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Monday, 23 October 2017

23 Oct.NEWS DIGEST:When does moral policing stop?: SC suggests it's open to modifying order on national anthem in cinema halls




Evening NEWS DIGEST
23 Oct.2017: 2 Safar 1439:Vol:9, No:27
When does moral policing stop?: SC suggests it's open to modifying order on national anthem in cinema halls
The Supreme Court today asked why the Centre can't amend the law to make it mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem, and why the burden should be "thrown on the judiciary."In Nov, the top court had passed an order saying cinema halls should play the national anthem before films.But today, Justice Chandrachud asked, "Why doesn't the Centre amend the law. Why should the burden be thrown on the judiciary. Tomorrow you will say ban people from wearing T-shirts and shorts to the cinema hall because it's an insult to national anthem. Where do you draw a line? Where does this moral policing stop?""People go to cinema halls for undiluted entertainment. Why should we make choices for them? Why should we assume that if someone doesn't stand up for anthem in the cinema hall, he is not patriotic?" court observed that govt can bring in legislation and amend the flag code. Centre, represented by Attorney General KK Venugopal, was clearly of the opinion that the earlier order should not be modified."Ours is a country with vast diversity of religion, region, race and caste, it becomes necessary to have a unifying force. By playing national anthem, people can come out believing we are all Indians," he said.This contention was strongly rebutted by Justice Chandrachud, who said that patriotism is instilled by a larger democratic and political process , not by making the national anthem mandatory in cinema halls.Though the SC has not modified its order today, it's likely to do so in the next hearing on Jan.9. Centre will also have to clarify if they are willing to amend the flag code.indiatoday
SC refuses to modify order on National Anthem, asks Centre to consider amending flag code
'You don't have to stand up at a cinema hall to be perceived as patriotic': Justice Chandrachud
Bilkis Bano gangrape case: SC asks Gujarat if departmental action taken against convicted cops
New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Bilkis Bano, the survivor of gangrape during the Gujarat riots of 2002, to file a separate plea seeking higher compensation from the Gujarat government instead of what was awarded to her by the lower courts, PTI has reported. The apex court also asked the state government if any departmental action has been taken against the policemen convicted in the gangrape case. It has also demanded a detailed reply from the Gujarat government within four weeks in this regard.The rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family members had taken place during the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat. On March 3, 19-year-old Bilkis Bano along with her family were on their way, escaping a mob on a truck. Bilkis was five months pregnant and accompanying her were 17 other people in the truck, including her 2-year-old daughter.The truck was attacked by an armed mob, who gangraped her and killed 14 members of her family including her daughter, her mother Halima and cousin Shamim.indianexpress
In Bilkis Bano Case, Gujarat Government Faces Questions From Supreme Court
Modi govt takes a step back on Kashmir, appoints ex-IB chief as interlocutor
Nearly 3 years after it tried to adopt a hard-line and often controversial stance to find a resolution to the ‘Kashmir crisis’, including its support to security agencies to use pellet guns and even human shields, PM Narendra Modi’s government seems to have finally taken a step back, opting instead for a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders.Union home minister Rajnath Singh, on Monday, announced that the government has appointed Dineshwar Sharma, a former intelligence bureau chief, as its interlocutor for J&K. The appointment can be seen as a revival of a UPA-era move when Dr Manmohan Singh had nominated the late Dilip Padgaonkar, a senior journalist, academician Radha Kumar and former information commissioner MM Ansari as Centre’s interlocutors on Kashmir,In a move that reflects the sentiments of a broad spectrum of people with an interest in Kashmir – political parties, security agencies, locals and even the separatists – Singh declared that Dinsehwar Sharma’s brief would be to hold a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders, “including Kashmiri separatists” and that the former IB chief will have “complete freedom” to carry out this task.“There is no bar on him to talk to one group and not another… We want to understand aspirations of people of J&K,” said the home minister, who had last month claimed that the Centre would resolve the Kashmir issue by 2022. This is the first concrete attempt by Modi govt in 3 years to reach out to Kashmiris and comes after a particularly-focussed offensive by security agencies anchored from Delhi to crack down on foreign funding for separatists. In Srinagar, police and army teams have taken out dozens of local commanders of terrorist groups active in the Kashmir Valley. The move also addresses recurring criticism of the central government’s high-handed approach in tackling the problems of Kashmir from the prism of security operations without a matching political outreach. Apnlive
