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Monday, 22 April 2019

22 April ND: US removes sanction waivers to India, 7 other countries importing oil from Iran/Indian Muslim organisations condemn bombings in Sri Lanka/ 8 ex-DGPs come out strongly against Pragya’s ‘despicable’ comments on Karkare/


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING 
22 April 2019: 16 Shaban 1440:Vol: 11, No:182
INDIA
US removes sanction waivers to India, 7 other countries importing oil from Iran
US President Donald Trump has decided not to renew waivers that allowed 8 countries, including India, to buy oil from Iran without facing sanctions.“President Donald J. Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions [SREs] when they expire in early May,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday. “This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.”The waivers are due for renewal on May 2, reported The Hill.“US, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, 3 of the world’s great energy producers, along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied. We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market,” the statement said.India has lined up alternate sources to make up for the likely shortfall in oil supplies, unidentified government officials told PTI. US had re-imposed sanctions on Iran last Nov, after Trump pulled out of 2015 Iran nuclear deal. India, China, South Korea, Japan, Greece, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and Italy were allowed to temporarily import oil from Iran without sanctions.“Trump Administration and our allies are determined to sustain and expand maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime’s destabilizing activity threatening US, our partners and allies,and security in the Middle East,” Sanders said.scroll
Sexual harassment allegations against CJI should be dealt with as per procedure: SC lawyers’ forum
New Delhi:The Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association (SCAORA) today expressed “deep reservation” against “procedural impropriety” shown by CJI Ranjan Gogoi in dealing with sexual harassment allegations against him and said the charges should be dealt with as per established procedure.In a resolution passed on April 22, the top court lawyers’ body said, “The allegation of the ex-employee of the Supreme Court have to be dealt with as per the established procedure of law and law must be applied in each and every case uniformly”. “It is therefore resolved that the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association strongly disapproves the manner in which the complaint was dealt with and seeks enquiry and action in the above matter and further seeks immediate appointment of a committee headed by full court of the SC to impartially investigate and inquire into the allegations made against CJI Gogoi, and give independent finding into the matter,” the resolution said.PTI
Bulandshahr violence: ‘Bajrang Dal convener called accused before cop’s killing’
Noida:Bajrang Dal convener Yogesh Raj and other accused exchanged several phone calls hours prior to the violence which claimed the life of police officer Subodh Kumar Singh in Bulandshahr on Dec.3, stated the chargesheet filed by UP police SIT. As per the chargesheet, accused Sachin Ahlawat made a 28-second call to Yogesh at 8.55 am on Dec.3, informing him of an alleged cow-slaughter incident in Mahav. Yogesh’s location at the point of call was Nayabas, where he resides. Between 9 am and 10.30 am several phone calls were exchanged between Yogesh and other accused Ashish Chauhan, Satish Chandra, Sachin Jat, Pavan, Satyendra and Vishal Tyagi. Yogesh’s location changed from Nayabas to Siyana within 45 minutes of receiving the first call. The chargesheet was filed in March.“Hence it is clear that the information of the cow-slaughter incident was given by accused Sachin Ahlawat to Bajrang Dal convenor Yogesh Raj. After this Yogesh directed the other accused to gather with their supporters at the scene of crime. Yogesh and rest of the accused put the carcass on the tractor trolley and carried it in front of Siyana police station on Bulandshahr highway and raised slogans against the police”,stated the chargesheet.The chargesheet claimed that the route of Ijtema devotees, which was being held in Bulandshahr during the same time-period, was shifted from Aurangabad to Jahangirabad which otherwise could have resulted in riots on an “unimaginable” scale.SIT has submitted that Bajrang Dal activists “led” the crowd which formed the blockade outside Siyana police booth with the tractor that contained the alleged cow carcasses. “The crowd was responsible for destroying State property and the violence was incited to create law and order problems. Objectionable slogans were raised against the police”, stated chargesheet. indianexpress
Najeeb case: Give closure report documents to his mother, Delhi HC directs CBI
New Delhi:A Delhi court on Monday directed CBI to give copies of all statements and documents related to the closure report of probe into missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed’s case to his mother within two weeks.CMM Naveen Kumar Kashyap directed the probe agency to supply the documents in physical or electronic form and asked the investigating officer of the case to appear before it in person on May 7.The court’s order came while hearing a protest petition filed by Ahmed’s mother, Fatima Nafees, against CBI’s closure report in the case.The lawyer appearing argued that she has not been supplied statement of witnesses.indianexpress
