ਮੁੱਖ ਖ਼ਬਰਾਂ 

Ludhiana truck driver, owner

arrested; poppy seized in Poonch

Jammu, November 24- Two people were arrested and 50 kg of poppy was seized from them in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, the police said on Friday.
They were arrested from the Behramgalla area on the Mughal Road on Thursday night.
Police seized 100 packets of poppy, weighing around 50 kg, from their truck. They were going from Kashmir to Punjab, an officer said.
A case was registered against the truck driver Jasdev Singh and its owner Balvinder, both residents of Ludhiana in Punjab, he said.
The matter is being investigated, the officer said.


SGPC sacks 15 ‘back-door’

employees posted in Ajnala

Amritsar, November 24- The SGPC has terminated the services of its 15 employees posted at Gurdwara Gurusar Madoke Brar in Ajnala.
The employees, who had been serving as sewadars and clerks, have written to SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar that if they were not taken back, they would give up Sikhism and surrender their religious symbols at Akal Takht.
Lovedeep Singh and Rajwinder Singh, both sewadars, also allegedly charged SGPC executive member Surjit Singh Bhittewad and manager of Chheharta Sahib gurdwara Jagtar Singh of asking for bribe for reviving their services.
Gurdwara Gurusar was earlier being run by a local committee till the SGPC took its control on August 10.
“None of us were paid wages after that. Rather, we were told to shell out Rs50,000 each to save our jobs. We tried to approach SGPC’s chief secretary Dr Roop Singh, but he was unavailable. Later we approached another senior SGPC member who misbehaved with us and dragged us out of his office,” they said.
Bhittewad, who was a member of the fact-finding committee, said these employees were hired through the ‘backdoor’ without following the procedure by the earlier committee, hence the SGPC executive had decided to terminate their services.
“Just a few months before the SGPC could take the gurdwara in its control, the earlier local committee had employed them in an unauthorised manner without advertising the post. The fact came to light after the committee probed the issue. There were already 27 employees on rolls and later 15 more were added. The total income from the gurdwara is around Rs2 lakh per month, whereas the salary bill comes to over Rs3.5 lakh per month. It was not viable to continue with their services, so the executive decided to lay them off,” he said.
Kuldeep Kaur, sewadarni, said they had unanimously decided to give up Sikhism. “We will wait till November 26. If we were not re-employed, we will assemble at Akal Takht, submit an apology and give up Sikhism with our families,” they said.


Mnangagwa sworn in as

Zimbabwe President

Harare, November 24- Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new President on Friday in a ceremony at a packed stadium here, marking the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign.
The ceremony took place at the capital’s National Sports Stadium and was attended by dignitaries, including leaders from various African countries.
Mnangagwa, 75, was led in the oath of office by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, saying he would “be faithful to Zimbabwe”, “protect and promote the rights and people of Zimbabwe” and discharge his duties to the best of his abilities. He was accompanied by his wife Auxilia.
The ceremony will be followed by a flypast and a gun salute and then the new President will deliver an address, the BBC reported.
Mugabe did not attend Mnangagwa’s inauguration and the official explanation for his absence was that the 93-year-old needed to rest.
On Thursday, several reports suggested Mugabe had been granted immunity from prosecution. Local media reported that Mnangagwa offered the Mugabe family “maximum security and welfare”.
Mnangagwa is better known as “The Crocodile”. In a radio interview two years ago, he explained that a crocodile never leaves the water to search for food. Instead, it waits patiently for its prey to approach.
“It strikes at the appropriate time,” he said.
His dismissal earlier this month led the ruling Zanu-PF party and the Army to intervene and force Mugabe to quit.


