Thursday, 2 March 2017

Evening NEWS DIGEST
02 March.2017: 02 Jamadiul  Akhir 1438: Vol:8, No:130
Questioning CSO data on GDP is jumping the gun, say experts, wait for revision: indianexpress
New Delhi: Alleging that the Govt  was giving out deceptive numbers on economic growth, Congress leaders today put a question mark on the Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimate of a 7%  GDP growth rate in fiscal third quarter (Q3, Oct-Dec 2016). However, most economists The Indian Express spoke to, including previous Chief Statistician Pronab Sen, said that such conclusions were a case of jumping the gun — and that a more accurate picture would emerge as data gets further refined and revised. “CSO has made no mistake. Its estimate is based on specific assumptions and it is not allowed to fiddle with these assumptions,” said Sen. “For any change in methodology, it has to approach the Advisory Committee on National Accounts.”Sen and other economists agree that the cash-intensive informal sector had taken a hit following the withdrawal of almost 86% of currency in circulation in the midst of the third quarter. Even the Economic Survey had estimated the economy to lose 0.25-0.5 percentage points assuming a baseline 7%  growth rate for the financial year. But that didn’t mean the CSO data was defective, experts said. “With demonetisation,” Sen said, “the continuity assumption gets violated. Demonetisation was a great disruptor. It severely hit the informal sector — there is no way of factoring this into the existing methodology.” Sen is now India Director with International Growth Centre, a think tank that aims to promote sustainable growth. T C A Anant, who is Chief Statistician now, replaced Sen in June 2010.Economists believe that as data gets refined in coming months, it is likely that these numbers are revised. “The economy would have got hurt. Anecdotal evidence suggests cement sales decreased, footfalls in restaurants dropped, and so did automobile sales. The first estimates of GDP do not capture the disruption. As more information becomes available, a downward revision is possible,” said D K Joshi, Chief Economist, CRISIL. What’s added to the confusion are different scenarios painted by say, the manufacturing GDP data, and the index of industrial production. “The manufacturing GDP shows sharp growth whereas IIP during April-December dipped 0.5 %,” he pointed out.Many analysts do not take quarterly growth estimates quite seriously because of lack of available data with the CSO. 
CSO may have inadvertently exaggerated growth numbers due to informal sector data limitation: HSBC Research
Mumbai: The third quarter GDP or gross domestic product, numbers may have been inadvertently exaggerated by the CSO, the agency primarily responsible for releasing the numbers, as there was no clear gauge for the informal sector, said research note by HSBC Research.“CSO may inadvertently be exaggerating today’s growth print because it has no way to collect informal sector data over the short run, which is likely to have been hurt most by demonetization. The rapid 8.3% growth in manufacturing may well be reflecting this” said the research note by Pranjul Bhandari, chief India economist at HSBC. ET
GDP figures suspect: Congress
Congress labelled GDP numbers put out by the government as “highly suspect” and said they could dent India’s global credibility. Accusing PM Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “misleading” the public, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said GDP numbers released by CSO have not factored in the adverse impact of demonetisation, including losses in jobs and production.The government should address the real problems and stop its ‘propagandists’ from ‘premature celebrations and misplaced euphoria’,  Sharma said. thehindu
CSO’s GDP growth estimate has weak links
It’s not just the GDP. There’s also the mystery of 10% growth in consumption expenditure:Anupam Gupta
Congress slams 'fudged' GDP growth figures as another 'jumla'
Holes in DeMo armour: How govt made note ban look benign
Patrol religious places every morning, keep an eye out for meat: Delhi Police chief Patnaik’s order to DCPs
New Delhi;Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik has issued directions to all districts police heads to start patrolling around religious places — temples, churches, mosques, etc — between 4 am and 6 am every day.Sources told The Indian Express that in a recent meeting with officers at the police headquarters, Patnaik said the exercise would be called “good morning patrolling”, wherein patrolling staff from the police station will visit “temples, churches, mosques, etc… to remove any objectionable thing, like beef or pork” from the vicinity. Patnaik told the district Deputy Commissioners of Police that the move will help prevent any tension in the city. It would also ensure that “miscreants” are not able to “cause any damage to these prayer venues to start riots”, Patnaik is learnt to have told the districts heads.Police sources said the move comes against the backdrop of meat being found in or around religious places. In 2014, tension simmered in Okhla after a dead pig was found in a mosque. In 2015, animal meat was found near a temple in Sarita Vihar.Sources also said the police commissioner is of the view that such patrolling will reduce burglaries, vandalism and other crimes, which usually take place early in the morning.Indian Express
