Saturday, October 10, 2020

Famous Baloch singer shot dead in Pakistan

Hanif Chamrok, a Baloch singer (Photo/HRCBalochistan)

Quetta [Balochistan], October 10 (ANI): In another incident of lawlessness in Pakistan, unidentified gunmen shot dead a popular local singer and father of a human rights activist in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, police said.

Hanif Chamrok, a Baloch singer, was taking a music class on Thursday at his home in Turbat city of Kech district of the province when unidentified gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire at him, Express Tribune reported.

Chamrok is the father of human rights activist Tayyaba Baloch. The singer was shot multiple times and died on the spot, they said.

Balochistan Human Rights Council has condemned the incident and called upon the government to form an impartial committee to investigate this tragic incident

"We strongly condemn the assassination of Haneef Chamrok, father of our ex-Chairperson Tayyaba Baloch. We call upon the government to form an impartial committee to investigate this tragic incident. Perpetrators must be held accountable for this heinous crime," Human Rights Council of Balochistan tweeted. (ANI)

Nepal marks another grim milestone with 5,008 new COVID-19 cases

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Kathmandu [Nepal], October 10 (ANI): Nepal has attained three grim milestones in the first 10 days of October as the COVID-19 situation in the country has worsened.

On October 4, Nepal surpassed China in terms of COVID-19 cases; on October 9, the Himalayan Nation crossed the milestone cases of 1 lakh and on 10th, it logged all-time-high single-day rise of COVID-19 cases with 5,008 new cases.

Buffered in between China and India, the Himalaya nation with a population of about 30 million has registered a record number of cases every day. On October 7, a total of 3,439 cases were registered which was an all-time-high. The record has been shattered in less than three days as on Saturday, the country recorded 5,008 new cases.

"Nepal today had a total of 19,320 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Tests. Till date, a total of 11,64,557 samples has been tested. In the last 24 hours, the number of new COVID-19 infections stands at 5,008. Inside Kathmandu Valley, the Kathmandu District alone recorded 2100, Bhaktapur 203 and Lalitpur 369 cases taking the fresh toll of infected in 24 hours to 2,672," Jageshwor Gautam, Spokesperson at Ministry of Health and Population announced the new figures on Saturday's briefing.

Kathmandu Valley on Saturday recorded a total of 53.35 per cent of those numbers confirmed in the last 24 hours.

As per the numbers, one out of four samples tested for COVID-19 in Nepal are now turning out to be positive.

By the end of the first week of October, Nepal has recorded a total of 105,684 cases of COVID-19 with 74,252 and 614 deaths.

With the rise in cases, the recovery rate of the Himalayan Nation on Saturday dipped to 70.20 per cent from 72.3 per cent that of Thursday. (ANI)

NHRC seeks detailed report in four-year-old case of minor's sexual assault in Odisha's Balasore

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New Delhi [India], October 10 (ANI): Expressing serious displeasure over "the extremely lethargic" attitude of Odisha administration to deal with sexual assault case of a minor girl in June 2016, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed Superintendent of Police Balasore to submit an up-to-date investigation report in the matter.

The NHRC had recently noted that proper application shall be filed by appropriate authorities immediately before the concerned court under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2020 for compensation.

The apex human rights panel had also asked SP Balasore to pursue the application before the District Legal Service Authority for compensation under the victim compensation scheme, saying it is surprising that the application was moved three years back but compensation has not been disbursed till date.

Radhakanta Tripathy, Supreme Court advocate and activist-lawyer, had filed a petition before the NHRC in 2016 citing the lethargic attitude of the Balasore Police.

The plea had mentioned that the culprits abducted 11-year-old girl asking her to identify a house when she was playing with her friends. The family members began a search as the girl didn't return home by evening and was rescued from near the national highway over-bridge near her village in a critical condition and was admitted her to the hospital.

"The incident occurred in Talanagar village under the limits of Soro police station. Proper medical treatment could not be provided to the victim. No compensation and rehabilitation with psycho-social counselling has been done for the victim. This is a classic case of failure of police and officials from Women and Child Development," Tripathy alleged.

The NHRC had, in its order dated May 22, 2019, had directed the Director-General of Police, Odisha, to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate this case and to submit a report within six weeks.

However, the Balasore Police, in its report, stated that though sketch of the accused have been prepared, they could not be traced yet and the investigation is under progress. Pursuant to the direction of the Commission, the Collector, had submitted that the police had taken steps to apprehend the accused but could not arrest him.

