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Two explosions hit UN camps in Mali – Times of India

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GAO, MALI: Two explosions hit UN camps in the northern Mali city of Gao on Sunday, causing damage but no casualties, AFP journalists at the scene said.
The blasts which occurred at 0545 GMT shook the barracks of the United Nations mission in Mali, called MINUSMA, forcing the occupants to take refuge in shelters for two hours.
The French army said there was only material damage, but did not provide details about any possible origin of the blasts.
The latest violence in the West African country comes after 31 people were killed in an attack on Friday by suspected jihadists near the central town of Bandiagara.
Mali has been struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that first erupted in the north in 2012 and has since claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed central Mali and spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
France, the former colonial power in Mali, has said it will reduce its number of troops in the Sahel.
It is also planning for its troops to leave Kidal, Tessalit and Timbuktu in a bid to refocus on Gao and Menaka, closer to the turbulent “three-borders” zone near Burkina Faso and Niger.





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We gave students laptops, UP govt resorting to lathi-charge, alleges Akhilesh Yadav | India News – Times of India

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LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government over the alleged lathi charge on the teachers who were taking out candle march in the state capital Lucknow.
The former chief minister said that at least the previous government led by the SP was distributing laptops to the students while the present regime is resorting to lathi.
BJP was making the country ‘vishv guru’. Our government was at least distributing laptops to the students, whereas they (state government) is resorting to lathi,” the SP chief told media here.
“This is the difference. When the SP was in power in the state, new universities and colleges were started in the state. BJP will not understand the importance of employment,” he said.
The SP chief further alleged that the BJP has only spread hatred, hunger and poverty in the state.
Sharing the video of the purported incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi: “The UP government lathi-charged those seeking employment. Remember when BJP comes to ask for votes!”





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2nd Test: Openers Gill and Agarwal not taking field due to on-field injuries | Cricket News – Times of India

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MUMBAI: India openers Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill didn’t take the field during the New Zealand second innings due to on-field injuries sustained on the second and third day of the second Test.
“Mayank Agarwal got hit on his right forearm while batting in the second innings. He has been advised not to take the field as a precautionary measure. Shubman Gill got a cut on his right middle finger while fielding yesterday. He will not be taking the field today,” the BCCI media team stated on Sunday.
Agarwal has been one of the heroes of this Test with scores of 150 and 62 while Gill has scored 44 and 47.
In their places, Suryakumar Yadav and Srikar Bharat were on the field as substitutes.





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Myanmar junta chief meets Suu Kyi party stalwart – Times of India

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YANGON: Myanmar’s junta chief sat down with a prominent senior figure of Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted party on Sunday, the first significant meeting since the February coup.
The military deposed Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party from power, pushing many of her closest political allies into hiding while others have been arrested.
The junta has alleged electoral fraud in last year’s poll as a justification for the putsch, but much of the country is in open revolt calling for a return to democracy.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing on Sunday met with longtime politician and NLD stalwart Tin Oo, who has in recent years receded from the political landscape due to old age and poor health.
“Min Aung Hlaing told U Tin Oo that health treatment could be provided if necessary, and his army hospital will help,” the junta’s information team announced.
Tin Oo, a 94-year-old former army general and co-founder of NLD, was pictured wearing his party pin — a trademark red flag with a golden peacock — during the meeting with Min Aung Hlaing, who was all smiles in civilian attire.
The junta chief also met with Khin Nyunt, former spy chief-turned-prime minister before he was arrested under the former junta.
“Min Aung Hlaing also went to meet U Khin Nyunt… and asked about his health condition.”
The 82-year-old spent years in prison before he was released in 2012.
While some in the West saw him as a potential reformer, Khin Nyunt’s reign as spy chief saw activists harassed, arrested and tortured en masse.
Khin Nyunt’s intelligence apparatus — which once infiltrated every neighbourhood across Myanmar — was purged after his ouster, while Tin Oo no longer plays an active role in NLD party affairs, said Richard Horsey, International Crisis Group’s Myanmar senior advisor.
“It seems unlikely this meeting was sanctioned by the NLD,” Horsey told AFP.
“Given that Min Aung Hlaing seems determined to sideline Aung San Suu Kyi and won’t meet with her, perhaps he’s looking for other meetings that will be politically cost-free.”
After the February coup, Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. She currently faces a raft of charges that could see her jailed for decades.
Sunday’s meeting came on the eve of a junta court verdict on Suu Kyi’s charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions.
The verdict was due to be announced last week, but the court adjourned it until December 6, without providing a reason.





