News and views across the globe.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Evening NEWS DIGEST
24 Jan.2017: 25 Rabius Sani 1438: Vol:8, No:97
No Muslims, no single women: housing bias turning Indian cities into ghettos: Reuters
Mumbai: On the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, an Indian real estate company ran an advertisement with the slogan 'Homes that don't discriminate', calling for an end to prejudice in India's housing market based on gender, religion or caste.While the ad was unusual, the sentiment was familiar to millions of Indians who have tried to rent or buy city homes only to be denied because they were single, ate meat, were of a certain caste or from a certain region.Informal rules and discrimination by Indian landlords to keep out religious minorities and single people are eroding the multi-cultural nature of India's cities and dividing communities into ghettos, analysts say."It's 2017 - and we're still encountering discrimination," said Rishi Dogra of NestAway Technologies that ran the ad."People should be able to move freely and find a living space anywhere in the country," said Dogra, marketing head for the company founded by four young male graduates after they had trouble finding a home in Bengaluru. Such discrimination has forced many people to the suburbs, making Indian city centres less diverse and cosmopolitan, with high rents already making them unaffordable to poorer workers. Mumbai, India's financial hub and a magnet for migrants from across the country, has traditionally had enclaves for Catholics, Parsis, Bohri Muslims and others. They set up housing societies, or co-operatives, to help other community members. As the city grew and drew more migrants, powerful housing societies have often denied homes on the basis of religion, caste, food preferences and even professions.A Facebook group called 'Indians Against Discrimination' was set up in 2015 after a young Muslim woman was asked to leave her flat a week after she moved in, because of her religion.Local courts have ruled against discrimination by housing associations in several cases, but there have also been contradictory rulings. In a 2005 case, India's top court ruled in favour of a Parsi housing society in Ahmedabad, saying it could limit its membership to Parsis and not admit others."The constitution guarantees our right to equality, but housing societies can still frame their own guidelines which may be discriminatory," said Vinod Sampat, a real estate lawyer. Reuters
Triple Talaq:Law panel studies practices of Muslim nations
New Delhi: The issue of triple talaq among Muslims is not in consonance and uniformity with Islamic laws, law commission chairman Justice BS Chauhan told TOI in the context of an ongoing debate on its constitutional validity.The law commission is currently preparing its views on the issue on a reference made by the Kerala high court.The Supreme Court, too, is looking into the constitutional validity of triple talaq and polygamy after several women's groups challenged the Muslim practice. Justice Chauhan said as many as 18 Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Turkey, have regulated triple talaq and some have even banned it. Many others have reformed personal laws requiring a 90-day waiting period after utterance of first talaq, in addition to a scrutiny by a quasi-judicial authority."In these countries, triple talaq is no ground for automatic divorce. A person has to approach the court to validate it. We are studying if this can be done in India," Justice Chauhan said.Various stakeholders, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board and political parties have been asked to give their response. The law commission has received 40,000 responses on UCC."We are examining and analysing the responses before initiating discussions with various stakeholders," Justice Chauhan said, clarifying that the report on UCC was not on triple talaq, but it was just one of the issues under the consideration of the commission as part of recommendations on UCC. timesofindia
I favour uniform civil code in a piecemeal manner: Law University VC Prof. Faizan Mustafa
Articulating his views on the topic of uniform civil code and Muslim Personal Law, Prof. Faizan Mustafa, V-C of NALSAR University of Law, said, "Muslims are annoyed with me for 5 reasons. Firstly, I have said Muslim Personal Law is not fully divine. Secondly, Muslim Personal Law is not ‘law’ within the meaning of Article 13 of Indian Constitution. Thirdly, I have consistently maintained that Quran is not book of law. Fourthly, I do favour Uniform Civil Code, of course, in a piecemeal manner and fifthly, I have been saying that Muslim Personal Law is not Islamic Law but Hanafi Law. In Riyadh, few radical Muslims from Deoband School got angry with my statement of Quran not being a book of law. My position is Quran is paramount source of Islamic law and Muslim jurists have to extract law from