"The police have already filed a necessary application before DLSA, Balasore for rendering legal assistance and grant of victim compensation to the victim girl who is currently living with her parents," Tripathy had said.

The Commission was surprised to note that case was more than four years old. However, neither investigation has been completed nor compensation has been paid to the victim.
Any delay in granting the compensation under the POCSO Act or victim compensation scheme under Section 357-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) would definitely defeat the purpose of granting such compensation as prescribed, the NHRC had stated in its order. (ANI)

Afghanistan security forces free 43 servicemen, civilians from Taliban prison in Zabul

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Kabul [Afghanistan], October 10 (ANI/Sputnik): The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have freed 43 personnel and civilians from a Taliban prison in the southern province of Zabul, the country's Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

"As a result of Afghan National Security Forces' (ANSF) operations in Shahjoy district of Zabul province last night, 43 members of the security and defense forces, including several civilians, were released from a Taliban prison," the ministry said in a statement.

Twenty of those released, including four civilians, were transferred to the province's capital of Qalat, while the rest joined the ANSF in other parts of Zabul.

According to the Afghan Defense Ministry, the servicemen pledged to return to the ranks of the country's forces to defend the "lives and property of the people." (ANI/Sputnik)

Self-proclaimed Artsakh says fighting continues in Karabakh's Hadrut despite ceasefire

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Yerevan [Armenia], October 10 (ANI/Sputnik): The Foreign Ministry of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh in the Nagorno-Karabakh region said on Saturday that the Azerbaijani forces carried on with military operations in the town of Hadrut in Karabakh despite the humanitarian ceasefire agreement, but other areas along the contract line are "relatively calm."

Following the 10-hour talks in the Russian capital of Moscow, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to cease hostilities in the conflict-torn region starting noon (08:00 GMT). The ceasefire is intended to allow both sides to exchange captured individuals and bodies of those deceased. However, the parties soon accused each other of violating the truce.

"Prior to reaching the ceasefire agreement for humanitarian reasons, the Azerbaijani side attempted to carry out reconnaissance operation in the direction of Hadrut. Despite the fact that it was only about three hours into the ceasefire, operations to blockade and destroy the infiltrated [Azerbaijani] group continue. It is relatively calm at the other sectors of the contact line," the Foreign Ministry said.

The large-scale hostilities in the Armenian-majority breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh erupted on September 27 when both parties accused each other of violating the ceasefire.

Most countries, including Russia and France, have called on the warring parties to cease fire and settle their differences via dialogue. Turkey has vowed to support Azerbaijan with all the needed means. (ANI/Sputnik)

10 people arrested by Afghan security forces in connection with attack on Vice Pres Saleh

The country's Vice President Amrullah Saleh, the National Directorate of Security (NDS)

Kabul [Afghanistan], October 10 (ANI/Sputnik): Afghan security forces arrested 10 people allegedly linked to the September 9 attack in Kabul that targeted the country's Vice President Amrullah Saleh, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement on Saturday.

"The National Directorate of Security has arrested 10 people in connection with the attack on First Vice President Amrullah Saleh," the NDS said.

On September 9, two people were killed and seven others injured in a blast on Kabul's Taimani Square that targeted Saleh, who was not harmed.

The attack came the next day after a credible source told Sputnik that the six remaining Taliban prisoners had been transferred from Afghan prisons to Qatar to complete the exchange and pave way for direct talks between Kabul and the radical movement. (ANI/Sputnik)

North Korea's military buildup deterrent in Nature: Kim Jong-un

North Korea Leader Kim Jong-un

Pyongyang [North Korea], October 10 (ANI/Sputnik): North Korea is building up its war capacity purely as a deterrent and will only strike in retaliation, leader Kim Jong-un said at a massive military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the ruling Workers' Party.

"We will continue to strengthen war deterrence for self-defence to deter, control and manage all dangerous attempts and threatening acts, including ever-growing nuclear threats, from hostile forces," Kim said in his address broadcast by North Korean television.

Making the address from the podium in a light grey Western suit, the party's chairman made no mention of the United States but reiterated that there will be "retribution" if the country ever came under attack.

He also sent well-wishes to South Koreans and wished the capitalist neighbour a swift recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Kim also thanked North Koreans for "protecting the country and themselves" from COVID-19, reiterating that no cases of the coronavirus were detected in the country.

