News and views across the globe.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

24 OCT. ND: Asthana Obstructed Crucial Cases, says CBI’s Alok Verma, challenges his transfer in SC, calls it illegal/ CBI director Verma's interest in Rafale may have tipped scales against him: The Wire / SC seeks Centre, Assam reply on 5 NRC-related papers/ Saudis Staged 'Worst Cover-Up Ever' on Khashoggi says Trump, adding Saudi crown prince MBS could have been involved


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY 
24 OCT. 2018: 14 Safar 1440: Vol: 11, No:40
INDIA
Asthana Obstructed Crucial Cases, says CBI’s Alok Verma, challenges his transfer in SC, calls it illegal

New Delhi:Alluding to Govt interference in sensitive cases, CBI director Alok Verma, in a petition in Supreme Court, challenged the Govt  order that divested him of all charges early on Wednesday, saying it was illegal and had bypassed a high-powered committee.The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said Verma’s plea would be taken up on Oct.26 after his counsel pressed for an urgent hearing on the order issued against him following an escalation of rift between the top officials at the agency over bribery charges.Taking note of the internal feud in the agency, Govt  in a 2.30am order on Wednesday divested Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana of all duties and appointed Nageshwar Rao as the interim chief. In his petition, Verma argued that the shunting out violated law that provides for a fixed tenure of two years. He said the transfer of a CBI director has to be with the consent of the high powered committee. The order sending him on leave had bypassed the mandate of the committee.Verma has asked for a stay of the order against him and says “the present action gives serious credence to the requirement that CBI be given independence from DoPT, which seriously hinders the independent functioning of the agency”. He also said that not all influence exerted by the Govt  is explicit or in writing. “More often than not, it is tacit, and requires considerable courage to withstand it.”He has alleged that after the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Special Director of CBI, decisions that were crucial to the progress of certain investigations were stymied by Asthana alone.He also accused Asthana of creating hurdles in decisions crucial to the progress of investigation in sensitive cases, some of them being monitored by SC and had ”concocted evidence to impugn Verma’s reputation”.Verma also offered to furnish details of sensitive cases that led to his removal.
1 am "coup" that left CBI chief, deputy without offices, drivers
 Decision to send me on leave ‘patently illegal’, says Verma; CBI assures fair inquiry against Asthana
Rakesh Asthana Obstructed Crucial Cases, Ousted CBI Director Alok Verma Tells SC
CBI director Verma's interest in Rafale may have tipped scales against him: The Wire
New Delhi: Govt’s 2 am decision to oust director Alok Verma as director of CBI came hot on the heels of not just his request for sanction to arrest an official considered close to PM Narendra Modi but also his interest in the controversial Rafale deal.Last week, the CBI filed an FIR charging Rakesh Asthana – special director in CBI and a Gujarat cadre police officer propelled to prominence in the agency by PMO – with bribery and corruption. Since official sanction from Govt  is needed to arrest any officer above the rank of joint secretary, Verma had placed a request but permission was not granted.The Wire has also learned that Verma – who was selected by a high-powered collegium including the CJI for a protected tenure “not less than two years” that ends in Jan. 2019– had been readying himself to initiate a preliminary enquiry (PE) in to the Modi Govt ’s controversial decision to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft from Dassault Aviation, with a major part of the offset contracts going to an Anil Ambani-led company.The decision to purchase 36 aircraft in a flyaway condition – in lieu of the originally cleared proposal of buying 18 flyaway fighter jets and manufacturing 108 in India – was taken personally by Modi and announced by him in Paris on April 10, 2015 allegedly without any of the necessary statutory clearances and is now the subject of a criminal complaint to CBI filed by former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, and also a PIL in the Supreme Court.The trio had submitted a voluminous complaint to CBI. Verma not only received the complaint but sought a confirmation from the defence ministry about the authenticity of the official documents they had referred to.
