Thursday, 8 November 2018

08 Nov. ND:2nd anniversary of demonetisation: Cong calls it ‘official money laundering scheme’, says ‘govt wants to capture RBI’


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
08 Nov. 2018: 29 Safar 1440: Vol: 11, No:49
INDIA
2nd anniversary of demonetisation: Cong calls it ‘official money laundering scheme’, says ‘govt wants to capture RBI’
On the second anniversary of demonetisation Thursday, the Congress led the charge in criticising the note ban exercise and found support in Delhi CM  Arvind Kejriwal and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee. Former PM  Manmohan Singh said the “scars and wounds” caused by demonetisation were getting more visible with time, while ex finance minister Chidambaram called the notes ban exercise a money laundering scheme. Congress leader Manish Tiwari demanded PM  Narendra Modi’s apology to the country for “ruining and wrecking” economy. Slamming BJP Govt for attempting a “Tughlaqi” experiment, Tiwari said, “PM  stood up 2 years ago on Nov.8 and addressed nation, demonetising almost Rs 16.99 lakh crore in circulation.”Meanwhile, RBI on Tuesday declined to reveal the cost incurred on shredding banned currency notes worth Rs 15,31,073 crore which returned to banks following note ban. To a query under RTI Act, RBI said the process of destruction of banned notes got over in March 2018.Assailing the govt over the demonetisation exercise, P Chidambaram further said over 100 people died standing in queues while GDP growth fell by 1.5% as predicted by the Congress. "Consequences of demonetisation are catastrophic", he said. Congress leader said BJP no longer spoke of development but only of its Hindutva agenda, "It longer talks about 'achhe din' or growth and development. We only hear about the Hindutva agenda. Talking and writing are only about the divisive issues. People will take a decision when given an opportunity and Karnataka bypolls were a testimony to the same," he said. Chidambaram called the notes ban exercise a money laundering scheme.He further said that PM Narendra Modi's promise if "acchhe din" was in shambles as none of the objectives of demonetisation materialised. "GST collections, as well as direct tax collections, are short of estimate. Govt will not be able to meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.3% for 2019," he said at a press conference. Commenting on the rift between RBI and Central govt, Chidambaram accused the Narendra Modi government of trying to "capture" RBI to tide over its fiscal crisis, warning that any such move would be "catastrophic".He alleged that govt has packed the central bank's board with handpicked nominees, and was making every attempt to push through its proposals at RBI board meeting on Nov.19."Govt stares at a fiscal deficit crisis... Govt wants to step up the expenditure in an election year. Finding all avenues closed, in desperation, the government has demanded ₹1 lakh crore from the reserves of RBI," Chidambaram said.If RBI Governor Urjit Patel stands his ground, Centre was planning to issue a direction under Section 7 of RBI Act, 1934, directing the apex bank to transfer ₹1 lakh crore to the government’s account, he claimed."The day of reckoning is Nov.19 when RBI board is scheduled to meet.Govt has packed RBI board with its handpicked nominees and is making every attempt to ram through its proposal at the meeting," Chidambaram said."If RBI either defies govt or RBI governor resigns, in either events, the consequence will be catastrophic," he added. Calling demonetisation a planned conspiracy, Rahul Gandhi said the "scam" was a scheme to make black money white of PM Modi's "suit-boot" friends. "There is nothing innocent in this scandal. Deriving any other meaning to this exercise would be an insult to the nation," he tweeted.indianexpress/ nationalheraldindia
Scars of demonetisation more visible: Manmohan on 2 years of notes ban
Chidambaram: Demonetisation ‘official money laundering scheme’, govt wants to capture RBI
2 Years On, Modi Govt  Continues to Block Information on Demonetisation Deaths
New Delhi:2 years after demonetisation, Centre continues to block information around deaths caused by the exercise. Some believe that over a 100 people died – while waiting in queues, in a stampede etc – due to the Govt ’s decision to make Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes illegal tender and order their deposit and exchange by the year-end.Many more are believed to have died as they were left penniless and could not get access to food and medicines for survival. A query seeking information about the deaths due to the note ban was filed by RTI activist Neeraj Sharma on Oct.28, 2017. He had sought information regarding “total number of official/non-official deaths due to demonetisation which was declared by PM  Narendra Modi on Nov.8, 2016.”He had also asked for a list of the deceased and the compensation given to their families.This apart, Sharma had demanded certified copies of note-sheets, file notings by PM, PMO and various officials on the issue of compensation or relief given to families of the deceased due to demonetisation. He had also sought copies of emails, letters, directions or instructions issued to concerned authorities or subordinate offices by PMO as follow up action.Finally, he had asked for certified copies of similar documents which may have been issued while seeking reports on details of deaths due to demonetisation. In response to his queries, central public information officer responded that he was sending an “interim reply” and that the matter was being processed by PMO and a reply would be “sent as soon as possible”. thewire
