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Monday, 28 May 2018

28 May ND: Bypolls in 4 Lok Sabha, 10 assembly seats: Opposition says 300 EVMs not working in Kairana LS poll, alleges EVMs malfunctioning in Bhandara-Gondiya LS seat/


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY  
28 May 2018:11 Ramazan 1439: Vol:10, No:31
INDIA
Bypolls in 4 Lok Sabha, 10 assembly seats: Opposition says 300 EVMs not working in Kairana LS poll, alleges EVMs malfunctioning in Bhandara-Gondiya LS seat
Bypolls to 4 Lok Sabha seats including politically-crucial Kairana and 10 assembly seats in 10 states began today. Besides Kairana in western UP, where a joint opposition takes on BJP, by-election are being held in Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar parliamentary seats in Maharashtra and Nagaland Lok Sabha seat.Polling is underway for assembly seats in RR Nagar in Karnataka; Gomia and Silli constituencies of Jharkhand; Noorpur in UP; Shahkot in Punjab; Jokihat in Bihar; Chengannur in Kerala; Palus Kadegaon in Maharashtra; Ampati in Meghalaya; Tharali in Uttarakhand and Maheshtala in West Bengal.The votes will be counted on May 31.19.25% voter turnout recorded till 1pm in Palghar bypoll.60% polling in by-election to Nagaland Lok Sabha seat till 1pm.65.3% polling in by-election to Ampati assembly seat in Meghalaya till 1 pm.52.21% voting registered till 1pm in by-election for Silli assembly seat in Jharkhand’s Ranchi, Gomia constituency in Bokaro district records 51% polling. 34% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in RRNagar assembly poll.NCP leader Praful Patel alleges EVMs malfunctioning in Bhandara-Gondiya poll.“SP leader Akhilesh Yadav just called me up. He also said 300 EVMs not working in Kairana bypoll,” says Patel. “Technical problems in EVMs and VVPATs clearly indicate failure of EC. If this is the situation in bypolls, think about coming Lok Sabha polls. We’ve said it again and again and other parties have also agreed that polls should be conducted using ballot papers, said Anil Desai of Shiv Sena.In Bhandara–Gondiya Lok Sabha bypolls, voting temporarily suspended for now at 35 polling booths due to faulty EVM said DM.HT
Lok Sabha, Assembly bypolls Live: Rigging allegations in UP, EVMs malfunction in Maharashtra
Kairana:SP-RLD approaches EC over 200 faulty EVMs
Lucknow: RLD and Samajwadi Party  which have jointly fielded a candidate in the Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll, a keenly watched seat after BJP's debacle in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, have alleged that over 200 EVMs malfunctioned in first 3 hours of polling. Polling began at 8am on Monday.In a complaint sent to the Election Commission, Tabassum Hasan, joint candidate of RLD-SP, wrote,"A request is being made that most booths have developed snag in EVMs and VVPATS in the ongoing polls in Kairana and Noorpur. Despite attempts to raise a concern, no EC official is hearing us. We are sharing a break-up of the booths where EVMS have malfunctioned..." In Kairana, Hasan is pitted against BJP's Mriganka Singh, daughter of former Lok Sabha MP Hukum Singh, whose death necessitated the by-poll there.SP candidate Naimul-Hasan is taking on BJP’s Avani Singh in Noorpur vidhan sabha seat.TOI
RLD-SP raise EVM malfunction issue in UP by-polls
Bypolls LIVE: RLD, SP to meet EC over EVM malfunction issue, 31% voting in Kairana till 1pm
Bypolls LIVE: 50,000 villagers boycott polls in Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondiya
34 villages in Bhandara-Gondia constituency have reportedly boycotted the polls. 50,000-odd voters affected by the Gosikhurd irrigation project are upset that their demands have not been met, News18 has reported. moneycontrol
LS, Assembly seats by-poll: Muslim voters allegedly prevented from casting votes in Kairana
EC says political parties out of purview of RTI, contradicts CIC ruling
New Delhi: Political parties are out of the purview of RTI Act, the Election Commission has said in an order which is contrary to the Central Information Commission's directive bringing six national parties under the transparency law.The poll panel statement, which may prove to be controversial, came while deciding the appeal of an RTI applicant seeking to know donations collected by 6 national parties who were brought under the ambit of the transparency law by CIC in June 2013."Requisite information is not available in the Commission. This is related to political parties and they are out of purview of the RTI. They may submit information of donation/amount collected through Electoral bonds in their contribution report for the financial year 2017-18 in the ECI for which the due date is September 30, 2018," the appeal order citing comment of the Central Public Information Officer has said. Pune-based Vihar Dhurve had sought to know through RTI the details of donations collected by the six national parties- the BJP, Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI, CPM and the Samajwadi Party through newly introduced electoral bonds.PTI
