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06 November 2017

6 Nov.ND: Biggest data leak of corporates: MoS Jayant Sinha, BJP MP RK Sinha among over 700 Indians Identified in Global Investigation on Offshore Dealings



Evening NEWS DIGEST
6 Nov.2017: 16 Safar 1439:Vol:9, No:40
INDIA: Biggest data leak of corporates in global secret tax havens
Paradise Papers: MoS Jayant Sinha, BJP MP RK Sinha among over 700 Indians Identified in Global Investigation on Offshore Dealings
New Delhi: A new international journalistic investigation based on data leaks from Bermuda and Singapore based firms has named and identified the secret offshore dealings of over 700 Indians, including politicians Jayant Sinha (MoS, civil aviation ministry) and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ravindra Kishore Sinha, Bollywood personalities Amitabh Bachchan and Dilnashin Dutt (Sanjay Dutt’s wife) and industrialists such as Vijay Mallya.This investigation involving the scrutiny of over 13.4 million tax documents from Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti by nearly 100 media groups was launched on the basis of a leak from an anonymous source to the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and was shared globally by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The organisation in India responsible for the local-leg of reporting is the Indian Express.While the India portion identifies a number of individuals and Indian corporates, the documents themselves do not as yet point to any evidence of wrongdoing or illegality.Crucially, this time around, when compared to the earlier Panama Papers leak, a number of Indian companies also figure in the documents. According to Indian Express, these “include firms in the Sun-TV-Aircel-Maxis case; Essar-Loop 2G case; SNC-Lavalin in which Kerala CM  Pinarayi Vijayan was named, then cleared; the Rajasthan ambulance scam which has recently been routed to CBI and which names a company called Ziquista Healthcare (Sachin Pilot and Karti Chidambaram were early Honorary/Independent Directors of the firm respectively)”.Appleby’s second-largest client internationally interestingly is an Indian company called the Sun Group, founded by Nand Lal Khemka; the group has as many as 118 different offshore entities.In the Paradise Papers, the leaks come mostly from offshore service providers like Appleby. As the Indian Express puts, Appleby helps out with “offshore legal, fiduciary and administration services for facilitating tax avoidance to concealing identity of beneficial owners; round-tripping of funds and raising capital across numerous jurisdictions including Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Mauritius and Seychelles”.Therefore, while wrong-doing or illegality cannot be assumed it provides an interesting window into how Indian firms use offshore havens to route money and carry out transactions.Take the case of the Jindal Stainless Group. Indian Express reports that when a law firm approached Appleby in 2013 to appoint two nominee directors on two Mauritius-based companies of the Jindal Stainless Group (Jargo Investments and Vasava Investments), the offshore service provider “decided against going ahead with the appointments”.The reason? The “compliance manager of Appleby raised a red flag that since the beneficial owner (Abhyuday Jindal) was of Indian nationality and investments were being made in India, there is the risk of ‘round tripping'”.“We need to be careful on any potential round tripping issue (it appears that the beneficial owner is from India and investments have been made in India), as such we might need to ensure that the company has the necessary approval from the revenue authorities in India,” the compliance manager wrote in records accessed by the Indian Express.According to the investigation, Ravindra Kishore Sinha, who founded the private security service firm SIS or Security and Intelligence Services before becoming a MP, heads a group which has two offshore entities.“According to records of the Malta registry, SIS Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd (SAPHL), registered in Malta in 2008, is a subsidiary of SIS. Sinha is listed as a minority shareholder while wife Rita Kishore Sinha is a director of SAPHL. Records show that SIS International Holdings Limited (SIHL), a company incorporated in British Virgin Islands, holds 3,999,999 shares in SAPHL while 1 share is with Ravindra Kishore Sinha,” the report notes.In his Election Commission affidavit submitted during his nomination for the 2014 Rajya Sabha election, Sinha allegedly made no mention of this and his wife’s association with SAPHL nor did he did declare this link to the Rajya Sabha after becoming a member. In his statement to the Indian Express, Sinha notes that due to “prevailing regulation” in foreign countries, he is required to hold “1 share each in these companies” and that “all disclosures required to be made in my personal income tax returns, in respect of my assets, have been made.”Jayant Sinha’s name appears on the list as a result of his earlier disclosed work with the Omidyar Network; he was its managing director in India.According to Indian Express, Omidyar Network invested in a US company called D.Light Design which has a subsidiary in Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Sea.