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Thursday, 25 July 2019

25 July ND: RTI Amendment Bill Clears Rajya Sabha Test Despite Protests By Opposition/Talaq Bill passed in Lok Sabha, sent to Upper House


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING 
25 July 2019: 21 Dhul Qadah 1440:Vol: 11, No:254
INDIA
RTI Amendment Bill Clears Rajya Sabha Test Despite Protests By Opposition
 Right to Information (RTI) bill seeking significant changes to the transparency law has passed the Rajya Sabha test despite the opposition's objections, with the govt bringing the fence-sitters on board. PM Narendra Modi reportedly spoke to Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik for the support of his BJD. A motion by the opposition to send the amendment to a select committee for greater scrutiny was negated by 117 members voting against it opposed to 75 voting in its favour.Congress, following a ruckus in the House after voting, walked out of the Rajya Sabha. RTI bill provoked sharp exchanges in the House on Thursday, with the opposition demanding that it be referred to a select committee. The proposed law was passed on Monday in the Lok Sabha, where the government enjoys a majority. "Parliament has to scrutinise. It needs time for scrutiny. This is not a T-20 match," TMC member Derek O'Brien said.  member in the opposition benches quipped that the bill was "not like making Dosa". Sources say non-aligned parties like BJD, TRS and YSR Congress agreed to support RTI bill, greatly helping govt in an opposition-dominated house."We will support the Bill... It is not correct to demand that all bills be sent to the Standing Committee or Select Committee," Vijaysai Reddy of YSR Congress told NDTV."We will question the govt about our concerns and if we get a satisfactory response, we will think about it," BJD's Prasanna Acharya had told NDTV, when asked about supporting RTI.TRS, which had earlier opposed the bill, altered its stand reportedly after Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, phoned its chief, Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao.Sources in Congress had conceded that the numbers are stacked up against the opposition and RTI amendment bill is likely to go through.After 5 members retiring yesterday, BJP and its allies are 6 short of a majority in Rajya Sabha, where it has always faced an opposition wall in pushing legislation. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi has strongly objected to the changes govt has proposed to RTI law.The centre, she said in a statement, was "hell-bent on completely subverting historic RTI Act" and the law, "prepared after wide-spread consultations and passed unanimously by parliament, now stands on brink of extinction."Congress and other opposition parties had resolved in a meeting to demand in Rajya Sabha that 7 of 16 pending bills, including RTI Amendment Bill, be sent to a select committee. RTI changes will allow the govt to decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners at centre and states. Opposition parties, which have termed amendment "RTI Elimination Bill", argue that authorising govt to take a call on the employment and pay of RTI authorities will take away their independence. Opposition argues that even honest officials will stop disclosing sensitive information if their job and salaries are at stake. Ndtv
Talaq Bill passed in Lok Sabha, sent to Upper House
Lok Sabha today passed Talaq bill after it was discussed in the Lower House of the Parliament for a couple of hours. Oppositing the bil, while Congress suggested it to be sent to the standing against it, JDU voted against it. Both parties, along with Trinamool Congress walked out of the House when the voting was on. The bill was finally passed un Lok Sabha by 303 votes. Earlier, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that that 345 cases of triple talaq has been reported since Supreme Court’s August 2017 order to declare centuries-old practice as unconstitutional. Initiating the debate on the contentious triple talaq bill —Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, Prasad said that the top court had asked the government enact a law to check the cases of triple talaq.The bill which seeks to criminalise the triple talaq was reintroduced in Lok Sabha by Modi govt in June. BJP had issued a 3-line whip, directing its MPs to be present in the Lok Sabha today as House will take up bill for consideration and passage.BJP-led NDA govnt enjoys a strong majority in the Lok Sabha, making the passage of the bill a foregone conclusion. However, govt lacks a majority in Rajya Sabha where it is set to face an uphill task as the opposition parties have a numerical advantage over the treasury benches.Some of BJP’s allies, including JD(U), have also expressed their reservation about the bill.financialexpress
SC decriminalises homosexuality, adultery, you are criminalising talaq and penalising women:Owaisi
Opposing the triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha, AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi asked why the Centre wants to criminalise triple talaq when the Supreme Court has decriminalised homosexuality."You have said in the bill that the marriage of a couple would be legal even if a man gives triple talaq to his wife. You have proposed 3 years in jail for the man if he gives triple talaq to his wife. Who would give maintenance to the woman when her husband is in jail? Should she still wait for her husband to come out of jail?""The SC has decriminalised homosexuality, adultery and you are about to criminalise triple talaq. You are sure to form a New India! The SC has even said that instant triple talaq is invalid. You are penalising the women! You are expecting the woman to keep waiting for three years until the husband comes out of jail," he added.India Today     