it. But in doing so, they need to take into account other sources as well. Quran, in itself, is not a book of law like an enacted Code legislated by Parliament i.e., IPC, Indian Contract Act etc. Its verses are not Sections of a Code. As a divine policy, Quran does not contain ‘law’ in the strict sense of the term. ‘Law’ has, in fact, been deliberately concealed by God himself within the legally imprecise and sometimes ambiguous sacred texts. ‘Law’ in Islam is to be extracted from the sources of Islamic Law. Quran is not law, but source of law. This extraction is human activity and is called ‘ijtihad’, which means ‘endeavour’ or ‘selfexertion’. In fact Sharia is based on Divine instructions called ‘Wahi’. Law, on the other hand, does rely on human reason or human speculations called ‘Aql’. Other than Quran and Sunna, all other sources of Islamic law are based on human reasoning such as Ijma (consensus amongst learned), Qiyas (analogical deductions), Istihsan (juristic preference), Istisilah (public interest) and ijtihad (juristic reasoning. Thus, jurists discover ‘law’ in Islam." Justifying his statement that 'Muslim Personal Law' is not divine, Prof. Mustafa opined, " Law making is indeed a private enterprise in Islam. Jurists intervene between God and State. We may or may not agree with them. ‘Shariah’ bears a stranger afÖnity with revelation (divinity), whereas Fiqh (Muslim Personal Law) is mainly product of human reason. Islamic Öqh is, thus, a rational endeavour primarily based on speculative human reasoning. Muslim Personal Law is based on the interpretations given by various jurists and due to the disagreement amongst jurists i.e., Ikhtilaq, we have various schools. Most Muslims in Indian are Sunnis and follow the Hanafi school. Thus, Muslim Personal Law in India is largely based on the jurisprudence of Abu Hanifa. Most authoritative text of this school is Hedaya, a commentary of book Bidaya written by Burhan al-Din Marghinani who lived in Marghinan in Uzbekistan and Fatwa-e-Alamgiri, which was written on the basis of discussions amongst 40 Ulemas during the reign of Aurangzeb. Thus, possibilities of reforms in law are very much there if those are tactfully undertaken. Muslim fundamentalists are not able to appreciate this distinction between ‘Sharia’ and ‘Law’. They use both the terms as interchangbly. The Shariat (Muslim Personal Law) Application Act, 1937, is also responsible for this confusion. Most Muslims consider Muslim Personal Law as divine and thus, oppose any change in it. More than 3 crore Muslims have signed declarations opposing any change in Muslim Personal Law. I am told Personal Law Board has no place to store these declarations. Muslims are to be educated about the rich human content in Muslim Personal Law to make them agree to reforms." Advocating UCC but in a piecemeal manner, he said, "If Muslim Personal Law is not as sacred as Muslims believe it to be, they would be willing to accept reforms. Let the reform agenda not be hijacked by Muslim fundamentalists. We should not provoke them. We must educate them. Hindu fanatics should also appreciate me for supporting UCC. But then here again I am for piecemeal UCC. This is a long term project, which would yield better results if implemented in phases. Just see, Hindu law reform process is not yet over after 70 years. Major reforms had to be undertaken in 2005." Livelaw.com
Uniform Civil Court : A threat to multiculturalism and religious pluralism: Muhammed Shafeeq CM
JLF organisers to not invite Taslima Nasreen from next yr
Jaipur: Taslima Nasreen, whose impromptu session at the Jaipur Literature Festival drew a minor protest here, will not be invited to the event from next year, organisers said in a statement on Tuesday.“They expressed their anger.... I heard them out. Explained we supported minorities in every way. Underscored that we are a platform for all points of view. Agreed that we should consider their request not to reinvite them,” Sanjoy K Roy, producer of JLF, said.Protesting organisations such as Rajasthan Muslim Forum, All India Milli Council, Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim Personal Law Board said on Monday that the writer, who has been living in exile since 1994 after facing the ire of fundamentalists, was a “disputed” personality.They demanded that no invitation must be extended to the writer again.HT/PTI
Donald Trump to speak to PM Modi as India hopes to build on US ties
New Delhi:US President Donald Trump will speak to PM  Narendra Modi over phone late on Tuesday, White House has said.The two leaders are likely to have a conversation at 1pm Washington DC time, which is 11:30pm IST, as India hopes the two nations will build on the “bedrock of strong Indo-US ties”.A phone call this early is seen as a measure of the importance the Trump administration gives to India.Modi would be the fifth foreign leader Trump would have spoken to over phone after being sworn in as the US President on Jan. 20.HT
