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China closes Nathu La pass in Sikkim, denies entry to Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims
China has shut down the Nathu La pass in Sikkim and also denied entry to pilgrims visiting the Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet. The move comes after a skirmish between the armed forces on the border over “security reasons.”While the Indian side has said that the Chinese troops intruded into the Indian border in Sikkim and destroyed bunkers, the People’s Liberation Army accused India of creating issues by halting a road construction in the area. Speaking about the incident, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “Recently, the Indian border guards in the Sino-Indian border Sikkim section crossed the border into the territory of China, obstructed the Chinese border troops in the Donglong area from conducting normal activities.
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China Warns India to “Remember the Lessons of History”
29 June, 2017 | by The Wire Staff, thewire.in
The rhetoric from China following the border-stand off is showing no sign of relenting. On Thursday, the Chinese army warning India to remember the “lessons of history”, while the Chinese foreign ministry displayed a photograph of Indian ‘incursion’. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army spokesperson, Colonel Wu Qian said that Indian army chief’s remarks on June 8 were “extremely irresponsible”.
Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat had said that Indian Army was “fully ready for a two and a half front war”. But, he had added that India had effective mechanisms to defuse any adverse situation. Rawat had pointed out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that “not even a single bullet has been fired on the Indo-China border” in the last 40 years. However, the question to the PLA spokesperson was only based on the sentence about India’s readiness for a “two and half front war”. “We hope that the Indian army can learn the lessons of history.”Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang showing a photograph of Indian troops entering China. Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China websiteIn another unprecedented move, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang on Thursday displayed a black and white copy of a photograph which he said showed the “trespass of the Indian border troops at the Sikkim section”.China has claimed that Indian troops had entered into Indian territory to stop a construction activities. Thereafter, Chinese soldiers also demolished a bunker of the Indian army. After the Indian army chief claimed that there was no incursion by the Chinese into India, Lu responded that that it showed that previous reports in the Indian media were wrong.
“Truth may be concealed for a while, but not forever. We once again urge the Indian side to abide by the existing boundary convention, respect China’s territorial sovereignty, and immediately bring the border troops that have crossed into China back to the Indian side of the boundary, so as not to worsen the situation and land itself in a more passive position.The Chinese spokesperson, however, did not answer directly if Bhutan had issued a demarche to stop construction in Doklam area. He reiterated China’s stand that Doklam was within its jurisdiction. Later, the Bhutanese government released its demarche online-it demands that the status quo be maintained in Doklam.“Doklam has been a part of China since ancient times. That is an indisputable fact supported by historical and jurisprudential evidence, and the ground situation. China’s activities in Doklam are acts of sovereignty on its own territory. It is completely justified and lawful,” he said.The Chinese foreign ministry added that withdrawal of Indian troops was essential to even start a dialogue. “We urge the Indian side to immediately pull back the border troops to the Indian side of the boundary. That is the precondition for any meaningful talks between the two sides aiming at resolving the issue,” said Lu.
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Afghan government funding Taliban-run schools as militant group attempts rebrand
8 June, 2017: The Afghan government is funding schools and hospitals run by the Taliban as the militant group seeks to establish itself as a legitimate administration in large swathes of the country, a new film has found. A report by a BBC team granted rare access to the group’s stronghold in Helmand province found the Taliban has been forced to present itself as somewhat modernised since Afghans have grown used to government services and a different way of life after the group was ousted from official power. The Taliban has grown in confidence three years since Western troops withdrew from the country.
“They are trying to set up a mini-state if not the actual state in Helmand,” Auliya Atrafi, a journalist from the BBC Afghan service who made the film, told the Telegraph. “In the evening when we sat with the elders and the local leaders, they asked us: ‘Where do you think we will be in 10 years time?’ We knew what they were thinking. They see themselves in ten years time as the government.”
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3 US service members killed in attack by Afghan soldier
Jun 10, 2017: The Afghan army soldier opened fire and killed the Americans, according to officials. “The Afghan army soldier was killed in return fire,” Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar province. The attack occurred in the Achin district of Nangarhar. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the shooter was a member of the militant group and had killed four Americans and wounded several more.
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4 dead as suicide bombers strike crowded Shia mosque in Kabul
15 June,2017: KABUL (AFP) – A suicide bomber struck a crowded Shia mosque in Kabul. Officials said, in the latest militant attack to rattle the Afghan capital during the holy month of Ramadan. The bomber blew himself up in the kitchen of Al Zahra mosque after police prevented him from entering the prayer hall packed with worshippers, authorities said, with witnesses also reporting gunfire in the area.
