LIVE WORLD NEWS

24 January 2018

24 Jan. ND: No bypoll till AAP MLAs’ disqualification case is heard, Delhi HC tells EC/Lalu , Mishra get 5-year jail term in 3rd fodder scam case/ Germany far-right politician Wagner converts to Islam, quits AfD party



Evening NEWS DIGEST  
24 Jan.2018:06 Jamadiul-1 1439:Vol:9, No:106
INDIA
Office of Profit: No bypoll till AAP MLAs’ disqualification case is heard, Delhi HC tells EC
In a breather to AAP, the Delhi High Court Wednesday directed the Election Commission to not issue any further order until the next hearing is held in the petitions filed by AAP MLAs challenging their disqualification over holding ‘Office of Profit’. The court, however, refused to stay the Centre’s notification disqualifying the 20 AAP MLAs even as it restrained the poll panel from taking any “precipitate step”  — like announcing bypoll dates on seats held by the 20 disqualified AAP MLAs. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for January 29, Monday.The court also asked the poll panel to produce the records of its proceedings leading to the recommendation of disqualification of the MLAs. The recommendation was granted the President’s assent on Jan2. On Wednesday, 3 petitions of eight disqualified AAP MLAs challenging the EC’s order came up for hearing at the High Court. The petitioners were: Alka Lamba; Rajesh Rishi and Somdutt, Kailash Gehlot, Madanlal, Sharad Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Sarita Singh.Justice Vibhu Bakhru, while hearing one of the petitions, said, “We will conduct the hearing on Monday and till then you (EC) will not issue any further orders regarding this issue and don’t precipitate the situation.”The counsel for AAP MLAs, while asserting they were wrongly disqualified, said the “EC did not follow the principle of natural justice…This is not an office for profit as traditionally understood”.After the submissions made by the AAP counsel, Justice Bakhru sought to clarify if the plea also contested Presidential assent. The counsel responded that the plea was not against the Presidential assent but against the fact that the poll panel did not give the full picture to the President. After the hearing, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said, “We have maintained from the very beginning that we have full faith in the judiciary. The biased manner in which the EC has flouted all principles of natural justice in giving this hurried order will be scrutinised and we believe that it will not stand up in the court of law.”indianexpress
Delhi HC refuses to stay AAP MLAs’ disqualification, restrains EC from announcing by-polls
Lalu , Jagannath Mishra get 5-year jail term in third fodder scam case
A special CBI court in Ranchi on Wednesday awarded five-year jail term to and imposed a fine of Rs. 5 lakh each on Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra in the third fodder scam case. He faces three more fodder scam cases.48 other accused persons in the case were awarded jail terms and fines of varied amounts.Earlier in the day, the special CBI court of judge S.S. Prasad convicted the 50 accused in the case (RC 68 (A) / 96), which pertained to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 33.67 crore from Chaibasa (now in Jharkhand) district treasury during 1992-93, and convicted six persons.thehindu
Tejashwi blames BJP, Nitish for Lalu’s conviction
Patn:RJD chief Lalu Prasad was a “people’s hero and icon of social justice” but was now in jail after being framed by BJP and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav said. Tejashwi, who is also leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly, said the Rashtriya Janata Dal will approach the high court, and if needed the Supreme Court to get justice, after his father was sentenced to five years in prison by the special CBI court in Ranchi in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.67 crore from the Chaibasa treasury in 1992-1993.“CBI court’s conviction is not final… we will challenge the verdict in the high court,” he said.HT
Bombay HC quashes order gagging media in Sohrabuddin fake encounter case trial
Mumbai: Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed and set aside the trial court’s order prohibiting journalists from reporting on or publishing the proceedings of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case trial.Justice Revati Mohite-Dere minced no words in holding that the special CBI court overreached its powers in issuing the order.She agreed with the petitioners — a group of court reporters and city-based Union of Journalists — that the Criminal Procedure Code provided only for the high courts and the apex court to issue such ban orders.Such an order could be issued only in rare cases, and for a limited period of time, the court said.“The rights of the press are intrinsic with the constitutional right that guarantees freedom of expression. In reporting from an open trial, the press not only makes use of its own right, but serves the larger purpose of making such information available to the general public,” she said. Justice Mohite-Dere said mere apprehension of sensationalism by the accused was not a sufficient ground for issuing such gag orders.PTI
