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Indian states in lockdown for guru's rape sentencing after deadly protests
Riot police are deployed and internet services shut down in Punjab and Haryana before sentencing of Ram Rahim SinghIndia has deployed thousands of riot police and shut down internet services in two northern states before the sentencing of a self-styled “god man” whose followers were involved in deadly clashes with authorities after he was convicted of rape on Friday. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, has a vast rural following in Punjab and Haryana states, where his furious supporters burned down petrol stations and train stations and torched vehicles after a local court found him guilty of raping two women in a 2002 case. Related: Ram Rahim Singh: fatal clashes follow Indian guru's rape conviction Continue reading... [...]
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Why all Britons could learn from partition | Preti Taneja
As cultural strife resurfaces, the anniversary events remind us we’re all postcolonial subjectsThe coverage has been wide, the tone circumspect, the voices diverse as the 70th year since the partition of the Indian subcontinent has been marked across media and cultural institutions in the UK.People I know from all generations and backgrounds have watched, read and listened; then, aghast, confessed that they had only basic prior knowledge of the brutal politics that caused one of the biggest migrations in human history, that saw the rape of thousands, the deaths and displacement of millions, the division of entire families, with repercussions still felt today. Continue reading... [...]
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The Observer view on US strategy in Afghanistan
If we do not have a reasonably competent, friendly government in Kabul, nothing the west achieves will last. Ignoring the Afghan nation’s needs is not an optionDonald Trump’s view on the conflict in Afghanistan was highly critical in 2011 when he tweeted that the US was “wasting lives and money” there. He later termed Barack Obama’s strategy a “complete waste”, saying it was “time to come home”. Trump stood on his head last week, ordering the deployment of additional American troops and committing the US to an open-ended war that he vowed to “fight to win”. So which Trump is right – the pre-election sceptic or today’s ardent warrior? The answer is neither.When Obama took office in 2009, he raised US troop levels to around 100,000, part of a Nato force of about 150,000. His plan was to turn around a war that had already dragged on too long, then hand over to better-trained and equipped Afghan army and police forces. The handover duly took place in 2014, but the conflict was not over. Since then, security has steadily deteriorated.Now is the time to enlist UN help in relaunching a comprehensive internal dialogue Continue reading... [...]
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Almost 100 dead and thousands evacuated as violence flares in Myanmar
Death toll rises as clashes between army and Rohingya continue for third day, while thousands flee across border to BangladeshThe Myanmar government has evacuated at least 4,000 non-Muslim villagers amid ongoing clashes in north-western Rakhine state, the government said, while thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled across the border to Bangladesh. The death toll from the violence that erupted on Friday with coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents has climbed to 98, including 80 insurgents and 12 members of the security forces, the government said. The clashes, the worst since at least October, have prompted the government to evacuate staff and thousands of non-Muslim villagers from the area. Related: Dozens killed in fighting between Myanmar army and Rohingya militants Related: Myanmar says nine police killed by insurgents on Bangladesh border Continue reading... [...]
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Dabangg cop turns Baahubali; sprints with 10-kg bomb on shoulder, saves 400 children in MP
A police constable from Madhya Pradesh's Sagar district sprinted one kilometre with a bomb to save the lives of 400 children. [...]
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Former AIADMK minister Nainar Nagendran, 14 others join BJP in presence of Amit Shah
Former MLA Srinivasan has also been roped in by the BJP who till Friday was functioning as the district secretary of Amma Peravai, Vellore district. A Jaya Shenkar is another name who has joined the BJP from the party that once was ruled by Jayalalitha. [...]
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Ram Rahim Day 3: Haryana, Punjab peaceful, security forces on high alert
Haryana and Punjab remained peaceful this morning. Curfew has been withdrawn from Panchkula and Kaithal while it has been relaxed in Sirsa, the headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. [...]
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Indian forces kill two militants and regain control of police camp
Gunbattle in Pulwama in southern Kashmir lasted hours, with eight policemen dying in conflict with Islamist fightersIndian security forces in the Kashmir Valley shot dead two militants after an hours-long gun battle to regain control of a government compound in which eight policemen were also killed, the state’s top police official has said. The shootout started after the militants stormed into the police camp in Pulwama, a town in southern Kashmir, early on Saturday, SP Vaid, the director general of Jammu and Kashmir police, told reporters in Srinagar. A search of the camp was continuing, he said, with all the militants believed to have been killed. Related: Attack by militants kills at least seven Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir Continue reading... [...]
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China's fake sheep shame: news from everywhere – in pictures
What do you do if smog has made your fields unfit for grazing? Put sculptures of sheep on them instead. Lu Guang’s shot of phoney livestock in China is just one of many intriguing images from the International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France Continue reading... [...]
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Ram Rahim verdict violence: Sirsa, Panchkula tense; prohibitory orders in Delhi, UP
Sirsa and Panchkula continue to remain tense and prohibitory orders have been imposed in many districts of Delhi and 9 districts of UP following violence in Haryana after Gurmeet Ram Rahim's conviction in a rape case that left over 30 dead and 250 injured. [...]
