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Taliban bombings kill at least 30 people near Afghan parliament

10 Jan:- More than 70 others injured in twin explosions in Kabul that appeared to target a bus carrying government personnel. The attack, during rush hour , appeared to have targeted a bus carrying government personnel leaving a building close to the parliament. The Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the attack, said they had targeted members of the Afghan security forces. But government officials claimed most victims had been civilians.

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5 UAE diplomats killed in Afghanistan

11 Jan, 2017:- The United Arab Emirates says five of its diplomats died in a bombing in Afghanistan’s Kandahar that killed at least 11 people and wounded 17 others, including Juma al-Kaabi, the UAE ambassador to Afghanistan. The official Emirati news agency, WAM, said the officials were “on a mission to carry out humanitarian, educational and development projects”. The blast, which struck the provincial governor’s office during a visit by the UAE delegation, was one of a string of bombings that hit three Afghan cities on Tuesday, killing nearly 50 people and wounding 100.

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Ex-Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Dies at 82

8 Jan : The Isna news agency said he died due to “heart complications.” Rafsanjani was considered to be a top leader in Iran’s 1979 revolution, and was an ally of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for decades until Rafsanjani began to develop more liberal tendencies. Rafsanjani was a supporter of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “The soul of a giant man of revolution, politics, a symbol of patience and strength, has ascended to skies,” Rouhani tweeted. Rafsanjani served as president for two terms, from 1989 to 1997. Iran has declared three days of national mourning.

Iran: Missile tests not in violation of nuclear deal

29 Jan, 2017: Iran’s missile tests do not involve rockets with nuclear warheads and are not part of a historic deal signed two years ago by world powers, according to the country’s foreign minister. Javad Zarif affirmed his position, a day after White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the United States was “aware that Iran fired a missile” and was “looking into the exact nature of it”. Reiterating Iran’s traditional stance, Zarif said that his country’s missiles are “not designed for the capability of carrying a nuclear warhead”. Iran is only using ballistic missiles to defend itself, he added.

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US air raids’ kill civilians, al-Qaeda chiefs in Bayda

29 Jan: Dawn raids by US drones and helicopters have killed at least 20 people in Yemen, including civilians and three tribal chiefs reported to have links to al-Qaeda, local sources say. A source told Al Jazeera that at least six homes were destroyed and a number civilians were trapped under the rubble in Yakla district, in the southern province of al-Bayda. Eight women and eight children were among those killed, a provincial official, who did not want to be named, and tribal sources told the AFP news agency. Three US helicopters were reportedly involved in the attacks, firing missiles and helicopter machine guns. According to the UN, more than 10,000 people have died – nearly half of them civilians – since a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes on Yemen in March 2015.

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Navy SEAL, 8-year-old American girl died in Yemen raid

In what an official said was the first military raid carried out under President Donald Trump, two Americans were killed in Yemen on Sunday — one a member of SEAL Team 6 and the other the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born al Qaeda leader who himself was killed in a U.S. strike five years ago. The raid in southern Yemen, conducted by the supersecret Joint Special Operations Command, was intended to capture valuable intelligence, specifically computer equipment, according to a senior U.S. military official. Three al Qaeda leaders were killed, according to U.S. Officials.

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Renowned Indian Actor Om Puri Dies At 66

January 6, 2017:- Prolific Indian actor Om Puri, who for decades appeared in films all over the world, has died at age 66 in Mumbai. Reports say Puri suffered a heart attack at his home. Puri had roles in more than 300 movies in his career, NPR’s Rose Friedman reports for our Newscast unit. Rose says he began acting in Indian art house cinema in the 1970s and soon branched into British and American films, including Gandhi in 1982 and Charlie Wilson’s War in 2007. He appeared in the 2013 film The Reluctant Fundamentalist, in which he played a father struggling to pass on a sense of empathy to his Wall Street-employed son. Puri was a crossover star, as evidenced by the breadth of people mourning his death.  In 2004, Puri received an honorary Order of the British Empire, an award established by King George V and given to individuals who have made distinguished contributions in their field. In 1990, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honors.

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Om Puri did not die of heart attack, reveals postmortem report

MUMBAI – The preliminary postmortem report of Indian actor Om Puri has revealed that he did not die of ‘natural causes’, reported Mumbai Mirror. The actor’s body was found with a head injury which might have occurred after he fell on the floor. Khalid Kidwai, a close friend of Om Puri, told police that the actor had consumed alcohol the night before his death. “Om Puri wanted to meet his son Ishan on Thursday evening. So we (Kidwai and Om Puri) went to Trishul building where his ex-wife Nandita lives with Ishan but were unable to meet them as both Nandita and Ishan had gone for a party. Om Puri then had an argument over the phone with Nandita and asked them to come soon as he wanted to meet his son,” read the statement. “He poured a drink in his glass and waited for almost 45 minutes at Nandita’s flat. But when they did not turn up, he took the glass and liquor bottle and started drinking in the car. After finishing the drink, we left,” added Kidwai’s statement. Mumbai Police has registered an Accidental Death Report (ADR) for Om Puri’s demise.

