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Thursday, 18 January 2018

18 Jan. ND: On Feb.10, PM Modi will be first-ever Indian PM to visit Palestine, also visiting Arab countries with eye on $75-bn investment/ Scrapped $500 million missile deal with India back on track: Netanyahu



Evening NEWS DIGEST  
18 Jan.2018:30 Rabial Aakhir 1439:Vol:9, No:101
INDIA
Balancing act: On Feb.10, PM Modi will be first-ever Indian PM to visit Palestine, also visiting Arab countries with eye on $75-bn investment
New Delhi: Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu departs from India after a 6-day visit on Friday, and in a West Asian geopolitical balancing act, PM  Narendra Modi is scheduled to be in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the State of Palestine, on Feb.10.PM Modi's visit to West Asian countries in Feb.will have an eye on investments. Apart from Palestine,Modi is scheduled to visit UAE on Feb.10 and 11. He will also visit Oman and address the sixth World Govt  Summit in Dubai.The visit to Palestine is important in terms of West Asian geopolitics, and New Delhi’s need to counterbalance PM Modi's visit to Israel, the first ever by an Indian PM, in July 2017, and the return visit by Israeli PM Netanyahu to India, which is the first by an Israeli PM since that of Ariel Sharon in 2003. While New Delhi and Tel Aviv draw into an ever closer defence and security cooperation, India cannot ignore other West Asian countries and not just for reasons of domestic politics.Around 7 to 8 million Indians live and work in West Asian countries. According to the World Bank's report, India retained its top spot as the world's largest recipient of remittances in 2016, with inflows amounting to $62.7 billion,which translated to a decrease of 8.9%  from $68.9 billion in 2015. Further, India is expected to retain its top spot in this regard in 2017 as well, with remittances expected to total $65 billion, according to the World Bank. Most of these remittances come from Indian workers in West Asia. The region is also the main source of India’s energy security and home to major Indian exports. During his visit to the UAE, Modi will also want to take up the $75 billion worth of investments in India's infrastructure sector that the Emirates had promised India from its sovereign fund during Modi's visit there in 2015. There has been little progress in terms of any investments from that fund and UAE's officials have blamed New Delhi for its failure to put in place the necessary set up to operationalise the fund. With job growth being a concern, the Modi Govt wants the funds to start flowing in. Officials say the requisite processes have been completed. PM is scheduled to visit Abu Dhabi and Dubai. According to a report in the Khaleej Times on Wednesday, Modi will be in Abu Dhabi on February 10. The India-UAE trade stands at $53 billion. The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner, while India is the largest trading partner of the UAE. In 2016-17, the UAE was the fifth-largest supplier of crude oil to India. It has a 2.6 million-strong Indian diaspora working there. Modi had last visited UAE in August 2015. It was the first visit by an Indian PM to UAE after Indira Gandhi’s in 1981.business-standard
On Feb 10, Modi will be 1st Indian PM in Palestine
Scrapped $500 million missile deal with India back on track: Netanyahu
Jerusalem:India will buy Israel's Spike anti-tank guided missiles, Israeli media quoted PM Benjamin Netanyahu as saying, weeks after New Delhi scrapped USD 500 million defence deal.The deal was cancelled a few weeks ahead of Mr Netanyahu's visit to India and its renewal is considered to be a "major strategic achievement", Jerusalem Post reported."India will buy Israel's anti-tank spike missiles," the paper quoted PM Netanyahu as saying after spending day with PM Narendra Modi. Netanyahu, who is on a six-day visit to India, said the final details and scope of the deal are still in the process of being worked out, the paper said.Another leading Israeli daily 'Haaretz' reported that deal is "back on the table". Quoting Israel's NSA Meir Ben-Shabbat, the paper said that current talks are trending in a positive direction, and more details will be disclosed later. Israeli arms firm, Rafael Advance Defence Systems Ltd, had earlier this month confirmed that India cancelled the deal and expressed "regret" over the decision.As per the original proposal, India had planned to acquire the ATGMs for the Army at a cost of USD 500 million. Indian defence ministry has been strongly pushing for transfer of technology in procuring various weapons and other platforms from foreign defence majors as part of its broad policy initiative to encourage domestic defence industry.PTI
39 groups including Dalit, OBC left-wings to protest at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan against Israeli PM ’s visit to India
Mumbai:Around 39 left-wing, Dalit, and OBC organisations and the India Palestine Solidarity Forum will protest in Mumbai against Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s India visit on Thursday at Azad Maidan. Protests by all these groups are being held across the country.“Even Gandhiji had supported the movement for Palestine. By inviting Netanyahu to India, Modi is supporting imperialist agenda, that has never been a part of our culture,” said Prakash Reddy, Mumbai general secretary, CPI. Reddy added that to deepen military ties with a country, India isn’t thinking about the homeless in Palestine. Feroze Mithiborwala, general secretary, India Palestine Solidarity Forum, said inviting Israeli PM to India would isolate the country on the world map. “It is a known fact that Israel supports terrorist organisations. By inviting Netanyahu we are weakening our nation. For us, this protest is like a freedom movement, and it is slowly gaining momentum,” said Mithiborwala. Sonya Gill of All India Democratic Women’s Association said women and children in Palestine were living in wreaked condition. “Progressive women’s movement needs to take a stand against the injustice because even the people there have a right to independent state,” said Gill.HT
