Thursday, 18 May 2017

Evening NEWS DIGEST
INDIA: Muslim Personal Law
Decided to send an advisory to Qazis against triple talaq: AIMPLB to SC
New Delhi: All India Muslim Personal Law Board on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it does not want the practice of triple talaq to continue and has decided to send an advisory to all 'Qazis' across the country to put an end to it through 'Nikahnama'.“We do not want the practice to go on. We have held a meeting yesterday and will send a circular to all the Qazis to mention it in Nikahnama that it would not be permitted,”senior advocate Kapil Sibal submitted before a five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice J S Khehar.In his concluding arguments on behalf of AIMPLB, Sibal cautioned the apex court to avoid the “dangerous and slippery slope” since it is not the domain of the court to take upon itself the task of declaring the practice as illegal or unconstitutional.The SC, however, asked the counsel that when the board is going to issue a direction to the Qazis in this regard and if it would submit so in an affidavit. Though the counsel agreed to file an affidavit as early as possible, the petitioners expressed their reservations that such an advisory would have little effect on the ground.Countering Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's argument that the practice of triple talaq has to be tested on the principle of equity, good conscience and constitutional morality, the counsel said such an examination cannot take place in the absence a suitable law on the subject.“It is for the legislature to pass a law which can be tested on the principle of constitutional morality otherwise my right is protected under Article 25(1)(everyone entitled to practice,profess and propagate religion) of the Constitution,” he said.“So bring a law if you want to some social reforms. There is a process, follow the process.The court is not to decide what are the sinful practices in the world. Lots of sinful practices are still protected in the society,” he added. deccanherald
Muslim board says women can keep triple talaq clause out of marriage contract, SC reserves order
New Delhi: A powerful Muslim body defending triple talaq told the Supreme Court on Thursday it was willing to ask all qazis in the country to give brides the option of keeping the controversial divorce practice out of their marriage contract.A 5-judge constitution bench hearing a bunch of petitions demanding an end to the controversial custom has reserved the order in the case.AIMPLB conciliatory position came in response to a suggestion by the court that the board issue an advisory of binding nature to the qazis solemnising marriages that the husband would not end the marriage by uttering the word triple talaq thrice in one go. The board said the advisory would be issued within a week. As the board is not a statutory body, its advice is not binding. On the last day of hearing, the board again questioned the Centre, which has backed the petitioner, saying the government should bring in a law and not take the legal route to scrap the divorce practice.“Govt talks about constitutional morality and is not following the Constitution,”its counsel Kapil Sibal said.The constitution provided for a procedure to bring in a law for a social reform. The court could then “test that law to infer whether it violates the constitution right to profess one’s religion”, he said.The court, which wrapped up the hearing in record six days, had a query for the Muslim law board. The board had accepted instant triple talaq was sinful then how can it be practised?“Lots of sinful things are practised by society and they are protected by law,” Sibal said.The court had on Thursday asked the board if it was possible to give a woman a choice to say no to triple talaq. “Can a woman be given an option to say no to triple talaq at the time of execution of nikahnama?” it had said, referring to the Islamic marriage contract. A nikhnama is prenuptial agreement that spells out the rights and responsibilities of the groom and the bride. Triple talaq allows Sunni Muslim men to end a marriage by uttering the word talaq (I divorce you) thrice in quick succession. The petitioners and the government want the practice scrapped, saying it was unconstitutional, against gender justice and was biased in favour of men.Muslim law board defended the practice, saying it was a matter of faith just like Ram Lalla’s birthplace, referring to the long-pending dispute over building a temple to Lord Ram in Ayodhya, which Hindus believe is his birth place.The government has told the court it would bring a matrimony law for Mulsim if it were to strike down triple talaq.If the government brings in a new law it could mean the start of a process to overhaul Muslim personal laws in India that are now guided by a 1937 Sharia code. India has separate sets of personal laws for each religion governing marriage, divorce, succession, adoption and maintenance.HT
NDA has made a U-turn on personal law: Kapil Sibal
New Delhi: By questioning the constitutional validity of triple talaq, the Centre had contradicted the stand taken in 2001 by the then NDA govt which had said that personal law could be a legitimate basis for discrimination, counsel for All India Muslim Personal Board Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Sibal had argued that personal law practice like triple talaq could not be termed either right or wrong as it is a matter of faith and hence fell outside the purview of the test of constitutional morality. But attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said since the board claims it to be part of personal law, it must meet gender justice, equality and women's dignity as mandated in the Constitution.Sibal said after the SC in the Shah Bano case ruled that a divorced Muslim woman was entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC beyond the 'iddat' period if she had not remarried and was unable to maintain herself, Parliament had enacted the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 to step around the ruling in 1985.This law