Sunday, October 18, 2020

PDM 'beginning for deal democracy, civilian supremacy': Mohsin Dawar at Karachi rally

Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Mohsin Dawar (Photo: ANI)

Karachi [Pakistan], October 18 (ANI): Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader, Mohsin Dawar, one of the first speakers at Sunday's anti-government rally in Karachi, termed the opposition's joint Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) as a "beginning for real democracy and civilian supremacy" while terming the Imran Khan government as "worse than a dictatorship".

Dawar criticized the incumbent government for filing "baseless cases" against political workers, whether they were from Waziristan, Gilgit Baltistan, Balochistan or Sindh. The cases, the PTM leader said, were filed due to political differences, adding that the current regime was "worse than a dictatorship", Dawn reported.

"I consider this government to be worse than a dictatorship because they have even placed a prime minister as a punching bag. In reality, the decision-makers are Pakistan Army and its agencies," he declared.

"I want to say that states cannot run through war franchises or war contracts," Dawar said. "In order to run a state, you will have to make its people realise that they are citizens of that state, not its slaves. In order to run a state you will have to transfer power to the civilians otherwise, in my opinion, this company cannot function," he added.

Dawar had arrived in Karachi earlier today along with supporters and workers of the PTM group to attend the rally. Dawar said that PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had invited him to attend the public meeting.

Besides Dawar, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Maulana Shah Owais Noorani, Allama Sajid Mir, Dr Abdul Malik, Iftikhar Hussain, Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini showed up at the 'jalsa'.

This is the second power show of the 11-party opposition alliance PDM. The first was held in Gujranwala in Lahore. (ANI)

Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto, among opposition leaders at Karachi's Bagh-e-Jinnah ground for second PDM 'jalsa'

A sea of people assembled at the Bagh-e-Jinnah ground for the anti-government rally. People were seen raising slogans and waving flags of several opposition parties. (Photo: ANI)

Karachi [Pakistan], October 18 (ANI): Pakistani opposition leaders Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maryam Nawaz, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Mohsin Dawar on Sunday arrived at Karachi's Bagh-e-Jinnah for the second power show of the joint opposition front Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) against Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government.

Thousands of people assembled for the anti-government rally. People were seen waving opposition parties flag and raising slogans.

This is the second power show of the 11-party opposition alliance PDM. The first was held in Gujranwala in Lahore.

Heavy contingents of police have been deployed across the route of the rally. According to a statement by Karachi police, about 3,740 officials have been deployed along with 30 senior officials and 65 deputy superintendents of police to ensure foolproof security, Dawn reported.

About 112 female officials of the special security unit have also been posted in different spots and 284 commandoes of the SSU will be present at the venue.

Since several roads and main thoroughfares have been blocked due to the rally, Karachi police have released alternate traffic routes to facilitate residents.

Furthermore, 159 officials of the Rapid Response Force have also been deployed to provide security.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz arrived in Karachi and was welcomed at the airport by a large number of party workers.

Speaking to a private news channel later in the evening,Maryam said she was "grateful" for the enthusiastic welcome she had received in Karachi. She visited the Quaid's Mausoleum and paid respects there. On her way to the venue, Maryam said that the PML-N's narrative is based on principles.

The PML-N vice president said that PDM's primary aim was to restore the sanctity of the masses' vote which was "stolen" in the 2018 general elections.

"The public is now ahead of us. We (opposition) have gotten late in representing the masses but now we have gathered at the PDM platform," she said. (ANI)

At least 10 killed, 1 injured in armed attack in DR Congo

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Ituri [DR Congo], October 18 (ANI/Sputnik): At least 10 civilians were killed and another one was injured when unknown armed people attacked two villages in the northeastern province of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean-Pierre Lemabo, the head of the Mobala chiefdom, told the Congolese 7sur7 news portal on Sunday.

The incidents took place in the chiefdom's villages of Mayanza and Batibi on Friday night. The attackers are not still identified.

"We were informed that two families were killed with a machete and a knife. The first family consists of six people, the second one of five. The child from the first family was seriously injured and then taken to a local medical facility. Thus, there are so far 10 dead and one injured," Lemabo said.

Since the area is loosely controlled by the government forces, local residents are frequently attacked by different rebel groups. (ANI/Sputnik)

Taapsee Pannu shares stunning still from 'Haseen Dillruba'

Picture shared by Taapsee Pannu (Image courtesy: Instagram)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India}, October 18 (ANI): Piquing the curiosity of fans for her upcoming flick, 'Haseen Dillruba', actor Taapsee Pannu on Sunday posted on social media a stunning picture of herself from the murder-mystery.

