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Tuesday, 7 May 2019

7 May ND: Review plea by 21 parties to verify more VVPAT votes rejected by Supreme Court in 60 secs/ Clean chit to CJI in sexual harassment case: Activists protest outside Supreme Court, detained


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING 
07 May 2019: 01 Ramazan 1440:Vol: 11, No:195
INDIA
Review plea by 21 parties to verify more VVPAT votes rejected by Supreme Court in 60 secs
New Delhi:The Supreme Court today dismissed a review petition filed by 21 opposition parties seeking verification of 50 per cent EVMs and VVPAT machines during counting of Lok Sabha election votes scheduled for May 23.In the hearing that lasted barely a minute, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, “We will not review our order.”Citing issues with EVM in the first few phases of polling for the Lok Sabha election, 21 opposition parties had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court demanding verification of 50% EVMs using VVPAT slips.The petition claimed that after the first phase of polling, in many cases, EVMs were found to be defective and faulty. “It has been reported that in some cases where voters would vote for one party, EVMs would record their vote having been cast for another party,” the review petition said. Election Commission of India has consistently maintained that the glitches experienced in the first three phases of the seven-phase election are within acceptable limits in terms of number of defects.HT
SC dismisses Opposition plea to review order on VVPAT counting
Clean chit to CJI in sexual harassment case: Activists protest outside Supreme Court, detained
New Delhi :Activists protesting against the clean chit given to CJI Ranjan Gogoi in a sexual harassment case were detained on Tuesday after they assembled outside the Supreme Court. Protesters have tweeted that they are being moved to Mandi Marg police station.DCP PRO Madhur Verma said the women have been detained under Section 65 of the Delhi Police Act for protesting outside the Supreme Court where Section 144 of CrPC is imposed. She said they will be let off soon.The women protesters were detained by Delhi Police.Advocate Prashant Bhushan said a total of 52 women and three men have been detained since 10.45 AM and told by the police that they will be released on ‘higher orders’.“So women holding placards and protesting peacefully outside the SC against ex-parte ‘clean chit’ to CJI by the In-house committee of his colleagues, are arrested and taken to police station. Does Constitutional right to protest not apply to the SC?”he tweeted.indianexpress
‘This episode is going to haunt SC in years to come’: Justice Shah on CJI sexual harassment case
On a day in-house inquiry committee found “no substance” in allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi and gave him a clean chit, ex Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice AP Shah, discusses the turn of events that have unfolded in Supreme Court in an interview. He said, "I am extremely disturbed by how this inquiry has been held. Initially it seemed as though the SC was looking to remedy the situation brought about by the extraordinary hearing. Ideally the probe should have been conducted by an external committee, but to compensate, the court added two women judges into the committee. But even so, in no sense can this be called an inquiry. And what followed did not help much either.All that the woman asked for was to be represented by a lawyer or a friend. This was a very basic, and in my view, a reasonable request, coming from someone pitted against three powerful judges of a powerful institution. But this basic minimum right was denied to woman.What Justice Chandrachud now appears to have said in his letter is absolutely correct, when he wrote that woman should be allowed to be represented by a lawyer or an amicus curiae. I also agree that there ought to have been an external inquiry.There is no other way to ensure that the judiciary can be viewed as an impartial body. Certain other facts about this so called inquiry are also problematic. Woman was told that her own testimony, once she made it, would not be given to her because the inquiry is confidential. She also asked for procedural guidelines before the committee began its inquiry, but even that was not supplied. It is all very Kafka-esque in so many ways, and reminds one of the trial in his book of the same name.Now, I believe as per the law laid down in Indira Jaising’s case, the report of this inquiry’s will not be available to the public, nor can anyone challenge this in-house inquiry. So, all this has ended in a complete mockery of justice.The SC is too important an institution to let things go like this. No other institution carries so much trust of the people. This is the only institution that has saved democracy, and given life to the Constitution. I believe, like ADM Jabalpur, this episode is going to haunt the SC in the years to come." indianexpress