Delhi Cops May Soon Start Patrolling Religious Places Every Morning To Look Out For Meat
NSA Doval meets Israeli leadership in preparation for PM Modi’s visit
NSA Ajit Doval has held talks with Israel’s top leadership here as part of preparations for PM  Narendra Modi’s likely visit, the first by an Indian premier to the Jewish country. Modi is expected to visit Israel by the middle of this year. In preparation for Modi’s historical visit to Israel, Doval was on a two-day visit to the country. He landed in Israel on Wednesday and called on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem office. Doval also met his counterpart, Israel’s acting National Security Adviser and Head of the National Security Council, Brig. Gen. (retd) Jacob Nagel. The discussions “revolved around PM Modi’s expected visit this summer”, officials said. Doval left for India this morning. Earlier this week, sources in the MEA had indicated that the visit could take place somewhere around June. Netanyahu is also likely to visit India this year. 2 nations are celebrating 25 years of diplomatic ties this year. New Delhi formally recognised Israel on Sept.17, 1950. Embassies were opened in 1992 when full diplomatic relations were established. Modi’s likely visit to Israel comes after a number of high-level bilateral visits in recent years. PTI
Israel may ease visa norms to woo Indian tourists
Jerusalem:In its efforts to attract Indian tourists, Israel has increased its promotional budgetary allocation to $2.5 million in the last two years and plans to ease visa norms, senior officials have said. “We realise that India is going to be one of the top three countries sending tourists to Israel and so we have started to invest a lot in marketing our tourism potential there,” DG of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, Amir Halevi said.PTI
RSS leader puts Rs 1-cr bounty on Kerala CM Vijayan, says sent 2,000 to graveyard in Gujarat riots
Bhopal;An RSS leader from Ujjain proudly claimed having killed “2,000 Muslims” post-Godhra riots as he held Kerala CM  Pinarayi Vijayan responsible for the alleged murders of RSS activists in that state. “300 pracharaks have been killed. Communists be warned, we will offer a garland of three lakh heads to Bharat Mata,’’ Ujjain Sah Prachar Pramukh Kundan Chandrawat told a gathering at Shahid Park in Ujjain town as he reminded the audience about Godhra and the riots that followed. “They killed 56, we sent 2000 to the graveyard,’’ he said referring to the death of karsevaks at Godhra railway station and the communal riots that followed in Gujarat. Chandrawat also announced a bounty of Rs 1 crore on Vijayan’s head. “If anyone beheads the Kerala CM, who is the murderer of RSS activists, and brings his head I will bequeath my property worth more than Rs 1 crore to him,’’ he said.When questioned, Chandrawat was unapologetic and said he stood by his comments.BJP MP from Ujjain Dr Chintamani Malviya and other local BJP and RSS leaders were among those who attended the meet organised in protest against killing of RSS activists in Kerala.“He was invited in his personal capacity and spoke using his democratic rights. It’s not an official stand of the RSS. We don’t believe in violence,’’Ujjain Vibhag Prachar Pramukh of RSS Dr Ratnadeep Nigam said. IndianExpress
RSS Leader Boasts of Killing 2000 Muslims in Gujarat, Wants Kerala CM Beheaded

Cong cries foul as Rajasthan govt tells schools to buy RSS ideologue’s writings
Jaipur: The state govt  has asked all secondary and senior secondary schools to buy a collection of essays and speeches by Bharatiya Jan Sangh founder Deendayal Upadhyaya, drawing allegations of “saffronisation” from the opposition Congress.The Sangh was the erstwhile avatar of the BJP, which currently holds the reins of power in Rajasthan.A Feb.27 circular sent out by the state secondary education directorate instructed district education officials to buy copies of the ‘Deendayal Upadhyay Sampoorna Vangmay’ from Delhi-based publication Prabhat Prakashan on the occasion of his birth centenary.The circular asked the officials to draw from the school development fund – meant to be utilised for local needs – to make the purchase. However, some schools had already utilised the money before the document reached them.The book, edited by former state BJP president Mahesh Chandra Sharma, was launched by PM  Narendra Modi at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan on Oct.9 last year. Though the 6,000-page book is priced at Rs 6,000, the circular said it will be offered to schools at a discounted price of Rs 4,000. hindustantimes
First hearing in Bhopal jailbreak, ‘encounter killings’ starts behind closed doors