The 'Saand Ki Aankh' actor took to Instagram and shared a close-up one side picture of her face. In the snap, Taapsee is seen sporting a traditional gold nose pin embedded with contrasting red and white pearls alog with small gold earrings.

Pannu captioned the post "Verified "Tan Man ka dhan" Rani Kashyap back in the house ....#HaseenDilruba."

In December last year, the 'Pink' actor hinted at her role in the 'Haseen Dillruba' and shared a poster of the film. "I may be bad but I'm perfectly good at it" Stepping into the world of #HaseenDillruba. Can't wait for you guys to meet HER in theatres 18th September 2020," she said.

However, there is no information on the release date of the film, as the shooting was on halt due to coronavirus pandemic.

The film, a murder mystery also stars actor Vikrant Massey. 'Haseen Dillruba' is produced by Anand L Rai and directed by Vinil Mathew. (ANI)

Bomb goes off in national security office in Afghanistan's Kunduz, 4 people injured

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Kunduz [Afghanistan], October 18 (ANI/Sputnik): A magnetic bomb went off inside a National Directorate of Security (NDS) building in the northern city of Kunduz on Sunday, leaving four people injured, a department source told Sputnik.

The incident took place at 10:00 a.m. (5:30 GMT).

According to th
e source, the bomb was planted on a car of the deputy head of the Kunduz NDS office. When the vehicle entered the building's premises and the official went to his workplace, a bomb detonated.

Four people sustained injuries, including the deputy's driver.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the blast yet.

Afghanistan has witnessed a rise in bomb blasts and violent clashes since the beginning of Kabul-Taliban talks in Qatar, despite both sides expressing their desire to reach a secure and long-lasting ceasefire. (ANI/Sputnik)

Bangkok's Victory Monument principal venue for protests against Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha govt

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Bangkok [Thailand], October 18 (ANI): Rally organisers in Bangkok said the Victory Monument here would be the principal venue of protests against the government of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha in Thailand.

Supporting rallies will take place at Asoke intersection and 19 locations in other provinces, the United Front for Thammasat and Demonstration said on Facebook. The rallies will kick off at various times between 3 pm and 8 pm, Bangkok Post reported.

Prior to this, rally organisers were urging protestors to stand by at all BTS and MRT stations in Bangkok at 3pm and they continued to raise their voice against the government.

In an attempt to catch the authorities off-guard, the Free Youth Movement posted a message on Facebook requesting all protesters to gather at the Skytrain and underground railway stations, before announcing the real location of the protest.

Bangkok Post further reported that the same tactic was used on Saturday before rallies in three locations: Lat Phrao intersection, Tak Sin intersection near the Wongwian Yai BTS station and the Udomsuk-Bang Na area. Smaller rallies were held in other locations in Bangkok and other provinces on Saturday, including Ramkhamhaeng University.

Though the rally organisers declared much larger numbers, The Metropolitan Police Bureau on Saturday estimated an assembly of 8,000 protestors at Lat Phrao, 8,000 at Wongwian Yai, 6,000 at Udomsuk-Bang Na, and 1,000 at the university.

"Where should we go today?" The Free Youth group said in a Facebook message. (ANI)

16 people killed as bus gets crushed in landslide in PoK

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Gilgit-Baltistan [PoK], October 18 (ANI): Sixteen people were killed on Sunday after a bus they were travelling in was crushed in a landslide on Skardu Road in Gilgit-Baltistan, Dawn reported citing Rondu Sub-divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Mohammad Hassan.

Rondu Assistant Commissioner Miraj Alam said that 18 people were travelling in the bus coming from Rawalpindi. Two passengers were dropped off at their stations.

The bus was hit by a landslide in Tangos area on the Jaglot-Skardu Road late Saturday, burying all passengers under the debris. Rescue work began in the morning, he added.

Later, in a statement, SDPO Hassan said that the rescue work has been completed. "Sixteen bodies have been recovered from the debris of the bus. Six of them have been identified, including the driver and conductor," he said.

He said that all the bodies were being transferred to the district hospital. "Rescue work has been completed," he further said, adding that the road was being cleared now. (ANI)

Shlipa Shetty shares glimpse of her 'Sunday Binge' on sets of 'Hungama 2'

Shilpa Shetty Kundra (Image courtesy: Instagram)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 18 (ANI): Gorging on piping hot jalebis in chilly Manali, actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra sharing a glimpse of her 'Sunday Binge' said that she just can't resist the deliciousness of the sweet.

