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Sunday, 14 October 2018

14 OCT.ND: Why Was Article 355 Not Invoked During Gujarat Riots: Ex-Vice President Ansari raise questions / Minister MJ Akbar Won't Quit Over #MeToo, Warns Of Legal Action/ UP: 2 beaten to death by mob in Amethi


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY 
14 OCT. 2018: 04 Safar 1440: Vol: 11, No:31
INDIA
Why Was Article 355 Not Invoked During Gujarat Riots: Ex-Vice President Ansari raise questions 
New Delhi: Referring to 2002 Gujarat riots, former vice president Hamid Ansari has asked why Article 355 of the Constitution was not invoked by the then union Govt  even when its defence minister was on the spot.Mr Ansari made the remarks during the launch of a book -- 'The Sarkari Mussalman' by Lt General (Retired) Zameer Uddin Shah, who had led the Army Division that quelled the Gujarat riots in the state.The former vice president also said there were "no military solutions to insurgency" as normalcy can be restored only by winning the hearts and minds of people."'The initial reaction of the civil administration was tardy; curfew had been ordered but not enforced; no attempt were made to convene peace committees and attitude of police was partisan',"Ansari quoted some of the observations from General Shah's book on the riots.But, the former vice president observed, that the book was silent "about the role of the political leadership"."If the civil and police administration fails to respond to a massive failure of law and order, where does the responsibility rest in a democratic and parliamentary system," he asked."Why was Article 355 of the Constitution that makes it a duty of the Union to protect a state against internal disturbance not invoked even when the centre had the benefit of Raksha Mantri on the spot?" he asked.Article 355 pertains to 'duty of the Union to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbance'.The reportage of Gujarat happenings in the national and international media was extensive and even the NHRC took note of it, he said."In an interview to a Malayalam weekly in 2005,ex president KR Narayanan had revealed his remonstrations with the Govt  and observed, and I quote (Narayanan) -- 'Military was sent but not given the power to shoot. And, there was a conspiracy involving the central and the state Govt  behind the Gujarat riots'," he said. ndtv
Hamid Ansari questions administartion failure during Gujarat riots
Gujarat riots: SIT report a blatant lie, reiterates Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah
New Delhi:Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah(retd) reiterated on Saturday that the Army was delayed transport for over a day despite a request made to the then CM  Narendra Modi during 2002 Gujarat riots. He was speaking at the launch of Sarkari Mussalman', unveiled by ex Vice President Hamid Ansari.Shah said he has written 'Gospel truth', adding that the sequence of events has been recorded in the "war diaries" of the Army."When the time comes, these diaries will be provided. What I have reported is the Gospel truth," he said.The memoir is published by Konark Publishers and was unveiled at India International Centre (IIC) by former Vice President Hamid Ansari. The book has courted much controversy over its portions relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots. Shah, who led the Army in quelling the riots, has said in his memoir that after about 3,000 troops landed at Ahmedabad airfield by 7 am on March 1, they had to wait for over a day to receive transport and other logistical support from the state Govt  in order to fan out to the cities and towns which were engulfed in violence.This delay, according to him, happened despite a request by the Lt. General to then CM Narendra Modi at 2am on March 1 in Ahmedabad, in the presence of Union Defence Minister George Fernandes.The SC-appointed SIT report, that had cleared Modi's name, had concluded that there was no delay "in requisition and deployment of the Army", based on testimony of Ashok Narayan, Additional Chief Secretary (Home)."I was not aware of SIT report until a few days ago when this was pointed out to me. Let me say again, it is a blatant lie. I have told the truth. I don't think there's a better qualified person than me to talk about it," he said. General S. Padmanabhan, the then Chief of Army Staff, speaking to IANS earlier, had backed the assertions of Shah.IANS
'Not communal, media blew small part of Sarkari Mussalman out of proportion': Zameer Uddin Shah
Gujarat riots were also the plan of Modi: Gohil
New Delhi:Amidst ongoing attacks on north Indian citizens in Gujrat Congress has made a scathing attack on PM  Narendra Modi saying that if he wanted he could have saved hundreds of lives in Gujarat.On the contrary, action was taken against the officers who saved the lives of people.Addressing a press conference here in ICC, secretary of Bihar Congress and leader of Gujarat Shaktisinh  Gohil said that he has evidences which show that Gujrat’s Rupani Govt and BJP are responsible for attacks on north Indian people.He claimed that he has videos how hate is spread against north Indian people by BJP members. Gohil said, in post-Godhra riots the officers who were doing good work were removed.He said Rahul Sharma was DSP of Bhavnagar. He had saved 382 children by risking himself otherwise they would be burned. He himself went there and stopped a crowd of 10000, saved children. That was his sin.Today he had to resign and work as a lawyer.siasat
