Saturday, 29 December 2018

29 Dec.ND: Triple talaq bill in Rajya Sabha on Monday, Congress says won’t let it pass/Quran's Divorce Rules Are Best, Govt. Should Enact Them: MP Ranjeeta Ranjan/Muddied feet, empty hands: When waterlogged Noida Park forced Muslims to return without praying


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
29 Dec. 2018:21 Rabiul-II 1440: Vol: 11, No:88
INDIA
Triple talaq bill in Rajya Sabha on Monday, Congress says won’t let it pass
New Delhi:AICC general secretary KC Venugopal today said that the Congress party will not let the passage of the triple talaq bill in its present form in the Rajya Sabha, reports PTI. The Congress leader’s statement comes 2 days after the contentious bill criminalising instant divorce by Muslim men was passed by Lok Sabha after a heated debate on Thursday.The bill will be moved by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in Rajya Sabha on Monday. It is expected to face heat in the upper house of the parliament on December 31, as a number of opposition parties had come out against the bill when it was introduced in the lower house on Thursday. Speaking to reporters in Kochi, AICC general secretary today said that the Congress would join hands with those parties with which it can ally with to defeat the bill in the present form. He said that 10 opposition parties had come out openly against the Bill, 2018 when it was introduced in the Lok Sabha.Even the parties, including AIADMK which supports the Govt  on various issues and TMC, have come out openly against the bill, said Venugopal who is also a Congress floor strategist. Venugopal said stringent provisions like criminalisation of a civil wrong were there in the triple talaq bill and it was not at all acceptable for the opposition parties, including the Congress.“…The bill will not help empower the women”, Venugopal said while claiming there was no confusion in the Congress-led UPA or party-led UDF in Kerala regarding the bill.indianexpress
Opposition’s triple talaq resolution ready, Rajya Sabha showdown imminent
Passing Triple Talaq Bill political move by Hindu govt against Muslim men:Muslim clerics
The passing of Triple Talaq Bill in the Lok Sabha has not gone down well among the Muslim clerics and social activists who believe that the bill will bring no transformation in the Muslim society as changes come from awareness, not new laws. Merely the fear of law cannot end the crime.They believe that the move of passing the Triple Talaq Bill is politically motivated by a Hindu Govt  to penalise Muslim men.Mufti Mudassar Ali Khan Qadri said that since Muslim marriages are governed by Islamic law, there was no reason why someone would deviate from the Islamic law in terms of divorce, when everything pertaining to Talaq, Triple Talaq and the conditions under which it is valid or invalid, is all written clearly in the Quran and Hadith. Qadri said that the Muslim community did not tolerate interference by the Supreme Court in the Islamic law in the Shahbano case and the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had to bring a bill in the parliament nullifying the SC orders.Quresh Welfare Society's General Secretary Mohd Arif said that the bill that has been passed by the BJP in Lok Sabha is against the interests of Muslim women as it has been prepared without consulting the Muslim community or the clerics.Collectorate Bar Council's former secretary and senior advocate Amir Ahmed said that it will be very difficult for the Muslim women to get justice despite this bill as this law will have to be strictly implemented.Hindustani Biradari Secretary Gyas Qureshi said that the Islamic law is clearly written in Quran and Hadith and every aspect of married life is governed by the Shariyat.indiatoday
Darul Uloom Deoband opposes triple talaq bill
Lucknow: Darul Uloom Deoband has opposed the triple talaq bill passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday, terming it as “interference in religious affairs of Muslims”. Reacting strongly to the triple talaq bill which seeks to criminalise instant divorce, Mohtamin (VC) of Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, said that the bill not only targeted Muslim men but was also against the welfare of Muslim women.“The move of Modi Govt  to bring a legislation to criminalise triple talaq is a direct interference in the religious freedom of Muslims. It is an infringement of Shariat law. Muslims want to lead their life and conduct their family and social affairs strictly as per provisions of Shariat,” Nomani said.“It is not a matter of single or triple talaq. With the passage of the bill, divorce will stand void and the man will be sent to jail. But society will see the couple as divorced. If that happens, who will take care of the woman and children—the court or the govt?”Nomani argued.“In Islam, we have provision for meher (paid to the wife by husband at the time of marriage) and maintenance but the bill is silent on these issues,” he said. Stating that triple talaq was not Islamic and Shariat also forbid it,Deobandi cleric said,“We wish to categorically state that Muslims of India would never accept the law (on triple talaq). It would have been better had the Prime Minister conducted the affairs of his Govt  as per Constitution and established practice of Indian democracy,” he added. Jamait Ulma, also criticised the bill saying, “Modi govt is acting in an arbitrary manner.”President of organisation, Maulana Qari Usman, said that NDA govt and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad should have consulted Islamic experts before bringing the bill and by ignoring them they had done great injustice to Muslims. dailypioneer
Rights Activists Urge Rajya Sabha to Withdraw and Redraft Triple Talaq Bill
New Delhi: Calling the Triple Talaq Bill passed by the Lok Sabha as "arbitrary, excessive, and violative of fundamental rights", rights activists and organisations on appealed to Rajya Sabha members to "withdraw the Bill and significantly redraft" it in the interest of Muslim women. In a statement, 40 rights activists and organisations opposed the Bill, calling it arbitrary, excessive, and violative of fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution."Overall, if this Bill is passed it would make Muslim women more vulnerable to violence, as well as harm their economic, household and social security," they said.IANS
Passage of Triple Talaq Bill Despite All Protests is Worst Form of Dictatorship: AIMPLB
New Delhi:All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has strongly opposed the passage of the Triple Talaq bill by ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha, terming it as “the worst form of dictatorship.” “In spite of opposition by several parties in Lok Sabha and by the Muslim community across the country, Triple Talaq bill has been passed. It's the worst form of dictatorship. It's clearly motivated by polarizing the upcoming poll,” commented AIMPLB.IANS/indiatomorrow
Quran's Divorce Rules Are Best, Govt. Should Enact Them: MP Ranjeeta Ranjan
New Delhi: In a short but powerful speech in the Lok Sabha, MP Ranjeeta Ranjan strongly opposed BJP govt’s Triple Talaq bill and pitched for enactment of Quran’s divorce rules, saying they are strong and best.She said that due to this bill, she read Quran and its teachings about divorce.“I thank the Govt  that for this bill I read Quran from heart. In surah Nisa, 5 steps to be taken before divorce are mentioned. Surah Baqrah (Ayat 228-240) talks about divorce, how and why it is given, reasons for wife, reasons for husband. I feel pity that despite Quran’s advanced rules for divorce, you (pointing to Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi) did not make your community aware,” she said. She stressed that Quranic rules are stronger and best.“I am proud of Quran. Women have equal rights for divorce as men have. It talks about how relations of two persons and two families are to be maintained. Quran tries to stop divorce through five steps...there cannot be stronger law for divorce than Quran’s,” said Ranjeeta while participating in the debate over the bill.India Tomorrow/IANS
Abstention of IUML leader from debate on talaq Bill stirs controversy