HRW: BJP leaders publicly promoting Hindu supremacy
Members of India's ruling party have publicly promoted Hindu supremacy, which has led to attacks against Muslims and other minorities, Human Rights Watch claims.Meanwhile, the Govt  failed to prevent or promptly investigate attacks against victims, the group said on Thursday in its report on human rights in 2017."Govt failed to promptly or credibly investigate the attacks, while many senior BJP leaders publicly promoted Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism, which encouraged further violence," the group said."Indian authorities have proven themselves unwilling to protect minority religious communities and other vulnerable groups from frequent attack," said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW's South Asia director, in a statement."There needs to be a serious effort to prevent future attacks and to prosecute all those responsible for the violence,"she said.HRW said there were at least 38 attacks against Muslims and other minority communities over the trade or slaughter of cows for beef in 2017. At least 10 people were killed. Instead of punishing attackers, police officials often filed complaints against the victims under laws banning cow slaughter, the rights group said.Aljazeera
Kashmir terror funding case: NIA files chargesheet against 12 including Hafiz Saeed, Salahuddin, Hurriyat leaders
New Delhi:A chargesheet naming 12 people, including Hafeez Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin, has been filed by NIA Thursday in connection with a case related to the alleged funding of terror activities in Kashmir.NIA filed the 1,279-page chargesheet before a designated court in New Delhi and sought permission to continue its probe. Saeed and Salahuddin have been accused by the NIA of fomenting trouble and transferring money through hawala networks to Valley. Earlier in an FIR, NIA named Saeed as an accused, besides organizations such as Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen and Dukhtaran-e-Milat. NIA also recorded confessional statements on the flow of money, especially from Pakistan, from 4 people accused in a case related to the funding of “terror activities” in Kashmir.Till date, 10 people have been arrested in connection with the case and their judicial custody ended today. The prosecuting agency, under the anti-terror law, has to file a chargesheet within 6 months, failing which the accused is eligible for bail.NIA said it gathered substantial material and technical evidence during the probe. They said 60 locations were raided and 950 incriminating documents seized.The arrested include Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh,son-in-law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani; spokesperson of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq-led moderate Hurriyat Conference Shahid- ul-Islam; spokesperson of Geelani-led faction of Hurriyat Ayaz Akbar and separatists Nayeem Khan, Bashir Bhat alias Peer Saifullah and Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal.. Ex-JKLF militant Bitta Karate, photo journalist Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmed Bhat have also been named in the chargesheet.indianexpress
Judges who revolted give CJI list of complaints, but standoff prevails
New Delhi: The resolution of the unprecedented crisis in the higher judiciary is likely to be delayed as Justice Jasti Chelameswar, one of the 4 judges who questioned the decisions of CJI, is travelling out of the capital Thursday and is scheduled to return only on Monday.“He has a personal engagement in Chennai and since the visit was pre-planned, it could not be cancelled,” sources close to the judge said. ThePrint has learnt that judges Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur met CJI Dipak Misra and gave him a note listing out their specific grievances. The four judges had met Wednesday at Chelameswar’s residence to finalise draft.It is also learnt that justices D.Y. Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao, A.K. Sikri and S.A. Bobde had spoken to the four judges to list out the issues since a meaningful discussion had not taken place in days, leading to the note.The eight judges listed above arrived in the Supreme Court complex at 10 am Thursday and met the CJI for about 10 minutes, sources in the court said.They said the four judges who held the press conference last week asked the CJI to bring in a transparent method of allotting cases. They also asked the CJI to put in place an institutional mechanism to deal with complaints against the CJI in future.The second issue comes in the backdrop of a complaint made to senior judges seeking an in-house probe against CJI in connection with a medical college case. This complaint was filed by CJAR, a non-profit led by advocate Prashant Bhushan, to initiate probe against Misra.However, 4 judges are not known to have referred to complaint during their meeting with the CJI.theprint
SC crisis: 4 judges have a plan for CJI to reform roster, two more join them at meeting
Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Indira Jaising’s Plea on Live-Streaming Judicial Proceedings
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a petition filed by senior advocate seeking live streaming of judicial proceedings in the SC on matters of constitutional and national importance. A bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said the matter will be listed in due course of time.In a bid to bring in transparency, the top court had last year allowed installation of CCTV video recording with audio in trial courts and tribunals of each state.PTI
No Legal Framework For Biometric Data Collected Before Aadhaar Act, Petitioners Argue