Alok Verma was collecting documents relating to Rafale 'scam', forcibly sent on leave: Rahul Gandhi
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has said that CBI Director Alok Verma was forcibly sent on leave as he was collecting documents relating to the Rafale 'scam'. CBI Director Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana have been "divested of all powers" amid an ongoing spat between them.In a tweet, Gandhi said, "CBI Chief Alok Verma was collecting documents relating to the Rafale scam. He was forcibly sent on leave"." PM's message is very clear that whoever comes near Rafale (issue) will be removed, wiped out," he charged.The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the Rafale deal.PTI
‘Chowkidaar’ removed Verma to save his ‘friends’ from Rafale probe:Rahul Gandhi
Bhushan to challenge Verma's removal in court
Most of the 13 CBI officers transferred are from ousted chief Alok Verma’s ‘camp’
Soon after CBI director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave by Govt  at the behest of Central Vigilance Commission, some of Verma’s closest confidants, as well as many officers said to be in his ‘camp’ were also transferred. A.K. Bassi, a superintendent-rank officer who was investigating the bribery case against Asthana and was alleged to have been acting at the behest of Verma to carry out “roving inquiries” about the special director and his family, was asked to leave for Port Blair with immediate effect, in “public interest”.A.K. Sharma, joint director (policy), who is said to be close to PM  Narendra Modi and a friend of Verma, was transferred to Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) unit of the CBI in New Delhi.MDMA is considered a defunct body that was set up in 1998 on the recommendations of Justice M.C. Jain Commission to conduct a probe into the conspiracy of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.DIG Amit Kumar from Chandigarh will hold additional charge of joint director (policy) now, making him the second most important officer in the CBI, as he is handling the coal scam cases.theprint
On taking charge as interim CBI Director, Rao makes transfers, gives additional charge to 13 officials
CBI feud is what happens when you ‘prostitute’ an investigating agency: Arun Shourie
New Delhi: Former Union minister Arun Shourie has alleged that Alok Verma, “an independent officer”, was divested of his charge as CBI director because of his refusal to buckle under pressure.“The purpose of removing Alok Verma is quite clear,” he said.theprint
CBI has become BJP’s policing agency:Mamata
SC seeks Centre, Assam reply on 5 NRC-related papers
New Delhi:The Centre and Assam were Tuesday asked to file their objections to state coordinator Prateek Hajela’s submission that the five additional documents, as suggested by the Centre, cannot be considered for inclusion in the National Register for Citizens (NRC).The five documents that the Centre wants Hajela to consider while dealing with claims filed by those excluded in the NRC are names in NRC, 1951; names in electoral roll up to March 24, 1971; citizenship certificate and refugee registration certificate; certified copies of pre-1971 electoral roll, particularly, those issued from the State of Tripura; and ration card. The SC had, during the last hearing, permitted the authorities to start the process for receipt of claims and objections regarding entries in the NRC. The process is to begin on Oct 25 and claimants can tentatively rely only on 10 documents.Centre, Assam and other stakeholders had, however, argued for the inclusion of additional documents. The final draft of NRC, published on July 30, had excluded 4 million names. During the hearing, the bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and justice RF Nariman referred to Hajela’s report that said it would be “inexpedient” to allow claims for inclusion in NRC on the basis of the five additional documents as sought by the Centre and others.“At this stage, we are of the view that all the stakeholders... should be allowed to file their objections to the stand taken by Hajela in his aforesaid report dated Oct 4, 2018, a copy whereof would be furnished by the Registry of this Court to the following stakeholders in the next two days.Written objections of the aforesaid stakeholders will be brought on record on or before 30th Oct, 2018. The matter will be heard on 1st Nov,” Gogoi recorded in the order.HT
SC wants response from Centre, Assam on Hajela not favouring allowing 5 left-out documents for inclusion in NRC
Israel to supply missile defence systems to India for $777 million
Jerusalem:India has awarded an additional USD 777 million deal to a leading Israeli defence firm for supplying Barak 8 LR-SAM Air and Missile Defence Systems to seven ships of the Indian Navy, the company announced Wednesday.The Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) system is an operational Air and Missile Defence (AMD) system used by Israel’s navy as well as by India’s navy, air and land forces.With the latest deal, the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said that the sale of Barak 8 system -- jointly developed by India and Israel -- a sign of strong bilateral partnership in defence, has crossed USD 6 billion over the past few years.The system provides broad aerial and point defence against a wide range of threats to the marine arena from the air, sea or land.The system integrates several advanced systems as digital radar, command and control, launchers, interceptors with modern radio frequency seekers, data link and system-wide connectivity.PTI
