Asia Cup 2018: India beat Bangladesh in last ball thriller to clinch title

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Asia Cup 2018: India beat Bangladesh in last ball thriller to clinch title

India pulled off a thrilling last ball win over Bangladesh to clinch their seventh Asia Cup title in Dubai on Friday.

CRICKET Updated: Sep 29, 2018 09:41 

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Asia Cup 2018,India vs Bangladesh,Kedar Jadhav
India defeated Bangladesh to clinch the Asia Cup 2018 title in Dubai on Friday.(AFP)

India clinched the Asia Cup 2018 title by beating Bangladesh by three wickets in a last-ball thriller at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on Friday. With 6 runs needed from the last over, Kedar Jadhav (23 off 27 balls) and Kuldeep Yadav (5 off 5 balls) kept their cool to guide the Indian cricket team to their seventh Asia Cup trophy.

Chasing a target of 223, skipper Rohit Sharma (48 off 55 balls) provided India with a good start but a couple of quick wickets tilted the match in Bangladesh’s favour. Nazmul Islam took the wicket of in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan while Ambati Rayudu was caught behind off the bowling of Mashrafe Mortaza.

However, MS Dhoni (36 off 67 balls) and Dinesh Karthik (37 off 61 balls) steadied the innings and were able to bring India back into the game with a 54-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But with both batsmen losing their wickets in a span of five overs, the pressure was once again on India.

READ: Asia Cup Final: Pakistan superfan cheers for India in Dubai – Watch video

Kedar Jadhav and Ravindra Jadeja continued to fight against a disciplined Bangladesh bowling attack and although Kedar was forced to leave the field due to a hamstring injury, he came back to finish the match for India. For Bangladesh, Rubel Hossain (2/26) and Mustafizur Rahman (2/38) were the top performers with the ball but they were unable to guide their team to their first-ever Asia Cup title triumph.

Earlier, Kuldeep Yadav and Kedar Jadhav were quite impressive with the ball as Bangladesh were bowled out for 222. Liton Das slammed his maiden ODI century but he was unable to guide his team to a big total as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals and were ultimately bundled out in 48.3 overs.

READ: MS Dhoni takes one-third of a second to send back centurion Liton Das

Liton and Mehidy Hasan handed Bangladesh a brilliant start with a 120-run partnership, but it went all downhill after Mehidy’s dismissal. Bangladesh lost four quick wickets but Liton kept fighting on the other end and the 23-year old was able to bring up his hundred in 87 balls. However, his innings came to an end for 121 as MS Dhoni completed a brilliant stumping off Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling in the 41st over.

Soumya Sarkar (33) did try to add some crucial runs in the death overs but he was run out after a terrible mix-up. For India, Kuldeep Yadav (3/45) and Kedar Jadhav (2/41) were the wreckers-in-chief while fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal ended up claiming one wicket each.

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 01:45 IST

Russia to hold biggest military drills since Cold War

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Russia to hold biggest military drills since Cold War

Russia will next month hold its biggest war games since at least the 1980s, with around 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft

WORLD Updated: Aug 28, 2018 20:18 IST

Russia,Military drill,War games
Military helicopters fire during the Zapad (West) 2017 Russia-Belarus military exercises at the Borisovsky range in Borisov, Belarus, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. (AP File Photo)

Russia will next month hold its biggest war games since at least the 1980s, with around 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft, the defence minister said Tuesday.

The Vostok-2018 exercises will be carried out from September 11 to 15 in the country’s east with the participation of China and Mongolia.

“This will be something of a repeat of Zapad-81, but in some senses even bigger,” Sergei Shoigu said of the 1981 war games in Eastern Europe, in comments reported by Russian news agencies.

He said “more than 1,000 aircraft, almost 300,000 troops and almost all the ranges of the Central and Eastern military districts” would be involved in the exercises.

“Imagine 36,000 pieces of military equipment moving together at the same time — tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. And all of this, of course, in conditions as close to combat as possible.”

Moscow said last year’s Zapad-2017 military drills, conducted in ally Belarus and regions of Russia, saw the participation of roughly 12,700 troops.

But NATO claimed Russia could have been massively underreporting the scale of the exercises, which some of the alliance’s eastern members said involved more than 100,000 servicemen.

