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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

16 April ND:36 like Nirav Modi have fled recently, ED admits/ SC Admits Muslim Couple's Plea to Allow Entry of Women in Mosques, Cites Sabarimala Example/Terrorism, unemployment, corruption: Survey reveals what worries India most


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
16 April 2019: 10 Shaban 1440:Vol: 11, No:177
INDIA
36 like Nirav Modi have fled recently, ED admits
New Delhi:Enforcement Directorate has opposed the bail plea of Sushen Mohan Gupta, alleged defence agent arrested in AgustaWestland VVIP choppers scam, saying there was a likelihood of him fleeing the country like 36 other businessmen who had criminal cases against them.ED told special judge Arvind Kumar that 36 businessmen, including Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, have fled from the country in the recent past.The probe agency's special public prosecutors DP Singh and NK Matta countered Sushen Mohan's claim that he had deep roots in the society, saying, "Mallya, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Sandesara brothers (Sterling Biotech Ltd promoters) had deeper roots in the society yet they left the country. There are such 36 businessmen who fled from the country in the last few years."ED's advocate Samvedna Verma said the probe was at a crucial stage and the agency was trying to find out who "RG" referred in the diaries of Sushen Mohan was.Samvedna Verma also accused Sushen Mohan of influencing witnesses in the case and told the court that he also tried to destroy evidence. The court reserved the order on Sushen Mohan's bail application to April 20.Sushen Mohan sought relief on the ground that the agency has already completed the investigation and filed a chargesheet in the case.In his bail application, he said the ED's contention of flight risk can be rejected, considering his past activities, where he joined the investigation as and when summoned.PTI
SC Admits Muslim Couple's Plea to Allow Entry of Women in Mosques, Cites Sabarimala Example
New Delhi:Citing the Constitution Bench verdict in Sabarimala temple case,the Supreme Court today agreed to examine the petition by a Pune-based Muslim couple, seeking a direction to allow women to enter mosques without any restriction to offer prayers.A bench headed by Justice SA Bobde observed that since there is a verdict in Sabarimala, the court will have to examine this fresh petition as well. It questioned the petitioner's lawyer whether fundamental rights can be asserted against individuals and non-State subjects as well.“Is a mosque or a temple or a church State?Can you seek your fundamental right against individuals? When entity concerned is not a State, can we issue directions? Can we ask police to help you if you want to enter somebody's house?”questioned the bench.It further stated that since the SC has entertained such a plea in the Sabarimala case, the present case will deserve a consideration too. It issued notices to the Centre, India Muslim Personal Law Board, Central Wakf Council etc and sought their replies in 4 weeks. Yasmeen and Zuber Ahmad Peerzade, in their joint plea, have said:"The act of prohibition of females from entering mosque is void and unconstitutional as such practices are not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual but also violate the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14,15,21 and 25 of the Constitution."At present, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations, while they are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction, they contended. The petition argued that such a bar on Muslim women was “violative of Article 44 of the Constitution, which encourages the State to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens,by eliminating discrepancies between various personal laws currently in force in the country”.news18/
Petitioner for Women's Entry in Mosques Wants Uniform Civil Code Too
New Delhi:A petition filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to all mosques to allow Muslim women in for prayers. In the 55-page petition, petitioner who goes by the name of Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade has one more demand: implementation of Uniform Civil Code in the country. It urged the SC to consider if preventing women from entering mosques is violation of Article 44 – the section of the Constitution that talks about Uniform Civil Code. “Whether the act of preventing the females from entering mosque is violative of Article 44 of the Constitution of India, which encourages the State to secure a uniform civil code for all citizens, by eliminating discrepancies between various personal laws currently in force in the country,” the petitioner asked the court.“It is submitted that the Legislature has failed to ensure the dignity and equality of women in general and Muslim women in particular. Despite the observations of this Hon’ble Court for the past few decades, Uniform Civil Code remains an elusive Constitutional goal that the Courts have fairly refrained from enforcing through directions and the Legislature has dispassionately ignored except by way of paying some lip service,” reads the petition. India Tomorrow
SC takes note of ECI action against Adityanath, Mayawati for making ‘hate speeches’
