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Thursday, 17 December 2020

SC says farmers have right to protest, suggests Centre to put farm laws on hold. · ‘Good judgment’: SC refuses to interfere with Allahabad HC order quashing detention of Kafeel Khan under NSA. India slips two spot to rank 131 in UN’s human development index

 

NEWS BULLETIN : EVENING

17-12-2020,18:58 IST

 HEADLINES

·        SC says farmers have right to protest, suggests Centre to put farm laws on hold

·        ‘Good judgment’: SC refuses to interfere with Allahabad HC order quashing detention of Kafeel Khan under NSA

·        Uniform Civil Code? Plea in SC seeks 'uniformity' in laws on divorce and alimony, Centre issued notice

·        Centre’s move to regulate online news platforms was to bring content under one place: I&B ministry

·        Foundation stone for Ayodhya mosque to be laid on R-Day; blueprint this week

·        India slips two spot to rank 131 in UN’s human development index

·        COVID-19 vaccination drive in US hit by allergic reaction to Pfizer vaccine, delays

·        Members of European Parliament call for EU-wide ban on trade with 'illegal settlements'

 

INDIA

 

SC says farmers have right to protest, suggests Centre to put farm laws on hold

Acknowledging the right of farmers to hold non-violent protests, the Supreme Court on Thursday suggested that the Centre put implementation of the new farm laws on hold while putting forward the idea of constituting an impartial and independent committee, which may include experts like P Sainath, to end the impasse. Centre said farmers would not come forward for negotiations if implementation of farm laws was put on hold. Heading a 3-judge bench hearing a clutch of petitions seeking removal of farmers protesting at the borders of Delhi, CJI SA Bobde said it would order for serving of notices to protesting farmer unions and give them liberty to approach the vacation bench. “A protest is constitutional till it does not destroy property or endanger life. Centre and farmers have to talk. We are thinking of an impartial and independent committee before whom both parties can give its side of story,” CJI said. The top court said the purpose of staging a protest can be achieved if the farmers and the government hold talks and “we wish to facilitate that”. “We will not decide the validity of law today. The only thing which we will decide is the issue of protest and the right to move freely,” the bench made clear at the outset of the hearing. The top court said the purpose of staging a protest can be achieved if the farmers and the govt hold talks and “we wish to facilitate that”. “We will not decide the validity of law today. The only thing which we will decide is the issue of protest and the right to move freely,” the bench made clear at the outset of the hearing. The ongoing protests, which is now in its third week, have seen thousands of farmers, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, gathering at the capital’s doorstep.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-farmers-protest-news-committee-7108445/

 

 

Shaheen Bagh parallel with a difference: Govt draws line, but keeps door open

New Delhi :Comparatively less spontaneous than the nationwide anti-CAA protests a year ago, the standoff between protesting farmers and the government over the three laws seems headed towards a Shaheen Bagh-like gridlock. The govt, which had initially dismissed anti-CAA protests as orchestrated by its political opponents, was forced to counter it with its own public mobilisation. Similarly, three weeks of farmers’ protests on the borders of the national capital has got the ruling BJP to plan public meetings across the country. It has taken a leaf from its CAA playbook with senior ministers and leaders holding meetings with “pro-farm laws farmers’ groups,” to signal that the demand for a repeal of the three laws doesn’t reflect a national farmer sentiment. Sources in the govt suggested that if the protest remains peaceful – as it has been so far – the government will let it continue like it did with the one in Shaheen Bagh.But government functionaries are insistent that the laws will not be repealed, that its political opponents are riding the agitation and it will not be arm-twisted into conceding more.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/shaheen-bagh-parallel-with-a-difference-govt-draws-line-but-keeps-door-open-7107937/

 

 

 Delhi govt tables resolution in Assembly to repeal farm laws; "Don't Become Worse Than British", Kejriwal tears copy of farm laws

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday criticised the Centre over the death of farmers near agitating near the Delhi border, asking how many sacrifices farmers will have to make to get their voices heard. The ruling AAP also introduced a resolution in the legislative assembly to repeal the Centre’s three new farm laws. Delhi minister Kailash Gahlot on Thursday tabled a resolution in the legislative assembly to repeal the Centre's three new farm laws. AAP MLA Mahendra Goyal and CM Kejriwal himself tore a copy of the farm laws during his speech in the assembly.Many AAP leaders, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, had joined the farmers' day-long fast on Monday in protest against the farm laws.  Speaking in the Delhi Assembly, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tore the copies of the new farm laws. "What was the hurry to get Farm Laws passed in Parliament during pandemic? It has happened for 1st time that 3 laws were passed without voting in Rajya Sabha...I hereby tear 3 Farm laws in this assembly and appeal Centre not to become worst than Britishers," ANI quoted him as saying.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/farmers-protest-live-updates-punjab-haryana-msp-narendra-singh-tomar-bjp-7108028/

 

Farmers’ protest | Thousands stay put at border points, traffic disrupted on Delhi’s key routes

The agitation against the Centre’s new farm laws enters its fourth week with thousands of farmers camping at border points of Delhi, firm in their demands, and the Supreme Court saying it will form a committee to resolve the deadlock.On Wednesday, top court observed that the Centre’s talks with the protesting farmers have “not worked apparently” and were bound to fail, and said it will form a committee having representatives of both the sides, but the agitating leaders dismissed it as no solution.There was disruption of traffic movement on key routes in the national capital on Thursday, the 22nd day of the farmers’ protest to demand for the repeal of the 3 new agri marketing laws.PTI

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-protest-thousands-stay-put-at-border-points-traffic-disrupted-on-delhis-key-routes/article33353251.ece?homepage=true

 

Farmers must be respected and farm laws repealed; govt should abandon its stubbornness:farmer leaders

Farmers who have been staging protests on Delhi's borders for the past 22 days against agricultural laws have welcomed the Supreme Court's remarks on Thursday and said that if the government retreats two steps, so will the farmers.Bharatiya Kisan Union national president Naresh Tikait said: "If the government takes two steps back, the farmers will follow suit. A plea against the farmers agitation was heard in the SC in which it was said: "We have to ensure that the farmers are allowed to carry out their protests and there is no infringement of the rights of the people as well."Tikait said, "We respect everything that the Supreme Court says. Whatever panel is formed, sensible people should be on it. We are ready for a dialogue. If the issue of agricultural laws is resolved we too will return to our homes. "IANS

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/farmers-must-be-respected-and-farm-laws-repealed-govt-should-abandon-its-stubbornness-say-farmer-leaders

 

Farmers' protest: Shah holds meeting with Sitharaman, Goyal, Tomar over farm laws at BJP head office