Not in my name,SC citing 2003 order that was bad in law to bury report:Jaising on CJI harassment case
New Delhi :The Supreme Court Secretary General, announced the clean chit to CJI  Ranjan Gogoi by 3 member in-house. It had rejected a PIL filed by Jaising who had demanded making public the final report of a 3-judge committee which had inquired into complaints, allegedly involving three sitting judges of the Karnataka High Court, and given them a clean chit.indian express
Sexual harassment allegations: CJI clean chi;  woman says worst fears have come true
New Delhi:The Supreme court’sin-House Inquiry Committee gave CJI Ranjan Gogoi a clean chit Monday in an ex parte report which will not be made public in a  sexual harassment case.In first remarks, the complainant, in a statement, said “my worst fears have come true” and “am highly disappointed and dejected to learn that In-House Committee ‘has found no substance’ in my complaint and feel that gross injustice has been done to me as a woman citizen of India. I am now extremely scared and terrified because the In-House Committee, despite having all material placed before them, appears to have given me no justice or protection and said nothing about the absolutely malafide dismissals and suspensions, indignities and humiliations suffered by me and my family. I and my family members remain vulnerable to the ongoing reprisals and attack”. Following the clean chit to CJI, woman complainant, in a statement, said: “As is known, this complaint in the form of an Affidavit was sent by me to the Justices of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 19.04.2019. I am alarmed at the conclusion arrived at by the In-House Committee, as my accusation of sexual harassment at the workplace and the consequent relentless victimization and reprisals against me and my family,are substantiated by documents and are verifiable.”“On 26.04.2019, I had joined proceedings of the In-House Committee and from the very beginning expressed serious concerns and reservations that the manner in which the proceedings were being conducted would not mitigate the stark asymmetry of power between me and CJI.”indianexpress
Asthana case: CBI conducts lie-detector test on complainant and accused
CBI has conducted a polygraph test, popularly known as a lie-detector test, on the complainant and an accused in its case against the agency’s former special director Rakesh Asthana registered on Oct.15 last year.A CBI official familiar with the developments said the lie-detector test on Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Sana Babu has been conducted to ascertain if he had lied about paying a bribe worth around Rs 3 crore to Dubai based brothers – Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad– on behalf of Asthana.The bribe was allegedly paid to protect him in a probe the agency had registered in 2016 against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi, as alleged in the FIR registered on his complaint. The agency also conducted the lie-detector test on Somesh Prasad. Manoj Prasad, who was arrested by the CBI and is now out on bail, had refused to give consent for a polygraph test.CBI officer asserted that the polygraph test had become necessary since the allegations were serious in nature and Sana had given specific details of his alleged meetings and conversations with the Prasad brothers from 2017.HT
Muslim Man Near Lynched by Goons in Begusarai
Begusarai:A group of goons, allegedly with Bajrang Dal, attacked middle aged Mohammad Istekhaar Alam in Begusarai on Saturday and beat him until he was unconscious, drenched with blood.He is currently in hospital, unable to speak. The men have not yet been arrested, but a case of carrying beef has been slapped against Alam whose family is still coming to terms with the violence.It had started as a good day for 48 year old Mohammad Istekhar Alam in Begusarai. He had been able to do reasonably good business selling clothes for children and had bought meat to celebrate the fact that his daughters marriage had been fixed. He was cycling home when a group of youth drinking liquor tried to stop him. He refused as he sensed danger and cycled furiously to get away. They chased him, brought him down, beat him until he fell unconscious and took away the Rs 15-16000 he had after selling his wares.He was kicked and beaten viciously, even as he pleaded for his life. He was made to say he was carrying beef. He started bleeding through his ear and soon fell unconscious. But the assault continued even after that according to his family.Alam is admitted in hospital and in no condition to speak. His family is traumatised, his old mother in complete shock.Theirs is a poor family, with no land, and dependent entirely on the little money he earned by selling kids garments.His brother Mohammad Mumtaz Alam spoke to The Citizen, his voice laced with worry and tension. Villagers passing by saw Istekhar being beaten and alerted their old and feeble mother who was at home.the citizen
