Iran’s Revolutionary Guards: Israel should expect reaction anywhere

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Tehran:

Commander says actions against Hezbollah will lead to a response ‘in any place in the world’.

Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mohammed Ali Jafari, threatened Saturday that if Israel “wants to hit at the heart of Hezbollah, it should expect a powerful reaction, not just within its borders, but in any place in the world.”

He praised Hezbollah’s attack on Mount Dov and said it could be seen as a reaction by Iran.

Jafari spoke at a ceremony held for those killed in a January 18 strike on Quneitra in Syria. Several Hezbollah members and an Iranian general died in the attack, which has been attributed to Israel, although there has been no official confirmation.

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Two IDF soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a Hezbollah attack in Israel’s north on Wednesday, which the group claimed was revenge for the Quneitra attack.

Jafari’s statements followed a speech given Friday by Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, in which he boasted that his organization was not afraid of war with Israel.

“Our biggest victory is that Israel feared Hezbollah’s response,” he said in a televised address Friday. We will not think twice about confronting the enemy and we will do so if he forces us. We don’t want war but we don’t fear it.”

Nasrallah added that the Quneitra strike showed the “fusion of Lebanese-Iranian blood on Syrian territory, and reflects the unity of the cause and the unity of the fate of these countries,” underscoring Iran’s support for the terrorist group’s activities in Syria.

Also on Friday, the Tehran Times said the Lebanese-based TV channel Al Mayadeen had reported that Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, had met with Nasrallah and other Hezbollah leaders.

The newspaper did not specify the nature of the meeting, mentioning only that Soleimani also met with the family of Jihad Mughniyeh, a senior operative killed in Quneitra.

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Kargil protest Karachi Shia mosque blast

Protestors listening to speakers during protest against Shia Mosque Blast in Karachi Pakistan. Credit: Sajjad Kaksar
Protestors listening to speakers during protest against Shia Mosque Blast in Karachi Pakistan. Credit: Sajjad Hussain Kaksar

Thousands of people gathered at Jamia Masjid Kargil to condemn the recent Shia target killing in Karachi.

At least 60 people were killed and dozens injured in the bomb attack on a Shia mosque and religious center when people were performing Friday prayers in the town of Shikarpur, around 470 kilometers (300 miles) north of the port city of Karachi.

The protestors chanted slogan against the arrogant powers and strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the Karachi Mosque.

Likewise Shia Muslims in Pakistan have started a three-day mourning period and staged sit-ins and strikes to commemorate the victims of a deadly bomb attack on a mosque in the southern province of Sindh.

Most of the victims were being buried on Saturday in Sindh, where the provincial government has declared a high security alert.

People shut down their shops in parts of the province as Shia Muslims called for three days of peaceful protests.

Shia Muslims in Pakistan say the government must prevent the killing of their community members.

Hours after the mosque bombing, large crowds of Pakistani people, including members of civil society and peace activists, poured onto the streets of Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi to voice their outrage over the massacre.

Similar rallies were held in other Pakistani cities, including the capital, Islamabad, Lahore, and Quetta.

The angry demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans and demanded the arrest of those behind the incident. The protesters also demanded that the Pakistani government take decisive action against the forces involved in the targeted killings, saying that Islamabad cannot provide security for the Shia Muslim community.

The demonstrators also accused some Arab monarchies across the Persian Gulf of supporting and funding militant groups operating in Pakistan.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but pro-Taliban militants usually take responsibility for similar attacks in the violence-wracked country.

This is also the latest deadly incident in a wave of violence against the Shia Muslim community in Pakistan.

Shias make up about a third of Pakistan’s population of over 180 million.

Palestinians a Majority by 2020

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Palestine

Palestinians in historical Palestine will outnumber Jewish Israelis by the year 2020, according to a new publication by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

The number of Palestinians in historical Palestine totalled 6.08 million at the end of 2014. There were 6.10 million Jewish Israelis at the end of 2013, according to estimates by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, and this number is expected to reach 6.21 million by the end of 2014. The number of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis will total about 6.42 million each by the end of 2016, provided that current growth rates remain constant. However, the number of Palestinians in historical Palestine will total 7.14 million compared to 6.87 million Jewish Israelis by the end of 2020.

Currently the projected number of Palestinians in the world is 12.10 million, of whom 4.62 million are in the State of Palestine, 1.46 million in Israel, 5.34 million in Arab countries and around 675 thousand in other states.

