Thursday, 28 February 2019

28 Feb. ND:IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan to be released tomorrow as ‘peace gesture’: Imran Khan/‘Preemptive strikes will help BJP win over 22 seats in Karnataka’: State BJP chief Yeddyurappa/SC puts on hold order to evict 11.8 lakh tribals, seeks details of procedure from states


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
28 Feb. 2019: 22 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:140
INDIA
IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan to be released tomorrow as ‘peace gesture’: Pak PM Imran Khan
New Delhi:Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan today said his government has decided to release Indian Air Force(IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman tomorrow (March 1). “As a peace gesture, we have decided to release the Indian pilot in our custody,” Khan told a joint session of parliament in Islamabad called to discuss India-Pakistan situation.Khan’s announcement comes soon after media reports quoted Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as saying that the country is considering freeing IAF pilot if it leads to a de-escalation of tensions between the two countries. Khan has also offered to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Earlier, US President Donald Trump had said he has “reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India”. “They have been going at it and we have been involved trying to have them stop. We have some reasonably decent news. I think hopefully that it’s going to come to an end,” Trump had said. Pakistan had on Wednesday claimed it shot down two Indian fighter jets over Pakistani air space and arrested a pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan amid the faceoff between the two countries. Ministry of External Affairs later confirmed that a MiG 21 was lost and the pilot “missing in action”.“Wing Commander Abhinandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, spokesperson of the Pakistan Armed Forces had said. Soon, videos started emerging on social media from Pakistan featuring Abhinandan — one showed him being assaulted by a mob, others showed him being interrogated.indianexpress
‘Preemptive strikes will help BJP win over 22 seats in Karnataka’: State BJP chief Yeddyurappa
Ex- Chief Minister and Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa on Wednesday said BJP would benefit from the preemptive strikes carried out in Pakistan and will help the party secure more than 22 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Yeddyurappa was referring to the preemptive airstrikes carried out by India on Wednesday in Pakistan's Balakot. "For the first time in 40 years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bravery has resulted in Pakistan learning a lesson. When 42 of our soldiers were martyred, PM Modi had said he would extract revenge for the deaths of each soldier. With the preemptive strike, he has kept his promise," Yeddyurappa told the media in Chitradurga. In an apparent attempt to politicise the issue of the airstrike, Yeddyurappa further said that a large number of people are waiting to elect BJP nominees and re-elect Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. He also said that that people across the country were already rejoicing over Modi's move. "I heard this morning (Wednesday) that our forces have shot down a Pakistani aircraft. If you see, people are rejoicing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move and they are celebrating. The impact of this strike will help BJP win more than 22 seats in the state," Yeddyurappa said. Reacting to Yeddyurappa's statement, Karnataka Padesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao accused him of politicising the issue. Congress Legislative chief Siddaramaiah called Yeddyurappa's statement disgusting and accused him of trying to make political gains by hiding behind the bodies of martyred soldiers. The News Minute
‘Air strikes will help BJP win over 22 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka’, claims Yeddyurappa
‘Desperate to win polls, war in no one’s interest,’ says Imran Khan’s party on Yeddyurappa’s remarks
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the party of Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Thursday cited remarks by BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa to say that those “desperate to win an election” should be isolated. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf retweeted one such tweet by journalist Barkha Dutt, and added its comment: “We hope you understand that you were manipulated into war mongering. Isolate [people] who [are] desperate to win an election. War is in no nation’s interest & its soldiers & civilians who are the collateral damage. Don’t let one man use it for political mileage.”Dutt replied that the party should focus on its own country, but Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said: “When your domestic politicking is taking the region to a brink of war, and Pakistan being dragged in, it becomes our business.”In another tweet, the Pakistani political party claimed it took two days “to reveal the political game behind sending two nuclear armed nations into an escalated tension situation”. “Air Force excursions, war mongering, soldiers in captivity and the lives of so many people in danger all equate to 22 seats in the eyes of representatives on India’s ruling party. Is war an election option?” it asked in a tweet.On Wednesday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had said that a desperate bid to win an election by one man “is gripping an entire nation in war hysteria”. War is in no one’s interest except Narendra Modi, the party had alleged.scroll.in