Media boycott NIA function alleging humiliation by terror probe agency
Media on Wednesday boycotted the function organised by NIA alleging humiliation by the terror probe agency.A reporter with The Hindu, Vijaita Singh, took to Twitter to post a photo of media personnel walking out of the function venue with the caption, “Media boycotts NIA function. An enclosure separated media from the room where @HMOIndia and Vice President were present. We don’t come here to have chai-pakauda @NIA_India stop humiliating the press.”NIA function was to commemorate its 9th foundation day, when Vice President Venkaiah was expected to deliver 4th RV Raju memorial lecture on “National Security Challenges in 21st Century.” Among other guests were Union Home Rajnath Singhvi, MoS (Home), Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat.Media personnel’s decision to not tolerate what they termed was a humiliation drew instant support from their colleagues. Abantika Ghosh from The Indian Express wrote, “More power to you guys. Would love to see more of this.”Ashutosh Mishra from Aaj Tak wrote, “Kudos….finally we r showing spine. (sic)”Other journalists too found the act praiseworthy and applauded their colleagues’ courage on choosing to boycott NIA function.Journalist Umashankar Singh sarcastically asked if media personnel, who boycotted the function, should now face an investigation by the NIA.jantakareporter
Court asks ED to provide documents to Qureshi in PMLA case
New Delhi:A special court on Wednesday asked the Enforcement Directorate to hand over certain documents to controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi, accused in a money laundering case.Special judge Arun Bharadwaj directed the agency to hand over various papers it has filed along with the charge sheet to Qureshi, who was granted bail in the case on December 12 last year.Special public prosecutor NK Matta, appearing for the ED, informed the court that all documents will be handed over as per law.PTI
JNU violence: SC rejects plea for SIT probe, contempt action
New Delhi;The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking an SIT probe into the Feb. 2016 violence inside a trial court here during which former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and others were assaulted, saying it would not “flog a dead horse back to life”. A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi did not accept the contentions advocating contempt action against the police officials and others for the incident which was described as “ghastly action” by the petitioner.“What ghastly action,” the bench asked advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for petitioner and advocate Kamini Jaiswal. Bhushan referred to the February 15 and 17, 2016 incidents of attacks on Kanhaiya, scribes, students, JNU teachers and defence lawyers inside the Patiala House district court premises here.“We do not think of proceeding further. There is no need for an SIT ,” the bench said. To this, the lawyer said if no action is taken, then it might encourage people to do such acts.“We will not proceed. We do not think we will flog a dead horse back to life. If you have grievances, you can take appropriate steps. You can lodge an FIR,” the bench said. “We find no reason to continue to entertain the present writ petition any further. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed,” the top court said.PTI
Lingering effects of demonetisation slowed down India’s growth, Raghuram Rajan tells NDTV
A substantial part of India’s growth slowdown was because of the “lingering effects” of demonetisation, as well as the Goods and Services Tax, said former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan. Speaking to NDTV at Davos in Switzerland, where economists and world leaders have congregated for the World Economic Forum, Rajan said the informal sector was feeling the effects of demonetisation now, and that “businesses have shut down because they could not survive that episode”.He made the statement when asked why India could not take advantage of the global economic rebound. “Most other countries have had their growth figures updated, but we’ve had them downgraded, and that’s partly because of these two big headwinds,” Rajan said.He clarified that the government had asked the RBI its view before demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 noted. “I didn’t think it would have the desired effect,” Rajan told NDTV. “Any economist would say better print the money before taking it away.”Rajan also warned about the rising fuel prices and how it will have an impact on India’s Gross Domestic Product growth. “I think there’s an emerging issue with the oil prices,” he said. “The question is how much does this subtract from growth because we obviously benefited when it went the other way, and now this will affect us negatively.”
