News and views across the globe.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

5 SEP ND: SC defers process of receiving claims, objections to Assam NRC until further order;next hearing on 19 Sep/Hapur lynching case: SC directs IGP, Meerut to supervise probe/Section 377: SC to pronounce verdict tomorrow on pleas challenging its validity


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY  
05 Sept. 2018: 24 Zilhajj 1439: Vol: 10, No:100
INDIA
SC defers process of receiving claims, objections to Assam NRC until further order;next hearing on 19 Sep
The Supreme Court today deferred the commencement of the process of receiving claims and objections for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam till further orders. A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman examined the report of NRC coordinator Pratik Hajela, in which he said that a claimant can rely on 10 of the 15 documents mentioned in list A to stake claim in Assam's register of citizens. The bench asked Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, and other stakeholders to file their response to Hajela's report in two weeks and scheduled the next hearing for 19 Sept.On 28 August, the Supreme Court had said it could consider re-verification of 10 percent of the people who were included in the final draft of the Assam NRC, an exercise that could be carried out by an independent team.The bench said that the Government of India will not be given the report submitted by the Assam NRC coordinator to the top court on the consequences of the 40 lakh people excluded from the final draft being allowed to change their legacy data, reported CNN News18. The Centre on Wednesday told the court that it has great interest in the matter, after which the bench said the government may be interested but the court has to "balance things". firstpost
Assam NRC: Supreme Court defers process of receiving claims, objections until further orders
Dalit group plans ‘long march’ to Assam in protest of NRC
Kolkata :All India Namasudra Bikash Parishad (AINBP), a Dalit group, will take out a ‘long march’ to Assam on Sept. 23 to protest against the exclusion of Bengali Hindus from the final draft of NRC. The organisation is expecting a gathering of about 20,000 to 25,000 people who will start the march from Kamakhyaguri in North Bengal and walk to Srirampur on the Assam border, about 20 km away.“Central govt had given assurance that no Hindus will suffer because of NRC. However we have learned that out of 40 lakh people who have been excluded from the list, 80 per cent are Bengali Hindus. A large number of these Hindus belonged to SC, ST and Dalit communities. We want to register our protest against this through the long march,” Mukul Chandra Bairagya, AINBP working chief, said.He said the group plans to reach Guwahati and interact with people who have been affected by NRC.“If Assam police stop us at the border, then we will block National Highway-27 which connects the 2 states,” he added.Indian Express
Hapur lynching case: SC directs IGP, Meerut to supervise probe
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed IGP, Meerut to supervise the investigation of lynching of a man in Hapur, UP by a mob of alleged cow vigilantes. The SC also said that the IGP will adhere to and follow the court's judgment while conducting the investigation in the case.The SC had on Au. 13 directed IGP, Meerut to submit a report on the lynching case. The direction had come after the Supreme Court took serious note of a petition accusing the police of tampering with evidence to project a communal lynching by cow vigilantes as a road rage case.Petitioners Samiudeen, his brother Yaseen and Dinesh Tomar, who witnessed cow vigilantes brutally assault one Qasim for alleged cow slaughter on June 18, even when there was no evidence to suggest so, told the court that Tomar was forced to write a false report. TOI 
Anti-lynching legislation: Ministers’ group discusses panel recommendations to check lynching incidents
https://indianexpress.com/article/india/anti-lynching-legislation-ministers-group-discusses-panel-recommendations-to-check-lynching-incidents-5341538/
New Delhi:A Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, discussed on Wednesday the recommendations of a panel set up to suggest ways to check incidents of lynching, officials said. One of the key recommendations of the committee of secretaries, headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, is to put to task country heads of the social media platforms sites.This was the first meeting of the GoM and the ministers were briefed about the recommendations of the committee, a home ministry official said.The panel is also believed to have recommended tightening of law by inserting clauses in the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure through parliamentary approval.The GoM is expected to hold further meetings over the next few weeks to finalise its recommendations and would subsequently the same to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a final decision, the official said.PTI
 
Section 377: SC to pronounce verdict tomorrow on pleas challenging its validity