The 'Dhadkan' star posted a clip on Instagram in which she is seen savouring a jalebi that was prepared in front of her. Currently, the actor is shooting in Manali for 'Hungama 2'. In the clip, Shilpa seen in a saree and a chequered shawl says: " Kya ban raha hai dekho, dekho ye! Kya Hungama kar rahe hain hum set pe."

The 'Life in a metro' actor faces the camera and says "Maza aa gaya. Sunday binge guys," as she relishes the crispy sweet.

The actor noted in the caption," Weather: Super Cold Jalebi: Super Hot (delicious and crunchy ) Some matches are truly made in heaven. All necessary precautions were taken before we indulged ourselves; and I, finally, did a #SundayBinge on the sets after sooo looonnggg, but I just couldn't resist."

Apart from Shilpa, 'Hungama 2' stars Paresh Rawal, Meezaan Jaffery and South Indian actress Pranitha Subhash in pivotal roles.

Paresh Rawal, whose character was one of the highlights of 'Hungama' is reuniting with Priyadarshan after seven years. The duo has worked together in comedies like 'Hera Pheri', 'Bhagam Bhaag', and 'Malamaal Weekly'.

'Hungama 2' is slated to hit the theatres on 14 August 2020. (ANI)

58 people detained at Saturday protests across Belarus

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Minsk [Belarus], October 18 (ANI/Sputnik): Fifty-Eight people have been detained during unauthorized opposition protests across Belarus on Saturday, including 43 participants in students' demonstration in Minsk, the Belarusian Interior Ministry's spokeswoman, Olga Chemodanova, said on Sunday.

The opposition march of more than 100 people began at around 12:50 local time (09:50 GMT) on Saturday near a Minsk university but was soon dispersed by police in riot gear. According to the Minsk-based Viasna human rights centre, at least 30 people, including three reporters, have been detained. In addition, several dozen opposition supporters held a traditional women's march in Minsk on the same day.

"A total of 58 citizens were detained for violating the legislation on mass events on the territory of the republic," Chemodanova wrote on her Telegram channel.

According to the spokeswoman, the women's march was attended by about 150 people.

The ministry said that, in overall, eight opposition demonstrations attended by 400 people took place across Belarus on Saturday, as well as five pro-government rallies involving about 1,700 people.

Nationwide protests have been ongoing in Belarus since the August 9 election in which President Alexander Lukashenko secured his sixth term. The opposition refuses to recognize his victory and continues holding rallies, with the largest ones taking place on weekends. (ANI/Sputnik)

Pakistan opposition all set for its second power show in Karachi today

PML-N's vice president Maryam Nawaz arrived in Karachi on Sunday afternoon. (Photo: ANI)

Karachi [Pakistan], October 18 (ANI): After the successful Gujranwala rally where Pakistan opposition leaders and thousands of people protested against Prime Minister Imran Khan government, the 11-party opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement will hold its second power show in Karachi on Sunday hosted by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

The Pakistani Muslim League- Nawaz's (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz arrived in Karachi on Sunday afternoon and was welcomed at the airport by a large number of party workers, Dawn reported.

Hundreds of people surrounded her SUV and threw rose petals on her car while raising slogans and waving Pakistan flags.

It is her first public appearance in the metropolis. From the airport, she is headed to the Quaid's mausoleum to offer fateha. Maryam is accompanied by former Sindh governor and PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair. Her party has claimed to have set up camps on 17 spots to welcome her.

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said he is confident about the success of the show and eventual fall of the Imran Khan-led government.

"The PPP is going to stage a massive power show, which would tell Imran Khan what the people think about him," Bilawal told Dawn a day before the power show. "I don't even have a shadow of a doubt over the success of the PDM campaign," he said

"I am frequently arguing that it's not for our people but for the PM to panic," said the PPP chairman. "He [Imran Khan] has seen his fate. He can no more shift the responsibility of his failures to the past government for face saving. People are asking questions and he has no answer. The people are disappointed and this would lead only in the fall of Imran Khan and his government," he added

The opposition comprises 11 parties including PML-N, PPP, and JUI-F (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl). It has demanded PM Imran Khan's resignation in the backdrop of corruption, economic slowdown, and poor governance.

The PDM hosted the first rally in Gujranwala to show the strength of their anti-government campaign. Thousands of people participated in the event which was addressed by opposition leaders including PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif.

