18 killed, dozens injured in suicide bombing at Kabul education centre

Agencies
October 25, 2020

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Kabul, Oct 25: At least 18 people and dozens have been injured in a suicide bombing that took place at an education centre in a western neighbourhood of Afghanistan's capital Kabul, the BBC reported citing the interior ministry. The bombing took place on Saturday around 4:30 p.m. (local time) outside Kowsar-e-Danish, a private education centre that offers courses for students in higher education. The security guards of the facility had identified the suicide bomber and intercepted him, after which he detonated his explosive vest, Kabul police spokesman Ferdaus Faramarz told reporters via a text message.

The death toll rose from 11 to 18, including the bomber. In the preliminary assessment, 20 were wounded in the explosion. The number of casualties may change," he said. Many have been taken to hospital. There are fears the death toll may rise.

"We heard a huge blast outside an education centre in Pul-e-Khushk locality of Dashti Barchi area. The explosion triggered panic in the area in Police District 13 of Kabul," eyewitness Mohammad Nabi told Xinhua.

The casualties were transported by ambulances and police vans to hospitals.

The Islamic State group said it was behind the attack in messages posted on its social media channels, but did not provide any evidence. Several educational and cultural centers, mosques and sports facilities have been attacked in the district in recent years, and most of the attacks have been claimed by the militants of the Islamic State (IS) group. Earlier, the Taliban denied involvement in the attack. 

"A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre," interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said in a statement, according to a leading media outlet. The spokesman added that the attacker was identified by security guards "after which he detonated his explosives in an alley".

A local resident claimed he was standing about 100 metres from the centre when "a big blast" knocked him down.

Afghanistan has seen a rise in violence in recent weeks - with most of the attacks carried out by the Taliban. The violence threatens to imperil peace talks between government forces and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha.

The building (where the bombing took place on Saturday) in the predominantly Shia Muslim Dasht-e-Barchi area usually hosts hundreds of students. The Shia community in Afghanistan has previously been targeted by Sunni Muslim extremists such as the Islamic State group, which views the Shia practise of Islam as heretical.

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News Network
November 27,2020

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New Delhi, Nov 27: The Indian economy contracted by 7.5 per cent in the July to September quarter (Q2 FY21), government data showed here on Friday.

Though this is a rebound from the earlier quarter but with this contraction Indian economy has hit technical recession for the first time.

According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, gross value added (GVA) came in at minus 7 per cent.

The economy had contracted by 23.9 per cent in the April to June quarter (Q1 FY21), marking the first contraction in more than 40 years as COVID-19 pandemic compressed consumer demand and private investments.

"GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in Q2 of 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 33.14 lakh crore, as against Rs 35.84 lakh crore in Q2 of 2019-20, showing a contraction of 7.5 per cent as compared to 4.4 per cent growth in Q2 2019-20," said the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in a statement.

" Quarterly GVA at Basic Prices at Constant (2011-12) Prices for Q2 of 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 30.49 lakh crore, as against Rs 32.78 lakh crore in Q2 of 2019-20, showing a contraction of 7 per cent," it added.

The statement said during the quarter trade, hotels, transport and communication saw a dip of -15.6 per cent while public administration, defence and other services by -12.2 per cent. The financial, real estate and professional services sector contracted by 8.1 per cent and construction by 8.6 per cent.

Some sectors have bounced back with resumption of economic activities. The electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services have shown a growth of 4.4 per cent; agriculture, forestry and fishing sector at 3.4 per cent and manufacturing sector showed a marginal growth of 0.6 per cent.

The economy was already slowing before the pandemic struck, growing only 4.2 per cent in the last fiscal year, its slowest pace in 11 years.

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News Network
November 28,2020

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Ambala, Nov 28: Haryana Police has booked state Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Gurnam Singh Charuni and several farmers on attempt to murder, rioting, causing obstruction in government duty and other charges for violations during their "Delhi Chalo" march, officials said on Saturday.

