Showing posts from January 2, 2022

In Andhra Pradesh, a string of jolts for the Maoists

The growing rift between tribal leaders and non-tribal leaders is a major issue in the CPI(Maoist) The banned  Communist Party of India (Maoist) ` would probably like to forget 2021. It not only suffered setbacks in the Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB) region in Visakhapatnam district, which the left-wing extremists consider as their strongest fortress after the Dandakaranya region, but also received strong jolts in its self-proclaimed ‘red corridor’ region. The chief of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee,  Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna alias R.K., died  after a prolonged illness in October, six top leaders were killed by the Greyhounds in June in Koyyuru mandal in the Visakhapatnam Agency, and 26 cadres including Central Committee (CC) member Milind Teltumbde were killed during a gun battle by the C-60 force of Maharashtra in Gadchiroli. Other setbacks included the arrest of Polit Buro and CC member Prashant Bose alias Kishan da and his wife Sheela Marandi, also a CC me

Coalition pushes against Houthi inroads in Yemen's Marib and Shabwa

ADEN (Reuters) - The Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen has retaken several areas in the energy-prducing provinces of Marib and Shabwa to repel advances by the Houthi movement in fierce fighting that has stymied United Nations-led peace efforts. Battles have intensified since the start of the year after the coalition sent reinforcements to Shabwa, where inroads by the Iran-aligned Houthi group had cut off access to the Saudi-backed government's last northern stronghold in Marib. Marib, in central Yemen, has for over a year been the focus of the seven-year war. The government holds the province's main city and nearby oil and gas infrastructure. Pro-coalition Yemeni forces, including the UAE-backed Giants Brigade, restored control on parts of Assilan in Shabwa and are pushing towards Bayhan. Dozens have been killed on both sides in the past week's fighting, two military sources told Reuters. Pro-government fighters have also retaken some areas on the southern and western ou

Three terrorists killed in early morning encounter in J&K's Budgam

  Three terrorists were killed in an early morning encounter that broke out at the Zolwa Kralpora Chadoora area of Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. Police said the identification and affiliation of the terrorists were being ascertained.  The inspector general of police, Kahsmir, said incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition, were recovered during the encounter Source:

Revolt in Kazakhstan: What's Happening, and Why It Matters

  What is happening in Kazakhstan and why? Thousands of angry protesters have taken to the streets of Kazakhstan in recent days, the biggest crisis to shake the autocratic country in decades. The events are a stark challenge to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev less than three years into his rule and are destabilizing an already volatile region where Russia and the United States compete for influence. Video posted online Wednesday showed people storming the main government building in Almaty, the largest city, while protesters set police vehicles on fire, as well as the regional branch of the governing Nur Otan party. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times The protests, which have prompted the Kazakh government to seek help from a Russia-led military alliance, have taken a violent turn, with the police saying Thursday that dozens of demonstrators had been killed. The protests were sparked by anger over surging fuel prices. But they have intensified into something more

No time to die laughing: MI6 head thanks China for ‘free publicity’ in James Bond spoof

  The head of MI6 has thanked China for “unexpected free publicity” after the country mocked him in a state news James Bond spoof video. Richard Moore,  who became the chief  of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service in October 2020,  said in a speech last year  that a rising China was the agency’s “single greatest priority” for the first time in its history. In his address, Mr Moore, codenamed C, accused China of getting “people on the hook” in Africa and elsewhere by forcing smaller countries to take on onerous borrowing in return for building vital infrastructure or seizing control of their data to supply essential services. However, in a four-minute video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, China’s Xinhua News lampooned the MI6 chief’s warnings with a sketch featuring a pair of British spies, James Pond and Black Window. Xinhua said the video, No Time To Die Laughing, was “leaked footage” of a “secret meeting” between British spies and their US counterparts, describing the clip as “rib-ti

Did Saudi Arabia 'cover up' terrorist attack on Dakar rally?