US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation briefs Sushma Swaraj on Taliban talks
New Delhi:US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Monday briefed external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on his talks with Taliban and the 2 leaders discussed the role of regional players in ensuring peace in the war-torn country. Khalilzad, who skipped India on his last two multi-nation tours, is visiting New Delhi at a time when talks between US and Taliban have bogged down over two issues – the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and Taliban’s reluctance to agree to a ceasefire.There was no official word on the meeting though MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted Khalilzad had briefed Swaraj on peace efforts in Afghanistan against the backdrop of the latest US-Taliban meeting at Doha in Qatar.“Both discussed role of all regional stakeholders in bringing peace & development in Afghanistan. India will work with key partners in days ahead,” he added. Khalilzad, who is on a 2-day visit, is expected to meet foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and other officials on Tuesday. Before travelling to India, Khalilzad met top officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan last week.He met Swaraj and Gokhale during a trip to New Delhi in Jan, but skipped India during two multi-nation tours in Feb.and March.During the ongoing sixth round of talks in Doha, the two sides are stuck on the issue of withdrawal of US and foreign forces, with America insisting a deal should include a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire. US also wants the Taliban to join an intra-Afghan dialogue with politicians and civil society representatives – a stance backed by New Delhi.Taliban have said they won’t discuss a truce or intra-Afghan dialogue before US announces a troop withdrawal.HT
 ‘Absolutely needed’: France pushes for India as permanent member of UNSC
UN: India and nations like Germany, Brazil and Japan are “absolutely needed” as permanent members of a reformed and enlarged UN Security Council to better reflect contemporary realities and the addition of these key members to UN high-table is among France’s “strategic” priorities, the French envoy to UN has said.“In terms of policy, France and Germany have strong policy which is to work together to enlarge the Security Council and to succeed in terms of the negotiations that should lead to the enlargement of the Security Council that we consider absolutely needed to better reflect the world as it is. There is no question about it,” France’s Permanent Representative to UN Fran├žois Delattre told reporters here last week.Speaking alongside German envoy to UN Christoph Heusgen at the end of Germany’s Presidency of the Council for April, Delattre emphasised that France considers that “Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and a fair representation of Africa in particular are absolutely needed at the table to get towards a fairer representation of the UNSC. This is for us a matter of priority.”PTI
India, China join hands on oil
India and China are working closely on common trade concerns, including cooperation in buying oil and gas, against the backdrop of a US squeeze through tariffs and sanctions on Iranian oil imports, officials with direct knowledge of the matter said.Efforts have been made by world’s 2nd- and 3rd-largest oil importers to find common ground and energy cooperation is one of the key areas where the two sides can collectively bargain for better prices from producers, the officials added, asking not to be identified.Following a visit to New Delhi in March by Li Fanrong, deputy chief of China’s National Energy Administration, 2 sides created a joint working group on oil and gas. This is the first institutionalised arrangement between the two sides to cooperate in energy though they have several groups on issues such as counter-terrorism and the boundary dispute.HT
5 Indian sailors ‘abducted’ in Nigeria, Sushma Swaraj seeks action at highest level
New Delhi:External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has asked Indian High Commissioner in Nigeria to take the “abduction” of five Indian sailors by pirates in the African nation 2 weeks ago, at the “highest level”. The minister also asked Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, to prepare a report over the incident.“I have seen news reports about abduction of five Indian sailors by pirates in Nigeria,” tweeted Swaraj on Monday.The minister’s tweet comes days after media reports suggested that pirates had abducted five Indian sailors last month and took their ship MT Apecus in Bonny Outer anchorage in Nigeria. Their families also tweeted to the Indian commission in Nigeria, saying they were unable to contact the sailors.indian express
