China gears up for 'targeted military operations' in response to Pelosi's Taiwan visit

Agencies
August 3, 2022

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The Chinese military says it will launch "targeted military operations" in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan amid soaring tensions between Washington and Beijing over the highly-controversial trip.

Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, said on Tuesday that the targeted military operations would be aimed at defending China's territorial integrity and countering foreign interference in Taiwan's affairs.

"The Chinese People's Liberation Army is on high alert and will launch a series of targeted military operations to counter this, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart external interference and 'Taiwan independence' separatist attempts," Wu said in a statement.

The warning was made shortly after Pelosi arrived at Taipei's International Airport as part of an Asia tour, bashed by Beijing as provocative.

It was unclear where the Chinese military would target, or when it would take such action.

The visit by the US House speaker, who is third in the line of succession to the presidency and a long-time critic of China, comes amid deteriorating relations between the US and China. Beijing has repeatedly warned the US government against formal ties with Taipei, which is the sovereign territory of China.

Under the "one China" policy, nearly all countries across the globe recognize Beijing's sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, including the US, which nevertheless courts the secessionist government in Taipei, supports its anti-China stance, and supplies it with massive amounts of armaments.

China had warned earlier on Tuesday that the United States would "pay the price" if Pelosi visited Taiwan during her Asia trip. "The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China's sovereign security interests," China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

Media reports said earlier in the day that several Chinese planes and warships had flown and sailed close to the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait ahead of Pelosi's visit. The American military also deployed four warships, including an aircraft carrier, near Taiwan.

China on Tuesday imposed new import bans on more than 100 Taiwanese products over Taipei's role in Pelosi's high-profile visit.

The Chinese military had flexed its muscle by holding live fire exercises just 80 miles from Taiwan on Saturday.

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News Network
August 6,2022

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Gaza City, Aug 6: Israel hit Gaza with deadly air strikes on Saturday and a Palestinian group retaliated with a barrage of rocket fire, in the territory's worst escalation of violence since a war last year.

Israel has said it was forced to launch a "pre-emptive" operation against Islamic Jihad, insisting the group was planning an imminent attack following days of tensions along the Gaza border.

Health authorities in Gaza, a Palestinian enclave controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, said a five-year-old girl was among 12 people killed by the Israeli bombardment. More than 80 others have been wounded.

The Israeli military warned Saturday it was "preparing for the operation to last a week," while the sole power station in Gaza ground to a halt due to a lack of fuel after Israel closed border crossings.

Israel and Islamic Jihad have both confirmed the killing of Taysir al-Jabari, a key leader of Islamic Jihad, in a Friday strike on a building in the west of Gaza city.

Islamic Jihad is aligned with Hamas, but often acts independently. It said the initial Israeli bombardment amounted to a "declaration of war" and unleashed a barrage of rockets towards Israel.

Sources within the group ruled out a ceasefire soon, with one saying: "for the movement the focus is on the battlefield," while an Israeli military spokesman told AFP that the army is "not currently holding ceasefire negotiations".

The rocket fire and Israeli strikes were continuing on Saturday, risking a repeat of an 11-day conflict in May 2021 that devastated Gaza and forced countless Israelis to rush to bomb shelters.

Daily life in the Palestinian enclave has come to a standstill, with streets largely deserted and most shops closed.

Israel's closure of a key goods crossing four days ago resulted in Gaza's power plant shutting down on Saturday, due to a "fuel shortage," a spokesman for the enclave's electricity distributor said.

Diesel for the plant is usually trucked in from Egypt or Israel, which closed its two border crossings with Gaza on Tuesday citing security concerns.

"Israel isn't interested in a wider conflict in Gaza, but will not shy away from one either," Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a nationally televised address on Friday.

Air raid sirens sounded across southern Israel on Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

Officials in border areas urged people to stay close to shelters, which have also been opened in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.

Hamas has fought four wars with Israel since seizing control of Gaza in 2007, including the conflict last May.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are considered terrorist organisations by much of the West.

A flare up with Islamic Jihad came in 2019, following Israel's killing of Baha Abu al-Ata, Jabari's predecessor. Hamas did not join the fray in that episode.

Hamas's moves now could prove crucial, with the group facing pressure from some to restore calm in order to improve economic conditions in Gaza.

Mohammed Abu Salameh, the director of Shifa, Gaza City's main hospital, said medics are facing "acute shortages of medical supplies".

On Friday, the health ministry reported "a five-year-old girl, targeted by the Israeli occupation" was among those killed.

The girl, Alaa Kaddum, had a pink bow in her hair and a wound on her forehead, as her body was carried by her father at her funeral.

Israeli military spokesman Richard Hecht said Friday "we are assuming about 15 killed in action" in Gaza, referring to Palestinian combatants.

Israeli tanks were lined up along the border, after the military said Thursday it was reinforcing its troops.

The measures followed the arrest in the occupied West Bank of two senior members of Islamic Jihad, including Bassem al-Saadi, who Israel accuses of orchestrating recent attacks.

Israel on Saturday broadened its operation against Islamic Jihad, announcing the arrest of 19 people it said were members of the group in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has conducted a near relentless wave of often deadly raids inside the West Bank since mid-March in response to lethal attacks on Israeli citizens.

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News Network
August 17,2022

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New Delhi, Aug 17: Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad -- long upset with the party -- has resigned from a key party post in Jammu and Kashmir, signalling a revolt within. Made the chairman of the party's campaign committee, he stepped down from the post shortly after his appointment. He has also resigned from the party's Jammu and Kashmir political affairs committee.

Sources indicated that Mr Azad saw the appointment as a demotion as he is already a member of the party's all-India political affairs committee. A veteran leader, he is also a former Chief Minister of the erstwhile state, served as a union minister and held many important party posts. He was also one of the group of 23 leaders who wrote an explosive letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi two years ago, seeking organisational changes

The resignation of Mr Azad came shortly after his close aide, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, was dropped from the post of the chief of the party's Jammu and Kashmir unit. Mr Mir had stepped down last month.

The party had effected a thorough organisational shake-up in the Union Territory and appointed Vikar Rasool Wani in place of Mr Mir.

Sonia Gandhi had also formed the campaign committee, political affairs committee, coordination committee, manifesto committee, publicity and publication committee, disciplinary committee and Pradesh election committee with immediate effect, reported news agency Press Trust of India.

The assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held after the finalisation of electoral rolls and completion of the delimitation exercise. There is, however, concern that the polls cannot be held this year as delimitation and electoral rolls revision cannot be completed before the deep winter sets in.

A timeline for the election is yet to be announced.

The Election Commission, however, has recently revised the date of final publication of voters list to November 25. This would be the first voters' list of the Union Territory after the boundaries of assembly seats were redrawn in the delimitation exercise.

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News Network
August 6,2022

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Mangaluru, Aug 6: A 15-year-old boy who was being treated at a hospital in Mangaluru after his fall from an apartment building at Boluvaru in Puttur, succumbed to injuries today morning. 

The deceased has been identified as Sushan Rai, son of Manohar Rai, retired manager of Padmunja branch of Canara Bank and president of Boluvaru Shri Durgaparameshwari Malaraya Sparivara Kshethra.

He was a Class 9 student of Sudana residential school. He is survived by his father Manohar Rai, mother Sudha M Rai and brother Sohan Rai.

It is learnt that instead of returning home from school on August 5, Sushan went to the apartment building. 

A CCTV footage shows Sushan entering the premises of the apartment building at 4.20 pm. Within minutes he fell from the 5th floor of the building. His school bag was found on the 5th floor.

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