ਮੁੱਖ ਖ਼ਬਰਾਂ 

Russian meddling beyond doubt,

says Trump’s adviser

Munich, February 19- President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser HR McMaster on Saturday said there was “incontrovertible” evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 US election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges levelled by an American investigator have upended the political debate over his inquiry.
The statement by McMaster at the Munich Security Conference stood in stark contrast to Trump’s often repeated claim that Russian interference in his election victory was a hoax. “As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain,” McMaster said.
The detailed document presented the most compelling public evidence to date that the Russian operation was elaborate, expensive and real.
Citing emails and conversations by the perpetrators of the plot, it also demonstrated that the ongoing probe may have access to explosive intelligence material gathered on the Russian operations.
McMaster also noted that special counsel Robert Muellers team had shown that the US was becoming “more and more adept at tracing the origins of this espionage and subversion.”
Just minutes before, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had dismissed the indictment as “just blabber.” “I have no response,” Lavrov said when asked for comment on the allegations. “You can publish anything, and we see those indictments multiplying, the statements multiplying.” But Lavrov did not say what he specifically disputed in the indictment. Trump tweeted that McMaster’s mention of Russian poll meddling forgot to include that the election results were not changed by the Russians efforts.
And he said McMaster should have noted the only collusion was between Russia, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Trump frequently has tried to turn the tables on who tried to work closely with Russians. McMaster and Lavrov addressed the annual conference of world leaders, defence officials and diplomats, giving more general back-to-back opening remarks. But both were immediately hit with questions about the US indictment and the broader issue of cyberattacks. “There are no official claims, there is no proof for this. That is why they are just children’s statements,” Russian envoy Andrei Kutskikh said.


Can act against tyrant Iran: Netanyahu

Munich, February 19- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tehran over aggressions by what he called Iran and its “proxies” in Syria, while showing what he claimed was a piece of an Iranian drone shot down in Israeli airspace.
Saying he had “a message to the tyrants of Tehran” during a speech at the Munich Security Conference, he warned: “Do not test Israel’s resolve”. He brandished a rectangular piece of dark green metal which he called “a piece of that Iranian drone, or whats left of it, after we shot it down.”
Israel has said it shot down the drone on February 10 after it entered the country from Syria, and responded with a raid on what it said was the Iranian control systems for the craft in Syria.
During the strikes, Israel’s F-16 fighter jet was shot down, believed to be the first loss of an Israeli plane in combat since 1982.
Israel’s response marked the first time it publicly acknowledged hitting Iranian targets in Syria since the 2011 start of the civil war there.
Calling Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif the “smooth-talking mouthpiece of Irans regime,” Netanyahu said: “Mr Zarif, do you recognise this? You should, its yours.” Again referring to Zarif, who is expected to speak later in Munich, the Israeli leader said: “No doubt Mr Zarif will brazenly deny Iran’s involvement in Syria.” “He lies with eloquence.”  The Israeli military has claimed the drone was a copy of a US model captured by Iran in 2011, based on an analysis of the drones debris.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu  offered his condolences over the 66 people killed in an Iranian plane crash, just moments after he launched a blistering attack on Tehran's government. "I take this opportunity to send condolences to the families of the 66 civilians that lost their lives in the plane accident today," Netanyahu said.      "We have no quarrel with the people of Iran, only with the regime that torments them," he added.

Moon visits hospital fire scene,

agonises over series of disasters

Seoul, January 28-South Korean officials rushed to identify 37 victims of a hospital blaze and pinpoint the cause on Saturday as President Moon Jae-in visited the burnt-out building and decried “one tragedy after another” to strike the country.
Flames and toxic smoke swept through the Sejong Hospital in the southern city of Miryang on Friday, injuring more than 150 people, just weeks after a fire killed 29 people at a fitness centre. All the hospital victims died from smoke inhalation.
Moon visited the fire scene where he spoke to grieving family members and firefighters.
“Its tragic, and it hurts me to see this kind of one tragedy after another, even as the government has vowed to make this country safe,” Moon said.
He ordered a full inquiry and said “utmost government efforts” were needed to support the injured and families of the victims.
The government of Asia’s fourth-largest economy, with one of the world’s fastest ageing populations, has faced criticism in recent years over poor safety standards, including the Sewol ferry disaster of 2014 in which more than 300 people, mostly schoolchildren, drowned.
Hospital director Song Byeong-cheol said the six-storey hospital did not have a sprinkler system and was not large enough to require one under the law.
The opposition Liberal Party was quick to condemn Moon for the disaster.
“The Moon administration should have at least kept South Koreans safe, to justify the launch of this government,” the party said in a statement, demanding a “master plan” to protect citizens.
Moon’s ruling Democratic Party said it would “embark on parliamentary discussions to legally support and protect citizens lives and safety”, a spokesman said.
Ham Eun-gu, a professor at Open Cyber University of Korea, said safety checks at many private hospitals, including Sejong Hospital, were often carried out as a formality and not strictly enforced.
“Given that there has been a string of big fire accidents, the Moon administration won’t be able to just overlook this and let it go. (The government) will need to toughen fire safety regulations,” Ham said.
Last month, 29 people were killed in a blaze at an eight-storey fitness centre in Jecheon City, most of them women trapped in a sauna. That disaster fuelled anger over reports of shoddy construction, among other shortcomings.
In 2014, a fire at a rural hospital killed 21 people, while a 2008 warehouse fire outside Seoul killed 40.
Many survivors of Friday’s blaze “walked though fire and smoke” to escape, a city official told Reuters on Friday.
Those on upper floors used fire engine ladders and plastic escape slides, while firefighters carried some who could not walk.


