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Death toll from clashes in Libya’s Tripoli climbs to 96

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Tripoli :Fighting between rival groups in Libya’s capital has killed at least 96 people since August 26, with civilians among the casualties, authorities have said.
Libya’s Tripoli-based Health Ministry, in a statement , said 11 people, including five civilians, were killed on Thursday night as battles raged between militias aligned to the UN-backed government and from two nearby towns.
A resident told DPA news agency that some families were trapped in their homes due to the heavy exchange of fire while some refused to leave due to fears of looting.
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, said the sound of gunfire echoed across “many parts of the capital” on Friday with aid agencies fearing for the civilians stranded by the violence.
“Aid agencies have been trying to reach out to families stuck in areas in or near the fighting,” he said, adding that the clashes caused lasting damage to a power plant with several areas in the capital suffering from power cuts.
Fighting has mainly taken place in the southern Salah al-Din district and along the road leading to Tripoli airport, which has been closed for years.
The fighting violated a September 4 UN-brokered ceasefire deal and underscores Libya’s lingering lawlessness since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.
“The is the third time the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement has been breached with each side accusing the other of violating the terms of the agreement,” said Abdelwahed.
Tripoli-based militias loyal to the internationally recognised government say the fighting is aimed at expelling “criminals and outsiders” from the cities of Tarhouna and Misrata, Abdelwahed said.
“Meanwhile, the Seventh Infantry Brigade from the town of Tarhouna and its allies from Misrata say they are trying to rid the capital of militias that are blackmailing state institutions and imposing royalty fees on banks,” he added.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described the situation in the north African country as “desperate”, with the fighting, collapsed economy and destruction of infrastructure leaving hundreds of thousands of people “increasingly vulnerable”.
“Seven years of war in Libya has driven over 500,000 people to flee their homes,” the ICRC said in a tweet.
“For Libyans trying to return home, there’s not always much to return to. Houses, schools are often destroyed completely.”
The group also cited the sabotaging of health facilities, water and electricity supplies, as well as the dangers of unexploded remnants.


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ED arrests defence agent in VVIP choppers case

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested a defence agent from Delhi in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP choppers deal case, officials said on Tuesday.

They said Sushen Mohan Gupta was arrested on Monday night by agency sleuths under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Gupta, they said, had allegedly dealt in defence deals, including the AgustaWestland helicopters deal. He will be produced before a special PMLA court here on Tuesday.
Lawyer Gautam Khaitan and alleged British middleman Christian Michel were earlier arrested by the ED in the case.

 

The ED officials said Gupta’s role in the case came to light on the basis of disclosures made by Rajiv Saxena, who has recently turned approver in the case after he was deported from the UAE and arrested by the ED here.

It is suspected that Gupta had in his possession some payment details in the purchase of VVIP choppers and the link is to be unravelled, they said. He had, hence, been arrested, they said.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have filed multiple chargesheets in the case and named former IAF chief SP Tyagi and his family members as accused besides others. PTI

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‘Students forcibly entered residence, confined my wife,’ says JNU V-C

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New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar alleged that the varsity students forcibly entered his house and confined his wife inside for several hours.

Seven students have been on a hunger strike since last week in protest against the online system of entrance exam that will be implemented from this academic session.

According to sources, students from Left outfits went to the vice-chancellor’s residence to demand an audience with him since he had not been meeting them. When they went to meet him last week, he offered them sweets rather than addressing their concerns.

 

The students allegedly barged inside Kumar’s residence while he was away and surrounded his wife. Police were called in and the wives of other university professors rescued her, a professor said.

Kumar’s wife was rushed to a hospital as she was in a state of trauma.

“This evening few hundred students forcibly broke into my JNU residence and confined my wife inside home for several hours while I was away in a meeting. Is it the way to protest? Terrorosing (sic) a lonely lady at home?” Kumar asked on Twitter.

A student from a Left outfit rejected the allegation and said a group of students had gone to meet the vice-chancellor, but they were allegedly manhandled by security personnel.

“We had gone to his residence to meet the V-C. We were manhandled by security personnel and many students have sustained injuries, including JNUSU president N Sai Balaji,” the student said.

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Urmila likely to join Congress ahead of LS election

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MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Urmila Matondkar is likely to take her political plunge as a Congress candidate in Mumbai, sources told Zee News.

The ‘Masoom’ child actress may be offered a ticket from Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency to up the glamour quotient against Bharatiya Janata Party’s incumbent MP Gopal Shetty.

Sources added that Matondkar is likely to join Congress in the next two to three days.

 

Her name is at “an advanced stage of consideration by the party leadership” and that a final decision could be announced shortly, political sources told IANS.

Marathi actor Asawari and television actor Joshi Shilpa Shinde have also requested for Congress ticket from Mumbai.

Mumbai’s six Lok Sabha constituencies will vote on April 29 along with 17 others in the state`s fourth phase of polling.

Matondkar started her career as a child actor in Marathi film, Zaakol (1980), and entered Bollywood in the Shashi Kapoor-Rekha starrer Kalyug (1981).

But, it was the highly-acclaimed Shekhar Kapur-directed film, Masoom (1983) that catapulted her to fame as a child actress and significantly boosted her film career.

A leading actor of the 90s decade, Matondkar worked in top grossing movies such as Chamatkar, Rangeela, Judaai, Satya and many more. She’s also acted in Marathi and South Indian language films and several television serials.

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