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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Evening NEWS DIGEST
31  Dec.2016: 1 Rabius Sani 1438: Vol:8, No:76
BJP takes another northeastern state as Arunachal’s Khandu, 33 MLAs join party
BJP came to power in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday without having to win an election as chief minister Pema Khandu switched loyalties twice in three months to give the saffron party its second government in the Northeast, after Assam.The country’s easternmost state plunged into a political crisis two days ago when the 37-year-old Khandu and 6 MLAs were suspended by the ruling Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA), a regional outfit that he had joined from the Congress in September.The chief minister refused to resign and, after a day of fast-moving events, broke ranks with the PPA to shift to the BJP with 33 loyal legislators.BJP has all along supported Khandu after the PPA temporarily suspended him, his deputy Chowna Mein, and five MLAs for alleged anti-party activities. The BJP, which had 12 MLAs in the 60-member assembly, was a coalition partner of the PPA that had 43 legislators till Saturday’s desertion.HT
Arunachal gets full-fledged BJP govt as Pema Khandu, 32 others join saffron party
Dramatic U-turn: Why Mulayam was forced to revoke expulsion of Akhilesh
Lucknow: Samjawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Saturday decided to revoke the expulsion of Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Ramgopal after a massive show of strength by the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.A day after he was expelled from the party, Akhilesh on Saturday morning convened a meeting of SP legislators where over 200 of the 229 party MLAs turned up expressing their loyalty to the chief minister.Some SP MLCs and senior party functionaries loyal to Akhilesh also attended the meeting at the chief minister's official residence at 5-Kalidas Marg.Outside the chief minister's residence, high drama was witnessed with youth supporters of Akhilesh assembling in large numbers to vent their fury over his expulsion and that of his uncle Ramgopal Yadav.Akhilesh supporters tried to break the cordon outside the CM's residence and clashed with police.Akhilesh loyalists also exchanged blows with supporters of SP state unit chief Shivpal Yadav outside party headquarters in the high security VIP zone where heavy police deployment made the entire place look like a battle zone.Faced with an imminent split which could have drastically reduced his clout, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav decided to revoke the expulsion of Akhilesh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav .Mulayam asked his younger sibling and state SP chief Shivpal to announce the revocation of the pair's expulsion.After hectic confabulations involving Akhilesh Yadav's warring uncle Shivpal Yadav, Mulayam and the chief minister, Shivpal tweeted that on SP supremo's directive, expulsion of Akhilesh and Ramgopal Yadav from SP was being revoked with immediate effect..PTI
Azam Khan plays the peacemaker in SP, unites warring Mulayam and Akhilesh
Samajwadi Party’s Muslim heavyweight, Azam Khan, played the peacemaker on Saturday to pull the party away from splitting because of a bitter family feud.Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s trusted lieutenant has been maintaining equidistance from the warring father and son. But he stepped in when Mulayam expelled his son, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, for six years on Friday and pushed the 25-year-old political outfit to the verge of a split.Khan shuttled between the homes of the SP chief and his son for most of Saturday, trying to convince them to sink their differences and keep the party united.Similar advice came from another mediator, former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, whose youngest daughter is engaged to Mulayam’s grandnephew. He spoke to the SP national president as well as the chief minister, urging them to patch up to stop communal forces from winning the 2017 state elections.Khan reached Mulayam’s 5 Vikramaditya Marg address around 9.30am and remained there for more than an hour.“Netaji has built the party and I consider him its bhagavan (god). He is a father as well as the party chief…What problem can a father have with his son? Only that he should meet him and consider his advice that is for his well-being” the senior minister later said.After meeting the party chief, Khan headed for Akhilesh’s 5 Kalidas Marg home and spoke to the 43-year-old chief minister for half-an-hour.When he came out 5 Vikramaditya Marg, Khan was smiling.“Samajwadi Party is one and, at present, everything is going right and will remain the same,” he said.HT