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 16:48 IST

India Bids Farewell To Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Atal Bihari Vajpayee cremated in Delhi, nation bids farewell to poet prime minister

The last rites for former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were performed by his foster daughter Namita Bhattarcharya at Smriti Sthal on the banks of the Yamuna with full state honours on Friday evening.

INDIA Updated: Aug 17, 2018 23:25 IST

Atal Bihari Vajpayee,Vajpayee funeral,Vajpayee cremation
Namita Kaul Bhattacharya, daughter of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and her daughter Niharika, family members and political leaders at the cremation of the former Prime Minister at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal in New Delhi on Friday.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

India’s former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was laid to rest, with full state honours, in a ceremony marked by emotion and ritual, preceded by a public procession through the heart of Delhi which was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday afternoon.

Namita Bhattacharya, Vajpayee’s foster daughter, lit the pyre, amid tears, as South Asia and India’s tallest political leaders grieved in silence, paying their tribute to the three-time former PM and an icon of modern India.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, former PM Manmohan Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, senior BJP leader and one of Vajpayee’s oldest political colleagues, LK Advani, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat were among those present at the funeral.

Leaders from across South Asia were also present to bid farewell to Vajpayee, who had deep relationships with leaders in the region and had invested time and energy in improving relations with countries in the neighbourhood during his time as PM. Bhutan’s monarch Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai, Nepal’s foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali, Bangladesh’s foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali, and Sri Lanka’s acting foreign minister Laxman Kiriella travelled to Delhi to pay their tributes on the occasion.

Vajpayee died on Thursday evening, after a prolonged period of illness. He had been inactive since a stroke in 2009. In June, he was admitted to the All India Institute for Medical Sciences with a kidney and urinary tract infection. His condition deteriorated over the last three days.

The former PM’s death led to an outpouring of condolence messages from across the political spectrum. The cabinet declared a seven-day state mourning and a state funeral at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal in Delhi.

On Friday morning, Vajpayee’s body was first brought from his residence on Krishna Menon Marg to the new Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters on the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg. Vajpayee was the founding president of the BJP in 1980, and played a critical role in bringing the BJP to power at the Centre. He however, never got a chance to visit the new headquarters.

PM Modi and Shah were waiting at the office, where they paid their respects to the later former PM. So did a range of cabinet ministers, chief ministers, BJP functionaries, opposition leaders, including former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, and Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja. Party workers had begun pouring in to office since 7 am.

In the afternoon, Vajpayee’s body was then taken to Smriti Sthal.

Leading thousands of workers, supporters, and those in mourning, Modi walked from the party HQ to the site, six kms away. It was a rare sight, for the PM, accompanied senior members of his cabinet, and Shah to march through the crowded streets of central Delhi, surrounded by visibly nervous security men.

Officials realised that Modi would walk with the procession only when he did not get into his car. An official of the Delhi Police, who asked not to be named, said they got a message from the Special Protection Group about Modi’s decision mere minutes before the procession left the BJP headquarters.

Modi subsequently tweeted, “People came from all parts of India, from all sections of society to pay tributes to an extraordinary personality who made an extraordinary contribution to the nation. India salutes you Atal Ji!” He added, “You will live on in the hearts and minds of every Indian. No words can ever do justice to your rich contribution towards the making of our country.”

The PM’s decision, a functionary said, was both a reflection of his personal debt to Vajpayee, his attachment with the former PM, and a recognition of what he meant for the BJP.

In a blog on Friday, Union Minister Arun Jaitley, credited Vajpayee with creating in an era dominated by the Nehruvian Congress, a political party that was an ideological alternative to the Congress, which disagreed on various issues with the Congress, which took the Congress head-on, which struggled for almost five decades and in the last two decades but eventually not only became an alternative to the Congress but overtook it. “Atalji ran a marathon,” Jaitley said. “He was a patient runner.”

But for him, LK Advani and others, Jaitley said, Indian democracy would have looked different – dominated by one party, one family with a lot of scattered smaller parties. “That did not happen. Atalji and his colleagues made the difference.”

At the Smriti Sthal, the cremation was accompanied with military honours, which included a gun salute by a 14-man army squad firing three volleys each. Six army drummers played the Dead March tune, with their instruments covered in black cloth, while six buglers sounded the Last Post and the Rouse.

