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Sunday, 22 October 2017

22 Oct.ND: UP govt plans to merge Shia, Sunni Waqf boards to prevent ‘wastage of money’



Evening NEWS DIGEST
22 Oct.2017: 1 Safar 1439:Vol:9, No:26
UP govt plans to merge Shia, Sunni Waqf boards to prevent ‘wastage of money’
Lucknowl: UP govt is planning to form a “UP Muslim Waqf board” by merging the separate Sunni and Shia Waqf boards to prevent “wastage of money”, minister of state for Waqf Mohsin Raza said.He alleged that both Sunni and Shia Waqf boards are being charged with corruption, and the government will dissolve them soon.Though things are still to be finalised, the minister said the UP Muslif Waqf board when constituted will have members of both Sunni and Shia communities and its chairman will be selected from among them.“The government has got a number of letter and suggestions from various quarters regarding the merger of Sunni and Shia Waqf boards. After which, the government has sought a proposal in this regard from the department concerned. “After Law department’s review of the proposal, the government will consider it and form the UP Muslim Waqf board,” Raza said.He also claimed that all states of the country except UP and Bihar have only one Waqf board. According to Raza, having separate Waqf boards in the state is not “legal”.The minister further said that as per the Central Waqf council, there are only 3,000 units of Shia Waqf Board, and that there was no point in keeping a separate Shia Board.“Separate chairman, CEO and other staff incure heavy expenses. It is a wastage of money,” Mohsin Raza said.Reacting to the development, Shia Waqf board chairman Waseem Rizvi said there is no provision to separate Sunni and Shia boards which were constituted in 2015 for the tenure of five years.“There is no provision to dissolve the board. After the tenure ends, the government can inquire about number of Waqf units and their income to proceed further,” Rizvi said.Rizvi also alleged that the share of income of Shia Waqf board is over 15 per cent of the total income.However, Chairman of UP Sunni Waqf Board Zufar Farooqui said they welcome the initiative of merging both the boards into one.But with that said, he wondered why the state government is changing a decision also taken under the BJP rule in 1999 by then CM Kalyan Singh.“In 1999, when BJP was in power and Kalyan Singh was the Chief Minister he constituted separate Shia and Sunni Waqf boards. Question arises whether the present government does not endorse the previous BJP government’s decision,” Farooqui asked.PTI
Yogi Govt Mulling Merger of Shia and Sunni Waqf Boards to 'Prevent Wastage of Money'
Britain’s Labour Party calls for global human rights monitors in Kashmir
London: Britain’s opposition Labour Party wants India to allow international human rights monitors to visit Jammu and Kashmir to verify reports of violations since the current situation in the state “needs to be sorted out”.Emily Thornberry, shadow foreign secretary, told members of the Indian Journalists Association here on Friday that if India has nothing to fear, it should allow human rights monitors into the state. Impressing by its performance in the June general election, the party’s views on key issues such as Brexit, its relationship with India and the Indian community has been under more focus. Thornberry, 57, who under Britain’s shadow government system would be the foreign secretary if Labour won the election, spoke on a range of issues, including party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s criticism PM Narendra Modi in relation to the 2002 Gujarat riots.She highlighted the fact that it was a Labour government in office when India became independent in 1947, and that she was elected from the Islington South and Finsbury seat, once held by Dadabhai Naoroji —first Indian elected to the House of Commons.“Our current position on Kashmir comes from a concern for human rights. We hear a kaleidoscope of stories, from the extremes to the less extreme. The human rights of Kashmiris continue to bubble up. I have spoken to the (Indian) high commissioner about this.“Kashmiris want to live in peace. That should be our starting point. I know there are people in India who say these stories are exaggerated or indeed downright lies. And if that’s right, it does seem to me that India has nothing to fear from allowing human rights monitors into Kashmir in order to be able to support that it isn’t true,” she said.Refraining from going beyond the official position — that the issue needs to be settled by India and Pakistan, and that Britain had no role — Thornberry said: “It is our place to keep saying that it needs to be resolved in a peaceful way. This is not radical, this is common sense.”HT
India urges Myanmar must take back Rohingya refugees residing in Bangladesh
