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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

29 Aug ND: Dissent is the safety valve of democracy, says SC, puts activists in house arrest till Sep 6/ Activists’ arrested to divert attention from Sanatan Sanstha: Prakash Ambedkar


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY  
29 Aug 2018:17 Zilhajj 1439: Vol: 10, No:95
INDIA
Dissent is the safety valve of democracy, says SC, puts activists in house arrest till Sep 6
New Delhi: In a major relief to 5 human rights activists, who were arrested by Pune police probing alleged Maoist involvement in the Elgaar Parishad meeting in Pune on the eve of the Jan.1 violence that targeted Dalits at Bhima Koregaon, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the police to keep them under house arrest till next hearing in the case. The court will hear the matter next on Sept.6.Hearing the petition of Romila Thapar, Prabhat Patnaik, Satish Deshpande and others, the apex court expressed its anguish over the manner in which the 5 activists were arrested, saying the dissenting voice in a democracy must not be crushed. “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed then the pressure cooker may burst,” said Justice Chandrachud.The court issued a notice to the Maharashtra government and other parties and sought their replies by Sept.6.Reacting to the Supreme Court verdict, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir said the Bhima Koregaon violence was a serious blow to the nation and Constitution.Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court questioned the Maharashtra government over the arrest of rights activist Gautam Navlakha and said it will examine the legality of the state police’s action to arrest him and the transit remand order to take him to a Pune court. Maharashtra Police wanted to arrest Navlakha and take him to Pune in connection with an FIR lodged there. During arguments, a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel asked the state police why were all the documents not translated from Marathi and handed over to the court and Navlakha or his lawyers. It also wondered how the magisterial court could have applied its mind to issue a transit remand order without the translated documents.“Why the document carrying the grounds of arrest was not translated from Marathi and not given to Navlakha,” it asked the Maharashtra police and sought to know by when it could provide all the documents to the court and Navlakha. indianexpress
SC order puts activists in house arrest till Sep 6
'Dissent Is the Safety Valve of Democracy': SC Says Activists to Be Under House Arrest
7 arrested belong to organisations identified for links with Maoists: Pune Police to Centre
New Delhi :Facing flak from several quarters for its crackdown on prominent left-wing activists, Pune police on Wednesday said it was probing the linkages of the arrested individuals with the outlawed CPI(Maoist).“What is under investigation in the instant case are the linkages of these individuals with the CPI(Maoist), a banned organization operating with the devious objective of overthrow of the democratic order and the support provided by them to the CPI(Maoist),” Pune police said in a strongly-worded letter to the Centre.In its report, the police also said that such individuals cannot “escape responsibility for aiding and abetting the violent acts committed by CPI(Maoist)’s underground cadres.”
‘As close to a declaration of an Emergency as we will ever get’: Arundhati Roy reacts to raids
Writer and activist Arundhati Roy on Tuesday reacted to the news of police raids at the homes of human rights activists in multiple cities across the country. “It is as close to a declaration of an Emergency as we will ever get,” the Booker-prize winning author said.On Tuesday morning, teams of the Pune Police raided the houses of activists in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Delhi, Faridabad and Goa. Among those whose houses were searched are Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, Gautam Navlakha in New Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Faridabad and Stan Swamy in Ranchi. In Hyderabad, raids were reported from the homes of Varavara Rao and his family members, and two other activists, Kranti and Naseem. In Goa, Dalit scholar Anand Teltumbde’s house was raided in his absence. Police reportedly took the keys from the security guard and walked in.Some of these activists have been detained by police. The raids are said to be connected to investigations into a public meeting organised days before caste-related violence erupted at Bhima Koregaon near Pune on Jan.1.scroll.in
NHRC issues notice to Maharashtra on activists' arrests
New Delhi: NHRC has today issued notice to the Maharashtra chief secretary and director general of police on the arrests of five human rights activists – Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Arun Ferreira – from different cities on Tuesday.Taking suo motu cognisance of the arrests, the NHRC has said in a statement that media reports suggest the Maharashtra police did not follow standard operating procedure, “which may amount to violation of their human rights”.thewire