Doctor booked for

threatening Tanwar’s wife

Chandigarh, January 28-Sirsa-based Dr Dev Kishan Meghwal, who allegedly threatened state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar’s wife Avantika Maken Tanwar after she failed to turn up at a blood donation camp, has been booked along with six others for rioting, unlawful assembly, trespass and criminal intimidation. He has denied the charges.
In a complaint, Sahib Ram, a chowkidar at Tanwars’ residence, alleged that the accused barged into the premises on January 16, carrying arms with the intention to kill Avantika. “The doctor invited me to a camp at his wife’s hospital on January 15. I could not make it there. The following evening, he and others, carrying arms, came to our residence and asked about our whereabouts from the servants. Terrified, they withheld this information from us. We later learnt the doctor had come with the intention to kill me,” Avantika told The Tribune. Atma Ram, in charge of the HUDA police post in Sirsa, said the accused had gone into hiding.
Dr Meghwal claimed he had been Tanwar’s supporter for long and that the allegations were baseless. “As I reached his residence to deliver sweets, I got a call from an acquaintance. I told him to meet me at the Congress leader’s residence. Carrying a double-barrel gun, he arrived there with five or six men. And this led to a misunderstanding,” he said.

Gangster Gounder, aides killed

Patiala, January 28- Eluding the police for over a year, notorious gangster and Nabha jailbreak mastermind Vicky Gounder and his accomplice Prema Lahoria were killed in a fierce encounter in Sriganganagar’s Pakki village on the Rajasthan-Punjab border on Friday evening. In the 16-minute gunfight, 40 shots were fired. Sub-Inspector Balwinder Singh and ASI Kirpal Singh were grievously injured.
A 35-member Punjab Police team led by AIG (Organised Crime Control Unit) Gurmeet Chauhan and Inspector Bikramjit Brar of the CIA, Rajpura, zeroed in on a ‘dhani’ (house in the fields) owned by Lakhwinder Singh. “As Lakwinder stepped out at 4.30 pm, we took him away for questioning. As soon as he confirmed that Gounder, Lahoria and their accomplice were hiding inside, we got going,” said Chauhan.
Five police teams were formed, DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta said. “Three  kept a watch on the three entrances, one was stationed outside to cover the escape route and another on the roof of the house. Lahoria was the first to come out. Sensing trouble, he tried to scale a wall to flee, firing at the policemen. He was shot.”

Gounder tried to flee through the main door along with an aide, firing indiscriminately and injuring two policemen. “Both were shot. Gounder died on the spot and an aide in hospital,” the DGP said.
The police obtained vital clues after Inderjit Sandhu was arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport in December last. “We found some diaries in which he had mentioned phone numbers in code language. On December 27, we got a tipoff that the suspects had been seen in Abohar moving in a Swift Dzire car with a Haryana number plate (which was later found to be fake). We tracked the vehicle and zeroed in on the hideout,” explained Chauhan.
Gounder alias Harjinder Bhullar (27) alias Jinder, who belonged to Sarawan Bodla village in Lambi, Bathinda, had fled the maximum-security Nabha jail on November 27, 2016. He was the prime accused in  gangster Sukha Kahlwan’s killing.
“Wanted in more than 10 cases of murder, gangwar, jailbreak, extortion and smuggling, Gounder was under watch for his possible links with radicals as well as Pakistan’s ISI. He had recently obtained an automatic assault rifle from Pakistan through his handler Ramanjit Singh alias Romi (Hong Kong), also wanted by the Punjab Police. Romi may have had a role in the targeted killings in Ludhiana and Jalandhar in 2016-2017,” top police officials said.
Later in the evening, DGP Suresh Arora and DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta said three pistols — two of .32 bore and one of .30 bore — and a large quantity of ammunition were found at the encounter site, besides cellphones and dongles used for communication. Gounder was using the social media to issue threats to rival gangs and police officers. He was using multiple Facebook accounts operated through accomplices in various countries, including the Gulf nations, Cyprus and Germany, DGP Dinkar said, adding that the most followed account had more than one lakh followers and collectively Gounder had 4-5 lakh followers.


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