Thousands bid farewell to two Palestinian youths shot dead by Israeli army

News Network
January 14, 2023

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Thousands attend a funeral procession and a subsequent burial ceremony held for two Palestinians, who were killed during raids carried out by the Israeli regime's military near the city of Jenin in the northern part of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank.

Footage circulated across social media, showed the Palestinians chanting anti-occupation slogans as they were carrying the bodies of 18-year-old Abdul Hadi Fakhri Nazzal and 25-year-old Habib Mohammad Ikmail overhead, during their funeral in Jenin on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, Nazzal succumbed to critical injuries after being shot in the chest and neck by Israeli forces during the Thursday raid, bringing the number of Palestinians killed in 2023 to nine.

Also on Thursday, Israeli forces shot Ikmail in the head in the same town. The Palestinian man was later pronounced dead at a hospital in Jenin.

The Palestinian death toll from 2022 stands at around 150, making last year the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2004, when the United Nations started keeping a tally.

Addressing a UN Security Council meeting on the rule of law on Thursday, the world body's Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 2022 had been a deadly year for both Palestinians and Israelis and condemned all "unlawful killings and acts by extremists."

The Israeli regime's occupation forces and illegal settlers have been noticeably escalating their attacks against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and other areas, in an attempt to forcibly expel Palestinians from their lands and make way for expanding Illegal Jewish-only settlements.

Between 600,000 and 750,000 Israelis occupy over 250 illegal settlements that have been built across the West Bank since the occupation of the Palestinian territory in 1967.

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News Network
January 21,2023

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Lt Cdr Disha Amrith, an observer with the Navy’s Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft, will lead the naval contingent of 144 sailors at the Republic Day parade on January 26.

Addressing the media, the woman officer said it is a proud moment for her to be leading the naval contingent and that it was her dream to do so since she was a National Corps Cadet.

“We have worked very hard and are hopeful to win the best marching contingent,” Lt Cdr Amrith, who is a trained computer science engineer from Mangaluru, said.

At present, the officer is posted in Andaman and Nicobar Island.

“I always wanted to join the forces and being part of NCC was an effort to know the forces closely. I got an amazing opportunity in the Navy and my time here has made me stronger,” she said.

While the Army is yet to unveil its marching contingent and tableau details, Squadron Leader Sindhu Reddy— a Mi-17 pilot—will be the contingent commander for IAF and the tableau theme is the ‘Indian Air Force: Power Beyond Boundaries’.

There will be 45,000 spectators in the Republic Day event this year, as compared to over a lakh in pre-Covid-19 years.

Navy officers said that the force’s tableau being paraded at the Republic Day parade is in pursuance of the Navy Week theme of Indian Navy-Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future Proof – and will highlight Nari Shakti.

The tableau is designed with an aim to showcase the multi-dimensional capabilities of the Navy as well as highlight key indigenously designed and built inductions under Atmanirbhar Bharat. Lt Cdr Inderjeet Chauhan will be the tableau commander.

The tableau will showcase a woman aircrew of Dornier aircraft (flying overhead) highlighting the all-women crew of a surveillance sortie undertaken last year, the ‘Make in India’ initiatives of Navy and model of the new indigenous Nilgiri class ship with a Dhruv helicopter deploying marine commandos as well as three models of autonomous unmanned systems being developed indigenously under IDEX-Sprint Challenge.

The brass band of the Indian Navy with 80 musicians will be led by M Antony Raj, MCPO Musician Second Class, playing the Navy song ‘Jai Bharti’.

The week-long celebrations will start on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and culminate on January 30, which is observed as Martyrs’ Day.

The Navy’s vintage IL38 SD will fly overhead Kartavya Path—earlier known as Rajpath—as part of a 50 aircraft-strong flypast on Republic Day.

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News Network
January 15,2023

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Mangaluru, Jan 15: The Mangaluru International Airport, controlled by Adani Airports, is all set to set to increase the user development fee (UDF) for the period up to March 2026 after the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) gave the green signal.

