Israeli army shells southern Lebanon after airstrikes target Syria’s Aleppo

News Network
July 20, 2021

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Beirut, July 20: The Israeli military has fired artillery shells into southern Lebanon, shortly after the regime’s aircraft launched a number of missiles at targets near the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo.

The Israeli army said in a statement that two rockets had been fired from Lebanon at the northern part of the occupied territories early Tuesday morning, setting off warning sirens in the Western Galilee region.

The statement added one of the rockets was intercepted by the so-called Iron Dome missile system, while the second projectile fell in an open area. There were reportedly no injuries or damage.

The Israeli military said it later fired artillery shells at targets in Lebanon. It gave no details about which targets were hit or who was behind the rocket fire.

Back on May 19 and amid Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, the Lebanese territory was targeted by Israeli artillery shells after rockets were launched from southern Lebanon towards the occupied territories.

Lebanese media outlets said the rockets had been fired from the village of Seddiqine in southern Lebanon.

Avichay Adraee, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said in a post on Twitter at the time that four rockets had been fired from Lebanon, claiming that one was intercepted by Israel’s missile systems, another landed in an open area and two others fell in the sea.

Late on Monday, neighboring Syria’s official SANA news agency said the country’s missile defense systems had confronted Israeli airstrikes near the town of al-Safirah, southeast of Aleppo.

No casualties have been reported so far. An investigation is now underway to determine the extent of damage.

Lebanese al-Mayadeen television news network stated that Israel’s target was a factory and research center on the outskirts of al-Safirah. 

Israel frequently strikes various targets in Syria, especially the positions of the resistance movement Hezbollah.

Tel Aviv mostly keeps quiet about the attacks on Syrian territories which many view as knee-jerk reaction to Syrian government’s increasing success in confronting terrorism in country.

The regime has been a main supporter of terrorist groups that have been fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad since militancy erupted in Syria nine years ago.

Syrian government forces have taken back many areas once controlled by the terrorist groups. 

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News Network
September 23,2021

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Washington, Sept 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he would highlight economic opportunities in India during his meetings with CEOs in Washington.

On Thursday, the prime minister is scheduled to hold one-on-one meetings with the top five American CEOs.

Two of them are Indian Americans -- Shantanu Narayen from Adobe and Vivek Lall from General Atomics. The three others being Cristiano E Amon from Qualcomm, Mark Widmar from First Solar, and Stephen A Schwarzman from Blackstone.

“Landed in Washington DC. Over the next two days, will be meeting President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Prime Ministers Scott Morrison from Australia and Yoshihide Suga from Japan," he tweeted.

“Will attend the Quad meeting and would also interact with leading CEOs to highlight economic opportunities in India,” he said.

The prime minister's meeting with American CEOs from five different key areas is reflective of the priorities of his government.

While Narayen reflects the IT and digital priority that the Indian government is pushing for, Modi’s meeting with Lall is significant as General Atomics is not only the pioneer in military drone technologies but also the world’s top manufacturer of state-of-the-art military drones, which the US shares only with its key allies and partners.

India is in the process of procuring a significant number of drones for the three branches of its armed forces. It has also leased a few drones from General Atomics.

Jakarta-born Vivek Lall, now based out of California, for over a decade has been instrumental in major bilateral defence deals worth around $18 billion, as India and the US take steps to forge a new relationship in which defence trade is a key pillar.

The meeting with chip giant Cristiano Amon assumes significance, given India’s push for the 5G technology to be safe and secure.

The San Diego-based company creates semiconductors, software, and services related to wireless technology.

A world leader in 3G, 4G, and next-generation wireless technology innovations for more than 30 years, Qualcomm is now pioneering its way to 5G with a new era of intelligent products that are revolutionising industries, including automotive, computing, and IoT.

India is looking for a major investment from Qualcomm.

