Tolo News – Government criticized over Paktia Mosque explosions

Paktia police chief said they have launched an investigation into the attack but that no group has yet claimed responsibility.

Gardez – Paktia – Afghanistan, 04 August 2018. The victims of the deadly twin explosions inside a mosque in Paktia’s capital city, Gardez, were laid to rest on Friday in Khwaja Hassan village.

Angry relatives slammed government for what they said was the inability of security agencies to prevent such an incident or to even issue warnings to the public to avoid large gatherings.

Khwaja Hassan, is a small village east of Gardez City, which is about 130 kilometers south of Kabul.

Sahib-ul-Zaman Mosque was targeted by two suicide bombers at around 1:20pm on Friday afternoon during Friday prayers. A few hundred worshippers were in the mosque at the time of the explosions.

Angry relatives questioned government’s ability to keep the people safe and asked how insurgents breach secure areas such as mosques?

“Who should we complain to? No one was here to help us. There were no ambulances. This is not a government, this is a corrupt government,” one resident said.

“Government is involved in this attack. Hours have passed since the incident but no government official has announced their support. Government has not paid any attention to our safety and security,” a resident said.

The attackers first opened fire on two security guards outside the mosque and then entered the building; they then used hand grenades and later detonated their explosive vests, officials explained on Friday.

Although officials have put the death toll at 34, eyewitnesses and sources say the death toll was much higher.

“The nation and media should judge right now. We fought with attackers for 30 to 40 minutes inside the mosque but no one came to help us,” said Sherin, a tribal elder in Paktia.

“We ask government to secure all mosques across Afghanistan and prevent such deadly attacks,” said Haidar a resident of the area.

Paktia Police Chief Brigadier General Raz Mohammad Mandozai said they have started an investigation into the deadly incident.

“Past experiences have shown that such attacks on mosques are carried out by Daesh. Investigations will show whether Daesh is involved in the attack or not,” said Mandozai.

The attack was widely condemned by government and international organizations.

President Ashraf Ghani said “the incident was inhuman and such criminal acts by terrorists among the people cannot create religious divisions, because Afghanistan is exemplary in Islamic unity and religious affiliation in the Islamic countries, and this will remain unchanged forever”.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also issued a statement and condemned the attack – as did former president Hamid Karzai.

https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/govt-criticized-over-paktia-mosque-explosions

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The Tribune – Imran offers hope for better India-Pakistan relations: Sidhu

Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 August 2018. Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been invited by Pakistan’s Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan to his oath-taking ceremony on August 11, said: “I see a ray of hope for cordial relations with Pakistan in the gesture shown by Imran Khan in inviting us to his swearing-in. He is a man of great character with whom my association dates back to more than 35 years. He does what he says.”

Talking to The Tribune on Thursday, Sidhu said: “Rising from a single seat, he is set to form government in Pakistan only because of his firm faith in his work. Imram had the same commitment during his initial days in cricket during the 1980s.

Look at the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Yunis and Inzamam-ul-Haq, he picked from the countryside and made them forces to reckon with in international cricket. He made the Pakistan team, which had been written off in 1992, to win the World Cup. He has done the same in picking fellow team members for his political team.”

Sidhu said: “I did not get any personal call from Imran Khan. But his message stands good enough.”

“I played with him for the first time in 1983, when I represented the President’s XI. His balling unnerved me, zooming past my ears. I was too young. In fact, he walked up to me and said nice words to motivate me,” Sidhu said.

“The story was different when I was a part of the Indian team in 1989. Flowing runs from my bat and the flared tempers on their side are embedded in my memory. However, we were friends after the match,” Sidhu said.

The minister said: “We struck a great bond of mutual admiration when we met as commentators in the 2007-08 series which started after a long gap between the two nations. I had, in fact, also visited the residence of Imran Khan in Pakistan. He is a simple man.”

“I see the occasion as an opportunity for opening a dialogue for establishing a link with Nankana Sahib and other places”.

On Imran’s remarks against India in the past, Sidhu said: “Any decision on our relation with Pakistan will be taken by the office of our Prime Minister. These are my personal views.”

