News and views across the globe.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Evening NEWS DIGEST
INDIA-CHINA PAK & J&K
Around 40% of ammunition types used by Indian Army will run out in 10 days: CAG report​
Even as the Indian Army faces off with the Chinese Army at Doka La,it has been hit by a scathing report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) who has raised issues of critical shortages in ammunition. The CAG has slammed the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and said that of the 152 types of ammunition used, 40 % would run out in less than 10 days, according to NDTV.Another 55 % of the ammunition was below the Minimum Acceptable Risk Level (MARL). MARL is the minimum amount of ammunition which has to be maintained at all times using which the army can fight for 20 days, said another report in Economic Times.In the report which was tabled in the Parliament on Friday, CAG also criticised the OFB for inadequate quality of ammunition supplied to the Army since March 2013.It also pointed out that the stock of fuzes for the artillery ammunition was at 17%, according to Indian Express.  Fuze is considered to be the brain of the artillery ammunition which is fitted to shell just before assembly/firing. This deficiency means that 83% of the high caliber artillery ammunition held by the army will be useless in an operation. Indian Express report further said that according to Govt  orders in force, the army is supposed to have ammunition for 40 days of intense war fighting. However, the report shows that as of Sept.2016, only 20%, i.e.31 out of 152 types of ammunition will last in a 40-day war.CAG said despite serious concerns highlighted in a high-level report on 'Ammunition management in Army' in 2015, no significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in the availability of ammunition and quality of ammunition supplied by the OFB. "Shortfall in meeting the production target by OFB continued. Further, a majority of the procurement cases from other than OFB which were initiated by Army headquarters during 2009-13 were pending as of Jan.2017," the CAG said in the report.The federal auditor also lambasted defence research organisation (DRDO) for import a balloon costing Rs 6.20 crore under a project for development of aerostat surveillance system, saying it lacked rationale. "Further, the project itself did not achieve its objective despite an expenditure of Rs 49.50 crore,"CAG observed. Talking about safety aspects, CAG said ammunition depots with a shortage of fire-fighting staff and equipment remained accident prone. The report also highlighted alleged irregularities and inefficiencies by various other entities relating to defence services. firstpost
No 'Significant' Progress In 3 Yrs: auditor on army ammunition shortage
Army ammunition stock faces critical shortfall to sustain 10 days of war fighting: CAG report

CBI finds fake Chinese parts in India-made Dhanush gun; case filed against Delhi company for conspiracy
China-made parts camouflaged as 'Made in Germany' found their way to the production line of indigenised Bofors guns used by the army, prompting the CBI to file a case against a Delhi-based company.Besides Sidh Sales Syndicate, CBI also registered a case against unidentified officials of Guns Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur, under criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery for supplying fake and cheap China-made spares passing off as Made in Germany for Dhanush guns, FIR alleged.Dhanush is the indigenised version of the Bofors artillery guns which performed exceedingly well during the Kargil conflict in 1999.CBI alleged that the supplier entered into criminal conspiracy with the unidentified GCF officials to supply duplicate spare parts (bearings) used in the manufacture of Dhanush guns.PTI
Doklam stand-off: Pentagon tells China, India to engage in direct dialogue
India and China should engage in direct dialogue free of any “coercive aspects” to reduce the tension over a military standoff in Dokalam, Pentagon has said.Chinese and Indian soldiers have been locked in a face-off in Doklam area in the southernmost part of Tibet in an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan for over a month after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area. “We encourage India and China to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions and free of any coercive aspects,” Gary Ross, Defence Dept spokesman said. Ross, however, refused to take sides on the issue.“We refer you to Govt s of India and China for further information...We are not going to speculate on such matters,” Ross said when asked if the Pentagon fears the tension may escalate between India and China.PTI
Don't bank on US and Japan, you'll lose: Chinese daily warns India over Doklam standoff
New Delhi;State-guided Chinese daily Global Times today issued yet another threat that if India doesn't withdraw its forces from Doklam, China may get prepared for a military confrontation and resolve the conflict through non-diplomatic means. Paper reminded India as to how it had underestimated Beijing in 1962 and cautioned not to repeat the 'same mistake'. Global Times' strongly-worded editorial came a day after Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told the Parliament that there was no question of pulling Indian forces back from the Doklam territory unless China does the same. Swaraj also stated that all other countries support India's stand on the current stand-off. However,Global Times writes that, "She (Sushma Swaraj) was lying to the parliament."Global Times also termed India's act on the border as incursion. It said: "First, India's invasion of Chinese territory is a plain fact. New Delhi's impetuous action stuns the international community. No other country will support India's aggression. Second, India's military strength is far behind that of China. If the conflict between China and India escalates to the intensity where their row has to be resolved through military means, India will surely lose."Chinese daily also refused to agree on the withdrawal of forces from the both sides, an idea that Sushma Swaraj put forward to begin the diplomatic talk. The editorial said:"India should abandon the fantasy of a long-term standoff at Doklam. China will by no means agree to the withdrawal of troops from both sides in order for talks to be held.Doklam is Chinese territory. The withdrawal of Indian troops must be a precondition for talks and China will not compromise on this stance." In what could be called a warning to New Delhi, it further said that "If Indian troops continue trespassing into China's territory, what Beijing may do next is to get prepared for a military confrontation and resolve conflict through non-diplomatic means."businesstoday
Pak envoy Abdul Basit wades into Doklam row, meets China and Bhutan ambassadors: indianexpress
New Delhi:A month into the border standoff between India and China at the tri-junction with Bhutan, Pakistan’s envoy Abdul Basit has waded into the Doklam row. The High Commissioner is learnt to have met the Chinese and Bhutanese envoys in New Delhi this week. While it is not unusual for the envoys to meet in New Delhi, the timing of these meetings has raised eyebrows in South Block.The meeting between Basit, who is likely to leave for Islamabad soon, and Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui took place Wednesday, sources said. The meeting was at the request of Basit. A day later, on Thursday, the Pakistan High Commissioner met Bhutan’s ambassador Major General Vetsop Namgyel. This meeting too was at Basit’s request.While all three are tightlipped on the meetings, one of them told The Indian Express Friday, “What (is the) issue? Diplomats meet routinely.” Asked if the Doklam issue was discussed at the meeting, he said, “We discuss all issues.”
