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Sunday, 28 October 2018

28 OCT: NSA Ajit Doval asked Alok Verma to not probe Rafale deal; he refused and was removed: Source/ Trump Turns Down India's Invite For Republic Day Celebrations: Reports


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY 
28 OCT. 2018: 18 Safar 1440: Vol: 11, No:43
INDIA
NSA Ajit Doval asked Alok Verma to not probe Rafale deal; he refused and was removed: Source
NSA Ajit Doval, on instructions from PMO, had personally asked CBI Director Alok Verma to withdraw his request to investigate the controversial ₹60,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal, sources close to the suspended CBI chief have confirmed.It has been reliably learnt that Alok Verma had started a preliminary enquiry in the Rafale deal and had even written a letter to Union Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, seeking some crucial files of 36-fighter jet deal between India and France.The news of Verma's letter to the defence secretary had created a panic within PMO and NSA Ajit Doval was sent as an emissary to put pressure on Verma to retract his letter.He was suspended within hours after refusing to cede to Doval's request, multiple sources in CBI have told this correspondent. Asthana's allegations against Verma were just pretence to remove him, lest he investigated Modi govt.Verma has challenged his dramatic midnight removal from CBI's top post by the Modi government in the Supreme Court.The suspended CBI Director had also made up his mind to arrest Asthana, who has reportedly been accused of being involved in an extortion racket during his time as top cop and obstructing investigations potentially adverse to PM Narendra Modi, among other allegations.nationalheraldindia
Sensational disclosure by Congress, how Doval borrowed plot from Bollywood thriller to remove Verma in midnight coup
Trump Turns Down India's Invite For Republic Day Celebrations: Reports
New Delhi: US president Donald Trump has reportedly declined India's invitation to be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations. In early August, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had confirmed Trump received an invite to visit India."I know that the invitation has been extended, but I do not believe that a final decision has been made,"Ms Sanders told reporters then. The foreign ministry has not given a statement. American embassy in Delhi said only the White House can comment on the president's travel plans.For the last few weeks, US officials have been indicating that Trump would not fly to India in January as the State of the Union address is scheduled in the winter month. However, ex US president Barack Obama came to India twice and also attended Republic Day celebrations in 2015 on his second visit, despite the State of the Union address falling in January every year.Trump turning down the invitation could be seen as a low point in India-US ties, despite the good rapport PM Narendra Modi and he appears to have in public. Normally, formal invites to leaders for Republic Day are sent after the leader has already confirmed his or her attendance. Former diplomats have criticised the government for leaking the invitation letter to Trump before a confirmation.Trump declining India's invitation to be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations comes weeks after India and US have had a rough time over a range of geopolitical issues. India's insistence on buying oil from Iran despite US sanctions on the oil-producing nation was not taken well by the Trump administration. India and US also had to navigate a complex issue of possible US sanctions after Modi government decided to buy Russian S-400 long-range missile system, which US considers is within the scope of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.ndtv
Vigilance to probe contract given to Ambani’s Reliance Insurance in J&K
After having cancelled the controversial Group Medical Insurance Policy contract for state govt employees allotted to Reliance General Insurance Limited (RGIL), the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik has now asked State’s Vigilance Organisation (SVO) for probing the ‘fraudulent’ contract on priority basis.Malik has asked SVO to complete the probe within two months. “I will tell the Vigilance people to stop all their work to complete the inquiry. I’m going to lodge even criminal case against those found guilty,” he was quoted as saying in a local daily. “All those found guilty will be punished”.The contract was reportedly awarded to the RGIL less than a month ago. The huge embarrassment has encountered the company when it’s promoter, Anil Ambani, is embroiled in a controversy surrounding the ₹59,000-crore Rafale jet deal.The growing resentment among employees is said to have forced the Governor to cancel the contract after he had cleared it while chairing the state administrative council on August 31. “I gave go ahead but when Govt employees and others started raising fingers over the Policy, I had a detailed and fresh look at it and found discrepancies. I ordered scrapping of the contract,” the daily further quoted him, adding that Malik knows “who got what (in the scam), who is behind this (policy)”State’s Finance Department, according to official sources, had made an advance payment of ₹60 crore to RGIL without approval of the Governor or Chief Secretary on account of Group Mediclaim Insurance contract to cover over  400,000 government employees, including the employees of PSUs, autonomous bodies, local bodies and the universities besides pensioners.nationalheraldindia
