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Monday, 20 February 2017

Evening NEWS DIGEST
20 Feb.2017: 22 Jamadiul Awwal 1438: Vol:8, No:121
 Disclose action on Gandhi assassination panel report which reportedly said evidence only points towards Savarkar, his group being part of conspiracy: CIC to PMO
New Delhi: CIC has directed the PMO to disclose action taken on JL Kapur Commission report on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination which reportedly said evidence only points towards theory of Veer Savarkar and his group being part of criminal conspiracy. The Commission also recommended the top office to build exhaustive archives on Mahatma Gandhi on the lines of recent declassification of files pertaining to Subhash Chandra Bose.The watchdog transferred an RTI plea seeking records related to the assassination of Gandhi on Jan. 30, 1948, subsequent probe and the court case.The Commission said the petition should be transferred to PMO for “information” and necessary action to formulate appropriate policy to build archives of records regarding Gandhi’s assassination, investigation, trial, punishment, official correspondence, and action taken on the recommendations of JL Kapur Commission.The govt had appointed a Judicial Commission under the chairmanship of JL Kapur to inquire into the conspiracy angle and other aspects of the assassination of Gandhi, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said. He said a copy of the Kapur report is available with Indian Law Institute, New Delhi which has a treasure trove of information about Gandhi’s death which needs to be probed and an archive could be built in National Archives of India (NAI). Citing an article by noted historian and lawyer AG Noorani in ‘The Hindu’ paper, Acharyulu said the court had earlier exonerated Savarkar for want of corroborative evidence in support of the approver’s confession.“However, Justice Kapur’s findings are all too clear. He concluded: “All these facts taken together were destructive of any theory other than the conspiracy to murder by Savarkar and his group” (Noorani, AG (March 15-28,2003). “Savarkar and Gandhi”. The Hindu),”he said.PTI
Why hide Nathuram Godse Statement, Mahatma Gandhi legacy too big to be destroyed
In view of Mahashivratri, J&K separatists cancel this Friday protest
New Delhi:The separatist camp in Kashmir has decided to cancel the routine Friday protest in the valley this week as it falls on the festival day of Mahashivratri, as TOI reported this morning.The separatist camp comprises Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik."Hindu festival Shivratri falls on the same date so joint leadership (separatist camp) has decided to cancel the protest call," the Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led Hurriyat spokesperson Ayaz Akbar told TOI today."We weren't aware that the Shivratri festival falls on (the) coming Friday (Feb.24). But when the issue was reported, we took the matter as urgent and started working on it," Akbar said earlier. That's why an earlier calendar last week scheduled the protests on Feb.24."We have time still. We have taken note and will reschedule protest soon," he added.Meanwhile, other constituent parties, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat, also expressed their concern over the protest date coinciding with the Hindu festival. They too have extended support to the Hindu community in the state."The issue is under consideration and new date will be announced soon," Hurriyat (Mirwaiz) spokesperson Shahid-ul-Islam told TOI."We haven't issued any bandh on the date", he added. timesofindia
J&K: Separatists call off strike on Friday due to Shivaratri
ban case: IRF opposes Centre plea for in-camera proceedings in tribunal
