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Once accosted for her hijab, 22-year-old woman now teaches Muslim empowerment

The programme has grown since the first class was offered to about a dozen girls in the basement of a community center in Brooklyn. The basic programme, called Mentee Muslimah (Muslimah is the Arabic word for Muslim women), is a 13- session summer camp attended in New York by about 50 young women of high-school age that follows a 100-page course outline Abdelhamid developed during an independent study course at Middlebury.

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South Africa select pacer Hardus Vijjoen for second Test after Kyle Abbott injury <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaOnce accosted for her hijab, 22-year-old woman now teaches Muslim empowermentIndiaInterlinking roads key to India’s growth: PM ModiIndiaPM Modi attacks Congress, asks them to vow to allow Parliament to function in 2016IndiaNCP accuses Manohar Parrikar of ‘interference’ in Goa affairsIndia’Anarchist’ Kejriwal still running party, not government: BJPIndiaMercury settles at sub-zero temp in Kashmir; Leh coldest <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Crowdfunded ‘Star Trek’ film draws lawsuit from Paramount, CBS<!– /.block –>South Africa select pacer Hardus Vijjoen for second Test after Kyle Abbott injury<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Dear news channel, how does a rape victim’s ‘Facebook lover’ matter?

There are various things we need to remember when we are reporting cases of sexual assault, the most important one being that there are absolutely no mitigating circumstances that will ever justify rape. In case media houses need help on how to report, here’s a Feminism in India guideline on How to Implement Gender Ethical Journalism

Nirmalya Dutta

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Odd-even move only to avoid media glare on MLAs’ salary hike, asks Congress <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaDear news channel, how does a rape victim’s ‘Facebook lover’ matter?IndiaOdd-even move only to avoid media glare on MLAs’ salary hike, asks CongressIndiaTelangana DGP denies Hyderabad more prone to ISIS radicalisationIndiaGovernment decides to relax adoption conditions in certain casesIndiaIntolerance Debate 2015: Who is under the radar?IndiaModi govt a failure on all fronts, pursuing vendetta politics: Congress <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>South Africa strengthen squad with back-ups for De Villiers and Steyn<!– /.block –>Odd-even move only to avoid media glare on MLAs’ salary hike, asks Congress<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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After poll setback, Gujarat BJP likely to get new president next month

The party lost several district and tehsil (taluka) panchayats to Congress in the recently-held elections.

PTI
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Bigg Boss 9: Nora and Rishabh gang up against Priya while Mandana’s behaviour irritates everyone! <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even formula: CNG cars to be given exemption stickers starting tomorrowIndiaAAP leader murdered in New Delhi, body dumped near swampIndiaAfter Congress mouthpiece says Sonia’s father had fascist link, party calls magazine ‘defunct’IndiaTreat citizens as your ‘boss’, Fadnavis tells policeIndiaDDCA row: No clean chit to Arun Jaitley, BJP begging for apology, says Arvind KejriwalIndiaCountry passing through crisis under NDA rule: Sachin Pilot <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>South Africa v/s England: Joe Root surpasses Alastair Cook as visitors take control of 1st Test<!– /.block –>Bigg Boss 9: Nora and Rishabh gang up against Priya while Mandana’s behaviour irritates everyone!<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Vypam scam: Dummy candidate among two get 3-yr jail for forgery

He said Rajawat’s cover was blown after the concerned invigilator noticed the discrepancy between the photo pasted on the admission card and that of the actual candidate Baria. The duo were subsequently booked by police after the forgery came to light.

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<!– /.block –>Ready to accept new challenging roles, says Amitabh Bachchan <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaReality Check: Don’t expect much from Indo-Pak talks in January, says Sartaj AzizIndiaTamil Nadu elections: PMK says it will give Dy Chief Minister post to BJPIndiaDelhi govt’s odd-even formula to be a failure: Sheila DikshitIndiaNDA wants to honour all who fought for the country: Ravi Shankar PrasadIndiaVypam scam: Dummy candidate among two get 3-yr jail for forgeryIndiaShiv Sena Punjab asks PM Narendra Modi to apologise for going to Pakistan <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>South Africa v/s England: Steyn gets his mojo back but England hold firm<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Keralites back after harrowing experience in Saudi Arabia

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier stated in New Delhi that the three men had been given police protection and the matter was being followed up.

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<!– /.block –>South Africa v/s England: ‘Steyn’ gun is firing on all cylinders again <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaWeekly train between Tirupati and Shirdi flagged offIndiaKeralites back after harrowing experience in Saudi ArabiaIndiaBihar: Two engineers shot dead by unidentified assailants in Darbhanga, 6 detainedIndiaWatch: Here is what LK Advani said in support of PM Modi’s Pakistan visitIndiaKejriwal govt scraps nearly 1,000 autorickshaw permits, suspends 3 officials after alleged scamIndiaCongress wins five seats in Madhya Pradhya urban bodies elections <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Here’s why Sanjay Leela Bhansali feels Dilwale was always supposed to have bigger opening than Bajirao Mastani<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Kohima terror attack: NSCN(K) cadre arrested from Bengaluru

The agency, which had taken over the case in May, had arrested two hardcore NSCN(K) cadres and has charge sheeted them in connection with the case, the release said.

PTI
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<!– /.block –>Kevin Pietersen takes a jibe at South Africa, says Proteas have ‘lot at stake’ against England <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaThree men from Telangana planning to join ISIS arrested by ATS at Nagpur airportIndiaTortured Indian workers back after harrowing experience in SaudiIndiaKohima terror attack: NSCN(K) cadre arrested from BengaluruIndiaCongress attacks Modi, says nation will have to pay cost of PM’s surprise visit to PakistanIndiaIn yet another life-saving mission, Coast Guard rescues eight crew members from distressed shipIndiaHere’s what the American media said about PM Modi’s Lahore stopover <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Newly married Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux share Christmas selfie<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Indian-origin politician becomes South Africa’s Finance Minister

The presidency’s statement said Gordhan s role would include “promoting and strengthening the fiscal discipline and prudence”.

Pravin Gordhan

Reuters
Pravin Gordhan, a widely respected Indian-origin politician, has been appointed South Africa’s new Finance Minister by President Jacob Zuma, becoming the third finance chief of the country in a week amid a raging economic turmoil. Zuma sacked Nhlanhla Nene from the ministry on Wednesday and replaced him with the relatively unknown lawmaker David Rooyen, sparking a wave of criticism and financial turmoil. The removal of Nene sent the Rand currency to record lows, sparked a sell-off in bank stocks and sent yields in local and dollar-denominated debt soaring. Credit agency Fitch downgraded South Africa on December 4 December, leaving the continent s most sophisticated economy just one notch above junk status. The president came under intense criticism for the manner in which he replaced Nene. The announcement was initially made with no reasons given and it was seen as ill-timed given the intense pressure on the economy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The choice of Rooyen, an ANC whip in Parliament s standing committee of finance, was also questioned given his relative lack of experience in government. 66-year-old Gordhan’s appointment sent the Rand up almost 5% night, but failed to quell a tide of criticism of the president. Gordhan was widely respected when he served as South Africa’s finance minister from 2009 until 2014. In a statement on Sunday, the president said that after replacing Nene he had “received many representations to reconsider my decision”. “As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views,” Zuma said. The presidency’s statement said Gordhan’s role would include “promoting and strengthening the fiscal discipline and prudence” and “working with the financial sector so that its stability is preserved”, Timeslive reported. It called for “adherence to the set expenditure ceiling while maintaining a stable trajectory of our debt portfolio, as set out in the February 2015 budget”. The statement called for “more inclusive growth and accelerated job creation while continuing the work of ensuring that our debt is stabilised over the medium term”.

Not holding back: Virat Kohli hits out at ‘critics’ who have never played for the nation

Kohli is “hurt” that some of the former players, who have not even played for the country, give their opinion on international cricketers.

Virat Kohli

AFP
India’s Test captain Virat Kohli is unhappy that some of the former international cricketers have run down the team despite their comprehensive 3-0 win against South Africa in the recently concluded Test series.Kohli is “hurt” that some of the former players, who have not even played for the country, give their opinion on international cricketers. With Mohali and Nagpur Test matches on spin-friendly tracks ending inside three days, Kohli is certainly not amused with the kind of response he has got from former players, who have now become media pundits.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It obviously hurts when people who have played the game themselves make such comments. I am not saying all of them do it. Some of them understand the mindset of the players, having gone through similar situations in their careers. They lend you support, say the right thing and even help you with certain technicalities. But some people like to focus on the negatives. It feels bad as an Indian cricketer,” Kohli told ‘BCCI.TV’. He did pull back any punches while being critical of these former stars without naming anyone.”Growing up, you have looked up to these people and when you hear such comments from them you lose a bit of respect for them. It would be more respectful of them to come up and speak to a player individually if they feel there is some flaw that needs to be corrected,” the skipper was forthright with what he felt about the comments. While he still respects those who have played for the country, Kohli found it difficult to fathom as to how some former first-class cricketers who never played for the country made adverse remarks.”And someone who hasn’t played for the country has no right in anyway to comment on an international cricketer. I don’t think that has any kind of logic. You cannot sit there and say how you would have done something differently when you have not been in that situation yourself and don’t have the mindset of a cricketer,” Kohli, who won his second successive series as captain after the Sri Lanka triumph, said. As he has often repeated at media conferences, Kohli again expressed his displeasure at how the team has not been given their due credit despite such a handsome series win.”It is a pity. The series happened in our country and our own people are looking for weaknesses and areas of criticism, and not speaking enough about the kind of good cricket we played. They have been talking about the pitches and how that has been a factor,” Kohli said. “In this series, four of the top five run-getters were Indians. Top two wicket-takers were Indians. We have had no excuses, we played honest cricket and we got the results in our favour. We are proud of what we have done and how we have played,” he added.

Is it so bad? Survey says India is second most ignorant nation of the world!

The survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, a London-based market research firm, polled 25,000 people from 33 countries and found that while people “over-estimate what we worry about”, a lot of major issues are underestimated

India-population

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India has the “dubious honour” of being the second most ignorant nation in the world after Mexico, according to a survey which posed questions on issues like inequality, non-religious population, female employment and internet access.The survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, a London-based market research firm, polled 25,000 people from 33 countries and found that while people “over-estimate what we worry about”, a lot of major issues are underestimated. “Mexico and India receive the dubious honour of being the most inaccurate in their perceptions on these issues, while South Koreans are the most accurate, followed by the Irish,” the survey said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rankings of the nations were based on the “Index of Ignorance” which was determined by questions about wealth that the top one per cent own, obesity, non-religious population, immigration, living with parents, female employment, rural living and internet access. Most Indians “underestimate” how much of their country’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of the top 1 per cent, the survey said, adding that the top 1 per cent actually own an “incredible” 70 per cent of all wealth.The survey also found that most Indians “hugely overestimate” the proportions of non-religious people in the country to be 33 per cent when the true figure is under 1 per cent. While Israel significantly underestimates the proportion of female employment (by 29 percentage points), people in countries like India, Mexico, South Africa and Chile all think of more women in work than really are, it said.India fell in the list of nations which overestimate representation by women in politics.Countries like Columbia, Russia, India and Brazil all think there is better female representation than there really is, the survey said. However, the Indian population seriously underestimates the rural population of the country and thinks more people have internet access than in reality. In India the average guess among online respondents for internet access is 60 per cent – an overestimation of the true picture of 41 percentage points, the survey added.

Nepal unrest leaves millions of children facing food, medicine shortages – U.N. | Reuters

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Unrest over Nepal’s new constitution has led to severe shortages of fuel, food, medicines and vaccines, putting more than three million children at risk of disease during the harsh winter months, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said on Monday.

Nepal has been in turmoil since September when it adopted a new constitution, sparking protests by members of the ethnic Madhesi groups, who argue that the country’s charter does not reflect their interests.

Protesters have blockaded trucks from India, leading to acute shortages of fuel and medicine in the landlocked Himalayan nation of 28 million people.

UNICEF said child survivors of two major earthquakes in April and May could be worst hit by the shortages. The tremors killed nearly 9,000 people and damaged or destroyed nearly 900,000 houses. Many remain homeless.

Newborn babies are at particular risk, as fuel shortages mean fewer women can get to hospitals and health centres to give birth, UNICEF said.

“The plight that children and their families are facing in the country has been worsening by the day and will deteriorate further in the winter months,” UNICEF’s regional director for South Asia, Karin Hulshof, said in a statement.

“There is no time to lose,” she added.

The fuel shortage has led to an increase in the use of firewood in homes, which raises the risk of pneumonia. More than 800,000 Nepali children under five contracted the illness last year, and around 5,000 died, the agency said.

The government’s regional medical stores have already run out of BCG vaccines against tuberculosis, and stocks of other vaccines and antibiotics are critically low, UNICEF said.

“The risks of hypothermia and malnutrition, and the shortfall in life-saving medicines and vaccines, could be a potentially deadly combination for children this winter,” UNICEF’s executive director, Anthony Lake, said in a statement.

“During my recent visit to Nepal, I witnessed first-hand the precarious living conditions of many of the earthquake survivors,” he added.

“They could now be facing a new disaster – without adequate food, protection from the cold, or healthcare.”

(Reporting by Alex Whiting, Editing by Katie Nguyen; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Experts optimistic Tut’s tomb may conceal Egypt’s lost queen | Reuters

LUXOR, Egypt Chances are high that the tomb of Ancient Egypt’s boy-king Tutankhamun has passages to a hidden chamber, which may be the last resting place of the lost Queen Nefertiti, experts said on Saturday.

There is huge international interest in Nefertiti, who died in the 14th century B.C. and is thought to be Tutankhamun’s stepmother, and confirmation of her final resting place would be the most remarkable Egyptian archaeological find this century.

New evidence from the radar imaging taken so far is to be sent to a team in Japan for analysis. The results are expected to be announced in a month.

“We said earlier there was a 60 percent chance there is something behind the walls. But now after the initial reading of the scans, we are saying now its 90 percent likely there is something behind the walls,” Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty told a news conference.

He said he expected to reach the other side of the tomb’s wall within three months.

Discovery of Nefertiti, whose chiselled cheek-bones and regal beauty were immortalised in a 3,300-year old bust now in a Berlin museum, would shed fresh light on what remains a mysterious period of Egyptian history.

It could also be a boon for Egypt’s ailing tourism industry, which has suffered near endless setbacks since the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and which is a vital source of foreign currency.

“There is, in fact, an empty space behind the wall based on radar, which is very accurate, there is no doubt,” Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe said, his hand hovering over a fuzzy blue radar scan he said indicated the presence of a false wall. The size of the cavity is not known.

DAMAGE RISK

British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, leading the investigation, said last month he believed Tutankhamun’s mausoleum was originally occupied by Nefertiti and that she had lain undisturbed behind what he believes is a partition wall.

But at the news conference with Damaty on Saturday, Reeves warned that even the most minor of incisions in the wall could wreak damage to an inner chamber that may have been hermetically sealed for so many years.

“The key is to excavate slowly and carefully and record well. The fact is this isn’t a race. All archaeology is disruption. We can’t go back and re-do it, so we have to do it well in the first place,” Reeves said.

“I’m feeling more certain today than I expected to be,” he said outside the Howard Carter House, a site named after the British archaeologist propelled to international celebrity for his discovery of the Tutankhamun tomb in 1922.

King Tut, as he is affectionately known, died around 1323 B.C. His intact tomb, complete with his famous golden burial mask, was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

Experts have long sought to understand why Tut’s tomb was smaller than that of other pharaohs and why its shape was more in keeping with that of the Egyptian queens of the time.

Egyptologists remain uncertain over where Nefertiti died and was buried. She was long believed to have passed away during her husband’s reign, suggesting she could be buried in Amarna, where her bust was found in 1912, some 400 km north of Luxor.

More recently, most experts, including Reeves, have come to believe she outlived Akhenaten, who may have been Tut’s father, but changed her name and may have briefly ruled Egypt.

“Research doesn’t always translate into reality. But it looks like we’re headed in the right direction, and our investigations are going well,” said Reeves.

(Reporting by Eric Knecht; Writing by Michael Georgy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Brilliant Billings fires England to opening win | Reuters

DUBAI Sam Billings played an inspired innings to help England to a comfortable 14-run victory in the first Twenty20 international against Pakistan on Thursday.

Billings smashed 53 off 25 balls to lift England to a competitive total of 160 for five on a slow pitch and Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals in their reply.

“I’ve been on the sidelines watching the guys smash it everywhere. It’s the nature of the job – you’ve just got to be ready,” man-of-the-match Billings told Sky Sports.

“How I played is a credit to Morgy (captain Eoin Morgan) – he said ‘play your way, play exactly how you got here in the first place’. Against a seriously decent attack, it’s really pleasing to make a contribution.”

England, who won the toss, slumped to 19 for three before James Vince, who made 41 on his debut, shared a third-wicket partnership of 76 with Morgan.

That laid the platform for Billings to use terrific improvisation to plunder runs all round the ground.

The young wicketkeeper, deputising for the rested Jos Buttler, hit two sixes and five fours in a stand of 65 with Morgan who finished unbeaten on 45.

Pakistan lost three early wickets and never looked like chasing down their target, Sohail Tanvir top-scoring with 25 not out as seamers Reece Topley and Liam Plunkett took three wickets each.

“Tonight was a really strong performance in which we showed a lot of character. To come back from 19-3 and then to defend 160 was really good,” Morgan said.

“It is always a good sign of a changing-room when players who haven’t played all tour come out and perform – I’m really proud of them.”

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez tried to remain upbeat.

“It was a chaseable total. But we batted very poorly. I know we lost this game but we’ve got some positive things from it,” he said.

The second match in the three-game series is in Dubai on Friday.

(Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Tony Jimenez and Ken Ferris)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

India’s Ambassadors to Afghanistan, Vietnam appointed as secretaries in MEA

Senior diplomats Amar Sinha and Preeti Saran, India’s Ambassadors to Afghanistan and Vietnam respectively, were appointed as secretaries in Ministry of External Affairs on Monday.

Senior diplomats Amar Sinha and Preeti Saran, India’s Ambassadors to Afghanistan and Vietnam respectively, were appointed as secretaries in Ministry of External Affairs on Monday.Besides them, Sujata Mehta, currently Secretary (Economic Relations) in MEA, has been appointed as Secretary (West), in place of Navtej Sarna who takes up the new assignment as India’s High Commissioner to the UK. Secretary (West) looks after affairs related to Europe and Africa regions.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sinha, a 1982 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, has been appointed as Secretary (ER), in place of Mehta, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said. Manpreet Vohra has been appointed in Sinha’s place in Kabul, Afghanistan.Sinha’s batchmate Saran will be Secretary (East), and will be responsible for matters related to Arab region, North Africa, South East Asia including Pacific island nations.

Putin says seeks global anti-terrorism fight after 19 killed in Mali attack | Reuters

BAMAKO Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he wanted global cooperation to combat terrorism in the wake of an Islamist militant attack on a luxury hotel in Mali that killed 19 people including six Russians.

Friday’s assault came a week after militants killed 130 people in gun and bomb attacks in Paris claimed by Islamic State, and three weeks after a Russian airliner was downed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by what Moscow and Western governments say was a bomb, killing 224 all people aboard.

The bloodshed at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali, a former French colony, evoked the problems French troops and U.N. peacekeepers face in restoring security and order in a West African state that has battled rebels and militants in its weakly governed desert north for years.

Jihadist groups Al Mourabitoun and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack, which ended when Malian commandos stormed the building and rescued 170 people, many of them foreigners.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said two militants were killed in the commando operation.

His government increased security at strategic points around Bamako at the start of a declared 10-day state of emergency.

“Mali will not shut down because of this attack. Paris and New York were not shut down and Mali won’t be. Terrorism will not win,” Keita said during a visit to the hotel on Saturday.

Six employees of Russian regional airline Volga-Dnepr were killed, Russia’s foreign ministry said, while six others were rescued.

Putin sent a telegram of condolences to Keita and said “the widest international cooperation” was needed to confront global terrorism, according to a statement by the Kremlin.

On Tuesday, Putin pledged to hunt down militants responsible for blowing up the airliner, as well as intensified air strikes against militants in Syria, after the Kremlin concluded a bomb had destroyed the plane.

Putin and French President Francois Hollande also spoke by phone on Tuesday and agreed to boost coordination of their military actions in fighting jihadist militants in Syria.

Chinese President Xi Jinping condemned the “cruel and savage” attack, whose dead included three Chinese executives of a state-run railway firm.

“China will strengthen cooperation with the international community, resolutely crack down on violent terrorist operations that devastate innocent lives and safeguard world peace and security,” the Beijing Foreign Ministry quoted Xi as saying in a statement on its website.