‘Modi desperate for re-election’: Opposition rebukes PM for campaigning amid tension with Pakistan
Opposition today criticised Narendra Modi for holding campaign rallies at a time when the country was hoping for the safe return of Indian Air Force pilot who is currently in the custody of Pakistan’s armed forces.Modi addressed his party workers through a video conference on Thursday. The event, dubbed the “world’s largest” by BJP, is part of the saffron party’s political campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections this year.Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said Modi was only “desperate for re-election”. “Pradhan Sevak hell-bent on creating a Video Conf. [conference] record,” he wrote on Twitter.“It is shameful that while India awaits the return of Wing Commander Abhinandan, our Prime Time PM cannot stop campaigning even for a few minutes,” the Congress tweeted. “We stand with our soldiers and will continue to question Modi Govt on their apathy.”scroll.in
Sushma Swaraj to leave for UAE today to attend OIC meet as Pakistan threatens to boycott meeting
New Delhi: Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj will leave for UAE on Thursday to take part in the inaugural session of the foreign ministers' conclave of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abu Dhabi. Swaraj has been invited by UAE as guest of honour at the Islamic meet to be held on March 1 and 2. The invitation was opposed by Pakistan who threatened to boycott meet over the Indian minister's participation.UAE visit of Sushma Swaraj will come at a time when tensions between Indian and Pakistan are on an all-time high as one Indian Air Force pilot remains in the custody of Pakistan. On Wednesday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had threatened OIC that he won't attend the meet after the latter extended an invitation to Sushma Swaraj to be the guest of honour. Speaking on Geo News show, Mehmood Qureshi said, "I have spoken to UAE foreign minister and have expressed my reservations over her invitation. I have made myself clear that India has shown aggression." "Under the current circumstances, it will not be possible for me to attend OIC meeting where Sushma Swaraj is present," Qureshi had said.India Today 
Pak foreign minister Qureshi threatens to boycott OIC meeting over Swaraj's participation
India-Pak standoff: China says sovereignty, territorial integrity should be respected
Beijing:In a first since India launched airstrikes in Pakistan’s Balakot region this week, China on Thursday was firm in its view that “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity” of all countries “must be respected.” “China believes that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected. We oppose any practices that violate UN Charter and the norms of international law,”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. Lu’s comments in the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s briefing here in Beijing, came after a telephonic conversation held late Wednesday between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, after which MFA stressed that China did not wish to see actions that violate norms of international relations. “Pakistani Foreign Minister briefed state councillor Wang on the latest developments and Pakistan’s stance. State councillor Wang expressed concerns and said that China will still play a constructive role, he also said that he is concerned about the tensions between the two countries and reiterated that the two sides should exercise restraint and avoid escalation. He stressed that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected. He also talked about China’s efforts in promoting peace and facilitating talks,” Lu said.indianexpress
US, UK, France ask UNSC to blacklist Masood Azhar: Reports
US, UK and France on Wednesday moved a fresh proposal at UNSC to blacklist Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Reuters reported. 3 permanent members of the UNSC have asked the 15-nation Security Council sanctions committee to subject Azhar to an arms embargo, global travel ban and freeze of his assets. The committee members have until March 13 to raise objections, according to the proposal which was seen by Reuters.China, also a permanent member of the Security Council, is likely to oppose the proposal.scroll.in
Samjhauta Express Suspended Indefinitely By Pakistan; India Not Aware
Authorities in Islamabad have indefinitely suspended the Samjhauta Express, a decades-old train service between India and Pakistan. A statement by Pakistan's foreign office said that the train service with India has been suspended "till further notice". The move by Islamabad comes amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan."The operation of Samjhauta Express has been suspended today in view of the prevailing tensions between Pakistan and India," Pakistan's foreign office spokesperson said in a statement."Samjhauta Express will resume its operations as soon as the security situation improves between India and Pakistan," Pakistan's foreign office said, without giving any specific date for resuming the train service.ndtv
Flights across Asia affected after closure of Pak air space
