ministry of Electronics and IT has issued the order for blocking the access of these apps by users in India based on the comprehensive reports received from Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs, an official release said. Sources, meanwhile, said these apps have Chinese links. Earlier on June 29, the government had blocked access to 59 mobile apps and on September 2, 2020 another 118 apps were banned under section 69A of the Information Technology Act.PTI



China likely inducting more fighter jets for western areas amid India standoff:HT

Beijing:China is likely commissioning more squadrons of a multirole strike fighter on the border with India, Chinese state media has indicated for the first time, as the militaries of the two countries dig in and deploy latest weaponry along LAC amid the ongoing border faceoff.People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) western theatre command (WTC) – which is in-charge of the LAC – is said to be commissioning the J-16 fighter aircraft in the country’s western regions.It appears to be part of WTC’s efforts to upgrade weaponry and logistics for its forces deployed along LAC.“A brigade attached to the PLA WTC Air Force recently conducted a confrontational air-to-air combat exercise in order to examine and enhance the unit’s comprehensive combat capability,” the state-backed nationalist tabloid Global Times reported citing an article on the official WeChat account of the PLA WTC.



J&K: Sensing defeat, BJP trying to bar other parties’ candidates from campaigning in the name of ‘security’

Raja Abdul Waheed, a government school teacher-turned-politician is vying for a District Development Council seat from Shopian on the ticket of PDP, a principal constituent of People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).Raja gave an undertaking with the local police that he himself is responsible for his security and started organising public meetings.Raja says that under the guise of security, the government would have quartered him in some heavily guarded government building and not allowed him to campaign for himself."This way I'm free to meet people, give an ear to their grievances and seek their support," says Raja, who filed his nomination papers for Shopian II seat, which is slated to go to polls on December 4 during the third phase of polling.



Abdullahs not on Roshni lists, but named for ‘illegal occupation’ of other govt land in J&K

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, also a former CM, have been named by the union territory administration for allegedly being in illegal possession of state land.The list in which the Abdullahs have been named was released Tuesday. This is different from the raft of lists released by the administration since Monday naming people who allegedly benefited from the now-scrapped Roshni Act. Srinagar MP Farooq and Omar are among four individuals accused of illegally encroaching on state land in different locations of Jammu region. The other two listed are prominent businessman Mushtaq Chaya and Ashfaq Mir, a retired justice.According to the list, issued by the Jammu divisional commissioner’s office, Farooq and Omar Abdullah are in possession of 7.7 kanal (roughly one acre) of govt land in Bahur village of Sunjwan region in Jammu.Contrary to speculation, Farooq has not been named in the Roshni Act lists, although his sister Suraya Abdullah does feature in one issued Tuesday afternoon.



India announces over 100 high-impact projects worth Rs 592 crore for Afghan

New Delhi: India on Tuesday announced a new phase of over 100 high-impact community projects in Afghanistan worth USD 80 million (Rs 592 crore) as the country’s development portfolio in the war-ravaged nation has reached over USD 3 billion (Rs 22,200 crore) so far.The announcement about the new development package was made by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his virtual address at a global conference on Afghanistan during which he also called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire to stop violence in that country.


Never threatened Arnab Goswami for moving SC: deputy secretary of Maharashtra Assembly

New Delhi: Deputy Secretary of Maharashtra Assembly, Vilas Athawale, told the Supreme Court Tuesday that he did not threaten Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami for approaching top court against a breach of privilege notice.Goswami is facing breach of privilege notice for his derogatory remarks against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. His petition, filed under Article 32, claims that the breach of privilege notice issued on 7 not maintainable and should be quashed.Athawale said that he had, on Speaker’s instructions,only asked Goswami to explain why he placed the “confidential House proceedings” as evidence before the apex court. The top court had on 6 November issued a contempt notice to the secretary of Maharashtra Assembly for threatening to penalise Goswami for approaching the top court against the breach of privilege notice.


