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Russians protest against pension reform

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 

Rally against raising the retirement age (2018-09-09; Saint Petersburg).
Image: VOA.
A member of the protest holds a sign saying "‍[This is] Pension default (not reform)! Impeachment to Putin! Fire Medvedev! Remove Gosduma!".
Image: VOA.

On Sunday, reportedly over a thousand Russians were arrested for illegally protesting against government plans for pension age adjustment. The protest spanned several regions across the country. The plan would raise the retirement age an additional five years, with new age for men at 65, for women at 60.

According to monitoring data from media project OVD-Info, 1018 people were arrested, including 452 people in St Petersburg, 183 people in Yekaterinburg, 60 in Krasnodar, 43 each in Moscow and Omsk, 23 in Perm, 22 in Kazan, 20 in Tver, 17 in Ufa, 15 in Habarovsk, 13 each in Tomsk and Belgorod, 12 each in Chelyabinsk and Lipetsk, 10 in Novosibirsk, and some 80 in other cities.

Locations of the arrests.

In Moscow, the rally started at Pushkin Square at 2 p.m. local time and anti-riot police pushed people away. They marched toward the Kremlin. On their way, they again clashed with Police and did not complete the route.

The protests reportedly started in the Far East and Siberia first, followed by western regions of the country.

Regional elections were also on Sunday.

The pension adjustment plan has reportedly coincided with a significant drop in approval rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


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40th Berlin Christopher Street Day celebration attracts thousands: in pictures

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 

On Saturday, tens or hundreds of thousands of participants, reportedly, attended the 40th anniversary of the Berlin's Christopher Street Day celebration. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride is referred to as CSD in Germany and Switzerland.

This year's theme of the event was My Body, my Identity, my Life ((de))German language: ‍Mein Körper, meine Identität, mein Leben. The pride parade began at 12 PM at the Kurfürstendamm and finished at the Brandenburger Tor. About 70 cars were registered for the event. After the parade, speeches took place in the evening.

According to the German reports, one fatal incident took place during the parade. A 33-year-old man collapsed and died in the parade, and the police officials suggested an autopsy.

The first Christopher Street Day celebration in the German capital Berlin was organised in June 1979 and reportedly a few hundred people participated in the celebration. A year ago, Germany legalised same-sex marriage. The bill was passed by the German Bundestag on the last day before the parliament's summer break.

Photo gallery[edit]


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Palestine elected as G-77's presiding country, ambassador Riyad Mansour confirms

Thursday, July 26, 2018 

On Tuesday, Riyad Mansour, Palestine's ambassador to the United Nations, confirmed Palestine would preside next year over the UN's G-77 bloc of developing countries.

While speaking to The New York Times, Mansour said, "We will be negotiating on behalf of 135 countries". Formed in 1964, Group of 77 now represents about 80% of the world population. Palestine is expected to take over presiding for 2019 in January. Currently, the presiding nation is Egypt.

Palestine is an observer non-member state of the UN. In 2012, Israel and its ally the United States opposed promoting Palestine to "observer" status, and in 2015 both countries also opposed allowing Palestine to fly their flag at the UN.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon criticised Palestine's presiding, saying, "The goal of the Group of 77 originally was to facilitate the economic advancement of underdeveloped nations [...] It is unfortunate that it will now become a platform for spreading lies and incitement. This will not promote the G-77's goals, and encourages the Palestinians to not engage in negotiations for peace."


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German footballer Mesut Özil announces retirement from international football over 'racism'

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

On Sunday, German footballer Mesut Özil announced retiring from international football via his official Twitter handle. The 29-year-old gave racism as the reason for his retirement.

File photo of Özil, 2011.
Image: Steindy. (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Özil and his international teammate İlkay Gündoğan, who are of Turkish origin, met the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in London in May. The two players took a photo with Erdoğan, after which, many Germans reportedly booed the players prior to this year's FIFA Football World Cup in Russia. Özil said that he received hate mail and threats after meeting the Turkish president.

In his tweets, Özil said, "It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect. I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don't. I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten."

