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Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike after 40 days
According to Israeli prison authorities, 1,578 Palestinian prisoners out of the nearly 6,500 serving sentences in Israeli prisons were involved in the hunger strike that began 40 days ago Ramallah, May 27: Over 800 Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons ended a 40-day hunger strike on Saturday after reaching an agreement over their demands.The suspension of the hunger strike was agreed to by a committee consisting of several prisoners, including the leader of the strike and Fatah member Marwan Barghouti, which negotiated with Israeli prison authorities during the last 20 hours, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club Qadura Fares told Efe news.At around 5 a.m., after negotiations and a lot of pressure in the Ashkelon prison, Barghouti and his team agreed to end the strike, Akram Al-Ayasa, spokesman for the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, said.The Israeli prison service reported in a statement that the end of the strike was achieved through an agreement between I...




Mahmoud Abbas urges US to intervene in Palestinian prisoners hunger strike in Israel
Ramallah, May 26: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged US President Donald Trump's envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt to intervene to resolve the Palestinian prisoners hunger strike.Abbas on Thursday told a meeting for his Fatah Party's Central Committee held at his office in Ramallah that he met with Greenblatt and discussed with him the prisoners' question and what would the US be able to do in this respect, Xinhua news agency reported.Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been going on a hunger strike since April 17, demanding an improvement in the condition of detaining them, where officials warned that their life is in crucial danger.Abbas added that "we explained to envoy Greenblatt in details the question of the striking prisoners, which is crucial and sensitive"."We hope that through out our contact with Greenblatt, we would be able to get an answer from the Israeli side over the prisoners' demands as soon as possible in order to pre...




Escaping ethnic trouble, 280 Myanmar tribals seek shelter in Mizoram
Aizawl, May 23: At least 280 people, mostly women and children, from Myanmar have taken shelter in two villages in Mizoram allegedly fearing ethnic trouble at home, an official said here on Tuesday."Around 280 people from Myanmar's Ralie village in Arakan area have taken shelter at Lungpuk and Khalkhy mountainous villages in Saiha district since late Friday," a Mizoram home department official said.Assam Rifles troopers posted along the Myanmar border areas and the Saiha district administration provided necessary aid and support, including food, to the refugees."The local tribal villagers of the two villages also made arrangements for food and lodging for the hapless people," the official added.Senior Mizoram police and Assam Rifles officials have immediately rushed to the bordering areas and are supervising the situation.Assam Rifles sources said the refugees fled their villages following imminent conflict between the outlawed Arakan Army militants and the Myanmar ...




22 killed in blast at Ariana Grande's Manchester concert
Manchester, May 23: At least 22 persons, including children, were killed when a suicide bomb blast tore through a crowd of fans leaving an Ariana Grande pop concert in the Manchester Arena, shocking the country and underlining the continued threat to European security. A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the attack, police said on Tuesday.At least 59 people were also injured in the blast set off when the attacker detonated an improvised explosive device, shortly after singer Ariana Grande had finished her performance on Monday night. The lone male attacker died in the blast, Greater Manchester Police said.Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said investigators believed the attack was conducted by one man who died at the scene. Detectives are working to establish if he "was acting alone or as part of a network".British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the "appalling terrorist attack" that came two months after the Westminster attack. A...




Chicago launches campaign against Trump's immigration policies
Washington, May 22: The US city of Chicago is launching a campaign in response to President Donald Trump's threats to cut off funding for sanctuary cities, the media reported.Sanctuary city is a broad term applied to jurisdictions with policies in place to limit cooperation or involvement with federal immigration actions, reports CNN.Many US cities, counties and some states have a myriad of informal policies and laws that qualify as "sanctuary" positions."One Chicago" was established on Sunday afternoon in response to the growing needs of the city's refugee and immigrant populations.The campaign slogan reads: "Three million residents, three million stories, one Chicago".Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and several others kicked off the event at the DuSable Museum of African American History.Emmanuel spoke of his grandfather, who journeyed to the US when he was 13 years old."He came because this country represented something that Moldova would never stand for,"...