was challenged by Danial Latifi and the SC judgment in this case in 2001 recorded the then NDA government's submissions through its solicitor general, who had defended the validity of the Act saying, "Personal law is a legitimate basis for discrimination, if at all, and, therefore, does not offend Article 14 of the Constitution."Sibal said, "The governments have changed and the law officers have changed. And, there is a change of stand now. Then they had argued what AIMPLB argues today that perceived discrimination in personal law practices could not be termed to be violative of Article 14. But the NDA government now argues that triple talaq, a personal law practice, must be struck down because it is discriminatory."Sibal did not mention that matters of a community's faith, depending on the exigencies of a situation, had always been a matter of convenience for any government, be it NDA or UPA. In September 2007, the UPA government had filed an affidavit in the SC in the case relating to dredging of Rama Sethu in Palk Strait, which was challenged by petitioners, including Subramanian Swamy, arguing that the Sethu is a place of worship and matter of faith for Hindus.UPA government and Archaeological Survey of India in a joint affidavit had said: "The petitioners while seeking relief have primarily relied upon the contents of the Valimiki Ramayana, the Ram Charit Manas by Tulsidas and mythological texts, which formed an important part of ancient Indian literature, but which cannot be said to be historical records to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters or the occurrence of the event, depicted therein." Doubting the existence of Rama and Ramayana had created a furore that had forced the UPA government to withdraw the affidavit.Though Sibal was right in arguing that the SC, in its 67-year history, never struck down any personal law practice, the Bombay HC had brushed aside the practice of Hindus not allowing entry of women into Shani Shingnapur temple and directed the government to permit women's entry into the temple in March last year.A similar order by Bombay HC allowing entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali Dargah was initially stayed by the SC, which later virtually forced the Dargah management to agree and make arrangement for women's entry to the innermost chamber. timesofindia
Triple talaq: Salman Khurshid hopes Supreme Court will harmonise different views
New Delhi : Salman Khurshid, Supreme Court, Triple talaq, AIMPLB, Shariat , Muslim community “There is a little difference in my and personal law board’s opinion,” he said.Hinting towards the difference in his and All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB) opinion, amicus curiae in the triple talaq matter Salman Khurshid suggested that the court should harmonise different views so that becomes one acceptable view available for the courts in the country. “I have suggested that this harmonising effort has to be undertaken.The personal law board has said that the harmonising effect cannot be done by court and should not be done by court. They have suggested legislation. I have said that if something is a part of personal law, then neither legislation nor courts can interfere,” Khurshid told the media here.Deviating from the Muslim Personal Law Board’s opinion, Khurshid said one cannot contract out of faith, just like one cannot legislate out of faith.“There is a little difference in my and personal law board’s opinion,” he said.Khurshid further said that the focus remained on what is the fundamental area that Shariat occupies and whether triple talaq is an integral part of Shariat or of personal law.“There are two views there and there have been several competing views as far as first goals of jurisprudence are concerned. The court will now have to decide whether it should harmonise different views, as I suggested, so that there is one acceptable view available for courts in our country,” he said.ANI
How can 'sinful' triple talaq be a matter of faith: SC asks Muslim bodies
Triple talaq case: After six days of hearing petitions, Supreme Court reserves its verdict
Supreme Court completes hearing, reserves verdict in triple talaq case
Case file: Background of the triple talaq matter, and key questions before apex court
Man sends ‘talaq’ notice by registered post, Kerala court nullifies the divorce
A family court in Kerala on Wednesday denied divorce to a petitioner seeking legal validity for his “talaq” sent by a registered post.This comes amid a raging debate in the country over the practice under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by simply uttering the Arabic word thrice.The court in Malappuram observed due procedure as prescribed by the Quran was not followed by the petitioner. It said the petitioner failed to produce any evidence of him going through due procedure of the talaq and also failed to cite any specific reason for seeking the divorce. Malappuram resident Ali Faizi had moved the family court seeking legal validity for talaq. Though the petitioner sent the “talaq” to his wife in 2012, the respondent did not accept the letter sent by registered post. The court citing earlier orders of the Kerala and Karnataka high courts held that there should be a reasonable cause for talaq.“Taalq should be given only after conciliation attempts by husband and wife failed. No such attempts were initiated here so the petitioner is not entitled to get the declaration as prayed for,” judge Ramesh Bhai said dismissing the petition.“Besides this, no valid cause was cited for talaq,” the judge said.Since the petitioner failed to meet the due procedure as per the Quran and Islamic laws, his talaq carried no legal validity, the court observed. hindustantimes
Family court dismisses husband's talaq petition
OTHERS
ICJ stay on Jadhav hanging: Pak says does not accept UN court’s jurisdiction, will take case to ‘logical end’
