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30 January 2019

30 Jan.ND: India may see communal violence before general polls: Warns US Intelligence head/ Politically motivated move, say AIMPLB, clerics to oppose Centre’s plea/All members of National Statistical Commission resign after Centre failed to publish jobs report


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
30 Jan. 2019: 23 Jamadiul-I 1440: Vol:11, No:115
INDIA
India may see communal violence before general polls: Warns US Director of National Intelligence
Washington: There is a strong possibility of communal violence in India if the ruling BJP stresses on Hindu nationalist themes ahead of the general election in May, America's top spymaster told US lawmakers. The comment on India's upcoming general election is part of US intelligence community's assessment of worldwide threats in the year 2019 and was presented in the form of a written document to the powerful Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence."Parliamentary elections in India increase the possibility of communal violence if Indian PM Narendra Modi's BJP stresses Hindu nationalist themes," Coats told members of US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence."BJP policies during Modi's first term have deepened communal tensions in some BJP-governed states, and Hindu nationalist state leaders might view a Hindu-nationalist campaign as a signal to incite low-level violence to animate their supporters," Coats said in his written statement."Increasing communal clashes could alienate Indian Muslims and allow Islamist terrorist groups in India to expand their influence,” Coats warned ahead of the general election. 5-year term of PM Modi ends in May. The entire process of election and formation of the new Parliament needs to be completed by May.Coats in his written statement also warns of a strained India-Pakistan relationship at least till May."Political maneuvering resulting from Indian national elections probably will further constrain near-term opportunities for improving ties," it said.News18
Lok Sabha polls 2019: BJP may incite low-level communal violence, warns US intelligence report
Govt sits on post-note ban jobs report, 2 top statistics panel members quit: Indian Express
New Delhi:Protesting against the withholding of NSSO’s (National Sample Survey Organisation) first Annual Survey on Employment and Unemployment for year 2017-18, Acting Chairperson of National Statistical Commission (NSC) resigned.Another colleague has also quit.This report, first by NSSO in this govt, was expected to reflect job losses in the wake of demonetisation.NSC is an autonomous body constituted in 2006 and tasked to monitor and review the functioning of the country’s statistical systems. 3 years ago, it was snubbed by Niti Aayog over finalisation of GDP back series data. PC Mohanan, a career statistician, and JV Meenakshi, Professor at the Delhi School of Economics, were appointed by Govt as members in the NSC in June 2017.Both had a 3-year term. Mohanan was the Acting Chairperson before he resigned. At present, NSC’s ex-officio member Amitabh Kant, who is CEO of NITI Aayog, is the only person at the helm.When contacted, Mohanan said:“Normal convention is that NSSO presents findings to Commission, and once approved, the report is released within next few days.We approved NSSO survey on employment/ unemployment in Dec beginning,” said Mohanan. “But the report has not been made public for almost two months.”“Over a period, it was noticed the Govtdoes not take NSC seriously,” Mohanan added. “NSC was kept out while key decisions were taken. We were unable to effectively discharge our duties.”“2017-18 job survey did not present a good picture on the employment front. This is most likely the reason for holding it back,” said a source in NSSO. Earlier,NSSO undertook employment/unemployment surveys once in 5 years. Last survey was released in 2011-12. The next survey should have been in 2016-17. But after considerable thought, NSC decided to have annual as well as quarterly surveys.1st annual survey undertaken by NSSO for year-ending June 2018 (July2017-June 2018) would have covered both pre- demonetisation and post-demonetisation period.The latest update by CMIE revealed that the unemployment rate shot up by 7.4 % in Dec.2018, highest in 15 months, and that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018 due to demonetisation But Govt has denied job losses, and often said many entrepreneurial jobs have been created.