Meanwhile, the government has hit back at the opposition, saying a government that has been elected to power, cannot be sent packing just because the opposition wanted it gone.

Speaking in Multan on Sunday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: "This alliance, called PDM, is a temporary alliance. People consider it to be an unnatural alliance. Why unnatural? Because this movement does not have one flag, one leader or one ideology."

"Multiple people have gathered out of fear; fear of their own doing, of their incompetence, of the cases against them which could reach a conclusion soon [...] of their political trajectory," he added. (ANI)

Sajid Mir, a notorious terrorist and shadowy figure, wanted in over half dozen countries, says report

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Islamabad [Pakistan], October 18 (ANI): In a bid to shield their homegrown and foreign terrorists, Pakistan has made continued effort to avoid being blacklisted in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-terror financing watchdog.

While it tries to showcase its "efforts" in combating terrorism, analysts are saying that Pakistan is trying to deceive the global anti-terror financing watchdog to avoid being blacklisted and to let terror perpetrators go to scot-free.

"Among the most notorious of these terrorists is a shadowy figure who is wanted in more than half a dozen countries for his involvement in terrorism but who remains under the protection of the ISI - Sajid Mir," Jihad Watch said in its report.

Sajid Mir is the one who planned and executed the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and who also looks after the LeT's overseas assets. Moreover, Mir is responsible for attacks in about half a dozen other countries - US, Australia, France, Denmark, and the UK. Furthermore, he is on Federal Bureau of Investigation's wanted list.

"Despite his mugshots being available, none of the intelligence agencies have been able to locate him. As is their wont, the Pakistanis feign complete ignorance about Sajid Mir, a standard Pakistani response when confronted with an inconvenient demand," the report stated.

According to political analyst Shuja Nawaz, every time US officials presented evidence of Taliban and Haqqani Network sanctuaries inside Pakistan, they were met with a "blank stare".

"Sajid Mir remains a shadowy figure about whom not much is known. Even his antecedents are fuzzy. Some reports claim that he joined the LeT at the young age of 16 and then rose up the ranks. But other reports, which might be circumstantially more credible, claim that he is a Pakistan Army/ISI member/officer who has been working very closely with the LeT," the report further stated.

A US law enforcement official had once said that "Sajid Mir is too powerful and too well connected for them to go after. We need the Pakistanis to go after the Taliban and Al Qaeda."

As things stand, Pakistan is on the FATF's grey list since June 2018.

The country is facing the difficult task of clearing its name from the FATF grey list. Islamabad is finding it difficult to shield terror perpetrators and implement the FATF action plan at the same time.

Earlier this month, in a major setback, FATF's Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering kept the country on "Enhanced Follow-up List" for its slow progress on the technical recommendations of the FATF to fight terror financing. (ANI)

HK pro-democracy protestor 'Grandma Wong' resurfaces after 14 months of detention

Pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong (Photo credit: Reuters)

Hong Kong, October 18 (ANI): Hong-Kong's pro-democracy protestor Alexandra Wong Fung-yiu resurfaced in the financial hub after more than a year, saying that she had been detained on the Chinese mainland.

Alexandra Wong Fung-yiu is fondly called as 'Grandma Wong' or 'Wong Po Po', attended the pro-democracy rally during the early days of the movement for greater democracy and police accountability, which started in June last year. She was reportedly arrested in Shenzhen, reported South China Morning Post.

Earlier, she was forced to stand in front of the Chinese flag for hours when detained previously. While being injured during a police crackdown at Tai Koo railway station on August 11, 2019, she was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital.

She was arrested by mainland officers when she tried to enter Guangdong City via the Huanggang checkpoint on August 14 last year.

Remembering her ordeal, she said, "Some mainland officers took me to a big room, searched my bag and put everything on a table ... I was taken to a police station in Futian, was interrogated and signed a police statement."

The 60-year-old maverick was placed under 15-day administrative detention in a Futian facility, before being held in criminal custody elsewhere for a further 30 days, until September 29 last year, reported South China Morning Post.

She was subjected to long periods of interrogation during the detention, focusing on her role in the Hong Kong protests.

"They asked if I went to protest with anyone, and did I see people using violence ... There were four teams of officers who interrogated me," she said.

In a media interview, she disclosed that mainland officials asked her to sign an official document promising not to take part in protests and give media interviews. The South China Morning Post could not independently verify Wong's claims.

