News and views across the globe.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

30 April ND: Religious freedom in India continued 'downward trend': US Commission/ Rafale review pleas: SC gives just 5 days to govt to respond/Trump working to designate Muslim Brotherhood as 'terror' group


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING 
30 April 2019: 24 Shaban 1440:Vol: 11, No:189
INDIA
Religious freedom in India continued 'downward trend': US Commission
Citing India as one of the countries where it is increasingly difficult to separate religion and politics, a US federal Govt-appointed commission alleged that religious freedom in India continued a "downward trend" in 2018.US Commission for International Religious Freedom(USCIRF), in its annual report on international religious freedom, said that in several countries where it found deteriorating religious freedom conditions in 2018, it also found increased "securitisation and politicisation" of religion."For example, in countries like India, it is increasingly difficult to separate religion and politics, a tactic that is sometimes intentional by those who seek to discriminate against and restrict the rights of certain religious communities,"USCIRF said.And very Govts perpetrating or tolerating these abuses often decry -interference in internal affairs- when they are rightfully admonished for their deplorable religious freedom and human rights records,report said, without mentioning India.India has previously rubbished USCIRF's report on religious freedom, saying the group has no locus standi to pass its judgement and comment on its citizens constitutionally protected rights.USCIRF retained India in Tier 2 Category of countries on religious freedom. Other countries being Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia,Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia and Turkey.Countries are placed in Tier 2 for engaging in or tolerating religious freedom violations that meet at least one of the elements of the -systematic, ongoing, egregious- standard for designation as a- country of particular concern."In the India section of the report, USCIRF said that in 2018, religious freedom conditions “continued a downward trend".PTI
‘India in middle of polls, let Iran oil imports continue’: Sushma Swaraj to Pompeo
New Delhi:External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to her US counterpart Mike Pompeo on Saturday about flexibility in US sanctions on Iranian oil imports but America’s top diplomat was non-committal, people familiar with developments said.During the phone call, Swaraj said India should be allowed to import Iranian crude for some more time without being impacted by US secondary sanctions as the elections is underway, and that next govt with a fresh mandate will take a final call on this issue, the people added, asking not to be identified.Swaraj explained India’s political and economic conditions to Pompeo and sought some relaxation as making immediate arrangements for 23.5 million tonnes of oil – the amount supplied by Iran every year– from an alternative source was not possible, the people said.However, Pompeo did not make any commitment and told Swaraj the matter was no longer handled at his level as a decision had been made by US administration to strictly enforce sanctions, the people added.Pompeo and Swaraj were initially scheduled to speak a day before US secretary of state announced on April 22 that Trump administration will no longer grant exemptions from sanctions to any country importing Iranian oil. The call could not go through only because of “scheduling issues” and the 2 leaders finally spoke on Saturday, said another person familiar with developments.HT
India was 4th biggest military spender last year
India was the world’s fourth biggest military spender last year behind US, China, and Saudi Arabia, according to new data think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released.India was 5th largest military spender in 2017.France also figures on the list of top 5 spenders that together accounted for 60% of the global military spending in 2018, it said. SIPRI report comes at a time when India is investing heavily in building its military capability with new fighter.According to SIPRI, China was the second-largest military spender last year. Beijing increased its military expenditure by 5% to $250 billion in 2018. It accounted for 14% of global military spending.In contrast, India’s military spending went up by 3.1% to $66.5 billion. India accounts for 3.7% of global defence spending.HT
Show us the proof, says SC on CBI request to arrest Bengal cop Rajeev Kumar for destroying evidence
The Supreme Court today directed CBI to produced evidence to its satisfaction to revoke an earlier barring of custodial probe of exKolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha scam.The court said CBI  has to prove before the court that Kumar has a role to play in either suppression or disappearance of the evidence in the case.It also sought direct evidence from CBI on Kumar’s involvement, especially the data on laptop, mobile phones, or diaries which allegedly contained information on payments made to influential people in ensuring destruction of evidence. CJI Ranjan Gogoi saying affidavit was not enough, said: “Give us, show us from records that this person is involved..On what basis? You can give us evidence tomorrow.“We want you to satisfy us that he had a role to play in disappearance and suppression of evidence.”The court directed CBI to submit an affidavit with all the details in the court by Wednesday.IANS
