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Terror Group Babbar Khalsa a threat to our Interests, Says US

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New York, Oct 6: In a blow to the Khalistan movement, President Donald Trump’s administration has declared the Babbar Khalsa International terrorist group among separatist movements a “risk to the US personnel and interests overseas”.

The National Strategy for Counter terrorism unveiled in Washington on Thursday said that Babbar Khalsa International “is responsible for significant terrorist attacks in India and elsewhere that have claimed the lives of innocent civilians”.

The document also lists Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) among organisations that are a potential threat to the US.

The US State and Treasury Departments had listed the Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation as terrorist organisations in 2002 and the LeT in 2001.

The strategy document released by US National Security Adviser John Bolton takes a hard look at not only terrorists directly posing a threat to the US, but also at “separatist movements overseas whose use of violence and intent to destabilise societies”.

Its primary focus, though, was on the Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda and their affiliates, and terrorist groups linked to Iran.

Both IS and Al Qaeda “will probably remain the most frequent form of radical Islamist terrorism in the US for the next several years”, it said.

Abroad, the document also identified neo-Nazi and neo-Fascist groups in Europe that attack Muslims among groups that threaten Americans.

The strategy calls for broadening the “range of partners” in the fight against terrorism, and encouraging “capable partners to play a larger role in counter terrorism efforts”.

It said that groups like the Babbar Khalsa International and LeT may avoid targeting the US now for tactical reason, but still posed risks to it abroad.

About groups like the Babbar Khalsa International, it said they “may avoid or deprioritise targeting US interests for now to avoid detracting from their core goals but frequently conduct assassinations and bombings against major economic, political, and social targets, heightening the risk to United States personnel and interests overseas”.

Babbar Khalsa International was founded by a Canadian citizen and was based in Vancouver.

It has been linked to the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1981 that killed 329 people on the Emperor Kanishka, a Boeing 747 airliner.

No one has been prosecuted for the attack carried out from Canada.

The US declaration will be an embarrassment to Canada, where posters of the late Talwinder Singh Parmar, the founder of Babbar Khalsa International are displayed at public events.

Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, the third largest in Canada’s House of Commons, has admitted Parmar’s role in the terrorist attack.

“The inquiry identified specifically Talwinder Singh Parmar, and I accept the findings of the investigation,” he told the Canada Broadcasting Corporation interviewer earlier this year.

He also admitted that it was “inappropriate” to display Parmar’s pictures at public events.

Canada had refused to extradite Parmar, who was wanted in India in connection with the killing of two Punjab police officers.

Parmar later returned to India and was killed during a confrontation with police in 1992.

The strategy document added: “The terrorist threat to the US is growing more dynamic and diffuse as an increasing number of groups, networks, and individuals exploit global trends, including the emergence of more secure modes of communications, the expansion of social and mass media, and persistent instability across several regions.”

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Nine drug addicts killed in Afghanistan shooting

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Kabul, Nine drug addicts were shot to death in an overnight shooting in a non-residential area in western side of Kabul, Afghanistan, the capital police said on Sunday.

“The shooting occurred at side of Qurugh Mountain in Police District 6 roughly at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. Personnel of Kabul Criminal Investigation Police Department shifted the bodies to Forensic Science Service Department near Kabul University shortly after the shooting was reported,” Ferdaus Faramarz from Kabul police told Xinhua.

One arrest was made after the shooting and the motive behind the incident remained unclear. Further investigation is on, police added.

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31 civilians killed in Yemen airstrike: UN

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An airstrike in the Yemeni northeastern province of al-Jawf has killed at least 31 civilians and injured 12 others, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said in a statement on Sunday.

“We share our deep condolences with the families of those killed and we pray for the speedy recovery of everyone who has been injured in these terrible strikes,” Lise Grande said in the statement obtained by Xinhua.

“Under international humanitarian law parties which resort to force are obligated to protect civilians. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility,” she added.

The victims were killed in the airstrike on Saturday that targeted a gathering of people at the site where a Tornado warplane of the Saudi-led coalition crashed in al-Masloub district in the southwest of al-Jawf, according to a local tribal source.

The victims were members of three relative families, the source said on condition of anonymity. The strike came hours after the Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down the Tornado warplane.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition confirmed that a Tornado warplane crashed in al-Jawf during an operation to support Yemen’s government forces. The coalition held Houthis responsible for the lives and safety of the plane’s crew, according to a statement carried by the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels since its intervention in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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Japan confirms 70 new coronavirus cases from cruise ship

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Toky, Another 70 people aboard the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan’s Yokohama have been tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total to 355 cases, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato confirmed on Sunday.

The health ministry said that the 70 new cases came out of 289 people tested, bringing the total number of those who have undergone tests to 1,219, Japan Times reported.

The cruise ship arrived in Japan earlier this month with more than 3,700 passengers and crew members from more than 50 countries and regions.

With global attention increasingly focused on the situation, the US Embassy sent a letter on Saturday to Americans aboard saying that a chartered aircraft, set to arrive in Japan on Sunday, would repatriate those who wished to leave the ship.

The US aircraft is set to depart from Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Monday, according to Japanese official japan will also cooperate with other countries that make similar arrangements to evacuate their citizens on the ship, Japanese government officials said.

More than a week has passed since the cruise ship was put under a two-week quarantine at Yokohama port after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected with COVID-19, the pneumonia-causing coronavirus.

Japan’s health ministry had initially planned to keep all of the passengers and crew confined on the vessel until Wednesday, when the quarantine is scheduled to end.

But the ministry decided last Thursday to let passengers 80 and older, as well as their traveling companions, leave before the end of the quarantine after they were screened for infection.

Those with pre-existing conditions or who were staying in cabins without windows were prioritized for disembarkation.

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