New Delhi: Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) today opposed the govt's plea for holding in-camera proceedings in the tribunal which is scrutinising whether the immediate ban on IRF was justified. IRF contended before Delhi High Court's Justice Sangita Dhingra Seghal, who is presiding over the tribunal set up under the UAPA, that the government's plea for in-camera proceedings was a "garb" to deny them the material relied upon to ban the organisation. The lawyer for IRF also said the material relied upon for imposing the immediate ban on it had to be disclosed in the notification and added that none of the material has been provided to them as yet. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain pressed for in-camera hearing claiming the "subject matter was sensitive" and there was a possibility that it could be disclosed during the proceedings before the tribunal.  He said he would claim confidentiality with regard to certain documents during proceedings before the tribunal and added that when chargesheet has not been filed, the material regarding ongoing probe into IRF cannot be provided to it. "The material given to the tribunal regarding ongoing probe cannot be disclosed to him," the ASG said. After hearing arguments of both sides, the tribunal said it would pass order on the govrnment's application for in- camera hearing on Feb. 23. It also fixed March 17, 18 and 20 for recording of evidence in the matter. IRF had earlier moved the tribunal against the November 17, 2016 notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) imposing the ban on it. However, since the tribunal declined to hear the matter before February 6, the foundation had moved the High Court challenging the immediate ban. PTI
Zakir Naik's NGO money trails leads ED to Pakistan, Dawood: TOI report
Mumbai: Security agencies monitoring Karachi-based businessmen close to D-Company and a `terror outfit masquerading as charitable and social organisation' for funding Mumbai-based IRF.3 days after Zakir Naik's chief financial officer Aamir Gazdar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged money laundering, the trail has led the sleuths to Pakistan and the D-Company. In what could turn out to be a massive hawala racket in India, the ED is probing a few businessmen in Karachi, known to be close to Dawood, who have purportedly "moved" large amounts of money into Naik's IRF accounts."A closely coordinated investigation is on to conclusively find out whether linked with a Pakistan-based terror outfit masquerading as social workers' organisation, and businessmen close to Dawood Ibrahim have moved funds to Naik's NGO," a high-ranking ED official said.MumbaiMirror/TOI
Musharraf says Afghan intel agency playing into India’s hands, facilitating terror
Former Pakistan president Pervaiz Musharraf has said that Afghanistan’s intelligence agency -- the National Directorate of Security (NDS) -- was playing into India’s hands, and was being used as a tool for facilitating terror groups in Pakistan, media reported on Monday.“This operation (Zarb-e-Azb) cleaned up all the camps and launching pads of terrorists, who were supported by the Indian spy agency with the collaboration of NDS, to destabilise the tribal areas,” Musharraf was quoted as saying to a TV Channel by Pakistan Today.Asked why he did not wipe out these outfits during his tenure, he said these terrorist groups did not exist during his tenure.“This all started after I stepped down; we had carved out an effective strategy vis-à-vis Kashmir, we were near resolving Kashmir issue with India on a four-point agenda, our policies were successful; America and China were aligning with us.”On the arrest of Hafiz Saeed, Musharraf said Hafiz was not a terrorist.“Hafiz Saeed is not a terrorist, it should be established as he runs a very large charity; they contributed to relief activities in post-earthquake and post-flood periods in Pakistan.”IANS
Putting Hafiz Saeed on terror list first logical step to bring him to justice, says India
NEW DELHI: India on Monday said Pakistan's action to put Hafiz Saeed on terror list is the first logical step in bringing him to justice and ridding the region of terrorism and violent extremism.""Effective action mandated internationally against him and his terrorist organisations and colleagues is a logical first step in bringing them to justice, and in ridding our region of the twin menaces of terrorism and violent extremism," external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said.PTI
 Bhopal: Two more ISI agents fall in ATS dragnet
Bhopal: ATS have arrested two more ISI agents from Delhi and Chhatarpur and presented them in the Bhopal court of JMFC Kamla Ahirwar on Sunday. The court has sent them on police remand till Feb.23.ATS arrested Abdul Jabbar from Jama Masjid, New Delhi and Sahyog Singh from Choubey colony Chhatarpur in an ISI espionage case, on Saturday evening.