New Delhi:The Supreme Court will tomorrow pronounce the much-awaited verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the validity of Section 377 of IPC that criminalises homosexuality. The apex court will decide whether or not to strike down this section of IPC, a colonial-era provision that punishes same-sex relations.Section 377 is one of the few important issues that the bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra is expected to deliver its judgment on before his retirement on Oct 2. The Centre, which had initially sought adjournment for filing its response to the petitions, had later left to the wisdom of the court the issue of legality of the penal provision with regard to the aspects of criminalising consensual unnatural sex between two consenting adults.The Centre had said that the other aspects of the penal provision dealing with minors and animals should be allowed to be remain in the statute book.indianexpress
Activists not arrested for dissenting opinion, ‘cogent evidence’ linking them to Maoists, Police tells SC
New Delhi: Maharashtra Police told the Supreme Court Wednesday that the arrest of 5 activists in connection with the Elgaar Parishad investigation was based on “cogent evidence” linking them with banned CPI (Maoists). The state police, in its response to the plea filed by historian Romila Thapar and four others, accused the activists of planning to carry out violence, planned ambush against country and security forces.“Activists not arrested because of their dissenting opinion, there is sufficient material to dispel this impression,” the Maharashtra Police told the SC. Challenging the locus of Thapar and others for filing the plea, the state police in its counter-affidavit termed them unrelated to the Bhima-Koregaon violence case.Earlier the SC had directed that the five activists would be kept in house arrest till Sept.6 observing that dissent was the “safety valve” of democracy.indianexpress
Independent Inquiry Slams Pune Police for 'Inaction' During Bhima Koregaon Violence
Mumbai: A non-official inquiry conducted by a retired high court judge and two district judges has come down heavily on the police and particularly the then SP  Pune (rural) Mohd. Suvez Haq for its “inaction and inability to control the mob” that had unleashed violence on the huge gathering of Bahujans at Bhima Koregaon outside Pune on Jan 1.As part of an independent inquiry initiated by anti-caste activists and social groups, Justice (retired) B. Chandra Kumar of the Hyderabad high court, along with two district judges of Maharashtra, J.H. Dongre and Manik Mhakre, had travelled to Bhima Koregaon and the nearby villages, and recorded exhaustive testimonies of the victims, bystanders and the police on duty.The inquiry has concluded that the violence could have been controlled had the police and state administration reacted promptly to the “premeditated” violence.The inquiry report that has been accessed by The Wire has already been submitted to the state set 2-member judicial inquiry commission headed by the former chief justice of Calcutta high court J.N. Patel and Sumit Mullick, ex chief secretary of Maharashtra govt. thewire
Gauri Lankesh murder case: Gujarat forensic lab confirms Parashuram Waghmare shot, killed her
Bengaluru: SIT probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case got a major breakthrough with a Gujarat forensic lab confirming that Parashuram Waghmare shot and killed her on 5 Sept. SIT sources said the entire sequence of events was reconstructed and a video of it along with CCTV footage on the day of incident sent to the Directorate of Forensic Science, which confirmed that the man in both the visuals was the same."FSL lab confirmed that the person who appeared in both visuals was the same. It establishes our line of investigation," said the SIT officer, requesting anonymity. Lankesh, known for her progressive and fearless writing, was shot dead at close range by unknown assailants at her home on 5 Sept, 2017. Meanwhile, SIT has intensified its hunt for some more people who were either part of the Lankesh murder case directly or indirectly. It has so far arrested 12 people.PTI
Multiple investigations hint at link between Lankesh, Dabholkar and other 2 murders
Out on bail, Ajmer blast convict Bhavesh Patel returns home to hero welcome in Bharuch
Surat :One of 2 men, sentenced to life imprisonment for their alleged involvement in the 2007 Ajmer dargah blast, returned home to Bharuch 2 days ago to a hero’s welcome by a large crowd that included office-bearers of BJP and VHP.Bhavesh Patel (40) of Bharuch and Devendra Gupta (42) of Ajmer, handed life terms by a Jaipur court in Aug. 2017, were granted bail last week by the Rajasthan High Court after their lawyers argued that the men had been convicted on the basis of “human probability… circumstantial evidence… conjectures”. 3 persons were killed and 15 others injured in the dargah blast. Accompanied by his brother Hitesh and others who had gone to Jaipur to complete the bail procedure, Patel was welcomed at the Bharuch railway station on Sunday by a large crowd. Clad in saffron clothes and calling himself Swami Muktanand, Patel went in a procession from the Swaminarayan temple in Dandiyabazaar to his house in Hathikhana area.People carried him on their shoulders while others showered him with rose petals, burst crackers and even invited a DJ to the celebration — all the way to his home where his parents were waiting for him.In the welcome procession were BJP’s Surbhiben Tamakuwala, president of the Bharuch municipality, councillor Marutisinh Atodariya, VHP’s Viral Desai and local RSS members — Bhavesh Patel and Devendra Gupta are former RSS members.indianexpress
