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10 February 2019

10 Feb.ND: Congress accuses CAG Mehrishi of conflict of interest, demands he recuses himself from Rafale deal report; It may be submitted to President tomorrow

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
10 Feb. 2019: 04 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:124
INDIA
Congress accuses CAG Mehrishi of conflict of interest, demands he recuses himself from Rafale deal report;
Accusing Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Rajiv Mehrishi of conflict of interest, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday questioned how could Mehrishi “investigate himself,” since he had been Union Finance (Economic Affairs) Secretary when PM Narendra Modi announced the Rafale deal in April 2015.“The same CAG was involved as finance secretary in harming the national security when the deal was struck in 2015. The same CAG would present the report,” noted the former union minister. After serving as finance secretary, Mehrishi was appointed as the Union Home Secretary in August 2015, before he took charge as C&AG in Sept. last year.“It is a major issue of conflict of interest,” said Sibal, demanding that Mehrishi recuses himself from presenting CAG report into the Rafale deal. “He must recuse himself from presenting this report. If it is tabled in the Parliament, it will be another big scam,” warned Sibal, adding that the report might be tabled in Parliament tomorrow itself.C&AG report to probe allegations of financial irregularities in the Modi govt's $8.7 billion, 36-fighter jet deal is expected to be submitted to President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday. President Kovind has to forward it to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and the govt. The report could be tabled in Parliament before Wednesday, the last day of the budget session and the last day of sitting of the Parliament before Lok Sabha polls. Nationalheraldindia
CAG Rajiv Mehrishi can’t audit Rafale, he was part of deal, says Congress, points to conflict of interest
Much awaited CAG report on Rafale likely to be submitted to the President tomorrow
 ‘I’ll quit politics if audio clip is proven fake’: Kumaraswamy on BSY’s ‘concocted story’ claim
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday said he would retire from politics if it was proven that the audio clip released by him about BJP state unit president BS Yeddyurappa's alleged toppling game was mimicry and concocted.Sticking to his charge that Yeddyurappa had tried to lure a JDS MLA with bribe and other offers, Kumaraswamy hit back at the state BJP strongman, who had said that the audio clip was 'fake' and a 'concocted story.'Kumaraswamy had Friday released audio clip in which Yeddyurappa is purportedly trying to lure JDS MLA Naganagouda through his son."I am stating from this place... if it is proved that it was not Yeddyurappa who had spoken and that it is mimicry or parody by Kumaraswamy, then it is not about his retiring, I will retire," CM said at Dharmastala, a holy place in Dakshina Kannada district.Kumaraswamy also said that those who "played games" with the presiding deity of Dharmastala, Lord Manjunatha, would incur his wrath."Invoking the name of Lord Manjunatha Swamy, he could not get protection... he (Yeddyurappa) had to resign within one month (as chief minister)," CM said. Kumaraswamy was apparently referring to a "truth test" faceoff between him and Yeddyurappa in 2011, when the latter was the CM. Yeddyurappa had challenged Kumaraswamy to prove the allegations of corruption and nepotism against him by taking the truth test before Manjunatha and that he would also do the same.PTI
Audio tape controversy: BS Yeddyurappa admits meeting JD(S) MLA's son
On Day 2 Of Kolkata Top Cop's Questioning, CBI Does A Face-Off: Sources
Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, accused for his alleged role in destroying evidence related to the Saradha chit fund scam, arrived at the CBI office in Shillong for questioning for the second consecutive day today. Kumar was questioned by the CBI for over eight hours yesterday.The investigative agency may confront Kumar today with ex Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh who has been asked to appear at CBI office for questioning in person in connection with the case, CBI sources told NDTV. Quoting officials, PTI reported that 3 senior CBI officers questioned Kumar for nearly 9 hours about his alleged role in the tampering of crucial evidence in the scam. CBI has not released details of the interrogation yet. The police official's counsel, however, said that he is "cooperating and complying" with the CBI. "He (Kumar) has come here on the orders of the Supreme Court. He has complied earlier and he is complying now as per the orders," Kumar's counsel Biswajit Deb, who is also the Trinamool Congress coordinator for Meghalaya, was quoted by news agency as saying. CBI is relying on a 91-page letter from Ghosh, who was expelled by Trinamool, to the ED, detailing the role of Rajeev Kumar in handling the investigations in the chit fund scam. Kumar began investigations after the main accused, Sudipta Sen and Debjani Mukherjee, both promoters of Saradha Group of companies, had fled to Kashmir, officials said in Kolkata. They were arrested in 2013 from Kashmir. Ghosh has named BJP leader Mukul Roy  and 12 others in the Saradha scam.NDTV