Assam Muslims call bandh on May 8
Guwahati :At a time when the Gauhati High Court has issued a blanket ban on bandhs, a lesser known organization under name and style of Assam Muslim Autonomous Council Demand Committee has called for a state-wide bandh on May 8 next.The organization has raised several issues as its reasons behind calling for the shutdown. These incidents include the Biswanath incident where a beef seller was allegedly beaten up, some latest statements by legislator Prasanta Phukan and the various inflammatory comments made by BJP legislator of Hojai Shiladitya Dev in recent times.The organization leadership addressed media announcing their decision to call for the bandh at Dispur Press Club in Guwahati on Monday. The press interaction was addressed by former legislator and the president of the organization Rashidul Hoque Bahadur.“BJP has failed to rein in Shiladitya Dev because of which the Biswanath incident took place. We believe RSS and BJP are involved in the heinous incident,” Hoque said.nenow.in
Muzaffarnagar riots: Property of 6 accused seized as they didn't surrender
Muzaffarnagar :A court in Muzaffarnagar has ordered to attach the property of all six accused in a Muzaffarnagar riots case as they failed to surrender before it despite repeated arrest warrants.The accused had allegedly stabbed a youth, Shahnawaz, to death at Kawal village in Muzaffarnagar on Aug.27, 2013.The accused have been identified as Ravinder, Prehlad, Bishan Singh, Tendu, Devender and Jitender.PTI
NIA books 3 more suspects in Kerala as probe expands
NIA has booked 3 more persons from Kerala for their alleged involvement in terror activities, according to sources in agency. 3 men are Abubacker Siddique and Ahmad Arafath from Kasargode and Mohamad Faizal, a resident of Karunagapally (Kollam).The first two have been detained and the third is still at large, said sources in NIA. On April 29, it had arrested a person from Palakkad, Riyas Aboobacker (29) alias Abu Dujana who wanted to be a suicide bomber.The agency has moved a remand plea in NIA court in Kochi on Monday seeking five-day custody of Aboobacker.On Sunday, Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Dilbag Singh said there was no record to suggest that any of Sri Lankan suicide bombers had visited Kashmir.HT
Kapil Sibal on Masood Azhar ban: Can PM Narendra Modi say terror will end now?
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal wants PM Narendra Modi to state whether terrorism in India will end since JeM chief Masood Azhar has been declared a global terrorist by UNSC."We want terrorism to end," he said, demanding that Pakistan be declared as a "terrorist state" and wanting the Prime Minister to promise this to the country. Sibal questioned why Modi was "taking credit" for JeM chief's listing as a global terrorist by the UNSC and said PM should instead "apologise" to the country on behalf of his party as it was the previous BJP govt which had set Azhar free and "delivered" him "to Pakistan" following the hijack of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999.Azhar was listed as a global terrorist by UNSC's 1267 Sanctions Committee on May 1."How is it the success of Modi? It is the success of Indian diplomacy with the support of international community," Sibal told IANS.He said after 26/11,on Dec.11, 2008, Hafiz Saeed was declared a terrorist along with some other top LeT commanders like Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Mohd Ashraf. "Did we take credit? Was it because of Dr Manmohan Singh?No.It's the success of our international diplomacy," said Sibal, who was a minister then. newindianexpress
Muslims in Agra angry over mayor’s call to ban burqa, demand apology
Agra:Comments by Naveen Jain, Agra mayor, have riled the Muslim community in the city of the Taj Mahal. Naveen Jain had called for a ban on the burqa a few days back, saying it was a threat to national security. Agra’s Muslim communityhave taken affront to the mayor’s comments and have demanded an apology. Jain had said that the Muslim community should ban the burqa among Muslim women as India is in 21st century and old religious practices should be discarded in favor of new ones.He said that the burqa has been extensively used by terrorists to hide their identities; the latest example being the blasts in Sri Lanka.Jain went on to say that Muslims should voluntarily give it up in India as well. Expressing his surprise on the mayor’s insensitive comment, Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad chairman Sami Aghai said that several other right-wing political leaders were saying the same thing, but to hear something like this from the Mayor of Agra was beyond belief.Aghai said that Agra is a city that has seen over 500 years of Hindu-Muslim mixed heritage. He wanted to know if terrorism will end if Muslim women remove their burqas.Sami Aghai said that if burqa is to be banned, then so should the purdah, common among a section of Hindu women. He said that a lot of Hindu women have been caught misusing purdah to commit crimes. He demanded an apology from the mayor.Saba Khan, the principal of a local college, said that Islam dictates that women cover their entire body with a burqa and also cover their feelings so that they remain pure.Social activist Samiuddin said that the mayor is from BJP and BJP is anti-Muslim, so he was only following his party’s ideology by making such laughable comments on Muslims and burqa.indiatoday