Malegaon blast: Spl court to hear plea of Lt Col Purohit, others against prosecution sanction next week onwards
New Delhi :The special court in Mumbai on Wednesday said it will hear objections to the validity of sanction for prosecution against the accused, including Colonel Prasad Purohit, in the 2008 Malegaon blast case from next week onwards. The court will hear the accused on point of sanction under UAPA from Sept.10.The accused including Purohit Prasad, who is out on bail in the case, have objected to the validity of sanction of prosecution against them.Earlier, on Tuesday, the Bombay HC had refused to grant a stay on framing of charges against seven accused, including Prasad Purohit, in the case. The accused had moved an application on Monday, seeking a stay on the framing of charges by the trial court, which was scheduled for Wednesday. The application moved by Purohit said he had moved the trial court to defer the framing of charges until the high court decided the validity of the sanction for prosecution granted by central government to prosecute him under UAPA in the appeal.indianexpress 
J&K's separate constitution is an aberration: Ajit Doval lands in controversy
New Delhi:NSA Ajit Doval has landed in controversy with his remark that J&K's separate constitution is an "aberration" as sovereignty "cannot be diluted and ill-defined". In the backdrop of the challenge to the Article 35A -- which grants special rights and privileges to the state -- in Supreme Court, livid lawmakers from the state questioned if his comments have the backing of the Centre. Speaking at the launch of a book on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel yesterday, Doval had said his contribution was not about the merger of the states, "it is only a means to an end"."The thing was that, to make a sovereign state in which there was the sovereignty of the people, was established in the Constitution, which is applicable to the whole of it. Probably with J&K, where the Constitution was... in a truncated form... another constitution of J&K continued to exist, which is an aberration," PTI quoted Doval as saying.Asked what he meant by "means to an end", Doval told NDTV, "560 states which had different laws were merged with India and had one constitution.  Merger was means to end and end to itself." In Srinagar, National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal demanded that the government take note of Doval's comments. "If the government does not take notice, it will be proved that Doval is saying this at the behest of the government," he said, adding, "Delhi has divided India".Rafi Ahmad Mir, leader of PDP, which till recently was a BJP ally, said, "I think for a person in such a responsible position, Ajit Doval's statement is  irresponsible... Statements like this are altering the mindsets of the general public about Kashmir."The repeal of Article 370 is part of BJP's core ideology and the party had admitted that they would work towards it once they have the necessary numbers in parliament. The SC is currently hearing a petition challenging the validity of the Article 35A. Last week the hearing was adjourned till Jan.NDTV
Having a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was an aberration: Ajit Doval
National Conference to boycott J&K local body and panchayat polls if no clarity on Article 35-A
Srinagar :J&K National Conference will boycott the upcoming panchayat and urban local body elections unless the Centre spells its stand on the contentious Article 35-A, which is being challenged in the Supreme Court.“The core group (of NC) unanimously decided that the National Conference will not participate in these elections unless and until the government of India and the state government clarify their positions in this regard and take effective steps for protection of Article 35-A in and outside the courts,” party president Farooq Abdullah said Wednesday.He said the decision of the state administration to hold urban local body polls and panchayat elections was taken in a “hurried manner” and without taking into consideration the prevailing situation “created by the powers that be by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35-A”.NC, had, prior to the announcement of the polls by former Governor NN Vohra, expressed their reservations for conducting these elections citing security concerns for candidates.indianexpress
Govt official in J-K removed from post for comments on politics on social media
A government official was removed from his post and attached to office of collector land acquisition for his comments on politics on social media in Kishtwar district of J&K, officials said Wednesday. Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana ordered attachment of Patwari (revenue official) Abid Hussain Veeri following receipt of an inquiry report, the officials said.PTI
Former Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt arrested for allegedly framing lawyer in 1996 case