Delhi: Family of alleged Pak spy held from Jama Masjid area says he is innocent
Delhi: For around 24 hours till Saturday evening, Abdul Jabbar’s family did not know where the police had taken the 62-year-old man. Delhi police special cell and Madhya Pradesh ATS on Friday evening had come knocking at his hotel, Basheer guest house in Jama Masjid area, and said Jabbar was needed for a ‘quick interrogation’ by a senior officer. Within minutes, police had huddled him into their gypsy parked near the hotel on the busy road towards Jama Masjid. Jabbar, a father of two, has been accused of being a part of Pakistan ISI spy, where his alleged role was to supply hawala money to Pakistan ISI operatives in J&K. “Uncle (Jabbar) was here in the hotel when 3 police officers came to the guest house and said they were from special cell. They were wearing plain clothes and said that a senior officer had summoned uncle and took him in a police gypsy within minutes.They did not say anything. There were around 15-20 police officers outside the hotel,” said Fahad, a relative.Family said they were informed about Jabbar’s arrest in Bhopal only on Saturday.Jabbar’s relatives denied allegations and said that was being framed. Jabbar owns Basheer guest house while his son runs a fisheries business. Relatives said Jabbar has a clean record and lives with his family in a first floor house, near Jagat cinema in Jama Masjid.“Uncle has a limp.He has difficulty walking and needs to be taken around in a scooter. It is difficult to believe he is a spy. He does not have a criminal record.” Fahad said.HT
Daryaganj man held for suspected ISI links
Missing JNU student Najeeb’s mother in Bihar: ‘Centre ignoring pleas to find my son’
Patna:Fatima Nafees, mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad, Sunday took the stage at CPI-ML (Liberation)’s ‘Adhikar rally’ in Patna and attacked the Centre for failing to trace the first-year biotechnology student.Najeeb went missing on Oct. 15 last year, a day after an alleged altercation with some ABVP students on the campus.“Just because my son comes from a poor family and is a Muslim, BJP Govt has not been paying heed to our requests. We are running from pillar to post to raise our voice and want you all to be our voice,” said Fatima.Accompanied by her son Mujeeb Ahmad, she alleged that ABVP students were involved in her son’s disappearance Najeeb’s younger brother, Mujeeb, said: “We have approached every high office. We met UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, the then Delhi L- G Najeeb Jung and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PM Narendra Modi is the only one we haven’t met, we will meet him too”. indianexpress
Najeeb’s mother makes an emotional speech at Patna rally
AMUTA Welcomes CBI Enquiry Into The Complaints Against V-C
New Delhi: AMU Teachers Association (AMUTA), welcomed the govt's action of sending a CBI team to enquire into the complaints made against VC. 'Executive Committee of AMUTA appreciates and welcomes the action of the Govt  in sending a CBI team to enquire into the complaints made against V-C Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah (Retd) on the subject of irregularities in appointments, promotions, admissions, financial contracts, deteriorating law and order that resulted in firings, blinding and murders as well as transfer of AMU property to outside agencies including a private trust named Sir Syed Education Foundation,' Teachers association said. Sources said that the enquiry team has met University Registrar and Finance Officer so far. AMUTA has also appealed to enable a proper unbiased enquiry to be held and the powers of V-C and Pro V-C should be withdrawn immediately. NDTV
Malegaon blasts accused gets bail to contest UP polls; Mumbai police want to give custody to UP cops
Mumbai.Navi Mumbai police wants to hand over custody of 2008 Malegaon blasts accused Major Ramesh Upadhyay to UP  Police for the 3 weeks he will be in the state for poll campaigning. Upadhyay has been granted interim permission by the special court hearing the Malegaon blasts case to travel to UP for 3 weeks along with a police escort team to the constituency from which he is contesting polls.Navi Mumbai police wrote to the court on Saturday that its officers will not be apprised with local intelligence in UP as well as the law and order situation there at the time of elections, and so they be permitted to hand over the accused to UP police. The Navi Mumbai police has suggested that they will escort Upadhyay till UP from where the local police can take over. They also sought clarifications from the court on whether Upadhyay is to be handcuffed at all times and whether he should be sent to a prison at the end of each day of campaigning. indianexpress
Congress, Left, Kejriwal slam Modi for his 'communal, irresponsible' comment about Ramzan
New Delhi: After PM Narendra Modi said yesterday that "if there is electricity during Ramzan, it should be there on Diwali too", Congress, AAP and CPM have slammed him for making what they call "communal" and "irresponsible" comments. Yesterday, at a campaign rally in Fatehpur in UP, Modi said "there should be no discrimination on the basis of caste or religion", BJP4U, the twitter handle of the party tweeted.TOI
Modi’s speech on Ramzan and Qabristan violates Supreme Court’s January verdict
Modi, Amit Shah are terrorists spreading fear: UP minister Rajendra Chowdhary
PM  Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are terrorists who are trying to terrorise people in UP , a Samajwadi Party minister has said, as campaigning in the state turned ugly halfway through the seven-phase assembly elections. The comment by Rajendra Chowdhary came shortly after Modi accused SP Govt of discrimination on the basis of religion. “They want to create an environment of fear. They are both terrorists -- Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. They are creating terror in our democracy,” Chowdhary said. “They have nothing to say and hence are making wild allegations. BJP knows it is losing the plot in UP and it will fare worse than in Bihar,” the senior minister, who is also the party’s spokesperson, said after voting in the third round ended on Sunday.HT
Why Mau vote for jailed Mukhtar election after election?
