Wednesday, 14 November 2018

14 Nov. ND: SC reserves order on petitions seeking court-monitored probe into Rafale deal/ Palestinian groups to respect Gaza truce 'as long as Israel does'


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
14 Nov. 2018:05 Rabiul-I 1440: Vol: 11, No:54
INDIA
SC reserves order on petitions seeking court-monitored probe into Rafale deal
New Delhi:The Supreme Court today reserved its judgment on pleas seeking a court-monitored probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.A Bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph perused the pricing details submitted by govt in a sealed cover.The initial arguments were commenced by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, who told the court that the Inter-Government Agreement was “illegal” and sought an investigation in the matter. Besides Sharma, another lawyer Vineet Dhanda has also filed a plea in the matter.Former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan filed a joint petition. Later, AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh had also filed a petition. Singh said while as per the March 25, 2015 deal for 126 aircraft with 108 jets were to be produced by HAL, joint statement by the two sides specified a new deal for 36 Rafale jets with the same equipment as in 2007. Petitioners wanted Attorney-General, representing the Centre, to reply why a joint press statement was issued by PM along with French President Francois Hollande in April 2015, well over a year before Cabinet Committee on Security finally approved the 36 jets' deal signed in Sep 2016.Deputy Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal V.R. Chaudhari and two other officers from Indian Air Force appeared in the SC to assist it on the issue of the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.The officers appeared before a bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi had sought their assistance in the case. Petitioners for Bhushan, Shourie and Sinha alleged that the Centre had short-circuited the fresh tender process for 36 Rafale jets to procure them through restricted Inter Govt Agreement (IGA) mechanism. Bhushan argued that the Rafale deal qualified none of the three conditions laid down by Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). Alleging gross violation of procedure in decision making process in the deal, Bhushan asked: “Who took the decision for 36 jets? On what basis did PM announce the deal for 36 jets? He had no authority.How was 126 jets reduced to 36 jets?”.Asserting that not a single aircraft was delivered till now even after 3-and-a-half years, Bhushan told the SC that if the 126 aircraftr deal was still on, “at least 18 jets would have been delivered by April 2019”.thehindu
Modi Govt 'Short-Circuited' Acquisition Process in Rafale Deal, Bhushan Tells SC
Rafale deal: PM Modi flouted defence ministry norms, states govt affidavit in SC
On the Rafael deal, Govt has, itself, admitted that the announcement of this deal was made by PM Narendra Modi without any procedure or prior discussion. This has been revealed by the affidavit filed by Govt in the Supreme Court. A copy of this affidavit has also been given to the petitioner.Govt has acknowledged that PM Modi's announcement to buy 36 Rafael fighter aircraft was made before the process, which is necessary for the purchase of any defense equipment. The affidavit filed by the Govt  on Monday in SC on Rafale deal also indicates that neither Air Force had demanded only 36 Rafale aircraft, nor was any discussion held with the the Air Force about this deal.So, was this deal announced with some special purpose? And by doing so, was an effort made to benefit a particular industrialist? In the paragraph 23 of the affidavit filed by Govt, the Govt  has said that the acceptance of the requirement of 36 Rafale aircraft, ie Acceptance of Necessity (AoN), was given during Defense Acquisition Council i.e. DAC meeting on May 13, 2015. This meeting was presided by Defense Minister. It is worth noting that the approval of AON, or Acceptance of Necessity, is the first step in procurement process for purchasing any defense equipment or accessories,for which the approval by DAC is necessary. It should also be noted here that procurement of any defense equipment or equipment cannot be announced without the approval of AON. nationalheraldindia
CBI books its Deputy Legal Advisor for forging her appraisal report
New Delhi:Deputy legal Advisor with CBI for Vyapam case, Beena Raizada, has been booked by the agency for forging her annual performance appraisal report (APAR). CBI has charged Raizada with cheating, forgery and use of bogus documents.Raizada, whose performance had not been rated very well by her superiors for 2014, 2015 and 2016, allegedly forged documents to show that she had been rated as “excellent”. She allegedly even signed the documents on behalf of the head of department.CBI sources said the matter came to light when during the scrutiny of her APAR, which she had personally submitted with the headquarters in Delhi, it was revealed that she had been appraised even for the period that she was absent from office for 90 days.This aroused suspicion and a preliminary enquiry was initiated. The enquiry found that the officer had forged documents and signatures. On November 12, the preliminary enquiry was converted to an FIR.According to FIR, Raizada joined CBI in May 2014 as senior public prosecutor at the agency’s anti-corruption branch in Patna. Within six months, she was promoted as Deputy Legal Advisor.indianexpress
SC declines urgent hearing on plea alleging Centre’s interference in RBI’s functioning
