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Thursday, 25 April 2019

25 April ND: IAF on Balakot strikes: Could have inflicted heavy damage on Pakistan if we had ‘tech asymmetry’/ Zakir Naik terms Interpol's red corner notice against him as 'political witch hunt', says it will not succumb to pressure by Indian govt


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING 
25 April 2019: 19 Shaban 1440:Vol: 11, No:185
INDIA
IAF on Balakot strikes: Could have inflicted heavy damage on Pakistan if we had ‘tech asymmetry’
New Delhi :If the Indian Air Force possessed high levels of “technological asymmetry”, then it would have been able to inflict heavy damage on Pakistan during its unsuccessful aerial raid on Feb.27, according to an IAF report.The report analysed various aspects of IAF’s air strike on a JeM camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on Feb.26 and the subsequent Pakistani retaliation the next day.In the report, the IAF said Pakistan Air Force has been consistently enhancing its air defence and offensive capabilities since Kargil war in 1999 and there was a need for India to bolster its “technological asymmetry” for aerial combat, official sources said sharing details from the report.At present, Pakistan has some edge with its fleet of F-16 jets with AMRAAM missile fitted with them, said an official.The sources said the planned induction of Rafale aircraft with deadly Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and S-400 air defence missile system will provide India a significant advantage over Pakistani Air Force. “We felt we could not punish the adversaries appropriately. So we need to bolster technological asymmetry so that the enemy does not even dare to come close to the border,” said a source. On the Balakot strikes, the report said Israeli Spice 2000 precision guided munitions (PGM) fired from Mirage 2000 jets hit 5 out of the 6 designated targets in JeM training facility. However, one Spice PGM did not leave the aircraft because of a drift in the inertial navigation system.In the list of possitives from the strike, the IAF talked about accuracy of intelligence inputs, precise selection of targets, demonstration of its ability to carry out precision strikes and its success in maintaining secrecy of the operation though over 6,000 personnel were involved in it.In its analysis of possible areas for improvement, IAF sought superior technological asymmetry and air defence system over Pakistan, sources said. It also talked about the need for procuring new weapons and other platforms for enhancing the IAF’s overall combat capabilities.PTI
5 of 6 designated targets were hit in Balakot airstrike: IAF review

Zakir Naik terms Interpol's red corner notice against him as 'political witch hunt', says it will not succumb to pressure by Indian govt
New Delhi: Zakir Naik, who is facing NIA probe in India, termed the reports claiming Interpol taking up India's request to issue Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him, “a political witch-hunt”. "I'm aware of the pressure the Indian government has been applying on the Interpol to issue a red corner notice against me. It's part of an elaborate witch hunt," Naik said in a statement. The statement from him, comes Interpol reportedly accepted India's request to issue an RCN against him. "I have no reason to believe that Interpol will succumb to any kind of undue pressure," he contended."I can confirm that there is no red corner notice against me as of date. One of the Indian newspapers seems to have jumped the gun and reported internal deliberations of the Indian govt, which as a matter of fact, has been going on for over two years now,” he added.He also said that the Interpol has already cancelled a red corner notice against him earlier. "...It's been one-and-a-half years since the govt submitted a charge sheet and started applying pressure on the Interpol," Naik added. 52-year-old currently holds a permanent residence status in Malaysia, which was confirmed last year by then-Malaysian deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.ANI
NIA Raids in UP's Amroha in terror Case
Amroha: NIA has carried out searches at several places in Uttar Pradesh's Amroha in connection with its ongoing investigation into the Islamic State's new IS module, officials said.A senior NIA official related to the probe in Delhi told IANS: "Searches are being carried out at several locations in Amroha after we got the leads during the questioning of two arrested accused." Raids were on in Naugawa Sadat and Saidpur area in Amroha, following the leads obtained during the interrogation of Mohammad Gufran and Mohammad Faiz.news18
Sexual harassment charges against CJI: Justice NV Ramana opts out of panel hearing the case
New Delhi :Justice N V Ramana, part of 3-member in-house inquiry panel set up to examine the allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi, recused himself from hearing the case, PTI reported on Thursday.The development comes a day after the former apex court woman employee, who levelled the allegations against the CJI, wrote a letter to the panel expressing reservation over the inclusion of Justice Ramana on the ground that he is a close friend of the Gogoi and a regular visitor to his house. The panel which will examine the allegations against the CJI will be headed by Justice SA Bobde.indianexpress
