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07 January 2018

07 Jan. ND : Triple Talaq Bill: It will be like dictatorship if govt brings ordinance says AIMPLB/ Egypt hosts 'told to convince viewers' over Jerusalem



Evening NEWS DIGEST  
07 Jan.2018: 18 Rabial Aakhir 1439:Vol:9, No:92
india:TALAQ BILL
Triple Talaq Bill: It will be like dictatorship if govt brings ordinance says AIMPLB
New Delhi: All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has expressed deep concern over media reports that the central Govt  of PM  Narendra Modi may promulgate an ordinance to implement the Triple Talaq Bill which could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the Winter Session on Friday.“We have come to know that the Modi Govt  wants to implement the Triple Talaq Bill through an ordinance as it was not passed in the Rajya Sabha. If it happens, it will show the dictatorship of the Modi Govt ,” Maulana Khaleelur Rahman Sajjad Nomani, said spokesperson of AIMPLB.The bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha and the Govt  should wait for its passage from the House. Forcefully imposing the bill on Muslims through an ordinance will be against the principles of democracy, Muslim Law Board official said. Meanwhile, media reports said the Govt may be mulling ordinance option.“Since the Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill and it is under consideration in the Rajya Sabha, PM will take Ordinance route and make the legislation effective,” Deccan Chronicle has quoted an unnamed high level source as saying.Caravan News
Triple talaq: Open to Congress suggestions if ‘reasonable’, says Ravi Shankar Prasad
New Delhi : A day after the Winter session of Parliament ended in a stalemate over the triple talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the Govt on Saturday said it was willing to “consider any reasonable and constructive suggestions from the Congress party or any other party”. However, the suggestion cannot be one that is “designed to kill the soul of the Bill”, Union Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad said.Prasad also appealed to Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi to become the “facilitator” for the “historic and transformative change” without playing “vote bank politics”. He said: “It’s a golden opportunity for her (Sonia Gandhi) to undo the sins of her husband.” “The govt is willing to consider any reasonable and constructive suggestions from anyone or Congress party with an open mind. But if the suggestion means that we should de-criminalise the instant divorce, it will not be acceptable,” Prasad said.“Congress needs to understand that from Shah Bano to Shayara Bano, much water has flown and it was a historic opportunity for them to atone for the sin they committed in 1986, when even the meagre maintenance amount of Rs 125 given to Shah Bano by the SC was overturned by the Congress Govt  with (ex-PM ) Rajiv Gandhi commanding full majority in the Lok Sabha,” Prasad said.The minister added that Congress’s suggestion to form a corpus for victims of triple talaq would not be acceptable because it would be discriminatory. “It amounts to incentivising the deviant husband to commit triple talaq with impunity and then telling the wife to go and beg before the govt. In a secular country like India, how can you give a corpus only for women victims of one community? That will be discriminatory. Congress party should understand what kind of an argument it makes,”he said, adding that Asaduddin Owaisi of the MIM had also made the same demand in the Lok Sabha. “Let me ask a question to the Congress. Is it under the grip of deeply fundamental and conservative elements of the Muslim society for vote bank? Gender justice has no importance at all for them?” he asked. Winter session of Parliament concluded on Friday with the fate of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq, remaining in limbo. The matter of ring-fencing penal provisions in Bill has become the bone of contention between the ruling BJP and the Opposition. The proposed law, passed by the Lok Sabha, makes talaq-e-biddat or instant triple talaq a “cognizable and non-bailable offence” and has provisions of “imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and fine” for any Muslim man who divorces his wife by uttering talaq three times in quick succession. It also provides for subsistence allowance to Muslim women and custody of minor children as “may be determined by the magistrate”.Prasad added that Govt, however, would not accept any suggestion that would change the Bill drastically. indianexpress
Mumbai: Women’s group criticises triple talaq Bill
A group of women belonging to Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat sect of the Muslim community has criticised the Bill on triple talaq that was discussed in Parliament. The meeting was held on Saturday at Cutchi Memon Hall near Nagpada.Called ‘Shariyat Bachao Andolan’, meeting was chaired by women speakers. Another meeting will be held in the suburbs to garner support from the women in the community to oppose the Bill. “Bill is an interference and against Shariah practices. Some women in the community were saying that they wanted to speak on the issue and hence this meeting was organised,” said Imran Dadani, member of Ahle Sunnat. “Bill is wrong and it will only create more problems. The Shariah is very clear that these practices have been there and are part of the religion. Those who are opposing it have not understood the religion and need to go to someone who understands the religion properly,” said Alima Salma Razvi, scholar. She added, “In this meeting, we told our women members that triple talaq is something that is not liked by our Prophet. He did not like it and people should desist from it. Similarly, it is something that is part of the religion. Criminalising it is wrong. In fact we will tell people from our community to stay away from it.”When asked about women members of the community approaching the court against it and that it not being in the Quran, Razvi said,“They do not understand the teaching. It is present in the Quran also. There are specific verses. Also, a woman may not be able to marry if a male gives her talaq once but not for the remaining time. If she is given at once, she can marry someone else.”DNA