While recounting her detention, Wong also said that from September to October last year, officers took her to Shaanxi province for a five-day tour of patriotic education. She was also refused her return to Hong Kong.

Wong said she was released on police bail after returning to Shenzhen, on the condition she stayed at her home in the city.

Opposition lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, of the Democratic Party, called on the Hong Kong government to find out from Guangdong authorities why Wong was detained.

"It was scary how mainland authorities could detain a Hongkonger based on her social activism in Hong Kong ... The city's government must make representation to the mainland, even though I know that they would not dare to do so," he said. (ANI)

Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga to start 1st overseas tour to Vietnam, Indonesia on Sunday

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. (Photo: ANI)

Moscow [Russia], October 18 (ANI/Sputnik): New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will start his first overseas trip on Sunday, which would include visits to Vietnam and Indonesia.

The first official visits of previous Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were also made to these two countries.

Suga is expe
cted to use his trip to bolster ties with ASEAN nations and beef up security ties in the region, where both Vietnam and Indonesia are engaged in the South China Sea dispute with Beijing.

The tour will last through October 21.

Japanese lawmakers elected Suga as the new prime minister in September, after his predecessor, Abe, unexpectedly announced his intention to resign due to an aggravation of a chronic illness. (ANI/Sputnik)

PM Narendra Modi congratulates New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern on re-election

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and PM Narendra Modi (Photo Credit: Narendra Modi Twitter)

New Delhi [India], October 18 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated Jacinda Ardern for getting re-elected as the Prime Minister of New Zealand and said that he is looking forward to working on elevating the bilateral relations between the two countries.

"My heartiest congratulations to the PM of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern on her resounding victory. Recall our last meet a year ago and look forward to working together for taking India-NZ relationship to a higher level," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Ardren had secured a landslide victory in New Zealand's general election and is now set to serve a second term.

"With 87 per cent of the votes counted, Ardern's center-left Labour Party has won 48.9 per cent of the vote, meaning her party looks likely to score the highest result that any party has achieved since the current political system was introduced in 1996," CNN reported.

Arden gave a powerful victory speech where she said, "Tonight, New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in at least 50 years." (ANI)

PPP slams Imran govt for not laying 'controversial' Sindh islands ordinance before Parliament

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Islamabad [Pakistan], October 18 (ANI): Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), one of the main opposition party's here on Saturday slammed the Imran Khan government for not laying the "controversial" Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance, 2020, before its Parliament in session on Friday.

"Both Houses of Parliament have met but this ordinance was still not laid before them. There is a clear mala fide intent in not tabling this ordinance before Parliament. The entire opposition is united against this blatant usurpation of provincial powers and rights of indigenous people," PPP's parliamentary leader Sherry Rehman was quoted as saying by Dawn.

"It is ultra vires of the Constitution in more ways than one, which is why they are afraid to bring it to parliament but they will have to," Rehman said.

She said that the islands belong to Sindh and this ordinance was a blatant attempt by the federal government to overreach.

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has been asking Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to "immediately" withdraw the ordinance. Besides, protest is raging across Sindh against the Ordinance.

The ordinance, which has emanated without a discussion in the Parliament; in its 25 pages, clearly stated that can not be challenged into Pakistani Courts. Meaning, nobody, starting from the Parliament democratically elected, can challenge the law. (ANI)

Iranian UN mission announces termination of travel, arm restrictions

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New York [USA], October 18 (ANI/Xinhua): The Iranian mission to the United Nations announced on Saturday the termination of travel and arms restrictions imposed upon the country as contained in Security Council Resolution 2231 starting Sunday.

"Oct. 18, 2020, marks the fifth anniversary of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal) Adoption Day," according to a press release of the mission.

From this date and in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2231, states are no longer required to seek in advance case-by-case approval by the Security Council to engage in activities described in paragraphs 5 and 6 (b) of Annex B of Resolution 2231, which include the supply, sale or transfer of arms or related materiel to and from Iran, the press release said.
"Moreover, travel restrictions on the individuals named in the 2231 List is terminated," it added.

During the last few months, the United States had attempted, in violation of Resolution 2231, to impose a new arms embargo on Iran but to no avail, as the Security Council has rejected illegal US move, the press release said.

The attempt to "reinstate terminated Security Council resolutions against Iran failed when 13 members and three consecutive presidents of the Council rejected the U.S. claim," it said.
"As a responsible member of the international community, the Islamic Republic of Iran engages in legitimate trade -- in accordance with international law and on the basis of its national interests -- with other countries, including in the realm of the arms trade," added the press release.

