Connect with us

World

Canada has ‘climate of violence’ for Indian diplomats

Published

on



WASHINGTON:

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Friday there was a “climate of violence” and an “atmosphere of intimidation” against Indian diplomats in Canada, where the presence of Sikh separatist groups has frustrated New Delhi.

“Because there is freedom of speech, to make threats and intimidate diplomats, I don’t think that’s acceptable,” Jaishankar told reporters on Friday evening in Washington.

Advertisement

Relations between India and Canada have been tense of late, mostly due to the presence of Sikh separatists in Canada who have kept alive the movement for Khalistan, or the demand for an independent Sikh state to be carved out of India.

Canada’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Indian agents may have had a role in the June murder of Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was labeled a “terrorist” by India.

New Delhi dismissed the allegations as absurd. Washington has urged India to cooperate with Canada in the murder probe.

In 2018, Trudeau assured India that Canada would not support anyone trying to revive a separatist movement in India, while repeatedly saying that he respects the right to free speech and assembly of protesters to demonstrate.

Advertisement

Canada is home to an influential Sikh community, and Indian leaders say some fringe groups there remain sympathetic to the cause of an independent Sikh state. The cause hardly has any support in India.

The demand for Khalistan has surfaced many times in India, most prominently during a violent insurgency in the 1980s and 1990s which paralyzed the state of Punjab for over a decade.

The insurgency killed tens of thousands of people and the Khalistan movement is considered a security threat by the Indian government. Sikh militants were blamed for the 1985 bombing of an Air India Boeing 747 flying from Canada to India in which all 329 people on board were killed.

Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 by two Sikh bodyguards after she allowed the storming of the holiest Sikh temple, aimed at flushing out Sikh separatists.



Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

World

US vetoes UN ceasefire bid as Israel continues Gaza assault

Published

on

By



GAZA:

Israel pressed its invasion of the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza on Saturday after the United States blocked an extraordinary UN bid to call for a ceasefire in the two-month conflict.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority swiftly condemned the US veto as the Palestinian health ministry put the latest death toll in Gaza at 17,487 people, mostly women and children.

Advertisement

An Israeli strike on the southern city of Khan Yunis killed six people, while five others died in a separate attack in Rafah, the ministry said Saturday.

Vast areas of Gaza have been reduced to rubble and the UN says about 80 percent of the population has been displaced, with dire shortages of food, fuel, water and medicine reported.

“It’s so cold, and the tent is so small. All I have are the clothes I wear, I still don’t know what the next step will be,” said Mahmud Abu Rayan, displaced from Beit Lahia in the north.

A UN Security Council resolution that would have called for an immediate ceasefire was vetoed by the United States on Friday.

Advertisement

US envoy Robert Wood said the resolution was “divorced from reality” and “would have not moved the needle forward on the ground”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the ceasefire “would prevent the collapse of the Hamas terrorist organisation, which is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and would enable it to continue ruling the Gaza Strip”.

Hamas slammed on Saturday the US rejection of the ceasefire bid as “a direct participation of the occupation in killing our people and committing more massacres and ethnic cleansing”.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said it was “a disgrace and another blank cheque given to the occupying state to massacre, destroy and displace”.

Wounded Palestinian children sit on the floor at Nasser hospital following Israeli strikes. PHOTO: Reuters

Wounded Palestinian children sit on the floor at Nasser hospital following Israeli strikes. PHOTO: Reuters

Advertisement

The veto was swiftly condemned by humanitarian groups, with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) saying the Security Council was “complicit in the ongoing slaughter”.

Israel’s military said Friday it had struck 450 targets in Gaza over 24 hours, showing footage of strikes from naval vessels in the Mediterranean.

The Palestinian health ministry reported 40 Palestinians killed near Gaza City in the north, and dozens more in Jabalia and the main southern city of Khan Yunis.

Following two months of conflict and barbaric Israeli bombardment, UN chief Antonio Guterres said Friday “the people of Gaza are looking into the abyss”.

“People are desperate, fearful and angry,” he said. “All this takes place amid a spiralling humanitarian nightmare.”