Indian farmers fume at $430m cost of Gujarat statue
On 31 October India will unveil the world's tallest statue, which has cost hundreds of millions of dollars. BBC Gujarati's Roxy Gagdekar spoke to local farmers who say they are aghast that the government has spent so much money on it while they struggle to make ends meet.For years Vijendra Tadvi, a 39-year-old farmer in the western state of Gujarat, has been struggling to find water to irrigate his 3 acres of farmland.He grows chilli, corn and groundnuts. Like millions of farmers across India, he relies on monsoon rains to water his crops. or he pumps out groundwater, which supports 80% of the rural water supply and farm irrigation. But long dry summers followed by erratic rains have led to frequent drought and shrunk the incomes of farmers like Mr Tadvi.So in 2015, Tadvi found a job as a driver on a construction site to supplement his income. The Gujarat state government was building a 182m high statue, billed as the tallest in the world.The bronze-clad tribute to Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel cost 29.9bn rupees. And Gujarat's govt is reported to have paid more than half of that amount. The remainder came from the federal government or public donations. "Instead of spending money on a giant statue, the government should have used it for farmers in the district," Tadvi said, adding that farmers in the area still lack basic irrigation facilities.bbc
Ayodhya Dispute: SC likely to Hear Pleas Challenging Allahabad HC Verdict tomorrow
New Delhi: The Supreme Court is likely to hear on Monday, a batch of pleas challenging the Allahabad high court’s 2010 verdict by which the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area in Ayodhya was divided into three parts.A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph would hear the appeals filed in the matter. On Sept. 27, the apex court had declined to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam which had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.PTI
Ram temple not a poll issue for BJP: Fadnavis
Mumbai :In the run-up to Lok Sabha polls next year, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday that the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya is not an election issue for the BJP. He also maintained that the government has not absolved former deputy CM Ajit Pawar in the irrigation scam case, the probe into which is at a “very crucial stage”.In an interview to The Indian Express, Fadnavis said, “Ram temple is a commitment given by the BJP. But it is not an election issue for the party. For us, it is a matter of asmita (identity) and faith…”Indian Express
Jaitley faces heat for implying that religious beliefs are good enough reason to flout Supreme Court
The Sabarimala temple row appears to have exposed the BJP on the need to respect the rule of law in the country. The party that celebrated the top court’s verdict on Triple Talaq and called it a major victory for Muslim women has now gone full throttle against the country’s highest court for its judgement allowing Hindu women to enter Sabarimala temple. On Saturday, BJP President Amit Shah faced flak for issuing a chilling warning to the Supreme Court for its Sabarimala verdict. Speaking in Kannur after inaugurating a party office for the BJP, Shah expressed his displeasure on Kerala govt’s decision to implement the Supreme Court’s order, allowing women’s entry into Sabarimala temple.He told the gathering, “I want to tell governments and the court. Governments and court should issue orders that can be implemented. Orders that attack the beliefs of people should not be passed.”jantakareporter
Delhi Minorities Commission Notice to Police over lynching of madrasa student
New Delhi: Delhi Minorities Commission has issued a notice to the DCP South over the lynching of the eight-year-old student Muhammad Azeem of Begumpur’s Jamia Faridia madrasa. Azeem was killed by young children of the area on 25th of Oct. DCP has been directed to submit his report within ten days and to include in his report who have been arrested for this crime and what action police took over previous complaints by madrasa authorities.DMC has also directed Delhi Police to facilitate the repair of the boundary wall which was broken by miscreants, facilitating the intrusion of miscreants and drug addicts into the madrasa area at night. DMC has directed that if police force is needed to repair the wall, same should be provided to the madrasa authorities so that a major source of friction in the area is tackled. DMC has also decided to write to Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, to pay a suitable compensation to the parents of the murdered child. It has also decided to send a notice to the Hindi daily Navodaya Times which has published a fake report blaming the madrasa students themselves of the young child’s murder.Milli Gazette
BJP slams Ansari for statement on partition, seeks apology
Bhopal:BJP has accused Hamid Ansari of making “controversial statements”, and said that the former vice-president is known to show a “Muslim bias”. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said at a hurriedly called press conference that Ansari should apologise. Patra recalled that despite being V-P for 10 years, Ansari had said he felt insecure being a Muslim.He recalled the former V-P’s stand on the Jinnah portrait in AMU and Shariat courts in every district of the country. He also mentioned alleged anti-Hindu and anti-India statements by Congress leaders like Shashi Tharoor, Mani Shanker Aiyar and Ghulam Nabi Azad.BJP has attacked Ansari earlier too. indianexpress
