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Hasina meets Chinese FM on pragmatic cooperation, Rohingya issue
Dhaka, Nov 19: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here, with both sides emphasizing their willingness to further deepen pragmatic cooperation, a media report said. During the meeting on Saturday, Hasina congratulated the successful holding of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. She thanked the Chinese side for offering long-term support and aid to Bangladesh's development and construction, Xinhua news agency reported. Chinese President Xi Jinping last year paid a historic visit to Bangladesh while establishing the strategic cooperative partnership between both countries, Hasina said, adding that Dhaka is willing to further deepen pragmatic cooperation with Beijing in all fields. Wang said China is willing to work with Bangladesh to firmly support each other on issues of core interests and major concern and deepen the strategic cooperative partnership. He expressed hope that the two sides coul...




'Over 100 Rohingya killed fleeing Myanmar in two months'
United Nations, Nov 18: More than 100 Rohingya refugees have drowned in shipwrecks and boat capsizes as they fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, according to a UN official. Stephane Dujarric, the chief UN spokesman, on Friday said that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has received reports of some 30 improvised rafts, carrying more than 1,000 people arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar, reports Xinhua news. Unable to pay to cross over to Bangladesh, the spokesman said refugees "are building rafts from whatever materials they can get their hands on" to make the four-hour trip across the Naf River. Recent arrivals told UNHCR that they had been "waiting for more than a month in desperate conditions" on the shores of Myanmar, according to Dujarric.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported approximately 620,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since August 25. "The refugees are mostly living in makeshift ...




Facebook, Google join 'The Trust Project' to fight fake news
San Francisco, Nov 17: In their bid to fight fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan "The Trust Project". "The Trust Project" is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa Clara University's Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics. Starting from Friday, an icon will appear next to articles in Facebook News Feed. When you click on the icon, you can read information on the organisations' ethics and other standards, the journalists' backgrounds, and how they do their work. "Leading media companies representing dozens of news sites have begun to display 'Trust Indicators'. These indicators, created by leaders from more than 75 news organisations also show what type of information people are reading a" news, opinion, analysis or advertising," the university said in a statement. Each indicator is signalled in the artic...




Twitter to remove verification badge if users flout rules
San Francisco, Nov: Twitter has announced to remove verification badges from users who violate its rules, adding that the micro-blogging platform is reworking on its entire verification system. "We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines.  "We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new programme we are proud of," the official @TwitterSupport account posted late on Wednesday. Earlier this week, Twitter suspended its account verification exercise -- a process that gives public figures on the micro-blogging platform a blue check mark next to their names. The announcement came after people criticised Twitter for verifying the account belonging to the organizer of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one dead in August. Jason Kessler, the organizer of the supremacist rally, was give...




7.3-magnitude quake near Iran-Iraq border kills 147
Tehran/Baghdad, Nov 13: At least 147 people were killed after a powerful earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck near the Iran-Iraq border, media reports said on Monday.The quake hit 30 km southwest of Iraqi town of Halabja at 9.20 p.m., on Sunday, near the northeastern border with Iran, CNN quoted the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.It occurred at a depth of 33.9 km, and tremors were felt in Turkey, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon and as far as Pakistan.According to Iran's disaster management organisation, 141 people were killed in Kermanshah province on the Iraqi border, reports the Guardian.More than 850 were injured, the organisation's spokesperson told state media.Most of the victims were from the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15 km from the border, Iran's emergency services chief, Pir Hossein Koolivand said .The town's main hospital was severely damaged, leaving it struggling to treat hundreds of wounded, state TV reported.Rescuers worked through the night to find people tr...




