New Age Islam
Fri Aug 14 2020, 06:59 PM

Islamic World News ( 14 Apr 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Kathua Rape Case: ‘Not Just Me, the Nation Lost A Daughter’











Photo: The parents of the eight-year-old don’t want to return to Kathua

 

Saudi King Rejects US Plan to Transfer Embassy to Jerusalem

Address Outstanding Issues with India through Peaceful Means: UN Official Tells Pakistan

Taliban Militants Killed 11 Members of Public Uprising Forces in Sari Pul

Afrin: Turkish Forces Replacing Local Population with Ghouta Comrades

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India

Kathua Rape Case: ‘Not Just Me, the Nation Lost A Daughter’

PDP Vows Fast-Track Trial, Axes 3 Cops in Kathua Rape-Murder

Syria air strike: India, China push for dialogue to resolve crisis

Kathua rape case: Lawyer braves threats and protests, says it’s a fight for her daughter too

India lodges protest with Pakistan for blocking consular access to Sikh pilgrims

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Arab World

Saudi King Rejects US Plan to Transfer Embassy to Jerusalem

At Destroyed Syria Lab, Workers Deny Producing Toxic Weapons

Syrian Army Seizes Terrorists' Large Chemical Weapons Workshop in Eastern Ghouta

Syrian army hails full recapture of Ghouta rebel enclave

Syrians displaced near capital recall years of deprivation

Syrian Analyst: US-Led Missile Strikes Aimed at Testing Army's Defence Power

Syrian Army Continues to Send More Troops, Equipment to Southern Damascus to Face ISIL

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Pakistan

Address Outstanding Issues with India through Peaceful Means: UN Official Tells Pakistan

At Least 7 Christians Injured In Firing near Church in Quetta

Pakistan PM invites parties to talks on new provinces in Punjab, Sindh

Gunmen open fire at residence of Pak SC judge

Pak army chief links peace in Pakistan with peace in Afghanistan

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South Asia

Taliban Militants Killed 11 Members of Public Uprising Forces In Sari Pul

20 ISIS Militants Killed In Joint Afghan And US Forces Raids: MoD

Afghan, Pakistani forces clash near border, 2 killed

Taliban militants blow up the laboratory of a school in Nangarhar

Airstrikes target militants preventing restoration of Kabul power

Afghans register to vote in long-delayed elections amid violence

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Mideast

Afrin: Turkish Forces Replacing Local Population with Ghouta Comrades

Tensions Intensify Between Saudi-Backed, Turkey-Affiliated Terrorists in Northern Syria

Israel says destroys tunnel from Gaza that crossed barrier

Four Palestinian ‘militants’ die in Gaza blast

Senior Turkey-Backed Militant Commander Killed in Northern Syria

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North America

US, France, Britain Launch New UN Bid for Syria Chemical Weapons Probe

Trump Declares 'Mission Accomplished' After Limited Syria Attack

Protest against Syria Strikes in New York City

If Syria carries out new chemical attack, US 'locked and loaded' to strike again: Nikki Haley

Warship Ruse and New Stealth Missiles: How the US and allies attacked Syria

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar Repatriates First Rohingya Refugee Family

China Says Syrian Strikes Violate International Law, Urges Dialogue

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Europe

'Bombs Won't Save Lives' In Syria, Opposition Leader Corbyn Tells UK PM Theresa May

Thousands Protest In Athens against US-Led Syria Airstrikes

'Large part' of Syria chemical arsenal destroyed: France

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Africa

Egypt court upholds life sentence against Brotherhood leader

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Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/kathua-rape-case--‘not-just-me,-the-nation-lost-a-daughter’/d/114939

 

Kathua rape case: ‘Not just me, the nation lost a daughter’

AnandSoondas | TNN | Updated: Apr 15, 2018

The parents of the dead girl and 17 others quietly left Rasana last Thursday

“If there is humanity in this country, this case has to be seen with such eyes. It’s not just me that has lost a daughter. Hindustan kibetibhithiwoh,” said the father of the 8-year-old

The parents of the eight-year-old don’t want to return to KathuaThe parents of the eight-year-old don’t want to return to Kathua

UDHAMPUR: At a place called Roundomail, some distance away from Udhampur, Amjad Ali squats on the shoulder of a road that goes uphill. He needs to catch his breath. With about 50 sheep, an equal number of goats, and 15 horses, he has walked a little over 110 km over nine days to reach here from Rasana village in Kathua, the place where an eight-year-old girl was first gang-raped and then killed. He will reach his destination, Kishtwar, after a month and a half.

Amjad, the parents of the dead girl and 17 others quietly left Rasana last Thursday as the country came face to face with two horrific crimes — one that saw a child murdered and thrown to the wolves in a forest that she often played in, the other that saw a helpless father beaten to death for protesting the violation of his young daughter.

“The pressure was unbearable,” said Amjad, adding: “We were getting threats, told that our cattle and houses would be burned down.”

How can we fight? What are we left with if our goats are killed? We are Bakarwals. This is our livelihood. If they die, we die. We have already lost a child, Amjad Ali said.

The father of the girl, a small, scraggy man with a patchy beard who mostly sat in silence next to an unruly bunch of goats, cleared their house in Rasana of the sparse belongings they had before setting off on this journey. He doesn’t plan to ever return to Kathua. Two other deras (families of sorts) in this group are unsure too.

“What will we return to?” he asked in halting, laboured Hindi. “I have only one hope now. If there is humanity in this country, this case has to be seen with such eyes. It’s not just me that has lost a daughter. Hindustan kibetibhithiwoh.” Unable to correctly articulate the fact that the case has got so politicised that it couldn’t even come to court without the intervention of the higher judiciary, he said, “Politicians are taking the incident with them.”

This nomadic Bakarwal cluster of about 20, like other such collectives, doesn’t stay in Jammu once high summer approaches. From Anantnag originally, they trek upwards during this time or a bit later. In winter, with fodder for their cattle getting scarce, they come down, making money just once a year — when they sell their sheep and goats for Eid-ul-Zuha. But it’s not just fear for herd or property that is stopping him from thinking of Rasana again. Amjad pointed to a girl, a few years older than the one who was killed. “That is his other daughter. He is worried about her now. He thinks nobody is safe anymore there.”

Amjad, who seemed to be in his early 20s and smiled with what looked like pride when he said he had passed his Class X, hasn’t thought about the coming winter. “We have been in Kathua for so many years,” he said. “I was born there. Initially, when she died, we were in shock and despair but we thought it must be the work of a few wretched individuals. But then the rallies started and there was talk of the accused getting out. That’s when we felt very alone, vulnerable. I don’t feel like seeing Rasana again.”

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/kathua-rape-case-not-just-me-the-nation-lost-a-daughter/articleshow/63766531.cms

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Saudi king rejects US plan to transfer embassy to Jerusalem

AFP | Apr 15, 2018

We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem," the Saudi king said

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of an Arab League summit in Dhahran

File photo shows US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King SalmanFile photo shows US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman

DHAHRAN: Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Sunday opened an Arab League summit by criticising US President Donald Trump's decision to transfer the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem," the king said in a speech in Dhahran in eastern Saudi Arabia.

"East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories," he added.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/saudi-king-rejects-us-plan-to-transfer-embassy-to-jerusalem/articleshow/63772444.cms

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Winners and losers in the US attack on Syria

April 14, 2018

'The most striking thing about the US strike on Syria is its futility of purpose beyond a symbolic value to impress the domestic constituency that Trump is a forceful decision-maker,' says Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar.

A missile is seen crossing over Damascus, April 14, 2018. Photograph: SANA/Handout via Reuters

US President Donald J Trump's mind took a fourth U-turn in almost as many days on Friday since he began speaking about his decision to withdraw the American forces from Syria and leave it to 'others' to handle the endgame in the conflict.

He swung to the extreme threatening a rain of missiles on Syria, only to back-track a day later to hint there might not be any attack at all, and finally to announce a joint US-UK-France attack on Friday.

If former US deputy secretary of state Nicholas Burns, an experienced career diplomat, got the impression that POTUS was playing a video game, it comes as no surprise.

Indeed, the most striking thing about the US strike on Syria is its futility of purpose beyond a symbolic value to impress the domestic constituency that POTUS is a forceful decision-maker, who unlike his predecessor Barack Obama, lays down 'red lines' and follows up.

Actually, it is a cowardly stance.

Trump hastened to strike just hours before the investigation by the team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was due to begin in Douma -- as if time was running out to act with impunity.

Clearly, Trump felt the compulsion to be seen acting.

He had no authorisation from the United States Congress nor did he secure a mandate from the UN Security Council to launch aggression against a UN member country.

The indignation and outrage in the statement by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be widely shared by the world community: 'There's an obligation, particularly when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law in general. The UN Charter is very clear on these issues.'

'The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I call on the members of the Security Council to unite and exercise that responsibility. I urge all Member States to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people.'

Both the constitutionality of Trump's decision and the legality of the US attack under international law is highly questionable.

However, the extenuating fact is that historically domestic public opinion rallies behind POTUS when the US is at war abroad. For Trump's crumbling presidency, that is an over-riding consideration today.

On the other hand, the attack on Syria was carefully choreographed.

Paris has disclosed that Moscow was informed in advance. Indeed, 'deconfliction' proceedures were under discussion between the Pentagon and the Russian defence ministry for the past 2-3 days.

The attack clinically targeted alleged chemical weapon sites in three cities in Syria -- Damascus, Hom and Hama.

No military bases or assets were attacked.

The missiles scrupulously avoided locations where there could be Russian personnel.

Care was taken to avoid 'collateral damage'. In fact, there has been no reported casualty. On the whole, it is as if a riveting fireworks show has been conducted.

The Syrians claim they shot down a fair number of incoming missiles. But like in the Sherlock Holmes story, the dog didn't bark -- not a single move has been reported by Russia to intercept the incoming missiles.

Moscow simply watched a brawl unfold between the US, UK and France on one side and the Syrian regime on the other.

Moscow instead turned on its propaganda apparatus to take the maximum advantage of the senseless, almost bizarre missile attack.

If the OPCW team turns in a 'Nil' report from Douma shortly, Russian propaganda can be trusted to go for Trump's jugular veins.

The US attack will not create any new facts on the ground. The comprehensive victory of President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime in the 7-year conflict is becoming an irreversible reality.

Arguably, this could be the last waltz of the Western interventionist powers in Syria who had hoped to overthrow the regime and failed miserably.

In sum, in the absence of a coherent US strategy toward Syria, this latest attack may only stoke the fires of Syrian nationalism.

Russia has spoken of 'serious consequences', without elaborating.

Will Russia escalate the situation? Seems unlikely. It is hard to see a Russian reaction on the ground although Moscow is watchful that the Western strategy ultimately threatens the Russian presence in Syria.

Much depends on the next Western move. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is expected in Ankara on Monday.

In a strongly worded statement, President Vladimir Putin has warned that the 'escalation in Syria is destructive for the entire system of international relations. History will set things right, and Washington already bears the heavy responsibility for the bloody outrage in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria.'

Russia proposes to convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council 'to discuss the aggressive actions by the US and its allies,' Putin said.

Of course, new regional alignments will become inevitable. Turkey and Israel have backed the US attack.