Akhilesh met Priyanka Gandhi to discuss tie-up
January 1 meet may anoint Akhilesh Samajwadi Party chief
RSS, BJP and Communal Polarisation in UP Polls: Radhika Ramaseshan for EPW
Experts wary of Sudheendra Kulkarni's call for confederation of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh to resolve Kashmir: Turkey's state-run news agency
Srinagar:An Indian author’s call for a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as a means to resolve the decades-long dispute over the Kashmir valley and end poverty in the region seems impractical, according to experts.Sudheendra Kulkarni, an Indian politician who used to be member of the ruling BJP, floated the idea during the launch of his new book “August Voices,” which highlighted the point that lasting peace in Kashmir could only be achieved through a confederation agreement on both sides.The book, however, does not propose the independence of each of the 3 countries must be undone. “His book argues that the existence of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as three separate, independent and sovereign nations is a reality that cannot be altered. Partition cannot be undone.“However, its negative outcomes can — and must — be undone jointly by the peoples and governments of India and Pakistan and Bangladesh,” the Pakistani daily, Dawn, reported on Thursday. Kulkarni’s voice for peace and cooperation under such an ideal arrangement comes at a time when tensions between India and Pakistan are at a fever pitch. For months, both sides have accused each other of cross border violations, using terrorists to carry out attacks and now a simmering dispute over the Indus water treaty has emerged as another thorn in bilateral ties.But while experts tend to reject ideas floated by peaceniks like Kulkarni as a figment of their imagination, could the presence of Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari’s presence at the book release be taken as a sign for peace?In an interview with Anadolu Agency over the phone, Kulkarni admitted that his idea for a confederation may seem impractical under the present circumstances in the region, but it did not mean it would be an unworkable solution in a different, more pleasant time in the future."Let me be very clear that I don't expect at all the present government ruling India or for that matter the one in Pakistan to go for this confederacy that I speak of. What I am suggesting is the way things need to be if good sense prevails over the leaders,” he said.He called for an inclusive dialogue over Kashmir. “India and Pakistan must begin by a serious resolution-focused dialogue over Kashmir, and that dialogue must involve the people of Kashmir.“Resolution of Kashmir issue is a must for any possibility of friendship between the 3 independent countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. I am not talking of Indian expansionism like the RSS when I talk of the confederacy but more like three independent brothers working together and helping each other.”Gul Mohammad Wani, a Kashmiri political analyst and professor of political science at the University of Kashmir, said:"Kulkarni is not the first one to state a desire of a confederacy between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This desire has been there for decades and it has never come through; there were attempts toward it even before Bangladesh existed as an independent country.“But it has always been very difficult and in the present circumstances it seems almost impossible.”Meanwhile,Advocate Shahidul Islam, spokesman and media adviser of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir, said: “Without solving the Kashmir dispute, this confederation will not work. So solution of Kashmir is must.Pakistani analysts described the confederation idea to resolve the longstanding Kashmir dispute as “idealistic”.Ishtiaq Ahmed, V-C of Sargodha University, said: “What Kulkarni has proposed seems to me a bit idealistic. The peace activists from the three countries may aspire for that but in the current complicated ground reality, it is an unrealistic project.”New Delhi-based author Sanjoy Hazarika said Kulkarni’s idea was not going to happen unless there was better collaboration and friendship among the involved countries.“It tries to put the Akhand Bharat [undivided India] concept of the Hindutva brigade  in new garb. Mohammed Nurul Amin,a Dhaka-based expert and former joint secretary of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Local Government, said Kulkarni’s proposal sounds good but under the current circumstances it was technically and politically impossible.Anadolu Agency