New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Tuesday took note of how Election Commission of India (ECI) quickly changed tack and passed a flurry of orders against leading political candidates who delivered communally laced speeches, hours after facing the wrath of the court for describing itself as "toothless" and "powerless" in the face of hate."Seems you have got your powers now," CJI Ranjan Gogoi told ECI. CJI was referring to action taken by the ECI against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Bahujan Samaj Party Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan and BJP leader Maneka Gandhi.They have been prohibited from addressing public gathering variously for 48 to 72 hours.thehindu
EC must act against Modi for misrepresenting his properties in poll affidavits, demands Congress
A day after a petition exposing alleged irregularities in PM Narendra Modi’s poll affidavit was submitted in the Supreme Court,Congress has demanded action against PM under Representation of People Act,1951. Launching a scathing attack on Modi, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera raised the issue of alleged irregularities in the property declared by PM, accusing him of furnishing contradictory information on his assets in Gandhinagar. nationalheraldindia
Bhushan Asks EC to Act Against Modi, Shah for Violating Election Codes
New Delhi:After the Election Commission acted against four politicians for violating model codes of conduct, prominent Supreme Court lawyer and anti-corruption crusader Prashant Bhushan asked the EC to act against the ‘biggest violators’ of the election codes PM Narendra Modi and CJP chief Amit Shah.Caravan Daily
Terrorism, unemployment, corruption: Survey reveals what worries India most
New Delhi :Indians are more concerned about terrorism than unemployment and political corruption, a global survey found. In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack in Kashmir in February this year, almost 45 % of the respondents to the survey said they were most afraid of terrorism in the country.According to The Ipsos What Worries the World Global Survey, while almost half the respondents said they feared terrorism in the country, 44 % also said they were worried about unemployment, and 42 % mentioned political corruption. A significant number of Indians are also expressed concern over Crime and Violence (33 %) and Poverty and Social Inequality (29 %).“Pulwama strike has propelled Terrorism to the fore. It was way down in the pecking order in the past waves. Terrorism is bothering Indians most. Likewise, lack of jobs is weighing on the minds of Indians and govt. needs to take the bull by the horns and actively needs to address job creation and tighten its stranglehold on terrorism. Similarly, more concrete steps are needed for tackling corruption. While strategies are being formulated by govt to address them, our survey shows that Indians are preoccupied with concerns around these macro issues and will like them to be mitigated,” said Parijat Chakraborty, Service Line Leader, Ipsos Public Affairs, Customer Experience and Corporate Reputation. In contrast, terrorism does not even feature in the top five global concerns, according to the survey. 34 % of the global population worries about political corruption and social inequality, followed by Unemployment (33%), Crime & Violence (31%) and Healthcare (24%). Meanwhile, back home, healthcare does not even feature in the list of issues.India, however, still remains optimistic about its future as 73 % respondents said they feel the country is going on the right track as against the global average where a majority (54%) of the people feel their country is headed in a wrong direction. Out of 28 countries which participated in the survey, 22 of them weren’t optimistic about the future.At 94%, China inspires the most confidence about its national direction, with more than 9 in 10 Chinese citizens believing thier country is moving in the right direction. Saudi Arabia is in second place (84%), followed by India (73%) and Malaysia (57%), the survey revealed.indian express
BJP govt's approval ratings drop by 12 points in a month: CVOTER-IANS
New Delhi:The net approval rating of the Narendra Modi government has dropped 12 points between March 12 and April 12, according to CVOTER-IANS tracker.The performance rating of Central govt had peaked in the days after the Balakot air strike on Feb.26, touching the highest level of 62.06 on March 7.After remaining in the 50s till March 22, the approval ratings have come down to 43.25 on April 12, a day after the first phase of polls held for 91 Lok Sabha seats. Exactly a month ago on March 12, approval rating of the govt was 55.28.The tracker findings are based on survey of people who were asked if they are "very satisfied", "satisfied to some extent", "not satisfied" and "Dont' know/can't say" about the performance of Central govt led by BJP.IANS
“2 Lakh People Lost Jobs Due to Modi Govt's Suspension of HPC Paper Mills in Assam”