Kozhikode:The abstention of senior IUML leader and MP, PK Kunhalikutty from the debate in the Lok Sabha as part of the tabling of talaq Bill, has kicked off a political debate.The row over absence of Kunhalikutty, National General Secretary IUML, in the Parliament had been criticised by Left parties and a section of the Muslim organisations like Samastha, a strong religious faction supporting the party.The Muslim league leader was in Malappuram on that day to attend a marriage function when the bill was discussed in the Parliament. But, another senior IUML leader ET Muhammed Basheer, MP, was present in the Lok Sabha and also voted against the bill, said the party decision was to participate in discussion and vote against it. However, IUML leadership said in a statement that Kunhalikutty's absence was based on a political decision.UNI
Centre yet to clear stand on polygamy, nikaah halala in Supreme Court
New Delhi: Even as the BJP and the opposition locked horns in Parliament over the triple talaq bill, the issue of polygamy and nikaah halala — which are being heard by a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court — appears to be gathering dust as the Centre is yet to officially state its position on these matters.In March, a 3-judge SC bench, led by the then CJI Dipak Misra, had issued notices to Union govt and the attorney general on a petition filed by Delhi-based Samina Begum, asking the Govt  to clarify its stand on polygamy and nikaah halala.The govt sources have indicated that the Centre is in principle opposed to the practices and is likely to take a stand in favour of banning them.In addition to Samina Begum’s petition, six more pleas have been filed in the court by victims Nafisa Begum; Rani, alias Sabnam; Zakira Begum and Farzana; and two advocates, Ashwini Upadhyay and Mohsin Kathiri.Jamiat Ulama, in turn, have supported the practices in the SC and argued that the Constitution does not touch upon personal laws and, therefore, the SC cannot examine the question of constitutional validity of the practices.ET
UP BJP to appoint 100 women as ‘Teen Talaq Pramukhs’ in Jan
The minority wing of the BJP in UP  is gearing up to appoint 100 women as ‘Teen Talaq Pramukhs’ in the state in Jan.The move had been announced by the party’s minority wing in Nov.to ensure rehabilitation of the victims and their children. The party had decided to appoint these pramukhs in each of its ‘organisational districts’ and regional units in the state. According to Haider Abbas Chand, the state president of the BJP’s minority wing, the party is still considering the names it has received and said that the appointments will come through only in Jan.“We have been receiving recommendations and our committee is looking into them,” he said.The appointments will be followed by a state-wide survey to pin the number of victims of the practice. Abbas Chand said the modalities for the process were being drawn up and an announcement would be made next month. economic times
Muddied feet, empty hands: When waterlogged Noida Park forced Muslims to return without praying
Noida: At the public park in Sector 58, Noida, where the district authorities denied Muslims the permission to offer namaaz early this week, there was press and policemen but no prayers on Friday. With the directive to stop praying and the park perimeter under close watch from the police, Muslims headed to far off places to offer namaaz-e-jumma (Friday prayers).Like Friday before, the park was also waterlogged. A loud, grumbling motor pumped out water on the grounds as maintenance workers tended to the grass. A few hopefuls who had turned up thinking they could pray, could not even sit. Most knew better and stayed away, deciding on an alternative spot a day in advance.“We do not want to break any rules or disturb the law. Since we were denied permission to pray there, we will not congregate at the park today,” Nouman Akhtar, the imam who led prayers at the park in question said in the morning. Akhtar, who was called at the Sector 58 park every Friday to lead prayers, went to a mosque in Bhangel, near Sector 82 in Noida, instead.Police notice prohibiting Muslims employed at surrounding businesses in Sectors 57, 58, 59 and 60 from praying at Noida Authority-owned park had gone out on Monday, with tech firms and garment factories in the area receiving a copy as well. Local Muslims, who had been offering namaaz at the spot every Friday since Feb. 2013, chose not to go against the order. Akhtar said he received a few calls in the morning asking if he would be praying in Sector 58. “I told them that we are banned from reading namaaz at the park. There would be no gathering,” he said.With the park out of the question, people headed to the Jama Masjid in Sector 8 and other mosques in far off localities. Some had gone to Sector 58 park early morning to gauge the situation. “A few people went there and saw that police was stationed at the park. Some park workers had even started watering the grass. And anyway, since we were told not to pray there, we had to go elsewhere,” said Ehsaan Alam, a worker at a garment firm in Sector 58. Ehsaan has prayed at the public park — a stone’s throw away from his workplace — for over 5 years. On Friday, he, along with 500 to 700 Muslim workers employed in factories in the area,headed to Jama Masjid in Sector 8, about 4.5 kilometers away from Sector 58.A few hundred went to a mosque in Sector 71, near Barola, Ehsaan said. Some even went to other nearby parks which weren’t under the scanner yet. About a dozen or so went to Khargosh Park in Sector 57.News18
Namaz row: Muslim workers in Noida offer Friday prayers at adjacent park, says want no more controversies
Days after Noida police sent notice to multinational companies asking them to stop their Muslim employees from offering namaz at public parks, over 600 of them came together to offer namaz at the adjacent Forest View Park in sector 54 today, the first Friday after the controversial move.No prior permission was taken beforehand by the crowd, the police confirmed.Most of people who offered prayers at the park were employees of different private firms in the area, who came out during their lunch breaks and moved towards the park before holding the community prayer. The employees wish to avoid any further controversies on the matter and decided to move their prayer to the adjacent park, one of organizer was quoted as saying by HT.HT
Amid Noida namaaz row, 3 private firms offer space to Muslim employees for Friday prayer
Noida: After Noida police prohibited Muslim workers from offering Friday namaaz at Sector 58 public park, three private companies came forward on Friday to offer space to their employees to pray on their office rooftops. A majority of Muslim workers in Sector 58 offered prayer at a tomb adjacent to the park in Sector 54.On condition of anonymity, the owner of a garment company in Sector 58, said that he had been arranging a space for the 35-40 Muslim workers on the rooftop to offer Friday prayers for past 12 years. He had also arranged for an Imam to recite the holy verse of Quran to his Muslim employees. Imam Mohammad Abbas, who hails from Saharanpur and lives in Bhangel village of Noida, said that he had been coming to the company every Friday for the past 12 years. He added that the company's owner had also arranged for a priest for Hindu employees of company. Abbas, who recited Quran verses to 70-80 people on Friday on the company's office rooftop, applauded the work culture of the company that has carried mutual respect for more than a decade.timesnownews
BJP MLA’s grandson and AMU student demands construction of temple in campus