Haryana BJP turmoil: Union minister humiliates Khattar, says CM can’t deliver in 2019
New Delhi: Discord within the Haryana unit of BJP came out in the open Sunday when Rao Inderjit Singh, minister of state for chemicals and fertilizers, said that the Khattar Govt  will not help state party MPs in the upcoming 2019 polls.At an event in Gurugram to celebrate four years of Modi Govt , Singh railed against Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar. The Union minister alleged that the MPs are not kept informed as well as ignored by the state bureaucracy when it comes to giving credit for the completion of projects. He also attacked Khattar for not including Gurugram in the list of Smart Cities.At the event, Singh admonished Khattar, who was present on stage, for ‘being late’. Upset with the CM not turning up for inauguration of ‘Centre-sponsored’ bypass and a flyover, and reaching straight to the event where intellectuals were called to promote Modi Govt ’s achievements, Singh even said that he didn’t have much expectation from the Khattar Govt  in the upcoming polls.theprint
Ramzan relief to be extended if terror stops: Rajnath
NEW DELHI: The suspension of operations in J&K  will continue beyond Ramzan if Pakistan-sponsored terror activities come to a halt, Union home minister Rajnath Singh told ET. In an interview, Singh slammed Hurriyat leaders for criticising the suspension of operations and not participating in the larger peace initiative of the central Govt . At the same time, he said the Centre was open to talking to anyone for a settlement on the vexed Kashmir problem. When asked about the fate of suspension of operations in future, the minister said: “We can think about it… If there is no incident, then there should be no problem in extending this decision. This is a wellconsidered decision of our govt. Kashmir is ours and so are Kashmiris."economictimes
J-K Police crackdowns on ‘keypad jehadis’ amid rising fake news circulation: indianexpress
New Delhi:Taking cognisance of the alarming rise in communal disharmony among the people in J&K , the state police has launched an operation to identify the ‘keypad jehadis’, people who spew venom on social networking sites to try and create a law and order situation in the state by spreading on the Internet rumours or giving communal colour to any event.A report in PTI said, that the police till now has registered cases against 5 Twitter handles while filing complaints with service providers against such misleading posts on Facebook and WhatsApp.Officials also said that Twitter has been asked to provide details of the twitter handles so that action can be taken against them at the earliest.They added that police has increased its efforts on monitoring the social networking websites and also various groups created on messaging services like WhatsApp, Telegram. indianexpress
India lodges protest with Pak over Gilgit-Baltistan order
New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs has summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah and lodged a strongly worded protest against Islamabad’s Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018, which essentially gives people of Gilgit-Baltistan all rights enjoyed by the 4 provinces of Pakistan.Asserting that the entire J&K , including Gilgit-Baltistan areas, was an integral part of India, MEA warned Islamabad of any move to declare it as the fifth province.Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh are four provinces of Pakistan.China’s concerns about the unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan prompted Pakistan to change its status since Beijing’s ambitious CPEC project passes through the region, which borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.indianexpress
Now Rohingya camp in Haryana’s Nuh district gutted
A Rohingya refugee camp in Haryana’s Nuh district was gutted Sunday afternoon, after a major fire broke out in the area. Although no casualty was reported, over 50 families have been affected by the blaze.Fire department officials said a call was received regarding the blaze in Chandeni around 3.25 pm, following which three fire tenders were rushed to the spot.“It took us almost three hours to douse the flames,” said a fire officer.“Prima facie, the blaze appears to have been caused by a short circuit,” he added.Inspector Sanjay Kumar, SHO, Nuh police station, said, “No one was killed or injured, but the shanties were entirely gutted. Nobody has approached us to register a case so far.”As many as 215 people lived in the shanties. “All our belongings are gone. All that is left are the clothes we are wearing,” said a resident.Until evening, the people had taken shelter in a makeshift camp in the area, with food being provided by sympathisers. Residents said their evening meal consisted only of some vegetables and rice.Last month, over 200 Rohingya refugees were left homeless after a fire destroyed their camp in Delhi’s Sarita Vihar.indianexpress