Amid Escalating Protests in Assam, PM Modi Calls Citizenship Bill 'National Responsibility'
Guwahati:While protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, continue across the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again announced his commitment to give shelter to non-Muslim minorities, terming it ‘a responsibility’ to be fulfilled by his govt. Addressing a massive gathering at Changsari in Kamrup district on Saturday, PM Modi said that one should differentiate between ‘intruders’ who want to capture India’s resources and the helpless lot who were forced to flee persecution in their country.CNN-News18
NPP will quit NDA if Rajya Sabha passes Citizenship Bill: Meghalaya CM
Shillong:Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance on Saturday that the people of north-eastern states would not be disadvantaged by the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill failed to cut ice with Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma who threatened to pull his National People’s Party out of BJP-led NDA if the Rajya Sabha passes the Bill which aims to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Party has adopted a resolution to oppose the CAB which will be submitted to the Government of India. The party has also decided that if this bill is passed in Rajya Sabha NPP will break away from NDA,” said Sangma who is also the president of NPP. BJP which has two seats the Meghalaya assembly is the junior partner in the govt.The decision was taken at the national general body meeting of the party where the Bill was discussed at length. Protests have roiled much of the Northeast since December when the Centre made its intentions clear of going ahead with the Bill.HT
Kulgam encounter: 5 militants killed; 8 civilians, 4 CRPF officers injured in clashes
New Delhi: 5 militants were killed on Sunday after an encounter broke out in J&K’s Kulgam district. At least 8 civilians and 4 CRPF personnel were injured due to stone pelting after clashes broke out in the area.The gunfight began in the early hours of Sunday morning after a joint team of security forces launched cordon and search operation in Kulgam’s Kellam Devsar area following information about the presence of militants in the area. As the forces zeroed in on the suspected place, the militants opened fire, triggering the encounter. The operation is now over, army officials said. Weapons and war-like stores have been recovered from the encounter site, the official added. Indian express
5 militants killed in encounter in Kulgam district
Day after Ladakh division, demand grows for same status for Pir Panjal, Chenab Valley
Jammu :A day after Jammu and Kashmir administration under Governor Satya Pal Malik carved out Ladakh as a separate division in the state, demand for a similar status to Pir Panjal and Chenab Valley regions emerged in various parts of Jammu division on Saturday. Leaders of the 3 big regional parties – PDP, National Conference and People’s Conference – had on Friday welcomed the decision to make Ladakh the state’s third division – after Kashmir and Jammu – and sought similar autonomy for Pir Panjal and Chenab Valley. The demands grew more intense on Saturday, along with stray agitations at some places.Pir Panjal comprises Rajouri and Poonch districts. Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar districts form the Chenab Valley region.indianexpress
Imran Khan’s remarks on minorities ‘egregious insult’ to India: MEA
New Delhi:Ministry of External Affairs has responded sharply to the remarks made by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan about minorities in India, calling Khan’s remarks as an “egregious insult to all citizens of India.”“Pakistan Prime Minister’s remarks are an egregious insult to all citizens of India. Pakistan prime minister has demonstrated his lack of understanding about India’s secular polity and ethos,”MEA said in a strongly-worded statement.“India has leaders of all faiths who occupy its highest Constitutional and official positions. Pakistani citizens of non-Islamic faith are barred from occupying high Constitutional offices. Minorities are often turned away from government bodies like their PMEAC, even in naya Pakistan,” the ministry added.MEA’s reaction comes after PTV News quoted Khan as saying: “We will ensure minorities in Pakistan are treated as equal citizens with all rights and privileges unlike how Muslims are being treated in India as second-class citizens.”indianexpress