Bhopal: The judicial commission probing the jailbreak and subsequent killing of 8 alleged SIMI fugitives in an encounter in Madhya Pradesh last October began hearing depositions behind closed doors on Wednesday to the disapproval of relatives of those killed.“Everything is ‘private’ and ‘secret’ here,” lamented the father of one of the slain men, killed by police hours after they had reportedly escaped from a high-security prison in the state capital, Bhopal.“They have not given us the copy of FIRs of the jailbreak and the encounter or even the postmortem report. My son’s body had injury marks. How did he get them? Without these documents, our lawyers cannot argue the case,” he added on condition of anonymity. MP govt set up the one-man commission headed by retired high court judge SK Pandey. Officials admitted that the commission till date has not visited the encounter site or spoken to the families of those killed. It has so far collected 5,000 pages of documents — from police, jail and forensic departments and also from lawyers of the men killed in the encounter.The judge’s decision to hold “in-camera” hearings have added to the exasperation of the slain men’s relatives. Some of them who came from Ujjain and Khandwa for Wednesday’s proceedings said they had little option but to hope that justice would be done.Social activist Harsh Mander, however, was stronger in his reaction.“The private hearing is absolutely wrong. It goes against democratic norms. When the state is suspected of having resorted to extra-judicial killing it is necessary to hold the hearing in public with all transparency and openness. The public needs to be reassured that the state has done the right thing, at the time when the official narrative is implausible,” he said.Anand Mohan Mathur, a former state advocate general, said though the judge was within his rights, it was wrong to have a private hearing. “This is a public matter and the hearing should be public. It is not a family dispute that has to be settled privately,” he said.HT
Jailbreak: Kin of SIMI activists appear before judicial panel
VHP calls Jamia Millia Islamia a 'refuge for anti-nationals'
New Delhi: VHP termed Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia a "refuge for anti-nationals" following an exclusive MAIL TODAY report quoting BJP leader Shazia Ilmi's allegation that the university prevented her participation in a seminar on the triple talaq issue.FANS, which counts RSS leader Indresh Kumar as its chief patron, says it planned the seminar originally for Feb. 16, but it could be held only on Feb. 28 after the BJP speakers were dropped and the title changed. The varsity administration, however, said it had no role to play as the event was not organised by it. V-C Talat Aziz rejected Ilmi's claims based on the older invite that mentions the topic of debate as triple talaq and has her name as one of the speakers, while the newer invitation modified both."Originally the conference that was slated to happen was regarding women's empowerment and not triple talaq," Aziz  said. "But then, just one day before the date, organisers came to us saying it was on triple talaq. Since they came at the eleventh hour, we told them there was no hall available as they had been allotted to others. So we told them it was not possible;there was no context of triple talaq involved. So there is no question of not allowing Shazia Ilmi."Mail Today
Why media is not highlighting Jamia’s tolerant side for holding RSS event amicably on campus: okhlatimes
‘Triple Talaq a non-issue,’ say Muslim Girls in Azamgarh college
The thinnest of edges off the bat has carried the ball into the waiting gloves of the wicket-keeper. Inside a fenced, verdant cricket field, where a match is on, the bowler screams an appeal. The batsman is adjudged out. As the fielders gather in a huddle, the next batsman walks in.On the other side of the fence, a bevy of burqa-clad girls hurry down the narrow road, unruffled by the loud appeal from the cricket pitch. They slip through the metaled gates of the grey-white building of fine architecture before disappearing out of sight.Welcome to the girl’s hostel of Azamgarh’s Shibli National College, the alma mater of Kaifi Azmi, Urdu poet of repute and actress Shabana Azmi’s father. thequint
JNU bags Visitor Award for best central university
New Delhi:JNU, which has been at the centre of major controversies for past an year, has won the best university award. In a series of tweets from the official account of Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Pranab Mukherjee has revealed the name of the winners of this year’s Visitor’s Awards. In the research category, the award is jointly won by Dr Shyam Sunder from Banaras Hindu University and Prof Niranjan Karak from Tezpur University.Dr Deepak Pant from Central University of Himachal won the Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’.indianexpress
'Shoot down anti-nationals' slogans raised at ABVP protest in Delhi: huffingtonpost
ABVP activists led a march on Thursday demanding action against "anti-national activities" in the Delhi University. Several people tweeted that there were slogans of "desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro saalon ko" (shoot down traitors of the country) raised at the march near the North Campus' Art Faculty. The march is seen as a counter to one by the Left-leaning AISA on 22 Feb.at Ramjas College.Members of ABVP allegedly clashed with college students, journalists, and teachers who had gathered to take out a march against the RSS-backed group's disruption a day earlier at a seminar in which JNU student Umar Khalid was invited. Thousands of students of Delhi University marched this week again at the Khalsa college to protest against ABVP's supposed strong-arm tactics to further an aggressive brand of nationalism at college campuses.