All members of National Statistical Commission resign after Centre failed to publish jobs report
Politically motivated move, say AIMPLB, clerics to oppose Centre’s plea
Lucknow:All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has decided to oppose Centre’s petition on transferring 67 acres of undisputed land around the disputed site at Ayodhya to Ram Janmabhoomi Trust.“The court has put a blanket ban on any construction near the disputed site. Seeking permission for releasing the 67-acre acquired land is against the court’s ruling. AIMPLB will oppose the petition and will not allow the Centre to go against the court’s ruling,” said AIMPLB member and lawyer in Ayodhya case, Zafaryab Jilani, in Lucknow on Tuesday. AIMPLB member and Imam of Aishbagh Eidgah, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, also opposed the move saying, “It appears to be politically motivated and taken ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections by NDA govt.”Muslim clerics also questioned the Centre’s intention months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.Sunni cleric Maulana Sufiyan Nizami said, “The land for which the Central Govt has filed a writ is already covered by an apex court judgement that no worship or prayer can be done on it.”“Now the Central Govtis trying to entangle the issue by a new dispute which shows that it is not at all serious at solving the dispute. Whenever the matter is on the edge of getting resolved, the Govtis derailing the issue. Also, the Govtbelongs to everyone. However, when the Govtstarts becoming partisan, democratic values are endangered. The SC should take cognisance of the issue,” he said.Echoing similar sentiments, Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas said, “I think, till the entire issue is resolved, any kind of construction will not be in the interest of anyone. The Supreme Court should not entertain the petition filed by the Centre. The move of the Modi Govt has proved that it intends to go to the polls over the temple issue rather than its commitment of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas. dailypioneer
Ayodhya Dispute: VHP welcomes move, Muslim board fumes
Govt Petition for Ayodhya Land Misleading, Fraud: Babri Masjid Action Committee
New Delhi:All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) termed as misleading the petition of the Modi Govt in the Supreme Court seeking change in the status-quo of the 67 acres of the land in Ayodhya.“This petition is actually a fraud that BJP is doing with its cadres and supporters. The central Govtknows it very well that there are three court stays on the entire 67 acres of land – one stay from the Allahabad High Court and 2 stays from the SC. Therefore, the whole land will remain Govt acquired till the final judgment in the Babri Masjid case, and Govt knows it well” said Dr. SQR Ilyas, Convenor, Babri Masjid Committee of AIMPLB. AIMPLB leader pointed out that the central Govt is not a party to the title suit of the Babri Masjid. It has filed this petition in the Supreme Court only to please its cadres, vote bank and Hindu saints, he said.“If the SC rejects the petition in the light of its previous orders, then BJP Govt will tell the people that it tried its best but the SC is blocking its attempts and thus it will enrage the sentiments of the people against the Supreme Court so that pressure could be maintained on the title suit,”he said.India Tomorrow
Govt moves SC to free Ayodhya land: Centre must clarify purpose or will move court:Nirmohi Akhara
New Delhi:While VHP and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas welcomed Centre’s decision to move the Supreme Court seeking permission to return “excess/superfluous land” acquired in Ayodhya to its “original owners”, Nirmohi Akhara, a party in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri mosque title suit, said it would challenge the move if the Govt does not clarify the objective of taking back the undisputed land.“If the Govt takes the land without telling the purpose, we will challenge the move in the court. Nirmohi Akhara’s land also falls in that undisputed area, and that part should be given back to us. We have not taken compensation against acquisition of that land. There was Sumitra Bhawan, Saligram Mandir, Sankatmochan Mandir and a Katha Pandap, which were demolished after acquisition,” Mahant Ram Das of Nirmohi Akhara said.“Govt was supposed to take all the parties (in the case) into confidence before making the move. But no discussion was done with us,” he added. “Govt of India can take that land back, but the question is that the land will be used for what purpose? For any Govtplan or to give that land to somebody? Temples are built by sants, nyas or a trust. Govt does not have the power to build temple,” Ram Das said.indian express
Buzz in Ayodhya: ‘Should have happened earlier, but govt’s move gives hope’
Attempt to pre-empt SC decision, appease Sangh ahead of polls: Oppn on Centre’s plea on Ayodhya
Pak Foreign Minister Qureshi calls up Mirwaiz