This Ramzan in Valley, sermons on women’s rights, and wrongs
Srinagar :Over the loudspeakers at mosques across the Kashmir valley this Ramzan starting Tuesday, sermons will focus on a topic that has never been highlighted this way before: women’s rights, including space for them in mosques and domestic violence.This time, Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), a conglomerate of religious bodies, has decided across the Shia-Sunni and Sufi-Salafi divide to dedicate their Ramzan sermons to women. “We would mostly be talking about women’s issues,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, MMU patron, said. “We will focus on domestic violence, dowry, education. We will also talk about the need to open mosques for women.”The decision was taken after a meeting of over 40 religious scholars and clerics from different schools of thought. “What better way is there than to start from Ramzan,” said Mirwaiz, who chaired MMU meeting Sunday where the decision was taken. “It is the month when religious scholars deliver sermons every day and people are ready to listen. We need to use this occasion for something positive.”Mirwaiz said the spotlight would be on encouraging “women to come out and speak”. “There is a lack of awareness among women, and they are not privy to their rights,” he said.The religious scholars took a pledge to provide space for women to speak about their issues.The meeting also decided that there is a need to open mosques for women, and to raise the issue of inheritance for them. indian express
Thane women perform Taraweeh prayers
Women in Thane had an opportunity to attend the Taraweeh, special prayers performed during the month of Ramadan. As hundreds of Muslims across Thane began fasting on Monday in observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the community has come up with workshops and programs especially for women and children to make this spiritual month all inclusive.The beginning of the holy Ramadan signifies fasting, charity and spirituality for the Muslim community. "However, over the years people have made it a food festival. We want them to understand that Ramadan is about Quran not about food," said Abdulsalaam Malik, a member of Jamaat-e-Hind Islami, Mumbra. Ramadan is the month when it is said that the holy Quran was revealed to Mohammed, the prophet. "It was during this month that the Prophet would fast, stay up the whole night and pray to god. He had also asked people to do the same," he adds. "We are urging people to spend this entire month like the Prophet, reading and understanding Quran," he says.The JIH which is spread across India has also decided to include women in this spiritual practice. "During Ramadan women spend most of their time in the kitchen. Hence, we have booked a special hall in Mumbra where women read the Quran and understand its teachings. These special readings called Taraweeh which were attended only by men earlier," he said.DNA
Why aren’t you going after masterminds behind the murder?: Dr Dabholkar’s son and daughter submit statement to CBI
Assassinated rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s children have urged CBI to expand its probe to cover the conspiracy and the conspirators behind the August 2013 murder.In a joint statement submitted to CBI, Dabholkar’s son and daughter, Hamid and Mukta, said that while an accused in the case had referred to Amol Kale as a key conspirator and “higher authorities” on whose behest he was acting, the agency has not charge-sheeted him yet nor has any attempts been made to uncover his masters.Hamid and Mukta’s joint statement was recorded as per the instructions of the Bombay High Court, which is monitoring the Dabholkar probe and the February 2015 Govind Pansare murder case.Kale, the statement said, has allegedly prepared a list of people to be eliminated as per the orders from “higher authorities.” The statement said that while Kale was let go of after interrogation by the CBI, two more rationalists --Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh – have been killed in a fashion similar to the Dabholkar murder.Dr Dabholkar was shot dead by two bike-borne shooters at Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune in August 2013.CBI, which took over the probe from the Pune police in May 2014, made its first breakthrough when it arrested the alleged mastermind Dr Virendrasinh Tawade in June 2016. Around two years later, CBI, acting on an intimation by Maharashtra ATS that stumbled upon the role of Dabholkar’s alleged shooters ---Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure ---while probing the Nalasopara arms haul case, arrested the duo and charge sheeted. Two suspected shooters -- Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar -- who were named in the CBI’s 2016 Dabholkar charge sheet were given a clean chit. Kale and two more suspects, allegedly involved in Gauri Lankesh murder, were granted bail after the agency’s failure to file a charge sheet against them within the stipulated 90 days.Mumbai Mirror