Minister MJ Akbar Won't Quit Over #MeToo, Warns Of Legal Action
New Delhi:  Union Minister MJ Akbar today dodged calls for his resignation and said allegations of sexual harassment against him were "false, fabricated and deeply distressing". Linking the allegations to elections ahead, MJ Akbar also threatened legal action against his accusers. Sources say the Govt  has "nothing to do with the accusations" against him and his stepping down may "set a bad precedent". Akbar, 67, was on an official tour in Nigeria when nearly a dozen women came out with detailed accounts of his alleged sexual misconduct as part of a thread on social media that has snowballed into a #MeToo movement in India."Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge. These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill...This is deeply distressing. I will be taking appropriate legal action," Akbar said.The accusations started pouring in after journalist Priya Ramani tweeted on Oct.8 that Mr Akbar was the man she had referred to in an incident she shared in a magazine article a year ago, when the Harvey Weinstein scandal in US triggered the #MeToo movement.Besides Ms Ramani, the women who spoke out against MJ Akbar include Prerna Singh Bindra, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, Anju Bharti, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Malini Bhupta, Kanika Gahlout, Kadambari M Wade, Majlie de Puy Kamp and Ruth David.ndtv
#MeToo campaign: MJ Akbar returns to India, says statement soon on sexual harassment allegations
PM Modi’s silence on charges against MJ Akbar unacceptable: Congress
New Delhi:Congress Sunday stepped up its attack on PM  Narendra Modi over the allegations of sexual harassment against Union Minister MJ Akbar, saying his silence was “conspicuous and unacceptable”. As the #MeToo movement gathered pace over the last fortnight, Union minister of state for external affairs was accused by several former colleagues of sexual harassment when he served as an editor at various media outlets. senior party leader Anand Sharma questioned Modi’s silence on the issue and said as the head of the Govt  he should speak on the issue. “It is for the PM  to speak on this issue, let the country judge its PM by his actions. So far his silence is conspicuous. This question is not only the moral authority of Govt , but his own also, and the dignity of the office he holds,” Sharma said.PTI
UP: 2 beaten to death by mob in Amethi
Two persons were beaten to death by mob in UP’s Amethi, after they allegedly shot at a 12-year-old boy during a religious function at a temple in Saraiya village of the town, police said on Sunday.The incident took place during a puja at the temple, where Dilip Yadav (28) and Rahul Singh (30),who were allegedly in an inebriated state, shot at Sumit.The boy was injured and is currently undergoing treatment at a local hospital, SHO, Musafirkhana, Vishwanath Yadav, said. Following the incident, Dilip and Singh were thrashed to death by a mob,he said.Both were residents of neighbouring Gajanpur Duariya village.Commenting on the incident, police said Dilip and Singh were rushed to a community health centre in Musafirkhana but succumbed to their injuries during treatment.An FIR against 4 persons , based on a complaint from the brother of one of the deceased, SHO said.An FIR was lodged against six persons following a complaint from the villagers, he added.indiatvnews
NDA, Congress trade charges on Gaya youth’s ‘killing’ in Gujarat
PATNA: The alleged lynching of a youth from Gaya at Surat in Gujarat on Friday triggered a war of words between ruling NDA and opposition Congress in Bihar on Saturday. While BJP and JD(U) accused Congress for the attacks on north Indians in Gujarat, the grand old party demanded President’s rule in the state. As per reports, Amarjeet Singh from Kodia village under the Konch police station area in Gaya district was attacked by a mob when he was on way back from the mill on Friday evening. However, Gujarat police claimed he died in a road accident. Singh used to work in a mill in Pandeshwara area of Surat. The attacks on people from Bihar and UP started following the rape of a 14-month-old girl allegedly by a migrant worker from Bihar in Sabarkantha district of northeast Gujarat on Sept.28. Congress terms it the failure of Gujarat govt in handling the situation. “Killing of a Gaya youth has proved complete failure of law and order. Gujarat is the home state of PM Narendra Modi and the CM is also his nominee. Still they are unable to control the situation and only accusing one person (Thakor) for the situation. I demand President’s rule in Gujarat,” Bihar Congress president Madan Mohan Jha said. TOI
After 2 students accused of sedition, Kashmiris threaten to leave AMU if charges not dropped