Activist Gautam Navlakha, Naxals were in contact with Hizbul, Kashmiri separatists, police tells HC
Activist Gautam Navlakha and the Naxal groups he was associated with were in touch with Hizbul Mujahideen and Kashmiri separatist leaders, Pune Police claimed before the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.A division bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre, meanwhile, extended protection from arrested granted to Navlakha till further orders.Navlakha, along with a few other activists, is facing a case for alleged links with Naxals. He moved the court seeking quashing of the FIR against him.Aruna Pai, the counsel for Pune police, said some of the documents recovered from the laptops of co-accused Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling showed that Navlakha and various Naxal groups he was associated with had conducted "bilateral talks" with Hizbul leaders."He (Navlakha) has been liaising with banned organisations including Hizbul Mujahideen since 2011," she claimed.Pai further alleged that between 2011 and 2014, Navlakha was in touch with Kashmiri separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shakil Bakshi. Navlakha was booked under UAPA and other offences. On July 5, the HC had granted him interim protection from arrest till July 23. On Wednesday, it was extended till further orders.While Navlakha's lawyer Yug Chaudhary denied all charges, Pai contended that protection from arrest was coming in the way of investigation. Arguments will continue today.PTI
No coercive steps against Jaising, Grover till Aug 19 in foreign funding case: Bombay HC
Bombay High Court today said no coercive steps can be taken against advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover on the basis of FIR filed by CBI this June in connection with a foreign funding case, ANI reported. The court’s direction came after the senior counsels sought quashing of FIR registered against the Lawyers Collective, an NGO run by them, under FCRA. The court also sought a response from CBI by Aug.19.The relief came nearly 2 weeks after the investigating agency conducted raids at five locations in Mumbai and Delhi. A CBI statement later claimed “certain incriminating documents have been recovered” during the searches and its investigation is continuing.Acting on a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), CBI had registered an FIR in Mumbai, naming Grover, unknown office bearers of Lawyers Collective and unknown private persons and public servants. indianexpress
Income Tax Dept raids NCP leader Mushrif’s
Income tax officers from Sangli, Pune, Kolhapur and other areas today raided the residence of NCP MLA and ex minister Hasan Mushrif, as well as the sugar mill operated by him.The raids are being conducted at the senior leader’s house in Kagal taluka of Kolhapur district, and at Sarsenapati Santaji Ghorpade mill which is being managed by his family.Raids are also being conducted at Mushrif’s children houses in Pune.A senior leader of NCP, Mushrif was in news recently when he had spurred an offer from the ruling BJP to join them. indianexpress
UAPA Should Be Invoked in Mob Lynching Cases: WPI Prez Dr. Ilyas
New Delhi: Welfare Party of India held a protest demonstration against the incidents of mob lynching near Parliament House here on Tuesday. Besides WPI officials,including its President Dr. SQR Ilyas, representatives from different religious communities also addressed the gathering.Expressing deep concern over the rise in incidents of mob lynching in different parts of the country, Dr Ilyas said that Govt can stop it if it wants to.“If Govt decides to stop, mob lynching will be stopped. Our demand is that UAPA should be invoked in cases of mob lynching because they are acts of terror. There is no doubt that they are crating terror in the country and they should be prosecuted under UAPA,” said WPI’s national president.Dr Ilyas alleged that such incidents are being allowed to happen deliberately so that people’s attention could be diverted from real issues. “Why is Govt creating this situation? Because they don’t want to fulfil the basic needs of the people. Youths are jobless at large scale, masses are deprived of basic facilities, inflation is up and farmers are distressed. The people of the country have been involved in Hindu-Muslim issues so that they remain engaged in them,” he said. Birju Naik from Lok Raj Sangathan blamed Govts for all issues affecting the common people.“Those in power in 1984 are responsible for 1984 Sikh riots. Govt is responsible for farmers killing themselves, children dying for lack of medical care and people are being killed in mob lynching. Those in power should correct the system. The guilty should be punished whether he is Husain, Arif or Vyas and Tiwari.”India Tomorrow
Govt rejects 49 eminent citizens' concerns over growing cases of lynching, law & order
Govt has contradicted the claim made by 49 eminent citizens in an open letter to PM Narendra Modi. The letter, signed by famous personalities like filmmakers Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen, had raised concerns over the growing cases of lynching across the country. However, MHA has contradicted their claim and has said that PM Modi-led NDA govt at Centre is committed to uphold Constitutional values and rule of law in the country. Reacting to letter, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy told Rajya Sabha, There has been a decline in incidents of communal violence after 2014. Though, MHA did not give out data for the said claim. Noted filmmaker Aparna Sen said, The letter is against mob lynching. There is no party or politics behind it. We are asking the PM as the highest person in the executive to take action.indiatoday
‘Was told I will be killed’: Bengal actor Kaushik Sen, who signed letter to PM on mob killings