New Delhi:Former Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested by police on Wednesday in connection with a 1996 case in which a Rajasthan-based lawyer was allegedly framed in a narcotics case. He was picked up from his home at around 9.30 am for questioning before being placed under arrest.DGP CID (crime) Ashish Bhatia said: “3-4 months back the Gujarat high court had asked CID to investigate this case and we had formed a SIT which probed and found Sanjiv Bhatt had made out a false case against the lawyer. We have taken him for questioning. In all, we have 7 persons detained.”Lawyer, Sumersingh Rajpurohit, had filed a case in 1996 against Bhatt, who was then serving as SP of Banaskantha district, and several others. Gujarat High Court had recently ordered a SIT of CID to probe the case, 22 years after Rajpurohit filed a complaint in Pali, Rajasthan. Rajpurohit also named Justice Jain, a former sitting judge in the Gujarat HC, and Bhatt’s subordinate officers. In his complaint, Rajpurohit alleged that he was abducted and implicated in a false NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) case to force his family to vacate a rented premises owned by Justice Jain’s sister in Pali. He was arrested after Banaskantha police reportedly found over one kilo of opium at a hotel in Palanpur, Gujarat.indianexpress
Najeeb missing case: Have decided to file closure report in JNU student’s case, CBI tells Delhi HC
CBI has told the Delhi High Court that it has not been able to find any evidence with regard to the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmad, and that it wants to close the probe into the matter. The agency further told a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel that it has exhausted all resources, but could not come to the conclusion that the suspects in the case have committed any “offence”. Najeeb went missing on Oct.15, 2016, following an on-campus scuffle, allegedly with members of ABVP, a night earlier in JNU’s Mahi-Mandavi Hostel.While handing over the status report in a sealed cover to the court, CBI’s counsel Nikhil Goel contended that it contains details of steps taken by them along with statements of the suspects. He also informed the court that they have questioned an autorickshaw driver, who told them that he was forced by police to give a statement saying he picked 27-year-old Ahmad — a student of MSc from JNU campus — and dropped him at Jamia Millia Islamia on the day he went missing.The driver’s statement, hence, was recorded under duress by the Delhi Police, CBI submitted in the High Court.The agency, which earlier received flak from the court for its “complete lack of interest” in the matter, told the bench that they have completed their investigation, so the court should dispose of the matter. “Since this court was seized of the issue, so we did not find it appropriate to file closure report in the matter. We be allowed to file our closure report before the trial court, before which FIR is pending,” Justice Goel said.Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Ahmad’s mother Fatima Nafees, opposed CBI demand and contended that the family was not granted the privilege of seeing the status report filed by CBI, and, therefore, it cannot believe that the agency has done its best to bring Ahmad’s body before the court.Gonsalves further contended that ABVP activists were involved in the matter. indianexpress
Tens of thousands of farmers protest in delhi against Modi govt’s policies
New Delhi:Thousands of farmers, laborers and agri-laborers thronged the National Capital from across the country on Wednesday to raise their voice against the economic policies of the Modi govt. They also raised various demands, including expansion of the flagship rural employment scheme MNREGA in all rural areas as well as urban areas.Thousands of farmers, farm workers and labourers from across the country participated in the Left-organised mega-rally from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament to press their demands for fair wages, remunerative crop prices and debt waiver.Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally is the “first combined” rally by Left-oriented organisations — All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU), the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, and All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), organisers said.AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah said the govt policies were hurting the interest of farmers, farm workers and labourers who were the producers but hardly get any benefit or fair returns.caravandaily
Jamiat moves SC against Uttarakhand HC ban on fatwa
New Delhi:Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has approached the Supreme Court against a verdict of the Uttarakhand High Court banning fatwa by religious bodies. JUH General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani has filed the petition seeking stay on the judgment passed by the High Court last week.Through the petition filed by its counsels Shakil Ahmad Syed, Niaz Ahmad Farooqui, Uzmi Jameel Husain and Mohd. Parvez Dabas, Jamiat has argued that the verdict contradicts the Article 26 of the Constitution which gives rights to every section of the society to manage its own affairs in matters of religion. “Furthermore, it is contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court itself in Vishwa Lochan Madan case (supra) on the issuance of ‘fatwa’ by religious institutions on religious issue. Moreover, by not following the law laid down by the Apex Court, the High Court has also violated the provisions of Article 141 of the Constitution of India,” said Jamiat.caravandaily
AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan unanimously elected as Delhi Waqf Board chairman again
AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan was unanimously elected as the chairman of the reconstituted Delhi Waqf Board, two years after he resigned from the panel amid allegations of corruption. In a meeting of the board that was reconstituted last week, the five members elected Khan as the next chairman of the body."His name was proposed by nominated member Razia Sultana and seconded by another nominated member Naeem Fatima. His election was unanimous," said a govt official. Khan exuded hope that he would have a fruitful second stint as the chairman of Waqf Board."Zero tolerance towards corruption, increasing amount of pensions disbursed by the board and the number of its beneficiaries, raising income, and expediting large number of cases in which the board is a party will be my priorities,"he said.Delhi Waqf Board is a 7-member panel that oversees management of over 2,000 valuable properties including land, buildings, shops and graveyards spread across the city.The newly constituted board comprised six members including Khan.The member from MP quota is currently vacant due to unavailability of a suitable Muslim candidate.PTI
Plea in HC seeks deregistration of Owaisi's AIMIM as political party
New Delhi: A plea was filed in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday seeking to quash the registration of the Asaduddin  Owaisi-led AIMIM as a political party, alleging that it raises issues concerning only Muslims and seeks votes in the name of religion.The petition filed by the president of the Shiv Sena in Telangana sought setting aside the June 19, 2014 order of the Election Commission of India (ECI) granting recognition of state party of Telangana to AIMIM. Petitioner Tirupati Narasimha Murari claimed that the constitution and working of AIMIM was against the law laid down by the Supreme Court and the party was ought to be disqualified as a political party as its aim and object are opposed to the concept of secularism, one of the requirements under the Representation of the People Act. The petition, filed through advocates Hari Shankar Jain and Vishnu Shankar Jain, also sought a direction restraining the ECI from recognising and treating the AIMIM as a registered political party.The petitioner, who claimed to have contested Lok Sabha polls in 2014, said he was filing the plea in his personal capacity and the relief sought in the petition affects his rights of free and fair election.The plea said the English translated meaning of AIMIM was 'All India Council of the Union of Muslims' which was founded as a political party in 1958 and the leaders and workers of party were "continuously abusing Hindu religion, their Gods Goddesses". It alleged that several FIRs have been lodged against them.outlookindia

Why Dalits want to hold on to Dalit, not Harijan, not SC
New Delhi: I&B Ministry earlier this week asked the media to refrain from using the word ‘Dalit’ and instead use the constitutional term ‘Scheduled caste’.The order comes a month after the Bombay High Court, in its response to a PIL filed by Pankaj Mesharam seeking the removal of the word ‘Dalit’ from all govt documents and communication, asked the I&B Ministry to consider issuing an order to the media to stop usage of the word. The order has been criticised by Dalit rights activist groups, who assert that the term holds political and cultural significance. “It marks the shift from brokenness to strength and power. We see this as part of the larger scheme of what the govt is doing to the community, anti-reservation discourse, the attempt to erase our identity little by little. We will file a PIL against the move in the Supreme Court if need be,” says Dalit activist Asha Kotwal. Word ‘Dalit’, which in classical Sanskriti means ‘broken’, has for years been used to identify those who fall outside the four-fold caste system in the Brahmanical social order, and have been subjected to untouchability. In the past few decades, however, the term has acquired a political connotation, being associated with the radical movement of the depressed classes. The distinction between the two terms —‘Scheduled caste’ and ‘Dalit’ — is rooted in the larger narrative of the evolution of caste movements in India, and the various strings of the movement that sought redressal for the depressed castes in separate ways. Indian express
NITI Aayog Chief will bat for another round of note ban, if required
Mumbai: 2 days after blaming former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan for all the mess and problems the Indian economy is facing today, NITI Aayog Chief Rajiv Kumar said he would favour and recommend another round of note ban or demonetisation if required."Yes, I would do it any day to cleanse my economy, to formalise it, (and) to improve tax compliance behaviour," Kumar told NDTV when asked if he would recommend the notes ban again.Kumar also said that he had backed demonetisation from 2007-08, as a means to 'drain the swamp', and that the move was not a failure. "It (notes ban) was needed to reintroduce probity, integrity in our social and economic system," he said.Kumar's statement came days after strong voices from all across the country are demanding answer from Prime Minister Modi after RBI said more than 99% banned currency notes were deposited in banks.ummid.com
