Islamic State claims responsibility for attack on Iraqi Embassy in Kabul

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul on Monday.

A suicide bomber blew himself up at the main gate of the embassy allowing three gunmen to enter the compound. This was followed by gunfire that lasted for several hours until about mid-afternoon when the Interior ministry announced that the Afghan security forces had killed all the assailants.

There were conflicting reports regarding the casualties of the assault with the Islamic State in their claim stating that seven guards were killed, whereas according to the official statement of the spokesman of the Interior ministry, Najib Danish, only one guard was injured and there were no fatalities among the security forces or the civilians. However, as reported by Hindustan Times, a witness at the spot claims to have seen the bodies of at least two dead policemen outside the embassy soon after the attack.

According to Iraqi Foreign ministry, during the gunfight, its top diplomat in Kabul was taken to the Egyptian embassy and eventually, all the embassy diplomats and employees were evacuated to safety.

This attack comes two weeks after a press conference was held at the embassy, where the concern was raised that the local IS affiliate might plan large scale attacks elsewhere to draw away attention from their defeat in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Sources – HT, BBC

In a $1.2 billion deal, Michael Kors buys Jimmy Choo

Pairing the perfect handbag with shoes is no longer a difficult task. Luxury fashion retailer, Michael Kors, announced that it has purchased British powerhouse, Jimmy Choo.

The deal is said to be for $1.2 billion, or £886 million, and is expected to catapult the diminishing sales of these high couture brands. Michael Kors, one of America’s and the world’s most affordable brand on the high couture shelf, has faced dipping sales over the years with a sizeable chunk of their consumer base opting for e-purchases, or more affordable retailers like Zara and H&M.

Jimmy Choo, started in 1996 in a market where shoes did not toe the line. With daring designs and revolutionary styles, a frenzied, loyal consumer base was found, with the likes of the late Princess Diana, Emma Stone, Kate Middleton, Kendall Jenner and Michelle Obama sporting them on the red carpet. They went up for sale in April and finalised with Michael Kors this week.

This deal comes just a month after luxury handbags and accessories giants, Coach and Kate Spade drew a buy-out deal worth $2.4 billion, bringing the affordable high fashion game to a far more competitive edge.

 

News Sources – The New York Times, Forbes

Suicide car bomb in Kabul kills over 35

Over 35 people have been killed in Kabul on July 24, 2017, after a car driven by a suicide bomber collided with a minibus carrying government officials. According to Sky News, the attack occurred in the western part of Kabul around 7 am during peak traffic hours. Kabul Police said, the government employees, who got killed belonged to the Afghan ministry of coal and petroleum. The Taliban has officially claimed responsibility for the attack by releasing a statement to Al-Jazeera. The blast also destroyed several small shops and other cars in the surrounding areas. Afghanistan’s interior ministry termed it as a “criminal attack against humanity.”

President Ashraf Ghani commented on the atrocity saying “Once again, these terrorist are attacking civilians and targeting government.” While the exact reason for the bombing hasn’t been found, it is speculated that the attack was aimed at a demonstration by the Hazara community, which was going to happen in the same area, against a similar suicide bombing that occurred last year, reported the Guardian. However, the demonstration was cancelled last minute due to several security reasons.

The conflict in Afghan continues with more accounts of violence and terror attacks being reported. A UN report states that over 1,6662 people have been killed because of the ongoing disturbances in the first half of 2017. While the casualty toll for this suicide attack stands at over 35, reports suggest that it could rise further.

Sources – Irish Times  , The Guardian Sky News

Lahore blast: 22 killed and 30 injured

A suicide bomber blasted the area near Arfa Karim Tower on Ferozpur road, Lahore on Monday. The blast killed about 22 people, including policemen and left more than 30 injured, according to the rescue sources.

According to DNA, Amin Wains, Lahore police chief Capt(R) confirmed that it was a suicide blast. “Police and Lahore Development Authority officials were busy in removing encroachments outside the Arfa Karim Tower, located near the CM’s Model Town residence when a powerful blast took place,” said Rescue 1122 Deeba Shanaz.