South Korean media have reported earlier in the day that the North appeared to have staged the military parade at dawn. The broadcast that is live on TV is believed to be a record of that parade.

North Korea marks every fifth and tenth anniversary of founding with larger parades showboating the country's perceived military might. The parades are closely watched by international security, intelligence personnel and analysts as they are replete with the country's latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and other developments. (ANI/Sputnik)

North Korea appears to have staged a large-scale military parade

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Seoul [South Korea], October 10 (ANI): North Korea on Saturday appeared to have staged a large-scale military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It is not yet known what time the parade was held, what weapons were displayed, or if it was attended by North-Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Yonhap News Agency reported.

In a statement, the JCS said, "Signs have been detected that North Korea conducted a military parade at the Kim Il-sung Square at dawn by mobilizing a large number of equipment and personnel."

"South Korean and the US intelligence authorities have been analyzing (the event), including the possibility that it could be the main event, (not a rehearsal)", it added.

North Korea observes every fifth and 10th anniversary of the Korean party with huge events to display its newly developed strategic weapons and military hardware, a parade of troops, and military launches, all as a part of military provocations.

Yonhap News Agency further reported, "North Korea has been expected to roll out "new strategic weapons," including a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that Kim pledged to show off in his New Year's Day message amid stalled denuclearization talks with the US."

The weaponry displayed in Pyongyang on Saturday is being analyzed. "No unusual movements by the North Korean military have been detected," the JCS commented.
North Korea's state media and Korean Central Broadcasting Station did not comment on the event. Even its daily schedule did not mention any parade.

The last time Pyongyang aired a military parade live was back in April 2017 amid aggravated tensions with the US, when it exhibited a new ICBM and other kinds of weapons.

All past parades of the North have been held during the day-time, hence, holding a military parade before dawn is quite an unusual move made by the country.

A professor at the Korea National Defence University Kim Young-Un said, "Instead of the blaze of publicity, North Korea seems to be trying to manage the situation ahead of the US elections."

Considering its relations with the US, North Korea might have attempted to make the parade look more like a festival than a mere show of force, the professor added.

However, the Korean leader has appeared to maintain good relations with the US irrespective of the scant progress in negotiations with Washington. (ANI)

Chinese security personnel fire tear gas at Nepali team in Humla

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Kathmandu [Nepal], October 10 (ANI): The Chinese security personnel have fired tear gas at a Nepali team that had arrived at Namkha of Humla district to monitor border pillars, said vice-chairperson of Namkha village municipality.

Pena Lama, vice-chairperson of Namkha village municipality said that the Chinese side fired tear gas during the monitoring of the border pillar at the Namkha rural municipality, reported the Khabarhub on Friday.

He added that tear gas was fired near the pillar no 9 when they were returning after monitoring the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th border pillars.

Khabarhub reported the Chinese security personnel fired tear gas on the team -- that was led by Nepali Congress leader Jeevan Bahadur Shahi -- when they were returning from Namkha after monitoring the area.

It also reported that Lama has sustained a minor injury to his eyes.

This comes after Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied reports of land encroachment by China in the Humla district of Nepal contrary to the claims made by locals of the district.

Issuing a press release, the Foreign Ministry claimed that recent construction by China fell on the Chinese side and not on the Nepali side as earlier claimed by locals of the Humla district.

"The Department of Survey, Government of Nepal, based on the official records, reports of the joint field inspection and boundary maps, has verified and confirmed that the said buildings are not located within the Nepali territory," MoFA said in the release. (ANI)

Abdullah Abdullah discusses peace process with top Indian leadership, does not seek direct engagement of India in tackling Taliban

New Delhi [India], October 10 (ANI): Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman, High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan who is on a five-day India visit on Saturday said that his discussion with the top Indian leadership was around "peace" process and said Afghanistan did not ask for direct engagement from India to tackle Taliban. He also said there are different countries playing various roles in Afghanistan and India's role will also be appreciated.

"The topic of discussion was around peace in what was going on in the negotiations and what different countries can do. India as an important country, which has helped Afghanistan throughout many years has a lot at stake in peaceful Afghanistan. The continuation of the war is an adverse impact," Abdullah said in an exclusive interview with ANI.