20 yrs on, Muslim man to be tried for kidnap,rape of girl he wed
Mumbai: 20 years after he eloped with a girl belonging to another religion, a Pune resident will now have to face trial for the offences of kidnap and rape. In the past two decades, much change has taken place in Sameer Khan's life—he got married to the girl Deepa after he got out of jail in 1998, had two sons from the relationship and even got divorced. The original complainant—Deepa's father—meanwhile died during pendency of the case.Khan recently approached the Bombay high court after he was arrested in Nov. 2016 on the basis of a non-bailable warrant issued against him by the magistrate's court for not remaining present to face trial. Khan's lawyers also pointed out that his ex-wife Deepa had filed an affidavit before the sessions court that she did not have any complaints against him.Justice Mridula Bhatkar ordered Khan's release on bail of a personal bond of Rs 30,000 and directed the sessions judge in Pune to take up the case and expedite the hearings. "The case is 20 years old. It is to be taken up for hearing immediately. Considering the nature of offence, the facts of the case and the fact that accused was on bail for so many years, I am inclined to grant bail," said Justice Bhatkar. timesofindia
A year after Rohith's death, Radhika Vemula continues to be harassed and humiliated
With heavy hearts, a sense of frustration and a deep feeling of hopelessness, people affected by caste, concerned students, teachers, citizens and organisations were gearing up to observe Rohith Vemula's death anniversary on 17 Jan., 2017. At the same time, the govt of Andhra Pradesh was set to send a report to the central government, based on revenue officials' "findings" that Rohith Vemula and his family could not be identified as "Dalit".These kinds of "findings" are nothing new. Time and again justice has been denied to people who have suffered caste atrocities. In fact, such findings are expected from a state that is blatantly casteist, patriarchal, corrupt and run according to the Hindu lawmaker Manu's values.The govt went on a warpath... attempting to "prove" that Rohith Vemula was not a "Dalit". In the process, they brutally demeaned the efforts of Radhika Vemula.However, for those who continue to fight, 17 Jan. 2016, is not just a day that marks the death—the institutional murder—of one Rohith Vemula or even the existence of intense levels of caste-based discrimination. As Kula Nirmulana Porata Samithi (Committee for the Struggle of Annihilation of Caste) rightly declared, it is nothing less than the day of annihilation of caste with the spirit of Rohith Vemula's struggle. huffingtonpost
Kashmiri Pandits To Get 6,000 More Transit Homes: Mehbooba Mufti Govt
Jammu: Mehbooba Mufti govt has said 6,000 transit homes will be built for Kashmiri Pandits who are willing to come and work in the valley. Land has already been identified for the homes under a Central grant of Rs. 1618.4 crore sanctioned in 2008-2009, the govt said today in response to a question in the assembly.  The administrative officials in Kashmir valley have already identified 723 kanals of land which has a tentative cost of land Rs. 374.65 crore. Further, money will be used to build 6,000 transit accommodations, a one-time revival of agricultural and horticultural land and scholarship for school-going children. Last week, the state govt had passed an unanimous resolution to create a conducive atmosphere for the return of Kashmiri Pandits. Today, in a written reply to a question by BJP legislator Rajesh Gupta, the govt said under the Central package, 6,000 jobs are being created for Kashmiri Pandits and 9,000 additional jobs will be created by establishing "income generating units".According to govt figures, after the unrest in Kashmir started in early 1990s, 37,347 Hindu families, 2,257 Muslim families and 1,758 Sikh families had migrated from Kashmir.NDTV
J&K govt identifies 100 acres in Valley to house exiled Pandits
PIL on political leaders named as accused in Muzaffarnagar riots dismissed: PTI
Allahabad: Allahabad High Court today dismissed a petition seeking directions to election authorities that nomination papers of political leaders allegedly involved in Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 not be accepted for the upcoming assembly polls in UP .A division bench comprising Chief Justice DB Bhosle and Justice Yashwant Verma dismissed the PIL filed by SK Khokhar, an advocate, who had prayed that the court exercise its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution and issue directions so that nomination papers of aforementioned political leaders, belonging to various parties, were not entertained. PIL had named leaders like BJP MLAs Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, BSP MLAs Noor Saleem Rana and Maulana Jameel and Congress leader and ex-state minister Saeed-uz-Zama among those allegedly involved in the riots.