                                                https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-centres-interference-in-rbi-5444911/
New Delhi :The Supreme Court has refused to accord urgent hearing on a petition alleging interference by the Centre in the functioning of RBI. A bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said the issue mentioned in the petition did not require an urgent hearing and it will come in “due course”.“We will see to it,” the bench said when lawyer M L Sharma, who has filed PIL in personal capacity, sought the urgent hearing. PIL sought the court should declare that the Centre has no “legal right” to issue any direction to the federal bank.It also sought a direction to Ministry of Finance that the consultation given by the central bank’s Governor under RBI Act was binding on the Centre and the President of India. It further sought a direction to the ministry, RBI and the State Bank of India “to recover the debts, along with the interest, from the corporate debtors/resolution applicant (acquirers) to protect public money in the interest of Justice.”PTI
Restrictions on banks: RBI and govt work to narrow their gap
Some common ground is likely to emerge between RBI and Govt on the latter’s proposal for aligning the central bank’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) and capital adequacy framework to global norms. This is a move that could potentially de-escalate the ongoing tension between the banking regulator and the Govt. Sources said recent discussions between Finance Ministry and RBI indicate that both sides are working to resolve at least two key operating hurdles Restrictions on banks: RBI and Govt work to narrow their gapfaced by banks through tweaks in PCA norms and changes in regulations to improve credit flow to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). RBI board is slated to meet on Nov.19. The central bank is expected to provide some breathing space to state-owned banks by allowing early exit from PCA for those banks that show trend reversal in their net non performing assets (net NPA) and signs of steady profits in second quarter and ahead, sources said.“The finance ministry is currently engaged with RBI. Govt does not want any relaxation in PCA but only its realignment with internationally accepted triggers for early interventions by the regulator. There has been some progress and both have moved forward towards a common ground,” a source said.indianexpress
India votes against UN General Assembly draft resolution on death penalty embargo
India on Tuesday voted against a UN General Assembly draft resolution on the death penalty as it is against the country’s “statutory law”, PTI reported. Executions are permitted in the “rarest of rare” cases in India.First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to UN Paulomi Tripathi said the resolution sought to promote an embargo on executions with the aim of abolishing the death penalty. The draft resolution asked member countries to respect international standards on the rights of those facing execution, and ensure the punishment is not applied on the basis of discriminatory laws. The assembly approved the resolution, with 123 countries voting in favour and 36 against.30 countries abstained. “In India, the death penalty is exercised in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases, where the crime committed is so heinous that it shocks the conscience of the society,” said Tripathi. “Indian law provides for all requisite procedural safeguards, including the right to a fair trial by an independent court, presumption of innocence, the minimum guarantees for defence, and the right to review by a higher court.”scroll.in
Ayodhya dispute: Sri Sri optimistic about out of court settlement, litigants differ
Lucknow:After 2 litigants in Ayodhya land dispute said they agree on an out of court settlement, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said he is optimistic about it. However, this optimism is not shared by other litigants in the case who have rejected the proposal. Responding to petitioners Haji Mahboob and Mohommad Omar signing the letter of support for an out of court settlement on Tuesday, Ravi Shankar said, "I have spoken to many people and they have agreed to go for an out of court settlement. I am pushing it in a very harmonious manner so that both communities live in harmony." Iqbal Ansari, another litigant in the case, said, "The matter is pending before the Supreme Court and let the verdict on this dispute be delivered. No one has approached me for any talks."Meanwhile, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Babri Masjid Action Committee convener Jafaryad Jilani said, "VHP had already said in the past that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has nothing to do with the case. He had already been in favour of the Ram Temple and wants Muslims to compromise with the land meant for mosque. This is not possible. The SC's verdict should be acceptable to all."Mahant Dharamdas, another litigant in this dispute said there is no clarity about Ravi Shankar's proposal." His representative met Haji Mahboob and decided on an amicable resolution.We only want the SC to deliver its verdict on this dispute at the earliest."Responding to Ravi Shankar's talks of an out of court settlement, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, "We all respect him but what we believe is that even Congress MPs would support temple construction in Ayodhya if a legislation is brought in the Parliament."India Today
