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61 killed in Kabul suicide blast, IS claims responsibility

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IANS PHOTO

Kabul, July 23 

At least 61 people were killed and 207 injured when suspected Islamic State suicide bombers targeted a mass demonstration in the Afghan capital on Saturday.

IS fighters detonated explosive belts amidst a “gathering of Shi’ites” in Deh Mazang, said the group’s Amaq News Agency.

The incident took place as thousands of demonstrators gathered for a sit-in protest against the route of a planned power line project.

The Taliban militant group has denied any hand in the deadly attack. Taliban group spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the group has no link with the explosions in Kabul city, calling it a move to create divisions among the people, said Khaama.com.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) officials confirmed that 61 persons had died and said at least 207 have sustained injuries.

According to Tolo News, police said one suicide bomber detonated his explosives while the second person failed to explode his suicide vest. The third bomber was killed by security forces at the scene before he could detonate his vest.

Photographs and video footage taken by witnesses immediately after the blasts painted a horrific scene.

With smoke still rising, hundreds of people, many covered in blood, were filmed running from the scene. Extensive damage was also caused to nearby buildings, said Tolo News.

President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the attack.

The demonstrators had gathered in a protest organised by the Enlightening Movement over the planned route of the 500kV power line project that the Afghanistan government intends to roll out.

The project will see a new power line run from Turkmenistan through Salang to Kabul. The Enlightenment Movement wants the line to be routed through Bamiyan to Kabul, Tolo News reported.

Amnesty International has condemned the attack.

 

(IANS)

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H1B workers in crosshairs of US lawsuit against Facebook

“These U.S. workers were denied an opportunity to be considered for the jobs Facebook sought to channel to temporary visa holders,” it said.

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New York: H1B workers find themselves in the crosshairs of a new US Justice Department lawsuit against Facebook alleging that the giant social media platform discriminated against American workers and favoured foreign workers to fill more than 2,600 jobs with an average salary of approximately $156,000.

Facebook, according to the lawsuit, sponsored the temporary visa holders for “green cards” authorizing them to work permanently. The case is the result of a “nearly two-year investigation”, the Justice Department said in a December 3 statement.

The US Justice Department claims that during the period of investigation, “Facebook received zero or one U.S. worker applicants for 99.7 percent of its PERM positions, while comparable positions at Facebook that were advertised on its careers website during a similar time period typically attracted 100 or more applicants each.”

“These U.S. workers were denied an opportunity to be considered for the jobs Facebook sought to channel to temporary visa holders,” it said.

The case comes smack in the middle of the Donald Trump presidency’s lame duck priod. H1B visa workers who spoke with IANS on background are shrugging off the latest development as another sample of the Trump administration “howling at the wind”, trying to discredit legal immigrants on its way out the door.

The Joe Biden administration takes over in January next year.

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Azerbaijan says 2,783 soldiers killed in Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

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Azerbaijan said Thursday that nearly 2,800 of its soldiers were killed in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, the first details it has released of military losses in weeks of clashes with Armenian forces.

The defence ministry in Baku said in a statement that “2,783 servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces were killed in the patriotic war,” adding that 100 more soldiers were missing.

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Criminal networks could try to sell fake COVID vaccines physically and on internet, warns Interpol

The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.

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New Delhi, December 3: The Interpol has warned law enforcement agencies across the globe that organised criminal networks could try to advertise and sell fake COVID-19 vaccines physically and on the internet.

In an Orange notice issued to all 194 member countries on Wednesday, the Lyon-based international police cooperation body warned agencies to prepare for potential criminal activity in relation to “the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines”.

“It also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines,” a statement from the Interpol said.

The Interpol issues an Orange notice to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.

The CBI, which is the national central bureau for India, is tasked with coordination with the Interpol.

The warning came on the day the UK became the first Western nation to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, vaulting past the US and the European Union in the race to approve a vaccine.

The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.

“Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives,” Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a statement.

“It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why INTERPOL has issued this global warning,” the official said.

The Interpol cybercrime unit has analysed that of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, around 1,700 contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware making such operators even more potent of causing financial and health harms.

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