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Thursday, 9 November 2017

09 Nov.ND: Legal process for Zakir Naik’s extradition from Malaysia almost done: Govt/Himachal polls: 74% voter turnout



Evening NEWS DIGEST
09 Nov.2017: 19 Safar 1439:Vol:9, No:43
Legal process for Zakir Naik’s extradition from Malaysia almost done: Govt
New Delhi: India’s legal process for approaching Malaysia for the extradition of Zakir Naik, charged by NIA for radicalising youths, is “nearing completion” and soon an official request will be sent, the external affairs ministry said on Thursday.Ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesman Raveesh Kumar also said that the ministry’s internal process was underway in the case.“Formal request for assistance of a foreign govt in such cases requires a legal process. We are nearing the completion of this exercise. Soon an official request will be made to the Malaysian govt. Internal process we have to complete is also underway,” he said. According to media reports, Naik was in Malaysia after obtaining permanent residency 5 years ago.PTI
Indian commandos in Israel for 2-week long Blue Flag military drills, working closely with select special forces
Jerusalem:India is looking to boost its special forces capabilities,including cross-border counter- terrorist operations, during a two-week military drill with the air forces of Israel and 8 other nations in what is the largest such exercise in Israeli history.45-member Indian contingent, including 16 Garud commandos, led by Group Captain Maluk Singh, is also closely working with Israel’s select special forces during the Blue Flag aerial training exercise with focus on learning what makes them excel at special operations.“We would look to learn and share with them procedures followed in mutual interoperability, counter- terrorist operations, method of inducting and training people and try and compare to see if a course correction is required at our end,” an Indian officer leading the Garud commandos told PTI.“Israelis are more battle-hardened as they have more experience in cross border operations and we can learn from their experiences,” the officer said.In a rare move, while contingents of other participating nations in the massive “war drill” feature fighter aircraft, Indian Air Force (IAF) decided to send C-130J Super Hercules aircraft along with Garud commandos who will be training for a week each with Israeli Air Force’s elite units - Unit 5101 (more commonly referred to as Shaldag Commando unit) and Unit 669 (Airborne Rescue And Evacuation Unit). Garud commandos started training with Unit 669 earlier this week on Sunday and would be moving to the Palmachim Air Force base next week to train with the Shaldag Unit.Unit 669 was initially mandated to extract and provide medical treatment to downed (and possibly injured) pilots beyond enemy lines. However, in later years the unit also participated in extraction of soldiers of other arms of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), especially Sayeret (Special Forces) fighters in operations beyond enemy lines and seamen in distress. Shaldag’s declared mission is to deploy undetected into combat and hostile environments to conduct special reconnaissance, establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control and commando actions.Its operators undergo the longest training phase of any unit in IDF, lasting 22 months, and training has a heavy emphasis on navigation. Mandated role of Garud Commando Force, whose motto - ‘Defence by Offence’ - matches closely with the task assigned to these two special units of the Israeli Air Force.“They are very strong as far as special forces are concerned. This is one area we are definitely looking to learn from their experience”, Maluk Singh told PTI.Blue Flag drill is a biannual exercise designed to strengthen Israel’s military cooperation internationally. This is the first time India is participating in the drill, along with the US, France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Poland. Hindustantimes
France says it’s ready to back India on UN resolution against Masood Azhar
New Delhi: Paris was ready to step up cooperation with New Delhi in order to get UN sanctions on terrorists and their outfits, French ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler said.“Counter-terrorism is an area of major cooperation between the two countries. We were the co-sponsor of the resolution (to bring Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar in UN sanctions list). We are ready to engage with India on counter-terrorism and issues related to designation (of terrorists),” the envoy told HT.India has continued to expand its diplomatic efforts in an attempt to get a global terrorist designation for Azhar and other Pakistan-based terrorists at the UN. However, many have questioned the efficacy of the move considering China, which has repeatedly blocked the bid to tag Azhar as a terrorist, is a veto-wielding member of the UNEC.Ziegler added that India and France were keen on getting more countries to ratify the framework pact of International Solar Alliance, a grouping of countries who want to scale up the use of solar energy. So far, 15 nations have ratified the treaty of PM Narendra Modi’s pet project.“We have been getting request from more countries requesting additional time to complete the internal process to ratify the treaty and be a part of the alliance. We expect many more countries to become a part of the alliance when the (French) President (Emmanuel Macron) comes here for discussions with PM  Modi,” he said. Hindustantimes
