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LIVE! Masood Azhar a global terrorist, says US ahead of crucial meet

08:34  Masood Azhar a global terrorist, says US ahead of crucial meet:  

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar meets the criteria to be designated as a global terrorist and not doing so is against regional stability and peace, the US said on the eve of the UN Security Council making a crucial decision in this regard.


The JeM, headed by the 50-year-old Azhar, carried out many terror strikes in India and was involved in the attack on Parliament, the Pathankot air force base, army camps in Jammu and Uri, and the latest suicide attack on Central Reserve Police Force in Pulwama which claimed the lives of 40 personnel.

In the aftermath of the February 14 attack in Pulwama, three permanent members of the United States Security Council – the United States, Britain and France – have moved a resolution to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.

Several previous attempts by these three countries inside the UNSC were blocked by China, the all-weather ally of Pakistan.

China, which is one of the five veto-powered members of the Security Council, so far has been asserting that there is not enough evidence against Azhar to designate him as a global terrorist.

Amidst a mounting global outrage in the wake of the Pulwama attack that led to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan, US, Britain and France hope that Beijing would act wisely and would not oppose their move this time to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.

On the eve of the crucial decision by the UN Security Council, the Trump Administration made it clear that there is enough evidence against Azhar to designate him as a global terrorist.

“Azhar is the founder and the leader of the JeM, and he meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters at his daily news conference.

The JeM, he said, has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability and peace.



08:21  Former US vice president Biden to run for White House in 2020: Report:  

Former United States Vice President Joe Biden will run for the White House in the upcoming presidential elections, a Democratic lawmaker has confirmed, The Hill revealed in an exclusive report.

It is assumed that if Biden runs for the White House, the already crowded Democratic primary field will steer clear to make him the clear front-runner for his partys nomination against US President Donald Trump.

The Hill quoted the House Democratic lawmaker as stating that the former vice president said, “Im giving it a shot, during a phone call with lawmaker during the past week, interpreting it as a sure sign that Biden will run in 2020.

According to the lawmaker, Biden also asked if he could get some campaign strategy ideas and invited him to sit down with him in person in the near future.

In 2017, Biden had told a leading magazine that he has not made a decision on it yet, but is not against the idea of running for the presidency in 2020.

“I haven’t decided to run. But I’ve decided I’m not going to decide not to run. We’ll see what happens,” Biden said in the interview, adding that he would have run for president in 2016 had his late son Beau not fallen ill.

“I had planned on running, and I wasn’t running against Hillary or Bernie or anybody else. Honest to God, I thought that I was the best suited for the moment to be president,” Biden had said.

Biden was the US vice president from 2009 to 2017. 



07:56  Month after joining Twitter, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweets for first time:  

In her first Twitter post, a month after she joined the social media platform, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted for the first time and invoked Mahatma Gandhi and his ideals of non-violence.

“In the simple dignity of Sabarmati, the truth lives on” she wrote in her very first tweet which was liked over 16,000 times and retweeted over 5,000 times.

In a subsequent tweet posted after around five minutes, she shared a photograph of a room in Bapu’s Sabarmati Ashram, with the chakra (spinning wheel). She accompanied the picture with a quote from the Mahatma – “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. Mahatma Gandhi.”  

Priyanka Gandhi who joined Twitter on February 11 currently has over two lakh followers on the microblogging site.

The comments on Twitter come hours after the first political rally on Tuesday of the newly appointed Congress general secretary in which Priyanka told electorates that their votes are a “weapon” which should be used wisely, disregarding useless issues and tall claims made by others.   

Priyanka was appointed AICC General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East by Congress president Rahul Gandhi on January 23.

During earlier elections, Priyanka had kept herself limited to campaigning for Rahul and Sonia Gandhi in Amethi and Raebareli parliamentary constituencies only.



00:36  Theresa May makes final push for her deal ahead of crunch Brexit vote:  

British Prime Minister Theresa
May on Tuesday made a final push for the United Kingdom Parliament to back her
Brexit withdrawal deal in a crunch vote after she claimed to have
secured ‘legally binding’ changes to the draft rejected by the House of
Commons earlier this year.

May called on MPs in the House of
Commons ahead of the vote scheduled for around 1900 GMT on Tuesday to
get behind her enhanced agreement setting out the UK’s exit strategy
from the EU or risk going against the will of the majority that voted
for Brexit in the June 2016 referendum.