‘I wonder who they voted for’: Indians facing identity crisis in US under Trump
Mumbai:A college student has shaved off his beard. A techie with a work visa is afraid he’ll never get another job. A young woman says she will never see Republicans the same way.It’s a confusing time for Indians in America. And while there is support within their neighbourhoods, and often outrage against the ‘tell them to go home’ attitudes surfacing in pockets of the country, the sense of being different, of standing out from the crowd, has become heightened since the start of the Trump administration.Take Sushovan Sircar, a student at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He used to sport a luxuriant beard that completed his hipster look. Last month, the 28-year-old student of cybersecurity policy decided to shave.“I have become acutely aware of my skin colour in the last few months, after the rise of alleged hate crimes against Indians and Indians mistaken for ‘Arabs’,” he says. “The last two months have seen three violent attacks against people of Indian origin in Kansas city, Kent and South Carolina, which resulted in two deaths. I didn’t want to stand out any more than I already do, and my family back home has been worried too. So I shaved off my beard, and the absurdity of this fear is saddening,” he adds.Development professional Apala Guhathakurta, 24, describes New York as a “safe bubble”.hindustantimes
Rajasthan At No. 2 in Cruelty by Husband; Doesn’t It Hurt Karni Sena’s Sentiments?
Jaipur — The main objection of a fringe group behind the widespread violent protests against the film Padmavati is that a Rajput queen by this name has been shown dancing in it. Critics pointed out that she is dancing only in front of her husband. The Karni Sena responded: But public will see her dancing in cinema halls and this will hurt its sentiments and that of the Rajput community.Padmavati is a fictitious character, not a historical one, historians say. She is not a goddess figure either. Yet, the sentiments of Karni Sena, which seems to have become an uncontrollable deadly outfit overnight with tacit support from the ruling party BJP and its government in several states, are very high. Though it has spread its tentacles in half a dozen BJP-ruled states in no time, the Karni Sena is headquartered in Rajasthan. And Rajasthan is the state which is at No. 2 in the country in cruelty by husband. But the Karni Sena has never been seen protesting over crime against women in the state or elsewhere.According to the latest national report on crime, majority of cases under crimes against women were reported under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’. Under this head, 1,10,378 cases were reported in the country in year 2016. With 13,811 cases, Rajasthan was at No. 2. While West Bengal (19,302 cases) topped the list, Uttar Pradesh was at No. 3 with 11,156 cases, says Crime in India 2016 Report released by the National Crime Records Bureau, the federal agency that works under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.Caravan News
Padmaavat row: It seems violent protests were a PR exercise, I feel protesters were paid, says Irfan Habib
Renowned historian Irfan Habib has said that the protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat appeared to have been designed to help the movie as part of a clever PR strategy.Speaking to Janta Ka Reporter after the special special screening of the film in Delhi on Tuesday, Habib said, “There’s absolutely nothing in the movie as was being alleged for last few months.” When asked if the protests were aimed at helping the movie as part of a PR exercise, the historian said, “It was all a PR exercise. I feel the protesters ( from Karni Sena) were paid to carry out the protests.”jantakareporter   
Haryana minister asks people to hoist tricolour on religious places
Chandigarh:A cabinet minister in the Haryana government on Wednesday urged people to unfurl national flag on religious places on the occasion of Republic Day on January 26.“I request people to unfurl national flag on religious places, including temples, mosques, churches, on the occasion of Republic Day,” Vipul Goel, who holds portfolios of industries and commerce, told reporters here. This will help in creating a ‘new India’ as it will imbibe spirit of patriotism among the people, he said.“We will unfurl national flag on all religious places,” he said adding that he would initiate the process from his home constituency Faridabad.“I along with people will visit religious places and request the concerned to put a national flag atop the shrines,” he said.“This will further strengthen the spirit of nationalism among the people,” he said, .PTI
Make daily singing of national anthem mandatory in madrassas, Shia waqf chief writes to PM Modi
LUCKNOW: After asking madrassas to be shut down for radicalising Indian Muslims, UP Shia Central Waqf Board chairperson Waseem Rizvi has now asked for mandatory singing of national anthem at madrassas. He also demanded mandatory flying of the national tricolour on all national festivals.In his 9-point letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the board's chairperson also asked for revamping of madrassa education and syllabus on the pattern of the ICSE/CBSC/state boards. These, he said, are his suggestions to authorities for the modernisation of madrassa.Rizvi has also asked for mandatory verification of foreign students studying in Muslim madrassas, schools, colleges and all educational institutions by local intelligence authorities to ensure national interest and security.
