Pakistan extends Afghan refugees' stay for six more months

Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday granted an extension in the stay of registered Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan for another six months – till December 31, 2016. “Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of States and Frontier Regions shall immediately engage with UNHCR and Government of Afghanistan for gradual relocation of refugee camps in Pakistan to Afghanistan,” spokesperson for the prime minister said. Sharif issued the directive on Wednesday after reviewing the ‘Repatriation and Management Policy for Afghan Refugees’, said the Prime Minister’s Office. It is to mention that the validity period of the “Proof of Registration” cards – that allow Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan – was set to expire on June 30, Dawn online reported. But now, following the approval by the prime minster, the registered Afghan refugees can legally stay in Pakistan till the approved date. The PM’s spokesperson further said that in order to facilitate relocation and as a gesture of continued goodwill, Pakistan shall commit provision of free of cost wheat for the relocated camps in Afghanistan for a period of three years. “Quantum of wheat shall be determined by a certified number of refugees returning from camps in Pakistan and authorised daily entitlement according to the standards of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),” the spokesman said. However, this extension in stay will be given only to the Afghans who are “Proof of Registration” card holders and legally reside in Pakistan. There are only 100,000 registered refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said provincial information minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani. “We don’t suggest any aggressive campaign against Afghan refugees, but we have been hosting them for the past 35 years and it is time they should go back to their country,” Ghani said. Unregistered Afghans had become a major security issue for the government, he added. About 6,000 Afghans have chosen to return home from Pakistan in 2016, well below last year’s figure of 58,211, the UN’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said. Registration cards allowing a temporary legal stay for Afghan refugees last received a six-month extension after they expired in December 2015. // ]]>

'Baahubali' to be re-released in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: To commemorate the first anniversary of S.S. Rajamouli’s magnum opus “Baahubali”, its Kerala distributor Global United Media has planned to re-release the dubbed Malayalam version of the film. “The film originally released on July 10 last year. We haven’t locked the date yet, but we plan to release the Malayalam version in Kerala in July. It will give audiences another opportunity to revisit this epic film in cinemas,” a statement from the company said. “Baahubali”, about the warring battle between two brothers for a kingdom, grossed over Rs 600 crore from its theatrical release. As the makers are busy filming “Baahubali: The Conclusion”, the first part is gearing up for wide release in China. “Baahubali: The Conclusion” is slated for theatrical release next year. // ]]>

Clinton leads over Trump: Fox News poll

Washington: Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton opened up a 6-point lead over Republican rival Donald Trump in the latest Fox News poll released on Wednesday evening. In a head-to-head match-up, Clinton earned 44 per cent to Trump’s 38 per cent, while 7 per cent volunteered that they would vote for someone else, 5 per cent said they would not vote and 5 per cent said they did not know who they would choose, Politico reported citing the poll. In the previous Fox News survey conducted earlier this month, Clinton’s lead was only 3 points, 42 per cent to 39 per cent. But apart from a Quinnipiac University national poll released earlier on Wednesday that showed him behind by only 2 points, Trump has trailed by similar margins in other recent surveys, including a 5-point deficit in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll and a more pronounced 12-point gulf in the ABC News-Washington Post poll, which the business mogul derided as “dirty” because the sample included 10 per cent more Democrats than Republicans. Neither major party candidate inspired much confidence from voters, as 48 per cent said they were confident that Clinton would do right by the US and 51 per cent said they did not think so. Even fewer people, 42 per cent, said they were confident in Trump’s decision-making for the country, while 58 per cent indicated a lack of confidence to some degree. Asked a series of questions about personal characteristics, 45 per cent said Clinton is someone who cares about people like them, while 51 per cent disagreed with that sentiment, about the same as when the question was last asked in May. But for Trump, 35 per cent in June said they saw empathy from him, down from 42 per cent in May. Neither candidate is seen as trustworthy, while Trump is seen as more hot-headed and obnoxious than Clinton, who is seen as more sensible, experienced and intelligent. The poll was conducted from June 26 to 28, surveying a random national sample of 1,017 registered voters via landlines and cellphones. // ]]>