Kapil Sibal accuses Dassault Aviation CEO of trying to hide truth in Rafale deal
Congress leader and former Union minister Kapil Sibal has accused the CEO of French aviation company Dassault of trying to hide the truth in the 2016 sale of 36 Rafale planes to India and warned that the company is "falling into its own trap.""Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier has deliberately tried in recent interviews to 'muddy the waters' over the Rafale deal and Dassault now is trying to hide the truth. Unfortunately it is falling into its own trap," Sibal said."I would warn Dassault that the more they continue to hide the deal, the more likely it is that they will get into serious trouble in time to come," he said.He said, "we are asking the CEO of Dassault not to muddy the water. We want an inquiry as there is corruption at the highest level in the deal."PTI
CBI's Verma meets CVC Chief, Denies Charges
New Delhi: CBI Director Alok Verma Thursday met Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary and is said to have refuted corruption charges levelled against him by his deputy and special director in the probe agency Rakesh Asthana, officials said.Verma came to the CVC office around 1 pm and met Mr Chowdary and Vigilance Commissioner Sharad Kumar, they said, without citing any other details.The Supreme Court had on Oct.26 asked the Central Vigilance Commission to complete within two weeks its inquiry into allegations against Verma levelled by Asthana.Both of them have been sent on leave by the Govt.PTI
Ill-treatment of Ferreira shows India becomes dangerous place for rights defenders: Amnesty
Amnesty India has called on the Maharashtra Govt to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into activist, Arun Ferreira’s claims that he was beaten by the Maharashtra police in custody, on 4 Nov.“Arun Ferreira’s submission before a Pune court that he was hit on his face repeatedly by ACP Shivaji Pawar on 4 Nov. is alarming. This raises serious questions about the Govt ’s treatment of human rights defenders. Authorities must conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into his allegations,” said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty India. Sidharth Patil, Arun Ferreira’s lawyer said “Arun was repeatedly hit on his face by the police in custody. He was admitted to a local hospital soon after and his injuries were recorded in the medical report. The report has been submitted to the court. Arun is recovering and his family met him in jail yesterday”.In a series of brutal crackdowns on human rights defenders in the country, Maharashtra police on 6 June, arrested activists Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, and Mahesh Raut. On 28 August, Maharashtra police again arrested activists from across country like Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves,Arun Ferreira, and Varavara Rao, and raided the homes of several others.jantakareporter
BJP leader, who wore RSS uniform, adopts 6 children from Malad madrassa
Haji Hyder Azam, Mumbai's BJP vice-president and chairman of Maulana Azad Minorities Financial Development Corporation, Govt  of Maharashtra, has adopted six students from Noormeher Charitable Trust in Malad, Mumbai.BJP leader, who had earlier courted controversy wearing an RSS uniform, said he has taken the responsibility to bear the educational expenses of the six students who are 'Hafiz Quran' and have cleared the SSC (Class XX) exams this year. The title 'hafiz' is given to the one who memorises the Quran."We are the only madrassa which gives dual education. Azam will bear the education cost of all the six students. All the six students have cleared their SSC exam. Students are also Hafiz Quran. He will bear the expenses of both the educational costs," Syed Ali Hussain, founder and president of Malad's Noormeher Charitable Trust, told India Today TV.Azam had earlier courted controversy when he attended RSS Dussehra rally in an RSS uniform -- khakhi pants, white shirt and also carrying a lathi."Before Dussehra rally, some RSS functionaries sent me an invitation. They offered me the attire. I went there just for the function. I have not joined the RSS," Azam was quoted as saying by the Times of India when asked why he chose to wear the RSS uniform.indiatoday
ASI trying to create rift between Hindus and Muslims by banning namaz in Taj Mahal mosque: Clerics