Speaking about his meeting with the Turkish president, Özil said, "Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey [...] For me, having a picture with President Erdoğan wasn't about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country". Referring to the German football association's president, Reinhard Grindel, Özil said, "In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose."

Özil made his international debut on August 12, 2009, playing against Azerbaijan. Since then, he has featured in 92 matches for Germany, scoring 23 goals. Özil was part of 2014's World Cup winning squad.

"He [Mesut Özil] played a key role in Germany lifting the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and so the DFB is and always will be incredibly grateful for his outstanding performances in Germany colours" ((de))German language: ‍Er hatte entscheidenden Anteil daran, dass Deutschland 2014 in Brasilien Weltmeister geworden ist. Deshalb ist und bleibt der DFB Mesut Özil für seine herausragenden Leistungen im Trikot der deutschen Nationalmannschaften sehr dankbar., the German football association Deutscher Fußball-Bund said in a statement. It also said, "The DFB regrets Mesut Özil's decision to step down from the national team." ((de))German language: ‍Der DFB bedauert den Abschied von Mesut Özil aus der Nationalmannschaft.

Özil's last match for Germany was against South Korea in this year's FIFA World Cup, which ended in a 2–0 defeat for Germany, as the 2014 winners failed to qualify for the knockout phase.


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Israeli Knesset passes 'Jewish nation-state' bill

Sunday, July 22, 2018 

On Thursday, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed the "Jewish nation-state" bill granting Israel the status of "national home of the Jewish people". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it "a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel".

The bill was passed at 3 AM with 62–55 majority. Two lawmakers abstained. The bill declared Hebrew as the only official language and demoted Arabic from national language to a "special status" language. Netanyahu said, "An absolute majority wants to ensure our state's Jewish characters for generations to come." Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein said this bill, which received just 51.66% votes in favour out of the full Knesset of 120, was "one of the most important laws ever to be passed by the Knesset".

The Knesset began the voting on Wednesday. Previously, the bill had clauses declaring the state as a Jewish-only community as well as direction for judiciary courts to consider Jewish values over democratic values. Both of the clauses were challenged by the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the Attorney General. The latter clause about Jewish values for courts was dropped in May; the other clause was eventually dropped, and the final draft of the bill was approved on Monday. The bill was first introduced in 2011 by the right-wing Likud party.

The latest draft of the bill said the Hebrew calendar is to be the official calendar of the state. It also read, "Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established" and "the state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation." Israel is home to about 1.8 million Palestinians, who account for roughly 20% of the national population. The bill also declared Jerusalem, in its entirety, as the capital of Israel.

The bill received negative reception from a number of people. The Arab Joint List multi-party alliance called it "anti-democratic, colonialist, racist, and with clear characteristics of apartheid." Calling it a "shameful night", Meretz Party's Tamar Zandberg said it was a "debased and tainted law". The Joint List's Ahmad Tibi questioned, "Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?".

Last week, Netanyahu said, "We will keep ensuring civil rights in Israel's democracy but the majority also has the rights and the majority decides". Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a US-based Jewish Organisation, said the bill "was born in sin, its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens. Two months ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, where it was written that the State of Israel 'will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender.' Today Netanyahu's government is trying to ignore those words and the values that they represent."


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Indian Supreme Court: unconstitutional to bar women of certain age group from entering Sabarimala temple

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 

On Wednesday, the Indian Supreme Court declared that preventing women of age 10–50 from entering the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala was "arbitrary" and unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court began on Tuesday the hearing for the public interest litigation filed by petitioners including the Indian Young Lawyers Association. A panel of five judges — Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Indu Malhotra, and the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra — heard the case of traditional prohibition of the entry to the temple based on a woman's age.

For centuries, women within the age range when females generally have monthly menstrual cycles were prevented from entering the Lord Ayyappan's temple. Ayyappan was considered celibate. Earlier this year, the Travancore Devaswom Board made it compulsory for women to produce an age proof in order to enter the temple. Ravi Prakash Gupta, one of the representatives of the petitioners, said, "Mere sight of a woman does not affect anyone's celibacy if one has take[n] the oath of it, otherwise, such oath has no meaning." Menstruation has been considered taboo in Indian society, and women were barred from entering the kitchen or a temple during the menstruation cycle.