India on Sunday said Rohingya refugees who have poured into Bangladesh must be taken back by Myanmar from where they have been displaced.“Normalcy will only be restored with the return of the displaced persons to Rakhine state,” Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a media meet also attended by her Bangladeshi counterpart Abula Hassan Mahmood Ali.This followed the fourth India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee meeting on Sunday.Sushma Swaraj did not use the word Rohingya to refer to the thousands who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and instead referred to them as displaced persons from Rakhine state, bdnews24.com reported.She said India was “deeply concerned at the spate of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar”.According to latest figures from the UN office in Bangladesh, over 600,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmar Army cracked down on the Rohingyas after a series of attacks on security personnel in Rakhine.Bangladesh Minister Ali said India was urged to contribute towards exerting sustained pressure on Myanmar to find a peaceful solution to crisis, including return of Rohingyas to their homeland.IANS
Egypt President desires to take ties with India to higher level: MJ Akbar
Cairo:President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has a sincere desire to take the Egypt-India ties to a higher level, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar has said. Akbar, who called on President Sisi here yesterday, described his meeting with the Egyptian leader as “excellent”.“President Sisi’s great desire for taking our relationship, which is already very good, to much higher level is very sincere and is a very powerful pillar of our bilateral relations and it gives us hope for great revival,” he told PTI after the meeting. During the meeting at Al Alamein, the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the bilateral ties as well as other regional and international issues.Akbar said both countries always find new avenues for partnership and cooperation “not simply on govt-to-govt level but how to improve partnership on a people-to-people level”. He handed over President Sisi a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The letter was to thank Egypt for its support to the Indian candidate at the International Court of Justice, the minister said.“This is a message of renewal relations and it also elaborate how we can work together both in multilateral and bilateral issues,” he said, noting that India had supported the Egyptian candidate for the Secretary-General of UNESCO. Minister also mentioned that President Sisi and PM Modi have met four times and they have developed a “very good warm friendship”. Sisi had visited India in Sept.2016.PTI
As IS collapses, MEA collects DNA from families of 39 missing Indians
Ministry of External Affairs is gathering DNA samples of the families of the 39 missing Indians who were believed to have been captured by Islamic State (IS) militants from Mosul more than three years ago. These samples, ministry sources said, would be sent to Iraq and Syria to be matched with people captured from fallen IS bastions such as Raqqa, as well as with bodies recovered during combing operations.This comes three months after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said it was a “sin” to presume the 39 men were dead, unless there was proof. “We are very clear: we want conclusive proof about them. We are in touch with the local authorities who have access to the area. Once we have the DNA samples from the families, we can match with those in custody as well as bodies, suspected to be of Indians,” a source said. The Indian missions in Damascus, Baghdad and Erbil have been asked to be in constant communication with the local authorities for the identification process.The MEA’s push to locate the missing men comes at a time when US-backed militias in Syria have declared victory over the IS in Raqqa.“In June-July this year, we were told that Raqqa is the last bastion and the 39 missing Indians could be there… so we kept a close watch on the battle there. Now that it’s almost over, we will be restarting our search in Raqqa. Collection of DNA samples is the first step towards that objective,” the source said.MEA has been in touch with local missions in Syria and Iraq, besides seeking help from American authorities for coordination on the ground, ministry sources said. MEA’s States department has been asked to coordinate with the Punjab government to collect the DNA samples of the families — 25 of the 39 missing Indians are from Punjab. indianexpress
Zakir Naik to be chargesheeted by NIA this week
Zakir Naik will be chargesheeted by NIA this week for his alleged role in terror funding and money laundering cases in the country, officials said. Formalities to file the chargesheet against Naik, who left the country in July last year, have been completed and it will be submitted before a special court this week, they said.51-year-old televangelist, who is currently abroad, is being probed under terror and money-laundering charges by NIA.Naik is said to have acquired citizenship of Saudi Arabia but this has not been confirmed yet. PTI
 ‘It’s a poll gimmick’: Gujarat farmers, Patidars rubbish BJP’s offer to withdraw cases against them: scroll