House panel points out ‘divergent’ view of Centre, Assam on AFSPA
New Delhi:A Parliamentary panel on Home Affairs, headed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram expressed dismay over the “divergent” view taken by the Centre and the Assam government over the continuance of AFSPA in the state.Assam has been under AFSPA since 1990. While Union Home Ministry claims that the security situation in Assam has improved, Sarbananda Sonowal govt has declared the entire state as a disturbed area.“ Committee is unable to comprehend the divergent perceptions of the situation in Assam. On the one hand, the ministry has asserted that there has been an improvement in the security situation in Assam and, on the other hand, the area declared as disturbed under AFSPA , has been increased,” the report stated.It added, “govt of Assam has notified the whole State as disturbed area on the plea that it is not the appropriate time to reduce the area under AFSPA.This is a paradoxical situation that needs to be resolved.”indianexpress
2 held for cow slaughter in Meerut after crowd thrashes one of them
Meerut :Police arrested two persons on charges of cow slaughter in Meerut on Friday, after one of them was assaulted by a group of villagers for the alleged act.2 arrested persons are identified as Mohammed Asif (25) and Danish alias Pappu (26).Police sources said residents of Tatina village allegedly became suspicious of four youths. They said all 4 tried to escape, but they overpowered Asif.Locals claimed the other 3 fled the spot, leaving the cow carcasses behind in an auto rickshaw.Later in the night, Danish was arrested. “Raids are on to nab the other two. The carcass has been dumped in the ground at Tatina village,” Neeraj Malik, in-charge of Partapur police station, said.indianexpress
Congress MP balancing act: NSA cases stay, Home to clear in future
Bhopal:With the invocation of NSA against persons arrested for slaughter and illegal transport of cows in Madhya Pradesh in two recent cases coming under criticism, including from a state Congress MLA, the Congress government in the state has decided to exercise caution from now on while invoking the stringent legislation.Every 3 months, the government issues a notification authorising district magistrates to exercise powers conferred under Section 3 (3) of NSA to detain persons if they threaten communal harmony or commit acts prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and the security of the state. A top bureaucrat said that now the state Home Ministry will review such decisions and decide if there has been an error of judgment by district authorities in issuing such detention orders. Every collector has to also send a report to Home Ministry about such detentions.Despite repeated attempts, Law Minister P C Sharma and DGP V K Singh did not return calls.indian express
Congress appeasing communal forces by invoking NSA for cow slaughter: Yechury
New Delhi: CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury accused the Kamal Nath-led MP government of appeasing communal forces by invoking NSA against persons accused of cow slaughter.“We express dismay that the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh invoked NSA and arrested 5 people for cow-slaughter. NSA is grossly misused by the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and we want that it should be revoked in this case,” Yechury said here. ANI
'We are Muslims by choice, nobody forced our ancestors': Owaisi responds to Ramdev
Hyderabad: AIMIM leader Asassuddin Owaisi came down heavily on Patanjali founder and Yoga guru Baba Ramdev after the latter said Ram is the ancestor of not just Hindus but Muslims too. Owaisi said Ramdev should keep his beliefs to himself and imposing them on others is wrong."RSS and Sangh Parivar make such statements every time.We are Muslims by choice, nobody forced our ancestors,"he was quoted by ANI as saying. On Friday, Ramdev, who is known to make controversial statements, said not only Hindus, Ram is the ancestor of Muslims too'. In Nadiad town of Kheda district, Ramdev said the Ram Temple issue is not linked to vote bank politics but a matter of people's sentiments."I believe that Ram mandir must be built in Ayodhya at all costs. If not in Ayodhya, where would you build it? It is obvious that it will not come up at Mecca, Madina or Vatican City," Ramdev said. Times Now
Democracy does not suit India: Katju
