The Asian Age – In shadow of terror, Afghanistan celebrates Independence Day

Ghani welcomed dozens of Afghan officials for a morning ceremony at the presidential palace

Kabul, 20 August 2017. Afghan security forces were on high alert on Saturday as the war-weary country, reeling from a number of high-profile deadly attacks, marked its independence day with muted celebrations.

There was an increased police presence in the capital Kabul where President Ashraf Ghani hosted a private ceremony for Afghan dignitaries.

“All of our police units are on the highest state of alert and they are placed everywhere across the city,” Kabul police spokesman Abdul Basir Mujahid said.

“We have increased the number of police checkpoints in and around the diplomatic quarters (too),” he added, amid fears that the Taliban would mark the anniversary with a large-scale attack.

August 19 commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi in 1919, which granted Afghanistan full independence from Britain, although the country was never part of the British empire, after three bloody wars.

While Afghanistan’s red, black and green tricolour flag adorned many Kabul streets, the day was largely going unobserved by ordinary Afghans, who are frustrated by the deteriorating security situation and the lack of progress by the US-led international coalition forces.

As in recent years there are no public ceremonies planned in the capital. The city has been on edge since a massive truck bomb ripped through its diplomatic quarter during morning rush hour on May 31, killing about 150 and wounding around 400 people, mostly civilians, in an unclaimed attack.

Taliban insurgents are currently at the peak of their summer fighting season and have launched several deadly assaults around the country in recent weeks.

Ghani welcomed dozens of Afghan officials for a morning ceremony at the presidential palace and laid a wreath at the independence minaret inside the defence ministry compound.

“A very happy Independence Day to everyone in AFG,” Ghani said on Twitter.

“This day was earned with lots of sacrifices. We must pay homage & celebrate this legacy.”

http://www.asianage.com/world/asia/200817/in-shadow-of-terror-afghan-celebrates-independence-day.html

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The Tribune – No grant, SGPC-run college won’t take Dalit students

Kulwinder Sandhu, Tribune News Service

Moga, 19 August 2017. At least 27 Dalit students have been denied admission in BA (final year) course by the SGPC-run Guru Nanak College here.

These students have failed to deposit their annual tuition fee because the state government has not transferred the post-matric scholarship amount into their accounts.

Moga SDM Charandeep Singh, who is inquiring into the complaint of the students, said a compromise was reached between the college authorities and the students in his presence on August 4, according to which the students would pay the fee in instalments of Rs 5,000 each.

However, the college has backed out, asking the students to pay the entire amount to seek admission.

Backed by the Punjab Students’ Union (PSU), the affected students have launched an agitation against the SGPC and the college.

District Magistrate Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia had asked the SDM to sort out the issue, but the college authorities were adamant and not willing to cooperate with the administration.

Mohan Singh Aulakh, district convener of the PSU, alleged the government had not released the scholarship to the affected students for the past over two years.

The students alleged that the college was demanding Rs 22,000 from them as annual tuition fee even though they were eligible under the post-matric scholarship scheme. “We belong to poor families and our parents can’t afford to pay the fee,” they said.

The SDM has asked the social welfare officer to look into the matter.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/no-grant-sgpc-run-college-won-t-take-dalit-students/454516.html

From Haarlem to Den Haag

Haarlem NS Station
15 July 2017

Bayplatforms

Doubledecker to Zandvoort aan Zee

Sprinter to Leiden Centraal

Intercity to Vlissingen
Ends at Rotterdam due to works

NS Sprinter EMU

17.20 Intercity to take me to Den Haag HS

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Times of India – Doklam standoff: Chinese clip mocks Sikhs, called racist

I P Singh

Jalandhar, 19 August 2017. Amid the Doklam stand-off on the Bhutanese border, the state owned Chinese news agency Xinhua has put out a three-minute video in which an actor mocks India by dressing up as a Sikh soldier.

The actor in a Sikh turban and a shabby beard clowns around on screen while the anchor attacks India in the clip titled “7 sins of India”.

The video has been uploaded on Xinhua’s site and Twitter handle at a time when India has posted burly Sikh and Jat soldiers at the Doklam tri-junction in a bid to intimidate Chinese soldiers.

The anchor in the clip starts by saying that it has been two months since Indian troops illegally crossed into China.
“The whole world is trying to wake India up but China has realized that it is impossible to awaken a guy who is pretending to be asleep,” she says and shows a man with the ill-fitting turban saying in a mock Indian accent: “Nobody’s blaming me because I’m asleep.” He then snores amid canned laughter.

UK-based Sikh Press Association called the clip, “blatant mockery of the Sikh identity”. UK-based Sikh Press Association said, “It is sad to see just how low Chinese media have stooped in using the Sikh identity as a pawn in their state propaganda against India.

Sikhs make up less than 2% of India’s population, so to use a mocked-up image of a Sikh as the face of propaganda targeted against India shows just how ill-informed Xinhua is.” Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh said, “It is racist and reflects poorly on the Chinese state-owned media. Despite the stand-off India should raise the issue with China.”

The anchor in the clip also calls Doklam undisputed Chinese territory and alleges that India is trampling on international law. She mockingly asks, “Didn’t your mama tell you never break the law?”

The clown also says, “He is building a path in his garden, I am in danger,” which is followed by another bout of laughter.The clip claims that India is holding a small neighbour like Bhutan to ransom in the name of protecting it.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/doklam-standoff-chinese-clip-mocks-sikhs-called-racist/articleshow/60130823.cms

The Hindu – No communication from Pakistan on ad-hoc judge for Jadhav case: MEA

New Delhi, 19 August 2017. The External Affairs Ministry on Friday said it has not received any communication from Pakistan about launch of a consultation process by it to nominate an ad-hoc judge for the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“We have seen reports in the media about the issue. We have not been informed officially about this process by relevant authorities,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters, replying to a question on the issue.

According to a Pakistani media report, Islamabad has begun consultations over the nomination of an ad-hoc judge for the Jadhav case and that an ex-attorney general and a former Jordanian premier have emerged as the top contenders.

India had moved the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the death penalty handed down to Jadhav by a Pakistani military court. The ICJ had on May 18 restrained Pakistan from executing the death sentence.

During the tenure of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Supreme Court judge Khalilur Rehman Ramday was approached, but he declined the nomination, the report by Express Tribune said.

Sources were quoted by the daily as saying that the Attorney General for Pakistan’s (AGP) office has recommended the names of senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan and former Jordanian prime minister Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Khasawneh served as an ICJ judge for over a decade, while Khan, a former Attorney General who is seen as the favourite for the job, also has experience in international arbitration cases, having represented eight different countries in international courts.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-communication-from-pakistan-on-ad-hoc-judge-for-jadhav-case-mea/article19520577.ece