Govt will initiate sustained dialogue on Kashmir, says Rajnath ; appoints ex-IB director as interlocutor
Hope govt admitting muscular approach in J&K failed: Chidambaram
New Delhi:Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said he hoped the central government, by announcing a peace initiative in Jammu and Kashmir, was finally admitting that its “muscular approach” to the Valley’s problems had failed. “With appointment of interlocutor, I hope government has finally admitted ‘muscular approach’ has failed in J&K,” Chidambaram tweeted after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said a sustained dialogue would be initiated by government for a solution to the Kashmir issue. Chidambaram, who as home minister in UPA government had formed a three-member committee of interlocutors for a dialogue on Kashmir, said the movement from “No talks” to “Talks with all stakeholders” was a major victory for those who had argued for a political solution in Jammu and Kashmir.PTI
Sustained dialogue on Kashmir: Omar Abdullah says defeat of those who see force as solution
New Delhi:National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday welcomed Centre’s decision to initiate dialogues with stakeholders in Kashmir saying he would “keep an open mind” to see its results. However, the former chief minister asserted that the latest decision is a “resounding defeat” for the government, which had resorted to using force in the valley in the past.“Centre announces an interlocutor to engage with stake holders in J&K. Will keep an open mind & wait to see results of the dialogue process,” Abdullah tweeted.He, however, added, “The acceptance of the political nature of the #Kashmir issue is a resounding defeat of those who could only see use of force as a solution.” indianexpress
Rajasthan Govt Tables Criminal Laws Amendment Bill, Editors Guild Demands Withdrawal
New Delhi: Riding roughshod over protests, Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan govnt, on the opening day of its state assembly session on Monday, tabled the controversial Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill. Move was met with opposition by the Congress party. On Saturday, news reports drew attention to the Rajasthan government’s decision to bring the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017, amending CrPC, 1973, and restricting the media from naming a public servant until the Rajasthan government sanctions the investigation. Under Section 197 of CrPC, public servants, judges and magistrates across India currently enjoy immunity from prosecution without prior government permission. Rajasthan government has now enhanced the levels of impunity, adding two more layers. According to the new rules, no investigation can be ordered by the police under Section 156 or a magistrate under Section 190 into allegations against public servants, judges and magistrates. Significantly, these rules bar journalists from reporting these allegations, unless and until the state govt grants sanctions the prosecution.Not surprisingly, the Rajasthan government’s decision has been met with protests from various quarters. A PIL has been filed by senior lawyer A.K. Jain in the Rajasthan high court, challenging the validity of the ordinance. In his petition, Jain has argued that the ordinance was a “licence to commit crime” and was “arbitrary and malafide”, according to an Indian Express report.Editors Guild of India, in a statement released last night, asked the Rajasthan government to “withdraw the harmful ordinance,” labelling it a “pernicious instrument” to harass the media.“But in reality it is a pernicious instrument to harass the media, hide wrongful acts by government servants and drastically curb the freedom of the press guaranteed by the constitution of India,” the Guild has said. thewire
Rajasthan govt tables Criminal Laws Bill amid Opposition protests
Editors Guild slams Rajasthan’s Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017
Raje minister defends ordinance, says he too faced ‘media trial’ in Sohrabuddin case