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Trump's national security aide Sebastian Gorka resigns from White House
Gorka is declining to discuss the reasons he has left the White House, but is pointing toward excerpts from his resignation letter that were posted Friday evening by The Federalist website. [...]
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Mining giant Adani cleared in second case over allegations of financial fraud
India’s customs authority dismisses claims of huge sums of money being siphoned out of IndiaIndia’s customs authority has cleared the Adani Group of illegally siphoning money into overseas tax havens, dismissing one of two sets of power equipment fraud allegations known to be facing the mining conglomerate.The judgment this week involved separate Adani Group subsidiaries to those named in similar allegations reported by the Guardian earlier this month, but employed the same alleged company in Dubai and the same modus operandi. Continue reading... [...]
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Ending instant divorce is a victory. But Indian women have a fight ahead | Hasina Khan
An Islamic practice allowing men to end a marriage by saying ‘talaq’ three times has been declared unconstitutional. We can now challenge other harmful normsOn Tuesday, the supreme court of India struck down “triple talaq”, the practice where a Muslim man can get instantaneous divorce from his wife just by saying “divorce” three times.The unilateral nature of “triple talaq” violates the contract of marriage and its well-defined rights and responsibilities and places power in the hands of men, reinforcing a hierarchy within marriage. The woman’s emotional contribution to the marriage is never acknowledged, and neither are her rights to equal share in any property and child custody as the marriage ends. Related: India court bans Islamic instant divorce in huge win for women's rights The jingoistic congratulation of the BJP government feels like an appropriation of the struggle by grassroots groups Continue reading... [...]
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Ram Rahim Singh: deadly clashes follow Indian guru's rape conviction
Army deployed and at least 25 killed after spiritual leader convicted of assaulting two female sect membersAt least 25 people have died in riots and arson attacks that broke out across two states in northern India after a flamboyant Indian spiritual leader was convicted of raping two of his female followers.The Indian army was deployed in the city of Panchkula on Friday shortly after the court found Ram Rahim Singh guilty of sexual assault. The self-styled “godman” and leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect has been taken into custody and will reportedly be flown by helicopter to a jail in Haryana state before sentencing on Monday. Continue reading... [...]
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Dozens killed in clashes between Rohingya rebels and Myanmar army
Security forces among dead after pre-dawn raids on police posts in Rakhine state near Bangladesh borderAt least 71 people, including 12 members of the security forces, have been killed in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state after Rohingya militants attacked border police, ushering in the bloodiest day of fighting since conflict broke out last year.The fighting exploded around Rathedaung township, where there has been a buildup of Myanmar troops over recent weeks after reports of murders by shadowy groups and an exodus of refugees across the border to Bangladesh. Continue reading... [...]
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Ram Rahim Singh: fatal clashes follow Indian guru's rape conviction – video report
Violent protests have broken out in northern India, leaving several people dead, after a court convicted a self-styled ‘godman’ of raping two women, angering thousands of his supporters who say he is innocent, police and officials say. Ram Rahim Singh was found guilty of assaulting two followers in a case dating to 2002 at the headquarters of his Dera Sacha Sauda groupRam Rahim Singh: deadly clashes follow Indian guru’s rape conviction Continue reading... [...]
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India warned plan to deport Rohingya refugees will only inflame persecution
Move to expel illegal immigrants will exacerbate religious tensions and prove ‘legally, procedurally and practically impossible’ to enforce, claim activistsA plan by the Indian government to deport tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees will increase harassment of the persecuted Muslim minority while proving impossible to implement, activists have warned. Earlier this month, India’s ministry of home affairs sent a letter to each of the country’s state governments asking them to identify and deport all illegal immigrants, including Rohingya refugees. Related: Myanmar may be seeking to expel all Rohingya, says UN We fled to India to save our lives. The authorities should not send us back to Burma, where our lives will be at riskTo deport the Rohingya, who took refuge in India only to secure their lives and survive, is cruel Continue reading... [...]
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Afghanistan: New Zealand boosts army commitment, by three
Government announces extra non-combat personnel, boosting contingent to 13, as part of Nato mission, but still to decide about Trump’s call for fighting troopsJust days after the United States said it would increase troop numbers in Afghanistan and ask its allies to do the same, New Zealand has announced an extra three non-combat military personnel, boosting its military commitment to 13.Donald Trump on Monday unveiled his strategy to end the conflict in Afghanistan, committing the United States to an open-ended conflict and signalling he would dispatch more troops to America’s longest war. Related: Why Trump's Afghanistan strategy risks the worst of both worlds Continue reading... [...]
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Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: Convict Perarivalan granted 30-day parole
It is the first time Perarivalan has been given parole since his arrest in 1991. His mother had applied for one month parole for him to visit his ailing father. [...]