Actor Kaushik Sen, who is one of the signatories of the letter written to PM Narendra Modi on the issue of mob violence, said today that he has received a threat call. Police have been informed about it and the phone number has been forwarded to them, he said.“Yesterday I received a call from an unknown number, where I was threatened of dire consequences if I don’t stop raising my voice against lynchings and intolerance. I was told that I would be killed if I don’t mend my ways,” Sen said. A group of 49 eminent personalities, including filmmakers, authors and actors, wrote to the PM on Tuesday, expressing concern over the recent instances of mob violence and lynching in the country.PTI
No mob lynching case registered with us: Minority Commission member Manjeet Singh
Fatehabad:In a startling revelation Manjit Singh, Member of National Commission for Minorities has said that no case of mob lynching has been registered with the commission and assured that appropriate action will be initiated if any such case comes before it."Till now, we have not got any case pertaining to mob lynching. If such a case comes to us, then we will certainly summon the concerned department. It is the work of the Home Department to issue an advisory," Rai said.He was speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting of district officials here on issues related with the implementation of schemes for minorities."We will take strict action if any case of exploitation or ill-treatment of minorities comes to us. Releasing advisory regarding issues such as mob lynching of minorities is the work of home ministry. We are only here to do the work which is allocated to us", Singh said.He also directed law enforcement agencies to work diligently on issues related to minorities and should seriously act on such issues which come forward through social media.ANI
MP refers Bill against cow vigilantism to House panel after BJP opposition
Bhopal :A BILL that Congress Govt in MP sought to bring against cow vigilantism was referred to the select committee of the Assembly in the face of stiff opposition from the opposition BJP, which alleged that proposed legislation will encourage slaughter of cows and vitiate social fabric of the state.Called MP Gauvansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) Vidheyak, 2019, amendment sought to curb cow vigilantism by proposing a jail term from 6 months to five years against those who attack, or damage properties of, people booked for violating the principal act of 2004. It also proposed a fine of up to Rs 50,000. Even before the Bill was introduced few days ago, BJP had opposed its provisions, accusing the Congress of appeasement. The opposition party said even those accused of theft or child lifting are lynched or attacked but Congress Govt did not want to bring any legislation against that.The Bill was introduced by Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Singh Yadav.After BJP MLAs opposition, CM Kamal Nath said the Bill should be referred to the select committee to address concerns raised by some members. “Our policy for gau shala has been framed not by political considerations but emotions. We have not engaged in cow politics. It was not our intention.”indianexpress
With References to 'Mob Lynching', Gujarat Cong MLA Tables Bill for 'Protection of Minorities'
Gujarat Assembly witnessed angry exchanges on Wednesday during a debate on a private member's bill tabled by a Congress MLA for punishing mob lynchings and violence against the minorities. `Gujarat Welfare and Protection of Minorities Bill' was tabled by Congress MLA from Ahmedabad, Imran Khedawala.His frequent reference to "mob lynching" and "rampant attacks on minorities in Gujarat" irked ruling BJP members. Khedawala claimed that members of minority communities are frequently attacked by "communal and anti-social elements having the backing of police and political leaders".This led to a heated exchange between the treasury and opposition benches.Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama interrupted Khedawala several times during his speech and challenged him to prove his allegations.Unfazed, Khedawala said incidents of mob lynching were tarnishing Gujarat's image.PTI
Law on Mob Lynching Need of the Hour: Kanimozhi
New Delhi: DMK today said in the Lok Sabha that the need of the hour is to make laws to stop mob lynching and caste-based “honour killing” and not criminalising triple talaq.The Govt should bring a “Bill to stop honour killing as young men and women have been killed. Everyday there is a report on this. What laws we are bringing to stop that,” she said.“We need to bring Bill against mob lynching. That is the need of the hour,” she added.The DMK member also said that the Govt should bring the women reservation Bill, which was promised in the election manifesto of the NDA.PTI
MP: Mentally Disabled Man Accused of Child-Lifting, Thrashed by Locals
Indore: A 30-year-old man was beaten up by some people who accused him of being a child-lifter in Indore city of MP, police said today.The incident took place in Niranjanpur area here on Wednesday and the man, who appeared to be mentally disabled, was later rescued by police and arrested, an official said.In a purported video of the incident that went viral on social media, several people were seen beating up a semi-naked person, who was pleading for mercy.A few people in the crowd could also be heard saying “don’t beat him, hand him over to police”.“We have investigated the case. It was not an attempt of child-lifting,” Lasudiya police station in-charge Santosh Kumar Dudhi said. The man, identified as Tejram Chauhan,seemed to be mentally disabled and was wandering in the area, he said.PTI
Adityanath dubs 2 Muslim brothers killed in Muzaffarnagar riots as 'immoral, characterless'
