Thursday, 16 February 2017

  - --Evening NEWS DIGEST
16 Feb.2017: 18 Jamadiul Awwal 1438: Vol:8, No:118
Triple talaq, polygamy: Constitution bench to decide on petitions, says SC; seeks submissions from all parties by 30 March; Centre submits issues
The Supreme Court has decided to set up a 5-judge Constitution bench to hear and decide on a batch of petitions relating to the practices of triple talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy among Muslims.  A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar took on record 3 sets of issues framed by parties with regard to the cases and said the questions for consideration of the constitution bench would be decided on March 30. The bench, also comprising Justices NV Ramana and DV Chandrachud, said "the issues are very important. These issues cannot be scuttled".  Referring to the legal issues framed by the Centre, it said all of them relate to the constitutional issues and needed to be dealt by a larger bench.   The bench asked the parties concerned to file their respective written submissions, running not beyond 15 pages, by the next date of hearing (March 30), besides the common paper book of case laws to be relied upon by them during the hearing to avoid duplicity. When a woman lawyer referred to the fate of the apex court judgement in the famous Shah Bano case, the bench said "there are always two sides in a case. We have been deciding cases for last 40 years. We have to go by the law and we would not go beyond the law." The bench also made it clear that it is willing to sit on Saturdays and Sundays to decide on the issue as it was very important. indiatvnews
Centre submits issues in SC, questions practice of triple talaq, polygamy, Halala
Meanwhile, the Centre submitted in the Supreme Court a list of issues for adjudication including the question whether fundamental right to practice and propagate one's religion protected the practice of triple talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy among Muslims. Here are the 4 questions submitted by the Centre:1- Whether the practices of triple talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy are protected under Article 25(1) of the Constitution. The Article says: "Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion." 2- Whether the right to practice and propagate religion is subject to other equally important rights, that is right to equality (Article 14) and right to life (Article 21) of the Constitution. 3- Whether the Muslim personal law amenable to the provision of Article 13 of the Constitution which provides that any law is void if it is not in conformity of the constitutional scheme and framed the issue. 4- Whether these practices are compatible with India's obligations under international treaties and covenants to which nation is a signatory. Indiatvnews
Are triple talaq, polygamy protected under fundamental rights, Centre wants SC to decide
Triple talaq an important issue, cannot be scuttled, says CJI; SC seeks written submissions from all parties
Submit written submissions to Attorney General by March 30: SC on triple talaq case
Triple Talaq, Polygamy Protected by Constitution?Centre's Questions in SC
Linking triple talaq ban & UCC harmful for Muslim women:Women’s activists
New Delhi: Women’s rights activists who have moved the Supreme Court on the issue of triple talaq say linking the demand to ban the practice with Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is “harmful” for Muslim women. “It is harmful for Muslim women that every time we talk about the need to abolish triple talaq the issue of UCC is imposed on us and we go on to debating the issue which will apply to the entire country,” said Noorjehan Safia Niaz from Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. “UCC confuses the debate (about gender equality among Muslims) and the Muslim ulemas begin to perpetuate the bogey of fear in the community,” added BMMA’s Zakia Soman.PTI
Woman moves SC to ban porn sites over husband's addiction says it is destroying matrimonial life of people