‘Conspiracy’ against CJI Gogoi: Justice (retd) Patnaik to probe, submit report to SC in sealed cover
New Delhi :The Supreme Court Thursday asked its retired Judge Justice A K Patnaik to conduct an inquiry into a Delhi-based lawyer’s allegations that there was a conspiracy to frame CJI Ranjan Gogoi on sexual harassment charges.A special bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta today asked CBI Director, IB Director and Delhi Police Commissioner to cooperate with Justice Patnaik whenever need be.The court, however, clarified that Justice Patnaik will not go into the issue of sexual harassment allegations against CJI. The court has instituted an in-house inquiry committee of 3 sitting judges to look into the allegations of sexual harassment made against CJI. Meanwhile, Justice NV Ramana, who is part of the 3-member inquiry panel headed by Justice S A Bobde, has opted out of the panel, PTI quoted sources as saying.indianexpress
I want to use compensation money to help victims of rape, communal violence:Bilkis Bano
A day after the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to provide Rs 50 lakh compensation, a job and accommodation to Bilkis Bano, who was raped during 2002 Gujarat riots, she said her faith in the justice system has been restored. “[court] understood my pain, what I went through,” she said at a press conference in Delhi on Wednesday.Her advocate Shobha Gupta said the compensation amount is probably one of the largest to be granted to a victim of sexual assault and rape in the country, reported HT. Bano said she plans to use a part of the compensation money to raise fund to help victims of rape and communal violence. She added that she will name the fund after Saleha, her three-year-old daughter who was killed by the mob that gangraped her. “We never got back Saleha’s body, we couldn’t even bury her and perform her final rites, and for that I am filled with sorrow till this day,” said Bano. “Perhaps this judgment will help bring some kind of peace.”scroll.in
Promises of justice just ‘political gimmick’, don’t feel like voting this time: Nirbhaya’s parents
New Delhi:As campaigning picks up steam in Delhi with leaders motivating people to exercise their franchise, Asha Devi and Badri Nath Singh, the parents of the woman who was gangraped and killed and came to be known as Nirbhaya, say they might not vote this time at all. The couple, the face of courage in the face of impossible odds, said they are tired of parties promising them justice and doing nothing about it.The sympathy expressed by the parties and their promises have been just a “political gimmick” as the culprits are still alive, said the parents of the paramedic student who was gangraped on the night of Dec16, 2012, and died of her grievous injuries.PTI
Army concerned about human rights, but time hasn’t come for any rethink on AFSPA: General Rawat
New Delhi:Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has dismissed the contention that time has come to repeal the controversial AFSPA, which gives the security forces special rights and immunity in carrying out operations in “disturbed areas” like Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast. “I do not think time has come to even rethink on AFSPA at the moment,” Gen Rawat was quoted as saying by PTI. He, however, insisted that the Army has been taking adequate precautions in protecting human rights while operating in such areas.Army chief was answering queries on reports that government was re-examining the demand for a milder version of AFSPA in these states. His comments assume significance as they come amid reports that several rounds of high-level discussions have taken place between the defence and home ministries on the “need to remove or dilute at least some provisions” of AFSPA.indianexpress
No justification for Islamophobia: Islamic scholars
Charminar: Paying homage to the victims of Sri Lanka bomb blasts, 2 minutes silence was observed on Wednesday by delegates at MANUU. They were participating in the inaugural session of 2-day national seminar on the topic of ‘Islamic studies concept present scenario and future’.The seminar is organised by Department of Islamic Studies,Manuu, in collaboration with HMI. The participating scholars and professors pointed out that there is no justification for Islamophobia. Prof. Abdul Ali, ex-HoD of Islamic studies at AMU, said that Islamic studies would play a key role in eliminating the misunderstanding about Islam and Muslims. “There is no justification for so-called Islamophobia based on a deliberate mischievous misrepresentation of contemporary Islam and Muslims. Islamic studies, as a branch of social sciences, can play a vital role in removing the misconceptions and misunderstanding about Islam and Muslims,”said Abdul Ali. De Mohammed Aslam Parvaz, Mannu vice chancellor asked the scholars to revise the syllabi of Islamic studies and make provision for interface study with other branches of social and natural sciences. Besides, wall magazine prepared by the students of department of Islamic Studies, Manuu, and three books — two written by Dr Packiam Samuel and one by Mujtaba Farooq, a research scholar — were released on the occasion. TOI
