Death Toll From Indian Capital Communal Violence Rises To 46

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The death toll during the four-day communal violence in the Indian capital city rose to 46 on Sunday, officials said.

“Today three more bodies were recovered from the violence-hit northeast part of the city,” a police official said. “One of the bodies was found in a canal in Gokalpuri and two were recovered from the Bhagirathi Vihar canal.”

According to the officials, the death toll by now stands at 46. Over 350 people were also injured in the violence that ravaged the city.

Police officials on Sunday said the situation was under control. However, the huge deployment of police and paramilitary remains in the affected parts.

The violence left a trail of damage in the northeastern parts of the city as rioters torched vehicles, vandalised shops and burnt buildings including schools.

A man walks through a vandalized market after violence-ravaged New Delhi, India, Feb. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)

Many people, especially Muslims, have left their homes in the affected areas and took refuge in the shelters set up by the government.

Delhi Police has come under fierce criticism for its apparent inaction. Locals alleged their calls to police for help proved futile.

The police have set up two Special Investigative Teams (SITs) to probe the violence. According to officials, hundreds of people have been detained in connection with the violence.

The clashes broke out between pro- and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) groups in the northeastern part of the city last Sunday and took an ugly turn on Monday and Tuesday.

Protests against the controversial new citizenship law were triggered on Dec. 11 last year, the day India’s upper house of parliament passed the law. Since then there has been no let-up in the protests.

The law aims at granting citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to six religions – Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Parsi and Christianity – from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, it has kept out Muslim immigrants from applying for citizenship.

So far, the violence against the law has killed over 70 people across India.

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Persecution of Muslims in China and India Reveals Important Facts About Religion and Geopolitics

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India, China and Myanmar are three Asian countries currently engrossed in carrying out physical and cultural genocides on their Muslim populations. While the plight of Rohingya Muslims and Uighur Muslims is well known, the recent introduction of a new law expressly aimed at dispossessing Muslims of Indian citizenship has alerted many to the reality that India’s ruling BJP government sees itself as Hindu first and foremost.

Questions such as “Why aren’t the rich Arab countries saying anything?” have come up, with the implicit inference that Muslim-dominated countries are supposed to stick up for Muslims everywhere in the world. Others have pointed out that despite suffering oppression in some parts of the world, Muslims are also responsible for brutal acts of oppression against other minority groups elsewhere, which allegedly negates the sufferings of the prior group.

In this article, I will pick through these questions and viewpoints with a goal of isolating some useful truths about how religion, geopolitics and human nature constantly interplay and produce much of the world around us.

Oppression is a Matter of Perspective

Which religion is the most oppressed? I like to troll my Christian friends with the image below whenever the topic comes up about some religion or the other allegedly imposing its will at their expense.

The truth is however, that this image could apply to just about every religion on earth. As a general rule of thumb, the only limiting factor on whether or not a religion functions as an oppressive tyranny in a particular jurisdiction is the proportion of the population that practises it there. Similarly, the only thing stopping any religion from being an oppressed and downtrodden identity is whether it is a small enough minority for that to be possible.

While Muslims in India, Myanmar and China are going through untold degrees of horror because of their religious identities, Muslims in places like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Malaysia and Northern Nigeria are simultaneously visiting very similar horrors on Bah’ai, Shia Muslims, Christians, Budhists and other minorities in those areas. It turns out that the mere fact of belonging to a religious identity does not in fact, confer unrestricted global victimhood.

This point is important because it disproves the notion held by every major religion that its adherents follow a single set of standards and do things in the manner of a global “brotherhood.” In reality, Islam according to a Rohingya Muslim hiding from the Burmese military, and the same religion according to an itinerant herder in Kogi State bear almost no similarity to each other save for the most basic tenets. Environmental factors in fact have a bigger influence on how religions are practised than their own holy books. 

The current antics of India’s ruling BJP and its Hindu fundamentalist support base provide an important case in point as to how this works. Looking at the evolution of Hinduism from a passive philosophy into an openly militant ideology gives an important insight into how religion is in fact, a thoroughly contrived and amorphous set of ideas that can be changed, adjusted, aligned and revised at a moment’s notice in justification of anything at all. 