Islamabad: Pakistan reacted to the International Court of Justice’s order not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national convicted of espionage and terrorism, by saying on Thursday that the United Nations’ highest court has no jurisdiction in national security matters.The country’s attorney general also contended that the ICJ’s order did not change the status of Jadhav in any manner. “We are determined to pursue this case to its logical end,” said a statement from the attorney general’s office.Dunya TV channel quoted Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria as saying: “We do not accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ in matters related to the national security of the country.”Pakistan, he added, “will present solid evidence against the Indian spy in the international court”.Zakaria reacted after The Hague-based ICJ ordered Pakistan not to execute Jadhav, 46, till it gives a final decision on India’s petition to annul his death sentence. ICJ also rejected Pakistan’s stance that it did not have the jurisdiction to take up the case.The World Court also agreed with India’s argument about the urgency of Jadhav’s case, noting that Pakistan had not given an assurance that Jadhav would not be executed before the ICJ gives its final decision.Talking to state-run Pakistan Television after the order was issued, Zakaria said India was “trying to hide its real face” by taking Jadhav’s case to the ICJ. “The real face of India will be exposed before the world,” he said, adding Jadhav had “confessed” to his involvement in sabotage, terrorism and subversion activities.Zakaria said Pakistan had already informed the ICJ that it does not accept the court’s jurisdiction in national security matters.Earlier, he told a weekly news briefing said India was trying to portray Jadhav’s case “as a humanitarian issue to divert the world’s attention from his role in fomenting terrorism”.“After India stood exposed in state-sponsored terrorism and financing terrorism, it tried to divert attention (by) presenting the Kulbushan Jadhav case with a humanitarian angle,” he said.The statement from the attorney general’s office said: “In our submissions (to the ICJ) on May 15, we had assured the court unambiguously that…Jadhav would be provided every opportunity and remedy available under the law to defend his case.”Noting that Jadhav still has “ample” time to petition for clemency, the statement said Pakistan had proposed to the ICJ that a final hearing be held on the “merits and maintainability of the case” as early as possible.Retired Pakistani judge Shaiq Usmani told DawnNews channel that the government had erred by appearing in the ICJ. “It’s Pakistan’s mistake to have appeared there. They shouldn’t have attended. They have shot themselves in the foot,” he said.Usmani said Jadhav’s case will continue in Pakistan. “Until the ICJ gives it verdict, the case will go on in Pakistan. But he cannot be executed until the stay order is there. The proceedings will continue here,” he added.HT
Barkati injured in scuffle during protest by association of mosque committees
Kolkata : Barely a day after Syed Noor-ur Rehman Barkati was removed as Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid by the mosque’s custodian committee, the controversial cleric was injured in a scuffle between his supporters and people from the local Muslim community who want Barkati to vacate office immediately.To stop the tension from escalating, a police contingent was deployed outside the mosque which stands at the heart of Chowringhee Square. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 was also enforced by the Kolkata Police.To add to Barkati’s woos, Tahaffuz- E- Masjid Committee, the highest body of mosque committees in West Bengal, demanded legal action against Barkati if he did not vacate the Imam’s office within the seven-day deadline.The scuffle between Barkati’s supporters and local people started soon after the completion of the Asr Namaz (afternoon daily prayer) on Thursday. In the midst of the scuffle, Barkati was allegedly hit on the head by one of the protesters. hindustantimes
Presidential polls: 'Gopal Krishna Gandhi under consideration': Yechury
Hyderabad: Expressing confidence in the ability of the opposition in fielding a common candidate in the ensuing presidential polls, CPI(M) general Secretary Sitaram Yechury today suggested that Gopal Krishna Gandhi may be among the possible choices but said that the ruling party should declare their candidate first in order to build consensus. “Yes we have looked into the name of Gopal Krishna Gandhi. Few suggested a second term for President Pranab, but a consensus must be arrived at first,” said Yechury. Speaking to press after two-day Telangana state CPI(M) meeting here on Thursday, the 64-year-old veteran cited the broad consensus in the case of APJ Abdul Kalam and said that the selection of the candidate depends on whether the BJP wants secular supervision from the Raisina Hill or communal supervision but concluded that so far BJP has not taken that initiative. deccanherald
Justice MSA Siddiqui launches front for social justice of weaker sections: IndiaTomorrow
New Delhi: Former judge of Delhi High Court and former chairperson of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI),Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui has launched All India Federation for Social Justice in order to ensure justice for all oppressed sections of the society including Muslims and Dalits.Briefing the media about aims and objectives of the federation here on Thursday, Justice Siddiqui said: "The objective of the federation is to unite Dalits, Muslims and all oppressed sections of the society and to uplift them at all levels."Addressing a press conference at the Constitution Club, Justice Siddiqui said: "If Muslims want to bring positive changes, they will need to change their own mindset.They should become powerful not helpless. If Muslims want to live with their identity they should not be allowed to be defeated at political level."When asked about saffron groups working at ground level to divide Hindus and Muslims, he said: "Divisive forces will not be successful if we unite and empower ourselves."Stronger we become the weaker they will be. He said that his outfit "will work at ground level."