Srinagar:In an unusual move, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday dialled All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to brief him on “efforts of Govt of Pakistan to highlight the gross human rights violations” in J&K .This is the first time that the new Govt in Pakistan, under PM  Imran Khan, has reached out to the Hurriyat.Qureshi also informed Hurriyat leader about events being organised in London, including at the House of Commons and an exhibition on February 4-5, where these issues will be highlighted. Official sources in Delhi said that it is “extremely unusual” for a top Pak Govt representative to call Hurriyat leaders directly, and said that they do not recall any such conversation in the last decade. Usually, they said, Pakistani representatives meet Hurriyat leaders while visiting India,and the Ministry of External Affairs is kept in the loop.Mirwaiz said Qureshi spoke of involving world capitals in highlighting the Kashmir issue. “He said, ‘We are very concerned about what is happening in J&K ’. The most important thing he said was that PM Imran Khan tried his best to reach out to Govt of India but unfortunately there was no response… they will reach out to next Govt after polls.”According to Mirwaiz, Qureshi reiterated that “we want all issues to be resolved through dialogue, but there was no response from Govt here”.Reacting to the 10-minute conversation, sources in Delhi said it reflects “duplicity in the Pakistan leadership’s approach” while referring to Imran Khan’s call for dialogue.“Such an attempt by the Pakistan Foreign Minister is a regressive step and is contrary to overall perception, which Pakistan leadership is trying to create,” sources said.indianexpress
No official invite or attempt by Centre to reach out to Hurriyat: Mirwaiz
Srinagar:Days after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Govt was ready to talk but Hurriyat leaders refused to talk and snubbed all-party delegation in 2016, Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said there was “never any official invite or any attempt by the Govt of India” to reach out to the Hurriyat.He said Centre’s entire approach and agenda was military-driven, and that “there is absolutely no political process or thought in terms of dealing with Kashmir. They are dealing with Kashmir as we have seen in the last three or four years with an iron fist and their military policy is what is guiding BJPs policy on Kashmir.” Indian express
Pak delegation visits site of Pakal Dul hydel project in J&K
Jammu :A Pakistani delegation led by Pakistan’s Indus Commissioner Syed Mohammad Mehar Ali Shah Tuesday visited the site of the 1,000 mega watt Pakal Dul hydel project in J&K ’s Kishtwar district.The other members in the delegation reportedly included advisor Mehmood Hayat and join commissioner Usman Ghani, sources said. The delegation accompanied by local officials from Kishtwar district administration inspected both the proposed dam and powerhouse sites during the day.They will visit Lower Kalnai and Rattle hydel projects on Wednesday before returning to New Delhi on Jan 31, sources said.Under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, while Sutlej, Beas and Ravi waters have been allotted to India, the water flowing in Chenab, Jhelum and Indus allotted to Pakistan. Under treaty, both the countries have set up Permanent Indus Commission with separate commissioners in both the countries who are mandated to inspect sites and works undertaken on both sides of Indus basin. Since the signing of the treaty, a total of 118 such tours have been undertaken by the commission on both sides.indianexpress
Israeli PM planning to visit India soon;2nd time in 2 yrs
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu could be visiting India in Feb.or March, before elections in both countries. If this materialises it would be his second visit here in as many months. Both the sides have exchanged their preferred dates but there is no final decision on it, according to sources. Netanyahu visited India in Jan.2018 while PM Narendra Modi travelled to Tel Aviv in 2017, becoming the first Indian PM  to tour Israel.Both the leaders spoke over the phone earlier this month when Israel's NSA Meir Ben-Shabbath visited New Delhi. Ben-Shabbat also met NSA Ajit Doval.Netanyahu is understood to have expressed his desire to visit India. economic times
Govt tracking theological content driven Salafi, Wahabi websites:IANS report
New Delhi : A number of websites are under the scanner of security agencies for propagating Salafism and known as Wahhabism as part of what is being seen as a carefully-crafted strategy to spread radical Islam in India. Most of these websites operate from outside the country but the agencies have noticed regular traffic on these online platforms.In the context of J&K, security forces see radical content as part of a design by Pakistan to give religious colour to the separatist movement and alienate the people further overshadowing the moderate age-old tradition of Sufism in the region.IANS
Minorities Commission issues notice to The Pioneer for calling Zakir Naik “Salafist Terror Preacher"
New Delhi: Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) has sent a notice to The Pioneer asking the newspaper to explain how it has arrived at the conclusion that Dr. Zakir Naik is a “Salafist terror preacher”.The DMC in its notice also said that Naik is an accused in a money-laundering case and not a "terror accused" as claimed by the newspaper. DMC notice is issued to The Peioneer regarding a report the newspaper published regarding ED seizing some properties ofNaik in the alleged money-laundering case.The news, based on a PTI report, was published by newspapers and electronic media describing Naik as a “controversial preacher” but The Pioneer, while publishing the same news in its front page on 20 Jan.described him a “Salafist terror preacher”.Taking sou motu cognisance of this, DMC issued the notice to The Peioneer terming its report a gross misuse of media freedom to defame a person who is still an accused and no court verdict has been passed in the case."The said preacher is at best an accused in a case of money-laundering and not terror funding or preaching", DMC said. DMC notice further said, “If this a mistake by an overzealous editor of the page, you should print a clarification in a prominent place saying that Naik is only an accused in a money-laundering case, and supply a copy of same to this Commission.” DMC has asked the Editor of the Pioneer to reply by 11 Feb. Ummid.com