Fire burns down Rohingya camp in Mewat
Namaz row: Mahapanchayat says disruption of peace in Gurugram will dent business, industry
Gurugram: An all-religion mahapanchayat under the banner of SarvaKhap Sarva Dharma Bhaichara and Samrashta Panchayat was held on Sunday morning, with the objective of sending a message of communal harmony and peace in Gurugram following the recent controversy over disruption of namaz in open areas.The panchayat had 200 participants representing the people of 360 villages and different religious communities, including Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and Hindus. The initiative was led by Congress functionary Pradeep Singh Zaildar. “Gurugram is an international city with a cosmopolitan culture. Such incidents must not be repeated. We’ve come together to express solidarity with Muslims and send a message that people from all religions coexist peacefully in the millennium city,” said Zaildar.He added that a suggestion was also made to withdraw police complaints against 6 men accused of disrupting namaz.A few Muslim representatives backed the demand, and said when all communities have come together to send a message of unity and forgiveness, the complaint is best withdrawn. “We will meet officials from district administration and discuss the matter of withdrawing FIRs in the coming week,” said Zaildar. “Gurugram is known worldwide today for the business hub it is, and incidents disrupting the peace will impact business and industry for the worse. This will further reduce employment opportunities in the city. We do not want a bad name for the city, hence it’s important for the elders of all communities to send out a message of peace and harmony,” said Naresh Sehrawat of Sukhrali.Many others agreed with Sehrawat, and said it was only a handful of misguided youths who had been involved in obstructing namaz, while most of the city’s residents believe in living together in harmony.TOI
Maharashtra govt wants to fund madrassas, they say thanks, but no thanks: The Print
Mumbai: BJP-led Maharashtra govt has found few takers for a scheme to introduce formal education in madrassas despite offering funds as an incentive.Only 144 of the estimated 1,889 madrassas registered in the state (7.6%) availed of the scheme in 2017-18, according to data from the state minority affairs department, which gave these institutes a total of Rs 5.36 crore in grants.As part of the scheme, registered madrassas with residential facilities for students receive Govt  grants if lessons in subjects such as science, maths, social sciences, Hindi, Marathi,English and Urdu accompany religious studies. Interested institutes have to apply for the grant each year, with the shortlisted madrassas receiving funds for teacher salaries and basic infrastructure, libraries, computer labs, and so on. Even the institutes selected in a given year have to make a fresh application for the grant in subsequent years. Scheme also offers scholarships for students who wish to study in a regular school between classes IX and XII.An official from the state minority affairs department said the response from madrassas had been poor because of the perception that accepting funds from Govt  would bring them under state control. Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi, of All India Ulema Council, said they “didn’t need the Govt’s help with institutes that impart religious teachings”.“The state’s help always comes with a lot of strings attached,” he added, “Tomorrow, Govt  will expect the madrassas to toe the line on all its directives, whether they are related to filing reports or hanging pictures of certain personalities on the school walls.”Shyam Tagade, principal secretary, state minority affairs department, said while madrassas were reluctant to avail of the scheme, a major reason for the low numbers was stricter Govt  scrutiny.theprint
Crippled by massive vacancies, universities rely on underpaid ad-hoc teachers: theprint
New Delhi: Over a third of the total teaching positions across 40 central universities in India are lying vacant, with Allahabad University and Delhi University among the worst affected.Govt  information accessed by ThePrint through an RTI application shows that until January this year, 33 %  of teaching positions have not been filled up in the central universities.Allahabad University has the largest number of vacant teaching positions at 64.44 % , while Delhi University (DU) was the second worst with 47.7 %  vacancies. Although DU has since appointed 140 teachers, it still leaves a huge gap that has to be bridged.To overcome the shortage, the universities have resorted to hiring ad-hoc or temporary teachers. As such, thousands of ad-hoc faculty members in India’s central universities have been entrusted the same responsibilities as their permanent counterparts. But they are underpaid and many complain they are undervalued.The situation is so dire in Allahabad University that most classes are being taught by junior research fellows (JRFs) who teach for two to three hours a day on a scholarship of Rs 30,000 a month.theprint
