Four arrested for duping young Indian men into fighting for Russia in Ukraine

Four arrested for duping young Indian men into fighting for Russia in Ukraine
Hemil Mangukiya, center, was killed on the front line of the Russo-Ukrainian War. (Reuters)
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Updated 08 May 2024
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Four arrested for duping young Indian men into fighting for Russia in Ukraine

Four arrested for duping young Indian men into fighting for Russia in Ukraine
  • Families of two Indian men who were killed in the war said that they had gone to Russia expecting to work as ‘helpers’ in the army
  • At least 200 Nepalis are estimated to be serving in the Russian army and about 100 are missing

NEW DELHI: Indian police said four people linked to a network of human traffickers have been arrested on suspicion of luring young men to Russia with the promise of lucrative jobs or university places only to force them to fight in the war in Ukraine.
About 35 Indian men were duped in this manner, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said in March.
The four Indian nationals arrested were a translator, a person facilitating visa processing and the booking of airline tickets as well as two “main recruiters” for the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the CBI said late on Tuesday.
The investigation “is continuing against other accused persons who are part of this international network of human traffickers,” the CBI said.
The families of two Indian men who were killed in the war have told Reuters they had gone to Russia expecting to work as “helpers” in the army.
India’s foreign ministry says each case has been “strongly taken up” with Russia. Moscow has not responded to repeated requests from Reuters for comment.
Other South Asian countries have also warned their citizens against such trafficking networks after multiple cases emerged of people being similarly duped into fighting in the Russian army.
Sri Lanka said on Wednesday that “a number” of its retired war veterans were lured to the Russia-Ukraine war front with the promise of a “handsome salary,” citizenship, and other benefits for serving in the army, none of which were granted.
“A significant number of war veterans have died and sustained injuries on the battlefield,” Sri Lanka’s Defense Ministry said, adding that the law would be “strictly enforced” in the matter.
A retired major and an employment agent have been arrested in this connection.
Nepal, which paused issuing work permits for Russia and Ukraine in January, has said several young unemployed Nepalis had been illegally recruited into the Russian army by agents who charged them hefty sums for visas.
At least 200 Nepalis are estimated to be serving in the Russian army and about 100 are missing, officials have said.
India has refused to condemn Russia over the war, calling instead for dialogue and diplomacy to end the conflict. The two countries have enjoyed a close relationship for decades, trading in items from fighter jets to tea.
India has also increased its purchase of cheap Russian oil since the war, with Moscow emerging as its top oil supplier in the last financial year for the second year in a row.


Biden, 81, pulls out of US presidential race, will serve out term

Biden, 81, pulls out of US presidential race, will serve out term
Updated 15 sec ago
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Biden, 81, pulls out of US presidential race, will serve out term

Biden, 81, pulls out of US presidential race, will serve out term
  • By dropping his reelection bid, Biden clears the way for Vice President Kamala Harris to run at the top of the ticket
  • It was unclear whether other senior Democrats would challenge Harris, seen as pick for many, for party’s nomination

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden ended his reelection campaign on Sunday after fellow Democrats lost faith in his mental acuity and ability to beat Donald Trump, leaving the presidential race in uncharted territory.
Biden, in a post on X, said he will remain in his role as president and commander-in-chief until his term ends in January 2025 and will address the nation this week.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your President. And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Biden wrote.
By dropping his reelection bid, he clears the way for Vice President Kamala Harris to run at the top of the ticket, the first Black woman to do so in the country’s history.
Biden, 81, did not mention her when he announced his move.
It was unclear whether other senior Democrats would challenge Harris for the party’s nomination, who was widely seen as the pick for many party officials — or whether the party itself would choose to open the field for nominations.
Biden’s announcement follows a wave of public and private pressure from Democratic lawmakers and party officials to quit the race after his shockingly poor performance in a televised debate last month against Republican rival Donald Trump.


Biden pulls out of presidential race, will serve out term

Biden pulls out of presidential race, will serve out term
Updated 53 sec ago
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Biden pulls out of presidential race, will serve out term

Biden pulls out of presidential race, will serve out term
  • Clears way for Vice President Kamala Harris to run atop Democrat ticket
  • Biden, did not mention VP in announcement

WASHINGTON DC: US President Joe Biden ended his reelection campaign on Sunday after fellow Democrats lost faith in his mental acuity and ability to beat Donald Trump, leaving the presidential race in uncharted territory.
Biden, in a post on X, said he will remain in his role as president and commander-in-chief until his term ends in January 2025 and will address the nation this week.

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your President. And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Biden wrote.
By dropping his reelection bid, he clears the way for Vice President Kamala Harris to run at the top of the ticket, the first Black woman to do so in the country’s history.
Biden, 81, did not mention her when he announced his move.
It was unclear whether other senior Democrats would challenge Harris for the party’s nomination, who was widely seen as the pick for many party officials — or whether the party itself would choose to open the field for nominations.
Biden’s announcement follows a wave of public and private pressure from Democratic lawmakers and party officials to quit the race after his shockingly poor performance in a televised debate last month against Republican rival Donald Trump.

 


Top court in Bangladesh scales back job quota system after deadly protests

Top court in Bangladesh scales back job quota system after deadly protests
Updated 21 July 2024
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Top court in Bangladesh scales back job quota system after deadly protests

Top court in Bangladesh scales back job quota system after deadly protests
  • More than 100 people killed, thousands injured in clashes between police and students
  • Police on ‘highest alert’ as curfew remains in place after hearing

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Sunday scrapped most of the quotas on government jobs that had sparked nationwide unrest in the country and resulted in deadly clashes between police and student protesters that killed more than 100 people in the past week.