  Story highlights The Saudi Arabian interior ministry called the explosion an accident, while Boutron's team, Sodicars Racing, claimed he was the victim of a terrorist attack. French secret service officers are looking into allegations that Saudi Arabian officials attempted to cover up a terrorist incident that put a rally driver's legs in jeopardy. Philippe Boutron, 61, was deported to France after his car detonated ahead of the Dakar rally, a French-organized motorsport event in Saudi Arabia.  "A preliminary investigation has been opened into multiple attempted killings in connection with a terrorist group," national anti-terror prosecutors said in a statement. The Saudi Arabian interior ministry called the explosion an accident, while Boutron's team, Sodicars Racing, claimed he was the victim of a terrorist attack. According to the British daily national newspaper, The Times, the French anti-terrorism prosecutor's office has launched an investigation into

Vaccine Hesitancy Star fall: Novak Djokovic in limbo as lawyers fight Australia ban, star remains 'prisoner' in hotel

Novak Djokovic faced at least 72 hours holed up in a Melbourne hotel for immigration detainees after he was denied entry into Australia on Thursday (January 6) amid a political firestorm over his medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements. The tennis star, who is chasing a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, remained in the country after his lawyers launched an appeal seeking to overturn the federal government decision. A court agreed not to deport him before a full hearing scheduled for Monday. The saga, fuelled by domestic political point-scoring about the country's handling of a record surge in new COVID-19 infections, has led to an international row, with Serbia's president claiming his nation's most celebrated sportsman was being harassed. "They are keeping him as a prisoner," Djokovic's mother, Dijana, said at the family's restaurant in Belgrade. "It's not fair. It's not human." She said she spoke t

Pope Laments & decries Church conservatives encased in "suit of armour"

  VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis took an apparent dig at conservatives resisting change in the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday, lamenting those whose religion he said was self-referential and encased in a "suit of armour". On the Feast of the Epiphany, Francis seemed to direct specific criticism at those who have balked at his decision to restrict the traditionalist Latin Mass, saying the liturgy could not be trapped in a "dead language." "Have we been stuck all too long, nestled inside a conventional, external and formal religiosity that no longer warms our hearts and changes our lives?," Francis said. "Do our words and our liturgies ignite in people's hearts a desire to move towards God, or are they a 'dead language' that speaks only of itself and to itself?" The Latin Mass went out of general use after the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council and was substituted by local languages. In July, having argued that the Latin Mass wa

Facebook, Google slapped with huge fines in France over 'cookies'

Story highlights Tech giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have faced a lot of flak in Europe over their business practices. New rules may potentially have far-reaching effects on their functions in Europe Regulators in France have slapped massive fines of USD 237 million (210 million euros) on Facebook and Google over their use of 'cookies', said authorities on Thursday. Cookies and the data used to track users online. Tech giants like Apple and Amazon have received major flak from regulators over their business practices in Europe. Massive fines have already been slapped and new rules may have far-reaching impact on how they operate in Europe. The 150-million-euro fine imposed on Google was a record by France's National Commission for Information Technology and Freedom (CNIL), beating a previous cookie-related fine of 100 million euros against the company in December 2020. Also Read |  The Metaverse’s dark side: Here come harassment and assaults Facebook was han

Security officials killed in Kazakhstan protests; Russian alliance sends troops

  Story highlights Protests  have continued as demonstrators took control of Almaty airport even as Tokayev declared that the protesters were "terrorist gangs". At least 1,000 people were wounded and several killed in  Kazakhstan  during anti-government protests against rising fuel prices which has widened into large scale nationwide demonstrations. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev who has been facing heat from protesters appealed for help from  Russian -led Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) as Russia sent paratroopers and military units. The president's cabinet had resigned earlier. CSTO  said it had sent "peacekeeping forces" to Kazakhstan for a "limited time to stabilise and normalise the situation". Also Read: Nationwide emergency declared in Kazakhstan, US and UN urge restraint Meanwhile, reports claimed at least twelve security officials were killed in the unrest.  Protests  have continued as demonstrators took control of Almaty airport even as

Beaten, abused; Ethiopia detained, abused Tigrayans deported from Saudi, reports Human Rights Watch