Twitter co-founder says sorry for 'helping make Trump president'
London, May 21: Evan Williams, former CEO and co-founder of Twitter, has publicly apologised for the role the micro blogging site might have played in the election of Donald Trump as US president, media reported.Trump indicated in March that Twitter played an important role in his election. When asked about that remark, Williams in an interview told the New York Times, "It's a very bad thing, Twitter's role in that.""If it's true that he wouldn't be President if it weren't for Twitter, then yeah, I'm sorry," Williams said.Trump has 30 million followers on his personal account on the platform and was known as a prolific tweeter well before he announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for presidency, independent.co.uk reported on Saturday.Since entering the White House and taking control of the @POTUS (President of the United States) Twitter handle, he has 17 million followers of that account.The platform was used extensively by his supporters during t...




Iran votes, retains Rouhani as President
Tehran, May 20: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won a resounding victory in the 12th Presidential polls on Saturday as voters yearning for more freedom at home and less isolation abroad have emphatically backed the moderate cleric.With a huge turnout, polling stations stayed open until midnight in parts of the country, defying concerns that moderates disillusioned by the weak economy or slow pace of change would not vote.Iran's interior minister, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, announced live on state television that Rouhani received 23,549,616 votes (57 per cent), compared with his conservative rival Ebrahim Raisi, who won 15,786,449 votes (38.5 per cent).More than 41.2 million people voted out of 56 million who were eligible to do so. The two other lesser known candidates, Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, got 478,215 and 215,450 votes respectively.No sitting president in Iran has failed to win a second term since 1981.Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the top leader of the count...




Iran votes to pick next President
Khamenei was among the first to cast his ballot and urged people to vote. "I believe that the presidential election is very important. The fate of the country is in the hands of people," he said. Tehran, May 19: Millions of Iranians flocked to polling stations on Friday to vote in a presidential election that pits incumbent Hassan Rouhani against a strong conservative opposition.Rouhani's main challenger is Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric and former prosecutor who is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.Rouhani seeks to normalise ties with the West, against Raisi who said that the President "sold out the values of Iran's Islamic revolution to its enemies".Some 63,500 polling stations opened at 8 a.m. on Friday in the country where more than 56 million were eligible to vote. Early election results are expected on Saturday, Press TV reported.Khamenei was among the first to cast his ballot and urged people to vote. "I believe that the presidentia...




India scores diplomatic win as ICJ puts on hold Jadhav execution
The Hague, May 18: India on Thursday scored a major diplomatic, moral and legal victory when the International Court of Justice (ICJ) directed Pakistan not to execute alleged spy Kulbhushan Jadhav pending its final decision and inform it of the steps being taken to implement the order."Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr. Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order," ICJ President Ronny Abraham said in the operative portion of the unanimous order which he read out in the open court for nearly 30 minutes."The court also decides that until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seized of the matters which form the subject matter of this order," he said.There are 10 judges, including Justice Dalveer Bhandari of India, apart from the President which form the court.In a declaration appended to the judgment Justice...




Trump's first trip to MidEast includes stop in West Bank
Washington, May 17: US President Donald Trump will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, West Bank next week during his trip to the Middle East, a senior US official said on Tuesday.The meeting will come after Trump's meeting with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem and will convey his administration's eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict, said Trump's National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster here at a White House briefing.The White House said early last week that Trump will express his support for Palestinian self-determination.However, it remains unknown whether Trump will publicly express his support for a two-state solution, a longstanding US stance on the issue.Before Trump's trip to Israel and the West Bank, he will visit Saudi Arabia, where he and Saudi leaders will sign several agreements "that will solidify US-Saudi security and economic cooperation," said McMaster.Also in Saudi, Trump will address leaders from over 50 Muslim coun...