‘Inventors’ are trying to rewrite history, says Hamid Ansari
Former Vice President Hamid Ansari on Sunday said some “inventors” were attempting to “rewrite history”, reported PTI. “History is history,” Ansari said at the launch of a book on Jawaharlal Nehru in New Delhi. “It has to be read. You can draw lessons from it, you can draw encouragement from it or you can just read it as a college student preparing for term examination. History cannot be changed.”Ansari talked about HG Wells’ book Time Machine, which mooted the idea of a technology by which one could go back to the past. “Well, it was a great success,” he said. “But today, I notice another set of inventors, not writers. Inventors [are] trying to create a time machine by which you can go back in history and rewrite history. Now, such an effort is not going to succeed.”scroll.in
Pranab Mukherjee will address 600 workers at its Nagpur HQ: RSS
New Delhi:Former President Pranab Mukherjee will address members of RSS at its headquarters in Nagpur on June 7, a top RSS official has confirmed to Indian Express. Mukherjee’s office is yet to issue a statement.“We had extended an invitation to the former president to address RSS workers at our headquarters in Nagpur. He has accepted our invitation and will be present at the event,” RSS official said. Third Year Sangha Shiksha Varga (SSV) of the RSS has a participation of over 600 workers.“Ex-President Pranab Mukherjee’s acceptance to attend RSS event in Nagpur sends a message to the country that on vital issues there should be dialogue and adversaries are not enemies. Questions raised on RSS-Hindutva is being answered by his acceptance of invitation,” RSS leader Rakesh Sinha said.indianexpress
Banks Impose Heavy Penalty on No-Frills Accounts for Exceeding Withdrawal Limit: thewire
No-frills account holders are facing penalty for exceeding the limit of four withdrawals in a month as several banks are using the fifth debit as a trigger to convert the Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA) into a regular one, says a report.While no charges are levied for maintaining no-frills account or BSBDA in a bank, the regular accounts are subject to various fees and charges.The key restriction on a BSBDA is that the account holder cannot make more than four withdrawals in a month, though there is no such limit on number of deposits.These design anomalies are prompting the bankers to overcharge BSBDA customers in violation of RBI’s extant regulations, said the report prepared by Ashish Das, IIT Bombay professor.The moment a fifth debit transaction is done by the customer in a month, these banks without explicit and voluntary consent of customers are unilaterally converting BSBDA into a regular savings account, requiring high minimum balance and associated service charges, the report said.RBI should put a halt to involuntary conversion of BSBDAs to regular savings accounts, the report said, adding that the whole scheme was launched to promote financial inclusion.It also suggested that RBI should remove the restrictions on number of digital transactions in a month by such account holders, in tandem with the govt’s policy to promote less cash economy. At present, after 4 debits in a month from a BSBDA, the customer is no longer able to make online purchases, transfer money through BHIM or use RuPay debit card at merchant locations for day-to-day purchases,report said.
Why were Muslim youths roaming in temple premises with Hindu girl: Uttarakhand BJP MLA Thukral
Dehradun:While the Uttarakhand police recently rewarded Sub Inspector Gagandeep Singh of Uttarakhand’s Ramnagar police station for rescuing a Muslim youth from being assaulted by a mob comprising right-wing outfits in the premises of the Garjiya temple in Uttarakhand’s Ramnagar town, BJP MLA Rajkumar Thukral, warned that right-wing outfits will fight the “destroyers of the Hindu culture”.Members of right-wing outfits, comprising of VHP had spotted Irfan (23) with a 19-year-old Hindu girl near the temple and began thrashing him when SI Singh, who was posted in the temple premises, shielded Irfan from the angry mob. Singh had safely taken Irfan out of the temple premises, for which he received admiration from all around.indianexpress
Shimla goes thirsty: No drinking water available in city for seventh consecutive day
Shimla:Faced with the scarcity of drinking water for the seventh consecutive day, residents of several parched localities of Shimla on Sunday threatened to put locks at the local Municipal Corporation (MC) as private tankers failed to fulfill the requirement.The town’s busy Mall road, which is normally buzzing with tourists’ activity at weekends, saw long queues of men, women and children rushing to fill-up water at the arrival of water tankers.Inder Singh, a Congress councillor, who was also standing in the queue to get drinking water, alleged that the municipal wards represented by the Congress, were being selectively targeted. “There is no drop of water for past six days. Despite being a Sunday, people spent hours in fetching water. I will tender my resignation in protest if the situation doesn’t change” he said.indianexpress
