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Washington-There is a strong possibility of communal violence in India if the ruling BJP stresses Hindu nationalist themes ahead of the General Election in May, America’s top spymaster told US lawmakers on Tuesday.  The comment on India’s upcoming General Election is part of the US intelligence community’s assessment of worldwide threats in 2019 and was presented in a written document to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence. “The 2019 elections  in India increase the possibility of communal violence if Indian PM Narendra Modi’s BJP stresses Hindu nationalist themes,” Coats said. “BJP policies during Modi’s first term have deepened communal tension in some BJP-governed states and Hindu nationalist  leaders might view a Hindu-nationalist campaign as a signal to incite low-level violence to animate their supporters,” he said in his written statement. He also warns of a strained India-Pakistan relationship at least till May....
Jan 30 2019 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Washington- Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union Address on February 5 after it was delayed due to a government shutdown over the US president's demand for funding for a wall along the border with Mexico. The traditional annual speech by President Trump was initially scheduled for January but had to be postponed because of the largest government shutdown due to differences between the White House and the Opposition Democrats on the issue of the wall. Trump is demanding USD 5.7 billion to build his border wall while Democrats were holding firm at USD 1.3 billion for border security measures. Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to pass the necessary resolutions in Congress to allow for a State of the Union Address and told the president that he needed to first allow the federal government to fully re-open. Pelosi cited security concerns because government workers were not being paid during the shutdown. Trump considered moving the address to another location but ultimately decided to wait to deliver it after the shutdown was over. The 35-day government shutdown – the longest in US history – ended Friday when Trump and congressional leaders struck a deal to reopen the government through February 15. Pelosi sent a letter to the president on Monday formally inviting him to deliver the speech before a joint session of Congress. Trump quickly accepted the invitation. "When I wrote to you on January 23, I stated that we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has reopened to schedule this year's State of the Union address," Pelosi wrote. "In our conversation today, we agreed on February 5th." Trump wrote back that it is his "great honour" to accept. "We have a great story to tell and yet, great goals to achieve!" he wrote. The State of the Union address comes at a pivotal time for Trump, who will be able to lay out his agenda for the coming year before a national audience amid some of the lowest approval ratings of his presidency. The agreement on a State of the Union Address came as the Congressional Budget Office said the partial shutdown would definitely have a negative economic impact. The annual State of the Union address is the keynote prime time speech by the president to the Congress in which he sets out his legislative agenda and national priorities for the next year and highlights his achievements to the American people. The speech will be Trump's third to a Joint Session of Congress — his initial appearance on February 28, 2017 was weeks after his inauguration and not considered a formal State of the...
Jan 30 2019 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Kabul- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Monday the Taliban should “enter serious talks” with his government, after the insurgents and Washington both touted progress during unprecedented negotiations in Qatar last week. A months-long diplomatic push by the United States to get the Taliban to talk to Kabul culminated in six days of meetings between the US and the insurgents in Doha, but the Taliban have long refused to negotiate with the Afghan government to end the 17-year conflict, branding them as “puppets”. “I call on the Taliban to... show their Afghan will, and accept Afghans’ demand for peace, and enter serious talks with the Afghan government,” Ghani said in a nationally televised address from the presidential palace in Kabul. Both the Taliban and the US cited “progress” over the weekend as hopes rise that the length of the negotiations could mean a deal may be in sight which paves the way for Afghan talks. Sticking points remain, with topics including a ceasefire and a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops, as well as a prisoner exchange and a guarantee not to allow militant safe havens in Afghanistan believed to have been on the agenda. US President Donald Trump’s clear eagerness to end America’s longest war has also weighed heavy on the discussions. But Afghan authorities have previously complained of being excluded from the talks in Qatar, and warned that any deal between the US and the Taliban would require Kabul’s endorsement. “We want peace, we want it fast but we want it with a plan,” Ghani said. “We should not forget that the victims of this war are Afghans and the peace process should also be Afghan-led... No Afghan wants foreign troops to remain in their country indefinitely,” he said....
Jan 29 2019 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Islamabad- Suman Kumari has become the first Hindu woman in Pakistan to be appointed as a civil judge, according to a media report. Suman, who hails from Qambar-Shahdadkot, will serve in her native district. She passed her LLB. examination from Hyderabad and did her masters in law from Karachi's Szabist University, Dawn reported. According to Pawan Kumar Bodan, her father, Suman wants to provide free legal assistance to the poor in Qambar-Shahdadkot. "Suman has opted for a challenging profession, but I am sure she will go places through hard work and honesty," the father said. Her father is an eye specialist while Suman's elder sister is a software engineer and another sister is a chartered accountant. Suman is a fan of singers Lata Mangeshkar and Atif Aslam. This is not the first time that a person from the Hindu community has been appointed as a judge. The first judge from the Hindu community was Justice Rana Bhagwandas, who served as the acting chief justice for brief periods between 2005 and 2007. Hindus make up nearly 2 per cent of Pakistan's total population and Hinduism remains the second largest religion in Pakistan after...