Lucknow: Quoting a police probe in UP Assembly, CM Yogi Adityanath termed 2 brothers murdered in Muzaffarnagar in 2013 immoral, describing one of them as a characterless person who had an illicit relationship. Nawab and Shahid were murdered in an incident in Sept.2013 when communal riots were on in the district. But in his written reply to a question on Tuesday, Adityanath asserted that killings were not related to the riots. The question by SP MLA Irfan Solanki referred to the murder on March 11 this year of another brother Asbab,who was the complainant and a witness to the 2013 murder of other 2.During the probe, it was found that Nawab (son of Akhtar) and Shahid (son of Akhtar) used to sell milk, and as a result of which they used to go to the houses of the villagers, he said.Nawab was a characterless  person, CM said, adding he had an illicit relationship with wife of a villager.During investigation,it was also confirmed that Nawab and Shahid were "durachari" (immoral, badly behaved), his reply in Hindi said.Based on the evidence, a charge sheet and a supplementary charge sheet were filed, he said.PTI
India seeks full consular access to Kulbhushan at the earliest
India today sought full consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in Pakistan following his conviction of alleged involvement in espionage, in line with a recent judgement of International Court of Justice and international conventions.“There has been a favourable judgement from ICJ in the case of Jadhav. We expect that full consular access to Jadhav should be granted at the earliest in full compliance and conformity with ICJ judgement and Vienna Convention (on Consular Relations),” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told a news briefing.“We are in touch with the Pakistani side in this regard through diplomatic channels and as and when there is an update, we will let you know,” he added.HT
No, police in Gujarat did not seize weapons from a mosque; fake reports
Did police in Gujarat seize a huge amount of weapons from a mosque? Many social media users are sharing a collage of pictures of swords and knives with the claim that they have been seized from a mosque in Gujarat. One of the pictures in the collage shows the alleged accused too.India Today's Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found that the pictures are from 2016. The arms were seized from a shop on Rajkot-Ahmedabad highway.Facebook user Amar Singh Bidhuri posted the viral photo collage on Tuesday. Referring to the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad on the day, he wrote, "Azad sacrificed his life fighting for this country's freedom. But those who took his life were not foreigners but two-faced Indians. That history is ready to be repeated. These weapons were found in only one mosque in Gujarat. This is a conspiracy to eradicate Hindus." He then adds sarcastically, "India is going to be a world leader."Comments such as "weapons are in every mosque" and "Hindus should also keep weapons in their homes" were made on this post. Incidentally, same collage went viral in 2016 and 2017 as well with different claims. In 2016, social media users claimed that the arms were seized from a mosque, while the next year, a video of the incident went viral, claiming that the weapons were seized from a temple.indiatoday
Come out of ‘hum do, hamare barah’ mentality: Gujarat BJP MLA to minorities
eople FROM minority communities should adopt the slogan of “Hum do, hamare do” and come out of “hum do, hamare barah; hum do, hamare baees” mentality, a BJP MLA said in Gujarat Assembly on Wednesday. Kuber Dindor, who represents Santrampur constituency, was referring to the slogan of family planning programme.He also said some people from the minority communities were involved in eloping with Hindu women in name of “Love Jihad” and this should be discouraged. Dindor said this while opposing a Private Member’s Bill — Gujarat Welfare and Protection of Minorities Bill, 2018 — moved by Imran Khedawala, Congress MLA from Jamalpur of Ahmedabad.Speaking on the Bill, Dindor said the provisions proposed by Khedawala in the Bill are already covered under the PM’s 15-point programme for the welfare of religious minorities.indianexpress
Maharashtra Muslim Manch backs NRC in Assam
Maharashtra Muslim Manch (MMM), an umbrella organisation of 40 NGOs working for the Muslims, has come forward in support of National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise being conducted in Assam. MMM has stated that NRC is essential against the illegal migrants. It also has suggested that Union Govt should guide the agencies conducting NRC surveys on not to harass Indian Muslims."We welcome the decision regarding NRC against the illegal migrants and we duly support it to save national unity, integrity and harmony," read a statement issued by MMM.Fakir Mohammed Thakur, the chief convener of MMM, said that his organisation is in favour of NRC because some so-called secular parties are trying to divide the society in name of religion.Thakur said that the MMM officials might travel to Assam to educate the Muslims on the issue of NRC. indiatoday
Children Won't Be in NRC If Either Parent's Citizenship Is Contested: SC
New Delhi:The Supreme Court has ruled that children born on or after Dec.3, 2004 will not be included in the final updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) if either of their parents has been marked as a doubtful voter (D voter) in Assam’s electoral list, been declared a foreigner by a tribunal or is presently contesting a case related to his/her citizenship in Foreigners’ Tribunal (FTs). Hearing the ongoing case on the update process of NRC along with a host of issues related to Assam Accord and its exclusive cut-off date of March 24, 1971, based on which register is being revised, a 2-member bench of the SC comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Fali Nariman gave this ruling on July 23. It also extended the deadline for publication of final NRC from July 31 to Aug.31 in the same hearing.The SC, referring to clarifications sought by petitioners on the issue, stated that the reason they had arrived at the date Dec.3,2004 was because of its own order on July 2, 2018 as per provisions in Section3(1) B and C of the Citizenship Act, 1955. It reportedly said that keeping the earlier order and the Citizenship Act provisions in mind, the date of Dec.3, 2004 would be the “best course of action”.thewire