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Birthday wishes pour in for Shikhar Dhawan | Off the field News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: International Cricket Council (ICC) extended birthday greetings to India batter Shikhar Dhawan as he turned 36 on Sunday.
Taking to Twitter, ICC posted a picture of Dhawan and captioned it with the batter’s records.
“10,179 runs in 247 international matches Most runs for India on Test debut 2013 Champions Trophy winner Here’s wishing @SDhawan25, a happy birthday,” tweeted ICC,

Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh also posted a picture on Instagram of himself with the southpaw and captioned it, “Wishing a very Happy Birthday to the one and only Gabbar looking forward to your epic comeback – keep working hard and let the bat do the talking! Loads of love brother @shikhardofficial.”

Former India batter Suresh Raina also took to his Twitter and wished Dhawan all the ‘happiness’ on his special day.
“Happy Birthday @SDhawan25 bro. Keep playing with the same passion always, wishing you all the happiness & success! #HappyBirthdayShikharDhawan,” tweeted Raina.

Shikhar Dhawan was last seen playing for the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. Delhi Capitals have retained Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Axar Patel, Anrich Nortje ahead of the mega auction of the upcoming season.





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shah: Amit Shah meets 1971 India-Pakistan war hero Bhairo Singh Rathore in Jaisalmer | India News – Times of India

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JAISAlMER: Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday met Bhairo Singh Rathore who played an important role in the historic 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat also was present during the meeting in Jaisalmer.
“I was privileged to meet the 1971 war hero Bhairo Singh Rathore, who was posted at Longewala during the war, in Jaisalmer today. Your valour and love for the motherland has created history and immense reverence in the hearts of the countrymen. I bow down to you,” Shah tweeted.

Notably, bollywood actor Sunil Shetty has portrayed the role of Bhairo Singh Rathore in the movie ‘Border’.
Shah today addressed the 57th Raising Day of BSF in Rajasthan‘s Jaisalmer. He is on a two-day visit to Rajasthan.
He will proceed to Jaipur later in the day to address the BJP state working committee meeting.
The Union Home Minister will also address the public representatives conference which will involve panchayat Samiti members, Zilla Parishad members, district heads, deputy chiefs, pradhans and deputy pradhans, MPs, MLAs.
During the working committee meeting today, BJP’s organizational review, upcoming action plan, complete farmer loan waiver, electricity, health, education, unemployment, law and order, the strategy and mission of the movement among other things will be discussed in detail.





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French police on alert as far-right Zemmour holds first rally – Times of India