“Records of offshore legal firm Appleby show Sinha served as Director of D.Light Design — he did not mention this in his declaration to the Election Commission when he contested Lok Sabha polls in 2014, nor to Lok Sabha Secretariat or the PMO as a Minister of State in 2016,” the report notes.Sinha’s name appears on the list because D. Light Design took a $3 million loan through its Cayman Island’s subsidiary from an investor based in the Netherlands; Appleby’s records “mention a loan agreement dated Dec.31, 2012. Sinha was Director at D.Light Design when these decisions were taken”. According to then Indian Express, on the global front, the investigation exposes a Russian firm’s investments in Twitter and Facebook, ties between Russia and US President Donald Trump’s billionaire commerce secretary Wilbur Ross; secret dealings of Canadian PM  Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser and offshore interests of the Queen of England and more than 120 politicians, including former Pakistan PM  Shaukat Aziz.There are also confidential details of offshore traces of spy planes purchased by UAE and a Barbados explosives company of a Canadian engineer who tried to build a “super gun” for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and investment of millions of dollars in medical and consumer loan companies by Queen Elizabeth II.The Wire/IndianExpress
Paradise Papers: Biggest data leak reveals trails of India’s corporates in global secret tax havens
 MoS Jayant Sinha’s links with Omidyar in Appleby files
 Fortis boss got shares from firm whose stents he used
Paradise Papers: Names out in open; other Indians in list
Paradise Papers: Security firm of BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sinha linked to 2 offshore entities
Paradise Papers: Congress slams Centre on black money, demands MoS Jayant Sinha’s resignation
Congress mounted a fierce attack against the Narendra Modi Govt  on Monday after Minister of State Jayant Sinha’s name cropped up in the Paradise Papers.Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala sought an FIR against Sinha and demanded his resignation.“Modi Govt  has taken no action to unearth black money stashed abroad in 41 months. They have also so far not made public names of those who have stashed black money abroad,” he said.indianexpress
Multi-agency group on Panama leak to probe Paradise Papers
New Delhi:A multi-agency group (MAG) will probe into ‘Paradise Papers’ on financial holdings abroad that lists a number of 714 Indian individuals and entities, PTI reported on Monday quoting official sources. MAG is probing the Panama Papers leak as well. According to the sources MAG, constituted in April last year to investigate the legality of money stashed in offshore entities by Indians named in the Panama Papers, would probe the latest disclosure made by ICIJ.The group comprises of officials from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Income Tax Dept, ED, Financial Intelligence Unit and RBI among a few others. The panel will first “go through” the details of income tax returns filed by the Indian individuals and entities named and subsequently take action, in a case-to-case basis, the sources said. “Obviously, notices will be issued once complicity of an individual or entity is established,” a senior official said. indianexpress
Papers leak: Jindal Steel, Videocon, others down up to 2%
OTHERS
30 children die in 48 hours at Gorakhpur’s BRD Hospital, 6 due to encephalitis
New Delhi: Child deaths at BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur have come back to haunt the UP  Govt  3 months after a similar incident created a national uproar.BRD Hospital’s head of dept.of community medicine Dr DK Srivastava said 30 children died within 48 hours. However, he said, the deaths did not take place due to lack of oxygen like last time. “Out of the 30, 15 children were younger than one month. If children younger than one month are not treated urgently, their mortality rate increases. 6 kids died due to encephalitis, while the others died due to various reasons,” Srivastava was quoted as saying by ANI.Encephalitis is the swelling in the brain that leads to sudden high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and, finally, death.In Aug.,over 70 children had died in a span of five days and the incident had grabbed national attention after reports said the hospital faced a shortage of oxygen supply at that time.Although state govt had denied the reports, the then college principal, the in-charge of the neo-natal ward as well as clerks and the pharmacist were sacked for negligence. An FIR was lodged against them, as well as the supplier of liquid oxygen to the hospital.indian express