Saradha case: SC asks CBI to show proof of ex-Kolkata police chief suppressing evidence
Rafale review pleas: SC gives just 5 days to govt to respond
The Supreme Court today refused Union govt”s request for a whole month to respond to the Rafale case review petitions and instead gave it 5 days till Saturday. A Bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi ordered the Govt  to file its reply in an affidavit “on or before Saturday”.The Bench also directed the Govt  to respond by affidavit to a separate application for initiating perjury proceedings against those in govt who had allegedly “suppressed” vital documents and circumstances of Rafale jets' purchase from the court. The court upheld 36 Rafale jets’ deal on Dec.14, saying it had limited jurisdiction over defence deals.The brief hearing today on the review petitions began with Attorney General KK Venugopal informing the court that Govt  had circulated a letter to all the parties concerned for a deferment of the hearing. A-G said a fresh response was required from the govt as there were new documents annexed in the review petitions “If your grievance is that no notice was issued, we will issue notice,” CJI responded.At this point, advocate Prashant Bhushan, one of review petitioners, pointed out that the application filed by them, including ex-Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, to initiate perjury proceedings against Govt  officials who submitted “false information” in Rafale case was also listed and the SC should issue formal notice on that too. Though A-G protested,CJI said Govt could very well raise its objections against the perjury plea in a separate affidavit. This affidavit should also be filed by Saturday.
CJI sexual harassment case: Denied lawyer, ex SC-staffer refuses to participate in in-house inquiry
New Delhi:Ex-Supreme Court staffer who had levelled allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi has refused to participate in the in-house panel proceedings headed by SC judge Justice Bobde.The complainant has alleged she was not allowed to have the presence of her lawyer in the in-house committee adding that she felt “intimidated and nervous in the presence of three Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court and without having a lawyer or support person.”She said she felt she was “not likely to get justice from this committee and so (she is) no longer participating in the proceedings.”The complainant has cited the following reasons for her decision not to participate in the inquiry panel headed by Justice Bobde.indianexpress
Masood Azhar to be designated global terrorist at UN meet tomorrow: Sources
New Delhi:China is expected to lift its hold on blacklisting Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar at a UN sanctions committee on May 1, paving the way for further global financial sanctions against the banned group, people familiar with the development said.“May Day is going to be the death knell for Masood Azhar, as he will be designated as a global terrorist by UN’s IS and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, with Beijing caving in to the global demand led by US, France and the UK that main orchestrator of Pulwama attack be brought to book,” said a senior official who asked not to be named.“China is expected to lift the technical hold which it had placed on March 13 on the proposal by US,UK and France, with all other Security Council members approving the move,”he added.HT
Listing of Masood Azhar as Global Terrorist by UN Will be Properly Resolved;China
 China today said that the vexed issue of designating Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by UN will be “properly resolved” but did not give any timeline, days after Chinese President Xi Jinping met PM Imran Khan in Beijing.China put a technical hold in March on a fresh proposal to impose a ban on Azhar which claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama terror attack. It was for the fourth time, China has blocked Azhar’s listing as a global terrorist by UN.“I can only say that I believe that this will be properly resolved,”Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.China has accused US of scuttling progress to resolve the issue by taking it to the UNSC and insisted that it should be resolved at the 1267 Committee whose proceedings are not publicised. “Regarding the listing issue in 1267 Committee, we have expressed our position many times and I just want to stress two points,”Geng said.“First, we support the listing issue being settled within 1267 committee through dialogue and consultation and I believe this is the consensus of most members. 2nd , relevant consultations are going on within the committee and has achieved some progress. Third, I believe, with the joint efforts of all parties, this issue can be properly resolved,” he said. On reports that China would lift its technical hold on May 1, he said, “on the listing issue, China is still working with the relevant parties and we are in contact with all relevant parties within 1267 Committee and I believe with the joint efforts of all parties, this will be properly resolved.”Asked about the recent visit of Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale to Beijing during which he held talks with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi as well as New Delhi shared technical evidence of JeM’s involvement in the Pulwama attack, Geng reiterated that China is still working with the relevant parties.“I believe with the joint efforts of all parties, this will be properly resolved,” he said.PTI