Pak labels RSS, Shiv Sena, others as terror groups; India slams it as absurd
New Delhi: India on Friday slammed Pakistan for labelling certain Indian political parties and social organisations as terror outfits, calling it a “desperate attempt” at deflecting international focus from Islamabad’s complicity in “spawning” terrorist groups like LeT, JuD and JeM. External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Pakistan foreign ministry’s statement Thursday linking political parties and social organisations to terror was “absurd even by Pakistan’s standards”.The official spokesperson of Pakistan foreign ministry had said, “Terrorist organisations such as RSS, Vishwa Hindu Prasad, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and other terrorist elements” are engaged in the drive to change demography of Kashmir.HT
India ‘surprised’ as China blocks proposal to list Azhar as ‘terrorist’
Beijing:China on Friday said India should conform to relevant UNSC resolutions on listing JeM Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, a day before its technical hold blocking India's move to get him proscribed by the UN expires."I have repeated a number of times, when it comes to the listing matter of the UN Security Council 1267 Committee, we believe it should conform with relevant Security Council resolutions and the Committee's rules of procedure," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told PTI.Hua, however, said she has to verify what China will do when its second technical hold ends.China, a veto wielding member of the UNSC, had blocked India's move with a six month technical hold followed by a three month extension.Officials here say that India may have to apply again to the 1267 Committee with the charge sheet details to press for its case as its present application will lapse following Beijing's two technical holds.In India, China’s move triggered a sharp reaction from New Delhi which termed it as "unfortunate blow" and a step that confirms prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism.New Delhi has to make a fresh listing request for Azhar to be banned by the global body, officials said.PTI
China stops India's bid to blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar, yet again
\Pakistan to hand over dossier on India to new UN chief
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan would hand over a dossier on alleged Indian spy+ Kulbhushan Jadhav and evidence of the alleged attempt to violate the maritime boundary by an Indian submarine+ to incoming UN secretary general Antonio Guterres on Monday, his first working day after assuming office.Pakistan's permanent UN representative Maleeha Lodhi will officially pass on the dossier to Guterres at UN HQRS in New York, Dawn reported, citing officials."Soon after assuming office incoming UN secretary general Antonio Guterres will get a feel of Pak-India rivalry as Islamabad is set to raise the issue of Indian interference with him," the paper said.Pakistan claims that Jadhav, an Indian navy officer and an alleged operative of India's intelligence agency RAW, was caught by its security forces earlier this year. His capture was announced in March and was flaunted by military as "proof of Indian interference and state-sponsored terrorism".PTI
Pakistan seeks US support on implementation of Indus Waters Treaty with India:PTI
J&K: Clashes in Pulwama after Yasin Malik’s arrest
Pulwama:Clashes erupted in Kashmir’s Pulwama town following the arrest of JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik soon after Friday congregational prayers. Malik had visited the south Kashmir town during the previous night to lead a public rally this afternoon. He offered Fajr (pre-dawn) as well as congregational Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid Pulwama and later addressed people.In his address, Malik slammed issuance of “domicile” certificates to non-state subject West Pakistan Refugees residing in Jammu areas, saying “we would never make any compromise on the state subject law.”In a statement issued later in the day, a JKLF spokesperson said Malik was arrested in an injured condition when he was leading a peaceful protest rally towards Main Chowk in Pulwama. greaterkashmir