Amid the ongoing farmers' agitation, Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday held a meeting with Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Narendra Singh Tomar over the farm laws.The meeting was held at the BJP head office in Delhi and was also attended by the party's general secretaries CT Ravi, Dushyant Gautam and Arun Singh among others.The meeting was being held on the day the Supreme Court asked the Centre to consider putting the controversial farm laws on hold for now.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/farmers-protest-amit-shah-meeting-bjp-head-office-farm-laws-1750496-2020-12-17

 

‘Instigating local farmers’: 6 farm leaders asked to submit Rs 50 lakh bonds in UP

Lucknow :Amid the farmers’ agitation, the district administration in Sambhal has issued notices to six farmer leaders asking them to submit personal bonds of Rs 50 lakh each, along with sureties from 2 guarantors of the same amount, after police accused them of trying to instigate local farmers.The six include Bharatiya Kisan Union (Asli) Sambhal district president Rajpal Singh and other farmer leaders identified as Jaiveer and Satendra alias Gangafal.“The police report states that they are instigating farmers in villages and also spreading false news following which peace could be broken in the area,” said a government official.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/instigating-local-farmers-6-farm-leaders-asked-to-submit-rs-50-lakh-bonds-in-uttar-pradesh-7107980/

 

Farm laws: Sikh priest dies by suicide near protest site, says unable to bear pain of farmers

A 65-year-old Sikh priest on Wednesday died by suicide near the Singhu border, the centre of the farmers’ protest against the agricultural laws, PTI reported. Baba Ram Singh left a note, in which he said that he was unable to bear the pain of farmers. Singh was the priest of a gurdwara in Haryana, according to NDTV. He was at the Delhi-Sonipat border at Kundli on Wednesday.

https://scroll.in/latest/981476/farm-laws-sikh-priest-dies-by-suicide-near-protest-site-says-unable-to-bear-pain-of-farmers

 

2,000 Women, Who Lost Family Members to Suicide, Join Farmer Protest at Tikri Border

NEW DELHI – Around 2,000 women, whose family members committed suicide in Punjab over the years due to farm related issues, joined the ongoing farmer protest at Delhi’s Tikri border on Wednesday.Among them is Gurmeher Kaur (34), who had lost her husband Jugraj Singh at a young age in 2007 and has been living alone in the village since.“He had 1.5 acres of land and was very stressed about financial problems and debt. When he died, I was very young with two children. I gave my younger son away to my sister as I couldn’t look after him, and my elder son lives with my parents in their village, 10 kilometres away. They are helping him study. After my husband’s death, I gave our land on lease for farming and have been doing daily wage labour, earning about Rs 1,800-2,000 a month. My older son is 18 now and when he finishes studying, he will take over the farming work,” Kaur was quoted by Indian Express as saying.She said that she receives help from elder women in the village, like Baljeet Kaur (52), who lost her husband Gurcharan Singh in 1999. “We have three acres of land. We can get very little from this much land. He had a debt of Rs 5 lakh and he needed to get his younger sister married… When my children were young, I gave the land on lease, but now my younger son looks after the farming. We are here to join this protest because small farmers like us are the most vulnerable and will lose what little we have,” said the 52-year-old.

https://clarionindia.net/2000-women-who-lost-family-members-to-suicide-join-farmer-protest-at-tikri-border/

 

Discussed farmer protests, your politics ours too: UK’s Dominic Raab

New Delhi :A day after he announced that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations in January, visiting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Wednesday that he had “discussed” the situation arising out of the farmer protests with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. He underlined that “your politics” is, in some sense, “our politics” because of the Indian diaspora in Britain.Raab, who also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, told a group of journalists that India has a “vibrant heritage of peaceful protests”, and UK “respects it”.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/discussed-protests-your-politics-ours-too-uk-dominic-raab-7107927/

 

Farmers' Stir: Indo-Canadian Groups Slam Ex-Indian Diplomats' Letter Against Trudeau

New Delhi: A group of Indo-Canadian organisations hit back at the former Indian ambassadors who in an open letter had slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for expressing support to ongoing farmers’ protests in India.Describing themselves as “organisations representing Canadians with strong ties to India”, the statement issued by them has expressed alarm over former diplomats “sabre-rattling and tendentious response” to Trudeau’s “mild statement” in favour of farmers opposing new farm laws.The statement has been issued collectively by the Centre for Study and Research in South Asia (CERAS); Democracy Equality and Secularism in South Asia, Winnipeg; Indian Civil Watch-Canada; South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD); Punjabi Literary and Cultural Association, Winnipeg; and South Asian Dalit Adivasi Network (SADAN).

https://thewire.in/world/farmers-stir-indo-canadian-groups-slam-ex-indian-diplomats-letter-against-trudeau

 

‘Good judgment’: SC refuses to interfere with Allahabad HC order quashing detention of Kafeel Khan under NSA

The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed an appeal of Uttar Pradesh govt against the Allahabad High Court order quashing Dr. Kafeel Khan’s detention under NSA. A bench headed by CJI SA Bobde, which was hearing Uttar Pradesh govt’s plea challenging the high court’s Sept.1 verdict, said it is “a good judgment”. “We will not interfere in the judgment. However, the observation will not impact any other proceedings,” said the bench, also comprising justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. Khan, a pediatrician at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital who had been placed under suspension, was arrested on Jan.29 for allegedly making the “provocative speech” during an anti-CAA protest and lodged at Mathura district jail. Charged under NSA on Feb.13, his detention was extended twice. He was released in Sept.  Ruling that his address to students at AMU during the anti-CAA protests last December was “a call for national integrity and unity”, and not “any effort to promote hatred or violence”, the Allahabad High Court set aside the detention of Khan under NSA.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sc-refuses-to-interfere-with-allahabad-hc-order-quashing-detention-of-kafeel-khan-under-nsa-7108355/

 

 

Uniform Civil Code? Plea in SC seeks 'uniformity' in laws on divorce and alimony, Centre issued notice

The debate on uniform civil code looks set to be reignited as the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices on a plea seeking directions to Centre to make the personal laws on divorce and alimony uniform across all religions.CJI SA Bobde added that the bench is issuing notices with "great caution".Two PILs have been filed seeking direction to bring uniformity in matters of divorce and alimony across all religions. CJI told petitioner's counsel that the court can grant a hearing in the plea, but problem is why should Hindu and Muslim community be brought on par like this. Chief Justice said, "How will you decide whether to adopt what is in Hinduism, Islam or Christianity?"The counsel replied that if religious rights infringed upon fundamental rights then such rights cannot be consideredConcluding the hearing, CJI said, "We are issuing notice with great caution".

https://www.freepressjournal.in/india/uniform-civil-code-plea-in-sc-seeking-uniformity-on-laws-on-divorce-and-alimony-centre-issued-notice