OTHERS
Palestine denies reports of reinstating its ambassador to Pakistan recalled for sharing dais with Hafiz Saeed
Palestine has denied reports that its ambassador to Pakistan was reinstated after being recalled for his presence at a rally by Hafiz Saeed. Categorically denying the reports by Pakistani media, the Palestine Embassy in New Delhi told ANI that former Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Walid Abu Ali was 'very much in Palestine'. "We don't know from where you got this information about Palestine Ambassador to Pakistan being reinstated. As per our knowledge he is very much in Palestine as of now," an embassy official said. "We deny this information. Our ambassador in Pakistan is in Palestine and our position was declared by our official statement which we have published last week," Palestinian Foreign Ministry added. However, earlier today, Pakistani media reported that Ali was reinstated to his position, a news now stand denied.PM  Narendra Modi is expected to visit Palestine in Feb.indiatvnews
Pak media says Palestine ambassador who shared stage with Hafiz Saeed reinstated, New Delhi embassy denies
Trade, start-ups, agro-tech, focus of Israeli PM Netanyahu’s India visit
New Delhi;Increasing bilateral trade to $10 billion from current $4 billion, providing more play for Israeli start-ups in India, technologies aimed at increasing agricultural productivity, and portable desalination plants for use in parched areas — these are likely to be the focus areas of talks during Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu’s 5-day visit to India. Meanwhile, the two countries are working out the way forward on a cancelled $500 million order for Spike anti-tank missiles. The missiles were to be made by a joint venture between Israeli Rafael Systems, Bharat Dynamics Limited and Kalyani Systems, but India’s defence ministry cancelled the order. According to Israeli and Indian diplomats familiar with the matter, PM  Narendra Modi will receive Netanyahu on Jan. 14 at New Delhi, and possibly host a private dinner hosted at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg for the visiting dignitary. The official meetings and the India-Israeli CEOs forum, which will be attended by top defence equipment manufacturers from Israel, including Rafael, Elbit and IAI systems is scheduled for Jan.15. The Israeli PM and his wife Sara are to visit the Taj Mahal on Jan. 16 and also tour some historical monuments in Delhi. Netanyahu is to visit Gujarat on Jan.17 along with PM  Modi and pay a visit to Gandhi Ashram, Icreate Technologies (built on the Israeli innovation concept) and the Agriculture Centre for Excellence. Netanyahu will fly out of Mumbai on Jan.18 after a trade-oriented business meeting in Mumbai. hindustantimes


UP govt orders police to remove unauthorised loudspeakers from religious places
UP Govt  on Sunday asked the district administration and the police to remove all unauthorised loudspeakers installed at religious places, ANI reported.According to the pollution control board’s rules, loudspeakers cannot be played from 10 pm to 6 am. There are limits on the sound levels as well.Adityanath-led Govt  has asked 75 district administrations to identify religious places and public areas where unauthorised loudspeakers are being used. The owner/manager/trustee of such places will have to obtain permission for using the loudspeakers under the permissible limit. If they fail to do so, the police and local administration will remove the loudspeakers by Jan. 20, reported The Times of India.“The loudspeakers installed at public places cannot have sound level more than 10 dB [decibel] above the periphery of a public place and 5 dB above at the periphery of private place,” Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar told TOI. “All the district magistrates have to categorise the districts into areas of industrial, commercial, residential and silence zones. Each area has separate maximum limits for permissible sound levels.”The order came after the Allahabad High Court said that loudspeakers should be removed to curb noise pollution. In Dec., the Lucknow bench of the High Court had sought replies from the state Govt  and UP Pollution Control Board on the alleged misuse of loudspeakers in religious places. scroll
UP govt curbs unauthorised loudspeaker use at religious places
‘Do your parents make bombs?’: Muslim students become targets of prejudice, hate in Delhi schools