“This is the
moment…Back this motion and get the deal done. We cannot serve our
country by overturning a democratic decision of the British people,” she
said, hours after claiming a breakthrough in negotiations with the European Union
to secure changes to the controversial Irish backstop to make it more
acceptable to all sides of the Commons.

Opposition Labour Party
leader Jeremy Corbyn countered that it was the same ‘bad deal’ MPs had
rejected in January and that his party would be voting against it again
because it risks people’s living standards and jobs.

The clash
came soon after UK Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox confirmed that the
legal risk from the controversial Irish backstop ‘remains unchanged’,
leading to hard-Brexiteers from within May’s own Conservative Party
refusing to back the so-called ‘improved’ divorce arrangement, leaving
Britain’s exit from the EU still precariously poised ahead of the March
29 Brexit deadline.

In a last-minute dash to the European
Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday night, May emerged alongside European
Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker to declare that the UK and EU
have agreed ‘legally binding’ changes to the controversial Irish
backstop clause to ensure any such arrangement would not be permanent.

The move was aimed at addressing the concerns of hard-Brexiteers
in her own Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Democratic
Unionist Party (DUP), which provides her government with its majority in
the House of Commons.

“MPs were clear that legal changes were
needed to the backstop. Today we have secured legal changes. Now is the
time to come together to back this improved Brexit deal,” May said at a
joint press conference with Juncker.

Brexiteers from within her
party and the DUP had refused to comment if they feel the changes she
has secured will be enough for them to vote in favour of the deal before
they take full legal advice on the changes.

UK’s chief legal
advisor Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said the extra assurances won by
May do ‘reduce the risk that the UK could be indefinitely and
involuntarily detained’ in the backstop if talks on the two sides’
future relationship broke down due to ‘bad faith’ by the EU.

the ‘legal risk remains unchanged’ if no such deal can be reached due to ‘intractable differences’, the UK would have ‘no internationally lawful
means’ of leaving the backstop without EU agreement.

Brexit-backing European Research Group within the Tory Party declared
soon after that it will not be voting for the withdrawal agreement in
the Commons later, in a major blow to May’s leadership.

parliamentary arithmetic at this stage seems to be titled against May
even though many of her Cabinet ministers have been publicly trying to
drum up support for the deal to be passed through the Commons.

May also addressed a meeting of Conservative MPs in an effort to change
the minds of those opposed to her deal and many seem to have agreed to
switch their no during a Commons vote earlier this year to a yes on

Earlier, the EU had said it had made significant
concessions as two additional documents were agreed to back up the
withdrawal agreement struck in December last year — a joint legally
binding instrument which the UK could use to start a ‘formal dispute’
against the EU if it tried to keep the UK tied into the backstop
indefinitely and a joint statement committing both sides to find an
alternative to the backstop by the end of the Brexit transition period
of December 2020.

“In politics, sometimes you get a second
chance. There will be no third chance’ it is this deal or Brexit might
not happen at all,’ Juncker said, issuing a stark warning to Britain’s
MPs over the importance of the parliamentary vote in the UK on

Ireland’s Indian-origin premier, Leo Varadkar, also
stressed the new agreements were an ‘unambiguous statement’ of both
sides’ ‘good faith and intentions’ even if they did not ‘undermine’ the
principle of the backstop or how it might come into force.

Irish backstop, an insurance policy designed to maintain an open border
on the island of Ireland between UK territory Northern Ireland and EU
member-state — the Republic of Ireland — has been the biggest sticking
point for many MPs in the UK who voted against the withdrawal agreement
tabled by May in January, by a massive margin of 230 votes.

Opposition Labour Party, meanwhile, declared that May has secured
nothing new.

“The PM is giving us basically the same deal,” said
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Kier Starmer.

The legal
arguments around the new changes will be the focal point of the vote
scheduled at 1900 GMT.

If the deal fails to pass through, May’s
previously set timetable is set to kick in — with MPs given a vote by
Wednesday on leaving the EU without any deal in place, which is expected
to be defeated as there is very little support for such an option.

eyes will then be on another vote, expected by Thursday, in favour of
delaying the March 29 deadline.  — PTI

Source: Rediff