One American and a deputy from a regional parliament in Belgium were also killed in the Bamako hotel attack, though French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he was not aware of any French nationals killed.

FLEEING IN TERROR

The attack began at 7 a.m. on Friday when gunmen killed guards at the entrance of the hotel and barged inside.

Malian commandos subsequently stormed the hotel and rescued around 170 people, many of whom had been hiding under beds or in side-rooms and rushed terrified from the building to safety as shooting continued inside.

By around 4 p.m. the hotel was secured but Malians woke on Saturday to a sense of shock at the latest high-profile raid by Islamists this year.

“I feel bruised by this atrocious act, which cannot be justified. No nation, no human life deserves such criminal barbarity,” said Oumar Fomba, a teacher. “I urge the Malian government to fight more fiercely against terrorism.”

In a speech on the sidelines of a summit with Asian nations in Malaysia, U.S. President Barack Obama described the raid in Mali as “another awful reminder of the scourge of terrorism”.

“Once again, this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge. We will stand with the people of Mali as they work to rid their country of terrorists and strengthen their democracy. With allies and partners, the United States will be relentless.”

SETBACK FOR FRANCE

The attack was another jolting setback for France after the shock of the Paris carnage. France has stationed 3,500 troops in northern Mali to try to restore stability after a rebellion in 2012 by ethnic Tuaregs that was later hijacked by jihadists linked to al Qaeda.

“We (France) have proved to be as blind as the Malian elite. Nothing changes in Mali. The elite continues to act like it always has, as does the international community,” said Laurent Bigot, former undersecretary in charge of West Africa at France’s foreign ministry, alluding to U.N. peacekeepers.

“People have been ringing the alarm bell for a long time, but it doesn’t do any good,” Bigot, who now works as a consultant, told Reuters.

The attack also refocused attention on a veteran leader of Al Mourabitoun, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a few months after reports, never confirmed, that he was killed in an air strike.

Northern Mali was occupied by Islamist fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, for most of 2012. They were driven out by a French-led military operation, but violence has continued.

Al Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including an assault on a hotel in the town of Sevare, 600 km (375 miles) northeast of Bamako, in August in which 17 people including five U.N. staff were killed.

Belmokhtar is blamed for a large-scale assault on an Algerian gas field in 2013 and a major figure in insurgencies across North Africa.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, an Islamic State militant in Syria told Reuters the organisation viewed France’s military intervention in Mali as another reason to target France and French interests.

(Additional reporting by Joe Penney in Bamako, John Irish in Paris, Jason Bush in Moscow and Michael Martina in Beijing; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

EU should not give in to base reactions after Paris attacks – Juncker | Reuters

BELEK, Turkey European Union countries should not give in to base reactions of rejecting refugees after the Paris attacks because the shooters were criminals, not asylum seekers, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Sunday.

Top Polish and Slovak officials have poured cold water on the EU refugee relocation plan right after the attacks late on Friday that killed 129 people, saying the violence underlined the concerns of Europeans about taking in Muslim refugees.

“We should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe,” Juncker told a news conference on the sidelines of a G20 summit of world leaders in the Turkish coastal province of Antalya.

One of the attackers in Paris has been identified as having entered the EU through the Greek island of Leros on Oct. 3, 2015, with other refugees. On entering, he was identified and fingerprinted according to EU rules.

“The one responsible for the attacks in Paris… he is a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker,” Juncker said.

“I would invite those in Europe who try to change the migration agenda we have adopted — I would like to remind them to be serious about this and not to give in to these basic reactions that I do not like,” Juncker said.

Poland’s new Europe minister Konrad Szymanski said on Saturday his incoming government did not agree with Poland’s commitment to accept its share of an EU-wide relocation of immigrants, and now, “in the face of the tragic acts in Paris, we do not see the political possibilities to implement (this).”

On Saturday Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said: “We have been saying that there are enormous security risks linked to migration. Hopefully, some people will open their eyes now.”

But Juncker said there was no need to change Europe’s plan to relocate 160,000 refugees around Europe, as agreed earlier.

“I see the difficulty but I don’t see the need to change our general approach,” he said.

Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister who chairs meetings of European leaders, said the 28-nation EU would call on G20 leaders to develop a coordinated response to the migration crisis, which is expected to bring a million people from the Middle East and Africa to Europe this year alone.

“We do not ask our partners to do more than Europe does, but we ask the international community not to do less. All G20 countries share responsibilities associated with this crisis. Solidarity should be at the core of our decisions,” Tusk said.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by David Dolan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

UNSC ineffectiveness imposing severe costs on everyone: India

In a strong criticism of the functioning of the UN Security Council, India has said that the world body’s “ineffectiveness” is imposing “severe costs on all of us”, as it blamed the UN organ for failing to fight terrorism and use peacekeeping as a tool to secure peace.

In a strong criticism of the functioning of the UN Security Council, India has said that the world body’s “ineffectiveness” is imposing “severe costs on all of us”, as it blamed the UN organ for failing to fight terrorism and use peacekeeping as a tool to secure peace.India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Asoke Mukerji, termed the annual report of the Council “opaque and unaccountable” and called it a “half-way house.” He said the report does not provide an answer to why the primary UN organ responsible for maintaining international peace and security “has allowed the world to slide further down the road to violence and conflict.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Why have more than 60 million people become the victims of this crisis? Why is the world seeing so many refugees from crisis situations?”We in the General Assembly do not receive any answers to this question. Nor, for that matter, does the general public.The consequence is a severe erosion of the credibility of the Council itself,” Mukerji said here yesterday at the General Assembly plenary meeting on the annual report of the Council.Focusing on the three areas of peacekeeping, the response to terrorism and inability to resolve disputes peacefully, Mukerji said the ineffectiveness of the Council is “imposing severe costs on all of us, especially developing countries.””Going by its report, the Council seems unable to comprehend the nature of the socio-economic challenges faced by developing countries due to the breakdown of international peace and security, especially now when we are on the cusp of implementing Agenda 2030 adopted unanimously with the goal of eradicating poverty within a generation.”This is due to the fact that for the past 70 years, only one developing country is represented as a permanent member in the Council, while our total membership in this Assembly is more than 134. We call for the urgent expansion of the Council, in order to add more developing country members in both its categories, to offset this problem,” he said.Mukerji criticised the Council’s response to the threat posed by terrorism, especially in Africa and Asia, saying it has been “less than robust.””Despite all its exhortations and Resolutions, the report is silent on what actually the Council has done in terms of acting to meet this threat. The increasing number and brutality of terrorist acts meanwhile vividly illustrates the ineffectiveness of the Council to counter terrorism,” he said.He said the report does not reveal anything about the way in which the Council’s sanctions regimes against terrorism function, “which by itself is a significant omission, hidden from our scrutiny in this Assembly.” Mukerji expressed regret that the Council has not acted on the need to investigate, prosecute and penalise terrorist acts, especially those directed against UN peacekeepers.Mukerji said the Council has not been able to use peacekeeping as a tool to secure peace.”Going by its routine roll over of mandates of peacekeeping missions, the Council is using peacekeeping as an open-ended mechanism, and not as a means to bring about a sustainable peace,” he said.Noting that none of the peacekeeping missions mandated by the Council to operate in Africa have been successfully ended, Mukerji said no permanent member of the Council, which exercises the right of being a drafter of these mandates is from Africa.”This is a major shortcoming as seen from the report of the Council, which only expanding the membership of the Council in both categories can rectify. Mere increase in short, or for that matter long-term rotational seats is not the answer, in the real world, to the glaring shortcomings of pen-holdership,” he said.He also reiterated the need for the Council to invite member states contributing troops, who are not represented in the Council, to participate in decisions on how mandates for peacekeeping are drawn.The third area where the Council’s report glosses over its ineffectiveness is in the pursuit of peaceful negotiations to resolve disputes, he said adding that the impetus to use political negotiations to resolve crises is now occurring outside the Security Council and not in the Council.”The Council has watched these negotiations from the sidelines, whether they concerned the crisis in Syria, South Sudan and Ukraine.”We note that these negotiations were conducted by member states, not all of which were represented on the Council.This is a telling comment on how the Council is today not the primary driver of the political process to resolve disputes, which is its core competence under the Charter,” he said.Mukerji said statistics in the report cannot cloak the Council’s “imperviousness to adapt its working procedures to the contemporary world, which require it to meet the standards of transparency and accountability and be responsive to views of other member states. That is the nub of the problem.”Pointing out that the Council’s effectiveness in maintaining international peace and security is today severely undermined, Mukerji called for setting “right this major anomaly” in international relations by implementing reform of the Council by the end of the 70th anniversary of the UN in September 2016.

High share of care work keeps Indian women out of economy – McKinsey | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women in India do almost 10 times as much unpaid work as men – a much higher ratio than the global average – leaving them out of the formal workforce and unable to contribute to the economy, consultancy firm McKinsey said in a new report.

Women are responsible for 17 percent of India’s GDP, much less than in many nations, the McKinsey Global Institute said. China’s women account for 41 percent of GDP, those in sub-Saharan Africa 39 percent and women in Latin America 33 percent.

“The below-potential contribution of women to India’s GDP today … contrasts with their higher share of unpaid care work such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children and older members of the family,” said the report, released on Monday.

“Globally, women spend roughly three times the amount of time spent by men on unpaid work. In India, the situation is more extreme – women perform 9.8 times the amount of unpaid care work than men.”

If that unpaid work were to be valued and compensated in the same way as paid work, it would contribute $300 billion a year to India’s economic output, it added.

WIDE VARIATIONS IN GENDER PARITY

Using a new index to measure gender parity across India’s states, McKinsey found that Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand had inequality levels similar to impoverished Chad and war-torn Yemen.

Other Indian states such as Mizoram, Kerala, Meghalaya, Goa and Sikkim ranked higher on the index, putting their women on par with Argentina, China and Indonesia in gender parity, it said.

Overall, the Female Empowerment Index, or Femdex – which is based on issues such as women’s autonomy, equality at work, legal protection, political voice and physical security – showed a broad range of gender equality in India.

“We find a wide variation in gender equality among India’s 32 states, which indicates where efforts to bridge gender gaps need to be focused,” the report “The Power of Parity: Advancing women’s equality in India” said.

“Advancing gender equality can deliver sizeable additional economic growth and broad-based prosperity to the world — nowhere more so than in India.”

McKinsey estimates India could boost GDP by $700 billion in 2025 if women participated in paid work at a similar level to men.

