The Indian Express – USA, British service members killed by improvised bomb in Syria

Earlier on Friday, a coalition statement said two personnel had been killed and five wounded in Syria, but did not provide their nationalities. The wounded were evacuated for treatment, according to the statement.

Baghdad – Iraq, 30 March 2018. An American and a British service member in the US-led coalition battling Islamic State were killed by an improvised explosive device in Syria, US and British officials said on Friday. They are the first coalition service members to be killed or wounded in an attack this year.

Two US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity and citing initial information, said one of the people killed in the blast on Thursday blast was an American. They said the incident took place near the city of Manbij in northern Syria.

Later, the British Ministry of Defence said a soldier embedded with US forces was also killed. The soldier’s family had been informed, a ministry spokesperson said.

Earlier on Friday, a coalition statement said two personnel had been killed and five wounded in Syria, but did not provide their nationalities. The wounded were evacuated for treatment, according to the statement.

The explosion happened on Thursday night, the coalition statement said. Manbij has largely been cleared of Islamic State and is significant because Turkey, which stormed the northern Syrian town of Afrin after an offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, has repeatedly threatened to push its operations farther east to Manbij.

About 10 coalition personnel have been killed in non-combat-related incidents since January 1, including seven Americans who died in a helicopter crash in Iraq earlier this month.

Islamic State militants continue to carry out bombings, ambushes and assassinations in Syria and Iraq despite the collapse last year of the cross-border “caliphate” declared in 2014 by their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose whereabouts are unknown.

The United States says it has about 5,200 troops in Iraq, deployed alongside Iraqi armed forces. Some 2,000 US troops are in Syria, allied to a Kurdish-led alliance that holds the largest swath of territory still outside the control of forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

The American casualty comes a day after President Donald Trump said the United States would be leaving Syria “very soon.” The State Department said it was not aware of any plans to withdraw from Syria.

Senior officials have said there is a need for a longer-term USA commitment in Syria. Last year, USA Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he expected to see a larger USA civilian presence in Syria, including contractors and diplomats, as the fight against Islamic State militants nears its end and the focus turns toward rebuilding and ensuring the militants do not return .

Mattis has previously stated that USA forces will stay in Syria as long as Islamic State fighters want to fight and prevent the return of an “ISIS 2.0.”

US, British service members killed by improvised bomb in Syria – SGPC rolls back clearance to movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 29 March 2018. Observing sharp wrath among Sikh masses about the controversial movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee has rolled back its clearance to the movie. All the letters issued by the SGPC officials endorsing screening of the movie have been also annulled by the SGPC.

Speaking exclusively with Sikh24, SGPC spokesperson Diljeet Singh Bedi has informed that the SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal has taken the move keeping in view the sentiments of the Sikh community.

He has admitted that a large number of common Sikhs have registered their protest to SGPC after watching the promo of movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’ which was aired on several channels.

“The SGPC won’t move forth about the release of movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’ without the consent of Sikh masses,” he added.

Notably, this movie was earlier set to be released in 2015 but was delayed amid sharp protests by the Sikh masses as it was termed controversial for depicting Guru Nanak Dev ji in human form.

Brussel Zuid MIVB and Gent Guislain De Lijn

Brussel Zuid MIVB
01 February 2018

MIVB Tram 4 to Stalle

MIVB Tram 4 to Stalle

Gent Guislain
De Lijn Tram 1
02 February 2018

De Lijn Tram 1 to Evergem

De Lijn Tram 1 to Evergem

Museum Dr Guislain
De Sleutel – Broederhuis – Fracarita

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More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Economic Times – Dineshwar Sharma visits militant hotbed Tral, meets delegations

Hakeem Irfan Rashid

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 30 March 2018. Centre’s special representative for a dialogue on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma visited militant hotbed Tral town in south Kashmir on Thursday. He met six delegations, including some sports enthusiasts and members of Sikh community.

Tral town observed partial shutdown after the news of Sharma’s arrival spread. Tral is the native town of Burhan Wani, who was killed in 2016 and Zakir Musa, an active militant commander. Most of the legislators and ministers refrain from going to Tral, which is considered to be the stronghold of Jaish-e-Muhammad.

