The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made recommendations to strengthen diplomatic relations with Russia and China to help resolve Rohingya crisis. The recommendations on Thursday came at the 17th meeting of the committee held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban with its Chairman Dr Dipu Moni in the chair. Other members of the committee — Foreign Affairs Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali, Muhammad Faruq Khan, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Raji Mohammad Fakhrul, Selim Uddin and Begum Mahjabin Khaled attended the meeting. It was discussed in the meeting that heads of government from different countries and top officials of international organizations are visiting ***’s Bazar to see the situation of the Rohingya people. So, the committee recommended modernization and expansion of ***’s Bazar Airport. The meeting suggested the Foreign Affairs Ministry to take initiatives to ensure safe return of Rohingyas to their homeland.
Kim Jong-un will on Friday become the first North Korean leader to cross into South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953. In newly announced details, South Korea said President Moon Jae-in would personally meet Mr Kim at the border at 09:30 local time (00:30 GMT). The historic talks will focus on the North's recent indications it could be willing to give up its nuclear weapons. The landmark summit is a breakthrough after years of mounting tension. But Seoul has warned reaching an agreement aimed at ridding Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons will be "difficult", because North Korea's nuclear and missile technology has advanced so much since the sides last held talks. "The difficult part is at what level the two leaders will be able to reach an agreement regarding willingness to denuclearise," South Korean presidential spokesperson Im Jong-seok said. The meeting - the third of its kind following summits in 2000 and 2007 - is the result of months of improving relations between the two Koreas, and paves the way to a possible meeting between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump. As well as addressing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the leaders are expected to discuss a path to peace on the peninsula to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, and a series of economic and social issues. Mr Moon will meet Mr Kim and his delegation of nine officials at the border, Mr Im told reporters on Thursday. DESHISMASH.COM
As many as 13 children were killed on Thursday morning when a school vehicle collided with a moving train at an unmanned rail crossing near Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. Eight students have been critically injured and the death toll may rise, said a local police official to ANI. Eighteen children were traveling in the school vehicle. The accident occurred at a rail crossing in Dudhi near Kushinagar town. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath is said to be rushing to Kushinagar and the accident site for an on-the-spot assessment. He expressed his deepest condolences, and directed the district administration to provide all help and medical aid to the injured. He also declared an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakhs and directed an inquiry into the cause of the accident. [i]TIMES OF INDIA[/i]
The Commonwealth on Friday called for a halt to all violence, restoration of normality and accountability of the perpetrators for gross violations of human rights in northern Rakhaine state of Myanmar through an independent investigation. The 53-nation grouping made the call in a joint communiqu,, adopted unanimously on the concluding day of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that ended here yesterday afternoon. According to the joint communiqu,,, the member states called for sustainable return of all displaced Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh to their rightful homes in Myanmar under UNHCR oversight. Besides, the leaders of the member states called for creation of necessary conditions for sustainable return in safety, security and dignity. Praising the role of Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue, the Commonwealth leaders expressed full solidarity with the government and the people of Bangladesh affected by the influx of Rohingyas, the joint communiqu,, added. It said the Commonwealth leaders commended Bangladesh and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for providing shelter to the distressed humanity facing an existential threat. The heads of the government also stressed actions to address the root causes of the current crisis including through immediate implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission recommendation. The leaders noted the general agreement and agreements reached between Bangladesh and Myanmar as a beginning towards sustainable return of the Rohingyas and their reintegration into Myanmar society as equal members. Opposing use of chemical weapons under any circumstances, the communiqu,, said, the heads of the member states expressed commitment to strengthening the effective implementation of the chemical weapons convention. The leaders reiterated their pledge to strengthening the disarmament and non-proliferation regime against the spread and use of chemical weapons, it said. Besides, they underlined the importance of timely investigation and stressed that the conduct of all investigations of any alleged use of chemical weapons must be in accordance with the provisions of the convention. The heads of the government also condemned violent extremism in all its forms, expressed their continued support of the UN Secretary General's Plan of Action to prevent violent extremism. Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque told reporters on Thursday that in the executive sessions of the CHOGM, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina raised the Rohingya issue and reiterated her five-point proposals which she placed at the UNGA last September to solve the crisis. Sheikh Hasina, he said, also renewed her call to the international community to put more pressure on the Myanmar government for quick repatriation of the Myanmar nationals with full security and dignity. [i]BSS[/i]
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he will suspend all missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site with immediate effect. "From 21 April, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles," the Korean Central News Agency said. The decision is aimed at pursuing economic growth and peace on the Korean peninsular, state media report. Mr Kim is due to meet his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in next week. He is also expected to hold an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump by June. If it takes place, it will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. "This is very good news for North Korea and the World - big progress!," Mr Trump tweeted after Kim Jong-un's announcement. The declaration came in six dramatic bullet points on North Korea's state run news agency, and it is a significant statement. Mr Kim says it is not necessary to conduct any more missile tests because nuclear weaponisation has been achieved. This echoes his previous statement during a New Year address that the state is satisfied it is a nuclear power. After six nuclear tests North Korea may feel it does not need to upgrade its existing designs. This is not denuclearisation as demanded by the international community. Although North Korea has said it will abolish its atomic test site, it is not promising to get rid of its weapons. Pyongyang has also broken these kind of pledges before. But this is still an important step ahead of the summits with President Moon and a potential meeting with Mr Trump. North Korea has repeatedly defied international sanctions over its weapons programme. In November, it said it had successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the whole of the continental United States. The latest announcement from Pyongyang comes during a thawing of relations between North and South Korea. A telephone hotline has been set up between Mr Kim and Mr Moon ahead of the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade. "It was as if we were talking to a neighbour right next door," a South Korean official told local media after a successful test call that lasted 4 minutes 17 seconds. The agreement to set up the phone link was made last month when Mr Moon's top security adviser travelled to Pyongyang for a meeting with Mr Kim, who then agreed to hold the inter-Korean summit. The two states remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, with neither side able to claim an outright victory. [i]Agencies[/i]
At least 21 members of a wedding party were killed after a mini-truck they were travelling in fell into the Son river in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi district, an official said on Wednesday. The accident in which more than 20 others were injured, occurred late on Tuesday when the driver lost control of the vehicle while crossing the Jogdaha bridge. The mini-truck crashed through the railing and plunged into the river. The wedding party was en route to Bahari in Sidhi from Deosar in Singrauli district. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has expressed grief over the incident. The relief and rescue operations continued through the night. All bodies have been recovered. The injured were in hospital.
Many of the almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar were subjected to acts of sexual violence by the country’s armed forces, according to a new report by the UN secretary general, António Guterres. Guterres’s report, which will be discussed by the UN security council on Monday, said international medical staff and others in Bangladesh, where many of the Rohingya have fled, have documented that many of the refugees “bear the physical and psychological scars of brutal sexual assault”. Guterres said the assaults were allegedly perpetrated by Myanmar’s armed forces, “at times acting in concert with local militias, in the course of military ‘clearance’ operations in October 2016 and August 2017”. “The widespread threat and use of sexual violence was integral to this strategy, serving to humiliate, terrorise and collectively punish the Rohingya community, as a calculated tool to force them to flee their homelands and prevent their return,” he said. Buddhist-majority Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as