Showing posts from July 27, 2014

'VIP Maoist' to Prabhakaran-like looks, why everyone is relieved to see GP Reddy's back

"He is a VIP among the Maoist leaders whom we are chasing in Bastar," said an Indian Police Officer (IPS) officer posted in the troubled central portion of Chhattisgarh. The person being referred to was GP Reddy (53) alias Arjun alias Ravinder, a member of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC), the body which administers what the Maoists term as the 'liberated area' of Dandakaranya, a region largely co-located with Chhattisgarh's Bastar. In Hyderabad, on Friday afternoon, following days of interrogation, the Andhra Pradesh police made public the surrender of Reddy and his wife Sumitra.   Informed sources indicated that the surrender was in the pipeline for many days following which Reddy, a bachelor degree holder, and Sumitra trekked from Bastar to reach Andhra Pradesh. While Reddy carried a reward of Rs 20 lakh on his head, his wife was described as a 'hardcore Maoist' though the reward amount was not immediately known. For those having to deal

Swiss national, a Maoist sympathizer taken to jail in Kerala

PTI |  August 02, 2014, 21.08 pm IST Swiss national Jonathan Baud in police custody (Photo: TV grab) Thrissur:  Swiss national Jonathan Baud, who was arrested recently from nearby Triprayar for allegedly attending a meeting organized in memory of a Maoist, was produced before a local court on Saturday after police interrogation and taken back to jail again. Baud was produced before The Kodungalloor Judicial First Class Magistrate, P B Faseela following expiry of police custody period.The court on Friday, while rejecting the bail plea of Baud, had remanded him to police custody for one day. Baud (24), who was arrested on July 28, had been charged under section 2(b) of the Foreigners' Act, 1946 and 2(b) of the Foreigners (Amendment) Act, 2004. An officer from the Intelligence bureau had interrogated him on Saturday, police said. However, no clues to confirm Baud's links with Maoist organizations was obtained, police said. He had allegedly attended a meeting organized by a group o

IM, SIMI raise Rs 150 crore in 2 years

With extortion, robberies, fake currency and arms smuggling, the homegrown terror outfits may have raised Rs 200 crore. Vicky Nanjappa/  reports. I ndia's homegrown terror outfits -- the Students Islamic Movement of India and the Indian Mujahideen -- have raised Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) -- up from Rs 45 crore (Rs 450 million) two years ago -- according to the National Investigation Agency, which probes terror activities along with the Intelligence Bureau. About half this sum -- Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) -- has come from the circulation of fake currency and the supply of weapons. Terrorists supply arms to thugs who work for politicians especially in Uttar Pradesh, an NIA agent told "There is great demand for weapons which are sourced from gunsmiths in Bihar. They are often smuggled out of India to Nepal," he added. SIMI and IM also raised Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million) from abductions and extortion, investigators say. Over the past two years, the i

LeT's I-Day terror plot revealed

Captured Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Abdul Subhan reveals terror strikes planned in Delhi before Independence Day. Vicky Nanjappa/  reports. A bdul Subhan, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative captured in New Delhi last week, has told his interrogators that the Muridke, Pakistan-headquartered terror outfit planned attacks in Delhi and the abduction of leading businessmen and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders. Subhan, who was arrested by the Delhi police's Special Cell at the Sarai Kale Khan bus stand in south Delhi last week, indoctrinates and then recruits young men from states like Haryana and Rajasthan. Police officers said he is not be mistaken with Abdus Subhan Qureshi, the wanted Indian Mujahideen terrorist. During his interrogation, a Delhi police officer revealed that Subhan disclosed that the Lashkar had planned a major attack in New Delhi on August 4. 'We are aware that there will be heavy security during Independence Day and hence decided to advance the attack

Assam: 3 ULFA militants killed in blast

  Three militants of the outlawed ULFA (Independent) were killed in a blast that took place at the residence of a farmer in a remote village near the Assam-Meghalaya boundary on Friday morning. Police said the ULFA (I) cadres were forcefully taking shelter at the farmer’s house. They suspect the blast occurred when the militants were preparing a bomb to be planted in the run up to Independence Day. Police recovered pistols, live ammunition, a grenade and some documents from the blast site. Two of the killed militants were identified as Kanteswar Rabha and Babul Rabha while the third one is yet to be identified.  Police said a team of ULFA cadres had sneaked into the bordering district from Garo hills in Meghalaya to carry out subversions in the run up to Independence Day. Meanwhile, security has been tightened all over the state, especially at entry and exit points to Guwahati city. Source

