06 January 2021

SC to examine validity of State laws on religious conversion due to interfaith marriage, refuses to stay, issues notices to states. Gang-raped woman dies in UP's Budaun; priest among 3 booked. Punjab to reopen schools for students of classes 5 to 12 from tomorrow




·        Supreme Court to examine validity of State laws on religious conversion due to interfaith marriage, refuses to stay, issues notices to states

·        We encourage consultation, says SC; to hear pleas against farm laws on Jan 11

·        Gang-raped woman dies in UP's Budaun; priest among 3 booked

·        Coronavirus: Vaccine dry run to be conducted in all districts across India on January 8

·        Punjab to reopen schools for students of classes 5 to 12 from January 7

·        Delhi govt asks schools to submit teachers’ innovations to ensure education in COVID times





Supreme Court to examine validity of State laws on religious conversion due to interfaith marriage, refuses to stay, issues notices to states

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of a spate of laws enacted by States such as UP and Uttarakhand that criminalise religious conversion via marriage and mandate prior official clearance before marrying into another faith. Bench led by CJI Sharad A. Bobde, however, did not stay the implementation of Prohibition Of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 and Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, despite fervent pleas by petitioners that “rampaging mobs are lifting off people in the middle of wedding ceremonies,” buoyed by the enactment of the laws.“What we have here is multiple States like UP, MP enacting these laws which are absolutely horrifying. They require the prior permission to marry,” senior advocate C.U. Singh submitted. Singh argued that the burden of proof was on the people who marry to show they were not doing so to get converted.“Those who are found guilty under these laws stare at a 10-year prison sentence. The offences are non-bailable. We are getting reports that people are being picked up in the middle of weddings on suspicion of religious conversion,”he said.However, Bench, which had initially asked the petitioners to go to the respective State High Courts with their challenge, did not stay the implementation of the laws.“This is the problem. We have already issued notice. You have come here under Article 32 of the Constitution...” CJI Bobde said and resisted the plea for stay.Singh pointed out that the laws concerned violation of the fundamental rights of dignity and liberty enshrined under Article 21. He pointed out that they had been enacted despite a series of judgments by the SC, including in the Hadiya case, that right to marry a person of one’s choice was part of an adult’s privacy.“Under the laws, a person marrying into another faith should give a month’s prior notice to the authorities. There will be an inquiry. The provisions are oppressive,” Singh argued.The court fixed a hearing in four weeks. The petition filed by advocates Vishal Thakre and A.S. Yadav and researcher Pranvesh, who were represented by advocates Sanjeev Malhotra and Pradeep Kumar Yadav, said the laws were against public policy and society at large.


Former Judges Deny Endorsing Letter to UP CM in Support of ‘Love Jihad’ Law

NEW DELHI – Two former judges of the Kerala High Court, named as signatories in a letter addressed to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath supporting his controversial ‘Love Jihad’ ordinance, have denied endorsing the letter.“I have not signed the letter nor have I received any request regarding this. No one even contacted me over this. I heard about it the first time when my daughter intimated me about a message from a legal journalist,” Justice Balakrishnan Nair was quoted by TOI as saying.Names of five former judges – Justices V Chitambaresh, P.N. Ravindran, M.R. Hariharan Nair, K. Balakrishnan Nair and A.V. Ramakrishna Pillai –  and a former chief secretary of Kerala, C.V. Ananda Bose, considered close to the NDA government, were mentioned as signatories in the letter which was initiated by former UP chief secretary Yogendra Narain.Justice Pillai, another retired judge, said “I had received a WhatsApp message in this regard seeking endorsement but I did not sign it nor did I respond.” Pillai also clarified that he has kept away from commenting on political issues so far.