Lucknow :A day after two Kashmiri students from AMU were booked for sedition, students from the state have threatened to leave the campus on Oct.17 if the charges against them aren’t dropped, a university official said on Saturday. The threat was conveyed through a letter, signed by “students of J&K ”, was delivered to the Proctor Mohsin Khan. “I have spoken to the Proctor who confirmed receiving a letter,”AMU public relation in-charge M Shafey Kidwai said. When Sunday Express asked Kidwai if the letter could be considered authentic, written by Kashmiri students, he responded that he “believed it was”. He said there were 950 students from the state.Earlier, Waseem Ayub Malik and Abdul Haseeb Mir were suspended after they allegedly attempted to offer funeral prayers in the campus after security forces killed militant Kupwara resident Mannan Bashir Wani in North Kashmir last week. Wani was a PhD student from AMU until he was expelled after a photograph of him appeared on social media with a message claiming he had joined the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. Aligarh police has slapped sedition charges against Malik, Mir and several unnamed students.“The students at the university, in panic, were discussing the situation emerging in the valley at the Kennedy Hall Lawn and were peacefully talking among each other,”the letter read. “No prayers or any relevant activity was observed, and directions of the AMU proctor were duly followed. Meanwhile some non-Kashmiri people armed with lathis attacking the students. However, Kashmiri students dispersed immediately and no protest or law and order violation took place.”They added that the Kashmiri students fraternity at AMU strongly condemned the “fabricated allegations and systematic vilification campaign” them.“In case the suspension and showcause notices (against students) are not revoked immediately, and sedition and relevant charges are not withdrawn then we, students from the state of J&K  at AMU will be forced to leave the campus en-masse on Sir Syed Day (Oct.17) for reasons of safety and security,” read letter.Kidwai said university cannot dictate the police investigation. indianexpress
Muslim groups see bid to impose uniform civil code
Kozhikode: The co-ordination committee of various Muslim organizations has said that the Supreme Court order on women's entry to Sabarimala and the ordinance making triple talaq illegal are "unjust intrusion into the religious life of the believers". At a meeting held here on Saturday, the committee expressed concern over the attempts "to impose a uniform civil code". The meeting asked the Parliament and assemblies to intervene to protect the moral values preserved through ages.  The verdicts legalising homosexuality and extramarital relationship are affronts on the moral values. The meeting also decided to take up legal fight against the court verdicts. Expressing concerns over the recent Supreme Court judgments of decriminalising homosexuality and nullifying extramarital affair as a criminal offence, the forum demanded the law to protect the 'eternal values.'"Our culture is based on family values which serve protection and good upbringing of individuals. The court verdict decriminalising homosexuality will come against such long-cherished values," said the committee. Panakkad Syed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, P K Kunhalikutty, MP, K P A Majeed, M P Abdusamad Samadani, M C Mayin Haji (IUML), K T Hamza Musaliar, P Moideen Faizy (Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulema), T P Abdulla Koya Madani, Hussein Madavoor, P P Unneenkutty Moulavi (KNM), Sheikh Muhammad Karakkunnu, T Muhammad Velam (Jamaat-e-Islami), T K Ashraf, Hussein T Kavanoor (Wisdom Islamic Organisation), Fazal Gafoor and Zakkeer Hussein (MES) attended the meeting. TOI/DC
Muslim forum seeks law to protect ‘eternal’ values
SC Orders Safety of Muslim Woman Being Forced to Marry Maternal Uncle in J&K
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the chief of the J&K police to ensure the safety of a young woman, who is allegedly being forced to marry her 40-year-old maternal uncle. Muslim woman is 26 years old and has alleged that her maternal uncles have been molesting her for a long time. She has further said that the family is now forcing her to marry one of them, who is already married and has children. A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to J&K police and her family members, seeking their replies in two weeks. " DGP J&K, is directed to ensure the safety of the woman, on whose behalf the present petition has been filed," ordered the court.The woman, who has completed her Master's degree in Biotechnology, approached the SC through a friend, Seema Bhoria. Bhoria, in her petition filed through advocate Satya Mitra, has asked for the woman's release from a shelter home in Srinagar where she was lodged after she complained to the police. According to the petition, her family and maternal uncles have “close contacts” in the police and local administration, and thus, she feared for her life.news18
Muslims protest across India demanding justice