The second day of hearing in Aadhaar matter saw petitioners build their case further against the biometric data collected between 2009 and 2016, before the Aadhaar Act, 2016 came into effect.Citizens were forced to share their biometrics in the absence of any legal framework and without any statutory backing, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan argued on behalf of petitioners. Registrars were able to collect personal data, and even seek additional data without any Govt  oversight. And these included not just Govt agencies but also private agencies, state-owned banks and universities, Divan informed the five-judge bench which is currently hearing all Aadhaar-related matters. There was no protection to citizens. There was no law. The notification which authorised the collection of biometric data did not even mention biometrics. Entire data of the people was collected with absolutely no legal sanction or protection.Divan also cited instances of Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI signing memorandums of understanding with certain bodies which, according to petitioners, did not qualify as a valid contract. Govt had blacklisted 34,000 enrollment operators as of April last year and the number has since risen to 49,000, Divan said, quoting Parliament replies.The petitioners will now continue their arguments on Jan.23. bloombergquint
Medical college bribery case: Quddusi seeks probe into phone call transcript ‘leak’
New Delhi: Ex-Odisha High Court Judge IM Quddusi, who is an accused in the medical college bribery case, moved an application on Wednesday in a special court seeking a court monitored investigation into an alleged leak of the transcripts of telephone conversations between him and two other accused.The application sought an inquiry into whether any documents or conversations have been tampered with. Special Judge Manoj Jain issued a notice to the CBI to respond to the plea and listed the matter for January 22.Quddusi’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal filed the application, which said the whole case was based on the alleged conversations intercepted by the CBI which was leaked. The plea also said that the preliminary enquiry report of the CBI was also leaked. The application stated: “Alleged conversations and the PE report have been released online.PE report is a confidential document, which is not even supplied to the accused persons, however, in present matter, it was leaked…. Appropriate inquiry in the same is required to be conducted. Monitoring of investigation is essential as to find out whether the alleged conversations and PE report has been leaked by someone with CBI or they have been stolen, which is essential, so as to ensure that it does not become a ‘Trial by Media’.”Quddusi and five others have been accused of trying to influence court proceedings over an application to grant admission rights to a UP medical college barred by the Medical Council of India. indianexpress
Abattoirs in UP to be shifted outside city limits
LUCKNOW: UP  Cabinet has approved a Bill to shift all slaughterhouses outside city limits. Under the amended provisions, the powers and duties of municipal corporations and municipal boards have also been reduced in the running of slaughterhouses. At a meeting convened in Lucknow, the Cabinet gave its nod to UP  Nagar Nigam (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and UP  Nagar Palika (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to remove slaughterhouses from public places.“From the viewpoint of environment and hygiene, slaughterhouses will operate from outside the limits of a city,” said Minister Shrikant Sharma.With the amended laws, the Nagar Nigams (municipal corporations) and Nagar Palikas (municipal boards) would only have to monitor whether the slaughterhouses were following the Govt  norms. Earlier, the local bodies were responsible for the construction and running of abattoirs, Sharma told The Hindu.The Govt  has struck off Sections 237 and 238 of the U.P. Nagar Palika Act, 1916, and Sections 29 and 30 of the U.P. Nagar Nigam Act, 1959, arguing that they are in “direct conflict” with provisions of central laws on cruelty against animals and Food safety Act, 2006.The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughterhouses) Rules,2001 restrict the slaughtering of animals within a city except in slaughterhouses, the Govt  said.Slaughtering of animals for religious purposes, however, has been allowed within the city.The Cabinet also amended several existing laws related to slaughterhouses, Section 7 (1) H of the municipality board act and Sections 114 (21) and four sub-clauses of 422.thehindu
Madrassas need to be modernised, not closed down: Adityanath
UP  CM  Adityanath has said madrassas need to be modernised and closing these institutions, where students are taught Islamic theology and religious laws, was not a solution, the Hindustan Times reported.“We would have to modernise the education system in these institutions and link them with computers,” the CM  said at a coordination meeting between the Centre and various states and Union territories where the implementation of various central schemes for minorities welfare was reviewed. “We are not able to utilise energy of those who are misguided in ‘rashtra nirman’ [nation building],” Adityanath was quoted as saying by PTI. “Only quality education is the solution. Our govt is committed to development without any discrimination.”UP Govt set up a website of the state madrassa board in August 2017, where all such institutions had to register themselves, the HT report said. Govt had then said that it was an attempt to check irregularities, improve the quality of education, and increase transparency. Govt gives nearly Rs 5 lakh to 5,060 of the 16,000 madrassas in the state that are either fully funded by Govt or receive partial aid.Not only Islamic theology schools, but Sanskrit schools in the state should also impart computer, English, science and mathematics education apart from the traditional education, Adityanath said.CM said that since Narendra Modi became PM, Govt has been transparent about how schemes are implemented. He praised Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, saying that implementation of minority welfare schemes has picked up speed since he was appointed the minority affairs minister at the Centre.Adityanath said that his Govt did not discriminate in the implementation of welfare schemes for minorities. “We have verified and issued 37 lakh ration cards without any discrimination,” he pointed out. “PM Narendra Modi has launched skill development programme, which is aimed to provide employment opportunities to youths of the minority community.”CM complained that “unnecessary controversies” were raked up whenever his Govt tried to address the matter of betterment of minority communities.scroll.in