Aligarh:A student of AMU has demanded construction of a Saraswati Temple inside the AMU campus. Ajay Singh, an LLM student at the AMU, has written a letter to the AMU V-C regarding the same. Notably, Ajay Singh is the grandson of Aligarh BJP MLA Dalveer Singh. Meanwhile, National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education member Dr Manvendra Pratap Singh has extended support to the student’s demand."There are at least 6,000 Hindu students in the university, but there is not a single temple, while there are mosques in almost every hostel. What kind of secularism is this?" he said."When there can be temples in Arab countries, which are 100 per cent Muslim countries, why can't there be one here in AMU? I want to ask this question to all the secular people, to the Congress as well, who preach these talks but have never talked about a temple in AMU. University's secularity will only be accepted when there are temples, mosques, gurudwaras, etc, side-by-side," Pratap added.However, Faizul Hasan, the ex-AMU students' union president, said he was not in favour of a temple inside the varsity. He further recalled a 2015 Supreme Court's verdict, which prohibited the construction or demolition of any religious building in central universities or educational institutions."In 2015, the Supreme Court had ruled that any new religious building, like temples, mosques, churches, etc, will not be constructed in central universities or educational institutions. The SC also said that any existing temple or mosque will not be demolished," said Hasan.He further said even if the whole university comes out in support of the demand, a temple will not be constructed within AMU campus because of the SC’s verdict.Times Now
 ‘I believe my son is innocent and would be out soon’
New Delhi:A day after NIA arrested 10 alleged members of an Islamic State-inspired module, a Patiala House court here allowed the family members and relatives of 6 of the accused to meet them inside the courtroom on Thursday.However, father of one was denied permission later as he did not possess the original identity proof. “NIA took away all the documents from our house, including our identity proofs during the raid. I am just left with a photocopy of ID proof and the court refused to accept it. I pray that my child gets back home at earliest,” said Rashid’s father Iqbal Ahmad. Mohammad Younus, father of Anas, said he was allowed to meet his son for just five minutes inside the court in the presence of policemen. “I asked him if he had any problem, but he refused to interact and just gestured to me that he was fine. I never imagined that one day I will see my son stand inside the court as a terror suspect with a masked face,” he said, adding that he believed his son was innocent and would be out soon.Counsel for the accused, M.S. Khan, said NIA, during arguments in court, was unable to explain the “foreign-based handler” who masterminded the module as also the “instruments” recovered from the house that were intended to carry out “fidayeen attacks”.“They are students. What NIA has recovered includes a tractor’s power nozzle, which they planted and called a rocket launcher. What they [NIA] are calling explosives are actually ‘sutli bombs’ that are used during Diwali. There is a lot of fabrication,” Khan argued in court.The court remanded the accused in 12-day police custody.thehindu
Before IS arrests, officials surveyed Amroha homes
Amroha: A week before Christmas, men claiming to be municipal surveyors, fanned out across the Mullano Mohalla colony and neighbouring areas in Amroha town in UP . They took photographs of certain houses even as the local councillor said no such survey was commissioned. Early on Dec.26, a team of NIA officers along with local police raided one of the houses ‘surveyed’ in Mullano Mohalla and arrested Mufti Suhail, alleged mastermind of an Islamic State module. In a similar raid at the adjacent Qazi Zada colony, the agency arrested Suhail’s alleged associate, Mohammad Irshad, an autorickshaw driver.Suhail’s relatives and neighbours in Amroha say they barely knew him since he moved to the UP town a little more than a month ago. His house, a one room-kitchen unit which is part of a joint family property, is at the end of the labyrinthine Mullano Mohalla. Only his uncle’s family lives in Amroha after Suhail’s father moved to Delhi’s Jaffarabad almost 40 years ago.Suhail’s cousin Mohammed Yahya, a sales tax officer, says, “Family came here once in a year or two, if there was a wedding or if someone died. We have hardly been in touch. For the past month or so, Suhail has been living here with his wife. He hardly interacted with us. We do not know what he was doing apart from renovating his room.”And that’s the refrain in Mullano Mohalla. Neighbours say they barely knew him as he mostly stayed in Delhi. “In the past month that he has been here, he hardly interacted with anyone. He would not even exchange greetings while passing by,” said a neighbour not wishing to be identified.In the adjacent Qazi Zada colony, Mohammed Irshad’s family is busy preparing for the marriage of their daughter, Irshad’s sister, even as they come to terms with his arrest. “He has been arrested just because he had Suhail’s mobile number on his phone. Nothing has been recovered from our house. As an autodriver myself, I can tell you several people keep our numbers to call during emergencies,” says Irshad’s elder brother Aurangzeb.indianexpress
‘My son is innocent; he will be acquitted’: father of Mufti Saqib
Hapur: Mufti Saqib is one among the 10 suspects picked up by NIA. A delegation of a Muslim organization met the family of Mufti Saqib. Raids were conducted by NIA at 17 places including 6 in Delhi and 11 in UP. Parents and brothers of Mufti Mohammed Saqib told the delegation that Mufti Saqib is a respected person and the villagers can bear witness to this. They said ISIS is not fostering in India, but some people are using its name to defame Muslim community.Qari Mohammed Iftekhar has complete faith in Allah that his son will be proved innocent. He said a practising Muslim can never do wrong. Imam of Minar Masjid Faisalabad Maulana Mohammed Aslam and Rafaqat Ali teacher of Madrasa-e-Rasheedia also endorsed that Mufti Saqib is a good person. They were shocked to know that Mufti Saqib was picked up by NIA.siasat
NIA working as Govt agent: Rashid Alvi
New Delhi: Commenting upon the arrest of 10 Muslim youth during the raid by NIA in UP  and New Delhi, Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said that Amroha and Jafarabad are defamed with a conspiracy, though the area has been the abode of peace and harmony. He alleged that NIA is working as a Govt  agent.Ali said if the accusation is true then the culprits must be hanged but if they are innocent they should immediately be released. Alvi said a delegation of Hindus and Muslims had called on him and the story narrated by them is quite contrary to the report presented by NIA. Without naming them he said that he was told by the eyewitnesses that nearly 160 policemen in 25 to 30 vehicles surrounded them.They brought a truck full of items and presented the same as seized items. When an elderly eyewitness objected, he was threatened and silenced.siasat
7 men convicted in 1997 Kodungaiyur explosives case, were conspiring to kill Hindu outfit leaders
Chennai :7 men were on Friday convicted by a court here for making and hiding explosives as part of a larger conspiracy to eliminate leaders of Hindu outfits, and sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment in the case that goes back to 1997.Delivering the judgement in the Kodungaiyur explosives haul case, the judge of the Special Court for bomb blast cases, P Senthoorpandi, held seven of the nine accused, including prime conspirator Mohammed Khan alias Sirajudeen, guilty. The two others were acquitted.All the four charges, including conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and making explosives and attempt to cause explosion with intent to endanger life and property under the Explosive Substances Act, were proved against the seven of them, the Judge said in his order.Though the seven convicts have already served the jail term awarded by the court, they will continue to be in prison in connection with other cases.The convicts pleaded for a minimum sentence and wanted the period they had already spent in prison to be set off against the sentence.The judge sentenced them to 5 years RI for each of the four offences and ordered that the sentences would run concurrently.PTI
NIA files supplementary chargesheet against former JNIMS director for links with terror group
NIA has filed a supplementary chargesheet against Dr Mutum Shyamo Singh, ex-director JNIMS Hospital, Imphal, for his alleged active' involvement with proscribed terror outfit Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP). NIA has filed this chargesheet under sections 1207B of IPC and 20 of UAPA. Court has fixed Jan.16, for consideration of supplementary chargesheet.ANI
UN experts raise alarm over citizens register in Assam