Our Son's Life is in Danger: Father-Mother of Muslim Prisoner Branded with 'Om' Symbol in Tihar Jail
New Delhi:Father and mother of the Muslim prisoner who was burn-stamped with ‘Om’ symbol allegedly by a jail superintendent inside the high-security Tihar jail are in shock and pain. Even as the court has issued a notice to the jail authorities, the family expressed apprehension that their son could be killed inside the jail.“I am feeling sad and pained. Injustice has been down with my son. It’s too much. Should that happen? Will you change anyone’s religion? They have not done right with my son,” says Zareena Begum,mother of under-trial prisoner Nabbir @Shabbir.She alleged that the accused jail superintendent Rajesh Chauhan even threatened to kill or get killed her son.“He (jail official) even threatened that if he had power he would have killed him or got him killed. He forced him to observe fasting on navratra. He branded ‘Om’ on his back and burnt his lower parts of the back with cigarette butts. I want justice with my son. I can’t do anything. The court should give justice to my son. I will accept court’s order. Judge is good. He immediately took action on the plea of our lawyer,” said Zareena.India Tomorrow
Authorities don’t want us to speak out, claim Kashmiri students of Dehradun college
Dehradun:Kashmiri students of a Dehradun-based private engineering college have alleged that the college authorities have been coaxing them to present the college in ‘good light’ in front of members of Kashmir’s civil society.The matter pertains to the alleged attacks that took place on Kashmiri students in Dehradun by members of right-wing groups after the Pulwama attacks in J&K. Students of BFIT said college authorities are asking them to praise the college in front of members of J&K’s civil society who are due for a visit.“We were informed by our teachers that certain activists and other members of civil society from Kashmir will be visiting the college to interact with the Kashmiri students about what happened here after the Pulwama attack and how the right wing groups of Dehradun were trying to target us,” a third year engineering student of BFIT, said.“They asked us to project the college and its efforts at that time in a good light and to refrain from making any negative comments,” student said. Another second year student from the same college said, “The college authorities got scared and did not do anything for us at that time. They even signed a letter stating they will not give admissions to Kashmiri students from the next academic session and now they want us to lie for them.”HT
ELECTIONS
Polling for 3rd phase of LS polls to be held tomorrow
All arrangements are in place for tomorrow's polling for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections. 116 constituencies, spread over 13 States and two Union Territories, are going to polls in this phase. Voting will take place for all 26 constituencies in Gujarat; all 20 in Kerala; 14 each in Maharashtra and Karnataka; 10 in UP ; seven in Chhattisgarh; six in Odisha; five each in Bihar and West Bengal; four in Assam; two in Goa; one each in J&K , Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura. The political fate of several prominent leaders of various parties will be decided in this phase. BJP President Amit Shah, Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi, SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD leader Sharad Yadav are among them.AIR
PM Modi uses blasts in Sri Lanka to ask for votes for BJP in Lok Sabha polls
PM  Narendra Modi was addressing a poll rally in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan on Sunday when he urged voters, in the name of the recent Sri Lanka terror attacks, to vote for the BJP.After he spoke at length about achievements of his govt’s schemes and the failures of the Congress, Modi went on to condemn the eight bomb blasts in Sri Lanka.“My condolences to people who have lost loved ones who were in prayer on this holy festival,” he said, before making a case for his party to eradicate terror. “When you all go to vote and press the button next to the lotus, bear in mind that you are pressing the button to destroy terrorism. There is power in your vote. When you vote for the lotus, I will get the strength to fight against terror.”  thenewsminute
8 ex-DGPs come out strongly against Pragya’s ‘despicable’ comments on Karkare
New Delhi :8 former top police officers Sunday strongly condemned the “despicable” remark of BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate Pragya Singh Thakur that her “curse” killed Hemant Karkare, and demanded those who laid down their lives for the country be respected. In a statement, the former DGPs said the country owes Karkare, who headed Maharashtra ATS and was killed during the 26/11 attack, a huge debt of gratitude and anything that detracts from this is worthy of strong condemnation.“This despicable and regrettable statement of Thakur only serves to highlight the need to publicly recognise the supreme sacrifice made by the 35,000 police personnel from all corners of India who since Independence have laid down their lives in the line of duty,” the statement said.Those who signed the statement include: ex Punjab DGP Julio Ribeiro, ex-BSF chief and UP and Assam DGP Prakash Singh, ex Kerala DGPs PKH Tharakan and Jacob Punoose, ex-National Police Academy (Hyderabad) DGP Kamal Kumar, ex Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal, ex Assam DGP and NSG DG Jayanto N. Choudhury, and N Ramachandran, ex-DGP Meghalaya. Ex police officers said Sadhvi Pragya, a contestant from the Bhopal constituency, made some unfortunate remarks referring to the late Karkare. She has since retracted.“Karkare would probably be alive today had he not volunteered to return to Maharashtra cadre from a plum posting at Centre with the specific intention of working with ATS to prevent and investigate the activities of terrorists so that the rest of us could sleep safe in our beds,” the statement said.PTI