Jan 29 2019 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Washington- President Donald Trump agreed under mounting pressure on Friday to end a 35-day-old partial US government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall, handing a political victory to Democrats. The three-week spending deal reached with congressional leaders, quickly passed by the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives without opposition and signed by Trump, paves the way for tough talks with lawmakers about how to address security along the US-Mexican border. The Republican President’s agreement to end the shuttering of about a quarter of the federal government without securing wall money — an astonishing retreat — came three days after he had insisted, “We will not Cave!” But Trump vowed that the shutdown would resume on February 15 if he is dissatisfied with the results of a bipartisan House-Senate conference committee’s border security negotiations, or he would declare a national emergency in order to get the wall money without congressional approval. The lapse in funding shuttered about a quarter of federal agencies, with about 800,000 workers either furloughed or required to work without pay. Many employees as well as contractors were turning to unemployment assistance, food banks and other support. Others began seeking new jobs. With polls showing most Americans blamed him for the painful shutdown — the longest of its kind in US history — Trump embraced a way out of the crisis that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been pushing for weeks. The shutdown, which pitted Pelosi against Trump, was her first test since assuming the post three weeks ago. She drew praise from fellow Democrats for what they said was an outmanoeuvring of the president. Democrats remained unyielding in their opposition to a wall, one of Trump’s signature campaign promises that they call ineffective, costly and immoral. Trump has said a wall is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Asked by reporters if she could guarantee there will not be another government shutdown in three weeks, Pelosi said, “I can’t assure the public about anything that the president will do, but I do have to say I’m optimistic.” Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on a chilly, sunny winter day, Trump said he would act to ensure that federal workers get their back pay “very quickly, or as soon as possible.” Trump had previously demanded the inclusion of the money to help pay for a wall in any legislation to fund government agencies, but Democrats had blocked him. An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that stories of law enforcement officials not being able to do their jobs at full capacity helped convince Trump to agree to a short-term solution to re-open the government. The official said the White House ultimately would accept a deal with lawmakers if it includes wall funding, even if it is less than $5.7...
Jan 28 2019 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Istanbul- Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro rejected an international ultimatum to call elections within eight days and said opposition leader Juan Guaido had violated the country’s constitution by declaring himself leader. Maduro, in an interview with CNN Turk aired on Sunday, also said he was open to dialogue and that meeting US President Donald Trump was improbable but not impossible. The broadcaster dubbed the interview from Spanish into Turkish. Washington, which has recognised Guaido as leader, had on Saturday urged the world to “pick a side” on Venezuela and financially disconnect from Maduro's government. Venezuela has sunk into turmoil under Maduro with food shortages and protests amid an economic and political crisis that has sparked emigration and inflation that is seen rising to 10 million per cent this year. Britain, Germany, France and Spain all said they would recognize Guaido if Maduro failed to call fresh poll within eight days, an ultimatum Russia said was “absurd” and the Venezuelan foreign minister called...
Jan 28 2019 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
London- Archaeologists have found the remains of Captain Matthew Flinders, a British Royal Navy explorer who was the first to sail around Australia and is credited with naming it, while working on a rail project connecting London to other cities. Flinders’ coffin was discovered among 40,000 other human remains in St James’s burial ground during digging ahead of the construction of the Euston station terminal for the High Speed 2 (HS2) network, which will link the capital to Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. HS2 said archaeologists identified the remains of the explorer, who died in 1814, thanks to the lead breastplate on his coffin.
Jan 26 2019 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
London- Queen Elizabeth II on Friday made a plea for “common ground” amid ongoing uncertainty over the vexed negotiations for the UK’s planned exit from the European Union (EU) in March. The 92-year-old monarch, who is apolitical in her role as head of state, did not make a direct reference to Brexit and the government’s controversial Withdrawal Agreement which failed to clear Parliament earlier this month. However, a speech she made at the centenary of the Sandringham Women’s Institute was inevitably seen as her indirect intervention in the crucial debate in the House of Commons where MPs are due to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on leaving the EU next week. “The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community focus, and considering the needs of others, are as important today as they were when the group was founded all those years ago. Of course, every generation faces fresh challenges and opportunities,” said the Queen in her speech. “As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture,” she said. The monarch added that such approaches were “timeless, and I commend them to everyone”. Her plea for common ground touched on the same issues as her annual Christmas message, in which she urged people to treat others with respect “even with the most deeply held differences”. Downing Street declined to comment directly on the Queen’s latest remarks, with a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May saying: “The Prime Minister’s own view is that we should always show great respect for the point of view of others.”              May is due to return to the House of Commons with a revised plan for Brexit next Tuesday, after her initial deal agreed with the EU was rejected by MPs in a historic Commons defeat on January 15. The prospect of a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit continues to loom as MPs remain deeply divided over the contours of a more orderly withdrawal. While the EU has ruled out reworking the Withdrawal Agreement, May is hoping to get further assurances on the controversial Irish backstop clause which critics fear would keep the UK tied to EU rules even after Brexit. There are a series of parallel drives within the House of Commons with just 64 days to go before the March 29 deadline under the Article 50 Lisbon Treaty timeline. An amendment being tabled by Opposition Labour Party MP Yvette Cooper to force ministers to extend Article 50 if a no-deal Brexit looked imminent is gaining momentum across party lines in an effort to avert what is feared would be an abrupt exit without any agreement in place. Cooper, who has devised the plan with former Conservative Party ministers Nick Boles and Oliver Letwin, has previously said an initial nine-month extension is a starting point, with the timeline being modified based on what MPs agreed on. The eventual bill, if passed, would give the UK Parliament control over the final stages of the Brexit process if there is no parliamentary consensus on a Brexit deal by February 26. It would give MPs a vote on preventing a no-deal Brexit and extending Article 50. Meanwhile, May’s divided Cabinet continued to mount pressure on her, with Chancellor Philip Hammond repeating his warning that leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement would be a “betrayal” of the 2016 referendum vote. Theresa May has warned a failure by MPs to back her Withdrawal Agreement with the EU risks a no-deal Brexit or even no Brexit at all and embarked on...
Jan 26 2019 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...