3 UIN human rights experts expressed "deep concern" on Dec. 27 over a citizens register in India's Assam, warning it could inflame ethnic tensions in an already fractious region. A draft Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state announced in July left off four million people, leaving them potentially stateless and facing an uncertain future."We are... seriously concerned about the lack of clarity regarding what will happen to those left out of the finalised NRC," said a joint statement from the UN special rapporteur on religious freedoms, Ahmed Shaheed, the rapporteur for minority rights, Fernand de Varennes and an expert on arbitrary detentions, Seong-Phil Hong."There is a risk that persons not part of the NRC could become stateless, be at risk of deportation, or be subject to large-scale migration detention," they said."It is feared that this entire process is increasing inter-ethnic tensions in a region that has already experienced a tumultuous history of identity-based conflicts," de Varennes said.PTI
Kalua chopped his thumb, Nat shot him dead: Sources on Bulandshahr cop Kumar's murder
Bulandshahr: In a startling disclosure it's now revealed that Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was attacked with a sharp axe by a person named Kallua in which the cop's thumb got chopped off, triggering a fight between the cops and the frenzied mob on Dec.3 in Bulandshahr. ​Kallua gathered the crowd and was trying to cut down a tree on the highway in a bid to halt the traffic, a move that could have triggered off a possible communal tension between the communities as there was a huge congregation of Muslim community for a religious function in the town and the participants were supposed to take the same route back home, a top police officer, requesting anonymity, said. "Subodh tried to persuade him not to cut the free but he was adamant on doing so when protested he attacked the inspector with the axe and chopped off his thumb," the officer said, adding "the action then led to a law and order situation with the mob attacking the police team. They pelted stones, hit them with sticks and chased them away." Attacked, profusely bleeding, Subodh continuously pleaded before them to stop the violence but to no success. Brave inspector then tried to run for the cover was gheraoed again by Prashant Nat, Sumit and some others who then overpowered him and shot him dead with his own pistol, according to the source. Prashant Nat, despite shooting Subodh in his head, along with Sumit and others continued beating him with sticks and then set ablaze the car in which the inspector was being taken to the hospital. "His shoes also got burnt," the official confirmed.  26 days after the incident, the police have been able to nab 28 accused, including Prashant Nat who they claim, has "confessed to shooting" Subodh. Nat was not named in FIR initially. Yogesh Raj, a district convenor of the Bajrang Dal and Sikhar Agrawal, a BJYM leader, who were initially named as main accused are still on the run. "We will be able to nab them soon," SSP Bulandshahr Prabhakar Chaudhary said.TimesNow
Bulandshahr violence: SIT announces reward to identify eyewitness
Lucknow: SIT, probing the Bulandshahr violence case in which an SHO and a youth were killed on Dec.3, announced a reward of Rs 10,000 to identify and trace a youth who was seen recording the incident on his mobile phone.“The youth features in most of the videos and the pictures of the incident we have collected. We believe he has in possession some clearer videos which will help us to construct the sequence of events. He has not yet released any of the videos he had recorded. To get information about him, we have announced a reward of Rs 10,000 on him,” said Bulandshahr SSP, Prabhakar Chaudhary. Prashant Kumar, ADG, Meerut, said that sometimes such reward is declared unofficially to get some vital information or to trace a witness, but this time the step is taken as it is believed that this youth might have some crucial visuals of the incident which may help the police in this case.Subodh Kumar Singh, the station house officer of Siyana, and a local youth, Sumit Kumar, were killed on Dec.3 in mob violence near Siyana village during protests against alleged cow slaughter. So far, 29 people have been arrested in the case.indianexpress
Congress Demands Judicial Probe into Bulandshahr Policeman's Killing
New Delhi: Congress has demanded a judicial probe into the Dec.3 Bulandshahar violence that led to killing of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, saying Yogi Adityanath-led BJP Govt  in UP  was "shielding" the perpetrators. Expressing alarm over law and order situation in the state, UP  Congress chief Raj Babbar alleged that under BJP, "mobocracy was flourishing". "It has been nearly four weeks and the police are still clueless about the killers of Singh. Chief Minister Adityanath, at times sniff a political conspiracy and at times pats his own back, but has done nothing to catch the killers.IANS
Lieutenant General Syed Ata Takes on Muslim-Bashing Trolls, Says I'm From the Community
Lieutenant General (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain of the Indian army silenced Twitter trolls who were attacking the country's Muslim community by stating a simple fact: I am from the community.The tweet was in response to a barrage of tweets calling Islam a radical religion with institutionalized terrorism. The online argument began when the general said that he would be appearing on a Doordarshan panel to discuss the recent breaking up of an alleged ISIS module in UP and Delhi. While initially users responded to the announcement with genuine queries about what drove a few Indian youths to become indoctrinated into militant extremism, things soon took an ugly turn. When General Hasnain hypothesized that factors like tutelage from radical clergy at a young age and parental opinions could colour the perceptions of certain disaffected youths, Hindu right-wingers began denigrating the Muslim community as a whole. In any case, General maintained his composure and replied with restraint, without budging on his position.news18
Ally trouble deepens for BJP in UP, Union Minister Anupriya of Apna Dal (S) skips PM Modi's event
BJP has come under pressure from ally Apna Dal (S) in UP  as the regional party has decided to boycott Prime Minister Narendra Modi's event in Varanasi and Ghazipur, citing "arrogant attitude of BJP leaders." "Arrogant attitude of BJP UP leaders is insulting weaker sections of society, I appeal to PM to intervene. Till matter is not solved, we will not be part of any Govt  programmes in UP including today's events," Apna Dal (S) president Ashish Patel said. Patel said he was confident that BJP president Amit Shah will hear him out and sort out the matter between the parties.On Friday, Patel said his party was planning to contest 10 seats, including Varanasi which is represented by Prime Minister Modi, in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, a report said. The party had contested two seats - Mirzapur and Pratapgarh - in 2014 and won both. Apna Dal (S) wields influence in over 15 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP , with its core voter base of Kurmi Patel forming a big chunk of electorates in these constituencies. dnaindia
Applications of 931 Institutes For Minority Status Still Pending:Centre
New Delhi: Centre on Friday informed the Rajya Sabha that applications by 931 educational institutions for minority status are pending.Minister of State for HRD Satyapal Singh said that as of Dec.15, 931 applications for minority status certificate are pending. These institutions does not meet the statutory requirement under section 10 of National Commission for Minorities Educational institutions Act 2004.He was replying to a question raised by CPI(M) leader Jharna Das Baidya to Minister of HRD Prakash Javadekar.Baidya asked the number of applications pending and the details of financial allocations made for such institutions.In a reply to the Left leader, the Satyapal said the commission does not maintain data regarding state-wise pending applications. However, the commission maintains year-wise data of pending applications.In 2018, 1017 institutions were registered for minority status. Of these, 86 were granted minority status certificate and 931 cases are still pending. news18