NIA arrests 2 JMB suspects : Mumbai Mirror
NIA arrested 2 Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB) suspects from Arambag police station area of West Bengal’s Hooghly district.Kadar Kazi alias Kadoor (32) along with his aide Sajjad Ali were arrested in a late night operation carried out on Monday. The duo was hiding in Arambag, where they were posing as carpentars.“NIA Kolkata arrested accused Kadar Kazi alias Kadoor, 32 years of age, from Arambagh Police Station area,district Hooghly, WB,” NIA said in a press release . The accused were produced before the NIA Special court on Tuesday, after bringing them to Kolkata from Hooghly. mumbaimirror
ATS wants to submit e-certificate as proof 4 yrs after techie’s arrest for ‘bomb plot’
Over 4 years after the arrest of a software engineer for allegedly planning a ‘lone wolf attack’ on American School in Bandra, ATS now wants the court to take an ‘electronic evidence certificate’ on record, which forms the very basis of the case against the engineer. The defence vehemently opposed ATS plea in court on Tuesday, saying the certificate should have been drawn up when screenshots of the electronic record was being taken, and ideally submitted when final police investigation report was given to the court in Jan. 2015. This assumes importance as ATS’s entire case against software engineer Anees Ansari is based on electronic evidence. ATS has alleged that despite repeated warnings by his employers, Ansari kept surfing sites related to Daesh, created a fake Facebook account, and seems to have chatted with a wanted accused and planned an attack on the school.The electronic evidence certificate, commonly known as a certificate under section 65B of Indian Evidence Act, is proof of the genuineness of the document. However, none of the documents, including Facebook chats and warning emails sent by Ansari’s employer, have this certificate attached.Advocate Sharif Sheikh, appearing on behalf of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, NGO representing Ansari, said it was not the case that ATS had drawn up the certificate earlier and was only producing it right now, therefore the certificate could not be taken on record.The judge then said it would need to be seen if the certificate can be drawn up and produced at such a belated stage. He then adjourned the case for further arguments.mumbaimirror
2008 Assam serial blasts: NDFB founder Ranjan Daimary, 9 others get life imprisonment
New Delhi:National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) founder Ranjan Daimary and 9 others have been sentenced to life in the 2008 Assam serial blasts case. A special CBI court pronounced the sentence on Wednesday, 2 days after it convicted 14 in the case. The remaining 4 have served their sentence and paid fine in the case.On Oct.30, 2008, 11 serial blasts across 4 districts of Assam killed 87 people. CBI took over the case the same year.Daimary, prime accused in the case, was arrested in Bangladesh and handed over to India in 2010. He was released on bail in 2013,and is currently participating in peace talks with govt.The prosecution appealed for death sentence for all.indian express
RTI backlog: SC enquires if only bureaucrats are filling posts of information commissioners in CIC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court sought to know whether only bureaucrats were being appointed as information commissioners responsible for clearing backlog of RTI applications in CIC. A bench of Justices A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer was hearing petitions filed by RTI activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Commodore Lokesh Batra (rd) and Amrita Johri, who contended that there was a huge backlog of RTI pleas in CIC as posts of information commissioners were lying vacant.indian express
CBI chief appointment: Asthana among top contenders, petitioner ML Sharma claims in SC
Even as the high powered committee is expected to meet today evening for the post of CBI director, petitioner in CBI appointments case ML Sharma has claimed that ex special director of CBI Rakesh Asthana is among prime contenders for the top post. Urging the court to take up his petition for early hearing, petitioner claimed that Asthana was on top of the list of contenders for the post of CBI Director. When questioned by CJI Ranjan Gogoi about the source of his information, Sharma attributed it to news reports. Sharma had earlier requested for an earlier hearing on his plea that challenged Asthana’s appointment which had come after FIR was not quashed by Delhi HC over allegations of bribery. During the hearing, the court gave 10 weeks deadline to complete probe in the case.financialexpress
SC again refuses to stay SC/ST Act amendments, final hearing on Feb 19
https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-sc-st-atrocities-act-amendments-5560843/                                    
New Delhi :For the second time in a week, the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay amendments to the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for accused.A bench headed by Justice UU Lalit said it would hear a batch of petitions challenging the amendments to the Act along with Centre’s review plea on Feb.19 for final disposal. The petitions have sought the declaration of the new amendments to the SC/ST Act as ultra vires.The SC bench said the issue required hearing in detail and it would be appropriate if all matters were heard on Feb.19. The SC’s decision came after senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for one of the petitioners, sought an immediate stay to the changes to Act.indianexpress