30 Madrassa students in Bhiwandi land in hospital after lunch event
Thane: Nearly 30 students of Madrassa Darul Uloom Diwan Shah in Bhiwandi had to be rushed to Mumbai for medical help after they were diagnosed with severe food poisoning yesterday. All the students, aged between 10 and 14 years, are recuperating at Nair Hospital.According to sources, most of these students are orphans, who had been rescued from across the country and provided shelter at the madrassa. Sources said, on Tuesday the madrassa had organised a cultural programme on its premises, which was followed by a public lunch event. While over 1,000 people participated in the event, organiser Muktar Aatau Allah Shaikh had invited 60 students from the madrassa near Diwan Shah Baba Dargah to mark the occasion. According to school sources, few of the children started vomiting right after the event. After some others complained of diarrhoea, they were taken to a local private hospital. The source said, "Initial diagnosis pointed at nascent-level fungal infections caused by improperly canned foods. 5 students were in critical condition."A senior employee at the madrassa informed that some of the students were also suffering convulsions.Madrassa officials admitted the five worst affected children to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital last evening and some children were admitted to Thane civil hospital, initially. But, all of them were shifted to Nair hospital around 11 pm yesterday.A doctor overseeing the case said, "There is a possibility of botulism poisoning, which is a rare and possibly fatal illness caused by consumption of improperly canned or preserved foods. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, headache and fever. But we can’t be certain until we check all their medical reports."mid-day
Elections in Tripura on Feb 18, Meghalaya & Nagaland on Feb 27; Results on March 3
New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti has announced Assembly polls in 3 north-east states--Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura."Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura all have 60 seats each. EVM and VVPAT will be used in all 3 states, first level checks have been completed," CEC AK Joti said. "Model code of conduct comes into effect from today," CEC said and added "Polling for legislative assembly elections in Tripura to be held on 18 Feb, polling in Meghalaya and Nagaland to be held on 27 Feb; Counting for all three states on 3 March."The electoral rolls in Meghalaya comprise 18,30,104 voters of which 923,848 are females. Term of the Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura legislative assemblies will end on March 6, March 13 and March 14 respectively.3 assemblies have 60 members each.Manik Sarkar, CM  of the Left Front Govt  in Tripua is seeking a fourth term. BJP has emerged as the main challenger here.In Meghalaya and Nagaland, two Christian-majority states, the BJP hopes to put up a good performance, especially in the former, where the Congress led by Mukul Sangma is in power. Naga People's Front, which is in power in Nagaland, is an ally of the BJP.ABP News
Denied visa because of riots cases: Sangeet Som
Meerut: Sangeet Som, BJP legislator from Sardhana in Meerut accused of involvement in the Muzaffarnagar riots, on Tuesday claimed he was denied a visa to Australia because of his alleged involvement in the communal disturbance.“I love Muzaffarnagar very much. This is why I have become a known figure in the world to the extent that no country is willing to give me a visa,” BJP MLA said at a meeting of the Chemists and Druggists Welfare Association in Muzaffarnagar Tuesday.“I applied for a visa to visit Australia but was denied on the plea that cases are pending against me. I had applied for the visa… in 2015 but could not get through. After that I dropped the idea of going out of our country,” Som said over phone. He pointed out that before the Muzaffarnagar riots, he had visited Australia, the US and Singapore and was never denied a visa to these countries but since the riots and, with “my name cropping up, I have been facing this problem”. indianexpress
L-G does not want to appoint Waqf Board head: AAP
New Delhi: AAP has alleged that Lt Governor Anil Baijal does not want to appoint the chairperson of Delhi Waqf Board, which is leading to “corruption and misuse” of its property. Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot sought to know why the Lt Governor was not appointing the chairperson despite the fact that all laid down procedure have been followed.The minister appealed to L-G to appoint the Waqf board chairperson while participating in a discussion over the issue in the Delhi Assembly. The House later passed a resolution seeking a magisterial probe into 36 cases where the Delhi Waqf Board has lost in the past. Raising the issue of illegal sale of Dargah land in the House, AAP MLA Sourabh Bharadwaj said the board has been “headless” for over one-and-a-half-year which is a very serious issue.“As there has been no appointment of the chairperson, Waqf properties are being encroached. The matter has been pending with the L-G office for one and a half years, but L-G has not appointed the chairperson yet,” Bharadwaj said.PTI
Amanatullah resigns as Delhi Waqf Board member
