US backs India's declaration of Azhar, Saeed, Lakhvi, Dawood as terrorists | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs US backs India’s declaration of Azhar, Saeed, Lakhvi, Dawood as terrorists – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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US backs India’s declaration of Azhar, Saeed, Lakhvi, Dawood as terrorists

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Massood Azhar

New York, Sep 5 The US has backed India designating four Pakistan-based criminals as terrorists under an amended law saying that it expands possibilities of cooperation between Washington and New Delhi in fighting terrorism.

The Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Alice G Wells, tweeted on Wednesday, “We stand w/ #India and commend it for utilizing new legal authorities to designate 4 notorious terrorists: Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim. This new law expands possibilities for joint #USIndia efforts to combat scourge of terrorism.”

Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, LeT’s supreme commander of operations in Kashmir Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim were designated as terrorists under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on Wednesday through a government notification.

The amendment to the UAPA allows the Indian government to designate individuals as terrorists, making it match similar US laws opening an added avenue for joint action against terrorists.

Before the amendment only organisations and not individuals could be given the terrorism designation by India.

Under the US Immigration and Nationality Act the State Department has the authority to designate groups as terrorist organisations.

The Treasury Department can place both individuals and groups on a “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” list, which covers terrorists, narcotic traffickers and others acting against foreign policy and national security goals.

The Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is empowered by presidential emergency powers and several laws to make the designations and enforces economic sanctions such as travel bans, asset freezes and prohibition of financial transactions against those on the list.

LeT and JeM have the State Department’s terrorist designation and the four individuals and the two groups are on the Treasury Department’s list.

India amending the UAPA and designating the four terrorists rectifies an anomaly because it had asked the United Nations Security Council to designate them as global terrorists while it did not have provisions to designate individuals as terrorists.

The Council designated Azhar as an international terrorist in May after China dropped its long-standing objection.

The other three and the two organisations already had the designation.

India says that Azhar was behind several terrorist incidents in India, including the 2001 attack on the Parliament, the 2016 Pathankot Air Force base attack and the Pulwama car-bomb attack in February that killed more than 40 paramilitary personnel.

Saeed was the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed more than 160 people.

Ibrahim is said to have co-ordinated the series of 12 bombings in Mumbai that claimed 257 lives, and also financed terrorist activities.

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Japan’s Abe lifts state of emergency

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Tokyo, May 25 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the countrys nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this criteria,” the BBC quoted Abe as saying said in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

He said the country had managed to control the spread of COVID-19 since issuing the order in some areas on April 7, then later extending it nationwide.

Japan has been easing restrictions since mid-May, but kept several areas, Tokyo included, under watch to ensure the outbreak had been contained.

Unlike other major economies, Japan has endured a relatively limited outbreak of OVID-19, recording 820 coronavirus-related deaths and 16,550 infections as of Monday.

Initially, Japan was criticised for its handling of the pandemic, prompting the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in metropolitan areas on April 7, later expanding it nationwide.

Monday’s decision came after the number of infections and the situation of the health system in Tokyo, the three neighbouring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama and the northern Hokkaido, the only ones where the state of emergency remained in effect, reports Efe news.

The group of experts advising the government appreciated the efforts made by citizens to comply with the recommendations to achieve the target of reducing interpersonal contact by 80 per cent, top government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Monday.

The recommendation for citizens to avoid unnecessary trips outside and the request for non-essential businesses to close were not mandatory nor accompanied by fines or other penalties for non-compliance, unlike the stricter containment measures implemented in other countries.

The government had already decided to lift the emergency in 39 prefectures on May 14 after they reported a marked decrease in the number of infections, leaving out the more populated regions such as Tokyo and Osaka.

To avoid new outbreaks of the virus, Abe has urged people to become accustomed to a “new lifestyle” that includes maintaining social distancing, the use of masks outside as well as a series of guidelines for the reopening of shops, restaurants and public facilities.

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UK PM aide’s row overshadows plans to ease lockdown

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Boris Johnson

London, May 25 (IANS) Pressure was mounting on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to act over his senior aide Dominic Cummings’ lockdown trip, as the cabinet is slated to met on Monday to discuss plans to ease the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Cummingss, the former Vote Leave chief who was the architect of Johnson’s Brexit strategy, is facing calls to resign after it emerged that he travelled from London to his parents’ home in Durham with coronavirus symptoms during the lockdown, reports the BBC.

Speaking at Sunday’s Downing Street briefing, Johnson said he believed Cummings had “no alternative” but to make the journey at the end of March for childcare “when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus”.

The Prime Minister said he held “extensive” discussions on Sunday with Mr Cummings, who he said “followed the instincts of every father and every parent – and I do not mark him down for that”.

However, the BBC report said that the Prime Minister was finding it difficult to shift the political focus away from his key adviser.

Speaking to the BBC, Acting Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said that the row over Cummings was “preventing the government from getting on and doing its job, and doing it better”.

He said that Johnson should sack Cummings “so the government has more credibility in what it says about public health”.

“The instruction the Prime Minister gave us all to stay at home has been breached by his top adviser and that’s what you can’t get away from in this story, its pretty simple.

“I hope the prime minister will come to his senses, recapture his judgement and reinstall authority on this crisis by acting,” he told the BBC.

Meanwhile, some of the scientists that advise ministers were also concerned that Johnson’s decision to back Cummings would undermine the message on controlling the virus.

Stephen Reicher, a professor of social psychology who has advised the government on behavioural science during the pandemic, told the BBC that trust was vital to maintaining public health measures, adding: “You can’t have trust if people have a sense of them and us, that there’s one rule for them and another rule for us.”

Also responding to the row, Bishop of Leeds, the Right Reverend Nick Baines, said Johnson was treating people “as mugs” and the Bishop of Bristol, the Right Reverend Vivienne Faull, accused the Prime ,inister of having “no respect for people”.

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Seoul kindergarten student tests COVID-19 positive

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Seoul, May 25 (IANS) A kindergarten student in Seoul has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the South Korean capital city’s education office said on Monday.

The development comes just two days ahead of the planned second-phase resumption of South Korean schools, including kindergartens, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The six-year-old student is believed to have contracted the virus from his art teacher at Young Rembrandts, a private art school in Magok .

The teacher, who tested positive on Sunday, had taught 35 students at the institute until Friday and had contact with three other staff members.

The teachers all wore masks and followed the institute’s quarantine guidelines and social distancing rules, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

The art school’s 91 students, three teachers and two parents have been tested for the virus and are awaiting their results, which will come out on Tuesday.

The teacher’s 38 contacts have been ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days, and 13 educational institutes in the same building as the art school will be closed for disinfection.

The boy’s kindergarten, 10 nearby kindergartens and five nearby elementary schools will remain closed for two days for disinfection and other precautionary measures, said the Yonhap News Agency report.

Under the government’s phased school reopening plan, schools are scheduled to resume in-person classes for the two lowest grades of elementary school, kindergarten students, middle school seniors and second-year high school students on Wednesday.

High school seniors returned to school last week after more than two months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far infected 11,206 South Koreans and killed 267 others.

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