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Sunday, 7 July 2019

7 July ND: Karnataka crisis live: Plane that flew MLAs to Mumbai belongs to firm linked with BJP RS member/Kharge frontrunner for Congress prez, Sachin Pilot also in race /Budget revealed govt’s intention to ‘aggressively’ push privatisation: Railway union


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING 
07 July 2019: 03 Dhul Qadah 1440:Vol: 11, No:239
INDIA
Karnataka crisis live: Plane that flew MLAs to Mumbai belongs to firm linked with BJP RS member
New Delhi:The chartered plane that had flown 10 dissident MLAs of Congress and JD(S) flew from Karnataka to Mumbai Saturday night belongs to a company associated with Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a Rajya Sabha member of BJP, company sources said on Sunday. “It is a charter operation and the aircraft is chartered regularly by various people,” a top official of the company told PTI requesting anonymity.Meanwhile, Mumbai Congress workers gathered outside Sofitel Hotel, where rebel MLAs are staying, to protest against BJP’s undemocratic move of poaching Congress-JDS MLAs of Karnataka,they said.They alleged that democracy is being slaughtered and said they won’t tolerate horse trading. Congress on Sunday also issued a circular to all party MLAs in Karnataka calling Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Monday. The circular also mentioned that strict action will be taken against MLAs on failing to attend the meeting. Earlier in the day, 2 Maharashtra BJP leaders — Prasad Lad and Mohit Bhartiya — were spotted inside a Mumbai hotel where 8 of 13 Karnataka MLAs who resigned on Saturday are staying.There is no word, however, on whether 2 had met any of 8 MLAs. When asked about the political situation in Karnataka, Prasad Lad, who is Maharashtra BJP vice president and an MLC, told ANI: “I know about it only through media. I am busy with the party membership drive.”Meeting of BJP leaders is underway at Yeddyurappa's residence. BJP leaders and Yeddyurappa loyalists are in a meet.indianexpress
Karnataka political crisis: Kharge sees BJP’s hand in MLAs resignations
Bengaluru:A day after 12 MLAs of ruling JD(S)-Congress alliance submitted their resignation letters, former Union Minister and veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge sees the role of BJP Central leaders in the development and efforts to topple the Karnataka .BJP had been making all-out efforts to engineer factions to bring down JD(S)-Congress  in Karnataka by shifting MLAs to Mumbai, Kharge told media in Bengaluru . “How it is possible to arrange a special flight to Mumbai without the support of BJP’s Central leaders,”he asked.Kharge said BJP leaders, such as Home Minister Amit Shah, had been making efforts to weaken non-BJP State govts. BJP had been making attempts to destabilise the West Bengal govt. “Where is democracy in the country?” “Central  led by BJP has no confidence in democracy. In nearly 13-14 States such as West Bengal, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Bihar, Jharkhand, BJP engineered defections,” he alleged and added that BJP had been making efforts to topple HD Kumaraswamy govt since it was formed. thehindu
Kharge frontrunner for Congress president, Sachin Pilot also in race
With Rahul Gandhi’s resignation as Congress president following the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, many leaders are in the race to grab the top party post. Among these, former opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge has emerged as the top contender, reports suggest. Kharge’s name was also mentioned in the past month, but he rejected the reports saying he is not in the race. The septuagenarian leader said that Gandhi is an appropriate choice in the party who could lead the Congress. On the other side, Punjab CM  and senior party leader Amarinder Singh has voiced for young party chief. Reports said that he supports a leader who has a mass public following like of Gandhi. They said that there could be 3 vice-presidents in the party, giving the platform to young leaders. Other reports said that Rajasthan Deputy CM  Sachin Pilot could also emerge as a dark horse to take over the top post. Earlier in a day, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from post of All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary.After his resignation, Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora quit the post and recommended a 3-member panel to lead the state Congress for the upcoming Maharashtra assembly polls. Both leaders tendered their resignation, citing Congress’ poor performance in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha polls.  After BJP-led NDA registered a massive win over Congress and framed govt for the second consecutive term, many party leaders resigned from their posts across the country. The poll results dented the Congress which is currently headless following the resignation of Gandhi. The charge of the interim president was given to senior leader Motilal Vora. NewsX
Multiple FIRs against Subramanian Swamy for alleging Rahul Gandhi consumes cocaine
New Delhi :A day after Rahul Gandhi was granted bail in a defamation case, Chhattisgarh Police have lodged a complaint against BJP’s MP Subramanian Swamy for allegedly making false remarks against the Congress leader. This was followed by another FIR in Barbanki by Congress workers.indianexpress
Budget revealed govt’s intention to ‘aggressively’ push privatisation: Railway union