Gujarat government has said it would withdraw all criminal cases filed against 22 agitating farmers in Sanand taluka of rural Ahmedabad – one in a series of sops it has announced in the run-up to Assembly elections, which are expected to be conducted in Dec. The farmers were charged with attempt to murder after their protest in demand of irrigation water on Feb.14 turned violent and the district SP was injured.The announcement came barely a week after BJP govt promised to withdraw all “non-serious cases” filed against members of the Patidar community after their protest rally in Aug.2015 had led to rioting and violence across the state. Land-owning Patidar or Patel community, which accounts for 14% of sate’s population, is fighting for reservation in jobs and education under OBC category. However, neither Sanand farmers nor Patidar leaders are moved by BJP’s attempts to placate them. Dismissing the announcements as pre-poll bait, they claimed the govt had yet to address their main problems and demands. Shailesh Thakkar, one of 22 farmers from Upardal village in Sanand, doubts the govt will keep its word. “We have been seeing in the media that the govt has claimed it will withdraw the cases against us,” he said. “But will they actually withdraw the cases? I doubt it.” Thakkar spent 16 days in jail before he was released on bail in March. Upardal is one of 32 villages in Sanand, Viramgam and Bavla talukas of Ahmedabad where farmers have been demanding Narmada river water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam project to irrigate their fields for close to 2 decades. Despite assurances from politicians at the district and state level, the canals they were promised have not yet been made. However, the villagers claim that towns and industrial zones adjacent to their farms have been receiving Narmada water through canals. Both Kolipatil and Thakkar say the state govt is out of touch with the people and their real needs. scroll
Hardik Patel meets Muslim community in Godhra, says BJP’s policy is divide and rule
Godhra:A day after two formidable leaders of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) Reshma Patel and Varun Patel joined the BJP, Patidar movement leader Hardik Patel addressing farmers in Madheli village in Vadodara’s Waghodia taluka on Sunday said he is not joining any political party but will work for the community. “I am fighting for the rights of the community. We will stick to our three main demands ‘Reservation’, ‘Employment to youth’ and ‘Loan waiver to the farmers of Gujarat, whichever party will agree to this we will support them,” Patel said.In response to the PAAS members Varun Patel and Reshma Patel joining BJP on Saturday, Patel said, “People are with the issues which we are fighting for the community not with the persons associated with it, people may come and go but fight will continue.”Earlier in the day, Patel addressed farmers of the Madheli village in Waghodia where he slammed BJP government for not addressing the issues of farmers.Patel also appealed to farmers not to vote blindly for any party. Attacking PM Modi, Patel said, “I keep reminding my father to check my bank account whether Rs 15 lakh have been deposited in it or not…the money has got deposited, not in our account but in the account of Jay Shah (BJP chief Amit Shah’s son)?”Patel also met members of the Muslim community in Godhra. Addressing them, he said we have to fight together for better government in this country. Attacking BJP he said, “BJP’s policy is divide and rule, they are even trying to divide Muslim community, in coming days we all have to fight for our rights united.” Anwar Kalandar, a scrap vendor who came to felicitate Patel, said,” I have come here to support Hardik whatever he is doing for his community is necessary.” In an apparent reference to Congress MLA C K Raulji of Godhra who recently joined BJP, Patel assured the gathering and said: “I am here to fight for your issues and rights, it is time we have to teach a lesson to those who have betrayed us.”indianexpress
Congress gets a boost ahead of Gujarat polls as OBC leader Alpesh Thakor to join party, eyes Hardik’s support
Vijayan flays Katiyar over Taj Mahal remark, says 'intolerant' BJP triggering communal tension
 Left parties on Saturday said the vilification of Taj Mahal by BJP leaders exposed their "intolerance" towards matters they could not associate themselves with. Inaugurating a 'Jana Jagaran Jatha' organised by the ruling CPM led LDF, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan flayed the statement of BJP leader Vinay Katiyar that the Taj Mahal was previously a Shiva temple."It all started when UP CM Yogi Adityanath omitted Taj Mahal from the list of important places to visit in that state."It showed that...they cannot tolerate the name Shah jahan, who built the historic and heritage structure," he said, adding, "We have to seriously think as regards which direction our country is headed to."PTI
Taj Mahal part of India’s heritage, we’re proud of it: Tourism minister Alphons