The Turks' bazaari instincts are legion and President Recep Erdogan senses a historic opportunity to project Turkish power into Syria and realise his 'neo-Ottoman' dream. Trust him to overreach.

Israel is a bit down in the mouth for the moment due to the messy confrontation at the Gaza border; or else, it would have jumped into the fray.

Israel's best bet will be that the US keeps an open-ended military presence in a Syria that is balkanized and weak and is in no position to reclaim the lost territory in the Golan Heights that are under Israeli occupation since 1967.

All eyes are on Iran. But Tehran will not speak its mind.

For the moment, Tehran's eyes are cast on the May 12 deadline when Trump must decide on the sanctions waiver to the July 2015 nuclear deal.

The big question now is whether Trump would tear up the Iran nuclear deal in the present circumstances when the US needs the support of its European allies.

Syria constitutes Iran's defence line. Significantly, even as Trump was ratcheting up rhetoric against Syria, the powerful Iranian statesman Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, landed in Damascus on Wednesday, met President Assad and toured Douma, the alleged site of the chemical attack.

It was a defiant gesture and act of solidarity with Assad.

Tehran has hinted at 'regional consequences.' But Iran's style will be to avoid direct conflict with the US and opt instead to intensify its political work and consolidate its wide networking with various groups on the ground, which systematically keep undermining the US presence in Syria and Iraq.

No doubt, Iran will intensify the politics of 'resistance' against Israel.

The Russia-Iran partnership in Syria is steadily morphing into an alliance, which is in mutual interests.

The defeat of the US-Israeli-Saudi containment strategy against Iran may turn out to be the most significant and enduring outcome of this US attack on Syria.

rediff.com/news/column/winners-and-losers-in-the-us-attack-on-syria/20180414.htm

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Address outstanding issues with India through peaceful means: UN official tells Pakistan

PTI | Apr 15, 2018

UNITED NATIONS: A top UN official has asked Pakistan to address the outstanding issues with India through peaceful means, reiterating Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' concern over heightening tensions along the Line of Control.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca made the remarks after concluding his visit to Pakistan on April 13.

He held meetings with Foreign Secretary TehminaJanjua and Special Secretary Tasnim Aslam in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 12. He also met with representatives of the diplomatic community and members of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT).

According to a statement released by the UN spokesperson's office, Jenca reiterated that the Secretary-General is concerned about the "heightening tensions" along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan.

He "echoed the Secretary General's calls for maximum restraint and efforts to de-escalate the situation. Any outstanding issues between the two countries should be addressed through peaceful means," the statement said.

Jenca underlined in his conversations in Islamabad that Pakistan's commitment to fostering multilateralism and cooperation is important for peace and stability in the region and beyond.

He welcomed the decision of Pakistan and Afghanistan to increase cooperation through the implementation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity.

Jenca underscored the importance of this positive momentum for the further advancement of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.

During the visit, Jenca also participated at a medal parade of the UN Military Observation Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). The ceremony recognised the service of UN peacekeepers deployed to UNMOGIP.

India maintains that the UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Shimla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/address-outstanding-issues-with-india-through-peaceful-means-un-official-tells-pakistan/articleshow/63769175.cms

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Taliban militants killed 11 members of public uprising forces in Sari Pul

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 15 2018

The Taliban insurgents have killed at least eleven members of the public uprising forces in northern Sari Pul province of Afghanistan.

According to the local officials, the Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on a security post belonging to the public uprising forces in Sang Charak district late on Saturday night.

A member of the provincial council Mohammad Noor Rahmani confirmed the attack and said at least eleven public uprising personnel have lost their lives in the attack.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

The security situation in northern Sari Pul province has started to deteriorated during the recent years as the anti-government armed militant groups are attempting to expand their insurgency in the key northern provinces.

This comes as at least six security personnel lost their lives in a similar attack in this province last week.

According to the civilian and military officials in the north, at least four policemen and two soldiers of the Afghan national army were among those who lost their lives in the attack.

khaama.com/taliban-militants-killed-11-members-of-public-uprising-forces-in-sari-pul-04887/

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Afrin: Turkish Forces Replacing Local Population with Ghouta Comrades

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Ankara-backed militants on Sunday prevented civilians from entering their own houses in the Turkey-occupied Afrin region to settle the Al-Nusra-affiliated Faylaq al-Rahman terrorists who have arrived from Eastern Ghouta in the town.

Militants of Jeish al-Sharqiyeh affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) stormed residents of the town of Jandaris in Southern Afrin after they called on the militants to allow them to live in their houses that had been occupied by Faylaq al-Rahman militants.

Faylaq al-Rahman is affiliated to the Al-Nusra Front that is backed by Turkey. Yet, the Turkey-backed militants have treated other militant groups like Jeish Al-Islam that are backed by Saudi Arabia differently, forcing them to surrender their weapons and stay in camps.

In the meantime, the London-based pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Turkish army and allied militants started detaining civilians in Afrin region after the Ankara forces looted their assets, and further demanded ransom for their release.

SOHR further said that talks are underway between the Turkish intelligence and Faylaq al-Rahman commanders to be relocated to Afrin and its countryside.

A main group of Faylaq militants and their family members left Eastern Ghouta for Northern Syria a couple of days ago.    

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported last week that the Kurdish militants stormed one of the positions of the Turkish soldiers in the Central part of the town of Afrin, killing an Ankara-backed gunman and wounding two Turkish army soldiers.

It added that a key position of the Turkish army was destroyed in the Kurdish fighters' attack in the village of KafrSafreh in Jandaris region, leaving three Turkey-backed gunmen dead and two more wounded.

The entire Afrin region has been occupied by the Turkish troops and Ankara-backed militants.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970126000839

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India

Kathua rape case: ‘Not just me, the nation lost a daughter’

AnandSoondas | TNN | Updated: Apr 15, 2018

The parents of the dead girl and 17 others quietly left Rasana last Thursday

“If there is humanity in this country, this case has to be seen with such eyes. It’s not just me that has lost a daughter. Hindustan kibetibhithiwoh,” said the father of the 8-year-old

The parents of the eight-year-old don’t want to return to KathuaThe parents of the eight-year-old don’t want to return to Kathua

UDHAMPUR: At a place called Roundomail, some distance away from Udhampur, Amjad Ali squats on the shoulder of a road that goes uphill. He needs to catch his breath. With about 50 sheep, an equal number of goats, and 15 horses, he has walked a little over 110 km over nine days to reach here from Rasana village in Kathua, the place where an eight-year-old girl was first gang-raped and then killed. He will reach his destination, Kishtwar, after a month and a half.

Amjad, the parents of the dead girl and 17 others quietly left Rasana last Thursday as the country came face to face with two horrific crimes — one that saw a child murdered and thrown to the wolves in a forest that she often played in, the other that saw a helpless father beaten to death for protesting the violation of his young daughter.

“The pressure was unbearable,” said Amjad, adding: “We were getting threats, told that our cattle and houses would be burned down.”

How can we fight? What are we left with if our goats are killed? We are Bakarwals. This is our livelihood. If they die, we die. We have already lost a child, Amjad Ali said.

The father of the girl, a small, scraggy man with a patchy beard who mostly sat in silence next to an unruly bunch of goats, cleared their house in Rasana of the sparse belongings they had before setting off on this journey. He doesn’t plan to ever return to Kathua. Two other deras (families of sorts) in this group are unsure too.

“What will we return to?” he asked in halting, laboured Hindi. “I have only one hope now. If there is humanity in this country, this case has to be seen with such eyes. It’s not just me that has lost a daughter. Hindustan kibetibhithiwoh.” Unable to correctly articulate the fact that the case has got so politicised that it couldn’t even come to court without the intervention of the higher judiciary, he said, “Politicians are taking the incident with them.”

This nomadic Bakarwal cluster of about 20, like other such collectives, doesn’t stay in Jammu once high summer approaches. From Anantnag originally, they trek upwards during this time or a bit later. In winter, with fodder for their cattle getting scarce, they come down, making money just once a year — when they sell their sheep and goats for Eid-ul-Zuha. But it’s not just fear for herd or property that is stopping him from thinking of Rasana again. Amjad pointed to a girl, a few years older than the one who was killed. “That is his other daughter. He is worried about her now. He thinks nobody is safe anymore there.”

Amjad, who seemed to be in his early 20s and smiled with what looked like pride when he said he had passed his Class X, hasn’t thought about the coming winter. “We have been in Kathua for so many years,” he said. “I was born there. Initially, when she died, we were in shock and despair but we thought it must be the work of a few wretched individuals. But then the rallies started and there was talk of the accused getting out. That’s when we felt very alone, vulnerable. I don’t feel like seeing Rasana again.”

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/kathua-rape-case-not-just-me-the-nation-lost-a-daughter/articleshow/63766531.cms

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PDP vows fast-track trial, axes 3 cops in Kathua rape-murder

M SaleemPandit | TNN | Updated: Apr 15, 2018

J&K government said it would enact a law with stringent provisions against child rapists

The Mehbooba government also terminated the services of the three policemen who are accused in the case

Mehbooba lauded the people of Jammu for ‘dismissing’ communal forces and their ‘unwavering’ support for justice

SRINAGAR: Two days after a national outrage against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, the J&K government said it would set up a fast-track court to punish the guilty and enact a law with stringent provisions against child rapists.

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Naeem Akhtar announced this after a 30-minute meeting of party legislators and ministers at the chief minister’s residence.

PDP also thanked people across India for their solidarity with J&K over the crime, indicating that the outrage may help mend ties between the Kashmir Valley and rest of the nation. The outrage came against the backdrop of the lament in the Valley about the country’s perceived indifference towards allegations of excesses of security forces.

PDP

Political observers felt that while the hope that there could be sympathy for those who get hurt pelting stones at security forces will be unrealistic, falling into the category of “irrational exuberance”, the bond forged over Kathua tragedy may give a crucial opening to those who are working for reconciliation.

Law minister Abdul Haq Khan, who also attended the meeting, told TOI that “going for a fast track court to dispose of the Kathua case is a commitment of the chief minister”. Official sources said that once the fast track court is set up, the trial is likely to be completed in 90 days.

In another development, the Mehbooba government terminated the services of the three policemen who are accused in the case. The government terminated the services of sub-inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Deepak Khajuria, who have been arrested for the crime. While Dutta and Raj are accused of attempting to destroy evidence, the chargesheet says that the mastermind, retired revenue official Sanji Ram, made Khajuria “part of the conspiracy” to abduct, rape and later kill the child. The victim was kept in captivity and raped for seven days in a temple in Rasana village of the Kathua district from January 10 to 17.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba lauded the people of Jammu for ‘dismissing’ communal forces and their ‘unwavering’ support for justice for the eight-year-old girl. “I commend the manner in which the people of Jammu dismissed communal forces and were unwavering in their support for a little girl. It has strengthened my belief that Jammu serves as a model of inclusiveness and together the people of J-K inspire secular unity and righteousness," Mufti said in a tweet.

@MehboobaMufti

 I commend the manner in which the people of Jammu dismissed communal forces & were unwavering in their support for a little girl. It has strengthened my belief that Jammu serves as a model of inclusiveness & together the people of J&K inspire secular unity & righteousness.