Hinduism traditionally sees itself as a religion of thoughtful, considered spirituality as against the angry dogmas of its Abrahamic neighbours, but something interesting is happening. Some argue that it started in the days of Gandhi, and some ascribe it to current Prime Minister Nanendra Modi, but whoever started it is a side note. The key point to note is that based on political factors, i.e anticolonial senitment against the British and anti-Muslim sentiment fueled by India’s national rivalry with Pakistan, Hinduism has somehow been coopted into the narrative of a jingoistic, monotheistic, mono-ethnic state which is  historical nonsense.

India has always been a pointedly pluralistic society, and in fact the geographical area now known as “India” does not even cover the geographical area of the India of antiquity. That India was a place of Hindus, Budhists, Muslims, Zoroastrians and everything in between. Hinduism never saw a problem with pluralism because Hinduism itself is a very plural religion – it has at least 13 major deities. The conversion of the Hindu identity into a political identity movement is a recent and contrived phenomenon first exploited by Gandhi as a means of opposing British colonialism, and now by Modi to oppose the Pakistanis/Muslims – it is a historical falsity.

The creation of Hindu fundamentalist movements like the RSS (which PM Modi belongs to) is something done in response to environmental factors. Spectacles like the RSS march below are evidence of yet another religion undergoing constant and ongoing evolution into whatever suits its purposes.

Something similar happened when medieval Europe turned into colonial Europe and European Christianity transitioned into a peaceful and pacifist ideology after centuries of being a bloodthirsty doctrine. The environmental factors that created the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, book burnings and witch hunts went away with the introduction of an industrial society, and thus the religion too transitioned.

In plain English, what all this means is that nobody actually practises a religion in the pure sense they imagine they do. Everyone who subscribes to a religion merely practises a version of it that is subject to the culture and circumstances of their environment and era. This is directly connected to the next major insight raised by these events.

Geopolitics is all About Self-Interest…Everyone Gets it Except Africa

While anti-Muslim violence has continued apace for years in China, Mynammar and India, the question has often been asked: “Why are the wealthy Arab nations not saying anything?” There is a perception that since the Arabian peninsula is the birthplace of Islam and Arabs – particularly Saudis – are viewed as the global gatekeepers of the faith, they must be at the forefront of promoting the interests of Muslims worldwide.

To many, the fabulous wealth and international influence that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE enjoy, in addition to the presence of two of Islam’s holiest cities – Mecca and Meddinah – in Saudi Arabia, means that they have a responsibility to speak for the global Muslim Ummah and stand up for them when they are unfairly targeted and mistreated. Unfortunately for such people, the wealthy nations of the Arab Gulf region tend to respond to such questions with little more than an irritated silence – and with good reason.

To begin with, these countries are not democracies led by the wishes of their almost uniformly Muslim populations. They are autocracies led by royal families who came to power in the colonially-influenced 20th century scramble for power and influence. Saudi Arabia, which houses Islam’s holiest sites, is named after the House of Saud, its royal family which came into power in its current form at the turn of the 19th century. The priority of the regimes in these countries first and foremost is self-preservation.

Self-preservation means that before throwing their significant diplomatic and economic weight behind any attempt to help out fellow Muslims, the first consideration is how doing so will benefit them. India for example, is a country that has close diplomatic ties with the UAE, and supplies most of their cheap labour for construction and low-skilled functions. India has even coordinated with UAE special forces to repatriate the dissident Princess Latika when she made an audacious escape attempt in 2018.

What does the UAE stand to gain if it napalms its diplomatic relationship with India by criticising Modi’s blatantly anti-Muslim policy direction? It might win a few brownie points with Islamic hardliners and possibly buy some goodwill among poor Muslims in South Asia, but how much is that worth? The regime and nation’s self-interest is best served by looking the other way, so that is exactly what they will do.

The Saudis make a similar calculation. At a time when they are investing heavily in military hardware to keep up with their eternal rivals Turkey and Iran, and simultaneously preparing for the end of oil by liberalising their society and economy, does it pay them to jump into an issue in India that does not particularly affect them? As the status of their diplomatic relationship with the U.S. remains unclear following the Jamal Khasshoggi incident, are they going to risk pissing off the Chinese because of Uighur Muslims?