China Says "Positive Progress Made" On Masood Azhar's Blacklisting At UN
New Delhi: China said on Tuesday that on designating JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN, "positive progress" had been made. Beijing also said the problem would be "properly resolved" but did not give any timeline, days after Chinese President Xi Jinping met Pakistan PM Imran Khan.China put a technical hold in March on a fresh proposal to impose a ban on Azhar."I can only say that I believe that this will be properly resolved," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing.ndtv
Ready to take Indian journalists to Balakot: Pakistan
Pakistan’s military has contended Indian air strike in Balakot had not resulted in loss of lives or damage to infrastructure even as it warned New Delhi not to test Islamabad’s resolve.Chief military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor repeated his offer to facilitate Indian journalists if they wished to visit Balakot to “see the truth”.Ghafoor contended India has been “repeatedly lying” and Pakistan has not responded. “For the past 2 months, India has told uncountable lies.As a responsible country, we have not responded to their lies,” he said.He reiterated that the state of Pakistan wasn’t linked to the Pulwama attack and that PM  Imran Khan had called for an investigation based on evidence as well as dialogue. Despite India’s contention that only one of its jets was downed on Feb.27, Ghafoor again claimed 2 jets were shot down. He also dismissed India’s contention that a Pak F-16 was shotdown. Ghafoor also said India shouldn’t test Pakistan’s resolve as the situation on the ground has changed since the 1971 war.“This is not 1971,it is not that force or those circumstances,” he said, adding Pakistan has been engaged in a “continuous struggle for support to the Kashmiris”.He said “kinetic operations” had been conducted to kill terrorists and dismantle their facilities. “Today we can say with conviction and evidence that any kind of organised terrorist infrastructure is not present in Pakistan,”he said. “The state’s will and capacity is also based on financial capability. While we were conducting kinetic operations, we had to deal with threats on our eastern border at least 3 times,” he added.HT
‘Don’t test our resolve’: Pakistan warns India against mentioning its nuclear power lightly
US special envoy for Afghanistan to visit in May for peace process
New delhi:After skipping India on his last two multi-nation tours, US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, will travel to New Delhi during May 6-7 for consultations aimed at building support for the peace process.While in India next week, Khalilzad is expected to hold talks with interlocutors at a level similar to his discussions during his last visit in Jan, people familiar with developments said on Monday. The meetings will give both sides an opportunity to exchange views on the latest developments in Afghanistan as well as Khalilzad’s talks with Taliban.On Monday, Khalilzad and the principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells, held delegation-level talks in Islamabad with a Pakistani inter-agency team led by Aftab Khokhar,additional secretary (Americas) in the Foreign Office. Khalilzad spent the weekend in Kabul, where he met President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah.HT
Bhima Koregaon case: Pune court rejects arrested activist Varavara Rao’s bail plea
A special court in Pune has denied activist and poet P Varavara Rao’s bail application in the Elgar Parishad case, PTI reported. Rao had sought temporary bail to visit his hometown to perform the post-death rituals of his sister-in-law who died on April 22. Rao is currently lodged in a prison facility in Pune.Rao is among five activists who are accused of organising Elgaar Parishad event to mark the 200th year of the battle of Bhima Koregaon on Dec.31, 2017. Pune city police claim incendiary speeches at this conference led to planned violence at Bhima Koregaon village on Jan. 2018.scroll
Arrest of Zakir Naik’s aide in Malaysia falsely linked to attack in Sri Lanka
Multiple images of a man photographed with Zakir Naik are being circulated on social media with the claim that he is the Sri Lanka suicide bomber. A former officer of the Indian army and a newly-inducted member of BJP, Major Surendra Poonia was among those who shared the photograph. He also shared an image of Congress MP Digvijay Singh with Naik in an attempt to link an alleged terrorist with the Congress party. The man photographed with Naik is not one of the suicide bombers of the Sri Lanka terrorist attack. He is an Islamic preacher and Naik’s disciple. Reverse-searching the image with the keyword “Naik” redirected us to an article published in Malaysia-based paper Malaymail on April 28. The man is Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu who was arrested in Perlis, Malaysia on Sunday for alleged blasphemous remarks on Hinduism. altnews.in
Kerala: NIA arrests Riyas who followed alleged Sri Lanka attacks mastermind
NIA has arrested a 29-year-old man with alleged links to the Islamic State group who was planning to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala. The man, Riyas A, is a resident of Palakkad, the agency said.The suspect was arrested as part of the agency’s inquiry into the disappearance of 15 people in Kasargod in 2016. Over 20 people from Kasargod and Palakkad had gone missing in July 2016 and were feared to have joined the Islamic State group in Afghanistan and Syria.The agency said that during interrogation, Riyas had claimed that he followed the speeches and videos of Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka which killed 253 people, and religious preacher Zakir Naik. He also admitted that he wanted to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala. scroll.in