A number of fundamental rights, mentioned in the Indian Constitution; including the right against discrimination on the basis of gender or sex, per Article 15; right to freedom of practice of any religion per Article 25; and abolishment of untouchability in Article 17; were considered in this case.

Citing Article 25 (1) of the Indian constitution, Justice DY Chandrachud said, "All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion." Chandrachud went on to say, "This means your right as a woman to pray is not dependent on a legislation. It is a constitutional right. Nobody has an exclusionary right of entry to a temple".

Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, "On what basis do you deny the entry. It is against the Constitutional mandate. Once you open it for public, anybody can go." Misra also said, "In a public place of worship, a woman can enter, where a man can go. What applies to a man, applies to a woman."

Saying the state government is "bound to obey" the Supreme Court's verdict, Kerala's Minister K Surendran said, "The state government's stand is that women should be allowed to offer prayers in Sabarimala Temple [...] Devaswom board now has the same opinion as that of government."


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After signing peace declarations, Eritrea reopens embassy in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa

Thursday, July 19, 2018 

On Monday, Eritrea reopened their embassy in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa just a week after both the countries signed a declaration of the end of the two-decade-long conflict between the countries.

71-year-old Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki raised the Eritrean flag in Addis Ababa and Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed handed Afwerki the keys for the embassy. Abiy said, "Both nations have chosen peace as opposed to war [...] We won't allow anyone to stop this from happening."

A former province of Ethiopia, Eritrea voted in favour of a sovereign state and declared independence in 1993. The Eritrean embassy in Ethiopia was shut down in 1998 and, per reports, about 80 thousand were killed in the border conflict between the two nations from 1998 to 2000.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister visited Eritrea earlier this month and on July 9, leaders of both countries signed a declaration of the end of the conflict in Eritrean capital Asmara. After announcing the end of the conflict, telephone lines were set up between the two countries and on Wednesday, Ethiopian Airlines flew the first direct plane between Ethiopia and Eritrea in twenty years. Chief Executive of the airlines Tewolde GebreMariam said, "This day marks a unique event in the history of Ethiopia and Eritrea".


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London Pride organisers apologise after protestors interrupt parade

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 

On Sunday, Pride in London organisers issued a public apology via their website condemning an unregistered lesbian protest group as "transphobic, hateful protestors who blocked the Pride". The annual lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) Pride in the English capital ended with roughly 30 thousand people participating in this year's parade, organisers said.

A group of lesbians called "Get the L Out" protested in the parade with signs reading "Transactivism erases lesbians", "Lesbian Not Queer" and "Lesbian = Female homosexual". The group distributed leaflets which read, "The trans movement with the complicity of 'queer' LGBT politics is coercing lesbians to have sex with men. [...] We stand for the rights of lesbians to choose their sexual partners on the basis of their sex not their 'gender identity' [...] We condemn any pressure on lesbians [...] if they refuse so called 'transwomen' as potential sex partners".

Pride in London organisers in their official statement said, "The protest group showed a level of bigotry, ignorance and hate that is unacceptable. We reject what this group stands for. They do not share our values, which are about inclusion and respect and support for the most marginalised parts of our community."

The organisers called the "Get the L Out" group "transphobic". The group was not expelled from the pride as they did not commit a criminal offence, organisers said. By later report, Metropolitan Police allegedly refused to remove the "Get the L Out" group. On Twitter, to counter the group, the hashtag of "#LwiththeT" surfaced. Board member of TransPALS Patricia Curtis condemned the "hijack" of the Pride parade.

Condemning the incident, President of European Pride Organisers Association Kristine Garina said, "The Pride movement was begun by trans people and trans people must always be welcome at Pride". Garina continued, "Hate has no place at Pride, and we stand with the organisers who have promised to review what happened to try and ensure it cannot happen again."