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria defended an ordinance brought in by the Rajasthan government, which prohibits investigation without prior sanction against “a Judge or a Magistrate or a public servant” for any “act done by them while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of their official duties”.He said he had to face media trial after being named by CBI in its probe into Sohrabuddin encounter case. In April 2014, the agency had filed murder and conspiracy charges against Kataria and three others in the 2005 case. However,in Feb.2015, a special CBI court in Mumbai discharged Kataria, citing “insufficient” evidence. indianexpress
Was offered Rs 1 crore to join BJP: Gujarati Patel leader
New Delhi: In an extraordinary claim, Narendra Patel, a local convenor of Hardik Patel's Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, has alleged that he was offered Rs 1 crore to join the BJP. The claim came hours after Narendra Patel, flanked by prominent BJP leaders, announced Sunday evening he was joining the BJP. At a late-night press conference in Ahmedabad, however, Narendra Patel suddenly changed tunes, saying that he was "made to" say that he was joining the party after being offered a Rs 1-crore deal to switch loyalties. Mehsana-based Narendra Patel also claimed that he was advanced Rs 10 lakh on the Rs 1-crore deal on Sunday itself and said he was promised that the remaining Rs 90 lakh would be paid to him on Monday. Patel detailed how and when he was made the Rs 1-crore offer and said that Varun Patel, another Patidar leader, was involved in the efforts to win his support. He even displayed the Rs 10 lakh cash that he claimed was given to him as an advance. Varun Patel was a key aide of Hardik Patel, who spearheaded the Patidar reservation movement. Varun along with Reshma Patel, another former Hardik Patel aide, joined BJP earlier this weekend.Narendra Patel claimed that the deal was made by Varun Patel on behalf of the BJP. "I was called to Ahmedabad... then taken to Gandhinagar," Narendra Patel said at the press conference. indiatoday
First 'Evidence' of BJP Money Power to Break Hardik Patel's Team
Only one party has 'unlimited money': Sena's Dig At BJP
Mumbai:  Shiv Sena today lashed out at ally BJP without directly naming it, claiming that "one party" possessed "unlimited money" and had come to power in Goa and Manipur despite being "rejected by the people".Shiv Sena also alleged that money was being used to "try and uproot" the Uddhav Thackeray-led party."Even if people face recession after demonetisation, one party is on an upturn and came to power in Goa and Manipur despite being rejected by the people," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said.PTI
Bangles thrown at PM Modi in Gujarat’s Vadodara, woman detained by police
A woman reportedly belonging to the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) threw bangles at Prime Minister Narendra Modi just as he was conducting the road show in Vadodara on Sunday evening. ASHA worker, who threw the bangles on Modi has been identified as Chandrika Ben. Her action prompted the prime minister to hurriedly get into his car. Security officials present at the VIP Road, where the incident took place, immediately detained Chandrika before she could repeat her act.The video of the woman chanting Narendra Modi murdabad has now gone viral on internet. Prime Minister Modi was conducting a road show from Navlakhi Ground in Vadodara to the airport after launching several projects in the region.Not so long ago, ASHA workers had chased a local Vadodara BJP MLA, who had controversially said that the women workers should have abused the prime minister and not him.Surrounded and chased by the ASHA workers, the BJP MLA from Karjan in Vadodara, Satish Patel was heard saying, “don’t abuse me, abuse  Modi.” jantakareporter
No funds to states against vikas, says Modi: K'taka CM tell him to read Constitution
In yet another incident of friction between the Union government and Congress-led Karnataka govt, CM Siddaramaiah took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accusing the PM of lacking understanding of the Constitution.In response to PM Modi’s speech on Sunday where he had said,  “We will not give a single penny to those opposing development,” the CM tweeted —“This shows a lack of understanding of Constitution. What Center gives states is not charity. It is our right.”On Sunday, Modi was addressing a rally in Gujarat’s Vadodara, where he had said, “We are clear in our working. Each penny of the public money will be spent towards the wellbeing of every citizen and for development projects. Our priority is development,” Modi said. thenewsminute
UGC Decision Could Reduce Reservations for SC, ST and OBC Teachers at Universities
