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Saudi Arabia urges its citizens to leave Lebanon



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.


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FIFA World Cup: Prithviraj unveils ‘The Mallu Football Anthem’



fifa world cup anthem

Thiruvananthapuram, June 14: With FIFA World Cup kicking off in Russia on Thursday, Malayalam star Prithviraj Sukumaran has unveiled “The Mallu Football Anthem” in an effort to capture the Malayalis’ passion for football.

“As the ball starts rolling in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the whole world will be glued to the footballing action. Back home, here in God’s Own Country, from the windy beaches of Calicut to the misty hills of the Nilgiris, supporters unite for the love of the beautiful game,” Prithviraj said in a statement.

“This video is a tribute to us, the most passionate, die-hard fans of football. As football frenzy takes over Kerala, I’m happy to announce that Jamesh Kottakkal has a football-based feature film in his pipeline, titled, ‘The Beautiful Game’. With the film’s discussions entering the final stages, Jamesh has come up with a short film for all the crazy football fans,” he added.

Equally excited with the launch of the “Mallu Football Anthem”, Kottakkal said: “This video aims at showcasing the excitement of World Cup in Kerala. This offer of making a ‘Mallu Football Anthem’ really made me think of how much Kerala holds football in heart.”

The anthem has been produced by StudioMojo, a regional video entertainment network.

“There was a time when I used to play football with my friends in Thiruvananthapuram. Those days, we used to play anywhere — paddy fields or grounds. Whenever World Cup took place, there used to be heated arguments over the teams that we supported. This football anthem is a tribute to my friends and to all the Malayalis and their passion for football,” said RadhaKrishnan Ramachandran, founder and CEO of StudioMojo.

The other key people who are behind the making of this track are singer Anna Katharina Valayil and cinematographer Prakash Velayudhan.


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Rajnath Singh in J&K:Ceasefire,anti-terror operations on agenda



Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, June 7 : Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar for a two-day visit  to review the prevailing situation in the state, particularly in border areas and the suspension of anti-terror operations.

Jitendra Singh, MoS (PMO), and a team of senior Home Ministry officials will accompany Singh during the visit.The home minister might also attend an Iftar to be hosted by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, an official said.

Two soldiers were injured on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district in a gunfight with militants trying to sneak into the state from Pakistan.

Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told IANS said that the incident took place near the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran Sector.

“Two soldiers suffered non-fatal injuries. Our troops retaliated. The operation against the terrorists is in progress,” the spokesman said.

During his visit, he would also review the restive Valley, which witnessed several incidents of violence in the recent past and decide on whether the centre will extend the time period of Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir .

The Home Minister will hold a meeting with the state Governor N.N.Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and senior officials of various state and Central departments to review law and order situation.

Security for the Amarnath Yatra, beginning on June 28, will be reviewed by the Home Minister during his stay in the state.

On the second day of his visit, the Singh will review the security along the international border in Jammu and also deliberate on the situation that has been arising because of the migration of border residents each time Pakistan violates the bilateral ceasefire on the border.

Another important agenda on the Home Minister’s priority list would be to deliberate upon the response of the separatist leaders to the offer of talks.

The separatist leaders, however, had made it clear that it was ready for a dialogue only if there was clarity on the initiative, Jammu and Kashmir was declared “disputed”, and a few other conditions were met. The separatist leaders have been demanding clarity in the talks offer so that their engagement in the dialogue would yield results.

A muzaffarabad-based conglomerate of armed groups, the United Jehad Council (UJC), has applied breaks on any imminent possibility of the Kashmiri separatist leaders to engage with the Indian government.

A statement issued by the UJC few weeks earlier said that talks would only be held with the Indian government once India accepts Kashmir as a dispute.

In addition to his all-important security and political agenda, the Home Minister will also review the implementation of various Centrally sponsored developmental programmes.

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MGNREGA monitored by RSS men, Panchjanya’s editor




New Delhi, June 4 :  The Modi government has installed people having RSS ideology in each and every institution and schemes launched by it and there are reports that Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has appointed the editor of RSS publication Panchjanya, members of a few Hindu spiritual organisations and the CEO of a drone company in the apex body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA) Act.