New Delhi:Taj Mahal is a part of India’s heritage and people are proud of it, Union tourism minister KJ Alphons said on Saturday, quoting PM Narendra Modi’s remarks earlier this week that a country cannot progress if it is not proud of its heritage.The minister’s remarks came amid a political slugfest triggered by Sangeet Som, the controversial BJP MLA from UP, after he described the monument as a “blot” on India’s culture because it was ordered built by emperor Shah Jahan who imprisoned his father.That statement, denounced by opposition parties and public intellectuals, was also incorrect because it was Shah Jahan who was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb. A day later, senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar waded into the controversy, saying the Taj was originally a temple to Lord Shiva called the ‘Tejo Mahal’.HT
After Taj, now Lucknow missing in UP tourism list
Lucknow: Yogi Adityanath government may have tried to make amends by including the Taj Mahal in the annual calendar of UP Tourism for 2018 but it has now stirred another controversy by excluding Lucknow from the same list.The 12-page calendar that was released two and a half months earlier as a damage control exercise after a section of BJP leaders denounced the Taj Mahal includes several tourist destinations but there is no mention of any destination from Lucknow. Reacting sharply to the omission, Nawab Jafar Mir Abdullah, a Nawab of Oudh, said, “This is blasphemous because Lucknow remains a symbol of Ganga-Jamuni culture of the state.  How can the government ignore Lucknow while promoting tourism?” The calendar released by the UP Tourism department begins the year with a picture of the Magh Mela at the Sangam in Allahabad while the February page is devoted to Ram ki Pairi in Ayodhya.Asian Age
No enmity between Hindus & Muslims in Ayodhya: Chief priest of Ram Mandir
Ayodhya:Politics over the Babri dispute, including the hate campaign by VHP, has only complicated a possible amicable solution, contends Mahant Satyendra Das of the makeshift Ram Mandir at the disputed site here, saying there was no enmity here between the two communities over the issue. He said the apex court’s verdict was likely to be in favour of constructing the Ram Mandir at the disputed site — where once stood the 16th century Babri Masjid that was demolished by Hindu fundamentalists in 1992 — as evidence “clearly showed” the existence of a temple at the spot in the past. Satyendra Das said the court’s decision was expected soon, thus facilitating the construction of the “long-cherished” grand mandir at the birthplace of Lord Ram in a year’s time. “The court’s decision is expected soon. All things are in place and all evidence has been presented by the Hindu side to prove that the Ram Mandir existed before it was demolished to build the Babri Masjid,” Das told IANS .“On other hand, Muslims could not produce any evidence. They have sought time from the court till Dec. for translation of some documents into English. So, the decision is expected early next year,” he said.Citing good relations among people from both communities, he said they would sit together and try to find a solution in case the court’s decision was not acceptable to both sides. “We will find a solution through mutual understanding and talks, but no political party will be allowed to interfere as they have their political motives,” he said.Satyendra Das slammed the VHP for spreading hatred by using foul language against Muslims when it started its agitation for the temple. “VHP used the language that made Muslims sad, angry and distressed. Slogans were like ‘Hindi Hindu Hindustan, Mullah Bhago Pakistan (Hindi Hindu India, Muslims go to Pakistan) or ‘Jo kahega Babri, usko samjho akhri (Whoever says Babri will meet his end). It only worsened the matter,” he said.PTI
GST rates need to be overhauled to reduce burden on small firms: Revenue Secretary Adhia
GST rates need to be overhauled to reduce the burden on small businesses, given that the new system is now firmly implemented, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told PTI. He said this will help small businessmen comply with the new rules and accept the GST regime better.Adhia also said that the GST system will take a year to stabilise. “If you see the experience of VAT [introduction of value-added tax in 2005], there was opposition for one year,” he said. “People were on the streets because nobody knew what VAT is...It was more opposition that time than this.” GST Council will consider revising the tax slabs for items as early as at its next meeting in Guwahati on November 10, Adhia told PTI. The revenue secretary said a fitment committee will need to make calculations for an overhaul in the tax slabs and also decide which items would need such rationalisation of rates. scroll
Rajasthan ordinance is against free speech:legal experts