Indian women represent only 24 percent of the paid labour force, similar to countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Globally, female workforce participation is 40 percent.

To bring more women into the formal labour force, the report said India must get more girls into secondary and tertiary education, expand skills training and provide greater access to financial services.

India must also step up gender diversity in the private sector, improve infrastructure and services to address the burden of domestic work and child care and focus on dispelling deep-rooted patriarchal attitudes, it said.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla. Editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Africa summit a feather in Narendra Modi’s cap, but international disquiet visible on rising intolerance

In 2014, the US had hosted 47 leaders and Japan in 2013 hosted 37 leaders.

Notwithstanding, the successful conclusion of India-Africa summit adding another feather to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic cap, a disquiet was visible within visiting dignitaries on communal incidents in India.Many of them were enquiring from Indian journalists, whether the so-called wave of intolerance sweeping India would have any cascading effect on the political future of Modi. Foreign minister of a Central African nation, who had sought India’s help to fight against terror outfit Boko Haram was particularly seeking answers to the outrage and anger expressed by writers, academics and scholars as highlighted by Indian media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Incidentally, Africa has 53% Muslim population.The success of African summit could be judged that some 40 leaders, including two kings, 26 presidents, six vice-presidents and six prime ministers, arrived in Delhi at the PM’s invitation, almost equaling the record of China in 2006, which had also 40 leaders for its Africa summit.In 2014, the US had hosted 47 leaders and Japan in 2013 hosted 37 leaders.Besides, the current political situation, government’s studied silence on Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi or about past two summits in official brochures or engagements also left African leaders wondering. Modi, in his two speeches, referred to Mahatma Gandhi and five African Nobel laureates to point to traditional ties, but did not mention either Nehru, who was the architect of a conference on Afro-Asian unity in Bandung, Indonesia, and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).It was left to leaders of African countries, who took stage and heaped praise on Nehru. Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe even praised the Congress. South African President Jacob Zuma called Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi “visionary” prime ministers. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama and Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth also mentioned India’s leadership role in NAM, and in organising the Bandung conference.Prime Minister Modi in his concluding remarks attempted to rub the Congress the wrong way. Without naming the former Congress-led UPA government, he said that India had not fulfilled commitments to Africa as quickly as it should have. He was referring to $7.5-billion credit promised across the past two summits in 2008 and 2011. Out of this, only $3.5 billion has been disbursed. “There are times when we have not done as well as you have wanted us to. There have been occasions when we have not been as attentive as we should be. There are commitments we have not fulfilled as quickly as we should have,” Modi said. “But you have always embraced India with warmth, and without judgment. You have taken pride in our achievements. And, you have stood for us in the world. This is the strength of our partnership and our friendship,” Modi added.Modi said the road ahead will be travelled by the “wisdom of our experience and the benefit of your guidance”.While India’s desire to seek a permanent seat at the UN Security Council received an overwhelming support from African leaders, but a single most achievement was an agreement on on combating terrorism. Some North African countries had earlier objected to a term “state sponsored terrorism” and instead they were asking for confining to condemn “the menace of non-state actors and cross border terrorism.”With an eye on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and the country using it as a tool of foreign policy, India was insisting on inclusion of specific phrase of state-sponsored terrorism.But at the end, a mutually-agreed paragraph in the political declaration upheld the sensitivities of both sides. It read as: “Enhance cooperation and coordination between Africa and India to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including countering violent extremism and, in this regard, make concerted efforts for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.”Prime Minister had specifically sought support for the adoption of the convention, asking countries not to get distracted by debating on definition of terrorism. The document further said there was no cause or grievance to justify acts of terror and called upon countries to ensure that their territories are not used for cross-border terrorist activities. “We strongly condemn direct or indirect financial assistance given to terrorist groups or individual members thereof by states or their machinery, to pursue such activities.”

Breaking protocol, South Africa President calls on Sonia Gandhi

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma were also present during the meeting, said a Congress release.

Sonia Gandhi

AFP photo
Breaking protocol, South African President Jacob Zuma called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence in Delhi on Thursday. He left the summit venue and went straight to 10 Janpath, against diplomatic customs, wherein normally prime ministers, ministers and opposition leaders call on presidents and not the other way round.Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma were also present during the meeting, said a Congress release.The meeting attained significance amidst Congress boycotting the special dinner hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the African. But on Thursday its leaders attended the official banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee. Congress leaders said the boycott was to register protest at government’s attempts to erase contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru as the architect of India-Africa relations from official books and releases.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the summit, President of Zimbabawe Robert Mughabe, South African President Jacob Zuma and President of Ghana John Damani Mahama mentioned contributions of Nehru and Indira Gandhi in reaching out to Africa and helping their fight against colonialism and apartheid. Earlier, Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi and spokesman Anand Sharma had called on President of Namibia Dr Hage G Geingob.

Pranab Mukehrjee emphasises importance of diversity at India-Africa meet

“These are perspectives on the human development that India and Africa share, these are perspectives that we can together contribute to the rest of the world for handling conflicts and crises,” he added.

Against the backdrop of incidents of violence with communal and casteist overtones, President Pranab Mukherjee once again emphasised the importance of diversity, saying it is “our lifeblood” and ensures that “we value co-existence, dialogue, mutual understanding and peace”. He made the remarks in the context of India and Africa while addressing a banquet hosted for leaders of 54 African nations who are here for a Summit for which he hailed the “drive” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.India and Africa understand each other and for both “diversity is our lifeblood” as it “enriches us and makes us even stronger. It ensures that we value co-existence, dialogue, mutual understanding and peace,” Mukherjee said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”These are perspectives on the human development that India and Africa share, these are perspectives that we can together contribute to the rest of the world for handling conflicts and crises,” he added.These remarks of the President assume significance as these come against the backdrop of certain incidents in the recent times which had communal and casteist overtones, like the Dadri lynching, controversy over beef and burning of a family of Dalits in Haryana.Mukherjee said the difficult decades of colonial rule and cruel oppression, economic deprivation and racial discrimination may be behind us but the challenges are far from gone and they have changed.”We have still to overcome poverty and disease, terrorism and drug trafficking, lack of education and training,” he said.He said both India and Africa have stood in days of struggle and “we will stand together in this challenging dawn of development. India is ready to share its democratic experience, its agricultural expertise, its capacity building potential, its healthcare institutions, its peacekeepers with our partners from Africa.”Once again we are determined that our struggle will be based on principles – the principles of equality and partnership, of mutual benefit, of human dignity. For India and Africa, guided by the vision of Mahatma Gandhi who belonged to both, that is the only path.” Hosting a banquet for representatives of African Nations at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said a century ago when the construction of this building (President’s House), began, it would have been difficult to imagine such a moment when India as well as so many African nations would discard their colonial chains, threw away the imperial yoke and one day stand together here to celebrate freedom, democracy and human dignity.’I’m supremely confident that the work done during the summit, refreshing of a collective vision for the future of our people will be critical in defining the directions and counters of our political and economic engagements,’ said the President. He said given that India and Africa are home to a third of the world’s populations, this engagement is certain to have an impact on the future of the sustainable development of the world.’Your shared visions and guidance reflected in the two documents ‘ Delhi Declaration 2015 and India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation ‘ that have been adopted by you at the summit and encapsulate the India-Africa Strategic Partnership, is a unique example of South-South Cooperation,’ the President added.The Delhi Declaration called for continued collaboration in the fields of peace and security, besides strengthening of the UN counter-terrorism mechanism and enhancing cooperation and coordination to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.The India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation reaffirmed strong commitment to work together for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system, including the Security Council, to make it more regionally representative, democratic, accountable and effective. The third edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit 2015, which was commenced on October 26 at Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex here, concluded here on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering the vote of thanks.

PM Narendra Modi to attend Paris climate summit’s inauguration

The development is significant in the backdrop of the last week’s climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany that saw stormy discussions with the developing nations terming the draft of the Paris agreement as ‘lopsided.’ The conference though eventually manifested in a draft text of 55 pages that was more agreeable to all parties.

In a major departure from climate change summits of the past 80 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will participate in the inaugural phase of the climate summit in Paris, the French embassy confirmed on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, French ambassador tweeted about it and in Paris following the announcement in Paris by Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister of France.The development is significant in the backdrop of the last week’s climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany that saw stormy discussions with the developing nations terming the draft of the Paris agreement as ‘lopsided.’ The conference though eventually manifested in a draft text of 55 pages that was more agreeable to all parties.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The presence of 80 world leaders at the beginning of the climate summit was termed as ‘unprecedented’ by some experts. “Usually, the designated negotiators wait for heads of states to arrive and negotiate the final talks, which happens in the last few hours. This is what happened during the Copenhagen summit in 2009. Hence, it is unprecedented for leaders to be present at the inaugural session, to set the ball rolling”, said Harjeet Singh, International Policy Manager, Climate Change, ActionAid International, a non-profit organization. The 2009 Copenhagen climate summit did not result in a legally binding treaty and the summit was largely considered as a failure across all circles.Singh added, “Negotiations on the draft Paris agreement have not been amicable and we still have a long way to go to sort out differences between developed and developing nations.”After the draft of the Paris climate agreement was re-worked Bonn, a last round of negotiations on it will occur in Paris between November 8 and November 10. Ministers of over 100 countries, including environment minister Prakash Javadekar, will be present at this meeting.But, even as world leaders have committed to participating in the inaugural session, there are major concerns among the G77+ China group of developing nations on climate finance and technology transfers. Developing nations such as India, Brazil and South Africa are pushing the developed countries to take responsibility for their historical emissions and also commit finance to poorer nations for switching for adapting to climate change. On the other hand, the richer nations have maintained that countries such as India, South Africa, China and Brazil have grown stronger economically and thus need to share the burden by cutting their carbon emissions substantially.The resolution to this stand-off is going to be the key to the Paris climate summit for reaching an agreement to cap global warming at 2°C over pre-industrial revolution levels India’s climate action targets for 2030.India has said that it aims to reduce emissions intensity or emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 33-35% by 2030, from 2005 levels. Ahead of the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, India had committed to reduce its emissions intensity by 20-25%, and the environment ministry said that it has already achieved a 12% reduction. This essentially means that the new target to reduce emissions intensity by 35% is doable.