Bhima-Koregaon: SC rejects Thapar’s review plea against refusal of SIT probe into arrests of activists
The Supreme Court has declined an urgent hearing of a review petition filed by historian Romila Thapar in the case of the arrests of five Left-wing activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, reported news agency ANI. Thapar’s petition had sought a review of the Supreme Court ruling rejecting a SIT probe into the arrests of activists Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferriera, Sudha Bhardwaj, and Gautam Navlakha.The court also allowed Maharashtra Police to continue with the investigation. On Sept. 28, the SC, headed by then CJI Dipak Misra had extended the interim house arrest of the activists and also refused a SIT probe into the arrests. In a 2-1 verdict, the court declined to interfere in the proceedings, saying “dissenting views expressed or difference in political ideology” had nothing to do with the case.Ruling on petitions by historian Thapar and others, CJI Misra and Justice Khanwilkar (he wrote the order for both) said they had examined the material gathered by police during the investigation and were “of the considered opinion that it is not a case of arrest because of mere dissenting views expressed or difference in the political ideology of the named accused, but concerning their link with the members of the banned organisation and its activities”.indianexpress
Activists Arrest: Bombay HC Sets Aside Pune Court Order, Paves Way For Chance of Bail
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday stated that the Pune court order that granted the police an additional 90 days to file the charge sheet and consequently extending the custody of Gadling and others was “illegal”.The verdict was made by a single-judge bench of Justice Mridula Bhatkar and it paves the way for Gadling and other activists to be released on bail. The judge, however, stayed her own order from becoming operational till Nov.1, following a request from the Maharashtra Govt, thus giving time to the state to file an appeal in the SC.Gadling had approached the high court earlier this month with a plea that keeping him under extended custody and refusing to release him on bail was illegal. He had said his custody was illegal as the prosecution had failed to follow the due procedure while seeking extension of time for filing the charge sheet against him and others in the case. .
Centre set to tweak counter-terror strategy: IB,NTRO mull special funds, changes in procurement policy
New Delhi: The Govt  is working on an umbrella policy to counter terrorism with a proposed scheme for terror-related expenditure on the lines of security related expenditure in internal security budget. This will cover central and state security agencies expenses towards counter terror and radicalisation while introducing changes in procurement policy and bench-marking technology for security-related procurements with IB and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) as nodal departments for validation.Documents reviewed by Firstpost revealed that Ministry of Home Affairs asked the two central intelligence organisations to prepare a blueprint for the proposed scheme and states are being roped in to develop a system to undertake annual technology audit for forces.“The idea is to bring every state at par in counter-terror capability and to ensure hardening of the entire country to effectively counter the terrorist threats. Various facets of terrorism in hinterland is much more serious challenge for national security. Diverse means of sabotage and subversion, low cost nature of their operations using sleeper cells makes the job more difficult for agencies not fully prepared. There is a growing demand to have cheaper, dynamic and less obtrusive technology. There will also be provision of dedicated funds for state police forces to purchase required cyber tools and equipment’s by their special branches and installing jammers in jails.The funds will help in changing existing architecture and surveillance mechanism in sensitive prisons,” Sources said.firstpost
Another PhD scholar among 2 militants killed in Kashmir encounter
Srinagar: 2 top Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, including a research scholar who joined militancy after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016, were killed in an overnight encounter with security forces on the outskirts of Srinagar Wednesday, officials said.T he special operation group of the state police, the 55 Rashtriya Rifles and the Central Reserve Police Force laid a cordon around a house in Nowgam area late Tuesday after specific information about presence of militants there, said deputy inspector general of police, central Kashmir, VK Birdi. As the army and police assault teams closed in, an encounter broke out which ended around 8 am with a big explosion that left both the militants inside dead. Militants were identified by police as Sabzar Ahmad Sofi and Ashiq Gojri, both residents of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.Sofi was pursuing a PhD at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi after doing a MPhil and had also qualified NET for appointment as a lecturer before joining militant