Karnataka Anti-Cattle Slaughter Ordinance: Even Farmers Selling Cattle Can Be Booked For Abetment To Slaughter

BENGALURU—The anti-cattle slaughter ordinance approved by Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala on Tuesday punishes not only those involved in actual slaughter of the cattle but also those who are involved in sale of the cattle.t means that even farmers and cattle-breeders who sell their cattle knowing the person is buying the cattle for purpose of slaughtering, will be booked and arrested under Clause 7 and 15 of the new law.What is very serious about the new law is that it empowers police “to inspect and seize” the cattle if the police have “the reason to believe” that the cattle are being sold, purchased or disposed of for the purpose of slaughter.The police have also been given powers to even seize the premises and the materials which, they feel, are intended for slaughter.It means even the shops or the houses or any other places where the cattle are kept and police believe that they are kept there for slaughter, can be seized by the state.In this sense, Karnataka anti-slaughter law is the most stringent as anti-cattle slaughter laws in all other states have excluded the sellers. In Karnataka law, the seller will be booked and punished for abetment to slaughter.The new law makes slaughter of cow, calf of a cow, bull and bullock illegal, irrespective of their age.



UP: Fearful of Violence, Muslims Families Put Up 'For Sale' Posters on Homes, Shops in Mavi

Lucknow:  Several Muslim families in Mavi village in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, around 85 km from national capital, which witnessed some communally tense moments last week, are reportedly planning to flee, fearing more violence. Tension has gripped the area, which falls under sugarcane belt, since Thursday evening after some youth belonging to Gujjar community of the village had an alleged brawl with a Muslim shopkeeper of the locality. At present, houses are locked, shops shuttered and the streets deserted in the area, as per reports.In fact, growing incidents of violence and harassment, especially after the enactment of the controversial law against inter-faith marriages, are forcing many Muslim families in villages to migrate to “safer places”, because they feel that even trivial matters are being given a communal twist.Following the incident in Mavi, about 40 Muslim families have reportedly decided to sell their properties and houses and move out. The families have put up posters and signboards on their houses 'Yeh Makan Bikau Hai' (This house is for sale.Nausher, a resident of Mavi village, who sells paan masala and essential commodities in the village, said a man whom he identified as Sundar, came to his shop and took two cigarettes worth Rs. 20 on Dec.23 without paying for it. He left the shop promising he would return and pay for the cigarettes but did not pay even after a week. Nausher said when he saw him next, he asked him to clear the dues and instead was attacked by the man and his friends. He suffered minor injuries. However, this fight turned into a communal clash. “I am a Muslim. I am selling my home because fights over petty issues turn into communal clashes here,” Mohammed Sharif, who pasted a signboard on his house, told NewsClick. He alleged that a mob belonging to the Gujjar community barged into his house and smashed everything.


We encourage consultation, says SC; to hear pleas against farm laws on Jan 11

The Supreme Court will on January 11 hear a batch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as well as the issues related to the ongoing farmers’ protest at Delhi borders.On Wednesday, a bench headed by CJI S A Bobde observed that there is no improvement on the ground regarding farmers’ protests, following which the Centre conveyed to the court that “healthy discussions” are going on between the government and farmers over these issues.Attorney General K K Venugopal said there is a good chance that parties may come to a conclusion in the near future and filing of response by the Centre on the pleas challenging the new farm laws might foreclose the negotiations between the farmers and government. While informing the bench that talks are going on between the government and farmers in a “healthy atmosphere”, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that these matters should not be listed for hearing on January 8.


Waterproof tents come up at Delhi’s Singhu border as farmers continue stir

As Delhi reels under a spell of harsh winter with rain lashing parts of the national capital for the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday, farmers protesting the Centre’s new farm laws at Delhi borders are making arrangements to protect themselves from biting cold.Camping at protest venues near Delhi borders for around 40 days, braving severe cold and sporadic rains, farmers are installing waterproof makeshift tents at the protest site as they assert that the protest will intensify further.Farmers are making arrangements to set up waterproof tents for shelter for protesters at Delhi’s Singhu border after some tents at the protest site collapsed and rainwater entered others, soaking firewood and their clothes.


