Archive | May, 2017

Islamic State claims first suicide attack in Somalia, kills 5

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Islamic State claims first suicide attack in Somalia, kills 5

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Mogadishu : The Islamic State group has claimed its first suicide attack in Somalia, which police said Wednesday killed five people at a checkpoint in the northeastern port city of Bosaso.

The group`s self-styled news agency Amaq claimed the “martyrdom-seeking operation with an explosive vest” in a statement carried by the SITE Intelligence Group.

The suicide bomber detonated his explosives vest at a checkpoint late Tuesday in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.”Security forces stopped the suspect when he approached but he detonated himself leaving five people dead. One of the security officers and four civilians were killed in the blast,” said local police official Mohamed Dahir Adan.
The blast occurred near a hotel often used as a meeting place for local officials, witnesses said.

“I think the bomber was trying to target the hotel but he was stopped at the checkpoint close to the hotel and he decided to detonate his explosives,” said witness Awke Mohamed.

Puntland set up its own government in 1998, but, unlike neighbouring Somaliland, it has not declared full independence.

The region has often come under attack by Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab militants, and is also home to a breakaway group of fighters which declared allegiance to IS last year but has failed to gather much support so far.

The militants are led by former Shabaab cleric Abdiqadir Mumin who was placed on a US terror list last August for his role at the head of IS in East Africa.

AFP |

 

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Australia: Police criticised for tactics in deadly Sydney cafe siege

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Australia: Police criticised for tactics in deadly Sydney cafe siege

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Sydney : Australian police failed to respond quickly enough to the threat posed by a gunman responsible for a 16-hour siege at a Sydney cafe in 2014 in which three people dead including the hostage-taker were killed, a coroner said in a report on Wednesday.

While attributing blame for the deaths of Lindt Chocolate Cafe manager Tori Johnson and lawyer Katrina Dawson to gunman Man Haron Monis, New South Wales Coroner Michael Barnes said police should have acted promptly after Monis fired a warning shot.

Monis killed Johnson shortly after that. Dawson was killed by fragments of a bullet fired by police after they stormed the cafe in the city`s central business district 10 minutes after the gunman fired the warning shot.
Monis was killed by police fire.

“The 10 minutes that lapsed without decisive action by police was too long,” Barnes said in a finding handed down after two years of testimony.

A spokesman for New South Wales police declined to make immediate comment but said police would hold a new conference later in the day.

The siege, which began on December 15, 2014, was Australia`s most deadly incident inspired by Islamic State militants.

Questions have been raised every since abQuestions have been raised every since about the police strategy of “contain and negotiate” that saw the siege last for more than 16 hours.

While concluding the strategy was appropriate at the beginning, Barnes said the police had an incomplete picture of the threat posed by Manos and they placed too much emphasis on the advice of a psychologist, who was not an expert in acts of terror, and the incorrect belief that negotiations were progressing.

Barnes recommended authorities reconsider their response to such incidents.The outcome of the Lindt cafe siege suggests that contain and negotiate strategy needs to be more rigorously assessed in the context of terrorist incidents,” Barnes said.

Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its escalating action against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, has been on high alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East or their supporters.

Reuters |

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Pak harbouring terrorists in Afghanistan: US intel officials

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Pak harbouring terrorists in Afghanistan: US intel officials

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : Pakistan is “harbouring terrorists” and using them as “reserve” in Afghanistan, a top US intelligence official has told lawmakers.

“Pakistan views Afghanistan or desires for Afghanistan some of the same things we want: a safe, secure, stable Afghanistan. One addition—one that does not have heavy Indian influence in Afghanistan,” Lt Gen Vincent Stewart, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on worldwide threats.

“They view all of the challenges through the lens of an Indian threat to the state of Pakistan,” Stewart said.

“So they (Pakistan) hold in reserve terrorist organisation—we define them as terrorist organisations, they hold them in reserve so that—if Afghanistan leans towards India, they will no longer be supportive of an idea of a stable and secure Afghanistan that could undermine Pakistan interest,” Stewart said.

He said Pakistan needs to be told very clearly that Afghanistan’s security and stability is in the interest of all of the parties in the region and does not pose a risk to Pakistan.

“We’ve got to convince Pakistan that if they’re harbouring any of the Haqqani network members that it is not in their interest to continue to host of Haqqani network, that we ought to be working together to go after those 20 terrorist organisations that undermine not just Afghanistan, not just Pakistan, but all of the region,” he said.