Rural mosques to get toilets, borewells under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Hubballi: Masjids in Dharwad district are now joining hands with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by planning to build toilets and borewells within their premises.H M Koppad, president, Dharwad District Anjuman-E-Islam (DDAEI), told TOI that the organization had approached the Prime Minister's Office in June 2017, when the state was facing drought, seeking support to drill borewells and build toilets in masjids located in villages. "As Muslims pray five times a day in mosques, water is very essential for ablution and other purposes. As rural masjids are deprived of toilets and water, we took this initiative to be part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," he said.DDAEI vice presidents I I Mokhashi and A R Bagewadi said the PMO told the chief secretary of Karnataka and the Dharwad ZP CEO to respond to their request."Meanwhile we had also requested then AICC president Sonia Gandhi to instruct the authorities in the state about the initiative. She instructed district in-charge minister Vinay Kulkarni, who in turn also directed the Dharwad ZP CEO to do the needful," they said.DDAEI secretary J S Hadagali said that a survey to collect details on facilities and demands of rural masjids is on. "We have sent a form to masjids of all 371 villages in the seven taluks. We have asked masjids to give an application before their respective gram panchayats seeking toilet and water," he said.DDAEI joint secretaries A M Ainapur and A M Jakati urged elected representatives to provide financial support from MLR or MP LAD funds. timesofindia
Malaysian PM wants to offer prayers at Jama Masjid
New Delhi: Grappling with security arrangements for the Republic Day function, the Delhi Police were put in a spot when they received a request from Malaysian PM Najib Razak that he be allowed to offer prayers at the historic Jama Masjid on January 26, which is a Friday — the day of congregational prayers for Muslims.The status of the request is pending and a final call will be taken after reviewing all security aspects, said a senior police officer.The Malaysian delegation is part of the ASEAN group of countries, which are the chief guests for the Republic Day Parade.A Delhi Police officer said the request has put them in a spot as they wouldn’t be able to spare forces to provide security to the VIP delegation. Representatives from the 10 countries are visiting New Delhi this week.“There will be 10 heads of states in town on that day. We cannot allow certain moves that may jeopardise the well being of the guests. If we are asked, then we will say no on logistical grounds,” said an official with the Ministry of External Affairs.