In fact self-interest like that mentioned here is the basis of the considerations that underpin all international relations. Well I say “all,” but what I really meant to say was “all except African countries.” It is only African countries that take diplomatic decisions based on little more than flimsy emotions and feelings of religious affinity. Gambia for example, has dragged Myanmar before the UN and filed a genocide case against it on behalf of the Rohingya Muslims.

This would be commendable and great were it not that Gambia itself is hardly a human rights luminary, and generally has little business fighting an Asian battle when its own worse African battles lie unfought. The only thing Gambia stands to gain from fighting a diplomatic war that the rest of the world seems unwilling to touch is the temporary goodwill of a few Muslims in Asia and around the world – goodwill that cannot translate into something tangible for it.

To coin an aphorism from social media lingo, you could call it ”diplomatic clout chasing.’

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Deepika Padukone at JNU: With far more to lose, Bollywood’s women have shown far more spine than its ‘heroes’ | Entertainment News,The Indian Express

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Written by Yashee
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Updated: January 8, 2020 6:01:47 pm

In Bollywood as in the world, it’s the women who are smashing the status quo, at great personal risk. The actors, with far greater appeal and access, remember political causes before their movies, but then retreat to asking questions about mangoes.

The pictures of Deepika Padukone at JNU have by now launched more than a thousand tweets, many in support of her, many condemning her for aligning herself with the ‘tukde tukde gang’ , yet others claiming she was only trying to promote her movie while in the same breath adding they will boycott that movie.

Taking an obvious risk days before the release of Chhapaak, which she is also producing, Padukone has made an unmissable statement, and raised yet again a getting-harder-to-ignore question — where are Bollywood’s men?

The A-listers who have for decades ruled the roost and millions of hearts, whose hairstyles, dialogues, gestures and clothes the country has been united in copying, why do we not know what they think about the issues polarising the country today?

The recent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the proposed National Register of Citizens, and the police crackdown against agitating students have seen unprecedented Bollywood involvement. Actors and directors like Swara Bhasker, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Richa Chadha, Anurag Kashyap, Anubhav Sinha, Dia Mirza and many others have not just spoken up on social media, but actively turned up for rallies and protests.

Yet, till very recently, the A-listers were missing. The merchants of fairytales, who have built their careers and their millions on “feel-good” cinema, stayed away from the grimy hurly-burly of politics.

However, in the past few days, actresses, one by one, have broken this unwritten rule. Sonam Kapoor and Alia Bhatt have condemned the recent incidents in no uncertain words. And now, Deepika Padukone has physically turned up at a protest venue.

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Padukone wasn’t at JNU as a star. She did not take centrestage, she did not make a speech. She was there, as a member of her team said, because she wanted to “express her anguish” at the violence in the campus, just like many other concerned citizens have been doing in city after city, at protest after protest.

Deepika Padukone knows better than most stars what this could unleash — as recently as in 2017, a BJP leader had announced a Rs 10 crore bounty on her head for starring in Padmaavat, while the Karni Sena wanted to chop off her nose.

Even without personal experience, Bollywood heroines know what’s at risk in triggering the troll brigade. Just reading Bhasker’s timeline for an hour can turn your stomach, make you want to go off social media forever.

Yet, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone chose to take the risk. What prevents the men? The Kapoors, the Khans, the Bachchans, who wield enormously more power, and run far fewer risks?

It is no one’s case that the “heroes” don’t stand to lose by taking a political stand. Just a few years ago, both Shah Rukh Khan and Amir Khan had people — including BJP leaders — sending them to Pakistan when they spoke up about the growing intolerance in the country. Then Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had to personally broker a peace deal between Karan Johar and MNS goons during the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

It can also be argued that in a democracy, a public figure does have the right to remain totally apolitical, however questionable that choice.

Yet, in an industry where the scales are anyway tilted against them, it’s the women of Bollywood who have stood up to be counted.

Women are paid less, have a shorter shelf life in Bollywood, are more dispensible. As we have heard for ages, few heroines can “carry a movie on their shoulders”, which is also because they rarely get parts written for them — a beautiful face and charismatic screen presence are all that is required of the leading lady in most “mainstream” movies.