9:57 AM - Apr 14, 2018

1,154

@MehboobaMufti

 Heartening to see the Supreme Court take cognisance of the attempted obstruction of justice by some lawyers in the brutal Kathua rape & murder case reminding us once again of the greatness of this nation. 1/2

11:11 PM - Apr 13, 2018

836

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In an earlier tweet, the CM expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court taking cognizance of an alleged attempt by lawyers in Kathua to obstruct the filing of the chargesheet in the case.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pdp-vows-fast-track-trial-axes-3-cops-in-kathua-rape-murder/articleshow/63766592.cms

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Syria air strike: India, China push for dialogue to resolve crisis

TNN | Apr 15, 2018, 06:01 IST

NEW DELHI: India expressed reservations over the US, UK and France airstrikes on Syria’s alleged chemical weapon facilities calling for all countries involved to exercise restraint and not escalate the situation any further.

The government also called for dialogue on the basis of principles of the UN Charter to address the situation.

“We call for an impartial and objective investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to establish the facts," said MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar.

Meanwhile, China said it was “opposed to the use of force” and believed a political settlement is the only way to resolve the Syrian issue.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/syria-air-strike-india-china-push-for-dialogue-to-resolve-crisis/articleshow/63767177.cms

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Kathua rape case: Lawyer braves threats and protests, says it’s a fight for her daughter too

AnandSoondas | TNN | Apr 15, 2018

Rajawat took up the case of the 8-year-old Bakarwal girl who was raped and murdered in January

Within days of her decision, she began getting threats to stay away from the case

Not one to be cowed into silence, the lawyer says she is fighting this case for her own daughter too

"When I confronted the senior advocate and told him that I can fight any case I want, I was told there are ways to stop me... These are powerful people""When I confronted the senior advocate and told him that I can fight any case I want, I was told there are way... Read More

JAMMU: On the desk in a small room of her house in Jammu, there is a framed photograph of a chubby, smiling girl. “That is my daughter,” Deepika Singh Rajawat said. “She is five years old and her name is Ashtami. I am fighting this case also for her.”

Rajawat, an advocate in Jammu, took up the case of the 8-year-old Bakarwal girl who was raped and murdered in January. Within days of her decision, even as many from the Bar took to the streets — some brandishing sticks — and shouted slogans against the state government, asking that the case be transferred from the J&K police’s crime branch to the CBI, she began getting threats to stay away.

Not one to be cowed into silence, she went on Facebook a day after the incident on April 5 and wrote: “The president of the Jammu High Court Bar Association mistreated me. He used unparliamentary language and threatened me not to appear in cases during a strike by the lawyers.”

Showing TOI the copy of a letter she received from the Jammu & Kashmir HC on Saturday that asks the in-charge of the security wing of the court to provide her protection during her appearances, she said, “But when I confronted the senior advocate and told him that I can fight any case I want, I was told there are ways to stop me. But this letter from the high court gives me strength even though there is a corner in my heart that is a little afraid. These are powerful people.”

Rajawat had earlier also filed a complaint on the issue with the Chief Justice of J&K HC and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. She said she was not safe and she had no idea how long the protests by the lawyers’ body would go on.

The case, in the Kootah court right now as Rasana comes under its jurisdiction, saw a dramatic turn when recently lawyers tried to stop the chargesheet, which narrates in detail the crime against the Bakarwal girl, from being forwarded.

Asked if she is confident she will win as the crime branch, which is probing the rape-murder, has lost precious forensic evidence (the girl’s body was allegedly bathed and her clothes washed soon after she was found), she said, “It’s really messed up. The first few days after the crime was detected, some dreadful things happened. The local police station did not file an FIR. That happened only after 2-3 days. On January 17, her body was found. Then the ‘clean-up’ began. It was being hushed up. The policeman who did this is one of the eight accused.”

Rajawat, who said seriousness in the “pursuit for justice” came only after the HC intervened, asked why she should support seeking a CBI probe. “Does the CBI have a spotless record? I can rattle off cases that have been botched. I am happy with what the crime branch is doing. Though there have been setbacks, we have covered some ground. There are repairs being made. Just that the case now has to be transferred to some other part of the state. That is our only hope.”

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/kathua-rape-case-lawyer-braves-threats-and-protests-says-its-a-fight-for-her-daughter-too/articleshow/63766781.cms

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India lodges protest with Pakistan for blocking consular access to Sikh pilgrims

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Apr 15, 2018

Around 1,800 Sikh pilgrims from India had traveled to Pakistan last Thursday to celebrate Baisakhi festival at GurdwaraPanja Sahib in Rawalpindi district

India has objected after Pakistani authorities repeatedly blocked the Indian High Commission from performing basic consular and protocol duties for the pilgrims

Sikh pilgrims at the shrine of GurdwaraPunja Sahib near IslamabadSikh pilgrims at the shrine of GurdwaraPunja Sahib near Islamabad

NEW DELHI: India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over blocking Sikh pilgrims' access to Indian diplomats and consular teams, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release today.

"A standard practice has been that the Indian High Commission’s consular/protocol team is attached with visiting pilgrims, to perform consular and protocol duties, like helping out in medical or family emergencies. However, this year, the consular team has been denied access to Indian Sikh pilgrims," the MEA said.

Around 1,800 Sikh pilgrims + from India had traveled to Pakistan last Thursday to celebrate Baisakhi festival at GurdwaraPanja Sahib in Rawalpindi district. However, Pakistani authorities have repeatedly blocked the Indian High Commission from performing basic consular and protocol duties for Indian citizens.

"The team could not meet the pilgrims on their arrival at Wagah Railway Station on April 12. Similarly, it was denied entry into GurdwaraPanja Sahib on April 14, for a scheduled meeting with pilgrims there," the MEA said.

The statement also detailed a snub to the Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, who was turned away while on his way to meet the pilgrims at the shrine on the grounds of security concerns.

"Moreover, on April 14, the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, who was to visit GurdwaraPanja Sahib at the invitation of the Chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), was suddenly asked to return while en route to the shrine, for unspecified ‘security’ reasons," it stated.

Terming the denial of access to its citizens an "inexplicable diplomatic discourtesy", India reminded Pakistan that it was violating the Vienna Convention of 1961, the bilateral Protocol to visit Religious Shrines, 1974 and the diplomatic Code of Conduct, which had been recently reaffirmed by both countries.

This is the latest incident of diplomatic hostility between India and Pakistan, soon after the two nations agreed to mutually resolve complaints of harassment of envoys.

During their 10-day stay, they will also visit Sikh holy places including GurudwaraJanamesthanNankana Sahib and Dera Sahib in Lahore.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-lodges-protest-with-pakistan-for-blocking-consular-access-to-sikh-pilgrims/articleshow/63770130.cms

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Arab World

Saudi king rejects US plan to transfer embassy to Jerusalem

AFP | Apr 15, 2018

We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem," the Saudi king said

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of an Arab League summit in Dhahran

File photo shows US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King SalmanFile photo shows US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman

DHAHRAN: Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Sunday opened an Arab League summit by criticising US President Donald Trump's decision to transfer the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem," the king said in a speech in Dhahran in eastern Saudi Arabia.

"East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories," he added.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/saudi-king-rejects-us-plan-to-transfer-embassy-to-jerusalem/articleshow/63772444.cms

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Winners and losers in the US attack on Syria

April 14, 2018

'The most striking thing about the US strike on Syria is its futility of purpose beyond a symbolic value to impress the domestic constituency that Trump is a forceful decision-maker,' says Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar.

A missile is seen crossing over Damascus, April 14, 2018. Photograph: SANA/Handout via Reuters

US President Donald J Trump's mind took a fourth U-turn in almost as many days on Friday since he began speaking about his decision to withdraw the American forces from Syria and leave it to 'others' to handle the endgame in the conflict.

He swung to the extreme threatening a rain of missiles on Syria, only to back-track a day later to hint there might not be any attack at all, and finally to announce a joint US-UK-France attack on Friday.

If former US deputy secretary of state Nicholas Burns, an experienced career diplomat, got the impression that POTUS was playing a video game, it comes as no surprise.

Indeed, the most striking thing about the US strike on Syria is its futility of purpose beyond a symbolic value to impress the domestic constituency that POTUS is a forceful decision-maker, who unlike his predecessor Barack Obama, lays down 'red lines' and follows up.

Actually, it is a cowardly stance.

Trump hastened to strike just hours before the investigation by the team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was due to begin in Douma -- as if time was running out to act with impunity.

Clearly, Trump felt the compulsion to be seen acting.

He had no authorisation from the United States Congress nor did he secure a mandate from the UN Security Council to launch aggression against a UN member country.

The indignation and outrage in the statement by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be widely shared by the world community: 'There's an obligation, particularly when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law in general. The UN Charter is very clear on these issues.'

'The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I call on the members of the Security Council to unite and exercise that responsibility. I urge all Member States to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people.'

Both the constitutionality of Trump's decision and the legality of the US attack under international law is highly questionable.

However, the extenuating fact is that historically domestic public opinion rallies behind POTUS when the US is at war abroad. For Trump's crumbling presidency, that is an over-riding consideration today.

On the other hand, the attack on Syria was carefully choreographed.

Paris has disclosed that Moscow was informed in advance. Indeed, 'deconfliction' proceedures were under discussion between the Pentagon and the Russian defence ministry for the past 2-3 days.

The attack clinically targeted alleged chemical weapon sites in three cities in Syria -- Damascus, Hom and Hama.

No military bases or assets were attacked.

The missiles scrupulously avoided locations where there could be Russian personnel.

Care was taken to avoid 'collateral damage'. In fact, there has been no reported casualty. On the whole, it is as if a riveting fireworks show has been conducted.

The Syrians claim they shot down a fair number of incoming missiles. But like in the Sherlock Holmes story, the dog didn't bark -- not a single move has been reported by Russia to intercept the incoming missiles.

Moscow simply watched a brawl unfold between the US, UK and France on one side and the Syrian regime on the other.

Moscow instead turned on its propaganda apparatus to take the maximum advantage of the senseless, almost bizarre missile attack.

If the OPCW team turns in a 'Nil' report from Douma shortly, Russian propaganda can be trusted to go for Trump's jugular veins.

The US attack will not create any new facts on the ground. The comprehensive victory of President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime in the 7-year conflict is becoming an irreversible reality.

Arguably, this could be the last waltz of the Western interventionist powers in Syria who had hoped to overthrow the regime and failed miserably.

In sum, in the absence of a coherent US strategy toward Syria, this latest attack may only stoke the fires of Syrian nationalism.

Russia has spoken of 'serious consequences', without elaborating.

Will Russia escalate the situation? Seems unlikely. It is hard to see a Russian reaction on the ground although Moscow is watchful that the Western strategy ultimately threatens the Russian presence in Syria.

Much depends on the next Western move. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is expected in Ankara on Monday.

In a strongly worded statement, President Vladimir Putin has warned that the 'escalation in Syria is destructive for the entire system of international relations. History will set things right, and Washington already bears the heavy responsibility for the bloody outrage in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria.'

Russia proposes to convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council 'to discuss the aggressive actions by the US and its allies,' Putin said.

Of course, new regional alignments will become inevitable. Turkey and Israel have backed the US attack.

The Turks' bazaari instincts are legion and President Recep Erdogan senses a historic opportunity to project Turkish power into Syria and realise his 'neo-Ottoman' dream. Trust him to overreach.