Pak’s Turkey envoy Sohail Mahmood set to replace Basit soon
Farooq wants US, China help to resolve Kashmir issue
New Delhi:Farooq Abdullah has suggested third party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue, saying India should take the help of "friends" and that dialogue was the only solution.Ex-CM  of J&K  also asked, "Till what time should we wait?" and wondered how many more wars will India and Pakistan fight."The way out is through dialogue.Use your friends...Use them for dialogue to resolve the issue," he told reporters outside Parliament. Asked if he meant that a "third party" should be involved, Abdullah said,"(US President) Donald Trump has said he wants to settle the Kashmir problem. We did not ask him for it (help). China has also said it wants to mediate in Kashmir ...We are not saying (that we) hand over things to them."He stressed that taking help does not mean "we should hand over" the affairs to "friends". "You haven't spoken for 70 years... 4 wars have happened," he said when reminded by a reporter about India's stand that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan."Till what time should we wait?Should we wait for a thousand years? You have to take the bull by the horns. You have to do it sometimes.They (Pak) have atom bomb, so have you. How many people will you kill? This is not the way," he said.midday
Kashmir would become Syria if America intervenes: Mufti
Anantnag:J&K  CM  Mehbooba Mufti has rebuked NCpresident Farooq Abdullah’s remarks on Kashmir issue and said that the situation in Kashmir Valley would be same as Syria and Afghanistan if America starts intervening.‘China, America should mind their own business, we all know what is the situation of the countries wherever they intervened be it Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq,” Mehbooba said. CM  said only bilateral talks between India and Pakistan can help resolve the Kashmir issue.“As Vajpayeeji said in the Lahore deliration, India and Pakistan should hold talks to resolve Kashmir issue,” she said, and questioned: Does Farooq know what happened in Syria and Afghanistan?
No third parties: Mehbooba rejects Farooq idea of US, China role in talks with Pak on J&K
Modi Govt  policies are burning Kashmir:  Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reiterated his charge that Modi Govt's policies are “burning” J&K , asserting that no third party intervention was required to resolve India’s internal matters.“ hindustantimes
Kashmir: Troops kill young tailor amid protests
Indian army shot and killed a man and wounded another while firing at a group of protesters in the Kashmir region.Police on Friday accused the group of throwing rocks at soldiers, but residents said the army was shooting indiscriminately and only a few rocks were hurled - and none hit soldiers. The slain man, a tailor in his mid-20s, was hit by multiple bullets and died on the way to a hospital. The injured man was reported to be in a stable condition.Soldiers fired after some rocks hit iron shutters of shops that were closed owing to a general strike in Kashmir, witnesses said. Police claimed that patrolling soldiers were pelted with stones near the main mosque in western Beerwah town where worshippers gathered to offer Friday prayers.A firecracker was hurled at the soldiers, who mistook the loud noise for a grenade and retaliated, police claimed in a statement.Friday's killing triggered widespread protests.Aljazeera
Kashmiri Pandits part of our society, must return: Geelani
Srinagar: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference(G) Syed Ali Geelani has said Kashmiri Pandits are a part of the society and “we have always urged them to return to their homeland.” According to a Hurriyat (G) spokesman, a delegation of Kashmir Pandits met Geelani here and enquired about his health and discussed various issues related to return of Kashmiri Pandits. greaterkashmir
India protests US reference to PoK as ‘Azad Kashmir’ in terror report
New Delhi: India has lodged a strong protest with the US over the state department's "Country Report on Terrorism 2016", released on Wednesday, referring to PoK as "Azad J&K " even as it states that the area is being used by terrorist groups to target India.Indian Govt approached US authorities after the release of the report. An official spokesperson of the external affairs ministry said, "Govt  has seen the mention of the term 'Azad J&K ' in the US state dept's country report on terrorism for 2016. We have raised the matter with the US authorities and lodged our protest."This is the first time the US has referred to PoK as "Azad J&K " despite the fact that the region is closely controlled by the Pakistan military in the face of Indian protests.Till recently, the US has used the nomenclature "Pakistan-administered Kashmir". The report, however, praises India's efforts to combat terrorism. timesofindia
Army jawans 'beat up' policemen on Amarnath yatra duty
srinagar: Over 6 policemen on the Amarnath duty were injured as a group of Army jawans in plain clothes allegedly thrashed them “for being stopped at a nakka” on the Srinagar-Baltal route in Ganderbal.According to the police, over 30 personnel of the Army’s 24 Rashtriya Rifles in civvies were travelling during the intervening night of July 21-22 in four different vehicles on the Baltal-Srinagar route.“These vehicles escaped forcibly from a nakka point established by the police station Sonamarg at Poney Stand. These vehicles were returning from the Yatra. Due to the already issued cut-off timing and present circumstances, it was not feasible to allow yatris after the cut-off time,” said the police.The police said the vehicles were again stopped by a police’s nakka party of the Gund Ganderbal police station.“ASI Ghulam Rasool stopped the vehicles as per the directions. However, the personnel without showing any identification came down from vehicles and started thrashing the on-duty officer and other officials, resulting injuries to the officer,” alleged the police. the hindu
Canada strips NGO of charity status for suspected links to Hizb: IndiaToday
New Delhi:A few weeks before US declared Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist, two NGOs were quietly stripped of their charity statuses in Canada over suspicion that they had links to the terrorist group. The two NGOs - ISNA (Islamic Society of Northern America) Islamic Services of Canada and the Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation - were former affiliates of the ISNA-Canada, group that Canadian authorities began auditing in 2011.According to a Global News report, which carries letters written by the Canada Revenue Agency to  ISNA Islamic Services, from this week, Canadian authorities suspect that the NGO helped route funding from the country to a purported Pakistani charity whose armed wing is widely believed to be Hizbul Mujahideen. Canadian authorities informed ISNA Islamic Services in March this year that they intended to revoke the NGO's charity status for "not complying" with the Canadian law and for failing to demonstrate that it used its funding for charitable purposes. The Canada Revenue Agency further went on to say that they had been able to uncover links between ISNA Islamic Services and Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistan-based political group that is widely considered to be the parent organisation of the Hizbul Mujahideen.CRA found that the Jami Mosque in Toronto was involved in collecting funds for which it issued ISNA Islamic Services tax receipts. The funding was then routed to the Relief Organization of Kashmiri Muslims (ROKM), via the ISNA Development Foundation, which itself lost its charity status four years ago.ROKM, the CRA said, is the charitable arm of Jamaat-e-Islami that "actively contests (sic) the legitimacy of India's governance over the state of J&K ."
