Afghanistan captures Taliban-linked group leaders


Afghan intelligence officials say their forces have captured 2 leaders of a hard-line militant group within the Taliban.The country’s intelligence agency said on Thursday that its forces had conducted a special operation in the eastern province of Khost 2 days before. Afghan agency officials said their forces detained Anas Haqqani and a commander of the Haqqani network.

Officials said Anas Haqqani is a son of the network’s founder and played a role in raising funds in the Middle East and conducting propaganda activities using the Internet.

Haqqani network was once based in neighboring Pakistan, and staged a number of terrorist attacks and raids. The group is believed to have moved to Afghanistan to evade military operations in Pakistan.

Afghan officials said the capture of the two is important and will weaken the network’s combat capabilities.Ashraf Ghani became the president of Afghanistan in September. He called on Taliban to join dialogue.

ISIS militants still hold Kobane


Oct 17

Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobane is still holding out against the ISIS militants with Kurdish fighters backed by US led airstrikes carrying out series of attacks on the militant targets. The Kurds claimed to have pushed ISIS militants in parts of Kobane, but the Pentagon warned that the airstrikes may not prevent the fall of the strategic town even though hundreds of militants are reported to have been killed.

US Central Command said, American warplanes struck 14 times near Kobane on Wednesday and Thursday, including successful raids on 19 buildings under the control of militants. Coalition forces have now carried out more than 100 air strikes near Kobane since September.

In Iraq, the Islamic State group militants have also been pushed out of Amriyat al-Fallujah, a key city just west of Baghdad. Iraqi authorities and the US military have also denied reports that the Islamic State group militants were encircling the Iraqi capital and that the Iraqi capital was in imminent danger.

Kerry says Russian troops withdrawing from Ukraine


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Kerry says Russian troops withdrawing from Ukraine ” width=”299″ height=”193″ /></p>
<p>US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said that Russian troops were withdrawing from Ukraine, one of several key steps needed for Western sanctions to be lifted against Moscow.</p>
<p>“There are four to five principal requirements with respect to lifting the sanctions: release of hostages, release of all prisoners, is one; the withdrawal of the forces troops and equipment is another,” Kerry said after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Paris.</p>
<p>“And at this point… many of them are happening now, the troops are pulling back, the heavy equipment still has to be pulled back and the border is yet to be properly monitored and secured.”</p>
<p>Lavrov tried to impress on Kerry his view that tough Western sanctions on Russia were eroding hopes of an economic recovery in Europe and straining Washington’s own ties with Brussels.</p>
<p>“We do not know who is losing out more in economic terms: Russia or the European Union,” Lavrov said shortly before flying to Paris. Russian President Vladimir Putin — due to meet Poroshenko in Milan on Friday — had boosted Lavrov’s hand by calling back from the Ukrainian border 17,600 soldiers he had stationed there when Kiev’s forces were making their most significant gains this summer.</p>
<p>The sanctions have cut Russia’s access to Western money markets and forced its biggest state companies to appeal for massive rescues that will further limit the government’s ability to meet its social commitments.</p>
<p>They also threaten to tip Russia into recession and ensure that growth remains anaemic through the remaining four years of Putin’s third term.</p>
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Hong Kong police clear pro-democracy protest in Mong Kok


Hong Kong police cleared a pro-democracy protest site in the city’s densely populated Mong Kok area today, meeting no resistance as they removed barricades and tents.

The Mong Kok site, which was nearly empty when police moved in, has seen violent scuffles between demonstrators calling for full democracy in the southern Chinese city and opposition groups during almost three weeks of rallies.

The site is separate to the largest protest site outside government offices in the Admiralty district on the city’s main island. Meanwhile, Chief Executive CY Leung’s decision to postpone a planned Question & Answer session at the Legislative Council yesterday came as a disappointment to the Occupy movement.

Police in Hong Kong have cleared one of the 3 main roads occupied by pro-democracy protesters.

Officers removed barricades and tents on the main road in Kowloon early on Friday morning. The dawn raid met little resistance from the small number of protesters at the site.

The road reopened nearly 3 weeks after the demonstrators, mainly students, began their sit-in.
But more than 100 people were still blocking one lane after the police left the area.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Thursday that his government is ready to hold dialogue with the protesters as early as next week.

The students accepted the offer of dialogue, but said that if they are evicted before the talks, it would reveal the government’s insincerity.