Israel is a bit down in the mouth for the moment due to the messy confrontation at the Gaza border; or else, it would have jumped into the fray.

Israel's best bet will be that the US keeps an open-ended military presence in a Syria that is balkanized and weak and is in no position to reclaim the lost territory in the Golan Heights that are under Israeli occupation since 1967.

All eyes are on Iran. But Tehran will not speak its mind.

For the moment, Tehran's eyes are cast on the May 12 deadline when Trump must decide on the sanctions waiver to the July 2015 nuclear deal.

The big question now is whether Trump would tear up the Iran nuclear deal in the present circumstances when the US needs the support of its European allies.

Syria constitutes Iran's defence line. Significantly, even as Trump was ratcheting up rhetoric against Syria, the powerful Iranian statesman Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, landed in Damascus on Wednesday, met President Assad and toured Douma, the alleged site of the chemical attack.

It was a defiant gesture and act of solidarity with Assad.

Tehran has hinted at 'regional consequences.' But Iran's style will be to avoid direct conflict with the US and opt instead to intensify its political work and consolidate its wide networking with various groups on the ground, which systematically keep undermining the US presence in Syria and Iraq.

No doubt, Iran will intensify the politics of 'resistance' against Israel.

The Russia-Iran partnership in Syria is steadily morphing into an alliance, which is in mutual interests.

The defeat of the US-Israeli-Saudi containment strategy against Iran may turn out to be the most significant and enduring outcome of this US attack on Syria.

rediff.com/news/column/winners-and-losers-in-the-us-attack-on-syria/20180414.htm

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At destroyed Syria lab, workers deny producing toxic weapons

AFP | Updated: Apr 14, 2018

BARZEH, SYRIA: Plastic gloves and face masks lay scattered in the rubble of a Syrian research lab destroyed by Western strikes on Saturday, where an official denied the centre was developing chemical weapons.

US, British and French strikes slammed into a series of targets around Damascus that the Western countries said were linked to the Syrian government's chemical weapons programme.

One multi-storey complex, in the capital's northern district of Barzeh, had been completely reduced to rubble, AFP's correspondents saw during a government-sponsored tour on Saturday.

Its roof had been punched down and several walls appeared on the verge of collapse.

Even hours after the strikes wrapped up, plumes of smoke wafted lazily up from the building and a burning smell still hung in the air.

"The building had three storeys: a basement, ground floor, and second floor," Said Said, an engineer who identified himself as head of the centre's paint and plastics department said.

"It had labs and departments that were unfortunately completely destroyed, with all their equipment and furniture. Thank God, no one was here," he told AFP.

The bombardment, including both cruise missiles and air-to-surface strikes, hit Syria around 4:00 am on Saturday (0100 GMT), jolting people awake in the capital's nearby residential neighbourhoods.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported several missiles hit a research centre in Barzeh, "destroying a building that included scientific labs and a training centre".

The site, according to Western powers, was part of the Syrian government's "chemical weapons infrastructure."

But Said told AFP only non-lethal research and development was under way at the centre.

"As we work in civilian pharmaceutical and chemical research, we did not expect that we would be hit," he said.

Instead, the centre had been producing antidotes to scorpion and snake venom while running tests on chemical products used in making food, medicine and children's toys, according to Said.

"If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here. I've been here since 5:30 am in full health -- I'm not coughing," he added.

Saturday's strikes came in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack on a rebel-held town east of Damascus one week ago, which medics say killed more than 40 people.

Inspectors from the world's chemical watchdog were set to enter the town of Douma on Saturday to investigate the claims.

Said said the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had visited the site in Barzeh in recent years and had declared it free of any toxic weapons.

"The OPCW used to stay in the two upper rooms, and use the labs, and we would cooperate with them completely," he said.

"The OPCW has proven in two reports that this building and the centre as a whole are empty and do not produce any chemical weapons."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/at-destroyed-syria-lab-workers-deny-producing-toxic-weapons/articleshow/63764865.cms

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Syrian Army Seizes Terrorists' Large Chemical Weapons Workshop in Eastern Ghouta

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops found a workshop in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday used by the terrorists for producing arms, bombs and chemical weapons.

The army men continued mop-up operation in Aftaris region in Eastern Ghouta and discovered a large workshop with an advanced laboratory for making chemical weapons in an area that was once terrorists' positions.

A large volume of poisonous and chemical materials, including chlorine and safety uniforms were discovered in the workshop.

Also, a large number of missiles, artillery and mortar shells and bombs were found in the workshop.

Earlier this month, the sources said that the army found a long tunnel in the town of EinTerma in Eastern Ghouta, adding that the tunnel was a several-kilometer-long path with two branches to Zmelka region at its Northern side and Jobar region at its Western side.

In the meantime, other units of the army found a 3-km long tunnel between the regions of Arbin, EinTerma, Zmelka and Jobar that was used by the terrorists for their vehicle movements.

The sources further said that the army's engineering units in Arbin found a workshop used for making mortar shells and rockets, and a warehouse of bombs and several canisters containing chemical materials.

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Syrian army hails full recapture of Ghouta rebel enclave

AFP | Apr 15, 2018

DAMASCUS (SYRIA): The Syrian army has declared that all anti-regime forces have left Eastern Ghouta, after a blistering two month offensive on the rebel enclave on the outskirts of the capital.

The announcement, which represents a key strategic victory for President Bashar al-Assad, came just hours after US-led strikes pounded Syrian government targets in response to a suspected chemical attack on the enclave's main town of Douma.

"All terrorists have left Douma, the last of their holdouts in Eastern Ghouta," state news agency SANA quoted an army spokesman as saying Saturday, using the regime's usual term for rebels.

"Areas of Eastern Ghouta in rural Damascus have been fully cleansed of terrorism," an army spokesman also said in a statement delivered on state television.

At the start of the year Eastern Ghouta was a sprawling semi-rural area just east of Damascus, home to almost 400,000 inhabitants, which had already endured several years under a government siege that slashed access to food, medicine and other goods.

The Syrian government and allied forces launched a massive assault on February 18 to retake the enclave, which had been out of regime control since 2012.

The intense bombardment killed some 1,700 civilians according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, and pulverised the area, reducing many neighbourhoods to rubble.

Damascus has been accused of carrying out an April 7 chemical weapons attack on Douma, the final part of the enclave where rebels were balking at a Russian-brokered deal to evacuate them to northern Syria.

The United States, France and Britain responded Saturday with pre-dawn strikes on alleged regime chemical weapons sites.

The allies have since signalled their resolve to return to diplomacy, launching a new bid at the United Nations to investigate chemical weapons attacks in the country.

A team of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is in Damascus and expected to investigate the site of the suspected chemical attack.

Assad had made the reconquest of Eastern Ghouta a strategic goal.

The Islamist group Jaish al-Islam rebel group, which was in control of Douma, has said it only agreed to leave because of the Syrian government's purported use of toxic chemicals on Douma, which medics said killed more than 40 people.

The group has slammed the Western strikes as insufficient, as Assad maintains his grip on the war-ravaged country.

"Punishing the instrument of the crime while keeping the criminal -- a farce," wrote Mohammad Alloush, a key member of Jaish al-Islam.

Syria and Russia have both denied using chemical weapons and said the claims were fabrications used to justify Western military action.

The two-month assault on Eastern Ghouta sparked an international outcry, with the head of the United Nations describing the conditions endured by civilians there as "hell on Earth".

Few convoys of humanitarian aid were allowed in while rights groups and aid organisations also condemned the targeting of medical facilities across the besieged territory.

Dozens of civilians in government-controlled central Damascus were also killed by rockets and mortar rounds fired from Eastern Ghouta by the rebel groups that held it.

On Saturday Syria's internal security forces entered Douma, after the last convoy of buses transporting members of Jaish al-Islam and their relatives left the town.

The Syrian army said a clean up operation was under way in the battered enclave.

"Engineering units are starting to clear the mines and explosives sewn by the terrorists in the town to allow the rest of the units to secure the liberated areas and prepare them for the return of civilians to their homes," the army spokesman said.

Thousands of civilians who fled the offensive have already returned to areas previously retaken by the army and allied forces.

A large number of Eastern Ghouta residents were bussed to the northern province of Idlib, which is largely outside government control and hosts several jihadist and other rebel groups.

The civil war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Assad has managed to cling on to power, retaking swathes of territory with the help of ally Russia.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/syrian-army-hails-full-recapture-of-ghouta-rebel-enclave/articleshow/63769257.cms

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Syrians displaced near capital recall years of deprivation

AP | Apr 15, 2018HORJELLI: Thousands of Syrians displaced by the battle for the once-lush suburbs of Damascus now find themselves in a crowded settlement, where for the first time in recent memory they have enough to eat.

The rows of pre-fabricated shelters are home to some 18,000 people displaced by the offensive that drove rebels out of eastern Ghouta. On Saturday, the Syrian government announced the capture of Douma, the last rebel holdout in eastern Ghouta and the site of an alleged chemical attack that prompted a Western missile strike.

Government forces had laid siege to eastern Ghouta since 2013, and late last year they tightened the noose, causing food prices to soar in the farming region that once served as a breadbasket for the capital.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/syrians-displaced-near-capital-recall-years-of-deprivation/articleshow/63771964.cms

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Syrian Analyst: US-Led Missile Strikes Aimed at Testing Army's Defense Power

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Saturday morning US-led missile strikes on Syria were aimed at testing the army's defense power after shooting down an Israeli fighter jet in February, a Syrian media analyst said, adding that the attack failed to achieve its desired results.

Editor-in-chief of Syria's al-Thawrah newspaper Mostafa al-Miqdad was quoted by the Arabic website of Sputnik news agency as saying on Sunday that the US missile strikes against the Syrian army positions near Damascus and Homs failed in its objectives in action.

He underlined that the Syrian army's achievements in Eastern Ghouta and liberation of the strategic town of Douma from the terrorists' hands was a milestone in the war on terrorism, adding that the US-led missile attack was meant to sideline this great achievement.

Al-Miqdad said that the US, France and Britain have likely thought that the Syrian army has accidentally shot down the Israeli  F-16 fighter jet in February and intended to test the preparedness and power of the Syrian army's missile defense systems.

He noted that interception of 71 missiles out of over 100 US missiles indicates the Syrian army's defense power and had this important message that Damascus and its allies are always ready to give a response to any aggression.

US, British and French forces launched over 100 missiles on Syria early Saturday morning, and Russia said Damascus managed to dodge 71.

In a televised address to the nation, US President Donald Trump said the three nations partnered in the missile launch.

The strikes were the biggest overt attack by the three Western powers against Syria in the country's seven-year-old civil war, which has pitted the US and its allies against Russia.

Other NATO members refrained from partnership in the attack, although NATO secretary general voiced his support for the move.

Israel was also absent from today's strike, fearing Iran's response. After a recent missile strike on Syria's T4 base that killed 12, including 7 Iranian military advisors, Tel Aviv has been on guard in anticipation of Iran's tough reprisal.

Reports coming out of a national security meeting in the White House two days ago said Defense Secretary James Mattis opposed striking targets that would provoke Tehran and Moscow's response, urging Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton to think wisely and narrow down the scope of the attack.

The Pentagon claimed the strikes targeted a research center in greater Damascus and a chemical weapons storage facility and a command post west of Homs, while the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has officially stated complete disarmament of Syria since two years ago.