Najeeb: 9 students not joining probe, Police tells HC
New Delhi: Crime Branch of city police on Monday told the Delhi High Court that nine students, who were served notices to join the investigation related to missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, had failed to come forward, raising doubt about their involvement.A division bench of Justice GS Sistani and Justice Vinod Goel was informed by the Crime Branch that notices have been served to these nine students (of who two are ex-students) through Vice-Chancellor of JNU but none of them joined the investigation.“Since the students did not come forward for interrogation it raises doubts in the mind about their involvement,” Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Crime Branch, told the bench.IANS
Now, ED registers criminal case against Zakir Naik
Zakir Naik and his organization Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) faces legal trouble as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a criminal case against him and his NGO under money laundering laws. According to agency officials, representatives of IRF were summoned last week itself and the Investigation Officer of the case is to record their statement today on Jan.24 to probe the investigation.The agency’s zonal office has called Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) againt Zakir naik after noticing a similar complaint booked by NIA under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against them. The Enforcement Directorate will be mainly looking into the charges of alleged illegal funds laundered and the proceeds of crime in its probe. His organization IRF was noticed by agencies only after Dhaka café attack, when one of the terrorist’s posts on social media referred to being inspired by Naik’s speeches. financialexpress
NIA opposes IRF trustee’s plea for seized valuables
Mumbai:NIA has objected to the plea of Amir Abdul Mannan Gazdar, a trustee of the now banned IRF and a director with Harmony Media, seeking the cash that was seized from his house to be returned. Gazdar’s house were raided by NIA on Nov.19, last year, after the agency registered a case against televangelist and IRF founder Zakir Naik.NIA had seized cash worth Rs9.80 lakhs and gold jewellery.In its reply to plea, NIA said that the investigation on the possession of the huge amount of cash with him is under progress and they suspect that the money found with him in raid belonged to IRF.HT
HC defers hearing on Zakir Naik NGO
ED questions Zakir Naik’s IRF officials in Mumbai
Mohsin Shaikh murder case: Family writes to CM, seeks appointment of Ujjwal Nikam as public prosecutor
Mumbai:The family of Mohsin Shaikh — a 28-year-old man in Pune who was murdered in June 2014 allegedly by members of Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) — has written to CM  Devendra Fadnavis, seeking appointment of Ujjwal Nikam as a public prosecutor to oppose the bail petition of the main accused— Dhananjay Desai. Desai’s bail application is scheduled to be heard by the Bombay High Court on Feb. 1. The letter, written by Mohsin’s father Mohammed Sadiq Shaikh, states that Desai, who allegedly instigated the attack has on many occasions tried to disturb the “peace and brotherhood” between Hindus and Muslims for his personal benefit. Letter says that for maintaining peace and harmony, it was important that Desai be punished.“He must not be granted bail at any cost for our safety and safety of all innocent people. As we all know Shri Ujjwal Nikam is the most capable public prosecutor in India who is handling this case at sessions court in Pune also. In view of above I request your honour to appoint Nikam as the public prosecutor for our case to appear for hearing on Feb. 1 and thereafter,” according to the letter. Indianexpress
Kashmiris being framed in well planned design:J&K Jamat
Srinagar:Jama’at-e-Islami J&K has expressed its deep anguish and concern over framing the “innocent” Kashmiri youth in false and concocted “cases of terrorism” by the Indian law enforcing agencies. “As a result of this well planned process hundreds of innocent youth are languishing in different jails in J&K and outside it,” Jama’at said.As per the statement in such a case of a Kashmiri Muslim boy namely Muzaffar Ahmad Rather along with others have been sentenced to death, though there was no solid evidence against them for any such activities warranting such a stringent punishment. Muzaffar hails from village Jogipora Mohanpora in Kulgam Kashmir who left his home in 2002 and later was declared to be arrested near Indo-Bangladesh border in 2007 and during this period his family members were searching for him. kashmirreader
Umar Farooq slams death sentence to Kashmiri youth