New Delhi:Few months ahead of Lok Sabha polls, thousands of Muslims across the country came together on Saturday to kick start a big campaign— #EqualCitizens – “Vote Hamara Baat Humari” to catch the attention of all the opposition parties and India citizens to highlight the plight of Muslims across the nation. The campaign aims to highlight the growing numbers of fake encounter in the name of law and order, lynching cases in the name of cow protection, missing names from voters list, illegal arrests, and systemic discrimination and injustice that Muslims are facing in their own country.October 13 was marked as the “Day of Resistance” in several villages, towns and major cities across India to demand Equal Citizenship for Muslims in India.Speaking Caravan Daily about the need for the campaign,founder of Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP)and the brain behind this campaign, Aamir Edresy, said, “Through this campaign we are asserting that Indian Muslims constitute around 20 % of the total Indian population and we can’t be isolated. This is unconstitutional. Our demand is to protect our rights as an equal citizen of India. Apart from the increasing number of lynching and fake encounters cases, there is a systematic discrimination against Muslim in delivering justice.”On a joint call, the protest was observed in several cities including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Varanasi, Lucknow, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Gaya, Dhanbad, Chittor, Aligarh and Bulandshaher. Muslim professionals associated to various field ranging right from academics to journalism to activism have appealed to the political establishment to give space to the issues being faced by the community.While protesting in New Delhi, the protesters were seen carrying placards with slogans like, “I Am A Muslim and I Matter”, “Muslim Lives Matter”, “We Demand Equal Rights for All Citizens” and “Injustice Anywhere Is An Threat To Everywhere”. Caravan Daily also spoke several individual Muslims and professionals participating in the protest, to know their views and opinions regarding this movement.CaravanDaily
Muslims protest to demand equal citizenship
Muslims seek equal rights, protest discrimination
Mothers March Oct 15: I will have to kill myself for justice, but I will not, I will fight, says Fatima Nafees
New Delhi: Oct.15. 2 years since her son disappeared Fatima Nafees does not know what to do. “I will have to kill myself for them to do anything, but perhaps not even then,” she says in one breath. And adding in the next, “I am not going to do it, I am going to fight until they bring my boy back to me.”Speaking to The Citizen, she said that she cannot even sit on fast for her missing son Najeeb, as she suffers from acute diabetes and hypertension. In the two years she has moved the courts, walked the streets, addressed public meetings, joined demonstrations, met political leaders but to no avail. No one cares, except the students who are my family, she says.In these two years have any of the Opposition parties, let alone the ruling dispensation, stayed with you? “I do not know any political party, I am not with any political party. All I know are those who are with my son, who care for him, who are standing with us. Those who say they support us should walk with us as well, and be seen with us, “ she says.Fatima Nafees for whom Delhi has become a second abode, will be here again tomorrow for a march being organised by students and well wishers from Mandi House to Parliament in his memory and for justice. She will be joined by other Mothers --Radhika Vemula whose son committed suicide at Hyderabad Central University and Saira Khan whose young son Junaid was killed by a mob on a train from Delhi. “I know only that those who we see tomorrow are those who are with us,” she said.thecitizen
Budhana clashes: 9 more rioters arrested
Muzaffarnagar: 3 days after the arrest of a scrap dealer triggered a clash between policemen and local residents in Muzaffarnagar’s Budhana, injuring three cops, police have arrested 9 more accused in the case and sent them to jail. SHO of Budhana police station, Prabhakar Kenthura, said, “Raids are being conducted to nab the rest of the accused. As of now, we have arrested nine more accused and sent them to jail.” The scrap dealer, Suleman Ahmed, who is the main accused, is already lodged in jail along with four others.As many as 29 people were named in an FIR for attacking policemen. Eighty unknown persons were also booked. According to police, Ahmed and his friends were accused of eve teasing school girls from a nearby village. On Thursday, police raided Ahmed’s shop and arrested him. Soon after, some locals tried to forcefully free him from police custody. The situation snowballed into a riot as a large number of people gathered at the spot and started pelting stones at police personnel. As many as five rioters, including Ahmed, were arrested that day and a heavy police force was deployed at the spot. TOI
Maharashtra: State Govt to help operators in promoting Islamic tours