This year's theme was "Pride Matters". Saturday's parade started at Portland Place at noon and ended at Whitehall, the BBC reported, with 30 thousand people participating in the march from 472 organisations. London mayor Sadiq Khan also participated in the pride parade. "In London, you're free to be who you are and you're free to love who you want to love, and it's really important we're never complacent", Khan said.


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Dutch senate votes in favour of face veil ban

Friday, June 29, 2018 

On Tuesday, the upper house of the Dutch parliament voted in favour of a face-veil ban which is applicable to places including public transport, government buildings, schools, and hospitals.

Banning Muslim women's clothings — Burqa and Niqab — has been discussed in the parliament for many years. The face veil ban was passed by the lower house in 2016. In 2015, the advisors of Parliament said wearing a burqa or niqab was guaranteed by the constitutional right to religious freedom.

The face veil ban makes it illegal for citizens to cover their face. Wearing helmets inside government buildings is also banned. DutchNews.nl reported the fine of violating the law is 400. The ban does not apply on the streets.

Calling the day historic, Senator Marjolein Faber-Van de Klashorst said it was "the first day to de-Islamise the Netherlands." "This is the first step and the next step is to close the mosques in the Netherlands", Van de Klashorst said. Senator Ruard Ganzevoort of the Green Party said, "It is completely disproportionate and the only effect will be that many of these women will stay at home even more [...] They will not have an opportunity to go to school."

The Christian Democratic Appeal party's minister Piet Hein Donner said, "Not everything for which you call on religious freedom, you can also do. This freedom must be limited in the public interest." ((nl))Dutch language: ‍Niet alles waarvoor je je op godsdienstvrijheid beroept, mag je ook maar doen. Deze vrijheid moet kunnen worden beperkt in het algemeen belang.Independent Senate's senator Henk ten Hoeve said, "This law will not change very much in practice, but gives a message that this form of Islam in our society actually does not fit, because it disrupts it." ((nl))Dutch language: ‍Deze wet zal in de praktijk niet heel veel veranderen, maar geeft toch als boodschap dat deze vorm van de islam in onze maatschappij eigenlijk niet past, omdat hij daar ontregelend werkt.

The Netherlands is a secular country, and according to reports, the number of Muslim women wearing a burqa or a niqab is between 200 to 400. Previously, the Danish parliament voted in favour of a similar face veil ban in May; it is scheduled to come under effect on August 1. France and Belgium had also introduced such bans.


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India: Punjab cabinet republishes ordinance approving capital punishment for rape of girls under age twelve

Friday, June 29, 2018 

On Wednesday, the cabinet of the Indian state of Punjab republished an ordinance which approved capital punishment for convicts of raping a girl under the age of twelve. In April, India's Union Cabinet approved the ordinance after nationwide protests that took place in various cities after an eight-year-old girl was gang-raped and killed in Kathua city in Jammu and Kashmir.

The State Cabinet approved the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance under Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Per the ordinance, rape convicts of girls below the age of twelve can now be sentenced to death. Further strengthening the ordinance from the Union Cabinet, punishment for rape convicts of girls below the age of sixteen is life imprisonment. The Union Cabinet had approved a twenty-year jail term which could be extended to life-long imprisonment. Prison term for convicts of rape of females above the age of sixteen has been increased from seven to ten years.

The ordinance also mentions mandatory completion of rape investigation within a period of two months. It also ruled out anticipatory bail for those accused of raping a girl below the age of sixteen.

The ordinance was republished in the Punjab Gazette. The Indian Union Cabinet had approved the ordinance on April 21, and a day later India's president Ram Nath Kovind also approved the ordinance.


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Serbian Football Association complain about Swiss footballers Xhaka, Shaqiri eagle salute celebration

Monday, June 25, 2018 

The Serbian Football Association, on Saturday, lodged a complaint with FIFA against Swiss footballers Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for their eagle salute celebration. FIFA later launched an investigation for disciplinary actions against the two players.