 

Centre’s move to regulate online news platforms was to bring content under one place: I&B ministry

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare has clarified the govt’s decision to put online news platforms and content providers under the ministry, saying that it was done to bring all the content in one place and platforms to another. “The idea behind the change done in the month of November was to bring content at one place that is Ministry of I&B and platform at another that is Ministry of IT [Information Technology],” Khare said during his address at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Big Picture summit.Centre had amended the (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, on November 10 to bring over-the-top or OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon’s Prime Video under the purview of the I&B Ministry. While film and TV certification bodies moderate public content in India, it did not allow censorship of content on the online streaming platforms. There was no law or autonomous committee governing digital content in the country.

https://scroll.in/latest/981513/centres-move-to-regulate-ott-platforms-was-to-bring-content-under-one-place-says-i-b-ministry

 

Facebook found no need to act against Bajrang Dal, says company’s India head: Reports

Facebook India head Ajit Mohan told a parliamentary panel on Wednesday that the social media giant had found no need to act against Hindutva group Bajrang Dal despite an internal security team flagging it as a “dangerous organisation” that supported violence against minorities in India, PTI reported.The Bajrang Dal is part of the Sangh Parivar, the larger family of right-wing organisations affiliated to the RSS. RSS is also the ideological mentor of India’s ruling party, BJP.Mohan was summoned by the parliamentary Information Technology Panel led by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor to discuss the data safety of users. The panel also grilled Facebook about inaction on its own internal report, according to Hindustan Times.

https://scroll.in/latest/981495/facebook-found-no-need-to-act-against-bajrang-dal-says-companys-india-head-reports

 

Delhi riots: Govt sanctions sedition charges against Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, others

Delhi government has given its sanction to the police to charge 18 people accused in the Delhi riots case -- including former JNU students Sharjeel Imam, Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, former JNU student Umar Khalid, and local politicians Tahir Hussain and Ishrat Jahan -- under sections of the Indian Penal Code that deal with sedition and criminal conspiracy. According to the Delhi government’s sanction approval letter, the police’s charge sheet was vetted, and after perusal it appeared that “prima facie the accused persons had committed the acts of sedition and criminal conspiracy.” HT has seen a copy of the government’s sanction letter.The government has also written to police saying that the granting of the prosecution sanction has been approved by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal.The Delhi government did not respond to requests for comment.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/delhi-riots-govt-sanctions-sedition-charges-against-umar-khalid-sherjeel-imam-others/story-MNfGsVfaaxQyiXN3EkU9OJ.html

 

Delhi riots: Tihar jail officials did not provide treatment for toothache, Umar Khalid tells court

Activist Umar Khalid told a court on Wednesday that Tihar jail superintendents had not provided appropriate medical care for the past three days, after he complained of a toothache, PTI reported. Khalid, a former student leader from the JNU, is lodged in jail in connection with the Delhi riots case.Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dinesh Kumar directed prison officials to provide medical assistance and file a compliance report within two days. “If the dentist is not available in the jail for check up till next day, the accused may be taken to a dentist outside the prison for the check up and for the treatment, if required,” the court said.Khalid had told the court that the dentist who was scheduled to visit the jail on Wednesday did not arrive, and added that he was in pain, making it difficult for him to wait another week for the doctor’s visit.

https://scroll.in/latest/981493/delhi-riots-tihar-jail-officials-did-not-provide-treatment-for-toothache-umar-khalid-tells-court

 

Delhi riots: Police allowed to record Jamia student Iqbal Tanha’s voice samples

A Delhi court on Wednesday allowed police to record the voice samples of Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, who has been charged under the stringent UAPA in the Delhi riot cases, after investigating officer (IO) moved an application for the same.Additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat directed the investigating officer to coordinate with the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) at Lodhi Colony (New Delhi), to schedule the obtainment of voice samples and inform the court so production warrants could be issued.While allowing the police’s plea, the court said the aspect of taking voice samples of an accused was an aspect of the investigation and it did not make the accused a witness against himself. Advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, appearing for Tanha, denied all the contents of the application and claimed the arrest of the accused in the case was wholly “illegal” and without any evidence. Shankaran added that Tanha has diligently cooperated with the investigation from the beginning and before to his arrest, and undertakes to do so subject to the exercise of his fundamental right against self-incrimination.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/delhi-riots-police-allowed-to-record-jamia-student-iqbal-tanha-s-voice-samples/story-gAAq9BlK9SlFzxgtDTvwOP.html

 

Hundreds of Indian Americans protest across US, demand repeal of farm laws, CAA

 “Coalition to Stop Genocide in India”, a broad coalition of Indian American and US-based civil rights organizations organized protests on December 12 and 13, in several cities across the US demanding repeal of the pro-corporate farm laws as well as the draconian CAA and NRC.The protests were organized in Austin, Dallas, Boston, New York City, Raleigh, Seattle, Chicago and several other cities by the diaspora community and the coalition partners included the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Boston South Asia Coalition (BSAC).The protests were attended by hundreds of Indian Americans who braced freezing temperatures in some cities to express solidarity with protesting farmers and citizens in India. Loud cries of ‘Sadda Haqq ithe rakh’ (Give us back our rights) and ‘No Farmer, No Food’, rang out at the Dallas City Hall in Texas, the venue of protests by members of the Sikh community, to support the ongoing farmer protests in India. The severe cold and steady rainfall could not keep the determined lot from registering their protest against the farm laws which are expected to have a crippling effect on an estimated 16 million farmers and a couple million traders associated with agriculture across the country.

http://twocircles.net/2020dec16/440274.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Twocirclesnet-IndianMuslim+%28TwoCircles.net+-+Indian+Muslim+News%29

 

One Year of JMI Violence: Umar Khalid’s Mother, Sister Held, Freed After 2 Hours

NEW DELHI — The police on Tuesday detained a group of students and residents, including mother and sister of incarcerated activist Umar Khalid, from the Batla House locality of Jamia Nagar where they had assembled to hold a candlelight vigil to mark one year of violence in Jamia Millia Islamia.They were released after a couple of hours.A journalism student who had gone to the spot to cover the vigil for his social media page was also detained. He said that he, along with nine more students, was picked up in a police vehicle and was driven around on roads of Delhi for two hours without taking them to any police station.“I asked a cop who was accompanying us why we were detained and being driven around, he said he didn’t know,” the student said.The police took away the phones of all the detainees and put them on the switch-off mode which made it difficult for the families and journalists to ascertain the whereabouts of the students.Khalid’s father SQR Ilyas took to Facebook and said in a video message that when he approached the police officers to know about his wife and daughter, the police told him that they would be released after some time.

