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Former IS sex slave demands justice for Yazidis

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Washington, March 20 : A Yazidi woman who was kidnapped and taken as a sex slave by the terror group IS has demanded investigation from the Iraqi government and the UN and asked for justice, a media report said.

Nadia Murad, along with her counsel, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, described her ordeal in an interview to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday.

It began in 2014 after Islamic State militants arrived at her village in Sinjar, Kurdistan, she said.

“Early morning on August 3, 2014, they attacked us,” she recalled.

“Nearly 6,500 women and children from the Yazidi were abducted and about 5,000 people from the community were killed during that day,” Murad told Zakaria.

“For eight months, they separated us from our mothers and our sisters and our brothers, and some of them were killed and others disappeared,” she said.

Murad’s mother and six of her brothers and stepbrothers were executed. She, along with other unmarried women, was taken as a sex slave and passed around various IS militants, the CNN interview said.

At one point, she told the UN Security Council in 2015, as punishment for a failed escape attempt, she was gang raped until she passed out. All of this, she said, was considered legal under the IS rule — which dictates that Yazidis, because they do not practice Islam, can be taken as slaves on religious grounds.

“They sold girls, girls that were underage, because IS considered that permissible under Islamic law,” Murad said. “They came not just to attack certain people, but they came for all Yazidis.”

The violence against the Yazidi community continues to this day, said Clooney, who represents Murad. More than 6,000 Yazidis are believed to remain in captivity, some of them from Murad’s own family, Clooney said.

It’s time, she said, to bring the IS to justice for committing some of “the worst crimes of our generation.”

“We know that there’s a military campaign going on where the IS is being taken on on the battlefield. What we want is to see IS members also in a courtroom,” Clooney told CNN.

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Kim to cross border on foot for inter-Korean summit

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Seoul, April 26: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will cross the border on foot to attend the historic inter-Korean summit on Friday, the Presidential office said here on Thursday.

Kim will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the military demarcation line (MDL) dividing the two Koreas at 9.30 a.m., Xinhua quoted the Blue House as saying.

Kim will cross the MDL, marked only by a low concrete slab, through a narrow aisle between the blue pavilions sitting in the middle of Panmunjom, a border village straddling the two Koreas.

Later both leaders would be escorted by honour guards towards Peace House, the summit venue on the southern side.

Kim will become the first North Korean leader to step on South Korean soil since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty, Efe news reported.

The government in Seoul reported that after a welcoming ceremony and a brief informal talk, the first round of the summit will begin at 10.30 a.m.

Among the nine delegates designated by Pyongyang are the country’s honorary president Kim Yong-nam, Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Kim’s sister Kim Yo-jong, who is director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of North Korea.

Kim Yo-jong had made a historic visit to the South in February during the Winter Games to facilitate the rapprochement.

After the morning session the two parties will have lunch separately before they plant a tree together in a symbolic ceremony.

The two leaders will then go for a short, informal walk before resuming talks.

At the end of the meeting, Moon and Kim Jong-un will sign an agreement and make an announcement, according to a Seoul spokesperson.

He added that where and how the announcement will be made will be determined by the content of the agreement.

The banquet, in which Seoul hopes that Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju can attend, will start at 6.30 p.m., followed by a “farewell ceremony” that will conclude the summit, according to the details provided by Moon’s office.

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India, Mongolia agree to jointly fight terror, boost trade

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Ulaanbaatar, April 25: Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday discussed terrorism with her Mongolian counterpart Damdin Tsogtbaatar and the two agreed to collaborate to confront those who design and support terror outfits.

Sushma Swaraj, who arrived in the Mongolian capital here on Tuesday after wrapping up her China visit, also called upon the country’s business community to seize economic opportunities from India’s growth.

She co-chaired the sixth round of the India-Mongolia Joint Consultative Committee (IMJCC), focusing on a range of issues including economic, energy, political, strategic, educational and cultural ties along with Tsogtbaatar.

She is the first Indian Foreign Minister to visit Mongolia in 42 years.

In 2015, Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit this landlocked Asian country. It had ruffled China’s feathers.

Addressing the media here after the IMJCC meeting, Sushma Swaraj said: “We discussed global challenges affecting humanity, particularly terrorism, and agreed to collaborate bilaterally in the international arena to root out this evil.”

She said India sees Mongolia as a factor of stability in East Asia, adding that the country’s social and economic development is the key to peace and prosperity in the region.

India is currently helping Mongolia build its first oil refinery with a $1 billion line of credit, to reduce its dependence of neighbouring nations.

“We reviewed the progress in our on-going collaborative projects, including the refinery project selected by the government of Mongolia for implementation with the support of $1 billion dollar Indian line of credit.

“We directed our officials to coordinate follow up action on each side for the expeditious implementation of these projects. Our strong political ties must be complemented by commensurate levels of trade, economy and investment.”

Stating that India has today emerged as one of the fastest growing large economies in the world, Sushma Swaraj said that with its rich natural resources and strong aspiration for development, Mongolia can be an important partner in India’s growth story.

“Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar and I agreed to explore possible ways to identify new areas of cooperation in all sectors of mutual interest and to enhance our bilateral trade and investments. We discussed economic cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development, energy, services and IT,” Sushma Swaraj said.

“I call upon the Mongolian business community to seize economic opportunities arising out of India’s growth.”

In Wednesday’s meeting, both sides agreed to remove institutional and logistical impediments to boost trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts.

“I reiterated to Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar our continued commitment for capacity building programmes for the people of Mongolia, including in areas such as, training in English language and IT,” the Indian External Affairs Minister said.

She said both the nations have identified new areas of cooperation that include IT, infrastructure, energy and services.

“We look forward to more students visiting India for pursuing vocational education & training under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme, also known as ITEC, and through scholarships offered by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations,” she said.

“We would encourage students from Mongolia to pursue studies in Indian art, music and culture which would further reinforce our cultural links.”

Sushma Swaraj also encouraged Mongolian students to visit India and enroll in fields like Buddhist studies.

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Third US judge rules against Trump’s bid to end DACA

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Washington, April 25: A third US federal judge based here has ruled against President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme (DACA).

John Bates, Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit, on Tuesday gave the Department of Homeland Security 90 days to come up with better explanation for winding down the program, else he would enter an order reinstating DACA in its entirety.

DACA is an American immigration policy that allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children to receive a renewable two-year deferral from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.

After the White House announced its plan to end DACA in September, federal judges in New York and San Francisco also ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting new applications for protection under DACA.

“Each day that the agency delays is a day that aliens who might otherwise be eligible for initial grants of DACA benefits are exposed to removal because of an unlawful agency action,” Bates wrote,

He also called the Trump administration’s move to end DACA “unlawful”, “capricious”, and “virtually unexplained”, Xinhua news agency reported.

In February, the US Supreme Court had declined to hear the administration’s appeal of the San Francisco ruling.

Some 700,000 undocumented immigrants, most of them brought to the US as children, had signed up for DACA introduced by the then Barack Obama government in 2012.

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