New Delhi: A day after a bomb blast in Europe, a teacher at a popular Noida school read out headlines to her Class 6 students. A student loudly called out the name of the only Muslim boy in class. “Saad*! Yeh kya kar diya tumne?,” he asked. The teacher heard the alleged exchange, but did not say a single word.Schools have not remained untouched by this rhetoric, despite textbooks stressing on India’s unity in diversity.But even as adults find it tough to wrestle with Islamophobia, how do you raise a Muslim child in this environment? Writer Nazia Erum’s new book, Mothering a Muslim, explores this dilemma of growing up as a religious minority in India, where children as young as 5 find themselves targeted for their identity. Nazia set out to write the book after her daughter Myra was born in 2014, when India was in the middle of what she says was a high-decibel, polarised election campaign. She was looking for some reassurance from other mothers like her.But when she started collecting testimonies, a pattern started emerging.“Baghdadi, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Osama, ISIS. Being asked, do your parents make bombs…will your father kill me with a gun?” were just some of the taunts Muslim children faced at school, according to the book.“This is not about kids – the children only mirror what we have done to ourselves. This is not even about Muslim kids – it’s about all kids. This behaviour is not harmful only for the tormented, but also for the tormentor,” says Nazia.Being bullied for one’s religion is not a phenomenon limited to Delhi schools. American schools have been grappling with the problem on an aggravated scale.A March 2017 poll by US-based Institute for Social Policy and Understanding cites 42% of Muslim respondents saying their kids were bullied because of religion, either through insults or physical assault. One in four parents said the bullying involved teachers or school administration. Ayesha*(17), shifted to one of central Delhi’s renowned schools in Class 9 in 2015. She was in-charge of decorating a school board on 1965 Indo-Pak war and was cutting a Pakistani flag, when a classmate strolled up to her and said, “Oh, cutting the flag of your country?”“I didn’t understand at first... So I asked him why he said it. He told me, you know why,” says the teenager, now in Class 11.The upset teenager talked to her mother,50-year-old business consultant Nazreen*, who despite being distraught, tried to reassure Ayesha that while what was said to her was unacceptable, such things would soon pass. “Of course, I was concerned. I grew up in the 70s and 80s in eastern India, before attending college in Delhi. I was never made to feel that this is not my country, or that I don’t belong here,” she said.Janaki Rajan, a professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, who has been working with school children for over 30 years now, said an anti-Muslim sentiment had been “simmering” since Partition. “Generation that saw the brutality of the communal violence at the time is still alive. They may have passed it on to next generation,” she says.Nazreen said such incidents rise when communal tensions flare up. In the aftermath of 1992 Mumbai riots, her niece, who was four at the time, was burned with sparklers by a neighbour’s child of the same age.At Sahil’s* convent school in South Delhi, ‘mulla’ or ‘terrorist’ is casually hurled during lunch breaks or on the playground.But most children never complain.“Snitching is looked down upon,”explains Class 12 student.“Besides, it’s just words. Sometimes we sort it out among ourselves with a fight.”
Divide and school policy ghettoising Muslim kids
Centre sanctions construction of 14,000 bunkers along LoC, International Border
Jammu: Over 14,000 community and individual bunkers would be constructed along the LoC and the International Border (IB) for border residents facing Pakistani shelling in Jammu division, officials said on Sunday.While 7298 bunkers would be constructed along LoC in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri, 7162 underground bunkers would be constructed along IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts, the officials said here.Centre recently sanctioned the construction of 14,460 individual and community bunkers at a cost of Rs 415.73 crore for people living along the LoC and IB.A total of 13,029 individual bunkers and 1431 community bunkers were being constructed, the officials said, adding that the capacity of the 160 square feet individual bunker was eight people, and that of 800 square feet community bunker was 40 people. The officials said 4918 individual and 372 community bunkers would be constructed in Rajouri, and 3076 individual and 243 community bunkers would come up in Kathua district.A total of 688 community and 1320 individual bunkers would be constructed in Poonch, Jammu would get 1200 individual and 120 community bunkers, and 2515 individual and eight community bunkers would be constructed in Samba district, they said.PTI
Sort out your differences, talk, be friends: J&K CM Mehbooba urges India and Pakistan
New Delhi: Making a plea for peace, J&K  CM  Mehbooba Mufti today asked the Govt s of India and Pakistan to sort out their differences and talk.Till now, the two archenemies had fought four major wars, apart from the several armed skirmishes between its soldiers on their over the 3,000-km-long border, which has resulted in several casualties. timesofindia
Chidambaram, Sibal attack Modi govt over Kashmir