Lucknow: Muslim clerics on Tuesday said that the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) prohibition on Muslims offering namaz at the mosque located inside the Taj Mahal is unjustified and claimed that the move was taken in order to create a rift between Hindus and Muslims.The clerics dubbed the ban as wrong and said the order violates their fundamental rights after the ASI on Monday imposed a ban on people offering namaz at the mosque inside the Taj on all days, except for Friday.According to ANI, president of the All India Imam Federation, Sajid Rashidi, said, “The decision by ASI is wrong, and they cannot have such double standards. In Delhi, they have around 123 properties, and within those 123 properties, there are several mosques... They even wrote a letter to the Wakf board asking them to appoint imams in those mosques.”“What are these double standards? And why did they choose this particular time for coming out with such an order? All these Govt  institutions, be it CBI, RBI, etc.. all of them are under pressure. All this is being done to create a rift between Hindus and Muslims,” Rashidi added.Muslim cleric Mufti Mukarram said, “ASI’s decision is wrong and unjustified, there is no explanation for it. People have been peacefully offering namaz there since a very long time, without any problems. Mosques are built to offer prayers, and it is our fundamental right given to us by the Constitution. ASI should take back their order with immediate effect.”Times Now
Ram temple was there, is there, will always be there: Adityanath
Ayodhya :A day after announcing that Faizabad district would henceforth be known as Ayodhya, UP  CM  Yogi Adityanath, on Diwali Wednesday, said that “a grand statue” of Lord Ram would be built in Ayodhya and that his Govt  had shortlisted some locations for it. He made the announcements in Ayodhya after offering prayers at the makeshift Ram temple at the disputed site. Adityanath also visited the Hanumangarhi temple, Kanak Bhawan and Sugreev Qila. At Deepostav celebrations in Ayodhya, he also announced that Ayodhya will have its own airport named after Ram and a medical college named after Ram’s father King Dashrath.indianexpress
Faizabad district will now be called Ayodhya, Yogi Adityanath announces in Diwali speech
UP CM Yogi Adityanath announced that Faizabad district will be renamed Ayodhya. city Ayodhya is located in UP's Faizabad district and is at the centre of the Ram mandir dispute.Chorus has risen for Govt  intervention to build a Ram temple at Ramjanmabhoomi, site believed to be the birthplace of lord Ram.The site is also the location where the Babri Masjid once stood; the mosque was controversially razed by a group of Hindu karsevaks in 1992, an act that sparked nationwide communal tension and violence.A title suit over the land is currently in the Supreme Court. The SC has been petitioned to review the judgment of the Allahabad High Court that had divided the controversial land into three parts. Recently, the Supreme Court said that it would decide in January when to hear the appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court judgment.indiatoday
Now, Gujarat CM  talks about renaming Ahmedabad
Gujarat CM  Vijay Rupani on Thursday said his Govt  was exploring legal options on renaming Ahmedabad, days after his UP  counterpart Yogi Adityanath changed Faizabad to Ayodhya and Allahabad to Prayagraj.“We are contemplating changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati, the talks of which have been going on since a long time… We will think about it in the time to come,” Rupani said.CM  added that all legal aspects would be explored before any concrete step was taken. RSS has been pushing for renaming Ahmedabad as Karnavati after a Hindu king, Karan Dev, who is said to have established the city in the 11th century.HT
Now, Shiv Sena asks CM Fadnavis to rename Aurangabad, Osmanabad
Close on the heels of the UP  Govt ’s decision to rename Allahabad and Faizabad as Prayagaraj and Ayodhya, the Shiv Sena on Thursday mounted pressure on Maharashtra CM  Devendra Fadnavis and asked when will the state Govt  rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad. Taking a jibe at CM , Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut posted on Twitter, “Yogi Adityanath has renamed Allahabad and Faizabad to Pragyaraj and Ayodhya. When will CM Devendra Fadnavis rename Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar and Osmanabad to Dharashiv Nagar?”indianexpress
Naxal attack in poll-bound Chhattisgarh: Jawan among 5 killed as CISF vehicle blown up
Days before assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Naxals on Thursday blew up a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) vehicle, killing five people including a jawan, police said. According to initial reports, Naxals triggered an IED blast on a bus near Bacheli in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada.The attack took place a few days after a Doordarshan cameraman was killed in a Naxal ambush in the same region.2 CISF personnel were also injured in the incident, Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallava told PTI.  The explosion took place in a hilly area in Bacheli in Dantewada when the personnel were returning to their camp after purchasing groceries from the market, Pallava said. Civilians killed in the blast included the bus driver, conductor and cleaner, he added.indianexpress