2 Dalits Dead, Households Destroyed to Acquire Land for Airport in Jharkhand, No Rehabilitation
At least 133 Dalit households have been destroyed in two villages in Deoghar district in Jharkhand to make way for the Deoghar International Airport.Since October 2017, the Dalit residents of Bapugarh and Kathiya villages have been living in makeshift huts. The villagers of Bapugarh, who are all Dalits, have been living at the site in tents made of tarpaulin sheets. Speaking to Newsclick, the victims said around 22 villages were acquired for building the international airport spread over 650 acres.The village has recently seen the death of the two people. M Devaki Devi and Pocha Manjhi died in a span of two days due to cold weather. All the 105 households of Bapugarh have been living in the makeshift tents that hardly provide any respite from the chilling winters of North India.newsclick
Suspected Hizbul gets ‘brilliant student’ certificate from AMU: timesofindia
AGRA: AMU has given a "good conduct" certificate to research scholar Mannan Wani who is suspected to have joined the Hizbul Mujahideen after photos of him holding an AK-47 surfaced on social media and the terrorist group even "confirmed and welcomed" the student into its ranks. Though the university had promptly expelled Wani then, an inquiry report submitted by AMU to the police department has described him as a "brilliant student" who had "nothing objectionable" against him as far as the university was concerned.Two separate inquiries were conducted by AMU authorities and findings of both the reports were similar, a senior university official told TOI on Tuesday.In the 109-page report, which was submitted by the two-member committee comprising Prof SH Arif from the department of pathology and Prof Kamlesh Chandra from ENT department of JN Medical College, it has been stated that during his five years in the university, Wani had "nothing suspicious on his record".
Jamiat Ulama to provide legal aid to 22 Muslims facing terror charges
Mumbai: Jamiat Ulama will provide legal aid to 22 Muslims, including 2 women, facing terror charges and are staying in Kolkata Jail. Legal aid committee Chief Jamiat Ulama Gulzar Azmi told this to the presspersons. He told that according to the petitioner, on October 2 a blast in a house in the Khagragarh area of Burdwan in West Bengal killed two people. It was alleged that the explosion occurred while making bombs in a house at Khagragardh, following which several arrests were made including the arrest of two women. Although the accused and the women have to say that the explosion was not due to bomb blast but was due to cylinder explosion, however, they were arrested on terror charges.During a meeting with prisoners, Jamiat Ulama found that the two women Gulshan Bibi and Aleema Bibi are languishing in jail along with dozens of accused in the case. Both the women are staying in jail with one child each. Besides one woman also gave birth to a child during the custody.siasat
Don't Talk About Beef and Hindutva Terror: Rahul Gandhi Cautions Karnataka Congress Leaders
Bengaluru: "Beef" and "Hindutva terrorism" may be the hot topics in poll-bound Karnataka these days. Congress led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the BJP led by B S Yeddyurappa are at each other's throat over these issues. But Congress president Rahul Gandhi seems to be worried over "beef" and "Hindutva terror" hijacking the polls. When top leaders of the state Congress – Siddaramaiah, KPCC president Dr. G Parameshwara, working president Dinesh Gundurao, Power minister D K Shivakumar and others met him to discuss election strategy at his house in New Delhi, Rahul Gandhi cautioned them against raising "Hindutva terror" and "beef" related issues during the campaign.CNN-News18
Decide if you want to vote for Allah or Rama: BJP MLA’s controversial statement in Karnataka
A BJP MLA in Karnataka has asked the voters to decide if they wanted to vote for Allah or Rama in the upcoming assembly elections. Speaking at a rally in Kalladka village in Bantwal, BJP MLA Sunil Kumar responded to comments made by a minister reportedly crediting his successive wins in elections to Allah and Muslims, reported News18.Kumar, who represents the Karkala in the assembly, also termed the election to Bantwal, in the communally-sensitive Dakshina Kannada district, as a “question of Hindu self-esteem,” reported PTI.Kumar said, “This election is a question of Hindu self-esteem. I read in the paper and I was surprised, a legislator who got elected from this constituency for six times has said that he has won because of the grace of Allah.”jantakareporter
Financial system fundamentally wrong: Muhammad Yunus