New Delhi: UGC has reportedly yet again made a controversial decision on faculty reservations that could reduce the number of SC, ST and OBC teaching positions. This decision is now waiting for “concurrence” from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, Indian Express reported. Reservations for SC, ST and OBC teachers should be calculated department-wise and not based on the aggregate posts in a university, the UGC has decided. Indian Express quoted former secretary to the central government P.S. Krishnan, an expert on the subject, as saying that this change would reduce the number of seats reserved for marginalised candidates.UGC’s decision is based on an Allahabad high court order from this April. In the course of hearing a case on teachers’ recruitment at Banaras Hindu University, the court said that each department, rather than the whole university, should be treated as the “unit” on which reservations are based. The court was unhappy with the UGC’s policy of implementing reservations in a “blanket manner”. “If the University is taken as a ‘Unit’ for every level of teaching and applying the roster, it could result in some departments/subjects having all reserved candidates and some having only unreserved candidates. Such a proposition again would be discriminatory and unreasonable. This again would be violative of Article 14 and 16 of Constitution,”Indian Express quoted the HC order as saying.According to official data quoted by the paper, there are 17,106 teaching positions at 41 UGC-funded central universities. As of April 1, 5,997 of these were vacant. If the human resource development ministry accepts the changes the UGC has decided on, the new policy will affect all future recruitment drives.The Wire
Adityanath’s pilgrimage push shows Hindutva still BJP’s key election plank
Yogi Adityanath’s push to promote Hindu pilgrimage sites in recent months has sparked a political controversy with experts saying the move indicated that Hindutva will remain a key poll plank for the BJP ahead of crucial elections.The opposition has protested the state government’s decisions to allocate funds for holy Hindu sites and leave out others – in temple town of Ayodhya alone, projects worth Rs 483 crore have been unveiled in 6 months while the Taj Mahal has received a fraction of the funds – and called it “selective development”. HT
Ballabhgarh Lynching: Junaid's family being 'pressurised' to withdraw cases and reach 'compromise' to ‘maintain harmony’: newsclick
Even as four of the six accused are out on bail, pressure is allegedly being mounted on Junaid’s family by sympathisers of the accused including influential locals to withdraw cases and reach a compromise to “maintain communal harmony”.In an incident that shocked the country, the 16-year-old Junaid, a resident of Khandawali village in Faridabad district of Haryana, was stabbed to death by a mob in a Delhi-Mathura local train in June this year. The lynch mob had reportedly used communal and abusive language before the physical assault.Two mahapanchayats have recently been held in Junaid’s village that concluded that the killing was “not intentional”. The gatherings were attended by many “outsiders” according to locals. Those who attended the marathon mahapanchayats, while expressing their sympathy with Junaid’s family, were of the view that the June 22 incident in the EMU train was “just an accident” which took place following a “fight over a seat”.The organisers had allegedly invited the sarpanch (village chief) and few other influential people from Junaid’s village who reportedly met the victim’s father at different occasions to persuade him to withdraw cases and reach a compromise to ensure that the brotherhood and communal harmony is maintained.“Few people, including our sarpanch, after attending mahapanchayats held on October 15 and 17 in our village, recently met my father (Jalaluddin) to convince him to withdraw all cases and reach a compromise so that bhai chara bana rahe (brotherhood remains intact),” Shakir one of the elder brothers of Junaid’s, who had also suffered injuries in the attack, told NewsClick.However, he said the proposed compromise formula was outrightly rejected by them. “We told them that whatever the court decides will be acceptable to us. There is no question of compromise and withdrawing cases. We have lost our young brother and we demand justice. The culprits must be punished in the larger interest of justice and to create deterrence against hate crimes and mob violence,” he said.He alleged they are being offered money as well to do so. “We were also offered money, which we rejected to accept. Paise se mera bhai to wapas nahin aa jayega (The money cannot return our brother),” he added.Technically, the victim’s family cannot withdraw the cases as the state is pursuing the matter against the accused. But attempts can be made to persuade the prime witness - who is Junaid's brother Hashim - to turn hostile so that the case can be subverted.