The missile strikes took place as a team of OPCW is in Damascus to probe the alleged chemical incident in Douma last week, but the trio western allies didn't wait for the result of their work for somehow unknown reasons.

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Syrian Army Continues to Send More Troops, Equipment to Southern Damascus to Face ISIL

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army dispatched more soldiers and military hardware to the Southern countryside of Damascus on Sunday to launch an imminent operation against ISIL terrorists.

The army forwarded hundreds of fresh soldiers, several tanks, military vehicles and heavy weapons to Hajireh region near Hajar al-Aswad region that is the most important base of ISIL in the Southern countryside of Damascus city.

The army has been reinvigorating its military power in Southern Damascus in the last two week to lay siege on the entire ISIL-held regions and launch a large-scale operation against terrorists.

The army is to purge Southern Damascus of terrorists after ending its current operation in Eastern Ghouta.

Security sources said the army's Southern Damascus operation has been delayed due to the Saturday missile attacks of the US, UK and France on the country.

The ISIL terrorists, emboldened by the US-led airstrikes against the Syrian army positions on Saturday morning, attacked the military bases of the army in Southern Damascus.

Field sources reported on Saturday that the ISIL terrorists attacked the army positions West of al-Qadam district in Southern Damascus.

They noted that the offensive was launched immediately after the US-led coalition's missile strikes against the Syrian army positions, adding that the Syrian army units repulsed the terrorists' attack after clashes.

The Syrian army sent a large number of forces and military equipment to Southern Damascus to launch imminent operations in the region to purge the ISIL terrorists from occupied areas.

The US, France and the UK launched a series of strikes on Syria on Saturday in retaliation for the alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government in the town of Douma. The assault came hours before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team was scheduled to arrive in Douma to determine whether chemical weapons had indeed been used there.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile strike against Syria’s military and civilian infrastructures was carried out by US warplanes and naval ships in cooperation with the British and French air forces, while the Syrian air defenses shot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the US-led coalition.

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Pakistan

Address outstanding issues with India through peaceful means: UN official tells Pakistan

PTI | Apr 15, 2018

UNITED NATIONS: A top UN official has asked Pakistan to address the outstanding issues with India through peaceful means, reiterating Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' concern over heightening tensions along the Line of Control.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca made the remarks after concluding his visit to Pakistan on April 13.

He held meetings with Foreign Secretary TehminaJanjua and Special Secretary Tasnim Aslam in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 12. He also met with representatives of the diplomatic community and members of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT).

According to a statement released by the UN spokesperson's office, Jenca reiterated that the Secretary-General is concerned about the "heightening tensions" along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan.

He "echoed the Secretary General's calls for maximum restraint and efforts to de-escalate the situation. Any outstanding issues between the two countries should be addressed through peaceful means," the statement said.

Jenca underlined in his conversations in Islamabad that Pakistan's commitment to fostering multilateralism and cooperation is important for peace and stability in the region and beyond.

He welcomed the decision of Pakistan and Afghanistan to increase cooperation through the implementation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity.

Jenca underscored the importance of this positive momentum for the further advancement of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.

During the visit, Jenca also participated at a medal parade of the UN Military Observation Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). The ceremony recognised the service of UN peacekeepers deployed to UNMOGIP.

India maintains that the UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Shimla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/address-outstanding-issues-with-india-through-peaceful-means-un-official-tells-pakistan/articleshow/63769175.cms

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At least 7 Christians injured in firing near church in Quetta

Syed Ali ShahApril 15, 2018

At least seven members of the Christian community have been injured in a firing incident near a church in Quetta, it has been learnt.

DIG Quetta AbdurRazzaqChema informed DawnNewsTV that the incident occurred near a church in Essa Nagri area of the provincial capital.

The injured have been rushed to Bolan Medical Complex, Quetta.

dawn.com/news/1401797/at-least-7-christians-injured-in-firing-near-church-in-quetta

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Pakistan PM invites parties to talks on new provinces in Punjab, Sindh

PTI | Apr 15, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Amid growing demand for bifurcating Punjab and Sindh provinces, Pakistan Prime Minister ShahidKhaqanAbbasi has invited all political parties to a dialogue to reach a consensus on the issue of creation of new provinces, according to media reports on Sunday.

The prime minister criticised the setting up of the South Punjab Province Front and the leaders who announced its formation recently. He said that mere holding of press conferences could not create new provinces in Pakistan.

Abbasi said all political parties should hold a dialogue on the issue of creation of new provinces in accordance with the demands of the people of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Dawn newspaper reported.

He was speaking at a road opening event in KhairpurDaha near Uch Sharif, about 70km from here Bahawalpur city in Punjab province.

Pakistan has four provinces, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. Punjab is Pakistan's second largest province by area, after Balochistan.

Abbasi said that no political party could ensure the setting up of a new province all by itself because no party could amend the Constitution alone.

All the parties should strive to forge a consensus through dialogue, he said. The formation of new provinces might be in the best interest of the country.

Abbasi referred to the demand for the creation of Hazara province as well as for other federating units in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He mentioned the adoption of two resolutions in the Punjab assembly in the last two years, about the restoration of Bahawalpur province and creation of South Punjab province.

It was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, he said, that had ensured the passage of the two resolutions. The constitutional amendment, however, could not be passed through the efforts of just one party, he said.

Abbasi asked the leaders of the South Punjab Province Front to wait for the people's verdict on the issue, as the general election was approaching fast. As they had parted ways with the PML-N, they should wait for proper mandate from the people.

Recently, eight lawmakers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party parted ways with it and announced the launch of a mass movement to make South Punjab a separate province.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-pm-invites-parties-to-talks-on-new-provinces-in-punjab-sindh/articleshow/63770930.cms

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Gunmen open fire at residence of Pak SC judge

PTI | Apr 15, 2018

LAHORE: Unidentified gunmen opened fire at the residence of Pakistan's Supreme Court judge Ijazul Ahsan here in two separate incidents only hours apart, media reports said today.

Justice Ahsan was part of a five-member apex court bench that heard the high-profile Panamagate case last year that led to the disqualification of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

A statement by the apex court said that the unidentified gunmen opened fire at Justice Ahsan's Model Town residence first late last night and then again early this morning.

No casualties were reported in the attacks, Dawn reported.

Chief Justice MianSaqibNisar visited the residence of the Justice Ahsan, and called the Punjab inspector general to probe the incidents. The chief justice is said to be overseeing the situation himself, the paper said.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered immediate arrests of the attackers. He also asked the Punjab inspector general (IG) to submit a report on the incident.

Security personnel, including Rangers, have been deployed outside the residence of the judge.

"This is a highly condemnable incident. We are trying our best to arrest the attackers and a thorough investigation is underway," Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan was quoted as saying.

He said that additional security has been provided to the Supreme Court judge.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) condemned the firing incidents and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

Pakistan People's Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari termed the attacks alarming and called for a judicial probe.

Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan "strongly condemned" the incidents and claimed that they were "tactics to pressurise senior judiciary".

Justice Ahsan was appointed as the monitoring judge to supervise and monitor the implementation of the Panamagate case verdict and oversee the ongoing proceedings by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and accountability courts against the Sharif family members and Ishaq Dar.

He was also part of the three-member bench hearing 17 petitions against the controversial Elections Act 2017. The bench had ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as head of a political party, leading to Sharif losing his position as the party chief.

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Pak army chief links peace in Pakistan with peace in Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 15 2018

The Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan General Qamar JavedBajwa linked the peace in Pakistan with peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Gen. Bajwa made the remarks during a ceremony to mark the graduation of some of the military cadets of the Pakistani army.

He expressed his desire to see a more stable Afghanistan, saying that Pakistan is fully committed to helping the Afghan government in restoring peace.

“We are also committed to peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan at all bilateral and multilateral forums,” he was quoted as saying in a report by Dawn News. “We sincerely believe that there will be no peace in Pakistan, if there is no peace in Afghanistan.”

The Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan highlighted Pakistan’s shunning of extremism and victories in the fight against terrorism.

“Pakistan has eliminated almost all organised terrorist presence and infrastructure from its soil,” he said. “We are now going after the residual and scattered traces of this menace under the banner of Operation RaddulFasaad.

The remarks by Gen. Bajwa regarding the elimination of the terror safe havens came as the Afghan and US officials believe that the sanctuaries of the Taliban and Haqqani network leader have remained intact and their leadership councils are still based in Quetta, Peshawar, and other key cities of Pakistan.

khaama.com/pak-army-chief-links-peace-in-pakistan-with-peace-in-afghanistan-04882/

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South Asia

Taliban militants killed 11 members of public uprising forces in Sari Pul

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 15 2018

The Taliban insurgents have killed at least eleven members of the public uprising forces in northern Sari Pul province of Afghanistan.

According to the local officials, the Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on a security post belonging to the public uprising forces in Sang Charak district late on Saturday night.

A member of the provincial council Mohammad Noor Rahmani confirmed the attack and said at least eleven public uprising personnel have lost their lives in the attack.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

The security situation in northern Sari Pul province has started to deteriorated during the recent years as the anti-government armed militant groups are attempting to expand their insurgency in the key northern provinces.

This comes as at least six security personnel lost their lives in a similar attack in this province last week.

According to the civilian and military officials in the north, at least four policemen and two soldiers of the Afghan national army were among those who lost their lives in the attack.

khaama.com/taliban-militants-killed-11-members-of-public-uprising-forces-in-sari-pul-04887/

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20 ISIS militants killed in joint Afghan and US forces raids: MoD

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 15 2018

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) says at least twenty ISIS militants have been killed during the joint raids of the Afghan and US forces in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan.

MoD spokesman Gen. Mohammad Radmanish told reporters a commander of the terror group identified as Yousuf was among those killed. This comes as the 209th Shaheen Corps said Friday that 16 militants were killed and more than 20 others were wounded during the operations in Darzab district.

In the meantime, Gen. Radmanish said at least eight militants including a local commander of the Taliban were killed in Chesht-e-Sharif district of Herta, five others were killed in BalaBolok district of Farah, and six more were killed in Nejrab district of kapisa.

He also added that six militants were killed in Khogyani district of Nangarhar and one terrorist was killed in Helmand while another one was killed in Andar of Ghazni.

According to Gen. Radmanish, the Afghan forces also confiscated 99 improvised explosive devices during the operations.

The Afghan forces are currently involved in 21 operations in 13 provinces of the country, he said, adding that the Special Forces have conducted 68 raids while the Air Force has carried out 13 airstrikes as well.

khaama.com/20-isis-militants-killed-in-joint-afghan-and-us-forces-raids-mod-04883/

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Afghan, Pakistani forces clash near border, 2 killed

AP | Apr 15, 2018

KABUL: Afghan troops clashed with Pakistani forces near the disputed border on Sunday, in fighting that killed two Pakistani paramilitaries and wounded five others, officials said.

Pakistan's military said in a statement that the Frontier Corps was carrying out "routine surveillance" along the border when it was "fired upon from the Afghanistan side." It said the paramilitaries showed "maximum restraint" to avoid civilian casualties, and that "military engagement" is underway to defuse the situation.

Col. Abdul Hanan, the acting provincial police chief in Afghanistan's eastern Khost province, said the fighting broke out after Pakistani forces crossed into Afghanistan.