J&K: PhD student among six arrested for car explosion in Banihal, NIA to take over inquiry
6 militants, including a PhD scholar, have been arrested in connection with an attack on a CRPF vehicle along Jammu-Srinagar highway near Banihal on March 30, PTI reported quoting police. CRPF vehicle was slightly damaged but there were no casualties when a civilian car exploded near the convoy in Ramban district of J&K on March 30.Jammu Inspector General of Police MK Sinha identified the five arrested militants as PhD scholar Hilal Ahmad Mantoo, Waseem alias Doctor, Umar Shafi, Aqib Shah from Shopian and Shahid Wani alias Watson of Pulwama. The sixth person, Owais Amin, was arrested on March 31 when he was trying to return to the Valley.scroll.in/
We want coolers: Students of Jamia Millia J&K Girls’ hostel stage midnight protest
New Delhi: Students of Jamia Millia Islamia staged a massive protest outside the university’s J&K Girls’ hostel on Monday night, seeking the facility of coolers for relief during the summer season. The girls demanded the college authorities equip the hostel with coolers as temperatures soared in the national capital during summers. The students gathered outside the hostel premises at around 10 pm and asked to be heard by the authorities. A video from the protest showed students assembled in the courtyard of the hostel premises and loudly banging the building gate. Another video showed the girls chanting slogans such as “We want coolers” and “Down with tyranny”.As per reports, the protest went on till 2 am on Tuesday morning. On Twitter, a netizen requested HRD minister Prakash Javadekar to look into the matter, stating that many students were falling sick in the summer heat due to lack of coolers. timesnownews
Telangana Govt will Sanction Rs 1 Lakh to Each Mosque for Ramazan
According to Telangana Social Welfare Minister Koppula Eshwar, Telangana Govt is making elaborate arrangements for the month of Ramzan.He, along with Advisor to Govt on Minority Welfare AK Khan, reviewed with officials at the Secretariat the arrangements for Ramzan. Minister told officials that arrangements should be made so that gift packets were made available at 448 mosques in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation  limits and 367 mosques in 32 districts for Ramzan celebrations. Govt will also sanction Rs 1 lakh to each of the mosques for conducting Iftar, reports Etemaad daily. Collectors would review the arrangements in their districts, the minister said. He instructed officials to repair all roads and lighting in all mosques in GHMC areas before Ramzan.Drinking water should be provided at all mosques too, he said.The police department has been briefed to deploy additional personnel at night bazaars and instructed officials to provide free medical camps and ORS packets to those in need, says the minister. caravandaily
Order On Former Cops' Discharge Pleas In Ishrat Jahan Case Likely On May 2
Ahmedabad: A special CBI court is likely to pass an order on May 2 on the applications of retired police officers DG Vanzara and NK Amin seeking dropping of proceeding against them in Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case after Gujarat govt declined the sanction to prosecute them.Special CBI judge JK Pandya on Monday said he may pass the order on May 2. The court had earlier concluded hearing in the case on April 16, and had kept Monday as the date to pass its order.The two retired police officers, accused in the Ishrat case, have sought that proceedings against them in the case be dropped as the state Govt has decided not to grant sanction to CBI to prosecute them as required under section 197 of CrPC.PTI
Govt agencies worked together to deny Bilkis justice: Lawyer
On 23 April, Supreme Court of India ordered the Gujarat Govt to grant a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Bilkis Bano, the survivor of the terrifying ordeal which took place 17 years back. Sobha Gupta, the lawyer who represented Bilkis in the SC asked for exemplary compensation for Bano.In an interview, Gupta talks about the case, role of the state in the case, rape in communal riots and Bano’s courage to get justice. Gupta said, "it is a case where the state instrumentalities were working together as a team to deny justice to her and to protect the accused. And for that, they were doing everything to completely destroy the pieces of evidence and also to completely botch up the investigation. All that had been done with the help of police personnel and doctors. They are the functionaries of the state. Through home,their functions (investigations) have to be imparted. An investigation forms the foundation of any criminal case. Courts can’t do justice if the investigation is completely biased.The HC has observed in the verdict that the investigation was the villain in the case. So, you can imagine to what extent the investigation had gone wrong and for that purpose, the police personnel including the doctor had done every unethical thing to suit their agenda."caravandaily
UN human rights experts ask India to release jailed professor GN Saibaba