Muslim Rashtriya Manch's Shaheen chants Hanuman Chalisa daily
Meerut:A 42-year-old Muslim woman from Meerut recites Hanuman Chalisa regularly. Shaheen Parvez has been reciting the holy verse since she was in college. Shaheen, who is also a member of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, said that she is not scared of anyone. She would not let someone who claims to be a custodian of religion dictate her choices.Shaheen has been chanting Hanuman Chalisa since her college days.Times Now
Andhra CM Reddy to go on tour of Israel and US
YSR Congress party president and Andhra Pradesh CM Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy will be going on a foreign tour in two spells in August, his first overseas visit after assuming power in the state.An official in CMO said Jagan Reddy, along with his family members, will be leaving for Israel on Aug.1 on a 4-day tour. He will visit Bethlehem, birth place of Jesus Christ.“It is purely a personal visit. He will be returning to Vijayawada on Aug. 5,” the official said. Jagan Reddy’s father and exCM YS Rajasekhar Reddy also used to visit Israel along with his family every year to celebrate his birthday on July 8. HT
50 dead cleaning sewers in first 6 months of 2019: panel report
New Delhi: 50 workers have died cleaning sewers in the first 6 months of 2019, according to data available with National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK). This data,although startling,is,by NCSK’S own admission, a gross underestimate since it includes figures for only 8 states — UP, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu — out of 36 states and UTs.Moreover, many of these 8 states have under-reported numbers, according to NCSK. For instance, as per NCSK’s official records, Delhi reported deaths of three sewer workers between Jan.1 and June 30 this year. But twice as many workers have reportedly died during this period.Deaths of 3 workers employed to carry out repairs at Delhi Jal Board sewage treatment plant in June have not been confirmed by the state and thus have not been officially recorded by NCSK,which is the only agency in the country that maintains records of manual scavenging deaths.indianexpress
SC orders setting up of special courts in districts with over 100 pending POCSO cases
New Delhi:The Supreme Court today directed the setting up of special courts in each district across the country that had over a 100 cases of child abuse and sexual assault pending trial under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.A Bench led by the CJI directed the courts to be set up within 60 days. They will be established under a Central scheme and fully funded by Centre. This means the Centre would fund everything from the payment of the presiding officers, staff and support persons to court’s child-friendly infrastructure. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has been asked to file a progress report in four weeks. The court said it would take up the matter again on Sept.26.thehindu
SC's no to urgent hearing of PIL for consecutive jail terms in graft, terror cases
New Delhi;The Supreme Court today refused urgent listing of a PIL seeking various jail terms awarded to a convict under special laws on corruption and terrorism to run consecutively, as in countries like US, and not concurrently.A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose declined the submission that the plea be listed for urgent hearing as the issue was important.The SC  in March had issued notices to the Centre, Law Commission and Union ministries of Law and Finance on the plea of lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay.The plea said the provision in CrPC providing that a convict can serve varying jail terms simultaneously for several offences, should not be made applicable to the convicts in heinous cases."Section 31 of CrPC should not apply to special laws such as "UAPA, PCA, Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, PMLA, FCRA, Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act, and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act," said PIL.outlookindia
Not mulling ban on word ‘Dalit’ as it is not used in official communication: UP govt
UP Govt today said there was no question of banning the word “Dalit” as it was not used in official communication.Social Welfare Minister Ramapati Shastri said, “Word Dalit means those who are oppressed and it includes everyone who has been exploited or oppressed. Dalit is a not ‘parliamentary word’ and is not used in official communication, so (question of banning) it does not arise.”He was replying to a question by BSP member Mohammad Aslam Raini in the state assembly who asked whether the Govt would consider banning the use of the word “Dalit”, which was an “unparliamentary” word.PTI
WORLD
MBS once sought advice from this cleric. Now Saudi prosecutors want him executed:CNN