Republic TV Official Among 12 Named In Fake Ratings Case Charge Sheet

Mumbai: A Republic TV official has been named in a charge sheet filed in the fake ratings case by the Mumbai police today.Ghanshyam Singh, Republic TV's Head of Distribution, is among 12 accused named in the 1,400-page charge sheet.Seven of the accused are out on bail. Former employees of Hansa Research, the agency involved in assessing channel ratings, and two more channels accused of manipulating ratings are among the accused.The document names 140 witnesses, including forensic auditors and members of BARC or Broadcast Audience Research Council, which assesses TRPs or Television Rating Points by monitoring select households.Two of the accused recorded statements before a magistrate and have indicated that they want to turn approvers, according to sources. The court will decide.


‘We’ve to respect humanity’: Bombay HC asks ED if summons to Lawyers Collective’s Anand Grover can be deferred

Keeping in mind COVID-19 pandemic, Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the ED to consider deferring the summons issued to Senior Advocate Anand Grover in his capacity as Trustee of NGO, Lawyers Collective in connection with a money laundering case, legal news website has reported.The plea by Lawyers Collective sought to quash and set aside the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by ED under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the consequential summons and investigation arising from the report.Appearing for ED, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh sought time to reply to the petition moved by Jaising and Grover challenging the summons issued to them.Senior Advocate Amit Desai, appearing for the petitioners, informed the court that the summons directed their appearance before the ED on November 26, in Delhi.


Bombay HC grants interim protection from arrest to Kangana, sister

Mumbai:In a relief to actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted them interim protection from any coercive action, including arrest, by the Mumbai Police in an FIR registered against them for alleged hate posts and statements on social and electronic media.


RBI’s proposal to grant corporates banking licence has ‘fingerprints of Modi govt’: Chidambaram

Congress Tuesday condemned the proposal of RBIs Internal Working Group (IWG) recommending the entry of business houses into the banking sector, saying it has the “fingerprints of Modi government written all over it”.In a press statement, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the proposal, along with some other recommendations by the IWG, is part of a deeper game plan to control the banking industry by the NDA government at the Centre. If implemented, the proposal will “completely reverse the enormous gains made in the last 50 years of retrieving the banking sector from the clutches of business houses”, Chidambaram noted.“If business houses are allowed to own banks, they will, with a small equity investment, control very large amounts of the nation’s financial resources. This must not happen and Congress will strive its utmost to ensure that this will not happen,” Chidambaram said.



Kerala moves Supreme Court against move to hand over Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani group

Kerala government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court against the Centre’s “illegal” move to hand over the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to the Adani group.The State government, represented by advocate C.K. Sasi, sought an interim stay on a decision of Kerala High Court on October 19, allowing Airports Authority of India (AAI) to let Adani Enterprises Limited take over the “operation, management and development” of the airport.The State said the preference given by the Centre to a private concessionaire like Adani, which has no experience in the field of managing airports, smacks of arbitrariness.


‘BJP intends to create hatred,’ says Owaisi after Tejasvi Surya compares him to Jinnah

MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said the Bharatiya Janata Party’s intention was to create hatred, countering the saffron party leader Tejasvi Surya’s remark comparing him to Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, reported ANI. At one of his campaign events ahead of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections due by December 1, Surya had accused the leaders of Owaisi’s party of “allowing only Rohingya Muslims, not development”, in Hyderabad.


Supreme Court dismisses sacked BSF jawan’s plea against PM Modi’s election from Varanasi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the plea of a sacked Border Security Force personnel against the cancellation of his nomination papers to contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019 General Assembly polls, PTI reported. A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian upheld the Allahabad High Court verdict of dismissing the plea of the sacked jawan, Tej Bahadur Yadav. The Supreme Court had reserved its order on November 18.


Sharp Fall in Citation of Supreme Court Judgments by Foreign Courts After 2014, Study Finds

Mitali Gupta studied the judgments of 43 countries and identified the frequency and the pattern of citations of the Supreme Court of India’s judgments.


Sharp Fall in Citation of Supreme Court Judgments by Foreign Courts After 2014, Study Finds

Mumbai: Over the past decade, and particularly since 2014, there has been a steady decline in the international credibility and standing of the Supreme Court of India, a new study on foreign court citations of Indian judgments has found.In elaborate research carried out by studying the judgments of 43 countries and identifying the frequency and pattern of citations of the Supreme Court of India’s judgments, independent legal researcher Mitali Gupta has concluded that there has been a clear fall in the number of times international judges cite Indian judgments in their own rulings.Gupta has taken two periods – the first, 2009-2014, when the UPA was in power for its second term, and 2014 to the present, when NDA government has been in power – to study trends of how Indian judgments have been referred to and cited by courts in various countries.