Arrest of activists shows ‘emergency-like’ conditions prevailing in country: Yashwant Sinha
Bengaluru:Ex Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha today alleged “emergency-line” conditions are prevailing in the country under the present regime and the arrest of five activists on suspicion of Maoist links shows that any voice of dissent is not safe.“What happened yesterday is the prime example of assault on freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” he told reporters here.Sinha, who had served as minister in the previous NDA regime but has turned into a bitter critic of Modi government, alleged that there was a ‘conspiracy’ to silence criticism and suppress voices of dissent.He said the arrests showed that people who voice dissent were not safe and there were many ways to suppress dissenting voices.PTI
Activists’ arrested to divert attention from Sanatan Sanstha: Prakash Ambedkar
New Delhi:Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar said on Wednesday the arrest of five prominent activists and human rights lawyers for their alleged Maoists links was an attempt by Maharashtra police to deflect attention from the various cases involving the members of right-wing Sanatan Sanstha.Ambedkar, the president of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, said the state police have found the role of Sanatan Sanstha in more “sinister” things such as murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in August 2013.“However to distract attention from its probe, police are trying to go after genuine activists,” he said.“The latest move by the government will turn counter-productive in the Lok Sabha elections. The government is already losing sympathy and these arrests will further dent its image,” Ambedkar said.HT
PUCL, Amnesty, Oxfam condemn crackdown on rights activists
Arrest Of Activists Condemned: Modi Govt Would Have Arrested Even Gandhi, says Historian
Sanatan Sanstha ban proposal: Maharashtra to send explosives haul case info to Centre
Maharashtra govt has found that the five arrested in the explosives seizure case had links with Sanatan Sanstha sympathizers and would send details to the Centre to ban the radical Hindutva outfit, a police official said today.The state govt had sent a proposal to ban the Sanatan Sanstha to the Centre in 2015. It decided to send the details so that it can be added to the proposal, the official said.The Maharashtra ATS probing the recent seizure of explosives, has so far arrested five persons - Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Shrikant Pangarkar and Avinash Pawar. “During the investigation, it was found that all the arrested persons had links with right wing Hindutva organisations and also with the sympathisers of the Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS),” he said. The social media accounts and online activities of the arrested also suggest these links, he added.PTI
ATS conducts searches, traces 9 terror camps, 2 in Maharashtra
Mumbai: Special public prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves submitted to a special court on Tuesday a list of persons who were to be allegedly targeted by the accused arrested in the Nalasopara arms haul case. Fuelled by anger against the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed 'Padmaavat', they had hurled a petrol bomb outside Bhanu Sagar theatre in Kalyan on Janu 28.Another petrol bomb was thrown at a cinema hall in Belgaum, Karnataka, where the movie was being screened. There were no reports of any injury or casualty.Police said the accused got training in making bombs and operating firearms in various camps. On Sunday, ATS conducted searches at a farmhouse near Jalna, where Pangarkar and the others allegedly tested firearms. Gonsalves told the court that ATS has found nine such terror training camps, including two in Maharashtra."7 training camps have been identified by the police and probe for 2 more camps is underway," said the police.Seeking their week-long custody, Gonsalves said they needed to be confronted with around 10TB data they had seized from the accused. All bomb-making material, arms and ammunition were from adjoining states like MP, UP and Karnataka and the accused were needed to ascertain from where they were purchased. "We also need to find out that apart from Pangarkar, where were funds coming from outside Maharashtra for purchasing arms and ammunition," he said.In another development, the special CBI court issued a production warrant against Kalaskar in Narendra Dabholkar murder case. Kalaskar, during interrogation, had apparently admitted to his involvement in the murder. On Tuesday, CBI sought his custody, saying it needed to confront Kalaskar with the other accused, including shooter Sachin Andure. In Aurangabad, Judicial Magistrate First Class UP Devarshi on Tuesday rejected the bail application of Shubham Surale (23), Ajinkya alias Golu Surale (22), both Aurangpura residents and Rohit Rege (20), a resident of Dhawni Mohalla, who were arrested on August 22.