Black money info cannot be disclosed


The menace of black money is still unresolved tangle with Centre told the SC its technicalities of not disclosing the name of  holders of black money  cannot be made public on taxation ground the matter appears to bring more people perception of governance to be low ebb as the lobby of the BM holders is too influential.

The Centre  said that the foreign countries have objected to disclosing such information and if such details are revealed then no other country would sign such an agreement with India.

Appearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the issue and pleaded for an urgent hearing.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on whose plea the apex court had constituted Special Investigating Team (SIT) on black money, strongly objected to the stand taken by the Centre and said that matter be not heard.

“Matter should not be entertained even for a day. Such application should have been made by the culprits and not by the government,” Jethmalani said, adding that Centre is trying to protect the people who have stashed black money in foreign banks.

Jethmalani said that he has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue and his response is awaited.

The apex court had constituted the SIT headed by its former judge M B Shah on a plea of Jethmalani, who had moved the court for the purpose of getting black money back to the country.


Centre told the Supreme Court that information on black money given by foreign countries with which India has double taxation avoidance agreement cannot be disclosed. The government said that the names cannot be made public as it violates the double taxation avoidance agreement. It said, the names can only be shared with concerned agencies. The apex court has agreed to hear the government’s plea on 28th of this month.

On 15th of this month, Switzerland agreed to assist Indian authorities on a priority basis and provide requested banking information in a time-bound manner. The Swiss authorities will also assist in obtaining confirmation on genuineness of bank documents on request by the Indian side and also swiftly provide information on requests related to non-banking information.

Indian and Swiss governments have been in talks for the past few years on the matter of alleged black money parked by Indian citizens in banks in Switzerland, but there have been no major breakthrough despite having a bilateral treaty in this regard.

In July, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had informed Parliament that Switzerland had raised some legal issues with regard to providing details of Indian citizens who had parked illegal funds in Swiss banks. Asserting that the government was making all efforts to get details of such accounts, Mr Jaitley had also said it was collecting evidence in this regard.

A Special Investigation Team, chaired by former Supreme Court judge Justice M B Shah, is looking into the menace of black money.

SC grants interim bail to Jayalalithaa


Oct 17,

In a major relief to jailed AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court today granted her interim bail in a disproportionate assets case in which she was sentenced to four-year jail term. A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu also granted bail to Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala and her relatives VN Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi.

The apex court also stayed the sentence and warned Jayalalithaa against causing any delay by seeking adjournment in her appeal in Karnataka High Court. The bench directed Jayalalithaa to file paper book of her appeal in the high court within two months.

The court said, if paper book is not filed within two months, then it will not give even a single day more. Meanwhile, celebrations broke out in Tamil Nadu after the Supreme Court’s order. She was convicted by the Bangalore Special Court on the 27th of last month. After her conviction, Mr. O. Panneerselvam took oath as the Chief Minister of the State.

Today’s founder day meeting of the AIADMK Party had a twist even as the news of the Party’s general Secretary Ms.Jayalalithaa being granted bail at the Supreme Court started trickling in. Happiness knew no bounds and party workers started celebrating with bursting of crackers. Political experts say that the granting of bail was only a temporary relief for the charismatic leader it would be a permanent relief only if she is delivered of the penalty.

Political commentators say that though the Assembly Secretary had not notified on the vacancy of the Srirangam Constituency the election commission will take a decision in six month period which also is a stone to be turned for the political command of the party and also the state.

Indigenously developed cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ test-fired


Indigenously developed cruise missile

India’s indigenously developed nuclear capable sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’, which can strike targets more than 700 kms away, was on Friday test-fired from a test range at Chandipur near in Balasore (Odisha).”The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher positioned at launch pad 3 of the Integrated Test Range at about 10.03 hours,” said an official soon after the flight took off from the launch ground.”Flight details will be available after data retrieved from radars and telemetry points, monitoring the trajectories, are analysed,” the official said.

It is the second test of the sub-sonic long range cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ from the ITR.

The maiden flight, conducted on March 12, 2013 could not achieve all the desired parameters as “the flight had to be terminated mid-way when deviations were observed from its intended course,” sources said.

India has in its arsenal the 290 km range supersonic “BrahMos” cruise missile which is jointly developed by India and Russia.

But ‘Nirbhay’ with long range capability is a different kind of missile being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Nirbhay has good loitering capability, good control and guidance, high degree of accuracy in terms of impact and very good stealth features.


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