New Delhi:Stating that Union Budget has revealed the intention of the  to go ahead “aggressively” towards corporatisation and privatisation of railways, the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) has said its affiliates are going to launch massive protests across the country against the move. Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech proposed that railways should use Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for faster development, rolling stock manufacturing and the delivery of freight.“Budget reveals the govt’s intentions to aggressively proceed towards corporatisation and privatisation.“In order to convey the strong protest of the rail workforce. NFIR directs all its affiliates to arrange massive protest demonstrations and rallies wearing protest badges from 10th to 13th July all over Indian Railway,” said a letter from NFIR general secretary M Raghavaiah to general secretaries of all railway unions. Railways will need Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 to 2030 to complete the sanctioned projects, Sitharaman said while presenting the Budget.PTI
Centre open to 100% stake sale in Air India
New Delhi:  may be willing to completely exit loss-making Air India during sell-off process, although a final decision will be taken by a panel of ministers, a top official indicated.“A general feeling is that if people want to have full (control), let them have it. But I will be able to tell you only when a specific decision is taken.My personal view is that I do not see any conflict for govt,” dept of investment and public asset management, (DIPAM) secretary Atanu Chakraborty said. Recently restarted the process to sell Air India after putting it on hold last year due to poor response, although volatility in crude prices was cited as the reason. While Niti Aayog had proposed the sale of entire stake, the  had offered 74% stake to a strategic investor, which was seen as one of the reasons for low interest level.TOI
Over Rs 5,400cr spent on EVMs for Lok Sabha polls
New Delhi: More than 60 per cent of around Rs 9,000 crore spent by the government towards Lok Sabha elections 2019 has been on the procurement of EVM and VVPAT units. The direct expenses on Lok Sabha polls have been Rs 2,019 crore in three financial years, the second major expenditure head after the money spent on the procurement of EVMs. The "other" miscellaneous expenditure head constituted a third major component of the poll spend with Rs 1,317 crore. According to budget provisions for 2019-20, the government has allocated Rs 1,000 crore in the current financial year for clearing pending bills for the expenditure incurred in the Lok Sabha polls. But, the consolidated expenses, including the previous two years' expenditure towards the conduct of the general elections, were to the tune of Rs 8,966 crore. The expenditure includes acquiring EVMs, issuing voter identity cards and other expenses in the last two financial years. Since 2017-18, the government spent over Rs 5,400 crore on acquiring EVMs, a major share of poll-related expenditure booked in three years in run up to the Lok Sabha polls. The expenditure on EVMs includes procurement of ballot units, control units and VVPATs by the Election Commission.
Aadhaar may replace PAN but is an ‘alternative for now’
New Delhi:Aadhaar, 12-digit unique identity number, can potentially replace the permanent account number assigned to taxpayers but for now, biometric ID will only serve as an alternative, 2  officials said on Saturday. Those who do not possess PAN can file their tax returns by quoting Aadhaar number, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her budget speech in a move that’s expected to improve tax compliance in the country. Until now, it has been mandatory to provide PAN details in tax returns. The budget has made a beginning by initially making it an alternative to PAN, and depending on the response of taxpayers, it can replace PAN, one of 2 officials said on condition of anonymity. Sitharaman spoke about the interchangeability of PAN and Aadhaar in her budget speech. HT
Duty imposed on newsprint unfortunate: magazines’ body
New Delhi :A day after 10 per cent customs duty on newsprint was announced in Union Budget, the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) called it “highly unfortunate”, and a “double whammy for print media”. The duty “on paper used by newspapers and magazines…is highly unfortunate”, AIM said. It also said, “this is a double whammy for print media, which is going through unprecedented crises due to declining revenues, caused by the prevailing macroeconomic conditions”. AIM urged the  “to withdraw” the duty announced and “help the print media industry, which serves millions of readers by disseminating information and knowledge”. There was no customs duty on newsprint until now. Most large newspaper groups in India import newsprint, as it costs cheaper than domestic newsprint. The customs duty on uncoated paper used for printing of newspapers and lightweight coated paper used for magazines have also been increased from zero to 10 %.indianexpress
PNB reports Rs 3,805 crore fraud by Bhushan Power & Steel
PNB has said it has reported a borrowing fraud of Rs 3,805 crore by Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd to RBI.“It has been observed that the company has misappropriated bank funds, manipulated books of accounts to raise funds from consortium lender banks,” the bank said in a stock exchange filing. “At present, the case is at NCLT [Tribunal] which is in advance stage and the bank expects good recovery in the account.”