an ethnic group, insisting they are Bengali migrants from Bangladesh living illegally in the country. It has denied them citizenship, leaving them stateless. Guterres said “ethnic cleansing in the guise of clearance operations unfolded in northern Rakhine state”. “Violence was visited upon women, including pregnant women, who are seen as custodians and propagators of ethnic identity, as well as on young children, who represent the future of the group,” Guterres said. “This can be linked to an inflammatory narrative alleging that high fertility rates among the Rohingya represent an existential threat to the majority population.” Guterres’s report comes as Myanmar on Saturday repatriated the first Rohingya family from the refugees who fled to Bangladesh. The government said “five members of a Muslim family” arrived at a reception centre in Rakhine state, after months of fraught talks with Dhaka and amid UN warnings that Myanmar is not ready for their return. Myanmar’s army is one of 51 government, rebel and extremist groups in Guterres’s report that are “credibly suspected” of carrying out rapes and other acts of sexual violence in conflict. Other countries include Syria, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali and Somalia. Guterres said most victims are “politically and economically marginalised women and girls” concentrated in remote, rural areas with the least access to services that can help them, and in refugee camps and areas for the displaced. He said many women, including Rohingya refugees, are reluctant to return to locations they fled where forces including alleged perpetrators remain in control. The secretary general lamented that “most incidents of mass rape continue to be met with mass impunity”. [i]Source: The Guardian[/i]
Seven employees have been suspended after 22 carriages carrying 1,000 passengers detached from a train and sped backwards for 11km (seven miles) in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. The runaway carriages were halted by railway staff after they placed rocks on the tracks. None of the people on the train were injured in the incident, which occurred on Saturday night, officials said. More than 22 million Indians commute daily on about 9,000 trains. A video of the incident, caught on a mobile phone camera, showed onlookers screaming as the carriages rolled backwards and past a railway platform. The suspended employees allegedly did not follow protocol and an investigation has been launched, JP Mishra, a spokesman for the railway ministry, told z news agency. Officials believe that the brakes that are normally applied when a carriage is detached were incorrectly used or overlooked. "Something ghastly could have happened and it was averted by alert staff," Mr Mishra said. Such incidents are not uncommon in India. Across the country, trains carry more than 22 million passengers every day but much of the equipment is out of date. Last November, a group of Indian farmers woke up to find that the train they were travelling on had sped 160km (99 miles) in the "wrong direction". In August 2017, at least 23 people were killed when a train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
At least 24 children and three adults were killed when a school bus plunged off a mountain road in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh on Monday, police said. Santosh Patial, a senior police officer in Himachal Pradesh, said they had recovered 27 bodies from the accident site. The adult dead included the driver. The tragedy occurred when the bus swerved off the road and fell into a gorge. The bus was transporting children, all below the age of 13, who were studying at a private school in Nurpur town, 300 km (185 miles) from Shimla, the state capital. “We have identified all the children and parents have been informed about the disaster,” said Ram Nath Singh, a police officer at the accident site. Singh said three children with head injuries were taken to a government hospital. India has the world’s deadliest roads, with almost 150,000 people killed in accidents in 2015, the latest government data shows. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his deep anguish over the tragedy. “My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones in the accident,” he said in a tweet.
Bangladesh and Singapore on Monday signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on cooperation in the areas of air services and private public partnership. The instruments were signed following an official meeting between prime ministers of the two countries at Istana here today. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Singapore counterpart Lee Hsein Loong led their respective sides in the talks. Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism of Bangladesh SM Ghulam Farooque and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Transport of Singapore Loh Ngai Seng signed a MoU on cooperation in the areas of air services. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Private Public Partnership Authority (PPPA) of Bangladesh Syed Afsor H Uddin and Assistant CEO of International Enterprise of Singapore Tan Soon Kim singed another MoU on cooperation in Public Private Partnership on behalf of their respective sides.