OTHER
SC asks Centre,states not to protect any kind of vigilantism
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the states not to protect any kind of vigilantism and sought their response on violent incidents of cow vigilantism.A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra was informed by the Centre that law and order is a state subject but it does not support any kind of vigilantism in the country.“You say that law and order is a state subject and states are taking actions as per law. You don’t protect any kind of vigilantism,” the bench, also comprising AM Khanwilkar and MM Shantanagoudar, said.It also sought the assistance of the Centre and states for removing violent content related to cow vigilantism uploaded on social media.“Law and order is a state subject and Central Govt  does not have any role into it. However, Union of India is of the view that no vigilante group has any space in the country as per procedures of law. It does not support any kind of vigilantism by private persons,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said.Counsel appearing for BJP-ruled Gujarat and Jharkhand informed the court that appropriate action has been taken against those involved in violent activities related to cow vigilantism.The bench recorded their submission and asked the Centre and other states to file their report regarding to the violent incidents in 4 weeks time and posted the matter for further hearing on Sept.6.PTI
We don’t back violence in name of cow protection: Centre
Handling cow vigilantism is under states' jurisdiction, Centre tells Supreme Court
'Virulent Intolerance' Threatening India's Secular Foundation: US Media
New York: Criticising the Modi govt, an editorial in a New York daily said there has been an "alarming rise" in mob attacks in India since he took office and "virulent intolerance" has been unleashed under his leadership, threatening the foundation of the secular nation.“Narendra Modi's landslide victory as PM  of India in 2014 was borne on his promises to unleash his country's economic potential and build a bright future while he played down the Hindu nationalist roots of his BJP,” an editorial in New York Times titled ‘India's Turn Toward Intolerance’ said. PMO did not offer any comment when its attention was drawn to the editorial by PTI for a response. The editorial noted that under Modi's leadership "growth has slowed, jobs have not materialised, and what has actually been unleashed is virulent intolerance that threatens the foundation of the secular nation envisioned by its founders." It added that since Modi took office, there has been an "alarming rise" in mob attacks against people accused of eating beef or abusing cows and most of those killed have been Muslims.The editorial also referred to India's film censor board's decision regarding a documentary on Nobel Prize- winning economist Amartya Sen. The board ruled that the documentary cannot be screened unless the director cuts the words "cow", "Hindu India", "Hindutva view of India" and "Gujarat", where Modi was the CM  at the time of anti-Muslim riots in 2002."This might seem like merely a farcical move by Hindu fanatics, if it were not so in line with much else that is happening in Modi's India, and if the implications for India's democracy weren't so chilling. But this is where Modi has brought the nation as it prepares to celebrate 70 years of independence on August 15," it said.PTI
Modi’s election, like Trump’s, has unleashed violence against minorities:Martin Luther King III
Bengaluru:Drawing parallels between US President Donald Trump and Indian PM  Narendra Modi, Martin Luther King III, the son of American civil rights movement icon Martin Luther King Jr, said here on Friday that both have limited regard for the poor and for law and order. King III, a human rights advocate and community activist was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day conference “Quest for equity - Reclaiming social justice, revisiting Ambedkar”, in which around 300 scholars, activists and policymakers will discuss the ideas of Dr BR Ambedkar.“Like Donald Trump’s campaign, the election of Narendra Modi has unleashed a ferocious animosity against minorities,” King said drawing unflattering parallel between the two leaders.Govt  has consistently denied that there is any intolerance in the country.“We must find a way to bring together the best minds in the world to find solutions,” he stressed.Nobel laureate Kailash Sathyarthi said it was a great testament to the continuing power of Dr Ambedkar that India’s presidential elections was a contest between 2 Dalits, Ramnath Kovind and Meira Kumar.Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr Ambedkar took on the current dispensation at the Centre, saying that it was needed to reclaim Ambedkar because some ground on the social justice front had been lost over the past three years.“Dr Ambedkar had warned that every revolution will have a counter revolution, and we are seeing that counter revolution take shape,” Ambedkar said. There is a need to rethink the concept of social justice, Ambedkar said, “because the very idea implies a giver and receiver of social justice, thereby cementing two classes.”HT
This is a general crackdown on anybody critical of govt: Amnesty International head
Salil Shetty, Secretary General of the London-headquartered Amnesty International, is one of the most influential voices on human rights issues today. During his recent visit to India, The Hindu caught up with him for discussions on the rise of illiberal democracies, especially the plight of the country’s democratic institutions. Shetty has warned that India was headed towards heightened global scrutiny and possible repercussions over its selective crackdown on NGOs. Shetty said,said, "In case of cow vigilantes, you know when the senior-most leaders of this country are silent when things like this happen. That is not acceptable. It is your [senior leaders’] responsibility to stop others from speaking up. This country has so many serious human rights issues — attacks on Dalits, women, Adivasis, which are ongoing historic issues, and nothing to do with the BJP rule. Why don’t they focus on those issues? Why are they creating these new unnecessary ones?" He added, "We have had 10 deaths since April [by way] of lynchings or public killings. I think the Junaid Khan killing was a kind of tipping point, it has hit the international media more. This is a Govt  that came to power with a massive popular majority, with all sorts of promises. They should focus on the right things. Internationally, slowly, eyebrows are being raised. I think they have managed the international narrative for now, but you cannot do it forever." the hindu
Delhi Muslim doctor thrashed in road rage incident
A 45-year-old doctor, on his way back home from work, was thrashed by a group of men, after his car “brushed against theirs”, as reported to the police. This incident of road rage took place on Wednesday night at Malviya Nagar in south Delhi.After the incident, the doctor complained of “becoming hard of hearing”, said the police. “He had bought some items for his home from a market close to his home and was leaving when his car brushed past the other car. The owner of that car who was standing there with some friends, beat him up with a baseball bat, while others also joined in.”Later, the police informed that the victim identified as Dr. Asif was rushed to a private hospital with the help of the locals. Police registered a case and several persons were arrested. Jantaka Reporter
UP Police Shuts Down Non-Vegetarian Dhabas In Greater Noida For Kanwar Yatra