Supreme Court our only hope says family of paralysed Assam man declared a foreigner
Guwahati:Every time someone from the family goes to meet him, they promise to bring him back home soon. But for now, the Supreme Court remains the only ray of hope for the family of Azizul Hoque, a partially paralysed man from Assam’s Nagaon district languishing in a detention camp for declared foreigners since 2017. Hoque even made it to the draft national register of citizens list in 2018 but was part of the recent list of exclusions.“The SC will give us justice,” said Nazirul Islam, Hoque’s brother who does odd jobs for a living. The family stays in Singiapathar village of Nagaon district in central Assam.On Wednesday, the SC, after accepting Hoque’s petition issued notices to the state  and the Centre.According to Nazirul Islam, the problems for Hoque started in 1997, when for the first time the name of 41-year-old featured on the voters list but with a “D” next to it. He had been marked a suspected illegal immigrant, a doubtful voter.As the proceedings of the case started in the foreigners tribunal in Nagaon, Hoque appeared for a couple of times in the beginning. In 2011, he was declared a foreigner ex parte after he failed to appear. Responding to a question put up by MP Shashi Tharoor, minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy said 63,959 people have been declared foreigners ex parte in Assam out of a total number of over 1,00,000 declared foreigners.One night in March 2017, Hoque was picked up by Police and taken to detention centre in Tezpur. “We told police he is physically challenged and cannot even walk properly, but they expressed inability to help,” Islam said. Family decided to approach the foreigners tribunal for a review of ex parte ruling and subsequently the High Court after the tribunal rejected the review.HT
Another extradition setback for India as UK refuses to deport Indian-origin murder accused couple
London:Even as embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya was granted permission to appeal against his extradition order in the UK High Court, India suffered another setback as its extradition request in a murder case was turned down by a court here.The 63-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss welcomed a second chance to disprove the case of fraud and money laundering amounting to an alleged Rs 9,000 crore against him, as the High Court granted him leave to appeal on the grounds of the prima facie case presented by the Indian authorities.Meanwhile on the same day, July 2, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot of Westminster Magistrates’ Court handed down her judgment in a case involving an Indian-origin British citizen Arti Dhir and her husband Kaval Raijada, wanted in India for the murder of their adopted 11-year-old boy Gopal and his brother-in-law. Judge Arbuthnot, incidentally the same judge who had found a prima facie case against Mallya in her ruling in favour of extradition in Dec.2018, “discharged” Dhir and Raijada on human rights grounds under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. PTI
 Proposal to give proxy voting rights to overseas Indians held back for ‘further study’
New Delhi:The  is learnt to have withheld its plan to introduce a fresh bill in Parliament to extend the facility of ‘proxy voting’ to overseas Indians, pending “reconciliation” of varied views on the issue.A similar bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month. It was passed by the lower house but was pending in Rajya Sabha.Sources in the  said that the Law Ministry proposal came before Union Cabinet on June 24 where it was decided that it be held back for “further study”.“The proposal will move forward after various views are reconciled,” a senior functionary said.There have been demands from various parties to extend similar facility to domestic migrants who are unable to vote when elections are held in their native places as most cannot afford to travel or miss work.PTI
Muslim Officer from MP Wants to Change his Name for Remaining Safe from Mob Lynching
Bhopal:Extremely concerned over the rising mob lynching incidents in the country, a Muslim bureaucrat in the Kamal Nath  in Madhya Pradesh wants to change his name for remaining safe from ‘violent crowd’. In a series of tweets on Saturday, senior officer Niyaz Khan, who also describe himself as a novelist, expressed his fear for the safety of Muslim community in the country. Opening up about how he has been looking for a new name of himself so he can hide his Muslim identity, Khan said it is a must if he wants to save himself “from the sword of hate”.“The new name will save me from the violent crowd,” he said.He mentioned how he can easily get away from hate and violence as his appearance don’t make him look like a typical Muslim – who don an Islamic cap, wear a kurta and have a beard – by telling the crowd a fake name.He said, however, that is not the case with his brother. “If my brother is wearing traditional clothes and has beard he is in most dangerous situation,” Khan said.Caravan News