Sheikh Salman al-Awda waited at his Riyadh home for Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It was 2012 and the charismatic preacher received then 27-year-old prince with little fanfare."We didn't think the visit was a big deal," recalled Awda's son, Abdullah Alaoudh, a Washington-based legal scholar at Georgetown University. "He was just a regular prince."Despite his obvious ambition, bin Salman was considered a political novice. His father was the governor of Riyadh and not yet king, and, in the eyes of the country's political class, he was just another member of Saudi Arabia's thousands-strong royal family. The prince who would later become known by his initials, MBS, appeared enthusiastic about Awda's ideas for change in Saudi, according to Alaoudh.In this meeting and at least two other meetings to come -- including one in the royal court alongside the future King Salman -- Awda, who was 55 at the time, extolled the virtues of reform and inclusive governance, according to Awda's son.5 years later, King Salman appointed his son as Crown Prince. 3 months after MBS was promoted, Awda was arrested as part of a crackdown overseen by a security agency established by newly-anointed heir to the throne.CNN
US Senate sets vote on Trump's Saudi weapons vetoes
US Senate will vote within days on whether to override President Donald Trump's vetoes of legislation to block the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and UAE, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. McConnell said the Senate would hold the vote before August 2, when politicians leave Washington for a five-week-long recess.The three resolutions of disapproval are not expected to garner the two-thirds majority in the 100-member Senate needed to override the vetoes, however. Only a handful of Trump's fellow Republicans, who hold 53 seats in the Senate, backed the resolutions when they passed last month.The measures would block the sale of Raytheon Co precision-guided munitions and related equipment.The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives backed the resolutions last week, largely along party lines, sending them to the White House for Trump's promised veto.aljazeera
Patel, who asked for UK aid for Israel army, now Home Secretary
UK’s new PM ris Johnson has appointed Priti Patel as Home Secretary despite the fact that she was forced to resign two years ago after holding secret, unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers.The former international development secretary made several unofficial meetings including with Israeli PM njamin Netanyahu and was accused of conducting her own foreign policy in the Middle East.The meetings included a visit to an Israeli army field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights; Patel asked officials within her department to look into whether British aid money could be funneled into the medical centre.In her resignation letter Patel herself admitted she “fell below the high standards that are expected of a Secretary of State.”Her appointment has drawn outrage across the board due to her record on key human rights issues.Despite the fact that her parents migrated to the UK in the sixties, Patel has voted for a stricter asylum system and against banning the detention of pregnant women in immigration jails.The Essex MP has suggested using the potential of food shortages in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit as leverage against the backstop being introduced.Before being elected as an MP in 2010, Patel worked for the PR company Weber Shandwick, whose clients included the govt of Bahrain, which has been criticised for its high number of torture and forced disappearance cases.Shortly after being elected the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs flew Patel  to Bahrain to meet several ministers. She has also been on a UAE-funded trip to the country and attended a conference in Washington paid for by the Henry Jackson society.Patel will replace former Home Secretary Sajid Javid who is now Chancellor. Earlier this year Javid ordered that Shamima Begum be stripped of her British citizenship and let her two-year-old son die of pneumonia in a refugee camp in Syria.At the time her family accused him of making the decision based on political gain.Last week Javid labelled a number of Muslim organisations as extreme, including Cage, the Islamic Human Rights Commission and MEND, saying of Cage that it was “one of the most prominent organisations that rejects our shared values.”2years after becoming MP Javid told the Conservative Friends of Israel annual lunch that as a British born Muslim if he had to go and live in the Middle East, he would not go to a Muslim majority country: “There is only one place I could possibly go. Israel. The only nation in the Middle East that shares the same democratic values as Britain. And the only nation in the Middle East where my family would feel the warm embrace of freedom and liberty.”middleeastmonitor
Murthy’s son-in-law among 3 Indian-origin faces in Boris Johnson’s cabinet
Scotland to seek new independence push: minister
Scotland’s first minister wrote a message to UK's new PM today, informing him that she will give Scotland the choice to become independent if the country is dragged out of the EU.Nicola Sturgeon warned Boris Johnson that Brexit would be damaging to Scotland’s economy and that a no-deal Brexit would have a severe impact on Scottish jobs and livelihoods, making clear that it was essential Scotland have an alternative option.  "I am writing to you today to draw your attention to work carried out by Scottish Govt which details the likely specific impact of Brexit on Scotland. Given the gravity of the potential damage to jobs and livelihoods, this material should be at the top of your in-tray," Sturgeon said in her letter."However, given your public comments about leaving the EU on Oct.31 with or without a deal, 'come what may' and 'do or die', it is now -- more than ever -- essential that in Scotland we have an alternative option," she added. Anadolu Agency
US blocks UN rebuke of Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes -diplomats