ranks, officials said, adding that he had been operating in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Kulgam districts for over two years now.He is the second scholar turned militant who was killed in an encounter with security forces in the Valley. On October 11, another PhD scholar from AMU, Manan Wani was also killed in an encounter in Handwara along with one of his associates.A big funeral procession was held in Sangam for Sofi, where even some militants appeared and paid a gun salute to him.Meanwhile, shutdown continued in south Kashmir and restrictions were imposed in Kulgam district following the call from Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) who had asked people to march towards Kulgam on Wednesday. Schools were closed in central and south Kashmir and mobile internet was also snapped. The train service between Banihal and Baramulla was also suspended.HT
After Bhagwat’s Push, Law Minister Says Supreme Court Must Fast-Track Ram Mandir Case
New Delhi: 2 days after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the Centre should bring a law to build a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad urged the Supreme Court to fast-track hearing in the case.Prasad described the issue as one that is very important for the entire nation.“It must get resolved soon. Hindus not only in India, but the world over want that the case gets expedited,” he said.When asked why this issue crops up every time before elections, Prasad denied that BJP and Sangh leaders were talking about it to gain poll mileage. “It’s not an electoral issue, but about the faith of the nation. The court should hold an expeditious hearing. This is our request,” he added.Talk of the temple has grown louder in the run-up to the elections to the 5 states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana – next month and the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.news18
Rajasthan police official draws flak over reply to Shehla Rashid’s tweet on ‘concentration camps’
Jaipur :A probationary officer of the Rajasthan Police courted controversy with his remarks on Twitter over a tweet by former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid. Sharing a report by Indian Express about detention camps in Assam for illegal foreigners on Oct.21, Rashid had written “India’s concentration camps!” on Twitter. Sandeep Saraswat, a DSP at the police lines in Jaipur police commissionerate, on Tuesday replied to Rashid’s tweet. “Had the regime constructed concentration camp, person like Shehla would have been the first to be lodged into that camp and she won’t have been able to spread venom on Twitter,” wrote Saraswat.Many Twitter users, including Rashid, criticised Saraswat for his comments, often tagging the official handle of the Rajasthan Police. Some even cited Saraswat’s remark to blame the state police for increasing cases of cow-related violence.Saraswat (30) said that his comments were misinterpreted and he was only “defending” the state he serves.indianexpress
Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Prajapati cases: Cops implicated me in false case, witness tells court
Mumbai:A witness in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases told a special court that Gujarat policemen had taken money from him after implicating him in a false case in 2005.The court, however, did not record the submission, stating that it did not relate to the cases of the alleged encounters and that he could submit about it before the concerned court hearing the case.According to CBI chargesheet, the witness, in his statement, had earlier alleged that Sohrabuddin was an informant of Gujarat policeman Abhay Chudasama (named in the encounter cases initially but discharged in 2015) and that the latter had sought money from him to clear his name in a case.While Special Public Prosecutor BP Raju asked the witness whether his statement was recorded before a magistrate, he did not ask for the statement to be shown to witness for identification of document. The witness, the owner of a petrol pump in Ahmedabad, was earlier not included in the list of witnesses to be examined by CBI. After the witness himself wrote to CBI that he was willing to depose, CBI included him as a prosecution witness.On Tuesday, the witness told the court that in 2001, he was called to the office of ATS in Ahmedabad along with others, including Sohrabuddin.indianexpress
Sabarimala row: Contempt petitions against head priest, others for blocking women entry to temple
New Delhi :Two petitions have been filed seeking permission from the Attorney General to initiate contempt proceedings against a few people for preventing the entry of women to the Sabarimala temple in the five days of its monthly rituals this month, the first time it opened after the landmark SC judgement that allowed women of erstwhile barred age (10-50) to enter the temple.One of the petitions has been filed against the head priest of the temple Kantararu Rajeevaru, who threatened to shut the temple if women enter the shrine, and P. Ramavarma Raja-Chairman of Trust/Committee that manages the affairs of Pandalam Palace-who allegedly directed the priest and protested against the entry of all women in the shrine despite the SC ruling, reported Live Law.indianexpress
Discrimination Dalits and Muslims face in India:New study