Ban on non-vegetarian food is something that is not unheard of in India, and in the latest case of clamping down on non-vegetarian food, the Greater Noida SHO has said that roadside non-vegetarian food vendors in Dadri have been removed because of the 'Kanwar Yatra'.Ram Sen Singh told Times of India, "We have also removed vendors serving non-vegetarian food. They will be off the road till the religious season of kanwar yatra is on."Kanwar Yatra is a yearly event devotees of Lord Shiva carry water from the River Ganga to local shrines in their states in the month of Sawan or Shravan. And while Haridwar is one of the places where the largest number of Kanwarias (the ones who take the pilgrimage) visit, the step has been taken because allegedly the number of pilgrims returning from Haridwar to Greater Noida has gone up.However, because of this move fish, chicken, eggs and mutton will be unavailable in the area, making it difficult for people whose staple diet is non-vegetarian.HuffPost India
Eating cow meat leads to loss of thinking power, says Congress religious cell convener
Mumbai: Dhyanyogi Omdasji Maharaj, the convener of the new religious cell formed by the Congress in Mumbai and a Kundalini yoga guru, who is also the trustee of the Hanuman Siddhapith Mutt, has a mission in mind as Congress’ religious cell head. “Under the leadership of the Congress, everyone must come together to build a golden temple of Maa Sita in Sitamarhi (Bihar). It is the birthplace of Maa Sita. This is where Lord Janak had found Maa Sita in a golden pitcher. The land isn’t under any dispute today. Before it is encroached by members from other communities, a temple must be constructed there,” he said.On July 2, Mumbai Congress chief and former party MP Sanjay Nirupam, who is considered close to party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, formed the Mumbai Sant Mahant Congress to “resolve the problems the Hindu temples and mutts and their priests were facing in the city”.He claimed while the Congress party believed in a secular ideology, the perception that it was “anti-Hindu” was incorrect. But the move invited criticism within the party. indian express
RSS distances itself from mob lynchings, says Sangh shouldn't be 'defamed' for stray instances of violence
At a time when Congress and the Opposition are going hammer and tongs after the Narendra Modi Govt  in Parliament on issues of cow vigilantism and mob lynching, the RSS has made it clear that cow protection has been part of India's tradition for decades."Cow protection has been going on for years in India. But the Sangh does not support any kind of violence, and strict action should be taken as per law against those who commit violence," said RSS Akhil Bhartiya Prachar Pramukh, Manmohan Vaidya in Jammu on Thursday. He further insisted that the Sangh shouldn't be "defamed" for these stray incidents of violence. firstpost
Threats from communal elements to Haj pilgrims, Govt. of India instructs special security arrangements
J. Alam, Joint Secretary,Dept. of Minority Affairs, Govt. of India wrote a confidential letter addressed to all the Chief Secretaries of the States instructing them to provide special security to the pilgrims going for Haj. It is the first time that Ministry of Minority Affairs issued such a letter. It may be mentioned that recently, a BJP MLA from UP had threatened that in case Ram Temple is not constructed, the disturbance would be created for the Haj pilgrims.In the wake of the increasing activities of the Gau Rakshaks and also keeping in view the delicate situation, Ministry identified 6 items on which instructions were issued for providing special security.The letter indicates that special arrangements should be made for the protection of Haj pilgrims while going from Haj House to the airport. Special arrangements must also be made during the stay of Haj pilgrims in Haj House, at the embarkation point at the airport and also in the parking areas of Haj House and airport. Ministry also instructed the State Govts to issue entry passes to the volunteers and the members of Haj Committee after their thorough scrutiny to ensure that unwanted persons should not get these passes. Unconcerned persons should be kept away from Haj House and airport areas.Siasat
Reconstituted Delhi Minority Commission Takes Serious Note of Mob Violence
New Delhi:Just a day after assuming charge, the full team of reconstituted Delhi Minorities Commission called a press conference here on Friday to say that the panel was deeply concerned at the rise in mob violence in the country’s capital and would keep an eye on such incidents to take immediate and proper action.In their first media interaction at Commission’s office, panel headed by renowned scholar and senior journalist Dr Zafarul Islam Khan assured the minorities in the capital that they would work for their safety and to protect their constitutional rights.“Our aim is that the minorities can live with dignity and don’t face the problems that are occurring in other parts of the country. We want that there should be peace everywhere in the capital, so everybody can feel safe,” said Dr Khan.The Commission expressed its special concern over the increase in cases of mob violence and said it would be keeping an eye over such incidents.In the last three months, at least four incidents of mob violence in the name of cow or beef have taken place in Delhi.Informing about the two latest steps taken by the commission this week, he said, “We have taken notice of two recent cases. In one case, activist Shabnam Hashmi was given death threat over phone allegedly by a Delhi policeman. And the second is a case of mob violence where three men were beaten up by a mob in Bara Hindurao area in two different incidents on 14th July only. Though an FIR was registered in the case on Thursday, no arrest has yet been made.”“Notices to Police Commissioner of Delhi have been sent,” he told.IndiaTomorrow
Minority Commission notice to Delhi top cop over threat to Shabnam Hashmi
Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid row: SC to decide on early hearing of disputed Ayodhya site
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said it will decide on a plea for an early hearing of appeals challenging the Allahabad High Court order directing the splitting of the disputed site at Ayodhya. "We will take a decision on it," said a bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud as BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy sought early hearing of the matter pending before the court for seven years.IANS
Protect transgenders from Section 377: parliamentary Panel led by BJP MP
New Delhi: A parliamentary panel has suggested that the Centre exempt the transgender community from the ambit of the law criminalising homosexuality, noting that welfare of this socially marginalised group requires an initiative in this direction.In its report on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, the standing committee on social justice and empowerment has said, "Transgender persons remain at the risk of criminalisation under Section 377. The bill must at the very least recognise the rights of transgender persons to partnership and marriage."Interestingly, the panel, comprising members from different ideological schools and headed by senior BJP MP Ramesh Bais, has made a bold statement in support of homosexuality. TOI
Thousands of Lingayats gather in Karnataka, demand independent religion status, delinking  from Hinduism'
The movement for independent minority religion status for the Lingayats has gathered momentum once again in Karnataka. On Wednesday, over one 50,000 Lingayats from Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra had gathered at Bidar’s Nehru Maidan for a massive rally, demanding they be granted a separate 'religious minority' status.The rally was organised by Lingayat Dharma Samanvaya Samithi, an body comprising various Lingayat religious heads and elected representatives. The leaders of several Lingayat mutts, who had gathered at the rally, said that a memorandum, in this regard, has been submitted to CM  Siddaramaiah.“We have urged the CM to take up the matter with Central Govt  and push for our cause of being declared an independent religion,” Basava Dharma Peeta head,Mate Mahadevi said. thenewsminute