US on Wednesday blocked an attempt by Kuwait, Indonesia and South Africa to get the UNSC to condemn Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Jerusalem, diplomats said, Reuters reports.Israel said 10 apartment buildings demolished on Monday, most of them still under construction, had been built illegally and posed a security risk to Israeli armed forces operating along a barrier that runs through the occupied West Bank. UN officials, who had called on Israel to halt the demolition plans,said 17 Palestinians faced displacement. Kuwait, Indonesia and South Africa circulated a 5-paragraph draft statement, seen by Reuters, to the 15-member Security Council on Tuesday that expressed grave concern and warned that the demolition “undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for just and lasting peace.” Such statements have to be agreed by consensus and on Wednesday US told its council counterparts it could not support the text, diplomats said. A revised 3 paragraph draft statement was circulated, but US again said it did not agree with the text, diplomats said. The demolition of the Palestinian buildings is part of the latest round of protracted wrangling over the future of Jerusalem, home to more than 500,000 Israelis and 300,000 Palestinians.middleeastmonitor
Israel demolishes Al-Araqeeb for 148th time, arrests Palestinian leader
Israeli authorities demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb for the 148th time today, the second time this week, and arrested village leader Sheikh Sayyah Al-Turi, Arab48 reported.According to local residents, in the morning,occupation authorities bulldozed and destroyed homes and tents under the protection of occupation police forces. Eyewitnesses also confirmed that police arrested Sheikh Sayyah Al-Turi, who had only been released from Ramla prison on Tuesday morning after being detained for seven months. Al-Turi’s sentence was extended for 60 days after prison services conditioned his release on his forcible transfer and deportation from Al-Araqeeb to the city of Rahat. Israeli authorities demolished Al-Araqeeb for 147th time day before Al-Turi’s release.MEMO
‘Israel trying to destroy Arab unity through unknown journalists’
Israel is using unknown Arab journalists to create a rift in the region and back up its claim that it is normalising relations with Gulf states, among others, social media users have said.This came as six Arab journalists took part in a tour of Israel following an invitation from Tel Aviv. In footage circulating on social media, one of the journalists, Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud, was spat at and called a “traitor” by Palestinians as he toured Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli occupation forces.Arab journalists syndicates issued numerous statements condemning such visits and warned their members not to take part in such tours.Chief Editor of Arabi21 news site Firas Abu-Hilal said that the people who visited Israel were unknown journalists or just bloggers, stressing that their visit represents the “ugly” face of normalisation, which has been escalating faster than ever.“This kind of normalisation is most dangerous because Israel, through it, is trying to penetrate the Arab nation and reflect an image that it is popular,” Abu-Hilal said, noting that Israel is seeking to achieve this kind of normalisation more than achieving normalisation with Arab regimes.middleeastmonitor
Arrest of senior officers and Islamic leaders for allegedly planning coup in Sudan
Sudan’s Transitional Military Council arrested on Wednesday senior army officers on charges of “planning for a coup”. The arrests included leaders belonging to Islamic movement, according to a Sudanese military source. Well-informed source explained in a statement that “the campaign of arrests included two symbolic figures of the former regime.”“The arrested officers had been moving since late Tuesday evening to implement the plan,” the source pointed out, refusing to mention the names and ranks of officers, describing them as “high-ranking” officers.Local media reported that the arrest campaign included the Chief of the Sudanese Joint Staff, General Hashim Abdul Muttalib Babakir, the Commander of the Armoured Corps, Major General Nasruddin Abdul Fattah, and the Commander of the Central Region, around which the army headquarters is located, Major General Bahruddin Ahmed Bahr.Several local websites said that the Military Council arrested ex Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti and the Secretary-General of Islamic Movement Al-Zubair Ahmed Al-Hassan. The forces of Declaration of Freedom and Change in Sudan called on Wednesday for organisation of marches on Thursday, in the capital Khartoum and several cities, “in rejection of the partisan quotas.”This comes after 2 days of calls by activists to organise processions heading to the HQRS of the Sudanese Professionals Association in Khartoum, to call for abiding by the Charter of Declaration of Freedom and Change following the news of the nomination of party members for ministerial positions including the Prime Ministry.On Jan.1, Sudanese Professionals Association, alliances of Sudan Call, the National Consensus Forces and the Democratic Unionist Party signed the Charter of Declaration of Freedom and Change to overthrow the former President Omar Al-Bashir.MEMO
Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi dies at 92
Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi, North African country's first democratically elected leader, has died at the age of 92, according to the presidency. One of the world's oldest leaders, Essebsi died at the Tunis military hospital on Thursday morning, the presidency said in a statement. He was hospitalised with a severe illness in late June, but returned to intensive care on Thursday, his son said. Drafted in as PM in 2011 after longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled, Essebsi was elected president 3 years later, becoming the country's first directly elected head of state after its Arab Spring uprising.He also cobrokered an historic power-sharing deal between his Nidaa Tounes movement and Islamist party Ennahda that helped to steady the country, as other parts of the region such as Syria, Yemen or Libya struggled with upheaval and violence.Essebsi recently announced he would not run in an election scheduled for Nov, saying a younger person should lead the country. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place on Oct.6,followed by a presidential poll on Nov.17.aljazeera