‘The Caravan’ magazine editor, journalist granted bail in defamation case filed by Doval’s son
A Delhi court on Thursday granted bail to The Caravan magazine’s editor and a journalist in a defamation case filed by NSA Ajit Doval’s son Vivek Doval, PTI reported. The bail was granted on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 with surety of Rs 1 lakh, according to Bar and Bench. The court of the additional metropolitan magistrate also granted Congress MP Jairam Ramesh exemption from personal appearance for the day and directed him to appear before the court on May 9.Ramesh’s bail plea will be heard on the day he appears before the court.scroll.in
ELECTIONS
71 ex-civil servants demand withdrawal of Pragya Thakur’s candidature
New Delhi:Expressing disbelief and dismay at the candidature of Pragya Thakur for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, a group of 71 retired civil servants have said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot “escape the irony of his party seeking votes in the name of fighting terrorism and at the same time endorsing the candidature of a person accused of terror crimes.”In an open letter, the retired officials said the decision to field Ms. Thakur as a candidate could have been dismissed “as yet another example of political expediency but for the enthusiastic endorsement by no less a person than the Prime Minister, who had termed her candidature as a symbol of our civilisational heritage.“As if it were not enough to nominate a person who is undergoing trial for acts of terror (the Malegaon Bomb Blast Case), Pragya Thakur, who is out on bail on medical grounds, has used the political platform she has been provided not just to propound her brand of bigotry, but also to insult the memory of Hemant Karkare, IPS officer who laid down his life in the fight against terror,” said the letter.thehindu
Muslim leaders keep strategic silence in UP
Lucknow: Unlike previous elections, most Muslim leaders in UP have so far stayed away from making controversial comments, holding protests and issuing fatwas.Chiefs of various organisations, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board and seminaries of Nadwa in Lucknow and Deoband, have maintained a studied silence even as elections have moved to Muslim-dominated constituencies of Rohilkhand. Also, missing in the action this time is Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Ahmed Bukhari, who is known to make political moves during elections. Known for its frequent controversial appeals, Deoband in Saharanpur hasn’t issued any fatwas recently. The verbal duels between SP candidate Azam Khan and BJP nominee Jaya Prada in Rampur are seen as a clash of personalities, and not on communal lines. Muslims, comprising nearly 19% the electorate in UP, seem to have changed their strategy to thwart attempts of consolidation of Hindu votes. In 2014 LS and 2017 assembly elections, BJP won decisively. The community didn’t have a single MP from the state in five years. “In the last two years, we have worked across India so that Muslims don’t fall into the trap of any provocation,” said Zafar Sareshwala, considered close to PM Modi. “No Muslim leaders made controversial remarks during an RSS gathering in Ayodhya in Nov.2018.They have been told to vote like a Hindustani.” Community members have behaved maturely during campaigning, said AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani. “Despite provocations by BJP leaders, it’s good to see the community not reacting in the same language”. TOI
Muslims in UP keep away from fatwas, reacting to provocation
No family member allowed to meet Lalu Yadav during last two months
Two weeks after the Supreme Court turned down the bail application of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, younger son Tejashwi Yadav took to Twitter to bitterly complain that no family member has been allowed to meet the former chief minister in judicial custody for the last two months.In a video message on Thursday Tejashwi Yadav claimed that he himself had travelled to Ranchi to call on Lalu Yadav but despite waiting for the entire day, he failed to meet the Jail Superintendent. His attempts to speak to him for permission also failed as the Superintendent did not respond to phone calls.After having failed to secure official permission to call on the former chief minister, he had then moved to the hospital where the ailing ex CM is undergoing treatment. But there too he was stopped outside and not allowed to get in.nationalheraldindia
Malayali billionaire MA Yusuff Ali flies down from Malaysia to cast vote in Kerala
Kochi :On Tuesday, as voters lined up in front of the Aided Mopla Lower Primary School that transformed into a polling booth in the sleepy coastal village of Nattika, a man drove up to the school in a white-and-black Mini Cooper. Accompanied by his aides, the man, dressed in a plain shirt and mundu, walked up to the booth, smiling and joining the end of a queue. A few minutes later, he entered the booth, cast his vote, shook hands with a few locals and drove back.The man is none other than MA Yusuff Ali, a native of Nattika, who migrated from the village in the early 70s to Abu Dhabi where he joined his uncle in business. Today, Yusuff Ali is the world’s richest Malayali and managing director of Lulu Group International, which runs a stream of hypermarkets, shopping malls and retail chains across India and the Middle East.indianexpress