New Delhi:Congress leader P. Chidambaram has attacked the Modi govt’s Kashmir policy, saying its “hard, muscular, militaristic” approach had failed to end militancy in the troubled state. “It was claimed that the hard, muscular, militaristic approach will put an end to infiltration and militancy. Has it?” the ex-Home Minister tweeted.Chidambaram quoted statistics to say that the number of civilians and terrorists killed in J&K  had almost doubled from 28 to 57 and from 110 to 218 from 2014 to 2017, respectively.The number of security forces killed had also shot up from 47 to 83 in this period.“If you are one of those who had thought that the hard, muscular, militaristic approach of Govt should be given a chance...you may change your view,”Chidambaram said. Congress leader said that wisdom lay in actively working towards a political solution to the issues of J&K , where a separatist campaign raging since 1989 has claimed thousands of lives. “Both A.B. Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh will be remembered for the diligent efforts to find a solution to the issue.” Separately, another Congress leader and ex-Central minister, Kapil Sibal, said PM Narendra Modi’s rhetoric over J&K had come apart.“Soldiers and policemen martyred almost daily. Will Govt  explain? When will be stop losing lives?”he asked in a tweet.IANS
Abdul Basheer dies in Mangaluru; police says he was chosen as random target in revenge of Bajrang Dal activist's killing
Abdul Basheer, who was attacked as "retaliation" for the murder of Bajarang Dal activist and BJP worker Deepak Rao, succumbed to injuries at a private hospital in Mangaluru, Basheer's cousin Hakeem confirmed.According to the New Indian Express, Hakeem said that the 47-year-old died at 8.10 am on Sunday. The report adds that the accused in the attack, who were later arrested, claimed to be associated with a right-wing Hindu outfit. TOI reports that four persons attacked Basheer, a hotelier, to "avenge" the death of Deepak Rao. Hours after Rao was attacked on 3 Jan, miscreants attacked Basheer on his way home after closing his eatery at Kottara Chowki.Basheer's family members decided not to take out a funeral procession and opted to bury him in the premises of a local mosque. Close relatives were allowed to visit Basheer's home to view the body and the public to pay last respects during the funeral at the mosque, police said. Additional DGP (Law and Order) Kamal Pant visited the hospital where Basheer died.ANI reports that Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family of Basheer.Mangaluru City police chief TR Suresh announced the arrests on Saturday named the accused as Shrijith PK (25) and Sandesh Kotyan (21) of Uppala, Manjeshwar in Kasaragod district and two brothers — Dhanush Poojary (22) and Kishan Poojary (21) of Padil, Mangaluru. 4 friends had allegedly congregated for a religious event at Kankanady Garodi and decided to avenge Rao's death by "targeting a person from the other community" and they chose Basheer as a random target, Suresh said. firstpost
Mangaluru: Basheer attacked by right-wingers after Rao's murder, succumbs to injuries
In UP , Bajrang Dal activists force Muslim leaders to stand for Vande Mataram
Lucknow: Vande Mataram controversy never seems to go away.The controversy is back again in the news after some Muslims in Muzaffarnagar refused to stand up for national song Vande Mataram. The incident took place on Saturday when Nagar Panchayat Muslim leaders refused to stand during national song Vande Mataram citing religious compulsion. However, the refusal of Muslims leaders to show respect to the national song angered Bajrang Dal activists. A report claimed that activists of right-wing outfit, Bajrang Dal, forced Muslims leaders to stand for Vande Mataram and asked them to sing the song.Muslims though agreed to stand for the song but refused to sing it.  Recently, a proposal to terminate the membership of a group of Muslim councillors was passed in Meerut Municipal Corporation House after the leaders staged a walkout during the singing of the national song. Zee news
Madarsas should install portrait of PM Modi: Uttarakhand CM Rawat
Dehradun:Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat has criticised the madrasas in the State for refusing to put up a portrait of PM  Narendra Modi on their premises, asking them to give up their “conservatism” on the issue.“Installing the PM ’s portrait in all Govt  institutions and those being run on Govt  grants has been an established practice. The madarsas should give up their conservatism on the issue,” he said.“Madrasas are educational institutions.They should not have any objection to installing the portrait. They should view it from an Indian point of view,” he told presspersons.The madarsas in BJP-ruled State have refused to comply with a State Govt order, asking the State-run educational institutions to install a portrait of PM Modi on their premises, on religious grounds.PTI
Mughals, Brits ruined India: Vice President Naidu
Jaipur: Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday accused Mughals and Britishers of "looting, ruining and cheating India". He said the 'loot' was not just limited to materialistic things but extended to 'some of the minds'.Addressing the convocation ceremony of Malaviya National Institute of Technology, he said, "Macaulay's education system has ruined the minds of some of us who believe that we are weak and they (foreigners) are progressive."He claimed that before invaders attacked India, the country's share in the world economy was 27%. He said that India's position in the world economy is improving after the reforms brought in by PM Narendra Modi.He added that it was because of these reforms that organisations like Asian Development Bank, World Bank, IMF, and Moody's had improved India's ratings. He also said that GST is the world's biggest reform in taxation. timesofindia
 ‘Who Killed Gandhi’: PIL in Bombay HC seeks revocation of ban on book