No more controversial remarks, BJP tells Pragya
Bhopal: BJP leadership on Sunday asked Bhopal candidate Sadhvi Pragya Thakur to exercise restraint and avoid provocative statements. She is, however, free to speak about her alleged “torture” in custody as a Malegaon blast accused, say sources.Pragya, who was fielded four days ago, was handed 2 Election Commission notices on Saturday for violation of model code — first for her ‘curse of death’ remark on Hemant Karkare, and then for her boast that she climbed atop Babri Masjid and was proud to demolish it.TOI
Hyderabad safe haven for terrorists: BJP leader
Hyderabad :BJP leader and Secunderabad MP, Bandaru Dattatreya, alleged that Hyderabad is a safe haven for Islamic terrorist activities and that the police are not taking stern action because K Chandrashekhar Rao-led TRS govt is aligned with AIMIM.“Recent investigations of NIA reveal that Hyderabad is a safe haven for Islamic terrorist activities. A large number of people are being recruited in Hyderabad,” said Dattatreya.ANI
Goof-up? BJP leader asks to vote for ‘cycle’, another wants Amit Shah as PM
New Delhi :In a major goof-up, BJP leader Ashok Bajpai on Sunday appealed to the people of UP  to vote for ‘cycle’ to ensure victory for PM  Narendra Modi. In a video clip shared on Twitter, Bajpai is heard addressing an election rally in UP : “To make Narendra Modi PM once again, please stand in the queue on polling stations since morning on April 29. Press the ‘cycle’ button to make PM  Narendra Modi win (Cycle wali button dabakar Modiji ko jeetane ka kaam karna).”video garnered a lot of attention online, leaving most users in splits. While addressing the same rally, another BJP leader Naresh Agrawal, who was earlier with Samajwadi Party,  expressed his desire to make party president Amit Shah the PM . “Our PM (candidate) is Amit Shah. Who will be your PM,” Agrawal said.indianexpress
Will help with jobs even if you don’t vote for me, Varun Gandhi tells Muslim voters in Pilibhit
New Delhi :Days after his mother drew flak for telling Muslim voters that she won’t work for them if they don’t vote for her, BJP leader Varun Gandhi, while campaigning in UP ’s Pilibhit Sunday, said that even if Muslims don’t vote for him, he’s ready to give them jobs.Varun, who is contesting from Pilibhit this time, said he will provide jobs to Muslim voters who don’t even support him but added that if they vote for him, he will be very happy.He said, “I just want to say one thing to my Muslim brother that if you vote for me, I will feel good. But even if you don’t, its okay. You can still demand jobs from me.indian express
LS elections: Congress goes solo, fields Sheila Dikshit from North East Delhi, Maken from New Delhi
New Delhi :Sheila Dikshit, former Delhi CM  and DPCC president, has been named as Congress’s candidate from North East Delhi and JP Aggarwal from Chandni Chowk. The party Monday announced its candidates for six out of seven seats in Delhi for the Lok Sabha elections. Former DPCC president Ajay Maken is in the fray from New Delhi while Arvinder Singh Lovely from East Delhi.A 5-time MLA, Lovely held important portfolios such as education,tourism, urban development and transport as a minister. Olympic wrestler Sushil Kumar, whose name was in the running for West Delhi, has not been given a ticket. The party’s Purvanchali face Mahabal Mishra has been given ticket instead.Rajesh Lilothia has been chosen to contest from North West Delhi.The party is yet to announce a candidate for South Delhi. The probable names for the seat are Ramesh Kumar Chauhan and Sushil Kumar. This announcement has virtually closed all doors on the possibility of an alliance with AAP — the two parties had previously agreed to a 4-3 formula before talks were disrupted. They have not been able to reach an agreement in Haryana either.indianexpress
Welfare Party’s SQR Ilyas Poses Fresh Challenge to Pranab Mukherjee’s Son in Jangipur