UN human rights experts on Tuesday called on Indian Govt to immediately release Delhi University professor GN Saibaba, who is lodged in a jail in Maharashtra on charges of links with Maoists.The wheelchair-bound academic was arrested in May 2014, after the police in Gadchiroli, claimed he had links with Maoists. He was sentenced to life in prison in March 2017 and has been in Nagpur Central Jail since.Saibaba has been placed in solitary confinement and has severe health problems, said the UN human rights experts in a press release. “Dr Saibaba’s health problems require immediate and sustained medical attention and are reaching a point of being life-threatening,” they added.scroll.in
Kiran Bedi ‘cannot interfere’ in day-to-day affairs of elected govt, Puducherry not like Delhi: HC
Madras High Court on Tuesday held that Puducherry Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi “cannot interfere” in the day-to-day affairs of the elected Govt of Union Territory, a decision hailed by CM V. Narayanasamy who termed it as “victory” of democracy.Allowing a petition of a Congress MLA, Justice R. Mahadevan set aside 2 communications issued in Jan.and June 2017 by Union Ministry of Home Affairs “elevating” the power of the administrator.PTI
29 Madrasa Graduates Conferred English Diploma Certificate by Mumbai Institute
Mumbai:29 madrasa graduates were conferred with awards and certificates by the dignitaries on the occasion of the completion of 2-year Diploma in English Language and Literature(DELL) program at 18th Convocation of Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre(MMERC) here.The event was presided over by grand mufti of Maharashtra Mufti Azizur Rahman Fatehpuri. AIUDF chief Maulana Badruddin Ajmal was the chief guest of event. MP from Dhubri and founder chairman of MMERC congratulated new MMERC graduates. Maulana Muddassir Qasmi, Coordinator of DELL course and Burhanuddin Qasmi,Director, MMERC also addressed on the occasion.”India Tomorrow
ELECTIONS
Polls: Congress, Samajwadi Party complain to Election Commission about EVM glitches
 Congress on Monday registered 30 complaints with the Election Commission about alleged glitches in electronic voting machines in all the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra that went to polls in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections.Most of the complaints came in from Dhule and Nandurbar districts,prompting Congress’ alliance partner NCP state chief Jayant Patil to claim that “something fishy” was going on in the two seats.
MHA notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi over citizenship row, seeks reply within 15 days
New Delhi:Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today issued a notice to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in connection with a complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy raising questions over his citizenship.MHA asked Gandhi to respond within a “fortnight”.Swamy, in his complaint, claimed that Gandhi was listed as one of the directors of a company registered in UK. He alleged that Gandhi had declared his nationality as “British”in the company’s annual returns filed in 2005 and 2006.The complaint has evoked a strong reaction from the Congress party. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: “The entire world knows Rahul Gandhi is Indian citizen by birth. Modi ji has no answer for unemployment, Modi ji has no answer for agrarian distress and black money, that’s why he’s resorting to fake narrative through his govt’s notices to divert attention.”indian express
‘Chowkidar chor hai’ remark: Supreme Court insists on apology from Rahul Gandhi
The Supreme Court today made it clear that Congress president Rahul Gandhi has to either offer a clear-cut apology or brave criminal contempt for attributing Hindi phrase chowkidar chor hai targeting PM  Narendra Modi to the court.“Any person can make a mistake, but having made it, you should go ahead and admit it,”Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on the Bench told senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented Gandhi.“And what is this 'regret' written inside brackets?” CJI Ranjan Gogoi asked Singhvi. Singhvi said his client would apologise for the attribution.The Bench gave Gandhi time till Monday to file an additional affidavit. It made it clear that this opportunity should not be construed by Mr. Gandhi as an “acceptance or acknowledgement” of what he said in the present one.thehindu
MCC violation: SC serves notice to EC on Congress plea against PM Modi, Amit Shah
New Delhi :The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Election Commission on a plea seeking direction to the poll panel to act on complaints of alleged violation of Model Code of Conduct by PM  Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.The SC said it will be open to the poll watchdog to pass necessary orders in the matter. It will hear the matter again on Thursday. The petition, filed by Congress MP Sushmita Dev, alleged that the poll body failed to act against the top BJP leaders despite “multiple complaints” lodged against them.indianexpress
EC Defends Penal Provision If Complaint of Faulty EVMs, VVPAT Machines Proves False: PTI
Election Commission has defended a rule which provides for prosecution of an elector if the complaint alleging malfunctioning of EVMs and VVPAT machines eventually turns out to be false, saying without it, people may indulge in making frivolous complaints. Deputy election commissioner Sudip Jain said if there was no penal provision,people may make false claims. Responding to a question,he said it takes 20 to 30 minutes to go through and settle complaints about VVPAT machines showing incorrect result.So far, he said, there have only been three complaints one each in Gujarat and Kerala and one made by ex DGP of Assam.