BJP using central agencies to arm-twist political opponents: Maharashtra coalition govt

New Delhi :The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra on Tuesday accused the Centre of using central agencies to arm-twist political opponents, in the wake of searches by ED on premises linked to Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik and the subsequent arrest of his son Vihang in connection with a money laundering case. BJP, on the other hand, responded saying the central agencies would not take such action without concrete evidence and put their credibility at stake.“ED action is objectionable and unfortunate. BJP at the Centre is trying to muzzle voices of those speaking out against it. ED, CBI are being used to settle political scores,” said state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, who is also the revenue minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government. “Such action is not seen in BJP-ruled states,” Thorat added.



Haryana Police detained a dozen farmer leaders ahead of ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, says Yogendra Yadav

Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav on Tuesday claimed that Haryana Police detained about a dozen farm leaders across the state ahead of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ movement on November 26 to protest against the recently-passed agricultural laws.In a Facebook Live video, Yadav said he has been getting calls from farmers’ leaders that more than a dozen of them were detained across several districts in raids from midnight till 5 am.


Maharashtra: Raza Academy seeks governor’s permission for Muslims to offer Friday prayers in Raj Bhavan Mosque

Mumbai: Raza Academy has written a letter to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, requesting to allow Muslims to offer Friday prayers in the Raj Bhavan Mosque.The places of religious worship across the state, which were shut since the Covid-19 lockdown in March, reopened on November 16 with strict coronavirus safety measures such as masks, sanitisers, and temperature checks.In the letter addressed to Koshyari, the Academy expressed displeasure over the limit on people that can offer prayer in Raj Bhavan mosque amid the Covid-19 pandemic.



Priya Ramani, MJ Akbar refuse settlement in criminal defamation case

New Delhi: Former minister M J Akbar and journalist Priya Ramani on Tuesday refused any settlement between them before a Delhi court in a criminal defamation complaint filed by him against her.Senior advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for Akbar, said that if Ramani was apologetic for her allegations, she would ask her client to consider closing the complaint.Ramani’s counsel, Bhavook Chauhan, on the other hand, said she stood by her statement and if Akbar wanted to withdraw the complaint, he may do so.After submission on behalf of Ramani, Akbar’s counsel said, Let’s continue on merits.PTI


Kerala HC puts curbs on activist Rehana Fathima for referring to meat as ‘gomatha’ in show

The Kerala High Court Monday passed orders to restrict activist Rehana Fathima from disseminating her opinions and comments through any visual and electronic medium in connection with a case filed against her for the usage of the word ‘gomatha’ (mother cow) as a substitute for meat during one of her cookery shows. The activist, who has repeatedly courted controversies on social media, had used the term ‘gomatha’ a number of times as a synonym for the meat that she was cooking on the show. Uploaded on YouTube in February this year, the show was even titled ‘gomamsam ulathiyath’.



Tarun Gogoi’s body to be taken to temple, mosque, church before last rites Thursday

Guwahati: The mortal remains of former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi will be cremated on Thursday in Guwahati, state Congress chief Ripun Bora said. Briefing the press at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where Gogoi breathed last on Monday, Bora said the body will be taken to his official residence at Dispur from the hospital on Tuesday morning.“The doctors will complete necessary medical formalities in the night to prepare the body for keeping it safe for three days,” said Bora, a Rajya Sabha MP.