Bangkok: A temporary closure of air space over Pakistan snarled air traffic Thursday, especially between Asia and Europe, though some airlines adjusted by rerouting their flights.In Bangkok, an important and busy hub for transcontinental flights, thousands of travellers were stranded. The closure of the main route for many flights to the Middle East and Europe was likely to be costly for airlines having to carry extra fuel and take longer journeys than usual.Bangkok airport officials said over 4,000 travellers were affected. Those needing help were getting access to accommodations and alternative travel arrangements, they said, though some of those stranded complained they were getting no help at all.AP
ED cracks down on terror funding, to seize properties of Hafiz Saeed, Zakir Naik business
New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) is poised to seize about 14 properties in Jammu and Kashmir belonging to Hafiz Saeed in an attempt to clamp down on terror funding, Economic Times reported citing people familiar with the development.The financial daily mentioned that ED, which has started proceedings to attach the assets, has identified the “proceeds of crime” invested by Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Shah Watali, who is alleged to be terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s financier. In August last year, Watali, 70, was arrested by NIA over terror funding.“14 properties identified include bungalows, palatial houses. All these properties will be attached,” a senior officer told ET on condition of anonymity. Also, ED has identified properties worth Rs 50.73 crore in Mumbai and Pune belonging to Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. These assets were allegedly acquired from the proceeds of crime, the agency sources told the publication.Besides, the ED has identified 13 properties belonging to other militant organisations. Attachments in 6 cases have already been executed by the agency, the report said. “The endeavour is to close the tap of terror funding by attaching all the properties which have been acquired from the proceeds of crime,” one of the persons cited above told the daily.ET/ timesnownews
SC puts on hold order to evict 11.8 lakh tribals, seeks details of procedure from states
The Supreme Court today put on hold its Feb.13 order directing states to complete eviction of forest dwellers whose claims in respect of forest land had been rejected. The bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha, sought reply from 21 states on the procedure followed while rejecting these claims.Centre and the Gujarat government had moved the SC Wednesday seeking a remodification of its earlier order, which would affect at least 11.8 lakh tribals and traditional forest dwellers. The court will take up the matter next on July 10.On Feb.13, the SC had directed states to complete eviction of “forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes” (FDSTs) and “other traditional forest dwellers” (OTFDs) whose claims for forest land had been rejected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The court’s ruling came on a clutch of petitions on the issue that were filed since 2006.Days after the order, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had asked chief ministers of states governed by the party to file review petitions in the Supreme Court against the order or “any other action you may deem fit”.indianexpress
India’s nutrition programme excludes poorest households: Study
India’s flagship programme to tackle undernutrition — Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) — may have been inadvertently excluding women with low education and the poorest households from accessing its benefits, according to a study published Thursday. Expansion and utilisation of one of India’s largest government-run community-based nutrition programmes increased significantly between 2006 and 2016, especially among historically disadvantaged castes and tribes. However, according to researchers from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), women with low education and the poorest households are relatively more excluded from accessing program benefits.Among states too, while overall utilisation has improved, high malnutrition states are relatively lagging. Study found both historically disadvantaged castes and pregnant women with low education levels were less likely to receive ICDS services than other groups. ICDS provides food, pre-school education, and primary healthcare to children under six and pregnant and lactating women. ICDS continues to be India’s flagship program to tackle undernutrition, and key actions under India’s new nutrition mission, POSHAN Abhiyaan, are anchored in the programme. The expanded participation between 2006 and 2016 demonstrates progress, but the researchers cautioned not all groups have benefited equally. “Even though overall utilisation has improved and reached many marginalized groups such as historically disadvantaged castes and tribes, the poor are still left behind, with lower utilisation and lower expansion throughout the continuum of care,” said Kalyani Raghunathan, IFPRI Research Fellow. “These gaps are especially pronounced in the largest states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which also carry the highest burden of undernutrition,” said Raghunathan. “While both states have shown improvements in 2016, they still fall behind national averages, suggesting that overall poor performance in high poverty states could lead to major exclusions,” he said. “Even in better performing states exclusion of poor could be due to challenges of reaching remote areas, despite attempts to close district-wise equity gaps or local challenges of exclusion within villages due to caste- or location-based exclusion,” said Raghunathan.PTI