Farmers leaders prepare for ‘Tractor March’ on Jan.7

The protest by farmers camping at the borders of the national capital continued for 42nd day on Wednesday. The leaders of the farmers unions demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws and the procurement of crops at MSP are now readying for a 'Tractor March' announced by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways on Thursday.Harinder Singh Lakhowal, Punjab farmer leader and General Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), told IANS that preparations were on to intensify the agitation and make the programme on Thursday a success. He informed that farmers from Punjab are coming with their tractors for the march. Farmers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are also joining the rally.Farmers leaders said the 'Tractor March' would be a trailer of the 'Republic Day Parade' scheduled on January 26.IANS


China Rebukes Outgoing US Envoy Over Remarks on 'Close Coordination' With India at LAC

New Delhi: China on Wednesday protested against the outgoing US envoy’s remarks claiming that there was close cooperation between New Delhi and Washington in managing the ongoing border stand-off at LAC.In his farewell speech on Tuesday, US ambassador to India, Ken Juster asserted that no other country, besides the United States, “does as much to contribute to the security of Indians and India”. He then cited the example of the situation in eastern Ladakh, where thousands of Indian and Chinese soldiers have been on a stand-off for over seven months.“Our close coordination has been important as India confronts, perhaps on a sustained basis, aggressive Chinese activity on its border,” stated Juster.Last year, under the provisions of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, India has procured cold weather clothing system from US on an urgent basis. There were also media reports of US providing real-time information on the position of Chinese military in the region.



Cow urine a rare gift for mankind; enhances longevity, cures diseases: Govt body’s reference document

Cow Commission of India, officially known as Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA), has released a document claiming that a number of diseases like psoriasis, skin disorders, eczema, arthritis, inflammation and leprosy, among others, can be treated by consuming ‘Panchgavya’ products — cow milk and its derivatives as well as cow urine and dung.The commission, constituted in 2019 under the aegis of the Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, aims at ensuring the conservation, preservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny, and is tasked with giving direction to cattle development programmes. RKA’s latest suggestions on treatment of diseases have been made as part of ‘reference material’ for the first ‘cow science promotion exam’, to be held online on February 25 among nationwide school and college students as well as the general public, according to a report carried by The Print.



In Syllabus for National Exam on Cows, Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog Unleashes Half-Truths

New Delhi: The government body set up for cow welfare, Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog, is set to organise a countrywide online examination on February 25. The subject is cows.The exam, called the Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Examination will have separate papers for four categories of examinees, three of which are divided according to the stage of education – primary and middle school, secondary, college – and one for the general public. Answering the objective multiple-choice questions will earn examinees a certificate.In language that clashes with the seriousness accorded to all-India examinations, the RKA has said, “Union education ministers, chief ministers, state education ministers, chairmen of Gau Seva Aayogs of all states, district education officers of all states, principals of all schools, print and electronic media, NGOs and cow donors will be involved in this mammoth exercise.”


Found proof against Republic TV, Arnab in TRP case: Police to HC

Mumbai Police on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that "some evidence" was found against Republic TV and its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami in TRP scam case, and therefore, it did not want to continue granting them any protection from any coercive action.However, as the high court adjourned the matter without hearing any arguments during the day, the police agreed to continue its previous assurance of not taking any coercive action till Jan.15, the next date of hearing in the case. The alleged fake TRP scam was unearthed last year after BARC filed a complaint alleging that certain television channels were rigging their TRP numbers, apparently to generate more revenue from advertisements.On Wednesday, the HC adjourned the matter without hearing any arguments after a Republic TV counsel told the court that senior advocate Harish Salve was unable to appear while the second senior lawyer was stuck due to some medical emergency in family.PTI



Gang-raped woman dies in UP's Budaun; priest among three booked

Ghaziabad:A 50-year-old woman died after she was gang-raped, allegedly by a priest and his two aides, in a village in Ughaiti area of Budaun, UP, on Jan.3 night. However, an FIR was registered only on January 5 after a post-mortem confirmed severe injuries to private parts of the deceased. Her son told reporters that she used to go to village temple every evening. “On Sunday, she didn’t return. Around 11.30 pm, the priest and his two aides brought her home in a car. They said she fell into the dry well on the temple premises. She was bleeding profusely and soon died. Before we could ask anything, the three left,” he said.He alleged that priest Satya Narayan and his aides, Jaspal and Vedram, were lying as they didn’t take her to hospital. “We approached the police as we felt somebody had raped her,” he said.Locals said a video of the priest saying that the she fell into the well was circulating in the local media but the police could not nab him. They said the dry well was in an isolated area and not on the way to the temple that somebody could fall in it.“SHO also believed the theory of the accused till the post-mortem report revealed that she had been brutalised,” said social activist Shafi Ahmed.


