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Anti muslim Riots inSri Lanka Anti muslim Riots inSri Lanka


UN official condemns attacks on Sri Lankan Muslims

Photo- Al Jazeera



United Nations, March 12: Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman has condemned the violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka and urged the government to bring those behind the attacks and hate speech to justice.

During the three-day visit, “he met Muslim political and civil society leaders to express concern and show solidarity”, according to a UN statement issued on Sunday.

While in the island nation, Feltman, who is in charge of political affairs for the UN, also met President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana.

He “appreciated the reassurances from government leaders of their intention to move forward” with initiatives for reconciliation and sustainable peace although Feltman expressed concern that many elements of the government’s “visionary” plan anounced in 2015 for national unity seemed to have stalled, the statement said.

He lauded the recent appointment of commissioners to the Office of Missing Persons to probe the disappearances of people during civil conflicts and “expressed hope” that the panel “will soon be fully operational to help answer questions that haunt too many families from all across Sri Lanka about their missing loved ones”.

Senior lawyer Saliya Peiris is to head the seven-member panel that includes two Tamils and a retired major general. In 2016, the government said that about 65,000 people were reported missing since 1994.

Feltman praised the adoption of the Bill for the Protection Against Enforced Disappearances by Parliament and called it “an important element of the Sri Lankan government’s commitment to its citizens”.

Three people were killed, 11 mosques damaged and scores of Muslim-owned businesses destroyed in the riots in Kandy district earlier this month.

A curfew was imposed and the military and police were deployed to quell the riots.

On Saturday, Sirisena announced that a panel of three retired judges will investigate the riots.

Meanwhile, the Association of Sri Lankan Muslims in North America has announced a protest outside the UN on Wednesday to protest last week’s anti-Muslim riots.


Middle East

Saudi king inaugurates Mecca-Medina high speed train line

The 450 km Haramain rail line connects Mecca, Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh and Medina.



Makkah to Madinah New High speed train

Riyadh, Sep 26 : The Saudi king inaugurated a high-speed rail line connecting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina on Tuesday.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz declared, in a ceremony held in the Saudi city of Jeddah, that the service has formally begun and boarded one of the new trains for the inaugural trip between Jeddah and Medina, a spokesman for the construction consortium told Efe news agency.

“We thank Allah for the growth and prosperity in all fields in our country, and we thank Allah Almighty for His grace. Thank you,” the king said, according to the Saudi official news agency SPA.

Initially, the routes of the line will be limited and eight daily trips will be offered between Mecca and Medina for four days a week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

The 450 km Haramain rail line connects Mecca, Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh and Medina.

A consortium including 12 Spanish firms along with two Saudi firms has been tasked with building the second phase of the project.

“This inauguration is a milestone for Spanish engineering, which has demonstrated the ability of our companies and engineers to build a high-speed train under extreme weather conditions,” Iranzo said, according to a statement from the consortium.

The inauguration was attended by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and other Saudi officials, as well as by Spain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Alvaro Iranzo, and the president of the High Speed Spanish Consortium, Jorge Segrelles, among others.

Bashar Al Malik, executive director of the Saudi railway company, told EFE that the actual start of service will begin on October 4.

He pointed out that the commercial operation of the line will begin within nine days, but without giving more details.

Al Malik said he expects the high speed line to overcome the difficulties and obstacles that have caused its delay, mainly due to sandstorms.

The Spanish consortium said in a statement that tickets will be able to be reserved “in the coming weeks.”

Regular trains will start operating on the line from next month between the stations of Makkah Al Mukarramah, Madinah, Sulaymaniyah in Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City, while trains to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport will begin around mid-2019.

The line is aimed at doubling the number of visitors and pilgrims to the holy cities and is in line with Saudi Arabia’s development plan, Vision 2030, which aims to expand the economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

With a fleet of 35 trains, carrying up to 417 people each, the service is expected to ferry around 60 million passengers yearly.

The trains will cover the distance between Mecca and Medina in under two hours, less than half the time that it takes to cover the same distance by road.

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US court declares Bill Cosby a ‘sexually violent predator’

At a retrial in April, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against Andrea Constand.



Bill Cosby

New York, Sep 25 : Once dubbed “America’s Dad”, comedian Bill Cosby, 81, has been labelled a “sexually violent predator” by a US court, implying that he must undergo counselling for life and appear on the sex offenders’ registry.

The Pennsylvania judge made the ruling ahead of sentencing the comedian for drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004, reports

At a retrial in April, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against Andrea Constand.

The classification by court means he will need to register with state police and notify any community he lives in of his sex offender status, as well as undergo mandatory counselling for life. Neighbours, childcare centres and schools will have be notified of his whereabouts.

The actor’s defence team had argued the state’s sex offender law was too severe given Cosby’s age, as well as the fact that he is legally blind.

The two-day hearing at Montgomery County Courthouse in Pennsylvania began on Monday.

Psychologist Kristen Dudley testified on Monday that Cosby showed signs of a mental disorder and was likely to reoffend.

Apart from the label, Cosby still faces a maximum prison term of 10 years after an agreement between prosecutors and his defence team, but there is no mandatory minimum for the convictions.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele called for five to 10 years in jail for aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby’s defence is pushing instead for house arrest, according to

In June 2017, Constand described how Cosby, whom she viewed as a “mentor”, gave her pills that left her “frozen” and unable to stop his assault.

The comedian was arrested in 2015 and a deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial in June 2017.

This year’s retrial occurred amid the #MeToo movement that has seen people worldwide come forward to share stories of sexual harassment and assault.


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New Zealand PM takes baby to UN General Assembly



Image : AFP

New Delhi, Sep 25: In a historic moment, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought her three-month-old daughter Neve Te Aroha to the United Nations General Assembly.

With this Baby Neve made her debut at the UNGA hall and watched her mother speaking at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit.

The 38-year old was also cuddling and kissing her daughter.

While the leader delivered her address, Ardern’s husband Clarke Gayford held the baby on his lap.

Gayford, who is a fishing television presenter had traveled to New York to baby Neve. Later, he took social media to share an ID card for the infant.

The 38-year old was also cuddling and kissing her daughter.

While the leader delivered her address, Ardern’s husband Clarke Gayford held the baby on his lap.

Gayford, who is fishing television presenter had travelled to New York to look after baby Neve. Later, he took social media to a ID card for the infant.

“Because everyone on twitter’s been asking to see Neve’s UN id, staff here whipped one up.
I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change. Great yarn for her 21st”, he tweeted.


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