LIVE WORLD NEWS

12 December 2016

Evening NEWS DIGEST
12 Dec.2016: 11 Rabiul Awwal 1438: Vol:8, No:60
Govt not keen on opening Islamic Banking windows
Govt has already introduced other means of financial inclusion for all citizens, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar said. It seems that the Central govt is not keen to open an ‘Islamic window’ in conventional banks as suggested by the Reserve Bank of India. In response to a query in the Lok Sabha regarding this, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar has said the objectives of financial inclusion for which Islamic Banking was explored by the RBI has no relevance, as the govt has already introduced other means of financial inclusion. In response to a query whether the RBI has any proposal to open the Islamic window in conventional banks for gradual introduction of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the country, he said the entire exercise by the RBI was aimed at promoting financial inclusion, accessing huge market potential to attract finance from Gulf countries for infrastructure development. He added: “However, on consideration of inter-departmental group report, it is observed that even to introduce limited products, various legal changes would be required. Moreover, the objectives of financial inclusion for which Islamic Banking was explored by RBI has no relevance, as govt has already introduced other means of financial inclusion for all citizens like Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna, Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna etc.” RBI, had proposed opening of “Islamic window” in conventional banks for “gradual” introduction of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the country. Livelaw.com
Idea of Islamic Banking by RBI rejected by Modi Govt, "Islamic Window" in Conventional Banks is now a Myth
Scuffle breaks out in Chennai theatre after youths refuse to stand up for National Anthem
Days after the Supreme Court directed cinema halls across the country to play the National Anthem in theatres before the commencement of films, a minor scuffle broke out in a Chennai theatre allegedly over the issue of standing for the Anthem. A group of 7 people was allegedly assaulted by another group in Chennai's Kasi Theatre, after they refused to stand up for the National Anthem.Leenus – one of the seven people – said that the incident occurred at the time of the 11.30am show in the theatre situated in Chennai's Eekkaaduthangal. The group of seven – including three girls – had gone to watch the film "Chennai 28". The seven youths, all students of various colleges in the city, are reportedly members of an organisation called CPI (ML) RESIST, according to Kannan, another member of the organisation."We strongly believe that a cinema hall is not the place to play National Anthem and mandatorily ask everyone to stand up for it. We had already decided that we wouldn't do so," Leenus said. The News Minute
Chennai: 3 beaten up for not standing during anthem, booked with 4 others
Police case against seven people for not standing during national anthem in Chennai movie hall
Kerala film fest: 6 arrested for showing disrespect to national anthem
New Delhi:6 delegates including a woman have been taken into custody on Monday for not standing up when the national anthem was played before the screening of a film at the ongoing International Film Festival of Kerala(IFFK) in Thiruvananthapuram. On Friday, organiser of the film festival approached the Supreme Court seeking exemption from its previous order that made it mandatory for everyone to stand up during the national anthem before a film screening. The organiser cited the sheer number of films being screened at the fest and said that it would cause inconvenience to the 100 odd foreign guests attending the fest. The apex court, however, did not provide relief to the festival organisers. It is also unclear whether foreigners were among the six delegates booked by police. indianexpress
Audience Refusing To Stand Up For National Anthem During Adult Movie Shows, Theater Owners Complain
How the Anthem Diktat Turns Participating Citizens Into Docile Subjects: The wire
DEMONETISATION
CRPF man who survived 5 bullets in Kashmir attack, shoots himself after failing to withdraw cash: Report
A CRPF personnel, who took 5 bullets to his chest in a terror attack in Kashmir's Baramulla in 1990, and survived, shot himself to death on Saturday morning after allegedly failing to withdraw cash from the bank even after repeated visits, his son told the Times of India.Rakesh Chand (54), who retired as head constable in 2012, had tried to withdraw the money he needed urgently for his medical treatment from SBI's Tajganj branch every day, without success.The resident of Budhana village in Agra allegedly shot himself with his licensed handgun, his son told the paper."My father urgently needed money for the treatment of his heart condition. He used to receive a monthly pension of Rs 15,000, of which he needed Rs 6,000-7,000 for doctor's visit and medicines," Sushil Kumar, Chand's son, told the paper. Huffingtonpost
New Rs 2,000 notes to be phased out within 5 years, says RSS ideologue Gurumurthy: indiatoday
New Delhi:RSS ideologue and renowned chartered accountant S Gurumurthy said that the new Rs 2,000 notes will be phased out over the next few years. Gurumurthy said that the Rs 2,000 note was introduced only as a bridge to meet the gap in cash being taken out of circulation.He said govt was committed to moving towards smaller denomination notes and high denomination notes would be done away within the next 5 years. Besides, seniors in Modi govt have been closely consulting him while deciding on how to deal with demonetisation.He said that Rs500 should be highest denomination currency in India, followed by Rs250 and Rs 100.