If Karkare’s role as a police officer was not correct, we will say it:Sumitra Mahajan
Outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker and BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan on Monday said Hemant Karkare’s role as a police officer should be called out if it was not correct. “He became a martyr because he died in line of duty, but if his role as a police officer was not correct, we will say it was not correct,’’ Mahajan said. Mahajan’s remarks come amid controversy over BJP candidate and Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Thakur’s comments about Karkare. scroll.in
In UP, Muslims can’t decide, leave it for end:Congress or gathbandhan?
“It’s foolishness,” Qutubuddin, a middle-aged man, sitting at a small eye clinic in the Partawal Bazar market, declares on Saturday afternoon, in frustration over the exclusion of Congress from SP-BSP-RLD mahagath bandhan in UP. Samajwadi Party announced Akhilesh Singh as the alliance candidate for Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat, under which Paniara falls, hours to go for the nomination deadline to end.However,frustration of Qutubuddin and friends Syed Ali and Nasrullah — who are reluctant to express their voting preference — is not on that count alone. Across constituencies won in 2009 by the Congress, Muslim community is weighing its choices, holding out until the last minute, in a bid to ensure that their votes count when the numbers are added up for Lok Sabha. In this calculation, sometimes practical considerations are deciding their vote; at other times, the lingering hope that 2019 won’t be 2014 — when not a single Muslim MP had been elected from UP, in a state where they constitute about 20 % of the population.In this toss-up, Congress is inching ahead, on the belief among the community that ultimately, it stands best chance of dislodging BJP at the Centre. “What can the Mahagathbandhan do? This is an election for the Central Govt. SP is good for Assembly elections,” says Mohammed Kajjan of Kothi town market who, in his 50s now, has stopped running his tonga. His vote is for the Congress Barabanki candidate, Tanuj Punia, son of senior leader PL Punia. Others around him nod, but add that they might switch to the gathbandhan should its candidate look stronger in the last lap.At Mungishpur in Faizabad constituency, that votes on May 6, Akbar Ali, who is in his mid-30s,says 2009 winner Nirmal Khatri of Congress is not the community’s first choice now.“Congress is not in a position to win,” he adds. “Voting for the Congress will amount to wasting my vote. Should I vote for the SP candidate, they will support the Congress anyway in Govt formation at the Centre.” However, Farzand Ali and his friends are not so sure at Bairia in Kushinagar seat. indian express
Muslim community upset over zero representation in Delhi Lok Sabha election: thehindu
“There should be one.At least one,”said 46-year-old Kalimuddeeen, sitting outside a restaurant in Zakir Nagar main market. The construction businessman was speaking about the absence of Muslim candidates in the Lok Sabha poll in Delhi.With the 3 main political parties in the fray — BJP,AAP,and Congress — not announcing a single Muslim candidate, The Hindu travelled to 3 different areas in the city to find out the possible reasons.Out of the many people interviewed in south Delhi’s Zakir Nagar, east Delhi’s Seelampur and Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid, some said there should have been at least one candidate from the community. However,all of them agreed that there are issues that matter more: communalism,lynching, safety, and hyper-nationalism.