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Mohammed bin Salman named crown prince SPA
20 June 2017: JEDDAH: Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been appointed as crown prince, replacing Prince Mohammed bin Naif, a royal decree carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. The decree issued by King Salman also appointed Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif as interior minister, a post held by the former crown prince.
The SPA report said Mohammed bin Salman was chosen as crown prince by 31 out of 43 members of the Kingdom’s Succession Committee during a meeting at Al Safa Palace in Makkah. The new crown prince has also served in a concurrent capacity as defense minister and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
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Arab states issue list of demands to end Qatar crisis
List of demands by Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations
1) Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
2) Immediately shut down the Turkish military base that is currently being built, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatari territories.
3) Sever all ties to all the “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations”, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh Al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Qatar needs to formally declare those entities as terrorist groups based on the list of groups that was announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.
4) Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, the US and other countries.
5) Hand over “terrorist figures”, fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.
6) Shut down Al Jazeera Network and its affiliate stations.
7) End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.
8) Qatar has to pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.
9) Qatar must align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.
10) Submit all personal details of all the opposition members that Qatar supported and detail all support that Qatar has provided them in the past. Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.
11) Shut down all news outlets that it funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.
12) Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid.
13) Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.
‘Courtesy Al Jazeera News’

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One Afghan killed and seven US troops wounded in attack on base US military
US military spokesman denies report by local official that Americans were killed but says at least one Afghan soldier shot dead at Camp Shaheen Seven American soldiers were wounded and one Afghan soldier was killed in a shooting at a base in northern Afghanistan on Saturday, a US military official said.
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US sending almost 4,000 extra forces to Afghanistan, Trump official says
The spokesman for US military command in Kabul denied reports by an Afghan official that Americans had been killed, but confirmed that seven US soldiers were wounded at Camp Shaheen, which is the headquarters of the Afghan army’s 209th Corps in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Abdul Qahar Araam, spokesman for the Afghan army’s 209th Corps, said earlier: “An Afghan soldier shot and killed four American troops inside the base. We are investigating.”The German military heads the multinational advising mission based in Mazar-i-Sharif. A spokeswoman for the German forces at the joint missions command in Potsdam said: “According to what we know right now, no Germans were affected.”On 11 June, three US soldiers were killed and a fourth was wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire at a base in Nangarhar province, in the east of the country.
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Taliban storms Afghan police compound, kills officers
18-6-2017: One attacker continues to fire at police inside a special forces headquarters building in the eastern city of Gardez. At least five police officers have been killed and eight officers were wounded as Taliban stormed a special forces eadquarters building in eastern Afghanistan, according to the interior ministry. He said one of the attackers detonated his suicide vest inside the compound, two others were shot dead by police and one was still fighting.
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Attack on Iran’s parliament, Ayatollah Khomeini shrine
7 June, 2017: At least 13 dead in attacks on parliament and Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran, as ISIL claims responsibility. Gunmen and suicide bombers have attacked Iran’s parliament in central Tehran and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in south of the city, killing at least 13 people. Four armed assailants attacked parliament office buildings on Wednesday morning, while the shrine of revolutionary founder Ruhollah Khomeini was struck by a suicide bomber, state media reported.
One of the attackers on Iran’s parliament complex blew himself up on the fourth floor, while under siege by security forces, state broadcaster IRIB reported. Lawmaker Elias Hazrati told state television that three attackers, one with a pistol and two with AK-47 assault rifles, raided office buildings at the parliament complex. At least 43 people were wounded in the attacks, according to the interior ministry.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the attacks mere “firecrackers” that would have no effect on the Iranian people. President Hassan Rohani said the attacks would make Iran more united.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attacks via its online forum. If genuine, the claim marks the first major attack of the group inside Iran.
Iran attacks expose security gaps, fuel regional tension
Reuters : When Islamic State called on members of Iran’s Sunni Muslim minority in March to wage a religious war on their Shia rulers, few people took the threat seriously. And yet within three months, militants have breached security at the very heart of the nation, killing at least 17 people. A attacks at parliament and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini have exposed shortcomings among the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) which was supposed to be protecting these potent symbols of Iran’s revolution. They have also undermined Tehran’s belief that by backing offensives against Islamic State across the Middle East, it can keep the militant Sunni group away from Iran. Undaunted, officials say Iran will step up the strategy, which includes sending fighters to battle Islamic State in Syria and Iraq alongside allied Shia militia groups.