‘Shameful for humanity’: Congress, SP criticise Adityanath government over Budaun gangrape-murder

Several Opposition parties criticised BJP-led government on Wednesday over the gangrape and murder of a 50-year-old woman in Budaun.Reacting to incident, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi accused the Adityanath-led government of being indifferent towards the security of women in the state. “In Hathras, the government administration did not listen to the voice of those pleading,” she tweeted in Hindi. “The government saved officials and suppressed the victim’s voice. In Budaun, the police station officer did not listen to the one pleading and did not even examine the place of the incident. There is something wrong in the UP government’s intentions on women’s security.”Her party colleague and Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala called the incident “horrific” and “shameful for humanity”. “How many more Nirbhayas?” he tweeted. Samajwadi Party said the incident should shame humanity, and demanded strict punishment for the accused. National Commission of Women on Wednesday took cognisance of the incident.


TV ads promoting superstition illegal under Black Magic Act: Bombay HC

Mumbai :In a significant ruling, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday held that the telecast of advertisements by TV channels claiming that they have special, miraculous or supernatural properties is illegal.The court held that they are liable for punishment under Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. The court also directed the state government and vigilance officers appointed under the 2013 law to register crimes by giving reports against persons, who are making such advertisements and those selling such articles.


Joined conspirators on Army duty: Malegaon blast accused Prasad Shrikant Purohit to HC

Malegaon bomb blast case accused Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit on Wednesday told Bombay High Court, through his lawyer, that he was collecting intelligence for Indian Army as part of his duty by attending conspiracy meetings for 2008 blast.The high court was hearing Purohit’s application seeking that all charges against him in the case be dropped.Six people were killed and 100 others injured when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon city in Nashik district of Maharashtra on Sept.29, 2008.PTI



"Cook Eggs, Meat Fully": Minister On Fears Over Bird Flu Spread To Humans

New Delhi: There's nothing to worry about, animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy minister Giriraj Singh said dishing out some cooking tips so people can steer clear of the Avian Influenza, or bird flu, which is doing the rounds in at least four states. Cook eggs and meat fully, Union minister said seeking to allay fears about transmission of the zoonotic disease from poultry to humans."In some places there have been reports of migratory and wild birds dying from bird flu. Cook the meat and eggs completely before eating. There is nothing to worry. All possible help is being given and states have been alerted," Singh tweeted in Hindi.Giriraj Singh also shared a status report of the Avian Flu spread in Himachal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan, where 12 epicentres have been identified.


460 Naxals killed, 161 security personnel dead since 2018: RTI data

A total of 460 Left Wing Extremists, also called Naxals, have been killed by security forces in the country since 2018, an RTI response has revealed.During the same period, 161 security force personnel laid down their lives in the line of duty, the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Division, under Ministry of Home Affairs, stated in the reply.Noida-based lawyer and RTI activist Ranjan Tomar had sought the data on deaths of security personnel and killing of LWEs from the MHA between 2018 and 2020.PTI


IAMC Expresses Concern Over Recent Incidents Targeting Muslims in India

 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) has said that persecution of Muslims under the rule of BJP has increased beyond one’s imagination. In a strongly worded statement issued on Monday, IAMC took note of a series of recent incidents that suggest that the Indian state has “legitimised the persecution of Muslims, encouraged, and enabled violence against the largest minority community in the country”.IAMC is an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos.“Modi government must demonstrate to all Indians and the international community that the Constitution is still in effect,” said Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC.“This will require putting a stop to the violence against Muslims by groups affiliated to the larger ideological fraternity of the RSS,” added Khan. Mohammad Jawad, national general secretary of the IAMC, referred to recent attacks on Muslim households and places of worship in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, following rallies carried out by Hindu right-wing groups.