New Delhi: On April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the Bengali Hindu-dominated Silchar Lok Sabha constituency of Assam to address an election rally. Silchar, along with Mangaldoi, Nagaon, Autonomous district (Diphu) and Karimganj will go to polls on April 18. Modi was speaking on expected lines – reiterating the promise made in his party’s manifesto that it would bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill if it returns to power in New Delhi.However, about 4 km from the rally venue, a set of protesters were mouthing slogans against Modi, reminding the prime minister of an earlier electoral promise – revival of two paper mills run by the Centre-owned HPCL.Modi reportedly made that promise to the employees of the the Cachar and Nagaon paper mills – situated in the state’s Barak and Brahmaputra Valley respectively – in the run-up to 2016 assembly elections. Against the backdrop of the Silchar railway station, the protesters, comprising employees affected by the closure of the Cachar unit since 2015, were shouting, “Pradhan Mantri go back, go back! We shall not allow the killer of so many of our employees into Silchar!” Speaking to local channels, Manabendra Chakraborty, chief convener of HPC Paper Mills Revival Committee, termed Modi as “worst liar and betrayer”.“Work in the Cachar unit was suspended in 2015. Prior to the state polls, we were promised by BJP that it will be revived. We voted for the party. However, in 2017, work in the Nagaon unit was suspended. Non-revival of these mills have affected about two lakh people of Assam who directly or indirectly found employment through them. So far, 53 of our workers have died due to financial crisis,” he later told The Wire on phone.thewire
Electoral Officer Writes to Poll Commission Over Web Series on Modi
New Delhi:Delhi Chief Electoral Officer has written to the Election Commission drawing its attention to a web series on PM Narendra Modi, which went online earlier this month and is being aired without permission from Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC), officials said.The move comes days after the EC banned the screening of a biopic on the prime minister during the current poll period, saying any such film that subserves purpose of any political entity or individual should not be displayed in the electronic media. Meanwhile, district election officer (East) K Mahesh also wrote to Delhi CEO asking whether web series has been approved by MCMC, a senior official said.“MCMC of East Delhi seat had received a complaint on April 11 through a grievance redressal portal,” the official said.As per the complaint, the web series was being streamed despite directions from the EC banning such biopics, he said.PTI
Modi ‘planned’ Pulwama attack, claims ex-Mizoram governor Aziz Qureshi
Former Governor of Mizoram and Congress leader Aziz Qureshi has claimed that the ghastly terror attack in Pulwama that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel was "planned" by PM Narendra Modi."This was done with planning (Pulwama attack), but people understand everything. If PM Modi wants to anoint himself by sacrificing the lives of 42 jawans then people will not let that happen," he said.Qureshi further said that the BJP has failed to name its candidate against Congress leader Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh as they are afraid of losing. "BJP leaders are afraid of losing against Singh and now they are finding it difficult to field a candidate from Bhopal."Accusing BJP MPs and MLAs of increasing unemployment in the state, Qureshi said: "The impotent BJP leaders have no right to seek votes from people in MP. They have shut down the factories, following which unemployment has increased."ANI
BJP continues to hoodwink EC; NaMo TV airs fake news on houses built under UPA regime
NaMo TV, the controversial news channel being used as a propaganda arm of the BJP, has been airing at least one documentary propagating fake information about the number of houses built during UPA regime.A recorded documentary of NaMo TV, which was being aired in Delhi at least until Monday evening, showed the anchor as saying that previous UPA govt had constructed just 25 lakh houses during the final four years of their tenure till 2013-14, compared to 1.25 crore homes built by the Modi govt in its first four years starting 2014.The parroted claim, first stated by PM Modi during a rally in Shirdi in Maharashtra on Oct.19, 2018, has been found out to be entirely off the mark.Several fact-checking websites had after the PM’s claim cited data from various govt websites to reach the conclusion that at least 89.65 lakh houses had been built by Congress-led govt in their last four years, almost 3.5 times higher than the number cited by the PM.However, the debunking of PM’s claims by independent fact-checkers has failed to dissuade NaMo TV from airing false figures during the crucial election period. nationalheraldindia
Now, Gujarat MLA says those who don't vote for BJP won't get work
A BJP MLA from Gujarat reportedly told people that if they did not vote for the BJP, they would not be provided work. His comments come close on the heels of Maneka Gandhi’s censure by BJP for making a similar statement.Ramesh Katara, Fatehpura MLA, told people that there should not be “any room for error” in voting for the BJP, claiming that “Modi sa’aab” has installed cameras in voting booths. He was campaigning for BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Dahod, Jaswant Sinh Bhabor.According to ANI, Katara added, “Who voted for BJP, who for Congress, it can be seen. Aadhaar Card & all cards have your photo now, if there are less votes from your booth then he will come to know who did not cast vote & then you will not get work.”the wire
AAP-Cong bickering, BJP waiting: No clarity in Delhi