Media Body Directs Zee News to Remove Hateful Contents from Website: Caravan Daily
New Delhi:Taking action on the complaints filed by human rights group – Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP), News Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA) of India directed news channel Zee News to remove the video of a particular programme which had the potential to incite violence, animosity and hatred between communities. CJP in its complaint had alerted the NBSA about a programme titled ‘Kiya Kahta hai India’ which was broadcasted on Zee News, in June 2018 which had called for widespread violence to be committed against the people of Kashmir. After hearing the arguments from both sides, NBSA found that the channel had indeed violated the guidelines of reportage and hence asked the channel authority to remove the video of the programme from its website.“NBSA decided that a warning be issued to broadcaster (Zee News) and that any future violations would be viewed seriously. NBSA also directed that the video of the said programme, if hosted, on the website of Zee News or any other links should be removed immediately and confirmed to NBSA,” reads the judgment issued by Justice R.V. Raveendran on 1 May.
Lok Sabha elections: EVMs, VVPATs found in Bihar hotel during polling, inquiry ordered
New Delhi:Even as the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections was underway, a controversy of sorts erupted when 2 balloting units, a control unit and 2 VVPAT machines were found from a hotel in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on Monday. Voting was held in Muzaffarpur on May 6. DM Alok Ranjan Ghosh said that the machines recovered from the hotel were reserved machines that were to be used in case any faulty machines needed to be replaced.“Sector officer was given some reserved machines so that it could be replaced with faulty ones. After replacing EVMs he was left with 2 balloting unit,1 control unit and 2 VVPAT in his car,” Ghosh was quoted as saying by ANI.He said that a departmental investigation would be conducted into the incident.“He shouldn’t have unloaded the machines in the hotel which is against rules. Since he has violated an departmental investigation will be done,” he said.HT
Lok Sabha polls: Sadhus turn against Sadhvi in Bhopal, perform Yajna for Congress’ victory
Scores of seers belonging to different sects of Hinduism and akharas, performed Yajna and Hatha Yoga in Bhopal on Tuesday, and prayed for Congress’ victory in the Lok Sabha elections.Led by the controversial, Computer Baba who was granted ministerial status by the Shivraj Singh government, seers gathered in Saifia college grounds in the morning and performed rituals for hours.Accompanied by his wife, Congress candidate for Bhopal constituency and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh also performed ‘puja’ in the presence of Computer Baba.Computer Baba said, “It is a fight between Dharma and Adharma. Digvijay Singh represents the truth and follows Dharma. That is why I am campaigning for him.”Seers will hold a road show in the evening, seeking votes for the former Congress CM. When asked about his opinion regarding PM Modi and Sadhvi Pragya, Baba said, “Modi could not built Ram mandir in Bhopal in last five years. No Mandir, No Modi.” “BJP’s tally will go down. Under Modi, the saffron party will not get over 100 seats,” said Baba.nationalheraldindia
2.14% voting: Pulwama stokes poll heat, itself cold on voting day
At the heart of the Lok Sabha elections this time is the national security narrative surrounding the Pulwama terror attack in February. In Pulwama, however, that narrative and the election itself failed to draw voters to the booths. Pulwama and Shopian districts went to vote in the last of 3-phase election for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat. The numbers that followed were dismal: a voting percentage of 2.14 per cent in Pulwama and 2.88 per cent in Shopian. By 10 am, 71 votes out of 2,825 votes were polled in the four booths housed in government school in Lethpora.In Rohmoo, a grenade was hurled at another polling station. Another grenade thrown at a polling station in Tikken failed to explode. No casualties were reported from both these incidents in Pulwama district.indian express