New Delhi: At a time when the Supreme Court is examining the menace of child pornography websites and exploring ways to block them, a woman has approached the court telling how addiction of pornography is destroying the matrimonial life of people. In a petition filed in the Supreme Court, the Mumbai-based lady said that her matrimonial life had been destroyed as her husband became addicted to online pornography and pleaded the court to direct the Centre to take immediate steps to ban such obscene sites.She contended that if her husband developed the addiction despite being a well educated person and in his advancing years, the impact of pornography sites would be much more harmful to the youth"My husband has of late become an addict of porn and spends a lot of his prescious time watching pornography which is now-a-days is easily accessible through the internet. As a result my husband has fallen prey to this addiction of watching pornographic videos and pictures which has made my husband's mind perverted and ruined my matrimonial life," she said in her petition. The petitioner, a social worker, told the court that she was happily married for 30 years but matrimonial problem started in 2015 when her husband got addicted to pornography websites despite being father of two children."I and my children are suffering as a result of porn addiction of my husband. I am unfortunately a victim of matrimonial dispute resulting out of porn addiction of my husband. I have also during my work as social worker come across people who have been adversely affected because of free and easy availability of porn contents all over the internet," she said."Easy access of violent and hardcore porn websites is causing immense damage to family values in India. People of all ages are becoming perverted and morally bankrupt due to porn addiction. My husband is in his advancing years but still he has gone astray due to porn addiction, imagine what this addiction can do to the innocent minds of youth and children," she said. timesofindia
Worried about husband’s porn addiction, woman urges SC to ban porn sites
PMO refuses to answer RTI query regarding number of employees from minority communities
New Delhi: PMO has denied providing information regarding the number of employees from minority communities currently employed with it citing ‘non-availability of information’. PMO consist of the immediate staff of PM  of India, as well as multiple levels of support staff reporting to the PM .The reply was given by the PMO in an RTI filed by TwoCircles.net staff reporter seeking information on the community wise breakup i.e Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsis and Jain along with their Rank/position. The RTI had also asked for providing list of schedule caste and schedule tribe employees.PMO in its reply said that there are currently 399 officials working with it and said that their details such as name, designation is available on their official website of PMO. But when we searched for the 399 employees, we found the names of only 41 employees listed on the site. Out of these 41 people, only one Muslim name: Syed Ekram Rizwi, Director, RTI, figures in the list. Besides, PMO further replied that officers/officials working in PMO, falling under the category of minority community or belonging to SC/ST category is scattered in different files and is not available in a compiled form. The PMO feels that compilation of data from several records will disproportionately divert the public resources.“It would attack provisions of section 7(9) of RTI ACT, 2005,” reply says.TCN
2005 Delhi serial blast: Court acquits 2 suspects; 10-year jail to Tariq Ahmed Dar
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday acquitted two accused Mohammed Rafiq Shah and Mohammed Hussain of all charges in the 2005 Delhi serial blast saying the prosecution has failed to prove their guilt. The court, however, sentenced another accused Tariq Ahmed Dar to 10 years of imprisonment. DFarooq Ahmed Batloo and Ghulam Ahmed Khan had earlier pleaded guilty and were let off by the court for the period already undergone by them. Terror funding was the allegation against both these accused.Three separate cases were registered by Delhi Police’s Special Cell following the blasts. The court had clubbed all the 3 cases for the purpose of recording of evidence.As per the prosecution, Dar, along with Abu Ozefa, Abu Al Kama, Rashid, Sazid Ali and Zahid, had allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy to wage a war against the country and planned serial blasts. All these 5 co-accused are still at large and are said to be in PoK.indianexpress
2005 Delhi Serial Blasts: Setback for cops as court acquits 2 accused, convicts 1
POLLS & POLITICS
Palanisami sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM, retains most of Panneerselvams's cabinet
