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Hit And Run In Kerala Deep Seas Provoke Outrage

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      Hit And Run In Kerala Deep Seas Provoke OutrageAlappuzha (Kerala): Two fishermen were killed, two injured and three missing after a mysterious ship collided with a fishing boat early Thursday in the sea off Kerala, provoking outrage in the community coming as it does barely two weeks after two men were shot dead by Italian Marines.
State Fisheries Minister K. Babu said: “Our law enforcing agencies are hunting for the the ship that hit the fishing boat. From what we have been able to gather, the incident took place close to 2 a.m. Thursday.”
The fishing boat had left from Kollam, 70 km from here, for deep sea fishing Sunday with seven fishermen on board. The dead have been identified as Xavier and Justin, those missing are Cleetus, Santhosh and Babychen. The two injured, Michael and Joseph, have been admitted to hospital and are out of danger.
Dominic Antony, the owner of the fishing boat, said: “My boat was anchored, the ship came and hit my boat. This is what I could gather from one of the rescued fishermen.”
Michael, who was injured, recalled the incident: “Everything happened in few minutes and we were thrown away. While I managed to swim in the waters, Xavier held on to my hands for sometime, then I could not locate him. I could not see the ship and it was totally dark. I was told by others that the ship appeared to be a big one and was a cargo freighter. They did not sound any warning signs.”
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was amongst those who expressed grief at the accident, described as a hit and run in the deep seas.
A furious P. Peter, who heads the fishermen’s union Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali, said law enforcement agencies do nothing but bring back the dead fishermen from the deep seas.
The agencies responsible for coastal security include the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and the Marine Enforcement Unit. “If they were doing their job, then why is the ship that banged on the boat still untraced?” Peter said.
According to Peter, fishermen can go up to 200 nautical miles from the shore but these ships now travel as close as 15 to 20 nautical miles from the coast.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader T.J. Anjilose, who belongs to the area, said this was the 15th incident in three months of ships hitting boats in the seas off Kerala. “The central and state governments say after each accident that coastal security would be improved but it never happens,” Anjilose said.
Charles George, another veteran trade union leader based in Kochi, said the functioning of the law enforcement agencies was appallingly poor. “It has been many hours since this tragic incident and we want to find out what the Mumbai based Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre is doing… We are told a Dornier aircraft of the navy in the morning around 6.45 a.m did a search for the ship but that also did not yield any result.”
On Feb 15, two Italian marines, Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone — security officials on board the Italian ship Enrica Lexie — were arrested for gunning down two Indian fishermen after mistaking them to be pirates.
-IANS

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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