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To the Mountains by Abdullah Anas and Tam Hussein – review
Despite his partiality, Abdullah Anas offers some useful insights into al-Qaida’s rootsWhere should we start if we are to tell the story of the violent Islamist extremism that still threatens us today? The question is an important one and its answer has significance that goes well beyond chronology.Some commentators in the west, usually to the right of the political spectrum, will start in the 7th century AD with the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad or with the first texts of Islam. The implication is obvious: that there is something inherent in the Islamic faith that engenders or at least encourages violence.He makes clear that the CIA had no role in directly training, funding or equipping this tiny force Continue reading... [...]
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Asia Bibi: Pakistani authorities barring her from leaving, friend says
Labourer whose blasphemy death sentence was overturned has been transferred to KarachiPakistani authorities have moved Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy charges, to a new “secure area” and are barring her from leaving the country, a close friend and rights campaigner has claimed.Bibi, who spent eight years on death row, was transferred from a location near the capital to a house in the southern port city of Karachi, her friend Aman Ullah told the Associated Press. She and her husband are locked in a single room in a house where the door opens only “at food times”, he added. Related: Imran Khan’s treatment of Asia Bibi is a dangerous betrayal | Samira Shackle Related: Pakistan court to hear appeal against Asia Bibi blasphemy acquittal Continue reading... [...]
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Worried about Nitin Gadkari as he is being shown as alternative PM face, says Sharad Pawar
Worried about Nitin Gadkari as he is being shown as alternative PM face, says Sharad Pawar [...]
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Kerala nun rape case: Jalandhar diocese assures nuns they will not be transferred
Kerala nun rape case: Jalandhar diocese assures nuns they will not be transferred [...]
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Robert Vadra questioned for 8 hours on third day of appearance before ED
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'The Taliban took years of my life': the Afghan women living in the shadow of war
Many women who lived under the Taliban’s misogynist rule are haunted by memories, especially as peace still feels elusiveHomeira Qaderi was ironing her headscarf for school when her father came to tell her she would no longer need it, because the Taliban had captured her hometown. For the next five years the group’s harsh rules meant she barely left the house.A generation of women have grown up in Afghanistan since the Taliban were toppled from power in 2001. But many of those who have guided the country through profound change, running schools, or as journalists or politicians, are haunted by memories of their brutal, misogynist rule.I'm really concerned that restrictions on women in the 1990s would be brought back Related: The Guardian view on Afghanistan talks: hopes for peace, but at what cost? | Editorial Continue reading... [...]
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India: more than three dozen die in bootleg liquor poisoning
Police arrest eight suspected bootleggers after victims in poor Indian villages drank alcohol containing toxic methanolThirty-nine people have died in northern India and more than two dozen others have fallen sick after drinking bootleg liquor containing toxic methanol . Related: India: eleven die after eating 'toxic' rice at temple Continue reading... [...]
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NHRC notice to UP govt over fire at Noida hospital
NHRC notice to UP govt over fire at Noida hospital [...]
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Arvind Kejriwal wants CBI raid of PMO over Rafale deal, AAP lodges police complaint against PM Modi
Arvind Kejriwal wants CBI raid of PMO over Rafale deal, AAP lodges police complaint against PM Modi [...]
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Will give 5 officers highest state honour if Centre takes their medals away, says Mamata Banerjee
Will give 5 officers highest state honour if Centre takes their medals away, says Mamata Banerjee [...]
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The girl sold at 11 who now helps police save Nepal's trafficking victims | Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita
As a child, Pema was trafficked to a brothel in India. Now she patrols the border to spot other potential victims in the crowdsIt is midday in Bhairchawa, one of the 23 official border checkpoints between Nepal and India. Each day, up to 100,000 people cross under the stone arch separating the two countries. Some are on foot, others in trucks or on bikes, mopeds and rickshaws. Amid the chaos – the people, the dust, the noise of traffic and honking of horns – are the guardians: women who, having survived the horrors of human trafficking, now spend every day trying to spot potential victims and their exploiters among the crowds.One of the women on duty today is Pema. While we talk, her eyes remain fixed on the crowds, scanning the throngs of people moving slowly across the checkpoint.My boyfriend sold one of my kidneys and then he sold me Continue reading... [...]