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PARIS: French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour is to hold his first official campaign rally at a stadium outside Paris on Sunday, with police on high alert over the risk of clashes with protesters.
Zemmour, a 63-year-old author and television pundit, announced Tuesday that he would run in next April’s election, joining the field of challengers seeking to unseat centrist President Emmanuel Macron.
His first rally comes just a day after the right-wing Republicans party picked Valerie Pecresse, a former budget minister, as its nominee.
“It’s incredible the level of enthusiasm, while other candidates have been in half-empty rooms,” Antoine Diers, a spokesman for the Friends of Eric Zemmour group, told AFP on Friday. “We’re expecting a lot of people.”
Around 19,000 people have signed up for the event, according to Zemmour’s campaign, leading him to swap a concert hall for a larger capacity exhibition space in the Villepinte suburb northeast of the capital.
Police are on alert for far-left activists and anarchists who disrupted Zemmour’s trip last weekend to the southern of port city of Marseille, which ended with the candidate showing the middle finger to a woman who was protesting.
Around 50 trade union and civil society groups have also called for a demonstration in Paris to denounce Zemmour, an anti-Islam and anti-immigration polemicist who is sometimes called “France’s Trump” and has two convictions for hate speech.
Several thousand people are expected to gather.
Stephane Troussel, the Socialist head of the Seine-Saint-Denis region, where Zemmour’s rally will take place, also launched a petition calling for the rally to be cancelled.
The event will be closely scrutinised given how Zemmour has been falling in opinion polls following a dramatic entrance into French politics in September.
Until now, he had been travelling the country doing promotional events for his latest book — “France has not said its final word” — which served as a thinly disguised pre-campaign tour.
As well as a series of recent missteps, including the middle-finger incident, Zemmour has seen several influential figures on the far-right distance themselves from him, including his main financial backer.
Polls show that voters currently believe Marine Le Pen, the veteran leader of the far-right National Rally party, would make a more competent president than Zemmour, who is viewed as highly divisive and arrogant by a large majority.
The latest surveys suggest he would be eliminated in the first round if the election were held now, with Macron tipped to win ahead of Le Pen, but analysts warn that the outcome remains highly uncertain.
Zemmour launched his bid for the presidency on Tuesday in a highly unusual video posted on YouTube, which saw him read a speech into an old-fashioned microphone while seated at a desk and barely looking into the camera.
It was intended to recall the famous June 1940 address by war hero General Charles De Gaulle to carry on with resistance to the Nazi occupation of France.
Over images of riots, Islamic prayers and terror attacks, Zemmour warned that France was in danger of being “conquered” or “colonised” by immigrants and that French people were being “replaced.”
His friend Robert Menard, a far-right mayor of the southern town of Beziers and an influential figure in far-right circles, called the rally on Sunday “an audacious bet. He needs to pull it off.”
Menard described the YouTube video as being of “apocalyptic darkness” and said Zemmour would need to begin outlining concrete proposals.
During a prime-time interview on Tuesday evening, Zemmour complained that he had not been asked about his programme, reportedly insulting anchor Gilles Bouleau afterwards for questioning him about his past comments on women and Muslims.





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Venkaiah Naidu says corruption eats into heart of democracy, calls for zero tolerance towards it | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Noting that corruption eats into the heart of democracy, vice president M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday called for zero tolerance towards it.
He stressed the need for stringent and timely action under the Prevention of Corruption Act against erring civil servants and public representatives.
Naidu also pushed for fast-tracking disposal of cases related to corruption involving public servants.
At the same time, the vice president cautioned, officials taking bona fide actions should not be discouraged or harassed.
“While corrupt civil servants must be strictly dealt with, we must not dissuade officials from taking bold decisions in the larger public interest,” he said, according to an official statement from the Vice President Secretariat.
Naidu made these remarks at the release of a book by former cabinet secretary and former Jharkhand governor Prabhat Kumar here.
The vice president felt that there was also a need to celebrate the achievements of honest civil servants and recognise their contributions. This, he suggested, will not only be an incentive for younger officials to push for excellence, but such publicity will also encourage the replication of innovative efforts by others.
He called for a moral resurgence of civil services in the country to improve the delivery of services to the common man and to ensure the fruits of development reach the people.
In this regard, he urged zero tolerance towards corruption and ensuring total transparency and accountability at all levels of governance.
Noting that corruption eats into the heart of the democracy, he stressed the need for stringent and timely action under the Prevention of Corruption Act against erring civil servants and public representatives. according to the statement.
Recalling his experience of working with enterprising civil servants, Naidu noted that many young officers have been bringing innovation into their work, in programmes such as ‘Swachh Bharat‘.
Enumerating the qualities of an ethical and public-spirited civil servant, the vice president said an ideal officer should ensure zero pendency of issues under his purview, must display the highest qualities of probity and integrity in office, be proactive in taking the measures of the government to the people, and above all be sympathetic to the cause of marginalised sections.





