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Washington, Feb 21: President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who left in November 2014 to join IS, to return to the US — despite her recent public plea to come back and stand trial in America.

“I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!,” Trump tweeted.

Hours earlier, Pompeo declared that Muthana, who is detained in a Kurdish refugee camp, is not an American citizen, reports CNN.

“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the US. She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the US,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Muthana, now 24, was a college student when she travelled to Syria over four years ago to join IS — eventually marrying three fighters and calling for the killing of Americans on Twitter.

In a series of interviews this week from a sprawling camp in northern Syria with her infant son, she expressed deep remorse.

“When I left to Syria I was a naive, angry, and arrogant young woman,” she said in a handwritten statement provided to CNN by a representative. “To say that I regret my past words, any pain that I caused my family and any concerns I would cause my country would be hard for me to really express properly.”

Hassan Shibly, a family representative for Muthana, denied that she was not a citizen, and called the move by the Trump administration to claim otherwise “very dangerous.”

According to Shibly, Muthana was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1994.

“The Trump administration continues its attempts to wrongfully strip citizens of their citizenship,” Shibly said in statement.

“Hoda Muthana had a valid US passport and is a citizen. She was born in Hackensack, NJ in October 1994, months after her father stopped being diplomat,” he added before later tweeting a picture of what he claimed is Muthana’s birth certificate, that appeared to confirm her place and date of birth.

Asked about Muthana’s case on Tuesday, State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino noted that “the situation of American citizens or possible American citizens in Syria is by definition extremely complicated and we’re looking into these cases to better understand the details.”

Palladino would not speak to the specific case, but said that in cases involving “American citizens or potential American citizens or alleged American citizens,” US policy “would be to repatriate them, and it’s what we call on all countries to do who have (foreign terrorist) fighters in Syria too.”

IANS

India

Cattle smuggling on Bangladesh border to go up before Eid: Intel

So far in 2020, 16 personnel of BSF’s South Bengal Frontier have been injured in various scuffles with trans-border criminals.

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New Delhi, July 9 : With just three weeks to go for Eid-ul-Adha, the Islamic festival of sacrifice, the Border Security Force (BSF) has deployed more force on India-Bangladesh border apprehending surge in cattle smuggling — an annual affair, but which dropped by 96 per cent last year.

As the festival — which is also called ”Qurbani Eid” — will be celebrated on July 31 this year, the BSF’s intelligence wing has alerted its border units about activities of cattle traffickers, considering the rising demand from Bangladesh.

The BSF, which guards the India-Bangladesh border, said the price of animals is higher than before this time due to rains being in full force and high water level in rivers flowing along the border.

Every year, a BSF official said, incidents of animal trafficking increase before Eid-ul-Adha along the 4,096 km India-Bangladesh border, the fifth-longest in the world, and spanning Assam (262 km), Tripura (856 km), Mizoram (180 km), Meghalaya (443 km), and West Bengal (2,217 km).

The business of cattle smuggling has been flourishing in West Bengal since many years because influential people are said to be involved. But since last year, the BSF”s South Bengal Frontier has almost stopped cattle trafficking.

It has been learned from reliable sources that the process of licensing ”Cattle Haats” in the border areas of Bangladesh is going to be completed soon. These ”Cattle Haats” see trade of most of the cattle smuggled from India.

The price of cattle in Bangladesh has increased significantly during this time of the year. At present, a buffalo of large size which is available in India for Rs 50,000 is priced in Bangladesh at about Rs 1.50 lakh and a bull of large size at Rs 80,000, an official said.

“Cattle smugglers who are involved in this nefarious and illegal business have several hundred crores (rupees) and put the lives of many poor, illiterate and unemployed youths at stake by luring them for a few thousand rupees,” the officer said.

Another officer said the more strict the border, the more money is paid to these youths who are called ”Rakhals” in the local language.

For every head of cattle taken across the international border, a ”Rakhal” gets Rs 8,000-10,000. For this money, the kingpin cattle smuggler puts the life of ”Rakhal” at stake.

Many of these ”rakhals” lose their lives while doing these illegal acts by drowning during floods, getting bitten by snakes, hit by lightning, being trampled by cattle, getting killed in a gang war or in BSF firing, BSF spokesperson Krishna Rao told IANS.

Rao said the BSF have made all their preparations to meet the challenge of cattle smuggling this year in the run-up to Eid.

“Border Security Force battalions deployed in Malda and Baharampur sectors have completed their preparations and are committed to thwart the nefarious designs of smugglers,” the officer said.

In the most vulnerable Border Out Posts (BoPs) such as Neem Teeta, Harudanga, Madanghat and Sovapur in Malda and Murshidabad districts, additional troopers and resources have been deployed, he said.

“In fact, the Ganga river enters Bangladesh from India under the responsibility of these border posts. When the water is released from the Farakka Dam, this river gets flooded which is exploited by cattle smugglers,” the officer said.

Explaining the method, the official said, the traffickers put the cattle in the river upto 8 to 10 km upstream.

“Before putting them in the river, they tie the legs of the cattle, put a bandage over the eyes and finally tie two banana stems on either side of the animal to keep it afloat.”

The BSF top brass took several calibrated measures to curb the menace last year as the trade promotes an approximate Rs 10,000 crore beef export industry of Bangladesh.

During this rainy season, the BSF has increased the deployment of night cameras, tractors, and speed boats to prevent animal trafficking before Eid-ul-Adha.

”Rakhals” of India and Bangladesh, at times, try to smuggle up to 400-500 heads of cattle, and attack the border guards with sharp-edged weapons, sticks and stones and bricks. Many times, they also fire with home-made firearms and hurl explosives

So far in 2020, 16 personnel of BSF’s South Bengal Frontier have been injured in various scuffles with trans-border criminals.

Its new Inspector General, Ashwani Kumar Singh has given clear instructions that attack on BSF personnel by these smugglers would not be tolerated and that trans-border crimes will be stopped at any cost.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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India

Nepal bans all Indian news channels except Doordarshan

Earlier, Nepal has amended its map which show some Indian territory as part of it.

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KP Oli Napali PM

New Delhi, July 10 : Nepal has banned all Indian news channels, except DD News, for alleged propaganda against the country.

Reports say that Nepal cable operators have stopped getting signals of Indian news channels.

Nepal government spokesperson Yuvaraj Khatiwada said: “We request all not to disseminate news that infringes sovereignty and self-respect of Nepalis. This includes the media of neighbouring countries. We might seek both political and legal remedies.”

Earlier, Nepal has amended its map which show some Indian territory as part of it.

Nepal’s parliament on June 13 adopted unanimously the Constitution Amendment Bill, paving the way for accommodating the updated political-administrative map, which includes Indian areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura, in its symbol.

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World

Melania Trump sculpture in Slovenia set ablaze

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Ljubljana, July 9 (IANS) A quirky wooden sculpture of US First Lady Melania Trump near her hometown in Slovenia was reported to have been set on fire, prompting its removal, a media report said on Thursday.

Brad Downey, the Berlin-based American artist who commissioned the statue, said it was targeted on July 4, said the BBC report.

The White House has not responded to the development.

The sculpture was carved out of a tree trunk on the outskirts of Sevnica, her hometown in central Slovenia.

The statue, which depicts Trump dressed in a blue coat similar to one she wore to her husband”s inauguration, received mixed reviews when it was erected in July 2019.

Trump, a model who grew up in Slovenia when it was part of Yugoslavia, moved to the US in the 1990s.

Since Donald Trump was elected US president in 2016, Sevnica has become a tourist site.

Residents have launched Melania-branded merchandise, including slippers, cakes, and burgers.

–IANS

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