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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

17 April ND: 50 lakh people lost job opportunities after demonetisation: study/China unmoved by US bid to discuss Azhar in UNSC/ In Bhopal, BJP fields Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya vs Digvijaya


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING 
17 April 2019: 11 Shaban 1440:Vol: 11, No:178
INDIA
50 lakh people lost job opportunities after demonetisation: study
Since Nov.8, 2016 demonetisation, at least 5 million people lost opportunities to work across the country, while the overall unemployment rate doubled between 2011 and 2018 to 6%, says a 'State of Working India' (SWI) report published by Centre for Sustainable Employment(CSE) of Azim Premji University (APU). Researchers from the university used unit-level data from the Consumer Pyramids Survey of the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE), which covers around 5.22 lakh individuals quarterly, to get an outline of unemployment and what could be done to address it. The rural Workforce Participation Rate (that is, the percentage of people working against the population within the working age) among men dipped from close to 72% in Jan-April 201  (a few months before demonetisation) to slightly above 68% by Dec.2018. The corresponding figure for urban men reduced from 68% to nearly 65% in this time.“The numbers seem to suggest we are in a perfect storm-like situation. On the supply side, there is rising aspirations, youth bulge, higher levels of general educational degrees. On the demand side, there has been a collapse of public sector employment, weak link between growth in private industry and employment, and factors such as demonetisation and GST,” Amit Basole, lead author of the report, said at its release. “It seems like employment opportunities have been hit by demonetisation and has not recovered after that,” he observed.The report shows that the worst-hit in terms of lost employment opportunities were those in rural areas with pre-university or graduate certification, and those between the ages of 20 and 24 years.SWI relied primarily on date from CMIE rather than Centre’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), whose last report was in 2011-12. While a report on 2017-18 had been prepared, it ran into controversy as the Centre refused to release it. Leaked versions of the report pointed to soaring unemployment rates — reportedly highest in 45 years.PC Mohanan, who resigned from National Statistical Commission in protest against Centre’s decision not to release the report, said there was much insight in 2017-18 report, which had been carefully drafted to tally with previous 5-yearly PLFS reports.the hindu
5 million lost jobs in India between 2016-18: report
SC to hear plea seeking stay on alleged demolition of houses of Adivasis in Chhattisgarh on April 23
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on April 23 a plea seeking an interim stay on alleged demolition of houses of Adivasis in the forests of Chhattisgarh, PTI reported.Lawyer ML Sharma said houses of Adivasis at Kalmipara in Raigarh district were demolished despite the top court staying the eviction of forest dwellers.The plea alleged that industrialist Naveen Jindal of Jindal Steel and Power Limited, other companies and political leaders along with the state police demolished huts of Adivasis in Raigarh and other districts. The plea claimed that demolition of houses in some areas was put on halt in view of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections and may resume after elections in the state on April 23.scroll.in
No April 23 deadline for us in UN to list Masood Azhar as global terrorist: China
Dismissing reports that it had been given a deadline of April 23 by US, UK and France to lift its “technical hold” on the proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations, China on Wednesday said the issue was moving towards a settlement.The development comes after reports said P-3 countries — US, UK and France — had fixed April 23 as the deadline for China to lift its technical hold in the 1267 Committee or else they would press for a discussion on the issue at the UNSC.“You need to get clarification from the sources about where you get such information. China’s position is very clear. This issue should be resolved through cooperation. We don’t believe that any efforts without the consensus of members will achieve satisfying results,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.indian express
China unmoved by US bid to discuss Azhar in UNSC
J&K govt may act against staff for Jamaat,JKLF links
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday warned its employees of action if found in any manner associated with Jamaat-e-Islami or JKLF declared as unlawful associations by Union home ministry recently.It said that association or participation, direct or indirect, of any government employee with these organizations will attract provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1971. “All govt employees should desist from associating, directly or indirectly, with these unlawful associations in any manner whatsoever and those associated, if any, directly or indirectly, are advised to dissociate themselves forthwith failing which there will be administrative consequences,” a circular issued by govt said. The state’s general administrative department has asked the administrative secretaries, heads of the departments, managing directors and deputy commissioner to bring this to the notice of all concerned.The order added that the Central govt has through 2 separate notifications issued recently declared Jamaat-e-Islami J&K and JKLF as UAPA. asianage
