18 April 2018

18 April ND ; Aadhaar data leak can impact election outcome:SC / Ahead of Cabinet reshuffle: In J-K, all BJP ministers quit

18 April 2018:01 Shaban 1439:Vol:10, No:01
Aadhaar data leak can impact election outcome, says Supreme Court
New Delhi: A leak of Aadhaar data can impact the outcome of an election, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, voicing its concerns amid the raging controversy over the illegal use of Facebook data in the US elections. A five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra, hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Aadhaar and the enabling 2016 law, referred to the Cambridge Analytica controversy and said these are not “imaginary apprehensions” and, in the absence of robust data protection law, the issue of misuse of information becomes relevant.‘‘The real apprehension is that elections are swayed using data analytics. These problems are symptomatic of the world we live in,” the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said.”Please do not bring Cambridge Analytica into this. UIDAI simply does not have the learning algorithms like Facebook or Google to analyse details of users,” senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for UIDAI and the Gujarat government, said.The bench, which posed several searching questions, asked the lawyer why the authorities were allowing private entities to use the Aadhaar platform for various purposes and referred to the legal provision to this effect.freepressjournal
SC red flags threat of Aadhaar data misuse, asks searching questions
Ahead of Cabinet reshuffle: In J-K, all BJP ministers quit
Jammu:Paving the way for a Cabinet reshuffle in Jammu and Kashmir, all BJP ministers in the PDP-BJP government, barring Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, have resigned.On Tuesday evening, one of the former ministers said on condition of anonymity that there is no question of pulling out of Mehbooba Mufti-led govt.Although there was no official word from the party, sources said the resignations were submitted to the party’s state present, Sat Sharma, on Saturday, when BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav had visited Jammu for consultations with senior party leaders and legislators before deciding on the resignation of then ministers Chander Parkash Ganga and Choudhary Lal Singh over their purported stand in the Kathua gangrape and murder probe.Announcing the party’s decision to forward resignations of Ganga and Lal Singh to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Madhav had said that there is no threat to the coalition.BJP has six Cabinet-rank ministers and three ministers of state in 22-member council of ministers led by Mehbooba. Sajad Gani Lone of People’s Conference is also in the cabinet from BJP quota.According to sources, BJP top leadership was unhappy with the performance of a few ministers, and asked all ministers from the party to submit their resignations to pave way for a portfolio reshuffle. indianexpress
Kathua rape case fallout: BJP asks all ministers in J&K  assembly to quit for fresh faces
Leaders from India’s Top Religions Demand Death Sentence for Rapists
New Delhi: Leaders from all major religions in India came together on Tuesday to strongly condemn the Kathua rape-murder of a girl child and Unnao rape of a teenage girl and murder of her father. While expressing deep concern on the rise in incidents of rape in the country, the religious leaders demanded highest punishment for rapists.“We condemn the gruesome rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl from Jammu and Kashmir. We also express our outrage at the alleged rape of the girl from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh at the hands of an MLA from the ruling party. The custodial death of the Unnao rape victim’s father is a very serious crime and needs to be investigated properly. Both the crimes have stirred the soul of the nation and we stand in solidarity with the protests,” said the religious leaders in a joint declaration they released at a press conference in New Delhi. The press conference was called by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.The religious leaders demanded death sentence for rapists.“We feel that sanctity of life is paramount and those guilty of violating this sanctity must be awarded the highest punishment through the due process of law,"read the declaration.According to Rising Kashmir report, in his presidential remarks, JIH Vice President, Maulana Nusrat Ali said it is a matter of grave concern that parents have become apprehensive about the safety and security of their daughters. He slammed the law enforcement agencies for failing in their duties to protect women in the country.Justice should not be delayed and fast track courts should be formed, he said and warned that the moral depravity is setting in society needs to be curtailed by imposing controls on those trying to spread vulgarity and indecency through various means.He suggested that religion can be used for character building and the state can take the help of religious leadership to promote the message of ethics and morality. Giani Ranjit SinghHead Priest Gurudwara Bangla Sahib,Father M.D Thomas, Swami Saumiyanand, Maulana Jinan Asghar Secretary Majlis-e-Ulema,Delhi, Sister Manju of Brahma Kumaris and Vivek Muni, and others spoke on the occasion.caravandaily,Rising Kashmir