Delhi: 5 more teenagers arrested in Hauz Qazi case
New Delhi: 5 more teenagers who were involved in the Hauz Qazi vandalism were caught from the Lal Kuan area on Saturday, taking the number of arrests to 17. Police say that 4 of them were found to be minors while one is an adult. Police are ascertaining their previous involvements as well. Sources say that all of them are in the age-group of 17-20. They were identified from videos by some of the residents whom the cops showed the videos for verification. During interrogation, the youths had revealed that they were called by one of the accused who was caught earlier and had joined the group in pelting stones at the temple after being asked by the others. They even broke down a shutter at the entrance of the temple and then entered the houses of some of the residents of the area to terrorise them. Cops had met some of the resident welfare associations and asked them to identify the youths from their locality who had joined the protests on Monday and hand them over to the police for a probe. Police officers say that a strict warning has been issued to residents to prevent them from shielding the suspects.Meanwhile, MWAs and different traders associations deployed volunteers on the road outside their shops to manage the traffic in order to avoid unauthorised parking.“We have asked volunteers to help maintain a single lane for vehicles passing through the area so that there are no instances of confrontations which could lead to violence,” said M Nafees Ahmed, a resident of the area. Since Wednesday, the police have been holding meetings with clerics from the local mosques and madrasas around Lal Kuan and asked them for help to identify the miscreants from CCTV and mobile phone footages. TOI
Deoband’s ulemas criticise ‘Shri Ram’ bricks used for construction of drains
Meerut: Deoband’s ulemas have criticised the use of bricks with ‘Shri Ram’ written on them, for the construction of drains.The clerics were reacting to a viral post as there were some pictures of bricks reportedly being used for drains in an unknown location in Uttarakhand.“It is the duty of every Indian to respect other religions and their followers. This kind of use of bricks is wrong and must be criticised in the strongest language.  agencies must take adequate steps to stop this sacrilege,” said Qari Izhaaq Gora, a patron of Madrassa Jamaat Dawat-Ul-Muslimeen. “We also demand strict action against those who have hurt religious sentiments,” he added.Echoing Gora’s sentiment, Mufti Yadilaahi Qazmi, president of Tanzeem Abna-E-Madaris said, “This kind of work has hurt our feelings as deeply as those of our Hindu brethren. An inquiry must be set up to hold those responsible for this insensitive work.”Interestingly, Deoband’s ulemas found support from none other than Bajrang Dal. West UP convenor of Bajrang Dal Balraj Dungar said, “We support Deoband in this regard.”TOI
MP  DGP blames ‘increasing independence of women’ for rise in fake abduction cases
Madhya Pradesh’s DGP VK Singh has said that fake kidnapping cases are increasing because girls and boys interact more often at present, ANI reported on Sunday. “A new trend which we see under Section 363 [IPC] is the increasing independence of women,” the police chief said at a press conference in Gwalior on July 4. “They go to school and college. The increasing independence of women is a reality of today’s society. In this scenario, their interaction with boys is a reality. The girls leave homes in such situations and then a kidnapping case is filed.” Section 363 of IPC deals with the criminal offence of kidnapping.“Criminals from neighbouring states have set up base here,” Singh added. “There is also the traditional reason – criminal tribes who come here. We have to control this.”State Home Minister Bala Bachchan parried a question by reporters about Singh’s comments. “In our review meeting, the govt’s intentions were made clear that if crime is committed under any police station, then staff including seniors will be held responsible,” NDTV quoted him as saying. “We are committed to a safer MP and to protecting our citizens.” BJP said Singh’s remark was irresponsible. “He should avoid such general and irresponsible statements,” said party spokesperson Rahul Kothari. “He is the chief of the state police. We are witnessing crime against women on the rise, they are not able to control it..They should concentrate on how to prevent kidnapping and crime against women instead of giving such statements.” According to NCRB, 7,237 cases of kidnapping were registered in MP in 2016, and in 69% of those cases the victims were girls.scroll.in

NIA Questions Greater Kashmir Editor Over Articles in Newspaper