Aadhaar: SBI officials allege data misused, UIDAI says database is ‘fully secure’
State Bank of India has alleged that the login and biometric details of several Aadhaar operators, who were penalised last year, have been misused to generate unauthorised Aadhaar cards, TOI reported. UIDAI has, however, refuted claim calling the Aadhaar database “fully secured”. FIA Technology Services Private Limited and Sanjivini Consultants Private Limited were assigned as vendors to SBI in Chandigarh region to reach its Aadhaar enrolment target. Chandigarh region includes Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, besides UT of Chandigarh itself.However, nearly half of Aadhaar operators associated with these agencies were penalised, and were either deactivated or blacklisted. This move, officials said, had caused the bank to fail to meet targets and face penalties.scroll.in
India, one of Venezuela's last oil buyers — may react to sanctions: economic times
After US slapped sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA, which essentially add up to an oil ban, the market has focused on how the remaining buyers of the South American country’s heavy, low-quality crude will react. India is the third-biggest buyer of Venezuelan oil, after US and China, averaging about 340,000 barrels a day last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The nation’s private refiners -- Reliance Industries Ltd. and Nayara Energy Ltd. (formerly Essar Oil Ltd.) -- are the primary buyers. That’s because their advanced refining systems can process the thick Venezuelan grade into high-value fuels such as low-sulfur gasoline and jet fuel. In contrast, state-owned refiners generally won’t benefit from more Venezuelan crude as their facilities can’t handle the low quality.U.S. sanctions may provide Nayara Energy with an opportunity to get extra Venezuelan crude as more of it becomes available in the market, which will help make up for supply it lost as the South American nation’s exports slumped, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking.India’s purchases from Venezuela fell about 11 % last year, in line with an overall slump in exports, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The company as of Tuesday was yet to receive offers for more oil from Venezuela and it was still trying to understand the impact of the sanctions on shipping and payment mechanisms, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal issues. Overall, it’s too early to determine how much more Venezuelan oil may come to India, the person said.At 1.36 million barrels a day of capacity, Reliance Industries is the biggest private refiner in India.
Delhi court orders probe into alleged 2014 hate speech by Owaisi
New Delhi:A Delhi court ordered an investigation into alleged hate speech made by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi in 2014. FIR was filed based on an article published online in which Owaisi had delivered a speech allegedly promoting enmity between communities. Metropolitan Magistrate Prayank Nayak issued direction on a protest plea filed against Delhi police’s closure report and said that ACP concerned will personally supervise the investigation so as to avoid any further delay in this matter. Court listed the matter for March 26 and police has been asked to file their report.indianexpress
After confusion, finance ministry clarifies budget will be called 'interim'
New Delhi:Amid speculation over the shape of Modi govt’s last budget before Lok Sabha polls, the finance ministry on Wednesday clarified that it will be called ‘Interim Budget 2019-20’.“This Budget will be called Interim Budget 2019-20 and, therefore, don’t have any confusion on this issue,”a finance ministry spokesperson said.The statement came a day after officers were reportedly told at a workshop of PIB that the budget will be titled ‘General Budget 2019-20’. thewire
Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Khan, Navjot Singh Sidhu Are Like Traitors:RSS Leader Indresh Kumar
RSS leader Indresh Kumar lashed out at actors Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Khan and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu by calling them ‘traitors’.  Kumar compared them to Rajput king Jaichand and Najafi Nawab of Bengal Mir Jafar. NDTV quoted Kumar as saying, “They may be good actors but they don’t deserve respect as they are traitors. They are like Mir Jafar and Jaichand.” huffingtonpost
Madhya Pradesh: After Republic Day clash, ban call on Muslim vendors in Rajgarh
Khujner (MP): “No Muslim vendor should enter Limboda village. If they do, we should not be held responsible. No Muslim should enter our village.”These lines are from one of the “many letters” received by local police from a clutch of villages in eastern MP’s Rajgarh district over last 3 days following a communal clash in Khujner town during a Republic Day event —first such incident under the new Congress regime.One group claims clash was triggered by “provocative remarks” from a section attending the event involving around 25 schools, the other side says it was sparked by a fight between two men based on a previous personal dispute. And initially, Khujner police lodged FIRs against 16 persons, including members of rival sides, mainly on charges of rioting.But communal faultlines have widened after six men— Samad Khan, Sakir Khan, Abrar Khan, Zakir Khan, Imtiaz Khan and Shameer Khan — were arrested and sedition charges imposed following a memorandum submitted Monday by BJP leaders, including Pankaj Sharma, local body head,and ex MLA Amar Singh Yadav. Shameer was later granted bail.indian express
Ready to testify against SIT report on Gujarat riots: Zameeruddin Shah
