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India Formally Splits Jammu And Kashmir

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Narendra Modi

India on Thursday formally split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two federally administered territories in its effort to tighten control over the militancy-ridden region.

The move comes despite a prolonged shutdown in response to the Indian government’s move on August 5 removing special autonomy enjoyed by the region.

Under the new arrangement, the erstwhile state becomes two federally administered territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir. The two territories would now be administered directly from Delhi through two lieutenant governors who took their oaths of office on Thursday.

The region, which is disputed between India and Pakistan, has seen a deadly secessionist militancy since the mid-1980s in which more than 45,000 people have died.

Thursday’s formal split is part of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s controversial Aug. 5 move abrogating laws that gave the Muslim-majority region greater autonomy.

From Thursday, the region will no longer have its constitution and flag, and Kashmiris lose their exclusive right to own land in the new territories.

Thousands of troops were deployed in the restive valley and it was placed under a security and communications lockdown as the government moved to scrap the special status in August.

Most restrictions have been eased, but the internet is yet to be restored and thousands of local political leaders and activists remain in detention. Shops and businesses remain largely closed in what is seen as both a protest against the government’s move and fear of militant attacks. More than a dozen people including migrant labourers, orchard owners, and traders have been killed by militants in the past two months.

Jammu and Kashmir was a region administered by India as a state from 1954 to 2019, constituting the southern and southeastern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since the mid-20th century.

The underlying region of this state were parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, whose western districts, now known as Azad Kashmir, and northern territories, now known as Gilgit-Baltistan, are administered by Pakistan.

The Aksai Chin region in the east, bordering Tibet, has been under Chinese control since 1962.

After the Government of India repealed the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian constitution in 2019, the Parliament of India passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.

The Act contained provisions that dissolved the state and reorganised it into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir in the west and Ladakh in the east, with effect from Oct. 31, 2019.

At the time of its dissolution, Jammu and Kashmir was the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population.

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Ex-UK Politician Eric Joyce Pleads Guilty To Making Indecent Videos Of Children With His Phone

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eric joyce

A former UK politician, Eric Joyce has pled guilty to making indecent videos of children using his phone.

The Former Labour MP, Eric Joyce, arrived at Ipswich Crown Court today Tuesday before he admitted the child sex offence.

Joyce, from Worlingworth, Suffolk, was arrested in November 2018 for allegedly containing child porn on his phome but was soon released and put under investigation.

Last month he was summoned to appear before magistrates last month in the UK after he was accused of making a video of the most serious sex offenders category on his phone between August 2013 and November 2018.

Joyce, 59, who was MP for Falkirk in Scotland between 2000 and 2012, has been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

Speaking today, Judge Emma Peters said that the single 51-second clip ‘depicts a number of children’.

She added: ‘Some are quite young, one is said to be 12 months old. clearly a category-A movie.’

Judge Peters told the court that Joyce claimed he accessed the video ‘via an email which he says was a spam email’.

She added: ‘At the time he was drinking heavily and he has now undergone work with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and a psychotherapist.’

Judge Peters added: ‘It’s going to be a question of whether it’s immediate or suspended. ‘You will be required to sign paperwork today acknowledging that you are immediately on the sex offenders register.’

She said the court ‘takes such incidents very seriously’ as they ‘fuel the abuse of children’.

After details of the charge emerged, a statement published on the Joyce’s website said: ‘I will make no comment from now until all legal processes are at a close. At that point, I will make a full statement.’

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Soleimani: US Killing Of Iran’s Top General ‘Unlawful’, Says UN Expert

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The US drone strike that killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani was “unlawful”, the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings concluded in a report released Tuesday.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, concluded it was an “arbitrary killing” that violated the UN charter.

The US had provided no evidence that an imminent attack against US interest was being planned, she wrote.

The independent rights expert does not speak for the United Nations but reports her findings to it.

Her report on targeted killings through armed drones — around half of which deals with the Soleimani case — is to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva on Thursday.

The United States withdrew from the council in 2018.

US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani in a January 3 drone strike near Baghdad international airport.

Soleimani, a national hero at home, was “the world’s top terrorist” and “should have been terminated long ago”, Trump said at the time.

Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the drone strike.

“In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL (international human rights law), the US is responsible,” Callamard said in her report.

‘No evidence’ imminent attack planned

She said the strike violated the UN Charter, with “insufficient evidence provided of an ongoing or imminent attack,” she wrote.

“No evidence has been provided that General Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against US interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified,” Callamard said.

“No evidence has been provided that a drone strike in a third country was necessary or that the harm caused to that country was proportionate to the harm allegedly averted.

“Soleimani was in charge of Iran’s military strategy, and actions, in Syria and Iraq. But absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the US was unlawful.”

The killing of Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, provoked massive outpourings of grief in Iran.

Tehran retaliated by firing a volley of ballistic missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq. While the attack on the western Iraqi base of Ain Al-Asad killed no US soldiers, dozens suffered brain trauma.

Callamard’s report addresses targeted killings through armed drones, in light of the proliferation in drone use and their expanding capability over the last five years.

It makes recommendations designed to regulate their use and enhance accountability.

Callamard said that while incidents like the killing of Soleimani and the September 2019 hit on Saudi Arabia’s oil processing facilities generated strong political reactions, “the vast majority of targeted killings by drones are subjected to little public scrutiny”.

Drone technologies and drone attacks were generating fundamental challenges to international legal standards, she added.

 

(AFP)

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Kanye West Announces 2020 Presidential Bid

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Kanye West has announced his plans to run for president in 2020.

The 43-year-old Billionaire rapper made the announcement on Saturday night, July 4, via his official Twitter account.

He wrote: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION.”

The announcement was endorsed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk who tweeted: “You have my full support!”

Recall that at the MTV VMAs in 2015, West first announced that he would be running for president in 2020. “As you probably could have guessed by this moment, in 2020, I have decided to run for president,” he said.

Last November, during a speech at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, he announced again he would be running in 2024. When the audience laughed at his announcement, West replied, “What y’all laughing at? We would create so many jobs! I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk.”

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