Kolkata: Nobel laureate and micro-finance founder Muhammad Yunus on Tuesday said the existing financial and banking systems in the world have fundamental flaws as they direct people to work only for their own benefit, not caring about society."I think the existing banking structure is fundamentally wrong. The policy of the banking system is such that the people who have more money will get higher loans. This is the base of any banking system."Ideally it should have been just the reverse. One who has less should get the loans first," Yunus said on 'Ethics and Economics' at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet here. "That's why I feel that even today the very basis of the financial system is wrong. When I tried to trace the reason of this fundamental error, I found it is wrong as the whole economy is based on people's selfishness."IANS
thawale demands arrest of Bhide, Ekbote for inciting riot
Pune: Leader of RPI and minister for social justice, Ramdas Athawale, has demanded that cops should arrest Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide as soon as possible for masterminding the Koregaon Bhima unrest. He has also stated that cops and government should look at the victims and relocate them as soon as possible.Speaking to the media he gave a clean chit to Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani and claimed that the violence was instigated by the villagers who marched from Vadhu. He further alleged that cops failed to stop the protest march thus leading to the riots.He alleged that the riots in Koregaon Bhima were a conspiracy and demanded that people responsible should be arrested as soon as possible. Mirror
Deoband clerics slam Nawaz’s film on Halala , say misleading facts
Meerut: Deoband ulemas have slammed Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s film ‘Miyan Kal Aana’ which was screened at the Cannes International Film Festival and touches upon the controversial Halala Law. According to the clerics, the actor who has produced the short film has “no knowledge" of Islamic Sharia. “As such, watching films itself is un-Islamic and on the top of it the facts you are showing in the film are misleading. Halala is there to provide support to a woman who has been divorced. But it is always projected in a wrong way. We condemn the film,” they said.Maulana Nadeem-Ul-Wajidi said, “Halala Nikah’s meaning has been completely twisted and today it is seen as some kind of tool to force woman to sleep with someone else other than her husband. On the contrary, the purpose of Halala is actually to give support to a woman who has been divorced. It actually gives her a right to marry again to anyone except her husband. What is so wrong in that? But some sections and these ill-informed filmmakers just showcase everything in a different light.” timesofindia
US designates Indian-origin UK citizen Siddhartha Dhar as a global terrorist
The US State Department on Tuesday designated Indian-born British citizen Siddhartha Dhar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The department said that Dhar, who was once a member of the defunct extremist organisation Al-Muhajiroun, left the UK in 2014 and travelled to Syria with his wife and children to join the Islamic State.Dhar replaced the Islamic State executioner Mohammad Emwazi, better known as “Jihadi John”, the US State Department said. scroll
4 jawans killed, 7 injured in encounter with Naxals
Narayanpur : Four security personnel lost their lives, while seven others were injured in an encounter with Naxals in Irpanar village of Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district, on Wednesday.The bodies of the deceased personnel - two Sub-Inspectors and two DRG Constables - have been brought to Narayanpur district HQRS.ANI
1,687 people changed religion in Maharashtra in nearly 4 yrs; of them 664 converted to Islam: RTI
Mumbai: As many as 1,687 people opted for religious conversion in Maharashtra in the last 43 months, with 1,166 Hindus embracing other faiths, including Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, reply to an RTI query has revealed.As many as 44 per cent people (749 out of 1,687) chose to embrace Islam between during this period, it added.The information was provided by the Directorate of Govnt Printing and Stationery (DGPS), Mumbai in response to a query filed by activist Anil Galgali."As per the information recorded between June 10, 2014 and January 16, 2018, around 44 per cent (749 out of the total 1,687) embraced Islam, while only 21 per cent people converted to Hinduism," it said.Of the 1,166 Hindu people, 664 converted to Islam, followed by Buddhism (258), Christianity (138), Jainism (88), Sikhism (11) and other religions (7).Total 263 Muslims converted their religion, of which 228 people (87 per cent) chose to become Hindu, while 12 embraced Buddhism, 21 Christianity and two converted to Jainism.PTI
India ranks 177 out of 180 in Environ. Performance Index