Delhi Police suspends senior cop Bhagwan Singh after arrest in J&K terror funding case
New Delhi: Delhi Police on Wednesday suspended Assistant Sub-Inspector Bhagwan Singh who was held along with 6 people after NIA seized demonetised currency worth Rs 36 crore from them in an alleged case of terror funding.The agency booked the 6, along with 3 others, in its case against Hurriyat leaders. A special court sent all the 9 accused to NIA custody till Nov.21. “Bhagwan Singh is the key accused in the case and has a prominent role in movement of money,” an NIA officer said.According NIA, during questioning of the accused, the agency learnt that some people associated with top separatists were hoarding demonetised currency. “Surveillance was mounted on such persons/ entities. This led to unearthing of a conspiracy wherein a gang of such persons/ entities were making an attempt to convert this demonetised money into valid currency,”NIA spokesperson said.NIA said on Monday, an NIA team intercepted the gang members at Jai Singh Road near Connaught Place and found them carrying 28 cartons filled with demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Over 2 days of counting, agency has arrived at the figure of Rs 36,34,78,500 in demonetised currency. Initially, the agency apprehended seven people with the demonetised currency, but one was let off after questioning. 3 others were arrested Tuesday evening. Those arrested have been identified as Delhi residents Pradeep Chauhan, Bhagwan Singh and Vinod Shreedhar Shetty, Deepak Toprani of Mumbai, Ejajul Hassan of Amroha, Jaswinder Singh of Nagpur, and J&K residents Umar Mushtaq Dar (Pulwama), Shahnawaz Mir (Srinagar) and Majid Yousuf Sofi (Anantnag). Indian express
Allahabad HC directs UP Sunni Waqf board to remove mosque from its land
Allahabad High Court today directed UP Sunni Central Waqf Board to remove a mosque constructed on its land and hand over the possession of the plot in 3 months.A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosale and Justice M K Gupta said if the board failed to do so, the registrar general of the High Court would have to take possession of the same with the help of police.The land in dispute was situated near the main building and adjacent to the newly constructed 9-storeyed building of the high court.The order was passed allowing a PIL filed by one Abhishek Shukla of Allahabad. The petitioner had moved the court alleging that mosque had been constructed after encroaching on the high court land.The court, while passing the order, observed that the high court was itself facing acute shortage of land due to which even judges were asked to sit jointly in a single chamber.It said some judges held court in their chambers because of the shortage and even the fire officials had not issued no-objection certificates to the nine-storeyed building.It directed the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board to remove the unauthorised construction and handover the possession of the encroached land in three months.However, the court said it was open to the board moving an application to the district administration for allotting a piece of plot for offering prayers.It also directed the registrar general to not allow individuals belonging to any religion to perform religious activities, including offering prayers.PTI
No religious activity to be permitted in Court premises; Allahabad HC asks wakf to vacate ‘Masjid High Court’
Centre wants details on US funds for NGOs promoting religious freedom in India
New Delhi:The Govt  has said it has sought details about US announcement to provide nearly USD 500,000 to NGOs to promote religious freedom in India, and asserted that any such activity in the country by anybody has to follow the rules of the land.“We have seen reports on this issue. We have sought more details,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.He was responding to questions on the issue during a weekly media briefing.“In any case, any such activity in India in this area by anybody has to follow the rules of the land,” Kumar said, adding he will be able to comment further after getting details on the issue.US on Thursday said it wants to “increase societal tolerance” and reduce “religiously-motivated violence” and discrimination in India with the nearly $500,000 grant to NGOs in the country.PTI
Himachal assembly polls: 74% voter turnout, highest ever for state
Voting began in Himachal Pradesh in 68 constituencies where 337 candidates including 62 MLAs are in the fray.A total of 50.25 lakh electorate, including 19 lakh women and 14 transgenders, will decide the fate of 338 candidates including 19 women.Among the contestants, CM  Virbhadra Singh  is pushing hard to get to the helm for a seventh time. From BJP’s side, Prem Kumar Dhumal is making a strong bid to ensure the party’s win with a record margin. Officials said everything was in place for a smooth conduct of the polling in 7,525 booths.HT