Religion can be used to tide moral decay: Faith leaders
Justice rally in New York protesting Kathua, Unnao & Surat rapes
New York: Several women's rights and advocacy groups, civil society and inter-faith organisations have joined hands to hold a rally here protesting against the rapes of young girls in Kathua, Unnao and Surat towns, expressing outrage at the horrific incidents and demanding swift justice.The 'United For Justice Rally: Against the Rapes in India' was organised by Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus along with over 20 advocacy and civil rights groups, including Sakhi for South Asian Women, Women for Afghan Women, Turning Point for Women and Families, South Asian American Womens Alliance, Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality, Shri Shakti Mariamma Temple, Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Shaanti Bhavan Mandir and Iskcon Sri Sri Radha Govinda, Brooklyn.PTI 
Unnao rape victim’s uncle says MLA’s aides filed 5 cases to intimidate him
Lucknow:The uncle of the teenaged girl, allegedly raped by Kuldeep Singh Sengar in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, has said he was slapped with fives criminal cases in less than a month last year by the aides of the BJP MLA  “hell-bent”on destroying his family for taking him on.“All the cases were registered at Unnao’s Makhi police station on different dates but according to the complainants, I committed all the offences on October 21. On that day, I was present in the village for less than three hours,” he said on Tuesday.The uncle said Arun Singh, Vinod Mishra, Rajkumar Singh, Santosh Mishra and Shashi Singh, the woman who allegedly took his niece to Sengar’s house on the day of the crime in June last year, registered the cases against him. They also include three people, who have been arrested on charges of murdering the girl’s father.HT
Manmohan on Kathua, Unnao rape cases: ‘PM Modi should follow own advice to me, speak more often’
New Delhi:Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his long silence over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua and the alleged rape of a teenager by a BJP MLA in Unnao, former prime minister Manmohan Singh  said that Modi “should follow his own advice to me” and “speak more often”.In an exclusive interview, Singh said he was glad that Modi finally broke his silence last Friday at an event in Delhi commemorating the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, when he said the “daughters of India” will get justice and the guilty won’t be spared.Asked about the manner in which the BJP would taunt him, calling him ‘Maun-Mohan Singh’ when he chose silence over speech on several matters during the last months of his government, the former PM said he “had lived with comments like these his whole life”.indianexpress
'She Is a Woman, How Intelligent Can She Be?' Kathua Defence Lawyer on Woman Investigator
New Delhi: The defence counsel in Kathua rape case has raised further questions on the Jammu and Kashmir Police's probe into the brutal rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl, saying the investigation was led by a woman officer and that it was beyond her "intelligence" to work on this case.Jammu-based advocate, Ankur Sharma who is appearing for 5 out of the 8 accused in the case, told News18 that since she is a "woman and a new officer, she was misguided by someone".This comes after several reports talked of the hurdles faced by Shwetambri Sharma, the lone woman officer in SIT of the Crime Branch.On Tuesday, Sharma took to a new low and said, "What is Shwetambri, she is a girl, how intelligent can she be? She is a new officer and by showing her a few circumstantial evidences, some people made her believe that the crime has been committed in this fashion."News18news18
BJP Minister Lal Singh Repeats Kathua March in Jammu For Release of Rape Accused
Srinagar: Amid simmering tensions in Jammu region, BJP Minister, Lal Singh, who was forced to resign last week for rallying in support of the accused in rape-and-murder of Kathua girl, today took out a march in the Hindu majority region to demand CBI probe into the case.Witnesses and reports said hundreds of Singh’s supporters assembled at Satwari Chowk in Jammu city today afternoon to start a march towards Kootah village in Kathua where the tragedy unfolded. Some of the supporters wore saffron colored robes while chanting slogans to demand release of the accused.thecitizen