Advertisement

Many of the 1.9 million Gazans who have been displaced by the war have headed south, turning Rafah near the Egyptian border into a vast camp.

Only 14 of the 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip were functioning in any capacity, according to United Nations’ humanitarian agency OCHA.

With the civilian toll mounting, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that Washington believes Israel needs to do more to protect civilians in the conflict.

“We certainly all recognise more can be done to… reduce civilian casualties. And we’re going to keep working with our Israeli counterparts to that end,” he said.

Advertisement

The death toll also rose in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot dead six Palestinians on Friday, the territory’s health ministry said.

Israel claimed Friday it has lost 91 soldiers in Gaza. The real number of casualties is likely higher.

It claimed two others were wounded in a failed bid to rescue hostages overnight, and that “numerous terrorists” were killed in the operation.

Hamas said a hostage was killed in the botched Israeli rescue operation, and released a video purporting to show the body, which could not be independently verified.

An attack on the US embassy in Iraq on Friday deepened fears of wider regional conflict.

Advertisement

Salvoes of rockets were launched against the mission in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, adding to dozens of recent rocket and drone strikes by resistance groups against American or coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.

Separately, three Hezbollah fighters and a Syrian were killed on Friday in an Israeli drone strike on their car in the south of Syria, a war monitor said.

WHO members urge Israel to protect humanitarian workers

More than a dozen member states of the World Health Organization submitted a draft resolution on Friday that urged Israel to respect its obligations under international law to protect humanitarian workers in Gaza.

A wounded Palestinian child sits on the floor of Nasser hospital following Israeli strikes. PHOTO: Reuters

A wounded Palestinian child sits on the floor of Nasser hospital following Israeli strikes. PHOTO: Reuters

Advertisement

The text of the draft resolution is due to be examined on Sunday during a special session of the WHO’s Executive Board convened to discuss “the health situation in the occupied Palestinian territory”.

It was proposed by Algeria, Bolivia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Palestinian representatives have WHO observer status, and were also signatories to the proposal.

The member states expressed their “grave concern about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, especially the military operations in the Gaza Strip”.

They called for Israel to “respect and protect” medical and humanitarian workers exclusively involved in carrying out medical duties, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities.

Advertisement

Separately, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters on Friday that Gaza’s health system was on its knees and could not afford to lose another ambulance or a single hospital bed.

“The situation is getting more and more horrible by the day… beyond belief, literally,” he said.

The United Nations’ humanitarian agency OCHA said late on Thursday that only 14 of the 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip were functioning in any capacity.
 



Advertisement
Continue Reading

World

Hundreds still stranded, plants closed in India’s Chennai

Published

on

By



CHENNAI:

Volunteers waded through stagnant water to hand out food and supplies, and some manufacturing plants remained shut in India’s southern tech-and-auto hub district of Chennai on Friday, four days after cyclone Michaung lashed the coast.

At least 14 people, most of them in Chennai and its state of Tamil Nadu, have died in the flooding, triggered by torrential rains that started on Monday.

Advertisement

The cyclone itself made landfall further north in Andhra Pradesh state on Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities said some low-lying areas of the state were still inundated and government officials and volunteers were taking supplies to people stuck in their homes in slums and other areas.

The larger Chennai area is home to the Indian units of several global firms including Hyundai Motor (005380.KS), Daimler and Taiwan’s Foxconn (2317.TW) and Pegatron (4938.TW) which do contract manufacturing for Apple (AAPL.O).

Read more: Chennai flooded as heavy rains from cyclone Michaung batter south India

While many of them including Pegatron and Foxconn resumed operations within a day or two of the cyclone making landfall, some plants of the TVS group located in the worst-affected areas are yet to open, industry sources said.

Advertisement

Adani Krishnapatnam Port (APSE.NS) in Andhra Pradesh, said on Friday the cyclone had “very badly affected” its operations and it was declaring a force majeure period starting Dec. 3.

Force majeure is a notice used to describe events outside a company’s control, such as a natural disaster, which usually releases it from contractual obligation without penalty.