University students have been demonstrating on campuses since the beginning of July to demand a reformation of the quota system that reserved 30 percent of government jobs for relatives of veterans who fought in Bangladesh’s 1971 liberation war.

The government abolished the quotas after student protests in 2018, but it was reinstated by Bangladesh’s High Court last month, setting off a new round of demonstrations that was met with a harsh crackdown, including a curfew and a communications blackout that left the country of 170 million people cut off from the world.

Ruling on an appeal, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said the Supreme Court had ordered for the quota reserved for veterans to be cut to 5 percent and for 93 percent of jobs to be allocated on merit. The remaining 2 percent will be reserved for members of ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

“In the future, the government may change the ratio if needed,” Uddin told Arab News.

“Now, I will send a copy of the verdict to the law minister for the next steps. (I) hope a gazette will be published in this regard within the next couple of days.”

The verdict came after demonstrations spiraled into deadly clashes, prompting authorities to impose a curfew ahead of the Supreme Court hearing, which Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told Agence France-Presse news agency will continue “until the situation improves.”

The military was on patrol in the streets of Dhaka, along with riot police and thousands of Border Guard personnel as all gatherings were banned amid an increasing number of casualties.

At least 148 people have been killed in the past week and thousands injured, according to a count based on reports in the local media.

Inamul Haq Sagar, spokesman for the police, told Arab News: “We are on the highest alert across the country to maintain law and order.”

He added that at least three policemen had been killed and about 1,000 police officers injured during clashes in the past few days.

He said: “Since the curfew is underway, I urge all to be respectful to the law of the country and refrain from any destructive activities.”

It was not immediately clear how protesters would react to the decision by the Supreme Court.

Students had taken to the streets as the government quotas, which reserve hundreds of thousands of well-paid government jobs, affect young people directly.

The country’s unemployment rate is highest among people aged between 15 and 29 — more than a quarter of Bangladesh’s population — which constitutes 83 percent of the total without jobs.


Ruto says Kenya demos must stop, opposition urges ‘justice’

Ruto says Kenya demos must stop, opposition urges ‘justice’
Updated 21 July 2024
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Ruto says Kenya demos must stop, opposition urges ‘justice’

Ruto says Kenya demos must stop, opposition urges ‘justice’
  • Initially peaceful rallies that started last month against planned tax rises descended into violence
  • Ruto shelved his tax reform and proposed a national dialogue

NAIROBI: Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga Sunday insisted “justice” was a prerequisite for any talks with the government after deadly clashes, as President William Ruto warned unrest could “destroy” the country.
Initially peaceful rallies that started last month against planned tax rises descended into violence with dozens killed after some marchers stormed parliament.
Ruto shelved his tax reform and proposed a national dialogue.
“Justice must come first before any talks,” said Odinga on Sunday, however.
He demanded “compensation for every victim of police brutality” during the rallies.
Despite Ruto’s concessions, rallies have continued across the country. The opposition has called for fresh demonstrations next week.
“I want to promise it is going to stop. Enough is enough,” Ruto said on Sunday.
A court on Thursday suspended a police move to ban protests in the center of the capital Nairobi.
Ruto vowed to stop “looters” and “killers” who he said “risk destroying our country.”
“We want a peaceful, stable nation. And our issues are resolved using democratic means.”
Odinga, 79, who lost out to Ruto in the 2022 presidential election, said there had to be a “national conversation” between different sectors of society.
Such discussions, he said in a post on X, “should come from various sectors including youth, government, religious leaders, health care professionals, lawyers and teachers.”
Ruto on Friday unveiled a new partial cabinet to lead a “broad-based” government in a bid to ease the worst crisis of his nearly two years in office.
But the main opposition coalition swiftly branded the cabinet moves “cosmetic” and insisted it would not join a government of national unity led by Ruto.


Pope Francis calls for Olympic truce for countries at war, prays for peace

Pope Francis calls for Olympic truce for countries at war, prays for peace
Updated 21 July 2024
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Pope Francis calls for Olympic truce for countries at war, prays for peace

Pope Francis calls for Olympic truce for countries at war, prays for peace
  • The Pope stressed that sport has “a great social power, capable of peacefully uniting people from different cultures.”

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Sunday voiced his hope that the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games will provide an opportunity for countries at war to respect an ancient Greek tradition and establish a truce for the duration of the Games.
“According to ancient tradition, may the Olympics be an opportunity to establish a truce in wars, demonstrating a sincere will for peace,” Francis said during his Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope stressed that sport also has “a great social power, capable of peacefully uniting people from different cultures.”
The opening ceremony of the 33rd Olympic Games will be held in Paris on July 26 with the participation of 205 delegations of athletes, who will parade on more than 80 boats on the Seine.
“I hope that this event can be a sign of the inclusive world we want to build and that the athletes, with their sporting testimony, may be messengers of peace and valuable models for the young,” Francis added.
The pope, as always, asked the faithful to pray for peace, recalling the ongoing conflicts around the world.
“Let us not forget the martyred Ukraine, Palestine, Israel, Myanmar, and many other countries at war. Let us not forget, war is a defeat,” he concluded.