New Delhi:Legal experts have questioned Rajasthan ordinance that prohibits investigation without prior sanction against judicial officers and public servants, and said the restrictions it imposed on the media impinged on free speech.The ordinance, promulgated last month, 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”. Under the new law, the media too cannot report on the accusation against such a person until the prosecution gets the go-ahead from the sanctioning authority, which may take up to six months. The Indian Express had on Saturday reported that the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan was ready with a Bill to replace the ordinance.Constitutional expert Shanti Bhushan said, “It is highly improper and should be quashed. What it means is politicians want to do corruption and do not want to be investigated.” Jurist and former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said the “constitutionality” of the ordinance was “very doubtful”. Law Commission Chairman Justice (retired) A P Shah wondered how the legislature could make any law for judges when the procedure for action against them have been clearly laid down by the Supreme Court. indianexpress
ICAR to study if ‘cow urine’ can be used in organic farming
New Delhi:India’s premier farm research organisation Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has been asked to study if ‘cow urine’ can be used to promote organic farming and submit its report in two months. According to a senior Niti Aayog official, the ICAR has been asked to look into the possibility of converting cow urine into amino acid for use as natural fertiliser to increase farm productivity.The decision to request the ICAR to conduct this study was taken after a high-level meeting at the Niti Aayog, during which Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh talked about organic farming and also how cow urine, bio-waste and cow dung can be used in organic farming.PTI
UP: Police clash with minority members: 3 cops sent to police lines
Bijnor: 3 days after the scuffle between local police and members of minority community in Noorpur region of Bijnor, three cops, including a sub inspector were summoned to police line by the police authorities for their alleged cack-handed approach in sorting out the issue on the spot.According to reports, the sub inspector and two constables had prevented a few Muslims from filling some mud in their bullock carts from an agricultural farm for the construction of a mosque.On October 18, the construction work of a mosque was going on in Noorpur town. People of minority community were bringing sand in three bullock-carts. In the meanwhile, two police constables checked the bullock carts and they asked them to bring the bullock carts to police station as sand mining is illegal here in the state. The sand cannot be brought without the permission. This led to an altercation between cops and people that led to scuffle, which resulted in the sub inspector firing in the air in self defense. Later, enraged mob locked him in a shop. After which a heavy police force reached the spot and lathi charged the mob to disperse them. A case was lodged against over 250 unidentified people while six men were also arrested from the spot.Sensing the gravity of the incident, superintendent of police Prabhakar Chaudhary removed three police men, including a sub inspector from their post and summoned them to police line. Apart from this, an inquiry has been also initiated in this connection. timesofindia
Himayatbagh ‘encounter’: 2 sentenced to 10-yr prison term
Mumbai; Over 5 years after a cop was shot at during an alleged encounter at Himayatbagh in Aurangabad, a sessions court recently convicted two men and sentenced them to 10 years each in prison on the charges of attempt to murder. The two, who were named by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad as alleged members of the banned organisation, SIMI, were acquitted of terror charges. Two others arrested in the case were acquitted of all charges. Aurangabad unit of the ATS had claimed that on March 26, 2012, they received information that Mohammed Abrar, named in the Ahmedabad bomb blast, was coming to Himayatbagh along with his associates to meet an aide. The prosecution claimed that the ATS team spotted the men moving in the area and an officer asked Abrar to stop, but one of the men drew a pistol and fired at them. ATS said that a bullet hit constable SK Aref on the shoulder and in the exchange of fire that followed, accused Shakir Hussein sustained an injury on the leg and another accused, Azhar Qureshi, was shot at and succumbed to injuries later.Abrar and Hussein claimed in their defence that the ATS officers had already arrested them before the incident was “stage-managed” to conceal the killing of Qureshi. They claimed that Himayatbagh, where the alleged encounter took place, being heavily crowded, it was “highly impossible” that ATS officers would fire at the accused in such an area. They further claimed that Qureshi was shot at from close range and that he had never attempted to fire at the ATS team.The court observed, “Nothing has been brought on record by the defence side to show that the ATS officers had any axe to grind (against) the accused persons (to frame them) in a false crime. Nothing has been placed on record to show that ATS officers wanted to kill the third accused in a fake encounter.”The court further said that since no offence was registered in the state against Abrar and the other accused had no criminal antecedents, there was “no reason” for the ATS to unlawfully detain them for a period of one week and then attempt to kill them. The court also said that it is “not obliged” to decide the cause of death of Qureshi but the post-mortem report “establishes” that he died due to bullet injuries on his face.The court found Abrar and Shakir guilty under sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Arms Act.Further, special Judge VV Patil observed, “… only because ATS officers say that the accused no. 1 and 2 are involved in unlawful activities and that they are member of SIMI…in absence of any cogent and convincing evidence, they also can not be held guilty for commission of any of the offence punishable under UAPA.”Hafiz Nadeem Siddiqui, president of Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra, which represented the accused, said they will appeal against the conviction. indianexpress