Think twice before hoarding Rs 2000 notes as govt will replace them:RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy
Cash crunch: 20,000 tonnes of currency paper to be imported soon, 9 firms on radar
New Delhi;A high-volume limited tender is expected to be issued, possibly as early as next week, for the import of currency paper from a clutch of foreign firms to meet the requirement of the country’s four security printing presses following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8. Following a Finance Ministry meeting, chaired by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Saturday, officials told The Indian Express that the import order could be in the range of 20,000 tonnes, far higher than approximately 8,000 tonnes imported over the current year. indianexpress
In Controversial note, now withdrawn, ICAI warned CAs against criticising demonetisation
New Delhi:President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), M. Devaraja Reddy, on Friday issued a statement advising the organisation’s members “not to share /write any negative personal views by way of an article or interview on any platform regarding demonetisation”.In the public statement released on ICAI’s website, Reddy expressed his firm support for demonetisation, saying it will give a “definitive boost” to India’s economic growth. He further echoed the govt’s rhetoric, saying that the move will “not only eliminate black money, but will also choke the activities of anti-nationals from across the border financed by fake currency, ensuring inclusive growth and national security in one go.”The statement was issued to announce that the ICAI will be taking disciplinary measures against four members for “indulging in such acts of illegality which goes against the efforts of the Govt in eradicating the corruption and black money from business and commercial transactions”. After the ICAI statement was made public and circulated widely on social media, it appears as if the organisation has quietly edited the overall message. The new statement has removed the part asking members to not share any “negative personal views” on demonetisation. According to IANS, it was removed after “some objections” by ICAI members. We have preserved the original advisory here, along with our original story below.The Wire
Demonetisation has killed 95 people:Mamata
Kolkata: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee targeted PM Narendra Modi over the reported deaths of 95 people across the country after demonetisation.“How many more lives will be lost for Modi babu,” Banerjee posed on Twitter. She was alluding to a compiled list of 95 people who she said had died while standing in bank or ATM queues or who had committed suicide due to lack of cash after demonetisation.IANS
India to see 65% rise in mobile frauds by 2017: Study
New Delhi: With the surge in digital transactions via e-wallets and other online payment gateways, mobile frauds are expected to grow to 60-65% in the country by 2017, a leading industry body said on Monday.The joint study by Assocham and research firm EY, titled "Strategic National Measures to Combat Cybercrime", said a secure cyberspace and the govt's initiatives in keeping tabs on cybercrime have become an important criteria for businesses to establish, operate and flourish in any region."IANS
Centre to hold chaupals to sensitise minorities about cashless economy
New Delhi:More than a month after demonetisation was launched, the Narendra Modi government will make attempts to sensitise the minorities about the merits of cashless economy.Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said the Centre will organise massive cashless chaupals in areas with significant population of minority communities. The move is aimed at educating the minority communities about the manner in which their life will become smooth and easy in cashless economy.IndiaToday
RBI denies plans to cancel Axis Bank's licence
OTHERS
China to continue opposing UN ban on Masood Azhar, says position ‘unchanged’
China said on Monday its policy on Masood Azhar hasn’t changed, indicating it will continue to block India’s efforts to get the JeM chief sanctioned by the UN when the matter comes up for hearing this month.Answering a query on India-China relations, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that “on the listing issue (under UNSC Resolution 1267) China’s position remains unchanged”.Geng indicated China’s position on India’s entry to NSG hadn’t changed either.“As two major developing countries, it is only natural for us not to see eye-to-eye on every issue,” he told a news briefing. China is willing to work with India to “expand bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation to reduce differences”, he said.“As for India’s application to NSG and the listing issue with regard to article 1267, China’s position remains unchanged,”Geng said.HT