State-run Madras Fertilizers (MDFT.NS) notified stock exchanges that its Chennai plant has been shut and is tentatively expected to resume operations within two to four weeks.

Infrastructure questioned

Information technology (IT) services providers told staff to work from home for the week, while schools and colleges closed. A few schools and colleges were converted into temporary shelters.

Advertisement

This week’s floods in Chennai brought back memories of the extensive damage caused by floods eight years ago which killed around 290 people.

In Andhra Pradesh, the damage from the cyclone was relatively contained, with roads damaged and trees uprooted as big waves crashed into the coast.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited Chennai on Thursday and announced New Delhi will release a second instalment of 4.5 billion rupees ($54 million) to Tamil Nadu to help manage the damage. The federal government has also approved a 5.6 billion-rupee project for flood management in Chennai, he said.

Chennai residents questioned the ability of the city’s infrastructure to handle extreme weather.

“Not only has urbanisation itself caused a problem, but the nature of the urbanisation has preyed upon open spaces, holding areas like marshlands and flood plains,” social activist Nityanand Jayaraman said.

Advertisement

Experts have, however, said better stormwater drainage systems would not have been able to prevent the flooding caused by very heavy and extremely heavy rains.

“This solution would have helped a lot in moderate and heavy rainfall, but not in very heavy and extremely heavy rains,” Raj Bhagat P, a civil engineer and geo-analytics expert, said on Wednesday.



Advertisement
Continue Reading

World

Gunman described as struggling academic with ‘target list’

Published

on

By


The gunman who killed three professors and wounded one at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was a financially struggling academic whose job applications were rejected by several higher-education institutions in Nevada, police said on Thursday.

Anthony James Polito, 67, also had mailed nearly two dozen suspicious letters to faculty at universities across the country and had prepared a “target list” of people at both UNLV and a North Carolina university where he once worked, police said.

Polito, facing eviction from his home in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, had a criminal record of computer trespass dating to 1992 in Virginia, but police said there were no advance signs of violence.

Advertisement

The Taurus 9mm handgun he used in the shooting was legally purchased in 2022, according to Sheriff Kevin McMahill of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He said Polito, who police shot dead after the attacks, was believed to have acted alone.

The precise motive for the rampage remained to be determined, though officials said it appeared students were not the primary target.

All four people shot on Wednesday inside Beam Hall, the campus building that houses UNLV’s business school, were faculty members.

Two of the dead were identified as professor Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, 64, and assistant professor Patricia Navarro Velez, 39. The identity of the third slain professor was being withheld pending notification of family.

Read: Las Vegas campus shooting leaves 4 dead, including suspect

Advertisement

The surviving victim remained hospitalized, and his condition worsened on Thursday, McMahill said.

Letters and list 

Detectives learned Polito had visited a post office shortly before the shooting and mailed 22 letters with no return address to university personnel across the United States, and had a list of people he was seeking on the UNLV campus as well as faculty from his former employer, East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

His LinkedIn profile described Polito as a semi-retired associate professor of business who taught at East Carolina from 2001-2017.

Authorities intercepted the letters before any were delivered and found a suspicious white powdery substance in at least one of them, McMahill said at a news briefing on Thursday.

Advertisement

The letters’ contents remained under investigation, the sheriff told reporters, warning that anyone in higher education who received such an envelope should exercise caution and contact authorities.

He said officials were working to notify the intended recipients and had contacted nearly everyone on the separate target list to make sure all were safe.

“None of the individuals listed on the target list became a victim,” he told reporters.

He said detectives also had uncovered evidence that Polito was struggling financially, including an eviction notice taped to the entrance of his apartment. He said a document that appeared to be a will was found inside.

“We know he had applied numerous times for jobs with several Nevada higher-education institutions,” McMahill added, but he did not say whether UNLV was one of them.

Advertisement

Police searching Polito’s home also recovered ammunition similar to the 150 rounds he was carrying.

The UNLV campus will remain closed through Friday. The UNLV website said classes had been canceled through Dec. 10.



Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending