India’s top court allows a month longer for citizens’ list in Assam state

Updated 23 July 2019

India’s top court allows a month longer for citizens’ list in Assam state

  • Residents of Assam which borders Muslim majority Bangladesh have to produce documents proving that they or their families lived in the country before March 24, 1971
  • That year hundreds of thousands of people fled Bangladesh during its India-backed war of independence from Pakistan

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline for the publication of a citizenship list for the eastern Assam state by a month to Aug. 31, the chief justice said, after the government asked for more time to detect illegal immigrants.
Residents of Assam which borders Muslim majority Bangladesh have to produce documents proving that they or their families lived in the country before March 24, 1971. That year hundreds of thousands of people fled Bangladesh during its India-backed war of independence from Pakistan.
“We extend the deadline for final publication of National Register for Citizens in Assam from July 31 to August 31,” chief justice Ranjan Gogoi said, adding that floods in Assam made work on the list difficult.
Last week the federal government sought more time to compile the citizenship register, saying thousands had produced fake documents to become Indian citizens.


US accuses Hezbollah of storing explosive chemical in Europe

Updated 18 September 2020

US accuses Hezbollah of storing explosive chemical in Europe

  • Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound commonly used as a fertilizer, but it can be used to make explosives
  • It can also be dangerous in storage, as demonstrated by the huge explosion last month in Beirut

WASHINGTON: Militant group Hezbollah has stored chemicals that can be used to make explosives in several European countries, a senior State Department official said Thursday as he appealed to countries in Europe and elsewhere to impose bans on the organization.
Hezbollah operatives have moved ammonium nitrate from Belgium to France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland in recent years and are suspected to still be storing the material throughout Europe, said Nathan Sales, the State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism.
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound commonly used as a fertilizer, but it can be used to make explosives. It can also be dangerous in storage, as demonstrated by the huge explosion last month in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
Sales, without offering evidence, said the U.S. believes that Iran-backed Hezbollah has since 2012 transported ammonium nitrate around Europe in first aid kits with cold packs that contain the compound. The United States believes these supplies are still in place throughout Europe, possibly in Greece, Italy and Spain.
“Why would Hezbollah stockpile ammonium nitrate on European soil?" he said. “The answer is clear: Hezbollah put these weapons in place so it could conduct major terrorist attacks whenever it or its masters in Tehran deemed necessary."
Sales made the remarks in an online forum hosted by the American Jewish Committee, which has called upon more countries to ban Hezbollah and its operations.
The US has designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization since 1997, but some countries distinguish between the organization's military wing and the political wing.
The EU lists Iran-backed Hezbollah’s military wing as a banned terrorist group, but not its political wing, which has been part of Lebanese governments in recent years. Some individual countries, including Germany and the UK, have outlawed the group in its entirety. Sales called on more countries to do the same.
Hezbollah is a “unitary organization that cannot be subdivided into a military and so-called political wing," he said. Without a full ban, the group can still raise money and recruit operatives. “Hezbollah is one organization," he said. "It is a terrorist organization.”