Right Wing Terror: ATS raids Jalna politician's farmhouse for clues of bomb making
After the arrest of Shrikant Pangarkar, a former Shiv Sainik from Jalna, Maharashtra ATS investigating a right-wing terror plot has now turned its focus on another ex-corporator from the same town. ATS spent 5 hours searching the Jalna farmhouse of ex BJP corporator, now with NCP. The agency has not released the name of the politician or arrested him yet. The cops were looking for clues of bomb assembly, based on the interrogation of Pangarkar. Ex-corporator's farmhouse in located in the interiors of Jalna district, and cops believe that it may have been used not just to assemble bombs but also for target practice by the suspected shooters of three rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka.An ATS team, along with the bomb detection and disposal squad, and dog squad, conducted a search of the property for over five hours. Sources in the ATS said they were conducting further investigation, and had seized certain items from the house and are also questioning the owner.The farm house came up during Pangarkar's interrogation, after which a team of from ATS's Aurangabad unit conducted the search.A senior ATS official said farmhouse owner is being questioned to see if he is connected to Pangarkar or Sachin Andure, who allegedly shot Dr Narendra Dabholkar.mid-day
Jamaat-e-Islami Reviews Kerala Flood Relief Operations, Appeals to Intensify Relief Efforts
New Delhi:A delegation of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind leaders led by its Vice Presidents Nusrat Ali and T. Arif Ali visited the flood affected areas of Kerala on August 23 and 24 to review the relief operations carried out by Jamaat cadre and assess the situation in the state that has been hit by massive floods, landslides due to heavy rains.13 districts of flood-hit Kerala have been very badly affected leaving more than four hundred dead, tens of thousands of houses submerged in water and lakhs were forced to shift to relief camps.The Jamaat leaders visited Wayanad district, Malappuram, Aluva and Mannam among the worst affected areas and assessed the damage done by the worst flood of the century. Jamaat leaders also took into account the relief work done by Jamaat cadres in the state so far.Organizations working under Kerala Jamaat have done a commendable job. Especially IRW volunteers’ service even reached those areas where the government machinery could not, like Adivasi colonies etc. Hundreds of volunteers are actively engaged in relief activities risking their lives.Relief activities were done in a systematic and planned manner. Relief Camps hosting thousands of people have been running in Palakkad, Panthalam, Eranakulam and Malappuram districts. Volunteers are actively taking part in collecting and distributing material required for basic needs.Jamaat also appeled for large scale aid and support by addressing press meets and other platforms of mass media.caravandaily
Panel submits report on incidents of lynching to GoM headed by Rajnath
New Delhi:A panel of senior govt officers, which deliberated on the possibility of enacting a new law to check incidents of lynching, has submitted its report to a Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, officials said on Wednesday.The committee of secretaries, headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, held consultations with a cross-section of society and other stakeholders before submitting its report to the GoM.The GoM will now submit its recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a final decision, a home ministry official said.Though the final outcome of the deliberations of the committee of secretaries is not known immediately, but it is believed they have suggest for tightening the law by inserting clauses in IPC and Code of Criminal Procedure through parliamentary approval.The panel report will now be discussed by GoM whose members also include External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.The move came after nearly 40 people were lynched in nine States in the past one year.PTI
FGM: Court should not decide validity of religious practice on PIL: Dawoodi Muslim group
New Delhi: A group of Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community members today told the Supreme Court that the courts should not decide the constitutionality of a centuries-old religious practice of female circumcision through the PIL route.The group said said female circumcision is practised by a few sects of Islam including the Dawoodi Bohra community and the validity of this be examined, if at all, by a larger Constitution bench.A bench headed Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing a PIL filed by a Delhi-based lawyer challenging the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) of minor girls of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, was told by senior advocate AM Singhvi that the validity of a religious practice cannot be examined in a PIL jurisdiction."The object of female circumcision (FC) and male circumcision (MC) is a religious practice in Islam and they are related to purity aspect," Singhvi, appearing for over 70,000 Dawoodi Bohra Muslim women, told the bench which also comprised justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.He said though male circumcision (MC) is followed by all sects of Islam, FC is being observed by few sects including the Dawoodi Bohra community and the validity of this be examined, if at all, by a larger Constitution bench.He said that if the government would have brought a legislation banning FC then it could have been challenged on the grounds of violation of Article 14 (right to equality), but this recourse, would not be available to the community if the court decides to examine the validity of the practice.He also referred to the apex court's judgement on right to privacy and said that the PIL petitioner has been entering into private area of the community.Singhvi said that no affected Bohra Muslim woman has come to the court challenging the practice and to allege that it has harmed her emotionally and physically.The advancing of arguments remained inconclusive and would resume on Aug.30.outlookindia
