Spain, Ireland, Norway formally recognize Palestinian state; angry Israel recalls ambassadors

News Network
May 22, 2024

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Ireland, Norway and Spain have formally recognized the Palestinian state, angering the Israeli regime that recalled its ambassadors from the two European states.

“Today Ireland, Norway and Spain are announcing that we recognize the state of Palestine, each of us will undertake whatever national steps are necessary to give effect to that decision," Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said at a news conference in Dublin on Wednesday.

“I am confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks.”

He added that the move was a statement of "unequivocal support" for the so-called two-state solution, which he described as "the only credible path to peace and security."

Shortly after Harris's statement, his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said both countries will recognize the Palestine state from May 28.

Sanchez said it is clear is that “[Israeli] prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not have a project of peace for Palestine.”

Store, for his part, noted that there cannot be peace in the West Asia region if there is no recognition.

"Norway’s formal recognition of Palestine as a state will enter into force on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. A number of other like-minded European countries will also formally recognize Palestine on that same date. These countries will be making their own announcements," added a statement by the Norwegian prime minister.

Palestine welcomes recognition 

Meanwhile, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hussein al-Sheikh, welcomed the decision by Norway, Spain and Ireland to recognize the state of Palestine, calling it a “historical moment.”

“Historical moments in which the free world triumphs for truth and justice after long decades of Palestinian national struggle, suffering, pain, occupation, racism, murder, oppression, abuse and destruction to which the people of Palestine were subjected to,” he said in a post on social media platform X, describing the recognition as a path to stability, security and peace.

“We thank the countries of the world that have recognized and will recognize the independent State of Palestine. We affirm that this is the path to stability, security and peace in the region.”

In reaction, Israeli authorities have ordered the regime’s ambassadors from Ireland and Norway to immediately return, and said they would do the same for Spain.

The Spanish prime minister has been one of the most outspoken European leaders when it comes to criticism of the Israeli regime’s genocidal war on Gaza. He has also repeatedly asserted that the so-called two-state solution remains the only answer to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This comes amid Israel's brutal war on Gaza, which was launched on October 7 after Palestinian resistance groups carried out a surprise retaliatory operation into the occupied territories.

Concomitantly with the war, the regime has been enforcing a near-total siege on the coastal territory, which has reduced the flow of foodstuffs, medicine, electricity, and water into the Palestinian territory into a trickle.

So far during the military onslaught, the regime has killed at least 35,456 Gazans, most of them women, children, and adolescents. Another 79,476 Palestinians have sustained injuries as well.

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News Network
June 10,2024

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New Delhi: The 71 Union ministers who were sworn in alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday include 10 Dalits, 27 from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 21 from the ‘upper’ castes, five from tribal groups and five representing religious minorities. However, there are no Muslims. 

In the previous term of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was the minority affairs minister, but he resigned in 2022 after his term in the Rajya Sabha came to an end and was replaced by Smriti Irani. This time, no Muslim minister has been sworn in. No Muslim MPs from the NDA were elected to the Lok Sabha this time.

The five ministers from minority communities in the Modi Government 3.0 include Hardeep Singh Puri, Ravneet Singh Bittu, George Kurian, Kiren Rijiju and Ramdas Athawale. While Puri and Athawale are Rajya Sabha MPs and Rijiju won the Lok Sabha elections from Arunachal Pradesh, Bittu lost the elections from Punjab and Kurian, a Kerala BJP general secretary, did not contest.

After the 2019 general election, 57 ministers were sworn in, of whom 32 were from ‘upper’ castes, 13 from OBCs, six from Scheduled Castes and four from Scheduled Tribes. However, the Council of Ministers was subsequently expanded in 2021 and included 27 OBCs, 12 SCs, eight STs and 30 from the ‘upper’ castes. 

The share of representatives of the ‘upper’ castes is down after many ‘upper-caste’ candidates lost in Uttar Pradesh.