Mumbai: A PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking revocation of a ban on the import of a book published over five decades ago in Portugal that alleged larger conspiracy behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. PIL has been filed by city-based researcher and trustee of right wing group Abhinav Bharat, Pankaj Phadnis, seeking the court to quash and set aside a notification dated Dec.29, 1979 issued by then Union Govt  banning import of the book ‘Who Killed Gandhi’, authored by Portugal-based writer Lourenco De Sadvandor.The Govt , while banning the import of the book, published in 1963, had claimed it was “poorly researched” and “inflammatory”, the PIL said. The petition, however, claims that the ban was arbitrary, untenable and impeaches upon the fundamental right of speech and thought. Phadnis had last year approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Govt  to re-investigate the assassination of Gandhi.The apex court, while appointing a amicus curie (lawyer to assist the court in the matter), had queried if the case can be re-investigated after such a long lapse of time. The SC posted the petition for hearing on Jan. 12 this year. indianexpress
Police tried to rehabilitate those who fled Kairana: UP CM Adityanath
Meerut: CM  Yogi Adityanath on Saturday said that under the BJP Govt , the police have tried to rehabilitate those who had fled from Kairana, which was once a “symbol of fear”.In September 2016, a National Human Rights Commission report had stated that 250 Hindu families had migrated from Kairana out of fear from members of the minority community, validating the claim of local BJP MP Hukum Singh that a mass exodus of Hindus had been reported from the area over the years. Addressing a large gathering on the premises of the Govt -run Moiddinpur Sugar Mill on the Dehli-Hardwar Highway, Adityanath said, “Jo Kairana kabhi bhay ka prateek hua karta tha, in jawano (police) ne us Kairana ko punah aabad karne ka prayas kiya hain.”He further said that before the BJP came to power in the state, western UP districts were known as “safe havens” for criminal and communal elements, but the situation has changed now. “During the nine-month rule of my Govt  so far, I have given the police a free hand to deal sternly with criminal elements and those posing a threat to national security.The police under the BJP Govt  are operating without caste or communal bias. Earlier, their hands were tied. My Govt  has given a guarantee for the security of nearly 22 crore residents of the state,” he added. indianexpress
SC notice over cut in subsidised Haj quota
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre on petitions from Kerala challenging the new Haj policy that raised the tour operators’ quota from 25 to 30%, cutting subsidised Haj Committee quota to 70% and linking it to the Muslim population in a state.A 3-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra sought the Centre’s response within a week by Jan. 13 and ruled that results of the draw of lots to select this year’s Haj pilgrims.India has been allocated the quota of 1.75 lakh pilgrims for the Haj in August.Haj Committee of India has to select those going through its subsidised scheme by May 15. Muslims prefer the scheme as the private tour operators charge very hefty amount.Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Kerala Haj Committee, pointed out that the smaller states like Kerala get fewer berths in the new Haj policy on the strength of the proportion of the Muslim population unlike the states like UP  and Bihar.He cited how only about 6,000 applications were received in Bihar as against is quota of 12,000 whereas more than 95,000 applied in Kerala but only one out of every 15 applicants will be entertained, thus smaller states losing out on subsidised seats.freepressjournal
UP Haj office boundary wall gets back cream coat after controversy over saffron shade
Lucknow:Boundary wall of the UP  Haj Committee’s office got back its original cream colour on Friday, within 24 hours of the structure being painted in saffron which evoked criticism.The committee blamed the contractor for the blooper and said action is being taken against him.Chief executive officer and secretary of the committee RP Singh told HT on Saturday: “We had asked the contractor to paint the building matching the colour of the nearby structures.”While the two main buildings near the Haj office -- the Vidhan Bhawan and Lok Bhawan (CM ’s secretariat) are stone structured, the other important building in the vicinity-- the BJP state headquarters—wears the same dark and light shades of saffron that the contractor applied on the Haj office’s boundary wall.Singh said the wall is now repainted in cream.He also issued a press note on Saturday, which says that the contractor was negligent in “painting the wall in a bit darker shade than what was approved.”Immediate cognisance of the negligence done by the contractor in colouring and the building was taken and corrective measure as well as action against him (the contractor) was initiated, the press note said.The office facilitates annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. The committee also manages the UP Haj House that is located near the Lucknow airport on Kanpur road. HT
UP  Haj office colured saffron, committee says ‘unintentional’
Beef shortage in Goa as Karnataka abattoirs refuse meat supply