In a notoriously risk-averse industry dominated by risk-averse men, women can easily be dropped from projects and endorsements for showing “political adventurism”. Bhasker, indeed, has spoken about losing work because of her political stands.

For the audience too, a woman with an opinion can be more difficult to stomach than a man. Men can obviously be interested in “serious matters”, but how inconvenient to enjoy a beautiful woman dancing to a beautiful song when you know her sympathies lie with the tukde tukde gang!

Also, the attacks against the women are far more vicious, and far crasser, than against men. People see a woman with an opinion as a greater transgression, and the more her mind infuriates them, the more they target her body — sexually explicit threats and “jokes” are generally the weapons of choice against women.

Anurag Kashyap has been faced with relentless trolling for long now, so has Javed Akhtar. But they haven’t had people from within their own fraternity calling them “sasti” (cheap), as happened with Bhasker and film-writer Raaj Shaandilyaa recently.

Even during the Padmavat fracas, it was Deepika Padukone’s head and nose on the line, not her male co-stars Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh’s.

And it is not like the men of Bollywood eschew politics altogether. Akshay Kumar’s recent movies have — co-incidentally? — been themed around the projects the government wants to promote: building toilets, vanquishing foreign Muslim invaders. In this Kumar is not alone, though he is the only one to have interviewed the PM about his mango-eating preferences (again, an opportunity given only to a man).

Many A-listers had happily posed for a grinning selfie with the PM at a time when it was impossible to not know its significance.

Amitabh Bachchan, who has had perhaps the longest successful run at Bollywood, stars in the government’s advertisements, but is resolutely silent when that government seems to be turning against its own people.

The appeal these stars wield is unparalleled — any cause that Salman Bhai raises his hands for, maybe with that blue bracelet, that Bachchan lends his baritone and gravitas or Shah Rukh his dimples and his charm to, will instantly get the kind of resonance a hundred erudite editorials and speeches by JNU alumni can’t garner.

These stars are well-aware of their great power. They choose not to see the great responsibility it comes with.

Even outside Bollywood, the CAA-NRC protests have been dominated by women — the brave ladies of Shaheen Bagh are a shining, heartening example. Perhaps it is time we rewrite our definition of “heroes”, change whom we look at for inspiration and solidarity. For now, the women of Bollywood have proven to be far more heroic than the stars who rule it.

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Stoned to death by her own family: Mysterious grave of 8-year-old girl in Dadu sparks horror

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Another day, another tragedy. The bone-chilling grave of 8-year-old Gul Sama in Sindh’s Dadu has sparked fear and horror. The incident came to limelight on Saturday after police initiated an investigation into the matter.

According to the available reports, the case occurred in the remote village of Wahi Pandi and came to public knowledge after the rumors surfaced that a minor girl has been allegedly stoned to death by her own relatives for dishonoring her family. After kick-starting the investigation, the police detained a man named Maulvi Mumtaz Leghari, who performed final funeral prayers of the victim in a village near Shahi Makan.

Police registered an FIR against six people, Ali Nawaz, son of Shahnawaz Rind, Sami, son of Wahid Bux Rind, and four unidentified persons, based on the information they have collected initially. Maulvi Leghari has also been implicated in the case for ‘hiding the crime’.

Area residents said that a few days ago, a jirga was held and the leader had declared a fatwa to stone the girl to death under the karo-kari tradition.

Karo-Kari is a commonly used name for honor killing in Pakistan. According to the tribal tradition in remote areas of Sindh and Balochistan, if a girl or a boy is found to have extra or pre-marital affairs, they are declared as ‘Kari’ and the death of the victim is viewed as a way to restore the reputation and honor of the family.

“The girl was a minor but her age has not been confirmed even by her parents. The matter is being investigated.”

According to Maulvi Mushtaq, the victim’s relatives came to him at 8 pm on 22nd November and informed that he has to perform her funeral. He went along them to buy the necessities for her final prayers. Then he asked them about the age of the deceased, to which they responded that she is 8-year-old.

On the other hand, Sama’s father says that she was not murdered or stoned to death. They claim that she was playing with her friends when a stone from a mountain fell on her head. However, they are no mountains in the locality.