Gujarat HC issues notice to Election Commission on EVMs, VVPATs
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court issued a notice to the Election Commission on a petition moved by Congress's state unit seeking that EVMs and VVPATs that were found defective be sealed and not used in the coming Assembly polls.A division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice AJ Kogji issued notices to the EC, the state chief electoral officer, and the central Govt  through its Ministry of Law and Justice on the petition moved by Gujarat Congress Committee.The bench asked them to respond by Nov.13.In its petition, the Congress said that around 7 %  of total 70,182 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units that were found to be defective during the first level checks, along with defective EVMs and control units, should be sealed and not used at any polling booth in the state.The petitioner also prayed for the court to either direct the EC or itself set up an expert committee to look into the defective machines to avoid any foul play.It also sought the court's direction to the EC to use ballot papers as a way to avoid tampering with the machines.PTI
Demonetisation forces 3 lakh companies to shut shop, PM Modi says they were fraud: jantakareporter
PM  Narendra Modi on Sunday mocked the closure of 3 lakh companies just the way he had made fun of people in distress in the days after his note ban announcement. Conceding that 3 lakh companies had shut shot after they were hit by his deminetisation decision, Modi accused them of having committed fraud. Addressing poll rally in Himachal Pradesh, he said that over 3 lakh companies had shut down after demonetisation and a probe into 5,000 such firms had found a fraud of Rs 4,000 crore while investigation against others was on.“Imagine what will be the amount of fraud committed by 3 lakh companies,” he said.Modi’s demonetisation announcement had caused the deaths of close to 200 people, who largely died due to stress with many not able to execute their wedding plans. jantakareporter
1 year of demonetisation: Acknowledge the ‘blunder’ and seek support for rebuilding economy, Manmohan tells PM
New Delhi:With Modi-led Govt  gearing up to observe “Anti-Black Money Day” to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation, ex-PM  Manmohan Singh has called upon his successor to “graciously acknowledge the blunder” and said the country should be placed above all politics with an intention of reviving the economy.“I strongly feel the time for politicking over demonetisation is over. It is time the PM  graciously acknowledges the blunder and seeks support from all to rebuild our economy,” Singh said in an interview to BloombergQuint.
Hadiya willing to appear before SC on Nov 27: NCW acting chief
Kottayam:Hadiya is in good health and waiting to appear before the Supreme Court on Nov.27, NCWs chairperson in-charge Rekha Sharma said today after meeting the Kerala woman at the centre of a nationwide controversy after her marriage with a Muslim man.The meeting came amid complaints from various Kerala- based Muslim bodies that the womans rights were being violated in the confines of her home. 24-year-old woman is under the protection of her parents following the orders of the Kerala High Court."I just met Akhila - Hadiya. NCW was concerned about her well being. She is in good health, she has not been beaten up or anything, she is eating her food and she was smiling, she was happy," Sharma told reporters.Her health and security was "OK", she said after meeting Hadiya at her family home in Vaikom here, a week after the apex court directed her father to produce her before it on Nov.27."Three policewomen are there. They are taking care of her and her security is under no threat," Sharma said, showing the media womans photo on her mobile phone."She said she is willing to go to court. She is waiting for November 27. I am OK. I will talk to the court. That is what she said," Sharma said.The NCW official refused to divulge details, as the matter was subjudice, and said that she would meet "several such women" who were "forced" to convert in Kerala, and a report would be prepared.PTI
Kerala HC Grants police protection to interfaith couple   intending to get married