A case was registered on November 26 under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing any public servant in discharge of public functions) and 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) among others at the Parao police station on a complaint from Head Constable Pardeep Kumar as hundreds of farmers assembled on the GT road near Ambala Cantt to proceed towards the national capital.

The FIR names Charuni and several other unknown farmers as accused. According to it, the BKU Haryana chief and others had gathered near Mohra village in Ambala.

The FIR says Deputy Superintendent of Police Ram Kumar, who was leading the police team at the spot, asked Charuni not to proceed further but he refused.

It adds that Charuni and other farmers broke police barricades with their tractors.

Some of the police officials had a narrow escape and could have been run over by the tractors heading towards Delhi, says the FIR.

Charuni and other farmers also violated guidelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it further states.

A case against some farmers from BKU (Charuni) and others from Punjab was also registered at Panipat for violations relating to breaking police barriers and other charges.

"A case has been registered under the provisions of section 188 IPC (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), Disaster Management Act, 2005 and under other provisions of the IPC," Inspector Rajvir Singh, SHO of Panipat's Police Station (Industrial) in Sector 29, said over the phone.

Two days ago, Haryana Director General of Police Manoj Yadava had said that state police acted with "great restraint" as farmers broke barricades during their march.

He had said the farmers took an aggressive stand and tried to disturb law and order by "pelting stones" at police at many places.

Some police personnel sustained injuries, and police and private vehicles were damaged, Yadava had said.

"Agitating farmers not only damaged police barricades, but also proceeded by removing all the blockades and obstructions in an unlawful manner. Acting with restraint, police did not use force on the agitating farmers," he had added.

Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC had been imposed in several parts of Haryana to prevent the assembly of people.

Farmers from Punjab and Haryana are marching towards Delhi as part of a protest to demand a repeal of the Centre's new farm laws, which deregulate the sale of agriculture produce.

They say the laws will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system.

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News Network
November 30,2020

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New Delhi, Nov 30: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday brought back over 2,300 kg of polished diamonds and pearls worth Rs 1,350 crore of firms belonging to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi from Hong Kong, the agency said.

Out of the 108 consignments that landed at Mumbai, 32 belong to overseas entities in the UAE and Hong Kong "controlled" by Nirav Modi while the rest are of Mehul Choksi firms, it said in a statement.

Both the businessmen are being probed by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with an over USD 2 billion alleged bank fraud at a PNB branch in Mumbai.

The 2,340 kg valuables include polished diamonds, pearls and silver jewellery, and are worth Rs 1,350 crore.

The ED completed "all legal formalities" with authorities in Hong Kong to bring back these valuables, the agency said.

These valuables, officials said, were moved to Hong Kong from Dubai in early 2018 so that they could be saved from being seized or attached by the ED or any other investigating agency.

The ED got intelligence inputs on this movement in July that year and since then the sleuths were on its trail.

These valuables were kept in the godown of a logistics company in Hong Kong, the central probe agency said.

"The officers were continuously engaged in discussions with various authorities in Hong Kong to bring these valuables back to India. Various modalities were finalised and after completing all the legal formalities these consignments have now been brought back to India," it said, adding they will be formally seized under the PMLA.

This is the second such action on this case as ED had earlier brought back 33 consignments of valuables from Dubai and Hong Kong. They were valued at Rs 137 crore then, the ED said.

On June 8, a special PMLA court in Mumbai had allowed the confiscation of the attached assets of Nirav Modi, the key accused in this case, under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA).

This was the first such order in the country after the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act was passed two years ago.

Nirav Modi (49), currently lodged in a UK jail, was declared a fugitive economic offender in December by the Mumbai court. He was arrested in London in March 2019 and is presently fighting extradition to India.

His uncle Mehul Choksi has been evading the law since the probe into this case began and was last stated to be living in Antigua and Barbuda from where the Indian government is seeking his extradition, the probe agencies have said.

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