With this the passengers flying from this airport will have to pay more from February. 

Previously, only passengers departing or embarking from MIA had to pay UDF. However, beginning February 1, all passengers arriving from various airports and leaving from MIA will be charged UDF.

MIA had moved Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, seeking a revision in the aeronautical tariff for a control period of five years from April 1, 2021, up to March 31, 2026.

MIA had pitched for a revision of airport charges, including user development fee (UDF) from passengers flying in and out of this coastal city. The fee will be hiked every financial year, both for domestic and international passengers.

New Tariff 

International travellers arriving at MIA will have to pay Rs 330 as UDF between February and March of this year which will be hiked to Rs 435 from April 2023 till March 2024 and further to Rs 480 after April 2025.

Starting April, domestic travellers will also have to pay Rs 560 towards UDF. This fee will go up further to Rs 700 from April 2024 and to Rs 735 from April 2025. Similarly, international travellers will have to cough up Rs 1,015 from April which will go up to Rs 1,120 from April 2025.

For the first time, domestic passengers arriving at MIA will have to pay an UDF of Rs 150 from April 2023 which will further go up to Rs 240 from April 2024 and Rs 315 from April 2025.

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News Network
January 15,2023

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Will the 2023 Karnataka assembly polls be a battle of political survival for former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S), or will the regional party once again emerge as a kingmaker, like it did in 2018, in the event of a hung verdict?

Plagued by desertions, internal rifts, and with the image of a "family party", it remains to be seen how Gowda's son and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who is in a way single handedly managing the JD(S)' affairs with aging father taking the back seat, would steer the party in the upcoming Assembly polls.

Since the time of its formation in 1999, JD(S) has never formed a government on its own, but had been in power twice in coalition with both national parties- for 20 months with BJP from February 2006 and with Congress for 14 months after the May 2018 assembly polls- with Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister.

This time however, the party has set an ambitious target of "mission 123" to independently form a government on its own by winning at least 123 out of total 224 seats going for polls by May, and has been seeking votes repeatedly invoking regional Kannadiga pride and asserting itself to be the only Kannadiga party.

There are however doubts among political observers and within a section of the party itself about JD(S) meeting this ambitious target, as the party's best ever performance so far has been in the 2004 assembly elections, when it won 58 seats, and 40 seats in 2013 was its second best.

In the 2018 polls, JD(S) had managed to win 37 seats. However, some party leaders are hopeful about the JD(S)' prospects of coming to power, by winning a few more seats than they did last time, and once again using the knack of power politics, by holding the key for government formation, in the event of a hung verdict.

"If such a situation arise we will certainly push for our Kumaranna (Kumaraswamy) to become the Chief Minister, but we will be more cautious on our choices and the bargain with the probable alliance partner this time after last time's bad experience," a JD(S) functionary not wanting to be named said, as he maintained that if not 123, the party will at least better its tally this time.

The party’s vote share is stagnant, if not shrinking. It has been ranging between 18-20 per cent, as the party has managed to continue its hold on a sizable number of constituencies, predominantly in the Vokkaliga belt of Old Mysuru region. It is this Gowda family’s hold over the Vokkaliga community that dominates the Old Mysuru region comprising 61 seats (excluding the 28 constituencies in Bengaluru), which the ruling BJP and Congress are looking forward to breaking and improving their prospects.

Congress is considerably strong in Old Mysuru region and has been a traditional rival for the JD(S) in the belt, the BJP however is weak here and is aiming to make swift inroads with an aim to get a clear majority.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit had asked his party leaders to concentrate on the region.

According to political analyst A Narayana from the Azim Premji University, how strong or weak the JD(S) actually is can be decided only after the candidates list is announced, because its survival depends on how many strong aspirants rejected by other parties join it. "It decides two things- the percentage of votes JD(S) is going to poll and the number of seats they win. In constituencies where JD(S) doesn't have strong candidates, they depend on rejects from other parties," he said.