The Army had, earlier, provided a gun carriage for the coffin, while six pall bearers of the rank of Major or lieutenant colonel or equivalent ranks, two each from the army, navy and the IAF bore the coffin, and a team of 24 military officers maintained round-the-clock vigil, in turns, over the mortal remains — eight each from the three services.

In keeping with the military honours, three service chiefs placed wreaths on the body of Vajpayee before leaders paid their floral tributes.

But as the ceremony ended, it was his foster family which returned to Vajpayee’s side in his final moment. The tricolour that was wrapped around Vajpayee’s body was removed and given to his foster granddaughter Niharika. His daughter Namita, son-in-law Ranjan and Niharika had taken care of the former PM as he was unwell over the past decade. Tales of his fondness and affection for his family abounded. And it was his daughter, who eventually performed the last rites, bringing an end to the life of one of country’s most remarkable men, as India grieved.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 23:24 IST

U.S. Has Postponed The ‘2 + 2’ (Security And Defense) Talks With India

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWSPAPER OF INDIA)

 

Why US postponed the 2+2 talks with India

The 2+2 dialogue scheduled for July 6 – the first simultaneous meeting of the Indian defence and external affairs ministers and their US counterparts – was postponed by the US on Wednesday citing “unavoidable reasons”.

INDIA Updated: Jun 29, 2018 07:21 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
US president Donald Trump with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Philippines in November 2017.
US president Donald Trump with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Philippines in November 2017.

It was the sudden “classified travel” of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo that resulted in the last-minute deferral of the so-called 2-plus-2 dialogue between India and the US originally scheduled for July 6, senior Indian officials involved in talks with the US said.

Indeed, the US is keen on the talks and could even be open to shifting the venue for the discussion between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries to India, they added.

The officials, none of whom wished to be identified, said the dialogue had been postponed because Pompeo has to travel either to North Korea or Russia.

They dismissed theories that it was US concern over Iran (and India’s oil purchases from that country), the purchase of S-400 missiles from Moscow, or bilateral trade issues that resulted in the deferment. A report in the Financial Times said Pompeo was likely to travel to North Korea to discuss the country’s denuclearisation plans.

The Indian embassy in Washington was informed about the postponement of the dialogue by the state department on Wednesday morning with an assurance that secretary Pompeo would himself conveys his regrets to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj later over phone. Before the state department communication, both countries were preparing for the meeting, with US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster meeting foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale on Tuesday afternoon.

Indian diplomats in the US echoed these views. They, and the Indian officials, pointed to US ambassador Nikki Haley’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which she said the US would not tolerate Pakistan becoming a safe haven for terrorists. They also pointed to the fact that a US trade delegation led by assistant US trade representative Mark Linscott is currently in Delhi negotiating the way to address bilateral trade concerns. India,for its part, the officials said, has decided to address the Trump administration’s concerns by buying oil and gas worth $4 billion a year from the US and also facilitating the purchase of 300 civilian jets worth $40 billion.

During his meetings with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross in Washington this month, commerce minister Suresh Prabhu agreed with his hosts that the only way to address trade concerns was through a comprehensive dialogue.

On US concerns over India buying the S-400 missile systems from Russia, South Block officials agreed that “this was not an ideal situation” but said that both sides were open to having a candid discussion given India’s legacy issues.

Although US sanctions against Iran will kick in on November 4, senior Indian diplomats said the US is not threatening India over purchase of crude oil from Tehran; Washington is aware that New Delhi had already cut down its oil intake from the Islamic Republic to 6% of the total oil it imports before the sanctions were lifted when Iran signed its deal with the US when Barack Obama was in power.

Even now, India imports only 18% of its crude oil from Iran. Before the dialogue was postponed, the talks on Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) had recorded forward momentum towards closure by the end of this year and hardware acquisition through the foreign military sales route had been finalized with the two countries involved in advanced Malabar and RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) naval exercises.

It has also been decided that both India and the US will closely collaborate on a maritime security architecture through the Indo-PAC Command of the US Navy.

“ India-US relations are multi-faceted and on a vast canvass. It is normal to have differences over some issues. But saying US is threatening India (and that the postponement of the talks is one embodiment of this) is an overexaggeration of the facts on ground,” said a top Indian diplomat dealing with US.