Badush prison in Iraq where 39 Indians were ‘last seen’ lies in ruins
Badush, Iraq: The prison near the Iraqi city of Mosul described by the Indian Govt  as the last known location of 39 Indians kidnapped by the Islamic State 3 years ago is today a desolate and abandoned structure that has been unoccupied for weeks, if not months.The roofless building, mostly turned into rubble, is located in an area riddled with landmines. Sleeper cells of the IS are still active in the region though fighting in Badush village ended a few months ago, says Brig Abdul Amin Al Kazraji of the Golden Division, the elite US-trained Iraqi counter-terror force that has been leading the fight against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s terror group.“I have no information about the abducted Indians but there is nothing at the prison anymore,” he said.This correspondent travelled to the prison in Badush in a Humvee provided by Kazraji along with armed Iraqi soldiers.The vehicle made its way from Mosul, a city destroyed by the IS and air strikes by coalition forces, to Badush, a distance of about 25 km, via the Syria Road.Near the prison, two armed soldiers walked ahead in the rough terrain in temperatures of more than 50 degrees Celsius, looking for mines.On July 16, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had said that information gathered by minister of state VK Singh during a recent visit to Iraq suggested the 39 Indians kidnapped in June 2014 were possibly being held in the Badush prison. She said she was hopeful of getting more information about the Indians when her Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim Al-Jaafari visits New Delhi on July 24.“ISIS has been controlling Mosul for the last few years. There is no information on the Indians or anyone else. Of course, we hope we spot the Indians one day and they return home safely,” Sadiq said, adding the Red Crescent HQRS in Baghdad could have more information.There have also been reports that the IS may have decided to use the kidnapped Indians as leverage, but signs on the ground suggest otherwise. Since the US-backed offensive began in Oct, IS released many hostages.HT
SC questions reappointment of Gujarat cops involved in ‘fake encounters’
The reappointment by the Gujarat Govt  of two cops, allegedly involved in fake encounter cases, has come under the Supreme Court scanner.A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar on Friday issued notice to the state on a petition filed by retired IPS officer, Rahul Sharma, who claimed the appointments are in violation of the law laid down by the apex court in the police reforms case. Sharma’s plea was not entertained by Gujarat high court following which he moved the SC.The two cops are NK Amin and Tarun Barot. Amin was accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case but was discharged. He is yet to get a clean chit for allegedly killing Ishrat Jehan in a staged encounter.After remaining in jail for 8 years, Amin was released on bail in Aug.2015, was promoted, and posted to the sensitive post of SP, Mahisagar district.On his superannuation on August 31, 2016, Amin was reappointed at the same post on a contractual basis for a year. hindustantimes
Malegaon blast case: Mumbai court refuses to send Purohit to Army’s custody
Mumbai:A Mumbai court on Friday dismissed the plea of Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, to hand over his custody to the Army.“The court dismissed Purohit’s application,” said Special Public Prosecutor Avinash Rasal.An Army officer arrested in the case, Purohit is presently lodged in Arthur Road jail here.He had said in his application that the jail houses several gangsters and there was a threat to his life, so he should be transferred to “military jail.”The prosecution, however, opposed his plea. Advocate Rasal told the court that Purohit had not filed any such complaint with the jail authorities who were taking sufficient care of him.If his custody was handed over to the Army, it would be difficult to bring him to the court for every hearing and it would delay the trial, Rasal argued.PTI
Railways food unfit for eating: CAG
New Delhi:The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has hit out at Indian Railways for serving food “unfit for human consumption” such as recycled, contaminated and expired items and unauthorised water brands.In a joint inspection conducted in collaboration with officials of Indian Railways at 74 stations and 80 trains between July and Oct.2016, the country’s top audit body observed grave deficiencies in the food hygiene standards. Here are 5 things the CAG said about the substandard food served to train passengers:1. An iron nail was found in a plate of cutlets offered to a passenger on the Lucknow- Anand Vihar double decker in 2016.2.Fungal growth was found around petha (sweets) served to passengers.3.Cockroaches, rats, insects and dust was noticed in pantry cars of the premier Duronto trains.4.Around 100 unsold parathas were found in the base kitchen of the North Central Railways for reuse and recycling, while uncovered food items were found on the floor at the Chapra station in Bihar5.Buckets of drinking water and beverages were found in the vestibule near the toilet area in the Paschim Express. HT
Muslim boys from Bihar detained, handed over to Child Welfare Committee
Mangaluru:13  boys from Bihar, who arrived here to pursue Madrasa education, were detained at the central railway station here by police as they did not have valid documents and came unaccompanied by caretakers. Police said there were 47 boys were in the group, of whom 34 had valid documents and letters from their parents. They were also accompanied by caretakers and were headed to the Madrasa at Jamiya Masjid at Kudroli. The remaining 13 boys without documents were handed over to the Child Welfare Committee after registering a case. The boys were heading for Udayavar Jammat Masjid near Udupi. Police checked the group on suspicion of child trafficking. indianexpress
Court acquits man who married 17-yr-old convert to Islam
New Delhi:Stating that a 17-year-old minor had ‘converted’ from Hinduism to Islam when she performed ‘nikah’ with an adult man last year, a Special Court in Delhi has acquitted the man of rape and kidnapping charges.“Under Muslim law, the girl can perform marriage when she attains puberty, which is generally attained at the age of 14-15 years. After conversion of the religion, even if the victim was 17 years of age, (she) becomes competent to perform marriage with a Muslim boy,” Additional Sessions Judge Ashwani Kumar Sarpal said while pronouncing the judgment on July 18. The judge cited two previous judgments — Delhi vs Umesh at the Delhi High Court, decided on July 21, 2015, and Shyam Kumar vs State in a lower court, decided this year. In both cases, it was established that the minor girls left their parents’ house and entered into a relationship with the accused, hence ‘no offence’ of kidnapping or sexual assault could be made out. indianexpress

Clarify nature of residence of Mukesh Ambani Antilia case, Bombay HC tells Wakf board