UP Police drops ‘promoting enmity’ charge against vendor Nasir who sold shoes written ‘Thakur’ on soles

A day after registering a case against a roadside vendor in Uttar Pradesh for selling shoes that had “Thakur” written on it, Bulandshahr police on Wednesday dropped IPC Section 153A from FIR, which pertains to promoting enmity between groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. The vendor, Nasir, was booked following a complaint by a local resident, Vishal Chauhan, that the shoes being sold by him had the word “Thakur” written on it. Initially, an FIR was lodged under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), according to officials. However, on Wednesday, Bulandshahr police said Section 153A had been removed after investigation revealed that allegations of promoting enmity on grounds of religion and caste against Nasir were “false”.The statement further said Nasir was brought to the police station only for interrogation and wasn’t arrested. “He was let off Tuesday after preliminary investigation found that case was a ‘scuffle’ between Chauhan and Nasir,” police said.


‘Long kept secret’: Top ISRO scientist claims he was poisoned three years ago

A top ISRO scientist on Tuesday claimed he was poisoned more than three years ago.Tapan Misra alleged he was poisoned with deadly arsenic trioxide on May 23, 2017, during a promotion interview at ISRO headquarters here.“Fatal dose was probably mixed” with chutney along with Dosa, in snacks after lunch, he said.Misra is presently working as Senior Advisor at ISRO and is superannuating at the end of this month.He had earlier served as Director of Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).PTI



India suffered longest internet shutdowns in 2020 globally

India suffered the longest internet shutdowns in 2020 for the second year running globally, bearing the biggest economic impact of $2.8 billion and 8,927 hours lost, affecting 10.3 million users in total, a new report from the UK-based privacy and security research firm Top10VPN has revealed.As in previous years, India continued to restrict internet access more than any other country -- over 75 times in 2020."The majority of these short blackouts were highly-targeted, affecting groups of villages or individual city districts and so were not included in this report, which focuses on larger region-wide shutdowns. The true economic cost is therefore likely to be even higher than the $2.8 billion we have calculated," the researchers informed.IANS



Court rejects comedian Munawar Faruqui’s bail plea, cites law and order situation

Bhopal :The court observed that the 2 have been accused of making objectionable remarks on Hindu Gods and Goddesses, passing lewd remarks at women and displaying items such as condoms in the presence of children. “And considering these circumstances, giving them the benefit of bail will create a law and order situation,” the court said,The court’s observations come in the light of a written application submitted by Tukoganj police, where Faruqui along with five others were booked on a complaint made by Eklavya Gaud, son of BJP’s sitting MLA Malini Gaud from Indore. In their application, police from Tukoganj police station said: “During the show, inappropriate language had been used while referring to religion, society and culture. While comments were also made about the present Home Minister Amit Shah and Godhra carnage which might create social unrest.”


Brinda Karat urges Kejriwal to treat two boys killed in Delhi riots as ‘adults’ for compensation package

Member of CPI(M)’s Polit Bureau and former Rajya Sabha MP Brinda Karat has written to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal urging him to compensate the families of two teenagers killed in the Delhi riots last year by treating them as adults rather than as minors since they were earning members for their families.As per Delhi Government’s “compensation package” scheme, the compensation for an adult who was killed in the riots is Rs 10 lakh whereas the compensation for a minor is put at Rs 5 lakh.She wrote that she had recently met the families of the deceased in question, Nitin Paswan, 15-year-old son of Ram Sugarak, and Amin, the 17-year-old son of Shahabuddin, who had informed her of the discrimination.