The police said that it is a serious matter and a case has been registered on the state’s behalf. After legal formalities are fulfilled, the body will be dug out of the grave for post-mortem.

SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY DEMANDS JUSTICE FOR GUL SAMA

Grave of 10 year old Gul Sama stoned to death for “honor” in Wahi Pandhi, Dadu, after she was declared ‘Kari’ by the members of a Jirga.
14 year old Huma Masih abducted and forcibly converted in Karachi.
Prosperous, peaceful and tolerant #Sindh has been thrown into dark ages. pic.twitter.com/dyfKoclS9U

— Ayaz Latif Palijo (@AyazLatifPalijo)

Here lies a 10 year old Gul Sama who was declared “KAARI” by the jirga in Dadu, Wahi Paandhi. After the jirga decision, she was stoned to death in the name of “honor” and buried like this. Look at any 10 year old child around you and tell me how a child could be declared Kaari? pic.twitter.com/2lZ74GtgJl

— hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia🌈 (@Kanjarology)

Every animal involved in this gruesome murder of this 10-year old little kid deserves to be hanged in public. These people don’t deserve to be called human. #JusticeForGulSama

Die with shame @BBhuttoZardari @BakhtawarBZ. #بھٹو_مرے_تو_سندھ_جیئے pic.twitter.com/160228FRR4

— Jawad (@WoShakhs)

Why the Government @BBhuttoZardari @OfficialDGISPR consistently failing to protect our innocent children? First we faced barbaric MQM and now honour killings and conversations. Wake up.

— Rafaqat.Sapra (@RafaqatSapra)

Can some one find me a single verse for stonning in Quran..?? Lashes yes according to who and whom adultery was committed … but stoning … I admit my ignorance could not find a single verse about stoning in it…

— Afat qiamat (@afatqiamat)

Sindh has always been in dark ages and it will stay there lest people will stand against pppp and waderas…

— باگڑ بلا (@khalaimakhloq3)

What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments bar below.

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Christian Villagers In Pakistan Attacked, Beaten And Stopped from Constructing Church

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A mob of armed Muslims attacked, beat and stopped Christian villagers from constructing a church building in the village of Chak 211/EB, located near Arifwala, in the Pakpattan district of Pakistan’s Punjab province on November 4. According to local Christians, they are being denied their basic constitutional rights by village leaders.

Led by a local landlord named Chaudhry Saleem Gujar, the mob of armed Muslims confronted the Christians erecting a boundary wall and gate that would surround a new church building. The mob then demolished the wall and beat the Christians present.

A mason working on the church building said in a video post to Facebook, “I was working when Muslim men stopped me from completing my work. They said, ‘We cannot allow you to build the church because when you pray, we get disturbed,’” according to International Christian Concern.

“The Christian community has been struggling to build a church in the village for about 20 years,” Naseer, a local catechist, told International Christian Concern (ICC). “We had several meeting with local officials and the religious leadership of the Muslim community. We haven’t seen encouraging results.”

According to Naseer, local Muslims have told the Christians that they are not allowed to build a church in the village because Pakistan is an Islamic country. The Muslims went on to say that Christians should be content with merely being allowed to build their houses and live in the country.

Over 50 Christian families have lived in Chak 211/EB for decades. According to local reports, a Christian family donated a piece of land to the Christian leadership for the construction of what would be the village’s only church.

According to local Christians, the police are backing the Muslim landlord and have arrested eight Christian men. Other Christians have also been threatened if they continue to build the church. “Muslims have threatened us that if we do not stop building church, they will set our houses on fire,” a local Christian told ICC.

The District Superintendent Police has reportedly suggested the Christians get written permission from the authorities to resolve the conflict.

Muslims Turning To Christ In Great Numbers Through Dreams And Visions

According to Pakistan’s constitution, religious freedom is a protected right. Article 20 states, “a) every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice, and propagate his religion; and b) every religious denomination and every sect therefore shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.”

According to the Open Doors World Watch List, Pakistan is ranked the 5th most dangerous country in the world for Christians.

The post Christian Villagers In Pakistan Attacked, Beaten And Stopped from Constructing Church appeared first on Believers Portal.