Tharoor quotes RSS source: Modi a scorpion on Shivling, can’t remove with hand or hit with chappal
New Delhi:In a statement that could trigger a controversy, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday quoted an unnamed RSS source to compare Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a “scorpion sitting on a Shivling”. In a video released by ANI, Tharoor, who was addressing an audience at the Bengaluru Literature Festival, is heard saying, “There is an extraordinarily striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source to a journalist, that, ‘Modi is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivling, you can’t remove him with your hand & you cannot hit it with a chappal either’.”indianexpress
BJP plans move to demand recognition of 10,000 unregistered madrassas in Bengal
Kolkata:Targeting to woo minority voters, the state BJP’s minority cell is going to launch movement demanding recognition of 10,000 unregistered madrassas ahead of the Lok Sabha election.The saffron brigade’s minority cell today organised two days workshop of the minority members to inform them how the Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi working for the welfare of the minority people of the country and BJP is not the party of the antiminority people. The president of BJP’s minority cell Ali Hossain said that TMC-led govt deprived the minority community people very much even ignored the vital developmental issues of the minorities. “TMC-led govt promised that the teachers will be recruited for the madrassa but no recruitment took place. Even the government dissolved the madrassa board,” Hossain said. The minority cell of the saffron brigade will also launch movement against stopping of the investigation of Waqf properties related scam in the state.“There is a corruption in Waqf board but the state government is playing inactive role to change the scenario,” he said.The minority cell of the party will also highlight that TMC-led govt is only appeasing the minority community people instead of their proper development to strengthen the vote bank.thestatesman
‘Whenever I Raise Issues of Poor, They Talk About Hindus and Muslims’: Uttar Pradesh Minister  Rajbhar Attacks threatens to resign
Lucknow: Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party president and senior minister in the Uttar Pradesh government Om Prakash Rajbhar on Saturday expressed dissatisfaction with the BJP dispensation, claiming whenever he talks about the poor, "they bring in the Hindu-Muslim issue". Threatening to resign as minister, he said his "heart is broken."Should I fight for the poor or become a slave of BJP?""I have come here to fight for the poor and not to toe the line of the BJP. I am not here to taste power," he said addressing the "ghulami chodo, samaj jodo" rally to mark the 16th foundation day of the party."They haven't even given us a party office. I had come prepared to resign today from this platform itself," Rajbhar said. The leader had earlier expressed unhappiness over rebel Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Singh Yadav being allotted a government bungalow.Rajbhar, who has often criticised BJP govt,said, "My heart is broken.BJP doesn't want to give me a share in governance. Whenever I raise the issue of the poor, they talk about temples, mosques. They talk about Hindus and Muslims. "Our children want good education and not "mandir or masjid", he said.Calling for providing quota within OBC quota for different marginalized group according to their share in the population, Rajbhar said that BJP chief Amit Shah had promised to do it within six months, but it is yet to materialize.12 states have this arrangement but not UP," he stressed.He also demanded that UP be divided into 4 parts–Purvanchal, Pashchimanchal, Madhyanchal and Bundelkhand – for better representation and governance, besides a ban on liquor.PTI
Nationalism Should be Biggest Religion for Everyone:Adityanath
New Delhi: Nationalism should be the biggest religion for everyone and a collective voice must be raised against the forces of Naxalism, terrorism, corruption and those who work against the nation's interests, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said Saturday.PTI
BJP slams Ansari for statement on partition
Bhopal:BJP has accused Hamid Ansari of making “controversial statements”, and said that the former vice-president is known to show a “Muslim bias”. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said at a hurriedly called press conference that Ansari should apologise. Patra recalled that despite being V-P for 10 years, Ansari had said he felt insecure being a Muslim.He recalled the former V-P’s stand on the Jinnah portrait in AMU and Shariat courts in every district of the country. He also mentioned alleged anti-Hindu and anti-India statements by Congress leaders like Shashi Tharoor, Mani Shanker Aiyar and Ghulam Nabi Azad.BJP has attacked Ansari earlier too. Indianexpress
Opposition parties will come together to defeat BJP: AP CM Naidu meets Kejriwal, Mayawati, Abdullah
Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday met Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, BSP leader Mayawati and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and said that opposition parties have political and ideological compulsions, but they have to come together to defeat BJP in Lok Sabha elections.TDP leader met Loktrantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav and ex Union minister Yashwant Sinha as part of his efforts to bring together opposition parties against Modi govt in 2019 polls. Naidu also called on CPI leaders D Raja and S Sudhakar Reddy at Capital's Andhra Bhawan. Addressing a press conference, Naidu attacked the Modi govt saying people were feeling betrayed and that opposition parties should find ways to come together in the overall interest of the country."What is right, (on that basis) we have to move forward.There are political compulsions, there are ideological compulsions...and overall interest of the nation -- how to join together, how to work together.I am meeting everybody. We will move forward."Naidu, whose party had quit the Modi govt and the ruling NDA earlier this year, accused it of targeting opposition leaders. Naidu referred to the coalition governments including the National Front and United Front governments and said governments have not been formed without a national party. nationalheraldindia
In a first for Kashmir, third death in suspected sniper attack, IGP raises alarm
Srinagar :In the third death in a suspected sniper attack by militants in the past week, a CISF official was killed at Nowgam on the outskirts of Srinagar early Saturday morning. Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Rajendra Prasad was shot in the face around 1 am, while guarding a power grid station, and succumbed to his injuries.While police have officially termed the attack as “stand-off fire” by militants, a letter issued to senior police officers on Oct.24, by Kashmir IGP SP Pani has expressed concern over militants resorting to sniper attacks to target the forces, and suggested safety measures like raising the height of walls around camps. If confirmed, this would be the first instance of snipers targeting forces in the long history of militancy in the Valley.“In the last few days, terrorists have carried out two sniper attacks in SKR (South Kashmir Region),” Pani’s letter, accessed by Sunday Express, said, talking of the Oct.18 attack on a CRPF camp at Newa Pulwama, wounding 2 CRPF men, and another at Midoora, Tral, on Oct.21, on a security camp, killing an SSB jawan. In another suspected sniper attack, on October 25 at Lurgam in Tral, an Armyman was killed and another injured.Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack on Prasad, as well as the other 2 deaths in South Kashmir. Police sources say at least 4 more attacks in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district this month may be from sniper fire.indianexpress
Oppression in Kashmir will push more scholars towards armed resistance:slain militant’s mother
Srinagar: Hajira Begum, 58, is shedding tears inside her modest house, but one would be wrong to assume they are tears of grief. “No remorse,” she quipped when asked about her slain son. “I am a proud mother who gave birth to such a noble soul who sacrificed himself for Almighty and the people of Kashmir,” she says.Sitting with her daughter at her double storied house in Naina, Sangam area of South Kashmir, Hajira is greeted by a group of women who came to see her:"Congratulations! May Allah accept the martyrdom of your Son."The last time Hajira saw her son, Sabzar Ahmad Sofi, a scholar-turned militant, was on July 8, 2016, the day when Burhan Wani was encountered in Kashmir.“He told me around 4 pm that he was stepping outside and will be back till late evening, but seeing his face I could feel that something is going on in his mind and he was getting phone calls constantly,” Hajira said.However, she had no inkling that his son wouldn’t come back to her forever. Her son left behind everything, including his highly-qualified degrees and decides to join the armed ranks to fight the Indian occupation in Kashmir.On Oct. 24, Sabzar along with his associate Ashiq Gojri was killed in a fierce encounter in the outskirts of Srinagar City.By late evening, Sabzar was laid to rest at a local graveyard in his ancestral village in Sangam amid massive “pro-freedom and anti-India” slogans. According to reports, at least five of his colleagues including top commander Zeenat-ul-Islam offered him a gun salute.It was time for Hajira to ‘celebrate’ rather than mourn. She says she feels no regrets that her son decided to join the armed ranks. She feels ‘proud’ that her scholar-turned-militant son ‘attained martyrdom’.“Of course, my eyes too are moist…only a mother can feel the separation of her child but my son fought against the Indian oppression in the valley, it forced him to pick-up the arms. Can’t you see how innocents are being killed, blinded, tortured and disappeared?” she says.TCN
Maoists kill 4 CRPF men in poll-bound Chhattisgarh
Raipur :Days before first phase of polls in Chhattisgarh, 4 CRPF personnel were killed and two more injured Saturday after Maoists used a powerful IED to target a bulletproof mobile bunker vehicle in Bijapur district. Bijapur and 11 other seats of Bastar are set to go to polls on Nov.12, with CM Raman Singh even campaigning in four different parts of Bastar on Saturday. Police officials said that the two injured personnel have been evacuated by helicopter.According to police, between 50 and 60 personnel of CRPF’s 168 Battalion had exited their Murdanda camp on an area domination exercise. indianexpress
AP:Eluru’s non-Muslims look after 400-yr-old miniature mosque
