At least 20 Taliban militants…

At least 20 Taliban militants and 17 security personnel were killed after clashes in two districts of Afghanistan on Thursday, according to officials.
In Ghazni province, 20 militants and three security personnel were killed after Taliban’s attempts to overrun Jaghato district were repulsed, said A government spokesman.
The spokesman also said that 10 militants and four security personnel were injured in the fighting.
In Faryab province, 14 security personnel were killed as Taliban militants stormed Afghan forces security checkpoints.
“Taliban rebels launched multi-pronged offensives on the checkpoints of national army on a road in Khawja Sabzpush district in the wee hours of today, killing 14 soldiers and destroying their heavy artillery,” said deputy to provincial council Sibghatullah Silab.
The terror outfit on Wednesday had attacked the Army checkpoints in Badghis province, killing 30 soldiers. Taliban militants also overran four checkpoints and took away some weapons, an official said.


Syria condemns Turkish, U.S. presence…

Syria condemns Turkish, U.S. presence around Manbij U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),
Syria said on Tuesday it rejected the presence of Turkish and U.S. forces around the northern town of Manbij, a day after soldiers of the two countries began patrolling the area.
Turkish and U.S. troops on Monday began independent patrols along the line separating Turkish-controlled areas of northern Syria from the town of Manbij, which is controlled by a local militia affiliated to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia.

Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization. Earlier this month Turkey and the United States endorsed a tentative deal to overcome months of dispute over the town, in which the YPG would withdraw from Manbij and Turkish and U.S. forces would jointly maintain security and stability there.

“Syria expresses its strong condemnation and absolute rejection of the incursion of Turkish and American forces in the vicinity of Manbij, which comes in the context of continued Turkish and American aggression,” state news agency SANA said, quoting a foreign ministry statement.

The statement also said the Syrian army is determined to “liberate all of Syria’s territory”.
syria force


Arvind Subramanian resigns as CEA…

Arvind Subramanian resigns as CEA to Modi govt,
Union Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday that Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian will be leaving the finance ministry because of “pressing family commitments” and will return to the US.

Subramanian was appointed as CEA to the finance ministry on October 16, 2014 for a period of three years. In 2017 his term was extended for a year.

“Few days ago Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the United States on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important for him. He left me with no option but to agree with him,” Jaitley wrote in a Facebook post.

He further said that on expiry of Subramanian’s three year term in October last year, he had requested him to continue for some more time.
ALSO READ: Full text: In FB post, Jaitley says CEA Arvind Subramanian has resigned

“Even at that stage he told me that he was torn between family commitment and his current job which he considered the best and most fulfilling he has ever done,” the minister said.
Profoundly grateful & humbled by these extraordinarily generous words by Minister @arunjaitley announcing my decision to return-for personal reasons-to researching & writing. CEA job most rewarding, fulfilling, exciting I have ever had. Many many to thank:

— arvind subramanian (@arvindsubraman) June 20, 2018
Jaitley, who was the Finance Minister before undergoing a kidney transplant surgery in mid-May, also thanked Subramanian for hmacroeconomicn to macro economic management of Indian economy.

“Personally I will miss his dynamism, energy, intellectual ability and ideas. He would walk into my room – at times several times a day, addressing me as Minister to give either the good news or otherwise. Needless to say his departure will be missed by me. But I know that his heart is very much here. I am sure he will keep sending advice and analysis wherever he is,” Jaitley wrote.

Egypt Closes Church Over Muslim…

Egypt Closes Church Over Muslim Extremist Opposition, Blocks Worship at Another
Authorities in Egypt have reportedly closed down a 1,300-member church in the Minya governorate and are preventing Christians from worshiping at another church in the area, according to a report.

Morningstar News, a donor-funded news agency that reports on persecuted Christians worldwide, reported that the Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in Kedwan village was shut down last month by authorities based on the claim that local Muslims objected to the church.

According to the outlet, the church served Christians from three different villages — Kedwan al-Baharyia, Kedwan al-Keblyia, Masaken Kedwan.

Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Minya Anba Makarios pressured government officials for weeks to re-open the church. But as the bishop’s pressure on the government provided no result, Makarios issued a public statement refuting the government’s claim that local Muslims opposed the church.

