A 70-year-old man of Indian-descent, who pretended to be a US government official, has admitted that he was running a multi-million dollar immigration fraud that duped over 100 people. Hardev Panesar admitted to the crimes in the San Diego court and agreed to pay back $2.5 million to the victims. Over a five-year period, he told numerous victims that he was an official of the department of homeland security and that he and his associates could get them and their families legal immigration status. Just before his trial was to begin, Panesar jumped bail and fled to Mexico last June and hid there till he was caught by Mexican authorities who deported him to the US in August. Cutting short the trial process, he made the admission of guilt before federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is to sentence him in May. He faces a maximum jail sentence of 20 years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is continuing its probe.
Telangana man shot dead in Florida
A man from Telangana was allegedly shot dead in Florida in the United States by unidentified gunmen. The 45-year-old Kotha Goverdhan Reddy had moved to Florida seven years ago and worked there as a manager at a store, according to Madhusudan Reddy, the brother of the victim. A native of Yadadri Bhongir district, Goverdhan is survived by his wife and two children. "We received information that two persons barged into the gas station store where Goverdhan was alone and opened fire on him," Madhusudan said. The family has sought the government's help to bring back the mortal remains of the deceased to India.
Indian-American couple found dead with gunshot wounds
In an apparent case of 'murder-suicide', an Indian-American couple from Hyderabad was found dead in their home in Texas with gunshot wounds. However, the couple's 16-year-old daughter, who was also home at the time of the incident escaped the ordeal unhurt. The couple is also survived by their 21-year-old son, who is studying at the University of Texas. The incident came to light when the couple's neighbours called the cops after hearing gunshots. When police arrived, they found the wife, 46-year-old Shanti Nakirekanti, dead in the driveway with a gunshot wound to the head. The husband, 51-year-old Sreenivas, was found dead in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest.
The couple's daughter, who was at home during the incident, told police that she had been asleep, and was unaware of what had happened. Cops said that the deaths appear to be a case of 'murder-suicide' wherein Sreenivas shot Shanti before killing himself.
Pak court moved for ban on Indian films
A Pakistani man Sheikh Muhammad Latif has filed a petition asking the Lahore High Court to put a complete ban on trade, exhibition and selling of Indian films in Pakistan to reciprocate a ban on Pakistani artists working in Bollywood in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack. Latif told the court that in 2016 the federal government had banned import of Indian films, but the Nawaz Sharif government had in 2017 allowed the display of Indian films through a notification. He pointed out that after the Pulwama attack, the All Indian Cine Workers announced a total ban on Pakistani actors working in the Indian film industry and also banned songs sung by Pakistani singers. He asked the Lahore High Court to set aside the impugned January 2017 notification, for being unlawful and direct the government to impose a complete ban on Indian films.
Pak actor Fawad Khan booked
Pakistani authorities have filed FIRs against six individuals, including actor Fawad Khan, for refusing anti-polio drops to be given to their children by vaccination teams. The actor has denied the charge. The FIR against Fawad was registered on a complaint of a union council monitoring officer (UCMO). The UCMO complained that the polio team visited Fawad's residence but "the head of the family has been refusing to have the children vaccinated against polio and has been threatening the polio team with serious consequences". The charges in FIR include negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life, punishment for criminal intimidation, obstructing public servant in the execution of public duty and disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.
China shuts Tibet ahead of sensitive anniversaries
China has barred foreign travellers from Tibet over a period of several weeks that includes a pair of sensitive political anniversaries questioning the legitimacy of Beijing’s rule over the Himalayan region. Travel agencies said foreign tourists would not be allowed back into Tibet until April 1. It’s not clear when the ban started, although some monitoring groups said it began this month. The ban was confirmed by the online customer service portal of the Tibet Youth International Travel Service, as well as staff at the Tibet Vista and Go to Tibet travel agencies. Staff members declined to offer details. March10 is the 60th anniversary of an abortive 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, while anti-government riots occurred on March 14, 2008, in the regional capital Lhasa. The 1959 uprising resulted in the flight of Tibet’s Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, into exile.