Story highlights During the conflict in their northern homeland, the Tigrayans appear to have been caught up both in a harsh expulsion programme by Riyadh and in a crackdown by Ethiopia's government Thousands of ethnic Tigrayans have been detained in Ethiopia after being deported from Saudi Arabia, suffering atrocious conditions and brutal treatment from guards in both countries, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday. As per the New York-based rights group, Tigrayans in Ethiopia have been subjected to repeated abuses, including being beaten with rubber or wooden rods, deprived of access to their families, forced to pick coffee for free, and denied food and water. Also read |  Ethiopian authorities round up high-profile Tigrayans, including bank CEOs and UN staff During the conflict in their northern homeland, the Tigrayans appear to have been caught up both in a harsh expulsion programme by Riyadh and in a crackdown by Ethiopia's government. Saudi Arabia detained them most

Tigrayans deported by Saudi Arabia held and abused in Ethiopia - HRW

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (Reuters) - Thousands of ethnic Tigrayans have been detained in Ethiopia after being deported from Saudi Arabia, suffering brutality from guards and atrocious conditions in both nations, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday. The Tigrayans appear to have been caught up in both a tough expulsion programme by Riyadh and a crackdown by Ethiopia's government during conflict in their northern homeland region. The New York-based rights group reported a litany of abuses against the Tigrayans in Ethiopia, including being beaten by rubber or wooden rods, deprived access to families, forced to pick coffee for free, and denied food and water. They were mainly rounded up for irregular immigration status in Saudi Arabia, where detainees also reported being beaten, forced to strip naked, and made to endure freezin

Yemen conflict escalates, government forces advance in south

  CAIRO (AP) — Forces of Yemen’s internationally recognized government have reclaimed large swaths of territory in a southern province from Iran-backed Houthi rebels, government officials said Wednesday. The push in the southern province of Shabwa comes amid heavy airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthis elsewhere in Yemen, including the capital of Sanaa. The rebels have also stepped up their cross-border attacks, using ballistic missiles and explosive-laden drones to target Saudi Arabia. The Houthis recently also  seized an Emirati ship  in the Red Sea off the contested city of Hodeida. A Yemeni military spokesman, Mohammed al-Naqib, said the troops’ advance in Shabwa aims to cut supply lines for the Houthis who have been attacking the key city of Marib, the last government stronghold in northern Yemen, since early last year. Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when the Houthis took Sanaa and much of the northern part of the country, forcing the government to flee to the

Yemen rebels seize UAE-flagged ship as war escalates anew

  Yemen's seven-year war lurched into its latest crisis Monday with Huthi rebels saying they have seized an Emirati-flagged military ship which the Saudi-led coalition insisted was carrying medical supplies. The Iran-backed Huthis released images of what they said were military jeeps and weapons on board the vessel, named Rwabee, which was captured in the Red Sea off the Yemen coast. The coalition branded the hijacking an act of piracy and threatened to seize the ship back by force. The Rwabee was returning from a mission to set up a field hospital on Yemen's Socotra island, it said. "The militia must promptly release the ship, or the coalition forces will undertake all necessary measures and procedures to handle this violation, including the use of force if necessary," coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said. But the rebels, who said the multinational crew was still on board, warned there would be consequences if the ship was targeted. The incident follows intensifie

Myth of ummah’s equality: How Indian Muslims were looked down upon by those who converted them

  Who are Indian Muslims? And how were they treated by Muslim rulers? There has been a continuous debate over the issue of the identity of Indian Muslims which in turn is closely linked to their origin. The complexity of this question has been aggravated as there is no integrated contemporary account that explains holistically how Islam spread in India. In this context, it is important to go back and revisit the chronology of Islam’s spread in India. That would probably help us deal with the issue of the identity of Indian Muslims more rationally and find some permanent answers. It is interesting to note that despite the much talked about attack of Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 CE on Sindh, by the year 1000 CE there was only a handful of Muslims in India and that too in the trans-Indus region. In fact, contrary to the common perception that Qasim was the first Muslim invader in India, the Islamic invasion in India had begun as early as 664 CE when Abdur Rahman captured Kabul, which was the