Over 25,000 minority students deny admission in schools: Cong threatens agitation against TRS Govt
Hyderabad:Congress party has demanded that TRS Government should take immediate measures for education of 25,843 poor minority students who could not get admission in 5th class in minority residential schools in the state.Hyderabad City Congress Committee (HCCC) Minorities Department chairman Mohammed Waliullah Sameer has accused TRS Government of systematically reducing educational opportunities for poor minority students.UNI
SRI lANKA BLASTS
'Nonsense' to Link Sri Lanka Attacks to New Zealand Mosque Killings: Senior Lankan Muslim Official
Colombo: A senior Sri Lankan Muslim leader on Wednesday dismissed as "nonsense" the government's view that the deadly attacks on Easter Sunday on churches and luxury hotels may have been a retaliation for last month's massacre of Muslims in two mosques in New Zealand. Addressing an emergency session of Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the country's worst terror attacks, state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene said the early findings of the ongoing probe found that the suicide bombings were in revenge for the Christchurch mosques Christchurch.But Hilmy Ahamed, the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka's vice president, did not buy the government's version.Pointing to the relatively short period of time between the attacks, Ahamed said it was impossible for the bombings in Sri Lanka to have been planned in the period, saying it was likely in the works for longer, with foreign influence."It is nonsense to link (attacks) to New Zealand,"Ahamed told CNN. "New Zealand attack opened the eyes of the world to the crisis the Muslims are facing," he said, adding it was something of "blessing" for drawing attention to growing Islamophobia worldwide. PTI
Sri Lanka bombings: Defence secretary steps down
Hemasiri Fernando, Sri Lanka's defence secretary, has resigned, saying he was taking responsibility for the suicide attacks on Easter Sunday. He told Reuters that while there had been no failure on his own part, he was taking responsibility for failures of some institutions he headed as the secretary of defence.Fernando said security agencies were actively responding to intelligence they had about the possibility of attacks before they were launched. "We were working on that. All those agencies were working on that," he said.The office of the President confirmed Fernando would serve in the post until a replacement is appointed.aljazeera
Sri Lanka: Hundreds of Refugees Flee Negombo as Communal Tensions Flare Up
Sri Lanka:As mourners buried the remains of Christian worshippers killed by the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, hundreds of Muslim refugees fled Negombo on the country’s west coast where communal tensions have flared in recent days.At least 359 people perished in the coordinated series of blasts targeting churches and hotels. Church leaders believe the final toll from the attack on St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo could be close to 200, almost certainly making Negombo the deadliest of 6 near-simultaneous attacks.On Wednesday, hundreds of Pakistani Muslims fled the multi-ethnic port an hour north of the capital, Colombo. Crammed into buses organised by community leaders and police, they left fearing for their safety after threats of revenge from locals.“Because of the bomb blasts and explosions that have taken place here, the local Sri Lankan people have attacked our houses, Adnan Ali, a Pakistani Muslim, told Reuters as he prepared to board a bus. “Right now we don’t know where we will go.”Farah Jameel, a Pakistani Ahmadi, said she had been thrown out of her house by her landlord.“She said ‘get out of here and go wherever you want to go, but don’t live here’,” she told Reuters, gathered with many others at the Ahmadiyya Mosque, waiting for buses to take them to a safe location.“We have to search houses if people suspect,” said Herath BSS Sisila Kumara, officer in charge at Katara police station, where 35 of Pakistanis that gathered at the mosque were taken into police custody for their own protection, before being sent to an undisclosed location.“All the Pakistanis have been sent to safe houses,” he said. “Only they will decide when they come back.”reuters
Sri Lanka’s Muslims Face an Angry Backlash After Easter Sunday Attacks
WORLD
US-led coalition killed 1,600 civilians in Syria's Raqqa: Amnesty, monitors
