Rajnath Singh To Mamata Banerjee On Assam List


Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks came after his 45-minute meeting with Mamata Banerjee. (File)

New Delhi: 

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday assured visiting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that nobody will be harassed in Assam”s National Register of Citizens (NRC) updation process and that it was published in line with the provisions of Assam Accord.

The Minister’s remarks came after his 45-minute meeting with Ms Banerjee at his residence.

“I have told her that the draft NRC had been published in accordance with the provisions of Assam Accord and as per decisions taken in a tripartite meeting on February 5, 2005 between the Centre, state government of Assam and All Assam Students Union to update NRC, 1951,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.

The Minister said he told Ms Banerjee that the exercise to update NRC was being carried out in a totally fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and legal manner.

“Nobody will be harassed in the process and at every stage of the process, adequate opportunity of being heard will be given to all persons. The draft NRC has been prepared in accordance with the law under the monitoring of the Supreme Court,” he said.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Ms Banerjee said she asked Mr Singh to reiterate his “promise” in Parliament.

“I also asked him to amend the (NRC) Act or reintroduce it in Parliament in order to protect these people; else, there should be a solution to prevent any kind of harassment to them. We want them to live in peace,” she said.

In the meeting, Ms Banerjee said she expressed her displeasure over 40 lakh people losing voting rights and citizenship.

“I told him that these people were citizen of India as per the Liaquat-Nehru pact. Many came from Bangladesh as refugee and they speak Bangla. I told him (Rajnath Singh) that it is wrong to isolate them in the name of NRC,” she said.

“I told him that these people will lose their identity, which is not good. How would they get food, education, employment? He promised that inhuman treatment will not be given to these people.”

Earlier in the day, addressing a conclave by the Catholic Bishops” Conference of India, Ms Banerjee attacked the Narendra Modi government over the NRC draft, saying people are being victimised to win elections and that it would lead to a bloodbath and civil war.

She accused the centre of interfering with the judiciary.

Over 40 lakh people were excluded in the final draft list of the NRC released on Monday.

After the release of the draft, the centre has urged people not to panic as “ample opportunity” will be given to the applicants if they file claims and objections between August 30 and September 28.

The final list will be ready by December 31.

Ms Banerjee also lodged her complaint with Mr Singh against the announcement by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader that West Bengal would the next state after Assam where NRC updation exercise would be taken up.

“I told him that your (BJP) leader said that West Bengal is the next. Why this audacity? It may also be done in Bihar, later in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh. It will lead to civil war,” she said.

She said that Mr Singh assured her that the proposal of changing name of the West Bengal would be taken up soon.





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Iran Rejects Donald Trump’s Offer For Talks


Hassan Rouhani had said Iran could disrupt oil shipments from Gulf if Washington tried to choke exports.

London: 

Senior Iranian officials on Tuesday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer of talks without preconditions as worthless and “a humiliation” after he acted to reimpose sanctions on Tehran following his withdrawal from a landmark nuclear deal.

Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Trump’s repudiation of the accord reached in 2015 was “illegal” and Iran would not easily yield to Washington’s renewed campaign to strangle Iran’s vital oil exports.

In May, Trump pulled the United States out of the multilateral deal concluded before he took office, denouncing it as one-sided in Iran’s favour. On Monday, he declared that he would be willing to meet Rouhani without preconditions to discuss how to improve relations.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said Trump’s offer to negotiate with Tehran contradicted his actions as Washington has imposed sanctions on Iran and put pressure on other countries to avoid business with the Islamic Republic.

“Sanctions and pressures are the exact opposite of dialogue,” Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency on Tuesday.

“How can Trump prove to the Iranian nation that his comments of last night reflect a true intention for negotiation and have not been expressed for populist gains?” he added.

The head of the powerful Revolutionary Guards equally dismissed Trump’s tentative offer, saying the Islamic Republic was not North Korea.

“Mr Trump! Iran is not North Korea to accept your offer for a meeting,” Guards commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying by Fars News agency. “Even U.S. presidents after you will not see that day.”