How UP-based Muslim party may ‘help’ BJP in Gujarat? The Hindu
Gandhinagar:Gujarat’s ruling BJP, which is battling anti-incumbency and a resurgent Congress, may get help from a rather unexpected quarter: Uttar Pradesh-based Rashtriya Ulama Council (RUC).The party has declared that it would field its candidates in the State if the BJP and Congress fail to meet its demand of allotting at least 18 Assembly tickets to the Muslim community. RUC’s slogan of Ekta ka raj chalega/ Muslim-Hindu saath chalega (Unity alone will triumph/Muslims, Hindus will walk together) gels well with PM  Narendra Modi’s Sabka saath, sabka vikas (Development with all, of all).RUC, founded in 2008, had fielded around 50 candidates in the UP Assembly elections earlier this year. An ‘assisted’ vote-split led to the rout of the ruling SP, its partner, the Congress, and BSP, and to BJP returned to power after years, with Yogi Adityanath as its CM .On Wednesday, when he was asked which party would benefit from the RUC putting up candidates, its National President, the Azamgarh-based Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madni failed to respond. Would it split the Congress’ potential Muslim vote, and help BJP, or would it not, he did not say.Muslims account for nearly 10%  of Gujarat’s voters and their vote is seen as influential in many Assembly constituencies.Madni complained that the Gujarat election revolves around three young leaders — Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani — and no party was even talking about the Muslims, who, therefore, felt neglected.“We will go with BJP if it accedes to our demand of 18 tickets, out of a total of 182, [which is] in proportion to our population.” Or else, he said, RUC would field its own candidates.Meanwhile, sources said the BJP is also trying to woo the Muslims via the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, an arm of the RSS, and an assortment of nearly 50 Muslim clergy is expected to arrive in Gujarat from various BJP-ruled States in the run-up to the polls. thehindubusinessline
Raghuram Rajan declines AAP's Rajya Sabha seat offer, says no plans to leave academia
AAP has approached former Reserve Bank governor Raghuram Rajan offering him a Rajya Sabha seat and might not nominate its own leaders to the Upper House.An AAP leader, who did not wish to be identified, said the party will not field any of its leaders for 3 Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi that will fall vacant early next year.With its brute majority of 66 in Delhi Legislative Assembly, a victory looks certain. Firstpost
Junaid lynching: Haryana reiterates father demanded Rs 2 crore
A day after the Punjab and Haryana high court asked the Haryana Govt  to clear its stand on the controversy surrounding the state’s claims that family of Faridabad Muslim youth Junaid Khan, who was lynched in June, demanded money for settlement, govt on Wednesday reiterated its stand (end).An affidavit was filed by DSP railways Mohinder Singh on Wednesday stating that submissions of the petitioner (Junaid’s father) that he had not demanded money and had not attended a village meeting on the issue were “false”.“..the deponent was informed by the secret informer about the participation of the petitioner in the Panchayat proceedings where the petitioner raised demand of Rs 2 crore and 3 acre of land from the accused party for the settlement of the murder,” his affidavit says.DSP claimed that when he “exposed” the conduct of the petitioner, Jalaludin, he filed the plea alleging defamation and false accusations. The govt had made the claim orally on Thursday in HC during the hearing of petition filed seeking CBI probe into Junaid’s murder.In the formal reply submitted on Tuesday the state had not reiterated the claims of DSP. However, upon notice from high court on father’s statement that accusations were made to malign his image, DSP filed an affidavit on Wednesday.The matter has now been adjourned till November 17 as court was informed that proceedings in the trial court has been adjourned till Nov.27. hindustantimes
J&K interlocutor Sharma meets Omar, Congress, CPM leaders: Hopeful of solution
The dialogue initiated by Dineshwar Sharma, Centre’s special representative in Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday picked up pace as he met leaders of the National Conference, CPI(M) and Congress.Sharma called on National Conference leader and former CM  Omar Abdullah in the morning, followed by a meeting with CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami and state Congress chief G A Mir.After his meeting with Sharma, Abdullah said: “Sharma came and met me today. He told about the task attributed to him and asked for my opinion on how he could make his mission successful. What I told him is between us but I have given him some suggestions on how to expand the scope of his dialogue and I hope that he will implement those. Because by sitting inside a guest house and waiting for people to come, this will not work.” indianexpress
Centre’s interlocutor meets state BJP leaders in Jammu
‘Genuine Indians Being Harassed in the Name of Tackling Illegals in Assam’