https://clarionindia.net/one-year-of-jmi-violence-umar-khalids-mother-sister-held-freed-after-2-hours/

 

Jamia student Who Lost Permanent Vision In His Left Eye In Police Attack On Varsity, Waits For Justice

NEW DELHI:Jamia Millia Islamia student Mohammad Minhajuddin, who lost vision in his left eye in police violence in the Jamia library is still awaiting justice for the past one year ever since the gruesome attack on the university took place on December 15, 2019.  Minhajuddin, an LLM student, was among scores of the students who sustained injuries in police assault on the Jamia campus while chasing students and local residents who were taking out a march to Parliament against CAA.Narrating his ordeal a year after the painful incident, Minhajuddin said he had never thought that he would be assaulted in the library while studying. “The administration of Jamia Millia Islamia has not acted responsibly in this incident as the entire security of the students was in hands of the university. I was studying for my LLM in the library when the students were suddenly attacked,” he said. Minhajuddin is a resident of Samastipur where he works as a lecturer.  He has obtained a degree in law from Jamia Millia Islamia and at the time of the incident, was pursuing his Masters in Law in the same university.India Tomorrow

https://indiatomorrow.net/2020/12/17/jamia-student-who-lost-permanent-vision-in-his-left-eye-in-police-attack-on-varsity-waits-for-justice/

 

Foundation stone for Ayodhya mosque to be laid on R-Day; blueprint this week

The blueprint of the mosque to replace the Babri Masjid will be unveiled this Saturday and its foundation laid on Republic Day on the five-acre land allotted for it here, members of the Trust formed for its construction said.“The Trust chose January 26, 2021 for laying the foundation stone of the Ayodhya mosque as on this day our Constitution came into effect over seven decades ago. Our Constitution is based on pluralism, which is the leitmotif of our mosque project,” said Athar Hussain, secretary of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF). IICF was set up by the Sunni Waqf Board six months ago to build the mosque.The blueprint of the mosque complex, which will include a multi-speciality hospital, a community kitchen and a library, will be unveiled by the IICF on December 19 as the plan for the project has been finalised by its chief architect, Professor S M Akhtar.PTI

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/foundation-stone-for-ayodhya-mosque-to-be-laid-on-r-day-blueprint-this-week-7108190/

 

‘Love jihad’ laws of UP, Uttarakhand challenged in SC by NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace

Mumbai-based NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the laws passed by the states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh on religious conversions in the name of "love jihad", officially called Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020 and Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, ostensibly prohibiting forceful prohibition of conversion for the purposes of marriage.The Petitioner-organization has contended that the provisions of the impugned Act and Ordinance both violate Article 21 of the Constitution as it empowers the State to suppress an individual's personal liberty and impinge upon an individual's right to freedom of choice and right to freedom of religion, Live Law has reported."The Act and Ordinance seemed to be premised on conspiracy theories and assume that all conversions are illegally forced upon individuals who may have attained the age of majority. It mandates that a series of complicated procedures to be followed before and after conversion, taking the State into confidence to "ensure" that the act was an informed and voluntary decision by the individual. These provisions in both the impugned Act and Ordinance place a burden on individuals to justify their personal decisions for State approval," it has submitted.

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/love-jihad-laws-of-up-uttarakhand-challenged-in-sc-by-ngo-citizens-for-justice-and-peace

 

Delhi HC grants protection to interfaith couple from UP

 Delhi high court on Wednesday granted protection to an interfaith couple from Uttar Pradesh, who fled to the national Capital fearing persecution, days after the new UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020, commonly known as the ‘love jihad’ law, was passed. The couple has alleged that they were forced to leave their parental houses due to reports of harassment on interfaith couples. Justice Anu Malhotra, while granting protection, also directed the Delhi government to provide them a safe house in accordance with an earlier order of the Supreme Court.According to the plea, 21-year-old Hindu woman met the 25-year-old Muslim man at a coaching centre in Shahjahanpur. They fell in love and wanted to get married under the Special Marriage Act, as they did not intend to convert. However, the parents and relatives of the woman opposed their alliance. The plea, filed through advocates Soutik Banerjee and Aakarsh Kamra, alleged that the woman’s parents and relatives tortured her physically and mentally. Fearing harassment, the couple reached Delhi on December 11 and contacted an NGO.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/delhi-hc-grants-protection-to-interfaith-couple-from-up/story-cGE2zrpgfQxLjtFYBgEokJ.html

 

 

Bijnor man sent to jail for ‘love jihad’, 8th case in UP under anti-conversion law

BIJNOR: Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor on Wednesday registered the state’s eighth case under the new anti-conversion law when it booked and sent to jail a 21-year-old man under its provisions, three days after he allegedly eloped with a minor girl of his village and tried to “convert” her to Islam.Shaqib alias Sonu, a resident of Bijnor’s Dhampur area, was also booked under section 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc) of IPC and under provisions of Posco and SC/ST Acts.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/bijnor-man-sent-to-jail-for-love-jihad-8th-case-in-up-under-anti-conversion-law/articleshow/79765906.cms

 

Amnesty closure: Karnataka HC allows rights group to withdraw Rs 60 lakh from bank accounts

Karnataka High Court on Wednesday allowed Amnesty International India to withdraw Rs 60 lakh from its bank accounts after rejecting the Enforcement Directorate’s objections, Bar and Bench reported.A bench of Justice PS Dinesh Kumar allowed the petition by the human rights body, which challenged the communication issued by the Enforcement Directorate to banks, directing them to freeze Amnesty’s accounts. The court had reserved its order in the case on December 9. “Petition is partly allowed, the petitioner is allowed to withdraw an amount of Rs 60 lakh from the bank accounts,” the order passed by Justice Kumar said.

https://scroll.in/latest/981456/amnesty-closure-karnataka-hc-allows-rights-group-to-withdraw-rs-60-lakh-from-bank-accounts

 

Bhima Koregaon case: Bombay HC reserves order on activist Gautam Navlakha’s default bail petition

Civil rights campaigner Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence of 2018, on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that the period he spent under house arrest must be considered as time spent in custody, PTI reported. The activist sought default bail on the grounds that NIA had failed to file a chargesheet within the stipulated period of 90 days.However, a bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik reserved their verdict on Navlakha’s petition seeking statutory bail.

https://scroll.in/latest/981459/bhima-koregaon-case-bombay-hc-reserves-order-on-activist-gautam-navlakhas-default-bail-petition

 

Hathras gangrape: CBI seeks more time to complete inquiry, HC fixes January 27 as next hearing date

 CBI on Wednesday sought more time from the Allahabad High Court to conclude its investigation into the Hathras gangrape case, reported PTI. The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court fixed January 27 as the next date of hearing.The central agency also failed to submit any status report of the probe.