He said it depends on the Indian government's decision on engaging with the Taliban.
"I did not ask directly for engagement with the Taliban but at the same time, I encouraged in the peace process as a whole in general. There are different countries playing different roles in Afghanistan. India's role will also be appreciated," he said.

When asked whether Afghanistan wants India to engage with the Taliban, he said: "It depends on the Indian government's decision. But as a whole India is supportive of the peace process which is important."

While talking about key takeaways from interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abdullah said that India wants Afghan-led negotiation and inclusive settlement acceptable to Afghans.

"My takeaway from my interaction with PM Modi is that India wants Afghan-led negotiation and inclusive settlement acceptable to Afghans. A unified Afghanistan, which does not harbour terror groups," he said.

Asked whether he discussed the military role of India in Afghanistan, Abdullah said: "No. Absolutely not. I did not raise that idea. The point is that we hope that Afghanistan will be able to stand on its own feet. As you know that US troops are the main part of it. They have withdrawn from Afghanistan. Still, they are present there but that will not be forever."

"It is important for the people of Afghanistan to find a way to live in peace with one another. Then find an arrangement for the security of the country. Then other countries can help in peace in their own ways," he said.

On Thursday, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval wherein he reaffirmed the long-term commitment to further deepen India-Afghan ties.

A day later, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Dr Abdullah and assured him of India's commitment to peace, prosperity and stability in the neighbouring country.

Abdullah's visit comes at a time when the Afghanistan government and Taliban are trying to negotiate a deal in order to restore peace in the country.

The peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Qatar's capital Doha. (ANI)

Democracy, Peace And Prosperity In Indo-Pacific Are Currently Facing Serious Challenges: Taiwan President On National Day

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen

Taipei [Taiwan], October 10 (ANI): Asserting that democracy and peace in Indo-Pacific are currently facing serious challenges, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday said they will "continue to show resilience" against the "growing internal and external changes seen in decades".

She was speaking on the occasion of the country's 109th Double Tenth National Day Celebration on Saturday.

"To address the greatest internal and external changes we have seen in decades... the government will take the helm and lead the way forward with three major strategies to create the new Taiwan economy we all aspire to," she said in her National Day address titled "2020 Proud of Taiwan".

"As commander-in-chief, I always have the future of our military and our military of the future in my heart. We will continue to modernise defensive combat capabilities and accelerate the upgrading of our asymmetrical capabilities to deal with military expansion and provocation from the other side of the Taiwan Strait," she added, referring to China.

On the recent developments in the Indo-Pacific region, the President said, "For some time we have all been paying close attention to changes in regional security. From sovereignty disputes in the South and East China Seas and the China-India border conflict to developments in the Taiwan Strait and the "Hong Kong version of the National Security Law" that has garnered international concern, it is clear that democracy, peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific are currently facing serious challenges."

She urged the "leader across the Strait" (Chinese President Xi Jinping) to stick to the video message that he delivered at the United Nations General Assembly.

"...the leader across the Strait has publicly stated in a video message to the United Nations General Assembly that China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or a sphere of influence. As countries in the region and around the world are now concerned about China's expanding hegemony, we hope this is the beginning of genuine change," she said.

She added if Beijing can heed Taiwan's voice, change the way it handles cross-strait relations, and jointly facilitate cross-strait reconciliation and peaceful dialogue, regional tension can surely be resolved.

"As long as the Beijing authorities are willing to resolve antagonisms and improve cross-strait relations, while parity and dignity are maintained, we are willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue. This is what the people of Taiwan advocate, and it is a cross-party consensus," the President said.

The strong usage of words against China comes weeks after it flew 37 aircraft, including bomber and fighter jets, over the Taiwan Strait following the visit of a US State Department official, which apparently angered Beijing.

According to the South China Morning Post, China regards Taipei as a "breakaway province" and has said that it wouldn't mind using force to claim it. At the same time, Beijing has also accused Washington and Taipei of promoting independence.

Taiwan had responded to China's threat in a cheeky manner.

"How do you deal with a neighbour sending you death threats just for having dinner with friends visiting from afar? Asking for a friend," Taiwan presidential office spokesperson tweeted.

This statement followed a threat published in Chinese newspaper Global Times after the US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach visited Taipei.

"Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, who pledged deeper ties with the US at a dinner for a visiting senior State Department official, is clearly playing with fire. If any act of her provocation violates the Anti-secession Law of China, a war will be set off and Tsai will be wiped out," wrote Global Times. (ANI)

Companies rush to Baba ka Dhaba for advertising, Baba to get someone to help him cater to high food demand

'Baba ka Dhaba' turns into hotspot for companies' promotion and advertisement. (Photo/ANi)

New Delhi [India], October 10 (ANI): A few days ago, Baba ka Dhaba was merely a food stall at Malviya Nagar in South Delhi where an old couple was struggling to sell food, but now it has become a place where companies come for advertising and promotional drives.

Life has taken a new turn and now Kanta Prasad (Baba) is looking for a person to assist him in catering to the high demand. He has also become hero for the public as you will easily find people clicking photos with Baba.

People are stopping vehicles at Baba ka Dhaba and clicking photos and taking selfies.

His shop is now filled with posters and banners of brands. There is hardly any place left where one can now put posters or banners of their brands.

Also, small temporary counters of other products like COVID Insurance have also popped up around Baba ka Dhaba.

When asked about how he will cater to the demand for food, he said, "I have to get someone to assist me since I can't say no to my customers. At this age I can't do everything alone. Earlier, I used to struggle sell 750 grams of rice but now I sold 5 kgs rice in half a day."

When asked about companies branding through Baba ka Dhaba, he said, "It's a help as well as advertising," Baba told ANI.

Though Baba said now he doesn't need help and people can assist others who need help.

"I don't need any help now; others should get help," said Baba.

On Saturday, another couple also went to Baba ka Dhaba who was also not in a good condition. People there tried to help the couple as well and they also got food from Baba ka Dhaba. (ANI)

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani receives credentials of new Indian Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon

Afghanistan President with new Indian Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon on Saturday. (Photo credit: President's Spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi Twitter)

Kabul [Afghanistan], October 10 (ANI): Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday received the credentials of new Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon and both discussed strategic ties between the two countries.

"President Ghani received the credential of the new Indian Ambassador. Both sides talked about the strategic ties between the two countries, deepening relations, and mutual focus on economic and connectivity opportunities for the region, and India's commitment to the Afghan peace," Sediq Sediqqi, President's Spokesperson, said in a tweet.

Tandon has earlier served as Indian Ambassador to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). (ANI)

8,000 people ordered to evacuate in Japan as storm Chan-hom looms

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Tokyo [Japan], October 10 (ANI/Sputnik): Tropical storm Chan-hom is expected to skirt Japan's main islands but will likely cause heavy damage to the Izu islands south of Tokyo, public broadcaster NHK said Saturday, adding that local governments throughout the southern regions have issued evacuation orders and advisories affecting over 8,000 people.

According to NHK, which cited Japan's Meteorological Agency, the storm has brought with it continuous heavy rains that have already exceeded all October rain averages and caused landslides in the Nara and Mie prefectures of the main island.

Chan-hom was downgraded from typhoon to tropical storm as it lost intensity approaching Japan from the south but is still expected to bring winds of up to 86 miles per hour to the Izu Islands and Hachijojima Island.

Nearly a dozen domestic flights were cancelled as a result of the bad weather and officials are warning citizens to remain alert for landslides, flooding, violent winds and high waves. (ANI/Sputnik)

There will be impact of foreign elements but ultimate solution to restore peace will be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned: Abdullah on Pak involvement in peace talks

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairperson of Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation.

New Delhi [India], October 10 (ANI): Allaying India's fear that Pakistan backed terrorists may hijack the Afghan peace process, Afghanistan peace chief Abdullah Abdullah on Saturday said certain foreign influence will be there but the ultimate solution to restore peace in the war-torn country will be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned.

"There will be a certain impact of foreign elements in it. But when we eventually have the solution, which should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned through Afghan-led and Afghan-owned negotiations. The influence of the foreign country will be needed, expected and anticipated," Abdullah, Chairperson of Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation, told ANI.

Afghanistan and Pakistan observers here believe that Taliban share good relations with Haqqani network, which is operating from Pakistan and reportedly enjoy the backing of Pakistan intelligence agency ISI and therefore it may use it as strategic depth influencing the process and ultimately controlling it.

When asked on New Delhi's fears, Abdullah Abdullah said: "The point is when we say peace, the stability, we call the whole context of it and consider the whole context of it, it would not mean peace if we have an agreement with Taliban and all the other terrorist groups with al Qaeda, ISIS they are different names from the region continue freelancing in Afghanistan that does not mean peace. That's the type of settlement people of Afghanistan are expecting that no terrorist group using Afghan soil against any other country."

