Hamas political chief calls for 'unified command' against Israel, urges PLO to abolish Oslo Accords

News Network
May 14, 2022

In response to the cold-blooded killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli regime forces, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called for a unified command against the occupying regime.

In his remarks late on Friday, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Gaza-based resistance movement's political bureau, urged the “speedy formation” of the command to lead the struggle against Israel.

The call came two days after 51-year-old Abu Akleh was brutally murdered while covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

The long-time Al Jazeera Arabic journalist, who shot to fame while covering the second Palestinian Intifada between 2000 and 2005, was accompanying a group of local journalists when she was targeted.

Haniyeh said the Palestinian liberation struggle is going through a "new stage," which demands the adoption of "incisive and strategic decisions".

He said the unified command will be tasked with directing the resistance against the apartheid regime.

Formation of the unified front is indispensable in the light of the regime's "bestiality," which manifested itself in the "assassination of the daughter of Palestine," Haniyeh said, referring to Abu Akleh.

The Hamas leader said Palestinians need to get their act together in the face of Tel Aviv's unbridled aggression, advocating unity between different Palestinian political groups.

He cited examples of Israeli aggression such as the increase in settlement construction activities across the occupied territories, assaulting Palestinian worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the holy occupied city of al-Quds, the longstanding and crippling siege of Gaza, detention of thousands of Palestinians, and denying them the right to return to their homeland.

Haniyeh called on the West Bank-headquartered Palestinian Authority (PA) to end its cooperation with the regime in Tel Aviv and scrap the so-called Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993 and marked the first time the Israeli regime and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized each other.

The Oslo Accords were signed in the White House but named after Norway’s capital city, where the secret back-channel dialogue took place.

The Hamas leader urged the PA to withdraw its "recognition of Israel," stop its "security cooperation" with Tel Aviv, "and concentrate on the resistance's comprehensive plan for confronting the occupier."

Pertinently, it came on the eve of Nakba Day, (the Day of Catastrophe), when in 1948 hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homeland and Israel came into existence as an illegal and illegitimate entity.

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News Network
May 10,2022

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New York, May 10: Slain photojournalist Danish Siddiqui is among four Indians honoured with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize 2022 in the feature photography category.

Siddiqui and his colleagues Adnan Abidi, Sanna Irshad Mattoo and Amit Dave from the Reuters news agency won the award, announced on Monday, for "images of Covid's toll in India that balanced intimacy and devastation, while offering viewers a heightened sense of place", according to The Pulitzer Prizes website.

Their work was moved from the breaking news photography category by the judges.

Siddiqui, 38, was on assignment in Afghanistan last year when he died. The award-winning journalist was killed in July last while covering clashes between Afghan troops and the Taliban in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar city.

This is for the second time that Siddiqui has won the Pulitzer Prize. He was honoured with the prestigious award in 2018 as part of the Reuters team for their coverage of the Rohingya crisis. He had extensively covered the Afghanistan conflict, the Hong Kong protests and other major events in Asia, Middle East, and Europe.

Siddiqui graduated with a degree in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. He had a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia in 2007.

He started his career as a television news correspondent, switched to photojournalism, and joined Reuters as an intern in 2010.

Marcus Yam of the Los Angeles Times bagged the award in the Breaking News photography category "for raw and urgent images of the US departure from Afghanistan that capture the human cost of the historic change in the country".

Yam's work was moved from Feature Photography by the jury.

Win McNamee, Drew Angerer, Spencer Platt, Samuel Corum and Jon Cherry of Getty Images also won the award in the Breaking News photography category for their "comprehensive and consistently riveting photos of the attack on the US Capitol".

The Washington Post bagged the Pulitzer Prize in public service journalism for its coverage of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

According to the award committee, the newspaper "compellingly told and vividly presented account of the assault on Washington on January 6, 2021, providing the public with a thorough and unflinching understanding of one of the nation's darkest days".

The Pulitzer Board awarded a special citation to the journalists of Ukraine for their "courage, endurance, and commitment to truthful reporting during (President) Vladimir Putin’s ruthless invasion of their country and his propaganda war in Russia".