On Aug. 15, the UN Security Council rejected a resolution proposed by Washington to extend the current arms embargo on Iran.

Under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, the arms embargo on Iran will expire on Oct. 18. (ANI/Xinhua)

Grand Hindu temple hall inaugurated in Antananarivo Madagascar; hindu temple to come soon

Members of the Indian community performing Garba in Antananarivo. (Photo: ANI)

Antananarivo [Madagascar], October 18 (ANI): On the occasion of Navratri 2020, a grand Hindu temple hall was inaugurated in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar, a very large island located in the Indian Ocean with a population of over 26 million.

There are over 20,000 people of Indian origin, mostly from Gujarat who are settled in Madagascar. A grand Hindu temple is also under construction, which is likely to be completed within 3-4 months. It will be the first Hindu temple in Antananarivo, Madagascar when completed.

Indians arrived in Madagascar in the late 18th century, mostly from Gujarat in small boats to engage in Indian Ocean trade and since then have greatly contributed to the development of trade and commerce in Madagascar and between India and Madagascar.

Gujarati diaspora in Madagascar is spread all across the country. The new temple hall inaugurated yesterday will help them to get together more often and strengthen the spirit of the community. (ANI)

AC/DC former bassist Paul Matters passes away

AC/DC former bassist Paul Matters passes away. (Photo: ANI)

Washington [US], October 18 (ANI): Australian rock band AC/DC former bass guitarist Paul Matters has passed away.

As per Fox News, Matters was in the band for a short period of time in 1975 while recording the album, 'High Voltage.' He was replaced by Mark Evans just weeks later, apparently at the request of Bon Scott, the band's lead vocalist.

Matters' friend Rod Westcome took to Facebook to reveal the news along with an old picture of the two.

In the caption, he wrote, "Shocked and sad to hear of the passing of Paul Matters. I first met Paul in 1973 when he was playing bass in 'Armageddon' at a gig in Hamilton, Newcastle N.S.W. When I was living in Toronto he would drop into the house in the late hours to party and he loved to party."

"In late '75 after he departed AC/DC we played together in a one off band called 'Miss Australia Band' at a gig on a ferry on Lake Macquarie," he continued.

Concluding his message, he said "From all reports, he lived a reclusive life in his later years and his early rock n' roll lifestyle led to ailing health. He will be missed by all who knew him."

According to Fox News, Matters' cause of death is unknown. (ANI)

Activist Sajjad Raja says, Resistance will continue against Pakistan till it pulls out army from POK

Sajjad Raja, Chairman of the National Equality Party JKGBL (File photograph)

New Delhi [India], October 18 (ANI): Gilgit-Baltistan leader and activist Sajjad Raja on Saturday recalled the invasion of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan on October 22, 1947, and called for the day to be commemorated as the "Resistance Day."

He said that resistance will continue against Pakistan till it pulls out the army from the region.

"We shall commemorate 22 October as the #Resistance Day. Pakistan invaded J-K on October 22, 1947, and divided it, but our #Resistance will continue till the day Pakistan is forced to pull out her army and all citizens from our state. A BIG NO to Pakistani occupation," Sajjad Raja tweeted.

European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), in a recent commentary, called October 22 as the "darkest day" in the history of Jammu and Kashmir when Operation Gulmarg was launched in a bid to seize the territory.

According to a European think tank, the tribal invasion had left between 35,000 and 40,000 residents dead, besides, a "grim mark" on the fate of J-K.

"The planners and perpetrators of the tribal invasion were, and remain, without doubt, the foremost enemies of the Kashmiri people. The day the invasion began on October 22, 1947, has to be the darkest day in the history of the J-K," the European think tank said. (ANI)

Donald Trump signs bills to honour war veterans

US President Donald Trump

Washington DC [US], October 18 (ANI): US President Donald Trump signed the "Merrill's Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act" on Saturday (local time) to recognise the United States, army veterans who fought in World War II.

"It is never too late to honour valiant soldiers who fought to keep our nation free. The Merrill's Marauders exemplify bravery and courage, and I applaud President Trump for signing our bill which gives them the recognition they deserve," said US Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in a statement.

The "Merrill's Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act," which provides for the award of a Congressional gold medal to the soldiers of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), commonly known as "Merrill's Marauders", in recognition of their bravery and outstanding service in the jungles of Burma during World War II.