Beirut:US-backed assault to drive Islamic State from its Syrian capital Raqqa in 2017 killed more than 1,600 civilians, 10 times the toll the coalition itself has acknowledged, Amnesty International and the monitoring group Airwars said on Thursday.Amnesty and Airwars, a London-based group set up in 2014 to monitor the impact of US-led campaign against Islamic State, spent 18 months researching civilian deaths including two months on the ground in Raqqa, they said.“Our conclusive finding after all this is that US-led coalition’s military offensive (US, UK and French forces) directly caused more than 1,600 civilian deaths in Raqqa,”they said.They said the cases they had documented probably amounted to violations of international humanitarian law and called for coalition members to create a fund to compensate victims and their families.The coalition has previously said it takes great care to avoid civilian casualties and that it investigates accusations that it has done so.Amnesty said last year that there was evidence coalition air and artillery strikes in Raqqa had broken international law by endangering the lives of civilians, but until now had not given an estimate of the death toll during the battle.Reuters
Founder of Algeria Islamic Salvation Front dies
The co-founder of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), Abbasi Madani, died in the Qatari capital Doha, local media reported.In 1988, Madani along with Ali Belhadj and Hashmi Sahnouni announced the establishment of the Islamic Salvation Front which, in 1990, won a majority of votes in the local elections.However, the Algerian army abolished the election results and jailed the front’s leaders. The movement was dissolved in 1992.In the same year, a military court sentenced Madani to 12 years in prison after convicting him of “harming state security” before he was released in 1997 for health reasons.He remained under house arrest until his prison sentence ended in 2004 when he left for Doha where he died. Madani holds a PhD in education from the UK.middleeastmonitor
Bouteflika’s party fails to elect new G-S
Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), led by ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has failed to elect a new Secretary-General to replace Jamal Ould Abbas, whose resignation was announced months ago, Anadolu has reported. According to Slim Qirat, a member of the party’s Central Committee which held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday in Algiers, the work of the special session was postponed to a later date which has not been determined. The meeting in the Algerian capital apparently witnessed several verbal clashes arising from the objection of participants about the composition of the Nominations Committee.Central Committee members agreed unanimously that the members of the nominations group should be elected “because the time of appointment and sponsorship by power is over,” explained Qirat.middleeastmonitor
Hundreds of settlers enter J'lem's Al-Aqsa for Passover
Hundreds of Jewish settlers today entered Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex to mark the weeklong Jewish Passover holiday, according to a Palestinian official.“Over 320 Jewish settlers forced their way into the mosque compound to celebrate their holiday,” Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Religious Endowments Authority (a Jordan-run agency tasked with overseeing the city's holy sites), said.According to al-Dibs, the settlers -- accompanied by Israeli police officers -- performed religious rituals near the Al-Qibali and Dome of the Rock mosques.Passover, which commemorates the Israelites’ flight from Egypt during the time of Prophet Moses, is considered one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar.This year, Passover began on the evening of April 19 and will end on the evening of April 27.told Anadolu Agency
Israel army to confiscate Palestinian land for new settlement bypass road
Israeli occupation authorities will confiscate Palestinian land in order to build a new road connecting illegal settlements in the southern occupied West Bank, reported the Jerusalem Post.According to the report, the so-called bypass road will expand Road 60 that links the Gush Etzion settlement junction with the Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron.Settlement watchdog NGO Peace Now provided paper with a copy of a land confiscation order signed by Israeli occupation authorities on 3 April, for a seven kilometre stretch of the new road.Work on the road could begin as early as this summer. Peace Now stated that the 401 dunams (99 acres) of Palestinian land from the towns of Beit Ommar and Halhul will be confiscated for the road construction.MEMO
5,600 Palestinians in Hebron must cross Israel checkpoint to reach their home
Some 5,600 Palestinian residents of Hebron must cross a checkpoint on foot to reach their homes, according to a new survey conducted by UN OCHA.The study of so-called H2, an area of direct Israeli control constituting 20 per cent of Hebron city, looked at the impact on local Palestinians of the Israeli military and settler presence. Around 33,000 Palestinians live in H2, as well as a few hundred illegal Israeli settlers.“The centre of Hebron has been physically separated from the rest of the city through the deployment of physical obstacles, among other means,” UN OCHA noted, adding that “currently there are 121 such obstacles, including 21 permanently-staffed checkpoints.”middleeastmonitor
Hamas: We do not know why the UN delays work projects