Mau: For 2 decades, voters here have elected a MLA whom they have barely seen. He's been in jail facing charges in over a dozen criminal cases, including for his alleged role in the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005. Yet Mukhtar Ansari holds sway over this east UP town dotted with stuttering power looms and hapless weavers.Bahubali (strongman) turned-neta Ansari, 56, is back in focus as a BSP candidate. Last week the Delhi high court stayed his parole and the case will be heard again on Monday. Nonetheless, some locals say Mukhtar is the man to beat with Samajwadis' Altaf Ansari, owner of a bunch of power looms, emerging top challenger.
Law college in Kerala launches competition to study UCC
The proposed Uniform Civil Code may have received objection from the Muslim personal board, but a law college patronised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) has launched a competition, in which law students across the country will research on the subject.Baselios Cardinal Cleemis the president of CBCI and National United Christian Forum, who is the patron of Mar Gregorios College of Law from Thiruvananthapuram is organising competition in association with Menon Institute of Legal Advocacy Training, reported Mail Today. It was also reported that the best report will go to the President and PM . DNA
Nitish, Lalu doing vote-bank politics on triple talaq: RSS leader Indresh Kumar
Patna: RSS leader Indresh Kumar on Sunday attacked Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, saying both leaders have been doing vote-bank politics by supporting triple talaq and opposing a uniform civil code.Indresh, known for his vocal defence of Hinduvta politics, said: "Nitish Kumar, who is also the JD-U President, and Lalu have been playing politics to break the country for the sake of vote."IANS
95% Muslim women unaware of personal law board, claims Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan’s study:TOI
Ahmedabad: While there have been nationwide signature campaigns by Muslim groups against the abolishing of Triple Talaq practice, a nationwide study shockingly states 95.5% of Muslim women across the country have not heard or are unaware of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). The board has been long opposing the abolishment of Triple Talaq. In fact, last year in Oct 'Jamiat-e-Ulma-I-Hind' in Ahmedabad claimed they have garnered the support of at least 2.50 lakh people, which included a large number of Muslim women, for whose rights votaries of a uniform civil code law and advocates of triple talaq have been campaigning. However, the findings of the study, conducted by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), paint a different picture, as most Muslim women are not even aware of the board's existence.Commenting on the issue, Zakia Soman, founding member, BMMA, said, "The entire premise of the signature campaign to garner support for the triple talaq issue is questionable here because when women are not aware of the board, how are they supposed to know what it propagates and stands for," said Soman. Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri, vice-president of Jamait-E-Ulma-IHind's, Gujarat chapter, who led the signature campaigns, said, "Women of Muslim community are often being exploited in the name of triple talaq and this is solely due to the mistakes and irresponsibility young men show. In fact, we are making attempts to spread awareness and sensitize members of our own community regarding the issue.""Our fight is not against the triple talaq, but rather against the Uniform Civil Code," he added.
Pay divorced wife from pension annuities, UK court orders NRI
Mumbai: In an order that may impact divorce battles between NRI couples in the UK, an appeal court there has decided that a pension-sharing provision does not apply to foreign pensions, but directed a man to pay a monthly maintenance to his former wife from its annuities. The order may make it tough for warring couples in the UK to transfer or conceal assets offshore, a lawyer said.The squabbling couple is a banker and his former wife.He once earned over £350,000 a year but blew up his fortune on spread-betting and gathered debts of £500,000, courts were told. In October 2015, a UK family court ordered him to hand over two-thirds of his pension income to his former wife after observing that he had transferred three UK pension funds to an Indian pension provider.As per UK law, a pension may be divided between divorcing spouses by means of a sharing order. But the dispute landed in an appeal court where the husband argued that provisions under Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973 did not apply to foreign pensions. The court agreed but ordered him to pay the woman two-thirds of the quarterly income derived from the annuity policy as it arises.TOI
Note ban delays military projects