I was used for political gains: Robert Vadra

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra on Thursday said he was being used for “political gains”, adding that baseless accusations were levelled against him by “governments” for “almost a decade”. “Almost a decade of governments false and baseless accusations on me! They cannot prove anything without proof, and there is nothing there to prove…” Vadra said in a post on his Facebook page. “I will always be used for political gains, I know … But I will walk with my head held high, as in time and with the truth which will conquer incorrect perceptions, created about me,” he said in the post. Vadra has recently been issued a notice by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his alleged involvement in a land scam in Bikaner. At the same time, the Justice S.N. Dhingra Commission enquiry report into controversial land deals in Haryana is likely to be submitted soon. The one-man Dhingra commission, set up by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana in May 2015 to probe controversial land deals in Haryana, including Vadra’s land deals. // ]]>

Rajnath Singh to visit J&K on Friday

Srinagar: Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to visit Jammu and Kashmir on Friday to take firsthand stock of security situation in the Kashmir Valley ahead of the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra, officials said on Thursday. Singh earlier took a review of the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir at a high level meeting in New Delhi. Following that review meeting, a three-member team including secretary border management, Susheel Kumar, special secretary, internal security, Mahesh Kumar and joint secretary (Kashmir affairs), Gyanesh Kumar had arrived here on Tuesday. The team is since camping in Srinagar to submit a report to the ministry on the Pampore attack in which eight CRPF troopers were killed and 22 injured in the Jammu-Srinagar national highway on June 25. Directors general of CRPF and BSF are also arriving here today ahead of the Home Minister’s visit, sources said. // ]]>

Government releases 25 more declassified files related to Netaji

New Delhi: The central government on Wednesday released another batch of declassified files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on portal “The fifth batch of 25 declassified files relating to #NetajiSubhasChandraBose was released online on web portal today,” Union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said in a tweet. The new files include report of Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry on the alleged disappearance of Bose and Action Taken Report of 2006. The new batch of files consists among others files containing photographs of interior view of Renkoji Temple showing how Netaji’s ashes are kept, Russia Parliament question on Netaji and letter from Amiya Nath Bose to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru regarding conversion of Netaji’s house into National museum and disposal of properties of Indian National army. The government had earlier released four files including on May 27 from the Prime Minister’s Office, from the Home Ministry, and also from the External Affairs Ministry pertaining to the period 1968 to 2008. The government has earlier released three batches of files pertaining to Bose in March and April this year. The first lot of 100 files relating to Bose were put in the public domain by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 23, on the occasion of the 119th birth anniversary of Netaji. // ]]>

Bihar toppers scam: SIT begins process to freeze bank accounts

Patna: The SIT investigating the infamous Bihar toppers scam on Wednesday requested banks concerned to freeze the bank accounts of all the arrested accused, including kingpin Bachcha Rai, police said on Wednesday. The other arrested in the case are former Bihar Education Board Chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad and his wife and former Janata Dal-United legislator Usha Sinha. Former board Secretary Harharnath Jha, Visheshwar Prasad and others are also allegedly involved in the case. A police official said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had written to the regional managers of the banks concerned on the matter. The SIT had moved a local court for issuance of arrest warrants against Bihar’s Class 12 Arts ‘topper’ Rubi Rai, who was arrested on Saturday after failing a re-test at the board’s office. Ruby told police during preliminary questioning that it was ‘Bachcha chacha’ and her father who helped her to top the exam. On the basis of her statement, the SIT will now arrest her father, police said. So far, over 20 persons have been arrested in the case, police said. The scam surfaced after Aaj Tak TV channel showed a sting in which two Class 12 toppers could not answer even elementary questions about the subjects they ‘topped’ in. // ]]>