Shutdown in Kashmir to protest against civilian deaths

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Shutdown in Kashmir to protest against civilian killings, heavy contingents of forces

The Joint Resistance Leadership of separatists said that in the name of crackdown, security forces are “creating a 90s-like situation” and common people are being harassed without any reason.

INDIA Updated: Jun 26, 2018 00:01 IST

Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
A paramilitary soldier stands guard in a closed market during a strike at Maisuma in Srinagar on Monday.
A paramilitary soldier stands guard in a closed market during a strike at Maisuma in Srinagar on Monday. (Waseem Andrabi/ Hindustan Times)

A shutdown was observed in Kashmir on the call of separatist leadership to protest civilian killings and excesses by security forces during Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) launched in different parts of the Valley in the last one week since ceasefire was revoked.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of separatists said that in the name of crackdown, security forces are “creating a 90s-like situation” and common people are being harassed without any reason.

Since ceasefire was revoked, the CASOs were being launched on a daily basis, especially in south Kashmir, and security had been beefed up in Srinagar city.

At least four civilians were killed in different parts of south Kashmir during clashes with forces near encounter sites where eight militants have been killed.

“We can’t be spectators to the brutal killings of unarmed protesters,’’ the JRL leadership said in a statement.

They also highlighted the injuries caused allegedly by use of pellets and bullets by security forces to disperse protesters.

Although shops and business establishments remained closed in the Valley, normal transport was plying on the roads.

To prevent untoward incidents, additional forces were deployed at sensitive spots in Srinagar.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was put under house arrest and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman (JKLF) Yasin Malik was detained at Kothibagh police station on Monday, on apprehension that they will try to take out protest demonstrations in the city.

Meanwhile, defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman and army chief Bipin Rawat visited the base camp of Amarnath Yatra at Baltal in Sonmarg Ganderbal district. Sitharaman reviewed security along the yatra route and directed officials to maintain high level security during the yatra which will start later this week.

19 of India’s 25 dirtiest cities are in West Bengal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

19 of India’s 25 dirtiest cities are in West Bengal, Darjeeling on the list

The cities, which include Darjeeling, Siliguri, Serampore, Madhyamgram, North Barrackpore, Bankura, fared abysmally on all sanitation indicators such as waste collection, open defecation, solid waste processing and disposal

INDIA Updated: Jun 24, 2018 17:56 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A man cleans garbage along the banks of the river Ganges in Kolkata, India, April 9, 2017.
A man cleans garbage along the banks of the river Ganges in Kolkata, India, April 9, 2017. (REUTERS File Photo)

Nineteen out of the 25 dirtiest cities in India are from West Bengal, with Bhadreshwar in Gujarat at the bottom of the list of 500 cities with a population of over one lakh, a nationwide cleanliness survey by the union housing and urban affairs ministry has found.

The cities, which include Darjeeling, Siliguri, Serampore, Madhyamgram, North Barrackpore, Bankura, fared abysmally on all sanitation indicators such as waste collection, open defecation, solid waste processing and disposal, the survey found.

Three cities each from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are also among the dirtiest, figuring in the bottom of the list.

In all, 4203 urban local bodies were surveyed between January and March and ranked under different categories, based on their population. Besides, for the first time all the cantonment boards, run by the army, were also included in the survey.

West Bengal also fared among the bottom four dirtiest states in the country, followed by Nagaland, Puducherry and Tripura.

Jharkhand is the cleanest state in India followed by Maharashtra and Chattisgarh, according to the report, which was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Indore on Saturday. Among the cities, Indore is the cleanest — second year in a row — followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh. The PM also gave away the award to the cleanest states and cities at a function. Varanasi, PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency, was ranked 29 among the list of 500 cities. Last year it was ranked 32.

Read: Indore the cleanest city, followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh: Swachh Bharat survey

Cities were ranked on the basis of their performance in six parameters including collection and transportation of municipal solid waste, their processing and disposal, sanitation related progress, innovation and best practices adapted by cities.

A senior ministry official said that West Bengal had not participated in the earlier two cleanliness survey conducted by the ministry in 2016 and 2017.