"Peaceful Afghanistan, democratic Afghanistan not harbouring terrorists that address the concerns of a lot of countries," he added.

Abdullah Abdullah echoed India's stance who is in favour of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace restoration in Afghanistan. Though New Delhi has held talks with the Afghan government, it has so far drawn a red line when it comes to direct talks with Taliban.

In an exclusive interview to ANI, Abdullah Abdullah echoed India's position which is consistent favour of democratic, stable Afghanistan and New Delhi also supports solution, which is inclusive and led and owned by Afghanistan.

While talking about key takeaways from interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abdullah said India wants Afghan-led negotiation and inclusive settlement acceptable to Afghans. "My takeaway from my interaction with PM Modi is that India wants Afghan-led negotiation and inclusive settlement acceptable to Afghans. A unified Afghanistan, which does not harbour terror groups," he said.

On Thursday, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval wherein he reaffirmed the long-term commitment to further deepen India-Afghan ties.

A day later, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Dr Abdullah and assured him of India's commitment to peace, prosperity and stability in the neighbouring country.

Abdullah's visit comes at a time when the Afghanistan government and Taliban are trying to negotiate a deal in order to restore peace in the country.

The peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Qatar's capital Doha. (ANI)

No discussion over India's military role in Afghanistan during talks with Indian leadership: Abdullah Abdullah

Afghan leader Abdullah Abdullah speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Saturday.

New Delhi [India], October 10 (ANI): Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman, High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan on Saturday said he did not discuss the military role of India in Afghanistan during talks with Indian leadership over Afghan peace process.

"No. Absolutely not. I did not raise 
that idea. The point is that we hope that Afghanistan will be able to stand on its own feet. As you know that US troops are the main part of it. They have withdrawn from Afghanistan. Still, they are present there but that will not be forever," Abdullah told ANI when asked whether he discussed any probable military role of India in Afghanistan.

The Afghan leader, who is on a five-day visit to India, said people of Afghanistan expect a settlement where no terrorist group will be able to work or use Afghan soil against any other country.

"When we say peace, stability, we hold the whole context of it. It will not mean peace if we have an agreement only with the Taliban and then all the terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, ISIS from the region continue freelancing in Afghanistan. People of Afghanistan are expecting a settlement where no terrorist group will be able to work on or use Afghan soil against any other country. Peaceful Afghanistan, democratic Afghanistan, not harbouring terrorist this is the concerns of lots of countries of the region," he said on being asked about India's fear regarding Pakistan-backed terror groups, which has a direct influence on Taliban may hijack the Afghan peace process.

Abdullah said there will be a certain impact of foreign elements involved in the peace process.

"There will be the certain impact of foreign elements in it. But when we eventually have the solution, which should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned through Afghan-led and Afghan-owned negotiations. The influence of the foreign country will be needed, expected and anticipated," he said.

Abdullah said the premature withdrawal of US troops from Afghan soil will leave a vacuum in the country and will have an impact on the security situation.

"Before the establishment of peace or progress in negotiations, if a premature withdrawal takes place, there is no doubt that it will leave a vacuum, which will have an impact on the security situation in Afghanistan. But it won't mean one side prevailing over another. We have realised that there is no solution through war," he said.

Asked about South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation's formula for resolving connectivity issues in the region, he said: "More connected the region is, the more we will benefit. It is not for us to decide for any country, that's the accepted fact. Through more connectivity in the region, all the countries will benefit."

Abdullah said attacks along with peace talks might satisfy temporary expectations but it would not lead to a solution.

"If the calculation is based on the fact that if we continue the talks also we try to take advantage of the ground military, this may satisfy some temporary demands, desires but it will not lead to a solution. The solution is a firm commitment towards a peaceful settlement. Temporary advantages could be taken out of the situation but both will and determination of both sides will be tested throughout negotiations. Hope that both sides pass the test positively," he responded when asked whether the Taliban may take advantage of violent attacks in Afghanistan.

On being asked about tensions between India and China, he said: "We think that any issue raised needs to be resolved amicably. Tensions between different countries have an adverse impact on us. We believe that any issue raising from time to time-resolved through relevant sides amicably. That is good."

On Thursday, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval wherein he reaffirmed the long-term commitment to further deepen India-Afghan ties.