Narendra Modi holds 31 separate bilateral meetings with Africa heads

Africa Summit may bring smiles to 16 Indian families held in prisons. Leaders call for setting mechanism to monitor Indian aid.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, Robert Mugabe President of Zimbabwe and Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya at Hyderabad House in New Delhi
B B Yadav
dna
Even though restrictions and chaos on roads has brought the national capital to a gridlock, the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) is set to bring smiles to the families of Indian citizens held as prisoners in African nations of Togo and Nigeria. A day ahead of the formal summit meeting, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a record 31 structured bilateral meetings with visiting African leaders separately, discussing issues of extending more line of credit (LoC), boosting trade and investment and also combating challenges of terrorism and working together to push reforms at the United Nations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> During his meeting with the Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, Modi specifically raised the issue of 11 Indian prisoners, arrested last year for sailing into that country’s waters. Their ship had left Ghana for Cameroon and due to technical snag, was forced to anchor in the Port of Brass. On July 25 last year, the Nigerian navy arrested the workers of the ship and handed them over to the Economic Financial Crime Commission of Nigeria. Earlier Swaraj raised the issue of five Indian prisoners held in Togo with its foreign minster Robert Dussey. “They were told to look into accentuating judicial process,” said the MEA spokesperson Vikas Swaroop. Togo foreign minister told Swaraj that his country would look into chances of presidential pardon as well, to expedite release of Indian prisoners. A common theme running across all the meetings was African leaders asking India to ensure to setup a monitoring mechanism and regular follow ups so that aid and Line of Credit is disbursed quickly to accentuate completion of projects. They highlighted that due to complexity of procedures and lack of communication and absence of regular monitoring, commitments are getting derailed, even though they appreciated India’s development projects in the continent and sought deepening of ties in diverse sectors including healthcare, education and capacity building. There was also an agreement to work together to ensure reforms at the United Nations. Foreign Minister of Mauritius Usha Dwarka Canabady added a new dimension demanding Indian support to the small island developing states for a dedicated seat at the UN Security Council. In his meeting, South African President Jacob Zuma said it was important that all like minded countries come together to ensure reform of the UN, observing that many conflicts in the world including the Syrian crisis could not be resolved because of veto powers of the UNSC member countries. African leaders also held detailed discussions with Modi on terrorism. While some central and north African countries sought defence cooperation to build capacity to counter terrorist outfit Boko Haram, Modi asked them to support an overarching convention on combating terrorism. “Fight against terrorism need global as well as legal action also. There are 17 sectoral conventions, but not an overarching convention,” Modi told leaders, adding the world should not dismiss the convention, by getting embroiled in the debate of definition of terrorism. “We will not be able to fight terrorism, if we remain entangled in such a debate,” he added. The South African leader also said coming together of African countries with India showed to the world that they no longer are dependent on former colonial powers. The Prime Minister also met Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, and Chairman of African Union. Mugabe is the co-chair for the India Africa Forum Summit, and the two leaders reviewed the preparations for the Summit. Earlier Swaraj while addressing India-Africa business summit asked African nations to take steps to attract investments from India, particularly for manufacturing and processing activities. “I would also encourage Indian and African business enterprises to take advantage of our ‘Make in India’ initiative to work towards mutually beneficial joint business ventures,” she said.

PM Modi holds bilateral talks with 19 heads of govts from Africa

New Delhi: Eyeing to consolidate India’s presence in resource-rich Africa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held wide-ranging talks with 19 heads of governments from the continent with a major focus on combating scourge of terrorism and steadfastly working towards reform of the UN Security Council.

In his bilateral talks with the African leaders, Modi asserted that fight against “international terrorism” can only succeed if there was “global concerted action” while on UN reform conveyed to them that it was time to “get together and take a firm stand” on the pressing issue.

Reflecting the importance New Delhi attaches to Indo-Africa ties, he told Chairperson of Africa Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma that “India Africa are made for each other” while pitching for further expansion of ties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with South African President Jacob Zuma and his wife Bongi Ngema, wearing traditional Indian dresses, at a dinner hosted for India Africa Forum Summit delegations' heads at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with South African President Jacob Zuma and his wife Bongi Ngema at a dinner hosted for India Africa Forum Summit delegations’ heads at Pragati Maidan. PTI

Ways to enhance defence and maritime cooperation, boosting trade and economic engagement, particularly in oil and gas sectors and expanding India’s developmental projects in the continent also figured prominently in the talks.

The African leaders, in New Delhi to attend the India Africa Forum Summit tomorrow, sought India’s assistance in variety of areas including health, education, agriculture, mining, energy, tourism and fisheries among others.

Representatives of 54 African nations including heads of state and government of around 40 countries and powerful African Union are expected to participate in the Summit, seen as India’s effort to counter-balance growing Chinese influence in the continent.

Identifying terrorism as a major threat facing the globe, Modi said there was a need to remove the “legal lacunae” in fight against the menace stressing that the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism must be ratified by the UN.

Noting that any sidetracking in defining terrorism will weaken the fight, he said an “overreaching umbrella convention” was required to deal with the menace.

The leaders with whom Modi held bilateral talks include President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama, King of Swaziland King Mswati III, President of Benin Boni Yayi, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Prime Minister of Lesotho Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili.

He also held bilateral talks with President Guinea Alpha Conde, President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Niger Issoufou Mahamadou, President of Chad Idriss Deby Itno, South African President Jacob G Zuma and Prime Minister of Mozambique Carlos Agostinho do Rosario among others.

Talking about the 19 bilateral meetings, Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup said “this is sort of a new record.” He said all the meetings were “structured”.

In his meeting with the Nigerian President, Modi requested his to expedite the judicial process relating to 11 Indian crew members languishing in a jail in that country.

A number of African countries including Chad have decided to open their missions in New Delhi.

President of Niger has offered to sell uranium to India and sought greater investment by India in its oil sector.

In his meeting, South African President Jacob Zuma strongly called for reform of global governance system and said the UN structure which was set up after the Second World War cannot remain relevant in 21st century.

He said it was important that all like-minded countries come together to ensure reform of the UN, particularly the UN Security Council, observing that many conflicts in the world including the Syrian crisis could not be resolved because of differences among the veto-yielding UNSC member countries.

Swarup said almost all African leaders were on the same page with India on UNSC reform saying one-third of the global population cannot be kept away from decision making process.

The talks also figured challenges of climate change and issues relating to WTO.

In his meeting with Mugabe, who is also Chairman of African Union, Modi discussed issues of common interest, including UN reforms and the threat of terrorism.

In the meeting with President of Djibouti, Modi thanked him for extending help in evacuating Indians from Yemen earlier this year.

Some of the countries sought India’s help in maritime security while several other sought cooperation in cyber security, IT and telecom sector.

The Nigerian President said there was huge scope for India’s participation in the oil and gas sector. He said India has become the largest importer of crude oil replacing the US and it can participate in long-term projects in oil and gas sectors.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was present in a number of meetings Modi had with countries having oil and gas reserves.

A number of countries including Kenya, Uganda, Niger and Chad sought deeper cooperation with India in tackling terrorism besides favouring enhancing defence ties.

Some countries sought increase in concessional line of credit by India.

Prime Minister of Mozambique Carlos Agostinho do Rosario favoured deeper ties with India in a range of areas including defence, security, agriculture and energy.

Some of the issues figured in Wednesday’s meetings may find mention in a declaration likely to be released after the summit.

PTI

Delhi police to cordon off areas during India-Africa summit

Traffic snarls are expected in the city for the next two days in view of major arrangements for VVIP movements during the India-Africa summit, even as Delhi Traffic police on Tuesday said that they have developed the best strategy to keep the capital congestion free.

Foreign delegates listening to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj while her addresses during The India-Africa Summit in New Delhi on Tuesday.

PTI
Traffic snarls are expected in the city for the next two days in view of major arrangements for VVIP movements during the India-Africa summit, even as Delhi Traffic police on Tuesday said that they have developed the best strategy to keep the capital congestion free.Several parts of Lutyens’ Delhi and Central Delhi – including India Gate C-Hexagon – will be restricted during the peak hours on both the days. Also major roads like Sardar Patel Marg, Lala Lajpat Rai Marg and Aurobindo Marg will be made out of bounds for general public every now and then in view of VIP movements, said a senior traffic official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have taken the best measures to keep Delhi congestion free. However, there is no harm in starting your journeys a little in advance,” said Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander.The traffic plan for the summit shows that India Gate C-hexagon will be off limits for at least two hours while dignitaries head to Rajghat and the trade fair at Pragati Maidan. Other roads being used by the delegates will be closed for around 40 minutes.Teen Murti Marg, Akbar Road, Tees January Marg, Rajesh Pilot Marg, Subrahmaniam Bharti Marg, Mathura Road and Bhairon Marg will remain closed between 5.30 pm and 10.00 pm tomorrow, the official said. Ashoka Road, Akbar Road, Teen Murti Marg and Sardar Patel Marg will be closed on both days. Also no traffic will be allowed on Amrita Shergil Marg, Max Muller Marg, Maharishi Raman Marg and Arch Bishop Makrious Marg on both days of the summit. The Ring Road stretch between Sarai Kale Khan and Shanti Van will be closed between 8 am and 10 am and again from 4 pm to 8 pm on Thursday. Commuters moving towards north can divert from Nizamuddin Bridge and turn from Akshardham towards Pushta Road. Then they can again join the route near Kashmere Gate ISBT through the Geeta Colony flyover, said Joint Commissioner (Traffic) Sandeep Goel.He added that, another possible diversion would be opting for the upper ridge road and head towards Karol Bagh, and then move towards north. Commuters should avoid Barapullah Road, Lodhi Road, Safdarjung Road, Kamal Ataturk Marg, Mother Teresa Crescent for east-west movement across the city, police said.Commuters have also been advised to use C-Hexagon-Akbar Road-Maulana Azad Road to reach North or South Block from India Gate or C-Hexagon-Ashoka Road-KG Marg to reach Gole Dakkhana and Connaught Place. People heading towards the Airport can use Shanti Path or RTR Marg. There shall also be no restrictions en route to New Delhi and Old Delhi Railway Stations, traffic officials added.

