Saturday, October 24, 2020

Students body condemns police brutality on Pakhtuns protesting at Peshawar University

Pakhtun Students Federation (PSF), an allied student wing of Pakistan's Awami National Party (ANP) who were arrested by the police on Friday. (Photo: ANI)

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [Pakistan], October 24 (ANI): Pakhtun Students Federation (PSF), an allied student wing of Pakistan's Awami National Party (ANP) has strongly condemned the police baton charge over a peaceful protest in the Peshawar University campus on Friday.

According to the student's body, hundreds of PSF workers were severely injured in baton charge, and hundreds arrested after students demanded basic rights at the university campus.

"The police administration should immediately release the @PukhtoonSF workers and take action against the real culprits who have polluted the environment of educational institutions and have now resorted to open terrorism," Samar Haroon Bilour of the Awami National Party tweeted.

Samar further said PSF workers the police while providing legal cover to Insaf Student Federation (ISF) is the official student wing of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

"The arrest of innocent @PukhtoonSF operatives by the police while providing legal cover to ISF thugs is a very dictatorial move, making it clear that the provincial government is using the police to fulfil its political ambition."

She also condemned violence caused by the ruling party's student wing.

"I strongly condemn the ISF firing and violence on @PukhtoonS workers at the University of Peshawar. ISF goons are openly displaying weapons under the umbrella of the government and promoting violence. The attitude of the police towards the PSF workers is also deplorable," she said.

The Pashtuns, also know as Pakhtun are facing genocide in the hands of the Pakistan army as a large number of civilians are killed and many are victims of enforced disappearances. They allege that Pashtuns are becoming victims in the hands of the Pakistan army and the terrorists in the region. (ANI)

2+2 ministerial dialogue to focus on four themes including regional security cooperation, defence trade

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Washington [US], October 24 (ANI): The upcoming India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue will focus on four themes -- regional security cooperation, defence information sharing, military-to-military interactions and defence trade, said the US State Department on Friday (local time).

Speaking at a press conference, the department said that the 2+2 ministerial meeting will lay down next steps for the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.

"First, regional security cooperation; second, defence information sharing; third, military-to-military interactions; and fourth, defence trade," one of the administration officials told reporters while informing about the themes that will be discussed in the 2+2 ministerial meeting.

"Regional security cooperation is that we're working to enhance maritime security across the Indian Ocean region by coordinating security cooperation and building partner capacity with regional countries," one of the officials said.

Speaking on the second theme, the official said: "We have made significant progress towards concluding the last foundational defence enabling agreement, the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement, or the BECA. This agreement will allow for expanded geospatial information sharing between our armed forces. We are also seeking to expand secure communication capabilities between our respective militaries as well as between our foreign and defence ministries, and that too figures prominently on what we are trying to accomplish in the information-sharing space."

As per the US State Department, with respect to military-to-military engagement, both India and the US are working to build greater interoperability by increasing the sophistication of their combined exercises.

"Over the past year, we have placed a US liaison officer at the Information Fusion Center-Indian Ocean Region. That is India's maritime domain awareness fusion centre that they host. And an Indian liaison was placed at US Central Command, which both of these have enhanced coordination and information sharing between our navies. We also hope to confirm two additional Indian liaison officer placements in the near term to expand counterterrorism cooperation," the official further said.

"We are also looking to increase mil-to-mil cooperation in emerging technologies. We held an inaugural Defense Cyber Dialogue in September, this last September, and are looking - we are looking to have a defence space dialogue in the coming year, most likely in early 2021," the official added.

Stressing on the defence trade, it said the US is seeking to advance sales for several other defence platforms, to include fighter aircraft and UAVs.

US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper will have a packed schedule during their India visit.

They will participate in third India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on October 27 and will also have bilateral meetings with their counterparts.

They will also be meeting NSA Ajit Doval and will jointly call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (ANI)

Delhi: People's health likely to be affected as AQI deteriorates to 'severe' category

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New Delhi [India], October 24 (ANI): Delhi's air quality index (AQI) on Saturday deteriorated to the 'severe' category, which is likely to affect people's health, according to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee data (DPCC).

The AQI in Alipur was at 432 while it stood at 427 and 409 in Mundka and Wazirpur, respectively.

According to experts, the severe category affects the health of people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.

An AQI between 0-50 is marked good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 is moderate, 201-300 is poor, 301-400 is very poor and 401-500 is considered severe.

Amid the rise in pollution levels, people are having problems with breathing and some children have started facing throat problems due to contaminated air.

Recently, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) submitted before the Delhi High Court that it has issued directions to implementing agencies including State Pollution Control Boards, construction agencies, municipal bodies, traffic police and transport department of Delhi and NCR for strict action against air polluting activities.

On Friday, a plea sought filed in Delhi High Court sought directions to the Delhi government and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to issue fresh orders and instructions at the earliest putting a strict ban on bursting firecrackers and burning of effigies to prevent further air pollution.