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CIA stole Baghdadi’s underpants –Fresh details of how ISIS leader was tracked down to death

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Fresh details have surfaced about the US special forces operation that led to the weekend death in Syria of Islamic State elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on which there was a $25million bounty.
One of the details was that a CIA mole around al-Baghdadi at a time, stole his underpants that he handed over for DNA test.
US officials said Baghdadi’s body has been buried at sea, just like Osama bin Laden’s body was buried in 2011 during Barack Obama’s tenure as US leader.
Syrian Kurds claimed to be a key source of the intelligence that led Americans to Baghdadi after years of tracking the man behind a five-year reign of terror across much of Iraq and Syria.
And an unnamed US military dog became an unlikely hero of the raid, incurring injuries as it chased Baghdadi down a dead-end tunnel underneath his northwestern Syria hideout, where the jihadist blew himself and three children up with a suicide vest.
The US military basked in success Monday after eliminating the founder and spiritual guide of the Islamic State (IS) group, capping a years-long campaign to crush the Sunni Muslim extremist organization that had at one point created a “caliphate” the size of England.
“His death marks a devastating blow to the remnants of (IS),” said Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
He praised the nearly hundred-strong force that helicoptered to the rural compound in the Idlib region of Syria in a complex mission that required coordination with Russians, Kurds, Turks and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to prevent US aircraft from being fired upon.
“They executed the raid in all of its facets brilliantly,” Esper said.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said no one was injured in the operation, despite the US team taking fire when they arrived.
They took two men prisoner, and Baghdadi’s body was taken to a secure facility for a DNA test that would confirm his identity, Milley said.
“The disposal of his remains has been done, is complete and was handled appropriately,” he added, saying it was handled “in accordance with the law of armed conflict.”
Another Pentagon official confirmed that Baghdadi’s body was put into the sea at an unnamed location, similar to the 2011 sea burial of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after his death in a US special forces raid in Pakistan.
A Kurdish official said an inside source the group oversaw was responsible for leading US forces to Baghdadi’s hideout, helping to map out the interior of the compound, its staffing, as well as making it possible for them to identify Baghdadi.
“Since 15 May, we have been working together with the CIA to track al-Baghdadi and monitor him closely,” said Polat Can, a senior adviser to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
The group had an informant who was able to infiltrate Baghdadi’s house.
“Al-Baghdadi changed his places of residence very often,” he said on Twitter.
“Our intelligence source was involved in sending co-ordinates, directing the airdrop, participating in and making the operation a success until the last minute,” Polat Can said.
The source also “brought al-Baghdadi’s underwear to conduct a DNA test and make sure (100%) that the person in question was al-Baghdadi himself,” he said.

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Polio makes a comeback in the Philippines 19 years after the country was declared free of the disease

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(CNN)The Philippines has reported its first case of polio since it was declared free of the childhood disease 19 years ago, dealing a blow to the campaign to eradicate it.

The World Health Organization said it was “very concerned” at the re-emergence of the disease in the country; UNICEF described it as “deeply disconcerting.”
A global campaign to eradicate polio was launched in 1998 and cases due to the wild poliovirus have decreased by more than 99% since then, from an estimated 350,000 cases to 33 reported cases in 2018, according to WHO.
    However, the disease is still present in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the emergence of new, vaccine-derived strains of polio have complicated efforts to rid the world of the disease.
    The last known case of wild poliovirus in the Philippines was in 1993. The country was declared wild polio-free in 2000 along with the rest of WHO’s Western Pacific Region.
    The Philippines case was unexpected and the country was not on a list of at-risk countries compiled by the Polio Global Eradication Initiative.

    Vaccination drive

    In addition to the confirmed and suspected cases, the polio virus was detected in samples taken from sewage in the capital, Manila, and in waterways in Davao, Mindanao, the country’s third-largest city, as part of the regular environmental surveillance, the department said. The samples were verified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Japan National Institute for Infectious Diseases.
    The government said it was preparing a rapid response to the outbreak in coordination with WHO and UNICEF, with a mass polio immunization campaign for all children under 5 starting in October.
    “We strongly urge parents, health workers and local governments to fully participate in the synchronized polio vaccination,” Philippines Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.
    “It is the only way to stop the polio outbreak and to protect your child against this paralyzing disease.”
    news
    Polio is an infectious disease which spreads rapidly. It can cause paralysis and, on rare occasions, can be fatal. There is no cure for polio — it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines, WHO said.
    “Aside from immunization, we remind the public to practice good personal hygiene, wash their hands regularly, use toilets, drink safe water, and cook food thoroughly,” Duque added.
    Trust in vaccines was undermined in the Philippines after the government was forced to suspend a dengue fever vaccination program in 2017. The drug was distributed to more than 800,000 students as part of a school-based government immunization program, but was halted after clinical trial data showed that it could have unintended consequences in non-infected patients.