Kashmiri businessman’s assets worth Rs 6.19 cr attached
New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth Rs 6.19 crore belonging to a Kashmiri businessman, Zahoor Ahmad Watali, as part of a money laundering probe related to the funding of separatists and terrorists in J&K.The agency, which investigates money laundering and foreign exchange rule violations, also claimed that leaders of the Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella group of separatist organisations, were receiving funds “directly” from Pakistan high commission in New Delhi and also through other conduits operating on behalf of India’s western neighbour.HT
One Month After Rizwan's Custodial Death, Family's Hope for Justice Is Fading
Srinagar: On the main entrance of their two-story house, the family of 28-year-old Rizwan Asad Pandith, who was killed in police custody on March 19, has pasted a black poster.In white, bold letters, the message reads: “JUSTICE FOR RIZWAN”.With each passing day, both the poster and the family’s hope for justice for their beloved son are fading. The family is still in shock and their faces are shrouded in distress. They want an answer from the government. Why the Rizwan was tortured to death in police custody?Referring to previous similar cases in Kashmir, Rizwan’s family said their hope for justice is dwindling. “More than 20 days have passed and the enquiry officials are yet to make a breakthrough in the case. As Rizwan was a Kashmiri, there is an 80% chance that justice will not be delivered,” Zulkarnain Asad, f Rizwan’s younger brother told The Wire.thewire
Jharkhand: Old ox dies, mob kills man, three injured are booked for bovine slaughter
Gumla (jharkhand) :When Adranish Kujur told the village of Jhurmo in Jharkhand that his 20-year-old ox had died in his field, at least 35 villagers went to carve it up. Minutes later, a mob, armed with rods and sticks, attacked them, claiming they had slaughtered a cow. While most managed to flee, Prakash Lakra was killed and three others injured in the assault.Two days after the mob violence, as Jhurmo still recovers from the shock of the lynching, Jharkhand police Friday booked the three injured men, who are currently undergoing treatment at hospital, under the state’s bovine slaughter Act. And 2 of 7 men charged with Lakra’s murder have been arrested.On Wednesday, the mob had attacked the 4 men in a field between Jhurmo and the neighbouring Jairagi village and then took them to the Dumri police station. Police rushed 4 — all tribal Christians — to the Community Health Centre in Dumri block of Gumla where Lakra was declared dead.3 injured have been identified as Peter Phuljans (50), Belasus Tirkey (60) and Janriush Minz (40) and are now being treated at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi.Dr Roshan Khalkho at Gumla Community Health Centre said that Phuljans, Tirkey and Minz suffered lacerated wounds, abrasions and bruises. “All three had difficulty walking and were writhing in pain. They were beaten up on their arms,shoulder, scapula region and seems that blunt force was used.”Indian express
Muzaffarnagar riots: Court fixes Apr 30 for decision on plea to stop sale of accused's property
Muzaffarnagar: A Muzaffarnagar court has fixed April 30 for the decision on a plea to stop the sale of the property of an accused in connection with a murder case during the 2013 riots here. Chief Judicial Magistrate Rakesh Gautam was hearing the plea filed by Mohamed Saleem in which he alleged that the accused has not surrendered before the court despite repeated issuance of arrest warrants.Saleem, whose son Shahnawaz was allegedly stabbed to death by 8 people in Kawal village on Aug.27, 2013, alleged in the plea that the accused were planing to sale their properties.He said the accused were planning to do so in order to escape and avoid surrendering before the court.The court last month initiated attachment proceedings against 6 people for not appearing before it in connection with Shahnawaz's murder case during the Muzaffarnagar riots.outlookindia
Muslim women should pray inside homes: Kerala Sunni clerics body
“Women are supposed to pray inside homes,” Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama (SKJU), a body of Sunni clerics and scholars, on Tuesday reiterated its stand on women entering mosques. The statement by the important Muslim body in Kerala comes after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea seeking Muslim women’s entry into mosques.Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama(SKJU) General Secretary K Alikkutyy Musaliyar on Tuesday said that they cannot accept the court’s intervention in matters pertaining to religion, specifying that they will only follow directions from religious leaders, said a TOI report. He also said that SKJU had taken a similar stand when Sabarimala verdict came.“The rule regarding women’s entry to mosques is 1,400 years old and Prophet Muhammed has given us a clarification regarding this. Only men should be allowed to pray inside a mosque,”Musaliyar said.Meanwhile, Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliyar, grand mufti of Sunni-Sufi Muslim community in India and General Secretary of All India Sunni Jamiyyathul Ulama, said that the court should only intervene in religious matters after consulting with religious heads.PTI
