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Japanese F-35 fighter jet crashes into Pacific Ocean

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The F-35 was flying over the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan. ( Photo: IANS File)
Tokyo, April 10: The wreckage of a Japanese F-35 stealth fighter jet was found on Wednesday, a day after it disappeared from radar over the Pacific Ocean, Japanese military officials said.

The pilot of the plane, however, was still missing, the BBC reported.

Parts of the plane have been recovered during search operations at sea.
It is not known why the plane, which is less than a year old, lost contact and crashed.

The fighter jet went missing at 7.27 p.m. on Tuesday as it was flying 135km east of Misawa, a city in northeast Japan.

It lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from the Misawa Air Base. No problems with the aircraft had previously been reported, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

Rescue teams were continuing their search for the male pilot who was in his 40s, according to news site Kyodo.

Japan has been deploying F-35s, which cost at least $90 million, to replace its ageing F-4 fighter jets.

The country has now grounded its 12 remaining F-35 fighter jets at the Misawa base temporarily, said Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya.

IANS

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Pending India-Bangladesh issues will be resolved: Momen

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AK Abdul Momen

Dhaka, Aug 8 : Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen on Saturday said that India and Bangladesh have resolved major bilateral issues, achieved progress on water sharing and will soon also resolve the other pending issues.

“There are some issues. We will resolve those. Keep faith in us,” he said.

The Minister said that Bangladesh’s relations with India and China should not be compared.

“Bangladesh’s relations with India are rock solid and historic, while Bangladesh has economic ties with China. We must not compare,” he said.

Momen made the remarks after visiting the Mujibnagar Muktijoddha Memorial Complex.

Bangladesh is focusing on its own development, said Momen, adding that both India and China are major partners and Bangladesh wants more trade benefits from India.

Asked about trials of a coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh, the Foreign Minister said many countries like India and Pakistan have gone in for collaboration.

He said a Chinese company is developing a relationship with ICDDR, which is an institution of 28 countries.

He said the government has contributed to the European Union so that Bangladesh gets a vaccine smoothly.

Momen added that vaccines should not be distributed in an indiscriminate manner and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that it needs to be ensured that no one is left out.

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‘China, Russia, Iran trying to influence US prez election’

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Donald Trump

Washington:  A top US intelligence official has warned that China, Russia and Iran were trying to influence the upcoming American presidential election scheduled to be held on November 3, according to an official statement.

Foreign countries are trying to sway voter preferences, change US policies, “increase discord” in the country “and undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process”, the BBC quoted William Evanina, head of the National Counter-intelligence and Security Center (NCSC), as saying in the statement released on Friday.

The counter-intelligence chief however added that it would be “difficult for our adversaries to interfere with or manipulate voting results at scale”.

Many countries “have a preference for who wins the election”, he said, adding they were however “primarily concerned” about China, Russia and Iran:

According to Evanina, China “prefers that President (Donald) Trump, whom Beijing sees as unpredictable, does not win re-election”, and has been “expanding its influence efforts” ahead of the vote

Regarding Russia, the intelligence official said in the statement that Moscow was seeking to “denigrate” presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s candidacy and other members of a perceived “anti-Russia ‘establishment’”.

Evanina added that some other actors linked to Russia “are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television”

Meanwhile, Iran is trying to “undermine US democratic institutions”,Trump, and “divide the country” ahead of the vote by spreading disinformation and “anti-US content” online.

The development comes amid claims by Trump about the dangers of mail-in or postal ballots. He has suggested that the vote be delayed to prevent “the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history”, prompting a backlash even among members of his own Republican Party, reports the BBC.

It also follows complaints by Democratic lawmakers that US intelligence agencies are not releasing information to the public about foreign interference in this year’s vote.

(IANS)

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Saudi holds back oil to Pak after Qureshi’s threat to split OIC

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Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Islamabad/New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Saudi Arabia has halted the provision of oil on loan for Pakistan after the Imran Khan government threatened to split the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) over Kashmir.

Hit by a severe economic crisis, Pakistan had borrowed a $6.2 billion loan from Saudi Arabia in 2018.

The loan package included a provision under which Saudi Arabia granted Pakistan $3.2 billion worth of oil, a year on deferred payments.

Pakistani media on Saturday said that the provision meant for Islamabad expired two months ago and has not been renewed by Riyadh.

Instead, Islamabad has prematurely returned $1 billion Saudi loan, four months ahead of repayment period, The Express Tribune said quoting sources and Sajid Qazi, the spokesperson of the Petroleum Division.

Recently Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a talk show on a news channel had threatened that if the OIC headed by Saudi Arabia did not convene a foreign ministers’ meeting on Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan would hold it on his own with his allies among the Islamic countries.

“If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir…,” he had threatened on Ary news channel.

The OIC, the biggest bloc of Islamic countries in the world, has repeatedly declined Islamabad’s several requests to hold a meeting on Indian Kashmir — a region which Pakistan Army attempted to invade four times in the last seven decades and where it has been waging a proxy war against India for last three decades.

Since August 2019 when India revoked special status of the Jammu and Kashmir state and brought it directly under the control of the Central government by bifurcating it into two Union Territories, the Imran Khan government has been seeking support of the 57-member OIC over the issue in Pakistan’s favour.

One of the major reasons for OIC’s lack of support for Pakistan has been Riyadh’s displeasure with Islamabad’s proximity with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who nurtures the ambition of replacing Saudi Arabia as leader of all the Sunni Islamic countries.

–IANS

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