WORLD
Israel's top court approves demolition of a Palestinian village
Israel's High Court of Justice has rejected petitions filed by residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar, paving the way for the eviction of the community and demolition of the entire village, which can now be carried out any time after 12 Sept. Khan Al-Ahmar is located in the occupied West Bank near Route 1, which connects occupied East Jerusalem to the Jordan valley. Village is near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adumim.Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman welcomed the High Court's ruling, tweeting: "I congratulate the judges of the High Court of Justice for a courageous and obvious decision - in the face of a concerted hypocritical assault by [Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen, the left and European countries. No one is above the law. No one will prevent us from exercising our sovereignty and our responsibility as a state."middleeasteye
Israel threatens to demolish 189 homes in Bethlehem
Israeli occupation authorities have threatened to demolish more than 189 houses in Al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem, local media reported.The head of the anti-wall and settlements committee at the Palestinian Authority (PA), Walid Assaf, told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the demolitions carried out by the occupation in Al-Walaja comes within the framework of an illegal Israeli settlement plan to expand southern borders of the occupied Jerusalem and linking it to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.middleeastmonitor
US ambassador: Jerusalem made Israel’s capital ‘under God’s direction’ 3,000 years ago
US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has praised President Donald Trump’s administration for putting US-Israeli relations on “more solid [ground] than ever before”, reported the Jerusalem Post. Friedman singled out for praise US decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.“Now, the United States did not make Jerusalem the capital of Israel. That was done by King David some 3,000 years ago under God’s direction,” Friedman declared.But, he added, “it feels awfully good” that “the most powerful and moral nation on earth has made this important recognition of the primacy of Jerusalem to the State of Israel and the Jewish People.”Friedman also said that the Trump administration has “slayed the sacred cow of the calcified thinking that has held back progress on the Palestinian front”.middleeastmonitor
UAE allows Israel national anthem, flag at judo event
UAE is to allow the Israeli national anthem to be played and the Israeli flag to be flown in an upcoming judo competition after it was threatened with cancellation.The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, which is slated to take place from 25-27 October, will see competitors from Israel and Arab nations compete side by side and Israeli judoists allowed to sport their national insignia. The event was previously threatened with cancellation after the International Judo Federation (IJF) in July stripped the UAE of the right to host the tournament due to its failure to guarantee “equal treatment” of Israeli athletes.middleeastmonitor
Israeli Minister Bennett: Truce turns Hamas in to ‘an even bigger enemy’
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett warned yesterday that reaching a truce in the Gaza Strip would turn Hamas in to a “strategic” threat within a few years, Ynet News reported. Bennet, who described Gaza as a “monster” during his speech to the annual International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Conference in Herzliya, said that Israel is buying time throughout its pursuit of the truce, stressing this would make Hamas “an even bigger enemy” later.Officials working on a ceasefire want “quiet in return for quiet” because “we all want there to be quiet in Sderot, Nir Am, Kfar Aza, but what is the price?”However, he said: “The price is that we will meet the enemy in another 2 or 3 years,” referring to Hamas. “Imagine Hamas firing on Israel with 30,000 rockets.”MEMO
Hamas: Palestinian officials cooperated with Israel to foil reconciliation
Head of Hamas Political Bureau in Gaza Yahya Al-Sinwar said he was sorry that Palestinian officials cooperated with the Israeli Shin Bet to undermine Palestinian reconciliation, Safanews agency reported yesterday.During a meeting with youngPalestinians in Gaza Al-Sinwar revealed that several countries have attempted to undermine Palestinian reconciliation.He added: “We were fought in order not to succeed in achieving reconciliation and I am sorry that the division still exists.”He continued: “We recognised that the detonation of the vehicle of the chief of the Palestinian security services Tawfiq Abu-Naim in Gaza aimed to damage reconciliation, but we ignored it and continued our way in spite of obstacles and hardships.”MEMO
Report: Abbas slaps conditions on proposed Trump meet at UN