WORLD
Israeli official confirms: Sauidi crown price Bin Salman visited Tel Aviv last month
An Israeli official has  told AFP that Saudi Crown Prince Emir Mohammed bin Salman secretly visited Tel Aviv in Sept. The official, who requested that his identity remains anonymous, refused to reveal the nature of bin Salman’s meetings in Tel Aviv, the people he met, as well as the results of his discussions with the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli official’s statement confirmed the accuracy of what the official Hebrew radio broadcast earlier, when it revealed that “an emir from the Saudi royal court visited the country secretly on 7 Sept. and discussed with senior Israeli officials the idea of ​​pushing forward regional peace.”During that time, journalist Ariel Kahana, who works for the nationalist and right-wing weekly Makor Rishon, tweeted: “Bin Salman visited Israel with an official delegation and met with officials.”A few days later, the famous Saudi blogger “Mujtahid” wrote: “Journalist Noga Tarnopolsky, a specialist in Israeli affairs who possesses international credibility, has confirmed bin Salman’s visit to Israel.”Immediately after, hashtag #Bin_Salman_Visited_Israel topped the most circulated Twitter hashtags in a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.Israeli analysts and officials confirm the existence of coordination and progress in the relations between Israel and Arab countries, especially the Gulf States.They are expecting that some of them will be announced in the near future, based on the fact that Saudi Arabia and Israel share a common hostility towards Iran.On 6 September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that there was cooperation at various levels with Arab states with which Israel had no peace agreements. He explained that these contacts were taking place in a discrete manner and are the most extensive ones that ever took place in any previous era in the history of Israel. middleeastmonitor
Tillerson renews Gulf crisis talks in Saudi
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Saudi Arabia for the start of his Middle East tour as part of a new push to end the Gulf crisis.The top US diplomat landed in Riyadh on Saturday and met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.On Sunday, Tillerson participated in the inaugural meeting of the Saudi Arabia-Iraq Coordination Committee, along with Saudi King Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The committee aims to improve ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia that have long been regional rivals. The secretary of state was also scheduled to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the ongoing diplomatic dispute with Qatar, now in its fourth month, according to the US state department. While in the kingdom, the inaugural Coordination Council meeting between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iraq will also be on Tillerson's agenda. After Riyadh, the secretary of state is due to travel to Qatar's capital, Doha, on Sunday, where he will meet Qatari Emir and Foreign Minister. aljazeera
Trump’s peace envoy conditions Palestinian reconciliation on disarming Hamas
US President Donald Trump’s Middle East Peace Envoy Jason Greenblatt released a statement on Thursday, echoing statements by the Israeli government on the recent Palestinian reconciliation deal signed earlier this month by the rival Hamas and Fatah movements.Greenblatt, who has visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory a number of times since Trump took office in Jan, began his statement by saying that “all parties agree that it is essential that the Palestinian Authority be able to assume full, genuine, and unhindered civil and security responsibilities in Gaza and that we work together to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinians living there.”“ US reiterates the importance of adherence to the Quartet principles:any Palestinian govt must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognise the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties – including to disarm terrorists – and commit to peaceful negotiations,” Greenblatt said.middleeastmonitor
Hamas delegation arrives in Tehran on official visit