A day later, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Dr Abdullah and assured him of India's commitment to peace, prosperity and stability in the neighbouring country.

Abdullah's visit comes at a time when the Afghanistan government and Taliban are trying to negotiate a deal in order to restore peace in the country.

The peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Qatar's capital Doha. (ANI)

Taiwan redesigned the cover of its passport, highlighting the words "Taiwan" and "passport

A look of the new Taiwan passport. (Photo creidt: Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Taipei [Taiwan], October 10 (ANI): Amid China's growing aggressiveness, Taiwan has redesigned the cover of its passport, highlighting the words "Taiwan" and "passport", written in English.

The new design is intended to make identifying the citizenship of Taiwan passport holders easier, according to an official statement issued by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in January this year prompted the Legislative Yuan to pass a resolution in late July aimed at preventing holders of the Republic of China (Taiwan) passport from being mistaken for citizens of the People's Republic of China, which has impacted their rights and caused inconvenience when traveling abroad."

"The resolution called on the executive branch to propose concrete measures to make the (word) "TAIWAN" more prominent on the ROC (Taiwan) passport so as to ensure the dignity of Taiwan nationals and facilitate their safe and convenient international travel," the statement read.

In the new passport, set to be issued from January 2021, the font size of the word "Taiwan" has been enlarged and positioned directly above the word "passport", making the words "TAIWAN PASSPORT" further identifiable, the ministry added.

The words "Republic of China" have been shrunk, making it hard to see in the first glimpse.

According to a report by Focus Taiwan, the word "Taiwan", positioned below the emblem on the new passport, has not only been made noticeably larger but also been repositioned. (ANI)

British Parliament to debate atrocities against Uyghurs on Oct 12

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London [UK], October 10 (ANI): The British Parliament has decided to debate about the atrocities against the Uyghurs and on the question of possible sanctions on October 12.

A Jewish News campaign had raised the issue of the Uyghur plight in East Turkestan in the wake of disturbing reports that a million Uyghurs are detained in camps in Xinjiang in northwest China, reported Jewish News.

The petition was started on March 6 on the cultural genocide of the ethnic Uyghurs along with repressive measures by the dragon, like mass detention, mass surveillance, restriction of religious and cultural identities, as well as other gross human rights abuses.

China has refuted the allegations and said that these camps offer vocational training and are anti-terrorism measures, reported Jewish News.

The petition was signed by 100,00 people and backed by 150 British parliamentarians. (ANI)

Afghanistan govt's chief negotiator reaffirms commitment to achieving lasting peace

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Kabul [Afghanistan], October 10 (ANI/Sputnik): Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, the chief negotiator of the Afghanistan government delegation to the reconciliation talks in Doha, has reaffirmed Kabul's commitment to achieving the lasting peace via the negotiations with the Taliban Islamist movement.

"We hope the peace talks in light of the Quran and Sunnah will have the desired results according to the wishes of people. We appreciate Afghans' patience for peace and an end to the war. No one can stand against Afghans' desires for peace. We are committed to achieving lasting peace," the negotiator wrote on his Twitter page on Friday.

The Afghan government delegation and the Taliban are continuing the negotiations in Doha that may pave a way to political settlement after almost two decades of conflict in the country.

Despite the ongoing talks, Afghanistan is still engulfed in violence, with the Taliban staging attacks across the country and the law enforcement forces being engaged in operations against the Islamist group. (ANI/Sputnik)

2 persons killed, 10 injured in roadside bomb explosion on Herat-Kandahar Highway in Afghanistan

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Kabul [Afghanistan], October 10 (ANI): Two persons were killed and 10 sustained injuries in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan on Saturday, TOLO news reported.

Citing the Herat public health directorate, it was reported that the roadside bomb explosion occurred in Herat-Kandahar Highway this morning.

Further details are awaited. (ANI)

India congratulates Fiji on its 50th Independence Day

EAM S Jaishankar.

New Delhi [India], October 10 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday extended his greetings to the people and government of Fiji on their 50th Independence Day.

Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar wrote, "Congratulate the Government and people of Fiji on the 50th Anniversary of their Independence."

He further said that India stands with Fiji in combating climate change and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

"Our longstanding friendship will continue to grow," the Minister added. (ANI)

3 persons dead, 5 injured as bus overturns in UP's Aligarh

Visual from the accident site (Photo/ANI)

Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh) [India], October 10 (ANI): Three persons died and five others sustained injuries after the bus they were travelling in overturned in the Tappal area of Aligarh district, police said on Saturday.