New Delhi: How much discrimination do Dalits and Muslims face in their daily lives? A new study by Payal Hathi of the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics, and others, uses mobile phone survey data to find that a significant proportion of Dalit and Muslim respondents faced some form of discrimination.The study published in the latest edition of the Economic and Political Weekly is based on a mobile phone survey of 2,124 Dalits and Muslims across Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mumbai conducted between 2016 and 2017.Caste discrimination prevails across these regions, the study finds.In Delhi, more than one-fifth of Dalits reported facing caste discrimination. In Mumbai, 25% of Dalits and 30% Muslims personally experienced discrimination in interactions with a Govt official. Another common location for discrimination is schools, where reports of discrimination ranged from 10% to 25% across geographies and groups. Worryingly, the authors believe that the true extent of the problem may be even larger. Self-reporting tends to underestimate cases of caste discrimination because respondents may feel uncomfortable in revealing instances of discrimination.In addition to personal experience of caste discrimination, authors also asked Dalits and Muslims in Rajasthan and Mumbai about their perceptions of discrimination. According to authors, even perceptions of discrimination can influence psychological well-being, expectations and aspirations. They find that in both Mumbai and Rajasthan, more than 60% of Dalits and Muslims believe their communities face discrimination.livemint
Death by Hunger in UP District as Governance Collapses
"CM ji, my older brother died of hunger, please save me," hissed a skeletal figure in a video taken by freelance journalist Anoop Kumar on 13 September. The emaciated face belonged to 26-year-old Feku, who fell into a coma soon after and died in a Govt  hospital at 5:30 am on 14 Sept.Residents of Khirkia village in Kushinagar district of UP, brothers Feku and Pappu, a year apart in age, died within 16 hours of each other on 13 and 14 Sept.2018.Both had been starving and ill for several months, their mother Somwa, a 50-year-old widow, told IndiaSpend on Sept. 25. She stood near a small tent under which a priest and several men were preparing a bhoj, a ceremonial meal, to condole the death by starvation of her two youngest sons. Some local politicians and the village head (pradhan) had donated food after her sons’ deaths.Both men had had “a fever, and their whole body would shake,” Somwa recalled, squinting as the harsh sun hit her weathered face. The family had not eaten in days, and her sons had had lesions inside their mouths.Somwa and her family belong to the Musahar community – a Hindu ‘Scheduled Caste’ traditionally occupied as rat catchers, or, as a popular belief goes, a caste so poor that they chase mus or rats for a meal.Her sons' deaths are blamed on different causes in various Govt  documents – at first, the doctor told Somwa they had dengue; then, the chief medical officer said they had TB; finally, their death certificates said they had died of cardiac failure. "I don't know what they had, but no one at the hospital would listen to us," Somwa told IndiaSpend. thequint
Giriraj Singh dragged to court for calling Muslims descendants of Ram
Muzaffarpur :A complaint case was filed in a court here on Tuesday accusing senior BJP leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh of having "hurt Muslim sentiments" by calling them "descendants of Ram" in one of his recent speeches.The complaint was lodged by a social activist before the court of Additional CJM (West), Muzaffarpur, Saba Alam, who posted the matter for hearing on Nov. 3.The complainant, Tamanna Hashmi, felt aggrieved by a newspaper report wherein Singh was quoted as having made the statement.PTI
IAS topper says ‘I am the only topper, who was made to feel bad about her success’ because of Dalit background
IAS topper Tina Dabi Khan revealed the emotional turmoil she was subjected to by online trolls for her Dalit background.She said,“I can’t even begin to describe how it felt to have secured the first rank. How unbelievably it felt the feeling of victory and triumph. But, and that’s the sad part and the hard part. This success did not come to me with a bouquet in hand. This success did not welcome me with an open arm.“I think I am probably the only topper of this prestigious examination, who was made to feel so bad about her success. And I think, that time, I realised for the first time how brutal, how non-forgiving, how non-understanding the Indian society can be. How one individual can be targeted and attacked for the entire system and structures that the Indian society lives in, survives in. And how easy it is for people to sit back comfortably in their homes and abuse somebody on the internet.”jantakareporter         
WORLD
Saudis Staged 'Worst Cover-Up Ever' on Khashoggi says Trump, adding Saudi crown prince MBS could have been involved;  US Revokes Saudi Visas