New Delhi:Ending all speculations, VK Sasikala loyalist Edappadi K Palanisami was on Thursday sworn in as CM  of Tamil Nadu. The oath was administered at Raj Bhawan by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao who invited the Sasikala faction to form the govt , leaving O Panneerselvam camp disappointed.  The new cabinet will have 31 ministers. All of them took oath at the swearing-in ceremony.All the Cabinet Ministers under caretaker CM  O Panneerselvam, barring education minister K Pandiarajan who switched loyalties, have been retained by Palanisami’s. And most of the portfolios under Panneerselvam have been retained by Palanisami. Senior AIADMK leaders Dindigul Srinivasan and party presidium chairman Sengottaiyan will be number 2 and 3 in the soon to be formed govt. “Governor has today appointed Edappadi K Palaniwami, Party Headquarters Secretary of AIADMK as CM of Tamil Nadu and invited him to form the ministry at the earliest,” a Raj Bhavan release said. indianexpress
Live TN Assembly meets on Feb. 18; Palaniswami confident about majority
Tamil Nadu New Cabinet: Here is Palanisami’s full list of ministers and portfolios
 Panneerselvam, Now Ex-CM , Loses Car's Lal Batti, Vows 'More To Come'
Mayawati happy with phase II poll trend, says BSP to get majority
Lucknow: BSP chief Mayawati expressed satisfaction over the polling trend in the 2nd phase of the UP Assembly polls on Wednesday, saying it indicated that her party was surging towards getting a majority."Just like the first phase, the second phase of polling in 67 seats which took place on February 15 is a good indication that BSP is coming to power in UP with full majority," she said in a statement.Mayawati said there were reports that polling in the remaining five phases of the crucial state polls will be equally encouraging for her party.PTI
On polling day in Deoband, pamphlets claim Jamiat support for BSP but Arshad Madni denies:TIO report
Meerut: As people stepped out to vote in Deoband on Wednesday, pamphlets claiming that Arshad Madani, president of the influential group of Islamic scholars, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, had endorsed the BSP surfaced in the area. Carrying pictures of the powerful Muslim leader, the pamphlets exhorted the community not the repeat the "mistake" of 2014 by electing BJP, and also condemned the Samajwadi Party for communal violence in the state."Muslim population of the country is in danger after the mistake of electing the BJP to power at the Centre," said the pamphlets, adding that "a similar mistake should not be committed in UP ". The pamphlets also went on to target SP and BJP, claiming that communal violence in the state occurred at the behest of both parties and that "all Muslims should come together and vote for the BSP for the benefit of the entire community".Madani, however, denied any involvement in this propaganda. He told TOI, "I have not even been in Deoband for a very long time. I was in Vienna for a conference and just returned this afternoon, when I heard this news. There is no way that I would endorse any political party. The policy of our organisation has always been to stay away from politics and only focus on education and that is why we have survived for so long."The police in Deoband did not take any chances and did not allow the pamphlets to spread.
Rampur's 'emperor' whitewashes Nawab era: DNA story on UP polls
Rampur:Addressing a rally just outside Rampur fort, Samajwadi Party (SP) strongman Mohammad Azam Khan bursts into tears while recalling the "tyranny" of the Nawabs, the former rulers of the erstwhile princely state of Rampur, against the people.The crumbling fort providing a fitting, indeed symbolic, backdrop for his diatribe, the legislator from Rampur interestingly mentions neither the BSP or the BJP in his campaign speech, reserving his ire for the once powerful Nawabs."This city was ruled by nawabs who had crossed all limits of torturing the public. Now, they are nowhere," the man, often dubbed as the 'emperor' of Rampur, says as he promises to remove all "residual" traces of Nawabs from the Rohilkhand region once he returns to power after the elections.Seemingly determined to erase the past, as UP's minister for public works, Khan, or Aali Jinab as he is known, has transformed Rampur into a snazzy city of malls, paved roads, artificial lakes, jogging and cycle tracks. The Budget of Rampur's local bodies was raised to Rs 900 crore under the Naya Savera Nagar Vikas Yojana (New Dawn City Development Scheme). A new state-of-art of Bapu Mall a shopping arcade is almost ready. There are two compactor machines to dispose waste, two road sweepers and a sewer jetty machine.But this development has not come without heavy cost. Several heritage monuments, including the city gates, are now history – literally. Many relics of the past that stood there for centuries are now demolished. The tombs of the Nawabs and their vast graveyards have been broken down to pave the way for Azam's private resort.