Kolkata;It’s been 5 months since Dr SQR Ilyas, president of WPI, has been diligently engaging in door to door campaign in Jangipur, a constituency of West Bengal which shall be going to poll on Tuesday. Jangipur or Jahangirpur, a town set up by Mughal emperor Jahangir has sent MPs from CPM and Congress to the Parliament, but despite all the ‘bidi town’ of India, situated along the banks of river Bhagirathi has seen little to no progress, claimed Dr Ilyas, who has been regularly visiting Jangipur since 2012.    In an interview with Caravan Daily, Dr Ilyas said, "This constituency used to first vote for CPM and now it is Congress. Pranab Mukherjee was elected as MP twice from Jangipur and so has been the case of his son Avijeet Mukherjee. The common man from this area had invested a great deal of trust in the father-son duo only to be let down. If you will check the performance of Avijeet, you will be surprised that he has returned around 2.5 crores of the 25 crore MP fund that he was given by the centre. My question is why return the money when there is so much work to be done. Didn’t he have plans to take care of the issues plaguing the constituency?  People of this area need real change. Our party is not contesting election from here with the simple agenda of winning a seat but to bring in democratic reforms which is very much needed here. The deplorable condition of this constituency made us choose this seat. " caravandaily
‘Pakistan’s nuclear bombs are not kept for Eid either’: Mehbooba Mufti hits back at Modi
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti hit out at PM Narendra Modi for bragging about India’s nuclear capability. She accused Modi of “stooping low” and lowering the country’s political discourse.On Sunday, Modi had said that his Govt had refused to be intimidated by Pakistan’s nuclear threats and that with the Balakot air strike, India had given Pakistan a “fitting reply”.“What do we have then? Have we kept our nuclear bomb for Diwali?” Modi had said at a rally in Rajasthan.scroll.in
SRI lANKA BLASTS
Indian Muslim organisations condemn bombings in Sri Lanka
New Delhi: India’s prominent Muslim body Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has strongly condemned the deadly serial blasts in Sri Lanka on Sunday and termed them as unforgivable heinous crimes against humanity.President of Jamaat, Syed Sadatullah Husaini expressed deep sorrow over the tragedy and extended his sympathy with the families of over 200 people killed in the blasts. He also expressed solidarity with over 500 injured people and prayed to Allah for their speedy recovery.Husaini said that our neighbouring country Sri Lanka was living peacefully after passing through years of internal strife, violence and killings. It is surprising that when there was full peace in the country, this violent incident took place and hundreds of people were killed. This is highly condemnable and tragic.Dr SQR Ilyas, National President of WPI and the MP candidate from Jangipur seat strongly condemned the suicide attack that rocked the island country of Sri Lanka which killed 180 people and injured 300 in 8 serial blasts and called it an act against humanity.He said this incident which has shocked the entire world was done to cause terror and to rupture the social fabric in that country. Dr SQR Ilyas called it a complete failure on the part of intelligence where innocent people are falling victims to these insensitive suicide bombers all over the world with the recent ones like Phulwama in India and a mosque attack in New Zealand.theindianawaaz
Indian Church, Muslim Organizations Condemn Sri Lanka Bombings
5 Indian party workers on post-election break among dead in Sri Lanka
Bengaluru: At least 5 workers from an Indian political party on a break after working on India’s general election were among some 290 people killed in bomb attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, a govt official said.Another two from a 7-member group from the party, Janata Dal Secular, were missing.The group was on an outing after voting took place on Thursday in India’s general election in Karnataka. They were staying at the Shangri-La hotel in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. A suicide bomber attacked the hotel as guests sat down to a buffet breakfast.“They were having breakfast on the second floor when the blast occurred,” Rajath B, a family friend of one of the victims, told Reuters.Reuters
Local group linked to deadly attacks claims Lankan minister
Sri Lanka's health minister has claimed that a local organisation was linked to the string of bombings.Rajitha Senaratne on Monday blamed President Maithripala Sirisena's govt for failing to act on intelligence shared 14 days before the multiple blasts that targeted churches and luxury hotels across the island nation.  Senaratne said that failure to act against National Thowheeth Jama'ath, a local organisation, had devastated the entire country."Unfortunately, despite all these revelations by the intelligence units we could not avert these attacks," Senaratne, who is also the Cabinet spokesman, said.No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks so far. Senaratne's criticism of President Sirisena, who heads the security forces, comes a day after PM  Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledged that "information was there" about possible attacks.Ties between the two leaders are at an all-time low following Sirisena's sacking of Wickremesinghe in October. The move triggered a weeks-long political crisis that ended only when the Supreme Court overturned that decision. aljazeera
Sri Lanka imposes emergency, says international network involved in attacks
Colombo: Sri Lanka said on Monday it was invoking emergency powers in the aftermath of devastating bomb attacks on hotels and churches, blamed on militants with foreign links, in which 290 people were killed and nearly 500 wounded.The emergency law, which gives police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, will go into effect at midnight on Monday, the president’s office said.