    Wild vs vaccine-derived polio

    The 3-year-old girl was found to have a vaccine-derived strain of polio virus type 2, which WHO said was of particular concern because the wild strain of this virus was eradicated in 2015.
    Philippines polio: The disease reappears 19 years after it was eradicated there - CNN
    Vaccine-derived polio happens when live strains of poliovirus that are used in the oral poliovirus vaccine mutate, spread and, in rare cases, trigger an outbreak. Most of the time the virus dies off but it can sometimes spread in an area where there is low vaccination coverage.
    “If a population is not sufficiently immunized, the weakened virus can continue to circulate. The longer it is allowed to survive, the more changes it undergoes. In rare instances, the virus can change to a vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV), a form that has regained the ability to cause paralysis,” WHO said.
      “Poorly conducted immunization activities, when too few children have received the required three doses of polio vaccine, leave them susceptible to poliovirus, either from vaccine-derived or wild polioviruses. Full immunization protects them from both forms of the virus,” it added.

      Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

      So far in 2019, there have been 80 cases of vaccine-derived polio, not including the Philippines case, and 78 cases of the wild virus around the world, according to the Polio Global Eradication Initiative.

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      Pakistan earthquake leaves 19 dead and 300 injured in Kashmir region

      A shallow earthquake near Mirpur has struck northeastern Pakistan, tearing huge cracks in roads

      Earthquakes

      At least 19 people have been killed and 300 injured after a shallow earthquake struck north-eastern Pakistan, tearing car-sized cracks into roads and heavily damaging infrastructure.

      The quake sent people in Lahore and Islamabad running into the streets. With rescue operations expected to continue overnight, residents in the worst-hit areas described their horror as walls collapsed and houses fell.

      The epicentre of the 5.2-magnitude quake was near the city of Mirpur, 22 kilometres (14 miles) north of the city of Jhelum along the boundary separating the agricultural heartland of Punjab province and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the US geological agency, USGS, said.

      The larger Kashmir region is a disputed and troubled territory with separate Indian and Pakistani regions. Mirpur is in the Pakistani-administered region, which is nominally self-governing.

      On one of the districts two main roads, AFP reporters could see cracks at least four feet (1.2 metres) deep, some filling with water from a nearby canal. Television images showed cars wedged in to some cracks, while a bus and a truck lay by the side of the road.

      In the village of Sahankikri, on the outskirts of Mirpur, residents said almost all the 400 houses were damaged.

      We are shelterless now, said resident Shamraiz Akhtar.

      A
      A Pakistani man stands beside a collapsed building following an earthquake on the outskirts of Mirpur. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

      I will never forget the horrible sound, another resident, Muhammad Ramzan, told AFP. It looked like the entire village tossed and turned and spun around.

      We… were sitting having a gossip when suddenly the earthquake shook us all. Fortunately the wall collapsed the other way, burying one of our buffalo, 23-year-old student Nabeel Hussain said.

      Piles of rubble could be seen as darkness fell on the village, with the sound of women wailing in mourning. Others spoke only in whispers, fearful of aftershocks.

      At least 19 people have been killed and more than 300 wounded, said Sardar Gulfaraz, deputy inspector general of police in Mirpur, in a televised address.

      map

      A second Kashmiri official, minister for rehabilitation Ahmed Raza Qadri, put the death toll at 20.

      However, the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) gave a lower toll at a press conference in Islamabad.

      I can confirm 10 deaths and the number of wounded is 100, said Lieutenant General Mohammad Afzal, chairman of the NDMA, adding that he had received reports of a higher toll.

      Things are under control, he said, adding that the nearby Mangla Dam, one of Pakistans two main water reservoirs, was unaffected by the quake.