India, Pakistan face off in ICJ over Jadhav
The ICJ had last week "stayed" the execution on a petition by India, which approached the UN court after 46 years on an issue with Pakistan The Hague, May 15: India and Pakistan on Monday clashed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the fate of alleged spy Kulbushan Jadhav with New Delhi invoking the court's jurisdiction to see that the death sentence against him was annulled immediately.But Pakistan rejected the plea on the ground that India had no right to invoke the jurisdiction of the UN's highest court because the Vienna Convention does not provide for matters relating to spies, terrorists and those who indulge in espionage.However, Islamabad suffered a jolt when it was not allowed by the court to play the video containing a purported confession by Jadhav, a former navy official, who India says was abducted from Iran and taken to Balochistan.At the end of the day's proceedings ICJ President Ronny Abraham announced that the verdict in the matter would be...




Ransomware cyber-attack a wake-up call: Microsoft
There are fears of further "ransomware" attacks as people return to work on Monday Washington, May 15: A cyber-attack that hit 150 countries since Friday should be treated by governments around the world as a "wake-up call", Microsoft has said.The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments had caused "widespread damage", the BBC reported.A statement from Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith on Sunday criticised the way governments store up information about security flaws in computer systems.There are fears of further "ransomware" attacks as people return to work on Monday.The latest virus attack last week exploits a flaw in a version of Microsoft Windows first identified by US intelligence.Many firms have had experts working over the weekend to prevent new infections. The virus took control of users' files and demanded $300 payments to restore access, the BBC report said.The spread of the virus sl...




No extradition proceedings against Lalit Modi even after six years
Sidhartha Dutta, New Delhi, May 14: Indian security agencies may be pursuing former IPL Chairman Lalit Modi, now in London, but they are yet to submit a formal extradition request to the External Affairs Ministry.The ministry admitted to IANS in response to an RTI query that it was yet to get a formal extradition request without which it cannot make any request to the United Kingdom to send Lalit Modi back to India."The ministry is yet to receive a formal extradition request in respect of Lalit Modi from the concerned investigating agency in India," said the April 11 reply to the Right to Information query.A later April 28 RTI reply from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which got a communication from the External Affairs Ministry, said it was not bound by RTI rules to reveal any information.The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is pursuing 17 cases of alleged financial impropriety against Modi and other former office-bearers of the Board of Control for Cricket In India-I...




UN opens 12th refugee camp in Iraq to shelter families fleeing Mosul
Less than four weeks ago, UNHCR opened a refugee camp with a capacity for 30,000 people, which is now almost full Geneva, May 13: The UN refugee agency UNHCR this week opened a new camp in northern Iraq to shelter the increasing number of Iraqi families fleeing the fighting in western Mosul, UNHCR said on Friday.Agency spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a press briefing here Friday that the camp, the 12th of its kind in response to the ongoing Mosul emergency, was located around 60 km west of Mosul along the highway to Erbil.He said that as of Friday, the new site sheltered nearly 500 children, women and men -- 96 families in total. It has a capacity to accommodate more than 9,000 people when fully occupied.Less than four weeks ago, UNHCR opened a refugee camp with a capacity for 30,000 people, which is now almost full.According to UNHCR, the risk to people fleeing Mosul is "very great". Families arriving from Mosul reported heavy bombing and fighting. They told UNHCR ther...




India moves ICJ on Kulbhushan Jadhav, gets stay on death sentence
A military court sentenced him to death on April 10 on charges of espionage and waging war against IslamabadNew Delhi, May 10: In a reprieve for alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, the International Court of Justice at the Hague in the Netherlands has suspended the death sentence on him by a Pakistani military court, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday."I have spoken to the mother of #KulbhushanJadhav and told her about the order of President, ICJ under Art 74 Paragraph 4 of Rules of Court," she said in a tweet.She also said that legal luminary Harish Salve was representing the country on the matter.In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ICJ said: "On 8 May 2017, the Republic of India instituted proceedings against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, accusing the latter of aegregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations' (hereinafter the aVienna Convention') in the matter of the detention and trial of an Indian national, Mr. Kulbhu...