In Fatehgarh Sahib, Sikh gurdwara priest looks after old mosque as well
Fatehgarh Sahib, a town of sacred pilgrimage in Punjab, has been witness to one of the most tragic, painful and violent chapters of Sikh-Mughal history going back 3 centuries. Despite that, a 350-year-old mosque not only stands in complete harmony with a recently completed gurdwara, but is looked after by the Sikh priest.Chittian Masjidan (White Mosque), with its 3 white-washed domes, can be seen from a distance amidst the agricultural fields of Mahadian village. A few Mughal-era structures still dot the countryside here, even as the area is dominated by Sikh shrines, the largest one being the main Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, to which Sikh pilgrims come from all over the world. Jeet Singh, a granthi (Sikh cleric) of the Mastgarh Sahib Chittian gurdwara maintains the mosque's ancient structure."I have been maintaining the (mosque) building for the past 4 years. It was in a very bad shape when I came here. I clean it from inside daily even though no Muslims (who live in nearby villages) come here for prayers," Jeet Singh told IANS, standing in front of the partially dilapidated structure.IANS
In Tihar jail, 59 Hindu prisoners observe Ramzan fast with Muslims
Lodged inside the country’s most crowded prison, 59 Hindu prisoners have been observing fast in Ramzan along with their 2,299 co-prisoners of Muslim faith. They may follow a different faith, but each of them said they have their own reason to observe roza.A 45-year-old woman told jail officers she is fasting for the welfare of her son outside. The woman was arrested for kidnapping. Her case is yet to be decided by a court. Another prisoner reportedly told officials that he is observing roza in hopes of an early release.A 21-year-old prisoner who came to jail a few months ago is also among those fasting. He told jail officials he is doing so because he observed his Muslim co-prisoners fasting and wanted to participate with them. There are 97 women prisoners who are fasting. Spread across different jails, the central prison has around 15,000 inmates.Every jail superintendent has been directed to participate in the iftar —when the sun sets and those observing roza have their first meal of the day.The prison’s director general, Ajay Kashyap said an inter jail co-ordination meeting was held before the month-long festival started earlier this month.HT
WORLD
UN rejects Israel's claim over Syria's Golan Heights
UNSC has rejected Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu's claim that the annexed Golan Heights in Syria would "forever" remain under Israeli control.15-member council agreed on Tuesday that the status of Golan, which Israel seized from Syria in 1967, "remains unchanged", Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds this month's council presidency said.Liu recalled a 1981 resolution which states that Israel's "decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights was nul and void and without any international legal effect."Liu said that the Council members "expressed deep concern" over Netanyahu's remarks from earlier this month that "the Golan Heights will remain in the hands of Israel forever."Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon issued a statement rejecting the council complaint.aljazeera
Israeli MP: Assad regime survival serves Israel’s interest
A member in the Israeli Knesset, Eyal Ben Reuven has said that it is in Israel’s interest that the rule of the Syrian regime president, Bashar al-Assad continues.“This is regrettable, but a realistic view of the complex situation shows that the stability of the murder Bashar Assad’s rule is pure Israeli interest” Israeli Maariv newspaper quoted Ben Reuven of the Zionist Union as saying. Israeli lawmaker also suggested that Iran’s removal from Syria is in the interest of Russia, the US, Syria and Israel. He stressed that the Israeli battle, both politically and militarily, should continue to limit Iran’s threat to the region and Israel in particular.middleeastmonitor
Assad regime airdrops leaflets to threaten Syrians
Idlib:Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime on Sunday airdropped leaflets in Syrian province of Idlib, threatening the civilians in the region.The leaflets, bearing the title "Choose your destiny" and a photo of a dead Syrian, were dropped from a helicopter onto Idlib's Sarmada, Ram Hamdan villages and a refugee camp in Kemmune village."Continuing holding a gun in your hand means you are taking side with dead people. If you want to live, put your guns down. Don't gamble on your life," the note read.The note threatened the Syrians with death and said that it is their “last chance.”"You have no other choice. You will either put your guns down or you will definitely die. Make use of this last chance, put your guns down and improve your situation," the note warned.Anadolu Agency