New Delhi:The soft-spoken young lawyer Aman Wadud has emerged as a saviour for thousands of Assamese Muslims who have been facing an uncertain future with the Damocles’ sword of the so-called citizenship check hanging over their heads.Wadud practices at the Guwahati High Court but has had a stint at the Supreme Court of India too. He has played a vital role in highlighting a number of cases in which Assamese Muslims, including many retired members of the Indian armed forces, have been declared “illegal immigrants” by the state police and asked to appear before the Foreigners Tribunal to prove their citizenship. In an interview with Caravan Daily, the lawyer Wadud blames the “majority appeasement” of various political parties for the victimisation of Assam’s Muslims, who have been increasingly facing a concerted campaign by Hindutva groups and BJP Govt  in the state. Wadud, said,"elite Muslims are not being targeted intentionally. Election Commission and Border Police accuse genuine Indian citizens of being illegal immigrants without conducting any proper investigation. And that is the problem. Improper investigation often leads to the targeting of genuine citizens."Caravan Daily
Complaint filed against RSS’s publishing house at Sharjah Book Fair
A complaint has been filed against RSS’s publishing house, Kurukshetra Prakasan, at one of the world's largest book fairs, the Sharjah International Book Fair.The complaint has been filed by Satyadhara Publications with the Sharjah Book Fair management. In the complaint, it has been claimed that the book published by Kurukshetra Prakasan is based on provocative propaganda against Muslims and it hurts those who have faith in Islam.The controversial book reportedly focuses on Savarkar's ideas, asking provocative questions to Muslims and berating Islam.This kind of complaint has been filed for the first time at the Sharjah Book Fair. According to sources, UAE’s Ministry of Religion and Ministry of Culture have started probing matter.GM of Kurukshetra Prakasan, Rajesh Chandran, said that his publication house has been setting up a book stall at Sharjah Book Fair for past 2 years. “This is being done to promote the ideology and politics of RSS,”he said at the book fair. “We are getting an overwhelming response. Our stall is emerging as a major centre for Hindus living in UAE as no other publishing house here brings out such religious and nationalistic literature.” nationalheraldindia
Telangana Waqf Board office at Haj House sealed
Hyderabad: Confusion prevailed at the Haj House a day after revenue and police officials sealed Telangana State Waqf Board (TSWB) on the orders CM  K. Chandrashekhar Rao. Employees of other agencies affiliated to the Minorities Welfare Department, such as Telangana State Urdu Academy, which also operates from the Haj House, were forced to wait outside the building as well. Several had to prove their credentials before they could be allowed inside. Employees of the TSWB were allowed inside later, but access to files was restricted. Revenue officials seized files and sealed the records section among others, on Tuesday.A string of reactions was seen throughout the day. Congress workers staged dharna and accused the TRS Govt  of failing to reclaim encroached Waqf lands while claiming that many encroachers had ties to MIM.They demanded that the Govt  order a probe into misappropriation of Waqf assets by a sitting High Court judge. Soon after MIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi spoke about the issue in the assembly, Congress and Majlis Bachao Tehreek accused the MIM of opportunism and sycophancy. thehindu
Telangana Waqf Board : Richest Muslim endowment body in turmoil
Delhi pollution: From odd-even to fines, Delhi struggles to curb smog
For the third straight day, Delhi and NCR clocked "severe" level of pollution, forcing the State Govt  to shut schools for the rest of the week, stop the entry of trucks carrying non-essential goods and ban construction activities.Keeping political differences aside, the Union, Harayna, Punjab and Delhi Govt s should come together to find a permanent solution to stubble burning, which leads to high pollution every year, Delhi CM  Arvind Kejriwal said at an event on Thursday.Banning entry of trucks, construction activities and introducing odd—even was not the solution to the high pollution level, he said, adding, "Punjab and Haryana should evolve a technology and give financial assistance to stop stubble burning. If health cost is much on illness, then we may make some contributions because it is the responsibility of all."Odd-even car rationing scheme would be reintroduced in Delhi for 5 days from Novr 13, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said. Delhi Transport Corporation was hiring 500 more buses through private contractors and the Delhi Metro would add 100 small buses for last mile connectivity, he said.Increasing the parking fees by four times is among the many measures listed under the graded response action plan to tackle the severe air pollution problem.NGT banned all construction activities till Nov 14 in Delhi and NCR. Thehindu
Delhi battles smog: Odd-even returns, schools shut; AAP asks Congress, BJP to keep politics aside
NHRC issues notice to Centre, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana on pollution