      At
      At least 19 people have been killed and 300 wounded after a shallow earthquake rattled north-eastern Pakistan, a senior police officer said. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

      The prime minister of Pakistani Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider Khan, told reporters that infrastructure had been destroyed.

      Roads, mobile phone towers, and electricity poles in the area were badly damaged, Naeem Chughtai, a Mirpur resident living near the citys main hospital, told AFP.

      The military deployed aviation and medical support teams along with troops to affected areas in Kashmir, according to its spokesman.

      Mirpur, a city known for its palatial houses, has strong ties to Britain with the majority of its 450,000 residents carrying both British and Pakistani passports.

      Tremors were felt as far as New Delhi. The Press Trust of India reported that panicked people rushed out of their homes and offices in several places, including in Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana.

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      Africa’s favorite smartphone maker wants in on China’s hot new tech market

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      Hong Kong (CNN Business)Chinese budget smartphone maker Transsion is already dominating Africa with its Tecno brand. Now it’s ready to raise its profile even more by joining China’s splashy new market for tech stocks.

      An IPOcould push Transsion’s valuation above $4 billion. It would also take the company public on a market that got off to a stunningly positive start this week.
      Analysts say it’s an early win for the Star Market, whichwants local investors to support Chinese tech companies, rather than lose those businesses to markets in Hong Kong or the United States.
        “China wants a rejuvenation of the nation through technology and innovation,” said Mark Huang, an analyst at Bright Smart Securities. “That’s why they launched the board.”
        He added that Star Market “surely hopes there could be a snowball effect” — but that it’s not yet certain whether bigger tech companies will jump on the bandwagon.
        “After all, the board is still in baby size and some rules are still at a trial stage,” Huang said.
        Transsion’s office in Shenzhen did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.
        Transsion, which was founded by Chinese entrepreneur Zhu Zhaojiang in 2006, wants to raise at least 30 billion yuan ($436 million) to build smartphonefactoriesand research and development centers in Chongqing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, according to its prospectus.
        It plans to issue at least 80 million shares, though it hasn’t set exact terms yet. That would give the company a valuation of at least 30 billion yuan ($4.4 billion).
        tech
        Transsion —which also makes, Itel and Infinix phones — doesn’t do business in China, despite being based there. In Africa, it describes itself as an African company.
        Itcontrols nearly half of the African market, according to IDC figures — putting it way ahead of rivals Samsung, Huawei and Apple (AAPL). Transsion also has nearly a 7% share of India’s market, making it the fourth-largest cellphone vendor there.
        In 2018, it sold 124 million cell phones worldwide, generating 22.65 billion yuan ($3.3 billion) in revenue.
        Public documents also spell out why Transsion says it has done so well in Africa. The company said in its prospectus that it has features that “highly suit our target market” — including phones that use nighttime photography settings that are designed for darker skin tones.
        Transsion Tecno: Africa's top smartphone brand could IPO on China's Star Market - CNN
        Transsion’s technology also includes heat protection for electronics and cellphones that have a large battery capacity. In Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia, for example, the government frequently shuts off electricity to conserve power, leaving people unable to charge their phones for hours. 
        Price is another advantage. Transsion sells phones without smart features foras little as $9. It sold nearly 60 million Itel phones at that price last year. It also sold more than 30 million Tecno phones at about $11 each.
        The company’s smartphones are more expensive, but still cheaper than its rivals. In 2018, Transsion sold 34 million phones for between $45 and $91.
        news
        There are challenges, though. The company admittedin its prospectus that other smartphone vendors, including India’s Lyf,are also sellinglow-priced devices.
        Rivals like Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung are also pushing harder into Africa and India.
        Huawei, for example, has launched an e-commerce platform in South Africa through which it sells phones and other products. And Xiaomi has partnered with African e-commerce website Jumia to sell phones.
          “We face risks of losing our customers and market shares if we can’t maintain innovation … and increase investments in technological research and development, brand management, marketing, after-sale service and supply-chain management,” Transsion wrote in its prospectus.
          The company is responding to competition by pushing into new territories, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam. It also started sellingdigital accessories and home appliances. And it is relying more on mobile internet services as a source of revenue.

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