US President Donald Trump reportedly offered to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.According to Israel’s Hadashot TVnews, Trump’s offer comes as the White House seeks “to re-establish ties with the Palestinians”. Abbas, however, “responded that he would only accept such a meeting in return for significant diplomatic gestures that would renew trust between the sides”, and also “demanded that Trump fire his Middle East negotiating team, including envoy Jason Greenblatt and the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner”.middleeastmonitor
Amnesty protests Israel arms deals with Philippines’ Duterte
Amnesty International yesterday has protested against past and current arms deals signed between Israel and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte who is currently visiting the country.Activists from the rights group gathered outside Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’sresidence in Jerusalem where he met with his Filipino counterpart.Duterte is suspected of committing heinous crimes against civilians in his country under the pretext of “fighting drugs”.Amnesty issued a report last year entitled “If you are poor, you get killed” in which it described extra-judicial killings during the Philippine’s alleged “war on drugs”. The organisation said that “thousands of people were killed as a direct result of Duterte’s repressive policies” adding that “a majority of those killed were poor people who use or trade in drugs, who live in crowded areas in cities”.middleeastmonitor
Israel says it launched 200 strikes in Syria since 2017
Israel has launched more than 200 air attacks against Iranian targets in Syria over the past year and a half, a senior Israel official revealed.The officer in the Israeli army said on Tuesday the air raids included the dropping of about 800 bombs and missiles on mostly arms shipments as well as military bases and infrastructure. Later on Tuesday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz confirmed the report, calling Iran's military presence in Syria a "red line"."Only just now it was published - in the name of military sources, so I can quote it too - that in the last 2 years Israel has taken military action more than 200 times within Syria itself," Katz said. "Understanding the significance of this matter in terms of preserving the red line, preventing things that Iran has done, is doing and trying to do against Israel from Syria."aljazeera
John Kerry: Al-Assad presented Obama a secret peace proposal with Israel in 2010
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad sent ex US President Barack Obama a secret proposal for peace with Israel in 2010, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.Haaretz reported that Kerry’s new memoirs, which was published on Tuesday, outlines the details of the proposal, which was also presented to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.According to Kerry, Netanyahu found the proposal “surprising” because it showed that Al-Assad was ready to make more concessions than in previous negotiations.Haaretz said that Al-Assad formulated the letter a year before the outbreak of the war in Syria. It added that Syria and Israel had been engaged in US-backed negotiations until the beginning of 2011, but they eventually did not reach any agreements or understandings.MEMO
Trump 'wanted Assad killed' after chemical attack
US President Donald Trump wanted to have Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed after the Syrian government reportedly carried out a chemical attack in April 2017, a new book by renowned journalist Bob Woodward alleges.The attack, which was widely blamed on forces loyal to the Syrian government, was carried out on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, killing more than 80 people.According to the book Fear: Trump in the White House, by Woodward, Trump wanted the US military to go into Syria and assassinate al-Assad. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the Pentagon would "get right on it" after Trump made his request, according to Woodward, but after getting off the phone with Trump, Mattis made it clear to his staff that they were not going to follow through with Trump's plan.aljazeera
Iraq: Deadly Basra clashes as protesters torch govt office
Deadly clashes continued in Iraq's southern oil hub of Basra after hundreds gathered to mourn the death of a protester killed a day earlier.At least 6 people were killed and 12 injured in violent demonstrations near a provincial govt building on Tuesday when protesters stormed the office and set it alight, sources on the ground said.Sources on the ground said members of security forces had also been injured. aljazeera
Pakistan new President Arif Alvi is son of Nehru's dentist