“The security apparatus has prevented Copts from practicing their rites in Kedwan, Minya, claiming that it was because of objections of some opposing factions in the village, and that it was necessary to be considerate of their feelings,” Makarios was quoted as saying. “However, this means that there is no consideration for the feelings of the Copts and those who do not ask for anything but to pray, as if the decision belonged to the opposing factions and not to a great state such as Egypt, which should have authority and law.”

Makarios stated that the majority of Muslims and Coptic Christians in the area co-exist peacefully and that the only opposition to the church came from a small extremist faction.

“There is actually no disagreements or disputes between the Copts and Muslims,” the bishop stated. “He among them who opposes [opening the church], if any is found, gives the excuse of the necessity to obtain a security clearance. Regardless of whether these may be right in their opposition or not, the authorities instead of responding by pointing out that this is the prerogative of the state institutions, or by stating that allowing prayer is a legal right, affirm prevention of prayer! In doing so, they underscore at the same time that the opposing factions are right in their reasoning.”

Morningstar News noted that the Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in Kedwan is just one of at least 15 Christian places of worship that has faced closure in Minya.

“We have more than 15 places [of worship] closed on the order of the security apparatus, despite the existence of formal requests that are imprisoned in [desk] drawers,” Makarios said in his statement. “Also, there are 70 villages, farmsteads and hamlets without places for prayers.”

In addition to the closure of the worship centers, security officials this past Sunday prevented Christians from worshiping in a private house church in Minya’s Ezbat Al-Forn village.

A local resident told Morning Star News that authorities claimed that the congregation lacked a permit to allow them to worship in the home. However, Makarios reportedly refuted the claim that a permit is needed.

The blockading of the church caused Coptic residents of Ezbat Al-Forn Village to write a letter to Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, titled “We were prevented from prayer like criminals.”

“We were surprised to find police forces surrounding and entering the village to prevent the Egyptian Copts from prayer and were prevented from going out of our homes,” the letter explains, according to Morning Star News. “We were attacked with inappropriate words … As if we are criminals or outlaws and wanted for justice, accused of performing religious rituals. And is performing religious rituals a crime?”

Egypt currently ranks as the 21st worst nation in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List.

Earlier this summer, it was reported that authorities in Egypt’s Beni Suef governorate raided a church in the village of Saft Al-Kharsa, removed all Christian iconography from the building and chained down the doors to prevent Christians in that area from worshiping there.

No clear US plan yet…

No clear US plan yet on how to reunite children with illegal immigrant parents
Trump administration officials say they have no clear plan yet on how to reunite the thousands of children separated from their families at the border since the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the US illegally is criminally prosecuted.
“This policy is relatively new,” said Steven Wagner, an acting assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services “We’re still working through the experience of reunifying kids with their parents after adjudication.”
Federal officials say there are some methods parents can use to try to find their children: hotlines to call and an email address for those seeking information. But advocates say it’s not that simple.
In a courtroom near the Rio Grande, lawyer Efren Olivares and his team with the Texas Civil Rights Project frantically scribble down children’s names, birthdates and other details from handcuffed men and women waiting for court to begin. There are sometimes 80 of them in the same hearing.
The Texas Civil Rights Project works to document the separations in the hopes of helping them reunite with the children.
They have one hour to collect as much information as they can before the hearing begins. The immigrants plead guilty to illegally entering the US, and they are typically sent either to jail or directly to an immigration detention center. At this point, lawyers with the civil rights group often lose access to the detainees.
“If we don’t get that information, then there’s no way of knowing that child was separated,” Olivares said. “No one else but the government will know that the separation happened if we don’t document it there.”
Olivares has documented more than 300 cases of adults who have been separated from a child. Most are parents, but some are older siblings, aunts, uncles or grandparents. Some are illiterate and don’t know how to spell the children’s names.
More than 2,000 minors have been separated from their families since early May. The children are put into the custody of the US Department of Health and Human Services with the aim of keeping them as close to their parents as possible and reuniting the family after the case goes through the courts, said Wagner.
But it’s not clear that’s working.
According to Olivares, the agency is generally “very willing to help,” often helping to find a child even if there’s a misspelling in the group’s records. But if a child has been transferred out of a government shelter — including if the child has been deported — agency representatives won’t give any information.
“Sometimes the parent gives us contact information for a relative,” Olivares said. “If they have the phone number right and the phone number is working … we call that number and sometimes we’re able to locate that relative and ask them what they know.”
In May, the Department of Justice adopted the zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the US illegally is criminally prosecuted. Children can’t be jailed with their parents. Instead, after the adult is charged, children are held briefly by Homeland Security officials before being transferred to Health and Human Services, which operates more than 100 shelters for minors in 17 states.
The department has set up new facilities to manage the influx of children, and Wagner said they were prepared to expand as more children come into custody.
The children are classified as unaccompanied minors, a legal term generally used for children who cross the border alone and have a possible sponsor in the US willing to care for them. Most of the more than 10,000 children in shelters under HHS care came to the US alone and are waiting to be placed with family members living in the US
But these children are different — they arrived with their families.
“They should just give the kids back to their parents. This isn’t difficult,” said Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Gelernt represents a Brazilian asylum seeker in a closely watched lawsuit that seeks a nationwide halt to family separation. The woman, identified as Mrs. C in court documents, was split from her son for nearly a year after entering the country illegally in August near Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
On Tuesday, Olivares’ team had seven people left to interview with five minutes left. They took down just the names, dates of birth, and countries of origin of the children.
“One woman (said), ‘What about me, what about me?’” Olivares said a few hours later. “She wanted to give us information because she realized what we were trying to do.”illigal parants