The two countries are separated by the 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) Durand Line, which was drawn by British rulers in 1896. Afghanistan does not recognize it as an international border and has objected to new fortifications being built by Pakistan.

The two US allies routinely accuse each other of failing to crack down on militants who operate along the porous border.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghan-pakistani-forces-clash-near-border-2-killed/articleshow/63771871.cms

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Taliban militants blow up the laboratory of a school in Nangarhar

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 15 2018

The Taliban militants have blown up the laboratory of a school in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan which resulted into the destruction of the laboratory as well as some documents stored in the compound.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the laboratory was set on fire in the vicinity of Momandara district.

The statement further added that all the equipment and documents available in the laboratory were totally destroyed in the explosion.

According to the governor’s office, the militants initially stormed into the school, tied the hands of the unarmed guards of the school, and then detonated the compound with explosives.

The security forces immediately reached the area and the school was reopened for the students apart from the laboratory, the statement added.

Provincial governor Mohammad GulabMangal strongly condemned the act and instructed the relevant authorities to launch an immediate operation to apprehend the perpetrators.

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in the East but the anti-government armed militant groups are active in some of its remote districts and often carry out terrorist related activities.

khaama.com/taliban-militants-blow-up-the-laboratory-of-a-school-in-nangarhar-04888/

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Airstrikes target militants preventing restoration of Kabul power

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 15 2018

The Afghan Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes targeting of a group of Taliban insurgents involved in the destruction of a electricity pylon in northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North said the Afghan Air Force targeted the Taliban insurgents using MD-530F helicopters.

The source further added that the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Dahan-e-Larkhab area of Doshi district as the militants were preventing the reconstruction of pylon to restore supply of power to Kabul.

According to the Shaheen Corps, at least one Taliban insurgent was killed during the airstrike and three others were wounded.

The Shaheen Corps also added that the situation in the area is under the control at the moment and work on the reconstruction of the damaged pylong can be started.

The officials in the Da Afghanistan BreshnaSherkat (State Power Supply Firm) have not commented in this regard so far.

Baghlan is among the relatively calm provinces but the anti-government armed militants have been attempting to destabilize the province during the recent years.

According to the local officials, the Taliban insurgents detonated explosives near the electricity pylong on Friday night which resulted into the supply of electricity from Uzbekistan to Kabul.

khaama.com/airstrikes-target-militants-preventing-restoration-of-kabul-power-04884/

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Afghans register to vote in long-delayed elections amid violence

AFP | Apr 15, 2018

KABUL (AFGHANISTAN): Afghanistan at the weekend began registering voters across the war-torn country as it seeks to ensure that long-delayed legislative elections in October are seen as credible and fraud-free.

Over the next two months authorities hope to register as many as 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centres — an ambitious goal in a country where militants control or contest much of the territory.

"The main challenge is insecurity, particularly in rural areas," Abdul BadieSayad, chairman of the Independent Election Commission, told AFP recently.

In addition to the Taliban and Islamic State group terrorising swathes of the population, "local powers, illegal militias and strongmen will try to interfere" in the parliamentary and district council elections, Sayad predicted.

A shortage of female staff at polling centres, particularly in conservative rural areas, could also impede participation by women in the polls, which are seen as a test run for next year's presidential election.

"Women won't be given permission from their families to reach the registration centres, where they may be asked to remove their burqa to show their faces," Sayad said.

In Kabul on Saturday police stood guard at a school being used as a registration centre but only a handful of men showed up.

Mohammad Hussein, a 54-year-old shopkeeper, said he wanted to vote for a candidate "able to bring about change in this country".

"I voted in 2010 but I made a mistake -- the MP didn't bring any change. This time I need to vote for someone who works without taking bribes," Hussein told AFP.

The October 20 polls were originally set to be held in 2015 following presidential elections the previous year, but were repeatedly pushed back due to security fears and logistical problems within the fragile unity government.

If held, candidates will contest the 249 seats in the National Assembly for five-year terms. The country will also hold regional elections in tandem in hundreds of districts across Afghanistan -- some of which are outside Kabul's control.

Over the coming weeks the IEC hopes to register 13-14 million people at centres where they will later be required to cast their vote, a move which officials hope will reduce the risk of ballot-box stuffing.

A television advertising campaign has been launched to persuade ordinary people that their votes will count — a challenging task after a disputed presidential election in 2014.

"We are trying very hard to increase the confidence of the public, to increase the legitimacy of the elections," Sayad said.

Another hurdle to voter registration is the lack of national identification cards, or taskeras, particularly among women.

Just over half the population has a taskera and the government hopes to issue another 10 million to enable more people to register to vote, officials have said.

But there are concerns over how Afghans living in areas controlled or contested by insurgents will be able to register and vote safely.

Afghan security forces have been tasked with protecting polling centres, even as they struggle to get the upper hand against militants on the battlefield.

President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday called on the Taliban to take up his peace offer made in February to take part in the elections "as a political party".

So far the Taliban, which is expected to launch its traditional spring offensive in the coming weeks, has not responded to Ghani's proposal.

Despite international pressure on the Afghan government to hold elections this year, some question whether October will be too late.

Holding the vote within months of the presidential poll risked "electoral congestion and political chaos", Afghanistan Analysts Network's Ali YawarAdili warned in a report this month.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/afghans-register-to-vote-in-long-delayed-elections-amid-violence/articleshow/63769812.cms

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Mideast

Afrin: Turkish Forces Replacing Local Population with Ghouta Comrades

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Ankara-backed militants on Sunday prevented civilians from entering their own houses in the Turkey-occupied Afrin region to settle the Al-Nusra-affiliated Faylaq al-Rahman terrorists who have arrived from Eastern Ghouta in the town.

Militants of Jeish al-Sharqiyeh affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) stormed residents of the town of Jandaris in Southern Afrin after they called on the militants to allow them to live in their houses that had been occupied by Faylaq al-Rahman militants.

Faylaq al-Rahman is affiliated to the Al-Nusra Front that is backed by Turkey. Yet, the Turkey-backed militants have treated other militant groups like Jeish Al-Islam that are backed by Saudi Arabia differently, forcing them to surrender their weapons and stay in camps.

In the meantime, the London-based pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Turkish army and allied militants started detaining civilians in Afrin region after the Ankara forces looted their assets, and further demanded ransom for their release.

SOHR further said that talks are underway between the Turkish intelligence and Faylaq al-Rahman commanders to be relocated to Afrin and its countryside.

A main group of Faylaq militants and their family members left Eastern Ghouta for Northern Syria a couple of days ago.    

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported last week that the Kurdish militants stormed one of the positions of the Turkish soldiers in the Central part of the town of Afrin, killing an Ankara-backed gunman and wounding two Turkish army soldiers.

It added that a key position of the Turkish army was destroyed in the Kurdish fighters' attack in the village of KafrSafreh in Jandaris region, leaving three Turkey-backed gunmen dead and two more wounded.

The entire Afrin region has been occupied by the Turkish troops and Ankara-backed militants.

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Tensions Intensify Between Saudi-Backed, Turkey-Affiliated Terrorists in Northern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Tensions have intensified between the Saudi-backed Jeish al-Islam and militants of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield Operation after the former arrived in Northern Syria from their positions in Eastern Ghouta, local sources reported on Sunday.

Commanders of the Euphrates Shield forces told Jeish al-Islam openly that they can reside only in refugee camps readied for them.

The Ankara-backed militants do not believe in Jeish al-Islam's ideas and policies, do not allow the Saudi-backed groups to move in the region freely, to work or even to be a member of the Euphrates Shield.

Following the bans by the Turkey-backed militants fresh tensions have started between the two groups.

Although, a number of Jeish al-Islam militants had previously joined the Turkey-affiliated militant groups to participate in the military operation against the Syrian Army in Northern and Northeastern Aleppo, Turkey has now placed a ban on Jeish al-Islam's partnership in any operation in Northern Syrian due to its affiliation to Saudi Arabia.   

On Wednesday , the Turkish-backed militant groups seized weapons of the Saudi-backed militants of Jeish al-Islam that withdrew from the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta as soon as they arrived in regions under the Ankara-backed militants' control.

The Turkish army ordered its allied militants to seize the personal weapons of the Saudi-backed Jeish al-Islam terrorists that have recently left Douma and arrived in regions that are under the control of the Euphrates Shield forces in Northern Syria.

Several convoys of Jeish al-Islam militants arrived in Northern Syria within the framework of an evacuation agreement with the Syrian Army.

A wave of anger and disappointment has been reported among Jeish al-Islam militants after the Ankara-backed forces seized their weapons.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are two rivals in providing back up for terrorist groups in Syria.

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Israel says destroys tunnel from Gaza that crossed barrier

AFP | Updated: Apr 15, 2018, 15:17 IST

JERUSALEM: Israel's army said Sunday it had destroyed a Hamas tunnel crossing from the Gaza Strip into its territory after more than two weeks of tension along the border of the Palestinian enclave.

Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was the longest and deepest Gazan tunnel discovered by Israel.

The tunnel crossed into Israeli territory by several metres (yards) but did not yet have an exit point, military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists.

It connected to several others within the Gaza Strip and could have been used for attacks,

Israel destroyed the tunnel -- which it said connected to several others within Gaza and could have been used for attacks — by filling it with material to make it inoperative.

"We filled the tunnel with material that renders it useless for a very long period of time," Conricus said. Explosives were not used.

"According to our early assessments, this tunnel reaches kilometres, several kilometres, into the Gaza Strip."

The tunnel came from the area of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip and was being dug in the direction of the Nahal Oz community in Israel, he said.

It was the fifth Gazan tunnel destroyed by Israel in recent months, Conricus said. Israel destroyed it over the course of the weekend.

The operation comes after protests along the Gaza border since March 30 that have led to clashes in which Israeli forces have killed 34 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others.

Israel alleges Hamas is seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence and said the tunnel destroyed could have been used for that purpose, saying it comes from near an area where demonstrators have gathered.

Israel has faced criticism over its use of live fire along the Gaza border since March 30, while the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation.

The military says its soldiers act to stop attacks, damage to the fence and infiltration bids, and says there have been attempts at all three.

Conricus said Israel had been monitoring the construction of the tunnel for some time.

He said Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, began building it after the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Hamas.

Israel has fought three wars with the Islamist movement Hamas since 2008, and the group has used tunnels to carry out attacks in the past.

Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade, while its border with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.

Israel has also been building an underground wall around the Gaza Strip to stop tunnel infiltrations.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/israel-says-destroys-tunnel-from-gaza-that-crossed-barrier/articleshow/63770615.cms

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Four Palestinian ‘militants’ die in Gaza blast

ReutersUpdated April 15, 2018

GAZA: The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said four of its members were killed in an apparent accidental blast in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

The group said in a statement that it was “mourning its fighters who were martyred during preparations”.

It usually employs those terms to refer to casualties caused by the accidental detonation of weapons or explosives used in attacks against Israel.

The Gaza Health Ministry confirmed four fatalities in the incident. Medics at the scene in the Rafah area said the explosion was caused by Israel. But an Israeli military spokesman said the army was not involved.

“Contrary to reports currently circulating I can tell you that the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is not aware of any IDF fire in the area surrounding Rafah,” the spokesman said.