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power: India to supply 20% more power to Bangladesh | India News – Times of India

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Agartala, Dec 5 (PTI) India will supply 20 per cent more power to Bangladesh as the two countries renewed the contract for another five years, officials said on Sunday.
Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited (TSECL) will supply 192 mw power to Bangladesh, an increase from the earlier 160 mw it supplied, as per the renewed agreement.
India and Bangladesh inked an agreement on January 11, 2010 for power trading at a mutually agreed price. The agreement had expired on March 16, 2021, officials said.
TSECL MD MS Kele and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd CEO Praveen Saxena represented India and signed the renewal agreement in Dhaka on December 2. Bangladesh was represented by its Power Secretary and Director of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).
The new agreement came into effect from March 17, 2021 and would be in force till March 16, 2026, officials said.
The modified terms and conditions of the agreement were finalised after four meetings between the stakeholders, they said.





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Lynched Sri Lankan’s nearly all bones broken, 99% body burnt: Pakistan report – Times of India

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Businessmen pose to put candles and rose petals next to the portrait of a Sri Lankan manager of a sports equipment factory, as they pay tribute to him outside the office of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sialkot, Pakistan (AP)

LAHORE: Nearly all bones of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana were broken and his body was 99 per cent burnt in the horrific lynching incident in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a media report on Sunday said, citing his post-mortem report.
Angry supporters of the hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) attacked a garment factory on Friday and lynched its general manager Diyawadana, who was in his 40s, before setting his body on fire over allegations of blasphemy.
The post-mortem report of Diyawadana cited skull and jaw fractures as the cause of death, Geo News reported.
All his vital organs, liver, stomach and one of his kidneys, were affected, while torture marks were visible all over his body and his spinal cord was broken at three different points, the report said.
The post-mortem report of the Sri Lankan national revealed that 99 per cent of his body was burned, and with the exception of one foot, all his bones were broken, it said.
According to a Punjab Police spokesperson, following the autopsy, Diyawadana’s body was sent to Lahore where it will be handed over to the Sri Lankan consulate.
After all legal formalities, the body will be sent to Sri Lanka via a special flight, the report quoted the official as saying.
Meanwhile, a video footage has emerged showing a man jump in and try to save the Sri Lankan national as the mob thrashed him, the report said, adding that he bore the beating for a while but was unable to continue after a while.
After Diyawadana was killed, another man was seen pleading to the mob to not set it on fire, but he was thrown aside by the mob, the report added.
As pressure mounted on the Pakistani government to bring the guilty to justice, over 800 people have been booked under terrorism charges while 13 prime suspects are among 118 arrested so far in the horrific lynching of the Sri Lankan national in Punjab province.
Diyawadana, a graduate from the University of Peradeniya, is survived by his wife and two children. He left for Pakistan for employment in 2010 and had been working as the manager of the Sialkot factory since 2012.
He was working as the general manager in the Rajko industries (dealing in garments – sportswear) in Sialkot district, some 100 kilometres from Lahore.
Sri Lankan Parliament, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have condemned the lynching and hoped that Prime Minister Khan will keep his commitment to bring all those involved to justice and ensure the safety of the rest of the island nation’s expat workers.
“A mob of over 800 men gathered at the factory at 10 am Friday on reports that Kumara had torn a sticker/poster (inscribed with Islamic verses) and committed blasphemy. They looked out for him and found him (from the rooftop). They dragged him, beat him severely and by 11.28 am he was dead and the body was set on fire by the violent mob,” Inspector General of Police (Punjab) Rao Sardar Ali Khan said.
The mob after burning the body of the Sri Lankan national had blocked the Wazirabad road. Police from different stations reached there to control the situation, he said.
The incident sparked widespread condemnation from all walks of life. Police were also chided for reaching the crime scene after the incident. Only a couple of policemen can be seen in one video asking the people to stay back while the body was burning.
Mob killings over allegations of blasphemy have been very common in Pakistan, where the crime can carry the death sentence.
In April 2017, an angry mob lynched university student Mashal Khan when he was accused of posting blasphemous content online.
A Christian couple was lynched and then set ablaze in a kiln in Punjab in 2014 after being accused of desecrating the Quran.

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