Panaji:Goa is likely to face a shortage of beef for the next couple of days as slaughterhouses in neighbouring Karnataka have refused to supply meat till the Govt  takes steps to stop harassment by cow vigilante groups, an official said on Sunday. The coastal state is facing a beef shortage with traders suspending import of meat from Karnataka alleging harassment by cow vigilantes.An association of traders earlier said its members have stopped procuring beef from Belagavi in Karnataka.All Goa Qureshi Meat Traders Association president Manna Bepari told PTI that CM  Manohar Parrikar on Saturday assured them to discuss the issue with the police. However, he said the CM  is currently out of the station and is expected to return only after two days.“The suppliers from Karnataka have categorically said they will not resume supplies till action is taken against the so-called cow vigilantes,” he said. Bepari said they can expect some action only after the CM returns to the state, “so until then the supplies will not resume.” He said around 25 tonnes of beef is brought from Belagavi every day. Cow protection groups, including the Gau Raksha Abhiyaan, have alleged beef in Goa is brought from illegal slaughterhouses in Karnataka, a charge denied by Bepari. PTI
Beef traders in Goa to continue indefinite strike, demand BJP-led govt to crack down on cow vigilantes
From 7.1% in 2016, India’s GDP Growth Estimated to Drop to 6.5% in 2017-18
New Delhi: India’s GDP will grow by 6.5% in the current fiscal, sharply down from 7.1% growth clocked by it in 2016-17, Central Statistical Office (CSO) said on Jan. 5, confirming that the hasty implementation of GST has had a toll on economic growth.The CSO’s estimate on GDP growth for 2017-18 is even lower than the Reserve Bank’s lowered projection of 6.7%. The central bank had initially forecast GDP growth at 7.3% for this fiscal.GST-induced slowdown has robbed India of its coveted tag of the “world’s fastest-growing economy”. China, which is projected to grow by 6.8% in 2017, has regained the status which it had lost to India in 2015. Govt rolled out GST on July 1, which disrupted economic activity, especially in the informal sector, as small businesses found it too complicated to comply with. Exporters too were hit hard as the new tax regime increased their working capital requirement. Reduction in duty drawback rates further dented the competitiveness of Indian exporters.The consequence was that India’s export growth turned negative in October. Though it bounced back in Nov, questions remain about its sustainability in coming months.The gross value added (GVA) is projected to grow by 6.1% in 2017-18, down from 6.6% in 2016-17. The manufacturing sector is expected to grow by 4.6% vs 7.9% the previous year, agriculture by 2.1% vs 4.9%, electricity and utility services by 7.5% vs 7.2% in the last fiscal. The construction sector, which has been in the doldrums so far, is seen picking up to 3.6% from 1.7% in 2016-17.The Wire
Uttarakhand's businessman Pandey consumes poison, goes to BJP minister with complaint on noteban, GST
Dehradun:A businessman from Haldwani, in Uttarakhand, created panic among ruling party workers here on Saturday after he went to a “janata darbar” state minister Subodh Uniyal was holding at the BJP office in Dehradun to complain about losses he suffered, ostensibly a result of demonetisation and GST.Prakash Pandey, in his early-40s, has been admitted in a local private hospital and is stated to be critical.The minister said Pandey’s action “looks politically motivated”.Uniyal was hearing people’s problems at BJP office here when Pandey went there on Saturday afternoon and, crying, told the minister, “Govt has put me in trouble. I am under a lot of debt due to demonetisation and GST.”Stating that he has been in the transport business for the past over a decade, Pandey said that he has been trying to approach the state Govt  for the last 5 months with his problems but the BJP Govt  has been “of no help”. He told Uniyal, “CM …does not listen to anyone. There are many people like me(debt-ridden)..I have consumed poison.” Indianexpress
72 girls found staying in Rajasthan ashram run by self-styled godman Dixit
JAIPUR : More than 70 girls were found staying in a Rajasthan ashram run by self-styled godman Virendra Dev Dixit, the accused in the Rohini-ashram case, the police said on Sunday.On December 24, 47 women and six minor girls were rescued from different centres of Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh run by Dixit, with the CBI probing charges of rape and illegal confinement of girls and women at the centres against him.The search at Abu Road in Sirohi district of Rajasthan was conducted on Saturday following directions from senior officers.The 72 girls claimed that they were staying in the ashram for spiritual activities and living there willingly. They asserted that they are allowed to meet their guardians, said Mithu Lal, Station House Officer (SHO) of Abu Road police station.The caretaker of the ashram has been told to provide documents of the girls. However, no suspicious activity was noticed in the ashram as of now, the SHO said.PTI
Aadhaar data breach report: Editors Guild condemns FIR against journalist