Rajasthan: BJP MP Harish Meena joins Congress weeks ahead of assembly elections
New Delhi:In a big setback for the ruling BJP ahead of Rajasthan Assembly elections, party MP from Dausa Harish Meena joined Congress Wednesday. Meena was welcomed by State Congress chief Sachin pilot and former CM  Ashok Gehlot, both of whom have decided to contest the state assembly elections scheduled to be held on Dec.7. At the event, Gehlot said, “Both, I and Sachin Pilot will fight Rajasthan assembly polls.” Meena who joined BJP in 2014, is a retired IPS officer who last served as the Director General of Police of Rajasthan from March 2009 to Dec.2013, longest tenure of a DGP in the state. He is also the recipient of Indian Police Medal and President Medal. Last month, veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s son and ex-MLA Manvendra Singh joined the Congress.Singh, 54, who won Barmer’s Sheo constituency as BJP candidate in 2013 assembly elections, had announced at a rally in September that he is leaving BJP. “Kamal ka Phool Badi Bhool’, he had said then, claiming that going with BJP’s election symbol, the lotus, was a “big mistake”.indianexpress
Rift in BJP widens, party’s Muslim face quits
Ashok Gehlot,Sachin Pilot to contest Rajasthan polls
Jaipur: Putting speculations to rest, ex Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot on Wednesday announced that they will contest the assembly elections scheduled on December 7. Both are considered as party’s CM ial candidates.In MP, the party has so far not named Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia—both CM hopefuls—as its candidates for the assembly polls there. This led to speculation that Gehlot and Pilot too might not be fielded in the assembly elections.“Sachin Pilot and I, both, shall contest in these elections,” Gehlot told reporters in New Delhi.Pilot added, “I shall contest the election as directed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and requested by Gehlot.” The party is, however, yet to announce from where the two leaders will contest the polls. Gehlot is presently MLA from Jodhpur’s Sardarpura constituency and is likely to be repeated from there. TOI
Sajjad Lone could be BJP’s choice for next JK CM
Srinagar:In politics, they say, perception is everything. Within political circles in Kashmir valley, the perception is fast gaining ground that BJP has decided on its alliance partner for assembly polls in the state, which may be announced by next month. And the man they have decided to partner with — who could eventually become the next CM of J&K— is Sajjad Gani Lone, son of former separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone, who was assassinated in 2002. The affinity between the saffron party and Lone — a former separatist leader who is now a mainstream politician — had been building up for some time, political observers say.In the aftermath of the fall of the Mehbooba Mufti Govt  in June this year, BJP general secretary and the party’s Kashmir incharge Ram Madhav had made it a point to meet Lone during his visit to Kashmir to explore the way ahead in post-Mehbooba scenario. Since then, during his frequent visits to the valley,Madhav has met Lone several times, most recently accepting an invitation to dine with him to celebrate the clinching of the Srinagar mayor post by People’s Conference. Interestingly, even though BJP has decided to tie up with Lone, the chances that the party can form the Govt  in the current scenario, with him at the helm, seem bleak. PC currently has just 2 MLAs and even with the support of BJP’s 25 MLA and PDP rebels (if they are convinced to join the alliance), is far from the magic number of 44 to stake a majority in 87-member House. With 6-month limit for President’s Rule in the state ending next month and no party seemingly in a position to form Govt, buzz in political circles is that the central Govt may have polls conducted in Kashmir by March and a formal announcement of BJP-PC alliance may take place before that.If this happens, Lone will be projected as CM face of the alliance.TOI
J&K BJP leader’s killing: Two Hizbul men named as killers, one govt staffer detained
Jammu:J&K police are learnt to have identified two Hizbul Mujahideen militants— Osama Javed of Dachhan in Kishtwar district and Sajjad Khandey of Pulwama — as the men who shot BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar in Kishtwar on Nov.1. A senior police officer said two persons, including a Govt  employee, have been detained for aiding the militants. Pervaiz Ahmed, working with the State Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department, is alleged to have provided shelter to the militants at his property in Kishtwar purchased about a year ago.The second suspect,Riyaz, identified as an overground worker of the Hizbul Mujahideen, is alleged to have accompanied the militants from Dachhan to Kishtwar town to identify BJP leader.Police sources said a woman from Dachhan is also being questioned, as call detail records showed that her SIM card was near the site of the killings on Nov.1. The woman had reportedly given her SIM card to Osama Javed’s sister. Kishtwar SSP Rajinder Gupta declined to comment on the investigations. Sources, however, said the militants are suspected to have stayed at Pervaiz Ahmed’s property for two-three days, during which they carried out a recce of the area. They chose a spot in Tapal mohalla, where CCTV camera installed by another BJP leader outside his house, was not working. Anil Parihar and his brother, Ajit, were shot on the night of Nov.1, when they were on their way home. Ajit was an employee of the State Forest Corporation.