The United States Holocaust Museum has revoked a human rights award given to Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader of Myanmar, over her failure to use her “moral authority” to halt a brutal military campaign. The museum announced on Wednesday that it had withdrawn the Elie Wiesel award, presented to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2012. Officials cited her refusal to condemn or stop the mass killings of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority. Aung San Suu Kyi had earned comparisons to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela after spending 15 years under house arrest for opposing the country’s military dictatorship. She became an international lodestar and won the Nobel peace prize in 1991. Her party won a landslide victory in 2015 and she became state counsellor. In response, Barack Obama relaxed sanctions, gave financial assistance and became the first sitting US president to visit Myanmar. But Aung San Suu Kyi’s international reputation has collapsed over the Rohingya massacres and she has been criticised as an apologist for the purges. She has not even spoken the word Rohingya in public. Sara Bloomfield, director of the Holocaust Museum, explained its reasoning in an open letter to the Myanmar embassy in Washington that was published on the museum’s website. “Based on inspiration that you created for millions around the world, with your long resistance to military dictatorship, and your advocacy for freedom and human rights for all the people of Myanmar, we were honored to present you with the first Elie Wiesel Award in 2012,” Bloomfield wrote. “It is with great regret that we are now rescinding that award. We did not take this decision lightly.” The museum has been “closely monitoring” the Myanmar military’s campaign against the Rohingya and Aung San Suu Kyi’s response to it, Bloomfield continued, making “numerous visits” to Myanmar and Bangladesh to obtain firsthand evidence. The museum has also published findings that include “mounting evidence of genocide”. The Burmese military, allied with armed Buddhist civilians, has killed thousands of Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine since last August. About 700,000 more have fled to Bangladesh. The US has described Myanmar’s denials of ethnic cleansing as “preposterous” and called on the UN security council to pressure Aung San Suu Kyi “to acknowledge these horrific acts that are taking place in her country”. The museum had hoped that Aung San Suu Kyi would speak out and try to end the brutal campaign, the letter added. “The National League for Democracy, under your leadership, has instead refused to cooperate with United Nations investigators, promulgated hateful rhetoric against the Rohingya community, and denied access to and cracked down on journalists trying to uncover the scope of the crimes in Rakhine State.” The Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, investigating the deaths of 10 Rohingya men and their burial in a mass grave, were arrested and face 14 years in prison. Authorities in Myanmar accuse them of possessing state secrets. Bloomfield acknowledged: “We understand the difficult situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule and violence in your country and that institution’s still powerful constitutional role. However, the military’s orchestration of the crimes against Rohingya and the severity of the atrocities in recent months demand that you use your moral authority to address this situation.” [i]Source: Agencies[/i]
Kirshna Kumari Kolhi from Pakistan's Sindh province has become the first-ever Hindu Dalit woman Senator in the Muslim-majority country, the Pakistan People's Party has said. Kolhi, 39, from Thar is a member of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari-led Pakistan People's Party (PPP). She was elected Senator on a minority seat from Sindh. The PPP awarded her the Senate ticket, it said. Her election represents a major milestone for women and minority rights in Pakistan. Earlier, PPP had elected first Hindu woman named Ratna Bhagwandas Chawla as a senator. Kolhi belongs to a remote village in Nagarparkar district of Thar in Sindh province. Born to a poor peasant, Jugno Kolhi, in February 1979, Kolhi and her family members spent nearly three years in a private jail owned by the landlord of Kunri of Umerkot district. She was a grade 3 student at the time when held captive. She was married to Lalchand at the age of 16, when she was studying in 9th grade. However, she pursued her studies and in 2013 she did masters in sociology from the Sindh University. She had joined the PPP as a social activist along with her brother, who was later elected as Chairman of Union Council Berano. Kolhi also actively participated and worked for the rights of downtrodden people of marginalised communities living in Thar and other areas. She is from the family of the valiant freedom fighter Rooplo Kolhi, who had waged a war against the invading British colonialist forces when they had attacked Sindh from Nagarparkar side in 1857. Subsequently, he was arrested and hanged by the Britishers on August 22, 1858. Pakistan's ruling PML-N of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday won 15 seats in Senate and became the largest party in the upper house of Parliament, according to the provisional results. Provincial and federal lawmakers voted to elect 52 Senators in the Senate elections, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Twelve seats each from Punjab and Sindh, 11 each from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, four from tribal region and two from federal capital territory were up for grab due to retirement of 52 senators this month. More than 130 candidates, including those nominated by political parties and independent candidates were in the contest. [i]Source: Times of India[/i]