Delhi govt asks schools to submit teachers’ innovations to ensure education in COVID times

Delhi government has directed schools here to submit the innovations done by teachers and management committee members to ensure education in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the practices undertaken by them for COVID-19 management. Schools in the national capital are closed since March last year. Though several states have partially reopened schools, the Delhi government has announced that schools will reopen only after a vaccine is available.Teaching and learning activities moved online since the closure of schools, prompting teachers to innovate with teaching methods.Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) is soon launching a journal called ‘Children First: Journal on Children’s Lives’ and the first issue of the journal is on the theme ‘Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of the children’, it said.PTI


We are brainstorming on how early schools can be reopened: Delhi Deputy CM Sisodia

Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that the government is brainstorming on how early schools can be reopened in the national capital. "Brainstorming is on for how early schools can be reopened in Delhi, especially for board classes as the dates for exams have already been announced," he said while addressing a press conference.Sisodia also said that "our future strategy (on reopening schools) will depend on how early a COVID-19 vaccine is available for public after frontline workers are vaccinated".Schools in the national capital are closed since March last year in view of COVID-19 pandemic. While a few States have partially reopened schools, Delhi government had announced that schools will not reopen till a vaccine is available. PTI


Delhi govt orders schools to implement school bag policy: Highlights

Delhi government has given the order for schools to implement the new school bag policy which was announced in reduce physical burden on students. Directorate of Education (DoE) wrote a letter to school principals where it talked about the serious health issues growing students often face due to heavy school bags.It made several recommendations including no textbooks for preprimary classes, single notebooks for classes 1 and 2, frequent checks of school bag weight, encouraging the use of bags with two straps, and informing about the appropriate kinds of school bags to use. "Heavy school bags are a serious threat to the health and well-being of school students. These have adverse physical effects on the growing children which can cause damage to their vertebral column and knees.


Punjab to reopen schools for students of classes 5 to 12 from January 7

 Punjab government on Wednesday decided to reopen all schools from January 7 for students of classes 5 to 12.State Education minister Vijay Inder Singla said following the persistent demand of parents, the state government has decided to reopen all government, semi-government and private schools from January 7 onwards.In a statement here, Singla said the timings of the schools will be from 10 am to 3 pm.The students only of classes 5 to 12 will be allowed to physically attend their classes, said the minister.Singla said while giving his nod, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed the department to ensure the safety of the children, amid COVID-19 pandemic.PTI



Coronavirus vaccine live updates: Vaccine dry run to be conducted in all districts across India on January 8

After the verbal duel between India’s two top vaccine makers who have received the government’s approval for their Covid-19 vaccines, Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech issued a joint statement pledging ensure smooth vaccine rollout in India. SII and Bharat Biotech led by Adar Poonawala and Dr Krishna Ella, respectively, have said with the emergency use authorisation being given to both Covishield and Covaxin now the focus will be on manufacturing ample doses and efficient distribution. Meanwhile, the government has said mass rollout of the two coronavirus vaccines in India will begin around January 13-14. Most states in India have completed dry runs of vaccination drive.Meanwhile, WHO has recommended two doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine within a span of 21-28 days while scientists are exploring whether the Moderna coronavirus vaccine can be halved in two. Follow live updates for more news on coronavirus vaccine developments:






Hamas, Fatah to meet in Egypt to discuss actioning new deal

Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah are expected to meet in Cairo soon to discuss the implementation of the latest agreement which it is hoped will bring an end to internal division, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.Preparations for the meeting are being arranged in Cairo to discuss Hamas' agreement on holding Palestinian elections consecutively.Fatah's Jebril Al-Rajoub and Hamas' Saleh Al-Arouri will head their movements' delegations. The officials have been in contact since September in spite of the Palestinian Authority's decision to resume security coordination with the occupation, sources have revealed.As part of the reconciliation developments, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is expected to meet with the head of the elections committee Hanna Naser to discuss holding the polls. Naser is then due to visit Gaza to carry out talks with Hamas.


Hamas: Israel settler violations will force Palestinians to take action

Settler attacks will push Palestinians to take action to stop such violations, Hamas said in a statement posted on its website."Hamas calls for forming popular protection committees in the cities and villages of the West Bank to defend the Palestinian people," the statement said."Such committees," it added, "should be part of a national strategy to stop Israeli settlement and handle the Israeli settlers' bullying.""We confirm that the option of resistance with all means possible is the only way to block the Israeli attacks."