Mumbai: Bombay high court on Friday issued a notice to state Wakf board to clarify the nature of the case that is pending before the Supreme Court concerning the south Mumbai residence of Reliance company chief Mukesh Ambani, Antilia. The court was hearing a 2007 petition filed by Jalna resident Abdul Mateen, who is a school teacher, alleging that Antilia was built on Wakf land. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Nitin Jamdar was hearing a PIL filed by Abdul Matin, a schoolteacher and resident of Jalna district of Maharashtra. In 2007, Matin had read a news article about the sale of property and file petition in the  HC.Initially, the land belonged to Currimbhoy Ebrahim Khoja orphanage trust, which runs an orphanage for Muslim children. In 2005, Ambani’s company Muffin-Antilia Comm-ercial Private Limited purchased the property.Matin’s lawyer Adocate M.S. Choudhry on Friday argued before the court that the object of his main petition is to show mismanagement of Wakf board and the errant sale of all its properties. asianage
Zakir Naik's IRF in HC against tribunal's order upholding ban;Acting Chief Justices recuse from hearing plea
New Delhi: Zakir Naik's IRF has moved the Delhi High Court challenging a tribunal's order upholding the Centre's decision to ban the organisation under UAPA. The matter came up for hearing before a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, who recused herself and directed that IRF's appeal be listed before another bench.The matter has now been listed before another bench on July 27.While seeking setting aside of the ban imposed on it, the IRF in its plea has contended that the "tribunal erred in observing that there is material indicating communal riot because of the speech made by Naik".IRF sought setting aside of the May 11 verdict and said that the tribunal has wrongly decided the question on the liability of the organisation in view of the alleged action of Naik and his aide Arshi Qureshi."It failed to appreciate that it was undisputed position that Naik is the president of the IRF, but the same could not reflect upon the action carried out by him in his individual capacity," IRF's plea filed through advocate S Hari Haren said.The organisation said that actions done by individuals named in the FIRs cannot reflect on the organisation and will affect the charitable and educational work being done by it. Judicial Tribunal was set up to look into the ban on controversial preacher's NGO.PTI
Don’t know if Dalits, Muslims can survive with dignity: Mamata Banerjee at Martyr’s Day rally
New Delhi:West Bengal CM  Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Centre on Friday saying the Govt  is not allowing state Govt s to work. While addressing Martyr’s Day rally in Kolkata commemorating 1993 Kolkata firing, Mamata also said:“Even Hindus cant survive the fake Hinduism. Don’t know if Dalits, Muslims can survive with dignity,” she was quoted as saying by NDTV while criticising Modi-led Govt .Her party Trinamool Congress has been at constant loggerheads with NDA Govt over various issues like the Saradha scam and Gorkhaland protests. While addressing Friday’s rally, she said she “doesn’t need character certificate from Centre.” indianexpress
Nitish Kumar meets Rahul Gandhi amid alliance trouble, will meet PM Modi later
New Delhi :Amid ongoing tensions between the JD(U) and its allies in Bihar, CM  Nitish Kumar on Saturday met Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence in New Delhi on Saturday. According to reports, Kumar will also attend a dinner hosted by PM  Narendra Modi for outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee.The meeting has come at a time when trouble is brewing within the Grand Alliance in Bihar after corruption charges were leveled against RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members, including Bihar Deputy CM  Tejashwi Yadav. Tensions have also escalated between Congress and Nitish Kumar in recent days, after the Bihar CM  lent his support to NDA’s presidential candidate and now president-elect Ram Nath Kovind. Congress’ vocal support to Lalu Prasad and his claims that he is being subjected to a political vendetta at the hands of Centre, has also reportedly created tiff between the two parties.
Vaghela’s exit could spell trouble for Sonia’s confidant Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha poll
Gujarat Congress stalwart Shankarsinh Vaghela’s decision to quit the party may cast a shadow on the prospects of Sonia Gandhi’s confidant Ahmed Patel’s re-election to Rajya Sabha. According to party sources, Vaghela has support of around a dozen MLAs, and if they follow suit, it may put into jeopardy Patel’s chances of securing a fourth Rajya Sabha term from his home state.Patel is Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary.Congress has 57 MLAs in Gujarat and its candidate would require votes of 47 of them to get elected.PTI
Modi’s false promises on crop MSP exposed, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh makes a u-turn in Lok Sabha
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has again misled the country by making a completely false statement by claiming that PM  Narendra Modi had never promised to offer a minimum support price to farmers but had instead promised to give a profit of 50% to farmers on the production cost.All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has said that not only is this a completely false statement, but the agricultural minister also did not clarify how the farmers can gain a profit of 50% without having an MSP in place.Defying Singh’s claim, social activist and founder of Swaraj Abhiyan Yogendra Yadav tweeted a video dated April 4, 2014. The video clearly shows that Modi had promised to fix the crops’ MSP at above 50% of the production cost.TwoCircles
Maharashtra Collector Confirms EVM Tampering in RTI Reply, Votes Went To Lotus Symbol
Contrary to the claim by Election Commission of India (ECI), an RTI response from Maharashtra’s Buldhana district collectorate has confirmed malfunctioning of EVM, reported IANS. Buldhana collectorate's election department has replied to an RTI query confirming that votes of an independent candidate had gone to BJP’s lotus symbol. “EVM fraud” happened during Feb.16 polls to Buldhana Zilla Parishad from Lonar, at a polling station in Sultanpur village of the district, said RTI activist Anil Galgali."Everytime the voter pressed a symbol of Coconut, allotted to a candidate, the LED lamp of the BJP's Lotus used to flash. This was reported to the District Collector by the Returning Officer (RO) in his inquiry report and furnished under an RTI query,” he said.Galgali filed his RTI query on June 16, after learning about the complaint by Independent candidate Asha Arun Zore who met with the "EVM fraud”.He demanded details of the probe report submitted by the RO.Outlook / IANS
aL aQSA mosque & PALESTINE
Al-Aqsa: UN slams Israel killings of young Palestinians
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he "deeply deplores" the killings of three Palestinians - one of whom was shot by a settler - as anger boiled over increased Israeli restrictions at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa compound. Guterres condemned the killings and called for an investigation early on Saturday, hours after mass protests by Palestinians around the holy site turned deadly. He urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to refrain from actions that could further escalate the volatile situation in Jerusalem's Old City, saying that religious sites should be spaces for reflection, not violence.Citing Guterres, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the organisation understands "legitimate security concerns, but on the other hand it is important that the status quo at the site be retained".Israeli security forces violently clamped down on Friday's demonstrations, firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at crowds of Palestinians protesting against the new measures, which include the barring of Muslim men under the age of 50 from the holy site and the installation of metal detectors. Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian youth. According to the Red Crescent, there were 450 wounded by Israeli forces during the protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank, with at least 215 injuries caused by tear gas inhalation. Police say a Palestinian attacker also killed 3 Israelis at a West Bank settlement.Palestinian Prisoners Club said that at least 21 Palestinians were arrested at Friday's protests in the West Bank, including at least 10 from Jerusalem. Several countries have condemned Israel's increased control, including Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced the suspension of all contact with Israel "until it cancels its measures at al-Aqsa Mosque and preserves the status quo".Al Jazeera