Tipu Sultan descendants mull legal action against Union minister Hegde
Kolkata:The descendants of Tipu Sultan in Kolkata are contemplating legal action against Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde of Karnataka who called the 18th century ruler of Mysore a “mass rapist” and a “brutal killer” in a tweet on Friday. The descendants said they are deeply pained by the statement and the controversy.Hegde, Union Minister of State for Skill Development, made the comment when he asked not to be invited for celebrations on Tipu Sultan Jayanti.In a letter to the Karnataka Chief Minister’s Secretariat and Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner, the minister asked them not to include his name on the list of invitees for the programmes on Nov. 10. “(I have) conveyed (to) Karnataka government not to invite me to shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist,” Hegde wrote. indianexpress
Afghan President in Delhi tomorrow, will hold detailed talks with PM Modi
New Delhi:Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will hold detailed talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday on furthering the shared objective of promoting security and stability in Afghanistan, and efforts to combat the menace of terrorism. The external affairs ministry said today that the Afghan president would be here on a one-day working visit at the invitation of the prime minister. The invitation was extended by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval during his Kabul trip on Oct.16.During his visit, President Ghani will meet with his Indian counterpart and have delegation level talks with the prime minister, who will also host a lunch in his honour, an official statement said.PTI

Return of ‘displaced persons’ can restore normalcy in Myanmar: Sushma Swaraj on Rohingya crisis
Dhaka;India is “deeply concerned” at the spate of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State where normalcy will be restored only with the return of “displaced persons”, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said here amidst the raging Rohingya refugee crisis.Nearly 600,000 minority Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since late August to escape violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State where the army has launched a crackdown.Myanmar doesn’t recognise Rohingya as an ethnic group and insists that they are Bangladeshi migrants living illegally in the country.Bangladesh has sought India’s “sustained pressures” on Myanmar for its resolution. “India is deeply concerned at the spate of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State,” Swaraj said after talks with the Bangladeshi side as part of the fourth Joint Consultative Commission.PTI
Cow protection squads in Uttarakhand
Dehradun:Following instructions by CM Trivendra Rawat for forming a special squad to keep in check the “increasing number of cases of cow smuggling and cow slaughter” in Uttarakhand, 2 “govansh sangrakshan squads (cow protection squads)” — one each for Kumaon and Garhwal regions — have been formed.The instructions from Rawat came on Saturday and the same night, the additional director-general of police (law and order) Ashok Kumar issued an order for the formation of the squads “for the protection of cow progeny” and for the “effective execution” of the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act, 2007, which prohibits cow slaughter and regulates the transport of cow progeny. indianexpress
Regulate Arab weddings, don’t ban: Muslim leaders
Hyderabad: Muslim religious and social leaders have called upon the Telangana government to take into account the Islamic jurisprudence and socio-economic background of the minority community before promulgating legislation on the marriage of local Muslim girls to foreign nationals, particularly those from Arab countries. The demand comes in the backdrop of state government proposing an Act to regulate Arab weddings and making it mandatory for foreign grooms to desposit Rs 10 lakh as security. They felt that any new legislation governing the marriage and divorce of Muslims in the state will have a direct bearing on the socio-economic aspects of the community. About a dozen Muslim religious leaders, legal experts and social activists gathered here on Sunday to take stock of the recent incidents involving marriage of city Muslim girls to Arab nationals.  Those who participated in the meeting included Mufti Abdul Mughni Mazarari, president of Jamiat-ul-Ulema, Hyderabad, Iqbal Ahmed of the Milli Council, Maulana Naseeruddin, organizer of Wehdat Islami, Telangana, Moulana Syed Tariq Quadri, advocate and former member of Minorities Commission, Maulana Hussain Shaeed, Mustafa Ali Sarvari, associate professor, MANUU, Supreme Court advocate Mirza Nisar Ahmed Baig, Ilyas Shamsi, president, IRF, Azharuddin of Jamaat-e-Islami, and social activists Mohammed Farooq, Affan Quadri, Abdul Nayeem and Aleem Baig. timesofindia
Fatwa-hit Muslim women group seeks ban on Darul Uloom
Varanasi: Muslim Mahila Foundation, which has come under fire from the Darul Uloom Deoband for praising Ram, has demanded a ban on the seminary and a probe into its funding. Nazneen Ansari, the founder-president of the Foundation, on Sunday said, "Islam does not allow them (ulemas) to issue any order or impose their views on anyone in religious matters. They can give suggestions or advice in true light of Islam. They have no authority to 'bedakhal' (oust) anyone from Islam. If they continue to issue fatwa on such matters, we will lodge an FIR for violating a 2014 Supreme Court directive." timesofindia