New Delhi: AAP MLA and former chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board, Amanatullah Khan, resigned as a member of the Board, saying that his step might prompt the Lieutenant Governor to reconstitute the panel. "Due to me, the L-G is not forming the board. I am resigning as the member of the board and now, I hope that the L-G will form the board, which will benefit our community," Khan told reporters here.He said that he has sent his resignation letter to Lt Governor Anil Baijal, through the Delhi Assembly Speaker."BJP and the Congress do not want me to become the Chairperson of the board that is headless for around one-and- a-half years," Khan alleged.india today
Muslim woman's house set ablaze in UP's Hapur, note found in rubble says 'now call your Ram': timesnownews
Hapur: In a horrific incident, a Muslim woman's house was allegedly set on fire by unidentified miscreants at Hapur in UP  on Monday. The incident allegedly took place in the wake of her support to the construction of Ram Temple.The victim, Ikra Chaudhary, who is the district head of the Muslim Women's Harassment Cell, claimed she is being threatened by multiple people to avoid indulging in the matter of Ram Temple."On Dec.6, I submitted a memorandum to the District Magistrate regarding the Ram Temple issue. Since then, I have been threatened repeatedly to avoid indulging in the matter, to the extent that I have been asked to leave Hapur. I fear that I may be killed by those threatening me," she said.Ikra's house was set on fire by miscreants on Monday, following which she registered a complaint with the police. Amid the fire rubble, Ikra also found a note that read "Now call your Ram" written in Hindi, which she then submitted to the police."The police have said they are investigating the matter. However, it has been four days, and no arrests have been made. Looks like the police are looking to suppress the matter," she claimed.Hapur DSP Rajesh Kumar assured that investigation is being carried out. However, he refuted Ikra's claims of having submitted the threatening note to the police. Times Now
Govt snoozing as China occupied Doklam; Modi, Sushma misled nation: Congress
New Delhi: Congress accused PM  Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj of misleading the nation over Chinese troops occupying the Doklam plateau, saying Indian security and strategic interests have been compromised.“The satellite imagery and media reports suggest that China has established military establishments in Doklam near Indian borders which indicates that India’s security and strategic interests have been compromised,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.Congress’ reaction comes a day after media reports cited new satellite images to say that the infrastructure build-up in Doklam — the site of a tense standoff between the two countries last summer — included a “full-fledged” military base.hindustantimes
Israeli tech benefited 1 lakh farmers: PM Modi
Gujarat:PM Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday addressed a gathering of farmers at a Centre of Excellence for Vegetables here and expressed resolve to work together to bring prosperity to the farming community in India with the help of Israeli technology. Centre, where farmers are being trained to adopt Israeli technology of precision farming and protected cultivation, was established with Israeli help at the cost of Rs 12 crore. Netanyahu said he was happy to listen to the farmers who said they were enjoying Israeli technology to make their lives better.Modi said that with the use of Israeli technology at the Centre, around 1 lakh farmers have reaped benefits. “Israel has proved that benefits can be harvested with the help of each and every drop of water,” Modi said.indianexpress
Israeli PM announces plans to make Chabad House ‘living memorial’
Water grid project: Maha govt signs MoU with Israel firm
Mumbai: State Govt  signed an MoU with an Israeli company for its ambitious Marathwada Water Grid project to tackle problems of drinking water and drought in the region. The cabinet gave its nod for the project and partnership between Maharashtra and an Israeli company to promote the water grid projects, which would interlink all reservoirs and dams across the Marathwada region in Maharashtra.indianexpress
Agri-growth loses steam under Modi’s rule, was highest during UPA rule? nationalheraldindia
While the agriculture sector witnessed the highest growth during the ten years of UPA rule from 2004 to 2014, it has fast slipped back to near-zero growth despite normal monsoons and bumper yields under the BJP-led NDA Govt , according to a report published by Down to Earth: “How India lost its historic agriculture recovery growth phase in just four years”.Govt  reports say 2004-14 had the highest agriculture growth that has fast slipped back to near-zero growth despite normal monsoons and bumper yields“The best phase of agricultural growth coincided with the two tenures of UPA I-II Govt  led by the Congress. Just before this, low growth rate phase coincided with NDA-I tenure when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was PM. NDA-I lost elections in 2004 unexpectedly and analysts attributed this to deepening rural crisis during that time,” the report maintains.Despite PM Narendra Modi’s promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, the report—which is a first part of the series on deepening farm distress under Modi Govt , says:“Govt  data on economy shows a disturbing trend. In financial year 2017-18, agriculture would be growing at 2.1%  compared to 4.9 %  in the previous year. This is not a good sign given the fact that India had a normal monsoon and was preceded by two below normal monsoons. Usually, after a drought, agriculture growth is higher due to low baseline level.” Even though PM Modi met over 100 economists in a first ever such interaction on Jan. 10, report claimed that a crucial fact that got buried in the Modi-economists meeting is his own Govt ’s series of rigorous reports on agriculture called “Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income”led by Ashok Dalwai.