"Despite bombardment, abductions, occupation, and even deaths in their ranks, they have persisted in their effort to provide an accurate picture of a terrible reality, doing honour to Ukraine and to journalists around the world," the committee said.

The Pulitzer Prizes were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, who left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912 and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917.

The 19-member Pulitzer Board is composed of leading journalists and news executives from media outlets across the US, as well as five academics or persons in the arts. The dean of Columbia's journalism school and the administrator of the prizes are non-voting members. The chair rotates annually to the most senior member or members.

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News Network
May 6,2022

Bengaluru, May 6: As BJP sets its focus on southern Karnataka, where it is traditionally weak, with an eye on the 2023 assembly polls, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said there is a wave in favour of the party in the region, as he hinted that leaders from other parties will be soon joining the organisation.

He said the party is having discussions about holding a large-scale public meet in Mandya, which comes under the old Mysuru region or south Karnataka belt. "From various parts of the state many people are eager to join the party, especially Kolar, Mandya and other places, they will be inducted batch by batch," Bommai said in response to a question.

Speaking to reporters here, he said there is a huge liking among people, especially youths, towards BJP in the Southern Karnataka region. "So in Mandya and in the region, a new and young leadership is likely to emerge and there is a wave in favour of the BJP there....we are talking to several people, whoever agrees with the party and its ideology, we will speak to them," he added.

The old Mysuru region, comprising the southern districts of Karnataka, is dominated by the Vokkaliga community and has traditionally been a bastion of Congress and JD(S), where they contest as arch rivals. BJP has been making consistent efforts to make inroads, aimed at reaping political dividends.

In the 2018 polls, the BJP managed to win one seat in Hassan; later in a high-voltage 2019 bypolls, it managed to win the KR Pet seat, its first victory in Mandya district, and also won Chikballapur, another first. Creating history of sorts, the party bagged the Sira assembly segment in Tumakuru district for the first time in November, 2020 bypolls.

State BJP Vice-President and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's son B Y Vijayendra, who is widely credited for the paty's victory in K R Pet and Sira, has recently stated that he is interested in working in the region, if the party decides. The Chief Minister on Friday met former External Affairs Minister and former CM S M Krishna, who hails from Mandya, and held discussions with the veteran leader. Bommai, however, termed it as a courtesy visit to greet Krishna, who recently turned 90.

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News Network
May 10,2022

Bengaluru, May 10: In the wake of the Azaan versus Hanuman Chalisa row in Karnataka, the state government has issued a set of directions on the use of loudspeakers and to remove them if they were not authorised by the 'designated authority.'

The note issued by the state Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar to the Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar said Forest, Ecology and Environment Department also defined the 'designated authority.'

The development comes following a row from Monday morning on this issue with some Hindu groups, mainly Sriram Sena, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Janajagruthi Samithi organising Bhajan-Keertan from pre-dawn to counter Azaan from mosques.

As the row aggravated, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting on Monday, following which the Chief Secretary issued a note to Akhtar. Citing the Supreme Court ruling dated July 18, 2005, and October 28, 2005, regarding the implementation of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the Chief Secretary said loudspeakers or the Public Address System should not be used except after obtaining permission from the designated authority. Rule 5 (2) of the NPRC Rules bars the use of loudspeaker or public address system or any sound-producing instrument at night time except in closed premises, subject to other conditions, the note said.

"All users of loudspeakers or public address system shall obtain written permission from the designated authority within 15 days. Those who don't obtain should voluntarily remove or should be removed by the designated authority," Kumar said in his note.

He also directed that a committee should be formed at different levels to decide on the application of loudspeaker or public address systems. In police commissioner areas, the committee will comprise an assistant commissioner of police, a jurisdictional executive engineer of the city corporation and a representative of the state pollution control board. In other areas, deputy superintendents of police, the jurisdictional Tehsildar and a representative of the state pollution control board.

"This is applicable to all premises which are using loudspeakers and public address system. Necessary government orders or directions shall be issued to all concerned to implement this with IMMEDIATE effect," the note read.

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