New Delhi: In a first of its kind development, NIA has been questioning the editor-in-chief of a prominent daily from Kashmir, Greater Kashmir, for over a week about some of the articles published in his newspaper.The editor is being questioned about pieces that appeared in his newspaper during the agitation in 2016 after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter, PTI quoted officials as saying.Though the news agency refrained from identifying the newspaper or the editor by name, The Wire can report that the editor concerned is Fayaz Kaloo.He was also reportedly asked about his trips abroad, including to Dubai.A well known media and business personality, Kaloo is the president of the Kashmir Editors Guild.thewire
J&K: Rise in drug use sends alarm bells ringing
Srinagar :Doctors in Kashmir have raised an alarm after the number of drug users in the Valley has significantly increased over the past two years. Aggravating the situation is quickly changing pattern of drug consumption in the Valley, with doctors coming across an increasing number of abusers using synthetic drugs like heroin.“We have never seen such a situation. The number of drugs addicts has doubled. The disturbing trend is that at present, we have 11 patients admitted, and nine of them are heroin addicts. It is very alarming and something needs to be done to tackle this problem,” Dr Yasir Hassan Rather, who heads the drug de-addiction centre in Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, said .According to official data, the de-addiction centre has witnessed an unprecedented increase in the number of patients visiting hospital’s Out Patients Department (OPD) since 2016. In 2016, hospital saw 489 patients, which increased to 3,622 in 2017 and then 5,113 in 2018. As far as Indoor Patients Dept (IPD) is concerned, hospital officials say the trend is equally disturbing:in 2016, hospital’s IPD department admitted 207 patients for drug abuse, which increased to 374 in 2017.In 2018, number almost doubled to 624 cases.indian expres
India talks tough with Canada on Khalistan
Toronto:India has informed Canada that there is little hope for improving frosty bilateral relations if Ottawa doesn’t address New Delhi’s concerns about the burgeoning activities of Khalistani operatives and organisations, people familiar with developments said. The message was conveyed by external affairs minister S Jaishankar when he held a bilateral meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland, on the margins of the G20 Summit in Japan on June 28, the people said.People familiar with developments in both countries described the meeting as amicable, but said Jaishankar had made no bones about India’s concerns about efforts by Canada-based activists and groups to revive the Khalistan movement and the perceived failure of Ottawa to take a clear stand on the matter. The matter also figured when Canadian high commissioner Nadir Patel paid a courtesy call on Jaishankar on June 19 and the external affairs minister clearly laid out Indian’s concerns on the Khalistan issue, the people said.There was no comment on the matter from Indian and Canadian officials though a person, who didn’t want to be identified as he wasn’t authorised to speak to the media, said the issue had been brewing for a long time and India’s concerns could no longer be swept aside. There was no official readout on the Jaishankar-Freeland meeting from both sides. Official Twitter handles of both countries had tweeted about the meeting in a positive manner, though Jaishankar himself tweeted that he looked forward to “building an even more substantive relationship that reflects both our interests and concerns”.Officials from both sides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that bilateral ties have largely stagnated since PM Justin Trudeau’s visit to India in Feb.2018, which was hit by several controversies, including one over the presence of a man convicted of terror charges at an official reception.HT
Khalistan movement getting support from ISI-backed Muslim community in UK:Indian Army veteran
An Indian Army veteran has claimed that Khalistanis, the secessionists demanding a separate homeland in the sovereign territory of India, are getting support from Pakistani Muslims in Britain and Canada.He is also of the opinion that some Gurdwaras in these countries are the facilitators of the so-called movement and they have been pumping huge money and material to keep it alive."The major inflow of funds is coming from Canada and UK. In UK, a large Muslim community from Pakistan lives and this is a very vociferous community," said Major General (Retd.) Dhruv C. Katoch. "These people are also in touch with ISI of Pakistan. They are trying to create a sort of movement within the UK, so basically the foreign funding or the foreign support comes from the two countries," he added.ANI
Nepal Denies Tibetans' Request To Hold Dalai Lama Birthday Celebration
 Tibetan community in Nepal called off plans to mark the birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama after their request for a public celebration was rejected over security concerns, a  official said on Sunday. Dalai Lama turned 84 on Saturday and his followers in Nepal had hoped to celebrate occasion in the capital, Kathmandu, but communist rejected their request. China, which regards Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist, has been increasing its influence in Himalayan nation that is home to about 20,000 Tibetans. Nepal is a natural buffer between China and India and is considered by New Delhi as its natural ally, but China is also making inroads by pouring aid and infrastructure investment into what is one of the world's 10 poorest countries.Reuters