'RSS vaccine': Muslim students in Assam flee schools fearing forced sterilisation
Classes in three schools in Guwahati had to be called off much earlier than their scheduled time as more than 80 percent of the students were taken back by their parents in fear after a rumour spread that the BJP led government in Assam is going to sterilise the Muslim students to control birth rate. The incident on Tuesday was seen in continuum with similar incidents that took place in remote parts of Assam on Monday after the health department intensified the drive to vaccinate against Japanese Encephalitis."The classes were going on regularly till 11:30 am in the morning today. But suddenly a number of guardians came to the school and informed that they want to take back their students to their homes, as they feared that the students will be sterilised in the school in the pretext of vaccination," said Manoj Senapati, a teacher in one of the schools.However, as Senapati confirmed, there was no programme of vaccination in the school on Tuesday."It is usual to vaccinate students in schools itself against diseases like Japanese Encephalitis. But even such programme was not there in the school on Tuesday," he said.The teacher said that the school authorities tried to persuade the parents that even if any programme for vaccination is taken by the health department in the school, no student will go through it without due consent from the parents and students.
Hyderabad police detain 3  IS suspects for questioning
Hyderabad: The Hyderabad police on Wednesday detained three men suspected of having links with the Islamic State (IS).The three suspects – Mohammad Abdullah Wasim Basith, Abdul Hannan Qureshi, Salman Mohiuddin – were brought to the Hyderabad Central Crime Station (CCS) for questioning following intelligence inputs that they had connections with the IS.Hyderabad CCS deputy commissioner of police Avinash Mohanty told HT that they were picked up for questioning and no formal arrests have been made so far. “We are questioning them at present. That is all,” he said.He said one of them was arrested in the past too on the suspicion of joining the IS, but was let off after counselling. “The other 2 had past criminal record and were involved in some cases. They are also being questioned now,” Mohanty said. hindustantimes
Propaganda on terror lethal than bullets, IEDs: HC
New Delhi: Spreading propaganda about terror acts is more lethal than the use of bullets or detonation of IEDs, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said while rejecting the bail pleas of two Indian Mujahideen members accused in the 2008 Delhi serial blasts case. Justice Ashutosh Kumar dismissed the pleas of Asif Bashiruddin Shaikh and Akbar Ismail Choudhary, both said to be members of the media cell of the banned terror group, holding that he was not inclined to grant the relief while the trial court was yet to complete examination of all the 610 witnesses. The court said a detailed order giving reasons for rejection of the bail would be passed later.The lawyer for the two accused had claimed that the role attributed to them was that they were part of IM’s media cell which had sent out threat emails after the blasts which claimed 27 lives and injured 135.He said they were moving the high court for bail for the first time after being arrested in 2008 and sent to judicial custody in March 2009.The lawyer said that till date only 221 out of the 610 witnesses have been examined despite the trial court exclusively hearing the case on all working Saturdays and it could take a substantial amount of time to examine the rest.The court, however, said it would be difficult for it to grant the relief sought by the accused at the present stage of proceedings in the trial court.Five cases were lodged in connection with the blasts at Gaffar Market in Karol Bagh, Barakhamba Road in Connaught Place and M-Block Market in Greater Kailash and recovery of a bomb near India Gate in September 2008.All the five cases were clubbed by the trial court for the purpose of framing of charges and trial saying “they arise from the series of same transaction”.13 accused facing trial in the case are Mohd Shakeel, Mohd Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Zia-ur-Rehaman, Saquib Nisar, Mohd Sadique, Kayamuddin Kapadia, Mohd Hakim, Mohd Mansoor Ashgar Peerbhoy, Mubin Kadar Sheikh, Asif, Chaudhary and Shahzad Ahmed.PTI
BJP spoiled Ram temple issue by pulling down Babri mosque: Samajwadi Party
LUCKNOW: Noting that BJP has hijacked Ram temple issue from the Congress, Leader of the Opposition in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Ram Govind Chaudhary today said had the Babri mosque not been pulled down, the matter would have been resolved by now. "It was the Congress which got the locks removed, placed the idols and Rajiv Gandhi got the 'shilanyas' done but you (BJP) hijacked the issue...had you not got the matter spoiled by pulling down the Babri mosque, the issue would have been resolved by now," Chaudhary said. He was speaking on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor for his address to the joint sitting of the state legislature. PTI
Tension prevails in UP village over replacement of damaged mosque tin roof