Rs 5000 fine imposed on PM Modi’s office for delay in response to PIL
The office of PM  Narendra Modi was imposed a fine of Rs 5000 by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. The fine has been imposed as the PMO failed to file an affidavit over a PIL. PIL was moved by Sunil Kandu hat has claimed that the central Govt  takes cognisance of barely 10 reports of the CAG whereas about five thousand reports are submitted to it by federal auditor every year.A bench of Justice Sudhir Agrawal and Justice Abdul Moin of the Lucknow bench of the high court passed the order on the PIL. The PIL also sought reform in the CAG. Apart from it, the PIL further questioned the role of the central Govt  is not taking any action on audit objections raised by the CAG in the past 10 years. Hearing the PIL, the high court had on August 1, 2017, given the PMO and the law ministry a month’s time to file their response.NewsX
SC removes ban on Padmaavat; film to release nationwide
Supreme Court has ordered a nationwide release for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat in the hearing today. The producers had moved to SC when the movie was banned by 4 states, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. The Supreme Court has also ordered all states to make sure security is maintained and no more protests erupt in the country. Karni Sena had protested for a nationwide ban initially. The movie now will be released nationwide on Jan.25. NewsX
Padmaavat release: Fringe groups threaten violent protests after SC order as states look at legal options
NIA to submit fourth status report on Hadiya's marriage with Muslim man: indiatoday
 NIA is all set to file the fourth status report in the Hadiya case. The Supreme Court is scheduled to next hear the case on Jan.23.In the last hearing the NIA had alleged that before their marriage, Akhila alias Hadiya's husband Shafin Jahan was in touch with men from ISIS.Sources said that Manseed Mehmood, 30, of Kannur and Safvan, alias Rayyan, of Tirur, were questioned for a few hours at the Viyyur central prison. NIA has also been probing a possible case of 'love jihad' in the marriage of Hadiya and Shafin Jahan.Sources said that the fourth status report will be on the same lines as what the NIA had stated earlier with regard to inter religious love marriages.
 Haj subsidy issue
Muslim Bodies Demand Competitive Bidding Among Airlines For Haj Pilgrims
New Delhi:  After the Modi Govt  announced withdrawal of the Haj subsidy, prominent Muslim organisations, including Jamat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, on Wednesday reiterated their demand for competitive bidding among airlines to ferry Haj pilgrims between Delhi and Jeddah.The Muslim bodies unanimously said that the money in the name of Haj subsidy, which amounted to around Rs. 200 crore last year, went to Air India only and that Muslim pilgrims did not get any direct benefit from it.JIH Secretary General Muhammad Salim Engineer said the "abrupt" withdrawal of subsidy "is bound to increase the overall cost" of performing Haj which will impact many pilgrims from the poor and deprived sections of society. "A false impression is being created that this subsidy was an appeasement of the Muslim community and a drag on tax payers' money. But the reality is that this subsidy was a payment taken from the Indian Hajis and given to the national carrier Air India, which had a monopoly for ferrying Hajis to Saudi Arabia," Salim said."We urge the Govt  to spell out how it plans to permit other airlines to fly Hajis from India given the exorbitant prices Air India charges Indian pilgrims. The Govt  must float a global tender for hiring an airline for Haj," he added.AIMPLB General Secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani said he could not understand why Air India charged something between Rs. 65,000 to over Rs. one lakh from Indian Haj pilgrims, depending upon the embarkation point, for return ticket to Jeddah."In normal days, the return ticket to Jeddah from Delhi costs something around Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 40,000. Now, if you book the tickets three months in advance, and in bulk, for close to two lakh people, the cost should ideally come further down," Rahmani said."But here is Air India charging many times over. Why? Why doesn't the Govt  go for open tendering?" he added.JUH President Maulana Syed Qari Mohammed Usman, too, was for competitive bidding among airlines for ferrying the pilgrims.IANS / NDTV
Muslim bodies demand competitive bidding for Haj travel
Opposition parties call Centre’s decision to withdraw Haj subsidy arbitrary and selective: scroll.in
Muslim bodies demand competitive bidding for Haj travel
Muslim Bodies Demand Competitive Bidding Among Airlines For Haj Pilgrims: PTI
Muslim organisations demand abolishing of subsidy to other religions as well
‘Subsidy order will not affect Haj pilgrims in Telangana, AP