Violence has flared in the Gaza Strip since March 30, when Palestinians began protests along the border area with Israel.

Israeli troops have shot dead 31 Gaza Palestinians and wounded hundreds since the protests began, drawing international criticism of their lethal tactics.

The border area remained largely quiet on Saturday.

Protesters have set up tented camps near the frontier as a protest dubbed The Great March of Return — evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel — moved into its third week.

Israel has declared a no-go zone close to the Gaza border fence.

Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005. The Palestinian enclave is ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement, designated by Israel and the West as a terrorist group.

Citing security concerns, Israel maintains a naval blockade of the coastal territory, keeping tight restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and goods across the frontier.

Egypt, battling an Islamist insurgency in neighbouring Sinai, keeps its border with Gaza largely closed.

dawn.com/news/1401732/four-palestinian-militants-die-in-gaza-blast

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Senior Turkey-Backed Militant Commander Killed in Northern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Abdullah Hassan, a commander of the terrorists in Northern Aleppo, was assassinated by unknown gunmen on Sunday.

Abdullah Hassan, a military commander of Sultan Murad Brigade affiliated to the Free Syrian Army was gunned down by unknown raiders.

The commander's body was found near a position of the Brigade near the town of al-Bab.

A fresh wave of insecurity and tension has covered regions that are under the Ankara-backed militants' control in recent months.

In relevant developments in the province on Friday several blasts hit regions controlled by militants of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield in Northern Aleppo, leaving a number of people dead or wounded.

A bomb-laden car in the town of Azaz went off, killing and wounding a number of people

In the meantime, a sum of 30 people were killed and wounded in explosion of an explosive-laden vehicle in the town of al-Bab last week.

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North America

US, France, Britain launch new UN bid for Syria chemical weapons probe

AFP | Updated: Apr 15, 2018

UNITED NATIONS: Hours after striking Syria, the United States, France and Britain on Saturday launched a new bid at the United Nations to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The three allies circulated a joint draft resolution at the Security Council that also calls for unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian aid, enforcing a ceasefire and demands that Syria engage in UN-led peace talks, according to the text obtained by AFP.

The move signaled the West's resolve to return to diplomacy after a one-night military operation that hit sites Western officials said were linked to Syria's chemical weapons program.

Among the contentious proposals, the draft resolution would establish an independent investigation of allegations of toxic gas attacks in Syria with the aim of identifying the perpetrators.

Russia in November used its veto three times to bury a previous UN-led inquiry which found that Syrian forces had dropped sarin on the town of Khan Sheikhun in April last year.

The measure would instruct the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to report within 30 days on whether Syria has fully disclosed its chemical weapons stockpile.

The West has accused Syria of failing to live up to its commitment to scrap its chemical weapons program, under a 2013 deal reached between the United States and Russia.

On the humanitarian side, the measure demands medical evacuations and safe passage for aid convoys to be allowed to all areas.

The text calls for a ceasefire resolution adopted in February but which never materialized to finally take hold and "demands" that President Bashar al-Assad's government engage in peace talks "in good faith, constructively and without preconditions."

Several rounds of peace talks held under UN auspices in Geneva have failed to yield progress, deadlocked over demands that Assad make way for a political transition.

Negotiations on the draft resolution are set to begin on Monday, but diplomats said it remained unclear when the council would vote on the proposal.

Western diplomats said they were ready to allow time for negotiations to make every effort to bring Russia aboard.

Russia has used its veto 12 times at the Security Council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

The new diplomatic push came after a stormy Security Council meeting called by Russia, which branded the military action an "aggression" against Syria and sought condemnation.

That bid however failed, with only China and Bolivia voting alongside Russia to condemn the air strikes. Eight countries opposed condemnation while four abstained.

Addressing the council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States was confident that the military strikes had crippled Syria's chemical weapons program.

Haley warned that the United States was "locked and loaded," ready to strike again if any new chemical attack was carried out in Syria.

Russian Ambassador VassilyNebenzia accused the West of "hooliganism" and demanded that it "immediately end its actions against Syria and refrain from them in the future."

"You are not only placing yourselves above international law, but you are trying to re-write international law," Nebenzia said.

The United States, Britain and France launched air strikes in response to a suspected chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Douma a week ago that killed at least 40 people.

The council has met five times this week on Syria amid repeated pleas from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to end divisions over Syria.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/us-france-britain-launch-new-un-bid-for-syria-chemical-weapons-probe/articleshow/63766939.cms

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Trump declares 'Mission Accomplished' after limited Syria attack

ChidanandRajghatta | TNN | Updated: Apr 15, 2018

Some 100 Tomahawk missiles were launched from sea and by air at Syrian facilities

Russia too warned that “such actions will not be left without consequences,” but it refrained from immediate retaliation

“The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons," Trump said.

AFP photoTrump declares 'Mission Accomplished' after limited Syria attack

WASHINGTON: The United States, Britain and France launched punitive missile strikes on Friday against the Moscow-backed Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria for its alleged, and so far unproven, use of chemical weapons against its own population, risking an escalated conflict with Russia.

Some 100 Tomahawk missiles were launched from sea and by air at Syrian facilities that the US and its allies said were used to make chemical weapons, but which Syria maintained were labs and educational institutions. Television footage showed significant damage to facilities, but there was more sound and noise on the airwaves in the US and the regime in Damascus seemed calm and unperturbed.

Russia too warned that “such actions will not be left without consequences,” but it refrained from immediate retaliation because the attacking cruise missiles did not enter the Russian systems’ “zone of responsibility” in the skies above Syria. The limited attack and restraint staunched for now what could become a catastrophic face-off between the US and Russia.

Syria

Russia is said to have thousands of troops and assorted military infrastructure including missile defence systems in Syria but none of it was deployed to thwart the missile attack that seemed focus on specific facilities. The attack, which the US and its allies claimed destroyed a “good part” of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons arsenal, was followed by President Trump crowing about its success.

“A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning after elaborating on the mission in a brief TV address the previous night.

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Syria-3

“The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power -- military, economic, and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” Trump said emphasising the limited American agenda that did not involve regime change.

“Looking around our very troubled world, Americans have no illusions. We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny, Trump said. “The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.”

But he had a message for the two governments – in Russia and Iran – “most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing the criminal Assad regime: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?” The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep, Trump said, adding “no nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants, and murderous dictators.”

Russia denies that chemical weapons have been used in Syria and accuses western allies of falsehoods while baulking at an investigation that would prove it either way. Its narrative is helped by a US record of manipulation and exaggeration about WMDs to wage wars in the past.

In Washington, there were the usual suspicions voiced that Trump was using the Syria situation to deflect attention from his domestic troubles that includes a personal attorney who is in the crosshairs of an FBI investigation and new disclosures about a doorman who was paid off by a pro-Trump tabloid to suppress rumors that Trump had allegedly fathered a child out of wedlock with a housekeeper in the 1980s.

The Syria strike also partially knocked out from the news cycle the new book by former FBI Director James Comey in which he effectively called Trump a mendacious man who was unfit for office. Trump, in turn, called Comey “an untruthful slimeball.”

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/trump-declares-mission-accomplished-after-limited-syria-attack/articleshow/63763514.cms

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Protest against Syria strikes in New York city

IANS | Apr 15, 2018

NEW YORK: A protest against the US-led air strikes on Syria was held at the Union Square in New York city.

"I'm opposed to it. It's another example of US imperial expansion in the Middle East," said Gordon Barnes, an adjunct lecturer at Queens College, City University of New York.

Barnes, who joined the protest on Saturday, said he did not believe that military attacks will solve the problem in Syria and viewed the US military action as a disingenuous one, reports Xinhua news agency.

Asked about the refugee crisis that has aroused much controversy, Barnes said he was in favour of letting the refugees into the United States because the country is in part responsible for the crisis, not only in Syria, but also in other places around the world.

Like Barnes, many voiced concerns for the civilians affected by the air strikes in Syria.

"My heart goes out to the innocent Syrians who will suffer from this," said a resident of New York city.

Others questioned the legitimacy of the attack.

On Friday night, the US, France and the UK launched coordinated strikes in Syria as President Donald Trump sought to "punish" his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, that killed over 70 people.

The strikes targeted three facilities associated with Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, including a scientific research facility around Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility around Homs alleged to be used for sarin gas and a nearby command post, according to the Pentagon.

Russia has reacted strongly to the air strikes and warned of "consequences".

After the strikes were launched, the New York City Police Department said in a statement that counter terrorism officers have been deployed in and around the city.

However, it assured citizens that "there is no nexus to New York City, nor are there any credible threats to New York City, at this time".

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/city/articleshow/63769890.cms

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If Syria carries out new chemical attack, US 'locked and loaded' to strike again: Nikki Haley

AFP | Apr 14, 2018, 23:39 IST

UNITED NATIONS(US): The United States warned Saturday that is was "locked and loaded," ready to launch more military strikes on Syria if President Bashar al-Assad's forces carry out a new chemical weapons attack.

"If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded," US Ambassador Nikki Haley told a Security Council meeting.

"When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line," she said.

The United States, Britain and France took military action in response to an alleged chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Douma a week ago that killed at least 40 people.

Russia circulated a draft resolution calling for condemnation of the military action, but Britain's ambassador said the strikes were "both right and legal" to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Syria.

Russian ambassador VassilyNebenzia called for a vote during the meeting on the measure that condemns the "aggression" against Syria and demands that the allies refrain from any further military strikes.

The United States, Britain and France have argued that military action was necessary after Assad's forces had used toxic gases multiple times in violation of international law.

Air strikes by the allies on Saturday hit three targets that Western officials said were linked to chemical weapons development in the Damascus and Homs areas.

Haley said the United States was confident that the military strikes had crippled Syria's chemical weapons program.

"We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will," she said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/if-syria-carries-out-new-chemical-attack-us-locked-and-loaded-to-strike-again-nikki-haley/articleshow/63765987.cms

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Warship Ruse and New Stealth Missiles: How the US and allies attacked Syria

ToluseOlorunnipa, Jennifer Jacobs, Tony Capaccio, MargaretTalev | Bloomberg | Updated: Apr 15, 2018

The US, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria to punish Assad for an apparent chemical attack against civilians and to deter him from doing it again.

Pentagon officials said they faced little resistance to their targeted attack on what they said were three Syrian chemical weapons facilities.

An explosion on the outskirts of Damascus after Western strikes reportedly hit Syrian military bases and chemical research centres (AFP Photo)An explosion on the outskirts of Damascus after Western strikes reportedly hit Syrian military bases and chemi... Read More

President Donald Trump’s outrage over another apparent chemical weapons attack + by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was clear. And for the second time in his presidency, the U.S. commander-in-chief demanded retaliation.

As images of sick or dying children flooded global media all week, the US guided-missile destroyer USS Winston Churchill churned toward the Mediterranean to join a flotilla of allied warships, including another U.S. destroyer, the USS Donald Cook.

Trump declares 'Mission Accomplished' after limited Syria attack

It was a ruse.

While both vessels carry as many as 90 Tomahawk missiles -- the main weapon used in the Friday evening strike on Syria + -- neither ship in the end fired a shot. Instead, according to a person familiar with White House war planning, they were part of a plan to distract Russia and its Syrian ally from an assault Assad’s government could do little to defend itself against.