The people injured in the blast were rushed to the nearby hospitals, Jinnah hospital, General hospital and Sheikh Zayed hospital. Most of the injured are in critical condition. Police have evacuated Arfa Karim Tower and cordoned the area. Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif’s residence and offices are in close proximity to the blast area.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif the Prime Minister condemned the blast and voiced his grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives. The number of cases of injury and death is expected to increase.  Till now, no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sources – Times of India , DNA

African countries invite Indian inventors

In a seminar organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in Coimbatore, several African countries have invited Indian industrialists to invest in a number of sectors.

Representatives from countries –Mali, Seychelles, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Botswana, expressed their interest in investing in sectors like textiles, food and agro-processing, agriculture, leather and leather garments, renewable energy, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and education.

Seychelles representative has invited India to help in the promotion of tourism in their country as the country is known for tourism. High Commissioner Philippe Le Gall said. “The pillar of our economy is tourism and we see about 3lakh people visiting Seychelles every year. We want to take that up to 5lakh. We want restaurateurs to set up outlets for North Indian, South Indian, Bengali, Punjabi, Mughlai and Goan cuisines”.

Gemma Mbegabolawe, Director of Botswana Investment and Trade Centre has said that their country needs investment in tanneries, hide collection, leather product designing and manufacturing, Information and Communication Technology and cargo and logistics areas. She also mentioned that the country shares a good bond with India in the diamond sector.

Margaret Kedisi, Minister-counsellor to the Uganda high commission said “As much as 30% of our pharmaceutical import is from India. At the same time, the most preferred destination of treatment is India. So investment in pharma and healthcare industry has potential in Uganda”.

The ambassador from Mali, Niankoro Yeah Samake has said that their country is interested in textile, gold, education and hospitality management while Gemma Mbegabolawe, Botswana representative said they are interested in the development of leather product manufacturing industry as the country has more population of cattle than people.

Sources: The Hindu, TOI

Image Source: The Covai Post

Google fined $2.7 billion by EU

On Tuesday, June 27, Google was slapped with a fine of $2.7 Billion by the European Union’s antitrust regulator. The internet search engine giant was fined for favouring its online services over the others. This is the largest penalty against market distortion by the regulatory authority.

The company has been given a window of 90-days by the European Commission to stop its illegal activities. The Guardian reported that if Google fails to do so, the company may face a fine up to 5% of the daily average global turnover of the parent company, Alphabet.

The European Union’s antitrust officer, Margrethe Vestager, said, “What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”

Google, who has put forward earlier that Amazon and eBay have more influence over public opinion about shopping, has said in their defence that it disagrees with European Union’s decision and will appeal against the charges.

CNBC reported that after the announcement by EU’s antitrust regulator, the shares of Alphabet has dropped 1.4%.

Sources: CNBC, The Guardian

Endangered Lizard penises sold as talismanic plant roots: Wild Life Trust of India

Who knew that Bengal monitor lizards and yellow monitor lizards look similar to a rare plant named ‘Hatha Jodi’ which is considered pious by many?

Whoever did, was caught along with their accomplices in what turned out to be one of the biggest international scams in illegal wildlife trade. After police crackdown in the state of Orissa, a huge volume of penises of the above-mentioned species of lizards was discovered.

“Wildlife traffickers have been buying the dried lizard penises and fraudulently selling them online as the original plant has slowly faded away from the country” exclaimed Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). Neil de Cruz of the London-based group, World Animal Protection(WAP) made it clear t that the dried lizard hemipenis looks like two hands joined in prayer which resembles the now extinct “Hatha Jodi” which has a demand among the Asian Diaspora in the UK, other parts of Europe and the US.

“These lizards were being illegally poached from the wild, as poachers caught them in traps and snares in order to remove their genitals usually by slitting their throats or crushing their skulls “indicated scientists at Manchester Metropolitan College.

 

News Sources- ANI, BBC News