Vijayawada: Eluru’s 400-year-old Qutb Shahi style miniature mosque, which is languishing due to lack of attention, is being taken care of solely by local non-Muslims, said Dr E. Sivanagi Reddy, a heritage expert and CEO of Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA). Dr Reddy had visited the mosque on Friday after being told about its condition by BKSR Iyengar, an Eluru based RTI activist.After studying the religious monument, Dr Reddy said it has small, unique dimensions, adding that there is probably no other mosque like it across the country. The mosque, which is built of stone in the typical Qutb Shahi architectural style, is three feet in length and five feet in height. It has two arches and two minars with a height of one foot each.  The miniature mosque is located on East Street (Toorpu Veedhi) of the city. Locals call it a ‘Buddi Masjid’ (small mosque) or ‘Eksthambh Masjid’. “It must have been built during the early 16th Century AD, when the coastal tracts of Andhra, including the Kondapalli and other forts, were annexed by Sultan Quli of the Qutb Shahi dynasty in 1530 AD,” Dr Reddy said. newindianexpress
Nagpur: BJP calls for promoting education at Muslim meet
Nagpur: Citing Sanskrit verses as he delivered a speech in Urdu, Syed Fazaullah Chisti, a teacher from Jamia Hamdard in New Delhi, said the message of Islam is for the entire mankind and not Muslims alone. At the World Islamic Sunni Meet underway in the city, Chisti was the key speaker during a session on ‘role of Sufism and Muslims in nation building’ on Friday.Guests included chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union minister for surface transport Nitin Gadkari and Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir. A few Muslim workers of BJP were also among the audience.Chisti stressed that Muslims who preferred to stay in India after partition consider it to be their homeland and are loyal the country. Brotherhood and liberalism were flavour of the 3-day event organized by Jamat Ehle-Sunnat, popularly known as the Barelvi sect.Barevli and Deobandis are among the two main sects of the Muslim community in the country. The former is known to follow a liberal school of thought. Last year, the same organization had held a seminar on triple talaq and equality of women.BJP leaders called for the need of education for social upliftment. Fadnavis counted the measures taken by the BJP regime for the minorities. Gadkari, who began with on a similar note, said, “All faiths lead to one God. It’s time to achieve a socio economic change in the society and religion has a role to play in it.” TOI
NDA govt walking extra mile to gain confidence of Muslims: BJP Minority Morcha Ansari
Kolkata :BJP Minority Morcha national president Abdul Rasheed Ansari has said the party’s government at the Centre is walking the “extra mile” to gain the confidence of minorities and has been successful in changing the perception of it being “anti-Muslim” to a large extent.The opposition, he alleged, had launched a “fear-mongering campaign” among minorities against BJP.PTI
Parrikar has cancer, no hiding from that fact: Goa minister
Panaji :In probably the first official admission by a BJP leader, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said CM Manohar Parrikar is suffering from pancreatic cancer and is being nursed at home.“He is CM of Goa, and the fact is he is not well — he has got pancreatic cancer. There is no hiding this fact,” Rane said.indianexpress
Bulandshahr: Zahid, a 'labour' held for sharing sensitive documents on Army with ISI; family says Police falsely implicated him
Lucknow :Bulandshahr Police Friday arrested a 35-year-old man for allegedly sending sensitive documents related to the Army to Pakistan’s ISI. Accused, identified as Mohammad Zahid Ansari, has been charged under Official Secret Act, police said.ASP, City (Bulandshahr), Pravin Ranjan Singh said that intelligence agencies had recently passed information about Zahid to them.“Acting on the tip-off, we began keeping watch on him (Zahid). After verifying information and collecting evidences against him, we arrested Zahid Friday late evening. Zahid had gone to Pakistan in 2012 and 2014. Some of his relatives are settled in Karachi,” said Pravin Ranjan. “Zahid came in contact with ISI official when he went to Pakistan in 2014.After returning, he started sending information related to the Army to ISI through WhatsApp and Skype. Zahid got money in return of those information. We are trying to collect what information he had shared and also how money was sent to him,” added Pravin Ranjan.A resident of Khurja locality, Zahid was working at a factory as a labourer in Bulandshahr for the last 2 decades, his family claimed. “Police had falsely implicated Zahid in the case. Police picked him on Wednesday evening while he was returning home from work. We were in process of collecting information on what charges he was detained and today morning, police informed us that he had been arrested on spy charges,” Zahid’s elder brother Akeel Ansari claimed.“We have relatives including maternal uncle and aunty in Pakistan. They lives in Karachi city and Zahid had gone twice to Pakistan to meet them. Zahid used to talk with relatives settled in Pakistan but never sent any sensitives information,” said Akeel.indianexpress
Pakistan Supreme Court reinstates ban on broadcast of Indian content on TV channels