Why Ajit Doval's doctrine for Kashmir fell flat: Gowhar Geelani
DEMONETISATION
PM Modi Opens Speech By Talking Of India's 'shuddhi yagna , 'Purification'
New Delhi:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address said that with the notes ban which he declared abruptly last month, India has gone through "a major purification drive" to release it from the grip of corruption and black money. The PM said "crores of Indians were desperate to break free of these problems, and that "the inconvenience they have borne will be an example for generations" and proves their discipline. There are also expectations that the PM will share plans for helping India reduce its dependence on cash transactions."125 crore Indians have proved that they are willing to wait in line at banks, but do not wish to be even one step behind in the drive against  corruption," said PM Modi in his address."Just 25 lakh Indians admit an income of more than 10 lakhs, he said, referring to tax evasion.NDTV
From Jan.1, you can withdraw Rs 4,500 a day from ATMs: RBI
New Delhi:RBI on Friday raised the daily ATM cash withdrawal limit from the existing Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,500 a day for an individual from Jan.1.However, there has been no change in the weekly withdrawal limit, which stands at Rs 24,000, including from ATM, for individuals (and Rs 50,000 in case of small traders).HT
Cash withdrawal limits to be rolled back in phases
Demonetisation effect: Karnataka could lose Rs 5,000 crore in revenue
P Chidambaram demands November 8 RBI meeting minutes be made public
Cash-swap deadline passes amid continued crisis: aljazeera
India's 50-day deadline for its citizens to deposit discontinued banknotes has come to an end but Indians continue to face a cash crunch owing to problems in getting new currency notes.In a surprise move on Nov.8, Narendra Modi, India's PM, announced that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would be scrapped. aljazeera
Demonetisation: Muslim Mahasangh observe 'Tilak Divas'
RAMPUR: Terming the demonetisation exercise as a grand success, members of the Muslim Mahasangh gathered at Meston Ganj locality here on Friday to observe "Tilak Divas" and put tilak on the posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Activists of Muslim Mahasangh wearing skullcaps also distributed sweets to people on the occasion.National president of Muslim Mahasangh, Farhat Khan, who is also associated with BJP, said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proven that he can do what he says. This move against blackmoney hoarders is good for the common man. Inflation will certainly go down as the parallel blackmoney economy is rooted out."TOI
OTHERS
In U-turn Uttarakhand: Muslim staffers will now be given 90-min namaz break only during Ramadan
Dehradun: Days after the Uttarakhand cabinet officially allowed one-and-a-half hour break for Muslim employees to offer namaz on Fridays, the government, on Friday, said that this break will only be allowed during Ramadan. The order, which came on Thursday, further stipulated that other religious communities would also be given “appropriate holidays during their respective festivals”.TOI
AMU take to railway tracks to protest Najeeb Ahmed’s disappearance
ALIGARH: Students of AMU on Saturday squatted on the tracks of the Railway station here protesting the "failure" of the Delhi Police to trace missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has been missing for 76 days.A number of AMU students later courted arrest when police used mild force to foil their attempt to block the movement of trains, and vehicles on main roads.DM Rajmani Yadav said the exact number of those detained was being ascertained. AMU Students' Union has already demanded a CBI inquiry into Ahmed's mysterious disappearance. Students' union President Faizul Hasan has accused the Modi government of protecting ABVP leaders in this connection.PTI 
TISS students protest against suspension of JNU students
Mumbai:Students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and belonging to Ambedkarite Students’ Association (ASA) held a protest march against the suspension of 12 students of JNU in New Delhi. Members held a protest rally from TISS to Ambedkar Garden in Chembur on Friday during which they raised slogans against the administration of JNU and the student union. Over 100 protesters came in support of 12 JNU students who were suspended and debarred from hostels for allegedly disrupting an academic council meeting on Monday.