Emmanuel Macron: From political newbie to youngest French President
Paris, May 8: A civil servant who became a millionaire investment banker and eventually a government minister is now the youngest President of France. Welcome Emmanuel Macron, a complete unknown four years ago.The founder of the political movement "En Marche!", Macron, 39. is a centrist who never stood for elections before, did not have the backing of a traditional party and had no constituency or firm voter base.No wonder, he was branded by critics as inexperienced, having served only as Economy minister as his most senior role for just two years.A part of Macron's allure is his atypical rise from a civil servant to a popular presidential nominee. He can present himself as anti-establishment to those disaffected by the fractious nature of French politics.He is staunchly pro-European, wants to put France back at the heart of the European Union and defend the bloc's single market.He has styled himself as a progressive maverick who is "neither Left nor right", economi...




Greenpeace activists hang anti-Le Pen banner on Eiffel Tower
Paris, May 6: A giant yellow banner was unfurled on the Eiffel Tower on Friday as Greenpeace activists protested French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, media reports said.According to NBC News, a photo posted by the official Greenpeace France Twitter account showed climbers scaling the iron structure along with the message: "Let's not let the National Front put our values in danger."Activists for Greenpeace slipped into the Eiffel Tower around 5 a.m. and hung a banner with the French national motto: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. Six activists then rappelled down the tower's archway, USA Today reported."Marine Le Pen doesn't respect liberty, doesn't push for equality for all and she doesn't show any fraternity for those who need it. So this is our way of reminding everybody they all need to mobilize against the National Front, to defend these values and to go and vote on Sunday," head of Greenpeace in France Jean-Francois Julliard told local televisi...




Indian success stories abound in Saudi Arabia
A bilateral agreement on labour cooperation for recruitment of General Category Workers was signed during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016 Ambassador Saud Al Sati,Economy, culture and human bonds are the most important ties that bind Saudi Arabians and Indians together. Our association is one of the fondest and one of the oldest in the world, going back all the way to the third millennium BC. There had been ancient peaceful contacts and interactions between the two peoples, including immigrations from both sides.India has for many centuries welcomed Arabs, who have come here to settle, study or for trading. Over the years that I have proudly served as Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of India, I have come across so many stories of the deep human bonds that exist between the peoples of Saudi Arabia and India. I have heard stories of Arabs who came decades ago to Gujarat, Bombay (now, Mumbai), Delhi and Hyderaba...




Turkish President Erdogan accorded ceremonial welcome
New Delhi, May 1: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Monday. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi received Erdogan. He was then accorded the ceremonial guard of honour at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan."India is delighted to welcome President Erdogan of Turkey. Will hold talks with him and also address a business summit," Modi said in a tweet."Beginning an important visit," Gopal Baglay, official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs said in another tweet.Later the visiting dignitary paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on the Turkish President and discussed issues of bilateral interest.Later during the day, Erdogan will participate in delegation-level talks with Modi. The two sides were also expected to sign a series of agreements.Modi and Erdogan will also address a business event organised by ...




Islam does not condone terrorism: Al-Azhar chief
"Islam is not a terrorist religion, just as Christianity and Judaism are not," Tayyeb told an international peace conference in Cairo on Friday attended by Pope Francis during his two-day visit to EgyptCairo, April 29: The Muslim faith is not a terrorist religion, Ahmad al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo's prestigious Al-Azhar mosque - the highest seat of Sunni learning - said on Friday."Islam is not a terrorist religion, just as Christianity and Judaism are not," Tayyeb told an international peace conference in Cairo on Friday attended by Pope Francis during his two-day visit to Egypt.Islam should not be judged on the basis of the actions of a "limited group of people" who misinterpret its sacred texts, Tayeb said.In the same way, the Crusades during the Middle Ages do not make Christianity a violent religion, nor should Judaism be judged for the occupation of the Palestinian territories, he said.Before the visit - the first papal trip to Cairo since Joh...




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