Frequent tweeter PM Modi loses voice when it comes to rape of minority women: New York Times editorial
New York: Sharply criticising Prime Minister Narendra's silence over rape cases in India, the New York Times in an editorial on Tuesday said such and other violent incidents were part of "an organized and systematic campaign by nationalist forces" to terrorise women, Muslims and Dalits in the country.The editorial titled "Silence as Women Are Attacked" appeared on in the New York edition of the daily, reminding how Modi tweets "frequently and considers himself a talented orator". "Yet he loses his voice when it comes to speaking out about the dangers faced by women and minorities who are frequent targets of the nationalist and communal forces that are part of the base of his BJP," said the Times.ians
Dalit, women’s groups plan protests during PM Modi’s visit to Britain
New Delhi:Dalit and women’s rights groups from among the Indian diaspora have planned protests during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Britain.While Modi plans to meet his British counterpart Theresa May in London on Wednesday before heading to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the protesters plan to converge outside at 10 Downing Street. The two sets of groups, joined by students’ groups, state that the protests will be against the recent attacks on the rights of Dalits, women and minorities in India.“The protests represent the anger of a lot of Indians living in Britain who are unhappy about the way Narendra Modi has turned Indian into a ‘republic of fear’, with these horrific incidents of rapes, mob-lynching of Muslims, and attacks on Dalits,” said Kalpana Wilson from the South Asia Solidarity Group, who teaches at the Birbeck, University of London.indianexpress
ATM cash crunch: Shortage to continue for 5-7 days; top 10 developments
New Delhi;A cash crunch at ATMs has hit a dozen states, including UP, MP, poll-bound Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Punjab. With ATMs drying up, the central government and the RBI stepped in to address the currency shortage, even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley attributed the cash shortage to an unusual spurt in demand during the past 3 months and described it as "temporary", adding that the ATM cash crunch was being "tackled quickly" and that there was "more than adequate" currency in circulation.To fix the ATM cash crunch, the government said that the printing of Rs 500 denomination notes, about 5 billion of which are printed per day, would be increased by five times. Notes worth Rs 70,000-75,000 crore would be printed in a month.With the RBI and banks blaming cash management companies for ATMs running dry, ATM industry representatives said that it was the banks that were unable to meet the demand for cash. They said banks had not been able to meet their indent, the daily calculation of cash required, for the past four-5
Government attempts damage control as ATMs run dry
Law Commission backs simultaneous polls, seeks views
New Delhi:Pressing for a Constitutional amendment to conduct simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, the Law Commission Tuesday decided to seek the opinion of all stakeholders, including political parties, on the issue.The move comes two months after President Ram Nath Kovind endorsed PM Narendra Modi’s call to hold simultaneous elections. Commission’s “Draft working paper — Simultaneous Elections — Constitution and Legal Perspectives”, which has been sent to the Union Law Ministry, states: “Simultaneous elections may be restored in the nation by amending the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act 1951 and Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and those of the State Legislative Assemblies.”As a “possible recommendation”, the Commission, chaired by Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, has also stated that a definition of “simultaneous elections” may be added to Section 2 of the 1951 Act.indianexpress
BRD Hospital Tragedy: Dr Kafeel Khan Not Well but Jail Admin not Listening, Says Wife
Lucknow: Dr Kafeel Khan, often hailed as the "hero" of BRD Medical College tragedy in Uttar Pradesh last year that killed over 60 children dead, is languishing at the Gorakhpur prison and his health is deteriorating, said his wife. He has been booked over charges of “attempt to murder". In a statement given to a news agency, wife of Dr Khan said, "My husband's health is deteriorating. Doctors have said that the case must be referred to Lucknow, but it the jail administration is not executing the orders. I fear for my husband’s life.'news18
In Collapsed Mecca Masjid Case, Main Prosecutor Has ABVP Connection