AAP links BJP to MP spy racket, demands SC-monitored probe
New Delhi: AAP has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into alleged infiltration of “ISI agents” into MP BJP, describing it as a “grave threat” to internal security. With opposition parties including Congress seeking to corner BJP over the issue, the saffron party said that the ATS of Madhya Pradesh, where it is in power, is investigating the matter and has made arrests which must be appreciated. Addressing a press conference, AAP leaders Ashutosh and Kapil Mishra said that MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan and BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya must come clean on their “links” with one of accused. “BJP goes around handing out certificates of patriotism. But arrests have shown that BJP and RSS are biggest anti-national outfits,” Ashutosh said.“3 of the arrested were active members of BJP”. PTI
ISI spies and sex rackets: BJP's MP unit has become a haven for criminals: Rahul Noronha
Who Paid for the Pro-BJP Exit Poll that Dainik Jagran Published? Siddharth Varadarajan
OTHERS
Army chief’s ‘belligerent’ warning will increase hostility in Kashmir: Separatists
Srinagar: Mainstream politicians as well as separatists in Kashmir have criticised army chief General Bipin Rawat’s statement warning local youth against creating hurdles during anti militancy operations.Both the camps said that such a statement would fuel a spurt in militancy in the state.Opposition National Conference expressed disappointment and dismay over what it said were the “belligerent remarks” of the army chief and said such posturing would compound the situation and increase the hostility in the Valley.In a statement NC Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said it was tragic that “New Delhi was still trying to talk to the youth of Kashmir through the defence establishment when the need of the hour was to engage them politically.”“Youth rushing towards encounter sites and incidents of stone-pelting on the forces during encounters are worrying and alarming signs of the sense of alienation and disenchantment in Kashmir,” Mattu said. “The need of the hour is to understand and acknowledge the deep sense of isolation in Kashmir and deal with it with statesmanship and magnanimity. Threatening and warning youth who are already anguished and irrational to the sense of caring little for their lives will be of little consequence but would only push them farther from reconciliation,” the NC statement said.A trend has emerged lately in Kashmir valley where local youth flock encounter sites during raging gun fights to help militants flee.Referring to the statement of the army chief, Syed Ali Geelani said “India’s arrogance and stale thinking is the basic reason for continuous bloodshed and political uncertainty in state”.“People of state and particularly the youth are up against this hegemony and suppression,” said Geelani.Yasin Malik termed the statement of army chief as a case of “political immaturity”. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that instead of issuing threats, it would be prudent for the Indian army chief to accept the ground realities in Kashmir. hindustantimes
General Rawat, hold your fire. All Kashmiri youth are not aides of jihadis: ANALYSIS  BY  Harinder Baweja
J&K: ‘Protests at encounter sites dangerous, worrying trend’
Srinagar: The swelling number of civilian protesters at encounter sites during gunfights between militants and forces has become the latest headache for security agencies in Valley.While J&K  police concede that the protests are coming in the way of their operations, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat Wednesday said that those who “obstruct our operations during encounters and are not supportive will be treated as overground workers of terrorists”. indianexpress
NIA seeks more time from court for Malegaon blasts probe
NIA on Thursday asked the Bombay High Court to give it more time to complete its probe of the Malegaon blast case. Malegaon 2008 blast case was a first case in which Hindu extremists, including army Lt. Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, were chargesheeted by the Maharashtra ATS in 2009.ANI
Malegaon blasts - Anti-national activities part of info gathering mission: Lt Col Purohit
Relieved after 6 months, fear still hovers over Muslim preacher Haneef Moulavi picked for ‘IS recruitment’
Freedom after arrest and jail life bound to bring happiness. But, not for Haneef Moulavi, the Salafi preacher who was arrested in connection with ISIS recruitment case. Fear dominates his mind even after getting bail.Though he came back to his homeland after he was granted bail by the Mumbai special court on Friday replacing tears of the past six months, he has not relieved from the shock yet.His poor family at Kambalakkad, Wayanad district of Kerala, comprised of his elderly mother Asya, four brothers and four sisters, and his pregnant wife Haseena thus feels this is the time they must thank God and pray for the good to come.Haneef was granted bail by the Mumbai court after NIA failed to submit charge sheet against him in the case even after 6 months after his arrest.When SouthLive rang Haneef, it was his younger brother Shahul Hameed, who earns a livelihood by driving an auto rikshaw, attended call. southlive