Iran, Israel conduct indirect negotiations over Syria fighting: Report
Iran and Israel engaged in indirect negotiations this weekend over fighting in southwest Syria, according to a report on Saudi-owned news site Elaph.Iran reportedly pledged to stay out of fighting in southwest Syria between Syrian forces and rebel groups while Israel said it will not intervene in battles near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights or the Israel-Jordan border so long as Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias are not involved. For the negotiations, Iran's ambassador to Jordan, Mostafa Moslehzadeh, stayed in a hotel room with Iranian security personnel next door to a room of senior Israeli security officials, including the deputy head of Mossad, Elaph reported. Jordanian officials served as mediator, shuttling messages between the two rooms, according to the report.middleeasteye   
9 Russian fighters killed in Syria's Deir Ezzor: Monitor
At least 26 Syrian government forces and 9 Russian fighters were killed in an Islamic State (IS) group attack earlier this week in Syria's eastern desert, a monitor said Sunday.Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants had targeted a group of Syrian and allied Russian fighters near the town of Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor province on Wednesday.middleeasteye
Gaza boats will attempt to break Israel siege tomorrow
The Gaza Strip will set off a flotilla of ships on Tuesday in a bid to break the 12-year-long Israeli blockade on the Palestinian territory.“This trip will carry the hopes and dreams of the Palestinian people for freedom,” Salah Abdul-Ati, a member of a Palestinian committee tasked with breaking the siege, told a press conference in the Gaza City on Sunday.He said the first ship will set sail on Tuesday morning, with a number of injured Gazans and patients aboard.He, however, did not specify the first stop of the ship.MEMO
Egypt allow “Miles of Smiles” convoy to bring aids to Gaza
The convoy of “Miles of Smiles” is getting ready to visit Gaza Strip next week, after securing dates of entry through the Rafah crossing, under the agreement of the Egyptian authorities.“There is full coordination with Egyptian authorities on everything related to this convoy,” said Essam Yousef, the coordinator of the campaign, during an interview with Quds Press.He said that “activists from Britain, Belgium, Germany, Algeria, Jordan, Indonesia, and Kuwait will be participating in this convoy.”According to Yousef, “the convoy will be carrying food and medical aid and it is fully secured by Egypt and ready to be transported. It also carries in-kind aid which will be delivered directly to the beneficiaries in Gaza Strip.”MEMO
Palestinian President Abbas's hospital stay is extended
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who officials said is being treated for a lung infection, will remain in hospital for an eighth day on Sunday.The 82-year-old leader had been expected to be released from hospital in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, but this was postponed, Abbas's office said in a text message to journalists.middleeasteye
Speculation over Saudi Crown Prince health amid rumours of his death:MEMO
Western media outlets have raised speculations over the wellbeing of Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman who has not made any public appearance in four weeks.French 20 Minutes newspaper linked between the prince’s disappearance and the “attempted coup” which took place at the royal palace in the neighbourhood of Khuzama in Riyadh on April, 21.According to the paper, the Saudi media has rejected reports circulating on social media claiming the gunshots heard at the palace were part of a military coup attempt while the authorities claim a semi-automatic fire was used to send away a drone that appeared near the palace wall.French paper’s report follows another report issued by British The Observer which also raised doubts about the prince’s health.Bin Salman has not appeared in public since his meeting with the Spanish royal family on April 12.The al-Ahd al-Jadeed Twitter account, which describes itself as “close to the decision-making circles” in Saudi Arabia claimed that the Crown Prince has not entered the royal court since the incident at the royal palace in April.Last week, Iranian Kayhan newspaper reported that the crown prince had been shot twice during the attack and may have already died, citing a secret intelligence report sent to senior officials in an unnamed Arab country.According to the site, Bin Salman did not appear before camera when new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Riyadh late last April.