As India is taking gigantic steps in the use of solar power to meet its energy needs, the meeting with Mark Widmar is important as First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (“PV”) solar solutions, which use its advanced module and system technology.

Early this summer, the Arizona-based company announced to add 3.3 GW of capacity in a new facility in India at an estimated cost of USD684 million.

Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms investing capital on behalf of pension funds, large institutions and individuals.

In March this year, Blackstone announced that funds managed by Blackstone Real Estate have acquired Embassy Industrial Parks from Warburg Pincus and Embassy Group, in one of India’s largest logistics transactions.  
 

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News Network
September 21,2021

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Bengaluru, Sept 21: At least two persons lost their lives and a few others are feared trapped after a major fire broke out following suspected LPG leakage in an apartment at Devera Chikkanahalli, around 20 kilometres from Bengaluru. The blast is said to have occurred in the third floor of Ashrith Apartment. Three nearby flats have also reportedly caught fire.

Fire, emergency department officials and the police are trying to bring the fire under control and rescue those trapped.

There is speculation that a child may have died in the fire, but officials are yet to confirm it. Five persons have been rescued so far. 

Preliminary information suggests that the fire broke out in the top two floors of the five-floor apartment building due to an LPG gas leakage, followed by a blast around 5 pm. The fire has spread to four flats, and officials are trying to prevent it from spreading further. Furniture and other valuables have been gutted in the flames.

Soon after residents heard a huge noise and noticed smoke in the apartment, they ran out from their flats to save themselves. The building has 72 flats. 
People noticed a woman trapped in the fire. She was unable to come out of her flat or jump as there was an iron grill mesh on the window. One witness added that it is not known yet how many are trapped. 

Srinath Joshi, deputy commissioner of police (South-East) said, one person was shifted to hospital and two others are suspected to be trapped inside. More details will be available only after the fire is brought under control, he said.

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News Network
September 15,2021

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Days after his Taliban-RSS remark sparked a row, screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar said that ‘Hindus are the most tolerant majority in the world’ in Shiv-Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.

In his earlier statement, Akhtar had said that Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) were similar to the Taliban in their form of extremism.

Clarifying his remarks, Akhtor wrote, “Actually, in the recent interview, I have said ‘Hindus are the most decent and tolerant majority’ in the world. I have repeated this time and again and also emphasised that India can never become like Afghanistan because Indians by nature are not extremists. It is in their DNA to be moderate, to keep to the middle of the road.”

Further, Akhtar went on to explain what according to him was similar between the Taliban and Hindu right-wing. 

“As a matter of fact, there are a lot of similarities. While the Taliban is forming an Islamic government based on religion, the Hindu right-wing wants a Hindu Rashtra. The Taliban wants to curb women’s rights and put them on the margin, the Hindutva right-wing has also made it clear that they don’t like the freedom of women and girls,” he said.

Akhtar was earlier criticised by the Shiv-Sena for his controversial comment. An editorial in Saamna said that even though Akhtar was secular and spoke against fundamentalism in general, he was completely wrong in comparing the RSS with the Taliban.

In his piece, Akhtar praised Uddhav Thackeray and said that even Thackeray's worst critics could not accuse the chief minister of discrimination and injustice -- so it was beyond his understanding why the Thackeray government might be referred to as ‘Talibani’.

“My detractors have said that while I am criticizing the Hindu right-wing I have never stood against fanatics among the Muslim fold. They have accused me of not saying anything about triple talaq, of not speaking on purdah or any other regressive practice within the Muslim community. I am not surprised at the fact that they are totally unaware of my activities over the years,” he also said.

“Over the past two decades, I have been given police protection twice because of the threats to my life from fanatical Muslims: first, because not only had I vociferously opposed triple talaq when the issue was not on the national radar, but I had, along with an organisation named Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD), toured several cities across India like Hyderabad, Allahabad, Kanpur and Aligarh and from a variety of public platforms spoken out against this retrograde practice,” he said.

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