https://scroll.in/latest/981468/hathras-gangrape-cbi-seeks-more-time-to-complete-inquiry-hc-fixes-january-27-as-next-hearing-date

 

LAC tensions: US Congress passes defence policy bill that calls out Chinese aggression against India

United States Congress has passed a defence policy bill that calls out Chinese aggression against India along the Line of Actual Control, reported PTI.The National Defense Authorisation Act, or NDDA, passed by both the US House of Representatives and the Senate, includes the resolution of American Indian Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. It urges the Chinese government to end its military aggression against India along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.

https://scroll.in/latest/981421/lac-tensions-us-congress-passes-defence-policy-bill-that-calls-out-chinese-aggression-against-india

 

7 branches of China’s ruling party have India link:Indian Express report

At least 7 branches of the Communist Party of China (CPC) have an India connection, and at least one CPC member was hired by the Indian consulate in Shanghai using the services of a Chinese state-owned recruitment agency, according to data shared by a source with an international consortium of journalists including Indian Express.The dataset, which has been accessed by global media outlets for first time ever, provides details of the branch and membership structure of the Chinese Communist Party. In China, the Communist Party is broken down by branches, and Party Committees exist in most big corporations.The database received from the source, who wishes to remain anonymous, records at least 79,000 CPC branches. It lists over 1.95 million people as CPC members, which is about 2.1 per cent of the estimated total CPC membership base of 92 million. The data reveals that these CPC members are employed with multinational corporations across banking, defence, pharmaceutical and financial sectors. The companies include ANZ, HSBC, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Volkswagen and Boeing.The dataset reveals that at least seven CPC branches have an India connection, and cumulatively these seven branches have 91 party  members. Separately, a list of local Chinese professionals hired by as many as 30 foreign consulates using the services of Chinese state-owned Foreign Agency Service Department, includes one such professional employed by the Consulate General of India in Shanghai.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/seven-branches-of-chinas-ruling-party-have-india-link-7107918/

 

Indo-China tension: Centre to blacklist some telecom vendors, set up panel to check ‘trusted source’

Centre on Wednesday said it may blacklist certain telecom equipment vendors, reported NDTV. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that New Delhi will also have a list of “India Trusted sources” from where firms can safely buy products and services.This would mean that phone companies in India will only be allowed to use telecom equipment that is certified by a top security panel to have come from a “trusted source”. The certificate will be issued by a security panel headed by Deputy National Security Advisor Rajinder Khanna, who reports to National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, according to the Hindustan Times.

https://scroll.in/latest/981465/indo-china-tension-centre-to-blacklist-some-telecom-vendors-set-up-panel-to-check-trusted-source

 

India slips two spot to rank 131 in UN’s human development index

India slipped two spots to rank 131 among 189 countries in the 2020 human development index, a report released by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said. Human Development Index is the measure of a nation’s health, education, and standards of living.While India is ranked 131, its neighbours Bhutan is ranked 129, Bangladesh 133, Nepal 142, and Pakistan 154, the report said. India had ranked 129 in 2018 in the index. Norway topped the index, followed by Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Iceland. According to the 2020 Human Development Report, life expectancy of Indians at birth in 2019 was 69.7 years while Bangladesh has a life expectancy of 72.6 years and Pakistan 67.3 years.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-hdi-ranking-2020-un-human-development-7108205/

 

India in List of Countries Trump Administration Believes Is Manipulating Currency

Washington: The Trump administration labeled Switzerland and Vietnam ‘currency manipulators’, on Wednesday, in another shot at trading partners that could complicate matters for US President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming term.In a long-overdue report, the US Treasury also added India, Thailand and Taiwan to a list of trading partners it says may be deliberately devaluing their currencies against the dollar.The COVID-19 pandemic has skewed trade flows and widened US deficits with trading partners, an irritant to outgoing President Donald Trump, who won office four years ago partly on a promise to close the US trade gap.

https://thewire.in/world/india-in-list-of-countries-trump-administration-believes-is-manipulating-currency

 

PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina to launch Mujib-Bapu digital exhibit, pre-1965 rail link

New Delhi :When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina meet through video-conferencing tomorrow, they will look to paper over the strain in ties over the CAA-NRC issue and move forward in the bilateral relationship.The two leaders will jointly inaugurate a Bangabandhu-Bapu digital exhibition, a pre-1965 railway link, release a commemorative stamp on Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s birth centenary and a pact to form a India-Bangladesh CEOs forum with IT sector as a priority area.Officials said that although Mahatma Gandhi and Mujibur Rahman lived in different times and faced different opponents, both leaders changed the destiny of their people for the better.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pm-modi-sheikh-hasina-to-launch-mujib-bapu-digital-exhibit-pre-1965-rail-link-7107874/

 

Mamata's Ex-Minister Quits Party Amid Reports He Will Join BJP

Kolkata: Suvendu Akhikari, the powerful rebel leader of Bengal's Trinamool Congress, quit the party today ending weeks of speculation on the issue. There is a buzz that he would join the BJP over the weekend when Union Home Minister Amit Shah visits the state. An induction of the leader -- who is said to have control over the local leaders in more than 50 seats in the western part of the state -- will be the highlight of the visit of Shah, who has set his heart on forming the next government in the state next year.A second Trinamool leader, Asansol's disgruntled MLA Jitendra Tiwari quit the party shortly after Mr Adhikari. Earlier today, Tiwari had resigned his post in the town's civic body after a meeting with Adhikari. The meeting, where party MP Sunil Mondal was also present, took place last night.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/mamata-banerjees-former-minister-suvendu-adhikari-quits-trinamool-congress-amid-reports-he-will-join-bjp-2339927?pfrom=home-ndtv_topscroll

 

PM Modi played ‘important role’ in downfall of Kamal Nath govt, claims Vijayvargiya

BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said Prime Minister Narendra Modi played an “important role” in the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Vijayvargiya was speaking at a Kisan Samelan (farmers’ meet) held in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, from where he has been elected six times as MLA.Addressing the crowd, Vijayvargiya said, “Ye parde ke peeche ki baat kar raha ho aap kisi ko batana mat. Mein ne aaj tak kisi ko nahi bataiye, pehli baar is manch par bata raha hu. Kamal Nath ji ki sarkaar girane mein yadi kisi ki mehatvapoorna bhoomika thi, toh Narendra Modi ji ki thi, Dharmendra Pradhan ji ki nahi thi (I am telling you something that I have never said before. You don’t tell anyone. If someone played an important role in the fall of the Kamal Nath government, it was PM Narendra Modi and not Dharmendra Pradhan).”