New Delhi:Just a week left for filing nominations, Delhi has thrown up an interesting scenario – voters have no clue about whom to choose, top leaders are not working phone lines but relying on Twitter to stitch an alliance and their opponent just endlessly waiting for what surprise is in store.With time running out, Congress and AAP are still bickering over an electoral alliance despite both insisting that only their coming together can rout BJP in seven Lok Sabha seats in the capital.Last date of filing nomination is April 23, and the polling is on May 12.The opposition has their candidates in mind – AAP has announced its 7 candidates and Congress has unofficially given out names of 4 candidates and indicated 3 other possible nominees,including ex CM and Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit – but uncertainty has affected their campaign. Uncertainty on the question of the coalition has also upset the calculations of BJP as it could not get the first-mover advantage by announcing its candidates. It wants to wait for the candidates of the coalition if it happens.Also, the internal tussle within Delhi BJP is also playing out. On Monday evening, the chatter on alliance gained momentum when Congress president Rahul Gandhi upped the ante accusing AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal of taking a "u-turn" on the alliance. Gandhi made it clear that his party was willing to play AAP's junior partner in the capital by leaving 4 out of 7 seats for Kejriwal but was unwilling to cede an inch in Haryana or elsewhere. Congress will play out its willingness to settle for just three seats in Delhi as its eagerness for an alliance while pitting AAP as the villian in the piece in case alliance would not work.As Gandhi's tweet immediately invited Kejriwal's retort that coalition is not what Gandhi wishes but “just a pretence”, it was left to Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, a strong votary for alliance in Delhi, to "set the record straight".Patel said in a late-night tweet that the Delhi Congress was opposed to the idea of an alliance with Congress but it was the Congress president who convinced the state leadership and asked them to work out a formula to collaborate with AAP in Delhi. "But they (AAP) insisted for seats in Haryana. Our proposition still stands, the ball is in their court," he tweeted.AAP has been insisting that a triangular contest would benefit BJP only, a theme which is echoed by a section of Congress barring Dikshit and her supporters. However, AAP had last week said that Congress was not willing to give it seats in Haryana and the deal in Delhi was off.While senior leaders like Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Delhi chief Ajay Maken and AICC in-charge P C Chacko were in support of an alliance, Dikshit-led camp was not in favour of any tie-up with AAP.deccanherald
Shatrughan's Wife to Take on Rajnath in Lucknow as SP-BSP Pick, Congress May Also Lend Support
Lucknow: Poonam Sinha, wife of actor-turned politician Shatrugan Sinha will be contesting against Union Minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow parliamentary seat on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket with BSP’s support.SP, which got Lucknow in its kitty under BSP-SP-RLD alliance seat distribution, had been busy finding a suitable candidate to give a tough fight to Singh. Earlier, Shatrughan Sinha had met with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to discuss the candidature of his wife. Patna Sahib BJP MP Sinha had recently switched camps and is now contesting from there on a Congress ticket.According to sources, Congress is likely to extend support to Sinha’s candidature, with the aim to dent BJP’s votes and keep Singh confined to his constituency. The grand old party’s decision to not field any candidate from the state capital paves way for a one-on-one face-off between Singh and Poonam Sinha.News18
After Mayawati, Sidhu appeals to Muslims not to split their votes
New Delhi : After Mayawati, Congress leader Navjot Sidhu today spoke on similar line and asked the minority community members to stay united and vote together to defeat PM Narendra Modi.Addressing a rally in Bihar’s Katihar Lok Sabha constituency, Punjab minister said the BJP was running a divisive campaign and cautioned Muslim voters against splitting their votes.indianexpress
BJP uneasy with Jamaat-e-Islami due to its Islamic ideology: Mehbooba on Jaitley’s comment
Srinagar: Hitting out at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his comment about Jamaat-e-Islami, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said BJP is uncomfortable with JeI, which has done great work in uplifting poor people, owing to its Islamic ideology.Mehbooba, who is the president of PDP, said Jaitley would rather extend patronage to rabid right wing organisations that lynch innocents on flimsy excuses and spearhead a divisive agenda to persecute minorities.“Jamaat, an organisation that has done great work in upliftment of poor makes you uncomfortable owing to its Islamic ideology. You’d rather extend patronage to rabid right wing orgs that lynch innocents on flimsy excuses & spearhead a divisive agenda to persecute minorities,” Mehbooba wrote on micro-blogging site twitter. UNI/ agencies
Modi trying to incite communal violence for votes:Mehbooba Mufti
Maharashtra’s Akola:No change in script, Muslim-Dalit vote split may again benefit BJP