Nearly 50% of India currently facing drought: IIT Gandhinagar scientists
Gandhinagar:Nearly 50% of the country is currently facing drought with at least 16% falling in the “exceptional” or “extreme” category, according to IIT Gandhinagar scientists managing India’s real time drought prediction system.This ongoing drought will pose a lot of challenges in water availability this summer, Vimal Mishra, associate professor at the IIT in Gandhinagar, told PTI. The real-time monitoring system run by his team, which includes Ph.D. student Amardeep Tiwari, collects weather and precipitation data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which is then used to simulate soil moisture and other factors that contribute to drought.Results of the simulations,prepared by the Water and Climate Lab at IIT Gandhinagar, are available on the website of the IMD.PTI
2 Muslims thrashed again by RSS mob in Jammu, police promise action
Samba: Even though the Indian govt is trying to push the narrative that there were no attacks on Kashmiris after Pulwama attacks, reality is much different. On Feb.25, tribals from Gujjar minority community were thrashed by a group of right-wing activists in Samba district in Jammu. According to reports, 2 local tribals: Mushtaq Ahmad Chowdary and Mohammad Ashraf Chowdary were on the way to their destination when an RSS mob caught hold of them in Vijaypur area of Samba and forced them to chant “nationalist slogans”.A video of the two being thrashed and being forced to chant slogans in favour of “Bharat Mata” and against Pakistan went viral on social media with netizens demanding authorities to take strict action against the culprits.Anger is brewing among the local Muslim community of the area against the hooliganism of the right-wing activists with locals calling for a peaceful protest against the harassment after Friday prayers this week. Nazakat Khatana, a Gujjar activist from the region said the duo were waiting to board a bus to reach their destination when the incident happened. He said RSS workers were celebrating the airstrikes by Indian Air forces against Pakistan when they caught hold of the duo and thrashed them. “We raised the issue with the concerned Police station; you can’t force anyone to chat Bharat Mata ki Jai. Although we have been assured that strict action will be taken against the culprits but we have decided to hold a peaceful protest march after Friday prayers this week”, Khatana says.He said ever since Pulwama attack Muslims in the area are being provoked deliberately by Hindu-right wing parties.TCN
Ayodhya issue must be resolved through talk, mosque can be shifted: Maulana Salam Nadvi
Former All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Salman Nadvi has reiterated his proposal of shifting the mosque from the disputed land and resolving the issue through talks.Reacting to Supreme Court exploring mediation in Ayodhya title suit, Nadvi said, "I have learned that Supreme Court wants both parties to sit together and find a solution on the Ram Janmbhoomi issue. I believe all sides should come together and resolve this issue."He added, "I had personally proposed that a mosque should be shifted and constructed somewhere else. I had also said that adequate land must be provided for not only the mosque but also for an educational institute, which can propagate the message of peace."Outlining his message of peace and harmony, he further added, "I am of the opinion that the mosque must be shifted from that environment. I believe that God, Lord, Allah are all one and if a religious place is being constructed, we should not fight on it." Speaking about others' reaction to his proposal, he said, "Sunni Waqf Board was with me but Muslim personal law board was against it. Now they have also agreed that there must be talk. This should be accepted by all because it is good for the country."ANI
Delhi: After encroaching Lodhi graveyard, CRPF takes over Lal Masjid; stops prayer
New Delhi: After occupying the Lodhi graveyard, CRPF occupied the masjid as well on Tuesday evening. CRPF alleged that the masjid does not belong to Waqf Board and the court has ordered it to occupy the place. CRPF denied offering of Maghrib and Isha prayers. It covered the masjid from all sides. Locals fear that the masjid may be demolished.On receipt of information, Waqf Board Chairman Amanatullah Khan reached Lal Masjid. He staged a dharna in protest and said that he will not leave the place until the masjid is not vacated. Despite stay order by the High Court, last year on Feb.26 itself the force had run a bulldozer and razed toilets, shrines and other structures.Earlier in on July 21, 2017, also CRPF had run the bulldozer on the land.It must be noted that the High Court had stayed the case in 1998. Again the stay order was taken from the High court. Since the stay order of the court no demolition activity was undertaken but last year all of a sudden the officials of CRPF and other agencies were deployed around the masjid and the structures located around masjid were demolished.The masjid and graveyard are nearly 200 years old. The graveyard has graves of freedom fighters too.siasat
'Muslim women gaining more from Darul Qaza, come with 95 per cent complaints'
