Saudi Crown Prince Md. Bin Salman reaches China after India’s visit

Beijing: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in China on Thursday on the latest stop of a sweep through Asia that aims to expand the kingdom’s influence on the continent.

Prince Mohammed touched down in the morning following earlier visits to India and Pakistan.

He’s due to meet officials including the Chinese president and ruling Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping, on Friday, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s importance as one of China’s top oil suppliers and a market for its exports, including military drones.

Prince Mohammed’s visit to Beijing follows one earlier this week by a high-powered delegation from Saudi Arabia’s chief strategic rival Iran. At a meeting Wednesday, Xi told Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani that “China’s resolve to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership with Iran will remain unchanged,” regardless of the evolving international situation, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

The trip comes five months after the crown prince came under intense pressure following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

At the same time, China is facing growing international criticism over its treatment of its Muslim minority groups. So far, Turkey has been the only majority Muslim country to criticize Beijing, with its Foreign Ministry this month calling treatment of minority Uighurs “a great cause of shame for humanity” and saying it is “no longer a secret” that China has arbitrarily detained more than a million Uighurs in “concentration camps.”

Saudi Arabia’s Al Saud royal family has long cast itself as the defender of Muslims across the world. Its king describes himself as the protector of Islam’s two holiest mosques at Medina and Mecca. Observant Muslims pray five times a day in the direction of the cube-shaped Kaaba at the mosque at Mecca.

Commenting Wednesday on the crown prince’s visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said recent years have “seen a positive momentum in our cooperation with fruitful outcomes in various areas such as infrastructure and space satellites.”

“We hope that through this visit we will enhance our relations enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation … and inject momentum into our bilateral relations,” Geng said.

Prince Mohammed is due to visit South Korea after Beijing.

In New Delhi, he offered intelligence sharing and other cooperation with India in fighting extremism and terrorism

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Supreme Court helds Anil Ambani guilty of contempt

The Supreme Court bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran has held Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Communications, guilty of contempt of court for defaulting payments to Ericsson as per the undertaking given to the Court. The three Reliance Companies – RCom, Reliance Telecom and Reliance InfraTel- are also held guilty of contempt, and fine of Rs One Crore each has been imposed on them. The Court however has given an opportunity to Reliance companies to purge contempt by paying Rs.453 crores to Ericsson within 4 weeks, failing which Anil Ambani will be sent to prison for three months.

“Anyone who picks up a gun in Kashmir will be eliminated” – Indian Army

NEW DELHI: Sending a strong message to the misguided youth of Kashmir, Lt Gen Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, Corps Commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said Tuesday that anyone who picks up a gun in Kashmir will be eliminated.

He appealed directly to the ‘mothers’ in Kashmirs to ask their children to not take up terrorism and surrender to the forces.

“Mothers have an important part to play in Kashmiri society,” he said.

“I would like to inform that in less than 100 hours of Pulwama terrorist attack, we have eliminated JeM leadership in the valley which was being handled by JeM from Pakistan,” Lt Gen Dhillon said.

“We were tracking the top JeM cadres ever since February 14. The Pulwama terror attack was coordinated by the JeM cadres in Pakistan and the Pakistan Army,” he said.

On Monday’s operation, the Corps Commander said it was the result of complete synergy between the Army, state police and the CRPF.

The Lt Gen also paid his respects to the men killed in action in yesterday’s military operation in Pulwama where the top commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi alias Kamran, was eliminated in a 12-hour-long encounter with multiple terrorists.

Answering a question about whether one of the two slain militants in Monday’s operation was Ghazi, who masterminded and directly handled the Kashmiri JeM suicide bomber, the Corps Commander said: “So many Ghazis have so far come and gone.

The slain soldiers were identified as Major V S Dhondial, Havaldar Sheo Ram and Sepoys Hari Singh and Ajay Kumar. A head constable of the police was also killed. The injured included DIG (south Kashmir) Amit Kumar, who received a gunshot wound in the abdomen, and a brigade commander, who was hurt in the leg. All the injured are stable and are doing well said the Corps Commander.

“There’s fire in my heart..” PM Modi on Pulwama attack

NEW DELHI:
The demand for retaliatory action following the terror attack in Pulwama grew today as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bihar to inaugurate some central projects. As NDA ally Nitish Kumar called for appropriate response, ally Ram Vilas Paswan said India should take “revenge” for “every drop of blood shed in Pulwama”. The Prime Minister said he shared the nation’s outrage.

“To the people who have gathered here, I would like to say the fire that is raging in your bosoms is in my heart too,” he said.