New Delhi: Demonetisation has had an adverse effect on defence infrastructure projects, say field reports from the military commands.Various engineering agencies —Border Roads Organisation, Military Engineer Services and the Corps of Engineers — are involved in executing several dozen important military projects across the country mostly using private contractors. Projects are crucial for military capabilities, especially those closer to borders. The contractors employ daily wage labourers, mainly migrants from the hinterland.“As of now, we have only field reports. By early April, the figures would be in and we would know how badly it has impacted the infrastructure projects,” a senior officer said. From runways and roads to office complexes and accommodations, all the projects have dramatically slowed down since the Nov.8 announcement, multiple sources have said. thehindu
In yet another demonetisation blow to Modi govt, BSF arrests man in Malda with Rs 96,000 in fake currency notes
New Delhi:In yet another instance of demonetisation drive not being able to prevent or control the inflow of fake currency in the new denominations that were introduced in the wake of PM Modi’s note ban order on Nov. 8, 2016, the BSF has revealed that its men have arrested a resident of district with Rs 96,000 in duplicate notes. These were in the form of Rs 2000 denomination notes and the arrest was in in Malda’s Baisnabnagar. Analysts and political opposition had highlighted their concerns that the scrapping of the Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes were all very well to fight generation of fake currency and black money, but the printing of the Rs 2000 note is likely to increase, rather than decrease due to the availability of this high denomination note. However, the Govt  has said that the new notes, both Rs 2000 and Rs 500 are quite secure as they carry a number of new high-security features. Nevertheless, the increasing number of people being caught with fake currency also shows that wrongdoers are not being deterred from indulging in printing illegal currency. financialexpress
Demonetisation: RBI increases weekly cash withdrawal limit for savings bank account to Rs 50,000 from today
SC junks PIL for SIT probe into demonetisation
The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a PIL seeking an SIT probe into the Govt’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The SC dismissed the plea which also sought removal of the ‘Swachh Bharat’ Mission logo on new currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000.PTI
Aides of accused not yet identified: NIA to court
Kochi: NIA on Friday submitted before the NIA Special Court here that some of the members of the South Indian module of the IS were still elusive. Opposing a bail plea filed by accused Ramshad and N K Jasim, NIA officers said some of the persons who attended IS meeting at Kanakamala in Kannur were yet to be identified. The court reserved its order on the bail plea. newindianexpress
Right-wing’s poster boy Tarek Fatah denied entry to literary festival because of Islamophobic remarks
Pakistani social media celebrity and Hindutva poster boy, Tarek Fatah, faced public anger on Sunday after his alleged Islamophobic remarks left many at Delhi’s literary festival utterly enraged. A video of Fatah being rudely told to leave the event, Jashn-e-Rekhta, has now gone viral on social media platforms.According to reports, Fatah had arrived at the event uninvited and allegedly began to address some attendees ‘jihadis.’ This prompted the organisers to told him to leave the venue of the event. Visibly unperturbed even in the face of humiliation, Fatah insisted on staying on by adding that he was not ‘scared’ of anyone. jantakareporter
Tarek Fatah, controversial TV personality, involved in fracas at Urdu festival in Delhi
Pakistan-born author targeted at Delhi Urdu festival: IANS
Urdu runs in the blood of this IPS officer Murlidhar Sharma
Kolkata: While Aamir Khan-starrer Bollywood blockbuster Dangal showed how wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat defied norms and trained his daughters into wrestling champions, another son of Haryana had years ago went against the family tradition of indulging in wrestling and kabaddi and pursued Urdu for the love of the language. Today, he is not just a successful IPS officer but is all set to release his book on Urdu poetries. Meet Murlidhar Sharma, deputy commissioner, Special Task Force (STF) of the Kolkata Police who uses the pen name of Taalib to write Urdu ghazals. Sharma has named his first book of shayari (poetries) Haasil e Sahranavardi (What is retrieved through wandering in a desert). Born to late Jaikaran Sharma, who ran a tea stall, and Santosh Sharma, a homemaker, Sharma was in love with Urdu and other art forms during his school days itself. While his father encouraged him to participate in kabaddi tournaments, him playing Ram in Ramleela was highly criticised at home. “I played kabaddi in the district level but had to quit Raamleela under pressure from family,” he said.DNA
CBI registers FIR against meat exporter Moin Qureshi in graft case
New Delhil:CBI on Monday registered a case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi in a graft case, on the complaint of Enforcement Directorate (ED). CBI conducted searches in 4 cities-Delhi, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad and Chennai- in connection with FIR against Qureshi, including at the premises of businessman Pradeep Koneru. Koneru’s name also figured in Jagan Reddy’s money laundering case. indianexpress