In Afghanistan, families from Kerala try to build IS: Praveen Swami, Shaju Philip story
New Delhi/kochi: Like every other grandmother, there’s just one thing Afsath Rehman wants to talk about: the children that her sons, Ejaz Kettiyapuraiyil and Shihaz Kettiyapuraiyil, have had in past few months.“They promised to send me photographs but they haven’t so far,” she sighs, echoing the complaints of a million other parents with children living in the diaspora. “They said they have to travel one-and-a-half hours to reach a telephone. That’s a very long way”.Last year, Ejaz Kettiyapuraiyil, his wife Rahaila, then three months pregnant, and their two-year-old child, along with Shihaz Kettiyapuraiyil, and his wife Ajmala, disappeared into the mountains of Afghanistan’s remote Nangarhar province along with eighteen other Kerala residents, all members of an Islamic State-inspired cult led by preacher Abdul Rashid.From interviews with family members, and messages they have sent their friends, The Indian Express has pieced together a portrait of the bizarre life the group has built for itself in the eight months since they disappeared. The members of the group have set up stores, teach religion, have married, and had children. None appears to be engaged in military activity. Indianexpress
NIA arrests Kerala youth in IS module probe
NIA on Wednesday arrested Mouinudheen Parakadavath, a Kerala resident, in connection with its probe into an alleged IS module. Mouinudheen, wanted by NIA, arrived at the IGI Airport here on Feb.14 from Abu Dhabi, NIA said. 25-year-old, a resident of Kasaragod, was summoned for questioning at its HQRS on Tuesday,NIA said.PTI
Gujarat Riots: HC Begins Hearing On Zakia Jafri's Petition
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Wednesday began hearing on a petition by former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri's widow Zakia challenging the clean chit given by a lower court to PM Narendra Modi and 58 others regarding their alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.Justice Sonia Gokani will also continue the hearing today.Petitioners' lawyer Mihir Desai briefed the court about the background of the case and argued that it pertained to all the cases related to 2002 Gujarat riots.The criminal review petition filed by Zakia and the NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, run by Teesta Setalvad, demanded that Modi, who was then the CM , and 58 others be made accused for being party to the criminal conspiracy behind the riots.PTI
Canada frees bomber Inderjit Singh, the lone convict in 1985 Air India Kanishka bombings that killed 331
New Delhi:After serving two decades behind bars, Inderjit Singh Reyat is now free. He was the only person convicted in the 1985 Air India – Kanishka – bombings that killed nearly 331 people, Canada’s parole board said today. Following his release from prison a year ago, Reyat had been ordered to live at a halfway house after serving two decades behind bars. Canada’s parole board spokesperson Patrick Storey told AFP in an email that the condition has now been revoked and Reyat may return to a normal life, including “living in a private residence”. A Sikh immigrant from India, Reyat was convicted of making bombs that were planted inside luggage and put on on two planes departing from Vancouver, and for lying in court to cover for his co- accused. indianexpress
Chhattisgarh to study prospects of banning liquor
Raipur: Raman Singh govt of Chhattisgarh has decided to constitute a committee on the prospects of banning liquor in the state. The panel, to be headed by Excise Secretary, will also study if a system can be evolved for selling liquor through state-owned outlets. In its meeting held on Wednesday, state Cabinet approved a new ‘Excise Policy’ whose implementation is aimed at putting a check on the illegal sale of liquor by middleman and agents. CM Raman Singh chaired the meeting. “Govt will establish 11-member committee under the chairmanship of Excise Secretary to study the prospects of bringing the sale of liquor under the supervision of govt and also about the prospects of banning liquor,” govt PRO said.PTI
India slips to 143 in economic freedom index: US thinktank
India ranked a dismal 143 in an annual index of economic freedom by a top American thinktank, behind its several South Asian neighbours including Pakistan, as progress on market-oriented reforms has been “uneven”. Heritage Foundation in its Index of Economic Freedom report said despite India sustaining an average annual growth of about 7% over the past 5 years, growth is not deeply rooted in policies that preserve economic freedom. Putting India in the category of “mostly unfree” economies, conservative political thinktank said progress on market-oriented reforms has been “uneven”.PTI
100 days of demonetisation: Bank queues, RBI flip-flops – here is how it all unfolded
New Delhi:Hundred days have passed since PM  Narendra Modi-led Central govt  announced its demonetisation drive. The govt invalidated legal tender of ₹500 and ₹1,000 and announced restrictions on ATM and bank withdrawals on November 8. Further announcements included introduction of new currency notes of ₹500 and ₹ 2,000 denomination. Announcing the decision, PM Modi had asked for 50 days to bring the situation back to normal. At the end of 50 days on Dec. 30, RBI and the Centre had both come out with a combined 74 notifications, circulars, decisions and reviews or turnarounds of those decisions. By the end 100-day mark, the situation has stabilised by some measure, but the shock is still felt and will take some time to wither away.Indian express