WORLD
'Psychological warfare': Iran dismisses US naval deployment
Iran labelled the US announcement that it was deploying a naval strike group to the Middle East to deliver the Islamic Republic a message as "psychological warfare". The dismissal on Monday came a day after John Bolton, US NSA, said Washington was sending USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force as a "clear and unmistakable message" that it will retaliate against any attack on its interests or its allies by Iran.Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for Iran's supreme national security council, said, "Bolton's statement is a clumsy use of an out-of-date event for psychological warfare."Tasnim news agency quoted Khosravi as saying that Iranian armed forces had observed the carrier entering Mediterranean Sea 21 days ago.Bolton "lacks military and security understanding and his remarks are mostly meant to draw attention to himself", Khosravi added. Exactly what prompted US action was unclear, but it marked a further step in sharply rising tensions between Trump administration and Iran.Patrick Shanahan, acting US defence secretary, said on Monday that he approved the deployment because of indications of a "credible threat by Iranian regime forces". But he provided no details of the alleged threat."We call on the Iranian regime to cease all provocation. We will hold the Iranian regime accountable for any attack on US forces or our interests," Shanahan said on Twitter.  aljazeera
Has Israel already annexed the West Bank?
Ramallah:While the international community and media created an uproar when Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intent to annex the West Bank in a bid to garner votes during last month's elections, many Palestinians living in the occupied territory were not fazed by the right-wing leader's words."It's obvious that the West Bank is already de facto annexed," Wael Abdul Raheem, a 35-year-old lawyer residing in Ramallah, said.He recounted a recent incident when he was handed a traffic fine by an Israeli police officer on Road 60 - an Israeli road that cuts through the occupied territory used by both Israelis and Palestinians - near his village of Madama in the northern West Bank."I had to go to Beit El (an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank) in order to pay the fine. Israel already treats this area as its own. So, no, I definitely was not shocked by Netanyahu's statement," he said.An official annexation of parts or the whole of the West Bank would likely result in a dramatic escalation of policies, which Palestinians say are aimed at eroding basic rights and self-determination. However, Israeli and Palestinian analysts have said that international concerns over Netanyahu's comments were not reflective of reality, which has seen an incremental process of annexation in the occupied territory for decades.aljazeera
'Now, we will be alone': In Gaza, Ramadan begins with day of mourning
Like many others in Gaza, the al-Madhoun, Abul-Jidyan and al-Ghazali families hoped they would be safe in their own homes.But that hope was shattered over the weekend, when a barrage of Israeli bombs fell on Palestinians across the besieged coastal territory."On Friday, [my daughter Iman] called me on the phone and invited me to have Iftar with her and her husband and little Maria on the first day of Ramadan [to break the fast]," said 56-year-old Siham Hassouna."She died and I lost everything," Hassouna said.middleeasteye
Israeli opposition leader : Netanyahu surrendered to Palestine resistance
Head of Israel’s opposition Blue and White Alliance Benny Gantz criticised PM Benjamin Netanyahu following the agreement of a ceasefire with Gaza, saying he surrendered to the Palestinian resistance, local media reported.“Nearly 700 projectiles were launched at Israeli territory, four were killed and many are wounded,” the former Israeli army chief of staff wrote on Twitter.“All of this is the result of losing our deterrence, and it’s ending with another surrender to blackmail from Hamas and other terrorist groups,” he added.He said that Netanyahu’s treatment with the issue would “once again, lead us to the next confrontation.”middleeastmonitor
Israel MK calls for 1 Palestinian to be killed for each rocket fired
Right-wing Israeli National Union Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich yesterday called for killing a Palestinian in return for every rocket launched from the Gaza Strip, Quds Net reported. On Twitter, Bezalel wrote: “From a tactical view, the battle in Gaza must end after killed 700 terrorists-one terrorist for each rocket.”Smotrich refers to the number of Palestinian rockets allegedly launched at Israel from Gaza.The minister, who is looking to become the country’s next justice ministry, head National Union party which made an alliance with the Jewish Home and Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) parties to run under Union of Right Wing Parties alliance in Israel’s elections last month. The alliance has since joined the coalition government headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu who is serving his fifth term in office.middleeastmonitor