President Mukherjee speaks out on campus violence, says No room in India for intolerant Indian: IndiaToday
New Delhi: There is no room in this country for an intolerant Indian and students in India's universities must engage in "reasoned discussion and debate" rather than "propagate a culture of unrest", President Pranab Mukherjee said today. "There should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian," President said while delivering the 6th KS Rajamony Memorial Lecture on "India@70" today in Kerala's Kochi district."Those in universities must engage in reasoned discussion and debate rather than propagate a culture of unrest. It is tragic to see them caught in the vortex of violence and disquiet," he said.
UP polls 2017: ‘Deploy women police officials at booths to check voter ID of burqa-clad women’, BJP writes to EC
New Delhi:BJP has written to Election Commission on Thursday demanding deployment of women police officials at booths in phase six and seven of polling to check voter ID of burqa-clad women, reported news agency ANI. In a letter to the poll-watchdog, BJP reportedly said large number of burqa-clad women cast their votes, hence proper checking of IDs is important to avoid bogus voting. The party also asked for deployment of Paramilitary forces at polling booths in sensitive areas of phase six and seven.The election campaigning will come to an end in 49 assembly seats in 7 districts of east UP  going to polls in the sixth phase on March 4. indianexpress
ATS fabricates every case they deal with, says man acquitted in blast case after 9 yrs: indiatoday
Mumbai:Abdul Wahid Shaikh, the man who was acquitted by a special court in 2007 train blast case after 9 years, released his book written in Urdu 'Begunah Quaedi' on Wednesday.At the book launch in Mumbai apart from the publishers, Jamiate-ul-ulema, Shaikh's lawyers and political activist Arun Ferreira, who had about a dozen cases against him, marked their presence.About his book, which is currently priced at Rs 200, Shaikh said, "It's not a biography. This book is dedicated to all those people who were convicted in the train blast case and who have a hope that they would be acquitted soon."Shaikh alleged that while he was writing the book, the jail authorities tore up the writings but he somehow managed to finish it in the nine years that he spent behind the bars.Even as everything at the event was recorded by 2 policemen present, Shaikh spoke about his organisation 'Innocence Network', which is an endeavour to help others who have been convicted in the train blast cases. He added, "I still get threats from policemen who ask me why I have started 'Innocence Network' for the acquital of all those who have been convicted and I tell them that I have spent 9 years in the jail for no reason and this is my effort to save the innocent souls languishing behind the bars."