UP govt releases new guidelines for wedding,other gatherings, guest limit capped at 100, violators to face FIR

Uttar Pradesh government on Monday revised its guidelines for public gatherings and limited the number of guests at wedding ceremonies to a maximum of 100, reported PTI. This is down from 200 guests, which the government had permitted on October 15, but with proper safety protocols. FIR will be registered against those found violating the guidelines, said the state government order issued by Chief Secretary Rajendra Tiwari. The order also underlined that these gatherings can only be held outside containment zones. Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters that if a marriage hall’s capacity is 100 or less, then the number of guests can only be 50% of that figure. The guidelines would also be applicable to other public gatherings, he said. In case of outdoor programmes, less than 40% of the area of the venue will be allowed to be occupied by people, Prasad said. However, in both the scenarios, use of face masks, sanitisers, thermal scanning and maintaining physical distancing remain will be mandatory. Prasad added that Uttar Pradesh government will conduct random checking on people travelling to the state by rail, bus or air. HT /scroll



Coronavirus: No chance of reopening schools anytime soon in Delhi, says Manish Sisodia

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said that there is no chance of reopening schools any time soon amid a rise in coronavirus cases. Schools have been shut since March. “No parent would want to send their children until they are assured that they will be safe,” Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, said. India’s coronavirus tally rose to 91,77,840 on Tuesday morning as it reported 37,975 new cases in 24 hours. The country’s toll rose by 480 to 1,34,218. India’s recovered cases stood at 86,04,955, while the number of active cases was 4,38,667.Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 5.91 crore people and killed 13,95,176, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 3.78 crore people have recovered from the infection.


As India Preps Vaccine Strategy, PM Modi Warns Of Possible Side-Effects

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned on Tuesday that any COVID-19 vaccine could lead to side-effects in some people, as even popular medicines do, and that the government would only go by science in finalising one for the country.The comments came ahead of the possible launch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by early next year in India, the country with the world's second-highest number of coronavirus infections after the United States.The question of who pays any claims for damages for unexpected side-effects has been a tricky point in supply negotiations between countries and drug makers over potential vaccines. Some richer countries have agreed full or partial exemptions from liability for firms to secure shots.






Israel’s Netanyahu says he will visit Bahrain soon

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will visit Bahrain “soon” at the invitation of the Gulf state’s Crown Prince Salman al-Khalifa.Bahrain followed the UAE in normalising ties with Israel in a deal brokered by the US that marked a strategic Middle East alignment against Iran.The shift has enraged the Palestinians who have demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement with Israel.“We are both excited to bring the fruits of peace to our people and countries in such a short time. That’s why he [al-Khalifa] invited me to come soon for a formal visit in Bahrain and I will do this happily,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Tuesday about a phone call he held with the crown prince.A first Bahraini delegation visited Israel last Wednesday.


UN chief calls for Afghan ceasefire and inclusive peace

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate, unconditional ceasefire” in Afghanistan to create a conducive environment for Doha peace talks with the Taliban.“An inclusive process, in which women, young people and victims of conflict are meaningfully represented, offers the best hope of sustainable peace,” Guterres told an Afghanistan donors conference in the Swiss city of Geneva.“Progress toward peace will contribute to the development of the entire region, and is a vital step towards the safe, orderly and dignified return of millions of displaced Afghans.”The Taliban and Afghan government have been engaged in peace talks in Qatar since September 12 but no progress has been announced so far.



Pakistan, Iran to promote ‘Islamic unity’ with art contest weeks after Prophet cartoon row

New Delhi: Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) and the Embassy of Iran in Islamabad Thursday opened registrations for an art competition to promote “Islamic unity” and “solidarity, harmony and unity among Islamic world”. Participants are expected to complete their online submissions of a photograph, painting or graphic design by 15 Dec, according to PNCA website. The winner will receive PKR 35,000. The move comes weeks after outcry among Muslims worldwide over the publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in France and French President Emmanuel Macron’s subsequent pledge to fight “Islamist separatism”.


Ethiopia capturing Tigray capital may not end conflict: Analysts

Leaders in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray state have rejected the government’s claims that federal troops are surrounding the regional capital, Mekelle, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gives the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) until Wednesday to surrender.TPLF leaders on Tuesday said the Tigrayan people are “ready to die” in defence of their land and said they have “completely destroyed” the federal army’s 21st mechanised division.Later on Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council is expected to discuss the unrest, which has forced tens of thousands of Ethiopian civilians to seek refuge in neighbouring Sudan.But analysts say the government troops capturing the Tigrayan capital may not be the end of the conflict in one of the poorest regions in Africa’s second-most populous country.