Bihar: RLSP leader shot dead, fourth party man to be killed this year; Kushwaha slams Nitish’s govt
Patna:RLSP block head of Patna’s Paliganj Amit Bhushan Verma was shot dead late on Tuesday while he was at a cultural programme in the area. This is the fourth murder of an RLSP leader in less than a year. RLSP chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, who visited the aggrieved family, said:“This is the fourth killing of an RLSP leader in a year. Law and order has gone for a 6 in Bihar. I wonder what kind of good governance is this.”Kushwaha later tweeted: “One incident after another, series of incidents, there has been selective killings… Yet, they (state Govt ) calls it good governance. Perhaps they have changed the definition of good governance”.indianexpress
Jana Sena chief meets Muslims for seeking votes
Kakinada:Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan promised better place and recognition to the members of Muslim and other minorities in his party and Govt if voted to power. The leader interacted with the representatives of Muslims and Relli communities in Kakinada on Tuesday. Jana Sena chief had a detailed discussion with the representatives of the Muslim community on Sachar Committee recommendations.Pawan recalled contribution of Muslims in freedom movement.“We cannot think of freedom struggle and independence without the role of Muslims. They deserve better treatment and there should be no threat to their safety and security,” Kalyan asserted.He further said that he did not like Muslims to be called minorities and felt that they are key players of the nation.Pawan Kalyan said that some people have criticised him for supporting BJP in 2014 but any regional party in the country would have to align either with the BJP or Congress. “BJP is not a Hindu party. It is a political party,” he said.Pawan blamed TDP for branding BJP as a communal party and wondered whether they were blind in 2014. He said Jana Sena had criticised BJP and PM Narendra Modi on special category status demand much before Chandrababu Naidu. Kalyan said that Jana Sena would stand for the Muslims and wanted them to give power to the party in the 2019 elections. TOI
4 booked for murdering Muzaffarnagar riots accused
Four unidentified persons were Sunday booked for the alleged murder of a 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots accused, police said.The body of Ram Das alias Kala (30), bearing a bullet injury, was found from his home in Kutba village here. CO Hariram Yadav said the police registered a case after a complaint was filed by the victim's brother, Sanjiv who alleged that the four assailants had come on motorcycles and shot his brother. Meanwhile, security was beefed up in and around the communally sensitive village where eight people had reportedly died and several left injured during the 2013 riots.Extra police personnel were deployed as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident, officials said. The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas in August and Sept.2013 had claimed more than 60 lives while over 40,000 people were displaced. PTI
Hindu group wants Yogi govt to challenge Hashimpura verdict in SC
Meerut :Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) has urged Yogi Adityanath Govt  to move Supreme Court against Delhi High Court’s verdict sentencing 16 PAC personnel to life in connection with the 1987 Hashimpura massacre.A memorandum submitted by ABHM national vice-president Ashok Sharma and other leaders to Meerut DM Anil Dhingra Tuesday morning claimed that PAC personnel “were innocent and had been made scapegoats”.On May 22, 1987, soon after the riots that rocked Meerut in the aftermath of the opening of the locks of Babri Masjid, a PAC team had rounded up over 40 Muslim men in Hashimpura and shot at them. Of the 40 men, 38 had died. ABHM memorandum alleges that “non-Hindu persons hatched a conspiracy with terrorist outfits” and killed as many as 172 Hindus during the worst-ever communal riots in Meerut, but no inquiry was ordered, while innocent PAC personnel were made scapegoats.“We have urged the present heir of the Gorakhnath Peeth,who is also CM,to ensure appropriate legal action in the SC through his Govt machinery to ensure justice to innocent PAC personnel who were discharging their duty on directives of the then Veer Bahadur Singh Govt,”Ashok Sharma said.indianexpress
Bhima-Koragaon clashes: Fadnavis must appear before panel says Prakash Ambedkar
Pune:Holding CM  Devendra Fadnavis and top police officials responsible for failing to prevent the Jan.1 Bhima-Koregaon clashes,BBM chief and lawyer Prakash Ambedkar on Tuesday demanded that Mr. Fadnavis and other officials be examined as witnesses before 2-member inquiry commission set-up to probe the clashes. Representing a witness, M.N. Kamble, who had filed a petition in this regard, Ambedkar said that the Chief Secretary Sumit Mullick (who was part of the inquiry commission), Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, the State DGP, and the heads of the intelligence sections among others must appear before the inquiry commission t explain why they had failed to prevent the violence despite several intimations of the same.“One of the terms of reference for this commission is to establish the failure of the Govt machinery and secondly find out who were responsible. If failure must be established then all top authorities from CM  downwards must be examined and their statements recorded. Otherwise, the truth will never come out,” said Ambedkar, who was the grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar.He further demanded that written and audio records in form of official Govt  documents, police records, police diaries, minutes of Govt  meetings after the clashes and the CM’s directives to the police and administrative authorities with regards to the clashes be presented before the panel.TheHindu