The Kerala High Court has ordered grant of adequate police protection to a Muslim man and Hindu woman who intend to get married. This was ordered in a review petition filed by the man, seeking to recall an earlier order passed by the court dismissing the habeas corpus petition filed by him. The review was sought on the ground that the woman was made to disown him before the court under threat and coercion. The Muslim man and Hindu woman wanted to live together as husband and wife, and had given notice of marriage under the Special Marriage Act. At that juncture, the woman was allegedly abducted and kept under confinement at the instance of her parents. The man has filed a review petition, stating that the submission made by the woman on Feb.23 was out of fear. It is alleged in the review petition that the woman was kept under illegal confinement at a yoga centre namely Sivasakthi Yoga Centre,  Cochin, by her parents. She was allegedly subjected to severe torture and harassment at the yoga centre, in order to force her to withdraw from the relationship. It is further alleged that there were attempts to characterize her as a mental patient. On Feb.23, the goons from the yoga centre had allegedly accompanied the woman to the court under the guise of her relatives and it was due to their pressure and coercion that she had to disown the man before the court, alleged the review petition. It is further stated in the petition that the woman had adventurously escaped from detention and have joined the company of the man. Their attempts to get the marriage registered are getting thwarted. livelaw
CIC says no to disclosure of records on Indian complaint to UNSC on Kashmir
New Delhi:Disclosure of the present status of India’s complaint to the United Nations Security Council 69 years ago on the issue of invasion of J&K  by Pakistani tribesmen will “impinge upon national security”, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held.The transparency watchdog declined to allow disclosure of records related to the issue of J&K , including the efforts to free Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on the basis of the Indian complaint to UNSC in 1948, sought by an RTI applicant from the PMO.RTI applicant Omprakash Kashiram had sought to know from the PMO the action taken by the Indian Govt  from 1948 to 2016 for reclaiming PoK from Pakistan on the basis of a complaint lodged with the United Nations.He had also sought other details related to the issues pertaining to ‘Kabali’ (Pakistani tribesmen) terrorists who had entered into J&K  in 1947 and the Pakistani Military.PMO transferred the RTI application to the home ministry and subsequently to the external affairs ministry.Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the external affairs ministry said disclosure of the information would prejudicially affect “national security interest”.“In addition, he (CPIO) stated that the complaint lodged in the year 1948 with UN still remains to be sensitive,” Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur noted in his order.Ironically, India’s complaint to the President of the United Nations Security Council on Jan. 1, 1948, is in public domain and can be easily accessed from its web site. hindustantimes
NC says didn’t get invite for talks with Kashmir interlocutor, traders boycott meetings
Srinagar:Most trade bodies boycotted their meetings with the Union Govt ’s newly appointed interlocutor for J&K , Dineshwar Sharma, who arrived in Srinagar on Monday even as some of the major political players said they haven’t received any invitation for talks.The opposition party, National Conference, has yet to receive an invitation from Sharma, who is on a 5-day visit to the militancy-hit state. The Hurriyat Conference, which has not shown any interest in the talks, hasn’t been invited either by Sharma, a former intelligence bureau director on a maiden visit to the state after his appointment as interlocutor.“There is always a formal invitation for talks. We haven’t been invited and we are not going and knocking on Mr Sharma’s door asking for appointment. Considering what happened to the earlier interlocutors’ reports, this makes the whole process doubtful,’’ NC spokesman Tanvir Sadiq told HT.
Pak welcomes US mediation to ease tensions with India
Islamabad;Pakistan welcomes mediation by the United States for easing its ties with India, foreign minister Khawaja Asif said on Monday against the backdrop of the stalemate in relations between the two South Asian rivals.Addressing the fourth round of US-Pakistan Bilateral Dialogue - organised by private think tanks to improve bilateral relations and work towards a resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan - in Islamabad, Asif said Pakistan has always opted for comprehensive dialogue for a peaceful neighbourhood, according to state-run Radio Pakistan. Asif did not provide details of the way in which the US could mediate between India and Pakistan – a suggestion that has persistently rejected by New Delhi, which insists that all issues between the two sides should be handled only though a bilateral dialogue. hindustantimes
India’s influence in Afghanistan has created chaos:Pak
India’s influence in Afghanistan has created chaos in the war-torn country, Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja Asif said. “Pakistan is against India’s intervention in Afghanistan,” Asif told media after fourth round of Pakistan-US Track-II diplomatic talks in Islamabad, Geo reported.He also emphasised the need for immediate removal of what he called terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan, adding the US Afghan policy was damaging the reconciliation process in the country.IANS
