Sanjay Dutt Arms and Ammunitions case

Sanjay Dutt has been serving his jail term after the Supreme Court sentenced him to five years in jail due to his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.

After being arrested from the airport in 1994, the actor had confessed that mafia don, Abu Salem, had visited his home in January 1993 with Samir Hingora and Hanif Kadawala, proprietors of Magnum Video and alleged close associates of underworld don, Dawood Ibrahim. Sanjay Dutt had said that they had brought three AK-56 rifles with ammunition, and he had kept one. He claimed that the gun was to protect his family as they had received threats during the Mumbai riots that followed the demolition of Babri mosque in December 1992. Sanjay Dutt also said that after he heard of the Mumbai serial blasts and Samir Hingora and Hanif Kadawala’s arrest, he asked his friend, Yusuf Nulwalla, to destroy the rifle. However, he later retracted his statement. Soon after he was arrested and charged under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act or TADA for conspiracy in the blasts and receiving weapons from Abu Salem.

 

Islamic State fatwa aims to settle who can have sex with female slaves

The Islamic State fatwa sheds new light on how the group is trying to reinterpret centuries-old teachings to justify the sexual slavery of women in the swaths of Syria and Iraq it controls.

Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when “owners” of women enslaved by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb what they called violations in the treatment of captured females. The ruling or fatwa has the force of law and appears to go beyond the Islamic State’s previous known utterances on the subject, a leading Islamic State scholar said. It sheds new light on how the group is trying to reinterpret centuries-old teachings to justify the sexual slavery of women in the swaths of Syria and Iraq it controls.

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The fatwa was among a huge trove of documents captured by U.S. Special Operations Forces during a raid targeting a top Islamic State official in Syria in May. Reuters has reviewed some of the documents, which have not been previously published.

Among the religious rulings are bans on a father and son having sex with the same female slave; and the owner of a mother and daughter having sex with both. Joint owners of a female captive are similarly enjoined from intercourse because she is viewed as “part of a joint ownership

Indian Sports in 2015

Virat Kohli leading India to their first Test series victory in 11 years against South Africa was the highlight of 2015. The exploits of Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal also made India proud in 2015 while Force India finally made a mark in Formula One.

The year 2015 saw India achieve tremendous success in various sports. Be it defeating South Africa in a Test series for the first time in over a decade, Saina Nehwal taking the top spot in the badminton rankings or Sania Mirza winning grand slams just for fun, the country made a lot of progress in the world of sports. Here are the best sporting moments for India to remember.

Virat Kohli’s Boys Conquer the Best Test Side

India under Virat Kohli beat South Africa 3-0 in the four-match Test series. The Proteas had not lost a Test series away from home since 2006 and not lost one to India since 2004. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were the stars taking 31 and 23 wickets respectively to script a memorable series victory.

Nokia 230 Dual SIM Internet-Enabled Feature Phone Launched in India at Rs. 3,869

Microsoft has unveiled the Nokia 230 Dual SIM feature phone in India. Priced at Rs. 3,869, the Internet-enabled feature phone is now available to buy via the company’s official store.

Unfortunately, there is still no word on the availability of the single-SIM Nokia 230 phone. Last month, Microsoft had promised that the Nokia 230 (and Nokia 230 Dual SIM) will be launching in India this month. Considering that the Microsoft’s official site lists the Nokia 230, we can expect the company to launch the model soon.

At the global launch, Microsoft had touted the Nokia 230 and Nokia 230 Dual SIM as ‘premium quality Internet-enabled feature phones.’ One of the biggest highlight of the Nokia 230 Dual SIM is that it sports a 2-megapixel front and rear cameras. Both cameras pack LED flash modules. Another notable feature of the Nokia 230 Dual SIM phones are they feature sandblasted aluminium cover.

Nokia 230 Dual SIM Internet-Enabled Feature Phone Launched at Rs. 3,869

Both the phones come with the Opera Store access where users can download one free Gameloft game every month for a year. This is however unclear whether the offer is applicable for Indian users as well. Last month, the company had confirmed that the store was available in select markets.

Both the new phones come with the same set of specifications except that the Nokia 230 Dual SIM supports dual-SIM functionality. Both the handset support Micro-SIM cards, and both run Nokia Series 30+ OS. Other preloaded apps include Bing Search and Opera Mini browser as well as MSN Weather. The Nokia 230 Dual SIM features a 2.8-inch QVGA (240×320 pixels) LCD display. It supports expandable storage up to 32GB via microSD card. Connectivity options on the phone include GPRS/ EDGE, Bluetooth v3.0, Micro-USB, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Microsoft has packed a 1200mAh battery in the handset that is claimed to deliver up to 23 hours of talk time and up to 22 days of standby time (dual-SIM model). The Nokia 230 Dual SIM measures 124.6×53.4×10.9mm, and weighs 92 grams. The Nokia 230 Dual SIM will both be available in glossy Black and White colours.