Jaipur: Lt Gen (retired) Zameeruddin Shah is ready to testify in the court against the SIT report giving clean chit to then CM  of Gujarat Narendra Modi of no delay in the requisition and delay in the deployment of the army in the riot affected areas in 2002. SIT claim came in sharp contrast with the claims made by the army veteran in his book ‘Sarkari Musalman,’ which says that administration (Gujarat) didn't provide required support for the 24 hours. Shah, while in a session 'An officer and a gentleman' at Jaipur Literature Festival told that, “If court summons, I am ready to tell the truth that how for 24 hours, they were at the Ahmedabad Airport waiting for govt's support." Shah said that Indian Army made 60 sorties to drop 3,000 armed forces for restoring peace in the riot-hit state on the intervening night of Feb.28 and March 1. “Had the Gujarat Govtacted on time, my army men would have saved 500-600 lives. They kept us waiting for transport, communication devices, maps, magistrates and the police which arrived on March 2 morning, while my team was all set for action the very next moment of the arrival in the city,” said Shah. TOI
1,000 gaushalas in 4 months, says MP govt
Congress Govt has announced that 1,000 gaushalas will be set up in Madhya Pradesh in the next four months to accommodate nearly one lakh stray cows and progeny. Insisting that there was not one government-run gaushala in the state, CM  Kamal Nath said by instructing quick completion of Project Gaushala his Govthad fulfilled one more promise made in the party’s manifesto. The Rural Development Department will be the nodal agency of the project while gram panchayats, self-help groups, organisations affiliated to the state cow protection board and organisations chosen by district committees will implement the project.indian express
UP: Stray cattle destroy crops, their owners held
Fourteen farmers of Kanpur’s Ghatampur tehsil were arrested and jailed Monday after they were found to be the owners of cattle locked up in a local Govtschool by villagers because they were allegedly destroying their crops.The arrests were part of a district administration to identify farmers who are abandoning their cattle, leading to a rise in number of stray cows and oxen in the area. Farmers were released Tuesday evening on personal bonds.CM  Yogi Adityanath had recently had ordered all district magistrates to initiate action against those disowning their cattle. On Monday, 4 farmers had allegedly died after being attacked by stray bulls while protecting their crop, in different cases in the state. Kanpur administration took action after some farmers of Mominpur village locked up at least 70 stray cattle in a Govtschool Sunday.indian express
‘Congress fine-tuning strategy on Muslims’
JAIPUR: Responding to a question that why Congress has become timid in raising issues related with Muslims, ex Union minister Salman Khurshid has called it a ‘tough dilemma’ for his party which is hammered repeatedly for telling the truth. “It doesn’t mean that you desert your ideology and commitment but it is like fine-tuning your strategy. If we don’t fine tune our strategy none of us would be here two years from now,” Khurshid, said in the defence of his party. He, during a session 'Examining Faith' at the concluding day of Jaipur Literature Festival sought people's support in understanding his party's stand. The session was participated by noted social activist Harsh Mander, Sachar Committee member Rakesh Basant, journalist Revati Laul in conversation with Sagarika Ghose. The panelist charged Congress of deserting Muslims during the elections in Gujarat and in the recently concluded polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. The party was also accused of a silence on mob lynching cases.Mander shared his experience of reaching out to the families of people lynched by mob in his Karwan-e-mohabbat, said, "I am a very optimistic person but still i am worried to see that social cohesion in the country deterring bit by bit." TOI
Tube In Nose, Unwell Parrikar Presents Goa Budget
Panaji: Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, who has been severely unwell for months and has admitted that he is "battling a life-threatening disease", spoke in a feeble voice today as he presented the Budget in the assembly with a tube in his nose. He made up for his weakened delivery with rousing words:"Today, once again I promise that I will serve Goa with sincerity, integrity, and dedication until my last breath."In an apparent dig at the Congress, CM also remarked: "There is a josh, that is too high and I'm fully in hosh."ndtv       
‘Must admire Rahul’s humility’: Goa BJP leader’s lavish praise of Cong chief
Congress chief found an unusual admirer in Goa -- deputy Speaker and BJP MLA Michael Lobo, who praised Gandhi a day after he called on CM  Manohar Parrikar in the state assembly.“Rahul Gandhi came on a special visit to greet our ailing CM Manohar Parrikar. His simplicity, humility has to be admired by all Indians and Goans. He is a very simple person and leaders like him are required in Goa and India,” Lobo said.HT
WORLD
Digital tourism giants Airbnb 'profiting' from illegal Israeli settlements: Amnesty
