Showing posts from September 1, 2019

Hong Kong thwarts airport protest, but battles continue

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police thwarted another disruption at the airport by pro-democracy activists but had to battle protesters at subway stations on Saturday, as the months-long unrest showed no signs of abating even after the government offered a concession days earlier. Police mounted road checks and inspected passengers on trains and buses heading to the airport to weed out protesters. An Associated Press journalist at an area near the airport witnessed at least two bus passengers being handcuffed and taken away after police found face masks in their bags. The express train service to the airport was limited, running to and from downtown Hong Kong but skipping all stations in between. Only people with plane tickets were allowed to enter the airport terminals, and those milling around an adjoining bus terminal were chased off. Several hundred angry protesters, many in masks, converged at a subway station in the Tung Chung area adjacent to the airport. They chanted sloga

No question of army atrocities in Kashmir as it's only fighting terrorists: NSA Ajit Doval

The Army presence in the Kashmir Valley was only limited to fighting terrorists, and police and central forces are there for handling public order, said National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on Saturday. In an interaction with journalists in New Delhi, Ajit Doval said, "The question of army atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir does not arise. Only state police and some central forces are handling public order, the Indian army is there to fight terrorists". NSA Ajit Doval also informed that restrictions in the Valley were limited to only ten police station areas and hundred per cent of landline phones have been restored. "Out of 199 police station areas in Jammu and Kashmir only 10 have prohibitory orders in place, rest have no restrictions. 100 per cent landline connections are operational in the state", he said. Ajit Doval also outlined that Pakistan is trying to create trouble in the Valley and over 200 Pakistani terrorists have been spotted. "Pak

Taliban kidnap six Afghan journalists

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban kidnapped six Afghan journalists working for private and government media organisations in eastern Paktia province, government officials and Taliban said on Saturday. The reporters, working for radio and TV news companies that broadcast news in the Pashto and Dari languages, were abducted while travelling together from neighbouring Paktika province to Paktia to attend a media workshop on Friday. "We are trying to negotiate their release with the Taliban," said Abdullah Hasrat, a spokesman for Paktia's governor. A Taliban spokesman confirmed the abduction of six journalists by their fighters but said they will be released soon. "Yes, our mujahideens (fighters) have mistakenly kidnapped them," said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the hardline insurgent group. "Right now mobile services are not working, but they will be released as soon as we establish contact with the local commander," he said. Afghanistan was

Pakistan hosts Afghanistan, China for wide-ranging talks

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan is hosting the third round of trilateral talks with Afghanistan and China to cover trade, counterterrorism and ending Afghanistan's 18-year war. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Saturday that talks are happening at a key moment in the U.S.-led effort to negotiate peace in Afghanistan. Qureshi said regional and Pakistani security will rely on ending the fighting in Afghanistan. Pakistan's Foreign Office said in a statement that the foreign ministers of the three countries will also discuss cooperating in economic development. The forum was established in two years ago, and earlier meetings were held in Beijing and Kabul in 2017 and 2018. Source:

Cameroon's conflict keeps schools shut

Schoolchildren have become pawns in the fierce conflict between Cameroon's mainly French-speaking government and separatist fighters demanding independence for the country's English-speaking heartlands.  The separatists are enforcing a lockdown across cities, towns and villages in the North-West and South-West regions to ensure schools remain shut for a fourth academic year in a row. The regions are heavily militarised, with troops battling insurgents who use hit-and-run tactics.  Schools were due to open on 2 September - instead parents and children have been fleeing their homes in their thousands as they fear an escalation of the conflict.  Children abducted Most schools in the two regions - including in villages - have been empty for three years, with buildings covered by long grass.  In some areas, the government deployed troops to guard classrooms but with the army being the main enemy of the separatists, this increased the risk of attacks by separatist gunme

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Hong Kong freedoms must be 'guaranteed'

BEIJING: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong "must be guaranteed" after meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, her spokesman said. Hong Kong has been plunged into months of pro-democracy protests, and ahead of her three-day visit to China this week demonstrators in the semi-autonomous city appealed to the German chancellor to support them in her meetings with China's leadership. In a tweet Friday, spokesman Steffen Seibert quoted Merkel as saying: "The rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong must be guaranteed. Solutions can only be found in dialogue; do everything possible to prevent violence". Merkel arrived in China on Thursday with a large business delegation in tow. The businesses travelling with Merkel include Volkswagen, Allianz and Deutsche Bank according to the German daily Bild, which carried a headline Friday that read: "Do our companies not care about Hong Kong&

Twin blasts kill one, injure 12 people in Pak's Balochistan

In Pakistan, two powerful blasts rocked restive Balochistan province today, killing one person and wounding 12 others, including two police officers. The blast shook Kharotabad and Khaizi Chowk areas of Quetta, the provincial capital and the largest city of Balochistan. The first blast went off near the office of a transport company, while a motorcycle packed with explosives parked near the canteen of the company was used in the second blast. Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has condemned the attack and ordered a probe. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Source:

Taliban militants launch assault to seize Afghan province

Kabul, Sep 6 (IANS) Hundreds of Taliban fighters on Friday launched a massive assault and captured some villages and remote parts of Afghanistans Farah province in an ongoing intense battle, officials said. Farah police spokesperson Muhibullah Muhib told Efe news that the defence and security belt of the provincial capital with the same name came under a coordinated Taliban attack from the north and northwest of the city in early hours of Friday. The militants captured several areas on the city outskirts, he said. The attack is a third on an Afghan provincial capital in less than a week after US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said that they have finalized “in principle” a peace agreement with insurgents to end the 18-year old war. Muhib said security forces were resisting the Taliban offensive to retake the areas they captured. “With the help of reinforcement and airstrikes, we are now pushing the militants back from the areas they penetrated in the morning,” Muhib added.