Tribunal on Terrorism cases: Govt must act against cops responsible for false implications, says report
New Delhi:A report based on findings of the People’s Tribunal on Acquitted Innocents in terrorism cases, led by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah, has pointed out the “special nature of wrongfulness in terror prosecutions” and asked the govt to act against police officers responsible for such cases and make them “criminally liable for the malicious acts done by them in their official capacity”. A number of people who had been falsely implicated in terror cases and spent years in jail before being acquitted by courts deposed before the tribunal in October. The final report of the tribunal was released on Saturday. Indian express
Minority schools cannot be compelled to absorb surplus teachers: Bombay HC
Nagpur:The Bombay High Court has said that minority educational institutions cannot be compelled to absorb surplus teachers unless the institutions concur with the same. A division bench of Justices Vasanti Naik and Swapna Naik, while upholding the right of minority institutions, said the state government cannot direct such institutions to absorb surplus employees from other schools.The HC quashed the action of Amravati Education Officer directing a minority school to absorb surplus teachers. While allowing a petition filed by Shri Balmukund Rathi Shikshan Sanstha in Chandur Bazar in Amravati district, the HC made it clear that authorities have no right to compel minority-run educational institutions to absorb teachers declared surplus by the Education Officer.According to petitioner-institution, Education Officer (Secondary), Zilla Parishad, Amravati ordered it on Sept.14 and 15, 2016 to absorb two assistant teachers in the school run by it.The institution resisted the order claiming it was a minority institution and State Government cannot direct such institutions to absorb surplus employees of other schools unless the minority institution concurs with the absorption.PTI
'Create posts to make minority data bank fully functional'
New Delhi: Seeking to strengthen a platform which provides users access to all data pertaining to minorities, Minister of State for Health Faggan Singh Kulaste has urged the finance ministry to create posts under IT category to help it make fully functional. In his letter to the Finance Minister, Kulaste has pointed out that the National Data Bank (NDB) of Socio- Religious categories (SRCs) - set up on the directions of the Sachar Committee recommendations - was working without the required number of officers although a proposal for creation of posts was lying with the Finance Ministry."I have been touring all states and UTs  and receiving marvellous appreciation from the Muslim community for the commitment of our govt to work for their betterment," he claimed in the letter.  "However, various Muslim NGOs,social groups and educational institutions have been raising the issue of implementation of 'Sachar Committee' recommendations for the benefit of SRCs. Ironically, it has been brought to my notice that National Data Bank is working without the required number of officers although proposal for creation of posts is lying with your Ministry," Kulaste said in the letter. Minister recommended that posts under IT category may be created at the earliest to make NDB fully functional in order to facilitate govt, planners, decision makers, researchers and general users. "I feel that to facilitate the endeavour of NDB, it would be great if 'No-objection Certificate' for the creation of the Head of IT is done immediately to get the data bank activated for minorities. PTI
‘Muslims under-represented in Telangana govt jobs’
Hyderabad:From holding the lion’s share of govt employment in the erstwhile rule of the Nizams, the share of Muslim employees in Telangana State has been found to be low at only 7.36 %  against their population of 12.68 % .The fact was revealed in the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Socio-Economic and Educational Conditions of Muslims in Telangana that was made public on Saturday. The report observed that “exclusion or under-representation of Muslims in the State govt posts adversely impacts their role in decision-making and participation in the implementation process”.the hindu
Bhopal: Bajrang Dal activists thrash woman in name of ‘Love Jihad’