Akola seat is witnessing a triangular fight between BJP, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and Congress.Voters have got polarized on caste and community lines, and BJP stands to gain. This was best explained by Rajesh Khode, a pan kiosk owner at Telhara (Akola), “Hindus are not satisfied with performance of BJP MP Sanjay Dhotre. However,they will not vote for a Buddhist (Prakash Ambedkar) or a Muslim (Hidayat Patel).” VBA candidate Ambedkar feels that it was a straight fight between BJP and him while Congress was nowhere in the picture.History, favours Dhotre.Since 2004, he has won every time in triangular fights. Dalit-Muslim vote bank,which is anti-BJP, gets split between Ambedkar and Congress candidate, leading to BJP victory.TOI
We had heard of such incidents, never thought it would happen to us: Survivor of Cow Mob Attack
 Days after a deadly attack on four Adivasi Christians in Dumri, Gumla district, Jharkhand, the three victims lying on hospital beds wonder what went wrong in their village, which had never before seen this kind of violence - and are also trying to make sense of a police case registered against them on charges of cattle slaughter.Speaking to The Citizen, Januish Minz, one of the survivors curiously asks, “Can you please find out from the police why a case has been registered against us, when we are the ones in hospital right now undergoing treatment, and one of us is dead? The ox they claim we slaughtered was already dead. I can’t make sense of what prompted police to file a case against us. Is it our religion?”Recalling that there used to be absolute peace in this area of Jharkand, Minz remarks, “We had only heard about such incidents in the past, and never thought it would come down to us one day. There is no internet network in our village and also no WhatsApp. We don’t understand how cow vigilantes came down to our village, and how they mobilised people to actually attempt to kill all of us.”Other 2 who remain admitted in Ranchi’s Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, along with Minz, are Peter Phuljans and Belasus Tirkey. 4th, Prakash Lakra, succumbed to the assault before being brought to the hospital.Recalling the incident, the survivors stated that around midnight on April 10 a group of people ran towards them shouting slogans like “Jai Shri Ram” and instigating others to kill them saying, “Maro gaye khane walon ko” (Kill the cow eaters).thecitizen
Canada drops reference to Sikh extremism from terror threat report
New Delhi:The removal of a reference to Sikh extremism from "2018 Public Report on Terrorism Threat to Canada" by Public Safety Canada, a Canadian govt department, has attracted sharp criticism from various quarters including pro-Khailistani groups. The move was seen as an attempt to woo Canadian Sikhs. Soon after the report was updated Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited a Vancouver gurdwara.Pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has called upon Canadian PM to step down for practising the politics of expediency in having his government drop Sikh extremism from a report on terror the day before he participated in Baisakhi parade. The damage has been done Prime Minister and you should resign over this, said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, SFJ legal adviser.For close to a year you and your government stood behind a completely unsubstantiated terror report that labelled our community as Sikh extremists or terrorists. It’s despicable that you drop the offensive language from your report the day before you come calling for money and votes in Vancouver. According to Pannun, the human rights advocacy group will continue its campaign targeting Liberal MPs and candidates wherever they campaign.Canadian Sikhs cannot just be seen as the cash cow’ to help fund elections, added Pannun.india today
‘Set Julian Assange free’: N Ram, Arundhati Roy, Romila Thapar and others decry attack on press
A group of 6 eminent public intellectuals in India criticised the arrest of WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange in London last week, saying that “his arrest, and the attempt to extradite him to the US are, clearly, attacks on freedom of the press and its right to publish”. In a statement, they also called for his immediate release.The statement was signed by N Ram, the former editor-in-chief of The Hindu Group of Publications, writer Arundhati Roy, former Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising, former West Bengal Governor and writer Gopalkrishna Gandhi, journalist and People’s Archive of Rural India founder P Sainath, and historian and writer Romila Thapar.scroll
After Taking Charge, Jamia VC Najma Meets HRD Minister Javadekar
New Delhi:4 days after taking charge, Jamia Millia Islamia’s newly appointed Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar met HRD Minister Praskash Javadekar on Monday and discussed various issues related to the university.In his meeting with the minister, Akhtar underlined the pressing needs, priorities, short and long duration plans with a view to bringing an all-embracing growth and advancement in JMI.Javadekar congratulated Akhtar on her appointment as the first woman V-C of Jamia. He said that the wide and warm welcome accorded to Professor Akhtar by Jamia community and the media was so heartening for him. Their approval, is the highest accolade to the decision of the Government of India.He also congratulated her on JMI being ranked at 12th position in the country by MHRD-National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) in universities category, expecting that JMI will make a remarkable progress in various disciplines and areas of research, learning and knowledge under her competent leadership. He spoke highly of the researches carried in JMI.caravandaily