UN chief demands humanitarian access to Myanmar's Rakhine
United Nations, Nov 11: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday demanded unfettered humanitarian access to Myanmar's northern Rakhine State."We insist on the need to make sure, not only that all violence against this population (of Rohingyas) stops, but also we need to insist on unhindered humanitarian access to all areas of Rakhine State, including the northern part of this region," he told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, Xinhua reported.The UN chief also demanded the voluntary return of Rohingya refugees who have fled the Rakhine State into neighbouring Bangladesh."We insist on the need to reassert the right of return -- safe and dignifying return, voluntary return -- for all the population that fled to Bangladesh and to the areas of origin -- not to be placed in camps, not having access to the places where they left."Guterres emphasized the importance of addressing the root cause of the problem, which relies largely on the problems related to ci...




UNHCR to get Mother Teresa Award 2017 for social justice
Mumbai, Nov 9: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been named as the recipient of the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice, 2017 as an acknowledgement of its exceptional work worldwide, it was announced here on Thursday.The UNHCR provides humanitarian aid to innumerable people internally displaced by conflicts and helping stateless people all over the world, said Harmony Foundation Chairman Abraham Mathai, which has instituted the only official award in memory of Mother Teresa, who attained sainthood in September 2016."The UNHCR has and continues to showcase to the world the true essence of humanitarianism through the life-changing works it does globally. We salute its committed, compassionate and courageous humanitarian work in dangerous and challenging regions of the world," Mathai told IANS.Referring to Harmony Foundation's theme for 2017 - Compassion Beyond Borders, he said UNHCR epitomizes the theme so beautifully with the sheer brave...




Modi, Hasina, Mamata flag-off Kolkata-Khulna friendship train
New Delhi/Dhaka/Kolkata Nov 9: Taking their close ties and connectivity links further, India and Bangladesh on Thursday opened a new rail line between Kolkata and Khulna with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee jointly flagging-off the 'Bandhan Express' via video-conferencing.The dignitaries also inaugurated the International Passenger Rail Terminal, End-to-End Immigration and Customs Clearance Facilities (for passengers of Maitree Express and Bandhan Express) at Kolkata station, under the India-Bangladesh Cooperation in Railways.Rail bridges over river Titas and Bhairabh in Bangladesh were also launched, to speed up connectivity between Dhaka and Chittagong.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj joined in from New Delhi, and her Bangladesh counterpart A.H. Mahmood Ali from Dhaka.Prime Minister Modi said that India takes pride in being a "reliable partner" in Bangladesh's development and that ...




622,000 Rohingyas have taken refuge in Bangladesh: Hasina
Dhaka, Nov 6: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said that 622,000 Rohingyas have already arrived in the country and urged Myanmar to repatriate them immediately.Sheikh Hasina, who was speaking at the inauguration of the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Dhaka, also urged Myanmar to stop the persecution of the Rohingyas."Over 622,000 Myanmar nationals have fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution in recent times," Hasina was quoted by Efe as saying."The inhuman persecution meted out on the Rohingya population in the Rakhine state of Myanmar and their forceful expulsion from their homeland have created instability in the region and beyond," she added.The figure raises the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh mentioned in the latest report by the United Nation's Inter-Sector Coordination Group on Thursday, by 15,000.Bangladesh has given shelter to the refugees on humanitarian grounds, said the prime minister, while reiterating the need ...




Sushma seeks report over attack on Sikh boy in US
New Delhi, Nov 4: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said she has sought a report from the Indian Embassy in the US following reports of an attack on a Sikh schoolboy in a city in Washington State."I have seen news reports about the beating of a Sikh boy in US. I have asked @IndianEmbassyUS to send me a report on the incident," Sushma Swaraj tweeted.The 14-year-old boy was beaten up by a classmate in Kent city, with his father claiming that the victim was targeted as he is of Indian descent, the media reported.The incident happened on October 26, less than a block from Kentridge High School, where both the boys are students, KIRO-TV reported.In the clip that was posted on mobile application Snapchat, a teenaged boy followed the victim and punched him, knocking him to the ground.The victim was punched several more times as he tried to protect his head and crawl away.The victim's father said he felt pain each time he looked at the video. "I am feeling so, ...