Bhopal: Bajrang Dal activists severely thrashed a married woman on Sunday in the name of “Love Jihad” at Sarla Paradise Colony under Awadhpuri police station because she developed friendship with Muslim friend in her office. However, police denied any case of love Jihad attributing it to a dispute between husband and wife.The victim approached an NGO, Swabhiman which complained to IG Yogesh Chaudhary against the Bajrang Dal activists for beating up the woman ruthlessly. NGO demanded action against the Bajrang Dal activists involved in the incident.Swabhiman NGO convener Soni Jadon said, “In fact, Renu Gulati and her husband Pankaj Gulati live in Sarala Paradise. They had married for love. But Pankaj was jobless and Renu Gulati is a govt employee. Pankaj had good terms with Bajrang Dal activists. He contacted the activists to teach his wife a lesson. Bajrang Dal leader Lokendra Malviya with other members of his group went to the residence of Renu Gulati and thrashed her. She called her friends for protection from her husband and Bajrang  Dal activists.” freepressjournal
Delhi: Children’s spat sparks communal tension
New Delhi : A Facebook post and an argument between children playing gilli danda sparked communal tension in two separate north-east Delhi localities – Seelampur and Nand Nagri — in the past 24 hours.While the situation remained calm on Sunday evening, there were reports of crowds resorting to violence in both cases.In the Nand Nagri case, reported around 2 p.m. on Sunday, the children, who were from two different communities, fought among themselves. As elders from both sides got involved, things took a communal colour.Senior officers said that the two groups threw stones at each other, injuring three local residents. A shop in B Block and a car were also vandalised by the mob, leading to heavy police deployment in the area. thehindu
Karnataka:10 injured as communal violence rocks Gangavathi
Gangavathi (Koppal Dist):More than 10 people, including a DSP and a journalist, were injured during communal clashes at Gangavathi town in Koppal district on Sunday. 2 autorickshaws, as many goods vehicles and a bike were destroyed after miscreants set them on fire. Police clamped prohibitory orders in the town following the violence. Additional forces have been deployed and situation continues to be tense, the police said.DySP S M Sandigwad, TV journalist Venkatesh Hosalli and a local Muslim leader Yusuf Qadri were among the injured. The violence broke out over tying some flags atop a few houses at Gundamma camp on the occasion of Hanuma Jayanthi and Eid-e-Milad. Situation turned tense as youths from the two communities had an argument. A few minutes later, a few unknown men, who had masked their faces, threw stones at a masjid at Alfia Circle and fled the scene.As the news of stone- throwing spread, members of the Muslim community held a meeting at a mosque. Meanwhile, some youths attacked the Yajnavalkya temple and thrashed a few devotees, the police said.Following the attack on the devotees, a group of youths brandishing lethal weapons stoned the residence of local MLA Iqbal Ansari’s personal assistant S M Qadri.  deccan Herald
Cyclone Vardah: 2 killed in Tamil Nadu; govt issues red alert, NDRF teams deployed
New Delhi:Cyclone Vardah has touched ground in Chennai and will cross over in the next 3-5 hours, after which it will move westward and is likely to emerge in Arabian sea on December 14. According to the NDMA, the wind speed will gradually decrease to 60-70 KMPH during the next 3 hours. The cyclone will turn into ‘cyclonic storm’ in the next 3-4 hours, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Earlier, the cyclone which is passing over the city of Chennai was termed as a very severe cyclone, said IMD. Tamil Nadu is being pounded by the cyclone Vardah and people have been advised to stay indoors. Two people have already been killed in the state. Precautionary measures have been taken by the authorities. Tamil Nadu, which is receiving heavy rainfall, has been under alert for the last ten days. indianexpress
Cyclone Vardah uproots hundreds of trees in Chennai
Cyclone Vardah keeps Andhra Pradesh on high alert; over 9,400 evacuated
India Among World's Top 5 Defence Spenders: Report
London:  India is among the world's top five defence spenders with its military budget at $50.7 billion, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to a new report released today.US, China and the UK remain the top three defence spenders while India has the fourth largest military budget, followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to the '2016 Jane's Defence Budgets Report', released by research firm HIS Markit.India spent $50.7 billion this year on defence, up from $46.6 billion last year.The report said that India is set to overtake Britain with the third-largest defence budget by 2018 as a result of its modernisation drive.The US remained way ahead of the world with a budget of $622 billion, followed by China at $191.7 billion while the UK spent $53.8 billion on defence this year, Saudi Arabia $48.68 billion and Russia $48.44 billion.PTI
India ranks 4th most vacation deprived country globally