Liezeitsu elected new Nagaland CM
Guwahati: The political crisis in Nagaland is heading for an end with Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Legislature Party on Monday electing veteran leader and party president Shurhozelie Liezeitsu as its new leader in place of TR Zeliang who had quit on Sunday. Official sources in Kohima said Shurhozelie would be sworn in as CM on Wednesday.indianexpress
Will meet Shahabuddin in Tihar, whenever I am in Delhi: Bihar minister  Abdul Gafoor
Patna:Bihar Minority Affairs minister Abdul Gafoor on Monday said he would meet controversial RJD leader Mohammed Shahabuddin at Tihar jail whenever he visits Delhi. Gafoor’s photograph with Shahabuddin inside the Siwan jail last year had gone viral, creating controversy. “I will definitely meet him whenever I feel. I will tell you all whenever I make a trip there,” he told reporters on the sidelines of “Lok Samvad” (Public dialogue) programme held by CM  Nitish Kumar.PTI

WORLD
Israel orders demolition of entire Bedouin village including homes, school
Israeli forces raided the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank northeast of Jerusalem on Sunday morning to deliver demolition orders to classrooms for the village’s primary school, locals told Ma’an News Agency, while 40 homes in the community were also reportedly delivered demolition orders.Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces surrounded the school – which has been threatened with demolition by the Israeli Govt  for years – as faculty and students were prevented from accessing the building.Israeli soldiers imposed a military closure on Khan al-Ahmar before they stormed the village’s school to deliver the demolition warrants, sources said.Official Palestinian news agency Wafa meanwhile reported that Israeli authorities also issued demolition order against 40 Palestinian-owned houses in Khan al-Ahmar on Sunday morning.Eid al-Jahalin, a witness, told Wafa that Israeli forces raided the area in the early dawn hours and notified residents that they had until February 23 to leave their homes. middleeastmonitor
In Rare Move, Israel Orders Demolition of Entire West Bank Bedouin Village: Israeli paper
Israel settlements road to cut through East Jerusalem
Hundreds of Palestinians in the Jabal al-Mukaber area of occupied East Jerusalem say they are living in a state of anxiety and fear as Israeli occupation authorities begin excavations for the "American road" project, set to be built on the ruins of their homes.The road that constitutes only one section of a larger highway, titled al-Touq, will cut through East and West Jerusalem, with the unstated aim of connecting illegal Israeli settlements north, south, and east of the city. It is set to bridge between the West Bank settlements of Har Homa and Maale Adumim, passing through Jerusalem. The Israeli municipality's planning and construction committee introduced al-Touq road scheme in Jerusalem a decade ago. The completed highway will run a length of more than 11km, with a width of about 70 metres.To build the road, the Jerusalem municipality will confiscate approximately 1,200 dunams (300 acres) of Palestinian land in at least 12 Palestinian neighbourhoods within Jabal al-Mukaber. aljazeera
Netanyahu spurned secret regional peace offer brokered by John Kerry: Ex-officials
Israel's PM  turned down a regional peace initiative last year that was brokered by then-US secretary of state John Kerry, former US officials confirmed.The revelation, first reported by the Haaretz daily, was in apparent contradiction to Benjamin Netanyahu's stated goal of involving regional Arab powers in resolving Israel's conflict with the Palestinians.Netanyahu took part in a secret summit that Kerry organised in the southern Jordanian port city of Aqaba last February and included Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.According to two former Obama administration officials, Kerry proposed regional recognition of Israelas a Jewish state - a key Netanyahu demand - alongside a renewal of peace talks with the Palestinians with the support of the Arab countries.Netanyahu rejected the offer, which would have required a significant pull-out from occupied land, saying he would not be able to garner enough support for it in his right-wing coalition govt.The initiative also appeared to be the basis of short-lived talks with moderate opposition leader Isaac Herzog to join the govt, a plan that quickly unravelled when Netanyahu chose to bring in nationalist leader Avigdor Lieberman instead and appoint him defence minister.Israel's opposition leader said the PM  was ready to freeze settlement construction in most of the West Bank, but Netanyahu ultimately "blinked" under pressure from his hard-line allies.According to the officials, Kerry tried to sweeten the 15-year-old "Arab Peace Initiative," a Saudi-led plan that offered Israel peace with dozens of Arab and Muslim nations in return for a pull-out from territories captured in the 1967 Middle East war to make way for an independent Palestine.Among the proposed changes were Arab recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, recognition of Jerusalem as a shared capital for Israelis and Palestinians, and softened language on the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees to lost properties in what is now Israel, the former officials said.The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were still not authorised to discuss the secret meeting publicly, said the Egyptian and Jordanian leaders reacted positively to the proposal, while Netanyahu refused to commit to anything beyond meetings with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Aljazeera
