Tolo News – US Seeks Peace Agreement, Not Withdrawal: Khalilzad

Khalilzad says that the US is seeking a “comprehensive peace agreement” with the Taliban.

Kabul – Kabul Province – Afghanistan, The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the United States is seeking a “comprehensive peace agreement, not a withdrawal agreement” in its talks with the Taliban.

Khalilzad apparently responded to a Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen’s remarks on Tuesday, June 18, who said that the United States has “accepted” to withdraw all its forces from Afghanistan.

Taking to Twitter hours after the Taliban’s comments, Khalilzad said, they are preparing prepare for the next round of talks with the Taliban.

Khalilzad said that a comprehensive peace agreement is made up of four inter-connected parts: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan negotiations that lead to a political settlement; and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire.

“This is a framework which the Taliban accept,” Khalilzad said.

Khalilzad reiterated that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” – Passing of Bill 21 a Sad Day for Quebec & Human Rights: World Sikh Organization

There are approximately 15,000 Sikhs in Quebec who will be disproportionately impacted by the ban on religious clothing and symbols

Montreal – Quebec – Canada, 17 June 2019. The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply saddened by the passing of Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State by the Coalition Avenir Quebec government banning the wearing of religious symbols.

The Bill was passed in a rare late-night vote on Sunday after the Government of Quebec invoked closure to prematurely end debate. The Government of Quebec has also invoked the notwithstanding clause, allowing it to override freedom of religion protections enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms.

Closure was also used on Saturday to pass Bill 9, a controversial law throwing out 18,000 pending immigration applications to Quebec. Bill 9 includes the framework for a Quebec values test that would-be immigrants need to pass in order to become permanent residents.

Bill 21 restricts the wearing of ‘religious symbols’ by public servants in positions of authority such as police officers, judges, prosecutors and also school teachers and principals.

In a last-minute amendment, the Quebec Government added that “inspectors” will supervise compliance with the secularism law and impose corrective measures, targeted employee can be subject to disciplinary measures for failing to comply.

Despite the amendment, according to experts, the bill’s vague definition of religious symbol as “clothing, symbol, jewelry, ornament, accessory or headgear that is worn in connection with a religious conviction or belief and can reasonably be considered as referring to a religious affiliation” makes the Bill difficult if not impossible to enforce.

There are approximately 15,000 Sikhs in Quebec who will be disproportionately impacted by the ban on religious clothing and symbols. Practicing Sikhs, both men and women, wear the Sikh articles of faith such as the turban at all times as part of their daily lives as reminders of the principles of equality, service and spirituality.

In May, three UN legal experts joined sent a letter to the Canadian mission in Geneva which said that Bill 21 threatens freedoms protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

WSO President Mukhbir Singh said today

“This is a very sad day for the people of Quebec and all of Canada. Quebec is the first jurisdiction in North America to impose a religious dress code. The message the CAQ Government has sent to the world this weekend is that Quebec has shut its doors to diversity and inclusion and that it will not adhere to basic international human rights norms.

Stripping members of minority communities of their rights is a shocking move that will have long term repercussions for Quebec and Canada. Bill 21 was a solution to a problem that did not exist and pandered to the xenophobic tendencies of a section of the Quebec electorate.

The WSO will work with community partners in Quebec to oppose this legislation with every means available to us. The fight against this secularism law will be a historic struggle that will have a permanent impact on human rights in Canada. We call on the people of Quebec to reject this discriminatory and divisive law.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

Passing of Bill 21 a Sad Day for Quebec & Human Rights: World Sikh Organization

Gent: Bagattenstraat – Muinkschelde – Leeuwstraat and Muinkpark

09 June 2019

Flowers in the city

09 June 2019

Sea scouts

Sea Scouts

Leeuwstraat and Muinkpark
09 June 2019

Evi in the Leeuwstraat with her Khalsa patka
Leeuw = Singh

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Gent – Belgium

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Gent – Belgium

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – Amritsar: Break in at gun house, 67 guns surrendered during polls stolen

The burglars first made a hole in the weak walls of the strong room, police said. According to guidelines, strong rooms should be made of concrete and the office of the deputy commissioner and police are also responsible for ensuring that it is sturdy.

Kamaldeep Singh Brar

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 18 June 2019. A gun house was robbed in Jandiala Guru of Amritsar on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday. The strong room was breached and 68 pistols and revolvers were stolen, of which 67 belonged to people who had deposited these arms at the gun house during parliamentary elections on the orders of the Election Commission.

Nine new rifles up for sale at the gun house were not taken. Police say they suspect an insider was involved.

The burglars first made a hole in the weak walls of the strong room, police said. According to guidelines, strong rooms should be made of concrete and the office of the deputy commissioner and police are also responsible for ensuring that it is sturdy.

The burglars even took away the CCTV footage to avoid getting identified.

The Hindu – Sri Lankan Finance Minister takes on Buddhist monk’s racially charged comments

He urges ‘true Buddhists’ to unite against the ‘Talibanisation’ of the religion.

Meera Srinivasan

Colombo – Sri Lanka, 19 June 2019. Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Wednesday slammed a Buddhist monk’s controversial comments targeting Muslims and urged “true Buddhists” to unite against the “Talibanisation” of the religion.

In a tweet he posted on Wednesday morning, Mr Samaraweera said: “True Buddhists must unite NOW against the Talibanization of our great philosophy of peace & love of all beings. No Buddhist can condone a statement to stone another human being to death, even if it emanates from the robed orders. #lka”

His message comes days after a senior monk attached to Asgiriya Chapter, one of the two most influential Buddhist orders in Sri Lanka, accused Muslims of “destroying the country”, and called for a boycott of Muslim-run shops and businesses.

“Don’t eat from those (Muslim) shops,” the monk said, at a temple ceremony in the central city of Kandy, near the famous Buddhist temple of the tooth relic.

In the two months since the April 21 Easter bombings, which killed about 260 people, reactionary forces in the country have resorted to anti-Muslim violence and targeted hate-speech in more than one occasion.

Further, referring to a Muslim doctor who has been in the centre of an unsubstantiated sterilisation scare, the senior monk said the doctor was doing a “heroic” deed by destroying “hundreds of thousands” Sinhalese children.

“These traitors must not be allowed to live in freedom. Some female devotees said that they should be stoned to death. I don’t say this, but what should be done is this,” the monk said, according to translations by the local media of his speech in Sinhala.

The Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka wield significant influence in national politics. Hard-line monks have in the past resorted to hate speech with little consequence, evoking concern among many Sri Lankans troubled by the apparent impunity enjoyed by saffron-robed religious leaders.

Mr Samaraweera, the only prominent politician so far to directly challenge the Asgiriya-affiliated monk’s racially-charged comments, earlier challenged a fasting Buddhist monk’s demand that three Muslim politicians resign over alleged links to Easter suspects.

Following the collective resignation of nine Muslim Ministers early in June, he tweeted: “Hatred is never appeased by hatred. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal. Today, it was left to our Muslim Ministers to exhibit this sacred teaching of Lord Buddha while impostors in robes incited hatred in his name. A shameful day for our beloved #lka”

Earlier, Mr. Samaraweera accused Colombo Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of “fanning the flames of hatred and communalism by visiting fasting robed MP Rathana”, the monk who went on a “fast unto death”, demanding that the Muslim politicians step down.