Mumbai: State Govt may collaborate with tour operators, hoteliers and other service providers to boost Islamic travel. Inaugurating first Islamic Travel Mart in Mumbai on Saturday, minister for education, minority department and wakf Vinod Tawde said the state would support the efforts of every agency engaged in boosting not just Haj and Umrah to Saudi Arabia but religious tours to other destinations too.“We will collaborate and ensure that this sector’s potentials are tapped,” Tawde said, endorsing the views of Haj Committee of India CEO Dr M A Khan who said that the B2B mechanism being promoted through the 2-day (Oct.13-14) exhibition would substantially reduce the cost of travel and would benefit pilgrims.“India has the third largest Muslim population in the world and it sends 1, 75000 Haj pilgrims and over 600,000 Umrah pilgrims to Saudi Arabia annually.Islamic and Halal tourism sector is untapped, “said Islamic Travel Mart’s MD and chief managing officer Ghazanfar Ibrahim. Over 25 PTOs, several agents from across the country are participating in the exhibition. Tour operator Al Khalid Tours and Travel’s Yusuf Ahmed Kherada said the proposed plan to allow Umrah pilgrim to see more than two cities (Mecca and Medina) on Umrah visas would boost the industry and revenue of the Saudi Govt . TOI
Throat slit and left to die: Victim of state torture in Kashmir tells his story via pen and paper
Srinagar: Feroz Hajam, 25, is lying on bed number 32 inside Srinagar’s famed SMHS Hospital. Unlike other patients in the ward, however,Feroz is not suffering from medical ailments. He is a victim of torture, whose throat was slit by security forces. Feroz is unable to speak and reaches for a notebook when asked about the reason behind him being in the hospital. “I was picked by the Indian armed forces from Khanabal and was driven to the Joint Interrogation Center (JIC) where STF of J&K Police tortured me and slit my throat,”Feroz writes on a notebook which helps him communicate with people.Feroz is stuck to the hospital bed with his stitched throat and stares with haggard eyes at each passerby. While doctors fear he might not regain his voice, Feroz lives in hope and writes:“Don’t insist with my family members to talk about the incident; once I am able to talk, I will give you all the details.”He fears that his family may face the wrath of the Indian armed forces if they talk about the horrifying experience he faced and directs his siblings not to talk to the media personals and writes,“They will kill you,”he writes.TCN
Rafale a textbook case of offences under corruption Act: Prashant Bhushan
Mumbai:Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan has alleged that changes made to the Rafale deal for the supply of 36 Rafale fighter jets from French manufacturer Dassault to benefit Anil Ambani was “a textbook case of offences under section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act…”Bhushan and former Union minister Arun Shourie had on Thursday met CBI Director Alok Verma and handed over a complaint with regard to the Rafale deal. Addressing the media at the Mumbai Press Club on Saturday afternoon, Bhushan said he hoped CBI would register an FIR in matter or at least begin a Preliminary Enquiry (PE).Addressing the media, Bhushan said he had several questions for the Govt  regarding the Rafale deal.“The first question is that the Govt  of the day should answer why the aircraft order was reduced from 126 fighter jets to 36 fighter jets. When the Govt  keeps talking about Make in India why was the contract then taken away from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)? How come the price of the fighter jets went up from Rs 670 crore per aircraft to approximately Rs 1,660 crore? How was Anil Ambani awarded the contract when he had no experience in defence?”He further alleged that Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had given ‘absurd explanations’, including reducing the number of aircraft due to lack of parking space and that HAL did not have capability to manufacture the aircraft.indianexpress
Pakistan warns of ’10 surgical strikes’ against India
Pakistan has warned of “10 surgical strikes” against India in response to a single such attack, in the latest war of words between the two estranged nuclear-armed neighbours.Major General Asif Ghafoor, spokesperson of military’s Inter Services Public Relations, stated this while talking to the media in London, where he is accompanying Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on a visit.“If India dares to launch a surgical strike inside Pakistan, it will face 10 surgical strikes in response,”Ghafoor was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan. He also said “those who think of any misadventure against us should have no doubt in their minds on Pakistan’s capabilities”. Military spokesman said Pakistan Army was the custodian of USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor  and that mega project will strengthen the economy of the country.PTI
India, China launch joint programme to train Afghan diplomats
In a move that could upset Pakistan, India and China have launched their first joint programme for Afghanistan to train its diplomats. An understanding to launch a joint programme in Afghanistan was reached during an informal summit between PM  Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held in April at China’s Wuhan city. As per the understanding, officials of both sides had been asked to identify the project. Training the Afghanistan’s diplomats has been agreed as the first joint project agreed by both the countries.“First joint programme by India and China for Afghanistan begins,” according to a tweet put out by the Indian Embassy in Beijing on Saturday. Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan (Vinay Kumar) “hosted 10 Afghan Diplomats who will be travelling to India for the 1st India-China joint training programme for Afghan diplomats under the aegis of the Trilateral Cooperation between India, China and Afghanistan,” the tweet said.PTI