Further, he said that the question is also whether the JD(S) is stronger or weaker in their core area of old Mysuru, when compared to 2018. It appears on the face of it that they are weak, for two reasons- one series of desertions since 2018, second Congress is in a better position among the Vokkaligas; one of the factors for it is D K Shivakumar (a Vokkaliga) as President.

"Also in the 2018 elections, JD(S) won in Mandya and Hassan districts, only because of Vokkaliga anger against Siddaramaiah, and that seems to have not disappeared now but subsided," he said, adding that how the BJP making inroads in Old Mysuru region will affect the JD(S) or Congress, is the question that cannot be answered at the moment.

Political observers are also of the view that the perception about JD(S) being too family centric is one of its major drawbacks.

Eight members of Gowda's immediate family are into active politics. Gowda, who is the JD(S) supremo, is also Member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, while his son Kumaraswamy is a former CM and MLA from Channapatna. Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha is MLA from Ramanagara segment, and his son Nikhil, who is the JD(S) youth wing President, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mandya. The party supremo's elder son H D Revanna is a former minister and MLA from Holenarsipura, his wife Bhavani Revanna was a member of the Hassan Zilla Panchayat, and their sons Prajwal and Suraj are MP from Hassan and a MLC respectively.

The Gowda family has its representation in all the four major houses of public representatives- Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

James Manor, University of London professor, who has been a keen observer of Karnataka's politics, during a webinar recently said, family-centred politics is causing discontent and leading to desertion. "JD(S) suffers from over-centralisation and dictatorial leadership." Narayana too echoing similar sentiments said, the party is perceived to be "over family centric", even among Vokkaligas, leading to leaders deserting the party. "It was also one of the primary reasons for JD(S)' rout in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which was its lowest point ever since the party's formation."

According to some political observers, JD(S) inability to grow beyond the Vokkaliga-dominated old Mysuru region, other than in certain select pockets of north Karnataka is seen among its other drawbacks.

Kumaraswamy on Saturday however exuded confidence that his party will grow beyond its traditional old Mysuru region in the upcoming assembly polls and form a government on its own strength in Karnataka. He also claimed that there is a strong undercurrent in favour of him and his party, especially in rural areas.

Narayana further pointed out that Vokkaliga's support for JD(S) has not been consistent. "Of all the caste groups in Karnataka, I would say that Vokkaligas are more matured voters...In one election they will support Deve Gowda and when they perceive that his government or party has not done well or have disappointed them, they don't hesitate in shifting to Congress. This has happened consistently."

Amid questions of the party's survival and "shortage" of active leaders, Kumaraswamy is on a "Pancharatna Ratha Yatre", a statewide tour that he is undertaking ahead of polls.

This Yatre is to inform people about a five-fold programme called 'Pancharatna' that the JD(S) plans to implement on coming to power, which includes quality education, farmer welfare and employment. He has already announced a list of 93 candidates for the assembly polls, and will announce the second list of 50-60 candidates in about 10 days. " I want to give opportunity to fresh faces...want to build a second line of leadership in the party," he has said.

JD(S) believes it suffered damage in 2018 polls, when the Congress repeatedly called it the BJP’s ‘B’ team, which resulted in Muslim votes going away. The party's decision to bring C M Ibrahim as its state president might be a step towards regaining minority votes. However, noting that any such impact would be marginal, Narayana said, as there a growing sense of insecurity among Muslims this time they may go for strategic voting in which they may completely vote in favour of a party or in favour of the candidate, who is most likely to win against BJP in their segment.

Whatever said and done, one needs to be careful before writing off the JD(S), as before every election since 2008, discussions have always taken place in media and political circles, about it being a battle of survival for the regional party, but it has continued to remain a relevant force, according to political analysts.

Pointing out that this is seen by some quarters as Deve Gowda’s last election, Manor had recently said, "His emotional pleas for votes may attract more support from Vokkaligas than that of Shivakumar’s. Also, some Vokkaligas resent Siddaramaiah’s emphasis on minorities, backward classes and Dalits. Perhaps, the JD(S) may not do too badly, and if it does even somewhat well, it will be bad news for the Congress." 

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