Boko Haram attacks notheastern Nigeria, kills 80

Islamist extremist group Boko Haram attacked northeastern Nigeria, killing at least 80 and leaving several injured in a rocket-propelled twin suicide attack. The attacks come in retaliation to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that is government ‘defeated the jihadis group’ and reduced its ability to carry out attacks.

Muhammed Kanar, area Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency in an official report said that least 30 were killed and more than 90 injured in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, in a series of blasts and shootouts.

Eyewitness have reported that two women blew themselves up at a market near a busy bus station, outside the mosque at around 9.00 a.m. While Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu, commanding officer at northeast Adamawa State has confirmed the attack, the official number of causalities have not been released and is expected to increase, as reported by CNN.

In a similar incident in the Buraburin neighborhood, two women blew themselves killing several people. “We don’t know how many of these bombs or these female suicide bombers were sneaked into Maiduguri last night,” said Yunusa Abdullahi, a civil servant, to the New York Times.

Maiduguri, with a population of 1 million people and home to double the number of refugees, was the birthplace of Boko Haram. According to reports, over twenty thousand people were killed by the jihadist group in the year 2015 alone.

News source: CNNNew York Times

Supreme court upholds Kerala liquor policy

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the new liquor policy formulated by the Kerala state government. The Oomen Chandy government introduced the policy last year as the first step towards making the state alcohol-free within 10 years.

According to the new policy, alcohol consumption and sale will be restricted to only five star hotels, thus removing other liquor bars out of the picture.

The Bench of Justices Vikramajit Sen and Shiva Kitti Singh rejected the petitions moved by various hotel and bar associations against the ban. The petitioners represented by Attorney-General Mukul Rohtagi argued that the new policy was discriminatory since it allowed only five star hotels or pubs to serve liquor. The state government, however, defended their stand by saying that those removed from the business had no fundamental right to continue selling liquor at a bar.

Further, the apex court said, “History has painstakingly made it abundantly clear that prohibition has not succeeded. Therefore strict state regulation is imperative.”

As per the new policy, only 27 bars at five star hotels across the state can serve liquor.

700 bars had to be shut down due to the new guidelines implemented by the state government last year.

Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the country and earns around 3.8 billion dollars per year from tourism. This move is likely to affect the revenue generated from tourism.

Iraqi PM vows to overthrow ISIS by 2016

In a televised address to his nation, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi vowed to oust the extremist militant organisation from Iraq, after the government forces recently recaptured Ramadi city.

Looking to retake Iraq’s second captured city, Mosul, he declared that the mission would be “the fatal and final blow to the IS”. Ramadi was seized by the terrorist organisation in May following which its recapturing saw backing up from US led airstrikes. While the city is not fully secure yet, the Iraqi army was praised by world leaders since the recapture of the city was seen as an ‘epic victory’. “This remains a long fight, but the coalition’s strategy is succeeding. We will continue to stand with the Iraqi people until Daesh is defeated,” said Phillip Hammond, Britain’s foreign secretary to BBC.

After surrounding the local capital for weeks, Iraqi troops finally expelled the IS fighters and bombers this Sunday in the city’s government complexes. Iraqi soldiers were seen slaughtering sheep and flinging guns in the air as part of celebration on national television yesterday. “2016 will be the year of the big and final victory, when Daesh’s presence in Iraq will be terminated,” Mr Abadi declared on national television.

News source: BBC


PM Modi, Nawaz Sharif invited to summit

On the side lines of nuclear security summit, PM Modi and Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif are likely to meet in Washington,D.C in March.
American President Barack Obama invited both the leaders for this summit which will be held on 31st March and 1st April.
In the past few months, a series of talks have been held by both the countries on various diplomatic levels. A visit by Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, followed by a surprise visit of PM Modi has significantly changed the direction of talks between two nations. 
Image source: NDTV
Image source: NDTV
On January 15th, meetings on foreign secretary levels are expected to be conducted in Islamabad to decide the future road-map of these comprehensive dialogues. 
The meeting in late March between the two Prime ministers will give them a chance to review the progress of that dialogue, source added.
News source: NDTV

Respite for remote gas fields as government relaxes guidelines

Good news poured in for isolated gas fields in the North East as government has now decided to waive off time stipulation for fields located in that region of the country. Relaxation of rules by the government is to propagate the selling of natural gas from these small fields.

Back in July 2013, the oil ministry has allowed pricing freedom to small and isolated fields for the gas produced, as well as marketing freedom as no obligation of seeking only fertilizer and power sector customers was imposed.

The order from the Oil Ministry stated that the timeline of 90 days, which was the stipulated time forced upon customers to take supply, has now been increased to one year. The policy was such that only customers, who were capable of taking supply within that time limit of 90 days, could be sold the gas.

The order also stated that the ministry has been notified by the National Oil Companies (NOCs), about the difficulties that the customers from north east region face regarding the utilization of gas within the time period of only 90 days. A request for a longer time limit was made, so as to maximize monetization of gas from the small fields.

“Considering the difficulties of North East customers, the government has decided to increase the period of 90 days for off-take of gas from the date or readiness indicated by the NOCs to one year in respect of small and isolated fields located in the North East Region,” it said.

Sources: The Economic Times Jagran

Dadri lynching: Government report says the meat was mutton

An enquiry report submitted by Uttar Pradesh Veterinary Department has revealed that the meat recovered from fifty-two year old Mohammad Akhlaq’s house was goat meat and not beef. Akhlaq, a resident of Bishahra village in Dadri was brutally murdered by a mob on account of him and his family eating beef, in September.

“Prima facie it seems that meat found in Dadri lynching victim’s house belongs to goat progeny. For final diagnosis and confirmation samples have been taken and sent to the forensic laboratory in Mathura,” read out the report submitted by the Veterinary Department, reported The Hindu.

Mohammad’s eldest son, Sartaj Akhlaq, who works for the Indian Air Force said that his father was a victim of mass hysteria and requested the people of the country to not inflict this upon anybody else. A charegesheet was filed against 15 people earlier this week, including the nephew the son and nephew of a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sanjay Rana for their alleged involvement in the lynching.

One killed and 33 injured in Kabul car bomber attack

Following the massive insurgent attack earlier this month, at least one Afghan civilian and 13 others were severely wounded when a Taliban suicide bomber attacked near the Kabul airport’s military entrance, this morning, officials reported.

The attack happened on a road close to a school nearby, due to which 18 students studying at a madrassa were among the injured. Some of them were also hurt due to shattered glass and windows in the attack. The chief police in the city, Abdul Rahman Rahimi retorted that the attack took place in an overtly civilian area, adding that they did not look to target the military. “Enemies of humanity detonated a suicide car bomb in front of a madrassa where children were learning the Koran and Islamic studies. It shows that they are enemies of mosques, God and the Koran,” the officer said.

The attack came a day after General Raheel Sharif, the head of Pakistan’s army visited the city to have peace talks with the Taliban.

News source: Reuters