Mumbai: India has been ranked as the fourth most vacation deprived country globally, as 63 %  take fewer days of the vacations that they get, according to to a report."After Spain (68 % ), UAE (68 % ), Malaysia (67 % ) and South Korea (64 % ), India is ranked as the fourth most vacation deprived country globally," according to Expedia 'Vacation Deprivation report 2016'.The report revealed that 40 %  Indians don't use all vacation days as work schedule does not allow for vacation or don't have enough staff to cover and 32 %  are not able to take vacation days due to personal schedule.PTI
Kashmir can be gateway for India to join CPEC: Mirwaiz Umer Farooq
Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, 43, who is under house arrest, talks to Hakeem Irfan on the govt’s Kashmir policy, ongoing protests in the Valley, Donald Trump and the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). timesofindia
Cyrus Mistry removed as director of Tata Industries
New Delhi: Sacked Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry has been removed as director of Tata industries, a Tata Sons spokesperson said on Monday.Mistry was removed as director today after an extraordinary general meeting or EGM and hence also ceases to be the chairman of the company.TOI
PM Modi greets countrymen on Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi:TOI
New Delhi: On occasion of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, PM  Narendra Modi today greeted the countrymen and wished that the festival deepens the spirit of harmony and unity."Greetings on Milad-un-Nabi. May this occasion deepen the spirit of harmony & unity in our society & may there always be peace & prosperity," he tweeted.PTI
Abandoned Women Vastly Outnumber Victims of Triple Talaq and It’s Time Modi Spoke Up for Them: Abusaleh Shariff And Syed Khalid
From social media to summits: How India's right wing is trying to create its own intellectual space: Shoaib Daniyal
WORLD
Aleppo operation in final stages, Syrian general says
The Syrian military operation to recapture rebel-held east Aleppo is in its final stages after the army took Sheikh Saeed and other districts, Lieutenant General Zaid al-Saleh, head of the Aleppo security committee, said."The battle in east Aleppo should end quickly. They [rebels] don't have much time. They either have to surrender or die," he told a group of reporters in Sheikh Saeed on Monday.Rebels withdrew from six more east Aleppo neighbourhoods on Monday in the face of goverment advances, including Bustan al-Qasr, once one of th emost fortified districts under opposition control. Syrian govt forces seized Sheikh Saeed from rebels in overnight fighting as govt warplanes continued to mount heavy air strikes on remaining rebel-held areas. Aljazeera
Syria war monitor: Battle for Aleppo has ended
The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has today declared that the battle for Aleppo has reached its end, as the Assad regime army and its allies force the Syrian opposition to withdraw from the last six neighbourhoods that it controlled in east Aleppo.Rami Abdulrahman, SOHR’s chief, made the announcement today after the opposition to President Bashar Al-Assad were finally forced to abandon their last holdouts in their ever shrinking enclave after Russian and Iran-backed Assad regime forces continued a never-ending bombardment of opposition-held neighbourhoods. middleeastmonitor
Battle for Aleppo: 'The sound of bullets doesn't stop'
As death rains down on Aleppo, why are Western countries so reluctant to act?Yvonne Ridley

Air strikes kill 34 civilians in IS-held Syrian villages: monitor
At least 34 civilians, including 11 children, were killed on Monday in a series of air strikes on villages held by Islamic State group in central Syria, a monitor said.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a barrage of air raids hit Oqayrabat and other nearby villages in the central province of Hama at dawn.“There are dozens of people wounded, and the toll may rise because some of them are in critical condition and because of the lack of medical capacities,” the Britain-based Observatory said.Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said he could not confirm if the strikes on the east of Hama province were carried out by Syrian or Russian warplanes.AFP
IS militants capture Palmyra despite heavy Russian strikes: Reuters
Syrian official says Palmyra falls again to IS: Reuters
British neo-Nazi group 'to be classed as terror organisation and banned' in unprecedented move