Israeli planes hit 25 targets…

Israeli planes hit 25 targets in response to Gaza rocket fire
JERUSALEM: Israeli jets struck 25 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Wednesday after militants launched rockets and mortar shells at Israeli territory, the military said.
Two Hamas security men were lightly hurt in one air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, residents said. No casualties were reported in Israel after one of the most intense recent barrages of militant rocket launches and Israeli air strikes.
Air raid sirens and Israeli phone warning applications sounded throughout the pre-dawn hours.
The military counted 30 rockets and mortar shells fired at Israeli territory and said its Iron Dome anti-missile shield intercepted seven rockets.
Since its last war with Gaza’s dominant Hamas in 2014, Israel has stepped up efforts to prevent cross-border attacks, improving rocket interceptors and investing in technologies for detecting and destroying guerrilla tunnels.
In recent weeks, Palestinians have sent kites dangling coal embers or burning rags across the Gaza border to set fire to arid farmland and forests, others have carried small explosive devices in a new tactic that has caused extensive damage.
At least 127 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30 and the men sending the kites over the fence believe they have found an effective new weapon.
Israel’s deadly tactics in confronting the weekly Friday protests have drawn international condemnation.
Palestinians say the protests are an outpouring of rage by people demanding the right to return to homes their families fled or were driven from following the founding of Israel 70 years ago.
Israel says the demonstrations are organized by the Islamist group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip and denies Israel’s right to exist. Israel says Hamas has intentionally provoked the violence, a charge Hamas denies.
Around two million people live in Gaza, most of them the stateless descendants of refugees from what is now Israel. The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.
Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the strip, citing security reasons, which has caused an economic crisis and collapse in living standards there over the past decade.gaza

“Much Easier” To Work Under…

“Much Easier” To Work Under Governor’s Rule: Jammu And Kashmir Top Cop
Hours earlier, the BJP had pulled down the coalition government that it ran along with Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party citing deteriorating security situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The Governor office later said since no political party intended to form a government, Mr Vohra had decided to impose Governor’s rule in the state.
An immediate fallout of the alliance’s collapse is expected to be a spike in anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had just a few days earlier declared that the Ramzan ceasefire announced last month would not be extended any longer.
That ceasefire, Mr Vaid said, had come as a breather for terrorists.

“I think in terms of organising, they had an advantage during this period,” the top police officer said.
“The orders were to maintain high-alert in the camps so that if camps were attacked, we are able to retaliate effectively. But, one could not launch operations even when there was specific intelligence about the presence of terrorists. So, that obviously was an advantageous to the terrorists,” he said.
“But, we will go all-out and intensify the operations against the terrorists now,” he said.
Mr Vaid said he was sure the Governor’s rule would have an impact on the security situation of the valley. “I am sure things should work very effectively and it will have an impact on the security situation of the valley,” he said.
On the investigations into the killing of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari, Mr Vaid said the police would be able to crack the case “within a limited period of time”.

COMMENTSHe said the special team probing the journalist’s killing had received “important leads” but declined to get into the details since “it is too premature to talk about those developments”. The police officer, however, insisted that the police would crack the case “within a limited period of time”.
Similarly, he said, the terrorists who killed army jawan Aurangzeb had been identified and would be brought to justice soon. “We are after their lives,” the police chief said.