3 Palestinians killed as protests rage over al-Aqsa
At least three Palestinians have been killed, according to local media, and hundreds more injured amid mass protests over new Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.In the first incident, an Israeli settler killed an 18-year-old Palestinian man in the Ras al-Amud neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.The death of Muhamd Mahmoud Sahraf was confirmed by Israeli security and the Red Crescent.  A second Palestinian was also confirmed killed by live fire during the demonstrations that followed Friday prayers, officials at a hospital in Jerusalem told AP.  aljazeera
Israel bars Muslim men below 50 years from conducting Friday prayers in Jerusalem


Hamas: Abbas’s decision to freeze contacts with Israel “meaningless”
Gaza, (PIC) Hamas has said that Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to freeze contacts with Israel in response to its recent measures at the Aqsa Mosque is “meaningless without ending his security collaboration with it.”In Twitter remarks, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also said that Abbas’s decision would be “pointless” without backtracking on his punitive measures against Gaza and giving Palestinian resistance in the West Bank a free hand to defend its own people.Abbas announced on Friday the suspension of his authority’s contacts with Israel to pressure it to revoke its recent security measures at Aqsa Mosque.However, Abbas did not state if his step would include the security cooperation between PA and Israel in the West Bank.
Qaradawi: Defending Jerusalem is Islamic affair
Doha(PIC)Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the World Union of Muslim Scholars, said that Jerusalem is not a Palestinian issue but an Islamic affair.We have to clearly declare that Jerusalem is an Islamic affair. Defending Jerusalem is not a Palestinian or Arab issue but the battle of all Muslims all over the world, he said on his twitter account.
Israel stops European delegation from reaching Aqsa
O.Jerusalem(PIC) Israeli police prevented on Friday a European parliamentary delegation from approaching the gates of al-Aqsa Mosque on the 2nd day of their visit to O. Jerusalem. Delegation, composed of Lee Rhiannon, a senator of the Australian Greens Party, and Paul Monaghan, a leader of the Scottish National Party, visited the Old City of Jerusalem and were briefed on the Judaization and settlement activities in the area.They conducted another visit to Shu'fat refugee camp and were detailed on the tough conditions facing its residents in light of the severe overcrowding, the lack of infrastructure and the Israeli municipality's negligence of their basic needs.
Israel closes Old City and arrests Jerusalemite officials
Israeli occupation forces closed the Old City in occupied Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque today with metal doors and barriers, blocking all entrances and gates.The measure was taken after the Govt  decided to keep metal detectors at the entrances to the mosque leading for calls for mass protests. Local sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that occupation forces brought in more metal barriers and spread them across the Old City and near Al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates in order to prevent demonstrations in support of Al-Aqsa.middleeastmonitor
South Africans stand in solidarity with Al-Aqsa
Haaretz: UAE FM held secret meeting with Netanyahu
UAE Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bin Zayed, met with Israeli PM , Benjamin Netanyahu, “secretly” in New York in Sept. 2012, Haaretz reported.The newspaper quoted two Western diplomats, who asked not to be named, saying that the meeting occurred on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York a day after Netanyahu gave his “red line” speech in which he said that the international community must stop Iran’s uranium enrichment programme. The diplomats stated that the meeting took place at the Regency Hotel in New York, and Bin Zayed was accompanied by his country’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba. They were ushered into the hotel discretely through the underground parking lot and were taken upstairs to Netanyahu’s suite in a service elevator.According to the diplomats, “Netanyahu and Bin Zayed saw eye to eye on the Iranian nuclear issue,” but that the “foreign minister told Netanyahu his country could not warm up its relations with Israel as long as there was no progress in the peace process with the Palestinians.”
WORLD
Qatari Emir : Any talks must respect Qatar sovereignty
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has said that his country is ready for dialogue to resolve a diplomatic crisis with a Saudi-led group, but stressed that any solution to the crisis must respect his country's sovereignty."We are open to dialogue to resolve the outstanding problems [so long as Qatar's] sovereignty is respected," Al Thani said in a televised address on Friday, his first since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt cut ties with the peninsula. Qatar has been targeted by the unprecedented campaign, he said, adding that he valued Kuwait's mediation and the support of US, Turkey and Germany for their efforts to resolve the crisis. Aljazeera
US praises Qatar’s fight against terrorism and calls for blockade to be lifted
US Secretary of State said on Friday that America is satisfied with Qatar’s efforts to implement an agreement signed last week which aims to combat the financing of terrorism. Rex Tillerson also called on Arab countries to lift the “land blockade” imposed on Doha.Tillerson has visited a number of Gulf States to persuade them to help solve the worst regional political crisis in years, but he left without any clear signs that a resolution is on the way. Nevertheless, he did sign the agreement with Qatar in an attempt to ease the crisis, although those opposed to Doha said that this was “not enough” to dispel their fears. middleeastmonitor
Egypt court sentences 28 to death over 2015 prosecutor killing
A Cairo criminal court on Saturday sentenced to death 28 people over the 2015 killing of Egypt’s top prosecutor after the death penalty was approved by the country’s top religious authority, and it also jailed 15 others for 25 years each.Public prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb attack on his convoy in the capital, an operation for which Egypt blamed the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Both groups have denied having a role.The court had in June recommended passing the death penalty to Egypt’s top religious leader, Grand Mufti, who can approve or reject the recommendation.  Mufti’s guidance is required when a court seeks the death penalty but his decision is not binding.The sentences, confirmed by the court in Saturday’s hearing, can be appealed.“Verdicts were shocking today,” said one of the defence lawyers, Ahmed Saad. “Others who had nothing to do with the assassination of martyr Hisham Barakat received life sentences. They had nothing to do with the incident.” middleeastmonitor
Panama papers: Pakistan PM Sharif's defence minister to replace him in case of conviction?