India makes fervent pitch for permanent seat in UNSC

Noting that democratic reforms are essential in global institutions, Sushma Swaraj said the 70th session of the UN General Assembly is an opportune moment to achieve concrete results to resolve these long-pending issues.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj shakes hands with her Cameroon counterpart Mbella Mbella during a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

PTI
Making a fervent pitch for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, India on Tuesday said it along with Africa comprising nearly 2.5 billion people “can no longer be excluded from their rightful place” in the world body.”Although Indians and Africans comprise nearly 2.5 billion people, our nations continue to be excluded from appropriate representation in the institutions of global governance. India and Africa can no longer be excluded from their rightful place of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”How can we expect legitimacy from a governance structure that excludes the entire African continent and a country, which represents one-sixth of humanity?” she said, addressing the Ministerial Meeting of the 3rd India-Africa Summit in the national capital.Noting that democratic reforms are essential in global institutions, Swaraj said the 70th session of the UN General Assembly is an opportune moment to achieve concrete results to resolve these long-pending issues.”Unless we put in place more democratic global governance structures, the more equitable and just international security and development frameworks that are essential for the collective peace and prosperity of this planet, will continue to elude us. There can no longer be pockets of prosperity in vast areas of underdevelopment and insecurity,” Swaraj said.With both India and several African countries battling the menace of terrorism, the EAM batted for better cooperation through intelligence sharing, training and other measures to counter the problem.”In view of the fast growing linkages of such terrorist groups across the globe, we must step up our cooperation through intelligence exchange, training and other measures to counter this menace. We also hope that the international community will cooperate with urgency to adopt the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism,” she said.Batting for enhanced partnership between India and Africa, Swaraj said the cooperation between the two, which extends to agriculture, education and skills development, energy and infrastructure, science and technology should now be enlarged to areas like Blue or Ocean economy, maritime security and counter-terrorism.She noted that over 1,80,000 Indian troops have participated in UN peacekeeping missions — more than from any other country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced that India will further scale up its participation in UN peacekeeping operations, including by providing training for African peacekeepers at facilities in India and in the field.India and Africa also need to work together ahead of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 on Climate Change in Paris and the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Kenya since both share equal concern and interest in this regard, she said.”Our negotiators are cooperating closely in Bonn currently. We look forward to finalising an ambitious and comprehensive climate change agreement based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility. The challenge of global warming can only be addressed adequately through technological solutions and financial resources to manage the transition,” Swaraj said.She said that the recent announcements regarding the signing of a Tripartite Free Trade Agreement and the launch of negotiations for the creation of a Continental Free Trade Agreement in Africa will stimulate further trade and investment.

India makes fervent pitch for permanent seat in UNSC at India-Africa summit

New Delhi:  Making a fervent pitch for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, India today said it along with Africa comprising nearly 2.5 billion people “can no longer be excluded from their rightful place” in the world body.

“Although Indians and Africans comprise nearly 2.5 billion people, our nations continue to be excluded from appropriate representation in the institutions of global governance. India and Africa can no longer be excluded from their rightful place of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said.

Sushma Swaraj in a file photo. AFPSushma Swaraj in a file photo. AFP

Sushma Swaraj in a file photo. AFP

“How can we expect legitimacy from a governance structure that excludes the entire African continent and a country, which represents one-sixth of humanity?” she said, addressing the Ministerial Meeting of the 3rd India-Africa Summit here. Noting that democratic reforms are essential in global institutions, Swaraj said the 70th session of the UN General Assembly is an opportune moment to achieve concrete results to resolve these long-pending issues.

“Unless we put in place more democratic global governance structures, the more equitable and just international security
and development frameworks that are essential for the collective peace and prosperity of this planet, will continue to elude us.

“There can no longer be pockets of prosperity in vast areas of underdevelopment and insecurity,” Swaraj said. With both India and several African countries battling the menace of terrorism, the EAM batted for better cooperation through intelligence sharing, training and other measures to counter the problem.

“In view of the fast growing linkages of such terrorist groups across the globe, we must step up our cooperation through intelligence exchange, training and other measures to counter this menace. We also hope that the international community will cooperate with urgency to adopt the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism,” she said.

PTI

Mann Ki Baat: India-Africa Summit is first event of such big scale, says PM Narendra Modi

“There are a lot of similarities between us…. Around 27 lakh Indians have been living in Africa for a long time,” he said.

PM said India and Africa have economic, cultural and political ties but the biggest factor is the education provided by India to the African youth. (AFP)

File Photo
Ahead of the India-Africa Forum Summit here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said it is for the first time that an event of such a big scale is being held in India and assumes significance considering the historic linkages between the two sides. “From Oct 26 to 29, India-Africa Forum Summit is being held here. On Indian soil, it is for the first that an event of such a big scale is being held. Leaders of 54 African countries and Unions have been invited. Outside Africa, this is the biggest convention,” he said in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Modi said the relations between India and Africa are deep and the population of the two collectively forms one-third of the world populace.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is said that lakhs of years back, this (India and Africa) was a single land mass. Later, due to the Indian Ocean, it split into two,” he said. “There are a lot of similarities between us…. Around 27 lakh Indians have been living in Africa for a long time,” he said. The Prime Minister said India and Africa have economic, cultural and political ties but the biggest factor is the education provided by India to the African youth.Over 25,000 African students have got education in India and political leaders of a number of African countries are India-educated, he said, adding from the point of view of all these aspects, the Summit is important.

‘Inconceivable’ that India, Africa don’t have permanent UNSC seats, says Sushma Swaraj

It is also incomprehensible that India which represents almost one-sixth of world’s population and has all credentials to be a permanent member of the Security Council, is still out of it.

The Security Council continues to be representative of a world order of 1945 (AFP)

File Photo
Pushing for United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said it was “inconceivable” and “incomprehensible” that India and the African continent do not have a permanent representation in the elite club and that both need to work to remove this “anomaly”. She lamented that Africa despite being the largest continent in terms of number of the countries and India, which has one-sixth of the world’s population, still don’t have permanent membership of the UNSC.”A major issue in this context is that of UN Security Council reforms. The Security Council continues to be representative of a world order of 1945. It is inconceivable that the Security Council today does not have any permanent representation from Africa which is the largest continent in terms of number of countries. It is also incomprehensible that India which represents almost one-sixth of world’s population and has all credentials to be a permanent member of the Security Council, is still out of it. We all need to work together to remove this anomaly and media has an important role in this,” Swaraj said in her inaugural address of 3rd India-Africa Editors Forum.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swaraj said India Africa and other developing countries need to work hand-in-hand in two critical areas- climate change and world trade – in the form of Conference of Parties (COP)- 21 on Climate Change in Paris and the 10th WTO Ministerial in Kenya in December this year. “In both these meetings also India, Africa and other developing countries will have to work hand-in-hand to ensure that our development agenda is not affected,” Swaraj said. She said 2015 has been a historic year for pushing forward South-South cooperation as India and Africa celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Asian-African Conference and the 10th Anniversary of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership at Bandung.Earlier, speaking at the inauguration of a rose garden dedicated to India-Africa friendship in the national capital’s diplomatic enclave, Swaraj termed Africa as a frontier of “new opportunities”, adding “we are interested in Africa’s economic growth and its integration with global economy.”

PM Narendra Modi recounts his Africa links, seeks new ways to fund projects

For the first time, in any Africa summit all its 54 countries are participating, making it the historic event of sorts. Till now as per the information available with the Ministry of External Affairs, 40 countries will be represented at the Head of State, head of government level, the rest are being represented by senior ministers.

PM Narendra Modi meets the delegates of African countries before a dinner at the India-Africa Trade Ministers’ Meeting 2015 in New Delhi on Friday

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday recounted his connection with African nations as well as linkages of Gujarat, his home state with that continent, on the eve of the third India-Africa summit, scheduled here next week. Interacting with a group of journalists from African nations, he said that out of 2.70 lakh Indians living in Africa, most belonged to his home state Gujarat. “I hail from the west coast of India from the state of Gujarat. It was in fact the Gujaratis who started trade and commerce with Africa and maritime relations earlier on. I have always had very good relations with various personalities of Africa. So, from a personal point of view I have always had very close links with this region,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> For the first time, in any Africa summit all its 54 countries are participating, making it the historic event of sorts. Till now as per the information available with the Ministry of External Affairs, 40 countries will be represented at the Head of State, head of government level, the rest are being represented by senior ministers. Following the two previous India-Africa Forum Summits, India had committed to the tune of $7.5 billion in concessional credit in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, industry, energy and water. As per government information, in more than 40 countries today there are over 100 projects that are under implementation. In the same vein, India has invested $1.2 billion in more than 100 institutes. India had committed $2.5 billion worth lines of credit to African nations at its first summit in 2008 in Delhi that was attended by 14 African governments and $5 billion at the second edition in Addis Ababa in 2011. But the worry for Modi, is that out of $7.5-billion credit promised across the two summits, only $3.5 billion has been disbursed, and the entire promised amount hasn’t been approved by the finance ministry, even after lapse of four years since the last summit. The PM is expected to announce a fresh package of $10 billion at next week’s summit. He has now advised officials to find a new mechanism preferably a bilateral arrangement with individual countries, rather than flowing the aid through the Africa Union (AU), where it gets lost in bureaucratic machinations. The External Affairs Ministry sources justify this new policy of dealing directly with the countries, explaining that working on major projects through the AU has held up initiatives, because of the grouping’s internal dynamics. Key projects that need land and other infrastructure, like the India-Africa Institute of Information Technology, committed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh eight years ago, remain non-starters. Ghana, which was to host the institute, has procured the required land — but even the blueprint for the university awaits a final approval from the AU. Japan was the first country to hold regular summits with African nations, starting in 1993. But the once-every-five-years meets, always held in Japan till now, will now be held every three years, and in Africa next year for the first time, Tokyo announced last year. The European Union has held these summits every three years since 2004 and China every three years since 2000. And China has made clear it plans to top whatever India promises, with its next summit with Africa, in Johannesburg in December. The US, worried about China’s growing clout in that continent, shed its traditional ambivalence towards leaders with dodgy human rights records, hosting over 35 African leaders in Washington last year.

Kohli ton helps India set up South Africa ODI decider | Reuters

REUTERS – Virat Kohli struck his first one-day international century since the World Cup in February to lead India to a series-levelling 35-run victory over South Africa in Chennai on Thursday.

Kohli made a fluent 138, his third-highest knock in 165 ODIs, to steer the hosts to an imposing 299 for eight in the fourth match of the five-game series.

South Africa replied with 264 for nine, AB de Villiers top-scoring with 112 off 107 balls, as India tied the series at 2-2 ahead of the deciding fifth match in Mumbai on Sunday.

Kohli’s 138 came off 140 deliveries and featured six fours and five sixes including one off Aaron Phangiso to bring up his 23rd ODI hundred and his first against the Proteas.

The Indian batsman shared two century partnerships, the first with Ajinkya Rahane (45) and the second with Suresh Raina (53) who bounced back to form after making ducks in his two previous matches.

Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada were the pick of the South African bowlers, taking three wickets each.

“It always feels good when you get a century and the team wins,” Kohli said. “I told (De Villiers) in the dressing room my heart was in my mouth when he was batting.

“He plays unbelievable shots. He’s a very modest man, too, never praises himself, so I’ll do that for him. The credit goes to him. He fought it out.”

Quinton de Kock got South Africa’s reply off to a flying start when he blasted 43 off 35 balls but his departure left De Villiers to fight a lone hand.

Like Kohli, the South African captain brought up his ton with a six, off Amit Mishral.

It was his 22nd ODI hundred, a record for a South African, but was not enough to get his team over the line after he fell to Bhuvneshwar Kumar who scooped up the last three wickets to finish with three for 68.

“We had a great opportunity to clinch the series,” De Villiers said. “It was a hard-fought game and I loved the way the boys fought till the end.”

(Reporting by Julian Linden,; Editing by Neville Dalton)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

More girls dying before age 5 than boys in India: UN report

India is among the countries with the largest surplus of men and a worrying under-five sex ratio with more girls dying before the age of five than boys, according to a UN report.

India is among the countries with the largest surplus of men and a worrying under-five sex ratio with more girls dying before the age of five than boys, according to a UN report.”The World’s Women 2015″ report launched said men outnumber women in eastern Asia, southern Asia, Oceania, and western Asia.The three regions have the highest surplus of men in absolute numbers: 50.5 million in Eastern Asia (mainly due to China), 49.5 million in Southern Asia (mainly due to India), and 12.1 million in Western Asia (mainly due to Saudi Arabia and the UAE).In absolute terms, countries with the largest surplus of men are China (52 million), in Eastern Asia, and India (43 million), in Southern Asia.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ratio of men to women and the surplus of men in these two most populous countries largely determine the surplus of men observed at the global level, the report said.The report said that in India, while sex-selective abortions have been technically illegal since 1996, the law has had “little effect so far on the sex ratio at birth”.India has the lowest sex ratio in under-5 mortality, with a ratio of 93 (93 boys die before age 5 for 100 girls that die by that age).”This is also the only country with an under-5 mortality sex ratio under 100 (more girls die than boys),” it said.India alone accounted for 21% of all under-5 deaths in 2013 and this low sex ratio in under-5 mortality is pulling down the average for Southern Asia as a whole and the entire world.”Higher mortality among girls can be closely related to a general preference for sons in India, which is expressed in special treatment for boys in terms of parental investment in nutrition, vaccinations, access to health treatment and parental care in general,” the report said.It further said that in China and India, between 1995 and 2013, women’s participation in the labour force declined from 72 to 64% and from 35 to 27%, respectively.Child marriage is also most common in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with India accounting for one-third of the global total of child brides.

Hardik Patel moves Gujarat High Court to set aside sedition charges

Hardik, who was detained by Rajkot rural police ahead of the India-South Africa One-Day International on Sunday as he had threatened to disrupt the match, was arrested yesterday by the Rajkot rural police for allegedly insulting the national flag.

PTI
A day after he was arrested, Patel quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel on Tuesday moved a petition before the Gujarat High Court seeking to set aside the sedition charges filed against him in Surat.Hardik’s father Bharat Patel moved the plea on behalf of his son through his advocate B M Mangukiya and stated that no offence can be attributed to the Patel leader.”No offence can be disclosed by spoken words of Hardik and no overt act can be attributed to him by those words, thus no offence has been made out,” the plea said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plea is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow.A case of sedition was filed against Hardik for his alleged controversial remarks instigating his community youth to kill cops instead of committing suicide.Hardik, who was detained by Rajkot rural police ahead of the India-South Africa One-Day International on Sunday as he had threatened to disrupt the match, was arrested yesterday by the Rajkot rural police for allegedly insulting the national flag.Just after he was granted bail last evening by a local court in the flag case, Surat police had arrested him in the sedition complaint which was filed in that city.Surat city DCP Makrand Chauhan had filed a complaint against Hardik in Amroli police station for advising a Patel youth to kill policemen.The sedition case was filed under section 124(A) of IPC at Amroli Police Station in Surat under which any accused, if convicted, can be sentenced to maximum of life imprisonment, while the minimum sentence is of three years.The section reads, “whoever, by words, either spoken or written..brings hatred or contempt, or excites disaffection towards the Government shall be punishable with imprisonment for life…or with minimum imprisonment up to three years.” Other IPC sections included in the FIR against Hardik are section 115 (Abetment of offence), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups, 505-2 (incite one community against another) and 506 (criminal intimidation).The 22-year-old emerging Patel leader had on October 3 allegedly advised a Surat-based youth from his community to kill cops rather than ending his life.

India in talks to buy coking coal mines in South Africa | Reuters

NEW DELHI India is talking to South Africa to buy coal mines there to feed its expanding steel industry, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said, adding that New Delhi also hopes to stop imports of coal used to generate power in three years as domestic output jumps.

After years of poor production crippling power supply, state-run Coal India is boosting output at a record pace to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s goal of connecting to the grid millions of Indians who still make do with kerosene lamps.

But India, which wants to triple its steel capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2025, does not have enough reserves of coking or steelmaking coal, prompting Coal India to look at assets abroad, Swarup told the Reuters Global Commodities Summit on Monday.

“They are presently in negotiations with people in South Africa,” Swarup said. “We imported around 80-90 million tonnes of coking coal last (fiscal) year and if that is the amount that can come through a mine owned by Coal India, it would consider it.”

Swarup declined to give any investment figure but said money was not an issue for Coal India, which had cash and bank balance of more than $8 billion for the year ended March 31.

Overall coal imports into India, the world’s third-largest buyer, fell for the third straight month in September in a country used to seeing shiploads coming in as new power plants started. Coal India’s output grew 32 million tonnes to 494.2 million tonnes in the fiscal year 2014/15, the biggest volume rise in its four-decade history.

“In three years we should be able to mine (all the power-generating) coal we require,” Swarup said. “The quality of coal that is not available will still be imported.”

India is looking to more than double its total coal output to 1.5 billion tonnes by the end of this decade, with 500 million coming from the private sector. Swarup said India is working out details to open up the nationalized sector and allow private companies to mine and sell coal.

The turnaround in India’s coal industry has been a highlight of Modi’s tenure in office since May last year, and the prime minister is keen that output grows further.

“We are reasonably satisfied (with the coal resurgence), though there is still a long way to go,” Swarup said.

But environmentalists are worried the world’s third-largest polluter is leading a pan-Asian dash to burn more of the dirty fossil fuel amid international efforts to contain global warming. (link.reuters.com/wup75w)

Global investment banks are under pressure from environmental groups to steer clear of India’s plan to raise as much as $3.3 billion from selling a 10 percent stake in Coal India.

Swarup said the environment was a non-negotiable issue. He said India was planning to plant more trees than it cuts during coal mining operations, wash coal to improve its quality, push renewable energy and promote other “clean-coal” technologies.

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; editing by William Hardy and David Clarke)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Hardik Patel arrested for the second time on Monday on sedition charge

Surat: Firebrand quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel, whose reservation stir has roiled Gujarat, was on Monday arrested twice, first on the charge of insulting the national flag and the second time on the serious charge of sedition.

Hardik Patel was arrested on Monday on sedition charge. PTI

Hardik Patel was arrested on Monday on sedition charge. PTI

The 22-year-old commerce graduate, detained on Sunday by Rajkot Rural Police ahead of the India-South Africa ODI which he had threatened to disrupt, was arrested on Monday morning for allegedly insulting the national flag.

Just after he was granted bail in the evening by a Rajkot Court, Surat Police arrested him on sedition charge for allegedly instigating a Patel community youth to kill policemen instead of committing suicide.

“A team of Surat Crime Branch has arrested Hardik from Rajkot and bringing him to the city. We have lodged a complaint of sedition against him in Amroli Police Station,” Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.

“We checked all the relevant video footage, which clearly suggested that Hardik did commit an offence of insulting the national flag. Thus, police lodged an FIR against Hardik at Paddhari Police Station today after which we have arrested him,” Rajkot-Rural Superintendent of Police Gagandeep Gambhir said earlier in the day.

Rajkot Police produced Hardik before a Magisterial Court. After hearing the arguments, Judicial Magistrate AS Kherjawala granted him bail on a Rs 10,000 bond. He was then taken into custody in the sedition case.

“We had filed a case of sedition against Hardik for his October 3 comments telling his friends to kill policemen,” Surat DCP Makrand Chauhan, the complainant in the case, said.

The quota stir leader was booked under Section 124(A) of IPC. A person convicted of sedition faces a minimum jail term of three years, while the maximum punishment is life sentence.

The Section reads, “whoever, by words, either spoken or written..brings hatred or contempt, or excites disaffection towards the Government shall be punishable with imprisonment for life…or with minimum imprisonment up to three years.”

Other IPC Sections included in the FIR against Hardik are 115 (Abetment of offence), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups, 505-2 (incite one community against another) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

The fiery leader had allegedly advised a youth from his community to kill policemen rather than ending his own life.

“If you have so much courage…then go and kill a couple of policemen. Patels never commit suicide,” Hardik had allegedly told the youth, Vipul Desai, who had announced he would commit suicide in support of the quota agitation.

Hardik had visited Desai’s house accompanied by a team of a news channel which later aired the conversation. The complaint against Hardik came almost 15 days after his controversial remarks.

The quota spearhead has been hogging the limelight since the 25 August “mega rally” of the Patels in Ahmedabad and the subsequent violence across Gujarat in which 10 people were killed.

Hardik was detained on Sunday on his way to Khandheri cricket stadium in Rajkot ahead of the India-South Africa match as he had threatened to stage a protest at the stadium.

According to police, Hardik’s feet allegedly touched the national flag, which he was carrying, as he jumped on a car in an attempt to talk to the media when he was stopped by the police while he on his way to the stadium.