The head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations said on Tuesday Tehran saw no value in Trump’s offer, made only a week after he warned Iran it risked dire consequences few had ever suffered in history if it made threats against Washington.

“Based on our bad experiences in negotiations with America and based on U.S. officials’ violation of their commitments, it is natural that we see no value in his proposal,” Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

“Trump should first make up for his withdrawal from the nuclear deal and show that he respects his predecessors’ commitments and international law,” added Kharrazi, a former foreign minister.

Kharrazi said Trump likes “meeting for the sake of meeting” and was not concerned about its results.

The Strategic Council on Foreign Relations was set up by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to help formulate long-term policies for the Islamic Republic.

Trump’s move to force Iran into fresh negotiations has for now reunited Iranian hardliners who opposed the nuclear deal and pragmatists like Rouhani who championed it to end the Islamic Republic’s economically crippling stand-off with Western powers.

Ali Motahari, the deputy speaker of Iran’s parliament who is seen as part of Iran’s moderate camp, said that to negotiate with Trump now “would be a humiliation”.

“If Trump had not withdrawn from the nuclear deal and not imposed (new) sanctions on Iran, there would be no problem with negotiations with America,” he told state news agency IRNA.

Iran’s interior minister chimed in that Tehran did not trust Washington as a negotiating partner. “The United States is not trustworthy. How can we trust this country when it withdraws unilaterally from the nuclear deal?” Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

A senior aide to Rouhani said the only way back to talks was for Washington to return to the nuclear agreement.

“Respecting the Iranian nation’s rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America,” Hamid Aboutalebi tweeted on Tuesday.

Under the 2015 deal, the fruit of Rouhani’s efforts to ease Iran’s international isolation to help revive its economy, Iran curbed its shadowy nuclear programme and won relief from U.N. and Western sanctions in return.

NUCLEAR PACT IN JEOPARDY

Trump condemned the deal in part because it did not cover Iran’s ballistic missile programme and involvement in Middle East conflicts. He reactivated U.S. sanctions, the most all-encompassing measures against Iran, and warned countries to stop importing Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or risk U.S. penalties.

The three major European signatories to the 2015 deal have been searching for ways to salvage it but cautioned Tehran that they may not be able to persuade many major investors not to bolt from business with Iran to avoid U.S. punishment.

Rouhani said during a meeting with Britain’s ambassador on Tuesday that after what he called the “illegal” U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, “the ball is in Europe’s court now”.

He added, “The Islamic Republic has never sought tension in the region and does not want any trouble in global waterways, but it will not easily give up on its rights to export oil.”

Rouhani and some senior military commanders have said Iran could disrupt oil shipments from Gulf states through the Strait of Hormuz if Washington tries to choke off Iranian oil exports.

Reiterating Tehran’s official stance, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency on Tuesday that the strait would remain open “if Iran’s national interests are preserved”.

Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, told Reuters on Tuesday that Trump was mistaken if he expected Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to compensate for losses of Iranian oil caused by U.S. sanctions.

“It seems President Trump has been taken hostage by Saudi Arabia and a few producers when they claimed they can replace 2.5 million barrels per day of Iranian exports, encouraging him to take action against Iran,” Ardebili said.

“Now they and Russia sell more oil and more expensively. Not even from their incremental production but their stocks.”

He said oil prices, which Trump has been pressuring the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to bring down by raising output, will instead rise unless the United States grants waivers to buyers of Iranian crude.

Iran’s currency plumbed new depths on Monday, dropping past 120,000 rials to the dollar, but Trump’s expressed willingness to negotiate with Tehran sparked a minor recovery on Tuesday to 110,000 rials on the unofficial market.

Iranian Vice-President Eshagh Jahangiri said the government and the central bank would unveil a new economic plan by the end of this week to tackle the U.S. sanctions and the rial’s fall.

Videos on social media showed hundreds of people rallying in Isfahan in central Iran, and Karaj near Tehran, in protest at high prices caused in part by the rial’s devaluation under heightened U.S. pressure.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek Movie Is 5-6 Years Away, Says Simon Pegg


Quentin Tarantino’s take on Star Trek might not happen for another “five or six years”, according to cast member Simon Pegg, who plays USS Enterprise chief engineer Scotty in the reboot franchise.