Subrata Gupta, West Bengal principal secretary (urban affairs and municipal affairs department) said, “I am not aware of any such survey. I have not seen the survey report and won’t be able to comment on it. The state, however, runs its own cleanliness program called Nirmal Bangla as part of which we rank our cities.”

Yamini Aiyar, president and chief executive, Centre for Policy Research, feels that while such data and ranking are useful and important exercise as they act as a periodic check and puts the spotlight on the issue, but the real devil lies in the detail.

“The biggest limitation of such survey is what we do after, to what extent the result is used as a diagnostic tool to address the problem cities are facing. Unfortunately, we have not been able to take the next step, to see to what degree our municipalities have the capacity and technology to process solid waste, etc.”

The urban affairs ministry had last month announced the winners of the 2018 Swachhata Sarvekshan but had not released the list of dirtiest city. A senior ministry official said that over 2700 assessors from Karvy Data management services Limited visited the 4203 Urban Local Bodies as part of the survey, which was completed in 66 days.

Read: Smaller cities better at waste management than bigger ones like Delhi

The methodology involved giving 35 % weightage to service level progress, which included checking if municipalities documents are physically verified to assess whether systems and processes are in place to implement Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) in the most efficient way, 30% weightage was given to direct observation to ascertain general cleanliness in the cities by making random field visits in different parts of the city and public conveniences covering community/public toilets.

China Wants To Mediate Between India And Pakistan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India-Pakistan ties purely bilateral, no space for third country, says India after China suggests trilateral summit

The Chinese Ambassador said “some Indian friends” had suggested trilateral cooperation comprising India, China and Pakistan under the aegis of the SCO, which was a “very constructive idea”.

INDIA Updated: Jun 18, 2018 22:14 IST

Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain and China's President Xi Jinping at a signing ceremony during Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China, on June 10, 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain and China’s President Xi Jinping at a signing ceremony during Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China, on June 10, 2018. (Reuters)

India on Monday said matters related to India-Pakistan relations are purely bilateral in nature and that there is no scope for involvement of any third country, reacting to Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui’s comments endorsing trilateral cooperation among India, China and Pakistan to resolve such issues.

The opposition Congress party also condemned the Chinese ambassador’s statement.

Endorsing the idea of trilateral cooperation between India, China and Pakistan under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Luo said it could “in the future” help resolve bilateral issues between New Delhi and Islamabad and help maintain peace.

In response to queries on the comments made by the Chinese Ambassador to India on a possible trilateral summit between India, China and Pakistan, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India had not received any such suggestion from the Chinese government.

“We have seen reports on comments made by the Chinese Ambassador in this matter. We have not received any such suggestion from the Chinese government. We consider the statement as the personal opinion of the Ambassador. Matters related to India-Pakistan relations are purely bilateral in nature and have no scope for involvement of any third country,” he said.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the Government of India should also strongly condemn the “unwarranted suggestion” of the Chinese Ambassador and that all issues between India and Pakistan would be resolved as per the Shimla Agreement.

The Chinese Ambassador said “some Indian friends” had suggested trilateral cooperation comprising India, China and Pakistan under the aegis of the SCO, which was a “very constructive idea”.

“Security cooperation is one of the three pillars of the SCO. Some Indian friends suggested that China, India and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral cooperation under the SCO,” he said in his keynote address on ‘Beyond Wuhan: How Far and Fast can China-India Relations Go’ at an event organised by the Chinese Embassy here.

Responding to a question on whether a trilateral meet between the Asian neighbours will help in solving the India-Pakistan dispute, he said he personally considered it “a good and constructive idea”.

Saudi women can now start their own business without male permission

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Saudi women can now start their own business without male permission

Saudi Arabia is pushing to expand the country’s private sector, including an expansion of female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era.

WORLD Updated: Feb 18, 2018 19:59 IST

Agence France-Presse, Riyadh
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne, has been leading the drive to expand the role of women in the workforce in recent months.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne, has been leading the drive to expand the role of women in the workforce in recent months. (AFP File Photo)

Women in Saudi Arabia can now open their own businesses without the consent of a husband or male relative, as the kingdom pushes to expand a fast-growing private sector.

The policy change, announced by the Saudi government on Thursday, also marks a major step away from the strict guardianship system that has ruled the country for decades.