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kailash-vijayvargiya-madhya-pradesh-kamal-nath-congress-government-narendra-modi-7108196/

 

PM-Cares: Congress raises questions on ownership, foreign donations over fund’s trust deed

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday raised questions on the transparency of the ownership model of the PM-Cares fund.PM Cares – an acronym for Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations – was set up in March with the stated objective of being a “dedicated national fund” to deal with “any kind of emergency or distress situation” in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Since its inception, Opposition parties have questioned the need to create the reserve when Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund is already in existence.

https://scroll.in/latest/981501/pm-cares-congress-raises-questions-on-ownership-foreign-donations-over-funds-trust-deed

 

Modi Will Be Chief Guest At AMU Centenary Programme On December 22

ALIGARH:Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest at the centenary celebrations of AMU via video conferencing on December 22 this year. He will attend the virtual function along with Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. Thanking PM for accepting the invitation to participate in the celebrations marking 100 years of the university, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mansoor said, “The outreach of the university during this historical year would immensely help in the growth and development of the university and placement of our students in the private and public sectors.” He informed that President Ram Nath Kovind is expected to join other online centenary functions of the university.Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College was renamed as Aligarh Muslim University on December 1, 1920 following the gazette notification and AMU was formally inaugurated as a university on December 17 in the same year by the then V-C Mohammad Ali Mohammad Khan popularly known as the ‘Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad’.

https://indiatomorrow.net/2020/12/16/modi-will-be-chief-guest-at-amu-centenary-programme-on-december-22/

 

Coronavirus: Kejriwal hits out at Adityanath, says Delhi doesn’t give fake certificates like UP

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday hit out at his Uttar Pradesh counterpart, Adityanath, saying AAP government does not give fake coronavirus certificates to citizens like his administration.Kejriwal shared two screenshots on Twitter. The first was of a report about how the authorities of Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh were allegedly registering fake names at Covid centres to ramp up its testing numbers. In one instance, 965 people were registered under a single mobile number, which had only zeroes, the report showed.

https://scroll.in/latest/981458/coronavirus-kejriwal-hits-out-at-adityanath-says-delhi-doesnt-give-fake-certificates-like-up

 

 

Owaisi seeks to gain foothold in UP, meets SBSP chief OP Rajbhar

LUCKNOW: After his party's good showing in the recently-concluded Bihar Assembly polls, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi is looking to gain a foothold in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh where he met SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, a former BJP ally, here on Wednesday."We got a lot of confidence from our success in Bihar, and we will continue that momentum," Owaisi told reporters after their meeting in Lucknow.Rajbhar said, "Till yesterday, people used to say that OP Rajbhar is all alone, and what can he do? Now, why are they feeling the pain? Now, Owaisiji has come, we will show our power to the heavyweight," he said.PTI

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/owaisi-seeks-to-gain-foothold-in-up-meets-sbsp-chief-op-rajbhar/articleshow/79762822.cms

 

Bombay HC allows Arnab Goswami to challenge chargesheet in 2018 abetment to suicide case

 Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami to challenge the chargesheet filed in the 2018 abetment to suicide case against him, reported Live Law. The other two accused named in the chargesheet, filed before a court in Alibaug in Raigad district, are Firoze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda.

https://scroll.in/latest/981444/bombay-hc-allows-arnab-goswami-to-challenge-charge-sheet-in-2018-abetment-to-suicide-case

 

SC dismisses plea by Republic TV to quash FIR based on ‘colonial era law’

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed as withdrawn a plea moved by Republic TV seeking to challenge the constitutional validity of Police (Incitement of disaffection) act, 1922, the provisions of which have also been invoked against the channel in an FIR registered against them by the Mumbai Police last October.Senior Advocate Siddharth Bhatnagar contended today that it was a colonial era law now being used to curb free speech, but CJI SA Bobde observed that the matter can be taken to the High Court, Bar & Bench has reported.Remarking that all the cases against Republic TV arose in Maharashtra, the top court proceeded to dismiss the petition as withdrawn with liberty to approach the High Court.

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/sc-dismisses-plea-by-republic-tv-to-quash-fir-based-on-colonial-era-law

 

‘Assault’ on woman cop: Arnab Goswami withdraws pre-arrest bail plea

Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on Thursday withdrew his pre-arrest bail plea in connection with a case registered against him by Mumbai Police for allegedly assaulting a woman police officer.Goswami had moved the anticipatory bail application before a sessions court here in Nov.He sought pre-arrest bail after an FIR was registered against him at N M Joshi Marg police station in central Mumbai for allegedly assaulting a woman police officer when the police team went to his house to arrest him on November 4.PTI

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/assault-on-woman-cop-arnab-goswami-withdraws-pre-arrest-bail-plea-7108468/

 

TRP Scam: SIT arrests former BARC COO Romil Ramgarhia, sent to police custody till Dec.19

Romil Ramgarhia, former chief operating officer (COO) of the Broadcast Audience Research Council, has been arrested in connection with the alleged TRP scam. A SIT of Mumbai Police Crime Branch took Ramgarhia into custody on Thursday.He was later produced in the metropolitan magistrate court where the police sought his custody for further interrogation. In their statements to the court, investigators said Romil Ramgarhia's custody is necessary as it is essential for them to retrieve data from his laptop as part of the ongoing probe into an alleged scam involving TRPs.

https://www.indiatoday.in/cities/mumbai/story/trp-scam-sit-arrests-former-barc-coo-romil-ramgarhia-sent-to-police-custody-till-december-19-1750494-2020-12-17

 

Kerala local body polls: Welfare Party secures around 65 seats

KOZHIKODE: Electoral adjustments between UDF and the Welfare Party of India (WPI) seemed to have not worked in favour of the Congress, though it might have helped the IUML to consolidate its position in some areas.WPI secured around 65 seats in different local bodies in the state, as against 42 seats it won in 2015.  WPI state president Hameed Vaniyambalam said the CPM used the name of the party to whip up Islamophobia in certain areas. “It might have helped CPM to win some certain seats now, but ultimately the beneficiary would be BJP,” he said.Vaniyambalam said the controversy kicked up by the statement of some Congress leaders created confusion among the people.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/kerala-local-body-polls-alliance-with-welfare-party-costs-congress-dear/articleshow/79775379.cms

 

Kerala local body elections: SDPI increases its seats by more than 100 per cent

KOCHI:  There was a major surprise element in the just-concluded local body elections as Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) increased the number of seats it won in the 2015 poll by more than 100 per cent.While the SDPI had won 40 seats including 32 grama panchayat wards, seven municipal wards and one corporation division in 2015, it bagged 95 seats this time, including 75 panchayat wards, one block panchayat ward, 18 municipal wards and one corporation division.Chathinamkulam in Kollam municipal corporation is the lone corporation division which was won by SDPI this time.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/dec/17/kerala-local-body-elections-sdpi-increases-its-seats-by-more-than-100-per-cent-2237273.html