Doctors in India see patients for just 2 minutes: study
London:Doctors in India see patients for barely 2 minutes on average, according to a global study which found that primary care consultations last less than five minutes for half the world’s population, ranging from 48 seconds in Bangladesh to 22.5 minutes in Sweden.While India’s primary care consultation time was two minutes in 2015, the mean duration was just 1.79 minutes in 2016 in neighbouring Pakistan, largest international study on consulting time, published in the British medical journal BMJ Open, found.“Shorter consultation times have been linked to poorer health outcomes for patients and a heightened risk of burnout for doctors,” researchers wrote in the journal. Indian express
Children out of school, people out of work: A year after demonetisation, Varanasi weavers still on their knees
As one enters the famous and dense colonies of Varanasi where weavers or ‘Bunkars’ of the city live and work, the familiar sound of handlooms and power looms seems absent; at least a lot less than what it was before Nov.8, 2016. But the decision – which was taken on a pretext to curb the black money hidden outside the banks – did little to end the menace of black money, but did sound the death knell for the weavers of Varanasi.Varanasi is the centre of weaving industry and known across the world for the finest Benarasi sarees. But the beauty of the saree compares in stark contrast to the condition of the weavers, a number of whom have started moving on to other jobs. Their children, once in school, are also now turning to weaving to ensure that the industry remains afloat.Take the example of Wakeel Akhtar, a 50-year-old weaver who had grown his business of weaving enough to progress to power looms from handlooms. But for the past one year, only one of his eight power looms are running. Rest remain idle and gather dust.All thanks to demonetisation, which was followed by GST.Akhtar said, “During demonetisation, we started taking loans from several people. And that loan kept us running for several weeks. Otherwise, we were spending too much of our time standing in bank queues, rather than working on our looms.”Soon after demonetisation, Varanasi’s weavers lost their daily earning. As a sector which survives on daily payment basis, the weaving community of Banaras was able to reach some sort of settlement only four months after the currency ban.“For the bigger businessmen and firms, we were the tools to return the old currency in the banks,” said Akhtar, referring to the fact that small-scale workers, craftsmen and weavers were getting paid in older currencies, and they had to stand outside banks to exchange them.TwoCircles
Civil society, academics urge banks to introduce Islamic banking in Kashmir
Srinagar:The need for introducing Islamic banking in Kashmir was today reverberate again, as civil society members and academics during a book launch function at Kashmir University said that financial institution, including J&K Bank, should kick start the alternative banking in the state. Speaking at the launch of ‘Islamic Banking & Finance’, a compilation of essays on the alternative forms of banking including Islamic banking, finance, skuk, takafuletc, and its relevance in present day Kashmir and world, by author Mehboob Makhdoomi, speakers stressed on the need for such form of banking. The book launch was organised by a Srinagar-based civil society group, Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSD). These speakers also stressed on the introduction of academic courses on Islamic banking. Makhdoomi while introducing his book said the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have designated Islamic Banking as priority areas. “Such is the growth that in countries such as Malaysia bulk of investors and investments in Islamic banking are those of non-Muslims,” Makhdoomi said. V-C, CUK, Mehraj-ud-din Mir said while it is important that the universities in Kashmir make a headway in including more aspects of Islamic banking in the curriculum but added that role of banks to launch Islamic banking in Kashmir is more crucial.Chairperson, KCSDS, Hameeda Nayeem said the civil society group has previously advocated the need for having a course in Islamic Banking at the business school in KU and has also urged J&K Bank to introduce concept of Islamic Banking.V-C Kashmir University, Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi said various finance related academic courses in KU already include Islamic banking and said there is great scope for extending this curriculum.greater kashmir
Kerala Govt, Sangh Parivar on the same page in Hadiya case:WPI
Kozhikode:Welfare Party of India has alleged that the stand of the LDF Govt  and its agencies in the Hadiya case is often helping the agenda of Sangh Parivar. Hameed Vaniyambalam, State president of the party, told media here on Wednesday that neither Kerala State Human Rights Commission nor the Kerala State Commission for Women had bothered to visit Hadiya even after complaints fearing a threat to her life were registered and videos were produced to prove the point.Local MLA, who belongs to LDF, too had not visited Hadiya. “Even after doubts were raised about Hadiya’s health condition, the Govt did not depute a medical team to inquire into it. While sending her to the custody of her father, the SC had clarified that her security was the responsibility of the govt.”In this context, the visit of the chairperson of the National Commission for Women was suspicious, Vaniyambalam said. “The fact that she had first met the representatives of the controversial yoga centre in Thripunithura betrayed her intentions. She made a statement that there are forcible conversions in the State after the meeting,” he alleged. Vaniyambalam demanded that Govt depute a special medical team to examine Hadiya’s medical condition and make their report public.the hindu