Nearly 50 killed in rain, thunderstorm in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra
Nearly 50 people have died in MP, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra because of rain and thunderstorm caused by a western disturbance on Tuesday, ANI reported.Maximum casualties were reported in Rajasthan, where 21 people being killed in rain-related incidents. At least 15 people were killed in Madhya Pradesh, 10 in Gujarat and three in Maharashtra.The India Meteorological Department said heavy rainfall and gusty wind was recorded in Chittorgarh, Sriganganagar, Ajmer, Kota and Pilani in Rajasthan, according to the HT. “[A] western disturbance and winds with moisture from Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal are developing this kind of weather conditions,” an unidentified Met department official said. “Gusty winds are causing dust storm mainly in western parts of the state because the soil is loose and there is lack of moisture there.”scroll.in
India: ELECTIONS
In Bhopal, BJP fields Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya vs Congress’ Digvijaya
New Delhi :Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur joined BJP on Wednesday after a meeting with senior BJP leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Ramlal, and Prabhat Jha in Bhopal. “I have formally joined BJP, I will contest elections and will win also,” Thakur told ANI. Sadhvi will contest from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat after former Madhya Pradesh chief ministers Chouhan and Uma Bharti declined to contest from the constituency. She will take on Congress candidate Digvijaya Singh. Thakur, one of the accused in the 2008 blast case, is currently out on bail. indianexpress
In U-turn, Bhim army chief says won't contest against PM Modi in Varanasi
New Delhi: Nearly a month after announcing that he would contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi, Bhim army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Wednesday rescinded his decision, saying his outfit will support the SP-BSP alliance and the dalit vote should remain intact to defeat BJP.Chandrashekhar's remarks comes a few days after BSP chief Maywati termed him a BJP agent and accused him of dividing dalit votes.Dalit group's founder also said Bhim army will support the SP-BSP alliance if it fields Satish Chandra Mishra, Mayawati's general secretary and Brahmin face of BSP, from the Varanasi seat. Earlier, Bhim army chief had accused Mishra of misleading Mayawati and conspiring against the Dalit group."I have decided not to contest from because I do not want that my decision should strengthen BJP or Modi in anyway.We all want to defeat BJP,"he said. Chandrashekhar had earlier told PTI that he won't contest from the seat if his candidature "strengthened" Modi.PTI
AAP leader Sanjay Singh meets Ghulam Nabi Azad to hold alliance talks in Haryana, says sources
New Delhi:AAP leader Sanjay Singh Wednesday met Congress general secretary in-charge of Haryana Ghulam Nabi Azad to take alliance talks forward in the state, sources said.According to the sources, Singh has proposed 6:3:1 seat sharing in Haryana in which Congress would fight from 6 seats, while Jannayak Janata Party would field its candidates for 3 seats and one candidate would be fielded by AAP.But the Congress has proposed a 7:2:1 seat-sharing formula in which seven Congress candidates, 2 JJP candidates and one AAP candidate would contest the polls, the sources added.On Tuesday, a meeting was held at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence during which senior AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai, Sanjay Singh and Satyendra Kumar Jain were present. Following the meeting, party said it is ready to have further discussion with Congress and has appointed a representative to take the matter forward. AAP has appointed Singh to hold the alliance talks.AAP sources said if the Congress wants alliance only in Delhi then it has to be in the 5:2 ratio and if an alliance is sealed for both Delhi and Haryana then the ratio can be 4:3 in the national capital and 6:3:1 in Haryana.PTI
In India's Assam state, citizenship law may hurt BJP's prospects:aljazeera
Guwahati: Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, pushed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's govt.The bill that would grant citizenship rights to undocumented non-Muslim immigrants, sparked protests in the country's northeast region that is home to a large immigrant population. Nearly four million people were left out of the draft National Register of Citizens in Assam.But critics say that Modi's BJP - which runs the govt both at the centre as well in Assam state - wants to amend the citizenship law to accommodate Hindu immigrants. The contentious bill, which is one of the main promises in the BJP's manifesto, seeks to provide citizenship through naturalisation to "persecuted" Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Buddhists fleeing Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.But Assam's indigenous population fear that the new bill will encourage more Hindu immigrants to come to India.Political observers believe the CAB may backfire on the BJP but a sizable section of Hindu immigrants will back the right-wing party.Bengali-origin Muslims, on the other hand, who form over one-third of the state's 32 million population, have been dubbed "infiltrators" by supporters of the bill and more recently "termites" by the BJP National President Amit Shah.