PM Modi assures Jamia V-C of aid in setting up of medical college
New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi met Jamia Millia Islamia V-C Najma Akhtar and assured her of all assistance in setting up a medical college-cum-hospital during her tenure.She briefed PM Modi on academic and research activities in the university and also informed him about the centenary celebrations of Jamia next year, varsity said.Ms Akhtar sought a special grant-in-aid for the celebrations.PM  assured the VC that her request would be looked into favourably, it added.PM  emphasised on the aims and objectives of education for his  as he spoke highly about the high standard of academic and research activities of the university, the varsity said.PTI
Japanese encephalitis, toll rise to 49 in Assam
Guwahati:With the number of deaths this year due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) increasing to 49 and number of positive cases reaching 190, Assam  on Saturday initiated several emergency measures to tackle the situation.State health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed all districts except Kokrajhar are at present affected by the disease. Leave of all doctors and paramedical staff has been kept on hold with immediate effect till September 30.The state , however, didn’t term the situation as alarming. “On average, nearly 100 deaths due to JE are reported across the state. In 2015, the figure was as high as 135, but in 2017 it came down to 87 deaths,” Sarma said.He informed that 12.8 lakh blood sample slides have been collected to test for the outbreak of JE-related fever and diagnostic kits provided to all district hospitals and medical colleges.HT
WORLD
Intra-Afghan summit for talks with Taliban under way in Qatar
Doha:Dozens of high-profile Afghan politicians and civil society activists, including women, are meeting with the Taliban in the Qatari capital for an intra-Afghan summit that seeks to find lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan.The two-day summit, sponsored by Qatar and Germany, began early on Sunday and is being attended by a delegation of about 50 high-profile Afghan citizens."The meeting is aimed at further pushing the intra-Afghan negotiations for peace," former Afghan envoy to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, who is attending the summit, told Al Jazeera. Zakhilwal said the summit "complements" the ongoing United States-Taliban talks, also being held in Doha.As the meeting was under way, Taliban fighters on Sunday killed at least eight people and wounded more than 50 civilians in a car bomb attack in Afghanistan's Ghazni province. An Afghan official attending the summit said issues such as women's and minorities rights will be discussed at the summit. He did not provide the details of the agenda. However, Moscow has hosted 2 intra-Afghan meetings so far. In February, senior Afghan politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai, met a Taliban delegation in the Russian capital and discussed, among other issues, the adoption of a new constitution and an interim .The two groups, bitter former foes, were also seen praying and dining together during the talks in Moscow. Meanwhile, the seventh round of US-Taliban peace talks in Doha, that began on June 29, have been paused for two days to allow the intra-Afghan summit to take place, a Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera."No talks will take place tomorrow and the day after," Suhail Shaheen said on Saturday. "The talks between US and the Taliban will restart on Tuesday." Despite the ongoing efforts to end the 18-year Afghanistan war, a number of deadly attacks have taken place across the country recently.aljazeera
Quebec education minister: Malala can teach here if she removes headscarf
Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said in a tweet Friday that if Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai wanted to teach in Quebec, it would be an honour, but like in other “open and tolerant countries, teachers can’t wear religious symbols while they exercise their functions.”Roberge noted that’s the case in France, where the two were photographed together. They were taking part in planning meetings to discuss education during G7 in France this coming Aug. Roberge’s tweet was in response to a question by reporter Salim Nadim Valji over Twitter who asked, “Roberge, how would you respond if Mme Yousafzai wanted to become a teacher in Quebec?” The question came after Roberge posted a photo with Yousafzai to Twitter; in the caption, he said it was nice to meet her to discuss access to education.Montreal Gazette
Sudan Muslim Brotherhood ‘supports’ military council, opposition agreement
