NRC scare may have forced thousands to return to Bangladesh
The spurt in infiltration arrests in Bangladesh over the past couple of months - around 450 since mid-November - is the tip of the iceberg. The actual number of Bangladeshis who have returned illegally to their homeland in the wake of the NRC scare could be in the thousands, indicate intelligence and other sources. A process of regular low-key pushbacks is also on, they said. According to state intelligence sources, over the past few weeks around 200 people have infiltrated into Bangladesh every day through North 24 Parganas alone. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Director General Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam disclosed the figure during a press briefing. "About 1,000 people were arrested in 2019 for illegal border crossings from India to Bangladesh, with 445 of them returning home in November and December," he said.
UAE man jailed for killing man, stabbing Indian woman and her daughter
A criminal court in United Arab Emirates has sentenced a man to 10 years in jail for stabbing an Indian woman and her seven-year-old daughter multiple times inside the lift of a building and also for the murder of another person. The 43-year-old man will serve seven years in jail for the murder of the compatriot and three years for the stabbings. He will be deported after serving the entire prison term. The incident dates back to January 16, 2019. The man killed was a graduate from the University of Baroda, India, and was working as an accountant in a company in the Dubai free zone.
Taliban Council agrees to cease-fire in Afghanistan
The Taliban have agreed to a temporary cease-fire nationwide. It provides a window during which a peace agreement with the United States could be signed. A peace deal would allow Washington to bring home its troops from Afghanistan and end its 18-year military engagement there, America's longest. The US wants any deal to include a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not used as a base by terrorist groups. The US currently has an estimated 12,000 troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban chief must approve the agreement but that is expected. The duration of the cease-fire was not specified but it is being suggested it would last for 10 days.
Over 1,000 Protest in Bangladesh after college student rape
More than 1,000 students and activists joined their hands, chanted slogans and marched through Bangladesh's main public university after a second-year student was raped. The protesters gathered on the campus in Dhaka, the capital, after the victim was rescued and taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital around midnight Sunday. The victim was walking to a friend's place after getting off a university bus on Sunday evening, but someone grabbed her from behind, gagged her and took her to an empty place nearby, where she was attacked, police said. The protesters chanted slogans demanding the arrest of whoever was responsible and safety for women. Some carried festoons reading, No more rape, we want justice and We want the highest punishment."
Goa PIO leads Nasa team to find farthest group of galaxies
An international team of astronomers linked to Nasa, led by an Indian-origin Goa-born scientist, Vithal Tilvi, has discovered a never-before-seen group of galaxies, now labelled EGS77, which is the farthest group of galaxies to have ever been sighted. In 2013, Tilvi was also part of a team that discovered the farthest single galaxy ever sighted by astronomers. The new group of galaxies, EGS77, is estimated to be over 13 billion light years away from the Earth. It took Tilvi and team over four years to make the findings. This group of galaxies can now help astronomers see the Universe directly in its infancy, and see what were the chemicals present when the Universe was just born. "As we look farther and farther, we are looking back in time. This is because, the starlight which carries information about the galaxy group, is reaching the Earth now, after traveling for 13 billion years," Tilvi said.
Japanese woman turns 117, extending record as world's oldest person
Kane Tanaka has extended her record as the world's oldest person by celebrating her 117th birthday at a nursing home in Fukuoka in southern Japan. Tanaka marked her birthday celebrating along with staff and friends at the nursing home. Tanaka was last year confirmed as the oldest living person, aged 116 years 66 days old as of March 9, according to Guinness World Records. Tanaka's record age is symbolic of Japan's fast-ageing population, which coupled with its falling birthrate is raising concerns about labour shortages and prospects for future economic growth.
Kalapani belongs to Nepal: Ambassador
The disputed Kalapani area belonged to Nepal and the issue must be addressed soon to prevent irritants in bilateral ties, Nepal’s ambassador to India Nilambar Acharya said as Kathmandu mounted pressure on New Delhi to resolve the boundary issue soon. The Kalapani border dispute flared up again recently after India released its new political map, following the reorganisation of J&K, showing the area at a China-Nepal-India tri-junction as its own. Acharya said there was a foreign secretary-level mechanism between India and Nepal to resolve issues related to outstanding border disputes and it needed to be used to address the Kalapani dispute. “That’s the way to go about it. Even according to the Treaty of Sugauli (which established the boundary of Nepal in 1815), Kalapani belongs to Nepal. That’s the sentiment the citizens of Nepal share,’’ he said.
China replaces head of Hong Kong liaison office amid ongoing protests
China has replaced the head of its Hong Kong Liaison Office, the most senior mainland political official based in the Chinese-controlled territory, following more than six months of often-violent anti-government protests in the city. Wang Zhimin, who had held the post since 2017, had been replaced by 65-year-old Luo Huining, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on its website on January 4. Until November, Luo was the top official of China's ruling Communist Party in the northern province of Shanxi. Wang is the shortest serving Liaison office director since 1997. Luo, a loyalist of President Xi Jinping, has not previously held any Hong Kong-related position and is at the age when top Chinese officials typically retire.