Bengaluru: ‘BJP workers’ ask woman to remove Islamic flag; force her to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’
Bengaluru: A video has surfaced showing some men, reportedly affiliated with BJP, forcing a woman to remove an Islamic flag from her balcony and pressurising her to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.The incident took place at Bommanahalli area in Karnataka’s Bengaluru. The video shows ‘BJP workers’ allegedly intimidating the woman to take off the flag.  There is no confirmation whether an action has been initiated on the part of the Karnataka Police against these men.Reports suggest that the men were campaigning for Tejasvi Surya, BJP’s Bengaluru South candidate.Meanwhile, commenting on video,Tanveer Ahmed, spokesperson of JD(S), alleged that the man who is seen in the video is a corporator from BJP.“I am from Bengaluru South. I am very responsibly saying this. Congress member Kavitha Reddy has reported the matter and complained against it. They should win the election on the basis of performance, promises and future growth. They cannot stoop to such a cheap level.”​Ahmed further told Times Now:“Firstly, we all know that only through communal divide and polarisation, BJP can win elections everywhere.”Describing the act of the “gentleman, who is a corporator,” as “shameful”, Ahmed said: “This is not a Pakistani flag. Every green flag is not a Pakistani flag. Even the Indian flag has a portion of the green. These illiterate jokers need to understand what they are really doing.”“They are creating communal unrest during the elections.That is exactly what they want to do.”TimesNow
Imran Khan Remark on Modi Could be Congress’ Ploy, Says Defence Minister
New Delhi;Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that re-election of the BJP in India’s national election may provide a better chance for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, could be a ploy by the Congress to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government from the Centre.“There have been many eminent leaders of the Congress who went there (Pakistan) to seek help to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They went there saying, Modi hatane ke liye hamein madad karo (help us to oust Modi). I wonder whether this is also a part of the scheme of things which have been put by Congress. I don’t know what to make of this honestly,” the Defence Minister told news agency ANI, adding that this is her individual perception and not her party’s. During an interaction with a small group of foreign journalists in Islamabad, Imran Khan had said he believes there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settling the Kashmir issue if Modi’s party BJP wins the general elections.ANI
CPM, IUML move EC against PM Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah’s communal speeches
New Delhi:In 2 separate memorandums, CPM and Indian Union Muslim League petitioned the Chief Election Commissioner demanding action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah respectively for violating the model code of conduct and for communally polarising voters.CPM referred to PM Modi’s public address in Theni in Tamil Nadu, where he claimed the Left and Muslim League were playing a “dangerous game” on Sabarimala “to strike at the root of faith and aspiration”. In a letter to CEC, party politbureau member Nilotpal Basu said the remarks made by PM were a “flagrant violation” of the model code of conduct.“This is a clear example as to how Modi is not only violating MCC but also implicitly challenging the order of the Election Commission to refrain from using Sabarimala temple and Lord Ayyappa in the election campaign.To recapitulate, LDF government has, time and again, reiterated that it does not stand against faith; but was confining itself to implementing the Supreme Court order,” Basu said.TOI
NaMo TV will have to follow silence period as per election law: Election Commission
New Delhi:Election Commission of India (ECI) toay concluded that the BJP-sponsored NaMo TV cannot display ‘election matter’ during the silence period prescribed in the electoral law in a particular phase of the poll, reported PTI. This phase is particularly called the ‘silence period’ as it allows a voter to make up his or her mind on whom to vote without being influenced by political campaigning. indian express
Stage set for 2nd phase of Lok Sabha polls tomorrow
The stage is set for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday in which 95 constituencies, spread over 11 States and one Union Territory, will go to polls.Earlier, 97 constituencies were scheduled to be covered in this phase. But, election to Vellore seat in Tamil Nadu was cancelled over allegations of excess use of money power and polling to Tripura (East) stands postponed to the third phase, over law and order concerns.Tomorrow, polling will be held in 38 constituencies in Tamil Nadu, 14 - Karnataka, 10 - Maharashtra, eight - Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, 3 each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Manipur and Puducherry. In Tamil Nadu, besides polling to the 38 Lok Sabha seats, by-elections will also be held in 18 Assembly constituencies tomorrow.Newsonair