Abe wins big, lists priorities

Tokyo, October 24- Japan’s Prime Minister has vowed to make education and childcare a priority over balancing the budget after winning a new mandate from voters on Sunday, as a rapidly-ageing population threatens to undermine his efforts to reflate the economy.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition scored a landslide victory at the polls, boosted by his campaign promises to invest more heavily on education and childcare, aimed partly at encouraging more women to join the workforce.
But Abe, buoyed by a huge election win for lawmakers who favour revising Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution, will need to convince a divided public to succeed.
Parties in favour of amending the US-drafted charter won nearly 80 per cent of the seats in Sunday’s lower house election, media counts showed. That left the small, new Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) as the biggest group opposed to Abe’s proposed changes.
Formed by liberal members of the Democratic Party, which imploded before the election and no longer exists in the lower house, the CDPJ won 55 seats, a final count by public broadcaster NHK shows. That is a fraction of the ruling bloc’s two-thirds majority of 313 seats in the 465-member chamber.
Abe said he wanted to get other parties on board, including Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s new conservative Party of Hope, and was not insisting on a target of changing the constitution by 2020 that he floated this year.
“We won a two-thirds majority as the ruling bloc, but it is necessary to strive to form a wide-ranging agreement among the ruling bloc and opposition (to revise the constitution),” Abe told a news conference on Monday.
“And then we aim to win the understanding of the people, so that we can gain a majority in a referendum,” Abe said. He stopped short of claiming to have won a mandate for amending the constitution in Sunday’s election.
Abe also made clear he would continue to press cautious Japanese firms to spend their record cash piles on boosting employees’ wages to stoke a virtuous growth cycle.
With his “Abenomics” recipe centred on hyper-easy monetary policy likely to continue, Abe’s solid election win also raised expectations he would reappoint Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda in early April when his five-year term expires.
Abe swept to power in late 2012, pledging to pull Japan’s economy, the world’s third largest, out of nearly two decades of deflation and stagnation. The economy is recovering gradually but sluggish wage growth keeps consumer spending and inflation from accelerating, while corporations face labour shortages due to a low birth rate and fast-ageing population.
The premier promised to offer free pre-school for all children aged three to five and for children aged two or below from low-income households. “The key to Japan’s sustainable growth is how we respond to ageing of the population, which is the biggest challenge for Abenomics,” Abe told a news conference.


Trump to promote free and open Indo-Pacific

region during Asia trip: WH

Washington, October 24- President Donald Trump would reaffirm the American leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region during his maiden trip to Asia next month, the White House has said.
Ten months into the world’s most powerful executive office, the US President would embark on a two-week-long trip to Asia.
“The President’s travel is going to underscore his commitment to longstanding United States alliances and partnerships and reaffirm the United States’ leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific,” a senior administration official told reporters in a preview of the trip.
Trump himself told reporters in a joint media appearance with the visiting Prime Minister of Singapore that he is looking forward to his trip to Asia from November 3 to 14.
“This trip will be the President’s longest to date, underscoring the importance that he places on the Indo-Pacific region,” the senior administration official said.
While his visits to Japan, South Korea and China are bilateral ones, during his stops in Vietnam and the Philippines, Trump will be participating in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and the US ASEAN Summit.
In Vietnam and the Philippines, Trump also plans to hold bilateral and trilateral meetings with other world leaders, details of which are still being worked out.
Trump would embark on his Indo-Pacific sojourn on November 3 via Hawaii wherein he will receive a briefing from the US Pacific Command.
He will also visit Pearl Harbour and the USS Arizona Memorial.
The President will officially commence his visit to Asia beginning with Japan on November 5.
In Japan, “he is going to affirm the US-Japan Alliance as the cornerstone for regional peace and security,” the official said, adding that he would focus on ways for the US and Japan to work together to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific Region.
During his state visit to South Korea on November 7, Trump will participate in bilateral meetings with President Moon Jae-in and also visit American and South Korean service members.
The next day, he will speak at the National Assembly in Korea, where he will celebrate the enduring alliance and friendship between the United States and the Republic of Korea and call on the international community to join together in maximising pressure on North Korea.
Trump is likely to highlight the enduring strength of the US-South Korea alliance, which is stronger than ever in the face of North Korean aggression, the official said.
Trump would fly to Beijing the next day for a series of bilateral, commercial and cultural events, including meetings with President Xi Jinping.
“I anticipate that the President will seek to secure China’s commitments to exert more pressure on North Korea and to rebalance our economic relations.
The visit will send a clear message that for bilateral economic relations to be sustainable over the long term, China must provide fair and reciprocal treatment to US firms and cease predatory trade and investment practices,” the official said.
The President will then travel to Da Nang in Vietnam on November 10, where he will participate in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), economic leaders meeting and deliver a speech at the APEC CEO Summit.
“In the speech, Trump will present the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and underscore the important role the region plays in advancing America’s economic prosperity,” the official said, adding that Trump’s engagements at APEC would reinforce the US commitment to an equitable, sustainable and rules-based international economic system based on market principles.
On November 11, Trump will travel to Hanoi, where he’s going to have an official visit and bilateral engagements with President Tran Dai Quang and other senior Vietnamese leaders.
President Trump will arrive in Manila in the Philippines on November 12 to participate in a special gala celebration dinner for the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


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