Adani loses case in Singapore, goes to Bombay High Court to stall DRI probe into it
Mumbai :Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), the flagship firm of the Adani Group, has moved Bombay High Court seeking to quash all Letters Rogatory (LRs) issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to other countries against a few Adani Group firms that are being probed in connection with alleged overvaluation of Indonesian coal imports.An LR is a formal request seeking judicial assistance from a foreign country in investigating an offshore entity.AEL filed a writ on Tuesday against the Union of India.This comes weeks after the High Court of Singapore ruled against Adani Global Pte Ltd, which had moved the Singapore court, seeking a stay on a lower court’s demand to produce crucial documents pertaining to coal imports from Adani firms.The lower court of Singapore had served about 24 production orders to Adani firms after it received an LR from DRI seeking mutual assistance to obtain these documents pertaining to Indonesian coal imports for its ongoing probe.Emails and phone calls to the official spokesperson of the Adani Group did not elicit any response.Apart from the Adani Group, the DRI is probing at least 40 companies including two companies of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), two Essar Group firms and a few public sector power firms for alleged overvaluation of coal imports from Indonesia pegged at Rs 29,000 crore between 2011 and 2015.Indian Express had reported on June 20, 2016 that three state-owned banks declined to provide to the DRI information lying with their overseas branches regarding transactions by leading power companies in connection with the coal imports case.The banks had cited confidentiality norms which prompted Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia to write to these lenders to cooperate with the ongoing investigation. Subsequently, DRI issued LRs to Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong seeking their help to access documents lying with overseas branches of the state-owned banks relating to transactions by top power companies that were under probe.indianexpress
Two years after demonetisation, Rs 107 billion in banned notes still not returned to RBI
Indians have deposited almost all the currency notes made illegal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016, the central bank said in a report after a count that lasted nearly two years.Banks have received Rs 15.3 trillion ($217 billion), or 99.3% of the currency invalidated, the Reserve Bank of India said in its annual report on Wednesday. An amount of Rs 107 billion has not yet been received by the RBI after the cash ban, the report said.The government had initially estimated about Rs 5 trillion of the Rs15.4 trillion rendered worthless on Nov. 9, 2016 wouldn’t return to the system, indicating that this was cash stashed away illegally to avoid tax.HT
Govt claims demonetisation achieved its objective, Congress says lakhs lost jobs
New Delhi:Dismissing Opposition criticism after RBI revealed that 99 per cent of 500 and 1,000 currency notes that were rendered illegal in November 2016 has returned to the banking system, the government on Wednesday said the decision of “demonetisation has achieved its objective quite substantially”.Talking to reporters, Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg said objectives of the note ban, like checking black money, terror financing, promoting digital transaction and weeding out fake currency notes have been achieved. “I think demonetisation has achieved its objective quite substantially,” he said in reply to a question in this regard.Garg also ruled out any cash crunch in the country. “There is no cash crunch in any party of the country,” said Garg.indianexpress
Finance Ministry Had Warned MHRD About Choosing a Non-Existent Varsity as IoE
New Delhi: Coming on the heels of information that the HRD ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office disagreed on various pivotal matters before releasing the Institutes of Eminence (IoE) list, a fresh report (on August 29) in the Indian Express has stated that the finance ministry had warned the MHRD against giving the IoE tag to non-existent institutes, saying that the illogical move would “hurt the education ecosystem”.The HRD ministry had reportedly been cautioned against picking a non-existent, or greenfield, institute at least a year before the controversy regarding the list of six IoEs erupted. According to the Indian Express report, official records accessed by the Indian Express under the RTI Act have revealed strong objections were raised by the finance ministry but without success, “on selecting an IoE ‘only based on intentions and a plan’.” Responding to the ‘greenfield category’ referred in the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) note moved by the HRD Ministry early last year, the Department of Expenditure reportedly wrote in February: “…for the private institutions which are yet to be established, granting of the status of Institutions of Eminence based on future plans is beyond rationale and is not supported. The laid down criteria in this regard is highly subjective.”thewire