UN calls for voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas in Bangladesh
United Nations, Nov 2: The UN has called for voluntary repatriation of thousands of Rohingya refugees that have fled to Bangladesh and also free access of humanitarian aid in Myanmar's Rakhine state.The UN Assistant High Commissioner (Protection), Volker Turk, issued the call on Wednesday as he met with members of the Myanmar government on a two-day visit to Nay Pyi Taw, reports Efe news.During the meetings, Turk urged the government "to ensure a safe environment and the protection of all communities in Rakhine State" and also asked them to provide unrestricted access to allow humanitarian organisations "to provide life-saving aid and build confidence among communities in need".Turk also reiterated the refugees' right to return and asked that they be assured a "safe, voluntary, and sustainable repatriation to their places of origin".The UN official applauded the Myanmar government's proposal to hold a joint workshop with the UN Refugee Agency "on the ...




Palestinian Gandhian Ziad Medoukh gets Jamnalal Bajaj Award
Mumbai, Oct 28: Renowned Gandhian Ziad Medoukh of Palestine has been conferred this year's prestigious "Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India", it was announced on Saturday. A staunch believer in democracy, freedom and human rights, Medoukh is professor and director of the French Department at the Al-Aqsa University in Gaza.Known for his brilliant testimony of non-violence that he presents to his students, Medoukh is one of the prominent speakers for Palestine in French-speaking countries, and imparts training in non-violence to teachers and youth in Europe and Middle East.In 2006, he and his friends founded a Peace Centre based on the principles of non-violent economy of Mahatma Gandhi which has played a crucial role in education as a form of non-violence resistance in Palestine.In 2011, he became the first Palestinian to be conferred France's "Knight of the Order of Academic Palms".Besides Medoukh, Shashi Tyagi, Founde...




'Myanmar preparing detention camps for returning Rohingyas'
Nay Pyi Taw, Oct 23: Myanmar is allegedly building around seven detention camps for the Rohingya refugees, who fled to Bangladesh and are expected to be repatriated following a verification process, the Human Rights Watch said on Monday."The bigger concern at this point is the government's apparent plan to create up to as many as seven camps for returning Rohingya... We're concerned that these will become open air detention camps," Phil Robertson, the Asia deputy director of the non-profit told Efe news, adding that it was also unclear how the verification process would be conducted."The Myanmar government has said very little about what evidence they will demand to prove the person was residing in Myanmar and has the right to go back - and this may be problematic because many Rohingya have lost all their documents when their houses were torched by the Burmese security forces."According to the UN, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, w...




Myanmar must take back Rohingyas in Bangladesh: India
Dhaka, Oct 22: India on Sunday said Rohingya refugees who have poured into Bangladesh must be taken back by Myanmar from where they have been displaced."Normalcy will only be restored with the return of the displaced persons to Rakhine state," Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a media meet also attended by her Bangladeshi counterpart Abula Hassan Mahmood Ali.This followed the fourth India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee meeting here.Sushma Swaraj did not use the word Rohingya to refer to the thousands who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and instead referred to them as displaced persons from Rakhine state, bdnews24.com reported.She said India was "deeply concerned at the spate of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar".According to latest figures from the UN office in Bangladesh, over 600,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmar Army cracked down on the Rohingyas after a series of attacks on security personne...




Rohingya crisis: Can India play a role?
Aroonim Bhuyan, New Delhi, Oct 22: As Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj begins her visit to Bangladesh, experts are of the view that it is high time India mediated to find a solution to the burning Rohingya refugee crisis."I am optimistic (about Sushma Swaraj's visit) as India enjoys cordial relations with Myanmar and has cooperative and friendly ties with Bangladesh," Rajiv Bhatia, former Indian Ambassador to Myanmar, told IANS."Our very wise Foreign Minister has a role to play and a sustainable solution should be found for the Rohingyas," he stated.According to the latest figures issued by the UN office in Bangladesh, over 600,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmarese army launched a crackdown on the minority Rohingya community following a series of attacks on security personnel in Myanmar's Rakhine state.The Rohingyas do not enjoy citizenship status in Myanmar and are sparingly given refugee status in Bangladesh.Bhati...