A Senior Hamas delegation headed by Deputy Chief, Saleh al-Arouri, arrived in Tehran on Friday to meet with Iranian officials, Quds Press reported.The delegation included Izzat al-Reshiq, Zaher Jabarin, Osama Hamdan, Sami Abu-Zuhri and Khalid al-Qadoumi – Hamas representative in Tehran. Hamas delegation will discuss the latest developments in Palestine with Iranian officials.They would also discuss the recent reconciliation agreement with Fatah, as well as bi-lateral relations with Iran.In August, a senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani. middleeastmonitor
Russia accuses US-led coalition of ‘barbaric’ bombing of Syria’s Raqqa
Russia accused the US-led coalition in Syria on Sunday of wiping the city of Raqqa “off the face of the earth” with carpet bombing in the same way the United States and Britain had bombed Germany’s Dresden in 1945.Russian Defence Ministry, which has itself repeatedly been forced to deny accusations from activists and Western politicians of bombing Syrian civilians, said it looked like the West was now rushing to provide financial aid to Raqqa to cover up evidence of its own crimes.Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said in a statement that around 200,000 people had lived in Raqqa before the conflict in Syria, but that not more than 45,000 people remained.US-backed militias in Syria declared victory over Daesh in Raqqa, the group’s capital, last week, raising flags over the last militant footholds after a four-month battle.“Raqqa has inherited the fate of Dresden in 1945, wiped off the face of the earth by Anglo-American bombardments,” said Konashenkov.Most of the German city was destroyed in Allied bombing raids just before the end of World War Two. middleeastmonitor
Thousands of Syrians flee to de-escalation zones for safety
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are leaving their war-damaged towns and cities for the relative safety of de-escalation zones.The zones were recently agreed on by Turkey which supports the rebels, and Iran and Russia, which back the government. Aljazeera
Egypt sentences 11 to death over attacks on police:AP
An Egyptian criminal court has confirmed death sentences for 11 men and handed down life sentences to 14 others over charges including attempted murder of policemen.The court ruling Sunday by Judge Mohammed Nagy Shehata — known for his severity — can be appealed. 5 of those sentenced to death were tried in absentia. The suspects were referred to court in 2015, more than a year after the military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Authorities later banned Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and thousands of its members were referred to courts over numerous charges.
Rohingya crisis: Refugees returning to Myanmar cannot reclaim land as it has been sold to govt
Rohingya Muslims who return to Myanmar after fleeing to Bangladesh are unlikely to be able to reclaim their land, and may find their crops have been harvested and sold by the government, according to officials and plans seen by Reuters.Nearly 600,000 Rohingya have crossed the border since Aug. 25, when coordinated Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts sparked a ferocious counteroffensive by the Myanmar army.The United Nations says killings, arson and rape carried out by troops and ethnic Rakhine Buddhist mobs since late August amount to a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has no control over the military, has pledged that anyone sheltering in Bangladesh who can prove they were Myanmar residents can return.Reuters has interviewed six Myanmar officials involved with repatriation and resettlement plans. While the plans are not yet finalised, their comments reflect the government's thinking on how Suu Kyi's repatriation pledge will be implemented.Jamil Ahmed, who spoke to Reuters at a refugee camp in Bangladesh, is one of many Rohingya who hope to go back.Describing how he fled his home in northern Rakhine state in late August, Ahmed said one of the few things he grabbed was a stack of papers - land contracts and receipts - that might prove ownership of the fields and crops he was leaving behind."I didn't carry any ornaments or jewels," said the 35-year-old. "I've only got these documents. In Myanmar, you need to present documents to prove everything."Reuters
PM Shinzo Abe Sweeps To Big Win In Japan Vote
Tokyo:  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swept to a comfortable victory in a snap election Sunday, handing him a mandate to harden his already hawkish stance on North Korea and re-energise the world's number-three economy.Abe's conservative coalition was on track to win 311 seats in the 465-seat parliament, according to a projection published by private broadcaster TBS, putting the nationalist blue blood on course to become Japan's longest-serving leader.AFP
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
BJP shot itself in foot by demonetisation decision, GST rollout,gave Opposition much-needed ammunition:IANS
Why Did Hyderabad Die?MIRZA YAWAR BAIG
All Those Who Try to Change History Will Become History:Lt Col Noel Ellis
A Recent Study Reveals A New Threat To Ozone Layer, With India And China Playing A Big Role:ASTHA SHARMA
For Rohingya, it was all a blinding flash and a smear of ash: The Hindu
Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:23 PM)

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