Lucknow: Members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board's (AIMPLB) Darul Qazas said that it is a misconception that women's issues do not get adequate representation at the arbitration centres and claimed that, in fact, 95% of the issues and complaints brought to them come from women. Presenting the Darul Qaza report at the conference at Aishbagh Eidgah, organiser of AIMPLB's Darul Qaza committee, Qazi Tabrez Alam Qasmi said, "Most cases relating to family issues, come to the Nagpara centre in Mumbai where around 300 cases a year are heard. On an average, each of the 68 Darul Qazas in the country gets 60-70 cases in a year and it takes about four to five months for a case to be resolved." "19 Darul Qazas in Uttar Pradesh get over 50 family cases per year relating to women wanting separation from husbands, property rights, 'mehr' and dowry issues, custody of child, maintenance after divorce and even initiation of divorce," he said."Against popular beliefs, while women can approach Darul Qaza on 10 issues, men have only three points. Around 95% of the applications that we get, and are solved, come from women. This has also taken the load off the already-burdened judicial system," Qasmi added. TOI
Plea in Bombay high court alleges violations in Haj panel appointment
Nagpur: A petitioner has moved Nagpur bench of Bombay high court alleging violations in appointment of new members on State Haj Committee. He prayed for cancelling Feb.14 government notification regarding their appointments.  A division bench comprising justices Ravi Deshpande and Vinay Joshi on Tuesday, issued notices to centre and state govts, along with Haj Committee asking them to reply within 2 weeks. Petitioner Maulana Habib Rizvi Mohammed Hussain, a law expert, informed that the state level Haj Committee comprises 3 members from Muslim MPs and MLAs, 3 from councillors, 3 from Muslim theology and legal expertise, and among NGOs, totalling to 16, as per the Haj Committee Act-2002. The tenure of all members is 3 years. He contended that the government’s notification does not include MPs and MLAs while the Muslim community has 2 MPs, 10 MLAs and 4 legislative council members. TOI
Kerala police book 7 others for aiding rape-accused Imam evade arrest
Thiruvananthapuram: Police in Kerala have registered a case against 7 people for allegedly aiding the escape of a 40-year-old Imam who was booked for raping a minor girl from Vithura earlier this year. Reports also suggest that the 7 accused even assisted the Imam in concealing evidence related to the rape of the minor girl.A case was registered in this regard against Imam Shafeeq earlier this month, DSP Asokan told The News Minute. Asokan added that another case under 228 A of IPC was later registered against the Imam for revealing the name of the minor rape survivor in a video he made and circulated on WhatsApp to assert his innocence.The matter had come to light only after the President of the Tholicode Muslim Mosque, Badusha registered a complaint against Imam Shafeeq accusing him of taking a 15-year-old girl to a deserted forest in his Innova car and raping her. Imam Shafeeq himself is a former chief of the Tholicode Muslim Mosque.timesnownews
Muslim man climbs water tank in UP, raises pro-Modi slogans
Meerut:A Muslim man on Wednesday climbed onto a water tank in Meerut and raised slogans in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the nation needed a leader like him, officials said.The incident happened in the Civil Lines area in the afternoon when the bearded man, identified as Zia-ul-Haq by the police, climbed onto the high water tank with two bottles full of petrol.He threatened to set himself ablaze if anyone came near him and used force to bring him down. Haq had a hand-held loudspeaker with him and started shouting: Desh Ka Neta Kaisa ho, Narendra Modi Jaisa Ho.He also shouted slogans in favour of the air strikes and said that only a leader like Modi could have done this. He slammed people who eat beef and said that cow slaughter should stop in the state and the country.Senior district and police officials have since rushed to the site and are trying to pacify the man and get him to climb down. He in turn sprayed petrol on the stairs leading to the tank top and set it on fire. The police is also trying to ascertain from his family if he is suffering from some mental health issues.IANS
No income tax refunds without bank account-PAN linking
New Delhi: Income Tax Department will "only" issue refunds via the e-mode into bank accounts of taxpayers beginning next month and they should link PAN with their accounts, taxman said in its latest public communication.The department said refunds will be sent to bank accounts as it will issue "only e-refunds from March 1, 2019."Link your PAN with your bank account to get your refund directly, swiftly and securely, the department said in a public advisory issued Wednesday. It added the bank account could be either savings, current, cash or overdraft.Till now, the department used to issue refunds to taxpayers either in their bank accounts or through account payee cheques, in a case-to-case basis depending on category of taxpayers.PTI
India and Hindus are synonymous: RSS leader