Sharma came in an Army helicopter and met delegations at the town hall. Armed forces were deployed across the town and heavy contingent was guarding the town till he returned to Srinagar on Thursday afternoon. This is Sharma’s seventh visit to the state since his appointment in October last year.

“We urged him to convey to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Kashmir issue can only be resolved through dialogue. Otherwise appointment of interlocutors is seen as cheating by people here,” Dr Joginder Singh Shan, president Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee of Pulwama told ET.

He also demanded minority status for Sikh community, who continue to live across Kashmir. Another delegation of sportspersons from Awantipora town met Sharma seeking sports facilities, including a stadium in the area.

Sources said Sharma also finalised the plan for a mini secretariat in Tral town and assured of settling the land dispute between local excavators, who complained about Army occupation of their land.

Sharma also met deputy commissioner of Srinagar. He will return to New Delhi on Friday. The NDA government appointed Sharma as special representative for Kashmir to talk to all stakeholders for understanding the issues and addressing legitimate aspirations of people of the state.

The Hindu – Lawyers’ body concerned over issues raised by Justice Chelameswar

The letter of Justice Chelameswar reveals direct interference of central government in the process of appointment of judges in the High Court

New Delhi – India, 30 March 2018.  A lawyers’ body has expressed concern over the issues raised by Supreme Court’s senior-most judge Justice J Chelameswar in a letter to the Chief Justice of India, which had urged the CJI to convene a full court to deal with the alleged executive interference in judiciary.

“The letter of Justice Chelameswar reveals direct interference of central government in the process of appointment of judges in the High Court. The letter clearly shows that the independence of the Judiciary is in peril now,” the All India Lawyers Union (AILU) said in a statement.

The statement said that lawyers across the country were concerned with the latest revelations made in the letter in which Justice Chelameswar has questioned the probe initiated by Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari against District and Sessions Judge Krishna Bhat at the request of the Ministry of Law and Justice, despite his name being recommended for elevation twice by the Collegium.

“More painful for the democracy is that the present Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court has obediently succumbed to the Executive pressure.

The present government is not only deliberately destroying the independence of judiciary but few judges are also abetting it,” the statement, released by AILU President and senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and General Secretary Som Dutta Sharma, said.

Condemning the move of inquiry against a recommendee of the collegium, the AILU added that if the collegium’s recommendations could not be accepted, they should have been referred to the apex court for reconsideration.

“A judge is oath bound to uphold the Constitution without favour and fear. Chief Justice of Karnataka has failed in the instant case to stick to his oath. It’s time to raise voice to save both democracy and the Constitution,” the statement said.

Justice Chelameswar had shot off a letter on Martch 21 to the CJI urging him to consider convening a full court to take up the issue of alleged executive interference in judiciary. He had also cautioned that “the bonhomie between the judiciary and the government in any State sounds the death knell to democracy”.

Justice Chelameswar, who had held the unprecedented January 12 press conference along with three other senior judges raising issues including the allocation of cases by the CJI, had said, “We, the judges of the Supreme Court of India, are being accused of ceding our independence and our institutional integrity to the Executive’s incremental encroachment.

“The executive is always impatient, and brooks no disobedience even of the judiciary if it can. Attempts were always made to treat the Chief Justices as the Departmental Heads in the Secretariat. So much for our ‘independence and pre-eminence’ as a distinct State organ.”

The Statesman – Kashmir a political issue

Hurriyat panel says it will pursue its mission of freedom despite ‘repressive and coercive measures’

Jammu – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 29 March 2018. The executive committee of the pro-Pakistan Hurriyat Conference on Wednesday said that Kashmir is a political issue and Hurriyat as a representative forum of people will pursue its mission of freedom and the “repressive and coercive measures will neither dampen our sentiments nor break our resolve”.

Meeting of the executive committee was held at the residence of Syed Alishah Geelani who blamed mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir for the “prevailing confusion and chaos” in the state, saying “history stands witness to the fact that right-based movements never fail, however tyrant forces vanish and stand nowhere”.

Spokesman of the Hurriyat said that “the participants reviewed and discussed the prevailing grim situation in the state”.

The executive council urged United Nations to realise the “sacrifices” being made by people in the state for their right to self-determination, and help and mediate in getting this right fulfilled without any more delay and bloodshed.