Woman gets stay on triple talaq: timesofindia
Vadodara: A family court here stayed the divorce granted to a Muslim woman by her husband as per the practice of triple talaq.The woman Habiba Qureshi had approached the court in May this year claiming that her husband Haroon Rashid had misused the practice divorce under Islamic Sharia law. When her application came up for hearing on Tuesday, the principal family court granted stay and restrained Haroon and his relatives to identify her as a 'talaqshuda' Muslim woman.In her plea, Habiba had alleged that on March 27, her in-laws and fought and abused her brother and sister when they came visited her house. Later, the fight escalated and Haroon uttered talaq thrice. Habiba claimed before the court that unilateral instant triple talaq is not the method prescribed for divorce under Sharia laws. Habiba had also filed an application under the Domestic Violence Act. Her lawyer Neeraj Jain claimed this might be the first stay on triple talaq in Gujarat after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional earlier this year.
WORLD
UK minister Priti Patel resigns over secret Israel trip
UK's international development secretary, Priti Patel, has resigned after it was revealed she held secret meetings with Israeli officials during what she said was a family holiday to Israel.Patel returned to the UK on Wednesday, abandoning a trip to Uganda, after it was uncovered she went on a visit to Israel with a lobbyist in August, during which she held 12 undisclosed meetings, including one with Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu.Patel admitted that after the 13-day visit, she had wanted to give British aid money to the Israeli army in the Golan Heights.It also emerged that Patel met Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in the British Parliament on September 7, and foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in New York on Sept.18.In her resignation letter, Patel apologised for failing to inform UK PM Theresa May or Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson about the meetings."My actions fell below the standard of transparency and openness I had promoted and advocated," she said.However, earlier this week,Jewish Chronicle reported that two different sources confirmed to the newspaper that Patel had disclosed the meetings but was told not to declare them as they would embarrass the Foreign Office. In addition,paper reported that although Patel's meeting with Netanyahu was not authorised in advance, the UK Govt  was made aware of it within hours.Commenting after the firing, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson said i:"This was an appalling error of judgement and is nothing short of a major failure by the British govt."Number 10 must answer questions about their complicity in this scandal. Someone has been deceived, either the British people or the PMO. Whichever it is someone must be held to account."Al Jazeera
UK minister Priti Patel secretly urged aid for al-Qaida via Israel:Asa Winstanley, electronicintifada
Israel approves 240 new settlement homes in E. Jerusalem
Israeli authorities have approved building permits for 240 new homes in settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, reported AFP.A city planning committee approved 90 units in Gilo and another 150 in Ramat Shlomo, as well as 44 units for Palestinians in Beit Hanina.Israeli NGO Ir Amim condemned the move.“Jerusalem residents deserve to live in a safe and thriving city, which will only happen once there’s a fair agreement that recognises Israeli and Palestinian ownership of the city,” said its spokesperson Aviv Tatarsky. “Instead of advancing such an agreement, Israeli authorities continue with the same familiar unilateral moves that only distance it.” MEMO
Hamas delegation meets Lebanon President Aoun
A number of Hamas officials led by Izzat Al-Rishq have arrived in Lebanon to meet Lebanese President Michel Aoun and a number of officials, Quds Press reported.Hamas’ representative in Lebanon, Ali Baraka, said the delegation would discuss the latest developments in the Palestinian arena and the internal reconciliation with Lebanese officials. Baraka said the delegation is presenting a message to Lebanese leadership that Hamas cares about Lebanon’s security and civil peace and rejects the use of Palestinian refugee camps in the internal Lebanese conflicts.“We are not a party of any internal Lebanese crisis and our eyes will continue looking only towards Jerusalem,” Baraka stressed. middleeastmonitor
Beirut on edge as political deadlock fuels uncertainty