Speaking with Edmonton Journal last week, Pegg noted a two-fold reason for the delay. One, Tarantino is busy filming his next movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is slated for a July 2019 release date. That means the director – best known for Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Django Unchained – won’t be able to begin work until he’s done with that.

And two, there’s the sequel to Star Trek Beyond from director S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones, The Defenders), who is set to become the first female director in Trek film history. “I’ve met with S.J. and she’s fizzing with ideas and she has the right attitude,” Pegg said. “She’s reverent, but she’s not slavish. In terms of the story, I have a vague knowledge, but it’s nothing I can talk about.”

What we do know about the fourth Trek reboot film is that it will involve Chris Hemsworth (Thor: Ragnarok) reprising his role as Kirk’s father George and a time travel plot that allows father and son to meet.

Given Clarkson’s Trek venture is in development, it’ll likely not release for a couple of years, possibly in 2020. And since studios aren’t inclined to slot instalments of big franchises back-to-back, there’s bound to be a couple of years more at the least between Clarkson’s and Tarantino’s Trek films.

Early reports had suggested that Tarantino’s idea might be a standalone project, given he wanted to stick to his preferred R-rating (A certification in India). Not according to Pegg, though: “I think he had us in mind when he came up with the idea; he likes the new cast. But he’s going to be so busy with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that I can’t see him doing it for five or six years, by which time we might be too old anyway.”

The last part – Pegg suggesting they will be too old – is likely a throwaway joke from the actor, which fits his brand of humour. Of course, it’s possible that Tarantino might have to find a new cast – his film will be the fifth Star Trek outing for the current crop of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, and Pegg – but it’s too early to tell.



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Meena Kumari 88th Birth Anniversary tragedy Queen life story Bollywood Actress


नई दिल्ली: बॉलीवुड की मशहूर अदाकारा मीना कुमारी का आज 88वीं जयंती मनाई जा रही है. वह फिल्मी दुनिया में मीना कुमारी के नाम से पहचान बना चुकीं थी, लेकिन उनका असली नाम महजबीन बेगम था. उनका जन्म 1 अगस्त 1932 को हुआ था. हिन्दी सिनेमा के पर्दे पर दिखी अब तक की सबसे दमदार अभिनेत्रियों में मीना कुमारी का नाम भी आता है. अपने 30 साल के पूरे फिल्मी सफर में मीना कुमारी ने 90 से ज्यादा फिल्मों में काम किया. उनकी फिल्मों को आज क्लासिक की श्रेणी में रखा जाता है और कई फिल्मों को तो आज भी उनके प्रशंसक श्रद्धाभाव से देखते हैं. मीना कुमारी को दुखियारी महिला के किरदार काफी करने को मिले, उन्हें फिल्मों में रोते हुए देखकर उनके प्रशंसकों की आंखों में भी आंसू निकल आते थे. शायद यही कारण था कि मीना कुमारी को हिन्दी सिनेमा जगत की ‘ट्रेजडी क्वीन’ के नाम से पहचाना जाने लगा.

मीना कुमारी और इंदिरा गांधी की भूमिका निभाना चाहती हैं विद्या बालन


हालांकि उनकी व्यक्तिगत जिंदगी में भी दुख कम नहीं थे और जन्म से लेकर मृत्यु तक उन्होंने हर पल गमों का सामना किया. इसलिए उनपर ‘ट्रेजडी क्वीन’ का यह टैग बिल्कुल सही भी लगता था. उनके दुखों को उनकी ये पंक्तियां बखूबी बयां करती हैं…

‘तुम क्या करोगे सुनकर मुझसे मेरी कहानी,

बे लुत्फ जिंदगी के किस्से हैं फीके-फीके’

meena kumari


साल 1962 में रिलीज हुई उनकी फिल्म ‘साहिब बीवी और गुलाम’ में निभाए ‘छोटी बहू’ के किरदार की ही तरह मीना कुमारी ने असली जीवन में भी काफी ज्यादा शराब पीना शुरू कर दिया था. असफल शादीशुदा रिश्ता और पिता से भी खराब रिश्तों के कारण वो काफी ज्यादा शराब पीने लगीं और इससे उनकी सेहत लगातार बिगड़ती चली गई. अंतत: 31 मार्च 1972 को लीवर सिरोसिस के कारण उनकी मौत हो गई.