The Editors Guild of India has slammed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for filing a police complaint against a journalist who reported on the alleged Aadhaar data breach.The guild in a statement dubbed the move “unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.”Rachna Khaira of the Tribune newspaper in her report claimed she using a false identity could get easy access to details that individuals had listed in their Aadhaar cards by paying a small sum of money to an agent.The UIDAI, which runs the biometric identity card scheme, had denied that any data breach was possible and filed an FIR against the reporter under IPC sections 419 (punishment for cheating under impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery), 471 (using a forged document) and also under sections of the IT Act and the Aadhaar Act.The database includes fingerprints and iris scans, besides basic information details of individuals.Condemning the UIDAI’s stand, the journalists’ body said the authority should have ordered a thorough internal investigation into the alleged breach and made its findings public.“The Guild demands that the concerned Union ministry intervene and have the cases against the reporter withdrawn apart from conducting an impartial investigation into the matter,” the statement said. hindustantimes
FIR against Tribune reporter over Aadhaar data breach story
WORLD
Tapes reveal Egypt accepts Trump's Jerusalem move, protests publicly: Report
An Egyptian intelligence officer urged a number of prominent talk show hosts in the country to persuade their viewers to accept the US position that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the New York Times reported.In four audio recordings obtained by the Times, Captain Ashraf al-Kholi reportedly told the hosts that conflict with Israel is not in Egypt's national interest. Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with the West Bank town that houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah. "How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?" he asked each time.Still, Captain Kholi was quoted as saying: "We, like all our Arab brothers, are denouncing this matter." For decades, powerful Arab states including Egypt and Saudi Arabia have publicly criticized Israel's treatment of the Palestinians while privately acquiescing to Israel's continued occupation of territory Palestinians claim as their homeland, the Times noted.Now, a de facto alliance against shared foes such as Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, IS militants and the Arab Spring uprisings is drawing the Arab leaders into an ever-closer collaboration with their one-time nemesis, Israel, producing especially stark juxtapositions between their posturing in public and private, according to the Times.Kholi was quoted as adding: "After that, this thing will become a reality. Palestinians can't resist, and we don't want to go to war. We have enough on our plate as you know."While Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said that his country regretted Trump's decision, which will "complicate the peace process," Egypt's relations with Israel are based on military and intelligence interests unrelated to Palestinian issue or Jerusalem's status, Haaretz paper said.middleeasteye
Egypt hosts 'told to convince viewers' over Jerusalem
Arab League aims to nullify Trump's Jerusalem move
Arab foreign ministers are calling for international recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, aiming to nullify a controversial US decision on the holy city's status. Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister, hosted a committee of officials from Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Palestine in Amman on Saturday to discuss the Arab League's response to US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last month.The committee - created at an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on Dec.9, just days after Trump's declaration - is hoping to reverse the decision and "to assert that it has no legal effect", Safadi told reporters at the summit. "We [Arab League] will confront the decision by seeking a [UN] resolution, an international one, to recognise a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital," he said."We have specific requests,the most important of which is the recognition of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital according to the June 4th 1967 borders."Based on the discussions, ministers will make further recommendations to a full meeting of the Arab League, due to be held at the end of this month, Safadi added.The summit was held as a report published by New York Times on Saturday asserted that while Egypt's Govt was publicly condemning Trump's Jerusalem move, a state intelligence officer was asking influential TV hosts in the country to persuade their viewers to accept it. aljazeera
Arab League to lobby UN to recognise Palestinian state
Saudi cleric Salman al-Odah held after refusing to support Qatar blockade: Reports
A Saudi cleric has been imprisoned without charge for the past four months after refusing to publicly support the blockade on Qatar, Human Rights Watch said.The rights group on Sunday said that local authorities had also imposed travel bans on 17 members of Salman al-Odah's family after he was detained in September 2017.A family member told HRW that Odah was being held in solitary confinement because he refused to comply with an order to tweet out support for the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.He instead opted for a tweet calling on reconciliation between the different countries: "May God harmonise between their hearts for the good of their people."Family members said that two men who arrested Odah, identified themselves as state security, searched his house, and ignored repeated requests to show a warrant.Odah is among dozens of dissidents, writers, and scholars detained in mid-September as part of a crackdown against those acting "for the benefit of foreign parties against the security of the Kingdom and its interests." middleeasteye