A British neo-Nazi group is expected to be labelled a terror organisation and banned in a landmark first for the UK.An order proscribing fascist group National Action is due to be laid before Parliament on Monday. It will be the first time membership of a far-right group has been outlawed in the UK. The self-styled “nationalist youth movement” has praised and glorified Thomas Mair, the white supremacist who murdered Labour MP Jo Cox in what a court described as a terrorism offence, and employs anti-Semitic language lifted direct from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.The group’s Yorkshire branch, which is believed to consist of about 100 fascists, also encourages ‘lone wolf activism’ on its website, a phrase which usually refers to acts of terrorism committed by individuals.Proscribing organisations is difficult because groups “often skirt around the law”, a senior govt source told The Sunday Times. National Action, however, has been deemed to have “crossed the line and glorified terrorism”.One tweet by the group reportedly showed a picture of Mair with the message: “VoteLeave, don’t let this man’s sacrifice go in vain. Jo Cox would have filled Yorkshire with more subhumans!” independent
Under diplomatic pressure, Myanmar calls ASEAN meet to discuss ‘Rohingya issue’
Myanmar has called an emergency ASEAN meeting to discuss the Rohingya crisis, a diplomat said on Monday, as regional tensions deepen over a bloody military crackdown on the country’s Muslim minority.More than 20,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh over the past two months, fleeing a military campaign in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.Their stories of mass rape and murder at the hands of security forces have galvanised protests in Muslim nations around the region, with Buddhist-majority Myanmar facing diplomatic pressure from its neighbours.Last week Malaysian Prime Minister lashed out at Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi for allowing “genocide” on her watch, speaking before thousands of angry protesters in Kuala Lumpur.AFP
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar tell of trauma
Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh - Outside this town by the Bay of Bengal, we kept bumping into fresh arrivals when we visited the camps for Rohingya refugees fleeing a security crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.Many of them said they were from the village of Kearipara in Myanmar. From the sounds of it, that village has been utterly devastated.All of them shared similar stories: watching family members get murdered, hiding without eating for days, and having their homes burned down.Several told us about having to sell their valuables - rings, piercings, earrings, whatever they had on them - to facilitate a safe passage into Bangladesh.The route, which was always difficult and deadly, has become even more problematic.After thousands of Rohingya were found stranded and starving off the coast of southern Thailand in the middle of last year, widespread international coverage forced the hands of govts of the region to crack down on a network of human traffickers who were exploiting the desperate refugees for cash. aljazeera
China slams Trump for questioning one-China policy
BEIJING :China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday warned that any change in the one-China policy, if pursued by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, will impair ties between Beijing and Washington."Upholding the 'one-China' principle is the political basis for developing China-U.S. ties. If this basis is interfered with or damaged then the healthy development of China-U.S. relations and bilateral cooperation in important areas is out of the question," China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing on Monday. Geng was responding to a spate of queries following a Sunday interview on Fox News by Mr. Trump, where he questioned U.S. persistence with a one-China policy, unless there were concessions from Beijing on trade and other issues.the hindu
Donald Trump questions 'one China' policy
Trump says he doesn't need daily intelligence briefings as President because he's 'smart'
Donald Trump is doing his best to defend skipping out on intelligence briefings since he won the election last month. It's recently been reported that the President-elect only receives one briefing per week and on Sunday, he suggested that he is too smart to be given them daily."I get it when I need it," the 70-year-old said in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. "First of all, these are very good people that are giving me the briefings. And I say, 'If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I'm available on one minute's notice.'"Last week, Reuters published a report saying that the President-elect was only receiving one briefing per week – far fewer than his predecessors. Still, Trump said that daily briefings are not necessary. independent
Pakistan drops Rizwan Akhtar, appoints Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar as new ISI chief
Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar has been appointed chief of Pakistan's powerful spy agency ISI as part of the first major reshuffle in the military's top brass after new army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa took over the reins last month.The army issued a statement in which it said that Bajwa, who took over from Gen Raheel Sharif two weeks ago, appointed Mukhtar as Director-General of ISI replacing Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, who was at the centre of a controversy following a Dawn newspaper report which said that the Nawaz Sharif govt had told the army to either act against terrorists or the country would face international isolation. Lt Gen Akhtar has been appointed as President of the National Defence University. firstpost
Iran proposes regional anti-terror bloc to include Saudis
Tehran: Iran has proposed the formation of a bloc of Muslim countries to fight terrorism and boost economic cooperation that would include its regional rival Saudi Arabia.Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani told a security conference on Sunday that the two countries, along with Turkey, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, should join together to promote "regional peace" and defend the Palestinians. AP
Afghanistan urges UN to remove sanctions against Hekmatyar
Kabul:Two months after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed a peace accord with Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Kabul on Monday urged the UN Security Council to remove the militant group and its leaders from the sanctions list. Official spokesman Tawab Ghorzang said the formal letter by the Afghan govt was sent through the Foreign Affairs Ministry to the sanctions committee of the Security Council, Khaama reported.IANS
Russia's Communist Party turns to the Orthodox Church
Moscow, Russia - Jesus Christ was the world's first Communist, Tamara Lavrischeva announced cheerfully."Jesus said, 'Don't collect earthly wealth, you won't take it with you after death,'" 78-year-old pensioner and Orthodox Christian told Al Jazeera as she trudged through the snow-covered streets of central Moscow with thousands of other Communists during the Nov.7 rally that commemorated the almost-centennial anniversary of 1917 Bolshevik revolution."And Communists thought the same," she added, her voice drowned by the crowd chanting Soviet-era songs under red banners with hammers and sickles and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.With a dismissive shrug and a condescending smile, Lavrischeva rejected the killings, imprisonment and persecution of millions of Orthodox Christian clerics and believers at the hand of Communists. aljazeera
Boycotting Israel is 'lawful exercise of freedom of expression' lawyers say after British Govt's ban
Around 200 lawyers and academics have said moves by the UK and other nations to discourage support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement may violate fundamental human rights.An open letter signed by legal experts from Britain and 14 other European nations said the boycott of Israeli companies and goods manufactured in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was “a lawful exercise of freedom of expression”. “France, the United Kingdom, Canada and certain state legislatures in the United States, have adopted laws and taken executive action to suppress, outlaw and in some instances, criminalise the advocacy of BDS,” the letter added. “Such measures aim to punish individuals, companies and private and public institutions that adopt ethically and legally responsible business, investment and procurement decisions.” independent
Israeli police oppose ban on call to prayer
The Israeli police have warned that the government’s bill to ban the Muslim call to prayer could spark a backlash among Arab citizens and lead to extremist acts, Israeli news website Walla revealed on Sunday. The police argue that such a ban would undermine plans to penetrate Arab communities and reinforce the presence of officers therein.“ middleeastmonitor
Egyptian MP says church bombing was backed by foreign intelligence
A member of Egypt’s House of Representatives has said that the terrorist bombing of a Cairo church, which killed 24 Coptic Christians on Sunday, was not just the work of terrorist organisations. Given that the attack on the church came after a similar attack on a mosque on Friday, Mohamed Al-Ghould suggested that it must have been carried out with the support of foreign intelligence agencies. Middleeastmonitor
A silk Quran: This Azerbaijani artist spent 3 yrs hand-painting the holy text on rich black silk pages
 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:41 PM)

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