जब मीना कुमारी को देखकर फिराक ने छोड़ दिया था मुशायरा…

मीना कुमारी की शुरुआती जिंदगी

मीना कुमारी अपने माता-पिता इकबाल बेगम और अली बक्श की तीसरी बेटी थीं. इरशाद और मधु नाम की उनकी दो बड़ी बहनें भी थीं. कहा जाता है कि जब मीना कुमारी का जन्म हुआ उस समय उनके पिता के पास डॉक्टर की फीस चुकाने के लिए भी पैसे नहीं थे. इसलिए माता-पिता ने निर्णय किया की नन्हीं बच्ची को किसी मुस्लिम अनाथालय के बाहर छोड़ दिया जाए, उन्होंने ऐसा किया भी, लेकिन बाद में मन नहीं माना तो मासूम बच्ची को कुछ ही घंटे बाद फिर से उठा लिया.

मीना कुमारी के पिता एक पारसी थिएटर में हार्मोनियम बजाते थे, म्यूजिक सिखाते थे और उर्दू शायरी भी लिखा करते थे. पिता अली बक्श ने ‘ईद का चांद’ जैसी कुछ छोटे बजट की फिल्मों में एक्टिंग की और ‘शाही लुटेरे’ जैसी फिल्मों में संगीत भी दिया. मीना कुमारी की मां उनके पिता की दूसरी बीवी थीं और वे स्टेज डांसर थीं.

 

meena kumari

लीजिए आ गई 2017 की सबसे बड़ी फिल्मी खबर, सनी लियोनी कर सकती हैं ये काम!

कहा जाता है कि मीना कुमारी स्कूल जाना चाहती थी, लेकिन उनके पिता ने उन्हें बचपन से ही फिल्मी दुनिया में धकेल दिया. कहा जाता है कि छोटी उम्र उन्होंने अपने पिता से कहा, ‘मैं फिल्मों में काम नहीं करना चाहती, मैं स्कूल जाना चाहती हूं और दूसरे बच्चों की तरह ही सीखना चाहती हूं.’ लेकिन उन्हें 7 साल की मासूम उम्र में ही फिल्मों में काम करना पड़ा और उसी दौरान वो महजबीन से बेबी मीना बन गईं. मीना कुमारी की पहली फिल्म ‘फरजंद-ए-वतन’ नाम से 1939 में रिलीज हुई. बड़ी होने के बाद उनकी पहली फिल्म जिसमें उन्होंने मीना कुमारी के नाम से एक्टिंग की वो थी 1949 में रिलीज हुए फिल्म ‘वीर घटोत्कच’.

1952 में रिलीज हुई फिल्म ‘बैजू बावरा’ से मीना कुमारी को हिरोइन के रूप में पहचान मिली. इसके बाद 1953 में ‘परिणीता’, 1955 में ‘आजाद’, 1956 में ‘एक ही रास्ता’, 1957 में ‘मिस मैरी’, 1957 में ‘शारदा’, 1960 में ‘कोहिनूर’ और 1960 में ‘दिल अपना और प्रीत पराई’ से पहचान मिली.

‘फन्नेखां’ ‘गोल्ड’ ‘यमला पगला…’ जैसी दमदार फिल्मों की टक्कर, अगस्त में रिलीज होंगी ये 15 बॉलीवुड मूवी

1962 में रिलीज हुई फिल्म ‘साहेब बीवी और गुलाम’ में छोटी बहू की भूमिका के लिए उन्हें खूब पहचान मिली. इस साल उन्होंने इतिहास रचा और फिल्मफेयर बेस्ट एक्ट्रेस के अवॉर्ड के लिए तीनों नॉमिनेशन (फिल्म ‘आरती’, ‘मैं चुप रहूंगी’ व ‘साहेब बीवी और गुलाम’) मीना कुमारी के ही थे. छोटी बहू की भूमिका के लिए उन्हें बेस्ट एक्ट्रेस चुना गया.