8 acquitted in Mathura’s JawaharBagh violence case
Lucknow :A Mathura court has acquitted eight accused in the 2016 Jawahar Bagh violence case owing to a lack of evidence and key witnesses turning hostile.The accused were among those who had encroached upon Mathura’s Jawahar Bagh park, built on Govt  land, and had later clashed with police, killing an additional SP and a sub-inspector on the spot on June 2, 2016. 27 more people had died in the clash, which had taken place when the Mathura police had tried to evict the illegal occupants.The occupants, led by their leader Ram Vriksha Yadav, had claimed to be members of the Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi, an outfit claiming allegiance to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.The state Govt had granted permission to Yadav’s organisation to hold a demonstration inside Jawahar Bagh for 2 days in Jan.2014. But the group then occupied the sprawling public park for over two years. The squatters were evicted amid violence following a high court order. A huge cache of arms, ammunition and explosives were recovered from the huts erected inside the park during the illegal occupation.On a high court directive, CBI has been investigating the incident, but is yet to file a chargesheet in the case.indianexpress
Haryana: INLD expels Ajay Singh Chautala from party as family feud intensifies
Chandigarh :Around 2 weeks after it expelled Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala and his younger brother Digvijay Chautala from the party, INLD today also removed their father, Ajay Chautala, from the primary membership of the party.Ajay has also been stripped of INLD state unit secretary general’s post with immediate effect.INLD state unit chief Ashok Arora accompanied, by Ajay’s younger brother Abhay Chautala made announcement during a press conference today. INLD’s senior leaders and many MLAs were also present here.indianexpress
BJP’s name changing drive hits diversity, widens gap between communities: Activists
New Delhi:Slamming BJP Govt ’s drive to change Muslim-sounding names of cities and places, eminent civil rights activists and educationists have termed it as a “communally polarized move” and an “attack on composite Indian cultural heritage.” They said that this drive is the “showcase of BJP’s shallowness” as it has failed to do any developmental work that it had promised to people before elections in 2014. Social activist, former civil servant and founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) Aruna Roy said about the move, “It is shame. It hits at the diversity of India and strength of our history and historical relations. It also makes small of the various contributions different kind of people have made to make this country what it is today. I think the country will be smaller and loser.”“All these things that they(BJP) are doing are going to widen the gap between the people but I think it will be strain on the minority communities and the wisdom of all of us must prevail not to make it violent but to finally win the war. We are losing some battles but we must win the war,” she said.RTI activist and also founding member of MKSS, Nikhil Dey said that besides damaging the culture, this political move of BJP shows the failure of the party on the promises it made to work on in the field of health, education and jobs generation.Delhi University Professor Manoj K Jha said,“Historically looking at the entire issue, world-over when regimes have nothing to offer, they only go to change names. India has been a vast ocean. This particular regime shall go down in the history converting this vast ocean into a dirty point.caravandaily
Maoists target bus with BSF personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur, 6 injured
New Delhi :Maoists Wednesday targeted a bus carrying Border Security Force personnel returning from poll duty in Bijapur, around four kilometres away from the district headquarters at Mahadev Ghat. According to the police, four BSF jawans, one Chhattisgarh Police DRG jawan and one civilian, who was on a bike when IED exploded, are injured and have been rushed to a local hospital. According to preliminary reports, Maoists detonated an IED before opening fire at personnel.indianexpress
Fake news and hate speech thrive on regional language social media:HT
“Terrorist Zakir Naik said he will return to India when the Congress Govt is in power. So Congress supports terrorists?” read the top ‘trending’ post under ‘news’ in the Hindi section of ShareChat, India’s largest regional-language social networking platform, on Nov.9. The post has been viewed by 15,000 users as of Nov.13. What they have seen is a piece of fake news, as Naik, a controversial Islamic preacher and founder of Peace TV, never made such a statement.Another post on ShareChat Hindi shares the “result of an RTI inquiry” revealing that MP CM  Shivraj Singh Chouhan, a “true Hindu”, ate a chicken dish while travelling abroad that cost Rs 3 lakh, while one more RTI post about Chouhan says he wears a kurta that cost Rs 7 lakh.There is no evidence to suggest these are true.A HT investigation has revealed that regional language social media platforms such as ShareChat, with 50 million registered users, and Helo, with at least 5 million estimated registered users, are rife with misinformation and political propaganda.From blatant lies to partially true polarising content to violent hate speech, the platforms built for “next billion” internet users face the same challenges for which American social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are