Srinagar: West Bengal court’s verdict awarding death sentence to a Kashmiri youth after being in jail for 14 years is “against the internationally accepted norms of justice”, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said on Monday. “The verdict of a trial court of West Bengal, awarding death sentence to Muzaffar Ahmad Rather of Jogipora, Kulgam (in south Kashmir) after being in jail for 14 continuous years is against the internationally accepted norms of justice and fair play,” he said in a statement at Srinagar.PTI
Malegaon blast: NIA records statement of ex-ATS officer who claimed suspects were killed
New Delhi: NIA, probing the 2008 Malegaon blast, has recorded statement of ex-Maharashtra ATS officer Mehboob Mujawar, who last month claimed that two prime suspects — Ramji Kalsangre and Sandeep Dange — were killed by senior ATS officers on Nov.26, 2008.Sources said Mujawar, who was suspended following his arrest in an Arms Act case in 2009, has named 3 senior officers of Maharashtra Police, including a serving IPS officer, for allegedly trying to suppress the information despite his petitions.“We have questioned him. Corroboration of his statement is required. Being a former police officer, he claimed to have evidence regarding the killings. That needs to be probed,” an officer said.indianexpress
SIMI trial witnesses remain absent: timesofindia
Indore: All 3 witnesses who were scheduled to appear before a special CBI court to testify in the trial against SIMI man Safdar Nagori, could not depose before the court on Monday. The prosecution had cited insufficient time, whereas the defense stated the absence of witnesses being the reason. According to defense advocate Chandan Airen, both Pathak and Sharma did not appear before the court till lunch time due to which the case was adjourned for the day. Judge BK Paloda on Monday issued bailable arrest warrants against Singh again and asked him to appear before the court on Feb.3. Safdar Nagori, along with ten other SIMI operatives, is being tried before the special CBI court here for possessions of arms and explosive substances and also for plotting a terrorist attack.
Sohrabuddin’s bro challenges discharge of IPS officer
Mumbai:Rubabuddin Sheikh, brother of Sohrabuddin Sheikh who was allegedly killed in a fake encounter in 2005, has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the discharge of Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian by a special CBI court in alleged fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati. The HC is likely to hear the matter on Tuesday.He has claimed that there is “sufficient evidence on record to establish that Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi were abducted, kept in wrongful confinement and that the two of them, along with Prajapati, were killed in a fake encounter.” He has argued that “there is nothing on record to show that these steps were taken by Pandian and other accused persons in the discharge of their duties.” indianexpress
DGP rejects claim of ISI role in UP train accidents
NewDelhi:UP  DGP Javeed Ahmed has disputed Bihar Police’s claim that Pakistan’s ISI was behind the recent train accidents near Kanpur. DGP said on Monday that the claims made by three persons in their custody were “off the mark” and could not be corroborated on the ground.In an internal report, the Railway Ministry has indicated “sabotage” and “criminal interference by outsiders” in at least seven train accidents, including Saturday night’s derailment of the Hirakhand Express in Andhra Pradesh that killed 39 people.Home Ministry had asked the NIA to probe the claims made by Moti Paswan,Uma Shankar and Mukesh Yadav, who were arrested for allegedly planting a powerful Improved Explosive Device (IED) on a railway track in Ghorasahan in East Champaran district on Oct 1. IED was defused by the police. thehindu
NIA rules out use of explosives in Kuneru, forensic team begins probe into sabotage
CIA files: Parkash Singh Badal sided with Sikh extremists after Op Bluestar
Chandigarh:Punjab CM  Parkash Singh Badal sided with Sikh extremists against the state govt in the strife-torn days in the 1980s, according to the CIA’s declassified documents released last week.The report is a part of ‘India’s most important Sikhs’ filed under ‘India and the Sikh Challenge, a research paper submitted by the US spy agency’s directorate of intelligence.It is among 930,000 documents made accessible on CREST, CIA’s records archive. The trove contains 12 million pages of dispatches, memoranda and records of briefings documenting the agency’s spycraft dating as far back as the 1940s.“He (Badal) is working to advance his personal fortunes by heading his own Akali Dal dissident party and siding with Sikh extremists against the state government. Twice CM  of Punjab, Badal continues to try to position himself as a future candidate for that post,” it says.The documents show the CIA closely monitored the terrorism period in the state as it tracked important events and personalities in India over a period of more than five decades beginning in the late 1940s.HT