Taliban kill 37 Afghan policemen amid US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman's visit
Kabul:At least 37 Afghan police officers were killed in over-night assaults by the Taliban militants on security check points in northern Takhar province, said an official. According to the provincial council chairman, Wafiullah Ameen, the Taliban stormed the security check posts in the restive and remote Ishkimish district late Wednesday night. He said that 24 members of the Afghan National Civil Order Police and 13 members of the Afghan National Police got killed in the assault. Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, said in a social media post that two bases and 2 check posts have been overrun in the district sharing border with neighboring Kunduz province.Meanwhile, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen.Joseph Dunford, who is in an unannounced visit in the war-torn country, stressed the Afghan Govt and coalition forces are working to support the negotiations process and that have not changed the military mission in the country.Anadolu Agency
No ISIL link to Easter bombings: Lankan investigator
Sri Lanka's Easter attacks were carried out by local groups who drew inspiration from, but were not directly linked to, ISIL group, a Sri Lankan investigator has said. Ravi Seneviratne, head of the Sri Lankan police CID, made the remarks on Wednesday in a meeting with the country's parliamentary panel investigating the security and intelligence lapses that led to bombings.Seneviratne said the bombers had no direct link to the foreign armed group."They followed IS ideology, but our investigations have not shown any link between them," Seneviratne told the parliamentary panel. In a statement last week, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena alleged the attacks "were the work of international drug dealers" to disrupt his anti-narcotics drive."Drug barons carried out this attack to discredit me and discourage my anti-narcotics drive. I will not be deterred," he said.aljazeera
Satellite images show ongoing destruction of Rohingya settlements
Aung Zan village in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State lies just a few kms from Bangladesh border. Once home to a small community of Rohingya, its 50 buildings were almost entirely burned down during violent crackdowns that forced more than 745,000 refugees into Bangladesh in 2017. New satellite analysis released on Wednesday by an Australian think-tank, the International Cyber Policy Centre at Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI),shows "minimal preparation" for the return of Rohingya refugees amid continuing destruction of residential areas and an increase in military facilities in northern Rakhine.In Aung Zan village, ASPI says the last remaining residential structures were demolished in the first three months of 2019, while security posts there were expanded and fortified.These trends apply to 392 Rohingya settlements, where satellite images gathered by the centre between Dec.2018 and June 2019 indicate that 40 percent of the villages originally identified by the UN satelite tracking service UNOSAT as burned, damaged or destroyed during the 2017 crisis have since been entirely razed, with an additional 58 villages the target of new demolition.In their place, 45 camps have been extended throughout the state where six suspected military facilities also appear to have been built featuring a combination of defensive trench positions, helipads and guarded entrances.aljazeera
500 political prisoners in Egypt on 38th day of hunger strike ‘neglected’
Over 500 political prisoners in the Scorpion wing of Egypt’s notorious Tora Prison have reached day 38 of their hunger strike, which they began in June to protest against the death of ex President Morsi. Morsi died on 17 June after collapsing in a court room. He was kept in solitary confinement in the Scorpion wing for six years and consistently denied medical attention,as are thousands of inmates imprisoned in Egypt’s jails. El-Nadeem NGO details 283 cases of individual torture, 30 deaths in custody and 111 people who have been subject to medical negligence in first half of 2019. Earlier this week, 2 political prisoners, Omar Adel and Kilani Hassan, died after being kept in inhumane conditions. Hassan was denied medical care. Hunger strike in Tora Prison aims to stop the ill treatment of prisoners and challenge the deliberate refusal to administer medical attention by authorities, prevention of visits and the ban on detainees exercising.middleeastmonitor
Flash: NEWS, views, Articles
Trump’s claim has unveiled Modi-Shah game-plan gnawing away rights of Kashmiris, piece by piece:Mani Shankar Aiyar
What If This Is the Hindu Rashtra?Asim Ali
#RightSideUp: A Pan-India NRC; Congress in 'Disintegration Mode':Aleesha Matharu
Draft New Education Policy offers contentious remedies for a structural malady in medical studies:George Thomas
Citizenship Amendment Bill carries danger of making discrimination a formal part of India’s refugee policy: S Irudaya Rajan
BJP is veering away from the political philosophy and ethics it promised to uphold: Julio Ribeiro
How Arab Govts use cyber laws to shut down activism
J&K HC to decide validity of NIA Act in state: Parliament may have trespassed into residuary power of Assembly:Kevin James, Akshat Agarwal

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(Released at: 8:53 PM)

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