facing intense scrutiny.However, as India tightens control over misleading and defamatory content shared online ahead of state and national elections, the focus is almost entirely off vernacular networks.On ShareChat Hindi, there is a fake newspaper clip that quotes Congress leader and former president Pranab Mukherjee as saying that former Congress president Sonia Gandhi hates Hindus. In another post, Mukherjee is quoted as saying that the Congress will be wiped out in 2019 Lok Sabha polls as it is perceived as an anti-national party. Both statements are false. In the Kannada section, there is a fictional quote of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy declaring that Hindi and Hindutva will rule the world one day.According to a recent post on Helo Hindi, BBC declared the Congress as the fourth most corrupt party in the world. In another, Congress leader Sachin Pilot is quoted as saying that India should have helped Pakistan clear its debt rather than invest in the Statue of Unity. There is also a fake quote from Congress leader Kapil Sibal stating that if the Supreme Court decides in favour of building a Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Congress party will bring in an ordinance to change the decision if elected in 2019. All of this information shared as news is false.Along with blatant falsehood, HT found posts that consistently aimed to polarise the electorate along the Hindu-Muslim divide. Some were violent: “Head of every individual who will speak against my country or my God will be cut off,” reads one post in ShareChat Hindi; a “good morning” post with 22,000 views showed a blood-soaked child armed with a long knife and speaking of his “hot, Hindu blood”. Another post mentioned a fictitious exchange between a Muslim man and Narendra Modi that shows the PM threatening Muslims with such violence that “cemeteries would fall short”.HT
WORLD
Palestinian groups to respect Gaza truce 'as long as Israel does'
Palestinian groups in the besieged Gaza Strip say they have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel to end the worst violence between the two sides in years.Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from Nahal-Oz near the Gaza-Israel fence, said Hamas-led factions on Tuesday accepted the truce "to restart the situation that prevailed up until this latest military escalation". Hamas is the group administering the besieged Gaza Strip. Fawcett added: "Israelis do not confirm or deny such things, but Israeli media are reporting, citing an unnamed official, that Palestinian factions tried through four separate mediators to request a ceasefire."A statement by Palestinian groups in Gaza said: "Egypt's efforts have been able to achieve a ceasefire between the resistance and the Zionist enemy."The resistance will respect this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy respects it."The announcement set off celebrations in Gaza City with hundrerds of Palestinians taking to the streets to declare victory.Earlier, senior Hamas official Ismail Haniya said that the Palestinian group was prepared to return to a ceasefire agreement if Israel "stops its aggression" on the Gaza Strip."Should the Occupation [Israel] stop its aggression a return to the ceasefire understandings will be possible," Haniya said in a statement.At least seven Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on the coastal enclave since Monday, in the worst violence between the two sides since the 2014 war.The latest escalation erupted late on Sunday when Israel launched a botched raid in Gaza that killed seven other Palestinians and one of its commanders. Hamas and other armed factions on Monday fired over 400 rockets or mortar bombs at Israel, with Israel responding with dozens of air raids.aljazeera
Bin Salman 'tried to persuade Netanyahu to go to war in Gaza': Sources
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attempted to persuade Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu to start a conflict with Hamas in Gaza as part of a plan to divert attention from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, sources inside Saudi Arabia have told Middle East Eye. A war in Gaza was among a range of measures and scenarios proposed by an emergency task force set up to counter increasingly damaging leaks about Khashoggi's murder coming from Turkish authorities, according to sources with knowledge of the group's activities.The task force, which is composed of officials from the royal court, the foreign and defence ministries, and the intelligence service, briefs the the crown prince every six hours, MEE was told.It advised bin Salman that a war in Gaza would distract Trump's attention and refocus Washington’s attention on the role Saudi Arabia plays in bolstering Israeli strategic interests.It also advised bin Salman to “neutralise Turkey by all means” - including attempts to bribe Tayyip Erdogan with offers to buy Turkish arms and statements by the crown prince attempting to shore up relations between Riyadh and Ankara.middleeasteye
Trump finally appoints new ambassador to Saudi, a former army general
US President Donald Trump has named a former army general with long experience in the Middle East as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a post that has been vacant since Joseph Westphal left in Jan.2017. John Abizaid, a retired four-star army general of Lebanese Christian descent, is prominent for his stint as the longest-chief of US Central Command - of which the Middle East is part - starting shortly after the Iraq war in 2003 all the way through to 2007.He graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, after which he earned a scholarship to go study Arabic in Jordan, a language he did not speak as a child.