Pakistan has cost effective solutions to India’s ballistic missile defence system: Report
Pakistan has “cost effective solutions” to India’s latest ballistic missile defence system and would also find a counter to its nuclear capable submarine, a media report said on Wednesday quoting a senior official of the country’s top strategic body.Addressing a conference on ‘Nuclear Deterrence and Strategic Stability in South Asia’ hosted by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Adviser to National Command Authority (NCA) Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Kidwai also said that Pakistan will remain unfazed as it has adequate response options that would disallow any disturbance of the strategic balance or strategic stability.“History of our strategic force development clearly indicates that Pakistan has never allowed this (strategic) balance to be disturbed to our disadvantage; we have always found effective solutions to redress induced imbalances from time to time,” Gen Kidwai was quoted as saying in by Dawn newspaper.He said Pak would not follow India in developing a defence system against ballistic missiles because it found little value in such systems, but would continue to seek to redress the imbalances caused by India’s moves.PTI
LIVE: Delhi registers worst air quality of the year as people defy SC order on bursting crackers
New Delhi:Hours after Diwali celebrations, a thick haze enveloped Delhi-NCR as the air quality Thursday morning plunged to ‘hazardous’ — Anand Vihar and areas around Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium recorded 999 AQI and Chanakyapuri 459 — exposing people to major health risks. The Supreme Court had fixed a two-hour time-frame, from 8pm to 10pm, for bursting firecrackers on Diwali. People, however, remained unmindful of the deadline and continued bursting firecrackers till late leading to severe deterioration in air quality.According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality was 302 AQI –‘very poor’ category — at 11 pm in Delhi-NCR. It began deteriorating rapidly 7 pm onward when the AQI was recorded 281. It was 291 at 8 pm, 294 at 9 pm and 296 at 10 pm, according to the CPCB. indianexpress
Couldn’t pay dividend after losses from note ban, GST: Nowhera Shaikh held for cheating
Mumbai :Nowhera Shaikh, MD of Heera Group arrested for allegedly cheating nearly 150 people from Mumbai and surrounding areas, has told investigators that losses she suffered following demonetisation and imposition of GST rendered her unable to pay dividends on investments made by people. Citingimpact of demonetisation, carried out in Nov. 2016, and then implementation of the GST regime in July 2017, Shaikh has said that by early 2018 she was forced to stop paying monthly dividends, leading investors to approach the police. More than 150 people from Mumbai and Thane have made police complaints against Shaikh, and FIRs have been registered against her at several police stations across the country, it is learnt.An officer associated with the case said that during interrogation, Shaikh has said that she had been paying out dividends for nearly a decade, but fell back on payments since early 2017.“In May 2017, she issued a circular to her investors, stating that she will pay quarterly dividends, which she managed for some time,” the officer said. “But even the quarterly payments stopped since early this year.”The officer said that during interrogation, Shaikh replies confidently and asks them to check her bank statements and prior investigations if they do not believe her.“Her Mumbai agent, Salim Ansari, has also been named in FIR.Nearly 20,000 people had put in money through him. Like Ansari, there are several agents working for her in the city, so the number of investors must be quite high,”officer said.indianexpress
Shivraj’s brother-in-law in Congress’ fourth list for MP elections
The Congress on Wednesday released its fourth list of candidates for the Nov. 28 Madhya Pradesh assembly elections. CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s brother-in-law Sanjay Singh Masani, who joined the party last week, also figures in the 29-name list.With the fourth list which has 27 new candidates and two candidates replacing those announced in the earlier lists, Congress has named 211 of its candidates for 230-strong assembly. The first list of 155 names was released late on Saturday night, while the second and third lists with 16 and 13 names came out on Sunday and Monday.According to the fourth list, Masani, the brother of Shivraj Chouhan’s wife Sadhna Singh, has been fielded from Waraseoni in Balaghat district.HT     
WORLD
Saudi bars nearly 3 million Palestinians from Hajj and Umrah