Kozhikode: Parliamentary democracy is not suited to India as it relies on caste and communal vote banks, said former judge of Supreme Court Markandey Katju. Delivering the keynote address at Renaissance Conference organized by Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (Markazudawa) here on Saturday,he said casteism and communalism are feudal forces.Katju said instead of destroying these forces, parliamentary democracy entrenches them.“China has no parliamentary democracy and they are 5 or 6 times ahead of us. They don’t have to bother about Ram Mandir or protection of cow. In fact, parliamentary democracy is blocking the development of the country,” he said.Katju said that while BJP is dividing people on communal lines, other parties are doing it on the basis of caste. India is a heterogenous country and to hold it together all religions, regional and ethnic, should equally be respected. “Otherwise, the country cannot survive; it would break into pieces,”he said.  The basic concept of India is under the attack of BJP in the past four-and-a-half years. “That is why I call BJP an anti-national party. Any party that wants break up the country and spread hatred against a different religion is an enemy of the nation,”he said.TOI
Togadia launches party with Ram temple promise
New Delhi:Alleging BJP’s “Congressikaran” (transformation into Congress), Pravin Togadia, once a firebrand Hindutva leader, on Saturday launched his political party — Hindusthan Nirman Dal (HND) — in New Delhi with a promise to start construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya “within a week of coming to power”.Togadia had quit VHP last year after his confidant Raghav Reddy lost to retired Justice V S Kokje in the election to the post of VHP international president. Since then he has been heading an outfit called the Antar-Rashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP).indianexpress
Focus on minorities: Amit Shah tells partymen
Panaji:BJP president Amit Shah told his party office-bearers and MLAs to focus on minorities and asked them to “visit each and every house of the minorities” in the state and ask them to vote for the saffron party. “Whether they vote or not is not an issue, but you should reach out to them,”Shah told them in a closed-door 30-minute meeting, after addressing booth-level party workers at GMC athletic stadium here on Saturday, sources said. Shah said there are around 30% minority votes in the state and the party should make all efforts to get them. One of the MLAs explained to Shah that chief minister Manohar Parrikar trusted the minorities and whenever he gave them tickets for the assembly polls, they have won the election. In the current assembly, seven of 14 BJP MLAs are Catholics. He told them that since Parrikar was unwell and he would not be able to campaign, the onus was on them to win both the seats from the state for the party. timesofindia
2,340 Muslim women from India to go on Haj pilgrimage in 2019: Naqvi
 This year, 2,340 Muslim women from India will go on Haj pilgrimage without "Mehram",announced Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.UNI
Upper-caste quota: Centre refuses to share details on decision-making process, shows RTI plea
Govt has refused to disclose details of the decision-making process in allowing 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to economically weak sections in the general category, PTI reported on Sunday.A RTI plea had sought details like copy of the Cabinet note on the matter as well as correspondence from PMO. It was filed by Venkatesh Nayak, coordinator of Access to Information Programme with NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.Replying to Nayak’s query, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said it would be unable to provide the information as it was exempted under Section 8 (1) (i) of RTI act. The section prohibits disclosure of “Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the council of ministers, secretaries and other officers”.However, same section adds: “Provided that the decisions of council of ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over.”Nayak said the govt has not made available any press release about this subject on the website of either PIB or Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.scroll
AP assembly passes resolution to grant SC status to Dalit Christians
AP state assembly passed a resolution on Wednesday to grant scheduled caste status to Dalit Christians.The resolution was submitted to the centre appealing the government to provide the benefits to Dalit Christians that are accorded under the SC status. CM Chandra Babu Naidu said that Dalit Christians have been fighting for the status of SC from a very long time and deserve the status of SC just as Sikhs and Buddhists.Welcoming this move by state govt Federation of Telugu  Churches (FTC), which is a registered body of Bishop and Heads of Churches of major Churches in Telugu States have been time and again demanding the SC status have now wholeheartedly thanked CM for getting the resolution passed unanimously in the assembly and for forwarding the same for further action from the PM.TCN

Maharashtra ATS claims 10 held with ‘IS links’ planned big attack to seem ‘credible recruits’; lawyers deny allegations