Delhi BMW accident: Uber driver Nazrul Islam might have lived if his WagonR had an airbag
In a rare situation, if the WagonR, which was hit by a BMW X5 on Sunday night had an airbag, the driver might still be alive, or would have escaped with some injuries.Uber cab driver, Nazrul Islam, was in front of the BMW, which was being driven by 24-year-old Shoaib Kohli. At some point near Munirka, in South Delhi, when Kohli lost control over his 2,204-kg German luxury SUV, it went and hit Islam’s 825-kg WagonR. It was Islam’s first day as an Uber driver.Like most taxis in India, Islam’s cab did not have any airbag. On collision, the WagonR flung in the air and dragged for 50 metres before it hit the ground. Even in an accident like this, a research and engineering head of one of the automobile companies said, the driver would have in all probabilities survived, if the car had an airbag.HT
Speeding BMW rams Uber cab, kills driver
PM Modi receives UAE Crown Prince at Delhi airport
New Delhi;PM  Narendra Modi on Tuesday went to Delhi airport to receive the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who is the chief guest at the Republic Day on January 26. Modi was seen giving Nahyan a warm hug when he came out of the flight.The visit of Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces, is expected to give boost to bilateral ties in the key areas of trade and security. It is also significant given that UAE is a close ally of Pakistan, whom India is trying to diplomatically isolate over the issue of cross-border terrorism. indianexpress
Modi is pulling India back to the 1970s: Barkha Dutt
WORLD
Russia, Turkey, Iran agree plan to support Syria truce
Talks between key Syria war players in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, have ended with Russia, Turkey and Iran agreeing on a mechanism to support a delicate ceasefire. The meeting, organised by Russia and Turkey and attended by the govt and the armed opposition, was aimed at strengthening a nationwide ceasefire that has largely held despite pockets of violence, and at paving the way towards UN-led political negotiations in Geneva on Feb.8.It was not immediately clear whether the opposition or the govt backed the communique.The three nations also said they supported the willingness of the armed opposition groups to participate in the Geneva talks and that they were committed to "minimising violence, building confidence, ensuring humanitarian access, protection and free movement of civilians," according to a final statement read by Kairat Abdrakhmanov, the Kazakh foreign minister. The mechanism will also seek to "prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the ceasefire", the statement said. "There are very intense discussions because this is not about a paper; it is about cessation of hostilities, which means saving lives," Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy to Syria, said at the beginning of the second day of talks on Tuesday. Opposition spokesman Yahya al-Aridi had earlier played down expectations that the rebels would sign a potential collective statement at the end of the talks, saying that several obstacles still needed to be overcome."I don't believe that the communique will be strong enough to be taken to the UN," said Aridi, citing a number of rebel demands, including the lifting of sieges, the release of prisoners and the delivery of aid to besieged areas, that he said had not yet been "confirmed".The talks mark the first time the Syrian opposition was represented solely by representatives of armed groups. aljazeera
Russia warns Al-Assad not to violate ceasefire in Syria
Russian Centre for reconciliation between opposing sides in Syria has called on the regime of Syrian President, Bashar Al- Assad to fully adhere to the ceasefire.Media outlets reported that Russia has informed the Syrian regime leadership that “violating” the ceasefire was “unacceptable”.middleeastmonitor
Trump Admin. willing to work with Russia against IS: AP
Beirut: Trump administration says it is willing to partner with Moscow to combat the Islamic State group.In his first daily White House press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that President Donald Trump has been "very clear" that he will "work with any country committed to defeating ISIS."He says the administration will work "with Russia or anyone else" to defeat the militant group, either militarily or economically.The president has vowed to defeat IS "quickly" when he takes office, though he has not provided specifics on his plans for US military efforts in Iraq and Syria.