Congress party not involved in 1984 Riots: Anwar
NCP national general secretary Tariq Anwar, who was the national president of Indian Youth Congress when the anti-Sikh riots broke out in Delhi following Indira Gandhi’s assassination, insisted on Tuesday that “the Congress as a party” was never involved in those riots even though “some party leaders in their individual capacity got involved in it”.Anwar also said then newly sworn-in PM Rajiv Gandhi had “give clear instructions” to the Congress leaders, including him “to go out and help calm down the situation” in the city even as “Rajiv ji himself visited many places helping administration quell the riots”.Anwar asked why “those people who are still targeting Rahul despite the fact he was only a school student when the riots took place” and "those who continue to attack the Congress despite then PM Manmohan Singh and then Congress president Sonia Gandhi publicly apologising for the riots, conveniently choose not to ask the BJP leaders, including PM Modi and L K Advani why they have not apologised for the Gujarat riots and for the demolition of Babari masjid”. ET
4 J&K policemen killed in militant attack in Shopian
New Delhi :At least four policemen were killed in a militant attack in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said on Wednesday. The militants opened fire at the policemen at Arhama in Shopian district, a police officer told PTI.“Terrorists in the afternoon fired indiscriminately upon a police party at Arhama in district Shopian. Four policemen sustained gunshot wounds and were evacuated to a nearby hospital for medical attention,” a police spokesman said.indianexpress
India, Pakistan hold talks on Indus Waters Treaty, first bilateral meet since Imran Khan became PM
Lahore :India and Pakistan today commenced crucial talks on various aspects of the Indus Waters Treaty here, the first bilateral engagement since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office. The first round of the two-day meeting is being held at the National Engineering Services Pakistan.The water commissioners of Pakistan and India are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works, but Pakistan had been facing a lot of problems in timely meetings and visits.Indian side is being represented by a delegation of the Indian Water Commission led by Commissioner P K Saxena whereas Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Meher Ali Shah and his delegation are representing Pakistan, it said. Both the countries are expected to present their reports during the talks. After the meeting, a joint notification would be issued.PTI
Imran Khan’s govt preparing proposal to resolve Kashmir issue: Pakistan minister
Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s government is preparing a proposal to resolve the Kashmir issue, a senior minister of the country said, describing the draft as a “model for conflict resolution”. Minister for human rights Shireen Mazari made the revelation during a TV talk show, but she did not share the details of the proposal.“We will prepare the proposal within a week and circulate it among all the stakeholders,” Mazari told the anchor of the Urdu language news channel 24NewsHD earlier this week. She said the proposal, which is a “model for conflict resolution”, would be presented before the Cabinet and also PM Khan.“If the draft is approved, we will move forward on it,” said Mazari, who is considered as close to the powerful army.The army, which enjoys considerable influence over policy decisions in Pakistan, has ruled the country for much of its life since it gained independence 70 years ago. When asked about the status of the draft, she responded,“It’s almost ready.”PTI
Deputy superintendent of Jammu prison sent to NIA remand in connection with alleged terror plot
Jammu:A special NIA court on Wednesday sent deputy superintendent of Ambphalla prison, Feroz Ahmad Lone, to nine days custody of the premier investigating agency in connection with his alleged connivance with a militant at Srinagar central jail to send Kashmiri youth to PoK for arms training in terror camps.Lone, who was wearing sky-blue jeans and a t-shirt and surrounded by four to five policemen, was produced before the court here this morning. He, however, didn’t respond to any media queries and also stumbled before entering the court. “Today, NIA produced him before a court which sent him on a remand till September 6,” said an NIA official.HT
WORLD
Iran's currency crisis: Now it's two gold coins to rent an apartment
