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Protest outside Indian Consulate in UK over Kashmir move

George Galloway, a former member of the British Parliament also joined the protest and called for a plebiscite in Kashmir.

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Overseas community Protest in Birmingham on Jammu and Kashmir
Picture Credit : @MughalAmiruddin

London, Aug 10 (IANS) Hundreds of Pakistanis and Kashmiris in the UK protested near the Consulate General of India in Birmingham against the abrogation of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir.

People from all walks of life participated in the protest which was organised by Tehreek-e-Kashmir (TeK) UK and chanted anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, the Express Tribune reported on Saturday.

Addressing the protest, TeK UK President Raja Fahim Kayani said: “The people of Britain will not rest until Kashmir is liberated from Indian occupation and genocide perpetrators are punished.

“Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris have been killed in a ‘dirty war’ waged by the Hindutva forces only to quell legitimate their self-determination movement.”

Condemning India’s move on Kashmir, Kayani said: “The abrogation of the special status of Indian occupied Kashmir is an act of ultimate aggression. India’s decision is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and MS Golwalkar ideologies that ensure the Muslims of India remain a second-class citizenry.”

Kayani said that “such attempts were an open contravention of the UN resolutions on Kashmir which prohibit any unilateral action to change its disputed nature”.

“It is time the world powers must realise that the right-wing agenda in India is paving a way to further the military conflict with Pakistan and China,” he added.

TeK Europe President Muhammad Ghalib said: “… There is a humanitarian crisis in Kashmir. India’s actions represent an unprecedented escalation in hostility across the region.”

Ghalib urged the world to take “serious note of the situation in occupied Kashmir”.

George Galloway, a former member of the British Parliament also joined the protest and called for a plebiscite in Kashmir.

The protesters later submitted a resolution at the Indian Consulate in Birmingham, demanding India “to immediately lift the curfew from the IoK and stop human right abuses in the region”.

Business

US dollar rises amid falling sterling

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US Dollar

New York, Oct 23 : The US dollar appreciated in late trading amid declining sterling on the backdrop of renewed Brexit fears.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday was defeated in a vote on his Brexit timetable, Xinhua news agency reported.

Just minutes before the vote on the timetable motion, the government’s Brexit bill was backed by a vote of 329 to 299 in the second reading in parliament, clearing its first hurdle. However, the timetable motion was rejected.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

He had vowed to take his country out of the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal.

The pound and the euro lost some strength amid lingering uncertainty concerning Brexit, experts noted.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, was up 0.20 per cent at 97.5249 in late trading.

In late New York trading, the euro decreased to 1.1123 US dollars from 1.1146 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound decreased to 1.2882 dollars from 1.2966 dollars in the previous session. The Australian dollar was down to 0.6853 dollar from 0.6864 dollar.

The US dollar bought 108.46 Japanese yen, lower than 108.59 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar rose to 0.9890 Swiss franc from 0.9855 Swiss franc, and it rose to 1.3097 Canadian dollars from 1.3084 Canadian dollars.

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Middle East

Kurdish forces leave Syria border area

The ceasefire, which ends at 10.00 pm local time (7.00 p.m. GMT), was agreed on 17 October between the Turkey and United States Vice President Mike Pence.

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Kurdish forces
Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga, assemble outside the town of Bashiqah, some 30 km northeast of Mosul, Iraq, on Nov. 7, 2016.

Beirut, Oct 23 : Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria have withdrawn from the Turkish border area in line with a ceasefire pact drawn up between Turkey and the United States, which is due to expire in a matter of hours.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces have withdrawn from the areas around Ras Al Ain and Tal Abyad,” Mervan Qamishli, a spokesperson for the SDF, told Efe news on Tuesday.

It comes as news emerges from a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi that both nations had agreed to create a so-called safe zone in northern Syria.

From 23 October, Russian military police and Syrian regime border guards would begin to clear the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the 30-kilometer deep buffer zone sought by Ankara within a period of 150 hours.

Joint Turkish-Russian patrols would then begin in the area, apart from in the city of Qamishli, according to a memorandum released after the meeting.

Gains made by Turkish-backed Syrian militias in the border cities of Ras Al Ain and Tal Abyad would also be preserved.

The YPG would be evicted from Manbij and Tal Rifat.

The SDF, predominantly comprised of the YPG, a key US ally in the fight against the Islamic State terror organization in the region, had been facing a Turkish military offensive since American forces withdrew from the area around two weeks ago.

Ankara considers the YPG to be a terror group indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a guerrilla group widely listed as a terror organization that has fought the Turkish state in the country’s predominantly Kurdish east for decades.

Ras Al Ain and Tal Abyad had been two of the key objectives for the Turkish military operation into northern Syria, led on the ground by Ankara-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

Putin is one of the main international backerd of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, while Turkey backs rebel groups located in Syria’s northern regions. Both countries, along with Iran, form part of the so-called Astana trio, which aims to find a solution to the Syrian Civil War.

The Turkish government earlier warned it would ramp up its military operation in northern Syria the minute the ceasefire expires if the YPG or the Democratic Union Party (PYD) continued to have a presence in the area.

Ankara wants to carve out a 30-kilometer deep “safe zone” along its border, stretching from the Euphrates to the Iraqi border, partly to create a buffer between it and Kurdish forces but also to settle some of the four million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The ceasefire, which ends at 10.00 pm local time (7.00 p.m. GMT), was agreed on 17 October between the Turkey and United States Vice President Mike Pence.

Kurdish forces in the region said, however, that Turkish-backed Syrian militias had continued military action despite the agreement.

Following the US withdrawal, Kurdish forces turned to the Damascus regime for help.

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World

Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill passes Parliament but lawmakers reject timetable

The Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

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Boris Johnson

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 308 to 322 to turn down his rapid timetable for Brexit bill. As a result, Johnson has paused the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Xinhua news agency reported.

French Foreign Minister questions need for Brexit extension

France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, questioned the need for a Brexit extension in a statement Tuesday night, demanding: “what for? And why?”

“An extension has been asked for: what for? And why? We know that time alone won’t find a solution. Instead a political decision is what is needed. We cannot prolong this situation indefinitely,” Le Drian said.

EU Brexit Coordinator jokes “another three weeks” of Nigel Farage

European Parliament Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has reacted to Tuesday night’s news out of Britain with a jibe about Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

“You’re all thinking: another extension,” Verhofstadt tweeted, along with a GIF of the politician, his mouth agape. “I am thinking: another three weeks listening to Farage.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

“If parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen… in no circumstances can the government continue with this,” he said. “With great regret I will have to say the Bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.”

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