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Mosques attacked in Sri Lanka town after Facebook row, curfew imposed

COLOMBO: Several dozen people threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stores and a local man was beaten in the town of Chilaw on Sri Lanka’s west coast on Sunday in a dispute that started on Facebook, sources told Reuters.Three weeks ago in Sri Lanka extremist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches,…

Mosques attacked in Sri Lanka town after Facebook row, curfew imposed

COLOMBO: Several dozen people threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stores and a local man was beaten in the town of Chilaw on Sri Lanka’s west coast on Sunday in a dispute that started on Facebook, sources told Reuters.Three weeks ago in Sri Lanka extremist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches, killing more than 250 people. Since then Muslim groups say they have received dozens of complaints from across the country about people being harassed.“A police curfew has been imposed in Chilaw Police area with immediate effect until 6 a.m. tomorrow to control the tense situation,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told Reuters. The police later said the curfew would be lifted at 4 a.m.A screenshot of the alleged Facebook exchange seen by Reuters showed a user had written in Sinhalese “It is difficult to make us cry” and added a local slur against Muslim men.A Facebook user identified as Hasmar Hameed, whom two locals said was the man later arrested, replied in English: “Dont laugh more 1 day u will cry.”Authorities said they arrested the author of a Facebook post, identifying him as 38-year-old Abdul Hameed Mohamed Hasmar. Locals in Chilaw, a majority Christian town, said Hasmar’s post was interpreted as menacing and an angry crowd beat him.Reuters was unable to determine what the original conversation was about or to contact Hasmar for comment.“Later they pelted stones at three mosques and some Muslim-owned shops. Now the situation has calmed down, but we are scared of the night,” said one local Muslim man who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons.One mosque suffered extensive damage, he said. Video footage circulating online shows several dozen young men shouting and throwing stones at a clothes store called New Hasmars, which locals said belonged to Hasmar.Some communities say they are fearful that the government, which failed to act on successive warnings about looming extremist attacks, has not caught all potential militants.A week ago in Negombo, where more than 100 people were killed during Easter prayers, a violent clash erupted between local Muslims and Christians after a traffic dispute.Unlike after the Negombo clashes, the Sri Lankan government did not impose a ban on social media platforms on Sunday.

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Pakistan PM Khan speaks with India’s Modi to congratulate him on election win

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke to Narendra Modi and congratulated the Indian leader on the runaway election victory of his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both countries said on Sunday.“Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in the Lok…

Pakistan PM Khan speaks with India’s Modi to congratulate him on election win

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke to Narendra Modi and congratulated the Indian leader on the runaway election victory of his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both countries said on Sunday.“Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections in India,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.“The Prime Minister expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their peoples.”Tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed countries, flared in February with cross-border air strikes and a brief battle between fighter jets above Kashmir.India’s Ministry of External Affairs confirmed Khan had called Modi on Sunday, adding the two leaders had discussed fighting poverty together.“He (Modi) stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the ministry added in a statement.

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UN says Taliban captives in Afghanistan subjected to abuse

WASHINGTON: Less than a dozen people affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group were drowned out by hundreds of counter-protesters Saturday at a rally in the midwestern US state of Ohio, authorities and local media said.The event ended peacefully without injuries or arrests, the city government of Dayton, Ohio, said in a statement…

UN says Taliban captives in Afghanistan subjected to abuse

WASHINGTON: Less than a dozen people affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group were drowned out by hundreds of counter-protesters Saturday at a rally in the midwestern US state of Ohio, authorities and local media said.The event ended peacefully without injuries or arrests, the city government of Dayton, Ohio, said in a statement on Facebook.Nine people from a group called the Honorable Sacred Knights showed up for a rally they’d obtained a permit to hold in Dayton’s Courthouse Square. They were met by 500 to 600 counter-protesters, city officials said.The counter-protesters chanted, sang and played various instruments to drown out the racist demonstrators, who had gathered behind a tall metal fence under tight police security, local media reports said.More than 350 law enforcement officers were on hand amid fears of violence.In 2017, a woman was killed at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.President Donald Trump sparked outrage in its aftermath after claiming there were good people “on both sides” at the rally.

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India’s beleaguered Jet Airways founder held at airport

MUMBAI: Indian Immigration authorities on Saturday stopped former Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal and his wife from traveling to London, an official said, months after the debt-laden company grounded its fleet.Goyal was taken into custody at Mumbai’s international airport along with his wife Anita after authorities recalled the Dubai bound Emirates flight as it headed…

India’s beleaguered Jet Airways founder held at airport

MUMBAI: Indian Immigration authorities on Saturday stopped former Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal and his wife from traveling to London, an official said, months after the debt-laden company grounded its fleet.Goyal was taken into custody at Mumbai’s international airport along with his wife Anita after authorities recalled the Dubai bound Emirates flight as it headed to the runway for take-off, a spokesperson for the immigration department said in a statement to AFP.Officials gave no explanation for the couple’s travel ban but media reports said they were allowed to leave the airport later.Goyal is not under investigation but a number of high-profile businessmen have fled India over their alleged involvement in financial crimes, causing a massive public outcry.The 69-year-old stepped down from the company’s chairmanship and board in March following a debt restructuring pact with lenders as it reeled under a loan of $1.2 billion.Anita also stepped down from the board.Once India’s top airline, Jet halted its operations after a consortium of lenders declined to pay emergency cash as it failed to find a buyer for a 75 percent stake in the carrier in April.The consortium led by State Bank of India, India’s biggest state-owned bank, took control of Jet in March, pledging to give $218 million in “immediate funding support” as part of a rescue plan.But the lenders refused dole-out cash to the beleaguered airline that has failed to pay employees’ salaries since January, forcing hundreds on to the streets as some 20,000 staff face losing their jobs.Bad investments, competition from several low-cost carriers, high oil prices and a weak rupee have led to Jet’s current financial predicament. Mismanagement has also plagued the airline.Analysts trace the start of Jet’s financial problems to its 2006 purchase of Air Sahara for $500 million in cash.Goyal, a travel-agent-turned entrepreneur, launched Jet in 1992 after the Indian government passed a series of reforms designed to make the economy more market-driven.The Mumbai-based carrier quickly gained a reputation for introducing new initiatives — Jet was the first Indian airline to offer a frequent flyer program and in-flight entertainment.But it began to take a battering from new, well-run budget airlines including IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet, which were founded between 2005 and 2006.Another low-cost carrier, Kingfisher Airlines closed in 2012 after it failed to repay loans worth millions of dollars to state-owned banks. Its owner Vijay Mallya fled India in 2016 and is currently fighting an extradition case in London court against his deportation for facing financial fraud trial.

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