PTI

Rajkot Police to file FIR against Hardik Patel for ‘insulting’ national flag

Hardik’s feet reportedly touched the national flag which he was carrying as he jumped on a car in an attempt to talk to the media when he was stopped by the police at Madhapar crossroads in Rajkot on Sunday afternoon.
File Photo
PTI
Rajkot district superintendent of police Gagandeep Gambhir said this evening that the police would be registering an FIR against the Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel for “insulting” the national flag.According to Gambhir, Hardik’s feet touched the national flag which he was carrying as he jumped on a car in an attempt to talk to the media when he was stopped by the police at Madhapar crossroads in Rajkot on Sunday afternoon. “Hardik always tries to be in media…when he was stopped by police, he suddenly jumped on the roof of his car with the national flag. While doing so, the flag touched his feet, which is against the dignity of the tricolor,” said the SP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Whatever he has done is not allowed as per the law. So we will file an FIR for disrespecting the national flag.” Hardik was detained by police on his way to Khandheri cricket stadium in Rajkot ahead of the India-South Africa One Day International. He had threatened to stage a protest at the stadium.Also read- Patel agitation: Hardik Patel’s detention sparks sporadic protests in GujaratGambhir said that action will also be taken against the driver of the car in which Hardik was travelling.”We have also seized the car as the occupants failed to produce any document related to the vehicle. The person who was driving did not have driving license,” he said.

Patel agitation: Hardik Patel’s detention sparks sporadic protests in Gujarat

An agitation was held for brief period in Bardoli town by some people but they soon called it off after police requested them not to resort to any kind of protest, said Bardoli town sub-inspector D R Vasava

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti Conveyor Hardik Patel arrested by police on his way to protest in Cricket match from Rajkot Jamnagar Highway near Rajkot on Sunday.

PTI
Sporadic protests took places at few places in Gujarat while one state transport bus was set on fire in Morbi district following detention of Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel ahead of the ODI between Indian and South Africa at Rajkot on Sunday.”Some unidentified persons set afire a stationed ST bus at Mahendranagar area on the outskirts of Morbi city,” N S Malek, Inspector of B division police station in Morbi said, adding they were trying to trace the persons who are behind the incident. The officer said nobody was injured in the incident.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, two incidents of protests were reported in Bardoli and Surat.In Surat, Alpesh Kathiria, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in city and also a close associate of Hardik, held a demonstration at Kamrej area along with his supporters and tried to block National Highway no 8, following which he was detained.”Around 17 people, including Kathiria, were detained by the police for around four hours as they tried to block NH-8 at Kamrej area,” Police Control Room officer of Surat (Rural) Sunil Sinh said.An agitation was held for brief period in Bardoli town by some people but they soon called it off after police requested them not to resort to any kind of protest, said Bardoli town sub-inspector D R Vasava. Meanwhile, Kathiria alleged that cops treated the members of Patel community like “terrorists” and they will avenge the treatment meted out to them by the government by voting against the ruling BJP in the upcoming polls to local bodies.”We are descendants of Sardar Patel, but now the police have treated us like terrorists. Police have conducted atrocities on us, but we will not remain silent and will take the revenge of all these acts of the police,” Kathiria told reporters.He alleged that members of Patel community were segregated and not allowed to enter the cricket stadium in Rajkot where the ODI was held between India and South Africa.”Those who were wearing T-shirts of the so-called ‘Vikas Purus’ who created a myth about development in Gujarat — our Prime Minister Narendra Modi — are allowed to go inside the stadium, but our Patel brothers, who wore T-shirts of Sardar Patel, were not allowed to go inside the stadium,” he alleged.Earlier in the day, Hardik, along with his supporters was detained by police while he was on his way to Khandheri cricket stadium in Rajkot to attend the match. Meanwhile, Hardik still continues to be in detention.

Quota stir: Hardik Patel detained ahead of India-South Africa ODI in Rajkot after protest threat

Rajkot: Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel was on Sunday detained by police while he was on his way to Khandheri Cricket Stadium in the city ahead of the India-South Africa One day international (ODI) match in Rajkot.

Minutes before his detention, the 22-year-old leader, who had earlier threatened to stage protests at the ODI venue on their reservation demand, told reporters that he just wanted to watch the match like a common spectator.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

Following his threat, the Rajkot administration had last night banned mobile Internet services in the district.

“Police detained Hardik Patel from Madhapar cross road area today when he was on his way to Khandheri Cricket Stadium in the city, where an ODI between India and South Africa is scheduled to be played,” Superintendent of Police of Jamnagar (Rural) Pradip Sejul told PTI.

Hardik, the spearhead of Patel quota agitation and convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), and around four of his supporters were detained when he was going to the cricket stadium in the attire of a farmer, he said.

Rajkot (Rural) Superintendent of Police Gagandeep Gambhir said Hardik was taken to SRP headquarters in Ghanteswar area on the city’s outskirts.

“We have not come here to protest, but we just want to watch the match with our Patidar (Patel) brothers. Like many other spectators who have come here to cheer up Indian team. We have tickets for the match also,” Hardik said.

“I want to urge to the people to keep calm and not to do anything that will breach peace and law and order situation of Gujarat,” he said.

Hardik, the convener of the Patidar Anamant Andolan Samiti (PAAS), had earlier said that they will block the way of two teams and not allow them to reach the stadium and gherao the venue if he and his supporters were not allowed to go inside to protest.

He had also urged the Patel community members to remain present in large number during the Rajkot match to raise their reservation demand for which they have been agitating for couple of months.

As per the PAAS, they chose the cricket match as they want the “world to know how Patel community is being harassed in the so-called development model of Gujarat”.

In the wake of the threat and given the large scale violence the state witnessed recently over the quota stir, police have fortified the stadium, located on the outskirts of Rajkot city at Khandheri village, which will host the third cricket match under the Gandhi-Mandela freedom series.

PTI

Quota stir: Hardik Patel detained ahead of India-South Africa ODI in Rajkot

Rajkot: Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel was on Sunday detained by police while he was on his way to Khandheri Cricket Stadium in the city ahead of the India-South Africa One day international (ODI) match in Rajkot.

Minutes before his detention, the 22-year-old leader, who had earlier threatened to stage protests at the ODI venue on their reservation demand, told reporters that he just wanted to watch the match like a common spectator.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

Following his threat, the Rajkot administration had last night banned mobile Internet services in the district.

“Police detained Hardik Patel from Madhapar cross road area today when he was on his way to Khandheri Cricket Stadium in the city, where an ODI between India and South Africa is scheduled to be played,” Superintendent of Police of Jamnagar (Rural) Pradip Sejul told PTI.

Hardik, the spearhead of Patel quota agitation and convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), and around four of his supporters were detained when he was going to the cricket stadium in the attire of a farmer, he said.

Rajkot (Rural) Superintendent of Police Gagandeep Gambhir said Hardik was taken to SRP headquarters in Ghanteswar area on the city’s outskirts.

“We have not come here to protest, but we just want to watch the match with our Patidar (Patel) brothers. Like many other spectators who have come here to cheer up Indian team. We have tickets for the match also,” Hardik said.

“I want to urge to the people to keep calm and not to do anything that will breach peace and law and order situation of Gujarat,” he said.

Hardik, the convener of the Patidar Anamant Andolan Samiti (PAAS), had earlier said that they will block the way of two teams and not allow them to reach the stadium and gherao the venue if he and his supporters were not allowed to go inside to protest.

He had also urged the Patel community members to remain present in large number during the Rajkot match to raise their reservation demand for which they have been agitating for couple of months.

As per the PAAS, they chose the cricket match as they want the “world to know how Patel community is being harassed in the so-called development model of Gujarat”.

In the wake of the threat and given the large scale violence the state witnessed recently over the quota stir, police have fortified the stadium, located on the outskirts of Rajkot city at Khandheri village, which will host the third cricket match under the Gandhi-Mandela freedom series.

PTI

Indore:10 held for black-marketing tickets of India-South Africa ODI

Ten persons have been arrested for allegedly black-marketing tickets of the One Day International match which is being played between India and South Africa at

Ten persons have been arrested for allegedly black-marketing tickets of the One Day International match which is being played between India and South Africa at Holkar stadium in Indore, police said on Wednesday.Acting on a tip-off, the crime branch arrested 10 persons from different areas here for black-marketing tickets of the ODI in last 24 hours, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Vinayprakash Paul said. He said that 40 tickets ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 3,000 were seized from the accused, who were selling them at much higher prices and making quick bucks.Further investigation was on in the matter, he said. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association Chairman Jyotiraditya Scindia said the demand for tickets of the ODI was high against the availability.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If we come across any irregularity in the sale of tickets, we will go for a probe into it,” he told reporters. Asked about the outburst of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya over the ODI tickets, Scindia said politics should not been drawn into sports.Vijaywargiya, the president of the Cricket Association (Indore division), had on October 12 tweeted: “Whenever any match took place in Indore, I have watched it along with workers in the stadium. This time MPCA has expressed its inability to provide tickets for the ODI and I apologise to all the workers for the same.””Because of being busy in Bihar Assembly elections, I will not be able to come to Indore to watch the match. My family too will watch it at our home on television set. I request all of you also to enjoy it in your homes on TV,” Vijaywargiya said.The city is hosting an ODI series after a gap of four years.

Rosberg curses bad luck as title hopes slip away | Reuters

SOCHI, Russia Nico Rosberg vowed to bounce back and win the next race in Texas but in his heart he knows his Formula One title hopes are over for another year after retiring from Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.

With Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton taking his ninth win of the season, the German is now 73 points behind the Briton with four races — a maximum of 100 points — still to come.

As Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said after the race at Sochi’s Olympic Park circuit, Rosberg has only a mathematical chance.

“He could have won the race today so if you lose 25 points then it’s difficult,” the Austrian told Reuters when asked whether he saw any way back for the German.

“Mathematically yes, but then Lewis has to retire now and go home. He will not.”

Rosberg had started on pole position and kept Hamilton behind him but his hopes of a victory evaporated early on when his car developed a throttle problem that forced him back to the pits and retirement after seven laps.

“It is tough. It really is tough,” he told reporters.

“Coming here, really having an awesome weekend with qualifying, race start, first corner, everything really going to plan and then to lose it in such a way is very tough.”

The retirement was Rosberg’s second in four races and allowed Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to overtake him for second place overall. The four-times champion is now 66 points behind Hamilton.

Hamilton need only score two points more than Rosberg at the next race in Austin, and nine more than Vettel, to win his third championship.

A Mercedes one-two, with Rosberg second as was the case in Austin last year, would do it.

Despite the odds, Rosberg said he would be fighting right to the bitter end.

“Bouncing back is never a problem for me,” he said. “That’s always worked out. I just come back, I forget the last week and learn from it.

“You just have to be realistic now, it’s a lot of points. It does not change my approach. We are still pushing to the maximum, I am committed and going for it mentally.

“It’s disappointing of course because I was looking to close the gap today but anyways I will go to the next race and I want to win there. That is the goal at the moment.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.