WORLD
Fire breaks out at Al-Aqsa mosque around the same time as Notre Dame Cathedral blaze
A fire broke out at Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Monday around the same time as a blaze ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, Newsweek reported. Palestine News Agency, which is the official outlet of the Palestine National Authority, said the fire broke out in a guard’s room outside the roof of the Marwani Prayer Room. The fire was doused by Islamic Waqf’s fire brigade, according to Russia Today.Video clips posted on social media showed smoke rising from the top of the Marwani Prayer Room which is also known as Solomon’s Stables. The mosque is located on top of the Temple Mount and is considered the third holiest site in Islam. It has been at the centre of the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.The cause of the fire is not known yet. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director general of the Jerusalem Waqf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Department, suggested that the fire could have been started by children who were seen playing in the area.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned against targeting the holy site. He called for preserving the compound’s “great religious and humanitarian value.”A massive fire engulfed the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, on Monday. The cathedral’s spire collapsed under the fire, which raged for hours. The blaze also spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers. The fire was brought under control on Tuesday morning.scroll.in /newsweek
French rally to collect Notre Dame restoration funds
Parisians are grappling with the aftermath of a night of anguish, when a fire tore through Notre Dame Cathedral, gutting its roof and toppling its iconic spire as thousands watched on in dismay from the streets.This morning crowds thronged the banks of the Seine to witness the damage for themselves after hundreds of firefighters battled the inferno through the early hours of Tuesday. Locals were relieved the damage was not as extensive as they had feared when flames engulfed the medieval masterpiece on Monday evening, billowing smoke across the skyline of French capital.Just before midnight firefighters announced that the bulk of the structure had been preserved, including its stone face and distinctive bell towers, though the ribbed oak roof had been reduced to ash.Foundation for French Heritage has launched a national collection to raise funds for restoration, while 2 of the country's wealthiest men, billionaires Bernard Arnault and Francois Pinault, pledged 300 million euros from their fortunes.Churches across the country rang their bells in mourning and solidarity last night, signalling a profound loss that transcends France's strict division between religious and secular life. aljazeera
Hamas: Abbas is not committed to ending divisions
Responding to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ call for ending the division, Hamas said yesterday that his actions do match his words.In a press release issued by spokesman Abdel-Latif Al-Qanou, Hamas said: “The continuous sanctions imposed on Gaza by Abbas, as well as his separatist measures do not meet his calls for ending the division.”Al-Qanou noted that the formation of the ongoing Fatah government was the latest proof that Abbas is reinforcing national division.He stressed that Abbas’ call to end the division “must be accompanied by a united national stance which could be represented in the formation of a real national unity govt.”middleeastmonitor
Israel’s Lieberman conditions support for Netanyahu on Haredi draft law
Former Defence Minister and head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, has conditioned his support for newly-re-elected PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition on the latter’s passing of the Haredi draft law. Following last week’s general election, representatives of each political party have met with Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin, to recommend their choice of prime minister. These discussions took place yesterday and today, live streamed from the president’s residence for the first time in a bid to increase the transparency of Israel’s electoral process.After two days of discussions, Netanyahu has received the most recommendations from the 11 parties that will make up the new Knesset. This outcome was widely expected, given that his Likud party won 36 seats in the election to become the largest faction, as well as the fact that most right-wing parties had vowed in advance to support his premiership.MEMO
Israel army covered up settlers’ killing of wounded Palestinian father