Saudi Arabia is barring more than one and a half million Palestinian citizens of Israel from travelling on temporary Jordanian passports to perform the Islamic pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah in the holy city of Mecca, Middle East Eye can reveal.The measure is part of Saudi Arabia's new policy to stop issuing visas for Hajj and Umrah to Palestinians in Jordan, Lebanon, East Jerusalem, and, most recently, to Palestinians living in Israel, who hold temporary travel documents issued by Jordan or Lebanon - a policy that became effective on 12 Sept. This Saudi move affects 2.94 million Palestinians in total across these states, who have no access to any other form of travel document allowing them to go to Saudi Arabia, where millions of Muslims travel each year on pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Several travel agents spoken to by MEE in Israel, East Jerusalem and Jordan said that they were informed by Jordan's Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs that the Saudi embassy in Amman told them to not apply for visas for anyone seeking to travel to Mecca on a temporary Jordanian passport.A Jordanian source, with an inside knowledge of his country's diplomatic affairs, told MEE that the Saudi decision is part of a bilateral agreement with Israel to put an end to the "Palestinian identity and the right of return for refugees"."Saudi is pressuring Jordan to naturalise the Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and now Palestinians in Israel. The same could happen in Lebanon. Then, you will not have a Palestinian refugees problem," the source said."It is all part of a bilateral agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. But Jordan is refusing to naturalise Palestinians.Jordanian MPs told MEE that Jordan has been issuing temporary travel documents since 1978 for Palestinian citizens of Israel, who fell under Israeli military administration after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.Saud Abu Mahfouz, a Jordanian MP, said that they have asked Jordan's minister of interior and the minister of Awqaf to send a committee to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, to negotiate a reversal of the policy, and called upon King Salman to intervene.  "The decision is affecting every Arab and Muslim who has the right to worship. We have been hearing complaints about this matter since last year, and we were surprised to find almost 200 tourist companies in Jordan not able to issue an electronic visa for Umrah from Saudi embassy for Palestinians," Abu Mahfouz said.Another Jordanian MP, Yahya Al-Saud, said that they have asked for a meeting with the Saudi ambassador in Amman, Khaled bin Faisal, but the embassy has yet to set a date for the meeting."There is a pressure on Jordan. Saudi are saying that only people with permanent passports could get a visa for Hajj and Umrah," he said. middleeasteye
Israel suggests railway linking Haifa to the Gulf
Israel is expected to present a railway project linking it and the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia, according to Russian agency RT. Office of Israeli Minister of Transportation and Intelligence, Yisrael Katz, said he would tell the International Road Transport Union (IRU) in Oman that despite the total absence of public diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab states, a rail link should be set up connecting the region. Katz is expected to present at the IRU congress, held in Muscat, a joint plan with Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu called Tracks for Regional Peace.The project aims to link the Mediterranean to the Gulf States through Israel, by means of a rail plan similar to a land bridge. The railway project will also cross through Jordan.Katz mentioned last month that he had presented the project to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding that her Govt  is considering working on the project.US President Donald Trump’s Special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, welcomed the initiative on behalf of the US administration, calling for supporting dialogue between Israel and the Arab states. middleeastmonitor
Israel clears 640 new settlement units in Jerusalem
Israeli District Planning and Building Committee in Jerusalem approved on Tuesday the construction of 640 new settlement units in the illegal settlement of Ramat Shlomo, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.The illegal settlement of Ramat Shlomo is located between the Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Beit Hanina and Shuafat. According to the paper, the committee rejected appeals by anti-settlement group Ir Amim, which argued the new settler units would be built on privately owned Palestinian land.NGO described the committee’s decision as a “step that violates the property rights of Palestinian landowners through and through.”It also said: “This decision is additional proof that Israeli control in East Jerusalem means a regime based on serious discrimination.” middleeastmonitor
Saudi to deport scores of Rohingya refugees ‘against their will’ to Bangladesh: middleeasteye