The bus, which was carrying 45 passengers, was on its way to Delhi from Kanpur. It met with an accident in the early hours of Saturday.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the road accident.

He has directed district administration officials to ensure proper medical treatment to those injured in the accident, the Chief Minister's Office said. (ANI)

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to ceasefire: Russian Foreign Minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. 

Moscow [Russia], October 10 (ANI): Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to a ceasefire from midnight on October 10, and plan to start "substantive" talks over Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday, after nearly two weeks of fierce fighting in the disputed territory, Al Jazeera reported.

The decision was taken after 10 hours of talks held in Moscow in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Moscow has reported that the agreement was for a "humanitarian ceasefire".

"We have to "wait to see whether this ceasefire will really happen as agreed, if it will come down to the exchange of prisoners, and if the parties are really willing to return to the negotiating table to solve this decades-long conflict," Al Jazeera said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister said that the Red Cross will be acting as an intermediary in the humanitarian operation.

As per reports, at least 300 people were killed due to the clashes that broke out on September 27.

Al Jazeera further reported that though Lavrov did not provide details on the talks but said the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group would mediate. (ANI)

Donald Trump says he may be free of COVID-19, awaiting new test results

US President Donald Trump.

Washington [US], October 10 (ANI/Sputnik): US President Donald Trump said that he has been retested and could be free of the novel coronavirus disease, although he has not received the results yet.

"I have been retested and I have not even found out numbers or anything yet, but I have been retested," Trump told Fox News on Friday (local time). "I know I am at either the bottom of the scale or free."

Trump also said he stopped taking medication about eight hours ago.

On Thursday, White House physician Sean Conley said Trump was on track to participate in public events again by Saturday.

ABC News reported that Trump will hold his first public event at the White House on Saturday since his diagnosis, however, he will give his speech from the balcony.

Moreover, the Trump re-election campaign announced that the president will have a rally on Monday in Florida. (ANI/Sputnik)

Bilawal Bhutto challenges Imran Khan, says ready to go to jail

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari 

Karachi [Pakistan], October 10 (ANI): Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday stated that he is ready to go to jail with all other politicians, and will not be afraid of the Imran Khan government.

While addressing a press conference in Karachi, Bilawal claimed that the Prime Minister is using Army as a political bloc and the government appears nervous due to the rallies carried out by the opposition, reported Dunya News

"He said that the opposition is ready to protest against this system, adding that we are trying to get the people out of this predicament," quoted Dunya News.

Bilawal further said that the army was not an institution of one party, and that the Prime Minister should not use it as a political bloc.

He also added that the government has pushed the masses against the wall with rising inflation.

The opposition parties of Pakistan have alleged that Khan's government had belittled the expectations of the general people and had left them in tatters amid the economic havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Imran Khan-led government have launched multiple crackdowns against several opposition leaders, with the latest case under the sedition law filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir "premier" Raja Mohammad Farooq Ahmed Khan on October 1.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by a local resident in Shahdra police station against the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader on the charges of criminal conspiracy for the "provocative speeches" he made in London to "defame Pakistan's institutions".

Sharif's daughter, Khan and three retired generals among 40 PML(N) leaders have also been named in the FIR.

As many as 11 Pakistani opposition parties, prominent among which are the PPP, PML-N, Awami National Party, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), at the conclusion of an All Parties Conference (APC) on September 20 announced the formation of a joint platform, PDM. (ANI)

UN Alliance of Civilizations chief condemns attacks on religious, sacred sites in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

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New York [US], October 10 (ANI/Xinhua): The high representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos, on Friday strongly condemned attacks against religious and sacred sites as a consequence of the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said his spokeswoman.

Moratinos called on the sides to resort to peaceful dialogue and put an end to these attacks that endanger the lives of civilians, destroy the historical and cultural heritage of communities and stoke animosity and division, said Nihal Saad, the spokeswoman, in a statement.

Moratinos stresses that such attacks violate the Geneva Conventions, said the statement.

The high representative recalled the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites developed by his office, which offers concrete recommendations to support countries in promoting the safety and sanctity of holy sites, ensuring that worshipers can observe their rituals in peace, and fostering the values of compassion, tolerance, and religious pluralism, it said. (ANI/Xinhua)

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