BJP using ATS as political tool: Cong
The Congress alleged in the Assembly that the state govt  is not taking terrorist threats seriously after CM  Vijay Rupani, in a written reply to a question, said 42 out of total 74 approved posts in the Anti- Terrorist Squad are at present vacant. The vacant posts include that of 2 SPs, 3 inspectors, 13 police sub inspectors, 14 head constables and 10 driver-cumarmed police constables. Godhra Congress MLA C K Raulji, who had raised the question, told Mirror: “The unfilled posts show that Gujarat is not taking the issue of terrorism seriously. ” Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia claimed that it is unfortunate that ATS is used for creating ‘sensationalism’ and to achieve political objectives of the BJP. “Unfortunately, in Gujarat ATS is being used for fake encounters. At one point the entire Gujarat ATS team was in jail.Ahmedabad Mirror
Madras HC allows Pepsi, Coca Cola to draw water from TN river, locals stage protests
Madurai:Madras High Court on Thursday allowed Coca Cola and Pepsi to draw water from a river in Tamil Nadu for their bottling plants but the lifting of the ban triggered protests by locals who stood knee-deep in the river. In a relief for the Cola majors, the Madurai bench of the court gave them permission to draw water from the Thamirabarani river for their bottling plants in Tirunelveli district for manufacturing soft drinks besides packaged drinking water.Dismissing a PIL filed by D A Prabakar, a consumer activist, and one Appavo, a Division Bench of Justice A Selvam and Justice P Kalaiarasan lifted the ban earlier imposed by the court on the firms for drawing water from the river. The court had given the interim injunction in November last year. The soft drinks companies sought a direction on lifting the ban on the ground that they were using only the surplus water.PTI
Tamil Nadu: Coca Cola, Pepsi ban will lead to black marketing, says Harsimrat Kaur Badal
Pansare murder case: Cops question Sanatan Sanstha founder Athavale in Goa
Pune:SIT probing murder of communist leader Govind Pansare has been questioning Jayant Balaji Athavale, the founder of Sanatan Sanstha, at the organisation’s headquarters in Goa since Tuesday.State CID chief Sanjay Kumar, who is heading the SIT, confirmed the questioning of Jayant Balaji Athavale on Wednesday.“He was questioned on Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said. He refused to give more details. indianexpress
Aadhaar will be must for booking train tickets online soon
Railways will soon move towards Aadhaar-based online ticketing system to prevent touts from blocking a bulk of tickets, end fraudulent bookings and curb cases of impersonation. Aadhaar number has been made mandatory for senior citizens to avail concessions in train tickets from April 1. Indianexpress
Banks to levy Rs 150 after 4 cash transactions: B. Standard
New Delhi: Banks, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, from March 1 started imposing a minimum charge of Rs 150 per transaction for cash deposits and withdrawals beyond four free transactions in a month. New charges would apply to savings as well as salary accounts. The bank would also cap the third party cash transactions at Rs 25,000 per day, while cash handling charges would be withdrawn.This move by the banks is being considered as a move to discourage cash transactions and encourage digital payments. People can withdraw or deposit up to Rs 2 lakh from their savings or salary accounts through the home branch for one month. Transaction exceeding this amount will be charged with Rs 5 per Rs 1000 or a minimum amount of Rs 150.Daily transaction in terms of non-home branches up to Rs 25,000 are non-chargeable. Senior citizens and children will not be charged any amount.
PNB ATM: In Meerut, one more ‘Children Bank’ note
New Delhi:A day after a Delhi court granted bail to 26-year-old cash van custodian Mohammad Isha, accused of inserting fake notes with the title ‘Children Bank of India’ into an SBI ATM in Delhi’s Sangam Vihar, another such case has come to light — but this time from Meerut in UP . In the new case, a primary school teacher allegedly received a fake Rs 2,000 note from a Punjab National Bank ATM in Meerut. Teacher, Sunil Dutt Sharma, said he had submitted the note to the bank branch in Meerut. This, even as the accused in the first case alleged he was beaten up in police custody. indianexpress
India will have world's largest Muslim population by 2050, predicts new research
India will have the highest Muslim population in the world by 2050, American think tank Pew Research Centre predicted in a new report. India will have over 300 million Muslims by 2050, according to PEW's report.In 2010, there were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and if the current demographic trends continue, the Muslim population is expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century. Islam is currently the world's second-largest religion after Christianity and is the fastest-growing religion on the planet."The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the ISIL and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries," the think tank stated in its report.The report, titled "Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world", compiled key questions about Muslims, as it said that many Americans did not know much about them.A close estimate of 3.3 million Muslims of all ages lived in the US in 2015, about 1% of the US population. Demographic projections estimate Muslims in 2050 will make up 2.1% of the US population.A majority of Muslims, almost 62%, live in Asia-Pacific region which includes, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey.The world's largest Muslim population currently resides in Indonesia. Study also projects that by 2050, 10% of all Europeans will be Muslims.DNA