Saudi writer Madawi al-Rasheed: Saudi arrests protracts the kingdom’s ‘Game of Thrones’
Saudi writer Madawi al-Rasheed said that three recent waves of arrests reflect the paranoia of the new Saudi leadership, and suggested that that it appeared incapable of discriminating between friend and foe.The author added in an article published on the British Middle East Eye website: “These arrest campaigns can be considered as a sign of the leadership’s sense of insecurity, repressive tactics, or a popular mobilization strategy to ensure agreement on his policies and leadership, considering his legitimacy as the heir to the throne.”middleeastmonitor
Pakistan elections: Non-Muslim voters up by 30 % over last 5-yrs, Hindus maintain majority
Islamabad: The number of non-Muslim voters in Pakistan has climbed to 3.63 million in 2018 with Hindus maintaining their majority among the religious minority electorate, according to a new voters’ list prepared by authorities ahead of the general elections.The non-Muslim voters have registered an increase of 30 %  over the last five years, the Dawn newspaper reported. The number of voters belonging to religious minorities has climbed to 3.63 million in 2018 from 2.77 million as registered in electoral rolls for the 2013 general elections, it said. According to the report, the number of Hindu voters before 2013 polls was 1.40 million, higher than the collective number of all other minorities.The number of Hindu voters now stands at 1.77 million. Hindu voters continue to maintain their majority among the minorities, but they no more constitute over half of total non-Muslim voters as was the case in 2013, according to the report. They are mostly concentrated in the Sindh province, where in two districts they form over 40% of total registered voters.freepressjournal
Pakistan names former chief justice Nasir Ul Mulk as interim PM until general elections
Islamabad:Pakistan on Monday appointed former chief justice Nasir Ul Mulk as interim prime minister until general elections are held on July 25, premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said.“No Pakistani can lift a finger (against) such a name,” Abbasi told reporters, seated next to opposition leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah.The announcement ends weeks of wrangling between Abbasi’s ruling PML-N and Shah’s Pakistan People’s Party.Mulk, who also served as the interim chief of the Election Commission of Pakistan, will head a technocratic government until elections as the current government and parliament will be dissolved on Thursday.Reuters
Hindu widows can remarry now, bill passed in Pak’s assembly
Karachi: Pakistan’s Sindh province’s assembly passed a landmark bill allowing Hindu widows to remarry. The bill was initially moved by Nand Kumar Goklani of functional Pakistan Muslim League in the assembly. The bill allows Hindu widows to remarry out of their own free will but only after a period of six months has lapsed after their husband’s death. The bill also grants Hindu women the right to file a petition for dissolution of a marriage if they want to terminate their marriage. According to a HT report, Sindh Hindu Marriage Amendment Bill, 2018, which was passed on Friday, allows women in strained marriages to file for separation. The bill also states that, in case of separation, the man will have to provide for the children. Prior to the passage of the bill, divorced or widowed Hindu women in Sindh were not legally allowed to marry a second time. The amended bill has also prohibited bigamy, stating that a person cannot get married the second time while their first spouse still lives with them. Clause 18 of the bill says:“Any marriage solemnised after commencement of this act is void if at the date of such marriage either party had a spouse living.”
New Zealand to kill 150,000 cows to end bacterial disease
New Zealand plans to slaughter about 150,000 cows as it tries to eradicate a strain of disease-causing bacteria from the national herd.Politicians and industry leaders announced the ambitious plan on Monday. They say it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and, if successful, would be the first time an infected country has eliminated Mycoplasma bovis.HT
China Declares War On Buddha Statues, Orders Ban On Building Huge Outdoor Idols
China's ruling Communist Party has ordered the provincial Govt s to regulate the construction of large outdoor religious statues in a bid to prevent "commercialisation" of Buddhist and Taoist religions, official media reported on Saturday.Both Buddhism and Taoism have been officially recognised in Communist China with thousands of temples, even though they were subjected to heavy crackdown during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) headed by Communist Party of China (CPC) founder Mao Zedong to cleanse China of its spiritual past.Local Govt s have been asked to ramp up efforts to regulate the construction of new large outdoor religious statues, the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the CPC directed yesterday.indiatimes
Muslim students attacked and chased with stun gun at McDonald's: 'You don't deserve American food!'
John Jay Smith kept muttering to police "they killed my son," but really all that the five young men had done was eat some food in a McDonald's parking lot.It was sometime past 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. The 5 friends were having a mini tailgate, finishing their burgers and fries while standing outside their 2 cars in a Saint Augustine, Florida, McDonald's lot, when Smith started eyeing them from his truck, the men would soon tell police.The man was on the phone, but once he hung up he had a question for the five men."Are you American boys?" he asked, according to a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office arrest report.They were not American boys. They were international students from Egypt, all between the ages of 19 and 23, Omar Abdelmoaty told The Washington Post. But they didn't tell that to Smith.According to the arrest report, Smith flashed his pocket knife, flicking it open and closed, and then he shouted, "Get the...out of my country!", using the F-word, and "You don't deserve American food!" "We said, 'OK, sir, we are leaving,'" 20-year-old Mohamed Galal recounted in a sworn affidavit. They were apparently not leaving fast enough. According to the police report, Smith grabbed a stun gun from his truck to "make this quicker," as he put it, according to affidavit.independent

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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 3:55 PM)

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