Saudi Arabia is preparing to forcibly remove scores of Rohingya refugees "against their will" to Bangladesh after imprisoning them for an indefinite period inside a Saudi detention centre, activists and imprisoned Rohingya said.The planned deportations come after Saudi Arabia ordered Bangladesh to take back more than a hundred Rohingya who came on Bangladeshi passports to Gulf kingdom - amid fears that Bangladesh is repatriating Rohingya to Myanmar. Those being prepared for deportation from Saudi Arabia have said they have Burmese ID cards to prove they are Rohingya from Myanmar - a country more than 700,000 of them have fled since August 2017 to avoid persecution from the army - and not Bangladeshi. “What will we do when we got to Bangladesh? We have no other choice but to kill ourselves."The detainees had begun to be processed for removal to Bangladesh just days after a visit to Saudi by Bangladesh's PM, Sheikh Hasina, in mid-Oct.when she met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.During Hasina’s 4-day visit to Saudi, MBS praised Dhaka’s pledge to invest in Bangladesh and called for stronger military cooperation. Salman also praised Bangladesh’s response to Rohingya crisis. Many Rohingya refugees came to Saudi on passports obtained via fake documents from several South Asian countries - including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan - in a bid to flee persecution in Myanmar. Most entered Saudi on Umrah pilgrimage visas several years ago.But after being caught up in a series of Saudi immigration raids, Rohingya were subsequently taken to Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah, where they confessed to coming to the country on fake passports. Members of the persecuted minority described fear and panic inside Shumaisi, as Saudi immigration police prepared to forcibly remove Rohingya detainees to Bangladesh.
Rohingya still face 'persecution' in Myanmar : UN
UN’s special envoy to Myanmar has urged Bangladesh to drop plans for a hasty repatriation of hundreds of Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled after ethnic violence in Myanmar for Bangladesh.UN's Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee said "the Govt  in Naypyidaw had “failed to provide guarantees they (Rohingya) would not suffer the same persecution and horrific violence all over again.” Lee also said that according to credible information from the refugees in Bangladesh, the Muslims “are in deep fear of their names being on the list to be repatriated, causing distress and anguish, Press TV reported.More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees have taken refuge in Bangladesh since last year after Myanmar's security forces launched a crackdown on Rohingya militants in the western state of Rakhine.Chris Melzer, UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) senior external officer based in Cox’s Bazar, has also warned “against imposing any timetable or target figures for repatriation in respect of the voluntary nature and sustainability of return.
Trumped: One-party rule ends in US as Democrats recapture House
Washington:A Democratic “Blue Wave” ran into a Republican “Red Wall” in Middle America allowing President Trump’s party to expand its slim majority in the Senate, even as the Democratic Party recaptured the House of Representatives after eight years in the opposition benches.Democrats won 223 seats in elections to the 435-strong House of Representatives, whose members are proportional to the population of states, reflecting the will and sentiment of the people in numerical terms. The Republican Party extended its 51-49 majority to 54-46 in the Senate, which elects two lawmakers per state (big or small) ensuring geographic and cartographic representation.Effectively, Democrats won the popular vote from the more populous coastal, urban, liberal, progressive, and economically vibrant areas of America, while President Trump and his party prevailed in the vast geographic hinterland that is less-populated, less-educated and predominantly rural, conservative, white, and economically poor."Democrats have the people; Republicans have the real estate," one pundit said of the results.Both sides presented the results as a victory, although Democrats had greater bragging rights considering they ended the one-party Republican stranglehold in Washington by recapturing the House. But political analysts said the results fell short of the sweeping repudiation of Trump wished for by Democrats, who secretly hoped for a tsunami that never materialized.Nevertheless, Democrats also won seven governorships, including states such as Wisconsin and Kansas that President Trump had won in 2016, and came close to breaching the Republican fortress in Texas, where incumbent Senator Ted Cruz barely held on to his seat, while narrowly losing gubernatorial races in Georgia and Florida.TOI
Somali Refugee, Daughter of Palestine Immigrants Become First Muslim Women in US Congress
Chicago: A onetime Somali refugee and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants shared the historic distinction Tuesday of becoming the first two Muslim women elected to the US Congress.Both women -- Ilhan Omar, 37, and Rashida Tlaib, 42 -- are Democrats from the Midwest and outspoken advocates of minority communities that have found themselves in the sights of US President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies.  mar won a House seat in a strongly Democratic district in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding Keith Ellison who was himself the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. Tlaib's victory was no suprise. She ran unopposed in a congressional district that stretches from Detroit to Dearborn, Michigan.ews18