“Women can now launch their own businesses and benefit from (governmental) e-services without having to prove consent from a guardian,” the ministry of commerce and investment said on its website.

Under Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system, women are required to present proof of permission from a male “guardian” — normally the husband, father or brother — to do any government paperwork, travel or enrol in classes.

Long dependent on crude production for economic revenue, Saudi Arabia is pushing to expand the country’s private sector, including an expansion of female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era.

While women still face a host of restrictions in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor’s office this month said it would begin recruiting women investigators for the first time.

The kingdom has also opened 140 positions for women at airports and border crossings, a historic first that the government said drew 107,000 female applicants.

Read more

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne, has been leading the drive to expand the role of women in the workforce in recent months.

His father, King Salman, in September approved the end of a decades-long ban on driving, which goes into effect in June.

The 32-year-old prince pledged a “moderate, open” Saudi Arabia in October, breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favour of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth.

Prince Mohammed is widely seen as the chief architect behind Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” reform programme, which seeks to elevate the percentage of women in the work force from 22 percent to nearly one-third.

Al Qaeda threatens attacks in Delhi, Mumbai

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Al Qaeda threatens attacks in Delhi, Mumbai for ‘victory’ in Kashmir

In a video interview with al Qaeda’s mouthpiece, released on jihadi online networks, Usama Mehmood, spokesman of al Qaeda in Indian sub-continent, said there could be no easy solution to the Kashmir issue which needs “blood and sweat” of Muslims.

INDIA Updated: Dec 27, 2017 21:51 IST

Indo Asian News Service, New Delhi
Calling for attacks in Delhi and Mumbai, the al Qaeda said it was necessary for “the jihadi movement to strengthen and expand its activities in the region and target Indian interests.”
Calling for attacks in Delhi and Mumbai, the al Qaeda said it was necessary for “the jihadi movement to strengthen and expand its activities in the region and target Indian interests.”(PTI Photo)

Global terror network al Qaeda that formally announced its affiliate in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year has said targeting Indian cities and sidelining Pakistan and its army were key to jihadi success in the state.

In a video interview with Al Qaeda’s mouthpiece, released on jihadi online networks, Usama Mehmood, spokesman of al Qaeda in Indian sub-continent, said there could be no easy solution to the Kashmir issue which needs “blood and sweat” of Muslims.

Mehmood, in the 42-minute video recorded in Urdu, said it was necessary for “the jihadi movement to strengthen and expand its activities in the region and target Indian interests.

“India has protected itself by deploying 600,000 troops in a small place like Kashmir. We will target it and its interests in Kolkata, Bangalore and New Delhi, it will come to its senses, its atrocities will be controlled and its grip on Kashmir will weaken by the will of Allah,” said the group’s second-in-command in the sub-continent.

This is the first detailed al Qaeda talk on its activities in Kashmir since July 27 this year when the group announced it was establishing an affiliate in Jammu and Kashmir called Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, headed by the 23-year-old former Kashmir commander of the pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen, Zakir Musa.

The al Qaeda announcement was promptly rejected by militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen. Even the Hurriyat Conference dismissed it, saying the Kashmir issue was political and had nothing to do with global Islamist jihad even as the longstanding militant outfits also espouse an Islamist outlook for Kashmir.

Mehmood called on all Muslims in the sub-continental region, including from India, to “stand behind the Kashmiri people and perform their duties for jihad in Kashmir”.

“It is imperative to wage jihad against India. It can only happen when jihadi activities are strengthened in the entire region.

“We should help our Kashmiri brothers first, defend our jihad from apostatic forces like Pakistan Army and its policies and then expand the jihadi activities,” he said, terming the Pakistan Army “an obstacle in the path of victory, is an enemy of the sharia and a slave of global infidels”.

“It fights only for its salary, personal aggrandisement and plots of land. It is the same army that spills the blood of the mujahideen for American dollars.”

Citing al Qaeda’s attacks against the US within and outside America, he said: “Look at America. Securing itself has become difficult for America throughout the world. We will make it difficult for the Indian Army and Indian government the same way and make its peaceful world a war zone.”

The video also shows clips of slain al Qaeda military commander Illyas Kashmiri and frequently cites quotes from the book of Afzal Guru, who was hanged for his involvement in the 2001 Parliament attack.