Colombo, the seaside capital of the Indian Ocean island, was jittery on Monday. Police said 87 bomb detonators were found at the city’s main bus station, while an explosive went off near a church where scores were killed on Sunday when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse it.A night curfew will go into effect at 8 p.m., the Govt  announced.There was no claim of responsibility for the attack but suspicion was focusing on Islamist militants in the Buddhist-majority country. Investigators said 7 suicide bombers took part in the attacks while a Govt  spokesman said an international network was involved.Police said 24 people had been arrested, all of whom were Sri Lankan, but they gave no more details.Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said an international network was involved, but did not elaborate.“We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country,” Senaratne said.“There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”The president, Maithripala Sirisena, said in a statement Govt would seek foreign assistance to track the overseas links. Reuters
OIC Chief Condemns ‘Cowardly’ Sri Lanka Attacks
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has condemned the attacks in Sri Lanka. OIC chief Yousef al-Othaimeen described them as "cowardly attacks" that targeted innocent worshippers and civilians.Saudi Arabia also denounced the attacks in Sri Lanka.Earlier Sunday, other Arab Gulf nations issued similar statements condemning the attack.AsharqAlAwsat
Hamas condemns Sri Lanka terrorist attacks
Gaza(PIC):Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, strongly denounced the terrorist attacks that targeted hotels and places of worship in Sri Lanka on Sunday. Hamas said in an official statement, "This barbaric and unjustified act is a crime against humanity."Hamas, on behalf of the Palestinian people, extended condolences to the families of the victims and wished those injured in the attacks speedy recovery.
WORLD
Sudan protesters to Saudi, UAE: 'Please keep your money'
Sudanese protesters have called on Saudi Arabia and UAE to "keep their money" a day after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi offered to send Khartoum $3bn aid.Hours after oil-rich Gulf states made the announcement on Sunday, demonstrators at the sit-in outside Sudan's military headquarters in the capital started chanting: "We don't want Saudi support.""They are lobbying and using money to try and control Sudan. We have enough resources to look after ourselves and our interests," Adil Gasem Alseed, a trader, told Al Jazeera on Monday."We can rebuild our country without their help. We say thank you, please keep your money," 52-year-old said. Other protesters said Sudan needed good leadership and not foreign aid."We have the resources. With good leadership, we can look after our country," Hanan Alsadiq, a university student, said."The timing of their aid says a lot about their intentions. Why did they wait until now? Why did they not call on Omar al-Bashir to stop when he was killing our people. Their money will only create problems for us," said Alsadiq, who was born in Saudi Arabia.The military removed al-Bashir earlier this month after months of anti-Govt  protests during which dozens of people were killed.The two Gulf countries, in a joint statement, said $500m would be deposited in Sudan's central bank to "ease the pressure on the Sudanese pound and achieve more stability in the exchange rate".The rest of the aid money will be sent in the form of food, medicines and fuel derivatives, the statement added.Many demonstrators at the sit-in said they suspected the two countries of trying to influence the ruling military transitional council with the aid. Sudan's head of the transitional military council, Lt General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan,was head of the ground troops when Khartoum sent its soldiers to Yemen as part of a Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels. Economists say Sudan needs all the financial aid it can get to improve its economic situation. aljazeera
Former Turkish PM Davutoglu criticizes AK Party, says alliance politics harmed the Party