Will Vote for the Party Which Brings My Son Back: Missing JNU Student Najeeb's Mother
New Delhi: The only poll promise which Fatima Nafees, mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad, is looking forward is the one which assures of bringing her son back. Nafees, a resident of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh which goes to poll on April 23, says representatives of various parties visit her house but they only express "sympathy".PTI
Why was demonetisation scam not probed, why did chowkidar remain asleep, asks Congress
Describing demonetisation as the “biggest scam” of the country, Congress launched a scathing attack on PM Modi and said that the absence of an investigation in the scam suggests that those involved in this loot are being protected. Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal accused Modi of “sleeping” and not ordering probe despite “evidence about the demonetisation loot.”nationalheraldindia
During Elections, NCERT Drops Chapter on Democracy From Class 9 Book
New Delhi:Those who accuse Modi govt of harbouring antipathy towards democratic and popular movements will have fresh ammunition, this time from the world of pedagogy. Govt-run NCERT has dropped a full chapter – ‘Democracy In the Contemporary World’ – from the political science textbook for class IX.The second chapter of the old textbook has now become chapter one with necessary modifications at places where there was a reference to the now excised chapter. But the new textbook does not even mention why one chapter has been removed. To make things worse, the decision was taken by a committee within NCERT that had no expert. No one involved with the finalisation of the textbook in 2005 was consulted.Historian Hari Vasudevan, who headed the advisory committee for NCERT textbooks in 2005 said, “The arbitrariness and willfulness do not send a right message at the time of elections. Moreover, it is about removing the chapter on democracy.”thewire
WORLD
Joko Widodo leads Indonesia presidential race: Unofficial results
Jakarta:Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is on track to win a second term as Indonesia's president, with quick count results indicating a 10-point lead over long-time rival Prabowo Subianto.Multiple quick counts from different election observers had Jokowi leading Prabowo, a former general, at 55 to 45 percent.Jokowi said that "let's be patient and wait for the official Electoral Commission results".Prabowo, however, contested the preliminary results, claiming that his own quick count showed that he was winning. He asked his volunteers to make sure there are no fraudulent counts at polling stations.While results won't be certain for weeks,day went smoothly across Indonesia-an archipelago of thousands of islands.With over 800,000 voting stations, 187 million eligible voters, and five million election staff, these are the world's biggest one-day elections.In Kebon Kacang, central Jakarta, voters were split nearly down the middle. Three of the six polling stations were won by Jokowi and his partner Ma'ruf Amin, and 3 by Prabowo and running mate Sandiago Uno. Jokowi-Amin received 713 votes across 6 stations,and Prabowo-Sandi 673 votes.aljazeera
Al-Bashir moved to Khartoum's Kobar prison; Sisi offers support to military rulers; Russia recognises military council, US to mull Sudan terror list removal
Sudan's deposed President Omar al-Bashir has been moved to Kobar prison in Khartoum from the presidential palace, according to sources.Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, reporting from Khartoum, said: "There is some obscurity around that situation, we know that arrests are going on, a number of his senior aides have been arrested. There is no official list, no names have been announced but also this have been confirmed to us."A Ugandan official said his government would consider granting asylum to al-Bashir because of his role in mediating a peace deal in neighbouring South Sudan. "If Uganda is approached to grant asylum to Bashir it is an issue that can be considered at the highest level of our leadership," Henry Okello Oryem, state minister for foreign affairs, told AFP.l-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes relating to the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's transitional military council, Abdel Fattah to offer his backing.United States would consider removing Sudan "from the list of state sponsors of terrorism if there is significant change in the country and a smooth transition", a senior State Department official told Reuters news agency.Sudan's military council has dismissed the country's public prosecutor