Israeli army covered up the killing of a Palestinian father by illegal Israeli settlers,Israeli NGO B’Tselem has claimed.23-year-old Mohammed Abd Al-Fatah was killed near Huwara, a village located off route 60 south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on 3 April. Though media reports at the time stated that a “would-be Palestinian attacker was shot dead during an attempted stabbing near Huwara,” a B’Tselem investigation has revealed that in fact Abd Al-Fatah was killed at close range by armed Israeli settlers.B’Tselem’s investigation provides a minute-by-minute account of the incident, saying that at 08:30 local time Abd Al-Fatah crossed the road, stopping “by a dumpster across from the village square in the nearby village of Beita and started throwing stones at cars bearing Israeli license plates”. One stone hit an Israeli settler’s car, prompting the driver to pull over. “Then 2 gunshots were heard, apparently fired from inside the vehicle. The driver then got out of the car.”middleeastmonitor
Sudan protesters warn 'remnants of Bashir regime' still at work
Sudan's principal protest group has demanded the immediate formation of a civilian-led government to replace the country's new ruling military council, warning that the demonstrators' "revolution" faces threat from "the remnants of the regime" of deposed leader Omar al-Bashir.Fearing that the core of the old establishment is far from gone, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) on Monday reiterated its call for the military council to be dissolved and substituted by a civilian one that will only include "limited" army representation. The umbrella organisation, which spearheaded the months of protests that precipitated al-Bashir's removal, also demanded the sacking of Sudan's prosecutor general and judiciary head, as well as the disbanding of the former president's NCP. "The objectives of the revolution cannot be achieved totally and completely in the face of the backstage manipulations by the remnants of the regime," SPA member Taha Osman told reporters in Khartoum."The key demand is the formation of a civil council to guarantee that the revolution is safeguarded and all the goals are achieved." aljazeera
AU sets deadline for Sudan power transfer
African Union has warned Sudan's military that the country has 15 days to install a civilian government or risk getting kicked out of the bloc, as a sit-in demanding the army hand over power entered its 11th day.Sudan must aim to hold "free, fair and transparent elections" as soon as possible, AU's Peace and Security Council said it in a statement on Monday."A military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan," it added.aljazeera
UN Libya envoy: Haftar offensive on Tripoli 'sounded like a coup'
UN's top envoy for Libya has said that renegade General Khalifa Haftar tried to stage a coup when he issued an arrest warrant for PM Fayez al-Serraj of Tripoli-based Govt of National Accord (GNA).Special Representative Ghassan Salame said Haftar's decision to issue in the course of his offensive arrest warrants against al-Serraj and other top Tripoli officials "sounded more like a coup than counterterrorism". Haftar announced an attack against Tripoli on April 4 to wrest control of western Libya from armed groups that back the UN-backed GNA, headed by al-Serraj. 75-year-old, who casts himself as a foe of "extremism" but is viewed by opponents as a new authoritarian leader in the mould of former strongman Muammar Gaddafi, has vowed to continue his offensive until Libya is "cleansed of terrorism".aljazeera
Haftar forces bomb populated residential areas Libya capital
Forces loyal to Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar are reported to have bombed densely populated residential areas in the capital, Tripoli.Video clips circulated on social media showed the forces randomly shelling residential areas, south of Tripoli.Meanwhile, a member of the Libyan Presidential Council, Amari Zayed said indiscriminate shelling of residential neighbourhoods in Tripoli is another war crime committed by Haftar.middleeastmonitor
Algeria Constitution Council head resigns amid protests
Algiers :Tayeb Belaiz, head of Algeria’s Constitutional Council, has announced his resignation amid continued popular demonstrations demanding the departure of all govt officials affiliated with ex President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.“Belaiz has tendered his resignation to the head of state, Abdelkader Bensalah,” read a Tuesday statement issued by the Constitutional Council and carried by Algeria’s state-run news agency. 82-year-old Bouteflika, who had ruled Algeria since 1999, stepped down early this month following weeks of popular protest against his rule.Parliamentary Speaker Abdelkader Bensalah is now serving as head of state for a 90-day “transitional period” to be overseen by army.Anadolu
Ex-aide of UAE prince: Our patience with Turkey, Hamas has run out
Abdel-Khaliq Abdullah, former aide of UAE Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayid, threatened Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Hamas, noting that they would not be dealt with patiently, Al-Mesryoon reported.On Twitter, Abdullah wrote: “Saudi media does not oppose Turkey, it has its abilities and appreciation, but it is a national responsibility for Erdogan’s attack on Saudi Arabia and the exposure of his obvious hostility to its symbols. We have been patient and Erdogan and his party bear what will come in the coming days.”Commenting on the situation in Sudan, he wrote: “Syndicate of the Sudanese Professionals is calling for arresting Al-Bashir and prosecuting him along with the symbols of his regime.”middleeastmonitor
Bahrain strips over 100 of nationality on 'terror' charges