Muslim movement accepts once-taboo causes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Omar Akersim prays regularly and observes the dawn-to-dusk Ramadan fast. He is also openly gay. Akersim, 26, is part of a small but growing number of American Muslims challenging the long-standing interpretations of Islam that defined their parents' world. They believe that one can be gay and Muslim; that the sexes can pray shoulder-to-shoulder; that females can preach and that Muslim women can marry outside the faith — and they point to Quran passages to back them up. The shift comes as young American Muslims work to reshape the faith they grew up with so it fits better with their complex, dual identity, with one foot in the world of their parents' immigrant beliefs and one foot in the ever-shifting cultural landscape of America. The result has been a growing internal dialogue about what it means to be Muslim, as well as a scholarly effort to re-examine the Quran for new interpretations that challenge rules that had seemed set in stone. "Islam in Americ

Nauru transfer angers refugee advocates

The federal government faces criticism for its handling of a group of Tamil asylum seekers.   Source:  AAP THE federal government faces mounting criticism for its handling of a group of Tamil asylum seekers, now in detention at Nauru. IT is the latest stop for the 157 people, including some 50 children, who are the subject of a High Court case and have been on a "wretched rollercoaster" ride, Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles said. Held at sea for three weeks on board a customs vessel, the asylum seekers were transferred last Sunday to Western Australia's Curtin detention centre. But after refusing to speak with officials in a move described as disappointing by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, the group was flown to Nauru overnight Friday. "This is Morrison's merry-go-round," Mr Marles told reporters on Saturday. The group should have been taken straight to Christmas Island but instead the government spruiked an agreement struck with India

Protesters in Benghazi march against militias

Armed brigade vows to keep fighting for Tripoli airport Reuters August 2, 2014 Benghazi: Two thousand people took to the streets of Benghazi on Friday to protest against militants and former rebel militias who have been fighting armed forces and taken over an important military base in the eastern Libyan city. The heavy clashes in Benghazi and the capital Tripoli over the past two weeks have been the worst since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi, killing more than 200 people and forcing most Western governments to pull their diplomats out of the North African state. Fierce fighting among rival factions in the country’s two major cities also underscores Libya’s fragile control over the heavily armed brigades of former anti-Gaddafi rebel fighters and militias who refuse to disband. The Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, an alliance formed by former rebels and militants from Ansar Al Sharia, which Washington classifies as a terrorist organisation, have forced the army to pull out of B

Nato must deploy weapons in eastern Europe to combat Russian threat, says David Cameron

In a letter to Nato leaders ahead of next month’s summit, the Prime Minister said Nato had “to make clear to Russia that neither Nato nor its members will be intimidated” Nato must show Russia that it “means business” by carrying out more military exercises and deploying more weapons to protect Europe’s eastern borders, David Cameron has said. In a letter to Nato leaders ahead of a summit next month, the Prime Minister said the alliance had “to make clear to Russia that neither Nato nor its members will be intimidated”. He also strongly hinted that he wants defence spending to start to increase now that Western democracies’ economies are starting to recover. Tension between Russia and the West mounted on Friday with Vladimir Putin telling Barack Obama that sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis were counterproductive and the “current situation” was not in the interests of either country. Mr Cameron said that Nato member states had to “strengthen our ability to respond quic

Four More Azeris, One Armenian Killed in Fresh Karabakh Fighting

 August 02, 2014 8:32 AM EDT Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said it lost four more troops in overnight clashes with Armenians near the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the worst escalation of tensions between the two former Soviet republics in 20 years. The Azeri servicemen were killed while repelling Armenian attacks in Agdam and Tartar districts northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh, the ministry said today on its website. Nagorno-Karabakh’s Defense Ministry said an ethnic Armenian soldier was also killed while resisting a “sabotage attack” by Azeri forces. Eight Azeri and two Armenian troops were confirmed killed in skirmishes on July 31. Armenia took over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave about the size of Rhode Island, and seven surrounding districts from Azerbaijan in a war after the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 30,000 people were killed and over a million displaced before Russia brokered a 1994 truce. Azerbaijan, which in December signed a $45 billion contract with a BP