New Delhi :RSS All India Prachar Pramukh Arun Kumar on Wednesday said that India (Bharat) and Hindus are synonymous and if Hindus will decrease in any part of the country, India may face a situation of crisis there.Speaking after releasing a book – “The saffron surge”— Kumar said, “India and Hindu are synonymous. Hindu is there where India is. If India will not exist, Hindu will also not exist.”Kumar added, “Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, did not remain India (Bharat) then Hindus too did not exist there. And if Hindu exists then India too. India may face a situation of crisis in any part of it where Hindus will decrease.” Kumar made the remark while elaborating the concept of RSS being a ‘Hindu organisation’.indianexpress
Hindutva and exclusion connected: Amartya Sen
New Delhi:Expressing grave concern at the exclusionary thought guiding the ruling establishment, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen said that “there is a connection between Hindutva psychology and exclusion.”He was speaking at the launch of a book — whose title is borrowed from his own phrase ‘A Quantum Leap in the Wrong Direction?’ — which aims to evaluate the promises and policies of the current BJP-led government.Professor Sen argued that the social inequality inherent in Hindutva translates into an acceptance of economic inequality also. “This idea of progress being progress for some, but not for others — there’s an element of religiosity in it. This basic belief that some people’s progress is like everyone’s progress is something that can be rooted way back in our thinking,” he said.“There is a kind of tolerance of inequality and tolerance of judging progress by what is happening to the most successful,” he added, pointing out that the richest 10% of the country are faring better than ever.The book argues that the government has failed to fulfil its poll slogan of “sabka saath, sabka vikas”, and has also suppressed the data which shows this failure.thehindu
Asaduddin Vs Azharuddin? Ex-Cricketer May Fight 2019 Polls From Hyderabad
Hyderabad: If things go as planned by the Telangana unit of the Congress, it could well be former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin versus AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi for Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat.The former India captain is the top pick of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) for the constituency. It has shortlisted candidates for all 17 Lok Sabha segments in Telangana, party sources said.56-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, who hails from the city, was appointed one of the working presidents of TPCC before the Dec.7, 2018 assembly elections in the state.There were earlier reports that he was keen to contest from Secunderabad, now held by senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, in the Lok Sabha election due by May.But it now looks unlikely that he would get the party nod to fight from there. However, it's not immediately clear if Azharuddin is willing to throw his hat in the ring in Hyderabad constituency, an AIMIM stronghold, represented by Owaisi for three terms now.PTI
Photo voter slip can’t be only document for voting, could be misused: EC
Election Commission of India (ECI) today announced that photo voter slips will no longer be accepted as ‘stand-alone identification document’ for voting at polling stations.EC has justified its decision on the ground that photo voter slip design does not have any security features and can be misused.ECI has listed 11 documents for identification including driving licence, service identity cards issued by government bodies, bank passbook with photo, PAN card, Smart card issued by RGI under NPR, MNREGA job card, health insurance smartcard, pension papers, official I-card issued to MPs/MLAs, and Aadhaar card.indianexpress
India’s GDP growth slows to 5-quarter low of 6.6 per cent in Q3
New Delhi :India’s economic growth slows to a 5-quarter low of 6.6 per cent in October-December this fiscal, from 7 per cent a year ago, as per government data released Thursday.  The growth estimate has been lowered to 7 per cent in 2018-19 from 7.2 per cent released earlier, said Central Statistics Office.indianexpress
'Proud to Address You as Dr. Hadiya Asokan': Husband Shafin Jahan Announces in Facebook Post
Kozhikode: Hadiya, a medical student from Kerala, whose conversion to Islam and subsequent marriage had been mired in a huge controversy, graduated with a degree in homoeopathic medicine and surgery earlier this week.Hadiya’s husband Shafin Jahan announced the news in a Facebook post on Tuesday “Alhamdulillah! Finally you reached an important destination out of all odds. Very proud to address you a Doctor. Dr.Hadiya Asokan,” Jahan posted along with a picture of Hadiya sporting a doctor’s coat and stethoscope.news18
WORLD
Israel security forces should face justice for war crimes in Gaza killings: UN
UN investigators said today Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests in Gaza last year.The independent panel said it had confidential information about those it believes to be responsible for the killings, including snipers and commanders. “Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot, nor were they directly participating in hostilities,” it said in its report.Protests have been held at the frontier between Israel and the Gaza Strip since last year, calling for the easing of an Israeli blockade of the territory and recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees there to return to homes in Israel.In Jerusalem, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment, saying the report was still being studied.Israel has said its forces opened fire to protect the frontier from incursions and attacks by armed militants.The latest report, covering the period from March 30-Dec.31 2018, to UN Human Rights Council was based on hundreds of interviews with victims and witnesses, as well as medical records, video and drone footage, and photographs.UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet should share the findings with the International Criminal Court (ICC), it said. The Hague-based court opened a preliminary investigation into allegations of Israeli human rights abuses on Palestinian territory in 2015.REUTERS