One senior Iranian official told Reuters that Islamic State had established a network of support in the country, and suggested that members’ motivation was as much political and economic as to do with Sunni radicals’ belief that Shia are infidels.
“Sunni extremism is spreading in Iran like many other countries. And not all of these young people who join extremist groups are necessarily religious people,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “But the establishment is well aware of the problem and is trying to tackle it.”to regard policies of Shia-led Iran as oppressive at home or aggressive abroad, such as in Iraq and Syria, pushing more of them into the arms of militant groups. Iran has been trying to stem the spread of radicalism into Sunni majority regions, which are usually less economically developed. Authorities said 1,500 young Iranians were prevented from joining Islamic State in 2016.Iran’s Sistan and Balochistan province, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, is home to the Baloch minority and has long been a hotbed of Sunni insurgents.

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Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam released after five years detention
10 June, 2017: A statement from the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion, a militia which controls Zintan, a mountainous region south-west of Libya’s capital Tripoli, said Saif al-Islam was released. The most prominent of Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam, 44, was captured in Zintan in November 2011 as he was fleeing to neighbouring Niger after opposition fighters seized Tripoli. Saif al-Islam, the most prominent of Gaddafi’s eight children, was sentenced to death in July 2015 by a court in Tripoli in a mass trial of former Gaddafi government. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.T he commander of the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion, Ajmi al-Atiri, was set to release a video statement explaining the details of the release.
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Grenfell Tower Fire: Met Police confirm firm Grenfell Tower Fire That Killed 80 People
14 June 2017 (LONDON) In its most detailed briefing on the criminal investigation, the Metropolitan Police confirmed residents’ suspicions that the June 14 inferno at Grenfell Tower was touched off by a refrigerator fire. The department also said exterior cladding attached to the 24-story, 220-foot (67 m) high public housing project Constructed in 1974, during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and that police have seized documents from a number of organizations.
“We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards,” Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters. “We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.”
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64 dead in central Portugal forest fires
By ASSOCIATED PRESS: AVELAR, Portugal (AP) – Raging forest fires in central Portugal killed at least 64 people, many of them trapped in their cars as flames swept over a road, in what Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Sunday called “the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years.”
The deaths occurred in the Pedrogao Grande area, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon, where some 600 firefighters have been trying to put out the fires since Saturday, Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said. Gomes said 16 people were killed when their vehicles were engulfed by flames on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, and three others died from smoke inhalation in Figueiro dos Vinhos. A huge wall of thick smoke and bright red flames towered over the top of trees near houses in the wooded region.

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Muslim teen killed after leaving Virginia mosque
19 June,2017 – WASHINGTON (AFP) – A tight-knit Muslim community in the suburbs of Washington was in shock after a 17-year-old girl was apparently beaten to death and dumped in a pond following late-night prayers at the local mosque. Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, have charged a 22-year-old local man, Darwin Martinez Torres, with the teenager s killing, and said on Twitter they were “NOT investigating this murder as a hate crime.”But social media lit up with expressions of anger over the crime, which follows a series of deadly incidents targeting Muslims in North America, and condolence over the sudden, seemingly random death of a young girl.Father of murdered Virginia girl says she was ‘100%’ targeted for being Muslim. Mohmoud Hassanen tells Guardian that his 17-year-old daughter Nabra, who was killed on Sunday, was a ‘very nice girl, a good Muslim who didn’t have hate’ The father of a teenager assaulted and killed near a mosque close to Washington DC believes she was targeted because she was Muslim.

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Panama cuts ties with Taiwan in major diplomatic coup for China
13 JUNE 2017 | By : Neil Connor, Beijing
Panama has switched its diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, signaling Beijing’s economic muscle is forcing the dwindling number of countries who align with Taipei to comply to its will. Only 20 countries including the Vatican continue to recognise Taiwan diplomatically, a stance which riles Beijing which promotes a ‘one China’ policy. A statement from both countries issued “In light of the interests and wishes of both peoples, the Republic of Panama andPeople’s Republic of China have decided to grant each other, from the date of this document’s signing, mutual recognition, establishment of diplomatic ties at the ambassadorial level.”