 

meena kumari


‘दिल एक मंदिर’ (1963), ‘काजल’ (1965), ‘फूल और पत्थर’ (1966) भी उनकी चुनिंदा सफल फिल्मों में से हैं. 1964 में पति कमाल अमरोही से तलाक के बाद उनकी शराब की लत और भी बढ़ गई. शराब के कारण 1968 में मीना कुमारी बहुत ज्यादा बीमार हो गईं और उन्हें इलाज के लिए लंदन व स्विटजरलैंड ले जाना पड़ा. बाद में ठीक होकर आने पर उन्होंने कैरेक्टर रोल करने लगीं.

मीना कुमारी के पूर्व पति कमाल अमरोही की फिल्म ‘पाकीजा’ को बनकर रिलीज होने में 14 साल का लंबा वक्त लग गया. पहली बार फिल्म के बारे में 1958 में प्लानिंग की गई और 1964 में फिल्म का निर्माण शुरू हुआ, लेकिन 1964 में ही दोनों के तलाक के कारण आधी से ज्यादा बन चुकी फिल्म रुक कई. 1969 में सुनील दत्त और नर्गिस ने फिल्म के कुछ दृश्य देखे और उन्होंने कमाल अमरोही व मीना कुमारी को फिल्म पूरा करने के लिए मनाया.

अमृत मान का गाना ‘Pariyan Toh Sohni..’ की इंटरनेट पर धूम, एक करोड़ से ज्यादा बार देखा गया Video

आखिरकार ‘पाकीजा’ फरवरी 1972 में रिलीज हुई और बॉक्स ऑफिस पर इसे दर्शकों का प्यार नहीं मिला, लेकिन 31 मार्च 1972 को मीना कुमारी की अचानक मौत के बाद फिल्म ने रफ्तार पकड़ी और ये सुपरहिट साबित हुई. फिल्मों में काम करने के बावजूद मीना कुमारी का फिल्मों से रिश्ता हमेशा लव-हेट का रहा. अभिनेत्री के साथ ही वो एक अच्छी उर्दू शायरा भी थीं. उन्होंने अपनी शायरी की ‘आई राइट, आई रिसाइट’ नाम से ख्याम के साथ रिकॉर्ड भी कीं.


फिल्मी दुनिया में इतना नाम कमाने के बाद मीना कुमारी अपनी मौत से पहले एक बार फिर उसी हालात में पहुंच गई थीं, जिन तंगहाली के हालात में उनके जन्म के समय उनके माता-पिता थे. कहा जाता है कि जब मीना कुमारी की एक नर्सिंग होम में मृत्यु हुई तो अस्पताल का बिल चुकाने तक के पैसे नहीं थे.

…और भी हैं बॉलीवुड से जुड़ी ढेरों ख़बरें…



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Allahabad High Court will hear Christian Community Petition for being stopped to join prayer meeting


इलाहाबाद: इलाहाबाद उच्च न्यायालय ने ईसाई समुदाय द्वारा दायर एक जनहित याचिका पर एक सप्ताह बाद सुनवाई करने का निर्देश दिया. इस जनहित याचिका में आरोप लगाया गया है कि कौशांबी जिले के बिरमेड़ और अहलादपुर गांवों में कुछ लोग ईसाई समुदाय के सदस्यों को रविवार की प्रार्थना सभा में शामिल नहीं होने दे रहे हैं. अदालत ने हालांकि यह स्पष्ट किया कि इस बीच ईसाई समुदाय के लोगों के रविवार की प्रार्थना सभा में शामिल होने पर कोई पाबंदी नहीं रह सकती. अदालत ने जिला प्रशासन को कहा है कि यदि याचिकाकर्ताओं द्वारा कोई गलत या अवैध गतिविधि की जाती है तो वह उनके खिलाफ कार्रवाई करे.