CIA indulged in torture after 9/11, admits Obama

US President Barack Obama has acknowledged that the CIA had tortured suspects detained in the immediate aftermath of September, 11 terror attacks. The US administration is soon expected to release a Senate report detailing the torture techniques employed by CIA agents targeting suspected militants after 9/11. "In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values," said the US President. Obama said he understands why it happened. "I think it's important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen, and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this," he said. "It is important for us not to feel t

How Qatar's hand casts Syrian shadows

The asymmetrical proxy conflict currently being fought in Syria has many interested state parties and Qatar has taken a prominent, multi-track approach to influence the outcome. The Qataris have met with Assad, armed rebels,  provided facilities for the US to train militants , paid defectors and–employing a novel methodology– used the trappings of civil society in the form of a ‘report’ on torture and the coverage provided by a ‘free press’. Qatar’s participation raises some interesting questions: What is the goal of this geopolitical manoeuvring? Are they using a civil society façade to achieve state goals? Originally directed by Emir Khalifa, Qatar’s foreign relations policies have been refined by Emir Tamim (who did his  A-levels at Harrow School, Middlesex in 1997 and graduated from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst  in 1998). Tamim became emir of Qatar in June 2013, after his father’s abdication. Former Al Jazeera journalist,  Ali Hashem, argues  that the policies are designed

Tunisia blocks border as thousands try to flee violence in Libya

RAS AJDIR, TUNISIA—Tunisia closed its main border crossing with Libya Friday after thousands of stranded Egyptian and foreign nationals, fleeing militias’ fighting and violence in Libya, tried to break through the passage, the Tunisian news agency said. It was the second eruption of unrest at the border in as many days, as thousands of Libyans stream into neighbouring Tunisia, along with foreign nationals. Tunisia is the only escape route as fighting escalates in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, where rival militias have been battling for weeks for control over the airport. Friday’s unrest took place when thousands of Egyptians, barred from entering Tunisia because they had no visa, held a protest then broke through part of a fence at the Ras Ajdir crossing, Tunisian security officials said. The police responded by shooting in the air and firing tear gas. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. An Associated Press reporter at th

10 killed in Baghdad bomb attacks

At least 10 people were killed and 29 injured in bomb attacks in Iraq's capital Baghdad Friday, police said. Seven people were killed and 21 wounded when a car bomb exploded near a popular restaurant in Baghdad's eastern Shia district of Sader City, a police source told Xinhua. Three other people were killed and eight wounded when three bombs exploded in quick succession in Khilani Square in central Baghdad, he added. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks. Iraq has been witnessing some of the worst violence in years. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said Friday that at least 1,737 Iraqis were killed and 1,978 injured in acts of terrorism and violence in July across Iraq, not including casualties in Anbar province. Terrorism and violence have killed 5,576 civilians in Iraq in the first half of this year, with 11,666 more wounded, according to a recent UN report. Source

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemns ceasefire violation by Hamas

UN Secretary General  Ban Ki-moon today condemned "in the strongest terms" the reported ceasefire violation by  Hamas  and demanded that an Israeli soldier captured in Gaza  be released immediately.  "The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms, the reported violation by Hamas of the mutually agreed humanitarian ceasefire which commenced this morning. He is shocked and profoundly disappointed by these developments," Ban's spokesman said in a statement.  The  UN  and US had announced yesterday that Israel and Hamas have agreed to an "unconditional humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza for a period of 72 hours and that the Israeli and Palestinian delegations would immediately be heading to Cairo for negotiations with the Egyptian government on reaching a "durable ceasefire".  However, two  Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed and one taken captive, hours after the humanitarian ceasefire came into effect.  "This would constitute a

The UN privacy report: Five Eyes remains

Flickr: George Rex . Some rights reserved. The United Nations delivered a searing rebuke to the digital mass surveillance practices of the United States in a report that systematically picks apart many of the legal justifications employed by government officials defending US and UK spying activities. The secret Five Eyes spying alliance, which enables the US and UK share vast amounts of surveillance with Australian, Canadian and New Zealand intelligence agencies, faces an existential threat if some of the conclusions in the report gain traction in national courts and legislatures.    The report, commissioned by the UN General Assembly in response to the political fallout of Edward Snowden’s revelations of American and British mass surveillance programmes, is the strongest condemnation of modern surveillance techniques that any international authority has appropriated to date. The release of the report couldn’t be more timely; the US is in the midst of debating surveillance reforms, and