A Bahraini court has sentenced 138 people to between 3-year imprisonment and life term and revoked their citizenship for "terror-related" charges, the public prosecutor said.The defendants were convicted of establishing a "terror" cell with links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ahmad al-Hammadi said in a statement on Tuesday.A judicial source said all the defendants are members of the Shia community in the Sunni-ruled Gulf state.aljazeera
Ilhan says death threats increased after Trump tweet
Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress, said on Sunday that she has faced increased death threats since President Donald Trump tweeted an edited video that purports to show her being dismissive of Sept.11, 2001 attacks. "This is endangering lives," she said. "It has to stop."Her statement late on Sunday followed an announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she has taken steps to ensure the safety of the Minnesota Democrat and the speaker's call for Trump to take down the video.Soon after Pelosi's statement, the video disappeared as a pinned tweet at the top of Trump's Twitter feed, but it was not deleted.aljazeera
Taliban team at Afghan peace talks in Qatar to include women: Reuters
Kabul:Women will be included for the first time in the Taliban delegation to peace talks in Qatar this month, the movement’s main spokesman said on Monday, ahead of the latest round of meetings aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.April 19-21 meeting in Doha will be between the Taliban and a delegation comprising prominent Afghans, including opposition politicians and civil society activists. It follows similar talks between the two sides in Moscow in Feb.The non-Taliban delegation that was in Moscow could be expanded next week to include some government officials, but acting in their private capacities as the insurgents have refused to hold formal talks with Kabul.“There will be women among Taliban delegation members in Doha meeting,” Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban’s main spokesman, said by phone.He did not name the women, but added, “These women have no family relationship with the senior members of the Taliban, they are normal Afghans, from inside and outside the country, who have been supporters and part of the struggle of Islamic Emirate”. In a tweet, he specified that the women would only join the discussions with Afghan civil society and political representatives, not in main negotiations with American officials, led by US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Khalilzad has not yet set dates for the next round of talks with the Taliban, a State Department spokesperson said.Reuters
Dramatic drop in Arab world's fertility rate
"Most Arab families want to have two to three children at most," said Marcia Inhorn,author of a 2018 study from Yale University that explained unprecedented decline in fertility rates in the Arab world.The phenomenon, which first started in 1975, has occurred without substantial family planning programmes conducted by Arab govts. According to the study, this dramatic decline in fertility rate is due to changing nature of the household structure, economic growth and available contraception. Declines in fertility rates are consistent across all Arab countries regardless of wealth."[This is] primarily because women are getting more educated in the Arab world and they are seeking a different future and aspirations for themselves," said Inhorn. Between 1975 and 1980, women in all Arab countries had a total fertility rate of seven children per woman, which was far exceeding the world average of 3.85. Today, only three Arab countries, Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen, have a total fertility rate above 3. aljazeera
Indonesia election: Jokowi, Prabowo vie for Prez
Jakarta:More than 190 million Indonesians go to the polls on Wednesday to choose their next president after a polarising election campaign that has focussed on ideologies rather than policies.The presidential race pits incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his running mate, Indonesian Ulama Council Chairman Ma'ruf Amin, against retired general and longtime rival Prabowo Subianto and multi-millionaire businessman Sandiaga Uno.Widodo and Amin are trying to project themselves as progressive yet religious, with a campaign slogan of "Advancing Indonesia".aljazeera
Pak Jamaat's newly-elected central shoora announced
Lahore: Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan election commission has announced the names of newly-elected members of central Shoora, the central decision making body, after completion of polls process.JI election commission chief Asadullah Bhutto announced at a press conference Monday that JI central Shoora comprises 80 members including 10 women who have been elected by 40,000 JI ‘arkan’( permanent members) through secret ballot. He said new JI central Shoora has 22 male members and one female member from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 13 male members are from northern Punjab besides one woman member. 15 male members are from central Punjab besides 2 women members. 6 male Shoora members and one woman member have been elected from South Punjab. 11 male and 4 women members have been elected from Sindh, while 3 male and one female member were elected from Balochistan.the news
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