“And so we’ve to make sure we’re pushing them to do more against the Haqqani network. Then (they should) separate the Taliban from the Pashtun, which want a Pashtun dominated Afghanistan,” he said.

“So we’ve got to get the conversation going again with Pakistan about their role in not harboring any of these terrorists, helping to stabilise Afghanistan,” he added.

Hoping that US may have some progress in this, Stewart said Pakistan also have some influence in bringing the Taliban to the peace table.

“So, we’ve got to get them to think about reconciliation, that the status quo is not in their best interest,” he said.

Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence said there is need to evaluate how to address the situation of Pakistan harbouring terrorist.

“I think certainly an evaluation of how we work with Pakistan to address the situation of the harbouring of terrorist groups would be essential to a strategy that affects Afghanistan, going forward in Afghanistan,” he said in response to a question.

“Because that is potentially a very disrupting situation, putting our own troops at risk and undermining the strategy of dealing with the Taliban and local groups that are trying to undermine the government,” Coats said.

PTI |

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No information on missing Sukhoi fighter jet: China

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No information on missing Sukhoi fighter jet: China

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Beijing : China said on Wednesday it has no information on the missing Indian Air Force Sukhoi fighter jet with two pilots on board and asked India to stick to arrangements reached between the two sides to maintain peace.

“For the situation you mentioned, I have no relevant information to offer at the moment,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters when asked about the missing Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet and whether China would assist India in finding the plane that took off from the Tezpur base in Assam for a routine training sortie nearly 24 hours ago.

The fighter plane has since been untraceable.“We have been following the situation in South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh) very closely,” he said, apparently referring to reports that the jet was flying over the area before it was reported missing.

At the same time, he referred to the border dispute between India and China, saying that “first of all, on the eastern section of the India-China border, China’s position is consistent and clear.”

“We hope India can stick to the arrangements reached between the two sides and avoid disrupting peace and stability in border areas,” Lu said.

China’s curt reaction came amid a growing discord between the two countries on a host of issues, including the recent visit of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing considers as Southern Tibet.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control. While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute also covers the ‘Aksai Chin’ area, which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.

Two days ago another spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said there was “no change” in China’s stand on India’s membership bid into the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG).

That statement came ahead of the 48-member elite grouping’s plenary meeting scheduled next month in Bern, Switzerland.

China has also repeatedly blocked India’s efforts to impose a UN ban on Pakistan-based JeM leader Masood Azhar.

Last week, India boycotted China’s Belt & Road Forum in Beijing over concerns emanating from a project under the ambitious initiative that runs through Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

India opposes the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and boycotted the event over sovereignty concerns, though 29 heads of state and government attended the BRF. PTI

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3 men rape woman after tying her husband to a tree in UP

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3 men rape woman after tying her husband to a tree in UP

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Badaun (UP)  : A 27-year-old woman was allegedly gangraped in front of her husband, who was tied to a tree and gagged, in Sahaswan police station area of the district, police said.

The incident took place Monday evening when the woman was returning home from a health clinic, along with her husband.

The three accused stopped their motorcycle and raped the woman after tying her husband to a tree and putting a gag on him, circle officer of police Sheoraj Singh said.

An FIR has been registered against the trio, hailing from nearby villages, based on a complaint filed by the woman’s husband.

The woman had been sent for medical examination and efforts were on to nab the culprits, the police officer added.

PTI |

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Singer Sonu Nigam shows solidarity with Abhijeet, quits Twitter

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Singer Sonu Nigam shows solidarity with Abhijeet, quits Twitter

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

New Delhi : Singer Sonu Nigam on Wednesday quit Twitter after the micro-blogging site on Tuesday suspended singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya’s account for his offensive tweets.Sonu Nigam, who wrote: “Really? They suspended his account? Why? 90% of Twitter accounts then should be suspended too for worse fanaticism, Foul language & Threats!”


Abhijeet was accused of harassing JNU student leader Shehla Rashid with “inappropriate” and “insulting” language. His tweet targeting her was reported by various users after which the account was suspended.

She thanked everyone for the support by tweeting.

Today, in a series of tweets, Sonu said he will be leaving Twitter really soon.