CNN reporter loses White House access after confrontation with Donald Trump
White House suspended the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta after he and US President Donald Trump had a heated confrontation during a news conference.They began sparring after Acosta asked Trump about the caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern US border. When Acosta tried to follow up with another question, Trump said, “That’s enough!” and a female White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from  Acosta. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement accusing Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,”calling it “absolutely unacceptable.”AP
Several killed in California bar shooting: sheriff
At least 13 people are killed, including a sheriff's sergeant and the gunman, after a shooting inside a bar packed with college students in southern California, the Ventura County sheriff's office says.Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said on Thursday sheriff's sergeant Ron Helus responded to the scene and was shot after he entered the building in Thousand Oaks. He died at a hospital early on Thursday.Authorities did not say how the gunman died.Dean said around 10 other people were shot and wounded. No other information on the victims was immediately known.Ventura County Sheriff's Office Captain Garo Kuredjian said the first reports of shots fired came around 11:20pm at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, which is about 50km west of Los Angeles.The bar's website says its hosts "College Country Night" every Wednesday. Police said hundreds were inside when the shooting occurred.aljazeera
Afghan forces killed as Taliban continues attacks
At least 14 Afghan army soldiers were killed in Takhar province after midnight on Thursday in the latest attack by Taliban armed group, which has killed or wounded dozens of security forces this week.6 soldiers are missing and 16 others wounded in the attack on military base in Khawja Ghar district, provincial council member Mohammad Azam Afzali said.In the neighbouring Kunduz province, at least seven army soldiers were killed and several others were wounded on Wednesday, Afzali added.Also on Thursday,Taliban attacked and overran two checkposts in Ghazni's Jaghori district, killing several local police forces,as fighting continued. Jaghori resident Asad Arman told DPA news agency that army commandos had reached the district by helicopter early Thursday, forcing the fighters to retreat.Jaghori, a predominantly Hazara Shia dominated district, is one of the safest in the province, which has come under Taliban attacks following the armed group's assault on neighbouring Uruzgan province.On Sunday, at least 13 policemen were killed in Khogyani district after Taliban fighters attacked their checkpost, according to Ghazni governor spokesman Arif Noori.Amid escalation of violence across the country, Russia is facilitating a peace conference on Friday attended by officials from High Peace Council (HPC) and members of the Taliban group based in Doha, Qatar. HPC established by the Afghan Govt  told local media "that the meeting is aimed at brokering talks between the Afghan Govt  and the Taliban".Russia invited 12 countries and the Taliban, but the US and the US-backed Afghan Govt  have stayed away from the peace talks. aljazeera
58 combatants killed in fighting for Yemen’s Hodeida: medics
Dozens of combatants were killed as pro-Govt  forces closed in on rebel forces in the heart of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida today,hospital sources said.Medics at hospitals inside the city reported 47 rebels had been killed in overnight ground fighting and air raids by a Saudi-led coalition supporting the Govt. Sources at hospitals in Govt -held areas on the outskirts said 11 soldiers had also been killed.Over the past week, Yemeni Govt  forces backed by coalition troops have slowly edged into the city of some 600,000 people, one of the last rebel strongholds on the Red Sea coast.AFP
At least 27 killed in Tajikistan prison riot: report
At least 25 inmates and two security officers have been killed after a riot broke out at a high-security prison in Tajikistan, three security sources said today.aljazeera
Pakistani Christian woman Aasia Bibi 'freed' from jail
Pakistani Christian woman Aasia Bibi, who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy, has been freed from jail, her lawyer said."She has been freed. I've been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land," her lawyer Saif-ul-Malook said in a message to AFP news agency on Wednesday.Bibi, 53, was flown on Wednesday night to a facility in the capital, Islamabad, from an undisclosed location for security reasons, two senior Govt  officials told the AP.aljazeera
FLASH VIEWS & NEWS
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Middleeasteye: UK spy agencies knew source of false Iraq war intelligence was tortured
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