ICHR’s post-truth: Netaji Chandra Bose is the latest victim
Once a prime national centre of historical research, ICHR has been totally handed over to the RSS pracharaks. It is nobody’s argument that RSS cadres have no right to influence research in Indian history. But as George Orwell in his masterpiece ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1949) wrote, it should not be left to the whims of a section of the sectarian ruling elite which specializes in daily changing historic records to fit its polarising propaganda goals of the day.The deliberations at recently concluded 3-day (Feb.8-10, 2017) national seminar on Subhas Chandra Bose and Indian National Army organized by ICHR show that even George Orwell and practitioners of post-truth dictum would be embarrassed by reliance on sheer false-hood by the RSS historians and leaders invited for the seminar.The guest of honour, organising secretary of RSS sponsored Akhila Bharathiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana (ABISY), Balmukund Pandey and a senior RSS cadre went on to declare: “There has been an attempt to demonise our country’s icons and heroes and Subhas Chandra Bose was the biggest victim of this effort. If there is one person who represents the country’s freedom struggle, it is Subhas Chandra Bose”. indianexpress
Gujarat: Dalit sarpanch murdered for winning the election
Jaysukh Madhad, a Dalit youth from Gujarat’s Amreli district, was warned against contesting sarpanch elections, which concluded in December last year. Still, the 25-year-old Madhad contested and went on to win the polls, defeating the panel of those who had threatened him and becoming the sarpanch of Varasda village. 3 months later, on March 1, Madhad was stabbed to death. “Madhad was killed by the three men who had warned him against contesting the election of Sarpanch held last year,“ said Amreli Superintendent of Police, Jagdish Patel. The accused managed to flee from the spot after killing Madhad. newslaundry.com
 ‘They wish every day to be dead’: The struggles of children in Gujarat’s riot rehabilitation camps
“I haven’t had a drink in five months,” said Javed Shaikh. His voice slurs and hands shake as he spits back into a tiny glass, the mango juice his wife had placed before him. It has been 15 years since the moment that defined Shaikh for life: then 14, Shaikh witnessed a Hindu mob rape and burn a pregnant Muslim woman to death during the 2002 Godhra riots in Gujarat.That day, as he hid under a pile of dead bodies, Shaikh had seen both his parents and his older sister killed. He has told his story since to the courts, to politicians, to the numerous journalists who have sought him out – but has never spoken with a counsellor or psychiatrist about the things he saw as a child. Since 2002, he has moved from place to place seeking comfort. Each time, he has returned to Ahmedabad.15 years later, there is no official count of how many children were orphaned during the riots. Scroll.in
Shiv Sena taunts BJP for failing to criticise legislator who called army wives ‘unfaithful’
Shiv Sena taunted BJP, its ally in Maharashtra and at the Centre, for not slamming one of its legislators who called army wives unfaithful. It added that the definition of patriotism cannot be changed according to one’s convenience.In an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece, Saamana, the Shiv Sena criticised Maharashtra BJP legislator Prashant Paricharak’s statement on how army wives have babies despite soldiers being at the borders for long spells. Keeping in mind that supporters of Kashmiri separatist Afzal Guru are called traitors, the party asked what Paricharak should be called. hindustantimes
Jats protest:, warn of Parliament siege next
New Delhi: Several thousand Jats from various states held a rally at Jantar Mantar here on Thursday to press their demands, and announced they would intensify their stir in Delhi, even laying siege to Parliament on March 20.Several demonstrators were detained after they tried to break through police barricades on Parliament Street.IANS 
From Dadri To Kansas, Countering the Politics of Hate:Mohan J Dutta, professor, in Singapore
Are Authorities Trying to Undermine Victim of Gujarat ‘Sex Racket’ Involving BJP Leaders? The Wire
Narendra Modi’s Silence on Kansas Shooting Speaks Volumes:RUCHIRA SEN
GDP growth: It feels like our govt  has taken lessons from the Soviet Union in massaging data:Girish Shahane
PM Modi’s ‘Harvard’ dig at Amartya Sen: Here’s what the economist said about govt
WORLD
US threatens to withdraw from UN human rights body for criticising Israel
Trump administration is apparently considering quitting the UN Human Rights Council because of its critical stance towards Israel.US officials are thought to be weighing their membership of the UN human rights body with an eye to reform and balance its agenda and end what they believe is the forum’s “obsession with Israel”.Reuters reported comments by the US’ deputy assistant secretary of state, Erin Barclay, telling members of the UN HRC: “In order for this Council to have any credibility, let alone success, it must move away from its unbalanced and unproductive positions.”“As we consider our future engagements, my govt  will be considering the Council’s actions with an eye toward reform to more fully achieve the Council’s mission to protect and promote human rights,” said Barclay. The Council’s next session is scheduled for Monday, and the administration is not expected to pull out of the council before that. middleeastmonitor
Netanyahu says he urged White House to pull US from UNHRC: Israeli paper