New Delhi:  5 men accused in the 2007 terror attack at Hyderabad's iconic Mecca Masjid were acquitted on Monday for lack of evidence. N Harinath, the prosecutor in charge of establishing their guilt, had little experience in criminal law, according to Telangana lawyers, before he took on the high profile case.N Harinath and his client, NIA, failed to prove the charges against the accused men or produce any solid evidence, said the judge who pronounced them "not guilty" yesterday.Harinath, speaking to NDTV, insisted that he was qualified to fight the case; he had been a lawyer for the economic offences wing of the Enforcement Directorate in the past and appeared for CBI in bank fraud cases, attempt to murder and abetment to suicide cases.But knowledge of a murder trial is a must, especially in a terror investigation like the Mecca Masjid attack, said other special prosecutors Ujjwal Nikam and Amrendra Sharan.ndtv
Mecca Masjid blast: NIA prosecutor has ABVP link
Peace remains elusive in Kashmir as Valley remains on edge
April 1 this year was not an ordinary Sunday. That day, 17 local Kashmiri men died. Of them, 13 were armed local militants and four were civilians — killed when they rushed to the encounter sites to protest against military action.The bloody Sunday was a reminder of the festering insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir; of the fact that the locals are once again leaving the comfort of their classrooms and disappearing into the mountains to train as militants in makeshift camps.It was also a reminder that Kashmiris — women included — are rushing to encounter sites despite the danger of being killed in crossfire. HT
Tamil Nadu: Teacher ‘asks students to perform sexual favours for official’, held
Chennai:A teacher of a college affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University was arrested Monday for allegedly asking students to perform sexual favours for a senior university official. Audio clip of a conversation in which the teacher is allegedly asking a student to perform sexual favours for a senior official has references to Governor Banwarilal Purohit, leading CPM to demand that the Centre recall the Governor for an independent probe.After CPM raised the issue, Purohit, who is also the chancellor of the university, issued a statement, stating that an inquiry commission has been appointed to probe the matter. University suspended Nirmala Devi, Assistant Professor at Devanga Arts College in Virudhunagar.indianexpress
India had internet and satellites during Mahabharata, claims Tripura CM Biplab Deb
 New Delhi:In a bizarre statement, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb has said that the internet was invented lakhs of years ago and that the technology and satellites were present during the period of Mahabharata. Addressing a regional workshop on PDS, the CM said, “Not US and other western countries, but the internet was invented by India lakhs of years ago.”“Many may decline the fact, but if the internet was not there, how Sanjay, could see the war in Kurukshetra and describe it to Dhritarashtra? It means internet was there, the satellites and that technology was there in this country at that time,” Deb was quoted as saying by Tripura Infoway.indianexpress

Uttar Pradesh ministers wrongly tweet Gurupurab wishes and later blames Wikipedia for the goof-up
:Uttar Pradesh government faced some embarassment on social media when some its ministers tweeted greetings on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, roughly seven months before it actually is. Those who sent out these greetings included Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, state BJP spokesperson and health minister Siddharth Nath Singh, Minister of Medical Education Ashutosh Tandon and Law minister Brajesh Pathak.The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak is celebrated as Gurpurab on Kartik Purnima, the full-moon day in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. Apparently, this year Gurpurab will fall on Nov.23.indianexpress
26% Increase in Rape Cases in Yogi’s Rule
There has been a 33% increase in crimes against women under Yogi govt in UP, according to reports quoting a reply given by the state govt. in the Legislative Assembly. Rape cases have increased by 26%, ‘assault with intention to outrage modesty’ have increased by 40% while harassment cases have shot up by a staggering 99%, reply said.Newsclick
Who Will Return Our Precious Years, Ask Wrongfully Incarcerated