Rajasthan murder caught on video: Cops say ‘premeditated killing’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Rajasthan murder caught on video: Cops say ‘premeditated killing’, family wants accused to be hanged publicly

Video clips showed the accused hitting and stabbing a man, burning his body and warning “jihadis” to leave India or meet a similar fate.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2017 22:53 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur/Malda
The clips, circulated on WhatsApp, emerged from the western state’s Rajsamand district on Wednesday, police said.
The clips, circulated on WhatsApp, emerged from the western state’s Rajsamand district on Wednesday, police said.(Video screengrab )

Rajasthan police on Thursday arrested an unemployed man purportedly seen in a series of video clips hitting and stabbing a man, burning the body and warning “jihadis” to leave India or meet a similar fate.

The accused, Shambhu Lal Regar, allegedly told police he killed 50-year-old Afrazul Islam, a migrant worker from West Bengal, to save a woman from ‘love jihad’, a term used by right-wing Hindu groups to describe inter-faith marriages which they claim is an Islamist conspiracy to convert Hindu women through marriage or coercion.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the “inhuman” act while Islam’s distraught family demanded a public hanging of the accused.

We strongly condemn the heinous killing of a labourer from Bengal in Rajasthan. How can people be so inhuman. Sad

Besides Regar, police also arrested his nephew who is believed to have shot the videos in a wooded area in the western state’s Rajsamand district. Hindustan Times couldn’t independently verify the authenticity of the videos.

The video clips, circulated on WhatsApp, sparked outrage across the country and several rights organisations demanded the resignation of chief minister Vasundhara Raje and home minister Gulab Chand Kataria.

“The video is gut-wrenching. Strict action will be taken against him (the perpetrator) once caught,” Kataria told a news agency before Regar was arrested.

A special investigation team (SIT) has been set up to probe the case, he added.

“Prima facie, it appears that Regar killed the man and the man was dead when he set the body on fire,” Rajsamand superintendent of police said Manoj Kumar said.

The charred body was found on Wednesday afternoon by a passerby who informed the police.

In one of the clips, Regar — dressed in a red shirt, a pair of white trousers and white shoes — attacks the man with an iron rod and stabs the man when he falls to the ground.

In another one-minute footage, Regar pours a liquid, most likely petrol, over the body in a deserted area lined with trees amid chirping of birds.

“Jihadiyo hamare desh se hat jao (jihadis, leave our country),” he is heard shouting before he lights a match stick and throws it on the body.

In another clip, a man who looks like Regar rants about launching a war against “Islamic jihad in Mewar”.

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“This day, 25 years ago Babri Masjid was razed but nothing has happened even 25 years later,” the man can be heard saying.

In Islam’s native village Saidapur in Malda district — more than 310 km from Kolkata – grief turned to anger overnight as the brutality of the crime sunk in among shocked family members and neighbours.

“Yesterday (Wednesday), we got the news that he was murdered. I am sure he had no love affair with anyone. I want the culprits to be hanged publicly,” Islam’s wife, Gul Bahar Bibi, said on Thursday.

“The government should hang my father’s killer. If they can’t do it, they should bring him back to life,” said Rezina Khatun, Afrazul’s daughter.

She added: “I don’t know how I will arrange money for the marriage of my daughter”, whose marriage was scheduled within a couple of months. Islam was working in Rajasthan for the past 12 years.

Rajasthan director general of police, OP Galhotra, said the prosecution will demand death for the “cold-blooded” and “premeditated killing” which he described as a rarest of rare case.

“No normal human being can do such act. Such person can only be insane,” he said.

In a joint statement, several rights groups said the chief minister and home minister allegedly giving impunity to the accused of a series of hate crimes against Muslims.

The statement mentioned the lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan on April 3 in Alwar, the lynching of Zafar Khan in Pratapgarh by municipality chairperson and sanitary staff on June 16 and murder of Umar Mohammad by alleged gau rakshaks on November 10 in Alwar.

“We would also like to state that there have been many incidents where Muslims have been attacked as part of hate crimes and not been killed so the number of incidents are huge,” the statement said.

“The BJP, which is in power with 160 MLA out of 200, needs to stop giving protection to these killers,” the statement added.

Raje has been accused by opposition and critics of not condemning such hate attacks, a charge she denies.

(With agency inputs)