PM Benjamin Netanyahu said he suggested to the White House that the US cut its ties with the UNHRC, according to a recording of a meeting he held with Israeli lawmakers.The administration, it was reported Wednesday, is reviewing its participation in the human rights body over the forum's "obsession with Israel", a senior US official said. "I raised this issue and also raised the question of whether the US should remain in the UNHRC," Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers in the recording of a meeting on Monday.Netanyahu was then asked by a fellow lawmaker if it was wise to leave the UN council to its own devices, to which he answered: "It's better to leave and delegitimize these organizations." haaretz
Israel has begun dividing Al-Aqsa: OIC
Jerusalem:Israel has begun partitioning East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque complex with a view to creating a prayer space for Jewish worshippers, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned.“The placement of a glass room inside the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex is a first step toward the spatial division of the mosque,” Ahmad al-Ruwaidhi, the OIC’s representative in Palestine, said.The move, he asserted, “follows the imposition of a temporal division [by Israel] in the form of daily incursions [into Al-Aqsa] by Jewish settlers”. What’s more, the move reveals “Israel’s intention to dedicate a place for Talmudic rituals inside the Al-Haram al-Sharif,” al-Ruwaidhi said, using the Arabic term for the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He also warned of the dangers posed by Israeli excavations that are reportedly being carried out under the holy site.AA
Ex-Nigerian minister Amina sworn in as UN Deputy Secretary-General
Amina Mohammed, the new Deputy Secretary-General, has said that Security Council reform is a priority for the world body.“Security Council reform is a critical part of what we do in the next few years and somehow we have to balance that if we are to address the (conflict) prevention agenda,” Mohammed told the media after being sworn in on Tuesday.She was answering a reporter’s question if she considered reforming the Council to make it more representative a part of her mandate to work for the overall reform of the UN.India has invested heavily in Council reforms and is lobbying for a permanent seat on the body. She is a former Environment Minister of Nigeria, was appointed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the second highest job at the UN. IANS
Egypt arrests 9 Brotherhood leaders accused of revolt plot
Cairo:Egyptian authorities arrested 9 leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group on charges that they belong to a terrorist organization and were plotting to overthrow the govt, authorities said.The detained include Abdel-Rahman el-Morsi, a Brotherhood leader and member of group’s Guidance Office, the Supreme State Security Prosecution said, adding that the men were now under investigation.The arrests come a day after Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry began a visit to Washington to strengthen such ties with new administration. He briefed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Egypt’s “gradual” reform program, which Shoukry’s office described in a statement as aiming to “preserve the society’s stability in order to successfully complete the democratic transition process.” Shoukry also met US NSA Lt. General H R McMaster on Monday. Later yesterday, a Cairo court sentenced four defendants to prison involved with soccer fan organizations known as “Ultras” to prison for “incitement against the state.” One of the defendants, Abdel-Rahman al-Qaradawi, was given five years for disseminating “false news,” damaging the country’s interests and disturbing peace and security.” AP/PTI
US mosques get threatening letters calling for ‘slaughter of Muslims’
Washington Dc:Two mosques in the US state of Maryland have received threatening letters calling for the ‘slaughter of Muslims’, in apparent hate crime incidents. Two Islamic centres in Silver Spring, Maryland, received violent threats by mail. The president of the Islamic Education Society discovered an envelope inside a mailbox on Monday containing a threatening note, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said. Police said this incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The faithful at the mosque are still reeling after the terrifying message was dropped in their mailbox.PTI
Descendants of Slaves, Forerunners of Justice: American Muslims Must Stop Apologizing:Ramzy Baroud
UN: Both sides committed war crimes in Syria's Aleppo
Both sides in last year's battle for Syria's Aleppo city committed war crimes, including a "deliberate" bombing of a humanitarian convoy by the Syrian govt,according to a new UN investigation. UN Commission of Inquiry's report released on Wednesday said Syrian govt and allied Russian forces "pervasively used" unguided munitions to bomb densely populated areas in rebel-held eastern Aleppo between July and its fall on Dec. 22, amounting to the war crime of indiscriminate attacks. aljazeera
Iraq civilians killed after Mosul mosque airstrike
A number of civilians and suspected Daesh members were killed in an attack that hit a mosque that was being attended by residents and damaged neighbouring houses in the west of the Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday, 3 residents said. middleeastmonitor
Sudan gets PM for first time in 28 years
For the first time in 28 years, Sudan has a PM, presidential assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud.Bakri Hassan Saleh was appointed to the post by President. middleeastmonitor
 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:56 PM)

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