Cleric Salman al-Awda 'held over Qatar tweet'
Russian, Syrian air strikes kill 17 civilians in east Ghouta: NGO
Russian and Syrian warplanes killed at least 17 civilians in eastern Ghouta on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The deadliest airstrikes hit the Hammuriyeh district, leaving 12 civilians including two children, the UK-based war monitor said. "Syrian and Russian planes continued on Saturday their intense strikes against eastern Ghouta, targeting more residential areas," the observatory's director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. 2 civilians were killed in the city of Madira, and 3 others in Erbine, according to the Observatory. 35 others were also wounded in eastern Ghouta. East Ghouta is one of a few remaining rebel-held areas in Syria and has taken the brunt of daily air strikes from the Syrian Govt . Located in the east of Damascus, the suburb has been besieged since 2013 by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.The 400,000 inhabitants of eastern Ghouta, suffering from acute shortages of food and medicine, live in very difficult conditions. middleeasteye
Deadly air raids in Syria's Eastern Ghouta kill 17 civilians
Israel backs US plan for UNRWA fund cuts
Jerusalem:Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated support for U.S. plans to cut funds for UN refugees agency UNRWA.  "I fully agree with President Trump's strong criticism of UNRWA,” Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.  “UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees,” he said. “It also perpetuates the narrative of the so-called right of return with the aim of eliminating the State of Israel, and therefore UNRWA must pass away.”  Last week, US President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to the Palestinians, including to UNRWA, in response to Palestinian fury over his decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli media said Saturday that Netanyahu "supports a gradual reduction of funding to UNRWA." According to UNRWA website, the U.S. is the largest donor to the agency as it annually provides about $370 million out of a total of around $874 million of funds the agency receives. 
Trump backs proposal to divert US aid to Pak for infra projects
Washington: President Donald Trump on Saturday supported a top American Senator's proposal for a bill to stop the US aid to Pakistan for failing to clamp down on terror groups and divert the money for building roads and bridges in the US. "Good idea Rand!" Trump tweeted, sharing a video of Republican Senator Rand Paul promoting his bill to stop US aid to Pakistan and use the money towards domestic infrastructure projects."I'm introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days. My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home," Paul said. " US should not give one penny to countries that burn our flag and chant Death to America. Countries like Pakistan that stonewall access to key information in fighting terrorism don't deserve our money," Paul said. The Trump administration on Friday suspended about USD 2 billion in security aid to Pakistan for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantle their safe havens.PTI
Trump 'absolutely' willing to talk to Kim Jong-un
US President Donald Trump said he would be willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the phone, but not without conditions."I always believe in talking," Trump briefly told reporters on Saturday. "Absolutely, I would do that," he said when asked if he would be willing to talk to the North Korean leader.  Trump also said he hoped the upcoming talks between North and South Korea on Pyongyang's participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics would ease tensions over the North Korea's missiles and nuclear programme.The high-level talks, to be held on January 9, will be the first such communications in more than two years.Trump said he "very much" wants to see "it work out between the two countries," and took credit for the rapprochement. Aljazeera
Paracetamol in pregnancy may damage your daughter’s fertility
London:Women who consume paracetamol during pregnancy, widely used to reduce a high fever or relieve pain, may increase the risk of damaging the fertility of their daughters, warns a new study.Scientists from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland found that human ovaries exposed to paracetamol for a week in laboratories lost up to 40 %  of their egg cells. If this effect occurs in the womb, it could mean baby girls exposed to the common drug end up being born with fewer eggs. This would give them fewer years in which they could become pregnant and lead to an early menopause, the Daily Mail quoted the researchers as saying.It may be because both paracetamol and ibuprofen interferes with a hormone called prostaglandin E2, which appears to play a vital part in the development of the foetal reproductive system.IANS
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
Can Mohammed bin Salman break the Saudi-Wahhabi pact?Yury Barmin, expert at Russian International Affairs Council
Fault is that Modi govt is not seeking a solution to Kashmir:P Chidambaram
All is not well with Aadhaar, UIDAI’s denials are increasingly unconvincing:Usha Ramanathan
In villages, urban areas, people sit on one side, Dalits in another corner. No one discusses this:Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot



Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:37 PM)

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