This provides an ample evidence that Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that the BJP and RSS were making attempts to capture all institutions in the country, stands proved.

“The BJP is trying to capture all institutions in India and the RSS is trying to push its people into every institution. You must have heard what Mohan Bhagwatji said,” he said. (Bhagwat, during an RSS meeting at Muzaffarnagar, reportedly said the Army may take six to seven months to prepare for war but RSS cadres can prepare in just three days.)

He further said, “Today, most Union ministers’ officers on special duty (OSDs) are from the RSS. Even in Niti Aayog, RSS men have been planted. This is a very dangerous trend and BJP believes in bureaucratisation of these institutions to plant their men.”

All these members come under the category of ‘non-official members from various states’and are appointed in addition to representatives of state governments and panchayati raj institutions.

  • Prominent among those is Hitesh Shanker, Editor, Panchjanya Weekly, who has been named a non-official member from Delhi.
  • From Uttarakhand, the ministry has nominated Sanjay Chaturvedi, convener of Divine International Foundation (DIF), which describes itself as “a separate entity of Divya Prem Sewa Mission” started by RSS pracharak Ashish Gautam. This Haridwar-based mission lists yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali as one of its CSR partners.
  • Sudhir Aggarwal, a BJP member who is “founder-president, Confederation of Voluntary Organizations” and who describes himself as a “swayam sevak since childhood” on his website. A lawyer, Aggarwal has listed the “Baba Ramdev case” under his “major activities”. The ministry notification, however, calls him a member of ‘Union of Voluntary Association’.
  • G Vasudev from Vivekanand Kendra at Kanyakumari, a Hindu spiritual organisation founded in the seventies by Eknath Ranade, a senior RSS pracharak. Its website lists ‘Group Discussion on Rousing Call to Hindu Nation’ as one of its many recent activities held in Rajasthan late last year.
  • Other CEGC members include Vikshut Mundkur, co-founder and CEO of the Bangalore-based HUVI Air Technologies Private which ‘enables construction companies to embed drone data based insights across all stages of construction projects’, and Santosh Raghunath Gondhalekar, “Director, Primo Engineering”, a Pune-based company (spelled on its website as Primove) that extracts biogas from agricultural waste.

The Indian Expres report stated that a ministry official said the council members have been nominated so as to ensure diversity of people who engage with the subject. “There has not been any political inputs from any of the members. The present council also has names such as Narendra Nath Damodar from Pradan, which specialises in rural development, and Manoj Panda, the director of Institute of Economic Growth, in addition to several panchayat leaders,” the official stated in a report.

The Rural Development Ministry, in a notification issued last month, appointed them as members of the Central Employment Guarantee Council (CEGC), with a tenure of one year starting June 20, when the term of the present committee expires. The CEGC was formed to monitor the implementation of the 2005 Act that promises 100 days of employment a year to every rural household.

The initial members of the CEGC included social activists and economists such as Aruna Roy, Jean Dreze, and Nikhil Dey, who were involved in framing and monitoring the implementation of the NREGA at the grassroots level soon after the legislation was launched in February 2006.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal has alleged that every institution in the country was under attack and attempts were being made to control the media and the judiciary.

Sibal said that while the BJP has already appointed RSS ‘pracharaks’ in key positions in educational institutions of the country, it is now attempting to instal RSS pracharaks or people of their thinking in the judiciary.

“They have filled educational institutions with RSS pracharaks. Now they are making attempts to fill the judiciary with RSS pracharaks or people with their thinking,” he told reporters.

The former law minister said, “This is not acceptable to us and will oppose it. If need be, we will also raise this issue with the judiciary.”

When Smriti Irani was the HRD minister, Powerful RSS ideologue Krishna Gopal was overseeing all major appointments in top educational institutes, getting his men and women in place.

Chandrakant Gharote, the general secretary of Sanskar Bharti was appointed as the member of Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC),

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