JNU professor Menon gets notice for addressing protesting students
JNU issued a notice to one of its faculty members on Friday for addressing a students’ protest at the varsity administration block on Wednesday. The students were agitating against the recent suspension of eight students for “disrupting an Academic Council meeting”.In the notice issued to Nivedita Menon, Professor at the School of International Studies, the administration warned her to not hold public meetings with students. “You addressed a group of students on Dec.28, 2016, at 4.15pm, near the steps of the administration building. This is a clear violation of the university rules, which say that all forms of coercion such as gheraos, sit-ins or any other variation of same, which disturb the normal functioning of academic and administrative functioning of the university, are prohibited,” read the notice.“...Peaceful and democratic forms of protests shall be conducted at a distance of 20m away from the administrative and academic complexes,” it added.Terming it an attempt to curb her Constitutional right to protest, Menon said that neither she nor any other teacher at JNU will accept it. “I do not accept, as a teacher of JNU, that addressing our students anywhere on the campus is against any rules. If this administration is so concerned about rules, it should consider with shame its own conduct at the recent Academic Council meeting, which violated every formal procedure,” she said.Meanwhile, earlier in the day, varsity students led by the students’ union staged a protest at the administration block and demanded revoking of suspension of eight students for “disrupting” the Academic Council meeting held on Monday. Also, several members of the Academic Council attended the protest and wrote to V-C Jagadesh Kumar, demanding that the 142nd Academic Council be reconvened, arguing that it was held during the winter break, when many members were not present. dnaindia
Israel issues travel warning for India
Israel's anti-terrorism directorate has issued a travel warning for India, citing immediate "terrorist attacks" on tourists and Western targets, particularly in the southwest of the country. The Counterterrorism Bureau, in a statement released by the Israeli prime minister's office on Friday, raised the alert level and said it corresponded to a "concrete basic threat"."We are warning Israeli tourists in India of the possibility of imminent terrorist attacks against Western targets and tourists, particularly in the southwest of that country," the statement said."A particular emphasis should be put on events in the coming days in connection with beach and club parties celebrating the new year where a concentration of tourists will be high." aljazeera
Israelis warned against travelling to India; Goa CM plays down threat
ED registers criminal case against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, IRF
New Delhi:Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday registered a criminal case against Zakir Naik under money laundering laws. A case has also been registered against Naik’s NGO IRF. The step comes after NIA had earlier registered an earlier FIR against Naik and IRF.Officials said the agency’s zonal office in Mumbai has registered an FIR, called Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) in ED’s parlance, against Naik and others after taking cognisance of a similar complaint booked by NIA under the UAPA against them. indianexpress
Claim of Malegaon blast accused killed by police: Suspended police officer to make statement before magistrate
Mumbai: "Whatever I have stated on affidavit is a fact, I will be making my statement before the magistrate soon in the matter to bring on record what I witnessed and what I know,'' said Mahiboob Mujawar, a suspended police officer from Solapur, when contacted. Mujawar had in an affidavit informed a Solapur magistrate that Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra, two main accused in both the Malegaon blasts cases of 2006 and 2008, were dead yet shown alive by high ranking police officials, and had less than a year after the last Malegaon blast sought a probe from police director general into their "killing by police officers''.An investigating officer of the NIA handling the 2008 Malegaon blast case on Friday said in a Mumbai trial court that the agency would have to verify the "truthfulness'' of a claim made by a police officer that two main absconding accused in the case were "killed by police officers.'' The special trial court was hearing a plea by the NIA special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal concerning documents including confessions and statements that were missing from court records. Rasal had sought permission to adduce copies of the originals which were available the prosecution as evidence. Defence advocates Shrikant Shivade, Sudip Pasbola and JP Mishra among others had earlier opposed the plea.The court said it would pass orders in the matter on Monday. Accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit showed the court a copy of TOI and the court asked what the NIA planned to do. The IO Anil Dubey then informed special judge that they would "verify'' the contention of Mujawar in his affidavit.On Friday Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the government would "have a serious look' into the matter. Less than a year after the