Tehran:It’s the commodity which becomes a safe haven at times of economic crisis. Now, with the crash of the rial, Iranians are using gold for more everyday payments, most notably rent – but the resulting price hikes are starting to affect the demographics of Tehran itself. The currency began to slump in December, when Washington flagged that it would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal.That decline accelerated in May after US President Donald Trump made a formal announcement that the US was pulling out of the deal with world powers and reimposing economic sanctions on Iran.While the offical rate peaked at around 45,000 rials to the dollar, this was only available for a small group of importers and businesses, leaving most Iranians to pay double that. On 29 July, in the runup to fresh US sanctions, money exchanges in Tehran were charging around 100,000 rials for one dollar; within 24 hours this had increased to 110,000 rials.Iranians have traditionally saved gold coins for major purchases such as wedding costs. That behaviour has become more common, however, with the re-imposition of US sanctions in August, when gold purchases hit a four-year high.Meanwhile one gold coin neared 40m rials, although that rate has since decreased to 36m rials. Middleeasteye

Ready to abandon nuclear deal if needed: Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/ready-to-abandon-nuclear-deal-if-needed-irans-ayatollah-ali-khamenei/articleshow/65594810.cms
Tehran: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that his government should be ready to "set aside" the 2015 nuclear deal if it is no longer in the country's national interests."The JCPOA (nuclear deal) is not the objective, it is only a means," he said in a meeting with the cabinet, according to his website."Naturally, if we reach the conclusion that it is no longer maintaining our national interests, we will put it aside."Khamenei said talks should continue with Europe, which is trying to salvage the 2015 agreement despite the withdrawal of the United States. But he said the Iranian government "must not pin hope on the Europeans for issues such as the JCPOA or the economy"."We must examine their promises with scepticism," he added. Khamenei reiterated that Iran would not engage in any negotiations with the administration of US President Donald Trump, despite his offer of unconditional talks. AFP
Iran arrests 'tens of spies working for govt bodies'
The Iranian government has arrested tens of people after accusing them of being spies working for foreign govts. Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Wednesday that several suspects held dual nationalities, but refused to specify which countries they belonged to."I have repeatedly asked people to inform us if they know any dual national. The intelligence ministry's anti-espionage unit has successfully identified and arrested tens of spies in different governmental bodies," Alavi was quoted by ISNA, a semi-official news agency, on Tuesday.Alavi did not specify the exact number of people arrest, nor did he say when they were apprehended.Iran does not recognise dual nationality, but does not routinely announce arrests or charges of dual nationals.After Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments about "infiltration" of Western agents in Iranian decision-making bodies, the number of arrests of dual citizens has increased. Aljazeera
Israel threatens Iran attacks over Syria deal
An Israeli minister on Wednesday threatened to strike Iranian positions in Syria, hours after the announcement of a Syrian-Iranian agreement under which Iran would rebuild Syrian military forces. "Israel will not allow Iran to settle in Syria. We will act with all our might against any Iranian position in Syria that threatens the State of Israel," Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told the Israeli Public Broadcasting Authority. He said the Syrian-Israeli agreement is “crossing the red line we have set”. Referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Katz said that if he defended Iranian forces, "he would bear the consequences immediately." On Monday, Iranian media said Tehran and Damascus signed military and reconstruction agreements during Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami’s visit to Syria. Israel frequently accuses Tehran of exploiting the ongoing conflict in Syria -- where Iran supports the Assad regime -- to establish a permanent military presence near Israel’s border. Meanwhile, Katz described the policy of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on the blockaded Gaza Strip as “totally a failure”. "Israel should take a strategic decision that would change the reality in the Gaza Strip", he said. "I support a unilateral move on Gaza without dialogue with Hamas, which would achieve three strategic objectives: complete separation of Israel and Gaza in all civil issues and complete separation of security and demography between Gaza, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority," he said. While the third objective, he added “is to reinforcing the policy of deterrence along the Gaza border”. "I do not believe in any arrangement with Hamas, neither at the basic level nor at the operational level," Katz said,” he said. Anadolu Agenc
US warns Syria, Russia on possible Idlib offensive
US warned Russia and the Syrian regime against any potential offensive on the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib."We would hold them responsible and we would hold them accountable for that, most especially for the use of chemical weapons,” State Deprtment spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.“We would encourage Russia to make this point very clear to Damascus, that that will not be tolerated," she added. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Friday that a possible military offensive on Idlib would be a "disaster".“Preserving the de-escalation zone in Idlib, Syria is important in both humanitarian respects and the fight against terrorism," Cavusoglu said.Anadolu Agenc