Ankara: A former PM  and close ally of President Tayyip Erdogan strongly criticized the ruling AK Party on Monday, blaming policy changes and an alliance with nationalists for its poor performance in Turkey’s local elections last month.In his first major public challenge to Erdogan since leaving office three years ago, Ahmet Davutoglu, an AKP member, slammed the party’s economic policies, media restrictions and the damage he said it had done to the separation of powers and to Turkey’s institutions.Davutoglu, a high profile figure in the party, served as PM  between 2014 and 2016 before falling out with Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey with his AKP for 16 years.In a serious blow to Erdogan, the AKP lost control of the capital Ankara and Turkey’s largest city Istanbul in the March 31 polls.AKP and its Islamist predecessors had governed the two cities for 25 years. “The election results show that alliance politics have caused harm to our party, both in terms of voter levels and the party’s identity,” Davutoglu said in a 15-page statement.AKP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) formed an alliance before presidential and parliamentary elections in June last year in which Erdogan won the executive presidency but saw the level of support for his party fall.Davutoglu said the party’s reformist, liberal ethos had been replaced in recent years by a more statist, security-based approach that was driven by concerns about preserving the status quo.He also said recent economic policy decisions showed a move away from free market principles and that “scaring global investors necessary to the development of the country is a dead-end”.“Main reason for the economic crisis is an administration crisis.Trust in the administration vanishes if economic policy decisions are far from reality,” Davtoglu said.He also warned against cronyism in public administration and said that recruitment should be transparent and based on competence and qualifications, not on personal connections. He stressed the need for reform within:“I call on our party’s executives and relevant bodies to assess all these subjects and our future vision sensibly and with cool heads.” Reuters
US to end sanctions waivers for Iran oil imports
US is expected to announce on Monday that all buyers of Iranian oil will have to end their imports shortly or face sanctions, according to US officials.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was expected to announce that the Trump administration would not be renewing sanctions waivers it granted to eight importers of Iranian oil late last year.Washington had granted the waivers to China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece - allowing them limited purchases for 6 months. They expire on May 2.The decision not to to extend the waivers, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was finalized on Friday by President Donald Trump, according to the officials.aljazeera
Pak, Iran to form rapid reaction force along border area
 Pakistan and Iran will establish a joint border security force to respond to an uptick in violence along the countries' shared border, the Iranian president has announced, as Pakistan's PM  concludes a two-day visit to the Iranian capital.Last week, at least 14 Pakistani security forces personnel were killed in a bus ambush that Pakistani Govt blamed on Iran-based armed groups. Border security was top of the agenda for Pakistani PM Imran Khan's visit to Tehran, where he met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei." Both countries [have] agreed to set up a joint rapid reaction force that will be operating on the borders of the two countries to fight terrorism," said Rouhani at a joint press conference following the talks. Khan pledged that his Govt would not allow Pakistani soil to be used by armed groups against any country. "We will not allow any militant groups to operate from our soil," he said. "This govt for the first time in Pakistan's [history] is dismantling any militant group in our country". Both countries also agreed to establish a barter committee to aid in a planned increase in trade between them, bypassing US sanctions that punish direct financial transactions with most Iranian entities.aljazeera
Imran Khan visits Iran amid tense relations
Khamenei names new chief for Iran's Revolutionary Guards: Reuters
Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has replaced head of influential Revolutionary Guards Corps, state TV reported, days after US designated elite group a foreign terrorist organisation. TV station did not give a reason for the change when it announced the appointment of Brigadier General Hossein Salami to position and his promotion to the rank of Major General. He served as deputy commander of Guards for years and is known for his hardline comments against Israel and US. “Supreme Leader has appointed Salami as the new commander-in-chief of the Guards, who will replace Mohammad Ali Jafari,” it said.