Israel settlers raid Al-Aqsa on first day of Ramadan
Scores of Israeli Jewish settlers desecrated Al-Aqsa Mosque, first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Al-Resalah newspaper reported.The settlers, who were protected by the Israeli police, raided the mosque through Al-Mughrabi Gate and then scattered around yards of the mosque.They performed Talmudaic rituals inside the mosque and in front of the Dome of the Rock. Israel Police preventing Palestinian worshippers from entering the mosque’s courtyard while the settlers raided the mosque, placing barricades across the occupied city of Jerusalem.Today, scores more settlers raided Al-Aqsa Mosque.middleeastmonitor
China denounces US'concentration camps' remarks
BEIJING:China denounced US on Monday for accusing it of operating concentration camps for Muslims in its far western region of Xinjiang, saying the accusations were divorced from reality.Randall Schriver, who leads Asia policy at the US Defense Department, said last week that China had put more than a million minority Muslims in “concentration camps”, in some of the strongest US condemnation of what it calls China’s mass detention of mostly Muslim Uighur people and members of other Muslim groups.Some former detainees have described to Reuters being tortured during interrogation at the camps, living in crowded cells and being subjected to a brutal daily regimen of party indoctrination that drove some people to suicide. Some of the sprawling facilities are ringed with razor wire and watch towers.Reuters
Ex-Egypt Prez Morsi spending 7th Ramadan in jail
Family of Egypt’s first democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi, on Sunday said he is seeing in the holy month of Ramadan while in solitary confinement. Morsi has been behind bars since his ousting in a bloody military coup in 2013, making this his seventh Ramadan behind bars. He is currently being held in complete isolation, his family warned, adding this is a “deliberate …blackout on the nature and conditions of his detention.”His son, Osama, is also being held in jail and this will be his third Ramadan while in detention. He is being held in solitary confinement as a result of his defence of his father and the constitutional legitimacy of his presidency.middleeastmonitor
Sri Lanka police chief: All suspects in blasts killed or arrested
Sri Lanka's security authorities have either killed or arrested all those responsible for the Easter suicide bombings that left 257 people dead, according to the police chief.Chandana Wickramaratne said in an audio statement on Tuesday that police had accounted for every individual involved in the April 21 attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels."All those who organised and carried out the suicide bomb attack have died or [are] in our custody," he said."2 bomb experts of the group have been killed. We have seized the explosives they had stored for future attacks."aljazeera
Bahrain PM calls Qatar emir in rare contact amid Gulf dispute
Bahrain's long-serving prime minister has called Qatar's emir to mark the start of the holy month of Ramadan in a rare contact between Doha and the countries boycotting it.Bahrain's state-run news agency acknowledged the call between Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in a report early on Tuesday.It described the call as "restricted" to Ramadan greetings, and according to Bahrain's cabinet affairs minister, it "does not represent the official position of the Kingdom of Bahrain and will not affect its commitments with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt on the implementation of what Qatar has committed to in 2013 and 2014 and the just demands that had followed".aljazeera
Erdogan welcomes controversial move to rerun Istanbul vote
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan welcomed a controversial order to redo the recent Istanbul local elections after complaints of corruption, saying the new poll was the "best step" for the country.The country's High Election Board said on Monday some ballot box committees were formed illegally by district election board members who would face criminal complaints."We see this decision as the best step that will strengthen our will to solve problems within the framework of democracy and law," Erdogan said.In a speech to legislators from his Justice and Development (AK) Party in parliament on Tuesday, Erdogan slammed those criticising the decision to repeat the election on June 23, saying they should know their place.aljazeera
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 5:28 PM)

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