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Will Reunite, Says BJP's Ram Madhav

NEW DELHI:  India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will reunite one day to create “Akhand Bharat” or an ‘Undivided India’, BJP’s National General Secretary Ram Madhav has said.

In an interview to international news network Al Jazeera, the former spokesperson and national executive member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said that this can happen “without war, through popular consent”.

“The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh still believes that one day these parts, which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and Akhand Bharat will be created,” Mr Madhav said.

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Mr Madhav further added that he holds on to that view as a member of the RSS – the ideological mentor of the BJP.

“That does not mean we wage war on any country, [or that] we annex any country. Without war, through popular consent, it can happen,” he clarified.

Also responding to a statement made earlier this year, in which he said India was “a Hindu country”, Mr Madhav explained, “It’s a land where a particular way of life, a particular culture or civilisation, is practised.”

“We call it Hindu – do you have any objection? India has one culture. We are one culture, one people, one nation,” he said.

The Congress criticised the remarks calling them “just propaganda”. “The RSS or the BJP have been misleading people of the country just to divert the attention from their abject failure. They are engaging in propaganda like an event management company,” Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said.

110 journalists killed in 2015, most in ‘peaceful’ countries

A total of 110 journalists were killed around the world in 2015, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said today, warning that more were being deliberately targeted for their work in supposedly peaceful countries. Sixty-seven journalists were killed in the line of duty this year, and another 43 died in circumstances that were unclear, the watchdog group said in its annual roundup.

Another 27 non-professional “citizen-journalists” and seven other media workers were also killed. The high toll is “largely attributable to deliberate violence against journalists” and demonstrates the failure of initiatives to protect media personnel, the report said, calling for the United Nations to take action.

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In particular, the report shed light on the growing role of “non-state groups” — often jihadists such as the Islamic State group — in perpetrating atrocities against journalists. In 2014, it said, two-thirds of the journalists killed were in war zones. But in 2015, it was the exact opposite: “Two-thirds were killed in countries ‘at peace’.”

“The creation of a specific mechanism for enforcing international law on the protection of journalists is absolutely essential,” RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire said. “The 110 journalists killed this year need a response that matches the emergency. A special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for the safety of journalists must be appointed without delay.”

The 67 deaths bring to 787 the total number of journalists who were murdered, knowingly targeted or killed in the course of their work since 2005, the Paris-based organisation said. In 2014, there were 66 such fatalities. War-torn Iraq and Syria were the most dangerous places in the world this year for journalists, with 11 and 10 fatalities respectively, the RSF report found.

Third on the list was France, where eight journalists were killed a jihadist assault in January on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an assault that shocked the world. “Charlie Hebdo’s journalists and employees have been living under close protection ever since. Some of them still have to keep changing their place of residence.”

Those murdered in Syria included Japanese freelance reporter Kenji Goto, whose execution by the Islamic State group was unveiled in a macabre video in January. The RSF report also singled out India, where nine journalists had been murdered since the start of 2015, some of them for reporting on organised crime and its links with politicians and others for covering illegal mining.

India saw five journalists killed in the course of their work and four for uncertain reasons, which is why it ranked below France where the cause of death was known. “Their deaths confirm India’s position as Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel, ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan,” RSF said, urging the Indian government to establish “a national plan for protecting journalists”.

In Bangladesh, four secularist bloggers were killed in acts claimed by local jihadists.

Belgium: Two suspected of plotting terror attacks in Brussels

The two suspects were arrested following searches Sunday and Monday in the Brussels area, the Liege region and Flemish Brabant.

Two people have been arrested in Belgium on suspicion of planning attacks in Brussels during the holidays, the federal prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

The investigation revealed “the threat of serious attacks that would target several emblematic places in Brussels and be committed during the end-of-year holidays,” the prosecutor’s office said.

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The two suspects were arrested following searches Sunday and Monday in the Brussels area, the Liege region and Flemish Brabant, the office said. The announcement did not say whether the suspects were male or female.