Sept.2008 Malegaon blast which killed six persons and left over 100 injured, Mujawar had sent a handwritten letter to senior police officials saying that he had been "falsely accused'' in a case while "senior police officers killed Dange and Kalsangra buried the matter.'' Mujawar was accused in April 2009 under the Arms Act he said despite being legally issued a "service revolver'' by the ATS in 2008. His letter on a ruled paper in blue ink was dated June 24, 2009. He sought a proper by the police and ATS too.He said, "On Wednesday the Solapur magistrate court asked the police prosecutor submit his say within a week on why the charges under the Arms Act against Mujawar should not be withdrawn or altered.''The state's ATS and later the NIA which took over the probe both showed 2 main accused in the Malegaon blasts as "absconding''.TOI
Malegaon blasts case: NIA to probe suspended cop’s claim on custody deaths
NIA to probe if 2 Malegaon blast accused were killed by police officers
VHP demands uniform civil code; to expand Bajrang Dal
Nagpur: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today passed a resolution on uniform civil code on the concluding day of its three-day national conclave here, asserting that any delay in its implementation would not be in interest of the country.The VHP also decided to expand its youth wing- Bajrang Dal on the final day of its national conclave.A resolution on uniform civil code was passed by the organisations board of trustees and management committee at the concluding day of its national conclave here, said its joint general secretary Surendra Jain."Uniform civil code is indispensable for the unity, integrity, solidarity and religious harmony in the country," he said at a press conference.PTI
Lt General Bipin Rawat Takes Charge As New Army Chief, Air Marshal B S Dhanoa Takes Over IAF
General Bipin Rawat today took over as the 26th Chief of Indian Army superseding the Eastern Army Commander General Paraveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander General P M Hariz. Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa took over as the Chief of the Indian Air Force today in New Delhi.HP
Dalit Woman In Kerala Delivers Baby In The Toilet As Nurse Refuses To Take Her Complaint Of Pain Seriously
MALAPPURAM -- In a shocking incident of medical apathy, a Dalit woman delivered a baby in the toilet of a medical college here after a nurse sent her to relieve herself instead of taking her complaint of pain seriously, her family said on Saturday.According to close relatives of the woman, admitted to the Manjeri Medical College and Hospital here, the staff displayed an "indifferent attitude" towards them. Huffingtonpost


Karnataka:  Waqf properties to be developed for commercial use
Bengaluru: The state government has decided to develop waqf properties that are not under dispute for commercial purposes. Rising real estate prices have prompted the state government to consider public-private partnerships or wholly-owned development of land it holds.Among the properties being considered for development are Gulisthan Shaadi Mahal in Shivajinagar, a wakf property on Siddaiah Road in Shantinagar, and a plot of land in Mavanahalli in the heart of Bengaluru.TOI
WORLD
Myanmar's Israeli strategy over Malaysian aid flotilla
 A Malaysian flotilla transporting aid for Rohingya Muslims may be turned back by force if it enters Myanmar waters without official approval, according to local media.Irrawaddy online magazine reported the president's office as warning Malaysian NGOs not to deliberately fuel flames sparked by ongoing violence in Myanmar's western Rakhine State, emphasizing the importance of not exploiting religion for political purposes.“The first thing is, don’t exploit religion. The second thing is, respect the government. The third one is, review what the real purpose of the plan is,” office spokesman Zaw Htay was quoted as saying.The Malaysian Consultative Council of Islam Organizations (MAPIM), a coalition of non-governmental organizations, has organized the shipment of rice, medical aid and other essential supplies for the minority Muslim community in conflict-torn Maungdaw district in Rakhine.World Bulletin
Global leaders warn Sun Suu Kyi over Rohingya
More than a dozen Nobel laureates have criticised Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi for failing to uphold the human rights of Rohingya Muslims in the country's Rakhine State, urging for immediate action to avoid "ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity".In an open letter to the UNSC late Thursday, 23 global icons, including 13 laureates and 10 global leaders, expressed their disappointment at what they see as state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi's failure to ensure Rohingya rights. aljazeera
50,000 Rohingya flee to Bangladesh from Myanmar: govt
Dhaka: Some 50,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, the foreign ministry in Dhaka said on Thursday, seeking shelter from a bloody crackdown by the army. Bangladesh has stepped up patrols to try to stem the tide of refugees crossing the border since an eruption of unrest in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine in early October.AFP
Myanmar to take back 2,415 Rohingyas; Bangla not satisfied
Rebels: Ceasefire 'void' if government bombing persists
