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Civilian deaths in war-torn Afghanistan hit record high: UN

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United Nation :The number of Afghan civilians killed in the country’s long-running conflict hit a record high in the first six months of 2018, United Nations (UN) figures showed Sunday, with militant attacks and suicide bombs the leading causes of death.
The toll of 1,692 fatalities was 1 per cent more than a year earlier and the highest for the period since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) began keeping records in 2009.
Another 3,430 people were wounded in the war, down 5pc from the same period last year, the report said.
Overall civilian casualties – 5,122 – fell 3pc year on year.
The record high death toll came despite an unprecedented ceasefire by Afghan security forces and the Taliban last month that was largely respected by both sides, UNAMA said.
The ceasefire for the first three days of Eid was marked by scenes of jubilation as security forces and Taliban fighters celebrated the holiday, raising hopes that peace was possible after nearly 17 years of conflict.
But the suspension of hostilities was marred by two suicide attacks in the eastern province of Nangarhar that killed dozens of people and were claimed by the militant Islamic State group, which was not part of the ceasefire.
The Taliban refused a government request to extend the truce, returning to the battlefield and ignoring calls to enter talks with Kabul to end the war.
“The brief ceasefire demonstrated that the fighting can be stopped and that Afghan civilians no longer need to bear the brunt of the war,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary general’s special representative for Afghanistan, said.
“We urge parties to seize all opportunities to find a peaceful settlement – this is the best way that they can protect all civilians.”
Suicide bombs and “complex” attacks that involve several militants accounted for 1,413 casualties – 427 deaths and 986 injuries – up 22pc from a year earlier.
If that trend continues, the figure will top the 2017 full-year record of nearly 2,300 casualties.
UNAMA attributed 52pc of suicide and complex attacks to IS, mainly in Kabul and Nangarhar where the group established a stronghold after emerging in Afghanistan in 2014.


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National

210 candidates declare criminal cases in fourth phase

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New Delhi: A total of 210 candidates out of 928 candidates, contesting in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha election 2019, have declared criminal cases against them, according to Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) data published.

Another, 158 candidates have serious criminal cases, 12 candidates have declared convicted cases against themselves, five candidates have declared cases related to murder, 24 candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder, four candidates have declared cases related to kidnapping, 21 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women and 16 candidates have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves.

Of these candidates, 25 (44 per cent) out of 57 candidates from BJP, 18 (32 per cent) out of 57 candidates from Congress, 11 (20 per cent) out of 54 candidates from BSP, 12 (57 per cent) out of 21 candidates analysed from SHS, and 60 (17 per cent) out of 345 independent candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

 

Also, 20 (35 per cent) out of 57 candidates from BJP, 9 (16 per cent) out of 57 candidates from Congress, 10 (19 per cent) out of 54 candidates from BSP, 9 (43 per cent) out of 21 candidates analysed from SHS, and 45 (13 per cent) out of 345 independent candidates have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

The National Election Watch and ADR have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 928 out of 943 candidates, who are contesting in the Lok Sabha phase four. There are 15 candidates who have not been analysed due to unavailability of their properly scanned and complete affidavits.

A total of 37 out of 71 constituencies are red alert constituencies. Red alert constituencies are those constituencies where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Amongst the candidates, 306 (33 per cent) have assets worth Rs 1 crore and more. Fifty (88 per cent) out of 57 candidates from Congress, 50 (88 per cent) out of 57 candidates from BJP, 20 (37 per cent) out of 54 candidates from BSP, 13 (62 per cent) out of 21 candidates from SHS and 8 (80 per cent) out of 10 candidates from SP have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.

As many as 404 (44 per cent) candidates have declared their educational qualification to be between 5th and 12th, while 454 (49 per cent) candidates have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above. 34 candidates have declared to be just literate and 9 candidates are illiterate.

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Feed husbands if they vote as per your wish, else make them fast:Nitish tells women

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PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar made a strange appeal to women voters during a recent Lok Sabha election campaig rally.

Speaking on Wednesday at an election rally in Madhubani, Nitish addressed the women and said, “If men of the house vote as per your choice, give them food and feed them with love. And if they fail to vote according to you, make them fast for the whole day.”

Nitish was campaigning for the NDA candidate Ashok Yadav, son of sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav, when he made the statement. The Bihar Chief Minister also asked women to cast their votes early in the morning.

 

JD(U) is a part of BJP-led NDA and has fielded Kavita Singh from Siwan constituency, while the BJP has nominated Rama Devi from the Sheohar seat and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has put up Veena Singh from Vaishali.

Nitish also addressed a rally in Darbhanga, where he highlighted the benefits reaped by the common people from central and state governments schemes.

Nitish has assiduously tried to create women vote bank by implementing several schemes for them like bicycles for the girl students, a ban on liquor, Mukhya Mantri Napkin Yojana as well as Kanya Vikas schemes.

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‘Failed politician’ now seeks career in Bollywood: Cong on PM interview

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New Delhi: Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his interview to actor Akshay Kumar, the Congress said it seems a “failed politician” who is about to be rejected by the people on May 23 is looking for an alternative employment avenue in Bollywood.

The Congress’s jibe at Modi came after channels aired the Prime Minister’s interview with the Bollywood star, who described it as a “candid and completely non political” chat.

Reacting to the interview, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: “Akshay Kumar ji is a great actor and we like him. He is a very successful actor. An unsuccessful politician who has decimated India’s economy, who has decimated India’s jobs, who has made life hell for India’s farmers and the poor, is now trying to become a better actor than Akshay Kumar ji.” “It seems a failed politician who is about to be rejected on May 23, 2019, is looking for an alternative employment avenue in Bollywood, but I don’t think so, a failed politician like Modi ji will be a successful actor in Bollywood. Akshay Kumar will remain Akshay Kumar,” he told reporters.

 

To another question on the interview, Surjewala said Prime Minister Modi is trying to “become a better actor than Akshay Kumar but he has again failed miserably like he has failed India”.

Asked about Modi’s remarks in the interview that other prime ministers left early, but he works till 11 pm, Surjewala asked if he used to work in the Prime Minister’s Office or he used to do PM’s scheduling.

Surjewala alleged that the Prime Minister makes a joke of everything.

“You looted the entire currency of this country and were clapping and laughing during demonetisation. Is the PM’s job to make fun of people, make fun of institutions, make fun of people whom the country feels proud of, or will he do some work also,” he said. In the interview, which aimed to unveil “some lesser known facts” about Modi, the prime minister touched upon various aspects of his childhood and his journey before he came to power.

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