He also backed Paresh Rawal for his comments over Arundhati Roy and tweeted, “A woman can endorse a picture of Gautam Gambhir in the front of the Army Jeep, & Paresh Rawal, Criticized for doing d same to someone else.”

The actor-MP had tweeted: “Instead of tying stone-pelter on the army jeep tie Arundhati Roy”.

The post was a reference to a video from Kashmir where the army had used a civilian as a human shield.

In April this year, Sonu sparked another controversy where he tweeted how the sounding of morning azaan on loudspeakers at a mosque near his residence would not let him get proper sleep. His statements angered many and a Muslim cleric even offered Rs 10 lakh to anyone who would shave the singer’s head.

ANI |

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21 dead as bus plunges into Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand

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21 dead as bus plunges into Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand) : At least 21 persons were killed and eight others were injured when a bus ferrying pilgrims plunged into the Bhagirathi River near Nalupani in Uttarakhand late on Tuesday, the police said.The accident took place near Nalupani in Uttarkashi district when the bus full of pilgrims from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, was returning from the Gangotri shrine.
Three persons are still missing and the eight injured, who were rescued after great efforts and difficulty, have been admitted at the Community Health Centre at Chinyalisaud, an official said.

Some passengers of the ill-fated bus also fell into the Bhagirathi River flowing below. District officials, including district magistrate Ashish Srivastava, rushed to the spot but owing to darkness, rescue efforts were hampered.

With the hill being very steep, rescue was further delayed and went on till the morning. SDRF, police and ITBP teams then went down from the other side and rescued eight passengers. Bodies have been recovered but are yet to be identified.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has condoled the loss of lives in the mishap and has announced an ex gratia of Rs 1 lakh each for the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for those injured.

Officials have also been asked to identify danger zones on routes of the annual ‘Chaar Dham Yatra’, put up speed monitors, turning warnings and put up crash barriers.

PM announces ex gratia for victims’ kin
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those killed in bus accident. He also sanctioned from the PM National Relief Fund Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured.

“My prayers & solidarity with those who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate bus accident in Uttarkashi. May the injured recover soon,” the Prime Minister said. — Agencies

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Wife of Inspector who probed Sheena Bora murder found dead; son missing

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Wife of Inspector who probed Sheena Bora murder found dead; son missing

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Mumbai : Deepali Ganore, the wife of Mumbai Police Inspector Dyaneshwar Ganore, was found dead inside her house in Mumbai’s Santacruz area last night.

The inspector has been identified as one of the investigating team member in the Sheena Bora murder case.

Her body was found by her husband at around 3.30 am., when he returned back from work.According to the Mumbai Police Press note, Dyaneshwar tried to open the door but failed, so he tried his wife’s phone, which was not reachable during the moment.

When he somehow managed to open the door, he found his wife’s body on the floor in a pool of blood.

He then called the police and informed them about his wife. However, the police PRO confirmed that the son of the duo is also missing after the incident and his mobile phone is switched off.

A knife, which is being purported as the weapon used during the murder, was also found from the spot.

Inspector Dyaneshwar is currently posted at Khar Police Station.

An FIR has been registered by the police in the case and an investigation has been launched.

ANI |

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Trump admn proposes $190 million cut in aid to Pakistan

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Trump admn proposes $190 million cut in aid to Pakistan

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : The Trump administration has slashed its foreign military financing (FMF) to Pakistan from $255 million to $100 million for the 2018 fiscal, but has kept its options open whether it would be a grant or should be converted into a loan, according to a US official.“While we may use FMF to leverage loans for some countries, we will still maintain the flexibility to use it as grant assistance where needed,” a State Department spokesman told PTI when asked about the budget proposal of $100 million in foreign military funding to Pakistan.

“This budget focuses on bilateral FMF assistance requested for Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), and Pakistan ($100 million),” the spokesman said on Tuesday.

Last year, the US assistance to Pakistan under the state department budget was $534 million, which included $225 million towards foreign military funding.

In all, the State Department has proposed a massive $190 million reduction in its financial aid to Pakistan as compared to the 2016 fiscal. The current 2017 fiscal ends on September 30 this year.

On Monday, the White House said that FMF to Israel and Egypt would continue to be in the form of grant while for Pakistan it would be a loan but a final decision would be taken by the state department.

“The Foreign Military Funding or FMF for Pakistan would be provided in the form of a loan guarantee,” said Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management of Budget in the White House.