It also sought directions to the Department of Environment, Delhi Government, and the Union Ministry of Environment to come up with eco-friendly ways of celebrating Dusshera.

The petitioners urged the court to direct appropriate departments to take immediate and appropriate steps to ban burning of effigies and fire-crackers in Delhi on the festival of Dussehra in light of COVID 19 pandemic. (ANI)

'US Coast Guard looking to expand presence in Pacific to counter China's activity'

National Security Advisor Robert C O'Brien


Washington [US], October 24 (ANI): The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is looking to expand its presence in the Pacific region amid China's "harassment of vessels" in the exclusive economic zones of other countries in the Indo-Pacific, said National Security Advisor Robert C O'Brien on Friday (local time).

"The United States is a Pacific power. The People's Republic of China's illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones of other countries in the Indo-Pacific, threatens our sovereignty, as well as the sovereignty of our Pacific neighbours and endangers regional stability. Efforts of the United States Government, including the USCG are critical to countering these destabilising and malign actions," said O'Brien.

He further said, "The USCG is strategically homeporting significantly enhanced Fast Response Cutters, built in a proven Louisiana-based shipyard, in the western Pacific."

The new generation of Fast Response Cutters will conduct maritime security missions, such as fisheries patrols, enhance maritime domain awareness and enforcement efforts in collaboration with regional partners who have limited offshore surveillance and enforcement capacity, and ensure freedom of navigation.

With the aim to increase the US' capacity and presence in the Indo-Pacific region, in Fiscal Year 2021, the USCG is planning to evaluate the feasibility of basing Fast Response Cutters in American Samoa.

"If the survey is favourable, the United States could further expand its presence in the South Pacific. Enhancing the presence of the USCG in the Indo-Pacific ensures the United States will remain the maritime partner of choice in the region," he said.

The relations between China and the US have also deteriorated in recent times due to various reasons including Indo-Pacific and coronavirus pandemic. (ANI)

Deployment of peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh being discussed: Armenian Foreign Minister

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Yerevan [Armenia], October 24 (ANI/Sputnik): Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said that possible deployment of peacekeepers in Azerbaijan's crisis-torn region of Nagorno-Karabakh was on the agenda of settlements talks.

Earlier this week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Baku did not reject the deployment of peacekeepers and observers to Nagorno-Karabakh but would put forward its own conditions someday.

"Peacekeepers on the ground is the way in which we need to consolidate [our efforts], address any risks against the sustainability of ceasefire, and that has been a part of the story for a very long time ... The peacekeeping question is exactly one of the critical questions in our discussions," Mnatsakanyan said.

The fighting on the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh started on September 27. The sides have accused each other of starting the firing. The international community strongly condemned the escalation and called on parties to settle the differences via dialogue, while Turkey has pledged its full support for Azerbaijan.

Yerevan and Baku have signed two ceasefire agreements, but both of them collapsed soon after entering into force. Within the past several days, the Azerbaijani troops managed to make significant achievements on the southern flank. (ANI/Sputnik)

Argentina prolongs coronavirus-linked restrictions until November 8

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Buenos Aires [Argentina], October 24 (ANI/Sputnik): Argentina decided to prolong the restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic until November 8, President Alberto Fernandez said.

The Latin American country introduced restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 20.

"We will prolong the cur
rent restrictions for 14 days more," the president said on late Friday.

Fernandez added that the number of new cases in the capital of Buenos Aires was decreasing, but the increase in the number of infected people was still very high.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, more than 42 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 1.14 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Argentina has confirmed 1,05 million COVID-19 cases so far, with about 28,000 fatalities. (ANI/Sputnik)

Ready to even talk to UK PM for Nawaz Sharif's deportation: Imran Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan


Islamabad [Pakistan], October 24 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he is even ready to initiate talks with his British counterpart Boris Johnson to get Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif deported from London.

Citing an interview of Khan on ARY News broadcast on Friday, Dawn quoted Prime Minister Khan as saying that since getting Nawaz extradited from Britain would be a "long process", his government was pushing for him to be deported "which can happen immediately".

"We are in regular contact with their officials. We are making full efforts to get him deported," the Pakistani Prime Minister said.

"If I have to, I will go and talk to Boris Johnson," he added.

This comes weeks after the British government had informed the Pakistani officials that they will not get involved in "its internal politics".

For over nearly a month, the Pakistan government has made several attempts to get Sharif's arrest warrant signed.

The News International reported that the country's diplomats stationed in London also asked the British government to help execute the arrest warrants of Nawaz, however, the government bluntly refused.

Last month, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) came down heavily on the Imran Khan-led government for allowing Sharif to go abroad without informing the court and it was up to the dispensation to take steps for ensuring the latter's return to the country. (ANI)

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