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Indian army on standby on eve of guru's rape charges verdict
Parts of two Indian states are in lockdown as tens of thousands of Ram Rahim Singh’s followers await verdictParts of two northern Indian states are in lockdown as tens of thousands of followers of a flamboyant “godman” nicknamed the “guru of bling” await a verdict on long-standing rape charges against the spiritual leader.The Indian army is on standby in Punjab and Haryana, surveillance drones are circling, and schools and roads have been shut in the city of Panchkula, over fears that supporters of Ram Rahim Singh may turn violent if he is found guilty.हमने सदा क़ानून का सम्मान किया है।हालाँकि हमारी back में दर्द है,फिर भी क़ानून की पालना करते हुए हम कोर्ट ज़रूर... https://t.co/KpTEsCSiUV Continue reading... [...]
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Indian court rules privacy a 'fundamental right' in battle over national ID cards
Landmark decision follows criticism that Aadhaar identity card reveals profile of a person’s spending habits, friends and propertyIndia’s top court has unanimously declared that privacy is a fundamental right, in a landmark judgment that could derail the world’s largest biometric identity card scheme.Privacy advocates hailed the decision by the supreme court on Thursday, which they said could have far-reaching implications including for the decriminalisation of homosexuality and bans on the consumption of beef or alcohol. Related: Fingerprint payments prompt privacy fears in India Related: No ID, no benefits: thousands could lose lifeline under India’s biometric scheme Continue reading... [...]
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Coal in decline: Adani in question and Australia out of step
Special report: India and China are shifting away from coal imports and coal-fired power while a mega-mine is planned for Queensland. Where does this leave coal in Australia?Coal in decline: an industry on life support Support our independent journalism and critical reporting on energy and the environment by giving a one-off or monthly contributionThe Paris-based International Energy Agency was born in a crisis. In the wake of the 1973 oil shock, as Arab petroleum producers withheld supply from countries that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur war, the then US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, called on the OECD to set up a new body to ensure its members would always have the reliable and affordable energy they needed.Over time, as the agency has expanded its focus to map broader energy trends, it has sometimes faced accusations of conservatism – that it has underestimated the uptake of renewable energy, and has been overly bullish about the future of fossil fuels. But last month it released a report that pointed to a rupture more far reaching than the 70s oil embargo. Related: Coal in decline: an energy industry on life support Related: The Adani mine is this generation's Franklin River. People power can stop it | Bob Brown Continue reading... [...]
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346 derailments in 3 years of NDA govt: Missing gangmen to be blamed?
Despite hundreds of mishaps- 346 derailments in 3 years of the NDA government - the railway top brass has failed to fix the rusty nuts and bolts of the operational infrastructure on the ground and the safety risks staring them in the face. [...]
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Suresh Prabhu's Mission Zero Accident goes for a toss: Lack of investments to blame?
A senior railway board official said the ministry has so far failed to develop an effective train protection and warning system to avoid collisions and derailments due to disruption on tracks. [...]
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Revised norms allow doctors to practise in AIIMS till 70 years of age
The health ministry is now making a proposal to fill the vacant posts by allowing medical professors who have retired from the job. They can now apply for the post of professors and work till 70 years of age. [...]
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Trump’s posturing on Pakistan is a gift to China | Abhishek Parajuli
Instead of maintaining a policy of careful diplomacy, the US president’s attack on the country has gifted China greater influence in an unstable regionXi Jinping, the Chinese president, is not a man predisposed to smiling. And yet, as I watched Donald Trump outline his Afghanistan strategy, I could easily imagine his face lighting up. If there is one clear winner of the new approach in Afghanistan, it is China. Related: Trump to expand US military intervention in Afghanistan The likelihood of a military coup in Pakistan would increase in the absence of a strong benefactor supporting democracy Continue reading... [...]
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Australia already making 'considerable contribution' in Afghanistan, says Payne
Australian defence minister says any US request for extra help will be discussed as Donald Trump announces extension of military campaignThe Turnbull government has not ruled out stepping up Australia’s military commitment in Afghanistan, but the defence minister Marise Payne says Australia is already making a “very considerable contribution” in theatres around the world.The US president, Donald Trump, confirmed in a major speech on Tuesday the US would remain in Afghanistan for a prolonged period, and he attempted to reframe the mission, saying America was no longer engaged in nation building, it was focussed on “killing terrorists”. Related: Trump to expand US military intervention in Afghanistan Continue reading... [...]
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The lack of legality in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan | Letters
Ian Sinclair takes issue with the idea that the 2001 invasion was legal. Plus Dr Richard Lawson suggests that the west buy Afghan farmers’ opium crop, medicalise it, and use it medicinally in AfricaWas the 2001 US-led invasion and subsequent ongoing occupation of Afghanistan “never an illegal war”, as the Guardian asserts (Editorial, 23 August)?Written in 2010, the official House of Commons Library briefing paper on the subject makes interesting reading: “The military campaign in Afghanistan was not specifically mandated by the UN, but was widely (although not universally) perceived to be a legitimate form of self-defence under the UN charter.” Continue reading... [...]
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