and the head of the state-run radio and TV broadcasters, according to a statement.Sid Ahmed Mahmoud replaced Omar Ahmed Mohamed Abdel Salam as the top prosecutor,council said. It also named Murtada Abdullah Waraq as the new governor of Khartoum state, and Yahiya Altybe Abu Shora as the head of the judiciary.Russia's deputy foreign minister said Moscow recognised Sudan's transitional military council, according to RIA. Sudan's main protest group renews its call for the creation of a civilian-led government to replace the country's new ruling military council."The objectives of the revolution cannot be achieved totally and completely in the face of the backstage manipulations by the remnants of the regime," Taha Osman, a member of the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), tells reporters at a press conference in Khartoum."Key demand is the formation of a civil council to guarantee that the revolution is safeguarded and all the goals are achieved," Osman says.aljazeera
Sudan council hails ties with Riyadh, Abu Dhabi
Abdel-Fattah Burhan,head of Sudan’s ruling Military Transitional Council (MTC), has praised his country’s “distinctive” relations with Saudi Arabia and UAE. Burhan made the remarks at a Wednesday meeting with members of a joint Saudi/ Emirati delegation at Defense Ministry HQRS in the capital Khartoum.According to a subsequent statement released by MTC,delegation “delivered a message of greetings from the leaders of these 2 brotherly countries,who expressed their readiness to support Sudan and its people at this critical period”.Anadolu
Trump vetoes bill to end US involvement in Yemen war
President Donald Trump has vetoed a bill Congress passed to end US military assistance in Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen.In a break with the president, Congress voted for the first time to invoke the War Powers Resolution to try and stop US involvement in a foreign conflict.But Trump vetoed the measure on Wednesday with the Congress lacking the votes to override him."This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future," said Trump.House approval of resolution came earlier this month on a 247-175 vote. Senate vote last month was 54-46.aljazeera
Shelling kills 4 in Tripoli as UN debates Libya ceasefire
At least 4 people have been killed in heavy shelling in Libyan capital Tripoli.Nearly 2 weeks into the assault to seize the city, Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based LNA is stuck in the city's southern outskirts battling armed groups loyal to the UN-recognised Tripoli govt.But the southern district of Abu Salim got shelled late on Tuesday with explosions heard even in the city centre where life had been going on largely untouched by the violence in Libya.The artillery killed at least two people and wounded eight, Osama Ali, spokesman for a Tripoli emergency body, told Reuters news agency, without saying who was behind the shelling. aljazeera
Armed European diplomats try to cross from Libya to Tunisia
Tunisian authorities have stopped more than 20 armed European diplomats attempting to cross into the country from neighbouring Libya, local officials said on Tuesday."An armed group consisting of 13 French nationals attempted to cross the border in 4x4 vehicles with diplomatic license plates at the Ras Jedir crossing on Sunday," said Abdelkareem Zubaidi, the minister of national defense.According to local FM radio, the group was denied entry into Tunisia after failing to disclose the entirety of its arms inventory. The French embassy in Tunis said the individuals were members of a security detail attached to the French diplomatic mission in Libya which is based in the Tunisian capital."Given the current situation in Libya, one of the trips which the French embassy undertakes regularly between Tunis and Tripoli, was made by road," the embassy said, without mentioning any arms seized. According to local media reports, the visitors had come from the Libyan city of Garyan where they had been advising forces led by renegade General Khalifa Haftar.aljazeera
Army chief:Time running out to resolve Algeria crisis
Algeria's army chief has said the military is considering all options to resolve the country's political crisis, as thousands of protesters marched through the capital calling for the country's interim leaders to resign.In a speech broadcast on state media on Tuesday, General Ahmed Gaid Salah warned that "time is running out" to find a solution to the ongoing upheaval ahead of elections scheduled for July 4."All options are open in the pursuit of overcoming the different difficulties and finding a solution to the crisis as soon as possible, in a way that serves our nation's interests without regard to individual interest," he said.His comments came after state media reported that the head of the Algerian Constitutional Council had stepped down.aljazeera 
Egypt court sentences 36 people to 5 years in prison for joining Muslim Brotherhood