Saudi names first woman envoy to US
For the first time Saudi Arabia has appointed a princess as its new ambassador to the United States. The appointment of Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan by royal decree came amid strained relations between Saudi Arabia and the US over the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul in October. Princess Reema will replace Prince Khalid bin Salman, a son of King Salman and a younger brother of the crown prince, who took the post in 2017. In another decree, Prince Khalid was named deputy defence minister under the crown prince, who heads the ministry. Since his father ascended to the throne in 2015, Prince Mohammed has pushed for vast changes in Saudi Arabia. He has called for a more diversified economy, granted women the right to drive, expanded entertainment options and moderated the kingdom’s official religious rhetoric, while also spearheading a disastrous military intervention in Yemen and other policies that have raised doubts about his judgment.
Mass grave with 3,500 bodies found
A mass grave with an estimated 3,500 bodies have been discovered at a farmland outside the Syrian city of Raqqa which was under the control of the Islamic State group. The discovery is the biggest example yet of how the violence IS sowed during the reign of its "caliphate." More than 120 bodies have already been dug up by the Rapid Response Division of Raqqa's civil defence service in al-Fukheikha plot. "These are individual graves but there are the mass graves of those executed by Daesh (IS)," said Asaad Mohammad, the forensic assistant. "There are some 2,500-3,000 bodies estimated there, plus between 900 and 1,100 bodies in the individual graves, so at least 3,500 total." Eight other mass graves have already been identified around the northern Syrian city, including one nicknamed "Panorama," from which more than 900 bodies had been exhumed.
US envoy to Canada to succeed Haley at UN
President Donald Trump has nominated Kelly Craft, currently the US ambassador to Canada, to replace Nikki Haley as his envoy to the United Nations after a four-month search. Craft, a top Republican donor from Kentucky, rose this week as a serious contender for the post based on a recommendation by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. Craft will not hold a Cabinet-level position, as Haley did, a senior White House official said, after Trump decided to downgrade the post. Regardless, she will need to be confirmed by the US Senate. “Kelly has done an outstanding job representing our nation and I have no doubt that, under her leadership, our country will be represented at the highest level,” Trump said in a tweet announcing his decision. If confirmed, Craft will have the difficult job of defending Trump’s “America First” foreign policy and navigating Trump’s criticism of the UN while getting global diplomats to back US policies.
Dad of woman who joined IS sues US admin
The father of an Alabama woman who joined the Islamic State in Syria has filed suit against the Trump administration seeking to allow her return to the United States. Twenty-four-year-old Hoda Muthana is in a Syrian refugee camp with her 18-month-old son after she fled what’s left of the Islamic State’s self-declared homeland. Her lawyers say she regrets joining the organisation. But the administration announced earlier this week that the Muthana is not an American citizen because her father was a Yemeni diplomat at the time of her birth in New Jersey. In the lawsuit, Ahmed Ali Ahmed said he was asked by Yemen to surrender his diplomatic identity on June 2, 1994 as the Arab country descended into one of its civil wars. Hoda Muthana was born in New Jersey on October 28 of that year and the family later settled in Hoover, Alabama. The lawsuit said that Muthana was also entitled to citizenship due to her mother as she became a US permanent resident
Egypt executes 9 over 2015 assassination of top prosecutor
Security officials in Egypt said Egypt had executed nine suspected Muslim Brotherhood members convicted of involvement in the 2015 assassination of the country's top prosecutor. The nine were found guilty of taking part in the bombing that killed Hisham Barakat, the first assassination of a senior official in Egypt in a quarter century. Barakat was also the most senior official killed since the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The officials said the families of the men were told to pick up their bodies from a Cairo morgue. A total of 15 people have been executed in Egypt since the start of the year. Three were hanged earlier this month for their involvement in the 2014 killing of a judge's son in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura. Authorities executed another three for killing a police officer in Cairo in Sept. 2013. Rights groups decried the executions, saying the men were sentenced to death following torture and beatings to extract confessions. Amnesty International urged Egypt to halt the executions, saying that some defendants said they were forcibly disappeared and confessed under torture.