US lawmakers to push for crackdown on Saudi
US Senate may vote within weeks on legislation to punish Saudi Arabia over the murder of Khashoggi and the devastating war in Yemen.Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate could vote before the end of the year on a resolution seeking to cut off all assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen. He said it was also possible that measures to prevent arms sales to Riyadh would make it to the Senate floor. "Senators are looking for some way to show Saudi the disdain they have for what has happened with the journalist, but also concerns about the way Yemen has gone," said Corker. Corker said his staff had asked that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and CIA Director Gina Haspel come to the Capitol as soon as late November for a classified briefing to address concerns about Yemen and Khashoggi's death.aljazeera
Egypt upholds death sentence against 80-yr-old Quran tutor
The Egyptian Govt  has upheld a death sentence against Sheikh Abdel Halim Gabreel, an 80-year-old Quran tutor, with Amnesty International campaigning for him to receive a presidential pardon.On 24 Sept., Egypt’s Court of Cassation upheld the death sentences of 20 Egyptians, including Gabreel, who had been convicted of killing 13 policemen during a 2013 attack on a police station in the Giza suburb of Kerdasa in 2013. Gabreel was arrested while he was in the mosque and was put on trial after 6 months of investigations, all whilst he was denied a lawyer. Despite not having any political affiliation and stating that he was not involved in the Kerdasa attack, with two witnesses for the prosecution affirming his story, he was sentenced to death.Some 156 defendants were also either sentenced to death or to lengthy imprisonment in the first trial, for their alleged involvement in the “Kerdasa Massacre” in which 13 police officers were killed. 80-year-old grandfather’s health has deteriorated in prison since his detention; he has received inadequate treatment for his psoriasis and cannot walk long distances. Wadi Al-Natrun prison authorities have also prevented his family from bringing him medication.The latest ruling by the Court of Cassation cannot be appealed. Amnesty has consequently called on the international community to write letters to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, urging for Gabreel to be granted a presidential pardon and that he is given regular and adequate access to qualified medical professionals.middleeastmonitor
Egypt eliminates Muslim Brotherhood leaders' names from streets
Egyptian Govt  has started a campaign to remove the street name signs that carry the names of leaders and prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood.On Oct. 21, Minya Gov. Qassem Hussein changed the name of a street in the governorate from Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, to Umar Ibn al-Khattab, one of companions of the Prophet Muhammad. ussein signaled that every name of a street and square across the governorate would be subject to review. “Streets that carry the names of Muslim Brotherhood members will be changed and named after fallen soldiers as well as historical and public figures who have had a positive impact on society,” he said. Lawyer Ayman Mahfouz filed a complaint Oct. 23 with Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek, saying that there are tens — if not hundreds — of streets named after leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo and other governorates.Mahfouz said that Google Maps shows that tens of streets in Cairo, Qalubiya, Alexandria, Gharbiya, Daqahliya, Menoufia, Beni Sueif and Minya are named after Hassan al-Banaa and former leading member Sayyid Qutb. He noted that there are many more small streets, squares and alleys in Egypt named after Brotherhood figures, but they do not show up on Google Maps. Almonotor
US designates son of Hezbollah leader as a 'global terrorist'
US State Dept. has designated Jawad Nasrallah, son of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, as a 'global terrorist' and accused him of carrying out attacks against Israel in the occupied West Bank.The department on Tuesday also blacklisted Al-Mujahidin Brigades (AMB), which it said had links to Hezbollah and had plotted a number of attacks against Israeli targets from a base in the Palestinian Territories. The department said Nasrallah and AMB had officially been labelled as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) and that its actions would deny Nasrallah and AMB access to the US financial system."Today's designations seek to deny Nasrallah and AMB resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks," the department said in a statement.The department described Jawad as a "rising leader of Hezbollah".middleeasteye
Libya’s Islamists hail Italy’s role in resolving crisis
Leader of Libya’s Justice and Construction Party, Mohamed Sowan, welcomed Italy’s sponsorship to host an international conference on Libya in its coastal city of Palermo. “Italy is concerned about Libya’s stability and is working to achieve it,” Sowan told Arabi21.“Although the Palermo meetings’ outcomes are yet to be announced, the situation in Libya is generally moving towards stability,” he added, stressing that the Libyan conflict had reached an end.Stability in Libya, Sowan noted, has prevailed across most of the country’s cities.  “There is global contentment that Libya’s political division won’t be resolved except through dialogue,” he stressed.MEMO
Sri Lanka parliament 'votes against newly appointed PM Rajapaksa'
Sri Lanka's parliament passed a no-confidence motion against newly appointed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government on Wednesday, throwing the country deeper into crisis.The move comes a day after the Supreme Court overturned a presidential decree dissolving the legislature and calling for snap elections. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ruled that a majority of 225-member assembly supported a no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa, 72, who was appointed PM on Oct.26 in place of Ranil Wickremesinghe. "The ayes have it," the Speaker announced over his public address system "I rule that this House does not have confidence in the govt (of Rajapaksa)."Opposition leader R Sambanthan said that the motion presented by an opposition party was taken to a voice vote and had the majority support.Amid chaotic scenes, Rajapaksa, a former controversial president, and his legislator son Namal walked out of the chamber just before the Speaker called for a vote.MPs loyal to Rajapaksa attempted to grab the mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, to disrupt the vote, but Jayasuriya went ahead. The result does not automatically mean that Wickremesinghe, whose UNP is the biggest in parliament, has won the constitutional showdown. President Maithripala Sirisena retains the power to choose the next prime minister.aljazeera