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Lockheed Martin ready to build F-16 fighter jets in India
Lockheed Martin has agreed to jointly build F-16 fighter planes equipped with new-generation electronics in India with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. The planes are of the Block 70 type, “the newest and most technologically advanced F-16 ever”.“The F-16 Block 70 is ideally suited to meet the Indian Air Force’s single-engine fighter needs and this unmatched US-Indian industry partnership directly supports India’s initiative to develop private aerospace and defense manufacturing capacity in India,” said the statement, released on the Paris Air Show’s opening day. The Indian air force does not currently use F-16s, but industry experts say that local production would be a strong argument in favour of the US plane against its rivals, including French company Dassault’s Rafale, in future procurement decisions.
India in 2016 agreed to buy 36 Rafale combat planes for $8.9 billion.Accompanying that deal was a partnership agreement between Dassault and India’s Reliance Group and a promise by Dassault to invest about half of the contract’s value in India. The French company recently said it was in talks with India to buy at least 50 more. The announcement of the collaboration between Lockheed and Tata comes a week prior to Modi’s visit to Washington for talks with US President Donald Trump, who has been putting pressure on American companies to keep production at home.
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Trump Admin OKs Drone Sale to India, Manufacturer Says
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) The Trump administration has authorized the sale of unarmed surveillance drones to India, the manufacturer said, as the two nations’ leaders prepare for their first face-to-face meeting. India initiated its request to buy 22 Guardian MQ-9B unmanned aircraft for maritime surveillance last year. The deal is estimated to be worth about $2 billion. The offer is still subject to congressional approval. India reportedly wants the drones for surveillance of the Indian Ocean waters that China’s navy increasingly traverses after establishing its first overseas base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti. India’s archrival Pakistan would also likely be opposed to the drone sale. Since 2008, India has signed more than $15 billion in U.S. defense contracts, including for C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft, P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, Harpoon missiles and Apache and Chinook helicopters. Ashley Tellis, an expert on South Asia at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the U.S. decision to offer the Guardian aircraft to India is significant as the U.S. has a standing policy of declining export of such advanced drones other than to allies involved in combined operations with U.S. Forces. “Much bureaucratic china within the U.S. government had to be broken to get to this decision,” he said. ‘Courtesy U.S. News’
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Indian PM Modi is obsessed with acquiring new weapons
BY : Yawar Shah – Canada
PM Modi is obsessed with acquiring new weapons, he now wants Predator C – Sea Avenger naval drones from the US? Acquisition of such advanced weapon systems seriously threatens regional security and stability. India already operates Israeli made reconnaissance Searcher drones and armed Heron drones. It has also acquired Israeli Harpy drones, designed to loiter for hours and then attack radar systems. Its a unique self-destruct / suicide drone. Predator C – Sea Avenger is the latest and most advanced aircraft carrier and helicopter carrier capable drone for long range intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and precision strikes against naval targets. It has a ceiling of 50,000 ft., speeds of 400 knots and 20-hour endurance. To reduce drag, it has retractable electro-optical / infrared (EO/IR) sensors, internal weapons bay capable of 3,500 lb payload, including GBU-32, 2,000 lb Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and long range Harpoon anti-shipping missiles.
This Predator naval variant is the most advanced drone which even the US Navy has not deployed yet. They are under trials and will be deployed on US carriers, including USS Nimitz and USS Ford. Our government must strongly protest against introduction of such advanced weapons which will threaten regional security and stability. Our Foreign Office should be proactive. Our Ambassador, Pakistani American Associations and Pakistani Americans must strongly lobby against India’s massive military acquisitions which directly threaten Pakistan.

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Myanmar military transport plane crashes into southern coast Andaman Sea
8 JUNE 2017 : Bodies and debris have been found in the water after a Myanmar military plane vanished over the Andaman Sea with 122 soldiers, family members and crew on board, the military said in a statement. The military transport plane had been flying from southern Myanmar to Yangon when contact was lost on Wednesday afternoon. There were fears it may have crashed into the ocean, since its route would have taken it over the Andaman Sea.
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‘We are not alone’ – Nasa finds 10 new planets like Earth
Seth Borenstein in Washington
June 21 2017 : Nasa said its planet-hunting telescope has found 10 new planets outside our solar system that are probably the right size and temperature to potentially have life on them. As the Kepler telescope finished its main mission, Nasa announced that it had seen a total of 49 planets in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone for possible life. And it only looked in a tiny part of the galaxy. Kepler scientist Mario Perez said that means that “we are probably not alone” because four years of data show how common Earth-like planets can be. Outside scientists agreed that this is a boost in the hope for life elsewhere. Nasa said that several of the 10 new potentially habitable planets circle stars which are similar in size to our sun. It also announced 219 new planets.
(Courtesy Irish Independent)

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