China says defence minister Sitharaman’s Arunachal visit not conducive to peace: livemint
New Delhi: China has criticised a visit by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to Arunachal Pradesh, saying her tour of “disputed area” is not conducive to the peace and tranquillity of the region.The latest Chinese comments come barely two months after New Delhi and Beijing decided to move ahead with ties after a 73-day-long tense standoff on Bhutan’s Doklam plateau.Sitharaman had, over the weekend, visited forward army posts in the remote Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China. This was her first visit to the region that was aimed at taking stock of defence preparedness in Arunachal Pradesh along LAC, the de facto, but disputed, border between the two countries. Sitharaman also tweeted pictures of her visit, including her meeting with Indian Army officers.“As to Indian defence minister’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, you must be very clear about China’s position,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
Akshardham Attack: Court denies police “main conspirator” Rashid Ajmeri’s custody
Ahmedabad:Just a day after making it to the front-page headlines as the “main conspirator” of the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack, Abdul Rashid Ajmeri is buried somewhere between the 14th or 20th page of newspapers today. Because the concerned court rejected the police custody demand and sent him to judicial custody.Ajmeri, an Ahmedabad resident, was arrested by the Gujarat Crime Branch officials at the city airport in the wee hours of Saturday as the “main conspirator” of the 2002 Akshardham terror attack.Ajmeri’s arrest took place just a day after PM  Narendra Modi made a visit to the temple in Gandhinagar. Fourteen years ago, at least half a dozen local Muslims including Ajmeri’s own brother Adam Suleman Ajmeri were arrested for the attack. In 2006, two of them including Suleman Ajmeri were awarded death penalty while four others were given a life sentence by the trail court. The Gujarat High Court also upheld the verdict of the trial court. However, in 2014, the Supreme Court set aside the judgment and acquitted all the six convicts. The apex court had then even pulled up the Gujarat police for implicating the innocents.On Sunday, the police presented Rashid Ajmeri as the “main conspirator” of the same attack before a special POTA court and sought his police custody, the court rejected the request and sent him to jail. Also, the court allowed the Ahmedabad City DCB to question him inside the jail, if required. caravandaily
Akshardham attack: Court rejects plea for remand of  alleged main conspirator:PTI
MP: HC grants bail to SIMI man serving life term
Indore: The high court has suspended the jail sentence of SIMI man Munroz and granted him bail by setting the bond at Rs 2.5 lakh and directing for depositing of 2 local solvent sureties of Rs 2.5 lakh each. This order in Munroz's criminal revision appeal was released by division bench of Justice SC Sharma and Justice Alok Verma, fixing the date for his appearance before high court registry on Jan.8, 2018.The court in its order has noted that since Munroz was granted bail and he never misused the liberty granted to him, this application deserves to be allowed. Munroz also alleged that the CD and pendrive seized from possession of the appellant were not the same, which were later played before the trial court.According to him some CDs having music were recovered from possession of the appellant, which were replaced by the investigating officer.
Hamid Ansari, Nitish Lead Tributes to Syed Shahabuddin
Patna: First Syed Shahabuddin Memorial Lecture was held in Patna on Saturday. Eminent public figures including former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar attended the event. Shahabuddin, late parliamentarian and former diplomat had been one of the tallest Muslim leaders in the post independence India. He passed away at a ripe age of 81 in March 2017.He represented Bihar’s Kishanganj constituency in Lok Sabha. He was the editor of “Muslim India”, the most authentic research journal, which highlighted  Indian Muslim issues. He had also led Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat. Nitish and others are seen at first Shahabuddin Memorial Lecture in Patna on Saturday.The lecture was delivered by ex-Foreign Secretary, Muchkund Dubey. Opening remarks were given by ex-Bihar minister and Shahabuddin’s daughter Parveen Amanullah. The event was moderated by journalist Iqbal Ahmed. Ansari, chaired the event.Afzal Amanullah, Bihar’s ex-Cabinet Secretary and son-in-law of Shahabuddin, was also present at the event.Caravan
Delhi: Mazar turned into a mandir at this Rohini park
