US seizes three dozen prominent Iranian websites

News Network
June 24, 2021

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In a direct assault on press freedom, the US Justice Department has seized 33 Iranian government-affiliated media websites, as well as three of the Iraqi group Kataeb Hezbollah, which it said were hosted on US-owned domains in violation of sanctions.

The websites were held by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU), which is reportedly run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s Quds Force (IRGC).

“Components of the government of Iran … disguised as news organisations or media outlets targeted the United States with disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

Iran’s foreign ministry on Wednesday called the seizure an example of a “systematic effort to distort freedom of speech on a global level and silence independent voices in media”.

Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh in a statement said the “shameful” move by Washington shows that the Biden administration is continuing former President Donald Trump’s path, and vowed Iran will pursue the issue through legal channels.

Both IRTVU and IRGC have been placed on the US sanctions blacklist, making it illegal for Americans, US companies, and foreign or non-American companies with US subsidiaries to have business with them or their subsidiaries.

Visitors to leading Iranian media sites such as Press TV and Al-Alam, the country’s main English language and Arabic language broadcasters, as well as the Al-Masirah TV channel of Yemen’s Houthis, were met with single-page statements on Wednesday, declaring the website “has been seized by the United States Government” accompanied by the seals of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Commerce Department.

Kataeb Hezbollah, the Iraqi group which owned three sites that were seized, is a military faction with close ties to Tehran that Washington has formally designated a terror group.

The US government also took over the domain name of the news website Palestine Today, which reflects the viewpoints of Gaza-based groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, redirecting the site to the same notice.

Bahrain’s LuaLua TV, a channel run by opposition groups with offices in London and Beirut, was also seized by the US.

State-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) accused the United States of repressing freedom of expression and joining forces with Israel and Saudi Arabia “to block pro-resistance media outlets exposing the crimes of US allies in the region”.

IRIB said it will not let the media of the so-called “resistance axis” be silenced.

On the website of their political wing, Yemen’s Houthi rebels branded the action “American piracy and copyright confiscation”.

“The government of the United States of America is banning the Al-Masirah website without any justification or even prior notice,” they said.

A-Masirah quickly established a new website, using its name but swapping the .net domain for .com.

Meanwhile LuaLua and Al-Masirah continued to broadcast new programmes.

Press TV

Press TV, launched in June 2007, is perhaps the most well known of the seized sites. It is the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting’s (IRIB) English-language service.

There are no private television or radio stations in Iran. Satellite dishes, while widespread, also are illegal. That leaves IRIB with a monopoly on domestic airwaves.

Supporters of Press TV view the site’s editorial line as anti-Zionist, but the outlet has previously run into trouble with Western authorities for its reporting. The Anti-Defamation League has criticised the channel as “one of the world’s leading dispensers of conspiratorial anti-Semitism in English”.

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News Network
August 2,2021

New Delhi, Aug 2: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider a plea for bail to 53-year-old Kerala Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery to allow him to marry the girl whom he raped and impregnated when she was a minor.

A bench presided over by Justice Vineet Saran refused to entertain a special leave petition filed by the victim to permit her to marry the convicted priest.

Senior advocate Kiran Suri said the accused should be released to let him marry the victim.

The bench, however, asked him to go to the trial court.

Appearing for the accused, Advocate Amit George submitted that he sought bail so that he would be able to marry the petitioner. He also claimed that it was his fundamental right to marry the victim.

The bench, however, said the High Court has taken into consideration all the aspects of the matter, therefore we don't intend to interfere in the matter.

Vadakkumchery was sentenced to 20 years in jail on February 17, 2019, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. He was dismissed from priesthood by the Vatican. 

Earlier, the Kerala High Court had turned down the plea by the convict. 

The priest was arrested on February 27, 2017, near Kochi International airport when he was trying to slip out of the country. The case against him was lodged by a child line agency. The girl, who was a student of class XI, gave birth to a child on February 7, 2017, at a hospital run by the management. During the trial, the victim and her mother had turned hostile. 

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News Network
July 31,2021

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Kochi, July 31: A stalker shot dead a woman before killing himself in broad daylight here. The incident took place at Nellikuzhi, near Kothamangalam, about 35 km from Kochi on Friday.