US tells Afghan president Qatar talks best chance for peace
Afghan-to-Afghan talks in Qatar were scheduled to start last week when they were scuttled after a falling out over who should attend.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the Afghan president to express disappointment over the indefinite postponement of talks with the Taliban and to condemn the insurgent’s latest “spring offensive.”Afghan-to-Afghan talks in Qatar were scheduled to start last week when they were scuttled after a falling out over who should attend. It would have marked the first time that Taliban and Kabul govt officials sat together.State Department says Pompeo called President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday and condemned the Taliban’s recent announcement of starting another offensive in the spring. The Taliban have, however, managed to keep up a steady tempo of attacks even during the harsh winter months.AP
Algeria: 5 billionaires arrested as part of anti-corruption drive: aljazeera
Algerian authorities have arrested five billionaires as part of an anti-corruption investigation, State TV reported. Issad Rebrab, the founder and CEO of Cevital, Algeria's biggest privately held company, was arrested on Monday alongside four brothers from Kouninef family.  Reda, Abdelkader, Karim and Tarek Kouninef are believed to be part of ex President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's inner circle while Rebrab, owner of the critical Liberte newspaper, opposed the president's 2014 re-election.
Israeli forces arrest 10 Palestinians,including minors
Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including minors, across the occupied East Jerusalem, on predawn Monday, Ma’an Agency reports.According to Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS),Israeli forces detained four Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem.MEMO
Israel seals off Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshipers
Israeli forces sealed off the Ibrahimi Mosque in front of Muslim worshipers, on Monday, in preparation for Israeli settlers raid for the third day of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Israeli forces were heavily deployed around the holy site.The mosque, believed to be the burial place of the prophet Abraham, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and has been the site of oft-violent tensions for decades. middleeastmonitor
Israeli minister, settlers storm Al-Aqsa for Passover
Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel along with scores of Jewish settlers forced their way on Monday into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover, according to a Palestinian official, Anadolu reports.“Ariel along with 170 settlers stormed the compound and performed Talmudic rituals near the Dome of the Rock Mosque,” Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority, told Anadolu Agency.He said the settlers were backed by Israeli police.According to al-Dibs, Jewish groups have called on followers to converge on the Al-Aqsa compound to mark the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover.
Arab League pledges $100m to Palestinian Authority in summit
Arab League has pledged to pay $100m a month to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to plug the gap left when Israel blocked tax transfers earlier in the year."We confirm that Arab countries will support the Palestinian state's budget ... [to] resist the political and financial pressure it faces," the League said on Sunday following a meeting in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.Israel collects taxes on behalf of the PA, but withheld $138mn in transfers in Feb.over Palestinian payments to political prisoners jailed for attacks against Israelis.The PA sees the payments as a kind of welfare system for families who have lost a breadwinner.aljazeera
Comedian wins Ukraine's presidential vote
Comic Volodymyr Zelensky has won Ukraine's presidential runoff vote, defeating incumbent President Petro Poroshenko with more than 73 % of the vote against about 25, according to official preliminary results. Poroshenko conceded defeat on Sunday at a press conference minutes after the exit polls were announced, saying he would help the new president prepare for the role between the official announcement of the election results and his inauguration."Next month, I will leave the office of the head of state. This is the decision of the majority of Ukrainian people. I accept this decision. I am leaving the office, but I want to highlight that I am not leaving politics. I will fight for Ukraine," he said.aljazeera
4 killed in 'foiled' attack on Saudi police station: Reports
4 people have been killed in a foiled attack on a police station in Saudi Arabia's central Riyadh province, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV said on Sunday, citing sources.The 4 casualties had helped carry out the attack at the police station in Zulfi, a small city around 250km northwest of the capital Riyadh, Al Arabiya said.Official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), quoting a spokesman for the state security services, said three policemen were also wounded and that an investigation had been launched to identify the perpetrators."A group of terrorists launched a desperate attack that was repelled," SPA said, without giving further details.aljazeera
Attackers kill 12 Mali soldiers in major attack on military base
Fighters killed at least 12 soldiers in an attack on Sunday in central Mali.The military outpost at Guire was attacked at about 5am, a source told AFP."Terrorists came out of the forest. They were on motorcycles and pick-up trucks. They burned vehicles and took away others," said the source, who asked not to be named. "The new toll is at least 12 dead, including the post commander, a captain."Mali armed forces confirmed the attack on Twitter, without saying how many soldiers had been killed. They said reinforcements were sent to the Nara sector, about 370km north of the capital, Bamako.A local resident said there had been heavy gunfire and the military was "taken by surprise" in the attack.aljazeera
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 9:04 PM)

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