Nearly 590,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh threatened by diseases: UN
United Nations, Oct 21: Nearly 590,00 Rohingya refugees have been admitted to camps in Bangladesh and 320,00 refugee children among them are threatened by water-borne diseases and desperate living conditions, a UN spokesman said Friday.The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 589,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar's northern Rakhine State since alleged retaliation following a deadly rebel militia attack on Aug. 25 against police posts, said Farhan Haq, the UN spokesman.Just over half of the new arrivals in Bangladesh are staying in Kutupalong Expansion, he said. It was described as a single large site where aid partners are working with authorities to improve road access, infrastructure and basic services.The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said nearly 7,000 of the refugees had been admitted to Bangladesh after spending up to four days stranded near the border. "Thousands more are believed to be on their way from Myanmar."The most vulnerable among t...




Nearly 58% Rohingya refugees are kids at risk
Geneva, Oct 20: Nearly fifty-eight per cent of the about 600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are children who suffer from severe malnutrition, a UN report released said.The UN Children's Fund (Unicef) report also said that these children were highly exposed to infectious diseases, Efe news reported."In a sense it's no surprise that they must truly see this place as a hell on earth," said Simon Ingram, Unicef official and author of the report.Titled "Outcast and Desperate: Rohingya refugee children face a perilous future" was released at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.After two weeks in Cox's Bazar, a southern Bangladesh town where nearly 600,000 newly arrived refugees are crammed into a crowd of 200,000 Rohingyas who had fled earlier, Ingram described the situation fraught with "despair, misery and indescribable suffering".The report highlights the dangers these Rohingya minors faced during the attacks when they were in Myanmar or when they ...




US judge blocks Trump's new travel ban
Washington, Oct 18: A US judge blocked the latest version of the Trump administration's travel ban just hours before it was set to take effect from Wednesday, saying that it "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor".Derrick Watson, a US district judge, on Tuesday granted Hawaii's request to temporarily block the federal government from enforcing the policy. He said the new ban "violated immigration law".The newest travel rules, which Trump signed on September 24, indefinitely ban entry to the US by nationals of Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. They also restrict travel by certain Venezuelan government officials and their families.The ban, in its third iteration, was one of Trump's earliest and most controversial decisions after taking office in January. It had also been one of the most legally troubled, the Los Angeles Times reported.Both previous versions were ordered halted by federal district judges who said they viola...




There are no Muslim or Christian terrorists: Dalai Lama
Imphal, Oct 18: There are no Muslim or Christian terrorists because terrorists are no more religious once they embrace terror, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Wednesday."People cease to be Muslim, Christian or any group the moment they became terrorists," the Dalai Lama said at a public reception here on the second day of a three-day visit to Manipur.The Tibetan leader also said that he does not like the "America first" slogan of US President Donald Trump.A strong votary of non-violence, the Nobel Prize winner said violence does not solve any problem."India, which has a tradition of 1,000 years of non-violence, could ensure world peace by reviving the ancient knowledge."According to him, almost all the problems people face today were "our own creation".He underlined the need to control emotions. Anger weakens people's immune system and as such was bad for health, he warned."Out of seven billion people on earth, six billion ar...




UN Peacekeeping chief concerned over situation in South Sudan
United Nations, Oct 18: UN Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has expressed concern over the dire security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan.The security and human rights situation in the country remain grave as fighting continued in various parts of the country, said Lacroix in a briefing to the UN Security Council, Xinhua reported.The humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate as a result of fighting and an increasingly challenging operating environment for humanitarian aid delivery, he said.He noted the government's security institutions as well as opposition forces continue to restrict the UN mission's freedom of movement."Despite a highly effective humanitarian operation that has reached millions with life-saving assistance, without a reduction in conflict and improved access, humanitarian indicators are likely to continue to deteriorate."Over two million people have fled the country since the start of the conflict in 20...




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