WORLD
Trump working to designate Muslim Brotherhood as 'terror' group
Trump administration is working to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organisation, the White House has said today, which would bring sanctions against Egypt's oldest Islamist movement."The president has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an email.Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had urged US President Donald Trump to take the step during an April 9 visit to the White House, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing officials familiar with the matter.After the meeting, Trump praised Sisi as a "great president," as a bipartisan group of US politicians raised concerns about Sisi's record on human rights.One of the oldest and most influential Islamic movements in the world, the Brotherhood was declared a "terror group" by Egypt in 2013 after el-Sisi led a military coup against Morsi, first democratically-elected president.2 of Egypt's closest allies, Saudi Arabia and UAE, also blacklisted the group but several western powers, including the US, did not, for both legal and policy reasons. NYT said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NSA John Bolton supported the idea. However, Pentagon, career national security staff,Govt lawyers and diplomatic officials have voiced legal and policy objections, and have been scrambling to find a more limited step that would satisfy the White House.US State Department had previously advised against banning movement because of its "loose-knit structure and far-flung political ties across the Middle East".NYT said it was also unclear what the consequences would be for Americans and American organisations linked to the Brotherhood.aljazeera
Sweden foreign minister proud to recognize Palestine
Sweden’s foreign minister has expressed pride over her country recognizing Palestine as an independent state.“I am proud of decision of Sweden's Govt, which recognized Palestine as an independent state in 2014,” Margot Wallstrom said.Wallstrom said many countries followed Sweden's lead in recognizing Palestine.“This shows that we recognized Palestine at the right time. We will continue to support Palestine,” she added.On Israel's criticism of Sweden’s Palestine policy, Wallstrom said dialogue between Sweden and Israel to solve the problems between the two countries continues. Ties with Israel reached a low in Oct. 2014 when Sweden became first EU member in Western Europe to officially recognize the state of Palestine.Anadolu
Israel summons French envoy over ‘apartheid’ comments
Israel has summoned France’s ambassador Helene Le Gal to protest comments by outgoing French envoy in Washington Gerard Araud in which he described Israel as an “apartheid state”.“We strongly protested these words,”Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.Earlier this month, Araud described Israel as an “apartheid state” during an interview with the Atlantic magazine.He said Israel was “extremely comfortable” with the status quo “because they have the cake and eat it. They have the West Bank, but at the same time they don’t have to make the painful decision about the Palestinians, really making them really, totally stateless or making them citizens of Israel.” “They won’t make them citizens of Israel. So they will have to make it official, which is we know the situation, which is an apartheid.There will be officially an apartheid state.They are in fact already,”Araud said.Anadolu
Israel to fund hotels in illegal West Bank settlements
Israeli Govt will subsidise hotels in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, as part of a plan to attract more tourists to the area.According Arutz Sheva, citing a report by Israel Hayom, Israel’s Tourism Ministry “will aid entrepreneurs who want to invest in building or expanding hotels in Judea and Samaria [W.Bank]”.The entrepreneurs can now apply for a grant of up to 20% of their intended investment. Israel Hayom reported that a meeting held earlier this year between senior settler officials and the managers of Israeli travel agencies in the occupied West Bank “showed that the number of guest units is insufficient, causing tourists to avoid staying in the area for more than a day”.MEMO
Sudan army warns protesters:We will not accept chaos
Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council has said the army will not accept unrest in the country, a day after protesters said soldiers were trying to disperse a sit-in in capital Khartoum. "We will not accept chaos. We will deal with it firmly in accordance with the law," Mohamed Hemedti, Transitional Military Council's vice president said in a press conference on Tuesday. "We do not want to escalate the situation. We are committed to negotiation. After today, there will be no chaotic scenes," he added.Thousands of protesters have been camping outside the army HQRS in Khartoum, almost 3 weeks after military and security forces removed ex president Omar al-Bashir from power on April 11.On Monday, Sudan's main protest group said military was trying to remove barricades at sit-in outside army HQ.aljazeera
Sudan protesters say army trying to break up sit-in
Pakistan Senate Approves Bill For Raising Marriageable Age To 18 Years
Senate has approved federal Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2017 - a bill that proposes to increase the minimum marriageable age for girls to 18 years- with a majority.The Bill was moved by PPP senior leader Sherry Rehman.Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat Islami Pakistan (JI), and Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri opposed the Bill. They termed the bill against the Islamic principles and walked out the Senate session in protest.JUI-F Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri said increase in the minimum marriageable age to 18 years is against the Islamic principles, adding that, puberty is a condition for marriage in islam.He said Constitutional change which is against the Islamic principles is not good.He said the bill should first be sent to Federal Shariat Court (FSC) so it can be reviewed under the Islamic principles.Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan said that he had opposed the amendment the day it was moved but he was never invited by the committee to take his consent. He said differences should be welcomed adding that criticism is good for healthy constitutional reforms. Khan termed the amendment bill against the Constitutional Article-2A.He said everyone is against child marriage but 18 years is against the Islamic principles.He said as many as 12,000 women and 27,000 infants died during deliver which shows that we don't have proper treatment facilities. Senator Maulana Attaur Rehman commented that there is no doubt that Senator Sherry Rehman moved this bill with good intention but he is afraid that the bill would cause spread of dirt in society. urdupoint.com