Gita, Upanishads kept Suhaib Ilyasi ‘strong, positive’ in jail
New Delhi :He made sure he didn’t miss out on his daily namaz while in jail but also faithfully read Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads for solace and strength, says former TV anchor Suhaib Ilyasi who was acquitted on charges of murdering his wife this month.Going from the heights of fame as a pioneer of crime shows in the country with “India’s Most Wanted” to finding himself as the accused in one of Delhi’s most high-profile murder cases, it has been a rough 18-year ride, said Ilyasi.A reading of the Hindu scriptures helped see him through the darkest days behind bars in Tihar Jail, added 52-year-old, who describes himself as a “devout Muslim”.He was sentenced to life imprisonment for stabbing his wife to Anu death in 2000 and was acquitted by Delhi HC on Oct.5, which ruled that it was a case of suicide. Ilyasi’s wife Anju was rushed to a hospital on Jan 11,2000 with stab wounds she received at her East Delhi residence. She was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. Her mother and sister filed a case against him.PTI
One of the fundamental things about Hinduism is that there are no fundamentals: Tharoor
Chandigarh :Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor left the audience in splits as he said he was one of the worst practitioners of yoga. “I’m utterly hopeless at yoga. I would look even worse than Narendra Modi if I try and practise it,” he said during his session on ‘Tharoorisms on Hinduism’ on Day 2 of KSLF 2018 at Kasauli Club. Tharoor said his ‘Tharoorisms’ could work as the perfect marketing strategy and said he enjoyed using the English language to “grab attention”.So, a couple of days ago, he cooked up a word to promote his next book on the “paradoxical PM”.Hence, giving birth to now-viral “floccinaucinihilipilification” that essentially meant “the act of estimating someone or something as worthless”.He turned into “spiritual guru” of sorts talking about his 2018 book ‘Why I Am A Hindu’ and largely discussed Hinduism as a contrast to Hindutva, a “political ideology with a political agenda”.indianexpress
WORLD
Afghan Taliban officials: 'US agrees to discuss troops pullout'
Doha, Qatar - US has agreed to discuss the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan in a direct meeting with Taliban representatives in Qatar, officials from the armed group said.In a preliminary meeting in Doha on Friday, Taliban representatives and US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad discussed the Taliban's conditions to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan, two top Taliban officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera."6 US delegates arrived in Doha to have a meeting with our (Taliban) leaders [and] agreed to discuss all issues, including the pullout of foreign troops," one of the officials said."But, it was a preliminary meeting and all issues were discussed in general, not in detail," he added, saying more talks were expected to take place in the near future.Last year, US President Donald Trump increased the number of US forces in the country as part of a new strategy against the Taliban.There are now about 14,000 US soldiers in the country. Taliban has previously said the presence of foreign troops was the biggest obstacle to peace in Afghanistan.In addition to the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban's conditions include the lifting of sanctions on its leaders, the release of their fighters imprisoned in Afghanistan, and the establishment of an official political office.At the request of the US, a Taliban office was established in Doha in 2013 to facilitate peace talks but it was shut shortly after opening when it came under pressure over a flag hung outside the office, the same flag that was flown during the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Then Afghan President Hamid Karzai subsequently halted peace efforts, saying the office was presenting itself as an unofficial embassy for a Govt-in-exile. The flag has since been taken down and the office has been empty with no official announcements about a possible reopening.Talks with the Taliban have since been taking place elsewhere in Doha.US officials in Kabul and Zalmay Khalilzad were not immediately available to comment on Saturday's gathering in the Qatari capital.It was the second time that US officials met the group in Qatar. The first meeting took place in July, and included US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells.Abdul Salam Zaeef, a former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan who is now based in Doha and in contact with the Taliban representatives, confirmed the US decision to discuss a