Mumbai : Maharashtra ATS, which had picked up 10 youths for alleged links with the banned Islamic State (IS), has said that the accused, including a 17-year-old, had allegedly planned to cause “mass casualties” in India before travelling to Syria in order to be received as credible recruits by the terror organisation.Lawyers of the accused denied their clients were involved in any such plans. In an indication that the accused were greenhorns, ATS officers probing the case have alleged that they explored harebrained ideas to carry out attacks, such as “burning a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and black pepper”, hoping it would cause an explosion. According to the statements of the accused recorded by ATS, 9 men and one minor would reportedly hold meetings in Mumbra, on Mumbai’s suburbs, every night around 9 for the past few months. Khizer Patel, lawyer of 6 of the 10 accused, denied the charge. “ATS is making several claims… Recently in court, it claimed that one accused had preserved a dead lizard in a bottle of oil because it becomes poisonous…”TOI
Death toll in UP-Uttarakhand hooch tragedies reaches 97
Lucknow:Death toll in the twin hooch tragedies in Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring Uttarakhand has increased to 97,with over 200 people arrested in a police crackdown, officials said on Sunday.A total of 64 deaths were reported in Uttar Pradesh -- 54 in Saharanpur district and 11 in Kushinagar.Saharanpur DM Alok Kumar Pandey told IANS that of 46 post-mortems conducted so far, 36 were confirmed to have died due to the consumption of spurious liquor.IANS
Thousands of Shia pilgrims accuse Oman Air of “hurting religious sentiments,” ask Modi to intervene
Thousands of Shia pilgrims from across the country, bound for the shrine of Imam Reza in Iran, have written to PM Narendra Modi after allegedly being duped by Oman Air of millions of rupees in disputed transactions. The pilgrims have accused Oman Air, the country's state-owned airline, of going back on its commitment after selling tickets at discounted prices over Jan 24, 25 and 26 to approximately 5 thousand Indian nationals.In a letter written to the PM, Ministry of External Affairs and the Embassy of Oman in New Delhi on Feb 3 , aggrieved passengers claim they bought thousands of return tickets from Delhi to Tehran (Delhi-Tehran-Delhi) under Rs 7,000 each, during the 3 days in Jan. The date of bookings are from Feb.right through the last week of July.Even after getting confirmations from Oman Air's office at the time of booking, the Indian pilgrims were sent a circular on Jan 28 from Oman Air's Sales Officer Nitesh Kumar, who informed them that the discounted fares advertised on the website over the three days were nothing but a "technical glitch.""On Jan 31, a new circular was issued by Oman Air asking passengers to pay the extra amount or cancel the tickets before Feb 4 or it would be automatically cancelled by Oman Air,"the letter states.nationalheraldindia
TMC MLA Biswas Shot Dead in West Bengal
Krishnagar:Trinamool Congress MLA Satyajit Biswas was shot dead by unidentified assailants inside a Saraswati puja marquee on Saturday evening in Nadia district, police said.The ruling TMC alleged that it was a planned attack by BJP, while the saffron party claimed that it was the result of the ruling party’s infighting.The incident occurred around 8pm when 41-year-old Biswas, representing Krishnaganj constituency in the assembly, along with his party workers, were at the Saraswati puja marquee at Phoolbari in the Hanskhali police station area.TMC leader was shot from point blank range when he was coming down from the dais, the police said. MLA was immediately taken to a local hospital where doctors announced him “brought dead”.A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the killing, police said.TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said the party was shocked at the killing of “popular youth leader”. Claiming that the attack was a conspiracy by BJP, Chatterjee said those involved in it would be punished after a full-fledged inquiry. He said the saffron party was trying to create disturbances ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and resorted to politics of murder by singling out leaders having mass bases.“It was a pre-planned murder by BJP,”party’s in-charge of Nadia district Anubrata Mondal alleged.PTI
'Cannot Disclose' if BJP's Mukul Roy Is Named in FIR on TMC MLA's Killing: Police
Rajasthan: Gujjars’ dharna for quota turns violent, police vehicles torched; shots fired
New Delhi :Gujjar community agitation demanding five per cent quota in jobs and educational institutes turned violent in Dholpur district Sunday as shots were fired and three police vehicles torched.Unidentified miscreants fired 8-10 rounds in the air while the blockade on the Agra-Morena Highway was in place, Dholpur SP Ajay Singh told PTI. 3 police vehicles, including 2 jeeps and a bus were set afire by agitators, Singh added.indianexpress
Release from jail after pronouncing “Triple Talaq” where is ordinaice, what about support to Muslim women?