US legislators to urge China sanctions over Xinjiang crackdown
US legislators will introduce legislation today urging the Trump administration to respond more strongly to China's crackdown on Uighur Muslims,including possible sanctions. The bill will also ask Donald Trump to condemn China's actions in Xinjiang region, call for the appointment of a new "special coordinator" for US policy on the issue, and press for a ban on the export of technology that Beijing could use in surveillance and mass detention of the minority Uighurs.Legislators want the Govt  to consider human rights-related sanctions against Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, who is also a member of the powerful politburo, and other officials "credibly alleged to be responsible" for the security crackdown. Aljazeera
Uighurs marking 'independence day' call for global help
Washington:Uighur activists in US marked their community's "independence day" with a protest and march in the US capital on Tuesday.Nov.12 is 74th and 85th anniversary of two short-lived Uighur republics, known as East Turkestan, which were established in territory that is now part of China.Those present at the event organised by East Turkistan National Awakening Movement included Rebiya Kadeer, one of the world's most prominent Uighur exiles and the former president of the World Uyghur Congress.Carrying both the US and the East Turkestan independence flags, activists outside the White House called on the US to pressure China into stopping its persecution of the Muslim minority. Though reports of abuse against the Uighurs date back more than a decade, the past year has seen an intensification in the persecution of the Turkic-speaking minority. UN has criticised China for holding around one million Muslims in internment camps where they are subject to political and cultural indoctrination. In a report it said around two million people had passed through the camps at some point.aljazeera
Bangladesh must halt plans to return Rohingya to Myanmar: UN
UN rights chief has urged Bangladesh to halt plans to repatriate over 2,200 Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar, amid reports of continued violations against the minority. Bangladeshi authorities plan to begin returning Rohingya refugees, who have fled what the UN has called ethnic cleansing, to Buddhist majority country from Thursday. But prospect has created panic in the camps, prompting some families who were due to be among the first to be repatriated to flee, according to community leaders."We are witnessing terror and panic among those Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar who are at imminent risk of being returned to Myanmar against their will," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said."Forcibly expelling or returning refugees and asylum seekers to their home country would be a clear violation of the core legal principle of non-refoulement, which forbids repatriation where there are threats of persecution or serious risks to the life and physical integrity or liberty of the individuals,"she said.AFP
UN Will Not Provide Assistance to Long-Term Rohingya Camps in Myanmar
US decries violence against Rohingya in open remarks to Myanmar
Singapore: US Vice President Mike Pence criticised Myanmar's military for the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in a meeting with the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday, and said he was keen to hear that those responsible for the violence would be held accountable."The violence and persecution by military and vigilantes that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh is without excuse,"he told Suu Kyi in a brief meeting with the media before they went into private talks on the sidelines of a Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore."I am anxious to hear the progress that you are making of holding those accountable who are responsible for the violence that displaced so many hundreds of thousands and created such suffering, including the loss of life," he added.Reuters
Japan’s economy shrinks for 2nd time in 2018 after disasters
Japan’s economy shrank for a second time this year after an earthquake, typhoons and torrential rain battered production at home and exports declined amid softer demand overseas. Gross domestic product is forecast to recover from its annualized 1.2 % drop in the third quarter, and to continue growing until a sales-tax hike in Oct.2019, but the impact of a slowdown in China and trade tensions are likely to keep the expansion modest.Reports that President Donald Trump will hold off for now on imposing tariffs on imported Japanese cars and auto parts keeps one of the largest threats to Japan’s economy at bay for the time being. The wild weather that passed through regions including Osaka and Tokyo, and an earthquake on the northern island of Hokkaido, knocked out power supplies, halted factories and disrupted supply chains. Exports suffered the biggest decline in over 3 years.Yet the falloff across a range of economic activities can’t only be explained by natural disasters, said Kyohei Morita, chief Japan economist at Credit Agricole Securities Asia. “The trade war and China’s slowdown are already starting to take a toll on Japan’s economic growth,” he said.Bloomberg
Turkey ready to help establish Afghan peace: envoy
Turkey is ready to help establish peace in Afghanistan, the country’s ambassador to Kabul said on Wednesday. Speaking to press members at the Turkish Embassy in the Afghan capital, Oguzhan Ertugrul said: "Turkey is ready to help on the matter of peace if Afghanistan is willing [for us to do so]."His remarks came after Moscow hosted a conference on Afghanistan last week, bringing together the Taliban and Govt  for direct talks for the first time at a high level.Participants at the meeting focused on launching direct inter-Afghan dialogue aiming at stabilization of the country and “agreed to continue consultations within the framework of this mechanism," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a final communique following the meeting.Anadolu Agency
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
Ayushman Bharat: 7 things that prove PM Modi’s lying to India: Vishwa deepak
Fasting Saints Could Become a Curse for Hindutva Politics:Sandeep Pandey
Egyptian Military’s Control of Economy Escalates:Shubhda Chaudhary
Rafale Twist: Why Did France Refuse to Give India a Sovereign Guarantee?M.K. Venu
BJP’s major achievement in Rajasthan: Rewriting school textbooks to reflect RSS worldview:Shreya Roy Chowdhury

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 4:30 PM)

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