Pulwama encounter: 4 militants killed, 16 civilians hurt in clashes near site
New Delhi:At least 4 militants were killed in an encounter with security forces that broke out early on Saturday in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. As many as 16 persons were injured in clashes that erupted thereafter. This is the second encounter in the last 24 hours in the area.According to police, a cordon and search operation (CASO) was launched by security forces in Rajpora following inputs about the possible presence of militants in the area.“Brief exchange of fire between security forces and terrorists at Hanjan,” J&K Police had tweeted. “Area has been cordoned off,” it added.The identity and the affiliations of slain militants are being ascertained, police said in a statement after the encounter. Several weapons were also seized from the spot, it added.  Following the gun battle, clashes broke out at the encounter site in which 16 persons were injured. Health officials said that the injured were rushed to various health facilities in Pulwama. One of the civilians sustained a bullet injury on his right hand and was shifted to Srinagar, officials said. A large number of people participated in the funeral of the slain militant which was held at his native village Koil in Pulwama later in the day. Soon after the killing of Wani, clashes broke out in some parts of South Kashmir.Meanwhile, Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq claimed that the cordon and search operations (CASO) launched in the extreme cold weather should immediately stop. “At #JamaMasjid today. Grossly Inhuman on part of GOI that even in this severe cold as mercury has dipped to minus 8 degree celsius, children women and men forcibly brought out of their homes for conduct of Cordon and search operations (CASO)!This should be immediately stopped,” Umar had tweeted after addressing the Friday gathering at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.indianexpress
AICC minority cell leader Khan triggers major row in J&K with his 'pro-militant' remarks
Jammu:A senior Congress leader in J&K  has triggered a major controversy in the state with his statement that if his party comes to power, it will pay Rs one crore and give a Govt  job to kin of those killed in Kashmir in the name of terrorism.Sounding sympathetic to Kashmiri militants, Haji Sagheer Saeed Khan, a minority cell observer of All India Congress Committee, also promised Wednesday release of militants after withdrawal of cases against them, if Congress comes to power. Asserting that Kashmir has become a killing field under BJP rule, Khan also said "a new law would be made to hang BJP leaders, involved in killings of the people (in Kashmir)".J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC), however, rejected Khan's statement, saying he had no mandate of the party to make any statement on its policy matter without consulting JKPCC. Disowning Khan's statement, JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, in a statement, said the Congress party's stand is clear that terrorism has to be dealt with sternly and there cannot be any compromise on the issue of security and safety of the people.Attacking Congress party over Khan's pro-terror statement, BJP's J&K unit spokesperson, Brigadier (Retd) Anil Gupta asserted that AICC minority cell observer Khan has the blessing of Rahul Gandhi and he needed no mandate of the JKPCC to make any statement. PTI
Cabinet Clears Changes in POCSO Act, Provides for Death Penalty for Child Abuse
New Delhi: Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to provide for the death penalty for aggravated penetrative sexual assault on children. Briefing the media on the decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Cabinet had cleared far-reaching amendments. "It is a very wholesome initiative by the Govt  to strengthen and enlarge the scope of POCSO.He said apart from providing for the death penalty in aggravated offences, the amendments also provide for stringent punishment for the offence of administering hormones for making children "artificially major".IANS
Dalit activists claim Subodh More, Bhim Army members detained by Mumbai Police
Mumbai :Dalit activists in Mumbai have claimed that activist Subodh More, some Bhim Army members were detained by the Mumbai Police on Saturday. More had gone to meet Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad in a hotel in Malad.Shailendra Kamble of CPI (M) said that he had received a call from More after being detained by the police but don’t know where the activists are being held by the police. Kamble said, “I received a call from More saying that he was being taken by police to Samata Nagar police station. When we went to the police station, he was not there. We also checked with Dindoshi police station, he wasn’t there either. We don’t know where police has taken More and other Bhim Army activists.”Azad, in his first visit to the city, reached Mumbai on Friday morning but was not allowed by the police to venture out of his hotel to meet the media persons. Azad was supposed to attend a cultural event and a rally at Jambori Maidan in Worli on Saturday evening. However, the police denied permission for the rally in Worli citing law and order issue.While senior officials from the Mumbai police department have refused to confirm the detention of the Bhim Army activists, sources in the department revealed that they are planning to take preventive action under section 156(3) CrPC. Several policemen have been deputed to the Malad area, where More and other activists are reportedly being detained.indianexpress
Court on Sohrabuddin case: CBI had theory, script to implicate politicians
Mumbai :CBI had a “pre-meditated theory and a script intended to anyhow implicate political leaders” in the alleged fake encounter killings of gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati, and the alleged murder of his wife, Kausar Bi, more than a decade ago, said the special court which acquitted all the 22 accused last week.In the around 350-page judgment on Dec.21, Special CBI Judge S J Sharma said: “My predecessor has, while passing an order of discharge in the application of accused number 16 (Amit Shah), clearly recorded that the investigation was politically motivated.Having given my dispassionate consideration to the entire material placed before me and having examined each of the witnesses and the evidence closely, I have no hesitation in recording that a premier investigating agency like CBI had before it a pre-meditated theory and a script intended to anyhow implicate political leaders, and the agency thereafter merely did what was required to reach that goal rather than conducting an investigation in accordance with law.” The court made a specific mention of Shah, who was an accused in the case but was discharged in 2014. While discharging Shah on Dec.30, 2014, Judge M B Gosavi, who was Judge Sharma’s predecessor, had said there was merit in Shah’s contention that he was shown as involved by CBI “for some political reasons”.The court also said the CBI had “wrongly recorded” statements’ of witnesses — 92 of the 210 witnesses who deposed were declared hostile.indianexpress
Amit Shah Was Not on Trial But Sohrabuddin Judge Gives Him Clean Chit Nonetheless:Sukanya Shantha
5 held for attack on Bible prayer group
Panaji: 6 days after a Bible prayer group was attacked, the Kolhapur police made its first arrests, with 5 persons from Belgaum in Karnataka booked under various sections of IPC.2 of those arrested also reportedly confessed to having been involved in a similar attack in 2016, when a group of men from Belgaum had targeted a Christian at Chandgad in Kolhapur. On Friday, the Kolhapur police released a statement identifying the men as Ajay Appaji Patil (23), Gajanan Patil (23), Amol Mudgekar (22), Mahesh Patil (23) and Gopal Kalkamkar (20), and confirmed that they are Belgaum residents. “They came together, taking the same route before the attack, but after that they scrambled and took several routes to enter Belgaum, Karnataka. We sourced CCTV footage from all possible outlets at the access ends at Belgaum to track these bikes and bikers,” said Kolhapur SP Abhinav Deshmukh.indianexpress
HC notice to Gujarat govt on pleas on livestock trade