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The US has ruined Afghanistan. It can’t just walk away now | Simon Tisdall
The departure of American troops risks civil war, and many Afghans fear the return of a fundamentalist societyThe approaching US withdrawal from Afghanistan is not an honourable retreat – it’s a capitulation. The best the Americans can hope for in exit talks with the Taliban, due to resume in Doha later this month, is a promise that coalition troops, unlike the British army led by General Elphinstone in 1842, will not depart under fire. After more than 17 years of conflict, with at least 38,000 civilians killed and millions more injured, traumatised or exiled, none of the long-term objectives set out by George W Bush following the 2001 invasion has been met. In short, the US has lost the war, and lost badly.The al-Qaida terrorists who used Afghanistan as a base from which to launch the 9/11 attacks have not been wholly vanquished, as Bush promised. Their former leader, Osama bin Laden, is dead but the group, and likewise Islamic State, made territorial gains in Afghanistan last year, according to UN experts. It is unlikely that Taliban leaders could in future prevent jihadists once again using parts of the country as a terrorist safe haven – a key demand of American negotiators – even if they sincerely wanted to. Related: US framework deal with Taliban raises hope of Afghan peace Related: Trump wants out of America's longest war, but Afghans can't just walk away Continue reading... [...]
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The AI program that can tell whether you may go blind
Built on thousands of retina images, algorithm helps diagnose eye problem caused by diabetesDr Ramasamy Kim is looking at the inside of an eyeball. There is nothing particularly surprising about that: he is head of retina services at an eye hospital in southern India.The image on his computer screen shows the first blush of a condition linked to diabetes that affects millions of Indians – and can lead to blindness. Continue reading... [...]
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10 policemen trapped as avalanche strikes Kashmir's Kulgam district
10 policemen trapped as avalanche strikes Kashmir's Kulgam district [...]
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Facebook is finally acting in Myanmar. But experts warn its approach may be wrong
The company has applied a “dangerous organizations” label to four separatist groups, but human rights groups criticise the action as “arbitrary”Facebook banned four ethnic armed Myanmar-based groups from its site this week, in its latest effort to reckon with its role in the violence in that nation. But the tech giant’s decision is drawing criticism from local civil society and human rights groups who warn that the move appears ill-considered and inconsistent with international law. On Tuesday, Facebook announced in a blogpost that it had designated four separatist groups – the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Kachin Independence Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army – as “dangerous organizations”. Related: Facebook bans Rohingya group's posts as minority faces 'ethnic cleansing' Related: Facebook admits failings over incitement to violence in Myanmar Related: Facebook among firms named on Myanmar human rights 'dirty list' Related: Dear Mr Zuckerberg: the problem isn't the internet, it's Facebook | Siva Vaidhyanathan Continue reading... [...]
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Trump wants out of America's longest war, but Afghans can't just walk away
Hope is real after landmark Taliban talks, but fears remain about what might happen if US troops departThe start of 2019 has brought for Afghanistan a tantalising hope of peace, fragile but very real, as the Taliban sat down for talks first with Americans in Qatar and this week with senior members of the Afghan elite in Moscow.These discussions come fraught with fears, that the progress for women and civil rights will be traded away too easily, and that the Taliban may renege on any deal once US troops and their coercive power are gone. Related: Taliban say they have no plans to seize whole of Afghanistan by force Related: The Guardian view on Afghanistan talks: hopes for peace, but at what cost? | Editorial Continue reading... [...]
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Sri Lanka to begin hangings within months, ending 43-year stay on executions
Crackdown inspired by Philippines’ war on drugs comes as president Maithripala Sirisena faces tough electionSri Lanka will begin hanging convicted drug dealers within the next three months, its president has announced, ending a 43-year moratorium on executions as part of a crackdown inspired by the Philippines’ brutal war on drugs.Maithripala Sirisena has been praising Rodrigo Duterte’s violent campaign against the drugs trade as an “example to the world” and flagged the possible return of the death penalty for drug dealers last July. Continue reading... [...]
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The Guardian view on Afghanistan talks: hopes for peace, but at what cost? | Editorial
Taliban meetings with Afghan powerbrokers, following negotiations with the US, hold out the prospect of an end to this long conflict. But women are especially and rightly concerned about the possible priceAmerica’s longest-running war is edging closer toward a conceivable end. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Donald Trump acknowledged that talks with the Taliban might not succeed, but that “the hour has come to at least try for peace” in Afghanistan, noting his country’s casualties. He did not mention the Afghans who have died (24,000 civilians since 2009, and 45,000 members of the security forces in the last five years), let alone the nation’s broader suffering in the world’s deadliest conflict. Around half of Afghanistan’s population was not born when this war began, in 2001. Their elders have lived with conflict for most of the last four decades, since the Soviet invasion.A country so fissured is united in its longing for peace as last year’s brief ceasefire, in which civilians, militants and soldiers celebrated together, showed. A US-Taliban agreement would be one step along that road. Yet Afghans ask at what cost a deal may come, conscious that those likely to pay the most are not negotiating the bill. Only two women are present at the talks between Taliban representatives and Afghan politicians, warlords and other powerbrokers in Moscow. These follow last month’s talks between US and Taliban negotiators in Qatar, which reached a draft framework under which the US would withdraw troops in exchange for guarantees that the country would not harbour terrorists. Continue reading... [...]