In an incident which occurred in a family court at Kadkaddoma in New Delhi, a man was not sent to jail but released from it when he pronounced “Talaq” three times. It is a slap on the face of BJP which was harping that by introducing the “Triple Talaq” bill by saying that it is helping the Muslim women.According to the details of the case, a woman had got married to a man an 11th October 2004 and had two children. After a few days, the couple developed differences and started quarrelling. They started living separately after 2010. In 2012, the woman approached the court for directing her husband to give her maintenance. The court ordered her husband to pay Rs.3750 per month to his wife as a maintenance allowance.Instead of paying maintenance allowance, the husband absconded. On 24th July 2018, Police arrested him and sent to jail.Since there was no source of income for her husband for paying maintenance allowance, she filed a new petition in the court that if her husband pronounces “Triple talaq”, she will forfeit her maintenance allowance. The court took refuge under the nullified “Triple Talaq” and asked him to pronounce Talaq thrice. The husband wrote Talaq 3 times and submitted it in the court.siasat
Congress leader defends remark on scrapping of triple talaq bill
New Delhi:Congress MP Sushmita Dev has said she stands by her statement that the Congress would scrap triple talaq bill if it comes to power and instead go for an alternative that emerges out of discussions within Muslim community."What I said in that day's  meeting is what I have said inside Parliament. Any law that criminalises triple talaq will not be tolerated by Congress," Dev told IANS."And I followed it up by saying any law that is for women empowerment, we will support that law.But we will not support criminalisation (of divorce),"she said."Our stand inside Parliament and outside is the same. We are opposing criminalisation of triple talaq and will continue to do it. And there are solid legal reasons behind it. The common man understands it," she said.Asked if BJP may play up her statement in a different context, she said: "BJP twists nine out of ten things that the opposition says. Narendra Modi has emerged as the king of misrepresentation. Even a small child knows that."On alternative, she said this is a "subject that needs to be discussed with the community"."You cannot dole out a solution acting as a messiah for that community. You have to consult them, which this government has not done," she said. A number of Muslim organisations including the Muslim Personal Law Board and the Jamat-e-Islami Hind have appealed to Rajya Sabha members of non-NDA parties to not support the triple talaq bill in its present form.IANS
Abu Dhabi includes Hindi as 3rd official court language
Dubai: In a landmark decision, Abu Dhabi has included Hindi as the third official language used in its courts, alongside Arabic and English, as part of a move designed to improve access to justice.Abu Dhabi Judicial Department on Saturday said it has extended the adoption of interactive forms of statement of claims filed before courts by including the Hindi language alongside Arabic and English in labour cases.This is aimed at helping Hindi speakers to learn about litigation procedures, their rights and duties without a language barrier, in addition to facilitating registration procedures via unified forms available through the ADJD website, the judicial body said.According to official figures, UAE population is estimated to be around five million of which 2/3rd are immigrants from foreign countries. The Indian community in UAE, numbering 2.6 million, constitutes 30% of the total population and is the largest expatriate community in the country.PTI
WORLD
Top Republican blasts White House over Khashoggi update failure
A senior Republican representative has lashed out at the administration of US President Donald Trump over its failure to provide an update on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.Citing a letter received from the Trump administration, House Foreign Affairs Lead Republican Michael McCaul said on Saturday he was "deeply troubled"."Everyone involved in this gruesome crime must be identified and held accountable," McCaul said on Saturday."I call on the administration to immediately comply with the requirements of the law, and to provide Congress with the information required."White House was mandated under a congressional deadline to provide a report by Friday on the killing of Khashoggi. Congresspeople are seeking to determine whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was behind the murder.The administration did not meet the deadline, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did provide an update to Congress on Saturday, a State Department spokesperson said.aljazeera
Israel PM to 'retire' if indicted over graft: Lieberman
Jerusalem:Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman does not rule out that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will retire from politics if he is indicted over corruption charges before the general election in April. "Although it's fair to say that the decision is taken to bring charges against Benjamin Netanyahu before the election, his chances of forming a government will be zero," Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth quoted Lieberman as saying.  "Therefore, I am not ruling out the possibility that Netanyahu will strike a plea deal before the elections," he said.  "I am not ruling out the possibility that Netanyahu will ultimately go with a plea deal similar to the one struck by former President Ezer Weizman,” Lieberman said.  Netanyahu is currently under investigation in three separate corruption cases, in which he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.  Anadolu