Talks to end violent south Yemen power struggle stall: officials

ADEN (Reuters) - Talks to end a violent power struggle in south Yemen have stalled and both sides appear to be preparing to resume fighting, officials said on Friday, suggesting more turmoil lies ahead on a new battlefront that risks further fragmenting Yemen. Saudi Arabia, leader of an Arab coalition battling Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis, is hosting indirect talks to resolve the crisis between UAE-backed separatists and the Saudi-backed government amid a rift between Riyadh and its ally Abu Dhabi. The war for the south between the two nominal allies in the coalition is threatening to complicate U.N. efforts to end the multi-tiered war, which contains conflicts within conflicts. Saudi Arabia called on the separatists, who seek to revive the former South Yemen republic, to cede control of Aden and voiced its support for President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government on Thursday, threatening "to react decisively". Two Yemeni officials said the Saudi statement

Sri Lanka: 293 suspects arrested in connection with Easter Sunday attacks

Colombo [ Sri Lanka ], Sept 6 (ANI): The  Sri Lanka n police on Thursday said that 293 suspects have been arrested so far in connection with the  Easter Sunday  bombings in the island country in April. Giving out details, police spokesperson  Ruwan Gunasekera  said that 115 suspects are in remand custody while 178 others are detained for questioning, Anadolu News Agency reported. "Moves were also underway to freeze 6 billion  Sri Lanka n rupees worth of assets belonging to the suspects," the police spokesman said. Gunasekara said that the Criminal Investigations Department had collected data about these assets and steps would be taken to freeze them in due course. He informed that over 100  bank accounts  of at least 41 suspects had already been frozen. Multiple blasts ripped through  Sri Lanka  on April 21, when the Christian community was celebrating  Easter Sunday . The explosions rattled churches and high-end hotels across the country, killing 258 people and injuring ove

Taliban, govt. forces clash in western Afghan city

Kabul [ Afghanistan ], Sep 6 (ANI): The  Taliban  have stormed the outskirts of Farah city located in western  Afghanistan , prompting the  government forces  to engage in heavy  clash es since early Friday morning (local time), an official said. Farah police spokesman Mohibullah Mohib said that the  Taliban  were pushed back after they attacked the city from three sides, Tolo News reported. The offensive comes a three days after a preliminary US- Taliban   peace deal  was announced following the completion of the ninth round of peace talks between the two sides aimed at ending the almost two-decades-long turmoil in the war-torn country. The group, a day before, claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing near the heavily fortified Green Zone in Kabul that killed at least 10 Afghan civilians. The US top negotiator Afghan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad, said this week that the two sides had drawn up a draft framework agreement under which American troops would leave five military bases i

Hong Kong students continue boycott pressing for more demands

Hong Kong, Sept 6 (ANI): Thousands of students and alumni continued to boycott schools across Hong Kong on Friday and formed a human chain to register their protest. The students are upset with the government for not fulfilling their other demands after withdrawing the Extradition Bill. Pro-democratic protestors formed human chains outside schools in Kowloon Tong, Tai Po and on Hong Kong Island, South China Morning Post reported. The demonstrators reiterated their demand for electoral reforms, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, and riot characterisation of the June 12 protests and the unconditional release of all the protestors. "Even though Lam announced she would withdraw the bill, the decision should have come three months earlier. I hope she will respond to more of our demands," said a graduate of La Salle College. This comes two days after the Chief Executive of Hong Kong,  Carrie Lam , reluctantly yielded to one of the four demands of formally withdr

India, Indonesia condemn ‘selective approaches’ in dealing with terrorism

India, during the meeting, called upon all countries “to stop providing state sponsorship to terrorism and to prevent their territories from being used for establishing terrorist safe havens.” “We also affirmed our shared interests in the territorial integrity and unity of the two countries,” he added. India and Indonesia on Thursday “unequivocally” condemned terrorism and the “selective approaches” in dealing with the global menace as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi here. Jaishankar is on a September 4-6 visit to Indonesia, his first to a South East Asian country. During the talks, the two countries also affirmed their shared interests in the territorial integrity and unity. “As democracies, who both confront the menace of terrorism, in our meeting today, we unequivocally reiterated our strongest condemnation of terrorism in all forms and manifestations,” Jaishankar said in a press statement. “We expressed our s

Taliban supporters cheer US withdrawal plans

While details of the deal have not been announced, it is widely expected the US will slash its troop presence in Afghanistan in return for various Taliban commitments. Taliban loyalists are cheering the prospect of a deal with the US that after 18 years of gruelling conflict will see “defeated” American “invaders” finally go home. While details of the deal have not been announced, it is widely expected the  Pentagon  will slash its troop presence in  Afghanistan  in return for various Taliban commitments. AFP spoke to several  Taliban fighters  and supporters in and around Kandahar -- the southern Afghan province that is the birthplace of the Islamist movement and a key stronghold. Islamic values Mohammad Manzoor Hussaini, who previously fought for the Taliban, was until two years ago hiding out in Pakistan but returned to Kandahar as the group’s influence strengthened. All Afghans want is a peace founded on “Islamic values”, he said, using the same stock phrase the Tal