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/imran-offers-hope-for-better-indo-pak-relations-sidhu/631294.html

Gentbrugse Meersen & Brussel Vooruitgangstraat

Gentbrugse Meersen
01 July 2018


A leafy lane


Pollard willows


Weverbosdreef


Weverbosdreef


No cars !

Brussel
Vooruitgangstraat
03 July 2018


MIVB tram 3 to Esplanade and 93 to Stade

To see all my pictures:

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

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

New Jersey.com – NJ101.5 hosts’ meeting with Sikhs in wake of racist AG comments put on hold

Anthony G Attrino

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com – 03 August 2018. A meeting between Sikhs and a New Jersey radio station whose hosts made racist remarks about state Attorney General Gurbir S Grewal won’t happen next week.

The meeting probably won’t happen until the fall, according to Megan Daly, spokeswoman for United Sikhs, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

Grewal, who is a Sikh, was repeatedly referred to as “turban man” during the “Dennis & Judi Show” last week on NJ 101.5-FM.

NJ101.5 hosts suspended for racist remarks to visit Sikh temple (Gurdwara)

The hosts of the Dennis & Judi show repeatedly referred to New Jersey’s attorney general as “turban man” during their afternoon show on July 25.

Daly said Thursday the organization had hoped to get the hosts and station employees together next week for discussions on sensitivity.

The meeting was to take place at a temple [Gurdwara] in Glen Rock where Grewal is a member.

But schedulers with the attorney general’s office have said it doesn’t look like their reps can attend next week and pushed a meeting date into fall, Daly said.

As of Friday afternoon, no date had been set.

“We had hoped for next week, but we understand people are busy,” Daly said. “We’re working with (the AG’s) schedulers.”

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Grewal said he would not attend a meeting with the radio hosts.

“The Attorney General has moved on from this incident and is focused on the work of the state,” Communications Director Sharon Lauchaire said in an email.

“As a result, he does not believe that his presence at any particular event with the radio hosts is necessary, but he appreciates their interest in learning more about the Sikh religion and hopes that this can serve as a teachable moment for the hosts and others,” Lauchaire said.

NJ101.5 hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco repeatedly referred to Grewal as “the guy with the turban” and “turban man” during their afternoon show on July 25. They have since apologized and were suspended for 10 days.

Ron deCastro, the station’s president and chief revenue officer, said Friday the station is working with two outside organizations to fine-tune its “implicit bias training” program for employees.

“We continuously do these trainings,” deCastro said, adding that after the incident with Malloy and Franco he decided to customize the program a bit.

As for the Glen Rock meeting, deCastro said Malloy, Franco and other employees are open to meeting with United Sikhs about any concerns they have.

However, any type of sensitivity training is done in-house, he added.

“We’re open to discussions,” deCastro said. “We’re open to meet with anybody at almost any time to discuss any issues.”

The radio chief said United Sikhs had not contacted him about a meeting date.

Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at
<tattrino@njadvancemedia.com>

https://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/08/nj1015_hosts_meeting_with_sikhs_in_wake_of_racist_ag_comments_put_on_hold.html

The Hindu – Killings of journalists raised in Rajya Sabha

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 02 August 2018. Communist Party of India (Marxist) member in Rajya Sabha Jharna Das Baidya on Thursday raised the issue of killing of journalists and sought clarifications from the government on measures taken to prevent such attacks and protect their freedom of speech.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Ms Baidya said five journalists were killed in the country this year. “In Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari was gunned down outside his office. Gauri Lankesh was shot outside her house and, similarly, a senior journalist was murdered in Punjab,” she said.

The member said two journalists were killed in Tripura.

“The journalists who report on corruption, violations and bad policies are attacked. They have the freedom to speak the truth, but they are being targeted for that. Under such circumstances, how would they work, report the truth? Gauri Lankesh, who had written about a former Chief Minister, was murdered,” she said.

Ms Baidya said in her State Tripura, newspaper Daily Desher Katha had a circulation of 52,000, but it had reduced to just 6,000 after the 2018 election because its reporters were being threatened that the publication would be shut down.

Several members of the Opposition associated with the concerns. Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said the issue applied to all the States, and the country as a whole.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/killings-of-journalists-raised-in-rs/article24585320.ece