pullout from Afghanistan. He was not present at the meeting, but said the withdrawal of foreign troops "now only requires a timeline for implementation"."As per my information, the US has reached an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw troops from Afghanistan but the US officials have not yet agreed on a date," he said."US is not winning in Afghanistan. They are aware of that, which means they have to agree on the Taliban's conditions for ending the war in the country."Some analysts, however, fear the withdrawal of foreign troops will not end the long-running conflict in Afghanistan.In recent months, there has been a surge in violence across the country, with heavy clashes between the Taliban and Afghan security forces from the provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan and Faryab in the north to the province of Farah in the west.Faizullah Zaland, a political analyst based in Kabul, said long-term international support and a power-sharing agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan Govt  is necessary to end the war."US has tried all its methods, policies and strategies to limit the Afghan war, but instead the war has grown even more.Taliban has got more land and more control in the country," he said.US strategy in 2017 of increasing troops in Afghanistan by raising the number of soldiers from 8,400 to about 14,000,has also "failed", he said.Taliban holds 59 districts, while the remaining 119 - about 29.2% - are contested, meaning they are controlled by neither Afghan Govt  nor the armed group.aljazeera
Afghan Taliban confirms talks with US peace envoy
Saudi-led airstrike kills 17 in contested Yemeni port city
An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting Yemen's Shia rebels known as Houthis killed at least 17 people in the port-city of Hudeida on Saturday, Yemeni rebel officials said.The strike, which hit in the Jebel Ras area, also wounded 20 people, a spokesman for the rebel-run Health Ministry, Youssef al Hadari, said.Hudeida, with its key port installations that bring in UN and other humanitarian aid, has become the centre of Yemen's conflict, with ground troops allied to the coalition struggling to drive out the rebels who control it.Tribal leaders said the strike hit traffic, including a bus that was completely destroyed, killing all inside, adding that women and children were among the dead. The tribal leaders spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety. Death toll is expected to rise as many of the wounded were in critical condition.TRT World
Shells fired from Syria buffer zone, soldiers killed: SOHR
Rebel fighters have fired mortar shells from a planned buffer zone in northwestern Syria, despite an apparent heavy arms pullout days earlier, according to a monitoring group.The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said rebels in the demilitarised zone around the northwestern region of Idlib fired several "mortar shells at an army position in nearby Hama province, killing two soldiers" late on Saturday. Also on Saturday, rebels shelled Aleppo province from other parts of the demilitarised area, with no casualties recorded, according to SOHR."This is the first clear violation of the deal since the heavy weapons were withdrawn.This area is supposed to be clear of heavy weapons, including mortar shells," SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP on Sunday.In a statement on Twitter on Sunday, the group said that Govt  forces had returned fire in a lengthy "exchange of violations" of a deal to rid the enclave of heavy weapons.Idlib is the last remaining rebel-held area in war-torn Syria.Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Asaad, struck a deal with Turkey in September to set up a demilitarised zone to prevent a potentially devastating regime assault on Idlib.The deal required the horseshoe-shaped area to be free of heavy arms by October 10, with "radical fighters" leaving by Monday. National Liberation Front (NLF),an umbrella organisation of Turkey-backed rebels, confirmed to Al Jazeera on Wednesday that they had complied with the first part of the deal.aljazeera
Jamal case:Saudi vows retaliation over possible sanctions
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on Oct.2 to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife. He has not been seen since.Turkish sources have told media outlets they believe the Saudi writer and critic was killed inside the consulate in what they describe as "premeditated murder". Saudi officials have countered that claim, insisting Khashoggi left the building before vanishing. Saudi dismissed threats of sanctions over the disappearance of Khashoggi and vowed the oil-rich kingdom would retaliate against such action."The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure," an official source said, quoted by state news agency SPA. "The kingdom also affirms that it will respond to any action with a bigger one," the source said. Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi's fiancee, has called for accountability if reports of his murder are true.In an op-ed written for New York Times, Cengiz said if allegations are proven true, the Khashoggi loss impacts "every person with a conscience and moral compass."If we have already lost Jamal, then condemnation is not enough. The people who took him from us, irrespective of their political positions, must be held accountable and punished to the full extent of the law," she wrote.Cengiz, who was invited to the White House by Trump, said she would "consider accepting" such an invitation if the US president helped reveal the truth of what happened to Khashoggi. US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, and the UK's International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, may not attend the "Davos in the Desert", a major investment conference in Riyadh, over concerns that Saudi Arabia is responsible for Khashoggi's death.aljazeera