अदालत ने याचिकाकर्ताओं और जिला प्रशासन को पूरी प्रार्थना सभा का वीडियो बनाने का निर्देश दिया. मुख्य न्यायाधीश डी.बी. भोसले और न्यायमूर्ति यशवंत वर्मा की पीठ ने कौशांबी के रहने वाले रोशन लाल एवं 44 अन्य लोगों द्वारा दायर जनहित याचिका पर यह आदेश पारित किया. याचिका में आरोप लगाया गया है कि ईसाई धर्म में आस्था रखने वाले लोगों की रक्षा करने के लिए जिला प्रशासन कोई पर्याप्त कदम नहीं उठा रहा है और उन्हें अपने धर्म का पालन नहीं करने दिया जा रहा है.

याचिकाकर्ताओं के मुताबिक, उन्होंने अपनी शिकायत के साथ जिला प्रशासन से संपर्क किया और असमाजिक तत्वों पर अंकुश लगाने को कहा, लेकिन उनकी शिकायत पर कोई कार्रवाई नहीं की गई. हालांकि, राज्य सरकार के वकील ने दलील दी कि इनमें से एक भी याचिकाकर्ता ईसाई नहीं है, इसलिए यह नहीं कहा जा सकता कि ईसाई लोगों को रविवार की प्रार्थना में शामिल होने से रोका जा रहा है.

पूर्व के आदेश के मुताबिक, कौशांबी के जिलाधिकारी और पुलिस अधीक्षक आज सुनवाई के दौरान उपस्थित रहे. अदालत ने हालांकि सुनवाई की अगली तारीख पर उन्हें उपस्थित रहने से छूट प्रदान की है.

(इनपुट-भाषा)





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Very Positive Signals’ After United States, Taliban Talks: Sources


Taliban walk as they celebrate ceasefire during last month’s Eid al-Fitr holiday. (Reuters)

Peshawar/Kabul: 

A meeting between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha last week to discuss a possible ceasefire ended with “very positive signals” and a decision to hold more meetings, people with knowledge of the talks said on Sunday.

The meeting between a delegation led by Alice Wells, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Taliban representatives was first reported in The Wall Street Journal but has not been officially confirmed.

According to one Taliban official, who said he was part of a four-member delegation, there were “very positive signals” from the meeting, which he said was conducted in a “friendly atmosphere” in a Doha hotel.

“You can’t call it peace talks,” he said. “These are a series of meetings for initiating formal and purposeful talks. We agreed to meet again soon and resolve the Afghan conflict through dialogue.”

He said the talks had been held without the presence of Afghan government officials at the insistence of the Taliban.

The move comes as the Afghan government and the United States have stepped up efforts to end the 17 year-war in Afghanistan following the unprecedented three-day truce during last month’s Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The truce, which saw unarmed Taliban fighters mingling with soldiers on the streets of Kabul and other cities, offered the first concrete vision of a peace settlement since an earlier attempt at peace talks broke down in 2015.

Although the Taliban refused an offer by President Ashraf Ghani to extend the Eid ceasefire, behind-the-scenes contacts have continued and the government has said it is considering another ceasefire during next month’s Eid-al Qurban holiday.

As hopes of possible formal negotiations have risen, the United States has agreed to participate directly in the talks, although it insists the process will remain under Afghan leadership.

Free Movement

The Taliban official said the talks took place with the approval of the leadership council. The two sides had discussed proposals to allow the Taliban free movement in two provinces where they would not be attacked, an idea that President Ashraf Ghani has already rejected. They also discussed Taliban participation in the Afghan government.

“The only demand they made was to allow their military bases in Afghanistan,” said the Taliban official.

The meeting in Doha, where the Taliban maintains a political office, followed two earlier meetings between U.S. officials and Taliban representatives in recent months, the sources said.

“We have held three meetings with the U.S. and we reached a conclusion to continue talks for meaningful negotiations,” said a second Taliban official.

He said they would first exchange prisoners and then discuss other issues that could restore peace to Afghanistan.

“However, our delegation made it clear to them that peace can only be restored to Afghanistan when all foreign forces are withdrawn,” he said.

Another person with knowledge of the talks said the United States had pressed the Taliban side to accept the ceasefire offer for Eid-ul Adha, often known in Afghanistan as Eid-al Qurban, which this year starts on Aug. 22.