The meeting also discussed ways to make the Hurriyat Conference more vibrant and active on social and political fronts. Certain important resolutions were accepted and decisions were taken in this regard. The Hurriyat executive council authorised its chairman to re-constitute and re-order the Hurriyat conference and appoint its office bearers.

Geelani asked people to boycott all upcoming elections and urged them to remain faithful to the mission “nourished by sacred blood of our martyrs”.

The meeting was attended by heads and representatives of various organisations: Mohammad Rafiq Owasi (Tehreek-e-Hurriyat), Syed Mohamed Shafi (People’s League), Syed Imtiyaz Shah (Peoples Freedom League), Mohamed Shafi Rishi (DPM), Mohamed Shafi Lone, (Employees Forum), Bilal Sidiqee (Tehreek-e-Mazahmat), Zamrooda Habib (Kashmir Tehreek-e-Khawateen), Feroz Ahmad Khan (Muslim League), Aga Syed Mohd Yusuf (Perwaan-e-Walayat), Mohamed Yasin Ataie (Peoples League), Mohamed Yusuf Naqash, (Islamic Political Party), Hakim Abdul Rashid (Muslim Democratic League), Ghulam Nabi Sumji (Muslim Conference), Ghulam Mohammad Nagu (Anjuman Sher-e-Shiyan), and Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar (Insaf Party).

The Tribune – Pakistan displays all records of Bhagat Singh’s case file

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 29 March 2018. Eighty-seven years after Bhagat Singh was hanged for the murder of a British police officer, Pakistan on Thursday displayed all records of the legendary freedom fighter’s case file and his comrades, a step appreciated by the civil society and rights activists.

Early this week, Pakistan’s Punjab government had displayed some of the records of the case file of Bhagat Singh’s trial, which is called the Lahore Conspiracy Case, at the historic Tomb of Anarkali in Lahore.

“We have displayed all the records related to Bhagat Singh and his comrades trial case in the exhibition,” Punjab Archives Department Director Abbas Chughtai told PTI today.

“Seeing enormous public response we have decided to extend the exhibition date till coming Sunday. Earlier, we had planned it for only for one day,” he said, adding a total 50 or so documents related to the Lahore Conspiracy case and newspaper clippings has been put on display.

“These are all the records we have with us,” he added.

Singh, 23, was hanged by British rulers on 23 March 1931 in Lahore, after being tried under charges for hatching a conspiracy against the colonial government. The case was filed against Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for allegedly killing British police officer John P Saunders.

Their bodies were cremated and the ashes were thrown in Sutlej river the same day in extreme secrecy to avoid any public reaction. The world came to know about the hangings through Maulana Zafar Ali Khan’s Zamindar newspaper two days later.

The Archives department on Monday displayed request of Bhagat Singh for providing order of court dated August 27, 1930, petition of Bhagat Singh dated May 31, 1929 for interview of his father, petition of Sardar Kishan Singh, father of Bhagat Singh, against the death sentence of his son and the certificate/execution of death of Bhagat Singh in Lahore district jail by the superintendent of jail dated March 23, 1931.

Today, it exhibited the posters of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army, copies of the books and revolutionary poetry attributed to Bhagat Singh, DIG CID’s reports about recovery of a bomb factory in Lahore, recovery of revolvers from Singh, list of chemicals, pictures of bullets, pistols and bombshells recovered as evidence, post-mortem report of Saunders, warrants of execution of Sukhdev and Rajguru and judgment against appeal of Singh among others.

Bhagat Singh and his comrades’ petition dated March 5, 1931, in the Court at Buckingham Palace is also on display.

It pleaded: “The lords of the committee in obedience to the late King Edward the seventh’s order in council have taken the said humble petition into consideration and having heard counsel in support thereof their lordships do this day agree humbly to report to your majesty as their opinion that the said petition ought to be dismissed.”

At the venue, legendary Khan Abdul Karim Khan’s thumri in Raag Jhinjhoti “Piya Bin Chain Na Awat”, which he rendered in 1929, was being played in the background, adding to the historic value of the place and setting a perfect background to pay tribute to Bhagat Singh and his comrades.

Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed and additional chief secretary Umar Rasool, who took the initiative to exhibit this historic case file at the official level also visited.

A good number of teachers and students of the National College of Arts and other institutions visited it today.

“I spent some three hours here to go through the Lahore Conspiracy case. I had read a little about Bhagat Singh but after going through all this record my admiration for these freedom fighters has multiplied,” says NCA student Fariha Naz. (PTI)

Ribaucourt – Place Rogier – Brussel Zuid

MIVB Metro Ribaucourt and Rogier
01 February 2018

The train was rather full …

Rogier – To the tram platforms

Brussel Zuid – Bruxelles Midi
Tram 3 to Churchill and Tram 4 to Stalle

Brussel Zuid – Bruxelles Midi

Tram 3 to Churchill and Tram 4 to Stalle

I will catch a train to Gent-Sint-Pieters from Brussel Zuid

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More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Human Rights Without Frontiers – Pakistan: Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan face an existential threat: New report

FOREF Europe – 27 March 2018, The persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan has worsened in the last several years, as Ahmadis are violently targeted, intimidated, and harassed at all levels of society.

Impunity and incitement have created a climate of religious hysteria in which targeted communities, both Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis are losing their lives with shocking increased frequency,” according to a report published by the International Human Rights Committee and the Asian Human Rights Commission, in partnership with the Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe (FOREF)and Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

“A noose is tightening around the Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, who face discriminatory legislation and lethal mob violence encouraged by political and governmental authorities,” according to Dr Aaron Rhodes, President of FOREF.

The 100-page document, which is based on interviews with hundreds of victims, experts, and journalists, details the legal discrimination faced by the Ahmadi community, relevant developments in international human rights, and social and political tendencies.

It further documents crimes, state negligence, and complicity; violations of internationally guaranteed rights and freedoms; prejudice and social exclusion; discrimination faced by women; discrimination in education; and obstacles faced by Ahmadis when professing their faith.

For further information:
Forum for Religious Freedom Europe:

Dawn – PML-N dissidents, independents launch ‘Balochistan Awami Party’

Syed Ali Shah

Quetta – Balochistan – Pakistan, 29 March 2018. Lawmakers announced the launch of a new Balochistan-based political party comprising the political and tribal elite of the province in Quetta on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, former Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ideologue Saeed Ahmed Hashmi announced the formation of the Balochistan Awami Party.

Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, former provincial ministers Faiq Jamali, Mir Saleem Khosa and other leaders were also present on the occasion. Influential chieftains including Jam Kamal Khan, Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali, Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Sardar Mohammed Saleh Bhootani are part of the new political party.

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo is also a member of the party, which is backed by the six independent senators who were elected in the recent Senate elections, including Sadiq Sanjrani, the new chairman of the upper house.

“We will contest the elections [2018] through [Balochistan Awami Party],” Senator Kakar, who is the spokesman of the party, announced.

The new party could be a major blow to the former ruling coalition of PML-N and PML-Q in Balochistan since more than 20 legislators from these parties have joined BAP.

Muslim League ‘with a new name’

Senator Kakar while addressing the press conference said the economic and political rights of the people of Balochistan will be the chief priority of his party and it will never compromise on either of them.

Former Senator Hashmi, who had been associated with the PML-Q for most of his political career, said although he has now decided to part ways with the party, “we are not separating ourselves from the mindset of Muslim League.”

He said the new party is being launched using Muslim League’s mindset “but with a different name”.

The process to get the party registered with the Election of Commission of Pakistan will be started once its office-bearers have been elected, Hashmi said.

The announcement of the launch of the party was postponed for one day due to the absence of Chief Minister Bizenjo who could not return to Quetta on Wednesday due to his official engagements in Islamabad.

Sources had earlier told Dawn that the leaders of the new party have not yet decided who the president is going to be, but names of former governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, ex-CM Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali among others have been tabled.

The final decision on who the president is going to be will be made after further discussions within the party leadership.

“All dissident MPAs of the PML-N and independent senators who were elected in the recent Senate elections would be important members of the new party,” the sources had said.

Hashmi had floated the idea of forming a new political party for the dissenting members of the PML-N in Balochistan. According to sources, Hashmi was also pivotal in the appointment of Bizenjo as the chief minister.