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Donald Trump sworn in  as 45th president of the US

Friday 20th January, 2017: Donald Trump took power as the 45th president of the United States and pledged to end what he called an “American carnage” of rusted factories and crime in an inaugural address that was a populist and nationalist rallying cry. Striking a defiant tone, Trump said American workers have been devastated by the outsourcing of jobs abroad. “From this day forward it’s going to be only America First,” the Republican told thousands of people gathered on the National Mall to see him take over from Democrat Barack Obama. With Obama and three other former presidents sitting nearby, Trump accused previous U.S. administrations of enriching Washington at the expense of struggling American families. Underscoring the deep divisions in the country, protests against Trump turned ugly in downtown Washington. Black-clad activists smashed store windows, blocked traffic and fought with police in riot gear who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Police said more than 200 people were arrested. Aerial pictures of the crowds of Trump supporters on the Mall showed a much smaller turnout at midday on Friday than that in comparable photos from Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. Estimates of Friday’s crowd size were not immediately available from police. The inaugural address was vintage Trump, with plenty of material gleaned from dozens of campaign rallies he staged last year on the road to victory on Nov. 8 over Democrat Hillary Clinton, who attended the ceremony with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

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Trump’s latest executive order: Banning people from 7 countries and more

(27  January, 2017) : The executive order bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — or at least 218 million people, based on 2015 data published by the World Bank — from entering the United States. Those countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as “countries of concern.” Trump barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for at least the next 90 days by executive order, which a senior White House official said later Friday is likely just a first step toward establishing a broader ban. Asked what criteria the administration will consider as it looks to expand the ban beyond the initial seven countries, the official said simply the “mandate is to keep America safe.” “Not going to take any risks,” the official added.

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At least five dead in shooting at Canada’s Quebec City mosque

QUEBEC CITY (AFP) – (30 Jan ) At least five people were killed and several people wounded after gunmen opened fire at a mosque in Quebec City. A few dozen people were inside the Islamic Cultural Center when the shooting began just after 8:00 pm (0100 GMT Monday), CBC reported, citing its French-language service Radio-Canada. According to CBC, Quebec City Police Constable Etienne Doyon said at the time of the attack mostly men were gathered at the mosque for evening prayers.

A Student charged with six counts of murder over gun attack in mosque Bissonnette is a French-Canadian student,  according to local news website TVA, which cited police sources. A Facebook page reportedly belonging to Bissonnette included “likes” for Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, the far-right French presidential candidate.

Nigeria bombs camp, kills over 100 refugees

18 Jan : MAIDUGURI: A Nigerian Air Force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists mistakenly bombed a refugee camp, killing more than 100 refugees and wounding aid workers, a Borno state official said.  Military commander Maj Gen. Lucky Irabor confirmed the accidental bombardment in northeast Rann, near the border with Cameroon. Among the wounded were two soldiers and Nigerians working for Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross, he said. This is believed to be the first time Nigeria’s military has admitted to making such a mistake.

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Mali suicide bomber kills at least 50 people in Gao military camp

18 Jan : Attack marks significant setback for peace efforts in region after vehicle explosion hits joint operational mechanism base. The blast hit the joint operational mechanism base in the city of Gao, home to Malian soldiers and hundreds of former fighters who had signed a peace agreement with the government. Dismembered bodies could still be seen two hours after the blast. The death toll rose over the course of Wednesday morning and had reached more than 50 by 1.30pm local time (1330 GMT), a military official said.

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Five dead in US airport shooting 

A gunman opened fire Friday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, a major tourist hub in Florida, killing five people and injuring eight, and sending panicked travelers fleeing for safety. Florida Senator Bill Nelson identified the shooter as Estaban Nelson. “He had a military ID, we don’t know if it is current, but every time you get a bunch of people like at baggage claim or like outside of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) where you’re going to security or lines at the ticket counter, it’s a soft target,” Nelson said.

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Anger raging in Kashmir, says Sinha panel

By : Peerzada Ashiq:- A team from New Delhi, headed by former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, has warned of growing anger in rural Kashmir and vanishing faith in the institution of dialogue among the people of the State. The second report of the Concerned Citizens Group led by Mr. Sinha, compiled after its second visit to the Valley, said, “There is a crisis of acknowledgement of the Kashmir problem with the Indian state. People feel India refuses to recognise that Kashmir is a political problem. Almost every Kashmiri we met said that there was a need for a one-time political settlement.” The report pointed out that anger in the rural areas was “palpably greater than in Srinagar and raw”. “Kashmiris see the visits of emissaries of Government of India and civil society groups as farcical exercises and part of a diversionary tactic to handle disturbances in Kashmir,” it said. Because of the record of the Indian State, there is scepticism about even non-governmental initiatives, it said.