China slams Pope Francis over remark on Uighur minority in book

China has criticised Pope Francis over a passage in his new book in which he mentions the suffering of China’s Uighur Muslim minority group, saying his remarks have “no factual basis at all”.“People of all ethnic groups enjoy the full rights of survival, development, and freedom of religious belief,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday.Zhao made no mention of the camps in which more than a million Uighurs and members of other Chinese Muslim minority groups are reported to be held.


Trump agrees transition to Biden administration can begin

US President-elect Joe Biden has been formally given the go-ahead by a federal agency to begin his transition to the presidency, shortly after the battleground state of Michigan certified him as the winner there.With the rapid-fire developments on Monday, President Donald Trump’s already languishing efforts to overturn his November 3 defeat appeared to be coming to a close.US General Services Administration (GSA), an independent agency, ascertained that Biden was the “apparent winner” of the election and informed Biden that his transition – leading up to a January 20 swearing-in – could officially begin.GSA Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump’s efforts to challenge the vote failed across battleground states, citing “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results”.Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania moved on Saturday to throw out a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking to prevent certification in that state.



What Joe Biden's Pick For Secretary Of State Said On India-US Ties, China:PTI

Washington: India and the US face a common challenge in the form of an "increasingly assertive" China and New Delhi has to be a key partner in engaging with Beijing from a position of strength, believes long-time national security and foreign policy expert Antony Blinken, who could be President-elect Joe Biden's probable pick for the post of the Secretary of State.Mr Blinken made these comments during a community outreach programme with the Indian-Americans organised by the Biden campaign on the occasion of India's Independence Day on August 15.He alleged that US President Donald Trump has helped China advance key strategic goals by weakening American alliances, leaving a vacuum in the world for China to fill, and abandoning American values and giving Beijing a green light to trample on democracy in Hong Kong.PTI



Antony Blinken’s Nomination for US Secretary of State Evokes Optimism Among Indian Americans

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has welcomed President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Antony Blinken for the position of US Secretary of State.Indian Americans are looking forward to Mr Blinken as the nation’s top diplomat, particularly in building a strong US-India strategic partnership that is anchored in an understanding that the geopolitical interests of both countries are best served by advancing democracy, human rights and religious freedom.Blinken has a long and distinguished career in public service, including as national security adviser and deputy Secretary of State under the Obama administration.


Biden appoints first Palestinian-American to serve as a White House staffer

US President-elect Joe Biden appointed a longtime Palestinian-American Capitol Hill aide as the deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Born to Jordanian-Palestinian immigrants in the US, Reema Dodinher's family is originally from Dura, near occupied Hebron.She will be the first Palestinian-American to serve as a White House staffer, reported Wafa news agency."The American people are eager for our Administration to get to work, and today's appointees will help advance our agenda and ensure every American has a fair shot," Biden said in a statement."In a Biden administration, we will have an open door to the Hill and this team will make sure their views are always represented in the White House."


US President-elect Joe Biden names John Kerry as special climate envoy

United States President-elect Joe Biden on Monday named former Secretary of State John Kerry as special climate envoy. Kerry is considered to be one of the prominent architects of the Paris Climate Agreement and signed the accord in 2016.Biden’s transition team said in statement that for the first time, the National Security Council will have an official exclusively focusing on climate change, according to CNN. The team added that the move reflected Biden’s commitment to “addressing climate change as an urgent national security issue”.






Not Ram Mandir, the ‘love jihad’ laws are the foundation of Hindu Rashtra:Zainab Sikander


India must seize the new strategic possibilities with the Gulf:C. Raja Mohan


News on Covid-19 vaccines is encouraging. But the devil remains in the details:Shahid Jameel


Aksai Chin 2.0: Xi’s bid to replicate Mao merits review to obviate past miscalculations:Maj Gen (retd) Prof G G Dwivedi


Rise of Identity Politics: Minority Votes Hold Key in Bengal Assembly Elections:

Dr Mehebub Sahana | Clarion India


Watch | SC Has Let People Down, Abdicated Duty to Defend Fundamental Rights: Justice A.P. Shah:






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