“While I am happy that I am finally proved innocent and out of jail, life seemed empty. Where to go, what to do and what not,” says Nisaruddin Ahmed with a deep sense of loss. Nisaruddin stepped out of Jaipur jail in May, this year after being wrongfully convicted for 23 years. “To be honest, back then I didn’t know what to do with my life,” says he, adding, “had my brother not come to receive me, I might have turned back to jail – that was the only place familiar to me after all those years.”Nisaruddin was picked up from his hometown Gulbarga (Karnataka) at the age of 19 on January 15, 1994, by Andhra Pradesh police while on his way to college. He was due to appear in his pharmacy diploma examination barely 15 days later. But for over a month his whereabouts were not known. He was kept in illegal custody and subjected to the worst forms of torture and custodial violence. Later, towards the end of February that year, the police produced him in court claiming he was responsible for the bomb blasts in Hyderabad in 1993. According to the police, the attacks were carried out on the instructions of Pakistan’s ISI to avenge the demolition of Babri Masjid. The only evidence against him was a confessional statement which he never made.  Nisaruddin, and 8 of the ten accused were acquitted thirteen years after they were arrested. Among those acquitted by a local court in Hyderabad was Nisaruddin’s elder brother Zaheeruddin Ahmed. Zaheeruddin worked as a civil engineer in Bombay when he was also arraigned in train blasts.thewire
Lump it, wait until CJI retires: Fali Nariman advice on row in SC
New Delhi: There is complete breakdown in confidence between CJI of the Supreme Court and his fellow judges, giving rise to lack of accommodation between them but the fact remains that the CJIis the master of the roster and that cannot be changed, senior jurist Fali Nariman has said.“This has never happened before in all the 67 years I have practised as an advocate. Levels of tolerance have gone down. Lawyers, judges, everybody. The spirit of collegiality which is essential in a Bench as well as in a court has broken down. Upto now, judges by and large followed it. Since I came to Delhi in 1972, I have seen 32 Chief Justices, but I have never seen this before,” Nariman said in his first remarks in several months after recovering from a surgery.But Nariman also held out a dire warning. If the current squabble in the Supreme Court was not soon settled, “we could be witnessing almost the end” of the epoch that gave the 1973 Keshavananda Bharti judgement, which had ruled 7-6 that the “basic structure” of the Constitution could not be tampered with by any government, no matter its intention.Indian Express
Khwaja Yunus custodial death: Maharashtra removes prosecutor who wanted 4 cops to stand trial
Mumbai:In the alleged custodial death case of Khwaja Yunus in 2003, the Maharashtra government has removed the special public prosecutor, who had moved a plea in the trial court seeking to make 4 more policemen stand trial. The government had earlier refused to sanction prosecution of these officers. The new prosecutor representing the government in the court on Tuesday sought disposal of the plea made by then special public prosecutor Dhiraj Mirajkar, citing that the issue is being heard by the Supreme Court. During the previous hearing on March 22, the state government had intervened, seeking to file a reply to the application made by Mirajkar.indianexpress         
Ode massacre:Gujarat HC reserves verdict on appeal pleas
Ahmedabad:A division bench of Gujarat High Court on Tuesday concluded the hearing on a set of appeal petitions in 2002 Ode massacre case and reserved its verdict. A special trial court in 2012 had held 23 accused guilty and out of them 18 were convicted for life imprisonment while the remaining five had been sentenced for seven years. The division bench, led by Justice Akil Kureshi, concluded the hearing and reserved the judgment.indianexpress
Union Law Ministry readies ordinance on SC/ST Act
New Delhi;The law ministry is preparing a draft ordinance to overturn a Supreme Court verdict placing safeguards on arrest of those accused of committing atrocities on SCs and STs, sources in the government on Tuesday said. The draft is being prepared in case the government decides to bring one to overturn the Supreme Court order. The sources said no decision has been taken so far to bring the ordinance before the union cabinet and much would depend on the way the hearing on a review petition filed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in the apex court progresses.PTI

Bhima-Koregaon: Maharashtra police raids Dalit activists who supported protest
Mumbai: Maharashtra Police carried out multi-city raids on Tuesday against prominent Dalit activists and supporters in a fallout of the Jan. 1 caste riots in Koregaon-Bhima, official sources said here.The raids which started at around 5 a.m., and were carried out by several teams of the Pune police in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, in the homes and offices of various Dalit activists.Besides, the police also zeroed in on those involved or connected with the Elgaar Conference of Dec.31, 2017 held in Pune, which was addressed by Gujarat Dalit leader and MLA Jignesh Mewani and JNU leader Umar Khalid, Chhattisgarh activist Soni Sori and Bhim Army president Vinay Ratan Singh. Pune police also raided and searched the home of prominent lawyer Surendra Gadling in Nagpur. He was representing several alleged Maoists in different courts.IANS