Dalit and tribal groups

In Modi’s second term, the late Ram Vilas Paswan, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Virendra Kumar were among the Dalit ministers. Kumar, who had succeeded Gehlot as the minister for social justice and empowerment, has made it to the cabinet this time, too, after winning his eighth Lok Sabha election from Madhya Pradesh. 

Besides him, Paswan’s son and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan, and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, are among the new Dalit cabinet ministers.

Arjun Ram Meghwal from Rajasthan, who was serving as the law minister in the previous term, has been inducted this time as minister of state (independent charge). In addition, Athawale, S.P. Singh Baghel, L. Murugan and Kamlesh Paswan will be ministers of state.

 A senior BJP leader said, “More Dalit ministers have been added this time, which was necessary since the party lost a significant chunk of Dalit votes. Not just that, religious minorities ranging from Sikhs to Christians have been given representation.” 

There are also five ministers from tribal groups, same as the 2019-2024 term. Jual Oram from Odisha, who had also served as a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet and has won the Lok Sabha elections six times, has been elevated to the position of a cabinet minister. Arjun Munda, another prominent tribal leader from the party, lost the election this time.

Sarbananda Sonowal, Savitri Thakur and Durga Das Uikey are other ministers from tribal groups.

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News Network
June 4,2024

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called for the “immediate resignation" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP-led NDA eked out a muted election victory on Tuesday. The Trinamool supremo also thanked the people of West Bengal for the mandate as the party secured a lead in 29 seats. 

“... I am happy that the Prime Minister did not get the majority figure. The Prime Minister has lost credibility, he should resign immediately because he had said that this time they would cross 400 seats…Even after causing so many atrocities, spending so much money, this arrogance of Modi ji and Amit Shah, INDIA has won and Modi has lost. They have even lost in Ayodhya," the INDIA bloc leader reminded. 

Mamata also insisted that she would try to ensure that Modi “is out of power and INDIA bloc is in" following the results. The Trinamool Congress chief claimed that the people of India had ‘broken’ PM Modi's morale after he ‘broke’ many politicial parties. 

The Election Commission has declared the TMC the winner in two seats with notable leads in 27 others. The BJP is presently leading in 12 seats while the Congress holds a lead in the Maldaha Dakshin constituency.

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News Network
June 3,2024

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The share market has posted a massive jump in the early trade, banking on the hopes of political stability as predicted by the exit polls. The 30-share Sensex rallied over 2,000 points this morning while the 50-stock Nifty recorded its biggest jump in four years during the market opening.

Both Sensex and Nifty, the indexes of the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange, hit their record high levels today. All Sensex and Nifty stocks are now in the green.

At pre-open, Nifty surged over 800 points or 3.58% to 23,227.90 while the Sensex jumped 2,621.98 points or 3.55% to 76,583.29.

Adani Ports, Adani Enterprises, Power Grid, Shriram Finance, and NTPC are among the top performers that led the market rally with significant gains. The latest GDP data suggesting a robust 8.2% fiscal growth also bolstered the market sentiment. 

"Buoyant sentiments are driven by India's impressive Q4FY24 GDP growth of 7.8 per cent, surpassing expectations, with the fiscal year's growth standing at 8.2 per cent," said Varun Aggarwal, founder and managing director of Profit Idea. He also cautioned that the market will remain volatile in anticipation of the results pending tomorrow.

An aggregate of 12 exit polls on Saturday predicted the BJP will return to power with the ruling NDA alliance with 365 seats. A party or an alliance needs at least 272 seats to form government in the country. The market prefers political stability and a change in government usually risks volatility in the share market, according to analysts. 

The exit polls have also predicted that the BJP is set to break ground in Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south, and make large gains in Odisha and Bengal in the east. There is, however, a health warning: exit polls do not always get it right. 

While the BJP has welcomed the exit poll predictions, the Opposition has dismissed the forecast and said the counting day will throw a completely different picture. Following a meeting of the Opposition leaders part of the INDIA bloc, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge Saturday said that the bloc will win at least 295 seats out of the total 543.

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