Observer-General of Sudan’s Muslim Brotherhood, Awadallah Hassan has announced his support for the agreement reached between the ruling military council and the Sudanese opposition.Sudan News Agency (SUNA) quoted Hassan as saying: “We support any agreement that preserves the country and we are optimistic that the future will be better if people agree to respect democracy and renounce the method of exclusion and secret agendas.”“We will peacefully extend our hands to cooperate with everyone in order to establish a country that we will be proud of,” Hassan added.Observer-General called on all parties to promptly find solutions to the problems facing the country and make concessions for the sake of security and stability. He called for the participation of all parties to provide opinions and ideas to contribute to this goal.The eastern Sudanese city of Al-Qadarif and the central city of Madani have witnessed “marches of joy” following the announcement of an agreement between the military council and the Forces of Freedom and Change earlier this week.Yesterday, hundreds of people marched in several neighbourhoods of the capital Khartoum, celebrating the signing of an agreement to form a sovereign council and a transitional civilian.The agreement has been seen as a breakthrough after direct negotiations between the conflicting parties collapsed in May, with both parties accusing the other of wishing to dominate the bodies of the authority proposed for the transitional period.middleeastmonitor
Sri Lanka on alert as Buddhist monks meet over Prez vote
Police lined up on the streets of the Sri Lankan highland city of Kandy and the army was on standby, as hardline Buddhist monks gathered for their first big assembly since a spate of deadly bombings targeting churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, the influential head of Buddhist nationalist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), has called for as many as 10,000 clergymen from across the country to attend the meeting on Sunday. The group said the gathering will decide who to back in the presidential elections later this year in the Indian Ocean island nation where Buddhists make up about 70 percent of the population. The rest include ethnic Tamils, who are mostly Hindus, and Muslims.Later in the day, monk, who has faced allegations of inciting violence against Muslims, will address the gathering.Muslims have become fearful of a backlash, especially from groups such as BBS that are leading te campaign against Muslim hardliners.aljazeera
US sent message to Iran after drone downing, warning of limited strike: Iranian official
Dubai:US conveyed a messgae to Iran warning of a limited stike against the country after its unmanned drone was shot down in the Gulf, Iran's civil defence agency chief Gholamreza Jalali was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency on Sunday.“After the downing of its intruding drone, US told us through diplomatic intermediaries that it wanted to carry out a limited operation,” said Jalali who is also a senior commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.“But Iran's response was that we regard every operation as the beginning of the war.”A day after the drone was downed in the Gulf, Iranian officials told Reuters on June 21 that Tehran had received a message from US President Donald Trump through Oman after the drone was downed warning that a US attack on Iran was imminent. Iranian and US officials denied the report.Reuters
Iran set to exceed uranium enrichment limit in 2015 nuclear deal
Iran has announced it will begin enriching uranium beyond the limit set in its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers "in a few hours".  The move on Sunday was part of an Iranian effort to press Europe to salvage the accord after the US  pulled out last year and reimposed punishing sanctions on Tehran, including on its oil and banking sectors. aljazeera
Russia-Syria assault on Idlib leaves over 500 civilians dead
At least 544 civilians have been killed and more than 2,000 people wounded since a Russian-led assault on the last rebel-held bastion in northwestern Syria began two-and-a-half months ago, according to rights groups and rescuers. Russian fighter jets joined the Syrian army on April 26 in the offensive against rebel-held Idlib and adjoining northern Hama provinces, in biggest escalation in the war between Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebel fighters since last summer. aljazeera
Regime attacks kill 14 in Syria’s de-escalation zones
At least 14 civilians were killed and 20 injured in attacks by Syrian regime forces and Russia on de-escalation zones in northern Syria, said sources with White Helmets civil defense agency.Airstrikes and artillery shelling targeted the towns in the Idlib province. Turkey and Russia agreed last Sept to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.middleeastmonitor
Flash: views & NEWS
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Cross-examination ends: Reserve my right for further legal action in future, MJ Akbar tells court

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