Fatah slams Israeli settler calls for Abbas' death
Ramallah:Palestinian group Fatah on Sunday decried calls by Israeli settlers for the assassination of President Mahmoud Abbas."Israeli incitement is the result of the policy of hatred practiced by Israeli government against the Palestinians," Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi said in a statement.He accused Israel of fomenting terrorism by "pursuing its occupation, building an Apartheid barrier, preventing the freedom of movement, [carrying out] field executions and home demolitions and killing and arresting children"."It is not President Abbas, who is defending the rights of our people in accordance with international legitimacy," the spokesman said.There was no comment from the Israeli government on the Fatah's statement.Anadolu Agency
New Muslim lawmakers' criticism of Israel pressures US Democrats: AFP
Washington:The support for a boycott of Israel by the first 2 Muslim women in US Congress has opened a breach in Democratic Party and threatens to create a fissure in the ironclad US-Israeli alliance.Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib made their debut in House of Representatives in Jan.openly declaring their support for Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, or BDS.The movement, launched more than a decade ago and modeled on the 1960s movement to pressure South Africa over apartheid, calls for people and groups to sever economic, cultural and academic ties to Israel, and to support sanctions against Jewish state.But for Israel partisans-- including many Democrats and Republicans in Congress -- BDS smacks of anti-Semitism and poses a threat to Israel.Tlaib, 42, has Palestinian roots and represents a district of suburban Detroit, Michigan that is home to thousands of Muslims.
'Heavy clashes' in Syria as SDF launches final push against ISIL
US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces were locked in fierce fighting on Sunday in their final push to defeat the ISIL group in the last pocket it holds in eastern Syria.The group overran large parts of the country and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, but various military offensives have since reduced that territory to a patch on the Iraqi border. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by a US-led coalition, announced a final push to retake the pocket in the village of Baghouz late on Saturday.The announcement came after a pause of more than a week to allow some 20,000 civilians to flee, according to SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali.An SDF field commander said the fighting was ongoing on Sunday morning.aljazeera
IS attacks US-backed force near Syrian oil field
Turkey calls on China to close internment camps for Muslims
Turkey called on China to close its internment camps for Muslims, saying the camps which reportedly hold a million ethnic Uighur people are a “great shame for humanity”.Last week, rights activists urged European and Muslim nations to take the lead in establishing a U.N. investigation into China’s detention and “forced indoctrination” of up to one million Uighurs, who speak a Turkic-language, and other Muslims in Xinjiang province.“The policy of systematic assimilation against the Uighur Turks carried out by the authorities of China is a great shame for humanity,” Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement late on Saturday.“It is no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks incurring arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in internment camps and prisons,” Aksoy said.Reuters


US, Russia present rival UN draft resolutions on Venezuela
US has presented a draft resolution on Venezuela to the UN Security Council, triggering a Russian counterproposal.US draft resolution calls for international aid deliveries and presidential elections in Venezuela while stressing "deep concern with the violence and excessive use of force by Venezuelan security forces against unarmed, peaceful protesters". US expresses "full support for the National Assembly as the only democratically elected institution in Venezuela", said a copy of the text obtained by AFP.In response, Moscow came up with an alternative resolution, expressing its concern for Venezuela's territorial integrity and political independence. The Russian draft criticises any "attempts to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of Venezuela".aljazeera
Pope to visit Moroccan imam school to boost 'moderate Islam'
Vatican City :Pope Francis will meet with migrants in Morocco and visit a training institute for imams that seeks to be a bulwark against Islamic extremism during his March 30-31 visit to the North African country.e Vatican on Saturday released the schedule for the pope's trip to Rabat.It comes on the heels of Francis' recent visit to UAE, where he signed a landmark "fraternity" document with a leading Sunni imam and sought to encourage moderate Islam and interfaith ties.Francis will also meet with Morocco's king, the country's priests and religious sisters and celebrate Mass for the Catholic community.AP
flash: views & NEWS
News analysis: 4 reasons why the attacks on The Hindu’s Rafale story are shallow and self-implicating: Varghese K. George
Rs 17 per day is not sufficient poverty-alleviating measure. It is cash for votes:By P Chidambaram
Mahatma Gandhi would not have wanted a temple in Ayodhya:Ramachandra Guha


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:11 PM)

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