Of those living in Palestine, some 2.8 million reside in the West Bank and 1.8 million in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian refugees make up 43 percent of the Palestinian population in Palestine: almost 39 percent of them in the West Bank and 61 percent in Gaza.

— The IMEMC notes that, according to UN statistics, Palestinians now make up the largest refugee population in the entire world.

According to a report published in 2003 it was revealed that the young generation of Israel is leaving Israel and migrating to other countries. This could also affect the number of Israeli population in the occupied state.

Nasrallah blasts Israel/Arab League in Friday speech

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Lebanon

Head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has lashed out at Tel Aviv regime for the recent killing of a number of its members, saying the Middle East region is suffering from “a cancerous growth called Israel.”

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks on Friday during a speech about the Israeli attack on the Syrian Golan town of Quneitra on January 18.

He described the Israeli regime as a “trauma” and a “bacterium of corruption” which has been plaguing the whole region since 1948.

He recapped crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli regime in the region, referring to the Tel Aviv’s brutalities against Palestinians and Syrians.

“Israel has in recent years resorted to the same arrogant practices it had adopted decades ago. It has carried out a bloody campaign against Gaza and violated the most basic of Palestinian rights,” Hezbollah leader added.

Nasrallah further referred to the role of Israel in Syria and the regime’s support for the Takfiri militants operating against the Syrian government, saying, “In Syria, Israel has been backing the extremist groups and shelling government’s positions under various excuses. In Lebanon, it does not recognize resolution 1701 and has committed thousands of violations against its sovereignty.”

He emphasized that “Israel believes that it can threaten all armies and governments in the region whenever it pleases and without being deterred.”

Nasrallah also referred to the Arab countries’ inaction toward the crimes committed by the Tel Aviv regime, saying, “Israel is taking advantage of the divisions in the region and the complete absence of the stances by the Arab countries, especially the so-called Arab League.”

“There is no such thing as an Arab League or an independent Arab stance when it comes to Israel. Arab positions and arms are available when it comes to Yemen, Iraq, and Syria,” he said.

Why BJP Is Losing The Plot In Delhi

Kiran Bedi 1

New Delhi

Badmouthing Arvind Kejriwal appears to have boomeranged on the BJP in Delhi. From advertisements making fun of the ‘Bhagora’ to Prime Minister Narendra Modi gratuitously describing him as a ‘Naxalite’ and asking him to retreat to a jungle and BJP spokesmen on TV dismissing the AAP leader as of no consequence do not seem to have gone down well with voters. That is why, with barely a week to go before campaigning comes to an end for the February 7 election, BJP is suddenly perceived to be fighting with its back to the wall.

The BJP’s bombastic announcements of deploying union ministers to campaign in Delhi, putting finance minister Arun Jaitley to coordinate the exercise at a time when he should have been busy giving finishing touches to the union budget, increasingly come across as desperate moves. Jaitley has never contested an election from Delhi and lost when he contested from Amritsar in the general election. While the Prime Minister may address one or two more public rallies (he has been to one already) his failure to address the seven rallies planned originally is unlikely to send the signal that the party is sanguine about winning the election.

It can now be said that the announcement of Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate on January 19, hailed as a masterstroke of Amit Shah by no less a person than former law minister and AAP mentor Shanti Bhushan, is already being regretted by the party. Bedi herself did not help matters by claiming that she had found the world’s most beautiful face in Narendra Modi and that Kejriwal should join BJP to get an invitation for the Republic Day parade.

Bedi’s refusal to engage in a public debate with Kejriwal and her hurried exit from a TV studio were not taken too kindly by BJP supporters. She struck an awkward note on the day she was inducted into the party by declaring that she herself would start working at 9 am sharp and she would expect “my secretaries” to do likewise. She flaunted two files on TV, one marked ‘Governance’ and the other marked ‘Modi’ and claimed that she had been studying both for some time and was therefore more than eligible to be the chief minister.

Every passing day embarrassing details about the Magsaysay winner kept tumbling out of the cupboard. Julio Ribeiro, another decorated police officer, wrote in DNA that when he called up Bedi to congratulate her on winning the award, she invited him to join the trust she planned to set up with the award money. He readily agreed but never heard from Bedi, wrote Ribeiro. Indeed he was not even aware that he was actually a trustee because he was never informed or invited to attend any meeting till TV crews landed up at his doorstep for sound bites when Bedi was accused of flying economy class but insisting on Business Class airfare from her hosts. As Bedi lurched from one PR disaster to another, BJP seemed to be losing the plot.
It came as no surprise therefore when two reports in quick succession on Thursday posted in Firstpost, a news portal, created a buzz online. The headline of the first report read: AAP May Be Headed for a Landslide in Delhi.