Member of Hamas’ Political Bureau Khalil Al-Hayya questioned why the UN is delaying the implementation of work creation programmes.Al-Hayya said that the implementation of the terms of the truce understandings with Israel are going smoothly.However, “some terms are going through slowly,” pointing to the programme aimed at creating temporary work opportunities for unemployed Gazans.Al-Hayya said that only 7,000 opportunities were offered, while the funds for thousands more remains. Though money was offered by donor states, “UN has not yet increased the number of workers we agreed about.”middleeastmonitor
Most Americans view Israel government unfavourably, new poll shows
A majority of Americans have an unfavourable view of the Israeli government, a new survey by Pew Research Centre has found.According to Haaretz, the poll results published yesterday show “a huge partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats with regards to how they view the Israeli and Palestinian peoples”.The poll, part of a regular series looking at US citizens’ views on Israel and the Palestinians, introduced for the first time questions “that distinguish between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples — and their respective governments”. While 64 per cent of Americans say they have a favourable opinion of the Israeli people, only 41 per cent have a favourable view of the Israeli government, with 51 per cent viewing the government unfavourably.middleeastmonitor
Sudan army detains politician who criticised UAE
Sudanese military briefly arrested the chairman of the State of Law and Development Party yesterday, hours after he warned the UAE against interfering in Sudan’s revolution.Mohamed Ali Al-Jazouli, who also heads the country’s One Nation movement, was detained by the military after a press conference led by National Front for Change (NFC) in which he slammed any attempted involvement from the Emirati government.In other statements, he also warned against the exclusion Islamist parties, stressing that the move would be of detriment to society and prolong the reign of the military.His arrest prompted the NFC to release a statement calling for his release: “We condemn this behaviour which took place in the post-Ingaz area of repression and suppression of freedoms and opinion,” it said, referring to the military regime that participated in the country’s civil war in the 1990s.middleeastmonitor
Egypt renews emergency for another 3 months
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday renewed a longstanding countrywide state of emergency for a further 3-month period.In a presidential decree, al-Sisi justified the move by saying the country continued to face “dangerous security conditions”. Parliament has yet to approve the decree but is widely expected to do so shortly. It is the eighth time for al-Sisi to renew the state of emergency since April 2017, when twin bomb attacks left 45 people dead in northern Egypt.Anadolu Agency
Taliban ambush police convoy, kill 9: Afghan official
Kabul :An Afghan official says the Taliban ambushed a security convoy, killing 9 policemen in western Farah province.Abdul Samad Salehi, a provincial councilman, says the convoy was heading to defuse a roadside bomb on Wednesday afternoon when the ambush happened in Anardara district. Saleh says that shortly after the attack on the convoy, other Taliban insurgents targeted and briefly overran the district police HQRS. After a few hours of clashes, reinforcements arrived and wrested back control of the HQRS.AP
'Neighbourhoods turning into battlefields' in Tripoli
The humanitarian situation has greatly deteriorated around the Libyan capital Tripoli, where "densely populated residential areas are gradually turning into battlefields," ICRC has said.Hospitals are struggling with chronic shortages of medical supplies amid power outages and weakened water pumping stations, the aid agency said on Thursday, after three weeks of clashes around capital between renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar's eastern forces and troops loyal to UN-recognised GNA."It is crucial that hospitals, medical facilities, health staff and vehicles transporting the wounded are allowed to carry out their activities safely," ICRC said.WHO said on Twitter that 278 people have been killed in the last three weeks, while 1,332 others have been wounded.aljazeera
Iran's FM Zarif: I don't think Donald Trump wants war
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif does not believe US President Donald Trump wants war with Iran, but he has told Reuters news agency that Trump could be lured into a conflict."I don't think he wants war," Zarif said in an interview at the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. "But that doesn't exclude him being basically lured into one."The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Zarif's remarks.aljazeera
Joe Biden announces 2020 US presidential run
Former US Vice President Joe Biden joined a crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field on Thursday, officially announcing his candidacy in a video posted on his social media accounts. The announcement follows months of speculation over whether Biden, a Democratic party stalwart and an early leader in opinion polls, would launch a bid for his party's nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.aljazeera
Kim, Putin: Challenging US role in denuclearisation