More than 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force died on Thursday as a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e Mohammed rammed a car, filled with explosives, into a 78-vehicle convoy.

The resulting explosion had ripped apart one bus and hit another, spreading metal debris and human remains over a 100-metre radius on the national highway.

There have been repeated demands for appropriate action from the shocked nation. Over 40 nations have condemned the terror attack. Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the CRPF have not minced words in expressing their desire to avenge the deaths. PM Modi has promised that the sacrifices” of the jawans at Pulwama “will not go in vain”. Union Minister Arun Jaitley, too, tweeted that the terrorists “will be given unforgettable lesson for their heinous act”.

India’s response against the attack has been two-pronged so far. On the one hand, efforts are on to isolate Pakistan diplomatically, on the other, allowances made for Pakistan in terms of trade have been scrapped. India has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation or MFN status to Pakistan and imposed 200 per cent customs duties on goods from across the border.

Over 40 nations have condemned the terror attack and New Delhi has asked the international community to support naming JeM chief Masood Azhar as a “UN designated terrorist”.

Today, as the government withdrew security to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP chief Amit Shah promised further action.

“What goes, comes around” Robert Vadra before ED quizzing.

JAIPUR: Robert Vadra, Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law, lashed out at the Modi government as he appeared before the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED)’s regional office here on Tuesday along with his 75-year-old mother, Maureen, in connection with the probe into an alleged land scam in Bikaner.

“I have always adhered to rules and overall being a disciplined person, I have the ability to sustain any amount of hours of questioning and having nothing to hide. I will answer every question with respect and dignity. This too shall pass and will make me stronger. What goes around comes around.

God is with us!” Vadra tweeted as went into what turned out to be a nine-hour-long session with an ED team. He was accompanied by his wife and Congress general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi, who flew here from Lucknow. He has been asked to appear for questioning again on Wednesday.

Vadra said: “So here we are -my 75-year-old mother and me – in Jaipur to depose in front of ED. Not understanding the lows of this vindictive government to be harassing a senior citizen, who the world knows has lost her daughter in a car crash, her ailing son to diabetes and her husband as well,” Vadra tweeted, who was directed by the HC to appear for quizzing along with her mother.

Sources said ED had prepared a long list of questions which included Vadra’s alleged involvement in controversial land purchases in Bikaner and his company Skylight Hospitality’s role, which had purchased 69.55 hectares of land for Rs 72 lakh and later sold it to another firm for Rs 5.15 crore. He was quizzed about his aides, the land purchase, his company and the firm to which the land was sold over nine hours, sources said.

In 2015, ED took cognizance of the police FIRs as the agency suspected that money was laundered in this case by people buying land at cheap rates through forged documents. It was alleged by the agency that the land was purchased in the name of a driver, using a cheque allegedly given by Vadra.

Vadra’s appearance was necessitated following an order by Rajasthan high court’s Jodhpur bench on January 21. The court had directed Vadra and his mother to appear before ED on February 12. The court had, however, refused to vacate the stay on his arrest.

Vadra arrived shortly after 10 am and sources said he requested ED sleuths to question his mother first so that she could leave early. While Vadra’s lawyers claimed that Vadra and his mother “fully cooperated” with the agency during the questioning, sources said the sleuths needed more time to probe him on other aspects of the land deal.

The ED office was heavily guarded by police as Congress workers shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“US Homeland security defrauded 129 Indian students by setting up fake university” – Anu Peshawaria

Washington: Flooded with phone calls from panic-stricken students, an eminent Indian American attorney on Tuesday alleged that Department of Homeland Security knowingly allowed the “fake university” to be set up and misled students sitting hundreds of miles away in another country.

A day after the State Department blamed Indian students for the mass detention and possible deportation from the US for enrolling themselves in a fake university set up by the Department of Homeland Security, California-based immigration attorney Anu Peshawaria said that the undercover operation has devastating consequences for hundreds of Indian students.

“We are not saying that our students are not at fault. They should have done their due diligence before signing up. If they are perpetrating crime knowingly, they should be punished but if they are trapped or encouraged to commit the crime then we need to help them,” Peshawaria said.

As per last week’s figures provided by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as many as 130 of the 600 students from the fake University of Farmington were detained last week. Of these 129 were Indians.

Many of them since then have been released or put under restricted movement. Several of them have left the country.

Peshawaria said that some students are worried that they will have arrest on their record for ever and have lost years of education to no avail.