Ahmedabad:Gujarat High Court has issued a notice to the state Govt  with regard to petitions moved by a group of businessmen against the decisions of the Govt  affecting the trade of livestock within the state and export from Tuna port. The businessmen have said that the state Govt through various notifications and official communications is trying to stop the exports, which they have been doing since the last several years from Tuna port in Anjar, Kutch district.A division bench of Justice Harsha Devani and Justice AP Thaker sought the govt’s response by Jan.17.The petitions have been moved by Prashant Shukla, director of Prisha Overseas Enterprise, Salman Chauhan, proprietor of Sara impex,Ezzazuddin Huseni,proprietor of EB Huseni and Kaymuddin Saiyed, signatory proprietor of Almond International.They have jointly challenged Vijay Rupani-led state Govt’s recent decisions in the form of notifications,communications and his announcements that “state Govt will not let this business of export of live stock happen from the soil of Gujarat.”indianexpress
Shimla:10 booked for ransacking shops over ‘cow slaughter’
Shimla :The police have booked 10 men over the ransacking of shops at a market in the district after the discovery of a severed cattle head.Protesters from some Hindu groups Thursday damaged shops belonging to Muslims in Rohru tehsil’s meat market after a chopped head, allegedly of a calf, was found in a building near Arhal Road, police said.The men have been booked under different sections of IPC for instigating and taking part in the ransacking of shops.FIR was registered on the basis of a statement by the Rohru station house officer, police added. It names 10 people.The police said the situation remained under control on Friday.PTI
Year after Koregaon Bhima violence, victim’s mother says main culprits are at large
Pune :A year after the gruesome killing of her elder son Rahul Phatangade in the violence near Koregaon Bhima war memorial in Pune district, his mother is yet to come to terms with the loss.Until all the culprits are caught, no justice will be done, says 57-year-old Janabai, Rahul’s mother. Phatangade (30), resident of Kanur Mesai, a small hamlet in Shirur tehsil, was killed by a mob armed with stones and sticks at Sanaswadi during the Koregaon Bhima violence on Jan.1, 2018.Janabai, who lives alone after the death of her elder son, said there was an entire mob which beat and killed her son mercilessly, but the police have failed to arrest the main culprits. CID which is probing the murder has arrested three persons who were allegedly part of the mob.“There is not a single day when I do not remember my son…..he was everything to me. They (the Govt ) talk about compensation but even crores of rupees will not bring my son back,” said Janabai while lighting a small oil lamp in front of her son’s framed photograph.PTI
Uttarakhand HC Orders Ramdev Company To Share Profits With Locals
Nainital: In a first-of-its-kind order, the Uttarakhand High Court has directed a company run by yoga guru Ramdev to share a percentage of its profits with local farmers and communities.The HC gave the order while rejecting a petition of Divya Pharmacy against Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) and upholding the provisions of fair and equitable benefit-sharing as provided under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.The bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia held that it was a fact that biological resources constitute main ingredient and raw materials in manufacture of ayurvedic and nutraceutical products. It ordered the pharmacy to share Rs. 2 crore out of its Rs.421-crore profit with farmers of the raw product.PTI
Police refuse permission for Dawat-e-Islam event in Hyderabad
Hyderabad (Telangana):The police on Saturday refused to grant permission to a Pakistani organisation, Dawat-e-Islami, to hold a public event in the Old Hyderabad. DCP South Zone, Amber Kishore Jha, said: "We have received a letter from Dawat-e-Islami seeking permission for an event to be held today and tomorrow here in Hyderabad's old city." Opposing the event, many local religious organisations like All India Ulaima Mashaik Board, Quadria International, Sunni United Forum of India and Seerat un Nabi and some others had earlier written to DCP South Zone requesting him not to grant permission for the event as it will pose a threat to the law and order situation."We had received letters from many local religious organisations requesting us not to allow Dawat-e-Islami organise the event in the old city. After evaluating and examining the claims and counterclaims, we decided not to grant permission to the organisation," the senior police official added.Dawat-e-Islami had requested to hold a two-day event in Hyderabad on Saturday and Sunday. It had been organising this event for the past two years in Hyderabad.ANI
At 2.6 degrees celsius, Delhi records season’s lowest temperature
The national capital woke up to a cold morning on Saturday as the mercury dipped to 2.6 degrees Celsius, four notches below the season’s average -- the season’s lowest temperature so far, the Met Office said.IANS
WORLD
Rights groups decry 'crackdown' before Bangladesh polls: 600,000 security men deployed for tomorrow's general polls
Dhaka:A day ahead of parliamentary elections in Bangladesh, over a dozen international rights groups on Saturday expressed concern over an increasingly “restrictive” environment.16 advocacy group for human rights and democracy decried “the restrictive electoral environment surrounding the 11th General Election in Bangladesh, set to be held on December 30, 2018," the Asian Network for Free Elections said in a statement released on the groups’ behalf. The statement said the Govt led by ruling party head PM Sheikh Hasina "has embarked upon a crackdown on civil society, the opposition, and the media, undermining any semblance of a democratic process.""This places a severe strain on the waning health of democratic engagement in Bangladesh, and compromises the integrity of the upcoming election.” During Dec. 10-26 campaign period, the statement said: “There have been at least 30 reported attacks on opposition motorcades, 207 incidents of violence took place in 159 constituencies, at least 43 candidates of Jatiya Oikyafront were attacked and 13 candidates were seriously injured, 17 opposition candidates were arrested, while the High Court Division of the Supreme Court disqualified BNP [opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party] candidates of 23 constituencies.” Five people were killed and nearly 2,700 were injured in election-related violence during this period, it added.The statement also decried the low number of election observers. Over 600,000 security personnel, including army, police, elite force, and paramilitaries, have been deployed to ensure poll security on Sunday.All 3G and 4G mobile services were suspended across the country at the order of Bangladesh telecom regulators, which said service would be restored right after election day. Separately, the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) claimed Saturday that police and members of the ruling Awami League have warned their members against being stationed at polling places.Since Dec. 10, as many as 21,000 of opposition party members and supporters have been arrested, according to opposition figures. Hasina claimed Saturday that BNP-led opposition alliance could boycott the vote on election day, calling on her party members and supporters as well as other political parties to beware of opposition efforts to call the polls into question. Events in Bangladesh in the runup to the election do not bode well for peaceful polls, Dhaka University political analyst C.R. Abrar told Anadolu Agency.“Police misconduct, the callousness of election authorities, biased administration, propaganda by state-run television in favor of Govt  -- all these indicate that a fair election cannot be held under a political Govt ,” he said.An election held in such a restrictive environment calls into question the legality and acceptance of the incoming Govt , he said.Anadolu Agency
Bangladesh General elections to be held tomorrow
10 yrs of Hasina: 'Development minus democracy'
‘BNP tried to fix meeting with Ram Madhav in Bangkok, but Indian side chickened out’
With Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s chairperson Khaleda Zia in jail since February and her son and political heir, Tarique, living in London, a bespectacled 70-year-old man enters the party office in Gulshan neighbourhood, Dhaka’s most posh locality as everyone stands in attention. Dressed in a maroon sweater, stylish checked muffler and black coat, the man has a hoarse voice since he has given more than 200 speeches in the last two months of campaign. He asks for a warm water and settles down in one of the sofas.“There is no campaign, it’s a reign of terror, that too State terror,” says Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of BNP, the main opposition party, in an exclusive conversation with Indian Express. He is the man running the party, in the absence of the Zia family, and will play a leadership role — if they win the elections.A few months ago, he stitched up the Opposition alliance as he approached veteran secular icon, Kamal Hossain, and is challenging the Awami League-led ruling alliance under incumbent PM Sheikh Hasina in upcoming parliamentary elections on Dec.30. A self-confessed spartan eater and of medium built, he is not a tall man. But, he is right now the tallest leader among BNP leaders, who is leading the party’s election campaign.His first complaint are about how the police is being used by ruling party. “bhoyaboho obostha (it’s a dangerous situation),” he says, with an air of resignation, as he narrates how his wife and daughter, a 32-year-old teacher, were also stopped by the police while campaigning. “I can’t conceive that such a situation can happen,” he says.“We tried to meet Indian leaders outside the country. We sought appointment from the Indian High Commissioner, sought and met three times, it’s not the other way around,” he says, but feels that Indian diplomats are not keen to meet and engage with BNP leaders since they don’t want to upset the incumbent Govt  led by Hasina.“We seek friendship with India. And contrary to the perception in India, we don’t believe in communalism, fundamentalism,” he says emphatically. “That’s a totally a false perception that we are anti-India, this is part of Awami League’s concerted propaganda,” he says.Fakhrul is a pragmatic leader. “We have been reaching out to India, including our Chairperson Begum Zia’s visit to Delhi in 2012. We thought with BJP in power in 2014, things will improve. She had a very good meeting with Modi, but nothing happened after that. There was no follow up. We were disappointed. We tried to fix up a meeting with BJP’s general secretary Ram Madhav in Bangkok in Aug.this year, but Indian side chickened out,” he said.indianexpress
Will a cabinet reshuffle fix Saudi economic malaise?
When he emerged on the political scene in 2015, 33-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, was given a rock star's welcome by US politicians and Silicon Valley executives. Saudi Arabia's young crown prince had a vision for the kingdom: He planned to diversify the economy, improve public services, such as healthcare and education, and drastically reduce dependence on oil.But nearly 2 years on, the world's youngest defence minister and de-facto ruler of one of its last absolute monarchies, has failed to keep pace with most of his proposed reforms. On Thursday, his ageing father, King Salman, 83, reasserted his power as the kingdom struggles with its worst diplomatic crisis since the Sept.11, 2001 attacks.Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who has repeatedly defended the monarchy following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, was demoted to the position of minister of state for foreign affairs.In return, 69-year-old Ibrahim al-Assaf, who was arrested last year during MBS' so-called "anti-corruption" drive, was brought in as his replacement.The other notable cabinet changes saw Prince Miteb bin Abdullah fired as the chief of National Guard, while Khalid bin Qirar al-Harbi was named general security chief and Musaed al-Aiban was appointed national security adviser. aljazeera
New Saudi foreign minister insists kingdom 'not in crisis' amid Khashoggi fallout
The new foreign minister of Saudi Arabia insisted his country is "not in crisis", a day after King Salman ordered a wide-reaching Govt reshuffle amid ongoing global criticism over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.In his first interview since taking the position, Ibrahim al-Assaf told AFP news agency on Friday that the Govt  restructuring was not related to the Khashoggi case."The issue of Khashoggi... really saddened us, all of us," said Assaf, a former long-serving finance minister and board member of national oil giant Saudi Aramco."But all in all, we are not going through a crisis, we are going through a transformation," he told AFP.Assaf said that his predecessor, Adel al-Jubeir, had not been demoted over his inability to handle the fallout of Khashoggi's killing.
Saudi recruited Darfur children to fight in Yemen:NYT
Saudi Arabia recruited children from Sudan's conflict-ravaged Darfur region to fight on the front lines in Yemen, New York Times has reported.The kingdom offered desperate Sudanese families as much as $10,000 to enlist their children to fight in the nearly four-year-old war against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, the NYT said on Friday.Led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Yemen in 2015 in support of the internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.Sudan joined the Saudi-led alliance, deploying thousands of ground troops to Yemen. 5 Sudanese fighters who had returned from Yemen told the NYT that children made up 20-40 percent of their units in Yemen.Many of the child soldiers were aged 14 to 17, the report said, and were often sent off to war by their parents, some of whom were so eager for money that they bribed officers of the Sudanese units in Yemen to let their sons go to fight. "Families know that the only way their lives will change is if their sons join the war and bring them back money," Hager Shomo Ahmed, who was recruited to fight in Yemen in 2016 when he was just 14, told the NYT.At any time in the past four years, as many as 14,000 Sudanese people have been fighting in the Gulf country alongside Yemeni-armed groups backed by the Saudis, the paper said, quoting returnees as well as Sudanese legislators.aljazeera
Yemen's Houthis start redeployment in Hodeidah as part of UN plan
Yemen's Houthi rebels have started to redeploy inside the port city of Hodeidah as part of the UN-sponsored peace agreement signed in Sweden earlier this month, a UN source and a spokesperson for the group said on Saturday.Houthis have agreed with Saudi-backed Govt  to implement a ceasefire in Hodeidah city and withdraw their respective forces.Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, the head of a UN advance team charged with monitoring the ceasefire, arrived in Hodeidah earlier this week.Under the deal, international monitors are to be deployed in Hodeidah and a Redeployment Coordination Committee - represented by both sides and chaired by Cammaert - will oversee the implementation. The committee started its meetings this week.A UN source said Houthi forces, which control the city and its strategic port, had started to redeploy overnight.aljazeera
Yemen's Houthis start withdrawal from Hodeidah port as part of UN deal
Sudan opposition leader arrested hours after new protests
Sudanese security forces have arrested a top opposition leader following a crackdown on new anti-Govt  demonstrations held in several cities on Friday.The protests were the latest in a wave of demonstrations that began across much of Sudan on Dec.19 - first against a rise in prices but later against the Govt  of President Omar al-Bashir, in power since a 1989 military coup. The demonstrations coincide with worsening economic woes that saw a currency devaluation, fuel shortages and a steep rise in the price of bread, a main fare for most Sudanese.The opposition Sudanese Congress Party said that a few hours after protests began in Omdurman on the west bank of the Nile on Friday, its chief, Omar el-Digeir, was arrested by security forces.aljazeera
US commanders propose Kurdish fighters in Syria keep weapons