Myanmar rejects UN findings in Rohingya genocide report
Myanmar's govt has rejected a UN' report on mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya, which calls for Myanmar officials to face genocide charges over their campaign against the Muslim minority.On Wednesday, a senior spokesperson for the government denied the UN's findings, calling the allegations false, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported."We didn't allow the FFM (UN Fact-Finding Mission) to enter into Myanmar, that's why we don't agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council," Zaw Htay said in the newspaper. Htay said Myanmar has "zero tolerance for human rights violations", adding that his country has an "accountability and responsibility framework regarding human rights issues.""We shall take any action against violation of human rights", Htay said. He also said the country has set up its own Independent Commission of Inquiry in "response to false allegations by the UN agencies and other international agencies". Aljazeera
UN chief urges Myanmar to ensure immediate, full access
Washington:UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Security Council member states to urge Myanmar to cooperate in solving the humanitarian crisis experienced by Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. Guterres described the situation as "one of the world’s worst humanitarian and human rights crises" in an address to the Security Council."I ask members of the Security Council to join me in urging the Myanmar authorities to cooperate with the United Nations, and to ensure immediate, unimpeded and effective access for its agencies and partners," Guterres said. His remarks come one day after a UN fact-finding mission published a report that said top military officials in Myanmar, including Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing should be investigated for genocide.Facebook banned the accounts and pages of Myanmar army officials Monday, citing they were spreading hate by attacking the Rohingya Muslim population through social media. Guterres said the Myanmar government has refused to work with UN human rights groups despite repeated calls by the Security Council to do so.Anadolu
Israeli court recognises settlement on privately owned Palestinian land
An Israeli court has for the first time recognised as legal a settlement established on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, court officials said on Tuesday.The settlement of Mitzpe Carmit, close to Ramallah, was established in the late 1990s on land owned by Palestinians who had title deeds recognised by the Israeli authorities.The owners had appealed to the Israeli courts to have the settlers evicted from their land. But the Jerusalem district court found the settlement was legal as it had been created with the consent of the Israeli authorities and that the settlers had settled there "in good faith" - without knowing the land was privately owned.“The District Court today clearly stated that whoever settled [the land] with the state’s approval and in good faith, would not be evacuated. The injustice done in the evacuations of the Amona and Netiv Ha’avot [outposts] should not be repeated,” said Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.Today, the settlement close to Ramallah is home to several dozen families.The ruling may still be appealed, but if that fails, it may serve as a precedent for the legal recognition of settlements established without permission from the Israeli authorities or occupying land privately owned by Palestinians.

Egypt sentences 6 to death for terrorism
Cairo:An Egyptian court sentenced six people to death for conducting a terror attack at a security checkpoint in north of Cairo.The attack, which happened in 2016, killed a policeman, the official news agency MENA reported.The Cairo Criminal Court also sentenced two defendants to life in prison and four others to 3-15 years with the same charges.The defendants were also charged with establishing a terrorist group.Egypt has been experiencing anti-security attacks since former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military in 2013 and his Muslim Brotherhood group was banned in 2014. Thousands of militants have been detained and hundreds were facing trials. Morsi and some prominent figures of his group have received final verdicts that varied from death to life sentences over charges of murder,violence and spying.xinhuanet
Egypt says 20 militants killed in security swoop
Cairo:At least 20 militants have been killed in a wide-ranging security operation in the restive Sinai Peninsula and western Egypt, according to the Egyptian military. A military statement said seven militants were killed in an airstrike in a desert area in western Egypt. A cache of weapons and explosives belts have been seized during the operation, it said. Security forces also killed 13 militants in an exchange of fire in central and western Sinai, according to the statement. A total of 18 militants have also been rounded up during the operation, it added. The statement, however, did not give details about casualties among security forces during the swoops. Anadolu
FLASH VIEWS & NEWS
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:56 PM)

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