 

NRIs Based in Gulf Countries Denied Voting Through Postal Ballot

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are likely to get the right to vote through postal ballot but those based in Gulf countries will not be given this facility.According to a report published in The Indian Express, the Election Commission and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) held a meeting last week in which the latter, sources said, agreed to the proposal, on the condition that the Commission should arrange the manpower needed at the India missions abroad to facilitate postal voting for NRIs. The poll panel is believed to have informed the government that it is “technically and administratively ready” to extend the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to voters abroad for elections next year in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Currently, it is only available to those in the Defence services. NRIs willing to vote are obliged to come to their respective constituencies.

https://clarionindia.net/nris-based-in-non-democratic-gulf-countries-denied-voting-through-postal-ballot/

 

 

 

CORONA

 

COVID-19 vaccination drive in US hit by allergic reaction to Pfizer vaccine, delays

A health-care worker in Juneau, Alaska, experienced flushing and shortness of breath 10 minutes after receiving a shot of the Pfizer Inc. Covid-19 vaccine in the first known allergic reaction to the vaccine, the state health department said in a statement on Wednesday. The episode follows reports of some similar reactions in U.K.The vaccine had gained an emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Friday.Some other hiccups in the distribution of the vaccine in the U.S. have also emerged, including a holdup in delivering 3,900 shots to two states and the announcement that Pfizer would deliver about 900,000 fewer doses next week than are set to ship this week, NDTV reported.

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/covid-19-vaccination-drive-in-us-hit-by-allergic-reaction-to-pfizer-vaccine-delays

Palestinians left waiting as Israel set to deploy COVID vaccine

Israel will begin rolling out a major coronavirus vaccination campaign next week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached out personally to the head of United States pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.But millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control will have to wait much longer.Israelis could soon return to normal life and an economic revival, even as the virus continues to menace Palestinian towns and villages just a few kilometres away. Israel reached an agreement with Pfizer to supply eight million doses of its newly approved vaccine – enough to cover almost half of Israel’s population of nearly nine million since each person requires two doses.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/17/palestinians-left-waiting-as-israel-is-set-to-deploy-vaccine

 

EU to start COVID vaccinations from December 27: Live news

EU countries will begin inoculating people against COVID from December 27, the head of the EU commission has said, assuming the EU regulator approves a vaccine. In South Africa, more than 10,000 daily cases were registered as infections surged, the health minister said. Worst-hit is the Western Cape region, including the tourist destinations of Cape Town and South Africa’s wine country.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/17/who-says-beijing-welcomes-covid-19-investigators-trip-to-china

 

Mike Pompeo quarantines after COVID-19 contact

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has self-quarantined after coming into contact with a person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to an official statement."Secretary Pompeo has been identified as having come into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid. For reasons of privacy we can't identify that individual," Xinhua quoted the State Department statement as saying.IANS

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/mike-pompeo-quarantines-after-covid-19-contact

 

 

French president Macron tests positive for Covid

France's President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19 after developing symptoms.42 year old will now self-isolate for 7 days, Elysée Palace said.Macron "is still in charge" of running the country and will work remotely, said an official. EU chief Charles Michel and Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez are both self-isolating after coming into contact with Macron on Monday.France this week imposed an overnight curfew to help deal with soaring cases there.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55347406

 

WORLD

 

 

Members of European Parliament call for EU-wide ban on trade with 'illegal settlements'

A letter signed by 40 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) calls for preventing the entry of goods produced in "illegal" Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories into Europe.MEP Billy Kelleher posted the letter on Twitter with a comment reading: "EU must use its economic power to ensure adherence to international law."The letter addresses the EU Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis and says: "We write to you with regard to the issue of produce entering the European Union from, and trade with, illegal settlements in territories deemed occupied by other states.""We, a group of MEPs representing most of the European Parliament's political groups, believe that trade, and economic support for, illegal settlements in territories deemed occupied under international law should be banned by the Union."

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201217-meps-call-for-eu-wide-ban-on-trade-with-illegal-settlements/

 

 

Tunisia: normalisation with Israel 'not on agenda'

Tunisia has no plans to follow Morocco's decision to normalise relations with Israel, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi told France 24 on Monday. "For Tunisia, the question is not on the agenda," he said.The Israel-Morocco deal was the fourth that the United States has helped to broker since August. It follows similar agreements between Israel and UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.As part of the agreement, Trump agreed to recognise Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara, where a decades-old territorial dispute has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front. The Front seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201216-tunisia-normalisation-with-israel-not-on-agenda/

 

Palestine's Abbas hails Indonesia's position on ties with Israel

Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, hailed Indonesia's rejection of normalising ties with Israel until a comprehensive and just solution is reached for the Palestinian cause, the Wafa news agency reported.The agency said Abbas spoke on the phone with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and expressed his appreciation for Jakarta's support for Palestinian cause, its rejection of normalisation with Israel, as well as its commitment to achieving peace based on the two-state solution. Palestinian president also briefed his Indonesian counterpart on the latest developments in the Palestinian cause.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201217-palestines-abbas-hails-indonesias-position-on-ties-with-israel/

 

Sudan revokes Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal's citizenship

Sudan has revoked the citizenship of the former leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, along with more than 3,500 other foreign-born individuals. Such citizenships were granted to "influential personalities" by the regime of former President Omar Al-Bashir, local media have reported.Earlier this week, the Sudanese authorities also suspended all visa-free entry procedures for Syrians and other. They must all now obtain a visa prior to arriving at the border. Critics say that this is due to the country turning towards Western-style secularism.The Sudanese have taken these steps following the country's removal from the US list of states which support terrorism. This was a condition of Sudan's normalisation with the occupation state of Israel.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201217-sudan-revokes-meshaals-citizenship/

 

Report: 50,000 Israel tourists visit UAE in two weeks

 UAE's tourism hotspot Dubai has witnessed a "remarkable tourism boom in the past two weeks" with more than 50,000 Israelis making the journey to visit it, the Washington Post reported."More than 50,000 Israelis have brushed aside covid-19 concerns, a terrorism warning and decades of tension to make the three-hour flight across the Arab Peninsula," the newspaper said, adding that Israelis had causes a "remarkable tourism boomlet" in the Gulf nation.Israeli tourism officials, the US-based newspaper pointed out, were expecting "more than 70,000 Israelis" to arrive during "the eight days of Hanukkah festival, which began last week."