Trump also signed the "Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019," which amends a number of VA authorities related to helping veterans transition from military to civilian life; suicide prevention; mental health care research and oversight; mental health care staffing; and health care for women veterans.

The US administration also amended the "National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020," which designates 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number of the purpose of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. (ANI)

Stage, screen actor Doreen Montalvo dies at 56

Doreen montalvo (Image courtesy: The Hollywood Reporter Twitter)

Washington [US], October 18 (ANI): Actor Doreen Montalvo, who was known for her stage performance in 'In the Heights', died on Saturday. She was 56.

Montalvo's manager Steve Maihack confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the actor has passed away after a sudden ailment.

He offered the statement published by The Hollywood Reporter, "Doreen didn't just light up the stage, she brightened the light in all of those around her. She was having quite the year with two films in the can and a new Broadway show...but she would be so happy to know she will live on through these projects and the outpouring of love from every corner of the business."

The actor has also performed in Broadway 'On Your Feet', while her off-Broadway and national tour credits include Giant and Flashdance.

She also appeared in various TV series including Law & Order, The Good Wife, Smash, One Life to Live, Elementary and Madam Secretary.

Montalvo survived by a husband and fellow stage actor Michael Mann in 2010 and step-children.

Her last screen credits will be in Jon M Chu's adaptation of 'In the Heights' and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, as per The Hollywood Reporter'. (ANI)

'Women's March' against Trump administration in Washington, other major cities

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Washington DC [US], October 18 (ANI): Demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C. and several other US cities on Saturday for the second Women's March of the year to protest President Donald Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and urge women to vote in the upcoming election.

Scores of women marched to pay tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, besides protesting against Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, urging women to vote in the upcoming election, CNN reported.

Demonstrators marched from Freedom Plaza to the National Mall here in Washington DC while holding banners and placards that read: "Hell no, Amy must go!" and "You call us nasty because you are afraid of what strong women can do."

This comes after Trump's bid to get Senate confirmation for judge Barrett's nomination ahead of the US Presidental elections on November 3. Meanwhile, counter-protesters also gathered outside the US Supreme Court during the Women's March protest against Trump's decision to fill the seat on the SC left by the late Justice Ginsburg. 

This ongoing protest is the second Women's March of 2020. The first one was organized in January. The first-ever Women's March was held in 2017, which had the biggest attendance. (ANI)

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree on new 'humanitarian ceasefire' in Nagorno-Karabakh region

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Yerevan [Armenia], October 18 (ANI/Xinhua): Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed on a new "humanitarian ceasefire" in the Nagorno-Karabakh region starting midnight (2000 GMT) Saturday, the two countries' foreign ministries announced on Saturday evening via identical statements.

It is the second ceasefire both sides have agreed on in weeks. The first came on October 10, following lengthy negotiations in Moscow on October 9.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the Nagorno-Karabakh region since 1988. Peace talks have been held since 1994 when a ceasefire was reached, but there still have been sporadic minor clashes. (ANI/Xinhua)

Trump promises free antibody COVID-19 treatment to all Americans

US President Donald Trump

Wisconsin [US], October 18 (ANI/Sputnik): US President Donald Trump told his supporters in Wisconsin that all Americans will get the coronavirus treatment he received for free.

"We're gonna make, what I had, available to everybody, free. The antibodies, I think the antibodies are the best thing, we're gonna make it free," Trump said at his campaign rally in Janesville, Wisconsin on Saturday. "This election is a choice between a Trump super recovery and a Biden depression," Trump added.

Earlier in the day, speaking at another rally in Muskegon, Michigan, Trump warned that a Democratic victory in the November elections could make the coronavirus situation worse in Michigan, as well as the US as a whole.

"Democrats would terminate our recovery with a draconian unscientific lockdown like your governor is doing right now," Trump said, stressing that "Biden will shut down the country, delay the vaccine and prolong the pandemic."

Trump resumed his campaign trail earlier this month, holding his first rally (since his positive COVID19 diagnosis) in Sanford, Florida.

Trump told his supporters in Florida that "whatever the hell they gave me" was going to be distributed around US hospitals.

Trump was hospitalised with COVID-19 at the Walter Reed Military Medical Center on October 2, not long after announcing on Twitter that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for the coronavirus. While at Walter Reed, Trump was treated with an experimental antibody cocktail that targets the coronavirus spike protein.

White House Physician, Dr Sean Conley, announced on October 12 that Trump had tested negative for COVID-19 on consecutive days.