The headline of the second report was even more sensational. It read: Not Just Bedi: Five Reasons Why BJP May Not Win in Delhi. Earlier in the morning Hindustan Times carried a report on an opinion poll conducted for it and claimed that BJP and AAP were headed for a tie in a close finish with both parties likely to win 31 to 36 seats each in the 70-member assembly.
The reports were interesting because despite its chief ministerial candidate getting slammed for being economical with the truth, the BJP was widely perceived to be the frontrunner. It had plastered the national capital with its hoardings (though AAP was smarter in booking many of the more strategic places earlier). It was obviously spending a lot more on FM radio spots often caricaturing AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal. According to one estimate, BJP had mobilized 200,000 people including RSS whole-timers to campaign for it. And finally Narendra Modi was expected to make a huge difference with the middle class voters still enamored of the strong leader.

BJP obviously took Delhi for granted. It has been a traditional stronghold of the party. BJP has an alliance with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which enjoys considerable appeal among Sikh voters. And of course it was the single-largest party with 32 seats when elections were held last in December, 2013. AAP with 28 seats went on to form a government for 49 days but it was the BJP which had reasons to feel smug, especially after it swept all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the general elections five months later.

In hindsight the party would be regretting its cockiness if at all the doomsday predictions come true. It was undoubtedly cavalier the way the party first projected Dr Harshvardhan as its chief ministerial candidate in Delhi, then fielded him for the Lok Sabha, made him the health minister and then sidelined him unceremoniously to the Science & Technology minister. This time round when it dawned on the party that it did not have a known face to counter Arvind Kejriwal, it fell back on Kiran Bedi, a popular but controversial figure in Delhi and a former colleague of Kejriwal in India Against Corruption (IAC). The party also welcomed several other ‘defectors’ from Congress and AAP like former union minister Krishna Tirath, AAP MLAs Vinay Kumar Binny and MS Dhir, former Kejriwal associate Shazia Ilmi and others, fielding half a dozen ‘defectors’ while ignoring its own state leaders.

By UTTAM SENGUPTA

BJP kills Anna Hazare in campaign ad

Anna Hazare

New Delhi

Aam Aadmi Party lashed out at BJP on Friday for its newspaper advertisement featuring a garlanded sketch of Anna Hazare, accusing the saffron party of “killing” the “second Gandhi” on Martyrs’ Day, and demanded that it apologise.

The party also accused BJP of “following (Nathuram) Godse’s ideology while they talk of Gandhi”.

Stating that the ad goes against the Election Commission guidelines, the party also demanded the intervention of the poll body.

“On the day the Mahatma was assassinated, they have killed the second Gandhi which reflects their narrow mentality. The ad is not only in poor taste it also goes against EC guidelines. The EC should take note and act appropriately,” senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.

AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal was a close aide of Anna Hazare during the 2011 anti-graft movement but later fell out with him.

The party also demanded a public apology from BJP.

“The ad has stemmed out of their frustration and despondency. If they have an iota of shame left they should publicly apologise for indulging in such negative campaigning,” Singh said.

Earlier, AAP chief Kejriwal took to twitter to take a jibe at BJP asking whether BJP had “killed” the veteran anti-corruption crusader.

“Nathuram Godse killed Gandhiji on this day in 1948. BJP has killed Anna in its ad today. Shudn’t BJP apologise?” he wrote, referring to the advertisement.

Arvind Kejriwal        ✔ @ArvindKejriwal

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Nathuram Godse killed Gandhiji on this day in 1948. BJP has killed Anna in its ad today. Shudn’t BJP apologise?

Delhi will go to vote for a new government on February 7. The results will be declared on February 10.

Lake created out of Phuktal river poses threat in Kargil

Zanskar River block

Zanskar, Kargil

A grave situation has arisen in the Zanskar subdivision of Kargil due to creation of an artificial lake on the Phuktal river after a huge landslide blocked the river.

This lake was created after a landslide blocked the river which approximately created a 10-km long lake.

Due to the threat, the district administration has approached the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

“The lake has been created around 90 km from the Padam area of Zanskar and beyond 43 km no one can go by foot. After consulting all local engineers, including Army engineers, we were not able to do anything,” said Muhammad Sadiq Sheikh, Deputy Commissioner, Kargil.