Digital tourism giants Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor are profiting from "war crimes" by offering services in illegal Israeli settlements, said a report published on Wednesday. Amnesty International's Destination: Occupation study called on the companies to stop listing tourist accommodation, activities, and attractions in settlements in the occupied territories. "They are doing so despite knowing that Israel's occupation of West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is governed by international humanitarian law under which Israeli settlements are deemed illegal," said report."In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the maintenance, development and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law."Amnesty accused the firms of "normalising" settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."To boost bookings, many listings in settlements boast of their proximity to areas of natural beauty in the occupied territories, such as the Dead Sea, nature reserves and the desert," the report said."By listing and promoting these natural features and nature-based activities and attractions, the digital companies are increasing the attractiveness of the listings, securing greater numbers of tourists and ultimately benefiting financially from illegal exploitation of Palestinian natural resources." aljazeera
Israel approves construction of 'Disneyland' cable car in Jerusalem
Israel approved on Tuesday a plan to build a cable car that critics say would dramatically alter the scenery of the historic Old City of Jerusalem and help develop a Jewish settlement in a Palestinian neighbourhood, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.According to it, Israel's national infrastructure committee,Jerusalem development authority and the ministry of tourism have together earmarked $54.4mfor the project, which would connect the city's west and east sides.Israel says cable car would help ease traffic in the city and could transport 3,000 passengers an hour at peak times.2 stations are proposed to be built in West Jerusalem and Mount Zion. A third is planned in occupied East Jerusalem's Silwan neighbourhood, adjacent to the southern wall of the Old City and close to al-Aqsa Mosque.middleeasteye
Hamas calls for supporters to send bitcoins
The armed wing of the Hamas group, which has fought 3 wars with Israel and faces financial isolation, called on supporters to send funds using bitcoins.Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, sent out a message calling for financial aid to be sent in the virtual currency as the group faces international sanctions."Support the resistance financially through the bitcoin currency," Obeida said on Tuesday, adding the exact mechanism would be announced later.It was the first time the Qassam Brigades appealed for financial support through a digital currency.Bitcoins are the most popular of the so-called "cryptocurrencies", a digital form of money that can be used to pay for some transactions online. Transactions via bitcoins can be done anonymously and are not backed by any Govtor central bank. Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, has faced financial dire straits in recent years as banks have sought to ensure they have no dealings with the outfit. The statement also accused Israel of seeking to cut Hamas' access to finance..aljazeera
Egypt's Brotherhood calls for a unified opposition
Muslim Brotherhood has called for the establishment of a united Egyptian opposition group abroad to help regain control of the country after a military coup in July 2013 put Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in power.In a statement marking the eighth anniversary of Jan.25, 2011 revolution, the outlawed group said the purpose of a unified opposition would be to liberate Egypt from military rule and to release political prisoners from prison.Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt's oldest and most influential Islamist group - called on expatriate Egyptian judges to take over the leadership of a constituent body, pointing out that individuals or groups abroad can help the work of the opposition at home.In the interest of the Egyptian revolution and to protect the opposition, the statement also stressed the need to stay away from those who advocate the use of violence.The banned group highlighted articles of 1923 Constitution relating to individual and public freedoms, particularly the independence of the judiciary.Human Rights Watch estimated Egypt has imprisoned as many as 60,000 political activists, a figure Sisi has denied.  aljazeera
Egypt Arrests 54 Muslim Brotherhood Members
Egypt announced Tuesday the arrest of 54 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.Interior Ministry charged that the suspects were plotting to foment chaos on the anniversary of the 2011 uprising."Information has become available ... that escaped leaders of the (Muslim Brotherhood) were implementing a plot to create a state of chaos in the country during the months of January and February, to coincide with the anniversary of the 25 January revolution," it said.The statement did not identify any of those arrested, but said legal measures were being taken against them in coordination with the state security prosecutor.The individuals were arrested over the past weeks in different locations. Asharq Al-Awsat
Egypt: Morsi faces retrial in Hamas case
Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi appeared before Cairo’s criminal court, facing a re-trial in the so-called “communicating with Hamas” case.The session was headed by Counsellor Mohammed Shirin Fahmi, with the prosecution charging Morsi – along with 23 others – with crimes including communicating with foreign organisations in order to commit terrorist acts and disclosing defence secrets to a foreign state. Morsi is also accused of financing terrorism, assisting the Muslim Brotherhood and committing acts that undermine Egypt’s independence, unity and territorial integrity. Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected president following a popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011, in what came to be known as th Arab Spring. However in 2013, one year in to Morsi’s rule, his defence minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi led a military coup against him. middleeastmonitor