Charminar: Centre's move to scrap Haj subsidy will not affect pilgrims in the state, Telangana State Haj Committee said. State Haj Committee, special officer, SA Shukoor explained that while the departure from Hyderabad embarkation point will not be affected but they might have to contend with increased airfare this year."As far as the Hyderabad embarkation point is concerned, pilgrims from states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and the Karnataka will not be affected. Though last year, the airfare was fixed around ₹60,023 for pilgrims at the Hyderabad embarkation point, due to slab subsidy, our Haj pilgrims were charged ₹62,065."Thus, state Haj pilgrims were not given any subsidy in 2017," clarified SA Shukoor.TOI
WORLD
Trump Denies Netanyahu's Claims That US Embassy Will Move to Jerusalem Within Year: Haaretz
Washington: US President Donald Trump said that US Embassy in Israel won't move to Jerusalem within the next year, contradicting a statement made earlier in the day by Irsaeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump said in an interview to Reuters that the embassy move would take longer than that. "By the end of the year? We're talking about different scenarios," Trump said, according to the news agency's transcript. Trump then explained that "I mean, obviously that would be on a temporary basis" - perhaps hinting that while the embassy won't move in its entirety, some temporary arrangements could be made to allow more of the embassy's work to take place in Jerusalem. He then added, however - "we're not really looking at that, no."Netanyahu said earlier Wednesday the US embassy is going to move to Jerusalem within the year. This, he said, was based on what he described as a "solid assessment." haaretz
Belgium pledges $23m to UNRWA after US aid cut
Belgium has pledged to donate $23m to UNRWA, UN's aid organisation for Palestinian refugees, after US Govt  announced it would slash its funding to the agency by half. Deputy PM  Alexander De Croo said that Brussels would allocate the funds over 3 years.The first annual payment is being disbursed immediately "considering the financial difficulties that UNRWA currently faces", the statement said. Washington announced on Tuesday it is withholding $65m out of the $125m aid package earmarked for the UNRWA.De Croo said the Belgian Govt stepped up in response to the urgent call for help by the commissioner-general of UNRWA, an agency that provides humanitarian help to millions of Palestinian refugees."I have a lot of respect for UNRWA's work, which has to operate in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances,” De Croo said in his statement."Living conditions in Gaza, Syria, the West Bank and elsewhere in the region are particularly tough,” he added. aljazeera
PLO official: decision to suspend recognition of Israel ‘effective’
Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee member Wasel abu-Yousef said Wednesday that the Central Council decision to suspend recognition of Israel “is effective,” Quds Press reported.Speaking to Quds Press, Abu-Yousef stressed that any decision taken by the PLO’s Central Council “is turned to the PLO’s Executive Committee to become effective.”He added: “There are measures to be carried out to implement the suspension of recognising Israel,” noting that Israel “does not recognise” the Palestinian state.“As long as Israel does not recognise the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and takes measures that undermine doing this,” he said, “we must retract recognising the occupation state [Israel].”The senior PLO and Fatah leader reiterated that the United States “will not have any role in any future political process.”middleeastmonitor
Saudi to allow Israel flyover rights? Israeli media  reports
During his official state visit to India, PM  Netanyahu dropped tantalizing hints that Saudi Arabia would soon allow Israel-bound planes to fly over its territory.Netanyahu told a group of Indian businessmen that "One of the things we are trying to do is promote a simple thing - an efficient and direct route between Israel and India, the kind we have between Israel and Silicon Valley, the kind we now have between Israel and China".As Saudi Arabia officially does not recognize Israel, all planes flying to and from Israel are forbidden from flying over Saudi Arabian territory, adding hours to each flight from Asia and ratcheting up fuel costs.Netanyahu's remarks came on the heels of a recent report which said that a new Tel Aviv-New Delhi air route would be launched in the near future which would include flying over Saudi Arabia. Netanyahu had raised the issue with PM Modi on Monday as part of discussions relating to Israel's new aviation agreements with India. "Upgrading of direct aviation routes will encourage the movement of investors, tourists, students, and entrepreneurs," said Netanyahu. Israel has long viewed the possibility of flying over Saudi Arabia as a distant dream. In 2009, then-President Barack Obama was curtly rebuffed when he lobbied Saudi Arabia to allow Israeli passenger planes to cross its airspace in exchange for a settlement freeze. israelnationalnews
Tillerson denies US plans to form Syria border force