US commanders planning for the withdrawal of troops from Syria have recommended that Kurdish fighters be permitted to keep US-supplied weapons, a move that would incense NATO ally Turkey. 3 officials, on the condition of anonymity, said the recommendations were part of discussions on a draft plan by the US military. While talks are at an early stage, no decision has yet been made, the officials noted. Pentagon said it would be "inappropriate" and premature to comment on what will happen with the weapons. "Planning is ongoing, and focused on executing a deliberate and controlled withdrawal of forces while taking all measures possible to ensure our troops' safety," said Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesperson.aljazeera
US refutes Syrian Govt's claim of entering Manbij
Syrian army has not entered Manbij, US military has said after the former claimed they had gone into the key northern city and raised the national flag."Despite incorrect information about changes to the military forces in Manbij city, (US-led coalition) has seen no indication of these claims being true,"US Central Command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown said. Manbij is a strategic city close to the Turkish border where Kurdish forces have been deployed since 2016.aljazeera
Egyptian forces 'kill 40' in response to bus attack
Egypt's interior ministry has said at least 40 fighters have been killed on Saturday in response to an attack on a tourist bus in which four people were killed the night before.According to the official state news agency MENA, security forces killed the suspected fighters in raids in Giza and northern Sinai - a volatile desert region that has been a hotbed for various armed groups.A roadside bomb hit a tourist bus near the Pyramids of Giza, south of the capital Cairo, on Friday, killing three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide.The blast wounded 11 others, including Vietnamese tourists as well as the Egyptian driver.No group claimed responsibility for the blast.The bombing is the first deadly attack against foreign tourists in Egypt in more than a year and comes as the tourism sector, a vital source of foreign currency revenue, recovers from a sharp drop in visitor numbers since a 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Hosni Mubarak.aljazeera
Hamas denies Mubarak’s testimony on Egypt jailbreak
Gaza:Palestinian group Hamas has denied the veracity of a testimony by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak about the group’s involvement in a mass jailbreak in 2011. In a court testimony in Cairo on Wednesday, Mubarak, 90, said 800 Hamas gunmen sneaked into Egypt during the 2011 uprising that swept the autocrat president from power. He said the gunmen had participated in attacks on prisons to free detainees from the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah groups. “We categorically deny Mubarak’s testimony about sending 800 gunmen to Cairo to free Egyptian, Palestinian and Arab prisoners,”Hamas said today.  Decrying what it described as attempts to “drag Hamas into Egyptian internal issues”, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, reiterated its commitment of its policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries, including Egypt.  Mubarak’s testimony came at the retrial of his successor, Morsi, who faces charges of participating in a mass jailbreak in 2011. Wednesday’s court session was the first time for Mubarak and Morsi to see one another since the former relinquished power in 2011 following 18 days of countrywide demonstrations.  Anadolu Agency
Gaza: Hamas facing severe financial crisis
Hamas is facing a severe financial crisis which is curbing its ability to pay Palestinians’ salaries in Gaza.Hamas is suffering from a severe financial crisis which is impacting its activities in the besieged Gaza Strip, Anadolu reported. It added that the crisis is no longer related only to Govt institutions in the Strip – which have been run by the movement since 2007 – but has now also affected Hamas’ other institutions.Anadolu quoted personnel who work in Hamas’ private institutions as saying they “have not been paid full and stable salaries for several months”.Hamas’ financial crisis was thrust into the spotlight last week when the movement’s Al-Aqsa TV announced it would stop broadcasting immediately. The channel admitted it faced a crippling a financial crisis caused by Israel’s complete destruction of its headquarters in November, in the midst of escalated tensions and violence in the besieged enclave.MEMO
Palestinian killed, 6 injured by Israel in Gaza
A Palestinian youth was killed by Israeli army gunfire on Friday while taking part in ongoing demonstrations along Gaza-Israel buffer zone, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The ministry said that Karam Fayyad, a 26-year-old Palestinian, had been shot dead by Israeli troops east of Gaza’s southern city of Khan Younis. Another 6 Palestinians, including a journalist and a paramedic, were injured,ministry said. Last Friday,4 Palestinians were killed — including a minor — while taking part in the rallies along the buffer zone.MEMO
Taliban seeks image makeover as Afghan peace talks gain momentum: Reuters
"If peace comes and the Taliban return, then our return will not be in the same harsh way as it was in 1996," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told Reuters, referring to the year they took over in Kabul before their ouster by US-led troops in 2001."We want to assure Afghan nationals that there will be no threat to anyone from our side."The comments come as moves toward peace negotiations have intensified, following a series of meetings between US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives over the past 3 months. Expectations of a decisive shift have been heightened by reports that over 5,000 US troops may be withdrawn from Afghanistan, in an abrupt about-turn from the previous US strategy of stepping up military pressure on the insurgents."Our opposition is with the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. Once they are out and a peace deal is reached, then a nationwide amnesty will be announced," said Mujahid."No one, police, army, Govt employees or anyone, will face revenge behavior from our side."Reports of the withdrawal are unconfirmed but they have triggered alarm among many Afghans with bitter memories of the Taliban's ultra-hardline regime."I don't think their mindset has changed but they have realized that without respecting human rights, they cannot be accepted by the international community," said Bilal Sediqi, spokesman for Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
Leaked video shows ex Pak president Musharraf seeking covert US support to regain power
Washington:In an embarrassment to Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani military ruler, in a leaked video, was purportedly seen seeking covert US support to regain power and telling American lawmakers that he was “ashamed” of the ISI being negligent about the al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts.The undated video clips, which have been posted by dissident Pakistani columnist Gul Bukhari, also shows the self-exiled former president as saying that he thinks that the negligence of the ISI was “pardonable” as CIA was also involved in same level of negligence on 9/11.HT
Cancer detection method of this Muslim scientist and his colleagues is as easy as blood test
Queensland (Australia): Abu Ali Ibn Sina, a Bangladeshi Muslim scientist with his colleagues at the University of Queensland, has invented a ground-breaking cancer test that would revolutionize cancer detection in a new method as easy as a blood test.“The new testing method is based on a unique DNA signature that appears to be common across cancer types,” Abu Ali and his two colleagues wrote on the website of the World Economic Forum (WEF), according to 5Pillars.The team of researchers published their results on December 4 in the scientific journal ‘Nature Communications’. However, their test will be commercially available in hospitals and healthcare centers after required clinical trials.Each cancer type, be it bowel, testicular or breast, has different genetic features. Usually, a test that detects one cancer type may not work to identify another. Thus, for many year researchers have been searching for a commonality among the variations of cancer to develop a diagnostic tool that could apply across all types.
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