According to the report, people even objected to the language used to describe the situation in Kashmir  “unrest”, they say, is the wrong term to use because Kashmir has never been at rest since 1947; “peace and normalcy” are the most abused words in the State as no one knows what they are meant to signify; and while the government talks of “anger and alienation” of the Kashmiris, those are not the issues that need to be addressed  the problem is political and cries out for a political solution. India, many believe, is deliberately pretending to be ignorant of the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.Most Kashmiris say their protests are neither “sponsored” by anyone nor are their youngsters being paid to come out in the streets. The policies of India to deal with sporadic bursts of protests and anger in Kashmir are described as “time-buying techniques”, which have only worsened the situation. It also underlined that the statements of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq on the issue of beef resonated during the conversations with the people. The team, which held two rounds of dialogue with various stakeholders including separatists comprises Wajahat Habibullah, Air-Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retired), journalist Bharat Bhushan and Sushobha Barve, who is the director of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.

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DEPLETED URANIUM SEIZED IN MUMBAI

Indian Police has recently seized 8.861 Kgs Depleted Uranium (DU) worth around Indian Rupees 24 Crore. Kishore Prajapati and Saif Ullah Khan residents of Mumbai, have been arrested against illegal possession of DU. Prajapati has been named as director of an unlisted company that deals with manufacturing of metals, chemicals and related products. During investigation, Prajapati claimed that the got the radioactive material from the wings of a scrapped Air India aircraft that he had purchased 10-12 years ago through his contacts in industry. After confirming the nature of material from a laboratory in 2014, he decided to sell it in the black market. Bhaba Atomic Research Center (BARC) report stated that the uranium was sourced from outside India, contained 0.3 % Fissile Isotope U-235 and can be used both for military and civilian purposes. BARC report and police statement seem to be part of govt efforts to cover up the domestic shortcomings that have resulted in acquisition and handling of such material by local businessmen with considerable ease. Since one of the accused is Muslim, India may attempt, later on, to show a Pakistani link in the chain. However the accused maintains that the material was acquired locally, tested at a local laboratory and was to be sold in (local) black market.

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First freight train from China to Britain arrives in London

By Ritvik Carvalho | The first China-to-Britain freight train arrived in London on Wednesday after a 7,500-mile journey, marking a milestone in China’s push to build commercial links across Europe and Asia. The train pulled in to Barking, east London after an 18-day journey from Yiwu, a wholesale market town in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. It had passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, finally crossing under the English Channel into Britain. The consignment would have taken nearly twice as long to reach Britain by sea. The train brought in a cargo of small commodities including household items, clothes, fabrics, bags, and suitcases. Run by Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment, the Yiwu-London freight service makes London the 15th European city to have a direct rail link with China after the 2013 unveiling of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative by Chinese premier Xi Jinping. Carsten Pottharst, managing director of Switzerland-based InterRail Group, the train’s operator, said he hoped there would be more such runs between China and Britain. “This moment was important to show that we can run the train in less than 18 days to the UK,” he said. “It depends also on how much cargo we can get from the UK to China – if we can manage to get more trains eastbound, then there could be more.”Oscar Lin, general manager at OTT Logistics, the local UK booking office for the train, said there had been good interest in the service.

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Hollywood ACTRESS LINDSAY LOHAN CONVERTED TO ISLAM

Lindsay Lohan’s message sparks rumours of conversion to Islam

 17 JANUARY 2017 : Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan has fueled speculation that she has converted to Islam after deleting all of her posts on the social media platform Instagram, simply leaving her account bearing an Arabic greeting. Muslim social media users the world over welcomed their purported new sister with open arms. The 30-year-old has been rumored to be flirting with the religion for years, since she was first seen in 2015 carrying a Qur’an while completing community service in Brooklyn. Actress Lindsay Lohan has shocked millions of followers when she deleted all her posts on social media, and left the “Alaikum salam” greeting on Instagram sparking rumours that she may have already converted to Islam. The ‘Mean Girls’ star has already said that she has chosen Dubai as her base and taken to educate herself on Middle Eastern culture. She also plans to volunteer at refugee camps in Turkey and set up her own production company in the UAE. Last month the actress told CNN Abu Dhabi she had fallen in love with the region. In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Lohan said she was “very excited for what the new year holds”. Her new management team said the actress is currently “in a period of renewal”.

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