AAP leader Ashish Khetan resigns from DDC
New Delhi:AAP leader and Vice Chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) Ashish Khetan has resigned from the post, saying he now wanted to practise law.Khetan, a journalist-turned-politician and a trusted aide of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was appointed the vice-chairman of the DDC, an advisory body of the AAP government, three years ago. The DDC is headed by Kejriwal.“I have resigned as VC, DDC, with effect from April 16. During the past three years I had a unique opportunity to shape public policy & bring about reform and change in governance. I am grateful to Arvind Kejriwal, the Hon’ble CM, for giving me this wonderful opportunity,” Khetan wrote on Twitter.PTI
Declaring Taj waqf property will lead to flood of claims:ASI
New Delhi:The Supreme Court has said that the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board order declaring the Taj Mahal a Waqf property had created a problem, while the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) contended that allowing the same would open the floodgates of people claiming ownership of historic properties.Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the board, told a three-judge bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra that the board’s claim was based on material evidence, but the ASI opposed this.indianexpress
Waseem Rizvi moves SC against ‘unislamic’ flags hoisting at buildings, religious places
The Shia Waqf Board head Syed Waseem Rizvi has moved the Supreme Court seeking a ban on hoisting of green flags with crescent and star at buildings and religious places, terming it “un-Islamic” and resembling the flags of a Pakistani political party. Waseem Rizvi, the chairman of Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Board of Waqfs, claimed in his plea that during his visit to Mumbai and other places in the country, he saw flags on several buildings and religious structures, which were allegedly a cause of tension between Hindu and Muslim communities.PTI

TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit Kicks Up Storm With Pat on Journalist's Cheek After Press Meet on 'Sex for Degrees' Scandal
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit courted controversy on Tuesday when he diplomatically patted a woman journalist, apparently to parry a question, with DMK terming the incident as "unbecoming" of a person holding a Constitutional post.The incident took place when the 78-year-old Governor was about to leave the venue of the crowded press conference at the Raj Bhavan, which was all set to conclude.news18
Rs 2,654 crore bank fraud: Vadodara businessman, sons held in Udaipur
New Delhi:Vadodara-based businessman Suresh N Bhatnagar and his two sons — Amit and Sumit Bhatnagar — who have been evading arrest for more than a week after they were booked for allegedly defrauding a consortium of 11 banks to the tune of Rs 2,654 crore, were arrested from a hotel in Udaipur on Tuesday night in a joint operation of Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad and CBI.indianexpress
Saudi in talks with US over troop deployment in Syria
Saudi Arabia is holding talks with the United States about sending troops into Syria as part of a wider international coalition, the kingdom's foreign minister has said.In his comments on Tuesday, Adel al-Jubeir said the deployment offer was "not new", adding that Riyadh had previously proposed the idea to former US President Barack Obama."We are in discussion with the US, and have been since the beginning of the Syrian crisis about sending forces into Syria," al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh during a press conference alongside Antonio Guterres, UN chief."We made a proposal to the [previous] Obama administration that if the US were to send forces … then Saudi Arabia would consider along with other countries sending forces as part of this contingent."The news came a day after the Wall Street Journal reported US President Donald Trump was looking to assemble an Arab force that would include Saudi Arabia and the UAE to replace US military presence in Syria.The force, which Trump's new National Security Adviser John Bolton hopes will include Egypt, would be in charge of stabilising the northeastern part of Syria, according to the report.aljazeera
US, Syria give conflicting accounts on global chemical weapons experts