Meerut: Tension continues to prevail at Aurangshahpur village, 3 km from Meerut, under Transport Nagar police station, where residents allegedly backed by BJP leaders protested against the replacement of a tin roof on a disputed mosque.Known as Golabadh Masjid, the structure has been a bone of contention between Hindus and Muslims for quite some time as it was allegedly erected on a disputed site.After a storm on Tuesday midnight, the old tin roof of the mosque was damaged and later replaced by a new one. This irked the local residents and soon the situation turned political with local BJP leaders also joining the protesters.On Wednesday morning, a police team was deployed in the village and officials assured the residents that the mosque will be sealed after adopting legal procedures. Earlier this month, the Allahabad High Court had also passed an order in this regard. timesofindia
WORLD
US sticking by Iran N deal is good news for Rouhani: AFP
Tehran: US decision to stick by the nuclear deal with Iran, despite new sanctions on its missile programme, provided welcome news for President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday, a day before his bid for re-election.The administration of US President Donald Trump chose to continue waiving nuclear-related sanctions on Wednesday despite its criticism of the agreement.That was a relief to Rouhani, who made the 2015 nuclear deal the centrepiece of his efforts to end Iran’s isolation and rebuild its economy with foreign investment.He faces a tough battle for re-election on Friday against hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who has called for a much tougher stance against the West and says the nuclear deal has not improved the lives of the poor.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Election rhetoric 'unworthy'
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced the heated rhetoric of the country's presidential election campaign, calling it "unworthy", less than two days before Iranians go to the polls. With the withdrawal of other candidates, Friday's election has turned into what is seen as an unexpectedly tight race between incumbent President Hassan Rouhani of the Reformist bloc, and Ebrahim Raisi, a Principlist cleric and jurist.The two squared off last week in a fiery televised debate, the third and final such event ahead of the May 19 vote."In the election debates, some remarks were made that were unworthy of the Iranian nation. But the [wide] participation of the people will erase all of that," Khamenei told an audience on Wednesday. aljazeera
Chinese sanctioned by US for aiding Iran missile development
China said today that it had lodged a complaint with the United States after Washington imposed narrow penalties on Iranian and Chinese figures for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile programme. China has complained repeatedly to the United States about unilateral sanctions against Chinese individuals and companies linked to either Iran or North Korea’s nuclear or missile programmes. Chinese complaints come despite international recognition of the destabilising effect both Iran and North Korea have.North Korea possesses nuclear weapons, and many western countries as well as security experts suspect that Iran harbours designs to acquire atomic arms for itself, in addition to its suspected arsenal of chemical weapons that were produced during the 1980s.Although Iran is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and has promised to dismantle its chemical weapons arsenal, the US State Department in 2013 said that it had no accurate intelligence that proved that Iran had complied with the convention. middleeastmonitor
Iran airline supplying arms to Assad bypassed US sanctions
An Iranian airline that is under US sanctions for supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and the Lebanese Shia jihadist group Hezbollah used a Maltese leasing company to bypass sanctions.According to various testimonies to the US Congress from an American think tank, Iranian airline Mahan Air used Malta to circumvent US sanctions, reported Malta Today.Mahan Air, which is a private airline with ties to Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was hit with US sanctions three times since the Syrian conflict broke out in 2011 to discourage the airline from transporting troops and weapons to Syria’s battlefields in support of Iran’s Shia jihadist proxies. However, an American think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), warned in a recent report to Congress that Mahan Air had found a way to circumvent these sanctions through a network of front companies in various jurisdictions.The report states that a Maltese subsidiary, Hi Fly Malta, and an Iraqi regional airline, Al-Naser Airlines, acted as an intermediary for Mahan Air for the purchase of four planes from British airline leasing companies between 2013 and 2015.It is thought that on 8 May 2015, Al-Naser sold these four planes – along with five others – to Mahan Air, allowing the Iranian airline to acquire aircraft in violation of US sanctions. Middleeastmonitor
UN says 200,000 more expected to flee Iraq’s Mosul:AP