“So a long-term ceasefire is expected on Eid-ul Adha,” the person said. “Both sides agreed upon the continuation of the meetings and talks and another meeting is expected before Eid, but the exact time and place is not clear yet.”

The State Department confirmed that Wells had visited Doha but has said only that she met Qatar government officials, including the deputy prime minister, to talk about their contributions to the situation in Afghanistan.

Asked about talks with the Taliban, a State Department spokesman referred to a July 9 comment from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that the United States would “support, facilitate, and participate in these peace discussions, but peace must be decided by the Afghans and settled among them.”

Ghani’s main spokesman Haroon Chakansuri said last week that peace talks would be Afghan-led and would build on international consensus in support of peace.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Sachin Tendulkar says Virat Kohli is shining because he accept his weakness and improve it


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Two Koreas Discuss Reducing Military Tension Amid Reports Of N.Korea Missile Activity


North Korean Lieutenant General met South Korean Major General during the meeting. (Reuters)

Seoul: 

North and South Korea discussed reducing tension but didn’t announce any detailed agreements after military talks on Tuesday, while the United States detected renewed activity at a North Korean missile factory, casting more suspicion over the North’s intentions.

The meeting, the second since June and held in the border village of Panmunjom, was designed to follow on from an inter-Korean summit in April at which leaders of the two Koreas agreed to defuse tension and halt “all hostile acts”.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also vowed during his separate summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June to work toward denuclearisation, but there has been no concrete agreement to accomplish that goal. The North had pursued its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and increasingly severe sanctions.

Generals from the two Koreas exchanged views on a possible cut in firearms and personnel to “demilitarise” the heavily fortified demilitarised zone (DMZ), as well as joint excavation within the area of the remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

They also discussed ways to turn the skirmish-prone West Sea by ceasing firing exercises and withdrawing artillery along the shore, according to South Korea’s defence ministry.

But they did not agree on details, which will be further discussed through working-level talks, the ministry said.

The ministry said last week it plans to reduce guard posts and equipment along the heavily fortified border as an initial step.

The talks were meaningful in “creating understanding” in ways to implement the summit agreement, said Kim Do-gyun, the South’s chief negotiator who is in charge of North Korea policy at the ministry.

Crucial To Lowering Tension

Ahn Ik-san, the general leading the North Korean delegation at the military talks, said both sides agreed on “some issues”, without elaborating.

At the start of the meeting, Ahn noted South Korean news reports suggesting that he might try to persuade the South to push for a joint declaration with the United States to formally end the war.

“Before determining whether it is true or not, I realised the people of the North and South regard our talks as important,” Ahn said.

The Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the U.S.-led United Nations forces, including South Korea, technically still at war with the North.

Pyongyang sees an official end to war as crucial to lowering tension. It accused U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of making a “gangster-like” demand for denuclearisation during his visit to Pyongyang earlier this month, while rejecting its wish to discuss declaring an end to the conflict.

The U.S. State Department has said it is committed to building a peace mechanism in place of the armistice when the North denuclearises.

Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi had travelled to South Korea “not long ago” and held talks with Chung Eui-yong, Director of the National Security Office, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing on Tuesday,

The two discussed various bilateral issues, officials said, but neither Beijing, which supported North Korea in the war, nor Seoul confirmed whether they discussed a declaration ending the war.

A senior official at South Korea’s presidential Blue House said Seoul was open to China’s involvement in any peace agreement, but said no decisions had been made.

Missile activity

On Monday, a senior U.S. official told Reuters that U.S. spy satellites had detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Pompeo said last week that North Korea was continuing to produce fuel for nuclear bombs.

Trump declared soon after his summit with Kim that North Korea no longer posed nuclear threats, but Pyongyang has offered no details on its plan to denuclearise and subsequent talks have not gone smoothly.

The North’s state media has in recent days chastised the South for failing to move more swiftly to improve inter-Korean relations while paying too much heed to Washington.

The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s official party newspaper, accused Seoul of “wasting time” waiting for sanctions to be lifted only after denuclearisation is completed, without “taking a single action” on its own.