US President Donald Trump has intimated for the first time that the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) could have been involved in the mission to kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, stating that "the prince is running things over there".Questioned about MBS's possible involvement in the murder, during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said: "Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage."He's running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him."The president told the US newspaper on Tuesday that he had closely questioned MBS about the journalist's killing, posing questions repeatedly and "in a couple of different ways"."My first question to him was, 'Did you know anything about it in terms of the initial planning'," Trump said.The crown prince, Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler, replied that he didn't, the president said."I said, 'Where did it start?' And he said it started at lower levels."Asked if he believed the denials, Trump paused for several seconds, before replying: "I want to believe them. I really want to believe them."Earlier on Tuesday, Trump had called the Saudi handling of Khashoggi's killing the "worst cover-up ever". The president told reporters: "There should have never been an execution or a cover-up because it should have never happened. It was a total fiasco." US announced on Tuesday plans to penalise 21 Saudi officials it says are responsible for the killing of Khashoggi.While the US State Department did not specify which Saudi citizens would be affected by the punitive measures, it said the individuals will have their US visas revoked or be made ineligible to enter the US."These penalties will not be the last word on the matter from the United States," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters."We're making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence."The vast majority of the 21 individuals affected already have US visas, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.Pompeo told reporters that the US still values its relationship with Saudi Arabia and Trump has repeatedly defended the country's multi-billion arms deal with the kingdom.middle east eye
Saudis Staged 'Worst Cover-Up Ever' on Khashoggi: Trump; US Revokes Saudi Visas
Trump hints at MBS role in Khashoggi killing
CIA director in Turkey to investigate Bin Salman’s role in Khashoggi murder
CIA Director Gina Haspel arrived in Turkey yesterday morning to help investigate the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as Western security agencies look into the potential role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in the murder.US media quoted well-informed sources as saying that Haspel has travelled to Turkey to discuss the ongoing investigations into Khashoggi’s murder as well as the Saudi Crown Prince’s involvement in the crime.Haspel has sought to hear a purported audio recording of his torture and murder which Turkish authorities said they are in possession of, 4 sources familiar with her mission told Reuters.middleeastmonitor
Erdogan aide alleges Saudi crown prince’s role in Kashoggi murder, says he has ‘blood on his hands’
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has “blood on his hands” in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a top aide to Turkey’s president said, in his country’s first direct accusation against the power behind the Saudi throne.The allegation by Ilnur Cevik came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the killing but stopped short of implicating the brash young leader, whose ambitions for a modernized Saudi Arabia have been undermined by his penchant for making enemies at home and abroad.“It is a futile gesture trying to distance the crown prince from the monstrous atrocity that has been committed by the Saudis,” Cevik said in a column published on Wednesday. “U.S. President Donald Trump may try to stand up for MBS so Washington can use him for its plans against Iran; however, from now on, wherever the crown prince goes, he will be regarded as the man with Khashoggi’s blood on his hands.”The kingdom has said to widespread skepticism that Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the prince, was killed in an Oct. 2 altercation gone wrong at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, after initially denying he died.International outrage over the fate of Khashoggi overshadowed a three-day investment conference in Riyadh that began on Tuesday, where a smiling Prince Mohammed posed for photographs and Saudi officials sought to restrict the damage from the killing.Bloomberg
Saudi sacks Istanbul Consul General
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday that Saudi Arabia has dismissed its Consul General to Istanbul Mohammed Al-Otaibi following a phone call he had with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz a few days after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul.“The Consul is not efficient and I have told King Salman of this. A day later, the Consul General was relieved of his duties and returned to his country,” the Turkish president told the parliament in Ankara.middleeastmonitor
Twitter storm after Khashoggi's son meets Saudi crown prince