Beirut, Lebanon - A large banner hangs in between 2 buildings on a main road close to the centre of the Lebanese capital."People of Tariq el-Jdideh are loyal, and our loyalty is only to Saad al-Hariri," it reads, delivering a strong message of support for Lebanon's ex-PM  who on Saturday announced his sudden resignation in a televised speech from Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh.5 days on, such political posters keep springing up across the neighbourhood of Tariq el-Jdideh, a Beirut stronghold of the Sunni Muslim leader.Hariri, who has not returned to Lebanon since his announcement, stepped down after only 11 months in office, implicitly blaming Iran and its main ally in the country, Hezbollah, for his decision. The move has raised the risk of an open-ended political conflict, stoking fears of an escalation in the struggle for regional dominance between rivals Saudi and Iran. Previous attempts to weaken Hezbollah has led to violence.In Beirut's microcosm of regional politics, residents of Tariq el-Jdideh and of Hezbollah's stronghold Dahieh attempted to make sense of the latest political developments. "Can you believe that a PM  is being held outside his country?" Jamal Chaqqif, a retired 60-year-old, told Al Jazeera while sitting at a cafe on one of Tariq el-Jdideh's main traffic arteries. Aljazeera
Lebanon crisis: Iran-Saudi power struggle over Hariri:
Kurds: Iraq court's anti-secession ruling 'revengeful'
An Iraqi court's decision ruling against secession following a Kurdish bid for independence was "highly politicised" and part of a wider set of "revengeful" policies imposed by Baghdad, officials in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region said.Iraq's Supreme Federal Court said on Monday that the constitution did not allow for the secession of any part of the country, stressing the preservation of unity and territorial integrity."We have not committed any illegal steps," Mohammed Ali, spokesman for the Kurdistan KDP, said. "We believe that this has been politicised."Court is responsible for settling all disputes between Baghdad's central Govt and regional provinces. Its rulings cannot be contested."In fact, all reactions in the post-referendum period have been highly politicised, and it is very unfortunate to see an entity such as constitutional court is taking sides," said Ali. aljazeera
UN: Yemen facing massive famine if blockade not lifted
Millions of people will die in Yemen, in what will be the world's worst famine crisis in decades, unless a Saudi-led military coalition ends a devastating blockade and allows aid into the country, the UN has warned.Saudi-led alliance fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen tightened its air, land and sea blockade of the country after a ballistic missile was fired on Saturday towards the Saudi capital, Riyadh.Since then, country's already inflated food and fuel prices have skyrocketed, while flights delivering much-needed humanitarian aid have been prevented from landing.After briefing UNSC, Mark Lowcock, UN's humanitarian chief,said move will worsen a "catastrophic" humanitarian crisis that has pushed millions to the brink of famine and has caused a mass cholera epidemic. aljazeera
US Muslim father forgives, hugs man involved in son's killing
The father of a slain Muslim pizza delivery driver forgave and embraced the man who was sentenced to prison for playing a part in his son's death.During the sentencing on Tuesday, Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud hugged the defendant, Trey Alexander Relford, who cried as it happened. The father said he did it in the spirit of Islam."Islam teaches that God will not be able to forgive" someone until the person who was wronged forgives that person, Jitmoud told CNN affiliate WKYT. "Door of opportunity for God to forgive him is open. ...So, reach out to Him. You have a new chapter of good life coming," he told Relford in court.In April 2015, Salahuddin Jitmoud was making one of his last deliveries for the night as a Pizza Hut delivery driver when he was stabbed to death and robbed in Lexington, Kentucky, according to WKYT. His body was found lying in the breezeway of the complex.  3 people were arrested in the crime, but a grand jury chose only to indict Relford, WKYT reported. Officials say Relford planned robbery, but he denied killing Jitmoud.Relford was sentenced to 31 years in prison after pleading guilty to complicity to murder, complicity to robbery, and attempted evidence tampering in the stabbing death of Jitmoud.Jitmoud's father told Relford he forgives him "on behalf of Salahuddin and his mother," who died 2 years before her son."It's been two years and seven months of suffering along with many nightmares," Jitmoud told CNN. "Whatever happens to you is from Allah. Let the believer put their trust in Him.""I'm angry at the devil, who's misguiding you and misleading you to do such a horrible crime," Jitmoud told Relford in court Tuesday. "I don't blame you. I'm not angry at you. I forgive you."He said he read the Quran more often to find peace.51st verse of the ninth chapter of the Quran is one verse that comforted him the most."Say, 'Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.' And upon Allah [God] let the believers rely."CNN
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