US and Syria appeared to offer conflicting accounts on Tuesday of whether global chemical weapons inspectors had reached the Syrian town of Douma where a suspected poison gas attack took place and sparked a US.-led retaliatory strike.Syrian state television reported that the experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had entered Douma. Western countries say scores of civilians sheltering from bombs were gassed to death there on 7 April.State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday said she was aware of reports from Syria that inspectors from the OPCW had been able to see the town but “our understanding is that the team has not entered Douma.” A diplomatic source in The Hague said the experts did not enter Douma.France said it was very likely that evidence of the poison gas attack was disappearing before the inspectors could reach the town. Syria and its ally Russia deny that any chemical attack took place.middleeastmonitor
CIA chief Pompeo held secret meeting with Kim Jong-un: reports
CIA Director Mike Pompeo held a secret meeting with Kim Jong-un in North Korea earlier this month in what is believed to be the highest level meeting between the two countries in nearly two decades, US media reported.Pompeo reportedly made the trip during the weekend of April 1, shortly after being named US President Donald Trump's pick to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.According to the Washington Post, which cited two individuals with knowledge of the trip, Pompeo and Kim discussed the planned summit between US and North Korea leaders.Earlier on Tuesday, Trump had said that the US was engaged in direct talks at "extremely high levels" with Pyongyang.White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders clarified Trump's comments, saying "the president said the administration has had talks at the highest levels and and added that they were not with him directly".aljazeera
Canada group slammed after firing staff decrying Israel killings
A Canadian press-freedom group has come under fire after the sacking of one of its employees who published a statement condemning the "extrajudicial killings" of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza.At least 17 Palestinians were killed by Israeli live fire and more than 1,000 others were wounded, as thousands rallied to mark the 42nd anniversary of Land Day on March 30. Among those injured were at least 10 journalists.On April 2, Kevin Metcalf, communications coordinator for the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), wrote a statement on behalf of the group urging the government of Canada to condemn the "IDF's [Israeli Defence Forces] brutality".Failure to do so, he wrote, "will undermine Canada's moral authority when condemning similar acts by any other nation-state. Targeted attacks against demonstrators and journalists must be condemned wherever they occur".aljazeera
UAE launches global Minorities forum to protect Muslim minorities
Abu Dhabi: UAE has announced the launch of a global committee that will serve as an "incubator" and as a voice for the millions of Muslim minorities around the world who face discrimination.International Muslim Minorities Congress (IMMC), based in Abu Dhabi, will work as an institution that allows leaders from the Middle East and from the West to set up laws and regulations that will help defend the rights of Muslim minorities.Organised under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, the UAE is also set to hold the very first conference on May 8-9, which will focus on challenging issues that minorities are currently facing around the world today."This organisation will help bridge the gap between Muslim minorities and the governments," Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the supreme committee of the IMMC, told Khaleej Times.Khaleej Times
Yemen’s Houthis release 18 Al-Qaeda fighters
Some 18 Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) officials have been released by Houthi fighters in a deal struck between the two armed groups, Aden Tomorrow reported today. The AQAP fighters were released in a deal which would see them assist with an uptick of fighting in Al-Bayda governorate, southern Yemen, between the Houthis, AQAP and the Saudi-led coalition.However, a statement published via AQAP’s open source network on Saturday claimed the 18 prisoners in Al-Bayda “attacked” prison guards and escaped without any mention of Houthi involvement.middleeastmonitor


‘Strong anti-minority feelings’: What the NIA probe in six bomb blasts found:  Rahul Tripathi
‘My mother is dying in a detention camp because of being labelled a Bangladeshi. How can this be allowed?’twocircles
‘India, China account for more than half of air pollution deaths’
We will stand by every community, we will safeguard their interests: Ahmed Patel

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 12:35 PM)


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