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WhatsApp 'deleting 2m accounts a month' to stop fake news
App launches paper on ‘stopping abuse’ in India, home to more than 200m of its usersWhatsApp says it is deleting 2m accounts per month as part of an effort to blunt the use of the world’s most popular messaging app to spread fake news and misinformation.The Facebook-owned service published the data as part of a white paper on “stopping abuse” that was launched on Wednesday in India, the biggest market for the company with more than 200m users. Continue reading... [...]
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'Treated like cattle': Angelina Jolie takes aim at Myanmar over Rohingya plight
Hollywood star meets refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district where 740,000 Rohingya have fled since August 2017Angelina Jolie has shared the stories of rape survivors during a visit to Rohingya refugee camps and said the responsibility to let them return “lies squarely with the government and the authorities in Myanmar”.The envoy for the UN refugee agency said Myanmar must “show genuine commitment” to end violence that has driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims into neighbouring Bangladesh. Related: Footage shows 'prison-like units' built for Rohingya on Bangladesh island Continue reading... [...]
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Nearly 1,100 swine flu cases in Delhi, city government issues health advisory
Nearly 1,100 swine flu cases in Delhi, city government issues health advisory [...]
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Almaty spills its secrets: lost Soviet art discovered behind wall
Thanks to the Kazakhstan city’s loss of capital status in the 90s, rare mosaics, sgraffiti and other artworks escaped destructionWhen Jama Nurkalieva and a small group of colleagues conducted a site survey of a disused Soviet-era panoramic cinema in Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, they had no idea what lay behind the internal plasterboard wall that faces out towards the street – until someone spotted a narrow gap.As the caretaker shined a light into the darkness behind, the group caught a glimpse of a man’s head. Out came the toolbox and the rest of the artwork was slowly revealed: a Soviet-era sgraffito by the graphic artist Eugeny Sidorkin that had been lost and forgotten for decades.Discovery of the hidden Sidorkin sgraffitoThe rediscovered Lenin mosaic at the Kazakhstan Academy of Science, Almaty, complete with curtain to hide it from public gaze. Photograph: Dennis KeenTwo demolished works. Left: Always With Lenin, in Lysychansk. Right: Lenin and Science, in Kharkiv. Photographs: Nikiforov Yevgen/Yevgen NikiforovThe revealed Sidorkin at the Tselinny. Photograph: Marat Sadykov Related: Missing murals: the lost Soviet art of the Stans Continue reading... [...]
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Young woman dies in fourth ‘period hut’ tragedy this year in Nepal
Smoke inhalation thought to have killed 21-year-old exiled during menstruation despite ban on customA 21-year-old woman has been become the fourth person known to have died this year as a result of the illegal practice of chhaupadi, whereby menstruating women in Nepal are banished from their homes and forced to sleep in huts.Parbati Bogati, from the western Doti district, is thought to have died from smoke inhalation while sleeping in a small, windowless hut. She was discovered by her mother-in-law on Thursday morning. Continue reading... [...]
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Taliban say they have no plans to seize Afghanistan by force
Insurgents attend landmark Moscow peace talks, but Afghan president is excludedA senior Taliban official has said the insurgent group has no plans to seize the whole of Afghanistan by military force, speaking at landmark peace talks in Moscow that have brought together many of the country’s powerbrokers.Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who has led the group’s negotiating team, told the BBC that a push for total military domination “will not bring peace to Afghanistan”. Continue reading... [...]
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'We have to learn to live with floods': waterlogged Surat to become latest megacity
The next 15 megacities #14: Surat’s battle to hold back water has raged since its first flood wall in 1664. As its population soars, India’s ‘diamond city’ needs new solutionsRead the rest of our megacities series hereLook up as you walk around Surat and you might spot “HFL 8.8.2006” daubed in red paint on a wall above your head. HFL stands for “high flood level”, and the inscriptions are 15 feet above the ground in places – a fading memory of the devastating floods of August 2006, which killed 150 people, according to official estimates (unofficial counts put the death toll at over 500). More than 60% of the city was underwater and damage was estimated at $2bn.Surat’s geography – it lies at the mouth of the Tapi river, near the Arabian Sea – makes it prone to flooding, and it experiences a major inundation every four years on average.By 2035 another 15 cities will have populations above 10 million, according to the latest United Nations projections, taking the total number of megacities to 48. Related: Indian city of Surat anticipates worst effects of climate change Continue reading... [...]
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Did you consent to being born? Why one man is suing his parents for giving birth to him
Raphael Samuel, a 27-year-old antinatalist from Mumbai, believes it was wrong for his mother and father to create him without his consentName: Raphael Samuel.Age: 27. Continue reading... [...]
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Earthquake tremors felt in Delhi-NCR, parts of Kashmir
Earthquake tremors felt in Delhi-NCR, parts of Kashmir [...]
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Saradha chit fund victims form welfare organisation to fight their cause
Saradha chit fund victims form welfare organisation to fight their cause [...]
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