It called for steps to facilitate a restart of the previously jointly-run but now closed programmes, such as the Kaesong Industrial Complex and tours to the North’s Mount Kumgang resort.

Seoul has said those projects can be resumed when there is progress on denuclearisation and sanctions are eased.

North Korea’s propaganda website, Uriminjokkiri, also criticised South Korea for its stance of keeping sanctions, saying “sanctions and conversation cannot exist side by side”.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Top Court On Lack Of Medical Facilities In Trains


The court was hearing a case related to the a death at Vijaywada railway station. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court has said that there was something “terribly wrong” with the Railways having failed to provide adequate medical facilities in trains and stations often resulting in deaths of passengers. 

Railways had admitted in Lok Sabha last week that over 1,600 passengers died on board trains in the past three years.

“You (Railways) do not have even the basic first aid facility? You are not telling us about it. If it (medical facility) is not there, then there is something terribly wrong,” a bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.

The hard hitting remarks by the top court came while it was hearing a matter related to the death of a man at the platform of Vijayawada railway station after de-boarding a train.

The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which had heard the case earlier, had observed that he had died due to heart attack.

The top court asked the counsel appearing for the Railway Board to file an affidavit within two weeks giving details of the medical facilities at railway stations.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the Railway Board against the February 20 judgement of the NCDRC which had upheld the Rs 10 lakh compensation awarded by a state consumer commission to the widow of a passenger who had died. 

Referring to the facts of the case, the bench wondered, “A person had collapsed at the railway station. He was lying there for hours and no one gave him medical help.”

The counsel appearing for the Railways said he would file an affidavit giving details of medical facilities provided at the stations.

In its order, the NCDRC had noted that the man was travelling from Secunderabad to Vijayawada in the Golconda Express and had de-boarded the train at about 8 pm.

The commission had noted that he had died at one of the platforms of Vijayawada railway station and his body was noticed after around four hours.

In her plea filed in the district consumer forum for compensation, the deceased’s wife had said that no medical aid was provided to her husband which led to his death.

Her plea was dismissed by the district consumer forum after which she had approached the state commission.

The state commission, in April last year, had allowed her appeal and directed the Railways to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh.

The Railways had then moved the NCDRC challenging the order of the state commission.

In its order, the NCDRC had observed that it was possible that life of the person could have been saved if immediate medical aid was provided to him.
 





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Don’t Allow Stopover By Taiwanese President: China To US


Taiwan President is to transit through US during her to visit Belize and Paraguay next month.

Beijing/Taipei: 

China urged the United States on Tuesday not to allow Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to transit its territory when she visits Belize and Paraguay next month, adding to tension between Beijing and Washington that has worsened amid a trade war.

Beijing considers democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province of “one China”, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

China regularly calls Taiwan the most sensitive and important issue between it and the United States, and Beijing always complains to Washington about transit stops by Taiwanese presidents.

Taiwan’s government announced on Monday that Tsai would travel to and from its two diplomatic allies via the United States, standard procedure for visits by Taiwanese presidents to Latin America.

Taiwan’s Presidential Office said Tsai would be stopping off in Los Angeles and Houston, though did not provide exact dates.

Speaking at a daily news briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had already lodged solemn representations with Washington about the planned transits.

“We have consistently resolutely opposed the United States or other countries with which China has diplomatic relations arranging this kind of transit,” Geng said.

China urged the United States “not to allow the transit of the leader of the Taiwan region, and not send any wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces”, he added.

China has been peeling away the number of countries which maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, amid a concerted effort to pressure Tsai, whose Democratic Progressive Party espouses independence for the island, a red line for China.

The timing of Tsai’s August visits to the United States comes amid an increasingly bitter trade war between China and the United States.

While the United States has no formal ties with Taiwan, it is the island’s main source of arms and strongest unofficial diplomatic backer, to Beijing’s anger.

Taiwan has official relations with just 18 countries worldwide, many of them poor nations in Central America and the Pacific such as Nicaragua and Nauru.

Taiwan has accused China of using dollar diplomacy to lure away its allies, promising generous aid packages, charges China has denied.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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