Lahore: Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Saturday emerged as the "most potential candidate" to replace beleaguered PM  Nawaz Sharif if he is disqualified by the Supreme Court for alleged graft and money laundering in the sensitive Panama Papers case.Asif is most likely to become the interim PM  for 45 days till 67-year-old Sharif's wife Kalsoom or brother Punjab CM  Shahbaz Sharif is elected on a National Assembly seat to lead the Govt  for the remaining term, according to a top PML-N leader.He said it was discussed during back-to-back consultative meetings held by Sharif with his legal team and close aides after the apex court reserved its verdict yesterday.During a high-level meeting, it was decided that one of the three PML-N leaders could be made premier for '45 days'.The other 2 candidates shortlisted are National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.PTI
US: Denial of $350 million aid to Pak reality, not a policy
US defence secretary Jim Mattis has said that his refusal to give certification to Congress that Pakistan was taking action against Haqqani network is not a reflection of a new tougher policy against Islamabad, but simply an assessment of the current state of play.Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said on Friday that the Trump administration will not provide $350 million in coalition support funds to Pakistan after US defence secretary said he cannot certify that Islamabad has taken "sufficient actions" against the dreaded Haqqani network.TOI
Mosul morgue workers struggle to cope with ‘river of blood’:Reuters
Mosul: The fridges are nearly full at the morgue in Mosul where the casualties of war with Islamic State are stored.So many bodies are brought in that the morgue workers struggle to identify and bury the dead fast enough to make space for the next batch that arrives with grim regularity, as the city’s residents clear up after nine months of urban warfare.The battle for Mosul is over, but the task of sorting out the dead is only just beginning.“A lot of blood has been shed,” said an employee at the morgue, who asked not to be named. “Iraq used to have two rivers: the Tigris and the Euphrates. Now we have a third: the river of blood.”The full scale of the losses may never be known. Morgue and rescue workers said they were now receiving bodies at a rate of at least 30 to 40 per day — most of them killed by air strikes that helped dislodge the militants.Inside one of the fridges, black body bags stacked to the side contain the remains of civilians who were methodically gunned down by IS snipers, behind a soft-drinks factory as they fled towards Iraqi security forces in June.
World’s lack of outrage over tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Mosul is shameful: The Independent
Bar re-opens in Iraq town previously overrun by ISIS:Reuters
Pentagon chief says he thinks Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said on Saturday that he believes Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive, following various claims he was dead. “I think Baghdadi’s alive… and I’ll believe otherwise when we know we’ve killed him,” Mattis told Pentagon reporters.“We are going after him, but we assume he is alive.” There have been persistent rumors that Baghdadi has died in recent months.  Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a longtime conflict monitor, last week said it had heard from senior IS leaders in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province that Baghdadi was dead.AFP
US air raid kills 16 Afghan policemen in Helmand
An errant US air raid has killed Afghan police in the southern province of Helmand, US military and local officials said. The aerial attack on a compound took place on Friday afternoon after Afghan police had retaken a checkpoint captured by the Taliban a day earlier in Gereshk district, north of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah."16 Afghan policemen were killed including two commanders. Two other policemen were wounded," Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand, told Al Jazeera."It was most probably a miscommunication or the coordinates were not correct, which resulted in the US air strikes. An investigation has been launched."A statement from the US military confirmed the killings, saying, "aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound."US has carried out 52 air raids in Helmand over the past 5 days, including 10 in Gereshk on Thursday, according to the US military headquarters in Kabul.On Thursday, the son of Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada died after driving a vehicle laden with explosives into an Afghan military base in the town of Gereshk, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, the Taliban's main spokesman for southern Afghanistan, said.Ahmadi said Abdur Rahman had been a student of an Islamic school but had wanted to carry out a suicide attack. "He succeeded in his mission last Thursday," he said.Taliban fighters drove three captured Humvee vehicles into checkpoints during heavy fighting around Gereshk. Aljazeera
Philippines extends martial law in Mindanao until 2018
Philippine Congress voted to extend martial law on the southern island of Mindanao until the end of the year, giving President Rodrigo Duterte extra time to quell fighters allied with the ISIL group. In a special joint session of the House and the Senate on Saturday, the overwhelming number of 261 legislators, accounting for more than two-thirds of Congress membership of more than 300, agreed to extend military rule in Mindanao region until Dec.31.Just 18 voted against the motion.Opposition dragged out the debate, questioning why martial law was needed for the whole of Mindanao when the fighting was limited to only one city."I fear that the plan to extend the martial law in Mindanao will pave the way for a Philippines-wide martial law," Senator Risa Hontiveros told AFP ahead of the vote. aljazeera
UN envoy complains of state surveillance in Myanmar
Activists and journalists in Myanmar continue to be followed and questioned by state surveillance agents, a UN envoy said on Friday, at the conclusion of a visit she said was beset by official snooping and access restrictions.Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee told a news conference at the conclusion of her 12-day visit that she faced "increasing restrictions" on her access. aljazeera
FLASH: NEWS & VIEWS
Modi & Zionism: The Hindu right wing’s admiration for Israel and the Zionist ideology is born out of its antipathy to Muslims: A G NOORANI, Frontline
EPW's editor resignation: On Gautam Adani’s alleged scam, it’s now Left vs Left 
Adani Has the Last Laugh: Public Intellectuals Deal a Body Blow to Free Journalism:SEEMA MUSTAFA
Clueless scientists look for HIV cure in cows, get shock of their lives:Financial express
PM Modi, Who Claimed Ganesh Had Cosmetic Surgery, Is Unhappy With India's Scientists: Somak Ghoshal, Editor, HuffPost India
Madrasas a bane for Muslims:Balbir Punj
Cow provincialism:Janaki Nair
Modi’s BJP may be alienating the vyapari as it courts Big Capital and the underclass:Harish Damodaran
33 % of world’s child brides are in India: Report based on last Census
Netanyahu accidentally reveals why Modi did not visit Palestine during Israel trip
What Netanyahu said on Modi that journalists accidentally heard
10 lakh students in UP to be tested on RSS ideology


 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 5:50 PM)


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