Responding to questions, Mulvaney said the Trump administration has proposed to convert its FMF programme to many countries from aid to financial loan.

Pakistan is one of those countries.

“This is one of the options that the administration had explored in its internal deliberations, but the request itself does not make that determination,” the White House later clarified indicating it might revert to the original financial grant to Pakistan to sell military hardware if need be.

“Whether the funding is provided through grants, or as a subsidy for a guaranteed loan, is an option the state department can exercise to ensure our foreign assistance best supports our national interests,” the White House said.

“Our argument was instead of giving somebody $100 million, we can give them a smaller number worth of loan guarantees and they can actually buy more stuff. We did not change it for Israel. We did not change it for Egypt,” said Mulvaney.

In another major development, the Trump administration in its annual budget for 2018 fiscal beginning October 1 this year has proposed to end the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund (PCCF), which was budgeted as $9 million in both 2016 and 2017.

PCCF was designed to build the counterinsurgency capabilities of Pakistan’s security forces engaged in operations against militant extremists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“While the counterinsurgency purpose underlying the PCCF account and the maintenance of close US Pakistani military ties remain important administration priorities, these needs have been met through other accounts, including Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET), since the FY 2014 Request,” the White House said in its budgetary explanation.

The state department said the $100 million in FMF to Pakistan will be used to advance US national security interests in that country by supporting Pakistan’s capacity to improve stability and security and fight terrorism, including through the elimination of safe havens for terrorist and militant organisations.

The money would be used to continue efforts to build the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency capabilities of Pakistan’s security forces to improve security in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, achieve progress on joint US-Pakistan objectives, including bilateral efforts to decimate core al-Qaeda elements and confront the emerging threat posed by ISIS-Khorasan Province.

Funds will also improve Pakistan’s ability to participate in US-led Coalition Maritime Forces and patrol its maritime borders to stem the flow of illicit materials and personnel, it said.

 PTI |

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US revives two infra projects in Asia to counter China’s OBOR

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US revives two infra projects in Asia to counter China’s OBOR

Posted on 24 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : The US has revived two major infrastructure projects in South and Southeast Asia in which India would be a vital player, a move that could potentially act as a counter to China’s ambitious One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative.The Trump administration has resuscitated the ‘New Silk Road’ initiative, first announced by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July 2011 in a speech in Chennai, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South and Southeast Asia.

A brief outline of the two projects was made available in the administration’s maiden annual budget on Tuesday, which indicated that the ‘New Silk Road’ project would be a public- private initiative in which India would be an important player.

The state department said the budgetary request of its South and Central Asia will support the two initiatives: the New Silk Road (NSR) focused on Afghanistan and its neighbours, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South Asia with Southeast Asia.

This request will be leveraged through side-by-side collaboration with regional countries, other bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, and the private sector.

It said “the importance of…the NSR grows” as the transition in Afghanistan continues and the US “strives to help the Afghan people succeed and stand on their own.” The state department said it will deepen support for the objectives through “far-reaching” public diplomacy programmes.

According to James McBride of the Council on Foreign Relations, the NSR refers to a suite of joint investment projects and regional trade blocs that have the potential to bring economic growth and stability to Central Asia.

“Following the surge of 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan in 2009, which President Barack Obama’s administration had hoped would lay the groundwork for complete withdrawal a few years later, Washington began to lay out a strategy for supporting these initiatives through diplomatic means,” McBride said.

Announcing her vision for a New Silk Road, Clinton had said in Chennai: “Turkmen gas fields could help meet both Pakistan’s and India’s growing energy needs and provide significant transit revenues for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tajik cotton could be turned into Indian linens.

Furniture and fruit from Afghanistan could find its way to the markets of Astana or Mumbai and beyond.”

But the NSR strategy took a back seat during Obama’s second term when John Kerry occupied the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the state department.

Simon Denyer, the China bureau chief of The Washington Post, recently wrote that Clinton’s idea never really got off the ground, and the Obama administration was criticised by experts for responding negatively to China-backed The New Development Bank.

Through the B&R initiative, China aims to link itself with markets in Europe and Africa through Asian countries and the Indian Ocean. India opposes one of the projects under the initiative as it runs through Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor links China’s restive Xinjiang region to the southern Pakistani port Gwadar, built with Chinese funding. The port could potentially be used as a naval outpost for the Chinese military.

 PTI |

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