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Trump warns Iran’s new missile can reach Israel

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Washington, Sep 24: US President Donald Trump has warned that the new ballistic missile “successfully” tested by Iran may be able to reach Israel.

“Iran just test-fired a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea.” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

“Not much of an agreement we have!” the President added in his tweet, apparently alluding to the agreement signed in 2015 between Tehran and six international powers, including the US, on Iran’s nuclear programme.

The president’s remarks came after Iran tested its new ballistic missile, called Khorramshahr, with a range of 2,000 km, which was unveiled on Friday for the first time during a military parade in Tehran.

The missile was launched from an unknown location in Iran and a few hours after it was shown during the parade, the Iranian television channel Press TV released a video of the launch, on Saturday.

The Khorramshahr missile was paraded, despite warnings from the US against Iran’s weapons program, in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and senior military leaders.

The nuclear agreement, signed in July 2015 by Iran and six major powers (US, Russia, China, France, UKm and Germany), ended 12 years of conflict over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.

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India

India, Britain share assessment of global terror threats

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New Delhi, Nov 16: Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, India and Britain on Friday shared their assessment of terror threats across the world, including cross-border terrorism in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region during the 12th Meeting of India-UK Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism here.

“Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry said.

“They shared assessment on the prevailing terrorist threats globally and in their region including cross-border terrorism in the Af-Pak region,” it stated.

The meeting came ahead of the 10th anniversary of the four-day cross-border terror attack in Mumbai that started on November 26, 2008, and left over 160 people dead and over 300 injured.

The attack was carried out by the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In Friday’s meeting, both sides exchanged views on current counter-terrorism challenges, including countering radicalisation and violent extremism, combating financing of terrorism and preventing use of internet for terrorist purposes and agreed to strengthen cooperation in dealing with these challenges.

“The two sides also deliberated upon measures to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation through regular exchange of information, mutual capacity building efforts, sharing of best practices and mutual legal assistance,” the Ministry statement said.

“Cooperation in multilateral fora such as United Nations and Financial Action Task Force was also discussed,” it added.

During the meeting, the Indian side was led by Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary (Counter-Terrorism) in the External Affairs Ministry, while the British delegation was led by Jane Marriot, Director of the Joint International Counter-Terrorism Unit.

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Sri Lanka MPs hurl chilli powder and chairs in parliament over divisive no-confidence vote

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Colombo, Nov 16 :Sri Lanka’s parliament has been disrupted for a second day as lawmakers came to blows in an extraordinary commotion that lasted around half an hour. One MP threw a dustbin at Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Legislators allied to the disputed prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, hurling chairs at police officers and allegedly throwing chilli powder at opposing MPs.

It was the latest violent incident in the crisis that erupted three weeks ago, when the president, Maithripala Sirisena, suddenly announced he had sacked the prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed Rajapaksa in his place.

Brewing tensions in Sri Lanka’s Parliament over a no-confidence motion against the country’s newly appointed prime minister boiled over to an all-out brawl between lawmakers on Friday.

Mahinda Rajapaksa faced an immediate backlash in the chamber and lost a no-confidence motion against him which has served to further stoke divisions between lawmakers.

122 of the 225 legislators in the Sri Lankan chamber signed the no-confidence motion which must now be presented for ratification by the President.

“I urge all parliamentarians to uphold principles of democracy,” Sirisena said on twitter when ugly scenes broke out in the chamber. “I will not prorogue the Parliament under any circumstances,” he added.

 

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Middle East

US sanctions 17 Saudi officials over killing of Khashoggi

The sanctions were handed down after Saudi Arabia’s attorney general, Saud al-Mojeb, said Thursday that he would seek the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged in connection with the journalist’s death.

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Washington, Nov 16 (IANS) The United States’ government on Thursday sanctioned 17 Saudi Arabian officials for their alleged role in the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul early last month.

Among those sanctioned by the US Treasury Department is Saud al-Qahtani, one of the chief advisers to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Efe reported.

“The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi (on October 2). These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying in a press release.

“The government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists,” he added.

The US Treasury Department accused al-Qahtani of helping to plan and execute the operation that led to the killing of Khashoggi.

The other people hit with sanctions are Saudi Arabia’s consul general, Mohammed al-Otaibi; al-Qahtani’s subordinate, Maher Mutreb, who allegedly coordinated and executed the operation; and 14 others who purportedly participated in the crime.

“As a result of these designations, any property or interests in property of the individuals designated today within or transiting US jurisdiction is blocked,” Thursday’s press release said.

“Additionally, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.”

The sanctions were handed down after Saudi Arabia’s attorney general, Saud al-Mojeb, said Thursday that he would seek the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged in connection with the journalist’s death.

In a press conference in Riyadh, the top prosecutor said the crown prince had not had any prior knowledge of the operation.

Al-Mojeb said the investigation had shown that Khashoggi, a government critic and Washington Post columnist, died after being restrained and injected with a tranquilizer following a fight inside the consulate.

His body was then dismembered and handed over to a Turkish collaborator, the attorney general said.

Al-Mojeb said the then-deputy head of intelligence, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, had masterminded the operation that was intended to get Khashoggi back to the kingdom.

He added that the order for the killing was given by the head of the delegation of agents that had traveled to Turkey, although he did not name that individual.

Khashoggi, long a part of the Saudi establishment, became estranged from Riyadh as a result of his criticism of the crown prince and had been living in self-imposed exile in the US since 2017.

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