New Delhi : Near the entrance of a small municipal park in Rohini’s Sector 9 is a priest preparing for the morning aarti at a little temple-establishment.The board nearby reads: “Gurghere Wale Baba Ki Marhi”. As walkers cross in front of the temple, they lower their head in reverence. 5 months earlier, the place used to present a very different picture — from the worshippers to the worshipped. For one, there wasn’t even a temple here. In its place stood a mazar (mausoleum) of ‘Syed Guru Dhere Baba’.For the last 20-odd years, 55-year-old Dilawar Khan used to visit the mazar to make sure it was clean and taken care of.However, when he visited it on May 31 this year, he was allegedly beaten up, the stone slab covering the mazar was broken and the structure was turned into a temple for ‘Gurghere Wale Baba’.Recalling the day of the incident, Khan says: “On the morning of May 31, I went to the Mazar and found that the stone slab was partially broken. People present there stopped me and beat me up.”He adds that around 30 men threatened him and told him to leave the premises as the space belonged to a ‘Hindu Baba’.In his statement to the police,  Khan did not mention he was beaten up.“I was scared,” he says, adding that he wasn’t able to identify anyone in the mob. Pandit Jitendra Pandey is preparing to offer his prayers. He pours ghee into the diya, takes cotton wick and lights it. “The temple was constructed about five months ago and aarti is performed every morning,” he says. He admits there was a mazar here before, but offers an explanation. Pandey claims that the plot of land where the mazar was built is actually a samadhi of Gurghere Baba, who lived in the area about 400 years ago.The fear of being thrashed and being overpowered by the majority community in the area is palpable among the Muslims of Rajapur, a nearby village, who often visited mazar.Inhabited by thousands of Muslims from Bihar and West Bengal, the village is just a kilometre from the park. Residents said that they can’t fight because they’re scared.The Hindu
WORLD
Trump fulfils hidden threats against Prince Al-Waleed
2 years after Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal publically attacked then presidential candidate Donald Trump describing him as a “disgrace not only to [Grand Old Party – the Republicans] GOP but to all America”, Trump’s hidden threats to the prince have materialised.The prominent Saudi billionaire was arrested on Saturday along with 11 princes and a dozen former ministers in a new anti-corruption probe.The incident dates back to 2015 when the prince called on Trump in a Twitter message to “withdraw from the US presidential race” because he will never win. At the time, Trump fired back saying: “Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our US politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected.”Al-Waleed was part of a group of investors who bought control of the Plaza Hotel in New York from Trump as well as an expensive yacht. middleeastmonitor
Arrests could shake investor’s confidence in Saudi
Saudi Prince, 7 others dead after helicopter crash:The Duran report
A transport helicopter carrying Saudi Prince Mansour bin Muqrin has crashed near the border with Yemen. Mansour bin Muqrin and 7 other officials he was travelling with has died. Mansour bin Muqrin was the son of former Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz who was stripped of the Crown Prince title by the current King, in favour of Muhammad bin Nayef in 2015. This year, Muhammad bin Nayef himself was removed as Crown Prince in favour of the current Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.Mansour bin Muqrin, in addition to supervising the building of schools, was the vice chief of the Assir region which has come under frequent attack from Houthi rebels in Yemen.At the moment, no one in Saudi Arabia nor Yemen is stating whether the crash was due to mechanical failure or if it was shot down by Houthis.Two other possibilities however do exist. Other factions in Saudi Arabia could have sabotaged the flight, as the country is the midst of a great purge, led by Crown Prince bin Salman (MBS). theduran
Saudi helicopter crash 'kills high-ranking prince'
Saudi accuses Iran of potential 'act of war': aljazeera
Saudi Arabia has lashed out at Iran over the firing of a ballistic missile towards Riyadh by Houthi rebels in Yemen, citing evidence that Tehran was behind the attack and labelling it a potential "act of war".A statement issued on Monday via the state news agency SPA denounced the "flagrant military aggression by the Iranian-controlled Houthi militias" and said that an examination of the debris "confirmed the role of Iran's regime in manufacturing [this and a previous missile] and smuggling them to the Houthi militias in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, its people, and vital interests".The statement accused Iran of violating the UNSC Resolution 2216, which prohibits states from supplying weapons to Yemeni armed groups."Iran's role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally," the SPA statement noted.