Libyan PM survives assassination attempt in Tripoli
Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s UN-backed unity government, survived an assassination attempt on Monday when his convoy came under fire in capital Tripoli.Two of al-Sarraj’s guards were reportedly injured in the attack. "The prime minister’s convoy came under fire as its passed by a government complex held by supporters of the national salvation government [led by Khalifa al-Ghawiel," a member of the unity government-linked presidential council told Anadolu Agency anonymously due to restrictions on speaking to media.Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years in power. World Bulletin
Hundreds of Rohingya 'return home' from Bangladesh
Dhaka: Hundreds of Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution in Myanmar have returned home, community leaders said Sunday, adding that most had gone back temporarily to fetch relatives.Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled across the border from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine since October to escape a bloody crackdown by troops and police.Dudu Mia, a refugee camp leader in the coastal town of Teknaf, said nearly 1,000 Rohingya -- mostly young men -- had returned to their home villages to collect elderly family members left behind earlier."Most of those men are hoping to bring their relatives back to Bangladesh. It's been four months and they have barely even talked to their parents back home," Mia said.AFP
Thousands declare 'I am Muslim too' at solidarity rally in US
New York: Over a thousand people from various faiths declared 'I am a Muslim too' as they assembled at the iconic Times Square here to express solidarity with the Muslim community and protest against US President Donald Trump's immigration policies. The rally was co-organised by the Foundation For Ethnic Understanding and the Nusantara Foundation in response to the uncertainty and anxiety created by Trump's now-rescinded executive order to bar citizens from 7 Muslim-majority nations. The 'I am a Muslim Too' solidarity rally drew several thousand people who raised slogans and held banners of 'Love Trumps Hate' and 'USA, USA' and 'No Muslim Ban'. Headlined by American entrepreneur and author Russell Simmons and actress Susan Sarandon, the rally yesterday saw participation by several faith leaders who denounced the divisive political environment in the country and called on Americans to stand up for Muslims facing increasing threat and pressure. Addressing the rally, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said America was founded to respect all faiths and all beliefs and stereotypes against the Muslim community has to be dispelled. PTI
Turkish opposition deputy arrested in anti-terror probe
An opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy has been arrested in southeastern Turkey on Monday.Placed under arrest at Adiyaman Airport, Behcet Yildirim had failed to answer a summons linked to a counterterrorism investigation last week.As part of a terror probe conducted by the Adiyaman prosecutor's office, Yildirim, an MP from Adiyaman province faces charges such as being a member of terror organization and making terror organization propaganda.In November, 13 HDP lawmakers were also arrested, and 10 of them -- including HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag -- remain in custody pending trial on terrorism-related charges.World Bulletin
Turkey detains more than 1,500 in latest operations over alleged militant links –ministry: reuters
Turkish authorities detained more than 1,500 people for questioning over suspected links to militant groups in the latest operations over the last week and arrested 125 of them, the interior ministry said on Monday.Turkey faces multiple security threats, including the militant Kurdistan PKK in largely Kurdish southeast and Islamic State militants.
Iraqi forces push into ISIL-held southern Mosul
Iraqi security forces have pushed into the southern outskirts of Mosul on the second day of a new offensive to drive ISIL fighters from the city's western half, as US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit.  Iraqi forces backed by jets and helicopters battled their way to Mosul airport on Monday as they prepared to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group's stronghold in the city's west bank."The federal police has resumed its advance ... Our cannons are targeting Daesh defence lines with heavy fire," federal police chief Raed Shaker Jawdat said, using and Arabic acronym for ISIL, also known as ISIS.The main focus of Monday's operations was to secure an area south of the Al-Buseif airport. aljazeera

 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:21 PM)

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