Police link N. Ireland car bomb to ‘New IRA’

Updated 20 January 2019

Police link N. Ireland car bomb to ‘New IRA’

  • Two men in their twenties were arrested in the city on Sunday
  • Londonderry was a consistent flashpoint in the three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles

DERRY, N. Ireland: Police investigating a suspected car bombing in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry said on Sunday they believe dissident republican group the New IRA to be responsible.

The suspected bomb exploded at 8:10 p.m. (2010 GMT) on Saturday, as police were evacuating the area following a warning that a device had been planted outside the city courthouse. There were no casualties.

“Our main line of inquiry is against the New IRA,” said Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton.

“The New IRA, like most dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland, is small, largely unrepresentative, and determined to drag people back to somewhere they don’t want to be.

“The people responsible for this attack have shown no regard for the community or local businesses. They care little about the damage to the area and the disruption they have caused.”

 

Warning call

Two men in their twenties were arrested in the city on Sunday, as police and army explosives teams remained on the scene of the blast.

Police say they believe the vehicle used in the attack was hijacked locally from a delivery driver earlier on Saturday.

The warning call was made to a charity hotline in England, before being communicated to local law enforcement in the British province, police said.

Londonderry was a consistent flashpoint in the three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

Campaigns of assassination and car bombing between republicans and unionists were largely brought to an end by the 1998 Good Friday peace accords.

As part of the agreement, the Irish Republican Army paramilitary group decommissioned its last remaining weapons in 2005 and committed itself to pursuing its aim of a united Ireland through purely political means.

But dissident paramilitaries remain active on both sides of the divide.

“This attempt to disrupt progress in Northern Ireland has rightly been met with utter condemnation from all parts of the community,” said Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

“The small number of people responsible have absolutely nothing to offer Northern Ireland’s future and will not prevail.”

“This is intolerable violence and we want to look forward and build a peaceful future for all in Northern Ireland.”

Former Northern Irish first minister Arlene Foster, who heads the province’s Democratic Unionist Party, referred to it as a “pointless act of terror,” while the Republic of Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called it a “car bomb terrorist attack.”


World’s biggest literature festival kicks off in Jaipur

Updated 23 January 2020

World’s biggest literature festival kicks off in Jaipur

  • Economist and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee will attend the event

JAIPUR: The 13th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) started on Thursday.

 Known as the “greatest literary show on earth,” the five-day event brings to one venue more than 500 speakers of 15 Indian and 35 foreign languages, and over 30 nationalities.

 Among the festival’s participants are Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners.

 The event has been expanding, with over 400,000 people attending it last year and even more expected to show up this time.  The growing crowd has made the medieval Diggi Palace, which hosts it, look small, and organizers are planning to shift the event to a bigger venue next year.

 Scottish historian and writer William Dalrymple, one of the organizers, said: “The first time we came to the Diggi Palace in 2007, 16 people turned up for the session of which 10 were Japanese tourists who walked out after 10 minutes, as they had come to the wrong place. Things have improved a little since then. We are now formally the largest literature festival in the world.”

 Dalrymple, who has extensively written on medieval India and South Asia, has played a pivotal role in promoting the festival.

 The other two organizers are its director, Sanjoy K. Roy, and writer Namita Gokhale, who along with Dalrymple made the JLF become one of the most sought-after events in India.

 “Why has the literary festival taken off in this country in this extraordinary way? It goes back to the tradition of spoken literature, the celebration of literature orally through the spoken word has deep roots in this country,” Dalrymple said.

 “So the idea that a literary festival is a foreign import is something that can’t be maintained. We’ve tapped into something very deep here. Literature is alive and is loved in India,” he said.

 Inaugurating the festival’s 13th edition, celebrated British mathematician Marcus du Sautoy said: “Every number has its own particular character in the story of mathematics. For me it is 13; 13 is a prime number, an indivisible number, and the JLF is certainly a festival in its prime.”

 The festival this year is taking place amid a raging debate about India’s new citizenship legislation and mass agitation on the issue of preserving the secular fabric of the nation.

 Reflecting on the prevailing mood in the country, Roy, in his opening remarks, said: “We are now faced with a situation where we see a spread of the narrative of hatred. Literature is the one thing that can push back against it and so can be the arts. All of us have a responsibility to do so and this is not the time to be silent anymore.”

 Gokhale said: “Ever since its inception 13 years ago, we at the Jaipur Literary Festival have tried to give a voice to our plural and multilingual culture. We live in a nation which is defined by its diversity, and it is our effort to present a range of perspectives, opinions, and points of view, which together build up a cross-section of current thinking.”

 She added: “We seek mutual respect and understanding in our panels — it is important to us that these often conflicting ideas are respectfully presented and heard. We also resist predictable and self-important all-male panels, and try to ensure that the vital voices of women resonate through all aspects of our programming.”

 One of the attractions of the event this year is the presence of Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, who won the prize in economics last year.

 There are also panel discussions on Kashmir, the Indian constitution and history.

 The prevailing political situation in South Asia is also reflected by the absence of Pakistani. Before, popular Pakistani authors would attend the JLF, but delays in visa issuance and a hostile domestic environment forced the organizers to “desist from extending invitations.”