100 days since note ban, cash is still hard to find in Delhi
Delhi:While announcing the demonetisation drive on Nov. 8 last year, PM  Modi had sought 50 days promising that things would move towards normalcy during this period. However, it has been 100 days and things are far from normal. HT
Chidambaram says economy will take 18 months to recover from demonetisation
Since demitting office as finance minister in May 2014, P Chidambaram has kept a close watch on NDA govt  and has been unsparing in his critical appraisal of its official policies. In an interview with DK Singh, he questions the rationale of the govt’s decision to recall high-value notes and says that it will take at least 18 months for the economy to recover from the “devastation” of demonetisation. hindustantimes
I-T scanner on suspicious deposits: 9 lakh accounts put under 'doubtful' category
New Delhi: Nearly half of 18 lakh people under the I-T scanner for suspicious bank deposits post demonetisation have been put in the 'doubtful' category, but action against them will follow only after the new tax amnesty scheme ends on March 31. Under 'Operation Clean Money', I-T department had sent SMS and e-mails to 18 lakh people, who according to its data analysis had made suspicious deposits of over Rs 5 lakh during the 50-day window provided to get rid of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes following the demonetisation decision announced on Nov.8. They were asked to clarify on the deposits and their source by Feb.15.PTI
Demonetisation 100 days: Did PM Modi miscalculate the idea from the very beginning?Dinesh Unnikrishnan

India today Exclusive: New controversy in W.Bengal over govt order to celebrate 'Nabi Diwas' in libraries
Kolkata:Amid the ongoing row over Nabi Diwas celebration at a school in Howrah resulting in a communal flare-up, the West Bengal govt  has made it mandatory for govt  libraries across the state to celebrate the day.According to a new order by the state Directorate of Library Services, more than 2000 state libraries across West Bengal have been instructed to observe "Nabi Diwas" as part of a host of events to be observed throughout the year.The order dated January 11, 2017 states that of the 51 events mentioned by the govt , Fateha Dwaz Daham (or Eid-ud-Milad-un-Nabi ) must be observed to mark birth of Prophet Muhammad in state-run libraries. indiatoday
Man moves court looking for wife, she says he divorced her
New Delhi:The Delhi High Court was faced with a strange case where a man claimed his wife had been missing, but the wife, when traced by the police, said the man had divorced her by pronouncing triple talaq. The court dismissed the petition when the wife said she had she converted to Hindusim after divorce and re-married. Amir, a resident of Nand Nagri, had moved a petition of Habeas Corpus in the court seeking production of his “missing” wife Shabnam.He claimed that a man called Nishant, who they know for years, came to his house on Jan.17 and administered some intoxicating substance to Shabnam. He then took her away and forcibly married her.Amir said he searched for his wife till Jan.21, but in vain. thehindu
WORLD
Trump drops Washington's commitment to a 2-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
President Donald Trump has dropped Washington's commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, backing away from a long-held position of US and the international community in the Middle East. In a joint press conference with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said he would back a single-state solution if the two sides agreed to it."Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one," Trump told reporters after meeting Netanyahu in Washington."US will encourage a peace and really a great peace deal ... We will be working on it very, very diligently. But it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement," Trump said. Netanyahu said that he wanted to focus on "substance" and not "labels," when asked about his support for a two-state solution."There are two prerequisites for peace. First, the Palestinians must recognise the Jewish state ... Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River," he said. Trump also said that Washington was working to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."I would like to see that happen. We are looking at it very very strongly. We are looking at it with great care. Let's see what happens.""I'd like to see you pull back on settlements for a little bit," Trump told Netanyahu on the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.Aljazeera
Palestinian rights group: Trump has ‘abandoned’ Palestine
Netanyahu asks Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu asked US President Donald Trump on Wednesday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.Most of the world considers the Golan, a high plateau between northeastern Israel and southwestern Syria, to be occupied by Israel, which annexed the territory in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally. During a briefing with Israeli and foreign media after meeting Trump at the White House, Netanyahu was asked whether he had raised the Golan issue. “Yes,” he replied.middleeastmonitor