“Though the river water is still frozen, once it starts melting it could become a threat to the entire area. The district administration has alerted people to move to safer places so that once water breaches the artificial lake, its level can raise, which can become threat to people,” he said.

“A few villages in and around the Padam area have been given direction to move to higher areas. We have alerted the administration, but we don’t have any control over the situation. The NDMA will have to deal with the situation,” the Deputy Commissioner added.

This area holds importance as it is en route the world famous Chadar trek, where tourists from all over the world come every year. The Nimo-Bazgo hydroelectric project also gets the water supply from Phuktal.

The district administration is keeping an eye on the situation by monitoring the area through aerial surveys.

Meanwhile, Executive Councillor for Tourism Power and Zanskar Affairs, LAHDC Kargil, Skalzang Wangyal has urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for sending a team from the National Disaster Management Force for early solution of the blocked Phuktal, which is a cause of concern for entire Zanskar valley as well as for those living in low-lying areas of Leh and Kargil.

He also urged the Union Defence Minister, MoS Home, and Ladakh MP for early operation of MI-17 helicopter services for the stranded passengers of the valley.

NDMA to evolve plan 
Jammu: Following the directions of Governor NN Vohra, the NDMA has been told to constitute a multi-disciplinary expert group with representatives from the National Remote Sensing Centre, Central Water Commission, Survey of India, Geological Survey of India and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology to evolve an action plan for dealing with the situation arising due to landslides and consequential blockage of the Phuktal river between Shaday Sumdo and MarShun in the Zanskar subdivision of Kargil district.

Muslim Group Thanks Texas House Speaker for Statement of Support

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HOUSTON, TEXAS

The Texas office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Texas) today thanked Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) for his statement in support of civic engagement by Muslims in that state.

Earlier today, CAIR’s national office called for an ethics ruling after Texas state Representative Molly White (R-Belton) instructed her staff to administer loyalty oaths to participants in today’s Texas Muslim Capitol Day in Austin.

On Facebook Rep. White mentioned: “I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws,” and, “We will see how long they stay in my office.”

CAIR Requests Ethics Ruling on Texas Lawmaker’s Muslim Loyalty Oath
http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12829-cair-requests-ethics-ruling-on-texas-lawmakers-muslim-loyalty-oath.html

In response to CAIR’s request, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) released the following statement:

“The Texas Capitol belongs to all the people of this state, and legislators have a responsibility to treat all visitors just as we expect to be treated — with dignity and respect. Anything else reflects poorly on the entire body and distracts from the very important work in front of us.”

Video: Texas House Speaker Joe Straus Issues Statement in Support of Texas Muslims
http://youtu.be/uyhUN4G7B1M

“We thank Speaker Straus for his statement in support of the right of all Texans, regardless of faith, ethnicity or national origin, to participate fully in the political process and to make their views heard by elected officials,” said CAIR-San Antonio President Sarwat Husain.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

DEA has been scanning millions of license plates so it can confiscate people’s assets

DEA USA

USA

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been collecting information about millions of people in the US with a semi-secret networks of automated license plate-readers. Its main purpose is for enabling law enforcement to take people’s money without charging them of any crime:

The program was started to assist the controversial civil asset forfeiture program which allows law enforcement to seize a suspected criminal’s property without the suspect ever being convicted of the alleged crime.

But it is also useful for police and politicians to stalk and spy on people they hold a personal grudge against:

Backchannel reported in December that police have used their access to license plate readers to stalk former colleagues, and IB Times revealed earlier this month that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) used location data to smear a political rival.

Exclusive: “Kornet” the missile that Hezbollah used in destroying Israeli armours

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Golan Heights

Hezbollah fighters attacked an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa Farms area of southern Lebanon, Wednesday, using Kornet missiles.

This is considered the most prominent Russian rocket propelled grenades against anti-armor and fortifications. The missile relies on a laser guidance system with high immunity against jamming and carries severe upside explosion of a destructive penetrating ability.

The rocket has been shown in Russia in 1994, to be issued later to the world.

The missile can deal with a variety of ground targets, fixed and mobile, such as tanks, armored vehicles, bunkers and fortifications. It has the ability to hit low-altitude aircraft, especially helicopters.

The diameter of the missile is one hundred and fifty-two millimetres, and a length of 1200 millimeters.  It outpaces the speed of sound. It has range of 100 meter to 5500 meter.

The missile is based on push of solid propellant directors with exhaust system on both sides. It offer spin feature about when aim towards a goal, increasing the stability during flight.

The missile can be launched from a tripod arms, or on the back of the wagon with the launch base.