One was charged with acting as the leader and recruiter of a terrorist group planning to commit terrorist offenses, the other with participating in a terrorist group’s activities as a principal actor or co-actor, the prosecutor’s office said. During the searches, military-type training uniforms, propaganda materials from the Islamic State group and computer material were seized and are being examined. However, no weapons or explosives were found, the prosecutor’s office said. Six people were taken in for questioning, but four were released, the office said. The prosecutor’s office said no additional details would be made public, but that the probe was not connected to the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, in which numerous suspects, including presumed ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud and fugitive Salah Abdeslam, had connections to Belgium. On Nov. 21, after the Paris attacks that killed 130 and injured hundreds, the terrorist alert level for all of the Belgian capital was temporarily raised to its maximum level.

Kejriwal Government Scraps More Than 900 Auto Permits After Alleged Scam

NEW DELHI:  Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats early on Saturday morning and decided to scrap nearly 1000 autorickshaw permits in Delhi after alleged irregularities in their allotment. The Delhi government also suspended three officials of the transport department, including a senior bureaucrat, in the matter and decided not to issue any more permits for the time being.

The officials – identified as S Roy Biswas, Deputy Commissioner, Manish Puri, Inspector, and Anil Yadav, a clerk — were placed under suspension immediately after the high-level meeting, at 8 am, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

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Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said the matter would be handed over to the CBI. “The matter would be handed over to the CBI. This government cannot tolerate corruption at any level,” he tweeted. The alleged irregularities have the BJP demanding Transport Minister Gopal Rai’s resignation. The Party’s Delhi unit will hold a protest outside the Delhi Secretariat on Monday.

Some autorickshaw drivers had reportedly sent text messages to Mr Kejriwal last evening after he made a call to Mr Rai. Officials said the transport minister had already made preliminary enquiries in the matter and found out two types of irregularities – the permits or Letters of Intent were issued on a pick and choose basis against the rules and that these were being handed over to intermediaries or unauthorised persons instead of the applicants.

Mr Rai has said he had ordered an inquiry immediately after he received complaints on December 23. The alleged irregularities have surfaced as the government in Delhi prepares to launch the odd-even formula for cars from January 1 and augment public transport to fill in for the cars taken off the capital’s roads. The transport department is the nodal agency for implementing the grand plan. The government has decided to put the process of issuing permits on hold.

Zimbabwe is making the Chinese yuan one of its legal currencies

The Chinese yuan may soon be used as legal tender in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s finance minister has said China and the southern African country are negotiating plans to increase local usage of the yuan. The two countries are also discussing the cancellation of $40 million worth of debt that Zimbabwe owes to China, its largest investor.

Last year, Zimbabwe added China’s official renminbi to its basket of currencies, which includes the US dollar, British sterling, and the South African rand, considered legal tender. The yuan has not yet been approved for public transactions. Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 after hyperinflation rendered the Zimbabwean dollar worthless.

The first step, according to the country’s finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, is that Chinese tourists would be allowed to pay for services in yuan. Zimbabwe would then be able to use that to pay off its remaining debt to Beijing.

The yuan has been making inroads on the continent. Kenya and South Africa both host clearinghouses that enable investors and traders to conduct transactions between local currencies and the yuan without going through the US dollar first. In June, almost a third of paymentsbetween South Africa and Greater China were settled in Chinese yuan, up from just 10.8% in 2014. Last year, Ghana began allowing banks tosell yuan. Now that the International Monetary Fund has admitted the yuan into its benchmark currency basket, some expect more central banks in Africa to include the currency in their foreign exchange reserves.

The goal of easing usage of the yuan is increasing bilateral trade, namely helping African countries export more to China. When Kenya launched its yuan clearinghouse in Nairobi this year with the National Bank of Kenya, the bank’s managing director Munir Mohamed said, “Africa should make sure that the renminbi is internationally accepted for conversion from renminbi and vice versa in order to balance trade between Africa and China.”

But doing more transactions in yuan may do little to help China and Africa’s already large trade imbalance. China accounts for a little over 20% of imports to Africa but only about 15% of exports from the continent to China. Over the past year, those exports have fallen while Chinese exports to the continent are increasing.

In Zimbabwe, despite its growing trade with China, the yuan may still be far from being a commonly used currency. Even though South Africa is one of Zimbabwe’s largest trading partners, the US dollar, not the rand, is still the most used currency, as highlighted by Gift Mugano, a trade expert at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, when Zimbabwe added the yuan to its basket of currencies last year.

“Very interestingly, currency issues are so psychologically influenced, economic agents may not be comfortable to just accept one currency overnight when they were used to the US dollar. This is a complex matrix which the RMB will face in Africa,” Mugano said.