An Egyptian court has sentenced 36 people convicted of joining the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization to 5 years in prison.Alexandria criminal court on Tuesday also sentenced the defendants to five years of probation. They were arrested in Alexandria in 2017.The sentences can be appealed.The Brotherhood won a series of free elections following Egypt’s 2011 uprising but was branded a terrorist group after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. Since then, courts have held mass trials and sentenced hundreds of people to death.Rights groups have repeatedly criticized such mass sentencings in Egypt and called on authorities to ensure fair trials.AP
Turkey to US: Iran embargoes are 'wrong'
Ankara will continue telling the U.S. that imposing embargoes on Iran is "wrong", Turkey’s foreign minister said Wednesday.Speaking at a joint news conference with Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkish ministers had clearly conveyed their concerns about the sanctions during a recent visit to Washington."We will continue telling the U.S. that the embargoes [on Iran] are wrong," Cavusoglu said.The U.S. unleashed tough sanctions on Iran last November that hit core parts of the country’s economy, including oil exports, shipping and banks.Anadolu
US issues new map showing Golan Heights as Israel territory
US has issued a new map showing the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as Israeli territory, just three weeks after US President Donald Trump announced he would recognise the region as belonging to Israel. US’ Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, yesterday tweeted a picture of the new map with the words “welcome to the newest addition of our international maps system after [Trump] issued a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights”.middleeastmonitor
Hamas: Sinai will not be part of Palestine
In light of reports that the US will ask Egypt to concede part of Sinai to create a Palestinian state, Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh stressed yesterday that no part of Sinai would be part of Palestine.Haniyeh stressed that Gaza would expand in the north, but not in the south, towards Sinai. Meanwhile, he hailed the “victory” of the Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails as the Israeli occupation authorities agreed to their demands.MEMO
Prisoners' Day: 'No one feels our pain', Palestinian family says
Ramallah, West Bank - With a grin on her face, Samaher clutched onto the notebook.Of the few gifts that her husband, Nabil Masalmeh, was able to send from behind bars in Israel, it remains the closest to her heart.It took Nabil 22 days to ink his letters and compile them to his wife and two of their three children, Zaid, 21, and Beirut, 19. He wrote a page for each of them, Samaher told Al Jazeera.Poems customised with drawings of the children's favourite cartoon characters, burning candles, and broken hearts were illustrations among the book Nabil shared with his family over a decade ago.In these heartfelt pages, none was dedicated to Karim, the couple's youngest child born in 2014.Karim was conceived through a combination of sperm-smuggling and IVF."Karim is the most precious gift Nabil gave me," Samaher said.Three years into their marriage in 1996, Nabil was sentenced to 23 years in prison for his involvement in the killing of an Israeli soldier during the second Intifada. For the past 19 years, he has been pushing to remain a part of his children's life.aljazeera
Pakistan hands Bin Salman humanitarian award
Mohamed Bin Salman has notched up two awards in his latest tour of Pakistan where the Crown Prince was honoured for championing key humanitarian issues during a trip in which Riyadh signed $20 billion investment deals with Islamabad.Pakistan conferred its highest civilian honour, Nishan-e-Pakistan to the Crown Prince, popularly known as MBS. Pakistan’s President  Arif Alvi, handed the award during a formal ceremony on Monday, a day after securing a $20 billion investment deal with MBS.middleeastmonitor
Notre Dame will be closed for up to 6 years
Paris :Notre Dame’s rector says he will close the burned-out Paris cathedral for up to six years. Bishop Patrick Chauvet acknowledged that the famed monument would close down for “five to six years” as he spoke with local business owners Wednesday, two days after a blaze torched the roof of the cathedral and brought down its spire. Chauvet said “a segment of the cathedral has been very weakened” by the devastating fire. He did not elaborate which section he was talking about.He added it was unclear what the church’s 67 employees would be doing in the future. The French prime minister has announced an international architects’ competition to rebuild the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral.AP
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:56 PM)

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