"Rebuild Syria in exchange for Golan": Israeli minister
Israel's minister of construction has reportedly prepared a major strategic plan as part of a resolution to the crisis in Syria. Yoav Galant's purported plan proposes a major US-led reconstruction programme for Syria costing billions of dollars - in return for international recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, and a negation of Iranian influence in the country. While the plan presented by Galant was meant to be far-reaching, it seeks above all to stymie the Iranian "danger" apparently solidifying on Israel's north-western border, reports Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli paper.According to the report, the plan was presented to Israeli PM Netanyahu and was unveiled to the Israeli cabinet on Sunday. According to the proposed plan, Galant argues Israel's best interests are served by preventing the consolidation of an Iran-Syria-Lebanon axis and the establishment of a Shia-dominated Damascus. World Bulletin
Assad backs Trump ‘Muslim Ban’, says Syrian refugees ‘terrorists’
Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad said US President Donald Trump’s ban on Syrians entering the United States targeted terrorists, not the Syrian people, appearing to defend the logic of the measure in an interview broadcast today.Trump last month issued an executive order, since suspended by a US district judge, that temporarily barred travellers from seven mostly Muslim countries including Syria, as well as imposing an indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees.“It’s against the terrorists that would infiltrate some of the immigrants to the West. And that happened. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany,” Al-Assad said in the interview with Europe 1 radio and TF1 TV which was recorded on Tuesday.middleeastmonitor
Iran Warns Trump Against Disclosing Secret Iran Deal Documents: Washington Free Beacon report
Senior Iranian officials are warning the Trump administration about disclosing secret deals related to the nuclear deal that have long been hidden from the public by the Obama administration, according to recent comments that prompted pushback from senior sources on Capitol Hill.Iran's warning comes on the heels of a Washington Free Beacon report disclosing that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had been pushed out of office partly due to his intention to release these sensitive documents to the American public. Leading lawmakers in Congress launched multiple investigations last year into Obama administration's efforts to keep these documents secret and out of public view. Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter said that the Trump White House is working on ways to publicize this information despite warnings from Iran.Secret side deals related to the nuclear agreement remain unclassified but have been stashed in a secure location on Capitol Hill, making it difficult for staffers and lawmakers to view them. Individuals seeking to view these documents must have security clearance and are barred from taking notes or speaking about what they see.Multiple senior congressional sources familiar with the nature of the documents said that lawmakers and the Trump administration would not be intimidated by Iranian threats. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, senior Iranian lawmaker and head of country's foreign policy committee, warned Trump admin. against making these documents public in recent remarks.
HRW: Iran-backed Shia militias destroying Sunni homes in Iraq
HRW today accused Iranian-trained Iraqi Shia jihadists battling Daesh of demolishing hundreds of Sunni Arab houses near the city of Mosul, leading to accusations that the paramilitary organisation perpetrated war crimes.New York-based rights group said the mainly Shia units known as Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) had destroyed 345 houses in villages to the west of Mosul in northern Iraq after retaking them from the hardline Daesh militant group.“There was no apparent military necessity for the demolitions, which may amount to war crimes and which took place between Nov. 2016 and Feb. 2017,” the HRW said in a report. Middleeastmonitor
Fresh round of Syria talks begins in Kazakhstan:IANS
Astana: Syrian rebel and govt representatives met in Kazakhstan today for a fresh round of peace talks under the auspices of Russia, Iran and Turkey.Astana-2 talks sought the creation of a multi-party taskforce to monitor and further reinforce the fragile ceasefire implemented in Syria at the end of Dec.2016, Efe news reported.9 opposition groups were taking part in the meeting, including the Free Syrian Army and Jaysh al-Islam, highly influential and powerful rebel factions.
US-led coalition kills 5 ISIL commanders in E. Mosul
UN supports Astana initiative on Syria: Special envoy
Iran leader rejects reconciliation with anti-regime 'minority'
 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:46 PM)

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