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Saudi Arabia urges its citizens to leave Lebanon

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Saad al-Hariri
Workers hang a poster of outgoing Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri with Arabic words that read "We are all Saad," on a seaside street in Beirut, Lebanon.

Riyadh, Nov 10: Saudi Arabia on Thursday asked its nationals who are visiting or residing in Lebanon to leave that country as soon as possible.

Official news agency SPA reported that the government also advised Saudi citizens not to travel to Lebanon amid accusations that Riyadh is playing a role in the current Lebanese political crisis.

Tension has risen between Riyadh and Beirut since last Saturday, when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation while on a visit to Saudi Arabia, prompting some in Lebanon to assert that the Saudis forced Hariri to step down.

Hariri, who remains in Riyadh, met Thursday with French Ambassador François Gouvette and with the head of the European Union delegation, Michele Cervone d’Urso.

Hariri, a dual Lebanese-Saudi citizen, has denied that he is under house arrest in Riyadh.

In announcing his resignation, Hariri denounced an alleged plot to assassinate him. The prime minister, a Sunni Muslim, also criticized Shiite-majority Iran for interference in Lebanese political affairs.

Hariri’s critique of Iran is connected to Tehran’s support of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia, where the fundamentalist Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam is dominant, views both Iran and Hezbollah as adversaries.

Hariri’s resignation has not yet been accepted by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian, who said he awaits Hariri’s return to Lebanon to learn the reasons behind the resignation.

Lebanon’s three main sectarian groups: Maronite Christians, Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims, have tried to maintain a delicate power- sharing arrangement since achieving independence in 1943.

Under the terms of the so-called National Pact adopted then, a Maronite Christian is supposed to be the country’s president, a Sunni Muslim holds the post of prime minister and a Shiite Muslim serves as speaker of parliament.

There have been times in recent history, such as the 1975-1990 civil war, when the division of power among groups has been unable to stem the tide of sectarian violence.

Saad Hariri’s fear of possible assassination may come from his family’s relationship with politically motivated murder. In 2005, his father, former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, died in a car bombing, an incident that led to the Cedar Revolution and Syria’s exit from Lebanon.

IANS

Disaster

BJP Lok Sabha member from Ladakh quits party

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BJP

Srinagar, Nov 15 : Thupstan Chhewang, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha member from Ladakh constituency, resigned from the party on Thursday.

In a letter addressed to Jammu and Kashmir BJP President Ravinder Raina, Chhewang said he was resigning from the basic membership of the party on health grounds.

Chhewang also told Raina that he was writing separately to the Lok Sabha speaker submitting his resignation from Parliament.

The BJP has three Lok Sabha members from Jammu and Kashmir including Chhewang.

The other two BJP Lok Sabha members are Jitendra Singh, MoS (PMO) and Jugal Kishore Sharma.

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India

Police officer, PDP activist killed by terrorists in Kashmir Valley

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Srinagar, Oct 28 : Terrorists carried out two deadly attacks in the troubled Kashmir Valley on Sunday, killing a middle-rung police officer and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) activist, Muhammad Amin, in Gangbugh.

An unknown number of terrorists intercepted a private vehicle driven by police sub-inspector Imtiyaz Ahmad Mir in Wahibugh area of Pulwama district.

Police said the officer was forcibly taken out of his vehicle, taken some distance away from the road and then shot dead from close range, killing him instantly.

Mir worked in the state intelligence department and was posted in Srinagar.

In another attack, militants targeted a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) activist, Muhammad Amin, in Gangbugh area on the outskirts of Srinagar district.

He was fired at from close range, leading to critical injuries.

He was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, a police officer said, adding that FIRs had been registered in both cases.

Sources in the intelligence department said the security forces have information about two groups of sniper shooters active in south Kashmir areas.

“Each group of sniper shooters comprises two terrorists each,” one officer said.

Security forces have been told to be vigilant about such sniper attacks that can be carried out from a long distance with pinpoint accuracy.

A special police officer (SPO) was critically injured after he was shot at by militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Badgam district, authorities said on Sunday.

The incident took place in Charar-e-Sharif area on Saturday night.

“The injured SPO Muhammad Hafiz was shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment,” police sources said.

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Cities

Mirwaiz Umer defies house arrest, shifted to police station

Another senior separatist leader, Muhammad Yasin Malik who had evaded arrest, appeared in Lal Chowk where the police took him into preventive custody.

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Mirwaiz Umer Farooq
Srinagar: Senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq defies his house arrest during a protest march against the deaths of seven civilians in an explosion in Kulgam district; in Srinagar, on Oct 23, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

Srinagar, Oct 23 : Senior Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq defied house arrest on Tuesday and tried to march towards the Lal Chowk area here.

According to the police, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq who was placed under house arrest in his residence on the city’s outskirts, tried to defy the order.

“He was taken into preventive custody and shifted to the Nigeen police station,” police sources said.

Another senior separatist leader, Muhammad Yasin Malik who had evaded arrest, appeared in Lal Chowk where the police took him into preventive custody.

The separatists had called for a protest march to Lal Chowk against the killings of seven civilians in an explosion in Kulgam district on Sunday.

Authorities have placed curbs on the movement of traffic to and through Lal Chowk.

Educational institutions have been closed in Srinagar as a precautionary measure.

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