Pundits on Twitter reacted swiftly and sharply to a photo released by the Saudi Govt  showing Jamal Khashoggi's son with a pained expression as he shook the hand of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.King Salman and the crown prince received Khashoggi's son, Salah, and his brother, Sahel, at the Yamama Palace in Riyadh on Tuesday, where the 2 royals expressed their condolences, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, which ran the handshake photo.A friend of the Khashoggi family told The Associated Press that Salah has been under a travel ban since his father began writing critically about the prince in columns for The Washington Post.The individual spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal.Crown Prince bin Salman has come under mounting international pressure with critics suspecting he ordered the high-profile assassination, or at least knew about it. "They brought him to the royal court to accept condolences. The look on his face. This photo makes me want to scream and throw up," wrote Manal al-Sharif, author of Daring to Drive: a Saudi Woman's Awakening.Fadi Al-Qadi, a Middle East human rights advocate and commentator, also denounced the photo-op as "ruthless".Chris Doyle, from the Council of Arab-British Understanding, told Al Jazeera the meeting between Khashoggi's family members and the Saudi leadership was designed to help its reputation, but the reaction on social media indicates it was yet another communications failure surrounding the murder. Saudi authorities say they have arrested 18 suspects and dismissed senior officials, but the crown prince has so far escaped blame. He has repeatedly denied any involvement in the murder.Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih on Tuesday described Khashoggi's killing as "abhorrent", saying "these are difficult days for us in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia".aljazeera
Saudi royals receive Khashoggi family but continue to ban them from travel
Saudi pledges $6bn to Pak amid economic crisis
Saudi Arabia has agreed to give Pakistan $3bn for a period of one year as the South Asian country faces an economic crisis marked by a mounting balance of payments deficit and dwindling foreign currency reserves.The Gulf kingdom also pledged an additional loan worth up to $3bn in deferred payments for oil imports, Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. The agreement came during a visit by Pakistan's PM  Imran Khan to Riyadh, where he met King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khan also attended a high-profile investment conference that opened in the Saudi capital on Tuesday."It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of $3bn for a period of one year as balance of payment support," Pakistan's foreign ministry said. The additional deferred payment facility for oil imports will be in place for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter, the ministry stated.aljazeera
Yemen at risk of 'big famine': UN humanitarian chief
United Nations humanitarian chief warns that Yemen is on the verge of widespread famine, with about half of the population completely relying on humanitarian aid for survival. Addressing the Security Council on Tuesday, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said, "there is a clear and present danger of an imminent and great big famine engulfing Yemen." Lowcock told the UN's most powerful body that this famine would be "much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives".He said that "the situation is now much graver" than when the world governing body last warned of a risk of famine at the beginning of 2017 and again last November, because "of the sheer number of people at risk".According to Lowcock, last month's estimate that 11 million people could soon face "pre-famine conditions" actually stood closer to 14 million - about half of Yemen's population.Lowcock said last month that the worsening food crisis was in large part the result of an intensification of fighting around the key port city of Hodeidah."Fierce clashes continue in Hodeidah, including intense fighting, shelling and air raids in Hodeidah City over the last several days," Lowcock said. aljazeera
Bangladeshi police arrest newspaper publisher linked to opposition ahead of elections
A prominent lawyer and newspaper publisher who is tied to Bangladesh’s political opposition has been arrested on defamation charges amid concern the Govt  is cracking down on dissent ahead of national elections, police said on Tuesday.Detectives arrested Moinul Hosein late on Monday after raiding an opposition leader’s home in the capital, said Mahbub Alam, a joint commissioner of the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.Hosein is publisher of the English-language New Nation daily and heads its editorial board. He appeared in court and his bail request was denied.AP
Inside China's internment camps:Tear gas, Tasers, textbooks
On state television, the vocational education centre in China's far west looked like a modern school where happy students studied Mandarin, brushed up their job skills, and pursued hobbies such as sports and folk dance.But earlier this year, one of the local Govt  departments in charge of such facilities in Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture made several purchases that had little to do with education: 2,768 police batons, 550 electric cattle prods, 1,367 pairs of handcuffs, and 2,792 cans of pepper spray.The shopping list was among over a thousand procurement requests made by local Govt s in the Xinjiang region since early 2017 related to the construction and management of a sprawling system of "vocational education and training centres".The facilities have come under international scrutiny, with rights activists describing them as political re-education camps holding as many as one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.aljazeera
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:48 PM)

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