It worked. Pentagon officials on Saturday said they faced little resistance to their targeted attack on what they said were three Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Most of the Syrian countermeasures, including defensive ballistic missiles, were fired after U.S. and allied weapons hit their targets, Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie told reporters on Saturday.

“No Syrian weapon had any effect on anything we did,” McKenzie said. He described the joint US, French and UK strike as “precise, overwhelming and effective.”

Brazen as it was perceived to be, the Assad regime’s decision to again use chemical weapons on own people didn’t by itself spur the US to act. The Trump administration was also motivated by how closely the attack followed the use of a nerve agent to poison a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in England in March, an action the U.K. government and its allies blamed on Russia.

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The guided-missile cruiser USS Montereyfires a Tomahawk land attack missile on Saturday as part of the military response to Syria's use of chemical weapons on April 7. (AP photo)

The English incident added to concerns held by Trump, his top aides, and leaders in the UK and France that not responding might encourage proliferation of chemical weapons, according to two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations.

As the strategy of how to respond took shape, Trump appeared to telegraph his intentions to the world with a tweet on April 11: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!”’

Analysts suggested Assad’s regime would respond to Trump’s threats by protectively moving weapons and personnel away from likely targets. An already difficult battle plan — which required hitting Assad without provoking Russian reprisals or injecting the US further into Syria’s seven-year civil war -- was getting harder.

‘Big Price’

In the White House, Trump met with military officials and made several calls to his French and British counterparts, President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Theresa May, with the goal of following through on a threat to impose a “big price’’ on Syria -- a vow made in an earlier tweet, on April 8.

During a meeting with the National Security Council and top military leaders early in the week, Trump had been presented five large target options -- called sets -- for potential strikes, according to the person familiar with the plans. The president largely listened as Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps General Joe Dunford and other military leaders did most of the talking. New National Security Adviser John Bolton -- who started work on April 9 -- and Vice President Mike Pence were also on hand.

The president asked Bolton and the military leaders to justify each potential target, and was particularly focused on limiting the risk of escalation by Russia. There was unanimity among Trump’s top national security staff about conducting strikes but debate about how hard to hit the Syrians, the person said.

Syrian1

Syrian-Americans express their anger at the missile strikes during an anti-war rally in Los Angeles (AP Photo)

Haley’s Voice

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley was especially blunt in her assessment of the Syrian regime during meetings with Trump, the person said.

Haley told the UN Security Council on Friday that Assad and his Russian backers were to blame for the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians. In a private meeting with Trump and national security officials earlier in the week, Haley was a leading voice pushing for a robust military response to the chemical weapons attack on humanitarian grounds, the person said.

Dunford told reporters Friday that the US sought targets that would limit any involvement with Russian military forces in Syria and reduce the risk of civilian casualties.

Trump, who just a week earlier said he wanted to pull US troops out of Syria “very soon,” didn’t want to become drawn into the civil war there and instead focused the military response on deterring the use of chemical weapons, according to the official.

Missile Barrage

With the allies on board and the USS Winston Churchill arriving in the Mediterranean region, the attack was nearly under way.

As the president addressed the nation at 9 p.m. Washington time, on Friday, a barrage of 105 U.S., U.K. and French missiles converged on Syria. They came from the Red Sea, the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean, homing in from three directions to overwhelm whatever missile defenses Assad’s regime might deploy. Russia’s more advanced air defense system didn’t engage the allied weapons.

According to the Pentagon, the allied weaponry included 19 new “Extended-Range” stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Attack Munitions launched by two B-1B bombers based out of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, and six Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from the Virginia-class USS John Warner submarine. The bomber-launched missiles, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., had never been used in combat.

The cruiser USS Monterey fired 30 Tomahawks and the destroyer USS Laboon fired seven Tomahawks from the Red Sea. The destroyer USS Higgins fired 23 Tomahawks from the North Arabian Gulf, according to McKenzie.

The weapons also included French SCALP-EG cruise missiles and British Storm Shadow standoff missiles launched by Tornado and Typhoon jets. Nine SCALP missiles were fired at what the Pentagon said was a chemical weapons storage complex at Hims-Shinshar, along with two SCALPS, nine Tomahawks and eight Storm Shadows.

The morning after the barrage, Trump tweeted “Mission Accomplished!”, a phrase closely associated with President George W. Bush. The 43rd US president prematurely declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq in 2003 while standing on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham, in front of a large banner bearing those words.

Trump, like Bush, may live to regret using the phrase. The latest US-led operation was narrow in scope, with little damage done to Assad’s war-fighting capabilities. The country remains a toxic brew of foreign forces, militias and terrorist groups. Haley, the UN ambassador, said this week that Assad has used chemical weapons dozens of times since war broke out in 2011. He might well use them again.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/warship-ruse-and-new-stealth-missiles-how-the-us-and-allies-attacked-syria/articleshow/63769537.cms

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar repatriates first Rohingya refugee family

Reuters | Apr 15, 2018

YANGON: Myanmar on Saturday repatriated the first Rohingya family from nearly 700,000 refugees who have fled to Bangladesh, after months of fraught talks with Dhaka and amid the United Nations’ warnings that the country is not ready for their return.

Fleeing Rohingya refugees have reported killings, rape and arson on a large scale. The United States and the United Nations have described the Myanmar military operation as ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar has denied nearly all allegations, saying it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation. The army has said its crackdown was provoked by the attacks of Rohingya militants on more than two dozen police posts and an army base last August.

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed in January to complete a voluntary repatriation of the refugees in two years. Myanmar set up two reception centers and what it says is a temporary camp near the border in Rakhine to receive the first arrivals.

“Five members of a Muslim family...came to the Taungpyoletwea reception center in Rakhine state this morning,” the Myanmar government said in a statement late on Saturday.

The family members were scrutinized by immigration and health ministry officials and the social welfare, relief and resettlement ministry provided them with “materials such as rice, mosquito netting, blankets, t-shirt, longyis (Burmese sarong) and kitchen utensils,” said the government in the statement.

It added that the family members who “are in line with the rules” were issued the National Verification Cards (NVCs) upon entering Myanmar.

NVCs are part of the government’s ongoing effort to register Rohingya that falls short of offering them citizenship. The card has been widely rejected by Rohingya community leaders, who say they treat life-long residents like new immigrants.

Most Burmese consider the Rohingya as unwanted immigrants from Bangladesh, and the army refers to them as “Bengalis”.

Last week, the most senior U.N. official to visit Myanmar this year, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller, said the conditions in Myanmar were not conducive to the return of the refugees.

She cited a continued lack of access to health services, concerns among the Rohingya about protection and continued displacements. She also described conditions in camps for internally-displaced people from previous bouts of violence as “deplorable”.

Several boats with Rohingya from parts of the violence-torn Rakhine state have left Myanmar in recent months. The latest confirmed departure took place on Thursday

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/myanmar-repatriates-first-rohingya-refugee-family/articleshow/63768727.cms

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China says Syrian strikes violate international law, urges dialogue

Reuters | Apr 14, 2018

SHANGHAI: China's foreign ministry said on Saturday that it believes a political settlement is the only way to resolve the Syrian issue and called for a full, fair and objective investigation into suspected chemical weapon attacks in Syria.

Hua Chunying, the ministry's spokeswoman, made the comments at a press conference according to a transcript posted on its website. US, British and French forces struck Syria with more than 100 missiles on Saturday in the first coordinated Western strikes against the Damascus government.

Hua said that China has consistently opposed the use of force in international relations and that any military action that bypassed the United Nations' Security Council violated the principles and basic norms of international law.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-says-syrian-strikes-violate-international-law-urges-dialogue/articleshow/63760770.cms

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Europe

'Bombs won't save lives' in Syria, opposition leader Corbyn tells UK PM Theresa May

Reuters | Apr 14, 2018

LONDON: British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Saturday that Prime Minister Theresa May should have sought approval from parliament before ordering cruise missile strikes against Syria.

"Bombs won't save lives or bring about peace. This legally questionable action risks escalating further," Corbyn, a veteran anti-war campaigner, said.

"Britain should be playing a leadership role to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict, not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm's way.

"Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump."

U.S., British and French forces launched air strikes on Syria in response to a suspected poison gas attack that killed dozens of people, aiming to degrade its chemical weapons capabilities in the biggest intervention yet in the conflict by Western powers.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/bombs-wont-save-lives-in-syria-opposition-leader-corbyn-tells-uk-pm-theresa-may/articleshow/63759499.cms

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Thousands protest in Athens against US-led Syria airstrikes

AP | Apr 15, 2018

ATHENS, GREECE: Thousands of Greeks turned up at a rally and march in central Athens organized by the Communist Party to protest the US-led airstrikes against Syria.

The protesters gathered on Saturday at Athens' central Syntagma Square before marching to the US Embassy, chanting anti-US slogans and carrying banners. Some wrote on the pavement in red paint: "Americans, murderers of people".

Police vehicles barricaded access to the embassy and protesters left peacefully.

Dimitris Koutsoumbas, the Communist Party's leader, blasted Greek politicians for believing "flimsy excuses about a use of chemical weapons" by Syria. He also criticised their "subservience" to the EU and NATO, as well as their support for Israel.

He told the crowd "the imperialists once again spill the blood of the local people. They destroy and splinter states by using fabricated evidence".

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/thousands-protest-in-athens-against-us-led-syria-airstrikes/articleshow/63769679.cms

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'Large part' of Syria chemical arsenal destroyed: France

AFP | Apr 14, 2018, 15:28 IST

PARIS, FRANCE: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Saturday that missile strikes carried out overnight in Syria by Britain, France and the US had destroyed a "large part" of the Damascus government's stocks of chemical weapons.

"A large part of its chemical arsenal has been destroyed," Le Drian told BFM television. "A lot has been destroyed in last night's strikes."

He also said France had "solid intelligence" that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the gas attack in the rebel-held city of Douma last weekend, which monitors say killed at least 40 people.

"On the question of chemical weapons, there is a red line that must not be crossed, and if it should be crossed again, there will be another intervention," Le Drian said.

"But I think the lesson has been learned."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/large-part-of-syria-chemical-arsenal-destroyed-france/articleshow/63760676.cms

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Africa

Egypt court upholds life sentence against Brotherhood leader

AFPUpdated April 15, 2018

CAIRO: An Egyptian appeals court on Saturday upheld a life sentence against the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide Mohamed Badie for “planning violent attacks”, judicial officials and his lawyer said.

The Court of Cassation also upheld life sentences against two other Brotherhood leaders including Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman, along with five-year prison terms for 14 others, defence lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud told AFP.

Badie’s life sentence -- his third -- and the court’s other rulings are final and cannot be appealed.

The defendants were accused of conspiring to stir unrest during protests that followed the July 2013 military-led ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who hailed from the Brotherhood.

The retrial came after the Court of Cassation scrapped a 2015 ruling under which Badie and 13 others were condemned to death and 34 defendants given life terms -- 25 years in Egypt.

The court has cancelled scores of death sentences against Morsi supporters, including against the deposed president himself.

Egypt designated the Brotherhood a “terrorist” organisation in December 2013.

dawn.com/news/1401734/egypt-court-upholds-life-sentence-against-brotherhood-leader


URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/kathua-rape-case--‘not-just-me,-the-nation-lost-a-daughter’/d/114939


 

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