Barak: Netanyahu sees Hamas as an 'existential threat'

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has accused current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of surrendering to Hamas' dictates, Safa news agency reported .Barak, who spoke to the Israeli General Radio about the issue, claimed that Netanyahu is dealing with Hamas as "an existential threat."He said that Netanyahu rejects any ideas for long-term solutions on the Palestinian issue.About the normalisation deals with the Arab states, Barak said that Netanyahu attempted to market them as a big victory and dozens of Israelis posed to take pictures with a UAE delegation in Tel Aviv who appeared to be a number of youths from Arab village of Kafr Qasim.


Israel right-wing parties unite to sideline Netanyahu's Likud

2 right-wing Israeli parties signed a vote-sharing agreement in an apparent effort to sideline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party.The move was signed by the leader of the Yamina Party, Naftali Bennett, and Gideon Sa'ar – the founder of Tikva Hadha (New Hope) Party who recently resigned from the Likud. The accord comes weeks ahead of the upcoming Israeli Knesset elections.Local i24 described the deal as the "first political strike by the right-wing parties against the ruling Likud.""With this agreement in place, the right-wing parties have opened an official battle to contest the legislative election which is due on 23 March," the news website said, adding that the Likud was "likely to remain the only party without a deal on surplus votes in the twenty-fourth Knesset election."


Mauritania MPs call for criminalising normalisation with Israel

Mauritanian MPs called to enact legislation criminalising the normalisation of relations with Israeli occupation.In a joint statement Union of Forces of Progress (UFP), People's Progressive Alliance (APP), and the Alliance for Justice and Democracy (AJD) opposition parties said: "In light of the expanding circle of political and economic normalisation with Israel and its echo reaching the Maghreb region and African states, it is no longer a secret that normalisation advocates are exerting many pressures, both overtly and in secret, to get more countries aboard this sinister train."The statement called on all parliamentary blocs to make an urgent effort to reflect the reality of the permanent historical national consensus held since the establishment of the Mauritanian state to fully support just and emancipation causes, the most prominent of which is the Palestinian issue.


Muslim Brotherhood welcomes end of Gulf crisis

 Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has welcomed measures announced on Monday to finalise reconciliation among member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), group spokesman, Talaat Fahmi, said.Fahmi added: "We reiterate the support of the group for all measures that end the differences and erase all their reasons among the nations of the GCC members," stressing that the movement supports all measures that unite the Arab and Muslim nations.Yesterday, Saudi's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman welcomed Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani to the GCC Summit in the north-western Saudi region of Al-Ula.



UN: Hundreds of thousands of Yemen children will die within months

 UNO for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) yesterday warned that children in Yemen would die within "months" due to lack of humanitarian assistance."Without urgent action, hundreds of thousands of children in Yemen will die in the coming months," OCHA said on Twitter.UN organisations operating in Yemen have been suffering from a lack of international funding, which was reported to have negatively affected the operations of several humanitarian programmes in the war-torn country.



Chinese Communist Party clamps new rules for its members; bans public dissent

Beijing :As China’s ruling Communist Party gears up to celebrate its centenary year, it has revised rules for its 92 million members, stipulating that no public expression of dissent will be tolerated.But party cadres have been granted the right to seek the removal of leaders if they are found incompetent, according to the amended party rules published by the Chinese language service of the state-run Xinhua news agency.Founded in 1921 by Mao Zedong, the Communist Party of China (CPC) — which took over power in 1949 — is drawing up grand plans to celebrate its centenary year in July. The CPC is also a rare Marxist party with the longest tenure in power continuing with the one-party political system.PTI


Witnesses say 20 killed in air strike in central Mali

France said it killed dozens of fighters in a weekend air raid in central Mali, while several villagers and a local group said up to 20 wedding guests were killed by fire from a helicopter.Villagers in Bounti said a lone helicopter opened fire in broad daylight on Sunday, sowing panic among a crowd gathered for a wedding.



At least 22 civilians killed in rebel attack in eastern DRC

At least 22 civilians have been killed in a rebel attack on a village in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to local officials.The violence in Mwenda village of the Beni territory was perpetrated by the Ugandan rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Donat Kibwana, the administrator of the Beni territory, told Anadolu agency.






Jan.1993 was when we felt forced to leave our home in South Bombay:Sameera Khan



UPDATED BY:  06/01/2021 19:05


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