Pakistan's newly elected President Dr Arif Alvi shares an interesting connection with India as his father was a dentist to India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, according to the short biography of the President on the website of his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party.Alvi, a close ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of the founding members of the PTI party, was elected as the new President of Pakistan Tuesday.69-year-old former dentist defeated PPP candidate Aitzaz Ahsan and PML-N nominee Maulana Fazl ur Rehman in a 3-way contest to become the 13th president.Being a son of Nehru's dentist is not the only connection that Alvi has with India. He is yet another Pakistani president whose family migrated to Pakistan from India after partition.His father Dr Habib ur Rehman Elahi Alvi was a dentist to Nehru before partition, according to short biography of the new president on the website of his PTI party. Alvi, whose full name is Dr Arif ur Rehman Alvi, was born in Karachi in 1947 where his father settled after partition. His father was also connected with the Jinnah family and was made a Trustee of the trust established by Shirinbai Jinnah (Quaid-e-Azam's sister) to which she gift all her worldly belongings including the Mohatta Palace in Karachi. Alvi started his political career about 5 decades ago when he was a student of de'Montmonrency College of Dentistry, an affiliate of University of Punjab in Lahore.He was part of the students' wing of Jamaat-i-Islami and protested against military ruler Ayub Khan.He also participated in elections from the platform of Jamaat-i-Islami in 1979 but lost. Later he became disillusioned with the politics of Jamaat-i-Islami and joined PTI as its founding member in 1996. He also helped in writing the Constitution of the new party.He acquired his dental degree BDS and Master of Science degree in Prosthodontics from the University of Michigan, and Master of Science in Orthodontics from University of the Pacific, San Francisco.He also served as Dean of the Faculty of Orthodontics of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan. In 2006, he was elected as the President of Asia Pacific Dental Federation.In 2007, he was elected as a Councillor of the FDI World Dental Federation, the first time a Pakistani had been elected.PTI
Pak Jamaat urges Imran government to introduce interest-free economy
 Lahore:Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan, Senator Sirajul Haq, has said that it was the constitutional responsibility of the government to establish an interest free economy in the country. He was talking to the media after addressing the participants of the JI Ijtema at Sanghota in Swat on Sunday. According to the media cell of Jamaat-e-Islami, Sirajul Haq said that in order to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state, the government would have to give special attention to education, health, employment and collective justice. He said the government announcement to create ten million jobs had given a new hope to the nation.business recorder
Pompeo meets new Pakistan PM as US seeks to reset ties
timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pompeo-meets-new-pakistan-pm-as-us-seeks-to-reset-ties/articleshow/65688103.cms
Islamabad: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Wednesday, in the first high-level US visit to the new government, looking to reset relations strained over the war in Afghanistan.Tensions between the uneasy allies rose ahead of Wednesday's visit when the Pentagon confirmed it had made a final decision to cancel $300 million in military aid to Pakistan.After greeting Khan in the capital Islamabad, Pompeo said he was "very pleased" with his earlier meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.Khan said he was hopeful about resetting relations."I'm a born optimist. A sportsman always is an optimist. He steps on the field and he thinks he's going to win," Khan told reporters.Pompeo is due next to visit India, Pakistan's neighbour and bitter foe, where he is expected to pile pressure on New Delhi over its purchases of Iranian oil and Russian missile systems.TOI
India buying Russian missile system not primary focus of 2+2 talks: Mike Pompeo
Washington:India buying a missile defence system from Russia and oil from Iran would be part of the 2+2 dialogue, but not the talks’ primary focus, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said. Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis are headed to India for the talks tomorrow with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This is the inaugural 2+2 dialogue between the two countries. “They are (missile system purchase from Russia and oil from Iran) part of the conversation. They are part of the relationship. “They will certainly come up, but I don’t think they will be the primary focus of what it is we are trying to accomplish here,” Pompeo said on Tuesday to a question from reporters who are travelling with him to Pakistan and then to India.India is expected to convey to the US during the dialogue that it is going ahead with the Rs 40,000 crore deal with Russia to procure a batch of S-400 Triumf air defence missile system.PTI
Qatar lifts exit visa system for most workers
Qatar has amended its residency laws to allow most foreign workers to leave the country without exit permits from their employers.The new law allows most workers to leave the country without exit permits from their employers, Qatar said in a statement quoting Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Issa Al-Nuaimi.Employers will still be allowed to require up to five per cent of their workforce to request permission to leave, after submitting their names to the government “with justifications based on the nature of the work”, the statement said.middleeastmonitor   
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Has Assamese sub-national movement finally converged with Hindutva?Malini Bhattacharjee, lecturer , Azim Premji University,  Asian Age

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:31 PM)

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