UN: Possible Israel crimes against humanity in Gaza
Israel frees Palestinian woman lawmaker held for 20 months
Ramallah: Family of a Palestinian lawmaker says Israeli authorities have released Khalida Jarrar after 20 months of holding her in detention without raising charges.The lawmaker’s husband, Ghassan Jarrar, says she was freed on Thursday.The 56-year-old Khalida Jarrar was held under “administrative detention,” an Israeli policy that permits holding people for months at a time without charges.In 2015, she served 15 months after being convicted of incitement to violence and “promoting terror activities.”A senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, she was arrested again in July 2017 and held since then. She was initially scheduled to be released last October, but her detention was then extended another four months.AP
Israeli fighter jets conduct airstrike in Gaza Strip
Gaza :Israeli fighter jets conducted an airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip early Thursday, according to eyewitnesses. The airstrike reportedly hit a target belonging to the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, west of Khan Yunis.There were no casualties, the sources added.The Palestinian Health Ministry has not released a statement so far.Anadolu
Jared Kushner meets Saudi's MBS for first time since Khashoggi murder
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) on Tuesday for the first time since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The talks in Saudi capital Riyadh, part of Kushner’s tour of the Middle East, focused on ways of “increasing cooperation” between the US and Saudi as well as efforts to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict,a White House statement said. "Building on previous conversations, they discussed increasing cooperation between US and Saudi, and Trump administration’s efforts to facilitate peace between Israelis and Palestinians," the statement said."Additionally, they discussed ways to improve the condition of the entire region through economic investment," it said.This was first face-to-face meeting between Kushner, who is also US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and MBS since the murder of Khashoggi. Kushner arrived in Ankara after stops in Bahrain and UAE to discuss his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.   Aljazeera
UK MP suspended over anti-Semitic comments
A British opposition MP has been suspended after he said the Labour Party was “too apologetic” over anti-Semitism.Speaking last week Labour MP Chris Williamson, who has used his status as an MP to grant a Muslim Brotherhood-linked group a platform in parliament, was caught on video making provocative statements. “We have backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic," he said.Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson called for Williamson to be suspended after the “deliberately inflammatory" comments, while another MP from the party said his comments were a “provocation too far”.Williamson later apologised for his comments saying he was “sorry for how I chose to express myself on this issue within our party”. Watson described the apology as “long-winded” and “heavily caveated”.On Tuesday is also emerged Williamson had booked a room in parliament to show a film dealing with anti-Semitism alongside former Labour member Jackie Walker, who was suspended from the party in 2016 amid anti-Semitic accusations. Watson said it was “unacceptable” Williamson had yet to cancel the event. The latter will be investigated over his comments.The National
Trump’s talks with Kim collapsed after North Korea demanded end to sanctions
President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, abruptly ended their second summit meeting Thursday when negotiations collapsed after the two sides failed to agree on even the first steps toward nuclear disarmament, a peace declaration or reducing sanctions on the North.“It was about the sanctions,” Trump said at an afternoon news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, referring to Kim’s demand that the US lift harsh economic sanctions imposed on North Korea with the approval of the UN. “Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn’t do that.”The premature end to the negotiations means the diplomacy between US and North Korea that has gone on for most of a year remains stalled, even as experts say North Korea continues to produce fissile material to make nuclear warheads.Trump said that Kim had agreed to take an important step toward dismantling a central part of his nuclear program — the Yongbyon enrichment facility — but that Kim said he would do so only if all sanctions were lifted.President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un have cut short their second summit without reaching an agreement. Trump said "it wasn't a good thing to be signing anything" and "sometimes you have to walk". The president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the North would have to dismantle other weapons systems before all sanctions were lifted. They added that the two sides would continue negotiations in other settings and stressed that there were nuclear sites the Americans were aware of that were unknown to the public. New York Times