According to police, the killer was identified as Rakhil, 24. Manasa P V, 24, the victim, was a fourth-year student pursuing dentistry at the Indira Gandhi College, Kothamangalam. Both hail from Kannur district.

The incident took place near the Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Kothamangalam, at around 3:30 pm. "A personal grudge between the two seems to be the reason for the murder. We are gathering more details," said a police officer with the Kothamangalam police station.

Police said the incident happened near the place where she was residing as a paying guest. He entered the house to shoot the woman, police said.

The girl's parents had earlier lodged a complaint with the police at Kannur against Rakhil for troubling and stalking their daughter.

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Agencies
July 21,2021

The number of people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic in India is likely to exceed 3 million — nearly 10 times the official Covid-19 death toll — making it one of the worst human tragedies in the country’s history, according to a new study.

In an examination of the true toll of the pandemic in the sprawling country of 1.4 billion, the Center for Global Development, a Washington research institute, attempted to quantify excess deaths from all causes during the pandemic based on state data, international estimates, serological studies and household surveys.

“True deaths are likely to be in the several millions, not hundreds of thousands, making this arguably India’s worst human tragedy,” said its authors, one of whom is a former chief economic adviser to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The official government numbers have been called into question repeatedly. Even as funeral pyres lit up the night sky and bodies washed up along the Ganges River, with death all around, the government was widely underreporting the scale of the devastation.

A chorus of experts have said the country’s official estimates are a gross understatement.

The study released Tuesday estimated that between 3.4 and 4.7 million more people than would normally be expected died between January 2020 and June 2021, and includes an estimate suggesting that deaths from Covid-19 may have reached 4 million.

“Estimating Covid deaths with statistical confidence may prove elusive,” the authors wrote. “But all estimates suggest that the death toll from the pandemic is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than the official count of 400,000; they also suggest that the first wave was more lethal than is believed.”

The authors said the undercount of death after the first wave of infections last year may have resulted, in part, from the fact that it was “spread out in time,” as opposed to the sharp curve of the second wave when hundreds of thousands of people died amid shortages of oxygen, beds and vaccines.

The study has said that the country’s inability to grasp the “scale of the tragedy in real time” during its first wave from March 2020 to February 2021 may have caused “the collective complacency that led to the horrors of the second wave.”

At the height of the second wave, interviews by New York Times reporters at cremation grounds in India exposed an extensive pattern of deaths far exceeding the official figures.

Nervous politicians and hospital administrators may also have undercounted or overlooked large numbers of dead, analysts said. And grieving families may be hiding Covid connections as well, out of shame, adding to the confusion.

India is still reporting nearly 40,000 new cases and about 500 deaths a day, according to a New York Times database. Less than 7% of the population is fully vaccinated.

 “The challenge of the pandemic is far from over,” said Arvind Subramanian, Modi’s former chief economic adviser and a senior fellow at Brown University who is a co-author of the study. “Vaccination offers the best hope but its pace needs to be ramped up considerably.”

Modi’s government has warned of an impending third wave of infections, which government scientists say could strike as early as August.

“The spirit of this paper is not to privilege any one estimate but simply to lay them out with transparency,” the authors of the excess deaths study, Abhishek Anand, Justin Sandefur and Subramanian, said.

“Given all the difficulties, getting at the true estimate will be difficult and only by piecing together data from different sources will we improve our understanding of the reality of the pandemic.”

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Ramesh Mishra
 - 
Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

COVID-19, DEATH IN INDIA: Since the British left India in 1947, India failed to establish a skilled life and death records registry. The administration is monitored by IAS and PCS as the justices are completely deficient and corrupt. Most politicians of India are illiterates, unskilled, uncivilised, takes bribes with the criminal record and criminal minds. Covid-19, the pandemic is mismanaged resulting in massive death and causing economic catastrophe all over India. The BJP is a tyrannical regime and the people of India have no trust in the ruling elites and in desperation to save their lives and family leaving India " Like Rats Fleeing A Sinking Ship". India is a doomed Nation, its survival is uncertain.
Ramesh Mishra
Victoria BC CANADA
{" A UP NRI and Victime of the BJP tyrannical regime residing in Canada since 1975"]

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