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Indian couple in Germany charged with spying on Sikhs, Kashmiris

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Berlin:An Indian married couple accused of spying on Germany’s Sikh community and Kashmir movement have been charged with espionage, German prosecutors announced .

They named the suspects only as 50-year-old Manmohan S. and his wife Kanwal Jit K., 51, in keeping with German privacy rules for defendants.

“Manmohan S. agreed by January 2015 at the latest to provide information about Germany’s Sikh community and Kashmir movement and their relatives to an employee of the Indian foreign intelligence service Research & Analysis Wing,” they said in a statement.

 

His wife joined him in monthly meetings with the Indian intelligence officer between July and December 2017, and in total the couple were paid 7,200 euros (USD8,100) for their work.

The charges, which can carry up to 10 years’ jail in serious cases, were laid on March 28 but only publicised Tuesday by the federal prosecution service in the city of Karlsruhe.(PTI/AFP)


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Gold mine with 5 times India’s current reserve found in UP’s Sonbhadra

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New Delhi :Gold deposits of around 3000 tonnes and worth nearly Rs 12 lakh crore have been found in Maoist-hit Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh.
The data by the World Gold Council shows India currently has 626 tonnes of gold reserves. The new reserves are almost five times that amount and estimated to be worth nearly Rs 12 lakh crore.
Officers of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) said on Friday that the gold deposits were found in Son Pahadi and Hardi areas of Sonbhadra.
District mining officer KK Rai said while speaking to news agency PTI that GSI had been looking for the gold reserves in Sonbhadra almost two decades ago in 1992-93.
Rai also said the state government has expedited the process of leasing these mines. The process of geo-tagging has been started before the auction process for mining. E-tendering will be done as soon as the demarcation work is completed.
The official, according to Press Trust of India, said the deposits in Son Pahadi is estimated to be around of 2,943.26 tonnes and that at Hardi block is around 646.16 kilogram.
Besides gold, some other minerals have also been found in the area, Rai added.
News agency IANS reported a seven-member team has been formed for geo-tagging of mineral sites and that their report will be submitted to the department of mining, Lucknow by February 22.
Rai said, according to IANS, an assessment is being done to see how much land comes under the revenue and forest departments so that the process of seeking permission from the forest department for mining can begin.
GSI is conducting an aerial survey of the quarry area for which two helicopters have been deployed.
A geophysical survey using electromagnetic and spectrometer devices is underway by helicopter in many parts of the district.
Part of these instruments hangs under the helicopter which conducts a flying survey at an altitude of 60-80 meters above the ground surface.
The British reportedly were the first to initiate the process of finding gold reserves in Sonbhadra region.
Sonbhadra—the second largest district of Uttar Pradesh—is the only district in the country which shares borders with four states. It has Madhya Pradesh to the west, Chhattisgarh to the south, Jharkhand to the south-east and Bihar to the east.

 
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Driver killed as truck falls into gorge in Ramban

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Banihal:
A truck driver was killed after his vehicle skidded off the road and plunged into a deep gorge in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district early on Saturday morning, police said.

The deceased was identified as Jagdish Kumar (40), a resident of Udhampur district’s Ramnagar area, they said.

The truck, which was loaded with washing machines and refrigerators, was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu. It skidded off the road and rolled down into a 400 feet deep gorge at Chamalwas near Banihal in Ramban around 5 am, a police official said.

Rescuers immediately swung into action and pulled out the driver’s body, he said.

The body was handed over to Kumar’s family after completion of legal formalities, the official said.

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US-Taliban truce begins, raising hopes of peace deal

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Washington :A week-long “reduction in violence” between the Taliban, the United States and Afghan security forces took effect on Friday, raising hopes for a resolution to the 18-year-long war.
The agreement struck during negotiations between US and Taliban representatives, if maintained, could secure a peace deal that would lead to a withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.
In a televised address, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the reduction in violence (RIV) would begin at midnight local time on Friday (19:30 GMT). The army will “remain on active defence status during the week”, he said.
Earlier, Javid Faisal, spokesman for Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, said Afghan forces will keep up normal military operations against other armed groups, such ISIL (ISIS) during the RIV period.
“Local government and security officials have been instructed by the president himself on how to follow the regulations agreed upon for the RIV period,” he said, adding that Afghan forces will also retaliate to any violation of the understanding.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that upon successful implementation of this agreement, the US would move to sign a peace deal with the Taliban on February 29.
Soon after Pompeo’s announcement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the development and said both sides will invite senior representatives to take part in the peace deal “signing ceremony”.
The Taliban’s statement also said the signing of the peace deal would be followed by intra-Afghan talks with various political parties in the country.
The Afghan armed group, which was removed from power in a US-led invasion in 2001, has previously refused to speak directly to the Kabul government, which it denounces as a “US puppet”.

 
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