“They could be possible blackmail for the rest of their lives. What is surprising is that the university was registered with the education board that authorizes the issuance of I-20s to students, which in turn is approved by the Department of Homeland Security,” she said.

“Department of Homeland Security knowingly allowed the ‘fake university’ to be set up and misled students sitting hundreds of miles away in another country, she said noting that her office has been receiving numerous calls from panic-stricken friends and families of a large number of Indian students which could result in mass deportation.

Worse, these students, based on their approved i-20s even got driver licenses from the US Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This only added another stamp of authenticity to the credentials of the university, she asserted.

Many students travelled to meet the Dean of the University, which has now been closed, many of them asked for classes curriculum, she said.

“Given that authorities knew this was a set-up, they should have stopped the students there and then. If they wanted to catch the perpetrators what right do, they have to defraud innocent lives,” Peshawaria said.

“In fact, during this time the government also enjoyed taxes that these consultants paid. Now, they cannot suddenly wake up and decide to put all these people behind bars,” Peshawaria added.

Many students have huge loans to pay, she said based on her interaction with these students. They were saving up to send to their families in a small village in India, she said adding that they are devastated.

“It is all easy to say that students knew what they were doing, did we all know all the laws when we moved to United States that they should get such harsh punishment, she asked.

“We are all fighting to release the students immediately. The students are calling me that US govt is forcing them to self deport but they want back their degrees and lost time and compensation for pain and anguish,” Peshawaria asserted.

Mamta calls SC verdict “moral victory”, ends dharna

Kolkata: Happy with the ‘favourable’ Supreme Court order that directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday not to take any coercive measures against Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called it a ‘moral victory’ of Bengal and India against the vindictive attitude of the Centre. The Supreme Court in its order said: “We make it clear that no coercive steps including the arrest shall be taken against the Commissioner of Police. To avoid all unnecessary controversy, we direct the Commissioner of Police to appear before the investigating agency in Shillong, Meghalaya on such date(s) as may be fixed.” Read This – CBI probe against Roy, Sarma yet to reach conclusive end Banerjee, who had organised a Satyagraha titled “Save the Indian Constitution” shortly after the CBI officials visited Kumar’s residence on Sunday, came to an end on Tuesday evening following a meeting with Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who had come to express solidarity with Banerjee. Read This – No proposal to scrap sedition law: Govt tells Lok Sabha “This dharna was not a political agitation. It was an agitation to save India and India’s democracy. Let us end it today (Tuesday) because the Supreme Court gave a very positive verdict. It was a verdict of the people, by the people, for the people. I have held meetings with Naiduji and Tejashwi, and as we hail the Supreme Court order, we have decided to end the dharna,” she said adding: “We will hold a meeting in Delhi on February 13 and 14 and I will go to Delhi to join the programme.” Launching a scathing attack on Modi, she said: “The CBI instead of working for him should try to find out the Nobel prize which was stolen from Visva Bharati. We wanted them to hand over the investigation to us which they did not, and now, they are unable to trace the medal.” Banerjee said Rajeev Kumar had written five letters to the CBI expressing his desire to meet them but at a neutral place. “It is unfortunate that the CBI did not take cognizance of the letters. I decided to protest because the way CBI officials raided his house is uncalled for. How can you go to the house of the Commissioner of Police to interrogate without any document,” she questioned. The Chief Minister further added: “In the past few years the CBI had arrested leaders like Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Tapas Pal, Shrikant Mohta and even the editor of a Bengali daily and all have been taken to Odisha. They have been harassed and then released after six months.” Chandrababu Naidu said the democracy in the country is not safe in the hands of Narendra Modi. “They say everyone in this country is corrupt except Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Institutions like the CBI, ED, Income Tax have become tools in the hands of the Prime Minister and Shah who use them to scare the Opposition leaders. We are protesting against that.” Naidu said the meeting called by Banerjee on January 19 was “the greatest historical event in recent times. 22 leaders attended it. Now, today all the parties have supported Banerjee because the IAS and IPS officers in India are under severe threat and we want to restore democracy. Banerjee has become a national leader for her spirit and initiative to strengthen the Federal Front.” Tejashwi Yadav said it had become a custom by the BJP leaders to call every leader of the Opposition corrupt. They let loose the CBI and other agencies against those who raise their voice. However, this time we are all united and should work together to oust Modi. During the day, All India Trinamool Youth Congress president Abhishek Banerjee visited the ‘dharna manch’. The ‘Satyagraha’ concluded with the slogan “Oust Modi and Save the Country.” In a related development, the Centre on Tuesday asked the West Bengal government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for flouting service rules.