Baghdad: Another 200,000 people may flee their homes as the fighting in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul intensifies, the United Nations said on Thursday.UN humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande said that nearly 700,000 people have already been displaced from Mosul since US- backed Iraqi forces launched a major operation in October to retake the city from the Islamic State group. Iraqi forces have driven the militants from most of Mosul, but are still battling them in densely populated western districts.“The numbers of people fleeing their homes in western Mosul are overwhelming.They are fleeing under very difficult circumstances. Many are food insecure and haven’t had access to safe drinking water and medicines for weeks or months,” Grande said in a statement.AP hindustantimes
IS mining Mosul to stop families fleeing as Iraqi forces advance:Reuters
Baghdad : Islamic State militants are planting bombs near front doors in Mosul to prevent civilians leaving, a federal police commander and witnesses said on Wednesday, as Iraqi forces make their final push against the jihadists after seven months of fighting. Trapped in a shrinking area of the city, the militants are increasingly using the several hundred thousand civilians under their control as human shields to avoid being targeted or perhaps tarnish what Iraqi leaders describe as imminent victory. Backed by a U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi forces have made rapid gains since opening a new front in northwest Mosul this month and have now dislodged Islamic State from all but about 12 square km of the city.
Syrian force 'tightens noose' on Islamic State in Raqqa, says US-led coalition: Reuters
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have seized 350 square km in the past week, tightening "their noose" on Islamic State in an advance to isolate its base of operations at Raqqa, a spokesman for the US-led coalition said on Wednesday.Some 3,000 to 4,000 Islamic State fighters are thought to be holed up in Raqqa city where they continue to erect defences against the anticipated assault, drawing coalition air strikes to stop them, Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for US-led coalition, told Reuters in a phone interview from Baghdad.SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been encircling Raqqa since November in a multi-phased offensive backed by the U.S.-led coalition that is also fighting Islamic State in Iraq. Last week, SDF accomplished a major goal by capturing Tabqa some 50 km west of Raqqa.
Turkey demands removal of US envoy McGurk from coalition fighting ISIL
Turkey has called for the removal of the US diplomat coordinating an international coalition fighting the ISIL group in Syria and Iraq, accusing him of backing Syrian Kurdish fighters.Ankara regards the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) group, which has been fighting a decades-old armed campaign in southeast Turkey and is considered a "terrorist organisation" by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.Yet the US views the YPG, a central part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as its main ally in the battle on the ground against ISIL. Earlier in May, US President Donald Trump pledged to arm the group ahead of a planned attack on Raqqa, ISIL's self-proclaimed capital in Syria.Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, said on Thursday he wanted Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the anti-ISIL coalition, removed from his post."McGurk is definitely giving support to PKK and YPG. It would be useful if this person was replaced," Cavusoglu told the private NTV television.
Turkey goes to bat for executed Bangladesh Jamaat leaders again
TRT World –news website of Turkey’s national broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corporation – published a report on May 1 terming Bangladesh a “rogue state,” and criticising the government for trying and executing war criminals linked to Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and arrests of its supporters.The report titled “Bangladesh’s rogue state: 10 things to know” says the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh is not international enough and accuses the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, of using the tribunal for political gains.The report also lists police brutality, arbitrary arrests, silencing the opposition and enforced disappearances as being among the present government’s offences. It quotes the daughter of executed war criminal Mir Quasem Ali, Sumaiya Rabeya, to claim that women are raped in the custody of Bangladesh police.
Israeli settler shoots dead Palestinian protester
An Israeli settler has shot and killed a 23-year-old Palestinian during a protest in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian officials. The Palestinian health ministry said the victim succumbed to his wounds on Thursday shortly after being shot at by the settler who fired live ammunition on protesters near a military checkpoint in the village of Huwwara, local Ma'an News Agency reported. Palestinian security sources told Aljazeera/

 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:45 PM)


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