Nasrallah: 'It was not our wish for Hariri to resign'
The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement has called the resignation of PM  Saad Hariri a "Saudi-imposed decision".In a TV on the Hezbollah-owned Al Manar TV, Hassan Nasrallah said that Hariri's resignation speech was "written by Saudi"."It was not our wish for Hariri to resign," he said of the sudden and unexpected move. "Even if he was forced to resign, the way in which it was executed does not reflect Hariri's way in dealing with things," Nasrallah added, questioning the text of Hariri's speech broadcast during his visit to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Saturday."It would have been better to allow him to go back to Lebanon, meet the president, submit his resignation, and declare it from the palace," said Nasrallah." The way in which it was delivered makes it clear that Saudi Arabia meddles in Lebanon's internal affairs ... The tone was not at all suitable. We need to discuss the Saudi element."He also demanded to know the "real reason" behind the move, which he said Hariri owed to the Lebanese people. aljazeera
Abbas makes unexpected visit to Saudi amid regional shake-up
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be landing in Saudi Arabia on Monday in an unexpected visit. Abbas’s arrival comes at a time when the Middle East region is buzzing with shrill political activities including the regime shake-up in Riyadh and the announcement of Lebanese PM 's resignation from the Saudi capital. Abbas will meet Saudi King Salman and the powerful Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman during his surprise visit.Palestinian ambassador to Saudi, Bassam al-Agha, said Abbas' trip is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between the two states." ibtimes
Israel general calls to improve economic situation in Gaza to avoid war
The Coordinator of the Israeli Govt  Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai, has called to improve the economic situation in Gaza Strip to avoid future escalations. Israeli media reported Mordechai as saying that the continuous deterioration of the situation in Gaza would accelerate the risk of escalation between Israel and Hamas.“I therefore recommend that Israel supports a large-scale process that will improve the living conditions of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip,” he said.“The continuation of the current situation in Gaza will make Hamas more extreme, and regardless of the debate over Israel’s interest in which party controls the Gaza Strip, if no real efforts are made to change the situation, we could reach a situation where the most extreme people in Hamas have the greatest chance in the future to win the authority there.” middleeastmonitor
Netanyahu: Palestinian sovereignty may not work
Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu has  eclared that Palestinian sovereignty may not work, in remarks made during a visit to London.Speaking at Chatham House, Netanyahu said that before establishing a Palestinian state “it’s time we reassessed whether modern model we have of sovereignty, and unfettered sovereignty, is applicable everywhere in the world”.According to Haaretz, “he emphasised that for Israel ‘overriding concern is always security’, and therefore other models of sovereignty should be studied.”At the same event, Netanyahu described the demand for the removal of West Bank settlers as “ethnic cleansing”, comparing settlers to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Cameras to monitor Palestinians installed at Al-Aqsa
Israeli police have begun placing new cameras at the Council Gate of Al-Aqsa Mosque to monitor Palestinians’ entry and exit, Safa News Agency has reported.Director of Al-Aqsa Academy for Science and Heritage Sheikh Najeh Bkeerat said that Israeli police “are placing the cameras to monitor the movement in and out of Al-Aqsa Mosque and to restrict the movement of Jerusalemites, mainly in the Old City”.According to Safa, Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said he was preparing a security plan to prevent “Palestinian attacks” in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem. middleeastmonitor
Gunman massacres 26 worshippers at Texas church: Trump  says shooting “isn’t a guns situation” but a “mental health problem at the highest level”
A man wearing all black and a ballistic vest opened fire outside a small Baptist church in a tiny town in Texas, killing at least 26 people and injuring 20 in the country’s most recent mass horror.US President Donald Trump says the mass shooting at a Texas church “isn’t a guns situation” but a “mental health problem at the highest level.”While no officials have publicly questioned Kelley’s mental health, Trump said that “is your problem here.” He offered no details.“This was a very, based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual. A lot of problems over a long period of time,” Trump said when asked about the shooting.“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation,”he said.A US military official says the suspect identified in the mass shooting at a Texas church was a former Air Force member.Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek says records confirm that Devin P. Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge.TheHindu
Gunman massacres 26 worshippers at Texas church
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
Ravish Kumar’s magnificent obsession: NDTV anchor exposing in relentless riveting detail the shameful state of India’s universities:Jyoti Punwani
Explore offshore links of political power players: ICIJ
Democracy in jail: Over-representation of minorities in prisons: Irfan Ahmad, Md Zakaria Siddiqui
Why Indian mobile users must take the initiative to protest against linking their phones to Aadhaar:Ajaz Ashraf
Will Saudi become sick man of Middle East?Khalil-AlAnani
After making old cows unviable to maintain, MP wants to force farmers to pay for them:Rohan Venkataramakrishnan
Mr. Modi are you ready to act against Benami Sampatti holders:Amaresh Mishra
Slaughter of innocents:Searing eye-witness accounts from genocide taking place under nose of Suu Kyi;DailyMail
Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:56 PM)

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