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201217-report-50000-israel-tourists-visit-the-uae-in-two-weeks/

 

Israel: Netanyahu names new Mossad chief without Gantz's knowledge

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he had chosen deputy head of Mossad to be the next chief of the Israeli spy agency without the knowledge of his coalition partner Defence Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, local media reported.Following the announcement, Gantz hailed the Mossad official's experience, he voiced his fury at not being consulted ahead of the decision."The Mossad has great and significant challenges in safeguarding the security of the State of Israel. We will wait for the approval of the Goldberg Commission and wish Dalet success in his position," Times of Israel reported Gantz saying , referencing the official by his Hebrew initial 'Dalet' for D.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201217-israel-netanyahu-names-new-mossad-chief-without-gantzs-knowledge/

 

 

Poll: 66% of Palestinians want PA President Abbas to resign

2 thirds of Palestinians want Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to resign over his latest decision to resume security cooperation with Israel, a recent poll conducted in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip found.Carried out by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) between 8-11 December, the study found that 66 per cent of respondents wanted Abbas to resign, while 56 per cent believe there is little or no chance that the PA will reverse its decision and once again suspend security coordination with Israel.It also found that 53 per cent believe that Israel came out as the winner following the PA decision to stop and then resume coordination. Only nine per cent think the PA was the winner.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201217-poll-66-of-palestinians-want-pa-president-abbas-to-resign/

 

 

Report: Israel identifies 300 Hamas, resistance members to target in next war

Chief of staff of the Israeli army, Aviv Kochavi, has identified 300 members of Hamas and other Palestinian armed factions, including Islamic Jihad, to target in any future war, Israel's Maariv reported."Israel has a plan that aims to disrupt the enemy's [Hamas] operations and shorten the duration of the fighting, unlike previous operations on the Gaza Strip, which lasted for more than a month," the newspaper added. "While the option of collapsing the Hamas rule is not on the table, the Israeli army could achieve a clear victory against the Islamic movement," the report said. Israeli occupation forces recently launched maneuvers on various war scenarios in the occupied Gaza Strip, where the army had estimated that it could "achieve the goals set by Kochavi".

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201217-report-israel-identifies-300-hamas-resistance-members-to-target-in-next-war/

 

 

World Bank approves $250m loan to Morocco

 World Bank has agreed to grant Morocco $250 million to support local agricultural, as part of a joint operation with the French Development Agency.This came in a statement issued by the World Bank on Wednesday, after its executive board approved the loan on Tuesday.The loan aims to support the Generation Green programme, a government strategy for developing agriculture.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201216-world-bank-approves-250m-loan-to-morocco/

 

Yemen: Houthis take over Tawakkol Karman's home in Sanaa

Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman said on Tuesday that Houthi fighters raided her home and office in Sanaa and took control of them after stealing furniture, Shebab website reported.Taking to Facebook, Karman said: "Days ago, Houthis took over my home and office located in Al-Ziraa neighbourhood in the capital Sanaa. They stole the furniture and are still staying at my home."She added: "This is the nature of the militias and thief gangs and pirates. Nothing strange.""I stress, when Sanaa is liberated, all private and public rights will go back to their owners; otherwise, everything is nothing without Sanaa."

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201217-yemen-houthis-take-over-tawakkol-karmans-home-in-sanaa/

 

 

Paris authorities fined nearly Rs 81 lakh for employing too many women in top posts

France’s public service ministry has fined the city authorities of capital Paris 90,000 euros (nearly Rs 81 lakh) for employing too many women in senior positions in 2018, The New York Times reported on Thursday. 11 women and five men had been promoted to top positions in the city government, breaching a rule mandated in 2013 designed to bring about gender parity in employment.According to the rule, one sex could not account for more than 60% of nominations to senior positions. However, in 2018, the city hall appointed 11 women and 5 men, resulting in just above 30% representation for men, according to The New York Times.

https://scroll.in/latest/981536/paris-authorities-fined-nearly-rs-81-lakh-for-employing-too-many-women-in-top-posts

 

EU court rules states can mandate stunning animals for slaughter

 European Court of Justice has ruled that authorities can order that animals be stunned before slaughter in a case that Muslim and Jewish groups warned could curb religious freedom.The court on Thursday backed a regulation imposed in the Flemish region of Belgium to ban the slaughter of livestock that have not been stunned, on animal rights grounds.“The court concludes that the measures contained in the decree allow a fair balance to be struck between the importance attached to animal welfare and the freedom of Jewish and Muslim believers to manifest their religion,” the ruling said.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/17/eu-court-rules-states-can-mandate-stunning-animals-for-slaughter

 

 

 

OPINIONS-EDITORIALS-VIEWS

 

By flagging malice in handling of Tablighi episode, Delhi court upholds justice. The least government can do is to apologise: indian express Editorial

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/tablighi-jamaat-covid-19-coronavirus-delhi-police-7107751/

 

New farm laws will impoverish rural India, eventually lead to collapse of PDS:D. Raja

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/farmers-protests-farm-laws-d-raja-labourers-rations-food-apmc-mandi-7107805/

 

UP anti-conversion law pushes women back under parental and community control:Insiyah Vahanvaty

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/love-jihad-uttar-pradesh-anti-conversion-law-yogi-adityanath-7107755/

 

 'Sangh suffers from Islamophobia but sincerely wants to eradicate caste animosity'| SRIRAM KARRI

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/171220/sangh-suffers-from-islamophobia-but-sincerely-wants-to-eradicate-cast.html

 

‘Speech on RSS & pseudo-Hinduism’ — how UP govt’s SC plea justified NSA against Kafeel Khan:APOORVA MANDHANI

https://theprint.in/judiciary/speech-on-rss-pseudo-hinduism-how-up-govts-sc-plea-justified-nsa-against-kafeel-khan/568713/

 

Anti-CAA & Farm Laws: How 2 Protests Are Different Yet Similar:Meghna Prakash

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/anti-caa-and-farm-laws-how-the-2-protests-are-different-yet-similar

 

Watch: Shaheen Bagh Dadi Bilkis Bano speaks about the future of the CAA protests

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/city/delhi/watch-shaheen-bagh-dadi-bilkis-bano-speaks-about-the-future-of-the-caa-protests/videoshow/79744958.cms

 

How BJP Tried to Manipulate Public Opinion on Social Media in Favour of the CAA:Buddhadeb Halder

https://thewire.in/politics/how-bjp-tried-manipulate-public-opinion-social-media-favour-caa

 

Has India Descended Into a Constitutional Theocracy?Rajshree Chandra

https://thewire.in/government/india-hindutva-constitutional-theocracy-caa

 

Memories of Police Atrocities on a University Campus:Apoorvanand

https://thewire.in/communalism/jamia-millia-islamia-police-atrocities

 

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