New Delhi: India is among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index 2018, plummeting 36 points from 141 in 2016, according to a biennial report by Yale and Columbia Universities along with the World Economic Forum. While India is at the bottom of the list in the environmental health category, it ranks 178 out of 180 as far as air quality is concerned.Its overall low ranking -- 177 among 180 countries -- was linked to poor performance in the environment health policy and deaths due to air pollution categories.PTI
Shoe hurled at Owaisi during Mumbai rally, accused identified
Mumbai: A man hurled a shoe at AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi while he was addressing a rally at Nagpada in south Mumbai, police said.The MP was not hurt in the incident and the accused has been identified but was yet to be taken under arrest, they said.Owaisi was voicing his opposition on the triple talaq issue at the rally around 9.45 pm when the incident took place, a senior police officer said."I am willing to lay down my life for my democratic rights. These are all frustrated people, who cannot see that the government decision on triple talaq has not been accepted by the masses in general and Muslims in particular," Owaisi told PTI.PTI
WORLD
Germany far-right politician Wagner converts to Islam, quits AfD party
A leading politician from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) has converted to Islam and resigned from his position as the anti-Muslim party's national executive committee, the party has confirmed.Arthur Wagner, a leading member of the far-right party in Germany's eastern German state of Brandenburg, stepped down from the committee for "personal reasons", a party spokesperson confirmed, according to state broadcaster Deutsche Welle.Wagner, who has been a member of the party since 2015, refused to comment to Tagesspiegel, the daily newspaper that first broke the news of his conversion."That's my private business," he told the daily.On the party's Brandenburg state committee, Wagner's work focused on churches and faith communities, according to Deutsche Welle. AfD has campaigned against refugees and migrants and made history when it won 12.6 percent of the vote in federal elections in September 2017, entering the Bundestag for the first time. Party became the third largest party in Bundestag.The news sparked derision on social media, with many Twitter users pointing to the irony of Wagner converting to Islam after being a high-ranking member of a party that has railed against the presence of Muslims in Germany.Emily Dische-Becker said: "Creeping Sharia picks up speed as politician from Germany's islamophobic AfD converts to Islam."Originally founded in 2013 as a Eurosceptic party, the AfD took the lead as the most aggressive anti-refugee voice in the country while nearly a million asylum seekers arrived in Germany in 2015.Earlier this month, Beatrix von Storch, the deputy leader of the AfD's parliamentary group, was blocked from Facebook and Twitter after publishing Islamophobic posts criticising police for posting Arabic-language updates on New Year's Eve. aljazeera
Israel gets flak over human rights record in Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland - UN member states have criticised Israel for failing to abide by human rights laws and UN resolutions during a heated Human Rights Council (HRC) session; some labelled it an "apartheid state".The scolding in the Swiss city on Tuesday came as Israel was undergoing its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a UN-led process meant to assess the human rights record of each state and make recommendations for improvement."Israel is the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state," the South African delegate told the Israeli delegation and UN members convened at the Palais des Nations. Aljazeera
Israel prevents former Al-Aqsa Mosque official from travel
Israeli Interior Minister Ariyeh Deri prevented former director of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Bkeerat from travel for six months, Anadolu reported.Deri signed the ban, which was handed over to the Sheikh. The ban accused the Sheikh, who is currently the head of Al-Aqsa Academy for Science and Heritage, of “taking part in Hamas activity abroad.”In the ban notice, Deri said that he had received information that “caused real worries” to him regarding the travel of Sheikh Bkeerat from the country because “this will reinforce Hamas’ activities inside the country and this poses danger on state’s security.”middleeastmonitor
Amnesty launches urgent appeal to release Ahed Tamimi
Amnesty International has launched an urgent appeal demanding Israel immediately release Palestinian teen activist Ahed Tamimi, 16, who faces 10 years in prison.The organisation appealed to its friends around the world to help put pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release Tamimi without delay.“There is nothing Ahed Tamimi has done that can justify the continuing detention of a 16-year-old child. She is one of approximately 350 Palestinian children held in Israeli prisons and detention centres” it said.The rights group said Tamimi – who is now referred to as the “Rosa Parks of Palestine” – has been bravely fighting the Israeli occupation yet may face up to 10 years in jail because of an argument with Israeli soldiers.middleeastmonitor