Russian strikes IS near besieged Syrian army enclave
Russian jets pounded Islamic State in eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor on Monday, seeking to thwart a full-blown assault by the militants against the last district in the region still held by the Damascus government.6 TU-22 strategic bombers carried out air strikes against Islamic State targets near the city of Deir al-Zor, Russia's defence ministry said in a statement.The long-range bombers took off from Russian territory, it said, a rare occurrence as Russia usually launches bombing runs from its air base in the Syrian province of Latakia. Islamic State has launched its fiercest assault in a year to capture the govt enclave, a pocket of Deir al-Zor city surrounded by IS territory, in a battle that has killed dozens. The Observatory reported heavy clashes on Monday between govt forces and IS fighters, especially around the city's cemetery and a road junction known locally as the Panorama Roundabout. reuters
Turkish military says killed 65 IS militants in Syria:Reuters
UN warns west Mosul civilians at 'extreme risk'
The estimated 750,000 people living in west Mosul are in grave danger, the United Nations warned on Tuesday, 100 days into a massive Iraqi operation to retake the city."We are relieved that so many people in the eastern sections of Mosul have been able to stay in their homes," the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande said in a statement."We hope that everything is done to protect the hundreds of thousands of people who are across the river in the west. We know that they are at extreme risk and we fear for their lives," she said.The going has been tough for federal forces as IS has defended its last remaining major stronghold in Iraq fiercely. All central neighbourhoods on the east bank of Tigris River that divides the city have now been retaken and commanders are devising a strategy to tackle the western side of the city. worldbulletin
UN 'racing' to prepare emergency aid ahead of battle for western Mosul:reuters
Iraqi forces gear up for anti-ISIL push in west Mosul
Plans could advance for over 10,000 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent ‘green light’ to settlement construction in Occupied East Jerusalem could see plans for more than 10,000 new housing units advance. On 22 January, Netanyahu declared that he would lift limitations on construction in East Jerusalem settlements, following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.According to Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO monitoring Israel’s occupation and colonisation of the east of the city, “during President Obama’s administration, Israel promoted building plans on a very large scale” in East Jerusalem.However, since the breakdown of the John Kerry-led talks in 2013-’14, “there has been a significant slowdown in approval of building plans and publishing tenders, together with carrying out large-scale construction in numerous areas through previously approved plans.”The NGO has compiled “a list of building plans which have been halted for several years”, and which now seem likely to be advanced. All together, they constitute more than 10,000 housing units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem. middleeastmonitor
Israeli mayor of Jerusalem claims to be talking with US officials over embassy move
Israeli mayor of Jerusalem claimed on Monday that he is holding “serious” talks with US officials regarding the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it has been reported.“I am holding talks with govt officials in the US and I know that they are serious about their intention,” revealed Nir Barakat. He did not name any of the US officials to whom he claims to have been speaking. “The Americans have various properties in Jerusalem that could serve as a solution and be used as an embassy,” he added. middleeastmonitor
Saudi slams Trump promise to move US embassy to Jerusalem
Te Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it rejects US President Donald Trump’s promise to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem is not recognised by any country as having any legal status, despite its claims that the city is the “undivided” capital city of the Zionist state. middleeastmonitor
US quietly sent $221M to Palestinian Authority in Obama's last hours: foxnews
Officials said Monday that the Obama administration-- in its waning hours-- defied Republican opposition and quietly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority that GOP members of Congress had been blocking.A State Department official and several congressional aides told The Associated Press that the outgoing administration formally notified Congress it would spend the money Friday morning.The official said former Secretary of State John Kerry had informed some lawmakers of the move shortly before he left the State Department for the last time Thursday.The aides said written notification dated Jan.20 was sent to Congress just hours before Donald Trump took the oath of office.In addition to the $221 million for the Palestinians, Obama administration also told Congress on Friday it was going ahead with the release of another $6 million in foreign affairs spending, including $4 million for climate change programs and $1.25 million for UN organizations, the congressional aides said.
Pak conducts 1ST flight test of N-capable ‘Ababeel’ missile
New Delhi:Pakistan has successfully conducted first flight test of surface-to-surface nuclear-capable missile ‘Ababeel’, said Pakistan military. The missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead up to 2,200 kms, which brings many Indian cities within its striking range. Ababeel is capable of delivering multiple warheads using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology, Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a statement. indianexpress
Chinese warships tour Gulf Arab for 1ST time since 2010
Chinese warships began a tour of Gulf Arab states for the first time in six years while Beijing has expressed its desire to play a greater role on the international scene.China’s CCTV channel said three Chinese vessels, including a guided-missile destroyer warship, arrived in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday following a visit to the Saudi port city of Jeddah.The Chinese navy regularly tours the world while its ships patrol off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia as part of international anti-piracy operations; however, it is uncommon that they visit Gulf Arab states, where both the US and Britain have naval bases.
UK: Catholic school bans 4-yr-old Muslim girl from wearing hijab to lessons sparking furious online row
A four-year-old Muslim girl was banned from wearing an Islamic headscarf to a Roman Catholic school, sparking a massive row on social media. Unnamed child was told by staff at St Clare's School in Handsworth, that she should not wear her hijab to lessons. Mirror
 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:16 PM)


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