New Delhi :Pakistan Supreme Court reinstated the ban on the broadcast of Indian content on television channels in the country, setting aside a July judgement by Lahore High Court (LHC) which lifted the ban imposed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Dawn reported. The decision will reinstate the ban on the broadcasting of Indian teleplays or television dramas.According to Dawn, the case filed by United Producers Association was heard by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who said, “They are trying to [obstruct the construction] of our dam and we cannot even ban their channels?” Along with banning the Indian content on Pak TV, chief justice added, “the authorities should only air appropriate content.”indianexpress
Indian Children Most Cyber-Bullied in World: Study
The increasing access of Indians to the Internet across India has given rise to the threat of the ‘faceless evil’ of cyberbullying, with teenagers being the most vulnerable victims. A recent study has shown that Indian children are the most cyber-bullied in world.A report published in Comparitech.com has said that Indian parents remained among highest to express confidence that their children were cyberbullied at least some times. Number of Indian parents complaining against cyberbullying, the report shows, has grown from 2011 to 2018. Comparitech report, which analysed an Ipsos international survey of adults in 28 countries, said that the number of parents complaining about their children being cyberbullied is increasing. Survey had conducted 20,793 interviews between March 23 and April 6, 2018, among adults between ages 18-64 in US and Canada, and adults between ages 16-64 in all other countries. thewire
Former Delhi CM Madan Lal Khurana Dies at 82
New Delhi: Former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana passed away here Saturday after a prolonged illness, his family said.Khurana, who was 82, is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters. His another son had died last month.A veteran of the BJP, Khurana was the chief minister of Delhi from 1993 to 1996 and was appointed the governor of Rajasthan in 2004.PTI
Delhi records worst air quality of season as haze engulfs national capital: Authorities
Delhi recorded its worst air quality of this season on Sunday as a thick haze engulfed the national capital which continued to grapple with deteriorating air quality. The overall Air Quality Index of the national capital was recorded at 381 which falls in the very poor category, the highest of this season and just points below severe pollution level, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board.An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered "good",51 and 100 "satisfactory",101 and 200 "moderate",201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe".12 pollution monitoring stations located in various parts of Delhi recorded severe air quality while 20 stations recorded very poor air quality, according to data by Central Pollution Control Board.Authorities attribute the dip in air quality to localised factors like construction dust, vehicular pollution as well as regional factors like pollution due to stubble burning from Punjab and Haryana.TOI
WORLD
Oman says it is time to accept Israel in region and 'move to a new world'
Oman's government described Israel as an accepted Middle East state on Saturday, a day after hosting a surprise visit by its prime minister that Washington said could help regional peace efforts.Oman is offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians to come together but is not acting as mediator, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate's minister responsible for foreign affairs, told a security forum in Bahrain."Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this," bin Alawi said."The world is also aware of this fact. Maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as others states] and also bear the same obligations."The minister's comments followed a rare visit to Oman by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which came days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas paid a three-day visit to the Gulf country. Both leaders met with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said, 77, who rose to power after overthrowing his father in 1970.Netanyahu was accompanied by senior officials, including the head of the Mossad intelligence agency and his national security adviser."We are not saying that the road is now easy and paved with flowers, but our priority is to put an end to the conflict and move to a new world," bin Alawi told the forum.However, a Western diplomatic source told Middle East Eye that the sultan's surprise meeting with Netanyahu was more about Oman's desire to play a role in the region than reaching a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.middleeasteye
Pakistani President rules out establishing any kind of ties with Israel
Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Sunday ruled out establishing any kind of relations with Israel as he strongly rejected reports that an Israeli aircraft carrying some officials secretly landed in Islamabad and flew away after several hours at the airport here.“Islamabad is not establishing any kind of relations with Israel,” Alvi told the media before his departure for Turkey on a three-day official visit in the wee hours of Sunday.It all started when an Israeli journalist Avi Scharf tweeted on October 25 that an Israeli business jet flew from Tel Aviv to Islamabad where it was on the ground for 10 hours, before flying back to Tel Aviv.Social media users took note and flayed the Pakistan government with the Opposition also joining in to demand an explanation about the “secret Israeli mission”.Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also dismissed reports of an Israeli aircraft landing in Pakistan as fake and baseless. Qureshi said that something which is not even real does not warrant a response.PTI