Kremlin tried hard to present Kim Jong Un's first ever visit to Russia as an historic event aimed at proving how important Moscow is in the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula - especially after the failure of US-North Korean talks in Hanoi two months ago.Kremlin-controlled media described in great detail how Kim's armoured train arrived in the Pacific port of Vladivostok on Wednesday, how Russian officials welcomed him with traditional round bread and salt, what theatres, museums and landmarks the moonfaced autocrat will visit during his three-day visit."We are very much willing to take the Korean-Russian ties to a new, higher level," Kim said during a reception after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that lasted for more than three hours on Thursday.aljazeera
37 Executed by Saudi : A student, an academic, a protester, an imam:middleeasteye
The mass executions carried out in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday saw 37 killed. 32 of those executed were from the kingdom's Shia minority and a number of them were juveniles when they were initially arrested. Rights group Reprieve told Middle East Eye several of those executed were detained during peaceful protests.The official Saudi SPA said that "the death penalty was implemented... on a number of culprits for adopting extremist terrorist ideologies and forming terrorist cells to corrupt and disrupt security as well as spread chaos and provoke sectarian strife."However, human rights organisations have said that many of those killed had been pro-democracy activists who were subjected to torture and unfair trials.MEE has profiled some of the people who were executed. Mujtaba al-Sweikat was only 17 when he was arrested at King Fahd International Airport, en route to US where he was set to begin his studies at Western Michigan University.In 2012, Sweikat - who is Shia and from Qatif in Saudi's Eastern Province - took part in pro-democracy protests, for which he was arrested and charged with "armed disobedience against the king" as well as making Molotov cocktails, destroying public property and participation in a terrorist cell. According to Reprieve, he was brought before the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh in 2015, where he was convicted based on a confession the group said was extracted under torture.He was not allowed access to a lawyer nor given prior warning of the hearing, Reprieve said. Mohammed al-Attiyah was one of 11 men executed as part of the Iran spy case, which saw numerous Saudi Shia convicted of “high treason” and meeting with Iranian “intelligence agents”, as well as trying to stir up anti-govt sentiment in Eastern Province, which has a large Shia community.A popular Shia cleric and dean at Jeddah university, Attiyah had maintained a profile as a promoter of unity between the different sects in the Sunni-majority kingdom.According to HRW, Attiyah had been charged with “planning with an Iranian intelligence element…to establish a company to spread Shia activities in [Eastern Province].”Speaking in court prior to his execution, Attiyah said he denied "all the evidence against me". Abdulkarim al-Hawaj was arrested on 16. In 2014, at the age of 19, but the charges levelled against him include crimes carried out at age of 16.According to European Saudi Organisation For Human Rights (ESOHR), Hawaj was charged with, among other things, shooting at a police officer, throwing Molotov cocktails and "sympathy with the Bahrain opposition". One of the few Sunnis executed during the mass execution on Tuesday, Khaled bin Abdel Karim al-Tuwaijri was accused of having links to militant groups.Also from Qatif, Munir al-Adam was a disabled protester who took part in demonstrations in 2012 calling for greater democracy and an end to discrimination against Shia.
Flash: views & NEWS
One thing was distinctly rotten about 2002 Gujarat riots: use of rape as a form of terror:Harsh Mander  
'Treated as Mere Vote Bank,' Say Muslims Left Out of Jharkhand's Grand Alliance:Mahtab Alam, The Wire
Majority is already with Modi; when Muslim, Dalit quit eating beef and fall in love with him, Hindu Rashtra will be realised:Palash Krishna Mehrotra,
#PrimetimeWatch: Rahul’s Attack on Shah, Complaints Against EVMs Dominate:Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar, The Wire
Army Officer Petitions Manipur HC Seeking Probe Into 'Huge' Cache of Illegal Arms:Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, The Wire
'I Am at Peace and Stand Vindicated': Bilkis Bano After SC Orders Compensation, The wire
Austria’s ban on Muslim Brotherhood symbols has further aims:SALZBURG , Anadolu Agency
In India's democracy, Muslims feel increasingly marginalised: Bilal Kuchay , aljazeera
In Uttar Pradesh, ‘Notebandi’ & GST hurt BJP in the polls:Dhairya Maheshwari, nationalheraldindia
Why panel to investigate sexual harassment allegations against CJI Is Problematic:S. Devika,
Demographic Factors Make Third Phase in UP an Uphill Task for BJP:Sajjan Kumar, thewire
Once Divorce Is Granted, Relief Can't Be Sought Under Domestic Violence Act: Bombay HC

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:19 PM)

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