WORLD
Tillerson: Saudis not ready for talks to end GCC crisis
Doha, Qatar - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Saudi Arabia is not willing to begin direct talks to resolve the Gulf diplomatic crisis, as his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, expressed frustration over the behaviour of the four countries blockading Qatar.  The diplomats made the comments on Sunday during Tillerson's visit to Qatar, where he arrived following a stop in Saudi Arabia as part of a new push to end the months-long dispute.In a joint news conference with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman in Qatar's capital, Doha, Tillerson said he is not hopeful Saudi Arabia is willing to enter discussions to resolve the crisis."In my meetings with  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I asked him to please engage in dialogue, [but] there is not a strong indication that parties are ready to talk yet," said Tillerson, referring to his earlier discussions in Riyadh."We cannot force talks upon people who are not ready to talk." aljazeera
Former Saudi and Israeli spymasters share NYC stage
New York, US - A few years back, the prospect of an eminent member of the Israeli political establishment sharing a stage with a Saudi Arabian counterpart in a New York synagogue would have been difficult for many to stomach.Such events are becoming more common. On Sunday, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief appeared relaxed and chatty beside Efraim Halevy, the director of Mossad from 1998-2002, on a podium in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Al-Faisal dismissed the idea that Israel and Saudi Arabia are edging towards detente, but his many references to Iran's nuclear arms scheme and growing regional clout underscored the perceived common threat shared by both countries.But the fear of nuke-toting Iranian religious scholars would not propel Riyadh into clandestine military cooperation with Israel unless the Jewish state first struck an equitable, two-state peace deal with Palestinians, al-Faisal insisted."There is no such under-the-table engagement between Israel and these Arab countries. What is needed is on the table, not under-the-table," al-Faisal, wearing a pinstripe suit, told the Middle East Security Forum: New York. aljazeera
Hamas: No rift with Qatar over Fatah reconciliation
Hamas has denied reports hinting that the Palestinian group is dissatisfied with the role of Qatar in the effort to reach reconciliation with Fatah.Local news media reports on the issue surfaced after Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar recently met youth groups in the Gaza Strip.In a statement, Hamas has said allegations of the rift are "completely not true" and dismissed talk of any tension."It is worth noting Qatar's role in supporting the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in general and our people in the Gaza Strip, especially in the shadow of the unjust siege," the statement read.Hamas praised Qatar as having a "pioneering role" in bettering the lives of Palestinians living in Gaza. aljazeera
Israel maintains robust arms trade with rogue regimes
Tel Aviv - Human rights activists are stepping up efforts to expose Israel's long and covert history of supplying weapons and military training to regimes while they actively commit massacres, ethnic cleansing and genocide.The issue of Israel's trade with rogue regimes has been thrust into the spotlight again after revelations that it is sending weapons to Myanmar, in defiance of a US and European arms embargo.Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar was condemned last month by the UN for conducting what it called a "textbook ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are reported to have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in recent weeks, after evidence of the torching of entire villages, massacres and systematic rapes.Israel has not divulged details of its ties to Myanmar's military government, but public records show that it has sold the military there armed patrol boats, guns and surveillance equipment. Myanmar's special forces have also been trained by Israelis.Human rights groups are set to stage a protest outside Israel's parliament on Oct.30, calling for an immediate halt to the weapons sales to Myanmar. Israeli firms have also broken with the US and Europe by supplying weapons and surveillance equipment to militias in South Sudan, where a civil war has raged since late 2013. Some 300,000 Sudanese are believed to have been killed in the fighting. aljazeera
‘Israel abetting genocide in Myanmar’
Rights groups blast Egypt's human rights record
International rights organisations have gathered in the French capital to highlight Egypt's human rights abuses, as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is set to arrive for a two-day visit.Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders and the France-based International Federation for Human Rights were among the groups scheduled to speak at a news conference in Paris on Monday.In a statement, Human Rights Watch called on France to "stop ignoring serious abuses, including Egyptian security services' widespread and systematic use of torture".