US and UK considering boycotting Saudi conference over Khashoggi crisis: Report
UK and US are considering boycotting a Saudi-backed conference set to take place later this month in Riyadh as a result of the disappearence and alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, BBC has reported.DIplomatic sources told UK broadcaster on Sunday that both US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox might not attend Future Investment Initiative (FII), following reports of Khashoggi's murder after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 Oct.Asked about Fox's attendance at the event, often referred to as "Davos in Desert,"a spokesman for UK's international trade department told BBC that the minister's "diary was not yet finalised".Turkish authorities claim they have evidence that journalist, a critic of the policies of Saudi's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, was murdered. Sources close to the Turkish investigation have told Middle East Eye that Khashoggi was dragged from the consul general's office inside the consulate before he was brutally murdered by two men who then cut up his body.middleeasteye
Trump says US would be ‘punishing’ itself if it halts Saudi arms sales
US President Donald Trump said on Saturday the US would be “punishing” itself by halting military sales to Saudi Arabia even if it is proven that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul.Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Riyadh and a US resident, disappeared on October 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate. Turkey’s Govt  believes he was deliberately killed inside the building and his body removed.Trump has forged closer ties with Saudi Arabia and is under international and domestic pressure to help determine what happened to Khashoggi and punish Saudi Arabia if investigations show its Govt  had him killed.MEMO
Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim wins parliamentary by-election
Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has won a parliamentary seat in a by-election, setting the stage for his eventual takeover from PM  Mahathir Mohamad.The Election Commission said on Saturday that Anwar received 71 % of the total votes cast, defeating six other candidates.He got 31,016 votes, while his closest rival secured only 7,456."I'm, of course, extremely pleased and humbled by the results,"Anwar said after the victory, which marks the charismatic politician's political comeback from prison to parliament."This to my mind is an important milestone, a vote of confidence for the Govt  and the reform agenda, and the PM  personally," he said. Anwar is expected to be sworn in as a legislator on Monday.71-year-old is the designated successor to former foe-turned ally Mahathir, after they set aside a bitter political feud and joined hands to win a stunning victory in May's general elections.Lee Tian Hock, a 60-year-old voter, told the AFP news agency he was "voting for the next premier"."We need an influential leader to bring long-overdue progress to Port Dickson.""This morning, I prayed to Allah for a big win for Anwar," retired truck driver Mat Taib, a member of the country's ethnic Malay majority, told AFP."I want him to be our eighth PM ."Aljazeera
Indonesia: Landslide kills school children in Sumatra
Flash floods and landslides have killed at least 27 people, mostly children, on Indonesia's Sumatra island, officials say.An Islamic school in Muara Saladi village saw the highest death toll after mud from the flood and debris from landslides struck Mandailing Natal district in North Sumatra province on Friday afternoon, local police chief Irsan Sinuhaji said on Saturday. Rescuers and villagers on Friday managed to save several teachers and only 17 out of 29 school children who were swept away, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, National Disaster Mitigation Agency's spokesman.He said rescuers retrieved the bodies of 11 children from mud and rubble hours after the incident and one more on Saturday.aljazeera
FLASH VIEWS & NEWS
Who’s Protecting Terror Cult Sanatan Sanstha?Nikhil Wagle
Saudi Arabia's role in Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance:Omair Anas
China is trying to erase the Uighurs and their culture:Rukiye Turdush
Rafale JV Offsets Worth Rs 300 Billion Mentioned in Reliance Group's 2016-17 Report:Ajai Shukla

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:01 PM)

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