China denies speculation of military presence in Afghanistan
Beijing:China’s defense ministry is defending military cooperation with Tajikistan following a report of a sizeable Chinese troop presence at a base in the Central Asian state.Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told reporters at a monthly briefing on Thursday that cooperation between the two was “in line with” international law and related resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council. China had apparently sought to keep its Tajikistan base manned by members of the paramilitary People’s Armed Police a secret. However, the Washington Post in February reported on the sizeable Chinese military complex first-hand, although it remains unclear what the troops’ mission is and Mr. Ren provided no details.The area borders China’s restive Xinjiang region.AP
Iran power struggle continues as Zarif keeps top diplomatic post: aljazeera
The recent political crisis in Iran, triggered by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's attempt to resign, reflects a long-time rivalry between hardliners and moderate factions that is poisoning Iran’s politics, according to Iran experts.Despite President Hassan Rouhani's rejection of Zarif’s resignation, observers believe that the foreign minister's unexpected move was the result of an intensifying internal power struggle in Iran that is far from over."Zarif's resignation has exposed the political faultline between competing political factions in the country," said Luciano Zaccara, professor of Gulf Politics at Qatar University Gulf Studies Center. Confrontation is between moderate forces within the govt, including Zarif, and hardliners who dominate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps,a military force directly under control of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.Zarif has been the top Iranian official working to improve relations between the Islamic Republic and Western countries.But hardliners took a fierce stance against the government’s effort to salvage 2015 nuclear deal signed with the West to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions reliefs.
Daesh leader in Iraq is under ‘US protection’, claims Iraqi Lawmaker
Baghdad:Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a leader of the Daesh group, is still alive in Iraq’s western Anbar province, where he enjoys “US protection”, an Iraqi lawmaker has alleged.In a Thursday statement, Hassan Salem, an MP linked to the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group (a component of Iraq’s largely Shia Hashd al-Shaabi fighting force), said that al-Baghdadi -- despite several earlier reports of his death -- was “travelling freely through the region under US protection”.According to Salem, the U.S. is helping the Daesh leader because it knows Iraq’s parliament will soon demand a complete U.S. troop withdrawal from the country.Pro-Iran groups in Iraq’s parliament are expected to approve a resolution in March calling for the departure of all US troops from Iraq.Anadolu Agency
Philippine president offers citizenship to Rohingya
DHAKA;Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offered Filipino citizenship to Rohingya refugees and reiterated his willingness to accept them into the country, a local news portal reported. “I am willing to accept Rohingyas,” GMA News, an online portal, quoted Duterte as saying while he was addressing a convention in capital Manila. Last April, Duterte also called the military crackdown on Rohingya community in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as “genocide” prompting strong criticism from Myanmar, it added, forcing him to issue an apology.Anadolu
'Syria regime attacks on Idlib risk political solution'
ANKARA:Attacks on Syria’s Idlib by Bashar al-Assad regime and its supporters are threatening a political solution in the country, according to a delegation of Syrian military opposition.“Despite some six months have passed since the Sochi agreement that foresaw cease-fire in Idlib, the Bashar al-Assad regime continues to violate the cease-fire agreement in Idlib de-escalation zone with the support of its allies Russia and Iran,” said a statement by the delegation, which represents the Syrian military opposition in the Astana-format international meetings.Terming the silence of international community on regime attacks on civilians as “shameful”, it added: “The regime attacks on Idlib are threatening the political solution and the Astana process.”Anadolu
Flash: views & NEWS
Balakot Strike May Help Increase Support For Modi Ahead Of Elections, Says Pollsters
For Jihadists, Balakot Has a Historical, Wounded Symbolism:David Devadas, the wire
This Rae Bareli Man Used Balakot As A Jihadi Launch Pad 200 Years Ago, Here's His Story: KC Archana, TOI
Truth is first victim in India-Pakistan conflict:Pankaj Mishra, Bloomberg
SC Issues Notice On Plea Against Regularising Entry Of Non-Muslim Migrants From Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan
‘Mediation’ in Ayodhya title suit: Routine idea that has got new SC push: Seema Chishti
At raid site, no casualties and a mysterious school: Asad Hashim , aljazeera
Russia, US preparing Taliban list for sanctions lift: Russian spl envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:13 PM)