First Lady Melania Trump announced on Wednesday that the First Family's son Barron, 14, had also contracted COVID-19 but exhibited no symptoms and has recently tested negative.

Trump told his supporters in Wisconsin on Saturday that since Barron was young his immune system was very strong and he was able to easily overcome the virus, like many other young people. In that light, Trump called for reopening schools in the US. (ANI/Sputnik)

UN official says Al-Qaeda remains close to Taliban

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Kabul [Afghanistan], October 18 (ANI): The al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has maintained close ties with the Taliban despite the Taliban's assurance to the US to cut ties with the group, said a senior UN official.

"Senior figures remain in Afghanistan, as well as hundreds of armed operatives," the coordinator of the United Nations monitoring team for Daesh, al-Qaida and the Taliban, Edmund Fitton-Brown, said Friday during a webinar as quoted by Tolo News.

Tolo News further reported that the Taliban "consulted on regular basis" with al-Qaeda during the peace negotiations with the US. "[Al-Qaeda leader] Ayman al-Zawahiri remains close to the Taliban," he said. "The Taliban regularly consulted with al-Qaeda during the negotiations with the United States and they offered informal guarantees that would honor their historic ties with al-Qaeda."

Taliban however rejected the claims and said that "certain intelligence groups" are attempting to disrupt peace in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in a conversation with US Institute of Peace said Iran wants "the US to remain engaged in the Afghan war and is not supporting the peace process in Afghanistan," as reported by Tolo News

"I think it's difficult to speak about Iran because there isn't one Iran, there are two Irans. There is foreign ministry Iran which says positive things and expresses ideas or makes statements that could be construed as supportive of a peace process, but there is another Iran that would like to keep the US entangled in a war that they would like to be unwinnable," said Khalilzad, as quoted by Tolo News.

Even though the US Special Representative called Pakistan's efforts in the Afghan Peace Process as "positive", External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar warned that terrorism in Pakistan is publicly acknowledged by their own government.

"Terrorism from Pakistan continues and terrorism from Pakistan remains publicly acknowledged by their government as a policy that they are justifying. (It) makes it very hard to conduct normal relations with them," said Jaishankar at an online event hosted by the Asia Society.

He added, "They've blocked connectivity between India and Afghanistan...I think until we address that problem, this challenge of how do you have a normal relationship with this very unique neighbour, is a very troubling issue for our foreign policy." (ANI)

Imran Khan forced opposition to take names of Army generals in rallies, says PPP Chairperson

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Karachi [Pakistan], October 18 (ANI): Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday said his party did not want to take the names of army generals at rallies as "such moves" could impact the integrity of national institutions.

"It saddens me to see generals' names being taken at rallies -- whether those held by the prime minister or the opposition. This weakens the integrity of our institutions, which we do not want," he said as quoted by Dawn.

"But what can we do when the army is deployed at polling stations in general elections [and] Imran Khan says in every speech 'this or that institution is with me, we are all on the same page'?" Bilawal asked, accusing the prime minister of using institutions as "political props".

"When we take the establishment's name, we realise that only today's generals or retired generals [are not to be blamed] but it is a part of our history that we either received dictatorship or a controlled democracy," he said.

According to Dawn, he made these remarks while speaking to reporters in Karachi after reviewing arrangements for the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) second power show, which is scheduled to be held in the city today.

Earlier PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the PDM rally via video link from London, accused the security establishment of being behind his ouster as Prime Minister and of "bringing Imran Khan into power".

The former Prime Minister named Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed alleging that they were responsible for making a "state above the state" and for the presence of "two governments" in Pakistan.

A day after former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif tore into 'puppet government' of the country during Gurjanwala anti-government rally, a disgruntled Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo for allegedly maligning the top army leadership, and deemed as "a circus", the opposition's power show.

Remarking on the speech given by Sharif during the opposition rally, Prime Minister Khan said the PML-N leader was using inappropriate "language" against the army and ISI chiefs at a time when Pakistani soldiers were constantly sacrificing their lives for the nation, Dawn reported.

Pakistan opposition leaders along with an "ocean" of people made their way to Gujranwala for the first show of strength of their anti-government campaign.

The recently-formed Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) held its first anti-government protest in Gujranwala on Friday. The opposition comprising 11 parties including PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), PPP (Pakistan People's Party), and JUI-F (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl) will be holding the Gujranwala Rally.

The anti-government rally has been organised to protest against army atrocities and demand for PM Imran Khan's resignation in the backdrop of corruption, economic slowdown, and poor governance. (ANI)

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