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Washington owed Turkey an explanation over reports that it was creating a 30,000-strong border force in northern Syria, adding that the issue has been "misportrayed"."That entire situation has been misportrayed, misdescribed, some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all," Tillerson told reporters on his way back from giving a speech at Stanford University in California on Wednesday.According to media reports, Washington is working to establish the border security force with the involvement of Kurdish militias.Citing several other US officials, reports published earlier this week said that the US-led coalition fighting the ISIL armed group would recruit around half of the new force from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group of fighters dominated by the Kurdish YPG and considered by Ankara to be a "terrorist" group.The Turkish Govt  said that it would carry out a military operation into Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria if Washington goes ahead with the reported plan.Tillerson said in California he had told Cavusoglu that the US' intention was to train local forces in the fight against remaining ISIL fighters in Syria."We have ISIS still attacking in parts of northwest Syria and along the Euphrates valley, so this is just more training and trying to block ISIS from their escape routes," said Tillerson."We understand why they reacted the way they did," he said, amid Turkish preparations to launch an operation against the YPG. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said various times recently that Turkey's armed forces had completed preparations for an operation against the Kurdish-controlled region of Afrin in northwest Syria. He added that the operation will be carried out in cooperation with moderate Syrian rebels supported by Ankara.aljazeera
Yusuf al-Qaradawi sentenced to life in prison in Egypt
An Egyptian military court has sentenced 8 people to death, including four in absentia, for alleged involvement in acts of violence in 2015.Another 17 people were sentenced to life behind bars, including prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who, along with 6 others, was tried in absentia on Wednesday.The alleged acts of violence include the murder of a police officer in Cairo, a judicial source told Anadolu news agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.Al-Qaradawi, the Egyptian-born head of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), was reportedly charged with "incitement to murder", "spreading false news" and "vandalising public property".Twenty-six defendants in the same case were acquitted, including four senior members of Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood group. Wednesday's raft of sentences is still subject to appeal. Defendants who were tried in absentia will receive retrials in the event that they are arrested or turn themselves in to the authorities.aljazeera
International Union of Muslim clerics  call on Saudi , UAE to release detained Muslim clerics
International Union of Muslim clerics (IUMS) called for the release of all Muslim clerics arrested in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The call came in a statement issued after the son of the Saudi cleric Salman al-Awda announced on Tuesday that his father had been transferred to hospital after four months in detention.Union said it is following up on the situation of a group of senior preachers and clerics held in Saudi and Emirati prisons who are imprisoned without committing any crimes, but only for expressing their opinions.The statement commented on the transfer of the Saudi cleric to hospital, saying clerics should be honored, not imprisoned or harmed.“Union calls on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to release all clerics and preachers imprisoned for expressing their opinions and attitudes which did not hurt their country” it  added.middleeastmonitor
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
Aadhaar Isn’t Just About Privacy. There Are 30 Challenges the Govt Is Facing in Supreme Court:Anoo Bhuyan
Aadhaar-enabled starvation in Modi’s ‘new india’:Siraj Dutta
Who Is Running the ‘Orchestrated Wine And Cheese Campaign’ Against Aadhaar in the SC?Anoo Bhuyan
Haj Subsidy: Is the Govt  ready to publish white paper on religious expenditure in India? Mujahid Nafees
What great rulers exemplify:Rohinton Fali Nariman
With govt saying No to Islamic banking, what options do the Muslims have?Moin Qazi, ummid.com
What the Triple Talaq Bill is, and how it’s anti-women and anti-Muslim at the same time:Utsa Sarmin,
Closer Ties Between India and Israel Must Not Become an anti-Muslim Alliance:Shairee Malhotra, Haaretz, Israeli paper
Are Modi and Shah Expecting Too Much of Hindu Extremism? James Manor
On-Off, On Again Missile Deal With Israel: Where Has “Make in India” Gone?Seema Mustafa
A Fatal Blow to The Judiciary:Rajindar Sachar
India-Israel ‘big data’ deal leaves questions about security and privacy unanswered: Angshukanta Chakraborty


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:01 PM)

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