IS still has 'thousands' of fighters: US intel chief
Washington: Islamic State group maintains a force of thousands of fighters able to maintain a potent threat in the Middle East and beyond, US director of national intelligence Dan Coats said. "ISIS still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, and it maintains 8 branches, more than a dozen networks,and thousands of dispersed supporters around the world, despite significant leadership and territorial losses," Coats said in a new report to Congress on key threats to US. AFP
Syria safe zone: 'A long-term problem rather than a solution'
Ankara:President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 300,000 Syrian refugees have returned to their war-torn country as he revived talk of creating "safe zones" for millions more.While Turkish officials have not provided details on where the zones would be located or how they would be administered, analysts said it was likely the refugees would be placed in areas of northern Syria under nominal Turkish control.Turkey currently hosts more than 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees, according to the UN Refugee Agency.Tensions between locals and Syrians have built over the course of the nearly eight-year war, compounded by competition for jobs and resources as Turkey faces recession.Since it launched the Euphrates Shield military operation in north Syria in August 2016, Ankara has encouraged refugees to remain in camps close to the border - welcoming only the most vulnerable into Turkey. aljazeera
Saudi to release Houthi prisoners after ill soldier freed
Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said seven Houthi prisoners will be released after a Saudi soldier was freed and arrived in Riyadh in a rare exchange of goodwill between combatants in the devastating three-year war.Saudi prisoner Mousa Awaji returned on a Red Cross plane from Sanaa on Tuesday with the rebels saying he was freed because of an illness, Houthi TV channel al-Masirah reported, citing Abdulqadir Murtada, a Houthi official.Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki said the exchange came because the Houthis did not provide Awaji with proper medical treatment, and efforts were under way to end the detention of other prisoners, state media reported.Murtada said the release came as an "initiative" by Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, according to Houthi-run Saba agency.UN special envoy to Yemen,Martin Griffiths, helped coordinate the release.
Kuwait says no imminent solution to Gulf crisis
Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Khalid Al-Jarallah, said Monday that there is no imminent prospect of a solution to the Gulf crisis.“The crisis has not stopped and the media campaigns have not stopped,” Al-Jarallah said, stressing that the rift between Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on the one hand and Qatar on the other remains unsolved.On 24 Jan, Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, told Bloomberg that there was no prospect of solving the Gulf crisis. Al-Jarallah added earlier this week that he agrees with the Qatari minister, stressing that there is no solution on the horizon. MEMO
Grenade thrown into Philippine mosque kills 2 teachers
Zamboanga: A grenade was thrown into a mosque in the southern Philippines where Muslim teachers were sleeping early Wednesday morning, killing two of them and injuring four, authorities said.It was the second explosion at a religious site in the south this week, though authorities didn't see it as retaliation for the bombings of a Roman Catholic cathedral in nearly Jolo during Sunday Mass that killed 21 people.Regional police Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Luis D. Licup said investigators are trying to determine the motive and identity of suspect in the grenade attack at the mosque in Zamboanga city.AP
Pakistan to launch 200 bln rupee Islamic Sukuk to ease power sector debt
Pakistan has approved the launch of a 200 billion rupee ($1.44 billion) Islamic Sukuk to help pay off arrears building up in its troubled power sector, state-run Radio Pakistan said.The approval came from Economic Coordination Committee, chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar. “Bond will be issued through the consortium of Islamic banks,” Radio Pakistan said. Govt has been falling behind on payments to electricity providers and distribution companies, accumulating arrears that were threatening to seriously disrupt electricity generation in a nation still grappling with shortages. Reuters
flash: views & NEWS
Centre’s push to transfer Ayodhya land to Hindu groups misguided: Editorial,            indian express,
Thrice Supreme Court said: Don’t disturb land until suits are over: Kaunain Sheriff M
Poll pressure on Govtto show action on Ram temple: Liz Mathew
Ghalib unites Urdu, Marathi and Hindi: Jyoti Punwani
Shia Islam,Muslim Brotherhood: Could an alliance be on the cards?Marco Carnelos, ex diplomat
‘Encounter of Saqib, Mudassir shows Hajin is no longer identified with Ikhwanis’ – Part II of kashmiri teenagers’ stories
Ayodhya case: Centre’s application in SC to restore excess land to owners hides important facts:Sruthisagar Yamunan
Fresh plea on 'non-disputed' Ayodhya land best way for BJP to appease Hindu groups, core constituencies: Sanjay Singh
Centre’s move on Ayodhya land is an attempt to communalise the 2019 election:Shoaib Daniyal
'Break my hands': Tehseen Poonawalla dares Anantkumar Hegde with pic hugging his ‘Hindu’ wife
Babri Masjid Action Committee hits out at plea, says it’s a ‘backdoor’ move
Govt switching off channel I financed: Kapil Sibal


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:41 PM)

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