Greek Orthodox Archbishop in Jerusalem: Christian Zionists Aren't Real Christians
Jerusalem;A leading Arab Christian clergyman in Israel says evangelical Christians who support Israel aren't Christians at all.Greek Orthodox Archbishop Theodosios (Hanna) of Sebastia, also known as Atallah Hanna, has a long anti-Israel history. You could almost say he was raised with it. Like their Muslim counterparts, these Orthodox Christian leaders consider Israel the interloper and they don't hesitate to share their views whenever they have an opportunity."Hanna's latest proclamation asserts that Christians who call themselves Zionists are not really Christians – or as he said it, they don't belong to Christianity, Palestinian Media Watch reported. "Christian evangelists are tantamount to pulpits in the service of the Zionist enterprise," PMW quoted him as saying."They are enemies of Christian values…They are closer to Judaism and Zionism and have no connection to Christianity."CBN
Palestine slams new settlement homes in Jerusalem
Ramallah:Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned an Israeli plan to build 20,000 new settlement homes in a major settlement east of Jerusalem." The settlement project aims at separating East Jerusalem from its surroundings,” the ministry said in a statement. It said the settlement building “shuts the door to any plan to achieve peace on the basis of the two-state solution and thwarts any efforts to launch a real peace process".Earlier on Sunday, Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom reported that the Ministry of Construction and Housing and the municipality of Ma'aleh Adumim signed an agreement to build some 20,000 housing units in the settlement.The project will be implemented once it is approved by the Israeli govt, the newspaper said.Anadolu Agency
US: Gunman targeting Jews kills 11 in Pittsburgh synagogue
A gunman yelling, “All Jews must die,” stormed a Pittsburgh synagogue during Saturday services, killing 11 worshippers and wounding six other people including four police officers, before he was arrested.Robert Bowers, 46, of Pittsburgh, was taken into custody after a shootout with a SWAT team.Federal prosecutors charged him with 29 criminal counts including violence and firearms offenses, and violating U.S. civil rights laws. “The actions of Robert Bowers represent the worst of humanity. We are dedicating the entire resources of my office to this federal hate crime investigation and prosecution,” US attorney for western Pennsylvania Scott Brady told reporters.Earlier, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said federal prosecutors could seek the death penalty.Reuters
IS pushes back US-backed SDF forces in eastern Syria, killing several fighters
Islamic State group has ousted a US-backed coalition of Kurdish and Arab forces from its holdout in eastern Syria, killing dozens of fighters, an activist group said on Sunday.A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander, asking not to be named, also confirmed to AFP that the SDF was retreating from the Hajin pocket near the Iraqi border, seven weeks into an offensive. SDF, which is backed by air strikes from the US-led coalition, launched its campaign to retake the IS holdout on 10 September. But lt has faced fierce fighting from IS, including under the cover of sandstorms, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said."In counterattacks since Friday to Sunday dawn, IS has taken back all positions to which the SDF had advanced inside the Hajin pocket," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman, said.Observatory reported that 72 SDF fighters had been killed, as IS took advantage of a storm that hampered coalition air cover and dispatched suicide bombers as part of their fightback.However, a spokesman for SDF told the Reuters that the number of casualties was far lower. "IS terrorists continue to launch counter attacks, taking advantage of the bad weather conditions. ... Due to fierce clashes 14 of our fighters were martyred," SDF spokesman Kino Gibrail said on Saturday.Meanwhile, the unnamed SDF commander said that the setbacks were due to his forces' lack of local knowledge of the terrain, a factor worsened by the sandstorms.Unlike IS, "our forces don't know the area and can't move around in conditions of zero visibility," he said.middleeasteye
Leaders of Turkey, Syria, France and Germany hold Syria talks
A 4-way summit on Syria has ended with no major breakthrough, even as the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France agreed that a fragile ceasefire in Idlib should be preserved and said a committee tasked with drafting the war-torn country's new constitution needs to convene by the end of the year.Saturday's meeting in Istanbul was aimed at laying the groundwork for an eventual peace plan in a country devastated by more than seven years of war. In a joint communique following their meeting, President Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President  Vladimir Putin called for "an inclusive, Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process" and said conditions needed to be created for the safe and voluntary return of refugees. The summit, which was not attended by any Syrian groups, was the first to bring the four leaders together. Erdogan said the constitutional committee, which was first agreed upon in January during Russian-sponsored talks at the Black Sea resort of Sochi needed to convene "as soon as possible".However, efforts to bring Syria's warring factions together to draft a new constitution under which elections would be held have stalled, with the committee failing to meet even once.aljazeera