Syrian regime traps 400,000 civilians in east Ghouta
At least 400,000 civilians have been blockaded and trapped by the Syrian regime on eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus, leaving them struggling with malnutrition.At least two babies have died due to malnutrition and hundreds remain in a dire situation as all healthcare facilities were destroyed or are almost non-operational, according to local medics. A main pro-democracy opposition stronghold on the outskirts of Damascus, eastern Ghouta has been under siege by regime forces since December 2012.The regime tightened its siege in recent months, preventing residents from bringing in their daily needs such as food and medicine, which has resulted in an increase in infant deaths. aljazeera
This is the price of war: A malnourished Syrian baby, who died of hunger
One-month-old Sahar, her ribs protruding under translucent skin, breathed her last on Sunday in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, where a crushing regime siege has pushed hundreds of children to the brink of starvation. Only a trickle of humanitarian aid ever reaches this rebel-held region east of Damascus, under a tight blockade by Assad regime forces since 2013.On Saturday, the parents of Sahar Dofdaa, just 34 days old, took her to a hospital in the Eastern Ghouta town of Hamouria. Images filmed by a reporter working with AFP showed a wide-eyed girl with listless eyes and little but skin on her bones.She tried to cry but lacked the strength to make much of a noise. Her young mother sobbed nearby.Her skeletal thighs poked out of a nappy way over her size. Placed on the scales, she weighed less than two kilogrammes (just over 4 pounds).Like hundreds of children in Ghouta, Sahar was suffering from acute malnutrition.AFP
Russia accuses US coalition of decimating Raqqa
Russia has accused the US-led coalition of bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa "off the face of the Earth," in the same way the Allied powers bombed Germany's Dresden during World War II.Russia's Defence Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that 200,000 people lived in Raqqa before the conflict, but no more than 45,000 remained."Raqqa has suffered the fate of Dresden in 1945 when the city was wiped off the face of the Earth by Anglo-American air raids," it said in a statement.
Iraqi court issues arrest warrant against former Kurdish army chief
A court in Baghdad has issued an arrest warrant for the former Iraqi army chief of staff, Babakir Zebari, for alleged charges of corruption and misusing public funds, the Iraqi Commission of Integrity said in a statement yesterday.The commission said the case dates back to when Zebari was still in office and gave seven cars owned by the defence ministry to civilians, without revealing their identities.The Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Abadi, referred Zebari – who is Kurdish – to retirement after 12 years in office. Middleeastmonitor
Kurdish Peshmerga blow up bridge to halt Iraqi forces
Saudi joins Islamic finance body, could boost cross-border deals:Reuters
Saudi Arabia’s central bank has joined an international standard-setting body for Islamic finance, a move that could help standardise industry practices and ease cross-border transactions in the Kingdom. Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) said in a statement late on Sunday it had admitted the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) as an institutional member.Islamic products represent around half of banking system assets in the Kingdom, but the regulator doesn’t distinguish between Islamic or conventional banks and applies the same prudential standards to all of them.Islamic finance follows religious principles such as bans on gambling and outright speculation, with interest-bearing products deemed off-limits. SAMA confirmed the move in a separate statement, without specifying whether it planned to make AAOIFI standards enforceable or if it would adopt all or some of them.Saudi-based Islamic banks include Al Rajhi Bank and Alinma Bank, while National Commercial Bank is in the process of converting into a full-fledged Islamic lender. Saudi lenders remain domestically focused, but adopting AAOIFI standards could help them venture into other majority-Muslim countries. The Saudi government has also taken steps to tap into Islamic finance, issuing debut Islamic bonds earlier this year denominated in both riyals and US. dollars.

FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
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2.8 million Indians displaced internally in 2016, third highest globally



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