Syrian rebel groups warned they would consider a ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey "null and void" if government forces and their allies continued to violate it.Clashes and air strikes persisted in some areas since the ceasefire began on Friday, though the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said on Saturday that the truce was still largely holding. aljazeera
The Syrian ceasefire agreement has shifted the balance of power to Assad: The Independent
Clashes erupt near Damascus despite truce
Despite reports of intermittent fighting and anti-government protests across Syria, overall the nationwide ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey appears to be holding. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported fighting early on Friday between troops and rebels in the central province of Hama and near the capital, Damascus. aljazeera
Russia seeks UN endorsement of Syria truce
Russian jets target IS around Syria's al-Bab says Turkish military: Reuters
ANKARA: Russian fighter jets have hit 3 Islamic State targets around the northern Syrian town of al-Bab over the past 24 hours, the Turkish military said on Friday, in what appeared to be the first Russian support for Turkish army operations in the area.The strikes came as a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, brokered by Russia and Turkey which back opposing sides in the conflict, got off to a shaky start at midnight. The ceasefire does not include Islamic State. In a daily round-up of its operations in the region, the Turkish military said it had information that 12 Islamic State fighters had been killed in the air strikes around al-Bab. It said the targets were in the town and directly to its south.In separate fighting, the army said a Turkish soldier was killed and five wounded in an Islamic State attack south of al Azraq to the west of al-Bab. Turkish jets also hit areas around al-Bab and Daglabash, destroying 17 Islamic State targets and killing 26 militants.Turkish army said a total of 1,171 Islamic State fighters and 291 Kurdish militants had been killed since the start of its Syria incursion. REUTERS
Iraqi forces face fierce IS combat in south Mosul: Reuters
Near Mosul: Iraqi forces faced fierce resistance from Islamic State militants in southern Mosul on Friday, the second day of a renewed push to take back the city after fighting stalled for several weeks. An officer in the federal police forces, which joined the battle on Thursday, said there were heavy clashes in the southeastern Palestine district, but they had made progress in 2 other neighbourhoods, disabling a number of car bombs.Another officer, from an elite Interior Ministry unit fighting alongside federal police, said his forces were gaining ground in the Intisar district despite heavy clashes there.
US says IS chief alive, still leading
Washington:Pentagon has said it believes that Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is indeed alive, despite repeated efforts by the US-led coalition to take out the jihadist group leader. “We do think Baghdadi is alive and is still leading ISIL and we are obviously doing everything we can to track his movements,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told CNN.AFP
Pak gave national ID card to slain Taliban leader Mullah Mansour: Pak Minister
Islamabad: Slain Afghan Taliban supremo Mullah Mansour, who was killed in a US drone strike inside Pakistan, was issued a Pakistani national identity card in 2005, interior minister Chaurdhy Nisar admitted on Friday.Khan, however, blamed the past government of overtly issuing ID cards and passports to foreigners.PTI
Palestinians to estimate damages caused by Israel’s Separation Wall
The Palestinian National Committee for the Register of Damages (PNCRoD) has launched an initiative to estimate the damages that have resulted from the construction of Israel’s Separation Wall which was built on occupied land in contravention of international law.Procedures for the project began on Tuesday in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem in the Aida refugee camp, Al-Azza refugee camp, and the town of Al-Doha, which are all located next to the wall.Head of the popular committee in the Aida refugee camp, Sameer Atta, said that the procedures were being conducted as a national campaign that aims to accelerate the process of bringing down the Separation Wall in accordance with UN resolutions. middleeastmonitor
Israeli occupation continues to stifle Palestinian economy

Hamas says held ‘positive’ talks in Egypt
GAZA CITY:Palestinian group Hamas said it held “positive” talks with Egyptian officials during a recent visit to Cairo.Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq had arrived in Cairo from Qatar for talks with Egyptian officials, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim said.“He held positive talks regarding Palestinian developments, bilateral relations and [inter-Palestinian] reconciliation,” Qasim told Anadolu Agency on Friday.He said the talks also tackled the issue of the Rafah border crossing between the blockaded Gaza Strip and Egypt.In recent years, Egyptian authorities have kept the crossing, which represents the Palestinian territory’s only point of access to the outside world not under Israeli control, mostly sealed. The spokesman said the visit was part of continuous meetings between Hamas and Egypt.AA 

 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:05 PM)