In Friday's match, Switzerland defeated Serbia 2–1 with goals from Xhaka and Shaqiri. Both the players celebrated their goals by making hand gestures resembling the double-headed eagle on the Albanian national flag. Xhaka and Shaqiri are both of Kosovar-Albanian origin, and grew up in Switzerland. Kosovo is a former Serbian province which separated from the country in 2008. Serbia, however, does not recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state. A large proportion of the 1.8 million citizens of Kosovo are ethnic Albanians.

Xherdan Shaqiri's football boots had both an Albanian flag and a Swiss flag. After the match, the Serbian Football Association secretary general, Jovan Surbatovic, said he would raise the issues of the "boots, a question of several controversial flags and the celebration of both goals for Switzerland". Per FIFA guidelines, players found guilty of "provoking the general public" face a fine as well as suspension for up to two matches.

After the match, Granit Xhaka said, "Frankly, my opponents did not interest me at all [...] It was for my people, who always supported me. For those who did not neglect me, in my homeland, where my parents' roots are. These were purely emotions." Meanwhile Shaqiri, who scored the late winning goal said, "I can't discuss the gesture I am afraid. We are footballers, not politicians[...] Emotions sometimes take over footballers and there was a lot of emotion out there."

Swiss coach Vladimir Petković said, "I think we all together need to steer away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together."

Two Swiss government officials, Sports Minister Guy Parmelin and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis supported Xhaka and Shaqiri's celebration. Cassis said, "I have no doubt that you can feel patriotic emotions for the land which has taken you in without forgetting your roots".

FIFA has also launched an investigation for disciplinary action against Serbian supporters for "the display of political and offensive messages". Another action is being taken against Serbian Football Association president Slavisa Kokeza for asserting that the match officials, including German referee Felix Brych, were biased towards Switzerland.


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International Criminal Court gives Myanmar till July 27 to respond on Rohingya case

Sunday, June 24, 2018 

On Thursday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) gave Myanmar a deadline to respond to a request to extend their jurisdiction over the alleged crimes against the ethnic Rohingya. In the meeting behind closed doors in The Hague, Netherlands, ICC judges decided to set the deadline on July 27.

Myanmar's military is accused of illegal deportation of the minority Muslim community, as well as committing sex crimes, burning people and villages and killing people belonging to the Rohingya ethnic group. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called it "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing". Myanmar denies the accusations. Myanmar is not a member of the international tribunal and hence, ICC do not ordinarily have jurisdiction there.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have been displaced from their home since August and nearly 700 thousand have settled in Bangladesh. Unlike Myanmar, Bangladesh is a member of the international tribunal where ICC does have jurisdiction.

In the decision, the ICC said, "Considering that the crime of deportation is alleged to have commenced on the territory of Myanmar, the chamber deems it appropriate to seek observations from the competent authorities of Myanmar on the prosecutor's request".


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Algeria blocks internet across nation to prevent cheating in diploma exams

Saturday, June 23, 2018 

In order to prevent cheating in high school diploma exams, the Algerian government ordered a series of two-hour nation-wide internet blockades, starting on Wednesday, reports from tech giant Oracle and Agence France-Presse confirmed.

Per the blockage, neither the cellular nor the wired data connections are to provide internet access during the exam hours. Social networking website Facebook has been blocked for the entire period. More than 500 thousand students had to appear for re-examination in June 2016 after question papers were leaked on Facebook. During the re-examinations, there were partial bans on Facebook and Twitter, and during that month, multiple employees working at the education ministry and the exam printers were arrested on suspicion of leaking the exams.

CCTV cameras have been installed at the locations where the exam question papers are printed, and metal detectors have been installed in over 2000 exam centres. According to various reports, around 700 thousand students are due to take the exams, whose results are expected to be declared a month later from July 22. Electronic gadgets are banned from the exam centres.

National education minister Nouria Benghabrit said the decision for the nation-wide blockade was "not comfortable" for the ministry, but it "should not passively stand in front of such a possible leak." According to internet service provider Algérie Télécom, the move was "aimed at ensuring the high school diploma tests run smoothly."

Other countries including India and Iraq also have a record of using internet blackouts as preventative measures against cheating during exams.