Damascus is blocking efforts to end civil war: UN
Leaders from Turkey, Russia, France and Germany are meeting in Istanbul to discuss the conflict in Syria.The United Nations has said that Damascus is blocking efforts to draft a new constitution which is key to ending the country's civil war.Outgoing UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura has been hopeful that high-level meetings will lead to a solution, but Bashar al-Assad's government has repeatedly objected to the names de Mistura included on the list and has now challenged his authority to make the list at all.aljazeera
Khashoggi killing: Top Saudi prosecutor arrives in Turkey
Saudi Arabia's attorney general is scheduled to arrive in Turkey to hold talks with investigators looking into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.Turkey has said Saudi's top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, is expected to discuss the latest findings of the investigation with Turkish investigators. There has been no announcement by the Saudis about the visit, which comes just days after CIA director Gina Haspel was in Turkey to review evidence before briefing the US president.Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects detained in the kingdom in connection with the October 2 killing.Riyadh dismissed Ankara's calls to extradite 18 Saudis wanted for the murder of Khashoggi. Saudi's foreign minister appeared to reject that notion in remarks on Saturday, saying the kingdom would try the perpetrators and bring them to justice after the investigation is completed.US defence secretary,Jim Mattis, said that he had met Saudi Arabia's foreign minister and called for a transparent investigation into the killing of Khashoggi.Mattis said he met Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir during a conference in Bahrain on Saturday and discussed the killing."We discussed it. You know the same thing we talked about, the need for transparency, full and complete investigation," Mattis told a small group of reporters travelling to Prague with him."(There was) full agreement from foreign minister Jubeir, no reservations at all, he said we need to know what happened and it was very collaborative,in agreement,"Mattis added.aljazeera
Sri Lanka crisis deepens as speaker recognises sacked PM
The speaker of Sri Lanka's parliament has recognised Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country's lawful prime minister, 3 days after his sudden sacking by the president threw the island into constitutional chaos. In a letter to President Maithriapala Sirisena on Sunday, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya asked him to back Wickremesinghe's request to retain the "rights and privileges" of prime minister until another candidate could prove a majority in parliament."I consider the said request to be a democratic and fair request," he said. Jayasuriya, a member of Wickeremesinghe's UNP, also urged Sirisena to reconsider his decision to suspend parliament until Nov.16. The suspension has "serious and undesirable consequences" for Sri Lanka, he said. Sirisena sacked Wickeremesinghe on Friday after pulling his UPFA  from the ruling coalition. He replaced the three-time prime minister with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who ended Sri Lanka's decades long civil war against Tamil separatists but was accused of human rights abuses and corruption. Wickeremesinghe, 69, insisted his sacking was unconstitutional and has called for an emergency parliament sitting to prove he still commanded a majority in parliament.According to the website of Sri Lanka's parliament, Wickremesinghe's UNP has 106 seats in 225-member House, while Sirisena's UPFA has 95.On Sunday, Wickremesinghe resisted moves to evict him from his official residence, defiantly summoning allies for a crisis meeting as thousands of his supporters, including Buddhist monks, amassed outside the colonial-era residence in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. His opponents said they will ask the police to seek a court order to evict the sacked prime minister, threatening to escalate the standoff as neighbours and Western nations asked all sides to exercise restraint and respect the constitution. Sirisena withdrew Wickremesinghe's security detail and officials cars on Saturday. aljazeera
Sri Lanka crisis turns violent: 3 injured after guard of sacked minister under Wickremesinghe opens fire
3 people were injured in Sri Lanka when a security guard of Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga opened fire on a mob allegedly loyal to President Matripala Sirisena. Ranatunga was petroleum minister under sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe before the cabinet was dissolved under the new govt, Reuters reported. When Arjuna Ranatunga tried to enter his office at the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, his official security guard shot and injured three people, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told Reuters.indianexpress
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:00 PM)

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