China, Pak sign deal on space exploration, missions
China and Pakistan have signed an agreement on space exploration, marking a new phase in space science cooperation including manned missions between all-weather allies.The agreement was signed on April 27 during the visit of Pakistan PM  Imran Khan to China for 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF), China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.The space agreement will serve as a high-level foundation for cooperation in space science and exploration.Both nations will conduct scientific and technological experiments,astronaut training, along with manned space applications and achievement transformation, official media quoted CNSA statement as saying on April 29.PTI
Iraq's undocumented children: 45,000 IDPs denied basic rights: aljazeera
Khazer IDP camp:Huda Mahmood Ali's children often ask her why they cannot go to school like the other children."They love to go to school, sometimes they go to the classes anyway and the teachers kick them out because they are not registered," she says. "I'm afraid my children have no future."34-year-old mother has tried to explain to her five undocumented children that it is simply because their IDs were lost when they fled their home in July 2017."We were running from Mosul, I was carrying the children and lost the bag that had all my documents and IDs in it. I wasn't concentrating on it. Everyone was running,"Huda says.There are about 45,000 internally displaced children in Iraq who lack civil documentation, according to a report by the Norwegian Refugee Council.This figure takes into account only children in displacement camps who do not have birth certificates;given that there are an estimated 870,000 displaced children around the country, the total number of undocumented children is thought to be far higher.
Saudi king meets Algerian FM in Riyadh
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz held talks in Riyadh today with Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum, in the first such visit by an Algerian official since the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika earlier this month. The talks dwelt on regional and international developments, official SPA said, without giving further details. SPA said the Saudi king wished the Algerian people “steady security and prosperity”.Bouteflika, 82, stepped down earlier this month following several weeks of popular protests against his continued rule.Anadolu
Venezuela crisis: Over 3 lakh children forced to live in neighbouring countries, says UN
UN has said that nearly 327000 children from Venezuela are living as migrants and refugees in Colombia due to lack of healthcare and education facilities in their own country.“At a time when anti-migrant sentiment is growing worldwide, Colombia has generously kept its doors open to its neighbours from Venezuela,” said Paloma Escudero, Director of Communication at the UNICEF, after completing a four-day visit to Cucuta, on the Colombian side of the border with Venezuela.ANI
Blackwater founder's plan for mercenaries in Venezuela: Report
Erik Prince -founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater and a prominent supporter of Donald Trump- has been pushing to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela's socialist president, Nicholas Maduro, 4 sources with knowledge of the effort told Reuters.Over the last several months, the sources said, Prince has sought investment and political support for such an operation from influential Trump supporters and wealthy Venezuelan exiles.In private meetings in US and Europe, Prince sketched out a plan to field up to 5,000 soldiers-for-hire on behalf of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, according to two sources with direct knowledge of Prince's pitch.aljazeera
S. Lanka lifts social media ban imposed after attacks
Sri Lanka's president has lifted a nationwide ban on social media sites, a day after he used emergency powers to ban veils worn by some Muslim women as part of a security clampdown following Easter suicide bomb attacks.President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday ended the blocking of Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and other popular sites, but asked the public to "act in a responsible manner" on social media, according to a Govt  statement.Sri Lankan officials have warned that suspects linked to the attacks are still at large.aljazeera
Drug-resistant diseases to kill 10 mn each yr by 2050: UN
Painting a dire picture of a future with drug resistance, a UN report has warned that drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy could be as catastrophic as the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. According to report, by 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty.“The economic impact of uncontrolled antimicrobial resistance would also be catastrophic. As drug-resistant pathogens spread, health care expenditures would increase dramatically, and sustainable food and feed production – including global trade in food, feed and livestock – will increasingly be at risk,”said UN ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance.indian express
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:10 PM)