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India: Mehbooba Mufti resigns as Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister as Bharatiya Janata Party breaks alliance

Thursday, June 21, 2018 

On Tuesday, Mehbooba Mufti resigned as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) broke their three-year alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP). BJP's decision to dissolve the alliance came after a meeting chaired by BJP President Amit Shah.

The BJP National Secretary General Ram Madhav said, "It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government." "We have tried to put a full stop to the ceasefire violations of Pakistan. PDP has not been successful in fulfilling its promises. Our leaders have been facing a lot of difficulties from PDP in developmental works in Jammu and Kashmir", he added. Military operations in Jammu and Kashmir were suspended for the Islamic holy month of Ramzan, but on Sunday, the national government decided to end the ceasefire.

Ram Madhav said, "The security scenario has deteriorated, causing serious concern about the protection of basic fundamental rights of life, free speech." Last week, on June 14, a journalist was killed in Jammu and Kashmir. Recently, the United Nations had released its first-ever report on Kashmir, calling on both India and Pakistan to prevent human rights violation in Kashmir region.

Following the announcement of BJP, Mehbooba Mufti tendered her resignation and said, "The alliance had a bigger motive. I have submitted my resignation to the governor and told him that we are not looking to explore other alliances." Of the 87 seats in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, PDP has 28 seats, while BJP has 25. Other parties declined to form an alliance. Ram Madhav said the party had "decided that the reins of power in the state be handed over to the Governor."

Per section 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir constitution, the governor assumes the functions of the state government as well as powers exercisable by any state authority. For the governor's control over the state, it needs to be formally approved by the President of India. On Wednesday, President Ram Nath Kovind, who is on an international trip, approved the transfer of control to Governor Narinder Nath Vohra after he signed files for the imposition of governor's rule when he arrived in Suriname. According to a spokesperson for the Home Affairs ministry, the president approved Governor's rule with "immediate effect". However, Vohra's term as Jammu and Kashmir governor is to end on June 25. Previously, in 2013, he received an extension from the national government to continue his role as the governor.

Jammu and Kashmir has previously been under governor's rule on eight occasions, most recently in 2016 after the death of then-Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.


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Iván Duque wins Colombia's presidential election

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 

On Sunday, 41-year-old conservative politician Iván Duque won the second round of Colombia's presidential election. Duque won 54% of the votes defeating Gustavo Petro, who received about 42%.

With this victory, president-elect Duque is to become the youngest President of Colombia since 1872. The first round of the election took place three weeks ago. According to reports, the voter turnout was 53%. After winning the election, Duque tweeted, saying: "I will give everything, all of my energy to unite the country. No more divisions, let's think of a country with everyone and for everyone!" ((es))spanish language: ‍Voy a entregar todas, absolutamente todas mis energías por unir a nuestro país. ¡No más divisiones, pensemos en un país con todos y para todos!

This was the first presidential election after the 2016 peace accords with the rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) which brought an end to more than five decades of conflict that resulted in more than 250 thousand deaths. In his victory speech, Duque spoke about having "peace with justice" as the current accords prevent the rebels from getting prison terms. After agreeing to the accords, about 7000 rebels had surrendered their weapons.

Previously, Duque worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in the US. In 2014, Duque was elected as a senator, serving for one term. Duque received support from former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe for the senator post. Uribe, who has strongly opposed the peace accords, has supported Duque for his election campaign.

Duque's opposition candidate Gustavo Petro had previously served as the mayor of the Colombian capital city, Bogotá. After the results were declared on Sunday, 58-year-old Petro tweeted about the result, saying, "What defeat[?] Eight million free Colombians taking a stand. There is no defeat here. For now we won't be the government." ((es))Spanish language: ‍Cuál derrota. Ocho millones de colombianos y colombianas libres en pie. Aquí no hay derrota. Por ahora no seremos gobierno.

Duque's vice-president-elect, Marta Lucía Ramírez, is to become the first female vice president of Colombia. Duque is scheduled to be sworn-in on August 7, for a four-year term, succeeding outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos.


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