Erdogan threatens to extend Afrin operation to Manbij
The Turkish military has shelled and bombarded Syrian Kurdish positions in northern Syria for a fifth day, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to extend the offensive east of the city of Manbij.Turkey on Saturday launched the operation in the Afrin region to clear it of US-backed Kurdish fighters, seen by Ankara as a threat to its security.Manbij, which is also under control of US-backed Kurds, is located east of the city of Aleppo. Erdogan said he plans to "foil games along our borders starting from Manbij", adding that Turkey would, "clean our region from this trouble completely".aljazeera
Turkey says killed at least 260 YPG, IS militants in Afrin
ANKARA:Turkish military said in a statement that at least 260 Syrian Kurdish YPG and Islamic State militants had been killed in its operation in Syria’s Afrin.The statement said the Turkish military intervention in the Syrian enclave of Afrin was continuing as planned on its fourth day.Reuters
Egypt presidential hopeful halts campaign after arrest
The former head of Egypt's armed forces, Sami Anan, has suspended his run for the country's presidency, a campaign spokesperson has confirmed.The decision comes only hours after the Supreme Committee of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in Egypt arrested Anan on accusations he had committed violations that "warrant official investigation".Anan's candidacy for the March presidential elections will be suspended "until further notice", his campaign said in a statement on Tuesday.In a statement released earlier in the day, SCAF said that the 69-year-old, who announced his candidacy on Sunday, had forged official documents to end his military service and had not obtained the army's approval to run.aljazeera
How Egypt presidential election is rendered irrelevant
U.N. urges rethink of Rohingya repatriations to ensure safeguards
U.N. refugee agency and other groups have urged a rethink of the plan to send Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar amid fears of forced repatriations and the inability of aid agencies to ensure the safety of hundreds of thousands who fled bloodshed at home.The calls come as Bangladesh delayed the repatriation of the largely stateless Rohingya to Myanmar as the process of compiling and verifying the list of people to be sent back was incomplete.“In order for the repatriation to be (done) right, to be sustainable, actually viable ... you need to really address a number of issues that for the time being we have heard nothing about,” UNHCR head Filippo Grandi said.
Libya: Double car bombing kills 33 in Benghazi
At least 33 people have been killed in a double car bombing in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, according to officials. Tuesday's first bomb went off outside Salmani neighbourhood's Bait Radwan mosque, frequented by the fighters of Brigade 210 from eastern Libyan security forces, the Libya Observer reported.The second explosion occurred minutes later close to the first blast site after security and health officials arrived.
Pak condemns ‘unilateral’ US drone strike on its territory
Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday condemned a “unilateral” US military drone strike inside its territory that security officials said killed two members of the Afghan Taliban-allied Haqqani network, adding to already tense relations between the uneasy allies.The unmanned aircraft’s missiles “targeted an Afghan refugee” camp in Pakistan’s northwestern Kurram region, a statement from the Pakistani foreign office said.“Such unilateral actions, as that of today, are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism,” the Pakistani statement said.Two missiles hit a house and killed Haqqani network militants Ahsan Khorai and Nasir Mehmood in the village of Dapa Mamozai in Kurram, according to a police officer and an intelligence official.“Two militants from Haqqani network were killed in the drone attack,” the intelligence official based in the area said. Reuters
Saudi-led coalition air strike kills eight civilians
An air strike in north-west Yemen has killed eight civilians, including four children and two women, SABA News reported yesterday.The air strike targeted a vehicle travelling in the Razih district, north-western Saada governorate, which is a Houthi stronghold. The incident comes off the back of a new offensive led by the Yemen national army in a bid to neutralise territorial threats posed by the Houthi group.middleeastmonitor
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:12 PM)

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